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.