Saturday, 24 January 2015

Hill View Fishery Open

It feels like it has been a long time since I fished a match on a Saturday, it's also been a long time since I fished at Hill View. It was due to family plans for Sunday that I wanted to fish a match on Saturday, and having read various posts on facebook about the quality of fishing at Hill View I knew where to go. Originally I was going to take Glenn Bailey, but he chickened out worried that 5 pints of cider would mean he couldn't get up! I ended up getting a lift with Matty Toomes which was dead handy.

Friday was a manic day and it was all I could do to buy some maggots from Scotts on the way home from work, I checked my pole elastics, made sure I had some barbless hooks and threw in some old rigs that might be OK, so not good prep at all!

Travelling up to the fishery with Mat was very good as he was able to tell me about his 2 previous matches where he had picked up money. Hill View is full of F1s and these having been making the weight s and giving anglers plenty of bites. I've hardly fished for this species and have only read articles about catching them, I therefore expected to get a bit of ass kicking but learn lots. The turn out for this match was excellent, I think 44 anglers. It was good to see some faces that I used to see 15 years ago at Hill View, and Neil Mc Kinnon and Trevor Chalk were both kind enough to remember me, real gents and very good anglers. There was also a good "Southern" contingent in evidence, with Scott Puddy, Ben Haag, Ade Crawley, Martin Lenahagn and Gabriel Skarba plus more!

After a nice breakfast from fishery owner Keith (who asked why it had taken me so long to get the car turn North and come back lol!) I paid my pools and then dipped in the woolly hat for a peg. Out came 18, I looked at the map and saw I was on Moorhen with the island to cast to, it had framed the week before. Getting to the peg I found I had a Welsh lad next to me on 19, but 17 was left out meaning the island was all mine, nice! The weather was great, the sun was out and there was no wind and I found myself removing 2 layers of clothing. First thing I set up was a 2 swan insert waggler which I set at about 3 1/2ft and had 1 no8 and 1 no10 down the line and 0.10 to 20 PR434. This was to be fished quite a way short of the island away from the shallowest water. I was told by Trevor to fish like this and not to bother feeding, and I should catch some decent F1s. I set up two pole rigs, both PB Inter 3 floats, one was 0.3gm and the other 0.5gm both to be fished on the same lines. I chose a spot at 6m, and two at 13m which were virtually the same depth. These rigs also featured 0.10 and 20 PR434.

I didn't start fishing on the whistle at 10:30, but the lads either side chucked the straight lead, and then 5 mins later I was ready. I fed some maggot and micros on my pole lines and then picked up the waggler, then the wind blew a bit! The wind wasn't too bad but after 30 mins and no bites it was time for the pole, 30 mins later I was still bite less. Nobody was catching, and it was apparent that the thick ice melting yesterday / overnight had hit the fish badly. Then the Welsh lad next to me landed a 10lb carp on the lead, he had hooked a pole rig which was attached to the carp, lucky. I tried the wag again and think I had two indications, but it was getting hard to see the float due to the wind and the sun, which was shining right in my face. I took this picture after the match as I think earlier in the day the sun would have blinded the photo.
Back on the pole and I had a rudd at 13m, and then dropping in at 6m I hooked a carp which I knew was fouled, it came off after about 5 mins. I then hooked another carp on the drop at 13m, this was also foul hooked (in the tail) but after much ass twitching on the light gear I landed what was about a 9lb carp. About halfway through the match I had caught no more but lost another fouler. I then had a couple of roach off the pole lines and 2 skimmers in 2 drops on the 6m line. At this stage the welsh lad was still on 1 carp and the lad on 16 had 1 skimmer. Matty Toomes was doing OK and not much was being caught at all. I had not fished the wag much as the light and ripple was terrible.

With about 2 hours to go a few carp had shown themselves on the surface, and I reckoned my best chance now to catch anything was to fish the wag with maggot on the drop. I started feeding maggots as far as I could, and after doing this for 30 mins I picked up the wag. First chuck and a bite and a carp hooked, it was fouled but I landed it. Next chuck I missed what looked like a bite, and then 10 mins later I had another carp. The wind would blow up now and again, and when it did so I had to chuck the wag in a spot I could see the float, not easy! I spent the rest of match on the wag and stuck to single maggot on the hook as I wasn't getting pestered by roach. I hooked a few more carp by altering my depth and where I cast in relation to the island, I caught on and off bottom. I did lose 3 more carp, a fouler, one that went round the island, and one that when in close swam through a snag and left me with a ragged hook length, The welsh lad who had been fishing 0.13 hook length changed down to 0.10 and caught a few carp, less than me but he had another double! I caught a 5lb carp just before the whistle which was a nice way to finish.

I wasn't sure what I had, but I guessed 40lb, Matty Toomes said he had about 32lb. I was really worried the lost carp were going to cost me today, but there's not much you can do about foulers in the winter. What I was really surprised at was that I had not had a single F1, but then neither had the anglers either side. As I packed up and other anglers passed me I realised the whole venue had fished mega hard and local super star Nev Groves was top weight on the canals with 46lb. I ended up being the last angler to be weighed in, and 70lb was winning with Nev in second. Gabriel Skarba was top weight on my lake with 44lb from the car park bank, and I never saw him catch a fish!!! My silvers went 6lb, and then my carp went 47lb and my 53lb was now second overall, yay! Mat had weighed 34lb and he got the section by default so we had a double pick up.

Reflecting on today I was really lucky to get that peg, and I would have struggled on the canals against the regulars. Half way through I was wishing I had taken a lead rod (due to the bad light) but actually the lead chuckers didn't catch and I believe the carp fed late that were sat in the upper layers which were slightly warmed up by the sun. I really enjoyed fishing the waggler, it was just like I did 20 years ago at Moorlands / Woodlands, light reel line and hook length, small hook and my old faithful Normark 13ft Titan. Happy Days. I didn't get the results and names, but I do know that Scott Puddy took the silvers money with about 8lb of roach.

Next week I'm guesting on the Viaduct w/l on Campbell lake, please get me a good draw Mike Nicholls! I reckon the week after I could be back at Hill View with a bit more prep this time!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

A Wander Around Windmill Lakes

I took a look at the weather forecast and chickened out from fishing this weekend, actually got a few things done and earned some brownie points!

I knew that Rich Lacey and Shaun Townsend were fishing an open match at Windmill Lakes, a venue I have still yet to fish, and so I popped up there to watch the last couple of hours. There were plenty of familiar faces fishing today; Bob Price, John Clark, Martin Pettifer, Dave Haines, Steve Dawson and Paul Elmes. I wasn't expecting to see many fish caught considering the cold weather, but I was pleasantly surprised to find everyone had something in their nets. This venue has two islands which are in places reachable by pole, but in others not.

Steve Dawson was fishing for the silvers, he was on the dam end in the deeps and ended up with 8lb of them mainly on caster. Next round from Steve was Lace the Ace, he had taken 4 carp on 16m pole and pellet and one of them was 10lb 1oz.

Rich went down the middle on maggot to rest his long line, and it was a bite a chuck but only from small rudd and roach. The next two anglers were struggling, and then down in the open shallower water, all on his own, with loads of room, was Shaun. He was also fishing a long pole at 16m and had 8 carp when I arrived, he was fishing meat over pellet. I managed to video Shaun catching a carp (last time I tried this he kept losing them!)

After watching Shaun catch another 2 carp and lose one his swim went iffy, so I wandered around the other side of the lake. Dave Haines who has been winning a lot of matches out here of late just had the 1 carp and lost a swan. Paul Elmes had taken 8 carp in the first half of the match but then couldn't buy a bite and finished out of the running with this bag of carp for 28lb.

John Clark was in contention for a top 3 finish, he was catching on corn mainly and could only get bites in the deeper water so only needed to fish 10m of pole, He weighed 32b 4oz in the end which was going to be close to Rich Lacey. However, Rich had a couple of late carp that made the difference and he weighed 33lb 4oz which would be good enough for second overall, Rich caught on soft pellet.

I knew Shaun had won the match when the whistle went, but I didn't realise he had hooked a carp just before the all out, he finally landed it 12 minutes later and it was lovely looking 13lb mirror.

That added to his other fish gave Shaun a clear win with 54lb.

I was impressed with the healthy looking fish, very good condition indeed and some big belly's on some of the carp. What did I learn, or what can I say in conclusion. The winner caught on meat, 2nd on pellet, and 3rd on corn! Fish with what your confident in I guess, that said maggots and soft pellets did get ragged when the small roach were in your swim so I could see why corn and meat were a good bet. Whilst a few pegs struggled I would say the fish seemed to be spread around quite well meaning bites for all, all methods were used today, but the lead chuckers did not do well today, I guess cos the fish were not right next to the islands where they were chucking. I am sure I will give this a venue a go in 2015. As I left the venue and got onto the main road an umarked police span around in front of me and blocked the road, out got several armed (proper guns) police and more turned up. Thankfully they weren't pointing their guns at me but at some loon wandering around with a rifle, I didn't hang around to see what happened!

As for next week I think I am going to give Hill View a go on Saturday, I will probably get spanked but hopefully get a few bites which is what you want in the middle of a cold winter,

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Commercial House Final Round K&A Canal

Well time seems to fly and another Commercial House League was coming to an end, with 6 teams in each division this year it has been a nice even league. Once again I let myself down in the preparation front as Saturday I took my daughter back to Plymouth University after her Xmas break. When I got home from this trip I got some bread and my liquidized bread out of the freezer and that was about it! I knew I needed some new hooks tied but decided to do them on the bank.

I was glad the wind was not as bad as previous days (another fence panel in my garden has gone to heaven) but it was still going to be awkward in some places. Liam Braddell was winning the individual stakes of this league with 57 points, and I was 2 points behind him. This was a very similar position to last year when on the last match I overtook Liam to win the league, would lighting strike twice? Liam did the draw for the team and the best peg went to Gary O'Shea who we were still waiting for to turn up lol! Liam was up at Dundas but in a poor area of his section, I was in the same section as last week but not sure where. I set off from the draw to park up at Darlington, and then walked up past the bay, past the turret pegs, past the wooden bridge and found Andy Gabb on peg 2 who was pegged UNDER the wires!!! Andy moved to his right to make it safe, as I was peg 3 I would be the other side of the wires, a good peg normally but was shite last week. I found a lady looking at my peg number, turned out she wanted to moor her boat there, she was none to happy when I said no way but then she pointed out I was in a no fishing area as the warning signs showed! I moved about 4m to my left and set up in piles of dog shit!

Luckily for me the lady never showed up, but to my right a bit further a boat had moved and I expected it to come back. The wind was gusting on and off here and so I made a couple of changes to my usual canal set up; 1) used my short no4 section (which was a godsend) and 2) didn't set up my drennan roach punch rig but instead a Preston wire stem 0.4g PT Series 4 which I have been wanting to use for a while as it is my bagging rig, but still with 0.07 to 18 PR311. Here's the float..

Also set up my usual 4x12 bloodworm rig for fishing against the boat and across at 13m. A caster rig was assembled but I hooked this up in the tree branches and lost it and my lucky plummet :-( To be honest other rigs were a waste today so no mention. Can you see the tricky branches on the tree across?

Glenn Bailey was out for a stroll and and he sat with me for the start of the match, I fed bread on my top 5 line, then some joker to a boat to my left. I was going to feed joker across but noticed something going on with Richard Whitmarsh and the boat moored next to him, it was moving! I decided to get over my bread line immediately, it was a good move as an 8oz hybrid was netted first chuck. I lowered the float in for a second time and another lovely bite resulted in a 12oz hybrid. I then had a little roach so I put a bigger piece of punch on and dropped in, the float disappeared soon after and a skimmer over a pound was the culprit. Next drop in same result another skimmer, wow! Glenn said there are 9 minutes gone and you have 4lb, and where was this boat? Turned out it was facing the other way so I need not have worried. After this amazing start the bites stopped and then a boat went through. Once the water settled down I fed some more bread and also some joker across. Bites were slow on the bread and now just from the odd small roach, pinkie on the hook improved things and then on the hour I hooked a lump which I told Glenn as soon as I hooked it was fouled, and charged off to the far side and the hook pulled.

Glenn went off for a walk to see how others were doing and when asked only said I had 2lb, oops! My joker swims yielded a 3oz roach on pinkie and then tiny fish on bloodworm, but I stuck with them hoping things would improve. I felt I wasn't making enough of the peg and decided on a bold move, I fed chopped worm, caster and joker on my now dead bread line hoping the skimmers would come back. When Glenn came back he told me Mike Kent on the end peg was probably beating me but the rest were struggling.

I did get across for two drop ins on my caster line and had two small roach, but the wind got so bad I could not fish this again all match. Dropping in on my short line with my bread rig, now fished slightly over depth, with double pinkie I was soon netting a 4oz roach. No skimmers showed on this line but I did get ruffe, perch, gudgeon and roach on either pinkie or small bits of worm. As this feeding had done me OK I fed the same again on the same depth which I found at 11m straight across. To be honest I stuck to these two lines for the remainder of the match as fishing at 11m at times was almost impossible and my joker lines further over were out of reach. I can't complain as I stuck it out on bigger baits for better fish (as bloodworm only brought bit) and caught odd fish till the end. I thought I had 8 to 9lb.

Andy Gabb had the scales and board so I helped him and went up to peg 12 and weighed Mike Kent first, he had a very good 9lb 12oz and he had added 3 to 4lb of roach on caster late on to his skimmers. The next 5 or 6 anglers all struggled for 2lb odd, with Shaun Townsend getting the wrong side and coming last with 2lb 1oz. Vinny Lunn had 3lb I think and then Rich next to me had 3lb 14oz. I weighed less than I thought with 7lb 15oz but this still secured me 2nd in the section as Andy and the lad on peg peg 1 both had a couple of pounds only. I had heard that Liam was struggling, and as I walked back up the towpath with the wind now blowing rain in my face he called me. He'd done bad and I had beaten him, he congratulated me but said he wasn't coming back to the results!

Gary O'Shea made no mistake on his flyer at Richardsons and won the match with 13lb 6oz.
2nd Rob Randell 12lb 15oz (from a right bung hole, Dundas bay all on his own!)
3rd Graham Hunt 11lb 12oz (perch at Limpley)
4th Lee Trevitt 10lb 13oz (skimmers and roach at Limpley)
5th Mike Kent 9lb 12oz (thanks for framing Mike as I got the £60 section by default!)

On the team stakes:-

A Div my lot Thatchers A won the day and we won the league by 11 points, the B team came 2nd beating Bathampton by 1/2 a point.

Sensas Wilts Black and Maver Cadbury Angling were relegated

B Div Sensas Wilts Green won, M&N Electrical came 2nd and both are promoted to A Div.

The knockout was won by Kev Dicks, runner up Roy Carter

Biggest fish winner, me with a 7lb 14oz bream

1st Tim Ford 66 points
2nd Liam Braddell 64 points
3rd Rich Whitmarsh 61 points
4th Graham Hunt 57 points.

I'm not sure if anyone has ever won the individual 2 years on the trot but it is something I can add to my CV (sorry Liam lol). You can't win the individual from bad draws so I have to thank Liam for drawing me some decent pegs (is this getting too much now Liam? lol)

Well done Mike and Nicola Goodhind, and Vinny Lunn for running a great league, I cannot wait for the next one!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Commercial House Round 5 K&A Canal

I must say the weather was not good at all Saturday and I was more than happy to be sorting a few bits of kit out than sat out in the cold rain. It wasn't a great effort for me as all my rigs from my last time on the canal had remained intact, just a few new hook lengths and making some more liquidized bread was easy enough. Happy to wake up Sunday morning and find no frost, but as there was not going to be any sun today I wore plenty of layers.

When I arrived at the rugby club there was a very full car park and all 72 anglers were in attendance today, it's a great league to be part of. Liam Braddell is currently leading the individuals and since he's been drawing well (lol) he continues to draw the team peg. However, today he came back with a draw that really didn't look good for the team, all except Liam who was in the bay at Darlington Wharf. I was pegged on C4 which was on the straight past the wires (if you were walking up from Darlington) and my section ended up past the recycle tree. The end peg and the recycle tree are normally the top 2 pegs, so I felt 3rd in the 12 peg section was my target, but with canal expert Andy Britt on my left, Jeff Surmon on my right, Simon Hebditch and England's Callum Dicks all in my section it was looking a tough target!

Andy told me he was last in the section from about where I was last match (great) and that you needed skimmers to do any good. Time to set up and I got my box down as close to the water as I could because I had a tree right over my head, I guess the pegger out never noticed it, blind bugger Ottaway lol! Also note the boat to my left, it'll get a mention again later.

Rigs today, bread punch on the usual 4x14 drennan roach with 0.07 to 18 PR311, 4x16 bloodworm rig for down the track with 0.07 to 20 PR311, 4x12 PB silvers for bloodworm at 12m with 0.07 to 22 PR311 (also did for inside next to boat)  caster and worm rigs were set up but nothing on these.

To begin the match I fed bread at 5m, some joker to the boat on my right, and joker at 12m and that would do for starters. I don't know why but I was feeling quite confident about catching a skimmer today, and I started on quite a large piece of punch. First two drop ins and I missed two bites, hmmm punch is probably too big for the roach. However, I then see Jeff next door with a lump on and he lands a near 2lb skimmer, so I stick with the large punch. Finally I started to catch some small roach, not tiny fish but not as big as I'd like, but there were plenty of tiny roach in the swim. After 15 mins as I laid the rig in it didn't settle and shot off at an angle, a good fish was on. I slowly shipped back to my top set and saw a skimmer of over a pound and then it came off, I did swear! There was a lot of slime on the line so it may have been fouled. Next drop in and the rig shoots off again but I slowly lifted the rig and felt nothing, dropping it straight back in the rig moved off and shot under. I landed a 12oz hybrid, and I reckoned there were a few in the swim. Sadly before I could rebait a boat went through and the skimmers disappeared. Luckily I could still catch a few roach, trying a smaller punch was a nightmare as the fish were tiny, so I sat on a big punch and caught the occasional better fish including a 4oz skimmer, until the swim died on the hour. Jeff had not had anymore skimmers, Andy had none but was getting roach on punch regular and I was behind both.

I took a few roach on punch at 9m (where Andy was catching) but a boat came along and killed that before it really got going. This then signalled a very difficult period of the match. My 2 joker swims threw up 1 small perch and 5 tiny roach, caster and worms were ignored. I fed joker in gbait at 14m up to my left in the hope of relocating skimmers, and fed a bit more joker across. I endured a dire two hours with just the odd tiny roach and then the boat to my left came free of its moorings and ended up in front of me! With the help of two passers by, Mat Challenger of Scotts and my landing net we managed to eventually get back in place. I took the opportunity to ask Andy how he was doing and he said he had nearly 4lb but had only had 6oz since the punch line had died. We were both struggling then, but I was a 1lb behind I guessed.

The gbait line down the track only gave up a ruffe and a roach, so I pinned my faith across and kept topping up with small amounts of joker in the hope of switching the roach on. A 4oz perch from here was a mini bonus and the roach bites had stopped so I guessed it had caused that. With about 50 mins to go I tried again at 12m with single bloodworm on the hook and the float just sat there for a few minutes, but then a proper bite and a lot of elastic shot out the end of the pole. I thought it was a better perch and tried to keep the pressure on the hook hold as I gingerly shipped back. As I looked behind me Andy was watching (he was just on his way down for a chat) and he said I was a jammy so and so as I put the net under a 1lb 4oz hybrid that fought really well. I was straight back over but no more bites, so I fed again and tried the caster and caught my 1 and only 1oz roach on it. I tried the 12m line again but put a pinkie and bloodworm on looking for a bonus, it worked sort of as I took 3 sensible roach on this, sadly during the last 30 mins I caught nothing.

As far as Andy knew 4lb was going to be a very good weight in our section and we both thought we had that, but we had to wait for the scales to be sure. They weighed from end peg 12 and that was leading with 3lb 13oz John Fuidge I think had that, Andy weighed 4lb 4oz and I was worried I didn't have that, but luck was on my side as I weighed 4lb 9oz. Jeff weighed 3lb 14oz and so the three of us were top 3 all in a row, on some fish then! I was chuffed to win the section as I didn't feel it was possible from my peg, but there you are fish have fins and losing that skimmer didn't cost me in the end.

The match was won today by Vinny Lunn who caught a very good 15lb 2oz from Beeches turning bay up at Dundas. Vinny had 7lb on bread in the first hour (including a near 4lb bream), he caught again over gbait at 11m, then again over joker at 14m, mainly small skimmers and decent roach, a lovely net. Chris Glover of Nomads was 2nd with 9lb 6oz, Neil Mercer 3rd from the brambles with 8lb 11oz, Nigel Saunders was 4th with 7lb 7oz from next to the winner. Last in the money was Rich Lacey from next to Nigel, but Rich had a few big perch and no skimmers.

Thatchers B tied for first on the day with Bathampton Elite and my Thatchers A came 3rd, we had 2 last in sections as Andy Ottaway and Mark Harper were on wretched pegs.

With one match left next week, my lot are now 9 points in the lead and therefore have won the A division already. In the B div it is tight between Sensas Wilts, M&N Electrical and DW builders for the top 2 places and promotion to A div.

OK that's enough typing time to watch the darts final! Hope you all had a good weekend, and a Happy New Year!