Saturday, 10 November 2018

Paddy's Silvers Open, Viaduct Spring Lake, Saturday 10th November

After last weeks silvers match, I had a hunt round for a new rod, I wanted a 10' soft feeder rod, that could cope with 0.08/.010 hooklengths and small skimmers, as well as landing their bigger brothers.  I had put a post on Maggotdrowning asking for recommendations, I had a look at a couple of Drennan's including an Acolyte Ultra, but I felt they were too powerful and the carbon tips not as fine as I wanted.

The post threw up several responses, with the two most likely sounding contenders, rods I wouldn't easily be able to see/hold, before buying, they were the Cadence 10' wand with glass tips in 0.25, 0.5 and 0.75 oz ratings and the Cresta Blackthorne range.  Not much info on the Cresta that I could find, whereas Cadence had a video or two showing the wand being used.

In the end, as much as I try to support the retail tackle trade, I couldn't get one of these locally, so ordered the Cadence wand on Thursday morning at 0930, it was with me by Friday at 1430.  I was a little apprehensive, as I bought a rod once before that had been recommended and even raved about on the forum, but when I got it out the bag and looked at it, I knew I'd never use it and gave it away not having even taken to the bankside. Poor finish, terrible ring spacing and action, so my experience of cheaper rods, wasn't good, this Cadence wand came in at £69.99 including postage, so a cheap rod compared to my usual buys.

Opening it, I was pleasantly surprised by the finish, top quality varnish job, quality eyes, eye spacing good.  The glass tips have small wire rings on and look not quite finished, I can accept that, as heavier eyes, and loads of whippings, varnish would spoil the action of these gossamer like tips.

I had threaded the rod up and had a feel in the garage, it wasn't as soft as I'd imagined from comments I'd received, or from the companies video, but it wasn't so powerful that it put me off, maybe with a feeder and a fish on it would feel differently.  the action and curve of the rod was smooth and progressive, with a very small flat spot at the glass tip/carrier joint, but not enough to affect the rod.

On to today, a couple of drop outs saw the field down to 16 and that was the peg number I plucked out, probably wouldn't have been my first (or second) choice, but thought I would get a few fish from the peg.  It's nice and simple at Viaduct in the winter, a pellet ban, so worms, casters, maggots, pinkies and corn, along with some GB.

First out of the bag was the new wand, also on trial today was the Preston sinking feeder line in 4lb, I had put this fresh on the reel this week, I have previously just used sensor or the blue Preston stuff.  This had a 3 square feeder on it, free running as per Viaduct rules, with a .010 hooklength and 20 Guru F1 maggot hook.

Two wagglers, one with a 18 F1 hook .010 hooklength and a 3AAA waggler to fish corn, this on a Normark Microlite II and a Drennan float whose name eludes me (like a still water blue) with a .008 hooklength and a 20 this was on an original Microlite, still can't find a modern rod that can compare.

4 topkits, one to fish to the tree on my right, hoping for a perch or two, another with a double bulk rig, not too much about these as the double bulk stayed in the roost all day and the perch rig didn't go under once.  The other two, were both on my favourite skimmer elastic - Middy 1-5 hollow, a .3g HB Frostie, with a bulk and two droppers, a 20 F1 hook on .008 and a .2g Frostie with strung 11's, .008 and a 18 Gamma green hook.

On the all in I started on the feeder, clipped up about 20m, first cast I had just settled the rod in the rest, the tip went round and a skimmer christened the wand, a fish about 7/8oz.  I fished this for 40 minutes, having another 3 or 4 skimmers and a couple of roach.  The bites were minute twitches of the 0.5 oz tip, pretty sure I wouldn't have seen them on a 1 oz carbon tip.  The rod performed well, it casts well, short distance I know, but that's why I bought it, the bite indication is exceptional and whilst I'd like a little more softness in it, I didn't lose a fish or feel it was over gunned.

After 40 minutes all indications stopped and that was the end of the feeder fishing, I did have several more looks on the line during the match, but no more bites, so not a comprehensive work out for the new rod, but one that will see me happy to use it again.  If Cadence make a rod soft enough to replace my old Microlite, they may have another sale on their hands!!

It had rained hard in the night, it rained during the match and whether that affected the fish who knows, but they wouldn't settle, I had intended to feed two long pole lines, but felt a bit hemmed in by Paddy on 15 and Tucks on 17, so made the decision to fish one line at 14m, the feeder line at 18/20m, a caster line at 6 joints and the corn waggler at 25m.  This may have been a mistake, as the 14m line was the most productive, but kept dying, I did have a little spell when I had a couple of better skimmers and instead of sitting patiently and waiting for bites (which I think would have been the right tactic today) I tried to force it, probably overfed and overfished the one line and gave myself a real barren spell.  Double caster picked out the better fish, with  few smaller ones tempted by dead red tipped with a flouro pinkie.  Worm on the hook saw the float remain motionless, so whilst I had chopped some, it remained in the tub.

The waggler and corn was no good, I had two bites on it, one a carp just over the 'Barney Rubble' mark and a bite (or liner, who knows) that I missed.  I'm not convinced there was loads of fish in front of me, as Tucks was struggling on 17, but Paddy on 15 was putting together a steady net of fish, albeit, no quality.  I think the space to his right helped, as he could rotate lines, but that said, he fished a tidy match and gave me a lesson.

Enjoyable day, fishing the last few weeks for silvers has restored my angling mojo, which had been waning a little after a poor run.  I think a framing place was on the cards from my peg today, not sure it could have done a winning weight, but my over enthusiasm with the cupping kit and catapult  pushed me into an also ran place coming exactly half way..

Sam Powell was outright winner today, well done Sam, great result on the back of your sponsorship announcement.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Viaduct Silvers League Round Three, Sunday 4th November 2018

Managed to get a place in this popular league for the third match running, this time standing in for Ricky Mills.  Travelled down with Tony Rixon again and for both of us a new breakfast venue was tried, The Cross Keys at Lydford on the Fosse.  Nice clean pub, quality food, will definitely stop there again.

Onto the match, having stood in in the last two rounds for firstly good mate Glenn Galvert and secondly for long time mate and ex travelling partner (when we could stay out until 3am and still go and fish...) Paul Faiers, sadly I had fairly dismal results for them, drawing 53 and 73 on Lodge,

Still onto today and I was hoping for a draw right in the middle of a hungry shoal of skimmers and bream, I tried hanging back until the end last time, so in right near the start today and 129 was my reward, or penance, depending on your opinion.

I was hopeful that some Perch or Tench would put in an appearance to boost my weight, as the bramble bushes to my left, that run up to the spit certainly provide the cover that these fish like.  The wind was pushing towards me, so I set up a 3 square GB feeder and clipped that up at 25 turns.

A waggler completed the rod and reel set up and 3 topkits were enough for the pole, a 0.2 Hillbilly Frostie with spread 11 stotz for a line at 7 sections, a 0.3 Hillbilly Frostie with a standard bulk and two droppers for 14m.  Last topkit had a Hillbilly float whose name I forget, with a spread bulk, this was to fish to the brambles, so had a 0.14 hooklength with a 16 LWG to start, whereas the open water rigs had 18 Gamma Green hooks to 0.08 line.

I stared on the GB feeder and had enough indications to keep me interested and 5 skimmers in the first 40 minutes seemed to be at least as good, if not better than those I could see on the lake.  The next 10 minutes or so were spent playing carp for varying lengths of time, before saying goodbye to the hook!!

Time to switch, I had been feeding casters at 7 joints and this saw 4 roach in 4 drop-ins, great, a good spell of roach 'bashing' would be useful, but the initial burst of bites died a death and no matter what attempts at 'swim CPR' I made, it was a fruitless exercise and I was then left with cupping in some GB on my 14m line to try and make that work.  After feeding the 14m line, I dropped into the edge, against the brambles, a 2oz roach took the double caster before it hit the bottom.  Next put in I had a decent Perch, back in and his slightly larger brother was in the net with him

That was the end of the bites from there, so back onto the feeder and another carp hooked and lost, I looked back on the line at 7 joints and managed one small skimmer, I tried the waggler, presentation on it seemed to be good, but couldn't get bites on it.  I switched back to the brambles and the float buried, a very welcome Tench joined the two Perch taken from the same spot, in the net.

From there on it was a struggle, the last 2 hours saw the lake switch off for most and I added a small skimmer or two, along with two roach, I really wasn't sure what weight I had when I was asked at the all-out, I was thinking, maybe just scraping double figures, when Steve arrived with the scales, the hard won net pulled the scales round to 15lb, which was enough for the section win by 2oz...… Bobby G don't go bank walking!!!  Hopefully this signals a change in fortune....

Viaduct Silvers League Round Two, Sunday 28th October 2018

Report to follow

Todber Pairs Round Two, Saturday October 27th

Report to follow

Monday, 8 October 2018

Viaduct Silvers League Round 1, Sunday 7th October 2018

I couldn't make all the dates of this popular and enjoyable league, but was asked to stand in for good friend Glenn Calvert, as he was at Whiteacres.

Travelled down with Tony, so a breakfast, and a putting of the world to rights soon made the journey pass.  The day started cold and bright, but looked so much better that the miserable cold of yesterday.

There had been a bit of a panic in the South West for casters this weekend, as the caster maggot wasn't turning and that had led to a bit of a shortage, but thanks to some sterling efforts by local shops and Viaduct, everyone had had enough to fish the match.

Most wanted avoid Campbell as the carp were likely to be active, Cary was the favoured option, well I managed to avoid Campbell, but for the second day running I was in a corner, very restricted in what I could do on 53 lodge.  I had got up early and set up a waggler and a feeder rod, but these would be staying in the bag.

Peg 53 right view towards the open water

Peg 53 left view into the corner

Peg 53 

Nice and simple approach, micros and soft pellet to the gap in the trees and some GB, dead maggot and caster as far as I dare towards the open water without encroaching on Mike Nicholls on 73.  It was about 3 or 4" deeper under the trees, I had plenty of time to set up rigs to cover both depths.

A 0.2g HB Frostie with strung out No11 stotz and a 0.3g NG Gimp to fish under the tree, 18 Gamma green on a 1.3lb Supplex FC hooklength on the strung out rig, with a 16 Guru F1 on 1.7lb Supplex FC on the bulk rig.

For the open water, a 0.4g HB Frostie and another HB float for a double bulk rig, I did set up a rig to fish down the LH edge, maybe for a bonus hybrid or perch, but I wasn't too hopeful, as the water is clearing and with the temp down to virtually 0°C overnight, it was just a throwaway line.

I started fishing into the gap in the trees, fishing pretty negatively, just feeding a few micros and had a reasonably decent start, 6 or 7 skimmers in the first hour, one about 2lb and a few hand sized.  This died off and I did try a golf ball size ball of GB to see if it would restart it, but that was to that for the skimmers.  

The sun was out, I was fishing in a T shirt, this weather is mad, yesterday I couldn't feel my fingers, today was glorious, not ideal skimmer conditions, but after yesterday, I wasn't at all upset by that!!

I had been a lot more positive on the line towards the open water, but only managed to hook one small skimmer over the GB.  The rest of the match was spent picking odd roach (including an immaculate specimen that was 12oz+) on caster, but they wouldn't settle.  I caught everything on the light strung out rig.  I was certain that I didn't have double figures and during the match I had a bit of running conversation with Mike Nicholl's who also struggled, I'd say we are both capable silvers anglers and we ended up within 8oz of each other (different sections though).  I was fairly sure I'd be near the bottom of the section, but was surprised to end up 3rd with my 11.14.  Normal service resumed today, as I was in the worst section, not sure where I could have got anymore from, so Glenn will have to be happy with 3 points, better than I thought at the start.

Tony ended up ounced into third in his section, so it was a sulky trip home with both of us disgruntled, exacerbated by faulty traffic lights at Pensford and a lorry causing chaos on Pensford hill.....

Todber Manor Pairs Round 1, Saturday 6th October 2018

A bit of a late entry into this one for me, partnering Jon Howell.  Had I known what the day would turn into I might not have bothered!!!

A really frustrating drive down, why, oh why do all Nissan Micra owners drive at 25 in 30 limits, 33 in 40 limits, 38 in 50 limits and have no concept of the national speed limit sign.....  Other annoying small cars also fall into this trait.

Into the drawtub and out comes 55, not a peg I'd run to and most others would say the same, in a pole only match it wouldn't be too bad, but it is hemmed in by 54 and 49, so if the fish don't rock up down the edge or short, you can't go looking for them too far out.

The rain was coming in at an angle on the cold NW wind (which was forecast to get worse), an umbrella was unlikely to protect me, that was if it would even stay in one piece.  I left as much kit in the van as possible, which included the waggler rods, I did set up a straight lead and a method, to fish short, in light of the forecast.  As it was I decided that my Multi Margin would be more than long enough for the distance I could fish out, with the wind pushing hard enough to limit to 2 or 3 sections at most.

Rigs would be simple, a pellet rig for 2+2 at the bottom of the shelf, one at similar depth for off to the right for meat and another for about 4' off the bank , into a couple of feet of water.  On the all in I started on the pellet rig and was catching on 6mm banded pellet feeding 4mm pellets, not at an amazing rate but after half an hour or so, I thought I was on target for 20lb an hour, I thought that with a good last hour or so would be decent points.

The fish were all in great condition, but small, 2lb average I'd say and after the first hour the wheels came off and trundled away...….  The bites really slowed down and I tried slightly further out, but the wind was making that a fairly pointless exercise. I went out 20 turns on the bomb and pellet where I'd been feeding, but not so much as a liner, a switch to the method brought brief hope, as I had bites and 3 fish landed in 4 casts, then nothing.

The edges were very slow, just an odd bite on meat, but the fish were of no better stamp.  By now I was cold, very cold, I was involuntarily shaking, not just shivering, but shaking, if it had been an open I would packed up and gone home.  I reckon I had put my 20lb target weight in the net in the first hour and by 3pm  (4 1/2 hours in) I had clicked 46lb, so way off target.

The last part of the match I spent back on the 2+2 line fishing pellet and the rate did climb during the last hour, but still no quality fish, I reckon the biggest I had was not much over 3lb, whereas there were fish over 19lb caught.  The net I had clicked at 46lb went 55lb, difficult to judge these smaller fish as they are a variety of shapes. The net started with an hour and a half to go went 31lb, so bang on target, but nowhere near enough to compete in the section, not sure what I could have dome different, staying home in the warm would have been the best option!!

Well done to everyone for staying and weighing in, in what were the worst conditions I think any off us had fished in, in October.

Poor start for me and also my partner, so a lot to do to pull this back to a respectable result.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Foxy's Two Dayer, Viaduct, Fri & Sat 21st/22nd September 2018

Any match organiser will tell you of the amount of chasing and alteration to the list of booked on anglers, I appreciate that peoples circumstances can change and people pull out or book in late, but it's frustrating when people just don't turn up on the day and don't let anyone know.  An exception to this was Tom Mangnall, Tom couldn't make it at late notice on the morning, he sent his pools money down and donated his place to Colin Dyer, a nice touch and it was much appreciated, not just by me, but the rest of those who fished.

The format was fairly widely publicised, that same as last year, except as we had more anglers, it was both lakes on the same day, swapping to the other lake the next day.  Cary is any method and Campbell pole only, there was some consternation on FB the day before, as the more extreme of the forecasters were predicting winds on the scale of a biblical holocaust, I reserved the right to alter the match back to any method on the morning, if the wind reached tempest conditions.

The numbers ended up at a round 30, so 15 on each lake, with a section of 7 and one of 8, the morning was calm and the Met Office website had winds to about 25mph forecast, the BBC had them much higher, but whilst it wasn't ideal pole conditions, the rules remained as advertised.  A free draw the first day and I got Steve Nadin to pick one out for me, 105, not probably my first choice, but it can be a decent peg,

I had Adrian Jeffery opposite on 74, so I was bound to be treated to a display of lead chucking and some mild banter, I also had a good view of how Dan White was approaching peg 77 and the feature that is the fallen willow.  I did set up a lead rod, in case the wind got too much, a waggler as well and with a sore back, I decided that I'd just fish a margin pole, so that was about an 8m limit.  I had a meat rig, a margin rig, full depth pellet rig and a paste rig set up on topkits for this.

It was a slow start, before I had one on the pellet rig at 8m, the waggler was pushing through, so that was not likely to tempt any of Cary's wily old beasts, I did hook one on the lead, but it charged off like a lunatic and came off, foul hooked was my guess, the band was missing from the hook so I guess that was pulled off in the melee.

Adrian was having a few on the lead and Dan was patiently swapping between long shallow and fishing off the end of the tree and he was picking occasional fish off of both lines.  I should have thrown the lead down towards 109, at least to see if the fish were there, but I didn't, I did have two in reasonably quick succession on the lead, but I definitely got it wrong in this peg today.  I should have just had 6/8mm pellets om the side tray, I should have searched round the peg more, I'm sure that I could have come back with 9 points instead of 7 an that would have left me in the mix for Saturday.  Disappointing to come away and feel that the peg wasn't done justice, even limiting myself to the shorter pole, I could have utilised the lead better, something I might have to practice as the prognosis for my back isn't conducive to long pole fishing.

On the day, Martin Rogers ran out as winner, with 172.00 from 127 on Campbell, the wind did get up during the day, not to quite the hurricane like predictions of the doom mongers, but it did affect some pegs worse than others, so that probably knocked back weights on the day, although, there were still 8 weights over the ton.

Day two and we all knew that the Goretex and brollies would get a severe testing, as every single forecast was for 100% precipitation, from around 11:00 right through the rest of the day - they weren't wrong!!!

I had my peg handed to me - next year I think I will be drawing my own!! and it was 121, where defending Champion Steve Hutter had struggled the day before, strange as I had fancied it for a weight, he would have had no protection from the wind there though.  3 or 4 of those from Campbell had ended up in a 'section of death' on Cary, so they would be taking points off each other, this kept a bit of interest in it, as it opened up the framing positions.

Simple set up today as it was pole only, for the first time in about 10 years I took my brolly to the peg and used it to put my stuff under, it was quite nice having some dry kit at the end.  5 topkits, strung rig for pellet at depth, a bulk and dropper rig for the same - both with homemade floats, a Malman Roob for meat at topkit +3, a margin rig, same depth within a couple of inches both sides, so one rig for both and a paste rig, Martin had caught on it yesterday, as had Clayton.

Starting at 2+3 on meat was fairly unproductive, a couple of 10oz skimmers, with no sign of a carp, I had fed a short line off to the right with pellets, to fish paste over, but next went out to 14m and potted a few pellets in, this brought a couple of carp, but the action was far from wild and it also didn't last long before the bites dried up.  The short pellet line, despite having some bubbles (skimmers I'm sure) didn't respond to paste or hard pellets, the margins appeared devoid of any fish at all, not even a  bite on worm or maggot.

I persevered with the short meat line for the last couple of hours and caught mainly skimmers, a couple that could just sneak into the bream category and for the last 40 minutes, the skimmer bites stopped and I had several more carp, I was a a lot more satisfied with my performance than yesterday, not sure how I could have got much else from the peg, 119 DNW and 123 just shy of 50lb, just think the carp had moved up the lake.  This was much to the liking of Gary O'Shea, who won on the day with 312.02 from 130, well done to Gary, great weight on the day.  The weights were better today, although the temperature is dropping and I was cold for the first time his side of the summer.

Overall Dan White won the two days with a perfect score, 20 points, well done mate, some great consistency there, Gary O'Shea pipping Martin Rogers for second place on weight.
Apart from the weather, which did it's best to spoil things, it was a good weekend, nice to see some faces we don't see too often, thanks to Steve, Matt and Helen at Viaduct, its booked again next year, same format, 20th/21st September 2019, already one third filled up, so if you fancy it (I really will try and organise some better weather., promise....), see me or contact me to book in.

Winner Dan White

Top Twenty Overall

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Viaduct Cost Cutter, Thursday 13th September 2018

Fishing the Avalon festival the previous 3 days left me wanting more, so I made a late decision to head down to Viaduct, booking in on the way down.

I had bait and tackle to fish for silvers or carp, so wasn't overly fussed where I drew, the dip into the bag decided it for me, 74, not a renowned silvers peg, so the casters left over from the festival would go down one edge.

Whilst tackling up I could see plenty of black shapes cruising through the peg, most of them were headed towards 109, with not too many coming back the other way, some were even hanging around in pole range. Simple match, full depth waggler and lead rod set up, shallow rig, full depth pellet rig, with a light float and  strung out shotting, a meat rig and an edge rig.

Bait tray was casters, pellets and meat, with a few worms as hookers.  As expected, 10 minutes before the all-in the visible black shapes started melting away, have they got watches, is it the keepnets going in?

A quick look short on meat, but nothing doing, so out with the shallow rig and I hooked one nearly straight away, a mirror about 7/8lb netted shortly after, nice start, but that was it, another 35 minutes of persistence shallow and nothing to show for it.  Dropped in with the depth rig and it took another 20 minutes or so to get another fish.  A look just a bit further past the feed with a waggler was a waste of time, not so much as a liner.  I had another on the depth rig and had another carp, but it was another 8lber, so going nowhere fast, if the fish are going to slow coming on Cary, you at least want to catching the big teens that soon add up to a decent weight.

Halfway through I fed the edges, pellets to the pallet of 75 and casters down to the right, rather than drag out an elongated story, I will just say apart from 2 small (3oz) hybrids down the RH edge I had nothing, surprising that, as it always used to be a banker.

The last half of the match I kept rotating the lines, gave the 5m meat line a good go, but only managed 3 more carp, one shallow, two on the deck over 6mm pellet feed, again small ones for Cary as my 6 fish went 49lb odd with 5lb odd of accidental silvers, 55.04 was only enough for 6th on the lake and nowhere in the match.

Next up my two dayer at Viaduct.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Avalon 3 Day Festival. Day Three, Wednesday 12th September 2018

Had a walk round the lake before the match today, the top end of the lake (opposite end to car park) had a brown streaky appearance, an algae bloom that had been blown up that end by the wind that had been blowing that way for a few days.

I was keen to avoid that as I felt there wouldn't be too many skimmers willing to feed well in that, so when I plucked 23 out of the bag ( second time this festival, I drew it for Vic on Monday) I was far from confident I could hang onto second spot, let alone claw back the ground on the leader, which was around a 4lb deficit.  Not only was it right in the brown algae zone, its a corner peg, much more renowned for carp than skimmers.

So, nice and simple to tackle up, as I had left my carp bait, pellet waggler rods etc at home, so it was pretty much the same set up as yesterday, two whips, three topkits and a feeder.  The feeder wasn't used, so no more about that.

Decided to try the two line approach again today, but at 14m rather than 12m, the micro fed line was virtually straight in front and the GB line was off to the right.  I also fed a line at 5m, with micros and corn.

Started on the whip and rather concerningly the float remained stationary, I had two tiny roach in the first 15 minutes before having a look on the long lines, I had a couple of indications on the float over the GB, before the float buried, hopeful of a big skimmer, I was disappointed when the fish took off at a speed only a carp can, netted shortly after, a small and unwanted carp.  The aerator came on and that did see me get a couple of indications and then a skimmer about a pound and a half, but it was a lonesome soul.

I kept feeding the whip line and had noticed a few bubbles over the micros on the 5m line, I went in there with a soft pellet on and had 5 or 6 hand sized skimmers, the bites stopped, so I refed, I had one more from this line and that was it.  By now the sun had started to come out, so back on the whip and a few fish had turned up, but not at the rate I felt was required, this kept me looking back over the longer lines, I had one more decent skimmer on worm over the GB and the only fish I had over the long line micros was a hand sized skimmer and a small roach.

Back to the whip and by feeding twice (30 or so casters each time) and then fishing at the back of the feed, I could catch a few bigger rudd and roach, this was better than the long lines which were very slow and only giving up a very occasional small fish

I thought I might have 11 or 12lb at the end and was pleasantly surprised to see the scales go round to 16.08, I wasn't sure how the lake had fished for silvers, Vic already had weighed 17.00 and Dan on 30 was saying he had 7 big skimmers and a few bits, but that went 14.12 and Conrad who was leading weighed 10.01, that allowed me to overtake him and win the silvers overall, a nice pick up ten quid shy of £500.

Thanks to Vic for running the festival and putting a lot of effort in to get the island strimmed and trimmed back, there was nothing to stop casting tight to them, some nice new platforms as well.  its a shame the fishery didn't fish as well as it can, but never the less an enjoyable 3 days.

I will say, if I had known there were silvers payouts before I paid on and started fishing ( I didn't realise until the end of day 1) I probably wouldn't have fished, as my personal opinion is that on series and festivals there shouldn't be a silvers payout, as it can have a detrimental effect on the result.  So I will deduct the entry fee and my expenses and be donating the rest of the winnings to one or more of the dog charities I support.

Festival Results

1) Tom Mangnall 36 points
2) Jon Newton 34 points  186.08
3) Chris Hill 34 points 150.04
4) Bob Gullick 31 points
5) Scott Smith 29 points


1) Chris Fox 47.03
2) Conrad 45.06

Avalon 3 Day Festival, Day Two, Tuesday 11th September

After yesterday, when I didn't realise that silvers had a payout on the day and overall and my lost fish costing me a few section places, I brought gear and bait to fish for both carp and silvers again and drawing peg 11 had me thinking which to go for, I plumped for silvers, given that it a peg with good form for both skimmers and carp.

I had brought my whips today, as it is possible to catch 30lb+ of roach and rudd on a whip, but warm sunny days seem to be best for that, so maybe today wasn't the day, I still set them up, one at 3m and another at 4m, as the bigger fish seem to sit off the back of the feed and the occasional look with the longer whip can add some bonus weight to a net of whitebait.

I also set a up a feeder, a small cage, with a 2 1/2' hooklength of 0.12 and a 16 Guru F1 hook, this was a plan C if all else failed.  Three topkits completed the roost, same rigs as yesterday, a NG wire stemmed Gimp and a homemade carbon stemmed diamond, both on 0.16 with 0.12 hooklengths and 16 Guru F1 hooks.  Finally a rig to fish for any bonus roach, perch or hopefully tench that would come into the margin where I intended to feed some caster.

I fed two lines at 12m, one with GB, casters, dead maggots and a few grains of corn, the other a lot more negatively with micro pellets.  I had ten minutes on the whip and it wasn't hectic by any means, I then had a look over the long pole lines, as in my experience, the big skimmers come straight to the feed and not fishing for the soon after feeding can see them missed out on.

Well there isn't too much to say about the long pole lines, they were barren, bereft of feeding fish, I couldn't get a bite, not even on single maggot.  This was despite trying them at times throughout the day.  The casters fed into the margin only achieved carp coming in and slurping them up, I did set up another topkit, to fish paste and got two carp out, but that still didn't encourage any bonus silvers into the margins.

To try and stay in the hunt for silvers overall payout, I had to concentrate on the whip, catching small roach and rudd, it was hard work, difficult to catch more than 2 fish with put having to change depth to find them - to do the big weights of silvers on this method, ideally you need them competing shallow (top 12") or at least at a consistent depth.

I use a 14 Drennan Carp maggot hook for this sort of fishing, the size helps with hooking and swinging in fish up to 6oz.  I did drop down to a 16 fine wire hook to see o=if that made a difference, but there was no increase in bite ratio.

I had to go to the full length of the 4m whip to catch in the last hour, feeding caster with caster on the hook was best, maggot was bring very small fish and worm head resulted in far too many missed bites.

I wasn't too confident of doing well when the scales came round and my whitebait went 12.07, which was joint third in the silvers on the day and kept me in the hunt.  Match winner on the day with just over 90lb was John Newton on peg 24.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Avalon 3 Day Festival, Day One, Monday 10th September 2018

Day one of a 3 day festival at Avalon, not 100% sure what to expect so van loaded with  plenty of kit and bait variations, called into Lillypool for breakfast on the way down, not too bad, but a decent sausage would improve it.

Haven't been here for a while, so not sure on the latest information on the place, Vic assured me we'd have a good days fishing - but what fishery owner doesn't say that!!  :)

I hadn't brought gear to specifically target silvers, but there is a good head of decent skimmers and I did have some micros and a few worms, just in case I needed to target them in the middle of the match during the carp's naptime.

33 was to be my home for the day, no real knowledge of it, but Bob Gullick who was a couple of pegs away told me he'd won the section from it last year catching down the LH margin, so fingers crossed.

Pellet waggler set up to fish to the island, along with a full depth waggler, also a bomb rod as the wind was pushing the surface of the lake L to R at a rate of knots.  Onto the topkits and as more than one person had said that paste had been working, a paste rig, then a full depth pellet rig, a margin rig and as the margins were 4'+ deep a paste rig for them as well.  The RH margin is very short as there is a tree jutting out into the lake, the LH margin is accessible all the way to the empty pallet of 34.

Finally, a wire stemmed NG Gimp to fish soft pellet or worms if it was necessary to catch some skimmers during any lulls in the carp action.....

I decided that I wasn't going to fish any longer than the length of my Multi Margin pole, the side wind and my ongoing back problem helping me decide.  So a few pellets in at topkit + 3 on the all-in, leaving me with another section should I need to follow fish out.

The straight onto the pellet waggler, I gave it 20 minutes, without so much as a liner, the wind was pulling it along within seconds, so onto the pole line with some paste, as Mike West a couple of pegs along had got off to a great start, catching carp straight away.  I had some bubbles (a bit too half hearted to be called fizzing....) I thought it was probably skimmers not carp, so out with a bit of devils spawn on the hook and I had two decent skimmers in two chucks.

I had  couple more smaller ones after switching to worm on the hook, but it wasn't hectic, I did hook one that I initially thought was a small carp as it charged off, but it was a 3lb skimmer hooked in the dorsal fin, I made a right pigs ear of netting it and managed to end up with the hook in the net and the fish winning its freedom - doh!

I then hooked a carp, I reckon it was about double figures and just as I thought I was going to net it, the hook pulled, bloody hell (or similar) I cursed.

The lake was fishing hard and 4 hours in I had added a couple more skimmers, but no carp.  I had been lightly feeding the LH margin with meat and the RH with corn and pellet.  Dropping a bit of meat in down the LH edge, it took seconds before I was into a decent fish, another fish that was probably a double, this one came to the surface and it was a wallowing around, as usual with these 'wallowers' the hook came out - great!!

I did manage 5 carp in the end, but three of them were the dark stockies, one from the LH edge and 4 from the RH edge.  Even the skimmers shut up shop and it was a tough day, the lost fish costing me second in section, instead I was down to about 8th in section and that was probably festival over.  I went back to check out the results and found out there was a daily silvers pool and and overall silvers payout.  My skimmers had gone 18lb odd and that was enough for second silvers on the day and the realisation that there is now £400 to fish for in the silvers.

Bob Gullick wandered down at the end a was trying to point out to me where he'd found a shallower shelf in the margin, but using a pole but section, he couldn't find the shelf that s there last year, looks like its gone, eroded away I suppose.

Time to go and dig out my whips now, as it looks like a silvers day for the next two days.

Tom Mangnall won on the day, with 80lb +, not sure of the other results.

Tony Rixon's Short Pole Series, Trinity Waters, Sunday 9th September

Standing in for Ron Hardiman on this match, a venue I don't get to go to as much as I used to, the same friendly welcome  is still there from Misha & Tom, so just needed to draw a decent peg.

19 - that wasn't one I wanted, over the last few years I have won and framed in matches from 3 banks of this rectangular lake, sadly the bank which 19 resides on isn't one of the three.  Still, the wind was blowing into it and surely I'd get a few.

Sadly not, I am really not going to traumatise myself by recounting the match and I can't see anyone wanting to read about it, two bites in 6 hours, one carp and one perch, these went back, I wasn't the only DNW and thinking about the match, I have no idea what I could have done to catch another fish, the peg seemed devoid of fish, with no liners or indications.

Oh well upwards and onwards.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Tony Rixon's Float Only, Viaduct, Sunday 26th August 2018

Final round of Tony's popular float only league and as I was guesting for someone (no idea who - obviously no one near the top of the league) all I had to worry about was treating it like an open and trying to secure a win.

With the weather forecasters promising rain and more rain for the duration of the match, I did wonder why it had seemed such a good idea to offer my services back in the heatwave.....   I had sorted out my bait on Saturday evening and decided that keeping it simple would be the best plan, so 6mm pellets, 8mm pellets, 8mm meat and in case I drew an edge peg, some GB, dead maggots and worms.  I considered taking paste, but given the forecast I wrote it off, not sure that was the right decision.  I needn't have bothered with the edge bait, I can't believe the draws on this and the previous two matches I have fished on Campbell, 124, 125 and today, back on 124.

I think a fair few people haven't sussed out that the complaining and moaning about the draw is a bit of a parody and nearly always I actually go to the peg with positive thoughts, today I wasn't so positive inside, it's not been a good area for a while and I have no idea why, it was a good area to draw a couple of years back, but 124-126 aren't exactly sought after draws now.

They did used to be really good skimmer pegs and I'm sure the fish will drop back there soon, but even the silvers seem to have upped sticks and moved to the aerator end of the lake, Mike Nicholls who was on 123 did say he thought putting an aerator this end as well might help and I can't help think he isn't too far off the mark

So, onto the fishing, being float only the lead rod(s) that usually get set up and put away again without seeing any action were safely at home in a nice dry garage.  That left a pair of waggler rods to get out of their ready made up rod bag, one set at full depth, one at 18" to start with, these have 4lb sensor, with 0.17 hooklengths and either PR36 or the new version of that both in a 16 with a micro band.

Topkits comprised a power kit with orange Vespe in, for a margin rig, which was really only because I had the time to set it up, I didn't expect to catch down the edge.  A kit with red KND elastic in, to fish meat at 5/6m, another with green KND elastic to fish pellet on the deck at 11m, I also set up a skimmer rig, with a 0.12 hooklength and a 18 LWG with a band, this was matched to Preston 10 solid elastic.  My back has been a bit painful for several weeks now, so no shallow rig, trying not to wave 14/165m of pole around at the moment.

Bait tray was as described above, with one addition, I found a bag of micro pellets in my Mosella trolley bag (great bits of kit, but I have suggested a wet weather improvement to Vic, hopefully it can be designed into a future model), I don't usually feed micros at Viaduct, but did wonder if I could catch a few skimmers. So a few pellets and micros fed onto the 11m line before dropping in on the 5m line looking for the early mug fish. I did have a skimmer and a tench on the meat, but no carp.  I switched to the 11m line with the pellet rig and immediately hooked a 8lb carp - a racing certainty I suppose - managed to land it OK on the 0.12 and went back out, had a couple of skimmers, but it wasn't hectic and no real indications that there were lots of fish there.

A carp that stole the hook of the skimmer rig prompted me to switch to the heavier rig, it didn't seem to make any difference to the numbers of bites, it was a strange day, they wanted some feed, but they seemed to back off the initial feed, then come in over it, I'd catch one and have to feed again before I could catch another.  I did have another carp on this and I thought I had 20lb in the carp net and 14lb in the silvers net when I hooked another carp, I though it was properly hooked at it was reasonably docile and came straight towards me as I shipped back.  It then went ballistic and charged down to the end bank, I had a few sections of pole back through the otter fence and I couldn't get it back in time - so a first for me, broke a Tournament section on a fish, the 'ferrule' section of the No4 section snapped, at the same time the fish came off, so I did get the topset back OK.

I have had Tournaments for 10years now and that's a first for me, but I had a feeling something would go - I have heard other anglers claiming the PTFE nose cones have contributed to breakages, but I don't think this was the case, just the speed of the fish and the carbon being bent at right angles.

I did try the waggler where I had been feed 8mm pellets, I had a couple on it, but lost a few foulers, there were fish out there, couldn't catch the on the shallow wag, I think the lead would have been better, had it been allowed and as predicted, the margins were devoid of fish.

Mike Nicolls on 123 was catching well on paste and came to borrow a net, I had no need of it, so he was welcome to borrow it, I was a little fed up by now, the rain was relentless and the pegs opposite were absolutely emptying it whilst I had to work hard for every bite.  Luckily the short meat line did switch on towards the end, a few carp, another tench and a couple of bream making the last hour the best one.

I put 123lb on the scales, which comprised 25lb silvers, I should probably have fished all match for them, but hadn't really come prepared for that.  I did take the section money with that, I wouldn't have, but  128 on the spit went over the 80lb limit in his first net and was disqualified.  So in the end a better result from the peg than I imagined at the start, but I'll be happy not to draw there on my next visit - although, those do produce better weights in the autumn, the bigger fish seem to reside there before the winter sets in.

Match was won by Dan White, who also took a swim in the lake when his box, complete with him, tipped into the lake, didn't matter, he had it sewn up by then!  Full results on Tony's blog

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Tony Rixon's Float Only, Sedges, Sunday 19th August

Someone pulled out of the league, so I am standing in to fill the space for this and the last round at Viaduct  No need to worry about section points, so hopefully a nice corner peg and fish to win.....

Wasn't overjoyed to draw peg 5, last visit to this fishery was August last year for the same match and I drew peg 4!!

As with last year I didn't think I could win the match from here, but didn't really have the inclination to fish for silvers, especially as Ken on the next peg was going to target them.  I thought I had an empty peg next to me, as peg 4 wasn't occupied, but Dan White turned up late and filled the void.  I set up two wagglers, on full depth and one shallow, doing so I discovered that the bag with all my spare wagglers and 12" hooklengths was still in my garage, not a great start, but at least the rods were ready made up with wagglers on.

Top kits were readied, a paste rig, in lakes this deep I use a Middy paste float with some shot about 18" from the hook, just seems to help when there is any tow.  The next rig was to fish meat, I plumbed this up at 11m, another rig to fish pellet on the deck and a shallow rig.  Finally, not that I expected it to work, a margin rig, but there was not much room either side and it would be a bit of a throwaway line.

Looking at the lake, I did fear that it would follow the pattern it has on other occasions I have fished it, a fish or two in the first hour, a tough 4 middle hours and then a better last hour, with that in mind, I did intend to try and 'force' the peg if it wasn't responding.

Starting on the waggler shallow, I wasn't getting any indications, although there were fishing moving around the top of the lake, I had to switch to the full depth waggler to get any indications and I had one in the tail and one in the mouth for about 17lb between them.

I switched to the pole, I tried paste and pellet, before a piece of 8mm meat accounted for a skimmer of 2.09 - I know that as it was the only accidental silver I had all day!!

Well, my prediction of it being a tough middle of the match was right, I didn't have a bite, Dan on 4 managed a couple shallow on the pole, I tried, but my back was agony trying to hold the pole, so back to the van for some pain killers, even once they had kicked in, I thought it best not to aggravate the injury, so stuck to trying to get he waggler to work, feeding 8mm regularly, hoping they'd go down on the deck.  it wasn't to be.

I had to wait until the last hour for the paste line to come to life, it wasn't hectic and I wasn't catching as many as Dan, but I did up my 17lb to 55lb, including one of 15.06.  Chatting to Dan after he showed me the paste he'd been using, I am not a great believer in fancy flavourings or special pellets, but it was a much richer paste than mine, which is made with soaked Skrettings, Dan had made his from a Spotted Fin betaine GB - food for thought.

I didn't hang around so didn't get the results, had to get home to let the dogs out, I know I was 3rd in section with my 57lb odd, so no good, not sure I expected much else from the peg.  Results will be on Tony Rixons blog.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Ivy House Open, Saturday 18th August 2018

Decided on another trip to Ivy House today, only 13 fishing, Andy had us spread out over the canals, so plenty of room, no idea where I wanted to draw and when I saw 34 staring back at me from the ping pong ball, I was none the wiser.

Allan Oram said it was a good peg for carp, but not such a good silvers peg, I wasn't fussed, just wanted a few bites today, after the dismal day I had on Thursday.  It is the end but one peg on the old canal (Moorhen), so a nice short walk, not that I had much gear, just a pole - typical when Allan walked past and said a Forces match on there in the week had been won on the method!!

So with just a pole to worry about, I set up 5 topkits, one with a small wire stemmed Malman float to fish across in about 2' of water, the only way to get shallower was pull the float up the mud line, this had a 18 LWG on 0.14 and a band.  A rig to fish at the bottom of the far shelf (and the same rig would do to fish from the bottom of the near shelf to the far shelf, as the depth was with 2" all the way across).  A paste rig, as paste has been catching fish on these canals, a margin rig, couldn't get too far down either margin, due to vegetation, but surely a few would come in?  Finally a silvers rig with a 0.12 hooklength and a 16 F1 hook, for maggots or corn to plunder the skimmers.

First put in, I went across and fed 6mm pellets with a catapult and a 6mm in the band, the response was virtually instant and I was attached to a lively 5lb carp, great, fish landed and unhooked, back out expecting a run of them, but it wasn't anywhere near as hectic as I had assumed.

In the next hour I had a couple of small carp (ounces) and 2 more bigger ones up the shelf, as well as one skimmer on corn at the bottom of the far shelf.  I could see a few skimmers coming out, but try as I might I couldn't catch another, I did get a tench up on the shelf and was getting the odd small carp.

I did try a short line I'd been feeding with GB and maggot, but that was no good, maggots were just plundered by tiny roach, even when I tried a heavier rig and bombing the hookbait to the bottom.  I did get one skimmer on them, but it was at the cost of many missed bites and small roach falling off the No10 elastic.

I tried paste and that was useless, one skimmer on it, but there weren't many decent fish over the feed, as the liners were all but non existent.  I had to get some carp and I felt the only way was to go back over to the far side, pellet wasn't selective, as the smaller carp were taking it, although not at a rate where they'd be useful weight builders.  I cupped a pot full of GB over to the far bank and it didn't take long to see evidence of carp turning up and for the last 2 hours, I caught a few between 2 and 8lb, again it wasn't manic or one a chuck, but it was a lot better than it had been.  Best bait was double dendra with the band pulled through them, with just half a dozen pellets and grains of corn in the GB, which needed to go in every third or fourth fish.

I though with my silvers, little carp and proper carp I had about 60lb of proper carp and 12lb or so of little carp and silvers, which by the time the scales got to me - last to weigh in - would be enough for second place, as there had been a ton plus from the other canal.  My weight was a little more than I thought, 75.08, but not far enough out to be worried about and was indeed, good enough to win the lake and 2nd overall.  Well done to Baggy with his 123.06, mostly caught down the margin he tells me and to Allan on a nice net of silvers, with 52lb.

Viaduct Costcutter, Thursday 16th August 2018

Had been moving some stuff around on Wednesday and hurt my back, so dosed up on pain killers I thought it would be a good opportunity to have a real good go with my new waggler rods, as there was no way I would be swinging 16m (or more) of carbon around.

Into the draw tin and out comes 126, not a peg I'd particularly have chosen, but it should be worth a few fish.  If I had come prepared, I might have had a days silvers fishing, but with 8mm pellets, 8mm meat and not too much else, I thought I'd fish the peg positively with the 8mm pellets and see what happened.

Two wagglers set up, both with Middy Fat Boy wagglers, as like many fisheries, the fish here have wised up (most days) to a dumpy pellet waggler, one the smallest size to fish shallow and one a bit bigger to fish full depth. I did set up a meat rig for 5m, a pellet rig at 11m and a margin rig, but with 125 and 127 in, there wasn't much margin to play with.

Gave the meat short 10 minutes hoping for a mug fish, but not so much as a tremor on the bristle.  Out with the waggler and I had 3 fish in the first hour, much of the lake was fishing slow, although there was a couple of as well anglers catching on the opposite bank.

 The next four hours were spent trying all lines and baits, to no avail, I could not get a bite, I tried the depth waggler, the pole short, at 11m, deep and shallow, I have only ever experienced a day like it once or twice at the most, on Cambell.  At 1600, with an hour to go I had another on the waggler, with another 35 minutes later, I was surprised I couldn't even get liners on the waggler, as the guy on the next peg was catching on the lead.  I tipped back about 35lb and was somewhat bemused by the total lack of fish.

On a sour note, I witnessed someone fishing an inline lead and never saw it move on the line once, I wasn't the only one, another of the regulars told me he'd seen someone doing it (different angler than I saw) I think they were both staying in the holiday lodges, no excuses though, Steve went through the rules at the start, including the free running lead one.  Leaves a nasty taste in the mouth when people have to resort to cheating - it didn't do them any good, but that's not the point.

Didn't get the results, I'm sure Matt has posted them on the Viaduct FB page.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Shiplate Costcutter, Thursday 9th August 2018

I was originally heading down to Viaduct today, but needed a match a bit closer and an earlier finish, so when the opportunity came up to travel down to this one with Tony, I took it, Viaduct will have to wait until next Thursday.

First time in the cafĂ© at Shipham for a long time and it wasn't too bad, so fuelled and ready it was off to the fishery.  Only the main lake in today and I drew 13A, so close to where I was on Tony's Float Only a couple of weeks back.

No pics of the peg, not sure why, just getting forgetful I think, maybe it's an effect of fishing these old codgers costcutters!!!  It has a short margin to the RH side, which I did set up a rig for, but not with much hope, as I have never had much success in the margins in my previous few visits to this lake.  An island chuck was tempting, although it is about 45 - 50 yards and the wind, whilst light was pushing away from the island.  So a 8g Drennan pellet waggler which reached the island easily and a middy fat boy for full depth, not quite getting to the island with it, so would see how it went before I decided on what to do with that.

I did have a few method feeders with me, so set one up in case the wind worsened and while I was at it, a straight lead as well.  Finally 4 topkits, the one previously mentioned for the edge, a shallow rig, a full depth pellet rig and a paste rig.  Bait tray was simple, pellets, hemp and paste, 8mm Coppens for pinging to the island and Skrettings for an 11m paste line.

On the all-in I fed the 11m line with a mix of pellets sizes and hemp, then out on the waggler, expecting an early fish or two, the new Tournament waggler rods I bought were casting well and I could get the float tight to the island (new line on the reels after Sunday's breakages) I was somewhat surprised when it didn't go under, I dropped short of the island, still nothing and I had the feeling that it wasn't going to get any better, at least in the near future.

A switch to the 11m line and paste saw a 7-8lb fish in the net, then I hooked a better one, that I had to shout down to the guy on my left as I was unable to stop it heading into his peg, I got it turned and down onto the topkit, virtually in netting range and the hook inexplicably pulled, some choice words and back out, I had two more to complete the first hour with 19lb on the clicker.  The carp bubbles stopped and the fizzing was that which is probably small skimmers, much smaller bubbles and over a large area, rather than the bigger bubbles in circular or a moving pattern that give the carp away.

Back on the waggler, but still no bites, the wind was now pushing the other way - for a while - it was switching direction and strength every few minutes, the heavy waggler wasn't dragging around, but I wasn't convinced it wasn't too heavy, but I wouldn't have got a lighter on out there.

Time to pick up the method, Mike Owens next door was getting a few on the method and I did manage two carp and two skimmers on it, but there were no other indications and the fish I did have came by winding a few turn on from the clip (which was tight to the island) and catching a couple of metres off the island.  I manged another on the pole, but it was slow going and after 2 1/2 hours I had just over 60lb in one net.  the next 2 1/2 hours were spent trying all the lines, starting a new one halfway to the island with the depth waggler, all to no avail, I didn't have  fish in that time.

At 15:30 with an hour to go I had to get up for a wee, I thought Mike Owens was beating me by a long way, so wandered down to see what he was catching, just pellet on the hook and GB/micros on the feeder, nothing different than I'd tried, he said he had 11 carp.  I went back and refed the 11m line and after 10 minutes the bubbles changed, from the regular fizzing, to the individual blows of carp back in the peg, the last 50 minutes of the match saw me putting fish in the net again, 5 of them for 64lb, too little too late as it turned out, as I ended the match with 130lb dead and one out of the money in 4th place.  I switched to feeding hemp and micros once the fish arrived and they seemed to be following the bait down, as several of those last 50 minute fish were hooked as the float settled and then buried.

Going back over this match, I do wonder if it might have paid to keep feeding the island, as I let that slip towards the end and Titch on peg 3 was catching well to it at the end, but I had my own run of fish then, so maybe it was just time of day.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Ivy House Open, Sunday 5th August 2018

Its been a long time since I went to Ivy House, just circumstance and opportunity, not a conscious decision, as I usually enjoy the matches there and have had some reasonable success on the canals and match lake.

35 fishing so one section on the Kingfisher canal and 3 on the match lake,  I had come expecting the match to be on the match lake, so didn't have the bait for the canal, but I would have been happy to draw on the canal, as its plenty of bites and a busy days fishing.  Into the draw tub fairly early and match lake 10 looking back at me, it's the old peg 11, so a nice edge to fish down to where the lakes have been opened back up into one.

I would probably have only set up a pole and concentrated on a couple of lines, but I treated myself to two new Tournament 12' waggler rods yesterday, so ha to set them up and have a go with them, they had a full depth waggler (Middy Fat Boy, great carp wagglers)  and a Preston pellet waggler, 4g.

Topkit were a full depth pellet rig, two margin rigs, one with a band on the hook, one without, a shallow rig and a rig to fish past short just up the shelf (two + two).  The margin plumbed up at just over 2' down to the rushes at 8m, I thought this would be a decent depth, come back a metre closer and the depth was under 12".

I started by cupping in a few pellets down the edge as it looked inviting and going straight over them with a 8mm in the band.  Apart from some 'shit' fish pecking at the pellet, there didn't appear to be any resident carp.  I had also fed the short line and within 10 minutes I dropped in there with paste, that was a good move as first put in I had a fish 6 or 7lb, but it wasn't the start of a run, I had no more bites from here.

Like a kid with a new toy, I had to get out and try the wagglers out, so full depth first, about 10 minutes into fishing that I had another fish around the 7-8lb mark on a 6mm Coppens pellet.  Shortly after I hooked another, slightly bigger and certainly more spirited fish, the fish ran off and then 'came off', although when looking at the end gear, the reel line loop had broken at he bottom where the hooklength was attached.  Strange, as I only set that rod up yesterday and the loop had it's first hooklength on it, so not wear and tear.

A couple of liners and fish evidently up in the water saw me switch to the shallow waggler, no bites until I put a white semi buoyant bandem on, with a No9 stotz on the hooklength to get it to sink.  Hooked a decent fish on this and the line broke above the float, bizarre, I have used this particular line for a while now and never had any issues with it (Daiwa TDR).  I did set the shallow waggler back up, but no more bites on it. So with 2 hours gone I had about 15lb in the net and knew I'd have to get the edge to work to get a decent weight from the peg.

With 2.5 hours gone I switched back to the edge, I had kept a few pellets going in and was determined to catch on them, the nuisance fish were still evident and I had a roach that was probably shy of 3oz on an 8mm pellet.  I had to try and get something working, so I cupped in some GB and maggots, putting maggots, worms or even corn on the hook was a waste of time, double corn was ragged off as well.  By now there were signs of carp in the peg, but they were coming right into the shallow water and completely avoiding all the baits I'd tried.

Off the box, out with another topkit and I rigged it up with one of my favourite shallow margin rigs, a Korum blob and a 12 hook.  This is primarily for paste, but can be used with change baits of bunches of maggots, worms or corn.

I didn't really look back from there on, catching carp in 8-12" of water on big blobs of sloppy paste, it did stop the nuisance fish, I think they were a problem as the margin didn't have carp in all the time, they were coming in (not hard to spot them in water that shallow) either singularly or in twos or threes.  When it was one fish, I could see it either make its way to the bait, then the blob disappear and the water erupt or the fish would sense danger and veer off.  When 2 or three came in, I inevitably caught one of them as he grabbed the bait before his mate, sometimes they wait and I'd go back in and get another straight away.

With 25 minutes to go, I put a 4th carp net in, the kiss of death, I never had another bite, not even a liner, but thankfully my enjoyable 2nd half of the match saw me put 167.12 on the scales for a lake and match win.

Really nice day, must ensure I get back to Ivy House before too long!!

Tony Rixon's Float Only, Shiplate, Sunday 22nd July 2018

Got a place as a stand in on this match, haven't been to Shiplate for a while, its a nice, well run fishery and it's not too far from home, what more could you want.

Into the tub and I wasn't too fussed which lake I drew, it happened to be 14 on the main lake, so some decent sized fish to go at.  Paste had been working, so I was informed, so a bit of paste, some meat and some 8mm pellets were pretty much the bait tray.  Two wagglers set up, longish chuck to the island, so 13' Maver Reactorlites for today, in preference to my usual Normarks.

Shallow rig, paste rig, edge rig and full depth pellet rig completed the top kit selection.  The all-in was called and I started on the shallow waggler, first cast it dipped and fish on, nice... until I got it under the rod tip, ready for netting and the hook pulled, back out and same again except this one was landed, I was now thinking of a lovely day catching on the waggler.

I kept at it for another 40 minutes but even with trying again several times through the day, those two bites in the first two casts were the only ones all day on the waggler, shame as I do enjoy fishing it.

I really struggled for the next 4 hours, not getting a bite anywhere in the peg, apart from a couple of skimmers, the carp certainly would settle.  With under a couple of hours to go, there was some signs (bubbles) where I had been feeding pellets at 11m, I fished the rest of the match on this line catching a few on paste to end up 2nd in the section with 92lb, but a long way off the top weights in the match.

Tricky to write much more on what was a match that saw all the action in the first 10 minutes and last 80 minutes.

Viaduct Open, Saturday 21st July 2018

Only a small match, as it was match lake only, which was fine, I like match lake, although I wasn't so pleased when I drew 44, I still though I'd have a days fishing, but the fish had been coming from the other side.

I'm not going to bore myself, or anyone reading this as this side of the lake looked pretty lifeless, I was struggling to get a bite anywhere in the peg, I could get a waggler to the island perfectly and I kept at it, but it didn't go under, I chucked back about 13lb with 45 minutes to go (and that was more than Colin on 43 had, it really was grim) best bit of the day was a cold beer on the way home!!!

1. Martin Preston - 148lb 8oz - peg 51
2. Lee Davison - 79lb 4oz - peg 48
3. Adrian Bishop - 76lb 13oz - peg 42
4. Michael Hall - 64lb 6oz - peg 47
5. Ian Driscoll - 61lb 11oz - peg 41
1. Shawn Wilson - 30lb 5oz - peg 49
2. Ian Driscoll - 28lb 10oz - peg 41

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

England Ladies Fundraiser, Barston, Tuesday 17th July 2018

Was supposed to be travelling up to this one with Tony Rixon, but he couldn't make it at the last minute, a poorly dog at home, so I can empathise with that.

A decent drive up, apart from that bloody bizarre M42 where you do 60mph, come to a stop, get to 60 again, stop again and so on.... never see a reason for the bunching, except perhaps the variable speed gantry signs.

It was a shame to see the numbers supporting this match down on previous years, its a good cause as the ladies have to fund themselves in the World Championships and it's a good match, well run by Julie Abbott.

I was early into the big silver trophy that is used for the draw and wasn't too disappointed to see 56 on the ticket  It's and area that usually throws up a few fish, so hopefully I'd have a few.

Four rods set up and 2 topkits.  The rods were a 12' Titan 2000 with a 2SSG waggler, a 13' Maver Reactorlite 2 with a 4G Drennan pellet waggler, both with 6lb TDR line, to 0.17 hooklengths and a 16 PR36.  Two Daiwa Tournaments, an 11' with a Guru elasticated bomb and a 12' with an elasticated Guru hybrid feeder.  Hooklengths were 12" on the bomb and 3" on the method, both 0.20 and a 14 QM1.  Topkits had two similar rigs, one on 0.16 and a 0.14 hooklength, with a 18 LWG and a band for skimmers, the other on 0.20/0.16 with a 16 B960, again with a band, this was in case the carp moved in.

Match organiser Julie rocked up on the next peg and I was ready before she called the all-in.  I started on the pellet waggler but it took 20 minutes to get a bite, which turned out to be an F1.  In the next 40 minutes I had 2 small carp and anther F1, it wasn't hectic and Julie wasn't catching either, she'd started on the method long.

The next 3 hours were spent scratching around for bites, I kept feeding the 8mm pellets and had the occasional look on the bomb and waggler, with nothing to show for it.  I fed the pole line (I only had 7 sections out of the bag) and left it for 30 minutes, dropping in with 8mm banded pellet, I hooked a fish that took off for the middle of the lake, obviously not a skimmer, the 10 solid bottomed out and next the 0.14 hooklength parted - bugger!!   I had a 4lb bream and then a run of smaller fish, it died off pretty quickly though, so I refed and had another fish straight away, but felt that if I wanted to catch skimmers, I'd need to add sections, so back on the rod and line it was.

I started up the feed and went on the straight lead and with 90 minutes left, started to catch fish, with 40 minutes left the bites had slowed and the fish were evident on the surface, so back on the waggler and I had a few more F1's and carp - not sure if the run at the end was 100% down to me upping the feed or a combination of that and the time of day. as Julie had started catching now, including one that brought a few comments on its size (22.08 when weighed).

The match ended all too soon, as I was catching well at the end, especially given the fairly barren middle, a couple of lost fish cost me, the one on the pole and frustratingly one on the bomb, I had forgotten to move my pole from across the footpath and was playing a double figure fish under the rodtip, when an impatient looking couple were on the path, very near my pole, as I juggled to move the pole and keep in touch with the fish, it lunged and snapped the 0.20 hooklength - convinced I would have landed it had I not had to move the pole.  As it was my 121.08 was joint 3rd in section, with Julie taking second spot with 127.12, if my negative feeding was why I struggled in the middle, maybe I could have pushed section winner Mark Poppleton who had 175lb - a lot more than he admitted to!!

A couple of 200lb+ weights took first and second overall, well done to Mark Wynne and Pete Bailey, already looking forward to my next trip to Barston - whenever that will be.  Hopefully Julie raised a decent sum from the match and raffle.

Acorn Open, Tuesday 9th July 2018

First trip out in the new van, not a high top connect like the old one, but a LWB and it's longer than the older model LWB, so more room - just means I'll put more stuff in.....

Into the drawbag and ping pong ball 36 selected, not one I'd have chosen, but I'd go and give it my best shot.  Had to do a fair bit of 'gardening' to get in tight across, but I managed with the help of my trusty shears.

I'm not over keen on the peg and today, there was a slight ripple put on by the aerator, but not as much as the breeze was creating down the main straights.  The RH margin is too shallow and the LH isn't much better, so I was hoping that the far side and a rig on the nearside 'second' shelf would produce, plumbing around, the near side second shelf doesn't exist, is a fairly steep and steady drop off to full depth, not ideal.

I could ramble on about the match, rigs and baits, but they were as usual for here, with pellets being the mainstay of the bait tray.  The aerator and the wind coming down the main straight were causing a horrible tow through the peg and Mike Owens on 37 fished a method most of the day to counter act it.

I really struggled and as I knew I was a long, long way from those I could see catching on 9 and the low teens, I tipped back 53lb on the clicker and packed up neatly and was in the van on and on my way home by the time the scalesmen were starting.

1. Gary Flinders.                 204-10 p9
2. Callum Dicks.                 185-15 p13
3. Craig Challingsworth.   142-05 p22
4. Glenn Bailey.                   109-05 p33
5. Bob Smith.                      109-02 p34
6. Graham Smith.                92-10 p10