Sunday, 30 March 2014

Angling Trust Winter League Southern Semi-Final - K&A Canal

Let me start by mentioning Friday, due to being so busy all week I needed to take Friday as a holiday in order to get ready for this match. I tied up about 12 rigs with hook lengths and another 12 hook lengths, sorted some top set elastic, checked catapults, mixed groundbait and got all my bait, well most of it. The wife said to me I hope all that effort is worth it, well we all think the same don't we, but you've go to be prepared.

Saturday morning up at 6am and loaded the car for the journey to Malborough football club to meet up with the team. I then collected some lob worms from Lee Trevitt, bloodworm, joker, squatts and pinkies from Colin Dance. Nigel Evans arrived but looked a bit perplexed, he'd been out of work for a while and was skint and his lift to the match didn't happen, filling his car with fuel was a very big deal for him and I felt gutted for him and hoped he had a good day. The organiser had done the team draws so that every team would get 2 end pegs to try to make it as fair a draw as possible, so I had a 1 in 5 chance of getting one of these flyers. Alas I didn't get one, but was pleased that Nigel got one and a good one at that, Colin had the other but it was not always a good end of the canal. Sadly a local lad that gave us advice on our pegs told us we had a very poor team draw, with lots of barren pegs. I was off to Bayside and I did not know much about it, but Lee had fished there the week before and passed on some info. Basically I had 2 end pegs to contend with (one has framed twice) and big bush next to a bay, I was fishing for 6 points at best.

I followed Liam Braddell and got parked up and Steve Hemmingray (runner up in world champs) pulled up next to me. We walked down the canal together and he showed me the flyers and also said we were fishing for 6 points. Finally I got to peg J3 after pushing Andy Ottoway's Preston Trolley along a muddy towpath. Let me show you the view of the bay bush flyer from my peg (zoomed in)

Looking to my left the pegs looked equally good

And now the view of my feature filled peg....not lol!

Have I got enough excuses in yet lol. I got my self settled into the peg and sat the box in the water as the nearside weed extended out a fair way, I noticed straight away how clear the water was and with the bright sun shine I thought this was gonna be a hard day.

I set up rigs as follows :-

0.4g Preston Silvers PB6 for 5m and 10m 20 PR311 to 0.07
4x12 Chianti same line and hook
4x10 Preston Silvers PB6 for further over the canal / shallow 22 PR311 to 0.07
0.6g Preston thingy (round bodied) with 14 B611 to 0.128 exceed, for 13m to my left down the middle
4x18 diamond shape float with 18 B611 to 0.10 for 13m either side to fish caster / maggot.

To start the match I fed a ball of gbait with some joker and squatt on my 5m line, 3 balls at 10m, chopped worm off to the left at 13m, casters off to the right at 13m. Starting on the 5m line with pinkie not a bite, tried bloodworm not a bite. Over to 10m line not a bite here either until 30 mins in and 10z roach saved the blank, everyone appeared to be struggling at this stage. I went on to my chopped worm line with a lob tail, and no bites, so I tried my caster line and with a red maggot on the hook the float went under and I had a 2oz perch. Next chuck and another bite and a lot more elastic came out, a better perch!!! Well a bit better but it was a 4oz perch foul hooked in the dorsal fin!

The small fish were not playing ball and the only fish I could see being caught were odd tiny fish from right across, probably on bloodworm. I had not fed across due to it being so clear. I did all of a sudden get 4 small roach from my 10m line but they went again. 90 mins and I had another look on the worm and result a 8 to 10oz perch, sadly the only bite on a worm all day. I was not getting any bites over the gbait and so I decided to feed some neat joker a bit further across the canal at 11.5m and hope that would pull some fish in later. The maggot / caster rig did get me another perch of 6oz on the caster line and a 2oz skimmer before a boat came through the peg about halfway through the match and killed all my lines! I can tell you I was pretty concerned that I was letting the team down, and guessed I was on for a very low point score. The wind was really making fishing difficult, it was mainly blowing from behind me but would veer of left and right making feeding and presentation very hard. I was also being bugged by bugs, little midges kept flying into my face all match they were a bloody pain.

I had been relentlessly feeding squatts over the 10m to 11.5m line and finally with 2 hours to go the roach responded and using the 4x10 rig and fishing off bottom I started to catch, and during parts I was flying. Squatt on the hook was by far the best bait. I guess the boat colouring up the water finally got the roach feeding, and they were coming up off the bottom and I was feeding about 25 squatts every time. I had to feed then fish as it made hitting the bites better. With 25 mins to go the boat came back and I had to wait till the last 10 mins to catch the roach again and the match was over. Bank walkers advised the three flyers had all caught well but that others had struggled. The bush peg won the section with 4 very big perch and some bits for 11lb, end peg 1 had a big 8lb and the Dorking lad on end peg 9 had a low 8lb. I weighed 4lb 5 1/2oz which the beat the guys either side of me and of the remaining pegs I was only beaten by Steve Hemmingray who had 5lb 5oz which included a 2lb perch. That meant Steve got the 6 points and I got 5. Actually after the weigh in I was really happy with how I did, not giving up and working out the roach wanted to be in shallower / up in the water, keeping working was the key, and getting beat by Steve I guess I pretty much expected.

Getting back to the results and I started to see too many glum faces on my team mates, indeed some of them had really had a bad day. However, our two lads on the end pegs did their job and won their sections, with Nige Evans coming 2nd with 17lb, so I was well pleased for him getting a bit of dosh! The individual winner was one time Bathampton angler now Diawa Gordon League Dave Micklewright. Dave had 22lb of perch to 3lb, he told me after 15mins with no small fish and seeing an angler next to him catch a perch he tried his down the middle chopped worm line, 6 big perch in as many casts was a good start! Well done Dave, a nice bloke and now he has two semi wins on the canal to his name.

The winning team on the day was Kamasan Starlets, 2nd Diawa Dorking, and in 3rd and last qualifying place was Diawa G L. Well done all 3 teams, the cream rose to the top! Thatchers ended 6th which was very disappointing, think we got the feeding wrong as the fish did not respond to gbait at all, and also we had planned to catch the roach in the deep water but they were in the shallower water. We have to lick our wounds and move on.

Big well done to Nigel Franks who ran all the opens the semi itself, a very well organised set of matches.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Emerald Pool Fishery

My first trip to Emerald Pool to fish a match, I have fished here once before about 10 years ago and to be honest I did not recognise the place! I'd been given a lift to the venue by Bela Bakos as his usual partner Mike Nicholls was away, therefore I had the chance to see two chews in action. Bela did finish his large breakfast before I finished my medium version, but not my much, and I think Mike must be a slow eater, perhaps his dentures slow him down lol!

Onto the draw and pulled peg 29 which meant nothing to me, but I was told it was the peg Tony Rixon had on the previous Wednesday on Ruby lake. I took a look at Tony's blog for some tips, but he didn't mention any rigs and I really didn't glean much from it other than the pellets he used. Mat Toomes who had won on Weds was on peg 28 and wanted a £1 with me, and I knew I'd have to be lucky to win that. Mat told me how he fished on Weds and that was going to be good enough for me, though I did think the weights would be lower with 5 more anglers and and a lot colder weather. I set 3 rigs up, a 0.4g corby diamond with 0.14 to 14 PR478 for meat at top set plus one at one o'clock. A 0.2 corby slim with 0.14 to 18 PR36 for the same line but at 11 o'clock for pellet. A 4x10 margin rig with 0.14 to 16 PR36 which would also do as a shallow rig if needed. At this stage Mat had already broke a number 4 section, and Les Williams had a top set, no4 and no5 section broke when his holdall blew over.

I had only open water in front of me, but Mat had an island but said there would be no need to fish to it, view of my peg the aerator was at least 16m away I think.

This is the island that was in front of Mat...

On the whistle I potted some 6mm pellets in and some meat, but to my dismay my pellets were floating. I gave them a quick rinse and before I could put one in the band Mat had a carp. I started on the pellet and had a carp myself first put in, and spent the first hour mostly over the pellet line catching small carp and a couple of tiny tench. I'd tried an 8mm pellet but I waited a  long time for a bite and as I wasn't getting bothered by silvers the 6mm was best. I wasn't catching fast enough to do a ton as the fish were in and out. of the feed, the meat swim was tried but a carp first chuck was a false dawn. I was throwing 6mm pellets by hand to feed and also the meat onto the other line, and during the second hour kept the catch rate going. I thought I was there or thereabouts at this stage with other anglers who were doing well.

The third hour was getting a bit harder, but I'd catch 3 fish in 3 chucks then it would go quiet, but the fish were a bit bigger and I hit a few up in the water but didn't catch any shallow. I fed a bit heavier to try to get them down but it didn't really change things. Mat was chopping and changing trying to keep fish coming and working hard and had now got off his box and got more sections out of his holdall to go to the island. After 3 hours I tried meat again and took 3 carp in 3 chucks but those proved to be the last on meat. I had been feeding meat in the margin but as I felt it wasn't working I changed to feeding pellet over this, but during the day I only took 3 small carp from the margin.

With 2 1/2 hours to go I decided to put another net in, I didn't have anywhere near the 70lb limit but thought it would be nice to see how much I caught in that amount of time. My lines were now dead and I had now gotten some sections out of my holdall and went out to 11.5m at 10 o'clock which was as far as I could go and was about 3m away from an island which was not mine. A quick run of 4 small carp made me think I had sorted it, but the fish went from here too. I spent the rest of the match working hard for just a handful of small carp whilst Mat plundered his island (though he had some bad snags) steadily till the end. When the match finished I handed over my £1!

On the opposite bank Paul Elmes had 67lb, Trig next to him had 76lb and then Dom Sullivan put 78lb on the scales but he did go 3lb over in his carp net. On my bank Mat won the lake with 80lb thanks to Dom going over, and Kev Moulton won the section with 65lb a couple to Mat's right. I weighed 57lb 8oz, with my last 2 1/2 hours only giving me 10lb 8oz, at least I know I was on the pace until the point of the match!

The talk was after if we'd all have fished longer we would have caught more, but I am not convinced of that. The fish seemed to shut up shop in front of me and other anglers, and certainly those with a feature continued to get bites, I think if I had fed a long line by catty from the start maybe that would have helped. Dom did have some small fish trouble and he just fed 8mm pellet to keep them at bay and the carp on the deck, that sounds a good shout. On the other lake came the best weights with Gordon Cannings having 87lb, Bela 86lb and Tom Thick 85lb, all rather close!

You cannot knock this venue, it is stuffed with small carp and I had some pretty fish including some fantail and gold fish looking things, as well as a few big rudd and roach by accident. Well complete change of gear, rigs and baits for me for the ATWL semi this Saturday. I think it will be very tough trying to compete against so many top canal teams but we will give it our best shot.

Monday, 17 March 2014


Just a few words and pictures.

I spent most of last week tucked up in bed with flu, not good. I also got roped into fishing the ATWL semi as Andy Power cannot drag his sorry ass back from Whiteacres to Malborough for one day, lol! Seriously, I was of course expecting to be recovering at home from my op and not available for the semi, so it makes life a lot easier for Andy even if my presence weakens the team now! I say that as I have just looked at my pole float collection and I can hardly see that I have anything suitable for this venue, unless river floats or carp floats can be doctored.....

Back to yesterday and in order to have some idea how to fish the K&A canal out by Great Bedwyn way I decided to have a watch rather than to fish. This approach may backfire, but in years gone by I've often benefited by watching anglers fish, I find it gives me an idea of rigs to use, fish to be expected and some varied view of the venue. I was advised by Martin Barrett to go to Great Bedwyn Station and walk the canal sections there, and thanks to my sat nav I found the area pretty easily. Walking downstream from the car park (the canal flows up here) I soon found the lucky angler on the end peg, none other than fireman Richard Chave. Rich advised he had not been fishing for 3 months but he had obviously not lost any of his drawbag abilities as he was on a flyer. End pegs on this canal are awesome and this particular peg has won matches in the past. Next to Rich was a pretty good angler called Darren Cox, and also in the section was Mick Dent, Darran Bickerton, Simon Wilsmore, England manager Mark Downes, and none other than Nick Ewers. Good luck Nick! I watched the match start here, and other than Chavey who had 30 fish in the first hour and Simon on the other end peg it was a slow start.

The next section dropped down below a lock and the first peg is a flyer and another star called Cameron Hughes was on this peg, it was flowing like a river and he was catching a small fish a chuck. A few pegs down Nick Chedzoy was catching very small fish and next to him Hadrian Whittle was having a bit of a struggle as was the rest of the section. I walked to another section and this one was quite spread out with 4 anglers having either end pegs or a lot extra room. The first angler in this section and with extra room was former world champion Sean Ashby, he was catching a small fish a chuck on bloodworm. A peg away and also with extra room was Dorking's Ian Didicote and he was doing the same as Sean but he did have a decent perch in the net. At the other end of the section was some wires and on one side Dave Micklewright had a big perch and some small skimmers, on the other side on the end peg was Thatchers Colin Dance and he was catching 3oz roach regularly.

Rather than walk on any further I turned and walked back as that would allow me to see how the anglers were now fairing. Of note was an angler in Chedz section who I saw catch two 2lb perch. Further back Simon Wilsmore was still catching, Downsey had a stiff neck, and Darran Bickerton was catching small fish at 100mph! However, Chavey had been enjoying his day catching decent roach on casters and he had some late perch too, he won the section and came 3rd overall with 15lb 3oz, his catch is here...

I enjoyed rubbing shoulders with some of the UK's best anglers, and whilst of course they were not going to give away any secrets they were all very pleasant and did speak to me when I asked a few questions. I am always aware nobody wants to be skylined or put out of rhythm so I tried to keep a low profile, sit and watch out of the way and gauge the reaction. I can honestly say all the anglers I met were gentlemen, and it was nice to say hello to some lads I've not seen for a long time. Look at this gathering of top anglers watching the weighing in, Downsey, Cox, Wilsmore.....

The Thatchers lads fishing had some up and down results, the two who drew end pegs had plenty of fish, but Colin got beat by Sean Ashby for the section. So what did I learn? Well that would be telling! Firstly draw an end peg and you really should be laughing (only in one section is an end peg a crapper), the top anglers are dynamite on small fish when using bloodworm on the hook. I know I cannot match them on bloodworm, so my plan is hope to draw an end peg!

This Sunday I'm off to Emerald fishery, maybe I can ponce a few floats that might be useful for the semi!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Lower Avon Champs Newbridge

The last weekend match of the river season on Newbridge is always the Lower Avon Champs and is usually a bream or bust affair. Sadly over the years I've never done any good in this event, but I keep going thinking the law of averages will finally swing in my favour.

I got to the draw and realised I'd left my mobile phone at home, not a problem other than no photos for blog, it just meant people would think I was either bagging or being ignorant lol! I thought there were a fair number of pegs in the draw that would give a chance of bream today so it would be unlucky not to get one. I entered into the pairs today with Roy Carter, Roy pulled peg 77 which can produce but is not as good as 74 and 76. I managed to get into the draw queue fairly early but even so 4 or 5 good pegs came out of the bag before me, I pulled out peg 90 which was just about as far from the bream as you could get, and whilst you never say never I thought my chances of doing any good in the match were already over. This peg is just below a small stream and is shallower than most and a good roach peg under normal conditions, but the river is still pacey and my peg was far to fast for fishing a float. Two feeder rods were assembled but to be honest only one got used, this had a 14 B611, and later a 16 PR456 to 0.148 exceed.

To start the match I threw 16 balls of gbait laced with casters, worms and dead maggots just short of half way. (I heard that some people threw up to 50 balls in at the start, WTF!!!) An hour later I was still waiting for my first bite, changing to caster on the hook brought me a good bite and a roach of 1lb. Not long after a 6oz roach obliged and then a chub of 1lb+. After the end of the second hour bites dried up again and I thought the rest of the match would be tough, but a few more bites and a few small roach kept me trying things. I went for a walk with 2 hours to go (this was a 6 1/2 hour match) and the anglers above me were all struggling, only Kev Dicks on 74 was doing better than me as he landed a bream just as I got to him (his only one).

Back to my peg and the last hour brought virtually a bite a chuck, but could I hit them, could I bugger! The trouble was the swim had some sort of snags in there, and whilst I never lost any kit I did blunt quite a few hooks. However, the hooks weren't the problem, I couldn't balance the feeder properly as one minute it would sit solid, the next it would bounce, all depending if it was on whatever the snag was. It was frustrating, but at least I was getting regular bites which was a nice way to end the day. My fish weighed 6lb 2oz, which surprised me because I was sure there was well over 7lb in my net, but maybe I need to go to Specsavers!

My section was won, as was the match, on peg 61 by Ben Leach with 123lb 12oz I think. Ben had 2 bream after 3 hours, and by the end of the match he had 26, nice! Kev Dicks won my section by default with 9lb, so I needed to hit more roach bites for coin. The guy on peg 63 had a rainbow trout, Martin Barrett on 65 had a 7lb 6oz bream on the pole, here endeth the bream as Glenn Bailey next door can testify!

2nd Derek Coles 66lb 1oz on peg 32
3rd Graham Hunt 60lb on peg 20 (13 bream virtually all caught in just over an hour)
4th Nathan Hawke 55lb 3oz on peg 54
5th Steve Hutchinson 45lb 10oz on peg 16
6th was I think Mike Martin with 34lb

Biggest fish was by Mike Withey with a bream of 10lb!!!!!

Pairs was won by Derek and Nathan.

Well my shocking run in this match continues, but some people had a really tough day today, Leigh Trevitt blanked on peg 6 in the little field and I think other than my net of roach there were hardly any caught.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Ivy House Open

Firstly your probably wondering why am I writing another blog post when I am supposed to be in hospital? Well the good old NHS royally fooked up on Wednesday, I was in the hospital name band on, surgical socks on and then they realised they had booked me in for a 90 min op when I need a 3 to 4 hour op. They didn't have enough time and so I was sent home, after a bit of swearing and my wife shedding some tears. It takes some mental effort for all concerned to get ready for a big op, and it messed my head up as well as my families. I was not sure whether to go fishing or not, and I ended up only on Saturday buying a little bait and deciding on another trip to Ivy House. I made some more rigs up and felt well prepared.

It only takes me 40 minutes to get to this venue which is quicker than many commercials, and so after a party last night (a bonus of not having the op) I was glad of a not to early start. Arriving at the draw 26 people were fishing today, and I saw a couple of familiar faces again, Vince Shipp, and Martin McMahon (who'd fished Sat as well and won his section by default from peg 46) and Nick (I forget his surname sorry!) and his brother. Saturday's match had been won from peg 44 (peg I had last week, doh!) with 43 2nd and peg 12 coming 3rd. When I drew out peg 45 I had to be happy that I was near some fish this time,  Nick drew after me and pulled 46. My views of the lake from peg 45...

The lad on 44 had an empty peg to his left so he would be in for a good day!

Nick doing a good gnome impression for the first 3 hours!

With the weather forecast to deteriorate during the day I was happy to have the wind blowing off my back and across and not as bad as some pegs. As Martin had caught on a wag the day before I thought I would set one up as a back up line, hmmm where's me waggler rod? At home in the shed where I left it on Tuesday! Thankfully Martin lent me a rod, and two hair rig hook lengths and some 4mm pellets, and I thought I was prepared, lol! That set up I set up two pole rigs the same as last week since the depth and conditions were similar. On the whistle I fed micros and maggots at 11.5m at both 11 and 1 o'clock, some casters at 6m (waste of space) and fired pellets at regular intervals all over the shop thanks to the changing wind! Dropping in at the left hand swim I only had to wait 5 minutes for a bite and my first 1lb carp, and with 2 more in the next 2 casts it was a good start and more than I had caught last week. This swim slowed and so I swapped lines and then caught another on double maggot. After the first hour I had 7 small carp which was OK as Nick was blanking and the lad on 44 had a couple less fish, but he then had a good 2nd hour. I had 5 carp and a skimmer in the second hour mainly from the right swim but it was getting harder to get a bite, and I wasn't getting any indications just bites out of the blue. Opposite on peg 13 Joe Thompson was catching regularly on the pole.

I decided to try the waggler and give the pole lines some time to rest, even if only for 20 mins, but it turned out longer.... Using a Sonubait bandum on the hair I cast out past my loose feed looking for any signs, and twitched the waggler back towards me, on about the 3rd time the float never came back up. I struck into a carp that powered off, and once I stopped it and started to play it I could tell it was fouled somewhere near the rear end! After 15 mins of tug of war a 7lb fish hooked in the tail was landed, maybe my luck was changing. A couple more casts produced no more bites and I was thinking I'd soon go back on the pole when bang, a gust of wind picked up the pole and slammed it into my other pole roller and snapped the no 7 section. I only just retrieved the other sections from the lake behind me before they disappeared. I tried to telescope the broken section, but the taper is very slight and it would not work, that meant I was now only able to fish 6m, "sugar" I think I said. Back on the wag and a couple of missed bites and then a 4lb carp hooked properly perked me up a bit, but it was a false dawn. After this the wag died and my 6m line never produced a bite, I tried the straight lead as the wind was now hampering wag presentation, but it never moved. I sat for the last 2 hours watching peg 13 bag up and Nick start catching on his long pole line as it seemed the fish in my swim went to his to look for grub! When Nick landed a 13lber I was worried he'd catch me up, and I was just feeling really frustrated and fed up with my lot. Nick nearly got me looking for the Valium when he landed a 4lb carp on the whistle.

As we packed up the rain came down and just got heavier and a few lads had already packed up and gone. The scales came round, and the lad on 44 had 20lb he'd not caught the last half the match but that was because he fed far too much bait and I told him so cos he is just starting up in the game. My fish went 28lb+ and luckily was just 2lb more than Nick and so I won the section which was a bit of a boost.

Back in the hut more hot tea and delicious cakes were laid on and the pools were paid out.

1st on the day was Joe Thompson on peg 13 (apparently he's drawn this peg 3 times and won each time now) with 56lb 12oz. All on long pole.

2nd Nick Rosier 48lb 3oz from peg 27 (peg Warren had last week) with 48lb all caught on long pole / feeder

3rd Martin Pettifer 36lb 7oz from peg 10. Nearly half of that was 1 carp of nearly 18lb!

The silvers was won with 4lb 8oz (just two skimmers, for some reason they are just not feeding at present).

Andy Lloyd had stocked more carp into the lakes and canals, and with his enthusiasm and continued angler support I'm sure the venue and weights will continue to improve.

Well I guess I will be fishing next Sunday, not sure where, but with no pole and the river season ending I'd like to think I can get on the river.