Monday, September 28, 2015

Dillington Pond - Pairs Open - 27th September 2015

I wasn't actually sure I'd be able to go fishing today as my amazing, lovely Mum passed away on Friday morning after battling a brain tumour for the last five months. It's been a horrendous time for my Dad and me watching her deteriorate and I wouldn't wish it on anyone but at least she's at peace now. I didn't really want to spread it all over the blog, especially as the majority of you didn't know her but I felt I needed to say a few words.

As it was a pairs match, I also didn't want to leave my partner Fieldy in the lurch and I felt it might do me some good to get out of the house for a bit. I actually managed to get to the draw early for a change and the pub was already pretty busy as there were eighteen anglers booked in for todays match including a few more new faces. I paid my pools for the pairs and there was an individual super pool as well, Stu Alford announced the draw which was in two stages, firstly to decide which section we'd be in and then secondly to decide which peg. I pulled out peg 2 which put Fieldy on peg 14 in the other section.
Peg 2 at Dillington
Mr Matrix was my next peg neighbour for the day
I took my kit to the peg and found myself in a Tackleuk sandwich with Scott Russell on peg 4 and Andy 'Mr Matrix' Downton on my right in peg 1. My rigs for today were a Drennan 1 gram Tipo for fishing on the deck and my shallow rig was a Preston Chianti, both had 0.10mm hooklengths with size 20 B611's. I was ready in good time and had a chat with Scotty, we both agreed that it could fish quite hard today with 10lb being a good weight due to the number of anglers around the pond combined with it being flat calm, bright and sunny.

The whistle went and I cupped in two balls of Bait-Tech Pro Nat Dark at 10 metres and first chuck the float sailed away as a roach nailed the caster on the drop, it was a bite a chuck and I had 15 fish in the first half an hour although only a couple required me to use the landing net. I could see Ash netting odd fish in peg 15 and Scott Jackson on peg 20 was catching quite well shallow but as they weren't in my section I wasn't too worried. My bites started to slow up and I only added another 9 fish to put me on 24 after an hour so it was time to try the shallow rig.

A couple of quick fish proved to be a bit of a false dawn, I stuck on another section and started feeding two lines at 11.5 metres with hemp and caster and switching between the two my catch rate improved and I was getting the odd better roach in amongst the 1-2oz fish. From what I could see, nobody was catching that well, Paul Adams on peg 19 and Jake Woodard (peg 21) were both fishing the feeder and struggling although I had seen Jake land a decent skimmer.

By the halfway point I was up to 57 fish and thought if I could catch the same in the second half I would hit my 10lb target but the trouble was, my bites were dwindling and from the comments I was hearing it seemed to be the same for most people so as long as I was putting odd fish in the net I felt I was doing okay.

I struggled on but bites were now few and far between, I tried the deep rig again and had a couple of fish but had to wait ages for a bite, Steve Parker on peg 18 had started to put a few fish together and my pound was in serious jeopardy. Jake was swapping between the feeder and the pole so I thought he must be struggling, Scotty Jackson was catching bits and bobs on the whip and rumour even had it that Scott Russell had set a feeder up! With an hour to go it was obvious I wasn't going to reach my 10lb target as I was having to wait ages for bites and the roach were now on the small side.

When the final whistle went my clicker was reading 85 fish and I thought I might have 5-6lb, Andy D said he thought he probably had around the same and I was still hopeful I might end up with decent section points when Scott shouted down that he'd really struggled too and that most people to his left had caught bream or skimmers! I asked if he'd caught on the feeder and he said he had one skimmer just before the end.

Hurf arrived with the scales to begin the weigh in with Andy in peg 1, he had 5lb 6oz and said he hadn't seen a sign of a chub by the bush, my fish weighed 7lb 14oz and then Scott just pipped me with 8lb 4oz so that late skimmer came in useful!, John Dursley had 9lb 13oz of skimmers from peg 5 and Mike Board had 2lb 3oz. Stu Alford had 8lb 2oz which included some nice rudd and then Big Frank had two nice bream plus some skimmers for 12lb 5oz from peg 8. Ian had 2lb 10oz from peg 9 before Hurf had a big bream and a couple of skimmers for 8lb 7oz from peg 10. So there had been a lot of close weights in the section with only 9oz separating third place and me in sixth and I was really hoping I hadn't let my partner down.
Andy had 5lb 6oz but couldn't find any chub under the bush (I think they were all down in Glen's swim!)
I had 7lb 14oz
Scotty just pipped me with 8lb 4oz
John Dursley had a nice tench and skimmers for 9lb 13oz
Mike Board had 2lb 3oz from peg 6
Stu Alford had 8lb 2oz which included some lovely rudd
Big Frank won again, this time with two good bream and some skimmers weighing 12lb 5oz
Ian Browncey had 2lb 10oz
Hurf had a cracking bream in his 8lb 7oz
The others drove round to meet us and do the results and the other section had been hard going for most, Fieldy had 3lb 7oz and Ash had 4lb 9oz which just goes to show what a struggle it had been although Ash did lose two good fish and an eel. Scott Jackson won the section with 12lb of roach and had done really well again, I keep saying he ought to fish more matches but as he normally gives us a battering maybe it's better he doesn't! Glen Radford was second with three chub for 10lb 3oz and he lost three big fish as well and Steve Parker was third with 6lb 15oz so at least I won my pound.

The results were worked out and it was all very tight with only a single point separating the top three pairs, Frank and Jake Woodard tied with Steve Parker and John Dursley on five points but took the verdict on weight and Scott Jackson and Stu Alford were third with six points. On the individual front, Frank took the honours again and is the man to beat at the moment, Scott Jackson was second with a cracking net of roach and Glen was third and had done really well on his first visit.

1 - Frank Woodard (Ilminster) and Jake Woodard (Ilminster) - 5 points (18lb)
2 - John Dursley (Enterprise Angling) and Steve Parker (Ilton) - 5 points (16lb 12oz)
3 - Stuart Alford (Ilminster) and Scott Jackson (Ilminster) - 6 points

1 - Frank Woodard (Ilminster) - 12lb 5oz
2 - Scott Jackson (Ilminster) - 12lb
3 - Glen Radford (Tackleuk) - 10lb 3oz

So a really close match and it was great to see some more new faces fishing, hopefully the club will run some more opens on the pond and I'll put the details on here if they do. On a personal note, I really wanted to do well today so I could dedicate it to my Mum so rest assured I'll be trying my hardest next week when we're back on the river.

Next up - River Isle

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My last match (below)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Summerhayes - Open - 20th September 2015

We were back on Longs for this match and I fancied a draw on the far side, something like peg 2 again would do me but by the time I stuck my hand in the bucket there was only one ball left, a quick look revealed my home for the next six hours would be peg 29. I must admit I was a little disappointed as I've struggled the last few times I've drawn on the roadside. For company I had Glynn Wickham on peg 26 and young Reece on 31 which was also the golden peg.
Peg 29
Rigs for the day were the usual 10 x 11 MW F1 Slim with 0.12mm bottom and size 16 808 and a 0.4 gram Malman Pencil with the same hooklength but a size 16 B911 with hair rigged band as I'd caught well on it the last time I was here when I won the silvers. Today's groundbait was Thatchers Dark and bait was the usual micros and Bait-Tech 4mm expanders although today I also had some 6mm Marukyu JPz pellets (which I'm reviewing for Pondip) as a change bait.

On the whistle I cupped in some micros at 5 metres and 10 metres angled to my right plus two balls of groundbait at the same distance, but straight out in front. I started over the longer micros line and had a couple of little 2-3oz blades so switched to the groundbait line and my first fish there was a carp which had such a round, deformed belly it looked like it had swallowed a football! I then had a decent flying skimmer around the pound mark and another carp. Back over the micros and I added a couple more little skimbobs to finish off a steady first hour.
I got off to a decent start from the longer lines
Going into the second hour I kept swapping between my two longer lines but the groundbait line was proving to be the most productive as I added another good skimmer and a lovely crucian carp. Everytime I shipped out I dripped in a few micros on the 5 metre line but I wanted to leave it as long as possible but there were already quite a few blows there which I hoped was a good sign. So far I'd only seen Glynn catch a few small fish, Reece looked to be struggling and when Adie walked down and said Nigel Wickham up on peg 34 hadn't had much either, I felt I was doing okay.

After two hours, the lure of the bubbles at 5 metres was too much so I fed the two longer lines again before I tried it with a hair rigged, banded 6mm pellet. I had to wait ages for a bite and then of course I missed it! I missed the next couple as well and became rather preoccupied with trying to hit these bites, when I eventually hooked a fish, it was another crucian carp which led to me spending far too long on this line with very little return. Back out on the longer lines I added a couple more blades on expanders so tried a red JPz pellet and had a slightly better skimmer of 4-5oz straight away but it was a one off and the next few fish were all small carp on either red or green JPz's and came from the groundbait line.

I'd seen Glynn net a couple of better silvers and he was also catching quite a few small roach so I didn't think there was much between us now, Reece was still struggling and had even tried fishing a feeder to the far bank. We were now heading into the last two hours of the match and after a steady start I had really struggled in the middle part of the match. The short line was still fizzing like crazy so I went back over it, hoping for a late run of decent skimmers. My next fish wasn't a skimmer but a 10oz tench which was just as welcome but then a run of carp didn't help my cause much.

In amongst the carp I had my third crucian of the day but I just couldn't catch the skimmers I needed if I was to do any good today. The last hour was a nightmare and I've had a bite every chuck but missed most of them, I did manage another little tench and a couple more carp, landing one right on the whistle. I ended with 17 silvers (2 decent skimmers, 3 crucians, 2 tench plus blades) and around 12 or 13 carp. I thought my silvers might go 4-5lb which I knew would be nowhere near enough today as you normally need around 15lb.

I packed up and as we waited for the weigh in, the usual shenanigans started, Nigel Wickham was admitting to 3lb of silvers and 10lb of carp but when the scales reached him he actually weighed 9lb of silvers and nearly 30lb of carp! Reece had taken an early bath and then it was my turn, my carp went a level 26lb and I wasn't too far out with my estimate as my silvers weighed a lowly 6lb 9oz. Glynn just pipped me for the pound when he weighed 7lb 4oz and all those little roach had made the difference. Craig S on peg 24 then went into the lead with 50lb 13oz of carp and 6lb of silvers.

Chris M had 34lb 4oz on peg 19 and Steve H had 18lb from 17 before we got to Roger Russell on peg 14 who went into the silvers with 10lb 8oz which included a huge eel of 3lb plus that he caught on hard pellet! It was a big fish and I wish we'd weighed it on it's own but I don't think anybody was brave enough to try and wrestle it in the weigh sling! Rene on peg 10 went into second place with another method caught bag of carp weighing 53lb 8oz but one of his carp had pulled off a 'Great Escape' and jumped out of his keepnet which could prove costly!

Then we got to Ray Wickham on peg 7 who didn't moan at all (much!) when he drew it this morning, he had a nice net of silvers to go into the lead with 12lb 10oz, Roy Hughes on peg 4 had 6lb 9oz of silvers and then Bill 'The Paste' Hopping stormed into the lead with another big net of carp weighing 86lb 13oz from peg 2. Last to weigh was Steve C on peg 37 and he had 11lb odd of carp and 3lb 6oz of silvers. So Bill won again and he's certainly the man to beat at the moment.
Today's results
1 - Bill Hopping (Summerhayes) - 86lb 13oz
2 - Craig S (Summerhayes) - 56lb 13oz
3 - Rene (Summerhayes) - 53lb 8oz

1 - Ray Wickham (Summerhayes) - 12lb 10oz
2 - Roger 'The Snake Charmer' Russell (Tackleuk) - 10lb 8oz

Next up - Pairs match at Dillington

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My latest site supporter (below)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

New Site Supporter

I always get quite excited when I'm contacted by a company and it's usually to ask if I will review their latest products on the blog, to me it's a huge privilege and an unexpected perk although I'm also not that naïve to not realise it's a good way of getting very cheap advertising. So when the latest e-mail pinged into my inbox I was intrigued when I saw it was from Pondip, a company I had been aware of for some time, originally they ran a subscription service where you signed up and every month you would be sent a box containing loads of terminal tackle for either carp or general coarse fishing depending on your preference.
Each box would contain things like split shot, hooks, feeders, floats, float adaptors and hair rigs for the coarse version and stringer needles, float stops, surface controllers, carp magazines, imitation baits and hooks in the carp version. The trouble with any type of selection box is that there's always some element that somebody doesn't like or in this case need, think toffees in a box of chocolates or the coffee ones in a bag of Revels! After Pondip got in touch, I had a look at their website and they have now moved away from the monthly selection box and now have an online shop which has some great deals on tackle, bait and clothing.
A Pondip box
The site is still very much aimed at carp and coarse fishing rather than the match side of things so you might think there is little to interest me but there are some little gems to be found like Marukyu JPZ pellets (already sold out), polarized sunglasses (already sold out), pole floats and a pole sock. With up to 70% off the recommended retail price lots of these deals do go quite quickly and when they're gone, they're gone! The clothing range is well worth checking out too - Pondip Clothing

Now while I'm looking forward to reviewing some tackle and bait etc for Pondip, they have also asked me to write some guest blogs and I have to say I'm really excited about collaborating with them and I intend to publish some exclusive content for their site along with posting some stuff in tandem on Against Men and Fish. I feel very proud and more than a bit humbled that they have asked me to contribute alongside some top writers like Dominic Garnett and Joe Turnbull to name two. There really is a wealth of talent in their blog section with established names alongside loads of exciting new writers, a must read - Pondip Blog

So more exciting times for this blog and look out for my first Pondip article coming very soon.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Dillington Pond - Summer League 10 - 13th September 2015

I was a bit late getting to the draw this morning and as I walked into the pub I was greeted with a huge cheer! There was another good turnout of twelve anglers today and over the course of the league we've had twenty different anglers fish, which is fantastic to see and just goes to show what a great little venue the pond is. The draw was announced and by the time I stuck my hand in the hat there were only a few pegs left. I opened my hand to reveal the number 24, it can be a great peg as there's a bush to your left which is home to some big chub. It's a classic hero or zero peg and to be honest I try and avoid the bush as I think it's too much of a gamble as you can spend too long looking for a bonus and if you don't get one you'll finish up way behind the roach anglers. One of the last times I fished it I had a lovely day catching quality roach and rudd and even added two chub from open water for a win with 22lb 8oz, so a similar day would be very nice!
Peg 24 with the bush to the left
I mixed up some groundbait (Bait-Tech Pro Nat Dark of course!) before setting my rigs up, a Preston Chianti for fishing shallow and a 1 gram Drennan Tipo for fishing on the deck at 10 metres. I was just about ready in time and on the whistle I cupped in two balls of groundbait containing some maggots, casters and hemp. I shipped out and started getting bites straight away with a succession of 1-2oz roach but I did bump a few and had several come off as well. Ashley Tomkins on peg 19 was fishing shallow and catching a few, the other anglers I could see, Leighton on 22, Frank on 18 and Stu Alford on 14 were all fishing the feeder. I had 22 fish after an hour but only a couple of the better roach, Ash had netted several but at this early stage there wasn't much between us.
Pro Nat Dark
I was feeding hemp and caster and odd fish could be seen swirling for the loose feed so I reached for the shallow rig to try and up my catch rate or get a better stamp of fish. First put in I had a good roach but then started missing bites per usual, I would get the odd net roach among the smaller ones and by the end of hour two I was up to 40 fish and still doing okay from what I could see. Stu had landed a decent bream and Big Frank was catching some nice skimmers but nobody looked to be running away with it. As the third hour began I was still getting loads of indications shallow but I just couldn't hit them, I tried changing depths and moving the shot around but I'd gone from doing okay to really struggling.

I only added 8 or 9 fish in the third hour and despite trying the deep rig, it was a similar story in the fourth hour as well. Ash was still catching in spells but it looked like the feeder boys were now struggling and Stu Alford was even fishing the pole! I was going nowhere fast so with two hours left I felt I had to have a go for those chub. I dug out a rig with a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp float to 0.14mm bottom and a size 16 Kamasan B911 and plumbed up by the bush at 8.5 metres, I cupped in two full pots of maggots, casters and hemp before going back out on the shallow rig for 15 minutes to let my new line settle, I added a couple more small roach but I knew I needed a couple of bonus fish if I was to do any good today.

I slipped on two casters and shipped out, I had a couple of bites quite quickly that I missed which I think may have been smaller fish before the float sailed away and the strike resulted in a good fish on, I got it away from the bush and then had to stop it going under the irrigation pipe to my right. It plodded around in front of me before coming to the top, it was a cracking chub of 3lb+ but as I shipped back to get to the pulla kit, the chub found it's second wind and went straight under my keepnet snapping my hooklength in the process - bugger!

I put in another potful of bait before sorting the rig out and tying on a new hooklength, I was getting quite a few bites and landed three or four decent roach but I needed chub so I put in another pot of feed in. The next bite saw me hook another big fish and I stuck the pole tip under the water and swung the pole round to the right but to no avail as it found the sanctuary of the branches and I was left pulling for a break. This wasn't going well and with the score 2-0 to the chub, I cupped in some more feed and sorted the rig out yet again as we headed into the last hour. Ash was still getting some quality roach but everybody else seemed to be struggling and a couple of chub would get me right in the mix but that was easier said than done at the moment!

I actually managed to land the next one, a rather hollow looking chub of 2lb or so and there was still half an hour to go, my next fish was an 8oz roach but I wasn't getting as many indications now and time was running out so I put in another big potful of bait. I kept thinking that I wasn't going to get another chance when with five minutes to go the float disappeared and on the strike, my Preston Green Hollo elastic streamed out of the pole tip. I gave the fish as much welly as I dared and as it came to the top I stood up so I could ship back to my top kit but this one tried the under the keepnet trick as well but I got it out and safely netted a good chub of well over 3lb and I even let out a little whoop!

I still had time to go back out again and I missed another bite before Rob blew to end the match. I ended up with 62 fish (2 chub for 5-6lb and about the same weight of roach), so around 11lb and I just knew that first chub I lost was going to cost me. I had the scales so packed up and walked round to weigh in, Bob in peg 12 had packed up early and then Stu had a bream and some good rudd for 11lb 11oz, Frank had a nice net of skimmers for 12lb 14oz before Ash pulled his net out and he had some clonking roach and weighed 16lb 10oz (although he was only admitting to 8lb!).
Stu Alford had 11lb 11oz which included a good slab
Big Frank had a nice net of skimmers weighing 12lb 14oz on the feeder
Ashley had the top weight today with 16lb 10oz of clonking roach
I was third with 12lb 7oz including a new pb chub of 4lb
Leighton on peg 22 didn't weigh and then it was my turn, I knew I hadn't beat Ash but when I pulled my net out it looked like it might be close to Frank and Stu's weights, the needle settled on 12lb 7oz to put me in third place on our side. Out of interest I weighed the bigger chub and it was 4lb exactly which is a new personal best for me. I drove back round to meet the rest and the other section hadn't fished that well with Fieldy having the top weight with 8lb 9oz from peg 6 which meant I'd finished in third place and picked up £25 plus a nugget off Mr Parker. So a pretty good day although I should have done better, I lost enough to have won it and perhaps if I'd gone by the bush an hour earlier I might have a had a couple more, but with the benefit of hindsight we would all fish the perfect match!

1 - Ashley Tomkins (Tackleuk) - 16lb 10oz
2 - Frank Woodard (Ilminster) - 12lb 14oz
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 12lb 7oz

A - Graham Field (Taunton) - 8lb 9oz
B - Stuart Alford (Ilminster) - 11lb 11oz
Graham Field - Summer League Champion
As Graham won his section again today, he was crowned the Summer League Champion, another great performance from a very consistent angler, he targets small fish and is very good at what he does, resulting in an envelope nearly every match so credit where credits due, well done mate. Frank finished second in the league with Stu Alford third.

The club would like to say a massive thanks to Rob Cox and Stuart Alford for running another excellent league and also to Steve and Cindy at the Royal Oak for looking after us in the mornings. Also I had a lovely cut out peg this morning which I think is down to Scotty Jackson and Dave Sydenham who do loads of work out the pond and deserve a big thanks for that and everything they do for the juniors.

Next up - Summerhayes (which is hopefully on Longs)

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My last match (below)

Monday, September 07, 2015

Summerhayes - Open - 6th September 2015

The last time I fished Summerhayes the match was switched to Longs so I knew it was supposed to be on Sellicks today and when I phoned Pete to put my name down, he confirmed it. That didn't stop me from hoping he might have a change of heart again but on arriving there would be no such luck this time and Sellicks it would be. There were only nine of us today so at least we should all have plenty of room. The golden ball was drawn and peg number 16 was pulled out before it was time for us to draw, Bill Hopping is the man to beat at the moment and when he drew 16 there was a good chance the golden ball fund would go today. I ended up on peg 23 which is on one of the ends and a peg I seem to draw quite a bit. I've had some good silvers weights off it but that was before the skimmer fatalities.
Peg 23 in the sunshine
I set up a 0.4 gram Malman Pencil to fish at 10 metres and 5 metres angled to my right, both lines would be fed with some micros and a 0.6 gram Drennan G-Tip for 10 metres straight out over groundbait. I normally go all out for skimmers and ignore the carp but today I thought I'd set up a carp rig in case I couldn't catch silvers of any description so my third rig was a little in-line dibber to fish up in the water with hair rigged banded pellet.

Pete shouted the all in and I cupped in half a pot of micros on my two right hand lines and two balls of groundbait on the other line (now don't ask me why but I never tried it all day!). I also started feeding some 6mm hard pellets by catapult to the end bank at 11.5 metres. I started on the longer right hand line with a 4mm Bait-Tech expander on the hook and after a few minutes the float sailed away and of course I missed it, and the next two as well before I finally hit the next bite. Initially I'd have sworn blind it was a skimmer but it turned out to be a little 4oz carp which also count as silvers and I have to say I'm not a big fan, to me a carp is a carp!

I had a couple more but was missing more bites than I was hitting, I tried the 5 metre line and had a little carp straight away but I after an hour I hadn't put much in the net and my attention was getting drawn to carp slurping where I'd been feeding pellets by the end bank. Now this is pretty much where my match went pear-shaped, there were obviously quite a few carp there but apart from a couple of tiny ones and a lost foul hooker, it was a waste of time. I tried altering depths and became rather preoccupied with trying to catch bigger carp when I should have concentrated on building a silvers! weight with the smaller ones.

There were odd carp coming up taking stuff off the surface to my left so I started feeding some 6mm's here as well and eventually hooked one which did me in the reeds. With Craig S in peg 20 getting odd carp, Rene on 18 catching well on the method feeder and Bill and Ray both hooking fish in 16 and 14, I should have tied a new hooklength on and chucked that top kit up the bank. What I actually did was faff around some more trying to catch carp - doh! Pete walked round and said Steve on peg 2 was getting small carp regularly and Glynn on 4 had caught a couple of better skimmers, which although bad news for me and my pound was good news because it meant there were still some left.

Finally, after two and a half hours, I went back to trying to catch small carp and silvers at 5 metres (and I still don't know why I didn't try the 10 metre groundbait line!). I was getting the odd small carp and even added my first proper silver in the shape of a 1oz roach! but I was still missing bites and foulhooked a couple of bigger carp including a five pounder hooked in the tail which gave me the run around before I netted it. Despite it being a gorgeous sunny day, I must admit I wasn't really enjoying it and kept finding myself reminiscing about some of the lovely nets of skimmers I'd caught here in the past.

I just sat on the shorter line catching the very occasional small carp along with the odd better one when I hooked a fish that didn't feel like a carp and a lovely little 3oz tench popped up! It wasn't going to help me much today but it's always nice to catch them. I also hooked a carp that I had on for ages but it decided it wanted to go under my pallet and transfer the hook to one of the posts! Although I wasn't catching much, there was still an outside chance of an envelope as Pete was paying the top two overall and the top two silvers and from what I could see, most people (including Ray who normally fishes for silvers) were targeting the carp. So if Glynn won the silvers, I might still be able to sneak second.

With half an hour to go I hooked a decent fish which again didn't feel like a carp and cracking crucian around 1.5lb slid into the landing net, I added another 6oz carp and with a few minutes to go I struck into a better fish that just plodded around and I was hoping for another crucian but then it woke up and a 3lb carp wasn't the result I wanted, I still had time to go back out but that was the last of the action. My final tally was 9 little carp, a roach, tench and that crucian in the silvers net which I thought might 2-3lb plus five carp.

 As I packed up, I still thought I might sneak into second in the silvers, well I did until Ray Wickham walked by, he said he'd caught carp but also had a couple of better skimmers and a couple of nice crucians and thought he had 7-8lb of silvers, so I now needed him to frame for me to stand any chance of an envelope. I loaded the car and walked round to watch the weigh in, Steve in peg 2 had nearly 30lb of carp and then he had 8lb 1oz of silvers (which was made up of little carp!), next up was Glynn in peg 4 and he had 58lb 6oz of carp and then 6lb 13oz of actual silvers (two decent skimmers, roach, rudd and just five small carp). I paid him my pound and knew any chance of a pick up today had gone.

Alan Jenkins on peg 7 had 11lb odd of carp and 1lb 6oz of silvers before we got to Phil 'Digger' Denslow on peg 12, he had 34lb 12oz of carp and 6lb 3oz of silvers. Ray had 51lb 5oz of carp and had lost a fair few as well before he plonked 7lb 8oz of silvers in the weigh sling. Bill 'The Paste' Hopping was next and he showed why he's the man to beat at the moment when he stormed into the lead with 109lb 9oz of carp and was looking good for another golden peg win, he really has got this paste fishing sorted. Rene on peg 18 had 63lb 5oz of carp, all on the method but he fell just short of Glynn's weight. Craig S on peg 20 had 59lb 12oz of carp and the weights were all pretty close (apart from Bill at one end of the spectrum and me at the other!).

Last and least was me, I didn't bother weighing my carp and my crucian assisted silvers weighed 4lb 3oz which was a little more than I thought. In retrospect if I hadn't mucked about trying to catch carp shallow for so long and just kept swapping between five and ten metres (and maybe tried the groundbait line perhaps!), I'm sure I'd have been a lot closer to the 8lb winning silvers weight. To be honest, I hadn't fished a good match and I didn't enjoy myself today as I don't agree with small carp counting as silvers and as sad as it makes me to say it, I can't see me fishing Sellicks again for a while. I think it's on Longs in two weeks time, so I'll probably give that a go.
Todays board
1 - Bill 'The Paste' Hopping (Summerhayes) - 109lb 9oz
2 - Glynn Wickham (Summerhayes) - 65lb 3oz

1 - Steve (Summerhayes) - 8lb 1oz
2 - Ray Wickham (Summerhayes) - 7lb 8oz

Next up - Dillington

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My latest talking point below

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Jumping On The Banned Wagon

In my recent post Fishing and (anti) Social Media I touched on why us anglers are our own worst enemies and also method and bait bans. Before I get on to the latter, there was a prime example of why we don't do ourselves any favours in the angling press and all over Facebook recently. It was reported that the five hour match record had been broken with a frankly staggering weight of 1140lb, now I'm not going to mention any names but I do know the angler concerned quite well and if you're on Facebook or buy the angling weeklies you'll know who it is anyway. First of all I have to say that it is an amazing feat of specialised speed fishing and not many people would have been able to achieve it, I'm sure I couldn't (and wouldn't particularly want to, but that's a different matter).

Before we go on, lets look at some of the facts and figures, the catch consisted of 143 carp which averaged 8lb apiece meaning the angler was landing a fish roughly every two minutes. I find those figures nothing short of incredible, the next time you hook an eight pounder, try and land it in two minutes, then repeat that every couple of minutes, for five hours! I'm knackered just thinking about it. The angling press reported it and then of course it was posted on social media where there was a troll frenzy and as very often happens, a lot of it quickly got nasty with personal insults being thrown around. Of course everybody is entitled to their opinion but lots of the people who were commenting were doing so without being in possession of the full facts.

The venue (which again I'm not going to name) only holds a handful of matches each year and like most big weight venues, insists on net limits so you're not cramming too many fish into each net and I believe (but don't quote me on this) that it's 65lb which means the winner of that match needed 17 or 18 keepnets. Well actually, no he didn't because the fishery in question holds a half time weigh in. So after all that, there were actually only around 8 fish retained per net for up to two and a half hours, not quite the outrage the trolls would have you believe. Although to be honest they probably don't care and just like jumping straight on that band wagon and all the while this is being played out on Facebook in full view of thousands of people and not particularly portraying angling in a very good light when most of the keyboard warriors are omitting some of the key information.

As I said earlier, I have no wish to catch those sort of weights but just because it's not my cup of tea I'm not going to slag anglers off who enjoy it. There are plenty of fisheries around where 200-300lb winning weights are commonplace and I tend not to frequent these either. At the end of the day why wasn't there this level of outrage when Pete Burrell had 259lb of roach in two keepnets, that's a lot of fish and they were retained for the full five hours, similarly I remember everybody raving about how brilliant it was when Tommy Pickering broke that record with 323lb of bream. It could be that both these fantastic catches were made before the internet which meant all the trolls couldn't register their disgust immediately and if they did feel strongly about it, they'd actually have to put pen to paper, buy a stamp and walk to the post box, so I'm guessing because that never happened, they didn't feel that strongly about it after all!
That's a lot of roach!
Although I think it's good for fish welfare to have a mid match weigh in (or even one every half an hour like Fish 'O' Mania), for me it does raise a couple of (unanswerable) questions, I do wonder, in the case of the new five hour match record, how many carp caught in the first half of the match were repeat captures (not necessarily by the same angler) in the second half? Of course it is the same for all the competitors and the angler did actually catch 1140lb of fish but how many of those carp were caught more than once? As long as it's the same for everybody, does it really matter? Well in the case of Fish 'O', maybe it does, if fish hadn't been weighed and returned, would the outcomes in any of the close finals been any different? I actually think the format works and wouldn't change a thing but as I've never actually watched it, I would be interested to know if the fish are put back in the same peg or moved off the match length or to another lake after weighing, maybe somebody could let me know please? Update -  apparently the fish are weighed in Fisho and retained, in case of complaints or appeals, in a keepnet alongside the angler's peg.

On the subject of big money finals there was also the instance recently of an angler winning his place in the final but then being disqualified for wading after another angler complained. On the face of it, it's pretty cut and dried, the angler broke the rules and paid the price, after all, it is the responsibility of the competing angler to check the rules before fishing. Well like most things in life, it doesn't appear to have been quite as simple as that, the angler concerned said he checked the fisheries website where there was no mention of the no wading rule but apparently there was a board at the fishery clearly stating 'No Wading'. Now I have no issue with his disqualification particularly, he broke the rules (albeit unintentionally but that's not really an excuse), but what does leave a bad taste is that whoever complained, waited until this lad had been announced the winner before lodging a complaint and that's just plain nasty.

If you were going to complain surely the decent thing would have been to have said it at the start, not let the lad fish the full five hours and think he's won only to have it taken from him after the presentation, but then again maybe the complainer wasn't too worried about this heinous crime as long as the wader didn't win! Of course there maybe other reasons why the objection wasn't registered until afterwards but whatever it was a pretty unpleasant situation, although I bet the angler concerned never makes the same mistake again!

I'm all for rules, especially if they are put in place to safeguard the fish stocks but some of them just don't make sense, it doesn't help that there are so many commercial fisheries nowadays and they can implement as many restrictions as they like to look after their investment, fair enough you may think but when they say you have to use the fisheries own pellets which are exactly the same as the ones in your bait bag but with a different label on and twice the price, that rule isn't about protecting the fish, it's all about lining the fishery owners pockets! A lot of venues now have bait bans or restrictions in place and many of them are very sensible. Meat is banned at several fisheries for the sake of the water quality, meat is a great bait if used in moderation but that's the key word, moderation, limits are a great idea but if not policed they are next to useless. The trouble with match angling (and anglers) is that because money is involved, and in some cases rather large sums of it, although the vast majority of anglers abide by the rules and limits, there will always be a minority that will try and get an edge, bend the rules or just out and out cheat to win that money. It's like I said at the beginning of this post, we don't do ourselves any favours.

Bait restrictions are nothing new and over the years I've seen or read about things like hemp (the fish get addicted to it) and bloodworm (once it's used at a venue you can't catch on anything else) being banned but now we know more about them, sense has prevailed. Other reasons for banning bloodworm were that it was prohibitively expensive and hard to get, both may have been valid reasons at one time but apparently it's now reasonably priced and readily available (although I must admit I've never used it). I've seen pellets banned on stocked carp waters when that's what they've been reared on and groundbait prohibited on some smaller ponds which is probably fair enough, although one I know of bans the use of groundbait but you can still use micro pellets which essentially break down into the same thing, work that one out!

When fishmeal groundbaits first came out (particularly Sillybait in the South West), anglers using it were dominating match results on carp waters and it almost got to a point where if you weren't using it, you couldn't compete. I don't really remember any calls for it to be banned though, mainly because it was available for anybody to buy, even if it was quite a bit more expensive than your regular groundbait of choice. It was that effective at the time, people thought there had to be some other secret ingredient in it as well, it's hard to imagine another groundbait having such an impact now but you never know!
Sillybait, there was nothing silly about its fish catching properties!
Then you get onto the emotive subject of methods, when the swimfeeder first appeared on the scene and started taking rivers apart, the stick float purists were up in arms and there were calls for it to be banned, similarly the pole was seen as a bit of a gimmick but now both are just different weapons in the match anglers armoury. Loads of different 'wonder' methods have come and gone or just evolved over the years, take the method feeder for instance, once a very crude and effective way of catching fish, it's now a very specialised and refined discipline.

The 'thod (as some people call it) and other methods can get people hot under the collar especially when they (or anglers using them) start to dominate results at a venue and in some cases it isn't too long before there are mutterings to ban a method or in extreme cases I have heard instances of anglers being banned from a venue for winning all the time! Now that may seem incredibly unfair with more than a hint of sour grapes thrown in, along with the sound of toys very noisily being thrown out of a pram and although I don't necessarily agree, I do sort of understand. The trouble comes when match anglers start voting with their feet and match attendances fall and in the case of commercial fisheries, that's their livelihood we're talking about so the owner has no choice but to ban a method or an angler, fair? of course not, but life very rarely is.

Our sport is one of the few where this kind of thing happens (if I think of another I'll update this later), really an angler who perfects a method or masters a venue should be applauded and not vilified just because they are very good at what they do. It doesn't happen in football, 'oh look Messi is playing, I'm off....' or snooker, 'Ronnie looks good tonight, lets all go somewhere else', surely anglers would get more satisfaction from beating the local venue expert than banning him! You either get up to speed at a particular method and then maybe add you own little twist to give you that edge to beat them or you come up with your own method and become the new venue expert. You will very rarely come out on top by just trying to copy them.
Messi, he's a bit good!
Dobbing bread for carp in the winter isn't everybody's cup of tea and similarly mugging or slapping in the summer isn't popular with some anglers but at the end of the day they're just methods to catch fish. It's very well documented in this blog that I'm not a great fan of fishing the whip at Dillington, it's won a lot of matches over the years and although it's a style of fishing I don't really enjoy, would I like to see it banned, no of course not! The pond is evolving all the time and it really is an intriguing venue, since I've been fishing it lots of different methods, baits and species have won matches, currently bream on the feeder is the boss tactic but the whip, waggler and pole have won more than their fair share too.

Now given that I've been advocating that we shouldn't ban methods or baits unless they're detrimental to fishes health there are a few exceptions that I think make sense, banning floating baits in competitions is a good example as an angler at one end of a lake could end up ruining all the anglers swims downwind of him, which hardly seems fair! The floating pole is another one as it comes down to how many extensions you can afford and to me it doesn't seem right that success is down to how much money you have. I suppose the trouble with that argument is that you're then into pole length limits territory as not everybody can afford three grand or more for a pole that is useable at 16 metres but conversely should anglers be penalised for being able to afford a nice, top of the range pole? I don't know the answer, you only have to look at F1 racing or the Premiership where a few teams with all the money dominate and both are massively popular, so maybe it's not an issue.

Most commercials these days insist on the use of barbless hooks which is fine but are they really that much kinder? You only have to look at the amount of carp with 'parrot' mouths to perhaps suggest otherwise or maybe it's to do with heavy lines, braid or perhaps being caught multiple times. Personally I don't have an issue with micro or whisker barbs which are a far cry from the big ugly barbed hooks that were around when I started fishing. The majority of angling clubs, on the other hand, don't have a barbless only rule, apart from on their carp venues. Again I can understand that, although one club I know of has a barbless rule on it's stillwater venues which hold very few carp yet not on their river! I'm not sure why the roach in the ponds are seemingly more important than their running water cousins!

I'm all for rules that look after our fishy friends but the trouble is that every club and commercial venue has it's own 'experts' that know how a water should be looked after despite the only fishery management skills they possess being that they have fished the water for however many years or they have read about it in a magazine or on the net. Many of these experts are well meaning and some are just trying to ensure they can have a good days fishing but ultimately they are just 'jumping on the banned wagon'.

Linked to that, if a venue isn't fishing very well, the knee jerk reaction seems to be the stocking of more fish when in many cases that will just make the situation worse, the other standard reasons (particularly for rivers) are pollution, otters, cormorants and fish being taken for the pot. Recently in the angling press a very high profile angler was calling for investigations and surveys into why a river hadn't fished very well during a festival and suggesting it was down to a lack of fish. It always makes me chuckle a little bit as just because the anglers can't catch them, there are no fish there! Now I don't profess to be an expert but there could be a multitude of reasons, angling pressure (the river in question hosts three matches a week), the conditions weren't right (how many times do roach seemingly appear from nowhere when there is some colour in a river?) or maybe thousands of spectators walking up and down the bank had something to do with it! Leading up to the event, there had been some fantastic weights but you do hear the same old arguments all the time when a venue hasn't fished very well.

Enough for now, I think that would make a interesting subject for a future post.