Sunday, 31 March 2019

Windmill Fishery Open

You may have noticed the lack of blog last week, this was due to me feeling unwell and I had no energy to do anything. During this week I have felt better but have had some poor sleep for some reason. However, I was going fishing Sunday but had to decide where, with the one less hour in bed and my lack of sleep I decided to stay local and get as much sleep as possible lol.

After spending Saturday in just my Rovers top enjoying the sun it was back to thermals for Sunday. The weather had changed as forecast and the wind was a cold one from the East I think. I got to Wetherspoons just after eight, it was empty bar one other person, clearly the hour less in bed had kept the alcoholics away lol. After I scoffed everything I was swiftly off to Windmill Fishery and was there by 8:45, fifteen minutes before the draw. I paid Dave Haines (now retired) my pools money and tried to glean some knowledge from the regulars. Paul Elmes who won here last week on peg 23, Shaun Townsend and Dave Wilmott were all fishing, so that was three flyers gone. There was about 14 people fishing and I drew about halfway, I pulled out peg 5 one I have drawn before. Dave Wilmott said to me he did not fancy it and said I'd do well to frame from there. I then realised Dave had drawn 23 and Paul had drawn 24! With Towner on that side of the island  on 20 it was already looking like being very tough to get in the top 3.

Got to my peg and on peg 7 was Tom Baker who fishes this venue quite a bit, and on peg 3 was jovial Chris Davis who didn't disappoint and got a few jokes in to make me laugh. Chris had over 100lb on peg 6 last week, but I thought the weights might be lower this week with colder and windier weather. I surveyed my peg, the far bank here is a good 16m away, but I didn't intend to go right in tight as it is very shallow. I instead looked for 2 feet of water which I found about a metre off the bank.

As you can see from the photo as per usual the wind was light before the match began! I set up a 4x10 with 0.15 to 18KKM-B for fishing banded pellet. I also set up a .4g float for fishing in the deep water at top set plus one and across at 13m in the same depth.... never had a bite in the deep water. Finally had a 4X12 set up for fishing in the margin where it was a bit deeper at 3 feet close to my right, and further away the 2 feet rig was the same depth.

We started at 10:15 and as normal the wind increased and it was going to be a pain. Chris started in his right hand margin and caught a few small carp quite quickly, I could also see Towner striking regularly, whereas I was sat like a gnome without a sign. It took me 40 minutes to get a bite and then I hooked 4 carp quite quickly and landed 3 biggest about 6lb. I had been toss potting in 4mm pellets and feeding occasionally with a catapult. It went quiet again and I had to wait a long time for another bite. I tried my margin early but unlike Chris I had nothing, and Chris had also dried up, but with wind being bad he stayed short whilst I persisted mainly long. About now 6 swallows flew by the lake, that's the first ones I have seen this year.

After about 3 hours I was on about 6 carp and 2 skimmers, but I was a long way behind the leaders I felt. I decided to have a change tactics. I changed the 4x12 rig to 0.11 to 18 PR412 hooklength and found 3 foot of depth across, so came further back from the far bank. The bottom here is just a slope, so when you find the depth you have to mark / remember where it is otherwise your hook bait can either be well on or off the bottom. The change of tactics was to try to catch some more skimmers as I felt my only chance of getting some money back was to win the silvers. I went in to winter mode and fed just micros via a toss pot, I was still fishing at 14.5m so it was still hard graft in the wind. I had a 6oz skimmer straight off, then a couple of 1lb carp, so at least the change was working. I was feeding very cautiously trying to prevent the carp from coming in, but after a short run of skimmers the swim died and feeding small amounts was not working, so I fed a full toss pot. This brought me a carp straight away and then another, but then a 1lb skimmer. For the remainder of the match it was just a case of working out what to feed and when. I had a bad 5th hour but then the last hour improved and a few more skimmers and small carp showed. I lost a few foulers, but there were never many fish in the swim today (they were all up at the end of the lake!) and that's perhaps why the skimmers kept coming back.

When the match finished Chris had already packed up and gone, from the banter I could tell it was close between Paul, Towner and Dave, I just hoped I had done enough on the silvers but knew that Dave Haines and Andy Gard would have both targeted them. Luckily my silvers weight of 12lb 11oz was enough to win the silvers, with Andy coming second with 10lb. My carp weighed 44lb 12oz so I ended with 57lb 7oz. Thanks for the photo Mike Staite.

The top three in the end were...

1st Paul Elmes 113lb 5oz (carp on waggler and short pole)
2nd Dave Wilmott 108lb (carp on Sonubaits Banoffee meat! in the margins)
3rd Shaun Townsend 104lb 3oz (carp over on pellet and in his margin on meat)

After the match it was back to the Folly pub where Paul and Dave bought the beers, nice one gents. A good end to the day and it was nice to be in the warm and have a few laughs. I'll have to fish on Saturday next week, where though I do not know just yet.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Hill View Fishery Open

Travelled back up here again as I been working most of the week in Munich and I didn't need to do that much prep for the match.

There were 24 people fishing today and with a club match on the back two canals this match would be on the lakes with 5 people on the first canal. I really wanted to draw one of the lakes as these are usually best for big weights with the larger carp. There were a few lads up from Bristol with Jack Jones back for another crack, as well as Aaron Britnell and Mat Sheppard. When the draw was done I was the only Bristolian on the canal, ah well, peg 48 smack bang in the middle.

As you can see from the picture I took the canals have a serious trim on the far bank.

Having not fished on the canal for a while I was hoping I could catch a few and not get battered by the locals. Bait wise I had decided after last week not to take any maggots as the small fish were all that really ate them. So it was a simple bait tray, micros, 4mm pellets, corn and some soft pellets for the hook. Rig wise I was covering my options, a 4x10 for left and right margins, and across. A 4x12 F1 pellet for topset plus one, and a 4x14 for the middle. All rigs had 0.11 powerline to 16 PR512.

We started at 10:30 and I started down the middle, but this was a waste of time as I only had one skimmer. Already the lad on the right hand end of the canal on peg 53 was catching F1's well. I came in on the top set plus one line and finally caught an F1. I caught about 10 of them over the next hour when this then went dead. The middle was still rubbish and bar another tiny skimmer it was no good all match. I tried the margins and managed one F1 out of the left side, bit early I guess. I didn't really want to go right across as the wind was nasty again, so went back on the topset plus one line again. This needed a bit of nurturing but I started get the odd F1 again before once again they cleared off. I looked around the area but no signs.

The lad on 53 had slowed up after catching well in the first 2 hours (he said he thought he had 40lb) but I wasn't setting any fires alight myself now, but I could get the odd F1 in the margin, usually first time I put the rig in after resting it, and that would be it. I had to try across and so fed a little bit of micro via a toss pot and gave it a go. It was tricky but I got a couple of F1's then fouled a carp mid water (that happens a lot on here I recall!) which snapped me up when it got to the aerator. Another hooklength on and a couple more F1's before this had to be rested. This was the pattern of the day, catch a few rest it, go somewhere else, but as the match went on it just got harder and harder for everyone on the canal except for the guy to my right. He had only had 3 fish in the first 3 hours but was now catching carp down his margins, he fouled a few and got a ghostie out that was about 8lb.

I fouled another carp across, but despite it being hooked in the tail this one stayed on and it was about 5lb. For the last hour all I had was odd bites in the margin from mainly F1's and one small carp. I hooked one just before the whistle but after a few seconds it came off, whilst the guy on 53 landed an F1 just before the end.

The scales got to me fairly soon after the match had ended, the first two lads on the canal had low 30lb weights, and my nets went 63lb, so again a decent day's fishing. The guy to my right had 60lb after his late sacking with a lot on paste, and Jake on 53 did me for the section with 66lb. Oh well close again but no cigar.  I wonder if me not having maggots was a mistake, but the lad to my left fished them at 5m and struggled. Still lots to learn about this F1 lark, but it is fun fishing. The match was won by Nigel on peg 37 on Heron with 119lb on paste all close in.

Well spring is still not here, bit blustery and cold, and I didn't feel that special with a bit of sore throat and a cold it seems, urggh.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Open match Hillview Fishery

Not been here for far too long, don't know why I keep saying this as I rate this fishery highly as it usually guarantees bites. I was going to meet up with Jack Jones, Mike Nicholls and Geoff Francis . However, Mike text me early to say he and Geoff were not going as it was too windy. I did question my sanity as I loaded up the car.

The drive up on the morning was all good and the further North I drove the less windy it seemed to get. Arriving at the fishery the wind was certainly not to bad at all, but it was forecast to get better. I said hello to the owner Keith and had one of his breakfasts which would keep me going all day. There was a fair bit of debate about what to peg to avoid the wind, but I didn't think that was possible. With only 12 brave (or foolish) anglers turned up Keith decided to put 6 anglers on each lake. I was last but one to draw and pulled out 22 on Heron, this was on the car park bank and meant the wind was off my back, yay. That said none of the locals gave me any rave reviews about it, most saying its shallow and a good simmer peg, hmmm. Aaron Britnell had fished here yesterday, and he had 47lb off the same peg, he gave me a few pointers over facebook messenger.

The wind was much worse as you went down the lake, and I was happy to get the pole out. I plumbed up to find the contours / depth, and went for a line at 10m and another at 11.5. The depth was the same on these two lines and a 4x16 F1 pellet wire stem was used, with a 16 PR412 to 0.11 powerline. Another rig was set up same float but in a 4x12, this was to be fished about 3m out from my bank as I felt right in the margin was too shallow. I did also set up a maggot feeder.

The match began at 10:30 and I shipped out to 10m and toss potted in some fishery micro pellets. I fed some maggots on the closer line and would leave the 11.5m line for a while. I slipped a 4mm Sonubait expander pellet on the hook and didn't have to wait long for a bite, first fish was a fantail. Next drop an F1, then a 3lb carp. I took another few fish but after 30 mins this line was dead and my early lead was gone when a couple of lads caught a few carp on the maggot feeder. I had to give it a go but three casts on the hour and no indications, and at the same time the others seemed to dry up too. I could see carp rolling virtually all day further up the lake, and I feared that they had followed the wind.

I went back to the 10m line and managed to get the odd bite again, F1's and the odd hand size skimmer. I was lucky as the wind was worsening and one guy had his spare keepnet blown in, and another had his trolley blown along the bank and nearly went in! My 10m line all of a sudden was consistent and I was getting regular bites and was lining up a few F1's including a couple of 4lbers. It was all going well but when it did slow I tried the 11.5m line where I had fed some corn, but all I caught here were two roach all match. The middle of match was really enjoyable and I thought if kept this up I'd do a really good weight. Probably with about 1 hr and 45 mins to go the 10m line went weird, I struggled to get bites and when I did I could not hit a bite! I also lost a big F1 which managed to get in between my keepnets. I tried the maggot line but it was full of roach and rudd, so I dumped a big pot of maggots in and left it for a bit.

Whilst I was now struggling the lad up from me on the left hand bank was now bagging in his margin catching carp and F1, and the guy behind him on Moorhen was catching well too. I was frustrated by my slow catch rate, but finally with about 25 mins to go I had a decent fish on maggot in close, a bream of about 3 1/2lb. That was followed by a F1, a carp and another F1 landed after the whistle.

I was sure I would be an also ran but never the less I had caught plenty of fish and more than I thought I was going to if I'm honest. I weighed in just under 88lb which I was well chuffed with, this put me fourth. I don't know the exact weights / names of framers as everyone was paid on the bank and we all shot off when a storm arrived. 110lb won from peg 5 on Moorhen, corn in margin. The lad on my lake had 101lb on pellet in the margin (he told me he lost 7 carp too). There was a 90lb on Moorhen and then it was me. Considering I don't do F1 fishing I was pleased with the day, for sure there was probably more to be caught, I think I was to negative with the margin and should have put some corn in at least one side. Still happy enough and I just need more practice!

The drive back home was interesting to say the least. The rain began falling as sleet and the temperature dropped rapidly. The motorway traffic became very slow and I assumed the storm was causing this, but what it turned out to be was snow! Just before Cheltenham the temperature was down to 0.5C on my car and it was snowing and the road was thick with it and some of the fields were all white. It was an amazing change, and I was glad when I got through it and got home.

Pleasure fishing - Bristol Avon Newbridge

My only chance of getting on the river before the start of the close season was this weekend, but there wasn't a match on it which was a real shame. My wife was away for the weekend visiting our eldest daughter, that meant I was going to go fishing both days and my youngest daughter would look after me when I was at home lol. A plan was hatched river Saturday and fish a t match Sunday at Hillview.

I got out to Newbridge and Warren Bates was out there too, he was on peg 24. I didn't want a long walk and so I settled in on peg 18, it's a good peg and has the added bonus of you being able to get down the bank a bit, which would be a godsend as it turned out. The river still had plenty of colour in at and a bit of pace, so was going to be a bream job I thought. As I was only planning fishing for about 4 hours I just set up the one feeder rod, a large open ender, with 0.13 to a 14 PR355. I wasn't going to ball it in today just put everything through the feeder. I added some of the new Sonubaits Thatchers groundbait into my mix. This groundbait was originally made by Rodney at Thatchers tackle shop in Wells, he has now passed on the recipe to Sonubaits. I used to use this fishmeal gbait a lot so I am glad it is available again, mixing it with a natural gbait and brown crumb has also worked for me in the past for bream / skimmers.

I started around 9am and made about 10 quick casts to get some bait in, I had a bite after about 10 mins and it was a roach of at least 12oz on triple red maggot. After this I didn't have a bite, but I was not leaving the feeder in for too long to keep bait going in. Just before the hour mark the wind started to get up pretty bad, luckily it was off my back but was buffeting the tip, but that didn't stop me noticing a proper bite and I struck into solid resistance. A proper fight from a decent slab ensued, the flow was helping it a lot. Eventually I netted a very dark coloured 5lb bream which had a few spawning barnacles on its head. I'd taken this fish on dendra and 2 dead reds. Ten minutes later and rod was buckled in two by another bream, this one was really heavy and I was sure it was a bigger fish. I had to keep the rod low to avoid the fish kiting up to the surface in close as there are many branches in the water. This fish was much lighter in colour and I would have said it was close on 7lb. Sadly this was not the start of a bream fest and I went an hour with just a small roach. I had now lowered the rod tip to about 4 feet of the water as the wind was so strong it was blowing the tip all over the place. I had a close shave when a branch blew off the tree to my left, yikes. I then had another bream but this one was on 4 red maggots, again it was another big slab.

I spent another spell with no indications other than a couple of small roach and a chublet. I then lost a bream which I am sure was foul hooked. Around 1:30pm I had another 2 bream one of 4lb and one of 6lb. At 2pm I decided to call it a day. Shaun Townsend happened to be walking along and so I asked him to take a quick photo, 5 bream and some bits that would have gone close to 30lb. A nice way to end the river season.... However, once again blogger / my laptop will not let me load the photo on to my blog!!!!! I'll try again later in the week. Not been great for things electric as I have a part of my house without electric at the moment, happens to be part of the kitchen too, so no fridge or freezer, FFS!

Sunday, 3 March 2019

April / May 2000

Decisions, decisions.... Wanted to fish the river this weekend, but couldn't find a match on the lower river Avon sadly. As I was going to watch Rovers on Saturday (who won 4-0 yay) Sunday was my only option. The weather forecast did nothing to for my enthusiasm (though as I type this the weather has not been that bad!), there was a match on the canal at Bath, Bob Warden Memorial, but in the end I went down the have a lie in weekend and do some shopping Sunday. Going out Friday on a gin tasting event on the fabulous SS Great Britain was going to take a bit of getting over too... ahem. I am going to pop out to the results of the canal match and buy some raffle tickets to help raise money for the charity which I think is the British Lung Foundation.

In April 2000 I ventured out on Saturday 15th to hep a work colleague of mine, Ken, who was getting back into fishing and had bought a second hand pole. I took him out to the newly opened Hunstrete lake Bridge Pool. I set the pole up for Ken and got him started at 10m, I fed maggots for him and we waited patiently on a cold damp day for his first fish on a pole. It was slow and we had no small fish so it was wait for a bite. Of course the first bite Ken had he nearly snapped up on as he struck too hard lol. He had opened his account with a small chub and he had six of these in total up to 1 1/2lb. He did hook one carp and it was funny as he panicked and wanted, and tried, to give the pole to me. I just laughed at him as he thought the pole would break but of course eventually the hook length snapped. The best part about the day was when Ken hooked one of the large roach that had been stocked in there, no scales on us, but I was sure it had to be 2lb. Not bad for your first attempt. Ken will get a mention in a later post, another time I had to giggle.

Good Friday April 21st and I decided to have a pleasure fishing session at Plantation Carp lake. I fished sweetcorn at 6m to start and caught small carp from 6oz to 1lb. After three hours I came into the edge and caught the same size fish but I would get the odd 3-5lb carp too. A lovely day ending with over 60 carp.

April 200 was (at the time ) the wettest April on record, maybe that is why I only fished one more match on the last day of the month, I was at Century Pond again. Unfortunately the pattern of the fishing getting harder continued, and I had 2 carp and 3 skimmers for just 9lb 9oz and that was enough to get me second in the match, only 4 carp were caught on the lake.

May 6th and family day out at Longleat, well the family went to the park and I went and fished on the bottom lake. Nice day on the pole with pellet / corn / meat for bream and carp up to 4lb and an estimated 80lb.

By May the 12th the wet April was forgotten as the temperature had risen to 25C, I had a few hours pleasure fishing at Century Ponds for 30lb of skimmers and a few carp on meat at 6m and down the edge. I always felt that this venue was just a bit too small, and didn't react well to matched but was a lovely place to pleasure fish (being so close to home too) .

Two weeks later and the hot weather had broken with heavy showers, hail and thunder and the weir at Keynsham was no longer visible. I fished the "Rovers v City" match at Viaduct fishery. I was given peg 10 on Spring and to be fair I had right struggle. One carp on the feeder on double corn, and 3 small skimmers and a roach on meat on the pole! 9lb 15oz for nowhere but what really mattered was that Rovers won the day, up the Gas!

It's funny now when I read my diary, some matches I can remember things as I read what I wrote, but others I find no other "memories". Perhaps it is a getting old thing, perhaps it depends on any events that stick in your mind, unusually a great or bad day, or something funny that happens. One thing for sure I would have forgotten a lot more if I hadn't wrote things down. Once I started the blog though I gave up on the diary as I was merely duplicating my efforts. Next weekend will be the last chance to get out on the river, hopefully the weather doesn't spoil it. I fancy a double header, maybe a day on the river Saturday and a match on a commercial Sunday. But I will see what is on.