Sunday, 24 April 2016


I fished this league last year and had a torrid time drawing consistently on poor pegs on Lodge Lake, surely if I fished it again the law of averages would mean I'd draw on Carey or Campbell? Had to travel on my own today due to the fact it is impossible to get both Glenn and my gear in either of our estate cars (its the ready made rods and large stink bags that do it). A nice run down and I was parked by Tony Rixon and Chris Fox, Tony suggested not bothering with a trolley as I'd be on the car park bank of Lodge, grrrr!  My first job at the fishery was to find Viaduct expert Martin Preston. Martin is a Yeovil FC fan, and he bet me a tenner at the start of the season that his lot would finish higher than my Bristol Rovers, it was nice to start the day a tenner up! Martin is a school teacher, but obviously he needs to study the football form a bit more. Thanks for taking the picture Mark Poppleton, I'd been hoping to get this on my blog for a long time.

My bright start to the day and smile on my face was soon wiped off when I drew peg 55 on the car park bank on Lodge, Glenn drew just before me and pulled 96 on Carey, he never even spoke to me as he said after he didn't know what to say. Well I was on a poor peg again, not a good draw, and the day before a match was fished on Lodge and it was hard, with Ben Haag not weighing off my peg. All that said I was determined to do the best I could off the peg and started thinking about a plan of attack, I decided to try to catch a decent weight of silvers hoping for the odd carp, and some carp late on. My section ran from peg 53 in the corner where Terry Leahy was, to peg 62. On peg 56 was Steve Seagar who had a face like thunder, and in peg 57 was young Lewis Walker. My view today...

Setting up today was going to be simple, a 4x12 PB4 with 18 PR36 to 0.128 exceed for trying to catch silvers, a 0.2 Corby with 0.16 to 16 PR36 for fishing meat on the deck in the deep water. A slapping rig and a waggler for banded pellet deep was it. No lead rod for me today.

On the all in I fed about 20 pieces of meat at 11m down to my right at the bottom of the shelf, then shipped out the silvers rig to 14m with a 6mm banded pellet and fed lightly with 4mm pellet with a catty. After about 10 mins I had a bite, it was a carp and it felt like a decent fish, my light elastic was going to make landing the fish hard and most it was on the floor out of the pulla bung. I did manage to land the carp, a fish probably of 9lb and a good start. The rest of the first hour though was poor and I only had 2 tiny skimmers and one of maybe 1lb. Terry on my left had already had a few carp on the waggler to the end bank but for the rest of my section it was a struggle.

Going into the second hour I tried the waggler where I had been pinging out a few 6mm pellets, an hour on this produced 2 good skimmers and one spooked carp. Steve next to me had his first fish after 2 hours, and Lewis only had a couple of skimmers, to say it was tough was an under statement.

I tried the meat line at 11m but there was no early signs, I chopped and changed between long pole and waggler but only added a couple of small skimmers, With about 2 1/2 hours to go I went down to the 11m line again and this time the float buried within seconds, I was attached to my second carp of the day. It was another nice common of about 8lb, safely landed I fed a few cubes of meat and dropped the rig in again. Almost a repeat performance and another common was landed. My third drop in also resulted in a carp and this was also landed. Of course just as I had visions of emptying it that was it, time to look elsewhere. The waggler line was no good but there were carp near the surface, I couldn't seem in the ripple but I got liners and spooked them.

With meat seemingly working I fed a new line with some meat at 14m in front, I had been feeding by hand at 5m but I never had a touch here. I took another carp from 11m and missed a bite, but had to rest it again, and for a long period it was dead. The long meat line produce a perch, 3lb bream and a 10lb carp, this was over about an hour when I was looking between here and the 11m line. With 40 mins to go I had another common on the 11m line, and this one had to be 15lb. With 6 decent fish in the net I decided to but another keepnet in, what a tool, that was that I never had another fish but I did miss a couple of bites. I wasn't sure how I had done in the section, but was sure I had been beat by a few.

Terry had 10 carp on the wag (he lost 11) for 71lb, I weighed 11lb of silvers and my 6 carp went 55lb and had 66lb 7oz, 1 carp short of Terry. Steve struggled for 33lb and last in section, then Lewis weighed 70lb which was carp caught in close in the last two hours. Andy Neal had 66lb 1oz on 59 and the lad on 60 had 38lb, finally a welsh lad on 62 won the section with 75lb, this was 15lb of silvers and 6 big carp from his margin late. I ended up 4th in section which is not great, but I do feel I gave it a good go today and didn't lose any carp on the pole, just wish I'd hit one bite in the last 40 mins.

The match was won by Tony Rixon off peg 116 with 225lb, so I imagine his blog will involved a bit more action that mine has today. I am positive that on the next match I will draw a flyer!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

October 1997

I didn't get the chance to wet a line this weekend as Saturday was spent at Bristol Rovers in the hospitality suite, with good friends and my eldest daughter Lucy. We had a really good time and although the game was a bit tense at times the result was great. Here's a pic of Podge, Benz and Lucy with man of the match Rory Gaffney. My wife came along too and very kindly drove meaning I could enjoy a drop of cider.

I couldn't wet a line Sunday (no it wasn't due to a hangover I was fine) as I was driving Lucy back to Plymouth for her last term at Uni. I am therefore getting my fix today by reading all the other blogs. Anyway, for those interested here's some more extracts from my diary.

First up Saturday 4th October was the Woodlands View winter league, where I drew peg 19 on Deans and endured a tortuous day catching only 5lb 10oz on maggots. I've not recorded how bad that was on the day but I did record that chopped worm worked best on the day as the lakes fished terrible. The following day it was back to the Bristol Avon on the ATWL where I hoped for a better draw. Sadly I didn't get my wish and a peg in the middle of the long ashtip was not good (back then this field was always a struggle). The river was low and clear and had struggle written all over it, and I set my stall out to catch what ever I could on the float. I loose fed caster and hemp on the pole and 3/4 of the waay over. The pole line was poor and nearly all my fish (roach, and little perch) came to the far line swapping between a waggler and crowquill. Red maggot or caster on the hook was best, and my weight was 1oz more than the previous day at Woodlands, today though it was worth 12 out of 13 points and the team won the day.

The following weekend I fished on the Sunday in the Commercial House at Frys. The river had now become coloured and very few pegs were float fishable, I was drawn on peg 2 at Frys and it was an out and feeder job. I fished two lines, one down the middle and the other just a third out. The close line yielded a skimmer, down the middle I had 2 chub but lost another. I managed a similar weight to last week with 5lb 12oz for 5 points, as team we won the day so going well in both leagues. I had a match on the Wednesday at Newbridge, it was the first of a league of Wednesday matches that I had entered. I found myself behind the pumphouse on peg 22 where the river was looking nice, I set up a 1/2 gram pole float for 10 metres out using 20 to 0.09, also a waggler. I had a nice start on the pole feeding maggots and hemp and caught roach steadily, but after 2 hours they shut up shop. The waggler was OK but I got bleaked out. I finished with 10lb 15oz and that was 2nd on the day so a great start to the league.

Saturday 18th and back at Woodlands for the W/L and I was on 34 Back Deans, an end peg. I fished waggler and maggot for most of the match up to a little tree, 7 carp for 21lb was good enough for 2nd in section. Following day and back on the river on the ATWL at Newbridge (back then it didn't seem too much work to fish river one day commy next, it does now!). I was up in the little field on peg 9 and started on a 4AAA waggler catching roach until I got bleaked out, onto the pole to catch roach until I got bleaked out! I spent the last 45 minutes fishing 5m to hand for bleak. I had 9lb 9oz for 2nd in the section, if I recall being beaten from the peg below by Adam Westmacott. Team slipped to 4th on the day.

I had another poor Commercial House match on the 26th October, I drew peg 14 at Swineford and blanked, never had a bite. Only pegs with cover / noted chub pegs caught fish. The last match for me in October 1997 was on the K&A Canal at Limpley Stoke, on the Wednesday league. I drew down the bottom of the straight end peg and was happy with that, Kev Dicks warned me that the day before when he pegged a mass of leaves was a few pegs below. As I set up the leaves were to my left, but no sooner did the match start and the leaves were in and never left, I wish I had a camera back then as it was a joke, I spent more time out of the water than in. To make things worse Des Shipp was on my right and the leaves stopped before him as the wind was holding them back, Des won the match. I managed 5 bites, 5 fish for 5 1/2ozs, a day I wish I could forget.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Windmill fishery open

Wasn't sure where to fish this weekend, and was busy as ever. I was toying with going to Hill View but was talked out of it, and instead took on the local venue Windmill fishery. It wasn't going to be great with the forecast of 20 mph wind, so I made sure I had a 10ft tip rod with me.

Woke up Sunday and the sun was shining, but it was chilly out and the breeze was already making me think about adding extra layers. I took a breakfast at the Beefeater which I cannot complain about, but at £8.99 is top heavy on the price. Mike Nicholls, Bela and a young lad called Joe had already finished their breakfast but I had their company for 10 mins. At the fishery the wind wasn't too bad but a draw on the near bank would mean the wind would be mostly off your back. There were two golden pegs drawn out (worth over £100) these were 10 and 24, I didn't draw them and instead got peg 22. This is a nice looking peg with an island and the end of it just to your right, see pic..

Next the island it is very shallow, and I fished at 14.5m which is a couple of metres short of the island where it was just 2 feet deep. As you can see from the pic fishing the pole would be nice, and I picked two spots with the same depth. I set up a 4x12 PB Carp 2 with 0.15 to 18 PR36 for banded pellet. I set up a 0.4g pencil float for fishing about 4m left and right where I would feed casters one side, and maggot and pellet the other. Just before the start I set up a straight lead with 0.18 to 16 PR38.

The wind had already decided to pick up and I was thinking the pole could be tough, I fed some 4mm pellet via a cad pot on my two 14,5m lines and dropped the rig in with a 6mm pellet in the band. After 45 mins all I had was a couple of missed bites which could have been liners, and the wind was causing my rig to blow through so I had to give it up. A quick look on the short pole lines with double maggot and I had two 4oz carp, a couple of rudd and a carp of 12oz. Both lines then went stone dead and so I picked up the lead rod and put a Sonubaits Bandum in the band. I under armed the lead onto one of my 14.5m lines, and in less than 5 mins the rod bent round with a carp heading off along the island. It was no match for the gear I was using though and after a short fight a 5lb common popped up and into the net.  Another chuck on the same line produced nothing at all, so off to the other fed line towards the end of the island. I was feeding my inside lines when the rod nearly went in!  Another spirited fight and this time a 4lb mirror carp was safely netted.

At this point it becomes very difficult to write anything more! The wind got worse, even the tip rod was being buffeted around, feeding my short lines by hand was more hit and miss as the gusts made it hard to throw it accurately. I never had another carp all match, the lead rod never went round again, well it did once but it was a male mallard which I played from 10 metres above me in the sky all the way to the bank. The lad next to me grabbed Donald and we removed the hook from his now flaccid looking tongue. He flew off and seemed no worse for his experience.

All I could see happening was people at either end of the lake getting a few carp, whilst those around me caught none. I tried a method feeder with gbait in to see if I could stimulate some activity, and I did get a few liners but never a bite. In the end I packed up with 30 mins to go as I couldn't get a bite for love nor money. In fact the guys around me had not had a carp, including Dave Wilmott on Golden peg 24, he ended with 1 roach, this after winning the last match here.

I left before the end so did not get the results, but Mike Nicholls will of course have all the info on his blog. Right time to settle down and watch the golf with a cup of tea.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Viaduct Fishery Open

Midweek Glenn Bailey suggested we fish an open at Viaduct, I was already in as a reserve for Landsend on match lake but decided to keep Glenn company and go to Viaduct as it had been fishing well. That meant doing some more prep, and I really fancied having a crack at the silvers which had been coming out in good numbers. I got some info from Scott Russell who seems to win the silvers every time he turns up and then spent 5 hours over a couple of days making rigs and tying hair rigs and hook lengths.

Glenn and myself had plenty of time to discuss tactics as we saw the Premier League darts in Cardiff on Thursday, we went with my eldest daughter Lucy, Podge and Benz. A good night out. Saturday we  all watched the Gas win 3 nil and the end of season promotion chase is getting tense.

Glenn got us to Viaduct in good time, but due to a bit of chatting we were nearly at the back of the draw queue. The venue had fished well yesterday with Scott catching 85lb of silvers from peg 127, and 14 ton weights. I wasn't very happy when I drew peg 130 on Campbell, this area hasn't been great of late and the carp have been at the other end. However, when sat on my peg getting everything sorted Steve Long said some skimmers had been caught on 129 a couple of weeks ago and he reckoned 30lb was possible of most pegs if fished for all match. My mind was made up now, all out for silvers, no rods, no reels and just the one rig a 4x12 discontinued Preston float, carbon stem and a 1.5mm hollow bristle. This had a 0.128 exceed to a 18 B911 with a bait band on a hair.

I was set up in plenty of time as you can imagine, lol. Took this picture before the start when there wasn't much wind, the angler opposite was fellow blogger Dominic Sullivan.

To start the match I shipped out to 14m with a 6mm hard pellet and dropped the rig in, and I fed 4mm pellets with a catapult.  As ever the wind had picked up before the start and it was an effort to get the pellets out to that distance, I wanted to feed a short line by hand but I could not get 4mm out so opted to throw 6mm pellet to about 5m. It was a bit of a slow start for me with just a couple of missed bites and a couple of small fish lost before a 6oz skimmer got me started, After 20 mins I had another skimmer but it was not right, I decided to try a 4mm pellet in the band. This had a positive effect and bites became more frequent with skimmers up to a 1lb and a couple of tench coming in the next 40 minutes. I was glad I hadn't fished for carp as Chris Davis on 132 was emptying his peg, and Roland Lucas on 110 was also catching carp.

Going into the second hour the fishing was good, my only issues were trying to feed the bait in the right area due to the wind, it was in my face but veering off left and right, and trying to see the float. However, I was catching well and it really was like shelling peas at times, though I did get disrupted by a 5lb carp that stretched my black no8 elastic a long way. After netting it I had to shorten the elastic! I found that bites were most positive when the bait was taken on the drop, bites when the bait was on the deck were also hit but I missed more of them. I'd also gone back up to a 6mm in the band and it made no difference to catch rate but I did get the odd 2lb skimmer so stuck with it.

The third hour also went well, but I did hook more carp, landing another and losing a couple. The short line was tried but was unresponsive, not a bite, so I had to stay long. I had been using my clicker to keep tabs on my silvers (first time I've done that) and after 3 1/2 hours I was up to 44lb on it, my silvers had now really gone off the boil and so I decided to put another net in to see what I could get in the next 2 1/2 hours, plus 50lb is the limit on silvers in one net.

I really was struggling now and was hooking more carp, the short line was not working, other than a carp, so I decided to start feeding 4mm pellet on another short line to my left as the wind was not as bad as earlier. I got the odd skimmer out of the blue and another tench long but I was also another 2 hook lengths down. Coming in close on the 4mm fed line the float was static, but just as I was about to go back long I had a 1lb skimmer. In the last hour this was the main line I fished, and although it was slow I had some better skimmers and two more tench, plus a couple of carp. I did try long again but that was carp city, and the anglers either side were catching carp on the pole too after having not much before.

When the all out was called I had 20lb on my clicker for the second net, so 64lb was clicked, but I really wasn't sure I could have that much and wondered if I had over estimated, we would see. Steve Long and Steve Tucker arrived at 132 to weigh in, Chris Davis did well and had 201lb, the lad to my right Craig Cox had 135lb, my turn next and silvers went 65lb 4oz which I was very happy with (also happy to have clicked it so close lol).  My accidental carp went 38lb so I had 103lb 4oz in total.

The match was won by venue expert Phil Cardwell who had a fantastic 271lb from Carey peg 97,

2nd Chris Davis 201lb peg 132
3rd Roland Lucas 194lb peg 110
4th Ian Williets 177lb peg 81

Silvers winner was me (yay) and Mark Wynne was 2nd with 41lb from peg 128 and Dom Sullivan was 3rd with 21lb from peg 111. Glenn just missed out on the silver money coming 4th with 16lb 8oz.

In total there were 21 ton plus weights ( I was the 21st weight!) and this venue continues to impress. What a lovely day out.