Sunday, 26 September 2010

Commercial House Round 1

I guess you could say my match started on Saturday as I pegged the venue out along with a lot of help from Lee Trivett. When I say pegged thanks to Lee we bashed some pegs out, and 5 hours later we finally finished. Come Sunday morning I was hoping for a good peg and was happy with peg 15 up at Swineford. This peg has been fished a lot lately and there actually was an angler in the peg Saturday so I was just hoping there were still some hungry fish in there! For the 2nd week running I was pegged next to Callum Dicks, he was on 17 which is where I won the Poppy Match from a few years ago.

I set up a 2.5AAA wag with 0.14 to 16 B520, a Crowquill with same terminal tackle, and a feeder rod was set up with 0.16 to 15 B711. My plan was to feed caster and maggot down the middle of the river and hope to catch everything that swims on the float, but with a view to getting some decent chub and maybe some skimmers. I felt I would need 20lb+ because this section (from outfall to peg 19) usually throws up good weights. Feeding my first bit of bait the peg erupted with small fish, and I was catching little size dace and roach, very little! I immediately filled the pouch to the brim and tried to feed the little buggers off. By swapping between the wag and Crowquill I could get the occasional 1oz to 2oz roach, not enough quality by a long way. I had scaled down to 0.12 and a 20 in case I was putting off the more "wise" larger roach, but it made no difference.

Mid match and I was surprised to have not hooked a single chub or chublet, and I had a look on the gbait feeder over. The feeder was dire with only 2 pissers giving me a bite and they were both consumed by a pike. Mr Pike never took a fish from my mid river line, so he was obviously over the far bank. Back on the wag and despite constant feeding it was the same small stuff and so I upped the feed to two pouchfuls every run through! This heavy feeding finally got rid of the bits, but it also stopped all my bites and so I reluctantly tried the feeder again for absolutely nowt! Picking up the wag for the last 15 mins I had 6 roach all about 3oz to 4oz.

I knew I was on for a hiding as soon as Andy Floyd approached me with the weigh board (I had the scales) and told me of the various bream that had been caught. Callum had managed 6lb+ above me (only 3lb above him was caught) and I weighed 8lb 1oz, only beating 3 anglers in my section. Glenn Bailey had taken 11 bream for 49lb from the peg before the reeds (to win the match, fair play!) and Jerry Pocock had 2 bream in the last 20 mins (one was 6lb 14oz) with some bits for 18lb, Andy had one bream in the last 10 mins and a lot of bits for 14lb. So for whatever reason it seems I was at the wrong end of the section today, perhaps the peg has been hammered or perhaps I'm losing my touch! Glenn was told his peg is crap, but I have seen Bream come off it lots of times, and he fished well to only bump two and lose one lol!

The river did fish generally well, with Nick Chedzoy having 46lb of chub from Bitton Brook, Rich Lacey having 23lb of bream / skimmers from one below the New Fence. There were two 20lb's of roach and lots of high double figures of roach from the Crane. Jack Whites was a bit harder but still needed doubles to do well.

I forgot what teams did well sorry! To be honest the walking yesterday and thrashing the peg today knackered me out. I've had 5 radiotherapy treatments during the week and am taking 6 chemo tablets every day. I have to go to hospital every weekday for the radiotherapy treatment and tiredness is one of the early side effects, the later ones (should they happen) ain't so pleasant so I'm not worried about feeling like a zombie! Could do with a peg full of feeding fish this Sunday to make feel a tad better though!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Superleague final round Newbridge

Well they say things come in threes and that is now three crap matches on the trot for me, I won't be writing too much today.

I drew peg 26 and didn't mind the draw although peg 24 has a lot more form. As I was fishing for Cardiff again I decided to go positive putting worms and casters in gbait and I balled in plenty to start. A small roach first chuck was followed by a small perch which a pike quickly snaffled. The next 4 fish were all snaffled by pike and that was my hook lengths gone (I'll tie more up from now on!). After this chaos all I managed was 9 or 10 tiny roach and perch. Trying worm or big hook baits never produced over the pole line, despite me putting more worm and more gbait in.

I took two perch on chopped worm just past some lily pads but no more bites, so I fed some more worm then when I tried it again I hooked a snag and lost the whole rig. Last chance was a maggot feeder over to the bush. It took a while but I did manage to get 4 chublets, but unfortunately I lost a 1lb chub to the bloody pike. After this the peg was dead and I caught nothing else, I went for a quick walk and then reballed the pole. That produced absolutely nothing.

Finally I'd had enough, it was my birthday today and I thought I'm packing up and going home to see the family as they hadn't yet seen me today. Sorry Cardiff for "nil point" but I decided there's no place like home. Tomorrow I start my chemo and radio therapy treatments, happy days....

Saturday, 18 September 2010

County Champs Regional Final

I was afforded the luxury of a lift to Cider Farm by Warren Bates, for company we had his son Olly who spent the whole journey naming car models..... After a minor detour for a road closure we arrived in good time and I tucked into two breakfast rolls, little did I know this would be the best part of the day!

Fishery owner Mark asked me to hold the bag of pegs and then I was forced to draw first, out comes peg 7 oh dear. Tony had said the day before this was a peg not to draw, and when Glenn Bailey rang me to ask where I had drawn I asked him which peg would you not want to be on.... and yes he said peg 7! Anyway, you never know the fish could be there so I would go with a positive intent. Warren had drawn peg 25 (one I fancied) and I thought the anglers who could do well were; Callum Dicks on peg 4 (where it was won from on Wednesday), Des Shipp peg 32, Tony Rixon peg 51 (he won from it a week ago) and Chris Davis on peg 46. Rod Wootten on 56 was always going to be a threat.

The trouble with peg 7 is there is no area free of reeds, and the reeds opposite fall right out over the water meaning you can't get tight. I set up a paste rig (waste of time), a banded pellet rig for deep 4x14 0.16 to 16 and a shallow 4x10 rig same line and hook and a margin rig same again. On the whistle I fed some 6mm to point of the reeds at 11.5m and some at the same distance up the inside. I also fed a big potful at 16 mtrs which was near some bare bank but about 1/2 mtr short. It took me an hour to catch a 3lb carp on banded pellet on the deep rig on the point. I never had another fish on this rig all day but did have a couple of digs on the float during the day. I tried the shallow rig over this line for nothing, the margin was also dead!

Halfway through I caught 2 carp on the 16 mtr line in 15 mins and pulled out of 2 foul hookers, I managed one more bite from this spot for the rest of the day. My day was made a bit more interesting by watching Callum catching, and breaking a top set and 2 no4 sections.

I tried fishing shallow and the margin line but all to no avail and with an hour to go and I went for a walk as I just could not catch. I returned to my peg and was going to pack up but thought I'll just drop in shallow again on the point, I had a 3lb carp without feeding and then missed a bite, and that was that. 4 carp for 10lb 9oz (yes I did weigh to try to win a £1 but even that failed by 1lb!) is my worst weight at the venue in the 5 years I've fished the place, why did that have to hapen today!!!

After the match two things happened to cheer me up; 1) Callum dived into the lake to retrieve a lost top 4, nice shorts mate! 2) A few nameless anglers had an apple throwing fight and one of them manged to hit Mark on the head!

Des Shipp showed his world class by catching 90lb, 2nd was Rod Wootten, 3rd Mark Leader, 4th Callum Dicks and 5th Kev Moulton. These 5 will go to the final in search of £10K and I wish them the very best of luck and hope they win for our county!

I've just taken out all the carp gear, again, put all the river gear back in and mixed some gbait for the superleague tomorrow at Newbridge, will this turn into a nightmare weekend for me? I hope not!

Monday, 13 September 2010

AT winter League Final - River Nene

The long journey to Peterborough was to be made with Andy Power, so that would be quiet then lol. Andy arrived Sat morning with his Fiesta overflowing with tackle, even with my large estate car we only just got everything in! We arrived in Peterborough in good time and along with Tucks, Gary O'Shea, Mark Harper, Guy Manton and Mark Brennan walked some of the sections. The river was like tap water and on some pegs you could see the bottom in the middle. Much groundbait mixing later and finally at 5:30pm I was sat having my first beer. Goodness knows how many beers I had but after a fantastic Chinese meal and great night on the town I went to bed at 2:30pm, room mate Andy getting in at 3:30pm though I never heard him!

Sunday morning 7am alarm, and it took me a little while to get the brain engaged and remember what was happening! Surprisingly I didn't feel ill, just tired, and after a quick brekkie and plenty of water I was sorted. Arriving at the tacklefest car park the bloodworm and joker was sorted as was the mixing of leam. Then Mark Harper gave us our draw and I was pegged on 563 at Railworld, the peg below me was a flyer and had produced 20lb of roach already this year and had framed last year. I hoped the roach would be happier in my peg today!

When I arrived at my peg I was disappointed to see that I was in a bit of bay, which meant I had to wade in and get the box in the water which was not easy as there was about a foot of silt. My section wasn't going to be to hard for me to win, what with Sean Ashby (on a flyer), Joe Carass, Callum Dicks oh and Stuart Conroy on the flyer below me! Shit I hope the roach eat hemp today! I managed to get sorted and set up 4 pole rigs on top 4's. A 2 grm rig for bloodworm with a 20 PR334 (I think) to 0.07. A 0.8 grm (bulk and droppers) for hemp with a 18 B511 to 0.07, a 0.4gm (spread shot) for hemp same hook and line, and finally a 1.5 grm for chopped worm with a 11 B711 to 0.18. Setting up anything else seemed pointless as basically your fishing in a weed free area of the peg. Ten minutes before the start a very friendly local angler told me I was on a flyer for bream... when the river has a foot on! He said not one bream had been caught off the peg all season and that they were probably sat in the weed only coming out at night.

On the whistle in went the best part of 4 kilos of groundbait and 3 balls of leam stuffed with joker to 13 metres. Chopped worm was bait droppered in at 10 metres at an angle downstream. On with a pinkie and the 2grm float and first chuck the float buried, a nice "ten to the ounce" size roach had obliged! Fifteen mins in and the writing was on the wall, the pinkie wouldn't attract anymore bites and bloodworm only attracted these tiny fish. I was feeding hemp all the time and remained positive that an hour or two catching roach later on this would see me bag up!

An hour in and I had one 4oz roach and 12 fry, so onto the lobworm. I missed a bite, but redeemed myself by hitting the next bite and a 6oz perch was netted. No more bites from here, so I put another bait dropper in. By now more and more weed was floating down the river and it was no fun with many attempts at dropping the rig in resulting in weed on the line or bait. When I did get the bait in all I got was a ragged out bloodworm from a fry! Half way through and I tried the heavy hemp rig (the downstream wind was now awful and the light rig would be useless) and bugger me I had a bite! In 15 mins I managed 3 roach between 2oz and 4oz, missed 3 bites and I thought here we go, but then it just died! I was now being hammered in the section and decided to put in a good dump of joker in leam for those bream! I then had a 6oz eel on the lobby but again no more bites so I fed two more bait droppers of worm!

With an hour to go I was fu$ked, the joker line was still full of fry and the hemp line was dead. I sat on the chop for ages hoping for a lump, I did manage another eel about 10oz but that was it and so with 20 mins to go went on the hemp, 3 more roach obliged straight away then nothing and then the whistle went. I weighed 2lb 12oz, to only beat 3 people in the section (although one of them was Callum and Joe Carrass only did me by 2oz). I was embarrassed to see Stu Conroy weigh 11lb of roach on bloodworm below me and the next 5 or 6 anglers below him all had between 6lb and 13lb. Had I been just off the roach, or had I got it totally wrong? I'd like to think both because I know I can catch roach on hemp (and there were plenty caught below Stu on it) Stu showed me his bloodworm rig and it was the same as mine so it must be the feeding, I think I fed it all wrong with the amount of groundbait. It was soon clear that I had not been alone in letting the team down (made me feel a bit better!) and many others had done as bad, but Gary O'Shea did well with 2nd in section. The team finished 13th out of 15, perhaps what we expected as we had not practiced and the team plan was to have a great night out Saturday and fill the river in Sunday! Kamasan Starlets won the match and the guy who won my section with 13lb of roach on hemp was 1st overall.

Andy and myself went straight to the nearest MacDonald's where we found Nigel Evans, Nick Ewers and Chedz consoling themselves with food! Nick Ewers nearly made me choke on my food as he recalled his day and I pissed myself laughing. His match was basically just like mine except he did chuck the feeder out, but only twice because each chuck saw it stuck in unseen cabbages! I know you'll probably be reading this thinking what a load of shite, but I actually enjoyed the weekend and the experience of rubbing shoulders with anglers who are in tune with bloodworm. We don't do enough of that sort of fishing and once the river fished hard the team we were out of it. I wish they would put this final on a decent venue and stop practising the week before, because the fish are hammered until Weds before and it doesn't help. Oh well there's always next year!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Back to the River!

Round 5 of the South West Superleague at Newbridge was my destination this Sunday. I had a major task on Saturday trying to get my kit ready for rivers and if I'm honest I wasn't 100% prepared! This was my first outing on the Superleague and I was guesting for Cardiff Nomads would you believe.

I met my Thatchers team mates in Matty's cafe in Bath, this place has certainly gone in up everyones estimation and the service is excellent (see for yourself). Good to see the lads again, and along with me both Liam Braddell and Leigh Trivett were guesting for Nomads. Rich Candy did the draw and handed me peg 97, about 10 pegs up from the arch in the trees and not an area I've really drawn before. Liam drew peg 74 just below Newton St Loe bridge, this after Leigh and myself had said it would be a good peg to draw! I was glad of the short walk as my arms were aching from assembling furniture the day before, and you do seem to carry a lot more gear to the river than to commercials. I needed to a little bit of pruning of some overhead branches but it was minimal effort and other than that the peg was fine, although I would be sat about 3ft above the water.

The river was clear, as expected, but I had nice tree cover inside and across and thought it might hold a few fish. I set up a 2grm Desque float with a bulk and 3 no10 droppers, a 20 to 0.10 for starters. A 3grm flat float (tried but never caught owt) and a 1.5grm with a 13 B711 to 0.168 for chopped worm (also caught nowt). I also set up a groundbait feeder with 0.14 to a 14 B611, I clipped this up to fish a few metres short of the far bank willow tree.

On the whistle I made about 8 casts on the gbait feeder then threw in 14 balls of gbait at 13 mtrs. Picking up the 2grm Desque float my first cast with single caster was rewarded with a 4oz roach, as were the next 3 casts. Unfortunately the run stopped and I was forced to alter depths and hook baits to try and sneak out the odd small roach and perch as well as going down to an 0.08 to 22 hook. Just as I was giving up on the pole I hooked a perch of about 12oz, but this also signalled the end of the pole line after an hour and a half. I decided to try the feeder and started positively with 3 red maggots on the hook. The tip remained motionless for 5 mins then slowly pulled round, my reward was a 10oz skimmer foul hooked! Forty more minutes on the feeder only provided 2 small perch and so reluctantly I came off this. I then tried all 3 pole rigs without any sign of a fish. I was now very concerned as Andy Britt had walked up the bank earlier and told me all bar one other angler in my section was admitting to 5lb, so I was guessing I was now well behind in the section.

I rang my next peg neighbour Guy Manton and he had taken 5lb on the pole and a bream on the feeder and then Steve Hutchinson told me that other bream had been caught further down. That settled things for me and I was going to fish the gbait feeder until the end. I couldn't believe it when my first 6 casts on the feeder gave me 6 bream! No just dreaming... but I did get 6 chublets which were all welcome! The feeder was now providing some interest with the odd perch to 8oz and a 1.5lb skimmer, maggot was best on the hook as worm only got me small perch. With 40 mins to go I had a proper pull round and just managed to fit a 5/6lb slab in the landing net, which was nice! One more chublet and small perch was all that came my way afer that bream and now it was wait for the scales. I had a long wait as I was the end peg in the section and it turned out that the first 3 pegs had weighed 32lb, 41lb and 27lb of bream! My weight of 15lb 12oz was the best of the rest, beating Thatchers team mate Guy by 3lb, all bar one person in the section had double figures.

Back at the results and the river had fished well, Liam Braddell won the match with 61lb of decent skimmers on the pole, he reckoned he had 45lb in the first two hours and fish were rolling all over the place. Every section was won with double figures and I must say even I was surprised by the good catches on such a clear river. Thyers won on the day with 35 points, and it was a close affair as three teams tied for last place (Maver Veals, Thatchers and Cardiff) on 30 points!

Well I have to try to find the time to prepare for the Angling Times Winter League final on the Nene this Sunday. The venue has moved slightly this year, and the North Bank is out with Orton in, apparently last week in an open there were five 20lb catches of roach! With no practice I will be relying on my river skills to see me through, and I hope we get lots more rain this week to colour it up so I can chuck the feeder out, lol!

Friday, 3 September 2010

BRI Visits

I have been to the hospital twice this week, already getting to know my way around now and recognising fellow patients!

My first visit was to see my consultant Dr Falk, apparently he's the top man, and a very nice bloke he is. He told me the size of the tumour is small and not a problem, but the position of the tumour being so close to my arse makes things more tricky (not much room inside the pelvis). So they want to shrink the tumour as much as possible before trying to remove it, and this means I will have to have 5 weeks of chemo and radio therapy. Dr Falk proceeded to explain the likely side effects and that these wouldn't likely kick in until the last week of treatment and then for a number of weeks after. It is the radiation, it gets at you once it has built up over time. Most of the likely side effects are going to be feeling sick, tiredness, the shits and few more that I won't mention here! Oh, and I'll be infertile but that's not a problem because I already had the snip! They measured my height and weight and took blood (my arms like a pepper pot) all of which is used to determine the dosage level of treatments.

On Wednesday I was in having another CT scan, this time they were "measuring" me up for the radio therapy. So I now have two crosses on my thighs and a small tattoo dot on my arse. I have to this done all over again on the 17th Sept when they check the measurements are all correct. Then on the 20th Sept (would you believe the day after my birthday) I start the treatment, and it ends on the 22nd Oct. Five weeks after the treatment ends I will be scanned again to see if the tumour has shrunk enough, and if it has then 3 to 5 weeks later I would be operated on.... hmmm that's around Christmas!

Well the above means that I should be fishing the river well into October, and will battle the side effects best I can to carry on fishing. I am going to fish the Super league this Sun at Newbridge (that will be a shock after all the carping!) the Winter league Final on the Nene and then the Avon county champs top 20 fish off at Cider Farm and so on.

I have to say so far my experience at the BRI has been great, all the staff I have come into contact with have been superb and explained everything perfectly. The only problem is parking!

I hope people do not find me writing this up in any way sick, I am doing it because 1) It helps me and 2) I have been much bettered prepared for my trips to the BRI thanks to info from other people who have gone through this process, and whilst I certainly do not want anyone reading this to go through it if you do this might just help.

Above all I am totally positive of the outcome (if you've met me recently you will know this) and not worried in the slightest. See you on the bank!