Sunday, 26 February 2017

February / March 1998

Saturday this weekend was the Winter League Final where my lot Thatchers were taking part along with Bathampton. I had ruled myself out of it long ago due to a lot of clashes with personal and work activities. I am finding it increasing difficult to prepare for fishing whilst work is so busy, and two weeks of travelling to Germany right now make it even harder. At least the next two Sundays coming up I will be able to fish at Newbridge and have a go for the bream, that won't take much prep.  Anyway the w/l final was split over a natural venue (20 foot drain etc) and a commercial fishery, with 5 sections on each venue the team pick which anglers to fish which venue. The team did very well to end up in 5th place and bag £750 for the team coffers, there was some great fishing to be had too it seems with big weights on both venues. I believe Bathampton struggled but as I have not seen the official results I'll not cast aspersions.

Back to the diary, and Feb 1998 was to hold a special place in my heart, although the month started badly with me blanking at Darlington Wharf on the K&A canal. I remember plumbing up all OK and normal, and then just before the start put my rig in and it floated! The canal was freezing over as I was setting up, never had that happen before or since. This was the last CH round, and despite my blank the team still won the league.

Sunday 8th February and it was a pleasure fishing session on the Avon in Bath town. I have a feeling that this was the day when I started fishing in one area and after 90 mins I hadn't had a bite. So I went for a walk upstream and just below Norfolk Crescent I found two anglers Pete Phillips and Geoff Stones who told me for 2 hours they had both been bagging on roach. After watching them for a while they gave me the OK to come and fish in between them! It was tight, and to avoid interfering with Pete upstream I sat no more than 10 yards above Geoff. Well I fished for 4 hours on a crowquill with hemp and maggot and then Geoff and Pete packed up and so did I. Geoff had 30lb, Pete had 25lb and I had 20lb in 4 hours with a 10 yard trot, lol it was solid!

Valentines day set a new record temperature for Feb, with 19 Centigrade recorded, I pleasure fished Conham on the 15th. I sat 4 pegs above the footbridge, at the time the pegs either side of the footbridge were flyers. Using a 3AAA waggler with just light droppers, a 20 to 0.09 and feeding a few pints in total of hemp, caster and maggot I had 15lb of roach and dace. 

On Friday 20th February my second daughter was born, and it does not seem like 19 years ago that special day happened.

My next trip out was Sunday 1st March for a Bathampton open on the canal in Bath. I drew bang on in Horseshoe Pond, and I think I was the only person in there. I had a 1lb skimmer on punch on the pole and that was my only bite on it. These were the days before bloodworm was used, so after that fishing with pinkie I had a few gudgeon, perch and ruffe. In between I fished a waggler with caster and on this I caught 3 chub and 6 roach. My final tally of 5lb 9oz was a lot less than I'd hoped for, but the canal had been tough and I came 2nd on the day. 

Saturday the 7th and a few of us pleasure fished the K&A canal at Semington, the wind was horrendous and we found a pound which was a bit sheltered, but even then I could not fish more than 6 metres! Feeding gbait with squatt, and fishing either single or double pinkie on a 4x12 Drennan Egg float I had a nice day catching 1 tench and lots of small skimmers and roach, ending with 9lb+. I fished a match on Limpley Stoke the following day, I drew in Beeches day and had a handful of bits, the only excitement being a foul hooked carp which came off and left me with a scale on the hook!

Well that was my lot for fishing for a while back then, as for now I hope the river stays in decent trim for the last two weekends.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Lands End Winter League

Two weeks since my last outing which just so happened to be at Lands End. Last weekend was a long day out Saturday at Rovers hospitality which ended up in the Essex pub where I fell asleep. After a CT scan on the Sunday I never felt quite right all week and on Tuesday I felt quite ill and my bowels were upset. I ended up staying in my sick bed Weds and Thursday and was wondering if my volunteering to stand in for Shawn Kitteridge was a good idea. Friday I went back to work, and had an eye test as my vision out of my right eye keeps going foggy, it transpires I've something called "floaters" and a big one causing most of the issue.

Saturday was spent making up a selection of rigs and hook lengths to cope with a draw on one of the three lakes at Lands End. I did not bank on a disturbed night's sleep as I had developed a bad cough after being ill, suffice to say I was still tired when I got up at 6:15. The rolling draw had already started when I arrived it seemed, and recent favourite peg 13 on Match lake had already gone to Bob Gullick, and that was the lake I would have liked to have drawn. I pulled out peg 34 on Speci, and was greeted with lots of positive comments. Tony Rixon told me how he had caught on it a little while ago, but I was also warned it had been quite poor at times in the league.

I set up positively with carp in mind. To the right of me on the island was a bush in the water, I would fish on top the shelf with pellets by it, and in front of it in the deep water with meat.

To the left of the island there is a tiny bush and by this I would fish again on top the shelf, and back short of it and left in the deep water.

I also would fish at about 7m to try a little bit of meat. Rigs today were a 4x10 for the top of the shelf with 0.15 to 18PR36,  down in the deep water I had a 4x12 for soft pellet with 0.13 to 18 B911 and a 4x 12 for fishing meat with 0.15 to 16 PR456.

My section had Nich Chedzoy up on peg 25, Martin Reyat on 31, Andy Hemborough on 32 and Steve Seagar on 33. I thought I would take it careful on the feeding front despite the mild conditions. A small ball of micro was fed in the deep water left, 6 pieces of meat and some casters deep to the right. I toss potted a few 4mm pellets in two spots across. I decided to have an early look across as I had felt a fish when plumbing up, first drop and I thought the float dipped and the elastic came out, but I was in a snag, but it came out OK. Next drop snag again, so I moved the rig a little to the left. No signs were forthcoming, so I decided to lift and drop the rig from the end of the island up to the bush to look for the fish. Literally as I got into the middle after about 30 mins I had a bite and carp on, it was off after 10 seconds fouler. Nothing else across so I tried the deep lines, the soft pellet line was dead, and in fact 90 minutes into the match I had lost 4 foulers in total and had one tiny roach to save the blank.

At this stage Nick Chedzoy was top with 4 carp, and Steve Seagar had taken two from the end bank, and Andy Hemborough had one or two and I think that was it for carp. Two hours in  and I hooked a carp off the end of the island on a 6mm pellet shallow, this was hooked in the mouth and soon pooped up in the net at about 7lb. I thought this might herald a run of fish but far from it, it signalled a quiet period, if it could get any quieter!

Andy over on peg 32 then had a good spell catching on his end bank, Steve next to me had taken 3 carp but was now struggling for any indications. Two hours to go and I was bottom in the section, I dropped in on meat at 7m and within a few minutes had a bite and was into what felt like a good fish, but we shall never know as a couple of minutes later that came off, I never had another bite there.  I managed to hook another 2 carp right over and got one out again hooked in the mouth. Martin had a good run of fish on 31 fishing pellet across. With about an hour to go I had my one and only bite on the meat deep line to the right, it was a carp about 5lb.

Any thoughts of  good last hour were foolish, and I had nothing at all. Martin had a last gasp 12lb carp on meat and that was about it down our end other than Andy getting a few late skimmers and with some F1's too he would have a decent weight of silvers to go with his carp. In fact Andy won our lake with 56lb of carp (including one of 17lb) and 14lb of silvers, Martin next to him had 58lb of carp and Chedz had 30lb, that was the top 3 on the lake. Steve next to me had 3 carp and 1 roach for 18lb 1oz, I had 3 carp and 3 roach for 17lb 10oz.  As you can only win one prize the silvers was going to default, and that went to Paul Elmes on peg 37 who had 2lb 5oz (mainly one perch). He never had a carp but lost 3, my neighbour on my right Jason Radford also lost 3 carp and had one tiny roach.  To say Speci had fished hard would be an understatement. I had only had about 12 bites / indications all day, and I felt there was never more than 1 fish in the peg, just odd carp that swam through.

I wonder in hindsight if I had gone lighter on my soft pellet rig and had set up a light caster rig I could have won the silvers by default. I am sure I could, but the thought of a couple of pounds of silvers winning coin never occurred to me at all.

I don't know the full results as I shot off pretty quick, but I know Bob Gullick won on peg 13 with about 157lb, and Nick Duckett was 2nd with 120lb+ from peg 7. I'm sure Ken Rayner and Tony Rixon will have the full details.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Landsend Fishery Saturday Open

If you read my blog last week you will know that I had planned to go fishing on Saturday, where I was going I had no idea! Right up until Friday I was undecided, I had ruled out the river as it was flooded and my two venues to choose from were Hillview at Tewkesbury and Landsend near Wedmore. In the end Landsend got my vote simply because I hadn't been for ages and I knew I could get a couple of eggs on toast which is all I could have for breakfast. I rang Ken Rayner who fishes Landsend regularly and he gave me some good info and that was me sorted. I grabbed a pint of casters and a few maggots from Scotts, and changed some elastics as my river top sets were not needed! I also remembered to put in barbless hooks, and some suitable rigs.

Saturday morning and after a mild week I was hoping the fish at Landsend might wake up a bit, but it was a shock to see my car frozen over. After deicing and loading the car I was on my way, at Hicksgate it started to rain. Weird start to the day weather wise then! The drive down was fine, and I took it steady knowing it could be icy, pulling to the fishery car park the temp guage was still only on 3C. Going into the breakfast cabin I got totally confused as Mike Duckett starting talking to me about Gary and Double Deckers.... Eventually I twigged Mike thought I was Gary Flinders and he was asking me where was Russ Peck (Pecker / Decker get it!) lol. I was soon enjoying my eggs on toast and enjoying chatting to the lads, sadly there were only 8 of us fishing which is quite a bit down on recent matches I was told. Mike had decided to put us on Match Lake, and he put pegs 1, 3, 6, 11, 13, 15, 19 and 21. Ken was saying he did not like 3 and 21 was his favourite, I had no issue what peg I drew as not having fished it for ages they all seemed good to me, though Mike did say the carp were all around peg 9.  Ken drew first and stormed off as he had peg 3, I went next and got peg 19 which is always fancied so I was happy. As Mike Duckett walked past me he said this is a good peg and if you come last from here you're crap, that raised a chuckle from the lads.

I got to the peg and there was a bit of colour in it from the weeks rain, that gave me a bit of confidence that the weights might improve from recent weeks. Opposite me on peg 6 was venue regular Rod Wotton (despite being a city fan Rod is a top bloke). On peg 21 was venue regular Russ Peck, and on peg 15 was venue owner Mike Duckett. Nice and easy then lol!  Russ decided to call me Gary all day and it was funny as feck, in fact the banter was great all day even if most of it was either at Ken's expense or Rod mentioning about Matty Taylor!!!!

Rigs for me today were covering all bases, a strung out 4x12 with 0.10 to 18 PR412 for caster by the bush to my left, same rig but with 0.12 for fishing maggot off bottom at bottom of shelf. A 0.2 corby with 20 PR36 to 0.12 for fishing hard pellet at 14m bottom of shelf. I also set up a 4x10 rig for trying right across by the reeds and in the margin to the right, but I never had an indication on those lines.

The match started at 10:15 I fed a few 4mm pellets at 14m, some micros and maggots way off to the left and threw casters down to the bush which I did all day long. A carp had swirled not far from Russ before the start and he went out and caught one first chuck! He lost the next three he hooked foulers, meanwhile I sat there without any indications on any rig. At the end of the first hour I had lost two foulers on the off bottom maggot rig, at 90 mins I had a roach on this to break the blank but Russ had 3 carp and Rod had a couple of F1's. At this stage it was a struggle for all. I eventually hooked a carp off to my right at 14.5m on the maggot rig, this was in the mouth and landed it, about 3lb. No other bites came from here. The 14m pellet line was dead but I kept flicking in 3 or 4 pellets to keep something dropping through the water. About 2 1/2 hours in I had a common carp of about 7lb this was taken on the maggot rig over the pellet line. I had lost a couple more foulers  but then all signs stopped across.

Earlier tries on the caster by the bush were a waste of time, but 3 hours in I started getting some small roach, also had a couple of 6oz perch. I gave it a good go but bites stopped and had to rest it. Going across and trying all over the peg was a complete waste of time. Back in on the bush and just a few roach but then I hooked a better fish, it was nodding like a big perch and it came up in the water and I was sure I saw a stripe of colour and I thought it was a bloody huge perch. Ten minutes later and I landed a 7lb common carp, not too much stick from the lads for my initial reaction. That carp stopped all bites on the bush. I tried feeding some micros on my pellet line as Rod was getting the odd fish on pellet over micro. I left it to settle and with no bites anywhere I was back on the bush. I had a 12oz hybrid and few more small roach then a 8oz perch which killed it again.

Going over the micro I had a couple of indications and hooked 2 skimmers which both came off! That killed it. Another carp from down by the bush and then I pulled out of a fish which I'm sure was a decent perch. Back over the micros and my one and only F1, then a tiny skimmer and then I lost another skimmer. With 10 mins left I went back on the bush and had a roach and then a 1lb perch.

The match had been much better for me in the last couple of hours although I only had a low weight, I thought I might have 25lb. Russ had 6 carp and a late tench and was admitting to 25lb.  The scales came round from peg 1 and when they got to me the top weight was Mike Duckett with 23lb, my silvers went 8lb 8oz, and my carp 21lb 4oz, so 29lb 12oz in total. That guaranteed me 2nd with just Russ to weigh, luckily for me his carp were smaller than mine and he weighed 28lb 14oz.

Well it was only a small match but pleased to get the win on what was a hard day and the £50 was welcome. Not sure the last time I went fishing on a commercial but despite it being tough I enjoyed working hard all day. Everyone suffered lost fish on the day, and so the result could have been a lot different had one or two foulers stayed on. Top silvers weight was Rod with 11lb 10oz, mainly F1's and a few silvers on pellet.

Well that is it for me this weekend, and sadly no fishing next weekend as I am enjoying football hospitality next Saturday and have to have a CT scan on the Sunday, this is just a check up as I am now 6 years cancer free..... I am one of the lucky ones.