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!