Sunday, 29 September 2013

Commercial House Round 2, Bristol Avon Chippenham and Christian Malford

Round 2 of this league and I had to drive to Melksham for the draw, the breakfast in Spencers club was not great but I was hungry. The talk was if we could actually find the sections pegged and what state would the river be in, luckily Vic Abbot had written some great instructions with sat nav post codes included. Mark Harper did the team draw today and I found myself pegged in D section at Chippenham somewhere by the sea cadets I was told. I jumped in my car and followed Thatchers B team angler Nathaniel Johnson which was a good job as I don't think I would have remembered! Thatchers A were next to B, so it would be a good day for banter.

Finally arriving at my peg I found myself pegged above the sea cadets launch, right opposite some metal pilings, it certainly wouldn't have been my pick of pegs but being on a bend it would have some flow which would be handy. My neighbours were upstream about 20 yds Derek Coles, downstream about 150 yds Nathaniel. A picture of what I was to face for 5 hours is below:-

Before the start I got some info from Robbie Kepner that my peg was good for chub and I shouldn't bother fishing for roach. Hmmm, being a team match I needed to consider all my options, didn't I? I set up a 2.5AA waggler with 0.15 to a 15B711, a maggot feeder with the same gear, and a 1grm round bodied pole float for 13m with 0.15 to 13B711 for chopped worm. No roach then, lol! To be fair I couldn't see me catching many roach, a fierce down stream wind, gin clear river and the sun coming out all said to me "STRUGGLE".

I started the match on the waggler loose feeding maggots, and almost instantly the down stream wind got up worse, I was fishing well down the peg due to the wind. It was a slow start for me, after the first hour I had 3 perch, 1 chublet and 1 roach for about a 1lb, Derek was no better. I considered changing line strength, but my peg was shallow and weedy in close and I couldn't see how I could land a chub on lighter line. However, 30 mins later  and I was on 0.12 and a 20, and it didn't make a lot of difference, at least to start. Two hours in and about 2lb in the net I fed some worm and caster at 13m, gave it 15 mins then dropped in with a dendra. I took 4 perch from 4 to 6oz quite quickly then no more bites so fed a bit more.

I kept trying the waggler at differing depths and eventually sat it out fishing full depth (9ft) with just 1 no8 and 3 no10 down the line. It was hard going, and the wind was really bad and with the sun out there were areas of the peg where I could not see the float, but when I did get a bite it was usually a 4oz perch, although in the last two hours a few roach up to 6oz appeared. My second look on the chopped worm was very slow to start, and I was just about to give it up when a 3oz perch kept my interest. Another small perch then preceded three perch of around 8oz each which were very welcome. This line died off bar one more small perch, and I spent the last hour on the wag during which I snared a few more fish including a 12oz chub, and a last cast roach.

With the match finished I reckoned I had 7lb which considering the conditions I was really chuffed about. The only person admitting to more was Nicky Johns a few pegs upstream. When the scales arrived Nathaniel was top with 7lb 4oz, but he got his lesson when I weighed 9lb 11oz. Derek had just shy of 5lb and Nicky Johns did indeed win the section with 11lb 10oz. Nicky had about 50 small roach and some big perch on wag and pole fishing a 22 to 0.06 bottom!! He lost some perch in the weed he said, but I wasn't surprised, you wouldn't catch me fishing 0.06 on the river, but fair play to him. Perhaps I should have gone lighter myself? I ended up 2nd in the section so team job done. Here is Nicky's catch.

Another long drive to the results, but they did do a nice cheese and onion roll, and it soon became clear Thatchers A and B next peg battle was going to be close, and we'd also drawn some good pegs. In the end the A team beat the B team by a point (let that be a lesson) and we ended first and second on the day. On the individual front it went something like this...

1st Lee Trivet Thatchers A 16lb 12oz (3 chub roach and perch) Christian Malford
2nd Liam Bradell Thatchers B16lb 6oz (8lb of roach, perch and chub) next peg to Lee!
3rd Nicky Johns Bathampton 11lb 10oz
4th Tony 4star diesel Thatchers B 10lb 14oz (roach on hemp) Chippenham
5th Mark Harper Thatchers A 10lb 8oz
6th Andy Ottoway Thatchers A 10lb 6oz (chub) next to 4star!

I was 8th but got the section money by default, which was nice, and got through the knockout by displacing Martin Barrett. Next round I have Rich Lacey to battle with!

Next week it's the first round of the ATWL at Swineford,Crane, etc, sadly on 5 teams this year, hopefully plenty of good pegs in then!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Chilton Trinity - Woodlands Lake

This was to be my last visit to a commercial fishery for a while as the winter leagues will now begin in Ernest. This time Glenn drove me to the venue and we wondered if his heavy pellet feed and paste approach would still work since the temperatures have dropped, although I sat all day in my t-shirt as it was warm. We took a quick walk around the lake and the pegs from 31 to the end seemed heaving with carp. Just before the draw Tony wound up Glenn by saying there was a 2 pint bait limit, but Glenn smiled and didn't take the bait! I came out of the draw bag with peg 23, which gave me plenty of room but was at the opposite end to where I thought the fish were. Chris Fox drew 19 and thought the same (and he draws crap), Rich Lacey was on 20 (he draws crap), and my neighbour on my left was once again Clive Feddery (when he draws next to me it's crap, lol!). This is the view from my peg with Scott Puddy, Trigger (stripped) and Clayton Hudson in the distance.

Trig with, as he said "his guns out", he must be using the same weights that I do then, lol!

I set up 4 rigs today; a 4x16 Preston Yellow with 0.16 to 16PR36 for banded pellet, a paste rig, a shallow rig and a 4x10 Durafloat 10 with 0.18 to 12 PR478 for the margin to my right. To start the match I fed a big pot of hemp and corn in the margin, a big pot of 4mm pellet at 6m, and some 8mm pellets at 13m. I started shallow at 13m but never had a bite in 10 mins but then spotted the 6m line fizzing and I dropped in on the paste and had a 4lb carp first drop. By the end of the hour I had 4 carp for 16lb. I then struggled on this line and I never caught another fish here all day. Going back out to 13m I tried both deep and shallow pellet rigs but in the next 2 hours all I had was a skimmer and a tench. Trig and Clayton had both started well but now began to struggle, but Chris Fox was struggling, Rich Lacey had 1 carp, Clive had a skimmer and a carp so it was not good.

I started toss potting in 8mm pellets as well as loose feeding a few at 13m and for a while this worked as I took 3 carp, but then all to soon the bites ended and a long wait ended in a fouler. I had various trips into my margin but despite all my heavy feeding all I could get on double corn was roach, I think I should have fed 8mm pellet here, you live and learn. Chris Fox who had lost a couple of skimmers then had a carp snag him in the margin reeds and his elastic snapped, as did Chris's temper and he packed up! Clayton then fed right next to the reeds where Chris had been, which really he should not have done as he went past the pallet between them, and despite being told of this he carried on and caught some carp. In the last hour I sneaked out 2 carp on paste at 13m, but pulled out of one and another snagged me 4m out!!! Clive had 3 big carp in the margin on corn to end his match well, but he chucked back as his mum wasn't well, hope she gets better.

When the whistle went I knew that my recent consistent poor form on lakes had continued, I got off my box to pack up and trod on a top set, crack! I weighed in and had a level 47lb which was beaten for the section default by Clayton who had 62lb. None of my neighbours weighed in and I just can't get that little bit of luck right now and make the right decisions to get those few extra fish, never mind I never broke my pole like Gordon Cannings, or Scott Puddy.... ummm hang on I did! The prize for best pole action went to Ken Rayner who let his butt sections slip into the lake after the match, but fair play he stripped off dived under and retrieved them! Here he is getting back out after a good bit of swimming.

The winner on the day was Paul Elms with 103lb, and next to him was Shaun Townsend who came 2nd with 93lb, they were on the top bank at the other end of the lake. Trig did well to get 88lb, and Mr consistent Tony Rixon was 4th with 81lb, and he bashed up Glenn as the paste failed to work well, but he still had 63lb. Top silvers went to the swimmer Ken Rayner with 13lb.

Next week I'm on the upper Avon at Chippenham / Christian Malford, absolutely no idea what it will be like, but I know we could do with rain!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

September / October 1994

No fishing this weekend, I spent Saturday in Cardiff watching the cricket and pleased to see an English win. That was followed up by hearing today that the England fishing team had won the World Champs, well done to the lads, and especially to our local ace Des Shipp.

September 1994 started off fairly quiet for me with a a couple of pleasure fishing sessions, firstly 12lb up the crane fishing hemp on the stick for roach, and mag on the wag for a couple of a chub. At Newbridge on the 10th September I had the pleasure of fishing with Andy Floyd and the late Rod Hill. I struggled on the wag and sat behind Rod for a while watching him catching chub on the waggler of peg 77.

Thursday 29th September was the first of three days practice on the river Trent for the Div 2 National. I travelled up with Kev Boltz and we were to meet the lads at Hoveringham, but after walking about 3 fields we thought the lads must have gone elsewhere and fished where we stopped. We both set up maggot feeders for the very long chuck to the far bank looking for chub, which was the tactic here. However, after 90 mins we were concerned we would run out of feeders as our pegs were snag pits. Out of desperation we both switched to the waggler but more out of hope, but this was a good move as we started getting odd bites from roach. The fish we caught were all 6oz to 10oz, not many bites but worth catching, and we fished very light with a 24 to 0.08. I ended with 7lb, Kev had nearer 9lb, and as we packed up the lads came down, they had been another 3 fields up and had some chub on the feeder, with top weight being 21lb.  The following day we went to Holme, mostly to fish the float for roach etc. I got in on peg 126 and upstream of me was Andy Floyd. I really liked the look of the river here, and an angler some pegs below was catching roach, I set up a 6 no4 stick float starting with the 24 to 0.08 gear. I fed maggots by hand quite generously, while Andy above me fed caster and hemp to see how each bait worked. I started to get the odd bite, but it was hard work, and occasionally I struck and reeled in to find no hooklength! I went up to 0.10 and still got bites from roach, perch and chub, my fish were all netters it seemed. I then hooked a fish which snapped me up near Newark, a barbel I guessed! I stepped up to a 20 with 1.5lb maxima and the bites were harder to come by, but then I hooked another barbel and was locked in battle for 20 mins. Eventually I landed a lovely 8lb barbel, my biggest ever. At the end of the practice I weighed in total 19lb and had fed nearly 3 pints of maggots. Andy had 14lb of all roach. The last practice was an open match, and this was a non event for me as I drew above Shelford weir and managed 2 roach on the stick float. It was a bad area and I hoped I draw better in the National.

On the day of the National itself the usual hangovers, nervousness and excitement abounded, and I dreamed about winning the match and taking £6K off Billy Knott... well we can dream can't we! The team draw done I was at Hamms Bridge and the lad helping us out said to me "just try to catch something!", oh dear. When I got to my peg it didn't look great, the river was boily to about 20 mtrs and the lad next to me was a local and said it was full of snags. He was right and I lost 2 hook lengths plumbing up the stick and it never got used. It was a day on the feeder, and alternated between 2 lines one with maggot feeder and one with gbait. With 30 minutes left I was blanking but had missed 2 bites and was fearing the worst, the local had 1 gudgeon and there was also a fry caught. I put a 24 and 0.08 on with a straight lead and cast over the gbait line, and caught 2 gudgeon which at least avoided the blank. These two specimens registered 30grms, and I was the top weight for 10 pegs the scalesman told me! I was not looking forward to telling the lads how bad I had done, but they were in a positive mood as we had some really good results and Tony Rixon said he thought I would get 30 points out of 80. The results were done and I've never felt so relieved when I found out the team was 3rd and we got a medal, it was a great feeling. Once the results came out in the papers I found out I got 43 points, it was a shocking section! The following day I continued to catch naff all when I caught 2oz off the lone tree at Frys in the ATWL, once again the team came 3rd!

The picture below is one I recently found, it is from quite a bit later than Oct 1994, Im guessing 2002? This is from when I fished with Avon Angling sponsored by Trabucco. In case you didn't know, the anglers are back row from left to right, Ian Spriggs, Darren Gillman, Bob Sheppard, Tony Rixon, Glenn Bailey. Front row from left to right, Mike Nicholls, Brian Shanks, Mark Jefferies, and yours truly. Note some people have aged better than others, lol!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Sunk at Sedges

This won't take long!

A trip back on a commercial, which of late I have struggled on no matter what the commercial fishery, and today was no exception.

I picked up Glenn (2 pots) Bailey and we were soon filled with breakfast and at the fishery selecting our nets. I'd once again taken most baits to cover silvers and carp and would decide what to go with depending on the peg. Everyone said you needed a draw at the top half of the lake (wind blows that way) pegs 6 to 10 and 11 to 16, with pegs 10 and 11 the carp flyers. Into the bucket and out comes peg 3, bugger, nobody could give me any hope other than sometimes the skimmers show there. Last 3 anglers to draw got Trigger 11, Glenn 10 and Tony 7....remember that!

A nice short walk to my peg (again) and it was flat calm at this stage with a few roach topping but not much else, carp were topping right up the other end. For company I had steve Segar on 4 and Clive Feddery on 2.

 I set up two rigs today, a 0.4g PB silvers 5 with 0.12 to 16 PR512 for soft pellet, and a 0.4g PB inter (bulbous) with 0.16 to 14 PR478 for meat. I decided to take a very cautious approach to begin with, toss potting in 4mm pellets at 14m to my left, and meat to the right. I did throw some meat in at 6m as I thought if there were no carp about the skimmers might sit over it. The match started slowly for me and my neighbours, and I reckon it took me 40 mins to catch my first skimmer on a soft pellet, followed by another small one 10 mins later. I dropped in on the long meat line and the float shot under before it settled, I landed a carp soon after that was nearly 8lb. The next hour was a little better for the skimmers and I was up to 6 skimmers now , this was a lot better than those around me, but then Clive had an early look on the margin and landed a 20lb 9oz mirror carp!!!!

The third hour produced a few more skimmers for me but then the peg went dead and out of desperation I cupped some groundbait with worms and micros in at 8m and let it settle. I went for a walk to see Glenn, and he was doing well with 10 carp, Bela on 8 had carp and skimmers as did Tony on 7 but he had a lot of skimmers. Back on my home for the day and the last 3 hours took ages to pass as I all I managed to land was a 6oz skimmer. I did pull out of a carp on the soft pellet rig and I pulled out of a carp on the last dob in on the meat line at 7m. However, was was really annoying was the gbait line, this just fizzed and fizzed and fizzed for the last hour, and the more gbait I put in the more it fizzed. No matter what hook bait I tried the float would not go under, saying that it did once on double worm, but I hit nothing. I assume it was carp as the fizzes came in big patches and you could watch them moving.

There endeth another poor day for me on a lake. As for Glenn he got the paste to work again and had 116lb for 2nd place beaten by the irrepressible Trigger opposite who had 123lb. Tony was 3rd with 94lb including 44lb of skimmers for top silvers, so top 3 anglers were the last to draw!

That's probably the worst day I have had on brick lake, and in the dim and distant past I won the first 4 matches I fished here, still your only as good (or bad, lol) as your last match! No fishing next weekend for me as, weather permitting I'm off to watch Eng v Aus in the cricket. At this very moment I'd rather look at a cricket pitch with covers on than my float sat there doing naff all on a lake.

Last thing to mention, my team fished the Div 1 national on the Trent and Mersey Rat Tip Canal, they were 42nd and nearly got relegated, Bathampton were I think 26th, with Shakespeare winning the event. Luckily I avoided fishing that match, see there'a always someone worse off, ;-)

Friday, 6 September 2013

August 1994

About time I got the diary out again..

Saturday 6th August 1994 and a bit of pleasuring fishing in front of the Chequers pub car park on the Bristol Avon. I fished a 10 no6 stick float feeding maggot and hemp, and to start I had a few perch but then got bitted out. I then fed just hemp and with hemp on the hook just caught roach and ended up with a bite a cast and 10lb. You don't hear of many of today's young anglers pleasure fishing, but when I look back I am sure the hours I put in on the river helped me learn loads. The following Saturday I was fishing on a lake called Gold Valley (rather famous now) for the Silstar Pole Champs final. I was way off the pace and ended with 10lb of roach and rudd, but I lost a big carp which came to the surface with branches trailing behind it, and then like jaws it gradually disappeared into the depths taking my rig with it, thankfully the platform did not get pulled in!

My next day out was another Saturday on the 20th of August, this time I was showing the Silver Dace juniors how to fish a waggler. For some reason I decided to do this on peg 28 at Swineford, well I suppose I was in the prime of my life back then! I didn't impress the Juniors early on when, trying to clear some lily pads with my landing net, I lost the net and top section of the pole! However, the fishing was better than my swim clearing. Fishing a waggler and feeding casters I was soon getting regular bites from roach and hybrids, and virtually everything I did and said worked in front of the young uns. They soon fooked off to go fishing themselves and not long after the odd better fish (bream) started to roll down the peg. This got too much for me and I set up a groundbait feeder with a 16 to 1.5lb maxima. Using 3 red maggots the next couple of hours were great; 7 bream, a near 4lb chub, a 2lb perch and a 3.5lb tench. It was just one of those days when they have a bit of a munch. When the kids came back to see what I caught my hero status was confirmed...OK I made that bit up lol!

As is usual in life what goes up must come down, and I spent the next day at Cardiff Docks (Superleague) catching nowt! I heaved 3.5oz onto the scales but did manage to beat one person, or was there a team short, I forget? What a rat tip!

The next proper match was Sunday week, the NFA S/West champs on the river Huntspill, a venue I like and seem to do OK on. I drew a peg at Withygrove on the North bank. I started by fishing the gbait feeder 2/3 over and spent 30 biteless minutes on it before a skimmer showed, then a 4lb bream, then a 2lb hybrid. and then nothing. Moving onto the pole at 11m where I had been loose feeding maggots I caught some eels for the rest of the match. I ended up with 12lb 2oz which won my section and was 10th overall, the team came 4th on the day, one out of the medals and money.

Sedges for me this Sunday, hoping I will regain some form on the commercials where I've struggled of late.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Commercial House Round 1 - Bristol Avon Jack Whites to Swineford

HOORAY, the river winter leagues are back!

My blog starts today with Saturday, with a gang of blokes from the league out to do some serious swim clearing and pegging. Shaun Townsend and myself did Jack Whites, with Shaun already having done some work in the week it didn't take us much more than 3 hours. Fair play to Shaun as he was not going to fish the river as he wanted to finish Tony Rixon's float only league (and he won the match and just missed out winning the league, see Tony's blog).

Back to today and as ever I really enjoy seeing lots of familiar faces, and some from many years past, people who still enjoy fishing moving water, it was impossible to catch up with everyone as there are 13 teams of 6 fishing this year. Mark Harper had slightly changed the teams around this year, putting himself and Andy Ottoway into the winning A team from last year, which was myself, Martin Barrett, Gary O'Shea and Lee Trivett (though today Neil Richards from Swindon stood in for Lee). Mark decided I had to do the team draw, which doesn't usually give me a good peg but the team generally does well. I really wanted a peg at Swineford or Jackies, or in the shallow water up the Crane, but I pulled out peg E12 for myself. I thought I was on the gantry up the Crane and was really gutted, but I wasn't that was Mr Barrett's home. I was one peg up from the bottom of the lane, last year on this match I was on the next peg below, but this time it was not flooded!

The river is very low at the moment with very little flow, but due to the warm weather there is some "colour" in it from what I guess is algae / suspended solids. My peg was about 12 foot deep, which is shallower than the 4 pegs upstream of me, and shallowed up to the peg below. There were fish topping and I was hopeful of a few roach, due to low overhanging branches I couldn't fish anything other than a pole, and even then would have to net everything, it was a right parrot cage! Glen Calvert who was on the end peg lent me his weed cutter and I lopped of the lily pad heads so I could bring any fish within range of my landing net! On the peg above Mike Goodhind was fishing off a wooden platform and could fish unrestricted. Here's my peg today...

I set up 3 pole rigs today, a 1grm pencil rig with a 18 B611 to 0.10, a 2grm PB silvers with same hook etc, a chopped worm rig (never used). I did run the line through the rings of my feeder rod, but only attached a swivel as I couldn't see me using it unless I was in shit street. I was ready about 1 minute before the start, and on the whistle I threw in 13 balls of groundbait at 13m laced with hemp and caster. I started on the 1grm rig and had a few roach straight away on  caster, but soon small bleak started to hold up the bait and so I picked up the 2grm rig. If I'm honest the first hour wasn't great for me, I might have had 2lb, but I had not got into any rhythm, whilst Glen below had caught well.

Just after the hour mark things picked up and I started to catch 3 to 4oz roach most casts, I was chopping and changing rigs and depths to try and keep putting fish in the net and I found a depth about 1 foot off bottom was best. The second and third hour were by far my best, and I also added a couple of 8oz roach, other than a tiny perch and 1 dace it was roach all the way. I had been loose feeding hemp and tares and tried these on the hook on and off, I never did have a fish on a tare, but did manage a few on hemp. During the 4th hour the peg went very iffy, I couldn't get a bite on caster and bites on hemp were very tentative and I felt I just wasn't getting the presentation right with a strong upstream wind literally stopping the rig. I was convinced the roach had switched onto the hemp and kept trying it with little reward.

Eventually with an hour to go I decided to reball the peg in the hope of getting a few back on the caster. I took 4 reasonable roach in as many chucks but then it was dead and I could only catch really small roach on maggot. I didn't want to end the match like this so I went back in on the 2grm rig and on the deck with double maggot, I got a couple of 2oz roach on this when with 15 minutes to go I hooked what I thought was an eel, but then the fish became a dead weight and my no5 elastic would not lift the fish off the bottom. Conscious of the lilly pads and cabbages I played the fish out long until gradually the fish came up in the water and there was a 3lb+ bream. Gingerly I played it in and thankfully got it into the landing net at the first attempt, what a bonus. A couple more roach came my way before the whistle went.

From the bankside banter I was fairly confident of winning the section, as Glenn Bailey up on peg 1 in my section had told me 4lb was a good weight up above the cattle grid (Glenn himself had a tough day with cows eating a rod, and pike eating his fish). When the scales did get to me Roy Carter was winning with 6lb 6oz thanks to a 4th chuck bream, Mike Goodhind managed 2lb 3oz for last in section and I plonked 17lb 1oz on the scales. Glen Calvert came 2nd in the section with 7lb 12oz and said we should have a £1 next time! It turned out the Crane fished really hard and I was surprised to find out I was the top weight up here with nobody else breaking 10lb. However, the rest of the river was amazing, there were lots of double figure weights of small fish and 8lb was an average weight!

Winning on the day was Graham (lying c*nt) Hunt with 27lb from the top peg at Jack Whites on the stick float. Graham admitted to 12lb after the match, and said he was embarrassed by his awful estimate! Graham has had a bad season so far and was due a good un, so I was really pleased for him.

2nd Andy Ottoway 25lb (bottom peg at JAck Whites) roach, dace, chublets
3rd Neil Richards 19lb (beach at Swineford) roach and a couple of chub on waggler
4th me
5th Warren Bates 16lb (high bank Swineford) roach and a bream on stick float (must try harder ;-)

Winning on the day was the Mark Harper picked Thatchers A team, we only dropped 3 points on the day. I think Frys might have won the B div, but it was a bit hard to tell as Mike Goodhind made a right balls up of reading out the results, lol! So a good start to the league, and the next round, which is a few weeks away, will pit me in the knockout against team mate Martin Barrett.

Happy Days!