Sunday, January 31, 2010

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League - 31st January 2010

Going into this match I was lying in second place in the league and keen to do well again, there had been a wicked frost overnight and I was hoping it wouldn't affect the fishing too much. Robin had once again pegged the top end of the river along with some pegs at Ilford. I really didn't fancy the Ilford pegs or the long walks of 37, 38 and 39 and was really pleased when I pulled out peg 29 (the stump). It's been a consistent chub peg although Bob struggled there last match.

I got to the river and walked past Robin on 27 and Graham Bulgin on 28, I seem to get pegged next to Graham every week and I was hoping he wasn't going to batter me again. My peg looked nice and I set up two Carbo's one for fishing around the point opposite and the other for fishing down the inside where I had caught last time. On the whistle I started in the flow with double red maggot on the hook, with no indications here I was soon trying all over the swim with double maggot, caster and half a lobbie.

After two hours and no bites I was concerned but still this can be a peg that throws up fish late (Butch had three chub in the last hour in the pairs). Robin wandered down, he'd caught a solitary dace and Graham was still fishless. He soon got bored watching me catch nowt and went back to his peg. The next couple of hours passed without incident (apart from a brief snow flurry) and the last, 'golden' hour arrived. Now although my confidence was severely dented, I still felt I could catch a couple but it just didn't happen and I dry netted - gutted.

Graham didn't have a bite either and Rob had thrown his dace back, apparently the river had fished rock hard again although a few chub had been caught and it looked like the golden ball might have gone. Back at the results and Malcolm Levy had won his second match on the trot but this time he'd won the golden ball as well, taking home a cool £140. He had 5lb 9oz from peg 49 at Ilford. Roger Russell was second with 4lb 9oz from the peg I had last week and Martin Heard framed yet again with 2lb 5oz from peg 23. Martyn Brook won the bottom section with a single chub of 2lb 3oz from peg 39 and there was no winner in the top section as the only two that weighed in both framed. Robin would have picked up the section if he'd weighed in, that's two weeks on the trot he's thrown back money fish! And Janders took a squid off me as he caught four minnows although this was offset by him pulling the bumper off his car and breaking his seatbox!

I'm still hanging on to second place in the league behind Martin Heard but with dropping this match I can't afford anymore slip ups. At the moment I just can't catch chub and it's doing my head in and I'm starting to think perhaps I'm doing something wrong (apart from turning up!).

Malcolm won his second match on the trot and picked up the golden ball as well

Roger was second with 4lb 9oz

1 - Malcolm Levy (Tiverton) - 5lb 9oz
2 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 4lb 9oz
3 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 2lb 5oz

Section A - No winner
Section B - Martyn Brook (Ilminster) - 2lb 3oz

Sunday, January 24, 2010

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 24th January 2010

With the river bank high on Friday afternoon I feared the worst but the wet stuff stayed away for the rest of Friday and all of Saturday and the Isle looked perfect. A frost the night before probably hadn't helped matters but I was still confident it would fish well. At the draw there was another depleted turnout of ten and that included Ashley Tomkins who turned up hoping it was going to be on the pond!

Robin had wisely pegged just the top end of the river and when I pulled out peg 24, I felt I had half a chance as it's a reasonable peg. Janders also drew well, peg 28 in the copse, so it was anybodies guess which way the pound would be headed. I drove to the peg and it did look very inviting, Graham Bulgin was next to me on 23 and I said I reckoned we'd get a few bites today. I set up two rigs, both Carbo's (surprise, surprise!), the usual 1.5 gram and a 2 gram version as it did look quite pacy. Both had 0.12mm bottoms and 18 B611's.

Peg 24, looked really fishy

The start time soon arrived and I baited up with a single caster before going across to the far bank cover and feeding some hemp and casters. I also fired some maggots down the swim to hopefully draw some fish up. I wasn't expecting too much early action as it's a chub peg and I was prepared to wait for bites. After 20 minutes I'd had a couple of indications and was inching the float through when it slid away and I was soon netting a chub around the pound mark, hopefully it would be the first of many. I couldn't see any feed in it's throat which I took to be a good sign.

I had a few more bites which I missed and reckoned could be minnows when I looked up to see Graham net a decent chub which put him ahead of me but at least it meant there were a few fish about. I tried half a lobbie and double caster but didn't have a bite on either, still plenty of time to go! After two hours, neither me or Graham had added to our early fish and he was now on the tip. Robin Cox and Bruce Hunt walked down from their pegs (14 and 15) and were both struggling although Rob said Malcolm Levy on peg 38 had caught two early chub.

Time was now ticking on and a bumped small fish on double maggot was the only other action I'd had. I was now pinning my hopes on the golden last hour but this arrived and finished without another bite! Graham netted a small trout (which count) right on the whistle and that was that. I was really disappointed and knew I wouldn't be picking up today as Robin was only paying the top three and no sections and I knew Malcolm and Graham had beaten me.

I had the scales yet again so quickly packed up before walking up to weigh Graham in, his chub wasn't as big as I thought and he weighed 2lb 1oz, my fish wasn't as big as I thought either at 15oz, not a good day. As I reached the top of the track, Bruce and Martin were just loading their cars, Bruce had 12oz and Martin only had 1oz despite missing seven wrap rounds on lobworm! and he was on the golden peg - so he is mortal after all. Robin hadn't weighed and had chucked back four trout for about two and a half pound (remember that!)

Graham weighed 2lb 1oz

Back at the results and the river hadn't fished at all, in the bottom section only Malcolm and Neil Dring weighed in. Malcolm had caught a couple more and his four chub went 6lb 9oz for an easy win and Neil only weighed an ounce which meant I was third! Robin was really cursing throwing back those fish! I picked up £25 plus a pound off Janders who blanked. I couldn't believe how badly it had fished. I also finished second in my section and pulled a couple of points on Martin who was fourth, he still leads this league with 7 points although I'm just behind on 8.

Malcolm won with four chub.

Although I'm quite pleased that I'm keeping my winnings ticking over (£140 this year already), it would be nice to have a decent days fishing!

1 - Malcolm Levy (Tiverton) - 6lb 9oz
2 - Graham Bulgin (Ilminster) - 2lb 1oz
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 15oz

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dillington Pond - V.E.S. Precision League - 17th January 2010

After not fishing last week due to the extreme weather, I couldn't wait to get on the river this week. There had been some rain on the Saturday but I wasn't too concerned and as I drove over the Isle I could see it was up and coloured but to me it looked nice and would only get better as the day went on. In the back of my mind though I had a nagging doubt that they would switch it to Dillington, as they always seem to do these days as soon as there's a hint of rain. I got to the draw and sure enough we were on the pond!

There were only eleven of us fishing as Neil Dring decided to have brekkie and go home (he's not a big fan of the pond) and Robin Cox had work to do (good excuse Rob!). I mentioned to Janders that I fancied peg 17 as I'd done well off it last time and only went and drew it! Janders said he really didn't want to draw peg 6 and only promptly went and drew it! We got to the pond and it looked nice with a few fish topping but I felt it would fish hard after the big freeze and all the cold water that had gone in. Scotty Russell agreed with me saying that 6lb would be a good weight although Graham Field was more optimistic, saying he thought it would fish well!

I made myself comfortable and before setting my kit up, I mixed up some groundbait (Sensas Matchblend and Formula Supreme) as I always do so it has plenty of time to fully absorb the water. I filled a bait box from one of the feeder streams and the water was bitterly cold. I set up two rigs, a 4 metre whip with a little image waggler and 0.10mm bottom and size 20 B511 and a short pole with a Drennan Squatt float and the same hooklength combination as the first rig. I nicked some pinkies off Alvin Jones, who was on peg 18 and was ready for the off.

Pete Lonton blew his whistle and I flicked the whip rig out with a pinkie on the hook, followed by a small nugget of groundbait and waited for the first bite. I waited and waited and nothing! Looking around the pond everyone was in the same boat, it was going to be rock hard. Apparently Roger Russell had snared a tiny roach and that was it, I tried the short pole over the whip line but this was met with the same response. I shouted to Alvin and Graham Field to ask what they had and they were both in the same boat as me - blanking. Up to today I was doing well in the league and a single fish would guarantee me three points.

By this stage, Alvin had set a feeder up and said he was getting indications on it. As I was looking up towards Alvin I thought I saw Scott on peg 2 swing in a small fish so I kept watching and sure enough he swung in another one! I walked up to see Alvin so I could get a better look at what Scott was doing. While watching Alvin he had a couple of sharp raps on the tip (which he missed!) and Scott was getting a fish a bung on the long pole and Alvin said that he'd put four balls of groundbait in.

With nothing to lose I went back and set up another rig, a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach float with 0.08mm bottom and 20 B511 and plumbed up at 10 metres. I cupped in two balls and went straight over it, I fully expected to catch, but no and things were starting to get desperate. Then out of the blue the float submerged and I swung in a tiny roach, yes, three points secured. Graham had one around the same time although I couldn't see anyone else catching. The trouble was, I had reverted back to not catching as well, then like before a bite out of nowhere and I had doubled my fish tally.

I had by now started firing out three or four maggots over the long line and started to put a few bites together, I got to five fish and feeling very pleased with myself I asked how many Alvin had (expecting him to say none) and he replied he'd had four! I knuckled down and slowly but surely my fish counter started creeping up and with an hour and a half to go it read 23. Alvin asked for an update and when I told him, he seemed surprised as he was only on 9. I could see that Martin Heard was starting to get a few but it was already obvious to me that Scott would be an easy winner. He was on the point on peg 2 and had most of the top half of the pond to himself! Another flier then Scotty!

Most people had a fish or two but the only anglers catching consistently were Scott, Martin and myself. Janders packed up early and brought over my pound before shooting off saying he probably wouldn't be fishing next week! Oh dear a bad day at the office then (he'll do anything to get out of doing the bait run!). By now I was getting a bite a chuck on red maggot and I think the fact that it had warmed up a couple of degrees had helped. When Pete signalled the all out, my clicker said I'd had 47 fish which I thought would give me a pound and a half or so. I was sure Scott had won but had I done enough to beat Martin who said he'd had 40 fish.

Pete came round with the scales and said that Martin had weighed 1lb 6oz and apart from that it was ounces in our section. I thought I'd beaten Martins weight until I took my net out and the contents didn't look like much! But the needle read a level 2lb and it looked like I'd be second behind Scott. Graham and Pete both had an ounce and Alvin had 12oz. Scott actually weighed a lot more than I thought, with over 150 fish for 5lb 12oz. I was second and picked up £30 which keeps the winnings ticking along for this year. More importantly I got one section point to keep me in the hunt for the league. Martin leads it with a maximum 3 points followed by me and Graham on 5.

It really had fished poorly with Graham Bulgin and Alvin winning the two sections with 7oz and 12oz respectively.

Scotty recorded yet another victory.

Hopefully next week we'll be able to get on the river.

1 - Scott Russell (Yeovil and District Angling Centre) - 5lb 12oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 2lb
3 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 1lb 6oz

Section A - Graham Bulgin (Ilminster) - 7oz
Section B - Alvin Jones (Enterprise Angling) - 12oz

Sunday, January 03, 2010

River Isle - Barney Crockett Pairs Open - 3rd January 2010

After not fishing since the 20th Dec I was well up for this one although once again it was bitterly cold and the fishing could be hard going. I've got a good record in this event after being the top individual last year and coming third with my partner Justin Charles. Justin couldn't fish this year so I was with Tiverton's Bruce Hunt who can normally winkle some fish out of anywhere. We just needed a good draw now. At the Crown there was a really good turnout of 28 anglers although this did mean some suspect pegs would be in. It was great to see some faces I hadn't seen for ages like the lovely Steve Chant, Butch Baker, Mark Hollister and Darren Roberts.

After paying my pools and buying a fivers worth of raffle tickets it was time for the draw and everybody wanted to draw 125 yet again. Bruce drew for us and came back with peg 27 in the top section, which was ok and then 128 at Isle Brewers which is a stinker. Who drew 125?, Martin Heard of course! although to be fair their other peg, peg 48, wasn't so hot. Neither Bruce or I wanted to fish 128 so we decided to draw for it and luckily for me Bruce got to fish it. Although he wasn't overly impressed I knew he'd catch from it where as I would probably blank. My nemesis Janders hadn't drawn well (peg 20) so there was a chance I could take the first pound of 2010 off him.

Martin Heard (draws better than Picasso!)

I got to the river and it was low but quite pacy but the temperature was bitter. The swim is a nice gravel run with a deepish hole opposite and some far bank ivy downstream and it normally holds quite a few silver fish. I set up the same two rigs as the last time I drew, a 0.75 gram Carbo for the hole and a 1.5 gram Carbo (old faithful) for down by the ivy. On the whistle I started on the lighter rig on the other side of the flow but the rig just wouldn't hold properly and it kept boiling up. After half an hour with no bites on maggot or caster it was time to try down by the ivy. I was only feeding very lightly in the flow and also catapulting some feed upstream where there is some slacker water where the fish can sometimes be found.

Inching the float through with caster on the hook I soon started getting bites, but missed the first one before catching a small dace and then bumping the next fish. I immediately put a new hook (B611 size 18) on as I felt fish would be scarce today. I also tried double red maggot and this saw me hit more bites and after the first hour I had six dace and chublets to 12oz. I got to 10 fish (for about a pound and a half) when Andy Welch walked up from peg 28. He was freezing cold and hadn't caught yet and was surprised when I told him what I had. He also reported Butch on 29 hadn't caught either. I missed a bite while he was there before he decided he'd warmed up enough and walked back.

I had a couple more decent chublets plus some small dace and was on 15 fish when Scott Russell turned up (he'd come all the way from peg 38) and said he hadn't had a bite and nor had Graham Bulgin on 37. They can both be good chub pegs and I was sure if they turned up Scotty would catch them. While he was with me I had a purple patch and caught five more dace although I bumped a couple and missed a few bites and I'm sure he was thinking 'Why can't I draw pegs like this?'. He also reported that he spoken to other anglers on the phone and it was hard with even Martin on 125 only admitting to four roach.

After he left I got my head down and kept popping the odd fish in the net, mostly dace with the odd 12oz chublet and a solitary minnow. I was still missing/bumping the odd fish and this could have been down to the black hydro but I wanted the insurance there if I hooked a bigger fish. During a quiet spell I went back across to the hole and had two dace in as many chucks but it was short lived. I had set my sights on 40 fish which I thought would give me 4-5lb but with an hour to go I knew I'd be short as I was on 26 and decided to see if I could get to 30. In fact I ended with 32 including my best fish, a chub approaching a pound. I thought I might have around 4lb and set about packing up, after a much needed cup of coffee.

Andy turned up with the scales and said he'd managed a trout (which count) but Butch had landed three chub in the last hour - bugger. I was surprised to weigh 6lb 8oz although I knew Butch's chub would go over 7lb and all those missed/bumped fish were looking like they could be costly. Andy's trout weighed 9oz and sure enough Butch's chub went a level 7lb but with Scott and Graham not catching I still should be able to secure good points. Scotty said he'd spoken to his old man, Roger and Martin had around 10lb and Malcolm had a chub so they would be there or thereabouts, he also said Bruce had caught around a pound or so - phew!.

Back at the results and it quickly became apparent that the river had fished really hard and Butch had won the top section and I was second. Martin won his section and the match with 9lb 7oz but how had Malcolm done. I knew he'd had a chub but so had others around him and it turned out he was sixth in the section. Bruce had winkled out 1lb 15oz and it goes to show how hard the lower section had fished as he was second behind Martin! So we won with 4 points and picked up £170 between us and things got better when Janders handed over a £1 as he'd weighed 15oz (but it is a crap peg). Martin and Malcolm were second with 7 points although Martin asked me to point out that Malcolm had lost a chub which would have won it for them, he did mention something about a catch and release scheme! Graham Field and Alvin Jones were third with 8 points.

So a really good start to 2010 and to make things even better I had first prize in the raffle and won £30's worth of vouchers to spend in Yeovil and District Angling Centre, long may it continue.

1 - Jamie Rich and Bruce Hunt - 4 points
2 - Martin Heard and Malcolm Levy - 7 points
3 - Alvin Jones and Graham Field - 8 points

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 9lb 7oz
2 - Butch Baker (Tatworth) - 7lb
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 6lb 8oz


Pairs Champions

Bruce Hunt

All the anglers enjoyed a lovely buffet back at the Crown Inn. The club donated the peg fees and along with a raffle run by the Crown a fantastic total of over £342 was raised for the Rosie Crane Trust, the charity chosen by Mary Crockett.
The club would like to thank the Crown Inn for their continued support, Yeovil and District Angling Centre for donating prizes along with all the anglers who donated bottles for the raffle. A big thanks must also go to Pete Lonton, Robin Cox and Neil Dring for organising another excellent event.