Sunday, 20 December 2009

Frozen Viaduct - Carps AC Xmas Match 20/12/09

Today was only my fourth visit to Viaduct, the previous three occasions being a trip to see it for the first time, before the 2008 Fish'o'mania qualifier, Kev Perry gave me the guided tour and then proceded to get a Carp a chuck, whilst I had a Skimmer a chuck, on Campbell.

The second visit was for the Fish'o'mania qualifier, I drew spring, peg 20, but it was one past the island, I had a Skimmer first chuck, several more and not much else, the lake didn't fish that day and got greener and greener as the day wore on, some type of algae bloom I guess. The third visit was a Carps Wednesday match on the Match lake, IIRC correctly, I was 7th, with 48lb odd.

So today was a different prospect, the cold weather was bound to make it fish hard and the icy minor roads from the A37 to Viaduct just emphasised the point. As I cautiously drove down the lane to the draw, I could see that the lakes were frozen and it looked pretty thick. I'd already made my mind up that I would fish for a bite and then take it from there. The chatter about the best pegs to draw meant nothing to me, being a venue novice, I'm pretty convinced that its a good thing, no preconcieved ideas, I can just fish every peg as if its the best (or worst) on the lake.

The drawbag (or more precisely, the empty Nescafe tin)was going round, I purposely got near the back of the queue, my drawing arm, whilst it has been notoriously poor since the 70's, seems to have become even worse lately. So a change of tactic, I usually like to get in there at the start, last week and this I've hung back, with a slight improvement in results. Peg 125 on Cary was staring at me when I opened the peg card, I'd pretty much made up my mind to fish for roach, so I didn't think that it would matter too much where I drew.

I'd been meaning to make an ice breaker all week, I have some rope and a short length of chain ready, but in my usual disorganisation, didn't get round to it - how foolish and how expensive!! I managed to break the No 1 section of my Garbolino carbon landing net handle and as the ice was ¾" - 1" thick in the margin (and out to about 2m), I decided that the ideal tool to smash this would be my feeder arm, the knuckle assembly looking chunky enough to do the job. They don't make plastic like they used to!! all of the 'business end' of the feeder arm which attaches it to the box or platform leg, now resides at the bottom of Cary. I'm pissed off about the landing net handle, but the feeder arm was a bit naff any way, I was going to buy one of the ones with a second, bracing leg.

I set up two rigs, a Malman Winter Wire 4x12, on 0.13, with a 0.10 hooklength and a 22 Gamma Black, more in hope than expectation, I also set up a MW slim power on 0.15, to a 0.13 hooklength. I'd managed to break the ice to about 11m, so fed the 11m line and one at 3m, I only fed a couple of casters and squatts, with squatt on the hook, after half an hour of no bites, I started to introduce a roach groundbait mix on the 11m line and dropped to a 24 on 0.08. For four hours I alternated between the lines, I did try the heavier rig with double caster, single caster and double maggot, all to no avail.

At 2 o'clock the angler on 127 packed up, many were blanking, myself included, although the guy on 123 had caught small fish steadily all day, he said afterwards "I threw some maggots on the short line and they went on the ice, I saw small fish rising for them but they couldn't get to them". I hadn't seen a fish all day, apart from an occasional glance at 123, but at 2.15 with an hour to go the float went under, the blank saved and a small roach had taken the single squatt. I had a bite most put ins from then until the end and had I been bothered to get another top kit with some lighter elastic in, I may well have landed some that I bumped. The last hour helped erase the feeling of cold and the memory of the four biteless hours, I wasn't the only one, a few who were blanking caught in the last hour, although some didn't catch until 20 minutes from the end.

The weights were poor, quite why it took the roach until mid afternoon to switch on (except in peg 123), the water temp didn't change (a constant 4°C at 2' and 1°C at 6") the air temp did rise, but then the sun went behind clouds and a light wind gave a cold chill factor.

It wasn't hard work for the scalesmen and it didn't take too long to work out the results, the usual Xmas fare of meat and bottles of booze were lined up on the table, those that blanked had the order in which they collected the prize, decided by age, oldest first.

I must get back to Viaduct when the weather warms up. Spare a thought for Rich Coles, he drew peg 132 and blanked, he is convinced he'll never draw it again!!

1) A Perkins 3-10 peg 123
2) G Cannings 1-13 peg 85
3) N McMahon 1-10 peg 112
4) B Feltham 0-14 peg 80
5) C Fox 0-09 peg 125
=6)A Oram 0-07 peg 118
=6)C Golding 0-07 peg 78

Monday, 14 December 2009

Clevedon FWAC Christmas Match 13/12/09.

Its that time of year again, when we go home feeling chuffed to bits with a 3 quid bottle of wine, a box of biscuits and a case of beer, that actually cost 25 or 30 quid in match ticket and pools, another tenners worth of bait, the fuel to get there and several quid on raffle tickets......

Not that I'm moaning, I quite like the Christmas matches, the banter, the meeting up with old friends and its a reminder of the old days when a sizeable section of the competitors would socialise in the bar after nearly every match.

The last couple of years has seen the Kenn in very patchy form for the Xmas match and sadly this year was no exception, the frost that had been forecast earlier in the week failed to show and the day started off overcast. With the water fairly clear, the grey sky was a blessing, although the fish didn't realise that the conditions were good!!

The draw took place at Warrens caravan park, plenty of familiar faces, including a fair smattering of my team mates from Sensas Thyers. As usual, an end peg was the fervent wish as hands dipped into the draw bucket, as usual, I drew one smack bang in the middle of the section, peg 43. Kev Perry put his hand in and said "this is an end peg", which of course, when he opened it, it was, downstream end peg in my section.....

The river was a fair way down, so I set up on the bank, before clambering down into the clay quagmire. A 6 No6 stick float on 2.5lb line, with a 1.5lb hooklength, to which was attached a size 20 gamma black. A straight lead, with a size 16 B611, to 2.5lb ultima silk and two pole rigs, a 2g flat float, .11 hooklength with an 18 B611 and a 0.6g Jean Francios Desque wire stem, to a 1lb hooklength and a 22 B511. As luck would have it, there was a large slab of concrete in the peg, I managed to slide this into position in the 12" of sludgy clay, so that the front platform legs would sit on it.

Nice simple bait tray, bread (for punch)caster, maggot, pinkie and a few squatts. The clarity of the river (I has taken the dog for a walk along the match length on Friday, so was prepared!!) had made my decision to start on the punch, but I also fed a few casters across. It looked ideal to start on the stick float, a method I love fishing, but sadly get far too little opportunity, so some liquidised bread was fed just short of halfway across and the stick float with a small piece of punch was soon following it through the swim.

The wind was gently pushing across river from behind, even at times across and a degree or two upstream, not hindering and even assisting with the presentation and third trot down saw the float dip, bugger missed bite. Next run through and about 15 yards down the peg, the float eased under and a 2 oz roach was in the net, another bite a few trots later, a couple more trots through and another fish. It wasn't going to be a bad day after all, was it? 25 minutes in with 3 roach and the odd bite, I lifted the rod into a bite and thought I had snagged, the snag then started to move, this was a good fish, determind to get away, it took 10 more yards of line before I could turn it, it then ran upstream and past me. It had to be a tench, I've had them over 5lb from the Kenn and they do put up a hell of a scrap on light gear.

I managed to turn the fish and it was coming towards me after 5 or 6 minutes of gentle pressure, the stick float and shot were rising from the water, like something of Arthurian legend, I was thinking about reaching for the landing net, when the hook pulled......

Not to worry, I'll carry on now and catch a few more roach, was the thought, the reality was that for over four hours I tried, the stick and punch / pinkie / caster and maggot, even a single squatt, both pole rigs and the straight lead, as well as a tiny feeder with liccy and punch - all to no avail. Several bank walkers who were blanking appeared at intervals throughout the match, it was fishing hard. Then someone told me that Kev had a Bream - no surprise there, he must have some hypnotic influence on them.

With the match finishing at 3.15pm, I decided that a straight lead approach for the final ¾ hour was the best chance of getting the elusive bonus fish and so it proved, at 3.08pm the tip curled round and soon after a bream around the 5lb mark was into the keepnet. One red and one white maggot doing the trick. A last cast failed to give me another one, but at least I would be in with a shout of a better prize.

The section was weighed in, Kev's bream and one roach went, 5lb 9oz, mine was 5lb 2oz, I'm sure Kev's arsley bomb box was empty...... The section was won with 7lb 2oz, had it been a serious match there might have been a complaint, as this consisted of one bream and one hybrid, the bream hung its self whilst the rod owner bank walked. So with the payout being top four I missed out by three, the section paid by default so I missed out by one and as not everyone entered the superpool, I missed that by one as well - a bloody expensive tench.

The Clevedon comittee put in some hard work to make it an enjoyable match and Darren Vowles raffle extended over two tables, although I'm sure my tickets weren't in the bucket. Craig Tucker (Son of Lance) wore a threadbare trail in the carpet, as his number seemed to come out every other time. Fair play to him, he's back to Afghanistan in March, hope you have a safe tour. By now the beers were flowing (or Thatchers in Kev's case), I was devastated to have to leave, when it was Pauls (Faiers) round..... but as I was driving and had to be in work early Monday (and we have a drink policy with a limit a third of the drink drive limit) I couldn't take the chance, I'm sure they had a few for me.

1) Simon Carvello 17-11 peg 84
2) P Johnson 13-11 peg 57
3) S Smallwood 7-02 peg 41
4) S Stone 6-05 peg 83
5) Mark Bromsgrove*6-02 peg 9
6) Kev Perry 5-09 peg 39
7) Chris Fox 5-02 peg 43

28 Fished

* Mark fished punch, he was the peg upstream of Paul Faiers, who reports that Mark's liquidised bread hit the water in a ball and stayed in a ball as it floated down river and out of his peg - nice one Mark, you're supposed to defrost it - although it's obviously a decent tactic, as you had nearly 6 times Pauls weight!!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Trinity Christmas Match, 6th Dec 2009

I'd been looking forward to this match, I've fished it twice before, finishing 2nd and 3rd, last year I missed it as it clashes with the South West Winter League, which I didn't fish this season.

John, Sue and Misha always work hard to make it a success and this year was no exception. It was my first look at Woodland since John has removed all of the trees on the car park bank, in preparation for him levelling the bank. He had already started levelling in the corner, peg 31 had vanished. Paul Faiers and myself walked up this bank before the match and fancied the look of peg 30, both pretty certain that fish would be attracted by the work John had been doing, which had put colour in the water.

The wind was blowing from peg 1 to peg 16, so the poor buggers who drew 16, 17 and 18 would get the wind (and rain) straight into their faces. The drawbag did its usual for me, peg 16, wind in my face and the opposite corner to the one I fancied. Probably my least favourite peg on the lake, I'm usually confident of catching from most pegs on Woodland, this is one of the few that I have failed dismally to get anywhere near framing. Oh well, its the Christmas match, the wind wasn't too cold, so lets give it a go.

Trying to keep things simple, I set up a method feeder (although it would be a last resort if the weather got too bad), I set up 4 rigs, 2 which needed top fours because of the depth, 2 for the margins. The 2 open water rigs were similar, but one was in the hope that skimmers might show, so a MW diamond 0.13 to 0.11 hooklength and a 18 B911, the rig for carp was a 1g float (make unknown) 0.17 to a 0.15 hooklength with a 16 B911. I needed 2 margin rigs, as whilst I didn;t really have a margin to the left, there is a tree in the water and it is a lot deeper than the RH margin. The LH rig was 0.19 straight through to a 12 animal and red hydro and the LH margin rig was my usual purple hydro, 0.17 straight through to a 14 B911.

I fed some softened 4mm pellet at 12m, corn and dead maggot on the RH margin at 12.5m, 7m and 2m. Corn and about half a dozen 4mm cubes of meat under the tree to the left. After 3/4 of an hour without a bite, I put some chopped worm and caster in the 12m open water line, still nothing. At this point I wasn't too concerned, I've framed more than once on Woodland in the winter, with fish caught in the last hour or so.

After 1¾ hours, I had my first bite, in the RH margin at 2m, a carp just over the lb mark was soon in the net. I kept alternating betewwn the lines,sticking to maggot hookbait, taking another small carp from the 12.5m RH margin and then one from the 12m open water swim. At 2.20PM the float buried and I lifted into a better fish, after a spirited struggle a carp around the 8lb mark was in the net, only 40 minutes to go, but a few more like that would see me frame, it was not to be, in the last 15 minutes the wind dropped and I had a few bites, small roach, but at least it was bites - more in the last 15 minutes than in the rest of the match.

Rich Coles on peg 17 had managed to get a few carp and 2 tench from his LH margin, caught on maggot, this was the first time I'd never had a bite on corn here during the winter.

The wind and rain had certainly knocked sport back, keeping weights low. Trinity regular, Andy Hembrow won from peg 30, looks like the bankside work had attracted the fish.

1) Andy Hembrow 38.13 peg 30
2) Rich Coles 27.02 peg 17
3) Jay King 25.14 peg 20
4) Kev Perry 20.05 peg 26

Top silvers weight was Eric Fouracre, a decent mixed bag which went 19.14 (peg 28).

I managed 12.12, probably the least amount of bites I've ever had at Trinity, I couldn't even get a roach until the wind dropped, the wind blew 2 margin rigs into the trailing brambles and blackthorn bushes whilst trying to get tight to the bank, so all in all a pretty unsuccessful day, which worringly seems to becoming a habit.

John & Sue put together some fabulous looking hampers for the top three and the silvers winner, bottles of wine and christmas cards for all the also rans. This allong with the rounds of the lake that Sue and Misha made, dishing out complimentary soup & roll, hot sauage rolls and hot mince pies, many thanks to all three of you.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Plantation, Carps Wednesday Xmas match

Blimey, Mike Nicholls and Tony Rixon can hardly have their tackle out of the car, before they are sat in front of their respective PC's, blogging the days events. I need to put my gear away, take a short stroll to the local hostelry for a restorative cordial or two and then some food before I can face the keyboard.

Todays match at Plantation saw 19 booked in,the cafe opened up for breakfast, so I took advantage, although its not the full fat bastard variety like Bullock Farm. After breakfast I walked around with Mike Owens and Darren Vowles, as Darren pegged it out, the carp lake was a lot more coloured, but the main lake was certainly not clear. Carps had a strange set up, whereby the £10 pools was not paid out, but everyone won a prize instead, so a £5 superpool was started, 50% to the match winner, 50% to the silvers winner.

I was one of the first in the draw bag, not a good idea today, peg 2 revealed itself when I opened the ticket, which was permanent peg 3, no island chuck and at the wrong end of the lake given that what wind there was,was pushing towards me. That had thrown my plans, I'd brought two lead rods, I usually draw an island chuck.....

I decided to set up a small cage feeder, but it wasn't going to be a line of attack unless things were grim, before todays match I'd been trying to re-evaluate what bait I take to matches (usually too much and too many varieties), so along with that I decided to keep the rigs simple, a Mick Wilkonson diamond for the 13m line, to fish pellet and corn over micro pellet and corn feed. A Malman winter wires float to fish the 7m line with caster, also the same float to fish top kit to hand and a Maver dibber type float, just in case the margins were to give up a fish or two.

At the all in I fed by pot micro pellet and corn at 13m,corn & dead maggot down the RH margin and caster at 7m via catapult. I started at 13m on corn, just in case the initial feed had sparked any interest, after 20 minutes on this line varying between corn & pellet I switched to the 7m line. This saw a couple of small roach take the maggot bait, no bites on caster. I swapped to the 2m line, just using the topkit and caught infrequently, but decent roach including 3 that were 12-14oz each. This line was just starting to build when I foul hooked two carp in quick succesion, that saw the end of the bites on this line. The roach will usually come back, but not today.

I kept looking back on the 13m line, with an occasional put in to the margin, the margin produced nothing, the 13m line finally produced a bite to the corn with an hour and a quarter to go. A near 2lb skimmer was the result of this, the only skimmer I had all day, during the last hour, I stuck it out on this line and had a decent fantail, a perch and two carp. Nowhere near enough, I knew Darren had 8 carp on the feeder/lead from peg (permanent 5) and my determination to catch skimmers, crucians and fantails had surely seen me loose out in the silvers, as I abandoned the 7m caster line.

I could see Mike Nicholls fishing his usual silvers match, he'd drawn a peg I fancied to win the match. Had I drawn it, I'd have only set up lead/feeder rods. It didn't help my mood when Mike said " I had a chuck and had one first put in, the tip wouldn't stay still, but anyone can sit on the lead and wait until the tip goes round". Fair play to Mike for persevering with the silvers, but I still feel the peg would have given up a winning weight of carp.

At the weigh in, the weights showed that I and the others that had drawn the road bank and the first few pegs on either side were at the wrong end of the lake. - nothing new for me and my 'luck' continued in the bar afterwards, not one of my raffle tickets being drawn.

My 2 carp and assorted silvers went 15.06

Rich Coles won the match by a large margin, sat with his back to the carp lake he caught skimmers and carp to win with 61.13 (13lb of silvers amongst that weight.

2)Mike Owens 37.12
3) Darren Vowles 31.14
4) J Thompson 27.00
5) Mike Nicholls 22.00
6) Colin Golding 18.06

Top Silvers weight was Mike Nicholls, he mangaed to get the skimmers to feed, he weighed 16.06, John Bradford couldn't tempt the skimmers, but still managed a nice net of roach for 14.08.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Landsend 26/11/09

After 2 weeks in Goa, with the temperature reaching 34°C, it was a bit of a shock to come back to the wind and rain of an English November. Anyone interested in my wittering about the holiday can find it here:

So back to the fishing, the decision was whether to fish Tony's match at Landsend or the Carps match at Viaduct, as I've been trying to get to grips with Landsend, I decided that it was probably best to stick with it.

I decided to try and keep things simple, I know my biggest problem on commercials is what bait to use and when, I usually end up taking some of everything allowed, a habit I must get out of. So caster and maggot would be in the bag, along with corn and pellet (both micro and soft pellet). Some last minute action with the tin opener also saw me take one tin of cubed meat.

The drawbag gave me peg 18, I had made a conscious decision to try and avoid the words of advice and tips often offered after the draw (although I’m usually grateful for them) and fish the peg as I saw it on the day. Even though we’d had wind and rain, the temperatures hadn’t dropped too low and the water was 10°C, high enough I thought, for a few fish to feed.

On the all in I fed straight in front at the bottom of the far shelf, with caster via catapult and potted some micro pellet and corn in at 16m at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock(which was into the open water in the gap in the islands). I started on corn, giving each of the lines 10 minutes, with two liners to show for it (probably silvers, as some decent silverfish were topping). A switch to maggot over the caster line saw bites from micro roach, persisting with the caster saw a couple of small perch come to the net, but it was very slow. Coming up the shelf and getting tighter to the island saw me pick up another perch or two, but it was difficult to get two bites from the same line.

I’d been feeding a line at 5m (caster) and dropped in over this with a maggot, micro roach (probably 2 or 3 to the ounce) again were the only takers, a switch to caster saw the size increase to about 0.75 to the ounce. I persevered with this line to see if the stamp of roach would improve and the float slid under, a lift of the 4 sections of pole saw the elastic (doubled up No5) come out at a rate which was obviously not a roach. After a couple of minutes a 3lb bright gold tench was in the net, this was the only decent fish I took from this line all day.

An occasional look back on the lines initially fed with corn & pellet produced nothing, I could see the going was hard, but I wasn’t catching the stamp of perch my near neighbour on peg 19 was, so I knew I was lagging behind in the silvers.

I felt sure that I would get some carp activity in the peg in the last hour, so decided to sit it out on the corn, in the gap in the islands, nothing for 10 minutes, then the float buried, not the carp I was expecting but a skimmer around the 1 ½lb mark. Next put in another bite, another skimmer, I thought that I’d cracked it, but no, no more bites. A look to the line I’d fed against the island produced no bites, I tried the bottom of the shelf and closer to the island up the shelf. Back to the gap in the island, this time with double maggot, about 5 seconds before the whistle, I lifted into a bite and immediately knew it was a good fish, it took nearly 15 minutes to get it up in the water so I could see it, a big double, at least 15lb, as it was getting near the time allowed for landing fish, I tried to put a bit more pressure on and it took one last lunge for freedom under the pallet, the 0.13 hooklength snapped and the rig ended up in the tree. It didn’t cost me money, but it would have put me from a DNW into 4th or 5th place.

Not sure how long its going to take me to suss this place out.........

1) Dale Howsen 31.07 peg 21
2) Nick Duckett 29.11 peg 11 (Top silvers 14.05)
3) Mike Duckett 27.04 peg 15
4) Alan Oram 24.13 peg 03

Monday, 2 November 2009

Landsend 1/11/09

I had intended to fish Trinity this weekend, but the weaher forecast prompted me to book into Tony's match at Landsend. As it happens, the weather wasn't quite as bad as predicted.

I drew peg 11, a peg with recent form, so wasn't too disappointed, Dean Malin gave me a few tips on how to fish it, which aprt from one of the lines, weren't too far from my own thoughts on it.

I'd brought worm and caster, to fish for silvers along with corn & pellet for carp. I set up a 3x8 stot rig for across to the island, a 6x8 stot rig for open water and a wire stemmed rig for if the bites proved finicky. A 2x8 stot margin rig completed the line up, although I couldn't get anywhere near the pallet of peg 12, due to the huge leave raft that had blown into the corner.

Following Dean's advice I fed the island and an open water line, starting on the open water line. After 10 minutes, the float slid under and a skimmer around the lb mark became the first fish of the day. Another missed bite and then the line went dead,Dean had commented on the amount of liners I'd probably get from either line,thse certainly weren't happening.

I switched to the island, another 20 minutes without a bite on either pellet or corn, back to the open water line and at 11 o'clock, after an hour, the float shot under and a 6lb carp had taken the 8mm pellet, next drop in, a foul hooker that was lost as it sped towards the aerator at warp speed. Dropping in again saw a 3lb carp landed and the thought that I was in for a good day.

That was it, no more fish from the open water, I managd only 1 fish from the island all day, a chub that was foul hooked in the pectoral fin. The leaves did eventually blow away from the pallet of peg 12, this produed a couple of small roach and perch to maggot and a carp around 3lb to worm, this one also hooked in the pectoral fin.

Did I blow it? The guy on peg 9 lost loads of foul hookers, the weights from both sides of the lake at my end weren't good ( I weighed 15lb odd, peg 9 DNW and peg 13 beat me by an ounce), had the wind moved the fish down the lake? The fish just didn't seem to be there in any numbers, the occasional look in with maggot resulted in no bites on the island line or minute roach in the open water.

Guess I should have gone to Trinity........

1st. Tony Rixon,peg 36. 136.04lb
2nd Dean Malin peg 24 58.11 lb
3rd Alan Oram peg 32 52.02lb
4 th Gary Wall peg 29 46.10lb
5 th Andy Bryant peg 22 46.07lb
6 th Dave Evans peg 21 38.13lb

Silvers - John Bradford peg 27 26.14lb

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Landsend 25/10/09

On a Sunday I'd rather have a big match, this seems to be a thing of the past, with many 5 -20 peggers spread over the region. I would have liked to fish the match on Trinity today, but PSV, whilst advertising their matches in the Evening Post, have some complex rules which keep the matches exclusive. (Tony, I could have told you that the carp in Trinity would still come up in the water!! - and that to win money off of peg 18 is like Mike Nicholls buying a round)

I decided to go to Landsend, with the idea that unless I had vermin crawling up the pole, I'd fish for silvers, I love catching those big Perch that are in the Match Lake.

On Saturday, I thought it through and decided to base my match on maggot and caster, a few soft pellets and a couple of pints of hard pellet - just in case, as the weather is still warm. My plan was to fish for silvers at the bottom of the island shelf and to catch carp lets on tight to the island......... That utopian idea, was all well and good, until I drew 24 - no island.

I found a nice flat area, with no leaves or snags showing on the plummet, this was about 11m towards the island (which on this peg, without 23 in, the island is at least 20m away). I also set up a couple of rigs to fish both margins, as well as a light rig to fish caster on the drop.

At the all in I potted some dampened 4mm into the RH margin at 12m (just short of the tree), I also hand fed the LH and RH margin at approx 7m, the concentrated on the 11m line. I fed caster, a few red maggots and some dampened pellet on this line, hoping to plunder a winning bag of silvers.

The plan, turned out to be, a long way from the fishes idea of me netting 30lb of silvers and a bonus 60lb of vermin....

I started on double maggot, in the first hour, I had 2 carp, one about 7lb, one about 3.5lb, they were intruders into 5 or 6lb of crucians, ide roach and perch, more than happy, after the initial hour I was on target for 6 x 15lb, (75) with the though that the peg would get better - wrong, so very wrong, I struggled for bites from any fish, I tried single maggot, double, soft pellet, hard pellet, caster, single, double and triple, and for the remainder of the match, I only had the odd small perch or roach.

I fed new lines, tried worm, maggot, caster, hard and soft pellet all with the same response of a motionless float, the water temperature remained a steady 12°C all day, I had no liners, and when scaled down to single maggot on all lines found small (very small) roach, suggesting that there were no carp feeding in the peg.

In the last hour, I tried all the tricks, chucking bait and water down the edge, trying to fool them I was packing up,I also fished tighter to snags and increased the feed, all to no avail.

I struggle to know what I did wrong, the peg gave up fish early, (not always my favoured option, usually fish that come late, feed until the end !!) and the usual building of the peg, just did not happen. Not a sign of a skimmer, they usually like the soft pellet, but not today, apparently.

Still, it didn't rain and its better than being at work....

The overall result was:

1) N Collier 87.11 peg 6
2) R Shipp 76.12 peg 11
3) N Mout 73.03 peg 32
4) A Oram 57.00 peg 5


1) Ken Rayner 26.00 peg 25
2) N Collier 17.01 peg 6

Monday, 19 October 2009

Clevedon Charity Match, River Kenn 18/10/09

The River Kenn keeps luring me back, it can only for the quality of the roach fishing, not the procession of unruly dogs and their owners that provide a constant distraction on the pegs below Kenn road.

I arrived for the draw early, as the ticket price included a breakfast - wasn't too bad actually, although not as substantial as a Bullock feast. General consensus of opinion was that it would fish hard, the water being gin clear, the sunny day forecast and the overnight frost.

I drew peg 14, not a peg I'd have chosen and the fact that Paul 'end peg' Faiers had drawn peg 8, the end peg in the section and the downstream end peg in the match, did nothing to bolster my lack of optimism. Kev Perry had also drawn an end peg in the car park section, it was going to be difficult to frame from my peg, best hope was for it to fish really hard.

When I got to the river, Paul & I had a chat and both thought that double figures would be a good weight, the river was flat calm, the bottom was visible 6' down and there was no sign of any fish moving.

Peg 14 is set into some rushes, these are often home to small perch and can also hold decent roach when the conditions are bright, I'd pretty much made up my mind to fish punch as a main attack and drip caster and pinkie down the edge of the rushes. I set up a 1g wire stemmed float and one in the same pattern at 0.8g, both with 0.08 hooklength and 18 B511, although I did expect to be scaling down from that.

Two rigs for the rushes, one 0.13 straight through to a 14 B611 and another with 0.08 and a 20 B511, one for worm, one for caster & pinkie. I also set a a lead rod and a waggler, intending to feed some caster right across, to hopefully snare an odd chub and any wary roach that backed away from the pole line.

Having to go out to 10m to find over 6' of water, meant that I'd have to unship across the path that the walkers, and dogs take, not ideal, but I didn't think that I'd catch closer in. At the all in I fed two small balls of liccy, one loosely squeezed, one tighter and second put in the float dipped and a 2 ounce roach was in the net - blank saved!!

To cut a long story short, the caster line across, produced not so much as a touch on my occasional look over, the rushes drip fed fed with a meagre amount of caster and pinkie, also failed to see any movement on the float, except for a moorhen (moronhen more like) that dragged the rig into the rushes and snapped the float.

After the first hour or so, I was getting bites on the punch line at 10m, but they weren't coming fast enough to build any sort of weight, I added a pinch of squatt and some hemp to the liccy feed, this seemed to slightly increase the size of the fish, but not the frequency of bites. I tried caster over the punch line, not a touch, red and bronze maggot getting the same response. Pinkie brought a small perch and squatt enticed roach, but at a even slower rate than the punch

No doubt feeding was the key (as it so often is in match fishing), had there been some colour in the water, I'd have balled it in, but not with it so clear and the lack of bites on maggot or caster makes me thihk it was right not to do so. I was topping up the liccy and hemp, when the bites became even less frequent (about ½ hour intervals), then the bites would stop for 5-10 minutes, but then the fish would come back over the feed.

As I was sat in amongst the rushes, I couldn't see any other anglers, so had no idea how the river was fishing, so just kept at the punch line and kept the fish coming, albeit slowly for the whole match. The last hour, saw the size of fish improve, but still the catch rate was slow.

The weigh in saw 'end peg' Faiers weigh in 13.08, on the next peg was James Gunter who weighed 13.13, with me next to weigh, I knew I didn't have that much and was proved correct, my all roach (and one perch) net going 10.03. Next best weight in the section was just over 3lb.

I couldn't go back to the bar for the results, as I had to get home and go to work, (deep joy), but as I was putting the gear in the car I had a phone call from Paul, Kev Perry had 25lb, Glenn (Calvert) had a 21lb odd, Paul is off to Whiteacres next week, so I wished him well and his parting shot was; "I might have known if I was pegged near you it would be crap". Once again I'd drawn 40 pegs away from the fish......

Just had an email from Jan, the Clevedon Club, Treasurer and Secretary. The match raised £904.02 for Help the Heroes and Childrens Hospice (South West), a decent sum and in the end the river didn't fish too badly. (Except my section....)

1st Kev Perry 25lb 14oz All roach on bread punch Peg 55
2nd Brian Hobson 25lb 0oz Bream & Tench Peg 81
3rd Steve Cox 23lb 12oz Bream Peg 53
4th Glen Calvert 21lb 13oz Roach Peg 51
5th Jon Gray 19lb 14oz Roach Peg 72
6th Simon Carvallo 16lb 4oz Roach Peg 42
7th James Gunter 13lb 13oz Roach Peg 12
27 Anglers Fished

Thats it until next Sunday, although I haven't found a match I fancy yet, so if anyone has any suggestions...

Friday, 16 October 2009

The Best Laid Plans......

.... OK, the title is a bit of an oxymoron where I am concerned, being one of the least organised and forward planning men in the country.

On Thursday evening, I was in position to book a match on Sunday (having worked 7 nights, then 6 days and being bloody knackered), I also wanted the latest info on the Kenn (the venue of Sundays match - a charity event) so rang Paul Faiers. He hadn't fished the river this week, but was planning to have a session today (Friday). I was up for a practice and told him, I'd see him there.

My 13 days of long shifts had their toll and I awoke just after 09.00, so I'd be a bit late, not to worry. Once the two spoonfuls of Nescafe had started coursing around the veins, I loaded the car and then picked up on the news that the M5 was closed for a 30 mile stretch - this wasn't good news - any M5 closure ends up with Bristol gridlocked.

As I set off, more in desperation to get a few hours on the bank, rather than in hope of a fruitful practise, it soon became apparent, that my quest to get across town for maggots and casters was doomed. I called in the local shop (Bill Pugh on Red Lion hill) and he had no maggots, the delivery lorry was stuck in the traffic chaos. So, was it back home and spend a few hours tying rigs and then an early visit to the pub?? ..... No, the fishing took precedent, after so many days at work and I bought a ticket for Huntstrete.

This entailed a visit home, the gear in the car was all for tackling the Kenn, grabbing some micro pellet and expanders, sorting out the rig boxes and changing direction to Huntstrete, saw me arrive about 11.50.

In total laziness, I choose peg 20 on Bridge, its an easy walk and there was no one too close - or so I thought.

I'll take this off at a tangent, why do the 'carp' anglers feel the need to erect tent cities, when the lake is only open from 07.30 - 18.30, why do they think its acceptable to cast into a peg (ie. over half way) that is occupied. Why is it acceptable for me to pay my annual and daily fee, which I have no problem with, yet I only ever fish my peg, usually with a pole, but not exclusively. Although, always only one rod (or pole) in the water at one time.

The angler on peg 16 today was fishing peg 15 and peg 17 (these two pegs are quite far apart due to the shape of the lake) he did not have a bait in his own peg. I can appreciate that pleasure fishing does not have the same rules as match fishing, but where the bolt rig cowboys are concerned they can fish any swim in the lake from their peg.

Enough moaning, I tried to turn the session into a learning exercise, as I find expander pellet, a bait I struggle with. It took ¾ hour for the peg to get going, the first fish being an immaculate conditioned 5 or 6lb vermin of the common variety.

The next 3½ hours saw me net a few skimmers (the intended quarry). a nice bonus Tench and another vermin that took 17 minutes to land on white hydro, although the fat water pig was in excess of 10lb.

The lack of a single maggot or caster saw my final net, devoid of roach, but it was decent enough net of skimmers, bolstered by the bonus,late season Tench add up to about 12lb, the water pigs which ruined the peg at various points through the day, added another 30lb.

Once I got home I rang Paul, to see how he'd got on on the Kenn, what had happened only helped to confirm my thoughts for Sunday, the river is gin clear, Saturday night is due to be frosty, with bright sunshine on Sunday.... anyone got any spare B & J ??

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Bullock Farm 27th September 2009

This seems like overkill, three blogs (mine, Tony Rixon's and Mike Nicholls on the same match.

Todays plan was, its my birthday, I'll draw a good peg and at least frame, as anyone who knows me, plans aren't my thing and today proved it.

I arrived in plenty of time and walked round the lake, just as well I did, the usual Bullock scenario, three pegs occupied by pleasure anglers, there is a sign as you drive in indicating which lakes are open or closed, it isn't the biggest sign you'll ever see. One of the guys was on peg 29 (gawd knows why!!) and he didn't realise he was on the match lake, or even that the lake he was fishing, was the same lake as the one behind him.

Perhaps Phil needs to adapt his sign to include a map of the lakes for the newbies and a lethal injection for the terminally dense.

Charlie and Tom's organisational skills were up to scratch, with 20 being an ideal number for the match lake, 22 were actually booked in, someone needs to tell Tom that whilst he takes his shoes and socks off to count to 20, it doesn't work when you have 6 toes...

So with the final tally being 24, as 2 turned up for the breakfast and a chance that someone didn't show, 4 pegs were put on North Pool, restoring the karma to the match lake and giving some lucky sod the chance of pocketing the cash.

Another good Bullock breakfast (as last time, eaten in the company of Nicky Collins, who this time didn't get on his soapbox, although it was close....) and then to the draw, the old fishwives that are Charlie and Tom, had bickered a lot less this time and I managed to draw 27. Not too happy, with the lack of crucians and fantails when I fished peg 17 on Friday, I wasn't convinced that they'd be anywhere near this peg, let alone enough carp to win it.

I set up a maggot rig on 0.13 with a size 18 808, a pellet rig with 0.15 and a size 16 808, a paste rig, but lighter than usual, with a 14 911 to 0.15 line, I also set up 2 margin rigs, one for maggot / caster 0.15 to a 18 911 and a cat meat rig.

I started at 10m, with maggot and had the odd fish, skimmers, roach and a crucian, I could keep the occasional bite coming by very light feeding (Mike Nicholls would be proud!!). The rate of fish was slow, so slow that I was pretty convinced that somewhere else on the lake, the usual 20lb+ bag of 'silvers' would take the silvers money - big mistake.....

I buggered about trying to catch vermin in the margins, to no avail, they either weren't there, (no liners, so possible) or weren't interested in any bait I could offer. Why I bothered I don't know, I trashed several rigs in the roots and untrimmed crap that infest the margins, whilst watching Pete Sivell and Ray Cooper do similar.

Last half hour saw me back on the silvers and as the scales came around, the realisation that, had I fished for silvers all day, I could have gone home with some beer tokens.

I weighed 8-09 of silvers and one vermin that went 7-10 which took in excess of 10 minutes to land on 0.10 and a 22 808, which I'd resorted to, to try and keep the silvers coming.I also had the peg ploughed up by another vermin that refused to be landed on 0.10 and a 22 808.

The typical indecision I suffer on commercials continues, the result being:

1. Gary Bedford 75-10-0 peg North Pool 12
2. Mike Nicholls 58-08-0 peg 17
3. Adrian Jefferies 50-04-0 peg 19
4. Tom Thick 49-07-0 peg 25
5. Jason Radford 40-06-0 peg 22
6. Paul Faiers 36-02-0 peg North Pool 6

Top Silvers:

1. Glyn Wickems 12-05-0 peg 26
2. Ray Wickems 12-05-0 peg 24
3. Nicky Collins 12-04-0 peg 21

Unless I can win the lottery - ha ha, how likely is that with my shite drawing arm - the necessity that is work, means that I won't be fishing another match for about a fortnight, lets hope I can make the right decision then!!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Landsend 26th September 2009

Making the most of my 12 days off work, I had booked into Landsend for todays open. Its not a venue I know well, having only fished it half a dozen or so times, with very limited success.

I wasn't sure how well it would fish, as I had a few hours at Bullock Farm yesterday, in preparation for Sundays open (another of the Charlie & Tom opens). It fished hard, I decided to fish peg 17, as I'm never likely to draw it in a match, I had a common which was nudging 10lb within 5 minutes, then a tatty looking mirror and that was it for over two hours. The fish were there, they were blowing, I was getting liners and losing foul hookers, gawd knows what they were feeding on, as they wouldn't take any bait I offered. About 4PM, the carp buggered off and I at last, had a reasonable couple of hours catching fantails, skimmers and crucians, although all I learnt was the fish will feed after the all out!!

Anyway, back to Landsend, a nice civilised draw time of 11AM, gave me time to clean the foul smelling black gunge from the bottom of my bait holdall and actually have breakfast at home with 'er indoors. I had taken casters and ¾ kilo of worm, intending to fish for skimmers and perch, upon arrival I found out that the match was split between the Match Lake and the Specimen lake, the general consensus of opinion in the pre draw chat and banter seemed to be that drawing the Specimen lake wouldn't go down well with the majority.

I drew and surprise, surprise, opening the ticket revealed the Speci lake, peg 26, 17m to the island and I hadn't brought a rod or reel of any description. Rod Wootten walked past me on his way to peg 28, he didn't feel we had much chance and he knows the venue well.

No time to feel sorry for my self, I am on holiday and determined to enjoy the day, it must be better than being at work. As the fish in the lake are gurt big lumps, I set up a paste rig with 0.19 powerline on a topkit with red hydro, a rig for hair rigged pellet and another identical rig for corn and soft pellet, all set up to fish the deepest part of the peg, which was about 11.5m. I got another topkit set up with a shallow rig on and a long line, that enabled me to fish the island, although in all honesty, I didn't expect to be sitting there waving 16.5m of pole around all day.

On the all in, I cupped in two cups of pellet, with a few grains of corn in and went over it with the paste rig, after a couple of liners, on the third or 4th put in resulted in a positive bite and a near 10lb fish in the net. It took another 20 minutes or so to get another this one hooked fair and square in the tail and a baby for the lake of about 3lb. Then that was it, apart from an occasional missed bite (roach I think)on corn & soft pellet, the peg appeared devoid of fish.

I could see that Rod was struggling and the guy on peg 25, so with two hours gone I set up a roach rig on No6 elastic and fished caster shallow for the last four hours, having fish up to 1lb. I had the occasional look with a pellet at full depth in case I could entice a bonus skimmer, but to no avail. I didn't really have enough caster to do the job properly, I had two pints and four would have been more like it.

As it drew near the all out, I knew I had double figures of roach, but peg 25 had thrown up a few skimmers and chub from the margin, of a decent size, enough to beat my silvers net.

Pete Sivell came round from the Match lake, saying how crap it had fished and 20lb would win the silvers, all this taken with a pinch of salt, even though Pete is a fellow City fan, who I have known for many years, when it comes to bankside chat just remember that Sivell rhymes with Drivel!!

The Specimen lake yielded the overall winner with 99lb 6oz, from peg 31, which apparently had a winning weight of 180lb in the last week or so. Apart from that the doom mongers were right, all the backing weights from the match lake, all from one area. My hard work with the net of caster caught roach saw me beaten into second in the silvers by the skimmers and chub from peg 25. Still it was nice to pick up some money and catch plenty of fish, just not the size I expected when drawing on the lake.

1. M Poppleton 99-06 peg 31
2. M West 58.03 peg 21
3. J Genna 58.02 peg 22
4. E Fouracre 52.05 peg 19

1. K Molton 21.00 peg 25
2. C Fox 15.09 peg 26

And so onto Bullock Farm tomorrow.....

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Avalon, 23rd September 2009

After pondering on whether to go to Cider Farm, or to try and improve my dismal record at Avalon, I rang Tony Rixon and booked into Avalon, at least it was a later draw....

I met up with Tony and Martin at the Cafe in Shipham and a good breakfast removed the remnants of last nights Bass and red wine. We drove down to Avalon and I was hoping the rain would bugger off, it wasn't forecast and I hadn't brought a brolly, nor any proper water proof gear. No need to worry, it had gone by the time we arrived and a warm overcast and still day was in prospect.

At the draw Tony announced he'd be paying the top 4, with no silvers payout - the 2 pints of caster he sold me yesterday didn't get opened - I drew peg 16, an island chuck all to myself, I was pretty confident that the fish would come up in the water, it was still warm, I'd have liked just a small ripple to ruffle the mirror like surface.

After Sundays result, I had to set up a paste rig, whilst I was at it I set up a MW pellet to fish hair rigged pellet and another to fish expander , corn or meat. I also had two waggler rods in the hard case already to go, one with a dumpy pellet waggler to fish shallow, one with a loaded drennan, to fish from 3' to full depth. To complete my array of rods and topkits, I set up a straight lead. I toyed with setting up a margin rig, but decided against it, I'm sure half my problem on these carp dominated venues is flitting between lines, baits and methods.

On the whistle, I cupped 2 cupfuls of 4mm & micro pellet onto the 12.5m line and started feeding 8mm pellets to the island. First two put ins on the pole with the paste rig saw the float sit pretty stationary, 3rd put in vanished and a big, almost certainly foul hooker, sped off towards peg 15, the hook pulling out, as the purple hydro bottomed out. That was it, nothing else on that line, paste float sat there motionless, hard pellet rig the same, the expander rig was next, 4mm & 6mm and a piece of meat (no, not all at the same time) all meeting with the same response.

I'd carried on feeding the island and hadn't wanted to go out there too early, but after a half hour of motionless pole floats, the sight of a swirl after I fed a few more pellets made me chuck the pole up the bank and pick up the waggler rod. Again, the float remained pretty stationary, at least it did until the hour and a quarter mark, when I had 3 fish in 15 minutes. This was a false dawn, I had another ¾ of an hour without a fish, but they were there, something wasn't right.

I picked up the straight lead rod I had set up at the start and immediately started catching on it, the carp would not come away from the island and the lead was easier to get tight. I had nine more fish on the lead, with liners and indications that the peg had plenty of fish in it, at 3.30PM (with two hours to go) I had 13 carp. Then they disappeared, no more liners, no bites, nothing, I tried tight to the island, I tried dropping short, all to no avail. The fish had moved, I'm sure on some of these lakes with islands, that the fish feed a while and then patrol round.

After a fishless hour, I went back on the paste line, trying paste and expander again, nothing, that line had shown no signs of fish, no fizzing, no silt being stirred up, was it devoid of fish? At 5.15PM, with 15 minutes to go, I saw some signs that the carp were back by the island (and heard them, as they tried to slurp the pellets that were on the waterline of the island).

A cast with the pellet waggler landed perfectly, virtually touching the island, within about 3 seconds of landing, the float buried and another carp was on its way across the lake, trying to bully it a bit so I could get back out there for another before the 5.30PM whistle, saw the hook pull right at the net. Casting back out, it took two more casts to hit the right spot again and just as I knew it would, the float buried again, this fish being landed seconds before the whistle.

That bit of bullying cost me money, with four being paid out, my 60.01 was fifth, one out of the money by 01.05. If anyone can tell me how to get these bloody carp to feed further than 2" away from the island, please do, I'll buy the beer!!

I'm writing this eating a very nice take away Indian, trying to watch the football and enjoying a nice glass or two of an excellent Cotes du Rhône called Chemin des Papes that I brought back from my last visit to France.

It ended up:

1. Gary Wall peg 21. 79.12 (which included an 18lb fish)
2. Tony Rixon peg 12. 78.01
3. Martin Lengahan 77.09
4. Tony Whitcomb peg 5. 61.06 ( a bloody 10lber on the whistle)
5. Chris Fox peg 16. 60.01

Well.I'm off work for a few days now, so I reckon it'll be a practise session on Bullock Farm Friday (in preparation for Sunday), fish the open at Landsend on Saturday, then Bullock Farm on Sunday, for Charlie Barnes open....... Thats the plan, it's my birthday Sunday, so I'm sure the pub, Bass and curry will have some influence on the weekends success or failure.

I'm off to France for a couple of days on Monday, so plenty of red wine tasting to be done over there.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Plantation Main Lake, Wednesday 16th Sept 2009

I was toying with the idea of ringing Tony (Rixon) and booking in for his match at Landsend, but as I have yet to win a penny there, I thought the sensible option would be to ring Colin Golding and get booked into the Carps match on Plantation.

Arriving at the draw, I see that Colin has a new car, a nice shiny red Vectra estate, with 8000 miles on the clock, bought because his other car broke down, I love extravagance.............

I don't usually take any food to matches, but today I stopped in Cleeve stores and bought a drink and on an inpluse, bought a sandwich, don't know why, there's usually enough action on plantation to keep the hunger pangs at bay. Arriving in the Car Park, I saw a couple of new Carps members, but they were familiar faces from the Clevedon club matches, along with team mate Mike Owens and the other usual faces. Mike Owens and Bill Ferris pegged it out, having to remove two pleasure anglers from our reserved pegs - why is it so difficult for some people to read the signs that are plainly displayed on the entrance to the lake??

Draw was a few minutes late (So we are to fish 10.15-16.15, I'm never ready when there is an hour to set up, especially on a venue that responds to waggler, straight lead and pole ) and I pulled out peg 8, this was actually peg 27, an island chuck, so I was not too disappointed, until I got to it and saw the wind effect. Peg 27 is on the far bank, facing the larger of the two islands, the wind was whipping between the islands and then turning and blowing up the lake, producing a horrendous surface skim.

There was probably five of us in a row that were worst affected by the wind, Charlie Barnes, two guys whose names I don't recall, Colin Golding and Bob (The Bread) Price.

I took my pair of waggler rods from their Preston hard case, and took the hooklengths off them, so I could cast to he island and clip up, one was set up with a Drennan clear carp waggler, attached with a Preston attachment, so I could alter the depth easily, the other with a 4SSG Maver pellet waggler, locked onto a loop of line with two 2SSG shot, set at 15" deep - heavier than I'd usually use here, but the wind made it necessary.

I set up a straight lead rig, again clipped up to fish tight to the island, then onto the pole rigs, I set up a paste rig, a MW Diamond to fish 6mm expander pellet or corn, a MW cane Diamond to fish 4mm pellet, caster or maggot and a up in the water rig to fish hard pellet.

There were a few carp moving and showing themselves, so I was confident that they'd feed, I started on the waggler and within 10 minutes had had 3 bites, hooking and losing two of them, I guess they were foul hookers, as I don't usually lose many fish on the waggler, persevering with it and no more bites, I swapped rods and explored the full range of depths, from 12" down to the bottom, even laying 2' of line on the bottom, to try and counter the very strong surface skim, all to no avail.

The guy to my right had landed 3 or 4 fish on the lead, so I picked up my lead rod and cast to the island, I knew the fish were there, but the presentation on the waggler was all wrong, first chuck on the lead ended up in the island bushes, losing the lead and hooklength - how does that happen after carefully clipping up? As I could see Dave baker on the point (peg 31) catching and Chris Davis on peg 21 catching, I reset the lead rod up, with a inline method feeder, a couple of liners first chuck and a fish second chuck had me thinking I'd cracked it, then nothing apart from an occasional liner.

Now I know I'm 30 or 40lb behind Dave Baker who has been catching well on the waggler, so I decide to have a look on the pole line, I'd fed this with micro pellet and 4mm soaked pellet, first put in on expander saw a skimmer of the 3-4 to the pound stamp in the net, then all I could get was micro roach taking the 6mm expander, a switch to corn saw two more skimmers but it was a long wait for the bites. I tried hard pellet banded on the hook, the mini roach were still pecking at it.

Now with 3½ hours gone, I reckon I'm last on the lake, with one carp and a pound or so of skimmers and roach. I got up and walked down to Charlie Barnes, for chat and a moan about the wind, I also ate the sandwich I bought, as I went to back to my peg, Charlie's parting words "You'll catch a few fish now, our Chris" seemed unlikely.

I picked up the waggler rod again and decided to stick it out on that until the end, come what may, due to the wind, I started at full depth and had a 4lber, first chuck in, the wind carried on causing problems, although it did drop occasionally, everytime it dropped, I caught. As I was playing one fish in, I heard a crashing and splashing sound, looking up the lake I could see Chris Davis, (who was bagging) in the lake, with a fish on. Bob Price went to help him and recover his box from the lake, fair play to him, he held on to the pole and still landed the fish.

I started to get into a rhythm, wait for the wind to drop feed and cast, bite and fish in the net, trouble is it was a slow rhythm, dictated to by the wind, the float had to virtually touch the island to get a bite, so it was one of those sessions when you know that a cast will produce a bite and you also know that a cast that is even 12" short might as well be wound back in and recast. I managed to keep the fish coming right until the whistle, by varying the feeding, the fish started to back away (actually just move along the island) from the feed, so by keeping the feed tight and casting to either side of the feed area I maintained my catch rate. Just a shame it took so long for the wind to drop.

By the time the all out came, I had at least 20 carp, but I didn't count them (I have one of those clicker counters, as I tend to lose count after 5 or 6). The scales started at Chris Davis, who had caught well, even after having to go back to his motor for some dry clothes, the wind blowing into his bank, he had a lot of fish from his RH margin, he weighed 98-12, when the scales got to me, I put 1- 8 of silvers in the net and 61-12 for 63-08, given the start I had, I wasn't too disappointed, but if the wind had eased up earlier, there was a ton+ to be had from my peg.

I didn't follow the scales round, so when I walked round with my gear, I discovered that two had beaten my weight, putting me fourth, out of the money, but at least I had turned it round from the 3½ hour mark of being last.

1. Leighton Palmer 104-05
2. Chris Davis 98-12
3. Dave Baker 85-10
4. Chris Fox 63.04
5. Darren Vowles 47-03


1. Tom Thick ( Bill claims it was a foul hooked Bream that beat him)
2. Bill Ferris
Sorry didn't write the silvers weights down.

In my usual indecisive manner, I can't make up my mind where to fish next Wednesday, Tony's match (Avalon, I presume) or Carps on Dabinett at Cider Farm, I just can't quite get my head around Cider Farm, I guess because when I've fished it (3 times) it's had very little variety of fish size or species. Is it just too much like fishing a stock pond? It's certainly a pleasant setting to fish in, it seems to be well run, but I still can't get enthusiastic about the venue.

Monday, 14 September 2009

River Kenn, 13th September 2009

Clevedon v Frys was the occasion for this visit to this fantastic roach venue, although it can be very temperamental, the roach don't always play ball.

The draw was organised at Warren Farm holiday park, so with the prospect of a breakfast, I got there in plenty of time, Paul Faiers walked in just behind me and we got our breakfast and sat down. There was some fuss behind the counter, apparently you only got three items for your £3.50, we kept quiet as we'd both blagged extras of black pudding & beans from the young girl serving and got away without paying extra. We were joined at the table by an unhappy Ray Bazeley, "bloody £3.50 for beans on toast, robbing bastards, I'm going to say something". He never did, we consoled him with the fact that he had subsidised our grub.

Kev Perry walked in looked at the breakfast counter and didn't bother, one too many pints of that Thatchers appetite suppressant, at the Blue Flame last night, Kev?

The Match was pegged from the outfall to the motorway, every other peg, with a couple of extra peg gaps between the sections, peg 76 revealed its self when I drew and opened the folded ticket, I wasn't too disappointed, but would have preferred to be below Strode road. Paul had drawn 42 and Kev peg 80, Ray had drawn up in the eighties.

The brambles on the opposite bank didn't quite go up far enough, so I had the usual quota of spaniels and fat labs swimming in the peg, not that I think this had any bearing on the outcome. With a strong downstream wind and a clear river, I did have my doubts, but started well, catching several roach and a skimmer in the first 20 minutes, then it died, completely, nothing I did would get a bite. After about 2½ hours, I was on the verge of walking up to Kev, when I saw him coming down towards me, he had one chub!!

Kev stayed for a few minutes chat, then walked on down to see what was happening, he came back clutching 2 slices of bread "scrounged from the Fry's bloke", as Dave Baker was catching on bread. A short while later, Kev's good lady walked up the bank, unbeknown to me with more bread for him - are bait deliveries allowed??.

I decided to stick it out with worm on the hook and picked up a couple of small perch, a proper perch of approx 2lb or so and a bream that was pushing 5lb, to give me 9lb 8oz and the section by default, Dave Baker taking the last frame place with his 12lb odd of bread caught roach. I'd looked at my freezer full of liccy and thought about bringing it, but dismissed it as unnecessary this early in September, big mistake. Kev weighed over 11lb all on bread in the last couple of hours, although Ray pipped him for the section.

24lb odd won from the outfall ( sorry can't remember who), a couple of 16lbs and a 15lb completed the frame, which were, Simon Carvallo, Paul Faiers and Paul Nichols.

A few beers after and the classic line from Kev. " Did you see that blonde that walked up with her dog, I told her if she came back I'd give her a good f*****g," she said "that would be nice,", then Kev says, " but it wouldn't be a new conquest as I already have"

Are there any birds in Clevedon, Kev hasn't serviced??

Just to prove to myself that I wasn't miles away from getting it right, I went back today, fished peg 24 with maggot and caster and had well over 20lb of roach and perch to 1lb, the water had slightly more colour in, than those pegs in the 70's and 80's, is that all the difference was, the wind was still hard downstream and the sun came out and shone as yesterday.

The Kenn is an enjoyable river to fish, but its many moods still catch me out, 35 years since I first fished it.

Bullock Farm, 6th September 2009

I was looking forward to a return to Trinity Waters this weekend, but when Paul (Faiers) told me that Charlie Barnes and Tom Thick were organising a open on Bullock Farm, several things drew me to it, even though it needs a bit of TLC and tidying, it usually is a decent match, the breakfast is bloody great and finally, Tom & Charlie support the series that Paul and I run (Kev Perry series) on the venue. So, a bit of reciprocal support never does any harm.

This year nature really has got a grip on the match lake and the rush beds could really do with taming, they are shaking all day as the fish quite contentedly stay in them whilst matches are in progress. Some of the islands are now eroding away and the tree on the island in front of peg 22 looks like it won't be long before it goes over into the lake.

I arrived in plenty of time to get a breakfast, chatting about old times (and how now we're getting old, its not so easy to drink all night and still fish the next day) with Nicky Collins and if we're both honest, the full Bullock Farm cafe breakfast, isn't likely to help the diet plans......

I wasn't surprised to see Charlie and Tom in a state of disorganisation, bickering like an old married couple, in the end Charlie took the pools money and noted it all down on the back of a fag packet ( or something similar) and then held the draw.

Once the melee had settled it didn't take long for everyone to hear that Tony Rixon had drawn peg 24 and Dean Malin, peg 17, two good anglers on two of the best pegs, if it went to form, that was everyone else fishing for 3rd place.

I'd drawn 21, a real up and down peg, it has framed and it has come nowwhere, on an inconsistent basis, some days the crucians and fantails are there, others they aren't, when it has an off day, it really isn't good. Earlier this year the wooden boards that surrounded the island were removed, its now possible to get more bites from carp, but they often end up buried into the roots and debris around the island, witness the tackle shop dealers delight, a plethora of lost floats gracing the foliage that enters the water.

I decide to fish the open water and only venture near the rig killing foliage and roots if desperate. Soft pellet and paste were to be the plan, with a back up of corn, maggot and catmeat. On the all in, I cupped in a few 4 mm pellets and some micro pellet, going in on top of this with a 4mm expander, I was well chuffed when the float went under and a 1lb+ fantail was in the net, I needn't have been, from then on it was a real struggle, I'd alter the rig or change bait and get a bite or a fish, thinking I'd sussed it, no I hadn't, every change that brought a bite or fish, was then met with a motionless float.

Giving up, I went into the rooty jungle by the island, lost a few carp and landed 3, all the while, I could see Tony Rixon bagging on peg 24. I had to put it down to one of those days, I think it was a combination of not too many fish in the peg and I overfed it, thinking it would produce a few fish. I even tried a caster line out to my left at about 7m, usually good for a few silvers, not a bite.

As predicted, Dean and Tony first and second, both with 60lb+ and match organiser Tom Thick third with 53lb 14oz

Trinity Waters, 30th August 2009

Well, its been a long time since I updated this blog, I seem to have been working ever since the last update. OK so not strictly true, but work has certainly meant I've squeezed in matches without proper preparation, had no time to practise and not been able to commit to any leagues, individual or team.

Mike Nicholl's and Tony Rixon's blogs have now spurred me on to restart this one and record the details of my quest to get some consistency in my results, in this very different match scene, to the one I left in 1991.

I've been fishing open matches, with smattering of club matches in amongst them, trying to get a blend of venues I feel that I know a little about and taking in some new venues (not too successfully, if my dismal returns on Tony's, Wednesday opens, at Landsend and Avalon are anything to go by).

The one venue that has seen my most consistent results, is Woodland Lake, at the Trinity Waters complex in Bridgwater. The same cannot be said for Trinity's Wildmarsh Lake, which remains a thorn in my side, my best weight from this lake being just over 16lb - although I stayed on after the match, to try and suss it out and had 80lb in 3 hours - bloody lake, matches on it and me do not get on.

Back to Woodlands, this was a Clevedon club match (I've missed a lot of Trinity's opens this season due to work), not quite enough anglers to book the whole lake, but we had both ends and the far bank, I got involved in the pegging and tried to ensure that it gave the best chance to all fishing - never easy, you can never please everyone - although thankfully no moans on the day.

I pulled peg 14 out of the drawbag, not too bad a draw, but the wind was blowing to the opposite end of the lake and walking round with Paul Faiers, who had drawn 6, I did think he'd bag up, there were fish blowing in front and to the right of him.

No signs of fish blowing when I got to my peg, but I was fairly unperturbed, as a peg that can appear fairly barren on Woodland, can look like a Jacuzzi within 10 minutes of feeding it. I had a plan and a back up, not my usual strategy, I was hammered off the next peg in a recent Tuesday evening open, by Eric Fouracre and after a chat with him, in which he kindly gave me loads of info about how he fishes it, I went and practised it, and it worked. Many of my pickups on this lake have been as a result of catching in the margins, this just hasn't worked so well this season and the pole or waggler up in th water have been met with varied results, the lake, as have many this season, has been inconsistent.

My plan was to fish paste about 2m past the bottom of the slope, I had wagglers set up in reserve and margin rigs, for the LH near margin and under the empty pallet of peg 13. On the all in, I potted in some pellet and went over it with some paste, the fizzing started almost immediately, the float shot under, a missed bite, next put in and a near 5lb carp was in the net, that was it, for the next hour all I did was miss bites and lose foul hookers, I just couldn't get them down on the bottom. Ivan Currie on peg 15 to my left had a couple of fish on the waggler and I could see someone down on peg 8 or 10 catching the odd fish on the waggler. I had been feedingthe margin, and dropped in with a piece of beef Coshida on the hook, the float settled and went straight under, a fish about 1.5lb, back in and another the same size, the margins have not given up the bigger fish this season ( so far), then nothing.

Decision time, I decided to fish the pellet waggler, but starting from behind, I had to entice the fish attracted by Ivan's pellet on peg 15 and stop any other moving past me towards him, I fed 8mm, with 8mm on the hook, these making a bigger splash, I started to catch and they kept coming for two hours, with 2 hours of the match to go, I had 20 fish, averaging 4lb a piece, hoping to go on and get a good weight, I was surprised when they just switched off, I struggled for bites, smaller hook pellet, bigger hook pellet all to no avail, Cutting back on feed, stepping it up, searching fro 6" to 6' deep, nothing, so a switch to the margins and the empty pallet under 13, this was bound to give me a few fish in the last hour - how fishing likes to prove you wrong, a couple of missed bites and nothing to show for them.

Back on the waggler saw me net another 5 fish in the last 45 minutes and at the whistle, I thought I'd done enough. As the scales got to me Dave Baker was top weight so far, with 48lb 4oz, I knew my 25 fish would beat that ( along with my 1 roach and 1 small tench taken on the pellet waggler).

I had lost one fish at the net in the last 45 minutes, the only fish I'd lost all day on the pellet waggler and that cost me my first ton in England, as I weighed 98lb 4oz, Ivan on peg 15 had toiled away for most of the day on the waggler, with the odd look in the margins and he weighed
59lb 8oz for second place.

A nice match on what is one of my favourite venues, good fishing, well run and looked after by John & Sue.