Sunday, 27 March 2011

CARPS AC series Viaduct Fishery

Glenn Bailey had booked into the last match of this series as a guest, and he asked if I wanted to tag along. I was up for a bit of that, so out came the deck chair!

The day before on the venue had been the Paul Garrett memorial and several 100lb+ weights had been taken which suggested today would be just as good. Glenn was no slouch at the drawbag pulling out 128 on Campbell which has been a very consistent peg for carp. Three anglers were in with a chance of being the series winner overall and they all drew in a line; Andy Lloyd on peg 113, Chris Davis peg 114 and Tim Pallant on 115. As I wandered around Campbell I could see that most anglers had set up a straight lead, deep wag and pole for long and margin, there were also a few pellet wags on show. Pellet and meat were by far the dominant baits on the anglers trays, no surprise there.

The match started with a NE breeze that was blowing into and across the bank that Glenn was on. Within a short time odd carp were coming out, and many were also being lost. Stu Foale on peg 129 had lost 3 on the deep wag (foulers) and was forced to join the lead chuckers, but it was a good move as he started to catch. Chris on 115 mugged some early carp on the long pole and Andy Lloyd was catching on lead or wag on pellet. Glenn had a slow start but was not to far behind after the first hour.

Two hours in and I was hungry but Paul Greenwood was not in the shop and so I went to see what was happening on Carey (it took me another hour to get nourishment!). Three anglers in a row were fishing for silvers (Rich Coles, John Green and Dave Roper) pegs 98, 97 and 96 respectively. They were catching small skimmers with the odd better one thrown in but were complaining the bites were iffy. There were some carp on pegs 86, 94 and 100 at this stage. Back to Campbell on the guy on 119 was now doing well on the wag to the end bank, as was Lewis Greenwood on 110. I thought Stu Foale, Chris Davis and Andy Lloyd were the leading contenders, but with 2 hours to go things changed. Andy Lloyd really got the carp going on the wag shallow and he motored ahead of the rest.

The final top 3 weights were :-

Andy Lloyd 217lb peg 113
Chris Davis 170lb peg 114
Dick Bull 148lb peg 94

(Not sure who won the series, Andy or Chris?)

There were also ton weights recorded on pegs, 86, 129 (Stu), 124 (Steve Skelton), 119, 116 (Tim Pallant). Lewis may have had a ton but Glenn had to get home for a music concert so I didn't see him weigh.

On the silvers front those three anglers on Carey dominated..

Dave Roper 50lb peg 96
John Green 39lb peg 97
Rich Coles 35lb peg 98 (top silvers on Campbell 27lb 1oz from peg 132)

Well as you can see the warm weather really helped lift the weights today, although Glenn could only manage 70lb (!), and I really wanted to have a chuck. I must say I was impressed with Andy Lloyd, I already knew he was a good angler but he made the wag work and got the carp lined up, a slick performance and he didn't mind me watching. From a purists point of view it was also nice to see the the float beat the lead chuckers, a sign maybe winter is past?

Friday, 18 March 2011

April 1991 - Irish Madness!

Time to go back in time, well I've got to do something!

What with the complete close season to contend with back in 1991, fishing was limited to trips to Devon or Cornwall (to the original commercial fisheries) or of course Ireland. If I wasn't fishing on a weekend I was probably in the pub!

On the 21st April I travelled to Devon to fish a match at Hogsbrook lake, this match was on the smaller bottom lake. It was a bloody long way to go to catch just 2lb 12oz, but that was enough for 3rd place, as it fished crap! I had 6 roach and 6 skimmers on either pinkie or maggot hookbaits, fishing a light waggler with 2 no8 and 1 no10 down the line. I fished double baits in the hope the fish would find them easier in the dark red coloured water.

I spent the next week preparing for a trip to southern Ireland, this was not a festival but just pleasure with a group of mates. Not sure if I can recall everyone who went but here goes.. Greg Harvey, Paul Benson, Martyn Woodington, Martin Leonard, Andy Leonard, Nigel Brookes, Andy Floyd. Sorry if I forgot someone, memory is not so good after the anaesthetic. The trip was booked via Ray Bazeley's company Top Line Tours, and we were going to a place called Bailieboro. This trip had many hilarious moments, and the first was when we arrived and couldn't find the guesthouse, Nigel stopped a local and asked for directions and got no where, so he asked if he new Topline Tours? "Ah to be sure, I never heard of Topline Tours!" he replied, no I don't think he would Nige and we just pissed ourselves. The guest house was great, but we were disappointed to find the nearest pub was a fair distance away, and with a policeman (Garda) being the owner we couldn't risk drink driving (which was common in Ireland back then) and faced a long walk there and back.

The group split into two immediately, this was because a few wanted to get a few hours fishing in while the rest of us went to the pub! Our first proper days fishing was on Monday 29th April, on Drumkeary lake. The weather was awful, with driving rain, and I along with most others had a handful of bits. We found a great pub on the night (where a kid about 10 served when his dad was having tea or a snooze) which had a pool and snooker table. I played pool once against Nigel, he broke off and potted the lot, so I never bothered again! We got a late drink in this place, and the owner would let us out the back way which meant walking through into his living room and out his front door! The following day we tried our luck at Castle lake, the weather was better but the fishing worse as I managed just 3 small fish. Still we were having a great craic in the pubs! Some of us went home early and went to a pub to watch Ireland play a footbal world cup qualifier. The pub was heaving, and the policeman was also in there. When it was finished the owner said "come on fellas dinner will be on the table soon". He then proceeded to get in his car after 6 pints and drive home....

Day three and Benz got us to lake Eonish, but because of the high water levels he could not recognise the pegs! You could wade out a long way and cast as far as you could and still not find more than 3 feet of water. Once again the weather was even better and yep the fishing worse, 1 perch for me! This was not what I had expected of Ireland, where were all the bream? Truth was the lakes were all full to overflowing after weeks of cold rain, we needed to find a venue where the fish would be in range of our casting and quick! As luck would have it on our drive back we bumped into some Brummies going home, they had been catching up to 50lb bags of bream on a local lake and gave us directions. Despite Benz, Greg and myself providing this info later the rest of the guys wanted to stick with one of the other lakes we had fished.

So it was on day four just the three of us lined the banks of Church Lake. This place was deep, at 30 yards out it took nearly 30 seconds for a large Drennan feeder to hit bottom! I fired out 12 balls of gbait and caster and chucked the feeder over the top. Slowly I started to get bites from hybrids, skimmers and late on a couple of bream. I had 15lb, which whilst not a lot felt good after all the previous shite! We all fired some more gbait into our pegs before we left. After another heavy session on the Guinness I returned to the guest house for some reason alone. When I got back I couldn't open the door to my room, then I heard a shout from within asking who it was, "It's Tim, let me in my fecking room!". Inside a number of the lads were up to something, and it transpired that Woody was sabotaging Benz's feeder reel. He pulled off some line, bit it off, and then wound it back on, biting it again and winding the remainder back on. So Benz was going to have a few problems when he started fishing!

Next day and we're all at the lake in anticipation! I got ready super fast and was already into a bream before Benz (next to me) had tackled up, he was a bit hungover! Of course Benz was now really excited and rushing to get ready at the sight of bream coming out. He was ready to cast, and I shouted the signal "Benz is going for the bream now!" he said something like "Come on then you effing Irish slabs you're having some!" and WHOOSH out went the feeder... off to the horizon! "I don't believe it I've cracked off!" and he did swear quite a lot and we were all laughing our heads off! As Benz set up again I had another bream and so did some others which only made Benz even more traumatised. He was now set up again and ready for action, I shouted out again, and once again his feeder zoomed out to the horizon no longer attached to his rod again. "Effing Rixon, this line is shit!!!!" he said and he threw his rod behind him up a tree. We were all in fits, in fact Greg laughed so much he fell off his box into the margin of the lake, I could have been close to really pissing myself! Benz went for a walk and calmed down enough to retrieve his rod, and later in the day we told him the truth! As it turned out Woody was sat on the bream shoal just to my left, and then to my right the fishing got worse. Woody was making quite a lot of "easy" or "not another bream" type comments when Martin Leonard shouted "Woody, there are two things wrong with you; you breathe in and you breathe out!". Whoops! I ended with 45lb of hybrids to a 1lb and bream to 3.5lbs. I used a 16 to 2lb maxima hook length with either triple red maggot or worm and maggot.

On the last day, Greg, Benz Andy L, and myself did not fish, we had a lie in before the long journey home later, the rest of the lads went back to the lake. We visited them and tried to sabotage Woody's reel, but messed it up and he caught us! I was driving the other 3 lads home in Greg's car, and we found our way into a Dublin pub. We met a nice bunch of blokes who were working for a television show in the church across the road, they invited us over after they had finished 6 pints and went back to work! We went into the directors room, and he showed us the microphone from which he could talk to everyone on set, Andy L grabbed it and started to sing "tie a yellow ribbon.." and across the bank of TV screens we could see many puzzled faces!

When we finally got on the ferry, my 3 passengers kept on the beer while I tried to get a few hours kip. When I returned the three of them were in a mess, and Greg threw up just as we got off the ferry! I had to drive home through North Wales in the middle of the night with them fast asleep. I did have one scare, I farted and I was convinced I had followed through, so I stopped the car and dropped my trousers in front of the headlights to check, but phew I was all clear! The lads remained snoozing and so it was my secret, but about 20 mins down the road Andy L opened one eye and said "Don't think I didn't see you drop your trousers, you thought you shit yourself". Boy was I glad when I finally got home and went to bed for about 2 days!

That isn't quite the end of the story though, because just before the start of the river season that year I pulled out my tube full of peacock wagglers only to find they had turned red and soggy! Woody had taken his revenge by stuffing a load of red maggots in the tube when we were back in Ireland, the floats were ruined!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Last Chance Open

For a number of years Kevin Dicks has run an open match at Newbridge on the last Sunday of the river season, think it might be known as the Lower Avon Champs. This match has in the past thrown up some exceptional weights of bream, and depending on the conditions it can be fun for many, or fun for few! This year with the river clear it was most likely to be fun for just a few!

As I can now drive again I decided to watch the end of the match, and as I knew Darren Gillman was pegged on Rotork 24 I thought I would see him first. I already knew the going was tough and when I sat behind Dar he had just 2 perch in the net, though I did see him quickly catch a bleak and a chublet on the feeder, and 3 fish topped in close. After a nice chat with Dar I drove on to Newbridge to park behind peg 14. Steve Hutchinson was "resting" in this peg, I think I may have woken him up! Steve hadn't had a bite, though he said he had been happy with the draw as on the previous years match he had taken 100lb+ from peg 16. Whilst chatting to Steve we saw a fish top, that was the first fish Steve had seen! Glenn Bailey then rang me and said his 2 bream were not going to beat pegs 51 and 54 that had caught 25 bream each, I didn't want to walk that far to watch and so I trundled up into the little field. This area was devoid of bream with mainly just the odd roach and chublet taken, although Andy Britt on peg 10 had lost a lump which snagged him. The person doing the best in the little field was Graham Hunt on peg 3, he ended up with 7lb which was 3 chub of 1lb each, a very few roach and lots of bleak all of which were caught on the crowquill. I won't mention that Graham was bemoaning his rod for him cracking off on a chub on the strike!

It was surprising that from peg 14 to peg 32 only 10oz and 8oz was weighed, in previous years, and indeed this season, there have been plenty of bream and skimmers somewhere in this area. The rest of the 30's (the straight) was better in that the anglers there had 2 to 3 bream each although they varied greatly in size, Lee Trivett weighed 3 for 8lb+ whilst Rich Lacey weighed 3 for 20lb+. Rich won £50 for the biggest fish, his largest bream weighing 8lb 7oz, just beating another anglers fish by 1oz! The angler on 51 had caught over 30 bream fishing standard groundbait feeder tactics with dendrabenas, he cast about 3/4 over, and his weight of 145lb was just enough to win the match. This is because the angler on peg 54 (weird how 52 was not pegged, can you imagine what that peg would have caught?) had also had over 30 bream but his "only" weighed 140lb. This angler also fished the feeder, but I am advised that he fished a very large feeder, and put in more than 1 kilo of micro pellets, lots of worms and caught on 4 red maggots with paste wrapped round the hook. Richard Lacey was a distant 3rd and in the end only 10lb was required for 6th place.

It was certainly a typical clear river end of season match, roach not wanting to feed (despite topping in the little field in some pegs), and the bream either ludicrously easy or hard to catch. Once again I am sure the river will be in perfect condition within the month when we can't fish it!

Monday, 7 March 2011

The Sun is Shining!

I was interested to know some results from the weekend just gone (trying to keep in touch with what's going on); Thatchers and Bathampton in ATWL semis and the "Help for Heroes" match on the Avon. Whilst being sat at home it does get rather boring, so anything fishy interests me!

Thatchers were fishing at Gold Valley Lakes (Surrey) the venue famous for having England International Will Raison running it. I have fished this venue many years ago, and back then it was full of carp, roach and skimmers and not much seems to have changed except there are some very big carp in there now. The team had had some good individual results leading up to the semi and were fairly confident, but their draw on the semi was described as the 2nd worse of the lot and the local helping them said they would be heroes to qualify! In the end they missed out on qualifying for the final by I think three points, coming 4th (top 3 go through). They had 6 good results and 4 poor ones. Lee (or is it Leigh?) Trivett won his section and was 2nd overall catching 45lb of skimmers and 20lb of carp on long pole and soft pellet. Andy Power and Matt Parsons also won their sections. Unluckiest angler was Nick Chedzoy who was in a very bad area where few fish were present, and with 2 hours to go he sat it out for a carp. He hooked and played a double figure fish only for it to pull out at the net, that fish would have seen the team qualify, instead Nick was last in section.

I know very little about the Bathampton antics, but I do know they came 3rd on the canal semi and so will be in the final. Through the grapevine I hear they did not bother with any practice sessions, got boozed up until 4am the night before the match and then to a man fished chopped worm! It's nice for them to have done well this time after some poor semi results on their own bit of the K&A. Good luck in the final lads do us locals proud, I would try the same tactics again!

After the recent rain I was hoping the Avon would show some form for the visiting anglers in the help the Heroes match which was pegged at Newbridge, Swineford and Crane. The river had fished well in pleasure sessions a week earlier when there was a lot more colour. I tried to keep in contact with Glenn Bailey and Warren Bates and they told me the river had gone much clearer and it did not bode well. Glenn was pegged on 52 at Newbridge and was still biteless after 90 mins (when I had watched England's amazing win over South Africa in the cricket!) as was virtually everyone else at Newbridge. Warren had managed a pound of bits from the top of the cow drink at the Crane. I did not want to bother guys again as it could be I would ring them when they had a rare bite, but with about an hour to go I had a call from one of the match organisers Ray Bazeley. Ray said there were a few roach being caught at the crane, odd fish at Swineford and that Newbridge was dire with 2 or 3 anglers having bream. In the end Mark Harper won the match with 20lb on the pole from the last peg in the first field of the Crane, he had 13lb of a roach and a CHUB OF 6lb 14oz what a lump, and landed on 0.09!!!!!! A lad on peg 18 at Newbridge was 2nd with 4 bream (same peg that won the Bathampton Xmas match), professional gurner Kevin Rowles had 4 bream from the Norfolk reeds, and someone had 15 small chub from swineford. Glenn ended up catching 3 bream for 13lb and sneaking 6th place and last in the coin. Warren won his section with 6lb. There were some other large specimens landed, Paul Benson framed thanks to a couple of bream, one of which weighed 8lb 12oz, huge! There was also another chub of over 5lb landed down at the Crane by Alan Jones and I heard Eddie Wynne landed a pike which counted.

There is an end of season match at Newbridge this Sunday, normally it is a bream fest, but it will need some rain to put colour in the river and cloudy skies on the day to make things better. I would guarantee that soon after the season ends the conditions will be perfect, I hate the close season!

As for me, well I had my catheter removed last Thursday but I then had a lot of pain when having a pee, and after a visit to Frenchay I got given some antibiotics. I was not good Friday and Saturday, but today (Monday) I feel the best I have since my op, and I managed a 20 min walk in the sun. Thanks again for the kind comments and best wishes I have received on here and elsewhere, much appreciated.