Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Gillhams Resort, Thailand - 14th to 27th May 2013

Scotty was itching to go back to the lovely Gillhams Resort in Thailand and I needed no persuasion for a return trip so this year we decided to go in May as we'd never been at this time of year and it was also the only time slot Scott could find in his busy match schedule. After a lot of travelling it's always lovely to see the sign at the entrance to the resort and after a couple of beers it was time to relax before grabbing some food and having a relatively early night.

We were up bright and early and as always the scenery and views are stunning and we soon had the rods out, we'd taken some different baits to try and Bait Tech had very kindly let me have some of their new pop ups to. After only 45 mins I had a slow run on two pink Sweet Coconut pop ups and was into a decent fish. The fish grounded me and Jut the guide swam out to put some pressure directly above it, after several more groundings it became apparent I'd foul hooked one of the venues big stingrays. I eventually got it within netting range where the guides could start to handline it but the pressure eventually saw the line snap and I lost the rig and everything - not a great start.

What a view to wake up to


Rods and Bait Tech pop ups

With the weather really hot, we weren't getting many indications and Scotty was soon reaching for a waggler rig to fish pellet up in the water and was into an angry Mekong catfish which snapped braid like cotton after a 30 minute scrap. We had no more action during the day but as night started to fall, Scott's hooked into an arapaima on a deadbait and just as the fish was nearly ready to be caged, the hook pulled out! I did manage a small redtail of 33lb to get off the mark.

First fish of the trip, a 33lb Amazon redtail catfish
The second day saw us determined to do better but it was tough going with the only action being Scotty losing another Mekong on the float. The third day saw me blank again but Scotty had a nice Siamese carp of 50lb to get on the scoreboard as well. We changed swims for our fourth day and it looked like our luck had changed as well when I landed a Siamese carp of 38lb and then Scotty had one of 40lb followed by a new pb of 62lb. We had a day off the next day so went out for a few beers in Ao Nang. After a couple of days Scotty came down with a nasty cold which came with a horrible cough and I really felt for him as he was pretty rough for the entire trip.

38lb Siamese Carp
Scotty with a new pb 62lb Siamese Carp
We were on the move again for the next days fishing, with Scotty in the end peg (G3) where the arapaima tend to show a lot and me the next peg up, Scott got off to a great start with an 'arry of 75lb first chuck but things got even better after we got back from having a lovely breakfast when he latched into one of the beasts and after a lengthy battle, a huge fish was caged. The guides estimated the fish at 360lb and it was a fish of a lifetime for Scott and he was over the moon. For good measure he added a third of 180lb and he still had the evening stint to look forward to. But as night fell, Scott's swim went quiet and I started to get some action. I had a redtail of 28lb before losing three 'arry's which straightened the hooks out, the power of these fish has to be seen to be believed! I did manage to land one of 60lb before the all out was called at eight 'o' clock.

Fish of a lifetime - 360lb arapaima
We swapped swims the next day with me in the hot peg on the end and I was hoping I might latch into some 'arrys. During the day it was again tough going but I did have another Amazon redtail of 45lb on a Bait Tech pop up with a fishery pellet. We awaited darkness and I had two screaming runs on dead baits that nearly pulled the rod pod over but lost them both when the hook or braided hooklength snapped and I was starting to think I wasn't going to get a big fish out.

45lb redtail
Also the match boys arrived in the form of Tony Wynnick of Burt Baits, Garbolino's Richie Hull, Maver's Steve Mayo and their mate Micheal. These boys like a drink and I had a couple of mad nights out with them which resulted in getting back around four or five in the morning! They can also fish a bit and Steve enjoyed some Mekong and Siamese action on the float although he lost a few as well. He also had a cracking arapaima of 300lb, not to be out done Tony had a nice 'arry of 170-180lb although he lost a bigger one at the net. He also played a big Mekong for over an hour without seeing it before losing it. Richie had a big Mekong of 160lb but on a day trip got stung by a jellyfish and I don't think he had a lot of sympathy from the lads! Michael had some nice fish including a bighead carp which is a species I would love to add to my list. Check out their Facebook pages for some great video footage of some huge fish.

We both stayed in the same pegs the following day and it was quiet during the day with Scott the only one to catch with a 55lb Siamese. As night started to fall, my fish rod screamed off and I thought I was going to lose yet another monster but slowly but surely I was starting to win and the guides managed to cage a lovely arapaima of 240lb. I went up to watch Scott for bit and calm my nerves when his bite alarm went off and he had to get in the water to follow the fish and it was eventually caged below my swim and the guides estimated it at 170lb. I went back to fish but wasn't holding out much hope after all the commotion when I hooked another that snapped me straight away and that was enough for me, my nerves couldn't take anymore. Scott had another of 145lb and he'd now landed five arapaima, his record with the Mekong's still wasn't looking good though!
240lb arapaima
That night everybody headed out to the lovely crispy pork restaurant and after, me and Chris Pache (one of the guides) headed to Amy's bar for a few bevvies. Me and Scotty had another day off fishing the following day, so went into town and had a lovely massage (not that sort you mucky lot!) before doing a bit of shopping and meeting up with the match boys for a couple of beers and a game of pool. Our next days fishing saw me blank again although I did lose a fish which smashed me up and was my own fault for not checking the clutch! Scott also lost a fish but did catch a nice carp of 40lb. We both blanked the next day but Scotty lost another fish.

Me and Chris in Amy's bar
The lovely Ell in Amy's bar
We had another relaxing day before our last day arrived (where did the two weeks go!), I was a little late getting to my swim and as I reached Scotty's peg, he was playing yet another Mekong, he was wearing a rather fetching lifejacket as he'd already followed it up and down the lake and it was still showing no signs of stopping. After a two hour battle, Scotty was knackered and so was the fish which was eventually netted, it was a 160lb Mekong hooked under the chin which might explain why it was so angry! I was starting to think I was going to blank again but as the witching hour approached, I've hooked into a fish which I thought might be a redtail but turned out to be smallish 'arry of around 60lb, it was just about to be caged when the hooked pulled and I was gutted because I've never had three arapaima in a trip yet.

Scotty during the battle (nice lifejacket mate!)
The result - 160lb Mekong catfish
Time was running out when I've hooked another fish but the hook pulled out and it was starting to feel like the fishy god's were against me. Joel the guide was sat with me and about to call the all out when my rod screamed off again and I was into another big fish. After a tense 30 minute battle, the guides caged another lovely arapaima of 180lb and I'd finished the trip with a flourish and managed a third arapaima for the first time.

'Please don't come off'
Yessssss!
180lb arapaima to finish the trip
The fishing had been a little tough compared to other trips but we'd still had seven fish over 100lb, topped by the 360lb fish for Scotty and one of 240lb for me. No new pb's or species for me but Scotty set new pb's for arapaima, Siamese carp and Mekong catfish. I don't know whether it was the time of year or the fact that the fish are wising up a bit, the fact that specimen type anglers were getting some more action could be down to all the little tricks they know whereas we stuck to the approaches we'd used other years. The bagging float method would get you bites from Mekong's and carp but after my three hour plus battle with a Mekong last year, I try and avoid them.


There are some gorgeous birds about!

Reggie, Sean's new iguana
It's an amazing place and I'll definitely be back, I met some lovely people again and I can't go without mentioning Carston from Greenland who apparently wrestles polar bears for a living (don't quote me on that!), Gary Newman (no not that one!) who is a consultant for Drennan and really knows his stuff, Terry and Tracey who we also met two years ago and of course Terry 'Poppa' Eustace as I never tire of hearing his stories over dinner and a Sambuca or two. This year Terry brought his mate Del over for the first time and they were just like the odd couple, very funny.

Terry 'Poppa' Eustace
Stuart and Benz, Sean and Noi and Becs look after you so well along with the guides, Joel, Chris, Jut, Rob and of course the infamous Golock. Also there was Jonathan Salisbury who did some work experience last year and is now back working, a smashing lad who takes some great photos (even if he was a bit too fond of nail varnish!). The 300lb arapaima and 100lb carp eluded me this time but I'll get you next time and as for you Mr Pacu, you may be my nemesis but your days are numbered!

Jonathan Salisbury getting some water shots
We had a nightmare journey back where the flight was delayed by several hours due to a fuel problem and we were all taken off the plane and had to wait while a new one was readied and then after arriving at Heathrow we had to wait a while for the car to be delivered and then got stuck in traffic for ages. I'm well and truly back to earth with a bump and missing Thailand already, the place and people are amazing and I can't wait to go back.

Ao Nang
Well next up for me is a Spring League at Perry St and as Les couldn't get anybody to fish for me last week, I'm slipping down the rankings and I had one of my corner pegs last week too!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Perry St Pond - Spring League 4 - 12th May 2013

Today's blog will be on the short side as I've got to finish getting my stuff ready for my holiday to Thailand and the wonderful Gillhams Resort (the fact I didn't do very well has nothing to do with it!). We all gathered to see what todays draw sequence would be and Dino reckons he can tell which pegs he won't be on due to some kind of enigma code he's worked out, of course we all took the piss but when Les opened the envelope, sure enough he was right (can you do my lottery numbers for me next week please?). Nobody else had a clue what he was on about so we'll have to wait until next time to see if Mystic Dino is right again! I wasn't too upset as the sequence put me on peg 13 which has been quite consistent. Janders didn't turn up today as he's been poorly (get well soon mate).

The first thing I noticed on getting to my peg was that there was a cold wind blowing up towards peg 11 and whilst the anglers on the other side were in t-shirts, I had all the clothes I had with me on! After the draw for the first match I would have the same next peg neighbours throughout the series so Picky was on 12 and Mike C on 14. Rocking was in 11 with Oz in 10 and opposite me I could see Dangerous in 9, Bushy in 8 and Dunner in 7 with Bish and Chilly along from him. I decided to try and have a go for the silvers today as it has been a good area so set up a 0.75 gram Drennan G-Tip with 0.10mm bottom and size 20 808. My other two rigs were dibbers for fishing down the edges to my left and right.

I mixed up some Bag 'Em groundbait and added a generous dollop of chopped worm and caster and on the whistle cupped in two balls at 11.5 metres, before putting in some corn, caster and dead maggots on my left margin before cupping in the same on the right along with a full cup of loose groundbait. I started out with a worm head on and toss potted in some choppie and after 20 mins had my first proper bite and was soon netting a decent skimmer of a pound or so and was hoping it would be the first of many. My next bite saw me lose a carp when the hook pinged out (foulhooked?) before I had a small carp and then just going into the second hour I had skimmer number two on double dead red. Picky had a couple of skimmers too and Dunner was catching silvers well. At this early stage nobody was really bagging although the two corner pegs were getting odd carp.

Bites then dried up on my long line apart from a couple of perch so I fed another ball of groundbait before having my first look on the insides, the left hand margin just produced some small perch and it was the same on the right hand side until I hooked a carp which came off. I then landed a carp before the next one snapped me and I stepped up from 0.12mm to a size 16 808 to 0.14mm to a size 16 Kamasan B911. I was getting a few bites but going nowhere fast, Picky was in the same boat but Bushy was getting a few carp as were Oz and Rocking in the corners and Dunner was still picking off silvers.

I had another quick look on my skimmer line but it was dead as a dodo and as I'm doing okay in the carp league I thought my best bet would be to concentrate on the insides. It was neck and neck between me and Picky for the side bet but with only a couple of carp apiece, that's not saying a lot. I could see Chilly and Bish both catching well and I didn't really know what to do next with time ticking by rapidly. I was still getting odd bites on double dead red maggot but the culprits were small perch although I did manage a nice 4oz rudd but I wasn't going to win the silvers with them. I lost a couple more foulhooked carp and managed to actually land a couple as well but going into the last hour I only had five carp, 2 decent skimmers and a few bits. Picky was possibly just ahead thanks to a nice tench.

I had my sixth carp with 15 mins to go but Picky had a purple patch and went one ahead and that was that. I wasn't too upset to hear the whistle go as I was freezing cold and after doing okay in the first two matches, I've lost my way out here a bit. Dunner had done it just right by getting his head down for silvers all day, and would be there or thereabouts for the silvers but as for the carp I didn't have a clue as I couldn't see most of the pond. From what I could see, Chilly, Bish, Bushy, Oz and Roy had done okay on that front. I packed up and paid Picky the pound (3-2 to him now) before taking my kit back and watching the weigh in.

Hoff had struggled in peg 1 for 17lb of carp and a few silvers and as I've got this one to come, I'm not looking forward to it much, Butch had 23lb 4oz in peg 2 but only a couple of pounds of silvers and already it was looking like there could be a lot of movement in the league positions after today. Dave M in peg 3 had 18lb odd of carp but his 5lb 14oz of silvers made him the early leader. Mike T had 16lb of carp and 3lb of silvers in peg 4 before Chilly had 38lb 12oz of carp and 6lb of silvers from peg 5 to go in front for both. Bish did slightly better with 42lb of carp but his 8oz of silvers wouldn't do his silver league position much good. Dunner only had a couple of carp but his 12lb of skimmers saw him take the lead for silvers.
Dunner with his excellent 12lb of skimmers


Oz with part of his 35lb 8oz catch


Rocking weighing in his 34lb 12oz

Bushy then had 39lb 14oz of carp to go into second place, Dangerous had 15lb of carp and a few silvers and then we got to Oz, he had 35lb 8oz and was a couple of carp short, Rocking was also close with 34lb 12oz. Picky's seven carp included some brutes and he weighed 31lb 8oz and his silvers went 5lb 4oz. My silvers weighed 3lb 6oz which is my top silvers weight of the series so far! and my carp went 21lb 6oz for absolutely nowhere. Mike C had 12lb of carp and then Blaker had the same weight as Bushy to go joint second. Exeter Mike had 7lb 10oz of skimmers to keep him up there in the league and then Les had 13lb 6oz of silvers which included some big eels (and it's nice to see someone taking the silvers league seriously!). Dino had his best weight so far with 28lb of carp from peg 19 and Mark M had 20lb of carp from peg 20 which is another difficult peg.

Today's weigh board

So after all the weights came from the top end of the pond last match, I drew it this week and all the weights came from the middle of the pond! (do you think the fish are trying to tell me something!).

Carp
1 - Steve Bishop (Readers Wives) - 42lb 2oz
2 - Steve Bush (Chard) - 39lb 14oz
2 - Paul Blake (Chard) - 39lb 14oz
4 - Andy Winters (Chard) - 38lb 12oz

Silvers
1 - Les Braunton (Chard) - 13lb 60z
2 - Alan Dunn (Chard) - 12lb
3 - Mike Hosgood (Near Exeter) - 7lb 10oz
4 - Dave Mockridge (Chard) - 5lb 14oz

After four matches this is how the two leagues stand

Carp League
1 - Andy Winters - 164lb 14oz
2 - Steve Bishop - 147lb 11oz
3 - Paul Blake - 130lb 10oz
4 - Steve Bush - 128lb 10oz

Silvers League
1 - Mike Hosgood - 26lb 4oz
2 - Les Braunton - 25lb 12oz
3 - Alan Dunn - 24lb 3oz
4 - Steve Bush - 22lb 4oz

It was also the semi finals of the pairs knockout today (points scores in brackets)

Paul Blake (18) and Mark Mockridge (12) beat Mark Hollister (13) and Mike Thomas (7)
Andy Winters (20) and Steve Bush (17) beat Steve Bishop (19) and Steve Osborne (15)

Lots of changes in the top four in both leagues and one good result in either can make a huge difference, Chilly is starting to pull away in the carp league although the silvers league is a very tight affair.

So a really disappointing day again but I'm off on holiday tomorrow and hopefully it will be shorts and flip flops and screaming bite alarms plus a few cold beers, can't wait!

Next up - Thailand!!!!!!!

What's new - Ilminster Summer League results on News Pages

Check Out - TF Gear Hardcore Jacket Review below

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

TF Gear Hardcore Camo Waterproof Jacket Review

Well it seems to be a relative review fest at the moment, I've just received the TF Gear Camo Waterproof Jacket from site supporter Fishtec and first impressions are very, very good. Now I'm not a carp/speci hunter but I wanted a jacket that I could take with me to Gillhams Resort in Thailand as at this time of year there can be some spells of monsoon like rain but with the heat you don't want anything too bulky or cumbersome. This jacket seems to fit the bill perfectly and would be equally at home in the UK in all but the most extreme conditions.

I'll give you the blurb from the website and then I'll let you have my take on the jacket, the official product description is as follows and can be found here

http://www.fishtec.co.uk/buy.cfm/waterproof-fishing-jackets/tf-gear-hardcore-camo-waterproof/40/yes/70544

Hardcore camo was born out of a passion for fishing, street wear and to reflect carp fishing culture and lifestyle. The same innovative fabrics, the most rugged durable materials, the latest breathable technology and the most protective waterproof garments. This is Hardcore fishing clothing with a new and exciting street edge. Striking camo that blends seamlessly into the fishing environment, a design that gives your bank-wear soul, a brand that lets you create your own style.

Features

  • 100% waterproof – seam sealed security
  • Breathable and moisture free
  • Storm proof hood – ultimate head protection
  • Hand and zipped storage pockets
  • Rugged ripstop fabrics
  • Premium quality zips
The RRP is £89.99 but the jacket can be purchased from Fish Tec for £44.99 and if you're a member the price is discounted even further to £40.49 and that is a great price for a quality garment. It's available in medium, large, x large and xx large sizes (mines a large before anybody says anything!).

A quality bit of kit
Now I'm not going to repeat the product description but I feel it needs fleshing out a bit, they mention pockets but not how many, there are loads, there are four outer pockets (six if you include the hand pockets), including two zippered pockets which are ideal for mobile phones or other items you need to keep dry and there is also an inside pocket. It would make an ideal jacket for anglers who like a stalking, mobile style of fishing as there's room for loads of terminal tackle and other bits and bobs.

The hood has a draw string so you can pull it tight around your head in the kind of awful conditions we seem to face for much of the year but there's also a feature that I haven't seen on other similar coats and which I think is a tremendous idea. It's basically a little sleeve which holds the end of the draw string and stops it flapping about (see photo), a very simple idea but in windy conditions those toggles can sting!
A fantastically simple idea!
I can't comment on the jacket being 100% waterproof, breathable or moisture free as so far I've only worn it in the house!, but I fly out to Thailand next Monday and I can think of no better test for the jacket as the weather over there will test all three of those things. I'm no expert on such things but it looks well made and fits nicely (if you excuse my gormless expression below) and as I give the jacket a thorough workout, I will keep you updated.

I look pretty gormless but I think the jacket looks great!
I've already said I'm not a carp angler but I think this jacket is perfect for that style of fishing, it's great for Summer, Spring and Autumn but there's plenty of room for a fleece underneath so there's no reason why it can't be worn all year round. The product description seems to me to be aimed at the carp fishing market but I think that does the jacket an injustice, I'm sure there are loads of pleasure anglers who would love it and it's just the job to have with you on those days when you are only expecting the odd shower and ideal to have in your carryall to chuck on when the wet stuff arrives.

For me, Thailand aside, it will be an asset to have when just walking around a fishery when I don't want to have my full match fishing regalia on and similarly if I had a dog, it would be ideal to have in the car for when, once again, our unseasonal weather catches me out.

As I said earlier, my first impressions are very, very good (especially at that price) but as they say 'the proof of the pudding....' so I will update on my return from The Land Of Smiles.

Update 23rd August 2013 - Well I've had the jacket for nearly four months now and it's still going strong, it's been to Thailand and back, it's been mullet fishing with me and I wore it for the junior match last weekend when it rained nearly all day. It performed really well and I love all the pockets and keep finding new ones! Still highly recommended and I'll be wearing it to the junior match at Perry St tomorrow.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Great Days (and some that didn't go quite to plan!)

I recently posted my 'Top Ten Posts Of All Time' which proved to be popular (and can be read on the link below)

http://againstmenandfish.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/its-funny-old-game-my-top-ten-posts.html

and there were several 'Great Days' that didn't quite make the top ten so I've listed them below (again in no particular order)

5 - The Lady Of The Stream
In all my years of fishing I'd never caught a grayling so Scotty suggested fishing the Tone where there are plenty of them. The day didn't get off to a great start with loads of overnight rain threatening to flood the river and beat us in our quest before we started! Did we get one?

http://againstmenandfish.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/river-tone-searching-for-lady-10th.html

4 - A Day By The Seaside
Another new species I fancied a crack at was mullet but I had no clue how to go about it! My mate Andy agreed to come and have a go as well but would we be successful or would the RNLI have to be called!

http://againstmenandfish.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/seaton-chasing-silver-shadows-31st.html

3 - Champions
I'm a big fan of Summerhayes Fishery and when I heard Pete was running a pairs open I fancied giving it a go, the trouble was I couldn't find anybody to fish with me (perhaps I should change my deodorant!). Andy agreed but hadn't fished the venue before so I didn't think we had much of a chance.

http://againstmenandfish.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/summerhayes-pairs-open-11th-august-2011.html

2 - It's A Knockout
After reaching the pairs knockout final at Perry St and losing, when I also reached the singles final I was hoping I wouldn't finish as the bridesmaid yet again.

http://againstmenandfish.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/perry-st-pond-spring-league-10-15th.html

1 - Second Time Lucky
The last time I fished a two day festival at Summerhayes I'd won my section on day one but drew the wrong lake and blew out on day two. This time around I managed third in my section on day one but was only a pound off winning, I needed a really good result on day two but with some very good silverfish anglers, it was going to be tough.

http://againstmenandfish.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/summerhayes-festival-day-2-1st-april.html

Now writing this blog I always make sure you get the lows as well as the highs (even if it can be painful writing about them!). So in the interest of balance below are some of my posts where things didn't go to plan.

5 - Damn You Lily!
After winning my section on the first day of the two day festival, I just needed to avoid drawing on Lily Lake but the draw Gods weren't on my side!

http://againstmenandfish.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/summerhayes-silverfish-festival-day-2.html

4 - What? No Barbel
Justin Charles had been going up to the Wye and catching loads of barbel and with the average size around 7lb I thought there was a good chance of beating my pb of 6lb 11oz. A date was set and I was up with the lark.

http://againstmenandfish.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/river-wye-whiskers-wanted-4th-november.html

3 - Where Are You Mr Pike?
Another species hunt, fellow blogger Russell Hilton had been catching loads of pike on the Tone and agreed to meet up. It was great to meet up with him and an enjoyable day but the pike didn't want to play ball.

http://againstmenandfish.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/mission-impossible-river-tone-27th.html

2 - Where Did All The Fish Go?
A friend of mine owns a small pond with only half a dozen pegs but me and Andy had fished it in the winter and had a cracking day catching bream and tench to 5lb+ along with lots of small carp and silvers. With no match on, I arranged a sweep with the promise of a great days fishing - whoops!

http://againstmenandfish.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/marks-pond-14th-september-2008.html

1 - Xmas Blues
Apart from the first time I drew Lily Lake (where I won the silvers with 7lb 8oz), I've never picked up there since. I drew it again in the Xmas Match and came very close but it was a case of so near yet so far.

http://againstmenandfish.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/summerhayes-xmas-match-23rd-december.html

I hope you enjoy these little trips through the archives as much as I've enjoyed reminiscing, I've got some ideas for future 'Hit Parades' (top venues, species etc) so keep reading.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Perry St Pond - Spring League 3 - 5th May 2013

The bad weather looks to be behind us and I was looking forward to the long weekend and fishing a couple of matches but on arriving out the pond, someone said we weren't going to Chris's on the Monday which I was really disappointed about. After paying for my pools and bait it was soon time for Les to draw for the first proper round of the pairs knockout I got paired with Janders against Chilly and Blaker. I thought they'd be tough to beat but when Les opened the envelope for this weeks rotation of pegs, it put me on 17 (which is a decent peg), Janders on 2 (not so good) with Chilly on 9 and Blaker on 19 (both not great pegs) so it could be tight.

On getting to my peg, there were quite a few carp mooching about up in the water so I set up a rig to fish shallow along with a skimmer rig and a dibber for fishing down the edge to my right. I mixed up some Bag 'Em groundbait and had corn, casters and krilled dead red maggots for bait. No Brendon today so only the two side bets with Janders and Picky who was on 16. Les blew for the start and everyone started cupping in feed on their chosen lines, I put two balls in at 8.5 metres straight out and then some casters, corn and dead maggots on the inside line, followed by a cup of loose groundbait.

I started out with double caster on my shallow rig and kept firing out casters over the top, hoping I might get a few a the new carp but after half an hour, all I had to show for my efforts was a small roach. There wasn't a lot happening at our end, Mike 'The Feeder' Collins had lost an early carp and Janders had bumped off a few small fish and that was about it. My next stop was over my skimmer line with double dead maggot, I had a little lift bite and struck into carp number one which I safely landed but this proved to be a false dawn and I had no more bites from this line.

From what I could see there was quite a bit of elastic coming out from the pegs at the other end and it looked like the fish had followed the wind which was blowing down there. I came in on my inside line and started to get a few indications before losing a carp that I think was foul hooked. I did land a couple more carp to put me on three after two hours and this was pretty good for our half of the pond. Picky had only had a couple of skimmers and Mark M opposite me hadn't had a carp yet and Dino and the Hoff either side of him were struggling as well. Janders finally landed a couple of carp and Les was catching some eels in peg one but it was a real struggle for the anglers at our end.

My inside line dried up so I cupped in some more feed before trying the skimmer line again but this was as dead as a dodo. Back on the inside and I landed another carp but lost another fouler too and I'm sure they were swimming about up in the water. Picky had a carp but I was still ahead of him and looking good to make it 2-2 on the side bet front although Janders was catching a few now by the cormorant roost (fish refuge) and was well ahead of me so I'd be saying goodbye to that squid. On the plus side we could still do okay in the pairs because although Chilly was catching in peg 9, from what I could hear Blaker was struggling in peg 19.

Time was now starting to run out, Dino and Mark M had a couple of small carp and Picky had another to pull closer to me as his were bigger fish. Butch was catching the odd skimmer and looking good to consolidate his silvers league position. I got to five carp and Janders was on nine with Picky on three, Les finally started to catch odd carp as well but nobody from our end was going to compete with the anglers on the pegs at the opposite end. I was still losing the odd carp and had now lost five of six with only one snapping me, the hook just pulled out of the others and I'm sure they were foulhooked. I did catch a couple of small rudd and jokingly said I was going to win the silvers today to which Les replied 'You're just not taking this seriously are you?', which made me chuckle.

I landed my sixth carp with 15 mins to go and hoped I might get another but it wasn't to be. A really disappointing day but that's fishing I suppose and today we were just in the wrong area. I packed up and Picky asked what I had and I said about 12lb and he reckoned it might be tight between us as he'd had three lumps. We were soon at peg one awaiting the weigh in and Les entrusted me to do the weigh in for the silvers (which wouldn't take long at our end!). Les had 2lb 2oz of mainly eels and 16lb 4oz of carp before Janders had 24lb 12oz of carp and 10oz of silvers and I paid him my pound to make the side bet score 3-1 in my favour. He'd done really well today and I felt if we got knocked out that I'd let him down somewhat (sorry mate).

To show how it tough it had been, Dino had just over 10lb, Mark M had 11lb 6oz and the Hoff had 10lb 12oz of carp and 3lb 11oz of skimmers and he went into the silvers lead at this early stage. This only lasted until we got to Butch who had 5lb 14oz of silvers and really seems to have them sorted. Then we reached the start of the pegs at the other end and Dave M had 24lb of carp and 3lb 5oz of skimmers from peg 7, Mike T had 28lb 14oz of carp from peg 8, Chilly had 30lb 12oz from peg 9 before Bish put 69lb of carp on the scales from peg 10 and would be the clear winner with that. He was just drying himself off after having to go in the pond after his top five was pulled in by a skimmer! I was gutted I didn't get a photo of a half naked Bish as I reckon it would have attracted a fair few female readers!

Stop Press - I may not have got a picture but Mike T did!, so for any women out there, here's the hunky Bish, nearly naked.

May's Perry St pin up!
The scales reached peg 11 and Dunner had 28lb 6oz and so far I hadn't had a lot to do as official silvers weigh man but then Bushy had over 41lb of carp and 8lb 14oz of skimmers to push Butch into silvers second and go into second place for the carp. Kev 'Dangerous' Baker had 19lb of carp and 4lb 1oz of silvers before Oz had 32lb 8oz of carp from peg 14 and then we started heading to the our end of the pond and the weights started dropping again. Rocking had 16lb 8oz of carp and 2lb of silvers and then Picky had the same weight of silvers and 15lb 10oz of carp. My silvers went a stunning 4oz and so far I've managed one skimmer in four matches! My carp went 19lb 6oz so at least I'd pulled level on the side bets with Picky (2-2 now).

Mike Collins had just over 7lb, Blaker had 16lb 12oz of carp but his 3lb 4oz of silvers meant he'd beaten me and as Chilly had beaten Janders we were out of the knockout. Last to weigh was Exeter Mike who had 7lb of carp but his 5lb 2oz of silvers should see him get in the frame.

Today's board, you can see the difference between the two ends
Carp
1 - Steve Bishop (Reader's Wives) - 69lb
2 - Steve Osborne (Chard) - 32lb 8oz
3 - Andy Winters (Chard) - 30lb 12oz
4 - Mike Thomas (Chard) - 28lb 14oz

Silvers
1 - Steve Bush (Chard) - 8lb 14oz
2 - Butch Baker (Chard Minnows) - 5lb 14oz
3 - Mike Hosgood (Near Exeter) - 5lb 2oz
4 - Kev Baker (Tatworth Tigers) - 4lb 1oz

Still early days in the two leagues but here's how they stand after three matches

Carp League
1 - Andy Winters - 126lb 2oz
2 - Steve Bishop - 105lb 9oz
3 - Jamie Rich - 102lb 15oz
4 - Mark Mockridge - 99lb 2oz

Silvers League
1 - Steve Bush - 21lb 14oz
2 - Butch Baker - 19lb 14oz
3 - Mike Hosgood - 18lb 10oz
4 - Dave Mockridge - 15lb 4oz

Pairs knockout results (points scores in brackets)

Mark Mockridge (4) and Steve Osborne (18) beat Les Braunton (8) and Mike Hosgood (5)
Steve Bishop (20) and Mark Hollister (6) beat Alan Dunn (15) and Alan Gage (7)
Mike Thomas (16) and Steve Bush (19) beat Dave Mockridge (14) and Kev Baker (12)
Paul Blake (11) and Andy Winters (17) beat John Anderson (13) and Jamie Rich (10)

Well that's me all blogged out for today, a disappointing day and no match tomorrow now either, the only good news was that Chelsea beat Man U 1-0 to keep their hopes of a European place alive.

Come back next week to see if I can draw the right end!

Next up - Perry St - Spring League - Sunday 12th May

What's new - Rogues Gallery and Where To Fish updates

Check out - FishingUk App review below

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

FishingUk App Review

I've done a few reviews on my blog but I'm venturing into new territory with this one, my first review of a fishing app. I'm not a technophobe but I've never really played around with apps much on my phone with Facebook, Twitter, E-bay and BBC Sport about as adventurous as it got. Well with fishing apps becoming ever more popular I thought I'd have a look at one. I chose the FishingUk app because I'm already registered on their website and I follow them on Twitter etc. I downloaded it (for a very reasonable £1.99) and I was in business.

The FishingUk App
Basically the app is a directory of places to go fishing, I say basically because there's so much more to it than that (but more of that later). Currently there are over 2800 fisheries listed and these are broken down into 966 fisheries (commercials), 903 lakes, 291 ponds and 708 river stretches and more are being added on a daily basis. In addition there are 949 tackle shops listed as well. Once you've registered, you can tap the nearest button and it will bring up all the fisheries close to you, there is also a search facility so you can find venues or tackle shops.

When you tap on a venue you are interested in, it comes up with a brief description and location of the venue and then there is loads of really useful info like facilities available (on site shop, toilets etc), user submitted pics and videos along with tips. You can also view the location on a map and I particularly liked the satellite imagery where you can zoom right in on where the venue is situated. Furthermore you can e-mail or phone the venue (as long as the details have been submitted) from the app and then get directions there from your current location and it will even list the nearest tackle shop so you can get day tickets and bait en route. There is also a review section as well so all the hard work has been done for you, all you need to do is load up your gear and go and enjoy your days fishing (as long as the fish play ball that is!).

As I said earlier, there's so much more to this app than just being a fishery directory, there are members deals on bait, tackle, venues and much more. There is also a forum with hints and tips and also sections on carp, predator, coarse and fly fishing along with tackle reviews and even a marketplace where you can buy and sell tackle. If that wasn't enough there is also a 'Tackle Box' feature with loads and loads of info on everything from angling etiquette to feeder fishing to fish care and everything in between.

There is so much going on with this app that I'm still finding my around it really, I did find the 'Latest' section very useful where at the tap of a button you can see all the most recently updated venues, photos, tips, reviews etc. Also when you've visited a venue where you've had a red letter day you can add it to your 'My Venue' list and build up your own little directory of venues so you'll never be stuck for somewhere to fish again.

It's obvious a tremendous amount of thought and hard work has gone into this app and I can see it just getting better and better as more people use it and add venues, reviews and photos etc. I did notice however a few minor errors when I was looking at venues I know but they were very few and far between. One example was the River Isle listing which said grayling were plentiful and after fishing the river for nearly 34 years I can assure you they're not! To be fair though, this is minor nit picking and odd errors are to be expected when you consider the sheer volume of info held and the fact some of it may have been gleaned from club websites etc.

Personally I was a little sceptical at first but after playing around with it for a few days I can see it being a very useful little app and the next time I go pleasure fishing (which isn't very often) and fancy trying somewhere new, I will be reaching for my phone and opening FishingUk.

The website is also well worth checking out and becoming a member of (it's free to register), here's a link to the site FishingUk