Sunday, 24 November 2013

Commercial House Round 4 Bristol Avon Swineford, Crane and Jack Whites

This match was to be the last of the winter league matches on the river, a shame because it has fished well mainly this year. After two hard frosts the river would be clear but still pacey and I really wanted to draw a chub peg today, Swineford would be best for that. As ever I was armed to the teeth with various baits, rigs, rods to cover all situations, I even had last weeks joker which I thought I could stuff in my groundbait if on a roach peg. I was in the knockout today, against Nathaniel Johnson, and the team were tied at the top with the B team so there was plenty to play for.

Team captain Mark Harper did the draw and told me I was on peg 4 in B section which was at Swineford, yay! I was worried though that this peg would not be far enough down the river for the chub (Bitton Brook down is the place). Pulling up at Swineford I was parked next to Nick Coles who told me he was on B4, what! After a few phone calls I finally find out the team peg was 11 not 4, that meant letting everyone in the team know lol! I was on chub then, so I left the pole and most of my gbait in the car.

I helped my team mate Mike Williams (from Wales) by giving some advice on his peg in A section and then carried on walking, and walking and walking until finally I collapsed on peg B11. I was 2 pegs below Bitton Brook (Andy Power was on that flyer) which was 1 above the beach, and with a long trot it was perfect for fishing for chub. Time was short and all I got set up was a feeder rod with a blockender with 0.16 to 13 B711, and an 11BB crowquill with 0.148 exceed to a 17 B711. The view of my peg from the top of the bank, if you look carefully you can see some reeds stuck up to the left, and there were more to the right. Any chub hooked would head for the reeds so I had no choice but to wade into the river, and it was freezing!

Just before the start Andy Ottoway came walking down with his little girl, he watched me make my first cast a few minutes after the whistle and I think we were both surprised when the float went under and a little fish was hooked but it came off. Next chuck another bite and a little dace snaffled the double maggot and not long after a tiny roach. I was firing maggots and casters (about 20) out about a third of the way across where the flow was fairly consistent (not boily) but had a bit of pace. After about 20 mins I hooked a chub about a 1lb and on my trusty original Normark Titan it stood no chance and it was netted. Within another 10 mins I took another chub slightly smaller from right in front of me just as the float settled, and another couple of dace and another chublet gave me a nice first hour.

Bites were very few but this can be typical with chub fishing and you have to stay confident and keep working the float and feed to try and trick them. I kept the feeding at the same rate as I saw no need to change just yet, and in the second hour I caught a fairly similar amount (I thought) as I did in the first but some of the fish were caught a very long way down the peg. The chub I was catching were all smaller than a 1lb but still good weight builders, I had to vary the colour and combination of the maggots on the hook but in general a red and a bronze was best. I bumped a couple of fish during the day and pulled out of two reeling them back, I think this was due to hooking them so far away, and so I stepped up to a 15 B711. I still caught the very odd dace and had a nice 8oz roach, maybe I could have caught more of them if I had gone lighter but I daren't risk going lighter in this peg. I now started to up the feed as I felt the peg was slowing down and I also started casting further across into the fast water, this proved to be a good decision as I hooked my biggest chub, perhaps 2lb and took a few more of the sub 1lb fish. During this time I only had one chub get in the reeds and I couldn't budge him, so I walked over with my net and tried to scoop him but the reed was stopping it, so I made a big thrash with the net and the hook pulled out. However, as I pulled the net back there was the chub, that was lucky then! I also had a pike take a chub but I held on tight and Mr pike spat it out and I landed it, lucky again. I also saw something I have not seen for a long time, a bloody mink, he was trying to get my banana that I left on the bank, despite shouting the bastard did not back off, until I tried to hit it with the rod!

With an hour to go my feet were frozen, well I couldn't feel them, but this also coincided with the peg dying on me and I never had a bite on the float in the last hour even when I was ladling the maggots in. I tried the feeder over to the tree and with 10 mins left had a drop back and felt a solid resistance but then nothing, I reeled in to find only 1 of the 4 maggots left but I think the feeder was in a snag and I didn't hook the fish. As soon as the match ended I went for a walk to warm up my feet!

When the scales arrived 11lb was caught below me on the beach, then I plonked 18lb 5oz on the scales and it looked a lovely net of fish, no photo as it was now quite dark. Above me Steve Skelton had 3lb, and then the Ginger Ninja Andy Power had 16lb off the brook, so let the be a lesson, lol! I think Kev DIcks had 7lb from peg 27 and there were no more weights to worry me so I won the section. Now it was time to walk back, and f&ck me it was hard work, 3 styles and mud and now pitch black, I was certainly toasty when I got back to the car, in fact I was soaking with sweat through 3 layers....

When I finally got back to the rugby club I found out the river had fished OK considering the frosts, but there were some blanks at Jack Whites, and Nathaniel had 1/2oz there so I progressed through the knockout a tad easily ;-) Also at Jackies Martyn Rayet hooked a monster of fish that he played for 30 mins but nearly ran out of reel line and lost it, we reckon it was a salmon as one was seen jumping and a few trout were also caught.

Results on the day

1st Shaun Townsend (he's getting boring now) 22lb of roach from the long ashtip, a great result
2nd Me 18lb 5oz
3rd Mark Leader 17lb (1st peg at Jackies dace and a 4lb chub)
4th Andy Power 16lb

Bathampton won on the day, Thatchers A 2nd, and as Thatchers B dipped the A team team have now got a few points lead with the two canal matches left. I have drawn Mark Harper in the next round of the knockout and that will be very hard as he's very good on the canal. Apparently I'm top in the individual scores now, so I am really going to have to get the canal sorted out!

Well that was a really nice way to end the river and I've been waiting to catch some chub for ages as I love that sort of fishing.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

ATWL Round 5 Kennet & Avon Canal

First of all an apology for last week, I should have spelt Martyn Reyatt, Reyat, and he also told me I forgot he blanked on the Poppy raffle (and he bought £10 worth of tickets!).

I've not be feeling very well this last week, and I was in two minds whether to fish this match or not, but as I was in the top 3 individuals and in the last 4 of the knockout I got my head round it. A few rigs were made up on the Saturday and with bread liquidized I was ready. I picked up Warren Bates on the way to the match as he was running the bank today for Bathampton, we had some grub, paid my pools, got my bloodworm and joker and did the draw. Due the pegging being spaced out there were some decent pegs in today, but I avoided them being a few pegs past the white gate up by the school (past the George). This is on a bend and I wasn't sure how it would fish, to my left Martyn Reyat said it was crap, and with Andy Pritchard on the end peg on the gate and Dave Wride on the next peg I thought it was going to be tough to do well.

Bringing out the old rigs again... A 4x14 Drennan roach for bread punch, with 0.07 to 18 PR331, a 0.4grm wire bristle jobby for bloodworm, a 0.2g PB silvers for bloodworm across, a 4x10 and 4x12 for caster and chopped worm were also set up.

I fed some licky at 5m, fed joker at 2m, 11m and 13m, the latter with some casters, I did feed some gbait but never had a bite over this. Dropping in on the punch I had 3 fish in as many drops and then a boat went right over the top, before the water could settle another boat went through, and just as I was thinking about feeding a bit more licky a 3rd boat came through! Unfortunately each of these boats came through with the rudder on an angle to navigate the bend and that messed the peg up worse. I finally managed to get things settled and whilst it was slow I took 15 roach on bread after 75 mins which seemed OK. I moved over to my 11m line but this was dead, perhaps it was too early. Dave Wride was doing OK across so I went over early on the caster and had 5 small roach in as many chucks, it slowed as expected but before I could work it out more boats came but this time they firked up the far bank! As you can see it was two boats strapped together towing another boat.....hmmmm.
The middle of the match was pretty dead for me but I did have a little boat to my left where I fed a bit of joker next to (out of desperation) despite the owner and his dog getting on and off it all day long. At one point he went for an hour, but when he returned he had a fence post with him, he dropped that against his boat and it went into the canal. He son retrieved it and had a go chopping it with an axe. Despite all that I did get a whole 3 bites against this boat, one of them was a 10 to 12oz perch which I lost not far from the net, rollox. I went and fed some chopped worm down to my right on the inside (as at least this was not being messed up by boat wash) but only got to try this line once as a bit later a boat came and moored in there meaning I could not fish where I had fed, mint!

I went back across on the caster rig (as Dave was bagging) but it wouldn't go under so I tried my light bloodworm rig and I then had a run of a dozen dumpy roach before the "John Rennie" boat came up and trashed my peg again. More searching for not a lot of fish before I went across again and found the dumpy roach again, but I trashed the rig. Another rig attached and a few more roach before the John Rennie came back and finished the peg off for good. I was feeling pretty hacked off, but I did have a chuckle when Andy Pritchard had to get in the canal to retrieve two butt sections (look closely he is there, preparing to dive!).
Not long after this Dave Wride snapped his pole but at least he had caught plenty of fish. I was quite happy when the whistle went, but not looking forward to weighing in. Warren got on with the task and soon I was staring at the section sheet with 4lb 1oz and a lowly 2 points. Dave won the section with 5lb 8oz, Martyn was 2nd with 4lb 12oz, and Andy 3rd with 4lb 4oz. As expected the perch I lost cost me a better result. I also got knocked out of the knockout by Nick Chedzoy, good luck to him in the final.

Getting back to the results I was really hoping my poor result was not gonna cost the team, and I was pulled out of the mire as the lads did well and we won the day with 42 points. Bathampton came 2nd with 40 points and Thyers 3rd. Thatchers now lead the league by 1 point going into the last match.

Joint winners on the day were Andy Britt and Shaun Townsend (him again) with 10lb 9oz, but Shaun left a fish in his net and managed to throw one back instead of in his keepnet, lol! Andy had a lot of skimmers in his net. In 3rd place was Nathaniel Johnson with 10lb from the recycle tree peg, and Liam Braddell was 4th with 9lb 13oz. Those good weights hide the fact that some sections were strangely poor, with 3lb a good weight in places.

Next week it is back on the river with the commercial house, looks like it is going to be cold this week.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Poppy Match Bristol Avon

As ever I was looking forward to this (my lucky) match, although the rain we had in the run up to the match was going to have an affect on the river. I'd taken a look at the river on Saturday and on Sunday it didn't look that much different to me, so I guess the rain just kept it up. I got to the draw nice and early but still was parked a fair way from club, I returned the Poppy cup to organiser Ray Bazely and got myself a breakfast. There were so many faces I recognised at the draw I could have spent all day chatting, and it was nice to finally meet fellow blogger Ivan Currie (Ivan's Angle) at last.

As far as I was concerned today a draw at Newbridge or one of a handful of pegs up the crane would be needed to do well. Unfortunately my drawing arm let me down today (I think I've used it too much in the past) and I ended up the last peg in the little ash tip field which was one away from peg 85 in the long ash tip where I have won from before, but the pegs are like chalk and cheese. Actually the guy on 85 was a basic club angler, he had dug his peg out so he could sit on the bank, but not on his box on his arse. His jeans were halfway down his arse and he had a crack full of earth, either that or he had shit himself, lol! (Poor bugger had no heavy feeders and couldn't hold bottom apart from close in.) Below me today was Swindon Stalwart Pete Gilbert, and two below him was one of the nicest blokes in fishing Mike Shellard, in the bay was Derek Coles and I fancied that peg for the section. My set up today was simple as the peg was boily and pacey, two feeder rods; one with a 13 B711 (for maggots, casters, worms) and one with a 12 PR355 (for lobworm) both attached to .0165 Exceed line and a dirty great big open ended feeder! My groundbait was sensas red magic and brown crumb mixed on the wet side.

On the whistle I under armed my feeder to about 3 rods out and had about 6 quick casts and then impaled 3 red maggots to see what was about. There were plenty of leaves about and a few snags, and I lost a few hooks and pulled a branch out. It took me until 1hour and 10 mins to get my first bite from a small roach, and next chuck I had a 4oz roach. That was a false dawn and it was another 20 mins before my next bite which I missed. By this stage Glenn Bailey had a small pike below Newton St Loe bridge, Jerry Pocock had 6lb from peg 134 in the trees and Warren Bates had a small bream and a roach from peg 109 in the trees. Unfortunately Warren had to leave as his son had been taken to hospital, his son seems to be OK though and Warren left his net in and won the section despite missing 3.5 hrs of the match. My peg was producing the odd bite but nothing regular and I could tell it was just roach bites, apart from a perch that took a dendra and 2 maggots! Once again I was in familar rod pose as you can see, though this picture doesn't show up the boily water!

Word on the bank was that the Crane was fishing very hard and I kept my head down fishing in the hope a bream or two might show. I could not get a bite on a lobworm today, and never did all match, and I soon realised that bunches of maggots, casters, or worm and maggots was best. I never put less than 3 on the hook as I was trying to make a target bait for the bigger fish I would need, well this wasn't a team match! Mid match I took another couple of roach, including a couple of 4oz fish but I missed a couple of good roach raps. Treble caster then gave me a nice 8oz roach out of the blue and then a dace but this seemed to be the end of action for a while, my section was fishing dismal and so I kept plugging away but the last hour was not good and I had my fun feeding a couple of swans.

Another roach came my way with 15 mins left and then I missed a bite next chuck, I thought it was leaves on the line and it was only when I wound in and found no casters left  I found out doh! The match ended and I knew the cup would not be coming back to the Ford residence this year. The scales came down from the top of the long ashtip and only 2lb 3oz was top, my 8 fish weighed 2lb 7oz which was 1lb more than Pete and so I won the section. It turned out the Crane fished shite and my weight was 3rd in the 35 pegs down here. Up at Newbridge the fishing was much better in certain areas (despite Martyn Reyatt blanking) with some good roach feeding, Nigel Wyatt had a 2lb fish!

1st on the day was Jerry Pocock with 11lb 8oz a bream and some roach over a 1lb on the feeder (peg 134). In the last 3 weeks Jerry has been 1st, 2nd and now 1st on the feeder, which is amazing. I offered him a neck brace as I guessed he must have a stiff neck from staring at his tip, lol! Well done Jer, you certainly have the feeder sorted.

2nd was Jerry Welsh with a high 9lb from peg 10 in the little field (3 big skimmers and roach, 3 pegs from Mr Reyatt).

3rd Mark Harper 9lb 9oz from peg 26 with roach and a virtually a last cast 3lb bream all on the feeder. Another angler on a great run this autumn.

There were so many laughs today I couldn't begin to tell you them all, Ray Bazely is just the best person at announcing results bar none! Nigel Bateman who fishes for Keynsham Angling told me his plan was to have a good breakfast and win a raffle prize, and he did just that!I managed to fluke a raffle prize too. Dean Harvey tried to collect his brothers section winnings instead of his, and so many more laughs, just ask Phil Harding who stayed till the end, you don't get that on a commercial ;-). Finally well done to Ray and his team (Dave Haines, Paul Haines, Colin Ellaway) for doing a great job on this match, I believe £1200 was raised, and I look forward to the special one next year.

Next week sees the first ATWL on the canal, so all new rigs, new elastics and a set of blinkers and ear muffs required!

As a reminder my own fund raising is going well for bowel cancer UK, but I know there are a lot more generous anglers out there who are just itching to give me their money, so don't forget to click on my link, sign the form at Avon Angling, or see me, thanks to all who have splashed the cash so far, I'm over £500 now.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

ATWL Round 4 Bristol Avon Newbridge

Well the weather gods seem to be doing their best to mess the river up for us winter league anglers, getting late rain the day before a match for the second week running, forcing the river to come up during the match,. I was out with friends on Saturday night, seeing a mate who lost his wife earlier this year to breast cancer, after enough cider the wife took me home and I realised I'd left me coat behind. Later in the night my old mate baggy decided to mess up the new sheets on the bed, sigh.... I know things come in threes but I hoped a bad day on the river was not going to be it!

At the draw Glenn Bailey was back out for his team of all stars "Amalgamation" after a few weeks of doing not a lot. I laughed my socks off when his team mate Shane (or is Shaun) Caswell poured hot chilli sauce over his brekkie thinking it was brown sauce, lol! My team were having a debate as to who should draw and in the end gave the task to me, when I came back with the pegs all some of them did was moan! Granted there were a few pegs I would not have liked, but I thought it was alright. As for me I was in my usual area, on peg 22 behind the pumphouse, on a random draw I just can't believe how often I can be in this same area, weird!

 My section ran from peg 14 where my now regular sparring partner Shaun Townsend was, to peg 22A where Craig Pinker was. On 20 was Mike Withey and and on bream peg 16 was Jerry Pocock (with 18 not pegged he was gonna do well). I needed to get into the water to fish this peg, and luckily borrowed Nick Chedzoy's waders. I added my extended legs to my box and set up in the river, 2 pole rigs a 4grm float, a 4 grm flatty and a feeder with a 14 B611 to 0.15 were all I needed I hoped. The river was not that dirty at all but the pace was a bit more than I fancied, and after throwing in 12 balls of gbait on the feeder line it seemed it had gotten faster in the hour since I plumbed up! The 4grm rig threw up one bite and no fish, well I did get 1, a minnow in the edge when I was changing the depth! On with the flatty and 1 bite on this which I missed but it was all wrong and so I put on an 8grm flatty, on this I had nothing!

1 hour and 15 mins into the match and I finally gave the minnow some company in the form of a 3oz roach on the feeder. About 10 mins later I had another, and these had come from over the pole line, but that was the end of that. I had cast the feeder across the river to the boats and now gave it a good try, just as I was talking to Andy Ottoway I had a drop back and landed a 1lb+ chub. Just after 2 hours in I went for a walk and the best was Shaun with 1.5lb which is what I thought I had, so it was fishing hard. The river was rising slightly and the pace picking up more, the pole line became redundant as leaves were coming through really bad, but across on the feeder was much clearer. To be honest I was having a bad day and my phone was red hot as I rang others and many other people rang me, all looking for inspiration. Nathaniel Johnson was on about 4lb and had caught on the pole, so he was looking like knocking me out of the knockout. Glenn had caught a few on the pole and then took 3 bream in 3 casts on the feeder.

My match was fizzling out and I had to abandon ship as the water was now getting to high and I had to get everything out and fish off the bank! I had tried a smaller hook and smaller baits but with no response I went the other way and put on a 13 B711 and tried lobworm tails. This was a good move as I had a perch of 2oz, yay! Shaun then rang me to tell me he had a skimmer and that Jerry had 3 bream, so I was really in the shit now and said to Shaun it wasn't gonna be my day. Mike Withey came down for a walk and I said we were fishing a lottery and needed my bonus ball to come up! It was frustrating that the rowing boats come through very close on this peg forcing me, to reel in the feeder sometimes far too soon. I was now on a 30grm feeder across, and with 30 mins to go I had what looked like a bite, when I reeled in the worm was gone, hmmm. My confidence was ebbing away and I tried to believe that a perch had nicked the worm. With less than 15 mins to go Nathaniel rang me again, I think he didn't really belive how bad I was doing, I then had to cut the call as yet another boat was coming through. I was too late to reel in so I dropped the tip down to the surface downstream and paid out some line to try to keep the feeder in place. The boat went past and the tip stayed bent and then dropped back, must have rolled, I struck and oh flip there's a big fish on!!! I guessed it was a bream and soon it had taken all the line from across the river to downstream on the inside as it had kited across. I can tell you my heart was beating a fair bit as I tried to pump this fish up the river towards me. It was really pulling and fighting well, and eventually after a lot of praying and patience it was in front of me and in the net, I think I shouted "Get the fuck in!" Nothing else happened in the last 10 mins other than my pulse rate reducing to normal and me ring Nathaniel to tell him he was probably going out the knockout! What an end to a torrid match, I was on high and felt like I'd drank 10 cans of red bull.

Jerry won the section (and came 2nd overall, after winning last week) with 12lb which was 3 small bream 2 chub and a couple of nice perch all on the feeder. I weighed 6lb 12oz and would say the slab was 5lb of that! Shaun was next with 3lb 9oz (finally got the better of him), and either side of me Mike had 2lb 3oz and Craig 8oz.

Getting back to the results it soon became clear the team had done really well, we only had one section winner (Andy Ottaway) but 7 second in the section results was enough to win the day, Amalgamation were 2nd, Thyers 3rd, and Bathampton 4th. As a result of this Thatchers and Bathampton are now tied on points after 4 matches, with 2 rounds left on the canal it is all to play for.

Winner on the day was matey Glenn Bailey from peg 49 with 16lb+, he never did  get any more bream but the three he had plus 5lb of roach on the pole made him a clear winner, well done on your winning return! Jerry as I have mentioned was 2nd, Martin Barrett was 3rd from peg 50 with 12lb 5oz of roach on the pole, and Dave Wride was 4th with 12lb from down in the trees (in the 130's I think) all roach on the pole. Funny the roach fed in some pegs but in others they were non existent, for example Mark Harper has been on fire catching roach this year but on peg 24 he couldn't catch 2lb.

Well more rain falling now and in the forecast I think, hope we don't get that much as I wouldn't want it to spoil the Poppy match this Sunday. I hear it is a 120 peg sell out which is brilliant.

Just one more thing, and I will be mentioning this regularly until the end of the year, I am raising money for bowel cancer UK charity, by growing a beard in December (I know not that tough, but the wife don't like it!). Around 40,000 people are diagnosed with this every year (as I was) and I want to help raise money and awareness. More info in later blogs but if you have any spare money you can donate at my page here......