Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year

Just like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Personally, I am of course hoping to get over the cancer but realise there is a long road ahead. I have been "violated" (if you ever saw the Dr Dolittle film with Eddie Murphy in you'll understand!) so many times in 2010 that I don't remember them all!

I have been to the hospital again this week, had a general anaesthetic so the Doc could examine the tumour (by hand and so another violation!) and make a final decision on the severity of operation I will have. I'm waiting for him to call me to advise, but he did say before he examined me that the worst case scenario is that I will be like some of the supermarkets and have a "bag for life". I should be operated on on the 27th Jan, so I can fish a few more matches (weather permitting) before then, but will have to rest for quite some time after the op. Once the tumour and surrounding tissues and lymph nodes are removed they will then examine them under a microscope looking for cancer cells. What happens next depends on what they find.

My highlights of 2010 are chalking up two consecutive weights of 170lb+ one at Cider Farm and one at Viaduct. Coming 3rd in Tony Rixons float only series behind Tony and Fred Roberts, and generally doing better at commercials then ever before. My time on rivers was cut short and was also my worst ever as I feel the drawbag was unkind to me. By the way, after all this cold weather and if it goes mild in Feb I reckon the river fishing could go mental for the last few weeks of the season.

Finally I have drummed up the enthusiasm to go fishing this Sunday. I was torn between the canal or a commercial, in the end went for Avalon as I will be on the canal for another couple of weeks. It could be shite, but I will enjoy being out with good blokes and good banter.

Again, Happy New Year to you and may your nets and wallets be bulging in 2011.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

March 1991

I'm so fed up with this weather I have not even considered going fishing over Xmas, time to reminisce.

Back in the 90's there were frequent open matches on Saturdays, and on the 2nd March I fished a Bathampton open at Newbridge. I drew peg 27 and as the river looked good for bream I decided on a groundbait feeder approach. Fishing 2/3 the way over with an 18 hook to 2lb Smart I caught most fish on double caster. I took 4 chub, 2 skimmers and a nice 1.5lb roach during the day (not so good for bream then!) for 12lb 11oz which was enough to win the section. The match was won by Kevin Rowles who took 25lb of mainly roach on the waggler from behind the pumphouse, and it was the first time I'd ever witnessed Gurning! The following day was the annual trip to the Thames on the Ray Carter memorial match. I drew a section named Godstow and I was pegged right next to a flyover bridge. It was noisy as hell and the peg looked horrible and I was not at all confident when a few locals walked past laughing! Five hours later and 1lb 5oz was all I could muster, 1 perch and some roach on the wag / maggot feeder. There were however a lot of blanks and I gained 46 points out of 80 for such a miserly weight! The day was one I shall remember though, as Paul Benson won the match overall (and it was a 480 pegger) and helped his team, Silver Dace, to win the team event, a great achievement against so many crack sides.

The following weekend and the Avon was in flood, but as I was going to fish at Newbridge again it wasn't so bad. This match was arranged by Ray Bazeley for his holiday company back then known as Topline Tours. I drew the first peg below Saltford weir and was told I would catch bream, but 4 hours and 55 minutes in all I had was 3 eels!!! On the very last cast I had a drop back, hooked a slab and landed the bugger. My weight of 5lb 1.5oz I thought that weight would not bring me any money and I was right, but I came 12th overall and picked up a decent prize. My season ended (on the 14th back then of course) with a match on the Bristol Docks. I was drawn 3 pegs up from Princes Bridge (down below squash courts back then) and had a steady day catching 17 skimmers and the odd roach on the feeder. I put pinkies and casters in the gbait but caught mainly on single or double bronze maggot (weird) and matched the baits to a 20 hook and 1.1lb bottom. I came no where and 32lb won the match.

I did actually go fishing again at the end of March (Easter) and went for 3 days to Upham Farm Carp Lakes. I really loved this place back then, it was the nearest place I could fish due to the close season and was rammed with carp, ahead of its time. Even though the weather was still cool you could get the carp up shallow by constantly feeding maggots by hand. On the second day I took 41 carp shallow and the best fish was around 4lb in size. It was though only pleasure fishing with mates, and we did have some great nights out at the Cat and Fiddle pub just up the road. One year (can't recall if it was this one) I was sick all over Mike Kent's car, but the next day I didn't remember doing it, even when Mike told me so and asked me to clean his car! OOOPS!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Bathampton Xmas Match - Newbridge

It is getting boring now waking up to everything outside being frozen, I even had my boiler pack up in the week due the condensate drain pipe freezing up, and it's lagged! There were 47 hopefuls in attendance today, with a good contingent from Gloucester such as Brian Pollard and Derek Jarman. I had heard that Kelston had been fishing really well and I was greeted by a confident Gary O'Shea who had taken 24lb of mainly roach the day before at Saltford Shallows. Unfortunately I was not going to draw at Kelston because it was not pegged, apparently Bathampton have given up this stretch. I really had no idea where to draw, but guessed bream were going to win so a bream peg please. Peg 67 is not a great bream swim (65 up to 61 better I feel) but they do show here every now and again. Another long walk with loads of layers on meant I arrived at my peg steaming like a you know what!

I can tell you that I set up a 12BB crowquill with 0.1 to a 16 B511 and a groundbait feeder with a 16 B611 to 0.12, lighter than I would normally use but I wasn't expecting any chub from here. The plan was to start on the crowquill and bread in the hope of a bite or two and then try the feeder across with groundbait. The plan was fool proof, but not fish proof and I never had a bite all day on any method, and I sat fishing the peg all day. At one stage I chucked a lobworm to the far bank and twitched it back across the river hoping to make a perch take it but not a bite. So there's my match!

What of the other 46 anglers, well 40 of them also blanked! The winner Terry Ellis on peg 18 had 14 bream for 50lb+. He fished gbait feeder with liquidized bread and worms on the hook, but he never went in the pools. In 2nd place was Bristol's finest window fitter Paul Haines, Paul had 2 bream on his last two casts (!) for 10lb+. Brian Pollard had 1 chub on maggot feeder from peg 77, it weighed 4lb 6oz so a nice fish. The next two anglers to catch were either side the winner, Derek Jarman had a 3lb bream in the last 10 minutes on peg 16 and Dave (top set) Haines had a 2lb skimmer last cast. A 4oz perch came to the last peg in the match and that was it for fish! So if you think about, until the last 10 mins only 3 anglers had caught! I do not know why this part of the river was so bad, the crane is fishing OK and so is Kelston. As far as I can remember this was the worst Avon river match I have ever fished.

Back at the draw my section was the only one to have completely blanked and so was drawn for, but alas I was not the jammy git to win it! Kev Dicks who had run the match then proceeded to pull names out of a box to dish the prizes out, I guess my name came out about 5th and I picked 10 cans of Guinness for my effort. Richard Lacey was the last name out of the box and won a bag of boilies, perfect bait for this time of year Rich! Mind you Shane Caswell couldn't find his draw ticket to put his name on and never went in the draw, he found it as the last prize went lol!

Of my team mates, well not one Thatchers angler caught a fish today, but then again neither did any Bathampton lads, god were shit! I think that's my lot now until after Xmas, can't fish next weekend and if the weather is going freezing again then I might take up bird watching again. I'll have to get the diary out again and put some old match tales on here, cos that is the only way I might remember how to catch some fish!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Sunday 5th Dec

I didn't go fishing today, not because I'm a faggot but because I was at a Wedding on Saturday with lots of drinks. I made this decision last week and was quite pleased with it when I awoke this morning with a headache and the sight of, well nothing just freezing fog! I had a chat with Warren Bates and we decided to have a walk up the Crane, for me mainly it was a chance to blow the cobwebs off if you know what I mean!

With so many matches called off there were a few anglers out pleasure fishing and also quite a few pike anglers who were mainly Polish (walking with one rod made up and no other gear in sight). The one English Pike angler whom I spoke to told me he had chinned a Polish angler a few weeks ago as he saw him carrying a pike in a carrier bag. Worse still, he said he'd witnessed a boat going up and down the river at Newbridge and this boat had a net hanging off the back, bloody trawling the river! This angler alleged that he reported this to Bathampton who in turn contacted the EA but nothing was done. I only have the guys word for this, but the thought of nets being dragged up the river......

Anyway, back to the Crane and with the fog being very dense it meant rod rings were freezing up and playing havoc with casting and not many fish were being caught. However, as the day wore on and the sun broke through I saw a definite improvement in people getting bites. The bottom end of the Crane was not to clever, although one angler around the boys hole had 2 bream on the groundbait feeder. The bay in the little ashtip was solid for the one angler there Shaun Townsend, and he had over 30lb of roach on the crowquill. Shaun told me he had put in some groundbait to start and then loose fed hemp and caster.

Lee Trivett was fishing in the last peg of the first field, a peg which until 6 weeks ago both he and I thought was awful. Lee had 2 of the resident chub (about 4lb each) and a perch getting near 2lb, plus a few roach, when I watched Lee he was on the stick float feeding maggot and hemp.

Another angler who I did not know had some roach and chub on a small gbait feeder just below the high wall, and there were a few chublets in the area.

Overall the crowquill seemed to be the best method on the day as there was a decent bit of flow for it to work. Some anglers catching roach had pike trouble, not sure though the pike anglers did as the pike here seem to prefer roach to spinners lol!

Bathampton Xmas match next Sunday on the river. With more freezing temperatures forecasted I can't see Newbridge fishing anywhere near as good as the crane did today, but I could be wrong of course.