Sunday, December 20, 2009

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 20th December 2009

With freezing conditions, there were only six brave (or stupid) anglers ready to brave the elements. Peg 28 was the golden peg and I only went and drew it! Martin said I'd win it (I've heard it all before) but after reaching the river and looking at it, I really fancied it too. The sun was out and it was actually quite mild and I thought I might get a few. I set up two Drennan Carbos, one for the deep water across and the other for by the tree in the tail of the swim.

I had Malcolm Levy on peg 29 and Graham Bulgin was on 27. I started across at 13 metres in the back eddy with caster on the hook and after ten minutes I missed the first bite but connected with the second and swung in a small dace - blank avoided. I had another three dace and missed another bite in the first hour and felt sure it was only a matter of time before the chub put in an appearance. Malcolm wandered up to see how I was getting on and to report he'd had four roach and said that Martin had phoned and he was struggling on peg 14.

My bites across stopped so I picked up the shallower rig and tried down by the tree, but nothing here either and I went through all the bait changes, double maggot, double caster and lobbie and nothing apart from a minnow. I also tried in the main flow but half way through the match I was starting to worry. Still I had hope because it only takes a good hour if the chub show up but at the moment that felt like a big if! Malcolm wandered up again to report he'd caught a couple of nice perch and a chublet and was looking good to frame.

I went through the motions for the rest of the match but even the golden last hour failed to yield anything and I never caught anything else and it got really cold in the last hour. Graham walked by to weigh Malcolm in and said he'd had a small chub and some minnows and I was looking at a last in section. Malcolm weighed a decent 3lb 15oz and Graham had 11oz, as for me I weighed a lowly 6oz. The other section fished a little better and Neil Dring had an excellent 10lb 6oz catch of roach and chub from peg 24 for an easy win. Martin found two late chublets to give him third place with 2lb 1oz and Rob didn't weigh. The league is still tight and after five matches and dropping the worst result, Martin leads with 5 points, followed by me on 6 and Roger Russell on 11.

So a very disappointing end to 2009 and I really thought I was going to do it off a golden peg for once. I fell well short of the grand this year and in fact it was my worst year for three years so I'm hoping for good things next year. Well I'd like to wish everybody a very Merry Xmas and Happy New Year and tight lines for 2010.

1 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 10lb 6oz
2 - Malcolm Levy (Tiverton) - 3lb 15oz
3 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 2lb 1oz

And I promise more pics in 2010!

Monday, December 14, 2009

River Isle - Xmas Fayre - 13th December 2009

Finally we were able to get on the river and it was in good nick with a tinge of colour and plenty of pace. We'd had a couple of frosts in the week but it was actually quite mild in the morning, all I needed now was to draw a good peg! There was a good turnout of twenty anglers, including my nemesis Janders, at the pub. After a quick coffee it was time to see what my destination would be for the next five hours. Janders drew just before me and pulled out peg 95, a peg I really didn't want! I stuck my hand in and pulled out 82 which is a decent peg and one I have done well off in the past. Everybody wanted to draw 125, an out and out flier which has won more matches than any other peg, that honour fell to Robin Cox.

Ashley Tomkins and Steve Parker wanted to follow me to the river as they don't fish the Isle that much, so off we went in convoy. Ash had drawn peg 85 (the big bend) and as it's a consistent peg I fancied he'd do well, Steve had 83 (the bridge) and although not a great peg, Graham Field had won off it earlier in the year. My peg looked lovely with a deep hole by some trailing tree branches to the left and plenty of cover across as it shallowed off to the right. I set up two gram and a half Carbo's, one for the deep hole and the other for the shallows. Both rigs had 0.12mm bottoms and size 18 B611's.

I started off in the deep hole with caster on the hook, I was feeding both the hole and the flow to my right. It was a bit boily here and presentation wasn't great so I added another section and went nearer to the branches where there was slacker water and the float held nicely. The float had been there a few minutes and I just picked the catapult up when the float dipped before sliding away. I struck and a decent amount of blue hydro came out of the pole tip and after a brief struggle I netted a chub around the pound mark. Great start and I really fancied I might get a few.

No more indications came, despite trying half a lobbie and I noticed it had got really cold all of a sudden. After an hour I wasn't too perturbed and picked up the shallow rig but couldn't buy a bite and after two hours I was a little more concerned. Ash suddenly appeared by my shoulder and asked how I was getting on, I told him and asked what he'd had. He replied he'd caught two decent chub and a chublet (and he was walking!). With my lack of action he didn't stay long, as he said he'd caught his fish on maggot I decided to try double red maggot. This wasn't too exciting either and I was just about to go back to caster when I had a decent bite, the strike was a bit of an anti climax as a minnow flew out of the water! I was just about to ship back when I saw a good fish flash, followed by it attacking my minnow. It didn't look like a pike so I quickly unhooked my minnow and went back out with half a lobbie on. My excitement was short lived and I went back to watching a motionless float.

I kept swapping baits and trying my two lines but all I added to my net was another minnow and a tiny dace. Steve wandered up, he hadn't had a bite and said he was going to pack up which meant I'd be lumbered with the scales. As he was packing up, Scotty Russell turned up to see how we were getting on. While he was stood next to me, another good fish swirled and I was sure I would get another fish, maybe in the last golden hour. Scott said he'd been to Isle Brewers and most people were struggling apart from Robin on 125, who was getting a few. He then went to see how Ash was getting on. The golden hour arrived and went without another bite, so I packed up and went down to weigh Ash in. He hadn't caught anymore but weighed a respectable 5lb 8oz and I said he might sneak into the frame with that.

My fish went 1lb 5oz and I was really disappointed with that. Back at the pub and the river had fished really hard with not many breaking a pound! Robin had won it with 9lb 6oz followed by Andy Welch with 7lb from peg 28 and Ash did indeed claim third place. The only other decent weights were Tony Newman with two chub for 5lb 6oz and he lost two that could have won it and Fred Brown who had a solitary chub of 3lb 4oz. Janders took a pound off me with 1lb 10oz and I actually finished in seventh place and took home a bottle of whiskey for my prize.

So not a great return to the river, maybe next week will be better. I would like to say a big thankyou to Steve and Cindy at the Crown for laying on a lovely buffet and also to Pete Lonton for organising and getting all the lovely prizes.

1 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 9lb 6oz
2 - Andy Welch (Ilminster) - 7lb
3 - Ashley Tomkins (Yeovil and District Angling Centre) - 5lb 8oz
4 - Tony Newman (Ilminster) - 5lb 6oz
5 - Fred Brown (Ilminster) - 3lb 4oz

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Dillington Pond - Crown League - 6th December 2009

With torrential rain again on the Saturday I knew we'd be on the pond again despite my best efforts to get Robin to put a section on the canal. There were only nine of us fishing and for once I managed to avoid the side with the wind blowing straight into it. I drew peg 17 where Martin Heard had framed from in the last two matches so I knew it was a good area. It was also a golden peg and worth an extra £39 if I won off it, although I didn't think this likely as I haven't won a match here for a couple of seasons.

I was determined to go all out for small fish again as this seems to be the only way to frame, Scotty Russell had other ideas though and despite winning the last two matches with small fish he was going to fish the feeder out in the middle for big fish. Bless him he even let me have his roach groundbait that Ashley had lovingly mixed up for him that morning. I set up a four metre whip with a little Image waggler and size 20 B611 to 0.10mm bottom. I also set up a short pole with a Drennan Squatt float but I won't go into any detail as I never even picked it up during the match. I had Ashley Tomkins on the next peg and he would be a good barometer of how I was getting on as he's a very good small fish angler.

On the whistle I flicked the rig out followed by a nugget of groundbait and half a dozen pinkies. The rig settled and it wasn't long before I was swinging in a small roach. I was catching quite well and set my sights on 40 fish an hour which would give me 200 fish by the end of the match. I got to 38 fish when Ash asked how many I'd had, I told him and asked how he was getting on, he said he'd had 50 fish, great! I was already behind. I kept trying caster but the fish didn't seem to be any bigger than the maggot fish. The end of the first hour arrived and I had 42 fish, which was slightly ahead of target although I could see Ashley, Martin and Roger Russell on my right all catching well.

As for Scotty's feeder plan, he'd had a couple of roach but no big fish as yet. In amongst the roach I was getting the odd perch which were a better stamp. I started to get the odd better roach on caster too, but they wouldn't stay on it and I would only get a couple before having to revert to maggot. The second hour was slightly slower and I had around 36 fish. I was feeding pinkies one cast and then half a dozen casters next chuck, I was also feeding a small ball of groundbait every quarter of an hour or so. Ash kept asking for regular updates when he reached 100 fish then 150 etc, etc and was steadily pulling away from me as was Martin on the opposite bank. Roger still seemed to be catching well and I kept plugging away hoping I might be able to nick third place.

In a bid to try and catch up I was spending more and more time on the caster and I did have a couple of netter roach and a decent perch. I was quite enjoying it but with a hour to go I knew I'd be short of my 200 fish target. I kept having bursts of fish on caster but I thought I'd be a long way behind Ash and Martin who both now had 215 fish. Scotty still hadn't caught his elusive bream. The end of the match was sounded by Robin blowing a whistle and I ended with 175 fish, as I had 93 for 4lb 2oz last week I thought I might have around 7-8lb. Ash ended with 266 fish and Martin 280 so I knew first and second places had gone.

I packed up and we went to weigh Ashley in, his fish went 10lb 12oz and I was sure I was nowhere near that, Scotty reckoned I'd beaten him though! I took my net out and the scales pulled round to 11lb 2oz, which really surprised me so those caster fish really made a difference. Roger weighed 7lb 1oz and Scotty's bream plan failed miserably and he didn't bother weighing, Graham Bulgin had a level 4lb. The big question now was if I'd actually won it? It wasn't to be though as Martin continued his good form for yet another win, this time with 11lb 14oz. I'd missed out on the golden peg by 12oz and my mind turned to all the missed bites/bumped fish but then everybody had suffered the same. The next best weight in Martin's section was Neil Dring with 6lb 13oz so I finished up second and picked up £35 and felt I'd fished a tidy match.

League wise with both Martin and me winning our respective sections, we are locked at the top of the leader board with 3 points although he slightly has the edge with his back up score being a two pointer compared to my three. I feel a little more confident out here now and beating Ash off the next peg was a real scalp. Next week is the Xmas Fayre and I would dearly love it to be on the river although I'm not holding my breath!

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 11lb 14oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 11lb 2oz
3 - Ashley Tomkins (Yeovil and District Angling Centre) - 10lb 12oz
4 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 7lb 1oz
5 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 6lb 13oz

Once again I apologise for the lack of photos but my computer is still away being looked at.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dillington Pond - V.E.S. Precision League - 29th November 2009

As I drove to the draw I went over the Isle at Donyatt and the river looked awful so I knew we'd be on the pond. There were twelve of us fishing and I drew peg 10, which put me on the side with the wind in my face - great. Also my peg was between two trees and as I'd decided to fish the whip I knew they would be problematic. I had two very good small fish anglers on either side of me, Malcolm Levy and Graham Field. I mixed up some groundbait, a 50-50 mix of Sensas Noire and Formula Supreme and then started sorting my rigs out.

As I said earlier, I had decided to fish all out for bits to see if I could compete with the likes of Martin Heard and Scotty Russell as trying to fish for quality had been my downfall here for ages. I set up a four metre whip with a little waggler and size 18 B511 and also a short pole with a Drennan Squatt float and another 18 B511 to 0.10mm bottom to give me a change of presentation. Robin blew the whistle and we were off, I started on the whip with bronze maggot on the hook, feeding a little nugget of groundbait every other chuck. It took a while to get bites but I was soon catching small roach.

They weren't coming quickly though and after the first half an hour I had 10 fish, nobody really seemed to be bagging though so I stuck at it. I reached 20 after the hour and then tried the short pole, this was slower although the fish I did catch were of a better stamp. The wind was horrendous and a couple of times my rig was blown into one of the trees which meant I had to do some impromptu pruning. It kept raining as well and I wasn't enjoying myself. I was still maintaining my catch rate and on a couple of occasions I would catch more than 20 an hour, only for things to slow up for the next 20 minutes.

I did try caster but never had a bite on it and red maggot didn't improve things either. I caught a couple of chunky perch and bumped quite a few fish as well. I was really glad I don't fish under a brolly because those anglers that were kept having them blown inside out! Tony Newman's brolly got totally trashed as did my mate Janders. As for me, I couldn't laugh too much as I kept getting my rig caught in the tree and was removing more and more branches, much to the amusement of many of the anglers. I was still on target to reach 100 fish by the end of the five hours, when with half an hour to go my bites dried up! I could see Malcolm catching by using a top three with a couple of sections added, so I swapped rigs.

This didn't really have the desired effect and I only added a couple of fish to end with 93 (all roach apart from two perch). Last week Scott Russell had 160 odd fish for 11lb so I thought I must have between 5-6lb. I couldn't wait to pack up and was soaking wet and freezing cold. Janders had the scales and started at peg 1, where Graham Bulgin had 1lb 4oz, Roger Russell did well and weighed 4lb 14oz, Scott did even better and had double figures again with 10lb 4oz. Janders had 1lb 13oz although he did lose a chub on the feeder, Graham Field had 6lb 15oz and I knew I didn't have that. I was disappointed when my fish only went 4lb 2oz, the only two saving graces were that I took a pound off Janders and beat Malcolm who had a level 4lb.

The other section fished well with Martin Heard coming close with 10lb 2oz and Alvin Jones had 6lb 9oz. So Scotty won his second match on the trot, I did manage two section points to keep me in the running in the league. So did I compete with the small fish anglers? not really and I'm a long way off the pace compared to Scott, Martin and Graham.

1 - Scott Russell (Yeovil and District Angling Centre) - 10lb 4oz
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 10lb 2oz
3 - Graham Field (Ilminster) - 6lb 15oz

A - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 4lb 14oz
B - Alvin Jones (Enterprise Angling) - 6lb 9oz

I have to apologise because there are no photos at all this week or exact league positions but my computer broke and I'm using a borrowed one, so hopefully normal service will be resumed next week. And it would be nice to actually get on the river!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ilminster Canal - Crown Winter League - 22nd November 2009

With the river unfishable again and Robin and Neil away playing darts, it was down to me and Alvin to sort out round three of the Crown league. I really couldn't face another stint out Dillington so I was up for giving the canal a go. With ten of us fishing, we should just about all fit down there. I'd drawn peg 7 which would put me roughly where I was last time. We all headed off, I was nearly the last one to arrive and was greeted by people saying there was loads of duckweed and only half the canal was fishable - bugger! I suggested having a section on the canal and one at Dillington but we couldn't decide on who would go where, so we had to draw again. Pegs 1-5 were on the canal with 6-10 at Dillington so there was a 50-50 chance I could still end up out the poxy pond.

Luckily, for once, fate was on my side and I drew peg 3, which put me in the swim I had last time. The canal was fairly sheltered and surprisingly clear, considering all the rain we'd had. Bob Hammond was on peg 1, Bruce Hunt on 2 and to my left I had Alvin and Ashley Tomkins was on the end peg (some things never change!). I set up a light Drennan Squatt float with 0.08mm bottom ans size 20 B511 and a 0.4 gram Drennan carp rig with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 for the caster. I chopped some lobbies to mush and added some casters and maggots and on the whistle (well me shouting all-in) I cupped this in by the reeds at 10 metres in front of me and some casters and hemp by some more reeds to my right, again at 10 metres.

The canal in the summer

I started at about 7 metres with the light rig and red maggot on the hook, feeding maggots and hemp. No bites after ten minutes and in that time Alvin had caught a couple of roach so I switched to the heavier rig with caster on the hook and went over my choppie feed. I didn't have to wait long for bites although I missed the first one and bumped the second, not a great start! I hit the third one and swung in a chunky roach, more roach followed, including some netters and a decent perch. I tried my other 10 metre line and the response was instant with more good roach and after the first hour I'd had 12 fish and was really enjoying it. Ashley seemed to be netting fish regularly as were Alvin and Bruce.

Hour two and things slowed right up and I only added another six fish but it seemed the same for the others too. I tried my light rig down the middle again but still no bites so I added some sections and went across to the far bank to my right at 11.5 metres and started getting some tiny roach but at least I was catching. Ashley came for a wander and said things had slowed up for him as well, when I asked how many he'd had, he replied 35 and I said I reckoned he was pissing it. He saw me catch a few small fish and accused me of bagging!, before heading back.

I soon tired of catching the bits and rotated my lines, but with no joy I sat on my middle line where I had been feeding a little hemp along with the odd maggot. A tentative bite saw me strike and I was connected to a good fish which I knew straight away was an eel and luckily the 0.08 held and I netted a wriggler of about 6oz - bonus. While I tied a new hook on, I tried the heavier rig in the same place but no indications at all. It really was a case of trying all your options for the odd bite. My next two fish (a roach and a better perch) came on the caster at 11.5 metres to my right.

With only very odd fish being caught I went back over the same line at 11.5 metres with maggot and carried on catching tiny roach and perch, then all of a sudden half ounce roach turned into two ounce roach and I was putting some weight into the net. I even had a 6oz perch, a quick try with caster saw me land a 4oz roach. I then hooked a fish on maggot which I was convinced was a small carp with loads of number five elastic coming out of the pole tip, it actually turned out to be a 12oz perch which I gratefully netted. I was still feeding the middle and flicking the odd caster over my 10 metre line hoping the roach might show up as the light started to fade.

With the last half hour approaching I decided to stick it out with caster at 10 metres and with 5 minutes to go the float started to glide along the top and I struck and landed another 4oz roach and that was the last of the action and I shouted the all out. I asked Alvin what he had and he replied about 3lb and I thought my 43 fish might go 4lb and I was sure Ash had won it comfortably. We packed up and walked up to weight Ash in and when he said he'd had 55 fish, I knew he'd beaten me. His fish went 6lb 1oz and he had some lovely roach in his net, Alvin was quite close with his estimate as he weighed 3lb 5oz.

Ashley had some lovely roach in his 6lb 1oz

But I just pipped him with 6lb 8oz

I pulled my net out and realied it might be closer than I thought and Alvin called out 6lb 8oz and I went into the lead with two anglers to weigh. Bruce had 4lb 14oz and Bob had 1lb 1oz so I'd won the section. Back at the Crown for the results and Dillington had fished well with Scott Russell winning with 11lb 8oz of roach followed by Martin Heard with 9lb 15oz and Roger Russell with 9lb 2oz.

Scotty won Dillington with 11lb 8oz

I really do enjoy fishing the canal and have enjoyed some good results there, I just wish I could fish it more often. So after three matches and dropping the worst result me and Martin both have two points followed by Roger on five. Next week is round three of the V.E.S. so lets hope we can actually get on the river for once.

1 - Scott Russell (Yeovil and District Angling Centre) - 11lb 8oz
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 9lb 15oz
3 - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 9lb 2oz

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 6lb 8oz
2 - Ashley Tomkins (Yeovil and District Angling Centre) - 6lb 1oz
3 - Bruce Hunt (ALS) - 4lb 14oz

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dillington Pond - 15th November 2009

After awful weather on Saturday and the river unfishable we were headed for Dillington pond (despite my best efforts trying to get Robin to put some pegs on the canal). There were only ten fishing as several people, including my mate Janders, decided against a trip out to the pond. I drew peg 22 (the pumphouse) and I really dislike the peg and have never done any good off it. It's got a bush in the water to the left and although peg 1 (on the other side) always beats it, there's always a chance of a couple of chub and you feel obliged to have a go for them. You either end up a hero or a zero and I feared the latter today. Martin Heard had drawn peg 1 and everyone reckoned he'd win his fourth match on the trot.

We got to the pond and the level was right up and it was pretty coloured, with lots of small fish topping. It was actually a nice day with the sun out and hardly any wind. I made myself comfortable and mixed up some Sensas Noire for my long line and got two rigs out, a 1 gram Drennan Tipo for out and a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp for under the bush. I had blue hydro for open water and black for the inside. For bait I had maggots (which didn't look too healthy), casters, hemp, worms and corn.

The pond was pretty coloured

On the whistle I cupped in three balls of groundbait at 11.5 metres and a pot of chopped worm and caster by the bush followed by another of corn and hemp. I started out with double bronze maggot on the hook and soon had a small roach, I switched to caster and had a couple of slightly better ones but was already behind Heardy and Bruce Hunt with their whip to hand tactics. By the end of the first hour I only had six roach and was itching to try by the bush, especially after Martin said he'd missed bite. I put a caster on the heavier rig and went over by the bush and waited and waited, double maggot saw me swing in a small perch so it was back on the longer line for the time being.

It was still pretty slow and I was only adding the odd fish so decided to put a third line in, just past some reeds on the inside, three pole sections out. I put in some groundbait and left it for a bit. I went over it with double maggot and started catching quite quickly but knew it was pointless as I was already so far behind the guys who had targeted small fish from the beginning. With an hour and half left I had 26 fish compared to Bruce who had 120+. Neither Martin or me had seen any sign of a big fish under the bush but that was what we needed. Martin said that he thought the water was too coloured for the chub.

I upped the feed by the bush and tried half a lobworm but never had a touch on it so I stuck with caster for the remainder of the match. I did manage a few slightly better roach and a 5oz perch but the chub remained elusive. I ended with 32 fish which I thought might go 2lb. I packed up feeling pretty disillusioned and I'm really starting to go off what was once my favourite venue. The club really needs to stock some skimmers and remove some of the smaller roach.

Robin had the scales and I was first to weigh in my section, my fish went 2lb 14oz and knew that would get me nowhere, I was just glad it wasn't a league match. Moses had 4lb 10oz, Rob 1lb 11oz and Roger 2lb 13oz. Then Graham Field had 9lb 5oz and Alvin Jones 5lb 9oz. The other section had fished quite well with Bruce catching over 260 roach for a level 14lb and Malcolm Levy had 8lb 10oz. Despite not finding any chub, Martin still managed to win his section with 3lb 10oz so most of the money was heading back to Tiverton once again.

Bruce won with an excellent 14lb

Ilminster's Graham Field had another good small fish weight

The old fossil took third place with 8lb 10oz

1 - Bruce Hunt (ALS) - 14lb
2 - Graham Field (Ilminster) - 9lb 5oz
3 - Malcolm Levy (Tiverton) - 8lb 10oz

Section A - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 3lb 10oz
Section B - Alvin Jones (Enterprise Angling) - 5lb 9oz

The third Crown league match is next week, so hopefully we can get on the river for some proper fishing!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

River Isle - 8th November 2009

After last weeks wash out, we decided to have a sweep and try and get a decent days fishing. Robin had put in some good pegs including the tank traps (14), pegs 24, 27, 28 and 29, along with 125 and 126 at Isle Brewers. One peg I really didn't fancy was 17 although you get the choice of 18 as well and blow me if I didn't draw it. Robin said he saw seven chub in 17 yesterday but I just didn't fancy it so decided on 18 instead. Neil Dring drew 125 and I really thought he would walk it.

My peg looked ok with a branch in the water opposite and the main flow down the middle but it was pretty shallow and the river didn't have as much colour as I thought it would. Bob Hammond had drawn peg 14 and Stuart 'Fred' Brown had peg 24. I got old faithful out of my rig tray and plumbed up and found the peg was around two foot deep all over the swim. This meant I had a long line between the float and pole tip which I thought would help given the shallow nature of the peg.

On the whistle I started in the flow with caster on the hook and feeding caster, hemp and maggot and had a small chublet straight away followed by two more and a dace. I carried on catching small fish and a change to double red or bronze maggot saw my catch rate improve. All the while I was catapulting half a dozen maggots towards the tail of the swim to hopefully bring any fish up. I also noticed a good chub flash across by the branch and I fully expected to latch into one at any point and was glad I'd chosen to go with black hydro.

By the end of the first hour I'd had 26 fish, mainly small chublets and dace along with a 8oz trout, which was very welcome. I got to 30 fish before I couldn't resist going over by the branch with half a lobbie on in search of a bonus chub. I had a couple of decent bites which I missed and I was sure it was small fish hanging onto the end of the worm. I tried caster and had another small fish to prove the point. I was wary that time was ticking by and I wasn't adding much to the net so I came back into the flow and the fish had gone! Maggot only saw me catch minnows and caster saw me sat there biteless.

I came directly over where I had been feeding and had a couple of dace and a chunky roach, found them I thought - nope! and I went back to struggling. I tried searching further down the swim with caster and worm for nothing and decided to stick it out for a chub. I upped the feed but it just wasn't happening, with 20 minutes to go I noticed a furry head bobbing about down the swim and there was an otter looking at me! He (or she) snorted before turning away and submerging, I didn't think my visitor was going to help matters much, but I had a couple more bites on caster and swung in a small chublet just before the end. I ended with 35 fish which I guessed would give me 2-3lb.

As I had the scales yet again, I quickly packed up before walking down to weigh Fred in, he'd had a decent chub, a perch and a few bits for 2lb 14oz. Next was Bob who'd caught a few on the stick float for 3lb 4oz and I thought it might be close between us and was surprised when I weighed a level 4lb. Back at the results and Martin had done it again, this time winning with 9lb 10oz from peg 126, Neil Dring came close with 8lb 13oz from peg 125 but couldn't stop Heardy from winning his third match on the trot and his fourth win in five matches. Bruce Hunt was third with 5lb 8oz from peg 28 and as Robin had 3lb 14oz from peg 27, I won my section and picked up £15. The old fossil (Malcolm Levy) won the bottom section with a single chub of 2lb 8oz. Total wise I'm a long way behind the last couple of years and really need a good couple of months but I just can't see this happening with the way I'm drawing.

Fish catching machine, Martin Heard (I'm sick of uploading his photo!)

Bruce Hunt was third with 5lb 8oz

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 9lb 10oz
2 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 8lb 13oz
3 - Bruce Hunt (ALS) - 5lb 8oz

Section A - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 4lb
Section B - Malcolm Levy (Tiverton) - 2lb 8oz

Next week is round three of the V.E.S. league and I'm actually doing well in this one after two matches, you watch it all go pear shaped next week!

Monday, November 02, 2009

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision Winter League - 1st November 2009

With loads of rain in the night and more forecast for today plus high winds, I was thinking it might be cancelled today but as I drove over the river it looked nice with some colour and pace. I got to the draw and it was on the river and Robin had put pegs in that would give people some cover. I saw peg 95 was in and was convinced I'd draw it but actually pulled out peg 20, it's not a great peg but there is usually a nice slack on the far side.

I got to the river and it was still raining but the river looked nice as I made myself comfortable and set my gear up. I got out old faithful and started plumbing up in the slack opposite but there were loads of brambles under the water and I kept getting the rig snagged and lost a hooklength. The match started and I tried fishing the slack but the river was rising and the slack was soon a mass of boils, after an hour the river was unfishable and I was just sat on my box staring at the brown, turbid raging torrent in front of me.

The river was actually rising at such a rate I had to move all my kit back up the bank, I did phone the match organiser, Robin Cox, thinking that if everyone was in the same boat we could call it off and go to the canal or Dillington. Robin was at Isle Brewers (the same peg I had last week) and had already caught some small dace so we would have to sit this one out. The anglers at Isle Brewers would have an hours fishing before all this water hit them and I fancied the winner would probably come from there.

I went for a walk to see if anyone had caught in my section, Tony Newman was blanking in peg 17, Pete Lonton's kit was up the bank and he was up with Graham Bulgin in peg 14. Neither had caught and poor old Graham's keepnet had been dragged into the river by the extreme flow, mind you it didn't look like he would need it anyway. Pete spoke to Rob on the phone who said we could move anywhere where we though we might have a chance of catching something, although me going to the canal might be taking it a bit far!

I walked back to my peg looking at any potential swims but they were all unfishable with no slack water anywhere. I walked down to see Moses, he hadn't caught either and had snapped a top three just to top things off. Back at my peg and the water was now lapping at the legs of my box in my new seating position. The river looked truly awful with trees and allsorts being swept down. I did see some minnows in the area where I had been originally sat and even tried for these by holding the rig by the olivette and dangling it in amongst them and watching for one to take the bait! I had three on but as I lifted them out of the water they dropped off because they were so small they couldn't get the hook in their mouths. Just one would be worth mega points.

Moses walked up, he'd had enough and found my new tactic highly amusing before heading home. Pete turned up and phoned Martin Heard, who was also at Isle Brewers, and as he'd had a couple of pounds he was looking good for yet another victory. I still couldn't catch a minnow and had by now taken my keepnet out and was fishing in the tiny bit of slack where it had been, still no joy though. The rain had stopped and the river didn't seem to be coming up anymore, I was praying it would start dropping.

With two hours to go, it did start dropping but the river was still unfishable. With an hour to go it was dropping as fast as it had come up. Robin and Alvin turned up, they'd all packed up at Isle Brewers as their swims were unfishable, Martin had weighed 1lb 15oz, Alvin 1lb 10oz and Rob 12oz. They didn't stay long watching me sat like a gnome holding two sections of pole and headed back to the pub. With half an hour to go I think I had an indication and as I struck a small fish bow waved away. With my interest rekindled I put two bronze maggots on a laid the rig back in, it didn't even have chance to settle properly as a fish held the olivette up. I struck and swung in a 3oz chublet, which meant I had to put my keepent back in.

I did think I may get a couple more but that was the last of the action. I quickly packed up and walked up to see if anyone else had caught, Pete and Graham had blanked but Tony Newman had found three small chublets and I was praying they would weigh more than Robin's 12oz to give me a chance of the section. They didn't with the needle stopping at 10oz - bugger. My solitary fish weighed 3oz as I expected and although I wouldn't be picking up any money at least I would score decent points league wise.

Back at the results and as expected, Martin, Alvin and Rob filled the top three places with Tony winning my section. Nobody else caught in the bottom section and the section money was added to the golden ball fund. The only other angler to weigh was Bruce Hunt who had five minnows for an ounce from peg 27. After two matches I am actually leading the league with 4 points followed by Martin Heard and Tony Newman on 5, early days yet though.

Next week we're having a sweep so lets hope for better conditions than.

Martin seems unstoppable at the moment

Alvin was second (go on, give us a smile!)

Robin Cox was third with 12oz

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 1lb 15oz
2 - Alvin Jones (Enterprise Angling) - 1lb 10oz
3 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 12oz

Section A - Tony Newman (Ilminster) - 10oz
Section B - no winner

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Durleigh Reservoir - Wateraid Match - 31st October 2009

I was up at 6:15 for the first of two matches this weekend and met Chris Watkins at the Happy Eater in Ilminster at 7:00, before heading off to Durleigh reservoir near Bridgwater. Today was a team match involving the Environment Agency (my team) and other water industry teams from Wessex Water and Bristol Water among others to raise money for Wateraid. Our team consisted of myself, Chris Watkins, Ben Evans, Jody Grabham and a chap from Wessex Water (as we couldn't get enough people). I've never fished Durleigh before but knew it holds a good head of roach and skimmers along with some big carp.

Durleigh reservoir

Luckily I managed to draw a short walk and set off for peg C13, which was apparently a very good area. I set up a feeder rod and a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach float for the pole and I had a nice depth at 11.5 metres. Both set ups had 0.12mm bottoms and Kamasan B611's (16 for the feeder, 18 for the pole). I mixed up some Sensas Feeder mix and added some fishmeal and was ready for the off. On the whistle I cupped in three balls containing hemp, maggots and casters at 11.5 metres before starting on the feeder.

The chap on my right had a fish quite quickly and after a few casts to get some bait down I started getting indications too. My first fish was a skimmer around 12oz followed by some smaller ones between 4-8oz and after the first hour I had seven skimmers and a roach. The chap on my left only had a small perch and I reckoned I was doing well in my section of six. All the time I was feeding hemp and maggot over my pole line. Hour two saw my neighbour start to catch some decent 2-3lb bream on corn and he was soon ahead of me, I added another five fish including one decent fish of 2lb+ but the majority of my fish were smaller skimmers so I was soon rummaging in my bait bag for a tin of corn.

A friend from work, Si Roe, turned up and while he was there I tried corn but never had an indication so decided to try the pole. First put in the float buried and I netted a 1lb skimmers, I followed this up with a roach and a smaller skimmer before the next bite saw me strike into solid resistance, before the fish moved off. It was pretty big whatever it was (carp maybe?) and I was never going to stop it with number five elastic and 0.12mm bottom and sure enough it tore off and snapped me. Back on the feeder with corn on the hook and after ten minutes I had a good bite and struck into what felt like a skimmer. I was reeling in when a few rodlengths out it woke up and screamed off, I just managed to get the anti reverse off in time.

It was a big lump and I had it under control and seriously thought I had a good chance of landing it, the carp was going round in circles and even Si started to get excited when all of a sudden it swirled and made off and the line went slack - shit! So back on the pole I went, the chap on my left was still catching the odd bream and must have had eight or nine by now. Si said he was going round to see how Ben was getting on and just as he left, Will Olsen (another work colleague) turned up. While Will was with me I started catching skimmers, roach and perch really well and was making in roads into my neighbours lead as he had slowed up.

Si turned up again, with Ben!, who hadn't caught as his peg was really shallow and he didn't have a feeder rod with him. I was still getting the odd roach but the skimmers had disappeared and I'm never sure if I should put more groundbait in at times like this. By now it was clear that the chap on my left was going to win the section but nobody else seemed to be doing much, so I plugged away at the roach. With 15 minutes left I decided to go back on the feeder and managed two more skimmers with the last one coming right on the whistle. I ended with 45 fish and thought I might have around 8lb.

While I was packing up I noticed the level of the resi had come up quite a bit which might explain why I suddenly stopped catching the skimmers! I walked up to watch the weigh in, Chris had two kilo something as did Jody (who also lost a carp), what was noticeable was that the team who were pegged next to us had all caught decent weights of bream using little PVA bags of pellets and straight leads instead of feeder set ups. One of their guys had nearly 19 kilos and the angler next to me had 13 kilos something, my fish went 7 kilo 400 grams which was a lot more than I thought and I think it was enough for second in the section.

The chap on the next peg did well

Back at the results and Wessex did us proud by laying on soup, rolls, pork pies and sausage rolls, which was very welcome. The team next to us won easily despite having a man not weigh in, I'm not sure where we came as I haven't had the full results but as we had two blanks (Ben and the Wessex guy) I think we must have been near the wooden spoon position. Still loads of money was raised for Wateraid and I even won a prize on the raffle!

Well tomorrow it's back on the Isle and I could really do with a good result as I'm going through a rather barren patch at the moment.


Just been sent the full results and I actually won my section and picked up £10, the chap on my left was in another section (pegs 7-12), my section was me and the two anglers on my right plus three others on the opposite bank, so a better day than I thought.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 25th October 2009

After some much needed rain the river was near enough perfect and there were some good pegs in and a good turnout of fifteen anglers. Justin Charles and Frank Woodard were fishing for the first time in ages and it was great to see them. I stuck my hand in the bucket and pulled out 126, a great peg with a bit of extra water on it and Robin had 9lb 7oz off it, the last time it was pegged, I couldn't wait. Martin Heard reckoned I'd walk it, but he hadn't drawn so badly himself (peg 29 in the copse).

I got there and it looked lovely with a tinge of colour, the trouble was that there are two places you can fish it, at the top leading into the bend or on the bend itself. The last time I fished it, I won by fishing up towards the top of the peg so decided to sit there. I didn't have long to set up, so once again 'old faithful' came out of the rig tray and I plumbed up, there was a nice depth by a raft of rubbish opposite and the water was a little slacker there.

Peg 126 (with the rubbish where I caught most of my fish on the right)

On the whistle I baited up with caster and was straight into little dace and chublets, the trouble was they were about an ounce apiece and I wasn't catching fast enough to put a weight together. I stuck with it, hoping that the big roach would move in. I tried a piece of hemp and the float slid away and I netted a good 10oz roach, despite a pike's best efforts to nab it, bingo!, hemp was the answer. Oh no it wasn't and I went ten minutes without another fish. Back to caster and small dace then and after an hour I had fifteen fish for just over a pound and this wasn't going to plan at all.

Another try with hemp saw me swing in a 4oz chublet and adding another section of pole to take me the other side of the rubbish saw a quick flurry of fish before that died, they just wouldn't settle. Double caster saw me bump a good fish before a pike took the next one and I reckon it was the pike unsettling the fish. After two hours I'd struggled up to twenty five fish and it was getting harder. I was starting to get minnow problems, even with double caster! I kept trying down past the rubbish but this was only bringing odd fish.

I tried running the float through with the flow and this produced a few more fish including another better roach but it didn't last long. With an hour to go I added two more sections and went right down the peg, a bite straight away saw another roach grace the net but then I had to go to 13 metres to get a bite and added another roach and a couple of chublets. I ended with 65 fish plus loads of minnows and I thought I'd be lucky to do 4lb and I was gutted and should have fished lower down. Although saying that, I might have struggled there too.

I packed up and as I had the scales, went up to weigh Rob Cox in, he'd struggled for 1lb 5oz and Graham Bulgin on 124 had 3lb 5oz, my fish went 4lb 12oz and I thought there might be an outside chance of the section. Any hopes of the section win soon disappeared back at the pub though. Martin Heard claimed another victory with 13lb 12oz from peg 29, Bruce Hunt was second with 13lb 2oz and Frank Woodard was third with 12lb 2oz form peg 85. Frank snapped his pole on a snag and his top four was in the river attached to it so he tried using his landing net pole on the end of the rest of the pole and then this came off as well. With nothing else for it, he stripped off and went in after it all, I think he's warmed up now though! I reckoned he was just trying to create a feature in his swim!

Martin was victorious again

Bruce was second with 13lb 2oz

Section winner Roger Russell

My section was won by Roger Russell with 6lb 5oz and Graham Field won the top section with a level 8lb. At this early stage, Martin leads the league with a maximum two points. Next week it's a double header for me, Durleigh reservoir on the Saturday followed by round two of the V.E.S. on Sunday, lets hope for two good days.

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 13lb 12oz
2 - Bruce Hunt (ALS) - 13lb 2oz
3 - Frank Woodard (Ilminster) - 12lb 2oz

Section A - Graham Field (Taunton) - 8lb
Section B - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 6lb 5oz

Monday, October 19, 2009

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision Winter League - 18th October 2009

After a cracking day last Sunday I was eager to get back on the 'ditch' for the first match of the V.E.S. Winter League and was hoping for more of the same. On reaching the Crown Inn, I was a little concerned that Rob had put in some new pegs and areas that aren't normally prolific. There were still some good pegs in, like 85 (the big bend at Ashford) and 123 (the fence at Isle Brewers) and also I thought that maybe one or two of the new pegs might throw up a surprise. This match also saw the return of Janders, welcome back mate, although quite a few of the normal regulars were yet to put in an appearance and there were only 12 anglers fishing today.

Janders, back on the river

I paid my pools and had a quick cup of coffee and was having a chat when somebody said that Tommy (the landlord) was calling it a day, which is a real shame as he has supplied us with excellent breakfasts and chip butties after the match, along with sponsoring one of our winter leagues for ages. Many thanks Tommy, you've been fantastic and you will be missed. Anyway it was soon time to draw and I stuck my hand in the bucket and pulled out poxy peg 95 (the one below the bridge at North Bradon), it's not great and I've never done much off it, my match was over before it started. Also at North Bradon were Janders (on hot peg, the roach hole), Moses Holbrook (on 96, another good peg) and Martin Heard (on new peg, 91).

Tommy, a fantasic landlord. Thanks for all your support over the years, you will be missed

We reached the river and my peg looked shit and I was having a right old whinge, I walked up the river with Janders (as he was going to fish the opposite side of his peg because he didn't like the look of the bull in the field!). As we reached the peg above the road (which isn't normally used), a load of fish bow waved away from the shallows and I commented that I'd rather fish here than my peg. Janders said he didn't mind if I fished it instead and Moses said the same. A plan started to form in my evil mind, so I phoned Robin and he said he was ok with it too, so that was that and I made my mind up to fish here instead.

After helping Janders clear out his swim, I went back and unloaded my kit. The river was very low and clear and you could see the bottom in loads of places but there were some dark, deeper areas in my peg. With this type of peg I just knew it would be feast or famine, I would either bag up and be a hero or catch very little and be a zero, I was hoping it wouldn't be the latter. With not much time to set up I quickly assembled my kit and got 'old faithful' out of my rig tray and plumbed up. I had some reedy things opposite which looked quite fishy and the main flow went under my feet. I was late starting and kicked off by the reeds with caster on the hook and feeding caster, maggots and hemp.

I fully expected to catch straight away but this didn't happen and I was soon searching other areas of the swim. After an hour and a half it looked like it was going to famine. I gave it a bit longer but couldn't even get a minnow bite on maggot so a walk up to see how Janders was getting on was in order. On the walk up I saw several chub in areas between pegs in the shallows and wondered if I would get to see one up close today, I didn't think so! On reaching Janders he seemed quite happy (despite a stinking cold) and said he'd had a chub and some small fish, I watched him for a bit and he had a small chublet, before I headed back.

I got back and after trying all over the swim, no bites and I just knew I was going to blank. I decided to put the pole down with the rig in the main flow under my feet and have a sandwich. The float was there a few minutes before it bobbed a couple of times and sailed away, I struck and white hydro streamed out as the chub charged all over the swim trying to shed the hook before I netted it. It looked to be a good 2lb+ and I thought a few more of those wouldn't go amiss. I thought there might be a few more about but after trying caster, double caster, maggot and lobbie I hadn't had another bite.

Moses walked up and he'd had two good chub in the first half an hour! He stayed with me for a bit, during which time I never had another indication. I went through the motions and all of a sudden started to get the odd knock, had they arrived? I kept getting indications but they wouldn't develop properly and as just the end of the caster was nipped I was sure it was minnows. Time was running out and I was pinning my hope on the golden last hour, with half an hour to go Moses arrived after packing up early, he'd only added two small roach. In fact the golden last hour turned out to be anything but and I never hooked another fish.

I packed up and Moses weighed my solitary fish in at 2lb 2oz, which was a little smaller than I thought, before walking up to weigh Janders in. I was loading my car when they got back, Janders had caught two chub plus bits for a respectable 5lb 11oz. Moses then set off up the other side of the river to weigh Martin in, meanwhile I paid Janders a pound and waited for Moses's return so I could weigh him in. He got back and said Martin had weighed a lowly 2oz and wasn't happy - whoops! I walked down with Moses and his two chub and two roach went 5lb 3oz and said he might have a chance of the section.

Moses with one of his chub

Back at the results and as people started coming back it became apparent how poorly the river had fished. Graham Field was top weight on the day from peg 83 (which I wouldn't have fancied at all) with 6lb 8oz of small fish, Janders was second and Graham Bulgin was third with 5lb 8oz from peg 123 at Isle Brewers. Martyn Brook won the top section from fancied peg 85 with 4lb 10oz and Moses won our section. Robin Cox could have been up there as he lost two chub and dropped off loads of roach after trying to swing them in due to a broken landing net handle.

Graham won with a net of small fish

1 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 6lb 8oz
2 - John Anderson (Donyatt) - 5lb 11oz
3 - Graham Bulgin (Ilminster) - 5lb 8oz

Section A - Martyn Brook (Ilminster) - 4lb 10oz
Section B - Moses Holbrook (Ilminster) - 5lb 3oz

With a bit of luck we'll get some rain before next week as the river desperately needs it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 11th October 2009

I was really looking forward to getting back on the river although with no rain for months it was painfully low and clear and very weedy in places. I got to the Crown and there was a new face in the shape of Graham Bulgin, who I hadn't seen for years, along with Alvin Jones and Bob Hammond who hadn't fished for ages. Robin had pegged upper and lower Coxes along with four pegs at Isle Brewers, including the flier, peg 125, that everybody wanted. I stuck my hand in the bucket and pulled out peg 27, the first swim in the copse. Not a bad peg but usually only worth around 6-7lb and I reckoned pegs 14, 125 and 126 would all eclipse that and there were some other good pegs in too. Still at least I should get a few bites.

I got to the river and it was extremely clear with hardly any flow on it. It's quite a fishy looking peg with a bay opposite and to the left, ivy on the far bank. Graham Field had the next peg down, the big bend, which usually fishes well early on and Roger Russell had peg 29 (the stump) which can produce some nice chub weights. I set up a 0.75 gram Drennan Carbo for the bay opposite, which actually had quite a deep hole in front of it and a 1.5 gram Carbo for fishing by the ivy. The lighter rig had 0.10mm bottom and blue hydro through the top two and the heavier rig had a 0.12 mm bottom and white hydro. Both rigs had Kamasan size 18 B611's at the business end.

I just had time to pop down and see Graham before it was time to start. He was sat on the island and I thought this might have been a mistake. I got back and baited up with a caster and shipped out before feeding some casters and hemp. I started getting bites from small dace straight away and set my sights on 60 fish as this would give me around 6lb. After three dace I hooked a fish that felt heavier and plodded around before I netted a 12oz perch - bonus! I carried on catching dace and small chublets along with the odd chunky 4oz roach and even had a 1lb trout, which count in our matches, to give me 33 fish after the first hour. This was a great start and I was over half way to my target with four and a half hours to go.

The trouble with this swim is that you know sport is going to slow at some stage, hour two arrived and I was still catching fish regularly and added another 6oz perch and a little trout of the same size along with a chub around the pound mark. I had another 21 fish to give me 54 in total and I started to think a good weight could be on the cards. Going into hour three and bites slowed right up, a change to double red or bronze maggot saw a quick flurry of fish before that dried up as well. I thought I'd give my main catching area a rest and try down by the ivy.

I had a couple of dace before I went back to being biteless and at the end of the third hour I'd only added 11 more fish. What to do next? Another try opposite only saw me add a couple more fish. Graham wandered up to say he was really struggling and only had ounces. Just after he wandered back, Roger came up on the opposite bank and he too was struggling with one chub and a couple of perch. While he was there I had a dace and a decent roach. He walked up to have a look above the bridge and came back to report there were loads of fish in the shallows above me.

After he'd gone back and with no more bites forthcoming I decided to start flicking some casters above me and after doing this for a bit, I went up there at 11.5 metres with the shallower 1.5 gram rig. I started catching but they were very small chublets and it was quite hard work, after five or six I gave this up as a bad job as I wasn't adding much to my weight. I was now on 77 fish and thought I must be approaching 7-8lb with just over an hour to go. Another try in the bay was fruitless so I went back down by the ivy and had a couple of dace and a gudgeon before they spooked.

I went back across to give the ivy a rest and had another dace and this set the scene for the remainder of the match, a couple of fish from the ivy before resting it. Doing this I had another half a dozen dace and chublets including a better one of a pound or so. I had one right on the whistle to end with 89 fish, much better than I thought I'd do. I packed up and went down to weigh Graham in, he'd found a chub but also lost a bigger one to weigh 1lb 14oz. My fish went 13lb 10oz and I was well chuffed although I kept thinking I'd be lucky to win my section if 14, 125 and 126 had fished. I took some of my kit back to the car and went down to weigh Roger in, he had two good perch and a chub for 5lb 1oz.

Back at the pub and people started filtering back, Alvin was first back and had struggled from peg 20 for 1lb 9oz, he said the top weight from higher Coxes was Malcolm Levy's 5lb 12oz - so far, so good. I knew it wouldn't last though and sure enough Martin Heard had put a fantastic 21lb of roach on the scales, but what about 126? Robin had 9lb 7oz and with no other weights I was second and picked up £30. A good start to my river campaign and I picked up one section point as well, with Martin topping the bottom section.

Martin was victorious again

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 21lb
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 13lb 10oz
3 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 9lb 7oz

Section A - Malcolm Levy (Tiverton) - 5lb 12oz
Section B - Roger Russell (Ilminster) - 5lb 1oz

I must apologise for the lack of photos (where's Steve Chant when you need him!). Next week we're back on the river for the first match of the V.E.S. league, I would dearly love to win this league and have managed second and third in the last few years but first place eludes me, wish me luck.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Chard Reservoir - 4th October 2009

The weather had been quite rough on Saturday and with mild winds were forecast for Sunday and I was hoping the bream would feed with a vengeance, I just needed a decent draw now! All the usual suspects were at the draw and as Baz Morgan would say 'If the devil could cast his net now!' I really wanted to pull out a peg in the forties and after I'd drawn I had a look and saw a four, followed by a nine, peg 49. I had mixed feelings about the peg as it's a known roach peg because it's quite shallow but I didn't have the kit for roach and really wanted to catch bream as these nearly always feature in the top weights. I still felt there was a chance though as my mate Andy had 50lb off peg 48 last week.

'If the devil could cast his net...'

I got to my peg and made myself comfortable, I had Mike Collins, with his new haircut, on my left and Paul Blake on my right. Next to Paul was Janders so I would have a good idea of where my pound was heading. Down along from Janders was Picky on 45 and as this is a good bream area I thought I would struggle to hang on to that pound. As per usual I set up a feeder rod and mixed up some groundbait (a fifty-fifty mix of Sensas Feeder and Crazybait Gold) and was ready in plenty of time. I also opened a tin of corn in case I got roached out, which can happen on these pegs.

Les hollered the all in and I baited up with double red maggot before casting out to around 40 yards (the same distance as Andy fished last week), it wasn't long before I had a fish which turned out to be a 4oz roach, as I was bringing it in I saw Janders also reeling one in. Paul then had a skimmer and I was soon into one too, here we go I thought. But then I was just getting ragged out by roach and despite trying a grain of corn I was putting very little in the net. After the first hour I'd only had two skimmers and two roach, Janders had around the same and Blaker a little more. I wasn't too worried though as sometimes it takes the bream a while to find the bait and you only need a good couple of hours on the bream to do a weight.

Looking up the resi from the dam wall

Hour two continued in the same vein and I was starting to get concerned, Janders was pulling away from me and Blaker was getting spells of catching well and I was just getting the odd skimmer. More worrying was that Picky was apparently catching well and had landed a couple of bream - goodbye pound! At least it meant the bream were feeding so maybe they would find their way up to us. Corn was a non starter with only the odd indication and maggot meant roach and I was lagging behind. I did notice Blaker was fishing a shorter line than me and fishing a much shorter hooklength. Both him and Janders said they were fishing four or five maggots on size 14 and 12 hooks. I put three on my 16 but this just resulted in another roach.

I was still getting the odd skimmer but three hours in I was fed up and starting to wish I'd fished for roach. The trouble with that idea though, was that the roach weights were dropping off and although I might be able to do 20-25lb, I felt sure this would get me nowhere. I struggled on, I shortened my hooklength but this didn't really help and it just felt like there weren't many skimmers here. Blaker was now catching regularly and was on for a decent weight.

The end couldn't really come soon enough for me although I did have a purple patch right near the end catching two skimmers in two chucks with the last one coming on the whistle. I ended with 12 skimmers and half a dozen roach and when Janders asked what weight I had I reckoned on about 6-8lb, he was admitting to 12lb so that pound had gone on as well. The scales arrived and Picky was leading with 45lb odd and Mike Hosgood had 39lb and there were several good backing weights and I was in two minds as to whether to weigh or not. Janders had over 14lb and Blaker had an excellent 30lb 10oz. I weighed a lowly 12lb 6oz and handed over a pound to Janders, Mike Collins had a worse day than me and had 4lb something.

Back at the results and Picky had indeed won again and couldn't wait to collect my pound, well done mate. Mike was second and Dave Abrams was third with 33lb 10oz. Section wins went to Denis Stepney, Butch Baker, Les Braunton and Paul Blake. Next week is the first match back on the river and I'm really looking forward to it, although with no rain for months it's painfully low and clear. The last match I won was on the river way back in January and my results haven't been great since, as for my yearly total, I'm way down on last year and can't see me hitting the grand this year.

Section winner Butch Baker weighing in Denis Stepney who won the dam wall section

Les won his section with over 28lb

Mike 'the feeder' Hosgood was in the money again

Match winner Picky (right) and Alan Dunn

1 - Alan Gage (Chard) - 45lb 8oz
2 - Mike Hosgood (Exeter) - 39lb 4oz
3 - Dave Abrams (Weymouth) - 33lb 10oz

A - Denis Stepney (Taunton) - 19lb 7oz
B - Butch Baker (Chard) - 24lb 5oz
C - Les Braunton (Chard) - 28lb 4oz
D - Paul Blake (Chard) - 30lb 10oz

P.S. almost forgot to say thanks to the lovely Steve Chant for the photos, cheers buddy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chris Patten Memorial - Chard Reservoir - 27th September 2009

Once again I was privileged enough to receive an invite to this popular event and was quite looking forward to it as the resi is fishing really well at the moment. I got to the carpark fairly early and it was already nearly full! Les had driven back from his holiday especially for the event and was already in full organisational mode! There was a good turnout of people to pay their respects to Chris again and his brother gave a little speech to thank us all for turning out. My mate Andy had even turned up to fish his first match for ages.

It was soon time for the draw and I really fancied a peg in the high forties and came close with peg 41. The trouble with my peg and the ones either side is that they are set back a bit. Andy drew 48 and was well chuffed and I reckoned he was in the right area. For company I had Picky on my right on 39, which has been a pretty consistent peg and Dave Lawrence on 42. Luckily Les let me put my box on his buggy or the walk might have killed me before I started! Today Les was paying the overall winner and the top two in every five peg section. I finally arrived at my peg and realised it was the same one I had the 28lb carp off, same again would be nice although I'm not sure I could handle another near two hour fight!

Looking up the resi to the high forties

It didn't take me long to set up, the only difference to my normal set up was my groundbait mix. I had some Sensas Feeder with some Dynamite Bait Swimstim added to give it a fishmeal 'kick'. I just about finished setting up when Andy wandered down for a chat, just in time to put my banksticks in for me (well it was quite deep and I only had wellies on!). Picky turned up and was confident of taking a pound off me. We wandered up to see Les and he got Andy to put his marker board in for him but just wasn't satisfied where ever Andy put it and at one stage I thought it was going to be flung into the lake!

Les and his marker board

It'll be fine there Andy!

Soon enough it was nearly time to start and we all went back to our respective pegs just before Les hollered the all in. I baited up with double red maggot and scooped a few casters into the feeder before plugging both ends with some groundbait and casting out to around 40 yards. I decided to wait a few minutes before casting out again to get some more bait out there and was rewarded with a pull round and I was soon netting an 8oz skimmer - good start. Dave had started on a much shorter line and was getting the odd roach, Picky hadn't caught as yet. I got to about three skimmers before Picky got his first fish which turned out to be a proper bream and despite my flying start, I was behind already!

By the end of the first hour I had eight skimmers and a roach and Picky had around the same number plus the slab. Dave had now switched to the whip and was catching roach and perch regularly. Les next to Dave had five skimmers and John Loader next to him was catching a few on the whip. Hour two saw me slow up a bit and I had six more skimmers and Picky was pulling away from me, Les was catching up as well and Dave was still catching roach. Hour three and I was still getting skimmers and set my sights on 44, which gave Picky over 34lb last match.

Les shouted down that Mike Hosgood and Andy were both catching proper bream and it looked like the title would be going to one of those two. It was turning into a right head to head between me and Picky, he would edge ahead before he endured a slow spell and I'd catch him up but all the time I was aware he had the cushion of that bream. Dave was now back on the feeder and after a slow start was catching some skimmers too. I started catching really well with a couple of hours to go and had my nose in front of Picky on numbers of fish, although I did bump a couple and lose one at the net, which Picky found highly amusing.

With half an hour to go I had a good bite and the strike resulted in solid resistance, at last a proper bream, I was playing it in when it nodded three times and the poxy hook pulled - bugger. I knew it wouldn't matter too much as Andy and Mike now had nine slabs apiece but it might have helped take a pound off Picky. I fell a little short of my target on the final whistle with 41 skimmers (and three roach) but still felt I was in with a chance of the section (Picky was in the next section down). I packed up and Les enlisted my help with the weigh in and we started at the first peg in the woods where Alan Dunn put 11lb 8oz of mainly roach on the scales, Graham 'Dino' Pepper was next and had over 22lb of skimmers. There were odd proper bream caught in the early pegs, Roger Russell had one and Rog Coombes had two. Dino lead until we got to Picky who had 30lb 6oz and then it was my turn, I pulled my net out and plonked them in the weigh net, Les said it was going to be close and called out 30lb 2oz - bugger, it had been a lot closer than I thought but I still lost the pound.

Dave had over 24lb, Les weighed mid double figures and said I'd be second in the section as Cecil Green on the last peg in our section had eight big bream. Cecil weighed 52lb 2oz to take the lead. His stint at the top of the leader board only lasted until the next peg where Mike Hosgood put a fantastic 62lb 2oz on the scales, Baz had a nice double figure net of roach and Andy came close with 50lb 2oz of bream. The last angler to weigh was Butch Baker who had the best roach net of the day with 24lb 4oz. Les then rushed off to weigh the dam wall section where Scotty Russell was top with a bream and skimmers for 26lb 10oz.

We all then headed to the Windwhistle Inn for the results and a nice carvery. Les read out the results and Mike Hosgood was the fourth angler to take home the coveted trophy. Cecil Green was second and Andy enjoyed his first match back to take third place. I picked up £20 for my second in section and put £10 in the pot for charity, as everyone who picked up did. Phil Rainford then did his usual sterling job of selling raffle tickets before Les announced the cabaret!

Baz presenting the trophy to Mike Hosgood

Now when Les said cabaret I immediately though of scantily clad women but had to settle for Mike Collins getting his hair cut! But Heather Morgan did a fantastic job with the scissors although Les wasn't so impressive with the clippers! Still when they'd finished, Mike looked half respectable and had raised another £90 for the pot, well done Mike. Then it was time for the draw and there were some great prizes on offer including a fishing holiday in France donated by Baz. Everybody on our table won a prize, I got a Garbolino t-shirt, Andy had a crate of lager and Janders got a rather fetching hat (oh did I mention I won a pound off him but gave it straight to Andy!).

Mike Collins having the snip

Don't give up your day job Les!

The total raised when I left was over £680, which is just fantastic and as John Loader had won the holiday and decided to auction it off, there would hopefully be even more to add - well done John, very generous. All in all it was a good day (again), loads of fish caught and more importantly loads of money raised for cancer charities - well done to everyone involved. A special thanks to Baz Morgan and Les Braunton for organising the event, thanks to Dave Lawrence and Sally at the Windwhistle, thanks to Mike Collins and all the anglers who donated prizes for the raffle and gave some of their winnings back - a fantastic effort.

Some of the fantastic prizes

Next week I'm on the resi again, peg 46 please!

1 - Mike Hosgood (Exeter) - 62lb 13oz
2 - Cecil Green (Chard) - 52lb 2oz
3 - Andy Langdon (Chard) - 50lb 2oz

Section A
1 - Andy Langdon (Chard) - 50lb 2oz
2 - Butch Baker (Chard) - 24lb 4oz

Section B
1 - Cecil Green (Chard) - 52lb 2oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 30lb 2oz

Section C
1 - Alan Gage (Chard) - 30lb 6oz
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 21lb 9oz

Section D
1 - Graham Pepper (Taunton) - 22lb
2 - Roger Coombes (Chard) - 13lb 11oz

Section E
1 - Steve Bishop (Chard) - 16lb 2oz
2 - Jock Mattravers (Chard) - 15lb 3oz

Section F
1 - Scott Russell (Yeovil and District Angling Centre) - 26lb 10oz
2 - Bruce Hunt (ALS) - 15lb 10oz

Monday, September 21, 2009

Chard Reservoir - 20th September 2009

With no proper match on this week, Les organised a fiddle on the resi for committee members. At the draw there were nine of us and Les had put us on pegs 32-39 and I really fancied another crack at 39, I came close when I pulled out 38. Alan Dunn drew peg 39 and Les said he'd empty it as a pleasure angler had bagged up yesterday. Once again it was a glorious day although with it being quite bright, not ideal for bream fishing. Out of the nine anglers only one, Steve Bishop, was going all out for the roach and I reckoned he'd be hard to beat today.

I reached my peg and set my box up in the water, on my right I had Alan 'Picky' Gage who owed me a squid from last week so it would be double or quits today and Janders, my other regular side bet, was next to him. As per usual we were all set up with plenty of time to spare. When Les finally called the all in, all our feeders landed on roughly the same line and I had a quick few casts to get some bait down. We didn't have long to wait for the action to start and Picky and Janders were straight into skimmers. I kept waiting for my tip to go round and it eventually did and I netted a skimmer. By the end of the first hour I had five skimmers and both Janders and Picky had double that. Still five hours to go so no need to worry yet.

I was still getting odd fish but poor old Dunner was a long way from emptying it and only had a couple of skimmers. From what I could see Bish was catching roach like a man possessed and with the constant procession of skimmers to my right, I needed to catch some proper slabs to stand any chance. Then I had one and was back in the hunt, Dunner was still stuck on three skimmers. I was still getting the odd skimmer and even had a small perch while my rig was down the edge!

Dunner was struggling

Halfway through the match I was still behind by my reckoning but not by much as I had three good bream, a skimmer of 2lb and 8 or 9 smaller skimmers. The wind kept dropping and my bites tailed off, Janders and Picky slowed up as well but they were still putting odd fish in the net and pulling away again. I had my fourth decent bream but bites were few and far between. With a couple of hours to go my mate Andy turned up on his bike, while he was there Dunner had another skimmer and a decent bream but I never had a bite. Just as he left my tip went round and the strike resulted in firm resistance but only briefly as I bumped it! - bugger. I could really have done with that one.

It wasn't long before another visitor turned up in the shape of Baz Morgan who had just got back from France and was checking the fishing out before the Chris Patten memorial match next Sunday. While he was there me and Dunner sat like gnomes while Picky and Janders kept putting fish in the net. Baz reckoned Bish was going to do 30lb+ of roach and I still had him as odds on for victory. Time was ticking away when a slight pull on the tip saw me land another skimmer before next chuck I had another better skimmer of 2lb or so. I had time for another cast but no more bites and then Les called the all out, as I picked up the rod to reel in there was a fish on! Unfortunately not a bream but an eel of about a 1lb which was welcome none the less. My final tally was 4 good bream, 2 better skimmers, about 10 smaller ones plus that eel and a small perch, which I reckoned would go about 23-25lb.

I started packing up and asked Picky and Janders how many they ended up with, Picky replied he'd had 44 skimmers and Janders a similar amount although he had some roach and eels in that number and I reckoned I'd be handing out the pounds today. The scales started at the other end and Oz had 13lb odd and Dave Lawrence 19lb 8oz, Dave Abrams didn't weigh and then Bish had 32lb 9oz of roach, a lovely net.

Bish's net of roach weighed 32lb 9oz

Les had a couple of bream and weighed 13lb something and then it was Janders turn and when he weighed 27lb odd I was cursing that lost bream as I reckoned it had cost me. Picky's 44 skimmers went 34lb 10oz to take the lead and then I pulled my net out and Les said it would be close, the digital readout settled on 29lb 14oz and that lost bream would have pushed me close to Picky's weight. Dunner weighed 8lb something so at least I'd won my section and taken a pound off Janders. So I wasn't too far away and the £30 section winnings stopped my four match barren run and I was now looking forward to next weeks match, I just need a decent draw now.

Match winner Picky

1 - Alan 'Picky' Gage (Chard) - 34lb 10oz
2 - Steve Bishop (Chard) - 32lb 9oz


A - Dave Lawrence (Windwhistle Inn) - 19lb 8oz
B - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 29lb 14oz

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chard Reservoir - 13th September 2009

With the Dillington league over, I thought I'd give the resi a bash. On my arrival I received much good natured banter about me being lost and why wasn't I out the pond, even my poor blog got a slating about the fishing at Dillington being like having teeth pulled (thanks Mark!). Looking around the draw queue it was like a who's who of the South West match circut with Tony Rixon, Dean Malin and Nicky Collins plus all the usual resi experts. Before the match I asked Scotty Russell which pegs I needed to draw and he said bream had been showing on 37-39 so I was delighted when I pulled out 39.

I got to my peg and had a nice surprise in that Janders was on the next peg so at least I could have a laugh and keep an eye on how my pound was doing. Further down from John were Mike Hosgood and Scotty, Mike would be breaming it and Scotty was going for the roach. I set my box and keepnet up in the water and mixed up some groundbait (Sensas bream with some fishmeal added) before setting up my Drennan Stillwater feeder rod with a simple feeder rig and size 16 B611 to 0.12mm bottom. Despite it being quite bright there was quite a bit of ripple up our end and I was hopeful of getting a few pull rounds.

The resi

Les shouted the all in and I had a couple of quick casts to get some feed in at about 40 yards or so before casting out with double red maggot on the hook. I started to get the odd twitch but nothing to strike at, I looked round and Janders was netting a skimmer and already had a couple. I then missed a couple of bites before connecting with one which turned out to be a good bream of 4lb or so and I was off and running. The first hour was steady and I added four skimmers, Janders was catching too but I was ahead thanks to the slab.

Couldn't really see what else was being caught, Mike Collins on my left had a slab and a couple of skimmers and Butch Baker next to him was catching roach on the pole. I set myself a target of 8 bream which would give me around 40lb which I thought would see off most of the roach weights. Hour two was better for me and I added two more bream and some skimmers and bites were coming more regularly. Janders was still catching skimmers but hadn't caught a slab as yet. Going into hour three I pulled out of a bream and things went quiet.

My mate Andy turned up for walk round and while he was there Janders landed three more skimmers while I couldn't get a bite. Then a tentative bite saw me strike into another bream and I was halfway to my target with half the match left. I think Scotty was catching roach and I think I heard Mike say he had three bream. The trouble was I couldn't now buy a bite, Janders was still catching skimmers, fishing a shorter line than me, but he still hadn't had a proper bream.

I was really struggling although I did manage a better skimmer of 2lb, the anglers on the mid forties seemed to be catching well and I was falling behind. I tried casting to the left and right of my feed area but only added the odd skimmer. I pinned my hopes on the last hour and as it approached I unclipped and pulled a few yards of line off the reel before clipping up again. The idea was to see if the bream had backed off the feed. To be honest this didn't really help much either and I only added a couple more skimmers and a roach. I ended with four proper bream, two better skimmers and twelve smaller skimmers plus that roach for about 25lb or so.

The scales started at Mike Thomas who had 8lb 2oz then Scotty put 303 roach on the scales for an excellent 37lb 8oz and I knew I didn't have that. Mike Hosgood did even better with 47lb 4oz and Dean Malin reckoned he'd struggled but put 36lb 14oz of mainly skimmers on the scales - blimey! Janders weighed 18lb 10oz and then my fish went 29lb 2oz and I was already lying fourth in the section and knew there would be no brown envelope for me today. Mike Collins had 12lb 7oz and Butch had 20lb 5oz of roach.

Then we got to the pegs in the forties that had been catching bream consistently, Dennis Stepney had 52lb 8oz, Brendon Ions had 31lb 8oz and Chris Whitefield had 52lb 3oz. Dave Abrams had 28lb 15oz of roach, Nicky Collins had 29lb 9oz of roach, Les had struggled for 15lb 13oz, Ashley Tompkins had 31lb 7oz of roach and Roger Russell had 25lb 9oz so it had fished really well.

The dam wall had also fished with Steve Chant putting 39lb 13oz of bream on the scales (I presume he was catching so many that he didn't have time to take any photos for me!) and Mark Leahy coming close with 37lb. If only I could have kept those fish coming I would have been there or thereabouts as two more bream would have got me fourth place.

Still I can have another go next week as we're having a fiddle on the dam wall, I'm going through a right dry patch at the moment and no brown envelopes for four matches.

Pretty impressive reading

1 - Dennis Stepney (Chard) - 52lb 8oz
2 - Chris Whitefield (Chard) - 52lb 3oz
3 - Mike Hosgood (Exeter) - 47lb 4oz
4 - Steve Chant (Chard) - 39lb 13oz

A - Mark Leahy (Street) - 37lb
B - Scott Russell (Yeovil and District Angling Centre) - 37lb 8oz
C - Brendon Ions (Chard) - 31lb 8oz