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?