Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Acorn Costcutter. Tuesday 19th February 2019

Fancied a match today and didn't want to travel too far, so this was the closest and on my second visit this year, I fancied beating my last match fifth place finish.

I was there ridiculously early, apparently its half term, the roads were nigh on deserted, shame the kids aren't on holiday more often....

22 fishing today, so a reasonable turnout for a February Tuesday, I somehow managed to draw a fancied peg, hmmm, this doesn't happen often, pressure on, as peg 9 has thrown up plenty of framing and winning weights.  Luckily, there were a fair few fishing which I didn't know, so none of of the usual banter to create more pressure.  I left the van where it was parked and walked my gear two and a half pegs, proper lazy fishing.

I had put together a Preston 9' Carp Feeder, with a small pellet feeder on it last night, but whilst I got it out of the van and took it to my peg, I couldn't bring myself to take the ties off and assemble it, so it went back in at the end, still strapped up.  Pole it would be then, peg 9 gives you a few options, there is a nice flat area in front of peg 8, the far bank is only 11m away straight across, but as it goes away to the right, you have a decent length  of bank to fish at, the only downside is that there is no farside shelf, it has eroded away all the way along.  I plumbed it very carefully, but just could not find that nice 15-18" of water, that the fish will feed in.  The best I could get was 24-30", so that would have to do.

I set up a dobbing rig to go all along the far bank, initially set 6" off bottom, another to fish banded pellet across (18 LWG on 0.14) and an identical rig with a spade end hook on for pellet or maggot (20 Kaizen on 0.14). The dobbing rig had a Kaizen 16 to 0.14 on, to start on bread.  A catch all rig for down the track, a 0.4 NG Gimp, with a 0.12 hooklength and a 16 Guru F1 maggot hook.  Finally a rig to fish down to the pallet of peg 8, this had a Kaizen 16 to 0.16, in the hope of a bit of action.....

Bait tray was caster, maggot, 4 and 6mm hard pellet, a few micros and some expanders, along with a couple of slices of bread.  I started dobbing bread across, had a couple of indications, but no proper bites, I varied the depth and it was the same, from touching bottom to 15" deep, I did expect to get something on this, but wasn't going to waste too much time on it, so after 25 fruitless minutes, put it back in the roost and picked up the cup.  I fed maggots across at approx. 11 0'clock and micro/4mm at 14m towards the open water, but still close to the farside.

I had a bite over the maggot line and a small roach dropped off, the victim of 12 solid elastic!!  Net drop in a perch the best part of a pound and three quarters was safely netted, then two carp about a pound each.  Then it started, a nightmare that I just couldn't stop - plenty of indications and 'bites' but it was all liners, they all came off, some just shedding the hook, some leaving me with the gift of a shiny scale.  I tried not feeding, drip feeding, dump feeding. this was happening on the maggot and the pellet line, I tried at various depths - bizarrely, coming off the bottom stopped the liners and foulers, but also stopped any indications. I tried another rig, lightly strung out and also bulked all the shot down on the original rig, to no avail.

I was pretty frustrated by now, over an hour gone, fish in the peg, peg 11 had a few over, 11 has a nice shelf, which is where he was catching. I had been feeding a 'throwaway line' caster by hand down the track, I picked up the catch all rig, single flouro maggot on and dropped it in, the float buried and a 3oz roach fell off, I swapped the rig onto one I had sat in the roost with No6 elastic (10 on the original set up) and went back in, looking to catch a few silvers while the carp settled, or  I worked out how to catch then across.

Float eased under in a much slower bite, expecting a silver I lifted into it and a 4lb carp was my reward.  I had a nice hour or so of double feeding about 20/30 casters and then dropping the rig in and within 5-15 minutes getting another carp. Feed too lightly and get liners, too much and the bites dried up. I put about 45lb in the net in 3 hours doing this, with one spell going back over, it was just the same, liners and foulers, except for one F1 one soft pellet.

The last hour was a nailbiter, I thought I had pulled ahead of peg 11, but my fish had disappeared, then he started catching across again, I tried this again, along with my LH edge and up to the pallet of 8 ( I felt this would be no good, as 7 was in and he fed to the pallet of 8 with a big cup, right from the start).

I upped that caster feed down the track and managed 3 more fish in the last 20 minutes, 2 in the last two put ins.  Thankfully my 64.13 was enough to win by just over 2lb...

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Viaduct Winter League Round 4, Sunday 17th February 2019

After the last round, when 60% of the field, including me, blanked, today had to be better.  Well you'd have thought so, until I went into the draw tin and pulled out 11 again, the same pegs as last round, this put Mark Broomsgrove on 125, Rich A'Herne on 90, Paul Faiers on 61, Glenn Calvert on 38 and me on 12.

Mark would hopefully get a few silvers on 125, Rich should get some carp up the edge on 90, Paul should catch skimmers and hopefully carp on 61, wasn't sure about Glenn on 38, but I was sure he'd catch, especially when I walked past and was amazed to see how much more colour there was in the water this week .  For me, 12 was going to be a struggle, its in with pegs 6 and 20 as those you don't want to draw on this lake.....

I really wasn't confident of catching a carp, but did set up a waggler for corn and a bomb, to have a chuck round the peg with bread at the start and meat later on.  A silvers waggler and 3 silvers rigs, these being the same rigs s I used last Thursday at Plantation.  I was next to Fred Roberts again, but he was on 13 and had the corner to fish into, so I was sure he'd catch carp.

Not much point rambling on about this match, I had a few on the waggler, but nearly all my fish fell to the light strung out rig fishing pinkie or a single flouro maggot, one perch around the 1lb mark, the rest were roach and rudd from 0.5-1.5oz, just couldn't find any quality.

I beat 10 on the lake to get 11 points from 18 - I can't be too disappointed at that, its the best return of points from that peg so far this league, but it would be nice to get a decent draw next round and catch a few carp.....

Team wise we ended 6th on the day, so really need an outstanding round next time to sneak into the frame.

Team Positions Today:
1. Guru Viaduct - 72
2. Spotted Fin - 70
2. Thatchers Vets - 70
4. Team Amigos - 59
5. PI Thatchers - 56
6. 2nd Time Lucky - 53
7. Moaning Maggots - 52
8. M5 Angling - 49
9. Garbolino BVMG - 46
10. Colmic SW - 45
11. Viaduct All Stars - 43
12. Balti Boys - 42
13. Team Keyford - 41
14. Future Networks - 37
15. Wyvern Anglers - 33
16. Silverfox - 32
17. Fishing Tackle Warehouse - 31
18. PR Floats - 23

Plantation Silvers Open, Thursday 14th February 2019

Third of these matches, unlikely I can make anymore due to work, so had to try and make the most of this opportunity.  Match limited to 16 today, as the lake is a bit of a bugger to peg out, as so many of the pegs interfere with each other.

My dip into the draw tub saw me on peg 3, which is permanent peg 4.  I wasn't disappointed, as it should be good for skimmers and roach.  Three top kits set up, a double bulk rig, a standard bulk and droppers - both these on 0.14 rig line, with 0.10 hooklengths and Guru F1 hooks.  The final rig was a HillBilly Frostie, again on 0.14, this time with a 0.09 hooklength and a 18 Gama Green hook, with strung out shotting.

I did set up a waggler, first time trying the Preston sinking feeder line (3lb) as a waggler line, just looking for a line that sinks quickly, no other reason for trying it.

I plumbed up and settled on 3 lines, two at 14m, 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock and a short line at about 7m.  The 7m line was loose fed with caster, the 10 o'clock 14m line with GB and caster, the 2 o'clock line with micros and a couple of 4mm pellets.  Apart from one tiny roach on 4mm soft pellet, the first half hour was devoid of bites, I finally started to get a couple of small skimmers on the light strung out rig.  The smaller fish had obviously come over the GB, but were sitting off bottom, I tried the double bulk rig and had 4 or 5 skimmers between 6 and 10ozs straight away, that sadly was the end of the easy fishing.

For the rest of the match, I had to keep working the bait and came off bottom to catch a few more, but sadly no quality, wasn't sure what I had in the end, but the scales gave me 19.01, which was not enough to trouble the framers, walking round the lake and looking at the weigh-in, I could see the lack of quality had cost me. It was a nice close match and one where half the field could have, with a couple of better fish or a another run of fish, won it, I enjoy matches like this.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Viaduct Winter League R3, Sunday 3rd February 2019

After the last round team success, we'd been hoping to build on it this round, but the weather was likely to have a say in this, with heavy snow and then a night where the temperatures went down to double figures of minus centigrade in some areas locally.

The van temp gauge was -5° and did briefly drop to -10° near Clutton, so I doubted the carefully prepared wagglers or lead rods would be required.

The lakes were all iced over with a thickness varying from 3/4-1", so I was reasonably happy to be on Match lake, as I was convinced I could get a fish or two from any peg on this lake, talk in the car park before hand, was wanting to avoid peg 38.....

In my experience, the bigger lakes at Viaduct don't respond well to fishing through the ice, as usually at this time of year, the waggler or lead is essential, as the fish rarely venture into the close lines that they avidly feed on in the summer, so there were likely to be a fair few struggle.  After the last round draw I went into the draw tin hopeful and was pretty devastated to see I had plonked myself on 38 - the one peg singled out by quite a few as the peg of doom....  The match lake doesn't quite hold a full section, so two pegs are put on middle and 4 on Spring.  Middle is currently gin clear, as far out as you can see, you can see every leaf and bit of gravel on the bottom.

Rich had 125 - he should catch at least a roach in the last half hour from here, Paul on 90 - not sure, but tried to sound confident for him and encourage him to break out a channel to the end bank, where there would hopefully be a carp.  Glenn on 61 - probably the best draw on the teamsheet, myself on 38 - I would have been off out the car park with wheels spinning had it been an open - and Mark on 12, a waggler peg, so not much hope for him either.

I won't regale details of the match, I set up 3 rigs, all with a 0.08 hooklength and 20 or 22 Gamma green hooks, one just on bottom, one just off and one 6" off bottom. Started on 2 or 3mm punch and a pinch of liquidised bread, swapped to squatt, pinkie, 1/2 a pinkie and at the end switched to caster and pinged a few in with a catapult, but never felt at any time, during the day, there was a fish in the peg.

Really didn't enjoy being sat there, in the 99% certainty that I wouldn't get a bite, Fred on 37 had had one bite against the tree, hooked and lost a carp, but at the end he had the same result as me - DNW.  We were far from alone, 54,  more that half the field failed to weigh in, that's not a fishing match, its a pointless lottery, although it is purely down to the weather - could it have been called off, with hindsight I'd say yes.

The rest of the team faired as expected, Rich catching a couple of fish late to get 10 points, Paul blanking, Glenn weighing 16lb odd of silvers for 17 points and 4th in the Match.  Mark joined me and Paul in the DNW club, all of which put us on 27 points and 12th on the day, one more angler catching would have made a huge difference.  This leaves us in 9th overall and with 2 rounds to go, we need a couple of outstanding results to frame now, shame the weather rather than anglers decisions/ability/mistakes have helped to shape this years league.  When you have some of the quality anglers that failed to catch today, it's a sure thing that it was all weather inflicted.

Here's hoping the next round sees some milder weather!!

Friday, 1 February 2019

Plantation Silvers Open, Thursday 30th January 2019

Another chance to fish this prolific silvers venue, the weather gods were not kind and the van temperature display was gleefully showing -4°C as I set off.  A good tip learnt today, if using the Bridge Inn for breakfast, ask them to swap the sausages for extra bacon, as the sausages aren't the best.

Had a walk round the lake before the draw and the lake was mainly frozen over, I was hoping to draw a peg that was completely frozen, as I am sure the fish prefer to sit under the 'lid' rather than in the unfrozen areas.  A few had cried off because of the weather, so 13 fishing today.

I had brought plenty of caster and waggler rods, the waggler rods weren't likely to be used looking at the thickness of the ice, into the draw bucket and I pulled out 8, which turned out to be permanent peg 19.  I was going to cut out two channels, but as the peg is on a point, I decided that one line straight out in front would be the way to go.  Nice and warm chucking these around...

As there was no point in getting the waggler rods out, I decided on a simple approach, 3 rigs, first one was a 0.1 NG Gimp, with strung out No11 stotz, this was finished off with a 0.09 hooklength and a 20 Gamma Green hook.  The other rigs were a 0.3 float set up with usual bulk and droppers and a double bulk rig - not too much to say about these, as I started on the strung out light rig and stayed on it all day.

On the all in I fed a tangerine sized ball of GB (50/50 Tom Thicks Intelligent and Sonubaits F1 Green) with caster and pinkie in.  Wanting to get a fish of any size to start off, I had a single flouro pinkie on the hook. It took 25 minutes to get a bite and a 8oz skimmer was a nice first fish in the conditions.

Another skimmer shortly after and then a 4lb carp, which wasn't so welcome, but it didn't mess the peg up too much.  I refed after this, as there was obviously fish feeding and I had a little run of 4 skimmers.  This was pretty much the way it panned out for the rest of the day, a couple of fish and then refeed, and a lull, then a couple more, I hooked a couple more carp, one landed and one broke the hook.  What was odd, was that I kept trying caster and fed a caster line a bit shorter, that I never had a bite on a caster, every fish fell to the single flouro pinkie, yet talking to Paul (Faiers) after the match he had caught all his fish on caster.  Given the low temperature and the ice, everyone was surprised that the fish were very responsive to feed, in fact, if you didn't feed regularly, you didn't get bites.

What I had thought would be a tough day, was very enjoyable, a lovely simple days fishing, one rig, one bait and some nice quality skimmers, I had hardly any roach, whereas the other end of the lake they showed.  I didn't have a clue what I had in the net come the all-out, but I was hopeful it would be there or thereabouts.

It wasn't enough to beat match organiser Tony Rixon, who put 32lb on the scales, but my 28lb was enough for second on the day, given the conditions, there were some great weights with 5 over 20lb and everyone except two DNW's in double figures.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Viaduct Winter League Round 2, Sunday 20th January 2019

After  the team disaster in the first round, of what in the spring, summer or autumn would be a decent set of pegs.. well, maybe except 7, we needed a decent draw and team performance to ensure we weren't out of it after two rounds.

I was going to pass the drawing duty over to someone else, but in the end took the responsibility and drew 17, which is a good draw (how did that happen!!!).  It put Paul Faiers on 131, Glenn Calvert on 100, myself on 70, Mark Broomsgrove on 51 and Rich A'Herne on 19 - we'd be disappointed not to be top three from that draw.

After the usual quick discussion and the confiscation of Paul's silvers rigs and bait..... off we went to our pegs.  I expected to catch a few skimmers and carp from my peg, without having to revert to scratching round for bits.  The dedicated silvers wagglers stayed in the bag and two 12' Daiwa Tournaments set up, one with a Middy Fat Boy waggler, 4lb maxima and 0.16 hooklength, finished off with a 18 PR16 and a band, I like to fish corn or meat by pulling the band into it.  The other with a Drake waggler, 0.14 hooklength and a 20 LWG, for maggot or caster.

4 topkits, a 0.3g silvers rig, No6 elastic, 0.10 and a 20 Guru F1, a 0.4g rig 0.12 with 16 F1, same rig but with 0.14 - just in case and finally a full blown carp rig, Malman Roob, with 0.16 hooklength and 16 LWG, that really was an optimistic set up, but I was ready with 25 minutes to go, so why not.

Bait tray was maggot and pinkie, dead and alive, corn, caster and various bits of cubed or punched meat.  A simple GB, Tom Thicks Intelligent and some Sonubaits F1 Green to darken it.  Two balls of this with caster in at 14m on the all in, then straight out wit the waggler and corn, I was really expecting some indications and bites on this, but after 20 minutes of stationary float, I did have a look over the GB and start up a loose fed caster line towards the rope that divides 70 from 69.

The caster line fishing the waggler at 20m was best for the next 40 minutes or so, as I had a quick burst of 4 perch from 6oz to 2lb.  It was typical winter fishing after that, I could describe each switch of line, each observation of what was happening (and the conversations with Gary O'Shea on the next peg, top angler, doesn't miss anything in front of him, he was seeing every minor indication of fish in the area) but it was a case of rotating between caster and corn and an occasional look on the pole, but that was never going to be right on the day.

I relied heavily on the waggler and corn, for a large part of the match, it was well under par from my expectations, I do know the straight waggler was wrong, the bites I did have were such tiny dinks, it needed an insert waggler dotted right down, that was possible today, with no wind and flat calm conditions.

I was putting odd fish in the net on caster or the occasional look with maggot, mostly on the waggler, the pole line never got going all day, finally at 14:20, the waggler just slightly dipped and a strike met with the firm resistance of a carp, a 7-8lb common came in quite nicely and was soon netted.  Next cast, similar tiny dip of the float and a bigger more angry common, maybe just over a Barny rubble was netted after a determined fight, I was then looking forward to a hectic last hour, but sadly not to be, I had a 2lb skimmer 2 minutes later and waited until 5 minutes before the all out at 15:30 before the third and final carp, also the biggest came to the net.

I ended with 38.07 for 14 points from 18 and all in all a reasonable return, beaten by one in the section on another lake and 3 corner pegs, not sure I could have done much more.  The rest of the team fared well, Paul winning Campbell with 148.06 and second in match, Glenn also with 14 points from Cary, Mark with 13 from Match lake and Richard with 12 from Spring.

That was enough to win on the day as a team and claw our way back into a framing contention place after last weeks poor start, but this is winter fishing and we are taking nothing for granted.

Team Positions on the Day:
1. 2nd Time Lucky - 71
2. Guru Viaduct - 70
3. Team Keyford - 69
4. Future Networks - 61
5. Thatchers Vets - 58
5. Team Amigos - 58
7. Preston Innovation Thatchers - 56
8. Spotted Fin - 52

Team Positions so Far:
1. Guru Viaduct - 134 (2 section wins)
2. Preston Innovation Thatchers - 130 (2 section wins)
3. Team Keyford - 130
4. Thatchers Vets - 118
5. Spotted Fin - 115 (1 section win)
6. Colmic SW - 111
7. 2nd Time Lucky - 110 (1 section win)
8. Future Networks - 106 (1 section win)
9. M5 Angling - 104 (1 section win)
10. Moaning Maggots - 101 (1 section win)
11. Team Amigos - 95 (1 section win)
12. Garbolino BVMG - 90
13. Balti Boys - 72
14. Silverfox - 71
15. Viaduct All Stars - 66
16. PR Floats - 60
17. Wyvern Anglers - 49
18. Fishing Tackle Warehouse - 45

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Plantation Silvers Float Only, Thursday 17th January 2019

I was lucky enough to have a Thursday off, as Plantation is a venue with some great silvers in, not who it was who had to go in the room with the goose fat tub and various other instruments of pleasure to get these 5 matches on this lake, as its not often match fished now.....

A few met up for breakfast in the Bridge in, good bit of banter and the breakfast was OK, but let down by the sausages.  More banter at the draw, I drew peg, which wasn't peg 4 as it had been repegged for the day, it put me on permanent peg 8, not too bad.  Then it turns out there wasn't enough tickets in the tub as a latecomer arrived, so a hastily arranged redraw and I'm now looking at 14, which turns out to be permanent peg 28.

Looked ideal for a small cage feeder towards the gap in the island, but with it being float only, a waggler and pole were the only options.  So, a light rig with strung out No11's for roach, a couple of skimmer rigs, 0.3g and 0.5g - I was surprised at how much the venue has silted up and was using the same rig as I was at Viaduct last week.  I also set up a double bulk rig, just in case that was required.

The pegging to my right was fairly tight, so I couldn't really fish the standard 10 & 2 o'clock lines, more like just past 12 and just before 10.  The 12 o'clock line fed with Tom Thick's Intelligent/Sensas Lake mixed 50/50, that then mixed with about 30% leam.  The 10 o'clock line fed with micros.

Once they were fed I did try optimistically short for roach, but despite trying on and off through the match, a line fed with casters to my left, I didn't have a single indication there.

I had a fish and indications as soon as I went over the GB, I was getting liners and bumped a couple of fish, so put the light rig in the roost and tried the double bulk, less bites, but each on a fairly hooked fish - the initial flurry of bites didn't last long and I did try an expander over the micros, but that just saw roach pestering it.  I refed the micros line with a few more and included some caster and dead maggot.  This did see a couple of roach and a hybrid come to dead maggot on the hook, but the action was far from hectic.

I stared up a new line, loose fed caster as far as I could get them and tried the waggler over the top, a couple of roach, then nothing.  I swapped back to the lighter rig and spent the rest of the match rotating between the pole lines and the waggler, never taking more than 2 consecutive fish of a line before it went quiet again.

I could see pegs 1 & 2 catching and knew they had more than me, so I did push the peg trying to get some bigger skimmers in the last hour, it didn't work, but I'm not convinced it did too much harm, as the lake seemed to slow down for most in the last 90 minutes.

Quite an enjoyable day, I knew I hadn't done enough to win or frame, my 15.15 being enough to win the section and 6th place, so day paid for.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Acorn Costcutter, Tuesday 15th January 2019

First visit of the year to Acorn and after seeing the weights from the weekend, hopeful of a few bites.
14 fishing, so plenty of room, but that's not always a good thing on these snake lakes, as the fish back off under pressure.

The weather forecast was 11°C and dry, I  hope the forecasters aren't paid by accuracy, as the one who forecast that would be skint, it was a chilly wind and for a big part of the day, that fine misty rain - the sort that gets you wet, as someone said.

I had meant to bring some bread, but looking at the lake before the draw with Paul (Faiers) it was still quite coloured, so wasn't upset I'd forgotten to call in and pick a loaf up - my memory is getting terrible.  Into the draw bag and ping pong ball 13 was my reward, or as it turned out, penance.

Got to the peg and found Des Shipp on the next peg (15) so had to endure the usual moaning about his peg and the mid games of how good mine was - always a good bit of banter with Des.  The wind was blowing L to R but not too bad, wouldn't hinder fishing across to the far side.  I did consider setting up a method rod, but decided against it, so 4 topkits assembled, one a small Drennan float to fish banded pellet in approx. 2' water, a rig to fish the next shelf down, this rigged up with 0.14 and a 18 LWG hook, to try and tempt the carp.  I also set up a rig for the near margin, down to the pallet of 12, but not with much confidence, its been months since I caught a margin fish, or even anything  decent short.  Finally a 0.5 diamond homemade float to fish down the track, a catch all rig hopefully, this would do for two lines, 2 o'clock line being fed with GB and caster/maggot/pinkie, 10 o'clock with micros.

On the all-in I cupped in half a dozen 4mm pellets and 20 micros over the 2' deep shelf, dropping a 6mm pellet in a band over the top, the float had hardly settled, before burying and a decent fish on.  I got it to the net and saw that it had a hookhold that I just knew was going to give, right on the outside edge of the mouth, with the hook barely nicked through.  As expected, once the fish came near the nest and then dived down, even with me dropping the topkit down quick to reduce pressure, the hook pulled - bugger, at least 8lb gone.....

Straight back over and after a couple of liners a fish about 3.5lb safely netted, followed by one about 1lb, I was starting to think it might be a good day.  Thinking is obviously not good, as that was the last of the indications or bites from there.  Gave it another 15 minutes or so, searching along the bank, but the carp had upped sticks and moved out.  Hoping they'd dropped down the shelf, I switched to the deeper rig and expanders, nothing, not a bite.  Des was struggling, so I was fairly happy that it wasn't just me getting it wrong, in fact I couldn't see anyone catching.

I fed the 2 o'clock line at 7 joints and left it whilst I tried to make the lines across work, also fed the 10 o'clock line with micros, in the end gave up with the biteless lines across and came over the GB line.  This was slow, but at least a couple of small skimmers took the double pinkie offered, the wind had changed by now and was blowing into the faces of those of us on the 'back bank' this was frustrating, as I had to keep wiping the mist off my glasses, even the peak of a baseball cap not offering enough protection.

I refed the 2 o'clock line and then had a little run of skimmers, which was a welcome change from no bites, I had also been feeding casters by hand at topkit + 1 just to my left.  I had a couple of better roach from there, but felt I would have needed a lighter, strung out rig to make it work, rather than the skimmer rig.

By now - ha;lfway through, the wind was blowing some fairly unpleasant acrid smoke across the lake and my eyes were watering, Des had enough of it and packed up early, as did Paul on peg 2, had I not had the run of skimmers, I probably would as well. The skimmer line died off, they never settled over the micros line, I didn't have a bite on a 4mm expander, even trying to switch it to a maggot line was a dismal failure.

I did keep looking back across for a carp and down to the pallet of 12, where I tried corn and maggot, but never had any sort of indication from either area.  A couple of skimmers in the last 20 minutes completed my day and I unashamedly took the payout for second in silvers by default - feel I could have won the silvers if I fished for them all match, but hindsight is great.....  Well done to Mike Chapman, winning from unfavoured 27, all by himself down that end.

1. Mike Chapman.                 21-12 p27
2. John Mills.                         17-11 p18
3. Dave Stephenson.             16-09 p9
4. John Roberts.                    13-13 p5
5. Chris Fox.                           11-14 p13
6. Eddie Wynne.                     11-00 p30
1. Mike Chapman.                 10-11 p27
2. Eddie Wynne.                       7-08 p30

Monday, 14 January 2019

Viaduct Winter League Round 1, Sunday 12th January 2019

This popular league seems to have come round again quickly, last I year I endured all 5 matches with even hooking a carp, so was looking for better this year.  The team has had a change of personnel, Freddie Roberts leaving and Richard A'Herne taking his place, sorry to see Fred go, but a good signing made in Richard.

18 teams this year, so a 90 pegger, good to fish matches this size, but that does inevitably mean that some of the pegs aren't the best, hoping to avoid those, I was first into the draw tub and pulled out, 115, 81, 53, 45 & 7. Not a bad draw on paper, but in the winter 115 can be tough, 81 and 53 can be feast or famine pegs and 7 had Paul Faiers borrowing margin poles to try and get a couple of bites from under the bush. Glenn on 115, myself on 81, Mark Broomsgrove on 53 and Richards debut was on Match lake 45.

I set up a silvers rig, just the one, to catch skimmers hopefully at 14.5m, a rig to dob bread along the spit and down to the monk, another rig to fish the same areas at full depth.  A rig to cover the open water, in case the carp showed up and as there was plenty of time, two wagglers and a lead rod.

Started dobbing bread along the spit, not as much as a tremor on the float bristle, same down by the monk.  I had a search further along the spit with the lead rod and into the open water without as much as a liner, I was starting to feel that there weren't any/many carp in the peg.  So I fed the silvers line with GB/leam and caster, then rested it for a spell on the waggler and corn, again, nothing on that, not any sort of indication.

To get something in the net I went onto the silvers line and started getting hand sized skimmers, not frantic action, but reasonably steadily.  The wind was getting up and there was a lot of tow, I can only assume the affect of the  wind on the main body of the lake was pulling the water out of my peg, as it was fairly sheltered out to 14m, where the ripple started.

I had got off my box to get another topkit, setting up a heavier silvers rig, as the skimmers seemed to want a static bait, when the wind blew  an 8' long branch out of the tree - out of 90 anglers fishing, whose pole would it land on, yep, mine.

So after a bout of Tourettes and being pretty pissed off, I packed what was left of the pole away, I hadn't brought a spare one, so it was rod and line for the rest of the match.  I tried the waggler over the GB, but even laying line on the bottom, the surface tow was pulling the float along and that was nowhere near good enough presentation. I did try a small cage feeder, but that wasn't right either, so I resorted to fishing for a carp for the rest of the match.  I did manage to get one at 14:55 so 35 minutes to go, a angry common that was 14lb I thought, I was hoping another couple might come along, but that was the only tip action of the day.  I did have a few spells on the waggler, but that was totally unproductive and did nothing to give me hope it might produce.

I weighed in  20.01 of which 6.8 was silvers, could have a chance of a silvers pick up until the carbon devastation….  I beat all the pegs on the Cary bank, scoring 11 points, so not brilliant, but not as bad as I thought it would be.  There just didn't seem to be any carp at this end of the lake.

Teamwise we didn't fair well, so its all to do next week!

Todber Manor Silvers, Saturday 5th January 2019

First match of 2019, 35 fishing this silvers match, I was hopeful of a decent draw, but I managed to pluck out 62 on Ash, end peg and apparently the shallowest peg on the lake, it was also the only one with a covering of cat ice before the start.

Plumbing up I could see that it may not be the ideal silvers peg in the cold weather, from about 10m out the peg shallows up, it also shallows up towards the end bank as you go to the left, so to get in the deepest water, I would have to fish 10m at the most, I did set up a rig to fish in the shallower water at 14m, but was doubtful it was right on the day.

I also set up a waggler, but that was pretty fruitless, there didn't seem to be any fish sat across the peg in the shallower water.

Not going to waffle on too long, it was a struggle, weighed 8lb odd, beating Dave Stockton to my right who had 6lb, at the end Nick Chedzoy said "I don't know why you bother to come and draw pegs like that".... I'm beginning to wonder myself if its worth the effort, time and cost!

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Landsend Open, Sunday 30th December 2018

Last match of the year, I did fancy going to Ivy House, but they had a two day mini festival, which I couldn't enter, not being able to fish on Saturday, so Landsend it was.  I have a strange relationship with this venue, I love the tranquillity of it, I like the feel of the place, I just never do any good here.

I had hoped for a days silvers fishing, so a draw on the Match lake was required, I was still eating my breakfast (another plus point for Landsend, the tasty breakfast) when it was time to draw, so Tony drew for me, peg 55, I couldn't be further away from the Match lake or the silvers in lake 3.  My inability to draw on Match lake when there are two or more lakes in has now stretched for as long as I can remember.....

Still, with the next peg in being Dick Bull on 51 and Adrian Jefferies across the lake on 58, there was plenty of room, although, that's not always a good thing at Landsend, as the fish are wise old buggers and often back off into the gaps.  The island is a good 17.5m away and I wasn't going to risk my back by fishing that, so I set up a 9' Preston Carp lead rod and a tiny lead, to plop a 6mm pellet across there.

Pole for the rest of the peg, its 14m to the spit on the end bank, so a dobbing rig for there, the lake is very shallow, but I found a deeper area fishing across pointing the pole at Adrian on 58, so I set up a rig to fish soft pellet over micros here, a caster line at 7m and a hard pellet line at 14m towards the island.

Starting on the dobbing rig, I could get bites on maggot, but it was tiny roach, Adrian was suffering the same fate fishing to the island, I didn't stick with it too long as the roach were too small to be worth targeting.  Out to the soft pellet line and a couple of indications. then a positive bite and carp on, well, he knew where the snag in the peg was, a dark shape under the water that looked like a dead weed bed which had an autumn and winters worth of twigs and branches entwined in it, carp 1 me 0.

I had another bite from this area, but it was a roach and then the line was lifeless. A switch to hard pellet at 14m towards the island saw me hook and land a 1lb F1 first put in, then I hooked another that just came off.  Then a 3lb carp graced the net, before another was hooked and that came off - frustrating, pretty sure they weren't foul hooked, hooks and elastic were ones I have used without problem for a while now, so no idea why these fish were coming off.

The caster line at 7m never showed any sign of producing, not a single bite from it.  I ended the match fishing 6mm pellet to the spit, but had to wait a long time for a bite, adding 3 more carp and a decent roach all on 6mm pellet and a couple more managed to shed the hook.

I knew at the end, that Adrian had beaten me, having 7 to my 4, he had a little run of fish fishing long down top the weed bed which is the other side of the spit from me, others on the lake had beaten me and I was 100% confident the match lake would throw up some better weights, so the fish went back and I was off out the car park before most got back.  See Tony's blog for the weigh sheets, Bob Gullick won from Match lake with over a ton, well done Bob.

I felt I fished a tidy match, I wasn't convinced there were many fish in the peg, I am just hoping 2019 bring me a couple of good draws to get some confidence back, its been a poor few months for me and I just can't seem to get back on track.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Viaduct Xmas Match, Saturday 22nd December 2019

Firstly, whilst it's all Bah Humbug to me, I'd like to wish any one who actually reads through these incoherent ramblings a Merry Xmas and all the best for 2019.

I will admit, of late its been a bit of a head scratcher trying to write anything meaningful in this blog, I started it to act as a diary and aide memoire for myself, had some encouraging comments and some critical ones, so decided to keep it going.  For some reason, for part of this year I seem to have lost my way, I have suffered a bit at the drawbag, I have undoubtedly failed to make the most of some of the pegs and there is no doubt, that to fish the open circuit nowadays you have to be at the top of your game at all times, there are too many good anglers who will punish you if you aren't.

Time for a bit of soul searching over Xmas and the New Year, maybe a plan for next year, concentrating on a few goals, rather than meandering from match to match, venue to venue.  I will be swapping jobs soon, to a Monday - Friday role, freeing up my weekends, which will allow me to get back into (spaces allowing) some of the series I have been forced to drop out of.

Anyway, onto todays match, 70+ fishing, so spread over Campbell, Cary, Lodge, Match and Spring lakes, for those who aren't familiar with the layout of Viaduct, it looks like this..

I wasn't sure where I wanted to draw, but I did want to avoid Campbell, it is an amazing lake, consistently throwing up big weights and consistent fishing, with the exception of the months either side of Xmas, the fish tend to ball up, someone or maybe three or four have a great day and others struggle, even the skimmers seem to switch off, as they go and sit with the ball of carp.  Recent results show the carp are balled up at the opposite end to the river, so pegs 110, 132, 111 and 131 - obviously a draw there would be OK, but the rest of the lake would likely be hard going.

I can't say I was surprised when I drew 118, which is end but one peg on Campbell, but the 'wrong' end, I couldn't get near here in the summer!!!  I did have one hope, 117 wasn't in (not usually in) and there are a few brambles to fish to, these were cut right back last year and have not regrown as prolifically as brambles often do, so the cover is limited, but you have to hold onto some hope.

I had come to be positive and fish to win, so had left silvers rods etc at home, but I had brought some caster and maggot, as well as bread corn and meat.  A lead rod set up, this would do for popped up bread, meat or corn, a waggler for corn initially and two rigs to dob along the edge, one for bread and one for caster/maggot. An open water rig for carp (wildly optimistic for me, I know!!) and just in case, a silvers rig.

I spent 40 minutes looking for a carp along the edge, with bread at various depths and then maggots, not as much as a tremor on the bristle, I got the feeling there really wasn't anything there.  Nick Chedzoy on 116 had a carp on bread to the tree/bushes to his left, but there was little other action on the lake.

I tried the bread on the lead, corn on the wag and the result was the same, motionless tips and wagglers resolutely visible, not even the slightest hint of a fish being out there.  Given the known facts that the carp were up the other end, I swapped over to the silvers rig, it wouldn't do me any good, but at least I could get a few bites, it was tough going, I'd fed two lines at 14m the usual 10 and 2 o'clock, the 10 o'clock line was the more prolific, but prolific has to taken in context, bites were hard to come by and after catching a fish (roach or skimmer) that would be it from that line for 10 minutes.

I did set up a new line at 6m by the tree branches that dip into the water, but with no leaves, they offer no cover or feature and a couple of small roach were the total reward for that.  I kept going back along the edge, fed a caster line there looking for perch and a maggot line for carp, the sum total of my efforts there was one roach on the maggot line.

I put 6.02 on the scales for absolutely nowhere, as expected 110 and 132 were 1 & 2 on the lake, but they were beaten by Mark Wynne on Lodge who put 179lb on the scales for the win, with Lodge also providing Gary O'Shea with 45lb of simmers for the silvers win.  well done to all those who framed and won their sections, you still have to catch them.....

I stayed and got my wine and chocolates, thanks to Steve, Helen & Matt for another good year at Viaduct, thanks for the beer and mince pies, I can only hope my drawing arm and mental approach both improve in 2019.

1. Mark Wynne - 179lb 2oz - peg 66
2. Jeb Attwood - 104lb 6oz - peg 110
3. Simon Maunders - 79lb 2oz - peg 132
4. Joe McMahon - 71lb 5oz - peg 102
5. Jess Jordan - 71lb - peg 131
1. Gary O’Shea - 45lb 12oz - peg 70
2. Stu White - 28lb 13oz - peg 78
3. Nigel Bartlett - 18lb - peg 90

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Viaduct Silvers Open, Wednesday 19th December 2018

First match after an enforced break of nearly 6 weeks, work, some debilitating virus and then a nice holiday in India - so after enjoying wall to wall sunshine and temps up to 35°C, its been a bit of a shock coming back to this grey, dismal and wet weather.

I did consider going to Acorn yesterday, but saw the weather forecast and whimped out, right decision looking at the result and seeing how much it rained.

Onto today, minimal prep, took some maggots out the freezer, along with pinkies and checked my worms, they seemed alive, so all well and good.  I did have to wash the mould and fungal growth out of my bait boxes, but that was it for prep, nice and easy.

Only 10 booked in, but some good quality competition, so a decent draw was required, I had no complaints when 18 came out of the tub, off I went, expecting to catch a few skimmers on at least a couple of methods. First rod set up was a 10' wand, to fish a cage feeder at about 20m, with the option to unclip and go closer to the island if necessary.  Next was two wagglers, one peacock waggler to fish right across to the island, plumbing up it was nigh on full depth within a couple of feet of the island.  The other with a Drennan glowtop waggler, the shape of the old canal blue, these are lovely sensitive floats for caster fishing.

3 topkits to complete the set up, one with a HB Frostie (0.3) to fish at 14m over some GB, a NG Gimp to fish caster over caster at 7m and another HB pattern to fish double caster sport in front of the tree/brambles to my left - hoping for a big perch or two.

Bait tray would be simple, GB, casters, maggot and pinkie and a tin of corn.  On the all-in, I put one ball of GB in at 14m and started on the feeder, 3 casts and 3 bites indications with nothing to show for it, 4th chuck the tip twitched and a 5oz hybrid was netted, the bites dried up after this and I had one small roach in the next 20 minutes. A look on the pole next and a small skimmer, then a roach, then nothing.  A switch to the waggler and caster brought a few small fish, roach, rudd and another small skimmer, but it wasn't possible to get more than a couple of fish from one area.

I just kept rotating lines to put odd fish from micro rudd to 5/6oz hybrids in the net, the perch line in front of the tree was devoid of fish, but I half expected that given the water clarity, it was too slow to be doing any good in the match.  Steve Kedge to my right and the guy to my left was struggling as well, yet Martin on 16 was catching steadily, not too far out either.

Last hour I decided to sit it out on corn across, I had 5 better stamp fish doing this to the island and bumped a couple!!!   After bumping each on it took at least 10 minutes to get a bite, I did have one over 2lb, but that was 5 minutes before the all out, I think the light just went too late for the bigger skimmers to switch on.

I beat either side, didn't get wet (bonus) and that sums up the good points, downside is that I am not sure what I could have done differently, it just seemed as there weren't many fish there. Well done to Martin on the win.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Viaduct Silvers League Round Three, Sunday 4th November 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Viaduct Silvers League Round Two, Sunday 28th October 2018

Report to follow

Todber Pairs Round Two, Saturday October 27th

Report to follow

Monday, 8 October 2018

Viaduct Silvers League Round 1, Sunday 7th October 2018

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

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

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

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

Peg 53 right view towards the open water

Peg 53 left view into the corner

Peg 53 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Todber Manor Pairs Round 1, Saturday 6th October 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 23 September 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winner Dan White

Top Twenty Overall