Sunday, 25 June 2017

Superleague Practice Open - Bristol Avon, Swineford, Crane and Jack Whites

Finally back on the river after the enforced lay off and my holiday. In past years I have avoided fishing the Avon until the end of July, just because generally the fishing is usually getting better by then. My view is there is a hell of a lot of natural food in the river plus the fish spawning make it a poor start. However, reports were of good catches so far and maybe the early warm spring had got the fish spawning early.

Draw for this match was in McDonalds in Bath, this was sadly due to the rugby club in Saltford having a change of staff and not wanting to host us anglers, shame we had a good run there. Bought some McDonalds shitty breakfast meal, then paid my pools, and said hello to the many friendly faces and quality anglers. I was really hoping to get a peg on bream today as I was pretty sure they would win the match, a few have been caught in club matches and by pleasure anglers. Swineford and the long ashtip would be best for bream I thought. Once again though, I ended up pulling a low peg down the Crane, absolutely no chance of bream for me.

I got parked up and walked the up the river, into the little ashtip field and saw my peg number was in the bay, 1 below the wader peg. A good peg for roach and dace, and a chance of chub on the waggler I thought. However, I had a problem, there was an angler in the peg already, and when I advised him he had to move he was not impressed and at first refused to move saying he had the same problem last week. I kept my cool and ran through a few things with him, eventually he saw sense and decided to move on, but he had been fishing for an hour or more he said.

As you can see from the picture all was calm, there was little wind, a little drizzle came and dampened us for a few hours. My thoughts were how could I possibly do a weight from here, I couldn't see me catching enough roach to win dosh, so would need to get a chub or two also. Setting up was simple, a 4AAA waggler with 18 to 0.12 to fish maggot 3 feet deep. A 1gm pencil float with 18 to 0.10 to fish caster / hemp at 13m, a 4x18 for the same line to fish on the drop. I was thinking of other rigs but when plumbing up it was only about 7 to 8 foot deep, and at to around 9 metres there was some streamer weed under the surface and I was snagging up on the pole. Even just trying the rig without a plummet I was catching weed, in the end I put 3m of line above the float, and had to overhead cast the rig to get past it! You cannot see it in the picture as it was about a foot under the surface.

With the water very clear my plan was to start on the wag and mag and feed hemp / caster on the pole to build the peg just like the old days. Just before the match started the wind started to get up and it got very nasty blowing in my face both up and downstream. The waggler was looking a struggle as feeding maggots would be hard.  On the whistle I decided to cup in a good handful of caster and hemp on the pole, and thought I'd have a quick look on it, well first drop in and I had a small roach on caster, and I had bites straight away. The fish were small around an ounce but I was pleased to get bites and kept feeding the pole and tried to feed maggots as far as I could. All to soon the pole line became iffy and I picked up the waggler, the wind was now preventing me from feeding regularly, but even so I got a bite most chucks on the waggler from bleak.

After 2 hours I reckoned on having 3lb, so going nowhere fast, and the wind was now absolutely horrendous, it was doing my head right in. I could hardly hold my pole and feed on the pole line, I had to feed this was as I could not drop the rig in close without getting weeded up. Feeding maggots was now a complete waste as half would end up in the field behind me. Bites on the pole were now hard to come by, and fishing maggot on the hook would result in bleak. With 2 hours to go and knowing I needed a bonus I fed a big cup full of casters and hemp on the pole, shit or bust  thought. A little go on the wag brought a 4oz chublet a dace and odd bleak, but I fed nothing. I saw a few anglers walking the bank today, Rich Whitmarsh, Kev Dicks, Andy Britt and Darren Gillman who sat behind me a couple of times. I told them I was having a bad day and not to bother watching me!

Time to look on the pole again with double caster now, I was quite surprised when I had a few 4oz roach, but then they disappeared as quick as they came. I tried feeding with the catty over the top heavily with caster and hemp. I could now get bites but due to the wind and length of line they were hard to hit, plus I definitely had quite a few dace in the peg as I was missing some fast bites on the drop. Of course I managed to hook a decent roach and a pike grabbed that one, it swam off to the boats across, jumped out of the river, then swam back to my bank and snapped me up in the weed.

When the whistle went I can't say I wasn't unhappy, it had been a test of patience that's for sure and I feel sure had the wind not been so nasty there was at least 12lb to be had. I estimated I had 8lb. I was the last angler in my section to weigh, but I had already heard that a few bream had been caught further up, and with the first peg in my section being the last peg in the long ashtip (one of my favourite pegs) it was always going to be tough. Mark Bromsgrove was on that peg, and he had managed one bream and lost a 6lb slab on the pole, plus some bits he had 10lb. After this the next best weight was 6lb 9oz from one peg above me. My estimation was for a change spot on as I weighed 8lb 1/2oz for second in the section and no coin sadly.

8lb of mainly roach on caster is OK, but was never going to be good on the day, and as I expected the bream showed in many pegs. Winner on the day was Richard Chave with 30lb, he was on peg 74 top peg in the long ash tip (bream caught here last week) and he had 3 bream on the float and 4 on the feeeder. second was Ian Sheppard who was on peg 27 at Swineford, he had I think about 19lb of skimmers / bream on the pole and 10lb of roach. Mark Harper was third at Jack Whites with 24lb, bream and chublets on the feeder but he lost a barbel estimated at 9lb. Last in the frame was Colin Dance on the last peg in the first field at Swineford with 17lb+ of small fish and a skimmer.

Odd bream and skimmers had come out at Swineford and in the long ashtip, plus lots of small fish. I've never so many come out in odd ones like that on a clear early season river. Certainly it fished well, and it rarely disappoints does this part of the river.

Had a good laugh and chat back at the results in the Bitton social club, with most of the team having caught a few fish. Some of the anglers looked a tad hot and tired, mainly those who had drawn by Bitton Brook!

Well I wait to see if I have made the team for next week, surely I've got to get a peg at Swineford?

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Last Day of Holiday - Viaduct Costcutter

Last breakfast in M&M and said goodbye to one of the "M".  Lots of water on board early to re hydrate, and more in the bag for the match. Steve Long advise the pegging and both Campbell and Carey were in, so I was really hoping to be back on Campbell to put right the wrongs of yesterday. Into the tin of dreams and bum, peg 77 on Carey, I was deflated, but then most people said that 78 had been really good and so I should get a few. I got told both carp and silvers were targets. I was happy and pushed my trolley for the last time up the bank and to my home for the day.

Right from the start it was clear that there were carp spawning in Carey and a lot between me and Geoff on peg 74. This made me think that fishing for silvers would be a good idea, plus it would make a nice change and nice way to end the week, but I would set up rigs for carp for late on /just in case. First up was a light 4x12 with 20 to 0.12 for fishing 4 or 6mm pellet at 13m, this was my main focus for silvers, but I would also feed lightly to the tree in the water to my left as I was told you catch silvers here. Also a heavy carp rig for here, for 8mm pellet, and a 4x10 for just in front of the pallet of peg 76. It was a lovely flat bottom about a foot out from the pallet, and I could just about chuck 8mm pellets here for later on.

The lad on 78 was going all out for silvers, he had worms, casters gbait etc, so I hoped that was not the bait today for silvers. To start the match I went out to 13m and fed very carefully with 4mm pellets by catty. Well the first hour was very slow and I reckoned on only having about 3lb, which is basically pants. The lad next door seemed to have a few but not a lot was being caught from what I could see. Leon Hubbard was on 105 I think, and he started to get the odd carp and skimmer in the second hour. Me, well I was trying hard to get silvers with very little reward either at 13m or by the tree at 5m, it was looking like I was on for another bad day.

Glenn spoke to me and he had a few carp on 85 as did Steve Jackson on 88. With Leon having another carp or two I decided sod it, back to carp and just try and enjoy myself. I put a stronger banded pellet rig on 13m, and fed 8mm pellet. Within 15 minutes I had a 6lb carp, and 10 minutes later another of similar size, small for Carey. It went quiet by 25 minutes later I had a third and had taken 2 decent skimmers on the 8mm pellet.

Trying by the tree was fruitless, two hours to go and try the pallet, whoosh, hybrid, whoosh, tench, whoosh skimmer.... I caught more silvers fishing for carp than I did fishing for silvers PMSL!  A carp did oblige in the pallet and then a lost fouler killed it. Back out to 13m and another carp, then nothing. Back on the pallet and signs of life, the float was being moved around considerably, so I assumed a decent fish was there. About 5 minutes of this was finally rewarded with a bite and fish on. This one headed of for the tree past the pallet, I pulled hard on my ONEXS Preston pole and turned it. The fish just plodded for a while and came in close, but it wouldn't shift off the bottom. Out it went and a tail came up, ummm feck me that tail looked huge. Back under my feet on a top set, when it decided it would prefer to go under the bush to my left, shite, shipped on out to 11m and I pulled as hard as I dared. got the fish out, back to the topset and repeated the process again!!! OK you know where I am going with this, but I recall all of this because I just knew it was a decent fish. When I first saw it proper I thought "that ain't going to fit in my landing net". Well eventually, this very long common carp popped up, my landing net looked stupidly small, I got the head in and half the body. Grabbed the net at either end and pulled the leviathan out! But, oh no, the screw pulls out of the landing net, I lose my grip, the carp flies out bounces on the keepnet and back into the lake...... Before I swore, or cried, I picked up the top set, and she was still on! "GEOFFFFF COME AND HELP!!!"  Geoff passes me one of my spare nets and eventually the carp is back in netting range, Geoff swears as he sees it. Here we go again, scoop, lift, grab, hug, struggle, etc. I finally got it in the keepnet. I was just so happy that I could not care if I did not catch another thing, I knew I had my first 20lb carp.

I did manage another carp from the pallet, and hooked one by the bush to my left, but it snagged me in the bush and I chickened out from there. Match over.

I heard from Glenn how many fish he had and others so I couldn't see me getting any money, but no worries on that. When Steve arrived with the scales all I was focused on was what this common weighed. I think I had 10lb of silvers, and my total weight was 90lb, which turned out to be just 4lb less than Steve Jackson who took second on the lake and last money, so I was third after a better last few hours, but there you go another mistake should have fished for carp lol.

Oh and the common, well Steve said it was a spawned out female, and it weighed 21lb exactly, my pb and certainly satisfying to land on a pole. Here she is.

A great end to the holiday. All of the lads picked up a couple of times during the trip. Gordon had another good day coming second of peg 110. Mark Wynne won off peg 116!  On 115 was Steve Seagar, I told him before the match how I caught late on, he never had a bite on that, he was doing just as bad as me the day before and then caught 8 decent carp late on,

Last night of the holiday, chucked all the gear straight back in and up the Unicorn for another nice meal. The Cider flowed well that night, with me not finding my bed until sometime past 1am. A great holiday, and cannot wait to be back next year. On the first day of the hol, one young angler "questioned" why come to Viaduct for a holiday when I only live up the road. I didn't feel the need to reply to that, but I knew the answer/s.  1) If distance from home is how we measure a "great" holiday then let's all go to New Zealand, 2) Many people say Viaduct is one of the best fisheries in the UK, and the fishing is great. 3) The lodge is superb, 3) The environment is peaceful, tranquil and to my liking, 4) Somerton has pubs (and an Indian) that sell Thatchers Gold. 5) Steve Long is a gentlemen and takes time out to chat, and engage with you. 6) It's not far from home lol!

I feel a bit like Worzle Gumnidge (who remembers him) now, I have to change my head. This and the next weekend I will be fishing the Avon at Keynsham. Lots of work to do and little time to do it. A simple match would be nice, I fancy a waggler peg, or bream peg, please let it be so.

Holiday Day 5 - Short Pole Match Campbell Lake

Been a bit busy with work and really just to hot to do anything once I get home, so catching up on blogs still!

Wednesday last week at Viaduct, started with a nice and tasty cooked breakfast in M&M cafe in Somerton. With weather getting warmer I took 2 litres of drink with me for this match and plastered myself in factor 50 sun cream. I really hoped for a draw on the near bank (pegs 110 to 119) as I thought this might be best (and it has shade), last year on this match I drew 112, but this year 113 was also in so that would negate its margin advantage. Anyway into the tin and out comes 115, happy with that but I would have really run to 116 or 118 as 117 was not pegged.

Onto the peg, which is out in front of its neighbours and I hoped this would give me a little advantage. On 114 was a lad on holiday from the other lodge, and to my right was lodge mate Gordon Cannings. As the rules were top set plus 3 sections it was not going to take long to set up. I considered options and went with 4 rigs, full length at 11 o'clock for meat on a 0.15 job with 12 PR478 to 0.165 exceed, at 2 o'clock with a 4x12 for banded pellet.  A slapper rig for anywhere (this was a waste as never had a fish on it) and a 4x10 for fishing maggot and gbait right in the edge in my hard worked landscaped margin. Note the greenish colour of the water.

Before long we were off, I started on meat long and dropped in after feeding just 2 pieces of 8mm meat. Around 2 minutes later I was playing a carp, and looking around a lot of people were. Gordon went straight in his margin to the right towards the tree, first chuck carp on elastic snapped!

I'd like to report that I the meat line sussed, but there was a distinct lack of carp activity in the area, and it was all quiet. That is until Gordon hoked his second carp, and BANG, his number 5 section snapped and he lost a top set and number 4. I managed a crucian type thingy, a tench and a couple of small skimmers on the meat, but no carp. I swung around to try the pellet line, first drop float shoots under and nothing. No more bites or signs on this so back to meat, a tiny skimmer. Hmmm first hour not so good then...

Managed to sneak out another carp on the meat second hour and a couple more silvers but it was not going to plan. Gordon wasn't doing any better after his early flurry and my other neighbour was the same. The long pellet line never produced one fish, I was amazed at that, I was feeding small amounts of 6mm pellet, normally get something. In desperation I tried dump potting some bait on a new line, thought I could keep an eye out for fizzes etc. Well the fish didn't want to know that, no fizzes and no bites, this was shite!

With just over a couple of hours to go Dave White arrived behind Gordon, and all of a sudden Gordon started catching in close, not right in by the bank but just out a bit in the deeper water. Now Gordon is usually a meat man, and I assumed that was what he was feeding. I had caught nothing yet over the gbait line, and thought I better get a rig for fishing like Gord. I found to my left was a deep spot close to a point, and the same depth to my right was about a metre out from the bank. I fed meat by hand into these spots. All I got was roach taking the meat on the hook, even double meat was destroyed.

An hour to go with 3 carp for 21lb on my clicker and about 10lb of silvers and Gordon giving me an ass whipping I was pretty down in the dumps, and Dave would not tell me what I was doing wrong lol! Then Gordon snaps another top set, and now he is scratching his head as he's not got the right gear. I felt sorry for him as he was on fish and doing well, so I gave him my margin pole and said do me a favour and catch some fish on it as I cannot, plus you owe me a pint. Now my margin would be much stronger than what Gord was using, and he was soon happily catching and feeling much more in control. My good deed was worthwhile, as I saw that Gordon was not feeding his beloved meat but instead 8mm pellet.

Back to my peg, start feeding pellet on my two deep margin lines instead of meat, put a hair rig hook length on. Two minutes later I hooked my first carp, then another......  Safe to say I had really cocked up on a potential match winning peg, hey ho lesson learned. I ended up with I think about 85lb on the day and had close to 50lb of carp in the last hour. Gordon indeed whipped my ass and came 2nd with 140lb, being beaten by young Joe McMahon on peg 135, well done him. Gord said had had my margin pole set up from the off he would have won as he lost loads. I was pleased for Gord as the previous 4 days he caught very little.

Sorry cannot remember now who won the silvers, oh maybe it was Mike Nicholls lol. Anyway back to the lodge and a couple of cans and some rig tying before we went to the local Indian restaurant. I must say the food was absolutely brilliant, very tasty. It was a laugh for me as Geoff had tried 3 pints of a cider called "Stan" in the Unicorn, and this stuff had quite an effect on him, I'll say no more.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Holiday Day 4 - Annual Visit To Acorn

It was a bit of a struggle getting up early, that said for some reason my body clock had me waking up every day of the holiday around 5:30 am, I've no idea why, may have been the light coming into the room, may have been Glenn's snoring.

Got myself ready and Glenn loaded his car with his and my gear as got my daily routine on the loo done. We were headed to the Bridge Inn Hotel which is close to the fishery and is used by many of the visiting anglers. Breakfast is good value and it was very popular indeed. As we arrived at the fishery I spied Charlie Barnes who was down to watch a bit of fishing, good to see him out and about, I also saw Mark Thomas (son of Jim) who have not seen for many a year, as well as all the Viaduct regulars such as Ray Bazeley, Mike Chapman, Eddie Wynne, Gabe Skarba, I could go on!

I like this venue, and I would fish it more if I could but it seems opens are not on Sundays (well not for my age group) and so this was my first visit back since the holiday last year. I would like to have drawn on the island, peg 5, or on a bridge. However, I could not believe it when I pulled out 31 the same peg I had last year! Geoff Francis also pulled the same peg he had last year, 27, what are the chances of that!

When I got to the peg I noticed straight away that it looked different, I had been told the lakes had been trimmed back, and in some cases a shelf cut out, and certainly those spiny grasses were much reduced and I had a couple of bare bank spots I could fish to. I walked around to them and cut back the plants that were above the bare areas to make life easy today. View from my peg looked something like this. (That's Gabe's new van, the bright coloured one!)

For company today I had Mike Chapman on Bridge peg 33 (no surprise there lol) and Adriano Mercato on peg 29. I had never met Adriano before but his girlfriend made me laugh when she drew his peg and immediately apologised to him as it has been poor area.

Last year when I had this peg I had a torrid time with foulers and caught well for one spell which got me into the frame. I hoped being able to get to the bare bank might lessen the foulers today. I put a 4x10 rig up with 0.16 to 18 PR36 for fishing in 12" of water to the middle bare bank as this was a fairly flat area. The other bear bits were in my opinion to shallow or not flat, but to the right it was flat about a metre out from the bank and 12" deep. I set up a rig for the margins where I planned to feed gbait and dead maggots. That was it I was going to pin my faith in these approaches.

On the whistle I fed probably no more than 30 4mm pellets over with a pot to the middle bare bank tight in, and to the right where I had 12". I then put a 6mm hard pellet in the band and shipped over, feeding lightly with a catapult was all I was going to do. The reason for light feeding was two fold; 1) I thought this might reduce foulers, 2) With signs of spawning and hot weather I didn't think heavy feeding was going to be right. When I had my first bite and I hooked a carp I awaited for the elastic to ping back, but it didn't, first fish was in the mouth! In fact the first hour was pretty steady with most carp hooked in the mouth and I had 21lb on the clicker and happy with that. The next 30 mins things got slower and by the time the two hour mark came I was on 34lb but now struggling to get bites. Till now the middle bare bank had caught all bar one of my fish. At this stage Lewis Jones on 33 had been bagging, and I could see Tony and Ray on the Island catching well. Geoff on 27 was blanking.

The next hour was pants, I might have had one fish out and certainly lost a few foulers, I think at this point I was feeding too much bait, trouble was if I fed nothing I had no signs, feed something I got fish in the peg but they would not take the hook bait. I cut back to feeding the odd dozen pellets, and then eventually with about 2 1/2 hours to go it was like a switch was flicked on and I started to get regular bites and fish in the mouth and fairly motored for an hour. Then just like that the last hour came and back to few indications and odd fouler, the margin line only gave me two F1's and a small carp, but I do think I fed this too heavy and not with the right bait. This is because Mike on 33 started catching carp in his margin on maggot where he had fished for silvers. Once again a bad last hour was I was sure going to cost me, frustrating but I will say I caught much more than I thought I would from the peg. Not long before the end Geoff had his first carp, well it caught him really. He was tying rigs with his pole across his knee with a rig in the margin, the next thing he knew his pole was in the lake! Luckily it stuck under the next pallet and Geoff got the pole and the fish out to avoid a blank lol!

Match over and whereas usually it is the carp that seem to know it is "feeding time" today it was chickens, and they all of a sudden appeared behind me including this clucker.

I knew I wasn't going to win this match but was hoping to scrape in the frame, word was Tom Thick was an easy winner, but I knew Tony, Ray, Steve Shaw and Lewis had plenty, Gabe on 24 did too.

I had about 90lb on my clicker, but after over estimating yesterday I said I had 80lb+, when Lewis weighed in 81lb 3 I hoped I had more, and I did with my weights totalling 94lb 5oz. Now I had to wait for news of everyone else. Eventually I was confirmed as coming 4th, last in the frame, with Tony Rixon pipping me by 10oz for 3rd. Tom Thick won from peg 21 with 153lb 15oz, and Ray Bazeley on peg 5 (next to Tony) came second with 101lb 11oz.

I enjoyed the day, and I felt more in tune with what was happening than I did the previous day on Lodge lake. That said this fishing the far bank with pellet is similar to that I did at Cider Farm many years ago, and I had a lot of success at that venue.

After the match we had plenty of food in the Brent Knoll Carvery, and a couple of cold lagers were just what I needed to cool down. Back at the lodge it was a quick shower and back up into town for more pints not getting back till, well no idea actually, but it was bloody dark walking back to the Lodge lol.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Holiday Day 3 - Lodge Boys on Lodge

A bit of a lie in on Monday was nice after a few ciders the previous night, we had a breakfast in Somerton in the M&M cafe and were going to fish Lodge 12 to 6pm. Steve Long gave us pegs from 59 round to 69 which avoided the pleasure anglers who were already there. To be honest I needed to some prep for the match we had the next day at Acorn, and as this was a knock up it was none to serious in my book. I hoped therefore to draw a peg where I could chuck the lead out for a while and do some rigs and maybe nod off lol.

I pulled out peg 64, the Monk, not drawn this peg for a very long time but I could chuck the lead out on it to the end bank. I would also set up a margin rig to fish banded 8mm pellet at about 14m up the bank. I did a bit of gardening here as best I could but I could not get close enough to reach some over hanging branches which would have made striking a little easier. I discounted any lines in front of me in the open water, probably due to tiredness and probably a mistake. A margin to my left was fed but did not offer any bites all day. Woody was opposite me on peg 66 (a peg I have never drawn) and just before the start he decided to loose feed one of his keepnets but he did manage to retrieve it.

I began the match on the lead with an 8mm pellet, and fed a few of the same to the end bank, I also fed 6mm pellets into the margin. Before the line had tightened on the lead Mike Nicholls on 62 had hooked a carp which turned out to be a double. I was soon grabbing my rod as it banged round, and I held on and tried to pull the fish out of the corner. It was a common about 4lb, the ones that are rocket fuelled! It was about 10 mins later when I had a similar fish in the net, and then a nice 3lb tench. A Good start but then this died and I couldn't get any signs. I tried the long margin line but it was clear there were no carp in the area when I had few hybrids and a 1lb tench. Unfortunately about now the wind which was blowing into the corner and filling me with confidence for later in the match, blew a lot of willow herb all sorts of leaves etc into my margin. During the match I made 8 or 10 visits to the margin with the landing net in an attempt to make a clear spot, but I was fighting a losing battle.

Woody had a good few carp in the net after a good first hour on paste and I was a long way behind him, Mike only had a couple of carp and it looked slow for most. I decided it was time to tie some rigs so chucked the lead out again, but halfway through the first rig round went the rod. I had another three carp and a decent hybrid on the lead in an hour, all the while making rigs and then applying sun tan lotion. Again the lead line died on me and never came to life again.

I spent the last two hours searching the margins and clearing the scum. First drop in and I had one and it felt like a good un, I played it for quite a while and I saw it was a fat mirror, around 13lb I reckon, just when I thought it was ready for the net I gave an extra pull and the carp flicked its head back and snapped me. I had a feeling there and then that would cost me. It was never solid in the margin, but I had odd fish on and off, not sure the scum clearing helped nor getting the odd rig stuck in the branches.

When the match had finished I had 15 carp and reckoned I must have close to a ton, Woody had similar and Mike only had 5 large carp and a few silvers. However, it was obvious to me that Glenn would be the winner as he had seemingly had a carp a chuck for the last two hours.

As it turned out the lost carp did indeed cost me, I would have been second with it, as it was I only beat Gordon who had 74lb on on 68. My fish went much less than I thought at 88lb 7oz. My 15 carp went nigh on 78lb, whilst Mike's 5 carp went 71lb and with his silvers he beat me by 10oz. Woody then had 91lb 7oz which gave him second. Geoff caught late in his edge for 91lb and Glenn won with 25lb of skimmers in the first 4 hours and 99lb of carp in the last 2 hours! I tried to rationalise what went wrong today, and won't blame the scum, not making up a paste rig for out in front was probably a mistake, as was bullying the lost big carp.

It was going to be an early start the next day to get up to Acorn so we decided to stay in and get a Chinese takeaway, though I'm not sure getting off to bed at midnight with a belly full of Thatchers Gold was going to help..... Still the grub was good.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Holiday Day 2 - Float Only Landsend Fishery

Up quite early Sunday morning as I had drive to Landsend, Mike and Gordon were also fishing this match, but Glenn, Geoff and Woody went to Summerhayes. On the way to Landsend I had a red van behind me and I soon realised it was Nick Chedzoy. That was handy as I was totally relying on my sat nav and when Nick turned off left on a road I reversed back and followed him. We drove through some lovely landscapes but the roads were, well barely roads in places lol.

At the fishery I had one of  their breakfast which was to be the first of 5 for me this week. I was standing in today, I think it was for Adrian Jeffery, as I could not commit to this league due to too many dates clashing. Never sure which lake to draw on, though I would say I seem to do better on Match with lake 3 my least successful. Well I got my wish getting peg 6 on Match, but many people were turning their noses up at it due to having 5 and 7 in, but a couple were saying it could be good, hmm.

Got to the peg to see I had the point of the island, but I could not fish it due to large foliage in the water as you can see. I opted to slap a rig in the open water and fish to the  right of the foliage against the island which my neighbour on peg 7 said was fine.

My five peg section had Gordon on 1, Pete Notton on 3, Rich Lacey on 5 and a chap called Pete on 7. Things got off to a bad start when my rod holdall zip split open and I could not close it at the bottom,. Then I went to apply sun cream and took off my hat which I had perched my sunglasses on, sunglasses are now in the silt of peg 6. Ah well onto setting up. A 4x12 rig for meat at 5m was set up, I tend to use 0.165 exceed to a 12 PR478 for this. A 4x12 rig for pellet at 9m where I was going to try to catch some silvers, a 4x10 rig for the island (it was that shallow the float was pushed down to the hook length not) and a rig for slapping which never so much as trembled. I was concerned I was going to a battering off Rich as his island was alive with carp!

I began at 9m where I carefully toss potted in a few 4mm pellets and had a 6mm pellet in the band. I soon had a bite but the amount of elastic streaming from the pole told me it was a carp. Taking my time on the light gear I was able to land a 4lber. A couple of small roach were the only silvers I had, but then I landed another carp. A quick look on meat was only met with roach, so it was off to the island as Rich had taken a couple over there. I had fed some 6mm pellets over there and could see the odd carp moving, so I was not surprised when the float soon disappeared and carp no 1 was in the net. After 30 mins here I had another 3 carp and I was really happy and thoughts were of a good day. Well that was a case of jumping the gun as the carp became incredibly cagey and I had nothing for an hour or so.

I went for a walk and my section was really tough with everyone else only having at most 3 carp. Rich was having his head done in by all the carp showing themselves by the island but not taking his bait. I had some gbait with me (had been in the freezer for ages) and so I decided to put some of that in across as I could not catch on pellet. I changed the hook to a 12 PR478 and fishing either a worm or bunch of dead maggots I had a couple of quick fish before it was a long wait to fool one, but at least I was catching now. I noticed a fizz on my meat line near the end and I dropped in on this and had 2 carp but lost one which snagged me about 11m out in front of peg 7. One thing I did today was to fish about 4 feet of line above the float on the island rig to keep the pole away from the carp. However, it was noticeable that at times they were still spooked, because you could sit waiting for a bite and see no fish activity, and then if you came off the island within a minute carp would be back in feeding.

At the end I thought I had 70lb, nobody else in my section was admitting to much more than 30lb so the section win looked likely. My weight was confirmed (once I had managed to retrieve a snagged keepnet) as 80lb 12oz and did indeed win the section comfortably. I could not trouble the frame, and once again Tony Rixon and Trig showed their class by coming first and second.

When I got back to the Lodge I was surprised to see that Geoff, Glenn and Woody were already back, it turned out that Summerhayes had fished pretty pants with people struggling for a handful of fish. Geoff did manage to get a few and framed so we had a few ciders that night to celebrate.

The Annual Viaduct Holiday - Day 1

After a couple of weeks of not fishing, and hence no blogs, I was really looking forward to this week of fishing. I met up on Saturday morning with the lads (Glenn Bailey, Geoff Francis, Mark Woodington, Mike Nicholls and Gordon Cannings) at Viaduct, they had all met for Breakfast first but I wanted to go later after celebrating my eldest daughter's 21st Birthday.

The first day's match was on Campbell lake and it was a pole only affair with a limit on the pole length of 13 metres. I drew peg 129 which I was more than happy with as I would be able to fish next to the spit as you can reach it with 13m. On peg 130 was Woody and on the other side of the spit was Alex Murray. I walked out on the spit to clear about a bit of foliage and walked into a bramble strand that cut my nose, ouch. I set up a rig to fish meat at 5m, banded pellet at 13m and a rig for banded pellet by the spit. My plan was to start at 13m feeding very small amounts of 6mm pellets, whilst feeding 8mm pellets to the spit. I was hoping to catch a mixture of silvers and carp at 13m, but after the first hour I had landed one fouled carp and lost seven! Woody was fishing paste and only had two carp and had also lost a lot of foulers. The carp were not shallow, these foulers were hooked on the bottom, so they were a pain.

I had a quick look short after an hour but nothing was doing there, so I went to the spit as I had seen a number of anglers catch in their margins. The fish were obviously there as the first time I put the rig in it danced around a bit. I soon had a carp in the net and the next 90 mins were great fishing with regular bites but it gradually slowed and then there were no indications at all. The remaining match for me was a struggle and the last hour really did not get better. The only place I could occasionally get a bite was on the end of the spit. The wind got up really bad early on and it made holding the pole hard, and a few plants got blown into the swim which caused me difficulties on the spit, and a few lost hook lengths. I lost a carp close to the end which got into one of the plants and snapped the line. I had over 100lb on my clicker at the end of the match but I couldn't see me doing well with that.

It turned out Alex had won the match on the other side of the spit with 223lb, he must have realised he had some fish in his swim because before the match began he went looking for spare nets. Jack Billet had 167lb from 118 and Ash Tompkins was 3rd on 115 with 166lb.  I finished 9th with 130lb 13oz, with Woody scraping the ton next to me. Performance of the day for me was from Mark Jefferies who drew peg 135. Mark has not fished for about 15 years, and used to be my team captain, and he had 105lb, fair play.

After the match we picked up the keys to the lodge and set about settling ourselves in, well we actually filled the fridge with bait, beer, cider and cheese! These lodges are out of this world, well kitted out and very comfortable and relaxing, and of course the surroundings are simply amazing.