Sunday, 16 February 2020

Barbados 2020 and Fishing December 2000

I got back to the UK on Monday 10th February after a fantastic 10 days in Barbados. A holiday of a lifetime for my wife and I to celebrate 25 years of marriage in 2020. I stayed in a great hotel, which I found out whilst we where there is used by the SKY sports cricket commentary team. A year or two ago they filmed on the beach here, and having been told this I did recollect seeing it once I was on the beach. Although at present a lot of the beach is missing due to a recent storm washing a large amount of sand away (a regular thing and the beach soon recovers) it was still a great beach and I swam in the sea every day.  This was my view from our balcony early one morning, I could live with that. I hope these pictures might brighten your day and take your mind off the crap weather we have at present!



Whilst there were many highlights (like the lovely weather, discovering great rum, and being in control of a small catamaran) I think swimming with turtles and snorkeling over wrecks full of fish were top.



Isn't it funny how you can travel so far and still meet people with a connection... I met a guy called Jim at breakfast, and turned out he used to live at Swineford. A family from Burnham turned out to know my Dad well, with the mother cutting his hair, lol. I saw plenty of bird life too, Kingfisher, hummingbird, Carib Grackle, and many more, but my favourite was the "Magnificent Frigate Bird". Always wanted to see one of those since watching a David Attenborough episode, so well chuffed.

The best thing though was experiencing all the delights with my wife; superb food, lovely drinks, exceptional service and friendliness of staff, and of course the sunsets. Yeh man!


I was glad to have missed storm Ciara, though my garden didn't miss it with 3 fence panels damaged / destroyed. Of course today as I am typing this storm Dennis has and still is causing mayhem. I have another fence panel dislodged and more on the neighbours side, not sure when I can sort that as there seems to be a shortage of panels.

With no fishing this weekend I have picked up my diary from 2000 with the last few entries in December. I pleasured fished Bristol Docks on December 2nd, I sat on a peg near the Thekla boat and set up both pole and groundbait feeder. I had 4 skimmers and 3 roach on the feeder, and 7 skimmers and 1 roach on the pole. Not big fish as I weighed my fish in at 7lb 2oz. On this day I only had bites on bronze maggot, and double bronze was best.

A week later and it was the Bathampton Christmas match which was being fished on their commercial lakes. I drew a peg on Withy Pool and when I had a skimmer first cast out on a little feeder I was enthused. I shouldn't have been, it was the only bite on the tip, and I had one bite on the pole on corn which I missed (liner?) and that was the extent of activity for me.

Back down the docks again, this time for the Docks AA Xmas match. I was gutted when I drew Bathurst Basin as you needed to be in the centre to get on the skimmers, and Bathurst used to hold none of them! It was a pole day I thought, and I fished at 8m and fed no gbait at all, just lightly loose fed small amounts of maggot and caster. Using a 20 to 0.09 it took about 30 mins to get a bite, and during the match fish came in little bursts, roach, dace, bleak and even perch. Single white or red maggot on the hook worked best. I finished up with just 3lb 1 1/2oz but this was enough to win the section, so money and a prize at last. I went to the Docks again on the 23rd December for a little knock up, but I struggled to catch 3lb of roach and was again in a poor area so tipped back at the end.

I got out for a few hours on the 27th December, fishing the cut by the Lock Keeper at Keynsham. I whipped out 50 fish from the 7 feet deep water, bleak, dace and even a perch and an eel. Nice to see the float go under, and be able to fish... I say that as the very next day we had 2 inches of snow, a bit more snow the next and then we had -8C at night! Still I went fishing and I went to Conham (Bristol Avon) walking through the snow. I fished opposite the railway arches, set up a maggot feeder only and cast that across. I did catch on this, 2 chub and 1 dace, and whilst this was never going to be a bag up session I take a lot of pleasure being able to catch just a few fish when conditions are tough and many people don't bother.

Here's hoping to the return of some better weather, I certainly want to fish next weekend, it may be a trip to Hillview, but I'll keep an eye on the weather.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Open match Bristol Avon - Newbridge

It seems a long time ago I was able to fish the river, the rain has been relentless and the small windows of good conditions were generally when I was at work. The river had dropped to 0.8 metre at Saltford measuring station, that would usually mean a fast river, too fast for the float.

I got to the river at 8am and paid my pools to Dean Harvey who was running the match. I was quite surprised to see the river not to pacey at all and certainly float fishable, I guess the usual river height to speed is not the same as the river has been up for such a long time. It was good to see the lads, and it was the first time I had seen Ben Rendall since he managed a high frame place in the Riverfest final, an excellent result. Jeff Surmon told me he and Nigel Wyatt had fished the K&A Canal on horseshoe pond where he had won the Comm House Xmas match, the both blanked, packed up and went to the pub. I said they must have drank blanks bitter....

Dean got the draw underway and everyone wanted peg 59 which had won the previous couple of matches, that peg went to Mike Weston, and Ben Rendall got 61 which was end peg, I would have liked them! I was on peg 36 on the straight, a great place for bream over the years, but not for the last couple of seasons it seems. I had Jerry Pocock above me on 30, and on peg 38 was Derek Coles, if the bream would feed these guys would catch them. As we chatted on the bank a jogger ran past us, had what appeared to be see through leggings on, shame it was a bloke. Derek and I were in shock!

Tackling up didn't take long one feeder rod with a 30g feeder, 0.15 to 14 N50. A 4g bolo float with 18 to 0.11, and that was it.  The river was quite clear and I thought my best chance of doing any good was to try to catch bream on the feeder, the float would be used to rest the feeder and most likely break up the boredom if I didn't get any bites on the tip.


I spent the first hour of the match on the feeder getting plenty of caster and worm in the peg, throwing the odd ball of gbait in close for the float line. The first hour passed without much incident just a couple of roach on the feeder and only one other bite. After another 20 minutes of nothingness I picked up the float rod and gave it a go. The first two runs down were rewarded with small roach right on the gbait. The next two roach were even smaller and were caught much further down the peg, and after this I managed another 3 small roach a long way down the peg and then no more bites.

After resting the feeder for 20 mins I went back out on it and put 3 red maggots on the hook. Not long after I had lovely drop back and was attached to a better fish, it was a near 2lb skimmer. I thought it might be the start of a few bites but sadly another hour passed with just one bite and missed as the worm had doubled over the hook. Another look on the float was very poor and just one small roach was caught. The rain was by now hammering down and I was glad I had brought my brolly and it was doing a good job of keeping everything dry. Back on the feeder and again nothing was happening it was all very slow. Derek above me said he had 2 skimmers and some tiny roach, and Jerry had a couple of chublets and a few roach, not much happening for any of us. I had another skimmer on the feeder but this one was only about 10oz.

About two hours to go I tried the float again and for about 20 minutes I had quite a few bites from roach, I put this down to me cutting out the gbait and loose feeding maggot and hemp. However, the river had now started to get some colour in it and it could have been this too. The bites soon stopped and with 90 minutes left of the 6 hour match I was back on the feeder hoping for a few late bronze bream to go on the feed which they can often do. I was really surprised as I had a bite almost straight away but from a small roach, and next cast another. It was completely different now, a bite every cast on red maggots from roach. I tried a worm to seek out the bream, but I caught roach on this too, albeit after a longer wait for a bite. Trying triple caster got me three nice roach two of which were probably 10oz. During this period I fed a large amount of caster and worm through the large feeder, but the roach didn't go away and I guess there was no bream in my peg and I never managed to snare one.

Derek came straight up to see me after the match to tell me he had a bream with 10 minutes go, and Jerry came up to say he had 2 skimmers in the last 10 minutes but not a lot else.

Derek had 12lb and this was enough for him to win our section.


My fish weighed a level 8lb, so I guess I had a very similar amount to Derek just missing the bream.


Jerry didn't bother to weigh in, but on peg 43 Jeff Surmon had 10lb which was mainly roach and one skimmer. He caught some nice roach on the float and lost an estimated 2lb roach at the net.

Winner today was Mike Weston with 34lb on peg 59, 5 bream and some skimmers.
Ben Rendall was second on peg 61, also with 5 bream and some roach and chub to 2lb
Warren Bates had 15lb on peg 12, a few roach and a skimmer on a whip and a decent bream and skimmer on the feeder.

It was nice to get back on the river, I was happy with my set up and never lost a fish on the feeder, I have been using the 12 foot Preston Supera feeder rod this season and have to say I really like the rod, it casts well and has a nice action. The Preston Natural N50 hook seems to be a decent hook for feeder fishing on the river and has replaced my discontinued PR355 range.

No blog for a couple of weeks now but then will see what the river is like before the season ends.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Open Hillview Fishery

My first trip out in 2020, and I was looking forward to a day sat in the sun despite the cold temperatures. I didn’t have any preparation to do as all my rigs were ready from the last time I fished here and left them all at home!

Glenn Bailey picked me up in his van which had taken him a while to de-ice. We left at 8am so not early at all, as the draw time at Hillview is 9:30. Martin Rayet and Joe McMahon were also fishing and were taking ice breakers just in case, but the canals and lakes were all free of ice. I had one of Keith’s nice breakfasts and then got the gear out of the van, realising I had left my boots at home! I had 4 layers of socks to try to keep warm but trainers getting wet would not be good, Joe came to my rescue and borrowed Keith’s boots, thanks both!

I was towards the end of the draw queue and was hoping for 95, a peg both Glenn and I had discussed drawing. I got peg 76 middle of canal three, Glenn on 53 which is pants. Joe and Martin had the last two pegs  getting end pegs 42 and 95 respectively, drawbags lol.

Got to my peg and found Steve Brown on peg 74, funny that as Aaron Britnell told me the night before if I drew next to him he would beat me. I set up a few rigs, a 4x10 with 0.11 to 18 for dobbing, a couple of 4x12 rigs with 0.10 to 18 for fishing maggots in various places. That was it.

I began dobbing bread across whilst Steve started on maggots down the middle as he had felt fish when plumbing up, he had one straight off then lost one. I had a carp and a F1 in the first 15 minutes so kept at it, I wasn’t getting many signs and was trying different spots, in the end I found a few off to the right. After an hour I was doing ok compared to all on my canal bar end peg I think 80, he was doing well dobbing. I carried on dobbing for another hour, then went onto the maggot rigs.

Maggot next to the aerator was a let down with just two small F1 and bits, straight out in front yielded 1 small carp and no more.  Nothing doing in the margins either. I went across the canal and tried the maggot and after a couple of Rudd had 2 carp, then after a while a couple of small F1. I moved further left and started again, a few fish here before going dead again. Neither line came back to life.

Going into the last hour the angler on 72 had a run in his margins and although I had not had a bite here I gave both sides a good go. I took a 2lb carp on the left then bumped one and tried right where I had an immediate bite and an F1. I took 1 more from either side and then a nice F1 straight in front just before the whistle.

I’d had a steady day, wasn’t going to win anything but on a frosty by sunny day it was great to get the float to go under a few times. I weighed in 38lb which was beaten twice by the end pegs who both had 54lb. Steve next to me had 26lb and the angler to my right DNW, I guess Aaron doesn’t know everything then, but then he does support Bristol City lol!

Martin Rayet just won the match with 60lb, Lee Payne in end peg on canal 2 had 59lb for second. Joe won his canal too, so every end peg at the left hand side won money. Glenn couldn’t get a sign and had a handful of fish and packed up early.

I’m going to fish Newbridge on the AVON next week, it will still be high but the colour will be ok, fingers crossed for a few big drop backs in the feeder. Hope this blog comes out ok as my laptop is updating to windows 10, something I put off and am now paying for trying to update it, currently 2 1/2 hours in and still a long way to go me thinks!

Sunday, 12 January 2020

October / November 2000

Happy New Year everyone. There has not been any opportunity for myself to get out fishing so far in 2020, this is simply due to other commitments. I am planning on going next Sunday, probably get up to Hillview lakes as the Bristol Avon is still too high and with more rain forecast it is pretty much shot for another couple of weeks. A few anglers did get out to Newbridge before the last rain came, and swims with a bit of shelter from the flow were producing roach and a few bream.

Back to the winter of 2000, first up a round of the Commercial House on the Avon at Conigre. I caught everything on a stick float with a 20 to 0.10. Despite feeding hemp and caster I only caught fish on maggot hook bait. The first half of the match was OK with small roach, bleak and minnows coming fairly steady, but I was near biteless for the second half. Only 4lb 4oz but that was worth 12 points from 14 as the river fished very hard.

The following Sunday October 14th was another ATWL round, on the Crane (at least I was pegged there as usual) but the river was high and the weir at Keynsham was only just visible. I was on the last peg in the lane which being deep meant I was happy with and fished the groundbait feeder hoping to snare a bream or two. I fished 3/4 the way over and could hold here OK with extra lead. The match was not going well for me, and I had only a few roach and a perch, I think Paul Benson was below me and he had a bream. I had missed two fantastic drop back bites that were chub bites, and with 5 mins of the match left was looking at a bad result. I then had a decent bite on tripe red maggot and coaxed a 3 1/2lb bream into the net. A total weight of 4lb 11oz was enough to win the section and get a bit of abuse from Benz lol. At this stage of the league my team were leading.

A week later on the Commercial /house and on Frys. a fickle venue which generally required a bonus fish or two to so well. I was towards the bottom end of the venue, and set up a crowquill and a gbait feeder. I started on the float and it soon became obvious it was gonna be tough with hardly any bites, so I upped the feed on this line in the hope of chub and gave the feeder a go. After an hour I had 1 roach and 1 small chub on the feeder. Back on the float and I soon hit into a decent chub only for it to snag me halfway up the peg, damn. I hooked another 4 chub on the crowquill and pulled hard to get them up, I got two small ones out and pulled out of two somehow. A couple of roach and another chublet on the feeder was all I could manage. 4lb 14oz was though second in the 14 peg section, and with the team winning on the day and leading overall it wasn't a bad day.

The last mach of October 2000 was a change of scenery as I fished an open at Viaduct fishery. I drew peg 13 on Spring and was told it was not great but might catch in the margin. Well that was sort of right as I had nothing in front and only had four bites in the margin. I landed two perch and a carp for 14lb 4oz and no good. However, I lost a monster perch that day. After having the other two perch in the margin I tried a lobby tail, and hooked what I thought was a carp. It was only as I got it in close I saw a huge perch on the end, and then the dreaded slack line. Gutted, it looked over 4lb to me, but I'll never know. We had horrendous weather come in after the match and I was glad to get home, and on Monday winds were 70-90mph and the river was the highest level I had ever seen up until then, with Keynsham Marina and the river being as one. No surprise the following weekend the ATWL was moved on to the K&A canal, I was just below Dundas and endured a torrid day. I caught 16 perch and 2 gudgeon over tiny bits of chopped worm for a whopping 8 1/2oz, and just 3 points. Luckily the rest of the team did well and we stayed in the lead.

November 11th and the Poppy Match, on Saturday the river looked OK, on Sunday there was no weir visible at Keynsham! I drew a really good peg, I was on Kelston Straight just above the danger weir sign. On the danger weir sign peg in a lovely slack was my team captain Mark "Podge" Jefferies. My peg was going through but being so deep I fancied it for a few but thought Mark would beat me. It was a one rod job, gbait feeder with 16 to 0.14 and within a short time I was getting bites with a maggot hook bait from eels, I worked out that 3 bronze maggots seemed to enduce more bites from them. Of course I had to keep trying 3 red maggots for a bream, especially after Podge had landed one. I finally hooked a bream, and boy did it go in the flow. It kited in close and with thick reeds in close I stood up lent forwards and held on to the very end of the rodd butt with Shay Gillman watching on. I got lucky, the bream stayed on and was landed. I finished with 16 eels and 1 roach and my weight of 9lb 10oz was just a few ounces more than Podge. Back at Frys and I found out I was 2nd overall, Les Williams I think won the match from a peg above Kelston Point.

My last match in November was another ATWL round, this time up at Newbridge. I drew peg 130 in the trees which with a bit water on was OK, but at the time you would be lucky to frame as the bream were regularly caught far upstream. Still it was a gbait feeder approach and I had a bit of a wobbly bottom with not a bite after the first hour and a half. Fishing mid river with red maggots on the hook I had set my stall out, and mid match the fish turned up. A couple of roach, seven chublets and an all important bream. The last hour and a half much like the first was biteless. My 8lb 12oz won the section and helped the team to win the day and stay in the lead.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Philtone Team Match - Hillview Fishery

Some time ago Neil Mercer mentioned to me that he was running a friendly team match between Christmas and New Year and would I like to fish, it was a free date and so I was happy to fish.

I travelled back from London on Saturday, I had been up to Alexandra Palace to watch the PDC World Championship with my eldest daughter. It was a cracking night of darts and we had a great view.


As soon as I was back I got the gear out to put some new elastic in a couple of top sets, and made up some more 4x12 rigs which got trashed last time I was up here. I was well prepared.

Up early for the first time since the holiday and I was all OK as I had not had any pop the night before. I was soon shooting up the M5 and at the fishery in good time to have a breakfast. There were plenty of decent anglers fishing this match and each team consisted of seven anglers. Captains were Craig Edmunds, Martin Rayet, and Tony Rixon. I was in Mr Rayet's team along with Neil Mercer, Dave Willmot, Clint Wojtyla, Martin McMahon and someone called Willow. I paid my pools and soon after the draw was made and I found myself on canal number 2 peg 56, this is the end but one peg on the canal (to the right as you look from the car park) and is the calmer end of the canal with a southerly wind.

As I took my gear out of my car and put it on my trolley I noticed a serious problem... the top drawer in my Preston box was missing, it hadn't fallen out in the car either. It was obviously at home in the shed, shite, all of my hooks, line, plummets etc are in there. Also the new rigs I had made were not in the box as they were on top the drawer I was sure. I spoke to my captain who said he would help me out and he gave me a few rigs, a disgorger, a plummet and a bread punch. As you can imagine I did get a bit of stick for this, only to be expected lol. My sad box....


At the peg I had some old (very old) Avon Angling team mates near me, Dave Lewis was on the next peg to me on peg 58, and behind me on the third canal end peg was Tony Rixon. Setting up didn't take long, a dobbing rig with 0.13 to 16 PR478, a 4x12 for fishing 3/4 across and also would do for the margins this side. A 4x14 for down the middle on 0.11 to 18. Just before the match I borrowed some bristle grease from Clint, I didn't want to lose any shot off the rigs as I didn't have any of them either!

The match started at 10am and I shipped out the dobbing rig with bread searching the far bank, within seconds Martin Rayet had a carp further down my canal, and Neil Mercer in the middle of the first canal had one. My rig just wouldn't move and I had no signs of fish, even Tony behind had a few. Dave had nothing and lost a follower, so quiet at our end. Then as I glanced left I spotted about 20 carp swimming just below the surface swimming. I tried swinging the dobbing rig at them but they didn't want to know at first though I did get an F1 out of the blue. The light on the water made it hard to see these carp, and so I stood up and then could see they were cruising around and I watched them move into the near bank about 12m down and then go out again. The far bank was 14.5 to 15m away at the bottom and there was no point going in there at this stage, so I tried the near margin first at 12m and soon enough a few carp appeared and I nailed one. I had another two quite soon after and was feeling a bit happier. In the picture you can probably see the light on the surface hiding the fish from my vision, though Tony behind me could see them.

After the first hour I had put about 5 carp in the net, Martin was still slaying them as was Trig and Neil. I took another few carp on bread from 12m line but then they seemed to go and a few rudd turned up. I had a go trying maggot in front of me to rest the carp, I tried on the 3/4 line but it never happened. Back to the dobbing rig and I went back down the edge and took another carp, but then nothing and so went a bit further down which produced a couple more before a bit of a barren spell. Again trying bread across and trying the maggot was a waste of time. I stuck the 14.5m section on and shipped further down the canal, after dropping in a couple of spots with nothing I then hit a sweet spot hooking 5 in 5 drops. It was mostly carp with just a rare F1. Of course the plundering stopped and that spot was now a rudd a chuck. I put the 16m section and went as far as I could and took a few more carp.

With a couple of hours to go Martin appeared to be well ahead on my canal, but nothing much else was being caught. Certainly Trig and Neil were out in front and kept catching. There was £30 for winning the canal and I thought that was out of reach unless I could line up some fish on maggot on the top set plus two and also in the margin. I failed to catch a single fish on these lines though, no F1's in my peg I think and for some reason my canal was fishing tough. I fed a bit of micro pellet on a couple of lines far and near bank long to my left, and these threw up one large F1, and 2 carp and a couple of foulers, but then nothing.

I basically only caught on bread dobbing, and the last 30 minutes were pretty barren. I was amazed at the difference from my last match here when on this canal there were lots of F1's caught on maggots and I also caught well on maggots on the third canal. This time nothing on maggot other than rudd when trying it dobbing.

The weigh in was done in a bit of light, and by the time the scales got to me (I was last to weigh) it was pretty dark and I couldn't get a photo. It was great watching the scales and as Neil did the weigh in there was a lot of banter going on and the match had been fished in good spirits with plenty of laughs.


My fish weighed in at 68lb 8oz, and that was top on my canal as I best Martin Rayet whose peg dried up on him in the last two hours and he ended with 65lb. He was well chuffed that I beat him and that I caught on his borrowed rigs lol!

1st Craig Edmunds 131lb
2nd Neil Mercer 89lb
3rd Tony Rixon 80lb
4th Tim Ford 68lb 8oz
5th John Fuidge 67lb 12oz
6th Martin Rayet 65lb

Winning Team was Mr Rixon's with 382lb, second my lot with 359lb, and Trigs team had 330lb.

Sheet below with all weights. I can't speak highly enough of this venue, when most people get lots of bites and the average weight over 21 anglers is 50lb a man, that's good winter fishing. When I got home I found the lost drawer and a tray of rigs right where I had put them before forgetting to put them back in the box!

Not sure when I will be back out on the bank as the next two Sunday's are taken up with other events, maybe I could get up here again on a Saturday?