Sunday, 30 July 2017

Matchfishing Team Qualifier, Warwickshire Avon Evesham

A few weeks ago, I had a text from team mate James Carty, and at the time I must have been distracted by something, or under the influence. He asked me if I wanted to fish this team match at Evesham, for some reason I said yes anything to help the team. Turned out I was the last angler to say yes and so we had a team. Now in case you did not know Evesham used to be a mecca for river anglers, and the fishing good, but for many years it has been very hard and very tough fishing. I have watched anglers who fish it regularly such as Shaun Bryan, Mike Martin Davis and Trevor Chalk post their results on Facebook, and a large part of the time it is not good, 2lb to 3lb is good, anything more than that mega.

Sunday morning up early and I have packed the kitchen sink, it is not a bad drive to Evesham, M5, A46 and you're there. I have actually never fished here before, so had to follow instructions to get to the draw, it was next to the famous restaurant at Hampton Ferry.

The rest of the team arrived, James, Ian Pauley, Colin Dance and Tom Morretti. Ian had been very useful getting some information before the match and he knocked me up a 6gm flat float. Trevor Chalk had also given me a very good run down on main methods, so I felt as prepared as I could be. We were last but one team to draw, so only choice of two pegs for Ian to choose from. I was placed on peg 20, which I at least knew wasn't in the deeps an area I wanted to avoid. It turned out the peg was in the Crown Fields, and I was just above the main road bridge, with 2 anglers above me in my section and the other 11 below the bridge. It was nice to park the car behind the peg, and I soon had my gear on my peg after moving an angler who thought it was peg 18 lol. The view of my peg today.

There was a nice willow tree across but there was little flow next to it sadly, as you can see the road bridge below me, which was packed with cars and angry drivers as most of the day there was serious road works going on.

I was happy enough with the peg as i had a lot of room and thought I might be able to draw some fish or at least keep a few bites coming. It was this extra room which helped me decide on my approach, a waggler with 22 to .10 to fish just past middle and down the peg, a 2gm flat float for 6m with 22 to 0.10, 4x14 strung out rig with 20 to 0.08 for hemp, a 1g pencil float with the same hook etc, and the 6gm flatty with 0.12 to 16.

Knowing the there had been a match the day before and that only 1lb 5oz had come off my peg I was going to take it very easy. We started at midday and I began by bait droppering some maggots at 6m, and fed some maggots over with the catty, and fed hemp at 13m. I was hoping to have a nice little run of fish at 6m, but it was proving tough with 3 gudgeon, 2 perch a roach and a chublet after 30 mins. I rested it and had a look on the waggler, I caught a couple of tiny chublet fry, a few bleak and a couple of 2oz chublets. It was hard to feed as the wind was hard upstream, and I missed bites regulary but think this was those tiny chublets.

Back in on the short pole and a couple more small fish and no more, I decided to feed a little bit of chopped worm and maggot here and go back on the waggler again. A few more bleak, a dace and another chublet, but all small. I then spied 4 or 5 small perch by my keepnet, well I could see the bottom four foot down it was so clear. I dropped my rig and watched the hook bait, I caught 4 1-2oz perch before they fled. Back on 6m line and a chublet on red maggot about 2oz, but no more bites, so I put a tiny bit of worm on the 22 hook, and this was a good move as I had 3 more little perch, a gudgeon and a 3oz chublet.

Two hours in and with everything a struggle it was time to try the hemp line. Well the wind was now awful and there was also a lot of streamer weed / pandocks coming down as the river picked up flow from the overnight rain. In 45 minutes I caught 3 roach on hemp, missed a few bites, but it was just not fast enough and the wind was killing it. Even though I thought there were roach there I gave up on it. I fed 2 balls of gbait with chopped worm and caster at the top of the peg at 13m, and started feeding casters with the hemp in the hope of getting the odd roach later down the peg.

I took some more small fish on the waggler, and then went out on the 6gm flatty, after sitting there for about 10 mins I was just thinking of going back to the wag when the float dipped, and then it slowly sank from view, fish on. I knew straight away it was an eel, and netted it safely as it wasn't huge at about 7oz, but my biggest fish by far. No more bites on this so I fed more worm and caster but this time with the bait dropper. I tried the pole line a few times with the hemp rig and 1 gm float, all it threw up was a couple of small roach / chublets on a maggot, but waste of time really. I had another eel about 4oz 30 mins to go and a few more bits on the waggler. Match over and I hoped I had 2 1/2lb.

The lads above me said they had really struggled and were only admitting to a 1lb, and when they weighed in they had 1lb 7oz and 1lb 4oz.  It made me laughed when I weighed in as the people on the scales and walking down were really impressed with my net of fish, one even said I was a hero, lol. Anyway my fish weighed a huge 3lb 7oz and as Trevor had told me try to catch 2lb to 3lb I was happy with that. I did not bother to follow the scales down as there were lots of people behind me in a kiddies playground. However, the lad below the bridge told me he had 2lb and the lad below 3lb, and said I would do well in the section.

Back to the results and I was the first one back in the team, they have a big whiteboard in the draw "office" and I could see every anglers weight on every peg in A section, where Colin had 8 points out of 14 with a level 2lb. Then my section was written up and I was winning it with the last two pegs to go, pegs 35 and 36, these two smashed though with 5lb and 5lb 4oz, so third in section and job done for the team. Soon after Ian Pauley came back, he was second in his section with 3lb 4oz, and things were looking good. Tom Morretti in the last section had weighed 2lb and was joint 3rd, but sadly James Carty had really struggled in the deeps and had 40 tiny fish for 9oz and only beat one angler.

As a team we came 5th, we were I think 3 points behind 3rd place which you needed to qualify for the final. I was really chuffed to find out that the two anglers who beat me both framed, and so I got the £60 section money by default, happy days. Today was always going to be rock hard, I knew that and tried to get my head in the zone, having never fished the place before it was a bonus to get a pick up, I never had a pike take a fish which I'm sure helped. All that said I won't be rushing to get back here, not when the fishing on the Bristol Avon is so much better, but I can see why people go to Evesham, easy access and platforms and a test of character.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Riverfest Qualifier Bristol Avon Newbridge

Well the day finally arrived where I would have a chance to get to a big money final, the Riverfest. However, there was the small matter of 59 other anglers who also had a chance too, and some very good anglers would be fishing; Hadrian Whittle, Dave Harrell, Mark Downes, Steve Hemmingray, Clive Branson, Andy Power and many others plus a lot of local lads. I took breakfast at Wetherspoons in Hanham again, and when I got to the draw at 9:25 the car park was rammed! The draw was 10am but it seemed a lot of anglers thought it was 9am and had been there early lol.

Chatting with Warren Bates, Graham, Hunt, Mat Challenger and others we all knew where we wanted to draw and that would be a bream peg, 49 to 61 was going to be good, plus the end of the straight 36 to 40, but with a bit of colour in who knows where they might show. I was in the draw queue quite early and saw Callum Dicks get 52, one away from where he was last week and next to peg 50 that won, he would surely do well there today. I pulled out peg 30, not great, only 3 1/2lb came off it last week and it's not really the bream peg it used to be. However, there might be a few bream around and with decent bream pegs in my zone (the end of the straight) I would have to go for bream.

I drove to the pump house and sat in the car for 30 minutes as it was pissing down with rain. The start of the match was not until 12:30 and it would not take long to set up so I tried to stay dry. When I finally got to the peg the rain started again and so the phone was kept hidden and no photos again today. Peg 30 has a lovely flat bottom in the water so nice and easy to get the box in. I set up the obligatory groundbait feeder with 14 PR355 to 0.148 exceed and hoped that would be the main thing used today. I also set up two pole rigs a 2gm with 18 to 0.10 and a 4g flat float with 16 to 0.12. Everything was basically revolving around me catching bream and skimmers as I could not see a net of roach winning the zone. My peg had a nasty snag on the pole line, it was just down stream and during the match if I strayed to near it it was end of hook length. At midday I was still sorting things out when Steve Nadin next door on 28 threw in a ball of gbait, I shouted out immediately and no more gbait went in, he came up and and said he thought it was midday start as per the ticket, but at the draw it was announced it was 12:30. He was absolutely gutted and worried he would be disqualified, but I said don't worry about it just get your head sorted and carry on.

At 12:30 we all balled it in, and I put plenty of casters and chopped worm in the 14 balls, I then had 15 casts on the gbait feeder to get some bait in over there. I thought I would have an early look on the pole to see what was about, but it was not that great with hybrids, perch and roach but all less than 2oz. I tried bigger baits and worm but all to no avail, so not wanting to carry on with bits I gave the feeder a go. It was a bite a chuck on this from small chublets and perch, not the fish I wanted but I was casting in regularly and getting bait in. Then on the hour the tip did a bit of dance and I struck to feel a better fish, it was a skimmer nudging 2lb and that got me encouraged. No more followed and it was back to small fish. I then was told that Steve below me had a 5lb bream on the pole, and then I heard his pole snap.  I went back on the pole but just like before it was just the odd small fish, the flat float would sit nicely but wouldn't go under.

The wind got up and blew as usual up the straight, at the same time the river stopped flowing and lots of floating debris got stuck in front of me, meaning I had to stick with the pole until it cleared. Eventually it cleared and back out on the feeder but nothing was doing, just a long wait for a bite from a chublet or perch. I tried going out with really big baits but never had a pull. The angler above me was Kev Bennett and he came down and said he had 2 bream on the feeder in the first hour, and nothing since, and he said Steve had another bream on the pole and had lost one. I was getting beat both sides and seemed to be using anti bream gbait lol.

I really cannot say much more cos it never happened for me, I never had a sign of a bream and just kept getting small fish despite ploughing the bait in. In the last hour the rain returned and was torrential, I was soaked right through by the end of the match. I pulled my net in and chucked back 7lb+ which was a long way short of a good weight today. I packed up and chatted with Dave Stiff and a few other anglers who were walking about or going home early like Callum who not had a bream again, I was soon home and drying things off.

From what I can tell Hadrian Whittle won the match from peg 50 (he drew this peg the last two matches for Kev Dicks who won both times!) where he had about 9 bream on the flat float. I think the angler on peg 3 in the little field who had 33lb would have won my zone and come 2nd. The zone in the trees was won by Mark Downes I think with just 8lb. Warren Bates passed this info on to me as he had gone to the results, he had 19lb from last peg in the little field which won him the section by default and he was 6th overall, good from that peg.

Well the run is over, not surprising really, but fun while it lasted. I made the right decision going for bream and would have needed 6 or 7 to do any good. Next week could be another struggle as I am fishing a team match on the Warwickshire Avon at Evesham. That places gets hammered and in some sections 3lb is mega..... Not really expecting much as I've never fished it before but as ever I'll give it my best shot.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Viaduct Fishery Costcutter

I had this day booked off a long time ago but was not sure where I would fish. Glenn fancied Viaduct but I fancied elsewhere as I'd not done so well there recently and wanted to keep my run of results going. We tried Shiplate but that was full up and was also full up next week they told me, so on Wednesday Glenn booked us in at Viaduct.

Glenn picked me up at 7:30am and we had already worked out that we would not be able to get all the gear and two trolleys in the car, and so we only took one Preston shuttle. We had breakfast in Cannards Well and seems there are different owners in here since I last visited, very friendly they were and the breakfast was very good. We got to Viaduct just after 9:15 and time enough to get the gear out ready. Turn out was very good, I think 41 anglers, and Steve had spread the pegs out over Campbell, Carey and Lodge. I had no clue what peg to draw, but there were a few I wanted to avoid. Into the tin and I had two tickets firmly stuck together, removed one and hoped I kept the right one, it was peg 59 on Lodge. I've not had the best of times on Lodge in the past but this was a peg I was happy with as it has options and peg 60 was left out. I've got no pictures today as I left my phone at home, doh!

Got to the peg and the aerator was on so no chatting today. I set up a lead rod, a paste rig for 11m, a 4x12 rig for the right hand margin by the pallet with 0.16 exceed to 18 PR36, and 0.15 float with the same gear on for fishing to the tree on my left where it was about 3ft deep.

I started on the lead with a 8mm pellet in the band, but fed my paste line and threw a few 8mm pellets into the inside lines. Within 10 mins I had a 5lb carp in the net, and next chuck I had a 2lb skimmer. 15 mins later a pull round and drop back and a carp was on, but it fought very hard and it felt fouled. It was, in the pectoral fin, and I landed a near 10lb common. I hooked another soon after but it came off, after this I never had another bite on the lead.

Time to try the paste, it was slow going and there was no fizzing so not a lot of fish about. However, I could catch 6oz skimmers on it, but I was missing loads of bites and kept feeding pellets to try and draw a carp in. I had a better skimmer on the paste, but I was just thinking of trying the lead again when I had the first positive bite and carp on. Now this fish pulled a bit and I am sure I was bottomed out at one stage, but everything held and after what must have been 15 mins I reversed a common carp that must have been 16lb to 18lb, Adrian Jeffery opposite me gave a round of applause, that was a result landing that one! It was a one off and back to small skimmer bites.

Another try on the lead was a waste, and I had an early look by the tree which was also a waste of time. Everything was a struggle and as far as I could see the only people catching were on peg 64 and the lad on 62 was catching silvers. I had a very barren hour with just the odd little skimmer on the paste, then about half way through I had two carp on the paste, both doubles and that was my first net filled. The skimmers piled back in on the paste and frustrated the hell out of me although I had a few. Another look by the tree and another lack of interest, though I did think I would not catch here till late. Still I took a look up by the pallet where it was about 2 feet deep. Instantly I had bite and hooked a carp, if felt heavy and plodded on and on and off, where's my rig? Ummm elastic snapped......

New top set out and new rig, and back by the pallet, I soon hooked another carp and got this one out, again a lump. Couldn't get another, and so back on paste to rest it. Back to pallet, lump on, in the net. Less than two hours to go and still the tree swim would not give me a bite, but I had to rest the pallet as everytime I did and went back in I would hook a carp. I lost a coupler of foulers by the pallet but not sure I could help that and I had a few more big carp out. Hour to go and let's try by the tree again, boom, carp, hang on drag it out (on my Beastmaster pole) and another double. I had 2 big skimmers here and more carp, 2 net filled. The pallet peg seemed to go off and so I concentrated on the tree now, the carp were here now, and every drop in would result in an indication, I filled a third net and with 15 mins left stuck a 4th in. I had two more carp with the last one being hooked a few seconds before the all out (those last two weighed 18lb and give you some idea of the stamp of fish I had).

I was not sure what I had cos I was really wondering how big some of the carp I had were, I clicked the big un at 20, and must have clicked at least four at 15lb. I kept thinking I have over estimated or underestimated and gone over in a net? In the end I think I did OK as I never went over in a net, Steve Long weighed me in, my skimmers went 14lb 2oz and may carp 192lb exactly, so 206lb 2oz. Nice.

The lad on my right Rob Eagle had a great day on the silvers and he managed 50lb of skimmers a cracking net, and he was top with that. The payouts on this match are done by lake, and as I had won my lake I would get the winners money for it. However, it turned out I had won the day and so was also into the all winners final later in the year.

1st Me  206lb 2oz
2nd Ian Willets  199lb 6oz (peg110 Campbell)
3rd Phil Weaver 190lb 12oz (peg 94 Carey)
4th Glenn Bailey 174lb 13oz (peg 74 Carey)
5th Norman Sterry 169lb 7oz  (peg 85 Carey)

1st Rob Eagle 50lb 15oz
2nd John Bradford 31lb 9oz (peg 97 Carey)
3rd John Barker 31lb 8oz (peg 100 Carey)

Well double bubble in the car (Glenn caught on Paste wouldn't you know and he picked up 5 times on the trot now) and a couple of tired but happy anglers drove home. I am now on the best run of my life, who knows why but as we all know in fishing you've got to roll with the good and bad times. This Sunday it is the riverfest, a 60 peg match on the river at Newbridge, it would really be unbelievable for the run to continue and me to get in, the drawbag will decide if I have a chance or not, but if we get more rain it could be a decent match.

Sheets are below, Glenn took the pics so blame him ;-)

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Open Match Bristol Avon Newbridge

My trio of consecutive matches this weekend culminated with an open on the river. Saturday night was spent changing over all my hooks and rigs as well as rods and top sets and mixing gbait. Still if you are going to enter a match you have to be prepared as best you can. Unfortunately my night was a bad one with something upsetting my stomach and I spent from 3am to 5am going back and forth to the loo. When I woke up at 8am I thought about texting Kev Dicks to cancel, but as I got up and about I decided I would be OK. I went to Hanham for breakfast first and then came back home and loaded up the car.

The main reason for fishing this match was as a practice for next weeks Riverfest but I was always happy to fish a first match at Newbridge in the hope of some bream. That said I would have to take the kitchen sink, but I did say to Glenn after yesterday I would happily take a bream peg and fish the feeder all day to have a rest. lol. We all parked up on the side of the river before the pumphouse, there were not that many people which surprised me really, though one lad had come from Bradford to practice for next week. The pegging was from 16 (where I was parked) to peg 56.When the draw began Hadrian Whittle drew peg 50 for Kev Dicks (that's four times Hadrian has drawn that peg) and then drew himself peg 16. I couldn't believe it when I drew peg 56, longest walk, but then end peg and a chance of bream. I had for the first time a four wheel shuttle and it made the walk so much easier for me. In between me an Kev on peg 54 was England International Callum Dicks.

Finally at my peg, it was bloody hot and I was glad I had 2 litres of drink with me as I was going to have to do a bit of bankside clearance, see pic....

Well after a bit of hacking I could see the route down to the river, and I could get my box in the water and fish nice and comfortably. I set up a feeder rod with 14 PR355 and 0.148 exceed, also a waggler with a 20 to 0.11. I knew this peg would have the flow over the furthest half of the river, but still tried a pole rig at 13m, but when it just sat there and did not move I put the rig back on the winder and put the pole away. Sat on my box I looked at the view and took in my options.
On the all in I cast out a groundbait feeder containing casters and chopped worm, I put 3 red maggots on the hook and as expected had bites from small fish straight away, roach, chublets and perch. After 20 mins I had a proper pull round and a solid pull on the rod when I struck, it was bream. I was really quite surprised to catch one so early, and at about 4lb it was a great start. After this it was soon back to regular bites from tiny fish. A worm on the hook would get me bites from perch, red maggot bite from roach or chublets, but none were much bigger than 2oz.

About 90 mins into the match I had a quiet spell and thought maybe the bream had moved in, a decent bite and heavy fish made me think I was right, but it was a perch of 12oz+, but not long after this I did have another bream on 3 red maggots. After this bites dried up and it was a struggle for me, I even tried the waggler which gave up a few roach and a bleak, but I could hardly get it to go through the swim.

I had quite a bit of company during with at least four or five people sitting and watching and talking, and I was happy with the company. I think it was about 100 mins to go when a cormarant surfaced at the bottom of my peg with a fish in its beak. I scared it off when I stood up, but soon after I started to get bites from small fish again and wondered if it had pushed fish up to me? Soon after Graham Hunt sat with me and whilst behind me saw me catch a 2 1/2lb bream and a 4lb bream in three casts. I was hopeful that this would mean more bream in the last hour, but no more materialised. Glenn came out with his grandson, and whilst behind me I had a good bite and initially thought I had another bream, and thought it was fouled. I then considered it was an eel, and if it was it was good un. After it tried to swim into the near bank I got int into the net, I think it would have been close to 2lb and was probably my biggest eel on the river. After this I just had a few more small fish as it seemed the bream had left me and the match ended, I hoped I had 20lb.

The scales arrived quickly and I was first to weigh, 21lb 2oz was my tally so a nice net, I guess the 4 bream went 14 1/2lb. All day long people had said I was winning the match but as I know only too well bream can show late at Newbridge and 20lb is possible in four casts. Well it happened today, and it was Kev Dicks who had 4 bream in the last hour to win the match with 23lb 4oz. Kev was kind enough to say that the only difference between our weights was that I had the 2 1/2lb bream when he had all 4lb+ bream. Still I could not be disappointed, no lost fish, no missed bream bites and another pick up, and in fact for the fourth consecutive match I was 2nd overall!

Third today was Starlets angler and river legend Hadrian Whittle, he did well off peg 16 to catch 14lb 13oz of small fish, and fourth was another seriously good angler Clive Branson with 11lb of bits from peg 46. After the match I had a nice chill out and a cider with Kev Dicks and Steve Hutchinson in the Boathouse, a good craic it was too. Here is a pic of Kev and some fish (not today's catch but what he had on Wednesday on peg 38).

Well that's an unbelievable weekend over for me, I certainly did not expect it to be so good, and winning nearly £300 was a nice bonus. I now need a good nights sleep, I'm not sure this luck can continue onto the riverfest but I'll go there in a good positive frame of mind.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Todber Manor Fishery Open

Waking up 6am Saturday morning was not easy after a late night and a poor sleep. but I was really excited as I was to fish a venue new to me. I have fished Todber Manors park lake before, but the new lakes (2 years new) on the main site. It was Glenn's idea to fish this, and as the rest of my family are all away on hols I thought why not. We both thought we'd struggle to do well on a venue new to us, but I tried to get some info and Mark Poppleton and Gary O'Shea were both very helpful and I thank them kindly.

The drive down was nice and we were wondering where to stop to grab a bite to eat, in the end Glenn spotted a cafe sign and we we took a look, at 8:10 it was open, but lucky for us it wasn't supposed to be open until 8:30 but the owner had forgot. A good start and a bit lucky, would it be an omen?

As we pulled into the venue car park I noticed a few faces I recognised, and the turnout was decent with I think 38 or 39 fishing. Three lakes were in Hill View, Ash and Home Ground, everyone said you couldn't win from Home Ground and that this lake only goes in when there are bigger turnouts like today. Into the draw and I pull 77 HG, Home Ground. A chat with Gary O'Shea and he said to win the lake (to get the section money) you needed to fish method feeder or pellet wag to island, but I would catch on a short pole to but lots of little fish. I remembered I would need some bait, so I grabbed some 6 and 8mm pellets.

Glenn was on ASH and I drove his car another 30m to my peg lol, it looked very nice.

I was the end peg on this bank, and in the distance past the island bang opposite me was Mike Nicholls. On the bank on my right was just the one angler, John Gray, I fancied that as he had loads of room and the wind blowing into his bank. That said I was happy with the room I had too.

I couldn't decide what to fish next to the island, and so decided to set up the pole first and think about it a bit more. I plumbed up, and on top set plus two the bottom started to level off and this would do me, a 0.4g diamond float with 0.16 to 12 PR478 was put up, I would feed meat and corn here. The margins were just 9 inches at most in close so I plumbed up at 18" on the slope with the same line and hook. I noticed that everyone was setting up method feeders, and as the wind was not that bad I decided to be different and set up a 3.5swan pellet wag for banded pellet.

10:30 and all in, I fed a pot of meat and corn at 5m fed long up my margin line, and then continually fed 6mm pellets to the island. Starting on the pole with meat on the hook it was bites straight away from the expected little tench and hand sized skimmers. I had been warned these could be a pain, so fed regularly over the top with meat and corn. I soon hit a couple of small carp, they were probably about 1 1/2lb and fought like little tigers. However, I thought the writing was on the wall early doors as John Gray was in a good rhythm on the small carp. My first hour was good though and I did have a couple of 4lb bream on the pole to go with plenty of small carp and other silvers. When it went a bit funny I gave the pellet wag a go and it wasn't easy or bagging but I did get a couple of small carp and 8lb carp before went back to the pole.

The second hour was as good as the first with small carp coming in steady, plus another couple of slabs. It slowed again and I went onto the wag again, the wind was worse and I switched to feeding 8mm pellet, and I had 4 carp on this but then it became hard so back to the pole. Sadly the pole line was just not happening, and when I did get a bite I either missed it or caught a little tench. This seemed to coincide with the wind getting up and John Gray catching even better. I thought I had 80lb halfway through but was not bagging anymore. Then as I looked behind I saw my old mate Guy Manton, he came and sat with me and as he is a local he gave me some good advice and told me I was doing well compared to others. My only problem was my arms, as I mentioned before I have damaged tendons in my forearms, and all the use of the landing net and constant feeding was taking its toll and I was suffering a fair bit of pain at times.

With 2 1/2 hours left I had upped the feeding on the pole line and the carp were back, but I suffered some foulers probably due to feeding so much. I was also now feeding next to the straw bales in the 9" of water as Guy said that was a good bet, I left my 18" fed line alone. I fed decent amounts of 6mm pellet in the left and right hand margin, and also some meat and occasional 8mm pellet for noise effect.

I spent the last two hours getting odd runs of small carp at 5m and chasing the carp that would come into the margin. I say chase because they would not stay for long and it was a case of try to catch one when it was there rather than just wait in the margin. I had quite a few fish from my right side and a few from the left, all on meat hook bait. I caught carp from 1lb to 9lb and the last 30 mins was best as you'd expect and I was playing one after the all out.

At the end of the match I thought I must have 150lb, but my clicker said 165lb + silvers, I was concerned I had misjudged the size of the fish. The scales were weighing Glenn's lake and he had a great day on the paste having 148lb for second on his lake. The scales then started with me on my lake. My silvers went 25lb 8oz, and my three carp nets 158lb 8oz for a total of 184lb, wow a busy day. Still I knew others had done well on the lake and John had over 200lb.

The match was indeed won by John Gray he had 217lb 10oz for a new lake record, well done indeed.
2nd  Me 184lb
3rd Marc Illingworth 160lb 10oz
4th Barry Robson 156lb 2oz
5th Jack Stamp 149lb
6th Glenn Bailey 148lb

Mike won the silvers with an amazing 58lb with bream up to 8lb.
I was second in the silvers and so I got double bubble and picked up £180 today, nice.

Well what a day, cannot believe that on my first trip. I got lucky as Home Ground produced the top 4 and top 3 silvers, as the owner said well done to all of us as nobody would have swapped pegs with us before the start. What a lovely venue, rammed with fish, pristine clean banks, and a great tackle shop on site. I'll be back.

Now time to swap all the gear around as Sunday I am fishing again (yep 3 days on the trot) but this time on the Bristol Avon at Newbridge on a  practice open before the the riverfest next week. A short walk please as I'm knackered, but happy.

Rovers Fans v 1982 City Fans - Windmill Fishery

Sometime ago this match was organised and I was asked if I would fish, some weeks later I was asked to be captain of the GAS and get a team of 11 anglers together. The team was :- Shaun Townsend, Mike Nicholls, Glenn Bailey. Mark Jefferies, Gary Mealing, Mark Tanner, Dave Haines, Bela Bakos, Geoff Francis and Paul Elmes. The City team were mainly club anglers it has to be said and were not rally going to compete, but they did have Martin Reyat who stood in as a late replacement.

The match was being fished over the "match" lake and "carp" lake. With the top 3 anglers on each lake to be paid out. As I held out the draw bag Bela Bakos kindly drew me a peg, and I Was going to be on the carp lake, not far from where Mike Nicholls had won the lake from lake from last week, so I was happy with that. A short drive to the peg and parked right behind it, nice. I had an island opposite and a bowl to my left, but neither of those features were going to be in my sights tonight. I say tonight as we were fishing 5:30pm to 9pm. The view from my peg, as you can see it was flat calm and sunny and I did wonder if this would make life tricky.

There must have been at least 50 canada geese on the lake, but they did not affect me today. My set up was oh so simple, a paste rig for top set plus one (same depth from here all the way out) and a hard pellet rig. That was it, and I expected to catch on paste all match. However, there was a problem, I had forgot to buy the fishery pellets, and I had no pellet on me, just paste! Nige Hawkins whose son was on the next peg to me, went back to get me some, but the cabin was locked up. Oh dear! A quick sprint round to Geoff and Bela and I cadged some 4mm and 6mm pellets off them, cheers lads. Mark Jefferies also passed some on to Nige for me.

Thankfully I was ready when the all in was shouted and fed a decent pot of pellets on my top set plus one line. Very soon the bristle of the float was shaking and twitching, and soon I had a pound carp in the net. This was the stamp of fish I expected with maybe the odd better one. The first hour was actually pretty good, I had 4 or 5 little carp and three around 3 to 4lb. This could be good then, but maybe not, the swim went dead, and all signs of carp stopped, no bubbles no twitches.

I pushed out to top set plus and fed here, I never had a fish or even a bite here, but after 20 mins a couple of bubbles showed a fish on the short line and I had another little carp. Then nothing for 20 mins then another little carp. Then nothing.  I had been pinging 6mm pellet out to 11m and tried the pellet rig over this, 1 little dig on the float was all I had here despite a couple of attempts. I tried fishing the paste way up to my left in the bowl, waste of time, nothing.

The only place I could catch was on the top set plus one, but I just had to wait for a fish to find the bait. I did start throwing some 6mm pellet into the left margin, but this was just 6 inches deep and didn't inspire me. Nige told me the lake was not fishing great, with Shaun and Bela doing better than me and Geoff doing best of all. I managed a pound carp from the margin when it showed itself, and then with 5 mins to go I saw another swirl in the shallow water, I flicked the rig in and the fish boiled again and soon after the float shot under and fish on. This was not a pounder, it was going some and my top set plus one was under real pressure, but I hung on. It was a double for sure and I just took my time as I was going to be playing after the all out. Nige came behind me and was filming me playing the fish, so he captured my 2 failed attempts of getting this long mirror into the landing net. When I did get it in and out of the water onto my lap it flapped and jumped back in the lake, but was still on. Finally I got it in, it looked like a 16lb+ lump.

The scales got round to us in the dark, and Geoff was leading with 61lb and the Bela with 39lb, I hoped I had 40lb. My little carp weighed 14lb, and my bigger carp together 33lb, so 47lb and second on the lake. The big un was 14lb+ and it was hollow so could be a lot  bigger if fed well, and it bumped me past Bela.

Well as I expected The Gas hammered the City, 530lb to 170lb, so as we say UP THE GAS!

Match lake top 3
1st Martin Rayet 103lb 12oz
2nd Paul Elmes 85lb 8oz
3rd Glenn Bailey 77lb 14oz

Carp Lake top 3
1st Geoff Francis 61lb 7oz
2nd Me 47lb 1oz
3rd Bela Bakos 39lb 9oz

We had a quick pint in the Folly and then off home to get all the gear away and sort a few things out for another match on Saturday.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Melksham Open - Bristol Avon Lacock

I had to attend a Commercial House meeting Monday night and it was during this that Jerry Pocock mentioned to me that he was fishing a match at Lacock. I have not fished there for at least 15 years, could be 20, so I had to give it a go as I have fond memories of fishing here. I got some hemp and casters ordered and would take some tares with me too. I took my pole out of the holdall and just took a couple of float rods a tip rod and a whip. This was going to help as I have been diagnosed with damaged muscle / tendons in my inner elbow, I have to do stretches etc three times a day and visit a physio, hopefully it will be sorted in 8 to 12 weeks.

Got up earlier than normal to get up to the Pig & Whistle in Melksham for breakfast. I was there nice and early and have to say the breakfast here was very nice. Marcus Crook was running the match and it was really an old boys job, the men who still like fishing running water. This was to be the first match on Lacock this season, so as most people who fish it these days are specimen anglers the small fish should feed, in theory... Marcus asked me to draw out the golden peg, and I pulled out peg 15 the end peg which was two below the road bridge,  new cut out peg I was told. Onto the main draw and I did not get 15 again, but instead peg 10 which I was told was the "conker" in the Abbey field. Marcus told me it was a peg with lots of small fish and if he had it would like to catch 15lb. He was very informative and told me to get in the water and walk up to the left and fish it from there.

If you've never been to Lacock it is a lovely place, and just up from me was the Abbey in all its grandeur.

Well it was not that far a walk from the National Trust car park and I was soon looking for my peg, found it eventually through here lol.
It looks worse than it was, there was a well worn path to the river, mainly from dog walkers and swimmers I expect, and once I got to the river I could see I was just to the left of a huge conker tree. As I peered at the river it was a steep bank with no steps, but a few tree roots and some clumps of grass would make it slightly less treacherous lol. I decided that I would set up on the top of the bank and then work out how to get everything down the bank. The river was very low and very clear, I thought I had 5 to 6 foot of depth but could still just make out the bottom of the river!

I set up a 4m to hand whip with a 1grm rig with 18 to B611, and a 3 no 4 stick float with the same hook etc. The stick float was lighter than I'd  normally use in this depth of water, but with so little flow I thought a lighter float might help me hit bites, and there was also no wind to worry about. It didn't take me long to set those rigs up, but the fun was getting into the river with my box, and then the bait, and then the gear and being happy with my lot. I got stung a fair bit by nettles on the way but ended up very comfy, I had all my gear close by and was happy, this might let you see my lot...

Ready to start at 10:30pm and off we go, feeding hemp and caster I started on the whip with a maggot on the hook (I borrowed a few maggots off Shane Caswell) and right from the off it was a bite a chuck mainly from fish of 1/2oz. I persevered as I expected little bleak and dace to be on the bait, and kept the bait going in, the river was so clear I could see the fish as soon as I struck. After an hour I had managed quite a few nice dace and some 1oz roach but these had come to caster hookbait, the bites were slowing up a bit but it was still OK. After about 90 min I spotted a big eel by my keepnet, so I chucked some maggots in close and looked back 5 mins later to see the eel eating a few. I grabbed my stick float and dropped the rig in with a maggot on the hook. I watched the eel swim over my hook but not touch it, then from nowhere a perch grabbed my bait. At about 6oz it was easily my best fish, the eel sulked off.

Back out onto the whip, but oh dear no bites at all, so out with the stick float rig. It was going through OK but if I could get a bite it was only a tiny 1/4oz fish, and the next 90 mins were a real struggle with just odd bursts of dace. I couldn't see me troubling the frame today as I was just not going anywhere. However, Marcus had said that people getting in the river above me would dirty up the water, and that had happened earlier but not for a while, and I think the clear water was doing for me. However, luck was on my side today, as the herd of cows opposite got thirsty and came into the river above me proper stirred it up. All of a sudden I started to get bites on the stick, and in the main it was fish above an ounce, I just hoped the cows would stay around a while!

I was working hard with my feeding, and altering the depth I fished and where I cast the float in the peg. If I hit a few roach (and I mean a few) in a few runs through they would move. I found a shotting pattern that let my bait fall over the last 2 1/2 foot seemed best, I could get the odd dace on the drop and sometimes a roach. I had a few roach on tares but they were no bigger than that I had on caster, and in the last hour I had three net roach on caster. The cows stayed in the water till about 15 mins from the end, which was handy, and my last 90 mins were easily my best. I never hooked a lump today, never had a pike strike, it was just a day of small fish and my elbows are aching again lol.

I had the scales and had to weight around me, the guy below me weighed me in and I had 16lb 1oz which was more than I thought. This lad then had 5lb, and below him the next angler had just under 12lb of chublets dace and a few roach. Below the bridge the golden peg had 8lb of dace and the first one below the bridge Bob Ryan had 5 chub and some dace for 17lb 9oz, he lost a couple of good chub too.

My net today.

I walked back to the car park and was feeling hot, the other lads were filtering back and word had it Bob had the top weight and Marcus had 16lb so I guessed I'd be third. Back at the pub I was glad of a pint of Thatchers Gold, it cooled me down, and Marcus who was already there told me his 16lb was just that 16lb, and so I had pipped him by 1oz to be second in the match and a pick up £65. Jerry Pocock was 4th and first out of the money with 15lb 8oz, he lost a host of big fish, any one would have won it for him. Bob was very kind to buy me a drink from his winnings, what a nice bunch of blokes they were I would love to give there match another go some time.

Well that was a very lovely day, I was sat in the shade (nice) right by the water and caught fish that had not seen a hook before, small river fishing is such fun. Though it has to be said for some they had dogs, swimmers, and courting couples in the river very close to them, but still the river fished very well. Off to Newbridge next week, an open match before the Riverfest qualifier the following week, we need rain, but not sure it will arrive.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Superleague - Bristol Avon Jack Whites, Crane and Swineford

Well as you will have now gathered after last week's effort I was picked for the team to fish this match. Good as I do like the river and it is nice and close to home. Only problem for me was when to do some prep as I was up in London for a couple of days, a works do Friday and off to Manchester to bring the eldest daughter home Saturday. You could say I was low on time and low on energy after I mixed my gbait late Saturday.

Sunday morning and back to McDonald's for the draw, another McRip off and juice and for me and a chat with the other lads in the team. Triv and Andy Ottaway had pegged it and there was some of the worst pegs in up the Crane which we normally never peg. Well surely I would not be up the Crane again this week, umm I mean well surely I would be up the Crane AGAIN this week. Funny how the same lads seem to be up Swineford again oh how I laughed. well I tried not to get bitter and twisted lol. Anyway I was in the end section at the Crane, a few pegs up from the cattle grid I was told, Tom Moretti my team mate is learning a lot from me and he also likes drawing up the Crane.

After the drive to the Crane and struggled to park up I got my kit loaded and off for my short walk. On the end peg by the cattle grid was Steve Hutchinson, I won the section of that peg last year in the same match so a decent peg. John Tocknell was next, then Gappy, and Paul Waddington of DGL was right on the bend and I was about 7 metres above him. It sounds bad, well it is short, but Paul would be fishing down the peg on the bend and I wasn't overly concerned. Last week Neil Richards had 15lb from Paul's peg. but he no angler either side.

It's about 12 foot deep here and I opted for 13m to get a bit of flow, set up 3 rigs for here, 1gm pencil with 20 to 0.09, 2gm with same, and a 4gm with 16 to 0.12 for fishing over depth. A rig for chopped worm but I only had one little un on it, a feeder not used, and a waggler with a 20 to 0.11.  I would fish a 4AAA wag about 2/3 as further over you go the less flow there is.

With the match starting at 11:30 I was ready with time to spare, the anglers above me were Ian Staines and Marc Kay in the shitty parrot cage. I mixed up 12 balls of gbait with caster and hemp and threw them in on the whistle. Straight in over with the 2gm float and 10 mins without a bite, oh dear. Eventually I started to get the odd bite from little roach but I was already on the pencil float and it was hard work to get bites. Every fish I caught was further down the peg, nowhere near the gbait and soon I was biteless, maybe a pound after 45 mins, not good. I had been feeding maggots across so went on the waggler, I think in the first 6 cast I had 3 chublets about 3 to 4oz, but these soon disappeared. I picked off the odd bleak and dace but nothing spectacular. Two hours in and the wag was slowing, so back on the pole and 8 small roach in as many drops and then nothing,

At this stage I knew Steve was catching well but apparently it was nothing special for everyone else. I discounted using the feeder thinking every fish was important. The pole line was rubbish for the next two hours, no amount of topping up worked, I was catching only on the waggler about 3 feet deep, I even had a few roach this shallow, and another chublet and a few decent dace, bleak were a pain but I stuck with it until bites dried up.

With an hour to go and the pole line still dead I fed it heavily with some bait droppers of worm and caster as a last gamble for a better fish. After a few more fish on the wag I was back on the pole with 30 mins to go, on with the 4gm and a double red maggot, a quick dip and nothing, so lifted the rig, and then a good bite, a little perch though. Back out, and after a few mins a bite, not a decent fish but a roach of 3 to 4oz, and I took another four of these roach after this to end the match on a bit of a positive note as I had not had any roach like that earlier.

It had been a very hot day, and I hoped I had 6 to 7lb, Ian above me said he might have 1lb and Paul below said he had 2 1/2lb.  I had the board and we weighed in from Steve Hutch. He had done well and had some nice roach in his 14lb 10oz, a clear section winner. John had 7lb, then Gappy 5lb. Paul had severely underestimated and had 5lb 15oz...... My turn and I was happy for the scales to read 8lb exactly which put me into second place in the section as Ian and March could only muster just over a 1lb each.

Today was a lot different to last week, I had to ball it as the bleak are prevalent here, but I could feed a waggler line today and it provided more than half my weight I suspect. All my fish were on maggot hookbait, and it was a battle to catch but not a battle against the elements!

Back at the results my team had a mixed bag of results, but we managed 2nd on the day and are second in the league 7 points behind DGL. I pocketed £50 for second in the section so that was nice.

It was clear the river had fished much harder than last week, but there were still plenty of decnt weights. I missed the framers but know that Mark Bromsgrove had 34lb of bream and skimmers and won from near where Rich Chave was last week. I think Dave Micklwright was 2nd with 18lb from a peg at Swineford.

More rain required for the river, my next match on it will be Newbridge for the Riverfest as I managed to get a ticket yesterday.