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.