Sunday, March 28, 2010

Perry St Pond - Spring League 1 - 28th March 2010

It was the first match of the ever popular Spring League and also my first visit for ages. I had heard it had been a little patchy because the weather was still so up and down but there were still carp to be caught and weights had been fairly reasonable. It was great to see loads of people I hadn't seen since this time last year like Darren Roberts, the lovely Steve Chant and 'Rocking' Roy the corner peg boy (on account of him seeming to draw a corner every week!). We got some bait sorted and then it was time for Les to read out all the rules and do the draw for the first half of the knockout. My name wasn't picked out this week so would have to wait for my knockout draw.

Then it was the time for the draw proper and of course Rocking drew peg 10!, I got peg 8 for my sins which apparently is ok. For company I had Les Braunton and Picky to my right and Chris Haines and Rocking to my left, talk about a section of death! Janders had also drawn a corner peg (20) and I could be handing over two nuggets today. The info I'd been given was that fish were coming to maggot and that to feed micro pellets and maggots. I set up two rigs, both Drennan 0.4 gram Carp floats, one for fishing at 11.5 metres and just down the ledge at 5 metres and the other for fishing by the stumps to my right and next to the floating fish refuge (cormorant roost) to my left. Both rigs had 0.12mm bottoms and size 18 Tubertini 808's.

I also mixed up some Sensas Crazybait Gold and added some casters, maggots and dampened micro-pellets (Ringers 2.5mm) and on the whistle potted two balls in on the long line before cupping some pellets and maggots on the two shorter lines (I ignored the fish refuge for now). I expected to wait a while for bites and this was the case for me although both Darren Roberts and Chris hooked early fish although Chris lost his. I missed my first bite on double red maggot after half an hour but then successfully hooked and landed a 2lb carp, which was a good start. Picky on peg 6 had got off to a flier and landed a couple as had Bish on peg 11 but other than them nobody was doing much.

Chris then had a couple of carp up in the water and Rocking was getting bites although he was losing a few. After an hour I came in on my shorter lines but no indications so I fed again before going out long. Then Les had a fish from his floating island so I cupped in some feed by mine before trying my shorter lines again. I had some little pots fitted to my pole tips and was feeding a little pinch of pellets and maggots every put in. The rig settled on my 5 metre line and then slid away and a good fish was on, I thought I was starting to get the upper hand when the line went slack and the poxy hook had pulled through the knot! what a schoolboy error. I tied a new hook on and rotated my lines once again, but this time I included the island.

While I was there, Butch's boy came for his usual wander around and asked how I was getting on, said crap and with that my float went and after a decent scrap I netted a nice common of about 4lb. Next put in I had a bite straight away and another fish was on but after a bit the poxy hook pulled out and the score was now 2-2. I reallt could have done with that fish as Chris was now on about five and Les had three or four. Butch's boy had said that Terry Green on peg 1 had three as had Janders but he'd lost five as well. I cupped in some more feed by the refuge and went long again, no more bites so back to 5 metres. Another bite saw yards of green Preston Hollow streaming out of the pole and it felt like a good fish, I kept thinking I should add more sections but no, I just sat there hanging on until the obvious happened and it snapped me, 3-2 to the carp.

Still there were three hours (half the match) left and plenty of time to put things right. It looked like the top three places would be filled by Bish, Chris and either Les or Picky as they were catching quite well, in fact I was getting battered both sides! More worrying was that I couldn't get a bite and Steve Chant, Darren Roberts and Mike Hosgood had all added a couple of fish and I was dropping down the points rapidly. I did add an 8oz perch from the refuge and with an hour and a half decided to concentrate here as most people seemed to be catching from the inside lines.

I never had another bite though and was really cursing those lost fish. The scales started at peg 1 as always and Terry Green had a credible 12lb 2oz although he had lost several as well, as we went along there were several weights of 6-7lb and it would be touch or go if I was near that. The first good weight was Picky with 19lb 7oz and I handed over the first pound of the day, then Les took over the lead with 23lb 13oz before it was my turn. My three fish went 6lb 5oz and just one of those lost fish would have been worth loads more points. Then Chris put 24lb 7oz in the weigh sling and I'd been battered both sides (like a Cod).

Rocking had endured a day a bit like mine and weighed 5lb 14oz although he'd lost several before Bish took the lead with a level 28lb despite sitting on a luminous green Maver seatbox - very smart Steve! Chanter had 11lb and Mike Hosgood weighed 15lb 13oz to win his section which should go someway towards paying for a pole section he smashed! There were several low double figure weights (those lost fish!), topped by Janders with 14lb 12oz and I handed over another 'squid' - what a great day! I finished with 5 points out of a possible 20 and after only one match I have it all to do if I'm to do well in the league, at least I wasn't in the knockout!

In the first knockout round the results were as follows (anglers in bold go through to next round)

Darren Roberts v Mike Collins
Alan 'Picky' Gage v John 'Janders' Anderson
Mike Hosgood v Terry 'Niblett' Green
Les Braunton v Steve Osborne

Scores on the doors after the first match

1 - Steve Bishop (Chard) - 28lb

2 - Chris Haines (Haines Angling) - 24lb 7oz

3 - Les Braunton (Chard) - 23lb 13oz

A - Terry Green (Chard) - 12lb 2oz
B - Alan Gage (Chard) - 19lb 7oz
C - Mike Hosgood (Exeter) - 15lb 13oz
D - John Anderson (Chard) - 14lb 12oz

I'm back here on Friday and Sunday (please let me draw a corner)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chard Reservoir - 21st March 2010

After dusting my feeder rod and reel off, I headed for the resi, hoping some slabs might show. At the draw there was a decent turnout of 17 anglers and lots of faces I hadn't seen for ages including Steve Bishop, Terry 'Niblett' Green and Dave Abrams. There was some ripple on the resi and some colour after loads of rain the previous two days and the signs looked good for a few 'wrap rounds!'.


As always people wanted to draw in the forties and always I pulled out a peg nowhere near where I wanted to be! - peg 37. Les very kindly put my box on the 'bug' so the walk wasn't too much of a killer. After all the rain the resi was high and my peg was a bit of a parrot cage but after a bit of pruning I was soon quite comfy. My first job was to mix some groundbait to allow it to fully absorb the water ready for the off. I mixed up some Dynamite Baits Bream and added a little fishmeal and some Brasem. Next I got my Drennan Stillwater Feeder rod out the bag and put on my Shimano reel which took me a while as I couldn't remember which way round it went! On the business end I had a small Drennan groundbait feeder and a 0.12mm hooklength with a size 16 B611 hook, I also incorporated a small swivel to eliminate line twist.

After mixing the groundbait, one thing I noticed that the water was freezing! and I reckoned it might be a slow starter today, the last match was won by Mike Hosgood with 11lb odd and I thought today might be similar. I had a coffee and then it was time to start. For company I had Brendon Ions on my right with Butch Baker next to him and Dave Lawrence on my left. I baited up with double red maggot and filled the feeder with casters and groundbait and lobbed it out to around 40 yards. I was fully expecting to wait a while for bites but was getting indications straight away. After a couple of chucks I had a decent roach as did Brendon. I had five roach in the first hour and just said to Brendon that perhaps the skimmers weren't going to feed when he had two in two chucks!

With my enthusiasm renewed I carried on catching the odd roach but as always, roach fishing on the tip is a nightmare and I was missing loads of sharp bites. After around two hours I was on ten fish when Les came walking up, he was struggling as were the others around him and he went up to see how the forties were getting on. On his return he reported that they weren't bagging and that Bish had six skimmers and Picky had 17 roach and a skimmer. It looked like it was going to be hard so I got my head down. Butch was catching roach well and Brendon had added a couple more skimmers, Dave was struggling though and had lost several in a snag and wasn't happy.

I was beginning to think I wasn't going to catch a skimmer when I had one and then another! Here we go I thought but it was short lived and I would get a couple before going back to catching roach but at least I was getting the odd one. It was neck and neck with Brendon although he'd had a better one around a pound and a half and I was clawing back Butch's early lead. At one stage I had a real purple patch and had visions of doing a decent weight. With three quarters of an hour to go I had 12 skimmers and 19 roach for about 9-10lb, Brendon only had 5 skimmers as had Butch although he'd had a lot of roach. Then I couldn't buy a bite and only had two small roach for the remainder of the match to end with 33 fish. I still thought it would be tight between the three of us though.

Les started weighing in from peg 28 where he threw his back, by the time he reached Butch the top weight was Terry Green with 9lb 2oz, Butch then stuck 12lb 7oz on the scales and I didn't think I had that. Brendon was away from his peg so I weighed him in and he had 11lb something, he got back and asked if we'd taken the rock out of his keepnet! Les asked what size rock and got him to pick a similar sized one and he picked a tiny pebble! Les weighed it at 8oz to give Brendon a weight of 10lb 8oz. I then weighed exactly the same, without any rocks I hasten to add! I really thought I'd had more than that and that last 40 mins had cost me.

Dave didn't weigh and Dave Abrams had 10lb 9oz and I was wishing I had put a rock in the poxy net! The other section in the forties saw the top three weights with Mike Hosgood winning his second match on the trot with 15lb 15oz from peg 48, Bish was second with 14lb 4oz (46) and Paul Blake was third with 13lb 4oz (43). Butch sneaked into fourth place and Dave Abrams won our section (I had losing by an ounce!), Mark Leahy won the other section with a level 12lb. I did take a pound of my nemesis Janders who had 6lb 15oz and also gratefully pocketed a nugget from Picky who had 7lb 1oz. So I wasn't too far off although I must say my casting left a lot to be desired to start with and I missed loads of bites but then I think that's part and parcel of catching roach on the tip.

The full results

1 - Mike Hosgood (Exeter) - 15lb 15oz
2 - Steve Bishop (Chard) - 14lb 4oz
3 - Paul Blake (Chard) - 13lb 4oz
4 - Butch Baker (Chard) - 12lb 7oz

A - Dave Abrams (Weymouth) - 10lb 9oz
B - Mark Leahy (Street) - 12lb

Next week is the first Spring League match on Perry Street and it's been patchy so wish me luck!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 14th March 2010

Well it was the last day of the river league and the final match in the Crown series, Martin and Malcolm were away so a good result could see me sneak the league. The sun was out and there wasn't a cloud in the sky although the wind was a little keen. My mood was tempered slightly when Rob said we were all on the relatively untried stretch at Hambridge, the last time it was in the top weight was 10oz! I drew peg 1 which was just upstream of the bridge so a nice short walk and Rob said there had been loads of roach there in the week.

After the short drive we arrived and I was soon setting my gear up, Neil Dring was just above me with Bob Hammond above him. Below the bridge was Fred Brown, the river looked nice but was very low and clear. I managed to get my box in quite low and out of the worst of the wind. I put on a deepish rig and started to plumb up and was surprised how shallow it was, I was soon digging a shorter 0.75 gram Carbo out of my rig tray. Half ten soon arrived and I started with double red maggot about two thirds of the way across but was struggling to get the rig to run through and kept getting snagged. I shallowed up a couple of times and finally caught a tiny roach, I started getting a few but the wind was making presentation difficult.

The view under the bridge from my peg

I got to six and noticed Fred playing a big fish and he was soon netting a decent chub. I kept trying caster but they weren't really having it and I was also bumping/missing too many on the maggot but was fairly pleased as Neil still hadn't caught above me. I was plugging away and thought I'd be able to catch enough to beat Fred's chub as long as he didn't snare any more. Neil wandered down, he'd just dumped a load of bait in and was going to let it settle. I was getting a bite most chucks from small roach and dace and Neil watched for a bit before going back. Under the bridge there was a big pike which kept having a go at the fish and every now and again roach were jumping out the water trying to escape. I jokingly said to Neil that it would be nice if he could catch it for me.

Within minutes of him returning to his peg he was playing a big fish which he said could be that pike! it actually turned out to be a 3lb+ chub, still as long as he didn't get anymore I should be ok. Next put in he had another and then a third! Unless the size of my fish improved dramatically I was now fishing for second. I kept trying caster but was having to wait too long for bites. I tried down the middle and started catching there so took more sections off and found I could catch at two sections to hand. Still mainly small roach and dace with the odd chublet and little skimmer thrown in, it was faster and the presentation was much better. I was still missing loads of bites and bumped a couple of better roach.

I set my sights on 100 fish and thought this would give me around 7lb, I found single red maggot best, I tried going overdepth with caster but could only catch odd fish so went back to running through. By this stage Robin was sat with me and taking the piss at the number of bites I was missing, I was getting a bite every run through. Neil and Fred hadn't added any more chub and nobody else had caught much so I stuck at it. I reached 100 fish with half an hour to go and ended with 114 (mostly roach and dace with 3 skimmer/hybrid things and a few chublets). I really thought I had between 7-8lb but was admitting to 5lb, I knew I didn't have enough to beat Neil but hopefully I'd sneak in the frame.

Match winner Neil was a tad camera shy!

Graham turned up with the scales and I was slightly disappointed to weigh 5lb 8oz, Neil's three chub plus three bits went 9lb 10oz for an easy victory. Fred hadn't found anymore and was third with 3lb 4oz. Roger Russell was the only other angler to weigh and he had two chublets for 4oz although he lost two 'munters'. I picked up £30 and also my two section points secured me victory in the league and I think I have some money to come from that as well. So a decent end to the river season with lots of bites and some money as well. I think if I'd have fished the whip with small nuggets of groundbait, I'd have pushed Neil a little closer.

1 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 9lb 10oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 5lb 8oz
3 - Fred Brown (Ilminster) - 3lb 4oz

Final Crown League standings

1 - Jamie Rich - 14 pts
2 - Martin Heard - 15 pts
3 - Malcolm Levy - 25 pts

Next week I'm on the resi, so I'd better dust off my feeder rod and reel!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Crown Inn Summer League Fixture Dates

Robin let me have the dates for the Crown Inn Summer League yesterday so here they are, should be a good little series, all matches are on Dillington Pond.

Sunday 16th May 2010
Sunday 30th May 2010
Sunday 13th June 2010
Sunday 27th June 2010
Sunday 11th July 2010
Sunday 25th July 2010
Sunday 8th August 2010
Sunday 22nd August 2010
Sunday 5th September 2010
Sunday 19th September 2010

9 matches to count, dropping the worst result. Draw at the Crown Inn at 8:30am.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League - 7th March 2010

I was really looking forward to the last V.E.S. match and even though we'd had two wicked frosts the two previous nights, I thought it would be a good match. How wrong could I be? read on to find out! Once again there were only nine of us fishing and there were some good pegs in. Rob had put 25 in and I really wanted to draw it, failing that I wouldn't mind 14 or 27. The only two pegs I really didn't want were 37 or 38 as they're both killer walks and of course I drew 37 so my drawing hand hasn't got any better!

Martin Heard was next to me on 38 but was already assured of the league, I was lying in second but if Pete Lonton beat me today he could overtake me and if I blanked there were several others who could also push me out of the league placings. I just needed to catch a minnow to guarantee second or third. After the route march Martin and me reached our swims, they both looked nice although very low and clear, there was also a cold biting wind, which was nice! The last time I'd drawn this swim I won with six chub for 12lb 15oz and was hoping for more of the same today.

Peg 37, the last time I drew it

I set up 'Ole Faithful' and plumbed up around the swim, it was shallower than I remembered and you could see the bottom in places. I started with double maggot to see if I could catch a minnow to avoid the blank but just couldn't find one, any other match there are hordes of the little buggers. Martin hadn't caught either and it was looking grim. I tried all over the swim with maggot, caster and lobbie and nothing, I also trashed a rig and it was all going pear shaped. The only good thing was that Martin was getting regular updates via his mobile and most people were still blanking including Pete. The only two who had caught were Bob Hammond in 14 and Neil Dring in 25.

I stuck at it but just couldn't buy a bite, I kept hoping a chub might have a go in the last hour and we were rapidly approaching that time. With two hours to go I was holding back by the bush opposite and the float went under! I struck but there wasn't much resistance and I swung a bullhead in, I've never been so pleased to see such a small fish. The little bugger wouldn't open his (or her) mouth though and took some persuading. I shouted down to Martin to see if he'd caught and he said he'd had two minnows. Pete, Roger and Graham were still blanking in the copse but Malcolm Levy had sneaked out a couple of minnows.

The last hour arrived and went with no more action for either me or Martin and I was glad when time was up. Graham Bulgin walked down and said that they had all dry netted in the copse so second place in the league should be secured. I witnessed Martin's minnows and he came up to see my bullhead and we had to have an ounce each as it's the lowest weight we give.

Back at the results and the river had fished terribly, Bob had won easily with 5lb 14oz and had finally christened his pole, well done mate. Malcolm had found a late chub to take second place with 2lb 2oz. Neil Dring won the top section with 1lb 15oz and me and Martin tied for the bottom section!, we picked up £7.50 each. Martin was read out as the league champion again and I had hung on to second and picked up £60. Despite blanking Pete was third and picked up £40. So at least I'd stopped the rot for now and I can't believe I picked up £67.50 for a bullhead! We have one last match on the river next week before it's back to the carp puddles and Dillington and to be honest I shall be glad to see the back of it for a while.

Pete Lonton hung on to third in the league despite blanking

I would like to thank V.E.S. Precision for their continued support and excellent sponsorship, Cindy and Steve at the Crown for looking after us all and Pete Lonton and Robin Cox for running the matches. The final match of the river season is next Sunday and the draw is at the Crown between 8:30 and 9:00.

1 - Bob Hammond (Ilminster) - 5lb 14oz
2 - Malcolm Levy (Tiverton) - 2lb 2oz

Section A - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 1lb 15oz
Section B - Martin Heard (Tiverton) and Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - both 1oz

That man again! Martin Heard - V.E.S. Precision Winter League Champion

Final League Positions

1 - Martin Heard - 7 pts
2 - Jamie Rich - 11 pts
3 - Pete Lonton - 21 pts