Sunday, 24 February 2019

Bristol Avon Swineford

After a hectic week I was looking forward to getting out on the river as I was sure it would be decent after a week of no rain. However, I was surprised to see that the river level had hardly dropped at all (river level website at Saltford) and so there would be quite a bit of pace.

I went to Swineford as there was a few like minded individuals who also fancied a few hours on the river and as we are not allowed to have a match we just fished where we could but decided to fish the same time, 9:30 to 2:30. There wasn't anyone else at the river so we could wander along and pick a peg of choice. I would have liked to have fished 17 but early bird Warren Bates was in there, I went in 18 which is a peg that can be good for chub or bream. Ivan Currie fished below me in what would be peg 20. It was very foggy to start the day and I couldn't even see the river to tell how fast it was.

I wanted to put a photo on of the fog, but for some reason either my phone / laptop are not playing ball tonight and I can't upload any photos sorry..

I set up a groundbait feeder with 16 to 0.16 and this was to fish just over 2/3 just past the main flow. I also set up a 6g bolo with 18 to 0.11 reflo power line, this was to be fished just past a third.  It was quite boily on the inside and had I realised this I probably wouldn't have picked the peg, but the fog obscured my view. I didn't set anything else up as I felt the pace of the river was too fast.

I began the match on the feeder for 20 mins, to get some bait in and hope for an early bonus, all the while I fed casters / maggots and hemp on my bolo line. The feeder was unproductive other than snags and so I moved onto the float. I tried fishing overdepth and easing the float down, but I hit a lot of snags all over the peg, and if I came onto the boily water it was very snaggy. After about 15 mins of running the float through and adjusting the depth, the float went under somewhere different, I struck and assumed snag again but as I looked at the end of the rod it was moving, fish on. It was fairly straight forward playing the fish on the 18 foot rod, and I was happy to pan a 2lb chub early on. Sad to say this was not the start of a good day... No more bites on the float and back on the tip....nothing on the tip back on the float.... Two water snails and a stone on the float!

To cut a long story short I had one more bite all day, another chub about 12oz on the float. The peg seemed to get more and more snaggy and I lost two bolo rig set ups. I would have liked to have sat it out on the feeder as odd bream were showing, but I could only get 1 clean cast in 3 and spent most of the time in snags. A shame. I went for a walk and realised I might as well pack up 30 mins before the end as I could not see me catching. I had a good chat with Ivan as I packed up (he was already packed up after 1 tiny roach) and he witnessed me returning my two chub.

Dean Harvey on the outfall had 4 bream for about 17lb, and Warren above me had a chub and a bream on the float, and a chub late for just under 10lb. Most people on the river had either a chub or a bream or a couple of chub, though a couple blanked. For whatever reason the big fish didn't want to feed and other than Ivan's tiny roach no small fish fed. High pressure, bright sunshine, cold nights... Still strange that the river is still racing through and has a tinge of colour, looks good but the fish don't agree!

Yesterday my team Thatchers fished the ATWL final, split across Decoy Lakes and various drains at March. Last year we came 4th, but this year the lads had a couple of poor results which meant they could only finish 15th (halfway) Bordon won the event and so well done to them.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Back on the Bristol Avon - Kelston Straight

This week it is my youngest daughter's 21st birthday, and on Saturday she was off to London to watch a West End show with her mum. This meant I would be all on my own and as soon as I had dropped them off I could go fishing. I had been watching the river level at Saltford all week, but for the last few days it had only very slightly dropped and this meant that float / pole fishing would be difficult. However, I really didn't want to chuck the feeder as I was sure the roach would play ball, in the end I thought Kelston Straight just above the Jolly Sailor pub would be a likely place.

I had 2 pints of caster and 2 pints of hemp from Scott Tackle, 1/2 pint of maggots and a little tub of worms. This with my Groundbait should do for a day's roach fishing. I finally got to the river about 9:20, the top end was a bit pacey and so I drove down to just below the big willow and here the river still had some pace but was easily float fishable. At this stage there was no wind and it looked pretty much perfect.

Looking down towards the weir the Environment Agency were doing some work, think they were clearing / repairing the barrels above the weir to stop boats going over.

Fishing a pole here is possible but because of the road behind you have to ship very close to the river and I didn't fancy that, with no wind I elected to set up my 18 foot rod with a 6g Bolo Float. A 20 to 0.10 was put on for starters and I had the hook a good 3 1/2 feet away from the bulk. I started off by throwing just three tennis balls of groundbait containing casters and hemp. Gbait today was Sonubaits, black, river and lake, and a little bit of brown crumb. I guess I was fishing about 14m out, though the beauty of the rod was I could cast closer and further out. It was a bite on the first cast out, a little 1oz roach, and a bite on each cast after. After about 10 mins I had a bit of resistance and up popped a little chub of about 8oz.

I was getting a bit every cast, and to keep the bites coming I was throwing a small ball of gbait out every 10 minutes and throwing the odd big handful of caster and hemp out. It was all going nicely, and I had a roach of nearly 10oz, then Glenn Bailey came out for a watch and in his words I was bagging. Then all of a sudden the wind got up a bit and started blowing downstream and was a pain, and it certainly affected the presentation and bites became a little harder to hit. Glenn went and I was left on my own (the only angler on the bank) with just the odd biker / walkers for company.

I suppose about an hour later the wind had got really bad, and I was not getting decent presentation even though I was casting and feeding down the peg. A spell fishing well over depth and trying to get the rig to slow down worked for a while, but if I came in to close I would hook a snag, willow branches, and I lost of couple of hooks and took the opportunity to go up to an 18 to 0.12. About this time I hooked what I thought was a chub but then reeled in to find the hooklength snapped and guessed pike. Sadly I was right and the pike bit me off another four times before it seemed to get a good hold of my fish / hook. I played it (it played me) for a good 15 minutes and never once did I see the float and it was a big pike of that I'm sure, of course it bit me off. The good news was that I must have gave the pike the hump and for an hour I never saw the bugger. The wind was now very bad, so much so at times it was hard to hold the rod. The fish were still there, and I had caught in spells on maggot and caster on the hook. For the first time though I was struggling, the fish had seemed to have disappeared from the gbait and the only bites were a long way down the peg from small roach. I cut the gbait out completely and upped the loose feeding to every cast. This worked a treat and I was soon back into some better roach, below the gbait.

The poxy pike came back, and by the end of the day I had ran out of hooklengths. The wind dropped and I started to shallow the rig up and caught well for a while right up the peg and back over where the gbait had gone in earlier. The wind got up again and it just made things a bit more tricky, but it was still a bite a chuck. My last cast was decided when the pike bit me off again.

There was nobody around to take a photo of my catch, so I did the best I could, certainly the net felt really heavy at least 20lb maybe 25lb. Had I fished the pole I expect 30lb would have been easily attainable, but I do like catching a few on the rod. Some pics I took below.

Let's hope the river stays in good trim till the end of the season, not long left now!

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Windmill Lakes Open

I finally managed to get back out on the bank this Sunday, it was a fairly last minute decision and truth be told I had done very little prep other than make sure I had barbless hooks and some sensible hollo elastics in my top sets. I met Glenn Bailey for breakfast in the Wetherspoons Kingswood and that was all good. Got to the fishery and there were twelve people who had turned up. I had little clue of pegs to draw and tactics other than what I had read on Mike Nicholls blog. However, when I drew my peg, 16, I got told by Mike that he had been on it recently and caught some carp at 13m.

Got to my peg and Dave Wilmot was to my left on peg 18, whilst nobody was sure how the lake  would fish Dave was convinced that Keith Bilder on peg 22 would be the winner. Between Keith and Dave was Geoff Francis. to my right was Norman Ferris.

My peg has an island opposite, and then a gap to my left, the venue was certainly full of water, and much higher than when I had last seen it. Opposite on the gap peg was Glenn.

I set up a lead rod to which I attached one of the miniature Preston pellet feeders with a 4 inch hooklength of 0.15 powerline to a 16 KKM-B hook. A pole rig for 13m was a 4x16 F1 Pellet float with an 18 to 0.13. A very similar rig for fishing at 5m, and rig for right across.

We started at 10:15 and I began cautiously feeding a small amount of micro and some maggots on the 13m line. I dropped straight over it to see if there was anything there but after 15 mins I had not had a bite but Dave had caught a couple straight away. I tried going across, just dobbing around to start, I never had an indication across. Back on the 13m line and still nothing, Dave was feeding maggots by catty, but I was toss potting as the wind was forecast to get up and it was in my face. I fed a bit heavier to try to make something happen, and finally after 45 mins I had my first bite and a carp about 2lb. The next two drop in's both produced small carp quite quickly and all of a sudden things were looking up. Of course the bites stopped but 15 mins later and another little carp. Over the next hour and 15 mins I had some fish in the peg, and whilst it was hard work by lifting and dropping I got the odd small carp and then had two better fish around 5lb. Those two larger fish though were the end of bites for a long time. I hadn't lost any fish and had only missed one bite, but the fish went and my double maggot hookbait was ignored.

Over the next 90 mins I never had a bite or indication anywhere, the lead never produced a bite or a liner, the far bank similarly never produced even a dink on the float. Geoff Francis came round for a walk and said Keith was catching regularly, he and Dave were top two at this stage. As I was moaning to Geoff about lack of bites the float went under. I struck and a fish came to the surface mouth open and just floated there for a couple of seconds, Geoff even said is it dead. It came to the surface twice more before I netted it, each time it sorted floated up and then swam down, I thought it was fouled. The fish though was hooked in the mouth, perhaps it was so cold it had no energy. That was a one off and not long after Shaun Townsend came for a walk round and I told him I was going nowhere now after a decent spell. Shaun didn't hang around long, and not long after I had another 1lb carp. With 15 minutes to go I had a bite and another carp, and then lost one, then had another two before the all out. Probably the time of day,but too little too late.

The far bank had been poor for carp and Glenn had packed up leaving his lead rod out but it never went round he only caught 8lb+ about 3 carp. Peg 1 was leading with 35lb when the scales got to me, I had 31lb on my clicker and was spot on as the scalesman gave me 31lb  7oz.

Dave Willmot managed to keep the carp going on and off for 4 hours, he ended with 45lb 3oz which got him 2nd. Geoff had 13lb, and then Keith had 67lb 10oz which made him an easy winner, he had all of his fish on the long pole going up the shelf on corn. Silvers winner today was Mike Nicholls who had 7lb 12oz, see his blog for details.

No coin for me today, but I was just happy to be back out on the bank, and with last week all the venues being frozen I am more than happy to have the float go under and a bit of elastic come out. I dotted the float right down today and put a bit of bristle grease on the tip, the bites were all very positive, and at least half were caught as the bait fell through the water in the last foot. I would like to have a go on the river again, but presently it is really high and you cannot see the weir at Keynsham. However, if the weather goes mild towards the end of the season it could be good fishing, fingers crossed!

Sunday, 3 February 2019

February / March 2000

Believe it or not I was planning to go fishing this weekend, Jack Jones and I were going to take a trip up to Hereford and pleasure the river Wye. However, the snow and ice sadly put paid to that idea and I really could not see any rivers being worthwhile visiting. Jack though was still keen and he and Andrew Cranston went to Swineford on Saturday, I did speak to Jack after a few hours and neither of them had a bite. Then this morning I saw the many anglers posting the temperatures they were seeing (-7 to -11) and I thought nah, so more garden centre visits to get my vegetable growing materials.

In February 2000 I was fishing with Avon Angling (OK Glenn?) and we had qualified for the ATWL semi-final on the Grand Union canal and slough arm. We went up for just one practise, and as I had fished this venue before when fishing with Thatchers I knew pretty much what the score was. I drew the Slough Arm, what was called the wilderness, and knew it would be a scratching match. A 0.4g rig with an 0.06 to 24 was used for fishing four different spots all fed with one small ball of joker.  As expected all I could catch was very small fish, I ended up with 70+ fish which weighed an impressive 1lb 8oz, the most productive line was the inside line. I beat the 15 anglers to my right, but my ten peg section went to my left and I only beat 5 of them.

One week later 26th February and it was the actual semi-final, I got drawn on the GU canal and was told it was an average section and that at the other end of my section they would catch some skimmers. I set up the same rig as last week, plus a 4x14 with 0.075 to a 20 for fishing bloodworm. I had an inside line, and fed joker at the bottom of the far shelf, and some more a metre past this. I started on the inside line for an hour to let the longer lines settle, after the hour all I had were four tiny perch and I was behind all those around me. Thankfully the far lines were better and there were plenty of small roach over there, I even managed a small skimmer. The wind was really bad and one particular gust blew all my topsets up in the air behind me. The guy to my right had his pole snap and he lost a 2lb perch on the caster when the wind literally blew the pole out of his hands. Bites slowed with a couple of hours to go, but not knowing a lot about this fishing I assumed I'd caught everything. However, with an hour to go and nothing to lose I fed more joker and within 15 mins I was catching those small roach again, guess they had eaten all the joker I fed earlier. I was kicking myself but at least I had a few bites. My final tally was 3lb 11oz, and I was more than happy to score 14 points out of 18. Sadly the team didn't do well and we did not qualify for the final.

On Sunday 4th March I had a little venture out to Century Pond (only 1 then) on the Keynsham AA tab. Just pleasure fishing and I experimented using a fishmeal groundbait, I threw a couple of balls in loosefed maggot and caster over the top. I had 6 carp and some skimmers for approximately 30lb.

The last weekend of the season and I fished the Rod Hill memorial on the Bristol Avon Swineford to Crane, I drew Bitton Brook so a nice walk. The river was going through fast and the only way I could fish was with a maggot feeder. Fishing an 18 hook to 0.14 or 0.16 I had a 3lb chub and 10 smaller ones, plus a little perch. I remember hooking a fish which tore off downstream, and after backwinding for what seemed ages I tried to stop the fish and it bust me, I think it might have been one of the huge carp that used to be in the area. I weighed 11lb 8oz which won my section and was 5th overall.

Clsoe season and Warren Bates ran an open match on Century Pond, he and I had both caught some carp there over fishmeal gbait, and we were going to do the same. I drew peg 10 and when the whistle went I threw in 3 balls of gbait out to 12m, as did Warren, nobody else put in any gbait and when myself and Warren both hooked a carp almost immediately there were a few shouts of "tuck up" lol. I caught odd small carp and skimmers and topped up with 4 more balls to try to keep this line going. I added 3 late carp on meat fishing close in to the reeds and when the all out was shouted I was pretty sure I had won. With 35lb 12oz I had indeed won, and Warren came 2nd.  A week later and back at Century and blow me I draw peg 10 again! This time though the carp didn't respond to the gbait, and I only managed one over it and a few skimmers. I spent most of the time fishing against the margin reeds waiting patiently with a piece of meat and picked up 5 carp. Only 21lb but enough to win the match again.

Here's hoping I can get out somewhere next Sunday, going stir crazy, looks like lots of rain and going to be mild so fingers crossed.