Sunday, September 30, 2012

Summerhayes - Open - 30th September 2012

After two weeks in paradise I was back at Summerhayes today, the match was on Longs and I was quite looking forward to it as I haven't fished this lake for a while. Alex Murray was fishing today and he's off to Gillhams fairly soon with his family - lucky bugger. I drew peg 18 which is a decent silvers peg and had Bruce Hunt two pegs to my left and Heardy two to my right. The wind was awful, blowing right across our pegs and it was a job to hold the pole at 10 metres. I set up the usual two rigs, both 0.4 gram Malman pencils, one with a spread bulk and the other with a more positive bulk. For bait I had the usual micros and 4mm Bait Tech expanders but today I also had some 6mm meat as Scotty said he'd caught well on it in the last Weds match, which he'd won.

On the whistle I cupped in half a pot of micros at 10 metres, straight out in front and half a pot of meat at 10 metres to my left. My match started like a dream when I had three decent skimmers in the first three chucks. I then had a couple of small fish and missed a couple of bites so tried a cube of meat and had another decent skimmer and the first hour had gone well for me. Martin was fishing short and on the insides as he couldn't hold the pole across and had caught a couple of decent skimmers but no carp as yet. Bruce had a couple of carp and the other two anglers I could see, Ray Wickham and Alex weren't bagging either.

The second hour was a bit of a nightmare with the wind being a right pain and I only added a couple of small fish and missed several bites, a quick try over my meat line resulted in one decent roach and the more positive rig over my pellet line just resulted in more missed bites. After such a good start, I was going nowhere fast and to make matters worse, Heardy was catching good skimmers on his carp rig! I decided to fish a section shorter at 9 metres where I could hopefully present the rig a bit better. Two small blades at least told me there were some fish there so I cupped in half a pot of micros and started getting the odd good skimmer amongst the small fish and seemed to be doing better on silvers than anybody I could see.

At the halfway point Bruce wandered up to Martin and said he'd had seven carp, Heardy had three decent carp plus some quality skimmers, Bruce went to see how the other anglers were doing and came back and reported that 40lb would be a good weight today! I tried meat over my new shorter line and had to wait ages for a bite which I then missed! I was still getting some good skimmers of 1.5lb+ but would only get a couple before reverting to just getting odd small fish. I did lose a good one that came off on the way in and dropped off a 6oz skimmer that I tried swinging in when I should have netted it - doh! I did get a nice little tench of 12oz but had no clue what weight I had (no change there then!).

I was hitting more bites on my shorter line and with an hour and a half to go, I hadn't hooked a carp yet! Famous last words as I then hit my first carp and had another shortly after. I was still getting good skimmers and then had carp number three, as I went to put it in my carp net, it caught my rig on the way in and I ended up with the hook in my finger - ouch! Still no harm done I thought but then saw I had bent the bristle of my favoutite Malman pencil in half - disaster. I gently bent it back into place and hoped it would last out the match although I did still have the more positive rig if it did give up the ghost. I felt I was just ahead of Heardy on silvers and Bruce was still carp hunting and catching fairly well.

I had two more carp to put me on five and added a few more skimmers in the last part of the match to finish with 41 silvers, I had no idea what weight I had and thought I might scrape 12-14lb which I didn't think would be enough for a pick up today. I packed up still mourning the death of my favourite float and went to watch the weigh in. Alvin Jones had already weighed and was leading with a fantastic 80lb 12oz of carp, Nigel Garrett had 40lb 6oz which included 13lb of silvers, Glynn Wickham had 16lb 4oz of silvers and I was pretty sure I didn't have that, Martin Addicot had 13lb 5oz of silvers and I was wishing I'd fished shorter an hour earlier. Jess Jordon had fished all out for silvers on peg 24 and weighed an excellent 21lb 3oz and I thought that was that as him and Glynn would fill the two silvers places.

Bruce had 31lb 1oz of mainly carp before it was my turn, my five carp went 10lb 4oz before I lifted my silvers net out and I was relieved when my weight was called out as 17lb 15oz to give me a 28lb 3oz total. Again I was left cursing that poor hour when I struggled at 10 metres. Heardy had 23lb 9oz of carp and 13lb 11oz of silvers and had lost a couple of carp that would have seen him frame. I was lying second in the silvers but there were still several anglers to weigh including Ray and Nigel Wickham who normally fish for silvers. Ray had 11lb 12oz but had lost several fish and Nigel had fished mainly for carp and weighed 30lb 3oz. Several anglers had taken early baths and Mark Hanham was admitting to around 50lb but actually weighed 90lb 9oz and is worse at estimating than me!

Todays weighboard

So I finished second in the silvers and picked up £16 which stopped the rot for now, I also won a squid off Glynn but haven't had it yet.

1 - Mark Hanham (Summerhayes) - 90lb 9oz
2 - Alvin Jones (Alvin Jones Car Care) - 80lb 12oz
3 - Nigel Garrett (Summerhayes) - 40lb 6oz

1 - Jess Jordon (Summerhayes) - 21lb 3oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 17lb 15oz

Next week I'm back on the Isle and it will be interesting to see how it fishes after all the floods we've had so far this year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gillhams Resort, Thailand - 11th to 24th September 2012

With Scotty unable to come this year I was a little apprehensive about going to Thailand on my own but everybody at the fantastic Gillhams resort made sure it was a trip to remember. Stuart and his lovely wife Benz, Sean and Noi and of course the fantastic guides, Golock, Joel, Chris and Lee all made sure I had an amazing time. An added bonus was that Terry 'Poppa' Eustace was there for most of my stay and he really is a legend, many of the other guests were lovely too and I made too many friends to mention but I can't not mention Danish Tommy and Alan Boon and his mate Steve. For the first few days I got involved with filming for a match against Zeb Hogan from National Geographic, it was Sean, Joel and me versus Zeb where Joel was the eventual winner for the biggest carp and won $200, I won $100 for the prettiest carp and Zeb won a crate of beer for the coolest fish!

The 'prettiest' carp, shame the same couldn't be said about the captor!

It rained solidly for the first two days and the fishing was a little slow although I did manage that 66lb carp above (which was a new personal best) and a nice Amazon Redtail. Also there for my first few days were Mike Ward and his lovely wife, Mike runs a great little Thai angling website, check it out here it was a pleasure to finally meet and fish with him. Their company was fantastic at dinner and I hope our paths cross again. I also met Mark Hoye who has a Facebook page which has loads of great user submitted photos, have a look here Fishing in Thailand

Me with Mike Ward and his lovely wife

After those first few wet days, the weather was scorching and we just had the odd shower, I caught some awesome fish and upped my personal bests for several and added a couple of new species.

 I upped my pb for Siamese Carp with this beauty of 70lb

Amazon Redtail of 80lb
Amazon Redtail of 90lb (new pb)
Asian Redtail Catfish
Me and Chris Pache with biggest Siamese of 75lb

Spotted Featherback
New pb Asian Redtail of 15lb
200lb Arapaima
Chinese Seerfish
After a 3 hour 10 minute scrap I finally landed this 180lb Mekong Catfish (a new species and pb for me)

My biggest ever fish, an Arapaima of 260lb

Terry 'Poppa' Eustace playing a big Mekong

Poppa with a 190lb Mekong

I also managed a couple of fish from the lure lake catching my first ever fish on a lure.

A Horsefish caught on a lure
We also had some great nights out in Amy's and enjoyed some fantastic meals in local restaurants.

Poppa with Amy

Having a meal in Krabi

Having a quiet night out!

The lovely Jak in Amy's

Poppa enjoying a cocktail

Danish Tommy and friend

'Hello sailor'

Me and Poppa in Amy's

Fantastic sunset


I really can't describe how much I love the place and I can't wait to go back, check out the Gillhams website at Gillhams Resorts

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Summerhayes - Pairs Open - 9th September 2012

I was looking forward to this one as me and Andy won it last year but as there were some right stars fishing this time around it would be hard to repeat it. Pete pays the top three pairs in silvers and carp and it is a really good little match. There were 15 pairs booked in and among these were quite a few of the Viaduct crew including Andy Power and Bobby Gullick along with the usual stars like Steve Jackson, Bruce Hunt and the Wickhams. Me and Andy were going all out for silvers and needed two decent draws to stand any chance of framing.

Those fishing Sellicks were called first and I pulled out peg 10 which was next to where I was last match (not great), there was some ripple on the pond but up the opposite end from me (typical). Andy pulled out 16 on Long's and it's not a flier and I felt we were up against it already. I had the owner Pete on peg 11 and he was fishing for carp, Andy Power had drawn 13 which is the most consistent carp peg on Sellicks. I had a blank peg to my right and then a chap called Dominic was on 8 with Nigel Garrett a couple pegs along where the ripple started.

I set up two Malman 0.6 gram pencils with 0.12 bottoms and white hydro through the top twos, I also set up a 0.4 gram pencil to fish at half depth with blue hydro. On the whistle I cupped in half a pot of micros at 10 metres and went straight over it with a 4mm expander. I had to wait 5 mins for my first bite and had a small skimmer to get me off the mark. I had a couple more blades and lost a carp, Dominic had three or four decent skimmers quite quickly and I was playing catch up already. Pete and Andy hadn't had much at this early stage. Just as the hour mark arrived I had my first decent skimmer and hoped there would be a few more around.

I was also trying down the track at 9.5 metres where it was few inches deeper but only had odd blades from here along with a couple of nuisance carp. Dominic had a couple more decent skims and already I felt I was going to be in for a similar match to last week (in other words a struggle!). I was still getting odd blades and then just as hour two was ending I had my second decent skimmer. When I followed this up with another a few minutes later I thought I might have a chance of doing a decent weight. Andy Power was getting odd carp now but Pete was still struggling and only had one decent skimmer and no carp as yet.

I was still getting blades in the third hour and although Dominic had slowed up I still needed some more better skimmers to catch him. Pete had a tench and was catching me up on silvers. I had around 20 fish by this stage (3 decent skims plus blades) and I also had 4 or 5 carp. But then I just couldn't buy a bite apart from carp and I lost a few of these trying to bully them. Dominic was getting odd carp as well but crucially was still getting the odd skimmer amongst them. When Pete had a couple of skimmers on worm and had overtaken me, I was getting desperate. I tried a piece of worm and laying a few inches of line on the bottom but this just resulted in two carp in two chucks and I was soon back on soft pellet.

My next fish was yet another carp and I was praying for some decent skimmers in the last hour and a half. Pete had a couple of foulhooked skimmers but they weren't helping his carp net much. For the rest of the match all I could hook was carp and I must have ended up with 12 or 13 of the poxy things and I was quite relieved when the whistle blew to signal the end. I ended with just the three decent skimmers plus twenty blades and thought I had a similar weight to last week which would be well down today.

I packed up and went to watch the weigh in which had started on Longs, Andy said he'd done okay but had suffered carp problems as well as losing three or four flying skimmers. The chap on the next peg along from him had an excellent 27lb of silvers before Andy had a level 16lb of silvers and 19lb 8oz of carp. I think there was a 17lb and a 18lb of silvers before Ray Wickham had 16lb 2oz (ouch!) and Nigel Wickham had 16lb 6oz (double ouch!). I think Andy ended up 6th in the silvers on Long's.

Over on Sellicks, Nigel Garrett had 11lb odd of silvers and then Dominic had 12lb+ and I was slightly embarrassed when I pulled my nets out, my carp went 27lb odd and my silvers a lowly 4lb 2oz which is probably my lowest silvers weight yet! Pete had beaten me on silvers and Andy Power had around 30 carp so would be there or thereabouts. I knew a couple of other anglers on the other side would beat me as well so with lots to do before my holiday, me and Andy didn't stay for the results and made our way home. I text Glynn Wickham when I got home to find out who had won.

1 - Andy Power and Partner

1 - Ray Wickham and Nigel Garrett (Summerhayes)

That's two bad weeks on Sellicks now and I just can't seem to catch proper skimmers in any numbers although I should have tried my shallow rig today as Nigel Garrett had quite a few shallow but then he did have that all important ripple. I'm dying to get back on Long's but I'm not sure where the match will be in three weeks time.

Right this will be my last blog for a couple of weeks as I fly out to Thailand tomorrow for two weeks of paradise and hopefully a big fish or two at the wonderful Gillhams resort, be sure to come back to see how I get on.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Summerhayes - Open - 2nd September 2012

After a good two days at Summerhayes over the Bank Holiday I was looking forward to going back again today. I picked Janders up and off we went, there was a big turnout again with 25 fishing which meant the match would be split over Lily and Sellicks lakes. There was a fair bit of grumbling because, although Lily can compete on the carp front, you haven't got a hope against Sellicks on silvers. Pete announced the draw and I hung right back hoping all the pegs on Lily would go, Brendon delved into the bucket and pulled out peg 8 on Lily (tee-hee), Janders drew Sellicks 13 and I opened my hand to reveal Sellicks 9 (phew), my peg was also the golden peg which was worth an extra £25 but I was never going to trouble that fishing for silvers. With people spread over two ponds, the various side bets would be decided on overall weight today.

As always I set my stall out to fish for silvers at 10 metres with a 0.6 gram Malman pencil with a duplicate rig set up and a dibber rig which I never used all day. On the whistle I cupped in half a pot of micros and went straight over the top with a 4mm expander. I had to wait a while for my first bite which I promptly missed, in fact I missed the next one as well before dropping off a small skimmer, not an ideal start! I then had a couple of blades before catching a decent pound skimmer and had another of 8oz next chuck and thought 'Here we go' but then only had two more small fish and two carp and finished the first hour with 11 fish of which around 1.5lb was silvers. I was quite pleased with the first hour as nobody around had caught much yet.

I had Bill 'The Paste' Hopping on the next peg for the second match on the trot and he'd only had a few small fish and his neighbour on peg 11 and Mark Leahy on 12 hadn't caught carp yet. My second hour was pretty good with two more small skims and four carp so although I wasn't bagging on silvers I was catching quite well. Then hour three arrived and I could only catch the odd small blade and the fizzing over my feed had stopped as well. I stuck at it hoping the better skimmers would move in like they did last Monday. It was obvious that it was fishing quite hard and I think it was probably down to the number of anglers and also the fact the pond was flat calm, I think the skimmers respond better when there's ripple on it.

Bill said Janders was catching quite well and when Brendon wandered round to collect another keepnet, I started to get worried especially as he said several people on Lily were bagging on carp. That made my mind up to stick at the silvers and see if I could sneak in the lower places but I'd need some better skimmers from somewhere. My fourth hour was poor with a few more blades and a lost carp the only action. I cupped in another pot of micros to try and make something happen. The Pasteman only had a couple of carp and still nobody on our side was bagging. Ray Wickham came up and said he'd only had a few small skims but he also said Brendon was winding me up and the extra keepnet was for Bruce Hunt, so the pound was still up for grabs!

With two hours to go I needed those better skims to show up fast, I had a slightly better one before hooking what felt like a good one, I shipped back and as I broke down to the top two, the 'skimmer' woke up and tore off and I was hanging on before the inevitable and the hooklength gave way - bugger! A few more blades and another carp followed before I hooked another good skimmer which I was very careful with but the bloody hook pulled out and I knew it wasn't going to be my day. Pasteman was getting odd carp now and Paul next to him had a big eel and was catching carp quite well and Mark Leahy was getting in on the action too.

Into the last hour I was still getting odd blades but no better skimmers and then Brendon turned up behind me and said he'd packed up and chucked 20lb back as it was no good on Lily, the good news was that I'd have a pound to come from him yet again (7-3 now, whoop whoop!). While he was behind me I had a couple more blades and two more carp to finish with 37 fish (including 9 carp). For most of the match we'd had a fine misty rain and I was pretty moist and quite glad to hear the final whistle. I packed up and went to see how Janders had got on, he said he'd had 8 or 9 carp plus some silvers so that £1 could be tight. Glynn had fished for carp and had over 20 carp so that squid was definitely down the pan.

When the scales reached me, the top weight was 19lb 3oz and the top silvers was 4lb 3oz!, my carp went 19lb and my silvers weighed 4lb 14oz to give me a 23lb 14oz total and I'd gone into the lead on both fronts! Pasteman Bill had 10lb 14oz before Paul on peg 11 had 34lb and my lead hadn't lasted long. I didn't watch Lily weigh in but Bruce had a fantastic 98lb, Jamie Parkhouse had 54lb 8oz and Jim Jenner had 47lb 12oz. The top silvers weight on Lily was 6lb and I was cursing that lost skimmer and the bites I'd missed. I knew Alvin had double figures of silvers but with half the field left to weigh I didn't think I'd hang on to third in the silvers for long.

Mark Leahy didn't weigh and then Janders had 2lb 8oz of silvers and 19lb 8oz of carp to give him 22lb and I was another pound better off but it was very close, hard luck mate. Then Glynn had 56lb 6oz of carp to go second overall and I handed over one of my pounds. Then the next peg had 6lb 10oz of silvers and I was out the money, Alvin had 12lb 3oz of skimmers to go into the silvers lead but his 35lb 3oz total made me think if he framed, I could still sneak in. This lasted until we got to peg 23 and he had 6lb 14oz of silvers and I knew that was that.

Some excellent weights but a few didn't weigh in today

A disappointing day really and I should have done enough for second in the silvers but had missed too many bites again.

1 - Bruce Hunt (Summerhayes) - 98lb
2 - Glynn Wickham (Summerhayes) - 56lb 6oz
3 - Jamie Parkhouse (Summerhayes) - 54lb 8oz
4 - Jim Jenner (Summerhayes) - 47lb 12oz
5 - Martin N - (Summerhayes) - 41lb 7oz

1 - Alvin Jones (Alvin Jones Car Care) - 12lb 3oz
2 - Simon (Summerhayes) - 6lb 14oz
3 - Colin (Summerhayes) - 6lb 10oz

Well next week is the Pairs Open which me and Andy are fishing so wish us luck and come back next Sunday to see how we got on.