Sunday, 28 June 2020

Open King Sedgemoor Drain

After the lack of fish at Chequers last week I was looking forward to this match. There had been a few anglers pleasure fishing there since last weekend with plenty of roach, pommies and little skimmers coming out on the whip, with up 20lb. I'm always wary of course of thinking those same weights will happen under match conditions, but it was a good sign. I spent Saturday making some rigs for whip fishing and a few for short lining as the wind that was forecasted worried me slightly.

I got to the 37 club near Puriton where the draw was to take place, we weren't in the club of course just using their car park as we needed a big space for the 72 anglers that turned up. The draw was done well, If your name was called out, you walked up chucked your pools money in a big bucket and then the organiser drew a peg for you. When it got to my turn I was given peg 58 which put me at Bradney, I had an end peg in my section 53 and that was going to be favourite, I think Nigel Baker was on that one. I was quite happy though as a couple of the lads had fished on about peg 66 and had lots on the whip so fish in the area I hoped.

After loading the shuttle it was a nice easy walk along a cycle path, I could have walked miles on a surface like that! I was a little disappointed when I saw my peg as it was not at all conducive to fishing a whip, and anything would need some care due to trees either side. I lopped a few branches off, but it was still very narrow and with the wind getting up it would be very problematic.

In the water I had plenty of lillies growing up and a little hole about 6 metres out where I found a weed free area, although the bottom was a bit uneven. The anglers around me all had the same problem with the bottom all over the place. Still the depth was nice here with about 7 feet, and I set up a 1.5g pencil float with 20 N40 to 0.09 to fish here. I toyed with making up other lighter rigs but the wind was killing the peg and in the event I even struggled to hold on to the 1.5g rig at times. I set up a chopped worm rig for fishing at 12m to the edge of the pads to my left, I thought this would give me half a chance to get a decent fish out of I hooked one. A waggler was also set up but I never had a bite on this!

Before the match started I had two visitors, one was Gary Etheridge who sneaked up on me filming for his facebook post, the other visitor was in the water, see video.

The match started at 11am and I began by feeding some Sonubaits Black Roach and lake on the short line, and some worm and caster further out. I began on the short line and it was a very quiet start with just two tiny perch in the first ten minutes, but finally I caught a 1oz roach. It was very slow, but I could get the odd bite but it was hard work indeed, odd little roach but more often 1/2oz pommies. After about an hour Graham Hunt had sat behind me for a chat, he saw me catch a couple of fish short but this really died off and it was time to try to my worm line. I had a very fast bite almost immediately but I reckon this was a rudd grabbing the worm on the drop. Dropped it back in and waited for a few minutes and a bite, struck and this was no rudd, a large fish was hooked and lucky for me it swam straight out into the middle of the river where I kind of hung on as it thumped hard and pulled a fair bit of 15 hollo out! But then it was gone, damn! I'd simply pulled out of it, gutted was an understatement. I wondered if it was a tench, and Graham reckoned it most likely was, certainly was a big un. Sadly after this the worm line only produced 4 small perch all of which were swung.

As mentioned earlier, the waggler was a waste and I was surprised this was so poor. I had a visit from team mate Nick Ewers who was two pegs above me. He had a mare when his shuttle blew from the top of the bank straight into his rig roost and smashed a number of number 4 sections, he had also caught very little, as had the anglers around us. I could get the odd bite short but then would try the worm, but this just wasn't working. Graham came back to say the anglers on the last 3 pegs of my section had a few fish with Nick Collins catching best of all it seemed. My chances of coin were already gone it seemed and the wind which had been difficult just got worse, at times I was leaning back 45 degrees to try to catch my rig, luckily I managed to avoid the trees.

I won't bore you with the details, well there aren't many really, I just caught the odd little fish now and again and it was not easy and the last hour was very quiet. I thought I had about 3lb.

The scales revealed a 12lb Nigel Baker end peg, 11lb Nick Collins end peg but one and 8lb Tony Goodland on the well you can guess.. A few skimmers and some small fish for those guys. Gary on 56 had 4lb+, Ben Matthews next to me 1lb 4oz, then me 3lb 8oz. Ade McTiffin had 4lb+ then the next two were DNW. The next section up was won on the end peg with 9lb Gary Webber, and 5lb was second and not much else was caught.

A difficult match and once again I find myself not getting much of a chance thanks to the drawbag, but such is life. Top 3 today were Steve Long with 21lb 11oz Parchey, 2nd Andrew Cranston 21lb 20z (next to Steve), 3rd Andy Power who was on an end peg down past me a long way, he had 17lb. All those weights were bream.

My lost tench didn't cost me anything in the end, though it would have been nice to have landed it, nobody else hooked one in the 20 pegs up by me. Next week it is the superleague on this venue, how will fish next week? Better or worse? More small fish or more big fish? Think anglers will need to cover all eventualities!

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Chequers Angling Club Open - Bristol Avon Chequers

After my short foray at Conham and the knowledge that bream had been showing well on the Avon I was looking forward to this match. Of course I was also looking forward to seeing some of my angling buddies for the first tie for a few months.

I'd got myself sorted by basically going with a one tracked mind on bream as I was sure these would be needed to pick up money, and after the rain we had in the early hours of Sunday morning this was only going to add more colour and pace to the river as the day would progress. I got to the field by the river where the draw was to be held, and Ben Rendall and Ben Matthews were taking the pools and doing the draw. Social distancing was in place and the draw was done by the Ben's and all fair and above board. 13 was the fancied draw on the outfall, but end pegs 1 and 20 were also on my list of preferred pegs. In the event peg 13 went to Ben Matthews, and I was given peg 15 which was nothing special but we would see.

Got to the peg and was a bit shocked to find the bank to resemble a ski slope. This was because I knew the guys had been down the day before doing some work on the swims, but it turned out someone had fished my peg the day before so they couldn't do any work on it. I dug a few steps out and went to the right as there were willow tree branches overhead and I would have to cast underhand anyway.

It didn't take long to set up my 12'6" Supera with a 1.5oz in it, gbait feeder with a 14 to 0.15. The water was coloured but not chocolate as when I had fished on Friday, but it did look good for bream I thought. I set up a 5g bolo float also with a 16 to 0.12 but this was only for passing the time or resting the swim in my head. The anglers either side of me were on my left on the upstream side Andrew Cranston, and on my right Shaun Townsend. I was a little disappointed that I had a very short swim, about 15 paces, whereas Andy was more than double that and Shaun had even more water. 

The match began at 10am, and I launched 16 balls of gbait, caster and worm in about a third out where I could easily cast a feeder. I fed some casters in closer for the float line just in case. I started on a worm hookbait tipped with maggot, not a tremor on the first two casts, so I put the ever faithful 3 red maggots on which brought a few small taps on the tip and just one maggot nipped, a small fish. A couple more casts and the same result, so to try to put something in the net I put just two maggots on the hook, a couple more taps and the same 1 maggot nipped. Waste of time so back onto the bigger baits, but they were a waste of time too as after the hour mark I had nothing in my net! Andy had caught a 3 1/2lb chub on the feeder and a few small fish on the pole, Shaun had 2 dace, it was obviously fishing hard.

After 90 mins I tried the float, I didn't have a bite on this fishing on or near the bottom, but in order to catch something I shallowed up and caught a bleak, blank avoided. Back on the feeder now and as I had heard Rich Lacey on peg 19 had 2 bream and 2 skimmers. Graham Hunt came along for a walk and we had a chat, he told me that he had his bes on the Avon on the peg Shaun was on many years ago, bream on the feeder. It was good to chat as not much was happening and unfortunately the day only got worse for me, and I can't really get many words down on this post today... I never had a single fish on the feeder nor on the float. I went for a couple of walks to see most anglers struggling, but enjoyed watching the great wildlife that is here, many butterflies including my first large skipper for a long time, and some great birds. I spent the last 45 mins with the feeder out and I made some rigs up for later use on the river, I did swing a couple of these out shallow and nailed another 3 bleak lol! There was a loud cheer from a few when the match ended at 3pm.

The weigh in was done from end peg 20 where the angler there had some late bream including a 5lb fish 10 minutes before the end to weigh 14lb+. On the next peg Rich Lacey gave a little fist pump when his bream and skimmers went just over 15lb, and that was enough for him to win.

Jack Jones had a bream on the next peg but not much else, then Kev Dicks had 2lb. Andy Cranston had 6lb which would be enough for him to pick up the section by default. I was a DNW,as was Shaun and the next three anglers at least. Louis Townsend was 3rd from peg 9 he had 6 skimmers for about 10lb, and Paul Purchase was the section winner with a bream and bits for 6lb.

The roach never showed today, and that can happen early season, but there was not much else feeding and so it was a case of need to catch some bream / skimmers. Shaun did have a go at catching some bleak and dace shallow, and he had a few but nothing quick enough, but he did have 2 or 3 really huge bleak, and he wanted to weigh them in to see if he could have a record breaker, but then didn't bother lol. Overall disappointing but that's the way it can go, still good to see some of the lads and have a bit of a chat, even if it was at a bit of a distance.

Next week I'm off to fish an open on the King Sedgemoor Drain, apparently there are 70 anglers booked in for this match, I really need a decent draw to do well and an end peg will be nice.

Friday, 19 June 2020

New River Season - Pleasure fishing on the Bristol Avon

At long last the 16th June arrived and I went fishing... umm no I didn't. I was really busy with work stuff this week and I could not get the time off to go, gutted. However, I did manage to get time off on Friday 19th June and was going to think about where to go. In the meantime I had to put up with all of the messages of people bagging up on bream at Newbridge and Chequers, as well as some nice nets of roach in places. I was itching to go! Then came the storms and rain, and in Bristol it rained non stop for about 30 hours. I didn't even bother setting my alarm for Friday morning as it was still going to be raining!

On Friday I eventually got out of the house around 11am and first popped to Jack Whites where Tyler Ewans-Alder was fishing with mans gear, speci rods out with fishmeal gbait and pellets. He had a long wait but then had a 6lb barbel and a couple of bream. The river was though running quickly and very coloured. I fancied fishing the peg above Tyler (just below the lock gates) but another angler was opposite and was casting right down the peg so no go for me. I thought I would go and have a look at Conham and see if I could get on a peg just up from the carp park. I got there and found a couple of anglers fishing, clueless, and I tried to give them some pointers. I got in on a peg I used to fish a lot many moons ago.
It is just above some flats and below a weir, and the main flow is mainly across as you are fishing down from a big bend in the river. Not a good peg on low flow, but usually nice on pacier days like today.

I had gone with minimal gear and was using this session as a bit of a workout before an upcoming match at the weekend on the river. With the colour and pace I expected the groundbait feeder to be the best approach, then realised I didn't have my reels with 6lb line on, only 3lb, ooops. Ah well best not strike hard or fish to far out! Anyway, all set up with 16 N30 to 0.14 and emptied 6 feeders out about 1/4 out. I started fishing at about 12:30, and it was a bite a chuck, but from dace and odd roach, but the dace bites were a nightmare to hit. Whilst fishing I saw a bream about 5lb jump clear of the river like a salmon, quite amazing. After an hour I was going nowhere missing bite after bite, and whilst I hadn't considered a float to work I decided to set up a 14BB crowquill for the 11 foot deep swim. I wasn't sure this would work, but it did. Bites straight away. Not easy of course, the pace was tricky, the bottom was a bit uneven and snaggy in places, and dace bites aren't the easiest to hit.

I had a good run of fish by throwing in a ball of groundbait with casters in, every cast out. I was using Sonubaits lake, brown crumb, and some Tigerfish. Now Tigerfish is a fishmeal mix and I had put it in to try and catch some bream on the feeder, but surprisingly it wasn't putting the dace off. Things slowed down a tad and the fish I caught were spewing up groundbait, so I cut back on the feeding. It didn't seem to help much but I ticked over, and then I started to get a few more roach, and some of them were 8 to 10oz.

As we came to about 3:30pm I found some fish in a bit closer and I went back to a ball a chuck and started catching some cracking dace with a couple I'm sure close to 8oz. I had 1 chublet and 1 perch in this time too, plus some roach including another beauty. I ran out of gbait and carried on fishing and still caught more dace for about 20 mins till it slowed and I called it a day. I wasn't using a keepnet today so I don't have a catch shot, it is also hard to estimate my catch but I guess it was 10lb to 12lb in 3 1/2 hours. To be honest I am staggered I caught on the float, in fact during fishing Shaun Townsend rang me and said he couldn't believe I was catching on the float (he had walked the river earlier at Jack Whites) and neither could I! There you go, that's the beauty of fishing, some days things happen you don't expect, today I went with the expectation of bream on the feeder and ended up with a nice bag on the float.

There are not many pegs cut out here these days which is a shame, and I had to fish off a high bank but am used to that. However, if you like your river fishing I would strongly urge you to fish at Conham, it's free and all you need is a rod licence. Sunday a match at Chequers, this extra water will run out quick, but I still expect the match to be dominated by bream, let's see if I can catch some this time. Oh but I better get my gear sorted out right first!

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Hillview Fishery Open

At long last back to fishing a match! It was actually very difficult to find a match as it seemed there was not many promoted (on facebook) and hence most venues were booked up by those in the know. I'm also having to stick to fishing at weekends as I'm still busy working at the moment, I know some people are not so lucky. I got in on this Saturday open due to Mark Jefferies fishing there the previous week and getting my name on the list, along with Kev Winstone.

I did a fair bit of preparation for the match which I thought would be on the canals, but in the event it was on the first two canals and Moorhen lake. At the draw it was all done well, everyone had to wear face masks, pay your pools in cash box, and then Keith pulled a peg out for each angler. Although not greatly prepared for the lake I wanted to draw on it as I often find it is the best for bigger weights due to the larger carp and F1's. Kev got end peg on canal 2, and Mark was a few pegs down from Kev. Keith drew me peg 53 on the right hand end of the first canal. I was not that pleased with the draw, the peg does have its day but it is quite shallow and generally I feel that the middle to left end is better. My best hope was if there were some resident carp in the swim down to the end bank. The bank opposite was fairly barren but with a nice little cut back.

The end bank which promised so much.

Set up comprised a few shallow rigs for slapping for F1's, but the wind that got up made that almost impossible, and for the first couple of hours I only had my topset plus 3 sections out on the bank. I had a 4x12 with 16 GPM to 0.13 for fishing soft pellet in the margin on a top set, another for fishing meat down to to the pallet, and right down to the end bank, but had 14 GPM to 0.15 on that. I did also have a rig for the deeper water in front (not much deeper) but never had a bite here. My plan was start short, and work my way out, and gradually move further down the margin if required. Good in theory lol.

The match started at 10:30 and looking to my left it seemed everyone began in their margins, I followed suit. It was a couple of feet deep by the reeds and I didn't start off that well here, plenty of fish but couldn't get one in the mouth, landed two foulers. I picked up one of my shallow rigs and went out with that, fish hooked in the mouth yay. I had a steady run here, whilst the guys to my left seemed to be catching quicker and F1's I had more carp. Suddenly the fish just went from being shallow, I went back onto the bottom and it was slow, but the fishing just got slower and slower. I had gone from thinking I was going to have a nice day bagging short to getting nothing. The angler to my left had struggled after early bagging and went to see the the guy on 49 who was still catching odd fish. 

I got more sections out as the wind seemed to calm down to just the odd gust where I was, and plumbed my swims up right across and down the far end margin. I did try top set plus one, and the LH margin before going over but not a sign. It wasn't long before I had signs of fish sucking the bare bank across, so I was happy, and I caught a few carp and a nice 3lb F1 here over an hour when this died just like the margin. It was very cold fishing, the air temperature dropped at times to 11C and we had some rain storms which I am sure cooled the water. I was really struggling for bites now, it was so slow, but it seemed the same for many. However, it got worse, and to cut a long story short I caught 1 F1 and 1 carp on meat with 2 hours to go, and had one more fish with 90 mins to go, and that was my last bite! The whole venue really switched off for everyone.

I knew I hadn't caught anywhere near enough to win my canal, but I weighed in anyway as I didn't want a DNW on my first match lol! I weighed exactly 50lb, the guy to my left DNW, and the lad on 49 had 70lb and he was able to catch in his margin and across next to an overhanging bush, though he was dry for the last hour. On the second canal it was also a struggle for many, Kev opposite me had 35lb, and Podge had 42lb, but the other end of the canal had a ton weight, The top four overall weights all came from the bottom end of Moorhen, with 160lb on peg 20, Gabe Skarba with 142lb on peg 4, 120lb on peg 6 and 110lb from the end peg I think it is 21.

It was nice to be back, I guess wind and rain is how I last recall fishing a match lol. I went for a 6 mile walk later afternoon evening today. Walked down to the River Avon at Keynsham and all the way down to the Chequers. River looked good and there was lots of fantastic wildlife, it was beautiful.

It will be nice to get back fishing on the river again soon, I don't worry about catching too much, it's about fishing for me and enjoying the surroundings. 

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Windmill Fishery

After my midweek bag up I had decided to pop out to Windmill again on the Sunday, I booked in with Dave Haines and was going to meet up with keener Kev Winstone. I did have a little trip out on Friday afternoon, not fishing, but to see a rare bird that had turned up at New Passage (in between the two Severn bridges). It was a bird called a Collared Pratincole, I doubt many anglers have heard of it, and I had never seen one before, but with little traffic about it was a quick drive to see it. The wind was awful but I still got to see it, a great tick for me.

As the wind was really bad Saturday (battered some of my plants in the garden) I was hoping it would drop for Sunday. Of course the wind did drop from about 40mph, to about 16mph so still enough to be a pain and I chucked some lead rods in today. I got to the lake about 7:40am and wandered off to my peg I set up on peg 9 whilst Kev was on peg 8, also there was Gary Bowden sat on peg 12. Gary very kindly brought some bacon and sausage rolls from a garage and that was a nice start to the day. I had an island to fish to which would be attacked with the lead rod, a 15g ICS lead, with 0.17 to 16 KKM-B for hard pellet was already set up and ready to go. I set up a shallow rig for the pole, a depth rig for fishing at 5m and a margin rig. I only had pellets with me, but was later to regret this.

I decided to kick off on the lead as it would be a good indicator of how the lake was fishing, I had an idea it would be hard as there was little sign of fish moving. Indeed it was a very slow start, and I think after an hour I had 1 carp and had lost 1 fouler on the lead. Kev had dropped off a skimmer on the pole and had nothing, Gary hadn't had a bite. I had been feeding some 8mm pellet across to the island, and 6mm pellet out 14m for the pole shallow, unfortunately I never had a bite shallow. Back on the lead and all of a sudden 3 carp in as many casts, these fell to a Fluoro pink Bandum, but everything went quiet again. At times I would get liners on the lead but no bites, and no matter what hookbait I tried I could not get a proper bite. Kev broke his duck with a rudd and soon after had a small carp, on the pole about 8m out. My lead line had another wake up, and carp could now be seen feeding in amongst the ducks. I had a few carp and a couple of nice 7/8lb fish then it was back to liners. I tried pellet at 6m, and hooked 5 fish in 5 drops, all were foul hooked and 4 were landed all in reverse gear! They weren't shallow as I had hooked all of them on the bottom. I got one in the mouth in the end but it soon petered out.

The rest on the lead seemed to have been a good thing and I had 3 carp in 3 casts, and there were lots of liners and fish about now, Kev was also catching on the pole but was letting all the big ones get off lol, Gary had managed some lumps on 12. I was doing OK then disaster, and on one cast I caught something that would not give, I lost the lot. Being lazy I could not be bothered to re tackle the lead rod, so thought I would try to the pole again. The 6m line was no good, but I did get a few in the margin before they drifted away. Kev was now getting regular fish on meat, he had some good skimmers and some carp approaching 10lb. One of my lead fish being returned.

I packed up with 93lb on my clicker, and by the time I had packed up and walked past Kev he was up to 130lb, when I stopped fishing he was on 97lb so gives you some idea how well he began to catch.

To be honest I need to tie some hooks, make rigs etc for match preparation, but without knowing what is happening on that front, and if I can fish the super league then it is a bit of an unknown as what to do... do I do river rigs or more commercial stuff? In 3 weeks the river season begins, I'd like to get on there for a go, the fish should have all spawned this year, so hopefully the fishing might be OK.

Finally Clive Branson who runs the "Match Fishing" Facebook page has asked me to do a talk, and I agreed to do it. I'm doing it this Tuesday (26th May)  at 7pm. Anyone can join the group, and if you have any questions at all, about anything, then please go on Facebook on the match fishing page for 7pm Tuesday, then you can type in your questions.