Sunday, 26 February 2012

Hill View Open

I had spent most of the week trying to decide where to actually fish this Sunday. Hill View was back on my radar as it only takes me 50 mins to get there and the recent results were very good. I diced with the Avon at Melksham, but in the end went for Hill View, my thinking being I would get plenty of bites but most likely a battering by the locals.

So it was Sunday morning I found myself speeding up the M5 with Richard Lacey in his "white rocket" van, I tried not to look at the speedo. We arrived very quickly (!) and sampled the generous breakfast, I was surprised when fishery owner Keith remembered me as it had been 2 years since my last visit. He also asked where his other Bristol customers Mike and Steve Nicholls were, I suggested Mike was too tight to pay for the fuel these days.

Onto the draw, and with 20 fishing Neville Groves (he is the local legend) picked 5 pegs from each canal to go into the hat. I pulled 70 on the 3rd canal, which was an end peg on the day, and I was told I should have a good day. I was glad we were on the canals today because I thought this gave me the best chance of doing well, after all it was only 11 mtr wide and a bit like fishing Cider Farm Lakes again! I set up 2 rigs only, a 4x8 bristle job for across and the margin with 0.12 to 16 B911 for soft pellet in 2.5 ft of water, and 6x10 pencil float for down the middle on 0.12 to 18 PR412 for maggot or corn. The across rig did the margin as it was the same depth.

To start the match I fed some micros right across next to the reeds, and some at 5 mtrs, I fed micros and corn at 11mtr way to my left down the track and during the day fed maggot into the margins. I had a great start across catching an early couple of 1lb+ carp, but lost 3 others fouled. From this point on I caught mainly F1's and very small carp across, if I did hook a bigger carp it was fouled! I tried up in the water with pellet and bread but I couldn't get a response, so stuck with soft pellet hook bait on the deck, though with just 3 no10 stotz down the line I did get odd fish on the drop. I was aware from the banter that few carp were being caught, although the guy to my right had 2 good ones, so I got my head down working to get bites from F1's. However, after 2 hours it all went a bit quiet and so I looked on the other lines. The 5mtr line was dead, and was all day end of, the margin produced a rudd, and the 11mtr track line a tiny tench and a 1lb carp.

I went back across and worked on this line feeding varying amounts of micros trying to get a response, but if I did get a run of fish it never lasted and I had to change things like the shotting pattern and feed amount, corn across just didn't work for me on the day. With 2 hours to go I had a few carp as well as losing an 8lb fish that spat the hook out whilst wallowing in the middle! The problem was my margin line, I kept getting dead weed on the hook, so I grabbed the 6x10 rig and found the depth half a mtr away from the weed, this was a good move! Carrying on feeding maggot the right hand margin finally came alive and I took 5 carp and a couple of F1's in the last 35 mins, also pulling out of a good carp as the maggot went over the hook, grrr!

When Keith arrived with the scales Nev Groves was top with 55lb 8oz from canal 2, best weight on my canal was 44lb and I thought I would be close to that, but I weighed more than I thought, 55lb 1oz. Then the guy behind me on canal 2 weighed in 55lb 10oz!

I won my canal and was 3rd overall, beaten by just 9oz for the win and I must have lost 25lb off the hook, poo! Still, I got what I had wanted a good days fishing, and I had come very close to beating the yocals, just needed one of the lost fish to stick, still that's fishing! A great place is Hill View, stuffed full of fish.

Rich Lacey came 3rd on his canal with 26lb, he caught mainly on bread up in the water, but lost a few carp in a snag which would have won him the canal easily.

Next week I have agreed to stand in for Thatchers in the Viaduct winter league, I am either going to be on Lodge or the bottom of Carey apparently. I hope I don't regret this!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Boyd Valley Lake Open

After a few weeks off I was finally back fishing. Actually last weekend I spent an evening with Paul Benson doing a charity ball for two cancer charities; Orchid and Macmillan, and it seems we will raise nearly £3000 in total. Back to today and I was indebted to Martin Reyatt who called me Monday night to ask if I wanted to fish this match. At the time I was struggling to find a match and I thought great a days roach fishing. Buying some bait in Avon Angling the anglers in there all were telling me the carp had shut up shop and the roach and skimmers were the best bet. That was fine by me, a day of lots of bites!

Of course come the morning of the match we were greeted by Frosts, although not in the Jolly Sailor in Hanham for brekkie where it was very toasty! Onto the venue and the draw and I lent my Preston hat to Martin for the draw, and pulled out peg 12 for Martin and peg 3 for me. I was in a Bathampton sandwich with Andy Britt on peg 4 and Kev Dicks on peg 2. I was told the roach would feed better opposite me in the reedy pegs, but I was happy we'd catch them anywhere. I set up 2 pole rigs for roach at 4 mtrs, a 4x14 Drennan Roach at depth with spread shot and 20 to 0.09, a Preston Silvers 0.2grm float for half depth with the same hook and line. I had 0.6grm pencil float for out at 13mtrs, and that was it.

I started the match feeding some micros and dead maggots on two lines at 13 mtrs and started on the depth caster rig at 4mtrs. An hour into the match I was still waiting for my first bite, but Kev Dicks had taken 4 carp on a method feeder. It was fishing very hard, and 30 mins later I was off my box setting up my 10ft Preston mini carp feeder rod. I tied 0.14 to a 16 B911 hook and cast a piece of corn out on a straight lead for 20 mins for nothing. Kev had caught another carp or two and I knew I had to feed some bait on the tip, but with no gbait I opted for a small maggot feeder, filling it with about 20 magggots and some micros. After about 4 casts I had a wrap round and soon landed a fouled carp! Twenty minutes later a properly hooked carp was landed soon followed by another. Unfortunately this line then died on me, and I spent 2 hours with nothing on the tip or the pole.

Andy Britt with two tiny roach decided to pack up with 2 hours to go, and just before he left I had a couple of liners on the tip and then a carp, double red mag seemed best on the 8" hooklength. I had 3 more carp and a chub after this though frustratingly the last three casts produced 3 liners but no bites, still I hadn't lost a fish all day so can't complain.

It was clear Kevin had soundly beaten me with 12 carp on the method, and Mat Tainton on peg 10 had 10 carp on the pole, but it would be close for third between Martin Reyatt and myself. The scales went around and for many it was clear it had been a tough day with very few silvers feeding, and happily my 24lb 12oz managed to scrape 3rd and last in the frame. The final result was :-

1st Kev Dicks 44lb
2nd Mat Tainton 38lb
3rd Me 24lb 12oz
4th Martin Reyatt 18lb

Top silvers on the day with 7lb was Joe McMahon.

To sum up I got it all wrong as the roach did not feed, but to be fair I have never ever before not been able to catch roach at this venue, and yet I ended the day without a bite on the pole! Not one skimmer was caught today, and just 2 chub came out, I am glad I got off my arse to set up the tip rod, and changed my brain to carp.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

I ain't breaking the ice! Not in 1992 either.

I admit it, I bottled it this weekend. I hadn't been that well all week and then the wife got really ill, and I couldn't see the point of driving on ice to then break ice and all that shit! So I stayed at home and looked after the wife and watched the football. I think I made the right choice, cos I just read Tony's blankers blog, lol! Fair play to all those who did go out today.

March 1st 1992 and I found myself driving to Oxford for the Ray Carter memorial match on the River Thames. This was a big team match, 80 teams of 6 anglers (yep 480 pegs!). I was pleased to be handed a peg at Clifton Hampden that I was told had bream form. When I got to the peg I was told by a local that the bream had been hammered during the week on the pegs in my area and he didn't think they would show. Unfortunately this area was notorious for holding no small fish and so I sat on a groundbait feeder for most of the match. I used 1.5lb maxima with a 20 hook and double red maggot and cast 3/4 the way across. I had my first bite after 2 hours, a small bream, my 2nd bite exactly 1 hour later, a small bream, and my 3rd bite exactly 1 hour later, I missed! That was it! 5lb 11oz gave me 74 points out of the 80, mega points for the team and we had some good results and came 3rd overall. The bream fed well in other sections with the top individual weight being 87lb.

I next endured two poor matches, firstly 3oz on a heavily flooded Warwickshire Avon, and then 1 bream from Saltford on the Topline Tours open match at Newbridge. I had a couple of pleasure fishing sessions at Bitterwell to cheer myself up, catching 15lb of roach on the wag the first time, then next time out only 5lb and I watched Tony Rixon catch 15lb of mainly skimmers on the pole. On the last day of the season I packed up on a Docks match and then sat on a mooring for 2 hours in front of the Chequers pub at Hanham on the Avon and took 7lb on the pole including a 2lb chub.

Thursday 19th March and off on the Veals trip to Northern Ireland on the Bann. If I recall we used to arrive after a night of no sleep, dump stuff at the hotel and then on to the Bann. My first day and I bagged an impressive ..... 2lb 11oz. Well it was 4 big roach! As the trip had a decent overall payout and it was decided on weight I needed a lot of luck now to do any good. If my memory serves me correctly this was the trip where Dave Haines, Mike Kent and myself hardly slept as we had a disco in our hotel! Day 2 and we were off to a completely different place, the river Blackwater at Verners Bridge. I drew right next to the bridge itself, and on my bank the wind was in our faces but the bridge afforded me some shelter. As we were setting up a storm came out of nowhere and terrific rain and winds battered us, well not me as I stood next to the bridge along with a few others! When the storm passed the old boy below me (other side of the bridge) went back to his peg only to find his glasses had been blown in, and he had to fish the feeder as he couldn't see his float! I went all out for bream and the win on my peg, with a big Thamesly open ender, size 12 Drennan Specimen hook to 3lb maxima hook length. First cast and I hooked the bottom, but then it came towards me. Eventually the end of a plank of wood surfaced, and Mike Kent leant out and grabbed it and then we pulled it out! It is the biggest thing I have ever caught. The rest of the match thankfully was better, I started catching roach and the odd hybrid on the feeder, and then in the last 2 hours decent skimmers. I finished with 77lb 15oz and won the day, I think Andy Floyd came 2nd from 2 below the bridge with 60lb+ of roach on the pole, though he had lost a few in the field behind him as the wind blew them off the hook as he swang them in!

Day 3 was a write off, the river had risen 3ft and was chocolate and I only had 1 roach and 1 gudgeon. Still one great day, and three cracking nights was well worth it. Apologies but I do not recall who won overall as I slept through the results on the ferry (I slept for about 20 hours straight!), probably Mr Rixon won it, well that might cheer him up after his blank today.

No fishing again next weekend due to a big night out raising money for cancer charities Macmillan and Orchid.