Monday, 29 June 2015

Tunnel Barn Farm, North v South, Fundraiser. Sunday 28th June 2015

A chance to visit TBF for the first time, in a match to raise funds for the England Disabled and Ladies teams, with a lot of banter thrown in, an ideal distraction from my recent poor run of results.

Traveling up with Tony Rixon, we debated where to stop for breakfast and opted to try the new services at Gloucester on the M5, you expect to pay a bit more in the services, but it wasn't too pricey and the food was decent as well.

The lakes at TBF looked a bit snakey to me, surely not a day of dangling pellets by islands..... not my idea of fun.  but no, thankfully Des gave those of us who made the trip up from the Bristol area, a run down on the place.  The main talk was of fishing worm and caster, but after talking to Tony, we decided that taking on Des and any other regulars up there, on that method was a recipe for failure.  I had live maggots and dead maggots, pellets and meat as the mainstay of my bait tray.

I drew Canal 4, meant nothing to me, Tony drew 10 on New lake which made it easy for parking, as the pegs aren't too far apart, we showed Des the peg numbers and he told Tony, "thats a flyer", he gave me a commiserative smile and said "that's OK"........

Canal was pegged two miss one, so I had an empty peg to my left, not knowing too much about F1's I wasn't sure if this was an area they would back off into or not.  Plumbing up I found a deeper channel running from the pallet to the far side and  it shelved up to the left and right all the way across.  This would mean constant depth changes to start new lines up to keep in touch with the fish.

No point confusing myself, so just 4 topkits, a shallow rig, two depth rigs, one for topkit +1 and one for down the middle, also a rig to fish tight to the far bank, this was set up with a 18 on 0.12 and a bait spike, to fish meat - yep, I have been reading Andy Power's article in this months Match Fishing mag.....

Starting on the meat across, I had a missed bite first drop in, next drop in saw a small carp netted, then the line died, this was to become a familiar theme throughout the match.  I had been feeding tiny balls of GB and maggot on the topkit+1 line and this produced two F1's and then started fizzing, next couple of fish were skimmers, 12oz, so reasonable weight builders if they would keep coming, but the size got smaller and smaller, until they were just a nuisance.

The upshot of the day was that I had to keep moving to a new line and take maybe one F1 from it, before the skimmers moved in, I had been feeding maggots down the middle and saw a couple of swirls, so in with the shallow rig, 3 fish and then a skimmer.  I could go back to the far bank and get 1 carp about every half an hour, but they were small.

It seemed that the fish were backing off the feed, the guy on peg 5 found exactly the same thing, he started catching faster than me (on soft pellet over micro), when the bites dried up he fed more and that just made it worse, I think by just dripping a few maggots in I managed to work my way round the peg and keep the odd fish coming.  I weighed 70lb, which was second on my side of the lake, beaten by end peg 11 who had 74lb. Tony was second in his section with a shade over a ton and as the weigh-in took a long time we got on the road.  Thankfully Bobby G stayed on for the raffle and results and he is bringing an envelope home for myself and Tony, I am assuming they paid two in a section.

It was hard work, but quite enjoyable and I can see myself having a few trips to F1 venues once the winter arrives.

The missing blogs....

Five matches not blogged, just really couldn't muster the enthusiasm to write about what were essentially, with one exception, a continuation of the poor form I have been suffering at Viaduct.

First one was Landsend, in Tony's Float Only series, feeling reasonably confident after a section win from a poor draw in the first round, I was less than pleased to see peg 29 on the Specimen lake in my hand after the draw.  It was dire in the winter and had it still been winter, the gear would not have come out of the van, but with unusual optimism, I went to the peg hopeful that the warm water would see the fish moving round.

I was right, they were moving round, tight to the far bank, resulting in a torrid hour of foul hookers, before 5 hours of boredom, not a fish apart from some big roach and the very odd skimmer to be caught short.  I ended the day last in the section and tipped back about 35lb to save the scalesmen a job. 

Next up was a trip to Woodland View, first time there, Trigger came with me and we were practising for the Fisho the next day.  A low turnout for this match saw us all on Back Dean's, with Trigger getting an end peg and I was next to him, but 3 pegs away - we all had a lot of space!!  Tricky day, mugging was the only effective way to catch and Trig smashed it up with 171lb, I was second with 75lb.

Next day back to Woodland View with Trig and we both drew on Front Deans an end peg or a peg with space was needed, we had neither and came home empty handed, the pegging is horrendously tight up there with all the pegs in, I can't see me bothering with Fisho's or MMT again, unless I get a drawing arm transplant.

Onto the MMT at Viaduct, I drew peg 28, the last peg up the leg in front of the lodges, afterwards Tony Rixon said he was surprised I even went to it, i did so in the forlorn hope of regaining my £70 outlay with a section win.  Two bites, one fish and an early bath with 3/4 of an hour to go, home and a night out with Miss Stella Artois was in order......

Not too many dalliances with Stella, as it was up the next morning and back to Viaduct for the last round of the Spring league, with everyone wanting to avoid Cary, I was pleased to see Campbell on my draw, 127, not the best peg on the lake, but should be worth a few fish.  How wrong can you be, a real struggle, I weighed 55lb, with Luke on 126 weighing 66lb, apart from a DNW on 111, I think we were last and last but one on the lake.  Really not sure what has gone so disastrously wrong on this league, as I finished with a full hand of last in sections, I could never have imagined that at the start of the league.

So a fairly dire run, lets hope some settled weather, the elongated spawning season and my drawing arm change things going forward.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Viaduct Spring League, Round Four, Sunday 7th June 2015

I am fairly confused by this league, or at least, by my results in it, I wouldn't have expected to do so poorly, even given the high quality of anglers fishing. This match has compounded my misery and I still don't know if I am doing something drastically wrong.

Onto the match, I drew 111, which is usually a decent peg, good for a few fish and the occasional win, today was all about being positive, so a lead rod set up, the wind seemed awkward, so the waggler rods stayed in the bag. Topkits for pellet shallow / mugging - didn't see a fish to mug and shallow never had so much as a liner - so they went away with no action seen.

A rig to fish meat at 5m, a pellet rig to fish 6mm at 14,5m on the deck, a margin rig and as I had time, a paste rig  - mainly because I had Lee Werritt opposite on 130, I was sure he'd be fishing paste and if he started catching on it, I could try it.

On the all-in I potted in 5 bits of meat and lowered the rig over it, it buried and an angry 5lber was attached, what a start, then I proceeded to turn playing it into something from the era of black and white slapstick films, as it was wallowing around at the left of my keepnets, it suddenly put on a turn of speed that would have it tested for steroids in any other sport and ran behind the nets, but in front of the platform legs.  I managed the topkit passed under the pallet maneuver without breaking the topkit, but then managed to knock another topkit in the water and it floated off - thanks to dave White on 110 for rescuing it.

With the fish safely landed, I looked back on the meat line, but that was to be it from here, apart from a roach and a tiny skimmer,  Out on the 14m line there was a few bubbles and after a long wait I managed a skimmer on 6mm pellet, then fouled a carp that tore off and straightened a 16 B960, unusual to see those bent out of shape.  New hook on and back out, another fouler, this time when everything got horribly taut, there was a loud crack, not the pole, but the elastic had disappeared along with the PTFE bush.

Another topkit, another rig and finally a fish hooked in the mouth on the pellet, safely landed with no problem, a long wait for another bite, Dave on 110 was similarly struggling, as was lee on 130 and Steve on 131, whilst 132 was emptying it.

Next calamity filled moment was hooking a double, which came in OK and then dived under the pallet, this time breaking the topkit and the elastic cut through on the damaged carbon, the fish stayed on and was landed in another comedy moment by handlining the elastic. Anothe PTFE bush gone and another elastic, turning into an expensive disaster.....

By now, Dave White on 110 had switched to fishing up by the brambles and had started to catch, Tucks on 112 was bagging, fishing towards 113 and I was still struggling, in fact with 40 minutes to go, I packed up slowly and tidily, chucked back about 38-40lb and buggered off home, haven't felt so disheartened with fishing for sometime now.  I really am at a loss to explain what has gone wrong with this league, apart from the comedy moments, I fished tidily, with no reward.

I think I have to blame Gary O'Shea and Steve Long for the carp under the pallet, as I have been trying solid elastic, Sensas latex, on their recommendations and I haven't quite got it sussed yet when the fish run off on the topkit, it stretches more than you'd think.. That said, apart from those disasters, it improves the action of the pole, by reducing weight and I am sure I will get used to it, as until this, I have had no problems in the 2 or 3 weeks I have used it.

Upwards and onwards, Landsend next Sunday, looking forward to that, then an open on Tuedsay at Woodland View, before the Fisho there on Wednesday, the MMT at Viaduct on Saturday week and the last round of the spring league on Sunday week - chance to redeem myself, although I'll take a last in this one if I can win the MMT  :)

MFS / HillBilly Pairs, The Glebe, Friday 5th and Saturday 6th June 2015

My first visit to The Glebe, having heard good reports about the fishery, I managed to get into this match due to someone dropping out.  I had managed to get some information from venue regular, Chris Needham and Andy Kinder, thanks Chris & Andy, I was basing my approach around corn, pellet, dead maggot and casters, which I wasn’t going to take, but changed my mind in the run up to the match after speaking to Chris.

The match was a two dayer, 60 anglers with 30 on pool 1 and 30 spread over some of the other pools and then swap round next day.  I had Mike Walker as a travelling partner for the event and it was an early start picking him up at 5am. We made god time and got there in the 2 hours 15 the sat nav had predicted, in fact we were a little early and found a breakfast/burger van that did a very tasty egg and bacon roll.

We had a walk round lake 1 before the draw and I did fancy peg 30, it has a pipe running into it and the carp were lining up in the outflow, it looked solid, that and the wind was blowing right into that end. The draw for the pairs was made and my partner was George Tamayo.

My ever unreliable drawing arm put me on peg 28, close, but not close enough, Mike drew peg 66 on pool 4, so after dropping him off, I got to my peg and set up a 4 hole cage feeder to fish tight to the far bank, clipping up to get it tight to the rushes.  To windy to consider a waggler, I did set up a rig to fish pellet at full depth at 14m, a corn rig to fish at 6m, just up the slope, a margin rig, although I didn’t think that would be too productive with all 30 pegs in.  As I had some time, I did set up a paste rig to fish over the pellet line at 14m.

Starting on the feeder which I had been assured was the banker to get a few fish in the first 3 or 4 hours, I found it tough going, as did everyone else I could see, I managed 4 fish in the first hour, so came off the feeder and had a look at the 14m line, there were fish here, but the wind was making it virtually impossible to present a bait and I was catching odd fish, but I felt it should be more.  I had tried to find some trip back against the wind, but no matter where I tried there was none. I tried paste over this line and had a couple of fish, but the wind was making it just as impossible as the pellet rig.

I looked on the 5m corn line and this produced the odd fish and it took me longer than I would have liked to work out the feeding and the best way to lay the rig in, once I sorted this out the catch rate improved and I was adding fish to the net, although I wasn’t catching as fast as peg 30.  I had fed some maggot and GB in the margin and this did produce some fish, but wasn’t prolific, only to be expected with every peg in. 

Had I sussed the corn line out a bit quicker, I feel I should have been pushing Dave Pearson for the lake win, which he did with 166.00 from peg 25. It was close with the other top weights on the lake being 154.08 RossN peg 7,  147.00  Barry Wynn peg 30, 138.08 GotGaz peg 11, 138.04 Matt Blackmore peg 24 and myself with 137.12  peg 28.

This was a long way from the winner on the day, Andy Kinder with 306.00 from peg 92, six weights over 200.00, there were including the 300 and 200’s, 35 weights over a ton, fantastic fishing.

After the match it was back to the Longshoot, where we were staying, it wasn’t the most salubrious surroundings I’ve ever stayed in, the bathroom tiling was very late 60’s /70’s, the mattress was strangely ribbed, but as I only spent a short time in the bed, it wasn’t of great importance.  The carvery was OK for a bargain £4.95, the bar had karaoke and Andy Kinder gave a Elvis impression, which resulted in Churchy lobbing his undies on the stage……  from there on the beer flowed and it was a good night, Matt Blackmore ordered up loads of pizza’s, kebabs and cheesy chips that showed up about 1am, so a nice healthy preparation for Saturday’s round 2!!

Me and Mike decided not to wait at the shoot for breakfast, thinking we’d visit the same roadside van as the morning before, that was a tactical error, as there was a glaring space in the layby, where our breakfast should have been.  We found a corner shop near the venue, it had very little stock and we had to breakfast and survive the day on sausage rolls and chocolate, lesson learnt for next time.
Onto the draw and Mike drew peg 5 on pool 1, whilst I drew peg 67, next to where Mike had been the day before, the lake had thrown up some good weights with 3 200lb+ nets from the middle pegs and Mike weighing 171 from peg 66. 67 hadn’t faired so well, but there were obviously fish in the area.

Trying to use the advice I had been given and that Mike had caught well on the feeder I set it up again, once again the wind ruled out a waggler, so 4 topkits completed my set up. Two for the 5m corn line, one strung out shotting and one bulked.  A margin rig and as I had nearly 3 pints of casters left, I found a nice flat area about 2m from the bank to my right at a comfy topset + 1, this was about 18” deep and was going to be fed with caster and pellet, paste fished over the top.

On the all-in I started on the feeder again and started catching straight away, but these were small stockies and within 30 minutes I saw peg 69 catching bigger fish on his 5m line, today was so different than yesterday, the peg was tripping back hard against the wind on the 5m line and this led to bites, but also liners, as there were fish there, but not settled on the bottom feeding.  I had seen some swirls over the caster line and decided to have a look therewith a big lump of paste and had a nice run of fish to about 6lb, before the line went quiet. A switch back to the corn at 5m brought the odd fish and with a things slowing down all round the lake, I fed the margins with about 2 ¾ hours to go.  Leaving the margin to settle I had another fish on the paste, they weren’t queuing up for it, but patience was rewarded. 

When I dropped into the LH margin, I had an 8lb fish straight way, then one a bit bigger, I refed and lost a couple of foulers, with the reeds at this venue it is impossible to get the rig tight to the bank. I let it settle and had a fish from the RH margin, before hooking a lump from the LH edge which went 16.08. The RH edge produced a couple of fish and the LH edge was just causing me a headache with foulers, so for the last half an hour I went back on the paste line and landed 4 or 5  7-9lb fish before the all-out.  I had a couple of skimmers in my silvers net, decent ones taken on paste and a couple of squeakers, they along with the carp went 191.08 for a lake win and joint 5th overall – this was leading with the last lakes results to come back and it had thrown up 4 200lb+ weights to knock me down the frame. Partner George hadn't faired too well in the drawbag and we finished off the pace of the top pairs.

Churchy taking the win with 252.12 from peg 99, GotGaz  248.00 peg 98, Mr Bald 222.00 peg 109, HillBilly 199.08 peg 106 with myself and Jason Elwell on 191.08, from 67 and 77 respectively.

Thanks to the organisers, Neil of HillBilly floats for sponsoring the event and to everyone who made it an enjoyable weekend, just glad I didn’t draw lake 1 on day 2, as the spawning fish meant weights were well down, with 69lb winning the lake.