Sunday, 28 August 2016

Float Only League Viaduct Fishery

Spent a few days with the family in Dublin this week, and we had a great time visiting some famous places and bars, the Guinness was good but bloody expensive. I enjoyed my visit to the Jameson whiskey distillery and got a certificate. I had a txt from Tony Rixon asking if I'd like to fish this match as a reserve, so that was Sunday sorted then. I did not get back home till late Friday night so just a few hours Sat to sort my gear and then out on the night for a stag do, great prep then lol!

Luckily for me the Stag do was a bit of lightweight affair and I was in bed by midnight and so waking up Sunday morning I was feeling fine. Forecast for the day was for a few showers and so I packed the bib n brace and coat but didn't feel the need for the brolly. Steady journey down though I did go through a nasty rain shower, and I arrived with plenty of time to spare. The match was pegged on Carey and Campbell, and I hoped to draw a peg on Campbell today and if possible fish for the silvers, I managed to pull peg 125 on Campbell. This peg had won the match the day before, so some carp in the area then, and now what to so about the silvers, hmmm.

Got to my peg and for company I had Mat Toomes on 123, Glen Calvert 124, Dave Roper 126, Steve Skelton 127 and on the spit was Craig Edmunds, Fishing for second in the section then as Trig just keeps on bagging on carp! I set up a 4x12 rig with 0.14 to 18 PR36 to fish for silvers at 5m with hard 6mm pellet. A depth rig for 14m and shallow rig for fishing 8mm pellet, lastly a rig for the margin over gbait but I never had a thing on this...

I was already for the start and had just put my keepnets before the all in when I heard a hell of a splash, Mat Toomes on peg 123 had fallen in the lake and taken his box with him. As myself and Glen pulled his box and helped him out of the lake we heard the all in shouted, though I'm sure I might of heard "FALL IN". I left Mat to lick his wounds and sort himself out, he was soaked from head to foot, had lost his glasses and his iphone. He managed a smilethough for the camera.

I started the match fishing a 6mm pellet in the band, I fed a dozen of the same pellets and the float flew under, carp, bugger. Hook length snapped on the first drop in, put another on, went in again, fed 12 pellets again, hooked a carp again!!!  This one was fouled and I pulled out of it so no loss of hook. For the next 30 mins I tried to catch at 5m but I had nothing, not a fish, so I continued to feed here but went out to 14m where I had been feeding 8mm pellets by catty. Going in on the depth rig I had a couple of liners and lost a fouler but just before the hour mark I had my first fish, a carp about 8lb. The wind was awkward and I felt the carp were up in the water, so I tried my shallow rig but had nothing on this after 20 mins of trying. Back in at 5m and just a 4oz skimmer for my efforts and things were not going well. That said not much was being caught around me, other than Trig. Glen next to me had some small skimmers and despite getting bashed up by the odd carp stuck with the silvers,

Going long on the depth rig yeilded a 2lb skimmer but a number of liners and a fouler, and the carp were off bottom for sure. I tried slapping and that was no good at all, I looked across to Dan White on 118 who was getting the odd fish shallow, he was swing the rig out past the pole, so I changed my rig to a swinger and gave that a go. Over the next couple of hours I did manage about 6 carp shallow, so slow but better than others around me (except Trig). Then from nowhere a heavy shower appeared, but it wasn't a shower, it was a bloody monsoon, and heavy rain fell an hour or more. This killed my shallow line stone dead, and I couldn't get bites anywhere, and I was just like Mat Toomes soaked head to foot.

In the last 90 mins I started to get skimmers and odd carp on my 5m line and enjoyed a nice steady run of fish to the end of the match. My only hope of coin was that Trig would frame and I would get the section by default. Well the first part was nailed on as Trig won the match with 230lb, the rest of my section as it turned out struggled and didn't break the ton, so my 18lb of silvers and 103lb of carp did get me 2nd in the section and a default pick up.

Steve Tucker ran Trig close and ended with 223lb from peg 132 in the corner, and on the other side of the spit Tony Rixon got 3rd with 196lb. The silvers was won by Paul Faires on peg 111 with 34lb, he just beat Glen Calver who had 32lb.

The league was won by, you've guessed it Trig, more details on Tony's blog.

Well all the gear is soaked, my car is soaked, but I am still not quite as wet as Matty who went in the lake after the match and managed to retrieve his glasses and his phone, Fair play to him!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Division One National River Trent

It has been many years since I last fished a National, and you have to be prepared for these events in many ways. Lots of travelling, lots of money for bait, beer, food, beer, pools and beer. Also you have to be prepared for not really knowing where you are going, and more often than not drawing crap pegs. You might say why bother, well there is always the chance that the luck might go your way and you end up with a medal. Thatchers had elected not to practise for the event (having had some experience of fishing the Trent before, I had not personally fished the tidal stretch before so was relying on lots of the lads advice.

I drove up to our hotel in Bingham on Friday, met up with the rest of the lads, Nathaniel Johnson had already had a mare after filling is car with diesel it promptly broke down, the pump was contaminated with water. Mark Harper, who was on the M5 had to get off and go to Trowbridge to pick Nat up. Good start! Once all together we had a great Chinese meal in the hotel and drank and told stories until the early hours. I was that full (and we ate very late) that I really didn't feel like breakfast at 7am, but I had a bit to keep me going. John Harvey fishing his last match for us went off early to do the draw, lucky we didn't ask Gary O'Shea to do it as he was missing and not answering his phone, eventually we established what room he was in and woke him from his deep sleep!

At Newark showground we met up and got our pegs, I was in B section which was a split section with 22 pegs at Holme Marsh and 23 pegs below Collingham weir. A few potential match winning pegs in this section, but sadly the team draw didn't put me on one of them and I was on B40.

It took me about  15 minutes to drive to my section, where I found after a very long track a little car park with other anglers in, phew got the right place! The peg nearest the car park was B36, so not that long a walk, Andy Britt fishing for Bathampton was on B35. The pegging was well spaced out and I was impressed with that. As I walked down to my peg I noticed a face of a champion, it was twice Fishomania champ Mat Hall. Mat lives in Nottingham and therefor had a good idea of how to fish the Trent, he was very friendly and chatted both before and after the match, top bloke in my opinion.

I took a long hard look at my peg when I got there, I knew the river was going to rise at some stage as the tide came in but wasn't sure how high. Looking at bank I could see a tide line so set up behind that and kept my eye on things.  If you look in the picture where my rod holdall is eventually the river came up to nearly touching it.
As you can see it was fairly featureless, and the tiny tree opposite was out of reach for me, I would have needed a very powerful rod, big pit reel to chuck all the way across there, but I could also see it looked shallow and not worth fishing. Time to think about what to set up, the wind was already bad and was forecast to be horrendous, it was blowing downstream and into my bank meaning tough for float fishing, and forget the pole as that would be smashed. I set up a 5AAA waggler to fish about 16m to 20m out, I put 6 no6, 2 no8 and 1 no10 down the line, and used delicate 0.08 to a 22. My feeder set up was going to be an open ender, and I guessed that a 45g weight would hold. However, when I cast out a 1oz lead it never held bottom for a second, so on went a 60g version. I fished 0.17 hook length to 13B711, very strong gear, but this is a powerful river and hooking any big fish you need to give yourself the best chance of landing them. This was all I set up, minimalistic yes, but I felt setting an array of options would do me no good.

I had a chat with the anglers either side, they were not local so couldn't offer any advice, the section stewards were club members and said I was off the bream, odd barbel were around but risky fishing for them, try and catch roach was their advice.

11 o'clock and the match started, I was going to give the feeder an hour and hope for a bonus and at least get some bait out there. First chuck on the tip and I set the line clip in place, put the rod in the rest and fed some maggot and hemp on the wag line, before I could put the catapult down the tip dropped back. Picking the rod up I felt the heavy weight of the feeder but nothing else. Three red maggots were sucked out, small fish. Next cast out and an almost instant bite, it turned out to be a bloody great big bleak lol. Another missed bite next cast and I changed to 3 casters on the hook and this produced a dace. I was amazed how these fish gave such good drop backs, but the 60g feeder was just about holding in the flow and that was helping. An 8oz roach was nice fish to catch on the casters, but after a couple more missed bites and I tried a piece of worm and this slowed things up until a 4oz perch grabbed it. Thirty minutes in and my neighbours hadn't had a bite, so either I was on a few fish or my gbait approach was better.

Bites stopped for me on the tip and it wasn't due to a big fish sadly, so after 45 minutes I decided to give the waggler a go. My peg was deep at about 11 feet, and I had to cast quite a way down stream to try to get some control of the waggler. My first foray on this only gave me a minuscule perch and a 2oz roach, but it did give me hope that I could gain some reasonable presentation. Back on the feeder and just a dace and perch in 30 minutes. Looking upstream I saw my neighbour and Mat Hall above him both swing in roach, they were fishing with long rods and top and bottom floats, and they were only fishing 7 foot deep. (Talking to them after they had fished closer in than me but said they had a flat bottom, the lad below me had about 8 feet at most, and it seemed my peg was much deeper for some reason). I picked up the waggler and tried it again, but the river had risen a fair amount and I had to move my box back, I did that 3 times during the match. The wind getting worse but I was still able to fish the wag OK, I did catch a few roach and a dace and a 4oz a piece they were welcomed, but I went 20 minutes without a bite and tried the feeder again. The wind was now blowing hard enough on the line to dislodge the feeder, so I had to add extra lead to hold, it was getting tricky to cast a fully loaded feeder with 75g of lead on it to the middle of the river, and now bites were hard to spot.

The last 90 minutes the wind was simply absurd, waves on the water, at times I could barely get my loose feed far enough out, everything was difficult to do, even standing up! The feeder, I decided, was now a waste of time as I couldn't see a bite from these small fish, had I been confident of big fish I would have stuck it out. The waggler it was, and much as earlier I could run the float through 20 times without a bite then get one, trouble was even with the line sunk a bow would form making it hard to hit the bite. By changing depths and distance from the bank I took the odd fish including a beautiful roach that was close to a pound.  When the match was over I was happy enough with what I had caught, and can also say that I was happy it was over as the wind had finished me off.

The scales had to come from peg 23 which was the flyer next to the weir, he had 11 kilos, 10 pegs further on a local angler had a brilliant 12 kilo of roach on a stick float whilst just below him anglers struggled including Any Britt who had just over a kilo. Matt Hall had 70 small roach for 4 kilos, then the lad above me had 1 kilo+, my turn and it was recorded as 2 kilo 750g. The lad below me had 1 kilo 500g and below him all had not much I think.

I went back to the results to grab something to eat, I bumped into a number of local anglers but couldn't find my team mates, then Andy Ottaway appeared to tell me he had a rough day with just a 1oz roach, but he had over 20 points as his section was terrible with about 16 blanks. Big Shaun Bryan was fishing for Diawa Gordon League and he drew in my section but up at Holme Marsh, he drew a good peg! Shaun had 20 bream for 30 kilos and came 2nd beaten by Rob Perkins a few pegs away who had 40 kilo, well done Shaun!

Other than Lee Trivett the rest of the team went straight home, which tells you we did no good. We came 25 out of 45 with a total of 226 points, a couple of places behind Bathampton who had 232 points. In the end my weight earned me 30 points so I was more than happy with that. I enjoyed the experience immensely, battled the elements, and caught a few pristine roach on a lovely river.

Barnsley Blacks won the on the day with a huge 380 points, so well done to them.

I got back home at 8:45pm was very tired and happy I wasn't fishing on Sunday. The Thatchers team we did get together for Sunday for the last round of the super league at Newbridge have managed to win the league, so some success this weekend. An early night again tonight as still knackered, lol!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Weekend at Windmill

I was looking forward to having a weekend of fishing and staying local by fishing Windmill Fishery. The whole site was being ued for the South Glos show, and to coincide with they were running a silvers match Saturday and Carp Sunday, with £300 top prize each day and with £100 for 8th it was worth a good go. I spent a lot of prep in the week and had everything sorted with plenty of rigs, hooks tied, new elastics etc.

Arrived at the venue Sat at 7:30 am, had to buy a couple of rolls from one of the wagons on site for breakfast and after Terry read out the rules for all to hear it was time to draw. I drew peg 32 which is in the corner and is the deep part of the lake, not where I wanted to be at all. However, others were telling me it would be good as I would have the wind off my back and would be able to feed easily, hmmm. As this was a silvers match I wanted to have a number of options to try to keep fishing coming for the full 6 hours. Two rigs for fishing casters left and right on a top set, where it was 4 feet deep (one rig deep, one shallow), two 0.5gm PB inter 4 for fishing top set plus two and further where the bottom was flat, one with a band one without. Also a shallow rig which was never used.

I started the match fishing the caster as this was expected to be the banker, loose feeding casters and catching through the water, all the while I fed some 4mm pellet by hand to 5m. The caster line was proving very slow, just the odd tiny roach or perch and I had to wait for bites. After about 40 minutes I was only on about 1lb and I was shocked, opposite me in the wind Shaun Townsend was catching a few on the caster. I went out over the pellet line with a 6mm pellet in the band and had a couple of tiny skimmers, then a crucian and a 1lb skimmer. Sadly this line died a death, and the caster lines were only worth one or two small roach before no more bites. I was really struggling as were the lads either side of me, but apparently as you went down the lake it got better and carp were a big problem for people, not for me though, I only hooked 3 in the whole match.

After 2 hours I cupped some gbait in out at 6m to my left and gave that 30 mins to settle. I had hardly a bite for an hour and thirty minutes anywhere on any line! I plopped a bit of chopped worm in tight to some reeds to my right, and this gave me a run of little roach but nothing decent. The rest of the match was just about the odd fish, three or 4 small skimmers over the gbait, and hybrids and roach on caster. I was gutted because I just had nothing in the peg and when the all out was called I knew I'd only be weighing for posterity. I managed 8lb 10oz which beat the lads either side (3lb and a DNW) and that was probably all I beat. Mike Nicholls won with 23lb from peg 10, Trig was 2nd from 18 and Shaun Townsend 3rd just a couple of ounces behind Trig, Shaun had a big skimmer flip out of his landing net too. Full weights and details on the Silverfox blog.

Sunday morning, was a bit slow getting going and that meant I was last to the fishery and a bit late. After the glorious sunny Saturday today was damp and windy, and the wind was expected to get up during the day. Today I drew a peg that can be good, peg 18, what I was told was that if the carp are in the peg I could do a big weight and could even take on Trig who was sat on fancied peg 6. Well I was at the windy end today, but to be fair the wind seemed to be affecting everyone from what I could see. As the wind was not too bad setting up I went with a 4x10 rig at 13m where I had about 20 inches of depth (just past this it was about 8" deep) this was with 0.16 to 16 PR36 for banded pellet. A shallow rig for slapping was never used. A 0.4g diamond float for fishing meat at top set plus one, and a margin rig which was used but never had a bite on it. Also a lead rod.

On the whistle I cupped in a big pot of meat in close to let that settle and fed about 50 6mm pellets at 13m. I went over this line on the depth rig and waited all of 10 seconds for a bite,soon netted a 7lb carp. Next drop in and another bite but this was a fouler which I pulled out of as it tried to go around the island. I fished this line for the first hour until the wind got too much, and caught a 2oz skimmer and had no other fish, I couldn't believe it. An early look on the meat was no good and as the wind was bad I cast the lead out to the island. I had a number of casts over an hour or more and never had so much as bite or liner, there was no signs of carp. On peg 19 Ray Bazeley had fished a method feeder from the off and he was blanking, other than a humungus swan mussel. I finally nailed a carp on the lead, and a few chucks later had another, but that was it for a while.

Back on the meat and I had a carp, all of 6oz and a 1oz skimmer. After 3 1/2 hours Ray had his firs fish on the method and then another straight after. I saw a couple of carp swirl and went back on the lead, I hooked 4 in 4 casts, but for some reason the last two came off the hook as I got them halfway back. I then went ages with nothing again. A stray carp on the lead, then in the last twenty minutes I had a 8oz carp, 2lb and 4lb carp on the meat. Match over and I was pretty sure I was going to be out of the money again. Ray had already packed up to my left, but to my right on corner peg 16 a Welsh lad had taken a few late carp on the end bank as had Bela Bakos on 13.  My weight on the day was 38lb odd and was 6lb off the last money place, so I guess the two lost carp on the lead cost me that place. Clear winner on the day with 91lb was Paul Elms who caught on the method feeder I think from peg 27. Trig was second with 67lb catching most of his fish in one spell on the method, and Shaun was 3rd next to Trig with 57lb, Shaun struggled and caught most of his fish in one spell in the margin but had nothing the last hour.

Well that didn't go to plan at all, and I am disappointed to say the least. Perhaps if I had switched to the method feeder I would have caught some more fish, but watching Ray catching nothing put me off switching to it, mistake I think. The margin was not really any good and I think had the wind not been so bad I could have caught more on the pole long. All if's and but's and I'm left feeling a little deflated but congratulations to the winners.

Nothing next weekend as I prepare for the tackle required to take on the tidal Trent!