Saturday, 15 June 2019

Viaduct Holiday - Day 6 / 7

Final match today, Thursday cost cutter. Steve and Matt Long put all of the pegs on Campbell and Carey lake, I was sure of the pegs to be on to frame today bottom of Campbell!

After another lovely breakfast I got all of the gear sorted onto the trolley and pushed it up to the shop for the draw and parked it next to the rest of the lads, and we soon had a convoy.

With 37 anglers fishing today it was 50/50 chance of drawing on either lake, but being a cost cutter which ever lake you drew on you were only fishing against them as it was payouts per lake. Into the draw and couldn't believe it when I pulled out peg 121 again, wrong end again! Glenn pulled out 135 and was sure to do well there, I could watch him of course from my peg!

At the peg the wind was blowing up today, and it was straight into the peg. Gutted really as I wanted to fish shallow long but couldn't see me getting the right presentation and the light on the water was awful. Due to the wind I hoped the fish would be close again, so I opted to fish just one section further than yesterday. The standard light pellet rig was set up for fishing on the drop, and the heavier 0.4g version was back out, as was the paste rig. The long rigs were also OK for fishing top set plus one, and I did set up a rig for the margin but never had a bite on that one.

My neighbours today were Woody on peg 123, and Gordon on 119. I decided that fishing for silvers was not an option and as such fed with 6mm pellet from the start, I fed with a toss pot as the wind would mess up feeding by hand. I had a really slow start with a lack of indications for 30 minutes, but then the carp arrived and I had 4 bites and 4 carp on the light pellet rig a great start, it slowed a little but I had 7 carp after 2 hours and Woody and Gordon were struggling with just 2 or 3 carp. Glenn had been emptying it and 10 in the first hour! My peg then slowed up and this was more like a typical Campbell match with a poor mid match. The rain had got worse and I had put the brolly up which made landing fish tricky but it kept a lot of my gear and me dry.

Switching to paste and upping the feed seemed to get the carp back and I caught well again, the fish though were a lot small than yesterday overall. The last hour was only slightly better than yesterday with 4 fish, and no bagging session. As a repeat of yesterday Gordon and Woody in the corners started catching carp late. When the match finished I was sure I had more fish than yesterday but they were smaller, so I said I had about 140lb or maybe close to yesterday's weight. It turned out I had less than yesterday, my carp weighed 142lb 2oz and my silvers just 2lb 9oz for 144lb 11oz. Essentially I just had less silvers than the day before. I had the top weight from peg 110 to peg 127, though it should be said quite a few of those anglers fished for silvers. From the spit down it was a different story!

1st Paul Morris 212lb 5oz  peg 129
2nd George Perkins 200lb 5oz peg 128
3rd Glenn Bailey 180lb 1oz peg 135
4th Alex Nadin 173lb 2oz peg 131
I ended in 5th place

The Paste Master!

1st Shaun Wilson 55lb 3oz peg 114
2nd Nigel Easton 46lb 13oz peg 78
3rd Pete Ziemiak 43lb 5oz peg 115
4th Mike Nicholls 40lb peg 99

The Silvers Slayer!

The last night was excellent, we probably enjoyed ourselves a tad more knowing we had no match and no reason to get up early. We had a great debate over wet and dry pellets fuelled by cider and much more. It was about 1am when I hit the pillow.

Six days, 4 pick ups, 6 tons.

I woke up a tad late Friday and missed breakfast, I just packed everything up slowly and chilled out watching a few of the lads trying their luck fishing the pegs by the lodge.

The weather was glorious on Friday, but we could not believe it was monsoon rains in Bristol! I stayed a bit longer to hope it would be gone by the time I got home. Something that was really helpful this week was the Preston Storm Shield side tray, it helped keep my bait and other bits and bobs dry, would have been a nightmare without this.

Image of Storm Shield Side Tray  by Preston Innovations

Lastly when I got home by just gone 6pm I was sound asleep, a sure sign of a great holiday, lots of fish, lots of cider and lots and lots of laughs and good times with great lads. But it was good to be home again and see the family which I had missed.

Viaduct Holiday - Day 5

Wednesday morning always means the short pole match on Campbell lake. You can only fish with a top set and 3 more sections of your pole, all the rest of the pole must be kept in the holdall. It can be a great match but if the carp stay out in the middle it can be a long wait for bites. Pegs in a corner, or with an empty peg, or the spit are usually favoured in this match. Based on Saturday a peg in the car park end would be best. Well I drew as far away from there as possible, peg 121 on the top bank. It is a peg that is not often in the draw bag but Mike Nicholls was on it Saturday and struggled for carp and wished he had fished for silvers.

Nice view of the lake from peg 112.

Colin Dyer was on peg 119 and and Steve Nicholls on peg 123, I would probably reduce their chances of bagging being on the end bank. The lake was flat calm certainly as far as I could see but there was a little breeze blowing down the lake that was ever so slight later on. Had it been a normal match I would have considered fishing long shallow, but today not so. I decided to approach the peg in a similar way to Saturday's silver bashing. I would feed two lines on top set plus 3 with 4mm pellet and look for silvers, but be prepared to switch to carp if they were the better option. With it being so calm I could not see the margins throwing up anything and did not target them. Rig wise my light 4x12 pellet rig, a paste rig, a slapping rig and that was it.

As per last match on Campbell it started slowly for everyone at this end of the lake, and it was difficult for me to catch skimmers but enough to keep me going, then I had a carp. I wasn't getting much in the way of indications or silvers and with Mat Toomes on 125, Chris Rolfe on 116 catching silvers I decided to change to feed 6mm pellet on the LH line. Throwing the bait in it didn't take long for this to bring in the interest of a carp or two signalled by some bubbles. I caught 4 or 5 on 6mm pellet and then a couple of foulers seemed to push them out and I struggled for a good 40 minutes.

Glenn told me he was doing well on the paste on peg 112 (I'd already said he would win off that peg) and that the anglers opposite him all had a few carp. I needed to up my game and switched to the paste and after a bit of regular feeding got the carp back and nailed a quick 4, then it was a spell of lots of fly under bites and not hooking a fish! I guess this is where my lack of paste fishing let me down as I couldn't work out how to solve this. However, things improved in the 4th and 5th hour with many decent double figure fish and I thought I was going to need 5 nets at this rate. Never think that, the fish departed me in the last hour and I only had 2 carp, meanwhile Steve and Colin finally started catching carp. Despite my poor lat hour I knew I had by far the best weight at this end of the lake and no matter what I would get my section, but the scales would tell the tale.

My silvers went 13lb 15oz, and my carp 139lb 10oz for a total of 153lb 9oz. Those last two fish were in one net and weighed 22lb. As it turned out I did get the section money because Glenn won with 167lb 5oz, and in second was Martin McMahon on peg 130 with 154lb 4oz, beating me by 11oz bugger! That said being pipped again was not like yesterday, I felt I had a good match and had lost no fish at the net, I was not gutted at all. Poor old Steve on peg 123 snapped a top set and went over in his carp net enough to get disqualified, but it didn't cost him anything other than his own embarrassment.

The silvers was a close run affair with Mike winning it with 37lb 7oz from peg 135 and Chris Rolfe having 36lb 10oz.

Back to the Lodge decent weather again today so happy with that, the Canada Geese and goslings were also happy and liked the grass by the lodge.

It was curry night in the littlest Indian restaurant I've ever been in, 10 of us and another 6 people is all that you can get in. Food was great and the company was too of course. After some more cider we returned back to the other lodge and raided their cheese and cider supply.

Five days, 4 pick ups, five tons.

Viaduct Holiday - Day 4

Tuesday morning I awoke feeling jaded, more tired than anything, didn't feel hungover but a bit crabby I would say. We were off to Avalon today which I had really been looking forward to all holiday. However, it was deemed to be a "float only" despite the forecast of strong winds and rain, and despite my protests the night before this was kept. Travelling again with Glenn I left my lead rod reels etc in my car. Rather rash but I decided on short pole. At the fishery the water was a horrible grey colour, and in the past when it has been like this it has fished badly. This did nothing to improve my mood.

The wind was blowing towards the car park end, but the pegs on the bank from 1 to 23 were a lot better then the other side. The pegs were going to be less windy down at 23, so I go and draw out peg 5 which was the end peg. I asked Glenn to give me the van keys in case I wanted to go for a nap during the match. Very much a case of negative nelly due to far too much pop the night before!

Setting up rigs was easy, an old 4x18 Preston yellow float for hard pellet, and a paste rig both to be fished at 8m, as far as I cared to fish. A rig to fish paste in the RH margin which was only just shallower than at 8m, i.e. nearly 7 feet deep. It was a cold day, no rain as yet, but the Northerly wind was chilly, I had seen a couple of carp top by the island and wished I had brought some rods. On next peg 7 Geoff offered me a spare made a pellet wag rod, it was in Mark Tanners van, so I walked down to Mark on peg 20 to get his van keys. This did not improve my mood as his peg was very calm whilst on 22 Glenn had virtually no wind and was going to fish paste at 13m.  I got the rod and changed the waggler to a 3.5 swan version, I did mention to Geoff that the reel line didn't look great. My view with the gap where the carp were seen topping now and then.

On the all in I cast the waggler towards the gap, it landed some 10m to the right, but still went under! I landed a little 3lb carp. Another 10 casts, no bites and the wind was killing it. Onto the pole at 8m where I fed some 6mm pellets, a quiet 10 mins and then two missed bites before getting one in the mouth and a carp in the net. From now on little fizzes began showing the presence of fish in the swim and it was looking better than I thought! Geoff had started on paste and hooked 5 carp loosing 4 foulers. I was not getting as many bites or hooking as many fish but still got ahead of Geoff with a good carp of 8lb. The lake was towing against the wind, and the hard pellet rig was working well keeping the bait still, However, my lack of confidence in paste fishing (and knowing that in reality I couldn't beat Glenn fishing his game) meant I persevered with hard pellet a bit too long, suffering a few foulers and the odd one in the mouth. In the end I picked up the paste rig and gave it a go, and all of a sudden it was like being acquainted with an old friend.

Fishing the paste was by no means the answer to the missed bites and foulers, but I would say the foulers were much less. I landed a nice commons up to about 12lb, and then had another close to double that as I had its head over the net spat the hook out and swam away, I may have swore. When bites went a bit iffy and the wind dropped again I decided to have 6 casts on the waggler and no more. On the 5th cast the float buried, I struck and the main line snapped, "sorry Geoff that line is fooked" I said or something similar. Back on the 8m pole line the tow was really bad now right to left and fishing the paste trying to keep the float visible was trcky, both Gordon and Martin were catching well, but we were all playing catch up to Glenn who was a long way in front. I caught on the pellet rig but was still missing bites / getting liners. Whilst one of Vic Bush's helpers was behind me I hooked a large fish which ended up doing me in the margin, not long after a large ghostie swam out, guess that was it then! I did manage to catch three carp in the margin on paste but it was a wait and I kept going back to 8m.

As the match was coming to an end I hooked another good fish on paste, I looked at my watch and there were 5 mins left, so just take your time I said. With 2 mins to go up came a near double common, and same as earlier hooked pulled out just before netting it. Hot head I was I took the pole apart quick to go in the margin, and in my haste the number 4 section slid into the lake, I dived for it, missed it, hit my head on the platform and broke a top set. Match over. Those last two minutes were to prove costly in more ways than one.

As expected Glenn won from peg 22 and the paste master was back on form with 170lb, the night before Martin said he would win. Second was Gordon on peg 9 with 151lb and third was Martin Rayet with 132lb from peg 11. Top 3 paid out, I was 4th with 127lb, ouch!

Chris Ollis had a great day on skimmers / bream to end with 41lb of silvers for the win. Geoff had struggled next to me on carp in the end but he took a lovely 6lb 1oz bream. One amazing thing today it never rained on us, but it was cold and I really felt a chill and could not get warm for hours.

The last 2 minutes of the match were as far as I am concerned the only bad part of the holiday and a more positive attitude would have I'm sure got me into third if not second, losing 20lb at the net was though bad luck. I was dog tired from the night before and feeling cold and after only 2 beers I went to bed early, a good decision as I needed a mid week battery recharge and was feeling great the next morning. The view from the lodge bedroom even when raining is a pick me up.

Four days, three pick ups, four tons.

Viaduct Holiday - Day 3

Monday morning and lie in as we had a 10am draw for the residents match on Lodge lake, 12 anglers fishing. We have breakfast in a cafe in Somerton called M&M, and the friendly owner opens early for us to have cooked breakfast. Only Chris Ollis did not join us, he is a veggie and tucks into his own made porridge in the Lodge. I was glad of the extra time in bed and it was nice getting everything ready and in place without rushing, I took 2 litres of water with me to the bank and made sure I drank it every day to rehydrate.

It was a lovely dry, still day to start with though once again showers were forecast. Lodge lake and me have history, I either seem to do really well or really shite, last time here I was on peg 73 and Glenn was on 53, we both endured a long spell without fish that time until the last hour or so. Into the famous Viaduct coffee tin and out comes corner peg 53, had this one before and kind of guessed it would be an early fish and late fish match.

Right in front is a willow tree which is extending out from the opposite bank, carp could been seen swirling here and there under it.

Down to your left is another tree where the water is very shallow next to the bank (or as close as you can get. I have caught a lot of fish here in the past by feeding groundbait in this shallow water. There is also the far end bank where you can try with a wag or a lead.

With so many carp showing I set up a mugging rig, also a meat rig to fish to the front right of the willow tree, a rig to fish hard pellet on a 4x12 with 16 KKM-B to 0.17, and a shallow margin rig. Also the lead was set up but other than one liner it will not be mentioned.

On the whistle I began with the mugging rig, and within seconds was attached to a lump. It came in far too easy and I had more trouble lifting it out of the water. No more carp left in the open water so up to the willow trying meat. First drop in and a bite and a fouler, a longer wait then a carp hooked fairly and landed. When I put this fish in the net I noticed the first carp was laying sideways at the bottom of the net, 10 mins later it was the same. I decided to inform the owners and Mat Long came down and weighed it so I could put it back. The fish weighed in at 17lb 10oz, and Mat was not concerned for it but said better safe than sorry. It lead in the the side for 15 mins but then swam off strongly. Me and my best fish of the trip...

Back in and the meat line was dead apart from a small skimmer. Next option try hard 6mm pellet at 13m inline with the base of willow tree. This was just a waste, no bites or indications at all and as I had been pinging pellets I was a little shocked. I sacked this line off and decided I had to feed and fish further in and would feed about 15.5m. I went back to the meat line to let this settle, the meat line produced a little run, couple of skimmers, a hybrid and a rudd. However three and a half hours into the match and I had only added one more carp and it was very quiet. Well when I say quiet, not quite... a little further up the lake I heard a bang and looked up to see Geoff Francis top set and part of his number 4 being towed across the lake, and then next to him Woody snapped his top set! Geoff tried to retrieve the sections with a lead rod but no good, so he had to go for a swim!

Fair play to Geoff he was a strong swimmer, and than had to get himself dried out after a quick pose in his boxers lol!

After this commotion rain started to fall heavily but I started to hook into carp on the long pellet line, as soon as I hooked one I shipped back quickly to keep them away from the tree base, the hollo 15 elastic was just right for this. I had to wait for bites but fish were now venturing out it seemed. I could also see Martin Rayet catching on 61 as well as Woody on 68. Geoff managed to lose a topset and number 4 again as it came apart this time, but he got it back without another swim. As I was laughing Karma pounced, I had a bite hit a carp shipped back quick only for the 13m section to part company with the 14,5m section, oh bugger.. I put the two section in my hand down and watched as the pole headed into the far bank. I ran round and found the pole close to the tree, borrowing Chris Ollis's landing net I managed to grab the top set, then with help from Geoff we carefully pulled all of the pole in, phew!

Back under my brolly I attached another hook length and carried on fishing long. I took the odd carp till the end and managed just the one from the LH edge which I had seen boiling the water. Match over I thought I had 105lb to 110lb, but had no clue if that was any good. I was going to be the last to be weighed in as Steve and Mat Long began with Chris on 73. I got round to see Gordon weigh in on 64 with 70lb. Martin Rayet went into the lead with 117lb 12oz, then Glenn had 108lb. My turn and all tallied up I had 115lb, so second place and another pick up.

Silvers was won by Mike Nichols with an excellent 28lb 13oz from peg 32, and Glenn got his first pick up with second in the silvers. Martin won and qualified for the all winners final. I missed out by under 3lb, that one fish caused by the pole coming apart bugger.

We hit the town hard that night and I opened my bottle of whiskey, mistake PMSL.

Three days, three pick ups, three tons.

Viaduct Holiday - Day 2

Sunday morning and it was an early start as myself, Glenn, Martin, Gordon and Mike were off to Landsend fishery for Tony Rixon's float only league. I was standing in for Mark Jefferies. Mike suggested we go to the Bear in Street for breakfast, myself and Glenn agreed but Martin and Gordon went on the longer route to Shipham.  Glenn drove me in his van which was a great help, but when we got to the Bear at 7:25 they were not serving until 8am. The lady working there was most helpful though and said help yourself to cereal, toast and fruit and she also made some lovely porridge. I was stuffed!

It was great to be back fishing the float only league, I always like fishing it but it clashes with other stuff so I have not entered it for a while. Tony always runs good matches and tries his best to make it fair for all with pegging. Speci, Match and Lake 3 were in. If I had a choice I'd like a peg on match between 15 and 21, and would like to avoid lake 3 as I never seem to do any good on that one. I was in the draw early and pulled out a decent peg on Speci, peg 40 in the corner. This peg is a struggle in winter and nobody said to me it was a flier but that I should catch carp on the end bank.

Glenn told me he fancied my peg for a few but that I would need to do some serious gardening to be able to fish next to the end bank. He was not wrong! Grass, nettles, hogweed etc was extending into the lake at least 6 feet. I cut out the area around 14.5m (path to lake gave it away) where I found a little cut back in the bank, went back to my peg and sat on my box to view my handy work. Ummm I couldn't see the cut out. The "foliage" on the bank below the cut out extend so far out it hid the cut out, so I spent another 15 minutes clearing that back as best I could. Result shown below.

I set up a 4x10 float for fishing the depth by the end bank, about 18 inches (lake was down a foot on normal level) and a dibber for fishing half depth. Both featured 16 KKM-B hooks to 0.15 powerline. A 4x12 with 14 PR478 to 0.15 for meat at 6m, and a pellet rig for the left hand margin. I did set up a mugging rig but nothing came close. To be honest I was pinning all my hopes catching carp in the end bank.

The forecast today was for some showers, I hoped that they wouldn't be too bad as I had left the brolly behind. The match started at 10:30 and it was dry and warm. I looked for an early carp on the meat short, after 25 mins I had a roach and a small skimmer and a crucian. Opposite me on peg 25 Leon Hubbard also had a quiet start, but Lee Williams on peg 38 had 3 carp straight off from the far bank. I had been feeding 6mm pellet to the end bank and was happy to see some tails coming up. I like to give it a bit of time before going in, but as many people down at the other end of the lake were catching carp I had to go in. It was a good move and I had 4 bites 4 carp all hooked in the mouth and in the net in no time, I was expecting to foul a lot so this was a great start. I caught the odd carp and of course inevitably fouled a few in the next hour whilst Leon opposite could hardly catch. Then my peg died and Leon started catching, clearly they had moved. On peg 31 Paul Elmes was catching well as was Shaun Townsend on 36, but Neil Mercer on 34 was doing best by all accounts.

I had a tough hour and then the showers arrived, but soon after I once again had signs of the odd carp coming into the cut out. It was literally one at a time, but just as I felt I was getting them lined up I lost a fouler, had one snag me up solid, and another put the rig into a root or something in the bank. This co-incided with some real heavy rain which had me feeling damp, and it lasted for 2 hours which had me feeling wet! I did try my left hand margin a few times but only had a 12oz chub there. It was a tiring match fishing just over 14.5m for most of the time, and it was made tricky when two of my sections got stuck together so shipping was awkward. I did have a spell where I fished shallow with the dibber, this was because I couldn't hit a bite on the deep rig, I caught a couple of carp on the dibber but when the indications ended I went deep again.

It was an enjoyable match, I landed a couple of foulers, and didn't lose more than about 6. However, my section was in with Paul and Neil and both of those guys were going to beat me based upon their estimations and mine of having maybe 100lb.

Leon and Lee my nearest neighbours both had 60lb, but their section was won by Towner. I weighed 104lb 15oz which was 3rd in the section, Neil having 159lb 10oz, and Paul 123lb 2oz.  Luckily for me they were 1st and 3rd overall meaning I picked up the section money, yay. In second place was Landsend master Tony Rixon with 140lb off match lake peg 15. Clayton Hudson won the silvers with just 16lb 15oz.

The sun came out as we packed up but was too late to dry everything out, my phone was damp and not used for more photos. Glenn had struggled on peg 1 until late in the day when the fish showed up. When we got back to Viaduct the lads there told us they had only had rain for 20 minutes and they had avoided the soaking I had endured! It was decided to stay in and get a takeaway, the doner kebabs some of us had were not the best and Mike Nicholls claimed it was his first and why would anyone eat this shit, safe to say it would be his last!

Two days, two pick ups, two tons. Happy days.