Sunday, 31 July 2016

Float Only League - Avalon Fishery

A few weeks ago Mike Nicholls asked me if I could take his place in this match for him, I think it is round 4, and I said yes as I do like a challenge. Avalon is a fishery that needs a lot of work on to keep it match fishing friendly, keeping trees, bushes and reeds well trimmed amongst other things. Vic Bush and his team work hard to keep it in good fettle, but whatever they do there will always be little snags etc to make life that bit harder.

Bela Bakos was kind enough to give me a lift this morning, and we enjoyed a breakfast in Shipham cafe, which despite some poor comments recently it seemed OK to us. Glenn Bailey and Martyn Reyatt also joined us and they had no complaints either. It was a actually mesmerising to see Martyn devour a large brekkie in double quick time, Glenn was only halfway through is small breakfast! Apparently Glenn went for the small after the recent picture of him on Mike's website.....

At the venue in plenty of time, the venue had lots of colour in it and fish were blowing well, there was no wind, but what would it be like at 11am? I never really know where to draw on this venue, but when peg 5 stuck to my hand I was happy enough, it is on an island but there is a gap in it where there are some reeds. As Tony told me, it can be a tackle graveyard if you fish to near the gap. In my section today were peg 1 Joe McMahon, peg 3 Neil Mercer, peg 6 Dave Houghton and peg 7 Ken Rayner.

Setting up wasn't going to take too long today, a 4 swan pellet waggler with 0.18 to 16 PR38, a paste rig for 13m and a pellet rig for the same line (which never went under). Also set up a 4x12 rig for fishing in the right hand margin, sadly it was impossible for me to get close in so I was fishing in about 4 1/2 foot of water. When the match began I fed a half a pot of 6mm pellet at 13m and went over it on the paste, all the while feeding 8mm pellet by catty to the island. After about 5 mins the pole line started to have a mini fizz, and soon after a positive bite was hit, it was a 2lb skimmer. Nice start, but over the next 30 mins despite a few fizzes and a few indications (what looked like bites) I had not added anything else, The pellet rig was equally poor and I was soon reaching for the waggler. I had initially clipped this up to fish short of the island, hoping to get a few early silly fish, despite a couple of swirls this did not work and I was soon having to cast closer to the island. I finally had a bite and hooked a decent carp which made the old 13 foot carbonactive bend to the butt. Landed it after a decent fight, and it was maybe 8lb. At this stage Ken Rayner was probably best as he had a carp and 7 skimmers.

Two hours in and I was searching for carp number two, and out of no where I caught three carp in three cast on the pellet wag, not big fish but this kept up in the section with everyone bar Dave having about the same. I had another carp shortly after and the lake seemed to really shut up shop, certainly did in my section. The carp had left the island and the paste line wouldn't fizz, an early look on meat in the margin was fruitless. All I could do was go through the motions in the hope some carp would turn up again, but it was hard work in the sun. It seemed the section opposite us was also fishing hard and Dave Roper had enough and packed up. The 5th hour was a good one for me and I took four carp on the waggler and going into the last hour I thought this line would get better and I might be able to get a decent weight, Sadly the wheels fell off, I had more carp in the peg then ever before and yet I couldn't catch one, probably had 3 bites and hooked none. I saw that Ken had taken a few margin fish and I was concerned that my chance of winning the section was ebbing away. With 20 mins to go I put a big pot of 6mm on the 13m line, and gave the margin another go. The float finally went under here, but it was only a pound skimmer, and with 10 mins to go the 13m line fizzed big time! Straight out with the paste and I did get a bite and finally a carp was hooked, probably about 3 1/2lb and that was my last fish of the match.

I though I had 50lb (based on my clicker) the other lads were admitting to 30 to 40lb, but we would see. As I was packing away I reflected on my day, I lost one carp on the waggler all day, that just pulled out about a third out, but no fish snapped me and I lost no floats, result! I do think though that I was distracted by the island dwellers, and heavier feeding on the pole and paste may have added some extra fish. That said in this section there just didn't seem to be anyone catching. The scales weighed Joe 41lb, Neil 40lb, myself 50lb 10oz, Dave 5lb, and then Ken had 48lb which included 15lb of skimmers. Ken had caught 4 carp in his margin which was cut out nicely and shallower as a result. I was happy to have won the section and working hard paid off.

I believe the top weights were..

1st Paul Elmes 115lb
2nd Glenn Bailey 82lb
3rd Vic Bush 81lb
4th Bela Bakos 72lb
5th Tom Magnall 71lb

1st, 2nd and 4th all caught on paste.

It was nice drive home and the van was taking home some money for both driver and passenger. Very tired now as I slept poorly last night, so hoping to catch up on the zzzzzz's tonight! Next week I am fishing Windmill fishery on Saturday and Sunday. That'll be the last commercial match for a while I think, as I have the Division one national on the Trent coming up and a super league on Newbridge.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Windmill Fishery Open

After a foray on the rivers it is back to commercials for a few weeks now, not to worried as the Bristol Avon is now very low and clear and pike are causing pleasure anglers lots of problems. I took a bike ride up into Bath in the week and from below Windsor bridge to the gravels was stuffed with chublets, roach and perch which were all up on the surface in the hot weather.

Managed a little bit of prep on Saturday and picked up a couple of the new Preston Space Saver keepnets down at Thatchers, these are narrower and make using multiple keepnets much easier. Also only had pint and a  half of Thatchers Haze so was going to be feeling fine Sunday.

Sunday morning and the weather forecast now had some rain in it, but it was very muggy so t shirt and coat if required. A nice if tad pricey breakfast at the Beefeater with Geoff Francis, Bela and Mike, and then on to the fishery. Terry insists on the keepnets and landing nets being out on the bank dry as soon as you arrive and they are not allowed back in the stink bags until after the match. Looked like we had 15 people fishing today so all anglers would have a bit of room, I was told the near bank had been the better draw, but I went in and drew out peg 6 on the opposite side. I was told this was a flyer by the regulars and I could see why as it is towards the end of the first island opposite peg 22.

I set up a Tyson 1 for fishing across, but I was disappointed to find just a few inches against the island, mainly due to the lake having lost some water. I ended up fishing just over a metre away where I found about a foot of water, the rig had 0.16 to 16 PR36 for hard pellet. I set up 4x14 with 0.18 to 12 PR478 for fishing meat at 4 metres, and finally a 4x10 durafloat for fishing the margin to my left where I found 18 inches on a bit of slope, set this up to fish banded pellet and I would feed 8mm pellet here.  I fed past the near reeds but in line with them.

Had some good neighbours today, with Glenn Bailey on my right on peg 4, Bela Bakos was on my left on 8 and on 10 was Shaun Townsend, no mugs there then!

I began the match by potting some 6mm pellets across at two spots on 14.5m, also fed meat short. Going across there were already ducks in the vicinity, and these were to be a pain all day. I fed with a catty and tried to feed the two spots, after about 30 mins I had managed one small carp and lost a fouler. I had to give up trying to feed two spots as the ducks would be straight in when you fed where your pole wasn't. Quite frankly there is not much point me writing about the first 3 hours of the match as I just could not catch anywhere in the peg and I had 3 carp for 7lb plus a couple of tiny skimmers. and a crucian. Bela was only on two fish but Shaun and Glenn had about 20lb, still not great though.

I had tried to rest the far side and feed it whist fishing short, but the ducks loved that and boy were they clever, the little buggers recognise when you pick up your catapult food is on its way, wise quackers these! The only way to feed it properly was to do so when fishing with the pole over and the ducks would retreat a couple of metres. Persevering suddenly the peg came alive and carp were swirling for the feed but I was fouling too many. I pushed the float down to the knot on the hook length and fished 6" deep. This was better and I started to catch with some regularity, and had a couple of good catching spells and was doing well. With an hour to go I started putting carp in another net, the far bank was proving tricky again and liners were a problem and I was frustrated as I could see the carp were still there but sometimes right in the shallow water.

Shaun had know shot into a good lead and Bela was doing well on the paste short, I needed to catch some more fish quick. Dropping in on the meat line again I had a perch which didn't inspire me, but then a lift bite was hit and I had by far my best carp of the day at 8lb. Sadly I could not get another fish here, and went back across and got a couple of fish. The margin had showed no signs of life all day (other than greedy ducks) but at 4pm I dropped a 8mm pellet in and within 30 seconds the float dipped and then shot under and another decent fish was on and soon netted. I managed one more from the margin and that was the end of the match.

Glenn had struggled but still had a few fish, Bela had 80lb on his clicker and I had 81lb, but I had guessed at the last hour as I didn't bother to click it as I caught the fish, I had clicked my first net at 55lb.

Scales started weighing from the car park bank at about peg 27 were Geoff had 40lb, and on that bank Mark Summerhayes had 86lb and Martyn Reyatt had 82lb. Shaun on the end peg on my bank had 128lb and was going to win with that, Bela had 84lb and was bemoaning the 3lb carp that he missed the net with! My turn, my silvers went 2lb, my last hour net 30lb, and my clicked net went 66lb just under the 70lb limit, got that wrong then! My total weight was I think 98lb 10oz, and I was way off my estimate today. Glenn had 50lb and that meant I ended up second on the day and a nice little pick up.

Off to Avalon next week, fishing Tony Rixon's float only as a stand in for Mike Nicholls. Need to sort out some deeper rigs I think.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Pleasure Fishing The River Tone

A couple of years had passed since Brian Gay had taken me fishing on the river Tone in Taunton, that time we fished the wide sluggish town stretch and Brian said I should go back and fish the fast water. Finally two years later I got the chance to fish again with Brian but on the fast water, and we arranged to meet up at 8am by the river near Wickes.

Brian was going to take maggots and hemp, but I decided to take 3 pints of casters and 2 of hemp as I thought it might help avoid minnows. A couple of float rods and a lead rod were all I took today and a variety of line and hooks depending upon what Brian advised we should catch. I met up with Brian and he talked me through the catches that have come from the stretch and we walked along the river and Brian picked out a couple of pegs which he favoured. He kindly gave me the choice of peg so plumbed for the upstream of the two pegs which looked suited to a stick float, whereas Brian's peg would be better attacked with a waggler.

This bit of river is narrow, with my 13ft Normark Titan 2000 reaching the middle! It was also shallow about 3ft at its deepest in my swim, with polaroids on you could see the bottom everywhere. I will admit I was a little concerned that the river was to clear for a good bag fish. I took this picture as I was setting up, as you can see there are houses opposite, and also behind, but I had no trouble from bank walkers and guess the fish are used to it.

Above me there was a willow tree with branches in the water and I could see a few chub swimming right close to it. I did think of getting in just opposite it but the peg went from inches deep to 3ft and with lots of weed inside I thought it would be tricky, hopefully they'll come to the feed.

To begin with I set up just one stick float, a 3 no4 version which took 5 no6 a no8 and a little swivel to join the mainline to the hook length. To start I began heavy with 0.148 to 15 B711  using double caster on the hook. I fed a few hand fulls of hemp and caster to begin and then fed every run through. Not unexpectedly my first fish were small bleak and bites were slow, a try with maggot on the hook brought only minnows. After about 20 mins I hooked a better fish that looked like a pound chub, sadly I'll never know as a bloody pike took it and bit me off. That slowed things down and I struggled for bites, time to fine down, so on with 0.12 to 18 B611. This had an immediate effect and I had three dace in three chucks, unfortunately the third was taken by the pike, another hook required.

After a couple of hours I was really struggling with barely a pound in the net, I wandered down to see Brian who catching small fish but had seen a decent chub, not long after I got back to my peg he landed it. It was a good fish as you can see, over 3 1/2lb.

I lost another fish to the pike but was going nowhere fast, then all of a sudden I hooked a better fish but within 5 seconds I pulled out of it, things were not going to plan! I had to do something and decided to start throwing some hemp and caster way upstream to the tree above. I flicked the float upstream as far as I could and then tried to control it as it came back towards me. It looked awful as the flow was very fast swirling back, and very shallow and stead in the middle. I had to wind in as the float came back towards to me, it was so weird lol. Then I had a bite, a roach of about 6oz which I dropped off, doh. Looking closer now at the water I could see the odd chub, plus a hybrid kept swimming around all day up and down. After a dozen runs the float buried and chub on, not for long as it snapped the line trying to get under the tree. Talked about miffed...

Back on the 0.148 this time to a 17 B711 with double caster. I fed some good hand fulls upstream and went back down stream for a while, nothing doing here though other than a gudgeon and a bleak. Time to go back upstream and straight away a 12oz chub was landed. They don't have go though in a little river, and soon after I hooked a much better chub and pulled really hard to keep it out of the tree. After the initial mental surge the fish calmed down and came to the net easy. I spent the next hour here and had a couple more chub but also pulled out of one. Inevitably it slowed but the chub were still there, so I rested it but still fed it. Try downstream again was fruitless so I whacked a lot of bait in here to see if it would do anything. Not long after the water coloured up a bit, there must have been either kids or dogs in the river somewhere. It helped as I had another 3 chub fishing upstream. As the water cleared again I noticed some decent eels on the bottom, picking off the odd caster that was getting to them.

The upstream fishing was now not working, I couldn't any bites, I got up the bank to look and could see that there were a few fish still there, but they were in a spot I couldn't present the bait. I decided to set up a straight lead with the same line but to a 15 B711, I put 3 casters on flicked it up to where I thought the fish were. Within a minute I had a drop back and a 12oz chub was in the net. I then missed a bite before getting hooked up again with a 1 1/2lb fish. This went quiet so I dropped the lead by the base of the tree where I could see a decent chub now and again. Eventually I had a small rattle of a bite and when I struck I saw a flash and could see that I hooked the hybrid, alas it came off soon after. No more bites on the lead.

I was now feeling a bit tired, standing up my back was aching and the hit sun was taking its toll. Trying fishing the stick below me again I had bites all of a sudden from dace and small chublets. Once they petered out it all became tough, and I started feeding maggots and casters in close to watch the eels feeding and they didn't dissapoint.  I tried the stickfloat above me again and I hooked the biggest chub I had seen in the peg on and off all day, this one really pulled hard and as a result I pulled the hook out, bugger that was the last chance.

I saw the eels feeding again and so I dropped the lead in with 3 maggots on and just watched them on the bottom. I could see the eels very close to my bait, and as one seemed to be going for it the other big eel suddenly bit the other eels tail! It didn't just nip it, it clung on, and the other eel struggled to get loose, after about 10 to 15 seconds it got free. It was mad both eels were 12oz to 1lb and no way could one eat the other! Eventually I saw one of the eels take my bait and giving it a few seconds I struck and I had him. That was it time to pack up.

Brian came along with his camera to take a catch shot, and said the river had fished tough today by normal standards. We guessed I had 15lb to 20lb in this net, and it just goes to show the weight you can get on this river in the summer even when it is sunny and clear. Being able to see some of the fish in the peg is incredible, and being such a small river makes it a challenge that is real fun.

Brian had managed to add another decent chub and lots of small chublets, in fact he had lots of small fish in a good double figures bag.

Well that is my third visit to this delightful river, and it has not disappointed me once, I think I ought to try to get down there again winter time if possible.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

November 1997

No fishing this weekend as there was just too much going on at home, didn't even look at my gear!

Saturday 1st November and another away day to Woodlands View for their winter league. I drew peg 58 on Deans, and I think this was the day when I had Barry Gannon one side and Mark Lucas the other, both great anglers and early commercial venue anglers. I fished the pole at 14m all day trickling in maggots by catty and the odd pinkie. By fishing double white maggot on a 20 to 0.10 I picked up 6 carp and a roach, do not know what weight I had but I had 14 points out of 16 for the team.

Sunday and on the K&A canal for the ATWL, Avoncliffe to Limpley Stoke was pegged and I found myself seven pegs above Limpley road bridge. It didn't look fishy and there were no signs of fish and nobody had much good to say about this area. I can some this match up very easily, just one bite all day long for a 3 1/2oz skimmer. I caught that on chopped worm tight to the far bank. I beat the chaps either side of me and nobody else, but the team came third on the day and remained in third place overall.

I fished a Bathampton open on Saturday 8th November, it was fished on the Kelston stretch and most people wanted to draw on the straight to fish for bream. I drew 2 pegs above the railway bridge and fished a waggler with maggot for just under 5lb and no good. The river coloured up during the match and I stopped catching (should have chucked the feeder) and the pegs at the bottom of the straight bagged up on bream. The following day it was the Poppy match and I drew one below the cow drink on Chequers Straight an area good for bream. I fished the feeder for 3 1/2 hours and caught a couple of bits, nobody was catching them it transpired except a couple of pegs. To stave off the boredom I fished a 6m whip and loosefed maggot and had a bite a chuck to the end of the match from bits for 4lb 14oz.

On the Wednesday I had another round of the midweek series, this match was on the river at Newbridge and I drew the Norfolk Reeds peg 61. I fished a waggler 11 feet deep deep with a 22 to 0,09. It was a tough day just getting odd bites from pups and roach, I lost a big chub which swam behind me in the reeds with the rod bent double and waggler wound to the top ring. Of course that fish would cost me, and I came 5th and out of the money. However, I was now up to 2nd in the league and at least in with a chance of doing well with two rounds left to go. I was up at Newbridge again on the Sunday in the next ATWL round, another long walk being on 47A. Once again I fished my favoured waggler and maggot as the river was clear. I caught 3lb 3oz in the first 2 hours on this and then never had another bite on anything for the rest of the match. 11 points and team 3rd again and still 3rd overall. Remember I was fishing for Thatchers back then, and we were struggling to beat Bathampton and my old team which was the Avon Angling boys with the likes of Tony Rixon, Pete Sivell, Mike Nicholls, Glenn Bailey, Andy Floyd, Mark Jefferies, Bob Sheppard and Kev Boltz to name a few I recall. Very hard to beat top river anglers who know the pegs well.

Hope you all had a good weekend and a few fish in the net, I'm looking forward to fishing again next Sunday, all being well I'll be spending a few hours on a fast bit of water with a good mate of mine.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Superleague Round 2 Bristol Avon Swineford to Frys

I'm never sure these days how the river will fish, you look at it, and if you see colour and pace you think well that's going to be brilliant! However, over the years I've lost count of the number of times the river fishes differently to how I think it will...

Saturday and I'm walking the river at Jack Whites to put 8 pegs in for F section. The river has lost the heavy colour and pace it had last week, but I look it and think that's going to be good. Pegging done I go back home to make a few rigs and mix my groundbait, I've been using Sonubaits River, Lake and bream as my mix plus a little brown crumb for a while and it seems to be doing OK.

Sunday morning up and feeling good, get to the rugby club for a breakfast (which is much improved) and had a good catch up with the team before Lee Trivett was asked to do the team draw. I'm not sure if Lee had the last peg in the hat, but what he came back with was pretty good and no complaints. I was as ever hoping to be at Swineford as it always throws up some weights, but it was not to be this time as I was at the Crane, I still maintain the river is not at its best until August onwards, but it is the same for everyone so just got to work it out. I was actually on the cattle grid peg on the Crane, which was the end peg of the Crane, so had to be a big help today, but I would much prefer to draw this peg in the autumn when the bigger roach are on the feed. Still it was the shortest walk today and that was a nice bonus lol! This peg has no real features, and the flow is better the further across you go.

Setting up I was thinking that a bag of small fish was going to win this section, with bream being an outside chance as I doubted anglers would go for them in this section. I set up twp pole rigs for 13m a 1.5g PB silvers and a 4g both with 20 to 0.10, I was into the flow here at this length. I didn't set up lighter rigs for this as I felt bleak would be a problem. A 4m to hand rig for bleak was set up, a crowquill and a gbait feeder with 13 B711 to 0.16.

I had some good anglers in my section today, Clive Roberts and Ian Sheppard were above me to mention just two, so I had to have a good match to do well. When the all in was called I cast out 8 big feeders of bait to the far bank, then threw in 12 balls of gbait containing hemp and caster at 13m. I picked up the 1.5g rig put 1 bronze maggot on the hook and shipped out. The first few runs through were biteless but then I had a small dace, and then a tiny roach and then a bleak on the drop. Very soon the bleak were holding the float up and I was pushing the olivette down the line near to the hook. After an hour I might have had 1lb 8oz at best, but the bleak were pissing me off and I went out with the 4g rig. This changed things and bites were positive and I was catching little dace and roach much faster, but then a double figure pike turned up and after a few "sighters" he hit the target and my rig ended up in the tree minus a hook length and a few shot.

I went out on the 1.5 rig and had a few more little uns but the pike had unsettled the fish, time to rest it and chuck the feeder. Twenty minutes on the feeder was poor with just a 2oz chublet, and I never tried it again. Back on the pole and I was loose feeding hemp at 13m (nothing else as bleak would have it) and the rest seemed to have done some good. I had a good run of fish on maggot right over the gbait, after a while they went and then I had to go right down the peg to get bites. I was also fishing a few inches off bottom, but bites would come on the drop from the little dace. It was important today to drop the rig in and let it get to the bottom as soon as possible to avoid tiny bleak and dace. I didn't realise at the time but Darren Gillman walked up and took a snap shot of me doing this.

During the rest of the match I plugged away on the pole, I did feed maggot at 6m and tried fishing here for bleak and dace shallow / perch deep, but the fish wouldn't settle this close in and it was not worth fishing. I tried the crowquill a few times but the wind was too strong upstream to make it work. I did catch a few fish on hemp today but in all honesty they were the same size as those I caught on maggot, but in the last 30 minutes the fish would only take hemp and endured a frustrating time missing bites from dace and caught a couple of small roach late on maggot again.

Darren was behind me for the last 10 mins of the match and he reckoned 7lb was top weight in my section, so I pulled my net out to have a look and we both reckoned I had 10lb+
Being the end peg I was last to be weighed in, and when the scales got near Steve Nadin was top with 7lb 7oz. Clive Roberts had 6lb 13oz above me, and I plonked 11lb 13oz to win the section and take the £70 prize that goes with it. I think today my local knowledge and own thoughts on how my section would fish helped tremendously, sticking to maggot on the hook and catching everything, but trying to avoid pesky bleak, to put a bag of small fish together worked, I did think there would be more double figure weights in my section, but it seems as usual the better roach won't feed on our baits until another month or so.

Top three today were

1st Ian Pauley (Thatchers) 19lb  bits and a couple of skimmer on whip on peg 6 at Swineford
2nd Mark Harper (Thatchers) 18lb roach dace and chub on pole on peg 15 at Swineford
3rd Nicky Johns 17lb chub and bits first field Swineford.

Diawa Gordon League won the day with 50 points, Thatchers 49  and Garbolino BMV were 3rd with 48, so it was tight at the top today!

Another nice day on the river, lots of bites, very small fish, but it is great seeing the moving float going under. Hopefully I am saving my good draws up at Swineford for the winter leagues, lol!