Sunday, 29 March 2015

Hill View Fishery Open

As you will no doubt realise I did not go fishing last weekend, multiple reasons really; garden needed a lot of attention (and still needs more), nothing took my fancy, and lastly I was travelling to France on business on Monday (driving) and didn't want to be tired for the journey. Glad I didn't fish as I was absolutely knackered when I got home past midnight on Weds.

I wasn't really sure where to go this weekend either, and after a few Guinness's with Glenn, Bela and Mike Nicholls we were "all" going to Hill View. It was deemed the best option, given the gale force winds forecasted, as we should be able to catch on short pole and get bites. Well that seemed a more logical choice than Landsend Fishery in high winds.

Glenn acted as chauffeur today, he arrived early and text me to say he was here, and gave me the choice of not going, lol. We loaded his car in the rain and just managed to shut the car doors and boot by filling every inch, don't we carry a lot of kit these days. At the fishery Bela and Mike had already eaten their grub and were ready to go, the place was packed as there was a club match on and also a group of golfers were taking breakfast at Keith's. Thankfully the rain cleared before the draw was done and it was now a case of watching the wind speed increase. I was one of the last people to draw today and I pulled out peg 73 on the 3rd canal which is 4 pegs up from the end peg 69 where Mike Nicholls sat. In between myself and Mike was Sean Clayton who'd DNW the day before on the lakes. Glenn was not far from us on the 2nd canal peg 66, and Bela was on the other end peg on my canal, so Mike and Bela looked favourites.

Rightly or wrongly with the strong wind I decided on a short pole day, my main line was top set plus one at 11 o'clock (down wind) and I set up two rigs to fish here; a 0.4gm for corn / meat, and a 0.2gm for banded pellet. A 0.2gm rig was also set up for the margins with 16 PR478 for meat/corn. 0.13 was used on all rigs.

Looking around me it was a mixture of some anglers like myself going with minimal carbon, and a few with a bit more. I started the match on my long line (lol) and cupped in some pellet and corn, threw some meat to my left margin and corn to my right. Starting on the corn rig I had 2 or 3 indications / missed bites before connecting with a F1, Mike was already getting one a bung. After about 30 mins on the corn I had taken a few more but the rig and bait didn't seem right to me so I switched to banded pellet. Just feeding the fishery 4mm pellets and putting the same in the band brought an improvement but I did have to fish the rig slightly over depth as the canal was towing. To be honest I spent the next 3 hours catching F1s quite steadily, though they seemed to come in bursts of 2 or 3 quickly before a little wait. I wasn't sure but other than Mike I thought I was going well compared to others, Sean was struggling.

There were of course some serious gusts of wind today, once my cap blew straight into my keepnet, bait boxes from anglers on canal 2 ended up on canal 3! The lad to my right had his preston trolley blown halfway into his margin.

Back to my match and I had taken a couple of F1s and small carp from the left margin on meat, but it  just wouldn't get going and I spent a lot of time snagging up on roots. The right hand margin was shite and I never had a bite here. I was forced to feed another spot long and fed some 4mm pellet straight in front. This improved matters and the F1s and a few small carp took a liking to the pellet. With an hour to go I was willing the margin to get going as the anglers to my right were all catching well in theirs, the guy to my right also landing a bonus 7lb fish . However, my my margin line did not come to life bar 2 F1s in two drops five mins before the end of the match. The long line also died and I even tried going out to 5m but no joy. During this last hour I sat and watched Sean next to me catch one a bung at 6m, by far his best spell.

I was left feeling frustrated by a poor last hour to 90 mins, and once I saw the weights I knew I'd been close. My fish went 66lb, Sean had 51lb and the guy to my right had 73lb. With two 80lb weights and two more 70's I was cursing my bad spell.

Trevor Chalk won the match with 85lb from peg 79 I think, Mike was 2nd with 82lb, Bela 3rd with 74lb. Glenn behind had 36lb but his canal fished poor and he was not far off the section money.

In hindsight the decision to fish this venue due to the strong wind was a good one, 66lb of F1s and small carp at 4m was a nice day with plenty of bites for 4 hours. Let's hope the weather improves for next weekend, it would be nice to get out on a sunny day, but that doesn't seem likely!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Lower Avon Champs

First of all, it has already been said on social media but I was very shocked to hear that Roy Carter died this week after having a stroke. Roy was only 55 and certainly taken far too early from his family. Those that knew Roy will know of his river prowess, which he demonstrated last year winning a riverfest qualifier on the Severn, but also his great sense of humour and his generosity. RIP mate.

The last day of the river season had arrived and as ever I was trying my luck with plenty of others (46 anglers) to catch a bag of bream on the Avon at Newbridge. In the past I have either missed the "bag up" matches, or not drawn on the bream when the odd big weights come out, maybe today that would change. With 100lb+ winning the Thursday open word had got around and anglers had travelled some distance to fish this match. However, that meant there were plenty of what I consider poor pegs in the bag too.

Kev Dicks had to do the draw down on the bank by the Pumphouse, and it reminded me of the "old days" when that was how opens were started (no brekkie or pub etc). I pulled out peg 32 which put me on the start of the straight, Kev told me that my peg was not fished on Thurs but 33 had 5 bream and 30 had 2 bream, but with more slabs showing the further you went down the straight. Got to my peg to find Derek Coles on peg 30, Derek has been taking some tremendous catches down at Frys, and only this week had 60lb of chub and bream. He showed me some photos, and one slab was enormous and could have been over 9lb! We were both happy that we might get among the bream on our pegs, but would have preferred to be further down.

I only set up the feeder rod with initially a 14 PR455 and 0.14 and later a 16 PR355 and 0.12. The straight is not renowned for its small fish at this time of the year, and with the cold Easterly wind blowing straight downstream the float rod stayed in the bag. I had mixed up plenty of groundbait the day before, Sonubaits Bream, River and Lake.

Although I wouldn't fill it I would be able to give the bream plenty if they turned up! At the start I threw 14 apple sizes balls about 2/3 across the river, cast the feeder out with 3 red maggots and sat back. You never worry about catching early on the tip, but if you've not caught after 2 hours then usually you're hoping for a good last 90 mins.  I had a couple of plucks in the first 45 mins, one on maggot and one on worm and maggot. On both occasions the bait had not been touched and I suspect it was small roach. It was easy to see the bites as the river had little pace and a 20grm feeder was more than enough to hold even with my rod pointing down stream and parallel to the water to avoid the wind hitting the line. I did feel a fish on once, this was when a pike about 8lb grabbed my feeder for a couple of seconds lol!

Around the 2 hour mark the lad below me came up for a walk and he hadn't had a sniff, but when he went back to his peg he had a bream within 5 mins. I then had what looked like a bite, the tip moved round quite quick and dropped back. My strike met with no resistance and the bait was totally unmarked. Next cast and the tip seemed to pull round an inch, then again, then again and I struck and again felt nothing. Two more tiny indications had me thinking the bream were in the peg and I was getting liners, but then the tip went back to being motionless. It turned out that Derek had also caught a skimmer and a bream during this period, and the lad on 36 had 3 in 3 chucks, so I'd done well to avoid them lol! From then on the match did not improve for me in fact it was only thanks to bank walkers, facebook and a few phone conversations that kept the day interesting. Craig Edmunds sat behind me for a while and he saw me hook a snag and lose a hook length. It was good chatting to him though and he did entertain his daughter by putting one of my fluro maggots on his tongue!!! Simon Hebditch walked up from fishing in the little field, and he had 1 bleak, I then caught a branch and said well we just need the other "B" a bream!

Sadly the picture above shows what I (and many others) stared at for the rest of the match and it just wouldn't go round despite me feeding casters with a catty and trying different hook baits. The lad on 36 was Gary Williamson and he had 6 bream with an hour to go, and we heard that Paul Isaacs on peg 56 had 5 bream, other than that it was fishing poorly and a number of anglers had already gone home. With 45 mins left (of the 6 1/2 hour match) I was feeling very cold and not that well and I decided to call it a day and pack up. When I got home my hands were blue and it took me a few brandies to warm up!

Darren Gillman kindly passed me the results :-

1st Gary Williamson 38lb (peg 36)
2nd Paul Isaacs 25lb 6oz (peg 56)
3rd Graham Hunt 22lb 2oz (peg 59)
4th Paul Purchase 20lb 4oz (peg 54)
5th Brian Melksham 16lb 5oz (peg 38)

As you can see by the results the bream that did show to make the frame were in a couple of areas only. It only took 5lb or 6lb to win a section, so all in all a hard day. Probably the worst this match has fished for many a year, I guess the drop in temp, Easterly wind and cold rain messed it up for us. Sorry I can't make this blog any more interesting but a blank is a blank! No doubt within a week or two the river will be sock on grrrrr!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Hill View Fishery Open (AKA after the Lord Mayor's Show!)

I made a plan last weekend that I would go fishing Saturday and spend Sunday with the family, at this stage weather forecast looked good for both days. Had a call in the week from Mark Harper asking if I could fish for the team at Viaduct, but with the family plan set I had to decline.

As for where to fish Saturday, well I would have done a river match but I didn't know of any, so it was off to Hill View again. I took a trip up to the venue with Mat Toomes, he's not too well at the moment with a recurrence of his intestinal problems, but between us I reckon we could make one good bowel! Another decent turnout today with 34 I think, Keith decided to peg the match on the lakes and canals 3 and 4. As ever most people felt that the lakes would provide the winner, although canal 4 had won the rover on Weds (but that was 1 angler on his own on the canal). I managed to pull out peg 87 so not far from where I was last week, although on that day it was not that good. Mat was on Moorhen peg 8 which can be very good.

Getting to my peg Brad Procter was on the end peg 95 on my canal, he was the lad on that peg last Sunday and was expected to better today. The wind was blowing from left to right which meant Brad was at the windward end, only the guy to my left on peg 84 had a virtually windless peg. At this stage the wind was worse than last week, but not bad enough to allow me to fish across. However, the wind played havoc with my presentation and I had to use heavier rigs today. A 0.3g PB Inter 4 was used for across by the reeds with the standard 18 PR434 to 0.117 exceed, and that also did for the margin which was a little shallower. For the open water I went with a 0.5g wire stem version, but when I say open water that was top set plus one! I should mention that pegged opposite me was Ben Haag, a young angler who already has a good record fishing on commercials.

To start the match I fed some micro and corn across, corn on my open water line, (I thought I would start more positive with the corn hoping the carp were waking up) but I did though feed maggots by hand down wind to my right margin. Shipping across the wind had increased and I was glad of the heavier float, unlike last week though I had to wait a few minutes to get a bite. It was slow going for me and all around me (including Ben) but down the other end Brad was catching. I had to change something and slipped on a soft pellet, it made a real difference and the float was now going under regularly. I must have taken 10 carp and 2 tench in about 40 mins, unfortunately they would have weighed 3lb in total lol! I did joke to Ben that I was catching fairground fish. Sadly it was obvious at this stage that the peg did not hold any decent fish, so I fed a bit heavier across and then tried in closer. The top set plus 1 line produced 1 bite and a bumped fish and actually I never caught a fish on this line al match!

A look in the margin with double maggot sadly confirmed the lack of carp as I caught a procession of rudd, roach and gudgeon. I starting throwing in 30+ maggots and I did catch an F1 but then it was dead. Going back across it was evident I had mainly fed the smaller carp off as I was waiting for bites, but it was now a very odd F1 or small carp that I caught, but I knew I was not on the pace of the anglers below me, some of whom were catching in close. I cannot recall when it was exactly, but I'll guess halfway through the match the wind had increased to such an extent that fishing across was now no possible, in fact just trying to fish at 3m was a nightmare. I was now forced to fish the margins, but I couldn't fish the left margin as the sun on the water with the wind was blinding. I finally got a few fish in the edge feeding but I was not able to hook many in the mouth and foul hooked and lost probably a dozen fish during the match. I think they were feeding off bottom, but there was no way to present a bait like that and I had no bites on the drop. I changed to feeding corn to try to get them on the deck.

The guy to my left was now emptying his margins on corn, and the guy to my right emptying his on pellet! I know this as I went for a walk to cool my head after a fish snapped me and I had to tie on another hook which I promptly lost as the wind blew the rig into a bramble! I sat back on my box feeling a tad gutted, being a chip shop sausage is no fun lol! An hour to go and I noticed the sun had moved a bit and so I could fish up to my left, I decided to feed some meat here which sounds stupid when nobody was catching on it but I just wanted to see if it would work as all thoughts of beating anyone were gone. I did take 3 carp from here and they were the best fish I had all day. The corn worked and I took a few fish but I know I should have fished much closer into the reeds today, but in my defence it was not easy to do in this peg.

As soon as the all out was shouted I was off an running for the loo, I told Ben to tell Keith not to weigh me in, which was lucky as I didn't get back to the peg in time. Brad had won the match with 96lb, and either side of me weighed 70lb+, I estimate I had only half of that, shocking! I am not sure I can really say why I did so bad, but I will say the guys either side could get in nice and tight in the margins. Fishing maggot, or loose feeding maggot in my peg was not the best today, but what is right is hard to say as the guy to my left dumped in bait, whilst to my right he loose fed a sprinkling of micros in his margin all day. I should mention in second place today was Garbolino backed Steve Tucker with 91lb from peg 22 on Heron lake, he caught big carp on either pellet or corn, by far the best weight on the lakes, and he took a fiver of Mat who also DNW.

Oh well that's fishing, one day it all goes right another you feel like a chump lol! I just read a bit about the Sensas Challenge on the Soar, first day there were lots of blanks including Des Shipp. Today Des lost a bream which snapped his light hook length and was blanking along with a host of others, he managed a fish on his chopped worm line to save the blank..... a near 19lb common carp and he won the match. The downs and ups!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Hill View Fishery Open

After a fishing free weekend I was very keen to get out again, but I couldn't decide where to go or which day. In the end the weather helped make the decision as the wife and I used our National Trust membership to visit Lacock Abbey on Saturday which seemed the better of the two days (river looked nice up there). Plan made, I was making rigs Saturday evening for a visit to Hill View Sunday. When I went to bed I thought I was mad as the wind was really blowing up and it was meant to be 20mph+ Sunday.

Travelling on my own today and I arrived in good time for a breakfast and a chat with Gabriel Skarba and Andy Gard, both made me laugh. Andy told me he'd fished here the day before and came 2nd, but he'd arrived very late after setting off up the M4 instead of the M5 PMSL! I think there were 19 fishing today and Keith decided to put us all on the back 3 canals which he hadn't pegged yesterday. I fancied a draw on the 3rd canal as the wind would be off your back, but I drew the 4th canal and peg 91. Glenn Bailey has drawn this a couple of time this winter and really struggled, but apparently on the rover on Weds it won the match. The water was coloured and that was bound to help the fishing I hoped. I will be honest and say I wasn't overly confident of getting some coin today as on peg 93 was the venue expert Neville Groves (he'd won the day before) and I was told the lad on 95 was another good angler and was tipped to do well. Ah well I was looking forward to it anyhow!

Setting up was done with the "wind" in mind, I laid my Preston Shuttle on its side, positioned some bags so that my pole would sit up against them, and didn't bother with pole rollers. I set up just two rigs today, a 4x12 Chianti which would do for across by the reeds and the margins. I also set up my canal bread float, 0.4g Preston PT4 which was a brain wave I had yesterday. I went for this due to its wire stem and pencil shape, and extra weight to combat the wind, both rigs had 0.117 Exceed to 18 PR434. I had micros, maggots and corn with me today, did have soft pellet hookers but that was no use. On the all in I fed a cad pot of micros and maggots at 12m which was just short of the reeds and that was it for now. I shipped over with double maggot and saw that Nev had a carp in the net already! Luckily my float also zipped under and I had a 1lb carp, next drop a tiny tench, and then another, then a 8oz carp. After 30 mins I was just getting tiny fish so stopped feeding maggot and went out with corn on the hook. It was slow to begin on this and I had another tiny tench and small carp. I was feeding micros still with a couple of pieces of corn, and I then landed two fouled carp in two drops. The carp were not huge but anything between 1 and 2lb.

An hour gone and as far as I could see I was doing much better than my neighbours and they had already given up fishing the far bank. The wind was not too bad at this stage but I was using my short no4 section and 2 feet of line above the float to keep control. Things were now slowing up for me and it was taking longer to get a bite, occasionally I'd get a liner from those carp which seem to swim through at about half depth. I was now feeding maggots on a short line (top set +1) and at 8m, also a bit of corn in the margin. Nev had a run of F1's at 8m but then struggled again, so I stuck it out across. I had a few more F1's across, but was not sure really how much bait I should be feeding, was I feeding too much or too little. I wondered this because I thought I wasn't catching well enough now, but was wary of giving it too much in case I killed it. I decided to rest it and come in short, I had a gudgeon on maggot and then a 1lb carp on maggot but one more missed bite told me there weren't enough fish on the short line yet, A look in the margin next to a nice looking straw bale and my corn bait was snaffled almost straight away. Sadly the fish found a snag next to the bale and I had to pull for a break. Nothing else here and it seemed a bit snaggy.

Going back across it was quiet at first, but by feeding a little more corn and micro I had another run of fish..... and then the first storm came! I couldn't fish over and came short for 15 mins for just 1 little tench. This storm passed and I went across and had a bit of a struggle as the wind was worse and I was really hanging on at times, I hooked an F1 and the pole was nearly ripped from my grip by the wind, but the fish stayed on. Nev was now bagging on F1 and carp in his margin and I guessed hew was fishing maggot, so I started feeding maggot further down past the bale. I hooked a big / fouled carp which went off down the far bank and then snagged me and a new hooklength was needed. Then the next and by far the worst storm came!!!

The wind came from nowhere, and luckily all my plans came good and my gear was safe, sad to say a lad on the other canal opposite had to run after his shuttle, and then snapped his 2 week old pole in a couple of places. Nev then lost his maggots when his bait boxes blew over, and that it turned out was handy for me. I think I managed 3 fish on my top set+1 line in the storm, but was glad when it finally passed as my hands were numb from the cold rain and wind. It was though impossible to fish across again which was gutting as there were now carp topping. Thankfully my perseverance feeding maggots in close got me a few more F1 and small carp on the two close lines, with my very last carp being landed after the whistle. I was happy to pack up as I was shaking from the cold!

I had no idea what I had caught and had split my fish over two nets to give them some room! Nev reckoned he had 50lb and word had it that was likely to win the match. The scales weighed the first 2 canals and 44lb was top, a few pegs to my left 36lb was weighed and then it was my turn. My first net went 27lb, and my second 26lb 8oz (that was a good split lol) and I'd gone into the lead with 53lb 8oz. Neville's nets looked very similar, but I was dead chuffed when Keith shouted 52lb 8oz and with only one angler left to weigh I knew I'd won. The last cast carp had done it!

Full result

1st Me 53lb 8oz  peg 91
2nd Nev Groves 52lb 8oz  peg 93
3rd C Rust 44lb  peg 70
4th Higgy  41lb  peg 77
5th Andy Bruton 39lb 8oz  peg 64

Well that was a nice day, a battle against the elements and a battle against one of the best anglers at Hill View. It is safe to say that I was on more fish than Nev as I was feeling my way into the peg not having fished the canals for a long time. But we all need that bit of luck if we are to compete with the locals now and again. What a nice days fishing, if you discount the weather lol!

Finally get well soon to matey Mike Nicholls who is suffering with pneumonia, not good weather to be out with that.