Sunday, 14 January 2018

Viaduct Winter League Round 1

Fishing this winter league for Thatchers, and I think it might be the first time I have committed to the whole league, in the past I have been a fill in for other teams. After all of my natural water fishing I had to do some serious preparation, and I spent over 4 hours Saturday changing elastics, making rigs and tying hooks. Being the first match you could be drawn anywhere and so I had to cover lead chucking, waggler, dobbing, and silvers rigs. I was glad when it was all done, but I know I need to make a few more rigs for the future rounds. Had a great plan to go out early with the wife for a meal in Hanham and home early. Half a bottle of wine with the meal and a Thatchers and then walk home, but got detoured into the Keys and saw Shaun Townsend, and I didn't end up getting into bed till midnight...

Sunday morning alarm at 5:40am, where am I... Got myself sorted but was a little late being ready for my lift, Ron Hardiman. Ron lives two minutes up the road and with a van could get all the gear in, dead handy. Breakfast at Canards Well, sausages weren't that warm but the rest of it was nice.

Arriving at the packed out fishery the car park was crammed, there are 18 teams of 5 so 90 anglers fishing. Got my pools paid and waited with dread and hope about what peg I would be allotted. As it turned out we were the last team to draw and we got peg 1. I was gutted when I saw I was on peg 103 on Carey, this and 3 other pegs on Carey are in with Lodge lake, and the whole section is float only. I recalled seeing poor weights from these pegs and Lodge giving them a battering, but talking to a couple of anglers they felt there might be an early carp and then a chance of skimmers. I must thank Bob Gullick who gave me a lot of help.

Got to the peg and bang opposite me on peg 76 was my team mate Tony Gilbert, felt a bit weird us being in different sections but fishing the same bit of water. On my right on peg 102 was Mark Bromsgrove and on my left on 105 was venue regular Dan White. Mark could chuck the lead as he was in the Carey section. If you look at the picture of my view you'll see the orange willow opposite where Steve Tucker and Martin Preston were to do battle.

The light was going to be a problem and a black topped waggler was needed to fish a piece of meat as far as I could, 0.16 to 16 PR36 was used on the business end. Two pole rigs, one was 4x12 with strung out 11's with a 20 to 0.09, the other a 4x14 with double bulk and 18 PR512 to 0.09. That was it.

When the all in was called I fed 4 balls of gbait containing some casters and pinkie out to 14m, and 2 balls at 11.5m. Then I cast the waggler out. I would like to say I got my early carp but I never had a bite, I did give it nearly an hour as Dan had one and Mark had one on the lead. Onto the pole and I started on the 11.5m line but was disappointed when the float never moved. Off out to 14m and quite quickly a smal indication on the float, I lifted into a fish and it was a 4oz skimmer. The next three drop ins all brought the same result and if this carried on I was thinking I would be in for a good day. I guess for about 90 mins I caught steady, little skimmers from 2oz to 6oz, then it went off and I refed the swim. I had fed some casters off to my right and so tried that line and the 11.5m both showed no signs of life. Chris Fox was behind me on peg 71 I think, he said our section on Lodge was fishing hard and so I thought I might do OK on the silvers. Dan had no more carp and didn't get the silvers going, Mark had a few big carp. Opposite Tucks and Martin Preston were hooking carp quite regularly on the wag / lead.

The refeed got the skimmers back but it was not as good as before, there were certainly fish there but I was now foul hooking / bumping a few. I tried my strung out rig and this caught a few but soon I bumped one on this. Back on the double bulk and it was frustrating, at one stage I three proper lift bites and landed 3 small skimmers foul hooked. It was never as good after I topped up, and had to do so a few more times, every time I did top up though it brought the fish in. I caught fish on single maggot, double pinkie, but on the day a maggot tipped with a pinkie seemed best. I managed 3 or 4 fish of the other lines but had to keep going back to 14m.

Last hour and I was really slowed up, and with about 30 mins to go had to feed again, but this brought me 3 skimmers straight off wit two of them around 12oz. I topped up again and caught a few more till the end of the match. I thought I had 15lb, but after a quick look thought it might be closer to 20lb.

It didn't take long for the scales to arrive and the top weight from my bit of Carey was about 24lb, just 2 carp from peg 107. Dan had about 11lb, then my net went 19lb 8oz which I was more than happy with. Mark in the next peg and section had 5 carp for 70lb on the lead! Opposite him Steve and Martin had 13 carp each and Martin was top with 155lb to Tucks 145lb.  I did not get to study my section board closely but peg 70 won it with nearly 50lb, I think there were about five or six 20lb weights and then it was me, which I was quite happy with. Picture of my fish thanks to Chris Fox.

The results were done by Steve Long and his son.

1st overall was Trevor Senior who had 211lb (yes!!!) on peg 131 on Campbell
2nd Martin Preston 155lb
3rd Steve Tucker 145lb

1st Des Shipp peg 118. Des had perch and skimmers on long pole and casters, but lost 4 very big perch.
2nd angler I did not catch his name sorry. He had 23lb on Spring lake.
3rd was me yay! A nice little pick up too of £80 thanks.

Colmic  SW were top team and Bathampton 2nd. My team were 9th and halfway so not a disaster like some teams had (see Tony Rixon's blog lol).

The venue threw up some very god weights, but with fish tightly shoaled there were also some barren areas and two or three blanks. This is the nature of the beast and so I am very happy to have had a bit of luck first round. Next round is next Sunday, and I will be in the section which is on match, spring and middle and was very peggy today.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Commercial House Round 5 K&A Canal

Happy New Year to everyone, hope you have a good start to the new year.

Fifth match of the 6 round series and I was running late today as I am having a few bowel issues at present, I think I need to drink more to loosen things up lol! Ian Pauley, AKA bloodworm runner, rang me early to say he would be late bringing the bait as he had a slow puncture. I felt sorry for Ian as he was supposed to be fishing a match on the Gloucester and was dropping the bait off on the way.

I had a quick bacon sarnie as I was late and paid my pools to Mark Harper. Mark did the draw for our team (we are doing poorly and Mark looked for volunteers to draw but none came lol) and came back with some right shite. I was still tucking into my sarnie when Mark told me I was in F section, up at the George and somewhere near where I drew in the Com House Xmas match which was shite.

I parked up in the bottom of the George pub car park, put my car model and registration number on a bit of paper and posted it through the pub letter box to prevent getting a fine. I took a steady walk up the canal and couldn't believe it when I saw that I was on the exact same peg as the Xmas match when I had 11oz, balls, bugger... To my right was Paul Elms who was one peg away from where he was in the same match, so we both felt sorry for each other! To my left was the legend that is Brian Melksham. It was going to be easy setting up as all my rigs were intact from the last match, not even worth mentioning them though...

I began the match stupidly or hopefully on the bread at 4.5m, just like last time I never had a bite on it, and in fact not one person in the section did, shite. 15 mins gone and I could not see the bread going so I fed some negative joker swims, 3 across, one at 5m, and by the boats on my inside. I also fed chopped worm swims as far to my left and right that I could.

Last time here I caught a few early fish on bloodworm across, but not today, there were no roach in the swim it seemed and I had no bites on the drop. I went over the chopped worm lines, nothing, so I picked up the bloodworm rig again and put a pinkie on and tried this on all my lines, I finally had a bite on this over my chopped worm line and a 1 1/2oz perch broke the blank. That was my only bite on a pinkie.

I took the very odd perch of my far lines, if I missed a bite I would get one again and, and if I missed that I would get one again and catch a tiny perch, then no more bites and off to another line. Basically it felt all day long that there was never more than 1 or 2 fish over my bait and then it was a 30 minute wait at least for another bite.

Brian was catching the odd ruffe all day long at 5m on pinkie over joker, Paul Elmes after a long time blanking had sort of regular bites for the last two hours from tiny roach

I caught 1 perch under the boat to my left, two to my right. 1 perch at 5m, and the rest all across on a single bloodworm.

I think everyone was happy when the match ended, going by the loud cheers lol. Once again this section had fished pants, but Jack Jones had won the section comfortably with 2lb, which included a 1lb+ perch, well done Jack that was a very good weight. Second in the section was Kev Dicks who was on the end peg of the match and had a few roach late for 14oz. Brian had a 13oz nest of ruffe and I had 9 1/2oz of perch and just 3 ruffe. Paul next to me had 9oz, close then.

I was second in the A division behind Kev Dicks, so good for the team.

I got back to the results to find we had a disaster, my team had 12 points in total to come last! I had 4 of those points, Mark Harper got wet somehow (slipped in) and feeling very cold he packed up and went home, cant say I blame him as it was bitter. Our team are well out of it, but the other Thatchers team are still winning the league despite doing shite too. Bathampton won the day off the end peg, they mad no mistake.

Winner on the day was Craig Pinker who after walking From Richardsons, to Darlington, to the Wooden Bridge had 7lb+ and won the match very easily. I think Mike Withy was second from the bridge by Meadow Farm with 5lb+, and Nicky Johns had 4lb 14oz from the white gate by the George, a peg which has framed every match.

The canal has fished very poorly today, with many sections being won with less than a pound. I don't know why it is fishing so bad but this year it has been the worst I have known it for more than 10 years. In the past even on a poor peg you could catch on bloodworm, but not now. I am not fishing the match next week, the final round, as I am playing carp bingo at Viaduct. Good luck to all of you on the canal, I hope it has a miraculous recovery!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Late Blog - Xmas Eve on New Years Eve

I had little chance of fishing over the Xmas holiday due to many family activities and also watching the Gas play three times. The weather has not been great and that has helped keep me from itching to be out on the bank as it were. However, I did get a few hours spare on Xmas Eve and it was a question of where to go in the hope of a few on the river, In the end I plumped for the Straight at Saltford which is free fishing and you can park behind your peg.

When I arrived at the river the wind was blowing hard downstream and worse the nearer you went to the Jolly Sailor, and for that reason I went for a upstream peg which is just below the old Kelston Point peg opposite. I had not fished here before so had no knowledge but having seen two cormorants in the area surface with roach I thought there might be a few fish here (I did manage to scare the birds away straight away). Picture below shows me looking downstream, the river had a nice flow but a bit of a funny colour.

My primary objective was to run a float down and get it to go under a few times, I set up a long rod with a 15BB crowquill on, with 0.10 and a 20 hook. I also set up a gbait feeder with 0.13 to 16.

I plumbed up with the float and I was surprised to find the river shallow at 5m out and just getting gradually deeper until about short of halfway I had about 16 feet of water. Had I have set up a pole I may have plumbed more accurately / realised the bottom was worse than I thought.

I threw 3 balls of gbait containing hemp and caster out and well downstream and cast the float out, the first few runs down produced nothing and I deepened off a bit. I caught an ounce roach soon after doing this, and then a four ouncer, but then my troubles began. The wind got worse and affected me with it blowing into my bank. My mending the line of course would bring the float in a little closer to me and I started snagging up, in fact I soon came to the conclusion that a large tree or similar was in front of me. I caught a couple more roach but had to give it up as a bad job and I picked the feeder rod up.

I cast where I had taken bites on the float and I did not catch the snag, but had no bites at all. New line then, I cast right in front of me just past halfway which was well away from the other line. In the first four casts I had bites from roach, then it went dead again. A very tame robin kept me entertained during the dull moments, and I looked up once to see my tip dropped back, it was a chub of about a pound.

The feeder line went right off, and I tried the float again with no luck. I decided (as I had a lot of bait left) to throw 6 balls in and see if this would work. I had one bite and it was a chub of about 1 1/2lb.

Soon after my wife rang to say she was off to the Jolly Sailor with my two daughters, but not the one by me the one at Hanham! I fed the rest of my bait to a couple of swans and left plenty for the Robin. As I packed up an old couple walked past and asked if I caught any fish, so I showed them and they took a snap for me. Not a great deal but better than a blank.

I got home, showered, changed and was on a bus within an hour and joined my family for a quick couple of drinks.

The snow, wind and rain have kept me off the bank since and I have been happy to read blogs and tales on Facebook, my next outing will be on the canal at Bath for the 5th round of the Commercial House 7th January. I have also been picked (last choice I think lol) to fish for a Thatchers team in the Viaduct Winter League. I have only stood in for people in this in the past, but decided to give it a go. I know it will be a bit of aquatic bingo but with it being a team match you have to do the best you can from the peg. I will be up against it and not expecting any great results, but fingers crossed I get drawn on a pile of carp one match PMSL.

All it remains for me to say to everyone is I hope you have a Happy New Year and that 2018 is a good one for you. I look upon 2017 with fond memories and many great days fishing as well as spending quality time with my family and friends too. Lots of laughs and lots of fun, and I hope 2018 will be too.

Sunday, 17 December 2017


I've not been fishing for a couple of weeks and this was planned due to a number of "social" engagements which would take precedence; hospitality at the Gas which once again ended late in the Essex and was quite simply a fantastic day out with friends and family. Then this week I got to watch the world darts at the Ally Pally, took my daughter along and we both were really pleased we went it was a great experience. Sadly I went down with a bit of man flu and am still trying to get rid of it today.

The min reason for this blog is that I have been asked many times how many times I have won the Poppy Match and framed etc, and this year when at the match I saw Brian Lloyd and he said he had the original Poppy Cup and he could let me have it to borrow. It was nice to see it again.

This cup was used from 1981 until 2005 and so I am going to list the winner of the competition and how I did each year, although in the early years I was not match fishing / don't have a record of how I did. I have vivid memories of Brian calling out dozens of raffle ticket numbers and gradually losing his voice as he did so. Brian also had regular message he shouted out at the results "no one has ever won this match twice"....

1981 Chris Cottrell
1982 Brian Paul
1983 Mike Staite
1984 Ian Parsons
1985 Bill Kumpik
1986 Mervyn "Topper" Haskins
1987 C Jones
1988 Tim Ford  -  I was drawn two pegs below the cow drink at Chequers Straight and had 27lb 6oz of skimmers on the gbait feeder. I caught nothing for 2 hours, then 11 skimmers down the middle, late on I cast right over and had 6 more skimmers.

1989 Tony Rixon  - I was drawn two pegs above the New Fence up the Crane. I had 12lb which consisted of 3 chub, 2 hybrids and 5lb of decent roach on a feeder. I came 3rd overall

1990 Tim Staley  (who had 56lb of bream from under the wires at Jack Whites)  -  I chucked back

1991 M Shepperd  -  I drew the last peg in the first field at Swineford and had 12lb 4oz of chub and skimmers on the feeder to come 9th.

1992 Brian Pollard  -  I drew the carp hole at Jack Whites and had 4 chub for 7lb 5oz for no good

1993 Ron Gaulton  -  The river was well up in flood and Ron had 3 bream for 11lb, I drew the outfall at Swineford and had 11 eels for 2lb 21/2oz which was good enough for 8th overall!

1994 Bob Shepperd  -  I blanked from the Long Ashtip field.

1995 Nicky Johns  -  I did not fish

1996 John Smith  -  I was on the first peg past the Long Ashtip field, I had some small chub for 7lb 6oz which got me 13th overall.

1997 Darren Brimble -  I had a poor day one below the cow drink at Chequers, and just less then 5lb of bits.

1998 Ian Pulsford  -  I believe this match was on the K&A canal and Ian won it from Limpley Stoke, I DNF

1999 Shaun Townsend  -  I was drawn in the Lane at the Crane and struggled for 4lb 5oz of roach

2000 Les Williams  -  Les was pegged near the bridge by the Bird in Hand at Saltford.  I was drawn one above the Danger Weir sign on Kelston Straight. The river was up and coloured and I had 1 bream, 1 roach and 16 eels for 9lb 10oz and came runner up.

2001 Tim Ford   -  I drew bang on the top of Chequers Straight and had one of my favourite day's fishing, catching 21lb 12oz of dace and roach on the stick float. I became the first person to win the Poppy twice, and I ruined Brian's "no one's won this twice " announcement lol.

2002 Andy Ottoway  -  This match was on the canal and Andy had a big weight of skimmers. I had a run of the mill 4lb 10oz.

2003 Steve Dumbleton  -  I DNF as I think I was working abroad.

2004 Mike Shellard  -  Again DNF

2005 Mat Challenger  -  Mat is the last name on the original Cup. I drew the Steps at Jack Whites and the river was running off very fast and still coloured (angler below me didn't fish his peg due to this). I fished from the top of the bank and had 5 chub and a bream for 18lb and 4th overall.

2006 Dean Harvey  -  Dean was the first name on the new cup, and Brian Lloyd retired from running the match after nearly 25 years, Ray Bazeley and Paul Benson carried on the good work.  I drew peg 7 in the little field at Newbridge, 9lb 9oz won my section.

2007 Tim Ford  -  I drew peg 18 at Swineford and was sure I would catch chub and went all out on the waggler. In the first half I had 8lb of bits, then I had a run towards the end of the match of bream ending with 15. I weighed 61lb.  Third time winner

2008 Tim Ford  -  I was drawn on the first peg in the long ashtip field. The river was up and coloured and only feeder fishable. I had 4 bream, 4 skimmers and a few bits for 22lb 2oz. Fourth time winner

2009 Dave Stiff - I was at Rotork and chucked back 3 perch which, had I weighed them, I would have won my section lol.

2010 Mark Harper - I thought I had a chance on peg 56 at Newbridge, but I could not add to two early bream and 7lb 10oz was no good.

2011 Paul Haines  -  I think Paul was on about peg 5 at Swineford and had bream. I struggled on peg 20 at Newbridge, giving up on the bream I caught late chub for 7lb 4oz and a section win.

2012 Tim Ford  -  I drew peg 81 in the Long Ashtip field. I caught on the pole for 2 1/2 hours, then switched to a gbait feeder over the same line and had some big roach, a skimmer and 10lb 5oz pike! I weighed 23lb 9oz and was a fifth time winner

2013 Jerry Pocock  -  Once again the river was flooded and I had no chance at the Crane, my 2lb 7oz won the section though.

2014 Andy Gabb  -  I was on peg 124 in the Trees at Newbridge. On another flooded river I had 4 roach and 7 eels for 4lb 8oz and a section win.

2015 Jan Mazyk  -  I drew peg 77 a couple of pegs below Newton-St-Loe railway bridge. I had 5lb 7oz and lost the section by a couple of ounces after losing an eel out of my landing net.

2016 Terry Ellis  -  Terry had 10 bream on peg 36 at Newbridge. I was on peg 112 in the Trees and had 6lb 14oz on the pole to win the section.

2017 Kev Boltz  -  Kev had 59lb of bream on peg 54 at Newbridge. I was on peg 3 and had bream and roach on the feeder for 23lb 10oz and 4th place.

In 2016 Ray got a new Trophy as he changed the match to the "Bill Milton Memorial Poppy Match".  Ray presented me with the previous trophy from 2006 to 2015 as I had my name on it 3 times.

It has definitely been a lucky match for me, and I look forward to fishing it for many years to come and help to raise funds for the Poppy Appeal.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Commercial House Xmas Match - K&A Canal Bath

After last week's poor match on the river I was looking forward to this match on the canal and a few more bites! I ended up getting all the orders for bloodworm and joker and was indebted to Ian Pauley who on Saturday morning drove to Derby and back to my house with 15 packs of the highest quality bait I have seen wrapped up in Polish newspaper.

I did not have much prep to do as my rigs from the last match were intact as were my hook lengths. That meant I was able to get down to watch the Rovers, thanks to Glenn for the lift, and finally we saw them win after a terrible run. The red team are doing rather well and I have to say that since I know many of the lads I fish were are teds, lol. I did sort my bread out on Saturday, not too hard a day then.

I got to the Crown pub in Keynsham for the draw and had a lovely breakfast (even had a few chips on it) and was soon collecting the money for the B+J and it all worked out just right, no money made I just sold it for what it was as I'm not a tackle shop and was just helping out. The canal had been pegged at the Malthouse and Richardsons for the first time this winter, and I really thought these would produce the top weights, there were also pegs either side of Meadow Farm bridge which have been great and then outside the George, so pegs 1 to about 17 for me, and not 18 to 26 as I expected those to produce just lots of small fish.  The draw got underway and Richard Chave was called upon to draw for the organisers, bloody hell he drew Vincent Lunn and Mike Goodhind in Malthouse and Andy Britt at Richardsons, Rich then put himself on the Meadow Farm bridge! I was not that happy when I pulled out 24, this was on the brambles up past the George, an OK area but I just did not see it competing today.

When I got to the canal I found out Andrew Cranston was on the peg outside the George, he had this peg last match out and came 3rd, this kid can draw! James Carty was in the bay and Glenn Bailey on the white post, both pegs can be good. There was a gap after this and then five of us were all in a row on the brambles, Paul Elms, Shaun Townsend, me, Tony Gilbert and then Martin Barrett on the end peg of the match. I was happy enough but thought I might struggle to beat the end pegs and Tony and Shaun are good canal anglers so it was certainly a challenge. Picture below of my peg as I was setting up, the canal was covered in leaves which were a pain all day.

I set up the usual rigs for bread punch, bloodworm, caster and worms and would see how things went as to where I put my main attacks. When the match began I fed liquidized bread at 5m, some joker at 10m up to my left and across at 13m, I also fed a very small amount of chopped worm mixed with joker and bloodworm off to my right by the brambles. I dropped in over the liquidized bread with a decent size punch, 5 mins nothing, down a size punch, 5 mins nothing, down a size punch agin and 10 mins and nothing! By now the five of us up here were all asking who had caught, none of us had and this was a very bad sign indeed. After 30 mins I gave up and picked up my blooworm rig for across, the float settled and went under, I missed it, then the same but I hooked a little perch. Think I was the first one to catch. I had 2 roach and 2 more small perch on this line and then it died, oh dear.

After an hour everyone had had a fish bar Paul, and I decided to go over the chopped worm line with an inch of dendra. It wasn't a long wait for an indication and I had a 1/2 oz perch, back out and a bit of a wait and a positive bite, 1, 2, 3 strike. A bit of elastic came out and as I shipped back I saw a perch of about 4oz, then it came off grrrr, the worm had doubled over the hook. Back out again and Glenn rang me, it was shit for him too, I had another bite and hooked a perch again, shipped back to the top set and as I grabbed the landing net a 4oz perch fell off the hook, FFS. I was sure that would cost me, and of course getting another bite on the worm was now not likely.

The match was a struggle for everyone in my section, and soon Tony was packing up and going home. Shaun then had a 10oz perch which as he landed it he said would be the section winner! I tried everything, as did everyone, I stuck with worm more than bloodworm as I knew I needed a decent fish, and if the float ain't going under with bloodworm it's not worth sitting waiting for a tiny fish. I caught another roach, and a few more perch and ruffe, but all were small and come the end of the match I thought I had 8oz. It had been really tough.

My section was the worst, so I am drawing pants at the moment lol. Martin had 7oz, I had 11oz, Shaun 1lb 5oz, and Paul 9oz. Shite and the two lost perch hadn't really cost me it seemed.

Back at the results and I was happy when Chris Ollis bought me a pint in return for the B&J he picked up after, cheers Chris. The canal had been tough for most people and the cold water had certainly killed it.

1st Vincent Lunn  13lb Skimmers on bread Malthouse
2nd Richard Chave 8lb 13oz  roach at Meadow Farm
3rd Andrew Cranston 6lb 12oz  you know where
4th Jerry Pocock 6lb 7oz, next to Vinny

Weights dropped off quick after this, with I think Shaun coming 11th with 1lb 5oz, and so I managed 10 cans of cider for my effort. The raffle was a strange affair, Andy Curry winning about 6 prizes and of course the Britt / Goodhind clan clearing up lol. I did manage to win a bottle of Pino Grigio and so I would at least be in the good books with my wife.

Well I was taken aback with how hard it fished today, not seen it fish like that for a long time, guess it will come right again once the fish get used to the cold water, but as it seems winter is here the fishing will be hard now unless you are luck enough to draw on a tight shoal of fish, feast or famine time.