Saturday, 27 February 2010

A bit of a rest, so back to September 1990

I had decided earlier in the week that I was not going to fish this weekend, this was due the fact I was working in Germany for a couple of days and also have a bit of DIY to get done, better to do it now then when the weather warms up! Seeing the weather forecast for Sunday I'm now quite happy to stay at home. Next weekend I'm going to help with the AT winter league Semi on the K&A, and am hoping to watch some quality bloodworm anglers and pick up some tips for next year! I'll give an update on this match and how Thatchers did in deepest Kent!

On the 2nd September 1990 I fished Shearwater Lake for the very first time. I was way off the tactics needed to win and ended the match with only 15lb. Before the start of this match there were small carp sucking on the branches of the bushes, and myself and the angler next door had a match who could catch the most carp on a bare hook, I won 3 - 2, an amazing place back then!

The first Commercial House round of 1990 took place the following weekend, I drew peg 3 (now peg 2) in the bay at Frys, yuck! To start with the tide was coming in and fishing a stick I put a few dace and roach in the net. I had a bit of a row with the bloke on peg 4 because he didn't agree with me fishing with the flow of the tide, but in the end he saw sense! I ended with 3lb 15oz which was good enough for 3rd in the section, on the day lots of eels were caught on the maggot feeder, and it only took 7lb of dace to win the match, Frys was always hard!

Something had got me excited now, we were to fish the Div 5 National on the river Trent, a river I was really looking forward to fishing. A few of us booked in for a Wednesday open at Holme Marsh, and I drew peg 138. I had little clue what the peg was like, all I knew was that the weir field pegs were the ones to draw for big feeder weights and I wasn't there! The river looked lovely, a nice pace and just a bit of colour, it looked like a stick float job to me, so I set up a 6 no4 float with a 22 to 1.1lb bottom. The angler next to me was a local and he fished a pole which I thought was going to limit his chances. He was a friendly chap and was very open with information on the pegs we had drawn. During the match I fed 3 pints of maggot and 2 of hemp, and ended with 10lb 13oz to win the section, I had taken mainly small roach and gudgeon. The local chap had just a few ounces less than me and gave me a pat on the back for beating him! We talked about general approaches for the Trent and one thing he told me was at Caythorpe you had to chuck a feeder miles to catch chub, but that there were a lot of gudgeon in close. I remember that Martyn "Woody" Woodington got a battering from Roly Moses that day. Roly had the Trent roach sussed and fished a waggler deep shallowing up as the roach came up, he also caught bigger roach this way.

On the Saturday we walked the Trent from Stoke Bardolf to Gunthorpe with a local angler, he advised 22 and 24 hooks to 12oz bottoms for the float, with 22 to 1.1lb bottoms for the feeder! He also said don't feed hemp just concentrate on maggot. On the Sunday we fished an open, I drew peg 245 at Burton Joyce and fished a stick and fed 4 pints of maggot for just 3lb 1oz. I had a bad day with a lot of fish coming off the hook and also found a hole in my net, as 3lb 5oz won the section I was gutted. Interestingly my section had been won with all gudgeon. Another Sat on the Trent followed, I fished a feeder below Shelford weir for chub, skimmers and small barbel, Andy Floyd did the best with 10lb on a long chuck feeder, but Kev Boltz had 8lb on the pole fishing 4m to hand.

Sunday was back to the Commercial House, and I found myself pegged on the weedbed at Jack Whites (one below the stream). Back in those days without all our attachments it was a right nightmare trying to get banksticks into this peg! The peg was chocolate colour as the stream had flooded overnight, but right across there was a run of clear water. I decided on a waggler attack into the clear water, fishing 3ft deep with a 20 to 1.8lb Tectan (remember that brand of line?). I had bites all day to end with 11lb 10oz of dace and this won me the section just beating Melvyn Holbrook. The match was won with 30lb of Dace, and if you didn't know it was caught by Woody, he did tell a few people about it so you might remember this feat!

Last match of September 1990 was one for me to forget. I drew the 1st peg below the pump house at Newbridge and was convinced I would bag on the wag. I couldn't get any bites and ended with 2lb 9oz of eels on the feeder for plumb last in the section, ouch! Going into October was all about the build up to the National, I'll go into the final practise sessions and the main event itself in another post.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Sleeping at Landsend fishery

As I write this post I imagine most of the competitors from today's match at Landsend are still on their way home. Yep I packed up early! I'll write what I can but you'll get a lot more out of Tony Rixon and Mike Nicholls blogs this week for sure!

I drew peg 50 on the third lake and everyone I spoke to just cringed and said peg 51 is better. Mike Nicholls was on this lake last week and he was again today, this time right opposite me. He advised that most anglers in this area last week blanked and that either end of the lake were the best pegs. I found out that one 11.5lb carp had come off my peg last week, and I just hoped a few more had swam into the peg.

On peg 51 was Dave a Brummie who lives in Somerset, and to my right on peg 46 was a devastated Clint Wojtyla who was just managing to stand up after a heavy drinking session. Clint provided great entertainment during the match, and I'd have probably packed up earlier if it wasn't for him!

I was surprised at how shallow the peg was, it changed only by about six inches between the middle and far bank. I set up 2 rigs for the far bank, one 4x10 and one 4x12 in case it got a bit windy. One 4x12 rig did for the middle and everywhere else! I used 0.11 powerline to an 18 B911 on all rigs.

I fed some micros at 9mtr in front, some casters at 11mtrs at 2 o'clock, some micros across to the point of the island and 14mtrs to the right, then down to some reeds at 14mtrs on the inside. The plan was to go on 9 mtrs and and leave the far bank to settle. But after 40 mins I had not had a bite on the 9mtr or 11mtr lines despite trying various hook baits. The lines across also never produced a bite, in fact after 1.5 hours I had not had an indication of any sort! Mike Nicholls had taken 3 carp, Clint 1 and the end peg 54 had taken 1. Rod Wooten on 42 had landed 1 carp and pulled out of 2 foulers.

I decided to feed another line at 13 mtrs about 1 mtr off the island, the depth was almost the same as right across but it looked to me the sort of line where Mike had caught. I cupped in a small amount of micros and tried a grain of corn over it straight away, within a minute I had a bite and landed a 5lb mirror. Unfortunately that was that! I did have one other bite on this line later on in the day, on a soft pellet, but didn't connect with anything. For the rest of the match nothing I tried produced any indications, I even went down to 0.09 and a 22 with single maggot to try to catch a few roach, but that didn't work either. About 40 mins from the end I couldn't take any more and gave up.

From what I could see the end peg 54 would had won the lake, with about 10 carp, Mike Nicholls had taken another 3 carp tight across and looked on for 2nd with 6 carp. Dave next to me on peg 51 lost 3 carp and blanked (oh we did laugh as he lost the 3rd one which straightened his hook!), Clint never had another bite and ended with just the 1 carp. Well at least I didn't get beat up next door I suppose! I did hear down the Queens Head that Mike Nicholls felt like a chip shop sausage after being battered all round at Bitterwell last Weds. (Sorry Mike, Shaun and Martyn were keen I got this one in!)

I expect Tony Rixon paralysed the Landsend match from Speci peg 33 (how does he draw these pegs!) with around 15 carp to 16lb. Bela Bakos next door on peg 34 was not amused. I did notice that the lake I was on was very clear, where as Speci was very coloured. Oh well, the draw bag is still not being to kind to me at present, I'll just have to hope I get a good un soon and then try and make the most of it!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Valentines day massacre

Well it looks as if I have escaped the long journey to Monks lakes in deepest Kent! No word from the captain and I bumped into Andy Power at Thatchers who told me all about the arrangements. Good news for me as I'm a bit skint at the moment, with a 4 day week and a few expensive things on the house going on!

I saw that last weeks K&A semi final practice frame was dominated by Bathampton anglers... NOT! I might help out on this semi, would be good to watch some canal experts, like Shakespeare and Image. But I won't be going to the pub used for the draw (used to be the Beefeater, under the weir by the toll road) as Eddie Wynne has tipped me off that the place is a rip off! Eddie lost his rag at the £1.75 for a cup of tea, and so would have I, best go to Matty's cafe for brekkie Ed!

Valentines day, and I made breakfast for the beloved and then sorted the gear for a river session. I had a pint of caster, the same of hemp and half a pint of maggots, this would be more than enough I thought for a days float fishing. The Crane was my destination and I thought the bay in the Little ashtip would be best, but as I forgot my trolley that was to far! I settled on two pegs above the gantry (on the concrete block) where the water was pacey but even. I set up my old and trusted Titan 2000 with a stick float that took 8 no 6, 2 no 8 and 2 no 10. A 20 B611 to 0.9mm powerline was my starting terminal tackle. The peg was about 9ft deep, and just right for the stick (one of the reasons why I picked the peg plus I was too knackered to walk any further!).

I started by feeding just 6 casters and a pinch of hemp, I had been throwing in this amount of bait as soon as I arrived, to try to get the fish going as soon as possible, but it still took me 20 mins to get my first bite from a 4oz roach. Next chuck and 1.5lb chub gave my 0.9mm line a good test, a few cast later and a 6oz roach was bagged. All these fish had come to a single red maggot, and so I put on a caster, but this produced not a bite. Back on the red maggot I could could make a bite about every 10 runs through, hard going, but the roach were all 4oz plus. I took another chub of 1lb and a couple of 8oz roach and a 12oz fish, and was glad that Mr Pike had not showed!

The light was a nightmare and in certain parts of the peg I could not see the float despite trying different colour float rubbers on top of the float as a sight aid. Black was the best colour, especially for the bites 2 pegs down!

I had changed depth a number of times and was casting on the line of feed and past it, these tricks would bring the odd fish but nothing consistent, I also caught a few roach 30 to 40 metres down the peg! It was getting harder, and I decided to up the feed and hope the chub would show, feeding about 30 casters and just a smidge of hemp. Within 10 mins I was into roach again, and as the session went on they were averaging 6oz..... and I was swinging them in! It wasn't a bite a chuck, but real hard work stick float fishing, two fish in two chucks from the same spot was the best I got, then I'd have to change something or trot way down the peg. A couple more chub of 12oz showed and more roach, but I lost what was definitely a big roach, you can feel them shaking their heads and this one lost the hook!

After 4 1/2 hours I packed up, the swim had died on me, and pulled out a near 20lb bag, 4 chub and everything else pristine roach, most looked as though they had never been caught. It was strange that I had some fish up the top of the peg, some bang on where I expected bites and them some way downstream, as there were no pike around I assume it was the clear water that kept the fish moving around. For me, Heaven would be fishing a stick float on the river, it gives me more satisfaction then any other method, I absolutely effing love it!

Walking back I saw two anglers fishing the feeder for bream, they were both blanking, who had the more interesting day... YOU DECIDE!

I suppose with no matches on the river (everyone is up the canal chucking in Russian joker to wind up Tony Rixon) I'll have to look to a commercial again next weekend. Well at least I got one river session in before the stupid close season.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Hillview Open

I had forgotten just how close Hillview fishery is to Bristol, 45 mins is about all it takes to get there because it is so close to the motorway. I had a nice on site breakfast which I knew would be good, as Mike Nichols and Bela Bakos had already emptied their plates when I arrived!

The match today was on the canals; 1st, 2nd and 4th and when I drew peg 67 it meant nothing to me and it took me a while to get my bearings. Bela had drawn this peg last week, weighing 20lb after the ice had broken, but told me that he was told by locals he should have fished more down to the reeds to his right. When I arrived at the peg it was rather barren straight across, but I could see the reeds in peg 68. Peg 67 is one off the end peg 68, which was left out, and 13mtrs get you to most of the bottom bank. I had set my tactics up based upon what I had read on Mike's blog, and listening to what some of the locals had told me. I decided on a micro pellet and maggot line on a top set plus 2 sections (just like the bread line on the K&A) which was about the deepest area, and various far bank reed lines for corn.

I used a 0.6 grm Sensas Auchy type float, this is a straight float with a wire stem thin plastic bristle, a spread bulk of no 8 shot and 2 no 10 droppers below were attached to a 18 PR29 to 0.11 powerline. For elastic I used the light blue Preston hollo. I used 4x12 Preston Chianti for the far bank rigs, these were set around 2.5ft deep with a small bulk of stotz and a couple of no10 stotz droppers. (I used stotz for this rig as they slide up the line easier if a fish should go through the reeds.) I used the same hook and hook lengths. I set up two far bank rigs exactly the same but differing elastics as I wasn't sure what size fish I would encounter, but in the end the one with Preston hollo green was all needed.

I was really looking forward to the start of this match, as it was the first time I had fished a commercial since before the winter leagues had started! On the whistle I cupped in about 30 micros + 8 maggots on the 5 mtr line, and cupped in a bit more pellet and 4 pieces of corn onto two far bank lines. I was surprised to see the lad next to me feed what looked like nearly a full small Preston pot of micros on a few lines, had I got it wrong?

Starting on the maggot line I was getting tiny indications, bear in mind I had the float dotted down, which I thought were liners as I never hit one in the first 10 mins! I was on double maggot and changed to a single, and this was better as now the float would go under a small amount on a bite! Little crucians, fantails, goldfish, koi and the odd gudgeon were coming to the net, 12oz was the biggest with most just a few ounces. The guy opposite me on the 1st canal then hooked a carp on the far bank and snapped his pole! His top set stayed attached to the fish like a periscope, and it went 2 pegs to his right, then went straight back to where he had hooked it! He walked onto mine and his far bank (he did ask me) and retrieved the top set and netted the fish. I decided to stick with the maggot line and give the far bank a chance to recover.

I reckon I had 7lb after the first hour, and then went across on the corn and first drop an 8oz carp. Next drop a couple of digs then nothing, so I tried the other line and after a long weight I had a 1lb fish. No more bites came, so I potted a bit of corn in on these lines and tried the maggot line again. First drop on the maggot and a 2lb carp, then a few more bits before a nice 5lb fish caught off bottom boosted my weight. For the next couple of hours I would take a few fish from the maggot line and then have a look on the corn, and whilst it wasn't bagging I was managing to keep the odd fish coming. I could see the guy opposite me was doing well on corn against the far bank as was Mike Nichols (who had basically drawn the match winning peg of last week). I tried the corn more and more as it did produce better fish but I had to wait a long time for a bite, if I got one. I also took a couple of carp by dropping the rig into areas I had not fed.

The maggot line was now slowing up, and so I decided to gamble and feed a good amount of micro plus 12 pieces of corn about 2 mtrs to the right of the maggot line. I left this for 15 mins and then went in and took two 2lb carp in two chucks and never had another bite! I was slightly annoyed with myself because I thought the match finished at 3:30, but it was in fact 4pm, with 25 mins to go I re fed two of the corn lines which had produced the most bites and took two 4lb carp in the last 15 mins.

My weight of 41lb 6oz was 2nd on my canal to the angler on the opposite end who had 48lb of carp down the track on corn. The guy to my left chucked back 10lb and the guy next to him also DNW. Mike won the match with 60lb+ (see his blog for exact weights, tactics etc) and the guy opposite me was 2nd with 51lb. Bela did well to win the back canal with 43lb and was 4th overall, he had caught on maggot right across (no small fish to pester this tactic like there were on my canal).

So I ended up 5th and no money and I needed another 7lb+ to get my section which I think was possible had I got the corn across sorted, although to be fair I only pulled out of one fish all day which is pretty good on this sort of venue and I think shows there weren't that many carp in the swim to cause liners and foulhookers.

I guess I can't complain about not picking up coin with so many regulars, and Bela and Mike had clearly benefited from the previous weeks experience, but most of all I had really enjoyed the day. I came away thinking I had a great bag of fish working at it all day, and whilst I can see it will be hard to coin up here I can see me coming back again soon for some more fun.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Friday stuff

Forgot to mention on my last post that Thatchers canal experts and driving partners Nick Chedzoy and Nicky Ewers didn't come back to the results of the last Commercial House. Both these guys have recently won matches on the canal, seems as though they got the shi5 end of the stick this time. Mr Ewers drew his usual end peg and still could only manage an 1oz, so I guess he didn't want to come back for the verbal, LMAO!

I wasn't sure where to fish this weekend, whilst I knew the canal match was going to be a big event I wanted a rest from boats and bikes. So after a phone call to Tony Rixon and then Mike Nichols I decided to book in for Hill View. I haven't been there for quite a few years, don't know why really as I always enjoyed fishing the place.

I have made up some rigs for the canals, which I hope will do the business, and hope that I get a few bites on them.

I took a drive down to Chew Valley Lake today, and saw in the visitors centre that Otters had been encouraged back to the lake after a 30 year absence. Well there is one less Otter because just as I passed Villice bay I saw a animal on the side of the road. I pulled over to take a look and it was an otter which had been recently run over. This was my second instance of otters in two days, as on Thursday Warren Bates rang to tell me he had seen two pairs of otters up the Crane whilst fishing. In two hours Warren only managed to catch 1 dace, but one of the otters caught a 1.5lb skimmer.....

Have heard the weather is going to get cold again, I hope it doesn't last as I'm looking forward to getting a few bag up sessions in on the river. But knowing my luck the river will be spot on come March 15th!

Good luck Tom.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Commercial House League - Final Round

Waking up at 6:30 I immediately recognised that the forecast of a hard frost had been correct. I had made an improvised ice breaker the day before after hearing that the canal had "lightly" frozen over, but would my claw hammer suffice? Breakfast today was in the Rest-a-While cafe in Keynsham, and there were some Frys anglers already in there. I sat on the same table as Dean Harvey and he told me of the estimated 20lb+ pike he had caught the week before on the Frome at Woolverton, it was true because a minute later I saw a photo of it!

At the draw there were once again a few ATWL semi final anglers turning out for teams; Welsh International Lee Edwards from Starlets as well as some Blackmore Vale and Diawa Gordon League anglers. I was nominated to draw for my team Thatchers A and pulled out peg 10 (one off the end peg) and then I drew for the Thatchers B and gave them peg 1! I was once again going to A section at Darlington Wharf, and peg 10 would have put me on one of the Pike pegs from last week, but this week it was pegged differently and I was round the bend just before the concrete turrets. Martin Barret had drawn the peg I had last week but this time it was the end peg. Jerry Pocock was in the bay on his own, and I arrived just as he chucked Dave Tippet's ice breaker into the canal....rope and all! Jerry forgot to tie the end of the rope to something, luckily for him most of the rope was on the ice and he got it back using his pole. Not for the first time in winter leagues this season I had Andy Floyd (you can already guess what's coming later) in my section, and Shaun Townsend on the next peg.

It was obvious my ice breaker was not going to do the job easily and so I never used it, instead borrowing Shaun's. I cleared a lovely section of canal and was well pleased with my efforts. However, all that was soon messed up when we realised a boat was coming up the canal. I was talking to Shaun as the boat passed when I realised it was mooring up in my peg! I soon assumed the role of Harbour Master and effectively I parked the boat to give me as much room as possible. Clearing the floating ice meant I was only just ready to start on time. I had only put together 4 rigs for this match; I set up two 0.4grm wire stem/bristle floats one would double up for bread and bloodworm at 5 mtrs the other was for the slightly shallower water at 11mtrs. (I didn't use the Drennan Roach float today as I thought the bristle might be to thick to see any bites I might get.) A caster and a worm rig were also set up.

I started the match by just feeding some liquidized bread at 5 mtrs to gauge the response. First chuck and the float didn't settle, bugger a shot must have come off, but no it was a 1oz roach! Next 3 casts gave me 3 small roach and then 10 mins without a sniff. I cast the rig out in front of me in a straight line and held tight, this brought 2 roach then no bites for 10 mins before another 2 in 2 casts but one came off. I then decided to feed an egg size ball of joker across the canal at 11mtrs and to my right at 5mtrs. With no more bites on the bread I tried sprinkling in a tiny bit of loose bread, this brought me 2 more roach and then it was goodnight Irene! Still 9 roach on the bread in the first hour was 6 more than Shaun and 9 more than the guy the other side of me!

The bloodworm lines took a while to get going for me, whilst Shaun was doing quite well on them, but I noted he had fed these lines earlier than me. Gradually the near line started to produce little ruffe, perch and the odd gudgeon to single bloodworm, it was never hetic, I seemed to get the odd flurry of bites and then nothing. I refrained from re feeding this line and often went back in and caught again, which gave me the impression there was still joker feed there. Only when I caught 2 pairs of eyes did I feed a small nugget of joker, and then I did get back to a few more "reasonable" fish. The 11 mtr line was never very good as I only caught the odd tiny perch from it, in the end I dumped a lot of joker in there in hope of a skimmer or better fish, but it didn't work. 45 mins from the end of the match the boat that had moored up cast off again, leaving a nice mess of peg for me, and I didn't get another bite until the last two casts.

In the end I taken around 45 to 50 fish (I can't keep count and never really try) and these weighed exactly 2lb 1oz (8 points from 11). The angler to my left weighed 1lb 9oz and Shaun was well and truly battered by me having scraped a level 1lb! (Shaun fed lots more joker than me and I think fed off what fish were feeding and ended the last 2 hours bite less).

Andy Floyd had phoned me on and off during the match and by the end "had 90 odd pathetic fish for about a pound".... he weighed 2lb 4oz to do me again, I reckon that boat cost me! Chris Gay won the B div section and the match with 2 pike for 6lb 13oz, Martin Barret won the A div section and was 3rd overall with 4lb 14oz, all roach on punch. Many anglers struggled for ounces.

For info Andy Ottoway came 2nd overall with 5lb, 2 skimmers and a slab at Claverton, meaning he has finished the last 3 C/H matches 1st, 1st, 2nd (won 5 sections and missed a match) RESPECT!

The match had fished very hard, with only 3lb 10oz needed to frame. Avon Aquatics won on the day (by a point from my team) meaning they had won the league at a canter. Thatchers B and A were 2nd and 3rd respectively. Veals and DW Builders were relegated, whilst Town & Country and Crown Road Electricals were promoted from B div.

League individual Champ = Martin Barrett
Knockout chump = Guy Manton (I did spell that right!), runner up Leon Hubbard.

I managed to come top performer in Thatchers A after missing the first match.

I must say Andy Britt made a right balls up of announcing the teams on the day result, and he was bombarded with empty bottles of Natch, cans and beer mats. Under this pressure he decided to announce the knockout winner instead, and some wag shouted "you have a 50/50 chance of getting this right!" But fair play to Andy he had a good laugh about it and did a good job over the six matches.

The league is looking for more teams to join, so if you are interested and can get a team of 6 people together let Andy know, the more the merrier!