Sunday, October 30, 2011

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League 2 - 30th October 2011

After quite a bit of rain in the week and some last night, I was hoping the river might have a tinge of colour for today and the signs were looking good for a decent match. I got to the draw and there were ten of us fishing today including 'Rocking' Roy Fowler and Leighton Cox who was fishing his first match for ages. I got a coffee and checked the section boards, there were some really good pegs in but two stood out that I really didn't fancy, peg 123 and 125 which I had in the last V.E.S. match.

Pete announced the draw and I hung back a bit but was soon wishing I hadn't as I couldn't hear anyone say they'd drawn either of those pegs! I stuck my hand in and pulled out poxy 123 and as it's a peg I've never done any good off, I was already fearing the worst at this early stage. Rocking drew last weeks winner 126 and I expected him to do well, Rob drew 124 which has been really consistent, Martin had 125a and Justin had 125 and I just couldn't see me getting too many points today.

I got to the river and there was a slight tinge but not as much as I'd hoped for and you could still see plenty of 'stick ups' and cabbages. I quickly set up a Drennan Carbo and plumbed up, I had a nice depth across at about 10 metres and there was a decent amount of flow as well. There were lots of minnows topping and I began to think I might catch a few. We were starting at 10:00 and I'd barely finished setting my one rig up when it was time to start. I started across with a single caster and was feeding casters, maggots and hemp. The float slid away after a couple of minutes and I swung in a gudgeon so at least I was off the mark.

A couple more 'gobies' followed but I wasn't really setting the world alight, I took a section off and had a run of three small chublets but that was short lived as well. I was by now fishing double caster as the minnows were being a real pain. I tried half a lobbie tight across to the far bank cover in search of a chub but only succeeded in getting snagged up and losing a hooklength. After an hour or so I only had those six fish plus a few minnows for a few ounces in total. It was time for a coffee and a wander. First port of call was Rob on 124 but he was down watching Martin on 125a, I sat down with him and Heardy said he was struggling, he was getting a few tiny roach on the waggler but had already lost a pike. Rob said he'd only had a few bits but had lost a couple of decent fish.

Rob went back to his peg and I finished my coffee behind Martin, he said Justin was getting some small dace on 125 but as nobody seemed to be running away with it I decided to get back to it. As I walked past Rob he was playing a fish but it came off on the way in, I carried on walking! Back at my peg and first put in I had a 12oz chub and when I followed this up with a couple more small fish, I thought I might put together a half decent weight. It wasn't to be though and I just kept adding the odd small dace, roach and chublet but had no quality at all.

Half an hour from the end, Rob walked up and said he'd had two chub, while he was there I had a 4oz roach but only added two more small fish up to the end of the match. I finished with 20 fish (plus minnows) and would be lucky to do a pound and half. After a really good start to the river matches my weights are going down hill rapidly, although I don't think my drawing hand has been performing very well. I quickly packed up and as I was taking my gear back, Rob arrived at Justin to weigh him in. He'd had lots of small fish for 4lb 11oz, with a section last staring me in the face I asked how Roy had got on and was surprised when Rob said he'd packed up! Apparently he'd thrown back 3lb of fish with an hour and a half to go so at least I wasn't going to be last in the section.

Martin had found a chub and weighed 5lb 7oz and Rob's two chub plus bits went 6lb 9oz and I knew I would be scoring four points today - not good! My fish went a lowly 2lb 1oz and if I never see that peg again it will be too soon. Back at the results and Leighton had caught small fish steadily all day from peg 85 to win with 8lb 8oz, Pete Lonton had a similar day in the weirpool at Isle Brewers (120) and was second with 8lb 2oz and Rob was third.

Leighton was victorious on his first river match of this campaign

1 - Leighton Cox (Ilminster) - 8lb 8oz
2 - Pete Lonton (Ilminster) - 8lb 2oz
3 - Rob Cox (Ilminster) - 6lb 9oz

A - Graham Field (Taunton) - 5lb 12oz
B - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 5lb 7oz

You can drop a match in this league and after two matches I already need to drop one!

There is a free date next week with no match scheduled, I'm willing to arrange a knock up so if Martin Heard, Steve Parker, Graham Field or anyone else wants to fish, let me know or else I'll probably go to Summerhayes (if there's a match on!).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

River Isle - Royal Oak Winter League 2 - 23rd October 2011

We were back on the Isle for round two of the Royal Oak Winter League but the river was still really low and clear and my rain dance hadn't worked at all! Rob was going to put in some untried pegs at Isle Brewers but with strong winds forecast he switched the pegs to Upper Coxes with a few new pegs in there. I waited until a few pegs had gone before delving in and pulled out the choice of 23 or 24 - great! Heardy had drawn peg 20 and Dringer had 22 which were two of the new pegs and I quite fancied 22. Fieldy had 15 again and Rob had 14 but said he was going to fish from the concrete instead of the usual place. There were two pegs at Isle Brewers, 124 and 126, Steve Parker and Justin drew these and I reckoned both had a good chance of framing.

Heardy looked at 20 and said it was unfishable and with the agreement of Rob fished in peg 17. I got to the river and looked at 24 but decided on 23 as Fieldy had nearly 6lb of small fish in the first match and had plenty of bites. Fieldy had caught by several weed beds at the top of the swim and there was also the option of fishing down towards the top of 24. I set up a 0.75gr Carbo for fishing at the top and another of 1.5gr for fishing down the swim, both had 0.12mm bottoms and size 18 B611's. The start time arrived and I kicked off by starting at the top with a single caster on the hook. I fully expected the action to start straight away but couldn't buy a bite, not even a minnow!

I was feeding both swims with hemp, caster and maggot and eventually started getting the odd dig on the float from minnows and soon caught one. I tried double caster but the minnows were having a go at that too. I did hook a small chublet but it caught round some weed and the hook pulled out, things were not going well! My first chublet came from 11.5 metres down the swim but this action was very short lived. Back to the top and I eventually started getting the odd tiny chublet and dace but I'd get one or two but they would soon spook in the gin clear water. That was to set the scene for the day really, I would get the odd better dace but they were very few and far between.

About half way through the match, Neil Dring arrived from peg 22 and said he'd just had a few small chublets and I was admitting to around a pound. After he left, Ned was the next arrival and said people were getting odd fish but nobody was really bagging. I had an 8oz chublet from down the peg and I then added two more from the top of the swim and thought I was now up to 1lb 8oz and wouldn't be picking up a brown envelope today. I ended with a flourish with another dace from 11.5 metres and another two from the top including my best dace of about 8oz. I thought my 23 fish (plus minnows) might scrape 2lb if I was lucky.

Neil said he'd had a nice spotty (trout) which I thought might do me but as he was in the other section I wasn't too concerned. Heardy arrived with the scales and it seemed like his pick your own peg approach had worked as he had 64 fish and was admitting to 5lb+. My fish went 2lb 14oz and I would have to wait to see how the Isle Brewers pegs had got on for my section points although I fully expected both pegs to beat me. Neil's trout assisted net went 2lb 5oz before Martin had 8lb 15oz and his net included a good chub which he'd forgotten to tell us about! I thought Martin would win with that. Rob had 2lb 11oz from the weirpool but had lost several good fish again and Fieldy had done 5lb 5oz from his favourite peg.

As we arrived back at the pub, Justin turned up from Isle Brewers, he'd had a right bagging day and had weighed a stunning 21lb of mainly dace on the stick float and caster and he'd said he'd had nothing above 6oz, a great days fishing. Steve had managed one chub for 2lb 6oz from 124 so at least I had a respectable two section points. Steve had lost several chub and should have been there or thereabouts. Once again, given the state of the river I was impressed with the number of small dace and chublets showing and if we could just get some rain I think you'll start to see some really good weights.

Justin had a fantastic days fishing

1 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 21lb
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 8lb 15oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 5lb 5oz

So after a really good run of picking up in the last seven matches it was back to earth with a bump. At least I had good points for the league, now I just need a good draw for the V.E.S. next week.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League 1 - 16th October 2011

I know I say it every year, but this is a league I'd dearly love to win, I've been second and third in recent years but top spot on the podium has always eluded me. You can drop one result out of the seven but a good start always helps. I got to the pub and there was a slightly better turnout of nine anglers including Tony Newman and Pete Lonton, the club secretary. Rob had put some good pegs in including 14 where I won last week and lots of people fancied it this week. With no rain all week and bright sunshine, this could be quite tough this week (but then I said that last week!).

Pete said that there was £36 carried over from the golden ball last year and there would be two golden pegs, these were 124 and 85 and both pegs are potential winners. Heardy was moaning that he never drew peg 14 and he had the last peg in the bucket and guess which peg it was?, yep 14! I drew peg 125 which is probably the best peg on the river and the match record came from it last year. I've had some big weights off it as well but I was concerned it would be too early for it. The peg needs a good flush out and some colour to fish really well and I remember drawing it early one year and struggling for 2lb off it. I had the choice of 125a as well and Rob said there were some chub in it yesterday.

I was just about to head to the river when I realised I hadn't brought my reels with me - dick! So I headed back home to pick them up before getting to the river with very little time to set up. The river was very low, clear and weedy although some weed clearing/dredging had been done by the EA, there were still plenty of stalks visible. I decided to fish 125 although I couldn't see any fish in the gin clear water. I quickly set up a waggler rod with a 2AAA Drennan Crystal waggler with just two number tens down the line and a size 18 B611 attached to a 0.12mm hooklength. I also set up a Drennan Carbo pole rig as well and plumbed up but couldn't find anywhere over a 18 inches deep!

There was one relatively clear patch at 5 metres but it was only two foot long and about a foot wide. The start time arrived and I kicked off with the waggler and had to cast down the swim to find any flow and started feeding casters, hemp and maggots, I quickly caught a gudgeon and a very small roach so at least I was off the mark. The float kept dragging under even at 18 inches so I shallowed up a bit and this seemed to help and I had a little run of gudgeon, small dace and chublets. The trouble was they were very small and after an hour I had around ten fish (plus minnows) and would be lucky to have a pound!

I tried the pole in the clear patch where I could see odd chublets but the minnows were ragging the caster and I was starting to get frustrated. Back on the waggler and I was catching quite a few gudgeon with the odd chublet, dace and little roach but nothing over 2oz. It wasn't fast or furious though and I'd be lucky to do 3lb at this rate. My only hope was if some quality showed but I just didn't feel the big roach had moved into the peg yet. After three and a half hours I was still putting the odd fish in the net when Pete turned up from peg 124, he'd had some small fish but had just lost a chub. He also said that Heardy had phoned him and was struggling in the tank traps.

Then Tony Newman turned up from peg 123 and said he was really struggling and probably had about 6oz or so, he said Pete had now landed a decent chub and I couldn't see me beating him but hopefully I could still get decent section points. While Tony was there I was fishing the pole at 5 metres and had a couple more small fish but the minnows were still being a right pain! With under an hour left I tried the pole at 11.5 metres down the peg and towards the far bank and had a run of chublets but it didn't last long. The end arrived and I had 53 fish (plus minnows) and I thought I had about 2lb 8oz - not good.

I packed up and as I also had the scales I walked up to weigh Pete in (Tony had left for an early bath), Pete had added another chub and with some small fish he weighed 7lb 7oz and I said he'd be there or thereabouts with that. My fish went 3lb 4oz and I didn't think I'd be picking up today. Back at the results and the river had fished hard and Pete won the match and the golden peg, Neil Dring was second with 5lb 4oz of mainly gudgeon (and it's great to see them putting in an appearance again) and Heardy and Fieldy were joint third with 4lb 7oz each. I actually won my section by default and picked up a tenner which is better than a kick up the bum and it keeps my winnings ticking over. Justin won the top section with one chub of 4lb! I also got two points which is a good start to this league.

Pete won the match and the golden ball and had a nice little pick up

1 - Pete Lonton (Ilminster) - 7lb 7oz
2 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 5lb 4oz
3 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 4lb 7oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 4lb 7oz


A - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 4lb
B - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 3lb 4oz

Although the weights were lower than last week, it was still encouraging to see lots of small fish featuring in catches, especially the gudgeon. There were also several big chub lost. We just need some rain now!
Next week we're on the river again and going to try some different swims so tune in to see if I can keep this good run going.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

River Isle - Royal Oak Winter League 1 - 9th October 2011

After spending all Summer on Dillington and carp puddles I was really looking forward to getting back on the ditch (Isle) again. But with no rain to speak of, the river was painfully low and clear and I fully expected this match to be a grueller. I got to the Royal Oak and it was really disappointing to see only six of us fishing today (sign of the times I suppose). Rob had spread us around with two pegs at Upper Coxes, Ashford and Isle Brewers and gave choices of pegs in most cases as well. With peg 27 not in, I really fancied peg 14 and only went and bloody drew it!!!

I had the choice of 14 or 15 and people have been catching loads of fish in 15 and with no water in the river I made sure I had a good look at it before deciding on 14. You could see the bottom across most of 14 but there was darker water by the tank traps. I set up 'Ole Faithful' and also a lighter 0.75gm version in case 1.5gms was too much for the minimal flow. I plumbed up and there was nearly three foot by the traps which was better than I thought, as well as by the traps it also looked fishy where it ran out to my right.

10:15 arrived and I started with single caster on the size 18 B611 and shipped out and inched the float through while feeding some maggots, casters and hemp. I was soon getting bites but only from poxy minnows, I eventually caught a small chublet but it was hard going. The poxy minnows were even having a go at double caster, I tried half a lobbie but never had a proper bite on it. I searched down in the tail of the swim but nothing there either. After two hours I had eight small chublets and one slightly better one of about 6oz for probably less than a 1lb in total! Things most definately were not going to plan.

Graham Field was down on peg 23 and I guessed he was catching as he hadn't been up for a walk. I had a sandwich and a bit of a rethink, I knew there were plenty of fish in the swim but where were they? I plumbed up back towards the weir and there was about the same depth just off the flow as I had by the traps. I went up there with single caster on and held the float back and I didn't have time to feed before the float shot under and a decent fish was on. It wasn't on long though and the hook pulled out - bugger! Next put in I had a decent dace and then it was a fish a chuck and I hardly had time to feed before getting bites. I was catching quality dace and chublets and had three chub around 1.5lb each. I thought if I could get to 50 fish I would have around double figures.

I had about an hour of catching really well before it started to slow, I also added two perch and three trout (which count) for another 2lb or so but lost another good fish. Ned arrived for his usual Sunday walkabout but by this time things had slowed right up again, I did catch another dace while he was there to put me on 46 fish. He said he would pop down to see how Fieldy was getting on and come back to let me know. I did try back down by the traps and added another tiny chublet before the minnows got back in on the act again.

I went back up towards the weir and it was a case of putting odd fish in the net, Ned arrived back and said Fieldy was struggling and moaning rather a lot. I caught a couple more while he was there and ended on 52 fish (plus minnows) and I was admitting to 6-7lb but hoped I had nearer 10lb. I packed up and as I was loading the car Fieldy arrived back at the cars, still moaning as he had the scales as well. He reckoned he had a couple of pound. We went up to weigh me first and I was surprised when the needle settled on 12lb 2oz! We walked down to peg 23 and he had a nice net of dace and chublets which went 5lb 11oz (he's worse at estimating then me!), now I just had to see how the others had got on.

Back at the results and the river had fished really well considering how low and clear it was. Martin Heard had a good chub plus bits for 8lb from peg 85 at Ashford and Steve Parker had 4lb 8oz from 83 while at Isle Brewers both Rob and Neil weighed 6lb 8oz from pegs 126 and 124. Neil had a good chub and some quality roach and Rob had mainly roach and had suffered some pike trouble too. So I'd won! and picked up £40 to take this years winnings to £1250.50 and my best year ever. It was great to see so many small fish showing, lets hope this continues and with some colour on the river I think you would see some cracking weights.

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 12lb 2oz
2 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 8lb
3 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 6lb 8oz
3 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 6lb 8oz

There was one down side to the day though, Rob said at the draw that after today the rest of the Royal Oak series will be on the pond, I hope this isn't the case as I've fished it all Summer and just can't face fishing a load more matches over the winter. I know Neil won't fish the pond either, I don't mind odd matches when the river's flooded but why don't we fish the river when we can get on it. We could even alternate between the Isle, the canal and the pond which would be good. At the end of the day it's Rob's decision though.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Summerhayes - Open - 2nd October 2011

With Ilminster's Isle league not starting until next week I booked into an open at Summerhayes, which was on Long's pond. There was a decent turnout including Alvin and Digger and Pete announced the draw and Alvin pulled out a good peg and was looking to win his fourth match on the trot. I pulled out peg 32 which put me down the right hand side for the first time. The peg looked nice with a bay on the far side although I intended to fish for silvers down the middle for most of the match.

I set up a Malman's 0.4 gram pencil float for my skimmer line and a dibber for across although I only plumbed up at 14.5 metres and it was nearer 15 metres to get right in the bay. Pete shouted the all in and I cupped in half a pot of damp micros at 10 metres and the same plus some corn at 14.5 metres. One of the Wickhams was the next angler two pegs to my right and he started well catching two decent skimmers on worm. I missed my first bite on 4mm expander but soon had a couple of skimmers in the net, I then had a chunky crucian and followed this up with a 2lb skimmer. After the first hour I had eight fish for around 5lb which was bang on target.

The second hour was very similar and I added another crucian and a decent skimmer plus some smaller skimmers for about 4lb and my catch rate was ticking along nicely. I felt it was still neck and neck between me and the next peg to my right, the guy on my left was struggling. Then the third hour arrived and it all started to go pear shaped, I had a bite every put in but missed or bumped every single one and never added a fish to my net during this frustrating period. I messed about with the depth of my rig and this seemed to help slightly in that I hooked a carp only for the hook to pull out! I then had a decent fish come off at the net. I did add a couple of skimmers and another crucian to put me around 10lb with two hours to go.

Andy won the silvers in the last match I fished with 25lb but only 15lb or so was good enough for second and I thought I still might be able to do that if I could keep putting odd fish in the net. Although I had slowed up, it seemed the anglers I could see were all struggling now too, which was some consolation. The fifth hour was a little steadier and I had a couple of 10oz tench plus some skimmers and roach and a couple of nuisance carp. The last hour was pretty much the same and my last fish was a lovely tench which was pushing 2lb. I ended with 36 fish (of which 4 were carp) and I thought I had around 17lb, but would it be enough?

The chap on my right packed up with half an hour to go and chucked his fish back, which quite surprised me as I thought he'd done okay on silvers. I packed up and Pete started the weigh in at Adie Bishop on peg 37 and he had 29lb odd, the next angler didn't weigh and then it was my turn. My carp weighed 4lb 7oz and my silvers 18lb 13oz to give me a 23lb 4oz total. As the scales made their way round there were some decent carp weights headed by John Dursley with 38lb something. Then a chap called John Green (I think) gave me a scare when he weighed 17lb odd of silvers and he had fished just a top two all day.

There were now only a few pegs left to weigh, Alvin weighed an excellent 46lb to lead the field and Eric Fouracre came close with 44lb 1oz and his net included 13lb of silvers and that was it, I'd won the silvers again! I picked up £30.50 for winning (God knows where the 50p came from!) and I now need just one more pick up to make this my best year ever (that's probably jinxed it now!).

1 - Alvin Jones (Paul Church Motors) - 46lb
2 - Eric Fouracre (Sedges) - 44lb 1oz
3 - John Dursley - 38lb+
4 - Adrian Bishop (Summerhayes) - 29lb+

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 18lb 13oz
2 - John Green - 17lb+

Well hopefully we'll be on the river next week but the Isle desperately needs some rain, so tune in to see how it goes.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Gillhams Resort, Thailand September 2011

Me and Scotty headed to Thailand for nearly three weeks and we were staying at the wonderful Gillhams fishing resort for most of it. The place really is heaven and you are looked after so well by Stuart, Sean and Becs along with the guides Scott, Lee and the lovely Golock. We fished for nine days and we caught 95 fish of 15 species (Scott had 64 fish to my 31). We had Arapaima to 160lb, Siamese Carp to 55lb, Amazon Redtails to 40lb among loads of other weird and wonderful species.

160lb Arapaima (my new PB)

55lb Siamese Carp (another PB)

40lb Amazon Redtail (yet another PB)

Scotty with Spotted Stingray (new species for us)

Striped Catfish (they only have stripes when they are younger!)

Scotty with Roho (another new species)

Asian Redtail Catfish (new species for me)

Julian's Golden Prize Carp

Alligator Gar

Spotted Featherback

We also had a couple of nights out in Ao Nang and Bangkok

plus some day trips

we also met the legend that is Terry Eustace at Gillhams

and Jeremy Wade

Stuart came to Bangkok with us and showed us the sights which was fantastic of him

The Royal Palace in Bangkok

The wildlife was diverse and amazing to see

I can't go without mentioning the guides, Scott, Lee and Golock

The lovely Golock

Scott (Rocky) and Lee

It really was a dream holiday and I can't wait to go back, check out the Gillhams website below