Sunday, 26 May 2019

Windmill Fishery Open

The reason for no blog last week was due to my spending the weekend away with my wife, we went to Worcester and onto Shropshire and finally Manchester where we saw my eldest daughter. We were away for our wedding anniversary (24 years) and I really enjoyed visiting some tremendous National Trust properties.

Where to fish this weekend? Well most anglers were on Tony Rixon's float only league, something I couldn't commit to sadly,  so I ended up deciding to stay local and give Windmill another go. Just hoping the carp were not spawning but what ever the fishing could be tricky at this time, just hoped I would have a better time on carp than last time here. When I got to the draw there was a low turn out, I assume to all the other matches where the regulars had gone to, so only 9 fishing. The wind was hacking down the lake and a quick walk down it didn't show much carp activity until near the end where the wind was blowing down to. A peg down here would do, assuming the wind got no worse. I was first to draw and I pulled out peg 1, this is at the opposite to where I wanted to be, I moaned a bit, but others told me it was a good peg and carp were moving on the point of the island.

At my peg and there were indeed carp moving over on the point so the signs were good despite the nasty wind which did get worse.
I set up a straight lead for fishing banded 8mm pellet, using a 14KKM-B to 0.17 powerline, and also a pellet waggler in case the wind dropped (yeh right). I only set up two pole rigs, one for slapping using a 16KKM-B to 0.15 powerline, and one for the RH margin where it was about 3 feet deep. A 4x14 with a 16 PR478 to 0.17 to fish meat. I had to chop some reeds down a bit so I could get into the margin, I could not fish right tight in as there were reeds under the water, so about a foot away from the bank it was.

The match started at 10:15 and I began on the slapping rig at 14m feeding some 6mm pellet whilst I fed some 8mm pellet to the end of the island. After 25 mins I had not had one indication on the pole, so with carp still showing across I threw the lead at them. There were certainly a few there and the tip showed a few liners before eventually I hooked up with one only for it to snag me up solid about a metre out from the bank. Just past the first hour I finally managed to get a carp in the net on the lead, then it was just liner after liner and not a proper bite. I tried the waggler but the wind was just killing it.

I went back onto the slapping rig and hooked two carp and lost both, I assume foulers which is annoying when only fishing a foot deep. It was tough hanging onto the pole, trying to feed a bit of bait and also feed across, accuracy went out the window. By 1pm I had only 3 carp in the net for 11lb, but those anglers around me were not catching either. Luckily for me things improved after this, with a quick 3 carp on the lead, and then 5 on the slapping rig. However, each time you caught a few the fish on a line seemed to spook. Gerry Welch on peg 22 then started to catch regularly on a method feeder, he was casting to the other end of the point so I could his feeder landing and the swirl when the carp swam off. I did manage to get another couple on the lead at this time, but I also pulled out of a few halfway back, weird.

I'd fed some meat in the margin and tried it with 2 hours to go, I had a 6oz carp and a 2lber, then a 5lb carp. No more bites or indications here, I kept swapping between the lead and slapping just trying to get an odd carp and would try the margin in between. It wasn't until about 25 mins to go that I had my next bite in the margin, it felt like a decent fish and I played it out in the open water until twang! Bloody hook length had snapped! I chucked the lead out whilst I put another hooklength on the pole rig, and just has I finished the tip had gone banging round. Managed to grab the rod before it went in, reeled the fish back to about halfway and that one came off,  WTF!  I couldn't believe it! I dropped back in the margin with the meat and had to endure a couple of minutes of slight dips before a proper bite. This time hurrah I got the fish out, it was a double and my biggest of the day. One more bite and a tiny 6oz carp, all out.

I had 85lb on my clicker and with no silvers hoped that I would be right. Fishery owner Brad weighed me first, and my two weighs went 84lb 8oz. Gerry opposite (who was on the golden peg) said he only had 70lb, but there was one other angler Mark Summerhayes who I had been told had caught well, so I would have to wait till everyone had weighed to know if my weight would stay int he lead.  On peg 3 Nick Saunders had 68lb 14oz,  a good weight as he battled with the wind for half his catch fishing right over on the pole, like me Nick said he lost a lot of fish off the hook. When I got back to the car park I was happy to find out I had clung on to the win, Mark Summerhayes having 80lb 10oz from peg 14. The silvers was won by Bill Ferris with 14lb 11oz of hand size skimmers.

A shame there weren't more at the match, but similar to when I won at Viaduct a win is a win lol, and I was happy to pick up £50. I went back to the Folly to have a cider with Hainer.

Finally well done to my mate Glenn Bailey who won the float only today with 221lb on Carey peg 81.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

K&A Canal Spring League

I really did not want to fish this league, I don't get on with canals in spring (some may say I don't get on with canals any time lol). However, this was the third round and with a few of the Thatchers team struggling to fish it I volunteered. Only trouble was I was working in Munich again, had plans Saturday, and so my time to get some preparation done was going to be very limited. Luckily Andy Ottoway came to my rescue lending me some top sets, rigs and hook lengths, this added to my canal rigs that had survived the winter league should suffice.

Sunday morning and I was up at 5:45 to be ready for Shaun Townsend picking me up at 6:45. It was a bright morning and the forecast was now for sunshine all day, not what you really want trying to catch skimmers. We got to the draw venue (Marlborough Football Club) in good time and I bought us some rolls and tea. Lucky Liam Braddell was doing our team draw, whilst James Carty was doing the other Thatchers team draw, and his team were winning the league after the first two rounds. Liam has drawn himself two end pegs in the last two rounds and won both of the matches, today he drew himself another end peg but said it wasn't that good, lol! I was handed peg A15 at Roadside, no idea where it was or what it was like, but we had the Sat Nav post code. Shaun dropped me off and he went on to his section Iron something or other.

Peg 16 was next to a bridge and was therefore an end peg, so I was close to one lol. James Carty was further down the canal and gave me some pointers on how he would fish it. I then struggled to the peg along the narrow and uneven towpath, thought at one point the whole lot was going in the canal, and I only had to walk two pegs lol! A nice bridge shame I was not next to it.

My view below, no features at all to speak of.

I plumbed up to get to know the contours of the canal, I could see it was shallow in close as I could see the bottom. After this the canal dropped off quickly to about 5 feet, it then steeply shelved up and I wasn't liking it at all. at 11.5m is was about 16" deep and soon after this it was a foot at best. I set up a couple of rigs for the track, not worth mentioning as I never had a bite on these. A couple of rigs for a swim about 2 1/2 feet deep at an angle (one bulked one strung out both with 22 to 0.07)  a tiny rig for fishing in the shallow water. Lastly a worm rig but I never had a bite on this either.

The match began at 10:30 and I fed 3 swims, a couple of boats had gone through before the start and had coloured the canal and the track was tried for 5 mins and abandoned until the colour went.  Fishing in the 2 1/2 feet swim had the same result. At this early stage the lad on the end peg, think he was called Steve Lee, knocked all of his groundbait in, oh dear! I picked up the shallow rig and went over with a pinkie on the 24 hook. I had a bite straight away and had a little roach, and I had a little roach on the next 3 drops and then a little gudgeon. Even in this shallow water I had to work the rig to get a bite, and was soon on a single squatt, but when a couple more boats came through my bites dried up. I decided to push the rig right over against the tiny bit of cover I had, and even though I had not fed here I caught two roach were a couple of ounces each. They were the only bites I had here.

Back on the 11.5m line and some more small roach and after an hour I would say I was doing OK and as well as anyone else. I tried the deeper 2 1/2 foot line but I could not get a bite here. I Caught a few more small roach across and then as 90 minutes had passed all bites stopped, and I mean stopped! On my right Ian Dunlop had been struggling but he now started to get bites and caught the occasional 4 to 6oz skimmer. He looked to be fishing the same as me, feeding the odd small amount of gbait and loose feeding some squatts over the top. As Ian carried on catching I went 90 minutes without a bite at all, then caught a small perch on the 2 21/2 ft line.

The rest of the match was awful for me, and I sat and watched Ian catch in little bursts, and then with an hour to go Steve on the end peg who had struggled for a long time started catching roach and skimmers by loose feeding squatts across in the shallow water (he later told me he saw roach topping down by the bridge and they eventually moved up to him. All I had was two more small roach and with 15 mins to go my one and only skimmer of about 3oz. It had been a tad boring and with no phone signal I couldn't even ring anyone to have a moan lol! Still at least I got to see a red kite and there was a cuckoo calling close by, rare these days so happy to hear one.

When the scales arived Steve weighed 4lb 8oz, my turn and only 1lb 13oz, then Ian who had 6lb 2oz I think. Oh dear "BATTERED!" I only beat one person in the section and needed some of those skimmers. I spoke to Ian after and he fished very similar to me, but surely I did something wrong? Well anyway he fished a very tidy match so well done. As it was Shaun had an even worse day catching just two gudgeon for 1oz, he was beat both sides too, but only by an ounce so not battered. Nick Chedzoy had 12oz which is good for him, and then there was Liam, well Liam had 8lb and came second overall.

Simon Hebditch won with 14lb, then Liam then Ian Dunlop, and 4th was Tom Morretti with a level 6lb

No idea how the team did, but pretty low down, and the "good" Thatchers side also blew out I think.

I cannot finish without mentioning good old Gary Etheridge. Gary was in my section a little further down. After the match whilst I waited for Shaun I chatted with Gary as I have known him since the 1990's. As we chatted he then went to one side of his car and starting making strange movements... Turned out Gary had a slow puncture (a flat tyre now) and he was giving it his all on a foot pump. Gary was struggling so I offered to help him, and in no time I managed to get 30 PSI in the tyre for him. He then advised he had put the spare on yesterday but it blew up, it was only 20 years old, lol!

No fishing next weekend, I'm going for a long walk to forget about this day ;-)

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Viaduct Fishery Open - Lodge Lake

Haven't been to Viaduct for quite a long time so when Glenn Bailey suggested we go there on Sunday I said yes. The match was on Lodge, a lake where the fish can be a bit moody and I was in the right frame of mind for it thinking the best fishing would be the last hour. We stopped in Canards Well for breakfast and it was very nice indeed.

When we arrived at the fishery we found out only 9 people had booked in, a shame as 10 are needed for the winner to qualify for the all winners final. I think a lot of anglers had either taken a rest after the 5 day festival here or were at the festival at Todber. Of course it could have been they didn't fancy a match on Lodge which had been pretty tough all week. The draw was done and I found peg 73 in my hand, a corner peg with a tree in it that you share with peg 53. Funnily enough Glenn had drawn 53 so we had to look at each other all day! The next angler to me on my left was Nigel Bartlett who would be fishing for silvers. I was happy to fish for both silvers and carp as you can get double bubble here. Picture below of my view of the Lodge.

This peg has margins, to the right you have the willow tree, and I would feed some 6mm pellets here at 14.5m. It certainly looks sexy, but there was a distinct lack of fish here, no signs setting up of any carp at all.

To the left there are some brambles that grow out into the lake and it is deeper here than the tree margin. I fished a top set + 2 here again with pellets. 4x10 rig with 0.17 to 16KKM-B same as in other margin just a deeper rig. I also set up a couple of 4x12 floats, one for fishing meat at 5m with 0.17 to 16 PR456, and another for fishing long with a soft pellet. A mugging rig and waggler were also put up.

Before the match started Nige told me there were a lot of carp in front of him and between us, they might move down later. The match started at 11am and I fed the long margin and the long pole in front only. Starting in front it was very slow, I had fed a small amount of 4mm and 6mm pellets hoping for an early carp, but all I had were a couple of tiny skimmers. Glenn had a carp after 10 mins on the paste, looked at least 14lb. I switched to the right margin looking for any residence, I was pleased when I hooked one after 5 mins and even more pleased when I got out in front of me. However, it then got under the brambles, got it out, went in again and this time got broke off. No more carp in the right margin just a couple of skimmers.

I went back out in front and changed my feeding around, just feeding a few 6mm pellets in a toss pot and firing a few by catty to spread the feed. By working at it I had a couple of skimmers and then about 1 hour and 20 mins in finally landed a carp. I took a few more skimmers from this line but as we moved into the middle of the match I couldn't get any bites and it was really fishing hard. Glenn only had a few skimmers to add to his carp, Nige was doing well on the silvers, but everyone was struggling with two carp the best!

I had thrown the odd dozen 6mm pellets into the left hand margin, and with just over 2 hours to go I tried this as I saw Nicky Ewers over on 59 get his first carp of the day and it came from his margin. I put an 8m pellet in the band and dropped the rig but it didn't settle properly, thinking I was on a bramble I picked the rig up and then felt something and then saw a swirl as a fish swam out, bugger. Well it wasn't a disaster as not long after this I had proper bite and fish on, but once again the brambles did me, aarghh! I tightened up the 19H elastic and went back in hoping there was another carp there, there was. This time I was able to get the carp away from the edge and scooped up an 8lb common. I had another carp before it went quiet and then I had a 2lb skimmer. Time for a change.

I tried the meat line, and I had to wait quite a while for a bite and then I missed it, and the next two, and then had a 2oz roach. Nothing here yet then... Back into the margin and just one big skimmer here, had I blown it? I glanced back out and noticed a few bubbles on the meat line, so had to try it again. This time I had couple of skimmers and then a decent carp, and after a ten minute wait I had another carp. I was now finally getting decent signs of fish feeding, and odd carp had showed around the lake. I had another couple of carp and then with less than 30 minutes hooked a beast that I believe was hooked near the mouth. It just fought so hard and fast it was incredible. Two or three times I got it from under the pallet, and then just as I thought it was coming in it turned and the topset exploded into three pieces, bollocks!
I grabbed the elastic but the fish pulled to hard and the line snapped and everything shot back. As I tried to deal with the mess I had I realised there was a cut on one of my knuckles and very soon it started to bleed, a lot. I carried on fishing though. Rather than getting a new rig and topset sorted for the meat line I thought I would try the brambles again, the carp were back here and I had another couple landing a double after the whistle.

Mat Long was doing the weigh in and started with Glenn, I asked if he could weigh me last so I could sort my finger out. His mum Helen then let me wash the finger and applied a couple of plasters. As I packed up the cut bled again and it seemed most of my luggage had some blood on it lol!
I wandered up to see Nigel weigh, he had 31lb of silvers which was a good weight on the day and easily won the silvers prize. He caught some skimmers on soft pellet but also a lot of fish on caster short.

Glenn kindly pulled my nets out to try to stop my cut from bleeding, in the process he hurt his back! I had 18lb of silvers, and my 9 or 10 carp went 80lb, for a total of 99lb 13oz. That  was enough to win the match and Glenn came second with 55lb, so as you can see it really fished hard today! Unfortunately I forgot to get a photo of me with my fish, ah well. I was pleased that I had that late run of fish today, and I felt I got the feeding right, I fed very little as I thought the carp would not be that hungry after 5 days of matches. Could have done without the broken topset though, lol! Still it could of been worse, I was sat in the sun and at times was down to my T shirt, poor old Nick Ewers on 59 was freezing in the shade all day, and to top off a shit day he was actually shat on a few times by pigeons.. PMSL.