Sunday, June 28, 2015

Summerhayes - Open - 28th June 2015

With no matches at Dillington or Perry St this week I phoned Pete at Summerhayes to put my name down hoping it was going to be on Sellicks but of course it was on Longs. I have lost my way somewhat on this pond and just can't seem to catch decent skimmers anymore. My favoured 4mm expander and micros approach is no longer effective due to lots of small fish so I've tried 6mm expanders which didn't solve the problem and a banded hard 6mm pellet avoids the bits but I only seem to catch carp on them. Apparently people have been catching some decent skimbobs on meat so for today I had some 6mm cubes with me.

I got to the venue in good time and there were all the usual faces plus quite a few I didn't recognise, it was nice to catch up with Trevor Holmes who I hadn't seen for ages. There were 27 anglers fishing today which is a really good turnout but I did think it might make the fishing a little tougher. Glynn Wickham pulled out number 37 again and wasn't too happy as it's a really good carp peg, there weren't many balls left when I stuck my hand in the bucket and I was well pleased when I opened my fingers to reveal peg 34. It's a good silvers peg and Scotty had 15lb of crucians and tench in the mid week match on corn in the margins.
Peg 34 on Longs
For company I had Ray Wickham on my right and we seem to draw next to each other on this pond a lot and he gave me a right spanking last time out. I had an empty peg on my left which surely could only be a good thing and then Jess Jordon was on 36. I set up a 10 x 11 MW F1 Slim to fish two lines at 10 metres, one with groundbait and the other with micros, and a 0.4 gram Malman Pencil to fish the meat at five metres. On the whistle I cupped in half a pot of micros straight out in front and then two balls of groundbait angled to the left before putting in a few cubes of meat on the shorter line.

I started with a 4mm expander over the micros and first put in had a roach of 6oz or so, I then had a small carp, followed by a blade and then a pound skimmer - a great start. But then I started missing quite a few bites which I'm sure were from small fish so I tried a cube of meat and the next bite resulted in a 3lb carp, which wasn't what I wanted. I switched to the groundbait line but never had a bite over it. I'd been feeding the shorter line regularly with a few pieces of meat and tried it for the first time after an hour and a half. After five minutes or so the float sailed away and I missed it! In fact I missed around eight bites on the trot before I connected with a small carp.

From what I could see, it was fishing really hard, Jess had a couple of carp and Glynn and Ray just had a few bits and bobs, the only person who seemed to be stringing a few fish together was Bill 'The Paste King' Hopping on peg 32. I was missing bite after bite on the meat and it was turning into a really frustrating day, losing several foulhooked fish didn't help much either. By the half way point I had five or six carp and thought if I could get to fifteen it would give me around 30lb which I hoped might sneak into the top five if it was fishing as hard as bank walkers were saying.

The missed bites on the meat continued and it was almost laughable, I did catch a roach and a small skimmer so maybe they were to blame? Jess was still getting the odd carp and there probably wasn't much between us, Glynn had started catching small roach quite quickly and another pound looked to be heading his way. I ended up well short of my target with eleven carp and not for the first time this lake has really frustrated me. I packed up really disappointed with how my match had gone, especially after a decent start.

The scales started with Glynn and he had 5lb 1oz of silvers so I conceded the pound, Mark Leahy didn't weigh in 39 before Alvin Jones had 36lb 7oz from peg 1, then the next few pegs DNW'd before Harry Muir had 33lb 2oz from peg 9, Mark Hanham went into second place with a level 36lb from peg 10 and then Tony P came close with 35lb 14oz from peg 12. Dan Squires in peg 17 then plonked a fantastic 86lb 11oz of carp on the scales to storm into the lead. Nigel Wickham had 11lb 8oz of silvers from peg 23 which put him top and the next few pegs chucked back.

Craig in peg 30 weighed 5lb 8oz of silvers to push Glynn down a position before Bill 'The Paste King' went into second place overall with 57lb 7oz, Ray had 2lb 13oz of silvers before it was my turn and I knew I had nowhere near enough, my silvers weighed 1lb 15oz and my carp went 24lb, last but not least was Jess who had 26lb 9oz of carp.

In hindsight (yes that wonderful thing), I probably should have fed an inside line with corn and a shallow rig with pellet would have caught a few carp as another four or five would have got me in the money but it's the silvers I like fishing for and I have no clue how I'm going to fish for them next time.
Today's results
1 - Dan Squires (Summerhayes) - 86lb 11oz
2 - Bill Hopping (Summerhayes) - 57lb 7oz
3 - Alvin Jones (Car Care) - 36lb 7oz
4 - Mark Hanham (Summerhayes) - 36lb
5 - Tony P (Summerhayes) - 35lb 14oz

1 - Nigel Wickham (Summerhayes) - 11lb 8oz
2 - Craig (Summerhayes) - 5lb 8oz
3 - Glynn Wickham (Summerhayes) - 5lb 1oz

In other news, Jamie Parkhouse had yet another good result, this time with a win in the Chard Reservoir League today, he had 11 bream for 46lb 14oz from peg 28.

Next up - Perry St

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My last match (below

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dillington Pond - Summer League 4 - 21st June 2015

I was really looking forward to getting out the pond again as it's been fishing really well with some cracking weights of bream and skimmers along with lots of quality roach and rudd. There was a good turnout at the pub with thirteen anglers fishing including Paul Homewood and Jamie Parkhouse who were fishing the pond for the first time today. There should have been a couple more but Hurf had to pull out as he hurt his back loading the dishwasher! and he was supposed to be picking Rich White up, I did offer to give him a lift but Hurf said Rich wasn't too worried and would have the day off.

Scotty Russell also phoned to say he was running late and he would meet us out the pond, after a coffee and a sausage sarnie it was time to draw, I pulled out peg 14 on the bottom bank which I was quite pleased with, somebody drew for Scott and pulled out in form peg 1 which won the last match with 31lb. The level of the pond was several feet down as the farmer was irrigating his spuds but it doesn't normally affect the fishing. The wind was blowing into my bank and I really thought I'd be in for a good day. Today I was trying the Bait-Tech Pro Natural Bream for the first time and it smelt gorgeous, with a definite hint of caramel to it, leaving it to fully absorb the water I set my rigs up.

Rig number one was a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach float with 0.10mm bottom and size 18 B611 and my other rig was a little Preston Chianti with 0.10mm and a size 18 Middy 63-13 hook to fish shallow. I was ready in plenty of time so walked up to have a chat with Bob Hammond and Steve Parker on the two pegs to my right and of course arranged my usual side bet with Steve. Back on my box and Paul H and Jamie P both shouted over that they wanted a pound on it as well. Rob shouted the all in and I cupped in three balls of groundbait containing some casters, hemp and maggots on the 10 metre line.

It took a while to get a bite before I had a couple of roach, next chuck I've hooked what felt like a much better fish but turned out to be a foulhooked 10oz skimmer, still very welcome though. I carried on catching roach and also had a lovely little tench of 6oz or so. After an hour I had 30 fish for around 3-4lb and felt I was doing okay. Big Frank up on peg 4 had netted a couple of skimmers on the feeder and Jamie P on golden peg 22 had netted a couple of better fish but I hadn't seen a lot happening around the pond, Paul H did lose a decent tench at the net.

Going into the second hour, I tried my shallow rig to see if I could get some better roach, I caught quite well for 30 minutes but then bites tailed off and I stuck with it too long really, I added another 23 fish in the second hour but sport really started to slow in hour three and I think I only added another 17 fish. Frank was still getting odd skimmers on the feeder, Fieldy in peg 19 had landed a couple of skimmers but had lost a big fish after playing it for ages but then not long after he landed a perch that had to be getting on for 3lb and Paul had netted a big slab. I was back on the deep rig and catching small roach but I just couldn't get any quality.

With two hours of the six left, I was struggling when out of the blue I've hooked a good fish that tore off with yellow hydro streaming out of the pole tip, the fish stopped and then kited to my right before stopping and I gained some ground on it, I could see a fin and think it may have been a decent perch, I unshipped to the top two and could see my bulk shot when the fish made another run and the poxy hook pulled out - great! Jake Woodard up on peg 23 deserves a mention as he was fishing 16 metres towards the bush by peg 24 and landed a couple of big chub which he had to get away from the bush and then steer them around a massive irrigation pipe before netting them! With an hour left I went back out on the shallow rig and again had another really good half an hour where I caught some quality roach and rudd before the bites faded and I just added odd fish up until the end of the match.

I ended up with 136 fish which would give me around 16lb if they averaged 2oz apiece but although I'd had some net roach and rudd, I'd also had a lot of smaller fish. The scales started with Fieldy who had an excellent 18lb 9oz, before Paul H had 13lb 15oz and Jamie P had 15lb 8oz and the weights were all very close. We got to Jake who pulled his net out and he had a big bream and some skimmers to go with his two chub and weighed 18lb. Then it was my turn and I was disappointed to only weigh 13lb 12oz and I needed a couple of those bonus fish. Bob had a few skimmers for 4lb 2oz and Steve P had 8lb 12oz so I won his pound but still ended up 2-1 down on the day.
Paul Homewood had a nice bream in his 13lb 15oz
Jamie Parkhouse had mainly skimmers for his 15lb 8oz
Jake Woodard had a big bream and two cracking chub in his 18lb
Scotty won the other section and the match with a fantastic 33lb 15oz, he had four bream, three chub and 8lb of roach, he also lost three bream which he thinks were foulhooked. Stu Alford was second with a bream and skimmers for 19lb 2oz on the feeder from peg 8 and I thought he'd been struggling! Big Frank won that section by default with 17lb 12oz of mainly skimmers and once again the pond had fished it's head off with most people catching double figures.
Scott with his three chub and one of the bream....
and his other three slabs
1 - Scott Russell (Tackleuk) - 33lb 15oz
2 - Stuart Alford (Ilminster) - 19lb 2oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 18lb 9oz

A - Frank Woodard (Ilminster) - 17lb 12oz
B - Jake Woodard (Ilminster) - 18lb

After four matches and dropping the worst result, Fieldy leads with 4 points followed by Frank with 5 and Stu with 6. Update - apparently this year you can drop your two worst results which means Scotty and Fieldy lead with 2 points followed by Frank and Ashley with 3.

The weights are fantastic and the pond just seems to fish better and better every year, there seem to be loads of skimmers showing and for the first time in all the years I've fished it, the bream are showing in numbers. I must admit when I got home I felt at a bit of a loss as to how I would fish the pond next time, normally 18-20lb of roach will be there or thereabouts but I just couldn't keep those better roach coming and bonus fish are playing a bigger part this year than ever before. I suppose I wasn't actually that far away today, I just needed a couple more of those skimmers (and not losing that good fish at the net would have helped!).

Next up - Summerhayes

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My last match (below)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Perry St Pond - League 6 - 14th June 2015

Round six arrived and we were a few anglers short once again, Dave Lawrence was standing in for Janders who is on holiday in Cornwall but there would still be four vacant pegs. The envelope for this weeks draw sequence was picked and Les read out which pegs we were on today, my home was to be peg 18 and it's not been a great peg this series apart from the first match when Blaker won off it. Peg 10 was vacant again today which might even things up a bit and 20 was also empty. Jamie P was next door and had an empty peg to his right which always helps (and some might say he had an empty peg on his left too!) and Blaker on peg 4 also had a spare peg to his right. With the depleted turnout, Les said he'd pay the top three instead of the usual four and only three sections today.

As I was setting up, the first thing I noticed was that hardly any carp could be seen cruising about but I still thought I'd catch shallow. I set up the usual three rigs to fish shallow, at five metres and down the edge and for bait I had 6mm and 8mm pellets plus some 6mm meat to which I gave a couple of squirts of Bait Tech's Krill and Tuna liquid. Les signalled the all in at 10:30 and I started with the shallow rig at 11.5 metres and also fed a few pieces of meat on my other two lines. Blaker flew out of the blocks with a carp from his inside line, then Exeter Mike had one followed by Jamie P, I had my first carp after about 25 minutes but was already two or three behind Blaker and Jamie and they were bagging. I added another as the first hour came to a close but I was a long way behind those two, so with Jamie P catching on the deck and Blaker catching in his margins, I decided to try my five metre line.

I tried it for ten minutes and once again I never had a bite there, Jamie P went out with his shallow rig and had a carp first put in! I tried my meat rig on the longer line but with no indications and Blaker and Jamie now approaching ten carp apiece, it was time to try my inside line much earlier than I would have liked. There were signs of fish there in the shallow water and I had three carp including a good one of 5-6lb over the next hour or so but Jamie P added four of his own from his margin and both him and Blaker were now at least ten fish ahead of me. Apart from those two, nobody I could see was catching that well, Exeter Mike had a couple in peg 5, Paul H next to him had two or three and Bushy had lost a good fish in peg 7 which had triggered a bout of temporary Tourette's. Les was getting a few rudd and of course had his usual eel, Oz in peg 1 had a couple on the feeder but the wind had blown loads of that fluff into his swim which meant fishing the pole was nigh on impossible.

Picky walked up from peg 19 and said he was struggling and had caught two carp so at least that pound was safe for the time being. Les provided the entertainment when snake swam into his peg and he managed get it in his landing net, I'm not too sure he knew what he was going to do with it next but it was released safe and sound. So at the halfway point, Blaker and Jamie P were both looking like they would do big weights but it was hard going for the rest of us.

Odd fish could now be seen swimming about so I went back out with the shallow rig and had two in as many chucks but the action was short lived, Blaker had a spell where he lost several fish in the lilies or due to hook pulls and much swearing followed. Exeter Mike and Paul H were now getting odd carp from their inside lines and Bushy had a couple shallow. I kept trying my inside line but had no more bites and I went back out on my longer line with the depth rig and banded pellet but couldn't get a bite on this either, unlike Jamie P who was still catching really well and getting some good fish despite trying to tell Blaker they were only 2lb each.

I had two more carp shallow to put me on nine with the bites just coming out of the blue, I then had a 3oz skimmer on 6mm banded pellet so spent the last ten minutes on the inside line but never added any more fish and I'd been properly battered off the next peg today. After packing up we all gathered at Oz's peg to watch the weigh in, he had 15lb 2oz and the fluff hadn't done him any favours today, Les the snake charmer didn't bother the scales and then after three weighs, Blaker's total was called at 73lb 12oz, a great weight but I didn't think it would be enough today. The next three weights were all very close and started with Exeter Mike who had 27lb 4oz and then Paul just pipped him with a level 29lb before Bushy fell just short with 27lb 14oz from peg 7.

Dave (fishing for Janders) had 14lb and then Mike Collins had 7lb 2oz, peg 10 was empty and Dunner had nine carp for 37lb 4oz in peg 11, Butch had 18lb 4oz in peg 12 and then Bish had ten carp for 39lb 14oz from peg 13 to go into third place. Richard Collins had 21lb 4oz and then the Hoff had 18lb from peg 15. Then we got to Jamie P and after his three nets were weighed his total was called at 97lb 6oz, an excellent weight and I paid him a nugget. My nine carp and a small skimmer went 35lb 14oz, Picky's four carp pulled the scales round to 12lb 14oz so I took a nugget off him and finished 2-1 up in the side bets.

Back at the car park and Jamie P was confirmed as the winner for the second week running, Blaker was second and Bish third. The section winners were Paul H, Dunner and me so I picked up £25 which helped pay for a sack of pellets that Bushy got for me, cheers mate.
Jamie P won his third match of the series with a fantastic 97lb 6oz
1 - Jamie Parkhouse (Burt Baits) - 97lb 6oz
2 - Paul Blake (Chard) - 73lb 12oz
3 - Steve Bishop (Chard) - 39lb 14oz

A - Paul Homewood (Taunton) - 29lb
B - Alan Dunn (Chard) - 37lb 4oz
C - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 35lb 14oz
Today's board
So after six matches, this is how the league looks, it's all very tight with only a couple of points in it,

1 - Paul Blake  - 22 pts
1 - Jamie Rich - 22 pts
3 - Steve Bishop - 24 pts
4 - Jamie Parkhouse  - 37 pts

Next up - Dillington

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My latest ramblings on match fishing and sponsorship (below)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

So you want to be sponsored?

What is it with anglers and sponsorship? I can totally understand the appeal, you get to go fishing and have all your clothing, bait and tackle supplied free of charge, what's not to like? The reality of it though, is very different, you may get some t-shirts and a hoodie and perhaps some bait or tackle at trade price, but unless your name's Des Shipp or Steve Ringer you can probably forget the £600 Gore-Tex suit. But still everybody (me included) wants to be sponsored as if it somehow validates your ability as a match angler. Its a case of  'Oh he's sponsored by *insert tackle/bait/pet shop name here* so he must be good'.

Flicking through the pages of the fishing mags and browsing social media it would seem the world and his wife are sponsored when in fact the big firms are actually only supplying a handful of anglers with even less sponsored full time or employed as consultants. Also everybody seems to be wearing clothing branded with their favourite tackle manufacturer these days and in fact some firms are even offering a service where you can have your name embroidered on one of their hoodies or polo shirts, so you are actually advertising for them and paying to do it, kind of like sponsorship in reverse! Such is the desire to be affiliated with the brand of your choice. I suppose it's no different really to buying a football shirt or a t-shirt with your favourite band on it to show your support.

In many ways I suppose we have a lot to thank the likes of Halkon Hunt for, not only do they produce top quality gear they have dragged anglers out of the wax jacket and wellies age and smartened up the image of match fishing. The trouble is, although anglers now look more professional there are relatively few that earn their living from match fishing. Ultimately the same reason that is holding angling back also makes our sport/hobby so great, the luck factor. I can think of no other sport where you can compete against the best in the business on a weekly basis and rub shoulders with international anglers and World Champions. If all things were equal they would beat you hands down 99 times out of a 100 but in fishing there's never a level playing field and therein lies the problem.

Success in fishing is a fickle beast as well, as good for the sport as big events like Fish 'O' Mania, Maver Match This and the Parkdean Masters have been, I bet you'd struggle to name that many of the previous winners, in fact can you name last years winners? I can't and I like to think I'm quite in touch with the match fishing world (well I buy all the magazines and follow all the stars on Facebook!). I've just googled them and last years champions were;

Fish 'O' Mania - Andrew Geldart (Matrix)
Maver Match This - Chris Cameron (Middy/Old Ghost)
Parkdean Masters - Jamie Wilde (Colmic/Marukyu)

Now each of these are big matches to win, match anglings equivalent of Wimbledon if you like, yet I bet more of you knew Novak Djokovic won that last year than any of the winners of the matches listed above. It also took me a while to find out who their sponsors are and I'm still not certain I've got it right! As I was looking them up on the internet, it became apparent that they have all appeared in several finals and regularly frame in the festivals. To reach these finals they have had to win a big qualifying match or finish in the top 24 of a top class field after a week long festival and then they have to go and win the final itself. So to reach one big money final is a feat in itself, to do it multiple times just goes to show how good these guys are. They are very good match anglers at the top of their game, so why then are they relatively unknown to your average, Joe Bloggs club angler? Football mad youngsters know who Eden Hazard and Wayne Rooney are and Andy Murray is a household name from the tennis world but ask a young angler to name a famous fisherman and he or she is more likely to say Jeremy Wade or Robson Green than Will Raison or Bob Nudd.
Me and my mate Jeremy
I think at the end of the day, match fishing just isn't sexy, I mean with Robson you have a famous actor fishing in some of the most exotic locations in the world and Jeremy doing battle with 'killer' beasts and risking life and limb for your entertainment and then you have some normal bloke sat round a muddy pool for five or six hours catching a procession of similar sized carp, there's just no comparison. I'm sorry, I love to see any fishing on the telly but I can see which of the above options is going to appeal to the non-angling public. I really enjoyed the recent show 'The Big Fish Off' with Dean Macey and Ali Hamidi and I even applied for the upcoming BBC2 show 'The Big Fish' but was unsuccessful so I won't be appearing on your screens anytime soon (although did I ever mention I was filmed for Zeb Hogan's Monster Fish show?, the episode was called The 600lb Goldfish if you wanted to check it out!). The common theme here is that none of these shows are based around match angling.

Despite all of this, match fishing has come a very long way in the last thirty years or so, you've only got to look at the kit we're using now and match anglers certainly look very professional these days with matching clothing and luggage. There are more big money events than ever before, besides the three mentioned above you have The Angling Trust Riverfest, UK Champs, The Drennan Knockout Cup and loads of festivals both here and in Ireland. When I started fishing competitions in the 80's most people fished on Sunday's with the occasional mid week match (which were mainly attended by the retired, self employed and those in the tackle trade, the rest of us would have to use a days holiday!). The match scene is a very different place these days and most fisheries have competitions on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays along with cost cutters on Thurdays (I've never understood cost cutters, more on them a bit later). All of these matches are fairly well attended and when you factor in various leagues and festivals you have a lot of anglers that are, to all intents and purposes, semi professional.

And as for professional anglers, as I said earlier, there are relatively few. When you consider that the average wage is probably 25-30k a year, that's a lot of match wins, in effect you'd have to win one of the big three every year and that's just not going to happen, what about festivals then? well the winner normally picks up around £3000 (plus lake and section wins) so maybe £4000 in total so you'd have to win six festivals a year, again, never going to happen! Let's say our 'pro' is fishing four matches a week, the average winners purse is around £100 (although in reality, it's less in most of the matches I fish and you can forget cost cutters!) so even if you're sponsored and get all your bait and tackle free, you'd still need to win all four matches, every week. So you can start to see why the majority of anglers still have to work.

Before I go on, as promised, lets briefly discuss cost cutters, what's the point of them? Maybe I can understand anglers getting on the bank, competing and enjoying the banter with your fellow danglers but when you win, you don't even cover your costs, I just don't get it! I suppose it's a good way to practice under match conditions without it being too expensive and it's good for the fishery owners. It still seems odd to me but they are well attended by all accounts so what do I know!

Now, I've started to wander off a topic a little bit, so lets have a look at some of our full time anglers, people like Des Shipp, Steve Ringer, Alan Scotthorne, Will Raison and Bob Nudd, all massive names in the sport and have represented their country at international level and have countless big match and festival wins under their belts. Along with their sponsorships or consultancy roles, they all regularly appear in features in the weekly and monthly magazines, many offer coaching days and several now offer subscription e-mags or similar to supplement their incomes. The other thing they have in common is that they are all supremely professional and do a fantastic job for their sponsors, the likes of Des and Steve have a massive social media presence and do their best to answer every question asked of them and it must take up a considerable amount of their time.
Des doing what he does best, winning matches
So as you can see, sponsorship is a massive commitment both for the angler and the tackle/bait company and you have to be competing at the highest level and you have to be successful on a regular basis. If a company is paying an angler, say 30k a year, that's a considerable investment and I'd love to know how they measure if they're getting their moneys worth, does signing a particular angler directly lead to 30k's worth of extra sales? If that angler mentions a new float or bait in a magazine article do sales go up? In an earlier post I talked about homemade floats and how Steve Ringer helped to make MW Floats insanely popular (this was confirmed by Mick himself in a recent article in Match Fishing), so I've answered my own question there really!

I think the problem nowadays is that match angling is so fragmented, there are so many matches and every venue has its own 'experts' that fish two or three times a week and are very tuned in to that fishery. Regularly winning ten or fifteen peg matches isn't going to bring you to the attention of a big sponsor you have to start fishing and winning some of the bigger events and even then there's no guarantee and as I've already said you then have to keep winning at that level.

Maybe we should look to America for ways to make match fishing more professional as Bass fishing in the states is massive. The prize money is huge with the winner of the Forrest Wood Cup taking home a cool $1 Million Dollars and the top prize in the Bassmaster Classic is $500,000. All the top anglers on the various tours have career earnings of millions of dollars. They all have multiple sponsors emblazoned on their shirts which look more akin to a F1 driver than a fisherman! The whole scene is just very 'showbiz' compared to match angling in the UK, you only have to look at the 4 x 4 trucks and boats they use (a far cry from the knackered old transit vans you see parked up at your local fishery!).
How many sponsors?
Bass anglers know how to travel in style
It beats a knackered old van!
It would be amazing if match angling in the UK ever reached that level but I just can't see it happening, in America, bass fishing is actually a high school sport in many states from which the anglers can then progress to the tournament circuit. As I touched on earlier, I really don't think it helps that match fishing in this country is so fragmented, it's also very complicated with so many different methods and the amount of tackle we all own is ridiculous. Also to become a good match angler it takes years and in this age of instant gratification, many anglers just can't justify the time or expense it takes to reach a reasonable level. At the end of the day, fishing is, for the majority of us, a hobby, a pastime, something we look forward to doing at the weekend, it's not a viable career choice.

So after all that, say you've managed to bag yourself a sponsor, what can you do to ensure you stay sponsored, to be honest we don't do ourselves any favours on that front either. I see it all the time, an angler has won a match yet it either doesn't get into the angling press or it does and your name or your sponsors name is spelt incorrectly or they haven't got your sponsor right at all, it's just not good enough. You may think it's not the end of the world, but what is your sponsor getting back from you for the t-shirt or bags of groundbait you've received? It might be a genuine mistake but in the aftermath of you collecting your winnings and receiving the applause from your peers, it's all to easy to rush off home for your Sunday roast, but just take five minutes to make sure the fishery owner or match secretary knows who your sponsor is and find out where they intend to send the results so you can let your sponsor know.

Of course even if the results are sent to the Angling Times or Anglers Mail, there's no guarantee that they will be published and to be honest, in this digital age by the time the weekly's come out, it's old news anyway. The advent of Facebook, Twitter and fishing blogs means that results are out there on the same day so make sure you tag your sponsor and share the results on your page (fishing and social media is worth exploring more and I'll look at that in my next post). Other things you can do to ensure value for money (or bait!) are make sure you're wearing your t-shirt and baseball cap with the sponsors name on (and that it's clean) and that you're smiling in any photos that are taken. If there are youngsters or lots of people around, just try and present a good image by not using lots of bad language (not always possible when you've just lost a match winning fish at the net!) and not leaving litter, all common sense stuff really.

A lot of anglers these days assume that when they start to become moderately successful, potential sponsors will be throwing themselves at them but lets not forget how many match anglers are out there, you need to make sure you stand out from the rest and may even, God forbid, have to put some work in yourself. It's not a bad idea to put together a little portfolio of your best match results and create a CV that you can present to potential sponsors and let them know what you can offer them, do you write a blog, have you appeared in angling magazines or on TV, have you written books or articles, have you got an online presence, if a tackle or bait firm offers you a deal, what sort of and how big an audience can you spread the word of new products to?

So basically there you have it, my thoughts on sponsorship and match fishing, it's always nice to get free or cheap stuff but if you think that on the back of a few match wins, you're going to get a massive deal from one of the big tackle firms, be able to pack in your job and go fishing every day, then think again! Of course you could always approach some firms outside the fishing industry, I seem to recall one top angler getting backing from BMW, I wonder if the Torquay Tart has approached Savlon yet?

As always, feel free to comment below or contact me using the form on the right hand side but please keep it clean and non abusive!

Monday, June 08, 2015

Perry St Pond - League 5 - 7th June 2015

I woke up to glorious sunshine and hardly a cloud in the sky and it looked like summer had finally arrived, I actually got out the pond a little early and there were a couple of stand ins today, Dave Lawrence was fishing for Rocking and Chris Haines must have been struggling to find a replacement because the Torquay Tart was fishing for him! Chilly was also absent today but didn't have a stand in and when the envelope was drawn for todays peg sequence he would have been in peg 10 which is one of the best pegs on the pond. When Les read out who was where, my home for the next six hours was peg 8 which I was happy with as that end of the pond has been pretty consistent. I had my usual side bets with Janders, Picky, Jamie P and Paul H plus the Tart.

As I took my kit to the peg, there were carp cruising about everywhere and once again I thought we might be in for a good day although the early pegs had a nice ripple whereas our pegs at the top end were flat calm which I didn't think would help with my shallow fishing. I set up an inline dibber for fishing shallow, a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp float for fishing the meat at five metres (not used again!) and a little Trabucco dibber for fishing meat in the margins. There were quite a few lilies on the inside and to the right there were several tree stumps sticking out of the water which I knew any hooked carp would make a beeline for. To the left there was a cormorant roost (fish refuge) and I thought this would be a better option for my main margin line.
My right hand margin
My swim looking up towards pegs 10 and 11
For bait I had 6mm and 8mm pellets plus some 6mm luncheon meat to which I added a couple of squirts of Bait Tech's Krill and Tuna liquid. We had our rod licences checked by an EA bailiff before the start and that's the second time this year (on two different venues by two different bailiffs) I've had mine checked. So after a quick coffee and a chat with Jamie P, Picky and the Tart it was time to start. I fed some meat by hand in the left hand margin and at 5 metres and before I'd had time to ship out, the Tart was into a fish first chuck. I was feeding 6mm pellets at 11.5 metres and lifting and dropping the rig and after ten minutes, had my first fish, a carp around 3lb. It wasn't fast and furious but I added number two before the first hour was up and normally two fish an hour and you won't be far off here.

Jamie P next door had caught a couple and Oz in 11, Dave Lawrence in 13 and Blaker in 14 had all got off the mark too but nobody was bagging. Going into the second hour I was still fishing shallow but couldn't buy a bite despite loads of fish swimming about in little groups and they just didn't want to know so maybe they still had spawning on their minds. I didn't want to try my inside line too early but when Jamie P had a couple of carp in quick succession, I had to give it a go. I missed a good bite before hooking a fish only for the hook to pull out nearly straight away. Another missed bite followed before I hooked another that gave me the run around and snagged me under the cormorant roost a couple of times before I eventually netted it. My rig was in a bit of a mess though and all my float rubbers had come off! I spent five minutes sorting it out but all that commotion had killed that line.

So with over two hours gone, I was on three fish but it was a struggle, I did have a go on the inside to the right but missed a couple of bites which I think were small fish so it was back out on the shallow rig. Nobody was catching apart from Jamie P who had mugged a couple so I shallowed up my rig a bit and started flicking the rig in front of cruising groups of fish, much to Les's disgust. Over the next couple of hours I had five more carp but Jamie P always stayed a few fish ahead. Picky made me chuckle when he accused me of playing 'Cops and Robbers' with the carp as I chased them around with my shallow/mugging/stalking rig.

With an hour to go, I was back on the inside and had my biggest fish, a common carp of 6lb or so to put me on nine fish, Jamie P was now on fourteen or fifteen carp and looking good for his second win of the series. Les in peg 12 managed to foulhook a decent eel! and then found a couple of carp towards the end of the match. I lost a fish on the shallow rig which I suspect was foulhooked and that was the end of the action. I packed up and as I walked back towards the car park, I asked how people had got on, Brandon only added one more to his early carp, the Hoff had five in peg 5, Mike's boy had a couple in peg 4, Bish had two as well, Butch had struggled and Dunner had four in peg 1. That end hasn't been great and I've still got three pegs to come in that area.

After loading the cars, we gathered at peg 1 for the weigh in, Dunner had 14lb 10oz and that was the top weight until we got to the Hoff who had 19lb 8oz, the Tart weighed 9lb so my tube of Savlon remained unopened for another week and I was briefly another pound better off until we got to Jamie P who had 61lb 2oz and would win comfortably with that. My nine carp weighed 38lb 8oz to put me into second place. Picky had 8lb 10oz so I was a pound up on the day again, Oz had 13lb 14oz in peg 11 before Les had a level 9lb, Dave weighed 5lb, Blaker had 22lb 12oz to go into third place, Exeter Mike didn't weigh, Paul H had 4lb 10oz, Bushy had 15lb and Janders had 3lb 12oz. Mike and Andy in the last two pegs (19 and 20) didn't bother weighing.

At the results, Jamie P won, I finished second and picked up £80 (and finished 4-1 up on the side bets), Blaker was third and the Hoff was fourth. Special mention must go to the Tart who picked up the section money by double default in our four man section!

1 - Jamie Parkhouse (Burt Baits) - 61lb 2oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 38lb 8oz
3 - Paul Blake (Chard) - 22lb 12oz
4 - Mark Hollister (Chard) - 19lb 8oz

A - Alan Dunn (Chard) - 14lb 10oz
B - Brendon Ions (Torquay) - 9lb
C - Steve Osborne (Chard) - 13lb 14oz
D - Steve Bush (Chard) - 15lb
Today's board
So at the halfway point, the league now looks like this,

1 - Jamie Rich - 17 pts
2 - Paul Blake - 20 pts
3 - Steve Bishop - 21 pts
4 - Mark Hollister - 30 pts

Ilminster AA's Dillington pond fished really well again today with loads of double figure weights and lots of bream, skimmers and quality roach featuring in catches. Steve Hurford topped todays field with 31lb 5oz of bream and skimmers from peg 1, Frank Woodard was second with 24lb 12oz of bream and skimmers on the feeder from peg 11 and Scott Russell was third with 18lb 5oz of quality roach caught shallow.

Steve with one of his bream

Next up - Perry St (round 6)

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Check Out - My last match (below)