Sunday, 28 March 2010

Cidered up at Cider Farm

Why oh why don't I learn, I'm over forty for goodness sake, I should know by now stick to what you know. What am I on about, well I thought a few quick pints down the Queens Head Sat night wouldn't go a miss, and I made the bad decision to drink Natch. I ended up arriving home later than planned, with the wife in bed and no front door key. Waking up Sunday morning with an hour less in bed and a bad hangover wasn't the way I wanted the day to start.

I eventually got to the draw at Cider Farm, I was the last person to arrive with about 2 minutes to spare and felt like shit (reminded me of being in me 20's again!). A bacon an egg roll and a cup of tea were my best hope of perking myself up as I stood at the very end of the draw queue. Last peg left in for me was peg 19, I have drawn this peg once before about 3 years ago when the carp were tiny and so were the reeds. Fishery owner Mark Gibson felt this peg had potential and had been under performing of late. Once I had managed to drag my sorry ass to the peg I found myself in a CARPS AC sandwich with Johnny Baker on 17, and John "Turkey" Thompson on 21. As I sat and surveyed the peg I didn't know whether to piss, puke or shit, but Mark has a rule that you cannot chuck cigarette butts in the lake so I thought I'd better keep my bodily fluids to myself. There is a point of an island only about 7 metres away on this peg, but I kept away from this as there were so many reeds I thought it would be a nightmare. So I fished at 14.5 metres to the right hand island where there was a small patch of bank that was clear of reeds, and at about 18" deep just right. A 4x8 bristle float of some description was used with 0.16 to a size 18 PR36 with a bait band for hard pellet. I set up a rig for 3 ft deep for nearside margin and across to left island by reeds.

On the all in I potted a decent handful of micros and some 4mm pellets on the 14.5m line, straight across to reeds, and RH margin. I fed the left margin with corn an pellet to see if it made any difference. Out to the reeds on the 3ft rig and as the reeds were knocking I was expecting a bite but all I got were liners and lost a foul hooker. I tried my 18" rig in here with a banded 6mm pellet and hooked one that did me straight in the reeds. That was enough of that, so off to the bare bank at 14.5m and first chuck hit one that still got into the reeds and I pulled out of it. I was on Hollo 15 so changed the rig onto the heavy yellow stuff and this was better. In the first hour I had 7 carp and lost a couple and was 1 rig down. I was catching on 8mm hard pellet and toss potting in micros and 4mm pellets, I would like to have used the catty but couldn't because of the angle and fear of bait going into the reeds. At the end of the 2nd hour I had another 7 carp and had trashed another rig.

The 3rd and 4th hours weren't so hot but I had another 10 carp and had another rig trashed. I had managed 1 carp from the LH margin but the RH was dead and this never produced anything. By now I was just about losing the acid taste in my throat from the Natch and feeling a tad better! The last two hours were very hard, I started a new line at 16 metres up to the left but this produced just 3 fish and with 1 more margin fish and 3 from the 14.5 metre swim my match finished. I thought I had done OK because I could see those around me had struggled and on peg 41 Rich Coles had gone home. I weighed 66lb 8oz and this was good enough for 2nd overall, well beaten by Brian Slipper on peg 54 who weighed 92lb. Brian had caught up the shelf the same as me but he told me that he had a poor start and was flying in the last two hours. Steve Howell was 3rd from peg 4 with 52lb and yep he caught the same way. The only person to buck this trend was Derek Culip who had 48lb 14oz for 4th all his fish were caught in the deep water (this peg produced 49lb last week). Mark took a picture of me smiling with my fish, the smile was mainly due to the fact I was happy to have lasted the 6 hours!

Ron Hardiman drew the in form peg 30 and chucked back about 20lb (he was between Derek and Steve Kedge who also had 48lb, I'm sure Tony Rixon won't mention that when he sees him!)

I'm back at Cider Farm again next Sun, and with Glen Bailey picking me up I will be on my best behaviour the night before. Plus I don't want to feel knackered like I am now writing this.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Plantation Match Lake

I have been hacked off to the back teeth with work this week, so took a days hol on Thursday to go fishing. I couldn't make up my mind where to go and thought of going to Acorn fishery. However, I was told I would need maggot and as I only had pellets I drove on a bit further to Plantation. Arriving at about 9:30 there were already many anglers there and I sneaked in on the first island which was about 5 pegs along.

Past match angler of old and now full time pleasure angler Ray Simms told me the pellet waggler had been working, so I set up a 4 swan job and started on this. After 30 mins with out so much as a indication I felt this was not the right the method! Lazily (you'll wince) I took off the float and set up a cage feeder on the 13ft Carbon active float rod! It was a good move as first chuck out I had just put the rod down when it went round, carp no1! I had 5 in the next 5 chucks on a 10mm banded pellet, using a PR36 to 0.15 powerline. I then had a 1.5lb crucian which was a lovely looking fish. I had in total 12 carp on the feeder after an hour or so on it, it was good casting practice landing within about 6ft of the island (I know I was close because I did once catch a reed) but I was itching to get onto the pole.

I had been feeding some 6mm pellets at 13 mtrs since I'd been on the feeder and there were odd bubbles coming up. I fished a 0.3grm Preston Inter float (slim version) with 0.13 to an 18 PR28, and on the hook had a 6mm soft pellet. I had a good 2 hours catching carp to 6lb, more crucians and skimmers to nearly 3lb. The little breeze there had been had gone and the fishing got very hard and it started to pee down, so time to pack up. I had ended up with 28 carp (I put them back as I caught them) and a good 25lb of crucians and skimmers, not bad for 4 hours fishing! Everything had come on the deck or just off by lifting and dropping, no sign of any fish shallow here today.

Next to me for company was a 13 year old Welsh lad with his dad. I know he was 13 cos he told me he was and that he was the under 13 British Speedway Champion. He had hooked one carp and lost it, and try as I might all my advice did not help him catch (mind you he was fishing 6 swan shot 12" from a the hook direct). Every time I caught a carp he said "you're lucky you, you're so lucky". Well after about three hours of this I finally had enough and told him "were you effing lucky to win the speedway championship?", smart lad he was, he got the point! In the end I scrounged some maggots for him set him up a waggler and left him getting the odd roach and perch, and gave him my soaked 4mm pellets.

I do like fishing this lake, but I have never fished it in a match, hopefully I will get the chance one day!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Cider Farm Lakes Open

For the first time for well over ten years I had a lift to a match from Dave Haines. Dave has certainly changed his habits, back in the 90's you always knew that Dave would be very late, but this Sunday morning he was outside my house early!

We were virtually the first people to arrive in the car park at Cider Farm, and as Dave hadn't seen the venue before I showed him where the lakes were. Nearly 50 people were booked in for this match, a good turnout for any open these days, and so Yarlington, Dabinett and Sheppards lake were all in today. I didn't want to draw Dabinett lake unless I could draw one of the 4 pegs in the gap, and I avoided Dabinett and drew peg 11 on Yarlington. I was fairly happy with this peg, it's rare this peg frames but I thought it would give me a good chance at the section which was worth £50 today.

Walking to the peg I saw that Rod Wotton was on his way to one of the gap pegs (21) on Dabinett, and so was Brian Slipper and Martin Barrett. As usual with Yarlington there were signs of carp knocking the reeds, trouble is the carp can be difficult to tempt away from the reeds especially when, like today, the sun shines. I set up 3 rigs today, one 4x14 for the deep water about 6ft with 0.14 to a 18 PR28 (in fact I used this hook on all my rigs), but let me say now I never had a bite on this rig! A 4x12 Mosella jobby set 3ft deep with same line and hook, and a 4x10 Preston Chianti set 1ft deep, with 0.16 direct.

At the start of the match I fed some micros, 4mm pellet and a bit of corn on a deep swim at 14mtrs which was down the side of the left hand island, the same bait in front of the island about 11.5 mtrs where it was 3ft, and to the right hand island again where it was 3ft deep. After feeding I remembered I hadn't put my keep nets in the lake yet! Starting on deep rig for 10 mins I never had a bite so on to the the right hand swim on corn and I had a small carp after about 10 mins. I took another 3 carp here before it went dead, across to the left 3ft deep swim and it was a long wait for bites but I took another 2 carp. As the hour ended I reckoned the 6 carp would have gone 10lb. I caught a couple more off this left hand swim but then I had 2 hours with hardly a bite anywhere. I could see it was fishing hard around me so I kept plodding on and eventually I started to get the odd bite on the 3ft swim to the left, but with a coupler of foulers it seemed to me to be liners so I tried shallow over the top with a pellet and nailed one first chuck. I took odd fish on this but it was never hectic, bites were well spaced out and out of the blue.

John Dursley to my right on peg 13 had been struggling but by going right into a gap in the reeds where it was 1ft deep he started to hit some carp. The sun then went behind some cloud and my bites came a bit quicker, I even took a few shallow across to the right. I should say I had dispensed with feeding by a kinder pot after 2 hours of the match and was catapulting out some 4mm pellets to both swims. A margin swim I had been nurturing never produced a single indication, but right next to my bank and inside the chopped down reeds I could see carp moving. It was probably suicide but I dropped my shallow rig down there with a bit of corn on, I did hook and lose one as the hook went into a reed but later I took two fish from here by dragging them straight up to the surface and scooping!

Towards the end of the match I was fishing much closer to the reeds to get bites but as the sun had come out again it was tough. By the end of the match I had fed around 1 pint of 4mm pellets, but I really think it was the noise the pellet made rather than the amount that was important. I had fished a very strong elastic to prevent the carp getting in the reeds, some yellow stuff that Tony Rixon put in for me a while ago. It worked in that I only lost one carp across to the reeds and used the same rigs all day, you pull out of a coupler of foulers cos it's so strong but I'd rather that than lose rigs and fish in the reeds. I weighed in 48lb 9oz which was enough to win me the section, John Dursley was next with 38lb, he had a lot less fish than me but a much better stamp. I ended up being 3rd on this lake which I was pleased with.

Sheppards lake had fished really well, with paste star Dave Roper winning with 146lb from peg 10, Rod Wotten came in 2nd with 125lb from Dabinett. Craig Tucker (son of Lance)had 98lb on Sheppards on pellet shallow before he rushed off as he has to do 7 month stint in Afghanistan, GOOD LUCK CRAIG! A 96lb on paste next to the winner, plus a couple of 80lbs also came from Sheppards. With an 80lb and a couple of 50lbs on Dabinett, Yarlington had fished the hardest today.

Dave Haines struggled for just 4 carp, but allegedly he did fish as far as 13 mtrs today! I'm going to Cider Farm for the next couple of weeks now, I think the numbers will be down a tad this Sunday as there are a couple of league matches on, but with most of the Thyers lads away it might give me a chance to draw a flyer!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Bream or Bust at Newbridge!

The last thing I saw before going to bed on Sat night was the weather forecast (OK really it was the missus but let's not split hairs) which said it would be 4 to 5 degrees overnight. Funny then that I woke up to a car which had frozen over....

I grabbed a breakfast in the rest-a-while cafe in Keynsham and picked up some useful info, the river was fishing well up the crane for Roach, lucky I'm going to Newbridge then! Derek Coles had told me this, and also that he had caught an 8lb salmon at Frys. A 3lb Salmon was also caught on the Chew on Saturday at Dapps Hill!

The draw for this match was at the pumphouse, and it wasn't long before the track filled up with cars, a turnout of old for an open on the Avon. Kev Dicks was running this match and also ran a pairs pool, so I joined forces with Glenn Bailey. Steve Hutchinson drew peg 61 for Kev Dicks and then 16 for himself, same numbers SPOOKY! Just before I drew I was glad to see some crap pegs come out, and when 36 stuck to my mit I was happy, a peg on the straight is always in with a chance of bream. Glenn drew peg 14, next to the road bridge, not always noted for bream but last year Nathaniel Johnson had 80lb off this peg in this match.

On peg 34 was bream head Jerry Pocock and he was very excited about his peg. As I set up I realised I'd put the wrong reels in my box, 2lb maxima was a tad light, and 0.22 a tad heavy. Robbie Kepner on peg 40 Lent me a reel with sensible line and I was away. I did set up two feeder rods, one with a B711 15 and 0.14, and one with a B711 13 and 0.16 (which never got used) for bagging. I started the match casting 3/4 over with a gbait feeder with a bit of chopped worm and caster, 2 red maggots on the hook. Nothing happened for a long time!

Two hours in Jerry had a small bream, I still hadn't had a bite but I had seen a pike take a 6oz roach in close, the fish are there why won't they feed! An hour later Jer had another bream, I still hadn't had a bite. I changed hook to a size 14 B611 and tried lots of different bait combinations all to no avail! I had heard that Steve Hutch had caught 18 bream halfway thru the match, but when I spoke to Glenn above him had no idea of this! Word was it was fishing very tough all round.

FOUR AND A HALF HOURS into the match I saw Jer land his 3rd Bream, and then I immediately had had a drop back bite! I took my time and landed what looked to me to be a 6lb bream, blank saved! I had taken this fish on a whole dendra and 2 red maggots. 20 mins later and steady pull saw me land bream no2 this one was a bit smaller at 5lb. I'd like to say this was the start of a bagging session but alas it was a flase dawn, I did have a bite 30 mins to go but lost what I'm sure was a foulhooker. My two bream weighed 11lb 3oz but Jer had soundly beat me with 5 for 24lb+, the guy the other side of me had blanked.

The result

1st Kev dicks 123lb 3oz. Peg 61 (Norfolk reeds) blank for first 3 hours then 30 bream in last 3 hours. Gbait feeder 3/4 way across on worm and red maggot.
2nd Steve Hutchinson 110lb 14oz. Peg 16 Took 33 bream in bursts throughout the match on gbait feeder 1/3 out mainly on worm.
3rd Jerry Pocock 24lb 12oz peg 34
4th Robbie Mann 22lb 4oz peg 52
5th S Lovell 16lb 1 peg 49

(With Jerry framing I got the £40 section by default, coin at last yippee!)

Pairs was won by (no surprises) Kev dicks + Dave Micklewright, in 2nd place was Steve Hutchinson and Eddie Wynne. Eddie did catch 3 bream for 11lb+ but that was stil less than Kev.

The eight pegs at Rotork all failed to catch! The eight pegs in the weir field were tough, 2 chub next to the bridge won this section with 8lb 8oz, Craig Fletcher had 6lb 14oz of bleak and everyone else blanked. The top weight in the little field was Graham Hunt with 3 bream for 11lb 3oz.

I guess that was a typical winter river match, with fish shoaled tightly, either side of Steve Hutch was 14lb (Dave Haines, most he has caught for years) and 9lb Glenn. I think there were probably more blanks than catchers shame the weather has been so cold because I'm sure the bream would have fed better for all had the weather been milder. No more rivers for now, bloody EA!

Oh well have to sort the gear out for commercials now and those greedy pigs, carp I mean of course. Cider Farm next week, seems to be fishing well at the moment.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

ATWL Southern Semi-Finals

Late Saturday afternoon I received the good news that in the semi at Monk Lakes Thatchers had qualified for the final after coming second. The lakes were quite patchy and team mate Mark Brennan blanked in his section. Mark Harper drew a good peg and finished 2nd overall with 54lb. Mark told me that he was late starting as his watch was 15 mins slow, only team mate Guy Manton who was pegged behind him gave him the heads up just before the start! So on the whistle Mark cast out a groundbait feeder and put it in the rests while he set about setting up the last few bits, a few seconds later he noticed the reel was spinning backwards with a 1.5lb carp. He had about 20 fish in the first 2 hours (carp and barbel) but only 3 more in the remainder of the match. Also in the frame was Gary O'Shea who took 40lb of skimmers on the feeder, he was 2nd in his section beaten by the overall winner who had 56lb. As I understand it Delcac were 1st, Thatchers 2nd, Dorking 3rd, not sure who got the 4th qualifying place.

On Sunday I picked up Glenn Bailey early and drove to the Bathampton Mill to meet Andy Britt and Vinny Lunn. We were handed the last three sections to look after which were either side of Diggers Yard. Our first job was to walk all the pegs to check no boats had moored in pegs, but we cocked that up as we missed a peg and it was the only one blocked by a boat! We soon had it sorted though and no one was upset. We stood on the swing bridge and shouted the all in at 10:15, spending the first 15 mins looking around for signs of fish. The angler on the end peg Bath side of the bridge was bite less, but on the Warleigh side the other end peg and Darren Gillman took a few fish on the punch, but it was slow. As we walked up some runners told us the pegs towards the top of the end section were catching skimmers. We got there in time to see them catch some roach and a few 8oz skimmers. At this stage 3 anglers in a row seemed to be standing out.

Walking back down after an hour it was apparent that the other side of diggers was rock hard, and when we got to Andy Ottoway he was blanking, but a ruffe whilst we were there cheered him up... a bit! I'll skip the next hour and a bit, cos Vinny gave us a lift to the George where we had a Sunday roast and a pint with Aidie Crawley, Rich Lacey and Dave Haines, but it was very nice!

We now faced the long walk from the George all the way back up to Warleigh! On the way we saw a few small fish being caught, Graham Hunt had a decent perch on the wag from the start of Bathampton bend, he was to catch two more to end 3rd in that section with 6lb+. The section from the bend onto the swing bridge was very poor, Starlets Simon Fry won this with 2lb+. There was then a big gap all the way to the pegs just before Claverton bay. There were four "Garys" in a row here and all had been blanking, but Gary "Dame Edna" Etheridge had caught a 8oz perch. Either side of him were two canal experts Gary Barclay and Gary Miller and they were both to end up blanking whilst Edna took a proper perch late on for 3rd in this section. Two proper perch for 4lb 7oz won this section from the bay, and Paul Issacs had a near 3lb bream on single bloodworm to boost him into 2nd!

As we got back to Darren Gillman he told us that Dave Micklewright had got 9lb after taking a couple of big hybrids, Glenn thought Darren was spoofing us! However, it was true, and Dave had once again picked up bonus fish on lobworm, the two hybrids were beautiful fish, golden in colour with big scales, and very thick set, and the biggest was well over 4lb. Dave had 9lb 7oz, and as it turned out he won the match by just 1oz, well done Chief, nice to see a local do well! Dave's section was easily the best in the match, with two 7lbs, two 6lbs and many 5lbs. Stand out performance for me (up this end) was the guy on the Bath side of the swing bridge, he weighed 7lb 14oz of small skimmers, all caught on bloodworm in the last 1 1/2 hours, to his right the Starlets lad was last in the section.

The team result was very tight, and there were quite a number of bonus fish that showed that changed the results, none more so than for the winners. 51 penalty points were enough for Diawa Gordon League to win, well done lads! In H section DGL's Brian Pollard took a nearch 2lb perch 15 mins to go, that took him from nearly last to 2nd in the section! The next three teams all had 53 points and so positions were decided on section wins etc,

2nd GOT Baits
3rd Kamasan Starlets
4th Garbolino Blackmore Vale (Ednas perch got you in the final Chavey and bailed you out!)

Bathampton improved on their last place in last years semi to come 8th out of 11.

Well that's it for the ATWL now until the final on the Nene, this year the final has been moved out to September, in the hope that the weed will have died back and the fishing will be better, I hope so!

One more chance on the river on Sunday 14th, open at Newbridge, let Kev Dicks know if you want to fish.