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.