Sunday, 25 June 2017

Todber Manor Open, Sunday 25th June 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Landsend Open, Saturday 24th June 2017

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

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

Cadbury Angling Evening Open, Thursday 22nd June 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 16 June 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Tony Rixon's Float Only, Landsend, Sunday 11th June 2017

"You have to write about the bad, as well as the good" is something you often hear levelled at you when you publish a blog.  I guess it's human nature to express when things have gone well and it's certainly easier to write and believe people will want to read it when things have gone well, not so easy to pen a meaningful blog after a disaster, whether that be of my own making, or by outside factors.

Landsend is a venue I like going to, its within an easy travelling distance, its peaceful and in a lovely setting.  Fishing wise, I prefer open water venues and it is pole dominated, which shouldn't be a problem but it has been, even given the reasons I like it, a personal bĂȘte noire and one venue I have fished a few times without ever winning, frame places yes, silvers wins, but match win no.  Have I got a mental block about the place, not sure, there are regular ton plus weights from the venue and I have only managed to break that a couple of times.

I think I have been slowly improving on the venue, but 'dangling pellets' by islands is still not my forte, although I have had some success with that at Acorn, not sure why.

Onto today and I draw peg 11, personally I think a better winter peg, but should still be good for a few fish, as you can get to the island and the end bank, as well as in front of the vacant peg 12.  One gripe is the vegetation, I cut back what I could, but the island needs a trim and the edges need more than a trim, as its impossible to get in tight.  The wind was pushing across from 13, but it was also blowing down the other side of the lake, causing a skim to come towards, the outcome of this was a eddy of willow fluff, leaves, twigs and other arboreal detritus.

The level is also down and my far shelf which I had been looking forward to plundering was just 2" deep and then dropped off to 2 1/2 feet, before dropping off to 4'.  I found a bit deeper water against the end bank, so that was likely to be better and Trigger on 9 said he had caught there in the past when the level was down.  I set up a rig to fish pellet 6" deep along the edge of the first drop off, another to fish at 2 1/2 feet (which would do for the shelf across and down to the end bank), a meat rig to fish at full depth 5m, a margin rig to fish in front of the first pallet.  Too much time to set up, so I did put up a paste rig as well and a caster rig.

Starting on meat short on the all in and had a roach and a near 3lb skimmer and that was it, no further signs.  Picked up the 2 1/2 foot rig and had a couple of F1's across, but there was little sign of fish, I did get a lonesome 8lb carp, but the fish weren't exactly queuing up, as I was getting no indications or liners.  The 6" deep rig was tried and it was altered depth wise a few times, all to no avail.  As I'd had the odd couple of F1's earlier, I tried a caster shallow line, this was equally fruitless.  I did see one fish right in tight by a bush to my left and tried the 6" rig in there, lifting it I caught it on one of the fronds of vegetation that stick out straight at you, making them difficult to see - that was the end of that rig and time for a banana walk...... Had it been an open, I would have most likely been heading for the pub.  The fluff and debris, which was still circling the peg, unable to break free and bother anyone else, was making presentation very difficult, getting through it was a pain and on several occasions my hook came back looking like a white nymph - more akin to trout fishing than carp.

Back from the walk somewhat calmer, I had a chat with Ken Rayner on 13, who was as equally fishless and frustrated as me, I decided to fish caster deep and catch all, this brought 2 more big skimmers and a lonesome big ide, that was going to get me nowhere though, so a look around all lines again, but still nothing doing.  I did manage a couple of carp from in front the pallet of 12, but that was frustratingly snaggy with sunken twigs.

At the end I'd have been happy to never return, last in section, putting 67lb on the scales and Ken had 69lb and was equally as frustrated (although the wind kept the surface debris of his peg)  the surface debris and circulating skim didn't help, Tony suspected that all the fish moved down to him as Ken didn't really feed and fish the island - but in fairness it is a good 17m reach to the island.  Trigger had done well on 9, he found 4" of water and fished bunches of maggots and worms in that 4" of water, not sure I would have done that with 4" of water, so fair play to him.  I hope Mike can give the place a trim before the next match and topping the water level up would be a bonus too. Results on Tony's blog, as I was off before they were announced.

Upwards on onwards, back to Acorn on Thursday night and Viaduct next Sunday, so hopefully get this one out of my system.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Mike Nicholls 13m Pole Match, Viaduct, Saturday 10th June 2017

I nearly missed this match, as I obviously hadn't marked in on my calendar or put it in my phone when I booked in, thankfully Mike saw I had booked in at Landsend and rang to ask if I was fishing his match.  Glad he did, I hate letting people down.

I usually like to get in at the start of the draw, but only 4 tickets left in when I drew, two were wedged together, so I dropped them back in the tin and picked up one of the two solo tickets, couldn't be too disappointed when I opened it and saw 110.  Its been several years since I have drawn it, but I have never failed to pick up money from it, so challenge on.

Without any rods to set up, there was no race to get to the peg, given that we still had 90 minutes to tackle up.  I had intended to just fish pellet and meat, but at the last minute chucked some maggots and a bag of paste into the bait bag, just to some options if I needed them.  7 topkits set up, a paste rig, a shallow rig, two meat rigs, a pellet rig, margin rig and one for down to the brambles.

Started on meat short and had two carp and a tench, before that line died off, a switch to 13m and 6mm pellet brought a few more carp to the net, but this started going 'iffy', I did try paste over the pellet feed and had one carp and a few liners.  There were fish there showing themselves, but I could not catch shallow, Joe McMahon on the next peg was in the same boat, not sure why they wouldn't take it shallow.

The middle of the match was a bit of a nightmare, I had several carp and a couple of tench by the stump, but that didn't last too long either.  Reluctantly I had to go up to the brambles and even fishing off bottom I was picking up sticks and twigs on the hook.  I had one fish out for 6 lost, solid 14 elastic, pulling as hard as I could, the fish were running through all the debris and cutting through the line - not a type of fishing I enjoy.

I had to give up on fishing to the brambles, as a Tourette's outburst was imminent if I stayed with it.  A look around the other lines again brought just the one skimmer, I had been feeding the edge between my pallet and the stump, at 4pm, there were signs of fish there after several fruitless looks in the previous hour or so.  Dropping in with maggots was a waste of time, so I switched to 10mm meat and this proved to be the right choice as I had another 6 or 7 fish in the last hour and lost a couple more, as it was a case of hit, slide the pole back and pull the elastic, as they were trying to get round the stump.

My few silvers and the carp went 147.05 for 4th on the day and a section win, so not all bad, just a few rigs to retie ready for tomorrow!!

Friday, 9 June 2017

Acorn / Cadbury Thursday Evening Open. 8th june 2017

I was on a First Aid at Work course in Stoke Gifford and the finish time meant I could make the 1700 draw for this match - or so I thought, the motorway was 3 lanes of all but stationary traffic, luckily the Clevedon turn off appeared before I started panicking.

The worst thing you can do in match fishing is have a ridged plan before you start and I was a bit guilty of falling into this trap tonight, thinking that short and margins would be the best way to put together the ton plus that would most likely be needed to win.

Four topkits set up - wasn't going to do so many, but had loads of time....  paste rig, pellet rig for across, two margin rigs, RH side shallower, just fed with pellet, LH edge, some rushes and cover, so fed with GB and maggots.

Started across and had 22lb on the clicker in the first 30 minutes, then it went iffy, so a look round the margins and short paste line - no avail, they remained as absent of fish at 1830, as they did at anytime during the match.

Back across and feeding 4mm pellet and fishing 6mm on the hook saw a few more fish netted.  I did try the short lines and margins again, without much hope, as there was no sign of fish in any of the swims.

Back out on the long rig, fished to the island and  a steady run of bites saw me net a few fish until the whistle went, I didn't think I'd done enough as my old mate Kev Perry on peg 8 had a few quality fish on paste.  In the end he beat me by 2lb, 94lb to 92lb, my wasted time trying to catch short cost me, lesson learnt!!

After the match, Toby from Cadbury Angling got out hot dogs and cider - most welcome and I'm sure, the way to go!!

Viaduct Spring League, Round Four, Sunday 4th June 2017

This won't be a long blog, the league was already blown, so a draw with a chance of framing was needed, peg 59 wasn't likely to offer that.  The closest peg to the aerator and whilst it has been on a while, I would prefer it to be off during a match (from a personal point of view, if its beneficial for the fish, then so be it).

I set up waggler - to no avail, it was trotting through the peg faster than a peg at Newbridge in the summer.... A lead, I will admit to 5 minutes on it, before my boredom threshold set in and upmthe bank it went.

Next peg, Andy Power was catching a few skimmers, so off my box and a lighter rig and elastic set up, I did have a couple, but Andy was catching best off to his right at towards the empty 61.  Now I am not going to say I am anywhere near the standard of a professional angler like Andy, but it seemed to me, the further to the right he went - away from the aerator - the more skimmers he caught.

I was struggling to catch skimmers, indeed I was struggling to catch anything, so onto the paste out by the tree, a 12lb fish fell to to this first drop in, he was a loner, the only one from there.

To cut a boring tale short, I weighed 66lb for a convincing last but one in section, the aerator did it for me, maybe that's a failing, if so, so be it.

Results on viaduct FB page

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Viaduct Open, Monday 29th May 2017

Quite a novelty for me to have a bank holiday Monday off, I did briefly consider having a day at home, but then decided to go to Viaduct for the open on Cary.  After yesterday, I thought there would be enough pegs where it was possible to compete from.

All was going to plan until I drew 98, slap ban in the middle of the area of diagonal bank that has been dire in recent weeks, when it was an area you'd run to, I couldn't draw it, now I'm there twice in 4 matches.....

Still, it was a good area and no doubt will be again, so why not today?  I did set up a lead rod ( no idea why, as I only chuck it out if untangling a rig or some other action that takes 3 or 4 minutes).  The usual two wagglers, a paste rig, a meat rig, pellet rigs, deck and shallow, finally an edge rig, as 97 and 99 were vacant.

Starting on the meat, it took 12 minutes and I had a 14lber, nice, maybe it would be OK after all.  Then a decent skimmer, before it died, so out to 12m where I had primed up a paste line, I had three on that in the next hour and that was it.  No liners, no indication, no sign of fish.  Colin on 96 had one fish on the waggler and we were already getting bored of watching 88 catching.

It took until 3pm to get another bite and that was another fish about 14lb giving me about 50lb in the net, so as I was expecting few more in the last couple of hours, I ha another net ready for the late run.

It never happened, I didn't have a bite down the edge, the meat on the short line was getting ragged by small skimmers and the longer line wasn't responding to pellet or paste.  I did have a proper bite on the meat and the fish shot off, I thought it was a carp, until it briefly came into view before diving down again, a big perch, it weighed 3.08 and I am sure that's the biggest I have ever weighed, so a PB.

With pegs 96 and 100 DNW, my 56lb was best from 90 round to 102, but was pitiful in the great scheme of things.
As yesterday, 88 won, he caught out in front and at the end was getting one a bung down to the pallet of 89.
Not the best of weekends for me personally, but I seem to have drawn in areas that couldn't compete - I'm used to that!!  It's difficult to evaluate where you might have got it wrong, when either side don't catch as well and you end up 150lb behind the winner.

If only I could get a qualification in hindsight, as the peg had loads of little skimmers in, too small to catch on meat, I had 3 or 4 on double maggot in the last 10 minutes (on the meat rig, 16Guru XS Spade and 0.18), weighed 7.06 of silvers and 8lb won.  I would have had a more enjoyable day and caught enough to win the coin.

1. Stu Holmes - 207lb 8oz - peg 88
2. Chris Davies - 137lb 4oz - peg 102...
3. Dick Bull - 131lb 5oz - peg 78
4. Jack Billett - 116lb 3oz - peg 74
5. Charlie Dalton - 106lb 12oz - peg 80

Tony Rixon's Float Only Round One, Viaduct, Sunday 28th May 2017

Back to Viaduct today and first round of Tony's popular float only league, a section win with a decent weight would be the aim, so pulling peg 90 from the tin wasn't the best start.  It has thrown up match wins with big weights, but they are pretty few and far between, usually when a warm wind has been pushing in there for a few days.

With the lead rods home in the garage, that was one option I didn't have to consider, so two waggler rods set up and 4 topkits, edge rig, meat rig, pellet on the deck and a shallow rig.  Bit of time before the start and I wandered up to 88 where Tony Rixon was sat, being overseen by Judith.  The light was different here and there were fish visible just below the surface, went back to my peg and the shadows of the trees were stopping me seeing them.

On the all in I started as usual on meat short, this was a waste of time, as was everything else I tried and 2 hours in I was blanking and wondering about an early bath and the pub. The sun had come round and I did finally see a couple of cruisers, although dropping a bait anywhere near them just saw the melt away into the depths.  Finally, I got a 16lber to take a bunch of maggots.  I had brought some paste and did have one on that, before managing to mug two more on maggots. The guys I could see on the diagonal bank - Gordon Cannings, Mike Nicholls and Gary Oshea were all struggling as well, but I could hear Tony catching a few on 88.

The short meat line did eventually give up a few fish, the margin was a disappointment, one fish landed and 4 fouler lost, it seemed they were coming in over the bait but not really feeding.  By upping the feed on the short line, I was getting the odd bubble and sign of a fish, but had to sit and wait for up to 20 minutes for a bite,

Ended with a lot more than I expected when I was blanking after 2 hours, 99.06, but that was a long way from Tony's weight, so second in section for me, not a disaster, but you can't afford to drop too many section wins in this league.

1.Tony Rixon - 197lb 13oz - peg 88
2. Shawn Townsend - 187lb 6oz - peg 115...
3. Dave Evans - 160lb 15oz - peg 81
4. Neil Mercer - 154lb 5oz - peg 123
5. Joe McMahon - 151lb 5oz - peg 124
6. Shawn Kittridge - 140lb 8oz - peg 121

Normans Sterry's Open, Viaduct, Saturday 27th May 2017

50 odd fishing today, so Campbell, Cary & Lodge lakes in, once again virtually everyone fishing was wanting a draw on Campbell, fortunately I managed that and couldn't complain about 114.  I recall Nick Ewers being despondent last week after struggling to catch on it, but surely it would be OK today....

Dave White then informed me that 124, 125 & 126 were 'black with fish', but there are so many fish in Campbell, I would take any draw on there over the other lakes today.

I set up a lead rod, not sure why, as I never give it enough time to work, I'd happily fish every match as a float only.  Two waggler rods, one full depth, one shallow and 4 topkits, meat short, pellet long, edge rig and a shallow rig.  For some reason we drew 10 minutes late and the start was put back 30 minutes, so loads of time, I set up a 5th topkit, a meat rig with only 3x11 stotz down the line to fish it slowly through the water.

Started as usual. with a look on the short meat line, a couple of skimmers and then a carp, before the 'shit fish' nightmare started.  The float would not stay still, 6, 8 or 10mm meat all being whittled away by enthusiastic, but nuisance roach.  A switch to pellet at 14m saw me net two carp in two drop-ins, I thought I had it sussed, but no, two small skimmers and that was it.

The waggler was totally non productive and my obligatory 5 minutes, before getting bored stiff, on the brain dead lead.  The short line did produce a few skimmers and a tench, but at the expense of extreme frustration at the continual attention of roach.

From a bout halfway I fed the edges, only at topkit range to my left, as there is a nice little shelf there that is usually productive at some point in the match and 3 sections to my right.  The RH edge was totally dead, apart from two perch and the LH did produce two small carp, but was also a source of the plague of roach.

Frustrating watching next peg 113 catching, but not in open water, he was catching under the tree to his left.

I did get a few more carp and ended up wih 93lb, 24lb of which was skimmers, with hindsight I should have fished for silvers, as 27lb got in the silvers frame.

1. Steve Shaw - 204lb 3oz - peg 126
2. Jon Darby - 194lb 1oz - peg 135...
3. Phil Weaver - 145lb 3oz - peg 116
4. Norman Sterry - 144lb 6oz - peg 128
5. Ian Dunlop - 141lb 15oz - peg 129
6. Ben Evenden - 140lb 12oz - peg 113

1. Des Shipp - 63lb - peg 70
2. Nigel Bartlett - 27lb 12oz - peg 66
3. Ziggy Slowinski - 26lb 14oz - peg 127
4. Terry Lenny - 25lb 10oz - peg 110
5. Chris Fox - 24lb - peg 114

Monday, 22 May 2017

Viaduct Spring League Round Three, Sunday 21st May 2017

With the promise of a dry day from the weathermen, I was looking forward to this, once again, same as virtually everyone else in the draw queue, I was hoping for a flier on Campbell.  I needed a decent result today, only a section win would do.  Into the tin and out comes 100 on Cary, not what I would have chosen, but I thought it might be a reasonable section peg.

The wind was OK for fishing the waggler, so that was straight out of the bag, as I like fishing it on this lake, also a lead rod in case I had to......   Four topkits completed the set up, one for down the edge to the vacant pallet of 101, two for meat, one a standard bulk and droppers, the other a homemade wire stemmed float that takes 3x11, to fish the meat on a very slow fall.  Finally a rig to fish pellet at 14m.

A start on the short line was a very slow starter, with just 2 skimmers in the first 20 minutes, a switch to the waggler was concerning, as I didn't have as much as a liner, which is unusual for this lake. It was quiet either side and I could see Des sat on 80, looking enthralled at being sat on the lead.....  He did get an early fish, I reluctantly picked up the lead rod and threaded two 8mm meat cubes onto the hair.  This was enthralling, so I got my radio out to listen to the football and found the battery was flat.... great!!

About 10 minutes of a motionless tip is all I can stand, so picked it up to wind in and there was a fish on, probably the smallest carp in Cary, about 4lb, it was fairly hooked in the mouth, so it was either just sat there with the bait in its mouth, or I wound it in just as it picked the bait up.  Enough lead chucking, so another look on the meat and a skimmer was all I had to show for it.  Out onto the 14m line and nothing on pellet and only missed bites and small skimmers on meat.

Trying to make something happen, I upped the 8mm pellet feed and went back on the waggler, this brought 4 fish over the next 3 or so hours, before I dropped into the margin.  I had several looks in the margin and never had a bite there, not even on maggot, which is pretty unusual.  The light meat rig was a waste of time and resulted in either a missed bite or little skimmer before the meat got to the bottom.

With 35 minutes to go I put 1/3 of a pot of meat and a few pellets in on the short line and almost immediately had a carp blowing over it.  It took a few minutes to get a bite and after a bit of a tussle, a 16.10 mirror was safely netted.  That was the last fish and that's my series over, I put 63.03 on the scales for 4th in section, pegs 105 and 109 taking first and second in section by some margin.

The weigh sheet shows I was in a mini section with the lowest weights on the lake, struggling to think where I could have got enough to win the section from, so its just looking for all out match winning glory in the next two rounds!!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Tony Rixon's Short Pole Series, Trinity Waters, Sunday 14th May 2017

Nice to get back to Trinity and the warm Welcome from Misha & Tom.  Round one of Tony's short pole series, topkit and 3 sections are allowed, nothing else, so nice and simple.

Peg 6 was to be my home for the day, its not a draw you can complain about, but it doesn't seem to throw up the big weights from the margin it used to.  The wind was rippling the other end of the lake and I would have liked a bit of that, but peg 6 was doing a good impression of the oft described millpond.

Setting up couldn't be simpler, 3 sections of pole and some topkits, one for down the edge, which is a little deeper than I'd like at about 3'-3 1/2' deep.   I also set up a paste rig to fish at full range of the 3 sections, a rig to fish banded pellet and another rig with a plain hook on, in case I resorted to corn or even a soft pellet.  There were a few fish moving about, so I did set up a shallow rig, as there was plenty of time. 

On the all in I cupped in some pellet and there was a swirl right by the pot, hmmm, straight out with the shallow rig and into a good fish immediately, after a bit of a tussle, a 14lber was netted and I was back out looking for another - well I'd love to write about a simple day catching shallow, but that was the only bite on that rig, even though I tried it several times during the day.

I had two more on the paste in the first hour, giving me about 33lb, a decent start, but I know that on this lake the middle of the match can be tough..... and so it was, I couldn't get a bite on paste or pellet and I felt it wasn't worth messing about pumping pellets or opening corn.

I didn't want to go down the edge too early, but felt I was left with little option, so decided to try and pick a few fish off by toss potting meat in, its not a bait I have had much success with on this lake, but it did bring a couple of fish, as well as a perch and a skimmer. I was getting a lot of bites on it, some of which were liners and some was just shit fish attacking the meat.

With 2 hours to go, I put some GB and maggots in down the edge, to try and revive it, slightly deeper than I'd really like for fishing maggots, but needs must.  This brought a couple more fish, but I had to drag the bait up the steep slope to get a bite that was actually a carp, rather than a liner.

At 15.00 I saw a few bubbles over the paste line and dropped in and had two fish in quick succession, I then hooked something large, no idea how big, it wouldn't come up off the bottom and eventually did me under the pallet.  I had about 80lb on my clicker and was expecting to break the ton as the fishing got stronger in the last hour - what do I know, I had one fish in the last hour and a quarter, a 6lb common with 5 minutes to go.

No idea why it switched off, I wasn't the only one who had a dire last hour, that said my 89.03 was enough for the important section win and second on the day overall.  Well done to Joe who managed 119lb for the win off peg 17.

Todber Manor Open, Saturday 13th May 2017

Travelled down to this one with Tony Rixon, not sure it was a good idea of Mike West to sell him a 140 HP van, I'm used to a sedate drive in the gutless old Toyota and came home a little greyer after this one......

30 odd fishing this one, two lakes in, Ash and Hillview, I pulled 55 on Hillview and Tony 74 on Ash, couldn't have been more convenient for the parking as we were opposite each other across the road between the two lakes.  I had been intending to just take pellets and a few maggots for down the edge, but a conversation with Tony had me putting meat into my bait bag as well.

The wind was getting up as I tackled up, but I still got the waggler rod out of the bag and set up a method feeder, although I had no island or spit to chuck to.  4 rigs, one to fish pellet at 13m, although that wasn't likely to be an option for too long, as the wind was worsening. A lighter rig to fish pellet at 7 sections and a meat rig to fish at 5 sections. Finally as there was such a long and inviting edge, a Hillbilly AK47, I found a lovely flat area at about 11m with about 18" -2' of water, I was confident that I'd catch there later in the match.

I started at 13m, but it was slow going, with only tiny tench and very small stockies to show for it.  I had been flicking some meat in and that also seemed to attract a horde of micro tench, I started feeding by a pot and introducing more meat, this did result in more carp, but again just small ones and lots of missed bites.

A switch to 7 sections and pellet off to my right brought a reasonable run of fish, but again no quality, I switched back to the meat line looking for quality, as I could see Fred Roberts and Alex Murray on 56 & 57 both getting better stamp fish.  It seemed that nothing I did picked out the better stamp, I had tried upping the feed and this did stop the mini tench, but the size of the carp didn't improve.

The edge which had seemed so promising gave up one roach and the best carp of the day, one about 2lb. With hindsight I would have left the meat at home and fished two pellet lines, as suspected the stamp of fish cost me, as I was 5th on the lake and 8th overall, missing out on the section money by 6lb or so.

1st: Alex Murray 127lb 13oz (Peg 57 HV)
2nd: Tony Rixon 112lb 2oz (Peg 74 Ash)
3rd: Fred Roberts 106lb 0oz (Peg 56 HV)

Section A winner: Gary Oshea 96lb 1oz (Peg 69 Ash)
Section B winner: Steve Lee 96lb 12oz (Peg 42 HV)
Section C winner: Nick Merry 92lb 14oz (Peg 58 HV)

Silver's 1st: Ash Tomkins 35lb 12oz (Peg 75 Ash)
Silver's 2nd: Tony Rixon 24lb 8oz (Peg 74 Ash)
Silver's 3rd: Joe Shepherd 21lb 12oz (Peg 50 HV)

Viaduct Spring League Round 2, Sunday 7th May 2017

I drew 125 on Campbell for this one, I didn't feel it was a strong peg in the section, but I have won from it, so always a chance.  I set up a lead rod and a waggler rod, as well as 3 topkits, a Malman Roob for meat short, a NG slim for pellet at 14m and a edge rig, same one would do for both sides.

On the all-in I started on the short meat line, as did Ben on my right on 126 and Paddy on 124.  They both had early carp, whilst I matched them fish for fish, except mine were small skimmers...  I did eventually get one on the meat, but it was a one off.

I switched to the 14m pellet line and had two in two put in's, thinking that this was the answer, as we could see anglers on the opposite bank catching well, whereas us on124, 125 and 126 were struggling.  That too was a false dawn and no more fish were had from that line all day.

I could see fish moving across the peg, probably past the halfway mark, so I tried the waggler as far as I dare, but to no avail, same as the lead.  I got off my box and set up another lead rod to try bread popped up just below the surface, first chuck I had a fish and then nothing, a by now familiar pattern.

I had a couple more fish by persevering with the short meat line, but it was a slog for very little reward.  I fed both edges and tried them, I did have 20lb of tench and bream along with three big commons, but Ben was edging in front as he was catching on his meat line, we were both a long way behind those on the far bank.

I ended about where I thought I would, last but one, getting nowhere near the 217lb of match winner Dan Squires on 119, as I put 87.04 on the scales, this one will be my dropper!!!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Viaduct Costcutter, Thursday 4th May 2017

28 fishing today, so spread over Campbell & Cary, as per usual, the majority wanted to draw on Campbell.  Into the tin and out comes 86, so no Cambell again for me and whilst its a peg that has been a noted flier for years, it has a patchier record of late and with the wind pushing down towards the opposite end of the lake, I did fancy the look of 74.

At least the wind was favourable to fish a waggler today, so that was soon out of the bag, along with the obligatory lead rod, in fact I set up two!!  I had a thought on the way down that bread might be worth a go, so called into the shop and picked up a loaf.

3 topkits out of the bag, but after plumbing along the margin that turned into 4, as the margin was two different depths, there is a nice flat area where the bush used to be, but deeper water by the empty pallet of 87.  Shame the bush is gone, that was always a banker for a couple of lumps later in the match.  I decided to fish GB and maggot on the flat area and meat down to the pallet.

Two other topkits were simple, a Malman Roob to fish meat at 6 sections and a NG slim to fish pellet at 14m.  On the all in I started on bread, schoolboy error, I hadn't taken the clip off from Tuesday, oops, clip removed, new bread on and cast towards a fish that had topped.  When sinking the line I always hold the line in my fingertips to feel for any bites or liners and I felt the typical repeated gentle plucks of a bread bite.  A few minutes later, a 10lb common was netted, great start and I was patting myself on the back for sussing out they'd want bread.

20 biteless minutes later and the self congratulations were a distant memory, it appeared that bread wasn't to be the master tactic and I'd have to rely on something else. I switched to the waggler and that usually produces a few indications but was worryingly motionless for another 15 minutes.  I did strike at a small dip and had a fouler, I got it to the net, messed up the first chance to net it and then the hook pulled - typical.

I had been feeding the short meat line and a quick look on this before picking up the waggler had been bite free, but after feeding it for 50 minutes I dropped back on it and had a skimmer straight away.  Next drop in a carp of about 13lb, then a few more skimmers, but they would come in shorts bursts of one or two and then a quiet spell.  Another 13lb carp joined the party and I kept at this line, whilst pinging 6mm pellets to 14m. To rest it, I went out to 14m and tried 8mm & 6mm pellet on the hook, there was a little activity in the way of a few bubbles over the pellet, but no bites.

Jon Gray on 85 was having a similar day, finding it hard to put a run of fish together and also struggling to catch on pellet, maybe having no ripple on our short lines was a hindrance to fishes confidence.  The sun came out and a couple of fish came straight up, but they weren't real 'cruisers' and before I could get a mugging rig out, the wind was rippling the water from about 11m out and they were all past this.  Jon had tried to mug a couple, but they weren't interested.

I didn't feed the margins until 2 1/2 hours to go, as given the lack of feeding fish I didn't want to over do them. Back on the meat line and it really was hard work to get a couple more skimmers, very tricky to work out the feeding, too little and you wouldn't get a bite at all, a bit heavier and you get an immediate response, but then nothing again. I had one more carp from the meat line, about 8lb and by now was trying the margins.  The meat by the pallet of 87 was a non starter, never had a bite on it, the maggot/GB line did produce a small hybrid and a big carp spooked out after touching the line.

Refed the GB line with just GB and left it whilst trying to catch on the meat line, that did have a couple of carp come in over it, but just liners, I couldn't get them to go down on the deck and feed and they wouldn't take anything shallow.

Back onto the GB line for the last 20 minutes and straight after dropping the float in tight to the bank, saw the slight movement of water that gives away the presence of a big fish, float shot under and a big fish was heading towards peg 94 at a rate of knots....  After a nervy tussle, at times the fish was at the end of bottomed out orange Vespe and determined not to come in, I saw it, a long solid common, the last nail biting bit was getting it into the 20" landing net, it had to go in head first, I have tried to net these big commons tail first before and they can jump back out.

18lb of prime Cary beast.... fell to 6 maggots on a Guru XS 16 to 0.18 Stroft, my tried and tested combination for big fish,

That was the end of the action and I put 22.11 of skimmers on the scales for top silvers weight on the lake and a total of 86.14 for third on lake, beaten by 74 & 77 both had the wind and ripple, I'm sure that was a benefit on the day.  Well done to Ben Hagg on winning the match and the silvers from Cambell, that handed me the first in silvers money by default!!

The weather really needs to hurry up and warm the water up to carp spawning temperature, to allow them to get on with it and get back to feeding properly.

1. Ben Hagg - 179lb 2oz - peg 115
2. Steve Shaw - 142lb 9oz - peg 77...
3. Colin Dyer - 131lb 2oz - peg 114
4. Jon Darby - 123lb - peg 74
5. Dave White - 122lb 8oz - peg 129
6. Jim Butcher - 119lb 11oz - peg 132
7. John Young - 102lb 9oz - peg 125
8. Paul Morris - 94lb - peg 119

1. Ben Hagg - 27lb - peg 115
2. Chris Fox - 22lb 11oz - peg 86
3. Lee Pistachio - 21lb 7oz - peg 94
4. Jon Gray - 20lb 8oz - peg 85

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Acorn Costcutter, Tuesday 2nd May 2017

Was looking forward to another go at a Landsend costcutter, but Tony couldn't get enough interest to make it worthwhile.  So to keep the travelling down we settled on Acorn's regular costcutter, via the Bridge Inn at Yatton for breakfast, which was decent and huge!!

16 fishing, so the pegs were spread out, I pulled 9 out of the ping pong ball bag, Faiersy put the mockers on it when he said "you should win it from there"..... he also advised setting up a method feeder and I had brought a 9' Preston Mini Carp rod, so set that up first, not really expecting to use it.

Topkits assembled were a Hillbilly AK47 for down the edge, a homemade float for fishing across, I couldn't find a decent shelf in the shallow water, so had to settle on mid slope for a starting point.  Then a rig to fish on the shelf which was about 2 1/2' deep and finally a homemade 4x12 float for down the track.

Bait was simple, pellet and maggot, I did pump a few expanders and I started on these at topkit + 2, I fed a few micros and some 6mm hard pellets and had a bit of blowing nearly straight away, I managed 2 fish in 30 minutes from this line, with no other indication apart from the odd bubble.  There were some signs of fish shallow, so off my box and a shallow rig set up, but try as I might, I couldn't get a bite on it in the open water.

I had been feeding right across and saw an odd swirl there, so across with the shallow rig and I did get a couple of fish, but could only get a bite by having the float touching the far bank and set at 6".  Peg 5 was empty and Mark Walsh on peg 4 was fishing short, this gave the fish a lot of water to back off into and I could see them moving around tight to the far bank opposite peg 5.  I picked up the method and putting micros round it and a 6mm pellet on the hook, chucked it towards peg 5's far bank. That resulted in a motionless tip, so I switched to GB round the feeder and 3 dead reds on the hook, that saw 4 fish come to the net about 5 minutes apart, then I lost one at the net.  That was the end of that.

Given that GB and maggot had been best on the method, I toss potted some GB and maggot across to the far bank and had a couple of fish on banded maggot, but same as the other lines it didn't last long.  For the last two hours I really struggled, I tried all lines again for no return at all and with 15 minutes to go I finally saw some activity down the edge.  I had two more fish in the last 15 minutes, shame the edge fish showed up so late.

I weighed 60lb odd for nowhere, as further down the lake the weights were better, I think my weight was top from 37 round to 13, so not many fish at this end of the lake for some reason.

Top on the day was Ray Bazeley with 123lb on peg1, followed by Tony Rixon on 21 with 111lb.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Viaduct Open, Monday 1st May 2017

Back to Viaduct today, Cary and Lodge in for this one and I was hoping for a draw on Cary.  Missed getting to my usual position at the front of the draw queue as I was chatting to Nicky Ewers and Gary O'Shea, as we approached the tin I said to Nicky one peg I have never drawn is 53, that was after someone suggested 55 would have my name on it.  Well, after today, I can't say I have never drawn 53, as it was to be my home for the day.....

I hadn't realised just how restricted you are on this peg, plenty of water down to the left, but go more than a bout 7 sections out and you are sharing water with 73.

Given how its been fishing, I set up the usual edge rig, short meat rig, rig to fish banded pellet and an extra one, a wire stemmed NG Gimp to fish worm/maggot/soft pellet over a micro and worm, just a try to catch anything swimming line!!

A lead rod was assembled, as well as a waggler rod, with a small pellet waggler to fish down towards the two pots on the end bank.

On the all in I fed the worm and micros, then tried a negative meat line at 6 sections, didn't have to wait too long for a bite, not the expected carp, but a hybrid about a pound and a half, oddly it offered no fight, unusual for a hybrid.  Then a skimmer followed, but nothing hectic and that was 30 minutes gone. A look over the micros/worm line was frustratingly fruitless, apart from a 3oz rudd. 

I had been pinging pellets down to the end bank and picked up the waggler, just as well there wasn't anyone sensitive sat by me, the willow tree trailing fronds meant that it took 4 or 5 casts to get one sat in the right place (which was between the posts, virtually touching the RH post).  It didn't take too long for the willow tree to claim its first victim and my Preston loaded waggler looked like some sort of angling themed Christmas decoration, dangling from the branches.

New float on and first chuck fish round the post, it managed to do the old chub trick of transferring the hook from its mouth to a snag and a new hooklength was required. Next chuck a bite, fish hit and no quarter given, it come out from between the posts and was finally netted at 12.30, next chuck, the willow claimed another float, although this time the line broke and it dropped into the water, giving some hope of getting it back.  Set up again and a few chucks later that one was also gone, I really couldn't be arsed to set up again and lose more.

I did try the lead down there, but had two liners and nothing else.  Back onto the pole and I dropped the worm from the micro feed and did have a short run of skimmers when the sun when in and a ripple got up, but they were small and as soon as the ripple went, so did the bites.

I had fed the margins, LH with meat, RH with GB and maggot with 2 hours to go and waited until 15.45 until trying them, first drop in on the LH side saw a 8lb fish netted, then two more fish in the next two drop ins, but they were 12oz tench.  The RH edge appeared devoid of fish and I managed a coupe more on meat from the LH edge, but to no avail, I was going to be nowhere near the money and my 40lb total was hard won, it never felt like there were many fish in the peg.

I did manage to retrieve two floats, one floated back to me, the other I managed to walk round and using my longest landing net handle and weed cutter to get the dangling decoration out of the tree - I hate leaving tackle and especially line behind.

1. Gordon Cannings - 100lb 14oz - peg 56
2. Ziggy Slowinski - 97lb 11oz - peg 86...
3. Nigel Easton - 92lb 1oz - peg 74
4. Nigel Alford - 81lb 11oz - peg 78
5. Jamie Parkhouse - 74lb 6oz - peg 68
6. David Turberville - 71lb 4oz - peg 62

1. Tony Gilbert - 37lb 12oz - peg 73
2. Nigel Bartlett - 21lb 14oz - peg 64

Norm's Open, Viaduct, Saturday 29th April 2017

55 fishing this one and virtually everyone was looking for a draw on Campbell, I did manage one, although I think its still a little early for the peg I drew, 132, to fish consistently. 

Simple options for today, 3 topkits, one for meat short, a slim homemade wire stemmed float that takes just 3x11shot, to fish meat short, a 0.2g NG float to fish pellet at 14m and a Hillbilly AK47 to fish down the RH edge and to the end bank.  I also set up a lead rod and waggler rod, although getting to the pallet of 133 is tricky now as the willow tree has enough annoying fronds that stop me casting accurately, the only way to get a float there is a sideways cast, which isn't - when I'm doing it - as accurate as overhead.

Starting quite negatively on the short meat line saw me put 3 carp for 34lb and about 6lb of silvers in the net in the first hour, then the wheels came off!!  I couldn't get a bite anywhere in the peg, no liners, no sign of fish at all. After about 2 1/2 hours I did get one on a 6mm pellet at 14m, this was the only bite on this line all day.

I had fed meat up the RH edge and groundbait with maggot at 16m to the end bank to see what was best.  Dropping in to the RH edge, I had two fish in two put ins and then nothing, I went to the end bank, 6 maggots on a 16 and had a bite straight away, it must have been the smallest carp in the lake, doubt if it weighed a lb.  Next drop in an 8lb fish, then nothing, just as the RH edge.

Back to the short line and I had a couple more skimmers and another carp, but it was one of those days when taking more than two fish from one line turned out to be impossible.  Back to the maggots against the end bank and a perch was the next and  last fish I had from there, not a good sign.  I had one more carp from the RH edge with 5 minutes to go, but it was not enough to do anymore than put me 12th out of the 55 fishing.

1. Phil Weaver - 144lb 15oz - peg 121
2. Steve Shaw - 138lb 13oz - peg 110...
3. Shawn Wilson - 135lb 4oz - peg 85
4. Ken Rayner - 133lb 4oz - peg 114
5. Dave Romain - 129lb 5oz - peg 123
6. Alex Murray - 126lb 1oz - peg 116

Monday, 24 April 2017

Viaduct Spring League Round One, Sunday 23rd April 2017

Travelled down with anniversary couple, Tony & Judith Rixon, who both had conveniently left their wallet and purse at home, so anniversary breakfast on me..... Cannards Well, it wasn't too bad, service was a bit slow, but the food was edible.

54 fishing the league and a good standard of angler, so no slip ups, drawing a bad peg isn't an option really, so into the tin and out comes 57 - so much for getting Lodge out of the way yesterday!!   Well its in with 53 and isn't the worst section draw but I felt the chance of any sort of frame position was gone.

Tony had drawn 71, my peg from yesterday, I wasn't too upset not to draw it two days running, I had seen Roland catch a few from 57 yesterday, so fingers crossed they were still in the peg. Rigs were pretty much the same as yesterday, but I could get into shallower water today, in front of the pallet of 58and down to the pipe that comes in in the corner, same rig would do for both.

Same as yesterday, start short on meat, but again, no sign of a carp, just one missed bite and one skimmer.  Bob Giles on 59 was catching on the waggler casting to the aerator, I was casting to the aerator, but my float was motionless, its a phenomenon that I can't understand, how its possible to have two floats landing either side of a rope and one going under and the other motionless- seen it happen on this lake before.  I did finally hook a big fish, I got it under the rod tip and estimate it was 17 or 18lb.  I thought I was going to net it OK, when it took off and the reel line snapped - not happy, a new line (to me) that I was trying out, think I'll be going back to good old Sensor.

With an hour and a half gone I had one skimmer in the net and it was deja vu from yesterday, I had been pinging a few bits of meat down to the pipe and had a look down there, hooking a fish straight away, safely landed, about 8lb.  I went in there again and hooked another, this was foul hooked and ran out into the lake and kept going, as the elastic bottomed out I was getting concerned as to what would break first.  Then luckily the hook pulled before there was an expensive crack, I was somewhat surprised to see the hook opened up, first time I have seen a Guru XS do this, but it was a very big fish, going very fast.

The rest of the match was spent at 16m to the pallet of 58 taking an occasional fish from there, mostly on meat, but I did take two on maggots.  I could see the lake was fishing hard apart from Bob Giles and I thought Calum Craig on 73 was catching well, but I think he lost a few when I saw him weigh in. I managed 73.11in the end which was good enough for second in section behind Bob Giles who had such a flying start.  Miles away from the 4 200lb+ weights on Campbell, but its a better start than last year, so long may it continue.

Lodge weigh sheet, didn't get pics of the others.

Viaduct Open, Saturday 22nd April 2017

First chance to get down to Viaduct for a while, bit of a practise for the Spring League the next day and hopefully, as this match was on Lodge, to get it out the way and draw another lake in the league.  Only 14 booked in, so it didn't take long to get the draw done and I was on my way to peg 71, not too disappointed, as I have framed from this peg before.  Getting to the peg, I could immediately see that since I last drew it the bramble bushes between 71 and 72, which was vacant, had spread out into the lake and you can no longer get along to the pallet of 72 and they stop you getting into the shallow water, so the peg no longer has a fishable margin.

I did have a tentative plumb round the edge of the brambles, but their tackle stealing fronds stick out under the surface and I was very, no totally reluctant to go in there, as I know exactly what would happen if a fish was hooked that close to such a tangle of sinewy nastiness.  As I had time I set up a lead rod, that stayed in sweet repose on the bank all match, so no more about it, no idea why I wasted my time setting it up..... Two wagglers, although that was because they ready made and I wasn't convinced a pellet waggler would work, but I set it and a depth waggler up anyway.

4 topkits completed the array of tackle on display, a rig to go near, but not in the brambles, a home made slim wire stemmed float to fish meat at 6m and a NG float to fish pellet at 7m and 14m.   As the sun was threatening to come out I also set up mugging rig.

I started short on the meat hoping to get an early mug fish, but after 20 minutes without any indication I switched to pellet at 14m, this brought a skimmer, but it was painfully slow going.  A couple more skimmers swapping between 7 and 14 metre lines and a couple on the waggler, but it was impossible to put a run of fish together.  I walked up to the shop and bought a bag of Thatchers, to try and get a few more skimmers.  I mixed this up and put it in at 7m with a few chopped worms and went out on the waggler again, I managed a carp about 8lb, but it was a one off.

Dropping in with a worm section, over the GB saw a couple of skimmers come to the net and then a 6lb carp, but it was not much better than the pellet line, I persevered with it as carp seemed unlikely to show up.  Even the expected carp bonanza in the last 1/2 hour didn't materialise, so it was sit and wait for a skimmer, maybe I should have fished for skimmers the whole match as I chucked back the 2 carp and weighed 25.13 for 3rd in the silvers and nowhere in the match.

1. Mark Cullerton - 174lb 8oz - peg 66
2. Roland Lucas - 143lb 3oz - peg 57...
3. Craig Edmunds - 140lb 1oz - peg 68
4. Charlie Dalton - 100lb 7oz - peg 55
5. Jeb Attwood - 75lb 14oz - peg 73
6. Phil Hardwick - 73lb 4oz - peg 64

1. Nigel Bartlett - 32lb 15oz - peg 59
2. Matt Tomes - 31lb 4oz - peg 60
3. Chris Fox - 25lb 13oz - peg 71

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Landsend Costcutter, Tuesday 18th April 2017

Travelled down to this one with Tony, a stop off at Shipham for breakfast and it wasn't too bad.  Tony is trying to get this to be a monthly match, but support is a bit thin on the ground with only 8 fishing this one, be good if it took off and gave an alternative Tuesday venue.

Match lake was all ours, so the pegging was spread around to give everyone some space, I dipped into the tub and pulled out 13, not a peg I usually draw and first time on that side of the lake for a long time.  I had Tony next to me on 15 and Gordon Canning opposite on 11.

Four rigs set up, a margin rig which would cover just down to my left under the bushes, further along the end bank and RH edge.  A homemade float with 4x11 stotz to fish meat through the water at 5m, a Drennan crystal dibber to fish across to the island and a rig to fish pellet at full depth.

Bait tray was simple, pellet and meat, I did have a few dead maggots and the best part of a Kilo of worms, left over from the Frenzee festival.  Starting short on meat, I missed one bite, but that was the only indication and after 15 minutes It was over to the island, which is 16.5 metres away, so in for a back aching day...... There were fish visible across in 12" of water, but as expected I had a couple and they just melted away.  Tony had a good view of them and said they came back when I took the pole away and disappeared as soon as the pole went out again.

It was fishing fairly hard all round and I tried the line immediately to my left under the bushes and had a small carp from there, but that was a one off.  Back on the short meat line and all I could get from there were little knocks and a 8oz roach.

With a couple of hours gone and everyone struggling I decided to chop up a few worms and start a new line at 11m feeding just neat worm.  This gave me some bites, a perch, then a carp, a 8oz hybrid and then a run of small perch.  I tried going back over to the island, but my shoulder was complaining at holding 17m on an angle, even the painkillers weren't working, so gave that up.

I tried GB and maggots along the end bank and meat down the RH edge, never had a bite on the RH edge and one perch from the endbank.   I did manage a couple more carp from immediately to my LH side under the bushes, but there were no indications of many fish there, just a bite out of the blue.  I did get a decent skimmer over the worm, but he appeared to be a lonesome soul, as I never got another.

I just kept rotating round all the lines until the last half hour when I stuck it out on the 5m meat line for a couple of big roach, a hybrid and two carp, Tony had been catching across and I knew he'd caught me up and overtaken me in the last 90 minutes and the scales proved this to be the case, with Tony being the only angler breaking the ton today. 

1: Tony Rixon  102.04 peg 15
2: Chris Fox 74.00 peg 13
3: Dave Blakemore 73.07 peg 18
4: Rich Heatley  59.01 peg 6
5: Adam Palmer 55.03 peg 24
6: Gordon Canning  43.08 peg 11


1: Gordon Canning 28.02 peg 11

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Ivy House Open, Tuesday 11th April 2017

Its been a while since I visited Andy Lloyd & Karens's fishery, not for any other reason than weekend clashes and it can be a pretty horrendous journey on a weekday.  As it is the school holidays Tony Rixon and myself decided the roads would be clear enough not to endure a 2 hour trip like the last time we went.

The roads weren't too bad and it took an hour which passed with the usual fishing talk and putting the world to rights, got there in plenty of time for a large breakfast & coffee. Andy had 17 booked in and was looking for volunteers to fish a section on Kingfisher, the recently filled and stocked canal lake.  I said I'd give it a go, as did Tony, a couple of others did and Gary Ethridge was late so was conscripted into the canal section.

The canal has a large head of small carp and a selection of decent silvers, so hopefully a few bites to be had.  Into the tub and out comes peg 10, meant nothing, but it had been the 'cold' end of the lake when Tony & I walked it before the draw.  Peg 6 was rumoured to be the flier, regular Val drew that, Tony on 4 and Gary managed to pull himself 12, the end peg.

Simple approach today, stockie fish like pellets, so the bait tray had 4 & 6mm pellets on it, I did have a tin of corn and some dead maggots, as well as a kilo of worms, which had been brought expecting to be fishing the match lake.  Four rigs today, of which two were used, first was a Hillbilly Chump 0.3  on 0.16 to 0.14 with a 18 LEG and a hair rig band, this was for fishing short.  Next set up was a float I used on 4 out of 5 days during the Frenzee festival, a homemade diamond with a carbon stem - its amazingly stable in the wind or tow.  This was on 0.15 (just using up some old Powerline I had lying round) to a 0.12 hooklength and a 18 LWG again with a band,

I did set up a rig to fish across and found a shelf tight to the far bank at 16m, but never went over there, so no more about that one.... Also a margin rig, which I did try for about 5 minutes, but had seen no signs of fish, so that was all that had.

On the all in I started at topkit + 1 and had bites straight away feeding 4mm pellets with a 6mm in the band, I took the +1 off and still caught on the topkit, I stayed with this, not feeding anywhere else for the first hour, taking 45 small carp, reviewing it on the hour mark, I decided to keep going and put 40 in the net in the second hour.  To encourage bites when it slowed I put an occasional nugget of micros in on top of the float, but too much just seemed to send them scatty.

By the start of the third hour, things had slowed considerably, I could see Gary on 12 still catching, but he was feeding caster and I felt some caster or live maggot would have been the thing to revive my peg.  As usual Gary was topkit at arms length, stood up, loads of elastic out and I thought he was getting better stamp fish, turns out he wasn't, he was just using No1 Zim or something similar....

I went out to the joint of 6/7 section resting on my knee and fed some micros and 4mm, trying 6mm and corn over the top, this was a lot slower and only 15 fish came to the net in the third hour - not having maggots was costing me I felt.  I switched between the topkit line and the middle and there was enough bites and activity to keep my trying to increase the frequency, rather than go right across.

I had made up some GB to try down the edge, I wasn't confident as there is no flat ledge along the margin, just a steeply shelving slope.  I decided with about 40 minutes to go to dump a pot of this down the track over the micro line, GB and dead maggot.  I went over this with a hair rigged worm section and immediately started catching skimmers and bream, bugger why didn't I do that earlier!!!
I had 4 or 5 and then it slowed up, I topped up and immediately hooked a 5lb carp, which ran around the peg for a few minutes on the 0.12 and No8 elastic. I didn't have a bite for 20 minutes after that and then had two more decent skimmers in the last 5 minutes.

It turns out I should have tried the GB earlier, as I put 71.10 on the scales for 3rd and was 6.14 away from Tony who took the win, poor decision making cost me this match, but it was interesting and whilst I wouldn't want to fish for carp that small all the time, I am going to try and get back before too long, as the combination of a couple of hours frantic topkit thrashing followed by some trying to get the big skimmers makes for an enjoyable day.  Its good news that Andy and Karen didn't sell up, they are now working hard to improve the fishery and attract anglers to matches, there is a Thursday Costcutter every week on Kingfisher if you fancy plenty of bites.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Landsend Open Sunday 9th April 2017

27 fishing today, so match lake and No3 lake in, I wasn't thinking about pegs to draw or not draw, as that seems to have a detrimental effect and I never draw where I fancy.  So first into the tub and out comes 41 on lake, usually worth a few fish, but they can be small.

Simple bait tray for today, meat and hard pellets and a couple of bags of dead maggots, along with some groundbait for the margin.  The spit is an obvious place to target, but as mentioned, the fish are small, its also a horrible bottom to plumb up, as it goes up and down like a sine wave.  I set up a simple homemade float to fish pellet on the flattest bit of bottom I could find. 0.16 hooklength and a 16 LWG hook with a band, with the intention of fishing 6mm pellet and feeding 4mm.

I also set up a meat rig to fish short, a Malman Roob, again a 0.16 hooklength, this time with a 16 Kaizen hook.  A wire stemmed NG Gimp to fish pellet on the deck out to the aerator, another 16 LWG and a band.  Two edge rigs, as the LH margin and RH margin are very different depths, the RH being 18" - 2' deeper.  Finally a rig for mugging, as Tim Ford and Paul Faiers opposite could see lots of cruisers, although they weren't showing my side of the rope.

I started in the open water on the deck fishing 6mm pellet, feeding 4mm pellet by catapult, first drop in  I had an F1, then a roach, then a hybrid and several more roach. I hadn't come to catch roach, so swapped to the line against the spit, which I had been feeding since the off. This produced a run of F1's and a couple of small carp, but this was also going nowhere fast.  I saw a couple of bigger fish and they wouldn't go down and pick up a pellet, so a switch to the shallow rig was in order, but this only saw a couple of fish netted and the bigger ones were having none of it.

I started feeding the RH margin, as it was deeper I fed it with 8mm pellet and meat and had an early look, I did have 2 fish from it and hooked a third, which was a good fish, but it was plodding around and then caught me out by heading to my left and into the weed bed between 41 and 42, as soon as it touched the weedbed the 0.18 hooklength gave up - bugger!  I was surprised to find that this put an end to the bites down this edge, as the fish was lost so far from the fed area.

Back across to the spit and a couple more F1's and a small carp were netted, before I fed the LH margin with GB and maggots.  Virtually instantly there were signs of fish and whilst I left it settle for 15 or 20 minutes, I couldn't resist and went in there amongst the swirls.  I had three fish straight away, biggest just about a double, but then swirls stopped.  I had another fish, but rather than several in there at once I had to wait for a fish to come along.  I did refed it and leave it, going back in the RH margin and taking a couple more on meat, before going back over the GB in the last half hour and managing another double.

I thought I had about 125lb and it turned out I wasn't too far out, putting 133.02 on the scales for a lake win (and happy that Tony was paying it continental style, with the lake winners rather than overall winner picking up).  Enjoyable day, it was bloody cold sat in the shade all day, but at least I had a few bites and something to work at.  Beaten by two weights on Match lake, Tony Rixon and Gary O'Shea weighing 185 and 150 respectively.

1: Tony Rixon 185.15 peg 6
2: Gary O'Shea 150.02 peg 5
3: Chris Fox 133.02 peg 41
4: Ryan Radford 132.13 peg 16
5: Joe McMahon 1177.07 peg 1
6: Shawn Townsend 110.07 peg 46

Sunday, 2 April 2017

England Disabled Team Fund Raiser, Barston Lake, 2nd April 2017

I had been looking forward to getting back up to Barston, this time a fund raiser organised by Terry Swan, in aid of the England disabled team.  Decent run up with Tony Rixon and good breakfast at the Premier Inn.

I drew peg 45, it is on a little point where the lake overflow into the stream is, so does put you out slightly further in the lake.  Whilst I was tackling up I could see a carper on the opposite bank casting a big white thing out, then winding back in what looked like a dead seagull - I found out later that was a Spomb - I'm still none the wiser really........

I set up a method to fish about 65 yards and a bomb to fish at 30yards, a pellet waggler and two rigs, one for 14m and banded 4mm's and finally off to the LH side at 11m with GB, worm and caster.

To cut a long story short I had one roach after about 2 1/2 hours and had to walk back to the golf clubhouse to take advantage of the facilities, this let me know it was fishing hard,  when I got back I had on skimmer on a hybrid pellet feeder and a chocolate orange wafter, that was it, nothing else - an awful days fishing.

Not much else to add, a decent run back, after checking the lottery and finding that our luck was out as well, so a barren day in the van today,

Upwards and onwards, I'll try and find a match I fancy next Sunday.

Frenzee Festival, Whitacres, March 27th - 31st 2017

After last years disastrous Bait Tech festival, I was looking forward to this to try and make sure that this year was more successful.

Travelled down on Saturday and met up with lodge mates Paul & Glenn in the cafĂ© at Whitacres, also Dave Stephenson was there.  After a decent breakfast we headed onto Pollawyn for a practice session, me and Paul headed for one of the points and fished 19 & 20, Glenn and Dave went round to the high bank.   We had a lovely afternoons fishing, I mainly fished meat short and caught skimmers, Barbel, F1's and Carp. Paul had some huge F1's that must have gone 5 or 6lb each.  He also had this Barbel which was 6-7lb.

The usual Saturday night social in the bar and then onto Sunday, decided to have a fish on Acorn, that was tough going, but we did end up with a reasonable day once we sussed out the F1's were shallow. I had bought a couple of packets of the new Guru Kaizen hooks to try whilst practising, not intending to use something untried in the festival, but I was so impressed by them, that I did use them in the matches.

Onto the festival itself, I had drawn in the same section rotation as Paul and Glenn, first time that had happened, we had the rotation of Monday on Pollawyn, Tuesday on Twin Oaks / Trelawny, Wednesday on Jennys / Trewaters, Thursday on Canal / Acorn & Python and Friday was Bolingey.

The draw put me on 21 on Pollawyn, the next peg to where I fished on Saturday, Paul drew 20, so we felt that we knew how to catch, as the short meat line had been so prolific.  I could also reach the point of the spit, so set up a rig to fish tight against it in about 2' of water. I set up waggler and lead as well as the same rig I had all the fish on Saturday.  I started across against at 16m the island with meat and had a carp about 5lb straight away, then a F1 and then hooked a big carp, which took ages to get back from 16m I got it down to the topkit and saw it, I'd estimate 18lb, then inexplicably, as sometimes happens, the hook pulled and that was my bonus fish gone.

I managed to catch more F1's across and a few skimmers and a 12lb carp on the short line, but it was nothing like practice day, as the F1's and Barbel didn't show up on that short line at all.  I weighed 57.02 which was enough to win the section and 4th on the lake, that lost fish costing me a third place. (Top three on the lake are paid out and section winners).

Tuesday saw me draw peg 12 on Twin Oaks, not an out and out flyer, but not the worst draw, I set up two lead rods, two wagglers one deep and one shallow, a margin rig and rig for meat short. Starting across on the lead was pretty unproductive, either with bread or meat, I did have one fish and a switch to the waggler wasn't any better.  Peg 14 was catching well and I was falling behind, I had to try and make something happen, so I started firing pouchfulls of corn across and fished corn on the waggler, this made a big difference and I started to catch - mainly F1's, but the odd carp.  The short line was totally dead until the last 30 minutes where I put 5 more carp in the net. Peg 14 won the section, with 172lb, I put 124.06 on the scales and was 12lb behind 2nd place, but I only managed 4th, so an earlier switch to corn may well have seen me get a couple of extra points.

Wednesday, I was hoping for a draw on Jenny's as Trewaters is a bit of a bogie venue for me, it wasn't to be and 31 Trewaters was home for the day and I had Paul for company on 29.  The wind was right to fish 16m and long line, but I didn't set it up, as my shoulder is buggered up and there is no way I can swing that around all day. There were some old bulrushes on the far bank, I could see them knocking, these lakes with islands are my least favourite and I hate the way the fish stick so tight to them.

First cast with bread and the tip went round as I was sinking the line, a small carp, then another, but typically for this lake, that was it, I fished the waggler across and had a couple more, but they would back off into the rushes and casting tight to the rushes meant the wove their way into the back of the stick-ups and snagging everything up.

The short line was totally non productive and I did manage a couple down the edge towards the end, I just had to keep leaving the far bank and then going back to it and taking an odd fish.  I knew the pole at 16m with about 6m of line would be better, but couldn't risk making my shoulder so bad I couldn't fish the rest of the week.  I ended up with 60.09 and the same points as Tuesday.

I got back to the lodge and then discovered that Paul's van had broken down leaving Trewaters, so me and Glenn went down to find him.  Couldn't do anything to help, I hadn't taken any tools or my code reader. It sounded like there was no fuel getting through,  The tow truck took him off to the garage, where the next day they informed him the cambelt had snapped...... ouch.

Thursday I drew 19 Canal, Alex Nadin had popped down for a couple of days staying with his dad and he was good enough to give Paul and Glenn a lift to the lakes.

Having listened to Trigger who won his section on Canal earlier in the week, so I set up to fish meat short, I also set up a waggler, a lead and a long line, as well as a shallow rig and one at 2/3 depth.  Starting on meat short was a good move, as I caught steadily for a couple of hours, then I started missing bites and had a couple of foulers.  A switch to the 2/3 depth rig resulted in a few more fish, before the same happened.  Switching again to the shallow rig saw a few more fish netted.  I wasn't sure how much I had in the net, so dropped another in - kiss of death - had to switch to chucking a waggler and corn down the peg to get an odd fish for the last couple of hours.  I weighed 63.08 for a section win and third on the lakes.

Friday, the draw was at Bolingey, I took Glenn and Allan Oram was good enough to take Paul, I drew 25, not too over joyed, but then found I had no one either side and loads of room.

I set the usual, lead, waggler and long, short and an edge rig on the pole.  Two chucks with the lead and bread, not so much as a liner and up the bank with it.  A look on the short line saw me get off to a great start, 42lb on the clicker in the first hour, carp and big F1's, I did think a big weight might be on the cards.  The second hour knocked that back, as I put one carp and one F1 in the net for 12lb, the third hour was as bad. Luckily the 5m line came back to life in the last couple of hours and I had a few from the margin. I fed both sides, one with maggot and one with corn and meat, the maggot line just produced roach, so no more about that.

The LH edge produced 4 or 5 fish, but there wasn't loads of fish there, the 5m line was better and there was some bubbles and signs of fish there towards the end, shame about the quiet mid section of the match, as I put 132.14 on the scales, which was second in section behind peg 10 which won the section 4 days out of 5.  That was also enough for 3rd on the lake, so a pickup again to end the week.

Shame I couldn't have nicked a couple more points on Twin Oaks as that would have seen me scrape into the top ten, I guess I can't complain at 19th as I have a had a good weeks fishing in great company, thanks to Lodge mate Paul and Glenn, the evening company in the bar, Steve and Alex Nadin, Chris Albiston, Dave Stephenson and all the others from our local circuit and those I only see at big matches or Whiteacres.

I guess I'll have to get booked on the Preston Festival now.......