Monday, 27 August 2012

Back on the bank

During the week I felt my stomach was healed to such an extent that I could go out fishing again. I took the plunge and booked into the Gary Wall memorial at Landsend, with a plan to fish short for silvers. The weather forecast looked awful but it wasn't going to put me off.

I was picked up by Paul Elms, though his other usual travelling partner Craig Edmunds was missing. Trig had invited Phil Harding into a lift in Paul's van not knowing I was already invited, so Trig travelled down with Phil in the end. I had my first cooked breakfast in Shipham since the new owners took over, and it was a good un! Belly full we made our way to the venue, the banter in the hut at Landsend was classic with Trig giving Phil some stick about, well quite a lot. I was laughing as much as I have done for months. The draw got underway and I found myself on peg 7, I seem to draw this one peg a fair bit. Paul kindly took my gear to my peg and then I did my best not to go ass over tit on the slightly tilted and very slippery platform! Rig wise I had a fair few set up in the box from ones I had tied back in May, so I tried to cover a few bases. To be honest I was going to fish for silvers at 5 metres and hope I could catch there for most of the day, so rigs were a 6x10 pencil float, with 0.14 to 18PR36 for banded pellet, 0.3 grm inter with 0.14 to 16 B911 for soft pellet, a paste rig, and a 4x10 Durofloat for down by the platform on peg 8.

I started the match by feeding around 30 4mm pellets at 5m and nothing anywhere else. Dropping in with the soft pellet I wondered if a roach would snaffle it on the way down or what silver might show.... none did and I hooked a small carp about 2lb. By the end of the first hour I had taken 5 small carp and 1 skimmer here by feeding very little. I was concerned at the lack of silvers but thought I might as well catch what I could. Bites then went iffy and I upped the feed a little to half a kinder pot and the peg fizzed and the bites faded badly. Without many bites I switched to the paste rig and whilst it was slow I did take a couple of carp and a 2 nice skimmers on it. The next two hours were very poor with me swapping between the various rigs trying to get a bite in the fizz but with paste the best, and starting to feed down by the pallet (but since I only took 2 roach there no more of that).

The forecasted rain had now turned up and I was thinking about going for a walk to watch Tom Thick on 18 who was bagging, but in the end I thought no I'm here and fishing, so keep going. I knew I was never going to coin since I couldn't catch silvers and was not going to fish across for carp, although I did try across for 10 mins and soon realised it was too much for me. I did however open up a new line at 7 mtr with 4mm pellet which provided an instant small carp and skimmer and then fizzzzzz!!!!!! With 90 mins left I went to 11m and tried again with 4mm pellet and the soft pellet rig, this was pretty good for the last hour, with a few more carp and a couple of skimmers, it was a nice way to end the match. Just to say I only hooked 2 roach on the soft pellet rig all day which was good because for some reason I could not get a bite on banded pellet.

I weighed in 11lb of skimmers and 52lb of carp for 63lb odd, and that only beat Leon Hubbard who DNW. Not that I was in any way concerned by my result, I was just happy to be out fishing, and to be honest I felt knackered so I got the workout I needed, hopefully my wounds will not have been affected, nurse will tell me tomorrow!

The match was won easily by Tom Thick with 197lb, a lot across to the point and the a lot down the margin in the last hour or so all on 8mm pellet. Tom won despite appearing to have only the one float with him, he actually went down to Trig after about 2 hours to try to ponce some!! Trig had 129lb on 19 and him and Tom were at each other all day long, I was thoroughly entertained, lol! Top silvers on match lake was Tom Magnal on peg 21 with 40lb of skimmers on meat. Thanks to Paul for taking my gear back to the van, and him and Trig for carrying it to my shed! Oh yes Trig came home with us as Phil packed up early and went home!

It was really nice to be back catching a few fish, I know I am very rusty and it will take a long time yet to get fit and back to grips with it all. Next week it is the Commercial House on the Bristol Avon, for which I will need a disabled draw and hopefully not much tackle required, so please let it rain!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Division 1 National Bristol Avon

I awoke before 7am on Saturday (early for me these days!) and picked up Warren Bates and Glenn Bailey as we headed off to Bath race course for the draw of the Div 1 National. I met up with my Thatchers team mates but couldn't help bumping into some anglers of old, it was great seeing some old and very famous faces.

Mark Harper did the team draw and I wasn't really impressed with a few of our team's pegs, but well you never know for sure. After catching up with a few other teams we headed back to Kingswood for a breakfast at Wetherspoons and watched in amazement at the amount of beer and cider being consumed at 9:30am! From here we headed to Keynsham and walked up the Crane before the match started, the river looked good and there was the odd small fish topping. We walked all the way to the last peg in A section at the top of the long ashtip, Andy Bush was one off the end. When the whistle did go it was very quiet as very few anglers balled it in. Getting back down to my team mate Andy Ottoway he was catching the odd small roach, but he was in the peg above the boys hole which is very boily and he had his work cut out. From here we walked down to Jack Whites, England international Steve Hemmingray was on the fence (where I had dace and barbel last year) and he was catching dace on the pole, and below him Dennis "Fatha" White was also getting some fish on a stick float. These pegs were pacey but Leon Hubbard had a very fast peg below the steps.

The next destination was Kelston anglers water (Swineford we knew about from Steve Hutchinson) where the angler below the weir at the Jolly Sailor had 6 good bream and at the other end of the section Darren Cox had a bream and some roach. The rest was pants with only locals Mark Harper and Kev Dicks admitting to 2lb! Saltford trees was our next port of call, and we had to go here as we had a bottle of water to deliver to Nick Chedzoy on end peg 150, nice walk!!!!! Chedz was doing OK as had taken about 6lb of roach, and this was by far the best in his half of the section, most anglers admitted to 1lb and there were a lot of fed up faces! After this we walked all the way to Nathaniel Johnson on peg 79 and we were knackered, in fact Glenn fell asleep. We decided with 45 mins of the match left to call it a day and go to the rugby club for some cider, not long later joined by Chris Higgins. We all said how surprised we were at how poor it was fishing at Newbridge, although it has to be said we thought the standard of fishing was not so high in places. Swineford and Crane and in fact Jack Whites fished much better in the end, glad the long walks were worth it.

Waiting in the club I started to find out how the team had done, but it soon became apparent that Thatchers had blown out. The best results were Chedz with 3 kilos, Andy Ottoway with 4 kilos and Lee Trivet 3 kilos. "A" section (Jack Whites and Crane) was won by Andy Bush (son of Vic) with 9 kilos, and I'm really pleased for him. However the overall individual winner was Thyers Steve Priddle. Steve was at Barton Farm (I think) and was fishing the pole, but after an hour it was a bit slow and he chucked the feeder out to have a bite to eat.... then he had a bream! Steve ended with 27 bream for 52 kilos, a very nice day, well done Steve! I think the peg next to him came 2nd with 35 kilos. I'm sure the top 6 weights will look very impressive. I spotted on the AT web results page that Les Williams put a feather in his cap by beating Alan Scotthorne off the next peg, nice one Les!

On the team front the mighty Dorking march on winning yet another high profile event, congratulations lads, a very good performance. In 2nd place was Maver Image and 3rd Barnsley Blacks. Of the local teams Garbolino Blackmore Vale came 5th, Diawa Gordon League 6th and Bathampton 8th, so well done to them. Thatchers came 16th not what they wanted, but I really do believe they had a number of very poor draws. Mind you one local angler Dave Haines helped and fished for a team of Northern lads. Unfortunately their tactics did not pay off and the team came last but one. Apparently Dave is at a loss to know why things went so bad as they had all bagged up on top sets in practice, lol!

It was a shame the river fished so hard in some places, whilst not totally to blame I am sure anglers practicing the day before on the river did not help, especially those that filled their nets with bream. Hope the AT don't let that happen again. Well done to all the local people who worked hard clearing swims, pegging and stewarding, as without them the event could not happen.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Weekend Results

I've just come back from a very nice long weekend away in Dorset, lucky this time as the sun shone and I found a pub that sold Taunton Traditional cider.

On Saturday just gone Thatchers came 6th in the WL final which was halfway, with Dorking winning as usual! Thatchers had some good results, and Lee Trivett got into the frame with 100lb+ of F1's, unfortunately 2 anglers came last in their section and you can't carry those results in such a tough match.

There have been quite a few matches run on the Avon this weekend as anglers practice for the Div 2 national. Though I have noticed a number of visiting anglers comments have been derogatory about some of the pegging of these matches, and the lack of fish. One angler who came down from the Fens said he had to walk what seemed miles to his peg after a large amount of pegs were left unpegged. He caught naff all and to rub salt into hs wounds when walking back those pegs left out were now full of pleasure anglers bagging roach on tares!

The 5th round of the Superleague was held at Newbridge and the match was won by Chris (Gappy) Parr with 35lb, Andy Power was 2nd with 21lb, 20lb was 3rd and 15lb 4th. On the team front Thatchers won on the day and have sneaked into 2nd overall but are still 8 points behind Thyers with 1 round left.

Seems the colour has now dropped out of the river and the bream have stopped munching without fear. I think there is some more rain to come this week so there will be colour in the river, just depends how much. That would be good as I want to walk the banks and if it is coloured then I won't be skylining anyone!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

June / July 1993

I really would like to be blogging about current matches, but I'm still a way off fishing at present. I'm now a guinea pig for the nurses who are trialing a new type of wound dressing on me, plus I'm back on the antibiotics. Ggood luck to Thatchers this weekend on the W/L final, it'll be tough on a commercial fishery where local teams have qualified but I still expect the boys to do well. Then next weekend sees the National, where again I wish Thatchers and all the local teams good luck, hope a local lad is sat on a pile of bream! I'll be out for a walk with Glenn on the day and look forward to watching, cos I need a laugh lol!

Funnily enough back in June 1993 my team was out practising for a National, the Div 3 on the 16 and 40 foot drains. These venues were between 18 and 25mtrs wide and all from 10 to 13 feet deep (nice usual mix of metric and imperial). My first practice session on the 40ft yielded an awesome 2lb 6oz, comprised of 4 eels, 2 roach, 1 hyrid and a tommy ruffe, all coming on the 10mtr pole with maggot. The following day on the 16ft I broke into the 3lb barrier thanks to 7 eels! This was tough going, but the following day we watched a 450 peg match and there were lots of blanks. Come the day of National I was pegged on the 16ft drain, and the team plan was fish the gbait feeder for an hour hoping for a bream and then go onto the pole line (which had been loosefed with caster and maggot) looking for eels. I never had a bite on the feeder, although I did see 2 bream roll and the lad on one side of me had one. The pole line was OK in the 2nd hour with 5 eels coming although I lost a decent one which bit me off. The guy the other side me had been blanking on the feeder after 2 hours and went on his pole line looking for eels and caught a 5lb bream! I never had another bite all day long, and neither did most people around me. I weighed 780 grammes for 42 points out of 85, so not very good, but most of the lads had done well and we came 10th on the day and gained promotion to Div 2.

The next match I fished a week later was back on moving water and more to my liking. It was another team match, this time a Drennan Superleague round on the Thames at Kelmscott. Now I don't know much about this part of the river, but I wrote in my diary that I was 12 pegs above the grey gate (what colour that gate is now I don't know!). I was told the pegs at the bottom of my section had bream in and were expected to frame, but that my peg was not to good. I thought the peg might hold chub as there were far bank trees though underwater cabbages infront of them meant you couldn't go tight in. I started on a waggler across with 0.1 to a 20 and in the first hour I hooked 2 chub but only landed one as the other sought refuge in the cabbages. Other than the odd tiny dace, bites were non existant, so I cast a maggot feeder literally into the cabbages and this method gave up 3 perch, not good. In the last hour I knew I was way down the section and so I fished the wag down the middle of the river up in the water, about 2.5 ft deep, and blitzed it with maggot, feeding 1 or 2 pouches every cast!!! I was gutted when I hooked another chub but pulled out of it, then 5 minutes before the whistle I hooked another chub, which when I landed it was in fact a 3lb bream! That fish was crucial, and my 7lb 6oz got me 3rd in section, and 5th overall in the match, and the team were 2nd on the day. One thing I remember on the day was the Cardiff Nomads angler above me commenting that he had never seen anyone feed so much bait as I had done in the last hour, though I don't think that was really true it definately was raining maggots.

On Sat 17th July I fished a John Smiths Qualifier at Newbridge, I drew peg 31 at the start of the straight a crap bit at the time. A bream after 15 mins was a false dawn as the fish never fed, my paltry 3lb 14oz being enough to win my section. The following day was a trip to Cardiff Docks for an open match to practice for the next superleague round. On this match I got drawn on what was called the crane, which actually was about the easiest place to fish from. I balled in grounbait containing joker at 4mtrs and started here, all the while feeding maggot and hemp at 10 mtrs (more in hope than expectation). I caught some small roach on bloodworm at 4mtrs but this died, though I stuck with it for to long as I doubted the long pole would work. I was amazed when on my first drop in on the long pole with a single maggot on 22 to 0.08 that the float went under. I had caught a roach and I continued to do so until the end of the match. I ended with 9lb 7oz that put me third in the match and a nice ton plus pick up. Come the superleague I was confident in my method, and drew 18 pegs further up the bank than last week which I was happy with. This time the weather was awful, very wet and windy straight into my face, and on the next peg Nicky Collins needed wiper blades on his glasses to see anything! The joker we had was dead, it was just a heap of stinky slime, but I still threw it in the swim in gbait! I actually caught well over the gbait on blood worm with a 26 to 0.06 by feeding regular small marbles of gbait. Nicky was struggling big time and Mike Stone sat behind me to see what I was doing, I imagine he wasn't impressed as I knew naff all about bloodworm fishing! The time had come to bag up on my long pole line, but this time it was not very good and I was struggling even though the weather had improved. I could see Kev Dicks catching well in my section and I reckoned I was on the wrong hookbait, changing the maggot to a piece of hemp was like flicking a switch. I caught really well in the last hour and ended up winning the section with 7lb and framing again, this time in 5th place. The team came 3rd which was much better than our usuall last here!