Monday, 29 December 2014

Landsend Fishery Open (plus a bit about the Avon)

Here's hoping everyone had a good Christmas, I certainly did and got through a great deal of food and drink. My original plan was to fish the King Billy match on Saturday 27th but family activities curtailed this, and I luckily found a match was being run at Landsend by Ken Rayner. Ken even agreed to get my bait, but he then suffered a very bad back and I had to find some bait for myself.

I found out that the Billy match (fished up the Crane) was a very hard affair due to the flood water and cold temperatures. Darren Gillman won the match from peg 83 in the long ashtip with 6lb 4oz, and this 5 1/2lb bream he caught on lobworm made all the difference as Jerry Pocock was 2nd just 1oz behind Darren! Jerry had 3 skimmers on the feeder.

Onto Sunday and a hard frost greeted me as I loaded the gear into the car. I was not all that prepared for a match on a lake, I did put some new elastic into a few top sets and threw some pole floats and barbless hooks into my box which currently is full of river and canal gear! I had some micros, a tin of corn, and I managed to buy some awful casters and a few maggots. I got myself into Shipham cafe and met some of the other lads fishing, an array of experts that would be tough to beat today, but in all honesty I was looking forward to getting some bites and felt I would enjoy today more than a session on the river.

The pegging was sorted between Mike Duckett and Craig Edmunds, with a number of pegs being suggested as flyers. I drew 7 which certainly had been good recently but I know this peg is the shallowest on the lake (and the level is down so only 3ft max) and I didn't feel the skimmers caught by Ron Hardiman on the last match would play ball. As you can see from this pic the frost made the platform very slippery!

I assembled 3 rigs today; a 0.3g pb inter 4 with 18 PR412 to 0.10 for the track, a 4x10 jobby for over by the reeds with 18 PR412 to 0.11, and finally a 4x12 with 18 PR412 to 0.11 for the pallet on peg 8. To start the match I fed a small amount of micros in two places down the track, casters by the reeds and down by the pallet. Starting down the track I never had a bite on any hookbait, in fact I never had a bite here all day! I shipped across to the reeds and caught a few perch on caster, they were between 4oz and 8oz. As soon as bites slowed I re fed and rested the line, trouble was I couldn't get a bite elsewhere!  After a couple of hours I had 6 perch, Steve Seagar on peg 5 had 1 carp, but up on peg 11 Adrian Bishop or is ot Jeffery (always get his surname wrong, hope it's one of those!) had caught a lot of perch on caster down the track. I dropped into the platform swim on double caster and had 2 perch straight off and then had a liner, I lifted the rig carefully and the float buried at 100mph and I struck into a solid fish which stopped in peg 10! I finally got the fish back to me and landed a 10lb common.

The platform didn't respond and I only had a couple more perch here all match. I tried feeding micro and corn at 13m to my left going up the far shelf (I had tried caster on a similar line without a bite) and with 2 hours to go I had my first indication over this line and landed a 6lb carp. I did have 2 liners over this in the next two hours but not proper bites, and all my other lines were dead. With 15 mins left I had another bite on the corn and the pole hooped over, in fact it hooped over too much as the rig was caught behind the pole pot! I twisted the pole around until eventually the pot fell off and the elastic poured out of the pole. This was another good carp and although I knew it wasn't going to win me anything I took my time. Sadly it got under the platform, and then with my elastic under the platform the fish appeared a foot below the surface under my pole tip, it had obviously got the line in a snag. I had a swipe with the landing net but a fish of 10lb is not easy to scoop at and I missed and the line snapped, oh well. Steve Seagar managed 2 or 3 carp and on our side of the lake the carp did not show at all.

Knowing that I could not win a prize I tipped back my 6lb of perch and 2 carp, that then froze my fingers as the temperature was close to zero again. I left before the weigh in as I had a party to go to when I got home, I think Craig won the silvers from peg 2 with 17lb of perch, and potentially Mike Duckett may have won from peg 24 with 12 carp.

It was good to be back on the bank and despite the struggle for bites it was interesting enough.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Bathampton Xmas Match - Not Quite!

Unfortunately I was struck down by the flu or a "virus" this week, and from Wednesday night to 4pm Thursday I was laid up in bed. I was not up to much at all on Saturday still full of aches and pains etc, and decided that I didn't want to spend a day in the cold on Sunday.

I spoke to Warren Bates and he was fishing the match and was going to fish the river, he sent me a text on the morning of the match to say he'd drawn peg 24. That's a nice peg at Newbridge on a coloured river, bream are never far away. As I had the trophy to give back I decided to pop out late on to see Warren and pass the trophy to him.

I got to see Warren at about 2:25pm with the match finishing at 3pm. He told me he just had 3 bream in as many casts and had some roach to go with them. He then caught a 10oz skimmer on double worm as I watched on, but his next cast produced a lovely drop back bite and he another bream on. I quickly remembered my phone and took these pictures of a good 4lb fish.

Next cast and Warren had an equally good drop back bite, this time though a 6oz eel was the culprit. Warren had two feeder rods set up, and he was using a 13 B711 to 0.17 with double worm when I arrived. Another rod had much lighter gear on with an 18 hook and he'd had a bream on that, I told him an 18 was to little for my liking, lol!

No more bream showed in the last 15 mins and the match ended. I wandered up the bank (Warren was end peg) and saw that everyone upstream had struggled with 2lb being about the best weight. I went back and helped weigh Warren in, his total net went 20lb 9oz and I am sure that the trophy will bear his name next to mine. A nice bag of fish from a coloured river that was not that pacey, well done matey! I just found out that Shaun Townsend came 2nd with 14lb on the canal, and in third was Rich Lacey with 10lb also from the canal.

Well a shame I couldn't get on the bank this weekend, work and Christmas now follow and I am looking forward to spending time with the family. Hopefully I can get back out on the bank next weekend, as I will be desperate for a few bites by then. Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

March 1996

I couldn't find any matches that appealed to me this weekend, I did consider pleasure fishing the river for a few hours, but it was in flood after Thurs nights heavy rain and with that followed by 2 frosts it wouldn't be great. In the end Sat night on the beer up Kingswood with Glenn, Bela, Dave Haines and a brief visit by Shaun Townsend, put paid to any fishing Sunday. Though no hangover was a plus!

I missed a trip out in Feb 1996, a bit of pleasure fishing on the K&A canal on the long pond. I had about 4lb of gudgeon (where are they now?) roach and perch and a 6lb carp on caster, Nigel Wyatt landed it for me as I was struggling with 11m pole and 11m of elastic out!

First match in March 1996 was an open at Moorlands Farm, I drew peg 34 in a corner with the wind in my face, it was bitter and I only caught 7lb 12oz of bits for no good. Sunday 3rd March I fished the Ray Carter memorial match, usually on the Thames it was now on the Oxford canal due to flooding. I drew a section near Heyford, It was a tough day and I had just under 2lb of gudgeon roach and perch on bloodworm and joker, with a solitary roach on caster. I had 35 points out of 54, the team came 12th. I'm not 100% sure but this could have been the day some dogs running loose on the towpath snapped my pole. When I complained to the female owners their two husbands rounded on me and threatened to smash my gear up and then me! They looked like rugby prop forwards and as the anglers either side of me totally ignored my plight (gits) I backed down and survived. These people were boat owners but not living on the boat and they left before the end of the match, somehow all of my bait ended up in their boat, must have been a nice hatch that spring, lol!

After looking for a new pole section a great weekend followed..... Sat 9th pleasure fished at Conham and never had a bite what a gutter! Sunday I drew peg 22 behind the pump house at Newbridge and never had a bite again! The weather was mild and the temperature 16C, the river was very clear though, but I was at a loss to understand the complete lack of a single bite. I took a day off work on Wednesday and fished a Moorlands farm midweek open. I drew peg 14 on Meadow which can be good for carp, fishing a maggot feeder I caught nothing for 3 hours. Desperate for a few bites I switched to the pole and maggot and caught 10lb of roach and small skimmers. My section was only won with 13lb and so I blew the chance of some coin by going gung-ho on the tip.

After this match I had a long lay off and my next trip out was not until May 6th, pleasure fishing at Shearwater lake. I fished on the lawn with an open ended feeder hoping to catch some carp and skimmers, but after 2 hours I had nothing. Meanwhile next to me a Dad and his daughter had plenty of carp, they were sat on deck chairs about 6 feet away from their feeder rods, they'd wait until the reel started going backwards and get up and pick up the rod and play a carp. The difference, they were on a method feeder. I had one emstat feeder in my box that I had never used, I worked out how to set it up and cast it out on the same line I'd been fishing. 12 carp and 2 bream later I saw the power of the method feeder first hand.

Next week Sunday 21st December is the Bathampton Xmas match, being organised by Kev Dicks. You can fish either the canal or the river, as no rain is forecast I will give the river a go I think. There will also be a pairs pool on the day, one of you fish the canal, one of you fish the river. Give Kev a ring if you want to fish it, last year 19lb was top on the canal and I won the river with 20lb+ of bream, that would be nice again!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

ATWL K&A Canal Final Round

Time seems to fly as we get older, it didn't seem that long ago I was fishing the first round of this league up the Crane in warm weather. Today on the canal it was gonna be chilly and the thermals and extra layers were readied. The canal had been fished the day before on a Xmas match up at the George and Vinny Lunn won that with 11lb and his Mum Nicola was 2nd with 10lb, but weights dropped a bit after this. Today the match was pegged from Darlington up to the white gate by the George pub. Polished off a couple of tasty breakfast rolls and I was ready for the draw, today I was pegged in F section which was between Meadow Farm and the George Pub. I decided to park at Meadow Farm (which meant a nice steep walk back) and walk down. On peg E2 just past the wires was Jerry Pocock, and his peg was the end peg as E1 was not drawn (someone missed a flyer there!).

When I got to my home for the day I found I was pegged just before the old lock, it's only 10m+ wide here and I wasn't sure it would be that good if a lot of boats came through. On the other wider side of the lock was my stalker Kevin Dicks, think that's the 4th or 5th time we've been in the same section. My peg was nice and comfortable and I got my box in down on the edge of the water, rigs were pretty standard for me; 4x14 with 0.07 to 18 PR311 for punch on top 4, 0.2g PB silvers 5 for caster over 0.08 to 18 PR311, a chopped worm rig that caught nothing, a 4x12 bloodworm rig for across with 0.07 to 20 PR311. All ready to go my peg looked like this. (The house, conservatory and gardens opposite were very nice indeed!)

The all in was called and fed a ball of liquidized bread on my top 4, and some casters in 2 spots across, and that was it for now. I dropped in with a piece of punch and I was rewarded with a very positive bite and a nice bit of elastic came out, I guessed a skimmer, but it was in fact a roach of nearly 6oz. Next chuck a 3oz roach, and the next a smaller one. I put a bigger bit of punch on and was still catching roach which were probably averaging 1 1/2oz to 2oz. This is a great stamp of roach to catch and certainly better than what I have seen down at Darlington! After 20 mins a boat came through and I was gutted as I had been catching well, thankfully I must have been on a shedful as the bites continued after the boat had gone! The wind was now really blowing strong up the canal, it looked like the canal was towing, but it wasn't, and I had to hang onto the float or pull it against the tow to get the right presentation. At one point I went to lift my float up (not had a bite) and the float never moved, I'd hit the bottom, but as I shipped back the elastic came out and then pulled back twice before everything went lose. I can't be sure but I think I fouled a decent bream, it was very heavy. I think another 2 boats went through and I still caught on the punch, but after 90 mins this line hid the skids. Despite my best efforts I could not revive it again. I now fed some joker at 10m straight in front. as well as next to a boat to my left.

Time to look across on the caster lines, bang the float settled and carried on going and I caught another 2oz roach. I think I took 4 from my two lines but then snagged on an underwater bramble that came out further than I thought. It snagged my main line and I lost the whole rig. Luckily I had a spare made up and went back out and caught a large bleak and a roach before it went quiet. It was damn hard work holding the pole in the wind and trying to avoid all the leaves that were on the surface, they were a pain all day. Out on my main joker fed line at 10m and my first drop in with a pinke the float did not go under straight away (when I thought it would). After a few minutes of waiting the spec of a bristle disappeared and a better fish was on, must be a skimmer this time... no it was a roach getting close to 8oz. Back out again and a long wait for a little roach, and then a long wait for nothing, so on with a bloodworm and only 1 tiny roach, I was amazed! However, speaking to Martin Barrett and Kev Dicks it transpired the canal was fishing hard and some were getting hardly any bites and I was well ahead in my section.

The joker fed down by the boat might as well have been fed on the boat as I never had a bite over it! To be fair the last 2 hours of my match was awful and I could not get a bite over any of the lines. I did get a bleak on a red maggot over my chopped worm feed, lol, and a few micro roach on joker at 10m. I'd fed a small amount of joker over one of my caster lines and this brought 3 or 4 small fish. With 30 mins to go I fed some bread right over the far side as a last resort, this worked and brought me 10 or 12 little roach, at least a few bites to end on.

I was happy to pack up as I was now feeling the cold,and I was desperate for a pee but there was no chance of going as the towpath was very busy. I ended up weighing 6lb 3oz and won the section by a fair margin as Kev came 2nd with 2lb 14oz, I think that makes us about even this winter league! Walking back I saw Jerry Pocock about to weigh in and he had a nice bag of skimmers for 10lb 10oz, some on bread some on bloodworm. I then took some deep breaths for the walk up the hill, which I'm chuffed to say I did without stopping, but boy was I puffing at the end!

Overall on the day :-

1st Jerry Pocock 10lb 10oz
2nd Andy Power 7lb 3 1/2oz
3rd Kev Boltz  6lb 13oz
4th Vinny Lunn 6lb 4oz
5th me 6lb 3oz

On the team front Bathampton won the match finally beating Thatchers, but the league was sewn up already by Thatchers and we won the league with 5 wins and a second, Bathampton were runners up.

The knockout was won by Mark Harper, who beat Lee Trevitt.

The top 3 individuals in the league

1st Liam Braddell 27 points
2nd Shaun Townsend 27 points (less weight)
3rd me 25 points.

A satisfying set of 6 matches for me, and it was nice to get two section wins on the canal when last year I was last! Better draws this year have helped! As ever the Avon has fished well, but the boats up at Newbridge are really becoming a problem. Well done to Mark Harper and Kev Dicks for running the league, a thankless task.