Sunday, 20 December 2015

Avalon Fishery Xmas Match

It seems quite a while since I have wet a line although it was only a couple of weeks. I wasn't even sure I would be going this weekend due to the mother-in-law still being in hospital, but by Thursday it was decided I would go. I fancied a bit of maggot fishing but both Harescombe and Hill View advised me their matches were fully booked. Tony Rixon advised me of the Avalon Fishery Xmas match and so I called Vic Bush and got in.

Set the alarm for 6am Sunday morning, and it was pleasantly mild again as I loaded the car. I got myself to Shipham for breakfast where there were plenty of anglers already tucking in. One of them was Craig Edmunds who told me 10 years ago the birds were all over him, now he said he can't pull a bird for toffee! After a bit of banter I was on my way again and got to Avalon with time enough to get all the gear out and onto the trolley. Vic announced he was paying the top overall weight and the top silvers weight only, with all the other money gone into the prizes. Not a clue where I wanted to draw and so when I stuck my hand in the woolly hat and pulled out 32 I was looking for advice. Most people said OK but not really where the main carp weights had been showing. That said what I do like about this venue is that you're never sure of where it will be won.

Got to the peg and passed a couple of top class anglers on the way, James Cooper and Tom Magnal who would be hard to beat. I had plenty of room to my left but a tree in the water made it tricky to take advantage of the space, the next angler to my right was Phil Dodd on peg 30. The lake was flat calm at this stage but the forecast today was for some wind and showers. I had a little island opposite me but was advised to avoid fishing to the end due to snags.

I set up a 10ft Preston mini carp rod for the straight lead with a 16 PR36 to 0.16 for fishing a hard pellet. I also set a stumpy 5AAA waggler just in case the wind stayed OK with again 0.16 to 16. Two pole rigs were assembled, a 4x20 with 0.12 to 18 PR434 for 13m and 8m, also a margin rig with a 4x14 to 0.16 to 16. On the all in I fed some micro pellet at 13m, some 4mm pellet int he margin and pinged a few 8mills out to the island and to a spot in the open water. As the wind had picked up (why does it do that?) I chucked the lead out to begin with and hoped I'd get a lucky resident carp. It didn't happen for me but in the first 30 mins I think I saw 3 carp landed on the tip. Without a sign I had an early look on the 13 micro line, but after 20 mins here trying soft pellet or maggot I was still waiting for a bite. On the other side of the lake on peg 19 Mike West had lost 2 carp from his margin, so I took a look in mine, I snagged up every time here so I plumbed up a little further out and refed it.

Back out on the lead and bang on the hour mark the tip flew round, a small carp of about 2 1/2lb was landed. I cast back out with renewed hope but it seemed like a one off as the tip stayed still. Everything was quiet and from what I could see nothing much was happening, I decided to start throwing maggots by hand out to about 8m hoping to draw a few small fish and maybe a carp or two later. Around the second hour mark the wind dropped a little and so I decided to give the waggler a little go, throwing it out with an 8mm pellet on I wasn't sure what would happen. The wind was still a pain but on my third cast I had a bite but didn't connect. I then took a call from Glenn Bailey and wedging my phone in my hood (as it was now raining) I carried on with the wag and after a few minutes had another bite and hooked one. This fish wasn't massive but it was fighting a bit weird,when I did net it I could see why I had hooked it under the chin, it was about 4lb. I gave the wag another 15 mins and lost a fouler when I never even had a bite, but the wind then got so bad I had to stop.

The lead was not working for me, and I seemed to be reeling in twigs most casts which is not what you want. I tried the 13m pole line again but nothing and I never did have a bite on this all day! Dropping in on the 8m line with double maggot I was happy to see the float go under and pick up a 4oz hybrid, not long after I had a 4oz roach. A few more smaller roach and then time to rest it as bites were really at a premium. Three and a half hours in and I had another pull round on the tip, I'd cast a bit more to the left which seemed to avoid the twigs. This carp was safely landed and was about 4lb. Again nothing else and I felt the carp were up in the water but I couldn't fish the wag as the wind was a nightmare. The maggot line produced a couple more small roach and then I bumped something, maggot over the hook, damn. Within a few minutes of doing this I had a positive bite and caught a 1lb+ skimmer. I then went without a bite for a while but I felt there might be a better fish and stayed on it, I was proved right as hit a bite and a decent amount of elastic came out but after about 6 or 7 seconds it came off. There was no reason for it, but this is the way things can go in winter with fish not feeding positively.

Everything went dead after this, and even when the wind did drop a bit the wag only produced 1 indication. Mike West had now lost 7 carp from his margin (none in the net) and I decided to give mine the last 30 minutes solid. With about 15 mins to go I had a proper bite and was attached to a very good fish, I pulled steady thinking it would just swim out in the open water. Bad angling on my part I didn't see where the fish went and should have pulled a lot harder, it got near the next pallet and I was snagged up solid. It turned out the carp had put my hook into a piece of wood (an old part of the platform) which was about 3 foot below the surface. Gutted it felt a proper un, and I never had anything else. As the match ended the wind dropped, why does it do that?

The scales came down from peg 48, and top weight was Tom Magnal with 24lb, The guy to my left had 5lb+, my silvers went 3lb 4oz and my 3 carp went 11lb 5oz for a total of 14lb 9oz. Phil Dodd to my right had taken 2 decent carp on the feeder and weighed 13lb 12oz. The top weights were :-

1st Eric Fourace 28lb 13oz (10 small carp from peg 5)
2nd Dereck Beard 26lb 15oz
3rd Tom Magnal 24lb
4th Steve Fouracre 23lb 1oz
5th Rob Dodd 18lb 14oz
6th Me 14lb 9oz

Matt Challenger won the silvers with 8lb 4oz, this was mainly made up of two decent bream.

Vic and his wife had put on some lovely soup and bread, and home made mince pies. The prizes were also top notch with rods and hampers for the top performers, I was really chuffed to pick up my prize, kept the wife happy too!

Well that is it now until after Christmas, not sure when I will be going again as I do have a busy Christmas hol, hopefully I'll sneak out at some stage. Anyway here's wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, hope you have a good one and drink eat and be merry.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

January/February 1997

Fishing has taken a back seat, last weekend I was full of cold and my sinuses were playing up, I'm still coughing and bunged up today. The mother-in-law had to go in hospital for a 6 hour heart operation this week which has been a bit stressful, and I have purposely not booked any matches for now. To be honest I wouldn't have been in a fit state to fish Sunday after a day on the lash watching Rovers yesterday. It was a great day out with the wife, youngest daughter Emma and her boyfriend Mitch, and good friends Glenn Bailey, Paul and Andrea Benson and organiser Mark and Bern Jefferies. Starting at 12:30 at the ground and ending about 10:30 at the Essex I was not very steady on my feet.

Picked up another diary today as we move into 1997, December 1996 had been very, very cold, so much so that the Avon in Bath froze over! Temperatures climbed a little and I decided to pleasure fish the river in Bath near Norfolk Crescent. I had a nice day on the waggler fishing maggots and catching 10lb of dace, it was a day when I had to vary the depth to keep bites coming, and try to hit them. I took a walk downstream towards the end of the day, and just above the green bridge was Kevin Boltz who was also fishing a waggler. However, unlike me Kev had not caught a single dace but had 25 chub for about 60lb fishing 5 feet deep. Most matches were cancelled this weekend, with the Avon at Melksham froze over and the canal ice was 4" thick.

The following weekend we had the first night without frost for 3 weeks, I pleasure fished the Avon up at Laycock with Des Shipp and Steve Mayo, none of us had a bite! On Saturday 18th I was back at Moorlands Farm for their winter league, I drew peg 15 on Moors pool. It was a difficult match with the corners dominating, I only had 1 small carp of a 1lb but some roach and 2 small skimmers on worm and maggots got me 6lb 13oz for 12 points out of 19, my 4 man team were 3rd on the day and 2nd overall in the league at this stage.

With all this cold weather fish on the river were shoaling up, and if you were on them you would sack up big time (just like Kev Boltz). Bream appeared on the shallowest water on the top of chequers straight and people were catching up to 40 of them on waggler and caster. The Rod Hill Memorial match was being fished on the Avon around Keynsham and so a draw at Chequers would be handy, of course I didn't draw there! I drew a peg at Jack Whites (downstream of Siston Brook) in the cow drink, a peg I've had before. It was an out and out feeder day for me, and I had just 1 bite all day, thankfully I connected with the fish and landed a 3lb 4oz chub. That was handy as nobody else in the section caught and so I picked up 1st and 2nd section money lol! Chequers was the place to be and lots of bream were caught down there.

The following weekend was a double header at Moorlands, the w/l on Saturday was dreadful for me. 3lb 8oz from peg 40 on Meadow and only 10 points from 19. Sunday and I fished an open on the venue and drew peg 15 on bank pool. I really wasn't happy with this peg, it is on the end of the pool and your hemmed in by the anglers around you, and the wind was blowing into my face. As I was setting up though the wind turned around completely and was now off my back! I decided to set up a waggler and a maggot feeder as well as the pole, but the waggler was my main method fishing with just 3 no 10's down the line and and a 20 to 0.10. It was a slow match and everyone was struggling but I thought it might be my lucky day when I managed somehow to land a 6lb carp hooked in the tail. Five more carp and 1 big skimmer later and I weighed 21lb 11oz to come 2nd overall. I was back here two weeks later for the last round of the w/l and I drew peg 7 on Moors. Straight away Des and Steve told me this peg had a hidden feature, a gravel bottom around 6m out and that I should find this and fish over it. Plumbing up and dragging a plummet around it was easy to find the gravel patch. I used a heavy 1/2grm float with 18 to 0.12 and fed casters lightly, on the hook double caster or double red maggot did the business. I had a nice steady days fishing, ending with 17 carp for 49lb 13oz, and that was enough to win the match. It was a great day as the team came 2nd on the day and 2nd overall, and I picked up nearly £300 as a result!

Saturday 22nd February and I Was on the K&A canal at Limpley Stoke fishing a seniors and juniors pairs match, sadly I cannot remember the junior I was paired with. However, he would have been happy as I won the match with 4lb 7 1/2oz and we won the pairs too! I had 4 skimmers on punch and some gudgeon on pinkie.

I hope I can fish a match next weekend before Xmas, but I've just remembered I need to get my no 5 section fixed!

Sunday, 29 November 2015

ATWL Final Round K&A Canal Bath

Phew, what a week. Work was especially busy and a tad stressful at times, but Tuesday night my eldest daughter wins two tickets to the PDC players championship darts at Minehead on the Friday, and that meant I was going. Drive to Taunton, pick up daughter, drive to Butlins, get tickets and find were VIP's sat on the same table as the darts players families right next to the walk on. Really enjoyed it although I was sober, next time I go to darts I will have a few bevvies!

Saturday and went by train to Exeter with the wife and former fishing team mates Paul Benson and Mark Jefferies. Surprised the daughter who did not know we were going and she burst into tears of joy, how I kept it a secret the day before I never know! Watching the Gas in the stand was a pleasure, they played well and the strong wind and rain were kept well away from me. Same couldn't be said for Benz and Podge who were stood in the open exposed to the elements, I think I may have mentioned it once or twice after as they dried out in the Wetherspoons and we got wetter inside lol!

After all this fun I was looking forward to day 3 of the long weekend on the last ATWL match, this time bloodworm and joker were allowed. It was forecast to be windy with very strong gusts and a draw out of the wind would be nice, the town was pegged today with 4 sections down there, good fishing but peggy as hell. John Harvey did the team draw and he came back and gave me D5, which was end peg at Darlington. Sounds good, but there were 3 pegs in the tunnels which can be very good and would definitely be sheltered.

Got to Darlington and nearly lost the car door as the wind ripped it from my grip, hmmm. Pushed the gear past the gate, and onto the towpath, peg D4 was just as you got to the towpath and was sheltered from the worst of the wind, my peg a mere 50 yards along was in the wind, hmmm. It was bad, very bad and I decided that other than top sets only my short no4 and 5m section were being gingerly removed from the holdall. I tried to get everything as close and as tight to me as I could. The picture doesn't do it justice, the video below may, but believe me it got much worse towards the end!!!

My options were severely reduced by my limited length of pole, but I set up in hope of a few fish as I was sure a decent weight would be needed in this section. I assembled a 0.4g punch rig, a 0.4g bloodworm rig for top set, a 0.5g for chopped worm and a 4x18 rig which didn't get used. I could only see Steve Hutchinson on peg 4, he was able to put a brolly up, had I done the same I would have flown across Bath ala Mary Poppins... Forty mins before the start and the fuel boat comes down, he's slowing down in my peg and churning up the canal a treat (see video). He refuels the boat to my left and goes on his way churning it up again. Plenty of colour now but hopefully it would calm down before the start.

 10:30 arrives and I do my best to feed a ball of bread on my long line top set +2, then a bit of joker on my topset line. Starting on a large punch I never had a bite, but the presentation was piss poor with the top foot of the canal towing with the wind. I tried a smaller punch and caught a few small roach, but it was all wrong and I was missing bites due to presentation. I stuck the rig 3 inches over depth and put a pinkie on, the float was bobbing up and down in the breakers but I did see it go under and a 2oz roach was netted, and I took a few more although it was not really fast. I stuck on a big red maggot to see if I could increase the quality, and it worked as I hit a skimmer of about 1lb but sadly it was a loner.

After about an hour the boat on my left moved off giving my peg another churn up. I fed some more bread and now some chopped worm to my right, the small roach, gudgeon and odd little perch were soon back over the bread and it was a good battle of the elements. Of course it died about 20 mins later when the boat returned and moored up again in the same place only facing a different way, more churn, fer fecks sake!!!  I dropped in on the top set and was catching little roach on pinkie, would you believe it was even hard to present the rig right here. I did get a couple of net perch of this line, 4 ouncers. I was thinking about what to feed on my long line when the John Rennie came through, huge boat this and it gave the peg another churn. Once it had all settled down I feed a decent amount of joker and caster just to the left of my bread line (down wind!).

It was probably around now that my no4 and 5 section were picked up by a gust and landed against the wall behind me, somehow they did not break. Had a look on the chopped worm line and had an immediate response with 2 perch and 2 ruffe, but then nothing, so a refeed and back to the top set which would be alright for a few quick fish and then nowt. I wanted to feed a bit of gbait but alas I'd not mixed any, and trying to pour some into my mixing bowl was futile as it was blown out before I could wet it, hmmm.

A boat came down and the owner said she was going to moor in front of me, I explained politely that she wasn't but she could at 3:30pm. She wasn't happy and as the rear of the boat was in front of me here husband opened the throttle (ask Mat Challenger he saw it happen!), more churn!!

The wind was now gusting with increased strength and I was a tad concerned, my pole roller had been knocked over by a large piece of insulation board, no idea where that came from, and bits of wood were being blown of a boat to my right towards me. I had to remove the stake from the bottom of my keep net as it was being blown clear of the water with the fish losing vital oxygen. Holding on to my pole 2+2 was becoming almost impossible, I took off the 4x18 rig and put on a 0.7g rig for fishing over the joker. Fishing about 4 inches over depth it was quiet at first, but with about an hour to go I had a little flurry of bites, a near 8oz roach and a 8oz skimmer were netted with great difficulty and unhooked with even more difficulty as everything was being blown around. N

I had some barren spells and some when the float kept going under with little roach, I think if I could have fished longer I would have caught a lot more, but it would have been folly to do so. About 5 minutes from the end, as the darkness and worsening winds made me think hell had arrived, one major gust managed to snap my no 5 section in my hands. OK I give up time to pack up.

I was trying to keep a brave face on things but knew the tunnel pegs would beat me. In fact Paul Purchase won the match from the tunnel with 16lb 8oz, he only had 14lb of that in the first hour, big skimmers on bread! Jammy git lol!  Next to him Nicky Johns had a high 7lb thanks to a bream which pulled the elastic out of his pole when he was trying to get his brolly out. My weight of 5lb 10oz was much more than I thought, and meant I was 3rd.

Back at the results and some lucky anglers had enjoyed a peaceful day, others had endured the wind, but I can assure you had the match been pegged further down Darlington today it would have been carnage. Top 4

1st Paul Purchase 16lb 8oz
2nd Vince Lunn 15lb 5oz (end peg Richardsons, no wind)
3rd Shaun Townsend 14lb 13oz (end peg Long Pond  he said "I won't catch 1lb out of this peg it is shit!")
4th Colin Dance 14lb 5oz (on his own in horseshoe pond, a lot of big roach all caught on top 4)

Team wise Thatchers won on the day by a single point from Bathampton and that meant Thatchers won the league. Top individual was John Harvey and Liam Braddell won the knockout.

I was a tad peed off after, I feel luck has really deserted me this Autumn on the winter leagues, despite having some good days often it has been a challenge. However, this happens in fishing and things will change again I am sure.

I think after today I deserve one of these..

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Commercial House Round 4 - K&A Canal

It was positively warm Sunday morning without the strong northerly wind, OK it was cold and there was ice on my car but it was still warmer than yesterday. Got to the draw with a bit of time to spare today and so had an egg & sausage bap whilst chatting to the lads. Plenty of ringers in today, with Dave Stiff, Paul Barnfield, Chris Ollis (yes really) and a young lad called Andrew Cranston (look out for him one for the future).

There was no bloodworm allowed today because this match was supposed to be on the river, but on Weds it was decided to put it on the canal. After seeing how hard everywhere fished yesterday I was thinking today could be a toughie unless you drew well. Team draw was done by Mark Harper, and he put himself on a great peg, one past the swingbridge up past Bathampton bend. I was in D section at Meadow Farm, and had 3 end pegs in the section so was up against it. Got to the canal and Rich Candy is on the flyer on the Bath side of the bridge, Tony Gilbert on the flyer t'other side of the bridge. Andy Britt was on 7, and I was on 8 with Martin Reyatt was on the end peg of our section on 9. Andy was gutted and said we were in the worst bit, it was narrow here only 10m wide, meanwhile Martin had a lovely bit of decking to fish up against and I fully expected him to beat me. Any said he though Vinny Lunn would win the match, I made a counter prediction that Mark Harper would win, and also that I'd get 1 point!  My peg below, with the sun in my face.

Setting up today was quicker without B&J rigs, a bread rig of 0.4g with 18 PR311 to 0.07, a caster rig 4x10 with 0.08 to 18 PR311, a worm rig with 14 B611 to 0.14, and finally a small fish across rig 4x12 with 20 PR311 to 0.07.

Just before the start Martin wandered down and had a pee behind me, there was a tree swing cut back in and so it was a safe place to pee. As soon as Martin vacated I took my turn to empty my bladder, but (I blame it on my woolly hat) I turned round the wrong way and smacked my head into a tree. Ouch, it hurt, really hurt and soon after I had a small egg size lump appear, plonker! Never mind if I can see two floats I might do better.... I shout the all in, cup in a decent ball of bread just past 4m, and some worms down to a boat, then a few casters were potted across. I started positive with an 8mm punch and lowered the rig in, it drifted to the right with the tow and didn't dip. I lifted it out and repeated the process, and did it again, 3 drops with the same punch no indication. I dropped the rig in above where I cupped my bread in and as the float was settling it shot under, my strike was met with firm resistance, skimmer. I held the pole and very slowly shipped back, by the amount of no4 elastic out this was a decent fish. I broke down to the top 2, turned to get my landing net, looked back to the water and saw a 2lb fish below my top set. I then saw my rig fly up in the air and the 2lb skimmer laid flat for a second or two as if to say "look at what you could have won" and then twitched and swam off. I did shout out in anger, think it was the lump on my head made me do it.  Never mind where there is one skimmer there is sure to be...... none! That was it, not another bite, and I mean not another bite on small punch or anything.

Thirty mins in and I fed a cup of bread 9m up the canal on the same depth, this was a good move in that it avoided the blank, I took a 1oz roach and 7 pairs of eyes, and after an hour that was it. I got up for a walk, Martin only had 6 fish and was struggling like me, but to my right Andy and Mat Challenger had skimmers and the other anglers had roach and small skimmers. I was 3lb to 4lb behind already. Now when you can't get a bite and you've not got b&j and you're 3lb behind big fish are probably all that will claw it back. I tried my worm line and caster lines all to no avail, also biteless. I was loose feeding a few casters to another part of the far bank and I did get a dink there but no more.

Feeling bored, fed up and with a muzzy head (not helped by staring into the sun) I decided to put bread in against the far bank and use my 4x12 rig with punch. This was a good switch as I could get a bite a chuck here from five to the ounce roach!!!! I tried a bigger punch and that was no good at all, a 2mm punch was the only way to get a bite. I fed 2 chopped worm swims way off to the left and right, one fed heavier than the other in the hope of nailing a perch. Back to the bread across for more pairs of eyes. I settled into a rhythm, catch 10 see through roach and then have 15 mins looking for a perch. I did manage a 4oz perch on my caster line, a 4oz perch on the worm, and managed to foul a 2oz perch in the dorsal fin. That was how my match panned out and I knew I was beat up.

Martin had managed to catch a dozen perch against the decking and was glad he had them, 4lb 6oz, My sprats went 2lb 1oz. I was chip shop sausage when Andy Britt put 4lb 1oz on the scales and then Matt won the section with 4lb 15oz of skimmers. Matt told me he hardly had a fish after the first 25 mins!!! Sadly my prediction came true and I had 1 point for the team, I did beat 2 in the B div but that was scant consolation. Even Rich Candy on his flyer managed to beat me and he packed up 1 hour early getting the time mixed up, PMSL!!!

I also got my other prediction correct with Mark Harper winning with 11lb 12oz of mainly roach up to 12oz on bread then casters, a lovely net of fish there. 2nd was that excellent angler Paul Purchase with 6lb 8oz, young Andrew Cranston came 3rd with 6lb 6oz, Mike Kent 34th from Darlington with 6lb 4oz. Bathampton won on the day and now lead the league with the next two matches being on the canal in 2016.

What a shite league I have had so far, it is by far my worst since, well I cannot even remember lol! My day got even better when I got home to find the electrics in my shed weren't working despite no fuses or trip switches blown, so I fumbled around in the dark and managed to trip up over my trolley. Feck me what a day.

Next week back on the canal for the last ATWL with B&J.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Bob Gullick Birthday Bash - Sedges

Some time ago I received a message from Bob Gullick asking if I would like to fish a match at Sedges to celebrate his 50th birthday. It was to be a silvers match on Brick Lake and with a free brekkie and tea and cake thrown in how could I refuse!

Got to say I have not been feeling to well this week and when I awoke 5:30 Saturday morning and heard the howling wind and sleet I was thinking I really would rather stay in bed. However, it would be poor show to let Bob down so I got on with it and put on lots of extra layers. As soon as I started to load the car I knew winter had arrived, gloves and woolly hat were also needed.

Here's a picture of Bob and his birthday cake which tasted very nice.

Bob and the 19 invited anglers all met in Parkway Cafe in Bridgwater, there were loads of drawbags and great silvers anglers in there. I had a nice breakfast and most people went for the normal size, but Dom Sullivan had the large and it was a big un!!!  At the fishery and the cold Northerly was hammering down the lake, pegs 6 to 10 and 11 and 12 looked the calmest, with the other end and especially 18 to 20 looking really rough. I pulled out peg 3 which I didn't fancy one bit, the skimmers aren't usually here in numbers and the wind would make life very awkward, but with £40 for the 4 peg section it was worth a shot. My section was Russ Peck on peg 2, Alan Oram on peg 4 and Dom Sullivan was on peg 5 and I thought he was favourite.

I kept the set up very simple, a 0.8g wire stem float with 0.10 to 18 PR412, and a medium feeder with 0.128 exceed to 16 PR412. Although the wind was bad I felt I could fish between 11 and 13m so plumbed up here, it was deeper by a few inches at 11m. This little video clip shows what the wind was like before the match.

When the hooter went to start I fed some micros at 11mm, 3 balls of gbait at 13m and then cast the feeder out with double maggot on the hook. It was a slow start for me, but Dom had an early small skimmer and over on 17 Gary O'Shea had a tench first cast on the tip. After about 25 mins I snared a 1oz roach on the tip and I did miss another bite probably from a roach. After 40 mins I had no more so picked up the pole and tried a soft pellet over the micros, nothing, not a bite. Right onto a red maggot on the hook, a bite and a little 2oz skimmer which I tried to swing and the wind blew it off the hook. Over the 13m line and nothing not a bite. Back over the micros and I had a tiny roach  but nothing else,

Nicky Ewers on peg 1 had 2 skimmers on the tip, and although Russ and Alan were biteless on it I decided to give it another go. It was more difficult to cast precisely as the wind was getting stronger so bad casts had to be retrieved, but when I landed on the spot within a couple of minutes I had a positive bite and struck. There was a decent fish attached but not a skimmer, probably a bloody carp, but as there was £20 for the top carp weight I played it carefully. When the fish popped up and I saw it was a tench I was dead happy, and in the net it went. Next chuck and the tip flies round again, another tench? Not this time sadly, it was a carp. I played it carefully and it came in slowly but then decided it wanted to see Alan Oram and soon after the hook length parted. That knocked the feeder on the head and I rested it again.

Back on the pole and everything was rock hard, I had to go well over depth as the trip was bad. A little roach and a tiny skimmer from the micro line and nothing from the gbait line, in fact I never had a bite at 13m so no more of that! Alan then had a decent skimmer on the pole and lost a carp. At this stage I was winning our section.

The rest of the match was rock hard, Alan got an eel and was close to my weight, Dom fouled a skimmer and was also close. All I managed was another little skimmer and a rudd on the feeder, and a couple more tiny fish on the pole with pinkie. To be honest I was really getting cold and couldn't wait for the end of the match to come. At the all out it was clear it had been a struggle for all.

Jamie came up with the scales Nick had 3lb on peg 1,  Russ had 12oz, my tench and bits went 3lb 2oz, Alan's 2 fish went 2lb 14oz and then Dom weighed 2lb 12oz. Ken Rayner was pleased to tell me with a chuckle I'd won the £40 with my lowly weight lol!

The silvers winner was local ace Eric Fouracer who had 3 bream on the feeder for 8lb+, just beating Matty Toomes who had just a few decent skimmers on the pole. Accidental (not so accidental) carp winner was Ken Rayner with 6 carp on the lead for 40lb. Ken was on peg 19 and chucked into peg 20 as Dave Roper never bothered to fish the peg. It was good to warm up with a cup of tea and a piece of Bob's birthday cake, and Bob had won his section (4 corners of lake) so had some birthday money. I did ask Bob if he could move his birthday to July as it would have been a bit warmer lol! Thanks for the invite Bob, I hope you enjoyed your birthday.

Fishing again tomorrow the Commercial House on the canal up at Bath, hope I get a lot more bites tomorrow!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Windmill Fishery Open

Not fishing the winter league today meant I had to chose where to fish, and my original thought was to pleasure fish the river. Of course the rain that fell during the week and especially on Friday put paid to any river fishing, and after a chat to Dave Haines and Shaun Townsend I set my stall to fish Windmill for the first time.

I got to the fishery a little late (due to over celebrating the Rovers winning the day before) and found only another 7 anglers willing to face the elements, apparently Mike Nicholls and Bela Bakos did come to the venue but cried off! I was given a very warm welcome by fishery owner Terry and the other (regular) anglers and had a quick look at the lake as Dave Haines decided what pegs to put in. It certainly was very windy, and the far side was a bit better as the wind would be ever so slightly off your back. Dave put every other peg in from 11 to 1 then 31 and 29, the last two having a little calm water. I drew peg 3 which meant nothing to me, but most people didn't seem to fancy it, and a quick ring to Shaun didn't give me a lot of hope as his advice could not be followed due to the wind. I took this photo after the match when of course the wind had dropped a little lol.

The wind was so bad the first thing I set up was a little lead rod, but as it turned out I never picked it up. I then set up a 0.75g pole float with a 16 B911 to 0.14 exceed. Plumbing around I found the bottom of the shelf at about 5m, and I used my short no4 section to help control the rig. The only other rig was a 4x12 job for using in my left and right margins, with again 01.4 to a 16B911. The water was very coloured and I hoped the fish would come in close to me.

On the all in I fed 4mm pellets in the margins and a conker ball of micros at 5m, starting here with a 4mm expander on the hook. Everybody else seemed to chuck a lead or a feeder to the island, maybe I was on for a battering. It took about 10 mins for me to get a bite and a little skimmer of 2 to 3oz was swung in. Back in again and soon had another tiny skimmer. By now Dave Haines to my right had lost a carp on the lead and Gerry Welsh to my left had one, further down on peg 9 Bob Price was getting a carp a chuck.

After an hour I was getting regular bites from small skimmers but nothing else and quality. The lake was now tripping very hard against the wind and I went 4" over depth to try to slow the rig down. I'd basically drop the rig in and try to hold it steady before either the trip got the better of the rig or the wind blew my pole tip and moved the float. The small skimmers didn't mind the bait tripping through but I thought the better samples might not. I tried a piece of 6mm meat on the hook and after a a bit of a wait a bite and a skimmer of 1.5lb. Sussed it I thought, but no, it was a longer wait for a bite on the meat and then I'd miss it every time, I assume it was the little skimmers.

Although only odd carp had come out (other than Bob) I was not to keen to chuck the lead as I was getting a bite a chuck on the pole and enjoying seeing the float going under. About halfway through I added another skimmer of 1lb and a little crucian, a couple of missed bites saw me rest this line and go in the margin. LH margin was useless and never produced a bite, RH margin and the float went under and carp on, well when I say carp it was 4oz. Carp under 8oz are to be put in the silvers net so I was happy enough, and when I had a 4oz perch in the margin next I felt someone was telling me it was a silvers day. No more bites in the margin today.

Back out at 5m and the peg seemed to have slowed with no bites, but I let the float trip through and about 8ft from where I fed the float dipped and I had knocker on, or as we know it a crucian. The next 3 drops in the same hole and 3 crucians, the smallest was 4oz the biggest 1lb. I kept the odd conker of micros going in but the fish seemed to be backing off, or the feed was going down a long way with the trip and I went even further down the peg and got bites. I now started to get the odd 2oz to 4oz carp (probably 10 over last 2 hours) and I had a another lovely crucian off about 1.5lb. As soon as those better fish went it would take a few minutes for the little skimmers to come back in again, and I just kept catching them with the hope of the odd other fish showing up, and I did get a 12oz tench and a couple more small crucians. When the match had finished I was really happy having had a bite nearly every cast and enjoyed battling the elements. I'd caught all bar one skimmer on 4mm expander, meat and corn were not to the silvers taste today,

I managed to win the silvers today, my weight was 23lb 8oz and I must have had a hundred fish, Terry took a snap of my net. I think 13lb was the next best silvers weight, but there are certainly lots of silvers in here.

Winner on the day was Bob "the bread " Price who had 70lb+ on the lead with bread. Bob had caught the same weight from the next peg on Thursday, and it seems the carp seem happy to be shoaled around the end of that island. Gerry was 2nd on peg 5, he had 44lb of carp on the lead.

Well that was an enjoyable first visit to Windmill, it is certainly a very different venue to when it first opened and there are plenty of bites to be had. I shall go back again hopefully when the wind is not so bad so I can fish a bit further out!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Poppy Match Bristol Avon

Looking forward to this match, as ever, but the rain forecast could mess it up. In the end the river was looking great Saturday but the rain we had early Saturday morning was really heavy and pushed the river up and coloured. That meant minimal preparation which was dead handy as I was very hungover after a night out with lads (Thatchers Gold and Jaeger Bombs were not a good idea) and all I needed was to defrost my groundbait.

Sunday morning I was feeling fine and got to the draw where I saw Andrew Chatterley and Steve Nadin who were up from Dorset, must be 20 years since I've seen Chats! There were plenty of other anglers who I only see on this match and it is always good to see them. After our 2 minutes silence the draw began, I was hoping to pull a peg at Newbridge and I got my wish when I found I was going to be spending 5 hours on peg 77 which is 3 below Newton St Loe bridge. It was so mild as I walked to my peg I had to remove clothing. My first glance of the river by the arch and it was dirty and pushing through, but not that bad that you'd have to fish right in close. As I walked along with Jeff Surmon we spotted a few bags of gbait on the floor that had been dropped, it turned out to be Trevor Chalk's bait, Trevor is normally to be found fishing the river Wye.

Finally arrived at my peg and decided to fish from the top of the bank, on my right was Steve Skelton and on my left Martin Reyat. Looking at the river I thought a flat float might work, but I hadn't brought any with me. Then I remembered this was an open match, be positive, so it was 2 feeder rods to be fished down the middle. One feeder rod had a 14 PR355 to 0.165, and the other rod a 12 PR355 to 0.165.

As I was setting up I saw an angler pushing his gear down from the bridge, it was Alan Jones (who is getting on a bit) and he had walked from the pumphouse by mistake and had to go to peg 90 on the stream. A bad mistake to walk 70 pegs to that peg lol! I also heard another angler left his seat box in the car park whilst he drove to the Crane, that made me laugh. I did set up a bleak rig as I was on a peg which caught some last week, and thinking that 10lb would be a good weight today bleak would be handy. I was just ready for the start, and I threw 8 jaffas stuffed with worm and caster out to about halfway and followed them in with the feeder. The first 30 minutes were dead and then I had a bite which I missed, but the very next cast I had a small eel. I was trying different hook baits out and the eel had come to a dendra with red maggots, not long after an 8oz roach also took the same bait.

After an hour I had added a small roach and then had a rattler of bite and had another eel of around 8oz. This eel had swallowed the bait deeply and after a quick try with the slamo I decided to cut the line, as I did the eel had managed to make a hole in a new landing net and slipped through it back into the river, balls! As I had to tie another hook on I decided to have a cast out with the bigger hook and try a lobworm tail. Not long after tying the new hook on I had a bite on the lobby but missed it, try again and another 8oz roach. No more bites on the lobworm followed so I went back to the smaller hook and had a chub of about 6oz. It was about now that organisers Paul Benson and Ray Bazely met behind my peg. Benz said I was doing OK, but Ray had seen a bream caught by Jan Mazyk who was on the bream hole peg.

During the next 2 hours I would get odd bites from roach, I never saw another eel, but these bites are bloody hard to hit despite fishing for drop backs. I think the bigger roach are easier to hook than the smaller ones, and as I really wanted to catch a bream I did not scale down to catch small roach. A dendra with 2 casters was good for another few roach, mostly netters. I kept piling the worms and casters in through the feeder hoping to attract the aforementioned bream but there was no sign of any in my peg or around me. Warren Bates had drawn well again and was on the peg which won the match last week, Warren was struggling and went for a walk, when he returned he caught a bream on his first cast, nice. Sadly my peg seemed to be going downhill with the fish getting smaller, to prove a point I put 3 red maggots on and caught a dace and my smallest roach. Sod that. Tried the lobworm again and had 1 roach on it, but the last hour was not good for me and even though I kept the faith the bream did not show up and I was not going to be winning this year.

In this match they pay money out on every 5 pegs, I thought I had about 3 1/2 to 4lb. Jeff and Martin had a lot more fish than me so it was not looking good even for £20. The section above the bridge was won by Glenn Bailey with 5lb 12oz, Jeff had just under 4lb, then I weighed 5lb 2oz which caused much cursing and foul language to appear from Martin. He needen't have worried as he did me by 3oz, and yes I was now cursing losing that bloody eel lol! Just seems not to be my year on the rivers, not won a bean and I cannot rememember that happening before, I've got one more chance in two weeks to avoid the white wash.

Back at the results word started to come in of bream that had been caught and it wasn't many. Also a couple of anglers had lost a lot of eels as they had holes in their keepnets, one was my teammate Nick Chedzoy, he lost 15 of 17 eels, plonker!! In the end the winner was Jan Mazyk who had 4 bream for 24lb 6oz, well done!!!

In second and next to the winner was Dereck Coles who had 14lb 12oz which included a 9lb 10oz bream, wow!!!

In third and a previous winner was Andy Ottoway who had a really good net of roach and eels for 12lb 6oz, he just beat Warren Bates who framed for about the 4th match on the trot with bream and is doing really well. The top 4 all came from Newbridge and you can see below the top weights.

As usual the results were full of fun and banter as Ray is the king of wind up. I managed to win something, a tin of biscuits on the raffle lol, but Glenn won a rod so he had a good day. John Smith got the biggest laughs as he kept coming up to claim raffle prizes only to have the right number but the wrong colour! At the end of the day Ray and Benz and their helpers did a great job, and advised they are getting a new trophy for next year as they will make it the Bill Milton memorial trophy. Bill was an avid supporter of the Poppy match and it is a nice touch, now I just need to get my name on that trophy!

Not sure what to do next week, if the river looks good I might fish it for fun, or I might sneak on to a carp match.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

No real blog - just...

I didn't fish today as I was only briefly back in the UK from a lovely time in Barcelona, and then I'm off first thing to Munich on business.

I did walk / run the bank at Newbridge today where the Avon had a lot of colour and it was fishing really hard. Some anglers were blanking after a couple of hours, some went for bleak out of desperation but that often turned out to be a good plan.

Very few bream showed but as ever a few did come out late. Bathampton won on the day by 2 points over Thatchers, and it sounded like Andy Britt's last came bream that won him the section probably got his team the win.

I don't know what caused the river to fish so poorly perhaps the water was cold and the fish need to acclimatise. It'll probably fish well in the week, hope it improves for the Poppy Match next week!

Sunday, 25 October 2015

ATWL Round 3 - Swineford, Crane, Jack Whites

Busy old time again for me, and I was seeing my eldest daughter in Plymouth Friday / Saturday and had to ask Glenn Bailey to peg out the Crane for me. I mixed my gbait Saturday evening and hoped I had everything in the box / bag as was required!

Cold start to Sunday morning, plenty of frost on the ground and on the car but not enough to worry the fish I thought. Early draw today to ensure we could get to our pegs at Swineford before the road was closed for the marathon. Not that I was worried about that as I doubted I would draw up there! Welsh drawbag John Harvey drew for the team again and put himself on the steps at Jack Whites, nice. I needn't have bothered to look at the sheet really as I knew I'd be up the Crane and I was, bang in the middle. Not that it is a bad area of course, it is just I would like the opportunity to see a bit of the other parts of the river. John Harvey followed me to the Marina as he didn't know the way, I did my best to lose him / give wrong signals but he stuck to the back of my car like shit lol!

Arriving I was surprised to see fire engines, boats and an animal rescue vehicle, word had it a cow had fallen in the river down at Jackies, Word was right, and bad luck for Dean Harvey as it was in his peg, he decided to move upstream which was the worst thing he could do as put himself on the worst snagpit I know and he doomed himself to last in section. Apparently a dozen plus firefighters managed to haul the cow out. Anyway back to my lot and a nice steady walk and over 1 gate, end peg in my section was 1 below the soapworks bay which had Jerry Pocock on it, he wasn't happy with it. Two above the wader peg was Rich Lacey and then I was the last peg in that field, so plenty of room. Two more pegs above me with Paul Purchase the first peg in the Long Ashtip, that's one of my favourite pegs and I thought he'd be hard to beat. Got myself set up with a feeder rod, 12BB crowquill, my 1gm pencil, 2gm and 1.5g for chopped worm at 7m.  My main line was at 13m and the only issue the peg got shallower as I went downstream, the further downstream the less the change, so I balled it down stream with 12 big uns with caster, hemp and worm in. I started today on the 2gm rig as I could see there were a few small dace about, I put a caster on the 18 hook and shipped out as the gbait balls fizzed and the float buried and a small roach obliged. A small dace next cast, and a 3oz roach on the third cast just made it to the net as a pike made three attempts to eat it. My first 90 mins was pretty much plain sailing with a bite every cast on the 2gm rig, it was a mixture of roach, small dace and small perch, and a few lost to pike.

The peg went a little iffy which I put down to the pike, and I tried the crowquill down the peg, I took a few but it wasn't right and the wind was nasty. Time to feed some chopped worm and caster at 7m. Back out on the pole and the 1gm rig took a few net roach before Mr Pike took one of them and I was snapped again. It was about 2 hours in so I decided to drop the feeder with a worm on over the balls in case a skimmer was feeling hungry, whilst I tied on another hook length. Sadly this was to be a big mistake..... When I picked up the feeder it was snagged and I had to pull hard for a break, though it seemed I moved the snag a little. Back out on the pole and it was now much more tricky with just odd small fish, time to try the worm line. I like to fish with a long line below the bulk to let to perch watch the worm fall, and as I held the float back the worm could have hardly touched bottom as the float dipped and 2oz perch was swung in. Next chuck it was a 4oz perch, then a longer wait for a bite but this one fought back, it was a decent perch of over a pound. A couple more small ones then a refeed and time to rest it. Then I saw a spinner land at the bottom of the peg, I shouted out to whoever it was to eff off, and about 6 or 7 Eastern Europeans descended upon me. I asked them if they had an Amalgamation licence, they said they did, "Well if you have one look at it it tells you there is a match on!" They hung around and I was a little intimated by their silent staring. Eventually one of them asked where he could fish (I did consider saying Poland) and I told him politely the pegs that were free and off they went. Turned out Nathaniel Johnson also had a bit of trouble with them.

Back on the pole and a run of roach right on top and even above the balls, but as is the way with roach they soon wised up. Try the crowquill again and this was it, the float was going under every chuck, then I hit a snag and lost the hook length. A quick try on the pole but it was not as good, and then I snagged that rig and lost the hook! Back on the crowquill and a few more roach and then the snag again, what ever it was it was nasty and I lost the bulk this time. Back on the 1gm rig and a couple of fish then the snag.... I now had no hook / bashed up rigs on everything bar the worm rig. This was doing my head in as clearly there were roach in the peg.  The last 45 mins of the match I spent on the worm at 7m, I could get a perch of around 1 to 2oz every drop in, but I just thought I was missing on better roach and the weight builders I needed.

When the all out was called my tackle looked like a disaster zone thanks to pike and the snag. A quick look at my fish and I thought I had double figures. Paul above me said he had doubles as well. It didn't take too long for the scales to arrive, Jerry had 5lb+, and Rich Lacey had a day to forget as he struggled and found a hole in his net and only had 3lb (well he emptied it last week lol). Me next and it was 13lb 2oz which seems to be my average weight at the moment. Paul dicked me off the my fave peg with 15lb and there was an 8lb above him, so for the third w/l match on the trot it was 2nd in the section for me. Frustrating this time as I know without the snag 15lb was definitely on the cards, hey ho.

It turned out the river fished well again as lots of small fish fed, but they seem to be keeping the better fish off the feed. Winner today (and he moaned about the peg) was Shaun Townsend with 21lb of roach, dace and perch from the high wall up the Crane.

2nd John Havey 17lb of dace on the steps at Jack Whites

3rd Ian Pauley 16lb 6oz of dace and chublets peg 15 Swineford
4th Liam Bradell 16lb 2oz dace and roach peg 18 Swineford (all on stick float)

Thatchers had a great day with 36 out of 40 points and won the day, Bathampton were 2nd and so half way through the league Thatchers have a 3 point lead over Bathampton.

I've decided not to fish the next round due to foreign travel before and after, and I just won't have the time to sort out all my rigs and stuff. Gutted but better to give one of the other lads the place and be fully prepared.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Commercial House Rnd 3 Newbridge

Not to much to mention of what went before fishing, just to say I was so busy I didn't remember to order my bait till Friday! I took a run down to Thatchers Saturday to get my bait and pay my debts, Rodney really does look after the team and many other anglers. Sensible night Saturday just 1 pint, and that meant I was up bright and early Sunday. My lot had a substitute in today in the shape of Des Shipp, a bit handy then. It was decided that I should do the team draw today, as after two rounds we have done shite lol! I wasn't the first angler to draw and had seen the end peg 9 go to Bathampton, my turn and I pull peg 1, should be OK then. To be fair our draws looked OK and only Des was in what is normally a bad bit. I was on peg E1 and once I got to the river I realised it was peg 97. This peg has some form, it has won the last 2 riverfest matches and produced some roach in superleague matches. Apparently the angler on it last week was last in section but said he had seen bream rolling all day.

The peg is a bit of a parrot cage but if you are going to catch a few fish you can put up with that, note the positive thinking. I set up a 12BB crowquill today (which became a waste as not long into the match the wind picked up and was nast downstream), a gbait feeder with 14 to 0.148 exceed. The usual 3 pole rigs, 1g, 2gm for 13m and 1.5g for worm down to my left. 13m rigs were on lighter line this week (0.07 to 0.09) due to the river being a lot clearer. To my left today was Mike Goodhind who was in positive mood after last week battering Shaun Townsend off the next peg. There were numerous good anglers in the section, with Rich Lacey being the end peg in my section on the peg where Kev Dicks won last week.

I threw in 10 balls to start and cast a clipped up big feeder to the tree on the far bank 7 times. Pick up my 1g pencil rig as it is usually a good indicator of what lies ahead and tried running through with a red maggot. Ten mins later and I was biteless, but then a 2oz perch opened my account, 10 mins later another perch, After 35 mins I netted my first roach at around 4oz. I couldn't get another bite on the pole and I was very concerned by the lack of roach. I fed some worm on the inside and had a very early look on the feeder. I did get bites on the feeder but I missed most and caught a 1oz perch and a 1oz chublet, I had a few more chucks to feed some more bait on the feeder and tried my chopped worm line inside which yielded 1 bite and 1 perch of 4oz, here endeth that line!

Ninety mins into the match and with about 14oz in the net I knew that Darren Gillman on the arch and Warren Bates were catching and I was back out on the pole again. Well you could have knocked me down with a feather when the float went under and I had a 4oz roach on the maggot. I put a caster on and next chuck it was a 6oz roach! In the next 15 mins I had another two net roach and a perch. If I could catch this stamp I would do a nice weight, but as it turned out that was the last action on the pole, crap!

Time to chuck the feeder and I was already thinking I was going to need to snare a bream or two to do OK for the team. The tip was going round but it was from 1 to 2oz perch and the bites were a bit quick. I then had a cast where I saw no indication and I rang Mike next door to see how he was doing, he was also struggling. I picked my rod up and it arched over and I assumed I had a snag, but it was coming towards me very slowly, I told Mike I had a snag or a bag on. However, as I got this unseen snag from across the river to about 13m it suddenly pulled back hard, then found its engine and snapped me, bloody pike! I put another hook on but decided to try to pole again to rest the feeder, that was a waste so 10 mins later I was casting a worm and red maggot out on the tip again. After 10 minutes of nothing a speed boat passed and my tip slowly pulled round, towing, but the tip carried on pulling round a lot! I struck and once again I was into the same almost immovable heavy weight. I cranked this towards me and again it did not fight or show any signs of being a fish until at around 13m I saw a flash. I was confused, what I had on the end looked like a foul hooked 6lb pike (difficult light to see in the water), but then I saw that it was in the jaws of a bloody enormous pike! I am not going to exaggerate, this pike was well in excess of 20lbs, it was very long, and with one savage turn it pulled my hook out of the the pike it was clamped to, Not really what I needed, lol!

Ten mins later the 6lb pike was up on the surface topping or gasping for air a few times, obviously he was too big a mouthful for the monster, but was obviously not feeling too well. That was certainly the most excitement in my peg. All I could catch was tiny perch on the the feeder, I could not get a bite anywhere else in the peg on any other method. With an hour to go I rang Rich Lacey who told me he had 12 bream and 4 skimmers, well I was on the right method anyway. Sadly my swim on the day held no bream and just a lot of little perch. The match ended and I hoped I might have 5lb.

As it turned out my section had thrown up quite a few bream from pegs 4 to 9. Rich had 81lb, Clive Branson next to him 20lb, Steve Priddle 18lb, Warren Bates 40lb, Darren had 10lb of bits and then there was a 15lb. Tom Moretti had 6lb of perch and a big roach, Mike had 2lb (came last in B div and won the section by default!!!!) I managed 5lb 3oz for last but one on the section and last in A div, oh dear... Nearly all the anglers who caught the bream saw some rolling in their peg. Warren caught his in the last 2 hours of the match, as did many others,

Here is a pic of Rich with his net and his biggest bream of 8lb 9oz. That was Rich's biggest ever weight on the river and would have been many people's biggest weight (including mine) so well done mate, brilliant result. Those days don't come round very often.

Typical of Newbridge bream, once the river goes clear they shoal up and show up somewhere, that said nobody would have predicted this area, and the normal bream pegs did not show.

As it turned out the top 4 overall all came from my section, Liam Braddell was 5th with 17lb from peg 46, he had 2 bream on the feeder in the last 20 mins to go with some roach. Well I guess I drew in the right section but I drew the wrong end lol, at least I fished the right the method so I I have no regrets or thoughts of "what if", the bream just weren't there today. Never mind, not really getting the rub of the green at the moment on the Avon, but I am still enjoying it. Swineford to Jack Whites next week, please let's have a bit of rain before then!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

ATWL Round 2 Newbridge

I had hoped that we would have a fair bit of rain in the week, but what we had came early and I expected a flat clear river Sunday. I had a hell of busy week at work and was out in town Friday night being taxi driver for my youngest, had a lovely meal but it didn't like me and I was in pain and on the loo till 2am. Saturday I felt rough in the morning and did just a little fishing prep, in the afternoon I did a 14 mile bike ride with Geoff Francis and Mike Nicholls. We had a few pints and I felt much better, so much so I drank a bottle of red wine that night and was 3 sheets to the wind lol!

Sunday morning and just a little jaded and I was one of the last to arrive at the draw. Thatchers decided to let our Welsh international angler John Harvey do the team draw, and to be fair the pegs he got looked good. I was off to the trees section on peg 122, the angler above me was Kev Dicks (4 pegs above lol!) and the angler below me Nigel Wyatt was about 6 pegs below, plenty of room for all then. The river wasn't clear really, it just had a tinge in it and that gave me a good feeling that we might catch a few, as long as I could get a bait in in between the rowing boats....

Rigs today, 1gm pencil float with a 20 to 0.09, a 2gm PB silvers with a 18 to 0.09, also a 1.5g pb Inter for perch with 15 B711 to 0.14.  I set up a feeder and a waggler but they didn't see much use really. I was just ready for the start, and threw in 10 jaffas to 13m, and for good measure threw 5 apple sizes balls of gbait 2/3 across for a feeder line. I started on the 2g rig but was really surprised that after 5 runs through I hadn't had a bite, I then tangled the bloody hook length so bit it off and picked up the pencil rig. Thankfully this rig went out OK and I started to get bites from 1 ounce roach and perch, not the size of fish I wanted. Caster on the hook slowed bites up and I just caught the same size little perch on it, red maggot was clearly the best hook bait. I was getting a bite a chuck and now and again I'd get a better size roach, but I wasn't bagging. I had to fish about 6" to 9" off bottom to get bites, this despite me not loose feeding anything. I was amazed at the amount of perch I was catching, and after an hour I was still catching small fish. The boats were a pain though!!!

I managed to keep catching on the pole for the 2nd hour, even though the fish were small I was loathed to come off it. I was topping up with the odd ball of gbait which was working, but by the end of the 2nd hour it was slowing so I fed a bit more. Time to feed some chop worm at 9m, and have a look on the feeder, a bite a chuck on the feeder but I only hit 1 of them and it was a 1oz perch so left it alone. I took 4 perch on the worm line and looked back on my 13m line but it really wasn't happening, so I started to loose feed hemp and caster over the top (I'd not bothered earlier in case bleak were a pain). Two more perch on the worm line, more missed bites on the feeder left me hoping the pole line would come back to life.

With 90 mins to go I dropped back in at 13m with the pencil rig and blow me it was a bite a chuck again, but this time the roach were between 2oz and 4oz and I was much happier with my catch rate. I still couldn't catch on caster, and I was still having to fish off bottom. The fish would move around, and if I nailed 3 fish in the same place I was lucky, it was a case of dropping the rig in different spots. I kept thinking about trying the 2g rig again but waited until the last 15 mins when bites just got iffy. I nailed caster on the bottom and held the rig still, I had 2 roach and then on the last chuck a nice roach of about 12oz. A lovely way to end the match and I'd had another day on the river with plenty of bites and fish, I thought I had 10 to 12lb. I walked up to see Kev and he had a smile on his face saying he had 3 bream in the last 20 mins and said he had 20lb, that was me beat then.

After a long wait the scales arrived 7lb 10oz was the beat weight with just me and Kev left to weigh. I was happy to see the scales register 13lb 4oz, a similar weight to that I caught last week. Kev then weighed 30lb which was enough to win the match, he put two big bream and small bream on the scales for 17lb+, plus plenty of small fish and a few small skimmers, he had done well. That's another 2nd in the section for me then.

The river had mostly fished well, I think only three sections were won with less than double figures.

Top weights today

1st Kev Dicks 30lb 11oz
2nd Dean Harvey 24lb 15oz  (6 bream from the Norfolk reeds)
3rd John Harvey 22lb 2oz  (roach and hybrids on pole from peg 49)
4th Lee Trivett  15lb 7oz  (mainly roach on pole peg 76)

Thatchers won the day and Bathampton were 2nd again, so a 2 point lead for my lot and a good start. I'm back up at Newbridge next week for the commercial house, but with no rain in the forecast again it could be a much tougher affair. I don't mind though as I've really enjoyed being back on the river again.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

ATWL Round one, Swineford, Crane Jack Whites

Before I get on to this weekend I have to reflect on last week's canal match. The more I think about it the more I think fishing the canal when not in winter is becoming a complete waste of time, this is due to the amount of boats. I look back to matches 20 years ago at Devises when I had 20lb+ weights of bream and carp when I didn't have a pole long enough to reach the far bank! Now with a marina up the piles section with about 1000 boats in it the canal is silted up and most of the greenery washed away. No fun for anglers.

Back to this weekend, I was asked to peg out the Crane and I had to put 15 pegs up there, an easy task and I tried to leave out pegs I wouldn't want to draw, that said I would much rather draw Swineford or the the top end of Jack Whites in the match. Went down town Sat evening with the wife and our good friends Warren and Becky Bates. Suffice to say I had more than enough beer to give me a slight headache Sunday morning....

Draw as per usual was at the Rugby Club in Saltford, a couple of sausage baps and a cuppa made me feel much better. John Harvey did the team draw and he put me up the Crane, git lol! I was on F1 which was the first peg below the high wall, I had 3 pegs between my self and the gantry with Vic Abbott below me, then Kev Boltz, then Mat Challenger. All on his own on the cattle grid was Lee Warden. I have fished the peg before a long time ago, and chub can be caught across but I think it is still to warm for them to feed proper.

I managed to get down into the water and get my box in, so I was going to be comfortable, as the photo shows before the match as the mist cleared it was flat calm. Setting up today I decided against a feeder as I considered that a waste, a 13BB crowquill with 18 to 0.10, a waggler with 18 to 0.11, then 3 pole rigs were put up, a 1g pencil rig with 20 to 0.09, a spread shot rig (not used) and a 1.5g rig for chop worm with 14 to 0.14. My main pole line was at 11m, worm line was 10m angled downstream.

On the all in I chucked 10 balls of gbait with hemp and casters in, and started feeding pouches of maggots downstream and across. I started on the 1gm rig with maggot on the hook and I had 10 small dace in as many drops. After 30 mins bites went iffy and I started to loose feed hemp and casters on the pole line, very soon after this bleak became a pain. pushing 2 no8 droppers together above the hook length made a big difference and I was back in to small dace and the odd small perch or roach. I wasn't getting anything decent but it was sort of what I expected. Things then started to get a bit iffy, less bites and harder to hit them. I picked up the crowquill and further down the peg had the odd bite from 2oz fish and a lovely 6oz dace. Young Tom Moretti was walking and watched me for a bit and said I was catching as well as anybody else.

Two hours in and the pole line was a real struggle, time to put a couple of bait droppers of worm in down the peg. A brief look on the waggler was no good as I couldn't hit a bite from those bloody dace! Although the wind was now a nasty down streamer I cast the crowquill out across the river on the wag line and it was a good move as I got a bite a chuck, though they were hard to hit! I reckon I could get 3 bites a cast and was getting the odd dace and roach, bigger than those on the pole. Time to look on the worm line and I had 3 perch for a pound and then had to refeed and go back on the crowquill. The wind was really bad now and with the fleeting sun it made a nasty light meaning I had to cast to areas of the swim where I could see the float. I was catching steadily but not really bagging.

Another look on the worm and a 1lb perch was followed by a 1oz perch! Feed and rest it again. I tried the wag again without success, the pole line was abandoned and it was crowquill with continuous line mending that was still the best. I think 4oz would have been the biggest fish on the crow, but bankside info told me I was doing OK but Lee on the end peg was winning the section. With less than 10 mins to go though the crowquill tangled badly and I thought I'd sit on the worm till the end of the match. Well that was one of my luckier / better decisions as with 5 mins to go the float started to bob and slowly slipped away, 1,2,3 strike. There was a large knock (as my elastic connector untangled itself lol) and a large amount of elastic came out of the pole as the float plodded around. This fish then swam for the margin which I knew was weedy with cabbages, so I pulled really quite hard, but the fish pulled harder and I thought it was a chub. After a tense minute I got this fish away from the shallow water and back out in front, it was still pulling hard but as it came to surface I saw it was a big perch, and as perch do it swam to the bottom again. After another minute or so this perch of at least 2 1/2lb was in the net, get in. I hooked on another worm but only had 30 seconds before the all out was called, well that was a late bonus!

I was the first person to be weighed in the section and I was very happy to see a weight of 13lb 14oz recorded, Andy Ottoway kindly took this photo of me and my fish.

Following the scales down Vic below had 4lb, Kevin 7lb, Mat had 8lb and on the end Lee had a lovely net of roach and some decent perch on the pole to win the section with 15lb 8oz, a good catch. I was happy to be second, I thought it would be hard to beat the end peg, but I had really had a lot of fun today and worked hard for 5 hours.

Top 4 today overall were

1st Nathaniel Johnson 20lb (peg 18 Swineford)
2nd Kev Dicks 18lb 12oz (peg 10 Swineford)
3rd Graham Hunt 17lb 10oz (past Bitton brook Swineford)
4th Mark Harper 16lb  (1 below steps Jack Whites)

There were plenty of double figure weights up at Swineford, Crane was harder and bottom end of Jack Whites was dreadful.

My lot Thatchers won the day, beating Bathampton by just a few points. Stand and Deliver Promotions were third.

Next week it is round 2 at Newbridge, we really do need some rain before fishing up there I feel.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Commercial House Round 2 - K&A Canal Seend / Semington

Having not been able to fish the first round of this seasons CH league I put all thoughts of an individual league win to one side. Having won this league last year I had to ask Glenn to pick up my prizes (they are given out on the first match of following league) and I was well chuffed when he gave me a cheque for £62 and this little lot...
I must admit I was really looking forward to being back on the bank after missing the last two weekends, although if I had the choice I'd rather be on a river than a canal at this time of the year. A very busy week at work meant Saturday morning would be spent making rigs etc. From the info I had gleaned the canal was full of skimmers and that was the main target, with practise weights of up to 40lb being caught it all sounded great! I spent Saturday afternoon painting fence panels and that left my arms aching a bit.

Woke up at 6:15am Sunday and that was just before the alarm was about to ring. You may wonder (or you may not lol) why I've not mentioned about shitting my pants for a while, well that's because I've been given a device which I have to use every morning to "empty" my bowels. I've been doing this since August, and it has given me my life back. Getting up 30-40 mins earlier than I normally would to use the device is nothing as I then don't need to go to the loo 10 to 15 times a day and night. Happy days. The theme of shit may continue!

Got to Spencers club in plenty of time for the 8am draw, and the talk was as ever team needed to draw one of the end pegs. That didn't happen and we ended up on peg 7 (out of 9 pegs). I was drawn at C section which was a section down below the "barge pub". I followed James Carty and as we got to the last part of the road to go into the track we stopped, the gate was locked! We waited about 15 mins for Vic Abbot to arrive and unlock the gate, by this time the road was solid with about 25 cars!!!

A nice short walk to my peg which looked OK, but then I knew nothing of the area.

Mike Withey was on my left and he fishes up here quite a bit, he felt the first 3 pegs and the end peg would be hard to beat but we should all catch skimmers. To my right Alan Jones was merrily setting up and we had a good bit of banter. Mark Harper walked past me and said it was a good depth across and I should chuck a little feeder out, I didn't have one with me, ummmm. Anyway when plumbed it at 16m which was across it was 10 inches deep, ummmmm no need for the feeder then lol! Set up a rig for 5m and another for 13m left and right which was out of the main boat channel, these were supposed to be my main lines, I set up a rig for right across but wasn't expecting to need to use it.

On the whistle I fed 3 balls of gbait 13m left, chopped w&c 13m right, and a ball of gbait at 5m. The 5m line produced 1 missed bite and after 15 mins I was trying my 13m lines, 30 mins later I had 1 see through roach, Mike had only had 1 missed bite. A couple of small roach came from another try at 5m but I was going no where fast. I'd seen Mike Martin on 5 and Nicky Collins on 9 catch a few small skimmers fishing further across so I had to go looking over. It was very shallow, and I ended up fishing just short of 14.5m where I had about 14" of water, I plopped in a ball of gbait here and gave it 10 mins to settle. This was a good move as when I went over this new line I had some bites from roach and over about 45 minutes to an hour I had 4 or 5 little 4oz skimmers the target fish. Sad to say I never saw another skimmer all match.

The day just got worse, and as the strong autumn sun shone down and the boats came though the canal just switched off for me. My 13m lines never produced at all, Another long swim was fed but only gave up a few tiny roach, and my main line at 14,5m was good for not a lot. Worm failed, and a desperation pot of squatt and caster tight over for an eel or any bonus was also a waste of time. To be honest I was quite happy for the all out as fishing 14.5m in a nasty wind (came along halfway through) for the odd shitter was not much fun. I had tried to catch better fish but had failed, but I don't think 5lb of bits was possible from this rat tip. Nicky Collins did really well to win our section with 8lb of skimmers, he went right over straight away and fished a good match. Alan had 2lb 7oz, then I weighed 2lb 13oz, Mike Withey was at a loss to explain why his local venue had fished so bad as he plonked 10oz on the scales. Pegs 1 and 2 both had 5lb, and I ended up middle of the whole section but 2 out of 5 points for A div, yuk!

Back at the results I hadn't done so bad in my team as Liam Braddell, Mark Harper and Martin Barrett had all come last in their sections, errr lol! The match was won by Welsh legend John Harvey fishing for the other Thatchers team (who won on the day) he had 22lb of small skimmers in A section. This section gave up 4 of the top 5 anglers on the day, only Mike Kent on the very end peg F9 split them with 13lb of skimmers. Sadly the vast majority of anglers memories of the day were bad ones, with many saying if this venue is in again next year they will not fish. I think it is daft to fish a canal before November, there are simply too many boaters which mess it all up, and this canal is just to shallow to cope.

Next week is the first ATWL and that will be fished on the Avon between Swineford, Crane and Jack Whites. Doesn't appear to be any rain forecast between now and then so the river will be clear on the day, that means pike trouble for some!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

November 1996

Have had to run the eldest back to Plymouth for her second year of University today, so I missed the first round of the Commercial House at Keynsham. It seems it fished pretty well with plenty of small and very small fish feeding. Bathampton won the A div with Shaun Townsend winning the match from peg 29 at Swineford with 17lb of roach and perch. There were plenty of double figure weights it seems. Thanks to Glenn Bailey for picking up all my prizes and money for the league win last year.

My first match in November 1996 was on Saturday 2nd at Woodlands View on their winter league. I drew on Deans peg 26 and didn't catch a great deal at all, just 2 carp on the pole and 3 on a maggot feeder for 14lb 4oz. No record of points so I must have done crap lol! The next day I was back on the river for the local Angling Times Winter League, I drew at Barton Farm which is up at Bradford-on-Avon. I drew in the deeper slower part but with a clear river was not expecting a great deal. With no talk of bream in my area I fed a waggler and maggot line and a pole line at 10m with caster & hemp. It was very slow on the waggler with just odd small fish, the pole line was very hard too but when I caught here it was a roach of 2oz. Going nowhere with an hour to go and with a bit of bank runner info I threw in 5 balls of gbait on the pole and had my best run of fish of the match. 3lb 11 1/2oz  was enough to get me 2nd in the section, and the team were 2nd on the day too,

The following weekend was another double header, first up the Moorlands Farm W/L where I sat on peg 60 on Meadow. I fed finely chopped worms on the pole at 11.5m, left that to settle and chucked the maggot feeder for the first hour which I sneaked 2 carp on, I fished light with a 20 to 0.10! Mind you on the pole I fished a 22 to 0.09 with small hook baits, 1 skimmer, 1 carp and 3lb of roach kept me fairly busy. The team came 3rd on the day and I chipped in with 13 points out of a possible 19. Next day it was the Poppy match on the river, I drew the first peg past the long ash tip field and wasn't really happy with my chances. Being an open I went all out on the gbait feeder fishing down the same hole all day long, I chucked right across. I took 4 chub and 1 roach using a double red maggot hook bait. I got snapped by 2 chub on 18 to 1.5lb and stepped up to 2lb maxima, but I wrote in my diary I missed too many bites through the day. Probably fished to long a hook length or didn't balance the feeder correctly, you live and learn. That said my 7lb 6oz was 13th overall and worth £52.

Continuing the carpy leagues I was back at Woodlands on Saturday 16th November, I think I was on Front Deans. I do remember this match as Des Shipp told me to fish a waggler where I was, and to fish 2 no 11's down the line and watch for bites! A 3BB wag with a thin insert it was then with a 20 to 0.10. I fed lightly with maggots and after the first hour I had 4 carp and could see I was beating everyone, then the carp decided to move and 3 pegs away started to catch. I never had a bite on the pole line and managed only 2 more carp and 1 roach for the remainder of the match. 16lb beat most around me but many more. The following day the ATWL was up on the K&A at Hungerford, a new place for me and the last time I fished it! I blanked! In fact only 1 angler caught in my section 1/2oz and 2nd in section money had to be drawn. My lot had 4 blanks and still came 4rd on the day, rat tip!

Saturday 23rd November and back to Moorlands where the weather up here had turned distinctly wintry with snow and frosts. I was once again on Meadow pool, peg 57 this time. Chopped worm this week was useless and I never had a bite on it. Luckily switching between wag and maggot feeder (both with 20 to 0.10) I snagged 7 carp for 17lb 7oz and 15 points out of 19.

Last match of November 1996 and it was back at Woodlands View again desperately hoping to not let the team down again. I drew a different lake this time, Arles peg 26, and this meant I had an island to chuck to. I started on the maggot feeder 10ft off the island as I was told to do, I had 1 carp in the first hour. A look on the pole on double maggot where I had been dripping in maggs was a waste of 30 minutes. I sat it out on the feeder and took another 3 carp. The pole line was still dead and I fed it a little heavier and took a carp with 30 mins to go, I fed it heavier and had 2 in the last 15 mins! 18lb 8oz on a cold day turned out to be good and I was 7th and last in the frame.

Back to today and it will be another diary dip next week as I have my 47th Birthday next weekend a little trip to Plymouth. Tight lines!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Turner 400 River Thames Radcott

I had a call a few weeks back asking if I'd like to fish this 4 man team match for my Thatchers lot, I said yes as I hadn't fished this part of the Thames before and it would be a good experience. It did mean an early start (getting up at 5:45) to get to the Swan Hotel in Radcott for the 7:30 draw, although most of us got there for 8am as James Carty did the draw for us early. James handed me my peg number, it was peg 2 at Radcott, and it turned out I was downstream of the pub on the opposite bank.

Only a short drive into a field, lifted all my gear over a fence and then took a short walk over a bridge and and got to my peg with no fuss. There were no end of good teams and anglers fishing this event, and local knowledge would be hard to beat, but I was told I was on a good roach peg so I hoped for the best. Got out my first rig a 1gm pencil rig and started to plumb up from 4m to find the contours of the river. It was very shallow at 4m and I was disappointed to find the river just slowly deepened off only beginning to flatten up at 13m where it was about 8ft deep. Whilst this may not seem too bad the issue was all the flow was closer to me, so going past 13m would put me into slower flow. It also limited my options for finding other places to feed, or at least I felt it did. The pencil rig had a 22 to 0.08 on it, I also set up a 0.5g float with strung shot to fish hemp with a 20 to 0.08. Lastly for the 13m line a 2gm rig with 18 to 0.09 in case bleak were an issue, A chopped worm rig was also set up to fish at 11m at 2 o'clock a 4 x18 with 0.14 to 14. I did set up a waggler but never used it.

The picture of the river here looks like it has colour in it, it did look clear in close but I think it must have had a lot of suspended solids in it, plus during the day a lot of weed was coming down and lots of boats stirred things up.

To start the match I cupped in 5 balls of gbait/soil containing some hemp/casters and a few pinkies. I also bait droppered in some worms and casters on my choppy line. Went out on the 1gm rig to start with a caster, but after 5 runs through without a bite it was on with a maggot. I got bites on a maggot but it was from very small dace, 2 little perch and the odd bleak on the drop, after an hour I'd not seen a roach! Dropping in on my choppy with a dendra I had an instant bite and a 2oz perch, 3 more of them before it died so I refed and went back out to 13m. I had been loose feeding this line with hemp and casters, but it was now bleak central and if I did get a bait to the bottom I didn't get a bite very often. I stopped feeding casters and just put hemp in the catty,

The lads either side were struggling too and at this stage roach were not feeding. I'd fed a bit of gbait and maggots at 7m from the start in case I had to fish for bleak, so I dropped in on this with my whip rig and never had a bite. It was crazy my 13m line was alive with little bleak but they would not come in any closer, maybe it was because of the shallower water? Even using my 2gm rig with 3 no8 bulked below would not often beat the bleak. Trying the choppy gave me a couple more small perch and that petered out soon after. In the red hot sunshine it was tough going shipping in and out to 13m catching tiny fish but it was all I could do. A few tries on hemp were fruitless and I don't think anyone caught on it around me. A lot of weed kept coming floating down making trying to get a rig in very hard.

Going into the last couple of hours the bleak went from insane to non existent for 20 mins, odd gudgeon and 1/2 dace and roach were all I caught before the bleak returned. My best spell by far was the last 15 mins when after a run of little roach and bleak on single pinkie I then had three 4oz roach as the match ended. Jamie Cox of Garbolino BMV had wandered up and down a couple of times and we had a good chat and I gave him my casters, I hope he catches more with them than I did!

The scales had to come up from peg 12, and I watched them weigh from Steve Long on peg 5 (he'd struggled for 3lb), there had been some decent weights of bleak below and I was regretting not being able to catch them in close. The lad below me (on a bit of a point) had caught them at 4m and he weighed 6lb 12oz.  My net went more than I though with 5lb 12 1/2oz, then the end peg beat me with 7lb again a lot of bleak on the whip, so I had been beat both sides, by bleak. Bleak fishing is not really a strong point for me, but I am sure if I had caught them feeding on the whip line I could have had another pound of the critters.

Back at the pub it was clear to see that my lot had only done average, in fact My weight was worth 14 points out of 26, Lee Trivett had just under 4lb for 16 points, James Carty 6lb for 13 points, and Martin Barrett 2lb 10oz for 10 points. I didn't stay for the results but it looked like Drennan Oxford had romped it.

Well that's it for me for a couple of weeks now, more family commitments for the next two weekends so no fishing until 26th Sept. I'll have to dig the diary out again!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Tony Rixon Float Only Series - Final Round Viaduct Fishery

Well I didn't pick the best of week's to have a holiday in the UK, got a bit wet at West Bay during the week lol! Got back home Saturday and the first thing I needed to do was get all my gear out (which had been put away wet last Sunday) and clean and dry it off. Thankfully the weather was good and after a while everything was washed down and left out to dry.

I spent the morning making some rigs up and tying hook lengths and was happy that I had everything ready for Viaduct the following day. Glenn was doing the honours again on the driving front, primarily because his car can take the extra load of made up rods that Glenn takes. He picked me up at 7:30 and we headed off for breakfast at the Highwayman pub which is next to Canards Well. The breakfast was well pricey at £8 but included fruit juice and cereal (not that I had that), but when the cooked brekky turned up it was well cooked but low on contents. Not worth it in my opinion.

Today's match was on Campbell and Carey, and I had no thoughts about where to draw or not, I just got into the queue. Craig Edmunds was winning the league with 4 perfect section wins, Tony Rixon, Shaun Townsend, Steve Tucker and myself were all 1 point behind Trig, and I was 4th on weight. I therefore need a section win today to keep myself in the money overall, and hope the others dipped out.  I was happy enough when I pulled out peg 96 on Carey. I've not been on Carey for a long time, and I knew this was a good peg although I'd rather be chucking the lead out on it! Glenn was away to 114 and off we went.

Got to the peg and 95 is left empty, Glen Calvert (we seem to draw next to each other a lot) was on 96, 90 wasn't drawn, dunno the lad on 88 and Mike West was on 86. Glen would be dangerous having all of the end bank to himself, and I could not talk him into fishing for silvers! I had asked around for advice, and World Champion swimmer James Guy was helpful as he had been on the peg the day before. I decided on a paste approach at 14m, a waggler at depth for further out, a meat rig at 6m, and a margin rig to fish next to pallet 95 which other than a 1lb tench was no use. All rigs were on 0.18 Exceed or 0.17 Powerline for obvious reasons! On my left was Neil Mercer, and I told him he had to me a favour as in his section were Shaun, Tony and Tucks! That was good news for me and if I could win my section I would beat at least two of them.

On the all in I fed a pot of 6mm pellets on the paste line, fed a couple of cattys of 8mm pellets further out and then saw that on peg 98 Paul Elmes was already playing a carp caught on the short pole. I started on the paste and soon hooked and lost a fouler, but next drop in I was hooked up to a decent fish and landed it, must have been near 12lb. Fifteen minutes later and I was in again and this time I thought the carp was around 10lb, not a bad start after 30 minutes! Then the fun began...... I fouled 2 carp on the pole and after 90 minutes I had only added one more smaller carp. I did have a chuckle at Neil who managed to snap a top set in 5 places, but still managed to land the carp!

A try on the waggler was just as frustrating with a few missed "bites" and two foulers lost. Back in on the paste and although fish would show themselves by fizzing I either missed bites or fouled the odd fish. I did manage another carp on the pole but after 3 hours my 4 carp was winning my section, but Neil was beating me next door. Glen on 94 then had 4 carp in a shot time and I was really struggling to get my head round how to catch these lumps. Another go on the waggler was even more frustrating with another 3 fish pulled out of, one of them even hooked itself with the handle spinning backwards but was still fouled grrrrr!!! After this the wag line died and I decided to give it up and concentrate on the pole lines.

Early looks in the margin and meat line were fruitless, and Neil was way ahead of me, then I hit a couple of carp on the paste and it seemed to me the fish had moved into my swim from Neil's as his long line dried up. I hooked a fish on the paste with an hour to go which I really had to hang onto, and I knew it was fouled, as I got it nearer I knew it was in the tail and trying to reverse in a double ain't easy! Luckily everything held and a very round fish finally settled in the net. Another fish then snapped the line and somehow the float came off so I had to get another rig. Glen was still my main rival in the section but he had slowed down on the wag and I was sure I was ahead of him. I took another couple of carp in the last hour on the paste, the meat didn't work for me, or should I  say I didn't make it work! I ended the match with 10 carp all on the paste, I had fed about 3 pints of 6mm pellet on this line. Neil thought he had around 15 and it would be very close in his section between him, Shaun and Tony, Tucks had really struggled.

When the scales arrived at my peg Glen was winning my section with 69lb, I knew I had that beat and the scales confirmed it at 106lb, I had got the all important section win. I then followed the scales down as the next section was important, Neil had a good 156lb, and he just beat Shaun by around a 1lb, and Tony got 136lb. What that meant was I was going to beat all of those guys in the league. Of course I was never going to beat commercial fishery expert Craig Edmunds, and he finished his league off in style winning the match from peg 76 with 175lb and winning the league with perfect points, well done legend! Actually Trig should have been 3rd over all on the day but on Campbell Gordon Cannings and Chris Fox both went over in their nets losing weight, in Gordons case 89lb OUCH!!!

Results on the day (as I recalled them)

1st Trig 175lb
2nd Chris Fox 173lb
3rd Chris Davis 171lb

Silvers 1st Gord Cannings 30lb

League overall
1st Trig 25 points
2nd Me 24 (yay)
3rd Chris Davis 23
4th Shaun Townsend 23
5th Tony Rixon 22

Well I am well chuffed to come 2nd overall, I certainly had some good draws and the luck went my way today with those 3 anglers in the same section. Picking up £265 on the day was the icing on the cake. Thanks to Tony for running the league.

Next week I am fishing the river Thames, not fished it for ages, might be a struggle!