Sunday, 28 November 2010

Commercial House Round 4

I was back on the river today after quite an absence, and what a day to return with -5C greeting me on the car dashboard. The car park at the rugby club was very quiet and it seemed there were a few anglers short, obviously some don't like the cold. Captain Martin Barrett drew team peg 4, and this gave us 3 dodgy pegs and 3 OK, I drew one of the dodgy ones with an effing long walk. I was 3 pegs below the New Fence peg, that's a walk of 3 1/2 fields..... When I did arrive at my peg it gave me hope as there was a very large tree across laying in the water, my expectations raised and I thought I might scrape a chub or two. Lee Trivett drew probably the worst peg in the match (peg 8 Swineford) and did well in the end to catch 10oz off it, I thought I should say something nice cos he bought me a beer!

I set up 2 feeder rods, both on 0.16 one with a size 17 B711 hook and the other an 11 B711 for bread / lobworm. I also set up a crowquill with 0.12 to a 18 B611. I started the match on the big hook and a lump of bread chucked just above the tree so the bait would be resting under it. I was amazed when on my 3rd chuck the tip trembled and then tapped, the result was a 6oz chublet, whoopee! A couple more casts on the bread were unproductive so I swapped to an open feeder with crushed hemp groundbait and casters. After about 6 casts I had a proper rap but nothing was hooked and the maggots were untouched. A couple of casts later and a 10oz chublet was in the net before all went quiet. I had been feeding maggots down the middle and tried the float to give the feeder a bit of a rest. Despite my best efforts I could not raise a bite on the float, in fact despite feeding it all day I never had a bite on the float.

Back on the feeder and I had two unseen bites (it's annoying when you reel in to find two smashed maggots!) so I shortened the hook length. This produced me a third chublet of around 10oz but then it went very quiet again. It really was very cold on the bank with the rod rings continually freezing up and the maggots hardly moving! I tried lobworm and bread on the big hook without any joy and decided to switch to a maggot feeder for the remainder of the match. Unfortunately this did not help, and although I did have a good rap on one cast the hook bait was again untouched. That was the end of my action.

My 3 fish went 1lb 9 1/2oz, this was joint with 2 other anglers and 1oz less than another, so it was a bit tight! Nigel Evans below me did well to catch 7 chublets for 4lb, he had all his fish on the float and not a bite on the feeder. I was actually joint 2nd in the A division, but on the end peg in my section B div angler Kev Boltz weighed 11lb of Roach. From Kevin down to the bottom of the crane everyone caught roach and the odd chub, it was like a different river. I was fed up after a long walk to just a few fish when I saw people complaining they had only caught 6lb of roach! To coin a phrase, bitter and twisted I was! My drawing of pegs in this w/l has been shite and I need to forget it now and move on.

The match was won by Nicky Johns from Bitton Brook with 12 chub for 23lb on the waggler, in 2nd place was reborn match angler Andy Bush with 4 bream for 20lb from one below the outfall. Third place was an angler who was having a little moan about his peg before the match (one below Kev Boltz), but ended up with 17lb 4oz of roach on the pole... well done Glenn Bailey. Nigel Barlett had 17lb of roach from the little ashtip and Shaun (or is it Sean) Townsend had 15lb from the cattle grid (a peg he thinks ain't that good!). To give you some idea how good the bottom of the Crane fished Martin Barrett was last but one in section with 9lb+.

Swineford fished very hard today for most, the cornfield produced roach (very strange) and it was strange how my section was devoid of roach although Andy Ottoway had 3 in the last 30 mins which was in fact all he had.

On the team front 1st Thatchers A, 2nd Karaoke nights (1 man short), 3rd Thatchers B. I did not get the overall standings. Funny thing about Karoke Nights is that team Captain Andy Britt was a tad upset by the no show of Leon Hubbard. Apparently Andy tried calling Leon about 20 times, and was still trying to call him during the match! Eventually Leon answered and advised Andy he was not fishing cos he was in NEW YORK! Communications let me down.....

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Teams of 4 Viaduct

Sorry for the late post, I was very tired Sunday and out with work mates last night. I will try to be on time next week Mr Ewers!

I was helping out Tony Rixon's Avon Angling team at Viaduct on Sunday, and I do not know why but we were the last team to draw! I was all ready to go in some nice new shiny Preston Drifish 10 waterproofs and was hoping for a decent draw. I felt my day would be decided by the peg I drew and so this was going to be very important. I have always wanted to draw peg 85 or 86 on Carey, but as you will know by now that pleasure went to Mike Nicholls and Des Shipp, instead I was stuck on 10 on Spring. I reckon that it is now 3 times I have drawn this peg and it's nothing special for carp or skimmers and has no island chuck. For company on peg 9 was venue and all round carp bagger Andy Lloyd and to my left was the Gimp and next to him was Vince Shipp. I did tell the Gimp that virtually every time I was pegged next to him he managed to break a pole section, perhaps he would be OK today.

The info I could glean from regulars was that as I was effectively fishing to win I should try corn on the wag, but gbait on the pole could add a few pounds if some skimmers turned up. So I set up a 4AAA wag with 0.12 to 18B611, a straight lead with 0.15 to 16 PR36 for hair rigged corn, and the pole line had a 0.3grm Inter float with 0.9 to a 20. On the whistle I cupped in 6 balls of gbait on the pole and then went out on the wag with corn. It was a slow start but after about 40 minutes and a couple of dips on the float I netted a 2lb skimmer. That was nearly the best around me at this stage, but I was already playing catch up to Vince who had caught one carp on the pole which later was to weigh 20lb 3oz, lump or what! I spooked off a carp on the wag and so I shallowed up a tad and this stopped the indications! I decided to try the lead and did get a couple of liners to prove something was out there, so I cast short of my feed. As I waited and nothing happened I decided to tie up a spare hook length and it did the trick as the reel handle was soon spinning round. A brief bit of playing the carp around the back of the Monk Drain was a concern but soon a pretty 7lb common was in the net. The carp was landed at 12 O'clock, 3.5 hours to go..... but just like on the Poppy match the rest of the match was pants!

The carp that were in my peg must have spooked, because not long after I caught my carp Andy Lloyd had his one (and only) carp and I could get no liners! I dropped onto the pole line to rack up the skimmers, and caught two roach and then hooked a carp which went left, right, and then off towards Middle lake as the 0.9 easily snapped. The Gimp who had being slaying the silvers (1 roach!) then lost a carp on the pole and that signalled the end of carp action as neither Andy or myself had a liner or indication for the rest of the day. The Gimp did manage to catch 14oz in the end with a late flurry of roach, but my 9lb 10oz was once again enough to duff him up. Oh yes, the Gimp did manage to negotiate the match without breaking his pole, but when he was putting it away he some managed to break about 2 inches off a butt section, PMSL or what!!!!! Andy had just the one carp and weighed a bit less than me, but Vince had manage to add 12oz of bits to his "twenty"! The normal pegs produced, but not that many fish, Neil "when ever I see him he's on a flyer" Mercer took 5 carp and some perch from lily pad peg 8 for 62lb and 2nd overall. Ryan Shipp had some carp and lost some lumps from peg 14 (down the edge by the bushes) and peg 18 had 50lb+ on the wag.

As you will know Des Shipp won (a common phrase it seems to me) and the Westerleigh team took home the spoils, well done lads you've got carp fishing sorted. The full results are on Tony's blog which you've probably already seen!

Right, one last thing which requires your feedback please! A friend of mine who mainly fishes carp venues has asked me what decent 16 metre pole he should buy. Currently he uses a Maver and it's not good at 16m and the no4 /5 section keeps breaking (another common phrase lol). Now I can extol the virtues of the Preston Poles but he would like to have a broad view, so could you please post a comment on here as to what you think is the best 16m pole (especially if you use it you can say why). Forget the Tournament because the budget is £1500 max.

Feck me it's getting cold out there, could be tricky for all on Sunday if the snow turns up!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Landsend Midweek Open

I was really tired upon waking up this morning and was very slow getting myself ready. In fact I didn't get to the Shipham cafe until 8:45am when the draw was at 9am! I made a quick call to Tony Rixon to inform him of my late arrival and asked that he let me know what peg I was going to be on. He duly rang me back to advise I was on peg 35 on Speci lake, the very first time I have drawn on this lake!

As I rolled into the car park Tony and Dean Malin were still unloading the van, and I quickly picked their brains as they both do very well here. Dean won the silvers from peg 35 in a recent match and so I was heartened by that. When I saw Chris Davis on peg 31, Adrian Clarke on peg 32 and carp rolling in Alvin Jones's peg 33 I couldn't see me beating them on carp and so silvers it was! I set up a 0.4 grm Preston Magic 6 with 0.12 to 18 B911 (for 5m and 11m), a 4x12 slim mosella job with 0.12 to 18 B911 (for bottom of the far shelf next to bushes) and a 4x10 Preston job with 0.14 to 18 B911 for up the shelf. It took me a time to get set up, mainly due to the wind and rain hampering me (feet stuck in the clay lol) and I started 10 mins after the all in.

I have to say now that I was unsure how much to feed, after a few frosts I imagined the fish would be lethargic, so I fed about 30 casters as initial feed at 5m, two 11m lines and two 14m lines, and fed by hand to the brambles to my right all day. Dropping in at 5m I had an 8oz chub straight away, but never had another bite here. Onto the 11m lines, the one at 2 o'clock was biteless (all day) but at 10'oclock I took 4 chub and a perch fairly quickly. This died so I cupped 10 casters in here and went across. I'll say now that I never had another bite at 11m again!

The rest of the day was spent fishing the bottom of the far shelf at about 14m to 14.5m, to begin with straight in front and to a big bush to my left. In front of me was by far the best spot, and after a couple of early chub on red maggot I was onto a caster hook bait. A few more chub were taken before they seem to back off and I caught the occasional perch. Two and half hours in and I hooked a carp, fouled for sure and it soon snapped the hook length in about peg 38! This seem to set me back and the fishing became very hard for the next hour with just one perch and another fouled carp. I continued to kinder pot in the odd small amount of caster but I couldn't get any pattern going, I did take a couple of fish up the shelf but for the most part it was a waste of time up shallow.

With about an hour and a half left I was catching just the odd perch, bites were very few but the fish were all 12oz and upwards so worth waiting for. The wind and rain started to ease off and I started to loose feed a few casters next to a bush at 16mtrs towards peg 36, I was going to try this swim after 30 mins. When I dropped in here I didn't get a bite first and thought I had fed too much, but in the last 30 mins I had 1 chub and 2 perch here. As well as those fish I did hook a carp here, and it might have been hooked properly, but I just shipped back to the top set and hung on until the line parted. I thought I was better off trying to catch the silvers, and as it turned out it wasn't a bad idea as I won the silvers with 25lb 12oz (despite thinking I had about 16lb!!!!) beating a certain Mr Rixon into 2nd place.
The venue had fished hard and Chris Davis and Adrian Clarke were 1st and 2nd respectively, although as I was only 10lb behind Adrian had I landed a couple of carp....Nah I really enjoyed my day and had a cracking net of fish. See Tony's blog for full detailed result.

When leaving the car park I did a very bad thing, I interrupted Mike Duckett who was talking to Tony Rixon. I wound my window down and said "Sorry Tony I forgot to say, LET THAT BE A LESSON TO YOU!" Naughty but nice, cos it doesn't happen very often lol!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Poppy Match

Fishing the Poppy Match is a great experience for me, every year you get to see faces from the past. There are many anglers who I only see once a year at this match, Topper Haskins being one of them. After a couple of bacon rolls I was off to the front of the draw queue, I took the risk of drawing any peg and was hoping for a short walk. I actually drew peg 56 at Newbridge which is a fair old walk but a peg with a very good chance of bream. As I got myself to peg 101 I was indebted to Phil Fabio Harding who proceeded (without being asked) to pull my trolley all the way to peg 56, I owe you a pint Phil (he didn't go back to results).

It wasn't going to take me to long to set up as I had only taken two feeder rods to keep the holdall light. On one I attached a 15 B711 to 0.13 and on the other a 11 B711 to 0.16. The river had colour and everyone was thinking big weights of bream, I wasn't so sure, I've seen the river a number of times like this and on the Poppy match 20lb+ is usually a good weight. I mixed red magic and brown crumb, chopped some worms and was ready. On the bream hole peg 54 was last years runner up and organiser Ray Bazeley, and he was in feeder only mode like me.

I started the match by having 12 quick chucks with a big feeder to get some bait in, and then settled down with 3 red maggots on the hook. In the next half hour I caught 2 roach and a hybrid and missed a couple of bites before it went quiet. I noticed that my hook had become blunt for some reason, so I decided to try half a lobworm on the big hook while I changed hooks. First cast on the lobby and I noticed that I had a small rattle on the rod tip which looked like an eel bite. I left this to develop but for about 30 seconds there was just the odd tiny rattle. A rowing boat approached and so I dropped the rod tip to the surface to keep the line clear and hope the eel would engulf the lob. When the boat had cleared I struck, and wound in a 3lb bream! That was a first for me, such a tiny bite on a lob, amazing. The next 15 mins were biteless, so I went back on the smaller hook with three red maggots and had an instant bite and a bream of about 3 1/2lb. It was now 12:20 and there were just over 3 hours to go and I was feeling like my luck in this match was going to continue!

Well there is not much more I can write about my tactics etc, because I never caught another fish! I tried all sorts of hook baits, I even tried scaling down and did have a couple of small bites. I struck at every indication, but never connected, and in all honesty I think the only bites I had were from roach because I only had bites on maggots and one was often nicked. I did have 2 drop backs but each time the bait was not touched, maybe liners?

By the end of the match I knew I would do no good as Nathan Hawke in the Norfolk Reeds had bream and so did Kev Dicks below him. Nathan won my section and framed with 14lb 10oz, and as there are no defaults in this match I didn't get a pick up. I did managed two bottles of plonk on the raffle though! Thank to Paul Haines for dragging my trolley back at least halfway for me, again I asked for no help but Paul just came up and did it, cheers mate.

The winner on the day was none other than my team captain Mark Harper. Mark took 5 bream (2 were 7lbers) on the feeder from peg 24. Mark did pull out of 2 so could have been a very convincing winner. In second place was another team mate Lee Trivett. Lee was drawn a couple of pegs below the New Fence (Crane) and after a very slow start (and having a walk, which is always a good trick) he ended up taking 4 bream, some skimmers and roach, oh and a 5lb pike! Third was Kev Dicks from peg 63 at Newbridge, Kev had bream to over 7lb on the feeder, including one right on the all out.

As ever the real winner was the British Legion with around £840 being raised for them. There were a lot of thank yous given out to all the sponsors who help make this match so well attended (I imagine there was nearly 100 fishing). However, I would like to give my thanks here to the two organisers Ray Bazeley and Paul Benson and to the stalwart of this match Bill Milton who always reads the remeberance prayer before the match and presents the prizes. Bill has had a very rough year since the last poppy match, but he is a fighter and I sincerely hope to see him on the next Poppy match. See photo below of the three amigos!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


After many false starts I finally booked in and fished a match! I joined the Tony Rixon mid week brigade for a bash at Acorn. We were on the "dog bone" lake, and as it was my first time on this lake I had no idea where to draw. Fair play to Tony, he was kind enough to tell me earlier in the week about the depth and the best baits etc, and I made a few rigs up at home on Tuesday in prep.

I drew peg 11 (which was permanent peg 4) and this put me in the wide part of a bowl. To my right John "The Gimp" Bradford was sat on grass and not a platform peg, and I was told that this would upset my margin line which is normally brilliant! On the opposite bank and to my left was Dean Malin, the only angler on that bank, he was soon plumbing up mid lake. I picked a spot at 11mtrs straight in front, and another at 2 o'clock. The rig used here was a 4x12 carbon stem, fibre bristle slim job, coupled with 0.12 to 18 B911. I shotted it with 3no 8 stotz bulk and 2 no10 stotz droppers. I had 2 margin swims left and right and had a 4x10 rig for this, but I never had any bites in the margins!

To start the match I fed about 50 micros and 12 maggots on both far lines. Starting in front of me I had no bites or indications and after 15 mins dropped in at 2 o'clock and caught a 6oz perch. A couple of minutes later and a 1lb carp was netted. During the next 90 mins I took 6 carp, with 2 of them coming from straight in front. I was using double maggot on the hook, and one red and one white was what I used most. At this stage I was beating those around me, but then the peg went completely dead! I reckon I never had another fish for 2 hours.

With 2 hours to go I had a carp from the 2 o'clock swim, I had stopped feeding micros here and was just potting in around 12 to 16 maggots every now and then. From here on the peg just got better and the carp settled in on my maggots and I had a bite every drop in until the end of the match. I lost only 3 or 4 fish, foulers, and missed very few bites and the last two hours were very nearly perfect for me. I resisted upping the feed and just kept the same amount of maggots going in after every fish. I did try the swim straight in front of me occasionally for a couple of mins but it was no good.

My final tally was around 26 carp and they weighed 80lb 6oz good enough for 2nd overall. Martin Lenaghan was the winner off the opposite end peg with 89lb 3oz, he told me he had a lot of small carp (and some 5lb fish) and caught steady all day. For the full result please Tony's blog, save me typing too much more!

During the day my left elbow became sore and was very painful at the end, not sure if the stitches have got infected but will find out tomorrow as they are supposed to be taken out. Just another thing to cope with, hey ho! It was great to get back out on the bank, and coming 2nd was a bonus, I cannot believe how knackered I feel right now so I've got to go fishing some more to build my strength up I reckon!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

ATWL Round 4 Newbridge

Plan "A" this weekend was to fish the teams of 4 w/l at Bullocks Farm, should be nice and easy minimal gear and effort required. That went out the window when I was sent to the BRI on Thursday due to rashes and blisters that the Doc could not help with. I was advised not to fish in case I infected the blisters in my hand. Plan "B" was to go to Bullocks and watch Master Rixon empty the place. This was knocked on the head when he drew peg 12 on North Pool as I didn't feel it would be appropriate to sit / walk about on this section. Plan "C" was drive to Matty's cafe in Bath and then watch the W/L on Newbridge. Breakfast was great but I somehow managed to bite my tongue (what the f%ck is going on) and then I drove to the trees section.

This area was good last time round, but today it was hard and other than the usual end peg catching roach everyone was struggling. I got fed up watching so little being caught and walked up the river but it didn't get much better at all! Leon Hubbard was on about peg 76 and with 2 skimmers was winning this section with 4lb, and it wasn't until I got to Martyn Reyatt on peg 49 that I found some fish. Martyn had taken roach and hybrids on the pole and 5 bream, this had then died and when he later cast a feeder over the pole line he quickly took 4 bream and a couple of skimmers before it died. Martyn was to be an easy winner with 42lb, following up his win last week on the outfall, well done mate, made up for the bad run you had in last years w/l.

In 2nd place overall was Paul (butler in the buff) Isaacs with 14lb of mainly roach from the first peg above the bridge in the weir field. Paul caught on pole and later caught well on a crowquill with caster. Chris Parr had 13lb of bream from the peg opposite the marina in the little field (I heard he had 6lb bream foul hooked on the pole that took 20 mins to land), and Andy Ottoway took 13lb of skimmers from about peg 30. Chris Derrick had 13lb of roach off the end peg in the trees on the pole. So as you can see the weights were quite a bit down on recent times.

Thyers won very convincingly on the day (although if their anglers weighed what they told me they had caught they would have come last, i.e. told me 2lb weighed 8lb!!!!)

Bathampton were 2nd and Thatchers 3rd.

Teams overall: 1st Thatchers 7 points, 2nd Thyers 8 points, 3rd Bathampton 11 points. Just two rounds left now both on the canal.

I must pass comment on one angler who I have now seen on my walks a number of times, this is Dave Haines. Every time I have walked past Dave he has been fishing with no more than 4 metres of pole, perhaps that is why he managed just last in section this time, the fish are quite safe in Dave's pegs......

I hope to have an uneventful week now, and I have bought a Poppy match ticket and I will fish this match even if I have to wear marigolds!