Monday, December 29, 2008

River Isle - 28th December 2008

After two really hard frosts it was always going to be a struggle so match organiser put us all down Isle Brewers to give us all a chance of catching something. Of course everybody wanted to draw the flier, peg 125 and personally I didn't want to draw 133 as it's hell of a walk and I've got a stinking cold. Bruce Hunt drew the flier and of course I got 133 although I had the choice of either that one or 130.

The drive to the river was quite hairy as the roads were really icy, on our arrival fish could already be seen topping in 125, Bruce was in for a good day. I started to take my kit part of the way there as it really is a long walk. 133 used to be a really good peg but they don't put it in that often because of the walk. After crossing three fields, going through three gates, crossing a bridge and climbing two styles I was finally there. It looked quite nice and pretty much how I remembered it from the last time I had fished it several years ago. I struggled then for a 1lb but it was high and coloured. I did have a look at 130 as I passed but really didn't fancy it.

The river was painfully low and clear and there was a biting wind, I made myself as comfortable as possible and started setting up. I set up the usual 1.5 gram Carbo and plumbed up, there was a nice depth to my right and towards a tree on the far bank but it shallowed up to the left. I wasn't ready at the all in and eventually started about 15 mins late. Despite the cold I half expected to catch small fish quite quickly but this didn't happen. After about 20 minutes I had my first fish, a small gudgeon, so I slipped on a caster but after 10 minutes or so I only had one indication resulting in a nipped caster. Back on double red maggot and I had another gudgeon and was going nowhere fast. Then a big fish rolled to the right of the tree which gave me renewed enthusiasm.

I was fishing at 11.5 metres and went to 13 and then 14.5 by the tree but nothing, it was time for a cup of coffee. I left the rig out while I warmed up for 5 mins and when I lifted the rig up I had a tiny, see through roach on the end. It was now getting on for half way through the match and I probably had about an ounce in the net - great. Then Janders and Alvin turned up, they were both blanking so it was fishing hard. I had a tiny minnow on maggot but just couldn't buy a proper bite and all I could think about was the walk back.

In a bid to stave off the boredom and warm up a bit I went for a walk down river, I went a fair way and never saw a single fish, I went back up as far as Janders on 129 and he was now on the tip and still blanking. I went back to my peg and gave it another hour but with only half an hour of the match left I couldn't see me catching enough to frame so I packed up early. I took some of my kit half way back and met Alvin with the scales who kindly carried some of my stuff back to the car - cheers mate. He had packed up early as had Janders and Roger Russell on peg 126, in fact nobody below the bridge had weighed in.

I loaded my stuff into the car and went to watch the weigh in above the bridge, Stuart 'Fred' Brown had 2lb 12oz from the weirpool (peg 121) and Rob Cox had two nice chub for 5lb 8oz from 122. Martin Heard had six chub for 12lb 8oz from peg 123, which is the best weight I've heard of from the peg for ages. Scotty Russell struggled for 1lb 5oz from 124 and Bruce Hunt had a lovely net of roach, dace and chublets for 11lb 11oz from 125.

So a poor end to the year for me and I just missed out on reaching the grand, finishing with a total of £947. I only won four matches in 2008 and not a single victory on my beloved Isle or Dillington. I did however beat my heaviest match weight with 69lb 14oz of bream on the resi and topped my heaviest fish by a mile with a lovely carp of 28lb 4oz from the same venue. I'd like to wish everbody a Happy New Year and tight lines for 2009.

Martin Heard with his 12lb 8oz

Bruce Hunt with his second placed 11lb 11oz

Robin Cox with his chub

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 12lb 8oz
2 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 11lb 11oz
3 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 5lb 8oz
4 - Stuart Brown (Ilminster) - 2lb 12oz

Monday, December 22, 2008

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 21st December 2008

After several bad weeks including last week at Dillington I was gagging to get back on the river and after no rain for a while conditions looked set for a good match. Also there hadn't been a frost and the weather was mild, all I needed to do now was catch some fish! There were 13 eager anglers at the draw, including the Langport invader, Baz Morgan, who was obviously short of a few bob to do his Xmas shopping and ready to relieve us of our hard earned money. It was Janders turn to do the bait run so we sorted out the bait and all was fine until he came to give us our lobworms and he handed us tubs of redworms! Nice one John, it must be your age!

After a cup of coffee I had a look to see what pegs were in and could see my favourite, peg 125, was in. I hadn't drawn the peg this year and keep bringing my waggler rod and reel in the hope I do. It wasn't to be though and the old fossil, Malcolm Levy, had that pleasure. The only trouble was he didn't have a waggler rod with him and had to borrow one off of Baz, he promised he'd buy Baz a pint and a hush fell over the room! Nobody had actually ever seen Malcolm open his wallet and the rumour is that he still has some old white fivers in there. Still if I had a bad day there was this little treat to look forward to. I drew and slowly opened my fingers to reveal a number 14 on my ping pong ball, I had mixed feelings as this can be a good peg but I had struggled off it a couple of weeks ago.

I got there and it looked ok with a bit more water on it than when I had it last although it still appeared quite clear and the little cutback to my right was very pacy. I set up old faithful (a Drennan Carbo for those of you who don't know) and plumbed up by the tank traps and in the little cutback. I just had time for a quick coffee and then it was time to start. My opening gambit was to fish in the flow towards the traps and I really thought I'd catch straight away. This didn't happen and I found myself edging closer and closer towards the traps earlier than I'd expected.

I was feeding hemp, caster and maggot in the flow and in the little cutback and after about 20 minutes I finally had a bite only to bump it! It just wasn't happening towards the traps so I tried in the cutback, it was quite boily and the flow kept dragging the flow under. Luckily I still had a few lobbies left so tried one and once again the flow dragged old faithful under but this time the tip rattled only for me to bump this fish as well! Next put in I finally managed to land a fish, a chublet about 6oz. I started to get bites regularly and added another chublet, a trout (which count in our matches) and a decent dace. After the first hour I had six fish for about a pound and a half.

Bites dried up in the cutback so I decided to try by the traps again, a bite straight away saw me swinging in a small dace and next chuck I didn't even have time to feed before the float slid away and I landed a chub of a pound or so. Great they had arrived I thought, but the action was short lived and I found myself searching the swim again for bites. Double red maggot saw a brief flurry of three small dace, a better one, a roach and another trout before the minnows moved in and I was back on the caster again. I felt there were lots of fish there but they just wouldn't settle. Back to the cutback and no bites so I tried inching the rig through in the fast flow, the float shot away and I had another trout, next put in and I had another spotty before that died as well.

I kept swapping between the cutback, the traps and 11.5 metres straight in front of me in the flow and although I wasn't bagging most of my fish were coming from the latter line. I added four more fish from here, some nice dace and another chublet of 12oz. I reckoned on having 5 to 6lb and thought a good last couple of hours might see me close to double figures and a chance of a frame place. Big Frank arrived in the brightest cycling gear you've ever seen and said Neil Dring in peg 15 had only got a few fish but he hadn't seen anyone else. Just after he left Justin Charles turned up and said nobody in our section had much, he'd had a few small fish and Graham Field on 17 was struggling.

Into the last hour and as the light started to fail I was hoping the fish might switch on, it didn't really happen though. I had another chub at 11.5 metres and one by the traps to add another pound and a half. My last fish was a 4oz perch so I had quite a mixed bag, I did miss a bite right on the whistle and that was it. I packed up and took some of my gear to the car just as Graham and the scales were coming up from peg 23. Bruce Hunt had weighed 6lb 12oz and I thought I might be close to that. Justin had 3lb 15oz from peg 20 and Graham had only 13oz from peg 17. My 22 fish weighed 8lb 7oz which was more than I thought and I started to think I might have a chance of sneaking the section.

Back at the results and the best weight in the copse was Martin Heard's 4lb 5oz from peg 27 and all of a sudden a frame place looked possible. Janders only had a minnow from 37 so I gratefully received a pound (the first one for ages) and Alvin Jones had a chub from 38 so that just left the three pegs at Isle Brewers although I fully expected them all to beat my weight. Baz arrived back with the weigh board and the old fossil had done an amazing 22lb 9oz from 125 - well done Malcolm. He didn't come back for the results though and Baz was gutted he wouldn't see his pint for the loan of the rod and we were all gutted we wouldn't witness the fabled opening of the wallet! Baz had 7lb 2oz from 124 and Roger Russell had 3lb 9oz from 126 so I had finished second. I picked up £50 which was very welcome as it was my first pick up for a while. My winnings for the year now stand at £947 and I don't reckon I'll reach the grand with only one match of 2008 to go. Still a very enjoyable day.

The old fossil next to Martin earlier in the year (he was probably trying to borrow a rod then as well!)

Justin did enough to be crowned Champion with Martin second and Neil third, I ended up in fourth place and was left ruing a blank which really cost me.

I would just like to thank Tommy at the Crown for sponsoring the league and his excellent breakfasts and to Robin Cox and Neil Dring for organising the matches. Also I'd like to wish you all a Merry Xmas and tight lines.

1 - Malcolm Levy (Tiverton) - 22lb 9oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Chard Remains) - 8lb 7oz
3 - Baz Morgan (Baz Angling) - 7lb 2oz

Section A - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 6lb 12oz
Section B - Roger Russell (YDAC) - 3lb 9oz

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dillington Pond - Xmas Fayre - 14th December 2008

After torrential rain on Friday I feared the worst but Saturday was dry and as I drove over the river on Sunday it looked ok with a nice colour although perhaps a little pacy. Still with no rain forecast it could only get better as the day went on. I was gutted then to discover it had been moved to the pond, still there was a match to be fished and prizes to be won. To make matters worse they had left out the two best pegs (1 and 22) so there was no chance of drawing a flier. I drew peg 9 on the far side which I was fairly happy with.

On arrival at the pond, it was a horrible brown colour, higher than usual and with a frost during the night I knew it would be a struggle. Also the pegs were pretty tight with Martin Heard to my right and John Coxon to my left. There was some good natured banter whilst setting up and my mood was lifted somewhat when some tiny fish topped along with the odd better one. I mixed up some Sensas Lake groundbait and just had enough time to set up a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach float with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611.

The pond was a horrible colour!

On the whistle I cupped in three balls at 11.5 metres, baited up with single red maggot and shipped out. The rig settled and I waited for a bite, and waited and waited! Nobody was catching and after an hour I honestly thought we might all blank! There were still odd fish plipping (is that a word?) and I kept thinking about setting up a light up in the water rig. Another biteless half an hour passed so I did just that. Out came a little Drennan Squatt rig with 0.08mm bottom and size 20 B511. Fishing shallow out at 11.5 metres saw no bites forthcoming so I plumbed up by some dead reeds on the inside to my right where I had about a foot in depth. I plonked the rig in and rested my top three on a reed and waited.

Everybody was still blanking so one fish could be worth it's weight in gold, then it happened, Martin whooped as he swung a tiny roach caught shallow. Then Bruce Hunt had one followed by Malcolm Levy (although he never saw his bite!). I was now back out at 11.5 metres with the shallow rig and then my float dipped before moving along the surface, I struck and I too had a tiny roach - phew! I really thought we might start getting a few but we all reverted to catching nothing. Still if the other three framed I would win my section!

Martin was overjoyed at being the first person to catch

Other people started getting the odd fish including my nemesis Janders, so once again my pound was in jeopardy. Justin Charles netted what looked like a decent roach to really put the cat among the pigeons and Bruce was also getting the odd small fish. I hadn't added to my tally and couldn't buy a bite, with time running out, I had tried all my lines at various depths for zilch. Most people had now caught tiny roach although there were still five or six blanking including poor old John on my left (who was now singing and possibly a little demented).

Martin had caught a couple more from the reeds on his inside, so I tried mine again with no success. Bruce was still getting odd fish and looking good for a frame place and Alvin Jones had a slightly better roach, again from by the reeds. I was now seriously bored and it was now really cold and I just wanted the match to end. I had by now plumbed up at 6 metres and was sat on the lighter rig when I had another roach but I didn't even see the bite. Martin had three late roach which he netted and I thought he would win. Neil Dring also netted a fish and the rumour was it was one of the venues better perch. I spent the last quarter of an hour on the long line with double red maggot hoping for a bonus but it didn't happen.

The weigh in didn't take long, Roger Russell didn't weigh, Neil's big perch turned out to be a 3oz roach and he weighed 4oz, Andy Welch had 2oz, Rob Cox had 1oz (serves you right for not putting it on the river!), Justin had 7oz, Alvin 2oz, Martin only weighed 5oz which suprised me, my 'haul' went a wind assisted 1oz and John never had a bite. The other section fished much! better with Pete Lonton having top weight on the day with 8oz. Bruce had around a dozen fish for 7oz and joint second with Justin.

Then it was back to the Crown for an excellent buffet and the prize giving, as there had been five blanks, my ounce won me some chocolates, biscuits and wine. Janders had bagged up with 3oz to take yet another pound off me. Well that's my third shit day on the trot, they say it comes in threes so I'm bound to bag up next week!!!!! All joking aside I'd like to thank Tommy at the Crown for the grub and Pete Lonton for his excellent organisation of the match and to all the anglers who donated prizes.

1 - Pete Lonton (Ilminster) - 8oz
2 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 7oz
2 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 7oz

Section A - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 5oz
Section B - Stuart Brown (Ilminster) - 5oz

Monday, December 08, 2008

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 7th December 2008

Saturday was really nice and the river had some colour in it and all the signs were there for a good match. That was until I woke up Sunday morning to be confronted by a wicked frost! The roads were pretty icy too, I got to the Crown and there were eight other nutters (sorry I meant hardy anglers) awaiting the draw. After last week I felt sure today was going to be better. When I pulled out peg 23 I thought I might get a few as it's been quite a consistent peg for weights between 7-10lb.

I got to the peg and the river wasn't as coloured as I thought it was going to be but the peg did look nice with a bush opposite. Once again it was a rush to set up and I wasn't really ready at the scheduled start time (10:00). I set up old faithful and tied on a fresh 0.12mm bottom with size 18 B611 ready to do battle with the pegs big old chub. I baited up with single caster and started feeding casters and hemp just up from the bush and I was also firing some maggots down the swim towards peg 24 to hopefully lure some fish up the swim.

No bites after half an hour saw me searching the far bank of the swim and also ringing the changes with the hookbaits. I tried caster, double caster, maggot, bread and lobbie but the only indications I had were from minnows on maggot but I didn't actually catch one. Still fishless after an hour I wasn't too worried as the fish can come on late in this peg and it only takes an hour to catch four fish for 10lb. The second and third hours also saw me still dry netting and I thought it would be case of waiting for the golden last hour.

Neil Dring wandered down from the tanktraps (peg 14) and he was struggling too as he'd only had one minnow. He reported that Justin Charles had caught a couple of small chub and some dace from peg 20. He commented that I was fishing where he had caught his chub (under the bush) two weeks ago and he left me to it. The last hour arrived and I was like a coiled spring waiting for the action to start, I waited and waited and waited. Half three arrived and with it the end of the match and I had blanked again! Christ I must have run over a nun or something.

I quickly packed up and as I drove back up the track I stopped to weigh Justin in, he had 4lb 12oz. Neil hadn't caught anything to go with his minnow and looked very cold, he'd still beaten me though! Back at the results the river had still fished quite well and Kevin Harvey had won on his debut from consistent peg 28 with 10lb 6oz. Rob Cox had finally found some chub from yet another flier (peg 85) for 7lb 4oz and second place and Dave Lawrence was third from 79 with 5lb 8oz. So another bad day for me and this league is now buggered as well, the only good thing was that Janders hadn't weighed in despite catching seven minnows, so at least I didn't have to hand over another pound.

Justin is now running away with the league with three section wins (3 points) although he may have to miss the last match, not that I've got any chance of catching him!

Next week is the Xmas Fayre so at least I'll win a prize (everybody does!), this shitty run has got to come to an end sometime, surely?

1 - Kevin Harvey (Ilminster) - 10lb 6oz
2 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 7lb 4oz
3 - Dave Lawrence (Chard Raiders) - 5lb 8oz
4 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 4lb 12oz

Monday, December 01, 2008

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision Winter League - 30th November 2008

I was looking forward to this one after having two bad days last weekend but the weather was bitterly cold and this combined with a low, gin clear river, didn't bode well. At the draw it was announced that some pegs at Red Bridge were to be used and I was really hoping I didn't draw there as I've never caught much whenever I fished this stretch. I hung back in the queue and after I heard three pegs at Red Bridge had gone I thought it would be safe to stick my hand in the bucket. How wrong can you be? I pulled my hand out to find peg 107 stuck to it, poxing Red Bridge!

After sorting my bait out, off I went. I got there and the biting wind was blowing straight in my face and all the pegs are perched on top of the banks with no cover whatsoever - great! My peg actually looked ok with a tree opposite which looked like it might hold a few fish. Without much time before the start I quickly set up a 1.5 gram Carbo and plumbed up, a nice depth also got my hopes up. I baited up with double red maggot and shipped out to 10 metres to inch the rig through. I fully expected to catch small fish straight away but after an hour I hadn't had a bite and I just knew I wasn't going to catch.

It was time for a walk and a coffee to try and warm up, it was certainly the coldest I've been for ages. Alvin was below me and he hadn't had a bite either, Graham Field was below him and he was fishless also. All three of us trooped down to see Robin Cox on the only decent peg down here, peg 110. He wasn't bagging either but at least he was getting the odd roach although pike were grabbing most of them. Just after we arrived he had a small roach on, only for a big snapper to grab it. We left him tying on yet another hooklength.

I gave it another go, trying maggot and caster but still nothing and it wasn't long before I was walking again. All three of us were still dry netting and I really couldn't see me staying for the duration. Rob walked up to see how we were getting on and when he phoned Martin Heard, who was on yet another flier (peg 66), who reported he'd had four chub and lost one, enough was enough and I packed up. I can't remember the last time I'd gone for an early bath but I reckon I could still be there now and I wouldn't have caught anything. Well my league is already buggered after only three matches so I'll have to wait until next season to see if I can win it.

I phoned Rob later to get the results and Martin had paralysed it with 15lb 2oz of chub. The river had fished really hard though and loads had not troubled the scalesman. Roger Russell again did well catching 7lb 6oz of small fish from 125 for second place and Dave Lawrence was third with 3lb 13oz from 128. My nemesis Janders stuffed up peg 126, only weighing 2oz although it was still enough to take a pound off me for the third week running. So after three rounds and dropping the worst result, Roger and Martin are topping the league with two points, God knows where I am? Next weeks got to be better hasn't it?

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 15lb 2oz
2 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 7lb 6oz
3 - Dave Lawrence (Chard) - 3lb 13oz
4 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 2lb 14oz
5 - Pete Lonton (Ilminster) - 2lb 11oz

Monday, November 24, 2008

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 23rd November 2008

Round three of the Crown league saw a poor turnout of only seven anglers, possibly due to the crap weather, it was cold with a nasty gusty wind. The golden peg was pulled out and it was peg 18 so that was safe! After a fairly poor day yesterday I was hoping for a good peg and when I drew out the tanktraps swim (peg 14) I thought I'd got one. I've had some great days in this swim and won several matches with my best weight being over 24lb. It's normally full of small fish and I couldn't wait.

I got there and the river was a lot lower and clearer than I'd expected but I still fully expected a good day. I set up, you've guessed it!, a 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 hook. On the whistle I baited up with single caster and started in the flow leading up to the traps, no bites so I started inching closer to the concrete blocks and still nothing and I was starting to worry as you normally start catching quite quickly. Double maggot saw me catch a minnow so at least I hadn't blanked. There is a large branch under the water, which was visible in the clear water and I started fishing next to it and finally after half an hour I had a bite and had a small chublet, quickly followed by a better one. That's it, found them I thought but then I couldn't buy a bite apart from minnows.

I tried tight to the traps but still nothing, the wind wasn't helping but I couldn't believe how hard it was. I kept feeding the little cutback near the tail of the swim but this was unproductive as well. A chap called Ned came up to see how I was getting on and said Neil Dring on 23 had caught a couple of decent chub but the others only had small fish, so I stuck at it hoping they would switch on. Halfway through the match and things hadn't improved and I was out of ideas, out of desperation I went 13 metres up towards the weir and the float went straight away and I had a 8oz trout, which luckily count in our matches, but that was the last of the action up there.

I scaled down to a 0.10mm hooklength but this didn't help either and a real disaster was on the cards. With an hour to go I tried half a lobbie all around the swim and finally settled on holding it back in the flow by the cutback. A decent bite saw me catch my fourth fish, a little chublet. I then started catching a few and had another four up until the end of the match, oh why couldn't they have switched on a little bit earlier? I packed up and as I had the scales, walked down to weigh in, Roger Russell had 4lb 4oz from peg 20 and Alvin Jones had 2lb 15oz from the golden peg. My eight fish went 3lb 10oz and I knew I wouldn't be picking up today, Neil had found another chub to weigh 7lb 7oz. Graham Field had struggled from peg 24, only catching minnows for 1oz.

Back at the results and the pegs in the copse had fished well, my nemesis Janders winning from peg 28 with 10lb 11oz and Martin Heard was second from 29 with 7lb 15oz and Neil was third. After three matches Justin Charles is still leading the league (despite not fishing today) with two points (as you can drop your worst result) followed by Neil and Janders on four. So my two days fishing had been pretty poor really and I'm absolutely knackered and to top things off I lost another pound to Janders. Next week is round three of the V.E.S. league and I can't afford another bad result, wish me luck.

1 - John 'Janders' Anderson (Chard Minnows) - 10lb 11oz
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 7lb 15oz
3 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 7lb 7oz
4 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 4lb 4oz

Saturday, November 22, 2008

River Yeo - Open - 22nd November 2008

With promises of lots of small fish on the crowquill, I was looking forward to this one. I hadn't fished the Yeo (or the crowquill) for years. I was up bright and early and at Yeovil Angling Centre for 8:00 to meet Scotty and Ashley and to pick up some bait. Got to the draw to be told they had put some chub pegs and I managed to pull out peg 9 which is apparently a chubber! We drove in convoy through a farm yard and parked up. I asked where my peg was and was pointed in the direction of some trees in the far distance!

After a mammoth walk (yet again), I was trying to find my peg when several anglers walked down to say there had been a mix up with the pegging and we all had to move a peg down. Scott Cousins who was on peg 10 wasn't best pleased as his peg looked nice and that was where I would now be spending the next five hours. Surveying the peg it did, indeed, look very fishy. It was a big peg with several trees in the water at about 13 metres and the flow looked quite pacy. Talking about the swim with Scotty Russell he reckoned it was a pole peg as it shallowed up near the bottom and as it was quite a short run it wouldn't be ideal for the crowquill. I was quite disappointed as I'd only just bought some new crowquills and looking at the flow I didn't think I had any rigs that would really be suitable.

I put on an old faithful 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo and plumbed up to discover the rig was about four foot too shallow! Being a bit of a bodger I just added some line to my rig. I tried the rig out and really it was woefully undergunned although by letting it run through and holding back it seemed to go through ok. On the whistle I put a caster on and started feeding casters and hemp. At 13 metres it was quite hard work but I fully expected to catch straight away, this didn't happen and it took about 15 mins before I caught a minnow. I did add a small dace and a small roach but never saw the bites for either and the rig just wasn't right. I played about with the shot by bulking two of the droppers together but this didn't really help.

I also tried taking a section off and just running the rig through and I caught a couple of small chublets quite quickly but was going nowhere fast. I was still feeding hemp and caster quite heavily to try and get the chub feeding but after an hour I only had five fish. I tried double red maggot and held the rig back further down the swim and had a couple more fish. Ashley turned up to see how I was getting on and said he'd had five chublets and that one chap had already had five proper chub. While he was there I had another chublet and then dropped one off - great!

After he'd wandered back I had a couple more and dropped a roach off, the trouble was I still wasn't seeing and missing loads of bites. There were obviously a few fish further down the swim but I thought I might be too far overdepth so I replumbed and found I was probaly a foot too deep. I adjusted the rig and actually started catching small fish quite well, I then had a chub around the pound mark and things were looking up. I then had one about 12oz and I knew I should of netted it but like a dick I tried swinging it and of course it fell off. I then had a half pound trout but I don't think they count in these matches.

Halfway through the five hours I still had hope that some bigger chub might show, I kept trying tight across by the cover but snagged up everytime. I was still getting the odd small fish, but it had started raining and the temperature had definitely dropped and my catch rate was dropping off. With about two hours left Scotty Russell and Ashley turned up, Scotty had one decent chub and had lost two and Ashley was struggling. The guy with the chub was still catching and John Loader also had two. While they were there I never had a fish despite their helpful advice! (thanks chaps). With an hour left Ashley wandered back to pack up and I did manage a small fish just before Scotty went back to give it another go.

I was hoping the last hour might be productive, I tried a lobby unsuccessfully but did catch two more small chublets in the last ten minutes. I ended up with 26 fish which I thought might go 3lb or so. I packed up and started to take some of my kit back across the field and walked across to watch the weigh in. John Loader had landed another chub to weigh 7lb odd and the chap with the chub ended with 13 for a fantastic 34lb 10oz. Scotty and Ashley both didn't weigh and I weighed 4lb 12oz which was more than I thought, Scott Cousins had 4lb 9oz and I started to think I might have an outside chance of sneaking into the frame. This didn't last long though as two of the pegs by the road bridge had weighed 14lb odd and 6lb plus. I didn't go back for the results and drove home absolutely knackered.

I could really do with a good day tomorrow with a nice short walk but I bet I get neither! I'll let you know.

Monday, November 17, 2008

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision Winter League - 16th November 2008

After not being able to get on the river for two weeks I was really looking forward to this one. The river was in good nick and the forecast was ok, at the draw there was a good turnout of 17 anglers. After an excellent sausage sandwich (thanks Tommy), it was time for the draw. There were loads of good pegs in, 14, 24, 29, 37 and 85 all sprung to mind, I stuck my hand in the bucket and pulled out 36! I hadn't even thought about this peg as it had only done 6oz last match and I couldn't believe they'd put it in, I was gutted. It hasn't done much for years, in fact the last time I'd drawn it I'd blanked. Still there was a match to be fished and fish swim don't they?

I parked the car up and discovered Janders was on 39, where he'd done 7lb odd last time and Langport invader, Baz Morgan, had drawn a flier in the shape of 37. The last time he'd fished the ditch he'd won the golden ball and had been afraid to come back until now! We started the long yomp across the field and I finally arrived at my peg after doing it in two trips. As Baz walked past I said he'd have to be a numpty not to do double figures today. My peg looked ok with a stream coming in on the far side and a big bank of grass to my left. There is also a tree to my right which always looks inviting.

I set up two Drennan Carbos, one for fishing to the far side and down past the grass and another deeper rig for fishing the deep hole under my feet and by the tree. Both had 0.12mm bottoms and size 18 B611 hooks. After the mammoth walk, I didn't have long to set up so my opening gambit was across towards the far bank on the other side of the flow. With caster on the hook I started edging the float down the swim, after ten biteless minutes I started getting that deja vu feeling. I then tried down past the grass but this was fruitless too. Next I tried in the deep hole under my feet with double maggot on the hook, the float sailed away but only a tiny minnow was the result. I went back in with caster on and was getting indications but I'm pretty sure it was minnows 'cos just the end of the caster was being nipped. With an hour gone I was already nearly all out of ideas.

My last hope was up under the tree, I had a couple of indications before getting a small dace then a tiny chublet. I was setting any records but at least something fishy lived in the swim! Again I was being troubled by minnow bites so stuck double caster on the hook. I had a decent bite but bumped the fish, next put in I had a good bite and hooked a better fish andsoon slipped the net under a chub of a pound and a half - this was more like it, I just needed another five of its brothers and sisters. The action was short lived though and I went biteless for the next half an hour. I tried all my other swims with no result so it was time for a wander.

Langport invader Baz was scratching his head at how to get the chub out!

I got down to Baz who was looking rather bemused, he'd had five chub but had also lost three. He was fishing by a tree and the chub were heading straight for the snags everytime. He was feeding upstream to try and tempt them out from the dragons den. I wandered down to Janders who said he'd had about 20 small fish so my pound was looking like it might be heading his way this week. On my way back Baz said he hadn't added anymore but was confident of doing so. I sat back on my box knowing I needed chub to do any good. I upped my feed under the tree and in the deep water and went back to fishing by the grass bank at 11.5 metres. To my amazement the float went straight under and I caught a small dace, followed by a small roach and more small dace. The trouble was they were only an ounce or so apiece and I wasn't catching them fast enough. I had around a dozen fish on double red maggot before it slowed and I went back under the tree in search of chub.

Janders looked pretty happy at the prospect of taking a pound off me!

Apart from a couple more dace here and few down by the grass the rest of the match was pretty uneventful and I knew I'd be well down today. I packed up and went down to watch the weigh in, Janders had started catching some better chublets and weighed 4lb 10oz to take a pound off me, Baz had added another chub but had lost several more and reckoned it should have been a 20lb peg. He weighed 11lb 9oz and I said he'd frame with that. I weighed a lowly 2lb 9oz. The rest of the river had fished pretty well, Rob Birch had seven chub from peg 85 to win with 16lb 11oz and it was also a golden peg so he took home over £200 - well done Rob. Baz was second and Pete Lonton had 11lb 6oz from new peg 84. Bruce Hunt had 10lb 4oz from 24, John Coxon had 9lb 2oz from 28 and the old fossil (Malcolm Levy) had 8lb 8oz from the tanktraps (14). I worked out that the average weight was nearly 7lb a man, I just wish I'd drawn a better peg.

Baz with his second placed catch of 11lb 9oz (should have been a lot more though, shouldn't it mate!)

1 - Rob Birch (Ilminster) - 16lb 11oz
2 - Baz Morgan (Langport) - 11lb 9oz
3 - Pete Lonton (Ilminster) - 11lb 6oz
4 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 10lb 4oz
5 - John Coxon (Chard) - 9lb 2oz
6 - Malcolm Levy (Tiverton) - 8lb 8oz

After two matches, nobody is running away with the league, I would have to drop this match and can't afford a bad result for the rest of the series. Scotty Russell had just phoned me to say that the Yeo at Mudford is fishing it's head off so I've just booked in for a match next Saturday and I'll be back on the Isle on Sunday so lets hope for two good days!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ilminster Canal - 9th November 2008

With the river once again flooded, six plucky (or should that be stupid!) anglers headed for the canal. With both ends either covered in duckweed or leaves we were restricted to the middle, although the ends of the middle (if that makes sense!) were still the favoured pegs. I drew peg 4, slap bang in the middle - typical! Still my peg looked ok with reed beds opposite and odd small fish topping. Neil Dring was on my right and Justin Charles on my left, the two anglers on the end pegs were Rob Cox and Janders so my pound was in danger today.

Ilminster Canal (looks nice in the Summer doesn't it?)

I set up a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 for fishing at 10 metres towards the reeds to the left and right of me and a small Trabucco dibber style float for fishing tight across at 11.5 metres. Hook etc were the same as the first rig. On the whistle I cupped in some chopped worm and caster by the reeds to my left and some hemp and caster to the right. With caster on the hook I hooked a small roach first put in but it came off on the way in, then I bumped a fish next chuck - here we go again I thought. I then had a couple of small roach and a perch of about 4oz which was more like it.

I had a couple more perch but also lost a better fish on the way in and bumped a couple more. After an hour I was on five fish and it was obvious it just wasn't going to fish. Rob and Justin were still fishless, Neil had one although at this early stage, Janders was doing ok with seven perch. Hour two was slow and I only added a couple more small fish and I had to keep swapping lines to get bites. Hour three was much the same although I did have a bite to my right and the strike saw loads of blue hydro heading under all the far bank crap. The battle was short lived though and I lost the carp and the hook came back with rubbish all over it. I had already bumped/lost probably enough to win it and I was hoping those fish weren't going to cost me.

The weather was pretty grim with strong gusts of wind and showers, Rob was walking about as he'd only had one fish and reckoned Janders was winning it with ten perch. I added a couple more fish on double red maggot before trying over my hemp and caster line, after a couple of minutes the float sunk from view and I hooked another carp. The fish did it's best to lose me and ploughed through loads of weed but eventually the fish was in front of me but I wasn't sure where 'cos of all the weed up the line. I netted it and after removing all the weed, my prize, a carp of about 2lb was deposited in the keepnet. I felt I must now be in the lead with about 3lb because everybody seemed to be struggling and if Jander's perch were a similar size to mine I had to be ahead.

Due to the weather Rob asked all the anglers if we wanted to finish half an hour early and we all agreed. I was still getting the odd small roach and see through perch and I did drop off a 2oz skimmer. Neil lost a carp but with an hour left everybody was struggling for bites and I thought I had it in the bag. Right on the whistle I lost a slightly better roach when it went round some reeds in the water. I ended with 16 fish which I reckoned would give me between three and four pounds.

We all packed up and Janders walked up with the scales, Rob and Justin didn't weigh, my catch went 3lb 12oz, Neil had 14oz and Alvin had 4oz (yes it had been that hard!). Then when we got to Janders and he took his net out, there was more splashing than I'd anticipated. He had some nice perch and a cracking roach and I really thought he'd done me but the needle settled on 3lb 8oz and I'd done it - phew!
I picked up £50 plus another £1 off Janders who was second, hard luck mate, if it's any consolation you were my man of the match. This was only my 4th win of the campaign so far and winnings wise I'm lagging behind the previous two years by some way. Hopefully I can have a good run in to Xmas (if we ever get on the river again!).

Man of the match - Janders (go on give us a smile)

1 - Jamie Rich (Chard Remains) - 3lb 12oz
2 - John Anderson (Chard Minnows) - 3lb 8oz
3 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 14oz

Monday, November 03, 2008

Dillington Pond - 2nd November 2008

With the river flooded we decided to have a match on Dillington. I drew peg 19 by the fence, an area that can be ok. Martin Heard drew peg 22 by the bush, not normally a great peg but with peg 1 left out, I fancied him to get a result. The pond looked nice with a tinge of colour and several decent fish topped in the middle as we were setting up.

I set up two rigs, a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 for fishing at 11.5 metres in open water and a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp with the same end gear for fishing against some reeds to my left.I mixed up some Sensas Roach and Magic and chopped up some worm and casters and was just about ready in time. I had Pete Lonton on my right and Graham Field on my left, Roger Russell was opposite on the point.

On the whistle I cupped in three balls at 11.5 metres and half a cup of choppie towards the reeds at about 8.5 metres. I started on the longer line with double red maggot on the hook and fully expected bites straight away but this didn't happen. After 20 mins I shouted down to Graham who was fishing the whip and he hadn't had bite either. After half an hour I thought it was going to be hard, I put half a lobby on my other rig and tried by the reeds, no indications here either. After an hour I was starting to think we might all blank when I saw Janders, who was next to Pete, strike into a fish and he swung a small perch in.

Then Pete hooked into a good fish which turned out to be a perch of about two and a half pounds, I shouted up that he'd probably win it with that. I went back out with bronze maggot and had a bite straight away and started catching small perch, rudd and roach quite quickly. I tried caster but the size of the fish didn't really improve. After two hours I had twenty fish and was comfortably ahead of Fieldy who was now catching a few as well. I could see Janders and Justin, who was next to Roger, getting odd fish as well but nobody was setting the world alight.

Hour three saw my action slow up although I was still getting odd fish on bronze maggot, another brief try by the reeds was non productive. It was very cold and Janders wandered up to try and warm up a little, he'd around the same amount of fish as me so the pound was in the balance. I looked up to see Roger net a good perch on the waggler and shortly afterwards he had another and had probably overtaken Pete who had only had a couple of small fish to go with his bonus perch. With a couple of hours to go my swim had dried up and I was only getting the very occasional fish. Martin landed his first chub which prompted me to have another go by the reeds but I never had a bite over this line.

I did catch a small eel on my longer line which was full of chopped worm and I hadn't fed any on that line! Fieldy was also slowly but surely catching me up and I was fearing the worst. Roger netted another couple of good perch and was also catching some small fish. Then with an hour to go Martin had another chub followed by another and another. In fact he had eight in the last hour to take his total to nine. My last hour was very slow and I ended with 44 fish which I reckoned might go two pound.

I quickly packed up and went to watch the weigh in, Martin's chub went 16lb 6oz for yet another win, Graham ended with sixty odd fish for 3lb 4oz. When it came to my turn I pulled my net out and I realised I had more than I thought but the needle stopped just short on 3lb dead. But when Pete weighed 2lb 11oz I thought I might have a chance of my section by default. Janders had stopped catching after his walkabout and weighed 1lb 6oz so I claimed back my pound he took off me last week.

Roger shouted across to ask if I had my camera as he wanted a picture of his perch, he weighed 10lb 9oz with one of his perch going a whopping 3lb 4oz. With Rog second I was hoping Graham would frame and I'd get the section but Justin put a stop to that when he weighed 3lb 6oz and I was left ruing several bumped fish - oh well there's always next week. My man of the match for the second week on the trot has to be Roger for his haul of specimen perch.

Roger with his lovely net of perch with the one he's holding weighing 3lb 4oz

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 16lb 6oz
2 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 10lb 9oz
3 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 3lb 6oz

Section A - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 2lb 2oz
Section B - Graham Field (Taunton) - 3lb 4oz

Monday, October 27, 2008

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 26th October 2008

For round two, conditions were once again good and there was another good turnout of 13 anglers. For this one we were fishing the South Bradon and Isle Brewers sections, there were four pegs I would love to draw 66, 74, 125 and 126 and a few I really didn't want 69, 75 and 123. I put my hand in the draw bag and pulled out 74!, over the years I had this peg four times and picked up money every time so I was really looking forward to the day ahead.

I drove to South Bradon to find Roger Russell was the unlucky angler on 75 next to me. This peg seems to produce the odd chub and that's it. After walking across the field I arrived at my peg and it looked nice. You are basically opposite a bush with branches to the left and right of you. I set up the usual 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611. It was raining fairly heavily and I was hoping a bit of colour might help things as well.

I started above the bush to my left and soon had a couple of tiny chublets on caster, I then had a gudgeon and a better chublet of 12oz or so. Things got even better just before the first hour was up when I landed a chub of a pound and a quarter, so far so good I thought. Roger shouted up that he hadn't had much but had missed a good bite on a lobbie. Going into the second hour I had a couple more gudgeon, so tried a lobworm but this just produced lots of bites from small fish. It was time to try in between the branches, more gudgeon followed and then a pound and a half chub. The rain had by now eased off but it had gotten a lot colder.

Roger said he'd had a decent chub and I thought that would be it for him. I was now struggling and despite trying all over the swim with caster or lobbie I couldn't get a bite apart from the occasional gudgeon. It's nice to see them but it was the chub I wanted! I don't normally take a radio with me but as Chelsea were playing Liverpool I wanted to hear the game, things got worse when we went 1-0 down after 9 minutes. Rog then asked how I was getting on, I said I was struggling and asked if he'd had anymore and was rather taken aback when he said he'd had six!

I couldn't get a bite anywhere and with Chelsea losing I was right royally pissed off and felt like chucking the poxy radio in the river! Still I pinned my hopes on the chub showing up at some point and doing a respectable weight. Time was ticking by (for me and for Chelsea) and the result for both of us wasn't looking good. Roger hadn't caught anymore either. The normally golden last hour approached and it just didn't happen. I packed up gutted (oh and Chelsea lost), and went down to weigh Roger in. His six chub weighed 8lb 6oz and was the best weight off this peg for years, well done Rog (see I told you I'd big you up!). My 15 fish (3 chub, 3 tiny chublets and 9 gudgeon) went 4lb 1oz, a bad day at the office.

Roger, my man of the match (and can you please stop spanking my ass off the next peg!)

I walked back across the field and also had to weigh the old fossil (Malcolm Levy) in on peg 72, he had a nice bag of small fish weighing 8lb 2oz to push me even further down in the section. As the other anglers in my section started to come back it just got worse and worse. Justin Charles had 11 chub from peg 66 for an amazing 27lb 5oz and Woggy pipped me with 4lb 4oz. The only angler I beat was Martin Heard who had 2lb 14oz but had a lot of pike trouble during the day.

Back at the pub for the results and Janders had beaten me for the pound as he weighed 5lb 13oz, so really bad day got even worse. Isle Brewers had fished really well too with Graham Field catching over 300 fish from 125 for 17lb 11oz and Alvin Jones had 15lb 12oz from 126. So of the four pegs I wanted only mine didn't fish (perhaps it's me!). With five section points I would have to drop this match, not good with it only being the second match of the series. Justin leads the league at this early stage with a perfect two point score so far.

Justin rubbing his hands on getting yet another good peg!

Next week is round two of the V.E.S. league so lets hope for a better result then.

1 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 27lb 5oz
2 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 17lb 11oz
3 - Alvin Jones (Chard) - 15lb 12oz

Section A - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 8lb 6oz
Section B - John Anderson (Chard Minnows) - 5lb 13oz

Monday, October 20, 2008

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision Winter League - 19th October 2008

As I've probably said before, this is a league I'd love to win after coming second and third in the last two years. The format is seven matches and as you can only drop one result a good start is so important and there is little room for error. At the draw there was a good turnout of sixteen anglers. As the golden ball money had rolled over from last year everybody wanted to know which pegs they were. There were two good ones in pegs 14 (tanktraps) and 85 (big bend at Ashford) and three not so good ones. I stuck my hand in the bucket and pulled out peg 29 (Woggy's peg from last week) and was fairly pleased as he had said there were chub swimming about on the inside all day.

Martin Heard drew 85 and as he's such a good angler everyone was sure the golden ball, worth £121, would go. I got to the river and again it looked good, although it probably was a little lower than last week. Roger Russell was on peg 28 above me and Big Frank Woodard had drawn peg 27, where I was last week. On reaching my peg I saw a chub in the flow although it disappeared on my arrival. I made myself comfortable and surveyed the situation. The main flow was down the middle of the swim and there was quite a bit of inviting cover on the far bank. I decided I would start down the middle while feeding across where the slacker water seemed to be going back the other way.

Peg 29 (the stump swim), looks fishy doesn't it?

I set up the usual 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 and was ready with about five minutes to go. At the off I catapulted some hemp and caster to the far bank and started down the middle with caster on the hook. I soon had my first fish which turned out to be a little chublet of less than ounce. After a few more chucks it wasn't really happening so went across sooner than I would have liked. I added a couple more small chublets and dace but I wasn't catching them quick enough to do a weight. I stuck half a lobbie on to try and catch something a little bigger but after several more bites I only had more small fish.

Also the rig was too heavy for the slacker water and not really picking up the flow so I made an early decision to set another rig up. This one was another Carbo but 0.75 grams with a shot bulk instead of an olivette and again finished with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611. The rig seemed to work better but my catch rate didn't improve and I only had a couple of small fish. This really wasn't going to plan and I could feel a disaster on the cards. Just past the hour mark Steve Hurford turned up to see how it was fishing and I told him I wasn't doing very well. He said Frank was catching small fish well, as we were talking I noticed a big black shape on the inside and sure enough there was a chub mooching about. I quickly shipped the pole back and plonked the rig on it's nose and the fish promptly swam off!

Bored with the lack of action Steve soon wandered off. I started putting some feed just off the main flow on the inside to hopefully hold anymore chub that came to visit. I was back on the lobby hoping for chub when I noticed another chub on the inside, again I put the bait right near it but it didn't want to know. I changed to double caster and went back in again and this time with a flick of it's tail, the float went and after a short battle the white hydro did it's job and I netted a chub of around a pound and a half, this was more like it. The trouble was that when the sun came out you see every inch of the inside line and there were no more chub there!

Roger appeared on the far bank (his and Franks pegs were on the other side) and asked how it was going. I told him and he said he'd had a decent chub and a couple of better perch. After he'd gone back I had a slightly better perch of my own, quickly followed by a chublet of about 6oz, caught on the inside but further down the peg. I was now over two hours into the match and didn't really know what to do next, I tried poking the rig into any likely looking spots on the far bank but to no avail. Then I spotted another visitor on the inside, I shipped back in and could see the chub rooting around, sure enough a positive bite followed and I netted another of a similar size to the first. Again after the splashing there were no more to be seen.

I added a section and ran the heavier rig down through the middle, in the flow as I was convinced there were more chub about and they had to be somewhere. A good bite saw chub number three grace the net and then I had a slightly better perch of around 4oz. No more bites in the flow so I tried further down on the inside and a sharp bite signalled another good scrap before I landed my fourth chub. With about three quarters of an hour to go I was hoping I might get a couple more. But despite trying everywhere, no more bites were forthcoming. With ten minutes to go I was back inching the float down in the flow when I had a positive bite, which I missed! I shipped back and both the casters had gone, quickly rebaiting I went back out and had a bite straight away. This one I didn't miss and with white hydro streaming from the pole I realised this was a better fish. I could see the fish burrowing in the far bank and there were clouds of crap being kicked up. Praying, I applied as much pressure as I dared and started to win the battle. I netted the fish which looked to be around two and half pounds and even had time for one more cast but that was the last of the action.

I ended with 20 fish(5 decent chub, a slightly better chublet, 2 perch and 12 small dace and chublets), I reckoned on having between 6 and 7lb, I packed up and took some of my kit back to the car. I met Frank who said he'd caught well and thought he'd had about 6lbs or so. We walked back to weigh me first and I was surprised when my catch registered 10lb 1oz. Judging by the weights of the last match I thought I might have a chance of the section money. I took the rest of my stuff back but missed watching Roger weigh in, he had caught 3 more good chub to weigh 10lb 12oz - bugger! But it wasn't like I'd lost anything to say 'If only'. Frank also had more than he thought, weighing a lovely bag of small fish for 9lb 4oz.

Back at the pub, Janders had a good day catching 7lb 2oz of small fish but still had to hand over a £1. Pete Lonton on one of the fancied golden pegs, the tank traps, had weighed 5lb 8oz so we were all on tenderhooks waiting for Martin to come back to see if he'd done it. Robin Cox turned up from that section to say Martin had weighed 8lb 15oz, close but no cigar. So Roger had won with me second and Frank third, I picked up £45 to keep the winnings ticking over and more importantly the two section points gave me a good start to the league.

The river had fished well again with loads of chub being hooked although loads were also lost!

1 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 10lb 12oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Chard Remains) - 10lb 1oz
3 - Frank Woodard (Ilminster) - 9lb 4oz

Section A - Alvin Jones (Chard) - 7lb 7oz
Section B - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 8lb 15oz

The elusive win on my favourite venues, Dillington and the Isle still evades me this year, maybe next week on round two of the Crown league eh?

Monday, October 13, 2008

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 12th October 2008

We were finally back on the river and I was really looking forward to it, I even made some new rigs up on Saturday night! I woke up to a rather misty morning but the forecast was pretty good. At the draw there were 12 anglers which is a good turnout for this friendly little league which is sponsored by Tommy at the Crown Inn, Ilminster. There were some good pegs in and some I really didn't fancy, I wanted pegs 14, 79, 82 or 85 but drew 27. My peg is the first one in the copse and used to be excellent (the current match record of 35lb odd came off it a few years back) but in recent years it's tailed off a bit.

I got there and it looked nice, a fairly shallow run with a branch in the water at the bottom of the swim. When I've done well off it in the past most of my fish have come from holding back against the ivy on the far side. I set up a 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 hook (which in hindsight was probably a little too heavy). Also thinking the pole over the fishes heads in the shallow water might not be good, I set up a waggler as well. This rig was a 2AAA Drennan Crystal waggler with the bulk around the float and just a couple of number 8's and a 10 down the line. Again the business end consisted of a B611 to 0.12mm line.

There were only two other anglers nearby, Alvin Jones on the big bend (peg 28) and Woggy on the stump (29). I had a small 1oz chublet first run down on caster and had a good first hour, catching 27 fish (all small dace and chublets). The second hour was ok and I had another 13 fish, all on the waggler, most were small but I did net a couple of better dace. Woggy came up and said he'd had a similar amount of fish but he could see big chub swimming up on his inside but hadn't hooked one as yet. He also reported that Alvin had caught a decent chub plus bits.

My swim was starting to slow so it was time to try the pole, I started catching more dace and chublets right opposite where I'd been feeding hemp, caster and maggot. I did try down by the ivy and had one better dace. I had 16 fish during hour three to take my running total to 56, which I reckoned must give me about 5lb or so. By now the mist had burnt off to be replaced by blazing sunshine and I'm sure the brightness wasn't doing me any favours in the shallow water. Into the fourth hour I was struggling for bites and a change back to the waggler didn't improve things. I poled right down past the ivy with double caster on the hook and missed a couple of bites before catching two slightly better chublets. Going into hour five I was on 62 fish.

With the small fish doing a disappearing act I decided to try half a lobbie to try and tempt a couple of better fish to boost my weight. Fishing tight against the ivy I had two bites quite quickly before hooking a fish which I was convinced was a chub but turned out to be a 12oz trout. Luckily they count in our matches. I only added one more dace to make my final total 64 fish which I thought would give me between 5 and 6lb. I packed up and went to give Alvin a hand weighing in. Woggy hadn't managed to hook any chub but had loads of small fish for 3lb 11oz, mine weighed 6lb 13oz and as Alvin had ended up with four chub plus bits I thought he must have done me. In fact he weighed 6lb 12oz (I didn't call his weight!), so I had beaten the anglers around me but didn't think it would be enough for a brown envelope.

Alvin with two of his chub (not enough to beat me though!)

Back at the results and the river had fished well with the majority catching loads of small dace and chub. Neil Dring won with six chub plus bits for 14lb 9oz from peg 85, Justin Charles was second from the tank traps (14) with 12lb 6oz and Bruce Hunt was third with over 180 fish for 10lb 14oz from peg 82. I won my six peg section and picked up £15, as it turned out Alvin was in the bottom section and he won that section. I also had a pound off Janders who had 3lb 11oz but lost a chub which might have made the outcome a little closer. I ended with two section points which was a good start to the league. Next week is the first match in the V.E.S. winter league and after finishing second and third in the previous two years I would dearly like to go one better. As you can only drop one match a good start is vital, I'll let you know.

1 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 14lb 9oz
2 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 12lb 6oz
3 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 10lb 14oz

Section A - Jamie Rich (Chard Remains) - 6lb 13oz
Section B - Alvin Jones (Chard) - 6lb 12oz

Monday, October 06, 2008

Chard Reservoir - 6th October 2008

With a decent blow on the resi for most of the week, the signs were good for a decent bream match. My mate Andy even phoned me on Saturday to tell how good the resi looked and he was really looking forward to it. I picked him up just after 9:00 and we got to the carpark for the draw in plenty of time. After picking up some bait from Les and paying our pools we were ready for the draw. Andy drew peg 29 and was disappointed, I pulled out 40 and didn't think it was far enough up as the pegs in the mid to high forties are normally the ones to draw.

I got to my peg to find I was set back a little from Dino Pepper who was on peg 39 so I decided I would cast further out to compensate. I had Chris Haines on my left who was going to have a chuck for the bream but also set up a waggler in case they didn't show. I set up my 12ft 6in Drennan Stillwater feeder rod with a Drennan feeder, 0.12mm bottom and a size 16 Kamasan B611 hook. I mixed up some Sensas Magic and added some Brasem and was ready well before the off. Andy wandered up for a quick chat and we could see fish bubbling at about 40 yrds and I couldn't wait.

Les finally signalled the start and I filled my feeder and baited my hook with double red maggot and cast out to around 40 yrds. I had a couple of quick casts to get some feed down and was soon getting taps on the tip. I had a couple of roach quite quickly so tried corn to see if there were any bream about. This was pretty unresponsive and looking around nobody had latched into a slab yet. I added a small skimmer and as I was bringing it in I looked up to see Les playing a bream so at least a few were about. After an hour I just had the three fish and Dino and Chris both said they hadn't had any sign of bream.

Hour two was slow with the only excitement provided by Les having another bream followed by Dave Abrams, surely it was only a matter of time before we started catching? Then Dave latched into a good fish and after a lengthy battle netted a fine carp of 13lb 2oz which put him easily into the lead. As for me I was getting ragged out by roach most casts, corn just saw the tip sit motionless and double caster provided just the odd roach. Dino had only had a few small fish and Chris was now on the waggler and getting odd roach. Andy came up to report it was a struggle on the lower pegs and wanted to see some bream being caught! I said I was sorry to disappoint him.

Halfway through the match I was resigned to another poor day and had only added a couple more roach. Hainsey was slowly but surely putting together a decent net of roach and his decision to set up the waggler was proving very wise. Despite Les's good start he'd only added a couple of net roach and Dino had a carp on very briefly when it tried dragging his rod off the rests. I was by now just sat on the corn hoping a couple of bream turned up. With two hours to go my tip slammed round and I was into a big fish which obviously wasn't a bream.

The fish ran and ran and I wasn't holding out much hope of seeing it let alone landing it, as I was backwinding I could slowly but surely see the knot attaching my line to the spool coming into view. As I ran out of line I was waiting for the inevitable 'ping' but it didn't happen and the fish stopped. I started to gain some line before off it went again, I kept thinking I was gradually gaining the upper hand when it would strip more line off the reel. Several times I was down to the knot but still the fish was on. By now half an hour had passed and there were quite a few people behind me. The fish now kited to my left past Hainsey, Dave and Les and I really didn't think I would get it out.

I was starting to get quite a few jibes from anglers close by and my arm was killing me, an hour passed and I still hadn't seen the fish. It was now not that far out and I caught my first glimpse and it was huge! I didn't think my landing net was big enough, over an hour and a half had now passed. It surfaced a couple of times about two rod lengths out and I reached for the landing net, I managed to get its head in the net and the throng of people behind me started to clap and then my landing net pole snapped in half! and the clapping turned to gasps. I managed to grab the net head and she (or he) was mine. I really had no idea how big the fish was as I unhooked it with shaking hands.

I took the fish, along with my ruined net up to Les so the fish could be weighed and released straight away, as soon as Les saw it he said it would be near to 30lbs!. We put her in the weighing sling and Les called out the weight at 28lb 4oz - wow, easily my biggest fish of all time (beating my old personal best of 12lb 14oz by some way). I held the fish in the water until it had got its breath back and swam away strongly, unlike me as I was knackered. I only had time for two more casts but didn't add anymore to my meagre tally in the net.

I quickly packed up and gave Les a hand to weigh in, Andy was on the first peg and had a level 6lb and was looking good for his section until the last peg, Dave Lawrence, pipped him with 6lb 10oz. He wasn't best pleased and even less so when he handed over a pound. Picky didn't weigh in so I claimed another nugget. The best weight from the early pegs was Mark Leahy with some nice skimmers for 14lb 6oz. We got to my peg and I added 1lb 10oz to give me a grand total of 29lb 14oz. Les said I'd won it but I wasn't so sure as Dave Abrams had caught another bream to go with his earlier bream and bonus carp. Chris Haines was next and had a fantastic net of roach weighing 21lb 8oz before we got to Dave. His net weighed 10lb odd which added to his 13lb 2oz carp, gave him a total of 23lb 10oz and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Les had 15lb 10oz and none of the pegs above him had fished with the ever consistent Mike Hosgood top with 9lb 6oz. Phew I had done it to win only my third match of the year. Back at the results I was read out as the winner and picked up £90 plus another pound off Janders who had struggled for a couple of pounds. I received loads of abuse as earlier when Dave landed his carp I shouted up that carp should only count as a 1lb! Still I was well chuffed as I had a new personal best biggest fish to go with my biggest match weight a few weeks back. Typically this was the first time in ages I hadn't brought a camera and how I would have loved to put a picture of that fish on here, mind you perhaps if I'd had my camera I might not have caught it!

1 - Jamie Rich (Chard Remains) - 29lb 14oz
2 - Dave Abrams (Weymouth) - 23lb 10oz
3 - Chris Haines (Haines Angling) - 21lb 8oz

Section A - Dave Lawrence (Chard Raiders) - 6lb 10oz
Section B - Mark Leahy (Street) - 14lb 6oz
Section C - Les Braunton (Chard Remains) - 15lb 10oz
Section D - Mike Hosgood (Chard Raiders) - 9lb 6oz

Next week we're back on the Isle and I'm really looking forward to it, it's bound to be pants now, I'll let you know.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Chris Patten Memorial - Chard Reservoir - 28th September 2008

After winning this event last year I was keen to do well again. I picked my mate Andy up who normally does well on the resi and we went to the draw. We got there to be met by Les in full organisational mode, complete with walkie-talkie! This year the match was to be split into two pools, float anglers and those who wanted to fish the feeder. The majority (including me) would fish the feeder for the venues bream. Les managed to get seven mugs, sorry I meant volunteers, to fish the dam wall and the rest of us then drew for the pegs in the woods. Andy drew spot on with peg 49, I just missed out on the most consistent pegs with peg 38, I would still fish the feeder though.

After another mammoth yomp, I reached my peg to find I had Fred Brown on the next peg so at least it should be an entertaining day! On my right hand side I had Dave Lawrence. I quickly set up my Drennan 12ft 6in Stillwater Feeder rod with a medium Drennan groundbait feeder, a size 16 B611 hook and 0.12mm bottom completed the rig. I have also started including a tiny swivel which really helps reduce spin ups. Finally I mixed up some Sensas Bream 3000 groundbait and added some Brasem.

On the whistle I had several quick casts to get some feed down at around 30 yrds, with double red maggot on the hook I was soon getting indications from roach. Fred was first on the score sheet with a small skimmer, I quickly followed with a skimmer of my own. The resi was as flat as a witches tit, which isn't really great for bream fishing but hopefully the skimmers were a good early sign. After an hour I'd had one skimmer, a roach and a small perch. I shouted down to Bruce Hunt next to Dave to see how he was getting on, as he was fishing the pole, he replied he'd only had one roach.

Into hour two and me, Dave and Fred still hadn't caught a bream and I was starting to think it might be quite a struggle. I was still getting the odd small skimmer around 4oz or so, as was Fred although I was just ahead of him. His cause wasn't helped when he had a couple of crack offs on the cast. He also had a tangle around the tip of his rod and typically of Fred, as he was sorting this out he could feel a fish pulling on the line and he went on to net his biggest skimmer of the day. It could only happen to Fred!

News from the hot pegs in the 40's was that only a couple of bream had been caught so it was still all to play for. My maggot bait kept getting ragged out by roach so I kept trying corn but only had the odd dig on it. Just past the two hour mark I hooked a good fish which I was convinced was a bream but on the way in it suddenly ran off and with my anti reverse on it snapped me - bugger. Not sure if it was a small carp or a hybrid but it certainly would've helped. Bruce was now on the whip and catching quite well, Dave was still struggling and I was still getting the odd skimmer to keep myself ahead of Fred.

With time running out I was pinning my hopes on maybe catching a couple of bream in the golden last hour. Down on peg 34 I saw Scotty Russell netting a bream and shouted down to ask how many he'd had, when he said four my enthusiasm was renewed somewhat as at least some bream were feeding. It wasn't to be though and I plodded on getting the odd fish to end with 22 (mostly small skimmers). On the all out I quickly packed up and started taking some of my kit part way back. The scales started at peg 51 where Picky had 4lb, I thought I might have a chance of beating this and taking a pound off him. My mate Andy had an early decent bream and not much else for 7lb 4oz from peg 49 to take a squid off me. Rob Stark was the early pace setter with three bream plus some skimmers for 18lb 12oz from 45. Baz Morgan was one of the float anglers and put 11lb 4oz of roach on the scales from peg 41.

Fred weighed 2lb 10oz and I weighed 5lb 8oz to claim my £1 from Picky, Dave didn't trouble the scales and Bruce Hunt put a respectable 9lb 4oz of roach on the scales. Scott Russell had four bream and some decent skimmers for 32lb 12oz and I couldn't see this weight being beaten. The dam wall had fished a lot better than expected and Ron Stark completed a good day for him and his brother with three bream for 19lb 8oz from peg 8. My nemesis Janders also had a bream a skimmer to take a £1 off me with 6lb.

Baz presenting Scotty with the Chris Patten memorial trophy

After dropping Andy's kit off it was back to the Cotley for an excellent roast dinner before the prize giving. As expected Scott won and would be the keeper of the trophy for another year. Baz won the float anglers pool with Mark Hollister in second place with 9lb 8oz. Then Les started to read out the sections and I was second, behind Scotty, and picked up £40 of which I donated £10 to the charity (as did most anglers). Andy was also second in his section and Janders was third in his.

The anglers at the Cotley just before the excellent roast dinner

Then it was time for the raffle and there were some excellent prizes donated by several tackle shops including Baz Angling, Weston Angling and Yeovil and District Angling Centre. For once I didn't win a prize but Mike Hosgood won the weeks holiday in Baz's cottage in France and very generously decided to auction it off, which was fantastic (and I told you I'd give you a mention Mike!). In total a fantastic £620 was raised for Cancer Research and this event just goes from strength to strength. In addition to the tackle shops I mentioned earlier I'd like to thank Les Braunton and Baz for their excellent organisation and the Cotley Inn for the excellent meal and to the 30 anglers for turning up and being so generous.

Feeder anglers

1 - Scott Russell (Yeovil and District Angling Centre) - 32lb 12oz
2 - Ron Stark (Weston) - 19lb 8oz
3 - Rob Stark (Weston) - 18lb 12oz

Float anglers

1 - Baz Morgan (Baz Angling) - 11lb 4oz
2 - Mark Hollister (Chard) - 9lb 8oz
3 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 9lb 4oz

Section A

1 - Ron Stark (Weston) - 19lb 8oz
2 - Brian Reed (Bridgwater) - 10lb 4oz
3 - John Anderson (Chard Minnows) - 6lb

Section B

1 - Scott Russell (YDAC) - 32lb 12oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Chard Remains) - 5lb 8oz
3 - Mike Collins (Tatworth) - 3lb

Section C

1 - Rob Stark (Weston) - 18lb 12oz
2 - Andy Langdon (Chard Remains) - 7lb 4oz
3 - R Coombes (Langport) - 6lb 6oz

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chris Haines Pond - 21st September 2008

I was supposed to meet Les and the others at Donyatt village hall at 7:45 and when I got there 5 minutes late and they'd gone I knew it was going to be one of those days. I made my way there after phoning Chris (who was in Belgium!) for directions and was in a foul mood. After calling Les and Janders all the names under the sun, I really wasn't in the mood. I drew peg 5 which was next to where I was last time and although that end of the pond hadn't fished then, there were loads of carp moving and my mood lightened somewhat.

I had venue expert Tommy Lee on my left and Picky on my right who was after revenge after I'd taken £1's off him the last few times we'd fished together. I set up a 0.4 gram rig for fishing at 3 metres over chopped worm and caster and a little Trabucco float for against the island and up in the water. On the whistle I cupped in some choppie on the shorter line and soft micro pellet and corn by the island at 11.5 metres. I started on the 3 metre line with maggot on the hook and was surprised when I didn't catch straight away, last time there were hoards of small silvers.

It soon became apparent that nobody was catching and it looked like being a grueller, I did hook a small roach which dropped off before giving the short line up as a bad job. Over by the island wasn't any better and after an hour I was still blanking, as were many others. Picky had caught four roach and his squid was safe for now. I eventually hooked a small carp on corn only for it to come off on the way in and things were looking bleak. I then foulhooked a bigger carp briefly before that too came off!

With half the match gone nobody was catching much even though there were still plenty of carp moving about. I rotated my lines and even fed another line by the island in front of me at 9 metres. After resting it for a bit I went over with corn on the hook and had a great bite which I missed. After another biteless half an hour I tried maggot on the same line and hooked a carp of around 3lb and did all the hard work getting it away from the lilies when the poxy hook pulled out! I did get two perch for about 12oz and a couple of tiny roach. To be honest I just wanted the match to end, Picky landed a decent foulhooked carp and the early pegs were getting a few without really bagging.

Janders had landed a couple of better carp and it looked like I would be losing a pound to him as well. There were carp slurping in the lily pads to my right and I kept trying pellet but they just weren't interested. I even flirted with pellet up in the water at 11 metres but this was pointless as well. I ended up laying the rig on the pads with the pellet just dangling over the edge and right on the whistle had a carp about a pound and a quarter. I didn't bother weighing (I probably had around 2lb) and paid Janders and Picky their pounds. I don't know who won either as I didn't hang around for the weigh in. Dave Abrams had 2lb and Janders had six carp for 8lb dead and I reckoned he'd frame with that. A really bad day at the office.

Next week is the Chris Patton memorial on the resi which I won last year and I would dearly love to do well in again, bet I don't!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mark's Pond - 14th September 2008

A few years back me and Andy fished a friends pond and had a cracking day catching tench, bream and small carp and when we were offered the chance again we jumped at the chance and I hastily arranged a little match. I spoke to Andy Saunders (Mark's boy) and he said there were carp, koi carp, golden and green tench to 6lb, bream, roach, rudd, crucians, chub and barbel in the pond and I couldn't wait!

I picked up Andy and met Janders, Alvin, Scott and Roger on the way, after a short drive we arrived and saw Mark who said we could drive right down to the pond. We sorted out six pegs and I drew peg 2, the main feature for the pond is a small island in the middle which we could all reach with the pole. The first thing we noticed was that the pond was a good 2-3 foot down to when me and Andy fished it last, still it meant less water for the fish to hide in, didn't it? The other worrying thing was the lack of fish moving.

Andy's peg (you can see how low the level was)

We started setting up and Scotty was the first to plumb up and when he shouted across that there was only a foot of depth right across the pond, I thought he was joking! But sure enough he was right and I started to have doubts. I only set up a little Trabucco float with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 Kamasan B911. On the whistle (or rather me shouting all in) I cupped in some micro pellet, corn and maggot by the island and the same on an inside line to my left.

My spirits were raised somewhat when Andy had a small rudd whilst shipping out, I mucked about for a bit with my top three and had a couple of small rudd before going over to the island with double red maggot on the hook. I waited for a bite, and waited, and waited! It was the same for everyone and Scotty started suggesting that perhaps we should go out Dillington (blimey! things must have been desperate). After an hour I was just thinking the same when Andy hooked a small carp only for it to come off! Then Janders had one followed by Roger and Alvin, here we go I thought but me, Andy and Scotty remained biteless.

Do you think Scotty was enjoying it?

I tried corn, maggot and soft pellet on both lines to no avail and yet another duff day was on the cards. Janders had added a couple more small carp and looked set to take his first pound off me for ages. Alvin had caught another small carp and a fantail thing. Roger had caught a couple more including a nice barbel of around a pound and a half. I was all out of ideas and knew I wouldn't be picking up a brown envelope today. With half the match gone, Scotty was bored and knocking out a few small rudd and I decided to do the same.

I thought if I could catch enough I might be able to catch Alvin who's bites had dried up and he was stuck on three fish. I got to around a dozen tiny (and I mean tiny) fish and was ahead of Andy and Scott when Andy decided he was going to go bit bashing as well. Janders had stopped catching and Roger was now on about six fish although his bites had dried up as well. I was fishing my inside line catching the odd rudd when Scotty mentioned us finishing early, I asked around the pond but Janders seemed keen to finish at the agreed time!

I lifted the rig for the umpteenth time but this time was met by some resistance as something pulled back! After a short scrap I netted a nice little carp of a pound and three quarters, we were definitely finishing at quarter to four now! Andy Saunders came down to see how we were getting on and seemed surprised at how poorly it was fishing. He went to see Janders and I had a proper bite and landed another little carp, this one about 6oz. Any ideas of a good last hour soon disappeared though and I went back to catching the odd rudd.

With half an hour to go I saw Andy strike and he netted what looked like a decent koi carp and that was the last of the action and I was glad to call an end to this terrible day. This was Andy's first trip out after a long lay off and it was supposed to rekindle his interest but I think it had done the opposite! We quickly packed up and started the weigh in with Janders whose three carp and a few bits weighed 2lb exactly. I thought it might be close when I pulled my net out and my two carp and sixteen rudd weighed 2lb 3oz - result. I knew I'd frame now with only six of us fishing. Andy's koi weighed 1lb 6oz and Alvins fish were small and weighed 1lb 9oz and I knew I'd got second beause I wouldn't beat Roger. Scotty didn't weigh and wasn't impressed and Roger had five or six carp plus that barbel for 6lb 3oz.

Andy's late koi carp

I picked up £25 plus £1's off Janders and Andy (sorry mate) but I hadn't enjoyed the day at all and we certainly wouldn't be rushing back here. The only good thing was that my second place had hopefully stopped the rot of my recent bad run. Next week we're at Chris Haines pond in Frome again and I'll let you know how we fare.

Roger and his barbel

1 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 6lb 3oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Chard Remains) - 2lb 3oz
3 - John Anderson (Chard Minnows) - 2lb
4 - Alvin Jones (Chard) - 1lb 9oz
5 - Andy Langdon (Chard Remains) - 1lb 6oz

Monday, September 08, 2008

Dillington Pond - JMA Summer League - 7th September 2008

I was so looking forward to the last match of the JMA summer league. Martin Heard was 5 points clear and virtually uncatchable, I was in second place, two points ahead of Graham Field and just needed to avoid a disaster. Saturday night saw me making up two new rigs in readiness, boy was I keen! At the draw thirteen anglers had turned up, possibly because the golden peg had reached £106! After days of heavy rain the pond had a tinge of colour and everything looked set for a good match. I drew peg 15 which was the golden peg, now the pressure was on.

I got to my peg and the wind was blowing straight into the bank I was pegged on, I was on one side of an overhanging willow and my nemesis Janders was on the other side. My peg hasn't been put in very often and when it has it hasn't done a lot, still, with the hot pegs by the bush not in surely there had to be some chub by the willow? Janders' peg sometimes throws up a few so I thought they must be in the general area. I made myself comfortable (my peg is on a high, steep bank) and started setting my kit up. I mixed up some Sensas Roach groundbait and set one of my new rigs up, a 0.5 gram Drennan Quad with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611. The other rig was a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp with 0.12mm bottom and another 18 B611 for fishing by the willow.

On the whistle I cupped in three balls at 11.5 metres and a cup of chopped worm and caster by the overhanging willow branches, I then put in a cup of corn and hemp for good measure. I would leave this line for at least an hour and start on the longer line. First put in with caster on the hook I had a decent bite and swung in a small roach, here we go I thought but the few chucks only produced a couple of tiny rudd on the drop. Looking round the pond a large proportion of the anglers were fishing the whip and getting their heads down for the bits. From what I could see nobody was bagging but then I certainly wasn't! After the first hour I only had 2 roach, 2 tiny rudd and a small perch and things weren't going to plan!

Justin Charles on my right had a decent perch and then lost another one next chuck. I was now by the willow with caster on the hook and after a quick couple of perch I was struggling yet again. A shout up to Janders revealed he hadn't had much either and after losing that fish, Justin was now biteless as well. I tried corn but this didn't produce any bites at all. Another brief spell out only resulted in a couple of tiny rudd and I was at a loss. Two hours in and I hadn't got a pound yet!, the whip anglers were catching odd small fish and were pulling away from me all the time.

I tried double red maggot by the tree and started catching small perch and even added a couple of roach. Any thought of winning the golden peg was disappearing fast and I really needed the chub to move in. I caught an eel around 6oz but then my bites dried up again. I kept thinking big fish had arrived but the lack of bites suggested otherwise. Woggy lost a good eel at the net and Roger Russell had caught a couple of decent perch and lost a few as well. I moved my rig slightly and there was a fish on!, after a few minutes I gratefully slipped the net under a 12oz chub, I was back in the hunt. I just needed to catch his (or hers) brothers and sisters now.

My brief elation was short lived as I reverted to catching nowt, from what I could see nobody was running away with it and a couple of people were walking about. Scotty Russell lost a couple of lumps opposite me, now I just needed them to show up in my peg. Time was ticking away fast and I just wasn't getting any bites. Another try out with maggot on the hook resulted in two more nuisance rudd. Going into the last hour I was praying the chub might get their heads down but it just didn't happen and I only added a couple more small fish. The whistle went and I only had 34 fish and thought I'd be lucky to do 2lb. I'd blown it, blown the golden peg and blown a bumper payday. But had I managed to hold on to second place in the league, I hadn't seen Graham catching much but you never can tell.

I packed up and awaited the scales (and my fate), when the scales reached Roger I asked what was top and Robin said there were joint leaders in Graham and Martin with 6lb 13oz - bollocks! Roger came close with 6lb 10oz and was cursing lost fish, Justin hadn't added to his earlier fish and weighed 1lb 6oz. I weighed 3lb 9oz so with Graham and Martin both winning their section and me already lying in second in mine (behind Roger) I needed to beat the rest of the anglers in my section. Janders weighed 1lb 8oz (so far so good) and handed over another £1 but then Neil Dring weighed 4lb 6oz, Malcolm Levy 6lb 1oz and Alvin Jones 5lb 9oz and my fate was sealed.

I was absolutely gutted, I had been in the top two of the league all through the series and to fall at the final hurdle was really hard to take. The pond hadn't fished well all year and with the whip taking most of the money I had lost my way here. I know I should've been fishing the whip as well but catching shit fish just does my head in, where have all the quality roach gone?

Hey ho, there's always next week. I would like to thank Janders for his very generous sponsorship and Tommy at the Crown for looking after us in the mornings.

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 6lb 13oz
1 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 6lb 13oz
3 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 6lb 10oz
4 - Malcolm Levy (Tiverton) - 6lb 1oz
5 - Alvin Jones (Chard) - 5lb 9oz

Final league positions

1 - Martin Heard - 13 pts (£50)
2 - Graham Field - 20 pts (£25)
3 - Jamie Rich - 22 pts (no money!)