Sunday, 27 November 2016

Commercial House Round 4 - Bristol Avon Newbridge

Getting anything prepared for this match was going to be pretty much impossible, I had a full on week and left work early Friday to take a train to Chesterfield. I was travelling with the wife and met up with my eldest daughter. Nice place Chesterfield, the town was full of bars and places to eat. Saturday we met up with Mark Jefferies and his son Mitch, had a few ciders and watched Rovers lose again. A few more ciders to drown the sorrows and then I caught the train back with a few more cans. By the time I was home I was tired and a tad wobbly.

Sunday morning alarm at 6:15 was a shock, and I felt a bit dehydrated, not sure why.... Grabbed all my gear and some gbait and got to the draw in time to have a breakfast. Glenn had picked up some bait for me so I paid him and my pools and waited to see what peg would be coming my way. B2 didn't tell me much, mainly because the pegging sheet (if you can call it that) was just one peg in every section, so had to wait to get to the bank to find the exact spot. I drove down and passes Mike Withey on peg 16, Rich Lacey on peg 18, both could throw up bream today I thought. The river had some extra pace and just a bit of colour, not sure how it would fish like this. On peg 20 was Vincent Lunn and he was the first peg in my section, I was next peg and behind the pumphouse. I've drawn this peg a few times and I've never done amazing off it, would rather not draw it if I had the choice.

My feeling was that this was going to be a day when bream would be needed, and so the feeder rod was first out. I know this peg can be snaggy, but today I didn't get any problem fishing just past halfway. I set up with 15 B711 to 0.165 exceed. The next rod out of the bag was a 13 foot Normark Microlite to which I attached a 3 1/2BB stick float for fishing about 2 rods out, a 20 to 0.117 exceed was used on this rod. I had to get my box in the water to fish this peg as there are reeds growing out, as soon as I got in I noticed how cold the water was, not a good sign. I finally got the box set up and got as much as I could next to me.

Rich Lacey walked down just before the start and asked me how I thought the river would fish, and I said I just didn't know, but I was concerned at not seeing any fish top. As Rich walked back I shouted out we should have a pound on who caught the first fish, he said yes but lets make it buy a drink, sorted!

I began the match casting the feeder out with 3 red maggots on the hook, all the while I was throwing hemp, maggots and casters to prime the stick float line. Third chuck on the feeder and a decent rattle on the tip, when I struck I was connected to a small fish, it turned out to be a 4oz roach. A quick call to Rich and I was a getting a free pint later lol! Sadly that was not the start of more bites, and in fact after an hour all I had added was a 1oz perch. With plenty of bait put through the feeder I thought it was worth looking on the stick float line. A couple of roach and two perch on the stick in about a dozen casts wasn't that bad, but another 20 mins without a bite  meant it was time to go back to the feeder. My first cast back on it and I had a bit of sharp tap, I struck but there was nothing and the bait was still OK. I cast again and after about a ten minute wait I had a good bite, a good fish was hooked but I soon realised it was not a bream and was a chub. I gave it no quarter to keep it away from the reeds and soon had a 2lb chub in the net. It was about midday this happened and still 3 hours left.

Unfortunately there is nothing more I can write about my day as I never had another bite, all hook baits were ignored and the stick was also dead. Meanwhile above me Vinny connected with 4 bream and a few skimmers and won the section with 22lb, the lad below me had 1 roach and was last in the section, hmmm winter fishing.  Further down the section there were odd bream and some decent roach and small chub all caught on the feeder, with Jeff Surman coming 2nd in the section with just under 10lb. Andy Britt had a nice 6lb bream to get him out of jail, hooked in the the fin I believe. I only beat 2 people in the whole section and was last in the A div, oops.

Winner today was Rob Manns who was helping out my team, he drew peg 58 on the gas pipe, the deepest peg on the river. Rob had 11 bream for 60lb, Rich Lacey came 2nd with 7 bream for 35lb, I think Paul Purchase was 3rd with 30lb from peg 36.

Well it was a disaster on the team front today, as we were one short we needed good results, but didn't get them, we are now bottom with 2 matches left to go in the New Year.

No fishing for me next weekend, and that's probably it for river fishing for a while now.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

ATWL Final Round K&A Canal Bath

After yet another hectic week in which I forgot to order bait but Mat Challenger sorted me out late on Friday, cheers. I also had just a couple of hours to tie up some rigs, and I used my top sets from last year, elastic seemed OK after pulling it a bit. Loading the car up Sunday morning it raining heavy and only 4C so my hands were froze as I set off to the draw in my car.

The match had been pegged with some sections int he town and the rest out at Bathampton, A draw in the town would most likely be needed to get in the frame, or an end peg. Team draw done and I was over the moon to find myself on A4 in the Long Pond in the town. I hoped that I would be on a few fish today. On the end peg A5 was Nige Evans, On A3 was Darren Gillman, no mugs here then.

I thought I would fish a positive match and went with 3 rigs, a 4x14 Drennan Roach for punch bread at top set +2, 18 PR311 to 0.08, A 4x12 PB float for fishing over gbait at 9m, and 0.4g PB silver float for fishing over neat joker at 13m. I also set up a 4AAA insert waggler with 20 B611 to 0.10.

I fed all my lines at the start of the match and began short on the bread punch, Nige was already catching 2-3oz fish on this, and I had 3 roach but then a boat came along. It didn't really affect my peg but it went through Niges, but Nige carried on catching and I didn't. I had to feed more bread to try to make something happen. I took another 3 roach then it went quiet again, after a while a positive bite was met with a lot of elastic coming out. I landed a near 1 1/2lb skimmer. By the end of the first hour I had taken a couple more smaller skimmers and some more roach, the bread line died soon after. Trying my 9m line with a pinkie I took four 6oz skimmer / hybrids, then a little fish. Then as Hughie Evans was watching me I struck and my elastic snapped, doh. It was only a little fish and I managed to retrieve the rig minus the fish. This line died soon after and only gave 1 roach during the rest of the match.

My first look out to 13m was with 3 bloodworm on and the float soon buried, skimmer, and two more soon followed. Bubbles started rising now, and there were lots of blows showing me there were feeding skimmers still in the swim. I took another two in the next 30 mins but the next 30 mins despite the blows and me trying different hook baits I had nothing! I wondered if the skimmers were off the bottom so I fed another ball of joker on the 13m line. I tried the waggler out about 20m where I had been loose feeding casters, I took 3 small roach and though it wasn't great I was encouraged.

Nige had now taken some skimmers but he was still catching small fish which I was not. Back on 13m and I persevered as the blows were back. After a couple of smaller skimmers on 3 bloodworm I tried just 2 on the hook, this seemed better and I had another 5 skimmers a perch and decent roach. With 30 mins left the blows stopped and the fish were gone, I fed some more joker and went on the waggler again. I took some roach and hybrids on this, up to 4oz, and with 15 mins left a very finicky indication had me thinking it might be a small fish so I struck, but the rod bent nicely! I very carefully played the fish in, and it came in easy until it was under the rod tip, but I finally slipped the net under a 2lb skimmer. A few more small fish and then the match ended, the 13m line never did show life in the last 30 mins which is why I stuck to the wag.

It was going to be close between me and Nige, but he kept saying I had hammered in. The scales came up with Darren having a nice net for 10lb 1oz. My turn next and they went 15lb 12oz.  Nige was last to weigh and I thought he would beat Darren, but he was closer to me than I thought with 14lb 12oz, Nice fishing, especially considering the weather over the last 3 or 4 days.

Back to the results and the canal had fished well overall with 5 of the 10 sections won with double figures and 7lb was the lowest section winning weight. It turned out I had done enough for the match win and I was chuffed with that, Nige was 2nd, Mark Harper 3rd 12lb and Tony Gilbert 4th with 11lb.

Bathampton won the match today, but Thatchers came 2nd and as a result won the league by just 1 point from Bathampton. A very tightly contested series indeed.

Nige Evans won the league individually, and Tony Gilbert won the knockout, so Thatchers had good payout today.

A nice way for me to end the league, I had to miss two matches, but was very happy to get in amongst the fish on the canal, drew a dolly today but really enjoyed it and felt like I fished a good match catching on all lines and only losing a couple of better fish which can happen on a peg full of skimmers lol!

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Bill Milton Memorial - Poppy Match

Didn't have a particularly good week, my nan died (although she was the grand old age of 90) and then had what I think was heart palpitations on Wednesday night. They had a weird effect on me and Thursday at work I found myself carted off by ambulance to Southmead hospital. There was no serious issue, and might just be down to a virus or a one off,I still felt like I'd been hit by a bus though.

Thanks to Lee Trivett who collected my bait on Saturday, and that meant I was not under any pressure and even had time to have a couple of beers to celebrate Glenn's birthday. I woke up Sunday and other than tired I felt well, I honestly didn't know where I wanted to draw, but Swineford or Jack Whites would probably be good, as well as the noted bream pegs at Newbridge. Sadly I got neither and ended up down the trees at Newbridge, just about the one area I thought would be very hard to frame from. Trevor Chalk was down to fish this match and he drew on 115 not great on a day like to day. The river was still clear and without much flow, quite amazing that the rain we had hardly had an effect. Some idiot/s had ripped out most of the pegs so we did our best to work it out, my peg was still in, but in my opinion it was unfishable with this tree right over my head. I can only assume Mr Magoo  put this in.

With the next angler above me having a lot of room he agreed I could move 5 yards up where I smashed down nettles, brambles etc to get to the river and fish from about 5 foot off the water. It looked a bit like this, at least I could get the 5 sections of pole up in the air that I would need to fish this deep peg.

Just set up a feeder rod with 0.148 exceed to 14 B611, and two pole rigs, a 1g pencil rig with 20 to 0.09 and a 2g rig with 18 to 0.10.  I would have set up a crowquill but never had the time.

When the all in was called I cast out 8 feeders full of gbait, worm and caster 3/4 across, then fed 12 balls of gbait on my 13m pole line. I started on the pencil rig with a single maggot and three small roach in three chucks, I tried the heavier rig with caster and never had a bite. Back to the pencil rig and with a single maggot I had a bite every run through from 1oz roach. I had the odd small perch and one or two 3-4oz roach. It was though an absolute nightmare to fish, with lots of rowing boats that were all over the river, and some who were effing useless. Shipping back was also tricky as there were a great many walkers, dog walkers and people watching the rowers. It was like Picadilly circus and I kept repeating to myself keep calm, keep calm. I did have one outburst at a four, more out of frustration really, but bit my tongue for the rest of the day.

Back to the fishing and I caught on and off for the first two hours but the fish were very small and so I thought I had about 2 1/2lb. I had a look on the gbait feeder but that was no good at all, the angler above me came down and said he about 12oz and above him was worse. That was how I expected it to be, and I thought I would do my best to enjoy my day on the pole.  Back on the pole and it was much harder so I cupped a ball in, this helped and a few more roach came out, I also had a few right down the peg probably just below my loose feed. Another top up ball had a positive effect and I had a couple of 6oz roach and a 8oz hybrid, I thought this might see the fishing improve, but another ball did not work and it really died on me. I chucked the feeder again for 30 mins, but other than a quick rap I had nothing.

With about an hour to go I just kept working hard on the pole, trying different hook baits, though fluro maggot was by far the best, and messing around with the loose feed and gbait. I managed a few little chublets and another 6oz roach on a caster on the heavy rig, but the pencil rig took everything else. When the all out was called I thought I had 5 to 6lb, and to be fair I was pleased with that as I had thought it could have been a lot worse.

The scales had to weigh in from the end peg where Derek Coles had drawn, he had the top weight in that section with 8lb 10oz, and there were a couple of 7lbs, then it got worse with a couple of 3lbs. Then in my 5 peg section I weighed in 6lb 14oz and that won the section money, mainly due to the fact that everyone else chucked back! The next section above me was won with 4lb 13oz, and it was definitely not a good area to draw.

Back at the results and the banter was flowing well with Ray Bazely running proceedings and generally taking the mic. It was apparent the river had fished hard, but there were still some decent catches. Ray had got a new trophy for this match, and he did a very nice gesture by presenting the old cup (which I had won three times) to me to keep, thank you very much Ray!

1st on the day Terry Ellis 32lb 4oz, 10 bream on the gbait feeder from peg 36 at Newbridge
2nd Shaun Townsend 23lb 8oz,  4 late bream on pole + roach from the Norfolk Reeds (flyer)
3rd P Knight 18lb 9oz, 3 barbel at Jack Whites!
4th B Knight 18lb ,  2 barbel and chub at Jack Whites!
5th Ivan Currie 17lb 10oz,  mainly 2 pike!!!
6th Nigel Evans 14lb 12 1/2oz  roach and a near 5lb chub from peg 28 at Swineford.

Well done to Terry, sadly he doesn't do the pools so Towner cleaned up, he might buy a beer next week.

Couple of pics of Terry, and even though he didn't get any dosh he has his name on the cup. He actually approached me before the match to say he reads my blog and likes it because I fish the rivers. He told me what peg he had drawn and I said if was on it I'd go for bream, so perhaps I had a little hand in his success, good on you Terry, well done indeed.

Canal at Bath next week, best get some rigs and bread sorted out then!

Sunday, 6 November 2016

December 1997

A weekend not on the bank, and looking at the frost this morning and speaking to Glenn who after an hour on the canal had 4 fry I was happy with my decision! Funny as last week I was sat fishing in my T shirt at Newbridge, seems summer went straight to winter.

Finishing off the diary from 1997 now, I had the Silver Dace Xmas match on Sunday 30th Nov, it was on the K&A canal. I drew on the newly concreted stretch at Warleigh and struggled for just 14oz. The place to be was Darlington and in the town, not much changes there then. The following day after a lot of rain the river was only just inside its banks, then we had a few nights of hard frosts. It was not conducive conditions to be on the river, at Frys, for the Commercial House Xmas match on the Saturday and we all knew it! I drew the lone tree peg, and all I could fish was a feeder, I fished a gbait feeder about 1/3 across with a 16 to 2lb maxima hook length. Trying varying hook bait combos I eventually had a bite on 2 worms and 2 casters, a chub of 14oz was landed and that was all I had. One other fish was caught in the section, so it was as tough as expected.

Glutton for punishment I fished the next day on the Bristol & West Xmas match. I drew a peg on Chequers straight just past the cow drink and below the last tree. It put me off a bend and the water despite being shallow was float fishable. I fished a stick float with a 20 to 0.10 and fed maggots, I just kept running the float through and out of the blue I got the odd small fish, a bonus 2lb chub doubled my weight, but then in the last 2 hours I never had a bite. This match was fished at Swineford and Crane too, so it was a decent turnout, but many had really struggled to catch anything. My lowly 4lb 4oz won me the section and got me 6th overall.

Sunday 14th December, the Bathampton Xmas match and the one you really wanted to win. I didn't think I drew that well getting peg 176, and I finished up with just 1 bleak and 1 roach. However, I got battered by the angler on peg 175 who had 5 bream! I went home with my tail between my legs lol.

On Wednesday 17th December I recorded that we had 4 inches of snow, but it must of cleared away as by Sunday I was back out again hoping for a better day on the Docks Xmas match. I didn't record the peg / area I drew, but I had 3 skimmers on the feeder for 6lb 13oz. Pegs at the bottom of Welsh Back were the best (Dockers Club) and those anglers caught a lot on worm.

Jerry Pocock ran the King Billy Xmas match (he still does) this year on the 28th Dec, and it was on the Docks. I was hoping for a better draw, and as nearly all the pegs were in decent areas I got my wish by drawing the peg that had won the Docks Xmas match at Welsh Back. I did set up a pole but never had a bite on that, and concentrated on the gbait feeder fishing an 18 to 0.10. It was very hard going and was fishing much harder than the last match. I cast the feeder about 2/3 across and had to wait over an hour to get my first bite from a little roach. The fish were very reluctant to feed, and the only bites I had came to double red maggot. Going into the last hour I had 5 skimmers and was going to get a decent prize, but then another bite and this time a big skimmer and that was crucial. I ended with 7lb 9oz to win the match. 2nd that day was Shane Caswell and 3rd was the late Bob Warden. I know that because I still have a cutting from the evening post which was written by Roy Garland, and here it is with the photo he took.

One more match to finish 1997, and that was on New Years Eve, it was at Newbridge in the Veals Classic League. River was up and came up a foot during the match. I drew peg 2 in the little field and was cursing my luck thinking I had no chance from this shallow peg. I fished a gbait feeder 1/3 the way out and had 4 roach and a small skimmer here, but half way through the match this line was no longer fishable. I had to come in close and drop the feeder off the end of the rod using a 16 to 1.5lb maxima. Two white maggots or a small worm seemed the best and I had 11 eels in close as the river got badly coloured. My final weight was 4lb 4oz, and I was placed 5th on the day and with one match left in the league I was lying in second place, could I hold on or go one better?

Back to today and my next match is next Sunday, the Bill Milton Memorial Match (Poppy Match). Sadly there appears to be no rain in the forecast and with a low clear river the draw will be very important. Pike usually count in this match, and with the amount we have been hooking I can see a few of them helping anglers make the frame!