Monday, September 29, 2008

Chris Patten Memorial - Chard Reservoir - 28th September 2008

After winning this event last year I was keen to do well again. I picked my mate Andy up who normally does well on the resi and we went to the draw. We got there to be met by Les in full organisational mode, complete with walkie-talkie! This year the match was to be split into two pools, float anglers and those who wanted to fish the feeder. The majority (including me) would fish the feeder for the venues bream. Les managed to get seven mugs, sorry I meant volunteers, to fish the dam wall and the rest of us then drew for the pegs in the woods. Andy drew spot on with peg 49, I just missed out on the most consistent pegs with peg 38, I would still fish the feeder though.

After another mammoth yomp, I reached my peg to find I had Fred Brown on the next peg so at least it should be an entertaining day! On my right hand side I had Dave Lawrence. I quickly set up my Drennan 12ft 6in Stillwater Feeder rod with a medium Drennan groundbait feeder, a size 16 B611 hook and 0.12mm bottom completed the rig. I have also started including a tiny swivel which really helps reduce spin ups. Finally I mixed up some Sensas Bream 3000 groundbait and added some Brasem.

On the whistle I had several quick casts to get some feed down at around 30 yrds, with double red maggot on the hook I was soon getting indications from roach. Fred was first on the score sheet with a small skimmer, I quickly followed with a skimmer of my own. The resi was as flat as a witches tit, which isn't really great for bream fishing but hopefully the skimmers were a good early sign. After an hour I'd had one skimmer, a roach and a small perch. I shouted down to Bruce Hunt next to Dave to see how he was getting on, as he was fishing the pole, he replied he'd only had one roach.

Into hour two and me, Dave and Fred still hadn't caught a bream and I was starting to think it might be quite a struggle. I was still getting the odd small skimmer around 4oz or so, as was Fred although I was just ahead of him. His cause wasn't helped when he had a couple of crack offs on the cast. He also had a tangle around the tip of his rod and typically of Fred, as he was sorting this out he could feel a fish pulling on the line and he went on to net his biggest skimmer of the day. It could only happen to Fred!

News from the hot pegs in the 40's was that only a couple of bream had been caught so it was still all to play for. My maggot bait kept getting ragged out by roach so I kept trying corn but only had the odd dig on it. Just past the two hour mark I hooked a good fish which I was convinced was a bream but on the way in it suddenly ran off and with my anti reverse on it snapped me - bugger. Not sure if it was a small carp or a hybrid but it certainly would've helped. Bruce was now on the whip and catching quite well, Dave was still struggling and I was still getting the odd skimmer to keep myself ahead of Fred.

With time running out I was pinning my hopes on maybe catching a couple of bream in the golden last hour. Down on peg 34 I saw Scotty Russell netting a bream and shouted down to ask how many he'd had, when he said four my enthusiasm was renewed somewhat as at least some bream were feeding. It wasn't to be though and I plodded on getting the odd fish to end with 22 (mostly small skimmers). On the all out I quickly packed up and started taking some of my kit part way back. The scales started at peg 51 where Picky had 4lb, I thought I might have a chance of beating this and taking a pound off him. My mate Andy had an early decent bream and not much else for 7lb 4oz from peg 49 to take a squid off me. Rob Stark was the early pace setter with three bream plus some skimmers for 18lb 12oz from 45. Baz Morgan was one of the float anglers and put 11lb 4oz of roach on the scales from peg 41.

Fred weighed 2lb 10oz and I weighed 5lb 8oz to claim my £1 from Picky, Dave didn't trouble the scales and Bruce Hunt put a respectable 9lb 4oz of roach on the scales. Scott Russell had four bream and some decent skimmers for 32lb 12oz and I couldn't see this weight being beaten. The dam wall had fished a lot better than expected and Ron Stark completed a good day for him and his brother with three bream for 19lb 8oz from peg 8. My nemesis Janders also had a bream a skimmer to take a £1 off me with 6lb.

Baz presenting Scotty with the Chris Patten memorial trophy

After dropping Andy's kit off it was back to the Cotley for an excellent roast dinner before the prize giving. As expected Scott won and would be the keeper of the trophy for another year. Baz won the float anglers pool with Mark Hollister in second place with 9lb 8oz. Then Les started to read out the sections and I was second, behind Scotty, and picked up £40 of which I donated £10 to the charity (as did most anglers). Andy was also second in his section and Janders was third in his.

The anglers at the Cotley just before the excellent roast dinner

Then it was time for the raffle and there were some excellent prizes donated by several tackle shops including Baz Angling, Weston Angling and Yeovil and District Angling Centre. For once I didn't win a prize but Mike Hosgood won the weeks holiday in Baz's cottage in France and very generously decided to auction it off, which was fantastic (and I told you I'd give you a mention Mike!). In total a fantastic £620 was raised for Cancer Research and this event just goes from strength to strength. In addition to the tackle shops I mentioned earlier I'd like to thank Les Braunton and Baz for their excellent organisation and the Cotley Inn for the excellent meal and to the 30 anglers for turning up and being so generous.

Feeder anglers

1 - Scott Russell (Yeovil and District Angling Centre) - 32lb 12oz
2 - Ron Stark (Weston) - 19lb 8oz
3 - Rob Stark (Weston) - 18lb 12oz

Float anglers

1 - Baz Morgan (Baz Angling) - 11lb 4oz
2 - Mark Hollister (Chard) - 9lb 8oz
3 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 9lb 4oz

Section A

1 - Ron Stark (Weston) - 19lb 8oz
2 - Brian Reed (Bridgwater) - 10lb 4oz
3 - John Anderson (Chard Minnows) - 6lb

Section B

1 - Scott Russell (YDAC) - 32lb 12oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Chard Remains) - 5lb 8oz
3 - Mike Collins (Tatworth) - 3lb

Section C

1 - Rob Stark (Weston) - 18lb 12oz
2 - Andy Langdon (Chard Remains) - 7lb 4oz
3 - R Coombes (Langport) - 6lb 6oz

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chris Haines Pond - 21st September 2008

I was supposed to meet Les and the others at Donyatt village hall at 7:45 and when I got there 5 minutes late and they'd gone I knew it was going to be one of those days. I made my way there after phoning Chris (who was in Belgium!) for directions and was in a foul mood. After calling Les and Janders all the names under the sun, I really wasn't in the mood. I drew peg 5 which was next to where I was last time and although that end of the pond hadn't fished then, there were loads of carp moving and my mood lightened somewhat.

I had venue expert Tommy Lee on my left and Picky on my right who was after revenge after I'd taken £1's off him the last few times we'd fished together. I set up a 0.4 gram rig for fishing at 3 metres over chopped worm and caster and a little Trabucco float for against the island and up in the water. On the whistle I cupped in some choppie on the shorter line and soft micro pellet and corn by the island at 11.5 metres. I started on the 3 metre line with maggot on the hook and was surprised when I didn't catch straight away, last time there were hoards of small silvers.

It soon became apparent that nobody was catching and it looked like being a grueller, I did hook a small roach which dropped off before giving the short line up as a bad job. Over by the island wasn't any better and after an hour I was still blanking, as were many others. Picky had caught four roach and his squid was safe for now. I eventually hooked a small carp on corn only for it to come off on the way in and things were looking bleak. I then foulhooked a bigger carp briefly before that too came off!

With half the match gone nobody was catching much even though there were still plenty of carp moving about. I rotated my lines and even fed another line by the island in front of me at 9 metres. After resting it for a bit I went over with corn on the hook and had a great bite which I missed. After another biteless half an hour I tried maggot on the same line and hooked a carp of around 3lb and did all the hard work getting it away from the lilies when the poxy hook pulled out! I did get two perch for about 12oz and a couple of tiny roach. To be honest I just wanted the match to end, Picky landed a decent foulhooked carp and the early pegs were getting a few without really bagging.

Janders had landed a couple of better carp and it looked like I would be losing a pound to him as well. There were carp slurping in the lily pads to my right and I kept trying pellet but they just weren't interested. I even flirted with pellet up in the water at 11 metres but this was pointless as well. I ended up laying the rig on the pads with the pellet just dangling over the edge and right on the whistle had a carp about a pound and a quarter. I didn't bother weighing (I probably had around 2lb) and paid Janders and Picky their pounds. I don't know who won either as I didn't hang around for the weigh in. Dave Abrams had 2lb and Janders had six carp for 8lb dead and I reckoned he'd frame with that. A really bad day at the office.

Next week is the Chris Patton memorial on the resi which I won last year and I would dearly love to do well in again, bet I don't!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mark's Pond - 14th September 2008

A few years back me and Andy fished a friends pond and had a cracking day catching tench, bream and small carp and when we were offered the chance again we jumped at the chance and I hastily arranged a little match. I spoke to Andy Saunders (Mark's boy) and he said there were carp, koi carp, golden and green tench to 6lb, bream, roach, rudd, crucians, chub and barbel in the pond and I couldn't wait!

I picked up Andy and met Janders, Alvin, Scott and Roger on the way, after a short drive we arrived and saw Mark who said we could drive right down to the pond. We sorted out six pegs and I drew peg 2, the main feature for the pond is a small island in the middle which we could all reach with the pole. The first thing we noticed was that the pond was a good 2-3 foot down to when me and Andy fished it last, still it meant less water for the fish to hide in, didn't it? The other worrying thing was the lack of fish moving.

Andy's peg (you can see how low the level was)

We started setting up and Scotty was the first to plumb up and when he shouted across that there was only a foot of depth right across the pond, I thought he was joking! But sure enough he was right and I started to have doubts. I only set up a little Trabucco float with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 Kamasan B911. On the whistle (or rather me shouting all in) I cupped in some micro pellet, corn and maggot by the island and the same on an inside line to my left.

My spirits were raised somewhat when Andy had a small rudd whilst shipping out, I mucked about for a bit with my top three and had a couple of small rudd before going over to the island with double red maggot on the hook. I waited for a bite, and waited, and waited! It was the same for everyone and Scotty started suggesting that perhaps we should go out Dillington (blimey! things must have been desperate). After an hour I was just thinking the same when Andy hooked a small carp only for it to come off! Then Janders had one followed by Roger and Alvin, here we go I thought but me, Andy and Scotty remained biteless.

Do you think Scotty was enjoying it?

I tried corn, maggot and soft pellet on both lines to no avail and yet another duff day was on the cards. Janders had added a couple more small carp and looked set to take his first pound off me for ages. Alvin had caught another small carp and a fantail thing. Roger had caught a couple more including a nice barbel of around a pound and a half. I was all out of ideas and knew I wouldn't be picking up a brown envelope today. With half the match gone, Scotty was bored and knocking out a few small rudd and I decided to do the same.

I thought if I could catch enough I might be able to catch Alvin who's bites had dried up and he was stuck on three fish. I got to around a dozen tiny (and I mean tiny) fish and was ahead of Andy and Scott when Andy decided he was going to go bit bashing as well. Janders had stopped catching and Roger was now on about six fish although his bites had dried up as well. I was fishing my inside line catching the odd rudd when Scotty mentioned us finishing early, I asked around the pond but Janders seemed keen to finish at the agreed time!

I lifted the rig for the umpteenth time but this time was met by some resistance as something pulled back! After a short scrap I netted a nice little carp of a pound and three quarters, we were definitely finishing at quarter to four now! Andy Saunders came down to see how we were getting on and seemed surprised at how poorly it was fishing. He went to see Janders and I had a proper bite and landed another little carp, this one about 6oz. Any ideas of a good last hour soon disappeared though and I went back to catching the odd rudd.

With half an hour to go I saw Andy strike and he netted what looked like a decent koi carp and that was the last of the action and I was glad to call an end to this terrible day. This was Andy's first trip out after a long lay off and it was supposed to rekindle his interest but I think it had done the opposite! We quickly packed up and started the weigh in with Janders whose three carp and a few bits weighed 2lb exactly. I thought it might be close when I pulled my net out and my two carp and sixteen rudd weighed 2lb 3oz - result. I knew I'd frame now with only six of us fishing. Andy's koi weighed 1lb 6oz and Alvins fish were small and weighed 1lb 9oz and I knew I'd got second beause I wouldn't beat Roger. Scotty didn't weigh and wasn't impressed and Roger had five or six carp plus that barbel for 6lb 3oz.

Andy's late koi carp

I picked up £25 plus £1's off Janders and Andy (sorry mate) but I hadn't enjoyed the day at all and we certainly wouldn't be rushing back here. The only good thing was that my second place had hopefully stopped the rot of my recent bad run. Next week we're at Chris Haines pond in Frome again and I'll let you know how we fare.

Roger and his barbel

1 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 6lb 3oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Chard Remains) - 2lb 3oz
3 - John Anderson (Chard Minnows) - 2lb
4 - Alvin Jones (Chard) - 1lb 9oz
5 - Andy Langdon (Chard Remains) - 1lb 6oz

Monday, September 08, 2008

Dillington Pond - JMA Summer League - 7th September 2008

I was so looking forward to the last match of the JMA summer league. Martin Heard was 5 points clear and virtually uncatchable, I was in second place, two points ahead of Graham Field and just needed to avoid a disaster. Saturday night saw me making up two new rigs in readiness, boy was I keen! At the draw thirteen anglers had turned up, possibly because the golden peg had reached £106! After days of heavy rain the pond had a tinge of colour and everything looked set for a good match. I drew peg 15 which was the golden peg, now the pressure was on.

I got to my peg and the wind was blowing straight into the bank I was pegged on, I was on one side of an overhanging willow and my nemesis Janders was on the other side. My peg hasn't been put in very often and when it has it hasn't done a lot, still, with the hot pegs by the bush not in surely there had to be some chub by the willow? Janders' peg sometimes throws up a few so I thought they must be in the general area. I made myself comfortable (my peg is on a high, steep bank) and started setting my kit up. I mixed up some Sensas Roach groundbait and set one of my new rigs up, a 0.5 gram Drennan Quad with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611. The other rig was a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp with 0.12mm bottom and another 18 B611 for fishing by the willow.

On the whistle I cupped in three balls at 11.5 metres and a cup of chopped worm and caster by the overhanging willow branches, I then put in a cup of corn and hemp for good measure. I would leave this line for at least an hour and start on the longer line. First put in with caster on the hook I had a decent bite and swung in a small roach, here we go I thought but the few chucks only produced a couple of tiny rudd on the drop. Looking round the pond a large proportion of the anglers were fishing the whip and getting their heads down for the bits. From what I could see nobody was bagging but then I certainly wasn't! After the first hour I only had 2 roach, 2 tiny rudd and a small perch and things weren't going to plan!

Justin Charles on my right had a decent perch and then lost another one next chuck. I was now by the willow with caster on the hook and after a quick couple of perch I was struggling yet again. A shout up to Janders revealed he hadn't had much either and after losing that fish, Justin was now biteless as well. I tried corn but this didn't produce any bites at all. Another brief spell out only resulted in a couple of tiny rudd and I was at a loss. Two hours in and I hadn't got a pound yet!, the whip anglers were catching odd small fish and were pulling away from me all the time.

I tried double red maggot by the tree and started catching small perch and even added a couple of roach. Any thought of winning the golden peg was disappearing fast and I really needed the chub to move in. I caught an eel around 6oz but then my bites dried up again. I kept thinking big fish had arrived but the lack of bites suggested otherwise. Woggy lost a good eel at the net and Roger Russell had caught a couple of decent perch and lost a few as well. I moved my rig slightly and there was a fish on!, after a few minutes I gratefully slipped the net under a 12oz chub, I was back in the hunt. I just needed to catch his (or hers) brothers and sisters now.

My brief elation was short lived as I reverted to catching nowt, from what I could see nobody was running away with it and a couple of people were walking about. Scotty Russell lost a couple of lumps opposite me, now I just needed them to show up in my peg. Time was ticking away fast and I just wasn't getting any bites. Another try out with maggot on the hook resulted in two more nuisance rudd. Going into the last hour I was praying the chub might get their heads down but it just didn't happen and I only added a couple more small fish. The whistle went and I only had 34 fish and thought I'd be lucky to do 2lb. I'd blown it, blown the golden peg and blown a bumper payday. But had I managed to hold on to second place in the league, I hadn't seen Graham catching much but you never can tell.

I packed up and awaited the scales (and my fate), when the scales reached Roger I asked what was top and Robin said there were joint leaders in Graham and Martin with 6lb 13oz - bollocks! Roger came close with 6lb 10oz and was cursing lost fish, Justin hadn't added to his earlier fish and weighed 1lb 6oz. I weighed 3lb 9oz so with Graham and Martin both winning their section and me already lying in second in mine (behind Roger) I needed to beat the rest of the anglers in my section. Janders weighed 1lb 8oz (so far so good) and handed over another £1 but then Neil Dring weighed 4lb 6oz, Malcolm Levy 6lb 1oz and Alvin Jones 5lb 9oz and my fate was sealed.

I was absolutely gutted, I had been in the top two of the league all through the series and to fall at the final hurdle was really hard to take. The pond hadn't fished well all year and with the whip taking most of the money I had lost my way here. I know I should've been fishing the whip as well but catching shit fish just does my head in, where have all the quality roach gone?

Hey ho, there's always next week. I would like to thank Janders for his very generous sponsorship and Tommy at the Crown for looking after us in the mornings.

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 6lb 13oz
1 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 6lb 13oz
3 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 6lb 10oz
4 - Malcolm Levy (Tiverton) - 6lb 1oz
5 - Alvin Jones (Chard) - 5lb 9oz

Final league positions

1 - Martin Heard - 13 pts (£50)
2 - Graham Field - 20 pts (£25)
3 - Jamie Rich - 22 pts (no money!)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Chris Haines Pond - 31st August 2008

After no fishing last week I was well up for this one, I'd seen Chris's pond once before and it looked lovely with loads of features and mixed stock. Picky collected me at 7:30 and we met up with Les and the rest to travel up in convoy. We made good time and got there in an hour to be met by a sausage and bacon roll reception which was great and certainly filled a hole. After coffee and rolls we sorted out some bait and made the draw. There were nine anglers and nobody really knew where we wanted to draw. I got peg 5 which after a short walk (I could get used to this) I arrived at, I was between two islands and it looked nice. Tommy Lee the venue expert said I had to fish on the inside and to the point of the left island at about 11.5 metres.

Looks fishy doesn't it?

Picky was on my right and Mike T on my left, the side bet with Picky was double or quits as I slapped his ass on the resi two weeks ago. I set up a Drennan 0.4 gram rig with 0.14mm bottom and size 18 Tubertini 808 hook for fishing at 5 metres and by the island and a Trabucco float with 0.14mm bottom and a size 18 Kamasan B911 for the insides. For bait I had red maggots, corn and some Sonubaits micro pellets (which I soaked for a minute) and some 4mm pellets. I also had some 6mm Sonubaits S-Pellets for the hook. Chris walked round and offered everyone some advice on how to fish, which was nice.

Chris giving Picky some advice (I don't think he listened!)

On the whistle I cupped in some maggot, micro pellet and corn at 5 metres, the same by the island and on my inside to the left. I started at 5 metres with double red maggot on the hook and soon started getting bites from small roach. Chris's advice had been to stick with the maggot because eventually the bigger fish would move in and push the roach out but after 10 minutes I had very little in the net as most of the bits fell off on the way in! With loads of fish fizzing over my baited area the temptation was too much and I slipped a piece of corn on. I had several indications but no positive bites.

Picky and Steve Bishop next to him seemed to be catching decent silvers quite well and even at this early stage the warning bells were sounding. I tried a soft pellet and finally had a decent bite and the blue hydro finally made an appearance, I soon netted a small carp of around 8oz which was very welcome. Next put in I hooked it's bigger brother but the hook pulled straight out, which wasn't so welcome! The bites on this line then stopped so I tried my inside but after several small perch and roach I was reaching for the corn again. The float slid away and a swift strike saw more blue hydro out as a 3lb bream came to the top, foul hooked under the chin! I netted it gratefully as the slab had put me firmly back in the hunt.

Some half decent roach and a half pound perch followed (all on maggot) but I was struggling again. The bank side telegraph reported that Les and Alan Dunn were the early leaders and Tommy and Dave Abrams were also catching well. Bish was still banging out the roach and Picky had netted a couple of small carp. I re fed my two shorter lines before trying the island with pellet on the hook. After ten biteless minutes I tried my other lines once again but I was already scratching my head.

We were now halfway through the match and I was trying the inside to my right (towards Picky) and I had a few more roach but Picky was now eating into the early lead that the bream had given me. I went back to the left margin just as Chris and his daughter Megan came round with the beefburgers for lunch so at least I was getting some bites! As they moved on to Picky my float went and I had another small carp quickly followed by four more, had they arrived? No was the short answer and I tried my other lines once again.

It was now becoming obvious I needed big fish if I was to stand any chance, Picky was now fishing the island and I decided to do the same. Mike was now getting the odd carp and he had lost several too. I went across with corn on the hook and spooked a big fish immediately, after a few minutes the float sailed away but a small roach was the result. The next two put ins were better as I had another two small carp then this too died. Picky had a better carp by the island and Bish netted one that looked to be around 4lb.

With an hour and a half I decided to shallow up my margin rig and fish up in the water at 11.5 metres with pellet on the hook. Chris had said this doesn't really work but I had nothing to lose. After a few minutes of feeding 4mm pellets and lifting and dropping the rig, the float went and I had a slightly better fish on which turned out to be a chub of 12oz or so. This was quickly followed by a decent skimmer of a pound and a couple of roach. There were obviously a lot of roach out there as the float was going under all the time. I had a small carp but despite there being some bigger carp out there I couldn't hook one. I did add another skimmer and some more roach.

Picky was now fishing a little blob float right against the island and had two carp in two chucks but was it too little too late? I had another little carp right on the whistle but I knew I had come nowhere. Who had claimed the side bet though? We packed up and went to watch the weigh in which started at Dave Lawrence on peg 1. Dave weighed just under 10lb which surprised me as I had heard he was bagging, he did admit to losing 11 big fish though! Then Les stuck 43lb 1oz on the scales to set the bar really high for the remaining anglers. Bish only had the one carp and weighed 16lb odd of mainly roach, Picky then weighed 9lb 8oz. I stuck my fish on the scales and was relieved to see the digital read out settle on 14lb 1oz and the side bet was mine - phew.

Mike Thomas had double figures before we reached the anglers who had been catching well all day, Dave Abrams had 20lb 3oz to go into second place briefly before Tommy weighed 21lb 4oz to replace him and finally Alan Dunn slapped 30lb 8oz on the scales to take second. All the top weights had come from the other end of the pond to me so nothing new there then! A lovely venue though and I must say a big thank you to Chris for his fantastic hospitality and to Dunner for supplying the burgers. We're coming back on 21st so hopefully I'll be able to do better then. Next week is the last match of the JMA summer league and I need to beat Graham Field to cling onto second spot.


1 - Les Braunton (Chard Remains)- 43lb 1oz
2 - Alan Dunn (Chard Remains) - 30lb 8oz
3 - Tommy Lee (Haines Angling) - 21lb 4oz
4 - Dave Abrams (Weymouth) - 20lb 3oz