Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dillington Pond - V.E.S. Precision League - 28th February 2010

The day of the penultimate V.E.S. Precision Winter League arrived and as soon as I drove over the river at Donyatt I knew we'd be on the pond. Still at least I should be able to catch to secure decent points for the league. On arrival at the Crown, I paid my pools to Pete who confirmed it was on the pond, much to the relief of Yeovil 'muggers' Scott and Ashley who came over hoping it would be on the pond.

With only nine of us fishing we spread the pegs out to give everybody plenty of water and I really fancied peg 17 as I'd done well off it the last two matches but actually drew peg 6 which was also the golden peg (so that was safe then!). We got to the pond and given all the rain we'd had, it was surprisingly clear and Scotty commented he reckoned it would be hard as we hadn't seen any small fish topping. I sorted my box out and then mixed some groundbait (Sensas Matchblend and Formula Supreme) before starting on my rigs. I set up a 4 metre whip with a little Image waggler and 0.08mm bottom with size 20 B511 and the pole at 10 metres with a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach float, 0.10mm bottom and the same hook pattern.

Awful weather was forecast and we were all prepared to batten down the hatches. The all in was called and I cupped in two balls at 10 metres and tossed a little nugget on the whip line (I've just read that last sentence again and it sounds well dodgy!), before starting on the longer line. I fully expected to catch quite quickly but it didn't happen, Scotty was blanking as well although Roger was getting a few on peg 17 and Robin was catching on peg 2. Then Scotty caught a small roach and I was thinking 'any time now' but my float refused to go under.

Scotty started to catch regularly as did Martin Heard on peg 20, Graham Bulgin on 18 and Ashley netted a fish on peg 12, I was starting to panic big style! I kept thinking that I needed to catch a fish to guarantee league points so after an hour I scaled down to 0.06mm bottom in a bid to get a bite. I would love to say that I shipped out and started catching but the change made no difference at all. After two hours I was resigned to dry netting as was Pete Lonton to my left, it was like there was diagonal line across the pond with all the anglers on one side catching and on the other side people were struggling.

Malcolm Levy was walking about and Ashley only had two fish and came up to see how we were getting on. As we were chatting I looked away and when I looked back my float had gone! I missed that bite but convinced myself I was seeing things, next put in I missed a bite and the put in after that. I then bumped a fish and came back with the maggot over the point of the hook, Ashley said he was going to get me some pinkies from Scotty. He returned with a handful, I slipped one on and shipped out, the float settled before sliding under and I swung in a small roach - phew! It was like someone had flipped a switch and it was a bite a chuck, I even had a better roach which required me to use the net.

I knew I was a long way behind Scott, when I reached 18 fish he was on 50, so I kept trying caster and although I could catch on it the fish weren't much bigger than the pinkie fish. I was also still feeding my whip line hoping to catch on it later. Pete had by now caught but Ashley and Malcolm had packed up. With an hour to go it looked like Scott would win with Martin in second but there was still a chance of the section. I flicked my rig in down the edge and when I went to ship out I had a slightly better roach on, so I decided to try the whip. First chuck I had another roach, 'cracked it' I thought but I would get a couple before it died. Another nugget of groundbait seemed to work for another couple but they weren't really queuing up.

In the back of my mind I knew I should just be getting my head down on the longer line but did I do it? - no, I just kept plugging away with the whip and ended up with 66 roach. I had the scales once again, so quickly packed up and went up to weigh Robin in, he had more than I thought and weighed 4lb 4oz, Scotty had 143 roach for 6lb 13oz and my fish went 3lb 9oz - bugger, yet another bad day at the office. Pete weighed a pound and actually pulled two points on me as he won his section where I was third in mine. Martin won the other section with 5lb 7oz and is uncatchable in the league with a match to go.

Back at the results and Scott won yet again followed by Martin and Robin won our section and Graham Bulgin won the other section with 2lb 11oz. After a great January I've not won a bean (or indeed caught much) for all of February. Next week is the last V.E.S. match and I would love to hang on to second but you watch it all go pearshaped.

Scotty won again

1 - Scott Russell (Yeovil and District Angling Centre) - 6lb 13oz
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 5lb 7oz

Section A - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 4lb 4oz
Section B - Graham Bulgin (Ilminster) - 2lb 11oz

Sunday, February 21, 2010

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 21st February 2010

This will be a very short blog because there isn't much to tell! Robin had put in some pretty good pegs with only eight of us fishing and of course everybody wanted to draw 125 but it goes without saying that Martin Heard drew it! I stuck my hand in the bucket and pulled out 72 (hellhole) which I wasn't overly impressed with although it can throw up the odd weight. Neil Dring had drawn the council house swim (peg 70)which hasn't been in since Ashley did over 26lb off it.

The river looked ok and it was actually quite a nice day, my peg had loads of options and people normally catch where the flow comes in, to the right or in the slack water (which wasn't that slack today) in front or sometimes in the tail of the swim. I set up 'Old Faithful' and at 10:15 started where the flow comes in. No bites here saw me try the tail and then the slack water. Without an indication on caster, maggot or lobbie I was already scratching my head. I settled on fishing across where there was a nice depth and steady water but this was just the same and you wouldn't think there were any fish in the bloody river!

With a couple of hours gone I was just thinking about popping up to see how Neil was getting on when he appeared behind me, he'd had the usual ear ache from the bloke in the house opposite. Really don't understand that as it's not like we fish that peg very often, once or twice a year at most. Anyway Neil had only had a minnow and said he'd spoken to Rob who hadn't caught and nor had Roger on 24. After he left I went back to maggot to try and catch a minnow and eventually did manage one on single maggot although a further two dropped off! And that was basically that, I won't even mention the golden last hour as I don't think that applies anymore! Also I can't remember catching a fish on lobworm yet this year.

All the time I was sat there I couldn't believe Rob had put my peg in and not 66 or 74, mind you with the way the rivers fishing there's no guarantee I'd have caught from either of those. Me and Neil both had an ounce for our minnows (as it's the lowest weight we give) although Neil's was twice the size of mine! Elsewhere Martin, as expected, won with a brilliant 21lb 2oz of quality roach and then it went pear shaped with Malcolm Levy only needing a single chub of 2lb 6oz for second from Ilford and Roger had a small chub of 1lb 7oz for third from peg 24. The other three anglers didn't weigh - not good.

My 1oz gave me two section points which means Martin pulled a point on me and Malcolm gained a point on me although I'm not sure if this was the last match or if there's one more! Everybodies saying that it's a lack of fish but I'm not sure as all those small fish we were catching in Oct and Nov haven't gone anywhere and at the same time next year they'll show up again.

Anyway that's enough for now as there's not much more to say, hopefully next week will be better, can't be any worse surely?

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 21lb 2oz
2 - Malcolm Levy (Tiverton) - 2lb 6oz
3 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 1lb 7oz

Sunday, February 14, 2010

River Isle - Open - 14th February 2010

I woke up to find we hadn't had a frost and the temperature wasn't too bad so hopefully we'd be in for a good day for once! At the draw there was a really poor turnout of only 12 anglers which I suppose reflects how poor the fishing has been. I was surprised that Rob hadn't pegged 125 or peg 25, both have been fishing well and surely you need to give anglers a chance to catch fish! I stuck my hand in the bucket and pulled out peg 52 at Ilford, it used to be a good peg but hasn't done much for ages. Still with the way the rivers been fishing a couple of chub would get me there or thereabouts. Bob Hammond was on 55 where Janders broke the match record with 37lb 8oz and I really fancied that peg today.

I got to the river and it looked ok but painfully low and clear, as I got to my peg some silt was kicked up by a fish moving off from the inside which got my hopes up a little. I set up the usual Carbo and plumbed up, there was a nice depth although it was shallower than I remember. I started just off the edge of the flow in the deepest part and edged the rig through but got snagged on something and when this happened twice more I decided to try in the slack water in front of me. I was feeding hemp and caster with caster on the hook and was getting the odd dig from minnows so changed to double caster which saw me getting no bites at all.

After a couple of hours I was still blanking and when Bob walked up and said he hadn't caught I started to fear the worst again. I went through the usual bait changes but with no response and tried as close to the snag as I dared but nothing. I did miss a bite on double caster but I reckon it was just a bigger than average minnow! I knew I was in trouble when I saw a small jack pike sat in the shallows, out of boredom I dangled a lobbie in front of it's nose but it didn't want to know.

Bob was packed up and behind me with half an hour to go, he stayed for a bit as I had the scales but he soon realised he wouldn't have to weigh me in and went on. I blanked again and I'm starting to get disheartened. I just kept thinking about 25 and 125 all day and knowing I'd have caught on either.

Back at the results and Malcolm Levy had won his third match out of four with 9lb 14oz from peg 23 - well done Malc. Graham Bulgin had two chub for 5lb 8oz and second from peg 48, despite snapping his pole on a chub that snagged him. Andy Welch was third from the peg next door with another two chub weighing 4lb 11oz. Pete Lonton won the top section with 2lb 6oz and Roger Russell only needed 3oz to win the bottom section.

I realise that you get good and bad runs and I had a really good January but it would just be nice to catch a decent fish. I really think the club needs to do something but I was shocked and dismayed to hear them thinking about putting F1's into Dillington and buying some roach for the river. Carp in Dillington would ruin it for me and I'm not sure I'd fish it again. For me the solution is easy, you just need to move the small roach and perch from the pond to the river on a regular basis and spend some money on decent skimmers for the pond - simple. We have lots of matches on the pond and the small fish could do with thinning out, over three matches you could move 150lb of fish (with the correct documentation of course) and just do this every year to keep some fish going into the river. The fish out the pond would then grow on and the skimmers they put in would stir the other fish in to feeding. The other point is that skimmers breed well whereas F1's (supposedly) don't so we would get different year classes of bream.

There are loads of carp waters around for those that want to catch them although the trend seems to be going back to silvers so I think this would be madness. I really applauded the club with their initial stocking policy but this seems daft, especially as to put enough F1's in to make a difference they would have to buy thousands and thousands and undo all the good work they've put into creating a super little venue,

Malcolm adds the Open to his list of victories

Graham was second despite breaking his pole

1 - Malcolm Levy (Tiverton) - 9lb 14oz
2 - Graham Bulgin (Ilminster) - 5lb 8oz
3 - Andy Welch (Ilminster) - 4lb 11oz

Section A - Pete Lonton (Ilminster) - 2lb 6oz
Section B - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 3oz


A quick update regarding my post on the clubs stocking policy, Max (club chairman) phoned me tonight to say they won't be putting F1's into Dillington and they are looking into stocking some roach into the river, So fingers crossed things might be starting to happen!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 7th February 2010

Heavy rain on Friday and I was worried it might be off (wish it was now! but more of that later), no more wet stuff and the river looked perfect when I went over it on my way to the draw with a tinge of colour and pace. Once again there were only ten of us and Robin had put some new pegs in on the Hambridge stretch (which the club has now) along with Ashford and Isle Brewers. The golden peg was 125 and there was a really good chance it could go today. I stuck my hand in the bucket and the ball I pulled out had 12........ 6 on it - bugger. Still it's normally a decent small fish peg and Martin reckoned I'd frame off it (mind you he always says that!)

I got to the peg and it looked nice although the fish holding tree had been ripped out (good job!) but I still fancied it. Neil was the next peg downstream on 127 and Robin Cox was the lucky bugger to draw 125 and Roger Russell was above him on 123. I set up two Carbo's (for a change!), one to fish the main body of the bend and the other to fish upstream in the shallows where the fish sometimes can be found. I started with double bronze maggot on a Kamasan B611 size 18 but a few digs from minnows soon saw me change to caster.

Three minnows on caster wasn't a good sign so I shouted up to Neil to see if he'd caught, he hadn't. I tried the shallow rig upstream convinced this must be where the fish were but another minnow provided the answer. I was already out of ideas, I did manage a small roach on caster but this proved to be a false dawn and it was rock hard. I decided to have a coffee and go for a walk, Neil had caught a minnow but was looking as pissed off as I felt so I wandered up to see how Rob was getting on in the flier. On reaching him I was amazed when he said he'd only had minnows, something is really wrong with the river at the moment, we'd been blaming frosts but we didn't have that excuse this week. He did say Roger had landed a chub on 123.

I went back and decided to scale down, off came the 0.12mm and on went 0.08mm but did it make a difference? I'm not really sure, after another half an hour I started getting the odd bite and added a couple more tiny roach and gudgeon but was going nowhere fast. I was pinning my hopes on catching as the light faded but couldn't see it. Neil came up, he hadn't caught anything else and was going to pack up, he'd been up to see Robin who had just started catching and it looked like the golden ball was going for the second time in two weeks.

The golden last hour just didn't happen and I ended up with 5 roach, 3 gudgeon and some minnows for 7oz - great! Roger had found another chub to weigh 5lb 3oz and despite Robin saying he didn't have that, when he pulled his net out I knew he'd beaten that easily. He weighed 6lb 9oz and as Martin was top at Ashford with 3lb 8oz and the new pegs at Hambridge had been a bit of a flop with Malcolm top there with 10oz! Robin had won the golden peg and took home £125, well done mate. I was actually second in my five peg section which meant me and Martin are tied in the league on 10 points with Malcolm Levy in third with 14. I did take a pound off Janders who didn't weigh but he didn't come back for the results.

I can't believe how bad the fishing was, my peg used to be a banker for 4-6lb and I've won matches in similar conditions with 14lb and 18lb, what is wrong with the place? Up until Xmas it fishes well with double figures needed to win and after Xmas it goes to rat shit with just odd chub showing. Next week is the Open (if you can call it that as we'll get around a dozen people show up!) and I really need to catch some fish because this is getting demoralising.

Robin Cox - £125 better off

1 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 6lb 9oz
2 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 5lb 3oz
3 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 3lb 8oz