Sunday, 25 November 2012

Commercial House Round 4 K&A Canal

It will come as no surprise that this match was transferred from the river at Keynsham to the canal. The river at Keynsham has overflowed the marina and is in the car park in front of Keynsham Angling. I've only seen that happen once before. I managed to get to the rugby club draw without any issues, seems as though the rain wasn't quite as bad here in Bristol as forecasted. The canal had been pegged from the ponds in the town up through to Meadow Farm, I fancied a draw from A to D section for a chance of framing. The team draw was done and I found myself in F section at Meadow Farm and not what I Wanted today. This section had 6 pegs on the bath side of the bridge and 5 pegs above, meaning 3 end pegs to contend with straight away, I was not on one of them.

My approach to this match would be similar to last week rig wise, but I expected more roach and an outside chance of skimmers. The same rigs as last week were all assembled again, but the peg today was a bit shallower than where I was last week. I started late, this was due to me not finding any pegs when I arrived and walking the wrong way! That said the anglers around me were all late in starting, Shane Caswell on end peg 7 fed and then got double boated, Dave Duggan on my right and myself waited till the water settled down. Paul Purchase on my left had a slow start and just 1 fish on the bread whilst Vic Abbot on end peg 11 had a skimmer. I took 8 small roach on the punch in the first hour but I lost a good skimmer which I didn't see, and I was a gutted as they are a real bonus.

Boat traffic was very heavy today and my far lines kept getting wiped out by badly steered boats (dare I say it seemed to be women drivers!) and at times I just sat with my head in my hands trying to not get wound up. I caught a few small roach and perch on bloodworm next to a boat on my left but if I caught 3 that would be it and I had to go somewhere else. Paul had taken an eel and Dave lost one, but my worm line and caster line only gave up 1 tiny perch and a 3oz roach all match. Shane had taken two skimmers on bread and I knew I was being beaten by the two end pegs, but I couldn't get any response from a good fish. Dave fished most of the match across on caster and never caught. In the end about an hour and a half to go the boats had really gone and with about an hour to go I started to catch small roach across on bloodworm. I wasn't going to beat the end pegs but I was enjoying getting regular bites, although a few drop ins on maggot were tried all to no avail. Vic then took a big skimmer and 2 small ones on worm to forge ahead. By the time the match finished most people were pleased as it had been difficult.

I finished with a lowly 2lb 3.5oz, and whilst that beat Dave (5oz) and Paul (I won the match last week fishing the same way 1lb 13oz) either side of me that was it! Vic won the whole section with 5lb+ and on the other side of the bridge the anglers all had 3 to 4lb, so I had 1 point in the A division!

Back at the results we had a few good results and a few like mine, and Thatchers B won the day but I was shocked when my Thatchers A came 2nd and that means we now have a 3 point lead over Bathampton Elite with two matches left in the New Year. Colin Dance won the match from the end peg at Richardsons (before it goes into the tunnel) with 14lb of skimmers on bloodworm. A high 7lb was needed to frame, and as I thought these all came from A to D section.

Some of the things that happened on the bank today... well there was a dog fight behind Liam Bradell and one of the owners nearly threw the aggressive dog over the wall at Darlington onto the railway line! A boat came loose of its moorings at one end, and the owner was not at home, so it swang out and blocked a few other boats which as you can imagine messed up a few anglers pegs, lol! Oh yes, not quite sure what happened but I heard Paul Barnfield had a barny with a boat owner that I think moored in his peg... The joys of the canal!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

October / November 1993

I've just realised it has been a while since I threw in an old story or two, so as I am at a loose end and listening to the rain hammering down outside I thought why not.

October 3rd found me on the Avon at Laycock for the Commercial House, I was drawn in the abbey field on the peg with the rope swing. This peg was known to hold chub, but if they stay behind the rope which trails in the water you won't get them. I set up a stick float and a waggler both with 20 hooks to 0.1 line.I fed hemp and caster on both lines to begin and picked off a few gudgeon and dace on the stick whilst getting the chub confident by the rope I hoped! Eventually a switch to the wag produced a small chub, and a couple of ouncers. I changed to feeding maggot and took another 2 chub and ended with 8lb 4oz which won me the section and was 6th in the match, the team won comfortably. One week later and the river was in flood (sounds familiar) and I was sat on a nasty looking peg just below the carp hole at Chequers in the ATWL. Fishing with either gbait or maggot feeder I had 6 small eels for 14oz and just 6.5 points, the team came 3rd and we were now 2 points behind the leaders.

A weekend off was followed by a double header, although Saturday on the Thames at Radcot produced a blank! Sunday was once again the ATWL but this time I was up at Avoncliffe, pegged just below the gun turret. I fished a waggler down the middle of the river feeding caster but really struggled for bites, ending with just 2lb 4oz. The last two pegs in my section both had good bags of roach and suffered pike problems all day, I remember one of those anglers was Nicky Isles the other was Mike Kent. The team came 2nd on the day. I fished a small club match at Meadow Farm the following week and had a good first couple of hours on a 5BB wag with 3 no 10s down the line to my usual 20 to 0.1 and then a deep set up for a while, but the last two hours was dead. 7lb 4oz of little puppy chub was enough for 2nd.

On Saturday 6th November I chanced my arm on a Newbridge open, I drew peg 52. You won't be surprised to learn I fished a waggler, feeding maggot and hemp I caught small roach all day for 8lb 8oz and no good. The late Ian "Bloke" Pulsford a few pegs above me had 17lb of chub on the wag to win the section. I fished again the following Saturday and drew peg 9 at Rotork, the river looked good for bream and so I set up and fished just a gbait feeder. FAILED! Less than a 1lb was all I caught whilst 2 pegs away 38lb came out and did so in a few pegs at Newbridge. Never mind, Sunday was the Poppy Match and I could catch a few, but overnight rain had put the river into a serious flood (sounds familiar again). I actually drew opposite the outfall at Swineford, and had an angler above me on the old peg 1. I fished a gbait feeder all day again and sneaked out 11 small eels on mainly maggot hookbaits for 2lb 2.5oz. That was actually enough to get me 8th and in the frame! I am sure this match was won by the late Ron Gaulton, he had 3 bream over heavy caster feed in a slack.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

ATWL K&A Canal

This match was round 5 of the 6 match series and being on the canal meant a lot of new rigs, elastics and hooks. That wasn't easy since I was in the middle of moving out of my house and moving in with the in-laws. Waking up Sunday morning in Kingswood I had to scrape the ice off the car, then drive home to get my gear and bait before getting to the draw. It all felt a little hurried and as it turned out I left all my bloodworm stuff (leams etc) on the floor at home!

The draw was done and I was pegged in B section at Darlington Wharf, that meant I would be a few pegs past the bay in an area that skimmers can show. I walked up to C section with team mate Colin Dance and he gave me some leam for my joker. Walking back Roy Carter on B4 offered me a pike bung float, can't think why, lol? To my left was Leon Hubbard, he seems to be in my section quite often, and on my right but in A section was Nigel Wyatt. Setting up between two boats I was not afforded much room and shipping back would be very difficult. I set up a 4x14 rig for punch with an 18B511 to to 0.07, a couple of bloodworm rigs with 0.4grm and 20 PR311 to 0.07, a Chianti with a 18 to 0.08 for across, and a 4x12 cane bristle job with 0.10 to 16 also for across for worm. Just before the start, which I was just about ready for this week, Nigel let his 11m and 13m sections slip into the canal never to be seen again... To start I decided not to feed pole sections, and instead liquidized bread went in at 5mtr, but nothing else as my far bank was being washed away by boats at this stage. Dropping a 6mm punch in the float did not move, in fact it took a few minutes before my first bite and a 4oz roach obliged. Next drop in and a longish wait again for a bite, but the float then went under very positively and plenty of no3 elastic came out, a 1lb skimmer was a nice bonus this early! Twenty five minutes in and I had taken a few more roach (all swingers) before I was attached to another skimmer, this one fought harder and when I netted it I thought that's nearly 2lb. At this stage the boat owner to my right got out his generator and started it up 5mtr away from me (my right ear is still throbbing!).

By the end of the first hour I had taken only small roach after the 2nd skimmer and I was really struggling to get a bite. I decided to feed some joker by the boat to my left and then some chopped worm and caster across and on another line across some joker and caster. Twenty minutes later I picked up the chianti rig and shipped out a single rd maggot over the worm line. Normally you can get some small fish action to start, but I had nothing which either meant there were no fish there or a lump was in there. Five minutes later the answer was provided in the shape of a near 1lb perch. Strangely no more bites came from here despite trying various hookbaits, and so I fed a bit more bait and rested it. The next hour was a real struggle with just the odd small fish on bloodworm, but Leon Hubbard had been for a walk and said I was winning the section easily.

The small fish action was very poor and I decided to set my stall out for better fish for the last half the match. I never did get anything decent across over the joker line, but on the choppy line I managed another 3 skimmers, two on worm and one on double pinkie. These fish came well spread out during this second half, but I was not helped by a barge selling wood and coal that reversed just past me causing the whole far bank to be washed out just after the first skimmer. It was a difficult match to fish with all the walkers, bikers and then the leaves covering the surface of the canal. I had to break my pole down three times when fishing across, but I never lost a fish on the day so can't complain really. The scales had weighed from peg 6 down to me and Leon was top with 5lb 2oz, I weighed 8lb 4oz to win the section and felt I had done the right things today.

The match was won by Thyers Paul Purchase with 12lb of good skimmers, Ian Pauley had 11lb of skimmers on the waggler in Darlington bay and just out of the bay Andy Power had 8 skimmers for 10lb, Mark Harper was last in the money with 10lb, Shaun Townsend was 5th and I was 6th.

Thatchers had a good day on the canal and won with 46 points, Bathampton had 43 also a good return. With one match remaining Bathampton are 2 points in front of Thatchers, so it is odds on the Bristol boys will win the league. Next week is the last match on the river for a while, Commercial House at Keynsham, at least my ears will have a rest and I won't be questioned every 15 mins "Are there any fish in the canal then?" or "What a long rod that is, where is your reel?" pmsl!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Poppy Match 2012

Friday was not a good day, the house I was going to move to fell through right at the eleventh hour as the owner had a stroke, bad news all round for everyone. Luckily though the wife and I could drown our sorrows on the evening as we attended Glenn Baileys surprise 50th birthday party. It was a really, really good night out and Glenn was in complete shock. The party brought back together some of the Silver Dace boys of the past. I had to add a photo that was taken, see who you recognise!

So onto Saturday and no real hangover so I was up and about early, a walk to the river at the crane showed it had lost lots of colour but was still very pacey, I felt only a very few pegs would be float fishable so I decided not to mix up a balling mix but take some dry on the day. I then did not sleep well Sat night thinking about the damn house, and was a bit grumpy when I finally got up. Getting to the draw at 7:30am the car park was already nearly full, but I managed to get a breakfast and consumed it sat next to Martin Barrett. Martin reckoned a draw in the long ash tip at the Crane would be a good shout, I thought a chub peg would also be good. I got into the draw queue (more a ruck) and started to get ribbed about how lucky I had been on this match in the past, really? Lol! Finally got to the draw bucket and pulled out peg 96 which was in the long ashtip, happy days!

I walked to my peg with Andy Curry, who generally fishes Frys matches, he has had problems with his hips for years so fair play to him for supporting the match. When I got to my peg I was a bit gobsmacked, there were branches about 10ft above me and some sticking out below, I just couldn't see how I could fish the peg properly. I rang up Paul Benson (one of the organisers) and had a moan which was a bit silly cos I moaned about moaners a week or so ago, I put it down to my grumpiness! Luckily for me Mike Weston below me lent me a shovel so I could dig down a bit further, and then Martin Barrett (on the first peg in the long ash tip) lent me a little saw and some tape and I did some gardening! With 30 mins to go before the start I had nothing set up, but had mixed up 3 kilos of gbait, so I set up a feeder with 0.14 exceed to a 16 B611, then a crowquill with 0.1 to 18 PR311 (I think, I can't remember those damn codes!) and cast it in to plumb around. I hit a snag and lost the hook, so put another on and cast a little further and this time I lost the bulk! I threw that up the bank, there was now 5 mins to go! I decided I needed to fish the pole and set up a 4grm float with the same terminal tackle as the crow, in front of me the river was it seemed clear of snags. As the bank was dodgy I couldn't get my box down and so would have to stand fishing the pole.

On the whistle, oh no sorry, 15 mins after the whistle (!) I threw in 8 balls of gbait, slightly upstream of me to ensure I was clear of snags. Picking up the pole I stuck on a maggot to see what was about, after a few runs through I hit the snag, I'd run down too far and had to put a new hook on. Then I had an 8oz roach, and for the next 30 mins I had odd bites from 4 to 6oz roach then disaster, I hit the snag and lost the whole rig. The snag was about 2ft off bottom and caused the float to bob up as the olivette hit it. Well I can tell you I was a bit pissed off by now with this snag as I was convinced the peg held a boat load of roach. I got another rig out and started again and was into roach again, this time slightly smaller but now virtually one a chuck, maggot was by far the best hookbait I found.  This continued until about half way through and then it slowed and I tried feeding 2 more balls of gbait, but as I searched around more snags appeared, and I spent a very unproductive 30 mins not catching. I knew Martin Barret and the anglers below me were catching roach  and I couldn't keep up with them so I decided I had to fish the gbait feeder in the hope of getting a few skimmers or bream which can show in this area.  No suprise when I was soon tying on another hook on the feeder, but then realised I should be chucking it right in front of me, doughnut!

With 90 mins to go I had a skimmer of just over a pound and thought maybe I was on for a few, but as it happened no more came. I threw in a couple more balls as things were quiet and I felt the match was drifting away from me, but then roach bites on the feeder cheered me up a bit, though they are buggers to hit! I did try the pole again but to no avail. Back on the tip and another bite and I thought a roach but no, this was a bream, a big bream, a bloody huge bream, ummm no it was a pike! Hang on I think pike count, so whilst playing the fish I rang Paul Benson (one of the organisers) to check and he said yes they count. For the next 15 minutes I held onto my arse and hoped the pike would hold onto the roach. As it turned out the hook had transferred from the roach into the pikes scissors (lucky or what!) and I thought I might do this. Islid down the bank as far as I could and at the first attempt netted the little beauty, I thought it was 8 to 10lb. I then realised I was stuck and shouted for help but nobody heard, so I bit off the hooklength, threw the rod up the bank and managed to get back up and put the pike in the keepenet, phew! Not long after this Gary Bowden and his wife Anita arrived and so did the roach, I landed a 1lb fish and few smaller ones and then a 12oz fish on the whistle, all on the feeder with double red maggot. I'd really enjoyed my day, especially catching on the pole as I have missed being able to do that this year, I love catching roach as you have to keep working at.

Word had it that the river had fished really hard, and I was looking to do really well with what I thought was around 18lb. The scales arrived and there were three 9lb weights in the bottom of the section, my pike weighed 10lb 5oz, and my other fish 13lb 4oz for a total 23lb 9oz. Getting back to the results at the rugby club and people were saying I'd won the match as no bream had showed and the best chub weight was 14lb from Swineford, and indeed it was true. I got plenty of stick for moaning about the peg (which I deserved) from organiser Ray Bazely, and I need to say now thank you to everyone who put themselves out to peg and organise and support this match which raised over £1100 for the poppy appeal.

I'm sorry I didn't get a full overall result, I know the 14lb was 2nd, and Martin Barrett was 3rd and the guy above him (Mat) was 4th, and 5th was also in our section, so there are plenty of roach in this field!

Quite honestly I am a bit emotional at winning this match for a 5th time, there have been times when I wondered if I'd ever to get to fish it again (some dark days a while back) and so to do it again is overwhelming really. Thank you to everyone for the kind words, and all I will say is this, getting diagnosed with cancer doesn't have to mean the end of the world, and I've learned in life to never give up on anything (even if I moan!). Getting home my wife and kids were over the moon, and that was just great. Lastly good luck as ever to Bill Milton, saddened he couldn't get to the match but he is one hell of a fighter and a true gent.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

ATWL Round 4 Newbridge

I didn't get much time to prepare my gear on Saturday as I was in bed till midday nursing a hangover after celebrating Glenn Bailey's forthcoming 50th birthday, I'm really too old for getting home at 3am! It was a great night out though and Glenn was sick, a lot, lol!

Waking up Sunday morning (now back to 100% fit) it was tipping down with rain and of course it had been for hours and it was cold. The temperature was 4C as I left home but down to 1C when I pulled into the rugby club and the heavy rain was now snow! This of course all added up to one thing, a bloody hard day on the river. The team draw put me on peg 18 which I was more than happy with as it is deep in close and bream can show here. As I pulled into the field I was met by a torrent of water running down the path, and I gingerly drove threw the "pond" at the bottom and parked behind my peg. It was now 8:40am and with a 10:30am start and the rain and snow falling heavy I sat in my car, turned the radio up and kept myself warm. At 9:30am the rain had nearly stopped and so I got out and got set up. Either side of me Nicola Goodhind on 20 and Brian Melksham on 16 were already thoroughly wet and cold!

I did set two feeder rods up but in the end I only used one for 90% of the match, this had a 50grm open ender with a grip lead to take it to over 60grms, 0.165 Exceed to a size 12 PR455 (I think that's the code, it's got a barb on it anyway!). The river was rising and was going to do so all match, so I set myself to fish from halfway up the bank but had to stand up. I started by dropping the feeder in about 3ft past the end of the rod, and although I had steady water here leaves were pulling the tip round every cast. I had no sign of a bite until 11:45am when I saw two definite knocks on the tip, an eel maybe? I resisted striking and then 30 seconds later the tip banged down and I was in. I pulled hard as knew there were a lot of snags in the peg and this felt like a good eel but then up popped a fish tail. Into the net went a lovely roach that was later weighed at 1lb 10oz (and I thought it might go a pound). This fish had fallen to a lobworm tail and 20 minutes later a much smaller but just as welcome roach snaffled the same bait. No more bites followed and with about 2 hours to go I could no longer sensibly fish the same spot as the rubbish coming down was getting worse, see the photo below of one example of what I caught, it was horrible, but I bet you laugh and say "what the f...!" I was however, happy as at this stage I was winning the section with only Lance Tucker having also caught a fish.

I had to fish in much closer now and the depth was still good here, I hoped the fish would push in this close but the only trouble was it was very snaggy. Over the next hour I pulled out at least 3 branches and pulled out of other snags, but it seemed I cleared the swim and had a relatively snag free last hour. I missed a good bite on the lobby, and when I reeled in the worm had doubled over the hook, I also seemed to have an eel rattler bite that didn't develop but the bait had a couple of marks in it, bugger that could be costly I thought. Brian Melksham came up see me for about the 3rd time, and he was still blanking, when I had another bite and a 4oz roach had swallowed the bit of lobworm. Then 5 minutes to go I had a little eel to end my day.

I had the scales and weighing didn't take long, Lance weighed 6oz, myself 2lb 6oz and the rest blanked. One of the harder sections methinks as 'only' 17 people blanked out of 60. The match was won on the day by Martin Reyatt with 9 good roach for 5lb 11oz, Mart was in the trees in the 130's and caught all his fish in the last half of the match on lob worms. Steve Priddle was 2nd with 4lb 11oz, and Gary (spawny) Cross foul hooked a 3lb 4oz bream to come 3rd, it was his only fish, lol!

On the team front Bathampton had 8 people catch from 10 and won comfortably on the day from Thyers, Thatchers also had 8 anglers catch but had much lower points and came 3rd. That now means that Bathampton hold a 3 point lead over both Thyers and Thatchers with just two matches left on the canal.

In terms of fishing a river the conditions don't come much worse than today, the river had risen at least 2ft during the match and driving home I saw it was in the fields at Jack Whites and about to flood the Lock Keeper pub car park. There was no shame in blanking today and I was really chuffed with that big roach and coming 6th overall. Spare a thought for my team mate Nathaniel Johnson who only caught a "nappy" and he blanked last week too, and my old mate Shane Caswell who blanked for the third match on the trot.

Poppy match next week which is well worth supporting, please, please, please, please NO MORE SODDING RAIN!!!