Monday, September 28, 2009

Chris Patten Memorial - Chard Reservoir - 27th September 2009

Once again I was privileged enough to receive an invite to this popular event and was quite looking forward to it as the resi is fishing really well at the moment. I got to the carpark fairly early and it was already nearly full! Les had driven back from his holiday especially for the event and was already in full organisational mode! There was a good turnout of people to pay their respects to Chris again and his brother gave a little speech to thank us all for turning out. My mate Andy had even turned up to fish his first match for ages.

It was soon time for the draw and I really fancied a peg in the high forties and came close with peg 41. The trouble with my peg and the ones either side is that they are set back a bit. Andy drew 48 and was well chuffed and I reckoned he was in the right area. For company I had Picky on my right on 39, which has been a pretty consistent peg and Dave Lawrence on 42. Luckily Les let me put my box on his buggy or the walk might have killed me before I started! Today Les was paying the overall winner and the top two in every five peg section. I finally arrived at my peg and realised it was the same one I had the 28lb carp off, same again would be nice although I'm not sure I could handle another near two hour fight!

Looking up the resi to the high forties

It didn't take me long to set up, the only difference to my normal set up was my groundbait mix. I had some Sensas Feeder with some Dynamite Bait Swimstim added to give it a fishmeal 'kick'. I just about finished setting up when Andy wandered down for a chat, just in time to put my banksticks in for me (well it was quite deep and I only had wellies on!). Picky turned up and was confident of taking a pound off me. We wandered up to see Les and he got Andy to put his marker board in for him but just wasn't satisfied where ever Andy put it and at one stage I thought it was going to be flung into the lake!

Les and his marker board

It'll be fine there Andy!

Soon enough it was nearly time to start and we all went back to our respective pegs just before Les hollered the all in. I baited up with double red maggot and scooped a few casters into the feeder before plugging both ends with some groundbait and casting out to around 40 yards. I decided to wait a few minutes before casting out again to get some more bait out there and was rewarded with a pull round and I was soon netting an 8oz skimmer - good start. Dave had started on a much shorter line and was getting the odd roach, Picky hadn't caught as yet. I got to about three skimmers before Picky got his first fish which turned out to be a proper bream and despite my flying start, I was behind already!

By the end of the first hour I had eight skimmers and a roach and Picky had around the same number plus the slab. Dave had now switched to the whip and was catching roach and perch regularly. Les next to Dave had five skimmers and John Loader next to him was catching a few on the whip. Hour two saw me slow up a bit and I had six more skimmers and Picky was pulling away from me, Les was catching up as well and Dave was still catching roach. Hour three and I was still getting skimmers and set my sights on 44, which gave Picky over 34lb last match.

Les shouted down that Mike Hosgood and Andy were both catching proper bream and it looked like the title would be going to one of those two. It was turning into a right head to head between me and Picky, he would edge ahead before he endured a slow spell and I'd catch him up but all the time I was aware he had the cushion of that bream. Dave was now back on the feeder and after a slow start was catching some skimmers too. I started catching really well with a couple of hours to go and had my nose in front of Picky on numbers of fish, although I did bump a couple and lose one at the net, which Picky found highly amusing.

With half an hour to go I had a good bite and the strike resulted in solid resistance, at last a proper bream, I was playing it in when it nodded three times and the poxy hook pulled - bugger. I knew it wouldn't matter too much as Andy and Mike now had nine slabs apiece but it might have helped take a pound off Picky. I fell a little short of my target on the final whistle with 41 skimmers (and three roach) but still felt I was in with a chance of the section (Picky was in the next section down). I packed up and Les enlisted my help with the weigh in and we started at the first peg in the woods where Alan Dunn put 11lb 8oz of mainly roach on the scales, Graham 'Dino' Pepper was next and had over 22lb of skimmers. There were odd proper bream caught in the early pegs, Roger Russell had one and Rog Coombes had two. Dino lead until we got to Picky who had 30lb 6oz and then it was my turn, I pulled my net out and plonked them in the weigh net, Les said it was going to be close and called out 30lb 2oz - bugger, it had been a lot closer than I thought but I still lost the pound.

Dave had over 24lb, Les weighed mid double figures and said I'd be second in the section as Cecil Green on the last peg in our section had eight big bream. Cecil weighed 52lb 2oz to take the lead. His stint at the top of the leader board only lasted until the next peg where Mike Hosgood put a fantastic 62lb 2oz on the scales, Baz had a nice double figure net of roach and Andy came close with 50lb 2oz of bream. The last angler to weigh was Butch Baker who had the best roach net of the day with 24lb 4oz. Les then rushed off to weigh the dam wall section where Scotty Russell was top with a bream and skimmers for 26lb 10oz.

We all then headed to the Windwhistle Inn for the results and a nice carvery. Les read out the results and Mike Hosgood was the fourth angler to take home the coveted trophy. Cecil Green was second and Andy enjoyed his first match back to take third place. I picked up £20 for my second in section and put £10 in the pot for charity, as everyone who picked up did. Phil Rainford then did his usual sterling job of selling raffle tickets before Les announced the cabaret!

Baz presenting the trophy to Mike Hosgood

Now when Les said cabaret I immediately though of scantily clad women but had to settle for Mike Collins getting his hair cut! But Heather Morgan did a fantastic job with the scissors although Les wasn't so impressive with the clippers! Still when they'd finished, Mike looked half respectable and had raised another £90 for the pot, well done Mike. Then it was time for the draw and there were some great prizes on offer including a fishing holiday in France donated by Baz. Everybody on our table won a prize, I got a Garbolino t-shirt, Andy had a crate of lager and Janders got a rather fetching hat (oh did I mention I won a pound off him but gave it straight to Andy!).

Mike Collins having the snip

Don't give up your day job Les!

The total raised when I left was over £680, which is just fantastic and as John Loader had won the holiday and decided to auction it off, there would hopefully be even more to add - well done John, very generous. All in all it was a good day (again), loads of fish caught and more importantly loads of money raised for cancer charities - well done to everyone involved. A special thanks to Baz Morgan and Les Braunton for organising the event, thanks to Dave Lawrence and Sally at the Windwhistle, thanks to Mike Collins and all the anglers who donated prizes for the raffle and gave some of their winnings back - a fantastic effort.

Some of the fantastic prizes

Next week I'm on the resi again, peg 46 please!

1 - Mike Hosgood (Exeter) - 62lb 13oz
2 - Cecil Green (Chard) - 52lb 2oz
3 - Andy Langdon (Chard) - 50lb 2oz

Section A
1 - Andy Langdon (Chard) - 50lb 2oz
2 - Butch Baker (Chard) - 24lb 4oz

Section B
1 - Cecil Green (Chard) - 52lb 2oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 30lb 2oz

Section C
1 - Alan Gage (Chard) - 30lb 6oz
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 21lb 9oz

Section D
1 - Graham Pepper (Taunton) - 22lb
2 - Roger Coombes (Chard) - 13lb 11oz

Section E
1 - Steve Bishop (Chard) - 16lb 2oz
2 - Jock Mattravers (Chard) - 15lb 3oz

Section F
1 - Scott Russell (Yeovil and District Angling Centre) - 26lb 10oz
2 - Bruce Hunt (ALS) - 15lb 10oz

Monday, September 21, 2009

Chard Reservoir - 20th September 2009

With no proper match on this week, Les organised a fiddle on the resi for committee members. At the draw there were nine of us and Les had put us on pegs 32-39 and I really fancied another crack at 39, I came close when I pulled out 38. Alan Dunn drew peg 39 and Les said he'd empty it as a pleasure angler had bagged up yesterday. Once again it was a glorious day although with it being quite bright, not ideal for bream fishing. Out of the nine anglers only one, Steve Bishop, was going all out for the roach and I reckoned he'd be hard to beat today.

I reached my peg and set my box up in the water, on my right I had Alan 'Picky' Gage who owed me a squid from last week so it would be double or quits today and Janders, my other regular side bet, was next to him. As per usual we were all set up with plenty of time to spare. When Les finally called the all in, all our feeders landed on roughly the same line and I had a quick few casts to get some bait down. We didn't have long to wait for the action to start and Picky and Janders were straight into skimmers. I kept waiting for my tip to go round and it eventually did and I netted a skimmer. By the end of the first hour I had five skimmers and both Janders and Picky had double that. Still five hours to go so no need to worry yet.

I was still getting odd fish but poor old Dunner was a long way from emptying it and only had a couple of skimmers. From what I could see Bish was catching roach like a man possessed and with the constant procession of skimmers to my right, I needed to catch some proper slabs to stand any chance. Then I had one and was back in the hunt, Dunner was still stuck on three skimmers. I was still getting the odd skimmer and even had a small perch while my rig was down the edge!

Dunner was struggling

Halfway through the match I was still behind by my reckoning but not by much as I had three good bream, a skimmer of 2lb and 8 or 9 smaller skimmers. The wind kept dropping and my bites tailed off, Janders and Picky slowed up as well but they were still putting odd fish in the net and pulling away again. I had my fourth decent bream but bites were few and far between. With a couple of hours to go my mate Andy turned up on his bike, while he was there Dunner had another skimmer and a decent bream but I never had a bite. Just as he left my tip went round and the strike resulted in firm resistance but only briefly as I bumped it! - bugger. I could really have done with that one.

It wasn't long before another visitor turned up in the shape of Baz Morgan who had just got back from France and was checking the fishing out before the Chris Patten memorial match next Sunday. While he was there me and Dunner sat like gnomes while Picky and Janders kept putting fish in the net. Baz reckoned Bish was going to do 30lb+ of roach and I still had him as odds on for victory. Time was ticking away when a slight pull on the tip saw me land another skimmer before next chuck I had another better skimmer of 2lb or so. I had time for another cast but no more bites and then Les called the all out, as I picked up the rod to reel in there was a fish on! Unfortunately not a bream but an eel of about a 1lb which was welcome none the less. My final tally was 4 good bream, 2 better skimmers, about 10 smaller ones plus that eel and a small perch, which I reckoned would go about 23-25lb.

I started packing up and asked Picky and Janders how many they ended up with, Picky replied he'd had 44 skimmers and Janders a similar amount although he had some roach and eels in that number and I reckoned I'd be handing out the pounds today. The scales started at the other end and Oz had 13lb odd and Dave Lawrence 19lb 8oz, Dave Abrams didn't weigh and then Bish had 32lb 9oz of roach, a lovely net.

Bish's net of roach weighed 32lb 9oz

Les had a couple of bream and weighed 13lb something and then it was Janders turn and when he weighed 27lb odd I was cursing that lost bream as I reckoned it had cost me. Picky's 44 skimmers went 34lb 10oz to take the lead and then I pulled my net out and Les said it would be close, the digital readout settled on 29lb 14oz and that lost bream would have pushed me close to Picky's weight. Dunner weighed 8lb something so at least I'd won my section and taken a pound off Janders. So I wasn't too far away and the £30 section winnings stopped my four match barren run and I was now looking forward to next weeks match, I just need a decent draw now.

Match winner Picky

1 - Alan 'Picky' Gage (Chard) - 34lb 10oz
2 - Steve Bishop (Chard) - 32lb 9oz


A - Dave Lawrence (Windwhistle Inn) - 19lb 8oz
B - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 29lb 14oz

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chard Reservoir - 13th September 2009

With the Dillington league over, I thought I'd give the resi a bash. On my arrival I received much good natured banter about me being lost and why wasn't I out the pond, even my poor blog got a slating about the fishing at Dillington being like having teeth pulled (thanks Mark!). Looking around the draw queue it was like a who's who of the South West match circut with Tony Rixon, Dean Malin and Nicky Collins plus all the usual resi experts. Before the match I asked Scotty Russell which pegs I needed to draw and he said bream had been showing on 37-39 so I was delighted when I pulled out 39.

I got to my peg and had a nice surprise in that Janders was on the next peg so at least I could have a laugh and keep an eye on how my pound was doing. Further down from John were Mike Hosgood and Scotty, Mike would be breaming it and Scotty was going for the roach. I set my box and keepnet up in the water and mixed up some groundbait (Sensas bream with some fishmeal added) before setting up my Drennan Stillwater feeder rod with a simple feeder rig and size 16 B611 to 0.12mm bottom. Despite it being quite bright there was quite a bit of ripple up our end and I was hopeful of getting a few pull rounds.

The resi

Les shouted the all in and I had a couple of quick casts to get some feed in at about 40 yards or so before casting out with double red maggot on the hook. I started to get the odd twitch but nothing to strike at, I looked round and Janders was netting a skimmer and already had a couple. I then missed a couple of bites before connecting with one which turned out to be a good bream of 4lb or so and I was off and running. The first hour was steady and I added four skimmers, Janders was catching too but I was ahead thanks to the slab.

Couldn't really see what else was being caught, Mike Collins on my left had a slab and a couple of skimmers and Butch Baker next to him was catching roach on the pole. I set myself a target of 8 bream which would give me around 40lb which I thought would see off most of the roach weights. Hour two was better for me and I added two more bream and some skimmers and bites were coming more regularly. Janders was still catching skimmers but hadn't caught a slab as yet. Going into hour three I pulled out of a bream and things went quiet.

My mate Andy turned up for walk round and while he was there Janders landed three more skimmers while I couldn't get a bite. Then a tentative bite saw me strike into another bream and I was halfway to my target with half the match left. I think Scotty was catching roach and I think I heard Mike say he had three bream. The trouble was I couldn't now buy a bite, Janders was still catching skimmers, fishing a shorter line than me, but he still hadn't had a proper bream.

I was really struggling although I did manage a better skimmer of 2lb, the anglers on the mid forties seemed to be catching well and I was falling behind. I tried casting to the left and right of my feed area but only added the odd skimmer. I pinned my hopes on the last hour and as it approached I unclipped and pulled a few yards of line off the reel before clipping up again. The idea was to see if the bream had backed off the feed. To be honest this didn't really help much either and I only added a couple more skimmers and a roach. I ended with four proper bream, two better skimmers and twelve smaller skimmers plus that roach for about 25lb or so.

The scales started at Mike Thomas who had 8lb 2oz then Scotty put 303 roach on the scales for an excellent 37lb 8oz and I knew I didn't have that. Mike Hosgood did even better with 47lb 4oz and Dean Malin reckoned he'd struggled but put 36lb 14oz of mainly skimmers on the scales - blimey! Janders weighed 18lb 10oz and then my fish went 29lb 2oz and I was already lying fourth in the section and knew there would be no brown envelope for me today. Mike Collins had 12lb 7oz and Butch had 20lb 5oz of roach.

Then we got to the pegs in the forties that had been catching bream consistently, Dennis Stepney had 52lb 8oz, Brendon Ions had 31lb 8oz and Chris Whitefield had 52lb 3oz. Dave Abrams had 28lb 15oz of roach, Nicky Collins had 29lb 9oz of roach, Les had struggled for 15lb 13oz, Ashley Tompkins had 31lb 7oz of roach and Roger Russell had 25lb 9oz so it had fished really well.

The dam wall had also fished with Steve Chant putting 39lb 13oz of bream on the scales (I presume he was catching so many that he didn't have time to take any photos for me!) and Mark Leahy coming close with 37lb. If only I could have kept those fish coming I would have been there or thereabouts as two more bream would have got me fourth place.

Still I can have another go next week as we're having a fiddle on the dam wall, I'm going through a right dry patch at the moment and no brown envelopes for four matches.

Pretty impressive reading

1 - Dennis Stepney (Chard) - 52lb 8oz
2 - Chris Whitefield (Chard) - 52lb 3oz
3 - Mike Hosgood (Exeter) - 47lb 4oz
4 - Steve Chant (Chard) - 39lb 13oz

A - Mark Leahy (Street) - 37lb
B - Scott Russell (Yeovil and District Angling Centre) - 37lb 8oz
C - Brendon Ions (Chard) - 31lb 8oz

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Dillington Pond - Summer League - 6th September 2009

As I hadn't fished last weekend I was really looking forward to getting back on the bank. There were only nine of us at the draw and if the golden ball didn't go the money would be paid out today. If it went, just the top three would be paid out, if not the top four and two sections would be paid. I drew peg 6 on the field side and it's normally a good area. We all got to the pond and I had to to a bit of swim clearing as there were loads of reeds in my peg.

I mixed up some Sensas Noire and set up two rigs, the usual 0.5 gram Drennan Roach float and a little Drennan Squatt float for up in the water. I was determined not to put in a big fish line and just get my head down for the roach and perch. It was quite overcast when we got there but as the sun came out I could see a big bank of weed right in front of me. The next angler along from me was Martin Heard on peg 6 and on my left was Moses Holbrook on peg 12. Although there was no chance of a league placing for me, things were really tight at the top going into this match with Martin and Bruce Hunt on 13 pts followed by Graham Field on 14. Bruce had also drawn the golden peg and we were all praying he wouldn't win off it.

Robin blew the whistle to signal the all in and I cupped in three balls of groundbait containing some hemp, maggot and casters and 10 metres. I shipped out with caster on the hook and missed the first three bites! I did eventually start catching perch and roach but even at this early stage I knew that weed bank would be a problem and every time I shipped back with a fish on they would get caught in it. Things were quite slow for me and I only had 11 fish in the first hour. I did quickly try the shallow rig but only had one small rudd on it.

The second hour saw my catch rate improve and I had 20 fish including some better roach but the wind was being a pain and I was still losing fish in the weed bed. Hour three was slightly better again and I had 21 fish to take me to 52 fish and I set my sights on 100 fish which I thought would give me around 6lb. I was quite pleased with how things were going until I heard Bruce shout across to ask Martin how many he'd had and they both had over 100 fish already!

Hour four was pretty good with another 23 fish to give me a total of 75 and I only needed to catch 25 in the last hour and a half. Typically things slowed and I really wasn't sure whether or not to put another ball of groundbait in. I decided against it and tried double maggot for the first time and added a couple more small perch and roach. By now it was obvious it was going to be between Martin and Bruce as they were both approaching 200 fish but could Martin stop Bruce winning the golden ball?

I switched back to caster for the last half an hour and added three or four fish to take my final total to 92 fish, just short of my target. I packed up knowing my only chance of coin was if the golden ball didn't go and I might sneak the section. Martin had the scales and we started weighing at Robin Cox on peg 1, had he fared any better than I did last match? He did land one chub, but he lost two and a big carp and weighed 3lb 14oz. Roger Russell pulled his net out and had a nice bag of fish for 7lb 3oz, Martin had 10lb 5oz but would it be enough? My fish weighed 6lb 12oz which was my biggest weight of the series and if I hadn't lost so many fish to that weedbed I probably could have done Roger.

Robin with his chub

By this time the other scales had reached Bruce and when he finished weighing, Martin shouted across to ask what his weight was, 10lb 14oz came the reply - bugger, I couldn't see anybody else catching that. The pond had actually fished really well, Moses had 8lb 3oz for third place, Graham Field had 7lb 6oz and Malcolm Levy had 6lb 14oz (all on borrowed maggots!). The average weight was over 7lb per man. Realistically I knew I couldn't have done Bruce or Martin but I reckoned I should have been closer to Moses's weight. Bruce did indeed win the match and the golden ball and took home over £200, it wouldn't have mattered to me though as Roger would have had the section anyway.

As both Bruce and Martin won their sections, the league was decided on weight in Martin's favour. Graham Field held on to third place in the league.

The top three on the day from left to right, Martin Heard, Moses Holbrook and Bruce Hunt

1 - Bruce Hunt (ALS) - 10lb 14oz
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 10lb 5oz
3 - Moses Holbrook (Ilminster) - 8lb 3oz
4 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 7lb 6oz
5 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 7lb 3oz

The top three in the league from left to right, Martin Heard, Bruce Hunt and Graham Field

Final League Standings

1 - Martin Heard - 14 pts (on weight)
2 - Bruce Hunt - 14 pts
3 - Graham Field - 17 pts

So once again we'd been mugged and the lions share of the money was headed to Tiverton. I would just like to say a big thankyou to Roger Russell for his very generous sponsorship of the league and to Rob Cox for organising the matches.

Next week I'm on the resi, what do rods and reels look like again?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Evesham Festival - 28th-29th August 2009

Saturday morning saw me and Andy heading to Evesham for our annual pilgrimage, after a mix up where they had no record of my booking at the pub (again!), we finally got it sorted and put our stuff in the room. Then it was off to the river where once again it was fishing hard and we only saw a few small fish caught. I later found out Darren Cox had won with the help of a 12lb barbel. To be honest we didn't stay long and went for a few beers.

The following morning we were slightly hungover and went back down to see how things were going. We watched Dave Harrell for a bit who was fishing the waggler and catching the odd small fish, then up to yesterdays winner, Darren Cox, who was fishing the lead with pellet and he missed two good bites while we were there, would he make it two wins on the trot?

I have to apologise at this point as although I had my camera with me I didn't use it once so no piccies I'm afraid , I am rubbish - sorry! We went for something to eat before going back to see if Darren had landed that elusive barbel, he hadn't and was now fishing the waggler for the odd small fish. We had a quick walk around the tented village where I bought some groundbait, hemp and a riddle before making our way back to sunny Somerset. Apparently it had fished rock hard and Wayne Swinscoe won with 6lb 11oz of mainly bleak. With bloodworm and joker allowed on the Monday it fished much better with the top three all weighing double figures and I don't know why they don't allow it on the other matches.

So another good but expensive weekend and I'm now gagging to get back on the bank, with the next match at Dillington on Sunday, will my fortunes change then?