Sunday, 25 October 2015

Viaduct Costcutter, Thursday 22nd October 2015

Well, I guess it would be remiss of me not to write about this one, even though it should be consigned to room 101......

With getting on for 3 pints of pristine casters left and a few worms and some dead maggots, I fancied another day fishing for silvers and that influenced what I put in the van.  Once I drew, I found 115 stuck to my hand and that had me reconsidering, so much so I put some pellets into my bag and cut up some meat.

I did set up a lead rod, not sure why, I had no intention of seriously using it, unless the tip went round within seconds of casting, every chuck.....  3 rigs for carp, a pellet rig to fish on the deck at 14m, a meat rig for 5m and a margin rig, although with 114 and 116 in, I wasn't convinced that would be anything other than a real long shot.

Starting on the meat short, there was no indication of any fish there, so 10 minutes was enough on that, it then took the nest part of an hour to get a fish on the long line, with a 6mm pellet on the hook.  Either side of me had caught on the lead, but I couldn't bring myself to chuck it out.  After two hours I did chuck the lead, as I had only one more carp, both small ones, as I decided to switch to fishing for silvers - not really a wise decision with some decent anglers already targeting them.  Whilst I was putting up a topkit to fish for skimmers, the lead rod went round and it had managed somehow, with a 12" hooklength and a 8mm pellet, to foul hook a carp that got away.

I fed some GB and caster at 7m, this produced 5 fish in 5 put ins, 4 8oz skimmers and a 3lber, before this went quiet after another 3lber leapt and shed the hook.  2 further hours and I had added a few more skimmers, but was going nowhere fast, by now the guy on 114 was catching at about 18-20m on the waggler, which wasn't much use to me, as mine was 35 miles away in the garage.

I switched back to the long pellet line, as  by now the Rubicon was crossed and I had self inflicted a disaster on myself, I had one more carp on the long line / pellet, not a bite on meat or in the margin and packed up with 20 minutes to go, chucking back about 12lb skimmers and 3 carp, and snuck off with my tail between my legs.

I didn't get the results, but I do know that I should have stuck to one or the other and I should have brought a waggler rod.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Ivy House Costcutter, Tuesday 20th October 2015

Having decided to fish the Ivy House winter league series (they still have some spaces) I thought it best to get some practise in and with plenty of casters left from the weekend I fancied another day fishing for silvers.

I thought the traffic would be bad, but my mood by the time I got to the motorway wasn't the best, Ivy House is about 3 miles further than Viaduct for me, but it took an hour and 50 minutes to get there, its 50 minutes to Viaduct!! Over an hour to get from home to the M4, bloody ridiculous.  Once there I was going to order the regular breakfast, but my will power went at the last minute and I had the large one, very nice, a good way to set up for what I assumed would be a chilly day.

I paid Andy for the league fees and the match, before drawing peg 37, not knowing the venue it didn't mean too much, although Andy told me 40lb of skimmers made up part of a 70lb net on Sunday, so I was hopeful of a good day, Andy did warn it might start off slowly.

As 37 is next to the causeway, I did set up a carp rig, but dropped from my usual 0.20 down to 0.16 and a 16 Guru Super Spade as the water was fairly clear. Two skimmer rigs, 0.4g to fish bulk and two droppers, 0.5g to fish a double bulk and a 4x12 rig to fish caster short, I also set up a waggler as we had loads of time before the 11.15 start. The depth was fairly consistent at 13m so I picked an area of 'dark' water for ease of float visibility and fed this with 3 balls of GB/caster/worm - but not too much worm.

Leaving that to settle I fished for roach short, but they weren't too obliging on the topkit to hand, so I went topkit + 2 and this produced a couple of better roach, one of about 8oz, before this line went 'iffy' as well.  Out to the 13m line and I expected to see some sign of the skimmers, I had Gary Ethridge the other side of the causeway and he reckoned we were both on decent skimmer pegs, but I hadn't seen a single bubble over the GB and the tiny perch taking the worm, caster or dead maggot were far from a good sign.

After 3 hours with about 3lb in the net, I was starting to question my sanity in booking in for the league, as both lakes were fishing hard and there were guys blanking.  There had been carp moving along the far bank (what would be the LH margin of 36) all day, but the venue rules are no fishing further than halfway across the lake.  At this point Andy Lloyd walked round, as even he was struggling, he was pointing at the fish in the margin of 36 and saying how coloured it was - not too frustrating then!!

I had tried the area at 14m along the causeway, where I had fed, about 3' out from the bank to find just over 2' of water and there was the odd waft of the float, but I could not induce a bite.  With about two hours to go, the carp started moving out of the margin of 36, they were up in the water and mouthing leaves etc on the surface.  A pair of them were over my 13m GB line, so I swung the margin rig round and mugged one of them, a fish of about 8 or 9lb, gratefully netted.  It was amazing, an area that seemed devoid of fish now had a large number of carp up in the water and heading round the lake - away from me sadly, the rest of them stayed out of reach, but they did start to come closer as they went through peg 38, not sure that they were so visible to Chris Cotterill on that peg, but I could see it was black with them.

Thankfully a few stayed and ventured along the causeway towards me and I had my first from there shortly after the mug fish.  There weren't loads there, as I had no indications until the float buried and it was fish on, I was feeding after each fish, fishing maggots (6) on the hook and I though I might end up with 10, but Andy Lloyd came and sat behind me, he's obviously not a good luck charm as I didn't catch in the time he was there and ended with 8 carp and my sparse collection of roach and tiny perch.

The 8 carp went 89.06 and the roach 3.06 for 93.00 dead and first on the day.

1: Chris Fox 93.00 peg 37
2: Val 86.12 peg 20
3: Gary Ethridge 34.06 peg 11
4: Baggy 27.12 peg 3
5: Paul 26.06 peg 31
6: Fred 25.14 peg 14

1: Gary Ethridge  15.09 peg 11
2: Terry 12.01 peg 6

Viaduct Silvers League Round Two, Sunday October 18th 2015

This is going to be short and sweet.

I missed the first round due to being at the Preston Festival and Steve Tucker stood in for me, doing a decent job with a section second.  So all to fish for, I must admit, when 110 came out of the tin, I wasn't over excited, as 'Tucks' had been 5th the day before, with I was informed, tench and perch - not species that like being caught two days running, I would have preferred a skimmer peg.  I couldn't ring him and get some better info, as my phone had died.

I set up a rig to fish to the stump, for tench and perch, there were some carp splashing along the brambles, so I didn't plumb up there.  I set up similar rigs to yesterday and a waggler rod, hoping to catch some skimmers over GB.  I fed GB and caster at 13m, GB, caster and a little bit of worm at 7m and caster at 4m.

It was a real struggle to get bites and I could see Nick Chedzoy on 112 catching hand sized skimmers steadily, whilst my float was for all intents and purposes, superglued to the surface film!!  I tried the waggler over some loose fed caster at about 20m, this produced a few small roach and one small skimmer.  I then gave in and set up a rig to look for perch and tench along the brambles, but no matter where I fed or fished, the bait I could rely on to get a bite was a caster and when the bite came it would be a micro roach.

With 4 hours to go, I had pretty much exhausted every option I could think of, new lines, well overdepth, shallow, fishing just off the feed, well off the feed, right on top of the feed, etc etc. all with the same result, a long wait for a small roach. I had run out of ideas and was getting somewhat pissed off with the leaves that the wind had gathered into my peg.

In the last 20 minutes I had 4 perch for about 2lb down by the stump, too little too late, so my meagre 13lb odd went 4th in section, that leaves a lot of work to be done in the next four rounds.

Monday, 19 October 2015

All Winners Final (Silvers) Viaduct, Saturday 17th October 2015

It was nice to sit back and relax as a passenger today, Tony Rixon being the chauffeur for the day.  All the talk before the match was that pegs 124-126 and 68-71 would be the ones to draw. I had some banter with Bob Gullick about drawing peg 80, which is definitely one to avoid and luckily, he pulled it from the tin before I stuck my hand in.  64 for me, a classic corner carp peg, which I have never managed to draw in a ‘normal’ match……  Not one you’d normally run to for silvers, but with £750 up for grabs it was still worth going and trying.

As I walked up to the peg, I could see Nicky Ewers on peg 66, he said “Oh, I thought it was bad enough drawing here, now it’s just got worse” my close presence is not seen as much of a good luck charm nowadays, given the regularity that I manage to draw the low weight sections.  Still, it meant that we would have a bit of banter if the fish didn't want to play ball.

I had brought a waggler rod and lead rod, neither of which would see the light of day, as if Nicky and I had fished 16m we would have been pole tip fencing, as we both had an empty peg to one side, I do think it would be better to peg 63 and 66 or 64 and 67 in silvers matches, but that’s just a personal opinion.  4 topkits set up, one to fish the margins either side in search of a perch, a 0.20 Jean Desque to fish for roach short and two skimmer rigs, one with the normal bulk and two droppers, one with a double bulk. All with 0.10 hooklengths and 18 hooks, except the margin rig which had 0.12 and a 16 on.
I could see the regular inhabitants of the peg, porpoising in front of the tree opposite, so I did not intend to fish to my right at all, except the margin, which was fed with caster, I fed a short line with caster, a line about 7m with GB and caster and an line at 13m with GB and caster.  Leaving the GB lines to settle I had a couple of roach on the short line, but it was short lived, as the just pushed out and with £750 to fish for, they were just too small to be worth the effort.  I could get the odd fish on the GB lines, but of no size and the length of time waiting for a bite meant I was unlikely to be threatening the stack of envelopes in the fishery office.

I decided to start a new GB line at 13m at about 1 o’clock to my right, this produced two proper skimmers in the first two drop-in’s much to my surprise, but the water was sheltered here, as there was a chill wind blowing down the lake, coming right through the gap in the trees, straight at me.  The rest of my match was spent concentrating on this line, with an occasional look at the other lines, they remained resolutely biteless, the RH line settled into a regular routine, feed, catch a couple of carp and then a couple of skimmers, it would then go dead, feed gain, more carp, then a couple more skimmers, frustrating to have to get the carp, but there were plenty of them in the peg, it was as they came in over the feed and tore through it, then the skimmers came to see if the carp had left any pickings, when they moved off.

The best bait was a section of worm, about 1” – 1½” long, caster meant the same wait for a bite, but it was more likely to be a roach, I toyed with the idea of putting some corn in, but decided against it, maybe I should have tried it.  As I thought initially, I didn’t trouble the framing positions from that peg, but was pleased to have done enough with the skimmers to take the section win by 7lb, with my 20.09.  As the results show, the pre match predictions of the pegs to draw, weren’t exactly accurate, good thing really.

1: Mark Saunders 35.01 peg 112
2: Gabriel Skarba 32.06 peg 99
3: Steve Denmead 29.01 peg 129
4: Andy Power 28.11 peg 68
5: Steve Tucker 26.04 peg 110

6: Paul Elmes 26.03 peg 78

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Preston Festival, Whiteacres Monday 5th - Friday 10th October 2015

After qualifying for the Preston Festival at Whiteacres, I decided to give it a go, Sue Faiers was looking for a week of respite, as she sent her husband along to keep me company.  This would be the first time I had fished the lakes when pellet and method feeders were allowed, as the Bait Tech which I usually fish is a ‘natural’ bait festival.

I had to get everything ready the week before, as I was away in Gran Canaria not getting back until after midnight on the Saturday, this involved buying some of the Guru X-Safefeeders, which are the only elasticated feeders allowed at Whiteacres, as well as tying rigs hooks and generally (with hindsight) packing too much gear and bait.

Leaving Paul to collect the fresh bait from Veals on the Saturday, I was ready before I jetted off and within 7 hours of landing back in Bristol I was packing up the van to head to Nailsea and collect Paul.  On our arrival we decided to fish on Sunday afternoon, a few hours on Pollawyn, where we caught fish, but it wasn’t hectic sport, a sign of things to come…..

We had opted to be in the same section, to make it easier for travelling and I wasn’t disappointed to be on Bolingey for day one, I have picked up money on my last two visits to the lake, so was fairly confident.  That confidence was short lived when I pulled out 21 – the coldest peg in Cornwall – it really is a poor draw and was true to form.  I started on bread tight across to the island and had a carp, which gave me false hope, the next bite was a drop back and that was a 8oz roach, that was the end of the island action.  The information we had been told from the Maver festival the week before, was very frugal feeding was the way to go, so I had put 2-3 bits of meat in on the 5m line every 10 minutes and some 4mm pellet at 14m.

 The peg seemed devoid of fish until I upped the pellet feed with the catty and had a Carussio, then two Carp in fairly quick succession before that line died a very final and total death.  The 5m meat line didn’t produce as much as a quiver on the float bristle and my final three fish came from the margins, one from the RH side down to the pallet of 20 and 2 from the deeper margin to my left.  My 39lb and 4 points was the best of the peg all week, it really did live up to its poor reputation.  Paul had peg 44, a peg we have both drawn in the past and got good points from, but the fish came from the other side of the lake, so he didn’t have a bright start either.  We did keep up the tradition of having an after match pint in the Bolingey Arms, but it appears we are mere shadows of our hard drinking days in the 80’s.

Day two and it was Pollawyn, my luck had obviously changed as peg 13, which is a flyer section peg, found its way into my hand, Paul had 29, so neither of us were too disappointed. I like Pollawyn and have had a couple of second in sections on there, but the pressure was on not to bugger up this flyer.  I set up a waggler to cast to the island, whilst doing this, I was looking to my right and could see carp porpoising in front of the island pegs, about 2/3 the way across, not much activity in front of me, by not much, I mean none!!  The wagglers only venture into the water was before the all-in, so no more about that. I set up two lead rods, one for popped up bread and one for pellet, the pellet one had the same fate as the waggler, the bread didn’t produce as much as a liner.

I set up 6 topkits, more than I would normally, but with Pollawyn being deep, you need to cover the different levels that the fish might be at. One topkit to fish caster down the RH edge, not a bite on that, one to fish over GB, worm and caster just up the near shelf off to the RH side, a meat rig to fish off to the LH side and 3 rigs set at full depth, half depth and 2’ to fish at 14m.  As mentioned, the bread didn’t produce anything, I had been flicking a few bits of 6mm meat on the LH 5m line and dropped in on that, a quick response and a 4lb carp in the net, no other bites there, so I had a look on the 14m line, I could get bites on 6mm meat, but it was small fish and I find fishing the long pole for small fish pretty tedious, so swapped to the worm and GB line. This produced the expected skimmers, but they were up in the water, I couldn’t get them to take a bait off the bottom, but liners and foulers were a problem whilst waiting for a bite.  Its not an uncommon problem now on commercials, I am sure the skimmers don’t want to be near the silt, which is probably unpleasant stuff.

It was fairly slow going, I did try the other lines regularly and had a skimmer from the meat line, but the only way to guarantee bites was to stick on the worm and caster line. I had kept pinging a few bits of 6mm meat out to 14m and with 90 minutes to go had a couple of liners on the full depth rig, so picked up the half depth rig, liners again, so in with the 2’ rig and I managed 3 more carp and a couple of skimmers on this, sticking with it to the end of the match.  The scales registered 40lb odd and a section win, 8lb ahead of peg 1.  Paul had the pegs with the porpoising carp in his section and whilst they were too far to my right, they were too far to his left and he struggled in his section.

Onto day three and I had some optimism before the draw, today was split between Trelawny and Twin Oaks, I had been dreaming positive dreams and will peg 16 Twin Oaks into my hand, but somehow I managed to pull peg 6 Trelawny, another poor draw. Paul had 29 on Twin Oaks – in the right area for the big F1’s. The waggler rod stayed in the bag, two lead rods, one for bread and one with a method on, 4 topkits today, one to fish banded pellet at 14m, one to fish meat at 5m, one to fish worm/caster either side and straight in front short and an edge rig.  Nothing, not even a liner on the bread, not sure that boded well for the method, so I didn’t chuck it out, they tried it either side and didn’t catch on it, so I think I was right.

I concentrated on the L and RH sides short, one side fed with GB one with just caster, these were fairly unproductive, so I stuck another section on and started a fresh line at 5 sections, this fed with GB, worm and caster.  Same problem as the day before, skimmers in the peg, but they were up in the water and causing me liners and foulers, I was getting frustrated by the amount that were jumping ad coming off, but I think they were virtually all either foul hooked or not hooked at all. I couldn’t see too many pegs, but peg 2 had a couple of carp down the edge and I could see the pegs either side were struggling.  Peg 8 then started catching the odd bigger F1 from his margins and I made the mistake of following him, I did not have an indication of any kind from my margins and he beat me by about 6oz, which wouldn’t have been the case had I stuck with the skimmers, although it was of little consequence seeing as, as expected pegs 4, 6 and 8 were the bottom 3 in the section.  4 weighed 18lb, me on 6 24.12 and peg 8 weighed 25.03. Paul had an F1 lesson on Twin Oaks and learnt a lot, whilst being beaten by some good F1 anglers, they are so different than what we usually fish for…..
We had been walking to the nearby Piran holiday park for the evening meal, its much, much better than the food in the Whiteacres restaurant. But tonight we risked fish and chips from the Whiteacres chippy, that was pretty good.

So onto day 4 and we drew next to each other on Trewaters, Paul on 39 and me on 41, which isn’t a bad draw, but probably not the flyer I needed with Des, Johnny Arthur and Andy Leathers also in our section.  The peg is about 20m wide so no need to consider the pole to the island, the usual bread/lead rod set up, a small method feeder and a pole rigs to fish 14m banded pellet, 5m meat and rig to fish caster short and a margin rig for both sides, there was a nice flat area just my side of the pallet of peg 40, I was confident I’d get fish in there.

First chuck into the far bank indentation which looked the obvious place to fish, with bread and within seconds I had a carp about 3lb. Nothing else on bread, but a switch to the method and a 6mm pellet brought two more fish to the net within the first 15 minutes, then it went dead. I swapped the bread hooklength for a banded hooklength and tried this over, but nothing, the fish had gone.
To cut a long boring day short, it fished hard, I set up another rig to fish 16m and 5m of line to swing to the far bank, I could get bites on this, not sure if it was shit fish or F1’s, but whatever it was I didn’t hit a single bite.  I had one skimmer and a small tench on the caster line and what I thought would be a good margin produced nothing. The guy on 43 had one small carp with 45 minutes to go, but he managed 3 more from his RH margin which had some cover, which seemed necessary to catch, where mine were bare. I managed 11lb, which wasn’t last on the lake, but it was last but one, Des had struggled to catch from 45, but he did weigh 35lb, beating Pauls weight by ounces.  Tricky day and I’m not sure what I would do differently if I had to fish it over again, apart from be more negative, but going on the previous weights I thought I was fishing for nearly double the 54lb which won the section.

Last day and off to Porth, this wasn’t in the Bait Tech this year, so its 18 months since I fished it, I decided to just take two feeder rods and fish one at 30 turns of a 3000 reel and one at 55 turns of a 4000 reel, peg 16 had thrown up one decent weight earlier in the week, 48lb which was 8 fish I believe. I obviously fancied peg 16 and was somewhat shell shocked when it revealed itself in my hand. The day before it had produced about 1lb, I guess whoever was on it had fished for bream…..
Arriving at the peg I had Des for company on peg 17, I would say I am a better silvers angler than carp, but I won’t try and kid myself or anyone else that I could beat Des in a roach head to head, so the feeder would be a shit or bust gamble. (which is that when it goes wrong? Shit? Or bust?) Paul avoided the boat ride as he drew 23. So same section again, he too had just feeder rods and quite a few more had the same idea, most of us with no chance of qualifying in the top 24!!

I had a look at the new Preston pole Des is using, it looks a nice bit of kit and he was raving about it, so much better than what Preston have produced before. I then got really frustrated trying to tie a shockleader knot, Des couldn’t help, he never uses one, so up the bank to peg 23 and Faiersy tied it for me, something I must practice.  On the all-in I spent nearly 15 minutes with a big feeder putting GB, pellets and corn at 55 turns, then spent 20 minutes on it, just in case there was an inquisitive fish in the area.  No signs of a decent fish, just a 3oz roach that some how rattled the tip and got hooked when attacking double hair rigged worm. So onto the short feeder line and not long before I had a bite, a small perch, not a good sign, a couple of small skimmers and another perch before this died. Back out to 55 turns and casting every 5 minutes to keep it topped up, at least whilst I was waiting for a bite I had a first hand view of Des’s roach masterclass and his cursing at the pike attacks.

With two hours to go it was looking unlikely anything was going to happen, the conditions weren’t conducive to catching bream, sunny, easterly breeze, so I switched to a method feeder and boilie, this did give me faint hope when I struck into a drop back, but the fish wasn’t the 6lber I hoped for, more like 1lb 4oz. With 20 minutes to go, I had a last cast and determined to leave I there until it either went round or the all-out was called, I had  a couple of flicks on the tip, which I though were liners, but when the all-out was called, I reeled in and had a skimmer about 3oz hooked fair and square in the mouth, I guess he couldn’t lift the 45g method feeder off the deck, I am really surprised he didn’t attract the attentions of a pike.  Des won the section with 17lb, I was about halfway with 3.12, but I knew it would either be glory or nothing.

On the evening Glen Calvert turned up with his misses Liz, nice to see them but they led me and Paul astray, after our week of sensible sobriety, we were last out of the bar and then back to their caravan for more beer, but it was a nice way to round off a disappointing week.

I just managed to not finish in the bottom 3rd, 119th, Paul was 138th, the last two days he had a taster of what it’s like to be me…… I was in the lowest weight section every day, at least he only suffered that fate on the last two days, not sure what the odds of drawing the section that has no chance of framing every day, but I wish I’d put a few quid on it before hand.  All in all it was a decent week for the company, we met up with Scott Russell, Dan White, Scott Cousins and a fair few others, the weather turned from looking dreadful to not too bad, the only let down was the hard fishing and couple of dire draws. 

Lessons learnt, especially that we had far too much bait again, but partly that was caused by us finding a couple of kilo’s of worms left in the storage shed by the previous occupants, I haven’t opened the two kilos I bought.  I didn’t use half the 10 pints of caster and I brought plenty of meat and corn home.

Oh well, next up the Viaduct silvers all-winners final on Saturday and the Viaduct silvers league on Sunday, so the same prep and bait for the two days.