Sunday, 29 January 2017

January 1998

I had been hoping to get out for a few hours this Sunday, but to be honest when I saw the weather forecast said heavy rain I made other plans. As such as I have dug another diary out of the loft and will recall what went on 19 years ago, and bugger me if starts off similar to last week lol...

January 4th found me on the 5th round of the ATWL which was to be fished on the K&A canal around Bath. The weather had been poor in the lead up to this match, and on the day winds of up to 80mph were forecast. Team draw put me up at Claverton, and I had a great day... not! I was blanking until the last hour when I managed to catch 2 small perch on chopped worm for just 2oz. Amazingly this gave me 8 points as the section had fished pants (some things don't change). I am not 100% sure, but this could have been the match when Craig Edmunds caught a few carp to win the match, the rest as they say his history. My team won the day and were in 2nd place overall.

The following Saturday I fished an open at Moorlands Farm where I drew on Island Pool. I had a torrid time with wind and rain in my face and caught very little, but I was pegged next to Ken Giles and as he also caught very little we had a good chat and I learn't a lot about how he approached the venue.  I should have been fishing the final match of the mid week league on Weds 14th January, but I could not get the time off work. Luckily for me you could drop one result and I had a call later that day to say I had still managed to come 2nd overall in the league.

The final round of the ATWL was again on the K&A canal, this time I found myself at Warleigh on what I called then the "concrete stretch". I had a few fish early on punch and odd small roach on pinkie over gbait, but I got a lesson that day on punch fishing and recorded in my diary that I should fish much more positive. 3lb 8oz got me 9 points, the team ended in 2nd place overall.

Sunday 24th January and we were back on the river after it had been in flood for nearly 3 weeks. This match was the Rod Hill Memorial fished Swineford to Crane, I drew one above the beach peg at Swineford. It is (or was) a peg that was a long way above the beach and so plenty of room. However, on the day the river was pushing through and only a feeder could be used. If I was going to catch anything it would be chub, and I started on a gbait feeder with double maggot on the hook. I always liked to start this way even on a chub peg, and after 90 mins I had 4 chub in the net, but then it all went dead. Below me on the beach Andy Floyd had also caught some chub, but above me Shane Caswell was blanking but he had lost a chub which snagged and snapped him up. With my peg seemingly dead I cast my feeder a long way downstream and in the last hour I had another 2 chub. One of the chub was in and out of snags all the way back and how I got it out was a miracle as the 0.12 hook length was in a right mess. When I landed the fish and unhooked it I saw another hook in its mouth with bait still on it. I shouted up to Shane "did you lose that chub on a bit of lobworm and bronze maggot?". Of course Shane said "how the feck did you know that?", he was confused and came down to see me, and as he did I smiled at him and placed in his hand the baited hook and said "I just took that out of a 2lb chub". I won't write what Shane said to me, but he covered most swear words lol!  That chub had come from 50 yards upstream and gone another 40 yards below me. I had a good day, never missed a bite and pulled out of one chub. My 6 fish went 9lb 2oz which was enough for 3rd overall and a nice pay day, Andy below me won the match with 14lb.

In the here and now if I am to get back on the bank again next weekend it will have to be Saturday, so I will have to keep an eye on the weather and likely venues to consider. I cannot fish Sunday as I have to prepare for a colonoscopy the following day, this entails fasting on Sunday and drinking 2 litres of a laxative called "Moviprep". To be be honest I think the person who came up with the product name was taking the piss. Mind you if it is anything like the "Picolax" I had to take before my first surgery (6 years ago) it will be fun. Picolax should come with more of a warning as once that stuff kicks in you cannot dare get off the toilet until you are empty, think volcano in your guts, lol!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Commercial House Final Round K&A Canal

Last match of the series and one the Thatchers team was in top spot the other was hovering above the relegation places, I was in the lower placed side, lol. I spent a couple of hours Saturday morning making / replacing some rigs and tying some new hook lengths. Not long after I had a call from Martin Barrett telling me my side were two short, and that was with Stretch in as a sub. Well that was no good and I was a bit cheesed off, luckily I was up the pub for a few ciders with Mike Nicholls, Geoff Francis and Bath supremo Chris Ollis. We had a good chat and a laugh and Olly gave me a lift back in his red mean machine which is closer to being in the scrap yard than passing another MOT PMSL!

Sunday morning and though there was no frost on the car it was still very cold and everything that was frozen the day before was still frozen, it would be worse out in the sticks. When I got to the rugby club I found out we still had just 4 anglers in the team, myself Tom Morreti, Nigel Evans and Stretch. However, Stretch had fished for another team in the league so his points would not count, that meant as a team we would be starting with 3 blanks, relegation most likely then.

Young Tom asked me to do the draw but both end pegs had gone when I pulled out peg 5. Tom was at Meadow Farm, Nigel up past the George, Stretch by the swingbridge and for my sins I was at bast*rd Claverton. Why oh why this was pegged I don't know as it always crap in winter... I drove to the canal with Shane Caswell following me, at times it was like Wacky Races. I had little hope for a days fishing today, especially with two end pegs, by the bridge on 9 was Alan Jones and on the far end Andy Britt who was in a bay. At my peg I had On my left was Paul Elmes, and on my right Dean Harvey. The pegs had getting on for 50 metres between them, except Paul and myself who were pegged either end of a boat moored opposite. Initially I thought that it would be a good thing, a feature and maybe a bit warmer for the fish. The canal was very cold, ice on both banks but clear elsewhere. The canal though was covered with grass and brambles from a recent strim, meaning getting a bait in clean would be fun. All looking good so far then!  Not long after putting my box in place the owner of the boat appears on deck, he explained he was starting his engine to charge his battery. He kindly told me he thought I would do well as he chucks his food left overs in the canal at this end of the boat.... "Last night was left overs from steak & chips",  Well I had neither of those with me to try on the hook. He was though a thoroughly decent chap as were his two kids... As you can see it was very cold.

Rigs today were usual bread rig for 5m, a 4x12 Silvers for bloodworm which I could use by the boat and by the reeds to my right. A worm rig was also put up as I thought chopped worm might sneak a perch or two. Before the match started a boat came through, but it doesn't affect the canal too much here as there is not lots of silt. Onto the bread, nothing, not a bite. Early try over the joker fed swims, not a bite. Nicola Goodhind walks down and tells me it is rubbish with more blanks than catchers, when she walked back past me after about 90 mins only one person had caught in the section. I had to put up with the young lad on the boat keep coming out and looking at my float next to the boat, then he played football in the field using a gate as the goal. Later his sister enjoyed watching my float as she hand her brother chatted on the end of the boat.

Just before midday Paul next to me had his first bite, it came on the bread line, he had 6 little roach very quickly and that was it. I went for a walk, at this stage there were 4 blanks out of 9. I decided I was going to pack up at 12:30. The boat family left for a walk and whilst  I was trying one of my 5 fed joker spots I saw Paul catch a little perch over by the front of the boat. I went over to the back end and tried one of my lines by the boat, I looked up at Paul and saw him catch another although he did not see the bite, I looked back and couldn't see my float and struck. Flip me, a little perch, it stayed on and I swung it in. I tried for another 20 mins but it was a one off, then I had a call and nothing serious but I decided that was enough and I packed up. Dean Harvey below me also had 1 perch and said he was going to pack up too. I left my net in with the little perch. I really hope that this stretch is not pegged again next year, it simply should be off limits in the winter.

Sad end to what has been probably my most frustrating CH league for a long time, drawing some real dross and messing up on the first match. Not that I am complaining, you can't win them all and I had plenty of laughs along the way, well done to all those anglers who did well. .  As I did not go back to the results I do not know who won today, but I do know that it was a struggle for most. I found out that Thatchers B won on the day and so won the league, my lot finished the league in joint bottom position, we have though avoided relegation by virtue of a better weight! Well I didn't contribute much too that either really lol!

(Just found out by txt that 12oz won my section today , 71/2oz was 2nd and  3oz was 3rd)

There is no chance of me fishing the canal again next week, although it is the Bob Warden Memorial so I will chuck in a fiver, but I'll not fish it. I will wait and see what the weather brings before deciding what to do, might be a few hours on the river depends.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Commercial House Round 5 K&A Canal

Contrary to popular belief I am still alive and well, lol, I had a nice break at Xmas and in the end wasn't able to get out fishing. I did walk up the crane one day to watch the last 90 mins of the King Billy Xmas match organised by Jerry Pocock. Warren Bates won that one with a great 18lb of roach, chub and a skimmer on stick and waggler. Martyn Reyat dragged his ass of the commercials for a day and caught nearly 10lb on a crowquill, plenty of bites for most anglers.

This weekend I was back in the saddle for Thatchers A for the commercial house, it was on the K&A canal from Bath Town to past Bathampton Bend. I was in a positive mood after watching Rovers win 5-0 yesterday, but was expecting the fish to be shaoled up after the cold weather. A good draw today like any venue in winter was required, so end peg or gap would be good, as well as a peg in A section int he town. Nobody in the team wanted to draw (well we are in relegation zone) so I stepped forward and said I would do it. Peg 1 or 9 would do, but I pulled out 4, I also managed to avoid drawing A section for myself, Tom Moretti was there in the long pond. Nathaniel was at Richardsons another good area, Dave Self just on the natural bank at Darlington (good peg), Colin Dance was past the wooden bridge, I was just past the flag pole at the George end (which has been dire), and Nige Evans just before the wires past Bathampton bend. On paper it was a good draw bar mine I had to hope for early skimmers on the bread.

Walking up to my peg Paul Elmes was on E1 but his peg was behind a boat so he had to move but he would be OK. On the flag pole was Maver's Sam Johnson a peg that can show skimmers but not much else. On the other side of me was Alan Jones, he was moaning about being next to me, we do draw next to each other a fair bit. Alan was just onto the brambles, then there was Kev Boltz, Mark Williams, Darren Gillman and lastly Tony Gilbert. I was not hopeful of doing well, and as I said skimmers would be important. My peg in the gloom and mist no brambles....

There was a large boat moored to my left (another to my right) and the owner of the large boat advised his toilet was full of shit and he needed to pump it out. To do this he had to move off and said he would be back by 11am, and that he would be reversing his way down the canal, oh shit indeed! I took this photo after he had moved off and left my peg a swirling mass of coco.

I guessed if he was coming back at 11 (an hour into the match) I would get my head down on the bread and not feed elsewhere to save it all being washed away at 11. This was my cunning plan.....

Rigs were 4x14 roach with 0.07 to 18 PR311 for bread at top set plus two, 0.4g for bloodworm in deep water (this was no good), a 0.2g with 0.07 to 22 PR311 for bloodworm fishing two spots across at 12.5m in 2 foot of water. Also a caster rig and a worm rig.

10am soon arrived, I gave it a positive apple ball of liquidized bread, put a 6mm punch on. 10 mins in and no bites, so put on a 4mm punch, 5 mins later and the float seemed to stop when it should be towing but did not go under, I struck and a lot of elastic came out. It was fighting well, I thought it was a big hybrid, but after a decent fight a roach of a pound was netted. Well well, don't get many of them on the canal. Another 10 mins past without a bite, then I had 3 roach in the next 10 mins. This was all I had on punch. Sam below had 2 gudgeon, it was looking poor for us. With the bread not working I had to feed some other bait, but was mindful of the boat coming back. I went with a small of joker in two spots and some worms.

At midday, 2 hours in, I had the grand total of 11 fish, it was dire. There was still no sign of the boat, so I went for a walk, Tony was winning the section with about 6lb of bread fish, but everyone above me was still getting bites on bread or whatever they put on the hook. I fed a bit heavier across with my joker as I couldn't wait for this boat anymore. All I had was a couple of small perch and tiny roach, and one 3oz perch over the worm line. Just before 1pm the boat returned, I could see he was really churning up Kev's peg and then Alan's, but when he got to me he seemed to drift in and made no disturbance what so ever (see video) and so my plan was completely wrong lol!  Not long after the coal boat came through...

It was obvious I was miles behind the leaders of the section, and I was probably beating Alan, Sam and Lee Warden below Sam. I fed heavier with joker and also fed a fair bit over my original bread line which was lifeless. Going across on double bloodworm I had a bite quite soon, and the elastic was out again. It turned out to be a roach of 12oz. A couple of more 2oz roach and then nothing. At this point Sam put the knife in, he dropped back on his bread line with bloodworm on the hook and had 3 skimmers. My "old" bread line in the last 90 mins gave up a gudgeon and a perch. Going back across I had another elastic stretcher, but after dodging a jogger shipping back the fish came off, bit of slime on the line too......  A 4oz skimmer next chuck, but after this no more better fish. The caster line was useless, but the joker swim was now full of small roach and I caught a lot on single bloodworm and even some on pinkie. As I said to Sam they were all to little to late.

The scales came from Tony where he was leading with 8lb 4oz, just behind was Kev who had 8lb 1oz then Darren with 5lb 15oz. My fish weighed 4lb 1oz which beat Alan and also Mark who had 4lb "ouch". Sam weighed 5lb 6oz and reckon he had 4lb in the last 2 hours. Paul Elms on the end peg had 7lb of roach.  I ended beating just 3 people in the section of 9 and only getting 2 points in the A div. I wasn't really surprised by this, and I needed those bonus skimmers.

Well despite the fish feeling bloody cold, and the water being cold the temperature must have risen a bit as the canal fished well in lots of places.

Tom Moretti won with 20lb of skimmers from the long pond
2nd Rob Randall from past the wires at Bathampton had 18lb of skimmers (I heard he had 10 in the first 10 chucks.)
3rd Mick Nowicki 15lb from next to Tony Gilbert (he had 7 skimmers in the first 7 chucks)

There were at least another 6 or 7 double figure weights, and in total 34 weights over 5lb. Not bad then. Thatchers A won the A div today (must have been my drawing arm lol) and so we have dragged ourselves just out of the relegation zone. Thatchers B are winning the league, Final round is in 2 weeks time, and I think other parts of the canal are being pegged. I'm not fishing again next weekend, so no blog.

Wanted to say well done to Edward Wiltshire for beating his chub PB, hope you beat again before the season ends. Here is a picture of young Tom with his winning catch, not long after he bought a round, good lad!