Sunday, 28 January 2018

November / December 1998

Decided to have a weekend off, recharge the batteries and see a bit more of family and friends. A number of drinks Saturday at the Hollybush with Glenn, Bela, Geoff, and Mike Nicholls went down very well. I have got a bit of planning to do as I am fishing the ATWL final at Decoy Lakes for Thatchers, I've never seen it so will be relying on good information and good luck! The match is on Feb 24th so who knows what weather / conditions will be like.

Opened up the diaries again then, and back to November 1st 1998. A week of rain put the river right up and the ATWL was transferred to the K&A canal. I was drawn on peg just over the viaduct at Dundas, before the canal goes round the bend. I was happy with the draw as I had a moored boat opposite to provide some cover. I caught roach and little hybrids on punch bread, when this died I had gudgeon on a 3m whip (not many of them in the canal anymore). I ended the day fishing caster / maggot by the boat catching more roach and hybrids. My final weight of 6lb 1oz won the section and the team came 3rd on the day. The following Sunday it was the next round and we were on the river this time at Newbridge, I was on peg 83 which I did not fancy and the river was very pacey. I started by fishing a feeder on my 20 foot rod, like a pole feeder, and had a couple of roach straight away. I then lost a chub which I pulled out of just as I grabbed the net. No more bites so on to the feeder one third out. I had just a few bites but managed a couple of roach, one of a pound, but I pulled out of two big fish (bream?) and it was just not my day. 3lb 7oz was good enough for 8 points out of 11 but I threw back a section win that day. Better news the team won the day and went into first place overall.

15th of November and on the canal again for the Commercial House. I got drawn 2 pegs above Limpley road bridge and had a stinker, all I caught was a few small perch on chopped worm for 10oz. Although I only had 3 points the team did well and we won on the day.

The following week and a venture to Viaduct Fishery fishing a match on Match Lake that was undoubtedly run by Tony Rixon. Pretty sure I was drawn on peg 40, and would have been fishing with maggots and casters. I had two carp on the pole & caster, two on a waggler and three on a feeder for 38lb and picked up a tenner for a section win by default.

The next two weeks the weather turned cold with frosts and temperatures down to minus 6C. Unsurprisingly then I blanked when I fished the Bristol and West Xmas match at Swineford. This cold weather gave way to milder wetter weather and put the river up again. I did not record where I drew on the Bathampton Xmas match but I had 5lb 2oz which was 1 bream and a few eels for no good. I was though looking forward to the Bristol Docks Xmas match, this venue generally still fished OK in the winter, but a draw on the sections where skimmer were was needed. I drew on what was then "wasteground" at Half Penny bridge and was told straight away it was no good. They were right, I caught 3 fish for 5oz and was second in the section down there!

That was the end of 1998 a difficult year at times on the fishing front, but I had the best present with the birth of my second daughter. 1999 was going to be a good year I hoped, and it also had a very special moment for me which I will never forget, but you'll have to wait a while to find out what that was.

Hope you caught plenty of fish this weekend, I'm back to Viaduct next week on Spring Lake.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Viaduct Winter League Round 2

All week long I had kept an eye on the weather forecast, hoping that the weather might improve for the weekend. Of course mostly cold and damp weather was not going to improve the fishing leading up to Sunday, and Sunday was forecast to be very moist!

After the first match you know which section you will be in next, and I was going to be in D section which comprises Match lake, 4 pegs on Spring and 2 pegs on middle. That meant that I had to consider a few methods depending on where I drew, and so I spent a few more hours Friday and Saturday preparing more hooks and rigs. Saturday was enjoyable watching the Gas win at home with my family and a few ciders (thanks to Glenn Bailey for driving this week), I was however, in bed early Sat night.

Sunday morning arrives as my alarm went off at 5:40 and I heard a little rain falling. I was ready this week when Ron Hardiman arrived to pick me up. Ron said I had forgot part of my trolley, but I assured him I hadn't. As we drove down to Canards Well the temperature gauge hovered around 2C and rain stared to get a tad heavier. Breakfast was all OK and we got to the fishery in plenty of time but still struggled to park up. I was ready for the heavy rain, I had brought two lots of waterproofs and my umbrella, but waited till just before the draw to get dressed up. Andy Cranston was in the team this week and we asked him to draw, I had studied the results of last week and peg 26 and 43 were the clear favourites, but Andy drew me on peg 50. This was on Match lake and meant I had an island to fish to, on the first round Vince Brown had taken 24lb for 13 points out of 18 off this peg, so that gave me a fair indication of my chances.

Getting to the peg was arduous, Ron was right I had forgotten part of my trolley and so I had to make two trips carrying everything to my peg, still that warmed me up, a lot lol. First job for me was to put the box in place and attach the brolly, then got the other bits and bobs close by to try to keep it reasonably dry. First rod out of the bag was my 10ft mini carp preston feeder rod. I set this up initially with a straight lead for popped up bread. I then cast the lead out to clip up as close to the island as I could. First attempt and I never saw a plop and was pulling the lead from somewhere up a tree I though. Next chuck to short, next chuck no plop, WTF! I then realised that there was a waggler hanging from one tree with the line going across my peg into another, oh dear. Luckily a few chucks over the line and I managed to break it off, though the waggler was hanging I could cast to the right of it. This though was enough to put me off setting up a waggler, I didn't want to catch that other line and felt the tip rod was the best bet. That meant two pole rigs for me, and where I was was shallow, about 3 feet deep so only light rigs needed. A 4x10 with 16 PR456 to 0.13 for fishing meat at 14.5m at 11 o'clock, a 4x10 with 18 PR412 to 0.10 for gbait at 2 o'clock. That was it for me.

The rain was already chilling my hands, and all the paths were flooded, I got my bait out at the last minute and took a photo for the blog of my view and then put the phone away to stay dry! As you can see it was not very bright and was very wet. I had to cast to the middle white peg you can see in the picture. On my right was Mike Poolman who had the end of the island, and on my left again was Dan White, next to him was Craig Edmunds. I could also see Mat Toomes and Chris Fox on the bottom bank, Ron was on peg 41 which is not good.

To start the match I fed my pole lines and went on the lead with 2 or 3 discs of bread to get that all important early carp or some of the F1's that are in the lake. Well after the first hour I had not had a bite on bread or meat, Mike had one carp and Trig had a couple of F1's. Time for a change, I put on a small cage feeder and changed to a 0.13 hook length to a 18 PR456. I put two maggots on the hook and cast it out, and it landed right next to the island and I thought to myself that has be worth a bite. Two minutes it was as the rod went off and I was attached to a fish. Initially playing the fish was weird, no fight just pulling a dead weight, then about two thirds back it started to kick a bit. It was decent fish I knew and I took my time, I was very grateful when it went in the landing net, it looked about 7lb I thought. Unfortunately I had forgotten to put my keepnets in (DOH) and had to walk up the bank with the carp and sort all that it, lol what a plonker.

Confidence renewed I cast out again and soon had another indication, but nothing was hooked and when I wound in the hook was tangled, must have been a liner. Sadly this was the end of the indications and the next sixty minutes were fruitless. That said it was fishing awful and I was doing OK I thought. Time to try the pole lines, nothing on meat, and a long wait over the gbait for a 2oz skimmer. Back on the tip and nothing again, Dan was still blanking and Mat Toomes broke his duck with a carp from his margin. I managed a 8oz skimmer and another blade skimmer on the pole but no more bites. With about just over 90 minutes to go I cast the feeder out again, and after 5 minutes a proper bite and another carp was on. Got this one out too, it was about 6lb and the next three casts the tip went round and every time I was in a snag, I hadn't hooked a fish but then noticed that the maggots were burst one of the casts, so must have been roach. A few minutes later I had an 8oz perch on the tip and Mike was now getting roach on the waggler. I changed to meat on the hook but had no bites.

I tried the gbait on the pole again and this was full of small roach now, and I took a few before giving that up as I wasn't going to do any good with them. I thought about trying the meat on the pole again, but Dan and Trig had tried it a lot and not caught so I went back on the tip. With about 20 mins to do Mat hooked another carp from his margin and it was a double, so he was beating me now in my mini section as I thought was Trig. Dan had lost a F1 on the lead and then broke his blank by catching an F1 on the pole. I immediately reeled the feeder in and chucked it up the bank, and tried my pole meat swim with less than 10 minutes left. The light was poor but I could see the float OK, and after a few minutes it buried, I struck and I was in. A lot of 9 hollo elastic came out and I saw it heading to the island, so I carefully tried to coax the fish back, tricky with cold hands and not a lot of feeling in them. This fish fought better than the two on the lead, but it was probably about 5lb, I was glad when it was in the net. I shipped out again, but with only two minutes left had no more bites.

It was now time to have fun packing up, but the rain decided to stop for a while which was nice! I wasn't sure I had enough to beat Matty for the mini section, even though I had one more carp. I reckoned on having 18lb of carp and 1lb+ of silvers.  When the scales arrived to Mat we saw that Mash was winning with 25lb 6oz from fancied peg 43, Mat's two carp went 17lb 12oz and with his silvers totalled 9lb `5oz, I was worried! Mike had 6lb 8oz, then my turn. My silvers went 1lb 9oz and and my carp went 20lb 4oz for a total of 21lb 13oz. I underestimated the size of my first carp I think.

Dan weighed 2lb 4oz and Trig had 17lb 14oz. In the end my whole section was won on peg 26 by Adam Mitchel with 37lb, and with Mash 2nd on 43 that was the same top two as round one. I was therefore really happy to come 3rd in the section and win my mini section. My winning envelope which is the only other photo I took today, when I was home in the dry.

On the team front my lot had 2 blow outs, 1 middle and 2 good, we scored 51 points the same as last time. Colmic SW won again and lead the league.

Winner on the day was Paul Elmes with 176lb of carp on the waggler on Carey peg 102.
second was Andy Power with 141lb from peg 53 on lodge
third Nick Ewers with 121lb from inform peg 131

Silvers weights were low with Dick Bull winning with 16lb from peg 24 on Spring.

Well it was a very tough affair today, I got lucky with my carp but that's winter fishing and you just have to keep going and never give up. Next round in two weeks time and I am on spring lake, after two decent draws I'll need a third as Spring was shocking today and it is very peggy.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Viaduct Winter League Round 1

Fishing this winter league for Thatchers, and I think it might be the first time I have committed to the whole league, in the past I have been a fill in for other teams. After all of my natural water fishing I had to do some serious preparation, and I spent over 4 hours Saturday changing elastics, making rigs and tying hooks. Being the first match you could be drawn anywhere and so I had to cover lead chucking, waggler, dobbing, and silvers rigs. I was glad when it was all done, but I know I need to make a few more rigs for the future rounds. Had a great plan to go out early with the wife for a meal in Hanham and home early. Half a bottle of wine with the meal and a Thatchers and then walk home, but got detoured into the Keys and saw Shaun Townsend, and I didn't end up getting into bed till midnight...

Sunday morning alarm at 5:40am, where am I... Got myself sorted but was a little late being ready for my lift, Ron Hardiman. Ron lives two minutes up the road and with a van could get all the gear in, dead handy. Breakfast at Canards Well, sausages weren't that warm but the rest of it was nice.

Arriving at the packed out fishery the car park was crammed, there are 18 teams of 5 so 90 anglers fishing. Got my pools paid and waited with dread and hope about what peg I would be allotted. As it turned out we were the last team to draw and we got peg 1. I was gutted when I saw I was on peg 103 on Carey, this and 3 other pegs on Carey are in with Lodge lake, and the whole section is float only. I recalled seeing poor weights from these pegs and Lodge giving them a battering, but talking to a couple of anglers they felt there might be an early carp and then a chance of skimmers. I must thank Bob Gullick who gave me a lot of help.

Got to the peg and bang opposite me on peg 76 was my team mate Tony Gilbert, felt a bit weird us being in different sections but fishing the same bit of water. On my right on peg 102 was Mark Bromsgrove and on my left on 105 was venue regular Dan White. Mark could chuck the lead as he was in the Carey section. If you look at the picture of my view you'll see the orange willow opposite where Steve Tucker and Martin Preston were to do battle.

The light was going to be a problem and a black topped waggler was needed to fish a piece of meat as far as I could, 0.16 to 16 PR36 was used on the business end. Two pole rigs, one was 4x12 with strung out 11's with a 20 to 0.09, the other a 4x14 with double bulk and 18 PR512 to 0.09. That was it.

When the all in was called I fed 4 balls of gbait containing some casters and pinkie out to 14m, and 2 balls at 11.5m. Then I cast the waggler out. I would like to say I got my early carp but I never had a bite, I did give it nearly an hour as Dan had one and Mark had one on the lead. Onto the pole and I started on the 11.5m line but was disappointed when the float never moved. Off out to 14m and quite quickly a smal indication on the float, I lifted into a fish and it was a 4oz skimmer. The next three drop ins all brought the same result and if this carried on I was thinking I would be in for a good day. I guess for about 90 mins I caught steady, little skimmers from 2oz to 6oz, then it went off and I refed the swim. I had fed some casters off to my right and so tried that line and the 11.5m both showed no signs of life. Chris Fox was behind me on peg 71 I think, he said our section on Lodge was fishing hard and so I thought I might do OK on the silvers. Dan had no more carp and didn't get the silvers going, Mark had a few big carp. Opposite Tucks and Martin Preston were hooking carp quite regularly on the wag / lead.

The refeed got the skimmers back but it was not as good as before, there were certainly fish there but I was now foul hooking / bumping a few. I tried my strung out rig and this caught a few but soon I bumped one on this. Back on the double bulk and it was frustrating, at one stage I three proper lift bites and landed 3 small skimmers foul hooked. It was never as good after I topped up, and had to do so a few more times, every time I did top up though it brought the fish in. I caught fish on single maggot, double pinkie, but on the day a maggot tipped with a pinkie seemed best. I managed 3 or 4 fish of the other lines but had to keep going back to 14m.

Last hour and I was really slowed up, and with about 30 mins to go had to feed again, but this brought me 3 skimmers straight off wit two of them around 12oz. I topped up again and caught a few more till the end of the match. I thought I had 15lb, but after a quick look thought it might be closer to 20lb.

It didn't take long for the scales to arrive and the top weight from my bit of Carey was about 24lb, just 2 carp from peg 107. Dan had about 11lb, then my net went 19lb 8oz which I was more than happy with. Mark in the next peg and section had 5 carp for 70lb on the lead! Opposite him Steve and Martin had 13 carp each and Martin was top with 155lb to Tucks 145lb.  I did not get to study my section board closely but peg 70 won it with nearly 50lb, I think there were about five or six 20lb weights and then it was me, which I was quite happy with. Picture of my fish thanks to Chris Fox.

The results were done by Steve Long and his son.

1st overall was Trevor Senior who had 211lb (yes!!!) on peg 131 on Campbell
2nd Martin Preston 155lb
3rd Steve Tucker 145lb

1st Des Shipp peg 118. Des had perch and skimmers on long pole and casters, but lost 4 very big perch.
2nd angler I did not catch his name sorry. He had 23lb on Spring lake.
3rd was me yay! A nice little pick up too of £80 thanks.

Colmic  SW were top team and Bathampton 2nd. My team were 9th and halfway so not a disaster like some teams had (see Tony Rixon's blog lol).

The venue threw up some very god weights, but with fish tightly shoaled there were also some barren areas and two or three blanks. This is the nature of the beast and so I am very happy to have had a bit of luck first round. Next round is next Sunday, and I will be in the section which is on match, spring and middle and was very peggy today.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Commercial House Round 5 K&A Canal

Happy New Year to everyone, hope you have a good start to the new year.

Fifth match of the 6 round series and I was running late today as I am having a few bowel issues at present, I think I need to drink more to loosen things up lol! Ian Pauley, AKA bloodworm runner, rang me early to say he would be late bringing the bait as he had a slow puncture. I felt sorry for Ian as he was supposed to be fishing a match on the Gloucester and was dropping the bait off on the way.

I had a quick bacon sarnie as I was late and paid my pools to Mark Harper. Mark did the draw for our team (we are doing poorly and Mark looked for volunteers to draw but none came lol) and came back with some right shite. I was still tucking into my sarnie when Mark told me I was in F section, up at the George and somewhere near where I drew in the Com House Xmas match which was shite.

I parked up in the bottom of the George pub car park, put my car model and registration number on a bit of paper and posted it through the pub letter box to prevent getting a fine. I took a steady walk up the canal and couldn't believe it when I saw that I was on the exact same peg as the Xmas match when I had 11oz, balls, bugger... To my right was Paul Elms who was one peg away from where he was in the same match, so we both felt sorry for each other! To my left was the legend that is Brian Melksham. It was going to be easy setting up as all my rigs were intact from the last match, not even worth mentioning them though...

I began the match stupidly or hopefully on the bread at 4.5m, just like last time I never had a bite on it, and in fact not one person in the section did, shite. 15 mins gone and I could not see the bread going so I fed some negative joker swims, 3 across, one at 5m, and by the boats on my inside. I also fed chopped worm swims as far to my left and right that I could.

Last time here I caught a few early fish on bloodworm across, but not today, there were no roach in the swim it seemed and I had no bites on the drop. I went over the chopped worm lines, nothing, so I picked up the bloodworm rig again and put a pinkie on and tried this on all my lines, I finally had a bite on this over my chopped worm line and a 1 1/2oz perch broke the blank. That was my only bite on a pinkie.

I took the very odd perch of my far lines, if I missed a bite I would get one again and, and if I missed that I would get one again and catch a tiny perch, then no more bites and off to another line. Basically it felt all day long that there was never more than 1 or 2 fish over my bait and then it was a 30 minute wait at least for another bite.

Brian was catching the odd ruffe all day long at 5m on pinkie over joker, Paul Elmes after a long time blanking had sort of regular bites for the last two hours from tiny roach

I caught 1 perch under the boat to my left, two to my right. 1 perch at 5m, and the rest all across on a single bloodworm.

I think everyone was happy when the match ended, going by the loud cheers lol. Once again this section had fished pants, but Jack Jones had won the section comfortably with 2lb, which included a 1lb+ perch, well done Jack that was a very good weight. Second in the section was Kev Dicks who was on the end peg of the match and had a few roach late for 14oz. Brian had a 13oz nest of ruffe and I had 9 1/2oz of perch and just 3 ruffe. Paul next to me had 9oz, close then.

I was second in the A division behind Kev Dicks, so good for the team.

I got back to the results to find we had a disaster, my team had 12 points in total to come last! I had 4 of those points, Mark Harper got wet somehow (slipped in) and feeling very cold he packed up and went home, cant say I blame him as it was bitter. Our team are well out of it, but the other Thatchers team are still winning the league despite doing shite too. Bathampton won the day off the end peg, they mad no mistake.

Winner on the day was Craig Pinker who after walking From Richardsons, to Darlington, to the Wooden Bridge had 7lb+ and won the match very easily. I think Mike Withy was second from the bridge by Meadow Farm with 5lb+, and Nicky Johns had 4lb 14oz from the white gate by the George, a peg which has framed every match.

The canal has fished very poorly today, with many sections being won with less than a pound. I don't know why it is fishing so bad but this year it has been the worst I have known it for more than 10 years. In the past even on a poor peg you could catch on bloodworm, but not now. I am not fishing the match next week, the final round, as I am playing carp bingo at Viaduct. Good luck to all of you on the canal, I hope it has a miraculous recovery!