Sunday, 30 September 2018

Commercial House Round 2 Bristol Avon Keynsham

Due to the SWWL folding Thatchers now have to fish the Thames WL and as a result there are some clashes with the Com house. I was told by PC Barrett that I am fishing the Thames next week in the WL but that today I was to fish the comm house and not the practise open on the Thames. I was happy enough with this and didn't need to do much prep as a result, I did open a bottle of Glenfiddich the night before to get me in the mood lol.

Sunday morning and I was running a bit behind schedule and got to the draw later than I wanted. I ate my breakfast far to fast and was finishing it as the draw began, today the pegging was slightly different with two sections at Chequers for the first time in many years, a section at Jack Whites, two sections at Crane and only one at Swineford. People do not like the long walks at Swineford despite the fact it is the best fishing in my opinion, Chequers anglers can drop their gear off by their pegs but would the fishing be as good? As per my expectation I was up the Crane as I often am, my peg was the top end of the bay in the little ashtip field, a nice peg and I was happy with it, I had one peg below in my section and 6 above me. My only concern was that my peg had been battered on Thursday but hopefully not going to be an issue.

The river was hardly moving and was gin clear, the rain last week had already run out of the river, if any actually got in that is. I got my box in the water (this photo was taken after the match) and sank down but was OK. I couldn't see a big weight being needed in the section today, I thought 12lb would be my target and set up four pole rigs to "plunder" the roach. A 1.5g PB Silvers, 1g pencil float, 4x16 strung out, and a 4g for fishing over depth. Most rigs were with 0.09 to either 18 or 20 PR333. I did set up a crowquill but had no time to put a hook length on. I spoke to Glenn before the match, he was at Chequers and said he was regretting coming back on the river and his peg was shite and moaned like a good un!

When the match began at 10am I did not ball it in, yes you read that correct, no gbait went in! This peg is only about 8 to 9 feet deep and gets a lot of a pike problems, and as I am convinced pike like gbait I was going to go down the old way and loose feed hemp and casters at 11.5m. Well I was regretting this decision after an hour as I am sure all I had was about 12oz of tiny fish. However, if you loose feed only generally the peg should get better and so I had to carry on with it. Putting a maggot on the hook was a waste of time, it would not get past the fry, a caster was a little better and would get me the odd 1oz fish. Ninety mins in and all of a sudden I had a run of roach, not big but getting on for 2oz and this was better. Then they went funny and I struggled to hit bites on the 1.5g rig. I switched to the pencil float and if I could get the bait down I caught a few more roach. Eventually the tiny fish disappeared and this meant I could use all my rigs with just the odd bleak grabbing a bait on the drop.

It was a strange match, I often put the rig in and had no time to feed the hemp and then the caster as the float went under, but after catching 3 or 4 roach this would stop and I had to try another rig depth etc. At one stage I was catching on the strung out rig three foot off bottom and thought I had it sussed, then that died and it was back deeper. It was a real hard working match trying to catch small roach, but I was getting annoyed at the odd fish which I bumped or came off shipping back. A lot of fish were just hooked in the lip and after the match many people had the same issue. The plan to avoid the pike was working though and I had not had one attack. Below me Ben Rendall had struggled for a few roach but with an hour to go he landed a chub of over 3lb on the feeder, he lost another not long after. Below him in the next section was Shane Caswell, poor old Shane was on the first peg over the gate, a peg that should not go in really, I didn't laugh much at his predicament.

Going into the last hour I was hoping the better roach would feed, and I tried hemp a few times, I had the odd bite on it but hooked nothing, caster on the hook was still best. I was still swapping rigs and was on the pencil float with 20 mins to go when I hooked a slighty better fish, it might have been a perch, but I'll never know as a pike took it and bit me off. Back out and the peg had died, I was shocked the fish had gone after one pike attack. After 5 mins of no bites I gave it 6 big pouches of caster and sat on the 4g rig with double caster. The float went under and I had a roach, then missed a couple of bites and went out deeper on my 1.5g rig and had another roach and then the all out was called. I hoped I had 8 to 9lb but being short of my target was not thinking I would do great in the section.

The scales were up in the long ashtip and when they finally got to me Andy Britt was top with 10lb exactly and Kev Boltz was next with 8lb, I hoped I could beat Kev. I had a lot of fish but no quality, Ivan Currie on the scales thought I had more than Andy, but I did not, I had 1 ounce less, doh! Ben had 6 1/2lb below me, so I was second in the section.

One ounce, grrr, ah well it happens, I probably lost at least a pound of fish and missed the net with one when it seem to stick to my hand, such is life.

Back at the results and it seemed my lot had done well, with three section winners, two seconds and a third, and we did manage to the win the day meaning we have won the first two rounds, but Bathampton are close on our tail coming second both times. Winner on the day was Lee Warden, he was on peg 15 at Swineford and after balling it after a couple of hours he had 20 small skimmers for 21lb.  Second was moaner Glenn who admitted to 10lb and weighed 18lb, he lost the plot fishing paste it seems PMSL. Tony Gilbert was I think third and Nicky Johns 4th with 16lb+ and both were at Swineford wouldn't you know.  Other than Glenn Chequers was poor with 3lb a good weight, so short walk crap fishing or long walk great fishing... you decide?

Sunday, 23 September 2018

August / September 1999

I have had a very nice week, it was my 50th birthday on Wednesday and I got to spend it with my wife and two daughters in Plymouth. The following day my eldest daughter had her graduation on the Plymouth Hoe, it was a brilliant celebration and I had a big lump in my throat. Saturday it was back to watch Rovers with my family and friends and after the win we carried on drinking as part of my 50th celebration. It was a very good day / night, and for this reason I had no plans to go fishing Sunday lol.

Back in August 1999 I fished the teams of four on the Huntspill, a well attended event back in the day, I was pegged 15 pegs up from the bottom of Gold Corner. It was a hot sunny day and no ripple so not conducive to a bagging session I thought. I am not 100% sure but if my memory serves me correctly I had Eddie Wynne on the next peg. I started as you would on the gbait feeder fished as far across as I could chuck accurately. I fished very light on the feeder, a 20 to 0.10  and I caught a 2lb skimmer and a 4lb bream on this when hardly a fish was caught on the tip. Coming on to the pole at 14m, where I had fed caster and maggots, I fished double maggot for eels. It was a struggle, but luckily I took three eels from here all around the pound mark. That was my lot, 9lb 4oz (4 kilo 200), but it was a good weight in the section it seemed. My team got 5th place and we picked up £100 each, nice!

On Tuesday 3rd August I pleasure fished at Century Pond (only the one pond then) and experimented using a swinging pole cup made for me by Tony Rixon. I fed pots of cubed meat and casters and caught 60lb+ of carp and 30lb+ of skimmers. I remember when I fed a pot I would catch carp then it would just be skimmers until I fed another pot, it was a good learning experience. The swinging pole cup wasn't perfect but it was the first time I had been able to feed large amounts of bait in the same spot.

Sunday and it was back on the Huntspill for the superleague, this time I was drawn at Withygrove on peg 81. The match was totally different for me than last time, although again small fish were absent. All of my fish came on the feeder, in total I had 11 skimmers and 2 eels for 9lb 10oz for 8 out of 10 points. I fed a lot of squatt and just a little caster through the feeder, and caught on either double or single red maggot on an 18 to 0.12. I did not record in my diary how the team did. I went to the Huntspill again the following week to fish an open match, and I was back at Gold Corner again this time 20 pegs up. It was another match where the feeder would dominate, and I snared a few more ending with 2 bream and 9 skimmers, plus 2 eels on the pole. My weight of 6 kilo 350g was enough to win the section and take home £50.

The Huntspill fest was to finish for me with another round of the superleague, and continuing the rotation I was on Withygrove peg 72. The section was tough and I only had 3 skimmers on the feeder, but I was able to snare 6 eels and a nice hybrid on the pole, single bronze maggot on the pole was the best hook bait. I was 2nd in the section with my 7lb 10oz and this ended a good run for me on the venue, it is still a place I do like to fish although it fishes quite differently now.

Into September and on Sunday 12th it was the final round of the superleague to be fished at Newbridge on the Avon. I was quite happy drawing peg 17 (no longer a peg) as the river was low and clear and I fancied it for a days waggler fishing. The day panned out pretty much as I expected and it was a tough match, I fed just 4 maggots and 4 casters every other cast and caught small roach on and off on using a 24 to 0.08. I weighed in 7lb 9oz which won me the section and was 5th on the day. The team came 2nd on the day but we ended the league in only 6th place.

I spent my birthday fishing a few hours at St Georges Park lake, 3 carp, a decent bream and 7lb of roach all on the waggler were very nice. After this it rained heavily and when we got to Sunday 26th for the first round of the Commercial House you could on just see the weir at Keynsham. Drawing just below the outfall at Swineford was really not where I wanted to be lol! I tried to catch bleak but what fish I caught were so small it was a waste of space, so I went with the gbait feeder with worms and caster in for eels. A lobworm tail was the only thing I had a bite on, and I ended with just 8 eels for 2lb 9oz. This was however enough for 12 points out of 14 and the team came 2nd on the day so avoided a disaster on a horrid river.

Next week I'm back on the river on the Commercial House, weather looks OK now and hopefully the rain we have had will have improved things. In fact I just heard that Jack Jones pleasure fished at Kelston today and he fished the pole and caught 28lb of roach!

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Thames Champs

Last weekend I didn't plan to go fishing as I was going to be away all week in Frankfurt. In the end I did sneak a few hours in on the river chew, I managed about 8lb of dace, a few roach and a 1lb trout. It made a nice change to fish a little river.

Monday to Friday I was in Frankfurt at an exhibition, it was a bit of a slog, early starts and late nights, and on Thursday it was our party on the stand, three hours after it finished I was waking up again.

Suffice to say I was really looking forward to some serious sleep. However, Thatchers had entered a team in the Thames champs and were finding it difficult to get the 6 anglers needed and so I put myself forward. Waking up at 5:45 this morning was not really a lie in bed...

I got to the Swan at Radcot just a few minutes before the team draw was made by Andy Ottoway. He put himself on a good peg, and the rest of us were not sure what we had, James Carty, Andy Cranston, Martin Barrett and super sub Nicky Johns made up the team. I was at Clanfield, permanent peg 59, as I have never fished Clanfield this was an unknown quantity. I followed the lads who were in the other sections here, and eventually found my peg and parked behind it, very nice! Even better there was a pallet in the peg, happy days.

I struggled to see where the flow was, and as I had no idea of depth I got out a 1g pencil rig set at 10 feet and dropped it in at 6m, must have been about 4 feet deep here, so go out to 9m and still not much deeper, hmmm. I shallowed the rig to 6 feet and shipped out to 11.5m and then to 13m and the rig disappeared. Eventually I realised the peg was just getting deeper the further across I went. I settled on a line at 13m where I would feed a few balls of gbait and try 1g, 2g and a 0.4g rig for hemp. Inside this I saw no use in fishing as it was full of weed and during plumbing up I hooked it a lot. Right over at 16m was a hawthorn bush, It was deepest here, and I set up a 4g flat float for fishing chopped a worm. A whip for bleak and a waggler for over were also put up.

The match began at 10:30, and I cupped in 6 balls of gbait / soil  that had a little bit of pinkie, caster, hemp and chopped worm in. I started on the 1g rig with a caster on the hook, the float went over the gbait and did not go under, but I let it go a little further and had a bite and a little 2oz roach was swung in. The next few drops were a complete waste as the bait never got to the bottom. I picked up the 2g and tried again, even with this rig I had to push the bulk down to get past tiny bleak and minnows. Fifteen minutes in and all of a sudden the wind got up, it was coming straight at me and with nothing but fields opposite it was a fierce wind and became a nightmare. I was really struggling and tried a worm head, this got me my only perch of the day. Back on the caster and I had to fish overdepth to try to get a bit of presentation, out of the blue I had a decent fish on, a lovely roach getting on for 10 to 12oz. Bites were so slow that I had to try maggot / pinkie, but these baits were useless and were snatched by micro fish.

About 90 mins I fed the 16m line with a bait dropper of worm and caster. I gave it 15 mins and then tried it with a dendra on the hook, only had to wait a minute for a bite and fish on. It was not massive but a chub of 6oz was welcome. Unfortunately despite my best efforts I never had another bite on this!

Half way through the match and I was pretty fed up, not a lot in the net and the wind was really doing my head in. I was struggling to get my loosefed hemp to 13m, feeding maggots over was impossible , and generally presentation and holding on to my topsets was a challenge. A switch back to maggot on the hook, fluro, finally got me some bites, mainly from small gudgeon and occasionally a small roach. The 2g rig got trashed when I swung a fish in that fell off, and the rig tangled badly around the pole. The 1g rig sufficed, although it was really hard trying to get it in the right place with the wind blowing the bulk 3m towards me! I knew I was not going to do any good with gudgeon now (from the off would have been OK) and kept trying caster / hemp. I missed a few bites on hemp and did have 1 roach on it, but I think the wind was killing it. In the last 30 minutes I had fish on pinkie, and a few small roach showed up late.

The guy upstream of me said he might have 3lb, interestingly he said his peg was deep at his feet and shallow across, opposite to mine! Below me the Shakespeare angler said he had not had a roach and fished worm for most of the match and had 5 to 6lb. I hoped I might have 4lb. Packed away and was thankful I had not broken anything in the wind, a number of anglers had suffered broken pole sections.

The scales started from a couple of pegs below me, he had 2lb and was a local angler, next was Shakey who had 6lb 6oz, I had 4lb 2oz, and then the lad above 4lb 8oz so another who needs to go on an estimation course lol. Chip shop sausage for me then. I only lost one decent roach today, so not a lot more I could have done, unless I sat it out over for chub. My section was won with 7lb, which I heard included a 5lb+ chub. I saw a few more lads weigh in and I guessed I was going to be halfway in the 21 peg section.

Back at the results and Andy Ottoway had a nice day catching 12lb of small fish, James Carty had 6lb of bleak, and that was our two best weights. Sadly Nicky Johns had a bit of a mare, he had caught around 200 fish and thought he had 5 to 6lb, but when he pulled his net out he had a hole in it and weighed only 14oz for last in section. That put paid to any hopes of a decent result sadly. Think we probably ended about 8th, with only Otter picking up any dosh, Drennan Oxford won, they are very hard to beat on their local water so congratulations to them, Shakespeare were second.

No fishing again next Sunday, as on Saturday I am planning a few beers with friends and family to celebrate my 50th birthday, watch the Rovers then a pub crawl down Gloucester Road, everyone welcome.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Windmill Fishery Open

I've not been fishing the last two weeks, needed a bit of a rest and as it turned out the weather was pretty poor last Sunday. Thatchers were entering a team in the Thames championship today but I did not put myself forward as I didn't want a long day, I've got to fly to Munich tomorrow for a few days. I'll not travel far next weekend either as I have to got Frankfurt for the week, all very busy at the moment.

Back to today, I decided to stick to very local and went for Windmill Fishery which is under new management. I haven't fished for carp for quite a while, so I had to sort my gear out a fair bit to make sure I had the right top sets, rigs and hooks. I got to the draw with 10 minutes to spare, I think some Thatchers traditional cider I had last night may have been the cause.... Dave Haines organised the pegs for the 12 of us who were fishing, it was good to see the lads from "Last of the summer wine" Bob Warren, Bob Price and Martin Alexander, lol. To be fair I hope I can be fishing and looking well as they are all doing, great blokes who've I've known a long time.

I drew peg 17, this put me on the gap between the islands, and with an empty peg either side I could fish to both points of the islands. Though the water level is so low here that you don't really want to fish right next to them as it is a few inches deep.

As I've not been here for some time I was not sure what was working, so I set up a few rigs to cover various options. First up was a lead rod with 0.19 to 16 PR38 for banded pellet, which I planned to cast towards the islands. A paste rig for 6m was set up, never had a bite here. A long line rig with 4X12 Tyson dibber for fishing banded pellet towards the right hand island, I had 0.16 to 16 KKB hook again for banded pellet. I set up two rigs for the margin, one to fish paste and one to fish worms or dead maggots. The only margin I could see was to my right but it was so shallow I went out till I found 12 inches and fished here.

Either side of me today were Martin Alexander on 19 and to my right Hainer on 15, opposite me just to the left on peg 4 was red Stu Barnett. Stu is doing well on commercials and so I'd keep my eye on him. We started at 10:30 and I fed soaked 4mm pellets at 6m, and hard 6mm pellets across to the island on my right and cast the lead over to it, an underarm cast was all I needed.

It wasn't long before the 8mm pellet in the band was picked up and the rod tip flew round. In fact the first hour was very good with a number of carp coming to the lead, though I did say it wouldn't last, and I reckoned on having 36lb, a great start. As I thought things went downhill and despite fish still being by the island they would not take what ever bait I tried. I did manage to nick one from the left island but this was the only carp I had here, this was the only fish in the second hour.

I tried the pole across, and couldn't get any indications, it seemed the carp were staying further over, eventually I caught one on the pole but only about 2lb. Martin Alexander came up for a walk and a moan as he was struggling, soon after he left me I had another small carp on the lead. This though was my lot for the third hour.

Halfway through and I was a couple of fish in front of Stu, and couldn't see anyone by me catching so thought I was doing OK. I tried the pole again and think I hooked 4 fish, lost 3 foulers and got one out. Then chucked the lead out and before I put the rod in the rest a fish was hooked. Sadly it was a one off. I was hoping that the margin would come to life, but I wasn't enamoured with the depth and I saw fish come in but I couldn't catch them at this stage. Stu had caught a couple of big fish in his margin and I was now thinking he was beating me.

I kept altering the feed across on the pole, the number of 6mm pellets, and I fished with a 6mm in the band rather than an 8mm, just because it was so shallow and the pellet would sink a bit slower. With 90 minutes to go the fish across started to get more interested in the feed and were visibly coming into the feed when I fed. Swinging the rig out was tough as the wind was a bit awkward, but I was getting a decent response now.  I would feed some pellets ship the pole to 16m, feed some more pellets, then swing the rig in. I'd get a bite / indication every time but missed a lot, certainly many were liners, and I lost and landed a couple of foulers, but I couldn't fish any shallower as the float was touching the 4" hook length. I did finally manage one carp in the margin, but wasted more time chasing shadows and missed fly under bites which I assume were fish spooking off. I ended the match fishing across and caught OK.

Stu shouted across that he had 105lb on his clicker, I shouted back I only had 92lb on mine. No one believed me, they thought I had over 100lb, but I had a lot of carp around 3lb. I soon found out that to my left the lake had fished well, with Matt Collins on peg 2 weighing 215lb  to win the match, he caught mainly in his margin maggots on the hook over gbait. Opposite Matt Dave Wilmott on peg 23 had 135lb and that was 2nd overall. Mar Summerhayes next to Dave had 97lb and that was third. I knew I was not going to get any coin but still had to weigh in of course, and my carp went 92lb 15oz, so accurate clicking today. Talking of accurate clicking, Stu's 105lb actually went 87lb, I think he got excited when he heard  City were winning 4-1 lol. Stu reckoned I had at least 8 more carp than him, which shows the difference in size of fish we caught.

Last prize to mention is of course the silvers winner, and today that was old Diddly Bonk himself, Dave Haines. He had 17lb of roach and skimmers on casters, a nice bag, and he had a few carp on the caster too.

Nice day out, lots of fish in this lake, but they weren't giving themselves up easily at times. I could see carp but not catch them in my margin, and everyone was saying the same thing, except the winner Matt, his net was made up of a lot of double figure fish up to 15lb I was told, so well done mate.

Bit of bad news to end on, the South West Winter League has sadly come to an end. One of the teams could not get a team up and this meant we did not have enough teams to make a league. As a result Thatchers have been accepted into the Upper Thames league, along with Nomads. It will be a good league, but very tough for us to compete with the teams who have fished the venues for years. Of course I am gutted to be missing 4 matches on the lower Avon, one of the finest bits of river fishing out there. The remaining teams are using the dates to run opens on there as teams of 4, I think anyone can fish them, so if you fancy fishing the river give it a go.