Sunday, 31 October 2010

ATWL Round 3 Swineford / Crane Jack Whites

I had a couple of beers with my old pal Martyn "Woody" Woodington Sat night and having not really seen each other for about 15 years we couldn't fit everything that has happened to us in that time! However, he did tell me he had tried to catch a pike most of Saturday on lures etc, down at Conham and up the Crane, he never had a single take!

Those beers seemed to have perked me up and I felt well enough to take a stroll up the Crane. The river was fishing its head off! Other than the lane from the cattle grid up to the top of the long ashtip double figure weights of roach were numerous. It was hard for me to get the truth or in some cases any info out of some people, so hard to really know what was going on exactly. What I saw was that balling in and running line were both catching fish. Here are the top weights from the Crane I recall :-

Robbie Manns 24lb (big roach) first peg into long ashtip
Lance Tucker 23lb (hybrids and roach) high wall
Lee Trivett 22lb (roach) last peg in little ashtip
Paul Barnfield 18lb (roach) 1st peg by Marina
There were at least three 17lb weights, and loads more doubles, Andy Floyd had 9lb 9oz from above Lance Tucker for last in his section!

Andy Power won Jack Whites with 28lb of dace and bleak from the peg on the fence. 24lb of chub was second Shaun Townsend.

Swineford was not to bad either.... Martyn Reyatt had 70lb+ of Bream from the outfall and on peg 2 Liam Bradell had 55lb of Bream. Steve Priddle had 30lb of bream on the pole from about peg 20, and Nick Ewers had 20lb of bomber chub from the Beach. There was also a 17lb of roach from peg 29 and 10lb was halfway in most sections. Oh and loads of people had pike problems, so Woody you should have chucked in some gbait to catch your pike!

Thatchers won on the day and I think only one member of the team did not manage double figures, Bathampton were 3rd and Thyers slipped up into 4th. (Sorry didn't know who came 2nd!)

League to date

Thatchers 4 points
Thyers 7 points
Bathampton 10 points

The next round is this Sunday at Newbridge, and for this part of the river they could do with some rain or it will be very peggy.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Chapter 1 Ends

Sunday evening was celebrated with a pint of Guinness, not due to anything fishy but because my 5 week cancer treatment had ended; 25 radiotherapy sessions and 210 chemo tablets were endured. All of the nurses I met were fantastic, and certainly made me feel like an individual who they knew well despite the large number of patients they have to see. I made a few friends with other patients, one in particular Ken from Weston-Super-Mare was is a pleasure angler and mostly fishes Cider Farm. We made a promise to keep in touch and go fishing together when we've both got ourselves sorted.

It's not possible for me to fish at present because the radiotherapy has not only made my bottom sore, but given me the squirts. I get anything between 20 seconds and 2 minutes notice of toilet trouble, and so have to be near a loo. Quite funny last week I had a real humdinger of a belly ache and I did my best to run to the loo (which cut my ass cheeks to pieces) and arrived at the pan with an ever increasing urge! As I pulled the laces on my tracksuit bottoms the laces knotted and I was struck by blind panic of the impending earthquake in my pants!!!!!! Somehow I managed to undo the knot and sit down just as Elvis left the building at the speed of sound....phew! Mind you the process of going to the toilet is as appealing as fishing the Exeter Canal after breaking the ice and only having luncheon meat as bait, so painful is passing any "motion" that I cannot help but shout out, the neighbours probably think I'm having some sort of sexual punishment lol!

I spoke briefly to Martin Barrett about how the Commercial House fished on Sunday. It was at Newbridge again and the bit of rain we had but some extra pace and a bit of colour into it. Once again some areas were good and some hard, peg 22A this time was the match winner with 25lb of Hybrids (swam down from peg 20?) I don't know all the results but I do know that Steve Tucker had 20lb of Roach from the bottom of the trees (lovely) and Martin Barret had 17lb of hybrids from peg 12 in the little field, this was the peg that came last in the section week before, fish swimming again!

I'm building myself up to fish the Poppy Match, maybe the next Commercial House we'll see.

Monday, 18 October 2010

ATWL Round 2 Newbridge

I did not fish this match but got to have a look at the first two sections in the "Little Field" and down to the Pumphouse. What did surprise me was that there was still a nice tinge of colour in the water, I had expected it to be much clearer. In the "Little Field" Lee Trivett was on peg 3 and had a good start on the pole over gbait taking nice size roach and some hybrids, his pole line died 2 hours in as did everyone elses in this section (some earlier) except for Richard Laceys that is. He was on form peg 7 and his float was burying ever drop in. This laid the foundation for the result with Richard winning the section with 15lb 15oz and Lee coming 2nd with 14lb 14oz. Surprisingly no one else broke double figures here, with Dave Micklewright really struggling off peg 12 for 4lb+ and last in section.

Below the road bridge pegs 14 and 16 were struggling (Jerry Pocock must have been last in the match with 14oz) but then the next pegs down stream were a different world! Nicky Johns on peg 18 weighed 16lb 2oz (last in the frame) which included a 6lb bream on the pole, Andy Power won the match from peg 20 with 32lb 3oz of pole caught skimmers and hybrids, next peg Chris Higgins had 13lb of skimmers and Nathan Hawke last peg behind the Pumphouse (22A I think) had 16lb 8oz of pole caught hybrids for 4th overall. Andy Power had just returned from 2 weeks at Whiteacres in festivals, and if you didn't know he came 3rd in the Preston Festival picking up a grand. Andy had a lovely net of fish today and caught virtually all of them in the first half of the match on pole over gbait with either red maggot or caster on the hook. He fished with an 18 PR333 to 0.11 and simply ran the float at them.

Parts of the river had fished harder, but there were still fish to be caught, the last two pegs in the trees both netted 18lb of roach, and Eddie Wynne took a rare 3lb chub from just below Newton St Loe bridge to help him win his section. Nicky Ewers won Rotork with 10lb of roach and said he was not pestered by carp like he was in the Viaduct silvers final the day before!

On the team front it was something like this..

1st Thatchers (see they do better without me!)
2nd Thyers
3rd Maver Veals
4th Bathampton (ahem!)
not sure of Sensas Veals and Amalgamation, so I won't guess who was last.

After 2 rounds the top 3 are

Joint 1st Thyers and Thatchers 3 points
2nd Bathampton 7 points

Round 3 in 2 weeks time at Swineford / Crane.

Should anyone reading this want to fish the Commercial House at Newbridge this Sunday coming let me know as there may be a couple of spaces.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

February 1991

Got a bit of time on my hands at the moment, the cancer treatment side effects are really kicking in now and I can see the next 3 or 4 weeks being a bit nasty. My treatment comes to an end next week so at least that means I won't have to visit the BRI every day, anyway I think every nurse in the radiotherapy department has seen my bottom by now!

Back in 1991 (as a healthy 21 year old!) I was itching to go fishing after the big freeze, and I was told of an open match being held on the Wednesday on the Avon in Bath around Windsor Bridge. I drew below the donkey field and just round the bend on the straight before the trees started. I knew nothing of this part of the river and with the temperature now +5C at best decided the wag would be the best way to catch and keep me warm! I set up for the expected 13 foot deep swim with 1 no4, 1no6, 2no 8 and 1 no9 down the line with a 22 to 1.8lb tectan. I started by loose feeding maggot and hemp and after 6 runs through without a bite or the float dragging under I added a foot of depth, then 6 chucks later I added another foot of depth! At 15 feet I started to get bites, but it was an effort to cast this out on a 13ft rod. I later heard the angler below me reckoned he had got 18ft of water in front of him, back then I never plumbed up, I just looked for the fish. I caught a steady procession of roach and chublets, nothing bigger than 8oz, nothing smaller than 2oz. This was a really enjoyable day and after feeding 1/2 pt of mag and 1/2 pt of hemp I ended with 16lb 11oz which was only good enough for 3rd. As I recall Pete Sivell won with chub from just below Windsor Bridge and John Bradford came 2nd with a big chub and bream to go with roach from just above the railway bridge. This day proved to me how fish react to an increase in water temp even when it is still bloody cold.

On the following Saturday I was booked in for the Bathampton open at Newbridge, I drew peg 72 which was the first peg above Newton St Loe railway bridge. Confident from Wednesday I set up a waggler again with the same shotting pattern, but the hook size went up to a 20. This peg was only 13 feet deep and so easy to cope with casting! I started by feeding lightly with mag and hemp but for the first two hours I was struggling. As the match went on I fed more and more maggot and cut out the hemp all together and the fish responded well. Fishing double maggot on the hook I was getting bigger roach and more chublets, and in the last 15 mins I reckoned I put 3lb in the net! This late burst was crucial and I ended up 4th overall (behind 3 bream weights) weighing 13lb 12oz.

Those two enjoyable matches were followed by junk, 1 bream the following day in Bath for nowt and 2.5lb in the Upper Avon Champs the following weekend again for nowt! February was completed with a pleasure session at Bitterwell where in four hours I amassed 16lb+ which included 3 tench, 3 skimmers, rudd and roach to 12oz, again on wag but with caster....I might try that again sometime soon.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Commercial House Round 2 K&A Canal

My preparation for this match was zero, I was struck down with a heavy cold on Thursday and it was all I could do to collect some bait from Avon Angling on Saturday. I told my wife "I won't do any good tomorrow but I'm just going to try to enjoy myself". Glenn Bailey was giving me a lift and as I waited for him I heard and saw my first winter redwing of this year, it's a bird that migrates to the UK from Scandinavia for the winter. I was goinfg to be fishing A section by default (short walk) but then promptly drew A7 so no swapping was required! Incredibly Glenn drew A6 and so he was next to me, we were both at Darlington but going to be up against the bay etc.

I was glad of the shortish walk as my backside is now basically red raw from radiation burn, it will get worse so it's not something I'm looking forward to! As I reached my peg a moored boat next to it was just leaving, and as this left a lot of space I guessed a boat would try to moor up in there later, and one did during the match! I decided to fish positive (here we go again) and set up some skimmer traps! I had a 4x12 Drennan Roach with 20 B511 to 0.08 for 5 mtrs, this would be fished over gbait and squatt (I had decided against bread). I set up 2 rigs for across, both 4x14 as the canal was towing a lot, one was a Preston Magic (6 I think) slim bristle with 18 B611 to 0.10, and the other was a J range job with thicker bristle and 0.14 to 15 B711 (for any rogue carp or eels).

On the whistle I fed 3 balls of gbait at 5mtr, chopped worm and caster right across and some micro pellet across and down to my right. Onto the short line with big red maggot but it was slow and I was soon on a fluro pinkie. I took small roach, skimmers, perch and bleak here, but only about 1.5lb in the first hour and a half. Probably something to with being double boated before the match, and then 20 mins in being double boated again but this time the boats hit each other head on! Glenn and myself were not amused.... OK time for a look across, I went in on the heavy rig, just in case of a carp being around, with three dead red maggots. After about 5 mins over the worm line the float went under and I soon had a 1lb 8oz skimmer in the net. Next chuck and a 12oz fish, and then nothing and it was time to put on the sensible rig. I dropped it in with double red maggot and had an 8oz skimmer but then nothing else so I refed some more worm. I tried the pellet line with varying hookbaits but had no bites and as Paul Purchase above me had taken two 3lb fish over gbait I decided to try that myself. So in went 3 balls containing squatts, worm, caster and some red maggs right over up to my left towards to Paul.

It was then a very slow 30 mins for me, but when I went in over the gbait across I had three 8oz skimmers and lost one when a biker pushed my pole out the way. I kept trying all three swims across and topped them up but to no avail, that was until 3 mins to go when I had another skimmer. During the match it was reckoned about 25 boats had gone through, with Glenn and myself being double boated 4 times and the boat moored to my right also moved off during the match. I was wondering if I had over fed the peg and forced the skimmers out, but Pauls peg had died way before mine and Gary O'Shea further down had put far more bait in than me and had 14lb, so perhaps I should have fed more?

I weighed 7lb 1oz which beat 3 people, Glenn beat me by 1oz (he had lots of small fish and just a few skimmers) and got the section by default. Nigel Evans had a great day on peg A1 with nearly 20lb made up of about 40 skimmers, Nathan Hawke in the bay had 14lb 10oz to tie with Gary. Some sections of the canal fished hard but overall there were lots of fish and it needed 13lb to make the frame.

I have decided not to fish the next round of the W/L at Newbridge, I cannot deal with all the prep and lugging all the gear that is needed to do a proper job (be alright if it was flooded though!). Plus I am looking for a seat box that has a rubber ring built in to it but Preston don't do one!

Monday, 4 October 2010

ATWL Round 1 Swineford / Crane / Jack Whites

After all the rain we had on Friday I was surprised to see the river looking in perfect trim on Saturday. However, the deluge on Sat evening / Sun morning was bound to worsen things during the match. I reckoned you'd need to catch well early on. 6 teams of 10 are fishing the league this year, so the pegging was pretty much the same as last week, except a group of anglers had been out swim clearing and did a fantastic job.

Team draw was made and I was handed F4 which I hoped would put me on the first peg in the long ash tip, but it was not to be and I was one past the peg as Andy Britt was sitting on it for the 2nd week in succession. I doubted I could beat Andy as his peg holds resident bream and skimmers. With the colour in the water I knew bream were going to feed and said to my upstream neighbour Jerry Pocock that 20lb+ would be needed to win our section. With this in mind I decided I was going to ball in plenty of groundbait with casters and worms in. A 4 grm flat float was set up along with 2 feeder rods, one with a 13B711 and one with a 11 B711. Plumbing up on the pole I found nearly 10ft of water (peg below is 14ft deep) but would have liked more. It was also a bit snaggy and I had to change my position to find what seemed to be a snag free area.

Unfortunately I was late starting because the walk had knackered me out (I am fit but have no energy at the mo) and then when I did drop the flat float in, disaster, I snagged up and snapped the hooklength. I chucked the feeder out with 3 red maggs on while I attached another hooklength, the tip never moved. I picked the rod up and was snagged up and lost the lot! I now needed to set this feeder rod up again because I expected this set up to be the best, so I cast out the feeder on the other rod (with the tail of a lob on) this time a bit further downstream to hopefully avoid the snag. As I was just finishing setting up the first rod I saw the tip bang round twice on the lobworm and I thought that's a bream! I lifted the rod and felt something and then it all went solid, bollocks another feeder set up trashed. To say I was now a tad cheesed off would be an understatement.......

I realised I now had no choice, I had to fish further out past where I had balled it, I cast the feeder about 1.5 to 2 metres furthert and crossed my fingers. A bite resulted and an 8oz roach was netted, at last a fish, but I was now 40 mins into the match and others had already taken the odd bream or skimmers.

Up until the middle of the match I had the odd bite, and took 3 skimmers, a few roach and 2 perch. However, I definitely had liners as the rod tip took off and dropped back but the hook bait was untouched, most likely this was from the fish feeding over my balls of gbait next to the snag! The 2nd half of the match never produced a fish for me, despite trying various baits, as the river rose and coloured heavily, and it seemed the river switched off for lots of people. I reckoned to have 6lb and weighed 6lb 8oz which only beat 2 people, I was soundly beaten by Paul Faires with 27lb, Andy Britt 25lb and Jerry Pocock 17lb. I would have put money on me being up with those weights, but seems at the moment things aren't going my way and I'm making mistakes.

The river had fished really well with 28 double figure weights (would have been 40 if we'd fished the river as it was on Saturday) and Paul Isaacs had a great match to weigh 70lb of bream, half on the pole, half on the feeder. I heard that Paul fed 28 balls of gbait to start! Steve Tucker was 2nd (next peg to Paul) with 30lb+ and Thyers anglers filled the next 3 places. On the team front Thyers won by a single point from Thatchers, whilst Bathampton came 3rd.

I was very tired afterwards and realised that at present I cannot cope with the chance of long walks and I was going to pack in the leagues. Thankfully the captains have agreed that in future I can take the section with the shortest walk (organiser determines the section not me), so they obviously know I can't catch anything at the moment and it doesn't matter where I draw lol! Seriously I am chuffed to be able to carry on, but do need to catch some fish for my own sanity.

Friday, 1 October 2010

1991 Begins

I realise I've left off writing about the past for some time, that's mainly due to me being rather busy, but today sat at home and not watching the Ryder Cup cos of the weather is a good time to catch up.

January 1991 started with a proper winter storm, very heavy rain and wind speeds recorded up to 100mph. The river was in a terrible state, and then on the Friday before the next round of the ATWL we had a hard frost, and then on Sat it was -5C. I was filled with dread on the Sunday at Newbridge despite drawing peg 39 (always a good area) as the river looked awful. I imagine I set up just one feeder rod back then, and my result was just one hybrid which weighed 9oz. This was enough for 8 points and I recorded that just 15oz was needed for 2nd in the section. The match was won with 6lb and most importantly the team won on the day, and with Silstar coming 2nd that meant we held a 2 point lead with two matches to go.

The weather did its worse the following Friday and it rained all day and night, not a problem for my Saturday match which was on the K&A canal at Darlington. I only caught about 1.5lb of fish on the punch and wandered off to watch Mike Stone do it properly using a plain crowquill to catch 256 fish for nearly 8lb. Sunday and the river awaited for the Commercial House, I drew in the long ashtip and managed just one roach for 1.5oz.

As ever in January if it didn't rain it went cold and the following week was all frosts, lovely! The river was now sensible in terms of colour and pace but the fish were going to be shoaled up, so good draws required. Saturday was an open at Conham, I took 30 fish for just 1lb 13oz which was enough to win the section, I fished a stick float in 12 feet of water and fed about 6 maggots every chuck. Sunday was the 5th round of the ATWL, and I got a peg on the 2nd high wall up the crane (no peg there now). I had a bad match, unable to catch on the float I chucked the maggot feeder across hoping for chub. Unfortunately I was only able to pick up the odd dace and my 1lb 9oz only beat 2 people in the section (which was won with 5lb). My result was mirrored by many others in the team and we came a disastrous 7th on the day. From being 2 points in front of Silstar we were now 3 behind, and with one match left we had blown it.

On the 31st Jan we had very heavy snow, I couldn't get my car up the lane from where I lived and wondered if the ATWL match would go ahead. However, as can often happen the snow went as quick as it came and on Saturday I snuck in two hours on the stick float on the cattle grid peg at the Crane. I quickly caught 7lb including 2 roach of over a pound, all I fed was 4 to 6 maggots every cast. This set me up nicely for Sunday and I didn't really mind the long walk I had drawn, I was in the 2nd field below the railway bridge at Avoncliffe! The peg looked lovely, if a tad fast, and I remember that Bela Bakos was below me and his peg was wider and slower. I had a big slice of luck on this day..... I had no idea of the depth, but thought to myself it looks about 10ft and so set up a big waggler at this depth with 3 no6 and 3 no8 spread down the line. I cast it out to check the shotting and the float eventually settled perfectly, which was nice! I quickly set up a crowquill (without checking the depth or shotting) and a lead rod as I had little time to get ready. I started the match on the wag with a 20 to 1.7lb and fed 10 maggs a chuck. I was getting the odd roach but not as many as Bela, so I upped the feed a bit to try to improve things and put two maggs on the hook. I was soon rewarded with a chub, but then hooked and lost another under my feet. I felt there were more chub in the peg and decided to try the crowquill for a different presentation. I had this float set at the same depth as my wag, so I was surprised when it lay flat on the surface! It turned out the peg was 6ft deep, and on my wag I was dragging most of the shot on the bottom, this obviously slowed the floats passage through and improved presentation, jammy git eh! I ended the match with about 6lb of roach and 3 chub for a total of 13lb 6oz, this was 2nd in the section, beaten by the late great Ian "Bloke" Pulsford on the railway bridge who had 14lb of chub. However, I had the consolation of coming 5th overall, and the team duly finished 2nd in the league behind Silstar.

More snow was to come and my 2nd weekend of Feb 1991 was spent at home!