Sunday, 31 March 2013

British Summer Time Begins!

Last weekend I was not able to write a blog due to lack of time and flying off to Munich on the Sunday. All the Germans were complaining how cold it was, and where was spring, sound familiar? On Tuesday it snowed all day and the highest temperature was -3C during the day, apparently on the same day in 2012 it was +24C....

Back to the Island (UK) and round 2 of the Acorn Pole only series, I had assumed after the last round that it would be much warmer by now, but it certainly wasn't. I travelled down with Glenn (lucky) Bailey who told me he had 5 numbers on the lottery the night before, and I wondered if his luck would continue at the drawbag. Arriving at the venue there was ice covering all of Paddock except for a little area between pegs 7 and 9. The fishing was obviously going to be hard, so a flyer, or a drawn on the little lake was going to be important. There were only 3 pegs left when I drew and I pulled out 22, which put me in C section on a bridge peg (yay!). My section ran down to peg 12 which itself has a lot of room, Mike Nicholls won the section from peg 12 last round, and this time venue expert Dave Wride was sat on it. Looked like I had an easy section with Matty Toomes on the other side of the bridge, Tony Rixon on 19 as well as Glen Clavert and Mark Bromsgrove to name but a few!

Mr Rixon was very helpful as he threw his ice breaker in my peg half dozen times and then I started the scooping process! Matty had a go with his landing net pole, and broke it, lol! On the other side of me, and slightly hungover, was Trigger, and he said he was looking forward to being on a blog tonight, as well as swearing a lot and calling Tony a few choice words for not lending him his ice breaker for ages! With my peg cleared to out in front and down to the bridge I began to get set up. Three rigs did me today, a 0.6grm pencil float for the deep water against the bridge, a 4x12 rig for across and up the shelf inside next to the bridge, and a 0.3grm rig for the same line in case it got windy (as it was forecast). An 18 PR412 to 0.10 did me for all my rigs. On the whistle I cupped a very small amount of micros and maggots at 8m next to the bridge, the same at 10m to the bridge, and a bigger amount right over across to the bridge. A ball of gbait was deposited in front of me, but I never had a bite over gbait today.

Starting at 8m it was a quiet start, and Matty was the first to hook a fish which was 4lb he said, but he lost it when it put the hook into his keepnet, we didn't laugh. Trig then had a carp and lost 1, meanwhile I was still waiting for a sign and was just about to go to 10m when I had a bite on single maggot. A 1lb common reversed its way into the landing net, yep it was fouled. I was soon out at 10m though as Matty had a couple of carp, I managed 1 small carp from here but then lost a fouler and had to change lines again. The 8m line produced a liner and no more and so I took a look across. This was a good move as I had 3 small carp fairly quickly, unfortunately 2 foulers followed and that meant I had to switch lines again.

I spent most of the match rotating the swims looking for an indication, and in the first 3 hours I found if I was to get a bite it tended to come first drop in. It was very hard though and I think I had lost as many as I had hooked, one was a 4lb fish and I could see it was hooked under the chin, after playing it carefully for a few minutes it came off, grrr! At this stage Trig was still on 1 carp, Matty had I thought a bit more than me and Tony had just a couple of fish, my peg then went stone dead, and for nearly two hours I had nothing, but then neither did Matty. I had starting throwing a few maggots close in next to the bridge, and this brought my only bite in this barren spell, a small F1. In the last hour I took an F1 from close in, 2 more small carp from right across (in two chucks) and then in the last 15 mins had 2 more next to the bridge. It was nice to end with a few fish for a change.

My section was won by Dave Wride with 22lb, and my fish went 19lb 10oz enough for 2nd and a pick up. I also picked a pound up off Matty as he weighed 13lb (Trig said it was the lowest weight off that peg this year and Matty was not impressed!). Tony had 11lb proving how hard the fishing had been today. Trig was in the next section and his 6 carp went 17lb+ he had 5 next to the empty pallet in the end.

Paddock fished very hard today, and I think it was peg 8 that had the top weight (see Chris Fox blog), but the small lake was once again very good, with Paul Faires winning with carp (same peg won section last time) and Glenn just missed out on a next peg battle with Tom Thick, Glenn having 36lb of skimmers, just ounces less than Tom.

Luckily for me today the wind was off my back and to my right, and it didn't get up that bad and at times I actually felt warm in the sun, well warmish!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

January / February 1994

I think on my last look back in history I blanked at the Docks to end 1993 on a low point. Well to start 1994 I blanked again at the Docks, this time at Gas Ferry Lane, just 1 perch was caught in my 10 peg section, rat tip! Things weren't much better the following weekend when I fished the K&A canal at Darlington in the 4th round of the ATWL. I drew in the bay and it seemed devoid of fish as I only managed a handful of tiny fish on bread and pinkie for 9.5oz which was worth 8 points. The team had a disaster coming 10th and we were now 6th overall with a couple of rounds left to go.

During all the this time the Bristol Avon had been at the top of it's banks or even over them, and hence the matches on the Docks or canals, back in 1994 the canal was only a reserve venue and not fished that much. My lack of canal fishing was on show once again when I blanked on a round of the Commercial House on the 16th Jan, three matches and two blanks to start the year, I was really flying! Thankfully the river dropped and the following Saturday I got a pleasure session in at Limpley Stoke on a steadyish peg. I fished a 3BB stick float with a 22 and 0.08 and eventually settled on feeding 10 casters and 4 maggots every cast. Using either single red or bronze maggot on the hook I had 6 chublets and some roach up to a 1lb for nearly 13lb, well that was better than the canal! The next day and on the river at Keynsham for the ATWL I drew 5 pegs below the New Fence peg. The river was pushing through here and it was an out and out feeder job. I fished a big open end feeder down the middle of the river with an 18 to 1.5lb maxima. Using either triple maggot or double caster I caught 3 chub and 2 roach (one of 1lb) in the first half of the match and then had no more bites. Those fish weighed 5lb 9oz and were enough to win the section, the rest of the lads did well and we won on the day to drag ourselves back up to 3rd overall with one match left.

One week later and the river was in flood again (sounds just like 2013!) but I tried another pleasure session at Limpley but this time one 10oz roach on the feeder was my lot. The next day was another Commercial House match on the canal, this time I drew up at Dundas and was the first peg as you go over the Aqueduct. The end peg advantage was to prove fruitful and my approach was to fish a whip 4mtr to hand with a reverse crowquill and 22 to 0.08, I would have had a bulk of 10's with 1 dropper I reckon. I fed groundbait with squatts in and used a pinkie on the hook and the first hour was great with lots of small skimmers and roach and gudgeon. As the match wore on I reduced the feed and changed down to a 26 to 0.06 and managed to keep the odd bite coming. My weight of 4lb 3oz was one of my best on the canal, and it secured me 3rd place on the day and a £100+ payout.

The 6th of February 1994 was the date of the final round of the ATWL and the match had to be fished on the canal. I had a much longer walk this time, being 7 pegs past Beeches Bay, and in an area that had not been very good. My whip approach yielded only 1 roach and 1 gudgeon and so I went across with pinkie and had 2 roach, 2 gudgeon and 1 tiny skimmer. I did manage 3 roach on caster but in total my 10 fish weighed just 11.5oz. That was good enough for 10 points out of 12 and I was only beaten by 3 pegs in the bay (see there used to be fish in there!) and so I guess really my peg must have been solid! The team had redeemed itself by winning this final round, but the 10th place on the previous canal match had done too much damage and we ended the league in 2nd place.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Acorn Pole Only Series

Finally, finally moved house last weekend but only today have I had my broadband installed, hence the very late blog! (I've also located my diaries so they'll be a few old memories on here in the next couple of weeks as I cannot fish for two weekends.)

Glenn Bailey picked me up Sunday, think he used his sat nav to get from Kingswood to my new house in Longwell Green, lol! I was very happy to be getting a lift as I was totally knackered from all the lifting and lumping that goes with moving. Arriving at the fishery we could already feel the chill of the Easterly wind, and so I plumped for the big breakfast to help keep me warm. I knew the fishing was going to be patchy after Brian Slipper told me how hard the fishing had been on the previous day, a draw next to a bridge would be crucial for high section points. I pulled out peg 7, and that put me up on the old lake 2 pegs past the bridge where it is about 12.5m wide. On the other side of the bridge was silvers slayer Nige Bartlett, and to my left (empty peg in between us) was Nigel Vigus (I think that's how it is spelt). I was told that I would enjoy being pegged on this lake as I would get plenty of bites from small skimmers and the recently stocked small carp.

I plumbed up the swim and from around 3mtr to 10mtr I could hardly find any difference. Although the depth was only about 3ft, with the wind whipping up I went with a wire stem 0.3g PB Inter float. The other rig set up was a 4x12 jobby for right across against the spiky grass where the depth was only about 9" shallower but it was a bit sheltered across there. To start the match I fed a small amount of micros at 5mtr, some micros and maggots right across and some casters down towards the empty peg (but never had a bite here.). Starting at 5m with a single red maggot on my 18 PR412 I had nothing for 15 mins, hmmm I was told to start here and chase the fish across but wasn't chasing anything! I put another section on and fed some micros, and tried again and on the 30 min mark I had a 8oz skimmer. I think it was about 15 mins later I had my next skimmer, this was slow going and at this early stage only Lance Tucker was catching well by fishing across (he was 4 pegs below Nige Bartlett). I decided to try across earlier than I had planned in the hope of some stocky carp, at 10 min wait to get a bite and a skimmer, then no bites so I refed it again.

At this stage I was only a couple of skimmers behind the Nigels! I then picked up a skimmer a 5mtr and another on the further line, before it went quiet again. I went across and had a 1lb carp and a 2oz carp and then no more bites, in fact I never had another bite across all match so no carp here. Three hours in and I put another section on and fed with more micros and needed some action as Mr Vigus had been catching really well over his groundbait (of which I had non with me, lol!). The wind was really severe now, I mean in strength and low temperature and holding onto the pole was physically demanding. At one stage my pole blew off the roller snapping the no4 section which had caught in between my box and box leg, poop!

By swapping between lines I managed to have a much better last two hours on the skimmers, and whilst I did take a couple on soft pellet, a couple on double red maggot, it was single red that was the best. I was still really happy when the whistle went as my hands were really suffering from the wind chill, thank goodness I didn't need a pee as I doubt I could have undone my zips! I knew I hadn't done well but hoped to avoid a disaster, Paul Faires on the end peg had some carp for 15lb, Mr Vigus had 14lb of skimmers plus some carp for 18lb, my skimmers went 12lb and my carp 2lb 4oz. Mr Bartlett (to many Nigels) had 9lb of skimmers and with his carp was short of my weight, Lance paralysed the section with 23lb but moaned the wind had stopped him from fishing across at 16mtrs where the carp were. So 5 out of 8 points in the section, not great and in hindsight I think I would have done better fishing longer for the skimmers earlier, but who knows.

Glenn was extremely fed up by the end of the day as he had just 2 skimmers for 1lb 4oz and what he assumed was last but one in the match (Fabio packed up next to him and DNW). You really do need a draw on any venue in this cold weather. You'll all know the results from the other bloggers fishing this series, the next round is on Easter Sunday and that is my next match. Please, please, please let it be warmer by then!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Angling Trust Southern Semi-Finals

As I mentioned last week there was no fishing for me this weekend, and after another cold week (although the sun put in an appearance Saturday) I can't say I was going to miss wetting a line too much. I have had a busy week and my house move went frantic as someone at the top of the chain wanted to change the completion date! It now means I move the end of this week and right on top of the first Acorn pole only series, the furniture is being moved in on the Saturday but the wife has told me to fish on the Sunday, she's a gem! If I turn up with rods and reels though don't be surprised as I have no idea where my gear will be.

I thought I ought to mention what I have heard has happened to the two local teams in the ATWL semis. Firstly my lot Thatchers fished on Saturday at Gold Valley Lakes, and like most big waters with big carp the fish were lethargic and shoaled tightly meaning you needed a good draw. The top three teams on the day would qualify for the final on the Trent embankment and I guess you will not be surprised to hear that Dorking won the match, and you have to take your hat off to them. Thatchers had some up and down results and came 4th, Gary O'Shea I believe came 3rd overall, but at the other extreme Andy Ottoway blanked (along with 5 others in his corner of the lake). However, it transpired that an angler in the team that had come second was signed on for another team (fishing in the other semi) and he really should not have been fishing. I heard there was quite a "heated debate" about this with some people saying you didn't have to fish for the team you'd signed on for. Not sure about that though, as why are we asked to submit team sheets with names and addresses on to the AT before the local league starts, and have done for years? Anyway, the upshot was that Thatchers were told they will be in the final, but what happens to the other team is I believe not yet decided. I remember when I changed my name from Tim Gay to Tim Ford (Ford was my birth name) and my Avon Angling captain at the time sent the team sheet into Ken Wade with me as Gay (lol) on. When I got to the semi itself (K&A at Malborough) I went over with the captain to explain to Ken Wade, but he just gave me a stare as if to say "too hard!". I ended up winning the match and being called out as Tim Gay, but I got the press to put Ford in the results, even Billy Knott Jnr wound me up saying Tim Ford hadn't had a bet!

On Sunday Bathampton went up to the Grand Union Canal, and I asked Darren Gillman to let me know how they got on, surely there would be no such aggravation as the day before? Darren told me that Bathampton's team plan was to have a curry and get pissed the night before, well it has worked for them before on this canal! Unfortunately they had a few blowouts and ended up 6th overall. A bit like Thatchers they had some ups and downs though. Andy Britt had 6lb+ to win his section and frame, and Darren also won his section with over 200 fish for 5lb, good results in good angling company. At the other end of the stick (the bit with shit on) was Richard Lacey, an angler who has improved tremendously in the last few years. Rich was fishing in his first semi and didn't deserve to be pegged next to a real "Dick Head" of a boat owner. Apparently this boat owner kept moving his boat about and revving the engine up all to prevent Rich from fishing his peg. All this got very heated and in the end the boat owner called the police, but the police saw the boat owner for what he was and arrested him, shows what a dick he was. Poor Rich had 90 mins left of fishing time and  scraped 15oz for last in section. Bad luck Rich, you really didn't deserve that mate.

It's funny really, I am in the middle of reading the Frank Barlow book (excerpts of his Anglers Mail columns) and I must admit it has me in fits of laughter. Some of things that happened to Frank over the years were similar to the above, and whilst he may have blown the odd gasket he always went home to a few beers a nice tea and forgot about the bad day. I never met Frank, but enjoyed his column when I was younger, and I liked the way, despite being a top angler in a top team, he enjoyed a good laugh and a good booze. If you get the chance read the book and see how many cesspits and parrot cages Frank drew with a hangover, caught next to nowt but still went again and again, cos he loved everything about fishing, more than just catching fish.