Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dillington Pond - V.E.S. Precision League 6 - 27th January 2013

Lots of rain on Saturday meant that most of the snow had finally gone, the trouble was it had gone straight in the river meaning it was unfishable yet again. So it was back out the pond again, I spent quite a while on Saturday putting new elastic in my pole and tying up size 20 B511's to 0.08mm hooklengths as I didn't want a repeat of last week. We decided to put a section on either side of the pond and I quite fancied the road bank although the other side would probably be more sheltered from the strong winds that were forecast. I got my wish when I drew peg 18 (the same peg I had last match) but the pond was very coloured and with all the snow melt that had gone in, I said to Rob that it would either fish really well or rock hard.

I made up two rigs, a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach and a heavier 0.75 gram rig, both with 0.08mm bottoms and size 20 B511's. I mixed up a little groundbait and was just about ready for the start when Dave Hurford turned up to have a chat and it was nice to meet him for the first time. Rob blew for the all in and I cupped in a single ball of groundbait at 10 metres before starting with a single disco pinkie on the hook. I half expected to catch straight away but this didn't happen and it looked like being hard but then it took ten minutes to get a bite last week.

I was feeding a few maggots over the top and after 15 mins I was expecting the float to disappear at any moment. After an hour I was still waiting for that bloody float to do anything fishy and nobody on the pond had managed a bite yet! Justin over on peg 3 disappeared off in his car somewhere and the rest of us were left scratching our heads, there were odd fish topping but they just didn't seem interested in feeding. Dave soon got bored watching nothing happen and left me to it. After another 15 mins I moved the rig and there was a fish on and I let out a little whoop as I swung in a 3oz roach.

Next put in the float actually went under and I had roach number two and this was quickly followed by a tiny roach after a little lift bite. They'd arrived I thought but then I couldn't buy a bite again and at this stage I think I was the only person who had caught. Justin eventually re-appeared after popping home for something to eat and he hadn't really missed much. Then much to Heardy's disgust he went and caught a roach! I saw Rob on my right swing in a fish and he said he now had two fish so it looked like odd fish were now having a go. I still couldn't get anymore bites at 10 metres but the wind was making holding the pole difficult. I noticed Rob was fishing shorter than me so came back a section and fished at 8.5 metres where I could control the pole.

I started getting odd fish from here but I'd get a couple before going back to waiting for bites, some of them were a decent 2-3oz size though and I was netting them to be sure. Me and Rob were neck and neck halfway through the match. I shouted up to Fieldy on peg 20 and he said he'd had five fish so everybody seemed to be getting a few now. Heardy and Justin were catching quite quickly but their fish did look tiny as they swung them in. I tried double pinkie and had a couple of fish and then maggot but never had a bite on that. I kept trying 10 metres when the wind allowed but only added one more fish from that line.

I hadn't lost a fish with my new elastic and a B511 on but I did have one blonde moment when I tried to swing a 2-3oz roach and it dropped off (remember that fish!). I kept getting odd fish up to the end of the match without catching really well and was sure I'd be a long way behind Heardy and Justin, but third place was still up for grabs. I ended up with 21 roach and shouted up to ask Rob how many he'd finished on, when he replied 29 I thought I was going to finish out of the money. It didn't take long for us to pack up (and it started raining which hurried us along) and I met Fieldy by the cars and when he said he'd had 17 fish, I hoped I'd done enough to beat him.

Rob's fish weighed 1lb 8oz and I thought I might have a little more than that, my fish went 2lb 12oz which I hoped would be enough for third place, Fieldy's fish were tiny and weighed 8oz and then Rob set off to weigh the other side. I packed the rest of my kit away before sitting in the car out of the rain. Rob returned and although Heardy and Justin had been catching, a lot of them were very small fish and Martin had 1lb 5oz and Justin weighed 2lb 14oz pipping me by 2oz (remember that dropped roach!). Steve finished up with 1lb 2oz so the pond had fished hard, still I picked up £23 for second and pulled another point on Martin in the league. He still leads with 6 points followed by me on 7 and Justin on 8 with one match to go and the only way I can beat him is if I win my section and he finishes third as if we tied his total weight is far superior to mine. With Justin a point behind me I need to finish at least second in my section to secure second place, it's going down to the wire.

1 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 2lb 14oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 2lb 12oz
3 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 1lb 8oz

Justin had time to go and get breakfast and still win!
I did expect the pond to fish better than that today although the conditions were definitely against us, it's a funny place, you know there are loads of quality roach in there and when they feed there are several double figure bags (like before Xmas). It would be nice to fish it after a settled mild spell but the weather is just crazy at the moment. Hopefully we'll actually get back on the river next week, come back then to see where we end up.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dillington Pond - Royal Oak Winter League 7 - 20th January 2013

Well the rain finally stopped only to be replaced by snow on Friday, I was sure I wouldn't be fishing this week but no more snow on Saturday and the roads were pretty clear for me to drive to Yeovil to pick up bait. Fieldy messaged Rob on Facebook to ask if there was still a match on to which he replied yes there would be, so a few hardy lunatics were at the pub this morning for the draw. We decided to go out the pond as hopefully we'd still get a few bites although I was sure it wouldn't fish as well as the last match. I drew peg 18 which was where Justin was last match and was pretty pleased with that.

It was very cold and I couldn't see the temperature getting above freezing all day and on arriving at the pond, much of the colour had gone out of it and there was only the odd tiny fish topping. Still at least I would be able to use the rigs I made up last week. I set up a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach but instead of my usual B511 I had decided to try a Gamakatsu Black fine wire size 20 hook as they look spot on for this kind of fishing. I mixed up a little groundbait and was just about ready when Rob blew for the start. I cupped in a single ball at 10 metres before starting with single pinkie on the hook and feeding tiny amounts of caster and maggot over the top.

Although I didn't expect a bagging session I still felt you would need 4lb+ to win today so I was a little perturbed when I hadn't had a bite after ten minutes. I was just asking Steve Parker on the next peg if he'd any bites yet when I looked back and the float had gone! A swift lift of the pole saw some elastic come out and I was soon netting a 4oz roach and I was off the mark. I had a small roach next chuck before losing a tiny one on the way in. I was soon switching to maggot to try and up the stamp but it wasn't really working. After the first hour I had 13 fish and from what I could see Steve and Fieldy were getting a few although when I asked Steve I was a few fish ahead.

Going into the second hour there were obviously a few fish prepared to have a go as I was getting a fish or bite most chucks although nothing like the quality we were getting last time. I then noticed problem number one when my pole elastic was freezing inside the pole! Problem number two arrived soon after when I tried netting a slightly better roach and my landing net was frozen to my keepnet! I was still catching quite well and added another 17 fish in hour two but I was bumping too many for my liking and I wasn't sure whether it was my frozen elastic or my new hooks. Rob on my right was struggling and had chucked the tip up by the reeds hoping for a bonus fish.

I kept trying caster to see if I could get quality fish but I had to wait longer for the bites and the fish were no bigger, I was still having problems with my elastic and settled on having a few inches hanging out the end, it didn't look pretty but at least I was still catching. It kept trying to snow and it was bloody cold and I was already wishing we weren't going to fish the full five and a half hours. I was getting more small perch than last time which I put down to the water being much clearer and after three hours was up to 53 fish. Last time I had 117 fish for over 15lb but today the average size was much smaller and I doubted I had 3lb yet.

I was still bumping/missing/losing loads and I really don't think the hook was helping and I really should have changed it but my hands were so cold I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it! My catch rate slowed in the fourth hour, mainly due to me trying caster more and more often to try and catch those quality roach I had last time. I could see Fieldy catching quite well and was sure he'd just be getting his head down with maggot and pinkie and really that was what I should be doing. I was getting the odd fish on caster and at the start of hour five, had a decent one of 8oz or so but  I was missing too many bites for my liking.

For the last half an hour I just fished single red maggot and caught quite a few tiny roach and a couple of 3oz perch to finish on 90 fish. Rob had caught a few small fish late and I'd seen Steve swinging in a few fish but it was Fieldy I was most worried about. I was hoping I'd done enough but thought Fieldy might pip me when I'd bumped and lost enough to win easily and I was kicking myself for not changing that hook, pure laziness.

We packed up with freezing hands and as we were loading the cars, Fieldy said he'd had 102 fish but he said they were tiny and I was hoping my caster fish might be enough to cancel out the 12 fish deficit. The weigh in started with Fieldy and his catch went a level 5lb, Steve had 1lb 5oz and then it was my turn, when I pulled my net out I thought it might be close and was relieved when Rob called out 5lb 14oz. Rob had 2lb 2oz and it was confirmed I'd won my first match of the year. I picked up £35 and was left feeling I'd got away with that one somewhat! I really should have had nearer to 8lb today and next time I'll be back to using my normal hooks!

A very cold Fieldy had a level 5lb for second place

Rob had brought two flasks today and poured everyone a coffee which was most welcome and that's certainly the coldest I've been yet. Quite an enjoyable day and there's obviously loads of fish in the pond and I'm not sure we'd have all caught on the river today.

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 5lb 14oz
2 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 5lb

In the league, I'm still leading with 69 points followed by Fieldy on 59 and Rob on 58. Well that's three wins on the bounce on the pond and I quite enjoy it when it's not all whip dominated, I just wish I could sort the quality fish out. Hopefully the weather will warm up a bit for next week and we can get back on the river.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ilminster Canal - V.E.S. Precision League 5 - 13th January 2013

With loads of rain on Saturday I knew we wouldn't be on the river so spent ages making up rigs and tying hooklengths ready for the pond on Sunday. In the morning, the rain had finally stopped but the temperature had dropped a few degrees and it was a tad chilly! I got to the pub for the draw and Rob said we'd being going down the canal today! I wasn't too upset as I love the canal but my only worry was that it would be too cold for it to fish really well.

I drew peg 2 which put me near the top end, the canal had a nice colour and there were quite a few fish topping and I couldn't wait to get started. I had Rob next to me on the end peg and Tony Newman on peg 3 on my right. Heardy had drawn the other end peg and had loads of room between him and Steve Bishop on peg 6 because of a big weedbed and had to be favourite to win before we even started.

I got to my peg and it looked nice with some cover on the far bank, I set up a light Drennan Squatt float with 0.08mm bottom and size 20 B511 for fishing down the middle and a rig for fishing across to the cover at 11.5 metres. I chopped up some worms and casters into mush for the far bank and was ready for the off with just enough time to warm my hands with a coffee before Rob blew to signal the start. I cupped in half a pot of my choppie mix before starting down the middle at 8.5 metres with a single red maggot on the hook. Hopefully I would be able to put a few small fish in the net while the long line settled.

After ten minutes I hadn't had a bite and neither had Rob or Tony!, I was starting to fear the worst when Steve Parker on peg 4 said he'd bumped a fish. Realising it was going to be hard I fitted a little toss pot so I could feed small amounts of pinkies very accurately and switched to double disco pinkie on the hook. Next put in I was just talking to Tony Newman who had missed a bite and when I looked back, my float dipped before sliding away and I hooked my first fish. It was a small 2oz skimmer which I netted to be on the safe side, but at least I was off the mark. Next chuck I hooked a small roach on the drop but it came off on the way in!

Steve Parker seemed to be catching well and already had three of four fish and had used his net twice, I then lost a tiny fish which didn't even register a bite when I moved the rig, I did catch another roach as the first hour was coming to a close. I'd been feeding a few casters over my worm line and couldn't wait to go over it, so with the first hour finishing, I picked up the heavier rig, slipped a caster on and shipped across. Normally bites are fairly instant but my float just sat there! Not wanting to waste too much time I went back to the lighter rig down the middle but this time with single pinkie. I started catching small roach quite well and even had a couple of better 4oz ones I slipped the net under.

Steve seemed to have slowed up, Rob only had a couple and I think Tony was still waiting for his first fish so I was doing okay at this early stage. I could see Martin catching regularly but he was in the other section for the league points so I wasn't too worried. I got to ten fish after two hours but would get a couple of fish before they disappeared. I decided to start feeding another line down the middle at 8.5 metres but towards the right and swap between the two. This worked to a degree and I had a few small fish from this new line as well. I did try across with the light rig but never had a bite on it.

Pete Lonton walked up when I was on fifteen fish and said him and Bish only had one fish apiece and were struggling but he confirmed Heardy was catching well. I was still getting odd roach and added a little perch as well. It was very cold and Rob decided to go for a wander to warm up, on his return he said Heardy was catching some half decent skimmers and Bish had just landed a decent perch to put him right back in it. Rob's day then got much better when his missus brought him an egg and bacon sarnie and a fresh flask of coffee (she could have brought me one!).

I was still getting odd fish from both my middle lines but I couldn't resist trying my long line again but despite trying caster and then single maggot, I never had a bite over there. I fed a little more choppie before going back down the middle with pinkie. I could see Martin still catching but more worrying was that both Bish and Pete were landing the odd fish. I kept at it hoping that a better perch or skimmer might show up. I just couldn't string more than a couple of bites together and even tried not feeding but I would still just get the odd indication out of the blue.

Then there was an almighty commotion as a dog jumped in Rob's swim which I reckon was karma for not sharing his bacon and egg sarnie! Eventually the dog got out and the women never even apologised, some people are so rude! I added another couple of small fish and amazingly Rob even caught a couple more after his canine visitor. I wasn't too upset when he blew for the all out as it was bloody cold, I ended with 24 roach, 1 perch and 1 skimmer. We packed up and made our way down to Heardy to start the weigh in, Bish said he'd caught a little tench to go with his perch and he had some roach as well so I knew I hadn't beaten him or Heardy but third place was still up for grabs.

Martin had a nice net of skimmers plus a bonus 1.5lb carp to weigh 9lb 2oz which was a brilliant weight on the day (mind you, with the amount of room he had, it was almost like a pleasure session!). Bish then weighed 3lb 11oz before Pete weighed 13oz, Steve just pipped him with 14oz and then Tony chucked his few small fish back. My fish weighed 2lb 4oz and I had quite enjoyed scratching around, Rob had 4oz so I'd sneaked into third place and picked up £14 to get my yearly winnings off the mark. Also my section win meant that with Justin not fishing, I'd moved into second place behind Martin with two matches to go. I don't there's a chance of winning it though unless I manage two more section wins and he blows right out - not likely!

Martin wins again!

Martin had a nice net of skimmers and a bonus carp
1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 9lb 2oz
2 - Steve Bishop (Chard) - 3lb 11oz
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 2lb 4oz

Next week it's back to the Royal Oak league and I need a good result after last weeks blank, come back to see how I get on. Hopefully we'll be on the river but if the weather warms up I wouldn't mind another go down here either.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

River Isle - Royal Oak Winter League 6 - 6th January 2013

After a relatively dry spell we were actually able to get back on the river for this one, Rob messaged me on Saturday and asked where I fancied and I said the top end but on arriving at the pub for the draw it looked like he had put us down Isle Brewers. I fancied 120 (despite the walk) or 126 but my drawing hand seems to have deserted me and I pulled out peg 122. This peg hasn't been used for years and only ever seems to produce a couple of chub and I really didn't fancy it (and it's also a fair old walk!).

By the time I got to my peg and got my box comfortable I was already running well late, I hurriedly set up a Drennan 1.5 gram Trio and plumbed up. There is a discharge pipe just upstream of the peg (which is on a bend) which always has a large flow coming from it, the river itself had a tinge of colour and was pretty pacy. The peg had a fairly decent depth but it wasn't as deep as I was expecting. I baited up with double red maggot and shipped out and the float didn't have time to settle before it shot under and a good fish was on, it shot downstream and the hook pulled out! Not the best of starts but at least there were a few fish around.

Well famous last words and all that because then I couldn't buy a bite, I tried double maggot, caster and lobbie but nothing. I tried going upstream and tight into the bank on the bend but got snagged both times and that was enough of that. After an hour, Rob came up from peg 125 and said he couldn't get a bite either and Steve Parker was in the same boat although Tony Newman had caught a minnow in peg 123. A perfect looking river and it was fishing rock hard, was it the after Xmas curse yet again?

I couldn't believe I wasn't even getting knocks from minnows on maggot, I tried tight across towards some stick ups but kept getting snagged and I was pretty fed up already. My next visitor was Bob Hammond who had drawn the weirpool (peg 120) and had only caught one roach, he said he had walked down to let me know he was going to pack up but when I told him how hard it was fishing he said he'd go back and stick it out. To be honest I was just going through the motions and only stuck at it because one fish would get you in the money today.

I was getting through my coffee and sandwiches when Tony Newman walked up and said he had to stretch his legs, he still only had a minnow but that currently put him in third place if Fieldy was catching in 126 which I suspect he was. Time was running out and I was now pinning my hopes on maybe getting a fish as the light started to fade. Rob came back and he'd still had no joy and said even Fieldy had only caught four small roach in 126, the fish just weren't playing and that lost chub first chuck could prove to be very costly. The river level had dropped quite a bit and a few stick ups that hadn't been visible when I started could now be seen waving at me!

I stuck at it to the bitter end and you would have thought the fish Gods would have taken pity on me, but no and I blanked. I quickly packed up and went to weigh Bob in, he'd ended up with five roach for 6oz and I said he'd frame with that. By the time I walked back, the weigh in had finished and Fieldy had started to catch well when the level dropped and had over 130 fish for 9lb 13oz, a great weight on the day. Then the weights dropped like a stone and Bob was second and Tony Newman was third with five minnows and a stickleback for 1oz!

1 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 9lb 13oz
2 - Bob Hammond (Ilminster) - 6oz
3 - Tony Newman (Ilminster) - 1oz

Fieldy won by a mile today
Well the league has tightened up and although I'm still leading with 59 points, I can't afford another bad match, Rob and Fieldy are joint second on 50. Well 2013 has got off to an awful start for me, lets hope for better things next week.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Summerhayes - Open - 2nd January 2013

I'm still on my Xmas hols so I booked into a match at Summerhayes today, it was on Sellicks and I was determined to try and fish the punch all day for carp. There was a decent turnout including Roger Russell, Jamie Parkhouse, Heardy, Bruce Hunt and Scotty who is on a roll here at the moment. I wanted a peg where I wouldn't have to fish 16 metres to the island and got my wish when I drew peg 12 at the top end. I had empty pegs either side with Jamie Parkhouse the next angler on my right on peg 10 and Roger on peg 14.

I set up a little Trabucco float taking just 4 x 10 for fishing the punch a few inches off bottom across to the island and on the insides and another rig for my skimmer line at 10 metres just past the middle. Both rigs had 0.10mm bottoms and size 18 Tubertini 808's. I was going to keep it simple on the bait front with just bread punch for my carp lines and a little Bag 'Em Baits green groundbait and dead maggots for the skimmers. Pete blew for the all in and I cupped in a ball of groundbait at 10 metres before starting across at 13 metres with 5mm punch on the hook. I had a couple of tentative indications first put in and next chuck I had a decent skimmer and was off the mark.

Roger was fishing to the island as well and Jamie P was down the middle after silvers and getting a few small fish. Lifting and dropping the punch I was soon into my first carp and shortly after netted number two and three (both were foulhooked!) and finished the first hour with three carp and that skimmer. I felt if I could carry on like this I would be in with a shout, Roger shouted up that he had four and from what I could see nobody else around us had much in the way of carp. I hooked my fourth carp at the start of hour two and it was under control when the hook pulled out at the net - bugger!

I felt like there were a few about but then I could only get little knocks which I was sure were small roach or skimmers and sure enough I dropped off a small roach. I tried different spots along the far bank but the fish had gone. I decided to cup in another ball of groundbait on my skimmer line and try the inside to my right where there was quite a bit of reed cover. Two carp in two chucks was a great start and I think me and Roger were still neck and neck. Jamie P was now getting odd better skimmers and was putting together a nice net of silvers. Then in a carbon copy of my island swim, all I could catch on the inside were tiny rudd and a roach.

Back over to the island and I lost a foulhooker before landing my sixth carp but went back to struggling and the only other action in hour three was another foulhooked carp which I lost. I cupped in another ball on my skimmer line and started to think about trying it shortly. I tried going right into the corner at 13 metres on the inside but never had a bite there. When the carp are there you tend to get bites soon after the rig has settled and I'd gone from doing well to really struggling and Roger started to pull away from me and was now a couple of carp ahead.

Scotty phoned Roger to say he was on 13 carp already and apparently Bruce was also catching well in peg 23. I didn't know what to do next, I couldn't get a bite anywhere on punch so it was time for my skimmer line. I slipped on two dead red maggots and went over my 10 metre line, I started catching small skimmers but it was a waste of time because I was never going to catch Jamie P who was still getting decent skims. I had five before giving that up as a bad job and cupped in another ball of groundbait before going back over on punch.

Pete was paying the top three overall and the top two in silvers and with Bruce and Scott catching carp well and Jamie P doing well with silvers I needed to beat Roger to stand any chance of sneaking into third place. I had carp number seven but Roger had another and was now three ahead of me, I tried all my carp lines but couldn't get a bite and time was running out. I finally hooked another on the inside but lost that one as well. With about three quarters of an hour left I had number eight from the island and was hoping a good last spell might see me catch Roger. No more bites across and I decided to spend the remaining time on the inside, I had a couple more roach and then out of the blue I had ghostie to put me on nine carp and there was still twenty minutes left. Could I pull another one back on Roger before the all out? No was the answer and the final score was Roger 11 - Jamie 9.

I packed up wishing I'd just fished my normal micros and expanders approach down the middle for silvers as Jamie P had caught consistently and had done a decent weight. As I took my holdall back to the car, the weigh in had already started and Paul Homewood in peg 2 had 33lb odd and I knew I didn't have that. Scotty had carried on catching and had to fetch another keepnet and weighed a brilliant 101lb 8oz off peg 4. He has really got this punch fishing sorted and in the last six matches he's fished I think he's framed in all six, winning four of them.

Jamie P had a lovely net of skimmers and an unseasonal tench for a level 14lb before my nine carp plus a few silvers went 27lb 7oz. Roger had some big carp and weighed 39lb 4oz and even if I'd landed the four carp I'd lost I don't think I'd have beaten him. Heardy had fished for silvers and weighed 8lb 11oz to give him second behind Jamie P and Bruce came second overall from peg 23 with 53lb 8oz. So my first match of 2013 didn't go to plan and I just should have fished for silvers like I normally do as it's been quite mild and they seem to be having the expander.

Punch King Scotty!

Todays weighboard

1 - Scott Russell (Tackleuk) - 101lb 8oz
2 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 53lb 8oz
3 - Roger Russell (Street) - 39lb 4oz

1 - Jamie Parkhouse (Summerhayes) - 14lb
2 - Martin Heard (Summerhayes) - 8lb 11oz

Oh well, it was nice day and I had a few fish, hopefully we'll get on the river on Sunday so come back then to see if I can kick start my year with a brown envelope.