Monday, December 24, 2007

River Isle - Crown League - 23rd December 2007

The day started in the worst possible way when I received a phone call from Robin Cox to say that Barney Crockett had passed away this morning. Robin was going to cancel the match but after speaking to the family they said he would have wanted us to fish. Before I tell you about the match I must just say a few words about Barney. He was a real Ilminster AA stalwart and I had known him for over 28 years, as a junior, Barney along with Adrian Green both mentored me as an angler and took me under their wings. We fished all over the place and when they both opened their fishing shop in Ilminster, A + R Tackle, I helped out by working in the shop. He was a brilliant angler and I always enjoyed fishing with him. You will be sorely missed mate and wherever you are now I hope you're on a flier.

I drew peg 126 at Isle Brewers which ironically was the last peg Barney fished so hopefully I could do it justice. The peg looked really inviting and I couldn't wait to start, I had it in my mind I would set up a four metres to hand rig to hopefully avoid any pike trouble but as it turned out I only had time to set up my usual 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo. On the whistle I shipped out and started feeding maggot, hemp and casters with double bronze maggot on the hook. I had three small roach quite quickly before the fourth one was snaffled by a pike. I lost the hook and the fish so I added some more line to the rig so I could fish four metres to hand.

This worked to a certain degree and after the first hour I had 22 fish, mainly small roach, the trouble was that the stamp of fish I was getting and I didn't think I could acheive a good weight with them. Several better fish had topped in the straight just above my peg and I kept thinking about trying up there. Martin Heard walked down, he hadn't had a fish on 124A and reported that Digger on 124 had a few fish and Neil Dring on golden peg 125 had caught a couple of pound. Robin Cox also turned up and he wasn't catching on peg 128. After two hours I had caught 50 odd fish but the stamp hadn't improved so I shortened the rig up and tried up the straight, I had a couple of slightly better roach but it was very awkward with several overhanging branches.

Robin said when he'd done 13lb odd a few weeks back he'd caught most of his fish up the straight so I stuck with it and started feeding up there as well. I started catching really well with better roach around the 4-6oz mark coming to the net. I did hook a fish on hemp but it came off and I was catching most of my fish on caster. I did have a couple more decent roach drop off when I tried swinging them instead of using the net but carried on catching fairly well until the end of the five hours to end with 115 fish. I had mainly roach with a chublet, two gudgeon and some tiny dace thrown in for good measure.

Robin had blanked on 128 so was ready with the scales fairly quickly and my fish weighed 14lb 4oz which should have been nearer twenty really but I had enjoyed a good day considering what a sad occasion it was. Above the bridge Neil weighed 7lb 10oz, so the golden ball was safe for another week and Phil 'Digger' Denslow had caught a chub plus some quality roach for 8lb 13oz. Back at the results and the top section hadn't fished at all well with the top weight being Janders with 1lb 10oz so another pound was soon nestling in my pocket.

I was announced as the winner and picked up £60 to take my winnings to £1145 this year which is still a little way behind last years with only one match to go. Still the day wasn't really about the fishing.

R.I.P. Barney.

Monday, December 17, 2007

River Isle - Xmas Fayre - 16th December 2007

The weather was freezing cold for this one and 15 intrepid anglers eagerly awaited the draw. I had a mental list of the pegs I wanted and after drawing, peg 15 wasn't one of them! It's a big pool of a peg and used to be a flier until a tree was removed and since then weights have been poor. Still after two weeks of the river being flooded who knows what might happen!

I got to my peg and it looked quite nice with a good pace and a tinge of colour, I set up a gram and a half Drennan Carbo with 0.12 mm bottom and a size 18 B611 and just had time for a cup of coffee before the off. I started off fishing across at about 10 metres in a little back eddy near the far bank. I was feeding casters and hemp with caster on the hook. First put in I had a tiny dace so avoided the dreaded DNW, next chuck I had a small chublet followed on my next put in by a better one of around 12oz. I had a couple more small fish and decided to try double caster in a bid to see if there were any better chub around. This resulted in more small dace and a couple of small perch.

After a couple of hours I was reasonably pleased with my progress and was still hopeful some better chub would put in an appearance. I tried lobworm but this only resulted in a very greedy perch. Then the temperature dropped a few degrees and the bites stopped. Martyn Brook walked down from the in form tank traps peg and said he started off alright but he too was now struggling for bites. He was admitting to 4lb or so.

He left and I started trying all over the swim but to no avail. I tried slightly further down the swim holding back and a bite straight away saw me swing in a roach of 2oz, cracked it I thought but it proved to be a false dawn. With an hour to go I still felt a couple of chub might show and they did but at 12oz and 2oz they weren't the lumps I was hoping for.

With the weather still bitter, I made quick work of packing up and walked down to weigh in (yes I had the scales yet again!). Andy Welch on peg 24 had caught five chub for 11lb 15oz and it might have been a lot more as he also lost four. Eddie on peg 17 had only caught one minnow and wasn't weighing in, Martyn had found a few more and weighed 5lb 1oz. My 15 fish went 2lb 15oz which was more than I thought.

We got back to the Crown where an excellent buffet was laid on and then it was time for the results. Martin Heard had made the most of the aptly named Xmas peg to win with 12lb 7oz of chub. Andy Welch was second and Barney Crockett was third with 8lb 9oz of roach from peg 126 at Isle Brewers. As it was the Xmas Fayre everyone received a prize and I was suprised when I was called out in sixth position and collected a bottle of wine and a tin of chocolates for my prize. The day got better when my nemesis Janders had blanked so another nugget was heading my way although he hadn't come back to the pub as he was so cold!

Well it's Crown league time again next week so lets hope it warms up a bit before then. Also my charge to beat last years total of £1216 seems to be flagging and I'm currently stuck on £1085, which I'm still pretty pleased with.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chard Reservoir - Chris Patten Memorial - 9th December 2007

I felt highly priviliged to receive an invite to this match again, the venue for this year was Chard resi where the bream and roach fishing can be very good. I quite fancied a draw on the dam wall as this would mean a nice short walk, also the weather forecast was awful with 80-90 mph winds and heavy rain predicted. True to form I drew peg 50 which although an end peg is the longest walk at the venue. My bad mood wasn't helped when I was told that the peg didn't have much form for bream but I could expect some nice roach (which was handy when it was going to be so windy that the pole wasn't an option!).

After many trips with my gear I eventually reached my peg, one of the nice things about this match is that you get to see some faces you haven't seen for ages. On my right I had Butch Baker and to his right was Steve Chant so it should be a fun day despite the weather. Because of the forecast winds we were only going to fish three and a half hours and because of my mammoth walk I didn't have long to set up. I quickly mixed up some Sensas Bream 3000 and added some fishmeal and then set up my brand new Drennan feeder rod (I'd had it for over a year and this was it's first outing!). The business end had a Drennan groundbait feeder along with 0.12 mm bottom to a size 16 Kamazan B611.

I staked my keepnet out and put in a marker bankstick and just had time for a cup of coffee before the all in. I baited up with two red maggots and filled the feeder with casters and plugged both ends before casting out about thirty yards in line with my far bank marker (a bird hide). I lined the tip up with my bank stick and waited, the waves were making the tip bounce around and I reckoned bites would be hard to spot. I didn't leave the feeder in long and wound in to recast to get some feed out there.

After about ten minutes the tip moved a couple of inches and stayed put, I struck and this was definately no roach, after the typical nod-nodding of a bream fight I netted a slab of about 5lbs, thankyou very much and the pressure was now off. Next put in I had a skimmer of around half a pound and as both Butch and Steve were still blanking I was very pleased with my progress. I wound in a couple of times with the maggots ragged out without even seeing a bite but I think the culprits were roach as I had a couple of small ones. Another bream of a similar size also graced my net before the end of the first hour and I started to think a good weight could be on the cards.

Things then went a little quiet apart from some small taps on the tip (roach again I suspect) although I did manage a roach of around 10oz. Steve had caught a couple of small roach and from what he could see not a lot was happening. Then after a decent pull round I had bream number three and on the next cast I hooked a good fish which seemed to be pulling a bit harder, then everything went solid, bugger! it had snagged me. I let the line go slack in the hope it would swim away from the snag but when I lifted the rod the line was slack and reeled in to find the hooklength had gone. Was it all about to go pearshaped? I tied on another hook and was expecting a wait before the next bite. I chucked out again and the tip had hardly settled before going round and I was soon netting my fourth bream.

I felt there were a few there now but then of course I went ages without a proper fish, I did manage a couple more tiny roach. Chanter had phoned around a few people and said that the dam wall wasn't really fishing and the best he's heard was Alan 'Picky' Gage on the other end peg on our bank who'd had two bream. With about half an hour to go I had my fifth bream, Butch had now got off the mark with a small roach and Steve also latched into a bream. There was no more action for me although Butch lost one on the whistle.

I quickly packed up, pleased with how my new rod had performed and started taking my kit back, Steve reckoned I'd won easily but I've been had like that before. The organiser Les walked up to weigh me in and my 11 fish (5 bream, 1 skimmer, 1 decent roach and 4 small ones) weighed 27lb 10oz and I was well chuffed with that. I was even more chuffed to learn I was the top weight.

We went back to the Cotley Inn for the results and an excellent meal, I picked up £65 but like everybody who won money I put some back to go to a cancer charity. I also had a pound off Janders but I kept that! I was also now the proud owner (for a year) of the Chris Patten trophy which was made by the engineering firm Chris used to work for. Phil Radford once again did an excellent job with the raffle and I even won a bottle of wine. There were some fantastic prizes donated by loads of people and the total raised for charity this year was over £414, which is amazing considering there were around half the people from last year.

I would at this point like to thank the organisers Baz Morgan and Les Braunton who once again did an amazing job and a big thankyou to the sponsers; Somerset Angling, M5 Angling, Yeovil and District Angling Centre, Weston Angling Centre and Baz Angling. And thanks must also go to all the anglers who made the day such a success.

Results

1 - Jamie Rich (Chard Remains) - 27lb 10oz
2 - Rob Stark (Weston) - 15lb 6oz
3 - Baz Morgan (Langport) - 12lb 7oz
4 - Steve Bishop (Chard) - 11lb 2oz
5 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 10lb 6oz
6 - Alan Dunn (Chard) - 10lb 4oz
6 - Les Braunton (Chard) - 10lb 4oz

Next week is Ilminster's Xmas Fayre so another good result would be nice, here's hoping.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Dillington Pond - V.E.S. Precision Winter League - 2nd December 2007

With atrocious conditions forecast it was decided to switch the fourth fixture in this league to Dillington. I drew peg 3 on the road side and the pond looked nice with a tinge of colour. I made my self comfortable and mixed up some Van Den Eynde World Champion groundbait. We didn't have long to set up and as a consequence I only made one rig up, a 0.5 gram Drennan Tipo with 0.08 mm bottom and size 18 Kamazan B511.

With the wind being really strong and gusty, I decided to fish shorter than normal so I could hopefully hold the pole! I had one line at five metres straight out in front and another at four metres just off a dead reed bed to my left. On the whistle I cupped in two balls on each line and went out on the (slightly) longer line with red maggot on the hook. With the colour and the fact it was quite mild (for December!) I fully expected the pond to fish quite well. I was quite perturbed when after quarter of an hour I hadn't had a bite! I tried my other line and this too was fruitless.

I hadn't seen anybody catch and this was confirmed when I asked Graham Field on my left and Martyn Brook who was on my right. Martin Heard was in the swim next to the pumphouse and relatively sheltered and he hadn't caught either. I decided to concentrate on the swim by the reeds but the inactivity continued. After an hour I was starting to worry and a blank would put paid to my league. Then I noticed Heardy netting a chub and when I enquired he said he had caught some small fish as well so at least some fish were feeding.

I was still fishing by the reeds and battling against the wind when the float went and a fish was on! at only an ounce the perch was very welcome and I even netted it! Next put in the float sailed away and I had a tiny roach, I then had another small perch and I was quite enjoying it, despite the wind and rain. Then my bites stopped but as both my neighbours were still blanking I wasn't too concerned. Martyn was fishing slightly further out than me and all of a sudden he began stringing a few small fish together and very quickly overtook me.

With half the five hour match over, Heardy was still catching the odd fish and Justin Charles on the far bank seemed to be catching bits quite quickly although my money was still on Martin. I had another small perch by adding on a section and fishing a metre past the reeds but was going nowhere fast and looking at a poor section result. Out of sheer boredom I balled it in at four metres straight out in front of me. This didn't work at all and I never had a bite on this line, I also put some chopped worm in by the reeds to attract the perch but I never caught a fish here either. There were odd fishing topping right out in the middle and I was beginning to wish I had a feeder rod with me.

My nemesis Janders was also in my section, on peg 1 and as he hadn't been up for a chat I was convinced he was catching and another of my pounds would bite the dust. With an hour to go a fish topped to my right and in desperation I lowered my rig in over where it had been, after a couple of minutes the float went and I had a roach of 2oz, cracked it I thought but no and I never had another bite here. Martyn Brooks was now on ten fish to my five although Graham was still blanking.

With half an hour to go I plumbed up at 10 metres which was about the distance Martyn was fishing at and battled the wind while loosefeeding bronze and red maggots. To my amazement I started getting bites from small perch and roach and enjoyed a relative purple patch catching seven more fish to take my tally to twelve, one more than Martyn. The whistle went and we all packed up very quickly in the rain. Janders had the scales so I walked down to weigh him in, to my relief he had any had one perch, weighing an ounce so at least my pound was safe. Martyn weighed 12oz and my fish weighed the same, Graham found a few late fish on punch to weigh 3oz and Martin Heard easily won the section with 5lb 7oz. So I had managed to salvage two points which kept me in contention in the league.

I thought Martin would be an easy winner with that weight but Justin had caught steadily on the whip all day to weigh an excellent 9lb 10oz, Heardy was second and Digger was third with a pound which left me wishing I'd gone out further earlier, oh well that's fishing I suppose.

So after four matches and dropping our worst result, Justin leads the league with 3 points closely followed by me and Martin on 4. Next week is the Chris Patton memorial match but it's on Chard Resi which isn't my favourite venue but wish me luck anyway.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ilminster Canal - 25th November 2007

With no official match on this week I organised a fiddle on the canal. It looked nice although very clear and as we walked along there were loads of leaves on the surface. The wind was blowing from left to right so hopefully all the leaves would collect at the opposite end to the one we were fishing. At the other end is a peg with two trees opposite and the last time I was here it was solid with fish and I've always wanted to draw it. As match organiser I had the last peg in the bucket which turned out to be peg one, the peg I've dreamed about drawing! Was this to be my day?

There had been several frosts in the preceding days but we hadn't had one this morning and the weather was quite mild for November. There were odd fish topping and all the signs looked good. I set up two rigs, the first was a Drennan Squatt float with 0.08 mm bottom and a size 20 B511, the other had a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp float with 0.10 mm bottom and size 18 Kamazan B611. On the whistle I cupped in some chopped worm and caster tight across under one of the trees at 11.5 metres. I also cupped in some hemp and caster to the tree to my left at 9 metres.

I started off with the light rig in the middle with single red maggot on the hook and feeding maggot and caster. I fully expected to catch small fish straight away but after ten biteless minutes and the news that Graham Field had already caught two, I soon picked up the heavier rig and went to the tree to my left. No bites here either and I shouted down to John Coxon on my right to see if he'd caught, he replied in the negative but said my nemesis Janders was catching next to him. It was time to try swim number three.

I put on two more sections and went over my chopped worm while feeding casters, the float had barely settled before sliding away and I soon netted a decent skimmer of 8oz, next put in I hooked another but it came off. I then had a roach and a couple of perch, a switch from maggot to caster saw me catch a couple of roach but I had to wait ages for the bites. The bites soon slowed so I moved the rig closer to the tree and had a decent rudd straight away and some more roach and perch. Then the wind changed round and all of a sudden my peg was a mass of leaves and virtually unfishable.

The fish were still there but I couldn't get at them, I was still getting odd roach and perch but more often than not I was coming back with a leaf on the hook. I tried using my landing net to clear the leaves but I was fighting a losing battle. Halfway through the match Janders came up for a chat, he'd had a couple of better fish but things had slowed for him. I even tried using my pole cup to clear a hole but it would disappear as soon as it was cleared.

With ten minutes to go I was on 22 fish and knew I wouldn't be picking up any dosh today. All of a sudden there was a hole in the leaves by the tree to my left so I slipped on a caster and after a minute the float disappeared and I netted a good roach and was left thinking what could have been. I had the scales again and after packing up I walked down to weigh in Graham on the other end peg, as soon as he pulled his net out I knew he would be the winner, his net of roach, skimmers and perch weighed 6lb 13oz, well done Graham. Two pegs away, Phil Denslow had 4lb 9oz for second place. I had decided to pay only the top two so all that was left was to see who had won the pound sidebet between me and Janders. He weighed 3lb 2oz and I knew it would be close, my fish went 3lb 5oz to take the first pound off him for ages.

All in all quite a disappointing day really, next week is round four of the V.E.S. winter league which I am jointly leading with Justin at the moment so I desperately need a good result.

Monday, November 19, 2007

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League - 18th November 2007

Heavy overnight rain meant the river was in perfect condition with a tinge of colour, the trouble was it was still raining! I drew peg 82 at Ashford which has seen some decent nets of roach, the peg is opposite a mill pool and is very shallow apart from a deeper hole to the left of the peg underneath an overhanging tree.

It was still raining hard and I was praying it would stop or this match could be a washout. I set up two 1.5 gram Drennan Carbos, one for the deep hole and another for the shallower areas of the peg. Both had 0.12 mm bottoms and size 18 B611's. On the whistle I started on the deeper rig with caster on the hook, feeding hemp and caster and fully expected to catch roach straight away. When this didn't happen I started to fear the worst yet again. After half an hour I had my first bite and netted a chub around a pound and a quarter, I had two slightly smaller ones in quick succession and started to feel a decent weight was on the cards.

The next bite saw me hook a good chub around the 3lb mark, I did all the hard work and unshipped to my top three and as I was bringing it across the flow the poxy hook came out. I missed a couple of bites and bumped a decent fish and all of a sudden it was going horribly wrong. I had my fourth chub which was about a pound but I was still cursing that lost chub. It was still raining and the river was getting more coloured by the minute and to make matters worse my bites stopped.

Martyn Brooks came up from peg 83 to see what was happening, he'd had a few small chublets but with the river rising he now couldn't buy a bite either. While he was there I lifted my rig up and there was a good fish on! I shipped back but the chub surged off and snapped me!!!! Great, I should have had double figures in the net and I knew those lost fish would cost me. At around 12 'o' clock the rain finally stopped but the damage had been done and the river continued to rise and get dirtier. The deep hole, which had been a nice slack was starting to boil up and with no more bites I picked up the shallower rig and tried in any other likely looking slacks. The trouble was that there was so much crap coming down the river the rig would only be in for a minute before leaves or debris obscured the hookbait. I tried worm and maggot but couldn't buy a bite, where had those roach gone?

By now the river had risen by two feet and was chocolate in colour and we were just going through the motions. Big Frank came down from peg 80 and he'd only had a few small fish and reported Martin Heard on peg 79 had caught a small chub and a roach. The only fishable spot in my swim was across where the mill pool stream entered the main river and here the water was much cleaner. So I went across at 11.5 metres with the shallow rig and no bites here either.

With an hour to go I was ready for the end when the float dipped, another leaf? no and a fish was on and I netted a roach of 8oz or so. Here we go I thought but that was the last of the action. Frank and Martyn had already packed up so while I was doing the same they picked up my scales (yes I had them again!) and walked up to weigh Heardy in. He had 2lb 8oz and Frank a level pound, my fish went 4lb 15oz and I was really rueing those early lost fish. Martyn Brooks weighed 1lb 7oz and then I walked down to weigh in Janders who had drawn hot peg 85 for the fourth time, he had four chub for 9lb 8oz and after handing over another pound I told him he would frame with that.

Back at the results and Justin Charles had won from peg 124 with four chub for 11lb 10oz, Janders was second and I was suprised to learn I was joint third with Neil Dring and we picked up £25 each although I was left to wonder what might have been. Still at least I had broken the grand again (for the second year running) and my total now stands at £1020. The best news of the day being that for the league points I had won my section so after three matches I well up there with Justin on two points. You can drop two matches and I have one bad result already and can only afford one more.

Next week we are having a sweep on Ilminster Canal, one of my favourite venues although I've never actually picked up any money there since I was a junior!!!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

River Isle - Crown League - 11th November 2007

Round three of the Crown league arrived and after the last two weeks being pretty pants I must surely be due a decent draw!!!!! There were a few pegs I fancied but true to form I stuck my hand in the draw bag and pulled out peg 52 at Ilford, which wasn't one of them. The peg is known as the bream bend although they very rarely show. I did win off it once and had a bream of 4lb that day.

I got to the peg and the first thing that struck me was how low and clear the river was, it was also very windy which would make presentation difficult. You could see the bottom in a lot of the peg although where the flow came in to my right there was a little more depth by some overhanging grass. I set up a gram and a half Drennan Carbo with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611. On the whistle I started feeding hemp and caster in the flow to my left and also in the slacker water.

It soon became clear that the wind was going to a nightmare and holding the pole very difficult. With caster on the hook I was getting the odd knock (from minnows I suspect) but after an hour I hadn't had a proper bite and was beginning to fear a blank coming on. Then out of the blue I had a bite on double caster and after a brief scrap I netted a decent chub. The next bite resulted in a minnow on double caster! I really felt the swim would produce another couple of chub and tried a lobbie but never had a bite on it.

Big Frank wandered down from his swim above the bridge, he'd had a few small fish and his boy Jake had landed a good chub. After he left I again rang the changes with the baits and tried every inch of the swim but all to no avail and I ended the match with just the two fish. I packed up and took my kit back to the car and got back to my peg as Frank walked down with the scales, he weighed 1lb 2oz and Jake had caught another chub and lost one to weigh 5lb 8oz, my chub plus minnow weighed 2lb 6oz for yet another disappointing week.

I really felt I would be way down with my weight but on my return to the pub it became apparent the river hadn't fished at all well with lots of anglers weighing ounces. Graham Field won from peg 72 with an excellent 17lb 6oz but then the weights dropped right off. My nemesis Janders was second with 7lb 14oz and took yet another pound off me and Jake was third with his 5lb 8oz. The good news was that I won my section by double default and picked up £20. That takes my winnings this year to £995, so I'm close to the grand again.

Lets hope I draw a good 'un next week.............

Monday, November 05, 2007

River Isle - V.E.S. League - 4th November 2007

I didn't get off to the best of starts when I overslept, things got worse when I got to the pub and Robin Cox had drawn for me and told me I was on peg 123 at Isle Brewers. The peg is on a fence leading up to a bend and I have drawn it a couple of times over the years and never done more than 6lb off it. I reckoned I was up against it as there are many better pegs than this in the section. As I trudged to my peg I passed match organiser, Justin Charles, who was on peg 124 which again hasn't got much form and he apologised saying we were guinea pigs trying out the pegs for the first time this year - great!

I settled in and the first thing I noticed was how low and clear the river was, there were some small fish topping so I was hopeful that I might get a few bites. I set up a 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo (which in hindsight was way too heavy!) with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611 combined with blue hydro elastic. I also set up a two and a half AA Kamazan insert waggler with the bulk around the float and three no 11 Preston Stotz down the line, hook and hooklength were the same as the pole rig.

I started off on the waggler with two bronze maggots on the hook while feeding maggots, casters and hemp, I was fully expecting to catch small fish straight away and was suprised when this didn't happen. After quarter of an hour I had my first fish, a small chublet, which a pike had a go at on the way in, still at least I was off the mark. By trotting right down the swim I had another tiny chublet and a couple of minnows but was going nowhere fast. I tried the pole but never had a bite on it. After an hour and a half and fearing the worst I picked up my sandwiches and wandered down to see Justin. Asking him how he was getting on I was suprised when he said he was bagging! He'd caught a decent chub plus quality roach for around 6lb already, he also reported that Pete Lonton had phoned from below the bridge and that the favoured pegs there were all struggling. As I watched he had several small fish, a quality roach and was missing loads of bites, I'd seen enough and walked back to my peg feeling pretty dejected.

I sat back down and went through the motions, I upped the feed in a vain attempt to make something happen. Fishing the pole at 11.5 metres with caster on the hook I started to get the odd bite but the results were one gudgeon and another that dropped off on the way in! With an hour to go I was just thinking about going for another walk when the float shot away and I was into a fish that definately wasn't a gudgeon! After a spirited scrap I netter a chub that looked to be getting on for 3lb, a couple more of these and I would be back in the hunt. It wasn't to be, although I did miss a bite just before the match ended.

As I'd drawn the scales again I packed up before going to weigh Martyn Brooks in who was on peg 119, he'd caught quite well and weighed 4lb 1oz, my four fish (plus two minnows) weighed 2lb 14oz and I knew I'd be well down in the section. Then it was Justin's turn, he plonked four good chub on the scales for 11lb 8oz plus 14lb 10oz of stonking roach to give him an amazing 26lb 2oz total. Well done mate! The scales came back from below the bridge and although the hot pegs hadn't fished as expected I had only beaten one angler so it was fifth place in the section for me. You can drop two matches in this league so after only two I already needed to drop one!!!!

Apart from Justin's weight the river had fished poorly and Graham Field's 7lb 4oz was good enough for second place from the consistent 'Tank Traps' peg. Martin Heard was third with 6lb from peg 79. My nemesis Janders won his section (and took another squid off me) with 5lb 15oz from peg 85. Mind you, he has drawn it three weeks on the trot so he should know how to fish it by now! After two bad weeks let's hope it's third time lucky for next week.

Monday, October 29, 2007

River Isle - Crown League - 28th October 2007

After last weeks fantastic days fishing I was hoping for more of the same and when I drew peg 17, which has been fishing quite well, I thought I might get a few. The river was painfully low and clear and you could see the bottom across much of my swim, there was one deeper spot, tight across to some overhanging brambles and this is where they have been catching the fish.

I set up a Drennan 1.5 gram Carbo with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 Kamazan B611, the match didn't start well when I lost a rig on my second put in and it got steadily worse from then on! With caster on the hook I was getting minnowed out, so a change to half a lobbie saw me get my first proper bite and a half ounce perch was the result! A second perch of around 4oz was more welcome but I was really struggling.

Knowing the swim held chub I kept feeding hemp and caster in the hope that they would feed at some stage. Roger Russell wandered down from peg 15 where he was also struggling and said that Barney Crockett in the Tank Traps (peg 14) was getting a few and admitting to three or four pound. With several pegs in at Isle Brewers and AshfordI knew I was doomed and in danger of losing another pound to Janders who had drawn a good peg.

With an hour to go and the light fading I had a proper bite on double caster and landed a chub of a pound and a quarter, they've arrived I thought, but no and I remained biteless to the end of the match. Barney weighed 7lb 15oz to win the section, Roger also snared a late chub to weigh 2lb 12oz, my two perch, one chub and a minnow went 1lb 15oz for last in the section. I would definately have to drop this one!

Big Frank Woodard won from the peg I had last week with 14lb 15oz and Justin Charles was second from the peg I had the week before with 11lb 11oz (I draw some crap pegs don't I?) and my nemesis Janders took a pound off me with 8lb 14oz from peg 85 at Ashford (I haven't drawn that one yet).

Next week is round two of the V.E.S. league so we'll have to see if I can get back on track then.

Monday, October 22, 2007

River Isle - V.E.S. League - 21st October 2007

As I have never won this league, finishing second on a couple of occasions, I was desperate to get off to a good start. When I pulled out peg 128 from the bucket I was gutted, I have never had more than 5lb off it and didn't expect to catch that today. Robin Cox drew peg 126 which is the most consistent peg at Isle Brewers and I was expecting a battering. My nemesis Janders had drawn another good peg, 85 at Ashford so I was preparing myself to say goodbye to yet another nugget.

I reached the swim and it looked lovely, a big sweeping bend with the flow coming in on my right and across on the far bank there is the stump of a willow tree. There was mist rising off the river and a kingfisher darted by in a flash of blue. I set up a gram and a half Drennan Carbo with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611. I also set up a two and a half AA Kamazan insert waggler, again with 0.12 mm bottom and the same hook pattern and shotted with the bulk around the float and several Preston Stotz down the line.

I was ready five minutes before the start and as the mist cleared fish started topping all over the swim and I couldn't wait. The whistle went and I cast the waggler out with two bronze maggots on the hook to the slacker water in the middle of the peg, the float settled and went straight under! A fin perfect roach of around 6oz was the result, next cast and a slightly smaller specimen joined its brother (or sister) in the net. I was feeding hemp and caster where the flow came in and also into the slacker water. I was also feeding under my feet where there was a good depth of water. Fish were seemingly everywhere so I picked the top four sections of my pole up and tried under my feet. I caught straight away and after an hour I had 47 fish, mainly smaller roach but with the odd netter along with chublets and a single gudgeon.

It started to slow after that frenetic first hour so I picked the waggler up and cast out just off the main flow, I was soon catching roach here too and I really was in fishy heaven. I wasn't catching as well on the waggler so I tried the pole under my feet but the fish had definately backed off and I only added a couple more decent roach on caster. The pole at 11.5 metres saw me catching lots of small roach and a try to my right saw me net a couple of lively chublets around the half pound mark. With half the match gone I was still getting a bite a chuck and was now back on the waggler catching some stonking roach on caster, they were probably 6-8oz apiece and just about swingable.

I kept waiting for the action to stop or a pike to have a go but neither happened, Justin Charles walked down from peg 125 where he was really struggling and reported Robin was getting one a bung too. After watching me catch half a dozen roach he walked away quite depressed. With two hours to go I had over a hundred fish and not a clue what weight I had. I was still catching but the bites were getting more finicky and I was having to cast further and further across to stay in touch with the fish. I set my sights on 150 fish and with an hour to go I was on 130, among the roach I also had a couple of very small dace and a hybrid around 6oz.

I fell just short of my target ending with 144 fish and I was guessing I must have between 15-20lb but I really didn't know what I had. Justin walked down with the scales and he reckoned on having around a pound. After two weighs my tally was 23lb 6oz and I was well chuffed, Robin also got amongst the fish and weighed 13lb 3oz. Back at the pub and the river had fished quite hard in places, Neil Dring was top scorer from the top end with 10lb 9oz from peg 29. So I was announced the winner on the day and along with the £63 winnings I had got the start I had hoped for. Now I just need another six good results! And the icing on the cake was taking a pound off Janders who weighed 10oz.

Monday, October 15, 2007

River Isle - Crown League - 14th October 2007

Another beautiful day greeted the thirteen keen river anglers for this one, as reigning Crown league champion I was hoping to get off to a flying start. Like the rest I really wanted to draw the in-form 'Tank Traps' swim, that honor went to my nemesis Janders so I was up against it to try and win my pound back that he took off me last week. I drew peg 80 at Ashford, it's a decent peg and I've done well off it in the past. After a short drive I reached the river and walking to my peg I noticed the river was very low and clear, I passed a couple of swims that were black with fish and I couldn't wait to get started.

My peg looked good with lots of farbank cover, I set up a two gram Drennan Carbo shotted with an olivette and a couple of droppers. A 0.12 mm bottom with a size 18 Kamazan B611 was at the business end and I had white hydro through the top two sections. I started off fishing in the flow while feeding hemp and caster and occasionally firing some bronze maggots right down the swim to, hopefully, entice any fish in the tail of the swim into my catching zone.

After 10 minutes with only the odd dig on the float from minnows, I started searching the swim and was a little concerned at the lack of proper bites. After half an hour I was fishing tight across to a raft of cover, still with no bites I decided to try half a lobbie. After a couple of minutes the float dipped then sailed away, a swift strike saw the elastic come out and although not a chub, the resulting roach of around 6oz at least got me off the mark. Next put in and a bite straight away saw me net another roach, this time slightly bigger at 8oz. 'Here we go' I thought but my purple patch! was short lived.

After another 10 minutes the float sunk from view and this was no roach!, the chub was desperately burrowing into the far back and the line went slack - bugger. After tying a new hook on I was back in business, worm resulted in no more bites so I went across with caster. The float buried and I was in again, this time I would make no mistakes, the fish on the other hand had other ideas as it shot off downstream. I was holding on when the poxy hook pulled out, 2-0 to the chub. I then had a tiny dace of less than half an ounce, on lobworm!!!!!

Time was running out fast and with half the match gone I had less than a pound in the net. My next bite on worm saw me hook another good fish and after a lengthy scrap I netted a trout of over 2lb and as they count in these matches, it was very welcome. Rob Cox wandered up from peg 82 and said he was struggling as there was a pike in his swim that snaffled every roach he hooked. Just after he left I missed a good bite on worm that resulted in my rig getting caught in some crap, luckily it came off easily and I made a mental note to myself to watch out for that next time. Next put in resulted in another missed bite and the rig hooked up again, again rather luckily it came free. Did I learn my lesson though? did I heck and the third missed bite saw my rig well and truly snarled up and I lost the lot.

I hastily set up another rig but with only a couple of hours left I was starting to fear the worst. Then a decent bite saw the white hydro screaming out before I netted a good chub of around two and a half pound, the score now stood at 2-1 to the chub. Ten minutes later another good chub on worm, this time even bigger at around 3lb and I started to think good things. The score was now 2-2 with an hour and a quarter to go. On this river the last hour can be very good but not on this occasion and I ended with just the six fish.

After packing up I wandered down to Robin and awaited the scales, Rob said that he'd got the pike out and had gone on to catch some nice roach. He asked what I had and I told him around 7lb and he said he hadn't got that. Neil Dring walked back from weighing in Dave Lawrence on peg 85 and reported Dave had weighed 6lb 12oz. My six fish went 8lb 12oz and when Rob pulled his net out I knew it would be close, his mainly roach bag went 9lb 4oz and I was rueing those two lost fish. Neil weighed 4lb 7oz of mainly small fish so the Ashford section had fished quite well.

Back at the results and Janders had won with 11lb 5oz and I was now seriously gutted about those chub. After paying him his pound, Robin announced the results and I had managed to hang on to third place and picked up £20. Along with my section second it hadn't been a bad start to the league.

Next week is on the Isle again and the first match in the V.E.S. Precision winter league, although I've been runner up in this league on a couple of occasions it's a league I would dearly love to win so let's hope I get off to a good start (and stop this rot of giving money to Janders!).

Monday, October 08, 2007

River Isle - 7th October 2007

We all met out the pond to be told the match was on the river! Everybody really wanted to draw the 'Tank Traps' swim and the lucky angler was Martin Heard and he would be very hard to beat off it. For my sins I drew peg 16 which is just below a sewage outlet, it used to be a very good roach peg but in recent years is rarely used in matches. The river was very low and clear and as I took my kit to the peg small chublets and dace could be seen in the flow.

I only set one rig up, a gram and a half Drennan Carbo with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 Kamazan B611. This was coupled with white hydro through the top two sections. I started off just running the rig down in the flow and started catching small chublets and dace on caster. I was getting the odd better fish around 4oz but in the main they were only just bigger than minnows. I was loose feeding casters and hemp and after half an hour I had 15 fish. Then I started catching minnows so I added a section and went into the slacker water on the other side of the flow. This resulted in a nice little run of three or four roach which at around 6oz apiece were very welcome.

With the river being very clear and my swim not having a huge amount of cover I knew it would only be a matter of time before bites started to dry up. The roach disappeared and I carried on catching small dace and chublets along with the inevitable minnows. Big Frank was below me on the other side of the bridge and before the start his swim looked nice and several big chub could be seen swimming around. After a couple of hours I heard a loud crack followed by Frank stomping over the bridge to get another pole section from his van. I asked how he was getting on and he said he'd just lost a big chub (and snapped his number four section) trying to bully it away from the farside cover.

I was still catching the odd small fish by trying different spots all over the swim but was now really starting to struggle. Several people were bank walking and reports suggested that apart from Martin Heard, who was bagging, nobody was really setting the world alight. I heard two more loud cracks from below the bridge and I think Frank was running out of pole sections fast! I wasn't sorry to hear the whistle go as the last couple of hours had been really hard and I ended with 42 fish (plus a few minnows) which I guessed would give me a couple of pound.

After packing up I walked down to watch Frank weigh in, in the end he'd managed to land three chub and along with a few bits weighed 6lb 3oz and I said I reckoned he'd definately frame with that. Malcolm Levy only weighed 14oz and John Coxon didn't bother weighing. Martin Heard had an amazing 16lb 8oz and would win by a country mile with that. Digger Denslow had 3lb exactly and I was suprised to weigh 4lb 1oz. So with the bottom section to come back I was in third place, would I sneak into the frame?

It wasn't to be though as both Justin Charles and my nemesis Janders weighed 5lb 15oz for third place and to rub salt into the wound, Janders took a pound off me. I had to settle for a section win and picked up £20.

Next week sees the start of the Crown league on the river and I would dearly love to pull the Tank Traps swim out of that draw bag, wish me luck.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dillington Pond - 23rd September 2007

After a week off I was raring to go for this one although the weather was set to be wet and windy. Amazingly I drew peg one for the third match running (and the scales). The pond looked good with fish topping and the wind was blowing into the willow to my right. I had Big Frank on peg two and could see Justin Charles and Robin Cox opposite.

I set up a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach float to fish at 11 metres over my groundbait and a Colmic Jolly to fish up towards the willow where I caught the chub last time. This rig had a 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611. I also set up a waggler, a two and a half AA Kamasan peacock insert, with the bulk around the float and three no 9 Stotz down the line, again this set up was finished with a 0.12 mm hooklength and size 18 Kamasan B611. I mixed up some Sensas Roach and Lake and was ready for the off.

On the whistle I cupped in three balls at 11 metres out in front of me and some chopped worm and casters at 11 metres towards the willow. I started on the waggler with caster on the hook and started to catch perch and the odd rudd. It seemed quite slow though and after an hour I had around 10 fish. Frank was fishing the pole and catching more fish than me but he was only catching small perch. I was getting the odd better perch and rudd of around 4oz. I struggled on and was getting the odd fish while all the time feeding caster and hemp towards the willow.

A brief try on my 11 metre line resulted in not a single bite and a go at two sections to hand saw me catch a few small perch to take my tally to 30 fish. It was still raining and the fishing was getting steadily harder. Frank said he was struggling and from what I could see opposite, not a lot was being caught over there either. Back on the waggler it was a struggle too, I did add a couple more perch and had one of around 6oz come off at the net ( remember that fish!). I had a quick go up towards the willow but only had one small perch. I was now out of ideas. Just then a father and son combo turned up to pleasure fish and stomped back and forth past my carefully primed swim towards the willow and set up between me and Robin - great.

With two and a half hours to go and very little in the net I decided to concentrate on the willow swim. I waited ages before having a bite but a perch of around a pound and a half was very welcome. Quarter of an hour later I had an eel of around 8oz before it went quiet again. With the rain getting worse I noticed Robin had disappeared and was sat in his car and then father and son buggered off as well, thank God.

Another bite and after a short tussle the white hydro did it's job and I netted a chub of around 12oz. The next bite resulted in a better chub of a pound and a half. With half an hour to go I was praying for just one more but it wasn't to be and I finished with 37 fish. I packed up and went up to weigh in, Neil Dring had 4lb 7oz followed by Malcolm (the fossil) Levy with 3lb 6oz and I was beginning to realise how hard it had fished. Jake Woodard weighed 3lb 13oz and Big Frank 3lb odd and I knew I had them beat but had I done enough to beat the anglers opposite? My fish went 7lb 2oz which was more than I thought.

Back at the results it became clear that the pond hadn't fished well, Barney Crockett had landed a 2lb 8oz perch on the whistle and weighed 6lb 8oz, so had I won? No was the answer as Justin Charles had 7lb 3oz of small fish, one poxy ounce!!!! Also remember that perch I lost at the net? Bugger, that had cost me. Still I picked up £40 for second place plus a pound off Janders who had struggled.

I don't think there is a match next week so you will have to tune in the week after for your fishing fix.....

Monday, September 10, 2007

Dillington Pond - Summer League - 9th September 2007

The last match arrived with me lying in second place in the league, three points behind Graham Field and in all reality the only way I was going to beat him was if he didn't turn up! This went out the window when I walked into the Crown and he was there. Still I had to try and hang on to second place as young Jake Woodard was only two points behind me.

I really didn't fancy drawing peg one again and of course did, along with the scales. The weather was gorgeous and there were lots of fish moving. After my disaster last week I thought I would do something a little different this time around so I set up a waggler along with two pole rigs. The first rig was a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach float with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611, this was to fish at 11 metres over my groundbait. The other rig was a Colmic Jolly to fish at two sections to hand and up in the water on the longer line. This rig had a number two elastic, 0.08 mm bottom and size 18 B511.

I mixed up some Sensas Magic and Lake and on the whistle cupped in four balls at 11 metres. Now Graham, Justin Charles, Frank and Jake have all been enjoying success by fishing four metres to hand and catching loads of small fish along with the odd bonus. I get bored catching bits and try and sort out the better quality roach, which really worked for me last year but hasn't really happened so far. I started on the waggler, loosefeeding hemp and caster to hopefully snare some roach and chub. This didn't really happen but I was catching perch and the odd small roach on caster. After an hour I had around twenty fish which wasn't too bad although Graham opposite had already netted a bream!

I came in to two sections to hand and in the next hour caught perch and small rudd regularly and got up to 61 fish. To be honest I couldn't wait to go out on my longer line but once again it just wasn't happening and I only had a few small roach and perch. I fed another ball and had another go on the waggler but this was a struggle and the two sections to hand line was also dying although I did add a few more fish to take me to 70 fish. Looking around at the pegs I could see it seemed most anglers were now slowing up. Janders was still getting odd small perch as were Frank and Graham although they kept chopping and changing between methods which I guessed meant bites were harder to come by for them as well.

I went out with the shallow rig and caught a nice rudd followed by a couple of roach but it wasn't exactly ballistic although at least I was still getting the odd fish. The wind had blown lots of scum into the corner on my left by the willow and by dropping the rig on the edge of it I started to catch rudd quite regularly. Of course it had to happen, I hooked a chub which tore my number two elastic out and snapped the 0.08 bottom like cotton. I put on a more substantial 0.12 bottom and size 18 B611 and changed over top sections to one with blue hydro in and went back out to resume battle.

I didn't have to wait long and after a decent scrap a chub around the pound mark was deposited into the net. I then missed two good bites on caster before having chub number two. With quarter of an hour to go I had number three but remained biteless for the last ten minutes to finish with 90 fish. I packed up and went to weigh Justin in, his fish went 8lb 10oz and I thought it would be close. Barney weighed 3lb 15oz and I was suprised when my fish pulled the needle round to 10lb 11oz. Janders had loads of small perch for 4lb 6oz so another pound was headed my way.

Back at the results Graham had won his second match on the trot with 14lb 6oz, he also won the league with 9 points after a very consistent series. I was second on the day and picked up £30, I also hung on to second spot in the league and picked up another £25. I ended with 12 points. Robin Cox was third with 10lb 7oz although he did lose five chub! Young Jake Woodard struggled on the day but held on to third place in the league, well done Jake.

I don't think I've got a match next week but there is another Dillington match the week after, tune in then to see how I get on.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Dillington Pond - Summer League - 2nd September 2007

Haven't mentioned mine and Andy's Evesham trip yet, well it was as excellent as ever. We drank far too much and met a couple of nice young ladies, Oh! and we watched a bit of fishing. Milo Columbo won day one with 6lb odd (which included a decent tench), on day two a chap had two carp! for over 20lb from peg 68 and the team event was won by Van Den Eynde. Roll on next year.

Right back to my latest exploits in the penultimate league match. There was an understrength turnout for this one with only nine anglers putting in an appearance. Still on the plus side hopefully I would be able to get decent points and I drew peg one in the smaller section of four. I also had Graham Field in my section and as he is currently leading the league by one point this would be a good opportunity to claw that back. My peg looked ok with the wind blowing into it and small fish topping.

I set up a 0.5 gram rig for fishing at 11 metres, a 0.6 Drennan Carp rig for fishing towards the overhanging willow and a Colmic Jolly for fishing two sections to hand and up in the water. I mixed up a bag of Sensas Magic and on the whistle cupped in four balls at 11 metres. I started fishing two sections to hand and started catching small perch and rudd quite quickly and after half an hour I had 41 fish. I couldn't wait to get out to 11 metres and had a couple of perch before catching my first roach, a decent fish of 4oz or so. That roach proved to be a false dawn and I just couldn't catch on the caster.

Another look on my shorter line and the fish weren't here in the numbers they were earlier, I did add around another 10 fish but was realising I had lost my way somewhat. Barney Crockett was on the other side of the willow and didn't seem to be doing much. Big Frank next to him was catching odd fish including the odd better one. Justin Charles opposite was catching well and I was starting to panic. I plumbed up another line at four metres and balled in four big balls of groundbait. While this settled I nicked a few more fish from my shortest line.

With two hours to go I was really struggling and had around 80 fish but nothing of any size, Barney had landed a big eel and Frank had added a big perch, a chub and several eels, Justin had also got in on the act landing two chub. I tried my four metre line with caster and had no bites whatsoever, maggot saw me catch odd perch but I was going nowhere. As odd small fish were topping I tried my up in the water rig but never had a bite on it. I also tried fishing towards the willow but no bites there either.

I was looking forward to the end of the match and just before the end I did have another roach on my four metre line to take my tally to 96 fish. I just couldn't catch any quality. I packed up and walked up to weigh Robin Cox in, he weighed 3lb 4oz and I reckoned I might just be able to beat that, my fish went 5lb and I knew I wouldn't be winning any dosh with that. But how had Graham fared? he only went and bagged up, he weighed 14lb 7oz to not only win the section but the match as well. And as Roger Russell also beat me in the section with 7lb 12oz, my three points meant Graham had stretched his lead to three points with one match remaining which is a big ask. The other section was won by Justin Charles with 14lb 2oz.

Next week is the last one in the series so tune in to see if I can hold on to second place.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dillington Pond - Summer League - 19th August 2007

As I'm doing ok in this Summer league I had to miss the teams of five match on Stathe drain and handed over the captains armband to Les Braunton. I needed a good result in this one as Graham Field is currently leading the league with 5 points followed by me on 7 and I couldn't afford for him to stretch his lead. With eleven anglers fishing I was glad to note they had left the pumphouse swim out, mind you I didn't fancy peg 5 either (where I was last time). Of course I only went and drew it!!!! The only good news was that my section only had five anglers in compared to six in the other.

I got to the pond and the wind was really strong and blowing into fancied peg one where my nemesis Janders had drawn. Looking at my peg the water was flat calm as it was sheltered from the wind by some trees and bushes, would this work in my favour? I set up a gram Drennan Tipo for fishing at 10 metres with 0.12 mm bottom and a size 18 Kamasan B611 and a 0.6 gram Drennan carp float for fishing the insides and by the bush. I also set up a 4 x 14 Colmic Jolly for fishing two sections to hand, this rig had 0.08 mm bottom and size 18 B511. I mixed up some Van Den Eynde Supermatch and was ready for the off.

The whistle went and I cupped in three balls at 10 metres plus casters and hemp by the bush and to the reeds to my left. I started fishing two sections to hand with maggot or caster on the hook and loosefeeding over the top. I caught a small perch straight away and after half an hour I had 22 fish (all perch apart from 2 roach). I soon tired of this and went out to 10 metres with caster on the hook, it was slower but I was getting perch, small roach and I also had a couple of net roach. After the first hour I had 35 fish and was fairly pleased with the way things were going.

Looking across the pond I could see Justin Charles catching small fish quite regularly but Jake and Frank Woodard down from him didn't seem to be doing much. I was still catching the odd roach and perch but a lot of the fish seemed to be hitting the bait on the drop. I tried with the shallower Jolly rig and this brought a brief flurry of roach to the caster but I still couldn't catch the quality roach. I tried both insides and by the bush but this just resulted in a few more small roach, rudd and perch and an eel of about 4oz. Back out at 10 metres with the shallower rig saw me catch some more roach. I tried hemp but the stamp of roach didn't get any bigger and I was missing too many bites.

My next peg neighbour, Malcolm Levy, asked how I was getting on, I told him and he replied he was catching but hadn't had anything over 2oz. Justin had netted a couple of better roach but from what I could see nobody was bagging. I tried caster on the shallow rig again and immediately caught a couple of net roach before reverting back to catching fish in the 1-2oz bracket. As the end approached I was still putting the odd fish in the net and had 12 in the last hour to finish on 102. I was pretty sure I had more than the 5lb 9oz I caught the last time I drew this peg but I am hopeless at estimating weights.

Malcolm also reckoned he had more than he had last time and as Neil arrived with the scales it was time to find out. My fish went 9lb dead which I was chuffed with and Malcolm weighed 7lb 13oz, Neil weighed 5lb 13oz. My main concern were pegs one to four on the other bank as they were in my section. As I walked round I met Frank with the scales and asked how he got on, he said he'd had 6lb odd and Jake had 7lb 9oz which really suprised me as I hadn't seen them catch bugger all! Justin took his fish to the scales and he weighed 7lb 7oz, so the weights were really close. Janders on peg one had struggled for 3lb something so the pound bet was safely mine but more importantly I'd won the section .

As we were packing our gear away the rest of the other anglers turned up, Roger Russell had weighed 9lb 6oz and was top weight on the other bank. Bugger I should have kept catching those roach and not tried the insides. I ended up second on the day and picked up £37. Graham Field was second in his section so I pulled a point back on him and with two matches to go there is one point in it.

I must also mention my Chard Remains team who won at Stathe Drain with 39 points. Nicky Collins won his section and the match overall, Steve Bush won his section, Alan Dunn was second in his, stand in skipper Les Braunton was third and Dave Lawrence had 6 points. Well done boys although it's now doubtful if they'll let me back in the side!!!

Next weekend me and Andy are at Evesham for the festival and I dare say a few beers, I'll let you know how we get on.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Stathe Drain - Langport League - 12th August 2007

As my team, Chard Remains, is currently propping up the league our only hope of silverware this year is the knockout cup which starts with this match and runs over the remaining fixtures on Stathe drain. I did the draw for the team and managed to get an end peg for Steve Bush who was on B8, my peg D6 was also an end peg sort of as the section is split by a small bridge.

I got to my peg and it looked good with reeds on the far bank and some weed beds at around 11 metres. I set up a Drennan Squatt float for fishing at 5 metres with 0.08 mm bottom and size 18 B511 hook and a Drennan Carp float for my chopped worm rig by the weed. This had 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611. For company I had Scott Russell from team Focus next to me on D7 and on the other side of the bridge was Steve Lovell, next to him was Jack Warner from the Nomads who were our knockout opponents on the day.

On the whistle I put a cup full of choppie and casters at 11.5 metres and started feeding hemp and caster at 5 metres. Scott did likewise and we both started off over our chopped worm lines although he was actually fishing tighter across than me. I was first off the mark with a perch of 4oz, Scotty fought back with a 3lb tench! I then had a skimmer of 6oz followed by a small tench of around 12oz. He had another tench, this one around a pound and a half and I was already way behind. I did add another three of four skimmers before both our far lines died after an hour and a half.

I was quite looking forward to fishing my hemp line so I fed some more choppie across and came in to 5 metres with my lighter rig with caster on the hook. Nothing on caster so a switch to red maggot saw me catch a tiny ruffe, I then had a small roach but it wasn't happening at all. Scotty wasn't bagging either and from what I could see nobody was doing much. Another try with caster saw me catch another 4oz perch. Some minute rudd and motherless minnows came to maggot along with the odd roach but I was having to wait too long for bites.

After three hours I reckoned I had about 2lb or so, Steve Lovell shouted up that he had less than a pound so I was doing ok but a long way behind Scotty. Another try across with worm and caster didn't see me add to my tally. A few more roach including one decent one at 5 metres kept the odd fish going in the net. I tried hemp on the hook but had no bites on it. With half an hour to go I decided to stick it out on the longer line hoping for a bonus fish. With ten minutes remaining the float slid away and I was attached to something which was pulling plenty of white hydro out, alas it wasn't a bream or tench but an eel of 12oz which was welcome all the same. In the last five minutes I had another bite which was a greedy perch but it came off as I was shipping back.

I packed up and went to watch the weigh in, the first couple of pegs had between a kilo and a kilo and a half, my Nomads rival Jack weighed 2 kilo 300 grams and I didn't think I had that. Steve Lovell had around a kilo and then it was my turn, my fish went 2 kilo 350 grams and with two pegs to go I was winning the section! It didn't last as Scotty weighed 4 kilo exactly but the last peg weighed 2 kilo so I ended up second in the section and received 8 points.

Walking back to the carpark we stopped to watch E section weigh in, our man in the section was Dave Lawrence who came last with 320 grams. The winner of E section and the match was Baz Morgan with over 9 kilos of bream and skimmers. Well done Baz! That's his second overall win of the series so far and the way he's drawing there could be more to come. Back at the results it soon became clear we wouldn't be winning the knockout cup either. Alan Dunn was last in his section and Nicky Collins and Steve Bush both had 5 points. Our total of 22 meant we were joint last on the day and remain bottom. It's not all bad news though as there is a wooden spoon! My £25 for second in the section meant it was the first brown envelope in five weeks so hopefully I've stopped the rot.

I'm not fishing the remaining two matches in this league as I need to concentrate on the Summer League at Dillington where I'm currently in second place with three matches to go so lets hope I can get some good section results there, wish me luck.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Dillington Pond - Summer League - 5th August 2007

I was really looking forward to this one as the forecast was good and I really enjoy fishing this venue and up until the last couple of matches I have had some good results. I got to the draw a little late and once again there was a good turnout of twelve anglers including a couple of 'muggers', Bruce Hunt and Martin Heard from Tiverton.

I really didn't want the pumphouse swim and hung back from the draw until it went, Martin was the unlucky angler. Thinking I was safe I drew and got peg 6 which is next door and not brilliant - great! I got to the pond and set my stuff up, the swim looked really fishy with reeds to my left and a bush to my right. There were also lots of small fish topping and the temperature was already starting to get really hot. I set up a one gram Drennan Tipo for fishing out at nine metres and a 0.4 Drennan carp float for my inside lines. Both rigs had 0.12 mm bottoms and size 18 B611's.

I mixed up some Van Den Eynde Word Champion groundbait and the whistle went although I wasn't quite ready. When I finally got myself sorted I cupped in four balls at nine metres and a cupfull of casters and hemp by the bush. I started by just flicking my top three by the reeds with double red maggot on the hook and soon had four small perch in the net. I soon tired of this and picked up my nine metre rig, I shipped out with caster on the hook and had several digs on the float as the rig settled, small fish on the drop I thought, then the float went and I was into a big fish. Blue hydro was streaming out and the fish, a big eel , was trying to go to ground and there were bubbles everywhere. Then it went solid and wouldn't budge, I applied steady pressure but the hook pulled out and was covered in crap. Not a good start.

Martin by the pumphouse was struggling as was Neil Dring to my left on the point. Barney Crockett across from me was catching small fish and had caught a couple of better roach on the waggler. Where I had put my groundbait the swim was really fizzing and it looked solid. The trouble was my caster hookbait kept getting hit on the way down. I was putting the odd small roach and perch in the net and if the rig reached bottom I was getting the odd net roach as well. After an hour I had ten fish and after the second hour I had twenty and I got the feeling it was going to be pretty hard.

I refed my longer line and had a quick look by the bush which produced a roach and a small perch. By rights the bush should produce loads of fish as it's one of the few bits of cover on the whole pond but for some strange reason it never does. My nine metre line was now fizzing like a jacuzzi again so I went back out but again all I could catch was small roach. Martin could only catch small perch and not many of those and Neil was also struggling for bites. My mate Andy turned up and sat behind me for a bite, while he was there I tried by the reeds to my left and had a small perch followed by an eel of 4oz. I then hooked an eel of about half a pound and it bit me off!

Barney hooked and successfully landed a big eel which put him well up in the section. Andy soon got bored watching me catch bugger all and left for home. The fizzing continued at nine metres and there were loads of small fish topping. I had a brief go with my shallower rig on the longer line and this would produce a couple of roach before dying off. By now it was scorching hot and most anglers were really struggling. Roger Russell hooked a big fish on peg 2 which lead him a merry dance before he lost it. Bruce walked up to see how Martin was getting on and he reported he had over 250 fish! Martin reckoned he must be there or thereabouts.

Another try by the bush was fruitless and by the reeds produced just a couple of perch. I cupped in two balls of groundbait by the reeds to see if that would do anything. Back on the longer line I hooked a decent eel only for the hook to pull out at the net and I was starting to sense this was not to be my day yet again. With the end fast approaching I was still getting the odd small roach from the longer line and I also had a better roach from the reeds but it was a one off. I just felt those roach were up in the water so for the remainder of the match I fished my shallower rig on the longer line. To a certain extent this worked as I was getting the odd small roach and one better one although I felt I just wasn't doing it right and was missing lots of bites. Nobody else seemed to be catching so I perservered and when the whistle went I had 56 fish.

Frank arrived with the scales and as always asked what I reckoned I had and threatened me with violence if I was too far out. I said about 3lb but actually weighed 5lb 9oz but thankfully Frank didn't throw me in! Martin didn't weigh in and Barney pipped me by three ounces and I was really regretting those lost eels. Bruce Hunt had added a chub and won the match with 13lb 4oz, Graham Field continued his good form here with 11lb and second place. Jake was third with 6lb 10oz and Barney fourth. Barney picked up the section money and I ended up with three points although I did take another pound off Janders.

After six matches Graham is leading the league with 5 points followed by me on 7 and Frank and Barney on 8. A rethink of tactics might be in order as the roach arn't really showing in numbers nor are the bigger fish and at the moment small fish are taking all the money. I know Graham uses a 4 metre whip and just gets his head down and fishes for bites.

Next week is round four of the Langport league on Stathe and by all accounts the fishing is patchy, mind you as we're bottom of the league we can't do any worse!

Monday, July 30, 2007

River Parrett - Langport League - 29th July 2007

After even more rain (will it ever end?), this was another match I wasn't looking forward to. I did the draw and yet again avoided any end pegs. In three matches I've managed one end peg for the team - not a good ratio. My destination for today was peg C2 at Cocklemoor, I got there and the river was chocolate and pushing through with lots of weed coming down the river, not pretty! On the plus side there were quite a few fish topping.

I set up a five metre whip with a 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo, 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611 hook. I also set up the pole with an identical float etc to fish at nine metres, although I didn't really expect to use this much. I mixed up a bag of Sensas Roach Noire and on the whistle threw in two balls at nine metres and six on the whip line. I started catching small roach and skimmers and after an hour I had 31.

The two anglers below me were concentrating on the feeder and when two bream rolled in my swim I wished I'd set one up too! The angler on C1 was catching faster than me and getting the odd net fish as well. The second hour was much the same and I got to around 60 fish, by the third hour things were slowing up and a brief try at nine metres resulted in no bites whatsoever. I was still getting the odd fish though and the feeder anglers hadn't had any joy so I perservered.

The river came up about four inches and by the fourth hour I was struggling and to make matters worse Danny Blunn two pegs below latched into a bream. I started feeding further up the swim and with caster on the hook I slowly started to catch a bit better although the size of fish remained the same. By the end of the match I had 115 fish and I knew I would struggle to beat the anglers on the end pegs, Danny didn't add to his earlier bream and the Weston guy next to me had struggled I think.

I had the weigh board for the section so walked down to start the weigh in at C8. Mark Hollister had just over three kilos and when the next angler plonked three and half kilos on the scales I feared the worst. I did beat the Team Amigos guy but then Ashley Tomkins put another three kios on the scales to push me even further down the section. Danny and his bream went just over two kilos and the Weston chap had just over a kilo. My fish weighed 2 kilo 730 grams and after the angler on C1 weighed a level 4 kilos I ended up with 5 points (out of a possible 9).

Then my day took a turn for the worst when I locked my keys in the car!!!! I got Dave Lawrence to give me a lift back to Chard and then back again with my spare set of keys, cheers Dave you're a star! I got back just as the anglers were leaving after the results, Andy was last in his section with 2 points, Dave had 3, Nicky 5 and Dunner won his and had 9 points. Our total of 24 meant we were second from last on the day and we are now bottom of the league. With the last three matches on Stathe Drain the best we can hope for is to have a good run in the knockout.

Next week is the Summer League on Dillington and it's all gone a bit pear shaped for me there as well so wish me luck 'cos I think I'll need it!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dillington Pond - Summer League - 22nd July 2007

After last weeks relative disaster I had been looking forward to this one all week. I got to the Crown for the draw and things didn't get off to a good start when I spilt coffee all down my trousers! I hope it wasn't an omen. Once again there was a bumper turnout of twelve anglers, the winner of the last match, Scott Russell had brought two more 'muggers' with him this time in the shape of Ashley Tomkins and John Loder.

I drew peg 10 which was next to where I drew in the last match and I was pleased with that. The weather was quite bright and it looked like we might get away without a soaking for once. I got myself comfortable and set up the same two rigs as last time, a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach rig for fishing at 10 metres and a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp float for the inside by the reeds. Both rigs had 0.12 mm bottoms and Kamasan B611's in a size 18. I mixed up some Van Den Eynde Supermatch and World Champion and on the whistle fed three balls on the ten metre line.

I had Barney on my right and Dillington new boy John Loder on my left and both anglers started on the waggler. I had a small perch first cast on caster and started catching well although mainly small perch. Barney had a couple of decent roach although I was catching enough small fish that I was pretty sure I was ahead. I couldn't see a lot happening around the pond but Graham Field was catching small fish well on the whip. After an hour I had 29 fish, mainly small perch but with the odd decent roach thrown in. The second hour was a little slower but I had a couple more decent roach and small perch to take me to 45 fish.

I fed another ball of groundbait at ten metres and came on my inside line where I had been feeding maggots and casters, I didn't really get the response I wanted and only caught some more perch although this kept my catch rate ticking along. Barney had also slowed right up and John Loder hadn't caught a huge amount. I went back out to ten metres and couldn't get a bite! Bearing in mind that the last match had seen loads of eels caught I decided to up the caster feed and sit it out with caster on the hook.

My nemesis Janders was opposite me and his latest plan was to sit it out on the feeder and up to now I hadn't seen him catch a fish so at least my pound was safe. Around the pond the odd better fish was now being netted, Ashley had landed a couple of better fish and John Loder had latched into a couple of chub. I still couldn't buy a bite, another brief try on the inside was also fishless. Going into the last hour and a half I was getting desperate and tried fishing two sections to hand with double white maggot on the hook and this resulted in a flurry of perch to take me to 61 fish but this soon dried up as well.

The wind was making presentation quite difficult so I plumbed up at nine metres and cupped in a load of casters still with eels in mind. Scott Russell netted two good fish fairly quickly which I thought were eels so I perservered with my new nine metre line. Barney got in on the act landing two eels and John added a chub and a decent perch but also lost two eels. Janders finally netted a chub and Graham lost a huge eel at the net. I did miss two good bites on the caster but added no more fish to my meagre catch. My final tally was 61 fish and I reckoned I was well down in the section.

I packed up and as I had the scales I started the weigh in with Graham who had more than I thought with his 6lb 14oz net of small fish, John weighed 6lb 9oz and I knew I was nowhere near that, my fish went 4lb 11oz so there would be no brown envelope for me this week. I did manage to beat Barney who weighed a level 4lb and Neil Dring who had 3lb odd, the old fossil, Malcolm Levy also beat me with just under 6lb. I ended up fourth in the section which is not good. In the other section Ashley won with 10lb which included a decent bream and Scott was second with 8lb - yep mugged again! I did beat Janders who had 2lb 5oz so another of his nuggets found its way into my pocket. After five matches, dropping my two worst results, I'm still jointly topping the league with Graham Field on four points, closely followed by Big Frank on five points.

Next week is round three of the teams of five and we desperately need a good result if we are to have any chance of doing well in the league and can't afford any more slip ups, fingers crossed!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Langport League - River Parrett - 15th July 2007

After our fourth place in the last match I was hoping for another decent performance from the team in this match. At the draw I once again managed to avoid any end pegs but thankfully also avoided the dreaded scales or weighboards. My peg was C7 on the Coombe stretch where I've done alright in the past.

The river looked in good nick with a tinge of colour and there were lots of small fish topping. I had Parrett expert Baz Morgan on the next peg and as always he would be tough to beat. I set up a five metre whip with a 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo and size 18 B611 plus a 1 gram Drennan Tipo with spread Stotz and a size 20 B511 for fishing at 9 metres. For bait I had bronze and red maggots, casters and hemp, I also mixed up a bag of Sensas Noire.

On the whistle I cupped in two balls at 9 metres and balled in four on the whip line. I started on the whip and caught a small roach first run through which settled the nerves. I caught fairly well for the first hour, mainly small roach with the odd blade skimmer and reached 30 fish for about a pound (well I did say they were small!). Once again the heavens opened and once again I was soaked on a Sunday! The second hour was pretty productive and I started to get some slightly better roach, a switch to caster saw me catch some nice roach but I was missing quite a few bites. I was now on 60 fish and if I could keep catching like this I reckoned 150 fish would give me a decent weight.

Hour three saw me still catching the odd better roach among the blips but it was starting to slow and I got to 86 fish. The fourth hour arrived and I couldn't get a bite, it was like someone had flicked a switch. I threw another ball of groundbait on the whip line and had a look at 9 metres, after a couple of runs through I knew I wouldn't catch as the presentation just looked all wrong. Back on the whip and back to catching nowt! An upstream wind was hampering the rigs passage, the anglers either side were catching odd fish and I was losing my way.

I could see odd small fish topping so out of sheer desperation I shallowed my whip rig up to about three foot and had a go for them, I did catch around half a dozen chub but they probably wouldn't go an ounce between them! I deepened the rig back up and went through the motions and only managed another four roach in the last hour to end with 94 fish.

The scales arrived at C8 and he weighed around four and a half kilos and I knew I was nowhere near that, my fish went 2 kilos 500 grams and when Baz weighed over three kilos I feared the worst. The next two anglers weighed one kilo something so at least I had a few points. The angler on C2 had a bream to beat me by 30 grams and the Team Focus angler on the other end peg had sacked up with bream to weigh over eight kilos. I ended up with five points (out of a possible nine) which was middle of the road.

I got back to the pub and the team had fared poorly, Nicky had 6 points, Dunner 5, Andy 3 and Dave 2 to give us a grand total of 21 points and 7th place on the day which is not good with only 8 teams fishing! We dropped to 7th in the league and we now need four good results in the remaining matches to stand any chance of a podium place. I think it's a steep hill to climb. Our big rivals Team Focus won on the day with a fantastic 39 points (out of a possible 45).

Next week it's back to Dillington so hopefully I can catch a few then.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Dillington Pond - Summer League - 8th July 2007

It looked like being a gorgeous day as I arrived at the Crown for the draw with the sun blazing down. All the anglers who fished the last match were here along with Yeovil Angling Centre boss, Scotty Russell. I didn't really mind where I drew as long as it wasn't the pumphouse as that swim hasn't been kind to me. The draw was announced and I hung back until that peg (number four) had gone, that honour went to Graham Field, unlucky mate! I drew peg nine which turned out to be the same peg as I was on in the last match.

I set up the same two rigs as last time, a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach float for ten metres and a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp float for the inside by the reeds, both rigs had 0.12 mm bottoms and size 18 Kamasan B611's. I plumbed up and after all the rain we'd had the ten metres line was actually a little deeper than last time. I mixed up some Van Den Eynde Supermatch and added a some hemp, casters and maggots. On the whistle I cupped in three balls at ten metres and two on the inside. I hadn't brought a waggler rod with me this time as I didn't catch on it last match.

I went out on the longer line with caster on the hook and had a decent roach first put in followed by three more roach. I then bumped a fish and all I could catch was small perch, I shouted up to Frank who was two pegs away to see how he was getting on and he'd had a couple of fish as well. Barney on my left was catching small fish but even at this early stage it didn't appear as if the pond was fishing as well as expected. After the first hour I had 13 fish although after that early burst of roach all I could catch now was small perch. Rob Birch netted a decent chub and Scotty on the opposite bank had landed a good perch.

The second hour was much the same, small perch along with the odd roach and I reached 30 fish, things were definately slowing on the longer line so I cupped in another ball of groundbait and came on the inside where I had been steadily feeding maggots and casters. I didn't get the response I wanted, only adding a handful of small perch. Although it was still really hot there were some ominous looking black clouds over my shoulder and I was glad I had brought my waterproofs. I was now back at ten metres and the swim was dead! and from what I could gather it was the same round the pond, Frank was really struggling and Barney was catching the odd small fish.

Then the heavens opened and we had torrential rain for over an hour and during that time I only had a couple of perch and an eel around the pound mark from the inside line. I tried double maggot but I still had to wait ages for a bite and then it was only small perch. Going into the last hour and a half it was a real struggle although Scotty had started catching some big eels and was favourite to win. Both my swims were dead now and I was soaked, I went back on the long pole with caster on the hook and missed a bite on caster before catching a roach, I then had three eels in three chucks and was back in the hunt although by my reckoning a long way behind Scott.

I had two more eels and with two minutes to go a good bite which I missed! Barney had a stonking perch right on the whistle and I reckoned he had probably done me. As we packed up it started to hail and I found it hard to believe I started off in a t-shirt and was now wearing full waterproofs and neoprene gloves! Once again I had the scales so I walked up to weigh Rob Birch in and he had a nice chub and loads of small fish for 5lb 14oz and I didn't think I had that either. Neil Dring also had a chub (which I didn't see him catch) and weighed a level 3lb, Barney's last gasp perch weighed 2lb 8oz and with all his small fish he weighed 6lb 11oz. As always people started to ask what I had and I'm legendary for underestimating my weights but I honestly thought I had between 4 and 5lb.

Frank and Robin Cox threatened to throw me in if I was wildly out today and when my 51 fish weighed 7lb Robin grabbed me and started to drag me towards the pond! We both ended up on the floor and he got a wet shirt! After the rest weighed in, Scotty was the clear winner with 13lb 2oz which included some huge eels, Jake Woodard was second with 7lb 11oz of mainly roach, rudd and perch from peg one and I hadn't seen him catch bugger all! Roger Russell was third and won his section with 7lb 4oz and I was fourth and won my section and picked up £20 to keep my yearly winnings total chugging along.

After four matches in this league me and big Frank are leading with two points each (dropping our worst two results), the trouble being that a couple of matches clash with the Langport League so I will have to drop those. Next week is round two of the Langport teams of five so lets hope my good run continues.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Langport League - River Parrett - 1st July 2007

During the three years I fished this league with the Chard Remains team we have been runner's up twice and winners of the knockout cup, could we go one better this year? After loads of rain for what seemed like weeks I was sure this one was going to be called off. To my suprise the river actually looked in pretty good nick.

The other four members of the team for todays match were my mate Andy Langdon, Alan Dunn, Dave Lawrence and big name (but short in stature!) Nicky Collins. As team captain I have to draw for the team and as per usual I drew nearly all middle pegs with the exception of end peg A8 which went to Dave. My peg for the duration was B4 below Stuckeys, after a mammoth walk I arrived and surveyed the swim, the river looked pacier than I first thought and there was loads of weed coming down and along with the strong wind and more forecast rain, I was beginning to think this could be a washout.

I mixed up a bag of Van Den Enyde Turbo and set up a gram rig for 9 metres and a gram and a half rig for the five metre whip. After plumbing up and running the 1 gram rig through I realised it was woefully undergunned for the conditions, the gram and a half wasn't much better. Without any other rigs suitable and no floats above 2.5 grams I was starting to realise I was stuffed! My initial plan was to cup in two balls at 9 metres and ball it in on the whip line but I decided to forget the longer line and make do with the whip.

On the whistle I chucked in four balls on the whip line and started running the rig through with single bronze maggot on the size 18 B611 hook. I soon realised holding back was a waste of time as the float kept riding up, even so I still expected to catch quite quickly as the Parrett is full of roach. When this didn't happen I really started to panic, Andy Ankers on the peg below caught a couple on the whip so I perservered, not that I had a choice really! I had a couple of sucked maggots where I didn't even see the bite before catching a couple of small roach, phew! blank avoided!

I then had a tiny roach drop off and if definately wasn't happening, looking around the pegs either side weren't having much luck either. Andy was switching between the whip, a stick and the crowquill and was catching odd fish on all three. To be honest the crowquill looked the best bet on the day and of course I didn't have any with me! I was going through the motions running the rig through and taking all the weed off the line when the float buried and I hooked a right lump, the whip was bent double and I was sure something was going to give. I first of all thought it was a chub but slowly but surely I started to get the upper hand and started to realise it was probably a big bream. The trouble was I couldn't get its head up in the flow, it surfaced a couple of times and it was indeed a good slab of around 5lb.

Eventually the fish was beaten but a 5 metres it was just laid on top in the flow and I couldn't bring it towards me, I telescoped the whip down to 4 metres and this enabled me to net it, I was shaking and the pressure was off. Also this was the first bream I'd ever had on the Parrett and it was very welcome. I carried on catching the odd small roach and tiny skimmer and after a couple of hours I noticed the bank I was sat on which was dry to start with, was now underwater! The river was rising and more and more crap was coming down, odd showers of rain weren't helping either and the wind was horrendous.

Andy had caught a couple of decent skimmers on the crowquill and the chap above me was also getting odd roach on the rod and line and I was really glad I had that bonus fish. All I could catch was the odd small blade skimmer and not very many of those. By the half way mark I had around 35 fish but I just couldn't get a run together. The river had now risen about half a foot and despite making depth adjustments I was still only picking up half ounce skimmers with the odd roach of 1-3oz.

With an hour and a half to go I was on 39 fish and the water level was now up about a foot, I saw a couple of anglers move their kit back up the bank and decided to do the same. I went to move my Tardis box and it wouldn't budge and I realised the base was full of water! In eventually moving it I not only nearly put my back out but managed to tip both my casters and hemp into the river! So for the final portion of the match I would be feeding bronze maggots then! To be honest I just wanted the match to end as I wasn't enjoying it one bit.

I balled in my remaining groundbait just past where I was originally sat and waited for the end, the river was still rising, chocolate in colour and every run through saw the rig come back looking like a washing line with all the weed hanging off it! Nobody seemed to be catching now and most people had abandoned ship and were now sat up the bank. I did manage three tiny blips before the end to take my final tally of fish to 42. The angler above netted a bream on the feeder on the whistle which was a real get out of jail free card. The whistle finally blew much to the relief of the anglers and I quickly packed up my gear (and emptied the water from my box).

The weigh in started on peg B1 and he had around three and a half pound but as the scales were funny money (kilos and grams) I'm never quite sure. On B2 was Alan 'Picky' Gage of our main rivals over the last two years, Team Focus and he only weighed 150 grams which was good news (for my team anyway!). The chap with the bream weighed two kilo something and then it was me, my fish weighed 3 kilo 150 grams and I thought it might be a close thing with Andy below me but he weighed two kilo something as well. There were no suprises, even from the end peg, B8 and I won the section and picked up the all important 9 points.

In hindsight I think the crowquill or a lollipop float would have caught me more fish today but in the three years of fishing the river I'd never fished it in conditions like this (and I hope I never have to again!). After another mammoth yomp back I got to the Langport Arms sweating like a pig. The team filtered back with tales of mixed fortune, the ever consistent Nicky came back with 8 points, Alan had 5 points, Dave had 4 and the lowest scorer was my mate Andy with 3 and would be dropped for the next round. The river had fished really well and a lot of the venue regulars had fished the feeder and caught bream with the top weight being Baz Morgan with over 13 kilos. Talking of Baz, check out his blog at allezb-bazfishin.blogspot.com, it's a very good read.

Teamwise we had a total of 29 points which put us 4th on the day, I picked up £40 for my section win and Nicky £25 for his section 2nd. The Trotters team won with an excellent 37 points. Another plus for us was that Focus finished 6th with 22 points.

Next week I'm back at Dillington so lets hope the weathers kind to me!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Dillington Pond - Summer League - 24th June 2007

After last weeks disaster where I finished last I was keen to get back here and see if I really had lost my touch. I was a little suprised when I got to the pub for the draw to see there were ten other anglers there, Roger Russell and his mate Rob had turned up for this one and it was nice to see them both. After paying my pools it was time for the draw and I really didn't fancy drawing the pumphouse again as I had struggled here last time. That honour went to Janders whereas I drew peg eight on the field side, in the middle.

I made myself comfy and surveyed the swim, I was sat in a channel that had been cut in the reeds that have shot up all round the pond since last year. There were lots of small fish topping and bearing in mind 'Big Frank' and his boy have been catching quite close in it was nice to see I had three clumps of reeds at about four metres to my right. I set up a 3AAA Drennan insert waggler and two pole rigs. The first was a 0.5 gram Drennan roach float with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611 for fishing at ten metres and a 0.4 gram Drennan carp float for fishing at four metres by the reeds, hooklength and hook were the same as the other rig.

I mixed up some Sensas Matchblend and was ready for the off, on my right was Frank's boy Jake and on my left was Rob Birch who had Frank next to him. On the whistle I cupped two balls of groundbait in at both ten and four metres and started on the waggler. This was a non starter and after ten minutes I hadn't had a bite on it. Most people were catching on the pole so I chucked the waggler rod up the bank and went out to ten metres. First put in I had a small perch on double red maggot so I switched to caster and had more perch and small roach with the odd netter roach among them. After the first hour I had twenty fish and was slowly catching Frank up who had a few more fish than me.

After the second hour my catch rate had improved slightly and I was up to 45 fish, mostly roach and perch although I did have one rudd. I could see landing nets going out around the pond although it was mainly eels being landed apart from Frank who had caught a small tench. I decided to give my longer line a rest so I fed another ball before picking up my other rig. I baited up with caster and had a couple of small perch, which wasn't really the result I was hoping for. I then had a small eel, so decided to leave that line for a while. I was loosefeeding hemp and caster at ten metres and hemp and maggot, with the odd caster on the shorter line.

Back out on the longer line I was still catching mainly small roach but I did have a couple of better eels which kept the weight building nicely. After the third hour I was on around 65 fish and had now overtaken Frank. Going into the fourth hour and my longer line was definately slowing although from the comments being shouted around the pond it seemed like this was the case for everybody. Jake was catching the odd net fish but all Rob could catch was small perch. Robin Cox had caught a decent chub but had lost several good fish.

I fed another ball out and came back on the inside line, I had another couple of small stripies before the float buried and I was attached to something a bit more substantial. White hydro was stretched for what seemed like miles and I had to add more sections to stay in touch. I eventually started to gain the upper hand and a huge perch surfaced, I netted it and it looked like it had to go 2lb plus. This more and made up for the rest of the poor fourth hour after which I ended on around 70 fish. During the last hour and a half I kept putting the odd small roach in the net along with a couple more eels. Barney still seemed to be netting fish regularly on the point and right on the whistle Neil Dring landed a big eel.

I ended up with 90 fish and Frank shouted up to ask what weight I had and I replied about 6lb to which I got lots of abuse from around the pond as I'm well known for under estimating. Frank had the scales so we walked up to weigh Barney in first, he had ten eels plus roach and perch for 10lb 7oz and I honestly didn't think I had that, Graham Field had loads of small fish for just over 4lb and Jake weighed a little more and his net included two small tench. Then it was my turn and when I pulled my net out I thought it was going to be close, the needle settled on 11lb 4oz and I was well chuffed although there were quite a few anglers still to weigh. I weighed the big perch on its own which went 2lb 5oz and is probably the biggest I've ever had.

Rob weighed 4lb odd as did Frank and he too had two little tench, Rob Cox had 4lb 15oz. When the scales on the other bank finished weighing the top weight there was Roger Russell with 8lb 6oz but he had lost two big bream which would have won it. So I had won and Dillington is reinstated as my favourite venue once again. I picked up £65 plus a pound of Janders who was last with 3lb something although he did have the consolation of having a little tench. To be fair I don't think it's a great peg as it's been last in the last two matches.

So after three matches in the summer league I've had a first, a second and a last, Frank has had two wins and a middle placing so it could be tight. I will get the table off Rob and let you know how I'm getting on. Next week is the first match in the Langport League teams of five and we're looking to go one better than last years runners up position so keep you're fingers crossed.