Monday, 28 June 2010

Remember 1990

At least in 1990 when we got knocked out the world cup we played well and were hard done by the hand of God. Yes I stayed home this weekend, did the BBQ, beer and footy lark, 2 out 3 ain't bad I suppose but I drank my sorrows away. Wot a bag of shite England were.

Talking of shite, I fished the middle Avon champs at the beginning of November 1990 drew Candys and caught a 1lb of bits! The following week I fished a Bathampton open at Newbridge. I drew peg 68 and got bitted out on the wag, so I upped the feed and fed off the bits and had no more bites! Peg 52 won on the day with 54lb of bream, but pegs 72 to 79 all produced plenty of chub, sadly these days those pegs hold hardly any chub. Never mind after two bad matches it was onto the Poppy Match which I liked. I drew up the Crane, just below bread point and a nice walk, and I caught sod all! In fairness after trying the wag for chub I fished for bream on the feeder and it was a bit like fishing for cod in the K&A, there ain't none there.... The match was good for many though, with 56lb of bream winning from Jack Whites, and 16lb was needed for 20th place.

After three dreadful matches I was hoping things had to get better on the next round of the Commercial House fished at Frys. I drew one peg above the lone tree (now a chub flyer) and went for bream on the feeder again, and again it didn't work for me! However, this time I was able to catch small fish by loose feeding maggot 1/3 out and running a crowquill over it. Red maggot on the hook was best, using a 22 hook to 1.8lb Tectan, and my 4lb 8oz was 2nd in the section.

I was picked to fish a superleague match the following Saturday on the Taunton & Bridgewater canal and I was drawn at Creech. I recall this match very well, because I went to a party the night before at Andy Leonard's house and ended up sleeping on his sofa. Without any alarm I was obviously still in dreamland and I don't recall quite how I did get woken up. Meanwhile Kev Boltz was at my house asking my parents where I was and was thinking he would have to go and tell the team I was AWOL! I remember walking to my peg in a hail storm that was so cold it made my hands go red and numb (like my brain felt anyway). I drew next to an angler (who I don't think fishes anymore) called Dave Gregory who I knew at the time, and he felt it would be a tough match. I could see why, the canal was absolutely gin clear! I decided not to bother setting up a pole, instead I just went for a 3 no4 Drennan canal grey set up on running line. I put 2 no11 shot down the line and used a 24 to 1.3lb tectan. I threw a couple of small balls of liquidized bread in down the middle of the canal and set about a days punch fishing. It was really hard, and after an hour other than 4 roach all I could get was the odd rudd fry! Thankfully by sticking to my guns I was rewarded with two 1lb skimmers about mid match, but nothing much after that. I weighed 3lb 4oz and that was worth 9 points from 12. I was however really chuffed to come 4th in the section because in the last 2 hours a bream shoal fed in the last 3 pegs of the section, and those anglers were not only the top 3 in the section but in the match overall. The team surprised many by coming 2nd on the day, but that still meant we were only 7th overall.

My confidence after that result was smashed the following day on the 3rd round of the ATWL when I drew 1 below Saltford weir, where the boats enter the locks. Here for about 20 metres out the river was just swirling around on itself, and all the rubbish from floods was sat on the surface swirling around. I caught 2 roach by chucking a feeder miles out and standing up on the bank, I did have 2 other fish on but lost both in the rubbish. My 9oz got me 3 points some how, but it was one of the most frustrating days of my fishing life. The team came 3rd on the day and were now joint top with Bathampton, so at the half way stage it was still all to play for.

Hopefully back on the bank this Sunday for a match.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Master Rixon's float only series round trois!

This match was fished at Landsend, and after my debacle there the previous week, and the fact I cannot do any good in the series, I was hoping to avoid lake 3 and 4 to have a chance of framing. The conversation on the drive down to the venue with Glenn mainly centered around the England game against Algeria, nuff said, but also the lack of people and carp on his trip to Whiteacres.

I had toyed with the idea of somebody else drawing for me today, but in the end I decided to pull my own, peg that is. Peg 71 came out which put me on the first peg on lake 4, all chances of framing were out I was told, but I should win the section as long as I beat peg 72 next to me. Glenn also drew on lake 4 in the far end opposite corner to me. I have never fished this lake before so was pleased to be on a good peg!

When I arrived at the peg I was greeted by the master builder Fabio opposite me, Viaduct carp slayer Fred Roberts on peg 72 and then Tony Rixon turned up on the peg next to Fabio. I was impressed by Tony's ability to push his gear up and down the hill, but when he then sat on his box for a long time (he said surveying the peg) I realised he was actually knackered. Peg 71 is in a corner, and the wind usually blows down towards this end of the lake, and I was given lots of useful advice from many anglers. It seemed the carp are small in this lake and silvers are not plentiful. I had the corner to fish into and then the point where it came out of the corner, as well as open water. I set up a 4x12 PB1 inter float, with 0.14 to a 16 B911 (for the open water with soft pellet), 4x10 PB4 for into the corner, a dibber for across to the point and a Maver bristle job for just off the point. All of these three rigs were for banded pellet, oh there was also a paste rig for the inside but I didn't catch on that.

On the whistle I potted in some 6mms with casters at 9 mtrs, not a lot of bait as I wasn't expecting a bagging session. I cupped some more pellets into two spots in the corner and then loose fed some sixes to the point. Onto the open water swim with a 4mm expander and fingers crossed! Well the good news for me was that there were some fish about, I was getting odd bites from carp of less than a pound. I was topping up with about a dozen 6mms and 30 casters via a pole pot although I did vary the amounts as I tried to keep bites coming. I did try caster and maggot hook baits when things slowed, but they made no difference and soft pellet was best. After an hour I could see the four of us at this end of the lake had caught a few, but the other anglers were really struggling. This was typified by Clayton Hudson taking an early walk up the section and telling me I was pissing it! I continued on this line for as long as I could, and I had my best catching spell after an hour and a half with 4 fish in 4 casts really quickly, but then the swim died!

I was hoping to have seen a few fish move around the corners or the point but it took 2 hours for that. Going over to the point on the 1ft deep rig with banded 8mm I had a carp within 10 mins, but then the fun started! I lost 2 rigs to unseen snags (2 metres apart) and then as I was losing my third rig over I saw what it was, the old netting of a bale of straw! Tony suggested I should pull it out, the netting that is, so I walked around carefully on the slope (got moaned out by Fabio) and pulled the netting out, it was attached to a rope at both ends and was covering at least 2.5 metres of the bank. I decided to leave this line alone until I could see any signs of fish, and tried in the corner. One of the corner swims was a waste of time as I kept snagging up on roots or underwater branches, but at 5 metres right down the inside it was clear, but also devoid of fish!

Going back to the 9 mtr swim I managed to sneak a couple more fish out but it was very slow. I decided to start a new swim at 13 mtrs out into the open water, and I fed again with 6mms and caster in a pot. It took a time but I did get signs of odd small carp here, and as all my section were struggling and Fred Roberts next to me had also struggled after a few fish early on I decided to stick with it. A few fish came from the point on the dibber, but it was so shallow they wouldn't stay, and in the last 30 mins I took 2 small carp from the 5 mtr corner swim. The match finished and there were quite a few in my section who signalled their approval of this, including Matt Toomes whose simple comment made me laugh! As I packed up the mirth continued as I watched Tony throw his unused paste at Fabio, several times!

Myself and Freddo had to do the weigh in and it was no surprise that we ended up 1st and 2nd in the section (joke) I weighed 32lb 9oz and Freddo 17lb, Matt was next best with 15lb. The other side of the lake was better, with a 50lb, 35lb and two 20s. I was of course happy to win the section, but there was more to come from this peg and I just don't have enough experience on this lake and didn't realise just how small the carp were. I should have gone out to 13 mtrs much earlier on and probably would have been better feeding 4mms instead of 6mm.

Full result is on Tony's and Mike Nicholl's blogs, but Craig Edmunds did well to win the match, I don't mean cos of the peg, I mean cos of the state he was in at the start, he looked awful! Trig told me he had an empty peg either side of him and caught on banded pellet in the second half of the match. When he first went across he caught 15 chub on pellet, having never caught one on caster! Speci lake was certainly the place to be today, even match lake didn't play ball in the overall frame, and do you know what? I have never ever drawn on Speci lake yet!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

October 1990

The day after the Div 5 national on the Trent I was back on the Bristol Avon for round one of the South West ATWL. I drew at Jack Whites, on what would be today about 2 "fishable" pegs below peg 123. I didn't fancy the peg as back then the bream fed well at Jackies and they were being caught further upstream. I fished the feeder in vain for half the match for one solitary bream, and then went on the wag to try and get a few points. Fishing 6ft deep with a 20 to 1.7lb line and double maggot I had some small chub, dace and roach. My 7lb 15oz was never going to win the section and I only managed 5 points out of 12. The river had fished well and 45lb of slabs won the match. On the team front my side won and Silstar Bathampton came 2nd.

The following Sunday saw me at Newbridge on peg 15 for the Commercial House. The river was slow and clear and there was a strong gusty wind, I set up a waggler as I thought it would be the only thing I could pick up the flow on, and a maggot feeder. I fished light with a 22 hook to 1.8 Tectan on the wag, there were no bleak bothering me and I just fed maggot steady all day. I caught the odd bomber chublet and an occasional roach, fishing half depth on the drop was best. I did manage one small chub on the feeder and a better fish did me, but the wag was best as what fish were feedeing seemed to be shallow. I weighed 4lb 12oz which was enough to the win section, that sort of weight in October today would probably be way down the section.

A Superleague match on the Huntspill (on a Saturday!) in nasty wind and rain greeted me next. Back then my approach to the spill centred around the waggler fished over depth, and of course the feeder for the then big bream. It was a right grueller and I had to put 6 no 8 shot down the line and fish them on the bottom to try to get a bit of presentation. All I caught was the very, very odd roach, and would you believe that my 1lb 4oz gave me 8 points from 12! I think we anglers tend to forget how hard matches were, so many people say the fishing was better years ago, I don't think so. I think our angling techniques have improved tremendously and the pole has been a major part of this.

The following day saw me on round 2 of the ATWL, to be fished on the Avon above Bath. I drew Limpley Stoke 8 pegs up from the downstream end peg and didn't really know much about this peg other than it wasn't normally a good area. The river had a lot of colour from previous rain, but it was not pushing through really fast. I started on a wag about 3 ft deep looking for bleak or whatever, I had just over 1lb of bits in the first hour when it died. Onto the maggot feeder and I spent nearly an hour without a bite, but I was feeding the peg. Then our runner for the day turned up, none other than Dave Haines (yeh he was crap back then too) and within minutes of him arriving I had a chub of 3lb. Dave went off for a walk of my section and he came back to tell me with 4lb I was winning the section. Not long after I added another Chub near 4lb (which Dave was giving it the old "okey coke" fist pumping when I landed it) and 4 decent eels. With no lost fish I'd had a good day, and the 10lb 10oz I weighed easily won the section. The team result was a repeat performance of round one with us 1st and Silstar 2nd.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Wasting my time at Landsend

I had planned to fish Cider Farm today, but Tony Rixon was running an open at Landsend on lakes 3 and 4, and as I'm there next week for the float only series, and I have only fished lake 3 once and never on 4, I thought I'd give it go. I was given a lift to the venue by Phil (Fabio) Harding, and we fuelled up in Abbeys cafe. My first visit to this caf and it was very good, though I gave the large brekkie a miss as I was still feeling full from a load of BBQ food the night before.

Tony decided to put everyone on lake 3 as there was plenty of room for us all, I drew peg 51, one away from where I was last time on here. I was told that the near end pegs were the best, but I was 2/3 up the lake so nowhere near, Phil had drawn 42 and was in with a shout. To my right today I had Steve Kedge, and to my left chubby himself Tony Rixon. Tony and myself were pegged either end of the island and so had lots of space, and as there were odd fish visible I was feeling confident. I set up a depth rig for banded pellet a PB4 with 0.16 to a 16B960, a depth rig for corn /soft pellet (apart from the inside line the rest of the peg was the same depth), a paste rig for the inside and a shallow rig for across.

I had earmarked three spots to feed on the far bank, to the left of a bush, straight in front in a little cut back and round the corner of the island, these spots were all fed with 6 mm pellet. I then fed some wetted 4mm and corn at 9m to my left, and threw 6mm pellets to my inside line at 5m. I started on the 9m line hoping to prime the far bank feeding 6mms by catty. The 9m line was soon producing small fizzes but my soft pellet hookbait was not taken, and after 15 mins I tried a piece of corn and hooked a skimmer within seconds. Straight out again but no more bites on the corn and the fizz had stopped so I cupped in a little more feed. That brought the mini fizz back but other than a couple of quick dips no fish. After 45 mins I had to leave this line and go across, I tried the depth rig to see what was about. Trying the rig in all 3 fed areas resulted in one liner from a fish just below the surface. Out with the shallow rig and a 1lb crucian was netted, but that was it! There was the odd fish showing against the mud, but despite trying just 6 inches deep I had no bites but did foul hook one which I played for a good 5 mins before it pulled out.

Halfway through and I was stuck on just the two fish, Tony was blanking (read about it on his blog LOL) and Steve Kedge was on the caster. I did see a carp feeding on my inside line, I went in with the paste and had some twitches and pulls but no proper bites and with 5 mins the fish had Foxtrot Oscared! I managed my first carp about 2.5lb after 4 hours, this was on the depth rig across in the cut back, I also lost a fouler here. I had one skimmer from the bush and after that never had another bite here, in fact I never had another bite anywhere! I did laugh when Tony managed to hook a crucian his one and only fish as even that was fouled! I guess you can imagine how frustrated Tony was, as when he packed up early and Mike West hooked a carp next to him Tony threw Mike's Landing net out of his reach!

The match had been no fun for me, and certainly a lot less for Tony and I did ask him what he planned to write in his blog? I weighed 5lb 8oz, just so I could say I beat Tony, I doubt I beat anyone else who bothered to weigh! The other end of the lake had been better with the two end pegs (70 and 41) being 1st and 2nd, Rod Wootten (venue expert) had 70lb and Jason Radford 67lb. Dean Malin was 3rd with just 28lb from I think peg 56, end peg at other end to winners, and Phil came 4th on peg 42 with 27lb. Very poor weights for this time of year.

Well that's twice I've been on this lake and both times I've had bugger all, can't say this lake impresses me much as the same pegs did the damage last time. Hope I do not draw here again next week, I really hope to get some luck at the drawbag, surely a flyer will come my way soon!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

A Smashing Time At Avalon!

Sunday and off to Avalon for Tony Rixon's float only series. I was in a fit state when Glenn picked me up (I had done my drinking Friday night at the Bitton Beer festival) but I wound him up by appearing to be hungover and slouched over my box! I didn't fancy fishing with a hangover at Avalon though as you need your head screwed on usually. I sampled the Stockman breakfast at Shipham and it was absolutely brilliant and kept me going all day.

I have never drawn the specimen lake at Avalon but quite fancied getting it today, but once again I missed it. I found myself on peg 29 which I have drawn twice before, and as last year I had a bad day on peg 30, I felt I knew the area fairly well! My company for the day was Dave "Dodgy" Downton (to my right) and Clayton Hudson. I was in a tough section too, with Tony Rixon, Leon Hubbard, Martyn Reyatt, Vic Bush oh and team mate Nick Ewers. My peg has an island opposite which is in the form of bay before straightening up, it is a very long chuck though.

Getting set up was fairly straight forward, two 4.5 swan pellet wags (one 1ft deep, the other 2ft deep) with 16 PR36 to 0.18 Exceed line. A shallow pole rig (that doubled up for the margin) deep rig for banded pellet and another for paste completed things. I had not expected the day to be to windy (based on weather forecast) but this turned out to be wrong, big time! To start with the wind was blowing gently down and across the lake to me, so I decided to start on the pole at 15mtrs with the deep rig on 8mm banded pellet. I fed half a big cup of 6mms here and fed 8mms over to the island by catty (all day). Within a few minutes my pole line showed signs of activity with bubbles and small fizzes, but it took 15 mins to get a bite which I converted into a 6lb carp. About another 15 mins later and carp no2 was landed, and then Clayton landed a 10lb carp on the pole shallow to cancel out my lead. Things were looking good at this stage Clayton commented, but not for much longer!

An hour and 30 mins in and I had not added to my tally, but I had pulled out of 3 carp on the pellet (pretty sure foulers) and bumped what I think was a big skimmer on paste. The fizzes and indications on the pole line had now stopped and so I picked up the pellet wag. Now despite Clayton and Dave not having anything yet on the wag I was fairly confident of it burying first chuck, but it didn't, and it took me about half an hour to get a bite which was from a fouler and I lost it. Twenty minutes later and the same result, aaarrggh! There were no indications of fish in the peg just literally a bite every twenty minutes or so. It was around this time that there was a large bang and I looked round to see Dodgy had snapped the number 6 section of his Maver pole on the strike. I said that would go in the blog, and I tried not laugh. (Hence the title, smashing time, read on for more smashing!)

Halfway through and the wind was dreadful and getting worse and I was struggling to get the 8mm pellets to reach the island and it was impossible to get the feed to land in the same place. I had 3 carp by now, Clayton was still stuck on one carp and Dave was blanking so I felt I was doing sort of OK. The wind put me off trying to feed a long pole line as I could not see how I would be able to present the rig properly, so I soldiered on with the wag. My perseverance was rewarded and I managed to hook a few more carp on the wag, all in the mouth and no more losses, well there was one when I looked away and looked back to see the float had gone under so I struck and managed to snap the hook length (twat). The last 30 mins were dead for me, a try down the margin resulted in one dropped perch that liked my 8mm pellet, and I finished the match with 8 carp. I reckon I fed 3 pints of 8mms over the match and 2 pints of 6mms, not a lot but I don't think it was a day for heaving it in.

Waiting for the scales I chatted to a few people around me, poor old Clayton had got stuck on one carp, bad luck mate but thanks for keeping me up to date with the England cricket score all day! Dave Downton managed 3 late carp on paste, Tony Rixon only had 4 carp and Martin Reyatt had 5. Glenn was in the same mess as Dodgy, just 3 carp and a snapped number 6 section on his Maver pole, I'll say no more! I weighed 43lb 10oz which won me the section, Martin was 2nd with 37lb and Leon Hubbard 3rd beating Tony off the next peg with a couple of nice lumps! The match had been a very tough affair, the venue fished hard but the wind made some pegs very hard indeed. The match was won by Chris Fox with 62lb on the Speci lake, see his blog for full run down, and Kev Moulton was a close 2nd on form corner peg 24. The silvers were won by skimmer king Mike West. O yes, nearly forgot, I also heard that Josh Garrett had a smashing time, snapping his waggler rod in half!

So my £30 section paid for the family kebab, and luckily despite catching the island foliage a number of times I never lost any gear, a cheaper day out than normal at Avalon! As we drove back home Glenn told me that the area of the lake he was pegged in was alive with fizzing fish when he got to his peg (he was the first person there after the draw), but as more people turned up to their pegs all the fizzing stopped. Seems the fish are unhappy with the amount of bankside disturbance, and in fact smaller matches here do seem to give better weights. Glenn also reminded me that what I had said on my last post was proving true, that each time he travels with me lately he catches nowt. Well he's fishing on his own next week at Viaduct, if he can get another number 6 section that is, kerching!