Sunday, September 29, 2013

Summerhayes - Open - 29th September 2013

I should have realised this weekend wasn't going to be a good one when my PS3 died last night - RIP PS3, you've been a good friend to me! After a poor couple of weeks I was hoping for better things today with the match on Sellicks. On getting to the venue I was a bit disappointed when I found out it was going to be split between Sellicks and Lily and I really can't get on with Lily as you might have guessed if you read this blog regularly! There were six pegs on Lily with the rest on Sellicks, Pete had put some blue dye in both lakes again and they were both really bright blue! I had a coffee while waiting for the draw and as always, Adie makes a lovely cuppa!
Adie on coffee duty!
When he announced the draw I hung back and the first four anglers to draw all pulled out Lily, just two to go then! I waited until there were just two pegs left and Dave T pulled out peg 4 on Sellicks, very nice, in went my hand and out came peg 4 on Lily! I am cursed and just can't seem to get away from it. Pete did say some more silvers had gone in and with only 10lb winning silvers on Sellicks in the week, I thought that was a possibility. I had the usual side bet with Glynn with the scores currently standing at 3-2 in his favour.
Peg 4 on the blue lagoon
I was basically in the middle of the lake with Bob Gullick two pegs to my right and Adie Bishop two pegs to the left. From what I could see, everybody would be going for carp apart from me which suited me fine. I was determined to just get my head down for silvers and even bought half a pint of maggots from the shop. I set up a 0.6 gram Malman pencil and a 10 x 11 MW F1 Slim, both had size 18 808's attached to 0.10mm hooklengths.
Bobby was on peg 2
On the whistle I cupped in half a pot of micros at 10 metres angled to my right where there was a deeper hole and also straight out in front at the same distance and I also cupped some in at 5 metres. As usual the plan was to nick a couple of fish off each line before swapping or after a carp was hooked. I started on the longer line to the right and missed a couple of bites on 4mm expander before losing a roach, I then had a small carp which saw me move to the other 10 metre line. A decent 6oz skimmer first chuck got my hopes up and I followed it up with a couple of blades.

Adie was into fish straight away and netted a decent crucian and I was behind already, everybody seemed to be getting a few fish and after an hour I had four carp, that one decent skimmer plus a few smaller ones and probably had around a pound of silvers and I hoped for better things in hour two. The second hour was actually a carbon copy and I added four more carp, another decent skimmer and a few bits.

Bob wandered down and asked how I was doing, he'd had a few carp plus bits so I felt I was doing okay. Adie and Mark Hanham on peg 8 were catching carp quite well and Rob Birch on peg 10 was getting odd carp but more worryingly he was getting some good skimmers on paste by the lilies. I was swapping between my three lines and getting odd carp and small fish but just couldn't get any quality skimmers. Even with my fairly light elastic I was bumping off a few small skimmers and I lost a couple of foul hooked carp.

With a couple of hours to go there was a tremendous crack from Bob's swim and he snapped his top kit on a carp. Not long after he walked over to see how Sellicks was fishing which I thought must mean he was struggling. Harry M on peg 12 was also walking and on his return he said Sellicks was fishing hard with hardly any silvers caught. Bob got back to his peg and said the same and he reckoned 25lb might be enough to frame today. As I already had a dozen carp for probably 18lb plus about 4lb of silvers I started to think I might be able to sneak in.

By now I had given up on the right hand 10 metre line as it had died a death and was just switching between my other two lines. I was still getting blades and the odd better skimmer plus carp but I had lost two skimmers and had a mad five minutes where I dropped off two roach and a blade. Rob was still getting some decent skimmers that looked to be bigger than mine and had finally stopped cursing them as vermin! He probably had ten or eleven but I was hoping I could catch enough small fish to cancel them out. I set my sights on 50 silvers as I thought at 2oz apiece that would give me around 6lb and with my better skimmers that would take it up to 8lb which I hoped wouldn't be too far away.

With an hour and a half left I was just fishing at 5 metres and added a couple more decent skimmers plus carp and blades. When the all out was shouted I had ended up with 53 silvers plus 15 carp and thought I must have about 27lb in total but would it be enough to sneak in? Bob walked down and said he'd fished for silvers and had a bonus crucian as well and was admitting to 8lb and I still thought it might be close. Adie was admitting to 25lb and I hoped I had a bit more.

I took my box back to the car and caught up with the scales at Martin Addicot on Sellicks, he said he'd struggled but weighed 32lb 15oz, Dave T in peg 4 weighed 11lb 8oz  and then Charlie Barnes had 3lb 1oz of silvers plus a few carp in peg 6. Glynn had 8lb of skimmers and 23lb of carp and I was hoping he'd frame, Roger Russell had 13lb 11oz in peg 11 before the scales turned left onto Lily. Bobby's silvers went 11lb 8oz and I knew I didn't have that and his carp weighed 16lb odd to give him 27lb 11oz.

Then it was my turn and I was slightly disappointed when my carp only went 21lb 5oz and even more disappointed when my silvers went 6lb 13oz and I'd actually under estimated for once. My 28lb 2oz total saw me just pip Bobby and I tried to claim a pound for the moral victory but he wouldn't have it! Adie had 26lb 9oz of carp and 7lb 3oz of silvers for 33lb 12oz and I knew I wouldn't be picking up yet again. Mark Hanham went one better and into the lead with 45lb 9oz before we got to Rob and his carp went 12lb 15oz but his silvers went 12lb 7oz to go into the lead. It was a nice net of skimmers and bodes well for the future although Bob was most put out that he'd caught them accidently!

Harry didn't bother to weigh and the scales then headed  back to Sellicks and I took the rest of my kit back to the car. At the results Dominic Sullivan had won yet again, this time with a level 91lb from peg 23 and he'd included 9lb 4oz of skimmers in that, so Sellicks hadn't fished that bad then! He's really on a roll at the moment and today's victory was his fifth on the trot. Bill 'The Paste King' Hopping was second with 64lb 10oz from peg 14 which meant Mark Hanham had finished third.

So another disappointing day for me and I seem to have lost my way at Summerhayes, I must admit I'd still not a big fan of Lily although there were some decent silvers weights on there today. Saying that I was only 7lb off framing today and lost several carp plus those two decent skimmers and dropped/bumped off quite a few small fish, so it was possible today but then again I'm sure others lost fish too.
Today's weigh sheet
1 - Dominic Sullivan (Maver/Cadbury Angling) - 91lb
2 - Bill Hopping (Summerhayes) - 64lb 10oz
3 - Mark Hanham (Summerhayes) - 45lb 9oz
4 - Ray Wickham (Summerhayes) - 35lb 6oz

1 - Rob Birch (Summerhayes) - 12lb 7oz
2 - Bob Gullick (Garbolino Blackmore Vale) - 11lb 8oz

Next up - River Isle

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My last post (below)

Next week sees the start of my river campaign and the signs are good with lots of small fish showing in double figure nets so come back next Sunday to see if my bad run continues or if I can get back to winning ways.

Monday, September 23, 2013

More Exciting Times

I went past 100,000 page views tonight and to say I'm over the moon would be an understatement and I'm so grateful to everybody who reads my blog and follows my highs and lows in the world of match fishing. Against Men and Fish is really going from strength to strength and I now have 437 'likes' on my Facebook page and 1059 followers on Twitter and I really appreciate every like, share and retweet. I spend a lot of time on this blog and I'm always trying to put in more informative and different content which I hope people find useful.

I also post on the Fishing UK app which can be found here Fishing UK and there's loads of good info on the website and I heartily recommend checking it out. At the moment I'm mainly just putting my weekly posts on there but there is some original content on there as well (check out the post on mullet fishing) and I hope to post more in the future. I also contribute to the Angling Gazette as well and it's another great site with loads of free info which can be found here Angling Gazette (see I told you I worked hard!)

Through this blog I've had the opportunity to meet some great people and I've been very lucky to receive tackle and bait to review (massive thanks to Bait Tech and Fish Tec). If any tackle firms want me to review their products I will use the items and then post an honest review. I've had some great feedback and I'm really grateful for all the comments received, if anybody has any suggestions on how I can improve this blog please let me know via the contact page. Occasionally I've had photos sent in and I'm more than happy to post them, if you have any funny fishing pics or you've caught a personal best or a nice net of fish, just let me have them and I'll stick them in the blog (keep them clean though please).

It's been a pretty good year so far, I've won my first match at Summerhayes, fished my first match at the Viaduct and recorded only my second ever 100lb+ weight, topped my biggest ever silverfish weight at Summerhayes with 25lb 7oz and caught a new personal best mullet of 3lb 4oz. It's not over yet though and the river matches start in two weeks time and I'm really looking forward to that and then in November I'm heading back to the amazing Gillhams Resort in Thailand, this time with Steve Mayo so hopefully I might be able to add to my species list then.

If I can find time I will try and fit in some trips after barbel and pike too and you will be able to read all about it, right here.

Thanks again for all your support and keep reading.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Summerhayes - Open -22nd September 2013

Pete had put the draw time back to 9:00 now the nights are drawing in, so the good news is that my blog shouldn't be too late from now on. Also the forecast was looking good for this match so all I needed to do was catch a few fish! I picked Janders up and on arriving at the fishery, it was obvious there was another good turn out. After paying my pools we awaited the draw and Pete said there were 23 fishing today. As well as the regulars, Alex Murray and Scotty had also turned up to mug us all again.

I really fancied drawing peg 12 or 13 or near where I was last time but I pulled out peg 20 on the bottom bank and I've struggled down that end that last few times I've drawn it and was hoping today would be different. Glynn and Mike Hosgood (from somewhere around Exeter) wanted side bets on silvers and Janders wanted to have the pound on overall weight so it could be an expensive day! Glynn had drawn peg 36 by the aerator and I thought he'd do well, Mike was along from me on peg 17 with Nigel Wickham on 18 and Ray was on peg 22 on my left.

Peg 20 on Longs (not a peg I want to see again in a hurry!)
I set up two 10 x 11 MW F1 Slim floats and plumbed up three swims at 10 metres which put me just past the middle. 8-10lb of silvers is normally enough to frame and I set my sights on catching two decent skimmers an hour which would hopefully give me around that weight. For bait I had the usual micros and Bait Tech 4mm expanders. The whistle was blown to signal the start and I fed half a pot of micros on all three lines before starting on the right hand swim. The float settled before sliding away and I lost a small roach on the way in, next chuck I missed a bite and hoped I wasn't going to get plagued by small fish all day.

I switched to the line in front of me and had a small skimmer before catching a decent one and was relieved that there were some decent skimmers about. Ray lost a couple of fish before catching a small tench. After an hour I had that decent skimmer, a couple of blades plus a few small roach and had lost a carp and was hoping things would improve in the second hour. There wasn't much between me and Ray at this early stage. Early in the second hour I've had a carp and added a few more small fish before catching a nice crucian, my first one for ages and although I was a little behind my target I was still feeling quite positive.

Then in the third hour my swim just died and it seemed to be the same for Ray, Nigel and Jim Jenner in peg 24. I was just getting very occasional blades and small roach and I wasn't even hooking many carp. I was getting lots of 'dinks' from small fish and tried upping the feed but this didn't seem to work and was only sticking at it because from what I could see everybody was struggling. There were already a couple of bank walkers and I thought it might be a low weight affair today.

I added a couple of carp and a few more blades but just couldn't catch any more decent skimmers and I wasn't sorry when the all out was called. I ended up with 3 carp and 25 silvers which I thought might go 2lb - not good. Mike Hosgood walked past and said he'd had three good skimmers in the first three put ins so I knew I'd be one pound worse off straight away. I loaded up my car and drove up to Janders peg to collect his gear and he said he had ten carp so I was 2-0 down on the side bets. Things got slightly better when Glynn said he'd really struggled and wasn't going to bother weighing in, he paid up and I'd at least pulled it back to 2-1.

We walked round and caught up with the scales after the first few pegs had weighed, and Bruce Hunt and Charlie Barnes were the early silvers leaders with 5lb 14oz apiece and Scotty was top weight so far with 47lb 9oz from peg 6 (and he'd included 6lb of silvers in that!). Heardy then went into second place overall with 44lb 13oz and also went into first place in the silvers with 6lb 13oz from peg 12 which is the peg to draw at the moment. Clive C on 13 then had 8lb 2oz of silvers to go into the lead before Alex Murray showed his class when he plonked 50lb 14oz on the scales from peg 14

Mike H had 7lb 7oz of skimmers to go into second place on peg 16 before weights started going downhill rapidly as they reached my peg, Colin W had 14lb of carp in peg 17 and then Nigel didn't bother weighing. My three carp went a level 7lb and my silvers 3lb 1oz which was a bit more than I thought, Ray had 2lb 13oz of silvers and 10lb 7oz of carp and then Jim didn't weigh and I genuinely think we were in a poor area today.

Steve Kedge in peg 26 went into second place with 48lb 13oz and there wasn't much separating the overall weights. The next few pegs didn't trouble the overall weights and then we got to Janders and he had 17lb 2oz of carp but didn't weigh his two small skimmers so although he took my pound, I claimed a moral victory on the silvers! There had been quite a few people not weighing today and it was probably my worst day here yet, the sooner Pete gets Perch Pit netted, the better I reckon.

Janders very nearly smiled when I gave him my pound!
Next week it's on Sellicks and the way things are going I'm bound to draw one of the carp pegs so come back next week to see how I get on. The only highlight of the weekend was Chelsea winning yesterday and Man U losing today - tee hee!

Today's weigh board
1 - Alex Murray (Mosella) - 50lb 14oz
2 - Steve Kedge (Somerset Angling) - 48lb 13oz
3 - Scott Russell (Tackleuk) - 47lb 9oz
4 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 44lb 13oz
5 - Jason King (Summerhayes) - 32lb 12oz

1 - Clive Cunningham (Summerhayes) - 8lb 2oz
2 - Mike Hosgood (Near Exeter) - 7lb 7oz

Next up - Summerhayes (Sellicks)

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My last match (below)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dillington Pond - Summer League 10 - 15th September 2013

Well that was a weekend to forget, I popped over to Tackleuk yesterday and bought some new elastic and a couple more Drennan Roach floats for today and was quite looking forward to it after the last match. I changed my elastic and made some rigs up and thought I'd check the footy to see how Chelsea were getting on and we were losing 1-0 to Everton and that was how it finished up. Also it was Picky's 50th birthday party last night and I had every intention of going until I fell asleep and woke up at 9:30! So a belated Happy Birthday mate and I hope you had a great night.

Back to today and I got to the draw and it was the usual faces plus young Dave Gudgeon was fishing today and it's great to see some new people turning up and I hope he sticks at it as he's a promising young angler. The usual side bets were agreed with Moses and Rob and today would be my last chance to get one off Moses as he won't fish the river and give me a chance to win my money back. I pulled out peg 20 again and was well happy with that and I hoped those skimmers would put in an appearance again.

Peg 20 at Dillington
The forecast was horrible today and it would be a case of battening down the hatches. I mixed up some Bait Tech Mantra before getting my two brand new rigs out and plumbed up at 10 metres which was a section further out than last time. Moses was on peg 23 so at least I'd have an idea of how one side bet was looking. I wasn't quite ready when Steve blew for the all in and eventually started five minutes late. I cupped in two balls of groundbait at 10 metres before starting with caster on the hook.

It took a while to get a bite and then I started catching small roach on caster and maggot and after an hour I had 22 fish for a pound or so. After about an hour and a quarter Moses shouted up to ask how many I had, I said I was on 35 and he shouted back that he'd only had 19, would today be the day I got one of my pounds back? By the end of the second hour I had added another 23 fish although I did have a couple of quality roach on caster, one must have been pushing a pound.

I could see Bruce and Fieldy catching bits on the whip but still felt I was doing okay, the trouble was I'd only get a couple of decent fish on caster before having to switch to maggot to get bites. Among the small roach and rudd on maggot I'd get the odd better one but I just couldn't string them together. I even tried hemp and had a couple of roach but they were no bigger than the maggot fish. The wind wasn't too bad and we'd had hardly any rain so far and I was hoping it would hold off until later.

Around the four hour mark, my bites slowed right up and once again Moses shouted up for the latest scores on the doors, I replied saying I was now on 88 fish and he said he had 71 so I thought I was still ahead. I was still catching small roach and perch on maggot and trying caster every now and again and did have three nice roach on it in as many chucks. In hindsight I think I spent too long on the caster.

As the end of the match neared I was on 110 fish and was a little surprised I hadn't had any skimmers today. It had started raining and Steve blew for the all out and we packed up in the rain. Moses walked back and said he'd finished with 106 fish and had caught a couple of nice skimmers so it could be tight for the side bet. I felt sure I had more than the last match when I had 7lb 5oz but would it be enough for a pick up today?

I collected the scales from my car and went to weight Fieldy in, he said he'd had over 170 fish but they were tiny and he thought he had around 6lb or so. He weighed 10lb 5oz and is worse at estimating than me, I wasn't sure I had that. Dave Gudgeon on peg 17 had 5lb 5oz and included a lovely perch that must have been close to 2lb. Then it was me and I was pretty disappointed when I only weighed 8lb 5oz and needed to beat Moses to stand any chance of framing as I was sure Bruce would have double figures.

Graham's 6lb turned out to be over 10lb!
Dave Gudgeon had a cracking perch
When Moses pulled his net out it was going to be close and the digital read out settled on 9lb 6oz - bugger! So I lost another £1 to Moses and then we had to wait to see what the other side had done. They arrived back and Bruce 'The Speed Machine' Hunt had done it again with 293 fish for 14lb 9oz, the next best weight was Steve with 5lb 10oz and with Rob weighing 4lb 1oz I was, at least, evens on the side bets.

Moses had 9lb 6oz for third and another pound off me!
So a pretty poor day for me and I'm glad I haven't got to fish it again for a while, there's just too many small roach for my liking. I don't mind it too much when it gets colder as the winning weights tend to come on the pole rather than the whip and you see more quality and not so many bits.

The 'Speed Machine' won again
1 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 14lb 9oz
2 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 10lb 5oz
3 - Moses Holbrook (Ilminster) - 9lb 6oz

The final league positions

1 - Graham Field - 840 points
2 - Moses Holbrook - 820 points
3 - Robin Cox - 725 points

Both Graham and Moses did really well, fishing nine matches out of the ten and each framing eight times and winning two of the matches apiece.

The club would like to say a huge thank you to Steve and Cindy at the Royal Oak for their continued support of the league and their fantastic hospitality in the mornings and also thanks to Steve Parker for organising a great little league - well done mate.

I'm at Summerhayes next week so tune in next Sunday to see how I get on.

Next up - Summerhayes

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My favourite blogs (below)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Favourite Blogs

Now, I love my fishing but I also really, and I mean really, love reading about fishing and one of the best ways of doing this is via the blog-o-sphere. It's free and there are literally thousands of anglers now blogging about their latest exploits. Every possible type of angling is being written about and by anglers of all abilities, I like that, I enjoy following people on their own personal angling journey as they get better, I like to experience the highs and the lows with them. Being primarily a match angler I like to read blogs on that subject but there are also several other blogs written by anglers who just like to go fishing and they're great reading too!

One of the things that makes a blog successful is keeping it regularly updated and all the blogs in my list below do just that. I see so many talented writers start a blog and look forward to their posts and then they just fizzle out. Photos also help to make your posts come alive and most of the blogs I've mentioned have some great photos to go with the text. When I first started out, I rarely posted pictures and looking back at my earlier posts, it's sometimes hard work trawling through loads and loads of text.

Please have a look at the blogs in my list below, there's a real mixture and I'm sure you won't regret it (please don't stop reading mine though!). So, in no particular order, here they are....

Idlers Quest

This blog needs no introduction as it already has a huge following, the author Jeff Hatt, writes beautifully and there are always stacks of photos to accompany each post. I'm sure Jeff wouldn't be offended if I described him as a pleasure angler and his posts reflect that, he fishes mainly natural venues and catches some stunning fish. He also writes for Total Coarse Fishing magazine and his blog has inspired many others.

Tales From The Towpath

Another blog I love to read and another self confessed pleasure angler. Russell Hilton is an angler I've had the pleasure of fishing with on a couple of occasions and I always enjoy his company. Always includes some great photos, especially now he's bought a new camera! He doesn't post as prolifically as other bloggers due to playing a lot of cricket in the Summer. He loves fishing canals and has taken some quite staggering catches from these waterways.

Tony Rixon's Days Out

After starting my blog, this was the first blog I started following, Tony is a top match angler and very well known in the South West. He fishes mainly commercials now but was very good on natural venues too. If I had one criticism it would be you rarely see a photo on Tony's blog (and some punctuation would be nice too!). It's still a very good read though and the one most match anglers in the South West click on first. Tony has only been blogging since 2009 and has amassed over 211,000 page views already which is a figure I can only dream about!

Clucker's Peg

Another match blog, Tim Ford writes really nicely but another blog that would benefit from some more photos. Tim fishes mainly natural venues and along with his match reports he frequently delves into his archives and these posts make interesting reading too.

Ivan's Angle

Ivan Currie is another match angler who likes to write about his matches, he fishes mainly natural venues with the odd commercial thrown in for good measure. I met up with Ivan at Summerhayes and he is a really top bloke! A relative new kid on the block, Ivan has been blogging since 2012 and usually includes some nice catch shots in his reports.

Crooked Lines

Dominic Garnett is an all rounder who likes to try his hand at most things, Dom is becoming hot property and has written books, appeared in various angling TV shows and writes for the Angling Times regularly. He loves fly fishing for coarse fish and has regular trips with Russell Hilton. His blog posts always include some quality photos.

Danny's Angling Blog

Danny is another angler who goes fishing for pleasure and enjoys the surroundings as much as he does the fish he catches. Based in the North West I always enjoy reading about his trips with his dad and uncle. His writing flows really nicely and he always includes lots of photos and the odd video clip as well. Another relative newcomer who has been blogging since 2011 and I'm slightly jealous that he has already achieved over 106,00 page views.

Iain Swanson Angling

Iain has his own website, which includes a cracking blog section about his match fishing. Iain fishes a variety of venues in Wales and the South West. There are also tackle and bait reviews and lots of great photos.

Silverfox Match Angling

Last but not least is the Silverfox's blog, Mike Nicholls is another match angler and fishes the same circuit as Tony. Mike is a prolific poster and updates his blog at least twice a week. I enjoy his writing style and he always includes a few photos as well. Mike started blogging in 2008 and has already accumulated over 208,000 page views.

So there you have it, a few of the blogs I like to read, I'll list some more next time.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Summerhayes - Open - 8th September 2013

After a long (but enjoyable) day yesterday, I slept like a log and all too soon it was time to get up and go fishing yet again. I picked Janders up and then met some more of the Chard posse at the garage, namely Oz, Butch and Picky who were fishing Summerhayes for the first time today. Although a nice day, the temperature was certainly a few degrees lower and I think we can safely bid Summer a fond farewell. After several texts from the Torquay Tart yesterday I awoke to another on my phone telling me to prepare to get whooped.

We headed off in convoy and I even enjoyed my first trip over the railway line and I hoped the sight of Janders running across the tracks wasn't going to be the highlight of the day! There was a good turnout of 26 anglers today including Heardy who I haven't seen for ages. I had the last but one peg in the bucket which was peg 33 and put me halfway along the bank by the track, an area that can be pretty good. I had Jim Jenner on 34 and Harry M was on 31, I had a bay on the far side but was sure it would be carp city so plumbed up two lines at 10 metres which put me down the track.

Peg 33 on Longs
I also intended to fish a top two line for bits if I couldn't catch skimmers so set up a 10 x 11 MW F1 Slim for fishing at 10 metres in front and at the same distance but angled to my right plus an identical rig but for fishing two sections to hand with maggot as bait. The Torquay Tart had drawn peg 37 which is really narrow and was that confident he'd put three keepnets in! Oz was on 36 and had the aerator to fish to.

On the whistle I cupped in half a pot of micros on both the long lines and flicked a few maggots down the edge. The first bite on a 4mm expander on the right hand line saw me playing carp number one which wasn't the start I'd hoped for. I switched to the other line and then had a decent skimmer followed by carp number two. The first hour went okay and I had two decent skimmers and two carp, I wasn't bagging but getting enough bites to keep me interested and doing as well as anybody I could see around me. Jim was fishing worm and had landed a couple of skimmers and a golden tench.

Hour two was pretty similar and I added another two skimmers and two carp, the last one which was foulhooked, it gave me the run around and after netting it, I nipped to the on site loo. Brendon was in there and said he'd only had one carp and lost a crucian so the promised ass whopping wasn't going too well so far! Oz was also struggling and it was looking like it might be quite hard. I went back and carried on swapping lines after every couple of fish, I was getting the odd decent skimmer along with some smaller ones and also catching quite a few small carp.

The Tart turned up behind me with a bacon sarnie so I guessed he was still struggling, he asked what I had and when I told him I had six skimmers and seven carp he said I was right up there as the best he'd heard of was a couple of people with five carp. I guessed I had about 3lb of silvers and was a long way off my target as I thought 8-10lb would be needed today but as I was catching carp quite well I was reluctant to try my maggot line, although I kept feeding it all day.

With two hours to go there were quite a few people walking about and from the looks of it, the Tart was struggling to put anything in one keepnet, let alone three! Young Reece sat behind me and said nobody was really catching much in the way of carp or silvers. I now had eight decent skimmers and a few blades and thought I might have 4-5lb of silvers but I'd bumped a couple as well. Jim started to get odd carp from his inside line but I added a couple more to stay ahead.

Young Reece on his way to peg 19
With an hour to go bites slowed right up, I was on 18 carp and felt I needed a couple more, I added my ninth decent skimmer and another couple of blades before hooking another carp just before time, the way it was going I reckon it might have been foulhooked but I'll never know as the hook pulled and then the all out was called. I hadn't lost a carp all day until then. I finished with 18 carp and 18 skimmers. Oz landed a big lump just before the whistle to finish with a flourish. As I was packing up I looked up to see Brendon's three nets, no longer in the water - oh dear!

The scales started with Mark Hanham in peg 39 and he weighed 24lb before Charlie Barnes weighed 5lb 3oz of silvers in peg 1. Barry F in peg 3 had 4lb 10oz of silvers and then Ray Wickham went into the lead with 38lb 13oz from peg 7 and all of a sudden I wasn't so sure I'd done as well as I thought. Then Dominic Sullivan on peg 12 put a fantastic 28lb 3oz of silvers on the scales and added 24lb 14oz of carp to go into the lead with a 53lb 1oz total. Janders had 3lb 12oz of silvers and I hoped I had a little more than that.

Butch had 3lb 14oz of silvers to just pip Janders and then Picky didn't weigh in and I hope it hasn't put him off. Bruce had loads of small roach for 4lb 9oz but it was looking like he'd just miss out and Heardy had 24lb 6oz to go into third place. Steve Jackson had done well catching 39lb 2oz on maggot and moved into second place. Bill 'The Paste' Hopping had 20lb 8oz in peg 30 and then Harry M didn't weigh. The scales reached me and my carp went 27lb 11oz and then my silvers went 7lb 4oz to put me fourth overall and second in the silvers with only a few pegs left to weigh.

Jim had 19lb before Oz weighed 13lb 12oz and his last carp must have been 7-8lb and with Brendon not weighing that was that. He paid me his pound (5-1 now) and he hadn't really given his shiny new pole a workout! At the results Dominic won overall meaning I picked up the silvers by default as it was worth £2 more than fourth place and I needed a couple more carp for second place.

Today's weigh board
1 - Dominic Sullivan (Maver/Cadbury Angling) - 53lb 1oz
2 - Steve Jackson (Summerhayes) - 39lb 2oz
3 - Ray Wickham (Summerhayes) - 38lb 13oz
4 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 24lb 6oz
5 - Mark Hanham (Summerhayes) - 24lb

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 7lb 4oz
2 - Charlie Barnes (Summerhayes) - 5lb 3oz
3 - Barry F (Summerhayes) - 4lb 10oz

So an enjoyable day made even better by taking another nugget off the Tart and it's really nice to see some better skimmers showing and I'm hoping it will keep improving.

Next up - Dillington

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My first trip to the River Exe (below)

Saturday, September 07, 2013

River Exe - 7th September 2013

I didn't have anything planned for today and was going to have a lazy day but that all changed when I had a text from fellow blogger, Russell Hilton. He asked if I fancied doing something today and as I hadn't seen him since our (unsuccessful) pike trip, I jumped at the chance of a day out. He fancied a go at some mullet and when he said he'd seen loads on the River Exe, that was where we decided to go.

I met him in a Tesco's near Tiverton and we picked up some bread before heading to Exe Valley Angling to get some bits and bobs and a day ticket. We went to a stretch of the Exe above Countess Weir and settled in a swim known as 'Bream Bend', we both started on cage feeders with bread on the hook and mashed bread in the feeder. Russell had a small roach first chuck and I thought we might be in for a good day. It was a lovely day and mullet could be seen rising all over the place.

Ready for action!
Russell with the first fish of the day
After a couple of hours it started raining and we hadn't had any more action apart from a few knocks and our early enthusiasm was waning. I set up a Drennan Chubber float and tried that for a bit and we saw some more mullet close in but they just weren't interested and about three 'o' clock we decided to pack it in. As I was packing my gear away Russell walked up a few swims above us and said there were loads of mullet in the shallows.

I walked up and sure enough there were dozens of the little buggers in water so shallow it just about covered their backs. We both set up again, sure we would hook a few but these mullet proved to be just as elusive as their cousins at Seaton. It was still raining but we could clearly see them feeding on something on the bottom and they refused our bread offerings, even when we ran our floats through dozens of them! They were bow waving and jumping but just wouldn't touch our baits.

I finally hooked a fish but it turned out to be a small chub so at least I hadn't blanked but it wasn't the result I wanted. Russell briefly hooked a mullet before it came off and he thinks it was possibly foulhooked. I had another small chublet but just couldn't get a mullet to show any interest. The tide started to come back in and all of a sudden they started to be a bit more active and I still felt we might get one or two.

The first of my two chublets
Then Russ shouted up that he had a mullet on and he said this one was hooked in the mouth, then it came off and he sunk to his knees! The tide was now coming in at a rapid rate and we had to move back up the bank a couple of times. We couldn't see as many mullet now and I'm never sure if this is a good or bad thing. We started getting some indications and Russ had a couple of nice dace before I had a couple as well but with the light staring to fade, we admitted defeat at quarter to eight!

So those pesky mullet had defeated me yet again and they are the most frustrating fish ever, you can have literally hundreds in front of you and they just laugh at everything you try! Still it was nice to try somewhere different and to catch up with Russell again, he writes an excellent blog which you can check out here Tales From The Towpath

I can't wait to have another go for them but it might have to wait until next Summer now. Tomorrow I'm at Summerhayes and I've already been getting texts from the Torquay Tart saying he's looking forward to putting me in my place so make sure you check back tomorrow night to see if he does or if I batter him like a chip shop sausage again.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Dillington Pond - Summer League 9 - 1st September 2013

I arrived at the Royal Oak for the draw today at the same time as Robin who was looking very worse for wear! There were nine of us today including Bruce 'The Speed Machine' Hunt and there was also a new face at the draw, a really nice bloke called Guy and it's always great to get some new anglers fishing. I pulled out peg 20 which I was quite pleased with and had Moses on the next peg and he was keen for a side bet again, I also had one with Rob which I reckoned was a good shout as there was a very good chance he'd be asleep before the end of the match!

When I got to my peg, the first job as always was to mix my groundbait and today I was trying Bait Tech Mantra for the first time. I set up two rigs, both Drennan Roach floats, one for fishing at 8.5 metres with 0.10mm hooklength and a size 20 B611 barbless hook and the other to fish at 5 metres just off the reeds with a size 18 in the same pattern to 0.12mm bottom. On the whistle I cupped in two balls on the longer line and one on the shorter line and started at 8.5 metres with caster on the hook.

The rig settled and then just sat there!, after ten minutes I switched to maggot and had a tiny perch so went back to caster but it was really hard going, I only had a few fish but then hooked a fish that pulled out a fair bit of number four elastic and I gratefully netted a 10oz skimmer. Moses asked how many fish I had and I shouted back that I'd only had five, he replied that he'd had 21 fish, including a 6lb bream on the whip!

I was feeding casters and hemp over both lines and a brief try on the shorter line saw me catch a couple of fish before that dried up as well. I did add another skimmer from the longer line and it's lovely to see them and I do wonder just how many there are in the pond. I was getting odd fish on caster and kept trying maggot as well. Looking round the pond it looked like everyone was struggling but it can be deceiving so I just stuck at it.

By the half way point I'd only had around thirty fish and Moses kept asking how many I had and he was always ten or twelve fish ahead and he had that 'Brucey Bonus Bream' as well. I was catching mainly small roach but every now and again would get a better one of 4oz or so which I netted to be on the safe side. With two hours to go, I've had another decent skimmer and then added two more, both on maggot. Moses was now catching quite well on the whip and looked to be heading for another win.

With an hour left I was hoping my catch rate might pick up but my bites slowed right up and I only added a couple more roach to finish with 57 fish. I thought I might have 4-5lb but I didn't think it would be enough to frame today. After packing up, Moses soon arrived at my peg with the scales, my fish actually weighed 7lb 5oz which was a lot more than I thought (just for a change!) and then Moses weighed 10lb 7oz and that bream made all the difference. Terry Morgan had 3lb 6oz and then it was Bruce's turn, he had over 130 fish but reckoned they were all tiny, he weighed 4lb 7oz so I was still in second place and would have to wait to see how the other section had got on.

Moses had this cracking bream in his winning catch
Terry Morgan had some quality roach in his catch
Bruce had over 130 fish today
Steve turned up from the other side and Guy had weighed 3lb 6oz in peg 4, Richy had 2lb 8oz from peg 6, Steve had struggled for 1lb 6oz, Rob had managed to stay awake for the whole match and weighed 3lb 9oz and Fieldy weighed 6lb 4oz so I finished up second and picked up £25. I lost a pound to Moses again but had one off Robin so I finished up all square on the side bets.

Quite an enjoyable day and it's lovely to see those skimmers, what was quite noticeable though was the lack of small perch, there used to be hoards of them, yet I've only caught one tiny stripy today.

1 - Moses Holbrook (Ilminster) - 10lb 7oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 7lb 5oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 6lb 4oz

A - Rob Cox (Ilminster) - 3lb 9oz
B - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 4lb 7oz

So with one match remaining the league is pretty tight and it will go down to the last match, the league standings are as follows,

1 - Graham Field - 745 points
2 - Moses Holbrook - 730 points
3 - Rob Cox - 655 points

Next up - Summerhayes (Longs)

What's new - Lots of page updates and don't forget to check out the new links page

Check Out - My first match at the Viaduct (below)