Sunday, 26 November 2017

Commercial House Round 4 Bristol Avon Newbridge

I am going to have to pad this blog out a bit, hope that doesn't deter you or give to much away. Early part of the week I was working in Munich, can't beat a Weiss beer in Bavaria. Work was full on from there on in...

Wednesday night I was playing football and at 49 you might say I'm too old, but with lads from 20 to 60 playing in this I felt middle aged. I scored two goals so happy with that, but mostly happy running around keeping fit. It absolutely pissed down after we played and when I woke up Thursday and saw the puddles I knew the river would be up. However, with no more rain the river would drop before the match.

I decided Saturday to get some more exercise and I walked to see the river at the Crane, it was well coloured but not that pacey. I got home and had walked nearly 10km and would look forward to having a nice glass of Amarone wine later.

Sunday arrives, more frost.... not good.

Nice breakfast at the Crown pub again, time for the draw and I was asked to draw for my lot, we were way down the list as we had two stand ins who were coming late. I wasn't overly impressed by the draw I got for the team if I'm honest, but fingers crossed we'd be alright. I was heading to peg 26 which was not on my list of go to pegs.

Got to my peg and my first thought was I'm going to get beat up, I'll explain. My section started on peg 22 and I hoped I'd beat Rich Whitmarsh on that peg, Andy Britt on 22A I should beat, Man of the moment Mat Challenger on 24 I thought might get some chub and he could beat me. From 28 to 36 I thought all had a chance of bream and could beat me. I wasn't being negative, just realistic, and I considered that I had to catch a couple of chub and a lucky bream to do well. Setting up was a easy, a gbait feeder with 16 PR355 to 0.14, and half heartedly a 3g pole rig and 4gm flat float.  The picture shows my minimal set up and the colour of the river.

Start of the match and I threw 8 balls of gbait at 13m, I wasn't sure this was going to be any good but I thought there might be a few skimmers over it later. A quick 10 mins here on the pole was fruitless so I picked up the feeder. I threw this nearly 3/4 way over into the flow and slightly upstream. Reason for this was the flow was here and I though I might nick a chub or two on this line. First chuck and a tremble, I reeled in a 1/2 oz roach, next chuck a better bite but I did not connect. Then a long wait with no bites, I was trying different hook baits, and at 10:50 with 3 casters on I had a good pull round and struck into a good fish. I was sure quite quickly it was a chub, and when it came in close I gave it no quarter and up popped a reasonable chub.

I would like to wax lyrical about the rest of the match but I can't. The river had switched off and as I thought the frosts had chilled the water and the fish had gone into temporary suspension. I expected to get some more bites but it never happened, and my match was over, I did go up 5 levels on candy crush though lol!  Man of the moment Mat soon realised that drawing next to me was not a good idea and he came last in the section with a 1oz perch. Sorry Mat!

I did have a walk mid match and Dave Lewis on peg 34 was winning the section with an estimated 4lb. When the match ended I had to weigh in, and Dave did win the section with 4lb 14oz, other than 1 perch Dave caught everything in the first 40 mins. Mark Bromsgrove did really well on the peg above me to catch 3lb+  for 2nd in the section, and  Martin Barrett was 3rd in section with 2lb 12oz beating Jerry Pocock by 1oz! My chub and tint roach scraped a level 2lb, and much like last week I was beaten by four and I beat four.  Middle for diddle and thanks Dave Lewis for the photo.

I think the top anglers were...

1st  Lee Trevitt  25lb bream and a few roach on the feeder clipped up at 9m! peg 69
2nd Simon Alder 22lb bream peg 61 Norfolk reeds
3rd  Andy Ottoway 19lb+  bream peg 49
4th Nick Coles 18lb bream peg 50

Thatchers B pissed it today, and DW builders were second despite being 1 short, well done lads! John Rowlands fishes for DW and he was struggling, but with 6 mins left on a tiny feeder and 22 to 0.08 he hooked and landed a 4lb bream to win his section, so well done John!

Well that was pants, back on the canal next week and hope I draw a flyer.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

ATWL Final Round - K&A Canal Bath

Another busy week (so what I hear you say) but I give my gear a good going over Friday night and Saturday (between watching the Gas lose again) to  get it right for the canal. I feel like I have come down with another cold and have a cold sore, and just felt run down since Friday.

The draw was back at the Crown Pub in Keynsham, and I was a little late arriving having some issues where the toilet was concerned. Still I had time for a breakfast and said goodbye to the landlady who was off to another job she said. The first match on the canal at Bath is usually a good one as the fish have not been caught for a long time, the match was pegged from Meadow Farm out to just past the swing bridge at Bathampton. The town stretch was not pegged as ponds there are empty due to some work going on. However, if anyone is looking for a good day on the canal I suggest go to the Malthouse as I heard the fish from below were moved into there!

Draw done and I was off to Meadow Farm, not on the flyers either side of the bridge sadly but up towards the old lock. I managed to find a parking space very near to Meadow Farm lane, and was soon walking down the lane to the canal. Rich Lacey walked along with me and he was on the next peg and we struck a pound side bet up. By the bridge the canal was alive with fish and I couldn't believe the fish that were topping and blowing all on this side of the canal.

Got to my peg and it was just past where the little stream comes in, Vic Abbot was on that peg. It kind of looks the same through here, and the canal is a good depth with nearly 5ft down the middle and at least 3 feet over. Although it looks like there is a lot of cover over all of this is growing up just back from the concrete wall, so the features are above the water if you get what I mean.

I set up two rigs for bread, a 0.4g Preston PT4 with 18PR333 to 0.08 for bagging, and the same float but 0.3g with 18 PR311 to 0.07 for catching roach when it was harder.  I assembled two Preston Silvers 5 floats for fishing bloodworm, both had 22 PR311 to 0.07, one was for right over the other for 11.5m up to my left at 10 o'clock. A caster rig and worm rig were also put up.

Ready on time today, and I called the all in, I potted in a ball of bread at 4m, and some joker on my two bloodworm lines, I also fed some casters across by catty.  I picked up the bagging bread rig and dropped it in with a big piece of punch, straight under, small roach, same next drop in, same next drop in, then a 4oz roach. I was getting a bite as soon as the float was settling, I couldn't really catch any quicker, but the fish were less than an ounce and other than that 4oz roach I was slightly disappointed at the size of roach. I was of course hoping for a skimmer or two, but they never showed, and I was kept busy catching small roach. After about 30 mins I switched to the lighter bread rig as I had been missing a few bites, and by fishing off the bottom I carried on catching small roach. Eventually of course this line came to a grinding halt, but I was happy enough, and felt I was doing as well as anyone else, although Rich told me he had a couple of skimmers and a decent roach but not much else.

I went across to look for an early caster fish, but I never had a bite, so onto the bloodworm where I would carry on catching roach I thought, ummm no! I caught one see through perch and that was it, I could not get a bite, I was shocked. Eventually I had enough and went for a walk, and when I came back and sat down down wondering what to try next I went with the bloodworm right over. Well the float buried and I had a roach on it, then I had another, and another 6 or 7 before it went dead again. Strange since I had not fed it again or done anything different.

The last two hours I managed to pick off odd roach and ruffe from my bloodworm lines, I did get two little hybrids on my caster line but on a maggot hook bait, sadly the chopped worm line never gave me a single bite. Lots of bites but I knew I didn't have enough to win any money today, and Rich gave me a lesson winning the section with 8lb 8oz, take away his three bonus fish and he probably had similar to my weight of 5lb 6oz, but that's fishing and I paid over my £1. Walking back we had to face the long walk up the lane, it is a steep lane, which gets steeper towards the end. I started walking up with Rich and Nathaniel Johnson, and I was determined to get to the top without stopping. I did manage this and celebrated like Rocky did in his first film, Rich got it and shouted "Adrienne!!" Lol I said I should have had a £1 with them on that.

Back at the pub and more lovely roast potatoes and a couple of pints before the results were read out.

1st Nathaniel 16lb from one below Meadow Farm Bridge
2nd Ian Stainer  15lb two above Meadow Farm Bridge   (Nicky Johns was 1 above, had 4lb)
3rd Andy Cranston 12lb  from outside the George
4th Warren Bates  1llb up towards the Swing bridge somewhere
5th Mark Williams 11lb

Kev Dicks won the knockout beating Mat Challenger

Rich Whitmarsh was the top individual over the series.

On the day Bathampton won, Sensas were 2nd and Thatchers 3rd.

Overall Thatchers and Bathampton tied on points, but with 4 match wins to two Thatchers won the league.

Well done to everyone who took part, well done to Mark Harper for running the league. The fishing was as ever good overall and I enjoyed it immensely, and I enjoyed the banter back at the pub.

Next week it is the 4th round of the Commercial House and that is at Newbridge which will be the last match on the river for a long while.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Bill Milton Memorial Poppy Match

The one match I always look forward to more than any other is without a doubt the Poppy Match. The biggest match on the river Avon and for a very fitting cause, all of those people who gave their lives so that we could have our way of life, it simply cannot be forgotten or underestimated.

Friday night was a superb night out, celebrating Glenn Bailey's birthday, safe to say it was a brilliant night out, and I am not allowed to mention that Glenn was still being sick until 2pm on Saturday. My head was a bit sore but not so bad, and I did not need to do much prep other than mix some gbait and get my bait from Scotts.

Saturday was an alcohol free day and I awoke Sunday morning feeling fine and excited. It was good going back to Frys after many years for the draw, the new social club is very nice and has some very nice Polish staff, the breakfast was in my opinion great value for money and very nice. This match is so good for seeing anglers who love to support it and I hardly see otherwise, Mike Spence, Mike Shellard, Bob Price, and many many more.

Whilst enjoying my breakfast I was indebted to Mark Harper who paid my £20 pools for me. I also had to sort out a ticket for the legend that is Andy Power, and fair play he turned up and paid me for it. Before the draw Brian Lloyd read out the citation for the 2 minutes silence, this was impeccably observed by all the anglers, but it went on and on until Paul Benson asked who was timing it, and neither Ray nor Brian was! A huge roar of laughter went round after that. Draw underway and I was really hoping for a peg at Newbridge as the river was a great colour for bream, a draw at Jack Whites or Crane would mean fishing for your section. Well blow me if I didn't go and draw peg 1, this meant I was on peg 3 at Newbridge the same peg I had two weeks ago, what are the chances of that!

After giving advice to a number of anglers I got on my way, my thoughts were a decent peg but not one I could win off. When I got to the river at Newbridge and looked at it I was even more convinced bream would feed. Got to my peg and thought well I won't do any good fishing for roach today, but will there be any bream in the area.

I set up a gbait feeder with 0.165 exceed to 14 PR355 which is one of my favourite bream hooks for feeder fishing. I did consider setting up a pole rig for a while but talked myself out of it and decided to go all out for the slabs! On the all in at 10am I threw in 14 balls of gbait containing 1/2 pint of caster and plenty of chopped worm on about the 16m line. I then underarmed my feeder over this with 3 red maggots on. Think I missed a bite first chuck, next chuck a good drop back bite and fish on, as I brought the fish a bloody pike grabbed it as it came to the surface and then let go. I netted a
6oz roach. During the first hour of the match I had regular bites on maggots and worms all from roach, these were from 4oz to 1lb like the one below (thanks to Lee Trevitt for the photo of this roach he caught).

On the hour mark I hooked a good fish and it had to be a bream I thought, but soon after the line went slack and I lost it, balls. I wound in to find no hook and I am sure it was the pike bit me off as I no pressure on the hook to break 6lb line.

The next hour for me was slow, I had a few hybrids that were only 2oz each and a gudgeon and as the second hour approached I thought this was not going to be my day. Glenn rang me to have a chat and I had another drop back bite and when I hit the fish tore off downstream, what was this, another sodding pike I thought, but they do count. I took my time and got the fish in close, I was shocked to see an upside down bream surface, it was hooked under the body and it went into the net! Catching that bream I put a dendra on the hook with two dead red maggots, and 10 mins later I was playing another bream and all of a sudden I was excited. The next 40 mins went past without any action, I decided to put two dendras on the hook and this was a good move as I took two 3lb bream in two casts. Again the bites ceased and I tried various hookbaits and at at 13:10 had a 1lb skimmer on 3 red maggots.

With nearly two hours left to go and 20lb+ in the net I was more than happy, I knew other anglers had more bream than me but I thought a few more might get me in the money. Darren Gillman came to watch me for a while but I was unable to catch a fish for him, and alas I had one more bite which the worm doubled over the hook and that was my lot, not a fish. I sat there thinking of all the late bream that would be caught pushing me down the frame.....

I had the scales and the lad below the board (nice cos that means a free bottle of wine after lol) and I said go to peg 10 and weigh back to me. On permanent peg 20 was Craig Pinker who had fished a lobworm all day, and he had 9 bream for 37lb, mega.

Jan Mazek had 10lb on 16 and then a lad on 14 had 18lb 8oz.  Gerry Welsh on peg 8 had 8lb and peg 5 had less than a 1lb. My turn and I was pleased to have two weighs for 23lb 10oz. The fouled bream went 6lb 9oz, here it is.

I knew Kev Boltz had 12 bream from peg 54 and was going to be hard to beat, and a few others had bream, I hoped I would get in the frame.

Back at Frys and I was really pleased to hear that Kev had won with a brilliant 59lb, he had bream to over 7lb, well done Kev, you've kept my record intact as the only person to win this match more than once!!  Craig Pinker was second and Andy Curry was 3rd from peg 28 with 32lb, well done lads. It was then my turn, so 4th place today, and a nice pick up of £145, dead handy. I also won a prize on the raffle which was a box of 50 hook lengths pre tied, new Preston hooks with pellet bands, happy days.

I stayed behind to have a beer with the lads, and thank Ray and Paul for another well run Poppy Match, probably raised £1700 again for the Poppy fund, brilliant.

I have to finish by saying that Swineford, Crane and Jack Whites really fished poorly, with only a couple of double figure weights. Mat Challenger (man of the moment) had a bream first cast and an 8lb carp to be beat weight with 11lb. Shaun Townsend drew the best dace peg at Jackies and caught less than 2lb, bad luck Shaun, right peg wrong day.

Next week is another challenge all together as it is the K&A canal at Bath, new rigs, new elastics, new bait.

Tight lines everyone, and as the citation says..... "With the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them."

Sunday, 5 November 2017

September / October 1998

No fishing for me this weekend which meant I have had a couple of lie ins and got a few jobs done. The 5th round of the w/l is going on today in the K/A canal up around Melksham, so I'll have to read Ivan Currie's blog to see how it fished and how the team did. I did given Glenn a quick call and his section was all level with about 2lb being best with a couple of hours to go.

Sunday 13th September I found myself fishing the final match of the Superleague on the Gloucester canal. a venue quite frankly I struggled and still struggle with. This day was no different and I managed to catch 3 fish, 2 eels and a skimmer on the feeder for 2lb 15oz. I came halfway in the section and thanks for coming, team were 3rd on the day and that meant we ended the league 3rd overall which was not too bad considering the standard of angler.

The following weekend I went out on my 30th birthday for a bit of pleasure fishing at Newbridge. Not sure what peg as I didn't record that in my diary, but the river was low and clear. I fished the waggler and caught 2 chub, some pups and dace, not one roach, for 12lb.

A couple of weeks later it was the first round of the Commercial House which was fished on the Bristol Avon at Swineford and Crane. I got a corker, peg 16 int he second field at Swineford. I began the match on a long rod with crowquill, 20 to 1.7lb Bayer. Feeding maggot and hemp I had a few roach and dace and a bonus 2 1/2lb chub. The long rod was used not because of the depth but because of the weed in front of me, and it kept the chub out of the weed. I also fished a maggot feeder right over with a 16 to 2lb maxima, and I had 5 small chub on this. It was a good start as I won the section and came 3rd on the day with 13lb 1oz, the team came 1st so it was happy days.

4th October and the ATWL kicked off on the same bit of river, but this time I got a poor peg in the Long Ashtip field (back then this field was pretty poor). It was a hard match with just a few roach and perch coming out on the crowquill 2/3 over, but after 2 hours bites became really hard to come by. A few perch on the feeder on worm were all I could muster. I ended with 3lb 3oz which beat everyone in this field, but was hammered by anglers past it, 7 out of 11 points for me was job done but the team had a few bad uns and we were 3rd on the day.

Round 2 of the Commercial House and once again I was pegged at Swineford, long walk this time up to peg 27 (same peg I had this year). I fished a stick float with caster and hemp on a 20 to 0.10 and had a few small fish but nothing great, when I hooked a big pike I tried my best to play it out, they counted back then, but it did me. This also killed the peg completely, I had a couple of casts on a gbait feeder which was a waste of time it seemed, and first cast back on the stick I hooked a good fish. Turned out to be a 3 1/2lb chub and was virtually my last fish. My weight on the day was only 4lb 15 1/2oz and that got me 12 points from 14, that weight would be last in the section every time now, which just shows how much the fishing has improved. Team won on the day so we were flying after 2 rounds.

Sunday 18th October, same bit of river for round 2 of the ATWL. I got given A1 which was the peg on the Outfall at Swineford, not a peg I really fancied as the conditions were not great with the river pacey. It was not quite right on the crowquill and at the time bream were not showing on this peg, so I cast a maggot feeder slightly above the outfall where there were some trees. I had lots of bites on this from 2oz dace, and chublets of the same size. I did manage two chub of 12oz each but it was small fish otherwise. I remember enjoying the day working hard and concentrating on getting the set up right to hit as many bites as possible. 8lb 3oz was my final tally and I was only beaten by one person in the section. Team performance was a repeat of round one as we were 3rd again.

The following week the Com House was cancelled after a bad storm brought 90mph winds and heavy rain which caused the river to burst its banks. I popped up to Bitterwell lake to use some of the bait I had already purchased. I fished a waggler with an 18 to 0.10, 1 no 8 and 3 no 10 down the line feeding casters. Best hookbait was double red maggot and I caught mainly skimmers and 5 small carp for about 25lb.