Monday, March 26, 2007

Landsend Fisheries - 25th March 2007

This match was the first time I had visited Landsend and with tales of big bags of silverfish I was quite looking forward to it. After losing an hours sleep due to the clocks going forward I was on my way. I found the fishery fairly easily and there were some faces at the draw I hadn't seen for a while, Big Frank and his boy, Roger Russell and his mate Rob and even Terry Niblett was there.

I drew peg 16 which meant nothing to me and all the pegs (with the exception of the corner pegs) looked pretty similar. I set up a 0.4 gram Drennan carp float to fish at 8 metres with a 0.12 mm bottom and finewire barbless size 20 Fox Carp match hook. I also set up a dibber style float to fish across towards the island at 11 to 13 metres, this also had a 0.12 mm bottom and a heavier gauge size 20 Fox Carp match hook.

I intended to fish caster at 8 metres and pellet and corn across, as there was a silverfish pool I intended to fish mainly for silvers with the odd look across for the carp. I mixed up some PA Megabait original and added some casters, corn and a few pellets. On the whistle I cupped in two balls at 8 metres and some corn and pellets at 11 metres. I also had a bush on the inside to my left and I feed some pellets here as well.

With caster on the hook I was expecting to catch straight away but this didn't happen and it was probably five minutes before I caught a small roach. I started to catch small roach with the odd better one but I was hardly setting the world alight! The wind was really cold and strong, the anglers either side of me had both gone straight across and after an hour neither had caught a carp. I decided to keep catching roach and wait until they caught carp before going across. Terry Niblett was two pegs to my right opposite a gap in the island and he hadn't caught a carp either. The wind was coming through the gap and whistling down making holding the pole very difficult, the angler to Terry's right was out of this wind and catching the odd carp.

After an hour and a half I had only had around twelve fish for a pound or so and was going nowhere fast. A brief try across resulted in bites and the anglers around me were still carpless as well. Back down the middle and I would have a couple of fish before they disappeared again, I wish I had brought some maggot as I was struggling for bites on caster. Double caster saw me hook something a bit better only for the hook to pull out and the next chuck I hooked another good fish but the same happened again. Then I went back to being biteless, the chap to my right was now fishing for roach with maggot but he wasn't really bagging either.

With half the match gone and all my options tried I realised I wouldn't be going home with a brown envelope today, the bloke next to Terry was still catching carp and had to be a front runner to win it. I did hook what felt like a good skimmer but once again the hook pulled out, not that I think it would have made a lot of difference. I did have a real purple patch where I had two skimmers about half a pound each. I cupped in some more groundbait and even scaled down to a 0.08 mm bottom and smaller hook but all I added to my net were a few small roach.

I was really ready for the end of the match long before the all out was sounded and there were several people walking about and a couple even packed up early. The pond hadn't really fished well at all. I tipped back twenty fish for about 3lb and headed home, I don't think I shall be rushing back here! Still I have enjoyed a good run and I suppose it had to end sometime.

Next week is the first match in the Perry St spring league and after a recent stocking of small carp the pond has been fishing really well so lets hope I can get a few bites.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ilminster Canal - Crown League - 18th March 2007

The final match arrived and after a cracking week's weather we were confronted by strong gusty winds and the possibility of rain, hail and even snow! Only seven anglers were at the draw and as per usual the match was to be split into two sections, I drew peg 3 which was in the section of four anglers which included Martin Heard who was two points behind me in the league. Basically as long as Martin didn't win the section with me last I would win the league.

I had popped down in the week to have a look as I hadn't seen the place for a year or so and there were fish topping everywhere, roach, rudd, skimmers and the odd small carp could be seen cruising everywhere. I could hardly wait for this match but would the colder weather have an affect? Although there are loads of fish in the venue the last two matches I had fished here were won with only a couple of pounds but it had been fair if hard.

As we reached the canal it became obvious we would be sheltered from the worst of the wind which was a godsend. I plonked my box down and over a coffee surveyed the scene, there was the odd tiny fish topping and I still fancied catching a few fish. Opposite me at about 13 metres I had two tree stumps and to my right was the remnants of a reedbed. I set up a light rig with a Drennan squatt float, 0.08 mm bottom and size 20 B511 for just past the middle at 7 metres, a 0.4 gram rig with 0.10 mm bottom and size 18 B611 for my chopped worm line at 10 metres just off the tree stumps and a little dibber style float with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611 for tight across against the reeds.

I had Digger to my left on the favoured end peg and Neil Dring to my right. On the whistle I cupped some chopped worm and casters in on the 10 metre line and a few casters by the reeds. I picked up the light rig, baited with a single red maggot and started to loosefeed pinkies, the float settled and then went under, a small perch was the result and when I caught three small roach on the next three put ins I thought we could be in for a good day. At the draw it was decided we would weigh any carp caught and put them straight back. With only quarter of an hour gone I could see activity on pegs 6 and 7 as Graham Field and Barney netted fish and as they weighed them in before releasing them I knew they must be carp. They looked to be a pound or so apiece.

I slipped on a caster and started to introduce a few on my 7 metre line, a bite saw me snagged straight away and I lost my hooklength. I tied a new hooklength on a fished to the left of this underwater obstruction. Bites were forthcoming and I started to catch some lovely roach up to about 12oz. Most people seemed to be catching and I saw Barney, Graham and Martin all net fish. I was pleased with my catch rate and was ahead of both Digger and Neil. Digger then started to catch some better roach as well and I had to get off my box four times in quick succession to weigh in four carp, the best weighing 2lb 5oz to give Digger a healthy lead. Rob Cox and Martin both landed decent skimmers.

My 7 metre line was slowing and to be honest I couldn't wait to go over my chopped worm, where hopefully the skimmers and carp would be queued up! I went over it with a single caster and couldn't get a bite!!!! Thankfully after the hectic start the others seemed to have slowed up although I could see Graham swinging in small fish. Another try at 7 metres produced the odd fish and I did lose one shipping back. At the halfway mark I had around thirty fish. I fished at 10 metres towards the reeds and was putting the odd good roach in the net although I was having to wait for bites.

Digger had now added two decent skimmers and was winning easily, with an hour to go I was on about forty fish and was slowly but surely pegging back Barney and Graham although my main concern was to stay ahead of Martin which I think I was. I had been feeding caster across to the reeds and decided it was now time to give them a go, although Neil had been fishing this line without too much success but he had bumped four good fish. I went across and it just didn't happen, I did manage the odd smaller roach and missed a few bites but the gusty wind was making things difficult.

On the whistle I had ended up with 49 fish (mostly roach with 2 perch and a couple of small rudd). Digger's four earlier carp weighed nearly 5lb and his silver fish net went 9lb something to give him a total of 14lb 2oz which I knew would be enough to win. I weighed 6lb 8oz to comfortably beat Neil and Martin who had just under 4lb, so I knew the league was safe. Graham was second with 8lb odd and Barney had over 7lbs for third. So no money on the day for me but I really enjoyed the day and can't wait to get back down here again.

Final league positions

Jamie Rich - 13 points
Martin Heard - 16 points
Barney Crockett - 17 points

Next week I'm at Landsend fisheries and as I've never fished it before I don't hold out much hope of winning anything, we will see.

Dillington Pond - 15th March 2007

A friend at work, Andrea Simpson, asked if I would take her fishing and as I had the week off and the weather forecast looked ok, I agreed. I met her in Ilminster and after bacon sarnies we went out Dillington, the pond looked nice and I set up a waggler and the pole. I couldn't catch on the waggler but a switch to the pole soon saw the resident perch put in an appearance. After catching a couple I let Andrea have a go and she was soon swinging in perch as well. I changed to caster and some better roach started showing.

Andrea was now fishing the waggler and casting and striking like a professional and she landed a couple of better roach as well. I ended the session catching some clonking roach on the hemp. I was a little suprised neither of us latched into any chub or perch but a very enjoyable day.

Andrea with one of her roach.

Monday, March 12, 2007

River Isle - Hollowlegs League - 11th March 2007

The last match in this league and, wonders will never cease, we were actually able to get on the river. This match was also the last chance we would have of fishing the Isle until October. Twelve of us lined up to await our fate for the next five and a half hours, including Janders who agreed to a side bet as it was the last match. Coming into this matchMartin Heard was the runaway league leader followed by Barney and I had managed to get myself into third position and desperately needed a good result today.

I really fancied pegs 125 or 126 at Isle Brewers but when I drew peg 14 (the tanktraps) I wasn't too upset as I had already won two matches from here and Digger said he thought I would win from there, I wasn't so sure. Janders was below me in peg 15, which is also a decent peg and due a good weight. I got to my peg and was suprised to see the river really pacy and the tank traps actually unfishable, below the traps there is a little cutback which sometimes produces but this was very boily. To my left there is a little grass island where I caught last time but this was shallow and you could see the bottom in places. I was starting to fear the worst.

I set up my old faithful gram and a half Drennan Carbo with 0.12 mm hooklength and size 18 B611, for bait I had bronze and red maggots plus hemp and caster. On the whistle I started in the slack by my feet and caught two minnows to avoid the blank. I tried by the traps but it was pointless, and trying the cutback was also fruitless and when no bites were forthcoming from behind the island I thought I was in real trouble. After half an hour I was back down in the cutback but the boily water kept dragging the float under, after the umpteenth time I struck and to my suprise a decent fish was on, after a brief struggle not helped by the strong flow I netted a chub around the two and half pound mark, thats more like it I thought.

No more bites here so I shallowed the rig up and went back behind the island, the float went straight away and a small dace was swung to hand, quickly followed by a chublet. I started to think I might bag up but that was it. Into the cutback again and the float had hardly settled when it shot away and I netted a trout of 8oz, they count in our matches so it was welcome. Back by the island and no more bites so I added a section and started to catch small dace with the odd better one and chublets and some quality roach. It wasn't ballistic but I was catching steadily.

During quiet spells I would go back to the cutback and this resulted in two more chub around the pound mark and a decent roach. By the half way mark I had around twenty fish and was chugging along nicely. The only down side being Chelsea were down 3-1 to Spurs in the FA cup at half time, this was the first time I had brought a radio with me for years and I was starting to regret it! All of a sudden I noticed the river was colouring up and there was lots of debris coming down, I looked up to the weir and I could see some blokes in the river clearing all the branches that had accumulated, blocking some of the flow. This put paid to my bites as the river came up around a foot.

Janders wandered up and said that after a good start where he had two chub, he couldn't get a bite now either. He asked how I was getting on and I said I reckoned I had about 5lb. After about an hour the blokes had finished and slowly but surely the river started to return to normal and I started to catch again. Another trout from the cutback of a pound also put in an appearance. Coming into the last hour bites were harder to come by and I was now fishing at 13 metres past the island and still picking up the odd fish. Chelsea fought back to 3-3 to earn a replay so at least I could face Neil Dring back at the pub. During the last hour I had a couple more dace, two chublets and a roach for about a pound or so.

I packed up and took some of my stuff back to the car, I passed Janders and he had only added a perch to his chub. I walked back to my peg with him as he had the scales, Dave Lawrence also turned up, he was on peg 24 and had caught two early chub and then struggled. Janders asked what I had to which I replied about 6lb although I thought I might have 8-10lb. When I pulled my net out I knew it was more and was suprised when the needle settled on 13lb 6oz, they both called me a lying git. Janders weighed 6lb 13oz and Dave, 6lb 4oz.

Back at the results and pegs 125 and 126 had struggled and I was amazed to find out I'd won and picked up £49, better news was to follow as my section win had put me level on points with Barney, who had blown out today, and I beat him on weight so I was second in the league behind Martin and picked up £60 plus a fiver from Janders. Pete Lonton was second from peg 124 with 7lb 6oz and Janders third.


1st - Jamie Rich - 13lb 6oz
2nd - Pete Lonton - 7lb 6oz
3rd - John (Janders) Anderson - 6lb 13oz

Final league positions

1st - Martin Heard - 9 points
2nd(on weight) - Jamie Rich - 13 points
3rd - Barney Crockett - 13 points

Next week we're on Ilminster Canal for the final Crown league match and I need to beat Martin as I'm currently topping the league by two points, wish me luck.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Dillington Pond - Crown League - 4th March 2007

After yet more torrential rain (when will it ever end?) the match was again switched to the pond. With non stop rain and heavy winds forecast there were only seven hardy souls willing to brave the elements, make that six as Neil Dring didn't fancy the pond and decided a day in to watch his beloved Spurs take on West Ham was more preferable. As it was the penultimate match in the Crown league I was praying for a good draw, I fancied pegs one to three in the trees but drew peg six at the opposite end! It's a peg I've never fished and to be honest hasn't got a lot of form.

As always the anglers were split into two sections and my closest rival in the league, Martin Heard, was in the other section on peg two. Barney Crockett who was lying in third place wasn't well and couldn't fish today so it's now just between me and Martin. Get well soon Barn. I basically just needed to catch a fish which would be worth three points, although I only had a two point buffer over Martin. We had hopefully chosen six pegs which would afford us as much shelter from the wind as possible and decided on five hours instead of the usual five and a half.

I got to the pond and started setting up in the rain, as we didn't have long before the whistle I quickly mixed up some groundbait and set up my usual 0.4 gram rig with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611. I could see the other anglers putting brollies up but to me they are more of a hinderance so I prepared to batten down the hatches. The wind was already gusty so I decided to fish at 10 metres instead of the usual 11.5 so I could hopefully control the pole a little better.

On the whistle I cupped out three balls, baited up with two red maggots and shipped out, the rig didn't settle properly and a tiny perch was the result, I had secured at least three points. Two more in quick succession settled the nerves somewhat. Then I couldn't get a bite although the wind was terrible and was blowing the pole all over the place making presentation nigh on impossible. From what I could see not a lot was happening although Digger on peg three had netted a couple of fish and Graham Field next to me was getting the odd small perch.

After an hour I hadn't added to my three perch and fishing at ten metres was a waste of time due to the wind. With at least three points secured I decided to fish shorter, I plumbed up at six metres, shortened the rig and balled in four balls of groundbait. Leaving that to settle I had a much needed cup of coffee and a sandwich. Even at this shorter length the pole was being blown all over the place and I was now pretty wet. After about ten minutes the float sailed away and I netted my first roach, a fish of around four ounces and very welcome! I then started to catch small perch quite regularly, once again I kept trying to catch on the caster but they weren't having it although I did catch another smaller roach but it was no bigger than the perch.

I was now absolutely soaked and my Drennan Drenchwear was living up to it's name as I was, indeed, drenched. I looked up to see Graham net what looked like a good perch although the other angler in my section, John Coxon, didn't seem to be doing a lot and his brolly got obliterated by the wind. With about an hour to go I was on 30 fish for around a pound or so and went for a quick walk to see what was going on. Digger on peg three said he'd had three roach and a few perch and that Martin hadn't had much either.

I went back to my peg with renewed vigor and fishing the maggot started to catch small perch quite quickly, I even had another small roach and in the last half an hour I had twenty four fish to take my tally to fifty four for around two pound or so. Once again I was kicking myself for trying to sort out better fish with the caster when I should have got my head down for the 'bits', I reckon I could have down over three pounds of them. Will I ever learn? and I hoped it wasn't going to cost me.

I packed up in record time and took some of my soaked kit back to the car, Digger walked up with the scales and asked if I had a pound, I said yes and he said I'd done him then, which suprised me. I weighed 2lb 8oz which was more than I thought, Graham weighed 3lb 6oz and I really should have been close to that. John only had a few ounces and Digger hadn't been lying and weighed exactely a pound. Martin had also struggled and weighed 8oz. Graham won and I was second and picked up £28, I was also second in my section as was Martin in his, so he remains two points behind with one match to go.

Robin said we would fish Ilminster canal for the last match in two weeks time, it's a hard venue but fair so I just need to avoid the dreaded blank. Also next week is the last match in the Hollowlegs league and a section win could give me an outside chance of sneaking into third place, we will see.

Crown league after ten matches, dropping your two worst results,

Jamie Rich - 11 points
Martin Heard - 13 points
Barney Crocket - 15 points

P.S. when I got home and stripped off (not a pretty sight I can assure you!), even my pants were wet!!!!