Sunday, 27 October 2013

ATWL Round 3 Bristol Avon Jack Whites, Crane, Swineford

I do like fishing rivers in autumn as you never know what state of river you will get, low and clear right up to full flood, and then there are the different species to go at. Anyhow, I had the added "bonus" this weekend of pegging out and so I spent a couple of hours on Saturday with Shaun Townsend doing our best to get the pegging right. Of course you will never please everyone, and despite the logic we used for the conditions still a few people moaned, mostly the ones who I've never seen peg a match.

The day started well for Nigel Saunders, he forgot to change his clock and ended up at the draw before the gates were opened, lol! Some heavy rain overnight meant gave me cause for concern, as I expected it would effect the river during the day. Team draw done by Liam Bradell and I found myself on a long walk up the Crane to peg 75 just shy of the top of the ashtip, I was happy with that (the peg not the walk). Just before I set off a strange vision appeared before me, none other than Mike Nicholls out for a walk. Mike also helped out as Bathampton had forgotten to take the scales (doh) but then I found out there was no weigh boards either (double doh!).

Finally got to my peg to find once again Paul Purchase of Thyers next peg (74), we were next peg quite a few times last year. Leighton Warden was on the bend, and round the bend (literally) was Shaun Townsend. It didn't take me long to set up today, a feeder rod with 0.15 to 14 B611 and another with 0.17 to 11 B711. I did set up a big flat float but I didn't end up using it, as I never fancied a float in the end. I was sure there would be some bream / skimmers feeding today and this is why the feeder would be king, and to start the match I threw in 10 big babies heads of gbait full of worm and caster just shy of the middle of the river. I nice careful team approach you could say! I started on a 20g feeder with the "lighter" gear but 3 red maggots on the hook (usually a good bet) did not buy me a bite, so 25 mins in I started switching hookbaits around. This got me a roach and perch so at least off the mark. On 45 mins I tried double caster and within seconds of the feeder hitting bottom the tip slammed round and I felt a lovely solid thud.... a bream. As I was playing the fish Shaun Townsend appeared behind me and said he was struggling, he called me a James Hunt as I netted the bream. I was now looking forward to bagging a few more bream, despite the wind and rain bashing me straight in my kisser. Here is my peg, and rod position.

During the next hour I had another roach and perch but no signs of the bream, the rest of the section were struggling so I just had to keep plodding on. Unfortunately the middle of the match was appalling for me, and no matter what hook bait I tried, including lobworms, I couldn't get a bite except from the odd ounce roach. I did try a line a third the way out, but this was full of leaves and weed whereas down the middle I was not getting so much trouble but I did have to step up to a 25g feeder. With about 75 mins left I started to get bites again, either on a bit of worm with 2 maggots, or 3 maggots, sadly not from bream but roach. It was however interesting fishing trying to see and hit the bites, and although I never had any netters a few were up to 6oz (swing them on my gear) and it was a nice end to the match.

With no weigh board we had a whip round, I had a black marker and Richard Whitmarsh had a fag packet liner, what a joke! Richard below me had taken a few roach early on but then struggled, he ended with 3lb 14oz, I weighed 6lb 11oz, Paul 2lb 9oz, Leighton 2lb, and Shaun then pissed the section with 13lb including 2 bream and a skimmer, so once again he did me like a kipper, and I ended 2nd. During the match the river had risen slightly, speeded up and gained more colour, this had the effect of changing many peoples swims.

The match was won by Jerry Pocock with 24lb of bream, he was in the lane on the wooden platform in an area I fancied. Steve Priddle was 2nd with 20lb 12oz from next peg, and his team mate Mark Bromsgrove was 3rd with 20lb 7oz from my favourite peg (1st one in Long Ashtip). Can't remember who was 4th, perhaps I'd better just make it up, oh I remember it was Shane Caswell with 19lb 15oz, from peg 20 at Swineford, some bream on the feeder wouldn't you know!

On the team front Bathampton won again beating Thatchers by 1/2 point (ouch) and they now lead by 3 points from Thatchers. They were helped by Darren Gillman who went from last to first in section with a bream 15 mins to go, nice. I managed to get through the knockout today, and in the next round I have team mate Nathaniel Johnson, same in the Commercial House too!

Next week is round 4 at Newbridge. Hope this storm does not cause anyone any problems, fingers crossed. Oh and one last thing, a mate of mine is having a bit of a rough time at present and won't be able to fish the Poppy match it seems, that's a shame as he always asks me to draw for him and usually I get a good un and give him a crap peg! I would gladly give him the better peg this year, chin up matey.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Commercial House Round 3 Bristol Avon Newbridge

I dunno sometimes what goes on with my sleeping patterns, a great Friday nights sleep was followed by a wide awake Sat night, and I heard a lot of rain during the night. I was hoping for a nice drop of rain during the week, but we never got enough to put proper colour in the river. Arriving at the draw today the car park was full, the additional parking field was shut due to the field being to boggy, and so I ended up parking on the main road. Then I had to pay Roy Carter a £1 for weighing more than me last match, before paying my pools. Mark Harper did the A team draw and came back giving me A section, this was a split section with 6 pegs up at Rotork and 7 in the little field. I was on the last peg in the section just above the road bridge on peg 13A (another short walk). I didn't fancy this peg in the section, I've never seen a lot come from it, and with Andy Power on Rotork end peg 27 and Shaun Townsend above him on 24 I would need a good net to beat them.

As I was setting up Gavin Messer came past me, then he came back saying he was up at Rotrork, 10 mins later he was back again and finally realised he was on peg 3 in the little field, lol! Not long after the Chippenham Italian Fab Legge came back for his mountain of gear and said his peg (1) was a jungle. Myself and Dean Harvey said he could fish in between us if he wanted (match organiser was OK with him moving) and he accepted. My peg had a slab in it (stone slab) about 8ft off the water, too high, so I went a bit lower down and sat on a small ledge.

My set up for today was exactly the same as last week on the pole, but on the feeder I set up an open ender. Last week the peg below had been poor, but above had been good for roach so I was happy that my pole approach from last week would work again. On the whistle I threw in my 14 balls of gbait and picked up the 1grm rig and slipped on a maggot. The float travelled all of 6ft before dipping and a 2oz roach was swung in, same next cast but the roach was 1oz so on went a caster and no bites for 3 chucks, hmmm. This sort of start is not usually a good sign, and in the first hour the only way I could get a bite was with a maggot on the hook, but the roach were mainly small and I thought I might have 2lb. During the 2nd hour I was still getting bites from small roach, but I did manage a couple of 4oz roach on the caster. I also got a few other bites too, I felt some irritation on the back of my neck, then the side, then the front and found some red ants had crawled up on me, ouch!!

Going into the third hour the pole line really died quickly, and a look on my copped worm line produced a perch first drop then never another bite. I chucked the feeder out 10 times and then went over the top with red maggots, nothing. Back on the pole I had topped up with some groundbait and that brought 4 more small roach but no more. So on the feeder again but it was not happening, and it was all over when I managed to catch the hook in my finger on the cast and snapped the 0.14. The hook was right in past the barb (I did say ouch) and I couldn't budge it, so I wandered up to Fab and luckily for me he had some tools. Firstly we had to pull the hook point through my finger (now I was screaming like a baby) which took a few attempts, and then snap off the spade and pull the hook all the way out. I was tempted to take a photo but it was to painful, and I am indebted to Fab.

Back to my peg and I kept working the pole line, a run of roach soon petered out and then a huge male otter swam through the peg! This otter worked his way down river, and was the biggest I'd ever seen! Then a rain storm finally arrived and it lashed down till the end of the match as it turned out. I cupped in some more balls with a bit of worm in it. I did get 1 perch on worm on this long line, but that was it, very odd roach followed until the last 15 mins when I suddenly had a bite a chuck from the same small roach, all on fluro maggot. It had been a frustrating match with many dead spells and what seemed a swim full of tiny roach, though as it turned out many people on the river caught this same stamp of fish. I thought I might have 7lb of bits.

When the scales and board finally arrived in the little field my fears had been realised, with Shaun Townsend weighing a brilliant 15lb to Andy Powers 13lb (they ended 3rd and 4th overall too). Gavin Messer had 6lb 15oz which included a near 2lb perch, and below him Sam Johnson had just shy of 10lb, but he needs to learn to estimate better! The rest of the lads struggled with Fab having 3lb 8oz , and then I weighed 7lb 5oz which got me 10 points out of 13, and 5 out of 7 for the team.

Back at the results (the car park was full again) I found that a couple of my team had struggled and we weren't going to win again today. That distinction fell to the B team, and with Bathampton coming 2nd and my team 3rd it meant that after 3 matches Thatchers A and B are tied at the top. When the section winner money was called out I was shocked to hear my name, I'd picked up the money by double default, lol! My luck didn't end there though, as I managed to get through the knockout by beating Rich Lacey who weighed 7lb 2oz, that was close. Next round I'm up against Thatchers young upstart Nathaniel Johnson.

Winning the match today was elder statesman Vic Abbot with 30lb+ of bream from a couple of pegs below the newton st loe bridge, 2nd, from the peg above Vic, was Thatchers Colin Dance with 9 bream for 28lb. Colin tried for the bream on the feeder from the off, and after about 10 quick casts he had one on his first proper try, he never bothered with the pole after that!

Well that's another decent river match done, 12lb was needed to frame today, and that's good in my book. It seems we may well be getting a lot of rain this week and maybe we'll be fishing a more coloured, even flooded river next Sun?

Sunday, 13 October 2013

ATWL Round 2 Bristol Avon Newbridge

The most important thing for me today was making sure I packed my water proofs and umbrella, though the rest of my tackle was also going to be important I hoped. I got to the draw in time to snare a couple of bacon rolls and a cup of tea, talk was of the good weights that had come out on Wednesday on a little knock up, with Derek Coles winning that with 30lb of hybrids off peg 22. In my view Newbridge fishes well to begin, but gradually the weights declines as the matches take their toll. All to soon the draw was done and I found myself on peg 20, a peg I have drawn a fair few times and I seem to draw this area a fair bit.

On arrival at my peg I was able to talk to my knockout opponent Andy Britt, and his team mate Darren Gillman, their captain Kev Dicks was on the next peg above me. On the peg below 22 was Brian Derrick. I wondered if those Hybrids would have moved up into my peg, or moved down in 22A where my team mate Nick Chedozy had drawn, time would tell. I know that this peg is best fished on the pole at 13m, this is where most of the flow is, and fishing across for chublets is also a good bet. This is my view of the peg....

As you can see I was a good 6 feet off the water!

Setting up rigs for the pole today was fairly simple as the river was still clear and very slow, a 1grm pencil rig with 0.10 to a 20, a 2grm rig with an 18 to 0.12, and a 1.5grm worm rig which never got me a bite today. I set up a maggot feeder for fishing across with 0.14 to a 16, I didn't fancy the waggler as this peg is very wide and a lot of leaves would make it tricky. I was hopeful those hybrids would be near, so I threw in 14 big balls of gbait full of casters and hemp on my 13m line. First drop in and I hooked a 4oz roach which I dropped trying to swing it (dickhead). Not to worry as I had a bite next drop in from a 2oz roach, and for 15 mins it was just these small roach that showed on caster, then the elastic came out and a 12oz hybrid was netted. Here we go!!!! Errr no! I could get bites but they were awkward to hit and from mainly small roach. The pencil rig was best and I was fishing about 6 inches off bottom as I was getting bites on the drop, and the occasional 4oz roach showed. Another hybrid of 1lb was landed after an hour and I was quite happy with my start.

Things started to slow up in the 2nd hour and the roach were getting smaller, then I hit a decent fish on the 2grm rig which pulled out a lot elastic. It swam for the inside and I guessed it was a chub, I pulled the pole up hard and then a perch of well over a 1lb surfaced and threw the hook, nuts! I had started to loose feed hemp on the pole line but things were getting worse not better and not helped when a pike turned up and did a few hook lengths. The rain had been falling very hard and my maggots were trying to escape, so I went up the bank to get a bit of brown crumb and then decided to see how other anglers were doing. Kev said he had well less than 4lb, and Andy Pritchard thought he had 4lb, so I was ahead just.

My pole line was now barren of fish it seemed, but alive with boats! There were loads of boats today, and at times you couldn't fish, I took this photo as evidence, note the boat in the foreground is resting over my pole line, the boat across resting over my planned feeder line...
I had a bad third hour and then decided to try adding some more groundbait onto the pole line, but rather than ball it again I cupped in 4 balls and had a look on the feeder, which was a waste of time. However, the pole line came back to life with small 2oz roach and I was now getting these every chuck and kept plugging away until it died off and I couldn't revive it. With 45 mins remaining I decided to go all out on the maggot feeder for chub, I didn't catch one of them but I did manage a couple of perch, a roach and a 12oz hybrid. When the match finished I wasn't sure if I was wet, cold or both!

The weigh in started on peg 14 where Chris Higgins was thoroughly soaked and peed off, he'd been piked out (a monster) and had fallen in, lol, he weighed 3lb. Andy Pritchard weighed 4lb 15oz and then Kev Dicks weighed the same as Andy until he found a little roach in his net and gained 1/2oz, Kev then went to get his box out and fell in! I then plonked 10lb 15oz on the scales (which I think is more than double what Kev had, hee hee!) and below me Brian had 1lb 12oz. That sealed a section win for me worth £50 in this league, nice! I also got through the knockout as Andy Britt weighed 7lb+.

Once again the Avon had fished well with only one section not won with double figures. Winning on the day was Nick Chedzoy with 35lb of hybrids (yep they went down stream the buggers!) on the pole, well done matey.

2nd Martin Rayet on peg 65 with 25lb of bream on the feeder
3rd Roy Carter 23lb 7oz with bream (think he ws on peg 74, life in the old dog yet)

Bathampton won again, beating Thatchers by 1.5 points on the day, and Thyers were 3rd.

I can't finish without mentioning Gary Cross. You may recall he had a last in section next to me last week, but this week being on the bream peg "54" he was surely going to get a few? Things went from bad to worse as Gary managed to drop in his top 6 during the match, a fish was on and it very slowly pulled the sections out of reach. Gary tried casting over it to retreive it, but then like a scene out of jaws a pike must have snaffled the fish and at a rate of knots Gary's top 6 gathered speed and disappeared into the far bank. Gary bagged another last section, I'm sure his luck will change soon.

Next week it is up here at again but on the Commercial House, more rain required please.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

October November 1994

I'm writing this as I consider my options for tomorrows ATWL at Newbridge, and it looks like I will need to take all my wet weather gear. Knackered today as I have been working in Munich since Tuesday and didn't get back until 10:30pm Friday, Bavarian beer is damn good so it was worth it!

Things were rather tough back in October 1994, and after my previous ATWL 2oz I was hoping for a better catch on the Avon above Bath. I drew at Avoncliffe, 1 below the railway bridge which was a fair old walk, and the peg looked poor as the river was up a bit due to extra water. I managed to catch 2lb 14oz which comprised 2 perch, 1 roach and 1 chublet on the maggot feeder fished across, 1 roach and 1 eel on a straight lead over caster in a slack. 9 points for the team and we won the day, nice. More rain followed this match and the river was now in flood, but with my next match a Bathampton open at Newbridge I wasn't worried as it is a good venue when in flood (usually). I drew peg 141 and whilst I thought the 130's better I was happy being in the trees section. I attached the swim with a gbait feeder fished just a few rod lengths out with a 16 to 2lb maxima. I had a lot of bites on maggot and worm, but the swim was really snaggy and I lost a lot of hooks and fish, I suspect eels as that is what I caught mainly. My 7lb 2oz won me nothing as bream showed up, with 30lb winning from peg 54.

My last match of Oct 94 saw me entering the middle Avon champs, with the river still in flood I wasn't going to take much gear and a couple of feeder rods would have done me I suspect! I drew the end peg 1 at Bathford and started by fishing a maggot feeder down the peg which brought 1 dace, 1 roach and 2 perch. A bream rolled in front of me and it looked huge, so out went the gbait feeder over where it surfaced. During the rest of the match the bream rolled another 5 times (i'm convinced it was the same fish as it looked huge) but a roach and a 1lb+ eel was all I caught. I weighed 3lb and won my ten peg section giving me £25, but I can still see that bream rolling in my mind to this day!

On Friday the 4th November I was in Avon Angling after work collecting my bait for the Poppy Match, Pete Sivell was also there and was moaning because he had a team in league and had been let down by angler at the last minute. He talked me in to fishing with him, the match was the next day at lake I'd never heard of called Moorlands Farm, rather famous now! Pete told me I would love it and gave me some pointers how to fish it and I made a couple of rigs up at home. On the day I remember how amazed I was at the sight of this venue, driving in down the hill seeing the lakes spread out before you. Team draw done and I ended up on peg 40 on Meadow lake, Pete said it was crap for carp and to fish sensible for skimmers. It was probably a good thing I didn't draw on carp as I'm sure I would have been hammered! Fishing with a cane topped float, and 0.10 to a 24 hook, I fished at 10m out and fed just 6 casters and 2 maggots ever few minutes. The first couple of hours were not bad and I some skimmers and crucians, but then wind dropped and the bites became hard to get. I remember an angler opposite moaning he couldn't catch whilst I was was, it was the late Dave Hinton, and so I thought I must be doing OK. A bream of nearly 4lb was my best fish and helped my weight up to 17lb 9oz. I won the 24 peg section and picked up £50. I was grateful to Pete talking me in to going as I ended up spending a lot of time there in later years.

The Poppy match the next day and with the river a foot up I was looking for a bream peg, what I got was a peg just below the top of the long ash tip. This day ended up a real laugh! I never had a bite all match, but the peg above (back then) was noted for chub and on it was a work colleague of mine Shane Caswell (I was next to him last week remember?). Shane fished the feeder all match under his feet and I told him he wasted the peg as he should have fished across, he was pretty unhappy and he as soon as the whistle for the match ending went, he walked up to see how others had done. I was very naughty, I got in Shane's peg and fished the feeder across, by the time he had come back I had taken a large roach and a 3lb chub and I gave him loads of stick! When I got back to Frys for the results I told my team mates about what happened and this story spread. Shane got back late (he always polishes his rods after a match) and was asked by everyone he saw about how he "fooked up"! Let's just say he wasn't to happy with me and call me a James Hunt, but he forgave me (eventually) and he's still a great mate to this day, with a brilliant sense of humour I might add!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

ATWL Bristol Avon, Jack Whites to Swineford

I was really looking forward to this match as this lower bit of the river is rammed full of small fish at present, and the bream aren't showing. It was a shame the real heavy rain we were promised in the week did not materialise as the river needs a few days of it, as it turned out what rain we did have made little difference. As ever I was hoping for a draw at Swineford, or one of the flyers at Jackies, but back came the team draw with me up the crane again. I found myself pegged in the middle of the bay in the little ashtip field, a peg where you have to wade out (cheers Andy Ottaway!). It can be a very good roach peg, and there's a chance of chub across, but I'd prefer it with more flow on if i'm on honest.

I donned my waders and worked my way out to as far as I could go and then waited to see how far I sank.... It seemed safe where I was stood "up to my chunks" so that would be my station for the day. I then went to get out my long bank sticks and remembered I had not put them back into the holdall since fishing the commercials, doh! I managed to borrow one from Nigel Saunders, and one from Shane Caswell (who was one above me). I did ask Gary Cross (one below me) but he had forgot his too, and he borrowed one from Liam Braddel. Then Nigel Saunders had to borrow a landing net handle from Gary, and to be honest there was so much swapping going on I got confused, lol! I thought long and hard about what to set up, having to stand up was not going to work for long pole, so up went a 3AAA wag, a 6 no4 stick float, a feeder (not used) and a 1grm pencil float on 7m of pole. 20 to 0.10 was my standard set up, but 18 to 0.12 on the wag.

Although I had my balling mix with me I decided against using it in order to try to get some response feeding hemp and caster, I threw about 4 handfuls of each in to start with. Second run down on the stick and I had a dace on a maggot hookbait, and gradually bites got more regular with more roach than dace coming to the stick. 2lb after the first hour was OK as I expected the peg to build up during the day, and going into the 2nd hour things remained fairly consistent but the roach were all around 4oz and some came to the pole rig, I probably now had 6lb which was better than my neighbours. Unfortunately what little flow I had now greatly reduced and so did the bites, and from here on in it was real hard work to get bites. Maggot was getting me more bites than caster today, and various tries with hemp only resulted in one roach.

From the beginning of the match I had been feeding maggots over to the boats, so I picked up the wag and was really hoping it would bury with a chub. It buried but a dace took my double maggot, and another dozen casts were fruitless so back to the inside. This line was really iffy, and if I did get a couple of bites or roach that would be it for a while, and I had to keep swapping between rigs and depths and hookbaits, but as the match went on the fish just got smaller and smaller. Another couple of looks on the wag were only rewarded with an odd roach or dace, and I set up a chopped worm rig as things were so touch, but that only yielded 3 small perch. With the end of the match approaching I knew I was behind Shaun Townsend, but beating Gary Cross who was looking for his phone (he left it in the car) to ring the Samaritans. I stuck to fishing the wag for chub, still feeding plenty of maggots, and for the last 20 mins had a bite a chuck from roach, swinging one in on the whistle. I suppose it was the time of day they started to feed, but I also thought perhaps I had made a mistake fishing to close in with the stick, maybe a long rod with bolo float down the middle would have been better?

After the match I gave Shane's bank stick to Shaun, and then gave Shane Nigel's bank stick, but he sorted it all out! Nigel Saunders on peg 1 weighed 4lb and lost 30+ hook lengths to pike, Shaun then had a section winning 15lb, Shane 8lb 15oz, myself 10lb 3oz and Gary Cross 3lb something. I forget what Gary weighed as his captain Lance Tucker gave him a load of stick for being crap and I was pissing myself! I then went back to my peg and couldn't find my bank stick, I have a feeling Shane has hid it somewhere, arse!

I got back to the draw feeling knackered, standing up in silt for 5 hours is bloody hard work (I wish I was 20 again!). The team had done OK off what I thought was a poor draw, but Bathampton did very well and won the match beating us by 1 point. Here is the top 6 overall, all small fish bags on the float:-

1st Mark Bromsgrove 18lb 3oz from below Bitton Brook (worh £230)
2nd Mark Harper 17lb 13oz, top of long ashtip
3rd Paul Purchase 17lb 1oz, Swineford somewhere
4th R Whitmarsh 16lb 1oz (next to Mark Harper)
 joint 5th Shaun Townsend and Nathaniel Johnson 15lb 9oz.

In fact today every 5 peg section was won with at least 12lb 7oz, now that's good fishing in my book,

Next week is round two at Newbridge, and with no rain forecast it could be a struggle if not drawn on a few, fingers crossed then!