Sunday, 29 December 2019

Philtone Team Match - Hillview Fishery

Some time ago Neil Mercer mentioned to me that he was running a friendly team match between Christmas and New Year and would I like to fish, it was a free date and so I was happy to fish.

I travelled back from London on Saturday, I had been up to Alexandra Palace to watch the PDC World Championship with my eldest daughter. It was a cracking night of darts and we had a great view.

As soon as I was back I got the gear out to put some new elastic in a couple of top sets, and made up some more 4x12 rigs which got trashed last time I was up here. I was well prepared.

Up early for the first time since the holiday and I was all OK as I had not had any pop the night before. I was soon shooting up the M5 and at the fishery in good time to have a breakfast. There were plenty of decent anglers fishing this match and each team consisted of seven anglers. Captains were Craig Edmunds, Martin Rayet, and Tony Rixon. I was in Mr Rayet's team along with Neil Mercer, Dave Willmot, Clint Wojtyla, Martin McMahon and someone called Willow. I paid my pools and soon after the draw was made and I found myself on canal number 2 peg 56, this is the end but one peg on the canal (to the right as you look from the car park) and is the calmer end of the canal with a southerly wind.

As I took my gear out of my car and put it on my trolley I noticed a serious problem... the top drawer in my Preston box was missing, it hadn't fallen out in the car either. It was obviously at home in the shed, shite, all of my hooks, line, plummets etc are in there. Also the new rigs I had made were not in the box as they were on top the drawer I was sure. I spoke to my captain who said he would help me out and he gave me a few rigs, a disgorger, a plummet and a bread punch. As you can imagine I did get a bit of stick for this, only to be expected lol. My sad box....

At the peg I had some old (very old) Avon Angling team mates near me, Dave Lewis was on the next peg to me on peg 58, and behind me on the third canal end peg was Tony Rixon. Setting up didn't take long, a dobbing rig with 0.13 to 16 PR478, a 4x12 for fishing 3/4 across and also would do for the margins this side. A 4x14 for down the middle on 0.11 to 18. Just before the match I borrowed some bristle grease from Clint, I didn't want to lose any shot off the rigs as I didn't have any of them either!

The match started at 10am and I shipped out the dobbing rig with bread searching the far bank, within seconds Martin Rayet had a carp further down my canal, and Neil Mercer in the middle of the first canal had one. My rig just wouldn't move and I had no signs of fish, even Tony behind had a few. Dave had nothing and lost a follower, so quiet at our end. Then as I glanced left I spotted about 20 carp swimming just below the surface swimming. I tried swinging the dobbing rig at them but they didn't want to know at first though I did get an F1 out of the blue. The light on the water made it hard to see these carp, and so I stood up and then could see they were cruising around and I watched them move into the near bank about 12m down and then go out again. The far bank was 14.5 to 15m away at the bottom and there was no point going in there at this stage, so I tried the near margin first at 12m and soon enough a few carp appeared and I nailed one. I had another two quite soon after and was feeling a bit happier. In the picture you can probably see the light on the surface hiding the fish from my vision, though Tony behind me could see them.

After the first hour I had put about 5 carp in the net, Martin was still slaying them as was Trig and Neil. I took another few carp on bread from 12m line but then they seemed to go and a few rudd turned up. I had a go trying maggot in front of me to rest the carp, I tried on the 3/4 line but it never happened. Back to the dobbing rig and I went back down the edge and took another carp, but then nothing and so went a bit further down which produced a couple more before a bit of a barren spell. Again trying bread across and trying the maggot was a waste of time. I stuck the 14.5m section on and shipped further down the canal, after dropping in a couple of spots with nothing I then hit a sweet spot hooking 5 in 5 drops. It was mostly carp with just a rare F1. Of course the plundering stopped and that spot was now a rudd a chuck. I put the 16m section and went as far as I could and took a few more carp.

With a couple of hours to go Martin appeared to be well ahead on my canal, but nothing much else was being caught. Certainly Trig and Neil were out in front and kept catching. There was £30 for winning the canal and I thought that was out of reach unless I could line up some fish on maggot on the top set plus two and also in the margin. I failed to catch a single fish on these lines though, no F1's in my peg I think and for some reason my canal was fishing tough. I fed a bit of micro pellet on a couple of lines far and near bank long to my left, and these threw up one large F1, and 2 carp and a couple of foulers, but then nothing.

I basically only caught on bread dobbing, and the last 30 minutes were pretty barren. I was amazed at the difference from my last match here when on this canal there were lots of F1's caught on maggots and I also caught well on maggots on the third canal. This time nothing on maggot other than rudd when trying it dobbing.

The weigh in was done in a bit of light, and by the time the scales got to me (I was last to weigh) it was pretty dark and I couldn't get a photo. It was great watching the scales and as Neil did the weigh in there was a lot of banter going on and the match had been fished in good spirits with plenty of laughs.

My fish weighed in at 68lb 8oz, and that was top on my canal as I best Martin Rayet whose peg dried up on him in the last two hours and he ended with 65lb. He was well chuffed that I beat him and that I caught on his borrowed rigs lol!

1st Craig Edmunds 131lb
2nd Neil Mercer 89lb
3rd Tony Rixon 80lb
4th Tim Ford 68lb 8oz
5th John Fuidge 67lb 12oz
6th Martin Rayet 65lb

Winning Team was Mr Rixon's with 382lb, second my lot with 359lb, and Trigs team had 330lb.

Sheet below with all weights. I can't speak highly enough of this venue, when most people get lots of bites and the average weight over 21 anglers is 50lb a man, that's good winter fishing. When I got home I found the lost drawer and a tray of rigs right where I had put them before forgetting to put them back in the box!

Not sure when I will be back out on the bank as the next two Sunday's are taken up with other events, maybe I could get up here again on a Saturday?

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Midweek Open at Hillview Fishery

Later this month I am fishing a little team knock up match on Hillview Fishery (Nr Tewekbury) and a few of the chaps taking part said why not go up there for a little practice. I had 1 day of holiday left to use on 2019 and so off to Hillview it would be.

In between going to the gym Monday and Tuesday evening I managed to tie up some rigs and hook lengths for the canals at Hillview. I was OK with what I had done but would have like to have had a few more duplicate rigs. Glenn Bailey picked me up at 7:30 Wednesday morning, nice to be travelling together in the van again. Traffic was always going to be a pain getting out of Bristol but once on the motorway it was fine. It was cold and frosty start but I didn't expect to see the venue with ice on it so that was a bit of a shock.

We met up with Martin Rayet, Joe McMahon, Neil Mercer, Dave Wilmott, Louis Townsend and some of their mates, and had one of Keith's breakfasts which does nicely for me. Keith soon got the draw under way and with only 12 of us fishing he put 4 pegs on each of the back 3 canals. I puled out 71 on the third canal, a good area and I know peg 70 is one of the favoured pegs so I was very happy.

On my canal were Louis Townsend on peg 75, Lee Masey on 78 and a local lad called Gerry on 81. My peg was iced over but only just as the pegs to my left were clear. Martyn Rayet walked the far bank to clear his peg of ice and kindly cleared mine too, cheers mate. I didn't take me more than a couple of minutes to break my ice up with my pole cup, and it soon disappeared.

Set up wise I went with just 3 rigs, a 4x10 with 0.11 to 16 PR478 for dobbing, a 4x12 with 0.11 to 18 GPM-B for fishing close to the far bank and near banks, and a 4x14 with same line and hook for fishing in the deepest water. I was unsure whether to feed and fish pellets or maggots, and decided to start dobbing and keep an eye on what was going on. I went out with the bread rig and it took me about 5 minutes to get a bite and net a F1 carp. Trying to get the second fish proved somewhat harder, meanwhile the guy opposite me on peg 94 on canal 4 was getting one a bung. I searched the far bank and finally got another bite and this time a small carp to my left. Another fish came soon after but then no more, I noticed Martin who had started slow was now getting regular fish dobbing. By going even more to my left I got another two fish but again that was my lot in that spot. I couldn't line the fish up whilst opposite they were catching well.

I decided to switch to dobbing maggots and tried in the spots I had caught, I got a couple more carp and did lose a coupler of foulers. I decided that as I wasn't really going anywhere I would feed some maggots across by toss pot and see what happened. In hindsight I should have done this earlier I think but after the ice I was a little negative in my thoughts. I soon started to get bites on double maggot on the 4x12 float fishing about 1/2m off the far bank. I took more F1s now, and also had to put up with some gudgeon and tiny carp and F1, but I was getting regular bites now and this was much better. I tried to work out how best to feed and it seemed 30 maggots every two fish was best, but whenever I caught a small carp it seemed to push the F1 out for a while. I was happy catching here, not bagging but steady.

I was feeding maggots by hand into the deepest water but had not tried here yet, but with about 90 minutes to go I had a mini disaster. The wind had steadily increased and was now very troublesome for me, and striking and missing a bite the rig was blown into the far bank, I lost the float. I put on another 4x12 and went straight back out, but as I went to lay the rig in the wind got it again and balls rig gone again! I took this as a sign, come in closer, and went onto my deep line topset plus two and dropped in with double maggot. Luckily for me the float shot under after a few minutes and I soon netted a lovely F1 and the biggest if the day. This line came up trumps for me for a while, and I caught decent size F1 and some small carp from 1lb to 3lb. With 45 mins to go I realised I had no idea what weight I had (net limit is 75lb) but even though I guessed I had 50lb I thought I would put another net in. I had a few more small carp but then all of a sudden this line went a bit funny on me, and the fish left me it seemed. I caught the odd fantail now and bloody gudgeon. I tried going long down my margin on corn but this never brought me a bite so I sat it out on the deep line and struggled to the end with odd tiny F1.

Neil Mercer behind me on canal 2 admitted to 60lb as did Joe McMahon next to him. I knew I was only hoping to win the £30 for winning the canal, as Martin had slayed the fish all day. The scales started opposite me and the lad who started well on 94 had 76lb, but Martin easily won that canal with 134lb, Glenn had 60lb up the other end which is usually not as good. When the scales got to me the top weight on my canal was Lee with 66lb 8oz on peg 78, I put my small fish on the scales first and they went 22lb, and then with my carp and bigger F1 I weighed a total of 79lb 8oz for the canal win.

Martin won as expected and not only did he take the winners purse but he then went and pulled out his peg number again to win the golden peg and add and other £100 to his winnings, nice one, don't forget to get the beers in ;-)  Martin caught dobbing for a full 3 hours and then he caught on maggots. Well done mate.

Full weight sheet below.

That's a lovely day, and I think I would have had a bit more weight had I switched to feeding earlier, I never tried the pellet today at all but there were plenty of fish caught on that too by other anglers. I have to keep coming here to work out the best way to feed and where to fish in your peg, I'm sure the locals get that sorted quickly. Well that is it for me now until I fish here again on the 29th Dec. In between I will be enjoying Christmas, watching Rovers, and I am also going with my daughter Lucy to see the world darts championship at Alexandra Palace, so it's a busy Christmas and not like last year sat on the beach in the sun!

Happy Christmas to you all, I hope you have a great time, drink and be merry. I hope my blog does bring some interest for people and I do try to pass on what I do during the day, though sometimes the memory is not so good!

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Double Header Weekend

It is not often I fish Saturday and Sunday but this was a chance to do so and I was going to behave myself Friday night by staying away from the booze.

It was some time ago that by chance I was on Facebook and saw Todber Manor Fishery were promoting their Xmas match. Whilst I had not fished there for a long time I wanted to give it a go as it would be a big match, and in the winter you can get lucky of you draw on a shoal of carp. I met up at 7am with Martin Rayet and Joe McMahon and followed them down to Dorset where we had breakfast in the Riverside Cafe, very nice. Onto the fishery and said hello to lots of anglers that I have not seen for a while, and met one that I have conversed with on social media but never met, Jamie Rich who has a blog "Against Men and Fish". Good to finally meet you Jamie.

The draw was the usual scrum and eventually I got a peg, I had hoped for a bunghole that locals would give me lots of great vibes on, I got peg 5 on whitepost lake. I don't think I have ever fished this lake before and got info on it, generally was told it was great in summer and should be worth a few fish. The main thing I was told over and over was to fish maggots.

The weather was forecast to be rancid, and the wind was already nasty and forecast to be worse. I set up a maggot feeder and a straight lead for fishing to the far bank, with 0.15 to 16 GPM-B. I set up two pole rigs, a 4x16 with 0.13 to 16 SFL-B for fishing top set plus 3 sections, as far as I dared in the wind. I did set up another rig for fishing towards a tree on the bank but never had a bite here.

Just before the match I took a video and at the end you can see Steve Denmead two pegs up giving the thumbs up to me, about 5 minutes later a storm came over and was enough to break Steve Denmead's number 6 pole section, thumbs down.

I began the match like everyone else it seemed fishing on the tip rod to the far bank, though casting out was just hard work as the sun was right in my eyes and the whole lake in front of me was blinding! I began on a maggot feeder as did Dave Roper on my left, whilst Eddie Green on my right was on the bomb and bread. Eddie had a carp almost straight away and one peg past Steve Chris Fox also had a carp. I managed a 4lb carp myself after about 20 minutes, but with no more signs and Eddie and Chris doing well on the bread I tried this myself, alas I had nothing. I had no liners or signs on the tip and after the first hour Eddie had 4 carp and Chris had 3, Steve and myself 1, Dave was biteless. My match was not a good one after this point, nothing on the tip and nothing on the pole, and I mean nothing. Eddie couldn't get anything else and Dave had two small skimmers on the pole.

As the match wore on Steve and Chris ticked over getting the odd carp on the tip, the anglers to the right of them also seemed to be catching, but to my left it was poor. Then about an hour to go Dave had 2 carp and I had a small 1lb fish. The wind had dropped and all of a sudden the pole was a viable option, I had tried it a number of times during the match without a sign despite feeding maggots their  all day. Steve had a carp on the pole, and I decided to try mine again and there was 30 minutes of the match left and I was plumb last on the lake with 5lb. I dropped in the pole with double maggot and the float went under but I missed the bite, dropped in again and a couple of minutes later I was in. The fish took of and it was a bit of battle, turned out I had hooked a 6lb carp in the pectoral fin, still they all count. Next drop in and the float was only visible for seconds and another carp was on, this prompted a few choices words from others. That carp was landed , but the next one I hooked came off not far from the net. I landed another two carp and lost a fouler and then match ended. Five carp in the last 30 minutes and 2 in the first 4 1/2 hours..

When the scales came down it was apparent that the lake had fished better to my right with Jack Stamp winning our lake on end peg 12 with 95lb, next peg had 81lb, Chris Fox took third n the section with 66lb on peg 8. Eddie had 7 carp for 32lb 12oz and my 7 carp went 34lb 12oz, Dave Roper next to me also had late carp but on the feeder and had 19lb and to his left it was poor. I ended up with just a prize but nothing else, but those last 30 mins were fun and it was nice to get the elastic stretched. Well done to Gary O'Shea winning the match with 167lb off the end peg of the other lake at Whitepost. Nick Ewers was second on this lake with a ton, he moaned like a bitch in the morning cos he couldn't get his car near the lake and wanted to not fish, but he was blocked in had to. PMSL.

Sunday and it was local for me fishing at Bitterwell lake for a charity match in aid of the Bristol Childrens hospital. Paul Isaac who runs the fishery now had 15 booked in but on 8 turned up for some reason. The weather was no great to start and I was hoping to avoid being in the wind. Paul got the draw underway and I pulled out peg 13, but this was not the permanent peg number, I was on 26 I think on the car park bank, with the wind in my face. On the peg to my left was Glenn Bailey and he had nobody to his left until about 10 pegs and so had a large area to draw carp from and I announced him as the winner lol. Glenn in lead chucking mode.

I only got out my two made up lead rods, same as yesterday one with a maggot feeder and one for bread. Only the top two were being paid out and it had to be carp or nothing as far as I was concerned. We started at 10am and I decided to have the first hour on the bread feeding nothing and see what happened on the lake. I had a short cast, nothing, cast a bit further nothing, then a bit further and the tip went round. A decent carp was on and Paul was behind me as I played it carefully back, about 12 metres out it came off, bugger. Not long after this Glenn had one on the bread and Kev Winstone on the road bank had a carp. I never had anything else on the bread so just after the hour mark swapped to the maggot feeder. I had a visit from ex team mate Jack Jones, and on about my third cast on the feeder I hooked a carp and was glad to finally put the net under a 6lb carp. Glenn had seen a carp surface off to his left and cast his bomb and bread to it, good move he had 3 in 3 chucks.

I came off the maggot feeder after an hour and cast the bread out again but this time as far as I could. It was a good move as the tip dropped back and the line went slack, striking and winding I finally caught up with the carp, and this was a lovely condition common touching 7lb. Next cast and a vicious jag that I thought was a liner, and then it jagged again even more and I picked up the rod but nothing. Sadly that was to be my last sign of anything and for the last 90 minutes the lake really shut down.

I was quite happy when the match finished as the temperature had dropped and the wind increases and I was feeling quite cold.

Glenn won the match with 37lb
Kev Winstone had 3 carp for 15lb
I was third with 13lb, and the carp I lost cost me money.

Yes it fished really hard!

We retired to the village hall for tea and mince pies and the raffle. Sadly I was unlucky and didn't get a prize whilst the lucky Gerry and Mandy Welsh cleared up with three prizes, but fair play as Gerry only had 1 roach in the match and he stuck it out. We then further retired to the ring o bells pub where the money winners kindly spent some of their winnings, cheers lads!

Not a great weekend as far as catching fish, but I did enjoy it and it was a good craic on both days. I am having a rare week day fishing on Wednesday, going to Hillview near Teweksbury, using my last day's holiday of the year. Not expecting to trouble the regulars but I do I hope I can get some F1's on the canal and learn a bit.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Commercial House Xmas Match - K&A Canal Bath

After the fun of last weekend I developed the man flu and from Wednesday on I was floored with it and my sinuses were blocked. Glenn Bailey got my bait for me on Friday, and then on Saturday I felt better which was good as along with my wife we were going to watch the Rovers, and a 4-2 win was great to watch (well the second half at least). Cider and hot curry with some of the lads after the game and I was hoping it would unblock me, didn't really help lol.

Sunday morning and up at 6:30 still coughing my guts up but feeling a lot better. The draw was in the Crown at Keynsham and there were 18 hardy souls who turned up. That meant the pegs used were mostly in the town; garage, long pond, horseshoe, crystal, the tunnels and three pegs at Dundas. Having never drawn the tunnels before, and with it being really good for the last few years I wanted to draw here. It wasn't to be though, but I was not complaining getting a peg in horseshoe pond.

My peg was right in the middle of the pond and I was really hoping to bag some skimmers, though on the last match here not many showed. My peg was like this not your typical canal peg..

On the other peg in this pond was Jeff Surmon. I have drawn next to Jeff a number of times over the many years I have been fishing and it is always a close affair, last time out on the canal I beat him. However, Jeff was on his favourite peg and one he had won from before, up by the lock and it holds chub, a waggler man on waggler peg. I said it would be chub v skimmers.

The weather forecast was not great and strong winds were forecast, but mostly the wind was off our backs and so I hoped we would not be too badly affected by it. I set up a waggler with a 20 to 0.10 for fishing at about 20m out. Then just three pole rigs, the usual 4x14 for bread at top set plus 2, a 4x18 with 0.09 to 18 PR311 for fishing all sorts of hookbaits, and a 4x18 with 0.10 to 16 for fishing bits of worms and bigger baits. Positive rigs.

The match started at 10am, but somehow neither Jeff or myself were ready on time, I fed a big pot of joker at 12m to the left, and some gbait, worm, caster and pinkie off to the right. Fed casters on the waggler line, and then at 10 minutes past 10, went in on the bread line. I dropped the rig in it settled, and it didn't shoot under straight away as I had expected. I lifted the rig out and dropped it in again, and this time a bite, a 1oz dace. Next drop in a wait again and a small roach, and this was how the first 15 mins went, a little wait for the bite but then I had a skimmer of 10oz, and next drop a 1lb+ skimmer. Those were the only skimmers on the bread, but shortly after I had caught these I started to catch roach of about 2oz. Jeff was catching roach on bread but had no skimmers. After an hour the bread was dead and Jeff had already gone long on the pole and was catching perch. I tried my joker line and had a 8oz skimmer straight away on a red maggot, but that was a one off.

By fishing both the long lines I could get odd roach, little dace, and tiny chub on maggot. Trying a pinkie or a bloodworm caught me fish but they were much smaller. A 6oz hybrid and 6oz roach came from the gbait line, but if I caught two or three fish that would be it and I would have to swap lines. However, Jeff went onto the waggler by the bank and he soon had a couple of 2lb chub and some smaller ones and was well ahead of me. Not long after this a boat came into our pond and moored up next to me, I hoped this would be good for me by colouring up the pond and getting the skimmers going and switching of the chub, sorry Jeff! Well it didn't work out like that as I had a few roach as it coloured up but the next hour or so for me became a real drag, but Jeff went back on the pole looking for a skimmer and had a 3lb+ chub. The wind got really bad, and we had some heavy rain, with bad light it became really difficult to see my floats. I did manage a lovely roach near the 1lb mark from my joker line, and a couple of roach on the waggler. The gbait line was shot and all I could catch on it was ruffe or gudgeon even on big baits.

The boat then went back up the canal and added some more colour, this did seem to slow Jeff for a bit. With 30 minutes to go I needed snookers, but then I noticed some blows over the joker and went back out again with 3 bloodworm. I soon had an 8oz skimmer in the net, then another skimmer, then an 8oz roach. Then the blows stopped and it was little perch. Back on the waggler and a couple more roach but it was slow. Then with 4 minutes left more blows on the pole line, I got my rig out there and dropped it in, I couldn't see the float the light was terrible. After a minute I struck and out came the elastic, as I netted an 8oz skimmer it was 3pm, end of the match.

Jeff had spanked me, and I said he would win, as last time out the guy on my left won the match, aargh! As we packed up the wind dropped for a bit and we could see the odd fish now blowing over the joker, too late lol.

I had the scales and had to weigh just Jeff, myself and Shane Caswell up in Crystal Pond. Shane had 4lb 3oz of roach and perch. Jeff had a lovely net that to be honest you would be happy with on a river, 16lb 12oz.

Me next and a totally different net of fish than Jeff that went 10lb 6oz.

Not long after these photos it went pitch black and hammered down with rain!

Back at the results and it was as follows:-

1st Jeff Surmon 16lb 12oz
2nd Tim Ford  10lb 60z
3rd Nigel Wyatt 9lb 2oz  (skimmers in dundas marina)
4th Kev Dicks  9lb  (5 skimmers in the long pond)
5th Lee Warden 8lb 10oz  (skimmers and perch Garage)
6th Darren Gillman 7lb 14oz  (2 skimmers and roach long pond)

Oh and the tunnels where I wanted to draw... they were terrible with 1lb the top weight!

Well done Mike and Nicola on running the match with help from Vinny, and it was nice to see Andy Britt at the results after his brush with a heart problem.

After last years awful draws on the canal I am well happy to have had a couple of decent draws and two good days. Next weekend it is back on the commercials, I had two Xmas matches, Todber manor Saturday, and Bitterwell lake Sunday. Probably be pools fodder but it will be nice to try to catch a few carp again.