Monday, July 27, 2009

Dillington Pond - Summer League - 26th July 2009

With no clue how I was going to approach this one, I wasn't sure whether I was looking forward to it or not! At the draw there were only 11 of us fishing as the decline in attendances continues. I really fancied having a crack at pegs 1 or 16 but of course pulled out peg 4, I really can't draw for toffee at the moment. Graham Field had peg 16 and Martin Heard drew peg 1, how I wish I could draw like either of those two!

Still there was a match to fish so I made my way to the pond, again my peg was nicely cut out thanks to Moses Holbrook (I've finally found out and remembered his second name!). I mixed up some Sensas Matchblend and Roach and put up two rigs, one my usual Drennan Roach float for open water and a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp for fishing just past the reeds on my inside to the left. I intended to fish over groundbait at 10 metres and also put in a chopped worm line just past the reeds.

My Drennan Roach float (why won't the bloody thing go under!)

I had Tiverton's Bruce Hunt on my right (although I couldn't see him because of a bush between us) and Rob Cox to my left on peg 6. His was also a golden peg and would be worth a bumper payday if he won off it. On the whistle I cupped in three balls containing maggots, casters and hemp at 10 metres and dumped in some chopped worm and casters just past the reeds. As always I started on the long line with caster on the hook and was soon into small roach on the drop. I'd changed my elastic yesterday to a number 5 blue Preston Slip in the hope it would help stop bumping so many fish. I was getting a few but still missing/bumping too many.

After the first hour I had 16 fish, mainly small roach and had fallen a little short of my target of 20 fish per hour. The second hour saw me slow up even more and change to maggot didn't improve things either. Robin didn't seem to be doing a lot and as I was itching to try my chopped worm line, I felt it was time for a change. I nipped the head off a worm and shipped out, the wind was starting to be a pain in the ass although the rain hadn't started yet. The rig settled and it wasn't long before it submerged out of site and I was swinging in a 3oz perch. I had eleven in as many chucks and as they were bigger than the roach on the long line I started to think I might put together a weight.

Looking around the pond it looked like it was a struggle for most, then my bites stopped so I put in some more chopped worm and went back on the long line. Things were just as bad there and I was only putting the very occasional fish in the net. Then the shout went round the pond that Martin had a big fish on, it turned out to be a biggish carp (probably an escapee from some ponds upstream as none had been stocked!). After a lengthy battle he netted it and might as well have packed up there and then as the match was won.

Big Frank turned up and after a brief chat went up to see Martin, he came back to report that besides the carp he had around 70 roach! which was a long way ahead of my 33 fish. Robin had a run of small skimmers up in the water (which was nice to see, we just need a few more thousand of them now!) and while Frank was with him he struck into something a bit more substantial which turned out to be a bream of 4lb or so. I was now being stuffed all around once again. My chopped worm line was now dead along with the long line and I was out of ideas again.

Knowing that Robin was catching odd fish up in the water I tried my inside rig on the long line and started catching odd roach on caster, I found that by swapping between my two lines with the same rig I could catch a couple of fish before they backed off and I would have to swap lines again. Without really bagging up I kept putting the odd fish in the net including some quite nice roach. Oh, did I mention that along with the wind it had now started raining heavily. I ended up with 57 fish which was exactly the same number I had Wednesday night for 3lb 14oz, surely today I must have had more than that weightwise as I had some better fish. Well I wouldn't have long to wait to find out as I had the scales.

I started with Martin, his carp weighed 8lb 10oz (a handy bonus!) and along with his roach he weighed 12lb 9oz, the first double figure weight this year on a Sunday. Bruce Hunt had 5lb 7oz and I didn't think I had that, my fish went 4lb 5oz which was better than Wednesday night but not by much. Robin's bream was 4lb 2oz and his total was 7lb 4oz which ment the golden ball was safe once again. The last angler I had to weigh was Alvin who had 2lb 2oz, he's unstoppable on Wednesday nights but Sundays seem to be like Kryptonite for him, welcome to my world! I started to think I might might sneak my section by triple default if Bruce framed as Alvin reckoned the anglers on the other side had struggled.

Martin with his 8lb 10oz carp

Robins 'up in the water' bream

Back at the results and they hadn't struggled that much as Graham had pipped Bruce by 2oz - bugger! Martin was confirmed as the winner with Robin in second and Graham in third. Bruce won our section and Neil Dring won the other one with 4lb 2oz. The pond had actually fished a little better although those two bonus fish flattered the weights a little. Steve Parker had a bad day losing several big perch which led to him declaring he wouldn't be coming back again, so another one bites the dust. We've gone from a respectable 16 anglers down to 10, still at this rate by Xmas I might actually have a chance of winning a match!

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 12lb 9oz
2 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 7lb 4oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 5lb 9oz

Section A - Bruce Hunt (ALS) - 5lb 7oz
Section B - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 4lb 2oz

After six matches and dropping the worst result, Bruce still leads the way with 8 points followed by Graham and Martin on 11.

Next week we're back at Chris's pond so tune in for more tales of doom and gloom.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dillington Pond - Evening League - 22nd July 2009

I've been quite enjoying the evening league albeit with mixed results and this one was no exception. I got to the pond for the draw and there was a reasonable turnout of seven anglers including Martin Heard and Scotty who obviously both needed to top up their piggy banks! As always Robin let us draw two pegs and decide which one we wanted to fish. I really fancied a crack at pegs 1 or 16 as I hadn't drawn either this year. But of course pulled out 17 and 19, nothing new there then! I decided to fish 19 as there wasn't much to choose between them. Alvin pulled out 16 and Janders peg 1 which just confirmed they can both draw better than Rolf Harris!

The pond

My peg was a real armchair as Moses, Rob and Alvin had been out on Saturday, cutting out swims and weed clearing - good work lads. As always there wasn't much time to set up so I quickly mixed up some groundbait (Sensas Roach) and set up my Drennan Roach rig with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611. On the whistle I cupped in three balls of groundbait at 11.5 metres and went out with caster on the hook. I started getting bites on the drop straight away and had three roach in the first three put ins. Looking around most people seemed to be getting a few although Martin was having problems with the weed if all the swearing was anything to go by!

I set my sights on 60 fish (20 an hour) as in the first evening match I'd had 45 for 4lb 11oz and 5-6lb will normally get you there or thereabouts. I was loosefeeding caster and hemp and still catching on the drop, most were roach about an ounce each although I did net a couple of slightly better ones. After the first hour I was ahead of target with 22 fish. Both Martin and Scott were catching but they looked like small fish to me.

The second hour was much the same for me and I was up to 41 fish including a small eel. I was missing a few bites and bumping the odd fish but still quite pleased with how it was going. Quite a few people came round for a walk including Roger Russell, Justin Charles and 'Big' Frank Woodard who reported that Robin was getting a few as was Alvin although Martin was on about 95 fish!!! I was just hoping they were tiny. My swim was drying up and bites were becoming more infrequent, I was also keeping an eye on Janders who had caught a couple of eels but no chub as yet. I knew full well that they could show up at anytime and he'd only need a couple.

I did think that as the light started to fade that some better roach might show, I was still putting fish in the net but they were the smaller ones of an ounce or so. On the whistle I'd ended with 57 fish and was sure I had 5lb plus. I packed up and saw Scotty by the cars, he had over 90 fish too and I was starting to think I hadn't done as well as I first thought. First stop with the scales was Alvin and he plonked 10lb 2oz in the weigh sling! He had some quality roach and looked like he was heading for yet another evening win (his fourth in five matches). Scotty had 5lb 10oz and Martin had 145 fish for 8lb 5oz, next was Moses (and yes I've forgotten your second name again!) with 6lb 10oz. Janders hadn't found any chub and weighed a level 3lb, Robin also had some quality roach in his 5lb 2oz net and that only left me to weigh. I was really disappointed when the needle stopped at 3lb 14oz, I was sure I had more than that. I also tore a hole in my new keepnet pulling it out, so not a great night really. I did take a pound off Janders.

Alvin was victorious for the fourth time in five matches (and he was second in the other one!)

So once again I'm at a total loss and we're back here on Sunday and I have no idea what I'm going to do.

1 - Alvin Jones (Chard) - 10lb 2oz
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 8lb 5oz
3 - Moses (Ilminster) - 6lb 10oz

Monday, July 20, 2009

Chris Haines Pond - 19th July 2009

I wasn't holding out much hope of a good day today as I just can't seem to get my head round the place. Dave picked me up at 6:45 and off we went, via Cartgate cafe for a brekkie where we met the others. It was a wet and windy day and the grey clouds overhead indicated we might be in for some more of the wet stuff. After about an hours drive we arrived at Chris's place. After sorting out some bait it was time to draw and I pulled out peg 10, which is where Dunner was last time and exactly the peg I wanted, had my luck finally changed?

Chris's pond

I got to the peg and it looked nice with an island opposite and a bed of lilies to the right where Dunner caught most of his fish. Along with the usual worm, caster, maggot, pellet and corn, I had brought some diced meat dusted with groundbait and some tares (Dunner reckoned he had caught quite a few fish on them last time). On my right I had Alan 'Picky' Gage who was on the peg I had last time so at least I would have an idea of how my pound was looking, on my left was Butch Baker although I couldn't really see him because of a tree between us.

A fair old selection of bait

This time I was determined to go all out for silvers and hopefully pick up any carp that came along. I set up a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp with 0.12mm bottom and a little Trabucco dibber for against the island (just in case!). Both rigs had Tubertini size 18 808's at the business end. I was set up with plenty of time to spare so decided to go and annoy a few people, starting with Butch, as I got off my box I saw Janders had beaten me to it.

Me and Janders both decided Butch should fish in the wet bit!

With five minutes to go I wandered back to chop some worms up, the general consensus was that the pond wouldn't fish as well as last time due to the cold rain and drop in temperature and that 25lb would be a decent weight. Les called the all in and I cupped in a load of choppie by the lilies at about 8 metres and then micro pellet and meat by the island. I started off at two metres to hand loose feeding casters and tares but after five biteless minutes it was time to try over the chopped worm. I put on two red maggots and shipped out, the rig settled and shortly after disappeared, I struck and blue hydro streamed out as a carp made for the lilies and snapped me up! Not the start I had hoped for.

As I tied a new hooklength on I could see Picky catching odd silvers and from all the splashing coming from my left it sounded like Butch was bagging. I was soon back in action and getting bites, I was off the mark with a nice roach, followed by small perch and roach. I tried caster and worm and caught a few fish but it didn't seem to make a difference as you'd get a half ounce perch followed by a half pound skimmer. I was putting in worm and caster every chuck via a little pot on the pole. After the first hour I had 19 fish, mainly roach and perch along with a couple of small carp and was pleased with how things were going.

I felt there was nothing between me and Picky although I had no idea how we were doing overall as I couldn't see anybody else. The second hour was much the same although I started to get more skimmers along with some nice rudd, a couple more carp and a lovely little crucian and I was pulling away from Picky. I was still feeding the two metre line and every now and again dropping in on it but it only produced a small roach. I was slightly concerned that I was having to wait ages for bites over the worm but from banter I could hear around the pond it seemed it was the same for everyone. Although as all anglers are pathological liars you can never be sure.

Going into the third hour Picky was really struggling and had gone over by the island, I decided that if he started catching carp I might have to do the same (here we go again). I was still getting the odd fish though, so decided to stick at it for the time being. Butch was still catching and reckoned that Dave next to him had caught right from the off. I was still swapping between hookbaits and by far the best was just the head of a worm. I'd also done away with the small pole pot and was feeding larger amounts via my cupping kit and the swim seemed to be getting stronger and was fizzing like a jacuzzi!

Picky went over by the island after the carp.

Picky started getting the odd carp including a couple round the 5lb mark and although he was having to wait ages for the bites I was sure he had eaten into the early lead I had built up. I kept thinking about trying the island but then I'd get a carp or a skimmer. Nope I was going to stick to the plan, I also added another crucian and even had a tench over a pound. The more worm I fed the better the swim got and I was flying. I had more carp and a couple of pound skimmers to end with a flourish, the only down side was I had a tangle right at the end and was still trying to sort it out when the all out was called, which probably cost me a couple of fish. I was fairly happy with my match although I now wished I hadn't spent so long fishing the two metre line which had only yielded two roach and a hybrid. I ended with 81 fish and no idea of my weight, I knew I had more silvers and more carp than last time when I had weighed 11lb so I reckoned on having about 14-16lb.

Walking back to Dave's car, I passed Butch who was admitting to around 18lb and I didn't think I had that, Dave reckoned he had nowhere near Butch's weight. Janders was admitting to 12lb so I had a chance of winning a pound at least. Les would have normally been the first to weigh but decided to start at Dave and go the other way round which made everyone think he's put another good weight together. Dave had a good double figures and Butch was spot on weighing over 18lb, I was then surprised to weigh 23lb 3oz and received much abuse over my complete crapness at estimating weights!

Butch had over 18lb

Picky pulled out his net and it was going to be close, the digital readout stopped at 21lb 10oz so I was still in the lead and a pound better off. Any thoughts of victory soon disappeared when Dunner put 25lb 4oz on the scales from the winning peg from the last match. Bushy had 18lb odd and then Steve Bishop had a level 31lb to take over the lead. Chanter was next to weigh and again it was going to be close, his weight was called out at 32lb 4oz and one Steve replaced the other at the top of the leaderboard.

Steve Bishop had a level 31lb

Janders who is much better than me at estimating weights weighed in a touch over 12lb and gave me another pound (I could get to like this!). Then it was Les's turn and as I was currently lying in fourth (and last) place in the frame I was sure any chance of a brown envelope was about to disappear. But the venue expert had struggled! to weigh in over 19lb. I'd finally done it, after about six visits I'd finally picked up some coin.

The venue expert only weighed 19lb odd!

Steve Chant had won to continue his good form of framing at each visit and actually managed not to break any poles this time! Bish was second, Dunner third and I was fourth and picked up £50.

Not content with breaking his own pole last time around, Steve thought he'd have a go at Daves this week!

Talking of Chanter, I lent him my camera before the match and this is one of the pics he came back with! I know it's worm fishing but he could have left Dunner's lobbie alone!

1 - Steve Chant (Chard) - 32lb 4oz
2 - Steve Bishop (Chard) - 31lb
3 - Alan Dunn (Chard) - 25lb 4oz
4 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 23lb 3oz
5 - Alan Gage (Chard) - 21lb 10oz

Quite a pleasing day but next time I will be feeding more worm and ignoring the two metre line. Next up is an evening fixture at Dillington on Wednesday night, peg one would be nice but I'm not that lucky!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dillington Pond - Summer League - 12th July 2009

I was desperate to halt my bad run of five matches without picking up a bean and not catching very much and conditions looked near perfect for round four of the Summer League. It was overcast and mild and if ever the pond was going to fish it was going to be today. There was a slightly reduced turnout of 12 today (due to the poor fishing?) and when I pulled out peg 11 I was pretty chuffed. It was the peg where Malcolm Levy won a few matches back and it's generally a good area. Alvin drew peg one which seems to be a bit of a poison chalice at the moment, the chub either feed and you're a hero or you catch very little.

I got to the pond and it did look nice with a nice ripple on it as well, my peg looked good and relatively weed free (which was down to Alvin's hard work). Bruce Hunt was on my left and his swim was pretty choked with weed though and he went off to borrow a weed cutter. I had the other Tiverton invader, Martin Heard, on my right and next to him Graham Field. All have been enjoying good form here and I could be in for a spanking today.

I made myself comfy and mixed up some groundbait (Sensas Roach), along with the usual maggots, casters and hemp, today I had a load of worm left from last week. After so many eels showed last match, I was going to put in a chopped worm line. I set up a Drennan Roach float for fishing 10 metres straight out and another rig with a Drennan Carp float for fishing just off a weed bed to my right at about 10 metres.

Janders came up for a chat as he was next to Bruce and as we were talking there was a loud splash and looking across to peg 16, Steve Parker's box had gone over and he's slipped into the pond. We asked if he was ok and he said he was, I did have a little chuckle and asked if he could do it again so I could get some pictures, unsurprisingly he declined. I chopped up some worm and casters and it was time to start. I cupped in three balls at 10 metres and a big potful of choppie by the weed bed.

I shipped out, with caster on the hook and laid the rig out but the float wouldn't settle, I tried again with the same result. It appeared there was more weed present than I originally thought and I'd plonked my groundbait straight on top of it - doh! In my defence while plumbing up I hadn't detected any on that line. I decided to add a section to my pole, I knew I'd be off the bottom but you normally get quite a few fish on the drop anyway. I started to get the odd small roach and rudd but could see from the windmill like actions of Graham and Martin that they were straight into the groove of things with small fish. Bruce was getting a few but despite his weed cutting skills he was getting hooked up on it loads and losing quite a few fish in it.

After an hour I only had nine fish and if was to do any good my catch rate had to improve, I tried lowering the rig in at 11.5 metres and bringing it back over my groundbait at 10 metres and it worked to a certain extent but I was still only getting odd fish. After a couple of hours my swim was dying and I was miles behind the three small fish experts so it was time to try over my chopped worm line. Pete Lonton the club secretary turned up for a chat and I had a good whinge about how the pond was fishing as had others apparently, hopefully he'll get the club to stock some fish! While he was with me I had three or four 4oz perch but also lost a couple in the weed.

I thought I might actually be able to start playing catch up but this swim soon died as well so I fed some chopped worm and went back to catching very little over my groundbait. Bites would come in twos or threes before tailing off and the chopped worm line was now only producing the odd perch and not the eels as I'd hoped for. Martin and Graham were still catching small fish and Graham had even landed a couple of eels. I was back over my open water line and upped the feed in the hope that the eels might turn up like the last match here. No such luck though and just before the end I looked up to see Janders playing a big perch, I was just preparing to wave goodbye to another pound when it weeded him solid and he lost it. That was enough for him and he packed up.

Robin signalled the all out and I started to pack my kit up, my love affair with Dillington was over, I really hadn't enjoyed one bit of this match. I ended with 33 fish for around 2lb. Janders walked by on his way to the car and said he wouldn't be coming back again, I knew how he felt. Over the last three years the winning weights have steadily dropped as have the average match weights, I will still fish the matches but the club needs to do something before match attendances start to dwindle further.

The scales worked their way round and Alvin had really struggled in peg 1 for 1lb followed by Roger Russell on peg 2 with 13oz and Moses on 4 with 1lb 10oz - not great weights! Graham did well with 6lb 4oz and Martin did even better with over 140 roach for 7lb 2oz and I knew he'd win it with that. I weighed 2lb 3oz and Bruce completed my battering on both sides with 4lb 9oz, Janders only weighed 1lb 10oz and handed over a nugget. Steve Parker on peg 16 caught some late chub to weigh 5lb 13oz, which served me right for laughing at him earlier. Neil Dring had 1lb 8oz, Justin Charles 3lb 2oz and Robin Cox didn't weigh in.

Back at the results and Martin won followed by Graham and Steve, I was a little surprised when I picked up £20 for winning my section by double default, still at least it had stopped the rot for now. Bruce won the other section.

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 7lb 2oz
2 - Graham Field (Ilminster) - 6lb 4oz
3 - Steve Parker (Ilton) - 5lb 13oz

A - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 2lb 3oz
B - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 4lb 9oz

The top three on the day from left to right, Graham Field, Martin Heard and Steve Parker

Next week we're back at Chris Haines's pond in Frome and as I've never won any money there I won't be holding my breath.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Chris Haines Pond - 5th July 2009

Dave Lawrence picked me up at 7:00 and off we went, we stopped at Cartgate for an excellent brekkie where we met Chanter, Picky and Oz. Les and the rest turned up at just gone eight and we set off for Chris's pond near Frome. I have never done that well and was determined to stick to a plan of fishing chopped worm and caster for the silvers and to ignore the carp. I had a half a kilo of worm ordered along with some casters. In my bag I also had some micro pellets and corn, just in case!

We arrived at the venue and all piled into Chris's on site shop so Les could relieve us of all the money we had in our wallets. By the time I had bought fags, paid for breakfast and bait, paid the pools and bought some new choppie scissors I had spent £70! Les announced the draw and I pulled out peg 9 and I noticed nobody was saying that it was a flier or anything! and when I got there I realised it was a peg I had drawn on one of my first visits and hadn't done very well then. It looked nice with an island about 10 metres away and inviting lily pads to the left.

I set up two rigs, a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 Tubertini 808 for fishing in the middle over chopped worm and a little Trabucco dibber for fishing the inside to the left and by the island. I chopped up a load of worm and caster and was ready for the off. I had Butch Baker for company on my right and Alan 'Pup' Dunn was on my left. On the whistle I cupped in worm and caster at about 5 metres and then micro pellet and corn by the island and by the lilies. I started over the choppie with double red maggot on the hook.

I started getting bites straight away, catching roach and small skimmers. Looking round the pond everybody was swinging in or netting fish. Compared to the last time I was here it seemed much slower and despite trying pieces of worm, caster and corn, I was only getting odd fish and by the end of the first hour only had around a dozen fish compared with 24 last time. I was starting to flap already. Going into the second hour I had two decent skimmers but Butch and Bushy next to him were catching quicker than me as was Dunner on my left. It was time to try the inside so I fed some more choppie mix before slipping on a piece of corn and shipping the rig out near the lilies. I missed two bites before catching a small 4oz carp, no more bites here so I added a couple of sections and went across by the island but I didn't get the instant action I'd hoped for.

We were now halfway through the match and my plan had already gone to ratshit, I was miles behind the anglers I could see and decided to try and catch carp (again!). Dunner, Bushy and Picky were bagging and Butch was still getting silvers regularly.

Butch was catching plenty of roach and skimmers

I was getting odd carp on the inside and across but going nowhere fast and my worm line was just being ignored. Dunner was fishing a tidy match and catching the odd carp in amongst the silvers and I was wishing I'd just stuck with my worm line, but it was too late now. Bushy also said that Les was catching steadily as well although I don't think he had anything to worry about with the amount of carp he was getting!

Bushy was bagging again

I was by now just blasting pellets by the island with pellet on the hook, there were carp sucking pellets off the island but I was only getting odd fish, I did manage one about a pound and a half just before the end. During the last hour everytime I looked across the pond all I could see was elastic coming out of Oz's, Chanter's and Dave's poles. Les called the all out and I seriously contemplated not weighing in, I had 36 fish which I doubted would go double figures. I knew Picky had beaten me so would be another pound down although I wasn't sure how Janders had gotten on so the fate of that pound would remain to be seen.

I knew where one pound would be going!

Chanter had enjoyed a good last hour and looked good for a frame place although right at the end of the match he managed to snap his pole when he wasn't watching where he put his feet. Who you gonna call Steve? - Polebusters! He also managed to drop one of the legs from his box into the pond, he was still smiling though.

Still smiling

I packed up and as I took some of my kit back to the car I passed Dunner who was admitting to 30lb, Janders and Les also said they'd done well which confirmed how badly I'd done. The weigh in started at Steve Bishop who had a nice net of roach for 16lb 11oz, Oz had a level 15lb and all of a sudden I realied people hadn't caught as much as I'd thought (the plan, should have stuck to the plan!). Chanter weighed 24lb 7oz to take the lead, he had mainly carp including a double which helped! and Dave Lawrence had some lovely perch in his 18lb 5oz. Dave Abrahams struggled for 9lb 8oz and then Picky had 22lb 10oz and I handed over my nugget.

Bushy plonked a stunning 59lb 1oz on the scales which was made up of 14lb of silvers and 45lb 1oz of carp, Butch weighed 12lb 12oz and then my fish went a level 11lb which was a little more than I thought but I was still looking at being second from last on the pond. Pup had 38lb 3oz which was mainly silver fish, followed by Janders who had 21lb 12oz so I handed over another pound just to polish off the last of my finances and then Les had 31lb 8oz without a carp in sight to continue his good run of results at the venue.

So that was that, I've now gone five matches without picking up a bean, maybe I can get back on track at Dillington next Sunday (I doubt it).

Yep my fishing has certainly gone down the pan at the moment!

1 - Steve Bush (Chard) - 59lb 1oz
2 - Alan Dunn (Chard) - 38lb 3oz
3 - Les Braunton (Chard) - 31lb 8oz
4 - Steve Chant (Chard) - 24lb 7oz