Sunday, 28 February 2016

July / August 1997

After 4 days working in the Czech Republic this week (nice beer made the hard work worth it) and finding out the wife's car had been written off fishing was not going to happen. Sorted a car out Saturday, watched a bit of rugby, then painted radiators Sunday which from what I can tell was as much fun as some anglers had on the bank lol!

Back in July 1997 the weather was very hot, I pleasure fished at Shearwater Lake on the 8th when the temperature was 28C! I fished on peg 12 on a normal open ended feeder and for 2 hours I had roach and skimmers to 1lb, but then it died. I packed up and  moved round on to the dam wall where a huge shoal of carp were basking. They really were not interested in feeding, but managed to snare 3 on floating bread. Two days later I was pleasure fishing again, this time at Newton Park near Bath which back then was probably the best lake around. I took 2 kilos of sweetcorn with me and fished it at 6m feeding regularly fishing shallow. I caught a couple of carp but couldn't get through the 1lb roach and skimmers lol! After a while I went down the margin to take a few carp up to 10lb.

Saturday 12th July fished a match on the river Severn at Lower Lode, my first time on the venue but Mark Jefferies had been going a bit and was catching well on the gbait feeder. I caught 5 bream and 1 hybrid during the match but I was totally outgunned. The locals were all chucking well past halfway and my gear only just got me to halfway. Every section was won with at least 20lb. The following day I was on an open on the Gloucester canal and drew peg 20. I had a lovely day,not, catching just 7 eels for 2lb 11oz. I never got to grips with this venue and will never do so as it is on my "never ever ever going there again!" list.

A couple of short pleasure fishing sessions on lakes were all I could manage for a couple of weeks, including a 30lb of bream and tench at Lydes Farm. My next match was the John Smiths qualifier at Newbridge on August 9th, it was still hot, now up to 31C. I drew peg 5 in the little field and set up pole and waggler and loose fed two lines. The first two hours were steady with about 4lb of roach, but once the sun got up the bites stopped completely. I packed up and chucked them back in the end.

A week later back on the lakes and a Moorlands Farm open, in the sweltering heat I was expecting to catch shallow on casters but was bitted out. I switched to feeding meat and picked up the odd carp during the day for 30lb and nowhere. I found out after that some of the locals (who'd all framed) had been fishing a floating pole with just a piece of line and a hook for a rig, they fed on top and waited for the pole tip to disappear as a carp hooked itself. It was a strange way to fish with the pole rested on the platform between your feet, and many anglers thought it a poor way to fish. The following week I was back up here again, my pole rigs were 6" of line, 1 foot of line and 18" of line lol!  I was on peg 18 on meadow lake and had a better day ending with 64lb of carp, mainly caught on triple caster over 4 pints of caster feed.  A few weeks later as the weights caught on this method got bigger the venue owner banned this.

August 24th and I was back to "old style" methods on an open on the Huntspill where I drew peg 93. I caught small skimmers on a gbait feeder with 0.10 to an 18 with double maggot. The pole line was a struggle with 1 skimmer, 1 eel and a few small roach. My weight of 2 kilo 830g got me coin as I was second in the 15 peg section, and my performance got me picked for the Superleague the following week. Sunday 31st of August is a day I will always remember, I woke up and went downstairs and out to the garage, came back in and heard that Lady Diana had been killed in a car accident. There was a lot of shock at the Laburnum house draw, but we got on with things and I was drawn on a good bit, one off the end peg by the motorway bridge, but it's a good section as it goes down to the railway bridge. I was set up quite quickly and then a huge thunderstorm arrived, I put my brolly up and sat under it trying to keep my gbait dry. I chucked the feeder out on the whistle a few times, but the lightening got so close I didn't want to touch the rod so I left in for a while. I had to pick it up though as I had a proper bite and I landed a nice early bream. The Welsh on my left was bricking it and not fishing lol!  The day turned out OK for me as the storm cleared through I picked up the odd skimmer and bream on the tip to finish with 16lb 14oz. I won the section just and there were some close weights, but I was surprised that I ended up winning the whole match too.

Planning to go pleasure fishing next Saturday on the river, meeting up with Chris Ponsford again. Hope the weather is kind in the week and we can get a few fish.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Windmill Fishery Open

It has been a funny old week with some real ups and downs. Had to see a physio as it turns out I've torn my calf muscle, work was full on again, the wife had to take her Dad to hospital for an op and on the way some clown drove into the back of her car, it will probably be written off as it's not worth a lot. My youngest daughter was 18 on Saturday and that means I don't have kids anymore (both adult daughters now), and of course Bristol Rovers were taken over by a very wealthy Jordanian family. Going fishing was a late decision on Friday when I heard from Shaun Townsend about a match up at Windmill, with no time to get any maggots Dave Haines kindly bought me some.

I woke up bleary eyed Sunday which was mainly due to being woke up by my daughters coming back in from town at 3:45am, hey ho I was young once too lol! Decided to have breakfast at home and I managed to pour fruit juice on my cereal, cranberry infused weetabix is not a good taste. No more mishaps today please. Car loaded I was on my way, had to first negotiate my way around a driver who seemed hell bent and driving in the wrong lanes / middle of road, he gave me a nasty stare as I passed him, think he was high...   The drive along the fishery road is a good test for any car suspension, and with the pot holes filled with muddy water the car was filthy when I finally parked. There was a club match on the match lake today (Steve Jefferies and Joe Thompson both on that) and the open was on the speci carp lake. I was told this lake was "full" with "thousands" of little carp, and a maggot and micro approach would suffice, of course there was a chance of connecting with a bigger carp too. There is a golden peg running here and it is up to £200, and three golden pegs were in the hat. Fishery owner drew Shaun's peg and it was end peg 1 and a golden peg, I got myself peg 8 which was also a golden peg.

Drove to the side of the lake to find my peg had been fished the day/night before by carp anglers (I'd seen them packing up when I arrived). They'd certainly churned up the bank into a mud pit, and I hoped they'd not dumped a load of bait in. I've got no pics of the peg as I kept the phone tucked away from the rain and mud, but I was basically in a wide bit with an island over to the left and right. I was never going to reach them though as the wind was fierce and I had taken all my rods out of the holdall (very likely a mistake). I tried to get my box in place on the steep sloping bank (no platform) and I ended up with in the water in a nice position. I set up just two rigs to fish on a top set, and a top set + 3 sections, a 0.5g PB Inter4 with a 18 PR412 to 0.12, and 0.75 rugby ball jobby with the same end tackle. On my side tray was micro, maggot, a few expanders and some corn.

On the all in I cupped micros and maggots on my top set line, and out further, starting on the long line with a maggot on the hook the float moved, but only due to the tow. It was about 20 minutes in before I had my first 4oz carp, I never saw a bite, so I shallowed the rig by an inch. Ten minutes later I had a little dink and a 8oz carp was netted, twenty minutes later a 2oz fish was swung it. It certainly wasn't a blistering start and after an hour I only had those 3 carp, Martin Reyatt on my left had 7.  The wind got worse and it became a challenge to hold the pole at times. I tried the heavier rig with 6 inches of line on the deck to help keep the bait still, I did take a small carp on this rig but then no more. Topping up with small amounts of micro and maggot was done via a cadpot, but I had no pattern to feed to. The next hour was just as tough and I only had a couple of small carp, Glenn Bailey turned up for a quick watch and caught 2 more little uns whilst he was there. He walked the bank and said only Shaun was catching regularly but only those same little carp.

In the next hour I had a major issue, the bank was collapsing and my box was slipping and sinking forwards. I had to get off it and try to lift it back up, this was not easy as the bank was steep and very slippery. I had to repeat this twice more during the match to prevent my self being submerged. The fishing never improved, I did all of a sudden get 3 small carp in 3 drops on the long line but that then heralded an hour+ without a bite. The top set never produced anything despite it being the same depth as the long line. I went for a walk in the end, and everyone was struggling, Shaun and Norman Ferris (both end pegs) both in the lead admitting to 4lb, and so a decent carp was all that was needed. I fed some corn and micro to my right and fed half a pot of micros and maggots on the original line. I sat a long time without anything, and then had 3 small carp again on the bounce on the maggot but then nothing. With an hour to go with everything covered in mud, with no signs of a decent fish and my box slipping away I packed in. If I had taken a lead rod with me I would have chucked that out and waited in hope, but I messed up there. Walking back down the other side of the slope with my gear I lost my footing and landed on my ass, more mud lol!

Martin kindly text me the final weights, in the end Norman Ferris won the match with 13lb 4oz which included an 8lb 14oz carp landed with 15 mins to go. That meant Shaun came 2nd with 12lb and missed out on the golden peg, I believe he was ever so slightly gutted, especially as he lost an estimated 15lb carp at the net, ouch!  Martin came third with 5lb 3oz.  I think I'll wait till it drys out somewhat before fishing this lake again.

Will I be fishing next weekend, not sure, I am away most of this week working in Czech Republic and may have to go looking for a car next weekend.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Viaduct Winter League

Bela Bakos asked me if I would stand in and fish for his team, and as I had nothing planned for Sunday I agreed. I was working away in Munich for a few days and then spent a great deal of Saturday painting bedrooms, so not really much time for preparation. Actually all I did was to make sure I had some sensible floats, barbless hooks and appropriate elastics in some top sets. I was in the section which comprised 2 pegs on middle, a dozen pegs on match and 5 pegs on spring, so had to take a fair bit of kit to cover many options.

I set off early after giving the wife her Valentines gifts, I daren't forget that when spending the day fishing lol! A nice run down, a breakfast bap and then find Bela at the fishery who told me I was on peg 37 on middle lake. This peg is very good for silvers normally and I was happy to fish for them all day. Glancing at the last two matches results first match no silvers came of it but Mikey Williams had 26lb last round which comprised a lot of perch.

Got to the peg to find fellow Bristolian Alan Oram on peg 38, Alan would be fishing for carp on there for sure. I was happy that the cold North Easterly wind was blowing from behind and my left, meaning I would be able to present rigs well. A 4AAA insert wag was the first set up, with a 18 PR434 to 0.11, I'd fish this out about 20m+ loose feeding casters. Two long pole rigs a 0.2g Inter 4 and a .3g inter 4, both with 18 PR412  to .10 to start. Another 0.2g inter 4 with 16 PR412 to .12 for fishing next to the willow tree for perch. You can just about see the tree in the picture, sun in my face and the wind made for very bad visibility.

Behind me on match lake peg 40 was Steve Denmead, we both got our poles and rollers in a position to not annoy each other, although Steve found my stink bag made the best roller, lol.  The match started at 10:30 and I fed two long pole lines at 14.5m one straight in front and one off to the right past the tree, both were fed with gbait containing pinkie and caster. I then threw some casters at the willow and then picked up the waggler. Firing a dozen casters out regularly to start and feel my way in, although opposite me was Colin Dyer who was pleasure fishing and also fishing the wag so I had kept an eye on him. Colin wasn't catching much and when he did it was small roach. I spent 45 minutes on the waggler and had a few roach on red maggot but nothing of any quality, and then I couldn't get a bite. I had an early look on my long pole lines, I had nothing, not a bite on any bait. Back on the waggler and not a bite on red maggot so I tried a caster on the hook and this improved things. I took a few roach around the 4oz mark and a 8oz perch, but as soon as things looked up bites stopped.

Earlier than planned I looked again the willow with double caster on the hook. I had this rig set up with 5 no10 stotz well spread out as I think perch like to watch a bait falling through the water, Well I guess the theory worked as first drop in the float buried as it settled. I struck and immediately pulled hard to try to get the fish out from the tree, the double no 5 elastic did the job and a 12oz perch popped up.  Next drop in and nothing on the drop, but after a few minutes a definite movement on the float was soon followed by a nice slow bite, another perch of similar size was landed. Third chuck and a 8oz perch obliged, but then it was dead. The water in this lake was very cold and very clear and I guess the latter meant the fish were backing off.

I picked the wag up expecting to get another run of fish but I never had a bite, hmmm. Halfway through and I was really not going anywhere and had not seen a skimmer. Alan had a few carp on the lead and most people on match lake were doing OK. I wasn't going to give up on the skimmers showing up so persevered. The long pole swims were still dead, even so I did top up the one in front with more gbait and was loose feeding caster on the right to try to make something happen. It was at times impossible to see the float in these swims. A 6oz hybrid and a 8oz roach on the waggler got me optimistic again, but then it was back to the odd bite from 2oz roach. I took another 2 perch from the willow but also pulled out of 2 more which is not unusual. With 90 mins to go I had my first bites on the long pole, but it was just from small roach on the right hand line, then a couple of ruffe. Eventually a 8oz perch and 6oz roach came of this line. I cupped some casters over the line in front as it had been dead, and my first bite here was from a 8oz roach.

Sadly although I could get bites on the long pole it was not from the needed skimmers, I did try fishing double dead maggot on the hook but this ended up with a longer wait for a bite from a roach. I guess the skimmers were not there, or did not want to feed. When the match ended I was a bit deflated that I had not been able to do a decent weight of silvers, but I had to be happy that I had a few fish and more bites than some anglers for sure.

I think I was virtually the last person to be weighed in my section, and my perch and roach went 10lb 11oz which I think beat 7 or 8 people in the 19 peg section. Alan had 49lb in the end all carp on the lead and bread, and that won him the mini section and put him 4th in the 19 pegs. There was a 70ln and two 50lb weights on match lake. I have no idea who won the match as I had to shoot off, but I guess Chris Davis won the silvers as I think he had 39lb of skimmers from peg 17 on spring.

An enjoyable if challenging day, probably cocked it up but I'm sure even I could catch a few skimmers if they wanted it.