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.