Sunday 19 November 2023

Windmill Fishery Open

 Was hoping to be on the river again this weekend, but whilst working away in Germany this week I saw there was a weather warning for heavy rain in the UK. Dean Harvey said he was going to cancel his match, but the rain never got that bad and the river would have been better condition than last week.

I booked in for Windmill without knowing how it had been fishing but I thought with the recent mild wet weather it might be ok. I was feeling pretty tired from my business trip to Germany, as a result I didn’t do a lot Saturday but did at least sort my gear out ready for the lake.

After a McDonald’s I arrived at the fishery in good time, it was nice to see the many familiar faces again. The weather forecast was not looking good and I was hoping not to draw in the teeth of it. As I got my gear out of the van I saw straight away I had left my trolley at home doh! Luckily for me Nick Sanders said I could borrow his trolley after he had got his gear to his peg. I was hoping for a peg in one of the corners, but alas peg 6 came my way and that’s bang in the middle of the lake. A good summer peg usually.

I set up a straight lead with 0.19 to 16 KKMB and a small method feeder with same. With squally winds I was loathed to get the pole out, but I did get a top set and 2 sections out. I put together 0.4g float with 0.15 to 16GPM. 

We started at 10:15, I plopped the lead out off to the left to see what was about. 10 minutes and no liners, so I then cast it to the right of me, but the result was the same. I switched to the method feeder and cast to my right where there were a few reeds. On my second cast I had a small liner, so a sign at last, but then I had a liner most casts after this for an hour. No matter what I tried as bait I didn’t get a bite, even trying the lead again was fruitless. Just shy of 2 hours in and I finally had a proper bite, hooked a good fish that didn’t tear off. It came in fairly easy, and I had a job to lift it out of the water, probably about 13lb.

As you can see from the picture, I took a photo of the carp all alone in the keepnet. That’s because other than a couple of liners I never had another bite. Never had a bite on the pole either, and a set up for some silvers might have been a better option. Especially as on peg 4 Malcom Fitz won the silvers with 12lb, mainly 5 skimmers. I’d been in the wrong area for carp as hardly any were caught, also, opposite me Shaun Townsend and Leighton Palmer were both DNW’s, and those two are regular framers here. 

The corners of the lake were where the carp were, though winning on the day with 62lb Nick Sanders on peg 22 was just out of the corner. He was blanking after 2 hours, but by fishing his margin to his left he caught 7 decent carp. John Williams on corner peg 11 had 56lb, and in third place was Steve Upton on next peg 12 with 33lb. Andy Gard claimed runner up
In the silvers with 5lb from peg 9.

I think the weights were down today as most people couldn’t fish a long pole. Conditions were pretty bad most of the time. I was glad to get back home and have a warm shower! No fishing next weekend as have family plans, so I expect the river will be in better condition lol.

Sunday 12 November 2023

British Legion Poppy Match

 My return to the bank continues, after last weekend helping celebrate my Nephew’s 21st birthday I was always setting my sights on fishing the poppy match. I’m feeling much stronger and healthier now, and really am happy with my progress. In fact I was offered a short walk draw, but I turned that down and said I would take my chances. Truth be known I didn’t want to have to get over styles or fences, so a draw at Newbridge would be very helpful. It was nice catching up with a lot of anglers at the draw, we were all there to raise money for Poppy despite what the river was like, and it was very high, fast and coloured. After the citation read by Brian Lloyd the draw began, I pulled out peg 44, that was about peg 120 down the trees at Newbridge, happy with this peg as no styles and flat walk.

I was the second person at the rugby club gate, Dean Harvey was doing a poor impression of Houdini trying to undo the chain and locks. Luckily Warren Bates arrived and he knew the code and so I got the gates open. As I was putting the gear on the trolley Andy Gard pulled up and squeezed his van in by the entrance, he said “I don’t like walking too far Tim!” Lol.

A steady walk, slippery at times, got me to my peg. I was quite happy looking at it, a bit of slack to 6m, then pretty fast after that. I set up two feeder rods; one with a size 12 N50 and the other a 14, 0.17 powerline was my choice of hook length. I did set up a 5m whip for bleak, but that was a waste of time. As I was still setting up And Gard walked up from peg 51, he was walking back to his van to get his reels he had forgotten… remember Andy told me he didn’t like walking 😂😂

My groundbait was same as last time out, a mix of Sonubaits Sweet Skimmer and Thatchers original. 45g feeders would hold the bottom at 7m to 8m out. We started at 10am and on my second drop in I got a 3oz roach on dendra and maggot. On my fifth cast I had a nice bite and put the net under an 8oz hybrid. I thought I might catch a few of these today as they can show in dirty water, but alas I didn’t have any more.

I had an early visit from match organisers Ray Bazeley and Paul Benson, and I was able to catch a couple of small roach for their entertainment. They said at this early stage I was going well. After 90 minutes I think I had 5 roach, a small eel and the hybrid, but then went 30 minutes without a bite. I tried a lobworm tail for the first time and after a missed tentative bite I had a good bite next cast and hooked a fish that fought hard. I began to think I had a chub on, but then saw it was a skimmer, fighting so hard because it was foul hooked! I got it out which was a bonus as it was about 2lb.

Twenty minutes later and I’m into another good fish fighting well, but just as it got close in it came off. Was it another fouled skimmer I wondered? Sometimes in fast coloured water the fish can be off bottom and not pick up the hook bait. I was gutted of course, and even more so as bites tailed off again apart from the odd roach.

Tales from the bank were the river was fishing hard, Andy Britt had walked down from 2 pegs above me and said he thought I would frame with what I had! He said Nigel Wyatt at Chequers was best with 3 bream. My match was seemingly petering out, all manor of hookbaits not getting a response, so I thought get back on the lobworm tail. With 40 minutes to go I missed a bite, eel perhaps, next drop in and the tip started twitching about an inch, I left it thinking eel, but after 10 seconds I thought sod it and struck. Boom, into a bream for sure, it was hang on time as it kited down and inside. Everything held firm this time, and I slipped the net under a 4lb bream. 

I was hoping for a couple more, but that was my final fish of the day. I hoped I might have 8lb, and would win the section. My neighbours Steve Lovell and Harry had both chucked back. The man with the scales was Andy Pritchard, and he called out 9lb 1oz for my fish. That won the section as 1lb 5oz was next, Andy Britt.

Back to the results and Nige Wyatt was said to have had 5 bream, but after this I was being touted as second. Well after the usual long raffle and various auctions the top 10 was read out. 

Winner was indeed Nige Wyatt with 14lb 14oz, his first Poppy match win at the age of 71. Well done Nige!

In second place was me, so just missing out on the 6th win, but I’m not unhappy, as I’m very happy for Nigel.
Got to say a big well done to Andy Ankers on third place with 7lb 10oz of nearly all eels from the trees.
Top 10 here..

Huge congratulations to Ray for his efforts for this match, and all his helpers, supporters and the anglers. The amount raised is going to be close to £4000, far in excess of prior matches. As for me, well I’m happy as a pig in shit, I am just overwhelmed at getting back on the bank and catching a few. Thank you to everyone who said nice things to me today 😊😊😊

Sunday 29 October 2023

Clucker Returns

 It’s been a long time, over 3 months since I last wet a line, and that was at Windmill Fishery on July 16th. Since the op I’ve built up my strength and fitness (not near where I was but ok) and gone back to work, so why no fishing? Well I’m permanently at risk of hernias now I have stoma and so I have been told to not do any heavy lifting or abdominal exercise. Going fishing will certainly test that, and I’m waiting for a protective waist belt to be delivered which will hopefully get me back to normal. For now no heavy trolleys or lifting gear over styles.

Dean Harvey has been running Bathampton matches st Newbridge this season, and he has asked me a couple of times if I could fish, I decided on Friday I would give it a go as Dean said I could have a short walk, and Mat at Scott Tackle was able to supply me with casters and worms. I knew the river was high and so was only going to take a couple of feeder rods, river was .8m and dropping Saturday and it could be a really good match. Of course I went to Rovers Saturday (nice to see a win) and was getting worried as the rain fell heavy, so much so that my wife and I got soaked walking back to the car. I knew that was going to muck Sunday up.

Lovely extra hour in bed, and awoke to see a text from Dean that the river was now 1.2m high and up to me if I fished, well I was still going whatever. After a Golden Arches brekky I got to the river, and yep it was really going through and a nasty colour, but as I said I fished in worse lol! It was great to see Dean and the other anglers, and he called Mike Shellard and myself to draw first, peg 20, 24 and 30 were in the bag (24 the best). Mike got 30 and I then pulled 20, I was happy enough as I parked right behind it and it had a little bit of slack water for about 3m.

The match was starting at 9:30, plenty of time to set up. I mixed some gbait for the feeder, Sonubaits sweet skimmer, Thatchers and brown crumb. Set up two feeder rods with 45g Preston open end feeders, one had a 12 N50 to 0.17 and the other 8 N50 to 0.19. Obviously I am still a bit slow as I only just started on time.

A very gentle underarm swing dropped the feeder on the edge of the slack in 12 feet of water. I was going to have a few quick casts to get some bait in, but on the second drop I had a quick bite and felt a small fish on but it came off. I carried on with dendra and 2 maggots and had a couple more bites but no fish, I changed to 4 maggots and this got me my first fish a roach, not big at 2oz but still I’d caught. A few casts later I had small eel on the maggots and then a 1oz roach. I needed to get bigger fish so went back on the dendra, I was getting fairly regular bites, but missing a lot, but after 2 hours I had 5 roach and 3 eels for about 1lb 4oz.

I had tried a whole lobworm looking for a lump, but all that did was get rattling on the tip as the little fish chewed it up. Fishing smaller bits of lobby gave me a nice run of fish a few roach 2 chublets and another eel, I had only netted 1 fish so you can see they were not big fish, and I missed lots of bites even though I let them develop. 3 times fish were on then came off and 4 times the rod pulled right round and nothing. I think it was little eels.

I tried the whole lobby a lot more last hour for a lump but nothing doing, and it just seemed I had to take the small roach and eels. Come the end of the match I was happy enough having a decent day, no snags and no gear lost.

In my section Craig Pinker on peg 24 (bay of Biscay lol) had a couple of skimmers and 7 roach for 5lb 2oz to win the section.


My net of small fish went 4lb 5oz and I just needed one bonus fish really.

Winner on the day was Mike Weston on peg 44 who had 6lb 6oz which included a 5lb+ barbel. Nic Cole’s had 5lb 10oz on peg 56 and Craig was third. I was actually 4th and picked up second in the section (as Dean just paid out 3 sections) so a bit of coin was a nice surprise.

Talking to the other anglers and it seemed all had been catching small roach, though Derek Cole’s did have a few better ones. Craig was the only one to get a skimmer / bream. Once I got in the van to drive home I felt knackered, I guess it will just take time to get used to being on the bank, but boy was I happy to be back. That said not sure if I will be going next week, but the week after it’s the Poppy Match, I’ll be needing a disabled draw for that.

Friday 1 September 2023

I’m still here

Just wanted to drop a quick update on myself as I have been absent from blogging for 6 weeks.

I had my operation on 28th July, and it was a bit longer than expected but at the end a success. I now have a stoma and for those not aware of that term, it means I have a colostomy bag. This I will have for the rest of my life. Some of you might have winced reading that, but it really isn’t a problem, and I needed the stoma to improve my quality of life. I’m looking forward to be spending less time sat on a toilet for starters!

To perform the operation I was cut open, a bit like filleting a fish lol, leaving me with a long wound that’s being a bugger to heal, and I’m currently wearing a dressing and on antibiotics to help the healing process. Until the wound is fully healed I’m a little held back on what I can do. Also as my abdominal muscles were obviously cut through this is an area of weakness, and I’m waiting to see my specialist nurses in a few weeks as to how I can work to get back to lifting stuff like fishing gear. I know this will take a while as two types of hernia are a big risk associated with this type of surgery, and I really want to avoid those. I’m only really able to walk for exercise, which means my upper body has really weakened, I’ll need to start all over again from the beginning when I am allowed to go back to the gym.

All being well I should be able to drive a car again from around 7th September and that is something I am really look forward to. I’m also starting working from home on reduced hours to get back into that, and am looking forward to seeing and hearing my colleagues again.

Last thing to say is a big thank you to those of you who have helped and supported me. Hope to see you on the bank soon.

Sunday 16 July 2023

Windmill Fishery Open

Some of you may have read the title and are thinking why has Tim not yet fished the river this season. Well I do love my river fishing but there’s not been any matches on my local Bristol Avon that I’ve been able to fish. My Thatchers team matches have been on the Stour in Dorset, and I’ve given them a miss due to the early starts and plenty of local lads to fish ( we won both matches so well done team). The urge to get back on the river will come, when there’s less boats, swimmers and paddle boarding.

Before I say anything else today, got to say I was gutted to see that Tony Rixon had his van and some fishing gear stolen, it’s every anglers worst nightmare. I hope he gets his stuff back.

Back to today, a good turnout of 19 anglers with a decent contingent from the Swindon area, including a very old team mate of mine Pete Philips. As always I’m open minded what to fish for on this venue, so entered the overall super pool as well. I fancied pegs from 8 to 18 as the wind was blowing down that end of the lake. I drew peg 22 which is deep and not got any shallow water to fish a pole into, rather be here in winter lol. I had John Williams on 21, Mick Gale was on 23, and Fishery management Kev Winstone on peg 24 not a fancied peg. With lots of wind and rain forecast tactics were going to be important, and I put a brolly up to keep me a little more comfortable.

My peg has a lot reeds opposite but it’s not safe to fish close to them for carp. A lot of anglers chuck the lead to the right of them in the only shallower water, I did set up a lead for here, but it was a last resort as it would be hook and hold. My two main rigs were my usual paste rig for 11m, and a 4x16 for fishing at 14m towards the reeds where I try micro, worm and corn.

I started on the paste at 11m and fed my usual 4mm pellets, there was no fizzing or signs for 10 minutes, then out of the blue my firs bite. I connected and shortly after a skimmer jumped out of the water, it stayed on and at nearly 3lb was a nice fish. I had another couple of near 2lb skimmers on the paste and a 3lb carp in the first hour. Looking around me not a lot had been caught. I stuck with the paste and whilst it was slow going there was the odd fizz and bite to keep me interested. Then I heard Shaun Townsend was emptying peg 16, so that was probably the winner. My paste line yielded a few more small common carp and skimmers before going dead after 2 hours.

The 14m line was tried but it was not successful, and I upped the feed here hoping to get some skimmers over it later. A couple more small carp on paste than nothing again. The wind and rain just kept on coming, and it made things difficult. With 2 hours to go I had my first bite at 14m, another small common took my worm hook bait. Next two drops same result, but then nothing. I did get a skimmer and 1 more carp here later but it was never great.

I preserved with paste as for the last 80 minutes I was getting little fizzes and bites…. But I was hooking absolutely nothing! Not even a fouler, it was doing my head in lol. Then with 15 minutes to go I had another 3lb carp, then a proper lad of nearly 12lb, then a 10oz skimmer and that was the end.

From what I could see I’d beaten all around me, but knowing that Shaun and Glenn Bailey had bagged I was struggling to get third. I thought I had 60lb, then Leighton Palmer on peg 1 said he had 70lb, ah well not looking good for coin today I thought. There was a set of scales either side of the lake and on my side they weighed from 12 up to 24. Glenn had 90lb on 14, Towner 160lb on 16, that was top 2. My silvers went 11lb 10oz and my carp 52lb 6oz, a nice round 64lb. Mick Gale on 23 had 11lb 1oz of silvers, and I was top silvers on our side of the lake but was even more surprised to find out that I was top silvers weight on the day!

The weigh sheets are below, I didn’t get many pictures as I didn’t want my phone to get wet, lovely weather for July. Not sure if this will be my last match for a while, or if I will go next week. But I have an operation on the 28th July which will keep me out of action for sometime. I’ve been waiting for this op for nearly 18 months, it’s related to my old operations from many years ago, and will hopefully make my life easier when it comes to toilet habits. Wish me luck is all I can ask, and thanks in advance.