Sunday, 20 August 2017

Tony Rixon's Short Pole Series, Round 3, Sunday 20th August 2017

Needed a good draw today after a slip up in the last round, wasn't wildly overjoyed with peg 7 but had to make the most of it.  First mistake of the day - looking for worm container whilst tackling up and no where in sight, left at home in the fridge - bugger, I have a fair bit of confidence in worms down the edge and I intended to try and catch some skimmers if the carp went quiet.

Topkits along the roost were: paste rig, which I use a middy paste float for with 5 x No8 18" from the hook. A shallow rig, a pellet rig, a rig with 0.14 and a 18 LWG to fish maggot over GB, in lieu of worms.  Two edge rigs, similar, one with a banded hook, one plain.

Usual start, feed a few pellets and drop the paste rig straight down the hole.  Float shot under and fish on, then off, probably a fouler. It's pretty normal to get a couple in the first 10 or 15 minutes, but not today, not even liners.  I had fed some GB, caster and maggots off to my left at the full length of topkit + 3 sections and tried double maggot, then caster both to no avail.

Back over the initial line, this time with the banded pellet rig and a 8mm pellet, in the next hour or so I landed one fish and lost 5, including one I reckon was 15lb.  I was at a loss to explain it, they weren't foulers, they all came off in roughly the same place.  I was using all my tried and tested gear, elastic, line, hook, really unusual to lose so many properly hooked fish.

Next fish and in the place the other s came off it came up higher in the water, I could then see line hooked over the top of the float, the fish dived down and when I got it back up enough to see the float, the line had come off.  Then this fish came off as well, I reckon that was the best part of 50lb lost in just over an hour.  The line had styed on the hook this time and I managed to get hold of it.  It was fixed solidly round the RH pallet leg and stretch right across the lake, I managed to wind the line in around my hand and snap it off near the pallet leg.

It seems that some carper had been chucking right across the lake with 15lb line, heavier than is allowed at  the venue, what had been happening, was the my rig had been sliding up this line and then was sliding into the hook and disgorging it.  Bloody frustrating.

The culprit, you can see how long it was before I coiled it up!!

The loss of so many fish obviously had a detrimental effect on the swim, especially given the constraints of it being a short pole match.  I had been feeding pellet into the margin and after much time wasted I had one carp.  The tiny fish wouldn't leave the 8mm pellet alone and I was wishing that I had some 11mm pellets.

I had been feeding a short line (topkit + 1) and this finally started to produce bites, I had a couple on pellet, before switching to paste and having 3 more including hooked seconds before the all-out.

I thought I had about 60lb and the scales gave me 63.12, including one skimmer and one perch, both taken on 8mm pellet - I think that's the first perch I have ever had on pellet.

It was frustrating as Tony won the match with 110lb and I feel that without the carper supplied auto-disgorger I could have beaten that.  One small consolation was the default section win.

Next up, Viaduct on Sunday for Tony' s Float Only last round.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Ivy House Open, Saturday 19th August 2017

23 fishing this one and after a decent breakfast on site, into the draw tin - there was a section on the canal and 2 sections on match lake - I fancied the canal, but wasn't unduly surprised to see a match lake peg number on the ball, a peg I didn't particularly fancy either. 18, when I won off 19 the other week, the guy on 18 packed up early!!

With that in mind, that beating 19 would be unlikely, I decided to fish for skimmers and take any carp that came along, although I did set up a method feeder and a waggler rod, just in case.  Topkits were simple, a 10 solid, 0.16, a homemade diamond 0.4 float and a 0.12 hooklength with a 18 Kaizen hook.  I did set up a rig with 0.16 and a banded 16 B960, but that never saw the water, a paste rig and a margin rig were also assembled, the margin rig as 17 was empty.

With the lower overnight temps and recent rain, I wasn't convinced it was going to be an easy match - if there is such a thing here - but started by putting in 4 balls of GB at 14m, only one of which was full of caster and chopped worm.  Then a chuck with the method, then another and then I was bored of it - managed 9 minutes before it went up the bank.

Out over the GB with double caster and it didn't take long to get a 1lb skimmer, but nothing else on it, so a switch to worm and a couple of skimmers on that, but it was far from manic action.  Dead maggot was my next choice and this brought a couple more, I reckon I had 7 or 8lb at the end of the first hour. I topped up the GB and this brought an immediate response, but only one fish again, it was proving impossible to string a couple together.  I had a couple of quick liners, which I suspected were carp, I have a feeling that there weren't too many skimmers in the peg and the carp were unsettling them.

I had been pinging a few 6mm pellets out towards the middle, so picked up the waggler rod and had a few chucks with that, I managed a 4lb carp on it, but no skimmers, so back on the 14m line. This gave up another skimmer and a carp, before going dead again.  This formed a pattern for the rest of the match, catch one from that line, try something else - I did have some liners on the waggler, so got off my box and took the set up pellet waggler from the holdall.  By now the wind was gusting and constantly changing direction coming from over my left shoulder, to directly behind, then over my right shoulder, then it swung back  This was making feeding with a catapult tricky and casting, first chuck I lost my float by over casting and the hooklength went round the dividing rope.....

New float and hooklength on and it was a wasted effort, not a single bite on it.

I had fed the RH margin with pellet and corn, LH with GB and maggot, but even with quite a few drop-ins over the last couple of hours, I couldn't get a bite there.  By now 19 was catching carp, especially down to the end bank, as I expected would happen.

I had been feeding a short line, just up the slope with pellets and dropped in here with paste, this was good for 2 decent skimmers and two carp, with a couple more skimmers nicked from the 14m line.

I knew I had been well beaten by peg 19, but you can't see all the lake from here so was unsure how I was doing in relation to everyone else.  I put 23.04 of skimmers on the scales (not bad I had clicked 22lb) and the four carp went 24.04 for 47.08.  This was beaten by a few on match lake and canal - which produced the winner and silvers winner, my 23.04 was second on the day, but only one silvers was paid....... typical!!  Thankfully peg 19 snuck into 3rd place, so I got the section by default.

Back into the café for the results and it took a lot of will power to not have some of this......

Not too many fisheries that have homemade cakes after the matches!!!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Rail Sport National, Makins Fishery, Wednesday 16th August 2017

First trip to Makins for this match, the national of the railway industry.  I had tried to gather some information, but with every lake on the complex being in, it wasn't a simple task.

So, with that in mind, the van had something for every circumstance loaded into it and the bait bill was slightly eye watering. but little point in going to matches like this ill prepared.  I got in early to the draw queue and was second into the individual tub (its run as a team and individual event) and drew Crater 10 on phase two.  Meaningless to me, so I asked in the bait shop on site and they suggested I was looking for carp over 3lb.

If you've never seen Makins and are from Somerset/Bristol, think of a huge, well maintained version of Bullock Farm....

When I saw the peg, I decided to just set up a pole, as the island was tempting, there was an aerator and two decent margins, I felt confident of catching a few, I now know that confidence is over rated.

Topkits were, paste, margin, short meat, shallow, and two for across to the island, one lighter with a 18 on 0.12 and a slightly heavier float with a 16 B960 on 0.16 for when I started bagging....  This was somewhat optimistic, as I was to find out.

I started short on meat and after 10 minutes decided that an early mug fish wasn't likely to happen.  Out to the island point with a banded 6mm pellet, fully expecting some action on this, 20 minutes later I was re-evaluating my match plan, as I was biteless and fishless.  I started pinging caster shallow and lost a couple of rudd - the elastic was far to heavy for rudd, but I had been told I was fishing for 3lb+ carp and I knew a few silvers wouldn't put me in the top 4 on such a big match.

I then a had a look shallow by the aerator, again, nothing, were there actually any fish in this lake???  I decided to try a line with GB/worm/caster tight across at about 1 O'clock.  Three fish in three drop-ins was my reward -sadly they were 1oz perch, another drop in and finally a bit more resistance, but not too much, as a 1lb carp was the culprit.  Another perch, then a 2lb skimmer, that was to be it, small roach and perch made up the numbers, so a switch away from here was necessary.

The match was only 5 hours and by now, I had less than 5lb and it was halfway through, I could see that the rest of the lake were equally struggling, so I fed both margins, RH side GB/maggot, LH side pellet and meat, I had a 3lb carp first drop in over the GB and maggots to my right.

The next couple of hours were spent keeping an eye on the others on the lake and they too were suffering.  I kept swapping between margin lines and had a few more carp on worm, but it was far from frantic.

I thought I had won the lake and so it proved when the scales gave me 35.12, to the nearest weight of 24lb.  Sadly foe my wallet. this was beaten on Reptile by a couple and I went home empty handed, as they were paying 1st and 2nd in section and I was third, I think winning the lake was the best I could have done, really couldn't see another 30lb coming off the peg for the section.

Didn't go back for the results, so only got a picture of my section sheet and no idea what won overall.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Ivy House Open, Kingfisher, Sunday 13th August 2017

Back to Ivy house today, I had booked into the canal match and found it was sparsely supported, with 13 being on the match on the main lake, so no opportunity to swap to the bigger match or that would make the pegging tight.  I can't understand why it's not more popular, plenty of bites, good head of skimmers and decent carp.

I fancied a draw on 5 or 7 and wasn't too enamoured to see 11 stuck to my hand, although Andy Lloyd did say that 37lb of silvers came from it Thursday.  Ken Rayner had come along to this one and with him drawing 7, I fully expected him to be the one to beat, so I had to try and work out how to get the best from the peg.

The higher numbers on this lake are wider than the lower numbers, being a full 16m, I had to use 16m and a dolly butt to get tight over.  There was an old boy pleasuring fishing behind me on the other lake and he was spread out along his peg, with an extra chair and some other stuff - he wasn't doing anything wrong, in fact he was a friendly bloke, but I couldn't get anywhere to ship back with out breaking down.

I set up a rig to fish across in the shallowest water I could find - about 2', another for banded pellet down the track, a 0.2g and a 0.4g wire stemmed float to fish maggot/worm/corn.  A rig to fish down the margin and a last minute rig set up a mugging rig as some cruisers appeared.  Simple bait tray, maggots, pellets, corn and worms in the bag, as I tend not to start with these.

On the whistle there were still some visible cruisers, so out with the mugging rig, 3 maggots on the hook and had one straight away, two more followed, before they did a vanishing act.  Across with the pellet rig to the far bank, but the old boy behind was up and down to see his mate on the next peg, so I was reluctant to ship back too far and I let it distract me and get in my head - rig tangled and frustrated, not his fault, mine, I shouldn't have let it get to me.  I pretty much binned the long line and came short, this produced some small carp and I fed a line down the track.

I have never had fizzing on here before, but today every line fizzed.  I could see Ken catching well on paste, I was falling behind, the guy to my right was also catching on paste.  I was swapping between lines and baits to keep fish coming, very noticeable by their absence were the skimmers, I finally had one over some GB and worm, but it was small.  I switched to corn and had another, this one was bigger, but no more from that line.  I switched to 4mm banded pellet and had a couple more skimmers on a line off to the left at 7 sections, but this line was fizzing as well and bites were few and far between.

Just over halfway through I fed LH and RH margins, as the end peg had been catching well with good fish from his margin.  The RH margin was not much cop, a couple of perch and a roach, the LH margin did colour up and a look in there saw a few of the small carp landed, no matter what bait I put on, the small carp nabbed it.  I refed and switched back round the lines, by now the short line, as well as fizzing, had black detritus coming up of the bottom, where the fish were ripping it up.  Catching one was another matter, had to wait for a bite and it was then a small carp - although I did have one tench about 1lb.

The fish were coming to the margin now and on more than one occasion I saw a couple of big tails or backs right over the bait, the float buried and a little black 4oz carp had taken the bait - either maggots or worm.  I stuck with it and did manage to find a few better fish amongst the smaller ones. 

I had 15lb odd of silvers, which I was sure would be beaten, 35lb of the small carp (42 on he clicker, a few weeks back 60 went 39lb so they are growing fast) and 34lb of bigger carp for 84lb, only enough for third on the lake, I think when the fish were ripping up the bottom, I should have set up paste rig, as I think they were eating the GB and not much else.  Beaten by Ken with his paste approach and the end peg who had a creditable ton + with the bigger stamp of fish from his margin.  At least I managed a silvers pick up, so that was some consolation, I think the bright sun and flat calm surface didn't help, as the lake is full of skimmers.

The sheet from the main lake match

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Todber Manor Open, Saturday 12th August 2017

Back to Todber today, travelled down with Tony Rixon, stopped in Cannards Well for breakfast, was OK, but a couple of the items could have been hotter.

35 fishing this today, Homeground and Hillview in the drawtub and I pulled out 80, Homeground, a lake I haven't fished before, a quick ask round and I was advised the fish were a bit bigger than Hillview.  When I got to my peg, I realised nothing too fancy would be on the cards today, as a strong wind was right into my face.  I hoped that meant the fish were also pushing over this side.

Simple bait tray, pellet, corn and meat, as it was so windy I decided to get two lead rods out of the bag, one for method to the island, one for bomb and pellet, thinking that as pellet pinged into open water on the pole usually works, bomb and pellet should too.

3 topkits, a meat rig for short, due to the wind this was a 4x16 Malman Roob, a 4x16 float to fish pellet at 11m (as far as I could sensibly fish) and a rig for the margin, which given peg 81 was empty, I expected to catch from.  For company on 79 I had legendary lead slinger Roy Worth and beyond him, Nicky Ewers, so some banter was likely.

I decided to start on the method and first cast with an orange wafter, I had a 2lb+ skimmer, he was obviously ostracised from the shoal, as it was to be the only bite. I unclipped and wound two turns on before reclipping, that brought a small carp to a 6mm pellet, but it was tough going.  A sitch to the short meat line was equally as depressing, a tiny perch and a rudd led me to believe that there weren't hordes of hungry carp or decent skimmers down there.

Time to move onto the banker, pinging pellet, unfortunately this banker had crashed, leaving me bereft of anything to deposit in the net, I cannot recall ever fishing here and not getting a bite on a pellet.

Getting desperate, back onto the short meat line and another carp, but this was a short lived glimmer of hope, as none other were forthcoming.  With over two hours gone and 6lb on my clicker, it was time for desperate measures, I had bought some maggots in the shop on site, for tomorrow and later in the week, not intending us them today.  I put two on the method and had 4, 4oz skimmers in consecutive casts, but no point catching them, so plan H or is it J to hatch.

New line started up and pinging pellets again - it was if I couldn't believe it didn't work first time, I had 4 fish on this before it reverted to a biteless zone....  what now?

4 hours gone and 25lb in the net, I was starting to think how I would counter the banter when I was last on the lake, but thankfully, the wind seemed to drop and whether that was a coincidence or not, I started catching on the short meat line (which was up the slope, about 6" deeper than the full depth), a run of fish took me from 25lb on the clicker to 78lb with 35 minutes to go, I was thinking I could do the 'ton'. I had fed and tried the margin several times, one 3lber to show for it, the only bite, they didn't want to be in the shallow water it seemed.  So heads down for the last 35 minutes and for some reason, the wheels fell off, the wind got up stronger and an undercurrent pushed back from the bank, but unfortunately it seemed to take loads of barley straw from the bales with it, dragging the float under and snagging on the hook.

I had one tench in the last 35 minutes, tried shallowing up, going further out, but all to no avail, as the barley straw got involved in every drop in.  Shame, as that cost me the section money at least and maybe last place or so in the frame.  Interesting place, I seem to just short of getting it sussed, as I was 3rd on my lake and 8th overall, today I just didn't expect it to be so tough at the start and maybe I attacked it a little too hard.  Good excuse to come back and try again...... Well done to the winner and framers, same names cropping up regularly, so there must be something I am missing in my decision making here.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Tony Rixon's Float Only, Sedges, Sunday 6th August 2017

As I hadn't fished two rounds of this league, I had nothing to fish for except the match win today, its a fishery I don't get to too often, not for any other reason than lack of time and opportunity.  I seem to draw Brick lake much more often than Tile lake and today was no exception, peg 4 being my home.

I didn't consider that I could win the match from this peg, so decided to fish for silvers - I will say I am against paying silvers in leagues, as it can affect the overall result, but I don't make the rules and if I didn't win any silvers money, someone else would.

I set up a waggler, not sure why really, just because I carried it to the peg, the line got wet plumbing up, but that was the only time. 3 topkits out of the bag, a 10 solid to fish worm, maggot, corn on a 0.5g homemade diamond, mounted on 0.15, with a 0.12 hooklength.  A 0.6g NG Gimp to fish banded pellet on the deck and a Malamn Roob to fish meat short, as the skimmers here can be partial to a cube or two of Plumrose.  As I had time, I also set up a paste rig, as they also like paste.

Paul Faiers had drawn a peg that was more likely to throw up some carp, so he donated some nice looking casters to me, I added them to some dead maggot, pellet and corn and fed this at 11m, the 14.5m line received just GB and pellet.  The obligatory short line was where I started, with meat, this was biteless, I switched to the 11m line and double maggot, this was good for two small skimmers, so I switched to corn and this added a third small skimmer to the net after a barren spell. 

An hour down and 3 skimmers for about 9oz in the net, hardly going to plan, out with the worms, a decent handful of chopped worms in with the next ball of GB and this started a run of skimmers on worm, with red worm (again, supplied by Paul) being the best hookbait.  Whe it slowed down, I topped up and caught another straight away, but that was the end of the little run, from then on every bite was hard won and involved some patience in waiting for it.  I did hook a big double figure carp on worm, but after a short tussle, which did lead into a false hope I'd land it on 0.12, it decided to head for the rope down the middle of the lake, the 0.12 could cope with that.

I had a few looks over the 14.5m line with pellet and didn't have a single bite on it, I persevered with the 11m line but it got slower and slower, the short meat line gave me a glimmer of hope with two skimmers in two drop ins, but that was to be it, summed up a tough day.  With just under an hour to go I dumped 1/2  a pot of pellets at 6 sections and it was like introducing Alka Seltzer, this brought two carp and a big skimmer on paste, in the first three put ins, yet again this was a cruel tease, as I had not another indication off this line.

I ended with 26lb skimmers (and a few roach on caster short, which I tried, but the fish were too small and too slow in coming), I thought it would be nowhere near enough to trouble the silvers frame, but with anglers of the quality of Des Shipp struggling, it was enough to sneak into second place, behind Glenn who had 39lb on paste, the match overall was won by Trigger, with 151lb.

Angling for Heroes Match, Viaduct Saturday 5th August 2017

Hopefully this match would raise a few quid and I would draw a peg full of fish.....

I drew 128, the left hand side of the spit on Campbell, not a peg you can complain too much about, but probably not my first choice, if I had one....  A quick tidy up of the odd bramble and vegetation growth that would stop me getting tight in to the spit and I was ready to tackle up.  A lead rod (force of habit, convention or the vain hope that I might actually bag up on it one day, who knows), two wagglers rods, one shallow, one deep and 4 topkits.

The topkits were an edge rig for up to the spit, this was changed to a paste rig when I plumbed it up, as touching the spit, the depth was the same as the open water in the peg, no shelf at all, not what I wanted, I like a margin that is 15"-24" on this lake. A shallow and deep pellet rig and a meat rig for short.

Pretty standard start, 3 or 4 cubes of meat via a toss pot at 5m, instant bite and a fouler charged off and shed the hook.  Next drop in a carp hooked and netted, a 6lber, next drop in another, slightly bigger, then two skimmers and that was it - little did I know that was to set the mood for the day.

A switch to the waggler was biteless, which is unusual on here, so a out with the long pole and this brought a fish first drop in on the depth rig, it took a while to get another, even though the peg was fizzing like a Jacuzzi with the cast of Blazing Saddles in it.  Back on the meat short and another skimmer, but no other indication.

As the spit was so deep, I went up there earlier than I would usually go to the edges and was rewarded with a few missed bites (or liners?) on paste before an angry 3lber was hooked and netted. I did set up a rig to try pellet or meat along the spit, this also allowed me to hair rig two worms, which accounted for another skimmer and not much else.  I had one more on paste, but there was so little indication, that I was far from convinced the spit would come good.

I had a couple on the pellet wag, but it was a tough day, a case of catch a fish and swap lines/methods until the last half an hour when I had a decent tench and a couple of carp short on meat.  This was enough to put me 5th overall  with 115lb and one out of the money - typical!!

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Ivy House Open, Sunday 30th July 2017

When I rang up to book in I booked into the match on the canal, I wanted to see if I could keep my run of wins/framing going and I fancied a busy day with a few bites.  On arrival at the fishery, Andy said there was only another 1 or 2 booked on the canal, so only one match today, on the Match Lake.  Oh well, no prep, either tackle or mentally for the late switch, so after a nice breakfast and coffee (A fishery that has a machine to make fresh coffee from beans - surely it must catch on!!) into the drawbag and out comes peg 19.

19 is a corner peg, so my thoughts of fishing for silvers were put on the back burner, as along with most lakes, the corners here aren't noted for big skimmer weights.  Plenty of time to get set up, I had put my ready made up rod bags into the van, just in case the match was switched, so a lead rod set up and a waggler, both with the thought of fishing 8mm pellet halfway across.

I got 3 topkits out, set one up with a 0.3g HB Chump, banded 16 B960 on 0.16 for hard pellet at 14m, same float on 0.16 with a 0.12 hooklength and a 18 Kaizen hook for corn, dead maggot or if I got desperate enough, devils spawn.  Then with such a nice end bank, I had to set up a margin rig, initial thoughts were to go with hard pellet in the edge, so a HB AK47 with a banded 14 B960 on 0.18.  Plumbing up I found a little shelf about 2' out from the bank, that was about 18" deep, then a little tapered rise before the shallower shelf close in, this was about 12" deep, so a HB AK mini margin float was hastily put on another topkit, to fish maggot up the slope.

I was just about ready, when, just to confuse matters, Andy(Lloyd) walked past and said "carp were caught here yesterday, short on paste" Hmmm, as I was thinking I was on the canal, any paste I had was at home in the freezer.  I did have a bit of green Swimstim in the van, so another topkit out and knocked up some paste - I should have saved myself the bother......

On the all-in I potted in some softened pellets short, then some GB, corn, micros and dead maggots at 11m, before starting at 14m with 6mm hard pellet. 30 minutes of this and nothing to show for it had me reaching for the skimmer rig, better to be putting something in the net and there was the odd bubble over the 11m GB line. First two drop ins with a grain of corn on the hook and two skimmers about 1 1/4lb were n the net, then nothing.  A switch to the waggler, conditions were lovely for it, I had about 4' of water, so a peacock waggler with just a micro swivel down the line, it was bound to go under - but it didn't it resolutely sat there, mocking me with the perfect presentation and nothing to show for it.

Back on the skimmer line with corn and out of the blue a 7lb carp was the next fish from here, but he was a loner, as I didn't hook another.  I did try dead maggot, this wasn't much better, I added a couple more skimmers, but these were smaller.  I had been pinging some pellets to the end bank and had a look here, but nothing.  Back on the waggler, I couldn't believe it hadn't gone under earlier and my disbelief was compounded, as it still remained motionless.

By now (2pm) it was obvious I was behind, I had to catch carp to try and get back in the match and the end bank seemed to be the most likely, so a switch to GB and dead maggot feed - as this is something I have more confidence in than pellet - I had a bite straight away and missed it, then another and it was a roach.  Another pot of feed and finally a carp, another about 7/8lb to join the loner from earlier, this was on the shallower margin rig..  There were some very hungry and determined ducks that were up ending and eating the bait when ever I brought the pole back, they were colouring the water, so a switch to double worm made sense.  This was a lot better and I had a run of fish to about 14lb.  Then it rained, proper rain, this didn't put them off but it was uncomfortable fishing in it. 

I had to top up the bait after every fish and the ducks were content with this as well, not sure why, whether they'd eaten their fill or just got bored, but the ducks moved away and the bites dropped off, I was waiting  a lot longer for a bite now they'd gone.  Luckily the run of fish I had was enough, I had 54lb and 47lb on my clicker for each net and I weigh 103lb of carp and 6lb silvers for 109.08 and first on the day, keeping my nice little run here going.

Next up, Saturday at Viaduct for the Angling for Heroes match.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

England Ladies Team Fundraiser, Barston, Tuesday 25th July 2017

I had booked myself and Tony Rixon into this match ages ago and was looking forward to it, makes a nice change to get to Barston and the great fishing it can offer.

Months of anticipation were pretty much dashed at the draw, peg 95, one of the least favoured areas, but there was the section to fish for and why not try and create an upset from here.  Ages to set up, so I set up loads of kit to try and cover all the options. A 12/13' at 12' Tournament to chuck a method feeder as near to halfway as I could - I had tried to find a gravel bar, but there didn't appear to be one in any sort of reasonable casting difference.  A 10' Tournament to fish the bomb and pellet and another to fish a method shorter - no idea why, I just had the time....  I think I must have the most unused feeder and lead rods in the country, the often stay in the bag and if they do get set up, rarely do more than a few minutes work!

Two wagglers set up, one at depth (which wasn't much - less than 3') and one shallow.  3 topkits, one with 10 solid, 0.16 rig with a 0.14 hooklength and a 18 Kaizen hook, this was a wire stemmed 0.3g NG Gimp.  Another Gimp with same line and hooklength, this time with a 18 LWG tied with a band, finally, feeling optimistic, another pellet rig with 0.20 mainline and 0.16 hooklength, in case the carp moved in.

Bait tray was simple, pellets and corn, with 1kg of groundbait.  I had thought about bringing worm and caster, but decided against it. On the all-in I fed a line at 13m with GB, pellets and corn, then launched a 45g method into the middle of the lake. 5 minutes with no signs and I refilled it and had another chuck. 5 more minutes and I just had a feeling it wasn't going to go round.  I switched to the waggler at about 30m and all that brought was a missed bite and a skimmer.  Another switch, this time to the pole and corn, I had 4 or 5 skimmers on this, but then they disappeared.  I refed and went back in, it took a while, but I then had some indication that they'd come back, I finally caught another and they promptly disappeared again - this set the pattern for the rest of the match, they wouldn't settle in less than 3' of water and bright sun didn't help.

I rested the skimmer line by looking back on the waggler and had a big F1, but it was a lonesome fellow and no more bites on that.  Back on the skimmer line and by now I was reaching for some dead maggots that I had in my bag, hoping this might hold them better than pellet and corn.

I could see the odd fish moving, but a long way out, so on with the biggest pellet waggler I had and 11mm pellets fed as far as I could ping them.  First chuck and fish on, another big F1, frustratingly it was the only one, even with another 30 minutes of trying.  Back on the skimmer line and this was getting harder and harder, still giving up an odd fish, but not many.  Time to try the bomb and pellet where I had been feeding the 11mm pellets.  This brought an immediate bite and a low double was soon netted, once again, it was a false dawn, as that was the one and only bite on the lead.

I managed another couple of smaller skimmers towards the end, on the pole line, but it was hard going.  I was slightly surprised when my skimmers went 19lb and even more surprised when the 3 fish n the carp net went 20lb.  The 39lb total was enough for joint second in section, the lowest weight section - something I have grown used to!!

As the match was being paid as top two in sections, that meant I was splitting the £50 for second, so break even on the match cost, winning £25... better than a poke in the eye I suppose.  Already looking forward to next year!!

Weigh sheets below:

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Tony Rixon's Short Pole Series, R2, Trinity Waters, Sunday 23rd July 2017

Round two of Tony's topkit + 3 sections league, the draw is all important on this lake when you have some pegs with an empty peg and others with anglers either side.  I was chatting before the draw and missed my usual spot near the front, leaving me with a choice of 3 when I got there, I took the middle card in the bowl and wasn't wildly happy when I opened it and saw 23.  22 is an end peg and with 20 and 21 not pegged I'd have preferred that, I also had 24 in.  On this bank (22-33) the margins are hugely improved by having an empty peg.

On the plus side (or so I thought......), the wind was blowing down into this corner, so hopefully the fish would be there as well.  I had intended to stick with two baits, paste and pellet, but I did have a few dead maggots, hoping that this would draw some fish into the edge, if the angler either side didn't have them.

Far too much time to set up, so I set up more rigs than I needed, just in case..... A paste rig for straight in front, a paste rig for the edge, a shallow rig, a rig to fish banded pellet on the deck and a margin rig for maggot or worm.

On the all in I started as usual on paste over pellet, instant bite and after a very spirited tussle, I had a fish I thought was 15lb, but on seeing it at the weigh in, it was probably 13lb, a long lean common.  great start and I was expecting the usual 3 or 4 in the first hour.  What I expected and what I got was two different things!  The pegs on here usually fizz when pellet is fed, but not today and the wind was getting up, making things tricky.

With 45 minutes gone and not another bite, on paste or banded pellet, I found an old jar of JPZ pellets and tried one of them, a carp took a liking to this, but it was the only one I caught on JPZ, so back under the bench in the garage for them.  I got off my box and pumped some expanders, desperate times mean desperate measures.  This brought a couple of 4 oz skimmers and one more carp, but bites were very few and far between.  I then got off my box again and made up some GB, put dead maggots in it and fed this out in front, fishing double maggot on a 18 - like the bloody winter!!

I managed 3 or 4 more small skimmers on the maggot, but no carp.  I had been feeding both margins, but fishing either side brought the same result, banded pellet = stationary float;  maggot, worm, corn or paste = float doing a jig, shit fish in the edges.

By now the wind had increased and fishing at topkit + 3 was pointless, the tow was going with the wind and fishing paste saw the rig pulled out of the paste, I had a 0.8g float on for fishing pellet and this was led at a 30° angle, presentation was impossible.  I have some 2g rigs made up for this, but hadn't brought them as I haven't experienced conditions like this on this lake for years, I'm not even sure 2g would have been enough.

The wind dropped a little and I managed one more carp on paste straight in front and in the last 15 minutes the shit fish disappeared from the margin, a sure sign some carp had arrived, indeed they had and I had 2 in those last 15 minutes, too little too late.  Not an enjoyable day, not sure if I could have found some trip against the wind if I could have fished out further (although the wind would have made much more than 11m impossible).  It would have been a day for the feeder or lead had it been allowed!!

Only managed 3rd in section, disappointing on a venue I know and have a good record on, but the conditions and not having an empty peg were against me and if I could fish it again tomorrow, I haven't a clue what I could do differently to improve my result (apart from take some heavier rigs).  The fish seemed to be at the back of the wind, as the main weights came from calmer pegs.

Todber Manor Open, Saturday 22nd July 2017

Back to Todber and I can't believe I drew 54 again, same as last match.  It's a peg that as soon as you get it, the usual flyer, you'll win it from there comments start and it looks like it should be a boss peg, as it has loads of space...... or so it seems.  The LH edge is constrained by peg 49 which can cast across and fish a method about 16m along from the pallet.  The RH edge goes into the corner which 55 can fish to, there is no island and 49 and 54 can be trying to take your fish, if everyone fishes long.

That said, its not as if there many really duff pegs at Todber, so with the wind in a different direction to the last time I drew it, I went with a totally open mind and thoughts about where I could improve on the last performance.

One thing I thought might have been better than a pole, was to chuck a method down the LH edge, abut today there was some ripple and the sky was overcast, whereas last time it was flat calm and sunny.  Also last time I really struggled to catch on pellet, so meat was at the fore of my thinking for this one.

I set up a rig to fish pellet at 11m on the deck, a home made diamond float, with a carbon stem, I find this to be really stable and sensitive, probably the best float I've made so far.  A Hillbilly chump to fish pellet short and a Hillbilly Blimp to fish meat short.  A shallow rig and a margin rig, as it was only 12" or so tight in, I went with a Hillbilly AK47, a nice float for shallow margins.

Started at 11m on pellet, whilst feeding meat and corn short, had a couple of small tench and a carp, but it wasn't hectic, so I had a look short, this was a bit of a surprise, plenty of bites here last time, today, not many bites and the first 4 resulted in a tiny tench, 2 small perch and a small carp.  Its not a venue that you feel you can too far behind on, so I was thinking about my next move, to maximise catch rate.

Back out to 11m and a few small tench and carp, but again, not setting the world on fire, I stuck at it and after an hour had 14lb on the clicker.  Not quick enough, so I picked up the method rod, I had fallen for the advertising and bought some 6mm orange wafters.  First chuck up to the inside of the point and a 7lber in the net, next chuck a 3lber, sussed it, but no, a quiet spell, I did change to a 6mm pellet with GB and this brought a couple more fish, but the quiet spells had me doubting myself if this was right - I have no confidence in the lead or feeder as a way of catching.

I had fed a line at 11m down the LH edge and went in this with the pole and margin rig, two missed bites and two trashed rigs proved there was a horrendous snag in there, that had managed to avoid showing its self when I plumbed up.

I abandoned that and tried the short line again, poor, a couple of decent skimmers, but little else.  The 11m started to come to life with 2 ours to go and I was getting a carp from 10oz to 2lb most put ins.  I had fed some meat in the RH margin and whenever I saw a fish there I'd have a drop in and sometimes had one, sometimes didn't.  I saw two 8-10lbers side by side nosing the fed area and quickly dropped a 10mm cube of meat tight in, just in front of them.  The float buried, a bloody 1lber had grabbed the meat first, obviously the brace of weight builders swirled and vanished......

So, should I have stuck it out on the method down the edge and hoped it built, I am sure I wasted too much time chasing bigger fish in the edges, when they weren't there in any number and maybe I should have just fished pellet at 11m all day, as this got stronger and as an opposite to my last visit, they didn't want meat.  Too many questions and no definitive answer, I suppose that's why we keep going!!  96.04 and thanks for coming, can't complain, a decent days fishing and the peg may well have been worth more.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Ivy House Open, Kingfisher Canal, Sunday 16th July 2017

Back to Ivy House after a successful last two visits there, on the canal again, this time with 9 fishing and another separate Open on the Match Lake.  Nice thing about Ivy House is the coffee machine, proper decent coffee to kick start the day!!!

I drew peg 5, so a short walk and plenty of time to set up, I set up two rigs to fish across, one about 15" deep, I found one small area that a plummet would sit on at that depth, so hoped to catch there. Another rig at about 2' 6" which the next depth with any sort of shelf.

A rig to fish short and one for down the track, identical apart from the depth and the float size - Hillbilly Chumps, on 0.16, with a 18 Kaizen hook tied to 0.12.  Finally a rig to fish down the edge.  bait tray was simply pellets, hard and soft, maggots and corn.

On the all in I fed the short line and started across, this resulted in a couple of fish, but the same problem I have had in the past, liners and lots of them, even with the float touching the bank, not quite sure how to overcome this.  I had seen a few skimmer bubbles between me and peg 6 before the start and was hoping they'd move my way.

I switched to the short line and started catching the stockies straight away, no sign of the skimmers.  The action wasn't frantic here either, but it was just as quick as fishing across, without the shipping in and out time.  I also fed a line at 7 sections, this was really slow to start with and never really got going quick enough to make me change to it, other than when resting the short line.

I tried across again and had another stockie, I picked up the deeper rig and went back over and had two in two put ins, maybe this was the answer.  Next drop in a bite, I lifted into the fish and it went into some vegetation under the water, taking the float and elastic into it.  No choice, but to pull for a break, but the bloody elastic broke at the puller bead, taking the PTFE bush with it.  Now I had the debris, a rig and a length of 12 solid all where I was fishing.  That was the end of fishing across.

Back onto the short line and I was having to lower the rig in, flicking it out meant that whatever bait I put on, it was grabbed by a roach.  I kept some stockies and silvers coming, with a little spell on the 7 section line, but with an hour or so to go, I could see some swirls down the edge, where I had fed some GB and maggots/corn.  It was typical of margin fishing at many venues now, the fish were tail waving and boiling up the water, but either a small fish grabbed the bait first or the bigger ones either touched the line and shot out of the peg.  I did mange 4 for 20lb, so it was worth persevering with.

The scales gave me 32.02 of silvers, and 55.12 of carp, 87.14, enough for the match win and also the silvers and as you pick up both here at Ivy House, it was a welcome pick up - and after the all-out I went round and cleared out the snag, got my elastic, float and someone else's float as well. so happy days!!

Results of match on match lake below.

Norman Sterry's Open, Viaduct Saturday 15th July 2017

Nice to get back to Viaduct and even better, a draw on Campbell, 127, not the peg I would have chosen, but there are fish to be caught from every peg on this lake.

A lead rod was set up (and it went away unused) as well as a waggler.  Two topkits with rigs to fish meat, one with a couple of No11's down the line and a bulk rig.  A shallow rig and a full depth pellet rig. As there was loads of time I also set up a lighter pellet rig, in case the skimmers were having a go.  Finally a rig to fish the edge, luckily it was within an inch or two the same depth either side.

Starting sort on meat, first put in saw a 2lb skimmer in the net, then his smaller brother and that was it, no other indications.  A switch to pellet at 14m and the fizzing started, but no bites, I tried shallow, on the deck and several depths in between, all to no avail, not even a liner.  I stared a new line up with 4mm pellet at 11m to the LH side, hoping for skimmers, but again, nothing I was yet to get a bite on a pellet.

With well over an hour gone I was struggling, so feed some GB and dead maggot on the 11m line and went over it with a section of worm, this brought an occasional skimmer and one carp, but it was slow going.  I tried the waggler - nothing, I cannot ever recall fishing this lake before and not having a bite on pellet. 

With 4pm approaching, I had been feeding the edges and had a few drop ins from about 2.30 onwards, all without reward, when finally the float dipped and a bream about 3lb had taken the meat.  Swopping between sides, from then until the end of the match gave me 7 more carp and ensured I had .the 'all important ton' ( a couple or so years ago I made a statement saying every peg on Campbell was worth 100lb from May to early October......)

My 100.02 put me 9th over all and second in section, so one out of any pick up, one more fish would have been enough for the section, frustrating as they didn't feed until so late.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Ivy House Open, Sunday 9th July 2017

Back to Ivy House after last weeks success, this week the canal was sold out and with Gabe Skarba and Tom Mangell from the Mosella team turning up, as well as the weather, I doubted last weeks 123lb would be needed to win today.

It would have been nice to draw 6 or 7, but it wasn't to be, unlucky for some 13 was my destination, whilst Gabe got his young lady to draw for him and she drew him the favoured peg 6.

Whilst I was tackling up, Andy Lloyd walked along and said there wasn't so many silvers at this end of the canal, so it was looking like a carp or bust match, although I still intended to try and back up the carp with some silvers.  On peg 14 was genial Ade Crawley, so a bit of company.  I started up plumbing the far bank, but unlike last week, I couldn't find a shallow shelf, it was a sheer drop down to about 2'6" and then a drop off to nearly 4'.  I did find a tiny area about 18" deep next to the grass, but it would be like balancing a pellet on a upturned jam jar.  I also set up a rig for the 2'6" shelf, both the across rigs had banded LWG 18 on 0.14.

A rig for down the track, with a banded LWG 18 on 0,14, another similar rig with a 18 Kaizen (still loving these hooks) on 0.12.  I set up a similar rig to fish just up the near shelf.  The sun was pretty hot and I was surprised there weren't more cruisers, but I only saw a couple, they weren't exactly cruising, motoring through the peg would be a better description, so no mugging rig today.

Bait tray was simple, 4 & 6mm hard pellets, 4 & 6mm expanders, maggots and some corn.  I did have a few worms, but left them in the bag at the start.  I started across and first put in had a 5oz tench, next put in I lost a foul hooked tench - didn't see it, but the hooklength was covered in tench slime.  That was it no more bites shallow, I did have a look on the 2'6" deep rig, but just had liners and a couple of lost foulers.

I came back on the short line after having fed it from the off and got off to a good start, catching bream, skimmers, perch, roach and stockies.  I kept feeding across and a line down the track, the idea being to rest the short line as there was a lot more pressure on the lake this week.  Back over and still nothing, I shallowed the rig up to 6" and pulled it up the mudline, still nothing, there were signs of fish, but they disappeared as soon as the pole went over, I even went to a long line to no avail.

I tried the line a 7 joints down the track, but this just produced tiny stockies, so back on the short line and a couple more skimmers and stockies added to the net.  Hard pellet was a waste of time, corn and soft pellet were better and maggot also caught a few.  Ade asked me what I was catching on and I told him, he switched to maggot and started getting much better quality fish and was rapidly catching me up.

Back over to the far side and I fouled a 7lber in the wing, just about to net it and it dived into the bottom of the keepnet, transferring the hook to the net.  I then made a big mistake, I should have pulled for a break, but I lifted the net out and unhooked it.  This killed off my inside line, which wasn't wildly prolific, but kept putting fish in the net.

I refed the line down the track and went over it, hoping to get some of the proper carp Ade was getting, but I could still only get stockies.  I did see a couple of bubbles back on the short line and had a look back in there, taking a big skimmer.  I had been flicking pellets down the edge and saw a carp nosing around, so flicked a worm in there and had a 3lber.  I finished the match down the track, catching small skimmers and carp.

Not as many fish as last week, but that was expected, I thought the big fish Ade had would beat me, but thankfully my mixed bag of 41 stockies and silvers went 56.10 and the silvers part of that was 21.08, which was enough for second on the day, both in the match and the silvers, behind Gabe, who didn't make a mistake and won both.  Another enjoyable day at Ivy House.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Todber Manor Open, Saturday 8th July 2017

Good number booked into this one, 37, so with the standard of angler fishing, a decent draw was required, 54 revealed its self as I opened the draw card - a peg with plenty of room, but sadly today, the wind coming right off the back of it.  Not that there was much wind, but it meant the peg was flat calm, not ideal on such a hot sunny day.

Pellet has served me well on my previous visits, so that was to my main attack, with some meat, in case there was a chance of the big boys showing up.

I set up a homemade diamond to fish at 13m, this had a 0.14 hooklength and 16 LWG with a band, a rig to fish just up the near shelf, again with a band.  The obligatory margin rig, before the start Scott Russell had given me some information and I plumbed up towards the point at 14.5m.

I did set up a method rod, although there is no feature to cast to on this peg and a waggler.

Starting at 13m, I had a couple of fish, but unusually for this venue (in my limited experience) the fish wouldn't go down on the deck and feed, I was getting liners, indications and either nothing on the lift or a fouler - first time I have had that here.   I switched to the short line and had a run of fish, before this too went 'iffy'.  I started up a new line and had a few before that too died off.  I think it was a combination of the weather and the complete lack of ripple - on a lake that is normally in the teeth of a gale!!! - the other important component was feeding, too little and no bites, too much and liners, foulers and frustration.  I even tried a line dump potting and they still came up over it, but I couldn't catch shallow, didn't have a bite trying it.

The margin had to be my saviour, but as the water is very shallow close in I picked an area about 1m or so from the bank and fed,  First drop in saw a stockie netted, next put in a better fish was hooked and after a battle a 16lber was netted, that was a confidence boost, but it was a lone fish, as I had some more stockies, but nothing else in this size bracket.  There is a wide flat shelf where I was fishing, giving the fish ample opportunity to get behind the rig.  So I refed closer to the haybales and shallowed the rig up, this brought a couple fish, but nothing big.

I tried meat up the long margin, but was plagued with unhittable bites, I came back on the shortline and could only get bites on meat, not sure if it was the weather, or if the fish are getting a taste for it in preference to pellet - I hope they don't its a great venue for banded pellet fishing, not sure if meat becomes dominant it will be such a good thing.

I swapped and changed between the short line, the LH long margin and a RH short margin, this saw odd fish coming to the net, but it was never going to be enough and my 97lb was a nice days fishing, but in the context of the match, no good.

Acorn Evening Open, Thursday 6th July 2017

The bag of ping pong balls gave me peg 12, not sure why when there was so many empty pegs, that 11 was in as well, but I'm not a venue expert, so maybe there was a good reasoning behind it.

Bart has been at the banks with his digger again, this time pulling out the rushes and other plants around the outside margins, this had led to much flotsam covering the favoured RH margin in my peg.

I went round and cut out a gap to fish tight to the island, so set up a rig to fish in 12" of water, another for the second shelf which is about 2'6", there was some bubbling just at the bottom of the near slope, I wasn't sure if it was fish or gas coming from the bottom, it looked like fish blows, but was a little too regular.  Last but not least was a margin rig, I had pondered bringing a method feeder rod, but left it in the garage, that may have been a mistake.

Going straight across, I had a couple of fish straight away and then that was it, no liners, no indications, I had been flicking pellets short, so had a look there, that was a non event as well.  There were some fish showing in the open water off the island, so I had a go for them, hooking one straight away, sussed I thought, but as so often in fishing, I hadn't sussed it, I never had another shallow.

I think that myself and peg 11 were causing the fish to move around between us, rather than settling in one place.  I had been feeding 8mm pellets in the margin and dropped in there, had a couple of fish and thought it would get better- it might have, but the wind / surface skim then pushed the flotsam barrier in, over the fish, the cover was good, but it was so thick, I couldn't get a rig through it - here is where I was regretting leaving the method rod at home, as a method would have dropped through.

I could see Steve Shaw on 8 catching well, so knew it was all over, I did stay to weigh in and managed 4th place, peg was probably worth a bit more, but not sure it could have had the weight of the winner.

Given the success of Mark Walsh, just fishing paste on his topkit, I might have to take some next match.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Ivy House Open, Sunday 2nd July 2017

I decided to head to Ivy House for this Sundays fishing fix, a visit back to the Kingfisher Canal was overdue, so that where I booked into for today.  I drew peg 7, Allan Oram and Andy Lloyd said it was a decent area, so that was good news, not much fun drawing a duff area!!

I had only brought a pole, so that was easy, just a few topkits to set up.  Andy has cut out an area opposite the platforms on the far bank, which is clear from overhanging grass and vegetation - nice to see some proactive fishery management.  I set up two rigs to fish over, one for 12" deep, as it plumbed up 12" deep about 12" from the far bank, any tighter in and it went to 8" and the depth below the float has to be 12" - venue rules.  These were both set up with a 18 LWG tied with a band on 0.12, No10 elastic.  There were a few cruisers moving round and expecting to get some of them, I set up a mugging rig on a long line, 0.14 hooklength with a 16 LWG, again with a band.

Two more rigs to complete the set up, both for down the track at the joint of 6/7, where I plumbed up and found the same depth at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock.  Both Hillbilly chumps, one with a LWG and band, the other with a 18 Kaizen on 0.12.  These would also do for a short line at the bottom of the near shelf.

Bait tray was live maggots, dead maggots, 4 & 6m pellets, corn and 1/4 of a big Preston cup of chopped worm, I mixed up 1 kilo of GB and as I had loads of spare time, I did pump a few 4 & 6mm expanders.

The all-in saw me trying to mug one of the cruisers, but they would spook away at any attempt, even with 5' of line above the float.  This wasted nearly 15 minutes, then I tried across and had a couple of missed bites, I also tried banded pellet short where I had been flicking them in - nothing and half an hour was gone!!  That wasn't the plan at all, as this lake has a large head of small stockies and getting too far behind makes it difficult to catch up.  I had fed the two lines down the track, one with GB, dead maggot and worm, one with pellet and corn, first fish was a stockie carp on worm from the RH line.

I was going nowhere fast so switched the short line to maggot whilst I picked off a couple of stockies from the far bank, dropping in on maggot short was more successful, as I put together a few more stockies and a couple of skimmers.  As the bites were at least as frequent as those over, I stuck with it and carried on feeding a few 4mm pellets and maggot, this saw a run of carp and skimmers coming, not at an amazing rate, but quick enough to keep working at it to increase the catch rate.

I started feeding nuggets of GB on the short line and this brought in the big skimmers, maggot had been the best bait, but it had slowed a little.  A switch to expander brought an immediate response and 3 more skimmers netted in quick succession.  By the halfway point I thought I had 30lb + of silvers, so dropped another net in (50lb limit).  I rested the line by going back tight across, as there were the odd sign or two of bigger carp over the pellet I had kept putting in with a catapult, there didn't seem to be a way of picking up a better fish, as the stockies got to the bait before the bigger ones could get to it.

Fishing across was slower than the short line, so I kept plugging away at it, when it went quiet, a change of bait seemed to do the trick, I had a couple on worm, a few on corn and I was catching steadily to the end.  I had to stop and mix up some more GB, they wanted plenty, it was a very enjoyable days fishing and my 61 stockies went 39.09 and the skimmers, some cracking roach and a couple of perch went a very enjoyable 84.10 - I think this is my PB match weight for silvers from a commercial.  Definitely won't leave it too long to get back to Ivy House.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Todber Manor Open, Sunday 25th June 2017

Fancied a change today, so headed down to Todber Manor for an open on Hillview lake.  Good run down and had time to spend some money in the shop - just too tempting!!!

A few familiar faces with who I had a discussion about the current state of match fishing and the seeming reluctance of people to pay an increasing amount in relation to inflation.  Anyway, that ended with me a Lee Werrett putting the match fishing world to rights, without actually changing anything!!

I drew peg 48, which is the end peg on the spit, so no parking behind my peg today, but its only a short walk.  My main attack was going to be pellet, banded 6 or 8mm, it was quite windy, so I plumbed up at 2+3 and found a slope rising to my right, I picked a spot a few inches up the slope  as a starting place.  I did plumb up a bit further out in case the wind subsided  - but it didn't and that rig remained unused.  the rig for the slope was a 0.5 NG Gimp 0.16 line with a 16 LWG on 0.14, with a band.  A 0.4 NG Gimp was also set up, this with a bulk shot direct above the 6" hooklength, which was the same as the other rig.

I set up a margin rig with a 14 960 to 0.18 again with a band, to fish at 9m down towards the point of the spit.  I also assembled and clipped up a method to fish to the island, that went on the roost and stayed there until it was disassembled and put back in the bag.

On the all in I cupped some 4 & 6mm pellets in on the pole line and started catching small carp and mini tench right from the off.  This got a bit better when I put a big pole pot on and fed via this, as it was too windy to throw accurately at that distance and a bit too close to use a catapult.  Only problem was the size of the fish, I had some meat in the bag and started flicking that in at topkit range, with a few pellets. A switch to this saw me put a bigger stamp of fish in the net for a short spell, before the smaller ones came back and then the little tench rocked up.  I upped the feed and this brought the carp back, but nothing too big.  I had been feeding the margin, with a little GB and pellet and went in there and had 3 fish straight away, then nothing.  Refeed and back to the short line, this gave up a couple of better fish and then slowed up, so back to the margin, this saw the biggest fish of the day, which was 7 or 8lb netted.

The fish would come straight to feed in the margin and then go once it was eaten, maybe it was a little too shallow?  I tried to get round it with a big pot on the pole and feeding this way, but I am not convinced it was enough feed - these are hungry fish and it is great to actually fish a veniue that responds to feed, some venues now are like winter fishing, as you have to be so frugal with bait,

I swapped between the short line and the margin up to the end, pulling the band of the hair rig into the meat - I went up to 10mm meat to try and pick out better fish - this was quite successful and I didn't miss too many bites, I even had a stunning golden tench on it, lovely looking fish.

I thought I had about 115lb, but its hard to judge with these small and varied sized fish, the scales said I had 137lb, which enough to take the section and 4th place, well done to Dave Romain on what I believe is a new record with 192lb.  I will be getting back to Toder again soon, as it was an enjoyable day and I managed the a couple of the better stamp fish for the first time today.

Landsend Open, Saturday 24th June 2017

18 in for this one, so a decent turn out, I drew the same number - 18 on Match lake, there was half of the Specimen lake in as well.  Not going to write too much about this one, as there were feeding fish in the peg by the island and with 2 and a bit hours to gone I had about 28lb in the net, but had lost 5 rigs and 12 hooklengths in some weeds that were tumbling down into the water on the point of the island, the fish were running through them.  Even a change to a solid 14 elastic tightened down wouldn't stop them.

That was enough for me, I go fishing to try and win and compete, but also to enjoy it and I don't enjoy fishing like that, so it was a early bath for me.

Cadbury Angling Evening Open, Thursday 22nd June 2017

Another Thursday I managed to get off work early enough to get to Acorn for the 5pm draw.  I wasn't too bothered where I drew and after a chat with Paul Faiers, it was into the ping pong bag and out come 4. Given last weeks result, I wasn't too unhappy with  the draw.

As I have caught mostly across in the previous matches, that was my line of attack and I cleared out two areas to target, they plumbed up nicely, with about 12" of water.  I did set up a margin rig just in case and then had enough tie to set up one for the other side, so pellets down LH edge, maggot RH side.

It started OK, catching across and I had 4 or 5 fish in the first half an hour, but instead of getting stronger as in previous weeks, it died off.  There were a few fish moving about, but I couldn't catch shallow, even though there was a breeze my peg was flat calm which didn't help.

Feeding the edges brought fish in, but I only had a couple, the maggot in the RH edge only produced a little perch, the pellet in the RH margin had them in there churning it up and I just could not work out how to get them to take a bait, very frustrating, spent too much time doing this, but when they are so visibly tail waving, they are hard to ignore.  Got a couple of ideas to try out next time this happens, so fingers crossed at least one idea works.

1st. Tim Whitchurch  92lb 9oz Peg 21...
2nd. Mark Bromsgrove 77lb 8oz Peg 11
3rd. Ivan Currie 70lb 12oz Peg 33
4th. Adriano Mercato  59lb 5oz Peg 2
5th. Chris Fox 59lb 1oz Peg 4
6th. Toby Parker 50lb 12oz Peg 38

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Viaduct Spring League, Last Round, Sunday 18th June 2017

The league hasn't been kind to me this year, so there was little to do but try for the win on the day today, thoughts of a chance of that were dashed when I drew 102, the diagonal bank hasn't been the best area so far this year - Tony also drew it, I think there is a jinx on travelling in his new van.....

Two wagglers set up, one at depth and one for shallow, I did set up a lead rod, but only to use in desperation. I set up two meat rigs, one with just 3x11down the line, one a more standard bulk and droppers.  Two pellet rigs, one deep and one shallow and as I thought sport would be slow given my draw and the heat, a paste rig to try.  No margin rig, as I had Nicky Ewers on 103 and a tree to my right, I was not confident at all of catching in that edge.  Nicky had the fortune of no one to his left until Andy Neal 0n 109, as 105 wasn't drawn.

Chatting to Nicky before the off we both were starting on meat and I said, "we'll get the obligatory skimmer on this line and then not much else".  That's exactly what happened, the down side was my skimmer was 3oz, whereas Nicky's was 2lb.  I then had a roach on the meat and decided that it may not be the way to go....

To cut a long story short, after 3 hours I had a couple of skimmers and no carp, then I had one 5.08 on the long pellet line on the deck - couldn't get a bite shallow.  There just didn't seem to be any carp around, I wasn't alone in struggling, as Nicky and Bob Gullick who was on 100, were also scratching round, although Nicky was getting a run of decent skimmers, whilst if I fished a 6mm pellet I got 3oz skimmers, frustrating.

I did hook one more carp on the long pole line, it leapt from the water like a skimmer and was gone, so that summed up the day really.  Couldn't get too much enthusiasm for it after that to be honest and wasn't too disappointed to hear the all out.

My 18lb wasn't last in section,  I was only 307lb behind Mark Wynne who won at a canter from peg 64 with 325lb, that also saw him win the league with a 4 point score.  Well done Mark and I can now put what was a pretty disastrous league behind me and get on with some opens.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Cadbury Angling Evening Open, Acorn, Thursday 15th June 2017

Well, after last weeks second place and another opportunity to get to this evening match, it would have been rude not to...

Got to the venue well early, as I was on a course in Stoke Gifford and it wasn't worth going home. For a change, Mark Bartlett was busy working, instead of fishing, so I had a chat with him, then into the shop to pay on and a chat with Toby.  As ever couldn't help having a browse round a tackle shop and after last week, I needed a yellow topped float for fishing across, as I paid for it Toby said it would be a lucky float.... a 0.2g Drennan Carp

Time for a walk round round the lake, there was a fair old wind blowing, but it was coming very South Westerly, so some protection from the trees and the buildings. There were carp showing in 22/23, 12 and plenty on the corner opposite 8 and 5.  As I neared the end of the stroll, I bumped into Vic Bush, who plied me with wine gums........ my mum warned me about that sort of danger!!  A chat with Vic and then I saw him pumping up Devils Spawn in his van, not sure why, but maybe he'd prove me wrong.

I was about 4th into the draw bag and had a rare trip over the bridge to an island peg - I usually only get on there to weigh in!!  Peg 2, with venue stalwart Mike Chapman on peg 4.  First job was a walk round and onto the other island with some new shears I'd bought only the day before from Lidl, two areas cut out so I could get tight in, about 5 yards apart, either side of the centre line from the pallet of my peg.

I set up two rigs to fish across, both areas cut out were 12" deep, just about perfect and nice and easy that they were the same depth., I did set up a rig to fish paste on a shelf about 2'6" deep, a couple of yards of the near bank. Finally a margin rig to fish GB / maggots down to the pallet of peg 1.

Starting across, I had a couple of early fish from the LH cut out, then the wind changed, much gustier and bizarrely blowing suddenly from the right and then, by the time I'd correct the pole position, it was gusting from the left.  This was causing problems as even though I thought I'd cut out a big enough area, the gusts were taking the rig into the bankside vegetation.  A switch to the RH cut out brought a couple more fish, but it wasn't prolific and unless I kept feeding the fish disappeared.

I started feeding the RH margin with GB and maggot and the LH with pellet, then the paste line with softened pellets.  To save too much typing, I had one micro perch in the maggot margin, I had one carp on paste and nothing in the pellet margin.  I spent the rest of the match across and at the end the RH cut out was barren, whilst I had a few more fish from the LH cut out. It was necessary to keep feed going in but I didn't go mad, I fed about 1 pint of 4mm pellets. Strange night, as the water temp and conditions pointed to the fish coming short or into the margins, but they didn't.

I hadn't seen too many catching, so unless anyone out of view had sacked up, I thought I might be there or there abouts with what I thought might be 55lb.

The scales gave me 65.12, all carp apart from a 2 dram perch and a near 2lb skimmer, which was also caught 12" deep on the far bank.  That was enough to just pip Walshy to the win, so two evening matches and two pick ups, especially nice after Sundays bloody disaster at Landsend.  Good to see that there is no silvers payout, which would unnecessarily dilute the payout on a match like this, its been decent pickups given the size of the matches, food for thought maybe.

Once again, thanks to Toby for the hotdogs and cider after the match (and for selling me the lucky float - the last one he had!!), most welcome and it makes a bit of a social occasion out of it.