Sunday, March 31, 2013

Summerhayes - Festival Day 1 - 31st March 2013

I was really looking forward to this two day mini-festival, the draw time was a much more sociable 10:00 after the clocks had gone forward and on looking out the window the sun was out! There was still a chill to the air and a cold easterly wind but conditions were a lot better than they have been. I got to the draw and paid my pools for the two days before Clive extracted another fiver for the superpool and my wallet was a lot lighter than when I started. There were 22 anglers fishing the festival and Pete had split the match over Longs and Sellicks with an open draw on the first match then whichever pond you were on the first day, you would swap for day two.

I really fancied Longs but pulled out Sellicks 17 which is a really good silvers peg and I was happy with that. I managed to avoid having Glyn Wickham and Heardy in my section but it would still be tough as there was Pete on peg 2 and I knew he'd go for silvers, Scott's mate, Adam Palmer was on 5 but I hoped he'd fish for carp, Nigel Wickham was on 7 and Scotty on 10 and I thought they would both be going for silvers although Scott would have a go for carp as well. Clive Cunningham was on 13 with Martin Addicot on 14 and they'd probably fish for carp as would Paul Homewood on 15. Roy Hughes was on my left on 19 and he would fish for silvers and then there was Rob Birch on 21 and Jamie Parkhouse on 23.

I just wanted a decent result on the first day so I'd still be in contention on day two and felt 10lb would be a good weight today. I set up two Malman 0.6 gram pencils and both had 0.08mm bottoms and size 18 Tubertini 808's and plumbed up. I decided on two lines at 10 metres, one straight out with the other angled to my left with a third line at 8.5 metres, also to my left. For bait I had the normal micros for feed with Bait Tech 4mm expanders for the hook and I'd also brought some dead red maggots and some pinkies in case it was really hard.

The whistle went and I put in quarter of a cup of micros straight out, with half a cup on the other 10 metre line and the same plus some dead reds and pinkies on the shorter line. I went out with an expander on the hook and fed a pinch of micros through the toss pot, I had a bite quite quickly which I missed and then missed the next two as well! I connected with the next one and it felt like a good skimmer until it woke up and I eventually netted a foulhooked 2lb carp, not the ideal start! I fed some more micros on this line before switching to the other long line. The first hour was nearly up and I hadn't put a skimmer in the net yet! Mind you from the seven pegs I could see, nobody had caught apart from Jamie P in 23 who'd netted a carp.

After no bites I was just about to come off that line when the float went and this time the result was a skimmer, when the next two chucks resulted in two more, I started to feel a bit better. Then I've lost a foulhooked skimmer and shortly after a small blade came off on the way in and that line died. I re-fed it and the shorter line before going back to my main line. The float settled and kept going and this was a better pound skimmer and then the next one was the same stamp and after two hours I was on about 3.5lb of silvers and felt if I could keep going like this I would achieve my 10lb target. It seemed to be a case of pinching a couple of fish off each line before switching. I tried the shorter line a couple of times during the day but never had a bite over it.

We reached the half way mark and I'd only added a couple of little blades, which I netted to be sure and from the pegs I could see I was ahead on silvers, Paul on 15 and Martin on 14 were starting to catch carp now but I wasn't worried about them. Roy still hadn't caught a skimmer and Rob and Jamie P seemed to be struggling so I just stuck at it. Roger Russell turned up and said nobody was really catching silvers although Adam P on peg 5 was getting blades but kept trying over for the carp as well, he said Scott only had four skimmers and four small carp and while he was there I caught my sixth decent skimmer so felt I was still doing really well.

I was still getting indications on pellet from both 10 metre lines but missing a few which I think were small skimmers. Two more decent skimmers put me on about 5lb with two hours to go, then I've hooked carp number two which took me a while to get in on 0.08mm bottom and blue hydro, I eventually netted a carp about 4lb, shortly after I've hooked and landed it's twin so went back to the left hand line and had my ninth proper skimmer to put me on 5.5lb. Another look on my main line saw me catch another proper skimmer and a couple of blades before I've had another poxy carp. I was lifting a dropping the rig and a lot of my bites were coming just as the rig settled.

We were now well into the last hour and it looked to be close between Paul and Martin on the carp front but as for the silvers, all I knew was that I was ahead of those around me. Going into the last half an hour, Roy finally got his first skimmer and then Rob started catching carp and had three in quick succession. I managed one more decent skimmer in the last five minutes to put me on about 6.5lb but would it be enough? I packed up and walked round to watch the weigh in which started with Pete in peg 2, he had 2lb 12oz of carp and the same weight in silvers, then Adam P had a brilliant 9lb 15oz of silvers which was mainly small blades and 4lb 10oz of carp. Nigel Wickham had 4lb 13oz of carp and 4lb 12oz of skimmers so I thought I'd probably beaten him.

Scotty said he'd struggled and only had four carp and about 5lb of silvers so I was looking good for second on the lake for silvers, his carp went 14lb 11oz but then he pulled out his silvers and Pete called out 9lb 11oz and I knew I'd have to settle for third and realistically I was out of it for tomorrow unless I could win the lake and even then, other results would have to go my way. Martin Addicot had 27lb 7oz of carp and then Paul Homewood just pipped him with 30lb 12oz. Then it was my turn and my four carp went 13lb 2oz and when I pulled out my silvers I realised it might be closer than I thought. Pete called out 8lb 15oz and I was a pound short of winning the pond and 12oz off second. Both Adam and Scott had caught most of their fish on dead red maggot and I haven't even tried it! Another eight little skimmers would have done it and I'd messed up badly although to be fair, I thought they'd been struggling.

Roy's single skimmer weighed 1lb 13oz before Rob's late run of carp gave him 16lb 12oz and Jamie P had 15lb 6oz of carp from peg 23. I missed most of the weigh in on Longs but it had fished pretty well with Bruce Hunt leading on the carp front with an excellent 51lb 15oz from peg 7 and Martin Heard was fresh back from his Mexican holiday and back to winning ways with a stunning 30lb 5oz of silvers from peg 28, he even added over 11lb of carp for good measure. The full day one results are below (click on the photo for a better view) but I have listed the top threes for carp and silvers on both lakes.

Long's weighboard

Sellick's weighboard

1 - Bruce Hunt (Summerhayes) - 51lb 15oz
2 - Adie Bishop (Summerhayes) - 12lb 12oz
3 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 11lb 3oz

1 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 30lb 5oz
2 - Glyn Wickham (Summerhayes) - 10lb 5oz
3 - Dave T (Summerhayes) - 9lb

1 - Paul Homewood (Summerhayes) - 30lb 12oz
2 - Martin Addicot (Taunton) - 27lb 7oz
3 - Rob Birch (Glastonbury) - 16lb 12oz

1 - Adam Palmer (Bridgwater) - 9lb 15oz
2 - Scott Russell (Tackleuk) - 9lb 11oz
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 8lb 15oz

So going into day two I have nine points and it's a big ask to try and make the top three overall and only a lake win will do and even then it might not be enough! Looking at the results from Longs today, there are a few pegs you really don't want and the outcome could be decided on who draws where. Come back tomorrow night to see how the festival finishes up.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Perry St Pond - Good Friday Match - 29th March 2013

As always Chard fish a match on the Good Friday at Perry St Pond and with the spring league starting in two weeks time I hoped I could get some clues on how I was going to approach the league. After some water quality issues the club decided to ban pellet and meat which threw my usual game plan of fishing shallow with pellet out the window. Mind you with the weather being so cold I don't think it would've worked anyway until it warms up a fair bit. Some decent skimmers had also been stocked fairly recently and the league payouts this year would be different with the top four carp and silvers weights paid out. I've been keeping an eye on the results and like many waters it's been fishing hard and I didn't expect today to be any different.

On arriving at the draw it was great to see lots of faces I hadn't seen for a while including Weymouth Dave, Rocking Roy, Butch, Picky, Les, Bushy, The Hoff and Mike Collins to name a few. The Torquay Tart (Brendon Ions) was also there and up to his usual shit stirring ways, I can't slag him off to much though as he brought me some lovely floats made by Mike Smith to try out (but more of that later). My usual £1 side bets were struck with Janders and Picky and Brendon wanted in on the action as well. Les left out the three best corner pegs to try and make it fairer and as we all drew, nobody seemed to want pegs 2 or 3, of course I pulled out peg 3 and could be in for a grueller. The Hoff said he'd had it last match and caught just one skimmer and one carp which did nothing to ignite my enthusiasm.

The pond was pretty clear and the level looked to be down a bit as well, I had Mark Mockridge on peg 2 with the Hoff on my left with Les next to him. Opposite I had Exeter Mike on peg 17 with Dave Mockridge on 18. I decided to keep it pretty simple and mixed up some Bait Tech Special G groundbait before setting up a 0.75 gram Drennan G-tip 2 with 0.08mm bottom and size 18 Tubertini 808. I also set up a Trabucco dibber for fishing down the edge with a 0.10mm bottom and the same hook pattern. I was just about ready when Les blew for the all in, I cupped in a single ball of groundbait at 11 metres and another at 8 metres angled at 10 'o' clock to my left before cupping some corn and casters on the inside. I slipped on a single dead red maggot (which I had added some Marukyu Krill powder to before freezing) and added half a dozen to the toss pot before shipping out to my longer line.

I was expecting a wait before any indications but Exeter Mike caught a small skimmer quite quickly which raised my hopes a little, Les and the Tart from Torquay also both had decent skimmers and I was hoping it wouldn't be too long before I had a bite. Without an indication of any description after nearly an hour I was soon trying my 8 metre line with the same response and I honestly thought a blank was on the cards. I went back on the longer line but with two dead reds on the hook and prepared for a wait. Hoff just asked me what I was going to put in my blog tonight when the pimple that was float bristle sunk from view and a gentle lift saw a pleasing amount of blue hydro come out of the pole tip. I shipped back very carefully and was soon netting a decent skimmer of a pound or so, I had just slipped it in the keepnet when the Hoff struck into one of a similar size. Here we go I thought.

Bish up on peg 14 had been netting fish regularly and the grapevine was saying that the pegs at the top end were catching well. It was a totally different story at our end with Les, Hoff, Mike and me on one fish apiece and Blaker, Rocking, Dave M, Dave A, Mark M and Janders all still fishless. I tried the inside for the first time but never had a touch there and my next bite came on the longer line on the two hour mark, I think it was a small carp but the hook pulled out and that was to be the last of the action for me. Hoff did manage a couple of tiny roach, Dave A had three small fish late on, Mark M had one roach and his Dad had a small carp in the last half an hour.

It got cold near the end too and again I was relieved when the all out was called, I packed up and when I got back to my peg the scales were waiting, I pulled my net out and it was empty! I was searching for holes when everybody burst out laughing and they'd weighed my skimmer at 1lb 2oz while I was loading my car - gits. Hoff had 1lb 4oz and Les didn't weigh before the Torquay Tart had five skimmers for 3lb 4oz and I paid out my first squid of the day. Butch had a nice net of skimmers weighing 5lb 6oz before Oz had 4lb 2oz of silvers and 4lb 14oz of carp. Bushy was on peg 9 which was an end peg with 10 not in and had 9lb 14oz of silvers and 15lb 14oz of carp so would be framing one way or the other.

Butch weighing Bushy in while Les records the weights

Picky had a nice tench and skimmers for 7lb 8oz from peg 12 (another end peg) and I paid out pound number two, Mike Collins had three feeder caught carp from peg 13 for 12lb 8oz before Bish had 10lb 14oz of skimmers and 10lb 4oz of carp from peg 14. Only two more anglers weighed in from my end of the pond and they were Dave M whose single carp weighed 2lb 12oz and Dave A's three small fish weighed a level pound. Janders didn't weigh so at least I'd re-couped some of my losses. It was definitely a tale of two ends and my drawing hand had let me down badly today.

Bish had a nice net of skimmers for the top silvers weight

Most people who had caught well today had fished dead maggot over groundbait, chopped worm and caster or a combination of both so I was on the right track and I think if the weather warms up before the league starts we should see some decent catches.

The weighboard, you can see how the top end (pegs 6-9 and 12-14) fished a lot better

1 - Steve Bush (Chard) - 15lb 14oz
2 - Mike Collins (Chard) - 12lb 8oz
3 - Steve Osborne (Chard) - 4lb 14oz

1 - Steve Bishop (Chard) - 10lb 14oz
2 - Alan Gage (Chard) - 7lb 8oz
3 - Butch Baker (Chard Minnows) - 5lb 6oz

I mentioned earlier that Brendon had brought me some floats that former Milo angler, Mike Smith, makes. Obviously I haven't had chance to use them yet but early impressions are that they are really well made and finished nicely. The patterns I've been sent (see photo) all have nylon stems and plastic or cane bristles although Brendon tells me that Mike will pretty much cater for any requirements (carbon or wire stems, different bristle materials etc). The diamond bodied floats look spot on for fishing on the deck for carp while the slimmer bodied floats look a great silver fish pattern and the floats with a rugby ball style body are a good all round pattern. The only slight criticism I would make is that the stems and bristles on the slimmer floats look a little too long for the style of fishing I do at Summerhayes but I guess I can also cut them back a bit.

Mike Smith floats

They are priced at a very reasonable £1.70 a float which is a lot cheaper than many of the other well known hand made float makers out there. As soon as I get chance to make some rigs up I'll report back on how they perform, hopefully they'll go under a bit more often than the floats I'm currently using! If you would like to order some or make any enquiries give Mike a ring on 07805 777289 or you can leave me a message in the comments box and I'll make sure they get passed on.

So the second match of my quadrilogy didn't go too well, next up is the two day mini festival at Summerhayes and with no real improvement in the weather, I think two good draws will be crucial. Check back Sunday night to see how day one went.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Summerhayes - Open - 27th March 2013

Today was part one of my fish fest (four matches in six days) and as I was loading the car, I was pleasantly surprised with the air temperature. Although chilly, it was nowhere as bad as it was on Sunday when it was so cold it was painful. The match today was to be a rover, where you get to pick your own peg, originally I was going to take a chance and go on Willow but Pete said it was on Longs only, so that plan was scuppered. For a mid-weeker there was a decent turnout of ten anglers including Roger and Scott Russell (who just wanted to waggle his Air about again!) and Tom Mangnall who always does well here.

Pete announced the draw and I pulled out number 10, meaning I had last choice (not a great start!), I decided on peg 9 as I did okay fishing for silvers last time I was on this lake. Adie Bishop picked peg 12 which has been very consistent and in form Clive Cunningham decided on peg 39 which is a peg I hate with a passion! I had Roger on peg 11 but to my right I had an entire empty bank to myself and was hoping the space would help in my quest for silvers. I set up the same rigs as last time, a 10 x11 MW F1 Slim with 0.08mm bottom and size 18 Tubertini 808 with blue hydro, a heavier 14 x 11 version with 0.10mm hooklength and size 16 hook in the same pattern and also a Trabucco dibber but as I never picked it up all day, I'll say no more about it.

Adie on his way to peg 12 (and second place)
It was quite a nice day and even the sun kept trying to poke it's head out, I hadn't even put my gloves on yet and it felt almost tropical compared to Sunday. The whistle blew to start the match and I put in quarter of a cup of micros at 10 metres straight out in front and half a cup at the same distance but angled to my left. I also cupped in some corn and micros on the inside. It took a while to get a tentative indication which I missed and it was half an hour before I caught my first fish, a decent skimmer. Adie on 12 had a carp quite quickly as did Scotty on peg 16 before I added my second fish which was a good skimmer of around 1.5lb and I was fairly pleased to finish the first hour with about 2lb and if I could carry on like this I thought I would be there or thereabouts for the silvers.

My home for the day - peg 9

The second hour was much the same and I added another three skimmers to put me on about 3.5lb, I did bump one good fish and was still being plagued by those tiny dips on the float. Roger was getting odd skimmers too and even added a nice little crucian. I was feeding a tiny pinch of micros on my main line and feeding the other two lines after each hour, on the hook I had a 4mm Bait Tech expander. Going into the third hour I tried my left hand skimmer line for the first time and had a decent skimmer first chuck. I then had a really good spell catching two fish off each of my 10 metre lines before switching to the other for two fish and so on. Most were good skimmers between 8oz and 1lb with the odd smaller skimmer and roach in between them.

I had reached about 7lb when towards the end of the third hour I hooked a fish that was pulling out a fair bit of blue hydro but it wasn't pulling hard enough to be a carp and as it wasn't going round in circles, I didn't think it was a crucian, when a 8-10oz perch popped up I didn't know who was more surprised! My first ever perch on a soft pellet! With 7.5lb in the bag and only half the match gone I started to feel a good weight was on the cards. I should have known better, I then struggled to get a bite and when I did get one, it would be a tiny roach and I even had a motherless minnow.

I was sure the skimmers were still there as I was still getting those tiny dips on the float, I could see Scotty was getting some good skimmers so they were still feeding. The temperature felt like it dropped a few degrees and it kept trying to snow and I was soon putting my gloves on. I was still a few fish ahead of Roger but he lost a 4lb bream at the net which didn't help his cause. I started a third line to my right at 10 metres but despite a few knocks I never had a fish from it. By the end of the fifth hour I had only added one more decent skimmer plus a few bits and bobs and was probably up to about 8.5 lb.

The last hour was painfully slow and I only added one more decent skimmer to finish with 22 fish (I didn't count the bits) for about 9lb. Roger had landed a couple more skimbobs but I thought I just had the edge on him. I could only see a few anglers around me and most of those had either fished for carp or a combination of carp and silvers so I had no clue to how I'd gotten on really. For the second match on Longs I hadn't hooked a carp all day. I took my kit back to the car and the scales were soon with Clive who had 27lb 10oz and he really is on fire at the moment. The scales worked their way round and the pegs by the track had fished poorly and Tom Mangnall was top there with 16lb odd and the best silvers weight was Dave T with a lowly 2lb 15oz.

We then got to the more sheltered pegs and Gary B had been fishless for over four hours on peg 19 and then caught seven skimmers to weigh 9lb 1oz and take the lead on the silvers front. Scotty then came close with 13lb of carp and 11lb 2oz of silvers to go into second place overall and take over the silvers lead. I thought I might be close to Gary's weight but I was sure I didn't have enough to trouble Scott's silvers and was hoping he'd frame. Adie then pushed Scott into third when he weighed just 11oz more. Roger had 6lb 6oz of silvers and was cussing the loss of that bream, then it was my turn and I was surprised when Pete called out 13lb 7oz and I'd won the silvers.

1 - Clive Cunningham (Summerhayes) - 27lb 10oz
2 - Adie Bishop (Summerhayes) - 24lb 13oz
3 - Scott Russell (Tackleuk) - 24lb 2oz

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 13lb 7oz
2 - Gary B (Summerhayes) - 9lb 1oz

Today's weighboard
I picked up £20 to keep my winnings ticking over and had really enjoyed the first half of the match, I'm looking forward to the two day mini-festival but with the cold weather the draw will be crucial. I'd settle for todays weight on Longs and I think 10lb will be a good silvers weight on Sellicks, make sure you come back to see how I fare.

Before that I have the Good Friday match at Perry Street and it'll be nice to see all the faces I haven't seen since last years spring league. I've got no idea how I'm going to approach this match as meat and pellet is banned for this year and so far the corners have dominated so lets hope my drawing hand is on form!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Summerhayes - Open - 24th March 2013

I must admit I'm fed up with this weather now, I look forward all week to fishing on a Sunday but when it's as cold as this, it's not much fun and the fish don't really want to play ball either. Janders was coming along for the ride this week and was hoping for a few bites after blanking at Perry St last week. It didn't feel too cold as I loaded the car and we hadn't had a frost so hopefully we should get a few fish today. We got to Bridgwater and as always it felt a few degrees colder due to a biting wind, with 15 anglers fishing today Pete had split the match with 11 pegs on Sellicks and the remainder on the dreaded Lily. To be fair, Lily normally produces some of the framing weights but as it's mainly carp, it's not my favourite pond.

Pete announced the draw and I waited until I'd heard most of the pegs on Lily had gone before grabbing a ball, I opened my hand to reveal Sellicks peg 10 - phew! It can be a decent silvers peg and that would do me fine. Janders drew 14 on Sellicks which is also a decent peg. I took my kit to the peg and was pleased to see I had loads of room, three empty pegs to my right and two to my left. The wind was bitterly cold though and I started to lose the feeling in my hands as I started setting up. I decided to keep it fairly simple and set up a 0.6 gram Malman Pencil with 0.08mm bottom to a size 18 808 to fish at 10 metres across and and also at 8.5 metres angled to my left. I also set up a Trabucco dibber with 0.10mm bottom and size 18 808 to fish down the edge at 8.5 metres to my left.

For bait I just had 4mm Bait Tech expanders for the hook, micros which I'd dampened down last night and a small tin of corn. The all in was shouted and I fed a quarter of a pot of micros at 10 metres and half a cup at 8.5 metres before finishing my feeding with micros and corn down the edge. Despite the cold I still expected to catch quite quickly as last week there were loads of small skimmers showing. It took ten minutes to get my first bite at 10 metres which I promptly missed! and then a similar time later I missed my second bite! This was going to be rock hard, I hadn't seen anybody catch and we were nearly half an hour into the match.

I fed a pinch of micros on my longer line before having a look at 8.5 metres and after another ten minutes, I missed bite number three! After an hour and a half I was still fishless and still hadn't seen anybody catch and my hands were bloody freezing. I then had a decent bite on the shorter line and this was no skimmer, I played the carp with kid gloves and eventually the blue hydro did it's job and I netted a decent carp of 4lb or so and was finally off the mark. This put me ahead of the anglers I could see and was back fishing at 8.5 metres when Glyn Wickham walked up from peg 2, he hadn't caught and neither had Paul Homewood on peg 4 but peg 6 had a small skimmer, it was that hard.

John Pear on peg 13 was soon walking and from all accounts, Lily was rock hard as well and nobody had caught a carp there yet. My next bite came from the 10 metre swim and was also a carp but after a couple of minutes, the hook pulled and I think it may have been foulhooked. I was feeding tiny amounts of micros on the two skimmer lines and a little more on the inside line with the addition of some corn. I had a quick look on the inside but normally if there are some carp there you get indications straight away. Back at 10 metres and the wind was getting stronger and colder, I then had an 8oz skimmer and was fairly happy that I was at least getting odd bites. I then missed two bites in two chucks before the longer line died again.

Janders had a walk to warm up and said he'd had a skimmer but had lost a carp, it didn't sound like much was happening on the other side either. It really was a struggle and already several people were packing up including John Pear and the chap on peg 6. I kept swapping between all three of my lines but now couldn't buy a bite. I was back at 10 metres and lifting and dropping the rig regularly to see if I could attract the interest of anything when I had a good bite and netted my second carp which was slightly smaller than the first. Glyn was round seeing how Ray and Nigel were getting on and came back to report Adie Bishop was winning with five carp from peg 17 although several had been foulhooked and he'd lost a fair few too! Glyn said his Dad Ray had a couple pound of silvers but I was looking good for second place overall!

I was sure two carp wouldn't be enough for second though and felt certain somebody would find a few on Lily. But as the time ticked by three of the four anglers on Lily packed up, leaving Bill 'Redfin' Hopping as the last man standing on that pond, apparently he was catching quite a few small rudd. Glyn also packed up leaving just Paul Homewood and me on our bank. I had finished off my coffee and was wishing the time away. The wind was now making it hard to present properly at 10 metres so I came back a section and started a new line with virtually no feed but still couldn't get any more bites. Another quick look on the inside was also fruitless but I noticed Paul had netted a couple of good skimmers and was looking good for a silvers placing.

No more bites for me and I was very relieved when the all out was called, Pete was soon at Paul's peg with the scales and he finished with 3 skimmers for 3lb and I thought that wouldn't be far away today. My two carp went 7lb 7oz and my solitary 8oz skimbob gave me a 7lb 15oz total and people were still saying I'd be second and I wasn't counting my chickens yet. The scales went off to weigh Bill on Lily and he'd done brilliantly to finish with 2lb 11oz of tiny rudd and will be known as Bill 'The Rudd' Hopping from now on. I didn't watch the rest of the weigh in as I was taking my kit back to the car and just wanted to warm up a little bit.

I'd just finished loading the car when Janders turned up, his skimmer weighed 1lb 11oz and he had a 2lb 1oz carp to go with it to give him a 3lb 12oz total and as he handed over his pound I was glad he'd decided to have it on overall weight today. Nigel Wickham had 3lb 8oz of silvers and 3lb 3oz of carp to give him a 6lb 11oz total and I was still second behind Adie who's five carp weighed 13lb 6oz. Ray Wickham had 2lb 3oz of silvers and his net included a very unseasonal little tench! With not many people left to trouble the scales, we were soon back in the warm porta-cabin and Pete laid on hot roast potatoes and chicken nuggets which were very welcome along with a hot drink.

Only a few weighed in today
Time for the results and Adie had won and I was called out in second place and picked up £50 which made sitting in the cold a little more bearable. It really is no fun fishing in this weather and I'm back again on Wednesday and it doesn't look like there will be any let up in the weather.

1 - Adie Bishop (Summerhayes) - 13lb 6oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 7lb 15oz
3 - Nigel Wickham (Summerhayes) - 6lb 11oz

1 - Paul Homewood (Summerhayes) - 3lb
2 - Bill 'The Rudd' Hopping (Summerhayes) - 2lb 11oz

I said in an earlier post that one of my aims is to win a Summerhayes match and I think when the fishing is hard, this might be possible fishing for silvers and I'd missed enough bites today to have been a lot closer to Adie but another 5lb+, I'm not sure.

Wednesday's match is a rover I think and I had planned to go on Longs for a days silvers fishing but the match on there today was only won with 4lb! I've also got a match at Perry St next Friday and then the two day festival at Summerhayes on the Sunday and Monday and if the weather stays like this, it's going to be a tough few days so make sure you come back to see if I manage to catch or freeze to death in the process!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hit Parade

Well chuffed, the Angling Gazette has just published it's top ten blogs for March and I'm in it! This is what they had to say

Definitely one for the Match anglers, this blog is crammed with information and insights into match fishing. Some of Jamie’s posts literally take you bank side, as he gives you a blow by blow account of the match. Even if you are not a match fisherman, you’ll be impressed by the detail of this blog. And just when you think it’s all about the graft of match fishing, Jamie will blog about Flounders and Mullet.
It's a great site, full of great articles and tips, well worth checking out Angling Gazette

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Summerhayes - Open - 17th March 2013

I did some more prep last night which is nearly unheard of for me and was looking forward to another nice days silvers fishing at Summerhayes. First thing was a tad chilly but it was looking brighter by the minute as I travelled to Bridgwater, on arriving, the car park was rammed as there was also a match on Longs today. I went to pick up my keepnets and met a chap fishing the other match who recognised me from the blog and said he really enjoyed reading it which got my day off to a nice start. I didn't catch his name but if you're reading this, I hope you had a good day and bagged up!

Pete announced the draw and I hung back hoping to avoid Lily even though it very often produces the winner in matches split over the two ponds. With only a couple of balls left, I delved in a pulled out Sellicks peg 5 which is a great carp peg and one of the most consistent pegs on the pond, Pete had recently extended the pallet but it still looked a long way across. I intended to feed a line across but would stick to my silvers plan. With the match split we all had plenty of room and I had Clive Cunningham on peg 7 and Trev Heathman on peg 3. Scotty had pulled out peg 8 on Lily and no doubt the Daiwa Air would get another good workout today.

First rig out was a 0.6 gram Malman pencil and with carp expected I decided to leave the 0.12mm hooklength on for the time being and went with white hydro. The next rig was a Trabucco dibber but at 14.5 metres I was still short of the far bank and the rig was miles too short. In fact the next few rigs were way too short as well and I was running out of time before the start. I ended up with a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp float and 0.12mm bottom to a size 20 808 but I wasn't confident with the rig and hoped I wouldn't have to use it. I plumbed up two skimmer lines at 10 metres in front of me and the same distance at an angle to my left and then it was time to start.

I fed one line with half a pot of micros and the other line with nearly a full cup before cupping micros and corn across to my far line. While I was still feeding, Clive got off the mark with a nice roach so hopefully we should be in for a good day. I slipped on a 4mm Bait Tech expander, put a pinch of micros in the toss pot and went out on the line in front of me. I didn't have to wait long for my first fish which was a small skimmer and this was followed by another and then a better one of a pound or so. I caught steadily and had 12 fish after the first hour (3 decent skimmers and the rest smaller ones). Clive had already started catching carp and I think I was helping him by not fishing across, I fed my other skimmer line on the hour mark and carried on catching blades with the odd better sample amongst them.

I was getting too many smaller skimmers so tried a grain of corn and after missing a couple of bites hooked carp number one which I safely netted but it wasn't helping my cause much. After two hours I was up to 21 fish (1 carp, 5 better skimmers and 15 blades), the smaller skimmers were probably 2oz apiece so I must have had about 4.5lb of silvers plus that carp and I was fairly happy with my catch rate. Hour three saw things slow up a bit and although I was still getting small fish I only added one more decent skimmer and then had a bit of a head fit. Clive was still catching odd carp quite well, as was Mark Leahy on peg 10 but the anglers on pegs 2 and 3 were struggling a bit. I decided to feed both my skimmer lines before having a look long, I slipped on a grain a corn and went across, the rig was all wrong really and although I was getting the odd knock, I had no proper bites. The wind wasn't particularly strong but it was enough to make holding the pole awkward (excuses, excuses!). One thing that was noticeable was that while I was fishing across Clive stopped catching!

After half an hour I hadn't added anymore fish and with Clive and Mark beating me and probably several people on Lily as well, I felt my best chance of a pick up today was with silvers. I could still get small skimmers off both lines but the bigger ones had done a disappearing act. In the back of my mind I had the nagging feeling that I should be scaling down to 0.08mm and with two hours left I finally made the change. To start with I just kept catching blades but then hooked what felt like a small carp but turned out to be a 1lb+ crucian - bonus! Then I started catching some better skimmers, all from the left hand line and even added a couple more small carp. I did lose one carp which I'm sure was foulhooked.

For periods of the match there was even an orange thing in the sky but I'm not overly sure what it was and it was turning into a very spring like day (about bloody time!). My bites slowed a bit towards the end and I ended with 55 fish which included three carp, one crucian and around ten decent skimmers. With Pete not fishing he was soon weighing in Jess Jordan on peg 2 who had 11lb 11oz, Trev on peg 3 chucked back and then it was my turn. My three carp went 5lb 7oz and my silvers 11lb 8oz to give me a 16lb 15oz total, I was hoping I'd done enough for a pick up but the grapevine suggested a couple of anglers on the other side had done okay on silvers. Clive weighed a brilliant 51lb 9oz and would be there or thereabouts with that. Mark had 24lb 2oz from peg 10 before the scales turned left to go and weigh the anglers on Lily.

I took my kit back to the car and caught up with the scales as they came down the far side, a quick look at the weighboard revealed Lily hadn't fished that well and Scotty was top there with 30lb 4oz, Adie Bishop had weighed 34lb 13oz from Sellicks 15 to go into second place and last weeks winner, Jim Jenner had just pipped me on silvers with 12lb 11oz. The next best silvers weight was Roy Hughes with 8lb 9oz so I was still hanging onto second place. Roger Russell came close to the framing weights when he had 6lb 5oz of skimmers and then plonked three carp on the scales for 15lb 11oz to give him a 22lb total and he needed one more fish. No more silvers weights and I hung onto second place and picked up £19 to keep my winnings ticking over.

Todays weighboard

1 - Clive Cunningham (Summerhayes) - 51lb 9oz
2 - Adie Bishop (Summerhayes) - 34lb 13oz
3 - Scott Russell (Tackleuk) - 30lb 4oz
4 - Mark Leahy (Summerhayes) - 24lb 2oz

1 - Jim Jenner (Summerhayes) - 12lb 11oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 11lb 8oz

So a very enjoyable day (made better by Chelsea beating West Ham 2-0 and moving back into third place!) and we'd enjoyed a glimpse of some better weather although apparently it's going to get colder again next week - great! Maybe I'd have challenged for a frame place if I'd fished across more but I'm not confident fishing long for carp and I definitely should have gone with the 0.08mm from the start and I should have switched to blue hydro as I bumped/lost three or four blades. so could do better and lessons learned for next week (hopefully!).

I'm back again next week so check back on Sunday to see how I get on, I was hoping we'd be on Longs but I think it's Sellicks again.

Also well done to Freddy Roberts who won the match at Whitepost today with 148lb of carp.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Targets for 2013

Now the weather is starting to get marginally better, my thoughts are turning to what I would like to achieve in 2013 fishing wise. There's so much I want to do! Now most of my Sundays and days off are taken up with fishing matches as that's my number one love but I've listed my targets below and it would be great to tick a few off this year;

  • Me and Scotty have a trip to Gillhams in May and I can't wait, it would be lovely to up a few pb's and add some new species.

  • I'd love to win a match at Summerhayes but with me only fishing for silvers, this might be difficult. It is do-able but a good net of silvers and quite a few bonus carp would be needed.

  • I haven't forgotten 'Mission Impossible' and hopefully I'll be able to get out with Russell Hilton for another crack at those pike and once the river season starts again me and Justin can go back to the Wye for those barbel. Many of the other badges are easily done, it's just a case of actually weighing and taking a picture of the fish like roach, tench and crucians.

  • I can't wait for another trip to Seaton after those mullet, it's addictive stuff and there are some places I want to give a go like the River Exe and Lyme Regis.

  • Lastly, I've got it into my head I want to catch a flounder which would be another new species for me. At the moment I haven't a clue how I'm going to do this but ideally it would be using coarse gear.
I can't wait to have another go for the mullet

Hopefully you'll follow me as I try and achieve these rather modest aims.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Summerhayes - Open - 10th March 2013

With the temperature on the mild side during the week I was really looking forward to a days skimmer fishing but then I contracted the lurgy and felt awful and on Friday I couldn't see me fishing this weekend. I felt a bit better waking up this morning and we hadn't had a frost so it was all systems go for skimmers. I had ordered some MW F1 Slim floats and they arrived on Friday so I made some rigs on Saturday and couldn't wait to use them in anger (well if they're good enough for Steve Ringer, they're good enough for me!).
MW F1 Slims all ready to be set up
Ready for action!

I got to Summerhayes and it was noticeable that there was still a definite chill in the air and I hoped it wouldn't knock the silvers sport on the head too much. I paid my pools and had a coffee while catching up with some faces I hadn't seen for a while, Adie Bishop was there along with Roy Hughes and Mike Hosgood (from somewhere near Exeter), one notable absentee was Scotty who was due to fish but had got drafted in to fish the Viaduct at the last moment. On the plus side I wouldn't have to watch him bagging with that lovely Daiwa Air of his!

Draw time and I pulled out peg 9 which put me in a decent silvers area, after sorting my box out and getting comfy the first two rigs out of the box were a 10 x 11 MW F1 Slim and another heavier 14 x 11 version, the lighter rig had 0.08mm bottom to a size 18 808 and blue hydro while the other had a 0.10mm bottom and a size 16 in the same pattern with white hydro through the top two. The third rig was a Trabucco dibber for fishing the inside towards the empty pallet to my left, but as I never picked it up all day, I won't mention it again! The side tray was fairly simple today, 4mm Bait Tech expanders, soaked micros with a little groundbait added and a small tin of corn.

Mark Leahy walked up just before the start for a chat and we both commented it was getting colder by the minute! The whistle went and I cupped in a small amount of micros at 11.5 metres in front of me and a slightly fuller cup angled to my left at 10 metres to give me a second line. I also cupped in some corn and micros on the inside. I started with the heavier rig which was shotted right down and I had to use a dab of Preston's bristle grease to keep it from submerging. I didn't have to wait too long for the first bite which turned out to be a 2oz blade, next put in I had a dumpy crucian and had gotten off to a good start. Nobody around me had caught much yet and as I was getting regular bites I was quite enjoying it. More blades followed before I had a little tench of 4oz or so, I just needed the bigger skimmers to put in an appearance now.

I finished the first hour with 8 fish for a pound or so and the only other person I'd seen net fish was Martin Heard on peg 1. I fed my other two lines again and went back on my main line with a view to trying my other skimmer line shortly. Bites were slowing up on my main line and after another blade I fed it again before coming in on the other line but with the lighter rig. I had toss pots on both top twos and was feeding a tiny amount of micros every put in. I had to wait a while for my first bite on this line and it turned out to be another blade and I was hoping some better fish would show soon or I wouldn't be challenging for the silvers today. My next bite saw my prayers answered and I was soon netting my first decent skimmer and things got better when I had another crucian on the next put in.

I was getting odd bites on this line but after two and a half hours I was still on 12 fish and I stayed on this line too long really. I fed again and also put some more corn and micros on the inside and the reeds were knocking occasionally but I wanted to avoid those pesky carp if possible. I went back on the longer line but this time with the lighter rig and hooked a blade first chuck but lost it on the way in. We were now half way through the six hours and I probably only had a couple of pounds but this was still good compared to those around me with the exception of peg 12 (which has won the last few matches) who seemed to be getting odd carp. Then it started raining, it wasn't too heavy but it was very cold and this seemed to coincide with my bites tailing off.

It got to the stage where I was toying with trying the inside line when I had my first decent skimmer from my main line, then three or four followed in quick succession and I started to think I might still have half a chance. The rain was getting heavier and then it turned into sleet - great! My hands were freezing and it was difficult to even hook the expanders. I cupped in a little more feed before coming back to 10 metres and had another decent skimmer straight away. This set the pattern for the rest of the match and I would get a fish or two from the main line before resting it and getting odd fish from the 10 metre line. I was really cold and not too upset when Pete blew for the all out and it took me ages to pack up with my numb hands. I ended up with 25 fish (around 10 decent skimmers, 2 crucians, 1 little tench and the rest small skimmers).

Pete started the weigh in on peg 1 where Heardy had 12lb odd and the next two pegs didn't weigh, my silvers went 11lb 4oz and probably for the first time ever, I hadn't hooked a carp all day! Dave T on my left threw back before Jim Jenner on peg 12 had 26lb 7oz to take the overall lead. Bruce Hunt on peg 16 had 6lb 5oz of roach but I missed the rest of the weigh in as I took my gear back to the car. Back at the results and the first person I saw was Exeter Mike who said he'd had 15lb 10oz of silvers and I started to think I was going to miss out but then he was called out in second place overall (behind Jim) and I won the silvers and picked up £32. Heardy had shot off after packing up but actually finished fourth with 12lb 15oz which got me thinking I should have had the odd look over my inside line as a couple of carp would have probably got me second place. Overall though I'd felt I'd fished a good match, only losing one small blade all day and I'd made sure I'd fed all three lines regularly even though I never even tried the inside line!
Today's weighboard

1 - Jim Jenner (Summerhayes) - 26lb 7oz
2 - Mike Hosgood (Near Exeter) - 15lb 10oz
3 - Ian Browney (Summerhayes) - 14lb 4oz
4 - Martin Heard (Tiverton) - 12lb 15oz

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 11lb 4oz
2 - Nigel Wickham (Summerhayes) - 8lb 10oz

On the drive home, things took a turn for the worse when I turned on the radio and Chelsea were 2-0 down to Man U after only ten minutes but by the time I got home it was 2-2 and we were all over them but just couldn't score the winner and that might come back to haunt us when they come to Stamford Bridge for the replay.

With the end of the river season imminent it was interesting to hear Martin say that Malcolm and a mate had gone and fished the Hambridge stretch in the week and bagged up, Malcolm had over 20lb including a 3lb+ chub and two perch over a pound and his mate had 15lb of roach, food for thought for next year me thinks!

I'm back here next week where it's on Sellicks and the dreaded Lily so lets hope it warms up and be sure to come back to see how I get on.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Dillington Pond - Barney Crockett Pairs Open - 3rd March 2013

With the river fishing badly for the last couple of matches, the plan for the pairs was to have a section on the canal and a section out at Dillington. My partner Justin was happy to go to the canal and I quite fancied Dillington as there are normally bites to be had out there. There was a wicked frost overnight and my fears were confirmed when I got to the pub and Rob said the canal was frozen over and we would all go out the pond. There was a decent turnout of 14 anglers including Andy Welch, Ned and Dave Gudgeon plus Ashley and Scotty who had actually gone up the Crown for the draw which just goes to show how long it is since they fished an Ilminster match! I had a good start to the day when Pete handed me an envelope containing £60 for finishing second in the V.E.S. league last week.

Pete announced the draw and I went up to draw for us, I pulled out peg 4 for me which is a really good peg although I would rather have been on pegs 17-21 and peg 1 for Justin which we had mixed feelings about as it can be a good chub peg but if they don't show you waste too much time and fall behind the anglers who get their heads down for the small fish. Heardy had dragged Malcolm Levy along to be his partner and somehow they ended up next to each other on pegs 5 and 6 despite being in different sections for the points! The pegs were a bit mixed up but to be fair to Rob, with the canal being frozen, it rather buggered things up as he had all the pegs and weighboards etc ready to fish the two venues. Scotty was on the other side of the bush, opposite Justin but had the added complication of a floating platform, which housed an irrigation pump, in front of him which is tethered to the bank but gets blown about by the wind and could potentially get blown in front of him! We all reckoned it was a great fish holding feature but his reply was unprintable!

My partner Justin in peg one

We all got out the pond and started setting up, I was quite surprised to see odd small fish topping and felt we'd catch today. I had Martin and Malcom on my left and Rob was the next angler to my right on peg 2. Martin had started moaning nice and early and between him and Malcolm it was like being pegged next to the Chuckle Brothers! I set up a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach float and a 0.75 gram bodied float, both had 0.08mm bottoms and size 20 B511's. I mixed up a little groundbait before plumbing up, I had a nice depth at 11.5 metres for the lighter rig and also plumbed up at 13 metres for the heavier rig in case I had to chase the fish out. I let Ash have the rest of my groundbait as him and Scotty had to split what they had because Scott was expecting to be on the canal where groundbait is banned (you'd think owning a tackle shop would mean they had a few bags knocking about wouldn't you?).

It was fairly cold but a little better than it's been the last few weeks, I still felt we might have to wait a while before we caught though. The whistle went and I cupped in a single ball of groundbait at 11.5 metres before going out with the lighter rig with a single pinkie on the hook. The float settled and went straight under!, not much elastic came out but a tiny roach got me off the mark and Martin, Malcolm and Ash on peg 8 all caught very quickly as well and it was looking like we could be in for a good day. I tried a single maggot next and another tiny roach was the result, I put a caster on and had another small roach, I felt you might need to sort out some quality to do well today so stuck with caster for a while but was missing too many bites and not wanting to fall to far behind the others was soon back on the maggot.

The first hour saw me finish with 18 fish and the anglers around me seemed to be catching at a similar rate with the possible exception of Ash who had netted a couple of fish as well. Both him and Scott were using their brand new shiny Daiwa Air poles today and Ash was fishing further out than me at 14.5 metres and making it look easy. The second hour arrived and I was still catching tiny roach but soon got bored and kept trying caster and had a couple of slightly better roach but was still missing too many bites. I tried hooking the caster like a maggot and had a few more but it was slow going and I only added nine more fish. I went back to maggot and hoped some better fish would show up among the tiny ones. I was on 30 fish when Ash asked how many I had, I told him and he replied he was on 70 already! I was a few ahead of Heardy and Malcolm at this stage and if I could finish second in my section behind Ash it would still be a decent result.

Rob went behind his peg for a pee and came up to see how I was getting on, he said he was on 27 fish but had a bonus 12oz rudd and a 8oz perch so I was probably behind him as well. He did say Justin was getting small fish regularly so at least my partner was catching. In amongst the small fish I was getting the odd better roach and was hoping I might still catch on caster later on. At the halfway point it was obvious Ash was going to win our section so I just kept putting small fish in the net hoping to stay ahead of Malcolm. I was still in front of Martin but as I wasn't in his section for points it didn't really matter although he was still moaning well and giving Malcolm a hard time for having something to eat!

I started to suffer some blank spells and both Martin and Malcolm were catching small fish quite quickly but couldn't seem to get any better fish. I would catch in bursts and was getting some tiny perch amongst the roach and I felt Malcolm was catching me up. I did manage a couple of slightly better perch of 6oz or so on maggot to keep me just ahead. Towards the end of the match Malcolm was really motoring and I was struggling, he was getting a lot of small roach and I thought he had overtaken me. Earlier I was well ahead of Martin but as the whistle blew to end the match we were both on 80 fish and Malcolm had well over a hundred. Martin reckoned me and Justin would still be second but I thought they would be! We would have to wait for the scales.

I packed up and went to watch Rob start the weigh in, even though Justin wasn't in our section, Rob had to weigh him in (confusing isn't it!), Justin had struggled for 2lb 2oz but had lost a chub and I just knew that would cost us. Rob had 3lb 8oz which included some quality roach and rudd and then I had 5lb 4oz before Martin had 4lb 1oz and Malcolm weighed 4lb 12oz. So I'd beaten Malcolm and Martin had beaten Justin but we'd have to wait to see how we all fared points wise. Ash won our section and was top on the day with 8lb 8oz and had christened his new pole with a win. Paul 'Ned' Overd had a nice net of quality rudd on the waggler weighing 6lb 6oz but he was in the other section from me.

Rob had some quality in his 3lb 8oz catch

Back at the results and Scotty had come second in his section (behind Ned) with 5lb 12oz and he hadn't had a bite for the first two hours! So Ash and Scotty won the pairs with 3 points, Justin finished up fifth in his section giving us 7 points and I knew it wouldn't be enough. Ned's partner Tony Newman had struggled for 1lb 11oz giving them a 7 point total and they were out of it as well. Martin finished third in his section and so did Malcolm so they ended with 6 points and took second place in the pairs.

Pairs winners Ashley Tomkins and Scott Russell
1 - Ashley Tomkins and Scott Russell - 3 pts
2 - Martin Heard and Malcolm Levy - 6 pts

1 - Ashley Tomkins (Tackleuk) - 8lb 8oz
2 - Paul Overd (Ilminster) - 6lb 6oz
3 - Scott Russell (Tackleuk) - 5lb 12oz

So another disappointing pairs result for me although at least we all caught fish today which I'm sure wouldn't have been the case on the river. The pond frustrates me as I know there are loads of quality fish in there and I wasted too much time trying to catch them today when I should have just fished maggot all day but catching blips does my head in!

Next week I'm going to fish Summerhayes so hopefully it will warm up a few degrees and the silvers will have a munch!