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