Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dillington Pond - V.E.S. Precision League 6 - 26th January 2014

It had been a lovely day on Saturday but the forecast for today was strong winds and rain, rain and more rain - great! I got to the pub for the draw and Steve let me have my repaired section and what a fantastic job, I'll have to find out the name of the company and put it on here. All the usual lunatics were in attendance along with Tackleuk mugger Scotty. Rob decided to do the draw at the pond so we could find the most sheltered pegs. As per usual I fancied the pegs on the near side but managed to pull out one of the two on the far side, peg 4 which was also the golden peg. For company I had Scott on peg 3, Bruce had peg 17 again and might as well leave his kit there for next time!

I really wasn't looking forward to this as the wind was blowing across our pegs whereas the pegs on the other side had the wind blowing off their backs and looked to be in for a comfortable day. I mixed up some more Bait Tech Omen (well it worked okay last match!) and set up a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach float with a size 18 B611 to 0.10mm bottom. I poured a quick coffee and had a chat with Scott and then it was time to start. I cupped in two balls of groundbait at 10 metres and started with a single red maggot on the hook. Bites came quickly and I started catching small roach around half an ounce apiece. I was soon trying double maggot but the size of the fish didn't increase.

After an hour I'd had 15 fish and Scott had around the same, hour two saw my catch rate increase although the size didn't, I flirted with caster but only had small fish on it and had to wait ages for bites, I did manage a nice 8oz rudd on double maggot. With two hours gone I was up to 40 fish and was surprised when I heard the anglers on the far side were really struggling with some yet to catch a fish! Fieldy had peg 16 again and I'd seen him net a couple of better roach and then he latched into a big fish and it looked like he was going to land it when it made a late surge for freedom and was successful. I don't think he was very happy judging by the way he launched his top kit behind him!

By now the wind was being a right pain and even starting to affect the anglers across in their armchair pegs, at one stage Rob's brolly looked like a satellite dish and Steve's was inside out and had taken off and was resting against the fence! After three hours I had 67 fish and my catch rate was slowly but surely getting better and I was getting the odd better roach of 3-4oz as well. Every time I asked Scotty how he was doing, I was a few fish ahead and I thought if I could keep it that way I might have a chance of beating him. Then disaster struck when I hooked a better 4oz rudd which dropped off when I swung it and my rig went straight up the tree to my right. I had to pull for a break and got the float back but lost everything else, as I was sorting out another rig I kept thinking that Scott would now overtake me and was cursing myself for not netting that fish.

The new rig was never quite right (which always seems to be the way) but I was still catching quite well and still just ahead of my neighbour. I tried caster with just under two hours to go and started catching some chunky roach around 3oz with the odd better one in amongst them and started to increase my lead over Scott. The last hour was really good and I was getting a fish a chuck to finish with 122 fish but would it be enough? Scott had 104 fish and said I'd beaten him but I've been had like that before so wouldn't be counting any chickens yet. I was hoping I'd done enough to beat Fieldy and Bruce in pegs 16 and 17, Fieldy hadn't hooked anymore chub and Bruce had struggled with loads of dirty water coming down the feeder stream.

I got the scales from the car and weighed Scott first and the needle settled on 9lb 3oz and I wasn't sure I had anywhere near that despite him still saying I'd battered him. I pulled my net out and Scott called my weight at 11lb 5oz and I was well chuffed but would it be enough to win the golden peg? We drove round the other side and Rob confirmed I'd won, woo-hoo. Scotty was second and Justin was third, I picked up £41 for winning and was waiting for the Securicor van to deliver my golden peg winnings when Pete handed me £8! Steve Parker had won the pot while I was away in Thailand, still it was nice to win only my second ever golden peg. Typically as we packed up, the rain stopped, the wind died down and the sun came out!
Scott had 9lb 3oz
I won the match and the golden ball with 11lb 5oz
1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish/Burt Baits) - 11lb 5oz
2 - Scott Russell (Tackleuk) - 9lb 3oz
3 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 7lb 6oz

A - Pete Lonton (Ilminster) - 1lb 5oz
B - Graham Field (Taunton) - 4lb 4oz

I thought I'd gained some points on Fieldy in the league but mine and Scotty's pegs (3 and 4) were in with pegs 20 and 21 while pegs 16-19 made up the other section! The league is now very tight as Pete struggled today and it's all to play for in the last match.

League standings with one match to go
1 - Graham Field - 9 pts
2 - Jamie Rich - 10 pts
2 - Pete Lonton - 10 pts

So another good weekend, my second win on the trot and a golden peg as well! Chelsea also beat Stoke 1-0 in the FA Cup although they face Man City away in the next round.

I might be fishing a match next Saturday as well as Sunday but it hasn't been confirmed yet, it sounds exciting and although I have pleasure fished the venue I haven't fished the pond the match is on before. I've been told there's loads of good skimmers and big roach but I've heard that before so you'll have to come back next week to find out how it went.

Next up - Emerald Pool

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My review of the Guru Hooklength Storage System (below)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Guru Hooklength Storage System

There's been a lot of hype about the new Guru hooklength storage system so while I was in Tackleuk today I thought I'd pick one up and see what all the fuss was about. I already own one of the MAP hooklength systems and you can read my review of it here MAP Hooklength system review. To be honest it's a cracking box but if anything it's just too big for me and I've never got anywhere near filling it! The Guru box sits between the Preston boxes and the MAP system in price (the Guru box costs £8.99). I believe MAP have also brought out a smaller version of their system which also incorporates a magnetic hook box, another cracking idea.
The Guru box looks great!
First impressions of my new piece of kit were very good and it looks well made and sturdy. Some might consider the colour scheme a touch garish but I quite like it. The first thing I noticed on opening the box was that there are no catches or clasps and the box is held shut by four little magnets, what a clever idea. There are eleven rows of pegs which, according to the blurb on the box, allow you to store in excess of 150 hooklengths and can be stored in 3", 4", 5" or 6" lengths. One set of pegs is longer than the others and these allow you to create your hooklengths at the correct lengths.

Little magnets keep the box closed
Some stickers are included to identify each different hook and line combination you use. Another great little idea is that the hook pegs are set back a little bit to allow room for hair rigs. Personally I like to use longer, twelve inch hooklengths for quite a bit of my fishing like feeder fishing for bream and river fishing but I believe a larger version is in the pipeline. I suppose there's nothing stopping you making up twelve inch hooklengths and doubling them up so the hook and the loop sit on the same peg.

To me it looks like an improved version of the Preston boxes so I can't really see people rushing out to buy them if they already own the Preston versions. To be honest, although my MAP box is great, it's just too big and I think a couple of these Guru boxes will do me, one for natural venues and one for commercials, whereas at the moment with my MAP box I have to take all my hooks everywhere!

Room for over 150 hooklengths
All in all a great little box at a reasonable price, I'm now off to tie some hooklengths!

Check out their website

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dillington Pond - Royal Oak Winter League 7 - 19th January 2014

After all the rain yesterday I was resigned to being on the pond again but with the Tackleuk muggers not in attendance, at least the rest of us had a chance. We'd also had a wicked frost overnight and I wasn't sure that would help the fishing much. Rob decided to sort out the pegs at the pond and there were no pleasure anglers this week so we could use all the pegs we wanted. As always I fancied 17 or 18 but Bruce and Rob drew these, Fieldy pulled out peg 2 which has won the last two matches and I had peg 6 with Justin on peg 4. Steve was keen to try and win his pound back and I also had a side bet with Rob.

The pond was a horrible chocolate colour and after the frost and all the cold water that had gone in, I thought it might be hard. The level was also around 6 inches up although for a change it wasn't windy and there was an orange thing in the sky! As always it was a rush to set up and the first job was to mix some groundbait up, my groundbait mountain at home is starting to run low so today I had some Bait Tech Omen which isn't ideal for this kind of fishing as it's designed with bream and feeder fishing in mind! I might have to actually buy some groundbait soon!

I only had time to set the one rig up again, a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach with a spread bulk, two droppers and a 0.10mm hooklength to a size 20 B611. Rob blew for the start and I carefully cupped in two balls at 10 metres whereas Justin boshed in six Jaffa's on his pole line! I baited up with a single red maggot and shipped out, the float just sat there confirming my earlier suspicions that it was going to be hard. I had my first visitor in the shape of Mark England who used to be a great junior angler but like so many never made the transition to the seniors. We had a nice chat and he's into his wildlife photography now although he does a fair bit of pleasure fishing. I had a couple of tiny roach while he was there and with the lack of sport I don't think I'd tempted him to get back into match fishing!

I saw Justin catch a couple of shell shocked roach but it was a struggle and after an hour I only had seven small fish. To make matters worse the reflection of the sun was right in front of me making seeing the float a nightmare. Going into the second hour bites became a bit more frequent and then my mate Andy Langdon turned up, I was on about 15 fish when he arrived and I netted a decent rudd while he was there and I was doing okay as far as I could see. Then Steve Hurford also arrived and I hadn't seen him for years, he said the anglers on the other side were struggling and Fieldy on peg 2 had only caught one fish so far. It was great to have a chat with them both and it took my mind off struggling!

I tried caster but never had a bite so tried double maggot to see if I could increase the size of the fish and first put in the float buried and a fair bit of pink hydro came out of the pole tip, I played it with kid gloves and slid the net under a nice perch that had to be around the pound mark - bonus! I then lost a slightly better roach before catching a good net roach. They left me too it and I carried on catching odd small roach. Justin was still getting odd fish but I felt I was still ahead of him. I could hear odd comments from the pegs opposite and it sounded like they were really struggling.

I kept trying caster without much success but I kept feeding it along with maggots and hemp and going into the last hour I started to get odd bites on it although the roach weren't that much bigger than the maggot fish. I did manage a couple of better roach and ended with 63 fish and thought I might have 5lb or so. I packed up but didn't have time to get my camera from the car before Justin arrived with the scales (so apologies for the lack of photos today!). Fieldy had weighed 2lb 14oz from peg 2, I pulled my net out and I wasn't too far out for once as Justin called out 6lb 4oz, we walked up to weigh him in and he had 3lb 9oz so I had at least secured one section point for the league.

We loaded the cars and drove round to the other side and it had fished pretty hard with Bruce the top weight with 4lb 2oz which meant I'd won my first match of the year. Rob was second in that section so I had pulled a point on him as well and I picked up £40 for the win plus £2 in side bets. What a great weekend, two new pb's yesterday, my first win of the year today and to top things off Chelsea beat Man United 3-1 in the league.
Bruce was second with 4lb 2oz

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish/Burt Baits) - 6lb 4oz
2 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 4lb 2oz
3 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 3lb 9oz

The league is still pretty tight and after seven matches and dropping the worst result it looks like this,

1 - Jamie Rich - 8 pts
2 - Robin Cox - 10 pts
3 - Bruce Hunt - 11 pts

Next up - The River Isle (if we can ever get back on it again!)

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My day piking with Russ Hilton (below)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Taunton and Bridgwater Canal - 18th January 2014

Russell Hilton and I had been trying to arrange another meet up for a while and we eventually decided on today although I must admit I lay in bed last night listening to the rain pelting down and was sure he'd text to rearrange! I woke up this morning and the weather was still awful so I text him to ask if we were still going, he replied he was happy to sit in the rain so I had to get out of bed. Our previous two trips hadn't been too successful, we blanked on the Tone whilst after pike and only managed a few small dace and chublets on the Exe when mullet were our target. Maybe today would be third time lucky with our target of pike and perch.

I picked Russell up slightly late and we headed for the Bridgwater end of the canal, as we unloaded the kit it started to rain, we both had full waterproofs although I had my wellies but decided not to wear them and Russ was just in trainers! I had brought a waggler rod along and Russ supplied the pike rods. We both started on light floats with a pinch of bread flake on the hook while feeding liquidised bread and bites were fairly instant although I missed the first few before catching a nice rudd of 4-5oz. Russell was catching small roach and silver bream and it soon became obvious that some pike were on the prowl.

I put a small deadbait on one of the pike rods and swung it out, literally two minutes after casting out, the orange tip disappeared and the strike resulted in a fish on, it wasn't huge but around 2lb it would have probably been a new personal best which is a little embarrassing! The other rod had a single hook on and we put a smaller deadbait on with some of the venues bigger perch the quarry. The rain was now quite fierce and even turned to hail at times and we were both cold and our feet were soaked. I had now given up on the small fish and was sticking to the predator rods although Russ was still catching roach, rudd, silver bream and hybrids.

First pike of the day!
I missed a good bite on the smaller bait and on casting out again, the float went nearly straight away, as soon as I struck I could see it was a good perch and Russ performed the netting duties with ease. We weighed it and Russ called out 2lb 6oz which is a new pb for me (by 1oz!), I had the next one as well which was a perch of around a 1lb and the Padawan was showing up the Jedi Predator Master by 3-0! Yoda soon showed his class though and pulled it back to 3-3 with three perch between 12oz and 1lb 4oz. I then had the chance to go ahead when I hooked a pike and had it pretty much beat when the treble pulled out at the net. It looked to be around 5-6lb and I would have been a happy man if I could have landed a second pb of the day.

My new personal best perch of 2lb 6oz
To make matters worse Russell then went 4-3 up when he landed another perch although I still had the biggest fish of the day so far. There was a slight break in the weather so we decided to move to another spot where Russell has enjoyed some success on previous visits. He started on the bread again as the small fish activity undoubtedly brings in the predators. He was soon catching small fish and had a couple of cracking rudd up to 12oz, I had the pike rod out and small fish could be seen scattering and there was the odd swirl as pike attacked. All of a sudden my float went and the strike saw a good fish on, after a really good scrap, Russ netted a lovely pike and I knew it was going to be a new pb and the scales read 8lb 5oz and I was over the moon.

My second pb of the day, a pike of 8lb 5oz
The light was starting to fade and I was almost ready to call it a day when Russ hooked into a good fish, judging by the bend in his rod it was bigger than mine, after a few minutes we hadn't seen the fish but Russ was winning the battle when the hook pulled out and he was gutted. While he was sorting the rig out, pike were still moving about so I flicked the other rod out and the float sailed away almost instantly and another pike was on, it was only a small one about 3.5lb but a nice end to the day. We packed up and headed back to the car with very cold feet but it had been a cracking, if very wet day. I had two new pb's and did I mention the final score was 5-4 to the apprentice!

Seriously though I would like to say a massive thanks to Russell for the loan of the kit and showing me what to do because I wouldn't have had a clue. It was most certainly third time lucky and I can't wait to go again because there are bigger pike in there and a 3lb perch is a real possibility.

Next up - Dillington tomorrow

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - Russell's blog at

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Dillington Pond - V.E.S. Precision League 5 - 12th January 2014

The weather looked like it was going to be a bit better for this one so hopefully I wouldn't breaking any more pole sections! The Yeovil muggers were back again this week and there was also another new face at the draw in the shape of Scott Jackson and it was lovely to see him. Mind you, I think he'd turned up just to stop me keeping on at him! Once again Rob decided to wait until we got out the pond before deciding which pegs to use and it was a good job he did as there was a pleasure angler in peg 18. We did the draw and Ash pulled out peg 17 and Scotty Russell was on last weeks winning peg and those two draw better than Picasso!

It was lovely to see Scott Jackson today

I pulled out peg 24 which I hate and my drawing hand still hadn't improved! It's by the pumphouse and there's a big floating platform which houses the pump and although it's tethered by a couple of ropes it still tends to sway about in the wind, It's also very deep and never seems to produce that many roach, on the plus side you can fish by the bush and if the chub show you're a hero and if not a tough day is on the cards. I really wasn't looking forward to this at all, I took my kit to the peg and my day got worse, there was another rope going from the platform right across the peg and it was basically unfishable! I spoke to Rob and he said I could fish peg 21 which cheered me up no end.

I got myself settled and then discovered the rigs I used last week were nowhere deep enough so I set up a 0.75 gram bodied float with 0.08mm bottom and size 20 B611 hook which was spot on at 10 metres. I mixed up some Bait Tech Mantra groundbait and was ready for the off. Rob tooted on his whistle and we were away, I cupped in two balls of groundbait and started with a single red maggot on the hook. I missed a couple of bites before catching a small roach and had another three quite quickly, Rob on peg 19 and Scotty R across on peg 2 were also catching small roach so I slipped on a caster to see if I could catch some quality. I had to wait a while for a bite but then had a cracking rudd and shortly after a slightly smaller one.

Scott was now well ahead on numbers of fish but they looked on the small side and I figured my best chance of beating him was by catching caster fish. The trouble was I was now missing bites and had bumped a couple of fish and the fish I was catching were the same size as the maggot fish. After an hour I was up to 17 fish but a long way behind Scott and Rob who'd already had 32 fish. I stayed on the caster too long really and went back to single maggot and catching small roach. I tried double maggot and started catching some good roach and rudd and slowly started to pull away from Rob but Scotty was still catching well.

I could see Bruce across on peg 6 catching small fish on the whip and Scott had spoken to Ash on the phone and said he was behind him on numbers of fish. I was still getting small roach and the odd better roach or rudd and even added a couple of perch. Going into the last half an hour my bites slowed right up and when I saw Fieldy in peg 16 net a chub I thought any chance of an envelope had gone today. I ended up with 92 fish and was way behind Scott who had 140 fish and Ash who had 130 but when Ash walked up with the scales and said he'd didn't have any quality, I thought it might be close. My fish went 8lb 14oz which was more than I thought, Rob had 4lb 8oz and had faded away after a blinding start, Fieldy was admitting to 5lb as he said he didn't have a lot to go with that chub, he actually weighed 7lb 2oz and had lost a chub which could prove to be costly.

I weighed 8lb 14oz
Graham Field had a lovely chub but lost one that could have won it
Ash was second with 10lb 2oz

We got to Ash and he was admitting to 7lb but the scales read 10lb 2oz and he'd gone into the lead and proved himself to worse at estimating than me! I was lying in second place but we still had the other section to come back and Scotty's fish had weighed 10lb 9oz to push me into third. Bruce had over 150 fish on the whip but he only weighed 6lb 12oz and I was still hanging on in there. Steve had struggled for 2lb and Scott Jackson had done well in his first match with us and weighed 4lb 13oz.

So I'd actually sneaked into third place and picked up £20 (plus £1's off Steve and Rob) to get this year up and running. The Tackleuk muggers proved how good they are by filling the first two places although if I hadn't spent so long on the caster I reckon I'd have been a lot closer. Still a pretty good match with lots of bites for most people.

1 - Scott Russell (Tackleuk) - 10lb 9oz
2 - Ashley Tomkins (Tackleuk) - 10lb 2oz
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish/Burt Baits) - 8lb 14oz

With Pete not fishing today the league has tightened up and now looks like this

1 - Pete Lonton - 6 pts
2 - Graham Field - 8 pts
3 - Jamie Rich - 9 pts

It's a big ask to pull three points back on Pete in two matches and I really need two section wins to stand a chance of finishing in the top three. Weather permitting, hopefully we'll be back on the river next week.

Next up - River Isle (hopefully)

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - Poleaid update (below)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Poleaid Update

After snapping my pole last week I put a tongue in cheek comment on the bottom of last weeks blog, entitled Pole Aid and the response has been fantastic. I have to say anglers on the whole are a fantastic bunch and I would just like to say a huge thank you to Mick Greaves and Tony Wynnick for offering to lend me replacement sections and to Steve Bush who lent me a section today. Also big thanks to Steve Parker who is getting my section repaired and to Ashley Tomkins at Tackleuk for ordering me a new section - thanks again.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Dillington Pond - Royal Oak Winter League 6 - 5th January 2014

I was hoping to get 2014 off to a good start and we were out the pond today as the Isle has been flooded for ages. It's been fishing well and I was quite looking forward to it (I should have known better!), Tackleuk muggers Scott and Ashley were fishing today and with a depleted turnout due to the weather, Rob was only paying the top two and suggested paying them at the draw so the rest of us could go home! Rob wisely decided to wait until we got out the pond to peg it so we could avoid the worst of the wind.

On reaching the pond it was decided to use pegs 16, 17 and 18 (which I really fancied) and pegs 2, 4 and 5. Of course I drew peg 4, so my drawing hand still hasn't improved but at this early stage the weather wasn't too bad. Steve Parker was on peg 5 and keen to have a side bet and Ashley was on peg 2. I mixed up some Bait Tech Mantra groundbait and set up two 0.5 gram Drennan Roach floats with 0.10mm bottoms and size 18 B611's. I had time for a quick coffee before Rob blew his whistle, I cupped in two balls of groundbait at 10 metres and started with a single red maggot on the hook. I was loose feeding maggots, casters and hemp and after a couple of minutes the float slid away and I was swinging in a small roach.

Peg 4 (the lull before the storm!)
Next chuck I had another and Steve was catching as well, Ash shouted up that he hadn't had a bite yet so we were doing okay at this early stage. I tried a caster to see if I could catch some quality but never had a bite so it was back to single maggot and catching small roach. The weather was getting steadily worse with poor Steve getting it head on, I was struggling to control the pole at 10 metres and to make matters worse, looking across at the other pegs, it was like a mill pool with no wind at all! I was still catching small roach and just ahead of Steve but Ash had already overtaken me.

I tried caster again and bumped a fish before catching a decent rudd but then couldn't get a bite so it was back to maggot, double maggot proved to be a waste of time as well. I was now struggling to hold the pole and I had to keep stopping to wipe the rain off my glasses and I wasn't enjoying myself much. Around the half way point I've struck at a bite and it was solid, the fish slowly moved off and I was hoping this could be the bonus I needed to get closer to Ash and then the poxy hook pulled out!

Steve was now really struggling and from what I could see the pegs on the other side weren't really bagging so I stuck at it. Ash walked up and said he had 69 fish, I was only on 30 so a long way behind. Then all of a sudden I started catching some quality rudd and roach and had three or four on the trot. I was bracing the pole against my knee to try and stop it getting blown all over the place when there was a sickening crunch and the 10 metre section snapped in half, I telescoped it through but my heart wasn't really in it after that.

I could see Rob netting odd fish in peg 18, Scott catching on the long pole and Bruce was getting bits on the whip, I started to catch quite well near the end and ended with 54 fish (all roach and rudd). I had the scales yet again so went to weigh Ash in and he had 90 something fish for 9lb 7oz and had caught some quality roach on caster. My fish went 4lb 12oz which was better than I thought and I hoped it might be enough to sneak into second and help pay for a new section. Steve had really struggled with the wind right in his face and only weighed 15oz and paid me a pound.

Ashley with his winning 9lb 7oz
We got round the other side and Scott, Rob and Bruce had all caught quite well in their armchair pegs, Bruce had 5lb 2oz, Scott weighed 5lb 15oz and Rob took second place with 6lb 8oz. Quite a few lumps had been lost with some quality roach and rudd featuring in nets so a good match really, it was just a shame the weather was so bad (for some of us!).

1 - Ashley Tomkins (Tackleuk) - 9lb 7oz
2 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 6lb 8oz

The league is still really tight and after six matches (and dropping the worst result), it looks like this,

1 - Jamie Rich - 7 pts
2 - Robin Cox - 8 pts
3 - Bruce Hunt - 10 pts

So the new year started really badly for me but I suppose it can only get better! The only good news was that Chelsea beat Derby 2-0 in the FA Cup.

Steve very kindly said he'd take my ruined section in to get repaired but I won't have it back for several weeks and Ash is going to order me another section but last time it took Garbolino 18 months to get me a new section! So I'll have to dig my old pole out for the next few matches, in the meantime I've decided to run an appeal to buy a decent pole.

Poleaid (please give generously) - any donations gratefully received!

Next up - River Isle (hopefully)

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My yearly review (below)