Monday, November 24, 2008

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 23rd November 2008

Round three of the Crown league saw a poor turnout of only seven anglers, possibly due to the crap weather, it was cold with a nasty gusty wind. The golden peg was pulled out and it was peg 18 so that was safe! After a fairly poor day yesterday I was hoping for a good peg and when I drew out the tanktraps swim (peg 14) I thought I'd got one. I've had some great days in this swim and won several matches with my best weight being over 24lb. It's normally full of small fish and I couldn't wait.

I got there and the river was a lot lower and clearer than I'd expected but I still fully expected a good day. I set up, you've guessed it!, a 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 hook. On the whistle I baited up with single caster and started in the flow leading up to the traps, no bites so I started inching closer to the concrete blocks and still nothing and I was starting to worry as you normally start catching quite quickly. Double maggot saw me catch a minnow so at least I hadn't blanked. There is a large branch under the water, which was visible in the clear water and I started fishing next to it and finally after half an hour I had a bite and had a small chublet, quickly followed by a better one. That's it, found them I thought but then I couldn't buy a bite apart from minnows.

I tried tight to the traps but still nothing, the wind wasn't helping but I couldn't believe how hard it was. I kept feeding the little cutback near the tail of the swim but this was unproductive as well. A chap called Ned came up to see how I was getting on and said Neil Dring on 23 had caught a couple of decent chub but the others only had small fish, so I stuck at it hoping they would switch on. Halfway through the match and things hadn't improved and I was out of ideas, out of desperation I went 13 metres up towards the weir and the float went straight away and I had a 8oz trout, which luckily count in our matches, but that was the last of the action up there.

I scaled down to a 0.10mm hooklength but this didn't help either and a real disaster was on the cards. With an hour to go I tried half a lobbie all around the swim and finally settled on holding it back in the flow by the cutback. A decent bite saw me catch my fourth fish, a little chublet. I then started catching a few and had another four up until the end of the match, oh why couldn't they have switched on a little bit earlier? I packed up and as I had the scales, walked down to weigh in, Roger Russell had 4lb 4oz from peg 20 and Alvin Jones had 2lb 15oz from the golden peg. My eight fish went 3lb 10oz and I knew I wouldn't be picking up today, Neil had found another chub to weigh 7lb 7oz. Graham Field had struggled from peg 24, only catching minnows for 1oz.

Back at the results and the pegs in the copse had fished well, my nemesis Janders winning from peg 28 with 10lb 11oz and Martin Heard was second from 29 with 7lb 15oz and Neil was third. After three matches Justin Charles is still leading the league (despite not fishing today) with two points (as you can drop your worst result) followed by Neil and Janders on four. So my two days fishing had been pretty poor really and I'm absolutely knackered and to top things off I lost another pound to Janders. Next week is round three of the V.E.S. league and I can't afford another bad result, wish me luck.

1 - John 'Janders' Anderson (Chard Minnows) - 10lb 11oz
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 7lb 15oz
3 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 7lb 7oz
4 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 4lb 4oz

Saturday, November 22, 2008

River Yeo - Open - 22nd November 2008

With promises of lots of small fish on the crowquill, I was looking forward to this one. I hadn't fished the Yeo (or the crowquill) for years. I was up bright and early and at Yeovil Angling Centre for 8:00 to meet Scotty and Ashley and to pick up some bait. Got to the draw to be told they had put some chub pegs and I managed to pull out peg 9 which is apparently a chubber! We drove in convoy through a farm yard and parked up. I asked where my peg was and was pointed in the direction of some trees in the far distance!

After a mammoth walk (yet again), I was trying to find my peg when several anglers walked down to say there had been a mix up with the pegging and we all had to move a peg down. Scott Cousins who was on peg 10 wasn't best pleased as his peg looked nice and that was where I would now be spending the next five hours. Surveying the peg it did, indeed, look very fishy. It was a big peg with several trees in the water at about 13 metres and the flow looked quite pacy. Talking about the swim with Scotty Russell he reckoned it was a pole peg as it shallowed up near the bottom and as it was quite a short run it wouldn't be ideal for the crowquill. I was quite disappointed as I'd only just bought some new crowquills and looking at the flow I didn't think I had any rigs that would really be suitable.

I put on an old faithful 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo and plumbed up to discover the rig was about four foot too shallow! Being a bit of a bodger I just added some line to my rig. I tried the rig out and really it was woefully undergunned although by letting it run through and holding back it seemed to go through ok. On the whistle I put a caster on and started feeding casters and hemp. At 13 metres it was quite hard work but I fully expected to catch straight away, this didn't happen and it took about 15 mins before I caught a minnow. I did add a small dace and a small roach but never saw the bites for either and the rig just wasn't right. I played about with the shot by bulking two of the droppers together but this didn't really help.

I also tried taking a section off and just running the rig through and I caught a couple of small chublets quite quickly but was going nowhere fast. I was still feeding hemp and caster quite heavily to try and get the chub feeding but after an hour I only had five fish. I tried double red maggot and held the rig back further down the swim and had a couple more fish. Ashley turned up to see how I was getting on and said he'd had five chublets and that one chap had already had five proper chub. While he was there I had another chublet and then dropped one off - great!

After he'd wandered back I had a couple more and dropped a roach off, the trouble was I still wasn't seeing and missing loads of bites. There were obviously a few fish further down the swim but I thought I might be too far overdepth so I replumbed and found I was probaly a foot too deep. I adjusted the rig and actually started catching small fish quite well, I then had a chub around the pound mark and things were looking up. I then had one about 12oz and I knew I should of netted it but like a dick I tried swinging it and of course it fell off. I then had a half pound trout but I don't think they count in these matches.

Halfway through the five hours I still had hope that some bigger chub might show, I kept trying tight across by the cover but snagged up everytime. I was still getting the odd small fish, but it had started raining and the temperature had definitely dropped and my catch rate was dropping off. With about two hours left Scotty Russell and Ashley turned up, Scotty had one decent chub and had lost two and Ashley was struggling. The guy with the chub was still catching and John Loader also had two. While they were there I never had a fish despite their helpful advice! (thanks chaps). With an hour left Ashley wandered back to pack up and I did manage a small fish just before Scotty went back to give it another go.

I was hoping the last hour might be productive, I tried a lobby unsuccessfully but did catch two more small chublets in the last ten minutes. I ended up with 26 fish which I thought might go 3lb or so. I packed up and started to take some of my kit back across the field and walked across to watch the weigh in. John Loader had landed another chub to weigh 7lb odd and the chap with the chub ended with 13 for a fantastic 34lb 10oz. Scotty and Ashley both didn't weigh and I weighed 4lb 12oz which was more than I thought, Scott Cousins had 4lb 9oz and I started to think I might have an outside chance of sneaking into the frame. This didn't last long though as two of the pegs by the road bridge had weighed 14lb odd and 6lb plus. I didn't go back for the results and drove home absolutely knackered.

I could really do with a good day tomorrow with a nice short walk but I bet I get neither! I'll let you know.

Monday, November 17, 2008

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision Winter League - 16th November 2008

After not being able to get on the river for two weeks I was really looking forward to this one. The river was in good nick and the forecast was ok, at the draw there was a good turnout of 17 anglers. After an excellent sausage sandwich (thanks Tommy), it was time for the draw. There were loads of good pegs in, 14, 24, 29, 37 and 85 all sprung to mind, I stuck my hand in the bucket and pulled out 36! I hadn't even thought about this peg as it had only done 6oz last match and I couldn't believe they'd put it in, I was gutted. It hasn't done much for years, in fact the last time I'd drawn it I'd blanked. Still there was a match to be fished and fish swim don't they?

I parked the car up and discovered Janders was on 39, where he'd done 7lb odd last time and Langport invader, Baz Morgan, had drawn a flier in the shape of 37. The last time he'd fished the ditch he'd won the golden ball and had been afraid to come back until now! We started the long yomp across the field and I finally arrived at my peg after doing it in two trips. As Baz walked past I said he'd have to be a numpty not to do double figures today. My peg looked ok with a stream coming in on the far side and a big bank of grass to my left. There is also a tree to my right which always looks inviting.

I set up two Drennan Carbos, one for fishing to the far side and down past the grass and another deeper rig for fishing the deep hole under my feet and by the tree. Both had 0.12mm bottoms and size 18 B611 hooks. After the mammoth walk, I didn't have long to set up so my opening gambit was across towards the far bank on the other side of the flow. With caster on the hook I started edging the float down the swim, after ten biteless minutes I started getting that deja vu feeling. I then tried down past the grass but this was fruitless too. Next I tried in the deep hole under my feet with double maggot on the hook, the float sailed away but only a tiny minnow was the result. I went back in with caster on and was getting indications but I'm pretty sure it was minnows 'cos just the end of the caster was being nipped. With an hour gone I was already nearly all out of ideas.

My last hope was up under the tree, I had a couple of indications before getting a small dace then a tiny chublet. I was setting any records but at least something fishy lived in the swim! Again I was being troubled by minnow bites so stuck double caster on the hook. I had a decent bite but bumped the fish, next put in I had a good bite and hooked a better fish andsoon slipped the net under a chub of a pound and a half - this was more like it, I just needed another five of its brothers and sisters. The action was short lived though and I went biteless for the next half an hour. I tried all my other swims with no result so it was time for a wander.

Langport invader Baz was scratching his head at how to get the chub out!

I got down to Baz who was looking rather bemused, he'd had five chub but had also lost three. He was fishing by a tree and the chub were heading straight for the snags everytime. He was feeding upstream to try and tempt them out from the dragons den. I wandered down to Janders who said he'd had about 20 small fish so my pound was looking like it might be heading his way this week. On my way back Baz said he hadn't added anymore but was confident of doing so. I sat back on my box knowing I needed chub to do any good. I upped my feed under the tree and in the deep water and went back to fishing by the grass bank at 11.5 metres. To my amazement the float went straight under and I caught a small dace, followed by a small roach and more small dace. The trouble was they were only an ounce or so apiece and I wasn't catching them fast enough. I had around a dozen fish on double red maggot before it slowed and I went back under the tree in search of chub.

Janders looked pretty happy at the prospect of taking a pound off me!

Apart from a couple more dace here and few down by the grass the rest of the match was pretty uneventful and I knew I'd be well down today. I packed up and went down to watch the weigh in, Janders had started catching some better chublets and weighed 4lb 10oz to take a pound off me, Baz had added another chub but had lost several more and reckoned it should have been a 20lb peg. He weighed 11lb 9oz and I said he'd frame with that. I weighed a lowly 2lb 9oz. The rest of the river had fished pretty well, Rob Birch had seven chub from peg 85 to win with 16lb 11oz and it was also a golden peg so he took home over £200 - well done Rob. Baz was second and Pete Lonton had 11lb 6oz from new peg 84. Bruce Hunt had 10lb 4oz from 24, John Coxon had 9lb 2oz from 28 and the old fossil (Malcolm Levy) had 8lb 8oz from the tanktraps (14). I worked out that the average weight was nearly 7lb a man, I just wish I'd drawn a better peg.

Baz with his second placed catch of 11lb 9oz (should have been a lot more though, shouldn't it mate!)

1 - Rob Birch (Ilminster) - 16lb 11oz
2 - Baz Morgan (Langport) - 11lb 9oz
3 - Pete Lonton (Ilminster) - 11lb 6oz
4 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 10lb 4oz
5 - John Coxon (Chard) - 9lb 2oz
6 - Malcolm Levy (Tiverton) - 8lb 8oz

After two matches, nobody is running away with the league, I would have to drop this match and can't afford a bad result for the rest of the series. Scotty Russell had just phoned me to say that the Yeo at Mudford is fishing it's head off so I've just booked in for a match next Saturday and I'll be back on the Isle on Sunday so lets hope for two good days!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ilminster Canal - 9th November 2008

With the river once again flooded, six plucky (or should that be stupid!) anglers headed for the canal. With both ends either covered in duckweed or leaves we were restricted to the middle, although the ends of the middle (if that makes sense!) were still the favoured pegs. I drew peg 4, slap bang in the middle - typical! Still my peg looked ok with reed beds opposite and odd small fish topping. Neil Dring was on my right and Justin Charles on my left, the two anglers on the end pegs were Rob Cox and Janders so my pound was in danger today.

Ilminster Canal (looks nice in the Summer doesn't it?)

I set up a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 for fishing at 10 metres towards the reeds to the left and right of me and a small Trabucco dibber style float for fishing tight across at 11.5 metres. Hook etc were the same as the first rig. On the whistle I cupped in some chopped worm and caster by the reeds to my left and some hemp and caster to the right. With caster on the hook I hooked a small roach first put in but it came off on the way in, then I bumped a fish next chuck - here we go again I thought. I then had a couple of small roach and a perch of about 4oz which was more like it.

I had a couple more perch but also lost a better fish on the way in and bumped a couple more. After an hour I was on five fish and it was obvious it just wasn't going to fish. Rob and Justin were still fishless, Neil had one although at this early stage, Janders was doing ok with seven perch. Hour two was slow and I only added a couple more small fish and I had to keep swapping lines to get bites. Hour three was much the same although I did have a bite to my right and the strike saw loads of blue hydro heading under all the far bank crap. The battle was short lived though and I lost the carp and the hook came back with rubbish all over it. I had already bumped/lost probably enough to win it and I was hoping those fish weren't going to cost me.

The weather was pretty grim with strong gusts of wind and showers, Rob was walking about as he'd only had one fish and reckoned Janders was winning it with ten perch. I added a couple more fish on double red maggot before trying over my hemp and caster line, after a couple of minutes the float sunk from view and I hooked another carp. The fish did it's best to lose me and ploughed through loads of weed but eventually the fish was in front of me but I wasn't sure where 'cos of all the weed up the line. I netted it and after removing all the weed, my prize, a carp of about 2lb was deposited in the keepnet. I felt I must now be in the lead with about 3lb because everybody seemed to be struggling and if Jander's perch were a similar size to mine I had to be ahead.

Due to the weather Rob asked all the anglers if we wanted to finish half an hour early and we all agreed. I was still getting the odd small roach and see through perch and I did drop off a 2oz skimmer. Neil lost a carp but with an hour left everybody was struggling for bites and I thought I had it in the bag. Right on the whistle I lost a slightly better roach when it went round some reeds in the water. I ended with 16 fish which I reckoned would give me between three and four pounds.

We all packed up and Janders walked up with the scales, Rob and Justin didn't weigh, my catch went 3lb 12oz, Neil had 14oz and Alvin had 4oz (yes it had been that hard!). Then when we got to Janders and he took his net out, there was more splashing than I'd anticipated. He had some nice perch and a cracking roach and I really thought he'd done me but the needle settled on 3lb 8oz and I'd done it - phew!
I picked up £50 plus another £1 off Janders who was second, hard luck mate, if it's any consolation you were my man of the match. This was only my 4th win of the campaign so far and winnings wise I'm lagging behind the previous two years by some way. Hopefully I can have a good run in to Xmas (if we ever get on the river again!).

Man of the match - Janders (go on give us a smile)

1 - Jamie Rich (Chard Remains) - 3lb 12oz
2 - John Anderson (Chard Minnows) - 3lb 8oz
3 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 14oz

Monday, November 03, 2008

Dillington Pond - 2nd November 2008

With the river flooded we decided to have a match on Dillington. I drew peg 19 by the fence, an area that can be ok. Martin Heard drew peg 22 by the bush, not normally a great peg but with peg 1 left out, I fancied him to get a result. The pond looked nice with a tinge of colour and several decent fish topped in the middle as we were setting up.

I set up two rigs, a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 for fishing at 11.5 metres in open water and a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp with the same end gear for fishing against some reeds to my left.I mixed up some Sensas Roach and Magic and chopped up some worm and casters and was just about ready in time. I had Pete Lonton on my right and Graham Field on my left, Roger Russell was opposite on the point.

On the whistle I cupped in three balls at 11.5 metres and half a cup of choppie towards the reeds at about 8.5 metres. I started on the longer line with double red maggot on the hook and fully expected bites straight away but this didn't happen. After 20 mins I shouted down to Graham who was fishing the whip and he hadn't had bite either. After half an hour I thought it was going to be hard, I put half a lobby on my other rig and tried by the reeds, no indications here either. After an hour I was starting to think we might all blank when I saw Janders, who was next to Pete, strike into a fish and he swung a small perch in.

Then Pete hooked into a good fish which turned out to be a perch of about two and a half pounds, I shouted up that he'd probably win it with that. I went back out with bronze maggot and had a bite straight away and started catching small perch, rudd and roach quite quickly. I tried caster but the size of the fish didn't really improve. After two hours I had twenty fish and was comfortably ahead of Fieldy who was now catching a few as well. I could see Janders and Justin, who was next to Roger, getting odd fish as well but nobody was setting the world alight.

Hour three saw my action slow up although I was still getting odd fish on bronze maggot, another brief try by the reeds was non productive. It was very cold and Janders wandered up to try and warm up a little, he'd around the same amount of fish as me so the pound was in the balance. I looked up to see Roger net a good perch on the waggler and shortly afterwards he had another and had probably overtaken Pete who had only had a couple of small fish to go with his bonus perch. With a couple of hours to go my swim had dried up and I was only getting the very occasional fish. Martin landed his first chub which prompted me to have another go by the reeds but I never had a bite over this line.

I did catch a small eel on my longer line which was full of chopped worm and I hadn't fed any on that line! Fieldy was also slowly but surely catching me up and I was fearing the worst. Roger netted another couple of good perch and was also catching some small fish. Then with an hour to go Martin had another chub followed by another and another. In fact he had eight in the last hour to take his total to nine. My last hour was very slow and I ended with 44 fish which I reckoned might go two pound.

I quickly packed up and went to watch the weigh in, Martin's chub went 16lb 6oz for yet another win, Graham ended with sixty odd fish for 3lb 4oz. When it came to my turn I pulled my net out and I realised I had more than I thought but the needle stopped just short on 3lb dead. But when Pete weighed 2lb 11oz I thought I might have a chance of my section by default. Janders had stopped catching after his walkabout and weighed 1lb 6oz so I claimed back my pound he took off me last week.

Roger shouted across to ask if I had my camera as he wanted a picture of his perch, he weighed 10lb 9oz with one of his perch going a whopping 3lb 4oz. With Rog second I was hoping Graham would frame and I'd get the section but Justin put a stop to that when he weighed 3lb 6oz and I was left ruing several bumped fish - oh well there's always next week. My man of the match for the second week on the trot has to be Roger for his haul of specimen perch.

Roger with his lovely net of perch with the one he's holding weighing 3lb 4oz

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 16lb 6oz
2 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 10lb 9oz
3 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 3lb 6oz

Section A - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 2lb 2oz
Section B - Graham Field (Taunton) - 3lb 4oz