Monday, October 27, 2008

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 26th October 2008

For round two, conditions were once again good and there was another good turnout of 13 anglers. For this one we were fishing the South Bradon and Isle Brewers sections, there were four pegs I would love to draw 66, 74, 125 and 126 and a few I really didn't want 69, 75 and 123. I put my hand in the draw bag and pulled out 74!, over the years I had this peg four times and picked up money every time so I was really looking forward to the day ahead.

I drove to South Bradon to find Roger Russell was the unlucky angler on 75 next to me. This peg seems to produce the odd chub and that's it. After walking across the field I arrived at my peg and it looked nice. You are basically opposite a bush with branches to the left and right of you. I set up the usual 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611. It was raining fairly heavily and I was hoping a bit of colour might help things as well.

I started above the bush to my left and soon had a couple of tiny chublets on caster, I then had a gudgeon and a better chublet of 12oz or so. Things got even better just before the first hour was up when I landed a chub of a pound and a quarter, so far so good I thought. Roger shouted up that he hadn't had much but had missed a good bite on a lobbie. Going into the second hour I had a couple more gudgeon, so tried a lobworm but this just produced lots of bites from small fish. It was time to try in between the branches, more gudgeon followed and then a pound and a half chub. The rain had by now eased off but it had gotten a lot colder.

Roger said he'd had a decent chub and I thought that would be it for him. I was now struggling and despite trying all over the swim with caster or lobbie I couldn't get a bite apart from the occasional gudgeon. It's nice to see them but it was the chub I wanted! I don't normally take a radio with me but as Chelsea were playing Liverpool I wanted to hear the game, things got worse when we went 1-0 down after 9 minutes. Rog then asked how I was getting on, I said I was struggling and asked if he'd had anymore and was rather taken aback when he said he'd had six!

I couldn't get a bite anywhere and with Chelsea losing I was right royally pissed off and felt like chucking the poxy radio in the river! Still I pinned my hopes on the chub showing up at some point and doing a respectable weight. Time was ticking by (for me and for Chelsea) and the result for both of us wasn't looking good. Roger hadn't caught anymore either. The normally golden last hour approached and it just didn't happen. I packed up gutted (oh and Chelsea lost), and went down to weigh Roger in. His six chub weighed 8lb 6oz and was the best weight off this peg for years, well done Rog (see I told you I'd big you up!). My 15 fish (3 chub, 3 tiny chublets and 9 gudgeon) went 4lb 1oz, a bad day at the office.

Roger, my man of the match (and can you please stop spanking my ass off the next peg!)

I walked back across the field and also had to weigh the old fossil (Malcolm Levy) in on peg 72, he had a nice bag of small fish weighing 8lb 2oz to push me even further down in the section. As the other anglers in my section started to come back it just got worse and worse. Justin Charles had 11 chub from peg 66 for an amazing 27lb 5oz and Woggy pipped me with 4lb 4oz. The only angler I beat was Martin Heard who had 2lb 14oz but had a lot of pike trouble during the day.

Back at the pub for the results and Janders had beaten me for the pound as he weighed 5lb 13oz, so really bad day got even worse. Isle Brewers had fished really well too with Graham Field catching over 300 fish from 125 for 17lb 11oz and Alvin Jones had 15lb 12oz from 126. So of the four pegs I wanted only mine didn't fish (perhaps it's me!). With five section points I would have to drop this match, not good with it only being the second match of the series. Justin leads the league at this early stage with a perfect two point score so far.

Justin rubbing his hands on getting yet another good peg!

Next week is round two of the V.E.S. league so lets hope for a better result then.

1 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 27lb 5oz
2 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 17lb 11oz
3 - Alvin Jones (Chard) - 15lb 12oz

Section A - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 8lb 6oz
Section B - John Anderson (Chard Minnows) - 5lb 13oz

Monday, October 20, 2008

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision Winter League - 19th October 2008

As I've probably said before, this is a league I'd love to win after coming second and third in the last two years. The format is seven matches and as you can only drop one result a good start is so important and there is little room for error. At the draw there was a good turnout of sixteen anglers. As the golden ball money had rolled over from last year everybody wanted to know which pegs they were. There were two good ones in pegs 14 (tanktraps) and 85 (big bend at Ashford) and three not so good ones. I stuck my hand in the bucket and pulled out peg 29 (Woggy's peg from last week) and was fairly pleased as he had said there were chub swimming about on the inside all day.

Martin Heard drew 85 and as he's such a good angler everyone was sure the golden ball, worth £121, would go. I got to the river and again it looked good, although it probably was a little lower than last week. Roger Russell was on peg 28 above me and Big Frank Woodard had drawn peg 27, where I was last week. On reaching my peg I saw a chub in the flow although it disappeared on my arrival. I made myself comfortable and surveyed the situation. The main flow was down the middle of the swim and there was quite a bit of inviting cover on the far bank. I decided I would start down the middle while feeding across where the slacker water seemed to be going back the other way.

Peg 29 (the stump swim), looks fishy doesn't it?

I set up the usual 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 and was ready with about five minutes to go. At the off I catapulted some hemp and caster to the far bank and started down the middle with caster on the hook. I soon had my first fish which turned out to be a little chublet of less than ounce. After a few more chucks it wasn't really happening so went across sooner than I would have liked. I added a couple more small chublets and dace but I wasn't catching them quick enough to do a weight. I stuck half a lobbie on to try and catch something a little bigger but after several more bites I only had more small fish.

Also the rig was too heavy for the slacker water and not really picking up the flow so I made an early decision to set another rig up. This one was another Carbo but 0.75 grams with a shot bulk instead of an olivette and again finished with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611. The rig seemed to work better but my catch rate didn't improve and I only had a couple of small fish. This really wasn't going to plan and I could feel a disaster on the cards. Just past the hour mark Steve Hurford turned up to see how it was fishing and I told him I wasn't doing very well. He said Frank was catching small fish well, as we were talking I noticed a big black shape on the inside and sure enough there was a chub mooching about. I quickly shipped the pole back and plonked the rig on it's nose and the fish promptly swam off!

Bored with the lack of action Steve soon wandered off. I started putting some feed just off the main flow on the inside to hopefully hold anymore chub that came to visit. I was back on the lobby hoping for chub when I noticed another chub on the inside, again I put the bait right near it but it didn't want to know. I changed to double caster and went back in again and this time with a flick of it's tail, the float went and after a short battle the white hydro did it's job and I netted a chub of around a pound and a half, this was more like it. The trouble was that when the sun came out you see every inch of the inside line and there were no more chub there!

Roger appeared on the far bank (his and Franks pegs were on the other side) and asked how it was going. I told him and he said he'd had a decent chub and a couple of better perch. After he'd gone back I had a slightly better perch of my own, quickly followed by a chublet of about 6oz, caught on the inside but further down the peg. I was now over two hours into the match and didn't really know what to do next, I tried poking the rig into any likely looking spots on the far bank but to no avail. Then I spotted another visitor on the inside, I shipped back in and could see the chub rooting around, sure enough a positive bite followed and I netted another of a similar size to the first. Again after the splashing there were no more to be seen.

I added a section and ran the heavier rig down through the middle, in the flow as I was convinced there were more chub about and they had to be somewhere. A good bite saw chub number three grace the net and then I had a slightly better perch of around 4oz. No more bites in the flow so I tried further down on the inside and a sharp bite signalled another good scrap before I landed my fourth chub. With about three quarters of an hour to go I was hoping I might get a couple more. But despite trying everywhere, no more bites were forthcoming. With ten minutes to go I was back inching the float down in the flow when I had a positive bite, which I missed! I shipped back and both the casters had gone, quickly rebaiting I went back out and had a bite straight away. This one I didn't miss and with white hydro streaming from the pole I realised this was a better fish. I could see the fish burrowing in the far bank and there were clouds of crap being kicked up. Praying, I applied as much pressure as I dared and started to win the battle. I netted the fish which looked to be around two and half pounds and even had time for one more cast but that was the last of the action.

I ended with 20 fish(5 decent chub, a slightly better chublet, 2 perch and 12 small dace and chublets), I reckoned on having between 6 and 7lb, I packed up and took some of my kit back to the car. I met Frank who said he'd caught well and thought he'd had about 6lbs or so. We walked back to weigh me first and I was surprised when my catch registered 10lb 1oz. Judging by the weights of the last match I thought I might have a chance of the section money. I took the rest of my stuff back but missed watching Roger weigh in, he had caught 3 more good chub to weigh 10lb 12oz - bugger! But it wasn't like I'd lost anything to say 'If only'. Frank also had more than he thought, weighing a lovely bag of small fish for 9lb 4oz.

Back at the pub, Janders had a good day catching 7lb 2oz of small fish but still had to hand over a £1. Pete Lonton on one of the fancied golden pegs, the tank traps, had weighed 5lb 8oz so we were all on tenderhooks waiting for Martin to come back to see if he'd done it. Robin Cox turned up from that section to say Martin had weighed 8lb 15oz, close but no cigar. So Roger had won with me second and Frank third, I picked up £45 to keep the winnings ticking over and more importantly the two section points gave me a good start to the league.

The river had fished well again with loads of chub being hooked although loads were also lost!

1 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 10lb 12oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Chard Remains) - 10lb 1oz
3 - Frank Woodard (Ilminster) - 9lb 4oz

Section A - Alvin Jones (Chard) - 7lb 7oz
Section B - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 8lb 15oz

The elusive win on my favourite venues, Dillington and the Isle still evades me this year, maybe next week on round two of the Crown league eh?

Monday, October 13, 2008

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 12th October 2008

We were finally back on the river and I was really looking forward to it, I even made some new rigs up on Saturday night! I woke up to a rather misty morning but the forecast was pretty good. At the draw there were 12 anglers which is a good turnout for this friendly little league which is sponsored by Tommy at the Crown Inn, Ilminster. There were some good pegs in and some I really didn't fancy, I wanted pegs 14, 79, 82 or 85 but drew 27. My peg is the first one in the copse and used to be excellent (the current match record of 35lb odd came off it a few years back) but in recent years it's tailed off a bit.

I got there and it looked nice, a fairly shallow run with a branch in the water at the bottom of the swim. When I've done well off it in the past most of my fish have come from holding back against the ivy on the far side. I set up a 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 hook (which in hindsight was probably a little too heavy). Also thinking the pole over the fishes heads in the shallow water might not be good, I set up a waggler as well. This rig was a 2AAA Drennan Crystal waggler with the bulk around the float and just a couple of number 8's and a 10 down the line. Again the business end consisted of a B611 to 0.12mm line.

There were only two other anglers nearby, Alvin Jones on the big bend (peg 28) and Woggy on the stump (29). I had a small 1oz chublet first run down on caster and had a good first hour, catching 27 fish (all small dace and chublets). The second hour was ok and I had another 13 fish, all on the waggler, most were small but I did net a couple of better dace. Woggy came up and said he'd had a similar amount of fish but he could see big chub swimming up on his inside but hadn't hooked one as yet. He also reported that Alvin had caught a decent chub plus bits.

My swim was starting to slow so it was time to try the pole, I started catching more dace and chublets right opposite where I'd been feeding hemp, caster and maggot. I did try down by the ivy and had one better dace. I had 16 fish during hour three to take my running total to 56, which I reckoned must give me about 5lb or so. By now the mist had burnt off to be replaced by blazing sunshine and I'm sure the brightness wasn't doing me any favours in the shallow water. Into the fourth hour I was struggling for bites and a change back to the waggler didn't improve things. I poled right down past the ivy with double caster on the hook and missed a couple of bites before catching two slightly better chublets. Going into hour five I was on 62 fish.

With the small fish doing a disappearing act I decided to try half a lobbie to try and tempt a couple of better fish to boost my weight. Fishing tight against the ivy I had two bites quite quickly before hooking a fish which I was convinced was a chub but turned out to be a 12oz trout. Luckily they count in our matches. I only added one more dace to make my final total 64 fish which I thought would give me between 5 and 6lb. I packed up and went to give Alvin a hand weighing in. Woggy hadn't managed to hook any chub but had loads of small fish for 3lb 11oz, mine weighed 6lb 13oz and as Alvin had ended up with four chub plus bits I thought he must have done me. In fact he weighed 6lb 12oz (I didn't call his weight!), so I had beaten the anglers around me but didn't think it would be enough for a brown envelope.

Alvin with two of his chub (not enough to beat me though!)

Back at the results and the river had fished well with the majority catching loads of small dace and chub. Neil Dring won with six chub plus bits for 14lb 9oz from peg 85, Justin Charles was second from the tank traps (14) with 12lb 6oz and Bruce Hunt was third with over 180 fish for 10lb 14oz from peg 82. I won my six peg section and picked up £15, as it turned out Alvin was in the bottom section and he won that section. I also had a pound off Janders who had 3lb 11oz but lost a chub which might have made the outcome a little closer. I ended with two section points which was a good start to the league. Next week is the first match in the V.E.S. winter league and after finishing second and third in the previous two years I would dearly like to go one better. As you can only drop one match a good start is vital, I'll let you know.

1 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 14lb 9oz
2 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 12lb 6oz
3 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 10lb 14oz

Section A - Jamie Rich (Chard Remains) - 6lb 13oz
Section B - Alvin Jones (Chard) - 6lb 12oz

Monday, October 06, 2008

Chard Reservoir - 6th October 2008

With a decent blow on the resi for most of the week, the signs were good for a decent bream match. My mate Andy even phoned me on Saturday to tell how good the resi looked and he was really looking forward to it. I picked him up just after 9:00 and we got to the carpark for the draw in plenty of time. After picking up some bait from Les and paying our pools we were ready for the draw. Andy drew peg 29 and was disappointed, I pulled out 40 and didn't think it was far enough up as the pegs in the mid to high forties are normally the ones to draw.

I got to my peg to find I was set back a little from Dino Pepper who was on peg 39 so I decided I would cast further out to compensate. I had Chris Haines on my left who was going to have a chuck for the bream but also set up a waggler in case they didn't show. I set up my 12ft 6in Drennan Stillwater feeder rod with a Drennan feeder, 0.12mm bottom and a size 16 Kamasan B611 hook. I mixed up some Sensas Magic and added some Brasem and was ready well before the off. Andy wandered up for a quick chat and we could see fish bubbling at about 40 yrds and I couldn't wait.

Les finally signalled the start and I filled my feeder and baited my hook with double red maggot and cast out to around 40 yrds. I had a couple of quick casts to get some feed down and was soon getting taps on the tip. I had a couple of roach quite quickly so tried corn to see if there were any bream about. This was pretty unresponsive and looking around nobody had latched into a slab yet. I added a small skimmer and as I was bringing it in I looked up to see Les playing a bream so at least a few were about. After an hour I just had the three fish and Dino and Chris both said they hadn't had any sign of bream.

Hour two was slow with the only excitement provided by Les having another bream followed by Dave Abrams, surely it was only a matter of time before we started catching? Then Dave latched into a good fish and after a lengthy battle netted a fine carp of 13lb 2oz which put him easily into the lead. As for me I was getting ragged out by roach most casts, corn just saw the tip sit motionless and double caster provided just the odd roach. Dino had only had a few small fish and Chris was now on the waggler and getting odd roach. Andy came up to report it was a struggle on the lower pegs and wanted to see some bream being caught! I said I was sorry to disappoint him.

Halfway through the match I was resigned to another poor day and had only added a couple more roach. Hainsey was slowly but surely putting together a decent net of roach and his decision to set up the waggler was proving very wise. Despite Les's good start he'd only added a couple of net roach and Dino had a carp on very briefly when it tried dragging his rod off the rests. I was by now just sat on the corn hoping a couple of bream turned up. With two hours to go my tip slammed round and I was into a big fish which obviously wasn't a bream.

The fish ran and ran and I wasn't holding out much hope of seeing it let alone landing it, as I was backwinding I could slowly but surely see the knot attaching my line to the spool coming into view. As I ran out of line I was waiting for the inevitable 'ping' but it didn't happen and the fish stopped. I started to gain some line before off it went again, I kept thinking I was gradually gaining the upper hand when it would strip more line off the reel. Several times I was down to the knot but still the fish was on. By now half an hour had passed and there were quite a few people behind me. The fish now kited to my left past Hainsey, Dave and Les and I really didn't think I would get it out.

I was starting to get quite a few jibes from anglers close by and my arm was killing me, an hour passed and I still hadn't seen the fish. It was now not that far out and I caught my first glimpse and it was huge! I didn't think my landing net was big enough, over an hour and a half had now passed. It surfaced a couple of times about two rod lengths out and I reached for the landing net, I managed to get its head in the net and the throng of people behind me started to clap and then my landing net pole snapped in half! and the clapping turned to gasps. I managed to grab the net head and she (or he) was mine. I really had no idea how big the fish was as I unhooked it with shaking hands.

I took the fish, along with my ruined net up to Les so the fish could be weighed and released straight away, as soon as Les saw it he said it would be near to 30lbs!. We put her in the weighing sling and Les called out the weight at 28lb 4oz - wow, easily my biggest fish of all time (beating my old personal best of 12lb 14oz by some way). I held the fish in the water until it had got its breath back and swam away strongly, unlike me as I was knackered. I only had time for two more casts but didn't add anymore to my meagre tally in the net.

I quickly packed up and gave Les a hand to weigh in, Andy was on the first peg and had a level 6lb and was looking good for his section until the last peg, Dave Lawrence, pipped him with 6lb 10oz. He wasn't best pleased and even less so when he handed over a pound. Picky didn't weigh in so I claimed another nugget. The best weight from the early pegs was Mark Leahy with some nice skimmers for 14lb 6oz. We got to my peg and I added 1lb 10oz to give me a grand total of 29lb 14oz. Les said I'd won it but I wasn't so sure as Dave Abrams had caught another bream to go with his earlier bream and bonus carp. Chris Haines was next and had a fantastic net of roach weighing 21lb 8oz before we got to Dave. His net weighed 10lb odd which added to his 13lb 2oz carp, gave him a total of 23lb 10oz and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Les had 15lb 10oz and none of the pegs above him had fished with the ever consistent Mike Hosgood top with 9lb 6oz. Phew I had done it to win only my third match of the year. Back at the results I was read out as the winner and picked up £90 plus another pound off Janders who had struggled for a couple of pounds. I received loads of abuse as earlier when Dave landed his carp I shouted up that carp should only count as a 1lb! Still I was well chuffed as I had a new personal best biggest fish to go with my biggest match weight a few weeks back. Typically this was the first time in ages I hadn't brought a camera and how I would have loved to put a picture of that fish on here, mind you perhaps if I'd had my camera I might not have caught it!

1 - Jamie Rich (Chard Remains) - 29lb 14oz
2 - Dave Abrams (Weymouth) - 23lb 10oz
3 - Chris Haines (Haines Angling) - 21lb 8oz

Section A - Dave Lawrence (Chard Raiders) - 6lb 10oz
Section B - Mark Leahy (Street) - 14lb 6oz
Section C - Les Braunton (Chard Remains) - 15lb 10oz
Section D - Mike Hosgood (Chard Raiders) - 9lb 6oz

Next week we're back on the Isle and I'm really looking forward to it, it's bound to be pants now, I'll let you know.