Sunday 23 June 2024

Dean Harvey Newbridge Pairs

Chance to get a few matches on the Bristol Avon at Newbridge with this pairs series that Dean Harvey set up. Dean was hoping for 10 pairs but only got 8 in the end. Today was the first round, and my partner Rich Lacey looked after me by picking me up a McDonalds brekky, cheers bud. The draw time for these matches is 7:30am as we try to get on the river and a bit of peace before the boats and paddle boarders arrive. To be honest today it wasn’t too bad at all.

The draw began, Rich was going to A section and me B, I drew B2 which put me on peg 42, a peg I’ve drawn quite a few times but generally later in the season. Rich was on peg 30.

My thoughts on this match were that bream would feed (they usually do early season) but the roach would not. The trouble with bream is they don’t show everywhere, but Warren Bates had fished my peg last week and caught 4. The river was sluggish, where’s all that rain water gone?

My peg is a long way off the water, I needed my 4m landing net pole and keepnet.

Even though I doubted the roach would show I would still ball it on the pole line, as skimmers or bream could show on this. I set up a 4g flat float with 0.13 to 16 N20, and 1.5g with 0.12 to 18 N20. I set a gbait feeder up with 14 to 0.15. I half set up a waggler but ran out of time. During setting up a fish, or fishes was crashing around my peg, I thought it was trout. It continued during the match.

We started at 9:30 and you could hear the sound of gbait being balled in. I started on the pole with caster on the hook, didn’t get a bite so switched to maggots and finally got a bite from a 1/2oz perch not good. After about 45 minutes on the pole I had about 15 fish that wouldn’t weigh a pound. Time to give the feeder a go, and putting on 3 red maggots I expected to get a few rattles from chublets and perch. Nothing first cast, but next cast a couple of rattles and then a decent bite, and wow I was attached to a bream. Played it carefully, not a big one 3 1//2lb probably, but most welcome. The next 4 or 5 casts were biteless which I was puzzled by. I hadn’t put any chopped worm in so decided to try this now, as I turned to get some worm to chop up I saw the rod tip hammer over and thought the rod was going to be pulled in! I picked up rod and nothing was on, that was because the fish had snapped the line.

Didn’t get any more bites on the feeder for an hour, so tried the pole line again, just a tiny roach and then a 4oz hybrid out of the blue. Back on the feeder and it was totally unresponsive, so I left it out for ages whilst finishing putting up the waggler rod. Two bleak on the waggler, again just couldn’t get bites. Dropped back in the pole line on the flat float and worm and had a tiny perch, only bite on this. Tried my other rig and was just about to give up when the float buried. I hooked something that violently pulled the float down repeatedly, was it a huge perch or eel? Then this fish changed tack and sped off at pace to the middle of the river, as I hung on everything went slack. The fish hadn’t snapped me just pulled out. There was no slime on the line, and I’ve never experienced the way that fish fought initially. I was now beginning to think that these two fish I lost were poxy trout.

Basically this was my match over, in the next half of the match I had 1 tiny perch on the feeder. It was almost as though there were no fish in the peg. I did fish the feeder a lot, and as it turned out it was the right thing to do, but I knew I was going to have a bad result today especially as heard bream were caught.

My paltry net when 5lb 1oz, which only best 1 in the section. Derek Coles won my section and the match with 50lb of bream to 8lb, he told me he lost 5 fouled bream and saw nearly 20 bream roll. I needed another 2 bream for decent section points. On my right on peg 40 Nick Coles had landed a foul hooked bream and a skimmer, on my left on 46 the angler had 2 bream in 2 casts. In A section Jerry Pocock started off fishing for chub but lost a few in a snag, he the cast a feeder out and had 5 bream in 5 casts and a few more later to get 40lb, next angler ounces, next angler Mike Weston 4 bream, next angler less than 2lb…. That’s bream fishing!

Fish of the day was caught by Dean Harvey on a peg behind the pumphouse, he landed a 5lb 8oz chub caught on the float, nice one! That meant he and Derek were top points pair on the day.

Top weights today all bream.

Not a good day for me, but my partner Rich did well to come halfway by catching 7lb of chublets on float and feeder. I’m sure my luck will change, and I’m going back to Acorn on Tuesday to have another bash there.

Viaduct Fishery costcutter on Campbell

Sad news reached me in the week that Steve Evans had died after living with Parkinson’s disease for many years. I was able to offer my condolences to his brother Dave at today’s match. RIP Steve.

After my week away at Viaduct I wanted to go back and have another go at the skimmers. However, I then realised I actually needed to go as I had left a pair of jeans behind, and also Woody asked me if I could pick up 2 pairs of jeans he left behind… must be an age thing lol. I was on the reserve list for the costcutter but did eventually get in.

The drive down on the Thursday was fairly straightforward and I arrived in good time. I had come with a view to try and catch the skimmers, wanting to avoid a next peg battering and try and improve. I managed to draw peg 110 and this would mean I would have a bit of shade. When I got to the peg there seemed to be a lot of carp about on the surface, I hoped they would not derail my approach!

I set up 3 rigs today; a 4x14 and a 4x16 for fishing at 9m, and a 4x12 for the margins, all rigs had 16 SFLB to 0.11. My approach was to feed gbait (F1 dark and sweet skimmer) with casters, micros and dead reds mixed in. Simple enough, but would it work?

Match started at 10:30, I fed a ball of gbait at 9m straight out in front. Started with the 4x16!rig with caster on the hook. It took a few minutes for me to get some fizzing and then a bite on caster, skimmer number 1 netted. Back out and a similar result, and then a third. I fed a small ball of my mix via a toss pot as it went a bit quiet. The fizzing came back but no bite, changed my hook bait to red maggot and this brought me another skimmer. My first hour continued like this, and I probably had 15lb. The second hour started the same but then things started to go a bit iffy. However, with 25lb in my net I was well happy, especially as the local angler on my right Richard Parker had really struggled to catch skimmers. Next to him on 112 was Howard Webb who was constantly reeling in carp on tea bags and peas.

I tried to feed a new line off to my left at 9m, and initially this improved things with a few quick fire fish. Unfortunately this line and my original line continued to fizz but I couldn’t get a bite, if I did it was a fouler. My match now became very frustrating as I tried to vary feeding and hook baits to catch these skimmers that were clearly in my peg. My catch rate plummeted and after a great start I was struggling. Robert though now began to catch skimmers and he was catching me up.

I caught 3 nice size skimmers in the margin and lost one that put my hook into a sunken branch. To be honest I was really frustrated with how my match went, I couldn’t get the skimmers to take my hook baits regularly, I was lost for ideas. Robert could still catch the odd one quicker than me. When the match ended I was pretty gutted, I’d gone from bagging for nearly 2 hours and struggling the last 4. My only consolation was that I had only hooked 1 carp all day.

I wanted to get away quickly to watch the England football match, but I was going to be the last but one to be weighed in. Nick Ewers had chucked back and was off to watch the footy (do that wouldn’t have improved his day). Finally the scales arrived, Robert had weighed 44lb 4oz and then I weighed 44lb 2oz. It made no difference though as 50lb was needed to get in on the silvers money. Obviously I was thinking I should have done well over 50lb… back to the drawing board.

Rob Eagle won the silvers again, this time from peg 127 with 66lb 2oz. Unsurprisingly Howard won overall with 298lb catching carp steadily through the day.

Full list of weights below. I went into the Royal Oak in Somerton to watch the game, bumped into Dan White and Mark Wynne and so at least I wasn’t Johnny no mates. Not a good game to watch though!

Monday 17 June 2024

Holiday Final Day - Campbell Costcutter

 Last match of the holiday, the weather so far had been better than what I had expected but then I had been lucky to draw in the sun every day. However, today it was forecast to be much cooler and windier and the wind would be blowing into the top end of the lake. Breakfast first at M&M I had a couple of hash browns on the breakfast, when I came to pay the bill I was taken aback at the price, others thought the price was a bit steep and we might have to rethink next  year.

As this was a costcutter match the payouts were top 3 overall and top 3 silvers, and so you've got to really pick your quarry and go for them all match. As I have mentioned in a previous post I did not bother to make up lots of PVA tea bags so I was going to fish for silvers I thought. I drew peg 123, another corner peg, and with the wind blowing up into this end I wondered if I might get the carp to play ball, plus there were lots of regular silvers anglers here meaning getting in the top 3 was gonna be hard, especially with one of the best silvers anglers here Rob Eagle on peg 124 which has produced silvers well this week.

Got to the peg and got my lead rod out, and then a silvers rig for fishing 6m and 11m, also a silvers rig for the margin, and a carp rig for 8m along the bank. As you can see my set up was not at all in lone with my go for one quarry, but my plan was try for carp straight away on the lead and if I caught them stick with it and expect to catch in margin later. In reality what happened is this, I feed my silvers lines with gbait, chucked the lead out, gave it 20 mins, had nothing and that was the end of my carp fishing. Rob Eagle had started steady on the skimmers and I had given him a head start which wasn't a good idea. My 6m line was fizzing so I tried there first as it would be easy given the increasing wind, but I didn't catch one. Out to 11m and this was better as I was getting lots of indications and catching skimmers on various hookbaits but worms seemed best. For the next hour I probably was fish for fish with Rob.

The wind got stronger, the rain came and it was uncomfortable fishing where I was, I then went through a bad time of foul hooking what seemed to be every other fish. This meant I fell further behind Rob. I cannot really say why this was, or why all of a sudden I stopped fouling them. My catch rate was never quite as good as Rob, and he also seemed to be catching bigger skimmers than me, whatever he does, he does it well and he landed a lot more foulers than me too lol! I think it was about an hour to go that the carp started to become evident and both me and Rob started hooking a few, I landed two including one of about 14lb. I kep going and swapping between the two lines, despite the 11m line being best I had to rest it. Right on the all out I put the landing net under my best skimmer of probably 3lb, a nice way to end but I thought Rob had doubled my weight and that meant only one more angler could beat me on silvers if I was to get a pickup.

The scales always start on peg 132 and Martin R had top silvers with 49lb 2oz before Rob plonked a massive 89lb 5oz of skimmers on the scales, wow what a performance. 

Picture courtesy of Viaduct Fishery, think it’s a stock shot as weather was not that nice 😂

Luckily for me Rob hadn't quite doubled my weight as I weighed 49lb 13oz (my two carp went 20lb). The scales went off and I packed off not really thinking I had done enough as 60lb+ had been been needed last match for silvers money. I was late getting back to the shop as we had to pack another anglers gear up and I pushed his trolley back, as he had to leave early due to an emergency. I was then chuffed when Steve Long passed me a brown envelope, I had scraped in 3rd place in the silvers.

Overall today

1st Tony Wittcomb 160lb peg 125 all on the tea bag

2nd Glenn 124lb peg 112 finally caught on the paste!

3rd Woody 122lb peg 118 (or was it 117..) on the tea bag and a few in the margin


1st Rob Eagle 89lb peg 124

2nd Nigel Easton 62lb peg 135

3rd Tim Ford 49lb 13oz peg 123

Picture of winner Tony, definitely taken on the day!

I drove back to the lodges and saw a group of the lads having a beer, I showed them the envelope and said I've got an envelope. Martin R said is that mine? But I had to tell him it was mine and I had beat him by 11 ounce thanks to my last gasp skimmer.

I definitely need to go back to Campbell and fish for those skimmers again, I need to put in a better performance, and although it's hard to beat those guys who fish it every week I think I need to try again.

As it was the last night and no need to get up early and go fishing the next day we all said we would have a few more beers, though truth be told a few were struggling to keep their eyes open as the evening went on and some light weights went to bed early, they missed the cheese fest.

Well as ever the holiday was a lot of fun, the fishing on Campbell was not as was in previous years, and clearly I should have taken pva bags, but that said it did appear that you needed to be above the rope most of the week to catch any carp. Also with the silvers weights being so good you needed to fish for them all match, and I should have done more of that. Just shows how a venue can change, and next year it could be different. I'll certainly remember that net of tench at Acorn  for a long time to come.

Before leaving for home on Friday a few of us took a walk around the lakes and took in the scenery of the Carey Valley. Spending time at such a beautiful tranquil place is just fabulous. From next weekend I hope to be spending more time back on the river, and I am booked in to a pairs series at Newbridge with partner Rich Lacey, now need to get my river gear sorted for that, all change!

Holiday Day 5 - Acorn Fishery

A venture away from Viaduct today, with a match set up by Gary Bowden. Originally 20 people were fishing but one didn't turn up so 19 it was. I travelled to the venue with Glenn who kindly offered to drive. Due to the Bridge Inn being closed for maintenance we had a bit of grub from a takeaway place called H&H which was very good. I have not been to Acorn since it was landscaped and desilted, I would love to fish here more but matches are not easy for me to get on or fish. A lot of regular anglers (venue experts)  were here and so I thought I was going to get another lesson today, but you never know.

Gary spaced the pegs out and everyone had plenty of room. Although peg 5 is one of the most sought after pegs I was told it was one of those places that any peg could win. I pulled out peg 12 and Glenn drew peg 9, meaning we were next peg but plenty of room in between us. Paul Faires told me my peg was not the best without wind on it but I should still expect to catch 100lb, so the winner would need a lot more then? I also spoke to Martin R who fishes here a lot, and he told me my peg was too wide for long pole but that I might catch down the middle on caster shallow and margins later. I popped into the fishery shop and bought 2 pints of casters.

Peg 12 is indeed wide, and so I decided to set up a method feeder rod for fishing across, I used a mixture of method mix gbait and micros on this, with 0.19 to 14 KKMB. A 4x12 shallow rig for caster, a 4x12 for the margin, a 4x14 for top set, and a 0.5g silvers rig with 16 GPM to 0.13 at 7m.

We started at 10:30 and I began on the method feeder, second cast and I was attached to a carp that took my 6mm bandum. Next cast another, and the next cast. First hour was pretty good and I put 30lb of small carp in the net, all the while I was feeding casters to 7m. Things then went iffy on the method, and from getting bites I was now just getting little knocks or nothing at all. I tried various hookbaits, and things all to no avail and it was no longer happening. Meanwhile there was fizzing all over my caster line and so I went and tried that shallow. Didn't get a single bite on this which did surprise me as I could see odd carp.

It was quite early on into the match when I heard a loud bang, Gary had a 5lb ghost carp jump out of his landing net and land on his pole breaking his top set and number 4 section, oh dear. 

There was probably two hours gone now and after a good start I was only on 35lb, I went on the deep silvers rig on double caster to see if I could catch any of the many tench in the venue. Only had to wait 20 seconds if that to hook and land a 2lb tench, and then one next drop in about 3lb. Maybe these fish were causing all the fizzing? I had to fire the casters in a catapult to feed as the wind was problematic at times, and these didn't seem to be harming the fishing as I was getting tench fairly regularly. However, as the match went on I suddenly slowed down, and despite still getting fizz I was not getting bites, just liners from fish shallow. I tried shallow again but nothing. Feed the margins and then they became redundant as a load of scum covered them.

Gary was only paying one silvers place today, and that meant I had to win the silvers to pick up, but in my head I was thinking one of the regulars will be bagging on them, but it seemed to me I had to stick with the tench.

I put a toss pot on and starting potting in casters, this seemed to help and I began to get the odd tench again including one near 5lb, I also had a couple of skimmers and a little eel. In the last hour or so carp began to get in on the act and this would push the tench out for a bit, but I stuck with it till the end and was enjoying it. Match over and I had clicked 74lb of mainly tench, and 50lb of carp, I then went up to see Gary to see how he had done, and he had 100lb+ he said. I told him about my tench and he said how many nets you got them in, two I said, well remember it is a 40lb net limit on silvers. Oh bugger, in my head I had 50lb like Viaduct, and I had started the second net when I clicked 40lb on the first, surely I had not gone over.... I lifted the net when I got back, I thought I was going to be OK. Lee Waller and Mike Wilson were on the scales, and Mike on our board was best silvers so far with 35lb, my first net went on to the scales, it went to 37lb, phew! Next net 33lb and so I had 70lb of silvers, I added 49lb of carp so a total of 119lb.

Glenn on 9 had a great last 2 hours in the margins and had estimated he had 120lb but weighed in 161lb, Phil Cooper on my left on peg 15 struggled and DNW. By the way Phil's brother Ray is in hospital at the moment and was waiting for a heart operation, I hope all goes well Ray and wish you well mate.

1st Paul Faires 202lb peg 25  method early and margins later.

2nd Glenn 161lb peg 9, paste and then margins over gbait later

3rd Kev Perry 158lb 5oz, peg 23

4th Martin R 158lb 4oz, peg 34 (Yes he was beaten by 1 ounce!)

I did win the silvers and so got myself a pick up today yay! 

Lots of fish caught today, the venue regulars did the damage and I am glad that I ventured onto the silvers, had to get some luck eventually! We took a drive down to Brent Knoll for the Carvery, I thought it was great value and I enjoyed my meal a great deal, my plate of food was probably the smallest on our table.

 It was then back to Viaduct for a shower, more booze and banter, and cheese.. and there was a lot of all of them on this holiday!

Holiday Day 4 - Campbell Open

Back to M&M for breakfast before getting all the kit sorted and on the trolley for the Tuesday open on Campbell lake. One trolley had much interest from one of the resident gulls as it tried to eat the gbait in Gary's bucket.
There was a lot of wildlife around the lakes, including many birds, my highlight was seeing a Hobby one evening.

Before I went into the draw tin I was thinking  if I drew below the rope I would just fish for skimmers, and if I drew above the rope, well I might just fish for skimmers too. I then pulled out peg 121, that gave me a bit of a dilemma based upon recent results; Howard Webb struggled for 20lb of silvers on it, then Phil Hardwick had 120lb of carp on it on Sunday fishing shallow before it died. When I got to the peg I could see a few carp around, and so I thought I better start fishing for carp. Rigs set up were, swinging shallow rig, slapping rig, paste rig, margin rig and finally a 4x14 for silvers with 0.11 to 16 SFLB. My plan was catch those carp for as long as poss, then top up with skimmers, and catch carp in the margins late.. Well I can dream.

I began by slapping a hard pellet, no indications on this for 20 minutes despite carp being in the peg. Started to feed and swing a rig out, hooked one carp on this in 30 minutes which was a fouler. Nearly an hour in and nothing in the net, I noticed Geoff and Mark over on 115 and 116 had taken a couple of carp and skimmers on the pole, so I assumed on paste. I potted in some 4mm pellets and went in over on the paste, didn't take long to get a carp out, and soon after another. Once again, thinking I had got it sorted was not correct, and after this I managed to land a fouler and lose a couple more carp, and then started to get skimmers. I was missing a lot of the bites on paste, not sure if they are liners from the skimmers or they just drop the bait, so I tried the silver rig with corn. I had a couple of skimmers on this and then no more, tried worms and maggots and this seemed better, but the fish came in fits and starts, and I would still foul hook carp and somehow managed to land a couple of the foulers.

My margin only yielded a few roach and then a couple of skimmers late. Just before the match had ended my room mate Glenn came behind me (he hadn't fished today) and I was just telling him I had another difficult day never getting it right when I felt the top set go in my hand and had a carp on, but I lost it at the net lol. Match over, a better day for bites but knew I was not getting a pick up again, though as I was packing up I noticed some red elastic in the reeds. Pulling the elastic up on the end of it was my rig lost from Saturday, paste float and hook, I couldn't believe it.

My silvers today weighed 39lb, and carp 44lb. My 83lb meant I was the chip shop sausage as 119 had 128lb of carp from his margin, and 123 had 96lb of carp on lead and in margin. I was just thinking that I really did not know how to catch carp anymore!

1st Howard Webb 211lb peg 126  tea bags

2nd Woody  171lb peg 125 tea bag

3rd Gary 143lb peg 114  tea bag

Silvers was won for the second time by Tony from peg 112 with 69lb after a good next peg battle with Pete Ziemniak who had 67lb on 111.

Another day on Campbell and another day of not getting it right at all. Clearly to win with carp you had to fish the tea bag. However, with only more match on campbell being the cost cutter on Thursday I could not bring myself to shell out for the stuff for one match, so on Thursday I was fishing for silvers all match!

The evenings were a little chilly, Glenn felt cold inside the lodge 😂.