Sunday, 30 August 2009

Oh what lovely weather

Just in case you're wondering I haven't abandoned my blog. I'm just catching up on things having got back late Sat night from a holiday in Menorca. It was so hot you had to be near a pool or by the sea to cool down, fantastic! There was a tiny beach in a cove near where I stayed and it was full of fish which loved bread, just wish I had a rod with me! Seems I the last minute choice I made to go abroad was a good one as from what I have heard the weather back in the UK last week was not good.

As I had no chance to fish a match I decided to walk the bank at Newbridge for a few hours and see if I could pick up some tips. The river was quite clear and with little flow, so obviously more rain needed in the weather forecast! I arrived at the first angler 15 mins after the start, I soon found out that only 20 odd anglers had turned up (many others fishing bank holiday weekend festivals) and Kev Dicks had spread them far and wide! There were anglers at Rotork, from the little field to peg 36, and then more down in the trees. I walked the bit from Rotork to peg 36 but I think I would have seen more action at the trees as this was where the winner came from last week. As per usual all anglers had balled it to start with and most enjoyed fish for the first hour, Roach but as many if not more perch were caught. Funny how the perch on the river will happily feed over groundbait, they seem to muscle out the roach.

4lb was a good weight after 1.5 hours from Newbridge, but most were now struggling. Up at Rotork most anglers were saying they had started well but half way through were thrashing for bleak, that is except for the downstream end peg where he got to 3.5 hours on roach before they finally went. Bathamptons Nathan Hawke was being watched by his girlfriend (or maybe it was just a passer by he pulled) although she seemed more interested in a magazine. On the next peg was Nathans team mate Lee Trivett and he was in full bleaking mode when I arrived. I couldn't help feeling that Lee reminded me of a garden gnome with dreadlocks! I could take no more of the bleak bashing and went back to the little field, but of the three anglers here only one was catching now (about an hour to go) and this was... yep bleak. The guy on peg 10 was just reballing it as I got to him, but it didn't work!

By now the 18C temperature was getting to me after a week of 30C+ and feeling cold I decided to go home. Before I did I rang Darren Gillman who I'd found out was drawn in the trees, he was on around 7 to 8lb he said, and as he was in between casts I left him alone. Darren had a pike in his net (which don't count) and told me he had lost his last 4 fish to pike! This was a common a problem with more people having pike trouble than not. With more perch being caught than roach it seems Newbridge is a bit of a predator water at present, and with so many bleak present they've plenty to keep them happy! No bream or skimmers had been caught on the stretches I walked. HOWEVER..... I found out later that Kev Dicks won the match with 18lb and he had 2 bream for 10lb (did he already have them when I saw him, hmmm). Skimmers were caught in the trees but not by all, 17lb came from down there and a few more double figure weights.

Superleague is next weekend and as I said earlier I hope we get some decent rain before this match.

I just read on Tony Rixons blog that he seems to have had an individual question his integrity over his match monies. As far as I'm concerned Tony is clean as a whistle, he can't spell but I know he can count money. Anyway, he's big enough and ugly enough to stand up for himself so I'll say no more. I told Tony and Dean before they went boat fishing that it was going to be a Severn Bore (pun intended) but they didn't believe me!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

October / November 1989

No fishing over the weekend as I have just spent a few days in Torquay, the gamble paid off as the weather was great!

I've heard and read that Avalon seems to be going through a few tough weeks of fishing, whilst Cider Farm Lake has been very good in the last couple of weeks and I know Glenn Bailey is trying his luck their again on Sunday. As I'm going to be away again I think that that is my lot for commercials for a while, as Superleague, Commercial House and ATWL are all kicking off in Sept. So just to keep Tony Rixon happy (at his age he finds it hard to remember what rivers are) here's another bit of the past....

Sunday 15th October 1989 Round 2 of the ATWL and I found myself drawn by my front door at Jackie Whites, which I was more than happy with. I was on the section downstream of Siston Brook on what I called the lily pad pegs which there were lots of on the inside of these pegs (pegs are by the pylon wires). I set up a waggler at 6ft deep with 3 no10s down the line, a crowquill and a groundbait feeder, back then I didn't have many rods so I had to choose my tactics carefully! Starting on the wag feeding maggot I caught a few small dace and 3 chub around the 1lb mark but after 2 hours it was time to look on the feeder. Back then I used to use a lot of Van Den Eynde "Secret" groundbait with brown crumb and brasem, although these days I find myself almost exclusively using Sensas products. I took some skimmers and a couple of bream on the feeder and weighed in 15lb 11oz. This was 2nd in the section, beaten by ounces by the Bathampton angler, he also put me out of the frame as I came 6th and first out the money. The team came 3rd whilst Bathampton won, meaning our first match lead had been reduced.

It was the following weekend on the Saturday when Newbridge fished probably the best it ever has (and I didn't go!) If I recall Ian Spriggs won it with 57lb, not the biggest weight ever but there were bream weights everywhere with people catching them from pegs they were simply never seen caught from before! Not only that but roach bags of up to 26lb (Martin Barrett on the stick) and chub weights too. It was a simply extraordinary day and it seemed that everything in the river fed! On the very next day I was fishing the Commercial House at Newbridge, and it fished rock hard!!! I drew just upstream of the pump house and a combination of stick float and waggler brought me 5lb 8oz and 2nd in the section.

Round 3 of the ATWL was back on the Avon upstream of Bath, I was gutted when I found out I was at Limpley Stoke, a few pegs below the sewer outfall, and was told to avoid a blank and given some bloodworm! I had no idea how to use this stuff (OK still not much idea now) and mixed up a bit of Van D Eynde Special gbait, and threw a few balls in a few metres out for later. Basically I had no bites on standard float or feeder tactics, but managed a few bits on the bloodworm for 1lb 2oz, that was only good enough for 6 points and the team bombed out big style coming 9th, oh shi5e!

The first two matches in November were much better for me, the Middle Avon Champs was a match I had some fear of fishing because Limpley was in again, but I avoided it and drew Meadow Farm. I had drawn peg 2 (bottom end) but after many minutes of looking I could not find my peg, eventually I found it under some wires and could not believe this had been pegged. As I started to take the rods out of the holdall they "hummed" with electricity, "feck this, I ain't fishing here!" and off I went to find the next angler. I eventually found a peg to fish downstream, this was agreed with the lad on peg 3 due to the fact we walked about 300 yds and still did not find peg 1! As time was now short I set up one rod with a stick float, it was 9ft deep and I placed all the shot in the bottom 3ft of the rig, the idea was to get the bait down and keep the rig stable. A size 20 and 1.7 Bayer combined with my favourite maggot and hemp brought a mixed net of nearly 13lb, I did have a couple of 1lb roach and a 1lb perch late on when I upped the maggot feed and stopped the hemp. I came 4th overall and had a pick up of £45.

The following Sunday was the Poppy Match, and of course I had won this match last year so was not expecting lady luck to be on my side this year. The river was up and coloured but easily fishable with a feeder and I was looking forward to the match. I drew a couple of pegs above the New Fence, a good area, and below me was Leigh Gumbleton and a couple of pegs above a fat curly haired bloke called Tony Rixon. I fished a gbait feeder 1/3 out and got bites fairly quickly from roach, double caster on the hook was by far the best hook bait and I also had to put a lot of caster in the feeder to keep bites coming. I recall Paul Lumbard watching me and saying I was doing well, but he felt I was going to run out of bait. Leigh was fishing bread (he was a bread head) and had taken a few skimmers and roach, but I managed to snare 3 chub, 2 hybrids and about 5lb of roach for a total weight of 12lb. Leigh weighed 10lb, but Tony had done us all and easily won the match with a decent weight of bream (cannot remember the weight, 30lb+ I think). My weight had been good enough to get me 3rd overall and I'd given a decent defence of my title.

Next up was a trip to Northern Ireland and the Bann, more about that, and how I beat a certain angler off the next peg after giving him a near 2 hour head start, next time!

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Carp and Crayfish

Family duties turned into a days fishing on Friday, as an outing to Longleat gave me the chance to fish. I was a bit slow getting going on the morning thanks mainly to the beers I had the night before with Bob Sheppard who was 50 years old, thanks to Glenn for giving me a lift home!

After finally arriving at Longleat (due to a road closure I took the wrong road and then there was the queues), I was pleased to see a few empty pegs on the bottom lake. The wife (who had only moaned a bit for me getting lost) and kids left me and headed of to find the other families and I settled in to a swim slightly left of centre. I intended to fish chopped worm, caster and corn as I had all these baits left from the Huntspill. I've fished this lake a few times before and know it to be very shallow, 6 mtrs did for me with a 0.3 grm PB Inter float, and 0.16 direct to a 14 B911. I also set up a 2 swan Corby pellet wag. I began by putting in a full big pot of caster, worm and corn, and it wasn't long before bubbles appeared. However, my dendra was snaffled by 2 to 4 oz roach, so I put 2 dendras on still roach, 3 on and then it was small perch. This might be fun for Mike Nicholls but I wanted something to stretch the elastic, so on went the corn. This had the desired effect and a couple of 4 to 5lb mirrors were quickly netted. Bites were silly then so I re fed and caught another carp, then had to re feed again.

I then started to get strange slow bites, where the float would move slowly sideways like a line bite but only much slower. Striking resulted in nothing, till eventually I let one go for ages, then I came back with what I thought was a bit of debris. But no it was a bloody Crayfish, one of those American Signal thingys. I had another 3 and decided as I had been firing out 8mm pellets and mouths were appearing time for the wag. I slipped an 8mm pellet into the double band, I was using 0.18 to a 14 PR36, and had to wait all of 2 seconds for my first bite and carp on. Next cast carp, next cast carp, next cast carp...... It was a very good start, but after 6 cast I did miss a bite! I was feeding 6 pellets, twice and then casting out, if i missed a bite I cast straight out again, if missed that bite then I fed 6 pellets before casting out. This was how I fished for a few hours, during this time the wind got up very badly and was in my face and to the right, it caused me to miss more bites but I was still getting a bite every cast. (I even had 5 bream to 3lb on this.)

Two kids on holiday from Kent came and watched me for about an hour, one of them nearly broke my roller as he thought it was seat and sat on it! They played a game of betting how many seconds it would take for me to get a bite from the float landing, 4 seconds was the best bet. Later the wind dropped and things just got more hectic. I was now casting out and keeping the line tight to the waggler and the fish would hook themselves, in this way I was now casting then feeding. I have never had so many carp like this, and I have to admit that i was getting physically tired.

Finally the family came back, and it was time to go, but I wanted to show them how many fish were queuing up, the photos show the last two fish caught by my daughters, Lucy (below) had the first one about 4lb, Emma (above) had the last one and was nearly dragged in by this 8lb fish! As I type this post my arms and chest are still aching, as I had in excess of 70 carp betwwen 2lb and 9lb, and by the way I got all the way to 33 carp before I had to change hooklength, good hook that PR36. The only downside of the whole day was that half the fish had very bad mouths, poor angling and rule breaking have caused this, the evidence appeared when I retrieved a massive barbed hook with braid. I did tell the bailiff (a lady not Nick) that she should be doing tackle checks as it was the worst example of damaged fish I've ever seen.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

How did I forget !

I was a bit rushed writing my last post due to the fact I was taking the kids to see the latest Harry Potter movie, well they wanted to go so I had to do the decent thing and go with them, ahem.

I realise that I forgot to mention who won the Superleague individually, it was the Thatchers team mascot Steve Tucker with 19lb. Tucks had 4 bream in the last hour, but was at pains to point out he had already done well with 8lb of skimmers. Nice one Tucks, I'll have a pint next time I see you on the River! Tim Pallant of Maver Veals was 2nd with 16lb, he has been doing well here and you have to say he has it sussed. I enquired with the Veals lads after the match as to where Glenn Bailey was, they didn't know, so I told them he was at Cider Farm!

I noticed reading Match Fishing magazine that this months caption competition featured a certain Tony Rixon. I have entered 15 different captions, I doubt any of them will win but it has given me great satisfaction taking the mic!

Monday, 10 August 2009

My annual visit to the Huntspill

I'd like to start off by saying what a great day I had with my family at the Balloon festival on Friday. I have never been before and did not realise how much there was to do and see there, plus there were loads of freebies for the kids (Darren Gillman would love it here!) and a Nintendo Wi village where you could try out the new resort games! I never saw any balloons go up because it was to windy, but that was not to disappointing as Sat and Sun evening we had loads come right over the house!

Earlier than normal of late I was on the road to the Hunstpill for the 3rd round of the Superleague. I was again fishing for the All Stars team, but I'm beginning to think it should be renamed the "Old Stars" team. For example we had Nicky (Sumo) Collins, Martin (PC) Barrett, and Ian Parsons.... yes that's right Ian Parsons!

Having myself not fished the Huntspill since last years teams of 4 match you could say I was not to well prepared compared to most, but I had spoken to a few of the Thatchers boys and had got some rigs up together for the pole. I met a few of the team in the Hilltops cafe, as well as seeing a few Frys and Bathampton lads there. Sean Townsend and Rich Lacey looked much the worse for wear, they, and I, were not to bothered about being late for the 8:30 draw as Nicky Johns is never on time.

Timmy Rowe did the draw for our team and handed me peg 21, this is at Gold Corner in the bay and not good in the section. Would you believe on my visit last year I drew peg 20! After the short walk of 21 pegs (see when your fit these walks are like Mr Rixon walking 3 pegs to a lovely platform) I found I had Thatchers Grandad and Huntspill regular Nicky Ewers on peg 20. We both felt we were in trouble as pegs 18 and 19 (either end of the copse) and the end peg 24 would be hard to beat, although having Gary Cross on the end peg gave us some hope!

I set up a 4x18 wire stem float, and 4x14 float for the pole aimed at roach, a waggler for casting beyond the pole and a feeder. On the whistle I balled in 10 jaffas of gbait containing squatt, caster and hemp, then had 12 chucks on a big feeder before tying on a 0.11 hooklength, size 16 PR34 and chucking out a medium feeder. I did not chuck as far as others did, this was for 3 reasons 1) I wanted to stay accurate, 2) I wanted a line to myself, 3) I had no more line on the reel!

The first 90 mins was not good for me, I did lose a near 2lb fish at the net (and I swore a bit) and landed a 12oz skimmer and a few bits. It seemed everyone else I could see had 3 or 4 skimmers, so I picked up the pole, luckily the float never settled and I had ounce roach. For the next hour or so I kept small roach coming to the net, but they started to drift away. Out with the feeder again as I knew I now needed some skimmers /bream to catch up, 6 skimmers in about 10 casts was great but then they went again and I had very little in the last 30 mins. Nearly all my skimmers fell to worm and reg maggot, and the bites were good from skimmers. About half way through Gary Cross cracked off (oh we laughed) and his feeder landed about 10 mtrs out, then the lobbys guy did the same, then Andy Bernstein and Darren Gillman both cast their feeders about 10mtrs! I did rather take the pee, but they were all threatening to give me loads of abuse when I did it, luckily I did not!

Andy Bernstein ran away with the section from peg 19 with 14lb, Darren did well to come 2nd from peg 23 with 10lb, I think he stole the fish that evacuated Gary Cross's peg. I ended 4th in the section with 7lb 6oz just beating Nicky who weighed 6lb 10oz. Nick, as you have fished the venue every weekend of the season and I just fished it the once what can I say! To be fair we both think balling it in was wrong, I have never done it on the Spill before and think loose feeding may have been better.

The Garbolino team won again, Bathampton 2nd, and they are the two teams leading the league. AllStars are still 3rd overall, but we had a bad day, Martin Barrett last, Ian Parsons last (stick to Viaduct), Nicky Collins last or nearly last! I hope these guys can fish again this weekend on round 4 and have a better day, I cannot fish but wish them well, perhaps Tony Rixon could take my place as he seems to have lost his touch on commercials (ha!). Finally Timmy Rowe stuck it out on feeder all match and was getting hammered by Liam Braddel who was fishing for bits, in the last hour Timmy came good with two slabs and a section win, from zero to Hero again, Top Man!

Sunday, 2 August 2009


No match report this week as I have just returned from a long weekend in Cornwall (seeing relations).

The Thames around Oxford was a venue that that the Bristol Amalgamation lads got to fish a few times over the years, and it suited our style of fishing of course. The Thames Champs and Flash Carter matches back then were well attended with up to 80 teams of 6 anglers fishing. The fishing was of course varied with some sections requiring a feeder approach, where as others needed float tactics, whilst we didn't know the pegs inside out you'd get enough info to know what you should be fishing for. On this particular match I had drawn at Clifton Hampden (never heard of it before!) and was on peg 2 of the eighty peg section. I was told peg 1 was a major flyer where feeder across would catch bream and chub, but my peg was totally different and it was best to fish the float. After following the written directions I arrived at the river, I was surprised how wide it was here and I doubt I had the right gear to chuck to the far side had I been on peg 1. My peg was no more than 5ft deep and it had a nice steady pace, I set up a 3AAA insert waggler with 2 no8 and 1 no10 down the line, a 22 to 1.1lb bayer. A feeder was also set up but nothing else as the wind was downstream.

The angler above me on peg 1 was a pipe smoker (I had it all day) and told me that he was a stick float angler, but he still started on the feeder. Below me was a Leicester angler Ian Barrow, he elected to fish the pole (all match) which I thought at the time was a little restrictive as I would want to be able to cover more water. I fed bronze maggot and hemp and was into dace very quickly, they weren't bad size fish either. I was giving them some bait and soon had them boiling on the surface. I fed the hemp short of the maggot as I felt it was not helping the dace fishing and hoped that it might be useful later. I reckon after two hours I had 8lb of dace but they had stopped boiling and were just easing off a bit. I then had a bit of luck, missing a bite I didn't reel straight in, instead I put the rod down and fed some bait, when I picked up the rod the float went down and a roach came out. Chucking short on the hemp line (still with single bronze maggot) I was now on a roach a chuck and these were obviously better size than the dace. I had a 3.5lb chub show out of the blue but then I started to miss more and more bites, my rhythm was upset. After a while I thought maybe I was getting shot bites, so I cast out without a maggot on and hey presto down went the float! Pushing the shot together in a bunch stopped the shot bites and I was back to catching roach, but I wasted some time not realising what was happening and hoped it wouldn't cost me... it nearly did!

By the end of the match I had no idea of the weight I had, all I could say to people was I had caught all day and thought I must have at least 15lb. The truth was I had never had a days fishing like this before so was in new territory as to guessing the weight. The angler on peg 1 admitted to 10lb and Barrow boy also said 10lb. The scales came up from about peg 20 and Ian Barrow I think had 12lb which was all dace on the pole. I weighed in 21lb 12 1/2oz, which I was absolutely flabbergasted by, just seeing the sight of all those fish in my net was itself amazing. In amongst all the "well done mate" I had nearly forgotten about the guy on peg 1 until I heard "this is gonna be close!". The little liar had netted 6 bream and a chub, and incredibly he weighed just half an ounce less than me! I thought he deserved that after only admitting to 10lb, git. Back at the results I found out that I had come 2nd in the whole section, beaten only just by 78lb of bream which had actually won the match (the angler caught on blockend feeder and caster as he had forgotten his gbait.)

The team had come 5th, a good result but just out of the main prizes, and I had come 3rd overall, beaten by another bream weight at Enysham, and was £188 better off! But whilst the money was great this day was at the time my best match ever, even now I would rank it in my top ten of most enjoyable matches.

A while later somebody showed me a copy of "Match Fishing Magazine", I'd not seen or heard of it before, and I read it with interest. Ian Barrow was one of the anglers who wrote articles in this magazine back then, and he had actually written about the match on the Thames. However, I was somewhat annoyed to read his account of the match, it was something like "This young Bristol angler above me admitted to 10lb of chub but he weighed in 21lb of Chub! I was not to happy after I had slogged out my guts for 12lb of dace on the long pole"...... I assume Ian had either had a bout of memory loss or did not want to admit to all and sundry that he had taken a right battering off the next peg by a 21 year old on small fish... You decide....

A couple of years later I drew in the same section as Ian on the Thames again, I did not remind him of the actual events, but he did remember me as he spluttered hope you don't catch too many this time. I did catch a few (nearly 8lb) and I beat him easily, again, and I'm sure he remembered that young Bristol angler for a time!

The next day I was on the Commercial House where I drew at Bathford. I fished the same waggler, same rig but the result was a little less weight, only 5lb 5oz, but still enough to win the section. Happy times!