Saturday, 31 December 2011

Plantation Main Lake / 2011 sum up

I got out fishing Thursday with Warren Bates, we had hoped to fish the Viaduct cost cutter but the silvers two dayer prevented that. So with nothing on we decided to pleasure fish Plantation. My thoughts were this was a mixed fishery guaranteeing bites, and the pegs opposite the car park should be sheltered from the strong winds. Luckily I was pretty much right on both accounts.

I think I sat on peg 26, which was facing the middle of an island, Warren sat on 27 opposite the end of the island. however, I had no intention of fishing to the island and was quite content to set up the pole and 1 top set, my laziness comes to the fore when pleasure fishing! With the wind still gusting even in this area I opted to fish no further than 11.5 mtrs, picking two spots to fish, one straight in front, and one at 2 o'clock. The rig I used today was a 0.5grm Preston PB Inter (wire stem) which due to the wind and tow was heavier than what I would use normally use. A strung bulk of no 8 stotz, with 2 no 10 stotz below to 0.10 to an 18 PR490. Warren set up a wag as well as a pole rig.

I fed a small amount of micro and dead maggots in front, and about 100 to 150 casters at 2 o'clock. I started on the micro line wanting to give the caster swim time to settle. I had a much slower start than expected, and was just getting the odd bite from tiny roach, although I did bump what I suspect was a skimmer after about 20 mins. Warren was catching small roach a chuck on the wag and I was questioning my choice of set up! However, I was not trying to catch roach, I wanted some bettter fish, and I felt my heavier set up would give me the best presentation for them and so I stuck with it. After an hour I tried the caster line, after about 15 mins of roach I then landed a 2lb skimmer, but then it was back to roach.

It was obvious the roach were feeding well and so I fed another 100 casters in an attempt to get some bait down for the better fish. The maggot line was still poor but I did take a 1.5lb fouled skimmer from here and a few roach when resting the caster line. Thirty minutes after the skimmer and 15 feet of no 8 elastic shot out, a nice 2lb carp was the culprit. I had taken the skimmer on double red maggot, but the carp on single caster, and during the day I continually changed hookbaits, catching mainly on single red maggot or caster, I never had a bite on double caster. I ended up with 5 small carp, a 1.5lb perch, 3 skimmers and lots of roach for 20lb to 25lb. Warren could not get past roach on either the wag or pole but had lots of them in his 10lb bag. The biggest difference was that I potted bait where as Warren used the catty, and even if you up the feed on the catty I doubt many casters get past the roach. My only dissapointment was that I pulled out of 4 fish, skimmers and maybe another perch, but that's winter fishing.

Well 2011 is coming to an end and to be honest on a personal level I'm glad to see the back of it (never said that before). However, the fishing wasn't too bad! I only managed to fish a couple of matches in January before my operation, and that meant I could not fish at all in Feb and March. In April with the help of people like Glenn Bailey, Tony Rixon, Dean Malin, Phil Harding, Jason Radford and many more I was able to get back on the bank. I could not lift my gear into my car, or to my peg, or even lift my nets out! The way people helped me is something I was very thankful for and will never forget. To win my section (by default) at Shiplate on my first match back was a real tonic. I know this will sound corny, but I really had (and have) a different attitude to match fishing when I came back. Quite simply I was happy to be fishing and decided to enjoy it more, not getting my hair off after a bad day. Well it seemed to work as I went on a bit of a run and nearly won 3 matches on the trot, the Gimp preventing that winning at Shiplate with carp!!!

I don't keep lots of facts and figures, I don't care how much fishing costs me, I just hope to win some dosh back to cover some costs and keep my good lady happy! My highlights of this year (other than nearly doing the treble) were winning my first match post op at the sedges with 120lb (although I paid for that for days). Never catching less than 100lb at the six matches I fished at Viaduct fishery, that might be normal for the regulars but a first for me! Catching roach on the Bristol Avon with a light 1grm pencil float, the river though fished best when clear and once the rain came it went downhill, strange. After a run of average river draws I finally drew a flyer in November and won the Commercial House match on the stick float with 21lb including 2 barbel. What was truly memorable though was how the dace came on the feed with 90 mins to go, it was the proverbial "like someone flicked a switch".

Mostly in 2011, I enjoyed being back on the bank and fishing amongst team mates and friends and enjoying (and engaging) the banter. I look forward to 2012 being a better year for my health, and as far as fishing goes I'll try hard to win, but take what comes my way. Let's all support and encourage the young anglers (not many I know) who are the future of our sport, we need more of them and we need them to stay fishing matches.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


Sorry about no blog this weekend just gone, as Frank Spencer used to say "I had a bit a trouble".

I awoke early Dec 16th Friday morning (just past midnight actually) with severe stomach pains, and after some discussions with Frendoc I ended up in A&E at the BRI. It turned out I had a blockage of some sort (fairly obvious as my bag was doing nothing!) and was pumped full of morphine to get rid of the pain, and also it made me feel very light headed. Anyway, to cut a very long story short I ended up in a ward and didn't get home till Monday afternoon. Thankfully the blockage cleared but things have yet to settle down properly, but nearly there. The consultant reckoned I had a kink in my intestine somewhere. Just glad it happened last weekend and not right on top of Christmas!

I'm not fishing now until after Xmas, and even then not sure when, so it will be a tad quiet, though I may do an end of year summary which I haven't done before. Though the fishing for me this year has been kind to be honest I will be glad to see the back of 2011.

Just to say well done to Dave Haines for winning the Bathampton Xmas match with 50lb of bream at Newbridge. Also to Thyers for winning the ATWL just pipping my lot on match wins, well done lads. Kev Boltz continued his amazing form by winning the last round on the canal, I bet even he can't believe how well he's doing!

Happy Christmas everyone, have a good un, and if you do get out on the bank I wish you the best of luck.

Friday, 9 December 2011

November / December 1991

I've had man flu most of this week and have decided to give fishing a miss this Sunday, especially as the weather forecast looks very wet!

Back in Nov 1991 Bathampton used to run matches that also included Kelston Straight, and whenever there was water on this was a good place to draw, but bream always dominated. Today the river was clear after two consecutive frosts, but had some pace after the recent floods. I drew peg 224 which was in the middle of the straight and back then not really where the bream were. Fishing my then favourite waggler tactics and feeding lots of bronze maggots I had 9lb of mainly hybrids, a nice day but no dosh as bream came from the point and just below. The following day was a Commercial House match on Frys (we'd get 80+ pegs on Frys 20 years ago!) and everyone expected a tough day. I drew a few pegs above the National Peg and could only see me catching lumps so it was a feeder day. I started on a maggot feeder casting tight across using a single maggot on a 20 to 1.5lb maxima. I had two chub on this after 2 hours but no more bites, and so I switched to the groundbait feeder down the middle of the river hoping for bream. I had two bites but only connected with one and it was another chub, this time on double caster hook bait. Four bites in five hours was my lot! The 3 chub weighed 5lb 8oz and that was enough for 2nd in the 14 peg section.

The following weekend saw me try my luck on a Conham open, but I never seemed to do well in these matches although I always bagged up when pleasure fishing Conham. I struggled for 4 hours for a few bits, then threw in handfuls of maggots over the stick float and caught 4 chub in the last hour, too little too late. Sunday and back at Newbridge this time for the ATWL, back then the river was pegged out with letters and numbers (A1 etc), so you were never quite sure of the exact peg you were on till you got to it. However, I knew I was in the trees and that meant a difficult day was likely on a cold clear river. I put a 22 hook and 0.09 hook length on every rig; pole, straight lead, feeder and crowquill. I started on the pole feeding a little hemp and caster, meanwhile the Thornbury angler below me proceeded to thrown in 5 or 6 balls of white groundbait! Just as I stopped laughing at what he did I nearly fell in as I saw him land a roach, and then another! He only had 2 more, but looking back that was the first time I saw someone ball it in, well sort of! Back to my swim and I managed to extract 6 roach from the pole line, and 1 gudgeon on the feeder. I snared a 1lb chub fishing the straight lead over the pole line late on, and other than 1 missed bite on the pole that was it. My lowly 2lb 14oz was enough to win the section by about 1oz from Robbie Greenham the Bathampton angler. My team came 2nd on the day and were now league leaders, the next ATWL match was in the new year.

I had a pleasure fishing session at Bitterwell lake on the road bank that yielded 20lb of roach and skimmers on waggler and caster, a 20 on 2lb Tectan hook length. The skimmers came to double caster, but you wouldn't always get a bite on this. I had roach to over a 1lb plus a few big rudd. I never used to get bitted out at Bitterwell back then. That brought Nov to a close

Into Dec and the weather took a turn for the worse, with hard frosts every night and temperatures as low as -8C in the first two weeks. I cannot say much about the first 3 matches in Dec as I blanked in all of them! First one at Frys, where 9 people caught out of 55 and my section completely blanked, but I got 2nd in section money pulled out of the hat, who said I was lucky! On the Bathampton Xmas match I drew the trees again, peg 107 and blanked (Rotork won it, oh how times have changed!). I then blanked on Chequers from basically the peg opposite where I had been on Frys the week before! Eventually on the 15th Dec I fished the Silverdace Xmas match and was not to blank. I drew a peg up past the top of the Long Ashtip after the S bend (the peg Shaun Townsend had in the Commercial House a few weeks ago). I caught 6 small chub on the crowquill, feeding caster and using red maggot on the hook with a 22 and 0.08 Smart. I had one 2lb chub on the maggot feeder across, and in total weighed 9lb 1oz coming 8th out of field of 79 anglers, of which 47 blanked!

The second half of Dec saw mild weather return, including heavy rain and gale force winds. I fished the Docks Xmas match and drew Avon Street, 15 dace was all I could manage, and I nearly shit myself climbing down to the pegs! After that it was Xmas and I pleasured fished at the Crane and Chequers for similar results, 6 to 7lb of bits on stick float or waggler. I did fish a match on the 29th, the Silstar 1000. I drew up at Rotork and had a bite a chuck on the wag from tiny roach, that was until I saw a perch by my feet picking up the maggots dropped there. I got my rig and hand lined the maggot up and down until the line went tight, bingo a 1.5lb perch! Alas 6lb was only good enough for 2nd in the section, and it was a day when the bream fed in 54, the 60's and Kelston point.

The last pleasure session to really talk about in 1991 was at Bath in the town, just upstream of Windsor Bridge. I used to love (well still do) this part of the river as being deep it was a real challenge. I had a really fab day catching chublets from 2oz to 8oz, plus the odd dace and roach for a total of 14lb. I fished a waggler 2/3 the way over, just 7ft deep (in 14ft of water) with 2 no6, 1 no8 and 1 no9 down the line, finishing with a 20 to 2lb Smart. I fed 3 pints of maggots over 5 hours and gradually had to fish tighter and tighter to the far bank to keep bites coming. I actually went back the next day on new Years Eve for a few hours and only had 6lb+ and could only catch at full depth!

Roll on 1992!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Landsend Individual League

I put my name down as a reserve for this match a couple of weeks ago and managed to get in on speci lake. After reading Mr Rixon's blog and talking to a few people they all said you need to draw 1 of 4 pegs. I travelled down to the match with Paul Elms and Craig Edmunds. Trig was rather upset as he had woken up from his heavy night out to find someone had clamped his car....PMSL!

After another good brekkie at the Fountain cafe we were on our way. There were some good anglers on Speci Lake, and some equally good drawbags so I thought I would try to get in early for the draw. My plan worked well in that I was in early and some of the flyers were left in, but I drew peg 29 and this is just a bit too far down the lake. All the carp apparently are up further from me with pegs 31 round to 34 expected to dominate. Trig did his usual drawbag stuff and got 31, Ron Crandon was on 32, Kev Moulton 33 and Bob Gullick on 34. With only the top 3 and 1 in silvers paid out on each lake I thought silvers would be a good target but with a chance of carp late on.

I set up a few rigs today, but in the end just two caught me fish, a 0.3gm Preston PB Inter 4 with 0.12 to a 16 for caster / soft pellet in the deep water. The other was a 4x10 bristle jobby that took 1 no8 and 1 no10 stotz, also with 0.12 to 16, and this was for fishing across into about 20" of water.

To start the match I fed casters at 6mtrs, and also right over, soft pellet at 13mtr to my right and 13 mtr straight out. The first hour was dire with no bites at all on the pellet, and 2 tiny roach at 6mtrs. I went across on caster and that was no good as roach were grabbing the bait. I kept potting caster in hoping I could feed off the roach and get some perch or chub, after about 90 mins I hooked a carp from right over, it was about 7lb and at least a start! By this stage Trig was losing about 7-2 to the carp, Kev Moulton was bagging and so was Bob. I tried to make the 6mtr caster line work but after a run of small roach it died so I cupped more casters in! To be honest at this stage the writing was well and truly on the wall, but I just wanted to catch a few fish so kept going.

After about 3 hours I hooked a carp on the 6mtr line and it was on for all of 3 seconds, but then 10 minutes later I hooked another. After a nervy battle I netted a 9lb fish, unfortunately that was it for the 6mtr line! However, the far bank caster line had at least settled down in that I wasn't getting pestered by roach and I could sit there and jig double caster. After the umpteenth lift and drop it went under and I was into a proper lump that must have been 12lb. In the last 90 mins I hooked another 5 carp across landing 4 (pulled out of a ghosty), I also had a small chub and then just before the whistle I had a big perch on. Just as it got to the net the hook pulled and I lunged for the fish and netted it and at the same time the landing net handle snapped! Bye bye perch! I should say I tried the margin and so did Trig but neither of us caught there.

My match had at least been entertaining in the second half, and I had some lovely big commons. In fact my 7 carp went 69lb (last two on the scales went 24lb) and with the bits I had 71lb+ so really not bad. As feared the flyers took the money, with Kev Moulton having 112lb on peg 33, Trig 99lb on 31 and Bob 93lb on 34. Tom Thick was also on this lake, his usual mad self, but struggled off peg 38, and Martin Pettifer won the silvers with 21lb of peg 25. Paul Elms to my left on 27 had 16lb and struggled all day.

I only lost two carp, and when you consider that Trig lost as many as he caught it is easy to see where the carp are happy to live at the moment. Maybe a few came my way late due to the commotion of the ones he lost? On the other side of the lake the carp hardly went past Bob, and Rod Wooten and Mark Poppleton just had 20lb weights.

One last thing, if you were there you would know, but today at times it absolutely hammered down with rain and the temp dropped quickly. I was last to pack up as I had helped with the board, and I could hardly see where to fix my bungees as it was so dark and the rain was that heavy.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Commercial House Rnd 4 Bristol Avon

This match was fished from Swineford to Crane and Jack Whites, in fact myself and Any Ottoway pegged the match on Saturday. We did not see a fish top all day except for the very top end of Jack Whites, so thought it might be hard, but with the river being clear chub might have a go.

The team draw was done by Gary O'Shea, and when he came back with peg F1 for me I could have kissed him! This was the top peg at Jack Whites, on the fence above the steps, I couldn't help saying that at last I'd drawn a really good peg on the river and was looking forward to a days dace bashing.

I was in for a shock when I saw the river, there was a big tide on, but thankfully it was at its peak, but it must have been all of 3ft. I have drawn this peg once before and I had 22lb of dace on the stick, I fancied more of the same today. The stick float really is my favourite style of fishing, but if I get to use it once a year I'm lucky. The plan was 6 no4 stick on a 15ft rod, and waggler on a 13ft rod, with a maggot feeder for just in case. Shite! I left my feeder rods at home, all I had was my 10ft mini carp, oh well that will do, 0.17 to 16 B90. Shite! I could not get the reel seat to shift on the 15ft rod, so I had to put the stick on my Titan with 0.11 to 18 B611 and that was it! Not a very good start to the day.

Starting on the stick feeding maggot I was expecting bites, but no, it was deadly quiet, maybe the tide had put the dace down. 15 mins in and my first bite resulted in my hooking something decent for 5 seconds before the hook pulled. I went another 20 mins before my next bite and hooked what I thought was a big chub which tore off and snapped me. Oh dear.... OK so no dace bites, time to fish for chub, onto 0.14 and a 16 forged hook. Exactly 1 hour into the match I had my next bite, and this fish nearly took the line off my reel! Eventually I landed a 6lb 2oz barbel. Exactly 1 hour later I had my 4th bite on the stick and after another healthy scrap landed a 5lb 4oz barbel! OK that's enough of maggots, I lashed in 10 handfuls of hemp and caster on the stick float and went for the barbel!

I couldn't get another bite on the stick, I also tried the feeder but nothing, perhaps I had fed to much? I had seen 3 people by now, Paul Barnfield, Jerry Pocock and Kev Dicks, all were below me and had been struggling, only Nathaniel Johnson had caught well, with 5 chub, so I needed to catch another barbel. I had noticed though that Dace had been topping upstream of me for an hour and then at 2pm a couple topped in my swim. This lead me to pick up the stick again and I had a dace first cast out, and the next, and the next..... I was still on the heavy gear, but the dace and odd roach did not care and were grabbing my single maggot every chuck whilst I carried on throwing in hemp and casters, and I swung every fish out. When the whistle went I had caught fish for 90 mins on the stick, and it turned out I had caught 9lb 14oz in that time, bagging!

It was going to be close in the section as Nathaniel had ended with 9 chub, but my weight of 21lb 4oz was just to good for his 19lb 11oz. As it turned out we were 1st and 2nd overall, result! At Jackies every peg came alive late on, at the bottom end, anglers blanking even caught a fish, Nicky Johns and Barny saw at least 9 salmon / sea trout jump clear of the water.

Back at the results it was clear the river had been tough in places, but it still needed over 13lb to frame. Mark Brennan (in my team) came 3rd from the Crane with 16lb, including a 2lb 14oz perch. In fact my team had a good day all bar one and we were clear winners on the day and are now winning the A div by 3 points. I am leading the league individually, but the next two matches are on the canal in the New year and I'm not sure if I will be able to fish them, but we will see.

I have to end by saying that today was a day I will never forget. If I could fish a stick float every day I would be a happy man. Hooking some lumps early and then catching so fast late on was a special experience for me. It was the last w/l river match today.

One final note, pegging the match was more difficult than I thought, and we did put a couple of dodgy pegs in. Shawn Townsend drew the worst one, and caught one 13oz chub 10 mins to go! When he came back he had calmed down, but he did say the match that was not pegged previously (when we did it from memory) was pegged better. PMSL, a top comment!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Viaduct Open Campbell

You may be surprised by the title of this post with the winter league being on the canal this weekend. I had decided not to fish the canals this year as they are so busy with people I just don't think I can take the "toilet breaks" I need. I was not going to fish at all this weekend, but then rang on Friday and booked in to the open, whilst the other lakes were taken up by the teams of 4 league.

I had tried to gather a bit of info leading up to the match and went with an open mind to fish for either silvers or carp depending on the peg, and Mat Toomes was very helpful. When I pulled peg 130 I didn't get very good vibes, in fact Tony Rixon said in his opinion it was no good for carp or silvers! Still fish can swim and peg 132 had produced 100lb the day before so the fish were in the area. When I rolled up on my peg I had a look at the anglers on my bank and it was not too bad, Phil Cardwell peg 132, Lee Wherret 129, then Dick Bull, Ray Haywood and Andy Neal...... I've been in easier sections lol!

I set up a waggler for use with 8mm meat, with 18 PR36 to 0.14. A straight lead with 18 PR36 to 0.,and 2 pole rigs; one was a 6x10 pencil jobby with 0.14 to 16 B911 for meat, and the other had the same float with 16 Drennan Carp to 0.12 for caster. I was feeling a bit more confident about things as 30 mins before the start carp were showing in my peg and the empty peg 131. So come the the whistle I fed some meat and caster at 16 mtrs 2 0'oclock, some caster down the edge and then cast out the wag and meat. It wasn't long before I had my first carp, in fact I had 5 casts and hooked and landed 4 carp! Phil Cardwell was also catching on the wag. At this stage I had fed nothing, the carp were clearly in my peg and I just hoped they would stay.

After the first hour I reckoned to have 28lb, it then went very quiet and the wind picked up in my face and I was not able to feed meat as far as I would have liked. I cast the lead out and had a pull round first chuck but the fish came off halfway in. Next chuck on the lead produced a couple of small liners and I had enough of that and went back on the wag. First cast and fish on, and it was a good 8lb fish. Up until the start of the third hour I stayed with the wag, getting indications on most casts, some were liners as I lost a few foulers and landed one that was hooked in the tail. I knew the carp were there, but they seemed to have gone off the feed a bit. Time to try the pole and so I shipped out a piece of meat to 16 mtrs and within 30 seconds I was into a carp! Lee Wherret who was fishing for silvers said he was glad he was not fishing for carp today! Cupping in 4 pieces of meat and some casters after each fish I took another 4 carp here in no time at all, and they were big up to 10lb, and also had a tench. The pole died and so it was back to the wag for a few more. I then had 2 more carp on the pole but no more bite,s and for the last 30 mins of the match I didn't catch but missed 2 bites on the wag. I had really struggled to fish the last hour as my right shoulder blade area was really cramping up for some reason.

I could see I had beaten those around me, but Ray Haywood up on peg 126 had 20 carp which was more than I though I had. I was right but it was close! My carp weighed 122lb and I had 2 tench for 4lb+

1st Ray Haywood 130lb
2nd ME 126lb 13oz
I actually don't know what was 3rd cos the results weren't given out, I was just handed my winnings, but I know Phil Cardwell had 80lb on 132.

Paul Faires on peg 110 won the silvers with 18lb 8oz, and Lee next to me was 2nd with 18lb 2oz. Paul caught on wag feeding casters, Lee caught on pole over gbait!

Well I must say I had much better day than I thought I would have done, and was chuffed with the result as well as the fishing. It does help to draw on them at this time of the year of course! I was a bit rusty I know, and I missed too many bites on the wag I feel, but I'm not worried about that at all. Now have to change all the gear back over for the the Avon on Sunday lol!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Poppy Match

I won't go on about wanting to draw at Swineford this week cos you and I know that it wasn't going to happen. I got to the draw nice and early and was soon greeting a number of faces that I only seem to see on this match, Topper Haskins, Jeff Surmon, Julian Pinkett, Mark Haskins, Mike Shellard, I could go on! I was very shocked when I saw commercial expert Chris Davis come in though. It's good to see all these people support this match, but it is a shame that there are just no young anglers coming through. Bill Milton lead the 2 minute silence and then it was on with the draw. So with 120 pegs in the bucket I somehow drew the same bloody peg as last week, peg 20 at Newbridge, oh dear, how sad, never mind!

It didn't take me long to set up as the pole rigs were obviously all the same as last week, I set up a feeder rod with 16 to 0.13 but that was it. The river was now a nice colour, on the clear side, and I thought the roach would show today. I was going to set up a waggler for over but the wind was very bad and with the amount of boaters and leaves on the water I gave it a miss. I balled it at the start but with only 10 balls today and little grub in it, and then cast a big gbait feeder across 7 times. Onto the pole and it was hard work with a vicious downstream wind, and I could hardly get a bite! After an hour I had a 4oz roach, 7 blades and 1 small perch, not really match winning potential! Onto the feeder and first chuck I missed a whacking bite, the maggots were smashed and it must have been a chub. An hour later on and the tip had yielded 1 perch and something which was taken by a pike.

Time for a walk. It was fishing very hard, and my section was being won at the time with about 2lb, so my 10oz was really shite. I gave the pole one more go and picked up 4 more blades and a perch and that was the end of that. Feeder all the way now. I had a couple of bites which I missed and I knew it was from chub so I shortened the hook length down as I was pretty sure I wasn't going to see any bream action on this peg. I took two chublets soon after and thought I should change over to a maggot feeder, it took me 30 minutes to get another bite but then for the last hour (bar the last 15 mins) it went bonkers with chublets hitting the bait sometimes before the line had tightened up. Normally I use bronze maggot on the hook, but fluro maggot was much better today. I was lucky that this period of activity came when the wind had dropped and the leaves had lessened, meaning I could see the bites a lot better. It was a nice end to what had been a poor 4 hours before. I weighed 7lb 8oz which won the section as the next weight was only 3lb 12oz. It seemed the river had once again been a tough nut to crack when it looked in fine fettle.

Winning on the day was Paul Haines with 32lb of bream from about 2 pegs below the outfall at Swineford (I said I wanted to be there lol). Well done Paul a great result. 2nd and the hottest bream angler on the river at the moment was Kev Boltz with 21lb from peg 10 at Newbridge. 3rd was Leon Hubbard with a lovely net of roach on the stick float from peg 29 at Swineford that went 20lb. Dave Haines made a good day for the Haines, catching 3 big bream for 18lb.

4th Andy Ottoway 16lb
5th / 6th Shawn Townsend, Andy Power with 14lb weights

An angler at Jack Whites had a barbel 8lb on the stick float, but lost two others, one he managed to get the head in his landing net but it fell out, wonder how big that was!!!!!

The results were a lot of fun with Bill Milton and Ray Bazely on fine piss taking form. Despite the tough fishing there were lots of happy faces, good laughs and everyone had contributed to the poppy fund. It should be noted that Bristol and West and Bathampton do not charge peg fees for this match allowing for more money to go to the fund, so well done them and well done to all the sponsors. Roll on next year, please keep attending!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

November 1991

I'm not into dancing or singing so time for a blog on a Saturday night!

November 3rd 1991 was the date for the middle Avon champs, unfortunately a lot of rain in the previous days had brought the river up and the peg I drew was going to be very important in the outcome. Peg 1 at Warleigh was a chub flyer but not in today's conditions. I managed 1 chub and a bullhead on a maggot feeder before the river further and made the peg unfishable. I always remember this match as Bill Milton was a few pegs above me where the river was wider and he was getting regular bites on the feeder. I spent most of the last 2 hours watching Bill and he reckoned on having 15lb, but his keepnet got snagged and he ripped a big hole in it. When he pulled out just 4lb he was gutted, even more so as he would have won. I think on the same match there was a thunderstorm further up river and Warren Bates narrowly avoided being struck by lightning.

I pleasure fished the Crane stretch of the Avon on the Wednesday, starting on the stick float I was bagging and had 6lb in an hour before the peg was covered in leaves. I packed up and walked to the New Fence peg and fished the feeder for a couple of bream but missed bites that I couldn't see due to the bloody leaves! Come Saturday I was fishing an open at Newbridge and the leaves had washed through. I drew peg 3 in the little field which I was really pleased about for a days fishing but doubted I could frame as I thought the bream pegs would dominate. With a lovely pace on the river the peg screamed stick float but I did also set up the pole but that was it for tackle. Using a 20 to 0.1 and feeding bronze maggot I caught roach, chublets, dace and perch all day, but I did have to alter my shotting and depth to keep catching. I ended a lovely day with 15lb 2oz and I sneaked into 4th place!

Sunday and it was the Poppy match (topical!) and I got drawn at Swineford, the last peg in the first field in amongst the reeds. The river being pacey was obviously very fast in this shallow peg, and I took a feeder approach from start to finish. I had a poor start though and only 1 chub and a couple of bits after 3 hours, but then things improved and 4 skimmers and another chub gave me a reasonable 12lb 4oz. I'd caught fishing two lines, down the middle and right over, and worm and caster was the best hookbait on the day. My weight was 9th overall and a few quid dropped in my palm for the 2nd day running.

Wednesday and I was on the last round of the Veals classic league at Newbridge. You could have knocked me down with a feather when I pulled peg 3 out again! However, the river was once again different as more rain had added colour and flow, but I thought the stick would still work and set this and the gbait feeder up. As the match started it soon became evident I had misjudged the pace and the stick float was not right today. Switching to the feeder about 1/4 of the way across the river I proceeded to have a very enjoyable day despite heavy rain falling for most of the match. I really noticed on this day how the hook bait affected the species I caught, bronze maggot brought quick bites from decent roach and hybrids, red maggots took me longer to get a bite but if I got one it was a skimmer. If I tell you I had 7 skimmers, 2 chublets, hybrids and roach for 26lb you can see I had a lot of bites on the feeder and a lovely looking net of fish. Bob Ingram of Diawa Gordon League had the next highest weight in my section, 19lb of skimmers on the stick float from opposite marina. I got back to the results to get my section money only to find out the bream had not fed well elsewhere and I had won the match! I ended the league with 47 points out of a possible 55, and first one out of the overall payouts, those 2 early poor matches cost me, as you only dropped one result, but in retrospect it was a good result for a spotty young un like me!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Winter League Round 4

Back on Newbridge today and this match would be OK for pegging as it is permanently pegged! The river had taken on a hell of a lot of colour from the previous 24 hours although it was not pacey at all. Talking to Leon Hubbard we both thought it would either be a bagging match or crap. Well I drew peg 20 just before the pump house, a good peg generally but the area had been poor in recent weeks. On peg 22 below me was once again Kev Boltz, I hoped for revenge, but hope was all I had!

I was convinced this would be a bream match, and on this peg most fish are caught on the bream line so I set up two pole rigs; a 3grm with 0.12 to 16, and a 3grm flat float with the same gear. I also set up two feeder rods, one with a 16 and 0.14 and the other with 11 to 0.16 for lobworm. No point in setting up a float today, plus there were lots of leaves on the surface. At the start I threw in 18 bombs of gbait, thinking this would help hold any bream later on. I started by trying the normal 3grm float, and it took me about 10 mins to get a bite and a little 4oz hybrid. Next chuck a roach, two chucks later another 4oz hybrid. I expected hybrids as they normally feed in coloured water, and then I hit a decent fish. What it was I don't know as I pulled out of it just as it came near the surface leaving a boil. A few runs through later and I had a nice 12oz hybrid now this was more like the stamp I wanted! I thought these fish would come better to a static bait so I went out with the flat float...and never had a bite!

Back on the normal float and it was dead until out of the blue a bite and a skimmer of nearly a pound and a half. I couldn't get another bite, I tried the flat float and the feeder over this line but it was shot. Resting it I cast the feeder across a few times and settled in on this for an hour for 1 perch! It was evident the river was fishing hard, with some anglers still only having ounces, but I still couldn't work out why my bites had died. I did reball the pole line, that gave me 2 small roach and a foul hooked an eel. So I stayed on the feeder but only had 2 bites on this, hitting one which was a 8oz roach. I tried various hookbaits during the day, and only had one bite on a worm which surprised me, red maggot was best for me when I had the fish early on.

Once again Kev Boltz had given me a lesson, he lassoed 3 bream for 12lb whilst my net went 4lb 8oz only 3rd in the section. When I say lassoed, he actually caught one by hooking a lost feeder from ealier in the day and a bream was on the end of that old rig! OK I give up Kev! Shaun Townsend was 2nd in the section from peg 14 with 6lb.

The pegs below Kev in the next two sections nearly all had bream, with Thyers anglers Paul Purchase landing 3 for 18lb (I heard 2 were fouled!) and Paul Bromsgrove having the same weight including a foul hooked slab, they tied for 1st overall. Thyers won on the day with 40 points, Thatchers 2nd with 38 points and Bathampton 3rd with 28 points. League is now -
Thyers, Bathampton, Thatchers, Wilts Angling, Amalgamation.

Quite a number of anglers got out of jail with late bream, none more so than team mate Leigh Trivett who had a last cast bream of 7lb 14oz in his 8lb 10oz! Meanwhile Darren Gillman was last in section for the 2nd week running, that shows how tough the river is at present as Darren is one of the most consistent river anglers around.

Next week is the Poppy match, and I hear that many tickets are sold and it should be well over a 100 pegger. I wonder if my luck will come back next week, cos at present I seem to be wearing something that the bream don't like, lol!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Winter League Round 3

This match was to be fished on Swineford, Crane and Jack Whites and I had spent all week holding onto a lucky rabbits foot and planted some lucky heather in the garden all to try to help me get a peg at Swineford! Let's just say the foot and heather didn't work. To begin with I couldn't believe it when I found out that the match had not been pegged out, and so myself, Kev Dicks and Lee Trivett did our best to come up with the pegging on paper! What we had to do to make it easier was put two sections in at Newbridge and that is where I drew, peg 66. To be honest this has been a good area recently for roach, skimmers and bream so I wasn't to worried about not being at Swineford.

After the long walk I arrived at my peg to find Steve Hutchinson below me on 67 and Kev Boltz above on 63. I went positive, two pole rigs the usual 1 grm and 2.5grm, and a groundbait feeder. I couldn't see anything else being needed here as I thought I would need bream. At the beginning of the match I threw in 12 jaffas of gbait and caster and emptied 8 big feeder fulls across the river. I then spent 25 mins without a bite on the pole and was just thinking it was going to be pants when a 12oz roach obliged. Next chuck and another roach and as I netted it there was quite a splash, as I pulled up the landing net I saw there was a 3lb pike in with the roach, it must have literally jumped in the net after the roach! Pike don't count!

I had quite a few roach over the next hour, not many but many were 6oz to 8oz fish so worth catching, Kev had been catching the same stamp but then had a bream and 2 skimmers on the pole to move ahead. I managed to sneak out a 3lb bream and a 1.5lb skimmer soon after and thought things were going well, but then my bites slowed right up. Then I hooked a lump, I wasn't sure if it was a big bream or a pike so I took my time with it and after about 5 mins I saw it was a 4lb bream foul hooked. Of course once I got it in close the hooked pulled out, bugger! This really killed the peg and the gbait feeder line was not giving me any bites, meanwhile Kev hit 6 skimmers / bream on the pole in as many casts. I decided to re ball the pole line and hope. It worked to a degree as I started to catch the odd roach again, and had another 1.5lb skimmer out of the blue. Then Kev chucked the feeder out over his pole line and had 7 more skimmers / bream in 7 casts!!!!! The last 45 mins for me was poor, a double figure pike had moved in and did both my rigs in and the feeder didn't produce either across or over the pole line.

I had the scales so had the joy of weighing Kev in first, and he had a fantastic 45lb 11oz and won the match. I weighed 19lb 1oz and that only beat Steve Hutch's 9lb, as the two other anglers in my section below Newton St Loe Bridge beat me! Andy Britt on the same peg he had last week snared 4 good chub to go with his roach for 21lb, and on the end peg which won the match last week (does this guy ever draw a bad peg?) was Shawn Kitteridge. Shawn had a couple of bream and a lot of roach for 23lb and 4th in the match. As it turned out the lost foul hooked bream cost me framing, but such is life, I had a nice days fishing!

Swineford threw up a few bream weights, Robbie Manns was 2nd overall with 30lb from the last peg in the first field, and on the peg below him Nick Chedzoy had 22lb on the feeder. Paul Barnfield was 3rd from the little ashtip with a couple of big chub to go with a good net of roach.

Thyers won on the day and they are now tied in first place with Bathampton overall, with Thatchers 2 points behind.

Next week is back up at Newbridge (assuming it is pegged) and we could with some more rain as the other section up by the pumphouse was only won with 5lb.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Commercial House Rnd 3 Bristol Avon

I had not prepared to well for this match at Newbridge because I spent 3 days working in Munich (and me bag leaked causing a right mess!) then had visitors from Hong Kong and went to a 60th birthday party on Sat. I did however manage to mix some groundbait for balling! It was not looking good based on lack on rain!

I can honestly say I really did not have a clue where I wanted to draw as the river is so low and clear it would just be a case of drawing on shedful. Well blow me, I was handed peg 33 on the straight (the peg I wrote about last week with the chub!) and I was pretty sure this would be dog shite. On the peg below me (36) was river ace Kevin Dicks and we both know these pegs are better with water in and are proper winter pegs. With Mark Harper on peg 20 (1st peg in my section) where 18lb of roach was had last week I reckoned I was going to be the wrong end of the section. I had a plan (as ever) and that was if I couldn't catch roach on the pole I was going to try to catch better fish, bream! That said I did set up a wag shallow for bleak (no more on this), a gbait feeder with 16 B611 to 0.14, 2 pole rigs for the balling line, 1gm pencil with 22 to 0.08 and 3gm PB Silvers with 20 to 0.1. Last rig was 1.25 gm with 0.14 to 13 B711 for chopped worm down the side.

At the start in went 10 balls of gbait with little food, I went straight over it with the pencil rig and in 30 mins managed 2 roach and a perch that might have weighed 2oz in total! I tried the 3 grm rig with a static bait but no joy and was soon on the gbait feeder feeding the far side. An hour and 30 mins in and I tried the chopped worm swim, you could have knocked me down with a feather when the float buried! A 6oz perch was soon followed by a 1lb perch and a 12oz perch, of course that line then went dead. At this stage Kev Dicks had walked down to see me and hadn't had anything as yet! Word had it the whole match was fishing terrible.

I wanted to go back in on the worm line after resting it but a huge narrow boat tried to turn around in the river, and due to the downstream wind could not. With his engine on full and rudder hard astern he went through about 7 pegs churning up the inside, twat! I went for a walk, and other than Colin Dance on peg 22 everyone else was really struggling.

I spent the rest of the match swapping between the feeder and the chop worm swim and having the briefest of looks in on the balling line. The feeder gave me 1 bite and a small perch, the balling line nothing. Another 4 small perch came from the worm line, so as you can tell it wasn't exactly frantic. The scales duly arrived after weighing Kev Dicks last in section 6.5oz (not often that happens) and I weighed 3lb 4oz which was enough for 2nd in section. Colin Dance won the section and framed wth 9lb 2oz (giving me section by default hee hee) of roach to 1lb. Meanwhile on the peg above Mark Harper had 12oz, and below Eddie Wynne 1lb+. A tight shoal!

There were some very poor weights and sections, but I won't dwell on those. Winning on the day with 30lb was ....wait for it.... Dave Haines ! I think it was the biggest cheer I have heard in a long time when they called Dave's name out. I heard a rumour that Nicola Lunn had stolen Dave's whips, and instead Dave fished waggler then feeder for a few chub then bream on caster. Next peg to Dave was the Karaoke kid Andy Britt and he had 26lb of skimmers on the pole. Andy Ottoway had yet another nice day with 17lb from peg 67.

On the team front the rivers form meant all teams suffered bad results, and somehow my team has now taken the lead in the A div by 1/2 a point!

I was pleased to see Nick Chedzoy starting to show a bit of proper river angler form, Chedz had 2 bites and one was a 3lb+ chub for 2nd in section. Scratching for lumps takes a bit of bottle! Meanwhile his travelling partner Nick Ewers is searching for the Samaritans phone number. As is Sean Townsend who after 24 years drew the end peg in the trees and said he would be dissapointed if he only had 10lb. He weighed 1lb 3oz (pmsl) and we all laughed as did Sean.

Crane next week, thank f%ck!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

October 1991

As mentioned last week I am missing the 2nd round of the winter league at Newbridge Sunday due to family commitments (nothing to do with a gin clear river not flowing).

Back on October 12th 1991 I was fishing a Saturday open at ....Newbridge. I drew peg 65, and as I had pleasure fished a few pegs away in the week and caught plenty of roach was happy with the peg. In the first hour and a half I caught a roach nearly every cast on the pole and maggot, then the river coloured up badly and the bites stopped completely. I hadn't balled it (we didn't do that back then!) and not catching anymore was all down to the colour and extra flow and me feeding maggot. I didn't think bream were in the peg so I went out on a maggot feeder and struggled for a couple of puppies and eels, though I did lose one big chub. My 6lb 12oz was no good, and the bream hole pegs had 40 and 50lb, wish I had chucked out the gbait feeder!

The following day I found myself in an awful peg at Jack Whites, 2 above the cow drink opposite the concrete and as everyone thought bream would go I was expecting to be right down the section. I tried the feeder for a bit but continually lost hooks and feeders, so in the end I fished a waggler 3ft deep with maggot, 20 to 0.1 and took bleak, dace and the odd small roach. When I weighed 4lb 12oz I expected the worst, but the bream did not feed and I ended with 9 points, good enough.

Wednesday was another round of the Veals Classic League at Newbridge and if you recall I had not done very well in the previous 3 rounds. Today I drew peg 22 (behind the pumphouse) and whilst the river was clear again it had a nice flow. I started on the pole fishing 6 mtrs to hand feeding maggot, whilst also feeding casters out to the middle for the waggler later on. The pole line responded well and I was catching good quality roach on the drop, but alas this died and I had to change to the wag earlier than hoped. There were fish out there and I took the odd good roach and 2 decent hybrids all on caster. I fished a 20 to 0.1 on both rigs, and ended with 10lb 8oz of good stamp fish for 5th on the day and a nice little confidence booster. To give you some idea of the anglers fishing this league here are the ones I remember, Vic Bush, Ian Parsons, Steve Long, Mark Harper, Kevin Dicks, Clive Branson, Jeff Reasons, Gary Ethridge, Derek Coles and many many more.

On the Sunday I was back at Newbridge for the Commercial House, just a few pegs along on peg 28 and thought there might be a few chub about (odd ones caught on the Weds). With this in mind I started out on a wag but with a 22 to to 0.1 going from 3 to 6ft deep and with just 2 no 10's down the line. The wind was vicious upstream and made things difficult but I took 3 chub in the first 40 mins and missed one bite. That was the best bit!!!! After that all I had was a few gudgeon on the pole, and I managed to lose a chub on the feeder (I was good at that, still am lol). It was a tough match and I came 2nd in the section with 6lb 1oz.

Two matches left to report on in October, and both involve chub and differing emotions! 27th Oct and the ATWL, I was 5 pegs above the sewer at Limpley Stoke and told it would be rock hard where I was. I fished a wag set at depth (about 11ft) with very light shotting and (stupidly) a 22 to 0.08. After about half the match all I had was a couple of pounds of bits, then I lost a chub under my feet. So I stepped up to 0.10 (idiot) and lost another 2 chub. I then went direct on my reel line which was 2lb maxima, and lost another chub!!! The last two fish I had lost upstream and I got up and looking through the glare realised there was a big weed bed above me. I hooked one more chub and got that one out now I knew what was in the peg. My 5lb 6oz was still worth 10 points but losing 4 chub had cost me the section and a frame place. I was sick as a parrot!

So the last match of Oct was back on the Veals League at Newbridge, it turned out to be a memorable day. Drawing a few pegs further downstream again I was on peg 33. With similar conditions as on the CH match I reckoned the wag for chub would be best, and when I got to my peg and saw about 10 chub on the far bank my mind was made up! The wag was set up with a 20 to 0.1, with 1 no9 and 1 no10 and 4ft deep was best. The angler above me (on 30 I think) was Pete Sivell and he will not forget this day. After the first hour Pete shouted out to ask what I had, "7 chub" I replied. "Don't be effing stupid tell me what you've got Clucker" says Pete. "7 chub Pete!" says I. "Alright eff off then Cluck if you won't be sensible" steamed Pete. Well as you can probably imagine I was pissing myself by the fact Pete thought I was lying! By the end of the 3rd hour I had 16 chub and then the rowers came out and the chub went and I never had another bite on the wag or the feeder. Not long before the end of the match Topper Haskins walked up and asked me what I had, then he walked on up to Pete... "Clucker I thought you was f&cking lying!!!" PMSL! I weighed in 29lb and won the section but only came 5th overall as lots of bream came out from the end of the straight and the bream holes. I don't think chub ever showed in peg 33 again, they must have shoaled for winter or something then went elsewhere? Oh and Pete, I think he had a hard earned 8lb of roach.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

I Really Should Stick to Rivers!

I had no plans to fish this Sunday as there was nothing on the river that I fancied fishing plus I had a bad bout of man flu. However, a text From Tony Rixon saying he was running a match at Avalon got me juices flowing and this would definitely be my last commercial fishery match this year (surely!).

I did feel a tad better today but since I have come home have got blocked up and feel crap again (well being in the fresh helped when I was in it). With most of the lake going to be used I fancied a draw in the middle of the lake, the car park end was flat calm whilst the other end was very windy. Well I pulled out end peg 1 (yes Chris another corner) and that at least meant a nice short walk. However, my planned day of skimmer fishing was now on the back burner as I got lots of advice how to fish for carp.

As this match was any method I set up a method feeder with 0.21 powerline hook length to 16 PR38, a pellet wag (these were to fish about 25 metres up the end bank) a 4x10 Durafloat 10 for corn to the end bank at 16mtr (0.16 to 16 B911) and a skimmer rig on 0.5grm but this was a non starter.

On the whistle I cupped micros and corn to 16 mtrs up the edge, and cast the method further up the edge! It was a slow start but I was not to worried thinking this peg would get better in the last half of the match. I took a couple of small stockies on the method with 3 red maggs before I lost the whole rig when I think a carp must have hit a snag on the line. A change to banded 8mm pellet brought a few more stockies and after about 2 hours I had 7 of these small chaps. I was thinking about going on the pole and turned round to get it and heard a splash, looking back round my rod and reel were in the lake waving goodbye. Oh shit, there's a Diawa TDR reel on there I can't afford to lose that! The rod got to about 20 metres out when it stopped and after a few attempts I managed to snag it with my pellet wag rig. Trouble was the end tackle of the feeder was now well and truly snagged and I was having to pull for a break...but my pellet wag was somehow attached around the feeder rod tip section. I had no choice but to pull for the break and SNAP, back came the rod and reel, but gone was an inch off the end of the feeder rod. Well I hope that makes you laugh as much as it did when I told Mr Rixon!!!!

I went for a quick stroll to see how things were going and I was up with the anglers below me on fish numbers but I had all babies. I stuck another tip in the method and tried it again, but the peg was never the same. The 16 mtr edge line gave up 2 pasties in two chucks with 2 hours to go and after that just two chublets. The method brought me 1 more carp and that was it. A very bad day for me as my 10 carp and bits went 26lb+ which I would imagine would have been close to last. Howard Webb on peg 3 also had 10 carp but his went 39lb.

I didn't hang about for the results as I wanted to forget all about today and get home and have a Sunday Roast. I heard that Martin Mahon won it with 70lb on the method, and that Shane Caswell won the silvers with 17lb. All the details will be on Tony's blog of course. Def weekend of for me next week, so I'll stick a 1991 (hopefully it will be a good memory!) story on for that.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Winter League Round 1

This was the first round of the formerly sponsored Angling Times winter league, and it was at Swineford, Crane and Jack Whites. I had gone to bed the night before dreaming of a peg at Swineford or Jack Whites as I expected the crane to be tough with lots of pike. Breakfast in the rugby club and a chat with Kev Boltz and Shane Caswell before the draw was done. Oh fer fecks sake, the Crane again, only this time on the little wall just past the gantry. This area has been poor so far this year with 5lb being a good weight, my peg produced 2lb for Dave Haines the week before.

This is a shallow peg, and I think that this is the problem, the roach are there but the bright sunshine is penetrating the peg and putting the roach off. Still you have to make do and try to enjoy a day in the sun! Below me was Bathampton's and and good friend Darren Gillman, above me was the son of a millionaire Andy Bush. (Andy had to borrow some float rubbers from me for his topper float, don't Mosella do them lol!)

So what to do today then... First the boring bit, 1grm pencil rig, 4x16 strung out rig as usual. Then a waggler shallow (possible chublets I hoped by the boats) and a 4mtr whip (borrowed off team mate Andy Ottaway). The whip was set up as I had seen a few small fish swimming in close and I thought I would start on this whilst feeding caster and hemp at 13 mtr, no balling in today for me! On the whip I think I had about 1lb 12oz in the first hour, small roach and perch mainly and I was happy with this start. I picked up the pencil rig and started to get bites straight away but they were off the bottom and I bumped a couple so went onto the strung out rig. I picked up the odd roach but the bites were very iffy and when I did get one I often missed it. So far no pike trouble (in fact none all match) but then bleak appeared and they were mopping up every caster I fed and I couldn't get a bait to the bottom.

Onto the wag from id match and I caught bleak and the odd small dace on maggot, I hoped could draw the bleak away from the pole line but despite feeding maggot right across they stayed on the pole line. I got a bit cheesed off with this and went mad and cupped in a pot of caster and a pot of hemp on the pole line to get some bait down. Eventually the bleak left the wag line and disappeared altogether. Onto the pole line and no bleak and no bites, shit I think I messed this up! I set up a maggot feeder but to be honest I doubted it would work as opposite me the boat owners were building a new walkway and patio and I had a headache from them using pick axe, sledgehammers etc. Oh yeah and I could hear a baby crying all day from the boat down by Darren, add to this all the boaters and walkers enjoying the sun and it was truly wonderful. With 20 mins to go I had a roach on the pole and then 5 more, my first roach for 2 1/2 hours. Usual late arrivals!

Darren below me had struggled for 3lb and last in the section, I don't know why, maybe it was the people fishing for pike opposite him, or the boat turning round in his peg, or the two lumps he hooked on the roach rig that snapped him, or the pike he lost..... you get the picture! My section was won by Gary Cross off the high wall with 10lb of roach (it must have been solid) and my 6lb 11oz was 2nd in the section. Young (!) Andy had 4lb+ above me.

On the day Bathampton did very well and won, and also had the top 3 individuals, Graham Hunt 18lb of roach from peg above railway bridge, Martin Rayett 18lb of chub from peg 18, and Sean Townsend 14lb of dace from Jack Whites steps. Good pegs but they did the biz. Wiltshire angling came 2nd with Thatchers (ahem) 3rd, Thyers 4th and Amalgamation last.

Sorry if there are a few grammar issues in my two posts, but I'm to knackered to bother to check! Time for bed!

Angling Times County Champs Final

Welli have to write 2 blogs tonight and I can honestly say I am absolutely fecked after two days fishing in such hot weather!

Alarm goes off at 5:30am and I am outside putting my gear on the pavement in the pitch dark waiting for Sean Townsend to pick me up, it was weird listening to Tawny owls calling as I waited! Sean was bang on time despite having a bit of a hangover and a bad cold, but he's a tough cookie. We finally at Barston for the draw what an amazing place, fantastic set up, but you pay for it, brekkie was £7+. The Avon team consisted of Steve Mayo (superstar), Sean Townsend (legend), Martin Pettifer (bird scarer) Leighton Palmer (shareholder in Natch) and myself (Baggy). Steve did the draw and it seemed I had a good peg as did Sean being in a corner on his lake.

Off to Gearys lake at Packington Somers for me and peg 10, arriving at the peg carp were boshing everywhere, at about 80 metres out next to some pipes. So first rod set up was the method, a Preston in line 45grm job with 0.21 powerline to various hooks for different bait options. A straight lead and pellet wag were made up on standard Viaduct gear, then it was the pole with two 0.3grm Preston Inters for CW&C at 13 mtrs and soft pellet at 14.5 to 2 o'clock. Plus a caster rig at 5 mtrs and a margin rig next to a tree.

On the whistle I fed the pole lines and then launched the method, it seemed to land very nearly where I wanted it to, whereas the guy next door cracked off then fished it short (not enough line methinks!). 30 mins in and the method was up the bank as I had only had 1 skimmer and nobody else that I could see had caught on it. On the CW&C line I fouled a skimmer first drop and then started catching small skimmers (6oz) on either worm head or red maggot on a 16 to 0.12. I did take a couple of 2lb fish and a 12oz tench and at this stage I was ahead of my neighbours. It went funny after 2 hours and I tried the pellet line on the pole and not a bite, took a few bits at 5 mtrs and then tried the straight lead for nothing. The rest had helped and I had another run of small skimmers and a fantail before I hooked a proper lump! I played for about 10 mins, got it out of 1 snag and then whith me holding 14.5 mtrs of pole it did me in a tree down the edge, it was a big lad!

Loosing that carp seemed to really put the peg down and I struggled to the end of the match, despite seeing the odd carp boshing out I never had so much as a liner on the method or the lead. The margin produced a perch to my double dendra hookbait and that was it, all over. A few lads walked around waiting for the scales and it soon became obvious to me that the fish were shoaled up, I beat the two guys to my left and right and just missed out on my 6 peg section £50 as the angler on the end peg had 3 carp for 26lb. My weight of 19lb 14oz was probably about 30th in the 46 peg section. The lad 3 pegs to my right had 50lb on the method, and he told me he had a bite a chuck, to his right Pete Rice had just into double figures thanks to 2 late carp. Back at the results and Steve Mayo had come 3rd in his section with 46lb, Sean won his lake but with 3 lakes in his section we weren't sure how he did but must have been top 10. Leighton had 3lb and Martin 1 carp for 7lb so we had done good, but we came 15th out of 46 teams, so not to bad I suppose. I enjoyed the day out and it was nice rubbing shoulders with lots of famous faces, including £50K Andy Power who only went and won this match with 61 at Barston fishing boilies on the method, what a star!
Just to say as we were driving back to Barston for the results, all these top anglers were going home (shit out) like Steve Ringer, Kieran Rich etc, and they were waving out at us, Sean said "What the feck is going on here all these stars waving out us?" well I simply said "They recognise me of course Sean!". PMSL!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Commercial House Rnd 2 Bristol Avon

Back on the river today and not a pellet in sight! I had walked up the Crane on Friday watching Paul Staite and Alan Jones catching the odd fish but having a lot of pike problems. As far as I was concerned I wanted to draw at Swineford, but once again I was up the Crane! It was difficult to know exactly where I was as the pegging was ass about face and it didn't look right. I ended up on peg 81 in the Long Ashtip Field with my 9 peg section starting 1 below the high wall and ending up towards the end of the long ashtip, yep they were very well spread out! I don't mind admitting I was a tad annoyed with my peg after walking past lots of unpegged good pegs.

Time was short for setting up and I did something today I have never done before on a river match just set up a pole. I reckoned that I was only going to catch roach and perch and with a nasty downstream in your face wind and very little flow a pole would be the only way to present a bait. I went for the standard 1grm pencil rig with 0.08 to 18 B611, 2 grm 0.1 to to 16 B611 (never used) a chopped worm rig (to weed to use it!) and I also got out my little used 4x16 PB15 float with spread shot again with 0.08 to an 18. Just setting up these rigs (and getting my box and gear into the river and silt) only gave me a few minutes rest before the start.

On the whistle in went 12 jaffas at 11 metres, that was far enough out today as there was some flow there and it would make shipping back a bit easier. It was my usual slow start (why can't I catch to start!) with just the odd dace and small perch in the first hour and I lost 3 fish to pike. Into the 2nd hour and I was now picking up the odd roach but still losing some to the pike and I was getting pretty cheesed off especially as was it raining heavily! The middle of the match was very difficult indeed and I reckon I would get 1 bite in about 7 runs through, and if i did hit the bite I then had to hope the pike didn't snaffle the fish or the fish didn't weed itself, I had realised there was a weedbed out to 9 metres!

I got up and went for a walk to try and clear my thoughts, Nathan Hawke below was struggling like me but above me Steve Priddle said he 80 small roach. Glenn Bailey on peg 1 in my section was also finding it tough, so I went back to my peg and tried to winkle out some more roach. I kept swapping between the 1 grm and 4x16 rigs (although this one was unusable at times of high wind) and maggot was the best hookbait up till now. With 45 mins to go I was contemplating reballing it (well it worked last match!) when I suddenly started getting a bite every cast on the 1grm rig from 4oz roach. Then I lost the rig to Mr Pike and went out with the 4x16 rig with caster and took a roach evey chuck to the end. Why had the fish switched on, I don't know, but those roach were obviously there all day and once they went on the feed it was easy. Nathan also had a good last 45 mins.

I weighed in 10lb 8oz which was 2nd in the whole section but 1st in the A div so job done for the team. The section money will come in handy replacing all the hooklengths I lost to the pike! I think I took nearly 5lb in the last 45 mins, and that took me right up the section. Barny had top weight with 11lb, this was from the peg that had 40lb of bream the previous match, and Steve Priddle's tiddlers weighed 9lb 10oz. Nathan ended with 8lb+ so as you can see it was a tight section.

Liam Braddell won the match from up in the Cornfield with 31lb, he had some bream and skimmers and about 7lb of roach all on the pole / feeder over the pole line. There was a 28lb of bream at Swineford and Lee Trivett had a nice 22lb from peg 17 on the waggler. Overall good weights again but pike caused havoc for most anglers. I don't know the team result so far but I do know my team won on the day.

A double header next week with the County Champs final on Saturday and the first Winter League round on Sunday.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Sept / Oct 1991

Back again on the memory trip, as I really needed a weekend off as have felt really tired last couple of weeks.

My last match in Sept 1991 was a Bristol & West open that took in Swineford, Crane and Jack Whites. The day before had been very wet and windy and the river was up just a little with nice colour and I was sure bream would feed. I drew a peg in the cornfield it was on the end of an S bend opposite a willow tree (I think it is the split willow, but never sure) and I had Silver Dace bagger Mike Ainger on the peg upstream. Mike said we could catch some bream, I didn't know as I had very rarely drawn in this area. So it was an easy decision for me when setting up, 1 feeder rod with a 16 to 1.5lb maxima for the gbait feeder of course. Chatting to Mike before hand I told him I would whistle out if I caught a bream, I could, still can, do this stupid sort of warbling whistle which can annoy others ears! (That whistle is now perfected by Andy Bush, and I believe he has over the years driven his Dad Vic and his mates mad with it lol!)

It was a nice easy cast here and I chucked 3/4 the way across using 2 or 3 red maggots on the hook. I think it was about 20 mins when I first whistled out to Mike after netting a slab. I lost a chub under my rod end not long after but then never lost another fish all day. By mid match Mike was getting more and more frustrated at my whistles and had to come and see me at one point just to make sure I wasn't winding him up! By the end of the match I had taken 13 bream and 2 chub for a total of 43lb 14oz. Walking back everyone was saying you'll win it etc, but I did not win it, that honour was bestowed upon Andy Floyd. Andy was in the 2nd field at Swineford and had a brilliant 54lb on the crowquill and bread, although I expect he admitted to 10lb! I came 2nd, but only just as there were 2 other 40lb weights I recall. It was a brilliant match with loads of weights.

Wednesday 2nd of Oct and back on the Veals Classic league looking for continued improvement at Newbridge. Oh no not again, I struggled for 3lb 2oz on peg 28 with the waggler, so any chances of doing good in the league were well and truly over.

Saturday and a trip to the Oxford Canal for the final Drennan super league round. The team had no chance of winning or relegation so we didn't practise. The draw was in a pub on a village green, it looked a cracking place to live. At the bar we ordered bacon butties and then Paul Lumbard cheekily asked for a pint of Guiness and the Landlord said OK (this was before the existing licencing rules remember) and all of a sudden the whole team had a pint of Guinness and then another. My team already had a bit of a reputation of being animals and this just enforced it with quite a few choice comments from other more serious teams! What a good laugh it was and I went to my peg feeling rather merry. As for the actual fishing, well my 2lb 7oz (all caught on rod and lime) was worth 7 points and a good enough return for the team, we came 5th on the day and ended the league 7th.

No time to rest though, I would have had a load of beer Sat night I'm sure, then up for the Commercial house on Sunday at Laycock. This venue was peggy as hell of course, but you just had to make the most of what was in front of you and hope the odd bonus would show up. Now there is a certain angler who will remember this match very well and I hope he reads this and reminds me exactly what and how he caught, Martyn "Woody" Woodington. I got drawn on a peg just below the telegraph pole peg in the Abbey field, below me I remember was John Dursley. I didn't know what to expect here but went with my standard approach for the upper river, stick float and caster. I was on a 20 hook and 2lb breaking strain Smart. For a couple of hours I took the odd dace, roach and perch and then a weird thing happened that is hard to explain but it is the truth. I ran the float down and it went through the swim a bit different for some reason and I knew something was going to happen, bite, clunk, I landed a bream. Next chuck the float goes down the river the same way and I knew the float would go under in the same spot, and clunk bream on, John Dursley is now a bit miffed as he heard the clunks! Next chuck the same spot, clunk, now lots of f%cks from John and I was getting very excited. Sadly for me that was the end of the action, but it was a real adrenaline boost. My end weight of 11lb 11oz got me 3rd in the section and 5th overall. Winner of my section was Woody with I think 48lb of mainly barbel on the float, his biggest was nearly 10lb. We heard about his catch for a few weeks after that! Amazing that all this was 20 years ago now, but still remember some stuff like yesterday.

Hope you've all had a good Sunday fishing, looking foward to a good draw on the river next Sunday. I had a bad run at the drawbag last autumn on the river (made me feel shit as I was having to put up with the head f*ck that having cancer was giving me) but after a summer this year of good draws, well who knows. One thing for sure, no more corner pegs!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Windy Chilton Trinity

This was probably gonna be my last commercial fishery match for quite a while and I wanted to give it my best. With bad weather forecast I mixed up some gbait for the method and cut a couple of tins of meat, and also made a few rigs and tied some hooks, all on Sat evening!

I was one of the last to arrive at the venue and heard tales of multiple 100lb+ bags coming out in recent matches, that sounded alright to me! Into the draw net and I pulled peg 17, in a corner again (I actually prefer open water, honest) and with the wind smack in my face. Dean Malin and Tony Rixon said it was a good draw and so I decided to fish for carp and go for the win. I set up the method feeder (but I was hoping not to have to use it) and two pole rigs, a 0.75gm for 5 mtrs with 0.16 to 16 PR36 for banded pellet, and a 4x16 for the margin which was about 4 ft deep, I couldn't find anything shallower.

I fed a cup of 6mm pellets out at 5 mtrs, some meat and pellets into my right margin, and corn and caster to the left. I started at 5mtrs with an 8mm pellet and did not have a bite despite a few blows coming up. I changed to a 6mm pellet and snared a hand sized skimmer and then a 1lb skimmer and that was all the action I had in the first hour! In the 2nd hour I caught 1 small carp from the right margin, and pulled out of a fouler. In the third hour I lost a carp in the margin that got under the pallet on peg 16 (forcing me to walk round and free the rig) and I lost a carp at 5 mtrs.

In the fourth hour I had an eel from the left hand margin, and 1 carp from the right. I changed my 5mtr rig to 0.14 and 16B911 with soft pellet. This brought another skimmer and a carp. I tried the method in desperation and this did yield one carp, but nothing else. The fifth hour saw 2 carp from the margin landed and more lost (foulers). The sixth hour saw 1 carp from the right hand margin, and 2 carp and a tench from the 5 mtr line. All in all it was shite and I lost as many carp as I hooked.

As you can probably tell I didn't have to good a day, but I did have a good laugh. Shane Caswell was next to me on peg 15 and he had a very bad day, landing just two carp for 8lb. He also had a few run ins with a problematic bramble and went hedge trimming to retrieve a rig. This after he told me he had fished the Doncaster canal last week and blanked, lol!

My 5lb of silvers and 31lb of small carp was 20lb short of taking any coin, and Rich Coles on peg 19 showed me how to do it coming 3rd with 59lb. Rich caught on paste next to the reeds for the first 4 hours, and then lost 10 and landed 1 in the last 2 hours, I did hear him cussing! Trig won the match, he has been very consistent this year, and unlike Samson losing his hair doesn't seem to make him weak! Tony was 2nd with 66lb.

Chris Fox won the silvers with just 10lb, bugger I should have used the worms I had decided to leave in the car.

Just a note about the Angling Times Winter League Final today, Dorking have won it, and I believe off the next peg Bathampton came last, sorry lads must try harder!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Commercial House Rnd 1 Bristol Avon

It's winter league time again! Sunday and back on the lower Avon for the Commercial House winter league fishing for Thatchers, in this case the B team. We had 2 subs (OAPs) in the team today as 2 of the team were on holiday, so I hoped they didn't get long walks! It was great to see the lads again, and there was a fair bit of anticipation as to how the river would fish.

I was adopted as captain for the day (PC Barrett will take that duty back next time) and had the drawbag at my mercy, I fancied Swineford today for framing and wanted to avoid Jack Whites. Well I pulled neither, I ended up in the boys hole up the crane which should be OK for some roach. The OAPs had the pegs at Swineford and one of them was on the beach and lost all his colour when I told him how far it was! Well there were no mugs in my section today, other than Gary Cross that is (lol), Graham Hunt was by the cattle Grid, Mark Harper was on the peg 10 yds below me, and Sean Townsend was above me. I fancied my peg more than those either side, but thought the 4 pegs above the gantry would be the best.

I had a pretty good idea how to approach this peg, and the pole would be the main attack for roach. I plumbed my 1grm pencil rig and it was 4 inches off the bottom (not a bad guess) so that would do for starters, I went fine today on this, a 20 to 0.08 as I thought it would be tough. A 2grm rig with 0.1 to an 18 would do for overdepth, and a 1.5gm rig with 0.16 to 12 for chopped worm in close. I also set up a wag (not used) and a gbait feeder with 0.12 to 16. Glad we had plenty of time to set up!

On the whistle I fed worms and casters at 5 mtrs, then threw in 12 jaffas out to 13 mtrs. Out with the 1grm rig and I had 2 roach in 2 casts, then on the third cast the roach was taken by a pike, new hook required! Back out and I couldn't get a bite, in the next 20 mins all I had was 1 small perch and it looked bleak as both Mark and Sean were catching. I tried the heavy rig but it was also no good. I then ran the pencil rig all the way down the peg and had a bite! For the next hour and a half I caught odd roach way down the peg and out of the blue two 8oz skimmers. I also lost a couple more fish to pike including a better skimmer. It was a very difficult day, the wind was strong upstream affecting presentation, but still the lighter rig was best. If I could catch 3 roach in 3 chucks that was it, then it was dead for 10 mins, I had to change depths and try different places in the peg all the time, but caster was the best hook bait. During the middle of the match I lost a decent skimmer which I foul hooked and the peg went right off and so I decided to give the feeder a go for 30 mins or so while resting the pole line. The feeder didn't produce a fish, but I then had 6 roach in 6 casts on the pole before it was back to working hard again and trying to avoid the damn pike.

With half an hour to go the peg was properly dead, so I decided to reball it and hope! It was a good move as a few more roach up to 8oz came my way before the whistle went. I knew I had beaten Sean and Mark but Graham had been catching all day so I thought he would piss the section. Graham did win the section with 11lb 15oz, but I wasn't so far away on 11lb and came 2nd, I had fewer fish than Garahm but better quality. Mark had 7lb and Sean 4lb and so it proved they had worse pegs than me.

Overall it was:-

1st Leon Hubbard 80lb (!) 31 bream from a peg in the cornfield, not bad I suppose!!!!
2nd Jonny Atkins 46lb bream on the pole in the little ashtip (that's a first!)
3rd Leigh Trivett 16lb+ last peg on the beach

There were quite a few double figure weights and considering the clarity of the water it fished well. Although Nick Ewers on the first peg into the little ashtip might disagree as he only had 3lb+, not a peg I would have liked!

The two Bathampton teams tied for first place, and my team was 3rd, unfortunately the two OAPs only managed 3 points between them, but at least they gave it a go.

Well that's enough typing, my shoulders are aching after two days of pole fishing, and today was busier than yesterday, shame I have to wait another 3 weeks to fish the river.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Avon County Champs Final Landsend

It was a bit strange waking up on a Saturday morning to go fishing, and my body clock took a little adjusting! I was travelling on my own today since my normal partner Glenn Bailey did not want to fish this match, and as it turned out so did quite few others. So in the end only 10 people were fishing for 5 places. I am surprised that so many people didn't want to fish (don't want to go to the final?), but I guess some people don't like going out of their comfort zone, and I can understand that but I have never minded travelling.

Anyway back to today and as I put my hand in the bucket a ticket flew up and I grabbed it, peg 19 was looking back at me. This was the peg that Mike Nicholls had lost 25 carp from on Monday, and venue expert Rod Wootton said to me "it's foul hook city". Oh well at least plenty of interest for the day then. The pegging was generous and on 21 was Martin Pettifer, and on 17 was Eddie Wynne, for some it was even more generous, Sean Townsend on 11 had his next anglers on 7 and 15! A quick call to Tony Rixon confirmed the peg should be approached shallow at 13 mtr to avoid foulers for as long as possible. So I set up a 4x10 Durafoat with 0.16 to 16 PR36 for this line (it cocks with 1 no8 stotz and either a 6mm or 8mm pellet). A similar float for down the edge to my right, a dibber for 6" deep if they came right up or I needed to go in tight. Finally a 0.3 gm Inter float with 0.16 to 16B911 for the deck at 7 mtrs and 13 mtrs.

On the whistle a pot 6mms went in at 13 mtr, a pot at 2'o'clock at 7mtrs, casters and corn down the edge and at 10 o'clock 7 mtr (but nothing on this at all). I started on 7 mtrs with soft pellet and lost a fouler (here we go I thought) first dob but no more carp activity, I took a near 3lb bream and a F1 here and the first hour was gone! I had been feeding 6mm pellets by catty to 13 mtrs and decided to take a look over on the shallow rig first to avoid foulers..... um it never it went under and after 15 mins I was on the deck. This was slow, no liners or foulers, another flying skimmer and a couple of babies obliged but it was tough going. I kept going on this line and started to toss pot a bit of bait in as well as the catty, it seem to help as I took another 2 F1s, a chub and 4 carp by the halfway mark. This wasn't great but no one was really bagging, although Martin and Rod had a lot of carp in their pegs they were fouling a few and landing some. Martin then went and took 5 carp next to some marginal lillies in 5 chucks to storm ahead, he hadn't even fed it they were just there! My margin line was dead, the carp seemed to be the other side of the pallet today!

My next 2 hours were rock hard with just a decent ide and a few roach and I knew I was out of it. I tried in tight to the far bank, but never had anything other than the occasional liner. I decided to up the feed in the catty significantly and blow me the peg started blowing and I caught a carp on the deck then fouled one, so out with the shallow rig. I then caught 4 more carp and lost one fouler all up in the water before the whistle. I was left wondering if I should have fed heavier earlier, or was it just the usual last hour improvement? I knew I had been beaten by Martin (who lost 20 odd carp) and by Rod and by Steve Mayo on peg 1, so chances of being in the top were slim. As the scales went round I wandered up to see Eddie (who had chucked back) and my team mate Leigh Trivett. Leigh had gone round to watch Sean Townsend weigh in and had left his nets unattached on the pallet with the fish in. I couldn't resist it! I grabbed his carp keepnet and hid with it in peg 16. When they came round to weigh Leigh he was a tad upset that his tough day had now gotten worse as he proclaimed the carp had dragged in his net (lol). I then appeared in Leigh's peg with his net just as he was up to his armpit in the lake looking for the net. Yes I nearly did PMSL !!!!!

I weighed 51lb 11oz, which included 13lb 11oz of silvers, this was enough to take the consolation prize of the top silvers weight. I was 6 overall but in the final as Rod Wootton announced he did not want to go. I asked Rod what had I done wrong on this flyer, in his opinion the fish were not there as there was not enough pressure on the lake to push them into the gap, but I also feel I could have done better fishing longer to the point, hey ho.

1st Sean Townsend 86lb (19 carp) peg 11
2nd Rod Wotton 72lb+ peg 22
3rd Steve Mayo (3 ounces less than Rod) peg 1
4th Martin Pettifer 62lb
5th Leighton Palmer 53lb
6th Tim Ford 51lb 11oz

So it is off to Barston and Packing Summers on Oct 1st.
Came home tonight and spent over an hour mixing gbait and changing the gear around for the river tomorrow, hope it is worth it!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Tony Rixon's Float Only Viaduct

I was guesting in the league today and was travelling once again with Glenn Bailey. We were a little jaded after spending most of the previous day drinking beer (Cider for Glenn) whilst watching the T20 cricket finals at Edgbaston. I really enjoyed the day and the semis were both tied leading to a cracking 1 over smash off!

I was really hoping for a draw on campbell and despite being near the back end of the queue managed to pick out 119. I have had this peg once before about 6 years ago, then I had 50lb of tench, but today I thought would be all about carp. Glen had drawn corner peg 73 on Lodge and was also going to have hopefully a carp day. For company today I had Dave Evans on peg 118 and Gary Etheridge on peg 121, so no pretty faces but good anglers lol! I saw two main options, paste at 9mtrs using a 0.2grm Hill Billy float with 0.18 Exceed to a size 10 Drennan Carp hook, and banded pellet to the end bank with two rigs one for 6" deep on a dibber and 4x10 Durafloat 10 for on the deck. A rather positive approach but I just thought that would be best.

On the whistle I cupped a pot of 6mm pellets out at 9 mtrs and another pot of the same at 16mtr to the end bank. I was feeding against the little point trying to stay away from the tree in the corner which looked like trouble! Out on the paste and it was a slow start for me, Dave next door had 5 carp in as many casts to my 1 but then he suffered foulers and it slowed. I think I had 3 carp after the first hour, and had lost 3 foulers, which whilst not great I wasn't worried about. I took another couple on paste and then went to the end bank with the deck rig. On my first 6 drops the float went under and I missed all of them, lucky 7 worked and out came a fouled 1lb carp. So out went the shallow rig but this never produced a bite, and I took the deck rig and shallowed this up a tad and then hooked a carp and lost it in the tree! A couple of carp later and the indications stopped, and in truth I stayed on this too long.

Back on the paste and it was still very slow and I just seemed to get a bite out of the blue, I had mainly fed Mike Nicholls style (through a pot) but started to up the feed to try to improve things, it made no difference. Two hours to go I had a decent run of fish off the end bank but also lost a couple in the reeds / tree. I wasn't having the best of days, losing to many and having foulers, but the last hour saw me land 5 carp all 6lb to 8lb on the paste. However, and I do not know why I did this, but I landed a carp of approx 7lb after the whistle and put it in my silvers net!!! So I then tried to retrieve the carp and put in one of my other nets, this all went well until the carp decided to flip and go back in the lake, what a twat! Still Neil Mercer made me laugh out loud when he decided to jump into the lake. Neil hadn't decided to take a dip for the fun of it, his keepnet had fallen in and the only way he could retrieve it was to jump in after it. I gave him 6.8 for the dive.

I knew Gary Etheridge had soundly beaten me from peg 121 (he had 153lb) but thought it would be close between the rest of the section. I weighed 117lb and Dave next door had 107lb after a good late run of margin fish.As Gary would frame there was a chance of the default section coin, but that went to Bob Gullick who had 124lb on peg 126, so the lost carp could have cost me, double twat! Tom Magnol next to Bob had a fantastic start to the match catching carp shallow, but they drifted off and he was 3rd with 155lb. Anton Page must have fished a very good match to win from Carey peg 77, he had 191lb of carp shallow on the pole and pellet, fishing 16 to 17mtrs out. Timmy Clarke on peg 112 was 2nd with 169lb and in the process gave a lesson to Tony Rixon in the art of paste fishing (see Tony's blog!) lol!

I sum today up as a missed opportunity, I think the peg was worth 150lb, although Andy Lloyd did say to me the peg is never as good as it can be when they peg 121. I think I needed to swap between my two lines more regularly, when instead I was trying to get one line working well. A good days fishing though and the ability to learn from it makes it always worthwhile. Got the county champs on Saturday next week at Landsend, let's see who turns up, and then the Commercial House on the Avon at Keynsham on Sunday, need to make some rigs!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Sept 1991

Not fishing this weekend so here's a very quick step back in time again.

Sept 1991 saw the beginning of a Wed league called the Veals Classic League which was to be fished at Newbridge. I was lucky enough to have enough holidays at work to be able to book off the necessary Wednesdays, wouldn't be able to do that with my job now though! Round 1 saw me on peg 37 which is on the straight, I wrote in my diary "Fished like a prat, didn't do it right!". 3lb 12oz wasn't good with most anglers weighing 8lb+, I did though decide to watch Clive Branson next door catching on the pole and I had my eyes opened. Clive is a big bloke and he stood up fishing 11 mtrs of pole (they were heavy poles back then!) for 5 hours. I had to make up some new pole rigs as I was using all the wrong floats etc.

Saturday 7th saw me on an open match at Shearwater lake, I drew peg 1 on the roadside and once again showed my lack of ability on the pole weighing 16lb 4oz. I fed gbait for skimmers but only caught carp. The following day by contrast I fished the Bristol Docks at St Augustines, fishing gbait and caster I caught 9lb of roach to win my section! An 18 to 2lb was the only tackle I recorded using.

The next round of the Veals League saw me on peg 3 in the little field, a peg I knew little about but was told there were plenty of roach to be caught. I was drawn next to Jeff Reasons and we started the match differently, Jeff on the pole, me on the waggler. I only had a few bits on the wag but did lose a good chub. However, when I came in on the pole, with my new pole rigs, I bagged up feeding bronze maggot for roach at 11 mtrs. I managed 2nd in the section and a much improved performance from last time. I beat Jeff by a few ounces by the way!

Saturday saw me on another different venue, Durleigh reservoir, this was how it was years ago you didn't fish one commercial continually! I drew end peg 60 a massive walk for me and it was in the teeth of a gale! I set up a 4AAA waggler for 3.5 ft deep peg and fed balls of gbait and maggot by hand for 3 hours catching skimmers. The wind got so bad I chucked the feeder out which was a good move as I caught 5 bream! My total weight of 22lb 8oz was 3rd overall giving me £60. The following day was the first round of the Commercial House on the Avon and I drew Swineford, just a short walk to the gas pipe in the 3rd field. I will always remember this match! I was drawn actually on the gas pipe in amongst all the reeds and wasn't that happy, my girlfriend came to watch me for the first time, although she brought a book! After struggling for 2lb of bits on a wag in the fast water I tried fishing 4 mtrs to hand in the dead water behind the reeds. I had been feeding bronze maggot here and it was solid with eels, I could get a bite every chuck, then on one cast the whip bent over double and I shit myself! After about 2 minutes I saw the culprit, a bream of at least 5lb, and then it came off! I shouted every swear word I knew and my girlfriend was shocked, and a couple of pegs away Tony Rixon was pissing himself. A little later though I hooked another bream on the whip, this one about 3.5lbs and I felt a lot happier! When the scales came along I remember anglers being shocked at the amount of eels I had, my total weight was 12lb 5oz, I won the section and was 4th overall! I never expected to do any good from the peg before hand, it shows we never know what can happen. It was the practice for previous Nationals catching eels that helped me bag up on them. September was turning out to be a very good month for me and there was one weekend left, I'll save that enjoyable match for next time though!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Super League Round 5

Today I was pleased to meet an old friend whom I haven't seen for a long time, THE RIVER!

Mark Harper had rang me mid week to ask if I could fish for the team at Newbridge. I had stayed away from rivers due to having a small hernia after my op, as it is hard graft carrying all your kit and tonnes of gbait for long walks! However, the team were short, and with the promise of a short walk and pre mixed gbait I couldn't refuse! So it was I found myself (eventually, after a long wait for brekkie at Wetherspoons) at the Rugby club in Salford with the Super League clan, lots of talented anglers and Glenn Bailey's new Bathampton team mates, only joking lads!

Thanks to the generosity of the organisers I was allowed to swap pegs to have a short walk, thank goodness for that as peg 65 would have been a right sweat! My home for the day was peg 107 right in front of the arch, it did mean a bit of abseiling to get into the water but once in it was fine. I was going to ball it on the pole at 13 mtrs (no shit Sherlock!) and assembled a 1grm pencil float with 18 B611 to 0.11 exceed, a 2.5grm Preston Silvers thingy (rugby ball shape) with 16 B611 to 0.12 exceed. A 1.5gm rig for chopped worm (no more about this), a waggler (no more about this) and a gbait feeder with 0.14 to 14 B611. I must say at this stage I was very humbled by the many anglers who enquired as to my well being, it was nice that so many people were pleased to see me again.

I was just about ready for the start, and on the whistle I made 10 casts with the feeder across to get some bait in, then threw in 10 big balls of gbait containing some caster and hemp. Picking up the 1grm rig to begin I was soon thinking maybe it was too light a float as the upstream wind was getting up, and it got worse during the match. After an hour I think I may have had 1.5lb of small roach and small perch, this was way behind the anglers either side of me. I tried the heavier rig but caught the same small fish and bumped more as I was on a double bait. Back in on the pencil float and things started to improve, with caster on the hook I was now catching roach of 4oz steadily. This kept up for the 2nd hour before it went iffy and so I started to loose feed hemp and caster. The bites in the 3rd and 4th hour were much less frequent but the quality was good, and I had 2 roach over 12oz. Most of the time I was getting bites as soon as the float settled (on the drop), and it was almost impossible to get a bite with the rig just running through. I kept changing depths and the way I laid the rig in to try to fool the roach, and fishing off bottom for me was best. I did catch a few on maggot when bites went quiet but in all honesty caster was best.

The last hour was not so good and I even had a few casts on the feeder which produced a perch and a roach, so I stuck to the pole where I was catching now smaller roach but at least I was putting something in the net! When the match finished I thought I had 10lb, Dave Haines, who had watched me for a bit, thought I had more than this. I was indebted to Dave as he helped me get my gear up the bank afterwards. As the scales approached Dave Wride below me was leading with 11lb 3oz (a net of big roach) thankfully my net of more but slightly smaller roach went 13lb 1oz and was enough to win the section. That was a good thing as it is £70 for winning a section in this league! I was 5th overall to so not a bad return on my first visit back I guess? Interestingly the guys either side of me caught well in the first and last hour, whilst I caught best in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th, you work it out!

Back at the results and the word was peg 140 had won, 15lb of bream and 20lb of roach, there was a 16lb of roach on peg 16, and team mate Ian Pauley had 15lb 7oz of roach from peg 49. It had certainly been a day when the roach had fed fairly consistently, and the skimmers were conspicuous by there absence! The team had a few bad results, but at the end of the day still hold an 18 point lead going into the last match (next week) on the same venue. Unfortunately I cannot fish as I am away with the family, so for many of the lads next weekend will be a double header, as they have the Div 2 national on the Basingstoke Canal on Sat.

I must just finish by saying this, I really enjoyed being back on the river today and it was lovely to be fishing flowing water. I enjoy both commercials and rivers (and canals) but to be honest 13lb of roach today was great fun and I was in my element.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Chilton Trinity - Wildmarsh Lake

I got back home on Saturday from a very nice holiday in Jersey (hence no fishing last weekend) but had picked up man flu. I rang to speak to Glenn Bailey and he had done me proud by getting all my bait and gbait (mixed) ready for Tony Rixon's float only match at Trinity. To be honest I felt awful and had thought of cancelling, then I had a bad night being unable to sleep due to blocked sinuses. Come Sunday morning I over dosed on some tablets (accidental) and picked up Glenn. We had a very good breakfast in the Hill Top cafe and I caught up on the previous weeks news with Matty Toomes!

Although Glenn had been a tremendous help I really didn't feel mentally prepared for this match, and when I drew peg 62 and Tony just laughed at me making me think I really should have cancelled! I got to my peg to find Glenn pegged opposite me on the island, so we both had poor pegs (and so did Bela Bakos who foolishly asked Glenn to draw for him lol). I had a chat with the anglers nearby and it seemed many had been in this area in the previous match, Mike Nicholls was on 64 and said it was crap, and the best I could get was to aim for 8 to 10lb of silvers. With that in mind I set up a 4AAA waggler with 2 no 8 and 1 no 10 down the line with an 18 to 0.11 for fishing out about 20 metres+ where I would feed caster. On th pole at 14.5m I would feed gbait, worm and caster and set up a 0.8 gm rig and 0.4gm rig, both with 18 to 0.11. I had a bulk down and 2 no8 droppers on the 0.8 rig, spread shot on the other. I also set up a paste rig for a line against the lily pads (never had a touch here).

So to start I cupped in 6 balls of my gbait and cw&c, and went over it with the 0.8gm rig, it was solid with blips! I tried various hook baits but bits of worms were best to avoid the blips and attract the odd 1oz to 2oz roach! I was soon behind my neighbour Kev Moulten when he landed a 5lb carp (after it had gone through my peg and into next doors!) and after 90 mins I might have had just about a 1lb. I picked up the waggler and hoped it would be ready for action after I had fed it with caster regularly. Um no, 1 roach and 1 eel in about 30 mins. This was going the way my last match went here!

Not much else happened for me in the next 2 hours except for getting wet from an enormous thunderstorm. I held onto my brolly to take shelter, but then as the rain eased I dropped the brolly onto my pole smashing the no 5 section. There was a moment as I got off my box when I thought about packing up, especially as Glenn had said a little earlier "I'm ready to go when you are", but I had seen Mike Nicholls catch a couple of carp on the pole and paste, and so I set up a new rig for 13 mtr at 11 o'clock, fed a big cup of 6mm pellet and dropped the paste in. Twenty minutes later I had a 6lb common, and 10 mins after that a fish around 11lb. This got Craig Edmunds worried who up until then was winning my section, and got me excited. However, the carp drifted away and I tried lots of feeding variations to get them back, then finally with 10 mins to go I had 3 bites but connected with none. Ten minutes after the whistle the peg was a mass of fizzing, oh how I laughed.....

The two carp weighed 17lb and and my bits 3lb, and my 20lb was 2nd in the section to Trig who had 25lb (including 6 carp on paste and some skimmers.) Mike Nicholls ended up top weight on the bank after a good last two hours on the paste (see his blog) and the match was won by Tony (see his blog!).

Would I have caught more if I had fished the paste for longer / fed the pellet earlier? Well I think so and I was to negative today, but we will never know for sure I guess. Sorry if this isn't as in depth as usual, still feeling lousy!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

August 1991

Time for a look back (alright Andy).

I had a day pleasure fishing at the end of July, I fished the bay in the little ashtip on the Crane stretch of the Avon. I simply took hemp and tares to try and catch something on these baits and improve my confidence. I fished a size 10 Gamakatsu hook to 2lb smart on a 4mtr whip, and had a good session ending with 17lb of mostly roach and dace plus a 1.5lb chub. Have to try that again some time.

Saturday 3rd August saw me fishing a Drennan Superleague round on the Huntspill. I can't recall where I drew, but I only had 2lb 9oz comprised mainly of 4 eels and 1 skimmer. I fished the wag blitzing it with maggot for long spells, this was wrong as I had measely 5 points and everyone who beat me had 1 bream! Sunday was Skanderborg challenge round 2, and I found myself on the K&A near Seend Lock which was all new to me! Based upon a bit of practice info I threw in 5 balls of gbait containing squatt and caster and loosefed pinkie over the top. I had a decent match landing 2 small tench, loads of bottle tops and 2 small skimmers for a total of 4lb 12oz. That was worth 9 points out of 11 which I was really happy with having not fished this part of the canal before, unfortunately the canal fished poorly and our positive team approach failed for most and we bombed out!

A few days later my bags were packed and it was off for three days Div 4 practice on the river Welland. However, it didn't start very well when on the first afternoons practice we could only catch blades on the whip just out past the marginal cover. Luckily for us there was also a section or two on the Coronation Channel and so we practised on there the following day, I was on peg 88. We fished for 3 hours and I ended with 3lb of eels, all taken on the pole with a 22 barbless hook (they were clever them eels!). It was then back to the Welland for another bash, this time in the 300's. I persevered on wag / long pole feeding maggots to try to catch better fish, 2 eels and 2 roach for 1lb 9oz was hardly bagging! Last day of practise was pretty much another Welland struggle, just 2lb 4oz on the wag and mag in 2 hours, but 5lb on the national would be great we were told. I could get a few bites but missed loads, even when going 2 feet over depth!

A week later and I was fishing the national, I was drawn on the Welland and it didn't look good, my part of the section had not been fished before and we all had to hack down the reeds to get to the waters edge. To cut a long story short I had my worst points return in a National ever, 18 points out of 83 for my 475 grammes! What made it worse was that the team was 30 points off of promotion, had I had a reasonable day we would have gone up. The match was won with 50lb, Martyn Woodington had our best weight of 20lb, and one section of 83 was won with just 14oz, I think John Amatto was in that section and came 3rd with 8oz!!!!!!

A couple more pleasure sessions on the Avon at Newbridge were in order and produced double figure weights of mainly roach to wag and mag, but on the match scene it was still shite! I fished the embassy pairs on the T&B canal, didn't have a clue what I was doing and had just under a kilo of roach on punch. Money finally came my way on the August bank holiday fishing the Docks at St Augustines Parade. I stuck to a gbait feeder with an 18 to 1.5lb maxima, caster in the gbait and maggot on the hook. I came 5th with 14lb 10oz and won a massive £12! I think I recall being pegged next to Clayton Hudson on this match, he was on my right (not a bad memory for nearly 20 years ago!).

All of my practice at Newbridge was put to the test on the last day of August for the NFA South West Champs on the river. I drew peg 135 in the trees and endured a very dire match as I had just 1 roach in the first 3 hours. I did manage 3 chublets and 1 eel on the maggot feeder later but lost 2 proper chub in an unseen snag. My 2lb 3oz was 3rd in the 11 peg section (told you it was dire) and 2lb 11oz won it, bloody chub and snags they've cost me over the years lol. The team had a mare as the river had switched off and we came a disappointing seventh. I was glad to see the back of August and I hoped September would be kinder to me.