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.