Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ilminster Canal - V.E.S. Precision League 2 - 27th October 2013

With load of rain in the week and more on Saturday night, it was always going to be touch and go whether this match would be on the river, I got to the pub and Rob said we were down the canal today which was fine by be as it's one of my favourite venues. Fieldy was back from his holidays although Heardy had to work and Bruce was having an operation so we were a few down on last week. I drew out peg 5 which put me just past half way up the canal and it's an area I seem to draw a lot. On arriving at the canal, there was loads of weed but most of the pegs had a channel in them, although any big fish hooked could cause problems.

Peg 5 on the canal, all the weed on the right got blown into the middle of the peg!
I had Justin on my left and Rob on my right and both accepted my offer of a £1 side bet. I set up two rigs, a 0.5 gram Drennan Squatt for fishing down the middle at about five metres and a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp for fishing across, both rigs had 0.08mm bottoms and size 20 B511's. I finely chopped some lobbies and casters and on the whistle put in a dollop on the far side at 11 metres before starting down the middle with a single red maggot on the hook. I had to wait quite a while for my first bite which was a 3oz roach, I then bumped one before catching another and then lost three shipping back - doh!

I had a couple more small roach and then a tiny perch so tried caster but only had one slight knock on it. Justin had caught a couple of fish across and as I'd been feeding casters over, I couldn't wait to go across to the far side. I had intended to wait at least an hour but couldn't wait and went over 15 minutes early. I had three roach in three chucks and really thought I was going to bag up, I'd said to Justin before the start I fancied 8-10lb would be needed to win. Normally down here you catch quality roach with odd decent perch and skimmers thrown in so I thought it would only be a matter of time before they put in an appearance.

After an hour I had 11 fish for about 1.5lb and was doing okay but bites across were already becoming less frequent and I was already having to chase them about along the far bank. I wasn't to worried though as nobody seemed to be running away with it. It was pretty tight between me and Justin and a better fish could swing it either way. We were catching mainly roach around 3-4oz apiece and not the usual stamp. After a couple of hours Pete came for a wander and said it was a bit of a struggle down their end and after popping up to see Rob and Fieldy on the end peg, he said it was the same for them.

I was still getting odd roach but would only get one or two before having to try another spot along the far bank at 11 and 13 metres. Most of the bites were coming on the drop with caster on the hook, I tried maggot a couple of times but this just resulted in tiny perch. The wind kept blowing the weed right into the middle of my peg and each fish I hooked I had to navigate around the clumps of weed which was a bit of a pain. It was still really close between me and Justin although it looked to me like he was catching a better stamp of roach.

Me netting a roach (thanks to Scott Jackson for the photo)
With a couple of hours to go I had a bite and struck into something a bit more lumpy, I was hoping it was a better perch but it soon became obvious it was an eel of around 6oz, after some fun and games with the weed and my light hooklength, I finally netted it and it was coughing up casters. Bites were now very few and far between but I stuck at it as everyone seemed to be in the same boat. I got to 36 fish with about ten minutes to go and then missed two bites before Rob called the all out. I thought I had between 3-4lb but wasn't sure it would be enough today and I was pretty sure it would be really close between me and Justin.

Fieldy said he'd struggled and had only caught 9 or 10 fish but when he pulled his net out, he'd caught a nice little tench and some decent skimmers, fishing half a lobworm and weighed 4lb 9oz and I said he'd win it with that. Rob had struggled for 1lb 12oz and his net included loads of small perch, I pulled my net out and it was tight, Justin called out 4lb 6oz and those three fish I'd lost early on could prove to be costly. The it was Justin's turn and again, it looked to be really close, his weight was called out at 4lb 3oz and he was cursing my eel as he paid me a £1 to go with the one I had off Rob.

Fieldy had some quality fish in his winning 4lb 9oz
Rob had some slightly smaller fish in his 1lb 12oz!
Me trying (unsuccessfully) to hold my eel!
Pete had lots of small fish and weighed 2lb 14oz and then Neil had 2lb 2oz and I was still in second place with just Steve on the other end peg left to weigh. The grapevine had suggested he'd caught some decent skimmers so I was relieved when his weight was called out at 2lb 6oz. His cause wasn't helped by a dog jumping in on the far side. So I finished up in second place and picked up £25 (plus £2 in side bets) to finish off a successful October.

1 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 4lb 9oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish/ Burt Baits) - 4lb 6oz
3 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 4lb 3oz

So a tight frame and I do love the canal as it's a very fair venue and there's always bites to be had and with Chelsea beating Man City 2-1, another pretty good weekend. Next week I'm hopefully going to Summerhayes and apparently the silvers weights are getting better so come back next Sunday to see if I can get amongst them. Also next Saturday hopefully me and fellow blogger, Russell Hilton are going piking on the Taunton canal so see if I can catch a new pb, mind you, if our last two trips are anything to go by, it could be a disaster!

Whilst at Whiteacres last week, Tony Wynnick let Jamie Parkhouse have my Burt Baits hoodie and t-shirt and he let Scotty have them today and he very kindly popped down the canal to let me have them and they do look great, cheers Burt! He has a new bait range out and Jamie P bagged up yesterday using it and I'm hearing lots of good reports so I will try and get hold of some soon to review.

I can't go without mentioning Tackleuk's Scott Russell who is a man on fire at the moment, after doing well at Whiteacres, he won yesterday at Todber Manor with 201lb and followed it up today with another win, this time down the resi with 43lb of skimmers. He won the first resi league and with only one match to go, I think he has this one sewn up as well.

I regularly give the Torquay Tart some stick on here but I will have to give a him a shout out as he won the open on Tamar lake today with an excellent 29lb 8oz on the feeder so credit where credit's due, well done Brendon. Although he did text me to say he's currently rolling around naked in bed with his winnings! - strange lad!

Next up - Summerhayes

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My last match (below)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

River Isle - Royal Oak Winter League 2 - 20th October 2013

Before I come onto this weeks match I must just say a massive congratulations to Scott Russell who has just fished two festivals at Whiteacres, he finished 17th in the first one and 11th in the second one with a section win and four seconds which earned him a place in the prestigious Parkdean Masters final. He finished up a credible fourth with 62lb beating some top names like Steve Ringer, Des Shipp, Andy Power and James Dent to name but a few. Well done mate, a great performance and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before you win one.

Right onto this weeks match and after loads of rain yesterday and through the night I was sure we would be on the pond today. I got to the pub and Rob confirmed we'd be on the river and he had pegged the top end. There was a better turnout than last week as Heardy and Justin were fishing today for the first time in this league although Neil and Moses were absent so at least I wouldn't have to pay him another pound! Steve Parker came in for a fair bit of stick after falling in last week and we all reckoned he should wear a rubber ring today, just in case.

Rob had put in all the usual good pegs plus 22 and 29 and it would be interesting to see how they fished today, I really fancied 14, 15 or 27. Justin drew first and pulled out 27 so nothing changes there then! I stuck my hand in the bucket and pulled out peg 14 which I was really chuffed with as it's one of my favourite pegs. Heardy had 15 and even had the cheek to moan at how well I draw!

On getting to the river I was amazed at how clear it was and as I took my box to the peg I managed to slip down a slope on my arse which wasn't a great start to the day! I set up a 0.75 Drennan Carbo and a 1 gram bodied float and plumbed up, it was quite shallow out in front before shelving off by the tank traps so the lighter rig would be for the shallower water and the heavier rig for by the traps and also by the little cutback in the far bank towards the tail of the swim. I also plumbed up towards the weir just off the main flow as quite often you can catch trout up there.

Peg 14, you can see the tank traps on the far side of the swim, where my box is was underwater by the end of the match!
Heardy deciding where to fish in peg 15
I had a sandwich and a coffee and it was time to start, I baited up with caster and shipped out the lighter rig and inched it down in the flow and first chuck I had a small roach and then another and then a trout of 6oz and it was all going to plan. I was having to search around for them a bit and was getting quite a few minnows as well so decided to try the heavier rig by the traps. The rig sat nicely in the flow before sliding away and I had three fish in as many chucks before it slowed again and the fish just wouldn't settle. I had 14 fish after an hour for 2lb or so and was fairly happy with my catch rate.

I tried towards the tail and had a nice dace but it was a one off, I then went to 11.5 metres just off the cutback and had a chublet but again it appeared to be a loner. I quick try up towards the weir resulted in a rattle on the pole tip but nothing more. There was a submerged branch halfway down the peg and holding back just in front of it saw me catch a chublet which I somehow managed to miss the net with! Next put in I had a 12oz trout and made sure it went into the net and I was now up to about 3lb but bites were becoming less frequent (apart from minnows!).

After three hours it started to rain heavily and the river began to rise and colour up at an alarming rate, I  kept my eye on the level by using a rock as a marker and it was soon underwater and I had to move my box back. I was still getting odd fish and had a few on double red maggot but I would only get one before the minnows moved in. I stuck at it as it was the same for every one and a walker confirmed the people he had spoken to were struggling.

I had a couple more roach and bumped what felt like a better fish and with about half an hour to go I was on 28 fish for about 4lb or so which I was sure would be no good today. The heavier rig was just about holding in the flow although the swim was getting worse by the minute, with five minutes to go the float slid away and something a bit more substantial had taken the double red maggot hookbait and I gratefully netted a trout that had to be a pound and a quarter. I had time to ship back out but that was it and I ended with 29 fish (five trout, roach, dace and chublets) plus quite a few minnows for about 5lb.

I packed up and as I passed Martin he said he'd caught quite well until the river had come up and he had over 30 fish so this could be tight, Bruce on 17 told a similar story, he'd been catching well until the extra water came through. We walked up to weigh Heardy in and he had 5lb 8oz and when Bruce weighed 5lb 11oz I hoped that chublet I missed the net with wasn't going to prove costly. Even when I pulled my net out I still didn't think it would be enough but Martin called out 6lb - phew!

Martin had 5lb 8oz
Bruce had 5lb 11oz from peg 17
Rob, Leighton and Steve arrived back from the lower pegs and Rob had caught a lovely net of chublets, dace and roach weighing 7lb 11oz to push me down into second and there were still three more anglers to come back from the copse. They got back and I was relieved when Tony Newman was the top down there with 2lb 7oz from peg 29. I felt a bit sorry for Justin as his peg had been fished the day before and the angler even turned up and showed him a picture of his 8lb net from the previous day!

So Rob had won and I was second and picked up £37 to keep this good little run going and Bruce was third. So once again a tight frame and if it hadn't been for the rain I think weights would have been a lot better. It's great to see so many small fish showing and it was nice to see one of the new pegs producing and I reckon there are a couple more that are worth putting in as well.

Match winner Robin Cox
1 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 7lb 11oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 6lb
3 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 5lb 11oz

Well so far that's three river matches and three pick ups and I've averaged over 6lb a match, be sure to come back next week to see it all go pear shaped! So with Chelsea winning as well, a pretty good weekend.

Next up - River Isle

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My last match (below)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League 1 - 13th October 2013

We'd had quite a bit of rain yesterday and with the weather still pretty mild I thought we could be in for a good match today. On arriving at the pub I was surprised to see only a few of us fishing today, although to be fair several people were on holiday and several who fished last week said they'd only fish one of the leagues so would only be here every other week. I was hoping Rob was going to peg the top end but he said we would be down Isle Brewers today. I really fancied last weeks winner, peg 126a but pulled out 124 which Rob had done 6lb odd off last week and lost a couple of chub so I should get a few bites at least. Steve Parker drew the one I wanted and it was also a golden peg today. Rob had 128 which was second last match and Pete Lonton had 125a which is the first time it's been in for a while.

On getting to my peg I must admit it looked pretty fishy with a couple of clumps of reeds just past the middle which was where Rob said he'd hooked the chub. I was surprised to see the river was gin clear again with very little flow but still fancied it for a few. I set up a 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo but won't mention it again as I never picked it up all day, I also set up a 1 gram bodied float with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 and this rig picked up what flow there was and I could hold back nicely with it as well.

I just had time for a coffee and a quick walk down to see Pete before it was time to start. I kicked off fishing in the flow at about 10 metres and had a small roach first chuck on caster, then I had a gudgeon and another small roach and was getting a few bites. I added a section to run down just this side of the reeds and was getting a small roach or gudgeon most put ins and after an hour I had around twenty fish but probably only had about a pound in weight and I didn't think 6lb (we were fishing six hours today) would be enough to frame.

The second hour was pretty similar and it didn't matter where I went in the swim I would get bites from small roach, gudgeon and the odd dace along with the inevitable minnows. Double caster didn't help improve the size of the fish and half a lobbie just saw the float dance about as it was attacked by small fish. Bites started to slow in the third hour and with only about 2lb in the net I was going nowhere fast. I heard some splashing and looked down to see Pete's elastic all across his swim and he shouted up he had a big pike on (which don't count) but he lost it.

I really felt I needed chub to compete today and I have caught them in this peg towards the tail of the swim at about 13 metres so shipped down with caster on and had a couple of slightly better roach of 3-4oz, as I unshipped to swing one in, a jack pike leapt out of the water at it but thankfully missed. I then hooked another roach and as I shipped back there was a big swirl out in the middle as a bigger snapper had a go at it but again I safely got the roach in. Bites slowed right up then and it started to rain quite heavily. I tried hemp and had a few knocks on it and then tried another lobbie to see if I could snare a chub but all I managed on it was a gobie.

Pete wandered up to stretch his legs and also to calm down a bit as he'd just lost three big chub in quick succession. All I could manage while he was there was a gudgeon so he went back to get another top kit out with heavier elastic in to see if he could land one of those chub. Thinking some chub were having a go I stuck with lobbie a while longer and poked the rig in all the likely looking spots but just couldn't get one. It was now chucking it down and all my maggots had done a runner although I'd only used two all day!

Time was running out so I concentrated on the tail of the swim where I'd had a few slightly better roach and managed another three or four fish including my first chublet of about 3oz. I ended with 63 fish plus a few minnows and thought I must have between 3-4lb which I was sure wouldn't be any good today as Pete was only paying the top two due to the depleted turnout. I packed up and as I walked past Pete he said he'd lost another two big chub with most of them taking sweetcorn! I stuck my stuff in the car before walking down to see how the others had got on. Steve and Rob were just walking back from peg 128 where Rob had weighed 3lb 14oz but had suffered some pike trouble.

Steve weighed 3lb 2oz and was pretty wet!
Steve didn't look too happy as his reel had seized up and the bank had also given way during the match and he'd slipped into the river, mind you we were all soaked anyway. Steve weighed 3lb 2oz and I hoped I'd beaten that but I wasn't sure I had Rob's weight. Pete had 3lb 2oz as well and just needed one of those chub. Then it was my turn and even when I pulled my net out I wasn't sure I'd done enough, Rob called out 4lb 12oz and I'd done it! I picked up £30 for winning which was better than a kick up the bum and I've got off to a great start in this league too.

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 4lb 12oz
2 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 3lb 14oz

So lots of small fish still showing, including gudgeon which is a great sign and I've won my first match for a while (albeit rather a small one!). More importantly I've got off to a great start in both leagues so be sure to come back next Sunday to see if I can keep it going.

Next up - River Isle

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My last match (below)

Sunday, October 06, 2013

River Isle - Royal Oak Winter League 1 - 6th October 2013

After a bad run of results I was really looking forward to getting back on the river especially as Fieldy has been catching some nice bags of small fish from all over the river while pleasure fishing. I was up bright and early and on arriving at the Royal Oak it was nice to see a decent turnout of 11 anglers including the regulars and a few new faces like Bruce Hunt, Moses and young Dave Gudgeon. Rob had pegged upper and lower Coxes plus Isle Brewers and I really fancied pegs 14, 15, 27 or 28. I stuck my hand in and pulled out 23 which I had mixed feelings about, it did a decent weight last year but I struggled off it as did a few others.

Leighton drew 14 with Tony Newman on 15 and Bob Hammond was on 17, Steve Parker had 27 and Bruce had the big bend (28), Moses managed to find himself on 126a and another one of my pounds was in danger. It took me two trips to get my gear to my peg but it did look nice although the river was painfully low and clear, despite a fair bit of rain in the week. I set up a 0.75 gram Drennan Carbo and also a 1 gram bodied float, both had size 18 B611's and 0.12mm hooklengths. Expecting small fish, my elastics were blue and pink Daiwa hydro's. Bait was the usual maggots, casters and hemp.

I had a deeper hole on the far side just past some weed (see photo) and intended to use the heavier rig there with the lighter float for running down in the flow. 10:30 arrived and I baited up with a single caster and started inching the float down the swim using just four sections of pole, just as the float passed some underwater reeds on my left, the float shot away but I missed it! Next put in I had a small 4oz chublet and then next chuck another. I was feeding in the flow and also across in the hole for later. On the fourth run through I've hooked what felt like a better chublet and as I was shipping back it got under some weed half way across and I had to pull for a break which wasn't ideal.

Peg 23
I had a few more chublets and a 4oz roach and was really enjoying myself but then I had another chublet that as I went to net it, dived into some weed and transferred the hook! I thought my pink hydro wasn't man enough so got another top two out with white hydro in but after the commotion and the sun now fully out, bites started to tail off. I was still getting odd chublets and dace and had 11 fish after an hour for 2lb or so.

I was catching quite a few chublets
I was getting the odd minnow but they weren't proving to be too much of a pain but with bites now nearly non-existent, it was time to try in the hole with my heavier rig. I had a few bites but had to wait ages for them and they were mainly from smaller roach and dace although I did lose a better dace shipping back. I went back to fishing in the flow and had a couple more before they shut up shop again. Thinking the fish might have backed off down the swim, I added another couple of sections to run the float down to just above peg 24. I didn't have any indications and was just about to give that up as a bad job when the float shot away and an alarming amount of elastic headed downstream, I got the fish under control using the pulla bung and eventually netted a trout around the pound mark, which was most welcome as they count in our matches.

No more bites and I was back swapping between the flow and the hole and getting odd fish but it was now very slow. It was pretty warm and I had to take my jacket off and couldn't believe I was sat in a t-shirt in October! Justin Charles turned up behind me and said Bob and Tony were struggling but Leighton had been catching well but it had died off when the sun came out. I had another dace while he was there but he kept on saying I should fish in the hole, so to shut him up, I swapped rigs and went across, a roach and a dace in as many chucks earned me a 'Told you so' before he left me to it.

I carried on getting odd fish but bites were now very few and far between and with an hour to go I thought I might have 5lb or so which I didn't think would be any good today. I added a section and went tight to the far bank brambles and had a couple of chublets but it was slow going. Then in the last half an hour, the sun wasn't so bright and I started getting bites again and added another half a dozen fish to finish with 39 (1 trout, around 10 roach, 5 or 6 dace and the rest chublets) and I thought I might have about 6lb or so.

I took half my kit back to the car and met Bob who had the scales, he said he'd struggled for a few ounces although he did lose a good chub first chuck  I asked how the rest had got on and he said Leighton had 5lb 6oz and Tony had 2lb 1oz and I hoped I had enough to beat them. I pulled the net out and plonked them on the scales and Bob called out 7lb 13oz which was fairly pleasing but I didn't think it would be enough to frame today.

An enjoyable day with plenty of bites
We loaded the cars and waited by the bridge for the others to come back, Steve Parker and Bruce were the first back and Steve had done well with 6lb 11oz from peg 27 but I was surprised when Bruce only weighed 4lb 12oz from 28. So with six pegs accounted for, I had won my section at least. The others started filtering back and Isle Brewers had fished pretty well with Moses top down there with 10lb 10oz and I said goodbye to another pound! Neil came close with 10lb 8oz and might well have won it but for a pike that attacked his keepnet and ripped a hole in it! I must say Neil did well off peg 128, a peg that I really didn't fancy. Young Dave Gudgeon was third in that section and pipped me for a frame place with 8lb so those two early chublets I lost cost me.

Moses won again (and took another nugget off me)
Rob Cox did 6lb 6oz from peg 124 and lost a couple of munters that could have seen him win it, so it fished pretty well considering how low and clear it was. I picked up £15 for the section so I at least stopped the rot for now and got off to a great start in this league and with Chelsea beating Norwich 3-1, all in all it's been a pretty good weekend.

1 - Moses Holbrook (Ilminster) - 10lb 10oz
2 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 10lb 8oz
3 - Dave Gudgeon (Ilminster) - 8lb

A - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 7lb 13oz
B - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 6lb 6oz

Next up - River Isle

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My latest Hit Parade below

Next Sunday is the start of the V.E.S. Precision league and as I've said many times before, it's a league I'd love to win so come back to see if I can get off to a good start.

I can't go without sharing this fantastic feedback that Scott Jackson just left on my Facebook page (and no, I didn't pay him to say it!)

"I would just like to say I haven't known Jamie Rich in person, very long but have always known of Jamie and the reputation that Jamie maintains. Jamie continues to write a fantastic blog and I for one as I'm sure many others find themselves regularly reading the latest match results. I asked Jamie to cover the Ilminster junior canal match and what a fantastic read it was. Jamie also organised the Bait- tech sponsor for the Ilminster Juniors. All of the juniors were over the moon with their goods. So just to sum up, what a nice guy Jamie is and what a great job he does of writing a first class blog. Thanks for all your help and keep up the good work mate. Cheers Jacko"

All joking aside, it's great to get some positive feedback and I really appreciate it when somebody takes the time to message me as I spend a lot of time and effort doing the blog, sending the results off to the local papers, Angling Times etc but I do enjoy doing it and it's nice to know other people enjoy reading it too!

Saturday, October 05, 2013

My Top Ten Match Wins

I haven't done a 'Hit Parade' for a while and as I seem to be having a bad run at the moment I thought I'd list some of the matches when I actually caught some fish! I've been fishing competitions for 34 years and during that time I've experienced plenty of highs and lows and that's what makes it so addictive. For weeks on end you can catch next to nothing or finish just out of the frame and then you have a great result and all those bad days are forgotten (well until the following week anyway!).

Match wins can come in a variety of ways, a low weight affair after a scratching match, a bonus fish making all the difference or a proper bagging session. Very often winning matches is easy, you draw a good peg, the fish are feeding and you fill your net before collecting your winnings. Of course days like this don't come along that often, some days you draw the flier and the fish aren't feeding or you cock it up, you lose that match winning fish at the net or another angler fishes a blinder and takes the glory, it's all part and parcel of match fishing and that's why I love it!

So read on for my top ten match wins

10 - Stathe Drain
My first (and only) win at Stathe thanks to a couple of late bonus fish

9 - Perry St Pond
I've only ever won four matches at Perry St, this time I drew the flier and made no mistakes and also set a new personal best match weight

8 - Chard Reservoir
Another match win thanks to a bonus fish but what a bonus!

7 - River Isle
Another flier and still my biggest match weight on the river

6 - Dillington Pond
After winning the previous match with 1lb 5oz, I was expecting another struggle and couldn't have been more wrong!

5 - Ilminster Canal
I love fishing the canal and had a cracking days fishing for this win

4 - Chard Reservoir
This win has featured in previous 'Hit Parades' but still remains one of my favourites so I make no apology

3 - River Isle
Another of my all time favourite match wins

2 - Summerhayes
This match was a strong contender for the number one spot, a lovely days fishing and my first win at the venue

1 - Chris Haines's Pond
A day when everything went right and I had a lovely mixed bag to win my first match at Clivey and on my birthday too! - a perfect day.

So there you have it, my favourite match wins. I'm on the Isle tomorrow so come back tomorrow night to see if my bad run continues or if I can get back to catching some fish.