Monday, February 25, 2008

River Isle - Crown League - 24th February 2008

After a mild week all the signs looked good for this match although there was a rather keen chilly wind. I drew the second bend above Redbridge, a swim I'd never fished before but Justin had caught three chub and lost one the last time it was fished. Also in the same section was my nemesis Janders who I really needed to beat if I was to keep my league hopes alive.

I got there and the swim looked really nice with a tree opposite and a raft of rubbish had collected against some of the branches to the right. I set up the usual gram and half Drennan Carbo with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 Kamasan B611. Bearing in mind Justin had only had five bites I was expecting a wait and on the whistle I shipped out to fish by the raft of rubbish. After a couple of minutes the float sank from view and I missed it! Three more bites, all on caster, followed and I missed them all. I was just starting to think it must be minnows when I caught a small roach, then a gudgeon. After half an hour I'd had a few small fish and decided to take a section of a run the float through in the flow, I had a few more fish on caster and a few on maggot.

After a couple of hours I had around 30 fish but was never going to build a big weight, I was having to chase the fish around because it was low and clear. Robin Cox wandered down from the peg above and he'd only had a couple of small fish. I was still getting the odd small fish and was hoping the chub would put in an appearance. I did hear loads of swearing coming from Robins direction and when I shouted up to ask what was wrong, he replied he'd just lost two chub. With two hours to go my peg had really slowed up so I walked up to see Robin and have a cup of coffee, not a lot was happening on his peg either although he did miss a bite while I was there.

Back at my peg the odd small roach and gudgeon stopped me from being bored and I even caught a chub, although at half an ounce it wasn't much help! Janders then wandered up to report he was struggling and had only caught a minnow, he did say Neil Dring on the peg below the bridge was catching roach steadily despite having a few pike problems. I carried on catching small fish periodically to end with 51 fish plus a couple of minnows. I spent the last 15 minutes on double caster but never had a bite on it.

Just as I was packing up the wind got stronger and it started to rain - great! I had the scales yet again and weighed Robin who had really struggled and had a few tiny fish for 3oz. My fish went 2lb 4oz which was slightly more than I thought but I was sure it wouldn't be enough to pick up any money. Neil weighed 6lb 15oz which was a cracking weight on the day and Janders weighed an ounce so I had a pound off him and pulled a couple of points on him with a match to go.

The other section was won by Digger who had three chub for 6lb 11oz and was second on the day and Justin had 3lb 8oz for third. Neil had a good day as not only did he win the match but Spurs beat my team Chelsea in the Carling Cup Final - grrr.

Well next week is the last one in the V.E.S. Precision league and I'm currently in third place and although I can't win it a good result could see me in second. Mind you a bad one could see me miss out on third!!!!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

River Isle - Open - 17th February 2008

I woke up to be confronted by the heaviest frost of the year so far and coupled with the river being low and clear all the signs were for a hard match. At the draw the turnout for Ilminster AA's Open was poor with only twelve hardy souls awaiting their fate for five and a half hours. Before the draw I said I fancied pegs 125 or 74 and of course the usual suspects, Martin Heard and Justin Charles drew these. I drew peg 72 which is also known as 'Hell hole', Graham Field won an earlier match off it with 17lb+ but also drew it a few weeks later and struggled for 6oz! I was hoping it would fish well again.

I got there and it looked nice, a big sweeping bend with a dead tree opposite and lots of little cutbacks and eddies. I know Graham had caught his fish in a little slack just off the main flow which was to my right. I set up the usual gram and a half Drennan Carbo with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611. I plumbed up all over the peg and there was a nice depth but I was intending to start off in the little slack. On the whistle I baited up with single caster and went into the slack, I was fully expecting to catch straight away but didn't, after half an hour it was time to try somewhere else. My next spot was by the dead tree, still nothing and despite trying caster, maggot and lobbie I was still biteless.

After an hour and a half I started to explore all the other fishy spots but to no avail and after three hours I was at a loss, it was time for a walk. I wandered down to see Martin on 74 and he'd had a couple of chub, further down the river Pete Lonton was still blanking on peg 82 as was my nemesis Janders on 85. Pete also reported that Justin was struggling on 125. I walked back past Martin who hadn't added any more and sat back on my box going through the motions. Out of desperation I scaled down to 0.10 mm bottom but still no bites, not even a minnow. With an hour to go I was all out of options and ready for the finish. I took a section off the pole and stuck it between my legs so the float was in the slack just in front of me.

I was just reaching for my flask for yet another cup of coffee when the float went under, after a short scrap I netted a decent chub of 2lb or so. I'd like to report that I bagged up but that was it for half an hour. My next bite saw a decent fish plodding around which I thought was a chub when all of a sudden it lept out of the water! It was a trout and a good one at that, they count in our matches so I played it with kid gloves, mindful of the 0.10 bottom. The pace and power of this fish was incredible and I was convinced it would snap me. After a mammoth fight I eventually netted it and was shaking (not with the cold).

I had visions of catching a couple more but it wasn't to be, I packed up hoping Martin hadn't added to his earlier fish. I walked down to weigh him in and he'd had two more to give him 9lb 6oz, which I reckoned would get him in the money. My trout weighed 2lb 4oz and with my chub gave me a 4lb 5oz total. Back at the results and the river had fished really hard and Martins weight was enough to win, his third win on the trot. I was amazed to find I was actually third and picked up £25 plus a pound of Janders so hopefully normal service has resumed. Justin was second with 4lb 6oz (a poxy ounce yet again!).

Next week is a Crown league match and I really need a good result to put the pressure back on Janders who is currently leading with three matches to go.

Monday, February 11, 2008

River Isle - Crown League - 10th February 2008

In a complete turnaround from last week, this week was going to be bright and mild after a frosty start. Would the fishing be better for me too? At the draw everybody wanted to get Isle Brewers and nobody wanted peg 17 and how I laughed when my nemesis Janders drew it! Martin Heard drew cock on with peg 125 at Isle Brewers (and he reckons I draw well!). I pulled out peg 14 (the tanktraps) and was delighted as I'd framed the last four times I'd drawn it. My only concern was that Janders only caught 15oz from it last week.

I got there and it looked lovely, I set up my usual gram and a half Drennan Carbo with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611 and my elastic was blue hydro. On the whistle I started in the flow running into the traps and fully expected a bite first put in. This didn't happen and despite trying tight against the concrete traps, after half an hour I was still biteless. I tried to my left in the slack water behind the grass island and in the little cutback below the traps, both to no avail. I tried double red maggot and caught a minnow, so at least I had avoided the dreaded DNW.

After three and a half hours I had tried every inch of the swim I could reach with the pole and all I had to show for my efforts was the one minnow. Feeling rather dejected I walked down to see how the others in my section were getting on. Digger was on new peg 15A and had caught three dace and missed a bite while I was there. Janders was on peg 18 (as he had the choice of 17 or 18) and I fully expected him to say he was struggling and was rather taken aback when he said he'd had four chub and had lost one. As I trudged back past Digger he shouted up he'd just caught another dace and a roach.

I sat back on my box and was just at a loss as to what to do, I tried holding back a lobbie in the flow but all this resulted in was a drowned worm! With a couple of hours to go I was back by the traps with caster on the hook when out of the blue the float went under. It wasn't a big fish but a roach of around 2oz, still it was a start. I had visions that the fish had switched on and I might do some serious bagging but another biteless five minutes put paid to that. Then fishing in the flow I had another roach, this one about 4oz and that set the scene really, I would get a fish in one place before having to try somewhere else.

While never catching fast I was getting enough bites to keep me interested and I ended with 6 roach, 2 dace, 2 chublets and that minnow. I did lose one fish and missed a couple of bites, it was very frustrating because I know there are loads of fish in the swim but they just wouldn't switch on. Digger walked up with the scales and I weighed 2lb 15oz and I knew that would get me nowhere, Digger had a similar net of fish but his went 2lb 6oz, so at least I had beaten someone. Malcolm Levy had two chub for 5lb 5oz from peg 23 and Janders had added several more fish to weigh 8lb 14oz and take another pound off me - git.

Back at the results and Martin had won his second match on the trot with a brilliant 16lb 9oz of quality roach, Graham Field was on another good peg at Isle Brewers and had 12lb of roach for second. Janders was third but had won our section to further his lead in the league to four points, I'm still second but with twelve points I am losing ground fast with three matches to go.

Next week is the annual open so at least I won't have to worry about leagues until the week after!

Monday, February 04, 2008

River Isle - V.E.S. League - 3rd February 2008

The forecast was atrocious for round six with very strong winds and heavy rain predicted. I was praying for a good peg and pulled out 124 at Isle Brewers, a good peg which has won a couple of matches. The trouble is you are perched on a high bank and exposed, I also had Martin Heard in my section who is hot on my heals in the league and he had drawn peg 126a which is sheltered and I knew I was up against it.

I got there and the wind was terrible, I set up a gram and a half Drennan Carbo with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611 per usual and plumbed up. The peg is a fairly big bend and where I wanted to fish at 13 metres proved impossible with the wind. On the whistle I started feeding casters, maggots and hemp and started at a more manageable 8 metres. With double red maggot on the hook I had a bite on my first put in and a minnow meant I had at least avoided the blank.

The next chuck saw a positive bite and I was attached to something substantial, after a few minutes I saw a flash and it looked like I had hooked a good chub, the fish eventually tired and the fish surfaced and it was a poxy pike around 4-5lbs, as I was about to net the toothy critter, it bit me off. After tying a new hook on, I went back out with a caster on, another bite saw me swing in a tiny roach. The wind was hideous and turning my pole into a big banana, no more bites on the shorter line saw me try 11.5 and then 13 metres.

No bites at either distance and I just couldn't hold the rig still and was just going through the motions, I thought about setting a waggler or a tip up when out the blue I had a bite on caster at 13 metres and a decent roach was on, as I was shipping back a pike swirled and I was soon tying on another hook! I was starting to get the feeling that today wasn't going to be my day. No bites for a bit and then I hooked another quality roach only for that to become a pikes dinner too. I hooked a third one and shipped back as fast as I could only for a pike to grab it under my feet.

Still at least there were some fish there, wrong!!!! and I never had another bite. After 4 hours of battling the wind (and pike) I wandered back to the car to get a reel to set up a tip rod, on my way I stopped to see how Digger (Phil Denslow) was getting on on peg 125, he was fishing the waggler and had a roach and lost one while I was there. Thoroughly dejected I got a reel and trudged back to my peg, I set up a lead and flicked it out, baited with double caster praying for a couple of chub. The rod was being blown all over the place and I wouldn't have seen a bite if I'd had one.

The end of the match took an age to arrive and I packed up with freezing and wet hands (did I mention it had rained for the last couple of hours!). Digger walked up with the scales and I was awarded a generous ounce, Digger had some lovely roach and weighed 9lb 11oz although he was cursing the loss of several big roach. Martin had 11lb 6oz to win his section and the match, Stuart Brown below him was third with 4lb 2oz and the rest of the river had fished poorly. League leader Justin Charles had won his section with one chub for 2lb 4oz and Martins result meant he leapfrogged me into second. With one match to go I am in third place with 9 points but there are several people on 10 and 11 so I need a good result to hang on to third. To rub salt into the wound , Janders had won his section with 15oz to take another pound off me.

Next week has got to be better, hasn't it?