Sunday, 24 June 2018

Kedgy's Open, Durleigh Reservoir, Sunday 24th June 2018

A chance text conversation with Mike Walker led me to head down for this match, I fancied a change from the usual, so rang Somerset Angling and booked in.  I haven't been to Durleigh or any other big reservoir for a few years now, so an expensive trip to Veals yesterday - unplanned, I was going to use what I had in the garage, but ended up with a new reel and new braid to load on it.

Yesterday afternoon was spent spooling up the braid, making and adding shock leaders to the braid and a mono spool and sorting out my big feeders from the back of the garage, all good, just needed to draw on some bream.....  in case I was up the shallow end, I did put a couple of whips and rigs in and picked up 2 pints casters and 4 pints of maggots - they'll always keep in the freezer if they aren't used.

So, onto the draw and I plucked 13 out of the bucket, meaningless to me until I saw it, close to the canal that comes into the reservoir, some weed in the margins, so I did wade out and try and get over it with the whips I would be using.



First things set up were two feeder rods, one for fishing 60 turns of the new reel I had bought and 30 turns of an old faithful reel I have had for a while, started with a big bomb and had a cast around, but couldn't find any area that felt harder or more gravelly than the rest of the lake bed.

Once the feeder rods were set up and sorted, two whips set up, 4m, to try and clear the weed fronds and get into 2' 6" of water, one with a 1g float and a 4" hooklength immediately below the olivette, the other 0.8g with 12" below the bulk.

Next up, sort out the bait and I then realised that my worms were nowhere to be seen, can't believe I managed to leave them at home, but I did, must be getting old!!   Decided that I'd still try the cage / traditional feeder route, so both rods had big feeders on ready at the start, no hooklengths attached, as I intended to have at least 10 casts before putting the hooklength on and starting fishing.

The day didn't get any better when the first cast fell short and then on the retrieve I knew the feeder wasn't there, on closer inspection, the link swivel had broken - great start, but worse was yet to come, another big weight forward feeder clipped on a new swivel, and this time it hit the clip, perfect until I struck to release the bait and the line had wrapped round the tip, breaking it...…

New tip fitted, feeding finished and 3 small fish later, I decided after an hour and a half to just have a days fishing and picked up the whip, I had a run of catching perch from micro to 4 oz, then the odd small hybrids and roach showed up.  I alternated between the two rigs to keep the fish coming, albeit some of them were a bit small.  Introducing some GB seemed to get a better stamp fish with fewer bites, but by this time, I had plenty of pike activity disrupting the peg.

I just got my head down and fished the whips for the last 4 hours of the match, finishing with 7.480 Kilogrammes, which I think was 6th on the day, some bream showed up on the very end peg at the shallow end and pegs 7/8 by the point, also put a few bream together, but the rest struggled.

I didn't take a picture of the weigh sheet, it wasn't straightforward.... with some weights in KG, another in lbs and no peg numbers on one sheet, I knew Id missed out on the overall and I missed out on the section, that was won with 9KG, if I had fished the whip the whole match I would have been on for 10.2KG - still it was a nice day, well done to Mike Walker on coming second with 17KG and to the other winners whose names I don't know.

Not a brilliant picture, but a poignant moment of reflection as the Battle of Britain flight passed over, one of only 2 Lancaster's left flying...




Friday, 22 June 2018

Cadbury Angling Evening Open, Acorn, 21st June

Work fell nicely this week to try and make amends for the last evening where I was ounced out of the money.  At the draw Vic Bush went against all sensible convention and rubbed my drawing arm to bring him good luck - he must be the only person, ever, to do that!!!

Ping Pong 37 was the one I withdrew from the bag, wasn't exactly doing cartweels round the car park when I saw it, but I was hopeful of catching a few, I had Mark Broomsgrove on 39 for company, he'd been on 37 a couple of weeks ago and struggled.  It looks like the peg isn't fished too often as I had to virtually cut out a whole far bank 'bay' to fish into as the bankside grasses had got a little wild.  Aso to get down the RH margin and get close in, again, this needed a trim before I could get very far down the edge or close in.

I still had plenty of time to set up 4 rigs before the start, I wasn't confident that there were many fish in the area, they weren't showing themselves at all, so I did set up a paste rig, as well as the usual rig for across, where I had about 15" of water, two edge rigs, one for a metre off the bank, where it was 18" deep and one for in tight, where it was about 10", shallow, but the fish want to be there in my recent experience.

Started across, pinging 6mm pellets, I think this works better than using 4mm in these 3 hour matches, an immediate reaction and a lovely looking F1 about 2lb was in the net within a couple of minutes, I had another and thought maybe I had assessed the potential of the peg incorrectly, but after a little carp, it went really quiet and I only had one more fish in the first hour.  It was a nice little bay I'd cut out, the depth was OK, not sure why the fish didn't want to be in there.

I had been feeding 8mm Skretting pellets at topkit + 1 to my left, in about 2'6" of water, I was hoping that would be shallow enough for the fish to come in over and deep enough to stop them spooking, as the fish have been very wary here for a while now.  I had a look on this line, but had no indication, I had also fed pellets in the LH edge, then GB down the RH edge.  I did try shallow off the far bank, but never had a touch.  There was some indication down the RH edge now, so I tried worm down there on the 18" deep rig and had a small perch, one more try I thought with worm and next fish was a carp nearer 4lb.

It wasn't hectic action, but by swapping to the rig set at 10" I managed to put a few fish in the net, paste was better than worm, but there was never a lot of fish in the peg competing, I knew there were 3 there at one time and I never saw any signs of more than that, it was more a case of waiting for a fish to patrol along.  I had nearly an hour of this and then it died off, so a look in the LH margin, but to no avail. Whilst doing this I saw movement of water where I had kept feeding the 8mm pellets, out with the paste rig and first drop in I had a 4lber.  I stayed with it for the final 45 minutes and added between 25 and 30lb to my net.

Last 20 minutes when the sun went in and the Northerly wind got up a bit, it went quite chilly, so I wasn't upset when the all out was called and I could put a jumper on, but I was having my best spell of the match, so for me it did come when I'd have liked another half hour.

I had 57lb on my clicker and thought I wouldn't have much chance of doing any good, walking round with the scales seeing a couple of 70lb+ and a 90lb+ weighed in from the island and back straight, I was a bit surprised to see my fish go 70.04 and frustratingly for the second evening match, one out of the money.

Did I leave it too late to go on the paste, did I stay too long trying to make the far bank work, not sure but probably, is the best answer.  I can't say I'm too disappointed as I didn't think I'd get 4th from there.  Shame work is getting in the way of the next two weeks evening matches, as they are an enjoyable way to round off the day.  Well done to Martin Rayet on the win and Vic's lucky arm rub even paid off with a 3rd place for him!!  But I am not expecting queues of anglers looking to replicate his actions,...….






Monday, 18 June 2018

Viaduct Spring League, Final Round, Sunday 17th June 2018

Last rounds result had put me out of any opportunity to end up in the money on this years league, so just a section or hopefully match to fish for today.  Then my drawing arm worked its usual 'magic' and it was looking likely that a section win would be the only thing on the cards, but I didn't even fancy doing that from 103, not a peg you'd sprint to.


Still, it's better than work and I was hopeful of a few fish, usual gear set up for Cary, two wagglers, one shallow, one full depth, a lead rod and some topkits comprising a shallow rig, a depth pellet rig, a meat rig for short, a margin rig - I cleaned out the margin down to the vacant pallet of 104 and found a lovely clean flat area to fish on, a little deeper than ideal, but it would have to do.

10 minutes on the meat at the start and a few little knocks and a 3oz skimmer told me there were no carp around, I did feel my best chance would be fishing the waggler, so switched to that, I did get a bit of fizzing feeding pellet at about 25m, the shallow waggler was a waste of time, so I switched to the full depth rig and immediately had some indications and finally my first carp, but a small one about 8lb.  It wasn't too long before I hooked another, similar size and was quite happily playing it on one of a pair of 12' Normark Titan 2000's I use for carp fishing, when quite inexplicably the top section went off with a bang, breaking clean through about 4" up from the joint.  The shock caused the tip to break of as well...…


I'm now in mourning, an irreplaceable rod that is getting harder and harder to find (if anyone has one gathering dust in their shed they want to sell, let me know).  Adrian Jeffery was behind me on Lodge and he said "that's sounds expensive" - sadly its not the cost, its the non availability of these rods.  I am lucky that I have a brand new one, unused and still in the polythene wrapper, so still have a 'pair', but its looking likely that I will have to find a new pair of rods to use in the future, just haven't found one that suits me as well as the Titan!!

I did manage two better fish on the waggler, so had 4 for about 38lb by just after 1pm, but the indications stopped and I never had another bite (apart from one 6oz skimmer) on the waggler.  The guy on 102 was fishing the lead and not catching, so I felt quite justified in not chucking that out - if there were fish there I would have had indications on the waggler.

I had a look back on the meat line and had a spell catching skimmers, but they weren't going to win me anything, so back looking for carp on the waggler.

With an hour and 45 minutes to go I fed the margin, this produced a couple of small skimmers before finally a decent carp had the orange Vespe streaming out of the pole tip, one of these old dark Cary fish that come to the topkit quite easily, then just swim round and round in front of your nets and they stubbornly won't come up off the bottom, I haven't found a way to get them out quicker, its just patience and constant pressure.  Finally netted it and thought it was about 15lb, so hopeful of more, but a couple more skimmers and a perch were all I managed.

Tough day, my 66lb beat the guys either side, but not 109 and the 100 and 99 were first and second in section with ton plus weights and they were moaning about how many fish they had lost...…

The league hasn't been particularly kind to me, drawing the same section for 3 matches running would be great if it was a good section, but apart from one match where mugging saw a big weight from it, its been a section you'd want to avoid.

Well done the winner and framers.


Top Final League Positions:
1. Aidan Bordiuk - 4 points / dropping 1 / 897lb 1oz
2. Trig - 4 points / dropping 2 / 1252lb 13oz
3. Gary O'Shea - 6 points / dropping 4 / 558lb 2oz
4. Mark Wynne - 6 points / dropping 5 / 762lb 5oz
5. Sam Powell - 7 points / dropping 2 / 843lb 13oz
6. Richard A'Herne - 8 points / dropping 3
7. Adrian Jeffery - 8 points / dropping 6
8. Tom Mangnall - 8 points / dropping 7



Top Weights from Today:
1. Clayton Hudson - 268lb 10oz - peg 85
2. Gary O'Shea - 204lb 4oz - peg 115
3. Mark Wynne - 201lb 9oz - peg 81
4. Rob Wiltshire - 181lb 3oz - peg 126
5. Sam Powell - 168lb 6oz - peg 114
6. Paul Elms - 167lb 15oz - peg 124






Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Acorn Open, Tuesday 12th June 2018

Day off, so whilst I did fancy a trip to Ivy House, the traffic is a nightmare on a weekday, so Acorn it would have to be, as its relatively easy to get to on a weekday.  Arrived in plenty of time, so a quick look round and I wasn't sure where I wanted to draw, as the wind was quite strong and blowing off the bank furthest away from the shop.

Into the tub and out comes ping pong ball 21, a bridge peg, I could never draw one when they dominated several years back, but now the peg has no recent form, I manage to make drawing it look easy!!  I'll have to be careful or I'll end up drawing as many bridges as Bob Gullick……



I'd wandered over the bridge at the start and cleared the long grass out of the corner of the bridge and above the bare mud bank straight in front, Ray Bazeley was doing the same the other side of the bridge and we did have a bit of a moan at there being 17 fishing, so plenty of room on the lake and we were the only two pegged next to each other.  I didn't think it would do me any favours having Ray there, but at least he isn't renowned for dumping huge pots of bait in.

Plenty of time to set up, so a rig to fish banded pellet tight over in 10" of water, another for the second shelf which was a bit over 2'.   I have been using a Drennan Carp 4 for the shallow water and they do seem to be ideal, the float for the 2' shelf was a homemade slim, with a tungsten wire stem, both on 0.20 with a 0.14 hooklength and a 18 LWG tied with a band.  A rig for full depth against the bridge by the middle railing upright, this was a 0.4g NG Gimp, this on 0.16 again with the 18 LWG on 0.14.  The RH margin is shallow tight in and then drops down to a shelf nearly 2', it has proven difficult to catch the carp in the shallow margin, so I set up a rig to fish on the steep slope from 10" to the 2' shelf.  I did set up a paste rig to fish down the track, as fish have been falling to it.

As it was windy and I had time, I did set up a method feeder, a 9' rod, a Guru method set up free running and a 18 hook.  Bit of  last resort, as I didn't really intend to use it.  Bait tray was nice and simple, 4, 6 & 8mm pellets, I did soak some micros for the method, dead maggots and some worms.  A bit of GB & a bag of paste completed the bait for the day.

I know some guys have success on here toss potting bait in, but I much prefer feeding with a catapult, so that's how I started, going across tight into the corner with the bridge, as I feared, Ray also started there, so our floats were only the bridge width apart.  The bites weren't really forthcoming, I had a couple of smaller fish, but decided to switch to a line in front the mud bank opposite, this was a little more successful and after the first hour I had about 20lb on the clicker and I thought if I could keep that up then have a good last hour or so down the edge, it would be a decent return from the peg.

The next hour was similar, not hectic, but putting odd fish in the net kept me on track for the 20lb target, it did start to slow and I tangled my rig, whilst I was putting a new rig on I did chuck the method over, I had two fish on it, but it wasn't right, so as usual, up the bank with it.

I had been feeding the middle of the bridge with 8mm pellets, so dropped in there with some paste, I did have 2 carp on it, but also two roach and the float just wouldn't stay still with shit fish attacking the paste.  A switch to banded 8mm pellet brought a couple more carp, but it wasn't frantic, so back across and I had several more from there.

With an hour and 45 minutes to go I put some GB down the RH edge and within a couple of minutes there were fish over it, but up on the 10" deep shelf, which I didn't have a rig set up for, so off the box and out with another topkit, to this I attached a rig which comprised a Korum blob and a hook, nothing down the line.  I dropped some paste in and had a fish straight away, then another, it went a bit quiet so I refed and dropped back in with worms this time, I had another fish after a short wait.

With an hour to go I put a third net in as I had 100lb split between two nets, alternating between worms, bunches of maggots and paste, I put 34lb on the clicker into this net before the all out. So 134lb on the clicker and I was sure that if I had that off a peg that had been out of form, someone would have more.  I had watch Paul Lasson on 14 catching one a chuck on the method for a spell and I thought he had more.

The scales came round and it turned out that my 134lb was enough for the win, pleased with that from a peg with no recent form.  Credit to Ray, he could have fed loads and buggered us both up, but he didn't.  I fed a pint of 8mm pellets, 3/4 pint of 6mm pellets and about 0.5Kg of GB.

1. Chris Fox.                               134-00 p21
2. Stuart Barnett.                       119-03 p5
3. Gary Flinders.                        117-10 p11
4. Paul Lasson.                          110-00 p14
5. Lee Waller.                             107-08 p25
6. John Miles.                           102-03 p6
Silvers
1. Mike Chapman.                      29-13 p17
2. Mike Hill.                                 12-03 p33





Friday, 8 June 2018

Acorn Evening Open, Thursday 7th June 2018

I quite like the self enforced simplicity of these 3 hour matches, as you aren't going to win by setting up a plethora of rigs and rods, then attempt to use them all. 18 fishing tonight and it was ping pong ball 33 that I plucked from the bag.  A bridge peg, the bridge pegs used to be dominant on the venue, but the last couple of years their dominance has waned, although they are still capable of throwing up weights.

It started to rain as we were tackling up, so into the van with unused kit to keep it dry, the plan was to keep it simple 4 and 6mm pellets for across, 8mm pellets for down the edge, with a back up of some GB and worms. 3 rigs, one for tight across in about 14" of water, another rig to fish down the shelf at about 30" and one for the RH edge.  The deeper second shelf line plumbed up very uneven but I found a reasonable area, just before it shelved off to the main depth.

I usually like to start pinging across, but decided to try just potting half a dozen pellets, no bites forthcoming from doing this, so it didn't take long to pick up the catapult and that induced some action, with fish coming to the noise.  It wasn't hectic, but I put 20lb in the net in the first hour, no big fish and no issues with foulers, as there was only ever one or two fish in the feed area at one time.

I had a look on the deeper line to see if it was any better, the rig was a small homemade wire stemmed float with 3 No 10's strung out. I had a bigger fish (4lber) first put in, but from then on even with the slow fall, it was liners and foulers.  Tried the 10" rig over the top, but couldn't get any bites shallow.

I had been feeding a line short down the RH edge with 8mm pellets, so had a look at that, but the float was undisturbed by the presence of fish. On the halfway point I fed the edge next to the pallet of 32, with GB.  This was only left a short time before I dropped in over it and 3 fish in 3 put ins, that was to be it from there, no more bites, the fish at this venue are very unsettled lately, it's difficult if not impossible to get a run together, a couple from the same line before having to move seems to be the norm at the moment.

I had a barren spell from 20:00 - 20:35 where I didn't put a fish in the net, I then cupped in some GB across and went over it with a single worm hair rigged onto the rig I was using for pellet across, I had 3 fish for 15lb in the last 20 minutes of the match, by lowering the worm as tight to the bank as I could, so I was kicking myself for the tardiness of my decision making and even more so when the weigh in was finished and I was 4th and ounced out of the money..... I don't think I could have had more than double the weight from the peg to beat Kev on peg 4, but I should have been second, so only myself to blame.  Well done to those who made the right decisions!!

A nice touch after these matches are the hotdogs and cider kindly supplied by Cadbury Angling, I forgo the cider as I don't drink it, but a hotdog was welcome after sitting in the rain for virtually the whole match.


Monday, 4 June 2018

Viaduct Spring League R4, Sunday 3rd June 2018

Today, only a section win would do to put me in with a chance of framing in the league, so a good draw and a good performance was needed.  Dipping into the Nescafe tin with some hope of a peg black with fish, sadly it wasn't to be and I knew that my peg, 99 wouldn't be good in the section, I had won this section last round from the opposite end, 109.






There were some pegs that looked pretty uninviting as the willow trees have been and still are shedding their horrible white fluff all over the lakes.  Mine wasn't too bad, but it made waggler fishing hard work as the fluff clings to the line, ending up a tough, fibrous ring clogging frustration.

There isn't  going to much in this blog, its hard to write about nothing much happening, which is what happened for the vast majority of the match.  Usual tackle set up, one lead rod, two wagglers, one shallow, one depth, several topkits - a long line mugging rig, a shallow rig, pellet rig at depth, meat rig, a paste rig and a margin rig, which would be good for either side, to the tree on my left and towards the empty 97 to my right.

The odd fish I could see before the start, magically melted away as the 'all-in' call drifted across the lakes.  I never got near having one on the mugging rig, the waggler was just as barren and it was about an hour and 50 minutes in before I had a fish, I had switched to the full depth pellet rig at 14m and pinging 6mm pellets with a 6mm in the band, I had a skimmer, then shortly after a carp around 6lb, that was 12:50, at 13:15 I had another as well as several other skimmers, but that was a flash in the pan.

I was switching methods and baits with regularity just to try and get a bite, but didn't have anymore joy until 16:10, when I finally had one on the waggler, it was a one off though, as the waggler didn't produce anything else.  I had been feeding 8mm pellets in front of the rushes towards 97 and finally at 16:45 I saw the rushes knocking, dropping in with a banded 8mm pellet, the float settled and buried, not the expected carp, but a small, but energetic tench made its way to the net.  I did drop back in and didn't wait long before a carp about 13lb took the pellet, by the time it was landed and I get the rig back in, the all-out was called.

My carp went 39lb and the accidental skimmers and tench 9lb, that was only enough for 5th in the section, so league over, further down the section Mark Wynne had over 200lb and Richard A'Herne who was between me and Mark said he could see the fish moving round, but they just wouldn't move up towards us.  Sometimes its possible to take positives or at least a learning experience from days like this, but if I was faced with this draw and circumstance again, I have no idea how I would get any more from the peg.

1. Sam Powell - 325lb 5oz - peg 85
2. Trig - 304lb 10oz - peg 116
3. Mark Wynne - 203lb 5oz - peg 102
4. Tom Mangnall - 189lb 14oz - peg 124
5. Lee Werrett - 142lb 4oz - peg 110
6. Leon Hubbard - 137lb 10oz - peg 113

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Acorn Open, Monday 28th May 2018

I needed to be home at a reasonable time, so this was the closest match, with a reasonable finish time and after Thursday nights result, I booked in.

15 fishing so plenty of room to spread the pegs out, into the drawbag and ping pong ball 6 was my reward..... although the peg hasn't got much recent form. I was disappointed to see peg 40 in as well, everyone else on the lake had 1,2 or 3 peg gaps, whereas myself and the guy on 40 would be feeding an area only separated by the width of the bridge.  As peg 5 wasn't in. I would have put 7, not 6 in.

I have drawn this peg before and whilst the RH margin looks inviting, it is shallow and silty, I have never managed to catch from it, so decided not to waste my time with it.  The LH margin is short, due to a small rush bed that divides peg 6 from 7 and again, I haven't had much success from here in the past, but set up a rig to fish it.

The main catching areas would be, I suspected, across at 14m right by the bridge and again at 14m to a small area between the tall grasses on the island, so rigs to fish up on the shelf and another for the deeper shelf, which extends out several feet in front of the bridge.  I also set a rig to fish pellet short, hoping that would come good at some stage,  I had some paste, so set up a rig to fish that over the short line as a target bait.  Apart from that the bait tray was pretty simple, 4, 6 & 8mm pellets and worms, with some GB to go down the edge.

As there was so much time to set up, I did set up a 9' feeder rod, with a method feeder attached, as I could cast down to the boards at the other end of the island and was hopeful that there would be a few from this line.

Given the low weights from the venue recently, I started off fairly negatively, just pinging half a dozen 4mm pellets across, the guy on peg 40 was feeding a bit more positively with a big pot, so I was fairly sure that wouldn't do me any favours. It was a tough first hour with just 3 fish in the net and not many indications.  I had tried to get the line by the bridge to work for an hour, before I fed the other 14m line, this was tricky, as the bank has collapsed in here a bit and made a very shallow shelf, which the fish come in on, but seem very spooky and won't settle.  I was also struggling to present properly, as the wind was just enough to prevent me holding the pole still, typically the wind was L to R through my peg, meaning nearly everyone else either had it behind or straight on, so not affecting presentation.

After about 90 minutes and very little happening, Martin McMahon was having a walk and reporting that Joe was admitting to 40lb on peg 12, I picked up the method rod and dropped it down to the end of the island, with GB on the feeder and a 6mm pellet wafter on the hook, it didn't take long for the tip to go round and then another shortly after, but it was typical of the day, that I struggled to catch two fish off the same line, before having to swap, the method did produce 2 more fish during the day, but each time it was after resting it and then getting one on the first cast after the rest.  The LH margin produced one carp and a perch, it was as in my previous times drawing this peg, pretty much a non starter.  The short line didn't produce anything, not even a liner on pellet or paste.

In the last hour I did start to get a few on 6mm pellet getting it as tight to the bridge as I could, in the slightly deeper water (second shelf), but it was far from hectic.  I was trying out a new pattern of float I'd made, with the tungsten wire and was pleased with the way it performed.

In the end, I weighed a hard won 62.10.08 (yep, the electronic scales registered half ounces!!) which was 5th on the day, the weigh sheet below had 3 more to weigh which didn't have 60lb, so I know I ended up 5th, I can't be too disappointed with that as myself and peg 40 suffered with us both fishing to the end of the bridge.






Friday, 25 May 2018

Acorn Evening Match, Thursday 24th May 2018

I enjoyed the evening matches that I managed to get to last year at Acorn, it's a reasonable pick up if you win and a 3 hour match makes you pick one or two lines/baits and you have to make them work.

17 fishing and some tough competition, as well as the weather forecast of rain and more rain, into the drawbag and out comes 35, I can't recall ever having drawn it before and it was commented that it's not usually in.  We all had a fair bit of room and with 34 and 1 not in I had the point of the island and the point between 34/35 to fish to.

Two rigs, one to fish over to the island - nice and easy as its only 11m, two lines, one to the point and one to a bush along the LH side, the other rig was for the point in my margin towards 34, this is a foot or so deeper than the LH margin which is about 10" deep and slopes quite slowly away until it drops off steeply to full depth.

Rigs were both on 0.20, the one for across a yellow tipped Drennan Carp float, with a 0.14 hooklength and a 18 LWG and a band.  Margin rig was a Hillbilly AK47 again on 0.20, this time with a 0.18 hooklength and a 14 B960, again with a band.

I'd left my side tray in the garage, luckily Tony Rixon had a spare one, (Judith's coffee table) so I borrowed that and it was just big enough to get my bait and bander on, simple bait table of pellets, 4, 6 and 8mm.  I was planning to feed 4mm across, with 6mm in the band and 8mm down the edge.

On the all in I fed 4mm across with a catapult and it wasn't long before I had indications and then a fish in the net.  The first hour wasn't exactly manic but I was putting fish in the net, an assortment of carp and F1's, I couldn't see anyone else except Tony catching much.  At the end of the first hour, I had 18lb on my clicker and it had slowed to nearly a standstill.  I found that initially, I had to feed regularly to get fish in the peg, but that then resulted in a couple of foul hookers, which I lost, one trashing the rig.

The second hour was very slow, doubt I added 3 or 4 fish to my total, that was trying both lines across and pellet down the edge, at 20:00 with an hour to go I tried a worm over and did get a couple on that but it was not helping me keep pace with Tony who I could see catching fairly regularly now.  At 20:10 I mixed up some GB and potted that down the edge and with double hair rigged worm on the margin rig, I went straight in over it.

That saw me catching at a much better rate and bigger fish than across, I got to 50lb on the clicker and did wonder if I'd under clicked by about 8lb, so the last two fish went into another net, I had one about 5lb that I landed after the all out.

Tony had weighed 71.04 after telling me he had 63lb on his clicker and had over clicked, so probably had less.... He wandered round to see me weigh in and when I lifted my first net out I knew I had definitely misjudged the weight of these fish, I was fairly sure that it wouldn't be over the 70lb net limit (strict here, no leeway at all, 70.01 sees the whole net disqualified) the net went 67lb, so a bit of a nervy moment, the other net was weighed and it gave me 75.13, enough to win on the night and a wake up call to how those fish that look 2lb are probably 3lb, it would have been somewhat frustrating to lose the win by going over, although Tony wouldn't have been too upset!!


Monday, 21 May 2018

Viaduct Spring League R3, 20th May 2018

Round 3 this week, travelled down with Tony and I urged him to park near Lodge as we wouldn't mind the walk to Campbell, not sure if it was a omen, but there wasn't a space near Lodge, so parking near Cary was a compromise.

Usual bit of banter and conversation before the draw and I got somewhere near the front, but I must be slipping, as there are few now who seem to be expert at getting to the front of the queue, first time for a while I have pulled out just one ticket, not two wedged together, a peek inside and 109 was my home for the day.

109 can be a bit of a feast or famine peg, it used to have lots of tree cover, as well as brambles and other assorted foliage, but over the winter Steve and Matt had a bit of a chainsaw massacre of the LH bank, resulting in a major arboreal reduction.  This has opened the peg up a lot and it will be interesting to see if it changes it much this summer.  It has, probably justifiably, a reputation of being feast or famine, being a corner/end of lake peg that has seen some good anglers struggling, while other days it throws up big weights.

I was expecting to mug a few and maybe catch short, with a bigger expectation of catching up the edge. As its such a short walk to the peg, I wasn't surprised not to see any fish showing themselves, there is always a bit of commotion in the car park at the start with everyone unloading their vans and giving some stick about draws.  A waggler set up, with the smallest Middy fatboy waggler, a lead rod - not expecting to use it and more topkits than usual, as I had brought some paste.

Topkits were a mugging rig, two paste rigs - one for straight in front out by the tree, one for the edge, another margin rig for 16m up the LH edge, a neat rig for 5m and a pellet rig for full depth.  Starting on the meat short saw one roach to show for my efforts, its certainly not been as effective as previous years, so far at least.  Clint on 74 was catching by mugging, but I couldn't see any fish, so that was ruled out for me.  I did try a bit of random long lining to the tree, but to no avail.

After an hour and 20 minutes, my one roach was all I had to show for my efforts, having tried several lines and I was beginning to think it was going to one of those days.  There's not a great waggler cast on this peg, but I picked it up and with a bit of an awkward left handed cast (tree avoidance) I landed the float in the open water in front of the tree and I was a tad surprised when it buried and I had my first fish which was just about double figures.  I kept at this and saw a swirl and cast to it, shortly after another fish circa 10lb was landed, that was the end the waggler caught fish.

One frustrating part of the day, was the amount of twigs and branches that lie on the bottom or under the water along the edges and I spent a fair bit of time being an involuntary swim clearer in the first 2 hours....  You can just see the top of the float in the picture as I clear yet another sunken snag!


I'd been feeding the RH edge, but its a bit shallow and never produced a bite, the short meat line remained devoid of fish, as did the long line out to the tree.  Thankfully the LH edge did come to life, I was fishing 16m to a tiny divot in the bank, pinging 8mm pellets, with a banded 8mm pellet on the hook. It started off slowly with a small tench, then a skimmer, before the first carp took an interest, it shot into a snag and I had to pull for break, the 0.18 hooklength parted.  Next drop in another not far of double figures , then not long after another.  The next bite I lifted into resulted in a much more savage response, the fish charged off as if it was foul hooked, but I didn't think it was, the rig held strong and a fish around 17lb joined the other in the net.

I caught in the same manner, pinging the 8mm pellets at 16m, just pulling the hookbait up the shelf, intermittently until the all out and I was admitting to 115-120lb.  The scales gave me 126.13, so not too far out, as my tench roach, skimmer and 3 stockies went 7lb odd.  Thankfully that was enough for the section win, it was never going to trouble the top weights on Campbell, but at least I'm not out of it with 2 rounds to go, although there is some stiff competition!!

Stopped in the Farrington Inn for a welcome cold beer on the way home - nearly like the old days -except we didn't stay until closing time.......





Monday, 7 May 2018

Viaduct Spring League R2, Sunday 6th May 2018

Travelled down to this one with Tony (and Judith) Rixon, with the promise of good weather I was expecting to see the fish up on the top, although when we got to the fishery it was a bit misty, but that didn't last too long before the sun burnt through.

I was mentally wishing a decent draw into my hand and can't say I was overjoyed to see peg 60 - even fishery owner Steve Long asked with a wry, ironic smile how I manage to draw so consistently....  Still, whilst I think that there are better pegs in the section, I still needed a section win to get my series back on track.  Two more negatives about the peg - firstly its the wrong side of the lake for mugging, too much silver water to see the fish and secondly, for an unsociable sod like me, its on a public footpath and at the point where the path takes anglers round to Match, Middle and Spring lakes, on a nice day there is a fair bit of footfall behind........

Tony had parked the van down by Campbell, so off he went to bring it back up this end, as he had drawn 59, so each others company for the day, I did keep reiterating to him how much better 59 was than 60, although he isn't one to be 'got at' mentally before a match, in all fairness, the margin is probably better than 60, but as I had 61 not in, I was hoping that would work in my favour.

I had Andy Power virtually opposite on 69, not in my section thankfully, as he is a skilled mugger of fish and he had the added advantage of being the right side of the lake.  I did wonder if skimmers might play some part in the match for some of us on Lodge today, so I did set up a rig to fish for them with banded pellet, a LWG 20 on 0.12.  A similar rig, but with a 0.16 and a 16 LWG in case it got good and the carp moved in.  The usual Malman Roob for meat short, a shallow rig, a mugging rig and a margin rig.  I decided to leave all the rods in the bag.

I didn't give the usual starting method of meat short, more than 10 minutes, as it didn't work during last weeks festival and it didn't work again today.  So out to 14m and a 6mm pellet in the band after feeding some 4's and a bit of corn.  No indications on this and by now Andy Power had a couple of fish, mugging with a light waggler.  I did have a skimmer on corn, but now Phil Hardwick on 57 on my section had a carp, so I had to catch one.

By the way Andy was fishing, he could see the fish and was picking them off, as previously mentioned, the water was silver for most of my peg and the fish were not visible.  But, I had to do something, so out of the bag with a waggler rod and I could finally see a fish just this side of the middle, using meat on the hook to get a slow fall, I managed to hook and land the fish I saw, then not too long after another, when I had my third, I knew I had 3 fish for over 40lb.

It was a long wait between fish, even to see them coming my was difficult, whereas Andy was catching one a chuck, by picking them off.  The fish that did venture this side of the lake were very wary, I could see them spooking away as soon as Tony brought his pole within2 or 3m of them.

I did try the RH margin, it was pretty much a non starter, with nothing caught from there, I don't think foot traffic to and from the other lakes was a help, a downside of the sunny weather. I managed  pick off 7 fish in the end all on the waggler and weighed 70.02, which was enough for second in the section, typically for me, the lowest weight section and the only one not to have a ton weight.  Not surprisingly, a long way off the top weights on the venue, which were awesome, just awesome.




Friday, 4 May 2018

Guru Festival, Viaduct, May 2018

Three day festival at Viaduct, which was popular and sold out, 54 anglers over 3 lakes, when I booked in back in the winter, I assumed we'd be basking in sun and mugging fish, as it turns out, I was still wearing thermals on the first day of the festival.  The drive down to Viaduct was in miserable weather, heavy rain and very misty, especially by Shepton Mallet.

Plenty of familiar faces at the draw, which was a free draw first day and then a lake rotation on the subsequent days, so plenty of banter flying about and everyone hoping for a good draw to start the festival, I was actually first in the tub and all the flyers were in there...... safe to say, I didn't pull one out, 25 on Spring for me and who pulls out the next peg (26) but Trigger, so no pressure then.

I was given a bit of advice by Steve Tucker, so decided that would be one approach, a feeder to the aerator , the peg has no margins to speak of, a tree on the RH side does look inviting for a topkit line, but plumbs up so snaggy, I stayed well clear, the other margin, given the clarity of the water and the proximity of peg 26 was discarded as not practical.

So, waggler, to fish for whatever turned up, a straight lead and a feeder, a rig to fish meat in front of the tree to my right, two rigs to fish pellet on the deck, one with a solid 10 elastic and 0.16/0.14 to a 18 LWG and another with 0.20/0.16 to a 16 B960, just in case it got good...... ever the optimist!!

A chat with Trigger and a nose at his rigs before the start and on the all-in I started on the lead with 8mm pellet out to the aerator.  Not so much as a liner, so it only lasted 20 minutes as over on peg 1 Joe McMahon was catching skimmers on the pole, on pellets.  I had a look on this line and it was quite slow, while Joe was getting one a bung, neither myself or Trigger could match his catch rate.

Then Trigger hooked a carp on his skimmer rig and seconds later, so did I, bit of tussle getting it in  as it was nudging double figures, Trig had another on this line, but I didn't hook another all day!!  I gave the feeder a good 3/4 of an hour with just 1 skimmer on corn to show for it, I spent the rest of the match fishing corn on the waggler picking up odd good skimmers. Ending up with 32.06 and 4 points, so a disappointing start, but beaten by 3 corner pegs and 50lb+ more needed for another point - really not sure where that could have come from




Onto day 2 and the rotation put us on Campbell, early into the tub again and not overjoyed with the draw which saw me going to 113, it can be good if the waggler works or if the fish come short, but as most were predicting a shallow fishing day (no thermals today....) it's not the best to compete with the pegs further out in the lake.

Sam Powell, Mark Wynne and Jamie Parkhouse on 130,129 and 112 got off to a flying start fishing shallow, whilst I had two on the waggler then nothing, I did try shallow on the pole, but as predicted, sat too far back to reach the fish.  I then had one on the lead, but as it was so slow and I was so far behind I had to try the edges, earlier than I would have liked, I had one fish down the RH edge, but it wasn't very encouraging.  I went down the LH edge and between 1500-1600 hooked and lost 8 fish, the first went into a snag, 2 snapped 0.18 as I was holding on, trying to stop them getting to the snag (the Daiwa Multi Margin is one strong bit of kit!!) and another was lost as the rig loop burst open - my fault for not retying it after changing two hooklengths that had put extreme pressure on it - the others the hook just pulled out.

Torrid day and I was sure I'd be last on lake, as it was my meagre 85lb was worth 6 points, so 6th in section and that was it festival over, another day I am struggling to see where more fish could have come from.




Day three, Cary and all there was left to fish for was pride and the lake win.  Sticking with the early into the draw and I pulled three stuck together, the last two days I'd pulled two stuck together and dropped them back in, today I took the outer one and dropped the others back in.  Hopefully a good move as peg 90 was to be my home for the day.  It can be an awesome peg in the right conditions, but even on its average days there are always a few resident fish to target.

It had won the section yesterday, so hopefully I could repeat that.  I set up two wagglers and a lead rod, and topkits to cover the RH margin and this was the same depth as going 16m up the end bank, so same rig for that.  LH edge was shallower, so a lighter, shorter float for that, a rig for meat at 5m, a pellet rig for on the deck and one shallow.

The bog standard start, meat short, the same result as the last two days - nothing!  A switch to the lead up to the end bank brought a double figure fish and then 2 stockies, before that went dead.  Shallow on the pole proved fruitless and I did have one on worm over the pellet line at depth, but it was loner by the look of it.

I was hoping to get away with not going 16m up the end bank, but needs must and I had 2 carp and a couple of stockies straight away, before that also went slow, but by persevering I topped up the feed with 10-12 pellets and 6 pieces of meat and had odd fish through the match, including a couple of commons that tested every bit of kit to the limit, but my usual set up of Orange Vespe, Stroft line and Guru XS hooks made sure I landed everyone, including one not too far off 20lb.

3 carp for a bit over 40lb...



I felt I fished a fairly tidy match, a relief after yesterdays nightmare of losing 8 fish on the trot..... and the scales gave me 134.08, enough to win the section and pick up the last Superpool money, buy getting 3rd on the lake - beaten into third by Ben Hagg, who weighed 134.09 - couldn't be closer!!!





Well done to the winners and framers, it was a decent festival, thanks to Ben & Guru for running it and to Steve, Helen & Matt at Viaduct.

Top Ten.
1. Phil Cannings - 3 points
2. Craig Edmunds - 5 points
3. Lee Pisticcio - 6 points
4. Steve Hutter - 7 points / 419lb 2oz
5. Dan White - 7 points / 415lb 15oz
6. Carl Williams - 8 points
7. Sam Powell - 9 points / 417lb 11oz
8. Grant Albutt - 9 points / 379lb 11oz
9. Dave Romain - 9 points / 376lb 9oz
10. Pete Upperton - 9 points / 326lb 13oz

Monday, 30 April 2018

Landsend Open, Sunday 29th April 2018

Tony Rixon was running this match and had 20 odd fishing, two lakes in Match (lake 2) and Lake 3, I always seem to draw lake 3 when both of these are in and today was no exception, I had waited until the end of the draw instead of getting in near the front as I usually do.  Three tickets left in and 62 was written on the middle one, which was the one I took.

Several people offered advice, unsolicited mainly, the peg has an area of rushes/stick ups down to the left and comments about losing fish were one of the main topics, I assured all those who said I would have to fish to the stick ups, that I wouldn't be doing it - I can take no pleasure in losing fish attached to rigs in stick-ups or other snags.

The peg has no RH margin and the LH margin is tricky to access, due to the bank being eroded (most likely by pleasure anglers banksticks), but the island is a nice easy 14.5m reach.

RH side - no margin due to tree in water.


LH edge, can't get too far down it.



Straight in front to the island



I was going to keep things simple, so a homemade float to fish across to the island, the shelf is only about 6" shallower than the main depth, so not ideal.  A 4x12 Malman Roob to fish meat at 5m, near the tree on the RH side of the peg, I did set up a rig to fish pellet at full depth, but it only got wet plumbing up, never used it again.  Finally a margin rig to fish topkit + 1 down the LH edge.

I started on the meat rig, looking for an instant fish, but no sign of one, so after 15 minutes it was across to the island where I had been pinging 4mm pellets, with a 6mm in the band I was soon into a fish, not the desired carp, but a smallish F1.  For the next two hours I kept the odd fish coming but it was never frantic sport and was slowing down.  I had another look on the meat line after 2 hours and it did give me a fish, but no other indications, so back across and another 40 minutes on the pellet saw another fish netted. I had another off the meat line 40 minutes later, but never felt there were many fish in the area.  Opposite Russ Peck had a couple of quick fish swinging a shallow rig on a long line into the gap in the islands, I got of my box and set one up, but had nothing on it, Russ never had another, so I guess two of us swinging a rig at them was just too much.

Just over halfway through the match things had slowed right up, I had jut shy of 50lb on my clicker,  I fed some GB and maggots down the edge and left it half an hour before topping up and going over it, I had a good hour or so, putting another 50lb in the net using 5 maggots on the hook, they wanted a top up of GB and maggots after every fish, dropping back in without feeding wasn't anywhere near as effective, With 50 minutes to go, I decided to put another net in, as I try and stop about 50-55lb in a net.  Probably a mistake, as the last 50 minutes only saw 15lb added, including one on the short meat line, which never looked like coming to life.

It was bloody cold today, looks like the summer has delayed again!!  But at least it was off my back, not into my face.

My fish went 124.13, a comfortable lake win, but that couldn't compete with the match lake, where there were 5 weights over a ton and I beat two of them to come 4th overall, but I think there was a lake payout, so hopefully some folding to come when I see Tony in the week.  Not exactly setting the world on fire, but a much better weekend than my results of late, I was beginning to wonder just how long the dire run would go on.

Next up the Guru festival at Viaduct this week, so here's hoping for 3 decent draws and getting it right on the day.



Saturday, 28 April 2018

Cadbury Angling Open, Acorn, Saturday 28th April 2018

Decided to give Acorn a go today, its nice and close and at least you can put all your unused kit back in the van to keep it dry, with the behind peg parking.

Into the drawbag and out comes ping pong ball 11, the same peg I drew on the Clevedon Xmas match, but the weather was a lot colder then, so hopefully the fish will have woken up a bit.  I had pellets and maggots, so rigs based around that, maggots for down the edge, pellets for across and a 5m line.  I'd also brought a couple of 9' feeder rods in case the method or pellet feeder worked.

I could find about 15" of water across, there is a shelf that runs up to and round the point, this was to be the main attack, next were two rigs, one to fish expander, the other banded pellet at 5m.  Plumbing up the margins, there was no nice level area, it was going to be a case of pulling the bait up the slope.


Starting across to the point of the island, I was getting indications straight away, I had several carp in the first two hours, putting just over 30lb in the net, I started by feeding 4mm pellet, but the fish seemed reluctant to settle, so I upped the feed to 6mm, hoping it might pin them down, but they just got more and more spooky.  If a fish touched the line, it would bolt out of the peg, with several others following, then the indications died off and the fish had backed off,

I had a look on the 5m line, this gave up a tiny tench and a 1lb skimmer to expander, but nothing else.  The only way I could catch now was to rotate between the LH margin, the RH margin and going across to the island, it had slowed right down (although it was never hectic) and I spent a long time trying rigs, baits, shotting etc. to try and stop the spooking, I couldn't work it out at all, it may have been a bit better had the wind been giving me the ripple that other areas of the lake had.

I had 33lb on the clicker with 2 hours 15 gone and 47lb at the all out, it was a tough day, I did put 53.10 on the scales, which was beaten by two, so well done to them.  And, we stayed dry.... that was a bonus.


Viaduct Spring League Round 1, Sunday 22nd April 2018

I travelled down to this one with Tony Rixon, no particular pegs to draw or avoid came up in the conversation, the warmer weather hopefully getting the fish spreading out from their winter hidey holes.

Well, I was disappointed with my draw, 124, I (and I'm not alone) think that its the weakest peg in the section (116 round to 126), but I still felt I could get a few fish from it.   The wind was off my back, making the fishing easy, but the fish seem to be following the wind now, so the other bank looked a bit more favourable with the wind pushing into it.

Waggler rod and lead rod were set up, pole rigs were simple and positive, a margin rig, a full depth pellet rig, a shallow rig and two meat rigs, one strung out and one bulk shotted.

On the all in I was confident I would get the usual mug fish or two on meat short, but the only bite I had on meat short was from a near 3lb tench.  By the time I waited for the bite and landed the tench, Dave Romain on 119 had 5 fish....  I swapped to the pellet rig at 14m and had a 7lb carp on that. but it was a bit of a loner, as that was the only fish on the line.  I tried the lead, nothing, the waggler, I had one bite on that, a 3lb carp and it was looking like I was going to get a very embarrassing weight.

I had loads of casters left over from Whiteacres and started dump potting them down the LH edge, going over them with worm brought a succession of fish, Bream, Tench, Perch and the odd Rudd, all decent fish and I was catching well, this was only ever going to be a stop gap though, as I had to get back amongst the carp to ensure I wasn't absolutely hammered into last place in section.  Getting amongst the carp wasn't much of an option as looking round the long and short lines, was a complete waste of time.

With 50 minutes to go I had 10lb on my clicker - the original two carp and 43lb in my head or the silvers net, when finally I had a decent fish about 14lb down the LH edge, then another about 12lb, also a couple on meat short, this gave me 108lb which was last but one in the section, so a dropper already..... Some great weights on the opposite bank, well done to those who had them.




Monday, 23 April 2018

Frenzee Festival, Whiteacres, 16th - 20th April 2018

Even though its been a long tough winter, this seems to have come a round quickly again, just Paul Faiers and myself travelling down this year, our other regular lodge companion was unable to make it this year, shame, as its a good craic with Glenn along, even if I am somewhat off the pace in the bar nowadays....

The draw had put us in a rotation starting on the four small lakes, Bolingey on Tuesday, Pollawyn on Wednesday, Twin Oaks and Trelawny on Thursday and Friday saw us heading for Jennys or Trewaters.

Saturday saw us have a few hours on Trelawny, catching a few, but not really getting amongst the carp or decent F1's, then a few beers and catching up with old friends in the bar.  That led to a fairly late start on Sunday and for some inexplicable reason we decided to go to Trewaters, the weather was awful and we really struggled to catch.



Monday dawned and I did try and talk myself into Canal 19, but it wasn't to be, peg 7 for me and Paul didn't do much better in 11 Canal.  Looking at 4th in the section from here, but you have to be hopeful on the first day, that the fish have moved from their residency.

Peg 7 has no features such as the gorse bushes or trees that many of the other pegs have, I set up a meat rig for short, pellet rig to fish soft pellet over micros, a rig for the edge, which isn't nice either side and a pellet rig to fish tight across.

First two put in's on the meat I was surprised to have a near 2lb F1 and then a 1lb Carassio, but this was a short lived burst of hope, the tone for the rest of the match was set, never taking more than one or occasionally two off the same line. It was a real struggle and the day was capped off by seeing a swirl on the far bank seconds before the all out, I swung the pellet rig with a bit of meat on at the swirl and immediately hooked a small angry carp.  It tore down the bank, tangling the elastic in over hanging brambles, I managed to push the pole right across and free it, only for the carp to change direction, run down the far bank to my left and snag some more brambles.  Got free from them and played it across, about 10' out the fish found a snag and I tried all the usual tricks to get it out, but to no avail.

I had decided that I had to pull for a break, so put the elastic round a keepnet and started pulling, expecting the 0.12 to snap any second, I was surprised to see the carp come free, attached to a bit of rope.  Once I netted it I could see that the rope was tied in a hangmans noose, had I known what the week was to bring, I might have kept it and put it to use.......  The carp didn't affect the result, as predicted pegs 7-13 were the last on the lake, with my 29lb beating two and a long way from the top weight of 70lb+

Tuesday

Bolingey, where I have done OK in the past, so was hopeful of putting the festival back on track, the weather was foul, wind and rain forecast all day, into the tub and out comes peg 20, a look at the results from the day before had me concerned, Vince Brown had been on there the day before and was near the bottom of the section.  Paul was off to peg 2.

The wind was blowing R to L at my peg, so I decided that the Multi Margin would be the only pole out of the bag, as there was no way I could fish longer than its 8m. A pellet rig for 8m. a meat rig for 5m and a margin rig, but on plumbing up the margin, I was very doubtful I'd catch in it, too shallow.

A straight lead and a method, completed the set up, no point in even opening the holdall with the waggler rods in.  Bolingey will usually give up a fish or two (and sometimes more) starting on the meat short, not today, not even a carrasio.  It took me over an hour to get a fish and it was a small carp, in the first 4 hours I managed 2 carp and 4 carassio's for 12lb on the clicker, all on the method, it wasn't exciting and it wasn't frenetic......

At 16.10 with 50 minutes to go I had my first bite and fish on the short meat line, a decent fish, but it wasn't until 16.40 when I had another and then one more at 16.50, terrible, worst day I have had on Bolingey. The results on my bank went:  peg 22 - 37.00, peg 21 - 15.00, peg 20 37.04, peg 19 12.00 and peg 18 6.00, so I won my bank, but for all the value that had in the match, I may as well have blanked.....  Two days gone and festival over by two draws that I certainly couldn't get anymore out of and I am fairly sure that most on the festival would have struggled on.

Wednesday


A chance to redeem myself today, another lake I have picked up on, on several occasions, peg 17 on the high bank, which again hadn't done any good in previous days, not one I'd choose, a bit hemmed in, but I was confident I'd get some fish across and have caught well on the pole in this area before.

Loads of time to tackle up with the 09.00 draw and fishing from 12.00 -17.00, so I had two wagglers, a method and a bomb set up, along with 3 topkits, one to fish meat up the shelf, another for deep shallow and finally one meat at depth.

Once again the wind was looking to spoil the fishing for me, as the waggler was going to be nigh on impossible to fish, unless there were a huge shoal there competing, so the pellet is grabbed as it lands and that was unlikely in this peg.  So having to resort to 8mm pellets to get anywhere near the island with them, in the scare lulls in the virtually incessant wind, I started on the bomb.  This produced on solitary bite from a scruffy looking hybrid that went about a pound and a half.

Pellet and meat on the pole lines were pretty much non starters and I set up a new line and fished worm, this saw 30lb of skimmers netted, in between trying to catch a carp.  I seem to have been on carp avoidance since before Xmas and its wearing a bit thin now.....  This wasn't quite last in section, but it wasn't far off, again, I have no idea, not the foggiest what I could have done to get more from the peg - except to fish 5 hours solid for skimmers......  Just for a change, I could see someone catching steadily, as 27 was catching on the lead into the gap, where the fish had been all week.

Best bit of Wednesday was a trip to The Two Clomes with Paul, Steve Nadin, Chris Albiston, Tom from Whitemoor lakes and Pete, whose second name eludes me.  Nice food, good company and a splendid glass of red......

Thursday


I fancied A section on Twin Oaks, big carp, rather than F1's, but as usual, I couldn't be further from the lake or peg I wanted, 22 on Trelawny, a lake I have won a section on in the past, on a day the carp didn't feed.  Looking at the results from the day before, I had to be reasonably happy, 95lb and a section win from the peg.


It's too far to reach the far bank with the pole, but there was no horrendous side wind to stop me getting tight to the bank with a method, lead or even waggler, which I clipped up all three.  A line to fish expander over micros and the obligatory meat line, a margin rig and a rig to fish worm and GB right in front of my keepnets, the skimmers and bream will come right up the shelf on this lake.

Started on the method, it produced one tiny carrasio in 40 minutes, the wind had swung round since yesterday and was now blowing straight down the lake into pegs 1 and 32.  I was able to feather the waggler in perfectly and couldn't believe that I never had a bite on it, the far bank appeared devoid of fish, although I stuck it out as peg 20 was having a good run fishing the pole to the point of the island (you can reach it with less than 16m from this peg).

I came onto the micros line and fished expander over it, this was fairly slow and it was skimmers I was catching, no sign of an F1, I did get a 2lb carp, but the line was getting slower and slower.  A switch to the worm and GB on topkit, saw a decent run of skimmers and bream netted, but I was never going to compete with the pegs further up the lake, I had one F1 with 20 minutes to go, so am fairly sure that there weren't many in the area, as peg 23 similarly struggled.  The peg that wasn't 'favoured usually, easily won the section with 122lb of F1's, the wind had done for me again, this time taking the fish down the other end of the lake.

Walking up to the club in the evening we saw this on the ground......
So it wasn't me spitting the dummy out, but I was struggling to come to terms with just how badly I was doing this year, my worst ever festival result was on the cards and I didn't think I'd fished too badly, my drawing had done me no favours...

Friday


I fancied Jennys, just because I have a dismal record at Trewaters (Trewaters cost me a top ten finish last year), so fully expected to be driving the 10 miles to Trewaters, but 20 on Jennys came out of the drawbag, Paul Holland had 120lb off it the day before for a section win.

Got to the peg and found Paul's lodge match Andy Bennett on 21, so I kept an eye on what he set up, as he would have all the info from Paul as to how he caught the day before.  Although he did speculate it wouldn't be so good today, as surprise, surprise, the wind had changed......

Its a reasonable chuck to the island, so I set up a 24g Guru Hybrid feeder, a bomb and a 6g pellet waggler.  A rig to fish pellet at 14m, ond for meat at 5m and a rig for worm short.  It transpired that Paul had caught carp on the method the day before, so that had to be my starting ploy, even though its not something I would claim to have any prowess in doing, as I rarely fish it.

I hadn't had a bite and Andy Bennett had 4 or 5 fish, I then saw he was fishing two dead reds on the hook, a switch to this and GB from pellet and micros saw me start to catch, but it was small carassios rather than the proper carp I was looking for.  I switched to the pole and had some skimmers and a small carp on 6mm banded pellet at 14m, but this was slow going as well.  Back on the feeder and a few more small carassios, this was the pattern of the day, with only an odd fish on the short worm line, another small carp on the pole.

Andy Bennett was kind enough to spend some time explaining about fishing the method after the match and I knew he'd beaten, but when the scales arrived, by less than I thought.  My fish went 35lb odd, Andy weighed 47lb odd, I was sure he had a lot more but the stamp of fish were small, over a ton won the section further down and the lake was won from peg 1 with 120+.  If I was a little more practised at casting the method accurately and had some confidence in it, I may have had the couple of pounds more that I needed to be third in section behind Andy, as it was there were a couple of 37's.

So, fishing wise a bloody disaster, memories of last years 19th place finish wiped out by this years embarrassing 151st.  Faierzy managed 71st and it was a good week apart from my miserable endeavours, shame Glenn wasn't there, the service, bar food and on site chippy are all massively improved from the last few years, the lakes have had a lot of work and new fish, so things are looking up.  By the end of Thursday, I was ready to put my tackle on ebay, but now I'm determined to get back and prove to myself, if nothing else, that I'm better than this finishing place portrays.