Sunday, November 28, 2010

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League - 28th November 2010

With loads of snow in the week and freezing conditions forecast, I wasn't looking forward to this one. At the pub there were only six brave souls (idiots) and when the draw was announced I hung back and when there were only two balls left and 14 was one of them I was about to draw when Justin turned up! Rob had to put another peg in and we had to draw again. The golden ball was drawn again and this time it was 14 (it was 20 first time around) and Rob offered Justin first draw to see if he could pull out 14 for the third match on the trot. He pulled out a ball and we waited while he opened his hand and yes he'd drawn 14 yet again - unbelievable! I drew peg 20, a swim that hasn't really been in much and definitely not a match winner.

I got there and it actually looked nice with some deepish water above me and some brambles on the far side downstream. Steve Parker had drawn 24 and trying to turn around had got his van stuck! - not a good start. Pete Lonton was above me on 18 (at least I hadn't drawn that again). Heardy had got peg 15 and I fancied him, Justin on 14 and Neil on 27 to fill the three frame places today. I only set 'Old Faithful' up and after a quick coffee was ready for the start. I was fully expecting it to be really hard and thought a couple of pound would be enough to frame.

I started with caster on the hook and inched it down in the flow and then held it back against the brambles but nothing. Then out of the blue a fish topped in the flow, I switched to double bronze maggot to see if I could get a bite, even a minnow would do. I was holding back in the flow and went to move the rig and there was a decent dace on! I shipped back really slowly only for it to come off - bugger! I started to get little knocks on maggot and thought they were minnows but then I had a little 2oz chublet - blank avoided. I then had a tiny dace before catching a minnow so I switched to caster and then hooked another good dace only for that one to come off as well. My elastic didn't seem to be coming out so I checked and it had frozen inside the pole!

Pete came down, he'd only caught minnows and his line kept freezing in the rod rings. He said Heardy was catching in 15 but Justin was struggling. I actually felt there were a few fish in my swim as I was getting regular indications, I had three decent dace quite quickly, all on caster. A small fish topped above me and I went up and was sure I'd catch but never had a bite. Steve came up, he hadn't caught and was searching for logs to put under his wheels to try and get his van out, he wasn't a happy bunny. My bites dried up and in between copious cups of coffee, I tried maggot but only had a couple of minnows and a bullhead.

I did hook another little dace only for it to drop off when I went to swing it! It was really cold and I just wanted the five and a half hours to end. I did manage another small dace right on the whistle to give me six fish (plus minnows) and I was pretty sure I didn't have a pound. I went to start packing up and my landing net had frozen to my keepnet! then my landing net pole was frozen solid, fully extended and I had to pour precious coffee on the joints to free it. I walked down with the scales to Steve only to meet him on his way up, he hadn't caught. We then met Justin who said he'd only had 7oz!, Martin had weighed 4lb 6oz and would be a clear winner with that. My fish went 13oz (bagger!) which actually put me in third place behind Dringer who had 3lb from peg 27 and I picked up £14 although I had to give Heardy the pound back that he'd given me this morning.

We all then trudged down to try and get Steve's van out, which we eventually did with Rob using his car to tow it out - phew! If Steve never sees peg 24 again, I think it'll be too soon. On the plus side it's nice to see lots of little dace and chublets showing but where have all the big chub gone? I haven't hooked one this year yet! On the league front Neil and Martin jointly lead with perfect three point scores followed by Fieldy (who didn't fish today) on six and then me on seven.

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 4lb 6oz
2 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 3lb
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 13oz

Lets hope it warms up a bit before next week!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 21st November 2010

More rain and the river was in perfect nick yet again, my day didn't get off to the best of starts when I overslept and had to rush over to Ilminster as I had all the stuff for the draw in the back of my car! I got to the pub (minus all my kit, which I'd have to go back for) and had all the usual abuse about me having my head up my arse, that sort of thing! Rob had put some cracking pegs in today including 14, 15, 27, 125 and 126, in fact the only pegs I didn't fancy were 18 and 29. When the draw was announced I thought I'd go in early and I hung onto my peg without looking while everyone drew. I was waiting for someone to say they'd got 18 and when this didn't happen, I slowly opened my fingers and there was poxy 18 staring back at me!

I drove back to Chard to get my kit really disheartened because although I'd done alright off it last week, with some good pegs in I didn't fancy 5-6lb would be enough to get in the frame today. I actually had the choice of 17 or 18 and when I finally got to the river I decided to give 17 a try instead as it did look nice. With me being so late, I had to get my patched up 'Ole Faithful' out for another session. The depth was fairly similar to 18 and when I finally got fishing I had already missed quarter of an hour, I started catching dace and small chublets quite quickly, along with the normal minnows.

My catch rate was similar to last week but the average size was smaller with just the odd net fish and I was going nowhere fast. The peg is just below a bridge and back when it used to be good, people used to catch by the wall on the opposite bank but it looked pretty pacy today. I probably had a pound or so in the net but with two hours gone things had slowed up and with nothing to lose I decided to try by the wall. The rig actually sat in the flow quite nicely and then the float just slid away and I was soon netting an 8oz chublet. Another three in as many chucks hinted there were a few fish there but then I couldn't buy a bite again.

Leighton wandered down from peg 14 (the tank traps) and said it was quite slow and he'd only had a couple of pound and that Dringer was struggling in 15. He'd also spoken to his dad on peg 29 and both he and Martin Heard on 27 were struggling but apparently Graham Field down on 125 was bagging and had phoned his missus to bring over another keepnet! I kept at it because although Graham looked to be a clear winner and I fancied 126 to be second there was still third place up for grabs.

I was still getting the odd fish from in the flow and every now and again I'd try by the wall and get another dace or chublet. I'd also fed an inside line from the start and kept trying it periodically but never had a fish from there. I was getting a few problems with minnows and tried lobbie and double caster and had a couple of fish on both to end with 28 fish which I reckoned would go around 3lb.

While I was packing up, Rob turned up, he didn't bother weighing in and Heardy had 1lb (woo-hoo, I'd beaten him two weeks on the trot). Dringer came down to weigh me in first and when I weighed 4lb 9oz I suffered the usual ribbing over my crap estimates. As I was loading my car they came back from weighing Leighton and he'd had 4lb 10oz - bugger, ounced again! I had to weigh Neil while Rob rushed off to weigh Fieldy in, Neil had 1lb 13oz so I actually scored two league points but was sure that I wouldn't pick up today.

Back at the results and Graham Field had weighed in a staggering 43lb 4oz to set a new match record! He'd caught 314 fish on the waggler and maggot and had an amazing days fishing. Janders held the old record of 37lb 8oz and I thought that would stand for years but as he's now defected to carp puddles there's no chance of him reclaiming the record. I do think it'll take something special to beat Graham's new record.

Graham Field - new River Isle match record holder with 43lb 4oz

I looked at the weigh boards and was surprised to see Steve Parker had only weighed 2lb 3oz from peg 126 and that Richy hadn't weighed from 128, which meant I'd sneaked into 3rd and picked up £16. Richy actually chucked back 44 fish and I reckon that might have pushed me, I learnt years ago to always weigh in as you never know!

1 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 43lb 4oz
2 - Leighton Cox (Ilminster) - 4lb 10oz
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 4lb 9oz

After three matches and dropping the worst result, Leighton leads the league with two points followed by Graham on three and me on four. Next week is round four of the V.E.S. and I'm just hoping I don't draw 17 or 18 again!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League - 14th November 2010

After weeks of the river being low and clear we had loads of rain and I was worried at one point that it might be unfishable. On the morning the river looked perfect with some extra pace and a tinge of colour. Neil and Rob were off playing darts (drinking) in Torquay so it was left to the rest of us to sort the match out. There were only eight of us so we put pegs in that should hold some slack if the river rose during the day as more rain was forecast.

I had the bucket and when there were only two balls left I got Pete to draw for Justin who hadn't turned up yet and he only pulled out 14! I was left with 17 or 18 and after reaching the river decided on 18 as it can fish well with colour on. As usual I only set 'Ole Faithful' up and looking at the river I was surprised there wasn't as much colour as I expected. A small fish topped in the slack at the top of the swim and I couldn't wait to get started.

10:15 arrived and so did the rain!, first put in I had a chublet on caster and then three nice dace and the odd minnow. By the end of the first hour I'd had 13 fish for the best part of 2lb and was enjoying it although the rain was freezing cold. I was fully expecting things to slow and they did in the second hour, I was trying holding it back, running it through and different areas of the swim, but I only added five more fish including a nice roach with several fish coming to double maggot.

The third hour was much the same and I would get a couple of fish from one spot before they moved. Steve Parker turned up from peg 52 and said his swim was unfishable and that Martin was struggling on 50. He also said Pete in 15 had a decent chub plus bits so I was up round there at the halfway stage. I was still getting odd fish but it was becoming a struggle, so I went 13 metres down the swim and missed a corking bite before catching a net dace. I had a few more indications but no more fish. Tony Newman then turned up from peg 24, he'd also packed up so I stuck at it hoping I could get a few more.

I put on a half a lobbie and had three dace in quick succession before that died a death so I tried a lobbie down the swim and missed a bite before disaster and I got snagged solid on some underwater obstruction. I pulled and it finally came free but 'Ole Faithful' didn't look too good afterwards. The side eye had pulled out, half the shot had pinged off and the hooklength was gone! With only twenty minutes left I did a bodge job and stuck the eye back in and tied a new hook on. Out of the blue I had two small chublets in two chucks on caster to finish with 31 fish which I reckoned might go 4lb.

I packed up and went to see how Pete and Justin had got on, Justin had a fantastic days fishing and plonked 18lb 8oz of dace, chublets and roach on the scales, Pete had also done well with 6lb 15oz although he said he'd bumped as many off as well. My fish actually went 5lb 7oz but my only hope of a brown envelope was now if those two framed and I got the section by double default! Back at the results and that was exactly how it panned out and I picked up a tenner to keep the winnings ticking over. I was actually third on the day but they only paid two due to the depleted turnout. Martin had 1lb 5oz and owes me £1 (well he can give me one of the several I've given him over the last few weeks!). Despite his low weight he actually won his section as the two pegs at North Bradon only weighed an ounce apiece. His second one pointer means him and Neil are leading after three matches and dropping the worst result they are both on two points. I'm way down on five.

1 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 18lb 8oz
2 - Pete Lonton (Ilminster) - 6lb 15oz

A - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 5lb 7oz
B - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 1lb 5oz

Well that's it for this week, tune in next week when I draw another crap peg!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

River Isle - 7th November 2010

With no league match scheduled we decided to have a knock up and perhaps try some new swims. There were only seven of us again and Rob had put some swims in at Isle Brewers and I really fancied a crack at 125 but Heardy drew that, does he ever draw a bad peg! I paid him the pound from last week and made sure I had enough dosh to pay him for today (I'm thinking of setting up a direct debit!). I pulled out peg 50 at Ilford and quite fancied it for a few fish but was wary of how low the river still was.

I got to my peg and as I was settling in, Rob turned up to drop Leighton off as he was the peg below the bridge and said he could see a couple of chub at the tail of my swim, my appetite was now well and truly wetted! Being a lazy bugger I only set up the usual Carbo and plumbed up around the swim and could find no more than a foot's depth anywhere but as long as it remained overcast I was confident of catching a few. First run through with caster the float slid away and I swung in a small chublet, next chuck a dace and then another, I was enjoying this! After an hour I had 8 fish including a 10oz trout (which count) and a nice roach, I'd also bumped one and missed a few bites.

Then the sun came out and I could see through every inch of the swim and my bites just stopped. By the end of the second hour I'd only added two more roach and a small dace and still no sign of a proper chub. I went through the motions for another hour before deciding a walk was in order. I had a look upstream and off the bridge but didn't see a fish, next stop was Leighton but he wasn't at his peg either! I met up with him as he walked up from having a look at the big bend and he said he'd just had a few small fish and loads of minnows. He also said he'd spoke to Rob and he was struggling in 14 but they were getting a few at Isle Brewers.

I went back for the last hour and despite trying lobworm and upping the feed the elusive chub remained elusive and I never had another bite. I packed up and as I was walking down to weigh Leighton in, Rob turned up, he didn't bother weighing in and Steve Parker only had 12oz from peg 17. I still fancied the top three would come from Isle Brewers though. Leighton had a hard won 1lb 6oz and for once my estimate of 2lb 8oz wasn't too far off as I weighed 3lb 1oz.

Back at the results and Neil Dring had a lovely day on peg 126 to win with a brilliant 15lb 13oz of mainly roach to record his second win on the trot. Martin Heard had 5lb 3oz from 125 for second and I sneaked into third place and picked up £16 as Tony Newman had 2lb 4oz from 123, although he'd had loads of pike trouble. So once again I'd gotten off to a promising start only for it to fizzle out and I still haven't hooked a proper chub!

Next week is round three of the V.E.S. and at least Neil can't win 'cos he's not fishing next week! Although that will probably just mean Martin will get back to winning ways.

1 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 15lb 13oz
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 5lb 3oz
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 3lb 1oz