Sunday, 23 February 2020

Hillview Fishery Open

After coming down from the high of my holiday I was soon on my travels again, a business trip to Munich. Although not a long time away it gave me time to have a think about what to do the weekend coming, weather was looking dodgy but I was going. I think it was on Friday Mark Harper put out a team whatsapp request for anyone to fish a team match at Todber Manor, but I was in a meeting and never saw the request until later and by that time Mark had filled the place. It was going to be Hillview for me then.

I got some prep done Saturday morning, to be fair I didn't have to do that much as the last commercial I fished was here, so a bit of hook tying really, Sunday opens on Hillview are usually on the canals. Had a good Saturday afternoon / evening drinking cider with good mates, had way too much fun, and was laughing all the way home walking back, I was though glad to be home early at 9pm (went out at 3pm).

I was feeling OK when the alarm went off at 7am, the early finish the night before definitely a good idea. Getting ready I had a message from Aaron Britnell to ask if I was still going to the match, this was because the weather (wind especially) was awful again. According to the weather forecast the 45mph winds and rain would be gone by 11am, so I was happy with that. It was certainly mild out too.

I got up to the fishery had one of Keith's breakfasts, paid my pools and then was told the match was on the lakes as there was a club match on the canals. Luckily I had taken a couple of made up lead rods just in case this happened, but I couldn't be sure I had the right pole rigs to cope with the depth, we would see on the bank! Aaron had no bait, well he had meat but no meat cutter, I think his travelling partner Mat Sheppard baled him out lol. The lakes had been fished on the open the day before, and they had been really tough, but I thought the water had to have warmed up a bit overnight. Draw done I pulled out peg 9 on Moorhen, 29lb had come off it the day before.

The wind was awful, on the bank it was blowing straight up the lake, so left to right for me. My peg was the last one on this bank so a nice bit of room down to my right. Lucky angler on the top bank all on his own with the wind in his face was Aaron, see him in the piccy dressed in camouflage and about to give me the finger, and then asked for a pound side bet, accepted.

My peg does not have an island chuck, but as I set up a few carp could be seen boshing in front of me. Though the lad behind me on Heron said they were doing that yesterday and nobody caught them. I took this picture of the view from my peg, about five minutes later a strom passed over very gusty winds and heavy rain. I really did not want to get the pole out at all.

Once the storm had passed I set up, well took out, a tip rod which had a maggot feeder attached to it, with 16 GPM to 0.15 AccuPower. After a while I got the guts to get the pole out, but only the top sets and 3 sections. Plumbed up in front and found the bottom of the shelf, which was just past top set plus two sections. 4x16 Des Shipp float, think it was an F1 pellet, has a wire stem, 18 GPM to 0.12 AccuPower.  Only one other rig, a 4x12 Des Shipp F1 maggot float for fishing down towards pallet on peg 10 in about 2 1/2 feet of water, again 18 to 0.12.

The match started at 10:30 and I fed some maggots on the pole in front to my left, and pellets to my right, but I was starting on the maggot feeder such was the wind. Well that was one of my better decisions as I had a lovely 3 1/2lb F1 on my very first cast. Next cast a longer wait and a pull round but nothing there. Next cast a 5 min wait and 1lb F1. Well I could go on, because it was a bite every chuck out, including two or three fish that grabbed the maggots on the drop. Think I had about 90 minutes of this, when all indications just stopped. I tried casting around to see if they had moved, but I could not relocate them, so I had to pick up the pole. Still 35lb in the net was a great start.

I had only fed the pole lines about 4 times in between the feeder fishing, I couldn't throw bait as it wouldn't have got any where near the right place. I dropped in on the maggot line with double red maggot and I had about 6 inches of line on the bottom to try to keep the bait still. It was tough hanging on to the float and for 10 mins I was struggling, and was about to give it up when I had a 2lb F1. Back in and I hooked a decent fish, turned out to be a near 7lb common carp. Two more F1 and one off the pellet line and then the bites stopped here.

From what I could tell I was doing well at this stage, but with other anglers now starting to catch on their pole lines I needed to keep putting fish in the net. I went to the pallet and the float buried as soon as it settled, and I had five F1s here fairly quickly and then they were gone. The longer pole lines were really poor and tried forcing the pellet line (as it had only yielded one fish) but it never produced which surprised me. I was thinking about trying the feeder again, but with the angler to my left and one behind me now catching well on the pole I thought I had to work out the pole lines. I could get the odd bite in the deep water, but the pallet line was better but always had to be rested. With about 40 mins to go I hooked a carp by the pallet and this fish went under the pallet in the blink of an eye and it was goodbye rig. It was also goodbye fish as it never produced again. The guy on my left was now flying on his top set plus two and I was relieved when I went out there and had a run of bites, ending the match with a chub my only silver.

I reckoned on having 80lb, but it's not easy to keep track of lots of F1's so we would see. Aaron appeared to have struggled (or so I thought) and that meant he should be giving me the pound side bet. When the scales came round I was the very last person to be weighed in, there were two 100lb+ weights on Heron which I knew I could not beat, and the guy to my left had weighed 90lb so I thought my chance for money was over. My first net weighed 50lb, and then my second 44lb 8oz, and so I had done enough to win my lake and just get the £40 section money. Aaron had 71lb which I was amazed at, but he still had to give me a quid lol.

Weigh sheet below. The top two anglers had both caught nearly all carp and being that much bigger than F1s that made the difference.

Well I have got to say that was a very enjoyable weekend, and once again Hillview did me proud with lots of bites and plenty of fish.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Barbados 2020 and Fishing December 2000

I got back to the UK on Monday 10th February after a fantastic 10 days in Barbados. A holiday of a lifetime for my wife and I to celebrate 25 years of marriage in 2020. I stayed in a great hotel, which I found out whilst we where there is used by the SKY sports cricket commentary team. A year or two ago they filmed on the beach here, and having been told this I did recollect seeing it once I was on the beach. Although at present a lot of the beach is missing due to a recent storm washing a large amount of sand away (a regular thing and the beach soon recovers) it was still a great beach and I swam in the sea every day.  This was my view from our balcony early one morning, I could live with that. I hope these pictures might brighten your day and take your mind off the crap weather we have at present!

Whilst there were many highlights (like the lovely weather, discovering great rum, and being in control of a small catamaran) I think swimming with turtles and snorkeling over wrecks full of fish were top.

Isn't it funny how you can travel so far and still meet people with a connection... I met a guy called Jim at breakfast, and turned out he used to live at Swineford. A family from Burnham turned out to know my Dad well, with the mother cutting his hair, lol. I saw plenty of bird life too, Kingfisher, hummingbird, Carib Grackle, and many more, but my favourite was the "Magnificent Frigate Bird". Always wanted to see one of those since watching a David Attenborough episode, so well chuffed.

The best thing though was experiencing all the delights with my wife; superb food, lovely drinks, exceptional service and friendliness of staff, and of course the sunsets. Yeh man!

I was glad to have missed storm Ciara, though my garden didn't miss it with 3 fence panels damaged / destroyed. Of course today as I am typing this storm Dennis has and still is causing mayhem. I have another fence panel dislodged and more on the neighbours side, not sure when I can sort that as there seems to be a shortage of panels.

With no fishing this weekend I have picked up my diary from 2000 with the last few entries in December. I pleasured fished Bristol Docks on December 2nd, I sat on a peg near the Thekla boat and set up both pole and groundbait feeder. I had 4 skimmers and 3 roach on the feeder, and 7 skimmers and 1 roach on the pole. Not big fish as I weighed my fish in at 7lb 2oz. On this day I only had bites on bronze maggot, and double bronze was best.

A week later and it was the Bathampton Christmas match which was being fished on their commercial lakes. I drew a peg on Withy Pool and when I had a skimmer first cast out on a little feeder I was enthused. I shouldn't have been, it was the only bite on the tip, and I had one bite on the pole on corn which I missed (liner?) and that was the extent of activity for me.

Back down the docks again, this time for the Docks AA Xmas match. I was gutted when I drew Bathurst Basin as you needed to be in the centre to get on the skimmers, and Bathurst used to hold none of them! It was a pole day I thought, and I fished at 8m and fed no gbait at all, just lightly loose fed small amounts of maggot and caster. Using a 20 to 0.09 it took about 30 mins to get a bite, and during the match fish came in little bursts, roach, dace, bleak and even perch. Single white or red maggot on the hook worked best. I finished up with just 3lb 1 1/2oz but this was enough to win the section, so money and a prize at last. I went to the Docks again on the 23rd December for a little knock up, but I struggled to catch 3lb of roach and was again in a poor area so tipped back at the end.

I got out for a few hours on the 27th December, fishing the cut by the Lock Keeper at Keynsham. I whipped out 50 fish from the 7 feet deep water, bleak, dace and even a perch and an eel. Nice to see the float go under, and be able to fish... I say that as the very next day we had 2 inches of snow, a bit more snow the next and then we had -8C at night! Still I went fishing and I went to Conham (Bristol Avon) walking through the snow. I fished opposite the railway arches, set up a maggot feeder only and cast that across. I did catch on this, 2 chub and 1 dace, and whilst this was never going to be a bag up session I take a lot of pleasure being able to catch just a few fish when conditions are tough and many people don't bother.

Here's hoping to the return of some better weather, I certainly want to fish next weekend, it may be a trip to Hillview, but I'll keep an eye on the weather.