Thursday, December 29, 2011

Summerhayes - Open - 28th December 2011

STOP PRESS After last weeks blog, Scotty messaged me to say there was a match at Summerhayes on Sellicks if I fancied it, so I had one more chance to try and break the £1300 mark. My alarm going off at 6:30 was a bit of a shock to the system, as was getting up in the dark! I got to Bridgwater and there was a decent turnout of anglers including Martin Heard (who I paid my £1 to from last week) and Bruce Hunt who has been winning matches at Summerhayes with frightening regularity.

Scotty had sorted me bait out (top man as always) and today I had liquidised bread, slices for punching, micros, expanders, pinkies and maggots. I'm made up some 4 x 14 rigs with size 18 808's to 0.10mm and was quite looking forward to targetting the silvers. After a cup of coffee it was time to draw, I pulled out peg 9 which Pete reckoned was a good silvers peg so that would do me. For company I had Bruce on peg 6 and Heardy on end peg 4 (yet another flier!) and Adie Bishop on my left in the corner. As we were setting up, it looked like they were after carp across so I should have the silvers pretty much to myself.

Pete shouted the all in at 9:15 and I cupped in a few micros and pinkies at 10 metres down the track and some liquidised at the same distance but to my left before cupping some bread in across for the carp. I started down the track with double pinkie and the pimple of float I had showing soon disappeared but I missed it, next put in I had a 4oz skimmer and I was off the mark. I had a few more tiny blades before catching a 4oz carp and was quite enjoying it. The weather was incredibly mild and there was no wind as yet. Adie had got off to a flying start and had landed three or four small carp although Bruce and Heardy hadn't got much at this early stage.

After an hour I had eight fish for probably a pound and decided to try a 4mm expander to see if I could catch some better quality. I had a couple more 4oz skimmers before landing a 2lb carp. A few blades followed before I hooked another decent fish which turned out to be a 1.5lb crucian which was a welcome addition to my silvers net. I was missing quite a few bites though and bumping the odd small fish. I tried punch over the left hand swim but only caught one tiny skimmer on it so started feeding micros there as well to give me somewhere to go to rest my main swim.

We had some freezing rain which thankfully didn't last long but a gusty wind had got up and it was making presentation a nightmare. I was still getting odd small fish but now Heardy was motoring on carp and as Adie now had probably ten carp I couldn't see any point going across as I was never going to catch them up. So it was head down to try and win the silvers prize. Halfway through the six hours I was still geting the odd 4oz skimmer and had one around the half pound mark and thought I was on course to do 5-6lb which should be good enough as 4-5lb had been winning the silvers.

Bruce was really struggling and had turned his attention to the silvers and was catching tiny skimmers every put in and even had a little tench. I knew I was probably just ahead with my crucian but I was now struggling and I could see him overtaking me at this rate. I tried pinkie again over both lines and could get odd tiny blades but it was still very slow. I kept trying pellet but was missing way too many bites. As the end of the match approached I was convinced he'd done me and I finished with 38 fish and I thought my silvers might go 4lb.

The scales arrived at Martin and he had 63lb 1oz and would be there or thereabouts with that, Bruce weighed 5lb 13oz of tiny skimmers which was a really good weight and I didn't think I had that. My carp weighed 2lb and then I plonked my silvers on the scales and the needled settled and Pete called out 5lb 15oz - phew! but would it be enough? Adie had 46lb+ and then I continued packing up as the scales went round the other side. As I was packing the car Scotty turned up and he'd had 11lb 10oz of skimmers - bugger. I was hoping that he'd frame as he had over 30lb in total but it wasn't to be as peg 23 had 56lb+, so I'd failed in my bid to top £1300, maybe next year then!

Heardy does it again! (I'll have to get another picture for next year as I'm getting sick of this one!)

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 63lb 1oz
2 - 56lb+
3 - Adie Bishop (Summerhayes) - 46lb+

1 - Scott Russell (TackleUK) - 11lb 10oz

Well that is it for me for 2011, there are matches at Summerhayes on New Year's Day and Monday 2nd Jan but my next match will be on the Isle on the 8th Jan and you can read all about how I get on right here. Happy New Year everyone, have a safe one.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

River Isle - Tacklebox/Royal Oak Winter League 5 - 18th December 2011

After some freezing weather and plenty of rain in the week, I really thought the river would have plenty of colour for this match and when Rob said he'd pegged the top end, I fancied it could be a good match. After a hairy drive to Ilminster on very icy roads, I was disappointed that there were only five hardy (or should that be stupid) anglers at the draw. I really fancied peg 14 (the tank traps) but pulled out peg 15 (close but no cigar!), still it's a half decent peg, especially with extra water on, so I wasn't too disappointed.

I got to the river and was amazed to see it still quite clear, it had extra pace but no real colour. My peg looked really good though, it's a big pool with the main flow through the middle and under my feet with slacker water on the far side. From experience I knew there was a deep hole in the middle and a decent depth until it shallows up in the tail. Being a lazy git, I just set up a 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo and plumbed up around the swim to make sure I would be slightly overdepth.

After a quick coffee it was time to start, I fed the far side where the flow eddies back, in the middle and in the flow under my feet. I started holding back in the flow and had a bite straight away from a small dace, which dropped off on the way in - good start! Then I couldn't get a bite and a change from caster to maggot saw me catch a minnow to avoid the blank. I tried the far side but never had a bite so next it was down the inside but when this was no better I was running out of ideas. I stuck another section on and went down past some overhanging crap on the inside and the float buried straight away and I swung in a 3oz chublet, I thought I'd found them but then couldn't buy a bite again!

I felt like there were some fish about so I took a section off and inched the float through on the inside, a decent bite saw some elastic out and I gratefully netted a 6oz trout (which count). Next put in I bumped a fish before having another trout of a similar size before it went quiet again. I tried all three areas again but had no more indications. Rob came down from the tanktraps and said he hadn't had a bite yet! While he was with me I was on maggot down the inside when I had a couple of little digs which I thought was probably minnows but when I went to move the rig a fish was on briefly! I'd already lost as many fish as I'd landed and I was hoping they wouldn't prove costly.

Rob went back to his peg and left me to it, I did manage a tiny dace from across on maggot but was still going nowhere. I tried half a lobby to see if there were any more trout about but never had a bite in the three spots I had fed. More out of desperation than anything I stuck two sections on and went down towards the tail of the swim and the float didn't even settle before shooting away and the pole tip starting knocking as well! and I still missed it! I came back and half the worm had gone. I tried again but never had another bite down there.

My last action of the day was another small trout on caster from in the flow 11.5 metres down the peg. I packed up hoping the others had found it as hard as I had. Steve walked up from peg 17 and said he had struggled too, before going up to see how Rob had got on. I took my kit back to the car and got the scales and walked up to weigh Rob in, he'd found two trout and weighed 1lb 3oz, I wasn't sure I had that! Next was Steve and he'd had four trout (think we might be better off fly fishing next match!) for 2lb and I knew I didn't have that and was staring at last in the section. My three trout, one chublet, tiny dace plus a couple of minnows went 1lb 4oz - phew! So at least I had two section points to keep me in contention in the league but it could have been so much better if I hadn't bumped off those fish.

Back at the results and the anglers at Ashford had struggled with Martin winning yet again with 3lb 6oz of chublets from peg 82. Neil Dring had 1lb 4oz which meant me and him had tied for third place and picked up £7.50 each! I lost yet another £1 to Martin and will have to try and recoup some in 2012, but I'm not holding my breath!

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 3lb 6oz
2 - Seve Parker (Ilton) - 2lb
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 1lb 4oz
3 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 1lb 4oz

Martin finished the year leading both leagues

Well that's it for me in 2011, my best year ever winnings wise although I missed out on making it £1300 by just £9, maybe next year! I won nine matches and jointly won the evening league at Dillington with Moses and going into 2012 I'm joint second in this league and not too far off the pace in the V.E.S. Precision league. I would just like to wish anyone who reads this a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year and of course TIGHT LINES.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

River Isle - Xmas Fayre - 11th December 2011

After buggering up most of my rigs over the last few weeks, I actually spent quite a while on Saturday making up rigs, tying hooks and putting new elastic in my pole. This combined with my new waterproofs had me raring to go on Sunday, I just needed a decent draw now. There were twelve of us today including Ned and his boy, club treasurer Andy Welch and Tony Newman who we hadn't seen since the first V.E.S. match! Pete announced the draw and I waited a while before delving in and looked around to see what others had drawn, Pete had the much fancied 126, Leighton had the 'Council House' which was in for the first time this season and Andy Welch had 85 which has been a consistent peg this year. I went for it and pulled out 82 again - bugger! I did have the choice of 82 or 83 and everyone reckoned I should give 82 a go. Then Heardy had the last ball in the bucket and it was 120 and I knew he'd be there or thereabouts from there (and he really is drawing well at the moment).

I got to the river and was surprised how low it still was considering how much rain we'd had in the week, but that seems to be a sign of the times with the river rising and falling very quickly. I went up to look at 82 and it looked okay but it's on a high bank which I didn't much fancy with the gusty winds predicted for today. Also the cows were around and I didn't really want to spend half the match fending them off, so 83 it was then! I made myself comfortable before getting one of my shiny new rigs out and plumbed up around the swim, the rig was pretty much spot on and I waited for the start with a cup of coffee.

10:15 arrived and I baited up with caster and inched the float through in the flow leading up to the bush and it slid away and I swung in a gudgeon, next chuck I had a dace and followed this with a chunky little roach. I was feeding casters, maggots and hemp and getting a bite every run through. After the first hour I had 26 fish, mostly gobies with the odd dace and roach and thought if I could do 20 fish an hour I wouldn't be too far off double figures by the end of the match.

The second hour was pretty similar and I added another 24 fish although I was catching mostly gudgeon along with the odd minnow (which I didn't count) and was ahead of my target at this stage. The last time I fished this peg I had a decent trout and I was hoping it would put in an appearance this week too! Hour three saw things start to slow although I still had 16 fish to put me on 66 and I was still ahead of my target. Nearly all my fish were coming from above the bush and holding back by the bush saw very few indications which surprised me as the swim screams chub!

Hour four saw me really struggling, I did have one gobie on maggot, I tried poking the rig right in under the bush and had an 8oz roach straight away, next chuck I had a 6oz chublet and thought perhaps I'd found them again but it was short lived and I only added a couple more gudgeon. I flirted briefly with worm but never had a touch on it. The wind was pretty strong but as I was only fishing about 8 metres it wasn't affecting me too badly and then the rain started! It was coming down quite heavily and I was glad of my new waterproofs which seemed to be performing really well.

I was still putting the odd fish in the net but it was obvious I wasn't going to reach my target, as the light started to fail I had three roach including a couple of better ones to finish on 79 fish. At an ounce each I would have 5lb and as I had some better fish I really thought I might have 7-8lb. I weighed Andy in who had struggled with the wind for 8oz although he did lose a good chub, I plonked my fish on scales and was disappointed when the needle settled on 5lb 14oz although I felt I'd fished a good match and had only dropped one fish off.

I got back to the pub and people started filtering back, Heardy had done 7lb 15oz from peg 120 (he must know that peg like the back of his hand now!) and was top until Leighton came back from the Council House swim where he'd had 8lb 2oz and he'd packed up an hour early! There were a couple of 5lb+ weights but I was still hanging on in third place until Neil Dring appeared and he'd had an excellent 12lb 11oz from peg 96, so I'd just missed out on the frame.

Pete did the results before we all tucked into an excellent buffet laid on by Steve and Cindy and then it was time to pick our prizes, I was called out in fourth and got a nice bottle of whiskey which would do for Mum as she likes the odd drop or two! I forget to mention that Martin had yet another £1 off me and I only have one match left to try and win one from his this year.

1 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 12lb 11oz
2 - Leighton Cox (Ilminster) - 8lb 2oz
3 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 7lb 15oz

Xmas Fayre winner - Neil Dring

So that just leaves next week to see if I can finish on a high and break through the £1300 barrier.
The club would like to thank Pete Lonton for getting all the prizes, Robin Cox for organising the match and Steve and Cindy at the Oak for laying on a lovely spread.
The final match of the year is next Sunday and the draw is at the pub between 8:30 and 9:00.
Barney's Pairs Open has been rescheduled from New Year's Day to March 4th.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

River Isle - Tacklebox/Royal Oak Winter League 4 - 4th December 2011

As you may have noticed from the title, we have a new co-sponsor for this league in the Tacklebox in Chard and I would like to say a huge thank you to Darren for his support. Also new for this week was my sparkly new Preston waterproofs although with how dry this winter has been so far it doesn't look like I'll get to test them anytime soon! Rob had used the bottom end of the river again as it was still low and clear and with only six of us fishing there was a good chance of drawing a good peg. I really fancied pegs 120 or 126 but of course Heardy drew the former and Rob drew the latter (why can't I draw like that!). I delved into the bucket and pulled out peg 124 again - great! Earlier on in the season it had been producing chub but I struggled for 4lb 2oz off it a couple weeks back and Pete Lonton only had 10oz off it last week.

I got to the peg and decided to sit a little lower than last time so I could reach all of the swim with 13 metres. I only had time to set one rig up and it wasn't deep enough so I had to do a bodge job and add some more line on (professional I know!). Still at least I looked the part in my new gear! The start time arrived and inching the rig through in the main flow with caster on the hook I was soon getting the usual minnows and the odd little roach and dace. After an hour I'd had 5 or 6 but probably didn't have 4oz yet so it was time to try half a lobbie. This produced a few knocks from small fish but after two hours I hadn't added anything else to my net and it looked like being yet another struggle.

I decided to have a coffee and wedged the pole between my legs so the float was holding back in the flow at 10 metres. I was just tucking into a sandwich and some crisps when the float went under and a better fish was on! At 10oz it wasn't the biggest chub in the swim but it more than trebled my weight. I went back out with another half a lobbie on and just as I reached for my half eaten sandwich, the float went again and I had another chublet, this time around 12oz-1lb. That's it I'd found them I thought but apart from a few knocks I went back to scratching around.

I went back to caster and had a few more small roach and dace (plus minnows of course) and was about to give it up as a bad job when I had a better roach of about 6oz. No more decent refins followed so I was back on the worm with a couple hours to go. Ned turned up for his usual Sunday walkabout, although this time he was doing a bit of piking with his two boys. He said Neil in 129 was struggling and Rob was getting bits in 126. Just after he left I had a really good bite on worm that saw elastic come streaming out of the pole and the fish was right back under all the far bank crap. I was convinced it was a pike until I saw it flash and it was definitely a decent chub. I applied more pressure and eventually it came out backwards and I netted it to find out it was foulhooked in the tail! Still at 2lb 8oz it was gratefully received.

I was thinking a couple more of those and I'd be in with a shout, Ned returned and said Heardy in the weirpool was getting odd fish but not really bagging so it looked like it could be another low weight day. I kept trying all round the swim with worm and did get another around 12oz from the top of the swim and that was it. Despite upping the feed in the last hour I never added anymore fish to my net and just can't seem to catch more than one decent chub from this swim. I thought my 18 fish (plus minnows) might go 4-5lb and if the fliers hadn't fished as well as expected I might sneak in the frame.

As I was packing up, Neil wandered up with the scales and said he hadn't bothered weighing as he only had a few small fish but Rob had a lovely net of mainly quality roach weighing 11lb 6oz and I thought he'd win with that. My fish went 5lb 3oz so my estimate was pretty bang on for once. We got back to the results and Martin had weighed 9lb 12oz (so much for struggling then!) and I started to think I was going to miss out. Leighton hadn't caught in 108 and Steve had one chub for 2lb 7oz from 106 but had lost three. So I sneaked into third place and picked up £13 to keep my winnings for this record breaking year ticking over.

Rob continued his good form with a nice net of roach weighing 11lb 6oz

1 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 11lb 6oz
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 9lb 12oz
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 5lb 3oz

League wise, Martin still leads with 3 points, Rob has leapfrogged me into second on 4 and I'm in third place with 5.
Next week is the Xmas Fayre which I won last year and I would love to do it again, I just need to draw a flier now!

On the plus side, there are still some good nets of small fish being caught and it bodes well for the future, if only we could get some colour in the river I'm sure you would see some really good weights.

Before I go here's the link to the Tacklebox's website please check it out and pop into the shop's in Lyme or Chard and support your local tackle dealer.