Sunday, February 27, 2011

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League - 27th February 2011

Apologies for the lateness of my blog but my poxy pc had a virus. There were only six of us again and Neil had put all the pegs at Isle Brewers. I really fancied 125 (mind you so did everyone), I went in first but didn't look at my ball and as everyone else looked at theirs, nobody was admitting to 125, until Martin (who else?) opened his hand to reveal the peg everyone wanted. I looked at mine and came close with 125a. It was a beautiful morning with blue skies and sunshine and on arriving I was surprised to see the river had a nice tinge of colour and looked perfect. Everybody thought it would fish with plenty of roach and we all thought Martin would romp to another victory. Mind you, second place was up for grabs and could come from anywhere.

My peg looked nice and from experience I knew there was a deep hole in front of me and the main flow was under my feet and opposite was slacker water with the flow going back on itself. I got myself comfy down the bank and what wind there was, was blowing over the top of me, perfect! I got Old Faithful out and plumbed up over the peg and the rig was perfect and I was laying on a few inches. Above me was Neil Dring on 124 with Bob Hammond above him on 123 and Fieldy was in the weirpool (120) which I fancied would do a weight today. We got underway and I started with maggot under my feet to catch that all important minnow, after about five minutes I got one to secure me at least three points and third in the league.

Right now for the roach and I shipped out to fish in the deep hole, I fully expected to catch straight away but all I had was minnow bites on maggot so switched to caster. This wasn't any better and I was trying in the flow and in the deep water with the same result - no bites. Martin shouted up to ask what I'd caught and I said just one minnow and he replied he'd had four small roach and the expected bagging session wasn't happening. I was back on maggot and had a few more bites off minnows in the deep hole so went out with caster. I had a positive bite which I missed (it could have been a minnow I suppose), no more bites there so it was back to searching the peg.

I started fishing across but further down the peg and had another good bite on caster which I missed again! and I felt there were some proper fish about. Then the wind changed around and was blowing straight up the river and we started getting the odd spot of rain - great! I was only fishing about 9 metres and it was a job to hold that! I had been feeding the flow under my feet and kept trying it periodically but never had a bite there. In a brief lull in the wind I stuck an extra section on and went further across, the float sat in the flow before sliding away and a proper fish was on. I shipped back slowly and after a few hairy moments where the chub tried burrowing under my keepnet, I netted a good chub of 2lb+ - woo hoo.

I shouted down to Martin that I'd got one and he replied that he only had eight roach. I fancied there might be a few about but it was a real struggle to hold the pole in the wind and it was bloody cold too. No more indications and after another hour Martin wandered up, he was still on eight roach and then he went up to see how Neil was getting on. On his return he said Neil had a chub and a gudgeon, so it was all to play for. The trouble was I couldn't get a bite despite trying lobbie, maggot and caster and the wind was now hideous.

Neil walked past on his way around to the other side of the river to retrieve a lost rig and said he hadn't had anymore. I was by now fishing a section shorter because of the wind and out of the blue the float buried and I was into another chub, this one bigger at 3lb+ and I reckoned I now had about 5lb in the net. On Neil's return from his rig collecting mission he said Martin hadn't had anymore fish. I was convinced I'd get another but the only other action I had was a tiny minnow. I packed up and went to weigh Neil in, he was pretty pissed off as he'd lost two chub and his single chub, gudgeon and a couple of minnows weighed 3lb 2oz.

My two chub and two minnows weighed 5lb 7oz and then it was down to Martin who I was convinced would have more than he was admitting to, but he only had 13 roach for 2lb 9oz and he said I'd win it with my weight. I wasn't so sure, somebody would have more than that surely? The last person I had to weigh was Pete Lonton who had loads of tiny roach, gudgeon and minnows for a level 1lb. So that just left Bob and Fieldy and if I could beat one of them, I'd be in the money as the top two were being paid today. When I got back to the car, Bob had got back from weighing in Graham and I asked how they got on, Bob had only had minnows and Graham had 4lb 4oz so I'd won my second match on the bounce - get in.

I picked up £40 for the win and another £40 for coming third in the league to make this my most successful February for years, picking up money in all four matches. Martin won the league in a tight finish with seven points, only dropping a single point. Neil finished second and if he'd landed one of those two lost chub, he'd have been crowned champion.

V.E.S. Precision Winter League Champion 2010-11 - Martin Heard

Oh I forgot to mention I had my third squid off Martin on the trot although I don't expect it will be long before he claims them back again!

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 5lb 7oz
2 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 4lb 4oz
3 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 3lb 2oz

Final league positions

1 - Martin Heard - 7 pts
2 - Neil Dring - 8 pts
3 - Jamie Rich - 12 pts

The club would like to thank V.E.S. Precision for their generous, continued support and Pete, Robin and Neil for arranging the matches and of course Steve and Cindy at the Royal Oak for putting up with us in the mornings.

Tune in next week to see if I can do the hat trick - yeah right!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

MAP Hooklength Storage Box and Matchman Hook Tyer Reviews

On my weekly trip to Tackle UK in Yeovil to pick up bait, I treated myself to one of the MAP Hooklength Storage Boxes and on getting it home, I was so impressed with it I thought I'd do a review of it on my blog.

MAP's new hooklength storage system

It looks great and has many innovative features including;

a really good hooklength measuring tool to ensure all your hooklengths are the same length

double sided storage allowing up to 1200 pre tied hooks to be stored

UV coated lid to keep hooklengths in perfect condition

hooklength from 2 inches up to 3 feet can be stored

up to 80 different hook/line combinations can be catered for

I must say it's a great bit of kit and I can't wait to start filling it up

Check them out at

or buy one at

linked to that I recently purchased one of new Matchman hooktyers in Fluoro Green, I've used these hooktyers for years and think they are really reliable. I like the idea of the new limited edition bright colour range as they'll be a lot easier to find if you drop one and I can really see the pink one taking off among female anglers.

For info go to

Matchman hooktyer in Fluoro Green

So now I've got a reason to drag myself away from Call Of Duty and I can start tying up almost endless combinations of hooks and line diameters, which hopefully will put a few more fish in the net as it will now only take seconds to scale down or up.

And of course if any tackle firms want to send me gear for reviews I'll be more than happy!!!!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 20th February 2011

After it rained all night on Friday with more forecast, I just couldn't see this one being on the river but with a dry Saturday the river looked perfect on Sunday morning, with pace and colour and everyone expected it to fish well. As Steve and Cindy have taken over the Royal Oak I turned up expecting everyone else to be there, Justin turned up but we were the only ones! We went up the Crown and everyone (well the other four) were there waiting to draw. The depleted turnout was in part due to Robin being on his holidays and Heardy fitting a kitchen although I suspect the fishing hasn't helped.

With Neil in charge, he had done exactly the right thing by using the top end of the river and he'd put some really good pegs in. I really fancied 14, 15 or 85 and actually pulled out 85! It's a peg with form although it's blanked the last two times it's been in, I haven't fished it for years and was quite looking forward to it. For company I had Bob Hammond on 82 and Leighton on 79, both pegs are capable of producing and looked good. I got to my peg and it had changed quite a bit since the last time I was here. There was still a bush opposite and more branches in the water below which looked really fishy. The only problem was, it looked a bit pacey and there were quite a few boils, there was some steadier water under my feet.

I got old faithful out and plumbed up and there was a nice depth by the bush, shallowing up to the branches to my right. There was a deep hole in the steadier water under my feet which would give me a second line. I started with double maggot to try and catch a minnow to avoid the blank but couldn't get one! So it was on with a caster and out to 11.5 metres. The gram and a half Carbo was just about holding in the flow and as I inched it towards the bush, I had an indication which looked decidedly fishy, it didn't develop though. I went to move the rig only for it to be snagged - bugger! and then the snag started kicking before the bloody hook pulled out, not a good start.

Next put in and a proper bite saw black hydro come streaming out and I safely netted a 2lb chub - get in. At this point I really fancied there were quite a few fish there and that I could do a big weight. I had a few more indications but the caster was only nipped and then I had a minnow so it was time for half a lobbie. Nothing for ten minutes so I let the rig go right under the bush and the float buried and chub number two was on. After a healthy scrap, I netted it and this one was 3lb plus. So after an hour I'd had two and lost one and it was all going to plan.

Back out with lobbie on, no more bites and twice I got snagged and lost the hooklength and it was obviously very snaggy under the bush. After tying on another hooklength I went back out with the hook buried in a caster but no more indications so I tried the hole on the inside, which I'd been feeding since the start. Nothing here either and I was amazed no small fish were showing. I tried below the bush where it shallowed up and had another minnow on caster but also got snagged here a couple of times too. I was starting to run out of ideas.

Leighton turned up, he hadn't caught and Bob only had a small trout, so at least I was leading the section for now. He also said that when he'd done a weight off this peg early in the season, he'd caught above and below the bush. After he left I went back above the bush with single caster and out of the blue the float disappeared, I struck and at first I thought I was snagged again but it was another big chub and at 3lb, it gave 8lb or so with two hours to go. The river was actually dropping and I thought this might improve the fishing but the fish had other ideas.

I kept trying below the bush and would get indications off minnows but it was really snaggy, I did hook a tiny silver fish here but it came off as I was shipping back. With the light fading I upped the feed and ten minutes before the end, the float went under and I struck and my elastic came out briefly before pinging back and I'm really not sure whether it was a fish or not and that was that. I was actually a little disappointed after such a good start and I was sure Fieldy on 14 and Neil on 15 would both beat me and as Neil was only paying the top two, I'd miss out. Leighton arrived with the scales and said he hadn't caught and Bob just had the one trout of 8oz so when my three chub and two minnows went 8lb 2oz, I knew I'd won my section, which would help on the league front.

As I was loading up my car, Neil arrived to pick Leighton up and said the top section had fished terribly and Justin was top with 1lb 1oz!!! So I'd actually won and picked up £45 and I'm now three points clear in the league with 13 points followed by Graham on 16 and Neil on 17 with one match to go. I was really chuffed to have won my first match of the year although I can't understand why the river fished so poorly. It fished quite well up until Xmas but it's nose dived since. I don't think it helps that there are so few anglers which means very few pegs are used but I can't see that changing.

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 8lb 2oz
2 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 1lb 1oz
3 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 13oz

Next week is the last V.E.S. match and I'm currently third although I don't think I can catch Neil in second unless he blanks and I win my section although the way the river is fishing I'll settle for catching a fish!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

River Isle - Open - 13th February 2011

My rain dance seemed to have worked although judging by the amount of rain forecast I think I may have over done it! It had rained steadily all night and seemed set to be with us all day, combined with strong winds this could be an uncomfortable day! On my way to the draw I went over the river and was surprised to see it looking spot on. There were only ten of us and Rob had put us all on Redbridge, Isle Brewers and Hambridge (for the first time this season). I really fancied 125 at Isle Brewers but I got lumbered holding the draw bucket and was left with the last ball which turned out to be peg 2 at Hambridge. The last time it was pegged Neil Dring won with three big chub for just shy of 10lb so I pumped him (oo-er) for info. He said he'd caught them by the stick ups, three sections out.

I got to the river and Max (fishing his first match for ages) was on the next peg down which is above the road bridge. Below the bridge were Andy Welch and Martin Heard. Mr Drawbag, Graham Field, had drawn 125 although he also had the choice of peg 124a. I fancied him and Rob on 110 (the in form peg at the moment) to do well today. When I got to my peg, the first thing I noticed was there were no stick ups! and it looked like the river had been dredged since we fished it last. Also there were no small fish topping and thought this could be a bad sign.

I got the same rig out I used last week and hoped it would be deep enough and luckily it was, there was a good depth mid-river, the trouble was if I could hold the pole there in the poxy wind! I thought about putting a couple of balls of groundbait in as I thought this could be good but with little time before the off, decided to just loose feed so I started with double maggot on the hook, feeding maggot, casters and hemp. After 20 minutes of holding it back, running it through and battling the wind I hadn't had a touch and I could see me blanking.

Then out of the blue I had a little dip and I was interested again, next put in I had a decent bite and swung in a half decent roach. A minnow sized roach followed before some more chunky ones and I was enjoying myself. Max wandered up and asked how I was getting on, told him and he said he was getting quite a few small fish and that Andy below him was getting a few as well. After an hour I had eight fish and was getting regular bites, I tried caster and had few more although they're weren't any bigger than the maggot fish. The second hour was much the same although the combination of wind and rain was freezing and I couldn't feel my hands.

The third hour arrived and it was like someone had flicked a switch and I couldn't buy a bite, I started to feed the inside in the hope I could snare a couple of chub later before having a coffee and walking down to see Max. He was fishing the stick and getting lots of gudgeon although they were very small. I walked back and had two tiny roach on the longer line before they disappeared again. Over the next hour both Martin and Andy walked up, Martin only had three roach and Andy's bites had dried up too and Max had been seen off by a jack pike and was sat in his car warming up!

The river was now rising quite fast and there was loads of floating crap coming down. I upped the feed on the inside and tried laying on there but never had a bite, back out long I added a few more small roach to finish with 21 roach and a gudgeon. It took me ages to pack up as my hands were so cold I couldn't open the drawers on my box! Andy arrived with the scales and said Martin had chucked back and Max had weighed 1lb 12oz, I wasn't sure I had that and my fish went a paltry 1lb 4oz, Andy weighed 10oz so it hadn't fished very well at our end.

Back at the results and it became apparent how badly the river had fished, Tony Newman won with a good chub plus a few bits for 3lb from 126, Max actually finished second and Graham Field was third with 1lb 5oz (bugger - ounced again) from 124a, I'm sure he'd have had more from 125! I won my section and picked up £15 and Rob won the other section with 1oz! (and he was the only one to weigh from Redbridge). The other good news was that I took a £1 off Martin for the second week on the trot.

I would actually like to fish Hambridge again, under better conditions, as it felt like there were quite a few small fish there and we know there are loads of big chub too. Well lets hope next week is better (it can't get a lot worse!). We've got to sort ourselves out next match as Rob is off to the Caribbean for three weeks, I hope he thinks of us freezing are asses off while he suns himself!

1 - Tony Newman (Ilminster) - 3lb
2 - Mark Nicholas (Ilminster Warehouse) - 1lb 12oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 1lb 5oz

A - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 1oz
B - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 1lb 4oz

Sunday, February 06, 2011

River Isle - Crown Winter League - 6th February 2011

After last weeks freezing minnow-fest, the weather had warmed up considerably although strong winds could make presentation a nightmare. There were nine of us today and Robin had put some cracking pegs in, including Redbridge, pegs 55, 66 and 125. I pulled out peg 122 but actually had the choice of 122 or 120, although a mega walk I decided to fish the weirpool (120). Neil Dring had 125 and I thought he'd be there or thereabouts, Fieldy had peg 126 but fished 123 because of horses in the field! (I reckon he just wanted to fish 123).

Leighton, Rob, Freddy and Martin had drawn Redbridge with Heardy on a new peg that looked really chubby. Steve Parker and Graham Bulgin had pegs 55 and 66 and both of them can throw up huge chub weights. I started the long trek to my peg and stopped at 122 to have a look, it looked nice but as I've always wanted to fish the weirpool I dropped some of my kit off there before carrying on. I eventually got all my kit to my peg with only 20 minutes before the start and I was puffing like a good-un (I really must invest in a trolley). With my peg being low down I was hoping I might be sheltered from the wind a little bit but it was blowing right across the peg and already staring to become quite fierce.

I only had time to set a single rig up (a deepish Carbo) and plumbed up to find a nice depth in the pool, shallowing up a little towards the tail. There was also some far bank cover in the tail so I decided to fish two lines, the deep water and the tail. I started off at about 9 metres in the deep water, feeding hemp, casters and maggots and expected to catch quite quickly. This didn't happen (not even a minnow!), so after ten minutes I tried by the tail. The flow was actually going back the other way with all the main flow under my feet, the rig settled and then slid away and I swung in a small roach.

I was getting a bite every chuck on double bronze maggot and was catching mainly small roach with the odd chublet and dace and thoroughly enjoying myself (especially after last week). After the first hour I had 21 fish which I thought must go about 2lb and if I could keep this up for the whole match I would do low double figures. The second hour was slightly better with 25 fish including a couple of better roach and chublets and a small trout (which count). The poxy wind was getting stronger though and I had to stake my keepnet out as it kept blowing out of the water! (and in the process discovered my wellies leak).

Things started to slow up in hour three, I was now catching on double red maggot and a quick try with caster just saw a couple of missed bites. I was still getting fish from the tail but was catching a lot of gudgeon with the odd minnow. I did hook a big fish which I had under control but the hook pulled out shipping back and I was sure it was a good chub - bugger. Fieldy turned up and said he'd had a good chub plus a few minnows for about 3lb, I told him I thought I had about 4-5lb. I caught a roach while he was there before he walked up to see how the pegs at Redbridge were doing.

The wind was now horrendous and it was really hard work trying to hold the pole, I added a couple of tiny trout plus more gudgeon and the odd minnow and caught a decent roach on caster (the only fish I had on it). I did try going to 10 metres tight against the far bank but got snagged and lost a hooklength. I was getting really frustrated with the wind and swearing like a tourette's sufferer at it but it wasn't taking any notice! I'm sure I'd have caught a lot more if it had been calmer but I kept reminding myself everyone was in the same boat.

The last hour was really slow but I was still getting gudgeon but knew I wasn't going to reach my 110 fish target. I finished with exactly 90 fish (plus a few minnows) and I thought I might have close to double figures. I packed up and started to take some of my kit back, I met Fieldy coming up with the scales and he said he hadn't caught any more chub and that Neil had really struggled on 125. He also reported that Leighton had four chub early on plus roach from 110 but the others at Redbridge were struggling.

My fish actually went 7lb 9oz so I'd under estimated for once! and I was a little disappointed but had been catching too many gobies and not enough silvers. Graham weighed 3lb 5oz and Neil on 125 only had 6oz! Since Graham broke the match record from it the catches have steadily decreased and Neil said there were loads of fish topping above him so maybe in the shallow water they've moved up.

Back at the results and Leighton had added another chub to win comfortably with 12lb 10oz and I was second and picked up £27 plus I beat Heardy so he can give me back my pound next week! The other pegs at Redbridge had fished poorly with Fred not weighing and Rob and Martin only catching minnows. Graham Bulgin didn't weigh from 66 and Steve Parker only had minnows from 55 but apparently they both fished the wrong pegs!

I'd had a good days fishing apart from the wind (grrr) and as I won my section I'm now leading the league with 12 points followed by Fieldy on 13 and Neil and Leighton both with 15.

1 - Leighton Cox (Ilminster) - 12lb 10oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 7lb 9oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 3lb 5oz

A - Steve Parker (Ilton) - 10oz
B - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 6oz

Next week is the Open and I hope we have some rain before then or it could be hard going yet again.