Saturday, 11 March 2017

Don Sutherland's Memorial, Viaduct, Saturday 11th March 2017

A poignant day today, I knew Don for many years, not as a close friend, but one of those fishing acquaintances  that you speak to every match.  Don was always enthusiastic and I certainly miss seeing his smiling face and our conversations, he was usually trying to convince me it would be OK, where ever I had drawn.

A silverfish match, Campbell, Lodge and Spring lakes in with 51 booked in and 49 actually fished on the day, so a decent turn out.  Spring was likely to be the place to draw, but where ever I drew, I was determined to enjoy the day and remember Don in a positive way.

A brief word from Chris Hook and a minutes silence before the draw and then into the tin, twice I pulled two tickets stuck together and dropped them back in, getting a single one, opening it revealed 24, I wasn't disappointed, as I have picked up silvers money from this peg in the past.

With pellets being banned, the bait tray was simply, casters, dead maggots, a few live maggots, corn and 4mm meat. A 3 square Drennan feeder, with a 15" hooklength of 0.10 and a 20 Guru F1, was put on a 10' feeder rod, clipped up just short of the overhanging tree.  Two waggler rods, one with a Drennan Glowtip waggler to fish caster over the pole lines and another to fish out to the overhanging tree with corn.

3 Topkits, two with Middy 1-5 hollow elastic - I have yet to find better for winter skimmers - one with a Drennan float whose number I forget, to a 0.08 hooklength and a Middy 6313 hook, the other was a NG Gimp, to a 01.0 hooklength and a 18 Guru F1 in case I was catching well (this never got used.....)  I also set up another Gimp, this one with a 0.10 hooklength and a 18 F1, to fish meat or caster.

Starting on the feeder at the all in, after feeding two 14m lines, one to the LH side with 3 balls GB and caster, one to the RH side with caster and meat, I gave to feeder ages (for me!!) but after 40 minutes I had one roach and a 3oz skimmer, with no other indications.  So a look on the pole and I had a couple of skimmers on it, but the action wasn't exactly frantic.  I was being kept amused by watching the large dark shapes cruising round the peg and a ghostie that must have been close to 20lb.

A look on the waggler, saw 3 fish come in fairly quick time, all reasonable fish between 1 and 2lb.  For the next couple of hours it was a case of rotate lines and get an odd fish, when I got one it was decent, but a long wait between bites.  The caster and meat line saw me get 4 bites in 4 put ins, two missed, one fish bumped and another 1lb+ fished in the net.

Back on the waggler and corn, it was slow, but when I did get a bite it was a decent skimmer, so kept at it, at quarter past three, I had three in three chucks and thought that I might have a good last hour, fourth chuck another bite, but this time it was one of the big black shapes, they were obviously starting get there heads down.  That seemed to kill the peg off, as I went back out, C/W new hooklength, but it took nearly 30 minutes to get another bite, which was a skimmer approaching 3lb, next bite was another carp, another hooklength gone....

Only five minutes to go, so back onto the pole, double dead maggot and another skimmer netted.  I knew I didn't have enough to bother the frame, but weighed in as I wanted to see what they went, 24.04.  The lack of fish on the pole line and smaller fish to build some weight between the bigger fish cost me. but the weather was good and 24lb of silvers isn't to be sniffed at.

Don's brother presented a shield to winner Mark Saunders, which will be fished for every year, obviously an emotional moment for the family, pleased for them it was a good turnout, the weather was good, plenty of fish caught and all done in a great spirit.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Landsend Costcutter, Tuesday 7th March 2017

Chatting to Tony Rixon on Sunday, we fancied a change of venue for a Tuesday costcutter, as Acorn has been tough lately and unfortunately, it takes us so long to get to Ivy House, it meant trying to garner enough interest in another venue, Viaduct match lake was mooted, but Landsend came up as the one to try.

Tony picked me up and we stopped at the cafĂ© in Shipham, we were joined at the table by Leon and he did his best to convince me I'd draw on a few fish today.  This is the first time I have been in there since Wendy left and I must say, it was very good, nice food, good service and a bit of banter with the staff.

Just 9 of us today, so spread around the match lake, I was first into the draw tub and out comes 11, apparently the fish have been up this end, so fingers crossed they hadn't moved.  Whilst tackling up I didn't see a single fish move, nor whilst having a good plumb round the peg did I feel any fish, so not such a good sign.

I set up a homemade wire stem slim with 4 No11 stotz spread out, to fish banded pellet just down the shelf, a carbon stemmed NG Gimp No1 to dob maggots round the peg, a margin rig, a rig to fish meat at 6m and finally, another Gimp to fish the deepest part of the peg at about 14m off the point of the island.  Bait tray was fairly simple, 4 & 6mm pellets, dead maggots and 6mm meat,

Starting on the dobbing rig, I spent nearly 30 minutes searching the peg and had one bite from a miniscule roach which fell off when shipping back.  I had been pinging a few 4mm pellets across towards the rushes and slipped a 6mm pellet into the band and dropped the rig in, it settled and dipped, first fish netted, an F1.  Another 3 F1's and a 2lb carp followed fairly quickly, before the bites dried up.  I did rotate round the lines, the margin down to peg 12, the meat line and out to the 14m line, all to no avail.

I had to try and make something work, so I opened up the casters I had languishing in my bait bag and started a new line towards the island, easing a caster into the band, I shipped it out and laid it in, the float settled and kept on going, another decent F1 netted.  Next drop in, same again, then a couple of missed bites before a roach joined the F1's in the net.  The roach was to be the last action from this line all match, nice to see the F1's but not enough of them there to stay competing for feed.

Another look round the lines, I had been fairly frugally dripping maggots and corn in front of peg 12, but this again didn't give so much as a quiver on the float, I tried upping the feed, hoping for something, even if a few perch moved in, but the line remained resolutely biteless.  The meat line gave me a flurry of 3 bites, 2 of which I missed, one was hit and resulted in a 8oz hybrid.  Then that was it, every other look on it was biteless.

I had started to feed the 14m line a little heavier, about 100 micros and a few dead maggots every 20 minutes and dropping in on this saw a few indications and missed bites.  I tried soft pellet to no avail and corn, with an hour of the match to go, I went back to double maggot saw a decent skimmer netted, then a 6oz hybrid, next up was a 12oz perch - all accidentals, as I had set my stall out for carp, but with only one in the net, they were remaining elusive.  I then hit a bite that felt like a carp, but after it ran towards me, it shed the hook.  Two more carp were hooked and netted, but they were only small, as the weigh in proved, with the 3 carp going 12.04, the F1's and assorted silvers went 13.08, giving me a total of 25.12, which was 4th overall and top silvers weight. The carp, whilst not abundant did seem to be on the other side, as the top 3 weights all came from there.

It was a nice change today, started with a good breakfast, the realisation that I had left my Goretex jacket at home, was soon sorted as fishery owner Mike Duckett lent me a jacket, that stayed unworn!!  No rain.  The fishery is so peaceful, no motorway nearby, the birdsong was the only noise for virtually all of the day until a low flying aircraft came over the moors in some exercise.  I even felt that whilst I wasn't sat on a shedful, there was ways to get a bite and a fish, it took some working out and all in all, was an enjoyable day.

Next up is Viaduct on Saturday for Don Sutherland's memorial match.

1: Leon Hubbard 54.07 peg 15
2: Tony Rixon 50.02 peg 20
3: Mike Duckett 36.05 peg 22
4: Chris Fox 25.12 peg 11


1: Chris Fox 13.08 peg 11

Monday, 6 March 2017

Viaduct Winter League Final Round. Sunday 5th March 2107

There really isn't going to be much content in here about the days fishing, I could describe set ups, terminal tackle, rods, pole anything, but at the end of it, I would have come back with virtually identical points if I had just taken a crabline.

I am wondering if there is much point at all in sitting here tapping away at the keys, I started this blog as a diary & something to get me thinking about my day, with the aim of the analysis improving my thought process.  I am at a loss trying to analyse my day.

Mark Broomsgrove was tasked with drawing the team a decent quintuple of pegs, he managed 118 for himself, 85 for me, 56 for Paul, 24 for Glenn and Fred got the unfavoured 9.  Well I couldn't be too upset, it hasn't been quite the flyer it was, but should still be worth decent points, if not more.  The weather forecast was pretty horrendous and the rain had been lashing down, with the wind increasing, 40mph+ being promised by the BBC.

First stumbling block was the Cary bank, there have been machines along this bank working on the lakes during the week, given the amount of rain that had fallen, that meant trying to push a laden trolley to the peg was akin to a strongest man competition.  My old team mate Nicky Ewers was on the next peg and had abandoned his trolley, handballing his kit to his peg.  The mud was getting everywhere, both myself and Nicky, along with Nicky Collins who was on 88, were taken back to winters long past, on the Kenn, the Axe and the Huntspill when the levels were dropped down and all our clothing and tackle were a nice shade of grey clay all winter......

The wind was pushing down into peg 90, where Bunghole himself was sat, moaning about it!!  The wagglers stayed in the bag, I set up two lead rods, one for popped up baits, one for meat on the deck.  Two topkits completed the tackle, one for meat at 6m, another for down the edge, where 3' away from the bank I had 2' of water, seemed OK given the colour, which was much more opaque than of late.

On the all in I chucked out the bread and then heard Nicky landing a fish, I brought it back in and dropped a little shorter, the tip did move in what could have been one of those finicky bread bites, a strike and fish on, almost immediately I knew it was a good fish, but foul hooked.  It came off after a couple of minutes.  Nothing else on the bread, so out with the meat, another finicky bite and a small fish was hooked, initially I though skimmer, but the jagged fight soon gave away it was a Tench, all 14oz of it.....

By 1pm I had tried red, yellow and natural meat, corn, bread discs, bread crust and prawn, all with the same result - nothing, not even a liner.  I was bored stiff by now, so reset the bread rod up as a small cage feeder, 0.12 hooklength with a 18 hook and fished this with GB and dead maggot, I had two bites on this, one I missed a rattle on the tip with maggots sucked dry - roach I guess.  Next bite was a 2oz skimmer and that was it.  I had been feeding the edge with maggot - nothing, the 6m line had seen 6 cubes of meat every 20 minutes or so and that too appeared to be as barren of fish, as the Sahara.

Pegs 82 and 81 to my right were equally struggling, but they did both manage a couple of hybrids to beat my dismal total of 1lb dead.  I have absolutely no idea what I could have changed to get me a fish, Nicky had 3 fish in virtually as many chucks, then didn't have a bite for the rest of the match, as neither of us had any indications or liners, either the fish were led dormant, or they weren't there, I can come to no other conclusion.

Team wise we had a poor first match, but had gradually clawed our way up towards mid table, that was halted and we slid back down after a pretty meagre 32 points on the day.  A very different feeling from last year, when we won the league, had the individual champion in the team and had all caught a few fish. Oh well, maybe we can make a better fist of it next year.

Thanks to Steve, Matt & Helen for running it, Clayton for taking the pools money, of which I didn't see a penny back this year, - poor show on my part - and well done to all those who took our crowns.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Viaduct Silvers Open, Wednesday 1st March 2017

Quite typical of my luck, which seems to be very best indifferent, at worst dreadful, I couldn't make last weeks match where the fish seemed to spread out a little and all have a munch.  The temperature duly dropped again for this weeks match, which I could make, so would that revert the fishing back to pre last Wednesday's spectacular!!

The journey down was not one to inspire, currently where I live I am trapped in by roadworks and temporary traffic lights in both directions I can go to head towards Viaduct, so an earlier than usual start.  The traffic wasn't as bad as expected leaving home, but Temple Cloud had single file traffic, light controlled and for a change I decided to go vis Wells, Glastonbury and Street - bad decision, the road between Glastonbury was closed off and a sea of blue flashing lights was evident.  The hastily switched on Sat Nav (Waze app on phone, its very good, worth getting and its free) sent me down some lanes past Milfields playing fields and so to Viaduct with a minute to spare.

The draw seemed to be kind, peg 18, with only 9 fishing most pegs were spread out, but I had Steve Kedge on 19 and Paul Faiers on 16 for company.  I set up two wagglers, one to fish corn across and another to fish caster/maggot over the pole line. A 3 square feeder clipped up to get just short of the island and two pole rigs were assembled, only set up two because of a 6" depth variation between the two lines I wanted to fish.

Put some GB and caster in at the start on two lines, both 14m, one straight in front and one off to my right.  Started on the waggler and corn, but after 40 minutes there had been not so much as a liner on it.  Steve had taken a couple of fish on the feeder and I should have picked it up there and then, but such is my hatred of fishing it, I persevered with the waggler and pole for too long and was struggling to get a bite.  A switch from caster to dead maggot, or actually, dead pinkie, saw a few small skimmers netted, but it was pointless catching them.

Finally picked up the feeder after a couple of hours and was well behind Steve, all that did was put a skimmer, a hybrid and a small roach in my net and it did seem to kill off Steve's feeder line.  All the while I was feeding corn, expecting to catch on it later in the match.  I had a short burst of fish on the pole again, but small 2-3oz fish, compared to the 12oz-2lb fish Steve was getting.

I refed the pole line to the right with an hour and a half to go and this did induce some activity, a bit of blowing over it.  I left it to rest and tried the waggler and corn, by now Steve was catching well on this and my float, despite being 12-15yards away from his, remained motionless, apart from two skimmers in a 40 minute spell, whereas Steve was getting an indication every chuck.

Last half hour back over the blowing pole line and two big skimmers hooked and lost, just about summed up my day, poor decision not to go on the feeder early, probably fed too much GB as the fish seemed to be sat above it, not looking for food, too reliant on caster, which really didn't work as it often does and it did appear those fish did not want to budge from the end of the island at the end.

So a proper battering from Steve who won with 42lb to my pretty pathetic 13lb, I just couldn't sort out the quality fish.  Shame I haven't got a Wednesday off for a few more weeks as I'd like to try and put that right, 19 has been a better peg, but not that much better, so I certainly got something wrong with the pole line feeding.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Viaduct Winter League Round 4, Sunday 26th February 2017

After a dreadful winter's fishing from a personal perspective, I had taken two weeks off, partially work induced, partially because I thought it might help revive some enthusiasm.  So I was looking forward to this weeks round of the winter league, especially as I was on Campbell, so with a chance of a few fish.

This week I obtained a virtually brand new ZT-PRO hook tyer, it is a nice bit of kit and does tie tidy knots with no line damage, although I am struggling a bit with 0.08 fluorocarbon, more practice needed I think.

Back to today and as a team we take it in turns to draw, this week it was Paul's turn and he pulled 4 reasonable pegs and one that no one would want, unfortunately Mark Broomsgrove was on that one, peg 21 - telling someone that they are on there, is akin to delivering news of a death in the family.   132 for me, 102 for himself, 71 for Glenn and Fred had 52.

I would rather have 132 in the summer, but a few fish have come off it recently, so hopefully they'd still be there.  If it wasn't an end peg, I think the pole would have stayed in the bag, the lead and the waggler have been much more successful recently.  But, with the end bank in easy reach, it would be remiss not to set up a dobbing rig.  So whilst it was out, I also set up a topkit for 14m, to fish meat, I didn't think they would come closer, the water is no longer gin clear, but it remains far from coloured.

Two waggler rods set up, one for straight in front and one shallower for fishing up to the pallet of 134, both on Titan 2000 rods, with 4lb reel line, 0.14 hooklengths and 18 LWG hooks.  I have pretty much switched all my hooks to Guru patterns now and they have yet to let me down - although. admittedly, they haven't exactly had a ruthless testing this winter.  Two lead rods, one with a small bomb and a 12" hooklength of 0.16 with a 16 QM1, this bomb stopped with a feeder stop, so the popped up distance can be adjusted, second rod with a Preston in-line bomb, 14 QM1 and 0.20.

Starting on the waggler, a couple of chucks to get my range and 3rd chuck towards 134 with a waggler and fish on, after a spirited tussle, that was 10lb in the net after 5 minutes - that's nearly as much as I caught in the last 3 rounds put together.  The wind then started to get up and made getting the waggler to the pallet very difficult, as it was picking up the line and blowing it into the overhanging tree on my right.  A look on the lead with bread brought a fish about 8lb, but that was it, I think the waggler with no shot down the line would have been better but just couldn't get it there - I hadn't brought any pellet wagglers, maybe one of those would have cast better in the conditions.

Picking up the pole I had a dob with some bread along the end bank and hooked a fish about 6lb that leapt from the water 4 or 5 times like a salmon, the water might be cold, but the fish were fighting harder than they do in the summer.  I managed one more on the waggler before a 3 hour quiet spell - not just quiet it was dead, no liners, no indications, nothing.  Mash on 131 was getting odd fish and plenty of indications and foulers, whilst my float or tip remained motionless, frustrating....

Last hour I had a couple more on the waggler, as the fish started moving again and the last 20 minutes I was getting plenty of indications and had two fish on punched meat on the lead.  I feel I was sat just off the main ball of fish and only picked up the odd ones and then at the end, they started to spread out a bit, shame they didn't do that with 90 minutes to go.  Ended up with 60lb dead, for 7th on the lake, beaten mainly by those in the hotspot area around the aerator.

13 points from 19 for me, team was 6th on the day with 60 points, so we are staging a belated and too late resurgence after a poor start.  Mark managed 8 points from his peg from hell and maybe there is some light at the end of the tunnel after this long and winless winter.  next up Silver match at Viaduct on Wednesday.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Viaduct Winter League 2nd Round, Sunday 29th January 2015

Looking for a good team draw today, to push us up the league, left that with the normally solid drawing arm of Fred, sadly he must have brushed against me on the way to the draw and managed to pick a not particulary good draw and mine was probably the worst of the bunch., 47 on match lake, no island chuck and with the temperature and clarity of the water, the margin was unlikely to feature.  Glenn had 126, Fred put himself on 94 and Paul on 15.

I set up two wagglers, one with a hi viz top Preston peacock insert - these are great floats for visibility, one for closer in with a Drennan Glow Tip waggler, again, very visible, but much thinner.  Both on Microlight rods with a 0.10 hooklength on one and a 0.08 on the other.

I did set up a dobbing rig for down the edge, athough I was very sceptical about it working and that scepticism proved right, no bites down the edge.  A couple of rigs to fish out in front at 14m and 9m, the 9m rig was not much used as I didn't have a bite on that line.

Put 4 balls of GB at 14m at the start, didn't think there was too much point in being overly negative on a renouned poor peg.   Started on the bread, on the lead chucked round the peg - nothing.  Down the edge, nothing, then I saw a lone bubble over the GB.  I decided to go over it earlier than planned as the lake seemed to be fishing hard except 43/44 who were both catching to the island.

Rather than put the pole over their heads in the shallow, clear water I dropped the light waggler in and had a couple of roch and a small skimmer before getting a better fish about 1lb or so.  Then another decent skimmer, next up a 4lb carp and I was suddenly hopeful of a better day.  Then the angler on 45 picked up his catapult and started feeding level with my skimmer line and I didn't have another bite for 3 1/2 hours.  I ended the match by fishing as far powards the island as I dare, without breaching the limits of my peg, this brought a run of roach up to 3oz, better than nothing, but was't going to see me catching those who'd had a better stmp of fish to the islands.

I ended up with 9.09 and 7 points, I certainly didn't expect more from the peg as it usually is in the bottom 4 in section.

Team wise, it was a bit of a disaster, finishing last but one - we seem to have caught whatever afflicted Leicester after their success in the Premier league last year.....  We'll need three good draws to even finish halfway at this rate.

Viaduct Silvers, Wednesday 25th January 2015

Another go at the silvers on Spring today, it started badly and didn't improve much, I got as far as Pensford when I realised I had forgetten my ice breaker, the nose to tail commuter traffic heading towards Bristol meant there was no chance of turning back to get it.

Arriving at the fishery, an inspection of the lakes revealed a fairly thick lid, so borrowing an ice breker was imperative.  Getting my kit out of the van I went to the front set and picked up my flask, it felt strangely light, then I realised the lid hadn't been on properly and the entire contents were now soaked into the passenger seat..... maybe that should have been an omen to forget it for the day.

Peg 4 was my home for the day, with once again on the next peg, Andy Power on 5 and Scott Puddy on 3.  Andy kindly cut out my peg, as I have a knackerd shoulder and chucking the ice breaker isn't easy.  Cupped a couple of alls of GB on the all in and started just short on caster, spent about 20 minutes without a bite before swapping to a Chianti  set 6" off bottom, this brought bites, but only from small roach.  This set the scene for the rest of the day, I kept looking back on the deck for better skimmers, but as soon as I dropped back on the deck, the bites dried up.

Scott to my right had a few skimmers, but Andy was in the same boat as me, so maybe there weren't any skimmers in the area.  Ended up chucking back 6 or 7lb roach, shame I didn't have 20lb of skimmers to go with them......

1: Des Shipp 29.05 peg 25
2: Scott Russell 18.09 peg 10
3: Scott Puddy 17.09 peg 3
4: Callum Dicks 17.07 peg16

Acorn Costcutter Tuesday 17th January 2015

Chilly day today, traveled down with Tony Rixon and had a decent breakfast in the Bridge Inn, the scene of many fishing team meetings yeatrs ago, they usually descended into a drunken party.......

The lake was frozen, but top man Mark Bartlett was going round breaking the pegs out, into the tin and out comes 24, with Tony on 27, but before we got out the door, it transpired there was a ping pong ball short in the bag, so a redraw was in order, this time we ended up next to each other again, this time either side of a bridge 33 and 34.

Being next to a bridge made tidying up the ice Mark had cut out easy, so that done it was time to set up a couple of rigs, one for the second shelf, one for the track and then a dobbing rig.  Bait tray was simple, maggots dead and alive.  Opposite we could see the pegs either side of the other bridge into early action, whilst it remained quiet our side.  After 15 minutes I did get a 3-4lber on bread and not too long after another, but this one was lucky if he weighed a pound.

A long quiet spell then as I rotated round the lines, to no avail, Tony had a couple of fish, but it was quiet for everyone except peg 21.  Out of the blue I had a bite to the right of the peg against the ice and a 8lber put up a spirited fight on 0.10 before finally giving up.

Anoher look on bread saw a small F1 netted before the end and my one and only bite by the bridge saw a good fish hooked, but it kited under the bridge and snagged on something, I could feel the fish, but everything was solid, in the end the hooklength parted and that was my action for the day.  Frustrating as Tony had 3 or 4 fish from the bridge, whereas I had just the one bite, don't think I did much wrong and the North side of the 3 briges top the top three places.

1: Lee Waller 50.09 peg 6
2: Phil Cooper 39.04 peg 21
3: Tony Rixon 26.04 p34
4: Andy Gard 21.08 peg 22
5: Adge 20.08 peg 5
6: Chris Fox 15.15 peg 33

Viaduct Silvers, Wednesdy 18th January 2015

Really looking forward to this, as some nice skimmers reside in Spring lake and it's the deepest lake at Viaduct, so was hopeful of a few.  Not so hopeful when peg 12 stuck to my drawing hand, but maybe they will have moved round.  Next to Andy Power on 11 and Steve Kedge on 16, so some quaility to test myself against.

I set up a waggler and several pole rigs, a double bulk - but I haven't had much success with that for a long time now - a rig to try and catch perch down to the pallet and rushes of 13.

Groundbait in at the start, 14m and a shorter line with just caster.  Starting off on the caster line, there were roach to be caught, but too small, too slow and too far out.  A switch to the waggler was the same, as was the GB line.  The sun was the worst I have ever fished in for visibility, the ripple was making any colour of size of float impossible to see.  I could see Andy's float and after I asked what he was using, a Preston peacock wih a hi viz insert, he kindly gave me one to try.

The edge seemed devoid of perch and the peg devoid of skimmers, as I could only catch roach on every line.  Andy did have some shade from the island and caught a few skimmers on corn and waggler, but we were well off the pace of the top spots st the end which came from further up the lake.  The fish just don't want to be the river end of the lakes at the moment.

That man Des winning from Middle lake.

1: Des Shipp 25.13 peg 32
2: Chris Davis 22.08 peg 3
3: Vince Brown 22.01 peg 4
3: Matt Parsons 22.01 peg 10

Viaduct Winter League 1st Round Sunday 15th January 2015

After last years dizzy heights of winning the league and having the individual champion in the team, we had a lot to live up to.  I drew for the team, Fred on 127, Mark on 96, myself on 64, Paul on 47 and Glenn on 16.

So, the famous, or is it the infamous monk peg for me, the wind was all wrong for the peg, especially as Lodge is float only.  I set up a waggler to fish to the end bank, pole rig for dobbing bread up the edge and a couple of rigs to catch skimmers on in the open water.

I'm going to struggle to fill in much more detail or pad it out, as I sat and watched Ken catching on 66 and could see fish coming out with regularity in the opposite corner, pegs 53/73.  None of my floats moved, even a line fed with squatt did not give me a bite.  I kept giving each line - the waggler to the end bank, the bread/maggots/prawn dobbed up the edge and the skimmer line - 20 minutes each and had not so much as a tremor on any of the floats.

The last 20 minutes were spent on the waggler and I wa staring 0 points and a blank in the face, when at 15.26, 4 minutes before the all out, the waggler dipped and after the most nervy battle ever, a 6.5lb common was netted 2 minutes after the whistle and took me from 0 to 8 points.

We ended up aout halfway and considering we had several pegs at the wrong end of the lakes, we at least have somehing to build on.

Landsend Open Saturday 14th January 2014

First match of 2015, 8 fishing so more of a knock up really, but it was a reasonable day and when I drew peg 5 I thoght I might catch a few silvers. Given the clarity of the water I didn't bother with a rig for up the shelf, but did set up one for down the shelf, down the track and to fish to the pallets of 4 and 6.

I fed a few micros at 13m off to my left and began on the cater at the bottom of the shelf, the expected silvers didn't show, but I did put 3 carp in the net, the pellet line was completely non productive all day and the only bite by either pallet was a tiny perch.

I concentrated on fishing caster across and started a new line, but that too was fruitless, a look back on the original line saw 2 decent skimmers, a few roach and a decent perch netted towards the end, giving me 9.00 of silvers, to go with the initial 3 carp which went 16.08.  A tough day, but enjoyable.

1: Dave Westcott 30.15 peg 19
2: Chris Fox 25.08 peg 5
3: Rod Wootton 18.13 peg 17
4: Russ Peck 13.03 peg 11


1: Chris Fox 9.00

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Viaduct Two Dayer - Sept 2017

I have booked Viaduct, Cary Friday 1st Sept and Campbell Saturday 2nd Sept.

£13 peg fee (sooner you pay, sooner you are confirmed as fishing), £50 pools. - that gives £1000 to payout with 20 fishing.  4 sections of 5 and points then weight will decide the overall.

Friday will be anything goes within Viaduct rules, Saturday is pole only.

Only 4 places left, so you need to get in quick not to miss it.

Viaduct Open, New Years Eve, 2016

A couple of weeks off to get over the poor result at Todber and the general downturn in my fishing this year, can't put my finger on it, the wheels fell off after my faux pas at Viaduct in the winter league, losing the match win by going over in my net. The wheels seem to be still rolling away and gathering pace, hopefully 2017 will see an up turn in fortune.

28 fishing this one, so Campbell and Cary in, I bought a pint of casters, intending to fish for silvers if I drew a suitable peg, I was slightly down hearted when I opened up the ticket and saw 123, a peg any silvers angler would have run to a few years back, but not now.  Best bet I thought would be to target the few resident carp, that surely must be down in the corner and along the end bank.

Arriving at my peg the first thing that struck me was the clarity of the water, gin clear.  If it had not been a corner peg, the pole would have stayed in the holdall, but I did set it up, with a rig to fish down into the corner, a long line between pole tip and float due to the clarity of the water.  Two waggler rods, one with 2.5lb Maxima and a 0.10 hooklength, I was also trying out some new (to me) hooks - Guru F1 maggot, in size 20, a nice light gauge wire.  The other rod had 4lb line and a 0.12 hooklength and a 18LWG hook.

Two lead rods, one for popped up bread, the other for meat, corn etc. Bait tray was simple, caster, maggot, meat, corn and bread, with a few frozen prawns although I am yet to catch a fish on a prawn at Viaduct.

Starting on the lead / bread, I searched around the peg, open water and along the end bank, but without so much as a liner, I wasn't confident that there were even any resident carp in the area, walking to the peg, the carp were very much giving their location away, sat in a big ball up by the aerator.

A switch to the waggler and corn was equally unproductive and 2 hours in I was fishless, I had been feeding a line slightly to my right at a bout 20m with caster and a switch to this brought 4 good perch in the next hour to double caster and a skimmer.  Peg 125 was catching skimmers on the waggler and I couldn't seem to draw them down to me, another typical winter day.  I managed one more skimmer and 3 roach on the waggler, a look round the peg with a prawn produced nothing, with the perch being between 1.5 and 2lb, my net went 10.10 which was 4th in the silvers and one out of the money, maybe I should have fished for silvers the whole match....

The match was won by a huge margin from 130, Martin Lenaghan weighing 264lb, although that was knocked back to 180lb as he was the latest to fall foul of the net limits.

I have joined the 'ramp club' having had one for Xmas, certainly easier than  lifting a loaded trolley in and out of the van.

Todber Pairs, Last Round, Sunday 18th December 2016

Traveled down with partner Mike Walker for this one, stopped off at Cannards Well for breakfast, not been in there for a while and it was not too bad, much better than my last visit.

With us lying in 4th place going into todays match, a couple of section wins should see us into the money, well, that was the plan.......  Mike drew a decent peg and I managed to draw 41, which several people promptly told me was shit, apparently, it has come last or last but one in section everytime!! Not to worry, I have manged a few fish each match on hard pellet and was confident of doing so in this one.  To cut a long and boring 5 hours short, I didn't have a bite on pellet all day, I was reduced to fishing 0.09 flourocarbon and a 22 gamma green with a single dead maggot to get the occasional bite, mainly from the tiny tench that reside in this lake.  The island looked like it should produce a few fish, but apart from a couple of roach, it was to all intents, barren.

I put about 9lb of fish on the scales for probably last in the match, a dismal result given that Mike won his section, that pushed us down the final order to about 6th or 7th I think, which was disappointing, but that seems to be the story of 2016 for me. 

Viaduct Xmas Match Saturday 17th December 2016

I managed to pluck peg 100 from the draw tin for this match, that made up my mind to concentrate on the carp and set up a waggler to fish corn and a lead to try bread/corn/meat.  Walking to the peg, it was amazing to see the ball of carp in front of 105, which had been drawn by Dan White, the consensus was that Dan would win easily, as there were so many fish in front of him.

I also set up a pole, to feed a line with caster, meat and corn, just in case the fish would come within pole range, but as I could see evidence of fish moving right over by the end of the spit, I wasn't convinced they would.

I managed one carp all match, a small one for Cary, just over 7lb, on the waggler and corn. There were a few small skimmers on the pole line, maybe I should have fished for silvers, but I don't think I would have competed with the weight from Campbell.

1. Jamie Bowden - 109lb 11oz - peg 110
2. Tony Mackett - 91lb 7oz - peg 132
3. Roland Lucas - 49lb 7oz - peg 99
4. Dom Sullivan - 40lb 1oz - peg 128

1. Matt Parsons - 28lb 3oz - peg 126

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Acorn Costcutter, Tuesday 6th December 2016

This will short and sweet.

Traveled down with Tony and had breakfast in the Bridge Inn, it wasn't too bad, shame about the bloody lifesize Santa Claus by the bar, that some little brat kept triggering and it then went through a repertoire of Xmas songs, thankfully my sanity was saved when a staff member switched it off.

A dozen hardy souls braving the foggy day, the air temperature had certainly risen, but the water was clear and very cold.  Peg 33 was my reward for delving into the ping pong ball bag, a bridge peg, so should hopefully produce a fish or two.  Peg 34 other side of the bridge not in as the platform has collapsed, not sure that was a good thing, as the fish had a area I couldn't get to, to back off into.

My view for the day was traveling companion Mr Rixon

4 topkits, a rig to dob bread across, another for down on the 2nd shelf about 3' deep and two rigs to fish full depth.  Started dobbing bread and that was totally fruitless, tried all along the 2nd shelf, from just touching bottom, to mid depth. Once that had proved to be a non starter, I fed a few micros and maggots by the bridge at full depth and a few up on the 2nd shelf, the a line in open water, finally a few casters short by the bridge.

Not long after dropping in on the full depth line by the bridge I had a fish on, but not for too long, I wasn't convinced it was fouled, but hard to tell.  Shortly after, another hooked and lost, this did feel foul hooked,  A look round the other lines produced nothing, back by the bridge at depth and a missed bite, I was hopeful of a few fish, as there was at least some indications.  Next drop in a 5lber fell for double maggot, next drop in a small F1 and that was it, not another bite from this line the rest of the day.  About an hour later I had a bite out of the blue on the 2nd shelf and a chunky F1 joined the other 2 fish in the net. 

Sadly the only action after that was watching the chickens eating my bait that the fish resolutely refused to touch.....

As I had no further indications, I can only assume the fish did back off under the bridge, I tried down to the pallet of 32, again nothing.  A tough day, not too surprising given the water clarity and I tipped my 3 fish back to save the scalesman a job.

Avalon Silvers, Final Round, Saturday 3rd December 2016

Last round of this enjoyable league, still possible with a decent draw to win it, or take second place from my third place going into this match, as the weights weren't more than about 6 or 7lb difference. Also had to defend the attack from Ken Rayner in 4th place and last in the money.

I couldn't believe my bad luck when I drew peg 12 again, for the second match in a row, no island gap and a peg either side, I would have my work cut out to hang onto 3rd place here, let alone make in roads into the top two, unless the big skimmers had moved into the area since the last round.

The wind was making a waggler pointless, but I did set one up just in case it dropped, I also set up a small cage feeder, but felt it wouldn't have a part to play,  3 topkits, a 1g AS3 with a 1.3 fluorocarbon hooklength and a 18 gamma green hook, a 0.6g version of the same float with a 0.08 hooklength and a 18 6313  and finally a homemade diamond float with a carbon stem, 0.5g this with a 1.3 fluorocarbon hooklength and a 20 gamma green - i was expecting a tough day!!

Two lines fed at 14m, one with two large balls of GB with a few dead maggots casters and squatt in, the LH line fed with one small ball of GB with just casters in.  I also fed a line at 11m with micros and a little GB.  10 minutes on the feeder at about 3/4 the way across without an indication was enough and I switched to the pole.  The rest of the day was spent rotating round the 3 lines, taking 3 or 4 fish over the micros and  it looked like that was going to be a decent line, but that was it, nothing else from there.  The RH positive fed line produced a couple of small skimmers and a few roach, the LH negative line just a few skimmers. I didn't have a fish over 4oz and the squats seemed to pull in the roach. The 1.0g rig was by far the most productive, the trip that was there was with the wind, so far from ideal skimmer fishing conditions.

At the all out I knew I hadn't been able to make up any ground on the top two when the scales got to me, Ken had weighed 3lb odd and my 4.13 ensured I kept 3rd place overall and a welcome pick up.

Thanks to Mosella boss Vic Bush for running the league and work permitting I'll fish next years, but one plea, can everyone have an empty peg to one side, as the weigh sheet shows, having a bit of space was essential today and last match in the colder conditions.

Congratulations to Vic and John for holding onto their respective 1st and 2nd places and to Ken for pushing me right to the end.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Todber Pairs, Round Three, Sunday 20th November 2016

My turn on Ash lake today, usual partner Mike couldn't make it, so had a very able stand in, in Alan Oram.

I drew 62, which had the wind blowing straight down the lake into it, hmm, didn't really fancy it because of that, but who knows, its a developing fishery, so maybe they will surprise me.  A method feeder was set up and a straight lead.  I could see most others on the lake setting up wagglers, well I wasn't as I had purposely left it at home, imagining the wind would be too bad. 3 Topkits, one to fish banded pellet at the bottom of the end bank shelf at 14m.  Another for soft pellet/corn at 14m to the right and a rig to fish about 2-3m out from the edge halfway down the slope.

By 12.30 I had 4 fish, 3 small carp and 1 skimmer, a long way behind Steve Tucker on the next peg (64) and even further behind peg 67.  I went to the shop and bought some white semi bouyant band um's to try in desperation, when I got back the wind had dropped.  The band ums did catch me a couple of fish, but the 14m line at the bottom of the shelf came to life with the wind dropping and I caught fairly steadily on 6mm banded pellet to the end, the very slow first 2 and a half hours cost me.  Stand in partner Alan won his section and second in match, well done and thanks!!

I did consider at 12.30 that I would be last in the match, thankfully my late run put me 5th, but only good enough for 3rd in section, frustrating.

1st - 90-12 - Nick White - p67 (ash)
2nd - 76- 8 - Allan Oram - p45 (hillview)
3rd - 69- 0 - Steve Tucker - p64 (ash)
4th - 64-14 - Fred Roberts - p60 (hillview)
5th - 63-12 - Chris Fox - p62 (ash)
6th - 55- 9 - Ash Tompkins - p37 (hillview)

Avalon Silvers League, Penultimate Round, Saturday 19th November 2016

Penultimate round and with it being fairly tight at the top, I needed to end the day within a couple of pounds of the others who were in and around the frame placings.  Into the bag and out comes disc 12, not so good, no gap and an angler either side, one of whom on peg 11 was league leader Vic Bush.

Mixing up the groundbait, the water didn't feel anywhere near as cold as the air temperature, that night have lulled me into a false sense of security...........

No whip today, the colder weather seems to have pushed the smaller fish out from the bank, not sure why, its certainly not because the of the depth or the clarity, as the water still retained some colour.  I set up a small cage feeder, but didn't really expect much from it, as it seems to be better in the gaps. 3 topkits, a 0.6g AS float with a 0.10 and a 18 6313, a bulk rig same hooklength and a 16 6313 and a 0.3g AS float with a 0.08 hooklength and a 20 gamma green.

Usual GB mix, two lines at 14m, one to the left with a few micros in the mix, no micros in the RH line. Also a line shorter at 10mish which I just fed micros'.

The rest of the blog will be short and sweet, rotating round the lines, got me an odd fish from the two long lines, nothing from the 10m line, I set up a waggler rod half way through just to try and get a few bites, I did but they were tiny roach and rudd, most fell off winding back in.

No matter what I did I couldn't get more than a very odd bite and roach or small skimmer, ending up with 6lb, Vic only fared slightly better on the next peg, beating me by 12oz, there really didn't seem to be many fish in the area.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Viaduct Costcutter, Thursday 17th November 2016

The weather was promising us a soaking today and it was certainly wet loading up the van and driving down, but the rain had stopped by the time I got to Viaduct.  19 fishing today, a reasonable turnout given the forecast, I was second into the draw tin and wasn't exactly jumping for joy when I plucked out 129.  Having drawn it a few Sundays ago and watched 114 catch all day, I was hoping it wasn't a case of groundhog day.

I had brought meat and corn to fish for carp and had some caster and dead maggot in case I drew a decent silvers peg, I decided to fish for carp, as there were plenty of silvers anglers in attendance and on better silvers pegs.  I set up a lead rod, a waggler and 3 topkits, one for up to the spit, another for open water for meat and a rig for dead maggot/caster at 14m.

On the all-in I had a gentle breeze pushing in at me, it was pushing all of the floating leaves in towards me, making things tricky.  I did feed to GB and caster at 14m as Clint had been pestered with carp on 128 during Sundays silver match.  Had a couple of chucks around the peg with bread, but not so much as a liner. After 20 minutes I picked up the waggler and chucked towards 113, after a couple of minutes, the float disappeared and I was into a good fish. After a spirited fight, I netted a double figure fish, not a bad start, next cast I had nothing, by now the wind was swinging round and pushing down the lake.

3rd cast and another carp netted, smaller this time, 4lb or so, I was now thinking it would be a good day, but apart from a missed bite, that was the end of the action for a while, I then had a couple of decent skimmers on the wag and corn. I had fed a few cubes of meat out to the aerator, I had caught on the wag casting to the aerator last time I drew here, today, the only bite was a 1lb+ perch on meat.

131 was drawn, but the angler declined to fish it, his choice but I don't think it helped me, as there were fish showing between 131 and 132, they appeared to move up into all the space, so being the only peg between the spit and the end wasn't such an advantage.

At one point the wind and rain got up, it blew so hard that I half considered putting my pole away, but it didn't last too long and the rain held off for the rest of the match. With half an hour to go I knew I was too far behind to catch up with carp, so out of sheer boredom, I took the 0.12 hooklength (with a 16 hook) off the pole rig and replaced it with a 0.10 and a 18, fishing at 14m I had a few handsize skimmers, but was getting indications and liners from them.  I ended up with 9lb odd of silvers and just over 12lb won the silvers, I am pretty convinced had I fished for them for the whole match I would have bettered that (and had a more enjoyable day).

I didn't get the full results sheet, but this is as reported on Viaduct FB.

1. Adrian Jeffery - 81lb 11oz - peg 123
2. Peter Bailey - 55lb 4oz - peg 110
3. Chris Rolfe - 51lb 8oz - peg 74
4. Brian Chivers - 48lb 14oz - peg 125

1. Mike Jones - 12lb 5oz - peg 127
2. Andy Guard - 12lb 3oz - peg 119

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Viaduct Silvers League, Sunday 13th November 2016

I was disappointed to have to miss this series due to work, but I managed to get a place standing in for Clive Barrow in this match.  Lovely drive down, only saw three or four cars the whole journey, why can't driving always be like that!!

Into the tin and out comes 126, can't complain too much about that, might have preferred 69 or 70, but 126 gives a decent chance for a section win and depending how the other lakes fish, a win or frame.

Four topkits and a waggler rod out of the bag, first topkit had a 0.3 Gimp on 0.15 with a 0.10 hooklength and a 18 6313. Next a 0.3 Hillbilly float with a double bulk, 0.10 again this time with a 16 6313. A 0.3g float to fish caster at topkit + 2 again with 0.10 and a 6313 and finally a kit with a 0.1g float to fish either side.  The waggler was on 2.5lb maxima with a 0.10 hooklength and again, a trusty 6313 in 18.

Bait is nice and simple, casters, maggots - dead and alive - pinkies and groundbait.  On the all in two lines fed with GB, both at 14m one with a pinch of worm in, one without.  That was left and I started on the short line, a couple of small roach fell to caster, a couple to maggot but it wasn't exactly frantic sport.

There is nothing else to say about the sort line or the edge lines, as they didn't produce another fish.

I did try the waggler, but only over the 14m lines as I didn't want to feed further out and frustratingly bumped a good fish when the rod hit the tree to my left on the strike. A couple of small roach after that before I binned it and went back on the pole.

Spent the rest of the match alternating between the two 14m lines, topping with GB as necessary and took skimmers on worm, caster and dead maggot - which was the best bait - to put together 20.01 of skimmers which was good enough for a section win and 4th overall.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Todber Manor Pairs R2, Sunday 6th November 2016

Traveled down with pairs partner Mike Walker, a minor drama before we set off got my van all loaded up and it then wouldn't start, no warnings on the dash, I didn't have time to get the fault code reader out, although it seemed more like a fuel problem than an engimne management issue.

We were working out if we could fit the myriad of kit kit into Mike's Audi after emptying the van out and we had some stuff in, but it wasn't looking good.  I tried the van once again and it started, so we loaded it all back in and set off.

Uneventful run down to Todber and I once again avoided the temptation to explore the well stocked shop.  I drew peg 52 which wasn't the best peg last time round, I was next to Scott Russell for the second match running, he was on 53 which had won the section in the previous round.  When we got to the pegs, which are down an arm on the lake, we weren't too confident as the cold wind was blowing in there.  I set up a method rod and three topkits, one 0.8g AS float on 0.14 with a 0.12 hooklength with a LWG 18 and a band.  A 0.6g AS with the same line and hook, but without a band and a 0.3g HB Chump to fish meat/corn in about 3' of water.

Not too much more to say, nothing on meat or corn in the 3' of water line, a few carp and micro tench at 13m on banded 6mm pellet and a few decent roach short on caster.  Scott was biteless after 2.5 hours and went for a walk, I wandered back to the van to get another fleece, as the wind was bloody cold.  Scott did nick a couple of better fish on the feeder at the end, but I managed to pip him, but it was all to no avail, as we were last and last but one in section. I put 27lb on the scale to Scott's 22lb and the section was won with 55lbish. 

The only hindsight I can apply to today was draw a better peg, given the weather conditions, really not sure that there were too many fish at the end of the arm and we both suffered for it.  That's the end of the series for us as a pair now I should imagine, so fishing the last two rounds as an open for me and Mike.

Avalon Silvers League R4, Saturday 5th November 2016

Nice lazy breakfast at home before setting off, only to find the draw had been put back to 08.30, so ended up being 10 minutes late.  A couple of pegs left in the bag and I plucked out 18, 19 was the end peg and not drawn - yet.

I thought I might have an end peg advantage, but another latecomer turned up on 19, at least I had some open water, so started by setting up a cage feeder, then a waggler rod, before setting up 3 pole rigs, a double bulk rig that remained unused and two rigs with AS floats, one 0.6g and one 0.4g.  As the weather had taken a turn towards winter, I had 0.10 and a 18 6313 on the 0.6g rig and 1.3lb fluorocarbon with a 18 Gamma Green on the light rig.

Bait tray comprised a few micros, caster maggots and pinkies, also a very small amount of worms, I pumped a few devils spawn and mixed some groundbait.  Two lines at 14m, one with a pinch of worms, one without.  A line at 8m and a short caster line, starting on the short caster line I had one roach, but that was to it from there. The 8m pellet line produced one roach all day, so no more about that.  The two 14m lines produced the fish, albeit slowly, but I did have 5 decent skimmers, one on devils spawn, one on worm and 3 on caster, as well as a few smaller skimmers and the odd roach.

With hindsight (as usual) I would have fed one line differently, instead if topping with small jaffas and fishing it out, I should have tried feeding less more often, which isn't usually the way to fish for winter skimmers, but I felt at the end it might have been better. The heavier rig produced more fish and after losing a carp I had converted that to a fluorocarbon hooklength and a 16 Gamma Green, although I don't think it was a major influence on the catch rate.

My fish went 18.04 which was only good enough for 4th in section, but that was 4th in the match and keeps me in touch with Vic who is leading the series with myself in second place.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Acorn Tuesday Tenner, Tuesday 25th October 2016

Traveled down with Tony Rixon today, I must say I was disappointed that after taking him in, like a child refugee (looks about the same age as some of them....) and feeding him, slaking his thirst with orange juice and my best filter coffee, he then drew the current form peg on the lake (5) and proceeded to empty it.  I had the misfortune to be sat behind on 40 which several years ago would have had anyone drawing it running to it, but it hasn't fared well in recent months.  The Tuesday tenner was thirteen quid today, as it was the usual £12 + a quid poppy tax.

Still, it was a dry day, out in the fresh air and maybe the fish would have moved.  Trying to cover most options I set up 4 topkits, one for right across, to fish in about 15" of water, banded hooklength of 0.12 and a 18LWG on that one.  Next rig was a Chianti, to fish in about 2' 6" 0f water on the second shelf. this had a spade end 118 LWG on 0.12 to start with, my thought was to fish micros, devils spawn and maggot on this line.  A rig for down the track and next to the bridge in the deepest water, again a 18 LWG on 0.12.  Finally a margin rig, I found a flattish area just this side of the empty 39 and by the bridge, both about 3' deep, decided to target this depth to start with.

Starting across on the shelf, I did have a fish after 10 minutes and the story of the day started, no matter what I tried I could not break the cycle of having to move lines, sometimes 2 or 3 times before I got another bite.  To cut a long and fairly monotonous story short, I had two F1's short by the bridge, nothing in the RH margin, one fish down the track and the others either up the shelf or tight to the bridge - the float had to be touching the bridge to get a bite, a real pain as the tow was pushing the float and rig away from the bridge.  I would rotate round the lines, then get a bite out of the blue, what never happened, was getting two bites or fish consecutively from the same line.

I did keep myself amused during one particularly barren spell, by feeding caster and pellets to my new friends...... That was by far and away the most frantic feeding in the vicinity of my peg.

Even more frustratingly, my fish were half the size of those that I could see Tony catching, as well as peg 37 and 6.  One of those days when I leave the peg having tried lots of options, being negative, trying a positive line, persisting with one line, trying pellets and maggots, then left feeling slightly bemused as to what I could have done to challenge the framers.

At least I wasn't the latest victim of the strict net limit at this venue, Mike Owens was the unfortunate transgressor this time, his 71lb in a net costing him 3rd place......

Monday, 24 October 2016

Viaduct Open Sunday 23rd October 2016

Had several options today, but chose Viaduct and I took bait to fish for carp and silvers, although I would chose which when I drew, as I felt it was not going to be viable to fish for both.  Only 15 for this one, must be winter, as any summer Sunday match on Campbell would be sold out.

For the second day running I drew a peg I wouldn't have chosen, 129, but there was plenty of space as I only had the amiable Mr Roberts on 131 for company between me and the end bank.  The wind was ripping up the lake and was going to make pole and waggler fishing difficult, but ever hopeful that the wind would abate at some point, I set up a waggler and 3 pole rigs.  A meat rig, one to fish pellet at 14m and a rig to fish to the spit, which had a depth of nearly 2' and I did think that there might be a fish or two to be had from there.

Starting on the lead, I gave it 20 minutes before the brain fade set in and I had to look at a float, the pole was equally ineffective and the wind was making waggler fishing tricky, but but putting an 8mm pellet 4" overdepth it would hold still.  After 3/4 of an hour I had a bite and landed a near 4lb carp, Fred had one at exactly the same time.  I had a couple of liners at the time, but that was it until just before 14.00 when I had a 3lb tench on the waggler.  14.00 was the half way point and Steve Hutter walked up and Fred walked down to my peg, as we were all struggling, whilst 123, 114 and 118 were catching.

Fred and I decided that a halftime coffee and pasty would be good and provide some fresh impetus for the second half of the match, so a stroll up the shop was in order, we weren't alone, we were soon joined by John Bradford and Sean Clayton, both were equally struggling, with Sean being especially frustrated, being next to 114 who was sacking, whilst he struggled.

The second half if the match started well, before I had finished my coffee, the waggler dipped and a beautifully conditioned 10lb common was netted after a spirited tussle, the fish might have been cold and going into winter mode, but still fighting like summer fish.  The spit produced nothing, I had fed maggots sparingly and a couple of cubes of meat, but I don't think there was anything there.

I had fed a meat line at 7m all day and did catch a perch and one carp from it, but the most indications were on the waggler, cast close to the aerator.  I lost two foulers and had a few indications, but these came in spells, the fish seemed to be moving through the peg in small groups and I had 3 more carp during these spells of activity.  I'm not sure if it was a small shoal of carp circling round or if it was carp moving from the shallow water at this end of the lake moving towards the deeper water.

Ended up with 46.05 and was a long, long way from the top 3, not really sure that I could have done much more, maybe fishing the waggler all day, but the wind was making feeding 8mm pellets tricky.

Avalon Silver League R3, Saturday 22nd October 2016

A chilly, foggy morning greeted us for this one, Vic did the usual and asked for  someone to draw him a peg, he wasn't disappointed when he was handed 34 for the second match running, whereas I wasn't overjoyed with my peg, 39,  as I feel an end peg or a gap in the islands is an advantage.

No need to change what usually works - or so I thought - two lines at 14m on which I decided to feed GB and caster and the other line I put worm in.  I didn't bother with the shorter line I had last time with micros and soft pellet - I really haven't got much confidence in it.  I set up two whips, expecting the whip lines to be slower, but to produce fish at some stage during the match.

With no wind and no tow to contend with, I set up two rigs to fish at 14m, both on 0.14, a 0.6g rig with 0.10 and a 16, and a 0.4g rig with 0.08 and a 18 (6313 which is a small 18).  I also had time to set up a margin rig and a double bulk rig which never got picked up.  I didn't bother with a waggler or a cage feeder, given the lack of a gap in the island.

The worm/GB went in on the LH line, the caster /GB on the RH line and casters on the whip line, I spent 20 minutes searching from 12" to full depth on the whip, for one roach and decided that it was going to be a day to sit out on the longer lines for better fish.  It took 20 minutes before the float disappeared and a 3lb bream was safely netted  this was on worm from the LH line. Another 20 minutes, before his mate joined him in the net, this time from the RH line, again on a piece of worm. With an hour gone I topped up the lines and has a decent skimmer and a roach on caster over the RH line.

That was to be it, not another bite from 13.15 until 15.30, I started a new line just toss potting maggot, went to a 22 gamma green and single maggot, still nothing, the peg was seemingly devoid of fish - it obviously wasn't - but I could not work out how to get even the tiniest roach and rudd to feed.

At 15.30 on double caster another bream gave me relief from the concern that I was going to be losing a lot of ground in the league, the another bite next put in and a strange fight,  thought it was a foul hooked big skimmer, the a piece of tail surfaced and and it was black edged - definitely a skimmer - until I carefully eased into netting range and it turned into a 2lb carp, one of the dark ones with a black tail , no orange at all.  I did curse it and call it a name or two......  One more decent skimmer at 16.25 rounded off the match and I knew that spell of 3 hours 20 minutes without a bite had cost me, so it proved, as I think I have slipped to second in the league now, with the 5 bream and a fistful of roach going 10.08.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Acorn Costcutter, Tuesday 18th October 2016

Traveled to the fishery with Tony Rixon, so our usual putting the world to rights chat on the way down. North Westerly wind forecast and I didn't fancy having that blowing straight at me, but there was no need to worry as it never got to more than a gentle breeze all day.

Into the bag of ping pong balls and I emerge with 9.....
Simple today, 4 topkits, one for down the edges in about 15" of water, not 100% convinced the fish would come into that, but the next shelf was nearer 3' and that might be too deep.  A rig to fish banded pellet across in a similar depth which comprised a Malman Yoof and a 16 LWG on 0.14, another rig to fish the 'second' shelf, which was about 2'6", this was a HB Chump with a 0.12 and a 18 LWG with a band and rig for down the track, a new homemade diamond with a carbon stem, this had a 16 LWG on 0.12 to fish maggot.

Starting on the shallow rig across feeding 4mm pellets resulted in a motionless float, so a switch to the deeper rig on the second shelf to search the deeper water brought some indications and a fish. I started to get missed bites and some foulers.  The only way to combat this was to drag the rig slightly up the steep slope (nearer vertical than a slope) back towards the shallow shelf. This resulted in a reasonable run of fish, I had a quiet spell and fished through it , they came back OK.

About halfway through I had another quiet spell and instead of fishing through it, I decided to have a look round the peg, trying the line down the track, this produced a little gold fish, an F1 and then I hooked a decent skimmer that leapt out and off the hook.  That was that, I had fed the LH edge from an hour in and tried that - biteless.  Whilst I had been rotating round these lines I had been feeding across, and went back over it, had another fish about 5lb and that was that, the fish seemed to have gone, no more bites or liners.

Paul Nichols had come and sat behind me for a few minutes and told me there was a shelf at topkit + 1 to my right, fishing in line with peg 5.  I set up a rig for this and fed it for a couple of hours, but never had a bite on it.  My only hope was the RH edge, which I fed at 6 sections of pole where there is a wide shelf.  This never really kicked on, I had some obvious water movement and vortexes, but it appeared to be just 1 or 2 fish at a time coming into the peg - the usual situation when that happens wait and wait for the fish to get to the bait and then it touches the line or something spooks it and it bow waves out of the peg.  I managed 4 and lost one that was just touching double figures from that edge, not at all convinced I got the feeding right so that probably cost me, as I could see that Tony was catching well towards the end, whereas  I had the majority of my weight in the first 3 hours.

I had 3 nets in at the end, but purely in fear of the strict 70lb net limit, as I had stopped two nets at 50lb, although I couldn't remember clicking an 8lber, so think I may have clicked it twice to be on the safe side, as having no tolerance on the net limit is pretty draconian.

The scales gave me 108.09 which was only enough for 3rd on the day and reflection on how I could and should have got more from the margin ant the end.  Dave Wride won from 24 with 144lb and Tony 1 fish behind him from 31 with 141lb.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Todber Manor Pairs Round One, Sunday 9th October 2016

Traveled down to Todber with Pairs partner Mike Walker, first time seeing the new match lakes there for either of us, once again the drop outs reduced what looked like a reasonable attendance down to 12 pairs on the day.  Had a quick look round Todber shop, very well stocked it is too, didn't look too closely or too long as I might have ended up buying something I don't really need......

Two separate draw buckets for today's draw, each pair to decide which bucket each angler was going to draw from, as we had no real information, I dived into the RH bucket and pulled out 45, meant nothing to me, but apparently I would have the wind off my back, which wasn't too bad. This was on Hillview Lake, Mike pulled out 73 on Ash Lake.

I dropped Mike off at his peg and went to find mine, which as promised had the wind off my back and an island to chuck a method....... deep joy!!  Talking of methods, even the staunchest float angler in the SW, Mr Rixon had one set up.

I set up a method to fish to the island (if absolutely necessary) and 4 topkits, a AS float 0.6g to fish at 13m, a 0.4 NG gimp to fish at topkit + 2, a shallow rig and a rig to fish down to the unoccupied 44,

I started on the method, but it must have been like watching someone who had only ever picked up a fishing rod in the shop, two casts where I had clipped up, but I felt it was too close to the island ( too shallow) so wound 4 turns of line round the spool and reclipped, Next cast looked spot on, as I lifted the rod to stop and cushion the feeder, only to see it fly past the spot and land on the island.  The clip had come off and that was the end of the hooklength and part of the feeder.  Enough of that nonsense and up the bank with it.

I had 4 and 6mm pellets on the side tray and a couple of pints of casters, I was hoping the casters might tempt the fish to come shallow , so fed them regularly by hand.  I picked up the topkit +2 rig and tried caster on the bottom, this resulted in bites, plenty of them, from perfect, miniature tench, lovely little things, but not much good for weight building.

Out onto the 13m line with a 6mm pellet in the band and feeding 4mm pellets by catapult, this saw the carp start coming, they seem to range from 8oz to a couple of pounds, although I did have one nearly 5lb, but he was a lonesome chap amongst the manic, whirling stockies.

The 13m line consistently produced the 'pasties' and a few looks on the short line produced the odd carp to pellet, but was slower than the long line.  I persevered with this until about 2 o'clock when the angler to my right on 46 started having a run of fish on the method, so I picked mine back up, put a new one on and cast out, somehow this one came off - a real noddy display of method chucking today - so another new one  on and back out.  A couple of fish on pellet, then I changed to a white band-um and this brought a few more fish, but it wasn't quicker than the pole and the fish were no bigger.

I did see a few swirls over my caster line and tried banded caster , I had an enjoyable 15 minutes catching a couple of 1lb skimmers and roach to 10oz shallow, but no carp.  Back onto the 13m line and a concerted effort saw a few more pasties added to the net in the final hour.  My 92.02 was nowhere in the match, bur was enough to be second in section and a welcome pick-up for the third match running.  Mike had a quiet spell during his match and this cost him, so we are about halfway down the table after R1.

Its a great set up at Todber, plenty of bites, but I couldn't fish for those pasty carp week in, week out.  Lesson learnt today, there are big carp in the lake, Tucks won the section and had some right lumps, on meat, which I hadn't taken, believing it to be all small fish.  The other lesson would be not to try and chase bigger fish or quicker fish on other lines, when you are catching steadily, stick with it.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Avalon Silvers League Round 2, Saturday 8th October 2016

I missed the first round, but luckily my old traveling and drinking partner Paul Faiers fished for me and won the match, so going into this round leading the league.

Going into the draw tub I wasn't too fussed where I drew, but end peg 34 would have been nice, that went to fishery owner Vic Bush, as someone drew him first peg.  9 stuck to my hand, it was just in one of the island gaps and I couldn't see any reason why I shouldn't have a few of the venues skimmers and bream.

Trying to cover all bases, I set up a cage feeder and a waggler, they were both put away at the end unused.  3 Topkits, I got 4 out of the bag and was going to set up a rig for down the edge, but decided not to. A 0.6g rig to fish worm at 14m, a 0.4g rig to fish pellet/corn at 7m and a double bulk rig, which only saw the water plumbing up.  Finally, two whips, one at 3m and one at 4m both with little wire stemmed Preston floats on (PB4??)

On the all in I fed 2 balls at 14m to my left and 3 to my right, the RH side having a richer worm/caster mix than the LH side to see what happened.  A small ball of micros at 7m and then onto the whip whilst the lines settled.  I was catching straight away on the whip, but was up and down with the depth trying to find the fish. After half an hour the guy to my right on peg 7 was getting a couple of decent skimmers, so I had an early look over the worm lines, two carp later, I switched to the pellet line, this produced 3 tiny skimmers, no bigger than the whip fish.

I had a couple more looks over the worm lines during the match and kept them topped up, but had no sign of a skimmer. I kept plugging away with the whip line at 3m until about 15.0 when the bites dropped off, by now I was catching 6" deep.  A switch to the 4m whip and increasing the depth to 15" made a difference and the fish started coming again.

The time spent looking for skimmers proved to be costly, as my net of whip caught roach, rudd and perch went 19.01 for second on the day, behind Vic.   Just enough to stay in the lead, but its tight.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Viaduct Costcutter, Thursday 6th October 2016

Just looking at the title of this blog page has me thinking how fast this year seems to be going and today was a reality check that summer is over and the weather is turning, a chill easterly wind blowing across Viaduct today.

Chatting to a few before the draw about fishing for silvers and I said I'd be happy with any peg on Cary, with the exception of 80 and 109, just as well I was trying to get in early for the 2017 all-winners and not fishing for silvers, as two tickets came out of the tin, I dropped one back in and opened the other to reveal 80.

80 is very shallow, all over, even chucking a waggler long saw it stood proud of the water, the same as it did at 5m, I did expect to catch long and with the wind pushing down towards 109, fishing a waggler too far past the spit meant fishing over depth and sinking the line, so reluctantly two lead rods out of the bag, both set up the same, except one with a pellet band on the hook and one with a spike to fish meat.

The waggler was one of the Middy Fat Boys, excellent loaded wagglers that cast well and the various sizes can be swapped without adjusting the shotting, a they all take the same shot, a well thought out range.

I got 3 topkits out, one for a margin rig to fish down to the pallet of 79, which would also do for 14.5m along the spit - this is also the deepest part of the peg!!  As it was the same depth at 5m, I didn't set up a separate meat rig, thinking the margin rig would do.  I also set up a 4x10 homemade float with a carbon stem to fish 6mm pellet at 14.5m as I wasn't convinced I'd last too long watching a tip.....

Starting on the waggler just past the spit saw 15 bite less minutes pass, before I picked up a lead rod, this too was biteless for 10 and I picked up the pole.  A 6mm banded pellet did the trick and first put in the float buried and 14lbs of Cary beast was stretching the elastic, that was to be short lived though and apart from a 1lb skimmer that was that for bites in the next 20 minutes.  Back on the lead and over the next three hours I had a few bites and fish on 8mm pellet, although the wind was making it tricky to get even the oversize Coppens Coarse 8mm's out to where the fish were.

With a couple of hours to go I fed the RH margin and the spit, before trying the 14.5m pellet line again, which gave up another skimmer, the RH margin did not produce a fish, so no more about that, the pellet line gave up another fish, not as big as the first.  I had been throwing meat in all day at 5m and saw signs of fish, including a huge tail, one of the 20's no doubt.  But every time I tried it, the signs of fish disappeared, maybe I should have set up a lighter rig with a bit more line between pole and float, but that's the beauty of hindsight.

First drop in up the spit with 10 maggots saw the float bury and a very angry 14lb common do its best to get round the spit, fortunately the Orange Vespe didn't stretch that far! Next drop in and the float dipped and then slid slowly away, a classic bream bite that turned out to be a 3lb bream.  A switch to double worm and a 16lber joined his 14lb cousin in the net, then a hybrid. Another sharp dip of the float saw another double figure fish hooked, this turned out to be one of the 'waddlers' it didn't run, didn't do much apart from keep some tension in the elastic and waddle its way in.  Frustratingly it waddled itself off the hook and cost me the match, my 156.06 being beaten by 119 who weighed 161.05.  Disappointing to fall short by one fish to qualify for the 2017 All- Winners Final, but it was a decent days fishing which needed some thought to keep them coming.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Ivy House Open, Sunday 2nd October 2016

What a difference a day makes as the song goes, not consecutive days, but a week day to a weekend, 45 minutes steady drive to do the 38 miles to Ivy House today, a big improvement on Tuesdays 2 hours 15!!

16 booked in, all on Match Lake, I really wasn't too fussed where I drew and was happy enough with peg 5, for company I had Calum Craig on peg 4, another one sporting shiny new Colmic kit.  First time for Calum and he was impressed with the breakfast and I tried to give him some advice on the lake, but as it fishes differently everytime I fish it, he was mainly on his own......

One of the locals walked past and commented that my peg did alright yesterday, it might just be a 'thing' of mine, but apart from a few venues, I am never keen to fish a peg that has taken some stick the day before, even more so when silvers can play a big part.

There were some carp moving round out towards the rope that runs down the middle, so I set up a full depth waggler, with 2 No10 down the line.  A lead rod - just because it was in the bag and 4 topkits, which turned into 5, just because I had time.  A rig to fish down the edge, but I couldn't go far along, due to the no gardening rule here and with 4 and 6 in, I wasn't too confident it would come good.  A rig to fish banded pellet on the deck and one for shallow.  A worm rig and the last one was a double bulk rig for worm, as there was time to kill.

As the carp were moving around before the start, I started on the waggler, but after 7 or 8 casts caught the bloody centre rope and lost one of my floats, so that went up the bank in a sulk.  I had decided to fish pellet at 16m as that was further out than 4 & 6 were fishing and nearly as far out as the fish were moving, so that left a line at about 7m, just up the slope for GB/worm.  The 16m pellet line was a waste of time, no bites shallow or on the deck, so onto the worm line, this brought a reasonably instant response and I had 2 small skimmers and 3 bigger ones, before a roach and perch.  The perch was the sign to refeed, but that obviously was a mistake, as I stopped catching on that line.

I picked up the lead rod and chucked it on the 16m line whilst I reset up the waggler with a small pellet waggler, to fish at about 20m or so.  Nothing on the tip whilst the waggler was assembled, so out on the waggler and I searched all depths, but just could not get a bite.

It was fishing hard and I went back in the 16m pole line and had a few indications before a small carp was netted.  Back out and no more indications - surely they weren't all from the one fish!!  I tstarted a new line with micros and had a skimmer and another small carp, this was with a couple of hours to go and I thought I'd sorted where I went wrong, but no, nothing else of this line.  I could see Mark Poppleton on peg 18 packing up and I must admit, had it not been that a good last hour and a half could have seen anyone win, I might have been tempted to do likewise.

 The margin was absolutely devoid of fish, not even a shit fish bite on maggot and rotating round all the lines I finally gave up with about 6 or 7 minutes to go, especially as peg 19 was now catching fishing back into the vacated peg 18.  I chucked the lead out for the last 6 minutes and started dismantling topkits/rigs and bugger me if it didn't go round, another small carp netted, even worse was that Calum told me he had 8 carp all on the lead and he'd fed more than 4 times the bait I had.

I weighed in just because the scales came before I had finished packing up, 3 carp for 11lb odd and 11lb odd of silvers, fair play to those that did, 6 of the 16 didn't weigh, it was a tough day, frustrating that there were fish in the peg, but I just could not catch them - how do I learn the patience to sit on the lead?  There are days for all its detractors, of whom,  I readily admit I'm one, that it seems to work.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Viaduct Costcutter, Thursday 29th September 2016

34 booked in for this one, these Thursday matches have become really popular, 17 on each lake and the lakes paid out as separate matches, I think this is the best way to do it, as the lakes can fish very differently.

Into the tin and 116 comes out, a peg that I like because the fish can come into the short RH margin in numbers.  The weather conditions looked decent so I set up a waggler, I also set up a lead rod - not intending to use it, unless I was chucking it out whilst I sorted a trashed rig...... 

Four topkits, one for meat short, one for the RH edge and two for pellet at 14m, a .2 and a .4 rig, to fish through the water and hard on the bottom.  Simple bait tray, 6 & 8mm pellets, 6mm meat and dead maggots, also some GB.

On the all-in I started on the short meat rig, but with only a couple of small skimmers to show for it in 10 minutes, I went out to 14m and had a carp first put in on a 8mm pellet on the deck, then the bloody wind got up, it was impossible to hold 14m still and the presentation was poor.  A switch to the lead over the 14m line brought four more fish of 10lb, 12lb and two 8lbers. So with 55 minutes gone, I had 45lb in the net and was thinking of a red letter day, another fish about 5lb, just after the hour mark was to be the last for an hour.  I tried coming short, a new line in front of the tree to my right, no matter what i did the peg was to all appearances devoid of fish - it couldn't have been, but I couldn't catch one!

Next hour I had a couple more on the lead, before feeding the margin line at the halfway point in the match, this brought an immediate response and I saw fish, and vortexes in the water as they homed in on the GB.  Given that it was tricky to catch in open water, I went into the margin, too soon really, but I did have a few fish, before it died off coming up the the 5th hour, I had tried two worms on the hook, but that was a waste of time, 10 maggots were best.

As the margin had died off, I refed it quite aggressively with an hour to go and left it, dropping in on the short meat line, this brought a big skimmer and two carp, before the margin was once again a cauldron of fish swirling and feeding.  Back in the edge and a couple of fish before the all out, although I lost a big fish that was headed for the tree branches in the water and as I hung on to stop it, the 0.20 mainline went at the bottom of the loop, I've had this a couple of times now, it seems like the loop to loop way of putting the hooklength on weakens the loop at the stress point.  My own fault for reusing rigs, never had it happen on a fresh one.

So an enjoyable day, those couple of barren spells, especially that 2nd hour costing me the win, as my 171.13 was only good enough for 2nd on the lake and 3rd on the day.