Sunday, 31 January 2016

Bob Warden Memorial - K&A Canal Bath

After last weeks fun on the river I had thoughts of doing the same, but the forecast of another storm and lots of rain meant that wasn't going to be a good idea. Then on Tuesday Nicola Goodhind text me to ask if I was going to fish this match, and being as though it was late and I was in bed I just said yes. To be fair I would have fished or at least bought a ticket as the match raises funds for lung research, and I worked with Bob for a long time and know his sons Lee and Leighton. I had no chance to get hold of any bloodworm or joker but as the town stretch was being pegged I hoped I would do OK without it. I wasn't the only one without any b&j and actually only a handful of anglers had it I think.

I spent a couple of hours Friday afternoon sorting my kit as Saturday I was visiting family in Lymington. I didn't put lots of effort, recycled some rigs from the w/l and chucked in a waggler rod in case I drew one of the wide ponds. I even remembered to get my bread out of the freezer, and I had a good feeling about things.

Sunday morning, up early and got things sorted and made the wife a cuppa, and off to the rugby club at Saltford where I had their breakfast and really enjoyed it. There were 32 pegs in today, with about 20 pegs in the town and there was where I wanted to be. I was close to the front of the draw queue, but Darren Gilman was first in line, he drew pegs for the Goodhinds and put two of them on the Long Pond, and then drew himself at Malthouse. Then Martyn Rayet drew Long Pond and at this rate all the pegs in the town would be gone! Luckily when I put my hand in I pulled out a ticket that had peg 10 on it, in the town but where? It turned out it was in the middle of Horeshoe Pond, and I would call it an absolute bunghole flyer! A while back Martin Rayet had a good net of skimmers here, and plenty of roach are usually in residence, I was over the moon.

When I got to the peg and put my keepnet in I was very surprised to see the bottom of the keepnet on the canal bed, I just couldn't believe it was so clear. One of Lee Warden's friends was on peg 9 (Craig Amos) and we were the only two on the pond. Rigs were my positive 0.4g punch rig with 18 PR311 for 5m, a 0.4g PB silvers with 18 PR311 to 0.07 for 13m, and a 4x12 with 20 PR311 to 0.07 also for 13m. I also set up a 4AAA waggler with 0.08 to 20 B611. On the all in I fed a decent size ball of bread at 5m, and then 2 balls of gbait on 2 lines at 13m, both contained squatts, caster and chopped worms, I was going for it!

I started on a 6mm punch and was a bit worried as the float sat there for about 5 mins and did nothing, but eventually a bite transpired and I netted a 4oz roach. I took 5 more roach from here waiting a long time between bites, but they were all netters. It was dead then and I went out to 9m and fed bread here but it didn't work for me. An hour in and I grabbed the 0.4g rig for 13m and started on a red maggot, I dropped the rig in and it buried and I bumped something, the maggot was smashed, next drop and a nice roach deep hooked. I was fishing an inch over depth so I shallowed up to an inch off bottom, and this worked as I started to catch roach hooked in the top lip. The wind was really bad and was gusting around, this meant I could not loose feed and was going to rely on topping up with gbait, I did however loose feed casters at about 20m for the waggler. but I could only feed when there was a lull in the wind. Over the next hour the two 13m swims kept me busy with roach and perch, but no skimmers, then it slowed down quickly, so I refed and picked up the waggler. It was tricky and I had the wag dotted right down as I didn't expect the fish to hang themselves. I thought I had a bite but hit nothing, then next cast a good bites and a bend in the rod, I was as surprised as anyone when an 8oz chub was netted. A few casts later and a 4oz chub was landed. Bites stopped here after this.

I was sure the clairty of the water was scaring the fish, and that after catching a few they spooked. The pole lines were now really slow and it was hard to get a bite on the lighter rig with pinkie, but then a change, a boat was in the locks above and the water was pouring into the pond. This made the pond flow and colour started to come in, immediately I hooked a better fish and it was hard to get into the net as the inside was flowing like the river, but a 10oz roach was a real bonus. The boat then came into the pond and bugger me but it only turned around and was going back the way it came. AS you can imagine this had the effect of churning my peg up good and proper. About this time Glenn Bailey rang me, it was very opportune as I wouldn't be feeding or fishing for a while, I said to him I though I had 4 1/2lb at this stage. Once the the canal had slowed up a bit I fed more gbait on the 13m lines. I did also try bread again short but it didn't work. The 13m lines had benefited from the extra colour and I got bites from 2oz roach and perch, I had a nice steady run before it slowed and then another boat came in from the opposite side of the pond. This boat only came in ass end first!!! After reversing in he turned around and went out the other side, and left the pond in a mess again.

After another rest I fed the lines again, but this time they did not come back to life, there was an hour to go and now I was struggling. Once the water stopped moving I tried the waggler again, no more chub, but I did have about 5 roach and a dace. The last ten minutes back over the pole line and I had a fish every drop till the whistle. What a brilliant bit of the canal this is, I had some lovely roach and probably the best stamp of fish I've had, it was never hetic but when fish are 2oz+ it doesn't need to be. Fluoro maggot was the best hook bait today, followed by red maggot and fluoro pinkie.

I took the scales from Craig and weighed in Malthouse, Darren Gilman near the bay up there had 7lb odd of bleak, dace and chub, a real nice net of fish, that was top up there. I weighed 11lb 1oz and Craig 3lb. I wasn't sure if my weight would win as if someone had skimmers they would beat that. Once back at the results and with anglers coming back in I soon realised I had indeed won, drawing a flyer made all the difference.

1st Me 11lb 1oz
2nd Steve Long 9lb+
3rd Lee Warden 8lb+
4th Darren Gilman 7lb 2oz

Vinny Lunn took a nice picture of me with Bob Warden's sons, Lee on the left and Leighton on the right. Happy days, cheers lads I am really proud to have my name on your Dad's memorial trophy.

Had a good chat with those that came back after, and nice to catch up with the legend that is Chris Ollis. Things went well on the raffle too, as I won 8 cans of Thatchers! Best of all we raised £270 for Lung research, well done everybody!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

A Few Hours At Newbridge

I can honestly say I really wanted to go fishing this Sunday, but trying to get on a match on a venue I half fancied was not possible as all the leagues seemed to have no drop outs. That said I was concerned that the water would still be very cold after the ice melt and so was none to worried when Ken Rayner couldn't fit me in at Landsend. In the end I thought I'd give the river a go and on Saturday morning I thought it looked like the chub might feed, but I was off to Parkway to pick my eldest daughter up who was coming up from Plymouth to watch Rovers. Turned out fate played its hand when later that day trains to Plymouth were cancelled, so Lucy stayed the night with us and I had to take her to Parkway Sunday at 10:30am. I guess I was meant not to get on a match!

Of course the Avon had changed by Sunday morning, rain on Saturday night had added some more pace and colour to it, no chub then. I elected to go to Newbridge, I had a pint of caster, a few worms and some mixed maggots, that would do. Tackle was light too with just a heavy feeder rod. I really fancied fishing peg 18 which usually holds bream all year round. I got to the river with no trolley, and as I parked in the layby I spotted Warren Bates van. I gave him a ring to find out there were 5 of them out on the bank with the same idea as me. I huffed and puffed my way to the bank to find pegs 14 to 18 taken, with Dean Harvey on 18 having 3 bream, the rest were all struggling to catch anything. I walked to the pumphouse as 22 can be OK, but there was a pleasure angler in there. I didn't fancy a walk round the pumphouse so I went back the way I came and went into the little field and settled in on peg 10.

As I put the gear down and got my breath back I surveyed the river, it wasn't filthy dirty but it was pushing through.

I ran the line through the rings of my Drennan Carp Feeder rod and attached a 28g feeder. Under arming it out into the river to see how much lead I needed it bounced around and into a snag, but I got it back. I cast out only 10m and slightly upstream and paid out a bow, and this was OK. Hopefully I was above the snags. I finished this off with a 14 PR355 to 0.148 Exceed. I mixed up Sensas red magic with brown crumb, and then realised I left me bait tables at home lol! I scattered them around me but all within reach.

I spent the first half hour casting every 4 minutes to get a bit of bait in, but I didn't go mad as I didn't think these fish would be that hungry. I had not bites at all on 3 dead red maggots, so changed to 3 live fluro maggots and immediately had a tap tap and a 3oz roach was sung in. One thing I now knew was this was going to be tough, the roach was absolutely freezing cold! I missed a bite next cast, and then had a 6oz roach next cast. Bites stopped after this for a while, but an hour after starting I had a steady drop back and was pleased to feel a solid weight on the end, It was a bream and boy did it go in the flow, it was 4lb I reckon and made my day out worthwhile. Next chuck and the tip had only just tightened up when I had a really positive bite, I connected and it was a skimmer getting on for 2lb. Once again things went really quiet again, and a try on worm was a complete waste of time, as was casters. It was probably 45 mins after the skimmer that back on red maggots I had another proper bite and was attached to another good bream. This one gave a really good account of itself and when I finally got it out of the flow up popped a 6lber.

A couple more roach and a late 1 1/2lb skimmer were my lot, again they were caught on maggots, it was all I caught on today.  Just before 3:30pm Warren, Dereck Coles and Mike Weston came behind me. They had all managed 3 or 4 bream in the end, with Dereck having one huge fish estimated 8 to 9lb.  I was about to pack up myself and so took advantage of them and asked Warren to take a photo of me. I guess about 15lb tops, and it was a nice little bag on a cold river, and as I said earlier the fish were stone cold. I think we have a lot of rain coming this week which is a shame, as I am sure if the river gets right we could have some good days on it, trouble is there's not long left to go!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Back to 1997

I was never going to fish a match this weekend due to having to drive to Liverpool Friday morning, getting into Greenwich in London late Friday night, and finally getting home Saturday night. This was getting my daughter to a couple of dance auditions, she won't know for a month if she did any good but 2000 dancers are looking for about 50 places. I did want to go fishing on Sunday, a few hours on the river in the hope of a few bites would be fine, but this shitty fine rain on top of the cold weather put me right off, lightweight I know lol!

Back to 1997 and I had a 3 month lay off from fishing spending time with my young family, I got out on the glorious 16th of June and had a go at Newbridge and sat on peg 16 for 2 1/2 hours, it was rock hard and only had 2lb. I changed tack and gave the canal a go at Limpley Stoke fishing caster across, a 2lb perch, few roach and skimmers and 1 lost tench made it a better choice.

I was back up at Newbridge Saturday 21st June for the CLA teams of 4, and I found myself pegged on peg 20 just before the pumphouse. I set up a pole and a waggler with 22 to 0.09 on both, I fed two lines both with maggots but I only had bites on the waggler further out. Feeding 12 maggots every run through I got odd bites from small roach and had a 1lb chub in the first 3 hours, the next two were devoid of fish! I didn't record how the team did but I won my section with 6lb. I fished an open the next day on the Crane, and drew up the lane behind the marina. I had a shocking day lost 2 big fish on the pole and chucked back 2lb.

Sunday 29th June I was back on the K&A again but this time up around Semington for a 100 peg open match. Alas I struggled again with about 4lb which was made up of 1 tench and 2lb of bits, the canal fished hard with only a bag of 5 tench needed to win. Maybe the weather had something to do with it as I wrote that June 1997 was (at the time) the wettest June ever recorded in the UK. The reason for the large attendance was because the following week it was the Fish-o-Mania qualifier on the canal, and I had a ticket. I remember this match as I drew peg 1 on the Pile section but it had not been fished, when I got there all I could see was stinging nettles! I set about knocking them down so I could get to see the water, let alone get close, when the lad next door came down and asked me to stop making such a disturbance, I think I politely asked him what was I supposed to do, and he said just stand on them, I then told him politely what he could do lol!  I was told this peg was an unknown as it is rarely pegged, but I was only going to fish for carp as it was all about winning. I fed pellets, corn and casters right over the canal and fished in one spot with 0.16 to a 16. For an hour I had no indications, other than a tiny roach on double caster, then I had a bite and missed, so I lifted the rig out and dropped it in and out came the elastic. For what seemed an age I played this carp, and was chuffed when I landed it as it looked like a double. I hooked another in the last hour but came back with a scale, and that was the end of a very slow day. The carp weighed 9lb 12oz and it was enough for me to win the 25 peg section, of course not enough to get to the final.

That's just a short one today, hopefully I will get out on the bank next Sunday as I really want to see a float going under! One last thing, here is a photo from the past of the old Bristol Sensas Team, here's the names in case you didn't recognise them!

Top row from left, Me, Mark Holbrook, Kev Winstone, Martyn Woodington, Mark ?, John Amatto
Middle row from left, Mark Bailey, Bob Sheppard, Kev Boltz, Roger Amos, Gary Bowden, Bela Bakos
Bottom row from left, Andy Britt, Paul Lumbard, Andy Floyd, Mark Jefferies, Glenn Bailey.

You decide which one makes you laugh the most, for me it's Bela lol!!!

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Final Commercial House Match News - March 1997

Well the drive down to Plymouth today was nice and easy, but on the way back the M5 had been hit by a deluge of rain and in less than 3 miles I saw 5 smashed up cars (all separate incidents) which I guess had aqua planed. One was up the grass bank on its roof and I hope the occupants got out OK.

The last round of the Commercial House was played out on the K&A Canal up at Bath, and I had a bit of feedback from the lads after to say the canal had fished really hard in places. Winner/s on the day were Colin Dance and Rob Randal who both had 10lb 8oz.  The knockout and individual winner of the league was Liam Braddell, well done him. In A division Bathampton Elite did well and won the day, but they lost out on winning the league overall to Thatchers Black who won by just 1/2 a point!! Thatchers Blue who I had fished for managed to avoid relegation and instead I think Sensas Wilts went down to B Div, with M&N Electrical getting promoted to A div, congrats to Mike Goodhind and team! That's it for another year, I hear we could have a couple of venue changes next year with KSD and T&B canal in, hopefully replacing the two canal matches up in Wiltshire which were not great.

I spent Saturday 1st March 1997 pleasure fishing the Horseshoe pond on the K&A canal at Bath, I struggled on the punch bread for just a few small roach. Fishing waggler with caster against a moored boat I picked up odd bites but some quality roach, with two of a 1lb. I had 7lb when I packed up. The following Saturday I was fishing with the Anglercare Southern Final team match on Gold Valley Lakes. I drew peg 17 on Gold Lake. I started the match fishing a maggot feeder but after an hour all I had were a couple of roach, meanwhile the guy to my left had a couple of carp and some skimmers. I tried the pole and caster to try and catch some decent roach, but this was also a struggle for me but I got lucky and hooked and landed a 4lb carp on a 3 elastic! Swapping between pole and feeder I was not catching and being beaten by many anglers and was told the two anglers at the other end of the section were way out in front. Then with 90 mins to go the angler to my left who had been catching stopped and my feeder line came to life. Fishing double maggot with an 18 to 0.14 I had 3 carp, 1 bream, 2 tench and 5 small skimmers. I ended with 29lb beating the guy on my left by 1 1/2 oz and coming 3rd in the 11 peg section, beaten by the end two pegs. The team just missed out on doing well, coming 3rd, having some good and bad results.

The next day and an open at Lovelynch lakes in Devon. I drew what was peg 4 opposite the island. For the first 2 hours I caught on a top set on maggots catching small carp until they vanished. I then struggled for an hour until I got a few fish lined up at 6m on maggots, and in the last hour they were bigger 2 to 3lb fish. I ended with 63lb 12oz and that won me the match!

Another commercial (well it was the close season lol) I fished was Moorlands Farm on Tuesday 25th March. This was the Jack Purchase Final (I had qualified for it by winning a match) and there was a big prize and a lot of top anglers fishing. I drew peg 3 on Moors Pool and was told no chance of doing well, but there was £30 for a section so this was my aim. I found the bottom of the shelf, which was at 7m, and fished here all day. I fed casters and and fished light on a 20 to 0.10 and caught roach and odd small skimmers by fishing over depth and dotting the float right down. My 11lb 9oz was enough to win the section and take some dosh home.

Not sure if I will fish next Sunday, as I will be travelling Friday and Saturday, might go for pleasure somewhere.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Commercial House K&A Canal Round 5

Hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year, I certainly did but am now going "dry" for January so no hangovers for a while! I spent a few hours on New Years Day getting rigs and hook lengths together for this match, that was because I was out Saturday watching Rovers grab another 3 points, UTG. Late on Saturday Nathaniel Johnson send me a text of what he had pegged out for this match, sadly not knowing the stretch it meant nothing to me lol! The stretches being used were Semington, Kings Arms and Whaddon.

It was no surprise Sunday morning when I loaded the car in wind and rain, and the forecast really was for piss poor weather and so I packed my brolly. I got to the draw at Spencers club in Melksham and it was still dark, a quick sausage sarnie and a cuppa and a catch up with the lads before the draw commenced. Nat said that peg 1 was going to be the winning team draw, well we had no chance to draw it because first angler to draw Shaun Townsend pulled it for Bathampton. Mark Harper then drew us peg 2 so we would be able to get stiff necks! I was given C2 which I was told was at Whaddon Lane and was one off the flyer on the Norfolk reeds but I was at the best end of the section. Darren Gillman was on C1 and he had been told all about the large weights that had come off it and would be likely to frame off it.

I followed Andy Britt to get to section as I have never fished it before, it was a nice easy walk once we got there even if it was a bit wet. I have no photos of the venue today because it was just so wet and I kept my phone in the dry all day, shame as the reeds past Darren would have made a nice picture. I set up 5 rigs but only used 3 in the end; a 4x14 Drennan Roach with 0.07 to 18 PR311 for punch at 5m, a 4x12 PB silvers (wire stem) with 0.07 to 18 PR311 for two spots at 11m, and a 4x10 PB silvers with 0.07 to 22 PR311 for 13m which was about .5m off the bushes opposite in 14" of water.

At the start I fed a ball of punch at 5m, a ball of gbait with some worm and caster in at 11m to the left, worm and caster at 11m to the right and that was it for now. The wind and rain were already making things difficult and I couldn't put my brolly up because the the wind was straight in my face, trying to keep my hook baits dry was therefore tricky! Dropping in a 6mm punch I had nothing for 10 mins, so I dropped to a 4mm punch and had a gudgeon, a few minutes later a little roach nearly pulled the float under. I then had what I thought was an indication and struck instinctively and the elastic came out this time, it was a skimmer 6 to 8oz. It was a loner though and only a couple of small roach and another gudgeon obliged, so 40 minutes in I moved out to the gbait at 11m. I dropped in with a single red maggot and the float buried almost immediately, it was another 6 to 8oz skimmer. Next drop and a little wait for the another same size skimmer, but then a little roach told me to rest it. Sadly the chopped worm line was not as good and I never had a skimmer here, just odd small roach and gudgeon. Alan Jones was on C3 next to me, he was struggling for a bite, and he had also had his brolly demolished by the wind, he said after it was his last year fishing winter leagues, well he is nearly 70!

With the gbait line only giving me small roach I refed it and came back in on the punch line but it was only worth a tiny roach and so I fed some gbait and squatts here, which was a waste as this line died a death. Back out to 11m with red maggot again and soon hooked a good fish which really pulled the elastic out. I hoped it would be a bream but after some hairy moments, where the wind was doing its best to blow the pole out of my hands, up popped up pound perch. After this bites were slow with just odd small roach, but changing to a small piece of worm I had a 8oz hybrid and a couple of 4oz roach. I was struggling to hook my baits and unhook fish as my hands were so cold (they are all puffed up now). At this stage I thought I was ahead of Darren as he had only had 2 skimmers and quite a few roach, so when my 11m line started to produce small roach I stuck with it, but out of the blue it just died. I refed it again and I think this is where I made mistakes, I should have converted the neat w&c line to gbait and I spent to long looking for better fish.

With 2 hours to go I fed a ball of gbait and squatt at 13m, I wanted to loose feed squatt over the top but I couldn't feed it 10m out due to the wind! I gave that 15 mins to settle and then went over it with a pinkie and I toss potted in about 20 squatts. Small roach of less than an ounce were there in numbers and it was a bite a chuck. Darren was catching small roach well too and even when he had a 1lb perch on it I still thought we were close so I went fish for fish with him. I put a maggot on looking for a better stamp, most casts it made no difference but occasionally a 1 to 2oz roach showed so I stuck with maggot, I also had a 4oz perch on it. 5 mins before the end and Darren lands a perch of at least 1lb 4oz, bugger. I came of the roach and went back to 11m with a red maggot and prayed for a bonus, with 30 seconds left the float sailed under, it was a skimmer but only 4oz.

Waiting for the scales myself and Darren looked at our own fish and Darren's estimate was a pound more than mine. When the scales did arrive Nicky Johns was top weight with just over 5lb. I beat that with 6lb 9oz which I was happy with, then Darren weighed 8lb 1/2oz to win the section. It was a good performance off the end peg from Darren as the skimmers did no show that well, but I was pleased to have pushed him.

Top 6 today

1st Robert Head 8lb 14oz (Peg A1)
2nd Liam Braddell 8lb 2oz (not an end peg)
3rd Darren Gillman 8lb 1/2oz
4th Nathaniel Johnson 7lb 8oz (F9 end peg)
5th Mike Williams 7lb 1oz (end peg)
6th Neil Mercer 6lb 14oz (end peg)

The good news for me was that Darren framing meant I won the £50 section by default and finally broke my duck in this league. The team result was messed up but it looks like my team won on the day, but I have no idea what the positions are with one match left. That match is next Sunday but I cannot fish as I am driving the daughter back to Uni again.

This blog is a little late and may have a few mistakes as I have been watching the darts final at the same time.