Monday, January 28, 2008

River Isle - Crown League - 27th January 2008

Everything looked in place for a good match on the river this week, the weather was gorgeous and with no rain the river was in perfect nick. The anglers were split into two sections per usual and this week the sections were at South Bradon and Redbridge, the latter section hadn't been fished for a while and was expected to be hard but fair. South Bradon had a couple of decent pegs, one of which is number 72 (hellhole) and this was also the golden peg for the day.

Graham Field was first in the draw bag and pulled out 72!, I went in shortly afterwards and got peg 74 at South Bradon, a good peg that I've always done well off. Janders also drew in the same section and with the top three in the league, Janders, me and Graham, all in the same section, something had to give. I got to my peg and it looked lovely, there is a bush opposite and two lots of branches come off it in a 'v' shape. I quickly set up my usual 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611.

On the whistle I tried above the branches to my left with single caster on the hook, I hadn't even fed anything when the float went under and after a short tussle a two and a half pound chub was in the net. Next put in and I landed a slightly smaller one, what a start! After another five minutes I hadn't added anymore so I started feeding casters, maggots and hemp. No more bites so it was time to look elsewhere, I went into the 'v' between the branches and had chub number three, again on caster, and was now starting to think about doing a really big weight.

No more bites here so I went to the branches to my right, a bite nearly straight away saw loads of white hydro stream out before returning at the same rate, the hooklength had gone and the chub had obviously found some snags. Next chuck saw another bite and the same result, it was time for action so I tied on a new hooklength but this time 0.14 mm (4.6lb). The next chub I hooked didn't snap me but snagged me solid and I was soon tying on yet another hooklength and the score was 3-3 and things were going horribly wrong. The next chub I hooked I actually got out and it had one of my lost hooks in it's mouth. I reckoned I now had about 8lb in the net and one more would give me double figures. I didn't have long to wait and was soon playing another, I did all the hard work and got the fish away from the snags when the hook pulled out and the scores were level again at 4-4.

No more bites for a while so I put a lobbie on and went back above the bush to my left, I stuck the pole between my legs and had a cup of coffee, the float lazily dragged under and I thought I was dragging bottom, I lifted the pole and after a lengthy battle netted another good chub which also had one of my hooks in. I tried double red maggot and after what looked like a couple of minnow bites the float buried and I landed my sixth chub. The score now stood at 6-4 to me and with a couple of hours left I fancied a few more. Double maggot resulted in a couple of minnows so I kept swopping between caster, double caster and lobworm but despite trying all over the swim I couldn't get a bite.

With an hour to go I upped the feed and with a lobbie on the hook tried inching the float down in the flow above the tree, it went under and I hooked a really good fish, I applied as much pressure as I could but with the pole parallel to my bank the fish kept dragging the pole round and it snagged me solid and I had to pull for a break. I did miss a bite right near the end on caster and the match finished with the final score being 6-5 to me. I just knew it wouldn't be enough and for the second week running I'd had enough fish on the hook to win the match.

Graham walked down to weigh me in and he'd struggled so at least the golden ball was safe, my six chub and two minnows went 13lb 2oz and Graham reckoned I'd win it with that as the other two anglers in my section, Janders and Martin Heard had struggled. Graham had two fish for 6oz, Heardy had indeed blanked but Janders, after blanking for half the match, plonked eight chub on the scales for 20lb 1oz and I couldn't see Redbridge competing with that!

Back at the results Janders was announced the clear winner so I handed over my pound before collecting £36 for second. Justin Charles was third from Redbridge with three chub for 7lb 11oz .
With three matches to go Janders has extended his lead over me to two points, Justin has leapfrogged Graham and now sits in third place with ten points.

Next week is the penultimate round of the V.E.S. Precision league and I would dearly love a good result as I'm currently lying in second place and it's a league I would love to win.

Monday, January 21, 2008

River Isle - V.E.S. League - 20th January 2008

After another week of rain I was convinced we wouldn't be on the river but apparently the river was up and coloured but fishable. I really wanted to draw Isle Brewers but pulled peg 14 (the tank traps) out of the hat. I wasn't too upset as I normally do well off this peg, I also had the scales but only had to weigh in myself and Janders who was on peg 23. I got to my peg and the river was pretty high and the traps themselves were unfishable, I still had a slack behind the grass island to my left and the little cutback where the swim runs out to my right.

I set up the usual 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611 with blue hydro in the top two. Behind the island it was still pretty boily and only about a foot deep but I still expected this to be my main catching area. I started with caster on the hook and had a chublet and a dace on my first two chucks before I had fed anything and really felt I was going to bag up. This didn't happen and after the first hour I'd only had six fish, double red maggot saw me catch more chublets and dace with the odd little perch and by the end of the second hour I was on eighteen fish.

I kept checking to see if the river had dropped any as it was a little too pacy really but after three hours there had been no change, I was still getting odd fish but I was having to chase them around a bit and I was having quite a few bites that I wasn't seeing. I kept altering the depth and moving the shot around but was still only getting the odd fish. I was losing odd fish as well bringing them in against the strong flow. Janders walked up from his peg and he'd only had a few minnows. While he was there I had a tiny dace, a better one, lost a perch in the flow and another as I stupidly tried to swing it in!

I was by now also catching the odd roach but at no time did I feel I was catching as well as I should be. With an hour and a half to go the river at last started to drop slightly, even to the extent where I tried fishing in the cutback. It was very boily here and there was loads of surface foam which made seeing the float difficult, I had a couple of bites I didn't see and had a small chublet before giving this up as a bad job. Back up by the island I was still getting the odd roach but was bumping/losing too many fish.

With half an hour to go and the light fading, the fish switched on and I added another half a dozen fish although I lost around the same. On the whistle I finished with 36 fish and estimated I had four or five pounds. I packed up and walked down to weigh Janders in and he had struggled to weigh 4oz so another pound was soon nestling in my pocket. We walked back to weigh me in and when I pulled my net out he reckoned I had nearer to 7lb and I was suprised to weigh 7lb 1oz. I still didn't think it would be anywhere near enough to pick up any money.

Back at the pub and the other anglers who made up my section were back and I was amazed to find I was top weight in the top six pegs. As I was getting a drink Justin Charles walked in, he had drawn hot peg 126 at Isle Brewers and I asked how he'd got on, he said he'd had a bit of a 'mare and had weighed 8lb 11oz which was top in that section. With no other weights around it was confirmed Justin had won and I was second and picked up £35. John Coxon filled the last podium place with his two chub for 5lb 8oz from peg 53.

More importantly I had won my section to keep up the pressure on Justin in the league which he currently leads with four points followed by me on five and Martin Heard on six. With two matches to go it's very tight.

Next week it's back to the Crown league where I'm also lying in second place behind Janders so another good result would be very welcome but this run of results has to end soon.

P.S. Amsterdam was excellent.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ilminster Canal - Crown League - 13th January 2008

With the river once again bank high I got to the pub expecting the match to be switched to Dillington but was pleasantly suprised to find we would be fishing the canal. Now I absolutely love the place but just can't seem to pick up any dosh, in fact I hadn't framed here since I was a junior! I really wanted to draw peg seven where I was last time but instead drew peg four which was roughly in the middle of the stretch.

We got there and it looked really nice and was quite coloured although whereas last time leaves were a real problem, this time it looked like strong winds were to be the menace. My peg had some reeds at about 10 metres where I intended to feed chopped worm and I would also fish a line down the middle. I set up a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp float with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611 to fish this line and a light Drennan Squatt float with 0.08mm bottom and size 2o B511 to fish down the middle.

On the whistle I fed some chopped worm with casters, hemp and maggots at 10 metres, I also fed some casters and hemp at an angle to my left, also at 10 metres. I started off down the middle with single red maggot on the hook. It soon became apparent how much of a problem the wind would be as I was struggling to hold 5 metres! After five minutes I had my first fish, a roach of about three ounces, followed by a couple of small perch. I set my sights on around 50 fish (10 per hour) as last time I had 23 for 3lb 5oz and 6lb odd won the match.

After half an hour I was itching to go across so baited up with single caster and went across doing my best to battle the wind. It was really hard work but I soon started catching some good roach and also had a perch around half a pound. From what I could see most people were catching odd fish. I did lose a fish which I think may have been a small carp but by the end of the first hour I had reached my target of ten fish. The second hour was much the same although I only had eight fish. I shouted down to Digger on my right who said he'd had 30 fish although I think they were smaller fish.

Hour three and things were slowing up, I was getting most of the roach on the drop and I also added a small skimmer, then there was a thunderous 'CRACK' and I looked up and Neil Dring on my left was holding his pole and looking very sad, the wind had whacked his pole against his pole roller and snapped it in two! I was by now having to search different areas of the peg to catch the odd fish. I did catch one roach down the middle on caster and by adding another section and going over at 11 metres just past the reeds I kept adding the odd roach.

Digger had now lost all his rigs due to the wind blowing them into the far bank vegetation and was now fishing the whip. Robin Cox walked down from peg seven and reported he'd caught a nice skimmer and some roach but was now struggling for bites. I was still getting the odd roach but the wind was a real nightmare and I was quite relieved when the whistle for the all out sounded. As for my target I had come up short with 36 fish, I still reckoned I had between 4 and 5lb which should be quite good on the day.

We packed up and went to watch the weigh in which started on peg seven with Justin Charles, I was quite suprised when he only weighed in 2lb 6oz, Graham Field next to him had 2lb 1oz and Digger weighed a level 1lb. My fish went 7lb exactly and Digger reckoned I would win with that and when Robin reported he was top weight in the other section with 3lb 4oz I was well chuffed. My first win on the canal as a senior and my first victory of the year, I also took another pound off Janders who was third with 2lb 14oz (that's seven on the trot now John!).

It's also tightened the league up, after dropping the two worst results Janders is still leading with six points followed by me on seven and Graham on eight.

1 - Jamie Rich - 7lb
2 - Robin Cox - 3lb 4oz
3 - John 'Janders' Anderson - 2lb 14oz

Well next week is round five of the V.E.S. Precision league and I really need a good section result as I'm currently lying second in this one as well and in between I've got a trip to Amsterdam with my mate Andy which should be good.

Monday, January 07, 2008

River Isle - Pairs Open - 6th January 2008

After the Xmas break I couldn't wait to get back on the river and some much needed rain promised to put some colour in the river. Even a frost couldn't put a dent in my hopes. Eight pairs had signed up for this one and my partner was club chairman, Pete Lonton. My usual partner Justin (or should that be Judas?) was fishing with someone else today. At the draw all the talk was about what a dream draw pegs 14 and 126 would be, Mr drawbag himself, Martin Heard, only went and drew just those two pegs for him and his partner Malcolm (the old fossil) Levy and everyone else was fishing for second place.

I drew peg 28 (the big bend in the copse) and 125A (the kink at Isle Brewers) and I ended up with the former. It's a peg with some form although by no means a flier, Pete had the latter peg which was a short walk and all or nothing really. After a mammoth walk I finally reached my peg and the river looked in good nick with a nice tinge of colour. I didn't have long before the off so quickly set up two 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo's, one to fish tight across in a little cutback where the flow comes back on itself and the other to fish near a tree to my left although there was hardly any depth here. Both rigs had 0.12 mm bottoms and size 18 B611's.

I started off tight across at 13 metres with caster on the hook feeding hemp and caster and first put in the float sailed away and I was soon swinging in a tiny dace, at least I had avoided the blank and hopefully there would be a few more out there. This proved to be a false dawn and after another half an hour my dace was starting to feel very lonely. I picked up the shallower rig and had a go around the tree but this proved completely fruitless. I decided to stick tight across as this is where I had always caught in the past. I put on half a lobbie and went over prepared to wait for a couple of bites, the float settled and then sank from view, I struck but missed the bite!


Next put in and this time I was ready, the float went and after a decent scrap I safely netted a decent chub of around two and a half pounds, I then bumped a decent fish and that was the end of the action for a while. I then missed a couple of bites before landing chub number two which was about the same size as the first. At this stage I was starting to think I could do a decent weight and when I landed my third chub I thought double figures was definately on the cards with a couple of hours to go.

A chublet of a few ounces kept the catch rate ticking along but then I couldn't buy a bite, I still kept at it though as very often the last hour can be good. Apart from a couple of digs which may or may not have been bites I didn't have any more action despite upping the feed in the last hour to try and make something happen. I quickly packed up and waited for the scales while thinking of the long walk back. John Coxon wandered down with the scales from peg 27 where he said he'd struggled, my five fish went 7lb 11oz which I reckoned would be worth good points, Neil Dring on peg 29 had blanked and John only weighed 6oz (mostly small fish).

Back at the pub and it turned out I had won my section, now I just needed Pete to come back with decent points. He got back and he had blanked! Easy winners on the day were Martin Heard and Malcolm Levy (as predicted), Martin had won his section and the match outright with an excellent 17lb of roach and Malcolm was third in his section with 4lb 6oz to give them victory with 4 points. Runners up were Graham Field and John Coxon with 7 points, Graham had also got among the roach with over 15lb from peg 125 to give him 2 points and John had 5 for his 6oz. There was a three way tie for third place on 9 points which me and Pete just sneaked thanks to my superior weight so we picked up £23 each, which was a bit of a suprise. Oh and I took a pound of Janders to start the year as I meant to go on.

Next week and it's back to the Crown league so lets hope my good run can continue.