Sunday, 28 September 2014

Commercial House Round 2 Bristol Avon Barton Farm and Staverton

The second round of this popular league with 12 teams of 6 anglers, well some teams struggle to get 6 for various reasons. Such as one team today which could not raise Martin Rayet for love nor money from where ever he was sleeping, seriously hope he was OK.

I do not know a thing about this part of the river, having not fished up here for probably 15 years+. Tony Gilbert (4 star) gave me plenty of info before the match and said he'd like to draw F section at Barton Farm and the further down the better as bream would most likely be caught. Tony ended up drawing there on peg 5 and as it happens so did I on peg 2. Most people turned their noses up at my draw saying I would get hammered by the bream pegs at the other end of the section. Never mind I hoped I'd catch a few and enjoy the day, which was very summer like!

After a lovely walk along a concrete path (heaven) I arrived at my home for the day. As I surveyed the peg I wasn't particularly struck with hope. There were some nasty overhead branches (I did remove the lowest) which prevented me from setting up a float rod, and a tree overhanging from my inside which was bound to catch line being mended!  You can see the branches overhead in this pic.

and there was no flow on the river until at least 14m out. I really didn't want to have to fish 14.5m as the path behind me would be busy with walkers, but with roach in the forefront of my mind I knew I had to get into some flow. In this pic you can see the tree coming out from my downstream inside line.

My neighbours today were mister nobody on peg 1 (someone short) and local expert Vic Abbott who'd pegged the match out on peg 3. As I started to get myself settled in and set up I knew I had to put my faith in the pole today. I set up my typical river rigs, a 1gm pencil rig with 22 to 0.08, a 2grm rugby ball with 20 to 0.09, a 4gm with 18 to 0.10, and a 1.5gm rig with 13 to 0.16 for chopped worm. I also set up a gbait feeder in case the bream showed, but it was only cast out twice.

I began the match balling it in with 9 jaffas containing not much feed at 14.5m. I went in on the 2gm float and after 10 mins had my first fish on a caster a 3 to 4oz roach. I took a couple more but it was not prolific and a switch to maggot was a bit better and the fish were about the same size. I could not get them lined up at all, bites seemed to come further and further down the peg and not in the same place and it was really intensive fishing requiring a lot of concentration. I did try the 1gm rig but it didn't seem right at all. Due to the depth of the peg, at least 13ft I had decided not to loose feed and instead would feed a small ball of gbait to try and keep things tight. After an hour I had about 2lb I thought, but I was still getting bites on the 2gm rig on maggot. I think the 2nd hour went very much the same as the 1st hour and so I probably had 4lb. The flow on the river had picked up considerably and my dead water was now flowing, I could have fished at 11m such was the flow, and that would have been a big help as I was always having to watch out as I shipped back. I nearly hit one kid off his bike, and had a few close shaves with the rather posh people on show. Thankfully a posse of 50 ramblers passed by without me getting a bite.

Things started to get tougher now. I had dropped in on the chopped worm line earlier without a sign and so had fed it again and left it. Before I tried it again I went out on the 4gm rig fished over depth with double maggot, just as I did retired angler Johnny Atkins sat behind me. I took a few nice roach on this before it died and I fed a ball of gbait. John told me Rich Whitmarsh and Tony Gilbert were catching roach but many were struggling. Trying my worm line again the float buried first drop in, but as I struck I felt a double bump, and the fish put up a bit of fight. Not long after a 6oz perch surfaced hooked in the dorsal fin! Obviously I must have pulled out of the perch but the hook then caught the fin, lucky. Another small perch and then it was all quiet, so it was back out on the long pole but this was also dead.

The next hour or so was awful, and a solitary roach and 2 tiny perch were all that I could muster. Jeff Surman down on peg 4 had been up for a walk and he was really struggling with less than a pound. I went down to see Tony who had also dried up, it seemed the river had switched off. No matter what I tried I couldn't get a response, and so with an hour to go I gave it another 6 big jaffas full of caster and worms in the hope of a better fish. What I did manage to catch in the last 40 mins was 7 roach which would have added maybe another 1lb 8oz. These fell to double maggot on the 4gm rig and a couple on pinkie on the pencil float.Sadly they didn't feed the last 15 mins of the match.

I was packing up when the scales arrived, they'd decided to weigh me first and go on down to the end peg. My efforts today went 6lb 13oz, and I was honestly very happy with that and felt I worked hard all day and only lost a couple of fish. Vic below me weighed less than 3lb and 2lb+ of that was a skimmer, Jeff had 15oz and then Tony had 5lb 10oz. I did not follow the scales down and carried on packing up and also had to look after Hadrian Whittle's rod holdalls. I later found out that Rich Whitmarsh won the section with 7lb 10oz, and Lance Tucker on the very end peg of the match came 2nd with 7lb 6oz, meaning I was 3rd in section. Not much in it today, perhaps if I had not put so much feed in the last balling mix I would have caught more roach?

It was a day of so near yet do far for me today, I got knocked out of the knockout by Nathaniel Johnson who won E section at Barton Farm with 8lb 10oz (beating Martin Barrett off the dog peg! Is that alright Stretch lol). I also came 8th on the day but never got any coin or default coin like Liam and Martin Barret did!

On the team front Thatchers A won again and we have a 3 point lead over Bathampton Invincibles. In the B division Sensas Wilts Anglers and D+W Builders are tied with 11 points.

Top individual on the day was the Karaoke King Andy Britt with 19lb 14oz of Roach on one of the 3 flyers at Staverton ( a great catch that), on the next peg Welsh sheep worrier Mike Martin-Davis had a good day too with 16lb of roach and hybrids.

3rd Kev Dicks 9lb
4th Nathaniel Johnson 8lb 10oz
5th Andy Gabb 7.11

Next week sees the start of the ATWL, with 5 teams of 8 it will be a lot easier to peg out! The match is back on the lower Avon around Keynsham. With more warm weather and no rain forecast small fish will be aplenty.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

December 1995

I had decided that I was not going fishing this weekend since it was going to be a busy and emotional long weekend. Friday was my birthday and my eldest daughter's last day at home, so lots of things to do. Saturday travelled to Plymouth where said daughter now resides at the University, the journey home was a bit of  tear jerker as the wife will testify. Ended up having a cracking meal out on Sunday in Hallatrow with Warren Bates and his family, that took my mind off a few things including the coloured Bristol Avon which might have thrown up a few bream today. Anyway back to 1995....

Saturday December 2nd 1995 saw me taking another ride in the Steve Mayo mobile with the legend that now is Des Shipp as we had another round of the Moorlands Winter League. Once again I found myself on Bank Pool but today I avoided the corners and was sat on peg 7 where I could fish pole and waggler comfortably. Starting on the pole all I had was 1 skimmer and after 30 mins the wag was flying out towards the middle along with regular amounts of maggots. I took a few carp on this but it was by no means hectic, but I was doing as well as anyone else at this stage. Back in on the pole line where I had been feeding casters and 3 carp in 3 drops got me going, but it also got the carp going out of the peg! I stuck it out on the wag and had a few more small carp and a skimmer to end with 31lb 3oz and that was 2nd on the lake, beaten by Leigh Nutland. The team came 4th on the day and were still in 3rd place overall at this stage.

On Sunday I was fishing the Bristol & West Xmas match on the Bristol Avon, I drew a peg at Jack Whites down below the stream heading down towards Chequers in a peg called the cow drink, which was just before the river went into a bend. Below me was Ian Spriggs. The river was dropping after a flood but still had some nice colour and all I set up was a groundbait feeder as it was too fast for the float. I had a nice day with odd bites throughout but mainly from chub up to 3lb, Ian came up for a walk at one time and said I had a bit more than him, and when I had 2 skimmers and another chub towards the end I was happy. I finished with 21lb 11oz and a lovely net of fish, but that was not good enough to beat Ian who took an 8lb barbel in the last 15 mins after losing one a bit earlier. We were first and second on the day, and I think Ian had won a match on Frys the day before so he was on fire and had a full wallet that weekend!

The following weekend was going to be a tough affair as the weather had turned with some snow and temperatures at night down to -6C. I fished an open at Moorlands Farm, drew on Meadow lake and struggled for a skimmer and 3 roach for 4lb 8oz, I lost a roach of over 1lb that day that cost me a section pick up. The next day it was the Bathampton Xmas match, and I drew peg 49 in bubbly bay at Newbridge. I had 1 bite on the tip and missed it and went home early. Not such a good weekend as the previous eh!!

The weather stayed cold and when on the 16th December I found myself on corner peg 1 on bank pool for the winter league I was gutted! Just catch something was all Mayo said. Well I did, I caught a carp in the tail on the pole (lol) and 2 roach in the last hour for 4lb 11oz. There were 4 blanks around me but the other end of the lake was alive and produced two framers. I got 11 points out of 22 and the team were only 7th on the day, however it was a tough day and we improved to 2nd overall in the league so far. Sunday saw me travelling with Vic Bush to the Bath Xmas match, I didn't fish this part of the river Avon much and so when I drew my peg I didn't have a clue where it was let alone what to fish for! Luckily Vic knew where the "piggery" was! The river had a nice bit of flow here and I set up a stick float, waggler and gbait feeder. I caught some roach on the float but with 90 mins left all was quiet until I saw a big fish (I thought bream) roll a long way down the peg. I chucked the feeder down where this fish showed for the rest of the match but the tip was motionless. Then with 15 mins to go I had a decent bite and landed a 12oz perch. Last cast on single caster the tip slowly pulled right round and I thought I was into a massive bream. Very gradually I got this fish infornt of me and then up popped a pike which I netted straight away, then the whistle went. As I waited for the scales I was elated and then Vic arrived as he'd done no good, but when the scalesman arrived he refused to weigh my pike saying they didn't count. Eventually after a lot of debate Vic and I managed to get him to agree to at least weigh the pike separately, and it went 9lb 14oz and with my other fish my "potential" total was 17lb 8oz. Back at the results the talk with the rest of my mates was all about my pike and if it counted, then Vic heard that Bath angler Steve Stretch Saunders had weighed in his fish including a pike and said he usually knows if they count. Eventually one of the organisers came out and asked if I was Tim, he said Pike don't count in Bath matches but as we forgot to say anything at the draw they had to count! This chap had a bold head and I gave him a kiss on his bold bonce and thanked him. I came 2nd overall and had a lovely hamper.

Saturday 23rd December and the Masterclass Xmas match was on the canal at Limpley as the river had now burst its banks. I only managed 12oz for bugger all as I was still avoiding fishing bread punch. Christmas Eve saw me fishing the Docks Xmas match, I drew at Half Penny Bridge and was told forget about wining anything as there were no skimmers there. I fished the pole most of the match loose feeding maggot and caster, it took a long while to get bites but eventually I started to catch a few small roach and dace and was quite enjoying myself. I was fishing double white maggot on the hook and also caught an eel of a pound and a couple of tiny skimmers. I tried fishing the feeder over the pole line and out of the blue had a 2lb skimmer but nothing else. I won the section with 7lb 7oz and came 6th overall which was a nice bonus.

Over the Christmas period the cold weather returned with a vengence, it was only a maximum of -2C in the day! I did venture out on the 28th and had 2 to 3lb of roach on a maggot feeder at Bath gravels, the river was too fast for the float. On Saturday 30th I stayed at home and this was a day I shall never forget, when I looked out in the morning there was light rain, but the ground and air was freezing and the rain froze instantly. I had never seen freezing rain before, and I never want to again, it caused carnage on the roads and dozens of people fell over breaking bones.

My very last trip out was on New Years Eve, I fished at Bath Gravels again and although the river was still pacey a peg with a long trot meant I could fish a crowquill with caster and maggot. Using light gear a 22 to 0.08, I had roach to 10oz and ended with just under 8lb. It was still very cold though and Dave Haines tried fishing the pole next to me, but his pole elastic kept freezing up lol!

Happy days, back to the present, next week the 2nd round of the Commercial House is on the Avon at Bradford-on-Avon and Staverton. I've not fished there for a very long time, so will have to take the kitchen sink and hope to get a local to give me a clue as to what I should target.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Commercial House Round 1 Bristol Avon Swineford, Crane, Jack Whites

After 3 very poor matches on the Avon at Newbridge I was looking forward to fishing this part of the river which is generally much better in these low clear conditions. My involvement with this match began on Saturday when, along with my good wife Wendy, we pegged the match. Starting at Swineford I was soon in trouble with a lack of pegs (someone forgot to do swim clearing) and ended up having to put 4 pegs of B section at the top of the Crane. Wendy asked where I wanted to draw and I said Swineford. After nearly 4 hours of walking the task was done, I would sleep well tonight I thought, but a party a few doors up meant I didn't get off till gone 1am.

Sunday morning I awoke tired and the legs were a bit achy, got to the draw and I handed over the list of pegs (12 copies 1 for each team) and got a couple of baps. I was fishing for Thatchers A and I think Mark Harper did the team draw and he got me a peg in A section at Swineford, thank you! I was on what was old peg 18, and it's one of those pegs that on its day can throw up roach and chub and even some bream.

I had a nice walk today, had to lift the gear over two gates and I was nice and hot when I got to my peg, the lads in B section had to go a lot further! As you can see from the picture of my peg there is a lovely tree opposite, but really it is to far upstream to make fishing against it with a float viable, still a fish holding feature though.

Setting up today took a while, I was going to have to wade in the river right up to my chunks, and put my box in just behind me so I could get all my attachments in place. The pole was out of the question I felt, and so I set up a 3AAA waggler with 0.14 to 17 B711, a 14BB crowquill with 0.12 to 18 B611 and finally a feeder rod was put up but left without hook until I decided what I would be fishing for on it. Downstream of me was the welsh blogger Mike Martin-Davies and upstream of me (along way above as peg 14 is blocked by moored boats) was Craig Pinker they both seemed to go the opposite way and were going down the pole route.

(Below pic shows the remnants of my tackle in the water after the match, note the keepnet high to prevent any jumping fish!)

To start the match I threw in 6 orange size balls of gbait at about 14m and downstream of me. I swung out the crowquill and tiny roach was soon swung back in. Next chuck on a single caster and a better fish, a roach of 4oz and just as it surfaced a big pike went for it but missed and I lifted out the roach quickly. I was feeding hemp and casters over this near line, and feeding maggots right over towards the tree. I started to get bites I couldn't hit, and when I did it them it was very small fish, but occasionally a better roach was swung in to avoid the pike. Sadly Mr pike started to wise up and he snapped me up 4 times and pulled a 1lb+ skimmer off the hook, grrrrr!!!!! The small fish were really a problem and I was now feeding heavily on both lines, sadly this along with the bloody pike seemed to kill my crowquill line and it went dead. The waggler was a bite a chuck from chub fry and tiny dace, great!

After 2 hours I reckoned I had 3lb but I was going nowhere, Mike below me said he thought he had a bit more than that and was getting bites on the pole and no pike trouble. Word was everyone was struggling in the section getting bitted out. As the inside line was dead I decided to give it some more gbait and fired in a dozen pouchfuls of caster, this was going to be a shit or bust line. Back on the wag to give the inside line time to settle and I plugged away catching little fish and heaving in the maggots in the hope of feeding them off. After about 30 mins I picked up the crowquill again and stuck on 2 red maggots. It wasn't long before I was feeling quite smug about my change of feeding as the float buried and I knew I'd hooked a bream. I landed the fish which fought well, and it was about 3lb. Time to change terminal tackle (as I had shortened my hooklength to get through the bits earlier) and I put on a a 16 to 0.13. In the next 20 mins I took another 3lb bream and one of 2lb. Bites stopped and so I tried a straight lead and then the feeder but all were a waste of time. Back on the crowquill and a run of decent roach and no pike but they soon went.

With an hour to go I gave it another 6 balls of gbait in close and went back on the wag. The small fish were a lot less hassle now and on the wag I had 3 chublets and some perch and roach, and I had some nice perch and 12oz chub on the crowquill. This was definitely a match of two halves with the 2nd half an absolute belter! I guessed I had 15 to 20lb in total.

The scales soon arrived and Mike weighed just short of 9lb of roach, and then my fish went 19lb 9oz. Craig above me also had 3 small bream (on the pole) and he had 9lb 15oz. The next best weigh in the section was Tony Gilbert in the first field with 12lb which included a couple of bream, Clive Branson had 10lb on the waggler on the outfall. A section win today and a good result for the team.

Back at the HQ for a well needed drink I soon realised I was the best weight at Swineford and Crane. However, down at Jack Whites there were a couple of good weights including Andy Ottaway who (after calling me to moan before the start of the match that he was going to get hammered) had 19lb 6oz (hee hee) and the winner Mark Palin who had 21lb. Mark had 3 big bream on the pole and some roach, Andy had roach and chub. Below Andy was Paul Purchase and on the end peg he had a great 16lb of roach.

Before the results were done the presentation for last years commercial house was made. As I was top individual last year and in the winning team I was given plenty of Sensas goodies, I must have had 14 bags of gbait, and a cheque for £58. Add that to my £145 for coming 2nd today and £20 for pegging out I would say today more than made up for the last few weeks!

On the team front we had a good day and won the A division with 31 points out of a possible 36, Martin Barrett had a tough time in the parrot cage and was are only poor points. The Crane really did not fish that well today, and pike were a problem. I think the river needs some colour soon otherwise it will just get harder and the pike worse.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Superleague final round Newbridge

Last week carried on from Sunday (as far as my backside was concerned) and I was thinking about dropping out of the team mid week. However, I was so friggin busy in work and outside of work it slipped my mind and too late. Thankfully today was the best day I had in ages, shame I can't say the same about the fish (big sigh).

The Thatchers team was the same as last week but Colin Dance was in Ireland and so Nathaniel Johnson came in. I was hoping for a draw in the little field as it seems there are a few roach up there, or down the bottom of the trees. Alas the team draw put me on peg 51 which would be another nice walk in the warm sunshine. This peg had thrown up a few fish a couple of matches ago, and it can be good especially in winter. The only trouble is you're right on top of peg 52 and with many anglers having lots of room (next bloke above me was at least 70yds) I though I should fish peg 50. The lads either side were OK with this, but the more I though about it the more I thought I had to fish 51. The lad above me was the first peg in the section and my section ended down on about 65. Last week only a high 3lb was needed for 3rd in section so it could be a toughie.

Despite my pole line not really working for me in the previous two matches I had chatted to the rest of the team and was really fishing the same as them, some more positive some more negative. That being the case I went down the same track as last week on the pole line, set up the usual gbait feeder, but I also set up a 14BB crowquill just to give me a different presentation and to cast around a bit. Glen Calvert was my close neighbour on peg 52 and he asked if I wanted a £1, and of course I said yes.

On the whistle in go 14 balls on the pole and 6 smaller ones on the feeder line, picking up my pencil float rig and impaling a caster on the 20 hook I dropped in the rig and the float didn't go under, a couple of drop ins later and it did and a 2oz roach was swung in. During the next 20 mins I had a bite every cast on caster from 2oz to 4oz roach, then I bumped something bigger. I picked up the 2gm rig with a 18 hook on and dropped in with double red maggot, as the float settled it shot under, I struck and bumped a fish and the maggots were gone. Hmmm what's going on. No more bites on that rig so a quick look on the crowquill, a tiny perch, then a better perch that came off!!!!!  Then another perch that was about 8oz and that signalled the end of the bites.

A look on the feeder was about as entertaining as watching Bristol Rovers and after a biteless 30 mins I was back on the long pole for nothing at all. Drop in the edge for perch on worm, and 3 for about 14oz were all I caught here. At this stage I thought I had 3lb, Glen said he had 12oz. On 90 mins I tried the long pole again and had 2 roach in 2 chucks, they were the last roach I had for a very long time. The middle of the match followed the same pattern as last week and the only thing I did to avoid boredom was catch about 20 chub fry on a top set. With 2 hours to go Glen started to catch on a waggler right across, he didn't (and couldn't) feed anything that far across but when the river hardly flowed he caught bleak and small chub. I quickly nipped my crowquill off and replaced it with a waggler with a 20 to 0.10. That proved to be fruitless for me and I never had a bite, which did my head in and Glen even apologised for catching lol!

I'd tried putting some more gbait in on the pole line, and changing my feeding all to no avail, but then in the last 10 mins I had 3 roach out of the blue. The lad below Glen on the bream hole peg 54 informed Glen he had taken a bream and had 8lb, and roach had come out in the pegs below, oh dear!

When the scales got to peg 54 there was a 10lb and all the others were 5lb+, or more than me! Peg 54 weighed 8lb 8oz and the bream did him a big favour, Glen had 2lb 12oz, then I had 4lb 9oz, and the lonely guy above me on 49 had 3lb 10oz. Once again I beat the lads either side of me but this time no one else, the £1 from Glen being my only winnings in three river matches. Fucked if I know what I'm doing wrong, lol!

Back at the results a few of the other lads had struggled, but crucially we had 4 second in sections, and that gave us 40 points on the day which was good enough for 2nd place and as a result we won the league.

Individually the match was won today by Steve Tucker who at the last minute fished for Frenzee after seeing my message on facebook. Bunghole Steve drew peg 74, normally a very good peg but Richard Chave came last in section on it last time out. Steve though had a good day catching roach, then skimmers and 1 bream on the pole for an excellent 27lb.

Next week is the commercial house league first match, it is to be fished at Swineford, Crane and Jack Whites. I'm pegging the match out (no moaning please) and you get paid for pegging so at least that way I can guarantee some coin!