Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summerhayes - Silverfish Festival Day 2 - 29th July 2012

I was up early again and on my way, everybody at the draw was saying they didn't want to draw Lily lake as it would be won with a low weight and if anybody ties on points it goes to weight. Glyn Wickham and Brendon kept on that I would be on Lily and I was sincerely hoping that wouldn't be the case. Pete announced the draw and Glyn's face was a picture when he drew out peg 11 on Lily, then Brendon pulled out 7 on Lily and I thought it might be safe to go into the draw bucket. I opened my hand and I was only bloody on Lily too!, serves me right for laughing at those two I suppose. I was on peg 12, which at least put me in an open water peg away from the carp friendly lilies.

I had Glyn on the next peg to my right and a chap called Lewis was the next angler along on my left, on peg 14. The Wickhams had been practising the pond and said that 10lb would be a good weight but carp would be a real problem. I set up a 0.6 gram Malman pencil to fish in open water with pellet and would also use it for fishing over my chopped worm at 5 metres. I also set up a Colmic Jolly with a size 18 808 to 0.10mm to fish at two sections where I would feed casters. I thought if I could just keep putting something in the net I would be doing okay.

The all in was sounded and I fed some micros at 11.5 metres and some choppie at 5 metres before flicking a few casters in to my right. I started on the long line and soon had a tiny skimmer, followed by a 2oz rudd. Glyn had a better skimmer of 6oz or so and then I had one of a similar size to stay in touch and was quite pleased with my steady start. I then hooked and lost my first carp so came a section short and started toss potting in micros there. Glyn had another couple of 6oz skimmers and was pulling away from me. Nobody else seemed to doing much although Lewis and Roy opposite were getting odd fish. Pete Wakeling on peg 2 was already catching carp although he kept telling us he was catching crucians and tench! After an hour I only had half a dozen small fish plus the one decent skim.

I had a quick go with caster on my short line but never had a touch, next stop was the chopped worm line, I waited ages for a bite but then had a decent skimmer followed by a couple of blades before the carp moved in. After a couple of carp I would switch lines but they were turning up everywhere and I was hardly feeding anything. Glyn was still getting the odd skimmer amongst the carp but I felt I was doing okay in the section. Then Lewis had a big eel and then another and was now probably winning the section. In desperation I fed another line at 5 metres but this one with micros. I started catching blades and then had a couple more skimmers and was at least catching when most people seemed to be struggling.

I had a good spell before those poxy carp showed up here as well, Glyn then caught a good eel and it was nip and tuck between him and Lewis for the section. I could see Brendon was getting odd skimmers and I started to worry that he might push me down a place as well. Then Adie Bishop had a good eel and Pete latched into one as well and I didn't really know what to do. If I stuck it out on my worm line, all I could catch was carp and the same with my long line. I decided to stick it out on my 5 metre pellet line as I would get a run of blades before catching a carp. I did manage another 6oz skimmer before losing one at the net.

The amount of carp we were catching was getting daft, Brendon would be killing himself laughing as my white hydro stretched across the pond and then I'd look up and he'd be playing one too. At times there were four or five of us playing carp at the same time. Lewis added another eel and Glyn added some rudd up in the water plus another couple of bonus skims caught shallow and it really was too tight to call between them. I must admit I wasn't too upset when I heard the all out shouted and was even playing yet another carp at the time! I ended up with 45 fish (plus about 20 carp) and thought I probably had around 3-4lb although it's difficult to tell with those blades as they don't weigh bugger all. I did know I'd blown out badly and the best I could hope for was third in the section and I wasn't confident of that!

The weigh in started on Sellicks and it would be interesting as the other two section winners from yesterday (Steve Jackson and Alvin Jones) were in the same section. In fact Alvin won the section and was top weight on the day with a brilliant 22lb 8oz of mainly skimmers and would win the festival as nobody else could post a two point score. Jacko also blew out and ended with five points on the day to give him a six point total. The next section was won by a guy called Dominic with 17lb 8oz from peg 13 and as he'd scored two points yesterday, he'd be there or thereabouts. Roger on peg 17 had 14lb 7oz and two points to go with the two he scored yesterday. I knew that even if I got three points today to give me four I would lose out on weight to the anglers on Sellicks with the same points.

The scales reached our section and Lewis the eel man weighed 8lb 14oz and I thought Glyn might have a bit more than that. My fish went 5lb 5oz before Glyn weighed 10lb 7oz to win the section and give him three points overall, Adie Bishop had 3lb 11oz before Brendon beat me by 10oz and I handed him his pound back. We had a fiver on the overall position so he needed one or both of the remaining anglers to finish between him and me. Roy weighed 4lb 1oz before Pete had 5lb 2oz so I'd beaten Brendon overall and had a fiver to come, which cheered me up a little bit. I was sure my total of five points wouldn't be enough to finish in the frame today.

The weigh board for the second day

Back at the results and as expected Alvin won with a perfect two point score, followed by Dominic with three points who beat Glyn on weight, Roger was fourth with four points and then I was called out in fifth and picked up £40 so it wasn't quite the disaster I'd thought it was going to be.

Section winners today

Section 1 (Sellicks)
1 - Alvin Jones (Summerhayes) - 22lb 8oz
2 - Bill Hopping (Summerhayes) - 9lb 2oz
3 - Dave T (Summerhayes) - 7lb 14oz

Section 2 (Sellicks)
1 - Dominic (Summerhayes) - 17lb 8oz
2 - Roger (Summerhayes) - 14lb 7oz
3 - Daniel B (Summerhayes) - 13lb 10oz

Section 3 (Lily)
1 - Glyn Wickham (Summerhayes) - 10lb 7oz
2 - Lewis (Summerhayes) - 8lb 10oz
3 - Brendon Ions (Torquay) - 5lb 15oz

Overall festival results
1 - Alvin Jones - 2 pts
2 - Dominic - 3 pts (on weight)
3 - Glyn Wickham - 3 pts
4 - Roger - 4 pts
5 - Jamie Rich - 5 pts

A really enjoyable event and I hope Pete runs some more like it although next time can we be on Longs both days please! I'm back here on Wednesday so come back to see if I can have a better silvers day then.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summerhayes - Silverfish Festival Day 1 - 28th July 2012

I was so looking forward to this mini festival and was actually awake really early, I got to Summerhayes at 10:00 and the draw wasn't until 11:00! There were already quite a few 'stars' there, including the Wickhams, Nigel Garrett and Steve Jackson. Last match I had a crisis of faith and got Pete to order me a kilo of worm and two pints of casters. I still intended to fish my normal pellet approach but I wanted a back up in case I couldn't catch. Brendon had been texting me all week saying his victory would be sweet this weekend and wanted a £1 side bet each day with a fiver on the overall position after the two days, so I had an extra reason to try and do well. After paying my entry for the two days and paying for bait, Martin suggested a superpool of a fiver to make sure I had nothing left in my wallet, I just about had enough dosh to pay Brendon if I lost!

Pete announced the draw and I went in quite late, I pulled out peg 2 which can be okay but I have struggled in this area before. I was hoping to avoid having any of the worm head superstars in my section but luck wasn't on my side as I had Nigel Garrett on peg 38 with loads of room, Daniel B next to me on peg 1, Ray Wickham on peg 4, Pete on peg 5 and Glyn Wickham on peg 7 with Adie Bishop on peg 8. To do well in the festival it was imperative to get off to a good start with a section win the ultimate aim but a second in section would still give you a chance going into day two.

I set up two Malman 0.4 gram pencil floats, one with a spread bulk and two droppers and the other with a much more positive bulk. Both rigs had size 16 808's to 0.12mm bottoms and white hydro elastic through my top two's. For bait I had the usual micros which I had dampened down plus 4mm Bait Tech expanders for the hook plus my worm and caster. It was pretty windy so I plumbed up my main line down the track at 10 metres plus a line at 6 metres towards the empty peg on my left for the worm line. I had a quick chat with Glyn before it was time for the kick off. On the whistle I cupped in half a pot of micros at 10 metres and a full cup of chopped worm and caster on my shorter line.

I started with an expander on the hook over my pellet line and normally bites come quite quickly but I had to wait ages for a bite which of course I missed! I missed the next bite as well before finally connecting with a 2oz skimmer which I netted to be sure. I then had a little tench and a decent skimmer and things were ticking along quite nicely. But then I couldn't buy a bite and only added one more skimmer to finish with about 1.5lb after the first hour. It was already looking like being hard on our side as Nigel only had a couple of fish and Ray had three so it was all quite tight at this early stage. I fed my chopped worm line again and would leave it for at least three hours before trying it.

The second hour was rock hard and I only added one more skimmer to put me on about 2lb but that was still looking good in the section. I also had a couple of nuisance carp and hoped they wouldn't be too much of a problem. Going into the third hour, Nigel Wickham walked round and said he'd only had one skimmer although Alvin Jones was catching well but as he was in a different section I wasn't too worried. I fed some more chopped worm and thought I might have to try it earlier than expected. Both Nigel Garrett and Daniel were now fishing short trying to catch bits and pieces and although they were getting odd fish I wasn't too worried as it wasn't a fish a chuck.

I tried my chopped worm line with the more positive rig for 5 minutes but had no indications so went over my longer line with a piece of worm. I missed a couple of bites before catching another skimmer and thought perhaps I'd cracked it but then all I could catch was poxy carp again. I did have another good skimmer before the end of the third hour to put me on about 3lb with half the match gone. Everybody seemed to be latching into carp as they moved onto our skimmer lines and they were proving to be a real pain. From what I could see, Pete, Glyn and Adie were all struggling so I was still doing well in the section.

I had another skimmer on pellet at the start of hour four, plus a few small roach and was at least putting something in the net. I could see Ray bullying a carp but then proceeded to net a 3lb tench!, which put him firmly in the driving seat. Then next put in he added another smaller tench and he was pulling away from the chasing pack. I added a crucian and a skimmer but he replied with two fish of his own and he still had the buffer of those two tinca's. I had a purple patch where I had a good skimmer before losing a 'flier' and then had another and was up to around 5lb with two hours left. I tried the chopped worm line again but never had a bite on it and that was the last time I tried it.

I kept swapping between soft pellet and worm on my main line and would get odd small roach (and carp of course!) but I did manage another little crucian. Ray had slowed up somewhat with an hour and a half to go but worryingly Glyn seemed to be catching skimmers quite well now and I started to feel third in the section would be the best I could get and I'd be out of it for tomorrow. Then out of the blue I had two chunky crucians on worm and was slowly closing the gap on Ray.

The last hour was really good for me and I had another four or five crucians plus a couple of carp, all on pellet. I missed a bite with only a minute to go so quickly baited up with a soft pellet and didn't bother filling the toss pot, the float sank from view and another fish was on, the all out was sounded and I shouted 'fish on'. I played the fish with kid gloves as it didn't feel like a carp and it turned out to be a 10oz crucian which I safely netted. I ended with 28 fish plus about ten poxy carp but as I'd had a few small roach, I thought I had about 7-8lb. Glyn was admitting to 10lb and I was sure Ray had beaten me so third in the section was looking like a reality. Although I'd missed a few bites, I'd only lost one skimmer which I don't think would have made a lot of difference.

The first section saw most people record double figures and the top two in the section were Alvin Jones on peg 26 with 19lb 7oz and Roger on peg 32 had 15lb 8oz. The next section on had also fished quite well and Steve Jackson won this section and the match with 21lb 4oz from peg 11 and the runner up was Dominic in peg 17 with 18lb 9oz. The scales reached my section and Glyn had a bit more than he thought with 12lb 14oz, Ray came close with 12lb 8oz and I thought that would be that and was amazed when I plonked my fish on the scales and the needle settled on 15lb 2oz! I really thought I had about 8lb, certainly no more than 10lb and was well chuffed to record a section win.

Todays weigh board

So Steve had a nice pick up with his section money and the superpool and him and Alvin won the blind pairs as well. I picked up £25 for the section win to top off a great first day.

Section 1
1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 15lb 2oz
2 - Glyn Wickham (Summerhayes) - 12lb 14oz
3 - Ray Wickham (Summerhayes) - 12lb 8oz

Section 2
1 - Steve Jackson (Summerhayes) - 21lb 4oz
2 - Dominic (Summerhayes) - 18lb 9oz
3 - Brendon Ions (Torquay) - 15lb 6oz

Section 3
1 - Alvin Jones (Summerhayes) - 19lb 7oz
2 - Roger (Summerhayes) - 15lb 8oz
3 - Dave B (Summerhayes) - 14lb 5oz

So a good start for me, I just need to do well tomorrow now (peg 23 on Sellicks please!). Also Brendon did well today and beat me on weight but the side bet was on points so I have his pound for safekeeping until tomorrow at least. After the match Pete and his lovely wife laid on burgers and drinks which polished the day off nicely. I still think a perfect two point score will win and it might even come down to weight but three points might be enough to sneak in the overall frame. Come back to see how I get on tomorrow night.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summerhayes - Open - 22nd July 2012

I booked into Summerhayes today as it would be my last chance for a practice before the silvers festival next weekend. It also looked like summer had finally arrived with a weird orange thing in the sky above us. The match was on Sellicks and there was a decent turn out, I drew quite late and pulled out peg 4 which is a really good carp peg but I would be fishing for silvers today as carp will win nowt next week. The owner Pete was on peg 2 and it was also the golden peg but despite my best efforts he wouldn't have a side bet on silvers with me, can't think why!

With a nice short walk, I was soon set up with a Malman 0.6 gram pencil for down the track at 10 metres, I also set up a couple of dibbers in case I had to go across to the far bank at 14.5 metres. I also plumbed up a short line to give me somewhere else to go if my 10 metre line died. The whistle blew for the start and I cupped half a pot of micros on my 10 metre line and the same plus some corn on my shorter line. I started with a 4mm Bait Tech expander on the hook and was feeding micros through a small toss pot. First put in I had a bite and safely netted skimmer number one, next chuck I had another and was off to a flying start.

Along with the 4mm soft expanders I also had some I'd dyed red to give me a change of hookbait, I tried one early on but never had a bite on it! After the first hour I had eight decent skimmers and a couple of blades to put me on around 4lb and I thought 3lb an hour would be there or thereabouts so I was ahead of target at this early stage. Pete had a couple of carp and so did the chap on my left but nobody was really flying yet. Glyn Wickham was on peg 23 and I thought he'd be hard to beat today. Bruce Hunt was a few pegs up from me and going all out for bits and it would be interesting to see how he got on today.

Things slowed up a bit in hour two and I decided to play about with my feeding today if missed bites became a problem. If I missed a bite I wouldn't feed again until I caught another fish and this worked to some degree as I had a few more skimmers but lost two decent ones at the net and was up to 5.5lb and now behind my target! Hour three was better and I had some more decent skims plus bits and was now on 8lb at the halfway point. Pete was now catching well although he'd lost some lumps and snapped his elastic!

The fourth hour started really well and I had two skimmers quite quickly before I went back to waiting for bites, I also lost another skimmer but I was ticking along nicely but then my bites dried up and I only added one more skimmer to put me on 9.5lb with two hours to go. The fifth hour saw me catch my first carp and despite my fairly frugal feeding, a second carp also showed up and I reckoned they'd pushed the skimmers out. I only added two more skimmers and a few bits to put me on 10.5lb with an hour to go. The last hour saw more carp show and I had one trying to jump out of my keepnet again, as a precaution I put my landing net over the top. It tried again and hit the landing net but didn't escape, that's that sorted I thought. The next thing I knew it had leapt again and this time found the gap and bounced on the pallet and it's bid for freedom was successful! That's the second time it has happened to me here but I wasn't too concerned today as I was more worried about the silvers.

Pete was now flying and looked to be on for a golden peg win. I did get one more skimmer before it was carp again and I had another five to put me on eight carp (it would have been nine with the escapee) and I was on around 11lb of silvers. I did manage one more skimmer and my final tally was 34 skimmers, which I thought would go about 11.5lb and those eight carp. I'd lost three or four decent skimmers plus two carp but I hadn't missed that many bites today but I wished I'd tried my other line when those carp moved in. I packed up and went round to watch the weigh in which started with Glyn in peg 23. He had 25lb 9oz of carp and 16lb 10oz of silvers and I was pretty sure I didn't have that. There was a 39lb but Glyn's 42lb 3oz was still leading with over half the pegs weighed. I started to think if he framed I might win the silvers by default!

Bill Hopping on peg 13 had fished the maggot all day and weighed 11lb 3oz and I thought I might pip him, Bruce was admitting to 130 fish but as he'd also fished the maggot, it would be interesting to see what he weighed. Bruce's fish went 10lb 4oz and then the next peg had 55lb 13oz of carp and pushed Glyn into second. The guy on my left had 27lb 2oz and then it was my turn, my eight carp weighed 17lb 5oz and when I pulled my silvers net out, I knew it would be close. The needle stopped at 15lb 10oz and I was a pound short - bugger! To make matters worse, Pete weighed a brilliant 74lb 1oz which saw him win the match and the golden peg - well done mate, but it pushed Glyn down to third overall and as the silvers win was worth a fiver more he had that and I had to settle for second and picked up £18. A really nice days fishing and I would settle for that on day two of the festival next week!

Todays weigh board

1 - Pete Wakeling (Summerhayes) - 74lb 1oz
2 - Dominic S (Summerhayes) - 55lb 13oz
3 - John Page (Summerhayes) - 39lb 12oz
4 - Adie Bishop (Summerhayes) - 36lb 8oz

1 - Glyn Wickham (Summerhayes) - 16lb 10oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 15lb 10oz

Next week is the two day festival and a good start is essential, I reckon 20lb on Longs and 10lb on Sellicks/Lily would be up around there so come back to see how I get on (I just need to avoid Glyn's section now!).

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Perry St Pond - Spring League 10 - 15th July 2012

The final match arrived and I must admit I was feeling a little nervous as I really wanted to win the knockout final after losing in the final of the pairs knockout and I was also in contention of a minor league placing. Mark Mockridge was hot favourite to win as he had a corner to come and his joker to play, Steve Bush still had his joker to play and pre match they were looking good to fill first and second spots. Les called up the remaining four who hadn't drawn corners and Mark M pulled peg 1, Butch had 10, Dunner 11 and poor Picky had 20, although it had done okay in the last match. Then Les called me and Hoff up and when he pulled out peg 7, I knew I was up against it, I opened my peg and had 15, which I was quite pleased with as it's a middle peg and should be good for fishing up in the water.

Brendon Ions (who was standing in for Janders) pulled out 14 and wanted a side bet to add extra pressure. I had the legend who is Graham 'Dino' Pepper on 16 but was a bit worried as I didn't have any ear plugs and he was sure to have a good whinge throughout the day. I set up my usual three rigs, a dibber for shallow, another for down the edge and a five metre meat rig. I could see the Hoff across the pond so at least I'd be able to tell how I was getting on in the knockout. Les signalled the start and I cupped in meat on my five metre and margin lines before starting out shallow with a banded pellet whilst flicking out five or six 6mm pellets constantly. Blaker on peg 4 got into a fish quite quickly and then Hoff had one shallow and I was behind already - great!

I then had my first carp to settle the nerves and raced into a 3-1 lead over Hoff by the end of the first hour. Then in the second hour Hoff pulled it back to 3-2, then 3-3 before going 4-3 up although I did manage my fourth and the scores were all square going into the third hour. Brendon was catching well and ahead of me with five fish and apparently Dunner was catching in peg 11. Dino hadn't had a bite yet and the moaning had started with a vengeance. Bish in peg 5 had a couple of carp and Les had caught a carp and some eels on the waggler in peg 3 (proper fishing!). Mark M had yet to catch in peg 1 and from the bank side grapevine most of the pegs to my left were struggling.

In the third hour I had two more carp to take a 6-4 lead over Hoff but he pulled one back and at the half way point it was still nip and tuck between us. My main concern was that his inside line can be very good late on and he could overtake me in no time. I was still feeding both my other lines with meat and started to think about trying them as indications were becoming less frequent on my shallow line. Kev Baker on peg 6 had lost a couple of foulhookers and Bish was on three fish while Blaker was stuck on four. I had one more carp to put me on seven to go two ahead of the Hoff but he had another and I just couldn't pull away from him. I tried my five metre line but never had a sniff on it, I had been feeding my shallow line with pellets while trying the shorter line and I could see carp milling about out there so back out I went.

I was just thinking how I hadn't lost a fish yet when I lost the next one I hooked which I think was foulhooked and then lost the next one too! Was it all about to go pearshaped? I kept thinking those lost fish were going to cost me when I hooked another and safely managed to net a good mirror of 6-7lb to go two fish clear again. I then tried to 'mug' a fish and as it tore off the line must have been wrapped around the pole tip as I lost the rig and everything. While I was faffing about putting a new rig on, Hoff pulled it back to 8-7 and I was sure he was going to pip me in the last part of the match from his inside line. Blaker was now getting odd fish and catching me up as well. Dino's moaning had now reached epic proportions and he'd even set up a shallow rig to try and catch a fish. Les was still getting eels and had added another carp as well. Dino finally hooked a carp only for it to come off and his day was going from bad to worse.

With about half an hour to go, my mate Andy turned up, I hooked a fish while he was there and it wasn't doing much and as I unshipped to the top three, the hook pulled out (another foulhooked fish?). Dino then actually hooked and landed a carp to get off the mark. The score was still 8-7 to me and I was wishing the time away, with twenty minutes left I hooked another good fish and this time safely netted a mirror that had to be around 8lb, Les said to put it in my net as we were near the end. I finally had some breathing space and Hoff was now back out shallow but hadn't added anymore, I hooked another which wasn't on long before coming off and then Les blew for the all out, but had I done enough?

I packed up and Andy gave me a hand with my gear back to the car (cheers mate) before I went to watch the weigh in. Mark M had struggled in peg 1 and weighed 11lb 14oz and it was now down to how Bushy had got on to see who would be crowned league champion. Les had a nice mixed bag on the waggler weighing 18lb 8oz, which included carp, eels and skimmers. Blaker had a level 27lb and would probably win that section meaning I couldn't overhaul him in the league. The next decent weight was Hoff who had 28lb 14oz and I thought I probably had more than that but would have to wait to see what the scales said. Dunner said he'd had ten carp in peg 11 but actually weighed 12 carp for 43lb 4oz and I wasn't sure I had that. Oz had 23lb 2oz in peg 12 before Bushy put 14 carp for 61lb 12oz on the scales and would surely win the match and possibly the league with that.

Brendon had 31lb 4oz and handed over a nugget before it was my turn, my first net containing four carp went 24lb and I needed my second net to go over 20lb to beat Dunner. My second net with five carp went 22lb 14oz to give me a 46lb 14oz and I moved into second place but more importantly I'd beaten the Hoff and won the knockout! The next few pegs struggled before Mike (from somewhere near Exeter) weighed 19lb 8oz and then poor Picky just missed out on the section with 19lb 4oz and to make matters worse he had to hand a £1 over to me! The final score on our sidebets was 7-4 to me.

The final weighboard of the series

So I finished in second place on the day and was hoping I'd done enough for a minor league placing as well. After much deliberation the final scores on the doors were read out. I picked up £75 for second on the day and then £50 for the singles knockout before Les read out the league results in reverse order. I sneaked into fifth with 92 points and picked up £20 to take todays winnings to £145 which was very nice. Blaker and Hoff tied for third in the league on 96 pts and then Mark M was called out in second with 101 pts, which meant Bushy had won with 102 pts making it a really tight finish. I have to say Bushy fished a really good league, framing in six out of the ten matches. I felt sorry for Mark who had led the league for so long only to be pipped by one point in the last match. Steve Bush had a very profitable day as him and Bish won the pairs knockout earlier in the series and picked up their winnings for that today.

Pairs knockout champions Steve Bishop (on the left) and Steve Bush who also won on the day and was crowned Spring League Champion.

1 - Steve Bush (Chard) - 61lb 12oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 46lb 14oz
3 - Alan Dunn (Chard) - 43lb 4oz

A - Paul Blake (Chard) - 27lb
B - Mark Hollister (Chard) - 28lb 14oz
C - Brendon Ions (Torquay) - 31lb 4oz
D - Mike Hosgood (Exeter) - 19lb 8oz

Final league positions

1 - Steve Bush - 102
2 - Mark Mockridge - 101
3 - Mark Hollister - 94
3 - Paul Blake - 94
5 - Jamie Rich – 92

Pairs Knockout Champions - Steve Bishop and Steve Bush

Individual Knockout Champion - Jamie Rich

So a good end to the league for me, I picked up in eight of the ten matches, winning twice in the process. An awful first match where I only scored two points and not playing my joker when I had peg 1 has probably cost me third in the league but I'm pretty pleased with my campaign.

Well all that leaves is for me to say a big thank you to Les for organising another good league although the fishing was tough for some and a massive thanks to the anglers who made it such a pleasure to fish each week and the banter was fantastic!

Next week I'm at Summerhayes for a final practice before the two day silverfish festival, come back to see how I get on.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Perry St Pond - Spring League 9 - 8th July 2012

The weather over the last couple of days had been horrendous with a months worth of rain falling in a single day and floods all over the place. Thankfully the forecast was much better for today and there was even an orange thing in the sky later in the day! We were a couple short for this match as the patchy fishing meant some anglers just couldn't face seeing out the league. Les did the draw for the singles knockout and Bushy got drawn against the Hoff which meant I would face Bish and both him and the Hoff had corners to come. In the draw bag I went and pulled out peg 19 which I really didn't want as the pallet is high off the water and I really fancied a peg more in the middle of the pond.

Hoff drew corner peg 11 which made him favourite to beat Bushy in 16, Bish drew 20 which is the worst corner so I had a chance at least and I would be able to keep an eye on how he was doing. Dave M was in peg 1 with his son on 3 with peg 2 empty, Picky was next door to him on 4. Butch was the next peg to my right on 18 with Exeter Mike and Bushy the next pegs along from him. To stay in contention in the league I really needed a good result today and hoped all the rain we'd had wouldn't stop the fish from coming shallow. I set up the usual rigs, a dibber for shallow with a hair rigged band, another dibber for down the edge and a deep rig for meat at five metres.

The start time arrived and I fed my inside and five metres with meat before starting shallow. Mark M got off to a flying start and had a carp first chuck, Picky wasn't far behind and Bish had a carp quite quickly too. I was pinging 3 or 4 pellets out constantly but the first hour was slow and I had my first carp just as the hour was up. Mark had five in the first hour and Picky had two or three as well and I was well behind. Hour two started better for me with carp number two and then I hooked a good fish and had done all the hard work when the hook pulled out at the net - bugger. I needed that fish as Picky had another which he had weighed at 9lb 2oz and Mark added a couple more fish and even at this early stage I couldn't see anyone catching them. I had my third carp and was keeping pace with Bish at least, Butch had one and shouted down that Exeter Mike was on five fish already and I was well down in the section already as I was sure that Bushy would be catching in 16.

In hour three I couldn't buy a bite and tried both my meat lines without any bites but it seemed to have slowed up for everyone around me as well. Carp could be seen cruising around but they weren't interested in feeding. Going into the second part of the match I still wasn't getting bites on the shallow rig and had to resort to trying to 'mug' fish. I had a good one quite quickly before losing a small one at the net and then had number five and I started to think I might be able to close the gap on Mark and Picky. Me and Bish were neck and neck and it was going down to the wire. Picky had another decent fish and Mark kept getting odd fish to stay a couple ahead.

I managed another carp shallow and 'mugged' another to put me on seven and Bish was stuck on six. I tried my margin meat line and had some indications but I think they were roach bites as I didn't connect with any of them. I just couldn't get any more fish shallow and was willing the time to tick away and was relieved when Les blew for the all out as Bish hadn't added anymore and reckoned his fish were small (but I've been had like that before!). I knew Mark and Picky had beaten me as they both had around ten fish including some lumps. Exeter Mike only added one more fish to put him on six and I started to think I might have an outside chance of winning the section, depending on how Bushy had gotten on.

I packed up and on my way back met Les who said the pond had fished poorly and even pegs 10 and 11 had struggled. Dave M in peg 1 had one carp but chucked back without weighing and told Les he couldn't face coming back next week, Mark then had 47lb 14oz and Picky came close with 44lb 6oz before the weights nose dived and the next angler to put a respectable weight in the weigh sling was Chilly with 22lb 4oz from peg 7 and then Kevin Baker (fishing for Mike T) in peg 10 had 29lb 8oz to go into third place. Hoff had 25lb 4oz and Bushy was hoping a few more anglers would beat him in that section but then Les had 23lb 14oz and Pup had 24lb 8oz which meant Hoff had finished second in his section and Bushy needed to beat Picky to go through in the knockout. He weighed 42lb 8oz which meant the best he could finish was third and Hoff would beat him on points. Janders never had a bite in 14 and definitely won't be back next week. I gave his pound straight to Picky and the score is now 6-4 to me with one match to go.

With Bushy in third place overall, I still thought I might nick the section but then Exeter Mike's six carp went a level 33lb and I knew that was that. This just left the knockout showdown between me and Bish, my seven went 28lb 4oz and his six went 22lb 14oz which meant I'd done it and will face the Hoff next week in the final. I was left cursing that decent fish I lost at the net which I gave a bit too much stick and would have got me the section. I ended up with six points which meant I'd pulled a few on Dino and one on Blaker but Hoff has overtaken me as he played his joker today and got 18 points.

Knockout semi final results (points scores in brackets)
Mark Hollister (9) beat Steve Bush (8)
Jamie Rich (6) beat Steve Bishop (5)

Another patchy weighboard and I really don't know what's up with the pond!

1 - Mark Mockridge (Chard) - 47lb 14oz
2 - Alan Gage (Chard) - 44lb 6oz
3 - Steve Bush (Chard) - 42lb 8oz

A - Andy Winters (Chard) - 22lb 4oz
B - Kevin Baker (Chard) - 29lb 8oz
C - Mike Hosgood (Exeter) - 33lb

The league is still really tight although Mark should win it as he has a corner to come and he still hasn't played his joker. Bushy still has his joker to play and should be there or thereabouts after next week but the minor league places are all to play for.

League standings with one match to go

Mark Mockridge - 89
Mark Hollister - 88
Paul Blake - 84
Jamie Rich - 83
Steve Bush - 82
Graham Pepper - 81

So my winning streak comes to an end, be sure to come back next week to see how I do in the knockout final, will I be Roger Federer or Andy Murray?

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Summerhayes - Open - 1st July 2012

I was looking forward to getting back to some silver fish action today and there was quite a large contingent of Chard boys fishing including me, Andy, Janders, Exeter Mike and Brendon Ions. Brendon has been putting loads of practice in and was determined to get his pound back from the last Perry St match. I've been getting loads of texts from him saying I'd need to bring some cream for when he whoops my ass today so I had an added incentive to do well.

Pete announced the draw and I pulled out 11 which is a really good carp and silvers peg and obviously I'd be targetting the silvers. Andy drew 13 which was the next peg along on my left and Heardy was the next angler on my right on 7. Apart from the £1 side bet with Brendon on silvers weight, I had the usual £1 with Janders (on overall weight) and £2 with Andy (£1 for silvers and £1 for overall weight). There was a bit of a blustery wind but I was fairly sheltered. In a bid to try and avoid missing so many bites today I set up two identical Malman 0.4 gram pencil floats. One had a spread bulk and two droppers and the other was much more positive with the bulk just above the hooklength. Both rigs had size 16 808's and 0.12mm bottoms. I did set up a dibber but never picked it up all day.

The whistle went and I cupped in half a pot of damp micros at 10 metres in front of me and the same at 10 metres to my left to give me another option. I shipped out with a Bait Tech 4mm expander and didn't have to wait too long for my first bite which I missed (nothing new there then!). Next chuck I had a decent 'flying' skimmer and after an hour I had 5 skimmers and a roach for about 2.5lb which wasn't too far off my usual 3lb an hour target. The trouble was I wasn't sure 3lb an hour would be enough today as Glyn Wickham won the silvers last match with 33lb and 32lb was second. The second hour was pretty similar and I was up to about 5.5lb of skimmers but was still missing loads of bites. Andy was struggling and only had one roach and a carp by this stage. Heardy was getting a few carp but it seemed to be fairly slow for the anglers I could see.

I tried the more positive rig and hit the next two bites (cracked it I thought) but then went back to missing bites! I had my first tench of about a pound and a couple of nusiance carp but also added a couple more decent fliers of about 1.5lb and finished the third hour with my silvers total at around 9.5lb. Andy was now getting regular bites and had a good skimmer and quickly followed this up with a cracking crucian of 2lb+ and was catching me up. Among the skimmers I was also getting quite a few roach, including a decent one of 8oz and even had a couple of gorgeous golden tench.

I was still missing hell of a lot of bites and thinking it might be down to small fish I even tried a grain of corn. I had four or five sail away bites but missed every one! Back on soft pellet and I would hit a couple of bites before going back to missing twice as many. I did get another tench and then had a good one of 2lb+ and my total was rising steadily and after four hours had about 12lb of silvers and was hoping for a good last two hours. I lost a fish which I reckoned was a tench and then had two more of the golden variety along with a couple more of those horrible carpy things. The final hour started well and I had a couple more skims and was on about 15lb with the best part of an hour to go.

But then I started missing loads of bites before losing a carp that snapped my hooklength. With time running out I picked up my other rig but all I could get was small roach on the drop so quickly put another hooklength on the more positive rig but missed a bite every put in until the end of the match, so frustrating! I ended with 46 fish of which five were carp and I'd also had quite a few small roach so felt my 15lb estimate wouldn't be too far off today although I was admitting to 13-14lb to be on the safe side. I wish I could just sort out those missed bites, at one stage Andy reckoned he'd missed 28 on the trot. Glyn came up and said he'd had nearly 40lb of silvers and was hoping he'd done enough to frame. He said Ray (his Dad) had started well on the silvers but faded and nobody else had done that well on them over the other side.

With Pete not fishing, the weigh in was soon underway and we packed up and went round to watch. We caught up with scales after the first few had been weighed, Nigel Wickham had 29lb 3oz off peg 37 and then I saw on the weigh board that Brendon had 16lb 11oz of silvers and I wasn't sure I had that. Bill Hopping was the early leader with 30lb 6oz from peg 32 and then Ray Wickham had 19lb 9oz of silvers and I felt I needed to beat Brendon to stand any chance of a pick up (and that was if Glyn framed!). Janders had a bad day at the office and handed over a pound, he reckoned the expanders I'd done for him and Andy had a red cross on the bag, while my expanders hadn't been doctored - as if I'd do that John!!!!!!

Then Glyn had a solitary 6oz carp before plonking a brilliant 37lb 7oz of skimmers and tench on the scales to give him a 37lb 13oz total and I was hoping he'd win it with that. It could have been more too, as he got broken by a couple of big tench. Exeter Mike had 20lb 15oz and then Andy had 16lb and handed over two quid and had suffered his worse day here to date. My five carp went 6lb 3oz and when I pulled my silvers net out, I still thought it might be close between me and Brendon but was a little embarrased when Pete called out 22lb 9oz to give me a 28lb 12oz total and I was second in the silvers with two to weigh.

Heardy did well to weigh 33lb 11oz despite a pole breakage and then Alvin pushed Glyn into second place when he weighed 42lb 14oz but with Glyn framing I picked up the silvers win by default and picked up £24 (and don't forget the £4 in sidebets!).

Some great weights given the windy conditions

The silvers weights are getting better all the time and that was my best silvers weight on Longs yet, I just wish I could stop all these missed bites and then 40lb+ is a real possibility.

1 - Alvin Jones (Summerhayes) - 42lb 14oz
2 - Glyn Wickham (Summerhayes) - 37lb 13oz
3 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 33lb 11oz
4 - Bill Hopping (Summerhayes) - 30lb

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 22lb 9oz
2 - Ray Wickham (Summerhayes) - 19lb 9oz

Next week is the penultimate Spring League match at Perry St and I need a good result to stay in contention in the league and of course it's the semi finals in the knockout, wish me luck!