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.


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.