Monday, August 22, 2016

Summerhayes - Open - 21st August 2016

It was back to Summerhayes this week but the day didn't get off to the best of starts when I received a text from the Torquay Tart saying 'It's whooping time!' which put me on a downer as I thought he'd taken up golf or left the country or something! He went on the say that he's on fire now, a big gun on the open circuit and taking scalps wherever he goes and is just missing mine from his trophy room! He's obviously delusional and I've gone from feeling sorry for him to actually thinking he needs professional help, if you're reading this Tart, please seek help now!

I picked Janders up on my way and we were soon pulling into the car park, I said hello to all the usual faces and it wasn't long before the Tart stopped lurking in the shadows and made his presence known, he was all togged out in a new set of black and orange clothing with Bait-Tech and Guru logos plastered all over it so he certainly looked the part, ask him how much they cost the next time you see him!

After a quick coffee it was time for the draw and by the time I got to the bucket, there were only a few balls left, Janders stuck his hand in and pulled out peg 11 which is a nice silvers peg and one I would have liked. I went in and pulled out peg 7 which is on the end of cyanide straight, a corner peg with reeds and lilies, so basically a carp peg which wasn't great as I like to target the silvers and I really can't draw for toffee at the moment! Elsewhere on the side bet front, Glynn had drawn peg 37 which can be a bit hit or miss for silvers and the Tart had drawn peg 20 and agreed to having the pound on silvers even though he was intending to fish for carp, I told you he was a strange boy!
Carpy corner!
I got to my peg and it was already quite windy with the forecast for more of the same later, my neighbours for the day were in-form Martin Addicott on peg 9 and after a few weeks off, normal service was resumed with Jess Jordan on my right in peg 4 which was also the golden peg. I set up a 10 x 11 MW F1 Slim for two lines at 10 metres and a 0.3 gram Nick Gilbert Mini Gimp for the 5 metre line. The side tray was nice and simple with just some micros I'd soaked the night before, Bait-Tech 4mm Xpands and some 6mm hard pellets if small fish became a problem.

On the whistle I fed all three lines with half a pot of micros before starting straight out in front at 10 metres, I missed a couple of bites before catching a 2oz skimbob and a few more followed before I bumped what felt like a better skimmer, I then had a small carp which prompted me to switch to the other line where I had a couple more skimbobs before another carp muscled in on the action. After an hour I had around a pound of silvers plus the two carp and was doing okay but then Jess hooked a good skimmer that leapt out of the water and wiped out my early lead and then some in one fell swoop.

I carried on catching small skimmers between 2-4oz from the two longer lines and was dripping in a few micros on the shorter line every time I shipped out but wanted to leave it as long as possible before trying it. Martin was getting the odd carp but not really bagging and from what I could see Janders was struggling on peg 11. After two and a half hours my bites were starting to slow up and I probably only had a couple of pounds of silvers in the net and was going nowhere fast, Jess had added another decent skimmer but unless things improved drastically neither of us would be challenging for an envelope today.

I decided to come in on the shorter line and my first proper bite saw me strike into a carp that tore off towards Jess's swim and snapped me - great! After tying on another hooklength I was back in action (I use the term very loosely!) and getting the odd blade but the soft pellet was getting battered by small roach so I tried a Marukyu red 6mm Jpz pellet but that didn't improve things so it was onto a banded 6mm hard pellet. This helped a bit and I had a couple more small skimbobs before hooking a big skimmer that flew out the water and straight off the hook which about summed the day up.

Martin was now catching really well on paste and even had a couple of decent skimmers on it, which he took great delight in showing me! Jess had sneaked in a couple more decent skimmers and when Adie walked round and said Glynn and Ray were both catching silvers I knew my bad run wouldn't be ending today. I was still getting small skimmers, roach and of course the odd inevitable carp which are just a pain in the arse when the float sailed away and I hooked a better fish which didn't feel like a carp and I was right when a nice 12oz tench popped up.

With about an hour to go I started to catch small skimmers quite well and even had a nice little crucian carp and was quite enjoying myself. Martin was now motoring and had put his third keepnet in and was even playing one when the whistle went. My final tally was 36 skimmers and roach plus the tench and crucian and I thought I had between 4-5lb. As I packed up Jess said he had five decent skimmers plus some bits so I knew he'd beaten me.

I packed up and was loading the car when Janders arrived and he said he'd had four skimmers plus several carp. We caught up with the scales after they weighed the first couple of pegs who weighed 34lb and 35lb 8oz before Nigel Wickham took the lead from peg 31 with 86lb 9oz which also included 7lb 10oz of silvers. Ray had 6lb 2oz of silvers from peg 27 and then Bill 'The Paste King' Hopping had 79lb 3oz from peg 24. Next was the Tart who weighed 65lb 14oz but crucially only had 2lb 7oz of silvers and I reckon instead of having Guru and Bait-Tech plastered all over his waterproofs, he ought to have Savlon instead!

Jeff Sparkes on peg 17 then went into the silvers lead with 12lb 13oz, Roy Hughes had 92lb 7oz on peg 12 to go into second place and then Janders had 3lb 2oz of silvers and 24lb 13oz of carp. Next up was Martin and after several weighs his total was read out at 115lb 6oz, well done mate. My silvers went 6lb 11oz and six nuisance carp took my total to 19lb 2oz. Jess had 7lb 9oz of silvers and then John Dursley weighed 81lb which put him in fourth place. Last to weigh was Glynn and he went into second in the silvers with 10lb 7oz and took a nugget off me but pounds off Janders and the Tart made up for it.

1 - Martin Addicott (Summerhayes) - 115lb 6oz
2 - Roy Hughes (Summerhayes) - 92lb 7oz
3 - Nigel Wickham (Summerhayes) - 86lb 9oz
4 - John Dursley (Enterprise Angling) - 81lb

1 - Jeff Sparkes (Summerhayes) - 12lb 13oz
2 - Glynn Wickham (Summerhayes) - 10lb 7oz

So my bad run continues and next stop is Dillington on Sunday and to be honest I'm not confident of it ending then!

I can't go without saying a massive congratulations to Tackleuk's Scott Russell for winning the Feeder Masters qualifier on the Bristol Avon at the weekend with just over 14lb, good luck for the final mate.

Next up - Dillington

Coming soon - More reviews

Check Out - My last disaster (below)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Dillington Pond - Summer League 8 - 14th August 2016

We were meeting out the pond today so I got up early for a change and stopped off at Burger King to get a coffee and a sausage and egg muffin thingy which I have to say wasn't great! There were sixteen anglers booked in for today as the pond's popularity continues to grow, even the Langport Invader, Baz Morgan, had joined us for the day! We actually had a draw bucket today and I was hoping for a nice peg on the near side, 17 or 18 would do but when I pulled a ping pong ball out, it had the poxy number 24 on it! That's the third time in seven matches and along with peg 4 twice, peg 8 and peg 22, my drawing arm is officially broken.

Normal service resumed for Ash who was on his favourite peg 17 and with Rob on 19 again, I'm sure they'd need a passport if they ever drew the far side! Baz was on 18 and Scott was down (or should that be up!) on peg 15 which is rather high off the water. I was just heading to my peg when a young chap turned up asking where Rob was, it turns out he'd booked in with Rob but had thought the draw was at 9:30, luckily Rob had put a couple of extra pegs in and he ended up on my right in peg 22. I had a quick chat and he said his name was Liam and it was his first match, it's always nice to see new faces and hopefully we'll see him again.

I didn't take a picture of the peg (if you want to see it just look at the report of the last time I drew it, or the time before......), I did get a photo of Ash and me and he looked rather pleased with his peg. I got my box level and mixed up some groundbait before setting my rigs up. Three rigs today, a 1 gram Drennan Tipo for fishing on the deck, a little Preston Chianti for fishing shallow and a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp with 0.14mm bottom and size 16 B911 for fishing by the bush.
I think Ash was happy with his peg (I don't know why I was smiling though!)
I was just about ready when Rob blew to get us underway and I cupped in two balls of groundbait straight out in front and a full pot of casters, hemp, maggots, pellets and corn by the bush at 8.5 metres. I started on the deep rig with caster on the hook and was soon swinging in my first small roach, more followed with most coming on the drop but once again I wasn't getting any quality. There were quite a few bubbles coming up over the groundbait so after half an hour or so I tried a grain of corn to see if I could sort out some better fish, I missed a couple of bites before catching a 3oz roach so that wasn't the answer and I'd wasted ten minutes, after an hour I only had 19 fish for around a pound.

I tried the shallow rig and my catch rate improved but the size of the roach didn't, after the second hour I was up to 50 fish but I'd heard Frank ask Fieldy how many fish he'd had and he was already on 104! I decided to have my first look by the bush but would only give it ten minutes or so because if the chub are there you'll normally get one straight away. I shipped out with a piece of corn on the hook and after a couple of minutes the float sailed away and of course I missed it! I had a couple of knocks but no more positive indications so I cupped in some more feed before going back out shallow.

I was feeding two lines, straight out at 10 metres and just off the end of the bush at the same distance and I was catching quite well swapping between the two but I just couldn't catch any quality. Just as the third hour began I had another look on my big fish line and the float disappeared from view and this time a chub was on......all 3oz of it! I had another chublet on corn before trying triple caster, the float buried and this time the culprit was a 2oz perch so I fed it again and went back out long with the shallow rig. The trouble is, every time I tried the big fish line and didn't get one, I was falling further and further behind the likes of Fieldy and Ashley who I knew would stick to their task of catching roach and would not deviate, they're like the Terminators of the fishing world!

From what I could see, Liam on 22 and Frank on 21 were struggling, Rob had landed a couple of better fish on peg 19, it sounded like Baz hadn't had much on the feeder from peg 18 and I hadn't seen Scotty catch much down on peg 15. So if Ash and Fieldy framed per usual I thought there might be an outside chance of a double default section win. For the rest of the match I would spent 45 minutes fishing shallow catching 1-2oz roach before trying to catch a proper chub (unsuccessfully) by the bush. I did manage a couple of better roach and some chublets from the shallow line off the end of the bush but my big fish line only yielded a couple more mini chub and when the all out was called my clicker was reading 131 fish which I thought might give me 8lb or so.

Baz had the scales and chucked his fish back but he did have a nice 2lb plus perch, he weighed John Dursley first and he plonked 21lb 8oz of bream and skimmers in the weigh sling and I hadn't seen him catch a fish! Scotty was next and had 12lb 11oz and then Ash had another lovely net of roach weighing 18lb 15oz. Baz then weighed me and my fish went 10lb 10oz which was a little more than I thought but I knew there would be no envelope for me again this week. Liam had 2lb 8oz, Frank had 5lb 1oz and then Rob had 14lb 1oz which included two nice chub. Thanks to Ash for the photos*
John Dursley had 21lb 8oz of bream and skimmers from peg 14*
Scotty had 12lb 11oz*
Ash had another cracking net of roach weighing 18lb 15oz*
I had 10lb 10oz and was way off the pace yet again
Graham had 346 fish for 19lb 12oz from peg 20
Rob had 14lb 1oz which included two nice chub from peg 19
Back at the results and when the others came back there were some good weights in that section as well, Adie Bishop had 21lb 7oz of bream and skimmers on the feeder from peg 5 to take second place, a very hungover Jake had 13lb 12oz of skimmers to win the section and he pocketed the side bet pounds, Rich S had 7lb 4oz, Karl had 5lb 12oz, Steve 'Nob Budd' Parker had 5lb, Nick P had 4lb 1oz and Hurf had 3lb 13oz. Thanks to Jake for the photos**
Karl had 5lb 12oz from peg 2**
Adie had 21lb 7oz of bream and skimmers for second place**
Steve 'The Pole' Parker had 5lb from peg 6**
Jake had a nice net of skimmers weighing 13lb 12oz to win the section**
Nick had 4lb 1oz from peg 9**
Rich had some nice skimmers for 7lb 4oz**
With half the anglers recording double figure weights, it's brilliant fishing but I'm just well off the pace. I think I did the right thing today by trying to catch chub because even if I'd just fished for the roach all day, I still wouldn't have caught the 19lb needed to win the section.

1 - John Dursley (Enterprise Angling) - 21lb 8oz
2 - Adie Bishop (Ilminster) - 21lb 7oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 19lb 12oz

A - Jake Woodard (Ilminster) - 13lb 12oz
B - Ashley Tomkins (Tackleuk) - 18lb 15oz

In the league, after dropping the two worst results Graham leads with 8 points followed by Ashley on 9 and Alvin (who didn't fish today) on 13.

I'm having a really barren run at the moment, I was having a fantastic year and then I came back off holiday and I haven't won a bean since, I'm at Summerhayes next week so make sure you come back to see how I get on.

Next up - Summerhayes

Coming soon - More reviews

Check Out - My last disaster (below)

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Hebditch's Pond - 7th August 2016

After the junior match the other week where the winning weight was over 100lb in three hours, everybody was well up for this one and all the talk was of 200lb weights and needing five keepnets. I wasn't so sure and still thought 100lb would be a good weight in six hours as there were only five juniors fishing that day and we had thirteen booked in, so not as much space and a lot more bait going in. Also with the farm using the pond for irrigation, Harry said the level of the pond was well down and I wasn't sure how that would affect the fishing.

We all met at Cartgate to do the draw and I have to say their breakfasts are really good, as always a fiver comes out of the entry fee to go to a charity of Harry's choice and there was also a really nice gesture from Scott Russell who donated two prizes for a guess the winning weight competition with all the proceeds going to the charity as well - thanks Scotty! There were a wide range of guesses from 93lb to 263lb, I went for 135lb. Rob announced the draw and I pulled out peg 8 which put me in the corner on the left as you get to the pond. Along with the regulars, a certain Steve Chant was fishing today and it was lovely to see Stoke's sexiest man for the first time in ages.

As I walked round the pond I was surprised at just how low the level was but when I reached my peg there were quite a few small carp underneath some scum in the margins which made me think I could be in for a good day. I had Rich S on my left and Jake was on peg 9 on my right, opposite I could see Terry, Justin and Adie and then Harry and Chanter were on the reed pegs.
Looking across the pond from my peg, you can see how low the level was, where the anglers are setting up is normally under water!
I could get down nice and close to the water but when I chucked my keepnets in I was a little concerned at the lack of depth in the margins. I set up a little Preston dibber for fishing shallow with hair rigged banded pellet, a Trabucco dibber for fishing the margins but I had to come off the bank a fair way to even get a foot of depth and when I plumbed up with a deep rig it was only two and half feet deep at 10 metres!

On the bait front I was keeping in simple with 6mm SSP Baits beige gravel and dark silt pellets, some softened 4mm's and Bait-Tech Strawberry Corn. Harry whistled to signal the start and I cupped in some 4mm's and corn on my two margin lines before shipping out with the shallow rig and lifting and dropping the rig while firing in a few pellets constantly. I was expecting the elastic to get ripped out at any moment but it didn't happen, I could see Jake, Terry, Adie, Harry and Scott all into early fish so why wasn't I catching? It took 25 minutes before I had my first fish but it was a false dawn and after an hour I still only had one carp and I was already a long way behind most of the anglers I could see.
Pellets and corn on the menu today
But then as the second hour began, it was like somebody had flicked a switch and everyone stopped catching (not that I ever started!). I did manage another carp shallow and one on the deck on corn but it just wasn't happening. I had a quick go in both margins but never had an indication so it was back out shallow and going through the motions. I did stick another section on and went out to 11.5 metres which resulted in another fish but I just couldn't string two bites together.

Jake and Adie were still getting odd fish as was Harry 'Snapper' Hebditch although he was now on the waggler as he'd broken his pole yet again. After an overcast start, the sun was now out and it was a lovely day which prompted Justin in peg 11 to take his shirt off and the glare from his lily white torso was blinding, luckily he was on the opposite side of the pond from me so I wouldn't have to see it close up!

With around two hours of the match left and only had a handful of carp in my net, I tried my left hand margin again but this time with my shallow pellet rig and to my surprise the float sailed away resulting in a small carp, two more followed quite quickly before it died. I then noticed a puff of silt from the right hand margin and had a couple of carp from that swim and there were obviously some fish mooching about but they just wouldn't settle in the shallow water and any hopes of a grandstand finish soon disappeared. Harry called time and my final tally was 15 carp which I knew would do me no good today, I packed up while two of my three keepnets dried in the sun!

The scales started with Steve P who had 9lb, then Rob had 5lb 8oz from peg 5, Leighton and Rich S didn't weigh before it was my turn and my carp went a level 15lb. Scotty was next to weigh and he went into the lead with 29lb 7oz, Hurf had 7lb 12oz and then Chanter weighed 17lb 5oz from peg 1. Harry had 21lb 8oz to go into second place but was then pipped by Adie with 25lb 12oz on the next peg.
Steve 'The Pole' Parker had 9lb
Rob had 5lb 8oz
I had 15lb from peg 8
Scotty had 29lb 7oz to go into the lead
Hurf had 7lb 12oz from peg 2
The lovely Steve Chant weighed 17lb 5oz
Harry did well to weigh 21lb 8oz despite breaking his pole yet again
Adie had 25lb 12oz from peg 12
Justin didn't trouble the scales but thankfully he'd put his shirt back on and then Terry had 15lb 8oz with all his fish coming in the first 45 minutes of the match, last but not least was Jake who had 25lb 8oz and third place on the day.
Terry had 15lb 8oz in the first 45 minutes and then nothing for the rest of the match!
Jake was third with 25lb 8oz
1 - Scott Russell (Tackleuk) - 29lb 7oz
2 - Adie Bishop (Ilminster) - 25lb 12oz
3 - Jake Woodard (Ilminster) - 25lb 8oz

A - Steve Chant (Stoke) - 17lb 5oz
B - Harry Hebditch (Ilminster) - 21lb 8oz

So it had been really hard going for everyone although it was actually quite a close frame, I wasn't too far away from the leading weights and my poor first hour when most of the others caught well has cost me. As for the guess the weight competition, Rich S came closest with 93lb, so not too far away!

It was still a nice day and we raised over £100 for Harry's chosen charity and on behalf of the anglers that fished I would like to say a massive thanks to the Hebditch's for letting us fish the pond and also to Scott for his very kind donation. I'm looking forward to fishing it again when the levels back to normal. So my bad run continues and we're at Dillington next week and I've been struggling out there as well in recent matches!

Next up - Dillington

Coming soon - More reviews

Check Out - My interview with Andy May and my latest review (below)


Saturday, August 06, 2016

Andy May Interview

The latest angler in the hot seat is none other than the recently crowned Fish 'O' Mania champion, Andy May.

Against Men and Fish - Hi Andy, firstly, massive congratulations on your richly deserved Fish ‘O’ Mania win and thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview as I know this must be a very hectic time for you!
Can you tell us a little bit about the final, what preparation you did for it and the key tactics/decisions that helped you win the title?

Andy May - No probs at all, yes it has been proper hectic but amazing as well. The final itself was a little different this year in that you had to come through a previous day semi-final which was held on the Suez and Moors canals at Cudmore. Luckily I managed to win that match after drawing a flier and qualify for the main event. Again, I managed to draw a proper good peg in permanent peg 20 (Sky peg 5 on the day) in the final. During the week leading up to the final I'd been on the Arena lake once, and between me and my bank runner, the awesome Andy Bennett, we came up with a plan to fish slop at 13 metres shallow and worms, casters and groundbait short for everything swimming. On the day it was a tad windy but I still went for the long shallow approach as I didn’t think anyone else would bother. I started on the method but that lasted about 5 minutes as looking round everyone was catching on the pole. I went on it and it was solid with all sorts of fish and for 2 hours it was a bite every cast, catching mainly small f1s, barbel and ide. I noticed some fish swirl on my groundbait though so had to give it a go. I hooked 2 fish very quickly, one which fell off though but the wind was too strong to get any decent presentation. We then made the decision to forget the long line and concentrate on one swim short. Luckily the fish stayed there for the rest of the match but I had to keep changing the way I fed the groundbait and feed the casters as I wanted them down on the deck but the fish kept on wanting to come shallow! Andy quickly sussed the best thing to do was feed the groundbait very stodgy so they had to follow the ball down and attack it. The bagger Bennett really was amazing and proper calmed me down going into the last half an hour when I was getting a bit giddy!
Andy with yet another F1
And what plans have you got for the prize money?
Ha ha, my wife has taken care of all that! No, I'm going to get a new van, we have already had carpets fitted, new sofa is on its way, but, we have put most of it away for our two children, Oliver, 6 and Leah, 3, for when they are older. Oh, not forgetting the holiday to Florida that my little lad requested live on TV as well! 
Andy with a rather large cheque!
What’s your favourite method?

Without any doubt the stick float. It just takes me right back to when I was a kid fishing the rivers with my Dad, in particular the rivers Dane and Weaver, it's just an awesome sight seeing that float go under before whacking into a dirty great big chub! In fact I've just had a couple of hours tonight after a coaching session and had 10lb of big dace, chub, roach, brown trout and some baby barbel. Awesome!

And your favourite species of fish?

I think most people will know its the chub, you cant beat them. I caught two in the fisho final, only around 8oz a piece, in the last 15 minutes and both of them got a kiss!

Do you prefer commercials or natural venues?

Definitely natural venues, its how I was brought into this fantastic sport by my Dad, fishing on rock hard venues and appreciating everything I caught. Obviously I love fishing commercials too as everything is so handy and you don’t have to walk over 17 fields through mud and long grass and get chased by bulls and horses to get to your swim......but, I still do all that now when I go pleasure fishing. Personally I don’t like pleasure fishing commercials but I could go on a natural venue for hours and hours pleasure fishing.

If you could give the readers one tip to improve their catches, what would it be?

As a fishing coach I see lots of common mistakes, but the single most important aspects of fishing are the feeding and presentation. Making sure you're not fishing too heavy, keeping that bait going in little and often and having multiple swims on the go.
Another great net of fish for Andy
You’re backed by Bait-Tech and MAP, how much do you get involved with new product development and are there any new and exciting products coming out from either company that you can tell us about?

We have around four consultants meetings each year, haha, most of them end up like this......sit around a table for 10 minutes, followed! I absolutely love being involved with MAP and Bait-Tech, its just like being in a big family and we all help each other out, our drinking sessions are a bit legendary though. I remember one of many times with the MAP boys when we did a tackle store opening in Kent, we were supposed to be fishing a match the day after but, errrr, it didn’t materialise seeing as we got in at 4 am. I think we had to leave the rooms by 10am. I then proceeded to drive 60 miles the wrong way down the motorway took me 9 hours to get home as I had to stop off in 4 service stations for a sleep....never again! Oh wait, It happened all over again the week after...haha! Anyway, about new gear, we are constantly working on new products in an already very busy market. All I will say is watch out for the MAP seatboxes, they are a bit good!

You’ve got a long list of big match wins under your belt and now you’ve added Fisho to your CV what title would you like to win next?

Another Fisho would be nice, oh and a Maver Match This, maybe a Whiteacres festival. Im not greedy! I'd love to get over to Ireland soon to do the festivals and I think its something im going to do when the kids are a little older.

As well as being a top flight match angler with all the prep that’s involved, your commitments to your sponsors at angling shows and events, you’re also a very successful angling coach, how do you fit it all in? And what do you like to do in your free time? (if you have any!).

I have a fantastic wife (Louise) and an awesome family. I couldn’t do what I do without them, they have given me so much support over the years. Also my sponsors MAP and Bait-Tech, without their awesome products I couldn’t be doing the coaching and competing in the events like I do. To be fair I don’t have much free time. A day consists of getting up early then coaching until 4pm, back home for 5pm, then its a couple hours of play time etc with the kids, bedtime for the kids and then its usually around 8.30 to 9pm. Then its tea time and then bed time....and repeat the next day. I do love my office though, it really is the best office in the world!

Before I let you go, here are some quick fire questions for you,

What’s your biggest fish?

46lb 8oz catfish

And your biggest match weight?

427lb from Cobhouse fisheries

Your favourite venue?

River Dane

What’s your favourite drink?

Definitely not Desperado, which was what I was drinking on the Kent Night! It will have to be cider in the summer and Jack Daniels Honey in the winter, oh, I love Vimto too!

Favourite meal?

Indian, lamb Rogan josh or chicken tikka masala, with cheese and garlic naan bread, onion bhajis and some pompadoms and the chutney can bollocks to the lime pickle though..errrr!

Favourite film?

Gladiator or 300....hmmm!

TV show?

Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom!

Preferred reading?

Errrr, I tend to just look at the pictures...haha!

What music do you listen to?

Without doubt, Oasis. Although, I do like a bit of angry rap, Eminem, Dr Dre and 50 Cent

And finally, what’s your idea of a perfect day?

Wake up, big breakfast, fish a match, win, pub, beers, ciders, whiskeys, bed!

The above is great but I love spending time with my wife and kids
Well thank you Andy, it’s been an absolute pleasure, from Against Men and Fish

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Bait-Tech Apron Towel Review

Now a towel isn't the most exciting bit of kit I've ever reviewed and it certainly won't catch you any more fish but it is one of those things that you don't miss until you haven't got one!

From wiping your hands after mixing your Pro Natural groundbait to keeping them dry and slime free before eating your sandwiches, it's always useful to have a towel in your carryall and the latest product from the Bait-Tech stable is just the job.

Other uses include,
  • covering your groundbait bowl to stop it drying out in hot weather (or turning to mush on wet days)
  • wiping that expensive pole down at the end of the day
  • worn as an apron it stops your jeans or trousers from getting covered in groundbait or fish slime
  • and you let the world know you're a big fan of the best bait around!
In the firms distinctive pink and black colour scheme it's 100% cotton, washable, features an adjustable strap and is plenty big enough at 80cm x 50cm.

You can get one for just £9.99 (with free delivery in the UK) by just clicking on the link below,

Yet another great product from Bait-Tech

Monday, August 01, 2016

Dillington Pond - Summer League 7 - 31st July 2016

After drawing peg 4 in the last two matches, I was hoping for a change of scenery today (although not 24 either as I've been on that one twice as well!), I got to the pub fairly early and there was another decent turnout of thirteen anglers. Rob announced the draw and both Ash and me hung back hoping somebody else would pull out 24 but with only three pegs left in the hat, nobody was admitting to it and it looked like peg 1 (another I'm not keen on) was still in there too! I went for it but didn't look to see which peg I had and then Ash looked gutted as he wrote his name next to 24 on the weigh board, I was sure I'd be on peg 1 but when I opened my hand, the number 22 was staring back at me and peg 1 wasn't actually drawn as Rob had thought there were fourteen anglers fishing! Alvin won off my peg in the first match with 22lb of bream and skimmers but it hasn't done anything since and as it's in the narrowest part of the lake, it doesn't tend to throw up many roach weights.

I got out the lake and the level was still well down with the farmer pumping and Ash was going to be in for a noisy day but he managed to borrow some earplugs from Rob but whether they were for drowning out the pumps or my banter, I'm not sure! Rigs were the normal 0.5 gram Drennan Roach for on the deck and a Preston Chianti for fishing up in the water. With Ash on 24 and Scotty on peg 20, I was in a Tackleuk sandwich!
Peg 22 with Ash by the pump house in the background
On the whistle I cupped in two balls of groundbait at 10 metres before starting on the deep rig with caster on the hook, it took a few minutes to get my first bite (which of course I missed!) and I bumped a couple of small fish before a little roach got me off the mark. More small roach followed but it certainly wasn't fast and furious, Ash was getting a few without really bagging up either. Quite a few anglers around me had started on the feeder, Jake across on peg 2, Scotty on 20 and Rich next door on 19 but as far as I could see, nobody had caught a skimmer yet although Scotty was catching some quality rudd.

By the end of the first hour I'd only had 22 fish and no quality apart from one decent roach and I was struggling. I tried the shallow rig but as per usual I just missed loads of bites and wasn't putting much in the net, I did have three slightly better chublets but only added another ten fish in the second hour and my catch rate was going nowhere! The feeder anglers had started catching the odd skimmer and then Ash had a 3lb chub and I didn't know what to do next! As I wasn't really catching deep or shallow and with quite a few bonus fish being caught, I felt my best chance of a result today was if I tried to catch a lump or two of my own. I cupped in two more balls of groundbait and started feeding hemp and caster quite heavily over the top.

Single caster was a waste of time with small roach taking the bait and I was missing or bumping most of them and double caster wasn't much better. I did eventually hook a better fish but it wasn't on long and some slime on the hook length indicated a skimmer or eel but after another hour I'd only added a few more small roach and I wasn't enjoying myself very much. Ash was still getting the odd better roach but he hadn't added any more chub, Scott was getting the odd skimmer on the feeder and also kept trying his short line where he was getting some nice roach shallow. Jake over on peg 2 had a couple of skimmers on the feeder and then caught a nice bream and another skimmer on his short pole line and I'd also seen Fieldy net a decent bream down on peg 10.

With a couple of hours to go I was still feeding quite heavily and started to catch small roach quite well on the deep rig, with most bites coming on the drop and I ended up with 107 fish which I thought would give me 6-7lb and I was left wishing I'd done it all match as I reckon I could have done around 12lb but I do get bored catching bits and I always end up trying to catch quality fish. Ash took his ear plugs out and asked what I had and I said about 6lb and he said he thought he had around 7lb but as his chub was about 3lb, I knew he had more than that. The scales soon arrived and he was only 100% out with his estimate as he weighed a level 14lb, then it was my turn and I seem to be getting better with my guesstimates as my fish pulled the needle around to 6lb 6oz but then again when you catch bugger all, it's not hard to keep track of what you've caught!
Ash weighed 14lb and was only slightly out with his estimate of 7lb!
I had 6lb 6oz and I just can't seem to catch those quality roach
Scott weighed 16lb 4oz which included five skimmers and some lovely rudd that he caught on the feeder along with some pole caught roach. Rich had 3lb 13oz on peg 19 and John Dursley had 5lb 12oz next door but he did lose two good bream, last to weigh in our section was Rob and he'd had a lot of fish for 9lb 8oz from peg 16.
Scott had 16lb 4oz which included some lovely rudd
Rich had 3lb 13oz which included a nice skimmer and a little tench
John had 5lb 12oz from peg 18 but lost two bream
Rob had a lot of fish for 9lb 8oz from peg 16
Just as we'd finished weighing Rob in, Alvin arrived from the other section and I asked how Fieldy had got on, expecting the answer to be around 15-20lb I was stunned when the reply was that he'd had 447 fish for 31lb, another fantastic weight following on from his 38lb a couple of weeks back. He'd caught a lot of small fish but also had a nice bream, a skimmer and some quality roach. *Thanks to Jake for the photos.
Graham with part of his fantastic 31lb catch which included a nice bream*
The rest of that section had fished really well too, Jess had 13lb 10oz which included two bream, Alvin had a bream a skimmers for 13lb 5oz, Jake had a bream, skimmers and quality roach for 12lb, Steve 'The Pole' Parker had 9lb 12oz and took another nugget off me, Bob had 8lb 4oz which included a nice bream and a skimmer and Nick had 4lb from peg 14.
Jess had 13lb 10oz which included two nice bream
Alvin had 13lb 5oz of bream and skimmers on the feeder
Jake had a nice net of fish for 12lb
Steve 'The Pole' Parker weighed 9lb 12oz and took another pound off me
Bob had 8lb 4oz which included a nice bream
1 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 31lb
2 - Scott Russell (Tackleuk) - 16lb 4oz
3 - Ashley Tomkins (Tackleuk) - 14lb

A - Jess Jordan (County Gardening) - 13lb 10oz
B - Rob Cox (Ilminster) - 9lb 12oz

In the league, it's very tight and after seven matches and dropping the two worst results, Ash and Fieldy lead with seven points followed by Alvin on nine.

The pond continues to fish really well with lots of bream and skimmers showing on the feeder and the pole (although not for me) and some lovely nets of quality roach are being caught as well (I can't catch them either!). I'm just not getting it right at all at the moment although, in my defence, some of the pegs I've drawn haven't done me any favours either (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!).

Next week we're at Harrys and I'm really looking forward to it, hopefully it should be a good match with some decent weights and we'll raise some money for his charity.

Next up - Hebditch's Pond

Coming soon - My next review and another great interview

Check Out - My latest milestone (below)


Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Decade On And Still Going Strong

Well this July marks 10 years of blog writing for me and I can't quite believe it's been that long! I've always kept angling diaries/log books and the blog was just an extension of that, I had no grand master plan for the blog (and if I had my time again, I'd probably have called it something else!) but I still really enjoy writing it even though it takes up a lot of my time. In the early days I would get home from fishing, write and publish the blog and be up the pub for 8:30!, these days it sometimes doesn't make it online until Tuesday or even Wednesday! But I do try and make it a good read and add lots of photos (which were missing from the majority of my early posts) and it all takes time. Also at the start I wasn't even sure if anybody (apart from me) was reading whereas now I've had some great feedback from complete strangers at matches and fishing shows and that always makes all my hard work worthwhile.

It can sometimes be a real chore when I've had a really bad day or blanked but I pride myself on posting every time I go fishing so you get The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! (unlike a lot of anglers on Facebook who only sing when they're winning!). It can also be quite difficult to keep things fresh and interesting, especially when I fish a lot of matches on the same venues and the same rigs are used etc, it can all get a bit samey. Hopefully features like reviews and interviews stop things becoming too stale although certain things I've tried like the Korum Challenge (Mission Impossible) never really got off the ground. My Random Ramblings on the other hand have been very well received and I'm actually very proud of the last three I did (check them out).

Here are a few facts and figures which, hopefully, you might find interesting,

I've written 670 posts to date.

My first post was way back on 22nd July 2006 (have a look - First Post) and after 10 years has attracted a grand total of 39 views!

My last post (Latest Post) has had 980 views after only a week.

The most popular post so far has been my review of the Ringers Pellet Pump (Popular Post) with 3362 views but only 3 people read my account of a match on the Isle in 2008 (and I framed too! Least Popular).

Up until the end of 2011 I wasn't even averaging 1000 hits a month, during May of this year I broke 12000 for the first time with 12091 hits and posts regularly top 1000 views.

It took nearly 9 years to reach the milestone of 250,000 hits, as I write this, the blog has hit 379,421 views, so that's getting on for 130,000 hits in just over a year so hopefully the blog continues to move in the right direction.

I don't really make any money from the blog but then again I never really started it for that reason so if you're thinking of writing a fishing blog to get rich quick - don't bother! Food, fashion and of course celebrity gossip blogs on the other hand, do really well, look at Perez Hilton! On the plus side, I do get approached by quite a few firms like Bait-Tech, Kitshack, Ringers and Canvas Design to review their products which I really enjoy doing. Through the blog, I realised a long term ambition when I appeared in a feature for Match Fishing magazine, I also wrote for the now defunct Southern Angler every month and have had articles published by Pondip, The Angling Gazette and several other websites.

2016 has been a pretty eventful year so far with four match wins (two at Dillington and two at Harry's pond) and four silvers wins at Summerhayes including only my third ever golden peg win. I've also had two trips to Thailand where I fished two new venues and caught loads of fish including twelve new species and several new pb's.
One of my favourite fish from my recent trip to Teak Tree lake, a 22lb ripsaw catfish
So what next for Against Men and Fish? Well along with my weekly match reports, I will continue to regularly update the Where to Fish section, review new products and I've already got some great new interviews lined up and as always I will trying to add new species and pb's to my list along the way.

I can't go without saying a massive thank you to everybody who reads or supports the blog, especially Hayley at Bait-Tech, I really appreciate all the help. If you have any feedback good or bad (as long as it's constructive), please get in touch via the contact form in the side bar or the blogs Facebook or Twitter pages, I would love to see your photos. match reports and results or if you want your fishery added to the Where to Fish page, just let me know.

Here's to the next ten years!