Monday, October 29, 2007

River Isle - Crown League - 28th October 2007

After last weeks fantastic days fishing I was hoping for more of the same and when I drew peg 17, which has been fishing quite well, I thought I might get a few. The river was painfully low and clear and you could see the bottom across much of my swim, there was one deeper spot, tight across to some overhanging brambles and this is where they have been catching the fish.

I set up a Drennan 1.5 gram Carbo with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 Kamazan B611, the match didn't start well when I lost a rig on my second put in and it got steadily worse from then on! With caster on the hook I was getting minnowed out, so a change to half a lobbie saw me get my first proper bite and a half ounce perch was the result! A second perch of around 4oz was more welcome but I was really struggling.

Knowing the swim held chub I kept feeding hemp and caster in the hope that they would feed at some stage. Roger Russell wandered down from peg 15 where he was also struggling and said that Barney Crockett in the Tank Traps (peg 14) was getting a few and admitting to three or four pound. With several pegs in at Isle Brewers and AshfordI knew I was doomed and in danger of losing another pound to Janders who had drawn a good peg.

With an hour to go and the light fading I had a proper bite on double caster and landed a chub of a pound and a quarter, they've arrived I thought, but no and I remained biteless to the end of the match. Barney weighed 7lb 15oz to win the section, Roger also snared a late chub to weigh 2lb 12oz, my two perch, one chub and a minnow went 1lb 15oz for last in the section. I would definately have to drop this one!

Big Frank Woodard won from the peg I had last week with 14lb 15oz and Justin Charles was second from the peg I had the week before with 11lb 11oz (I draw some crap pegs don't I?) and my nemesis Janders took a pound off me with 8lb 14oz from peg 85 at Ashford (I haven't drawn that one yet).

Next week is round two of the V.E.S. league so we'll have to see if I can get back on track then.

Monday, October 22, 2007

River Isle - V.E.S. League - 21st October 2007

As I have never won this league, finishing second on a couple of occasions, I was desperate to get off to a good start. When I pulled out peg 128 from the bucket I was gutted, I have never had more than 5lb off it and didn't expect to catch that today. Robin Cox drew peg 126 which is the most consistent peg at Isle Brewers and I was expecting a battering. My nemesis Janders had drawn another good peg, 85 at Ashford so I was preparing myself to say goodbye to yet another nugget.

I reached the swim and it looked lovely, a big sweeping bend with the flow coming in on my right and across on the far bank there is the stump of a willow tree. There was mist rising off the river and a kingfisher darted by in a flash of blue. I set up a gram and a half Drennan Carbo with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611. I also set up a two and a half AA Kamazan insert waggler, again with 0.12 mm bottom and the same hook pattern and shotted with the bulk around the float and several Preston Stotz down the line.

I was ready five minutes before the start and as the mist cleared fish started topping all over the swim and I couldn't wait. The whistle went and I cast the waggler out with two bronze maggots on the hook to the slacker water in the middle of the peg, the float settled and went straight under! A fin perfect roach of around 6oz was the result, next cast and a slightly smaller specimen joined its brother (or sister) in the net. I was feeding hemp and caster where the flow came in and also into the slacker water. I was also feeding under my feet where there was a good depth of water. Fish were seemingly everywhere so I picked the top four sections of my pole up and tried under my feet. I caught straight away and after an hour I had 47 fish, mainly smaller roach but with the odd netter along with chublets and a single gudgeon.

It started to slow after that frenetic first hour so I picked the waggler up and cast out just off the main flow, I was soon catching roach here too and I really was in fishy heaven. I wasn't catching as well on the waggler so I tried the pole under my feet but the fish had definately backed off and I only added a couple more decent roach on caster. The pole at 11.5 metres saw me catching lots of small roach and a try to my right saw me net a couple of lively chublets around the half pound mark. With half the match gone I was still getting a bite a chuck and was now back on the waggler catching some stonking roach on caster, they were probably 6-8oz apiece and just about swingable.

I kept waiting for the action to stop or a pike to have a go but neither happened, Justin Charles walked down from peg 125 where he was really struggling and reported Robin was getting one a bung too. After watching me catch half a dozen roach he walked away quite depressed. With two hours to go I had over a hundred fish and not a clue what weight I had. I was still catching but the bites were getting more finicky and I was having to cast further and further across to stay in touch with the fish. I set my sights on 150 fish and with an hour to go I was on 130, among the roach I also had a couple of very small dace and a hybrid around 6oz.

I fell just short of my target ending with 144 fish and I was guessing I must have between 15-20lb but I really didn't know what I had. Justin walked down with the scales and he reckoned on having around a pound. After two weighs my tally was 23lb 6oz and I was well chuffed, Robin also got amongst the fish and weighed 13lb 3oz. Back at the pub and the river had fished quite hard in places, Neil Dring was top scorer from the top end with 10lb 9oz from peg 29. So I was announced the winner on the day and along with the £63 winnings I had got the start I had hoped for. Now I just need another six good results! And the icing on the cake was taking a pound off Janders who weighed 10oz.

Monday, October 15, 2007

River Isle - Crown League - 14th October 2007

Another beautiful day greeted the thirteen keen river anglers for this one, as reigning Crown league champion I was hoping to get off to a flying start. Like the rest I really wanted to draw the in-form 'Tank Traps' swim, that honor went to my nemesis Janders so I was up against it to try and win my pound back that he took off me last week. I drew peg 80 at Ashford, it's a decent peg and I've done well off it in the past. After a short drive I reached the river and walking to my peg I noticed the river was very low and clear, I passed a couple of swims that were black with fish and I couldn't wait to get started.

My peg looked good with lots of farbank cover, I set up a two gram Drennan Carbo shotted with an olivette and a couple of droppers. A 0.12 mm bottom with a size 18 Kamazan B611 was at the business end and I had white hydro through the top two sections. I started off fishing in the flow while feeding hemp and caster and occasionally firing some bronze maggots right down the swim to, hopefully, entice any fish in the tail of the swim into my catching zone.

After 10 minutes with only the odd dig on the float from minnows, I started searching the swim and was a little concerned at the lack of proper bites. After half an hour I was fishing tight across to a raft of cover, still with no bites I decided to try half a lobbie. After a couple of minutes the float dipped then sailed away, a swift strike saw the elastic come out and although not a chub, the resulting roach of around 6oz at least got me off the mark. Next put in and a bite straight away saw me net another roach, this time slightly bigger at 8oz. 'Here we go' I thought but my purple patch! was short lived.

After another 10 minutes the float sunk from view and this was no roach!, the chub was desperately burrowing into the far back and the line went slack - bugger. After tying a new hook on I was back in business, worm resulted in no more bites so I went across with caster. The float buried and I was in again, this time I would make no mistakes, the fish on the other hand had other ideas as it shot off downstream. I was holding on when the poxy hook pulled out, 2-0 to the chub. I then had a tiny dace of less than half an ounce, on lobworm!!!!!

Time was running out fast and with half the match gone I had less than a pound in the net. My next bite on worm saw me hook another good fish and after a lengthy scrap I netted a trout of over 2lb and as they count in these matches, it was very welcome. Rob Cox wandered up from peg 82 and said he was struggling as there was a pike in his swim that snaffled every roach he hooked. Just after he left I missed a good bite on worm that resulted in my rig getting caught in some crap, luckily it came off easily and I made a mental note to myself to watch out for that next time. Next put in resulted in another missed bite and the rig hooked up again, again rather luckily it came free. Did I learn my lesson though? did I heck and the third missed bite saw my rig well and truly snarled up and I lost the lot.

I hastily set up another rig but with only a couple of hours left I was starting to fear the worst. Then a decent bite saw the white hydro screaming out before I netted a good chub of around two and a half pound, the score now stood at 2-1 to the chub. Ten minutes later another good chub on worm, this time even bigger at around 3lb and I started to think good things. The score was now 2-2 with an hour and a quarter to go. On this river the last hour can be very good but not on this occasion and I ended with just the six fish.

After packing up I wandered down to Robin and awaited the scales, Rob said that he'd got the pike out and had gone on to catch some nice roach. He asked what I had and I told him around 7lb and he said he hadn't got that. Neil Dring walked back from weighing in Dave Lawrence on peg 85 and reported Dave had weighed 6lb 12oz. My six fish went 8lb 12oz and when Rob pulled his net out I knew it would be close, his mainly roach bag went 9lb 4oz and I was rueing those two lost fish. Neil weighed 4lb 7oz of mainly small fish so the Ashford section had fished quite well.

Back at the results and Janders had won with 11lb 5oz and I was now seriously gutted about those chub. After paying him his pound, Robin announced the results and I had managed to hang on to third place and picked up £20. Along with my section second it hadn't been a bad start to the league.

Next week is on the Isle again and the first match in the V.E.S. Precision winter league, although I've been runner up in this league on a couple of occasions it's a league I would dearly love to win so let's hope I get off to a good start (and stop this rot of giving money to Janders!).

Monday, October 08, 2007

River Isle - 7th October 2007

We all met out the pond to be told the match was on the river! Everybody really wanted to draw the 'Tank Traps' swim and the lucky angler was Martin Heard and he would be very hard to beat off it. For my sins I drew peg 16 which is just below a sewage outlet, it used to be a very good roach peg but in recent years is rarely used in matches. The river was very low and clear and as I took my kit to the peg small chublets and dace could be seen in the flow.

I only set one rig up, a gram and a half Drennan Carbo with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 Kamazan B611. This was coupled with white hydro through the top two sections. I started off just running the rig down in the flow and started catching small chublets and dace on caster. I was getting the odd better fish around 4oz but in the main they were only just bigger than minnows. I was loose feeding casters and hemp and after half an hour I had 15 fish. Then I started catching minnows so I added a section and went into the slacker water on the other side of the flow. This resulted in a nice little run of three or four roach which at around 6oz apiece were very welcome.

With the river being very clear and my swim not having a huge amount of cover I knew it would only be a matter of time before bites started to dry up. The roach disappeared and I carried on catching small dace and chublets along with the inevitable minnows. Big Frank was below me on the other side of the bridge and before the start his swim looked nice and several big chub could be seen swimming around. After a couple of hours I heard a loud crack followed by Frank stomping over the bridge to get another pole section from his van. I asked how he was getting on and he said he'd just lost a big chub (and snapped his number four section) trying to bully it away from the farside cover.

I was still catching the odd small fish by trying different spots all over the swim but was now really starting to struggle. Several people were bank walking and reports suggested that apart from Martin Heard, who was bagging, nobody was really setting the world alight. I heard two more loud cracks from below the bridge and I think Frank was running out of pole sections fast! I wasn't sorry to hear the whistle go as the last couple of hours had been really hard and I ended with 42 fish (plus a few minnows) which I guessed would give me a couple of pound.

After packing up I walked down to watch Frank weigh in, in the end he'd managed to land three chub and along with a few bits weighed 6lb 3oz and I said I reckoned he'd definately frame with that. Malcolm Levy only weighed 14oz and John Coxon didn't bother weighing. Martin Heard had an amazing 16lb 8oz and would win by a country mile with that. Digger Denslow had 3lb exactly and I was suprised to weigh 4lb 1oz. So with the bottom section to come back I was in third place, would I sneak into the frame?

It wasn't to be though as both Justin Charles and my nemesis Janders weighed 5lb 15oz for third place and to rub salt into the wound, Janders took a pound off me. I had to settle for a section win and picked up £20.

Next week sees the start of the Crown league on the river and I would dearly love to pull the Tank Traps swim out of that draw bag, wish me luck.