Sunday, 26 October 2014

ATWL Round 3 Bristol Avon Swineford, Crane & Jack Whites

A busy Saturday for me which included pegging the Crane and Jack Whites. There was a Keynsham AA match up the Crane which was a bit of a struggle with Warren Bates winning it with 8lb. A pleasure angler at Jack Whites was admitting to 15lb of dace and I must admit the river looked good with a nice pace and a tinge of colour. I hoped to draw Swineford or Crane on the match. I had a trip down to Thatchers Tackle shop in Wells where I picked up some more Sonubaits groundbait, this is what I and most of the team are currently using to ball in.

I then travelled to Avon Angling to pick up some more bait, and as I am sure most of you know the shop is closing down in a few weeks. I am gutted to hear this, John Bradford and Tony Rixon are two great blokes and have done a great job with this little shop for the last 30 years. I have always used Avon Angling because not only did Tony do his best to sell good bait, but he was a big help when it came to providing help on how to fish venues, and without Tony I would not have done  half as well on commercials. Very sad, but all good things......

Sunday morning, thanks for the extra hour in bed but why did I feel knackered? Liam Braddell is still being entrusted to draw for the team (we've been first every time he draws this year!) and he came back with a decent looking set of pegs. I was at Swineford on peg 6, it has not been good this year, ans everyone who has been on it has been plagued with tiny fish, so I thought I'd have to go positive to do well for the team.

On the outfall was Jeff Surmon, on peg 2 was another no show, then me, on peg 4 was Mike Williams and he knew bream had come off the peg, and on the first peg in the second field was Shaun Townsend. I set up a 12BB crowquill with 0.138 exceed to a 15 B711 and a 7 no4 stick float with .117 exceed to 18. Lastly a feeder with 0.165 exceed to 13 B711.  The banks are quite steep here but there are nice steps cut out in this peg and I was quite comfortable.

Although it was a team match I started on the feeder, I had a gut feeling I needed to start on this and feed the inside line heavily with maggot and hemp. A large gbait feeder was cast out with 3 red maggs on the hook, and within a minute it was back in again after a missed bite, next chuck another quick bite and a 1/2oz roach was impaled! Onto the dendrabena but still small fish bites, but after 25 mins I had a nodder on and a 4lb bream was a welcome early bonus. Not long after this Glenn Bailey sat behind me, and he watched as my tip would not stay still no matter how big the hookbait. I was chucking the feeder quite close to the far side, not to close as there is a weed bed that grows over there, but I wanted to be close to it as the bream tend to patrol it.

A decent dace, a 6oz roach and a few small perch all took the worm hookbait, but not long after the hour mark I had another slightly smaller bream. I was over the moon at such a good start but sadly the bream did not show again, it may be because there was a pike in the peg that hit the surface not long after I cast my feeder in, or simply they backed off to a quiet spot. Whatever I spent a lot of time and bait in pursuit of them for no reward. The trouble was the inside line was solid with little dace, bleak, chub fry and even the roach were small. I was feeding a big pouch of maggots regularly and even Glenn commented on how heavy I was feeding, but it made no difference. Eventually in the last 30 mins I did get a few better dace and roach on the crowquill, I'd fed nearly 3 pints of maggots and 2 pints of hemp and was disappointed that I'd had no chub, but it was just as others had found, the peg is wall to wall with bits.

My weight on the day was recorded as 12lb 5oz, which I was more than happy with, I beat Jeff and Mike who both had around 6lb, but Shaun smacked our asses with 19lb 7oz of chub and roach. Interesting Shaun could run a wag through and not get a bite, no bits in his peg helped, but a cracking weight from there. As it turned out Shaun came 2nd overall meaning I bagged the section money by default. nice!

Winner today was Mark Harper who had the longest walk, he was on the bottom peg of the beach. He had 22lb on the pole which bar a 2 1/1lb skimmer was all roach up to 1 1/2lb. Mark caught over balling in the above mentioned gbait, and he also landed 4 pike which don't count. Shaun was 2nd and in 3rd was Liam Braddell on peg 27 at Swineford who had 19lb of roach, skimmers and a chub on running line. Just behind Liam was Lee Trevitt with 18lb 14oz of mainly roach on the float at Jack Whites. It was a good day for float fishing today, but the top weight up the Crane was Kev Boltz who had 16lb from peg 76. Kev had 3 bream in the last 20 minutes which helped!

Thatchers had a very good day winning with 36 out of 40 points, Bathampton came 2nd. After 3 matches Thatchers lead with 3 points, and Bathampton are second with 6. I can't finish without mentioning a funny tale told to me by Nigel Wyatt. Nige was down at JAck Whites on one of my favourite pegs on the style. Nige hadn't done great and when he heard a shout looked at his watch and saw it was 3:30pm and time to pack up. About 20 mins later Nicola Goodhind walked along and asked Nige why he had packed up early..... Turns out Nige had forgotten to change the time on his watch and the shout he heard was nothing to do with anglers, lol! Nige set up his stick float again and carried on, getting beat by a couple of anglers by a few ounces, oh dear, there's always someone who forgets, bad luck Nige ;-)

Another ATWL next week, back up at Newbridge.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Commercial House Round 3, Bristol Avon Newbridge

I was looking forward to this match as the rain in the week had put some pace and colour into the river. Had a bit of banter on facebook with Graham Hunt, when I said to Clive Branson it would be a "FEEDER JOB" Graham quite rightly explained how it could still be pole fished. I said it was still a feeder job lol, well we would see.

At the draw I was asked where I would like to draw, and I said of course the usual bream pegs but definitely did not want to be in the little field. Liam Braddell does the team draw and I find myself pegged in little field on peg 7 which has been a brilliant roach peg of late. With 6 pegs in my section in this field and 6 up at Rotork where I expected some bream to be caught I was not happy! I had a little moan at Liam and then went on my way, I didn't think our team draw was that good either today.

There were some good river anglers in my section today, Darren Gillman was on 12A (but I didn't fancy that peg, Brian Melksham on 12, Glenn Calvert was below me on 10, above me was my good luck charm Mike Martin-Davies on 5 and Vic Abbot was on 3. The banks were very slippy and I slid down on my arse once, so cut a few small steps out to stop that happening again. I only set up two pole rigs today, a 5grm Preston Silvers float with 16 to 0.12 exceed, and a 6grm flatty with 16 to 0.14 exceed. A feeder rod with a 13 B711 to 0.165 exceed line finished off things and that meant I was ready on time. I should mention that I have recently been using the Sonubaits groundbait in my mixes, today I had some of their river and lake, brown crumb and some red magic mixed up. I made up 14 big balls of gbait which had hemp, casters and chopped worms in them. I threw these in at around 11.5m and dropped in with the 5gm rig. I had 2 roach on this rig in 20 mins and with the lack of fish topping I thought already this wasn't going to be a roach day. I tried the flat float and had a small perch on this and then hooked what I think was a better roach but it came off on the way in. 45 mins and things were not good and I reached for the feeder rod, to begin I thought I'd fish it over the pole line as there were quite a few leaves coming down which would make going further over tricky. A gudgeon and a tiny perch and a couple of tiny indications were all I got on bunches of maggots. Time for the worm and first cast on a dendrabena I had a 2 1/2lb skimmer. I spoke to Darren on the hour and he was really struggling so I was happy enough.

15 mins later and another good bite and a 4lb bream really pulled hard in the extra flow, but the fish was well hooked in its rubbery lips and was landed safely. Another bream of 4lb and a 3lb bream quickly followed before all went quiet. A couple of piccies from my other lucky charm Ryan Clancy, he took these of me without me knowing!

All went quiet for about 30 minutes and then another good bite saw me bump a bream, damn, the worm had doubled over the hook. That knocked things back and I had wait another 30 mins until my next bite, but disaster,I struck and felt a heavy weight and the line parted above the feeder. That had never happened before, but I realised later what I had done, I had been rubbing the line against a zip when plugging the feeder with gbait, so I moved the gbait bowl to my right (as you see in pics above).

I heard that Rich Lacey up at Rotork had some bream so I gave him a call and he had 7 so he was beating me. Having re set up things were still quiet and knowing I had nothing to lose I put on a bigger feeder and fed heavier with casters and worms. This soon had the effect of another bite, but this time from a 1lb perch, and then a smaller perch, not usually a good sign. Ryan then came and sat behind me and promptly saw me hook my first snag, I managed to reel this in close before it got lodged and I lost the hook. Then about 12 mins after this I had another 4lb bream, and then another. All of a sudden my swim was full of bream and I was getting what looked like bites within a couple of minutes, but sometimes it was liners I think. I switched to double dendrabena and this target bait brought me bites within seconds of hitting the bottom, and I hooked a real beast of a bream which turned out to be 7lb 14oz (my biggest ever). Ryan was amazed at this spell and so was I! I reckon I had 6 bream in 20 minutes. Here is me with my biggest bream (thanks Darren Gillman)

After this mad spell the swim went quiet again, obviously the shoal backed off again. With 30 mins to go Martin Barrett rang me and as he did he hooked and lost a bream, and as he was telling me he wished he hadn't phoned me I had a bite and hooked one and told him I had to go (lol) it was another 3lb fish and about 15 mins to go had another. I missed a definite liner (nearly pulled the rod in) and that was the match over. I thought I had 12 bream so well over 40lb.

Jerry Pocock came down with the scales and other than myself the little field had fished as bad as what I had expected it to, with a couple of 2lbs and a couple of 4lbs. After a few weighs Bri shouted out 51lb 2oz, my best weight at Newbridge! Darren took a little video of part of the weighing in..

Back at the results I found out that Rich Lacey had weighed 39lb and he was to come 3rd overall, in second place was Lee Warden on peg 26 who had 42lb of bream on the feeder. Of course that meant that I had won the match, yay!  Martin Barret came 4th with 28lb. Unlucky angler on the day was Roy Carter who was paid out for 5th overall, but then the organisers made a mistake and he was 6th and first out the frame, but he did get his section by default!

Thatchers A came joint 1st on the day and so we now have a 3 1/2 point lead over one of the Bathampton teams with the league now at its halfway point.

I certainly got a bit of stick afterwards for not looking forwards to fishing my peg, it is strange how things can turn up and why I was the only one to catch bream in the field I don't know. Certainly the Sonubaits gbait is working fine, and it was great to feel the heavy thud of slabs, told you it would be a feeder job Graham ;-) Today is why I love fishing the river, not just catching a net ful but because you never always know just what will happen, and the extra water does move the fish around. Next week its the ATWL back down at Keynsham.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

ATWL Round 2, River Avon Newbridge

A fairly unspectacular week leading up to this weekend and only needed minimal prep with a couple of a rigs redone and the obligatory groundbait mixed Saturday night. It was a pleasant sight to to see the rugby club open this morning allowing me to have a bit of breakfast. Sadly one of the teams was a couple of anglers short, but hopefully that won't be an issue going forward. Team drawing expert Liam Braddell did the business today with what looked a very good set of pegs for the team. My home for the day was peg 138 down towards the bottom end of the trees. Now against my number it said H5 which meant I was end peg in the match, but somehow I was not there were two pegs below me! Not quite sure what Kevin Dicks did but it all made sense to him, but with no section pegs pegged out it made life a little difficult in places.

After the relatively short walk from the car park to the arch and then 31 pegs later I found my home. Nathan Hawke was above me on 134, Jeff Surmon below me on 140 and on the end peg 144 was Lewis Walker. Normally in this section the end peg dominates and the further away you are from it the worse it gets, but I was more than happy with my peg. Thinking about my set up today I based it around catching roach as skimmers are pretty rare down this end, and the gbait feeder was set up and chucked out 3 times and never had a bite, the end! If you read my blog you'll probably already know what I set up, 1gm pencil, 2gm rugby ball, and 3gm flatty, and 1gm rig for chopped worm. I like to keep things light for roach fishing and a 20 to 0.08 was the most used end tackle today, I did try an 18 to 0.10 for a bit but it was noticably slower. I wished I had some tow rope with me though, as there were lots of rowing boats out on the water!

The mist was now clearing and I could easily see my rig at 13m and threw in 12 jaffas containing some caster, hemp and pinkie. I started on the 2gm rig with caster but it was a very slow start and and after 15 mins I was reaching for the pencil rig. Caster was catching me odd small roach but it was not prolific by any means, switching to single maggot got me a bite a chuck but it was from 1oz perch and similar sized roach. The bites were coming below where I felt my gbait had settled, and I started to run the rig further down the peg and for a while this picked up roach from 2oz to 4oz. Every time I thought I had it sussed though the bites would become fewer and I'd miss more, I had to keep trying the different rigs and different hook baits and different areas of the peg all day. I also had a few on the crowquill and they tended to be slightly better. Halfway through Jeff and Nathan were admitting to 4lb the same as me, we didn't know about Lewis. I reckon I'd wasted 20 mins by not being able to get the rig in due to the bloody rowers! At one stage an eight that was obviously virgin rowers ended up next to my keepnet, I kept cool. See below the useless feckers!

I suppose I had gone nearly 3 hours on the pole and I thought I had 6 to 7lb when it was time to try the chopped worm swim which was about 11m down the peg. I had 6 perch up to 6oz and 1 eel here so useful fish when it was fishing tough. I lost a perch though when the most useless line up of rowers in that eight came back and nearly hit me again, I kept cool. Then they just sat there whilst they got given instructions by another boat, after a minute I lost my cool and told them to get the f@@@ out of my way, and they did and looked rather sheepish! I guess it is the time of year and all the Bath Uni freshers are giving it a go, I did feel sorry for the 4 girls rowing who got hit by a narrow boat..... no I laughed quite a bit actually lol!

 I was convinced the roach would come back on the feed late, especially as we were fishing to 5pm and the conditions light winds and overcast were perfect. I'd kept loose feeding casters and hemp all day at 13m and it paid off when with about an hour to go the bites came back and the rowers had finally thinned out. I still had to keep messing about with my rigs but the 2gm rig with caster and then later a maggot was best. I had 4 roach that must have been 8oz, two coming on the last two drops, and plenty of 2 to 4oz fish and it was a fabulous last hour. I had to land the last two fish on my top set as my number 4 section got jammed in, a bit hairy that was!

I thought I must have at least 10lb today, which I was happy with, Jeff said he didn't have that and Nathan said 7lb. The scales showed Lewis on the end had 11lb+, Jeff had 13lb 3oz, I weighed 13lb 12oz, and Nathan 8lb 6oz. With an angler missing I won the section, and was thankful for the last two roach. I'd lost a couple of fish off the hook today, and an 8oz skimmer at the net, but thankfully I'd not had any pike trouble.

The river fished quite well today, but as ever there were a few tougher areas, not may bream were caught despite there being a tinge in the water. Some nice perch were caught on the day with two anglers seeing huge perch taking 6oz roach. Match winner today was Vinny Lunn who had a runaway victory with 30lb of skimmers from the Norfolk Reeds peg. Vinny struggled early on for 3lb of roach, but later he had 6 skimmers on the pole and 6 on the gbait feeder. In second place was the man on fire Andy Ottaway with 18lb+ of roach with some fine samples over a 1lb, Andy was on flier peg 74. Third and last in the main pool was Liam Braddell with 14lb 10oz of roach to 1lb 8oz on the pole from peg 49. Liam lost some big roach to a huge pike he estimated at 20lb. Unlucky in 4th place was yours truly!

Thatchers had a good day and we won again and Bathampton came 2nd again, meaning we have a 2 point lead after two matches. It was good to see Lee Trevitt fishing today, he was using Mark Harper's gear and sadly none of Lee's gear has been found. Lee had just under 10lb but was beaten by two anglers, I can only imagine how tricky it was using someone elses gear.

Back at Newbridge next week for the Comm House, once again a lot of rain is being forecast, let's see if it materialises this time, if it does we could be facing the first flooded match of this series.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

ATWL Round 1 Swineford, Crane, Jack Whites

I start my blog with some bad news and ask that everybody please keep their eyes open. Some thieving shit has nicked Lee Trivetts gear after the match. His van was parked by Keynsham angling and his seatbox, holdall and carryall were all taken. Virtually everything was Preston Innovations gear including a Absolute 14 pole. Sorry mate, hope it turns up.

Well back to the events earlier in the day, which started with an almighty cock up, the draw venue the rugby club was not open! That meant parking was a nightmare and most of us were hungry. The draw was done and I was going to be fishing in the long ashtip field, but before that I visited McDonalds in Brislington to get a Mc Muffin to keep me going.

I arrived at my peg after getting the gear over two styles (thanks to other anglers) and found myself in the middle of the field on peg 79. Below me was Kevin Dicks on 81 and above me on 77 was Leighton Warden. I had to get into the water to fish this peg but it was easy enough, but there were a few tree branches out in front of me which would limit options.

It was a rush to get ready for the start of the match but I just about managed it, though I didn't have time to put hook lengths on my feeder rod and my crowquill rig. The pole rigs were as usual 1gm pencil float, 2gm, 4gm flat float and a rig for perch. I threw in 12 balls of gbait at 13m to begin and started on the 2gm rig but I had no bites for 10 mins. I then started to get a few bites but caster on the hook was a complete waste of time and I was soon trying maggots. This was better but I was missing more bites than hitting, and when a pike took a fish and bit me off I reached for the pencil float. With a bit of alteration to depth and shotting I started to hit more bites but everything I was catching was tiny roach. I hooked a better roach and that was soon gone after the pike took it. After about 30 mins Andrew Trudgian turned up to watch me, I'm not sure if he learnt anything as I was mainly catching tiny roach and lost a few more hooks to pike. By now my elastics were looking awful as they had been well stretched by the pike, and I'd lost one rig.

I started to get a bit of a run together on these small roach, with single bronze maggot best. I was loose feeding casters and hemp on the pole line and also maggots further across the river, small fish were topping and it was evident the peg was solid with bits. A jack pike took another fish and I got this 3lb+ fish all the way in and was about to net it when it dived into some reeds, that finished off the hook length and the rig went up a tree, I had no more pencil floats in the box! Luckily I managed to get the 2gm rig working better and Mr pike never bothered me again. The roach were still small and if I did get a better roach it was a one off. Colin Dance walked up behind me and said I was catching quicker than Kev Dicks but his fish were bigger.

With 90 mins to go the pole was drying up and a try on my chopped worm rig was uneventful all bar a 1oz perch. I tried the crowquill which I had attached an 18 to 0.104 and used double maggot on the hook. It was hard going as the wind was downstream now, but I could get bites on this and although hitting the bites was tricky the fish were a better stamp. I cursed myself for not trying it earlier.

The match ended and I was knackered, it was a very busy day of shipping in and out and it was hard work going back up the bank. I wasn't sure what I had but thought 8lb+ which wasn't going to beat Kevin below. As it was Kev weighed a very good 12lb, and my skerrits went 10lb 5oz, I was beaten again by the section winner Mat Challenger of Scotts Tackle who did brilliantly to weigh 14lb of little roach. I did chuck my keepenet at him as he'd kept that quiet lol!

Back to the new results venue the Lock Keeper at Keynsham and it seemed the result was going to be tight, but in the end my Thatchers lot managed to win the day beating Bathampton into second. I didn't know the winners name today Ben.... he had 17lb from the top of the cow drink at the crane which included 4 good chub, that peg doesn't often win a match! In second place was an old mate of mine Paul Staite, he was on peg 9 in the first field at Swineford and also had 17lb which was made up of 4 bream and bits, well done matey. In 3rd was the now bearded Andy Ottoway who do well to catch 16lb from the high wall, Andy had a couple of chub, roach and a lot of perch. I think Jerry Pocock was 4th from peg 27 at Swineford with a brilliant 15lb+ of roach on the crowquill.

With Jack whites throwing up a 12lb and four 11lbs, and plenty of small roach everywhere it was a match where people had lots of bites.

Next week is round 2 up at Newbridge, hope it rains some more, fancy a lazy feeder match!