Monday, August 28, 2006

Evesham - 26th-28th August 2006

Just got back from Evesham, another excellent weekend. On the Saturday we watched the fishing for a bit, saw Wayne Swinscoe (the eventual winner) catch some nice net roach, also saw Jeff Spiers land his 5lb+ barbel which landed him 3rd place. Had a fairly quiet night as Andy wasn't feeling too well and managed to projectile vomit everywhere, although he still beat me 7-2 at pool. On the Sunday we sat behind Will Raison for quite a while and he was putting together a nice net of small fish, I think he went on to win his section with nearly 5lb. Wayne Swinscoe had another good day finishing 4th.

We went in the Vauxhall to watch the mighty blues (Chelsea) beat Blackburn 2-0 and despite me going into a 5-2 lead at pool, I eventually lost 6-5. We ended up staying out all day and it got quite messy, the South African owner was brilliant and bought us several drinks, there were also several lovely barmaids who we got chatting to. The place is up for sale, but I really hope the owners are still there next year as it's become our regular drinking hole over the years.

Monday we woke up feeling like crap, went down to watch the team event, sat in between Des Shipp and Mark Downes who were both catching small fish quite well. After something to eat (yet another pork roll), we wandered around the tented village, no major purchases, just lots of groundbait, hemp and turmeric. Then we headed back to deepest, darkest Somerset and made good time as the M5 was quite quiet, for a change.

As I've missed my weekly angling fix, I'll have to wait until next Sunday when it's the final round of the YDAC Langport league. The team will be

Jamie Rich
Andy Langdon
Les Braunton
Alan Dunn
Nicky Collins

I'd love to win it, but this would require a great performance from us and for team Focus to have a disaster, which I can't see happening. I'll be happy if we can hold on to our second spot. I'll let you know.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Langport League - Stathe Drain - 20th August 2006

Stathe Drain - The main species are roach, skimmers, hybrids, perch, bream and tench.

Round five of the Langport league arrived and I must admit I was a little nervous. We (Chard Remains) really needed a good result to claw back the three point deficit between ourselves and team Focus. As I went in to do the team draw I felt it was about time we were due some end pegs. We only got one!, still we did have another good peg, C7. I got section E, peg 6

I got to my section and my peg and the ones on each side had weed stretching from the far side to about halfway, not good when the bonus fish tend to be caught over. I set up a light Drennan squatt float to 0.08mm bottom and a size 20 B511 hook for my groundbait/hemp line and heavier rig ending in 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 for the chopped worm. On the whistle I cupped in a potful of choppie and casters in a little alcove in the weed and then two balls of Sensas Roach at six metres.

I decided to start across as in previous matches the bonus fish seem to get caught in the first or last hours. Started to get bites straight away and had a couple of small skimmers on half a worm, was missing quite a few bites which I think were small fish and hooked two better fish which went straight in the weed and the hook pulled out. Then had a couple of hand sized skimmers and as nobody else seemed to be doing much I decided to stick at it for a while. Then had a bream of around 2lbs and thought there might have been a few more out there. Then it slowed so thought it time to come over my groundbait. I cupped in some more choppie and came in to six metres with red maggot on the hook, feeding hemp and caster.

It wasn't ballistic but was catching the odd small blade and roach, the pegs either side weren't doing a lot, although the end peg E8 had netted a couple of fish. My main worry was Focus's Scott Russell on the other end peg and I knew he'd be tough to beat, along with Baz Morgan on E2, both excellent hemp anglers. I tried the caster but was missing too many bites, tried a grain of hemp but that didn't produce a single bite and as I don't fish the hemp very often I don't have much confidence in it. After two hours I only had around twenty fish, but did have that bonus bream for around 3lbs, in the previous match 4lb odd was good enough for third in the section so I was aiming for that.

Decided to have another go over the worm, I wasn't getting as many bites over there now, then the float went and I hooked a good fish, this was no bream!. I shipped back and broke down at my top three, the fish made a couple of runs up the drain but I had it under control, I was convinced this was a good tench and probably worth top two in the section. The float appeared and I reached for the net, then the fish surfaced, it was a poxy pike (which don't count) of around 3-4lbs, I made a stab of netting it and it spat the hook. Properly deflated I went back across and managed a perch of around 6oz next put in. Fed some more chopped worm and decided to leave it until the last hour.

The fish weren't coming thick and fast at six metres either, I reckoned I was still ahead of the anglers either side but the chap on E8 was still netting the odd better roach (hemp fish I think) and the Weston guy two pegs to my left had landed a tench. I couldn't see what was happening past him but every now and again I could hear Baz Morgan swearing up on E2. I managed a run of slightly better roach on the caster but they disappeared pretty sharpish. The team Amigo's bloke on my right then lost two bream in quick succession whilst fishing tight across in a hole in the weed.

With an hour to go I had around forty fish for 4lbs or so and decided to spend the remaining time over my worm line. My mate Andy and his missus turned up to see how I was getting on, just then the Heron's bloke on my left lost a tench at the net. We really needed to beat the Herons team as well, as coming into this match they were joint second in the league with us on 15 points. As he was swearing and cussing I breathed a sigh of relief. Over my chopped worm line I was getting loads of bites but they were small fish nipping the end of the worm. Did manage four more fish up to the end of the match. In hindsight I should have fished the caster across for that last hour and I might have put another couple of pounds in the net.

After packing up I followed the scales up to Scotty on E1, he plonked 11lb+ of hemp fish on the scales, Baz Morgan weighed 5lb 7oz and he'd done so much swearing as he's been piked out. There were a couple more 5lb+ weights and the Weston bloke with the tench weighed 9lb+, I really thought I was in trouble but my fish went 6lb 2oz for 6 points (fourth in the section) as the other end peg weighed 7lb 9oz.

Back at the results we had a mixed bag of results, Dave Lawrence came back with 2 points, Les Braunton had 12lb odd from C7 for 8 points, Alan Dunn won his section from B1 with 9lb odd of hemp roach and Nicky Collins had 5 points. Our team total was 30 points which was good enough for second on the day, although Focus recorded another win with a fantastic score card of 36 points. We are still second in the league but are now 4 points behind Focus with one match to go, although not impossible it's a big ask, especially with the way they are fishing (and drawing!).

Special mention must also go to Nomad's Jack Warner who won the match with 41lbs of bream and tench, the biggest weight of the league so far.

Results for Chard Remains so far

Round one - River Parrett - 7th on the day - 7th overall
Round two - River Parrett - 3rd on the day - 3rd overall
Round three - River Parrett - jnt 2nd on the day - jnt 2nd overall
Round four - Stathe Drain - jnt 3rd on the day - jnt 2nd overall
Round five - Stathe Drain - 2nd on the day - 2nd overall

The team for the final match is

Jamie Rich
Nicky Collins
Alan Dunn
Andy Langdon
Les Braunton

Well no fishing next week as Andy and me are off up to Evesham for the weekend to watch the Shakespeare festival. I'll let you know how we get on.

Monday, August 14, 2006

River Isle - 13th August 2006

River Isle - the main species are chub, roach, dace, trout and minnows.

This was really a non starter, as next weeks Dillington match was cancelled due to people going on holiday etc I had been badgering the organiser, Robin Cox, to hold a match somewhere. The turnout was never going to be huge with maybe half a dozen expected to show. We met at the Crown in Ilminster and four! arrived. The intrepid quartet were myself, Robin, Barney Crockett and Neil Dring. Oh well there were still fish to be had and money to be won.

Robin decided that this match would indeed count towards the Dillington league, I had won the previous three matches but due to missing a couple when I was on Langport league duty, any chance of winning this league had disappeared. The Isle, being a tributary of the River Parrett is really small, you could even leap across it in places but I love the place. Over the years I have had some cracking results on the river with the highlights probably being catching thirty roach for 21lb+ and seven chub for 18lb+. Most matches are won with double figures but with the river so low and clear a recent match was won with just under 5lbs.

I drew peg 15 which is known locally as the 'swimming pool', it's a decent peg and in the last match of the season last year I was second with over 13lbs of small chub. When I got there the river was painfully low and clear and very weedy. The peg is very deep for this river with a hole in front with a depth of around six to seven feet. There is also an inviting tree/bush in the water to the left that stretches right across the peg.

I set up a gram and a half Drennan Carbo with a 0.12mm hooklength and a size 18 B611 hook, blue hydrolastic completed my set up. I also set up a very light rig for fishing tight across against the weed on the far bank. The match kicked off at ten and I started in the deep water with single caster on the hook. The float buried straight away and a minnow was the culprit, at least I hadn't blanked! A repeat performance on the next two put ins and it was time to try something else, double caster and the float wouldn't stay still. I opened a tin of corn and tried that, this solved the problem of the minnows but I wasn't getting any bites at all now. I tried worm but the minnows were just nipping the end and I was starting to get frustrated.

I decided to up the feed and try and feed the little blighters off, feeding hemp, casters, maggots and the odd few grains of corn. By this stage, a couple of hours into the match, Robin wandered up from the peg below to report he had only had a few very small chublets and that Barney on peg 23 had snared a decent perch. He walked up to see Neil above me in the tank traps peg, he wasn't there long and said that Neil was having minnow problems although he had managed a couple of very small chublets.

I decided to stick at it as one decent fish could be worth some money, I tried across for nothing and reverted to fishing against the bush, the heavy feeding seemed to have worked and I hadn't added anymore minnows to the three already in my keepnet. The bottom was very weedy and most times the hook would come back with some strands of streamer weed on. The river was really in need of a flush through. On around the three and a half hour mark I've gone back out with double caster and held the float back against the trailing branches for the umpteenth time when the float sailed away. I struck but missed the bite, was it minnows?, the bait wasn't touched. Next put in the same thing happened but this time the fish was on, after a spirited battle I slipped the net under a chub of around 2lbs and was a very relived man!

I now fancied the peg for a few more but for the next couple of hours I remained biteless, on another wander Robin said the situation was much the same for the rest of the anglers although Barney had lost a monster perch. Coming up to the last hour of the allotted six, which in my experience is often the best as the light starts to fade and I've hooked another good chub. After beating its initial run I thought I had got the better of it as it started to plod around, then it shot off again and there was the sickening sight of the elastic returning to the pole tip at great speed. Bugger, it had obviously dived into some of the dense weed on the bottom and snapped me as there was a big clump wrapped around the olivette and dropper shot.

That was it and I had no more bites, as I was packing my gear away I kept thinking that it could have been a match winning fish. I wandered up to weigh Neil in and he had loads of minnows and a few small chublets for 1lb 4oz, I knew I had that but was worried in case Barney had managed to add anything to his perch. My chub and three minnows weighed 2lbs exactly, Robin weighed 13oz and Barney didn't have anymore and his perch went 1lb 2oz. I'd won again and picked up £35.

I'm in the middle of a really good run and I hope it doesn't end next week during round five of the Langport league. Already this year I have broken several of my own records, I've won six matches beating my best of five and I've won more money already this year with £646 compared to 2005 (£535) and 2004 (£626).

Monday, August 07, 2006

Langport League - Stathe Drain - 6th August 2006

Stathe Drain - The main species are roach, skimmers, hybrids, perch, bream and tench.

I arrived at the Langport Arms for the fourth round of this five a side league. My team, Chard Remains, are currently lying in joint second place quite a way behind the leaders, Team Focus.
Doing the team draw I once again managed not to get any end pegs for us, my drawing hand must improve soon! My destination for the next five hours was to be C section, peg 4.

After quite a lengthy walk I got to my peg, the drain looked ok but very weedy, the four pegs to my right all had bushes opposite and on the peg to my left I had Ashley from Team Focus, I was going to have my work cut out. On the whistle I cupped in some Roach groundbait at seven metres in front of me and some chopped worm to my right, also at seven metres, in a channel in the weed. A potful of 'choppie' also went in right across against the weed at eleven and a half metres.

My plan was to fish for bits on a light rig and every hour have a look on the chopped worm lines for a bonus bream. Started catching quite well with twenty roach, rudd, skimmers and small hybrids in the first thirty minutes. I was a least keeping pace with Ashley although next to him Butch Baker from the Herons team kept putting the net under some better skimmers. The anglers on the bush pegs seemed to be sitting it out for lumps, I was happy to keep putting small fish in the net.

After an hour I had a quick look on my worm lines but no bites were forthcoming, by this time the chap on my right had had a decent skimmer. I kept plugging away feeding hemp and pinkies but things were slowing, a couple more bonus fish had shown on the bush pegs and I was pretty sure Ashley had gone ahead of me. I tried hemp on the hook and only had one small hybrid, I also tried my far line again but to no avail.

With an hour and a half left I had 58 fish for around 2lb's and I was pretty sure I was heading for last in the section and the dreaded two points. It was reaching the stage where I was being forced to go across and sit it out for a 'get out of jail' bonus. A family of swans, around six in total were now right across opposite me foraging with their necks submerged stirring up the bottom. The colour they created had by now spread to my far chopped worm line, with a hour to go and bites non existent on my seven metre line I decided to stick it out for big fish.

My worm rig was a 0.4 gramme float shotted with a bulk and a couple of droppers to a 0.12mm hooklength and a size 18 B611. Blue hydrolastic through my top two completed the set up. I put half a worm on and shipped out and waited, as I hadn't had a bite on worm yet I wasn't too optimistic. After about ten minutes the float slid away and a strike met firm resistance, I started shipping back and apart from a brief panic when the bream got caught around some weed, I netted it without too much grief. At around 3lb it was a welcome bonus and I reckoned worth good points.

I rebaited and went out again, after a short wait the float disappeared, but this time whatever I had hooked had shot off at a rate of knots and weeded me. I kept applying gentle pressure and I heard Ashley say "You'll need to pull harder than that". Slowly but surely I could feel it coming and then it was free, kept shipping back and could see a good tench (around 5lbs) with weed covering its head. I reached for the net all the while expecting the fish to go ballistic, but it didn't until I'd got it in the net. I think the weed covering it's eyes had calmed it as it thought it was safe.

I was now pretty sure I would be top three in the section, I had no more bites and then the all out sounded. People kept saying I would win the section but I wasn't so sure as I'd seen several good fish netted through the match. Followed the scales down to the end peg (C8), the chap had a good tench and loads of bits for 9lb 14oz and I really didn't think I had that. Surprisingly there were no more bream in the section, Jack Warner from the Nomads weighed 6lb+ of roach but the 9lb weight was still top when the scales reached my peg. Even after I'd put my fish on the scales I still didn't think I would top that, the needle settled on 10lb 12oz and I was well chuffed.
The only other scare being Butch plonking a good silverfish weight of nearly 8lbs on the scales.

As Ashley from Team Focus was last I was hoping the rest of the team had also done well. Back at the pub we had mixed results, Alan Dunn had also won his section and Nicky Collins was third in his. My mate Andy was last in his section from a very weedy peg and Dave Lawrence had 3 points, the goods news being he had beaten the Focus angler in his section. After a quick tot up we had 30 points, a fairly good score. The results were read out and not only had I won the section (and £40) I had also won the match, as a team we came joint third on the day and remain joint second in the league. Team Focus finished seventh (out of eight) and stay top but their lead has been cut to three points with two matches to go.

Results for Chard Remains so far

Round one - River Parrett - 7th on the day - 7th overall
Round two - River Parrett - 3rd on the day - 3rd overall
Round three - River Parrett - jnt 2nd on the day - jnt 2nd overall
Round four - Stathe Drain - jnt 3rd on the day - jnt 2nd overall

The team for the next match is

Jamie Rich
Nicky Collins
Alan Dunn
Dave Lawrence
Les Braunton