Monday, February 26, 2007

Dillington Pond - Hollowlegs League - 25th February 2007

After yet more rain, the match was switched to Dillington again which I wasn't too upset about as I have been doing well there. I drew peg 9 which was by the pumphouse, which is where I was on the last match here. The first suprise on reaching the pond was that pegs one to three were taken up by pleasure anglers, there wasn't a lot we could do as we hadn't closed the pond. We just had to squeeze the three anglers affected, Rob Cox, Martin Heard and Malcolm Levy, in around the rest of us. The downside of this for me was that I now had Malcolm on the other side of the bush to my left where there isn't usually a peg.

As I had fished this peg a couple of weeks ago I set up exactly the same rigs, a 0.4 gram rig with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 for the bush and a gram Drennan Tipo with a spread bulk and 0.08mm bottom to a size 18 B511 for the open water at 11 metres. I mixed up some Van Den Eynde Supermatch and Supercup and chopped up some lobbies and was ready for the off. Pete Lonton was on the peg to my right and next to Malcolm was Justin Charles on the point (a very consistent peg).

On the whistle I cupped in some choppie and casters by the bush and three balls of groundbait at 11 metres. I started by the bush but after the last match where I didn't get a bite for ages I was prepared for a wait. It wasn't long before the float went under and I started to catch the odd small perch, was this a good omen? I soon got bored of catching these and tried a caster but this made no difference and I continued to catch small perch, double caster didn't help and I was still only catching small perch but having to wait longer for the bites. I could see Justin catching small fish regularly and he shouted down that Barney had caught an early chub and that Martin was catching quality roach. I couldn't see either from my position tucked away by the pumphouse.

After an hour I was dying to go out to 11 metres where hopefully the roach were queued up, by this time Justin said Barney had three chub and I really felt I needed quality fish. After another perch on maggot I switched to caster but still the perch came, I was going nowhere fast and to be honest I can't recall ever struggling like this, here on my favourite pond. Justin was still catching small perch and Malcolm was getting a few although as far as I could make out, Pete was struggling. I kept swopping between the bush and 11 metres but the result was always the stripy same, I even tried half a lobbie for a bigger perch but all I got was small perch and most of these fell off as they couldn't get all the worm in their gobs!

I reckoned I was ahead of Malcolm and Pete but then Malcolm netted a better perch, Justin was well ahead of me and he netted a decent roach to pull even further in front. Pete came round for a walk and he'd only had a couple of small perch and he said Rob Cox wasn't doing much better. Another try at 11 metres with caster saw me catch my first roach but at only half an ounce it wasn't what I'd hoped for. Still hopefully his big brother would be out there, wrong again and that was the only roach I saw all day. I kept trying by the bush as very often the chub can be caught here and in the last match I had caught one late on. I was still catching perch and at an average size of half an ounce I reckoned if I could catch 64 I would have around two pounds. Bearing in mind you normally need 8-10lbs to frame this wasn't good.

The whistle went and I had struggled, I had 63 small perch and that solitary roach. While waiting for Rob to come round with the scales I went to watch Justin weigh in Malcolm, himself and John, even with his bonus perch Malcolm only weighed 2lb 4oz and Justin 3lb 4oz and I was starting to wish I'd gone all out for the perch. John Coxon plonked 4lb 4oz on the scales and his bag included a real bonus perch of 2lb 10oz. Rob arrived with the scales and I was suprised when my fish went 2lb 14oz and I was now really regretting not going for the perch. Pete only managed 6oz and Rob 1lb 4oz.

It turned out the pond hadn't fished at all well and Justin had been lying through his teeth, John won with his perch assisted 4lb 4oz and Graham Field was second with 3lb 5oz, Justin won his section and I won mine and picked up £20. I really felt I could have done second place if I'd just have fished the maggot all day and maybe even pushed John's weight, oh well you learn all the time in this game don't you? Better news was to follow as Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-1 in the Carling Cup Final, well done the blues.

In this league Barney and Martin are well ahead with one match to go but my section win today has given me an outside chance of third place with another good result. Next week is where I really need to do well though as it's the penultimate match in Crown league, which I'm currently leading, wish me luck.

Monday, February 19, 2007

River Isle - Crown League - 18th February

For weeks I have been taking my reels in the hope I draw peg 125 at Isle Brewers, one of the few pegs where the waggler is number one choice. While waiting for the draw I could see peg 125 was in but there were also a couple of pegs I really didn't want, 82 and 39. I stuck my hand in the bucket and pulled out a peg, before looking I asked a couple others what they'd drawn and when Janders said he had peg 82 I felt safe enough to open my hand. When I did, peg 125 was staring back at me! I couldn't believe it, the trouble is, just drawing the peg isn't good enough, I now had to do the business off it.

After a short drive I was at my peg, the river had a nice tinge of colour, if a little pacy. Graham Field was above me on 124 and Barney was the other side of the bridge on 126 (also a very good peg). Peg 125 is a nice run down to a roadbridge, there are no real features and its only a foot and a half deep but at this time of the year the roach are here in abundance. In recent matches there have been weights of 26lb and 19lb and with the weather being quite mild I really fancied catching a few.

I set up a 13ft Daiwa Whisker waggler rod with a TD-R reel loaded with 4lb line and a Drennan 2AAA crystal waggler with just three no 10's down the line and a 0.12mm hooklength and an 18 B611. I also set up a pole rig with a gram and a half rig but didn't expect to use it. The swim was around a foot and a half deep but was shallower across with the deeper water on the inside, there was also a bay about half way down the swim.

On the whistle I dropped the float in about half way across and as I went to feed the float dragged under, I struck and was soon swinging in a 4oz roach, a better one followed and third put in I netted a 10oz roach, this was heaven! I then bumped a good fish before I hooked decent fish well down the swim, I never got to see it though as a large pike snaffled it! Oh God, I thought, was it all going to go pear shaped? My nerves were calmed when the next cast I caught another roach. Feeding hemp, caster and maggot I was getting a bite most casts and by the end of the first hour I had twenty fish for around 5lb, they were averaging 4oz apiece with odd fish up to 12oz.

I was bumping the odd fish and catching in spells but after the second hour I was up to 40 fish, some of the fish were coming at the top of the swim but occasionally I was having to trot nearly down to the bridge. Graham had caught a good chub early on but didn't have much to go with it. With three hours gone I was up to 6o fish, nearly all roach apart from a couple of dace and I reckoned if I could carry on catching at this rate I would do around 27lb. The trouble was that to do a really big weight I needed to catch closer to me without the long trots.

Most of my fish were coming to double bronze or red maggot, I did try caster briefly but had no bites on it. I had upped my feed somewhat but during hour four the bites began to slow and I didn't make it to 80 fish. I now realised any chance of a really big weight had gone but I still had to get my head down and see what I could do. I was still catching well and going into the last half hour I knew I had over twenty pounds in the net. The fish had by now backed off and I was having to cast down towards the bay to catch and when the whistle blew I ended with 96 fish (all roach apart from 4 dace).

As I had drawn the scales yet again I packed up and walked down to weigh Barney in, he said he'd done ok and after two weighs his total weight was 15lb 14oz, again nearly all roach. Graham's chub weighed 3lb 3oz although he didn't have a lot to go with it and his total weight was 4lb 1oz. Then it was my turn, my first weigh went 11lb 6oz and with the second weigh of 13lb 9oz my total was 24lb 15oz (my biggest Isle weight ever). That's twice this year I've bested my biggest weight and it was my best roach weight on the river. For all that I was slightly disappointed I hadn't done a really big weight (ungrateful sod!).

Back at the Crown, Robin read out the results and I had won and picked up £65, but more importantly I had another section win. The river had fished really well, Barney was 2nd, Digger was 3rd with an all chub 14lb 14oz (and he lost one) and Martin 4th with 12lb 2oz. Although I had pulled a point on Barney, Martin was still sticking to me like glue as he'd also won his section. Janders didn't weigh yet again. With two matches to go I still need two more decent results.

Crown League after 9 matches, dropping your two worst results.

Jamie Rich - 9 points
Martin Heard - 11 points
Barney Crockett - 12 points

It's the Hollowlegs league on the Isle again next week, peg 125 again would be nice!!

P.S. he wouldn't forgive me if I didn't give him a mention, so well done Andy on winning your match at Sadborow pond with 35lb of carp.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dillington Pond - 11th February 2007

This match was due to be the annual 'Open' on the Isle but due to loads of rain the river was unfishable and the fixture was swopped to Dillington Pond. With only ten of us fishing it was more of a knockabout really, but still there was money to be won. For a change I actually drew away from the tree pegs and this week I was assigned the pumphouse, a peg I have never fished before. Although quite a consistent peg, I can't recall it winning a match. The weather was pretty mild and although it was quite windy I expected the pond to fish. Also I had been asked to do a 'Club Match Live' feature for Southern Angler magazine so I had my camera with me to record the days events.

Rob Cox, JC, Neil Dring and Big Frank enjoy another Crown breakfast.

I got to my peg and as I was setting up I was suprised by the lack of colour in the pond and I hoped it wouldn't affect the fishing too much. On my right was John Coxon, a Dillington virgin, and I had Digger Denslow to my left on the point. Justin Charles had drawn one of the pegs by the stream, a very consistent peg. I set up my usual 0.4 gram rig with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611 and plumbed up by the bush to my left, this had a nice depth but when I plumbed up at eleven metres in front of me the float just kept going! My rig was nowhere deep enough so I set got out a deeper rig, a 1 gram Drennan Tipo with a spread bulk, 0.08 mm bottom and size 20 B511 for the roach.

On the whistle I cupped in some choppie by the bush and two balls of Sensas Roach Noir groundbait at eleven metres. I noticed Justin use his normal balling in tactic, would it work today? Also several people including Digger and John started on the waggler. I shipped out on the longer line with double maggot fully expecting to catch straight away and the float just sat there! Digger had a chub followed by a succession of small perch and I could see Justin swinging in perch regularly. With no bites I decided to try by the tree, this also seemed devoid of fish and I was beginning to think my bad run of results would continue.

John was also blanking and apart from Digger and Justin it looked like most the field were struggling. My nemesis had caught a couple of small perch but once again he'd declined a side bet so at least I couldn't lose that! Barney was walking so I guessed he hadn't caught much either, Big Frank Woodard had snared a couple of chub and was looking good for a frame place. With over an hour and a half gone I was now fishing by the bush with a small piece of worm looking for a small stripy. I was starting to think I would blank when the float finally submerged from view and a small perch was swung to hand, a couple more followed before this died again.

The wind was now really quite strong, making presentation difficult and poor old John came up to see how I was getting on, I was now on the long pole and while we were talking I noticed a slight dip of the float. After John left me it developed into a proper bite and another small perch took my tally to four, at least I was now getting the odd bite. Next put in with double bronze maggot, the rig had only just settled when it went under and I was into a better fish. I gingerly played it before netting a 10 oz roach, a smaller sample followed and things had started to get interesting. With two and a half hours to go it would be a long way back to catch Justin and Digger but you never know.

I would get a couple of roach before it would go quiet, I was now fishing with caster hoping to avoid the perch and was having to wait longer for the bites but the result was normally a roach. I reckoned if I could get around twenty roach it would give me 5lb or so and a chance of some money. Both the leaders were catching odd roach but their swims were definately slowing. As the end of the match approached and the light started to fade I noticed more landing nets being pushed out, Rob Cox landed a perch, Neil Dring had a chub and Justin added a chub to his already bulging net. With ten minutes to go I was a couple of roach short of my target when I hooked some weed and the 0.08 mm hooklength gave way. I reached for my other rig and went back to the bush (which I had also been feeding regularly), with double maggot on and had a bite straight away which turned out to be another small perch. I slipped a caster on and with five minutes to go the float buried and a much better fish was on, after a spirited battle the blue hydro did it's job and I safely netted a chub of a pound and a quarter.

Janders preparing to weigh Digger in, but had he done enough?

There was just time to ship out again but the dream ending never materialised and I ended with 29 fish (1 chub, around 18 roach and the rest perch). I followed the scales around and Digger was leading with 7lb 2oz, Frank ended with five chub for 5lb 11oz and there were no more decent weights until we got to Justin. He put an impressive 8lb dead on the scales and with only John Coxon and me to weigh, I knew he'd won it. John had dry netted and my fish went 5lb 15oz for 3rd on the day behind Justin and Digger. They were only paying the top two but I picked up £20 for the section and Frank won the other section.

Justin with his winning 8lb

and Digger with his second placed 7lb 2oz

Next week is another Crown league match and after last weeks poor performance I desperately need good section points, stay tuned.......

Monday, February 05, 2007

River Isle - Crown League - 4th February 2007

After last weeks lesson in not catching anything I was desperate to put it behind me and hopefully continue my good form in this league, especially as going into this match I was top. We were also fishing two stretches of the Isle that we haven't fished for ages, the Donyatt and Horlicks sections. The Horlicks section is actually controlled by Chard AA but they said we could use it for the day (cheers Les).

Everybody wanted to draw pegs 19 or 20 at Horlicks as the winner was predicted to come from here, although when I drew peg 1 at Donyatt I wasn't too upset as it's usually a fair section and good section points were what I was after. We allow trout to count in our matches and there are usually loads to be had at Donyatt. One of my nearest rivals in the league Martin Heard drew the weirpool (peg 23) at Horlicks and did his usual 'It's not worth going to my peg' bit. I got to my peg and it looked nice with a decent depth under my feet and two areas of cover across. Also in my section were Barney (on the next peg), along with Robin Cox and John Coxen on pegs 3 and 4.

I set up a gram and a half Drennan Carbo with a size 18 B611 and on the whistle started across by the cover to my left while feeding caster, maggot and hemp. My start bait was double red maggot although if I got plagued by minnows I would change to caster. After ten minutes biteless I was by the cover to my right and and still there was no sign of anything remotely fishy. After trying in the flow and tucked right into the cover I was still fishless and starting to worry. I shouted down to Barney who replied he hadn't had any bites either, although Robin had landed a trout.

I was by now fishing behind the cover to my right and at last a bite, although tiny the resulting minnow was welcomed with a sigh of relief, I had avoided the dreaded DNW. A couple more followed before I got fed up with that and put a caster on. This turned out to be a complete waste of time and I never had a bite on it. I looked down to see Barney's yellow elastic coming out and he was soon netting a small trout. This wasn't good news for me and when he netted a second I picked up my flask and wandered down. He'd caught one on maggot and one on worm, Robin hadn't added to his earlier fish although he had lost a good fish and John below him was struggling.

I went back to my peg and put half a lobbie on, but again this provoked no response at all, I kept thinking if only I could get a couple of trout it would give me really good section points. The trouble was, time was ebbing away and I was running out of ideas. I heard Barney shout down to Robin that he'd caught a gudgeon in the flow and then he netted a chublet. I added some extra sections and fished downstream at 13 metres in the flow, all of a sudden the float just shot under and reappeared before I had chance to strike, bugger. Barney had added a couple more chublets and was comfortably winning the section.

A chap called Ned turned up to see how we were getting on and to compound my woes he reported that Martin was doing well in the weirpool and my nightmare was becoming reality, my two nearest rivals were winning their sections while I was probably bottom of mine! Despite trying every bait I had and searching every inch of my peg all I could muster were a couple more minnows. As Barney had caught another chublet in the flow I decided to concentrate my efforts there, the rig hadn't been in the water long when it disappeared from view and the tip started to go as well and I still missed it!!!!

I knew it wasn't going to be my day and after another brief flirt to my left I had another minnow bite only to strike and see a small roach or gudgeon come to the surface before dropping off!!! This about summed my day up and I'm sure before it disappeared into the depths that it winked at me! I couldn't wait for the all out and when it came I was packed up in double quick time. Barney came up with the scales and my 'haul' of six minnows barely registered on the scales and I was given an ounce. Barney weighed 2lb 3oz to win the section by a mile, Robin had 14oz and John also had an ounce. I ended with three points so Barney had pulled back a couple on me.

Back at the results Martin had won his second match on the trot with 5lb odd, both times from apparently crap swims, in that case I wouldn't mind drawing some rubbish pegs too! Overall Neil Dring was second with 2lb 10oz and Barney third. For me it was a day to forget, next week it's the annual 'Open' match so lets hope my fortune changes for the better. My Nemesis Janders also had a bad day, drawing one of the fancied pegs, sitting in the wrong place and not weighing in. Apparently he did catch a roach of around a pound but put it back without troubling the scalesman, he could have at least let me have it!

In the league stakes, I still hold a slender lead but things are tight.

Crown league after 8 matches dropping your two worst results

Jamie Rich - 8 pts
Barney Crockett - 10 pts
Martin Heard - 10 pts