Sunday, 24 May 2020

Windmill Fishery

After my midweek bag up I had decided to pop out to Windmill again on the Sunday, I booked in with Dave Haines and was going to meet up with keener Kev Winstone. I did have a little trip out on Friday afternoon, not fishing, but to see a rare bird that had turned up at New Passage (in between the two Severn bridges). It was a bird called a Collared Pratincole, I doubt many anglers have heard of it, and I had never seen one before, but with little traffic about it was a quick drive to see it. The wind was awful but I still got to see it, a great tick for me.

As the wind was really bad Saturday (battered some of my plants in the garden) I was hoping it would drop for Sunday. Of course the wind did drop from about 40mph, to about 16mph so still enough to be a pain and I chucked some lead rods in today. I got to the lake about 7:40am and wandered off to my peg I set up on peg 9 whilst Kev was on peg 8, also there was Gary Bowden sat on peg 12. Gary very kindly brought some bacon and sausage rolls from a garage and that was a nice start to the day. I had an island to fish to which would be attacked with the lead rod, a 15g ICS lead, with 0.17 to 16 KKM-B for hard pellet was already set up and ready to go. I set up a shallow rig for the pole, a depth rig for fishing at 5m and a margin rig. I only had pellets with me, but was later to regret this.

I decided to kick off on the lead as it would be a good indicator of how the lake was fishing, I had an idea it would be hard as there was little sign of fish moving. Indeed it was a very slow start, and I think after an hour I had 1 carp and had lost 1 fouler on the lead. Kev had dropped off a skimmer on the pole and had nothing, Gary hadn't had a bite. I had been feeding some 8mm pellet across to the island, and 6mm pellet out 14m for the pole shallow, unfortunately I never had a bite shallow. Back on the lead and all of a sudden 3 carp in as many casts, these fell to a Fluoro pink Bandum, but everything went quiet again. At times I would get liners on the lead but no bites, and no matter what hookbait I tried I could not get a proper bite. Kev broke his duck with a rudd and soon after had a small carp, on the pole about 8m out. My lead line had another wake up, and carp could now be seen feeding in amongst the ducks. I had a few carp and a couple of nice 7/8lb fish then it was back to liners. I tried pellet at 6m, and hooked 5 fish in 5 drops, all were foul hooked and 4 were landed all in reverse gear! They weren't shallow as I had hooked all of them on the bottom. I got one in the mouth in the end but it soon petered out.

The rest on the lead seemed to have been a good thing and I had 3 carp in 3 casts, and there were lots of liners and fish about now, Kev was also catching on the pole but was letting all the big ones get off lol, Gary had managed some lumps on 12. I was doing OK then disaster, and on one cast I caught something that would not give, I lost the lot. Being lazy I could not be bothered to re tackle the lead rod, so thought I would try to the pole again. The 6m line was no good, but I did get a few in the margin before they drifted away. Kev was now getting regular fish on meat, he had some good skimmers and some carp approaching 10lb. One of my lead fish being returned.

I packed up with 93lb on my clicker, and by the time I had packed up and walked past Kev he was up to 130lb, when I stopped fishing he was on 97lb so gives you some idea how well he began to catch.

To be honest I need to tie some hooks, make rigs etc for match preparation, but without knowing what is happening on that front, and if I can fish the super league then it is a bit of an unknown as what to do... do I do river rigs or more commercial stuff? In 3 weeks the river season begins, I'd like to get on there for a go, the fish should have all spawned this year, so hopefully the fishing might be OK.

Finally Clive Branson who runs the "Match Fishing" Facebook page has asked me to do a talk, and I agreed to do it. I'm doing it this Tuesday (26th May)  at 7pm. Anyone can join the group, and if you have any questions at all, about anything, then please go on Facebook on the match fishing page for 7pm Tuesday, then you can type in your questions.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Fishing again! Two days out already for me.

Yippee do dah and way hey hey! It is great we can go fishing again, and hopefully for those of us who like fishing matches that will come soon as I can't wait for a match. I decided to go pleasure fishing on the first Sunday, letting all the other people get out before me I thought. I booked in to fish Windmill match lake, and got there about 7:30am and Kev Winstone was sat fishing on peg 1 and I got on 25 so we could have a chat. There had been plenty of fish caught here in the previous few days so I was happy to fish at this end. It is the deepest part of the lake here and so I opted to fish two methods, a shallow pellet rig at 13m, and a margin rig to my left. I had not taken any rods and was just happy to mess around on the pole. Though I did have the end of the island to fish to if I had brought rods, I let the Romanian angler on my right have the island. He was a good angler, spoke brilliant English and I found after I left he landed a near 17lb carp.

Anyway, back to my start, I fed 6mm pellets out to 13m and flicked a shallow rig out, within 30 seconds I was attached to my first carp, a nice 5lb fish and what a way to get back to fishing. Next drop out and another carp, and the same next drop. This could be good.. It took a bit longer to get the 4th carp, but the 5th, well it never came on the shallow line! The wind got up and had was blowing straight down the lake to the other end, and it seemed the carp went with it. Kev had only a couple of carp shallow and was soon struggling like me. I came into the margin where I had about 2 feet of depth on a slope , OK I would unlikely do this in a match but this was different and I was prepared to give it a good go. I only had to wait about 15 minutes for the first bite and another carp, happy days. By sitting there and feeding carefully and waiting patiently I would catch the odd carp, not bagging but it was enough to keep me interested. Trying back at shallow a few times was fruitless.

I had fished the margin quite close, a top set plus one, but eventually the fish just seemed to go, and I was forced to go further then the peg towards some reeds. The reeds had been knocking all day, but fishing against them would likely bring a few issues. Well it did bring bites, a few carp landed and a few lost. Trouble was it was a deeper margin by the reeds and I fouled a few which is never ideal next to reeds lol. I ended up with 60lb on my clicker, not a massive weight at all, but I thoroughly enjoyed being back out. There were lots of pleasure anglers catching carp, and seeing a couple of families fishing and all catching was really nice to see. Dave Haines was doing a good job helping and encouraging all the anglers, whislt making sure social distancing was kept in place. Kev stayed on after me and had a good run on the paste later on in the day. Martin Rayet and Martin McMahon did well further down the lake on pellet shallow.

Wednesday 20th May and I was off to the prolific Todber Manor Fishery with six other reprobates; Glenn and Mark Bailey, Gary Bowden, Mark Jefferies, Dave Haines and Kev Winstone. We all arrived within a few minutes of each other, and the venue was enshrouded in mist, a tad chilly when I was wearing shorts. Everyone was unloading kit and picking their pegs around the bottom of Hillview, I couldn't see a free peg so wandered up with some gear and plonked myself on a peg I would very much like to draw 49, a big time flyer. There were carp spawning on the far bank and the odd one on the point, but not anywhere else. Today I had rods with me as well as the pole, but having sat on 49 I decided on only getting one top set out for use in the margin. A bit of a gamble but my instincts told me there would be no need to fish anywhere else than the LH margin.

Having never fished the peg before I had a bit of a plum around, it was really shallow right in the edge and just seemed to slope off as I went out. In the end I went for a spot halfway along (just past the reeds stuck out halfway in the photo) and a couple of feet out from the bank. A 4x10 Preston Edge float with 0.17 to 18 KKM-B for banded pellet was set up with about 18" depth. Well it wasn't long before I was fishing, threw some 6mm pellet in and it wasn't long before the float shot under and carp number one was hooked and netted. It was a stupendous day, there were fish coming into the margin all day long, and I treated today like a match in terms of focus and kept using the clicker. I was always trying to keep catching as fast as possible and sometimes I'd drop the rig in and within 5 seconds fish on, but then I might get a spell of missed bites / foulers. By adjusting the feed and by coming shallower this would work before having to go deeper again. I avoided going right in to the shallowest water all day.

Everyone was catching, Mark Bailey on the other point peg (48 I think) was catching on paste close in, Gary next to him had lots on the method and then paste in close, he had one that must of been nudging 18lb. Podge was catching in margin, Glenn on the method and later paste, Kev on soft pellet and Hainer on meat. Below the view looking behind me, Gary still fishing, but Mark Bailey had packed up having caught approx 250lb.

I just carried on catching, a lad who fished two pegs to my right asked if I was bored, but I wasn't, I was trying to get everything right and keep landing fish regularly. I had two spells where missed bites and foulers were an issue, but always managed to get over that. A lot of the fish are 2 to 3lb, but I caught many bigger than that, with at least three doubles, and I think this was the best of  the bunch. You may also see Gary pouring lake water over me via his pole cup, I didn't mind on such a hot day!

I finished at 3:15pm, having fished for about 6 hours, I did have a mid session lunch break watching Gary and Mark, it didn't affect my fishing. At the end my clicker had 365lb on it, never had that much on it before, probably never will again lol. Pretty much everyone had around 200lb so it had fished very well.

I will be glad when matches start, but for now it's good to be out and enjoying the fishing and the weather, I hope you can too.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

1993 Memories Brought to Life

As you will have noticed I have not blogged for a couple of weeks, mainly due to lockdown blues I guess, though I have been trying to keep fit and nurturing some vegetables along in my garden and keeping the plants alive. Fingers crossed for some nice tasty salads in a few months time.

During the week I received a message from Kev Boltz, he had been doing some clearing up and came across an old angling newspaper from 1993, he wondered why he had it and so had a flick through and found out it covered a famous win for our Bristol team at the time, more of that in a mo. Kev kindly dropped the paper off outside my door so I could take a look and make some use of it for rekindling some memories. The paper was called Angling West, and I must confess I really don't remember seeing it in my youth, it was published by Grenville Jones, and the regular contributors were Colin Scull, Dave Tait and Ted Tuckerman. Looking through this edition it covers all aspects of fishing over a wide area as shown in the picture I have taken, notice it says distributed via 130 tackle shops. Shops that were advertising in this issue were; Veals, Bacons, Twerton Tackle, Clevedon Angling Supplies, Wests Tackle, The Angling Centre (St Austell), Batemans, D&J Sports, TK Tackle, Cotswold Angling, Mevagissey Shark & Angling Centre. I am sure some of you will remember these fondly, how many are still open I don't know but if any are I would be pleased if you could comment. Or if it was your regular shop back in the day please share.

Of course there were many local leagues back in the early 90's, and this issue covers quite a few, so here are a few pictures with some names from the past, and some still casting a line. Perhaps it may spark a memory or two for some of you.

A Very young looking Derek Jarman in this one, a very good angler to this day, and the results of the famous ACL league which was the Bath anglers league to be in.

Next photo shows two matches I have competed in. Firstly the Veals individual Classic League, fished on a Wednesday I struggled to get time off to commit to the league, but did get into it at least one or two years and managed to win one of the matches and frame in the overall league. However, in this year I didn't fish,but this particular round Clive Rayner was pegged up at Rotork and soon realised he had most of the bream in the river in his peg. He went on to win the match with a new 5 hour record for the stretch of 155lb 2oz. Godfrey Hargreaves was on the next peg to Clive, and the weights went downhill after them. It was quite some years before the record was broken.

The SWWL was my old stomping ground of course, and so I have this actual match recorded in my 1993 diary. The weights here look low for an Autumn match, and it was because the river was in flood. As far as I know all of the anglers in the top 6 are now just on commercials or don't fish anymore. My team were 3rd and as a result we got within 2 points of Bathampton. I only had 6 eels for 14oz down at the Chequers stretch, all caught on lobworm for 6 1/2 points.

More coverage of a local winter league I took part in, the Commercial House, where I fished for Bendix. My team romped the match at Swineford to Crane, with Ian Spriggs getting in the frame. I was on a long walk peg 49, probably end of Cornfield, and had 4lb 10oz for 10 points out of 14 all on the feeder.

The next round was at Laycock, and would have been the Abbey fields and Queens fields. Once again my team smashed it on the day, and captain Andy Floyd won the match and I was last in the main money coming 6th overall. I drew a noted chub peg that was easily identified as it had a rope hanging from a tree where sometimes kids swung from. On the day luckily no kids appeared, but unfortunately the rope was trailing in the river and I could not fish past it to where I really needed to. I fished a stick float in close for dace and gudgeon, then switch to waggler fished as close to the rope as I could get. I had 5 small chub on this which made up the weight to 8lb 4oz. Viv Bees weight of 12lb 13oz included a 10lb 2oz barbel which he had on the stick float with a 20 to 2lb bottom.

Some more winter leagues with good anglers and good teams, look out for Mike Stone, Tim Rowe, Rob Randall, Glenn Bailey, Kev Boltz, Sean Glover and many more!  Oh and Darren Shipp, I wonder if that was actually Des Shipp?

Onto the main reason Kevin kept this paper, the NFA South West & South Wales Regional Championship fished on the Gloucester Canal Saturday 4th September 1993. This match attracted a record turnout of 23 teams of 12 anglers! I've done the math for you, it was 276 anglers, wow. I was fishing for my team which were known as Team Bristol Amalgamation. I don't think we would have considered ourselves as one of the top teams for this match with so many locals fishing, and at the time Avon Bait were the best side in the South West and they were winning all over the country. In fact Avon Bait were nailed on favourites with the Bookie in attendance, the famous Bill Knott Jnr. Never the less it was a big match and my team would fish every team match it could at the time. I do not remember the name of the area I drew, but it was peg 134, but straight away I had a little bit of luck. I had fished this area recently and what I noticed last time was that groundbait seemed to be a real waste of time here, and loose feeding was better. I therefore was going down a loose feed only approach, but still knocked up a little gbait just in case it was needed later. I fished the pole at 11m and 12.5m loose feeding maggots and hemp. A 1.25g rig set 1 foot overdepth  worked an absolute treat on the day without much tow. At the start everyone chucked in their gbait bar me, but I was confident of my approach. I ended up catching 2 skimmers, 5 roach and 5 eels for 3lb 10oz, that was worth a decent 18 points out of 23. To give you some idea of how well my approach worked, the angler one side of me had 1 roach, and the other side he blanked. It really seemed the fish stayed away from the gbait.

As it turned out the team had done well in nearly all sections, and we totted up we had nearly 200 points but it was too close to call. Then Bill Knott walked up to us with a big smile before the results, he didn't say anything about the result, but said "You've made my day". Finally as the results were read out in reverse order it turned out we had won the match with 200 points, with Glevum AC 2nd with 196, and Avon Bait 3rd 194. Wow, this was a truly amazing result for us and we were ready to celebrate! Bill Knott came back into the bar to see us, after having paid out the lucky people in the frame. Bill said "You lot have saved me a fortune today, Avon Bait put a huge wedge on winning and thank f... you boys won it!  Now what would you like to drink, help yourself." Bill paid for the beer, all of it, I will never forget that day as it was just an unexpected win and fabulous day, with free beer the icing on the cake lol!

The picture of the winning team below, and the names from left to right.. Top row.. Rod Hill (RIP), Mike Nicholls, Pete Sivell, Kev Boltz, Paul Lumbard, Glenn Bailey, Ian Spriggs.  Bottom row.. Me, Martyn Woodington, Mark Jefferies, Andy Floyd and Bob Sheppard.  I am pleased to say I am still fishing (and drinking lol) with many of these guys, but I remain friends with all of them and would always be happy to bump into them. Great blokes, and a great time for fishing. We will be able to get back out there again guys, but for now lift your spirits with your memories of good times.

Thank you very much Kev for sharing this paper with me, it was a real pick me up.