Thursday, December 29, 2011

Summerhayes - Open - 28th December 2011

STOP PRESS After last weeks blog, Scotty messaged me to say there was a match at Summerhayes on Sellicks if I fancied it, so I had one more chance to try and break the £1300 mark. My alarm going off at 6:30 was a bit of a shock to the system, as was getting up in the dark! I got to Bridgwater and there was a decent turnout of anglers including Martin Heard (who I paid my £1 to from last week) and Bruce Hunt who has been winning matches at Summerhayes with frightening regularity.

Scotty had sorted me bait out (top man as always) and today I had liquidised bread, slices for punching, micros, expanders, pinkies and maggots. I'm made up some 4 x 14 rigs with size 18 808's to 0.10mm and was quite looking forward to targetting the silvers. After a cup of coffee it was time to draw, I pulled out peg 9 which Pete reckoned was a good silvers peg so that would do me. For company I had Bruce on peg 6 and Heardy on end peg 4 (yet another flier!) and Adie Bishop on my left in the corner. As we were setting up, it looked like they were after carp across so I should have the silvers pretty much to myself.

Pete shouted the all in at 9:15 and I cupped in a few micros and pinkies at 10 metres down the track and some liquidised at the same distance but to my left before cupping some bread in across for the carp. I started down the track with double pinkie and the pimple of float I had showing soon disappeared but I missed it, next put in I had a 4oz skimmer and I was off the mark. I had a few more tiny blades before catching a 4oz carp and was quite enjoying it. The weather was incredibly mild and there was no wind as yet. Adie had got off to a flying start and had landed three or four small carp although Bruce and Heardy hadn't got much at this early stage.

After an hour I had eight fish for probably a pound and decided to try a 4mm expander to see if I could catch some better quality. I had a couple more 4oz skimmers before landing a 2lb carp. A few blades followed before I hooked another decent fish which turned out to be a 1.5lb crucian which was a welcome addition to my silvers net. I was missing quite a few bites though and bumping the odd small fish. I tried punch over the left hand swim but only caught one tiny skimmer on it so started feeding micros there as well to give me somewhere to go to rest my main swim.

We had some freezing rain which thankfully didn't last long but a gusty wind had got up and it was making presentation a nightmare. I was still getting odd small fish but now Heardy was motoring on carp and as Adie now had probably ten carp I couldn't see any point going across as I was never going to catch them up. So it was head down to try and win the silvers prize. Halfway through the six hours I was still geting the odd 4oz skimmer and had one around the half pound mark and thought I was on course to do 5-6lb which should be good enough as 4-5lb had been winning the silvers.

Bruce was really struggling and had turned his attention to the silvers and was catching tiny skimmers every put in and even had a little tench. I knew I was probably just ahead with my crucian but I was now struggling and I could see him overtaking me at this rate. I tried pinkie again over both lines and could get odd tiny blades but it was still very slow. I kept trying pellet but was missing way too many bites. As the end of the match approached I was convinced he'd done me and I finished with 38 fish and I thought my silvers might go 4lb.

The scales arrived at Martin and he had 63lb 1oz and would be there or thereabouts with that, Bruce weighed 5lb 13oz of tiny skimmers which was a really good weight and I didn't think I had that. My carp weighed 2lb and then I plonked my silvers on the scales and the needled settled and Pete called out 5lb 15oz - phew! but would it be enough? Adie had 46lb+ and then I continued packing up as the scales went round the other side. As I was packing the car Scotty turned up and he'd had 11lb 10oz of skimmers - bugger. I was hoping that he'd frame as he had over 30lb in total but it wasn't to be as peg 23 had 56lb+, so I'd failed in my bid to top £1300, maybe next year then!

Heardy does it again! (I'll have to get another picture for next year as I'm getting sick of this one!)

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 63lb 1oz
2 - 56lb+
3 - Adie Bishop (Summerhayes) - 46lb+

1 - Scott Russell (TackleUK) - 11lb 10oz

Well that is it for me for 2011, there are matches at Summerhayes on New Year's Day and Monday 2nd Jan but my next match will be on the Isle on the 8th Jan and you can read all about how I get on right here. Happy New Year everyone, have a safe one.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

River Isle - Tacklebox/Royal Oak Winter League 5 - 18th December 2011

After some freezing weather and plenty of rain in the week, I really thought the river would have plenty of colour for this match and when Rob said he'd pegged the top end, I fancied it could be a good match. After a hairy drive to Ilminster on very icy roads, I was disappointed that there were only five hardy (or should that be stupid) anglers at the draw. I really fancied peg 14 (the tank traps) but pulled out peg 15 (close but no cigar!), still it's a half decent peg, especially with extra water on, so I wasn't too disappointed.

I got to the river and was amazed to see it still quite clear, it had extra pace but no real colour. My peg looked really good though, it's a big pool with the main flow through the middle and under my feet with slacker water on the far side. From experience I knew there was a deep hole in the middle and a decent depth until it shallows up in the tail. Being a lazy git, I just set up a 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo and plumbed up around the swim to make sure I would be slightly overdepth.

After a quick coffee it was time to start, I fed the far side where the flow eddies back, in the middle and in the flow under my feet. I started holding back in the flow and had a bite straight away from a small dace, which dropped off on the way in - good start! Then I couldn't get a bite and a change from caster to maggot saw me catch a minnow to avoid the blank. I tried the far side but never had a bite so next it was down the inside but when this was no better I was running out of ideas. I stuck another section on and went down past some overhanging crap on the inside and the float buried straight away and I swung in a 3oz chublet, I thought I'd found them but then couldn't buy a bite again!

I felt like there were some fish about so I took a section off and inched the float through on the inside, a decent bite saw some elastic out and I gratefully netted a 6oz trout (which count). Next put in I bumped a fish before having another trout of a similar size before it went quiet again. I tried all three areas again but had no more indications. Rob came down from the tanktraps and said he hadn't had a bite yet! While he was with me I was on maggot down the inside when I had a couple of little digs which I thought was probably minnows but when I went to move the rig a fish was on briefly! I'd already lost as many fish as I'd landed and I was hoping they wouldn't prove costly.

Rob went back to his peg and left me to it, I did manage a tiny dace from across on maggot but was still going nowhere. I tried half a lobby to see if there were any more trout about but never had a bite in the three spots I had fed. More out of desperation than anything I stuck two sections on and went down towards the tail of the swim and the float didn't even settle before shooting away and the pole tip starting knocking as well! and I still missed it! I came back and half the worm had gone. I tried again but never had another bite down there.

My last action of the day was another small trout on caster from in the flow 11.5 metres down the peg. I packed up hoping the others had found it as hard as I had. Steve walked up from peg 17 and said he had struggled too, before going up to see how Rob had got on. I took my kit back to the car and got the scales and walked up to weigh Rob in, he'd found two trout and weighed 1lb 3oz, I wasn't sure I had that! Next was Steve and he'd had four trout (think we might be better off fly fishing next match!) for 2lb and I knew I didn't have that and was staring at last in the section. My three trout, one chublet, tiny dace plus a couple of minnows went 1lb 4oz - phew! So at least I had two section points to keep me in contention in the league but it could have been so much better if I hadn't bumped off those fish.

Back at the results and the anglers at Ashford had struggled with Martin winning yet again with 3lb 6oz of chublets from peg 82. Neil Dring had 1lb 4oz which meant me and him had tied for third place and picked up £7.50 each! I lost yet another £1 to Martin and will have to try and recoup some in 2012, but I'm not holding my breath!

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

Martin finished the year leading both leagues

Well that's it for me in 2011, my best year ever winnings wise although I missed out on making it £1300 by just £9, maybe next year! I won nine matches and jointly won the evening league at Dillington with Moses and going into 2012 I'm joint second in this league and not too far off the pace in the V.E.S. Precision league. I would just like to wish anyone who reads this a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year and of course TIGHT LINES.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

River Isle - Xmas Fayre - 11th December 2011

After buggering up most of my rigs over the last few weeks, I actually spent quite a while on Saturday making up rigs, tying hooks and putting new elastic in my pole. This combined with my new waterproofs had me raring to go on Sunday, I just needed a decent draw now. There were twelve of us today including Ned and his boy, club treasurer Andy Welch and Tony Newman who we hadn't seen since the first V.E.S. match! Pete announced the draw and I waited a while before delving in and looked around to see what others had drawn, Pete had the much fancied 126, Leighton had the 'Council House' which was in for the first time this season and Andy Welch had 85 which has been a consistent peg this year. I went for it and pulled out 82 again - bugger! I did have the choice of 82 or 83 and everyone reckoned I should give 82 a go. Then Heardy had the last ball in the bucket and it was 120 and I knew he'd be there or thereabouts from there (and he really is drawing well at the moment).

I got to the river and was surprised how low it still was considering how much rain we'd had in the week, but that seems to be a sign of the times with the river rising and falling very quickly. I went up to look at 82 and it looked okay but it's on a high bank which I didn't much fancy with the gusty winds predicted for today. Also the cows were around and I didn't really want to spend half the match fending them off, so 83 it was then! I made myself comfortable before getting one of my shiny new rigs out and plumbed up around the swim, the rig was pretty much spot on and I waited for the start with a cup of coffee.

10:15 arrived and I baited up with caster and inched the float through in the flow leading up to the bush and it slid away and I swung in a gudgeon, next chuck I had a dace and followed this with a chunky little roach. I was feeding casters, maggots and hemp and getting a bite every run through. After the first hour I had 26 fish, mostly gobies with the odd dace and roach and thought if I could do 20 fish an hour I wouldn't be too far off double figures by the end of the match.

The second hour was pretty similar and I added another 24 fish although I was catching mostly gudgeon along with the odd minnow (which I didn't count) and was ahead of my target at this stage. The last time I fished this peg I had a decent trout and I was hoping it would put in an appearance this week too! Hour three saw things start to slow although I still had 16 fish to put me on 66 and I was still ahead of my target. Nearly all my fish were coming from above the bush and holding back by the bush saw very few indications which surprised me as the swim screams chub!

Hour four saw me really struggling, I did have one gobie on maggot, I tried poking the rig right in under the bush and had an 8oz roach straight away, next chuck I had a 6oz chublet and thought perhaps I'd found them again but it was short lived and I only added a couple more gudgeon. I flirted briefly with worm but never had a touch on it. The wind was pretty strong but as I was only fishing about 8 metres it wasn't affecting me too badly and then the rain started! It was coming down quite heavily and I was glad of my new waterproofs which seemed to be performing really well.

I was still putting the odd fish in the net but it was obvious I wasn't going to reach my target, as the light started to fail I had three roach including a couple of better ones to finish on 79 fish. At an ounce each I would have 5lb and as I had some better fish I really thought I might have 7-8lb. I weighed Andy in who had struggled with the wind for 8oz although he did lose a good chub, I plonked my fish on scales and was disappointed when the needle settled on 5lb 14oz although I felt I'd fished a good match and had only dropped one fish off.

I got back to the pub and people started filtering back, Heardy had done 7lb 15oz from peg 120 (he must know that peg like the back of his hand now!) and was top until Leighton came back from the Council House swim where he'd had 8lb 2oz and he'd packed up an hour early! There were a couple of 5lb+ weights but I was still hanging on in third place until Neil Dring appeared and he'd had an excellent 12lb 11oz from peg 96, so I'd just missed out on the frame.

Pete did the results before we all tucked into an excellent buffet laid on by Steve and Cindy and then it was time to pick our prizes, I was called out in fourth and got a nice bottle of whiskey which would do for Mum as she likes the odd drop or two! I forget to mention that Martin had yet another £1 off me and I only have one match left to try and win one from his this year.

1 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 12lb 11oz
2 - Leighton Cox (Ilminster) - 8lb 2oz
3 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 7lb 15oz

Xmas Fayre winner - Neil Dring

So that just leaves next week to see if I can finish on a high and break through the £1300 barrier.
The club would like to thank Pete Lonton for getting all the prizes, Robin Cox for organising the match and Steve and Cindy at the Oak for laying on a lovely spread.
The final match of the year is next Sunday and the draw is at the pub between 8:30 and 9:00.
Barney's Pairs Open has been rescheduled from New Year's Day to March 4th.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

River Isle - Tacklebox/Royal Oak Winter League 4 - 4th December 2011

As you may have noticed from the title, we have a new co-sponsor for this league in the Tacklebox in Chard and I would like to say a huge thank you to Darren for his support. Also new for this week was my sparkly new Preston waterproofs although with how dry this winter has been so far it doesn't look like I'll get to test them anytime soon! Rob had used the bottom end of the river again as it was still low and clear and with only six of us fishing there was a good chance of drawing a good peg. I really fancied pegs 120 or 126 but of course Heardy drew the former and Rob drew the latter (why can't I draw like that!). I delved into the bucket and pulled out peg 124 again - great! Earlier on in the season it had been producing chub but I struggled for 4lb 2oz off it a couple weeks back and Pete Lonton only had 10oz off it last week.

I got to the peg and decided to sit a little lower than last time so I could reach all of the swim with 13 metres. I only had time to set one rig up and it wasn't deep enough so I had to do a bodge job and add some more line on (professional I know!). Still at least I looked the part in my new gear! The start time arrived and inching the rig through in the main flow with caster on the hook I was soon getting the usual minnows and the odd little roach and dace. After an hour I'd had 5 or 6 but probably didn't have 4oz yet so it was time to try half a lobbie. This produced a few knocks from small fish but after two hours I hadn't added anything else to my net and it looked like being yet another struggle.

I decided to have a coffee and wedged the pole between my legs so the float was holding back in the flow at 10 metres. I was just tucking into a sandwich and some crisps when the float went under and a better fish was on! At 10oz it wasn't the biggest chub in the swim but it more than trebled my weight. I went back out with another half a lobbie on and just as I reached for my half eaten sandwich, the float went again and I had another chublet, this time around 12oz-1lb. That's it I'd found them I thought but apart from a few knocks I went back to scratching around.

I went back to caster and had a few more small roach and dace (plus minnows of course) and was about to give it up as a bad job when I had a better roach of about 6oz. No more decent refins followed so I was back on the worm with a couple hours to go. Ned turned up for his usual Sunday walkabout, although this time he was doing a bit of piking with his two boys. He said Neil in 129 was struggling and Rob was getting bits in 126. Just after he left I had a really good bite on worm that saw elastic come streaming out of the pole and the fish was right back under all the far bank crap. I was convinced it was a pike until I saw it flash and it was definitely a decent chub. I applied more pressure and eventually it came out backwards and I netted it to find out it was foulhooked in the tail! Still at 2lb 8oz it was gratefully received.

I was thinking a couple more of those and I'd be in with a shout, Ned returned and said Heardy in the weirpool was getting odd fish but not really bagging so it looked like it could be another low weight day. I kept trying all round the swim with worm and did get another around 12oz from the top of the swim and that was it. Despite upping the feed in the last hour I never added anymore fish to my net and just can't seem to catch more than one decent chub from this swim. I thought my 18 fish (plus minnows) might go 4-5lb and if the fliers hadn't fished as well as expected I might sneak in the frame.

As I was packing up, Neil wandered up with the scales and said he hadn't bothered weighing as he only had a few small fish but Rob had a lovely net of mainly quality roach weighing 11lb 6oz and I thought he'd win with that. My fish went 5lb 3oz so my estimate was pretty bang on for once. We got back to the results and Martin had weighed 9lb 12oz (so much for struggling then!) and I started to think I was going to miss out. Leighton hadn't caught in 108 and Steve had one chub for 2lb 7oz from 106 but had lost three. So I sneaked into third place and picked up £13 to keep my winnings for this record breaking year ticking over.

Rob continued his good form with a nice net of roach weighing 11lb 6oz

1 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 11lb 6oz
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 9lb 12oz
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 5lb 3oz

League wise, Martin still leads with 3 points, Rob has leapfrogged me into second on 4 and I'm in third place with 5.
Next week is the Xmas Fayre which I won last year and I would love to do it again, I just need to draw a flier now!

On the plus side, there are still some good nets of small fish being caught and it bodes well for the future, if only we could get some colour in the river I'm sure you would see some really good weights.

Before I go here's the link to the Tacklebox's website please check it out and pop into the shop's in Lyme or Chard and support your local tackle dealer.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League 4 - 27th November 2011

For this one Rob had put in a couple of pegs for the first time this season, pegs 92 and 96 at North Bradon and everyone expected the latter to do well. He also left out 120 and 126 which surprised me as they are probably the two most consistent pegs on the river at the moment. I pulled out the choice of 82 or 83 and drove to the river determined to fish 82 as nobody has fished it yet. The trouble was, 83 has been quite consistent, doing 4-5lb when it's been in but I didn't think that would be enough today.

When I got there, the river was still painfully low and clear and after looking at both swims, decided on 83. I set up a 1.5 gram Carbo (just for a change!) and plumbed up along the bush that's in the water. The swim always looks really chubby but I've only ever known it produce them once, many moons ago. The resident bullocks soon arrived to see what was going on and were doing their best to slobber all over my gear, luckily there was a barbed wire fence between them and me. I started ok and had a plump gudgeon straight away but then I noticed some thick line going between two branches of the bush and quite low to the water and every time I struck I would hit it - great!

I had a couple more gobies but that line was really starting to piss me off, then I noticed a cow trying to eat my keepnet bag and as I pulled it away with one hand, I managed to get my rig tangled in some branches. After an almighty yank the rig came back in one hell of a mess, minus the olivette and hooklength. I spent ages trying to untangle it, all the while cussing cows, branches, line and anything else I could think of. Finally I admitted defeat and set another rig up, by now quite a bit of time had passed and I hadn't put much in the net.

I was still getting gobies and the odd small dace and chublet and then had a proper elastic stretcher which turned out to be a trout of 1lb 8oz which was a proper bonus as they count, maybe I could still salvage a result! That line was still impeding my striking so I put a lit fag in the end of my pole and after much faffing about finally burnt through that pesky line but had wasted even more time. I was still getting odd fish and had a couple of slightly better dace but still only had a couple of pounds in the net, even with that trout.

That was the pattern for the rest of the match and I ended with 20 fish for around 2lb 8oz and I was sure there wasn't going to be a brown envelope for the sixth week running! I really felt I hadn't done the peg justice and was quite annoyed with myself for making several schoolboy errors. I packed up with my bovine audience still watching intently and walked down to weigh Justin in on peg 85 (yep he never draws a bad peg!). He'd fished for chub all day and done well to avoid them although he did have a nice net of smaller fish weighing a level 7lb but by his own admission he should have had more (tell me about it!). I thought he wouldn't be far off today with that. My trout assisted net went 2lb 11oz and I thought I'd finish well down in my section with that.

Justin did say that Fieldy had walked up from peg 96 and both him and Heardy (on 92) were struggling so maybe the river had fished harder than expected. Back at the results and Pete in 124 and Steve Parker in 125a had struggled for ounces as had Neil in 128, Rob had 5lb 9oz from 129 and was lying in second place and also said that Fieldy had packed up early which meant if I could beat Heardy I would be third! Of course the weigh board came back and he'd had 3lb 8oz - bugger! Still I picked up £10 for my section which at least stopped the rot for now. I had three section points which meant I'd dropped from 3rd to 5th in the league and really need three good results from the last three matches to do any good in the league.

1 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 7lb
2 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 5lb 9oz
3 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 3lb 8oz

A - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 2lb 11oz
B - Steve Parker (Ilton) - 13oz

Next week is the Royal Oak league so tune in to see if I can fish a match without cocking things up!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

River Isle - Royal Oak Winter League 3 - 20th November 2011

With no rain to speak of in the week, the river was going to be low and clear once again and Rob had done the right thing by putting in all the pegs at Redbridge and Isle Brewers. All the pegs were capable of doing good weights and I really fancied 120, 124 or 126. The only peg I didn't really fancy was 128 but Heardy drew that and wasn't too amused. I pulled out 124 and was well chuffed as it's been framing every time it's been in. Could I end my bad run at last?

I got to my peg and it looked really nice, a bend with lots of reed cover on the far bank and odd small fish topping. I got myself comfy and only had time to set 'Ole faithful' up before the start. First put in with caster on I had a minnow and then had minnow bites every run down, even on double caster. I was soon reaching for my tub of lobbies, I put half a worm on and went back out. I was still getting loads of knocks from minnows and was just thinking it could be a struggle when I hooked and landed a good chub of 2lb 8oz and I was on my way. In the last few matches on this peg people have caught a couple of chub and lost fish as well so I knew there were a few more about and there were still four and a half hours to go!

After my decent start I soon reverted to struggling though and minnows were being a real pain, even taking the worm. I kept at it because I knew a couple of chub could show up at any time but after two hours I had only added minnows to the chub and was trying all over the swim. I'd been feeding quite heavily with casters, maggots and hemp to try and feed the little blighters off, it worked to a certain degree but I still couldn't catch anything else either! Then out of the blue I had a small dace in the flow and started picking up odd small roach on single caster by running the float through. I would get a couple before the minnows moved back in so it was back to lobbie against the far bank cover. I had a good bite and a decent amount of elastic streamed out of the pole, it felt like a decent chublet but as I got it half way across the bloody hook pulled out!

I went back to catching the odd roach and had a couple of slightly better ones but it was short lived. My next bite by the cover saw me hook a beast that tore off before coming off, when I lifted the rig out, there was scale on the hook and things were going pear shaped very quickly. I did manage a chublet of 12oz-1lb but I have to confess I never had a bite and the fish was on when I lifted the rig up! With an hour and a half to go I still fancied I might get another chance and upped my feed to try and make something happen. Apart from a couple more small fish I had no more action and packed up feeling really deflated. I thought I had about 3-4lb and knew it wouldn't be enough to end my dismal run.

I walked down to weigh Steve Parker in on 125 and he'd really struggled for 1lb 1oz but it didn't really affect me as my section was in with pegs 106, 108 and 120. I weighed 4lb 2oz and felt I'd cocked up a good peg which has been doing 6-7lb every match. Heardy arrived back at the cars moaning, but he still did 5lb 10oz. Leighton had 8lb 9oz from 126 and looked like he might make it two wins out of two. Rob turned up from the top section and Neil hadn't weighed from 106, Graham had a level 2lb from 108 and Rob had a nice day in 120, weighing 8lb 5oz to make it a Cox family one-two. So my terrible run continues although I did score two section points to keep me in contention in the league.

1 - Leighton Cox (Ilminster) - 8lb 9oz
2 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 8lb 5oz
3 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 5lb 10oz

In the league Martin leads this one as well as the V.E.S., with me and Rob second on three points. Tune in next week to see if I can finish November with a flourish or if the bad run keeps chugging along.

Right I'm off to do a rain dance!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League 3 - 13th November 2011

After three bad weeks I was hoping to turn things around this week and as Rob, Leighton and Neil were off playing darts (getting drunk), it was down to me to sort out the pegs for this match. I intended to put all decent pegs in and was hoping to put us all down at Redbridge and Isle Brewers but ended up putting three pegs at Upper Coxes. There was 14, 15 (or 18) and 17 at Coxes and then 106, 108 and 120 down at Redbridge/Isle Brewers. I really fancied 14 or the three pegs at the bottom end but pulled out 17 and it's a peg I just can't seem to do well off. Martin drew 14 but kept telling me I'd win off my peg, yeah right! but to be fair he did do 8lb 15oz off it a couple matches back and there seems to be quite a few small fish there at the moment. I'd still rather have his peg though!

When I got to the river I was amazed to see it low and clear, especially as we'd had a lot of rain in the week. I sat right down by the water, just below the bridge and as I was setting up, there were loads of small fish topping and I was actually starting to look forward to it. Fieldy had the choice of 15 or 18 and chose the latter which I didn't think would do me any favours as the peg is directly below mine. I set up a Carbo on quite a long line so I hopefully wouldn't spook the fish in the shallow water (it was only about 18 inches deep) and was ready with ten minutes to go.

I started with the top three with a couple of sections added to fish down the middle but only had indications from minnows so I soon added another section. This was better and I was soon catching dace and some tiny chublets, all on single caster. I put another section on and started getting odd fish across by the wall. I wasn't really flying but after an hour I had 14 fish for probably a pound or so. I kept trying down in the main flow where the fish had been topping but only had a couple of very small roach. The second hour was a carbon copy of the first and I added another 14 fish and thought if I could keep this up I would have around 5-6lb which might sneak into third place as I couldn't see me beating Heardy or Justin in 120.

Hour three was slower but I wasn't too concerned as I hadn't ventured down the peg yet. Ned turned up for his weekly walk and was joined behind me by Fieldy who said he was struggling and was probably wishing he'd fished 15 now! I added a couple of fish while they were there and Graham accused me of bagging! By now I was regularly trying down the peg but it just wasn't happening, a big fish rolled in the flow a couple of times and once just above and I tried half a lobbie to try and snare it but never had a bite on the worm. I kept adding the odd dace and chublet and ended up with 43 fish plus a couple of minnows and thought I had around 2lb 8oz which wouldn't get me a brown envelope today. My only hope was is Pete in 108 and Steve in 106 had struggled and I might sneak third but it was unlikely.

Graham walked by to weigh Martin in and when he came back he said Heardy had 5lb 13oz, which was nearly all trout! (I reckon Martin was fly fishing!). His weight surprised me as I thought he would sack up in there today. My fish went 3lb 6oz and Fieldy had 1lb 6oz (and was definitely wishing he'd picked 15 now!) so at least I'd secured two section points for the league. Back at the results and Justin had a lovely days fishing and won with nice net of dace and chublets weighing 9lb 7oz. Not far behind was Steve Parker who had three chub for 9lb 1oz, his peg was also a golden peg so he was close but no cigar! and Martin sneaked into third.

Justin won with a nice net of dace and chublets

1 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 9lb 7oz
2 - Steve Parker (Ilton) - 9lb 1oz
3 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 5lb 13oz

With the three darts players away, the league is tight after three matches and after dropping the worst result Pete Lonton and Heardy are leading with three points followed by me, Justin and Robin on four.

Next week is the Royal Oak league so tune in to see if my bad run continues or if I can get back to winning ways.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Summerhayes - Open - 6th November 2011

After two weeks with no brown envelopes and no Ilminster match this week I booked into a match at Summerhayes. The match was on Sellicks and I have a pretty good record on this lake so I was hoping to get back to winning ways again. At the draw there were all the usual suspects like Mark Leahy, Heardy and Bruce Hunt who was hoping he could make it a hat trick of wins today. I was hoping for a nice middle peg so I could fish for silvers and really didn't want to draw peg 23. But my drawing hand is really not behaving and I pulled 23 out of the hat! Still I had 12lb of skimmers off it last time and I thought double figures would be enough today.

The pond level was right up but Pete said pleasure anglers had been bagging with silvers off my peg so I was feeling quite buoyant. I had Heardy on the next peg and he was keen to have a side bet which I thought was a little unfair as I was fishing for silvers, but I still agreed like a mug! I set up a Carpa 2 for my two skimmer lines at 8.5 metres in the bay (where I caught last time) and 10 metres straight out about two thirds of the way across. I also set up a dibber for fishing right in the corner and also for across to the island but hoped I wouldn't end up fishing either of these.

Pete shouted the all in and I cupped in half a pot of micros on both skimmer lines and the same plus some corn in the corner. I started on the 8.5 metre line with a 4mm expander and was expecting to catch quite quickly but after ten minutes I still hadn't had a bite. Martin got off to a good start landing some skimmers and a couple of carp, fishing tight across. Eventually I started getting a few bites but I couldn't hit them and then I foulhooked a carp briefly before it came off. After an hour I was still blanking and Martin was well ahead with three carp plus some silvers.

I went out to the 10 metre line and finally got a skimmer and followed this up with a 2lb carp and thought they had finally found the bait but those fish proved to be a false dawn. I added a couple more skimmers plus some tiny ones and it looked like the silvers weren't playing ball at all. I kept swapping between my two skimmer lines but it took two hours before I had a decent skimmer off the shorter line. I then hooked what I thought was carp on the longer line only for a near 2lb tench to pop up! That fish got me interested again and when I added another decent skimmer I thought I still might be able to challenge for the silvers.

But then my swims died completely and all I could get was the odd tiny skimmer of an ounce or so. Martin had slowed up as well although he was comfortably ahead of me with about six carp plus some silvers. I tried in the corner with soft pellet and corn but only had another tiny blade. Running out of ideas I went across to the island at 13 metres and had one tiny skimmer before losing another foulhooked carp and I was going nowhere and just didn't know what to do next.

The rest of the match was a real struggle and I was just getting the odd knock from small fish and only landed one more decent skimmer before the end. I ended with that tench, around seven decent skimmers plus around a dozen tiny fish and that carp. I thought my silvers might go 4-5lb which I just knew wouldn't be enough today. I quickly packed up and went to watch the weigh in which started with Bruce on peg 3. He had 13 carp for over 40lb plus some silvers to total just over 44lb and was looking favourite to win although by all accounts Adie Bishop had also done well.

As the scales worked their way round the lake I was keeping an eye on the silvers weights and nobody had much more than 4lb and I started to think I might sneak in. Adie Bishop was 6lb shy of Bruce's weight but it put him in second place. Then we got to Glyn Wickham and he had 10lb 10oz of silvers in his 25lb+ total, I knew I didn't have that but I thought if he framed I might pick up by default, this didn't last long though as somebody pipped him a few pegs along. Glyn admitted he'd lost six carp and two big tench so he could have won it. Martin then moved into third place with 33lb+, I didn't bother weighing my single carp but out of interest weighed the silvers which went 6lb 13oz which was second in the silvers, the trouble was, Pete was only paying one today!

Oh well, my bad run continues, in hindsight I should have fished 0.10 instead of 0.12mm and some maggots or casters would have been a good idea as the fish just weren't having the pellets at all. Glyn caught on chopped worm and several people caught on maggots or bread and it just goes to show how quickly you can fall out of touch with a venue when you haven't been for a few weeks and the weather starts to get colder.

Bruce did the hat trick

1 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 44lb+
2 - Adie Bishop (Summerhayes) - 38lb+
3 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 33lb+

Glyn Wickham - 10lb 10oz

Weather permitting I am back on the Isle next week so tune in to see if I can put this bad run to bed then.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League 2 - 30th October 2011

After quite a bit of rain in the week and some last night, I was hoping the river might have a tinge of colour for today and the signs were looking good for a decent match. I got to the draw and there were ten of us fishing today including 'Rocking' Roy Fowler and Leighton Cox who was fishing his first match for ages. I got a coffee and checked the section boards, there were some really good pegs in but two stood out that I really didn't fancy, peg 123 and 125 which I had in the last V.E.S. match.

Pete announced the draw and I hung back a bit but was soon wishing I hadn't as I couldn't hear anyone say they'd drawn either of those pegs! I stuck my hand in and pulled out poxy 123 and as it's a peg I've never done any good off, I was already fearing the worst at this early stage. Rocking drew last weeks winner 126 and I expected him to do well, Rob drew 124 which has been really consistent, Martin had 125a and Justin had 125 and I just couldn't see me getting too many points today.

I got to the river and there was a slight tinge but not as much as I'd hoped for and you could still see plenty of 'stick ups' and cabbages. I quickly set up a Drennan Carbo and plumbed up, I had a nice depth across at about 10 metres and there was a decent amount of flow as well. There were lots of minnows topping and I began to think I might catch a few. We were starting at 10:00 and I'd barely finished setting my one rig up when it was time to start. I started across with a single caster and was feeding casters, maggots and hemp. The float slid away after a couple of minutes and I swung in a gudgeon so at least I was off the mark.

A couple more 'gobies' followed but I wasn't really setting the world alight, I took a section off and had a run of three small chublets but that was short lived as well. I was by now fishing double caster as the minnows were being a real pain. I tried half a lobbie tight across to the far bank cover in search of a chub but only succeeded in getting snagged up and losing a hooklength. After an hour or so I only had those six fish plus a few minnows for a few ounces in total. It was time for a coffee and a wander. First port of call was Rob on 124 but he was down watching Martin on 125a, I sat down with him and Heardy said he was struggling, he was getting a few tiny roach on the waggler but had already lost a pike. Rob said he'd only had a few bits but had lost a couple of decent fish.

Rob went back to his peg and I finished my coffee behind Martin, he said Justin was getting some small dace on 125 but as nobody seemed to be running away with it I decided to get back to it. As I walked past Rob he was playing a fish but it came off on the way in, I carried on walking! Back at my peg and first put in I had a 12oz chub and when I followed this up with a couple more small fish, I thought I might put together a half decent weight. It wasn't to be though and I just kept adding the odd small dace, roach and chublet but had no quality at all.

Half an hour from the end, Rob walked up and said he'd had two chub, while he was there I had a 4oz roach but only added two more small fish up to the end of the match. I finished with 20 fish (plus minnows) and would be lucky to do a pound and half. After a really good start to the river matches my weights are going down hill rapidly, although I don't think my drawing hand has been performing very well. I quickly packed up and as I was taking my gear back, Rob arrived at Justin to weigh him in. He'd had lots of small fish for 4lb 11oz, with a section last staring me in the face I asked how Roy had got on and was surprised when Rob said he'd packed up! Apparently he'd thrown back 3lb of fish with an hour and a half to go so at least I wasn't going to be last in the section.

Martin had found a chub and weighed 5lb 7oz and Rob's two chub plus bits went 6lb 9oz and I knew I would be scoring four points today - not good! My fish went a lowly 2lb 1oz and if I never see that peg again it will be too soon. Back at the results and Leighton had caught small fish steadily all day from peg 85 to win with 8lb 8oz, Pete Lonton had a similar day in the weirpool at Isle Brewers (120) and was second with 8lb 2oz and Rob was third.

Leighton was victorious on his first river match of this campaign

1 - Leighton Cox (Ilminster) - 8lb 8oz
2 - Pete Lonton (Ilminster) - 8lb 2oz
3 - Rob Cox (Ilminster) - 6lb 9oz

A - Graham Field (Taunton) - 5lb 12oz
B - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 5lb 7oz

You can drop a match in this league and after two matches I already need to drop one!

There is a free date next week with no match scheduled, I'm willing to arrange a knock up so if Martin Heard, Steve Parker, Graham Field or anyone else wants to fish, let me know or else I'll probably go to Summerhayes (if there's a match on!).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

River Isle - Royal Oak Winter League 2 - 23rd October 2011

We were back on the Isle for round two of the Royal Oak Winter League but the river was still really low and clear and my rain dance hadn't worked at all! Rob was going to put in some untried pegs at Isle Brewers but with strong winds forecast he switched the pegs to Upper Coxes with a few new pegs in there. I waited until a few pegs had gone before delving in and pulled out the choice of 23 or 24 - great! Heardy had drawn peg 20 and Dringer had 22 which were two of the new pegs and I quite fancied 22. Fieldy had 15 again and Rob had 14 but said he was going to fish from the concrete instead of the usual place. There were two pegs at Isle Brewers, 124 and 126, Steve Parker and Justin drew these and I reckoned both had a good chance of framing.

Heardy looked at 20 and said it was unfishable and with the agreement of Rob fished in peg 17. I got to the river and looked at 24 but decided on 23 as Fieldy had nearly 6lb of small fish in the first match and had plenty of bites. Fieldy had caught by several weed beds at the top of the swim and there was also the option of fishing down towards the top of 24. I set up a 0.75gr Carbo for fishing at the top and another of 1.5gr for fishing down the swim, both had 0.12mm bottoms and size 18 B611's. The start time arrived and I kicked off by starting at the top with a single caster on the hook. I fully expected the action to start straight away but couldn't buy a bite, not even a minnow!

I was feeding both swims with hemp, caster and maggot and eventually started getting the odd dig on the float from minnows and soon caught one. I tried double caster but the minnows were having a go at that too. I did hook a small chublet but it caught round some weed and the hook pulled out, things were not going well! My first chublet came from 11.5 metres down the swim but this action was very short lived. Back to the top and I eventually started getting the odd tiny chublet and dace but I'd get one or two but they would soon spook in the gin clear water. That was to set the scene for the day really, I would get the odd better dace but they were very few and far between.

About half way through the match, Neil Dring arrived from peg 22 and said he'd just had a few small chublets and I was admitting to around a pound. After he left, Ned was the next arrival and said people were getting odd fish but nobody was really bagging. I had an 8oz chublet from down the peg and I then added two more from the top of the swim and thought I was now up to 1lb 8oz and wouldn't be picking up a brown envelope today. I ended with a flourish with another dace from 11.5 metres and another two from the top including my best dace of about 8oz. I thought my 23 fish (plus minnows) might scrape 2lb if I was lucky.

Neil said he'd had a nice spotty (trout) which I thought might do me but as he was in the other section I wasn't too concerned. Heardy arrived with the scales and it seemed like his pick your own peg approach had worked as he had 64 fish and was admitting to 5lb+. My fish went 2lb 14oz and I would have to wait to see how the Isle Brewers pegs had got on for my section points although I fully expected both pegs to beat me. Neil's trout assisted net went 2lb 5oz before Martin had 8lb 15oz and his net included a good chub which he'd forgotten to tell us about! I thought Martin would win with that. Rob had 2lb 11oz from the weirpool but had lost several good fish again and Fieldy had done 5lb 5oz from his favourite peg.

As we arrived back at the pub, Justin turned up from Isle Brewers, he'd had a right bagging day and had weighed a stunning 21lb of mainly dace on the stick float and caster and he'd said he'd had nothing above 6oz, a great days fishing. Steve had managed one chub for 2lb 6oz from 124 so at least I had a respectable two section points. Steve had lost several chub and should have been there or thereabouts. Once again, given the state of the river I was impressed with the number of small dace and chublets showing and if we could just get some rain I think you'll start to see some really good weights.

Justin had a fantastic days fishing

1 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 21lb
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 8lb 15oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 5lb 5oz

So after a really good run of picking up in the last seven matches it was back to earth with a bump. At least I had good points for the league, now I just need a good draw for the V.E.S. next week.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League 1 - 16th October 2011

I know I say it every year, but this is a league I'd dearly love to win, I've been second and third in recent years but top spot on the podium has always eluded me. You can drop one result out of the seven but a good start always helps. I got to the pub and there was a slightly better turnout of nine anglers including Tony Newman and Pete Lonton, the club secretary. Rob had put some good pegs in including 14 where I won last week and lots of people fancied it this week. With no rain all week and bright sunshine, this could be quite tough this week (but then I said that last week!).

Pete said that there was £36 carried over from the golden ball last year and there would be two golden pegs, these were 124 and 85 and both pegs are potential winners. Heardy was moaning that he never drew peg 14 and he had the last peg in the bucket and guess which peg it was?, yep 14! I drew peg 125 which is probably the best peg on the river and the match record came from it last year. I've had some big weights off it as well but I was concerned it would be too early for it. The peg needs a good flush out and some colour to fish really well and I remember drawing it early one year and struggling for 2lb off it. I had the choice of 125a as well and Rob said there were some chub in it yesterday.

I was just about to head to the river when I realised I hadn't brought my reels with me - dick! So I headed back home to pick them up before getting to the river with very little time to set up. The river was very low, clear and weedy although some weed clearing/dredging had been done by the EA, there were still plenty of stalks visible. I decided to fish 125 although I couldn't see any fish in the gin clear water. I quickly set up a waggler rod with a 2AAA Drennan Crystal waggler with just two number tens down the line and a size 18 B611 attached to a 0.12mm hooklength. I also set up a Drennan Carbo pole rig as well and plumbed up but couldn't find anywhere over a 18 inches deep!

There was one relatively clear patch at 5 metres but it was only two foot long and about a foot wide. The start time arrived and I kicked off with the waggler and had to cast down the swim to find any flow and started feeding casters, hemp and maggots, I quickly caught a gudgeon and a very small roach so at least I was off the mark. The float kept dragging under even at 18 inches so I shallowed up a bit and this seemed to help and I had a little run of gudgeon, small dace and chublets. The trouble was they were very small and after an hour I had around ten fish (plus minnows) and would be lucky to have a pound!

I tried the pole in the clear patch where I could see odd chublets but the minnows were ragging the caster and I was starting to get frustrated. Back on the waggler and I was catching quite a few gudgeon with the odd chublet, dace and little roach but nothing over 2oz. It wasn't fast or furious though and I'd be lucky to do 3lb at this rate. My only hope was if some quality showed but I just didn't feel the big roach had moved into the peg yet. After three and a half hours I was still putting the odd fish in the net when Pete turned up from peg 124, he'd had some small fish but had just lost a chub. He also said that Heardy had phoned him and was struggling in the tank traps.

Then Tony Newman turned up from peg 123 and said he was really struggling and probably had about 6oz or so, he said Pete had now landed a decent chub and I couldn't see me beating him but hopefully I could still get decent section points. While Tony was there I was fishing the pole at 5 metres and had a couple more small fish but the minnows were still being a right pain! With under an hour left I tried the pole at 11.5 metres down the peg and towards the far bank and had a run of chublets but it didn't last long. The end arrived and I had 53 fish (plus minnows) and I thought I had about 2lb 8oz - not good.

I packed up and as I also had the scales I walked up to weigh Pete in (Tony had left for an early bath), Pete had added another chub and with some small fish he weighed 7lb 7oz and I said he'd be there or thereabouts with that. My fish went 3lb 4oz and I didn't think I'd be picking up today. Back at the results and the river had fished hard and Pete won the match and the golden peg, Neil Dring was second with 5lb 4oz of mainly gudgeon (and it's great to see them putting in an appearance again) and Heardy and Fieldy were joint third with 4lb 7oz each. I actually won my section by default and picked up a tenner which is better than a kick up the bum and it keeps my winnings ticking over. Justin won the top section with one chub of 4lb! I also got two points which is a good start to this league.

Pete won the match and the golden ball and had a nice little pick up

1 - Pete Lonton (Ilminster) - 7lb 7oz
2 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 5lb 4oz
3 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 4lb 7oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 4lb 7oz


A - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 4lb
B - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 3lb 4oz

Although the weights were lower than last week, it was still encouraging to see lots of small fish featuring in catches, especially the gudgeon. There were also several big chub lost. We just need some rain now!
Next week we're on the river again and going to try some different swims so tune in to see if I can keep this good run going.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

River Isle - Royal Oak Winter League 1 - 9th October 2011

After spending all Summer on Dillington and carp puddles I was really looking forward to getting back on the ditch (Isle) again. But with no rain to speak of, the river was painfully low and clear and I fully expected this match to be a grueller. I got to the Royal Oak and it was really disappointing to see only six of us fishing today (sign of the times I suppose). Rob had spread us around with two pegs at Upper Coxes, Ashford and Isle Brewers and gave choices of pegs in most cases as well. With peg 27 not in, I really fancied peg 14 and only went and bloody drew it!!!

I had the choice of 14 or 15 and people have been catching loads of fish in 15 and with no water in the river I made sure I had a good look at it before deciding on 14. You could see the bottom across most of 14 but there was darker water by the tank traps. I set up 'Ole Faithful' and also a lighter 0.75gm version in case 1.5gms was too much for the minimal flow. I plumbed up and there was nearly three foot by the traps which was better than I thought, as well as by the traps it also looked fishy where it ran out to my right.

10:15 arrived and I started with single caster on the size 18 B611 and shipped out and inched the float through while feeding some maggots, casters and hemp. I was soon getting bites but only from poxy minnows, I eventually caught a small chublet but it was hard going. The poxy minnows were even having a go at double caster, I tried half a lobbie but never had a proper bite on it. I searched down in the tail of the swim but nothing there either. After two hours I had eight small chublets and one slightly better one of about 6oz for probably less than a 1lb in total! Things most definately were not going to plan.

Graham Field was down on peg 23 and I guessed he was catching as he hadn't been up for a walk. I had a sandwich and a bit of a rethink, I knew there were plenty of fish in the swim but where were they? I plumbed up back towards the weir and there was about the same depth just off the flow as I had by the traps. I went up there with single caster on and held the float back and I didn't have time to feed before the float shot under and a decent fish was on. It wasn't on long though and the hook pulled out - bugger! Next put in I had a decent dace and then it was a fish a chuck and I hardly had time to feed before getting bites. I was catching quality dace and chublets and had three chub around 1.5lb each. I thought if I could get to 50 fish I would have around double figures.

I had about an hour of catching really well before it started to slow, I also added two perch and three trout (which count) for another 2lb or so but lost another good fish. Ned arrived for his usual Sunday walkabout but by this time things had slowed right up again, I did catch another dace while he was there to put me on 46 fish. He said he would pop down to see how Fieldy was getting on and come back to let me know. I did try back down by the traps and added another tiny chublet before the minnows got back in on the act again.

I went back up towards the weir and it was a case of putting odd fish in the net, Ned arrived back and said Fieldy was struggling and moaning rather a lot. I caught a couple more while he was there and ended on 52 fish (plus minnows) and I was admitting to 6-7lb but hoped I had nearer 10lb. I packed up and as I was loading the car Fieldy arrived back at the cars, still moaning as he had the scales as well. He reckoned he had a couple of pound. We went up to weigh me first and I was surprised when the needle settled on 12lb 2oz! We walked down to peg 23 and he had a nice net of dace and chublets which went 5lb 11oz (he's worse at estimating then me!), now I just had to see how the others had got on.

Back at the results and the river had fished really well considering how low and clear it was. Martin Heard had a good chub plus bits for 8lb from peg 85 at Ashford and Steve Parker had 4lb 8oz from 83 while at Isle Brewers both Rob and Neil weighed 6lb 8oz from pegs 126 and 124. Neil had a good chub and some quality roach and Rob had mainly roach and had suffered some pike trouble too. So I'd won! and picked up £40 to take this years winnings to £1250.50 and my best year ever. It was great to see so many small fish showing, lets hope this continues and with some colour on the river I think you would see some cracking weights.

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 12lb 2oz
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 8lb
3 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 6lb 8oz
3 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 6lb 8oz

There was one down side to the day though, Rob said at the draw that after today the rest of the Royal Oak series will be on the pond, I hope this isn't the case as I've fished it all Summer and just can't face fishing a load more matches over the winter. I know Neil won't fish the pond either, I don't mind odd matches when the river's flooded but why don't we fish the river when we can get on it. We could even alternate between the Isle, the canal and the pond which would be good. At the end of the day it's Rob's decision though.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Summerhayes - Open - 2nd October 2011

With Ilminster's Isle league not starting until next week I booked into an open at Summerhayes, which was on Long's pond. There was a decent turnout including Alvin and Digger and Pete announced the draw and Alvin pulled out a good peg and was looking to win his fourth match on the trot. I pulled out peg 32 which put me down the right hand side for the first time. The peg looked nice with a bay on the far side although I intended to fish for silvers down the middle for most of the match.

I set up a Malman's 0.4 gram pencil float for my skimmer line and a dibber for across although I only plumbed up at 14.5 metres and it was nearer 15 metres to get right in the bay. Pete shouted the all in and I cupped in half a pot of damp micros at 10 metres and the same plus some corn at 14.5 metres. One of the Wickhams was the next angler two pegs to my right and he started well catching two decent skimmers on worm. I missed my first bite on 4mm expander but soon had a couple of skimmers in the net, I then had a chunky crucian and followed this up with a 2lb skimmer. After the first hour I had eight fish for around 5lb which was bang on target.

The second hour was very similar and I added another crucian and a decent skimmer plus some smaller skimmers for about 4lb and my catch rate was ticking along nicely. I felt it was still neck and neck between me and the next peg to my right, the guy on my left was struggling. Then the third hour arrived and it all started to go pear shaped, I had a bite every put in but missed or bumped every single one and never added a fish to my net during this frustrating period. I messed about with the depth of my rig and this seemed to help slightly in that I hooked a carp only for the hook to pull out! I then had a decent fish come off at the net. I did add a couple of skimmers and another crucian to put me around 10lb with two hours to go.

Andy won the silvers in the last match I fished with 25lb but only 15lb or so was good enough for second and I thought I still might be able to do that if I could keep putting odd fish in the net. Although I had slowed up, it seemed the anglers I could see were all struggling now too, which was some consolation. The fifth hour was a little steadier and I had a couple of 10oz tench plus some skimmers and roach and a couple of nuisance carp. The last hour was pretty much the same and my last fish was a lovely tench which was pushing 2lb. I ended with 36 fish (of which 4 were carp) and I thought I had around 17lb, but would it be enough?

The chap on my right packed up with half an hour to go and chucked his fish back, which quite surprised me as I thought he'd done okay on silvers. I packed up and Pete started the weigh in at Adie Bishop on peg 37 and he had 29lb odd, the next angler didn't weigh and then it was my turn. My carp weighed 4lb 7oz and my silvers 18lb 13oz to give me a 23lb 4oz total. As the scales made their way round there were some decent carp weights headed by John Dursley with 38lb something. Then a chap called John Green (I think) gave me a scare when he weighed 17lb odd of silvers and he had fished just a top two all day.

There were now only a few pegs left to weigh, Alvin weighed an excellent 46lb to lead the field and Eric Fouracre came close with 44lb 1oz and his net included 13lb of silvers and that was it, I'd won the silvers again! I picked up £30.50 for winning (God knows where the 50p came from!) and I now need just one more pick up to make this my best year ever (that's probably jinxed it now!).

1 - Alvin Jones (Paul Church Motors) - 46lb
2 - Eric Fouracre (Sedges) - 44lb 1oz
3 - John Dursley - 38lb+
4 - Adrian Bishop (Summerhayes) - 29lb+

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 18lb 13oz
2 - John Green - 17lb+

Well hopefully we'll be on the river next week but the Isle desperately needs some rain, so tune in to see how it goes.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Gillhams Resort, Thailand September 2011

Me and Scotty headed to Thailand for nearly three weeks and we were staying at the wonderful Gillhams fishing resort for most of it. The place really is heaven and you are looked after so well by Stuart, Sean and Becs along with the guides Scott, Lee and the lovely Golock. We fished for nine days and we caught 95 fish of 15 species (Scott had 64 fish to my 31). We had Arapaima to 160lb, Siamese Carp to 55lb, Amazon Redtails to 40lb among loads of other weird and wonderful species.

160lb Arapaima (my new PB)

55lb Siamese Carp (another PB)

40lb Amazon Redtail (yet another PB)

Scotty with Spotted Stingray (new species for us)

Striped Catfish (they only have stripes when they are younger!)

Scotty with Roho (another new species)

Asian Redtail Catfish (new species for me)

Julian's Golden Prize Carp

Alligator Gar

Spotted Featherback

We also had a couple of nights out in Ao Nang and Bangkok

plus some day trips

we also met the legend that is Terry Eustace at Gillhams

and Jeremy Wade

Stuart came to Bangkok with us and showed us the sights which was fantastic of him

The Royal Palace in Bangkok

The wildlife was diverse and amazing to see

I can't go without mentioning the guides, Scott, Lee and Golock

The lovely Golock

Scott (Rocky) and Lee

It really was a dream holiday and I can't wait to go back, check out the Gillhams website below

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Summerhayes - Pairs Open - 11th September 2011

Pete phoned me a while back to say he was holding another pairs open, I had hoped to fish with Martin again as we were third last time but he paired up with Bruce so I had to find a partner. Most of the people I could think of were fishing the resi today so I asked Andy and he said he'd be up for it. He phoned me yesterday to ask about it and I said we should get our heads down and fish for silvers.

I picked Andy up and all the way there I was priming him for fishing for silvers and said 10lb on Sellicks and 15-20lb on Longs would get us there or thereabouts. I'd sorted out the bait, micros, expanders and some worm. To be honest with it being Andy's first visit to the venue I thought we were up against it. All the talk at the draw was that peg 23 on Sellicks would be a flier for carp as the wind had been blowing in there all week and Heardy had 60lb out of there on Wednesday. I really didn't want to draw it as it's an out and out carp peg with no real form for silvers. As it got closer to my turn to draw I couldn't hear anybody saying they'd drawn it and of course I pulled it out! Everyone was saying I had to fish for carp and when Andy drew peg 2 on Longs, Heardy said that was a carp peg too. So after banging on to Andy how we had to fish for silvers, we were now going to fish for carp!

The forecast for later was horrendous with 80 mph winds and rain, with that in mind we both decided to fish shorter than normal where we could actually control the pole. My peg certainly looked the part as it's a corner peg with reeds around it and the point of the island across, there was also some scum which the wind had pushed into the corner and it looked very carpy. I set up the usual 0.4g Malman pencil for the silverfish to give me somewhere to fish while my carp line settled and a dibber for the corner with another identical rig in case of breakages.

To be brutally honest my rigs just weren't deep enough and I only had a short length of line between the float and the pole tip on all my rigs. Plumbing up for the skimmer line and the only place I could find where my rig was suitable was at 8.5 metres to my left towards the corner where it shallowed up. I wasn't too worried as I would be too busy bagging up on carp to worry about silvers! Pete blew for the all in and I cupped in some micros at 8.5 metres and the same plus some corn in the corner. I had intended to feed by the point of the island at 13 metres but due to the wind I just couldn't hold the pole still over there.

I started on the skimmer line with a 4mm expander on the hook and feeding micros through a toss pot but I just couldn't control the rig and after half an hour and no bites I decided to try in the corner. Glyn Wickham was the next angler two pegs along on my right and he'd had some silvers and carp on the worm. Into the corner I went with corn on the hook and I was fully expecting to catch straight away but apart from a couple of tentative indications I didn't have a positive bite. With over an hour gone I was starting to panic somewhat! I could see carp being caught to my right and Glyn was catching carp and silvers well. The scum in the corner was also being problematic and with a really short line between float and pole tip, the presentation was awful.

I fed the corner again and went back on the skimmer line just to see if I could put a fish in the net. Eventually I did get a decent skimmer and shortly after, another of similar size. The trouble was, I was supposed to be fishing for carp! Andy walked up to use the on site toilet and I called him over, he'd had five skimmers and four carp in the first hour and was doing well. I then had two more decent skimmers and ran down to Andy's peg to say I thought we should revert to fishing for silvers, poor bloke he didn't know whether he was coming or going! Back at my peg and I dropped off a small skimmer and then lost a carp before catching a small skimmer.

My rig just wasn't right and I should have put on a deeper one with more line so I could control the rig better but soldiered on. I also think if I'd fed a line down the track I'd have caught well because Glyn was now bagging on silvers and carp. Pete turned up opposite and asked how I was getting on, said I'd had a couple of pound and he said his partner Clive had about 5lb of silvers and Glyn reckoned he'd already had 7lb of skimmers so I was well behind. I got to about 12 skimmers and thought I had 5lb or so plus a couple of carp when Andy turned for another pee and said he'd had five skimmers and a crucian which I took to mean he'd only added a crucian since the last time we'd spoken.

I set my sights on catching 20 skimmers as I thought this would give me around 10lb which hopefully would put me in the top three for silvers on the lake. I was on target and with an hour to go I had 18 decent skimmers (between 8oz and 1.5lb), 3 small skimmers and those two nuisance carp. It was obvious Glyn would win the silvers on our lake as he reckoned he had close to 20lb and he was doing alright with the carp too! I was hoping I'd get a few more skimmers in the last hour but the carp moved in and I wasted ages playing two big lumps before losing them both and the only other action I had was a small carp and that was that.

Glyn reckoned I had 15lb but I knew I didn't have that, I thought I might scrape double figures but was admitting to 9lb. Andy turned up and I asked how he'd got on, he said he'd lost count of the number of skimmers and he also had a nice tench and three crucians. When I asked if he had 15lb he said he thought he might have more than that but wasn't sure. I started to think we might sneak in the money, Glyn said his brother had done well with silvers so I thought they would win easily. Pete started the weigh in on Longs and Glyn's brother was first to weigh and he had just under 15lb of silvers. Then it was Andy's turn and when he pulled out his net it was obvious he'd done well, Pete called out 25lb 3oz and Heardy said he'd win the lake with that. Andy also had over 15lb of carp and had caught over 40lb on his first visit - top man!

As the scales worked their way round, there were no other big silvers weights, Heardy had 14lb odd. Then we got to Sellicks and the first lad had a nice weight of carp, then Bruce had 7lb 12oz of silvers but was pushed down by Clive who had 8lb 14oz and I was starting to question my weight in my mind. Alvin had bagged on carp and with 5lb of silvers had over 80lb. Glyn had 22lb+ of silvers and also had 28lb of carp and had fished a really good match on the worm. I needed to beat Clive's weight to finish second on the lake and for us to beat the Wickhams into second place. My three carp weighed 6lb 8oz and then it was time for the silvers, when I pulled my net out I thought it might be tight but the needle settled on 12lb 8oz and we'd done it!

Back at the results and we had a very welcome cup of coffee while waiting for Pete to work the points out. We were called out the silver winners with 3 points and picked up £60 each followed by the Wickhams on 4 points and then Bruce and Martin were third. Alvin and Jess won the carp pool but I wasn't too sure who finished second and third.

1 - Andy Langdon and Jamie Rich - 3 points
2 - The Wickhams - 4 points
3 - Bruce Hunt and Martyin Heard - 8 points (I think)

1 - Alvin Jones and Jess Jenner

I was really chuffed as I'm glad I made the decision to carry on for the skimmers as the peg isn't known for them at all. Andy had fished a blinding match and said he really enjoyed it and it was a great result on his first visit (I still haven't managed to do 40lb on Long's yet!). We had a chuckle on the way home about me saying silvers, silvers, silvers before changing to carp, carp, carp and then back to silvers again!

Right this will be my last blog for a while as me and Scotty fly out to Thailand tomorrow so hopefully on my return I'll have tales and pictures of some more exotic species.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Dillington Pond - Royal Oak Summer League 9 - 4th September 2011

I arrived at the Royal Oak for the draw and it was disappointing to see there would only be five of us fishing today, although on the plus side we would all have plenty of room. Robin also gave us the choice of two pegs each and I pulled out 7 or 8 and although the former won on Wednesday night, I decided on peg 8 so I wouldn't have to keep looking over my shoulder at that bloody wasps nest. I had to spend a little while clearing some reeds out to make the swim fishable and it left me rushing about to get set up in time.

It was overcast with a nice ripple on the water and after some rain last night, I fancied the eels might have a go and I had plenty of worm with me. I set up a chopped worm rig and also the usual 4 metre whip. I mixed up some dark groundbait and was just about ready when Rob shouted the all in. Rob was the next peg along on my right on peg 4 and Fieldy was next on my left on 12. I cupped in some chopped worm and caster at 10 metres before starting on the whip. I was feeding casters, maggots, hemp and the odd nugget of groundbait and was soon catching some small roach on maggot. I kept trying caster but they weren't really having it yet and at the end of the first hour I had 32 fish, most were on the small side but I did have a couple of better perch around 6-8oz.

The second hour was better and I added another 43 fish, mostly on caster and I had some cracking roach and rudd. I also put some more worm on the long line and I was itching to try it, but for now I was catching well and decided to see if it slowed before going after the grinners. If anything it got better though and I was still catching well on caster and if I had a quiet spell, a change to maggot soon saw me catching again. As per usual I was feeding one whip line straight out and another by the reeds to my left and alternating between the two.

Hour three was pretty similar and by the end of the fourth hour I was up to 152 fish and I felt I was on for a good weight. Martin shouted across to see how many I had, I told him and he replied that he was 16 fish in front but his were only 'pairs of eyes' (I've heard that one before!). This was when I made a fatal mistake, I couldn't resist trying my chopped worm line but in half an hour I only had 4 small perch and a roach on caster over it. Back on the whip and I carried on catching quite well and ended with 206 fish when Rob called the all out. I'd had some decent fish and was pretty sure I must have double figures, but would it be enough?

I packed up and as I took most of my stuff back to the car, Rob got back from weighing Steve Parker in, Steve had fished under the tree all day for those elusive chub and it hadn't paid off as he didn't hook one all day and weighed 4lb 8oz. Rob had a nice net of 7lb 8oz but was cursing losing a couple of good fish. My fish went a level 13lb which is my best weight here for ages and Heardy was convinced I'd won. Fieldy also had a cracking net of 10lb 7oz and then Heardy pulled his net out and his 'tiny' fish weighed 13lb 10oz - bugger! He had 226 fish and if I hadn't wasted that time on the chopped worm I'd have sneaked it. Still I picked up £20 for second but had to give Martin his pound back from last week.

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 13lb 10oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 13lb
3 - Graham Field (Ilminster) - 10lb 7oz

In the league Martin is winning by a country mile with a perfect 8 point score followed by Fieldy on 14 and Steve on 29. I've moved up to fifth but I've already missed four matches and will miss the last one because I'll be in Thailand (woo-hoo). Well after Wednesday night and today the pond is actually starting to fish really well but I'm glad I haven't got to fish the whip again for a bit as I find it pretty monotonous. Next week is another pairs open at Summerhayes which I'm fishing with Andy and I would love to do well in the silvers again so tune in to see how we get on.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dillington Pond - Evening League 10 - 31st August 2011

The last match finally arrived and it couldn't be any closer in the league with Alvin winning and me and Moses just 1.5 points behind. Realistically I didn't think Alvin could be caught because he needed to be last in his section with either me or Moses winning ours. We met a little earlier and decided to fish from 5:30 to 8:30, I drew peg 9 and was fairly happy because I didn't have that poxy wasps nest behind me. I had Rob two pegs to my left and venue expert, Moses, two pegs to my right although he was in the other section.

I only had time to set up the whip and mix a little groundbait before we were off. I started on maggot and fed the odd nugget of groundbait but missed several bites before connecting with a tiny roach. I had a couple more before trying caster and I couldn't get a bite on it! I was really struggling and after half an hour I only had five or six fish. Robin had yet to catch and I thought the evening had all the hallmarks of being a tough match. After an hour I was up to 21 fish and had included a couple of better roach. I couldn't really see what the others were doing and shouting up to Rob, he confirmed he was finding it hard going too.

If anything hour two was worse and although I was getting lots of bites I just couldn't hit them and initially I was putting it down to tiny fish but then when I did connect with one it was a better roach! I was feeding two lines, one straight out at 4 metres and the other towards the reeds on the inside and I was catching more fish from the latter swim. I was hoping the fishing would get better as the light failed but it just didn't seem to happen for me and Rob.

The last hour arrived and the light started to go really quickly, there were bats everywhere although at least they weren't poxy wasps. I was still missing more bites than I was hitting and I don't think I hit two on the trot all night. It didn't help that I just couldn't see my float for the last 15 minutes! I ended up with 51 fish and I thought I had between three and four pounds. Rob called the all out and it was a mad rush to pack up before total darkness arrived. Moses asked how I'd got on and I said I had really struggled for 3lb or so, he replied that he had 10lb+!!!!! This was a bit gutting as up until tonight me and Moses were winning the heaviest weight (sponsored by Paul Church Motors) with 9lb 7oz.

The scales started with Rob who had 2lb 7oz and then I weighed 4lb 4oz to end with a single section point, even if Moses won his now (which it looked like he would), we would be tied on points. Moses weighed an excellent 12lb 12oz and then Fieldy had 9lb 6oz and Alvin started to say that he reckoned he would be last in his section. This was how it turned out when he weighed 6lb 15oz, which meant me and Moses had leap frogged him into first place by half a point! As it was never stated at the start of the league what would happen in the event of a tie we decided to split the money for first and second and we ended up with £62 each. Looking at the results, if we'd have gone to weight Moses would have won whereas if we'd gone to points countback I'd have taken the verdict by one point so a fair result I think.

Moses had a nice pick up as he won on the night, jointly won the league and he also had the heaviest weight prize, well done mate.

1 - Moses Holbrook (Ilminster) - 12lb 12oz
2 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 9lb 6oz

Final League

1 - Jamie Rich and Moses Holbrook - 12.5 points
3 - Alvin Jones - 13 points

Heaviest Weight (Sponsored by Paul Church Motors)

Moses Holbrook - 12lb 12oz

So a good end to the league for me although ten matches is two too many and I think 6-8 would be better for next year.

I've had a bit of grief over 'slagging off' the pond in my recent posts and in my defence I'd just like to point out that it's just my opinion and the fishing currently isn't my cup of tea. I hear pleasure anglers bag up and that's great news and I also think it's a really good place for youngsters as they'll get plenty of bites. It's just it doesn't fish as well in matches as a few years back when you needed 15lb upwards to win and that was usually quality roach with the odd big perch or chub and I get fed up fishing the whip all the time. You only need to look at the match attendances of a maximum of 6 for the evening series and we're now getting the same sort of number on a Sunday. Anyway I'm back here on Sunday and that will be my last visit this year and I'm really looking forward to getting back on the river.

I can't go without thanking Paul Church Motors for their kind sponsorship and Alvin for running a good little league.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Summerhayes - Open - 28th August 2011

After picking Janders up it was off to Summerhayes, the match was on Long's again and I wasn't confident of breaking the jinx. There was a good turnout of twenty anglers and after a coffee it was soon time to draw, I was near the end of the queue and pulled out peg 4 which put me on the far side yet again. I just can't seem to draw the near side or down the bottom end. Janders pulled out peg 23 and was on an inviting looking corner.

Pete had pegged it so anglers were in two's so you had two spare pegs to one side to give everyone plenty of room. I had a chap on my left who used to fish with us years ago at Howley and had just got back into fishing. The nearest angler on my right was Heardy on peg 1 who was keen to have a £1 sidebet. I set up a 0.4 gram Malman pencil float for the skimmer line at 10 metres, a Malman paste float for the same line and a dibber for fishing to the far bank which was 14.5 metres away. As always it was pretty windy and I couldn't see me venturing across too often.

Pete shouted the all in and I cupped in half a pot of micros at 10 metres and the same plus some corn against the far bank. I started on the skimmer line with a 4mm expander on the hook and first put in the float sailed away and I had nice skimmer of a pound and a half - good start. I then missed a good bite before catching some 6-8oz skimmers and some small roach and skimmers. After an hour I had 12 fish for around 3lb or so and was ahead of the anglers around me. Heardy and the Wickham on peg 39 were really struggling (so it's not just me then!) and it looked like it was going to be hard at our end yet again.

The second hour was much the same, I was still toss potting in micros every put in and added around 8 more fish but was getting quite a few small roach. I was missing quite a few bites but I thought these might be small fish. We'd had a few showers and the wind was still being a pain. The third hour saw my skimmer line start to slow right up, I only had 5 fish although two of these were good skimmers and I guessed I probably had around 8lb in the net. Martin had only had three small carp and the chap on 39 probably had around the same. The guy on my left only had a couple of skimmers and lots of small roach. The chap three pegs away on his left seemed to be catching silvers quite well but I felt I was still ahead at the half way point.

I decided to rest the skimmer line and put in another half a cup of micros before going across with corn on the hook. Although the wind had died off a little and the showers had stopped, it was still a real struggle to hold the rig still and apart from a few indications, it was a waste of time. There were some reeds across in front of peg three which had been knocking every now and again so I plumbed up there and tried that for half an hour but never had a proper bite. Back on the skimmer line and I couldn't get a bite here either now! The guy next door had a couple of skimmers and a small carp so at least I knew there were a few about.

With an hour and a half to go, I started getting bites again, I was still getting small roach but then had a small carp, a decent skimmer and a lovely crucian in quick succession to put me on around 11lb. I was on 34 fish and thought if I could add another six skimmers in the last hour it would give me around 14lb or so. I had a 6oz skimmer but then the next few fish were all small roach. Martin was now fishing paste down the edge and had three carp one after another before losing a good one and I was sure that he would beat me in the last hour after I had been ahead of him all day!

I then lost a good skimmer and shortly after lost another and it was all going pear shaped. With 15 minutes left I had a skimmer pushing 2lb and another of similar size with 5 mins to go. I did miss one more bite and then Pete shouted the all out. I finished with 41 fish and thought I had around 14lb although I was admitting to 10lb! Martin reckoned he had about 14lb so the sidebet was going to the wire. As I was packing up the scales arrived at peg 39 and he had 18lb something and I didn't think I had that. I took my kit back to the car and caught up with the scales a few pegs on. 31lb 9oz was top weight so far but crucially the top silvers weight was 12lb odd, then there were a couple of 14lb silvers weights and I started to think those two late, lost fish were going to cost me.

Janders didn't weigh and handed over a £1, Eric Fouracre came close to Glyn Wickham's leading overall weight with 31lb 8oz and there was also a 31lb 4oz. The chap on my left didn't weigh and then it was my turn. My solitary carp weighed 15oz and then I pulled my silvers out and everyone was saying it would be close, Pete called out my weight at 17lb 1oz (18lb in total) and I'd gone into the lead for the silvers with only Martin to weigh. Martin weighed 13lb+ in total so I'd won the silvers and an added bonus was that I took a squid off Heardy (he'll have it back on Sunday!).

I was really chuffed and had fished a pretty tidy match with the only blip being those two lost skimmers and I'd finally broken the Long's jinx.

1 - Glyn Wickham - 31lb 9oz
2 - Eric Fouracre (Mosella) - 31lb 8oz
3 - 31lb 4oz
4 - 26lb+
5 - Alvin Jones (Enterprise Angling) - 25lb 10oz

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 17lb 1oz
2 - 14lb 13oz

Well I seem to do okay on silvers at Summerhayes but can't seem to get to grips with the carp and I really need to put in some practice with paste to get my confidence up.

Next up is the final evening league match at Dillington where Alvin leads me and Moses by 1.5 points. I would love to do well in the final match but it'll probably all go tits up now!