Saturday, 20 May 2017

Norman Sterry Mathern Mill Silvers Match

This has been a busy and tiring week, for me at least. I had a sore throat and a cold Tuesday (violins out) which was taking its toll. Wednesday I went to Tom Bailey's funeral, and although it was sad to say goodbye we all had a few drinks to keep the family supported. Jaded I had to drive up to Warrington the following day, and back into work Friday feeling knackered. I had a couple of hours free on the evening to make some rigs up for the match.

I have two people to thank for this match, 1) Norman Sterry for running it, and 2) Mike Nicholls who alerted me to the match and got me in. I had never fished Mathern Mill before but had seen from Norm's facebook and Stu Barnett's blog that this place was well worth a visit. Today's match was a silvers event, and on the lower lake, having never seen the place I tried to get some info. Mike Martin Davies got me some crumbs, and Hadrian Whittle really helped me a lot. It seemed 50lb+ of silvers were needed to win, skimmers, rudd, hybrids and chub were all in the lake. Getting to the venue is straight forward from Bristol, straight down the M4 onto the M48 and in to Chepstow, Well it should be, but I missed every "massive" sign on the M4 telling me the M48 was shut, and so I made a right cock up, my fault! Got to Aust and had to go back up the M4 to Bristol to turn back around and go into Wales on the M4 and then back up the M48! I was 20 mins late meeting Norman, Mike Nicholls and Geoff Francis, and once again Geoff had pre ordered my breakfast.

Onto the venue at last and paid the pools, and said hello to the assembled baggers, Gabriel Skarba, Ziggy Slowinski, Andy Gard and Rich Candy who won the last match here. The draw was done, little pegs with numbers on, and I pulled out peg 2 which meant absolutely nothing! Gabe told me it was one of the few bad pegs and I would struggle to compete, great. Drove to the lake and parked my car right behind my peg, nice. There was an island which I could fish to, but it was a fair way off and feeding maggots over there would only be possible with a wind behind me, which at times there was. Here is the view.


I was the end peg on my bank with plenty of room to my left, the Welsh angler to my right was Ryan Whitehouse, he told me it was not great and a lot of carp frequented the area. Norm Sterry then rocked up on the peg on the end bank, and he would be able to easily fish to the end of the island past the aerator. Again the lad next to me commented that his peg was a flyer and held a lot of chub. I was hopeful of drawing some of them to me! I set up a 4AAA insert waggler with 0.13 to a 16 PR412.

I only set up two pole rigs, both 4x14 versions but one with a strung rig and the other a double bulked set up. I has 0.12 to 16 PR412 on these rigs.

I decided, as everyone was saying 50lb was needed to frame, to feed positive on the pole at 13m and in went 8 balls of Sonubaits F1 with some chopped worm and caster in it. I then started on the waggler feeding decent amounts of maggots. To start the wind was helping me get the bait quite close to the island, and I was getting bites from rudd straight away. This rudd were anything from 3oz to 6oz and so worth catching, and the first 30 mins were quite hectic, then things began to slow down. I found I had to come away from the island now and fish a bit deeper to keep the rudd coming, but the bites were harder to come by and hard to hit. Other than a few early skimmers to my right I had not seen anyone bagging. After about two hours bites stopped on the waggler and it was time to try my pole line. It wasn't an inspiring start though, a few small rudd to start and when I couldn't get through them I put a bit of worm on. No more rudd, but two small perch and an eel were not doing my confidence any good. I topped up and then had a lift bite, but it was a ruddy carp! I tried the waggler again, amazingly I had bites again from rudd. Some of the fish I caught had sores and scratches and had obviously been spawning, could be a reason for the harder fishing,

This is how my day went, I would get some rudd on the waggler, keep changing where I cast and the depth until bites stopped, then try the pole. I hooked a carp on the waggler and several more on the pole during the match, all were lost as I pulled hard. Ryan to my right hooked more carp than me and he struggled in the last few hours. I did manage to catch a couple of skimmers on the waggler, but the chub would not budge from Norms peg, and during the middle of the match Norm had about 8 or 9 of them. Some skimmers finally found their way onto my pole line, but if I caught two that would be it, it was then back to little fish or a carp. However, as it seemed the venue was not living up to its pre match hype I was happy to keeping plugging away. It was a day I enjoy, working hard and keep trying little changes, though truth be told my arm was aching from so many casts on the wag lol. The last hour was harder on the waggler, the wind had dropped and so feeding was now way short of the island, but I did manage to get a skimmer on the pole 15 mins from the end. Poor old Norm had mostly carp in the last hour on wag and pole but he still had a lot more than me when the match ended.

I wandered down to Gabe who said he had struggled for 20lb, and below him Mike Nicholls said he had less. I hadn't considered what I had, 8 or 9 skimmers plus the rudd, I hoped for about 23lb.  The scales started on the other side of the lake, and this was where Rich Candy set the pace with 34lb 12oz on the same peg he won from last time. Andy Gard had 23lb and Gabe had 20lb. Ryan had 14lb, my turn next and I was happy to hear 25lb 13oz called out, so I was in second place with three anglers left, and next was Norman. He had a nice net and with the chub he weighed 34lb 14oz, so pipped Rich to the win. Norm with his bag of fish.


Well third on my first visit and £50 and I'm well happy with that. I think if fishing harder caught a lot of people out, I think I just accepted it being not such a good peg and took it steady and tried to keep bites coming. A rewarding if tiring day, and thankfully the journey home was straight forward! It's only 30 minutes from my house and I hope I can go back again and sample the fishing when it is better. That's it for a while, no fishing for a couple of weekends, followed by 6 days of fishing in a row.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Windmill Fishery Open

After my last outing here I told myself to not come back for a while, but I did not take my advice. I was going out for a few bevvies Saturday night and really didn't want to be getting up early or travelling that far, which is why I decided to visit Windmill again. Saturday night was really good, to much cider, a lot of music and with good company. That is until I walked home with the wife and it rained all the way for 30 minutes.

When the alarm went off at 7am I knew I had not enough sleep, but had more than enough cider. I was slow getting going and was not going to be at Wetherspoons at 8am to meet Geoff Francis. A quick text to Geoff to ask him to order my breakfast and a tea, so that when I arrived I would not be late. That worked well and Geoff got a tip for doing me a favour. The breakfast stayed down, that was a positive. but a headache started and never left me all match really, still my fault lol.

At the fishery it was a low turnout, might be down to the tricky fishing at present I don't know. The pools and payouts had been altered, with the pools now a nice round £17! Well the lads who run were not that happy giving out thirty quids worth of change, methinks it won't stay at £17 for long. Checking my bait bag I was low on bait, well it was pretty much non existent after leaving the meat in the fridge. I bought a bag of 6mm pellet and some paste mix and I did still have some 4mm and 8mm from the time I last fished here. The wind was blowing hard again and it was going from more or less one end of the lake to the other, so would make fishing tricky again. I tried the same trick as last week and took the last peg left, well I'm off that method as I was on peg 1 which is the deeper end and I thought the wrong end of the lake. I decided to not set up my trolley and walk to the peg forgetting that peg 1 is a little further than I recalled, certainly further than peg 32 which is where I dropped my gear to begin with. Even Geoff had a good laugh at that.

I finally got some gear together and thought I'd keep most of the pole in the bag, set up a paste rig for top set in the left by reeds, and top set + 2 out in front. Also a straight lead and a pellet waggler in case the wind abated. I think my day was already shot by not going down a long pole route. I began fishing the lead to the island (no pictures by the way as the sun was blinding) feeding some 8mm over there, and feeding 4mm on the pole lines. Thirty mins in on the lead and no sign so an early look in the pole lines, nothing in front but a 1lb crucian in the margin. It took me 90 mins to latch into a carp which came on the lead. Whilst I could not see any carp moving in the shallow water I was getting liners, but no bites. I did try the waggler a couple of times but the wind was spoiling it and no bites.

I had another look on the pole, but the 2+2 line was rubbish and I never had a bite there, in the margin I caught another crucian. I took another couple of carp on the lead, including one getting on for 10lb, but it was not going well. With just under 2 hours to go I had my 5th carp, this came from the margin on paste, and when I lost one soon after I thought the day might end well. Sadly other than another crucian that was the end of the margin, and no bites on the lead. With about 10 mins to go after a storm passed close by the wind dropped and I was able to fish the waggler, and I could see a couple of carp by the island. Tom Baker walked behind me with the scales and I told him I had not yet had a bite on the wag, and next cast I hooked a carp. It was hooked outside the mouth but was landed. I missed another bite and that was the end of the match.

My three crucians weighed 3lb 3oz, and my 6 carp 36lb 9oz. 39lb 12oz was not enough for any coin.

The winner on peg 24 was Keith Bilder with 58lb, he fished paste down the middle. The angler who came 2nd was on peg 10 (I missed his name) he had 56lb mainly on the lead. Dave Wilmott got third with 46lb. Dave told me he went for silvers and only fished for carp in the last hour, he had 14lb of silvers which was top in silvers.

Well I fished a bad match today, I was too lethargic and made wrong choices of that I am sure. One or two more carp needed to sneak in the frame, I'm sure I could have done that. Still, it was a good night out last night lol!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Landsend Fishery Saturday Open

Unfortunately I am going to begin this post with some very sad news. During the week Tom Bailey (father of my best mate Glenn and his brother Mark) sadly passed away. Tom was once well known for his river skills, and he won many matches on the Avon on the Boardmills stretch fishing his beloved stick float. In later years with failing health Tom moved on to the commercials and carried on catching primarily at Acorn fishery. Last year I bought a Normark Microlite 2000 from Tom, one he'd used on the river, and every time I thread the lines through the rings I will remember him. For those wishing to attend the funeral it is at Westerleigh Crematorium on Wednesday 17th May at 2pm, the wake will be held at the Royal British Legion in Keynsham.

Back to today then, I had already planned a day out with the wife on Sunday, so a match on Saturday it would have to be. I then realised I had to take my eldest daughter to Bristol Parkway railway station Saturday which would make me late for any draw. Thanks to Rod Wooten and Mike Duckett I got them to let me turn up late for the draw, which was good of them. Dropped my daughter off at 9:15am, and got to the fishery at 10:10am (the draw had taken place at 9:30).  As I drove in I saw my name on the whiteboard on the cabin with "peg 19" next to it. Happy with that peg.

I got my gear on the trolley in record time and zoomed off to the peg not stopping to talk to anyone sorry! I had about 45 mins to get set up, and drawing this peg meant I was going to concentrate on fishing for carp. I put pellets, corn and meat on my bait tray, set up a 4x12 rig for the margin to my right where I would feed gbait and meat, had 0.18 to 14 PR478. A 0.25 rig for meat at 6m and same rig for 6" shallower in the bush to my left. For the far side I set up a slapper (no good) a rig for on top the shelf for banded pellet, and one for down the shelf again for pellet, 0.16 to 16 PR36 on both.

I put my nets in the water just as the all in was called, so I was only a minute or so late starting. I fed some pellets across to the reeds, and to the bare bank to the left. I started at 6m on meat. I had one bite here and it was a 3lb carp, after 30 mins I had to go across. I started across on a 6mm pellet on the deeper rig and within a few minutes I had a carp of about 3lb which was hooked just outside the house. I spooked one and had a 1lb 8oz F1 but that was my lot from the reeds. Trying the same rig short of the bare bank I didn't get any bites. There was a carp swimming right against the bare bank so I had to try over, it was probably an hour gone and whilst a slow start for me nobody was catching. As it turned out this far bank line was the only place I could catch. It was damn hard work holding nearly 16m of pole waiting for a carp to swim through, there were never loads over there, I didn't suffer with many liners or foulers, and at times it was a long wait between bites.

The angler to my right Mark Walsh was struggling trying to catch silvers, on my right on 21 Dave Sawyer was getting the odd carp short, not as many as me but they seemed bigger. Rod on 7 and Adrian Jeffery on 5 were both struggling. I plugged away and with 2 hours to go had a little purple patch with 4 carp in fairly quick succession. I hoped this was the start of the fish feeding confidently, but it was a flash in the pan. Rich Heatley on 24 started to catch on meat and he had a good last hour. Whilst I looked down at him I noticed a tail in the margin swim I had fed, I dropped in with a cube of meat and within 20 seconds I had the culprit a 7lb common. I was surprised when I never had another sign of a fish in the margin.

Despite feeding meat at 6m regularly I never had a bite there, and I'd not had a fish from the bush on my left, but 10 mins left and I saw some bubbles there. I dropped in and with 5 mins to go I hooked a carp, played it out easily and as it came up to the net the hook flew out and rig went up the tree and was trashed. There was no time left to get another rig out and that was the end.

I had 65lb on my clicker, but was sure I had been beaten by Dave on 21 and Rich, but with no idea how the rest of the lake had fished I would still weigh in as 3 were being payed out. The scales started at 1 and on that peg Jim Jenner had 71lb of carp, that was still the leading weight until it was my turn to weigh. Annoyingly my clicker was spot on and my weight was exactly 65lb and I sneaked in 3rd and last in the money with that.

1st Rich Heatley 78lb peg 24 all on meat
2nd Jim Jenner 71lb peg 1 pellet
3rd Me 65lb
4th Dave Sawyer 63lb

Silvers was won by Tom Magnall on peg 3 with 21lb. Tom had not been able to catch a carp, and caught on maggot over maggot, and maggot over micro.

It seemed the fish had followed the wind which Mike Duckett had suggested they might, and I was happy enough being next best after that end of the lake. I do feel there were more fish to be caught in my peg, I still struggle to catch on meat short and to be quite honest I'm sure I should have. Never the less it was a typical hard working day at Landsend where you have to keep working and trying to the end. Sorry there were no photos, I totally forgot to take any in my rush!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Windmill Fishery Open

As blogs go this one will be short and lack detail, as today was a tough one, the best part of the day was the breakfast.

After walking around the lake briefly on Wednesday it seemed that the fish had spread around a bit, so worth giving the venue another go I thought. After a beautiful Saturday weather wise and a lovely walk with the wife at Haresfield Beacon, I was hoping for an equally lovely Sunday. Weather wise it was, fishing wise....

The draw gave me peg 25, a peg about 20m wide and is around 8 feet deep at 16m, it is an area that has been good of late, though I would have preferred peg 26 where at 16m it is only 3ft deep, Paul Staite was on that peg. To my right was Brian Shanks on peg 24. Early excuse I was the only angler with no empty peg on the venue. I set up a rig for the margin, one for top set+1 where it was about 7 foot and still on a slope. A rig to fish across as far as I could, a long line on on my top 4. Also a lead rod.

I fed some 6mm pellet across by catapult and decided to start on the lead to see if I got any liners as I hadn't seen a sign of any fish in my area. Paul next door lost a carp first chuck at 16m, and had one next. Joe McMahon on 22 and John Clarke on 6 were also into carp, and Ken Rayner had a few early carp. Me I had nothing other than a liner. Then had a couple more liners and thought that maybe the pole might be better. I tried the swinging rig and after a few attempts had a bite but nothing connected, then after about 50 mins finally got one. I was already a long way behind most people but Brian only had one too. That was the only fish I had on the swinging rig. About at least an hour later I mugged one, then 20 mins later mugged another. I never saw another carp after this. About 3 hours to go I had a carp on the lead, then nothing and all indications stopped.

Despite trying everything and new lines, a lone crucian in the margin and a lost carp from the same line was my lot. The lake had fished hard for most towards the end.

Young Joe won with 93lb, closely followed by John Osbourne on peg with 91lb. Only those two got paid out and so Geoff Francis was 3rd with 57lb and no coin. Silvers winner was Dave Wilmott on peg 13 with 11lb 8oz.

Poor day, but the weather was nice and I had a good laugh with those on the bank.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Landsend Fishery Open

Another match run by Tony Rixon and I thought I'd give it another go with the hope of drawing Match Lake this time. Sunday didn't start off great as I was awake for a couple of hours in the night, and woke up hanging. The journey down was rather slow with a bus and some early Sunday drivers out, but I got to the venue in plenty of time.

Breakfast as usual and then onto the draw, I got my wish getting a peg on match lake in the shape of peg 5. Gary O'Shea had a good weight off of here last week and Leon Hubbard told me how he caught most of the fish. The wind was forecast to be 20mph today but depending on the direction would have to see how it affected the presentation.

Got to my peg and walked past Andy Hembrow on 3 who wasn't very enamoured with his draw, on peg 6 was Mark Summerhayes. You can see from the picture below the island opposite, as it goes away from you the bank is undercut and I would be trying to flick my pellet under here, although it was very shallow. As you can see before the match it was not really windy.

 Also to a picture looking up the lake, I would have a go in the margin here later.

Martin Reyat had fished this peg the day before, so I gave him a quick call and he said he had a lot of fish in the swim across but struggled to get any, catching manly late for 60lb and no good. I set up a few rigs today, a slapper (never had a bite on it), a 4x12 with 16PR36 to 0.16 with a long line above it to swing the rig in to the island. A 4x12 depth rig with 0.12 to 18 PR36 for fishing in the open water for F1's and maybe a few skimmers, a 4x12 margin rig for meat, and a 4x14 rig for meat at 5m.

When the match started a fed some 6mm pellets across to the island in a couple of spots, and then started on meat at 5m. First drop in and a bite, it was a 1lb F1. Sadly that was only bite here for 20 mins and as Leon on peg 18 was catching across and Mark had a couple I had to go across. It was a bit of trial trying to get the pellet to land close to the island without catching bits of ivy and I lost a hook when I misjudged it. It was though completely dead for me, and I could not get any indications, it wasn't until 70 mins that I had a carp of about 5lb across, but it was a one off. Leon was catching well, he had already gone into his margins and was catching there too. Mark and Andy either side were struggling like me.

I decided to have a look for some silvers, so fed a few 4mm pellets at 11m, and at 14.5m off to the gap. Both those lines yielded not a bite for an hour. Halfway through and I had a couple of F1's from the 14.5m line, but that soon died and the wind was no becoming a real pain. I just couldn't get bites anywhere in the peg, I even fed some caster, but like last week it didn't really produce for me. With a couple of hours to go I managed to snare a double figure carp from my right hand margin, but alas another one off and no other bites here.

There was now the odd fish swimming around on the far bank, and I had a carp of 3lb and then mugged one about 9lb in the gap. The wind was now very bad, and trying to get my rig near the island was very hard, once the rig went in and the line above caught the ivy, I left the float there and had a bite and struck, fish on and the line came free. This fish went a bit and I soon realised why, as it was a 7lb ghostie hooked in the wing. I lost a fouler and then the wind became to much.

Mark next to me who had endured a barren time started to get odd bites on meat, ad had a few skimmers and odd decent carp to the end of the match, my 5m meat line started to show life with 25 mins to go, I had a perch, big skimmer, 2 carp and lost 2 foulers. End of match. I chucked back about 40lb of carp and 6lb of silvers. I'm not sure what Mark weighed but here is him just beginning to weigh in.


Well that was a torrid day, I've never felt like there was many fish in the peg all day, but was surprised that I could not catch any F1's either. I've no clue as what I could have done differently today, and it soon became apparent that the anglers on the opposite bank were going to take all the money, with Shaun Townsend on 15, Leon on 18 and Gordon Cannings on 22 all having 130lb+ I think, top silvers was also on peg 24 (Dave Lewis) and 13. Ho hum!

I was not going to hang around, but before I left I shook hands and said goodbye to deluded City fan Stu Barnet who is off to Australia again. Stu left on a high note winning lake 3 he told me with over 140lb, well done and good luck with the move back to Oz.

Well there's not a lot more to say about today, wasn't expecting to struggle like that, just have to put it down to one of those days. Full results on Tony's blog.