Sunday, 23 December 2012

King Billy Xmas Match Tanhouse Farm

Jerry Pocock always runs a King Billy Xmas match on the river, but of course the downpours this week were going to stop that this year so Jerry and Martyn Reyatt hastily found a fishable venue. Tanhouse Farm (also known as Yate Rocks) is a small lake near Engine Common, it is 20 to 25 metres wide and rectangular in shape. I have only ever pleasure fished this lake once about 20 years ago, and remembered that it took me a couple of hours to get bites from small roach and perch. I tried ringing round for info and Mike Nicholls seemed to have fished it most recently, 3 years ago, and said there were some nice silvers in there and some big carp, fish groundbait and pinkie, and casters shallow.

The draw was done in the Midland Spinner pub and after paying our pools we all drove to the fishery with only 1 or 2 people knowing the way. I followed Dave Tippet who promptly drove past the turning for Yate and I assumed he knew a short cut, but no, he just missed the turning! Arriving at the fishery Jerry was off pegging it out, and he squeezed 16 pegs in with 1 on the far end bank and 16 on the end bank by the farm. I pulled out peg 8 bang in the middle, which for those that know the fishery, put me 2 pegs past the tump into the jungle. I wasn't sure where would be a good draw, but Martyn was on 1 and Kev Boltz 16, on my right on peg 9 was Dave topset Haines and on 7 was ONCE AGAIN Jerry Pocock. I thought I might catch on the waggler with caster so I set up a 3AAA insert wag with 2 no8 and 2 no10 down the line to 0.10 and a 20. Two pole rigs did for me, a 4x12 Preston Chianti for caster shallow (4ft but no bites on this) and my river rig 1grm pencil float as the peg was about 10 foot deep. Both these rigs had 0.1 to a 20.

On the whistle I fed some micros, maggots and pinkies at 9 metres in front, again at 13 metres to my right. I began on the waggler feeding caster and threw casters in by hand for shallow later. The first 45 minutes on the wag were biteless despite various depth and hook bait changes, and then both pole lines were tried unsuccesfully. After not much more than an hour Sean Townsend on peg 10 came down for a walk and said he was blanking but the pegs on the lawn were all catching, Dave Haines had 6 roach on bread and there was only 1 roach caught in the first 7 pegs. So it seemed already that the fish were shoaled up in the lawn area.

After 2 hours I was still blanking but Jerry had now caught a perch on 3 dead bloodworms! Rich Lacey walked up and so I joined him to go and see some fish caught. Kev Boltz was catching small roach and rudd regularly, but Jeff Agius had taken a 1.5lb roach, 2lb hybrid and was getting small skimmer and roach. To his left Leon Hubbard had not caught to begin but now he too was catching skimmers and roach. We joked they would soon be moving down to Sean Townsend as it seemed the fish were moving that way!

Back to my peg and I thought I ought to feed some chopped worm to try and catch a perch, but oops all the dendras I had were dead. I did have a few lobs though and so I took 3 and chopped them up finely adding a few casters, pinkies and maggs and fed this at 13 metres to my left, I topped up on the other 13m line. After 2hrs and 40 mins the float finally went under on the micro 13m line and I had a tiny roach. Next chuck and another roach, and next chuck nothing..... Twenty minutes went by with no bites anywhere, and for the 2nd time I tried the chopped worm line with a single dead red maggot. I had a lovely bite and out came the elastic and this was a reasonable fish which turned out to be a 12oz skimmer. Jerry swore at me, lol, then came up to see me as he had been suffering very bad stomach cramps for a while. I lowered my float in again and it just kept going and another skimmer was on, Jerry swore again. Next chuck and a longer wait for a bite but another smaller skimmer, and next chuck an even longer wait for a small fish. I took this as the swim needing a rest (the water is like tap water) and tried back over the 13m micro and maggot line. Incredibly I was now getting bites here from small roach and the odd 6oz skimmer. Going back over the worm line I took another 3 skimmers including 1 over a pound, and then it just died so I refed 2 lobbies and gave the waggler a try for nothing!

The rest of the match I just kept swapping between the two 13m swims using either double pinkie, single red or double red maggot on the hook, picking off the odd small skimmer and roach. What a difference the last two hours were! Jerry even managed two skimmers in the last 20 mins, think they had finally managed to eat through his 1/4 kilo of worm he fed or did they just turn up by then.

The scales got to me from peg 1 and the board showed 1lb 9oz was top (Steve Skelton) and Jerry was next with 14oz, I managed to break double figures with 10lb 9oz. Hainer had a level 3lb of bread fish and then Sean weighed 10lb exactly. Up on the lawn Leon had finished strongly with some big hybrids and won the match with 16lb 8oz, Jeff was 2nd with 14lb 8oz . With Kev Boltz net of sprats weighing 9lb I had sneaked in 3rd and last in the money. I can't recall having a match on a lake where the fish switched on like they did, so did they swim down the lake???

By the way if you're wondering why didn't I feed any groundbait it is because the fishery don't allow it, take note! Back at the Midland Spinner and Jerry put on an amazing raffle though I never won anything, this was probably because Dave Tippet won most of the prizes (although he could have won more, ask Jerry). Well this was my final match of 2012 as I'm going away next weekend, it has been a bit of an up and down year, the operation fuck up knocked me back and I found it hard to get back into fishing and lacked confidence for a while. I lost the house I wanted to buy and am currently living with the in laws. I soon remembered to just enjoy my fishing again and then things got better but the floods did not make great fishing. Winning the Poppy match was a real shot in the arm and that sort of thing gives you a boost for quite a while. Looking into 2013 I hope I can have at least 8 months free from hospital, but am going to try to get shot of the bag again after the summer, so I will be trying to get myself fitter and stronger before that by getting back to playing football and fishing some commercials in the hope of some big bags, bags of fish that is!

Happy Christmas everyone, enjoy the holiday and best wishes for a Happy New Year.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Commercial House Xmas Match K&A Canal

I haven't managed to fish this Xmas match for many years, it is always fished on a Saturday and often clashed with a planned hangover, so was pleased to be doing so in 2012. Having had a week off my batteries were fully charged and I was looking forward to getting out, although thinking the fishing would be hard after the ice melt on Friday. The draw was at the White Lion pub in Batheaston, a good venue but I didn't much like the brekkie, especially when carrying it I dripped loads of bean juice all over me. The pegging of this match went from peg 1 above the swingbridge (which is way up past Bathampton bend) down to 6 pegs below the George pub. Listening to how well the canal fished last here week I fancied a low number draw, but instead I pulled 21 which put me the 1st peg past the white gate going out of Bath. Not long after me Andy Power pulled end peg 1 and did his best not to smile!!!

Parking for this match was in the George pub, but this was only because it was Saturday and it seems we've lost the parking for Sunday matches, and so it was not too far to walk for me. I was not convinced I was on a good peg as this area is shallower than the rest of the canal and is often left out as its also very narrow behind you. In my section were two pegs either side of the bay with Vinny Lunn sat on the one which won last week's match. I assembled rigs for today with little difference to recent canal matches, although I went back to my standard bread punch rig a 4x14 Drennan Roach with 0.07 to 18 B511 as I expected more bites than my last time out at Claverton. Two bloodworm rigs one for the middle and one for across with 20 to 0.06 and my caster and chop worm rigs. About 10 mins before the start a boat turned round in the bay stirring up the water on the gate peg, and a dog had a shit 10 mtrs above me creating a lovely smell....

To start the match I fed a ball and some loose liquidized bread at 5mtr and held off from feeding anything else. I was dead chuffed when I had bites straight away on the punch, and after a few roach landed a 10oz skimmer. The wind got really bad all of a sudden (and only in my peg, ask Craig Edmunds who walked along and saw it!) and with the sun in my face it made bait presentation and seeing bites very tricky. Luckily the roach kept feeding and despite missing a few bites I soon had a 1lb+ skimmer although I did pull out of one of similar size too. The first hour had flown by and I was still getting a bite a chuck, and I'd picked up 3 more skimmers around 8oz. I had refed a golf ball of bread to pep things up but bites were now taking longer but as the roach were still a sensible size I kept plugging away until 2 hours in. I had then fed some joker at 8mtr to my left, some next to the boat, and some with caster across (about a metre of the bank as it was too shallow right over. I also fed some lobbies 14mtr to my right. Not long after this I was really pleased to see Guy Manton walking up the bank, I haven't seen him for over a year and he is planning to get back into fishing again which I'm glad to hear.

The bread line was no longer responding to top ups but to be honest I was really happy having caught for 2 hours, and my first change was to look for a big fish. Alas no perch took a fancy to my lobby and never did all match. The bloodworm line against the boat was naff and I only had 1 perch here, but the other two lines were OK, I would get 4 or 5 reasonable roach on one line and then had to switch to the other. During the last half of the match I continually switched lines and tried to catch a better fish, when Guy walked back down I said I had 6lb and he said that was 2nd but I should just keep trying to catch small fish to stay in front, oh and that Andy Power had 15lb!!!  I took Guys advice, but did manage a couple of caster roach out of the blue, but it was slow going now. With 20 mins to go I trashed both my bloodworm rigs, first one in the wind, and then when a dog hit my pole as I was shipping back and the rig caught the moored boat and I lost the lot. I fed another ball of bread on my original punch line and took a flurry of small roach to the end. This is a rare occurrence, but when the light fades sometimes the roach will show again.

Trigger walked back down and had a look at my net of fish and said I had 7lb at least, I was hoping he was right. To my left Lee Warden and Steve Skelton both weighed 3lb 12oz (mainly early skimmers on bread) and then I dumped 9lb 4oz on the scales, just 9lb more than my last effort lol! The lad to my right had packed up and DNW, then Vinny had 7lb 15oz which was mainly skimmers as he couldn't catch roach.

Back at the White Lion I soon realised I was 2nd which was a nice surprise as I didn't have any thoughts of framing from my peg, but the fish were there and that's what you need in the winter. Andy Power paralysed the match with 15lb of skimmers, he took 7 of them up to 2lb in the first hour on bread, and some more later over joker along with some roach.Vinny came 3rd and so that peg has framed twice in two weeks. Overall the canal had fished quite well considering how cold the water and the fish were, although some anglers struggled to catch small fish but there were also a few perch up to 2.5lb taken. I didn't win a prize on the raffle but had a nice big bottle of Barcadi for coming 2nd which will come in handy for Xmas.

One thing to mention, I nearly had a dip in the canal today, I somehow got my bib and brace trousers caught in my box and when I went to get up the box slipped forward and I was balanced precariously over the canal! Luckily for me I sat back down quickly and sorted it, but it was a close call, lol! Next Sunday is a Xmas match on the Crane, if you want to fish contact Jerry Pocock, if we get no rain it could be a good roach match.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

November 1993

No fishing this weekend as I wanted to have a break and see the kids again, so a pop back down memory lane.

I ventured to the upper Bristol Avon on Saturday 20th November 1993, to Staverton to be precise, where there were often Sat opens but I had not fished them before. The weather was not good and it had been -3C overnight and only crept up to 3C during the day. I drew what was then permanent peg 26 and was told it was not that good, but the peg looked nice to me with a good run down the inside. I set up a stick float in the hope of catching some roach in close and a maggot feeder for across for a chub. The stick line was very quiet, and after 2 hours I had only taken 3 tiny roach when I hooked a big chub, how big I will never know as it swam all the way to the far bank and bust me up. I never had another bite for the rest of the match and the lost chub would have saw me frame on a dire day.

I was up on Sunday morning ready for the Commercial House to be fished at Frys and looked out of my window only to be greeted by a covering of snow. The team draw put me at the top end of Frys on peg 80 which was 1 above the stump. A crowquill and a feeder were all I set up and as I was not sure if I would catch after yesterday's struggle I used a 22 to 0.09 on the float. I fished 3 rods out on the float feeding maggots and to cut a long story short I managed to convert my one bite into a 7 1/2oz chublet. This one fish was a good result in what was the worst section of the match, and it helped the team to win on the day and we now held a 3 1/2 point lead.

Friday following I had a pleasure fishing trip to Kelston Straight and blanked! The following day was the Silver Dace Xmas match and I drew at Jack Whites, a couple of pegs below the blockhouse which back in those days was an awful draw. Needless to say I blanked again, but so did 29 other people and I managed to win 24 cans of lager for sticking it out. The match was won with 10lb of roach from the bay at the Crane and it was clear that the fish had shoaled up due to the continued cold weather. Sunday was now going to be a bit of a bum squeaker as I was on for a hat trick of blanks, but this match being the ATWL I couldn't afford that. I found myself drawn above Saltford weir field and just by the danger weir sign, an area most people turned their noses up at. This part of the river was deep and I set up a pole to fish at 11.5 metres with a 1.5grm float and a 24 to 0.08. I also set up a straight lead on a little wand rod, also with a 24 to 0.08. I flicked out 4 to 6 maggots every other cast and after an hour I picked up a roach on the pole, I'd caught this by fishing 18" overdepth and easing the rig through slowly. My final tally of 6 roach and a perch went 1lb 11oz and was worth 9 points, the pegs at the other end of the section (opposite bottom of the trees) had produced a few big roach and the top weights. The team didn't have a good day with a few of the lads blanking and we bombed to 6th on the day and that left us 7 1/2 points behind the leaders, with the remaining matches to be fished in the New Year.

There will only be one more "down memory lane" post for a while now, this is because all of my diaries are packed away in storage and they won't come out until I buy a new house. 1994 will have to wait sorry! Back on the fishing trail next weekend with the Commercial House Xmas match on the canal, looks like an ice breaker will be needed but I think mine is...... you guessed it packed away in storage lol!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

ATWL Final Round K&A Canal

After four consecutive frosts the canal was always going to be much harder than of late, and I knew that an end peg would be a godsend today. At the draw I picked up some excellent bloodworm and joker from Colin Dance and expected that to be my main bait for the day. A surprise face at the draw was Steve Tucker who had come along to watch Nick Chedzoy and have a walk about. The match had been pegged from Dundas down through Diggers and on through Claverton. I don't rate Claverton in the winter it goes very clear and the fish shoal up tight or seem to go elsewhere (great place in the warm weather though), and if proof were required of this two anglers fishing it on Wednesday both had ounces. The draw was done and I was handed J5, cyanide straight at Claverton with two end pegs (either side of the bridge) in my section it was not what I wanted! I've drawn here a few times before and thought a 1lb would be good.

Going into this match I was surprised to see I was in 4th place in the individuals overall, but the priority today was to get a team win and hope Bathampton dipped out. The anglers either side of the bridge in my section were Graham Hunt and Jerry Pocock (on my side of the bridge), Nigel Saunders and Division 1 champ Steve Priddle were either side of me. I had been tipped off that most fish caught here in the week were at close range (top set) and so I plumbed two swims for bloodworm left and right, and another 5 metres down the bank to a moored boat. I had a bread rig for 5 metres, and two bloodworms swims tight across to the reeds. A chopped worm swim was readied for 14 metres up to my left well away from everything.

To start I fed some licky at 5m and some leamed up joker in close, and then a boat came through almost straight away, not good! I waited to gauge the response before feeding again and across.Thirty minutes in and I had not had a bite on the bread and neither had most people round me. Dropping in on the close in lines I took 1 small perch off each of the two top set lines and then no more. No bites from the boat and after an hour I fed some joker across and my chopped worm. I took a small roach, a very small roach, from the top set and at this stage I was doing OK as the anglers either side were blanking! Two hours in and I had taken a tiny perch and then missed a bite next to the boat, I dropped the rig in again and missed a bite again, and dropped it in again and had a small roach. Dropped in again and nothing.... must have been the one fish in there! No more bites anywhere, and I was forced to refeed some small amounts of bait and went for a quick walk. Graham Hunt was easily winning the section with 20 fish, whilst three of us had 4 fish and so I had to keep trying. A shoal then arrived (I exaggerate) when I took 2 perch in two chucks on the top set but no more. After dozens of tries across I had just 1 bite and another small perch. The owners of the boat then turned up, and they began chopping wood inside the boat and made a hell of a noise. They then proceeded to fire up the engine and Foxtrot Oscared up the canal leaving Steve and my peg in a mess, as Steve said "They killed my peg stone dead, oh hang on it was already stone dead!"

An hour to go and I just carried on trying all the lines in the hope of a bite, when I hit a bite in close and the elastic came out of the pole, shit! Well it was a fish I guess about 4 to 6oz, a perch most likely, but I shall never know because as I reach for the net it came off. Oh dear, how sad, never mind! Oh bollocks I can't keep writing about catching naff all, I ended with 5 perch and 3 roach for a paltry 4oz. Steve Priddle ended with a flourish taking 8 perch for 5oz (2nd in section) and Nigel had 7 perch for 4.5oz, Jerry had 4oz and Graham had 6oz+2lb to win the section, lol! This part of the canal lived up to it shit reputation, and the next section below me was also poor, although 4 anglers did break into double figures, in ounces that is.

The match was won with 6lb+ and in second place Darren Gillman filled his piggy bank as he also won the league individually overall, a feat he has done before, well done mate being married has not affected your (drawing) ability ;-) Another Bathampton angler won the knockout, Kev Dicks and this really provided the bedrock for them to win the team event on the day and overall, so fair play and well done to them because this league has been very tough due to floods and frosts. Thatchers came 2nd overall and so will go to the semis but we have no choice of venue, Thyers clung onto 3rd after a late charge by Sensas Wilts.

So that is it for another year, I feel very sorry for the anglers this year as the rain has really messed up the river for everyone, with float fishing hardly possible. I do have hope for the river towards the end of the season as I think the fish will be very hungry before spawning, trouble is there will hardly be  any matches. There are two commercial house rounds left on the canal in the New Year, which I hope will not involve Claverton! I'm having a rest next weekend, so good luck to all of you out braving the elements.

Saturday, 1 December 2012


I have never been shy to embrace new technology, or join in with much of what goes on these days on the Internet. I enjoy using Facebook, I have some great banter on there with many friends and it has allowed me to get back in contact with friends from the past. Recently I got back in contact with Brian Gay who many of you will know as a regular contributor to Anglers Mail and he also runs V2V Angling Productions.

I first met Brian many years ago when I had my first sojourn with Thatchers. Brian had just left the police force and was looking for another job, he wrote a couple of articles for Match Fishing magazine and they really liked them, I suppose it was all down to his years of writing up reports as a copper! I was lucky enough to do a couple of articles with Brian back in the late 90's (following my ATWL final win), one of which got me on the front cover of Match Fishing magazine with some decent chub (and I still have a copy of that mag cos I look young, lol). However, when Brian moved away from Bristol we lost touch, only bumping into each other if we were both at a big match, me fishing and Brian taking pictures for Anglers Mail.

Fast forward to today and through Facebook Brian asked if he could come up and fish the Bristol Avon with me for an Anglers Mail feature. However, due to the constant flooding we could not do this and with his deadline fast approaching Brian suggested a visit to Newton Park lake, a venue I had not fished for probably 10 years. The session followed a very hard frost and with lots of water still pouring into the lake things were looking tough, tougher even than the walk to the venue!!! Brian fished with two carp rods in the hope of a lump, and this also allowed him to set up his camera equipment and wander up to me without fear of missing a bite. I had to fish for silvers and covered my bases with a caster swim in close and also at 11m (also fed with some micro pellet), a chopped worm swim at 16m to my left and gbait to my right. To begin with bites were very hard to get and when I did get one I caught a roach of less than 1/2 ounce! This pattern continued for most of the morning and with no sun on me I was flaming cold!!! I was getting worried that I was not going to produce enough fish for a photo when Brian had a run and caught a very pretty 12lb common carp that you can see below, that was to be his only fish of the day. I finally managed one decent roach on a worm, but all hook baits were snaffled by blades, or a big bait resulted in no bites at all. I ended up thrashing on a top set for the last hour to end with just over 80 small fish and Brian used his "artistic" skills to get a photo out of it.

The result of Brian's one and only run.

A nice bag of bits kept me warm..ish!

I thoroughly enjoyed the day, catching up with Brian and listening to his angling experiences and tips, we both parted agreeing we must not leave it so long to meet up again and hopefully next time get on a river.

For those that don't know Brian has a wealth of talents in not only writing, but also photography and filming. Brian works with Will Raison to produce high quality films (DVD's and an e-magazine) where Will passes on some fantastic tips and techniques and he catches some great bags of fish. I would recommend you take a look at Brian's website which is

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Commercial House Round 4 K&A Canal

It will come as no surprise that this match was transferred from the river at Keynsham to the canal. The river at Keynsham has overflowed the marina and is in the car park in front of Keynsham Angling. I've only seen that happen once before. I managed to get to the rugby club draw without any issues, seems as though the rain wasn't quite as bad here in Bristol as forecasted. The canal had been pegged from the ponds in the town up through to Meadow Farm, I fancied a draw from A to D section for a chance of framing. The team draw was done and I found myself in F section at Meadow Farm and not what I Wanted today. This section had 6 pegs on the bath side of the bridge and 5 pegs above, meaning 3 end pegs to contend with straight away, I was not on one of them.

My approach to this match would be similar to last week rig wise, but I expected more roach and an outside chance of skimmers. The same rigs as last week were all assembled again, but the peg today was a bit shallower than where I was last week. I started late, this was due to me not finding any pegs when I arrived and walking the wrong way! That said the anglers around me were all late in starting, Shane Caswell on end peg 7 fed and then got double boated, Dave Duggan on my right and myself waited till the water settled down. Paul Purchase on my left had a slow start and just 1 fish on the bread whilst Vic Abbot on end peg 11 had a skimmer. I took 8 small roach on the punch in the first hour but I lost a good skimmer which I didn't see, and I was a gutted as they are a real bonus.

Boat traffic was very heavy today and my far lines kept getting wiped out by badly steered boats (dare I say it seemed to be women drivers!) and at times I just sat with my head in my hands trying to not get wound up. I caught a few small roach and perch on bloodworm next to a boat on my left but if I caught 3 that would be it and I had to go somewhere else. Paul had taken an eel and Dave lost one, but my worm line and caster line only gave up 1 tiny perch and a 3oz roach all match. Shane had taken two skimmers on bread and I knew I was being beaten by the two end pegs, but I couldn't get any response from a good fish. Dave fished most of the match across on caster and never caught. In the end about an hour and a half to go the boats had really gone and with about an hour to go I started to catch small roach across on bloodworm. I wasn't going to beat the end pegs but I was enjoying getting regular bites, although a few drop ins on maggot were tried all to no avail. Vic then took a big skimmer and 2 small ones on worm to forge ahead. By the time the match finished most people were pleased as it had been difficult.

I finished with a lowly 2lb 3.5oz, and whilst that beat Dave (5oz) and Paul (I won the match last week fishing the same way 1lb 13oz) either side of me that was it! Vic won the whole section with 5lb+ and on the other side of the bridge the anglers all had 3 to 4lb, so I had 1 point in the A division!

Back at the results we had a few good results and a few like mine, and Thatchers B won the day but I was shocked when my Thatchers A came 2nd and that means we now have a 3 point lead over Bathampton Elite with two matches left in the New Year. Colin Dance won the match from the end peg at Richardsons (before it goes into the tunnel) with 14lb of skimmers on bloodworm. A high 7lb was needed to frame, and as I thought these all came from A to D section.

Some of the things that happened on the bank today... well there was a dog fight behind Liam Bradell and one of the owners nearly threw the aggressive dog over the wall at Darlington onto the railway line! A boat came loose of its moorings at one end, and the owner was not at home, so it swang out and blocked a few other boats which as you can imagine messed up a few anglers pegs, lol! Oh yes, not quite sure what happened but I heard Paul Barnfield had a barny with a boat owner that I think moored in his peg... The joys of the canal!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

October / November 1993

I've just realised it has been a while since I threw in an old story or two, so as I am at a loose end and listening to the rain hammering down outside I thought why not.

October 3rd found me on the Avon at Laycock for the Commercial House, I was drawn in the abbey field on the peg with the rope swing. This peg was known to hold chub, but if they stay behind the rope which trails in the water you won't get them. I set up a stick float and a waggler both with 20 hooks to 0.1 line.I fed hemp and caster on both lines to begin and picked off a few gudgeon and dace on the stick whilst getting the chub confident by the rope I hoped! Eventually a switch to the wag produced a small chub, and a couple of ouncers. I changed to feeding maggot and took another 2 chub and ended with 8lb 4oz which won me the section and was 6th in the match, the team won comfortably. One week later and the river was in flood (sounds familiar) and I was sat on a nasty looking peg just below the carp hole at Chequers in the ATWL. Fishing with either gbait or maggot feeder I had 6 small eels for 14oz and just 6.5 points, the team came 3rd and we were now 2 points behind the leaders.

A weekend off was followed by a double header, although Saturday on the Thames at Radcot produced a blank! Sunday was once again the ATWL but this time I was up at Avoncliffe, pegged just below the gun turret. I fished a waggler down the middle of the river feeding caster but really struggled for bites, ending with just 2lb 4oz. The last two pegs in my section both had good bags of roach and suffered pike problems all day, I remember one of those anglers was Nicky Isles the other was Mike Kent. The team came 2nd on the day. I fished a small club match at Meadow Farm the following week and had a good first couple of hours on a 5BB wag with 3 no 10s down the line to my usual 20 to 0.1 and then a deep set up for a while, but the last two hours was dead. 7lb 4oz of little puppy chub was enough for 2nd.

On Saturday 6th November I chanced my arm on a Newbridge open, I drew peg 52. You won't be surprised to learn I fished a waggler, feeding maggot and hemp I caught small roach all day for 8lb 8oz and no good. The late Ian "Bloke" Pulsford a few pegs above me had 17lb of chub on the wag to win the section. I fished again the following Saturday and drew peg 9 at Rotork, the river looked good for bream and so I set up and fished just a gbait feeder. FAILED! Less than a 1lb was all I caught whilst 2 pegs away 38lb came out and did so in a few pegs at Newbridge. Never mind, Sunday was the Poppy Match and I could catch a few, but overnight rain had put the river into a serious flood (sounds familiar again). I actually drew opposite the outfall at Swineford, and had an angler above me on the old peg 1. I fished a gbait feeder all day again and sneaked out 11 small eels on mainly maggot hookbaits for 2lb 2.5oz. That was actually enough to get me 8th and in the frame! I am sure this match was won by the late Ron Gaulton, he had 3 bream over heavy caster feed in a slack.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

ATWL K&A Canal

This match was round 5 of the 6 match series and being on the canal meant a lot of new rigs, elastics and hooks. That wasn't easy since I was in the middle of moving out of my house and moving in with the in-laws. Waking up Sunday morning in Kingswood I had to scrape the ice off the car, then drive home to get my gear and bait before getting to the draw. It all felt a little hurried and as it turned out I left all my bloodworm stuff (leams etc) on the floor at home!

The draw was done and I was pegged in B section at Darlington Wharf, that meant I would be a few pegs past the bay in an area that skimmers can show. I walked up to C section with team mate Colin Dance and he gave me some leam for my joker. Walking back Roy Carter on B4 offered me a pike bung float, can't think why, lol? To my left was Leon Hubbard, he seems to be in my section quite often, and on my right but in A section was Nigel Wyatt. Setting up between two boats I was not afforded much room and shipping back would be very difficult. I set up a 4x14 rig for punch with an 18B511 to to 0.07, a couple of bloodworm rigs with 0.4grm and 20 PR311 to 0.07, a Chianti with a 18 to 0.08 for across, and a 4x12 cane bristle job with 0.10 to 16 also for across for worm. Just before the start, which I was just about ready for this week, Nigel let his 11m and 13m sections slip into the canal never to be seen again... To start I decided not to feed pole sections, and instead liquidized bread went in at 5mtr, but nothing else as my far bank was being washed away by boats at this stage. Dropping a 6mm punch in the float did not move, in fact it took a few minutes before my first bite and a 4oz roach obliged. Next drop in and a longish wait again for a bite, but the float then went under very positively and plenty of no3 elastic came out, a 1lb skimmer was a nice bonus this early! Twenty five minutes in and I had taken a few more roach (all swingers) before I was attached to another skimmer, this one fought harder and when I netted it I thought that's nearly 2lb. At this stage the boat owner to my right got out his generator and started it up 5mtr away from me (my right ear is still throbbing!).

By the end of the first hour I had taken only small roach after the 2nd skimmer and I was really struggling to get a bite. I decided to feed some joker by the boat to my left and then some chopped worm and caster across and on another line across some joker and caster. Twenty minutes later I picked up the chianti rig and shipped out a single rd maggot over the worm line. Normally you can get some small fish action to start, but I had nothing which either meant there were no fish there or a lump was in there. Five minutes later the answer was provided in the shape of a near 1lb perch. Strangely no more bites came from here despite trying various hookbaits, and so I fed a bit more bait and rested it. The next hour was a real struggle with just the odd small fish on bloodworm, but Leon Hubbard had been for a walk and said I was winning the section easily.

The small fish action was very poor and I decided to set my stall out for better fish for the last half the match. I never did get anything decent across over the joker line, but on the choppy line I managed another 3 skimmers, two on worm and one on double pinkie. These fish came well spread out during this second half, but I was not helped by a barge selling wood and coal that reversed just past me causing the whole far bank to be washed out just after the first skimmer. It was a difficult match to fish with all the walkers, bikers and then the leaves covering the surface of the canal. I had to break my pole down three times when fishing across, but I never lost a fish on the day so can't complain really. The scales had weighed from peg 6 down to me and Leon was top with 5lb 2oz, I weighed 8lb 4oz to win the section and felt I had done the right things today.

The match was won by Thyers Paul Purchase with 12lb of good skimmers, Ian Pauley had 11lb of skimmers on the waggler in Darlington bay and just out of the bay Andy Power had 8 skimmers for 10lb, Mark Harper was last in the money with 10lb, Shaun Townsend was 5th and I was 6th.

Thatchers had a good day on the canal and won with 46 points, Bathampton had 43 also a good return. With one match remaining Bathampton are 2 points in front of Thatchers, so it is odds on the Bristol boys will win the league. Next week is the last match on the river for a while, Commercial House at Keynsham, at least my ears will have a rest and I won't be questioned every 15 mins "Are there any fish in the canal then?" or "What a long rod that is, where is your reel?" pmsl!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Poppy Match 2012

Friday was not a good day, the house I was going to move to fell through right at the eleventh hour as the owner had a stroke, bad news all round for everyone. Luckily though the wife and I could drown our sorrows on the evening as we attended Glenn Baileys surprise 50th birthday party. It was a really, really good night out and Glenn was in complete shock. The party brought back together some of the Silver Dace boys of the past. I had to add a photo that was taken, see who you recognise!

So onto Saturday and no real hangover so I was up and about early, a walk to the river at the crane showed it had lost lots of colour but was still very pacey, I felt only a very few pegs would be float fishable so I decided not to mix up a balling mix but take some dry on the day. I then did not sleep well Sat night thinking about the damn house, and was a bit grumpy when I finally got up. Getting to the draw at 7:30am the car park was already nearly full, but I managed to get a breakfast and consumed it sat next to Martin Barrett. Martin reckoned a draw in the long ash tip at the Crane would be a good shout, I thought a chub peg would also be good. I got into the draw queue (more a ruck) and started to get ribbed about how lucky I had been on this match in the past, really? Lol! Finally got to the draw bucket and pulled out peg 96 which was in the long ashtip, happy days!

I walked to my peg with Andy Curry, who generally fishes Frys matches, he has had problems with his hips for years so fair play to him for supporting the match. When I got to my peg I was a bit gobsmacked, there were branches about 10ft above me and some sticking out below, I just couldn't see how I could fish the peg properly. I rang up Paul Benson (one of the organisers) and had a moan which was a bit silly cos I moaned about moaners a week or so ago, I put it down to my grumpiness! Luckily for me Mike Weston below me lent me a shovel so I could dig down a bit further, and then Martin Barrett (on the first peg in the long ash tip) lent me a little saw and some tape and I did some gardening! With 30 mins to go before the start I had nothing set up, but had mixed up 3 kilos of gbait, so I set up a feeder with 0.14 exceed to a 16 B611, then a crowquill with 0.1 to 18 PR311 (I think, I can't remember those damn codes!) and cast it in to plumb around. I hit a snag and lost the hook, so put another on and cast a little further and this time I lost the bulk! I threw that up the bank, there was now 5 mins to go! I decided I needed to fish the pole and set up a 4grm float with the same terminal tackle as the crow, in front of me the river was it seemed clear of snags. As the bank was dodgy I couldn't get my box down and so would have to stand fishing the pole.

On the whistle, oh no sorry, 15 mins after the whistle (!) I threw in 8 balls of gbait, slightly upstream of me to ensure I was clear of snags. Picking up the pole I stuck on a maggot to see what was about, after a few runs through I hit the snag, I'd run down too far and had to put a new hook on. Then I had an 8oz roach, and for the next 30 mins I had odd bites from 4 to 6oz roach then disaster, I hit the snag and lost the whole rig. The snag was about 2ft off bottom and caused the float to bob up as the olivette hit it. Well I can tell you I was a bit pissed off by now with this snag as I was convinced the peg held a boat load of roach. I got another rig out and started again and was into roach again, this time slightly smaller but now virtually one a chuck, maggot was by far the best hookbait I found.  This continued until about half way through and then it slowed and I tried feeding 2 more balls of gbait, but as I searched around more snags appeared, and I spent a very unproductive 30 mins not catching. I knew Martin Barret and the anglers below me were catching roach  and I couldn't keep up with them so I decided I had to fish the gbait feeder in the hope of getting a few skimmers or bream which can show in this area.  No suprise when I was soon tying on another hook on the feeder, but then realised I should be chucking it right in front of me, doughnut!

With 90 mins to go I had a skimmer of just over a pound and thought maybe I was on for a few, but as it happened no more came. I threw in a couple more balls as things were quiet and I felt the match was drifting away from me, but then roach bites on the feeder cheered me up a bit, though they are buggers to hit! I did try the pole again but to no avail. Back on the tip and another bite and I thought a roach but no, this was a bream, a big bream, a bloody huge bream, ummm no it was a pike! Hang on I think pike count, so whilst playing the fish I rang Paul Benson (one of the organisers) to check and he said yes they count. For the next 15 minutes I held onto my arse and hoped the pike would hold onto the roach. As it turned out the hook had transferred from the roach into the pikes scissors (lucky or what!) and I thought I might do this. Islid down the bank as far as I could and at the first attempt netted the little beauty, I thought it was 8 to 10lb. I then realised I was stuck and shouted for help but nobody heard, so I bit off the hooklength, threw the rod up the bank and managed to get back up and put the pike in the keepenet, phew! Not long after this Gary Bowden and his wife Anita arrived and so did the roach, I landed a 1lb fish and few smaller ones and then a 12oz fish on the whistle, all on the feeder with double red maggot. I'd really enjoyed my day, especially catching on the pole as I have missed being able to do that this year, I love catching roach as you have to keep working at.

Word had it that the river had fished really hard, and I was looking to do really well with what I thought was around 18lb. The scales arrived and there were three 9lb weights in the bottom of the section, my pike weighed 10lb 5oz, and my other fish 13lb 4oz for a total 23lb 9oz. Getting back to the results at the rugby club and people were saying I'd won the match as no bream had showed and the best chub weight was 14lb from Swineford, and indeed it was true. I got plenty of stick for moaning about the peg (which I deserved) from organiser Ray Bazely, and I need to say now thank you to everyone who put themselves out to peg and organise and support this match which raised over £1100 for the poppy appeal.

I'm sorry I didn't get a full overall result, I know the 14lb was 2nd, and Martin Barrett was 3rd and the guy above him (Mat) was 4th, and 5th was also in our section, so there are plenty of roach in this field!

Quite honestly I am a bit emotional at winning this match for a 5th time, there have been times when I wondered if I'd ever to get to fish it again (some dark days a while back) and so to do it again is overwhelming really. Thank you to everyone for the kind words, and all I will say is this, getting diagnosed with cancer doesn't have to mean the end of the world, and I've learned in life to never give up on anything (even if I moan!). Getting home my wife and kids were over the moon, and that was just great. Lastly good luck as ever to Bill Milton, saddened he couldn't get to the match but he is one hell of a fighter and a true gent.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

ATWL Round 4 Newbridge

I didn't get much time to prepare my gear on Saturday as I was in bed till midday nursing a hangover after celebrating Glenn Bailey's forthcoming 50th birthday, I'm really too old for getting home at 3am! It was a great night out though and Glenn was sick, a lot, lol!

Waking up Sunday morning (now back to 100% fit) it was tipping down with rain and of course it had been for hours and it was cold. The temperature was 4C as I left home but down to 1C when I pulled into the rugby club and the heavy rain was now snow! This of course all added up to one thing, a bloody hard day on the river. The team draw put me on peg 18 which I was more than happy with as it is deep in close and bream can show here. As I pulled into the field I was met by a torrent of water running down the path, and I gingerly drove threw the "pond" at the bottom and parked behind my peg. It was now 8:40am and with a 10:30am start and the rain and snow falling heavy I sat in my car, turned the radio up and kept myself warm. At 9:30am the rain had nearly stopped and so I got out and got set up. Either side of me Nicola Goodhind on 20 and Brian Melksham on 16 were already thoroughly wet and cold!

I did set two feeder rods up but in the end I only used one for 90% of the match, this had a 50grm open ender with a grip lead to take it to over 60grms, 0.165 Exceed to a size 12 PR455 (I think that's the code, it's got a barb on it anyway!). The river was rising and was going to do so all match, so I set myself to fish from halfway up the bank but had to stand up. I started by dropping the feeder in about 3ft past the end of the rod, and although I had steady water here leaves were pulling the tip round every cast. I had no sign of a bite until 11:45am when I saw two definite knocks on the tip, an eel maybe? I resisted striking and then 30 seconds later the tip banged down and I was in. I pulled hard as knew there were a lot of snags in the peg and this felt like a good eel but then up popped a fish tail. Into the net went a lovely roach that was later weighed at 1lb 10oz (and I thought it might go a pound). This fish had fallen to a lobworm tail and 20 minutes later a much smaller but just as welcome roach snaffled the same bait. No more bites followed and with about 2 hours to go I could no longer sensibly fish the same spot as the rubbish coming down was getting worse, see the photo below of one example of what I caught, it was horrible, but I bet you laugh and say "what the f...!" I was however, happy as at this stage I was winning the section with only Lance Tucker having also caught a fish.

I had to fish in much closer now and the depth was still good here, I hoped the fish would push in this close but the only trouble was it was very snaggy. Over the next hour I pulled out at least 3 branches and pulled out of other snags, but it seemed I cleared the swim and had a relatively snag free last hour. I missed a good bite on the lobby, and when I reeled in the worm had doubled over the hook, I also seemed to have an eel rattler bite that didn't develop but the bait had a couple of marks in it, bugger that could be costly I thought. Brian Melksham came up see me for about the 3rd time, and he was still blanking, when I had another bite and a 4oz roach had swallowed the bit of lobworm. Then 5 minutes to go I had a little eel to end my day.

I had the scales and weighing didn't take long, Lance weighed 6oz, myself 2lb 6oz and the rest blanked. One of the harder sections methinks as 'only' 17 people blanked out of 60. The match was won on the day by Martin Reyatt with 9 good roach for 5lb 11oz, Mart was in the trees in the 130's and caught all his fish in the last half of the match on lob worms. Steve Priddle was 2nd with 4lb 11oz, and Gary (spawny) Cross foul hooked a 3lb 4oz bream to come 3rd, it was his only fish, lol!

On the team front Bathampton had 8 people catch from 10 and won comfortably on the day from Thyers, Thatchers also had 8 anglers catch but had much lower points and came 3rd. That now means that Bathampton hold a 3 point lead over both Thyers and Thatchers with just two matches left on the canal.

In terms of fishing a river the conditions don't come much worse than today, the river had risen at least 2ft during the match and driving home I saw it was in the fields at Jack Whites and about to flood the Lock Keeper pub car park. There was no shame in blanking today and I was really chuffed with that big roach and coming 6th overall. Spare a thought for my team mate Nathaniel Johnson who only caught a "nappy" and he blanked last week too, and my old mate Shane Caswell who blanked for the third match on the trot.

Poppy match next week which is well worth supporting, please, please, please, please NO MORE SODDING RAIN!!!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

ATWL Round 3 Swineford to Jack Whites

I had a very bad cold appear Friday and still had it Saturday when I helped Martin Reyatt peg out this match down at Crane and Jackies. Martin had pegged Swineford Friday night and did not see a fish top, we never saw one on Saturday either, and a match up a Newbridge yielded as many blanks as catchers, and it was feckin freezing..... which all pointed to a tough match on Sunday.

Woke up Sunday morning thankful for the extra hour in bed as I had not slept well due to the cold, if I laid on my side my nose ran, if I laid on my back I coughed! I gulped down a couple of tablets and made my way to the draw and once again there were people moaning about the pegging. Well get off your arses and peg it yourself, but that won't happen will it. The draw was done by Chedz and I was given one below Bitton brook, a lovely walk (!) and obviously one off a flyer. I got to the peg after a stroll down the cycle track and found that Kev Boltz was the fortunate man on the brook. Vic Abbot was on the end peg in my section on the beach, but then realised he was in D section, ummm that's in the long ashtip 40 pegs away Vic!!!!! He walked it too!!! On the peg below me was Lance Tucker, and I told him Kev would win the section and he would be second.

My peg was going through faster than I would have liked but I still set up a crowquill as I thought I might get a few fish down the inside, though recently this peg has been a struggle I was still positive. I set up a feeder rod which initially was with a groundbait feeder with 0.16 to a 15 B711 to cast just upstream of a tree where the water was steadier and I hoped some chub and skimmers may be waiting. On the whistle I threw a few balls in downstream and then threw the odd small ball in whilst running the crow through. In 30 minutes I had 2 tiny dace and about a dozen snags. Onto the feeder with red maggots and after another 30 minutes I still had 2 dace, was the river fishing hard I wondered? At this early stage I went to see Kev who had some chub, and Lance who was getting a bite a chuck, hmmmm....

Fast forward to 3pm (we were fishing from 11 to 4) and I have added a substantial dace and roach to my less than impressive net! Thankfully no one was on peg 6 so I could avoid the dreaded 1 point! I should mention that I had swapped about a bit during the match with feeders, gbait versus maggot, all to no avail when at 3:10pm I had a proper bite and was attached to a decent chub. I gave this fish no quarter knowing there were plenty of snags about and soon landed a 3lb chub. I went to take the hook out and it was already in the net, and it was straightened out! That was end of match for me as I had no more bites, and I weighed 3lb 4oz for my 2 points. Kev Boltz had won the match off Bitton brook with 22lb 10oz of chub on maggot feeder and Lance had nearly 12lb of chublets and perch etc on the groundbait feeder, so I was a proper CHIP SHOP SAUSAGE, lol! The walk back in near darkness was made easier as Andy Britt walked with me, we were rather wet from rain or sweat when we got to our cars in pitch black darkness!

As I said Kev Boltz won the match, and he is drawing some very good pegs at present, but that said you've got to catch them, and Kev has had some bad luck in life along the way and as far as I'm concerned he deserves all the luck he gets in fishing. Second on the day was my OLD mate Glenn Bailey from a peg just below the locks at Jack Whites, he had a cracking 20lb 8oz of dace and roach on pole / stick float, better then catching carp on paste methinks, lol! Moaning Martin Barrett was 3rd with an ounce under 16lb of roach from peg 78 in the ashtip field. At the other end of the scale was poor old Shane Caswell and Nathaniel Johnson on the outfall pegs at Swineford, they both blanked. However, Shane thought he'd avoided the blank 10 mins to go when he had his only bite on the feeder, he hit the fish, played it, landed it, and it was a trout.... oops!

Thyers had a very good day and took top honours followed by Bathampton and then Thatchers, so halfway through and the top 3 in the league is Bathampton 6, Thatchers 7 and Thyers 8.

Next week Newbridge.......I can hardly wait I'm so excited!!!!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Commercial House Rnd 3 Newbridge

Another winter league and another flooded river and I didn't bother putting a float rod in again. However, the river was not as bad as I thought and some pegs did allow a float to be used, although as it transpired not many caught on it.

I was once again a little jaded at the draw thanks to rather too many pints of Guinness the day before, I spent most of Saturday out with Mark Tanner and Glenn Bailey watching Bristol Rovers win a game and actually playing well! Back to the fishing though and Mat Parsons was once again drawing for the A team and he came back with again a good looking team draw and put himself up at Rotork. I was off to peg 24 which is a cow drink peg and meant I would have to get the box in the water. This peg was solid in the summer (in the lead up to the National) with bream and hybrids, but of late it has not been anywhere near as good. On peg 26 (where Nick Chedozy caught 2 bream last week) was Jerry Pocock, can't believe how we keep drawing so near each other! Jerry was obviously cock-a-hoop at being next to me and made in known he has beaten me of late.

I had a nice steady flow of water in front of me, and so I set up two pole rigs for fishing about 10.5mtrs, a 3grm rig with an 18 to 0.1 and a 5 grm flat float with 16 to 0.12. I set up one feeder rod with the standard 14 to 0.14 and hoped the bream would put in appearance again. To start the match I threw in 6 balls of gbait on the pole and 6 down the middle for the feeder. I picked up the pole and tried the 3grm rig, and on about the third run down I had a small roach, but no more bites. The flat float also yielded 1 roach but again no more bites, in fact I never had another bite on the pole all match and should have known as both Chris Parr and Mike Withey in my section had been here last week and struggled. Thirty minutes in and I went on the feeder initially with 3 red maggots on the hook, I had a small roach first cast, then a perch then something a little better. I thought it was a hybrid but as the fish came in close it dived into the reeds, and so I pulled hard and up popped a 1lb chub. Over the next hour I took a lovely 12oz roach, a perch, a gudgeon, and 4 small chublets. The trouble with chublets is they tend to feed aggressively and then disappear, and this is what happened to me. A couple more small roach showed before the swim went dead and I never had a bite for two hours.

I had heard that my section was being won by Leon Hubbard who had landed a barbel, a very rare fish up at Newbridge, and a little walk confirmed this, plus Mark Lloyd had a bream and some skimmers, Jerry only had a couple of roach but two hours to go he landed a bream. I was then 'entertained' NOT,  by Dragon boats filled with 16 to 18 year old kids shouting, singing and drum beating, and nearly falling in. I didn't have it as bad as the anglers above me though, and that's probably why I had another 1lb+ chub out of the blue on a bit of lobworm. I missed another bite with 20 mins to go which nicked a dendra off the hook, and that was my lot. I should say that I did try fishing right across for a while on a maggot feeder in the hope of some more chub, but it didn't work.

I was pleased to weigh in 7lb 4 1/2oz which put me 3rd in the whole section and I would win the A Div section money by default thanks to Leon framing with 9lb 3oz (and he beat Kev Dicks in the knockout by 1oz!). I must admit I seem to be doing well at catching chub roach and perch on the feeder and I think when you catch these there not many bream in your peg, still nice to get a few bites especially as two people blanked in my section (bad luck Chris Parr and Rich Lacey).

The match was won by Andy Britt from Rotork, he had 3 bream for 14lb, Kev Boltz was 2nd with 11lb from next to where the match was won last week and so he beat me in the knockout. Team wise my lot Thatchers A won the A div on the day and have a 2 point lead overall from Bathampton Elite. Thatchers B are in last place and in danger of relegation! The river fished harder than last week, I suppose with less colour there weren't so many bream caught, but it is very frustrating not being able to fish the float. I pray for a week of no rain before next weeks winter league down at Keynsham. Oh I forgot to mention I think, I FINALLY BEAT JERRY POCOCK OFF THE NEXT PEG FISHING THE FEEDER, had to put it in bold just to make sure I don't forget it, lol!

Here's a picture of a very happy Leon Hubbard with his 6lb 8oz barbel which we all thought was heavier than that.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Its In The Bag / ATWL Newbridge

The title of this post is nothing cocky, in fact its all a load of balls! Last night I attended a charity ball in aid of the charity "Its in the bag" which supports men with testicular cancer, and its strap line is "Check your balls!" I have three mates who have been affected by this disease and so I was more than happy to attend and sink a few pints of Guinness, and the odd glass of wine. It was a great night and the only trouble was getting home at 2am knowing I had to be up at 7:30am! Just one last thing on the ball, I learnt that it is recommended that us men check our balls once a month as it is the best form of detection of testicular cancer, and early diagnosis makes surviving the disease very likely.

Onto the fishing now, well getting up was a struggle as you can imagine, thankfully I didn't feel sick but was rather 'jaded'. I arrived at the draw and looked into my wallet to find just £20, I'd left the rest at home in my suit pocket, thankfully money bags and self confessed river legend Matty Parsons bought me a breakfast. There was a shock at the draw as Bathampton were a man short, apparently Derek Coles hadn't realised he was in the team and went to Bullocks Farm instead, lol! It got funnier though as they rang Leon Hubbard to come and fish but he had only got to bed at 5:30am after a heavy session, he did get to the match eventually so fair play to him. Mat (I'm gonna empty it) Parsons did the team draw and I was to fish peg 74, a good peg with lots of bream form in recent years, so no pressure on me to catch one then.

When I got to the peg I had Paul Purchase from Thyers on 76, he usually catches bream and so I would have my work cut out today. The peg was a bit awkward to fish and I couldn't be arsed to set my box up in the water so I would stand and fish. This also meant I would only be fishing the feeder today, and as the river was up and coloured I thought it would be the best bet (or was it cos I was so shagged I couldn't be arsed!). I decided to set up the one rod with a 14 B611 and 0.148 Exceed line and 25grm open end feeder. Long before the 11am start time I was ready and so it seemed was everyone else.

To start the match I threw in 6 balls of groundbait just short of the middle of the river, there was some worm and caster in the gbait. Second chuck on the feeder and a 12oz hybrid obliged, soon followed by a couple of small roach all on 3 red maggots. It went a bit quiet and so I started changing the hookbait, a 8oz roach took liking to a dendra, and then an eel and small perch took a lobworm tail. Two hours in I had couple of 12oz roach back on the maggot, but then no bites again. I was having to wait a long time for a bite and that tests your confidence when deciding what bait to use and trying to hit a roach bite.

Three hours gone and Nicola Lunn walked down, she only had 1 bleak from above the bridge, and when she walked the section I was in 2nd place as the angler right next to the bridge above me having had a 3lb bream. I took another small eel, perch and a few more roach but then in the last hour things went very quiet with just 1 roach until the last 20 mins when I then had an 8oz hybrid. It was looking like once again I was going to fish a good bream peg and not catch one and I was already thinking how much stick I was gonna get, but at 3:50pm I had the tiniest of drop backs, it actually looked like the feeder was moving in the current, and then it moved again so I struck..... Firk me there's a bream on the hook! I was now bricking it as I knew this fish would give me a good section result, and boy did it fight in the flow until it went into the landing net, get in!  I cast out again with the same hook bait, 3 red maggs, but the feeder rolled after about a minute so I reeled back in again. I then took the maggots off and put on a dendra with two maggots and cast out again, and I was soon attached to bream number two. I landed the fish and alas the all out was called, damn, still a nice way to end the match!

I weighed 16lb 13oz to win the section, 2nd in the section was the angler above me with 7lb 2oz, without the two bream it would have been a bit close. Paul below me had 5lb of roach but said that he had missed loads of bites. Word all throughout the day had been that the river was fishing very hard and people were saying I would win the match, but that wasn't the case as I ended 5th and first out the frame. Lance Tucker won from peg 46 with 29lb, Dave Micklewright had 26lb from peg 18 and on peg 50 Darren Gillman weighed 24lb which included a near 5lb hybrid! Dave Wride was 4th from peg 1 in the little field and he also had a 4lb sea trout which of course didn't count.

Thatchers had a cracking day (all except Mat Parsons who came last in his section) with a number of us getting bream and we won the day with 47 points, Thyers were 2nd and Bathampton 3rd. This meant Thatchers and Bathampton were now tied on points at the top.

That's it for tonight, I am cream crackered and apologise for and poor grammar or mistakes but I am too fooked to check it! Good night and don't forget to check your balls.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

ATWL Swineford and Crane

First round of the Angling Trust winter league today and the match was going ahead on the river as it was still well within its banks if a tad coloured and pacey, OK that's an understatement! Thatchers had been struggling to put a team together for this with quite a few of the team down at Whiteacres, so commercial expert Mat Parsons was drafted in today. Mat had managed 45 minutes sleep after a late night party but to be fair he looked OK on it and so he did the team draw. Mat found himself just above the cattle grid and he put me on the mouth of the marina end peg (same as 1st round of commercial house). Both our pegs had to be fancied with some steady water present, although I have known in the past the roach and eels to feed better in consistent flow pegs.

It didn't take me long to get to my peg and I was soon met by a grumpy Jerry Pocock whose peg was very pacey, though I did see a fish top in his peg before the match. I set up the usual two feeder rods both with 0.16, one with a 14 B611 and the other with a 13 B711. I also set up a top 3 pole rig for bleak as I had seen one or two top in the peg. I chopped up some lobs and dendras and cast the feeder out downstream and on the edge of the flow where I had seen a couple of fish (roach I think) top. I started on the 14 hook rig and went through various hook bait permutations but after an hour I was biteless, I'd not even managed to catch a bleak which I'd assumed would have been a synch! At this early stage I decided to cast in 10 quick feeders of bait and then popped up the bank for a walk to see that both Nicky Johns and Leon Hubbard had a couple of eels and a roach. Back to my peg and on with a tail of a lobby and a roach hung itself to get me off and running. Err no, what looked like an eel bite that stopped was all I had for the next hour! I picked up the pole and this time I was rewarded with a few bleak, though it was tough and I ended up having to add pole sections on to chase them around as well as constantly changing depths. After an hour or so the bleak completely vanished and I was sure they had backed off into the leg.

I spent the remainder of the match on the feeder (well I did have one more unsuccessful look for bleak) when I probably had 4 bites for just 1 more roach. The bites were just nipping the end of the worm and even if I left the bite to develop it didn't, I guess it was tiny eels.

After 5 hours I was gutted to have only taken 2 roach on the feeder and was fearing a last in section, fortunately for me I did beat two people with my 2lb 3.5oz, one was Leon who had endured a torrid time losing a dozen feeders during the match. Chris Higgins won the section and Jerry beat me AGAIN to come 2nd in section with 4lb.

The match was won by Karoke legend Andy Britt with 2 bream for 11lb, Andy was in the long ash tip field and said he lost 2 other bream. Mat Parsons was kept awake with (he told me) a bite on most casts and weighed 9lb for 2nd place, Gary O'Shea was 3rd with a high 7lb from peg 29. On the team from Bathampton and Sensas Wilts tied for first with 40.5 points, Thatchers were 3rd with 40 points!

I'm having a difficult time at the moment on the river, and things are not going right for me, maybe I'm doing it wrong but I can honestly say I am not sure what to change. I'll keep going and I expect it will be another feeder match next Sunday when round 2 is at Newbridge. One thing I've learned is never give up!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

September 1993

I thought I'd better chuck in an old memory as I don't know if tomorrows match will be on, although I'll need to use the bait so will probably go some where even if it is called off.

After the high of the NFA champs it was back to the Drennan Superleague with my team holding a slender lead, today we were on the Avon at Crane and Swineford. My home for the day was just below the boy holes at the Crane, not brilliant in the section I thought. Back all those years ago balling in was not even considered so it was a maggot and hemp job on the pole at 11mtrs. The river fished very hard and I was soon on a 22 to 0.08 trying to scratch out bites from small dace, roach and skimmers. I finished the match with 3lb 15oz which secured 9 points and the team came 3rd on the day, though some teams near us dipped and we ended 23 points in front with one round remaining.

Saturday 18th Sept I spent pleasure fishing on the Avon in Bath Town 2 pegs above the destructor bridge. I fished my favourite waggler and maggot with a 20 to 0.10 about 2/3 the way across the river. I fed 2 pints of maggots and found a bronze and red on the hook best. I caught from 7ft to on the bottom (13ft) later and had 18lb which was made up of 90% hybrids from 6oz to 1lb. That was a nice day and set me up nicely for the Commercial House on Sunday where I had a long walk to peg 49 up the Crane. I fished a gbait feeder to start with an 18 to 1.5lb maxima and in the first 2 hours had 5 small chub and 2 skimmers. I then had no more bites until 3 eels in the last hour on a maggot feeder. My final tally was 4lb 10oz good enough for 10 points and my team romped it.

The following weekend I decided to try my luck at Bath Town again but a few pegs away, but this time my approach was to try the pole with maggot using a 22 and 0.08. I struggled for 6lb which included a chub of a 1lb but below me Bob Sheppard fished caster and hemp on the pole and doubled my weight with quality roach, perch and hybrids. We were both fishing the following day at Newbridge for the final round of the superleague, and with the river remaining clear we anticipated a tough match, but it turned out really tough! I was drawn behind the pumphouse on peg 22 and set up waggler, pole and feeder but in the end only caught on the wag. I loose fed maggots down the middle of the river and during the day altered my depth from between on the bottom and 5ft to try to get bites, with either 22 to 0.09 or 0.08. I picked up small roach for 3 hours (on and off) and then late on caught some more right over. I knew it was fishing hard from the bank runners and so thought I was doing OK and my 3lb 7oz was good enough for 2nd in the section. On the day 3lb 14oz was 5th in the match, that tells you how hard it was! The team had done well on the day and we managed to win the league overall, I had contributed 51 points from a maximum of 60 which I was chuffed with, but most importantly we would be taking part in the Superleague final.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Commercial House Rnd 2 Swineford to Crane

Laptop has been crashing for last few days and I have had to get into "IT" to sort it out, fingers crossed it now works!

I awoke Sunday morning feeling a tad tired after a couple of boozy days thanks to Darren Gillman getting married, but arriving at the draw this was nothing compared to Glenn Bailey who was making frequent sick visits to the toilet, lol! I was once again going for the normal draw (no more short walks for me) and the team draw put me on peg 28 at Swineford, a walk of only about 3 fields!! I did have a hand with the gear some of the way thanks to Martin Barrett, Paul Elms and Rich Lacey. Drawing Swineford has been a rarity for me so I was pleased to be here, especially has the peg can produce bream. The river was still carrying extra colour and pace and as a result I couldn't see me fishing anything else bar the feeder, and something to do with the fact I took the pole out of the holdall before the long walk!! So two feeder rods were quickly assembled, one with a 15 B711 and 0.16, and the other 11 B711 to 0.18 for lob worms. The two anglers either side of me Mike Withey and Jerry Pocock (who always beats me) were tooled up with 1 feeder rod each.

The river was actually more pacey than I realised and I needed 40grms with a big bow in the line to hold bottom across by the willow tree. I was using a gbait feeder and started with red maggots on the hook, and I had bites straight away from small roach and perch. I tried caster and the result was the same fish size, dendrabena and the same result, although a 10oz chub was a bonus, (see photo of me landing it courtesy of Mike Nicholls) so on with the lobby and... no bites! Back on the lighter gear and the bites stopped for a while and I hoped that bream had moved in, but 20 mins later the culprit appeared as a 1lb perch, small fish bites soon resumed but less often.

Half way through Jerry had snared his usual 3lb bream and lost another, but Mike had only a few perch and my bites had really slowed as a result of me filling it in with worm and caster! I did snare a few perch down the inside on the feeder (but again no quality) just to rest the far line, but once again my ineptitude at catching bream shone through and I avoided them but did catch two nice dace on double dendra.... To rub salt into the wounds Jerry had another skimmer and lost another and Mike had a 6lb+ fish in the last hour. When the scales arrived I thought I was going to be near bottom of the section with 5lb, but just for once I under estimated (!) and weighed 7lb 14oz which was probably the highest weight on the day without a bream or decent chub, not that was anything to be chuffed with! Jerry had 9lb 7oz and Mike 9lb 12oz to make me a chip shop sausage and I finished 3rd in the A div thanks to Paul Elms beating me by 2 ounces, shit I'm gonna take some stick! In hindsight if I had limited the amount of bait I fed I could probably have caught roach and perch most of the day, but that said I would always go for bream if they are usually in the peg and so I can forget hindsight!

The match was won by Bristol Avon bream expert Kevin Boltz with 26lb from the Cornfield, and Andy Ottaway and Neil Mercer followed with low 20's from next to each other in the long ashtip flyers! I think Neil ought to buy a few more lottery tickets cos he draws out of his skin on river matches I fish (does that sound bitter and twisted, hee hee?) I should say that many anglers struggled on the day, and without a skimmer or bream you really were out of it.

In the A div Bathampton Elite pulverised the result winning with 25 points, my team (Thatchers A) came in joint 2nd tied with BTM services, but we are holding onto the overall lead by 1 point. Bathampton Invincible came last again, and even the organiser Mike Goodhind read them out as Bathampton Invisible, lol!

My one bit of personal salvation on the day was that I proceeded into the next round of the knockout by beating Martin Reyatt's 1lb 6oz, I didn't give him too much stick! However, waiting for me in the next round is Kev Boltz... oh dear!

ATWL starts next Sunday and were on the same stretch of river and I see more rain is in the forecast, does anyone have a handbook I can borrow of how to catch bream?

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Super League Newbridge

Today's match was the final round of the super league and the only one I would be fishing. The draw time was 10am with fishing 12 to 5pm, this was to avoid most of the rowers and of course usually the fish feed better late on. I think I said on a previous post, I'd like a short walk, a good draw, no pike and plenty of roach.... well I got two of the four as you will see! I did tell the lads I popped down the Crane the day before and watched a group of club anglers struggle for bites, with 3lb top weight.

The draw was done and Mark Harper came back with peg 63 for me, a good area as the week before 21lb had come off peg 61. However, it was a long walk to this peg from the Rugby club, although Martin Barrett carried my Rod holdall to my peg and Lee Trivett (I forgotten how to spell his name again) carried my mixed grounbait to his peg. I had a few stops on the way and was blowing a bit when I got to peg 63 and then found it covered in Norfolk reeds! Steve Hutchinson on peg 65 lent me his blade and I attacked the reeds with what little energy I had left, lol!

Tackle today was dictated somewhat by the weather as the wind was howling downstream, and the fact the river was very clear. I couldn't see a waggler working here and so set up a groundbait feeder with 0.128 Exceed to a 16 B611. Three pole rigs did for me, a 2grm and a 3 grm (pencil float was not going to work in this peg today) both with 0.1 and a 18PR311, also a chopped worm rig with 1.5grm float and 0.14 to 14 PR355 (I think!). Again I did not put a flat float up as I could not see me presenting it right. On the whistle I threw in 12 balls of black groundbait and went straight in with the 3grm rig. Thirty minutes later and without a bite I cast the feeder 3/4 over 8 times to get some bait in and looked for a quick response but none came.

To be honest I am going to struggle to make my match good reading, because despite scaling down on the pole rigs I never had one bite on them, and I thought it was going to be one of those days when I had as much chance catching a bream as anything else, so I spent the last 2 1/2 hours on the feeder. In fact I only had 1 bite all day long and that came just after 3:30pm on the feeder cast over my pole line with double red maggot. I was actually just on the phone to the wife and then noticed the rod hit my leg, and the tip was banging round! The culprit was a 4lb 8oz bream, and thank goodness I avoided a dry net, but it was very close!

I had to weigh the section in and on peg 58 Steve Priddle had 2 skimmers and a bream (the slab in the last 10 mins) for 12lb 15oz, on 61 the Norfolk reeds Kev Dicks was sheltered and managed 3 late bream for 13lb 7oz and won the section. I was 3rd in section as everyone to my left weighed ounces with between 1 and 3 perch, Hutchy having just the 1 perch of 11oz. Not a roach was caught in our section. So I had no Pike trouble, a good draw, but a long walk and no roach!!!!

The match was won by DGL angler Neil Richards with 60lb of bream from I think peg 6 at Rotork. 2nd was Shaun Townsend (forget how to spell his name too!) who moaned liked f*ck about his draw at Rotork and nearly didn't fish as there were pleasure anglers in some pegs when they arrived. Shaun had a few roach on the pole and then the pike struck and killed it so he caught some bleak on the wag and tried the pole on and off. On about his 7th look on the pole line with a pencil float Shaun then hooked a bream which after some time he landed and it was later weighed at 9lb 8oz! He then chucked a feeder on the pole line and had 5 more. Mark Bromsgrove of Thyers had a fantastic day on the pole just behind the pump house weighing 29lb of roach. Think they were shoaled up and Mark is to good to not take advantage.

On the day Thyers came 2nd but still won the league overall, Bathampton won and Thatchers were third and Bathampton took 2nd overall by 1 point from Thatchers. Chris 'Gappy' Parr was the top individual in the league, and his team mates took 2nd and 3rd to dominate the league.

I must say thank you to ex Hurricane Nadine for dumping all the wind and rain on us, I ended up wearing two coats to keep myself warm and all my gear was covered in slugs and snails. I doubt any of my gear will be dry by the weekend, but if it keeps on raining I won't need much for a flooded river, lol!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Birthday Bash with Mr Pikey

I decided to take a trip onto the river Wednesday (my birthday), just to set up a few rigs and try a few things out for a change. I had a pint and a half of casters with me and picked up some hemp from Nick at Keynsham Angling and that was it for bait, well I did have a bucket of dry groundbait but I was only carrying it for the exercise! I walked up the crane and settled on the cattle grid peg, I didn't really want to walk much further, and also I could see the wind was nasty around the boys hole.

A number of anglers have said to me that they believe balling in the groundbait brings more pike into your peg, the logic is that the fish are tightly shoaled over the gbait. I must admit I have not really been able to prove this having had the odd day with no pike trouble over gbait and some days with just as much trouble with loose feed. Today I wanted to just try loose feeding, but knowing that a lot of bleak are in the area I decided to cup in a pot full of hemp and another of caster! I then spent 15 minutes setting up a 2grm rig with 0.1 to a 16 PR311 and then proceeded to run this through the swim with caster on the hook. Thirty minutes later and I hadn't had a bite, oops! Time to set up a pencil rig, the usual 1grm job with 0.09 to 16 PR311 and also a 3grm flat float and I also started loose feeding some bait. I then tried the flat float with double caster, but to be honest it was to big as there was not much flow, but I did get a bite on the drop so picked up the pencil rig instead. Finally I was getting the odd bite, from small dace mainly and the odd small roach, but the wind was now awkward and I needed the 2grm rig.

For the next hour I picked up the odd small fish on caster but no bites on the hemp, but bleak arrived so I cut the caster out and upped the hemp feed. I was missing lots of bites and put this down to the little dace, bringing back one of them I had my first pike attack. I pulled quite hard but after a couple of minutes I reckoned I had hooked the pike as it had not let go of the fish, I decided as it was not a match I would see if I could land the fish. I guess between 10 and 15 minutes later and after 2 failed attempts I finally netted the bugger, I estimate it to be 6lb. The hook was in the outside of the 'scissors' the safest place to hook one and land it on monofilament. All the while I had played this fish (upstream of my peg) I had continued to loose feed and had bites straight away. Here's a piccy of pikey, it don't look so big but it is curled up in my big carp landing net (glad I had it with me) as I did wanted to pick it up!

About 3 hours in I started to get bites on hemp, I was missing loads of bites on this on every rig I tried, even a light strung out 4x16 I had put together. The culprits were dace of course, as the roach tended to hang onto the hemp that little bit longer. For a laugh I tried a bit of black float rubber on the hook and I did catch 3 fish on it but most runs through did not result in a bite. I finished with around 9lb of fish in 4 hours, a bit disappointing as I had only had 3 net roach, but loads of bites after that blank first hour. I had a pike on again twice more, but can't say my experiment proved less pike trouble as I landed that fish on the first attack. I don't think I will be trying this potting approach in a match anytime soon, balling at least provides lots of fish straight away (most of the time) with the chance of some better fish.

Newbridge this Sunday on a Superleague match, there were some very good roach catches last week, with fish to over a pound caught. Whether they will feed again so well I don't know, the river has got clearer and the fish do tend to shoal up more. A good peg, a short walk, no pike, and sack full of roach... is it too much to ask, lol!

Sunday, 16 September 2012


This match had been changed I think from one of Tony Rixon's cancelled teams of 4 events, but Tony said it would be top set plus 3 sections. As I said on my last post with every peg on the venue going to have an angler (on Paddock) the draw would be important. Travelled down today with Glenn, and as he had fished the open the day before (he had 97lb for 6th) he was well clued up and was going to stick to his tried and tested paste. I had an open mind and came prepared for carp or silvers especially as the top lake was also in. I must say it was really nice seeing a good turnout on a Sunday at a commercial, we get them all the time of course on river winter leagues lol!

After a reasonable brekkie at the venue it was time to draw, though Tony was insistant on an orderly queue and sat in his van, that didn't work either and it was a brawl! My luck at the drawbag was very good when I saw peg 27 staring back at me, it is right at the top end of the venue but just out of a corner and so would give me that extra bit of space I reckoned would help. I dropped Glenn off so he could walk to peg 2 and then drove round the lake to park right behind my peg, nice! For company I had Joe Thompson on 26, Dave Roper on 28, an empty peg (the only one) then Mike Nicholls on 29. I set up a paste rig for the deep water at the farthest length of pole at 2 o'clock a size 12 Drennan nu hook to 0.16, a 6x10 pencil float for meat at 4mtrs in front (nothing on this so forget it), a paste rig for down the marginal shelf toward the corner, and a 4x10 rig with a band that would do for pellet, corn or meat with a 16 PR36 to 0.16. It appeared a number of anglers in my section were going to fish for silvers but I decided I had to go for carp (as the rigs above suggest) and with £45 for the overall section winner and silvers section winner there was plenty to go for.

To start the match I fed a pot of 4mm pellets on the long pole and margin lines, and threw some meat in at 4mtrs (but as I said we will forget that meat line). I went straight out with paste on the long line and it took me a couple of drops to get the float depth set just right and then I hooked a decent size carp which halfway back came off. Oh dear, not gonna have the same trouble as Wednesday again!!!! It was a slow start and after an hour I had 4 carp and had lost 3, but most people were struggling although Mike Nicholls had begun well. After the 2nd hour I had added 3 more carp and two 8oz skimmers, slow but OK compared to those around me but then this line really slowed. An early look on the margin produced nothing and I stuck with the paste out long. I was not getting hardly any fizzing and very few liners, so there were not many fish in the peg, I would try and feed a bit of pellet to get a response but it just seemed to go dead for 15 mins then I would get a fish or maybe two before I would have to feed again. I was of course hoping the margin would be the banker line in the last two hours and for once I managed to catch some here. I tried pellet but just had the odd liner, so put my shallow paste rig in (was about 2ft deep) and bang the float went under. I had two quick fish and then nothing so went back long, took a couple of fish and then back into the margin where I then had a good run of 3lb+ fish. I felt I was clawing myself back up the section, as both Mike Nicholls and Bob Gullick had more than me before this spell.

I kept swapping between the two paste lines as the margin faded badly and I felt it needed resting, but the last half hour was not the best as I bumped a carp on each line, but a carp on the whistle from the margin made it a nice way to finish. The good thing about today was that I had not lost that many fish, certainly a lot less than Wednesday, and I finished the match a lot happier with how things had gone. I thought I had 80lb but Dave Roper said 100lb to 110lb was nearer.

The scales started at peg 1 and by the time they got round to me Glenn was winning with 111lb (he had 2 carp after 2 hours and then bagged up the last 3) and Bob Gullick was winning my section with 80lb+.  My fish weighed 98lb 10oz which turned out to be enough for 3rd place (Alan Oram took 2nd from peg 7 with 103lb) and last in the frame coin. Glenn continued his good run at Acorn on the paste! Silvers was won by Tom Thick from the top lake, all the results will I am sure be on Tony's blog.

It was a happy car travelling home with the winner and the journey flew by, I was glad I had managed to put right the mistakes I made on Wednesday on what was a good peg. My Sunday matches will now be on rivers next week I will be on the super league at Newbridge followed by the winter leagues, a lot more expensive and effort required than commercials but I just love flowing water, just hope the roach are gonna play!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Acorn - Paddock Lake

It was not a nice start to the day with rain falling as the gear was loaded into Glenn Bailey's car. We were off to Acorn fishing a match organised by Tony Rixon that was to be a top set plus two sections.  Lots of bloggers were there and one of them ended up winning the match, but it wasn't me!

I got what was I was told was a good peg for carp, peg 10 and it was also right next to where Glenn had parked his car. Glenn was off to bridge peg 21. I was a little disappointed with my peg, in that I felt a bit hemmed in with every peg in from peg 7 to 12, to me it looked like I would struggle to compete with the other pegs has they had a lot of water to draw fish from (get my excuse in early). Of course we were all limited on the pole length so we would see what happened. Rigs today comprised of a 4x12 with 0.14 to a size 12 for meat down the margin shelf, a paste rig and a pellet rig for the long line, lol! I did also set up a caster rig for just in case the carp didn't play ball.

To start the match I fed a pot of 4mm pellet on the long line and fed meat by hand down to my left. Out with the pellet rig in the 6ft deep swim and it was going under but nothing was a bite, so after 5 mins I picked up the paste rig and had a carp straight away. After the first hour I had 5 carp for about 15lb, I reckoned on needing 30+ carp to frame so I was about on track. The 2nd hour was not so good at all and I added just 2 more carp and the paste line had gone very quiet on me, I tried the meat line more out of hope than expectation , but the float never moved. Glenn rang me to tell me had 15 carp and I told him I was not catching but Mike Nicholls on 12 and Fabio on 15 was. Then my peg and most others seemed to switch off, and during the next two hours I had 3lb of silvers only. It was really grim, Keith Masheder next to me on 9 was ahead of me and had taken the odd carp during the grim 2 hours, the Gimp on 12 had taken some nice caster fish, I was pretty fed up.

Coming into the last two hours the paste line came back to life with fizzing and plenty of bites / liners. I would like to say I emptied it, and whilst I did catch carp I never had it sussed, I missed lots of bites and pulled out of a few. Mind you Mash next to me was experiencing even more activity and was also pulling out of lots and at one stage he said he hooked 9 and got 1 out. I did manage to sneak 5 carp out on the meat, 4 of these came in quick succession with 90 mins left but then they fooked off! I ended the match frustrated, I never felt at any point that I was catching right, I didn't know if I was feeding right, the rigs were right etc. I basically have a lack of match 'fitness' and at present I am not in tune with my fishing, and most importantly I need to get my confidence back. I still enjoyed being out, and my 68lb was about 8th I think, but the peg was worth more in my opion. Mash had 90lb next to me, but even he was scratching his head at the end!

The match was won by Mike Nicholls with 117lb, see Mike's blog, but I can tell you he fed next to nothing. Glenn came 2nd with 99lb all on paste, and I can tell you he fed 10 times as much as Mike! Trigger won the silvers with 40lb+ from I think peg 1.

I'm here again on Sunday with a top set plus 3 sections match, I think the draw will be important and a peg with a bit extra water will be useful as every peg is in, including the old dog bone lake. Time to make some more rigs and have a rethink.

I should mention that for at least some of the day I was indeed sat on Cluckers peg, see below!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Something old, something new

As I predicted last week I wasn't going to be fishing Sunday after Darren Gillman's stag do, it was 5 jagerbombs in a row that finished me off. That said, I didn't wake up with a hangover but was very tired and aching from the go karting.

The 'New' in my blog refers to my visit to Windmill Lakes today, a newish venue at Coalpit Heath and one that I had mostly heard bad things about. However, Martin Reyatt and Shaun Townsend told me they had fished it and were going again on an open match, so I popped along to have a watch. The match lake is a large rectangular lake with two islands running down the middle, well not quite the middle as one side can be reached with a pole the other cannot. The first angler I met was Bob Warren, and it was good to see him again as he had a bit of a rough time a while back. Bob had 3 carp on the feeder cast to the island. I walked down the other end to find Shaun on peg 10, he had taken a few skimmers on the pole with soft pellet but just 1 carp. As I sat and watched him he started getting regular bites, but he had a hard job hitting them in the wind and when he did hook a fish he would lose it. It was so weird how he kept losing carp at the net, and after he played one carp a bit longer I thought it was not going to come off  and so took a video. It didn't quite go to plan and here is the clip. WARNING DO NOT VIEW IF YOU DON'T LIKE STRONG LANGUAGE. (I was in fits of laughter.)

Next to Shaun was Martin Reyatt, and Martin started to get the odd carp on straight lead and banded pellet to the island. Whilst I was watching Martin Shaun continued to lose fish, and later on Martin txt me to say he'd won with 64lb and that Shaun's catch and release method continued and gave him 48lb for 2nd! A number of anglers were struggling on the venue, but more fish are being added to the lake and as it is so close to home I'll give it a go soon.

The 'Old' now and a dip back into 1993 and more trips to the Gloucester canal, a place I had many bad times on. I fished a match at Rea Bridge section and after 5 hours hard labour 3 skimmers and an eel was a pitiful return. Clayton Hudson won this match with 14lb. The following day on the 1st August I was back on the Gloucester for the team champs and had an even worse day catching just 1lb 8oz for 4 points from 25. The team came 12th and I was hoping I had done enough to get myself dropped for the upcoming super league match on the venue!

The following weekend saw me fishing a pole qualifier at Shearwater lake, a venue full of fish..... Some how I avoided them and caught 2lb fishing maggot and hemp for carp, groundbait and caster was the way forward. Sunday and back on the Gloucester canal for the super league (I think I was press ganged into fishing) and I drew peg 93. I had a bit better day (really!) catching 3lb 8oz on the pole comprised of 3 skimmers, 2 roach and 2 eels on bronze maggot over gbait, this was worth 9 points and the team came 4th but were now 2nd in the league. The following weekend I endured two poor days on the K&A canal at Devizes and this month was really getting me down, so much so I asked to be dropped from the super league match on the venue. I made the right choice as I ran the bank and watched the team come 2nd on the day and jump into overall league leaders. I then fished the river a couple of times at Crane with wag and mag to get a few fish in the net, chublets and roach providing a nice confidence builder.

Sat 4th September South West NFA Championships, venue Gloucester Canal, oh no!!! I was fishing this match but was really bricking it after so many poor results. However, lady luck kissed me on the cheek just lightly as I found myself drawn 3 pegs away from where I had caught 1lb 8oz. "How is that lucky?" Well I had thought that the last time I fished this poor area that balling in gbait was no good, and I should have just loosefed, so today that's what I did with maggots and hemp. Fishing the pole from 11 to 12.5m with a 1.25g float I had 5 roach, 5 eels and 2 skimmers for 3lb 10oz, for 18 points from 22. The guys either side of me balled it and as a result one blanked the other had 1 roach, a lesson learned had really helped me. Even better the team won the match to beat nailed on favourites Avon Bait, it was a major shock and we hadn't even bet on ourselves with Billy Knott. In fact Billy had made a load of dough and was so chuffed that he bought all of the team a drink or two each. Happy days!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Commercial House Round 1 Bristol Avon

It was nice to see the league increase this year, last year only 9 teams participated but 11 teams this year would make for a better league and better payout. Thatchers once again had two teams in and this year I was in the A team (last year B team) basically all the B team lads had got given the A tag this year!

This match was pegged from Swineford to Crane. This was only possible thanks to all the swim clearing efforts for the National. The peggers Lee TRIVITT (is that right Lee?) and Andy Ottoway were able to put all 66 pegs in easily and leave out Jack Whites as there was talk of very high tides. After the rain of Wednesday the river had been very high, it had now dropped to the extent that some pegs would be fishable with a float, but it still held a lot of colour. The draw took place in the ever reliable Rugby Club in Saltford and it was great to see some old faces back in the CH league. In fact I asked Steve Hutchinson if his team name was "Old Stars" lol! The two Thatchers teams were not quite as normal due to some of the lads fishing the Maver Match this team event, and our A team super sub was Welsh internation Lee Edwards. I was going to be given F section whatever the draw today, but would you believe it Martin Barrett actually drew me in F section on the end peg on the mouth of the marina, the shortest walk of the match.

I was going to make two trips from my car to the peg, and on the 2nd trip Nick the boss of Keynsham Angling turned up and carried some of my heavier gear, which was nice of him! Nick told me that pleasure anglers had been catching skimmers and bream in this section all summer, that suited me as I came with groundbait for bream! I set up a feeder rod with a 30gm open ender, with 0.14 to a 14 B611, a 3gm pole rig with 0.1 to a 18, and a 5gm flat float (later changed to 8gm) with 0.12 to a 16. That was it today.

On the whistle I threw in 14 balls at 11mtrs which contained casters, dead pinkies and some worms, this mix was not aimed at roach. I then made 10 chucks on the feeder to get some bait 2/3 over. I did not have the start I wanted, and it took me 30 minutes to get my first fish on the pole, a small dace. For the next 45 mins using the 3gm rig I caught very small dace and roach on the pole, I did manage 3 better roach around 6oz but they were a flash in the pan. To soon this died and so I picked up the feeder rod. Forty minutes later and 1 small tap on the tip and the feeder rod was back up the bank. Trying the pole again it was dead, just a gudgeon and minute dace, so I cupped 3 balls in and went for a walk to see just how badly I was doing in the section. I walked up to Andy Britt about 5 pegs up and only Andy and one other angler admitted to a 1lb, so my 2lb was OK down this end. I went back to the peg and tried the pole again and very quickly caught 10 small fish and I thought here we go, but then nothing again. The flat float was tried on and off all match with worm and red maggots, but it never moved.

With a couple of hours to go I had heard Martin Reyatt (above the boys hole) had 4 bream and Kev Dicks (on the cattle grid) had 4lb, so I needed a bonus of my own. I spent quite a bit of time on the feeder for just 1 perch, and tried the pole twice again, the second time (with 30 mins to go) produced another flurry of small fish and then died and I ended the match on the feeder with nothing. I was very dissapointed with my estimated 4.5lb as I was really expecting to frame off this peg, but it didn't happen. As it turned out I weighed a level 5lb and this was the top weight through the lane (some unlucky anglers never broke 1lb) proving this peg is better than them, though why nobody had a bream or skimmer is beyond me. Martin won the section with 18lb (and framed) and Kevin was 2nd with 8lb, leaving me 3rd in the section.

Back at the results and it seemed many teams had up and down results, and my teams 22 point haul was enough to win A div on the day. Best shout was when Maver Bathampton Invincible were announced as last, and someone shout "Invincible, more like invisible! The match was won by Nigel Evans (Thatchers B) who drew the New Fence. Nigel took just 1 or 2 feeder rods with him and it paid off with 27lb of bream, this was a nice 'pick me up' for Nige as he had endured two awful matches recently. Andy Bush continued his good form and came 2nd with I think 18lb, and 16lb was needed to frame. Fish of the day was caught by Paul Barnfield, a chub (not weighed) but all who saw it said it was well over 5lb. I did get a decent pick up in the end, and this was because prizes were given out for last years league, I ended up with 1 hat, 3 grounbait bowls, 12 bags of groundbait... oh and 5 copies of a CD "how to catch carp and silvers on commercials", think someone was trying to tell me something.

No fishing for me next Sunday as I will most likely be nursing a hangover from Darren Gillman's stag do. So I will be digging out my old diary again.