Wednesday, 30 May 2012


I hadn't planned to go fishing Sunday just gone as it was my wedding anniversary and decided to spend it with my wife for a change. I was booked in for the Weds open at Landsend, but I had not felt to well over the weekend and in particular my stomach was very painful and I thought I had damaged the muscles. Probably having over done it I rang Tony Rixon to cancel and he kindly advised me to take things slowly and not rush back, but it is very frustrating! Today (Wednesday) and it was established that I have an infection in the wound, this is causing me the pain and the wound has broken down, hopefully the antibiotics will sort this out double quick! Not so sure if my plans to fish over this bank holiday will now happen, better wait than delay things longer.

Anyway, thought I'd better say something, but now I'll pop back to 1992 again..........

Sunday August 30th and I was fishing a Flowerpot match on the Avon at Laycock, this would be either a feast or famine match. I drew a crap peg just above the weir in the Abbey field, and it was virtually unfishable due to high winds and the river being up. The peg further round above me was a flyer (where Woody had all those barbel) and I went to watch the angler in that peg but he was a novice, fishing a lobworm on a shirt button shotted crowquill! When the match finished I got in his peg and fished the groundbait feeder with caster, in one hour I had 3 bream and 2 big roach for approximately 14lb. When I finally got back to the car park I stated if I ever drew that peg I would win the match (me and my big mouth). As you can tell the weather was shite, and Aug 1992 was the wettest and coldest for fifty years.

I spent 3 days in September practising on the river Witham for the forthcoming Div 4 National. When we arrived Andy Finch was there to show us how to catch eels (the target species) and I sat behind him eyes glued on his every move. It was very interesting and after an hour I went and fished myself trying to put what I had seen into practice. Fishing 11mtrs, with a 1.25g float with a 20 (barbless) hook to 1.5lb maxima hook length. I fished for 4 1/2 hours and fed 1 1/2 pints of bronze maggot, using double maggot on the hook was best, and ended with 8lb of eels. That was a good weight and I really felt good about the method. However, the next day Andy took us to another stretch which was a bit deeper and held less eels but a bigger stamp. I placed my box next peg to Andy to really gauge how I was doing. Using the same rig as the day before I caught 3lb in 2 1/2 hours which matched Andy. I fed much steadier than the previous day and hit a much higher percentage of bites, that was a tip from Andy! We went out that night to hit the town, but after only a few beers bad luck struck (no Lumbard didn't get his kit off) we ran across a stretch of road and climbed over the metal bariers in the middle. Only I tried to jump it and cracked my leg on it and was limping badly. Of course I got no sympathy and was told to stop being a wimp! In the next pub my leg was really hurting, and I pulled my trouser leg up to have a look but I couldn't as the leg was so swollen. Woody went with me to A&E and I had an X Ray but luckily nothing was broken, they gave me some strong pain killers and sent me on my way. Obviously the next day I couldn't fish due to the pain and so I sat and watched the lads. This stretch was supposed to be good for eels, but it was rock hard on the day and I sat behind Glenn Bailey who had gone on fine tackle and was catching roach. Captain Mark "Podge" Jefferies came up to watch (he was catching naff all as usual) and promptly tripped up and landed right on my bad leg!!!!!!!! Well I could have killed him if I could have got up, I've still never forgiven him, lol!

On the actual national itself I drew below Kirstead bridge, peg 196. Starting on the feeder I fed the pole line with the usual bronze maggots, but I noticed the river was pulling the opposite way to practice and going a bit faster than normal. The feeder yielded 1 skimmer and so it was on to the pole but I was really struggling to get any bites, that was until the river went back to flowing the normal way. I finished with 12 eels, 1 roach and 1 skimmer on the pole, drip feeding maggot was best, and my weight was 1kilo 790grms. This gave me 68 points out of 79, and helped the team to 13th and promotion.

I was brought back down to earth the next day on a windswept Huntspill on the Super League. I only managed 1lb 7oz which actually was mainly eels, but I missed a lot of bites, for just 5 points. Clive Branson next to me had 4lb and I found out he fished 0.10 hooklength as opposed to my 1.5lb maxima. He told me the eels knew the difference, and I locked that away in the old brain cells. The team came 6th on the day and we were now in 3rd position overall.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Acorn Fishery Paddock Lake

Tony Rixon had kindly organised this match and I was very pleased to hitch a lift with Matty Toomes, thanks indeed. I hadn't fished this venue for well over a year, I think it might be two years, and so I was quite shocked to see how pleasant it now looked with all the grasses and reeds. An open match the day before had produced a couple of tons and so the outlook was for a good match.

I drew a very good peg, 34 which is next to a bridge, and I was told to expect to catch a lot of small carp and that I would get lots of bites all day. To be honest I thought the winner of the match would be either Des Shipp on 6 or Tom Thick on 5 but with 5 being paid out there was plenty to go for. I set up a 0.4grm PB inter 4 for caster at top set plus 1 with 0.12 to 18, a 4x12 PB Carp 4 for on the first shelf in 3.5ft of water next to the bridge, a 4x8 for across (both on 0.14 to 16 PR36) and one for the margin with 0.16 to 16 PR478 for meat.

I started the match potting 4mm pellets over to the bridge and feeding the same by catty to the far bank grasses, during the match I threw meat into the left hand margin. Starting against the bridge I had 3 quick carp then fouled a couple (on banded 6mm) and it went really quiet, so I fed some more 4mms and came onto the caster line. First chuck and I hooked a carp which snapped me, it was either big or fouled, or both! Then I started catching 6oz roach and skimmers until this died a death. Going back to the bridge it was dead, not a liner, and so I went across to the grass and managed to pull out of 2 carp and not land anything!

After 3 hours I was not doing well and reckoned I had about 20lb, then the bridge swim came to life and despite some fouler trouble I started to catch 1.5lb to 2.5lb carp, I had not seen any small ones! It was still hard work with 3 or 4 fish on the trot then followed by it going quiet or getting foulers, they seemed to be about a foot off bottom, and so I kept lifting and dropping all the time. With 2 hours to go the margin produced and a couple of the fish were nearly 5lb. I spent the last two hours swapping between the bridge and the margin and caught fairly well. On the bridge line I had some on 8mm pellet, but most on 6mm pellet. I don't know if it helped but I threw a lot of casters into the margin and carried on feeding them with the meat, it didn't do any harm anyway.

I rushed off to the toilet as soon as the all out was called, and on the way back Des said he had caught 150 small carp!!!! I reckoned I had about 70lb which wouldn't be good enough for a frame place. As the scales went round the other side I joined them and I found out there was a net limit of 70lb, I hadn't realised this and thought it was 80lb (nothing said at the draw, but no excuse I should have read the fishery rules). When the scales got to Roger Andonio next door and he weighed 36lb I was worried about the weight I had in one net as I knew I had caught a lot more than Roger. My silvers net went 10lb 8oz, and then my carp net went......87lb, oh shit 17lb over the limit! So in total 80lb was my legal weight and not the 97lb! What this meant in the end was that I did not take 5th place and instead Tony Rixon took the money with 94lb. Do I have an excuse? Well I can always try, it's been a long time since I got that many small carp and I was a clueless eejit! Never mind I enjoyed the day, but the peg was worth a lot more than what I caught and I should have fished shallow to the bridge.

Tom Thick won from peg 6 with a new venue record of 196lb, Des was 2nd with 170lb+ and Scotty Puddy had 124lb. My driver Matty sneaked 4th with 111lb from peg 9 and shared the money with me. Nigel Bartlett had a lovely day's caster fishing with 46lb of silvers, a long way ahead of Eddie Wynne with 22lb 8oz. Full result will be on Tony's blog, I doubt he will take the piss out of me!!!!

This venue is awesome, and whilst there appear to be some poorer areas the majority of pegs are solid. By the wasy, I wasn't the only one to go over 70lb in one net, Des did so, and Chris Davis net was so heavy Tony never bothered to weigh the fish!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Back Fishing! Viaduct Float only

As you will now guess by the title I did manage to sweet talk the nurses, and I dressed my wound myself Sunday morning (not to bad a job I think) and was off fishing again, yay! Today was a float only match at Viaduct to be fished on Carey and Lodge lakes, and I was going to fish for silvers and did not want a carp peg. Glenn Bailey did me proud by picking me up and loading all the gear into his car and before I knew it I was sampling Woody'd breakfast, and it was lush!

Getting into the draw queue fairly early I pulled out peg 98 on Carey and immeadiately was told about big weights of carp, well that wasn't happening as I haven't the strength to bag up! However, Anton Page advised I could catch a lot of skimmers on that peg and that Paul Greenwood had taking 60lb of them on Thursday off peg 100, so that was encouraging. I got to my peg with help from Glenn, Bela Bakos and Jason Radford carrying my gear, and found I was sat next to the one and only Des Shipp who was on 97, I hoped Des would fish for carp! Then Paul Greenwood plonked himself down on 99 and Nicky Collins was on 100, just about two of the best silver anglers around! Oh well I was only out to have a day's fishing and enjoy the banter,as I told everyone!

I decided to set up very little gear, my main rig for skimmers was a 0.3gm wire stem PB Inter with 0.12 to 16 hook. I also set up a 4x12 bristle jobby with 0.16 to 16 PR36 for banded pellet, this could be used I hoped if the skimmers were hungry or for the odd look for a carp. I also set up a deep waggler with 0.18 to 16 PR38, and that was that. To start the match I fed some 4mm pellets at 6 mtrs 10 o'clock, some meat at 7mtrs 2 o'clock and started on the wag to let them settle. After 20 mins my side began to ache and so I put the wag down for good, Des was already on his 3rd carp anyway! I came in on the pellet line and took 4 2lb+ skimmers in fairly quick time before it went quiet, the meat line was dead, as it was all match, so no more of meat! I took a couple more skimmers on pellet but bites were very few and I decided to feed some 4mms out at 12 mtrs as I needed another line. Paul and Nicky were not catching silvers but had lost a couple of carp each, and I soon followed losing a lump. Both my lines were quiet but then like earlier I suddenly had a little run of skimmers but I should also say that I had suffered from loosing a number of them, and some were fouled.

The middle two hours of the match were shocking, I could not get a bite from a skimmer but I did manage to lose a rig to a carp and so with 2 hours to go I upped the feed out at 12mtrs and went with the banded pellet to try to catch a carp, I got 1 and that was it. Paul Greenwood came back from a walk and said very few silvers were coming out and I should stay on them, I only went for the carp out of boredom, although I was not bored watching Des empty it on the wag! I did manage a couple more big skimmers from the short line and a carp about 12lb, but pulled out of a few too, they just weren't feeding properly.

It was obvious that Carey had fished really well especially from pegs 85 to 97 for carp, and Des weighed 275lb to win, thanks to a keepnet from me and two other anglers! Tom Magnol next to Des was 3rd with 170lb, and Chris Davis on 85 was 2nd with 178lb, he lost one top set and snapped another and generally kept us laughing! As for me, well my big skimmers went 28lb 7oz and my 2 carp went 21lb, that got me 2nd in the silvers and a pickk up. John Bradford won the silvers with 29lb of tench from peg 90. Full list of results will be on Tony's blog and Clayton Hudson's blog.

Well that was a better start back than I could have dreamed of, my shoulders and back are aching as I expected, and I did comment to the lads that if I had fished for the Carey carp I would probably be back in hospital! It was great to back and get involved and listen to the banter, that's such a great part of fishing for me, the laughter. Sorry to say Glenn struggled off peg 71 but Lodge was not to good unless you were in a corner. Right I'm off for a lie down and get ready for Wednesday at Acorn, the carp are smaller there I hear!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

August 1992

Maybe, just maybe I can get out fishing next Sunday... but I am going to have sweet talk the nurses, well we will see. Long pole and carp bagging though will not be on the menu as just cutting my grass this week left me feeling awful.

August the 1st 1992 and I found myself on the banks of the Cardiff East Dock for a practice. One side of the Dock had railings which you had to fish through (or come up with a Heath Robinson contraption to sit past them) and the other side was clear, so we fished the easy side. Mind you the fishing was far from easy, using bloodworm and joker on 4x12 rigs you could only catch a few small perch and roach, and on this day I had just 17 fish! I was quite pleased to be back on the Avon the next day on a King Billy match at Laycock as this stretch had lots of fish in it. Unfortunately I drew a horrid deep peg which only gave me 3lb of bits after 3 hours. As the pegging was well spread I walked up the bank with my stick float set up and fished a peg that had been left out, in 30 minutes I had fish boiling and landed 2 bream of 4 to 5lb, and then lost the lot on a beast and packed up and went home!

The following Saturday I was fishing for my team in the NFA knockout, we'd been drawn at home against Radcot AC. We took the away side to the Avon at Chequers where we all fished regularly, ahem! For some reason the river switched off totally and fishing for the usual bream and skimmers was a mistake as only 1 skimmer was caught. I had a lowly 1lb 5oz when I switched to a wag and mag, but it was far too late, Radcot fished maggot and beat us fair and square. After such a poor day it wasn't exactly going to be better on Sunday back at Cardiff East Dock for the Super League. I'm pretty sure I drew near where we'd practiced and this time I caught a few more small roach by feeding joker in balls of gbait at 4 mtrs in 3ft of water. When this died I went out to 8 mtrs with bloodworm and took a few more small fish but I could see I was not catching as well as some. I weighed 2lb 15oz for 8 points, talking to the anglers who'd done better some of them had caught on maggots on the long pole, oops! The team held on to our overall position of 2nd place though, so not a bad result.

The following weekend and another practice on a venue that was a tough nut to crack, the Gloucester canal (blimey we were tough back then, I'd need therapy to fish those venues again!). We fished somewhere near Slimbridge and I had most of my 3lb+ on a gbait feeder with pinkie hookbait, with just bits on the pole, this is a venue that I never got to grips with really. Back on the Avon on Sunday for a Bristol & West open and I drew peg 122 at Jack Whites (no longer a peg). The river was up a little and had a nice colour and I fancied it for bream, so it was a 1 rod job gbait feeder 18 to 1.5lb maxima. Casting across as is normal I lost feeders and 10 hooks until I finally found a snag free area down the middle and slightly upstream. I had some nice bites on either double red mag or double caster, but not from bream, from chub. I landed 6 and lost 4 in the snags to weigh 11lb 10oz which won the section by default, but I was gutted as only 16lb won the match and 13lb was 2nd, the lost fish cost me. I know now that I should have fished heavier gear but also I needed a more powerful rod than the stupid Drennan light feeder rod I used!!!

I had a little pleasure fishing on the evening of Tuesday 18th in the 1st peg above the fence at Jack Whites (not sure that is a peg now either!). I had 3 bream and plenty of roach on bread flake on the crowquill, then switched to tares down the inside carried on catching roach, nice! A new venue on the following Saturday for me, Sabre lake at Quemerford, and I'd gone with a plan to fish wag and mag for carp on the drop. Drawing a peg with the wind in my kisser messed my plan up, but I soldiered on with it anyway and ended up in a right state. I some how managed to catapult a maggot into my eye and the ammonia reacted with my eye and it swelled right up! That was no excuse for only catching 4 carp though.......

The Superleague followed the next day on the Gloucester and I drew a peg at Hempstead. I balled in gbait with squatt, caster and bloodworm at 11 mtr and left that to settle. Onto the feeder for an hour for nothing, and then the gbait line and that was dead too! I winkled out some bits on a whip with bloodworm to avoid a blank and then sat on the pole for the rest of the match and took 11 small skimmers using a 22 to 0.08. 3lb 12oz was good enough for another 8 points for the team, and goodness me we won on the day and remained in 2nd place overall. Not a fantastic month for me, but would September be any better?

Saturday, 5 May 2012

July 1992

I am still getting my wounds dressed daily so I have no opportunity to get out fishing at present, and quite frankly with the weather being so wet and cold I don't think I could stick it out for too long. Come on sun let's being seeing you!

I had a Wednesday off on the 8th July and fished an open at Shearwater lake. Having not been there for a few years I knew the carp had grown but was unsure how to catch them. My tactics were waggler at full depth (4ft) 25 metres out, feeding balls of groundbait and caster by catty. For the first half of the match I struggled for just one small carp, but then I started to catch the odd skimmer and had a few small carp in the last hour. I weighed 16lb 11oz which won the section by just a few ounces. This was a nice distraction from the team matches, and I was now going to have a run of matches on the K&A canal. First up was a team practice at Whaddon but we all did our own thing! I fished up and down the far bank shelf and found loose feeding pinkies was best to catch small skimmers and roach. I had 4lb 4oz using a 4x10 float with 0.08 to a 22, some of the lads caught tench right across over balled in groundbait. The next day I was fishing the K&A Team Champs and I was drawn at Seend at the Willows end of the section. There was always a chance of carp here and I set my stall (originally) out for bigger fish, using caster. I had a poor start to the match landing just a 10oz tench and 1 perch as well as losing a carp in the first 2 hours. I changed tactics to fish for bits to put something in the net and fished pinkie over loosefed squatt, this brought small skimmers. I had the odd look across for a lump but they never showed in my area on the day and my lost carp was going to cost me. I weighed 3lb 10oz which was worth 36 points out of 65, so not great at all. My poor result was made worse when the team came 7th which was the first place out of the team payouts, nuts!

I did fish a Bathampton open at Newbridge on Saturday 18th, I drew peg 52 and fished for bream loose feeding heavily with caster. I got it wrong and the bream did not show and I chucked back 4lb. Pegs 74 and 75 were top with roach on the pole and on peg 53 Gary Cross battered me, fishing my normal method of waggler, with 10lb and he came 3rd. Sunday and back on the K&A at Whaddon for the Superleague, and the team were keen to do well after our first round win. I drew what I was told was a poor area and that turned out to be spot on! I fed a line for tench (but never had a bite) and did as I had done in the previous match loosefed squatts across, this time to a very small patch of lilies. Utilising the same 4x10 rig I winkled out tiny fish for the first 3 hours, ending up having to fish behind the lilies to get a bite. A hard 5 hours yielded a lowly 1lb 10oz, but amazingly that was 3rd in 13 peg section! The team had struggled though and came 6th on the day which dropped us to 2nd overall and we'd already blown our big first match lead.

Wednesday 22nd July and I found myself back at Shearwater again after travelling down with Bob Sheppard. I had drawn the next peg number to the legend Bob Nudd, well actually I was opposite him at the top end on peg 80 and close enough so that we could talk. I fished the pole at 11m this time, the peg was just 2.5ft deep here, feeding balls of gbait and caster again with a 20 to 0.10. After 2 hours I was blanking, and Bob had only had 2 fish, so I decided to go for a walk, a long walk! I walked nearly to the dam and took Bob's car keys off him so I could go back and pack up as all around me was poor. When I got back to my peg Mr Nudd said he'd seen a couple of carp top in my peg and I should give it another go, well you don't argue with a world champion do you! Incredibly I managed to get the odd bite from small carp, and I remember getting some good advice from Ian Parsons who sat behind me for an hour. I finished with 12lb 10oz which won the section beating the same angler into 2nd as last time here by an ounce (he wasn't too happy). As for Bob Nudd he had 8lb, and he congratulated me for catching and I thanked him for telling me to have another go, he really is a great man.

I fished a Billy match at Swineford on the Sunday, I drew peg 12 which I didn't fancy that much. I was bitted out on the wag despite feeding heavily, so I switched to the feeder for a bream and a chub, 8lb 4oz won the section by default. I recall 17lb of dace coming from peg and lots of roach were caught on tares in the second field.