Monday, September 25, 2006

Chard Reservoir - 24th September 2006

This blog could also be titled 'How the wheel fell off!'

Met for the draw at the resi carpark at 9:15 and managed to draw peg 35 which was next to where I was last time, as this area isn't well known for bream it was to be a roach day again. Set up a four metre whip with a small waggler and the pole to fish at 9 metres with a 0.6 gram rig, both rigs had Gamakatsu black size 18 hooks. Also this time I mixed up some Sensas black roach groundbait to feed a small ball every other chuck.

For company I had Alan 'Picky' Gage to my left, on the whistle Alan started on the feeder and I started on the whip feeding a small ball of groundbait and maggots, casters and hemp. Had a roach first chuck and a bite a chuck every put in, although the problem was I was bumping/dropping off more than I was putting in the net. After no indications on the feeder Alan was also on the whip after 20 minutes. It was definately slower than last time and after an hour I only had twenty odd fish.

During hours two and three things didn't really improve and despite changing my hooks to Kamasan B611's I was still losing more than I was landing. I tried the pole and again although I was hooking a fish every put in very few were making their way into the net. Alan was thirty fish ahead at this stage and I was going nowhere fast. I also hooked rocks (the reservoir is very rocky!) twice and snapped my whip rig both times.

John Coxon (JC) two pegs up had snared three of four bream and I was wishing I'd set up a feeder or waggler. Alan commented how the fish weren't having it right and I had to agree. After repairing my whip rig for the umpteenth time with two hours to go I actually started to catch ok, the fish would come in spells and I was still a long way behind Alan. Another difference from last time was the lack of quality roach.

With quarter of an hour to go I was looking forward to the whistle when I struck at a bite only for my rig, attachments, everything to be stripped from the whip. I think the rubbers that attached the rig to the whip had come loose. Memo to self - invest in some superglue! After staring blankly at the now rigless whip for five minutes wishing I was somewhere else I spent the last ten minutes on the pole for two more roach.

When Les arrived with the scales he said that the bream had fed and several had been caught with Alan Dunn having ten. My 156 fish (all roach apart from two skimmers and two perch) went 12lb 1oz for absolutely nowhere, Picky had over 200 hundred fish for 15lb odd, JC had added a couple more bream and weighed 28lb plus to win the section.

I got back to the car and as I was packing away my kit other anglers started arriving back, my mate Andy had caught six bream and weighed 31lb+ to win his section and take a £1 off me. Alan Dunn won with 47lb odd and Les Braunton was also among the bream and came second with over 41lbs. The only redeming feature of the day was taking another fiver off my nemesis Janders.

Next week we are either at Curland or Dillington (Dillington, please God I hope it's Dillington!)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Dillington Pond - 17th September 2006

As usual we met in the Crown Inn, Ilminster for the draw. Upon our arrival Robin told us(me and Andy) that the match was to be held on Dillington and not Curland as we expected. I wasn't too disappointed as I'd won the last three matches I'd fished on this venue. I drew peg 8 which put me on a bank on my own, on the bank to my right I had Neil Dring and my mate Andy and on the left hand bank there was Justin, Janders, Barney, Robin and Martin Heard. On the opposite bank to me was Stuart Brown (Fred).

I set up a 3AAA waggler with the bulk around the float and three number eleven Stotz down the line culminating to a size 18 B611 to 0.12mm hooklength. I also set up a chopped worm rig to fish 10 metres to my left (towards Justin), this consisted of a 0.6 gram float again ending in a size 18 B611 to 0.12. Justin had won the last match here (which I didn't fish) with 18lb+ on the whip, he'd set one up today so it would be interesting to see how he got on.

On the whistle I put a full cup of choppie on the 10 metre line and started on the waggler feeding maggot, caster and hemp with double red maggot on the hook. The action was instant and I had six chub to a pound and a half in the first half hour. After this excellent start it slowed although I was still getting odd fish including some nice rudd along with another couple of chub. Looking around the pond, nobody seemed to be setting the world alight. In the previous match I'd caught well on caster later in the match, and today I was feeding it hoping to catch on it later. After a couple of hours I tried it but it was pretty unresponsive. Previously I'd found that fishing caster I wasn't getting plagued by the hordes of small perch that inhabit the venue.

Into the third hour and the sport had slowed for everyone, Justin was catching the odd roach and rudd on the whip but elsewhere it just seemed to be the odd perch showing. There had been quite a few better fish showing between me and Neil so I had a couple of casts there and started getting bites, had my first roach along with some rudd and a couple more chub although I did lose two chub in the weed.

From all the muttering I was guessing Andy was having a bit of a mare. Little did I or he know just how bad things were going to get. His waggler came off it's attachment but the wind blew it into the side, lucky or what? as he got off his box to retrieve it he clipped his pole with his boot and there was an audible crack and his number eight section snapped in half. As his Daiwa Tournament pole had cost £2500 the section wouldn't be cheap to replace. He sunk to his knees with his head in his hands, not a happy man. After he's calmed down somewhat he shouted across "Still at least I got my float back!" which raised a laugh all round the pond.

With around an hour and a half left there wasn't much being caught at all, so I thought it was time to try the pole. I put a worm on and first put in the float buried and a small perch was the culprit, next chuck and it's twin was in the net. This wasn't the response I'd hoped for so I fed another cupful of chopped worm and left it for five minutes. After a short fruitless spell on the waggler, it was back on the pole but this time with caster on the hook. After a few minutes the float disappeared but this time something was pulling back, a spirited tussle followed before I netted a good eel around the pound and half mark.

I was feeding caster over the pole line and next put in I had a small roach, then a rudd and then a twelve ounce roach. It then went quiet before I had two smaller eels and another decent roach. I then had a chub on the drop and another eel, a bit later the float went and I hooked a good fish which turned out to be a bream of over three pounds. With half an hour to go Andy had packed up and wandered over looking rather dejected, he reckoned I was easily winning although you can never be too sure. While he was behind me I missed a couple of bites before hooking an eel which came off in the reeds by my feet. Andy commented that he'd brought his bad luck with him, I did catch another roach right as the all out sounded.

As I waited for our set of scales, Justin stared weighing in his bank, top weight was Martin Heard with just under 5lb's until Justin plonked 10lb+ of mainly roach on the scales. I was pretty sure I'd beaten that and thought I had around 15lb, in fact my 35 fish (11 chub, 1 bream, 4 eels plus roach, rudd and perch) went 20lb 7oz which was enough for 1st place and £55 plus £5 off Janders and a nugget off Andy which just about polished off his day! Justin was 2nd and Neil 3rd with 6lb+.

I was really pleased because besides being my best weight at Dillington this was also the fifth Ilminster match I'd won on the trot, probably one of my best runs ever. All good things come to an end though, I'm at Chard reservoir again next week so we'll have to see.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Chard Reservoir - 10th September 2006

Chard reservoir, the main species are roach, bream, perch and carp. Got to the draw in the resi carpark, everybody wanted the favoured bream pegs, 48, 49 or 50 and of course I drew peg 37. Still I'd decided I was going to fish for roach all day because although the bream fishing can be fantastic and 100lb weights arn't uncommon, it's a bit too hit and miss for me, I just like getting bites. In the lead up to this match roach weights had been winning quite a lot of money.

After a fairly long walk, got to my peg and started to set my gear up, we had plenty of time until the all in. I set up a 0.4 gram rig with 0.12mm bottom and a size 18 B611 to fish at 9 metres, I also set up a 3AAA waggler as an alternative. I had a chap called Mike to my right and Steve Bush to my left. Steve had recently won a two day festival by fishing for roach over the two days so I knew what he would be doing.
As I waited for the whistle my mate Andy wandered down, he had drawn peg 49 in the bream area so I thought there would be a good chance of losing my £1 side bet. There were roach topping everywhere and was looking forward to the start.

On the whistle I shipped out and started feeding hemp, casters and maggots, had a bite straight away on double red maggot and started catching roach in the 1-2oz bracket quite quickly. I always count my fish and after the first hour had 43 fish (roach and one small skimmer). There are some cracking roach to be caught but sorting these fish out from the hoards of small fish can be difficult. I had some tares and sweetcorn with me but never had a positive indication on either. I did have one good roach of around 12oz, but this fish came to double maggot.

At the start of the second hour I started feeding a line just off the end of the keepnet at two metres, thinking if I could catch here my catch rate would improve. I kept trying here but fish were sporadic although I did have a couple of good roach. Through trying the inside my catch rate actually suffered and I only had 28 fish during the second hour. Hour three and I concentrated more on the further line with only brief forays onto the inside, where I would get a run of fish but they wouldn't settle and I had 39 fish.

Hour four was much of the same, but I was bumping and dropping off loads of fish, I changed the hook to be on the safe side. During this hour I also discovered the reason why the fish wouldn't settle on the inside, a small pike or trout leapt out of the water to take a roach and after a brief struggle it spat the unfortunate redfin out, I placed it in the keepnet where it didn't look very healthy at all! At the end of this hour I managed 37 fish. Mike to my left kept swopping between feeder, pole and waggler and I guessed I must be ahead of him, wasn't too sure how Steve was doing.

With two hours to go I kept trying the inside and by constantly changing depths I would get 5 or 6 fish before having to go long again whilst feeding the inside. Looking back I would have probably done better sticking it out on the longer line. This was my worst hour only putting 26 fish in the net. In the last hour I had some more fish at 9 metres and spent the last half an hour on the waggler and caught quite well on this ending the final hour with 35 fish for 208 fish in total (nearly all roach apart from two small skimmers).

When Les, the match organiser, came down with the scales he said that the bream hadn't really showed, Mike weighed over 16lb, and I thought he'd been struggling!. My fish pulled the scales round to 18lb 1oz and I should have really done 20lbs. Steve Bush weighed a fantastic 26lb+, which was over 400 fish. Didn't watch any more of the weigh in as I had the long trek back. As I loaded the car up, other anglers started to arrive back and it became clear only the odd bream had fed.

As Les sorted out the results, Steve Bush had won and another 20lb+ weight was second, Les was paying out the top two and two sections. Alan 'Picky' Gage won the top section with 19lbs and I won the other section and picked up £35 plus the £1 side bet from Andy and £5 from Janders. Quite a few anglers had set out for bream and it hadn't paid off. An enjoyable day.

Next weekend I might be at another new venue (for this blog anyway) as we might be at Curland pond, another small fish venue, I'll let you know how I get on.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Langport League - Stathe Drain - 3rd September 2006

The final round arrived and due to weed problems the match was to be split between Stathe Drain (3 sections) and the River Parrett (2 sections). I went into the draw and actually managed to pick a couple of end pegs, A1 (and the scales for the team) for Andy and E8, on Stathe, for me. Elsewhere, Alan Dunn was also on the river, on B2 which left Les and Nicky both on Stathe.

Got to my peg and it looked ok, although it was a long way over to the far bank (around 14.5 metres), I was quietly confident of a good result as the last time I drew this area two years ago I won the section with two bream and a tench. As per usual I set up a 0.4 gram rig with 0.12mm bottom to a size 18 B611 for across and a Drennan squatt rig with a strung out bulk, o.o8mm hooklength and size 20 B511 for down the middle (at around 9 metres).

On the whistle I cupped some chopped worm and caster across and two balls of roach groundbait down the middle. Started across as the big fish tend to come early or late, was into some rudd and roach straight away, which isn't normally a good sign, I gave it around half an hour, catching about ten fish before coming into 9 metres. Was only getting odd small fish and then Yeovil Nomads' Jack Warner on the next peg latched into a good bream shortly followed by tench. This wasn't going to plan!, I felt I had to go over again but could still only get smaller fish although I did manage a hand sized roach and a slightly better skimmer.

By this stage, an hour and a half into the match the wind got up and I was really struggling to hold the pole at 14.5 metres. Back at 9 metres I was still only getting the odd small fish and was becoming very worried. I fed some more choppie across in the hope the wind might die down later in the match. In fact if anything it got worse and gusts were blowing the pole all over the place, even on my shorter line. With around half the match gone and around a pound and a half in the net I felt I had to put some fish in the net.

Jack hadn't added any more big fish and the Weston guy next to him didn't seem to be doing a lot so I decided to get my head down and catch some small fish. With caster on the hook I was getting bites but either bumping or missing the majority of the bites. A change was needed so in a bid to try and stabilise the rig, I bulked the spread shot together and added a few inches to the depth. This worked to a certain extent although I was still bumping too many. Hooking the caster with the hook point showing I started to catch roach, skimmers and hybrids quite well.

The wind by this stage was horrendous and I struggled my way to 86 fish, right near the end I dropped off a rudd of around 3oz (remember that fish!). The whistle went to signify the end of the match and I felt I hadn't done the peg justice. In hindsight I wish I'd fished for bits from the start but the lure of the big fish proved too inviting. Walked up to weigh in and E1 put 6lb 1oz on the scales, followed by a 4lb+ weight and then a 6lb 2oz, the next peg put over 12lbs on the scales followed by Focus angler Steve Bishop with 7lb 6oz. I really thought I was going to be last in my section. The Weston guy weighed 3lb 15oz and Jack 10lb+, then it was my turn and as I pulled my net out there was quite a bit of splashing. They pulled the scales down to around 6lb, it was close, the chap on the scales called out 6lbs dead. This left me with 4 points (not good), but three more ounces would have been worth 6 points (remember that rudd!). Realistically if I'd fished for small fish all day third in section was achievable but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I knew our chance of overhauling Team Focus in the league stakes was gone but could we hold on to second spot as Yeovil Nomads were only four points behind and a blow out from us could allow them to sneak into second. When Les ambled down and said he'd had four points as well I feared the worst. The ever reliable Nicky was second in his section which comforted me slightly. It just remained to see how the two lads on the river had performed.

Back at the Langport Arms for the results and Andy had 6 points and Alan another section second and 8 points which gave us a total of 30 points. On the day we were 4th, Team Focus and another team tied for 2nd on 32 points (remember that rudd!) and Yeovil Nomads were top dogs for the day with 36, but had they done enough? Firstly they read out the individual results for the league, Scott Russell from Focus won that with 52 points from a possible 54, a fantastic score, Nicky was 2nd (he won it last year) and Alan was joint 3rd.

Then came the team results and when Yeovil Nomads were read out in 3rd position with 22 points I knew we were 2nd, our total league score of 21 meant we'd held on by 1 point! We each received an engraved plate (see picture) and a gift voucher for £5 from the league sponsers Yeovil and District Angling Centre.

Results for Chard Remains

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
Final round - Stathe Drain/River Parrett - 4th on the day - 2nd overall

Yet another enjoyable league, in three years we have been runners up twice and knockout champions. Could we go one better next year? - watch this space.