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.