Monday, November 27, 2006

Dillington Pond - 26th November 2006

After more heavy rain in the night I was hoping the match on the river would be switched to Dillington. On walking into the Crown for the draw this was the case, the bad news was that this wouldn't count as a Hollowlegs match. We had to use the river peg numbers to draw and after getting peg 86 I was really glad this wasn't on the river as this is a crap peg! After checking the hastily drawn map, I was next to the willow where the stream comes in, a peg I never done any good from, still fish swim don't they?

The pond was higher than normal and very coloured, my peg was quite awkward and I had to sit in the water and there were quite a few submerged reeds just visible in front of me. Shipping the pole back would be difficult and using 11.5 metres I would have to break the pole down twice. I set up a 0.6 gram rig with the usual 0.12mm hooklength and 18 B611 hook, blue hydro completed the set up as this would hopefully subdue any bonus fish. My groundbait was the same mix as yesterday, Van Den Eynde Supermatch and Supercup in equal quantities.

On the whistle I cupped in three balls at 11.5 metres which was hard work with the high bank and some chopped worm and casters at the same length but towards the willow. I started over the groundbait and first put in had a small perch on double red maggot, so as in the past I switched to caster straight away to try and pick out the roach. My mate Andy was on the other side of the willow and he started getting odd small fish. Dunner was on my left and he too was catching. The switch to caster paid off and I started getting some lovely roach and by the end of the first hour I had thirteen fish. Using this figure I set my target at 70 fish.

I couldn't see much happening around the rest of the lake so I got my head down, during the second hour I had seventeen fish although some of these were small roach and perch. Hour three was even better and I had another twenty fish and I was pretty sure I was ahead of both Andy and Alan. Despite awful weather being forecast we were fairly lucky and only had the odd shower.

The chub were conspicuous in their absence which I think was down to the coloured water and from the inactivity around the rest of the pond I thought I must be in with a chance, although I'm never one to count my chickens. Hour four and things slowed up for me and I suffered a spell of bumping fish and I lost a couple in the submerged reeds in front of me. Andy had slowed right up although Dunner had started to catch more consistently and I counted him having four fish to my one at some stages.

I was feeding mainly hemp and caster at 11.5 metres along with a few maggots, I did try over the chopped worm line a couple of times but no bites were forthcoming. I didn't spend too long over it though as I was conscious of Alan's increasing catch rate. Coming a metre short saw me net some more roach and with half an hour to go I had overtaken my target and was now on 80 fish which I thought might give me double figures.

The last part of the match was difficult for me as I had a real job to see the float due to the light and I only had four more fish. I packed up and followed the scales along our bank and was surprised when after the first few pegs were weighed, the top weight was Les Braunton with 4lbs. Then came the danger man, and when Alan's fish pulled the scales around to 8lb I was sure I had more than that, or had I overestimated? Andy asked what I thought I had and I admitted to 6lb, he raised an eyebrow and when I pulled my net out it was clear this was a long way off. My weight was called out at 15lb 6oz and I was well chuffed.

Alan Dunn's 8lb roach net that earned him the runner's up spot

The scales from the other bank came back and the top weight over there was the ever consistent Justin with 6lb 12oz, so I'd won again and picked up another £60 plus a fiver from Janders and a nugget from Andy. I can't believe how good this venue has been to me, that's the last seven matches on the trot I've won here and eight in total, long may it last.

Andy who was obviously overjoyed at handing over another pound!

Next weekend it's the Chris Patten memorial match on the Isle, Chris loved the river and died at a young age. It should be a good match, weather permitting, and thirty anglers have been invited, it's one I'd love to win.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sherborne Lake - 25th November 2006

Scott Russell from Yeovil Angling Centre told me about this match, apparently after a drop off in sport the fish had returned with a vengence and there were loads of quality roach to be caught on the pole line. So any early start (for me!) and after meeting Scott at the shop and picking up two pints of casters and a pint of maggot it was off to Sherborne.

I was a little apprehensive as 90 mile an hour winds and rain were forecast, at the draw there were several 'name' anglers including Alex Murray and Steve Jackson. After paying my pools I drew peg 18 which meant very little to me except a fairly long walk. Jacko had drawn one of the end pegs, number 16, two up from me. I mixed up some groundbait, a fifty-fifty mix of Van Den Eynde Supermatch and Supercup and set up two rigs, one of 0.6 grams and another of 0.75 grams, both rigs had 0.12mm bottoms and size 18 Kamasan B611's.

This lake used to produce big weights of bream and tench although they arn't as prolific now, Scotty reckoned quite a few people would go for these big fish and although a few would show, the safe bet would be to fish for silvers and a 30-40lb winning weight would be possible with these. The weather was wet but the wind wasn't too bad, yet. On the all-in I cupped in two balls at 6 metres and four balls at 11.5 metres, I was hoping to catch at 6 metres, especially if the wind got too strong.

First put in on double red maggot and the float sunk from view and a lovely 10oz roach was swung in, a smaller sample followed next chuck and a switch to caster saw two more in the net. In my mind I thought that if I could catch roach that went four to the pound, 160 would give me around 40lb. This train of thought soon stopped when after bumping a fish I couldn't get a bite at 6 metres. I went out to my further line and had a couple of fish but it was hard work in the strengthening wind.

I went back to the shorter line, still feeding caster but it was still slow, I added a section and started fishing a metre past my feed and this was much better. I was catching roach of all sizes, mainly 1-3oz with the odd better specimen of 8-10oz. After an hour I reached 30 fish and wasn't too far off my target. Jacko walked up and asked how I was getting on, I told him and he replied he'd only had 4 fish and the chap on 17 was also struggling. I couldn't really see how they were getting on to my left so I got my head down and carried on.

After two hours my catch rate had improved slightly and I was on around 65 fish. I did suffer spells of missed bites/bumped fish and found if I left the hook point showing instead of burying it in the caster, this improved things. Swopping between 6 and 7 metres I kept catching for the third hour and got up to 100 fish, I was still getting lots of small roach but I'd also included a decent hybrid and a 8oz perch plus several good roach.

The rain actually stopped for a bit and I had a good spell with another hybrid, some more perch, a rudd and half pound skimmer plus the usual roach. I had a couple drop off swinging them in and on one occasion this resulted in a bit of a birds nest which took some sorting out. Once I resumed fishing I was still getting a bite a chuck but they were all small fish about an ounce apiece. I was up to 120 fish after hour number four so that tangle had cost me some fish although I was still on my target.

Halfway through hour number five and the wind was hideous and several bait boxes (not mine) came floating past and my keepnet tried taking off! I was still catching although the stamp fish from earlier were noticeable in their absence. At the end of the five and a half hours I had exceeded my target of 30 fish an hour with 167 fish. After packing up Jacko walked up and asked how I'd done, I said I really didn't know but secretly I reckoned I must have around 25-30lb, perhaps more.

The scales arrived and Jacko weighed 19lb and I was sure I'd beaten that, especially after his slow start. The chap on 17 weighed 13lb plus, it was then my turn and I was disappointed when the needle stopped at 22lb 4oz although there were a lot of small fish in my net. Scott Russell had done it dead right fishing the 4 metre whip and catching over 300 hundred fish for 33lb+. I still thought I might be in with a chance of my six peg section (worth £50) but the last peg in the section weighed three bream and two tench for 29lb something. Alex Murray won on the day with twenty odd pounds of roach and three bream on the feeder for 36lb, Scotty was 2nd.

Still, quite a good day with loads of fish. If I were to fish it again I think I would definately fish the whip with maggot catching anything instead of fishing the caster for the better fish which didn't really sort them out. We're supposed to be on the Isle tomorrow but after all the rain we've had, I'm hoping it will be on Dillington, although my run there has to end sometime. Wish me luck.

Monday, November 20, 2006

River Isle - Crown League - 19th November 2006

After a lot of heavy rain in the week I was sort of hoping the river would be flooded and we could go out Dillington, this was not to be though and on my arrival at the Crown, reports were that the river was in good condition with a nice bit of colour. As is the norm with these matches the pegs used are pegs not yet used for the Hollowlegs matches, a sort of try before you buy, if you like. Today the pegs were below Ilford bridge and at North and South Bradon.

I said to Janders that I really fancied peg 74 at South Bradon as I'd done well off it before. I also noticed peg 75 was in and really didn't fancy it as the two previous times I had drawn it I had really struggled only managing one chub. I decided not to dive into the draw bag and wait until 75 had gone. Martin Heard was the unlucky angler so I felt safe to draw and peg 74 was the result! After my previous three bad weeks I was strangely nervous to finally get a decent peg.

After reaching South Bradon I walked to my peg with Martin who was pegged just below me, his swim did not look very inviting at all and mine looked very fishy with two bushes opposite with a little alcove in between them. Martin said he reckoned I could win it from here, I wasn't quite as confident. As it obviously hadn't been fished since last year it took me a while to get comfortable and then it was a bit of a rush to set up. I only had time to set one rig up, my usual Drennan Carbo with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611. On plumbing up there was a good depth above the bush and in the alcove.

On the whistle I put on a caster and started above the bush, feeding maggot, caster and hemp. I decided to leave the alcove for as long as possible as it was pretty snaggy. After ten minutes I hadn't had a bite and a brief try in the alcove resulted in no bites either. Martin shouted up that he'd had a 10oz chub and doubts started to form in my mind, could I be in for another grueller? I put another section on and went further across above the bush at ten metres, just as I was about to feed the float went and I was soon netting a 10oz chublet. 'Here we go' I thought and the next put in I hooked another, only for the hook to pull out in the flow. Another chub and a decent dace followed before I hooked a chub that took off under the bush and snapped me. Things were not going to plan.

It then went quiet above the bush so I had to bite the bullet and go into the dragons den (in between the bushes). I shipped out under the trailing branches and held back and the float dipped before disappearing, a short lift of the pole tip saw several feet of white Hydro streaming out and despite throwing the pole behind me the fish had snagged me before snapping me. This was rapidly turning into a nightmare, after tying a new hook on I went back and had a couple more chublets and another dace before this went quiet.

By this time Martin had added a decent chub, I put half a lobbie on and went back above, I had a bite straight away and hooked a decent fish only for this one to come off as well! The next two put ins resulted in two more chublets before yet another quiet spell. I tried worm in under the bush and hooked another good fish which again snapped me and the hook pulled out of the next one. I upped my hooklength to 0.14mm as I didn't intend to get done by anymore. I did manage another chub on worm but couldn't get all those lost fish out of my head. I tried worm in both places but couldn't get a bite, I felt there were a lot of fish in front of me and was scratching my head somewhat.

Time for another bait change, this time I put double red maggot on and first chuck had a decent roach, the the hook pulled out of yet another before I had another dace. After this brief purple patch all I could catch on maggot was the odd minnow, worm and caster was also unsuccessful. Time was fast running out with only around an hour to go, Martin walked up and was still stuck on two fish and now had the added joy of a jack pike taking his bomb every time he reeled in, not a happy man.

I was praying for a good last hour as I felt two or three fish would give me double figures, I did manage one more chub on double caster and was suprised to see another one of my hooks in it's mouth! At around a pound I really couldn't understand how it had broken me, these fish were obviously diving into snags and snapping me on them.

At the end my total was eight small chub, three dace, a roach and a few minnows for 7lb 14oz. I had lost eight fish, three snapped me and the hook had pulled out of five so the peg should have been worth 12-14lb. Martin's two fish went 2lb 13oz and I don't think he'll be rushing back to pleasure fish his peg! Trudging back to the cars, Martin said that he thought I'd be there or thereabouts with my weight as the wind had been fairly strong and very cold and conditions had been far from ideal for the anglers. I wasn't so sure as you normally need at least double figures to frame.

As we reached the cars, Roger Russell had just got back from peg 66 and he'd weighed seven chub for 17lb 6oz which rather knocked Martin's theory into a cocked hat! If anything, this news rather relieved me as perhaps those lost fish hadn't been so costly because even with those I wouldn't have done Roger's weight. Back at the Crown, North Bradon hadn't fished at all and I started to believe I might nick second place. This wasn't to be though as the ever consistent Justin had 8lb odd for second from peg 52 at Ilford (so those fish had cost me). However I did manage third just ahead of Barney who weighed 7lb 12oz and I picked up £28 plus another fiver from Janders who had a single chub of 2lb 12oz. So finally I've cracked the grand for the first time ever and my yearly winnings now stand at £1001. The pressures now off and hopefully I can fish the last few matches and hopefully pick up a few more times.

I've got another double header next week with Sherborne lake on the Saturday, which I've only fished twice before, many years ago and I blanked both times! I have been assured that it's fishing really well and 20-30lbs will be needed to win, we will see. On the Sunday is round four of the Hollowlegs league and to stand any chance of a league placing I need a good result so lets keep our fingers crossed.

Monday, November 13, 2006

River Isle - Hollowlegs League - 12th November 2006

Another good turnout for this one, over twenty anglers. As we all waited for the draw I said to Andy that I really hoped I didn't draw the Isle Brewers section. Andy stuck his hand in the bucket and pulled out peg 128 at Isle Brewers, I followed suit and drew poxy peg 124 - bugger! Now the pegs below the bridge, 126 upwards have been fishing quite well and have hammered the pegs above every time and I suspected it would be the same today. The pegs above the bridge, of which 124 is one, can be really good although later in the year. My first match in this league had produced a match and section win followed by a not so good five points in the second match, I really needed good section points today.

I had Digger below me on 125 and Janders above me on the fence swim (where I did 5lb 10oz in the last league match) and I really felt like I was up against it. My swim looked ok and on plumbing up, had a decent depth. Bearing in mind Max had pike problems in the last match here I set up a whip so I could hopefully swing fish straight to hand and a pole, both with 1.5 gram Drennan Carbos, 0.12mm hooklengths and size 18 B611's.

On the whistle I started on the whip, loosefeeding maggots, casters and hemp, after half an hour all I had to show for my efforts were a couple of minnows and a very small roach - not the start I had hoped for! A switch to the pole at 10 metres produced a 4oz roach first put in, great had I found them? No, was the answer as I went the next ten minutes biteless. Digger had only had a couple of fish and it looked like being a real struggle. I tried caster and had a roach and again couldn't buy a bite afterwards. I felt there were quite a few fish there but they wouldn't settle in one place. I kept trying at different places around the swim and after a couple of hours had the grand total of five roach and a couple of minnows for less than a pound.

Digger had started to catch quite regularly on the waggler and Andy wandered up to say he was struggling as were a couple of others below the bridge. As he left I didn't feel quite so bad and thought if I could keep putting odd fish in the net that perhaps half decent section points were obtainable. I tried opposite me where some dead reeds were hanging in the water and the swim started to shallow up and had four roach in four chucks, a real purple patch! It was short lived though and I soon returned to struggling. Janders also paid me a visit, he too was having a hard time and had only had a couple of fish, so maybe I had a chance to take our £5 side bet?

I knew there were several chub that inhabited the swim and earlier a good fish had topped near the far bank and I kept hoping that a couple of these would put in an appearance. I had tried the whip again but this only produced a couple more minnows and time was fast running out. Digger was still catching and I now couldn't buy a bite anywhere. With about half an hour to go, out of the blue the float went and I had another roach. Very often when the light starts to fade the roach will switch on so maybe I could finish with a flourish. I looked up to see Digger net another fish and when I looked back the float had gone!, another decent roach was netted. Next put in and I bumped my first fish of the day, I had time for one last go and had a small roach right on the whistle.

I had the scales as well so after packing up I made the long walk up to Neil Dring in the weirpool, he hadn't bagged either and weighed 2lb 12oz, Janders put 2lb 2oz on the scales and I thought I would be close to that. My twelve roach plus minnows went exactly the same, 2lb 2oz so the £5 side bet was tied. Digger weighed an excellent 8lb odd and if there was such a thing, he would get my man of the match award. Andy weighed 3lb+ and took a squid off me, Barney Crockett had another excellent match winning with 10lb plus from 126, why can't I draw below the bridge!! Elswhere Martin Heard and Justin tied for second with just over 10lb each. The two section winners were Digger and Leighton Cox with 7lb something.

So really that's my league over as although you can drop a match I've already had two bad results of five and six points to go with my section win. With four matches remaining I would need four section wins to stand any chance and the way I'm drawing I can't see that happening. Also I reckon my chance of reaching the grand are slipping away as there are only about six matches before the end of the year.

Join me next week to see if my fortunes change and I promise to actually get some pictures of fish on here soon!

Monday, November 06, 2006

River Isle - Crown League - 5th November 2006

This could be the shortest blog in my history! We tend to use the Crown league to try out new pegs and areas of the river that arn't fished or haven't been fished for ages. This week we were going to fish mainly the Ilford section, this section can be rather hit and miss, as you will see.

I drew peg 45, which thankfully was quite a short walk, I hadn't fished this peg before although I have blanked from the one above. My peg looked ok with a tree sticking out of the water to my left and some reeds across. We'd had four frosts in the week so would this affect sport? Below me I had Graham Field for company and the next peg in was the old fossil (Malcolm Levy) about half a mile away on peg 43.

I plumbed up and had a decent depth of around three and a half foot, on the whistle I went out in the flow with my usual gram and a half Drennan Carbo, size 18 B611 and 0.12mm bottom, fully expecting to catch a small fish straight away, this didn't happen and despite trying caster, maggot and half a lobby all over the peg, I remained biteless. After two hours I was still fishless (not even a minnow!) and it was time for a walk.

Graham was blanking below and Malcolm had one chub, Robin Cox in 41 had a couple of small fish and Neil Dring had lost one beast. Then it was onto my nemesis Janders on peg 40A, his swim looked ok although painfully low and clear, despite this he was catching the odd fish mainly dace and chublets. I watched him for a bit, during which time he missed a couple of bites and landed a dace. Now at this point I should have been thinking about getting back and giving it my best shot as a couple of chub would probably get me in the money, but I just could not see me catching anything.

As I wandered back Barney was just walking up from his peg below the road, he'd caught ten chublets but his swim had now died, he did report that Graham had just landed a chub. I settled back on my box with renewed vigor!! for the last couple of hours and tried upping the feed to try and make something happen but all to no avail and I dry netted. I can honestly say I had nothing resembling a bite all day.

Martin Heard won on the day from peg 37 with five chub for 10lb 10oz, Janders was second with 4lb odd and finally took a fiver off me and the old fossil was third with just over 4lb.

So the grand still eludes me, God I hope I do better next week or is this the start of a real dry spell? Tune in next week to find out.