Sunday, January 25, 2015

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League 6 - 25th January 2015

With no rain to speak of, I knew we'd be on the river today and as an added bonus when I woke the car wasn't frosted up either. I got to the pub in time to have one of Steve's lovely sausage sandwiches which set me up for the day and all the usual faces were there apart from Bruce who's been poorly (get well soon mate). Rob had pegged the bottom end today and had put three in above Redbridge which would be interesting as it was the first time they'd been pegged for a while. Before he announced the draw, Rob said that there would be two golden pegs today and they were pegs 125 and 109 (or so I thought). I went into the hat and pulled out peg 109 which I was pleased with as Tony Newman had four good chub out of it to win the Xmas Fayre and he'd lost a few as well.

As for my regular side bets, Steve P was on 106 above the bridge which was a bit of a unknown quantity, Hurf was on 123 at Isle Brewers which I wouldn't have fancied if I'm honest and Baz was in the weirpool which is normally a really consistent peg and good for 7-9lb. Elsewhere Heardy was down in peg 129, Justin was in 128 and Rob had drawn 126, all great pegs and more than capable of winning. As I got to Redbridge and parked up, Fieldy and Big Frank had drawn the other two pegs above the bridge and while I didn't think all three pegs would bag up, I did think some chub would show up there. Jake Woodard was below me in the gas pipe swim and it looked nice with plenty of cover on the far side.

It took me a while to get my box level which left me rushing around a bit, I put on the deepest rig I had and lowered it in and the float just kept on going! I ended up having to tie some extra line on to make the rig four sections long which wasn't ideal. The rig was a one gram Drennan Tipo with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 and with chub in mind I coupled it to a fairly heavy green Preston elastic. The swim had two areas of cover across but on plumbing up the bottom was all over the place and it was pretty snaggy by the tree to the right so my main line would be by the cover to the left at 11.5 metres with the option of going tighter to the rubbish at 13 metres if I wasn't getting bites.
Peg 109 at Redbridge
I was a few minutes late starting and shipped out with a single caster on the hook and fed some casters and maggots quite a way to the right (because of the depth) and some hemp nearly opposite. First chuck the float settled and as I inched it through, it went under and the strike saw some green elastic come out but this wasn't a chub and I was soon slipping the net under a 6oz roach, a decent start. The next five chucks resulted in five more roach of a similar size and there were obviously a lot of fish there as some good roach were topping as well. In a bid to try and catch a bit quicker I took a section off and ran the float through in the flow, I had some more roach around 6oz and a couple of clonkers around 10-12oz and then hooked a better fish which turned out to be a chub around the pound mark. I finished the first hour with 17 fish (15 roach, a good dace and that chub) for about 5lb and if I could carry on catching at that rate it would give me around 22lb (at 4oz apiece) but I was sure it would slow at some point.

The second hour was even better and I had another 21 fish, nearly all roach and I had to net the majority of them for another 5lb and I was still on target to do over 20lb. Jake had landed a chub and lost one but was struggling now. In hour three things started to slow up at 10 metres so I went a section further over and started catching roach again, a switch to double red maggot resulted in a couple of roach but then I had a gudgeon and a couple of minnows so went back to caster, the roach kept coming and I had another sixteen including four that probably went 3lb between them giving me around 6lb for that hour and if I could carry on like this, breaking my best match weight on the river was a possibility.

Big Frank wandered down and said all three of them above the bridge couldn't buy a bite and a little bit later Baz wandered up from peg 120 and said he'd only had a couple of fish, he also reported that Hurf was getting odd fish so I was doing okay but felt sure some of the better pegs at Isle Brewers (126, 128 or 129) had to be catching. During the fourth hour I had a poor spell where I lost what felt like a big roach as I shipped back, I bumped four on the trot and then had a 3oz roach drop off when I tried to swing it. While Baz was with me, my bites slowed up and he suggested trying double red maggot, first chuck the float sailed away and a good fish was on. As I got down to the top four I could see it was a good roach but it also looked foul hooked and sure enough the hook pulled out - bugger. I only added eleven fish in hour four plus a couple of minnows and gudgeon which I didn't count and any thoughts of doing 30lb disappeared.

By now Fieldy, Frank and Steve P had packed up above the bridge and Frank was sat with me, while he was there a big fish rolled by the rubbish and we weren't sure whether it was a chub or a pike which might explain sport slowing up. I tried fishing 13 metres further down the swim but to no avail and then with an hour to go and the light starting to fail, odd roach started topping again and the float started going under. Jake latched into a chub but lost it and then safely netted the next one, I was getting roach but not the netters from earlier with most of them around 2-3oz. Jake added another four chub quite quickly before it slowed up for him again. My last fish was a 12oz roach and I ended up with 80 fish which I hoped would give me 20lb.

Jake had the scales but while he packed up Frank went down to weigh Baz in, I took my kit back to the car and then walked down to Jake just as Frank arrived with the scales. A quick look at the board revealed Baz had struggled for 10oz (mainly small fish!) so with Steve P taking an early bath I was 2-0 up in side bets. Jakes's six chub went 10lb 9oz with five of them coming in the last hour and then we walked up to weigh my fish in. The first weigh went 11lb 10oz and the second weigh (pictured below) went 9lb 10oz to give me a 21lb 4oz total but would it be enough. The photo doesn't really do the roach justice and they were beautiful, mint fish that looked like they'd never been caught before.
Jake had 10lb 9oz of chub (and a very nice hat!)
Part of my 21lb 4oz
Back at the results and Rob had the top weight at Isle Brewers with 11lb 11oz from peg 126 which meant I'd won and I was looking forward to a bumper payday. Jake was third which meant Baz won his section with 10oz!, they say it's better to be lucky then good, the trouble is, Baz is both! Justin won the bottom section with four chub for 7lb 6oz. Hurf did well catching 5lb 11oz from peg 123 but he still donated a quid to my piggy bank! Heardy had two chub from peg 129 for 4lb 3oz and Neil Dring struggled for 1lb 7oz from peg 124 but he did have the choice of that one or 125 and I bet he wishes he'd chosen the latter now! It was a little surprising that only chub came off 128 and 129, where have those roach gone?
Hurf had a nice net of fish including a lovely perch (thanks for the photo Steve)
I picked up £50 for winning and was waiting for my golden peg winnings when Rob checked the sheets and the golden pegs were 125 and 129! Oh well, I'd still enjoyed a cracking days fishing and it was nice to win my first match of the year. The league has tightened right up now, Heardy still leads with 10 points followed by Rob on 11 and me and Fieldy on 12, so with one match to go it's all to play for.

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish/ Burt Baits) - 21lb 4oz
2 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 11lb 11oz
3 - Jake Woodard (Ilminster) - 10lb 9oz

A - Baz Morgan (Baz Angling) - 10oz
B - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 7lb 6oz

Next up - River Isle

What's new - Loads of page updates

Check Out - My last match (below)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Dillington Pond - V.E.S. Precision League 5 - 11th January 2015

We had more rain Friday night and Saturday morning and Rob made the decision to switch it to the pond which I didn't mind because you are guaranteed plenty of bites. I got to the draw and along with the regulars, Tackleuk's Scotty Russell was fishing today as well. After a sausage sarnie and a cup of coffee it was time for the draw, I really fancied a peg on the near side but of course drew peg 5 on the field side. Rob was on my right in peg 3 and Hurf was my next door neighbour on my left (and wearing a rather fetching pink hoodie!). We arranged the usual pound side bet and Steve P, Heardy and Baz all wanted one as well and this could be an expensive day!

The pond was fairly calm at our end although the lads on the bottom bank were in for a blustery day. I got my box level before mixing up half a bag of Pro Nat Dark and then set my rigs up for today, a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach with 0.10mm bottom and size 18 Middy 63-13, a pattern I was trying for the first time today and a Preston Chianti for fishing shallow with the same hook and hooklength. I was just about ready when Rob blew for the start and cupped in two balls of groundbait at 10 metres. First chuck with double red maggot on the hook, the float buried and roach number one was deposited in my keepnet, the float kept going under and a procession of roach joined their colleague in temporary captivity. I was getting mainly small fish and switched to caster to try to improve the stamp of fish but it didn't really help. I wasn't too worried at this early stage as I was doing better than the people I could see and as we approached the end of the first hour, Heardy shouted up asking how mainly I had, I told him I had 26 fish and he replied he had 18.

I finished the first sixty minutes with 29 fish and although I was catching well, bites were slowing up so I briefly tried the shallow rig but this wasn't the answer and I only had a few small roach on it. I got to 37 fish and Rob said he'd had 46 but it did look like he was catching a lot of small fish. I only added 19 fish to put me on 48 after two hours which was okay but I was a little worried about the lack of quality. After the third hour I was up to 66 fish but probably only had around 4lb and needed the better roach to put in an appearance soon.

The downward trend continued in hour four where I only added another 14 fish although I did bump quite a few and had several come off as I was shipping back. Another quick go with the shallow rig was a waste of time and after a good start I was now struggling, Rob was still catching well on the whip and had netted a few fish as well, but down the windy end it looked hard work and Scotty had even gone for a walk! Going into the last part of the match I was still getting odd roach and had a couple of better fish which I netted but just couldn't get them lined up. Hurf netted a nice skimmer but I hadn't seen him catch much to go with it.

Rob blew to signal the end of the match and I'd ended up with 102 fish, Heardy said he'd finished with 125 fish but they were all tiny (we hear that from Fieldy every week and now Heardy's at it too!). I packed up and went to get the scales from my car, before starting the weigh in at Baz, he said he had 10lb but when he pulled his net out he had three or four decent skimmers, a good perch plus some lovely roach for 12lb 3oz and then said he was a little disappointed as he thought he had more! So I was a pound down already with three side bets to go, Rob was next and he was at it as well, saying he only had tiny fish, but actually weighed 9lb 3oz. My fish weighed 7lb 12oz which was less than I thought, Hurf had 3lb 10oz and the side bet score was 1-1 with two to go.

Baz had some quality fish in his 12lb 3oz
Rob had a lot of fish for 9lb 3oz
Hurf had 3lb 10oz and was wearing a lovely pink hoodie!
Heardy's net of small fish (and skimmer!)
Justin was next and it looked like he'd been catching all day but had a lot of small fish for 6lb 3oz, last in the section was Martin 'Tiny Fish' Heard and he did have a lot of small fish but had neglected to mention the 12oz-1lb skimmer which made all the difference as he weighed 8lb 7oz, took a nugget off me and pushed me down to fourth in the section, and any chance of making the top three in the league is slipping away. Back at the results and when the anglers in the other section got back, Bruce Hunt finished second overall with 11lb 10oz from peg 23 opposite Baz and he had a couple of nice skimmers as well, Jake Woodard had 10lb 1oz from peg 19 to finish third and Fieldy won that section with 7lb 8oz of tiny fish from peg 14. Big Frank had 6lb 10oz from 19, Scotty had fished for big fish for the last two hours but didn't get one and weighed a level 5lb and last but not least was Steve P who had a nice 2lb chub but not a lot to go with it as he weighed 3lb 4oz so at least I finished evens on the side bet front.

Hurf's day got even better when he loaded his van but forgot his carryall and then promptly drove over it and then headed on up the road with his landing net attached to his rear bumper! We managed to flag him down but not before Bruce ran over his carryall as well! Luckily there wasn't too much damage done. I must admit I didn't enjoy today much either and I hope we're on the river for the next couple. It was encouraging to see quite a few good skimmers featuring in catches but there's just too many small fish for my liking. It's a funny venue and evolving all the time but at the same time it's very frustrating, I've enjoyed several sustained runs of success and just when you think you have it sussed, it turns round and kicks you in the balls but that's fishing I suppose.

1 - Baz Morgan (Baz Angling) - 12lb 3oz
2 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 11lb 10oz
3 - Jake Woodard (Ilminster) - 10lb 1oz

A - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 9lb 3oz
B - Graham Field (Taunton) - 7lb 8oz

After five matches and dropping the worst result, Heardy still leads with six points followed by Fieldy with eight and Frank and Rob on ten, I'm on eleven and Bruce has twelve so apart from Heardy, it's quite tight.

Next up - River Isle (no more rain please!!!)

What's new - Loads of page updates

Check Out - My last match (below)

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Dillington Pond - Royal Oak Winter League 6 - 4th January 2015

I was hoping my first match of the year would be on the river but heavy rain yesterday scuppered that, I got to the Oak for the draw and there was a disappointing turnout and Rob is on about not running a league next year which will be a real shame. He said today we'd be either out the pond or down the canal, I really fancied the latter but after the flip of a coin, we were headed to the pond for a days fishing. With a pleasure angler in peg 17, Rob pegged the far side with us all in a row, I pulled out peg 7 which put me in the middle with Fieldy on one side and Baz Morgan on the other.

After getting my box level, I mixed up some of the excellent Bait Tech Pro Nat Dark before getting the rest of my gear ready. Baz had a tree above him to the left and was already predicting it would be a pain but still asked if I wanted a side bet and I also had one with Steve P in peg 4. I set up a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach float with a size 18 B611 hook to 0.08mm bottom to fish at 10 metres, the pond was fairly coloured and I hoped some quality roach would show today. My other rig was a Preston Chianti with spread shot to fish shallow but I wasn't expecting this rig to get a lot of use today.

Graham next door was going to fish short with liquidised bread and punch after doing well in pleasure sessions so it would be interesting to see how he got on, Justin on the end peg also had a whip set up and Baz had a whip set up with a couple of sections added and he also set up his Drennan Acolyte pole which looks a nice bit of kit. Rob tooted his whistle to get us under way and I cupped in two balls of groundbait at 10 metres before starting with single red maggot on the hook. First put in the float sailed away and I swung in a small roach and next chuck I had another so I slipped on a caster to see if I could catch quality.

I missed several bites before catching a roach of the same stamp as the maggot fish so I tried double maggot and had a lovely rudd of 8oz or so and then had a decent roach before losing another when one of the maggots folded over the point of the hook. It slowed up a little bit then but I wasn't too worried as nobody was bagging yet and the two whip/short pole boys to my left were struggling, in fact Fieldy only had three of four fish! After an hour I had nineteen fish but had only netted a couple and was hoping the caster would come good later.

Baz went out to his 13 metre long pole line and had a couple of better roach quite quickly before losing a good roach and his rig ended up in the tree, after much swearing he lost that rig and had to get another one out and spent a while getting it right but they're never quite the same are they? Fieldy had added another section and was now catching small fish really well and Justin was starting to motor as well. I kept trying caster but was missing loads of bites and I still couldn't catch those bigger roach, I added twenty five fish in the second hour but I reckoned there now wasn't much between Justin, Fieldy, me and Baz.

Then I looked up and a fair bit of elastic was coming out of Baz's pole tip as he played a decent skimmer around the 12oz-1lb mark but just as he was about to net it, the hook pulled with this rig ending up in the tree as well. This triggered a severe bout of Tourette's and Baz wasn't having a good day, of course we didn't laugh much! After sorting himself out again he hooked another decent skimbob and safely netted this one and maybe he might have the last laugh yet.

I tried the shallow rig and had a couple of small fish but missed a lot of bites so went back to the deeper rig but despite getting a bite a chuck on caster, it was mainly from roach around an ounce apiece and I was going nowhere fast. Justin and Fieldy were now catching really well and to stand any chance I needed to catch a better stamp of roach in the last couple of hours. Baz was still having a bit of a nightmare, he could catch really well on the whip but kept going over his longer line in search of more skimmers.

I had another quick go with the shallow rig and had a few fish but the pond was flat calm which wasn't helping my cause much. Baz has then hooked a lump on his elasticated whip which turned out to be a pound plus perch and I was sure that had put him ahead of me. Typically as the light started to fade towards the end of the match some better roach started showing and I wasn't missing many bites but it looked to be the same for the others as well and I saw Fieldy and Justin both net some good fish.

I ended up with 118 fish which at an ounce apiece would give me 7lb but I hoped I had nearer 10lb, Fieldy did his usual 'I've only got tiny fish' and was admitting to 7 or 8lb but as he had 161 fish I knew that would give him double figures at least. I thought Justin would win as he had caught all day and then it would be Fieldy and Baz for second and third.

Rob arrived with the scales and we started with Justin who had a lovely net of fish for 13lb 6oz which included some lovely roach, then Fieldy's 'tiny fish' weighed 11lb 7oz and I knew I didn't have that. My weight was called at 9lb 13oz and I was a little disappointed with that. We got to Baz who said he had nowhere near that but when he pulled his net out it was obviously going to be close and I was relieved when the needle stopped just short at 9lb 8oz. If Baz had fished the whip all day I think he would have pushed Justin's weight but then again he's probably lost/bumped enough to have been close. Rob had 5lb 9oz and Steve had struggled a bit for 2lb 2oz so I actually sneaked third place and got my money back plus nuggets off Steve and Baz.

Justin has 13lb 6oz
Fieldy only had 'tiny fish' for his 11lb 7oz
I just sneaked third with 9lb 13oz
Baz had 9lb 8oz (and a bad case of Tourettes!)
*Many thanks to Graham Field for the photos

I do enjoy fishing Dillington and there can't be that many non-carp venues where you get bites all day and need double figures to frame in January! But saying that I do also find it incredibly frustrating, at the moment the whip is still the boss method and taking the lion's share of the winnings but it's just not for me. I'm not knocking the guys that do it as they're very good at it and it wins a lot of matches. You can win with quality fish as Ashley proved when he had over 21lb on caster shallow and this time last year I had bags of netter roach and rudd to just shy of 18lb but I still think it needs thinning out a little bit.

1 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 13lb 6oz
2 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 11lb 7oz
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 9lb 13oz

League wise, Robin Cox leads with seven points followed by Justin on eight and Steve on eleven. I can't go without saying what a shame it will be if the Royal Oak league goes under, I can understand how frustrating it must be for Rob when some weeks only four people turn up but I don't know what the club can do, people just don't want to fish rivers or natural venues. At this rate the Isle will only have a handful of matches on it and I can see our water going the same way as Horlicks which is a crying shame.

Next up - River Isle (hopefully)

What's new - Loads of page updates

Check Out - My review of 2014 (below)

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2014 Yearly Review

Here's my review of the last year

January 2014

With the Isle flooded we were at Dillington for this match, I was quite looking forward to it and should have known better, I caught some good roach but lost a lump when the hook pulled and then managed to snap my 10 metre section later on. I finished with 4lb 12oz for nowhere, Ashley Tomkins won with a nice net of quality roach weighing 9lb 7oz. Surely things can only get better?

Ash with his winning 9lb 7oz
We were back on the pond for the next match and I had quite an enjoyable day catching some quality roach and rudd but spent too long on caster and weighed 8lb 14oz which was enough for third and my first pick up of the year. Scott Russell won with 10lb 9oz and Ashley Tomkins was just behind with 10lb 2oz.

My next trip was with fellow blogger Russell Hilton to the Taunton and Bridgwater Canal, the weather was awful and I thought we might be in for another disaster. It actually turned out to be a cracking day, I had two perch including a new pb of 2lb 6oz and three pike with the best going 8lb 5oz (another pb) and I lost one too. Russell had four nice perch but lost a good pike.

2lb 6oz perch
8lb 5oz pike, a new pb
I always enjoy Russell's company but it was nice to finally catch some fish too and two new pb's was the icing on the cake.

The following day we were back at a very coloured Dillington and a hard frost didn't help, I had 6lb 4oz which included a nice perch around a pound and it was enough for my first win of the year and to keep me top of the league with two matches to go.

The next match saw us at Dillington again and once again the weather was awful, I drew peg 4 which was also the golden peg and had Scott Russell on peg 3. I caught from the off and my peg got better as the day went on and I caught well on caster for the last couple of hours to finish with 122 fish (all roach and rudd) for 11lb 5oz.
My 11lb 5oz was enough to win on the day
It was enough to win on the day beating Scotty who was second with 9lb 3oz and I recorded my second win on the trot and only my second ever golden peg win.

Highlights - winning two matches (including a golden peg) and a brilliant day with Russell
Lowlights - the awful weather and snapping my pole again!

February 2014

My first match of the month was my first match at Emerald Pool near Highbridge and the place is rammed with silvers, I had 160 fish for 44lb 10oz and nowhere! Dom Sullivan won with an amazing 98lb 14oz of quality skimmers, roach, hybrids and tench on worm over casters and groundbait.

The following day I was back at Dillington for the penultimate Royal Oak league match and I caught in spells but really thought Justin had beaten me, a good last hour on caster saw me catch some quality roach and I weighed 12lb 10oz to win again. Bruce finished second with 9lb 7oz and Justin had 8lb 11oz for third.

Another win, this time with 12lb 10oz
My section win meant that with one match to go I was two points ahead of Robin Cox and just needed to avoid a disaster in the last match.

The final match arrived and so did a break in the awful weather, the river was still unfishable though so we were back on the pond. I had another cracking day catching 84 fish (roach, rudd and a single perch) for 14lb 15oz and my fourth win at Dillington on the trot. I also secured the league title with Robin second and Bruce third.

The following week saw us back out the pond for the final V.E.S. Precision match and it fished it's head off, Bruce Hunt won on the day with 18lb 9oz which included two big chub and roach over a pound, I was second with 143 fish for 17lb 10oz (nearly all roach and rudd with a few perch). I tied with Pete Lonton on points but won the league thanks to a superior weight advantage, what a cracking day!

17lb 10oz of quality roach and rudd
Highlights - finally winning the V.E.S. Precision league
Lowlights - more awful weather!

March 2014

The first match of the month was Barney's Pairs with a section on the canal and one on the pond, I was out the pond and my partner, Justin Charles was down the canal. The weather was atrocious but I managed 7lb of roach and rudd for second behind Graham Field who had 7lb 8oz. Justin was top weight down the canal with 8lb 9oz so we won it with three points and Rob Cox and Graham were second with four points.

Me and Janders were on Sellicks at Summerhayes the following week and we both had a lovely day, I had 23lb of skimmers and 35lb 12oz of carp to win only my second match at the venue and Janders had 12lb 12oz of skimmers to win the silvers and it was a very happy car driving home.

I was back at Summerhayes the following week but this time with Robin Cox and the match was on Longs. I drew peg 18 and started quite well with three good skimmers and a small tench plus some bits in the first couple of hours but then struggled in the middle of the match due to the wind. The last two hours were much better and I added some big skimmers and a crucian plus the odd carp. My carp weighed 11lb 4oz and my silvers went a level 13lb which was enough for second in the silvers and another pick up. Alvin Jones won with a fantastic 47lb 14oz which included 36lb 10oz of big skimmers and tench.

Sellicks was the venue for the next match and I drew peg 15 which is a great carp peg although it does occasionally throw up the odd weight of skimmers, the wind was a nightmare but I managed 34lb 8oz of carp and 5lb of skimmers for 39lb 8oz and second place overall behind Bill Hopping with 47lb 12oz.

With a few days off work I booked into the Wednesday match at Summerhayes and was pleasantly surprised when Pete said we were on Longs for the day. Things got even better when I pulled peg 11 out of the bucket, it's a great silvers peg and has been on fire in recent weeks. I had visions of beating my best silvers weight but actually struggled a little bit and also caught quite a few nuisance carp (13 including an 8lb lump). I weighed 32lb of carp and 15lb 11oz of silvers for 47lb 11oz which was just shy of Steve Kedge who had 50lb 8oz for second place, I sneaked into second in the silvers and picked up a tenner to keep my good run going.

The last match of the month saw me back on Sellicks and the same peg as last time, it fished quite hard but I had 13 skimmers for 7lb and 5 carp for 13lb 8oz, I won the silvers and picked up £42 but with only 23lb 6oz needed to win today, I needed one more carp and had lost several but to be fair so had others so a really tight frame. A great end to the month which saw me pick up every match.

Highlights - winning Barney's Pairs and my first match win on Sellicks
Lowlights - not getting on the river (due to the never ending rain!)

April 2014

The first match of the month was back at Summerhayes and back on Longs and I couldn't believe it when I pulled peg 34 out of the draw bag, a peg I've been dreaming about! It just didn't happen though and I really struggled without really knowing why, I finished with 17lb 1oz which included 8lb 8oz of silvers. I wasn't actually far off fourth place which was 18lb odd but I was gutted that I didn't do a big weight of silvers and my good run came to an end.

The following week Janders, Rob and me were back, the weather looked lovely but the wind got up and was wicked, I drew a good carp peg but fished for silvers and ended up with 18lb 8oz of carp and 7lb of silvers and sneaked into fifth place overall and picked up £23. The icing on the cake was taking another pound off the Torquay Tart. Adie Bishop won with 53lb 8oz from peg 26.

Easter saw me at Perry St for the Good Friday match and with no corner pegs in, the end pegs dominated and I drew a middle peg and caught three carp and an eel for 13lb 4oz and nowhere. To make matters worse I even lost a pound to Brendon!

The first match of the Perry St league saw us fish in atrocious conditions and I drew peg 2, lost more than I caught and finished stone cold last in the match with three carp for 5lb 10oz.

Highlights - taking a pound off the Torquay Tart
Lowlights - a bad run of results and losing a pound to the Torquay Tart!

May 2014

The bad run continued with the second match of the Perry St League, I drew peg 20 and struggled for ten carp for a level 20lb with all the leading weights coming from the other end of the pond. The following day I was at Trinity Waters in Bridgwater, it was my first visit and the match was on Woodland Lake, big weights of carp normally win but as always I would fish for silvers, it was a bit of a struggle with strong winds but I had ten skimmers for 9lb 7oz and second in the silvers (by default) and I picked up £40. Steve Kedge had the top silvers weight with 28lb 2oz of mainly roach, caught fishing two sections to hand. A cracking venue and I will definitely be back for another go.

My next match was Ilminster's first Summer League fixture at Dillington, I didn't really fancy peg 24 by the pumphouse but of course drew it! On the plus side it was sheltered from the worst of the wind and I had a fantastic days fishing catching quality roach and rudd all day, I even included two good chub and a little tench for good measure. My weight of 22lb 8oz was top on the day and my best weight out the pond to date.
I had two good chub for 6lb 2oz
and 16lb 6oz of quality roach and rudd
The following day I boarded a plane for my sixth trip to the fantastic Gillhams Resort in Thailand, for this visit I had seven days fishing booked leaving my another seven days to do lots of sight seeing. Best fish of the trip was a pb equalling arapaima of 260lb, I did get a new pb in the shape of a 10lb pacu. I also caught Siamese carp to 60lb, Asian Redtail catfish and Amazon Redtails to 45lb. The 300lb 'arry and 100lb Siamese eluded me but that gives me an excuse to go back again!
260lb arapaima
60lb Siamese carp
Highlights - a cracking day at Dillington and Gillhams of course!
Lowlights - another poor result at Perry St

June 2014

My first match back was round five of the Perry St League and the draw sequence put me in peg 10, the best peg on the pond! After a slow start I was putting a few fish together and ended with twelve carp for 40lb 5oz and second place behind Graham 'Dino' Pepper who had 43lb 13oz from peg 13. I lost a good fish at the net too! Still I collected a nice little envelope containing £80 plus £1's off Chanter, Janders and Picky.

I was back at Dillington for the next match and the pond fished really well, I had some quality roach and rudd for 14lb 4oz and third place behind Fieldy who had 327 fish for 16lb 5oz and Bruce Hunt who had two lovely bream in his winning 18lb 10oz from peg 23.
Bruce with his two slabs
Round six of the Perry St League was next and I drew peg 14 and with lots of carp cruising around, I fancied I might get a few shallow, I ended up with 14 carp for 53lb 7oz for only my fifth ever win on the pond, what a cracking day and I picked up £100 plus £1's off Picky and Exeter Mike.

When I drew Bruce's winning peg from the other week I was confident of another good day at Dillington but I struggled and just couldn't string any quality fish together ending up with 9lb 8oz and I was a long way behind Fieldy's winning 16lb 3oz.

The final match of the month was round seven of the Perry St League, we were a few anglers short and pegs 10 and 11 weren't taken which evened things out for the rest of us, I drew peg 4 and fished shallow all day, catching carp quite steadily and ended up with 16 for 48lb 8oz and another win at Perry St!

Highlights - two wins at Perry St and my most profitable month to date!
Lowlights - getting duffed up by the whip boys at Dillington

July 2014

After winning the previous two matches at Perry St I was quite confident going into round eight and I really should have known better! I was in peg 16 and got off to a great start, landing five carp in the first two hours but when the action slowed I stayed fishing shallow when I really should have fished my other lines. I only managed three more carp in the remaining four hours and my 22lb 14oz was 5lb off framing. The Hoff won with 40lb 8oz from peg 10.

My first match at Summerhayes for a while saw me draw peg 24 which isn't great for silvers and really windy conditions made it a struggle and I finished with 29lb 8oz for nowhere. Then it was back to Perry St and hot, flat calm conditions made the fishing really hard going for most, I had five carp shallow for 19lb 10oz which was enough for fourth place and a nice £50 pick up although I lost two fish which would have got me second place! Paul Homewood won convincingly with 48lb 12oz.

The final match of the Perry St league saw much better conditions and some excellent weights were recorded, I was in peg 6 and caught 16 carp shallow for 53lb 12oz which was good enough for third place and £60. Jamie Parkhouse won on the day from peg 14 with 76lb, he also won the league with 60 points followed by the Hoff on 69 and me on 77 which I was quite pleased with after such a poor start in the first match.

Highlights - a good end to the month with two results at Perry St
Lowlights - struggling at Summerhayes

August 2014

My first match of the month saw me back at Dillington, I had a nice days fishing, ending with 184 fish for 14lb 3oz and I finished third behind Fieldy with 15lb 4oz and Ashley Tomkins who won with a brilliant 21lb 10oz of quality roach and rudd. I picked up £15 which helped cover the cost of the day and got the month up and running.

I was at Summerhayes for my next match and we fished in horrendous conditions as we were hit by the tail end of hurricane Bertha! I drew peg 9 and caught the bulk of my 11lb 13oz silvers in the first hour and a half, then all I could catch was carp and ended with a total weight of 37lb 1oz for nowhere.

Round eight of the Summer league at Dillington saw a tight frame once again and I sneaked into third place with 10lb 8oz of roach and rudd, pipping Stuart Alford by an ounce! Bruce 'whipped' us all with 14lb 2oz and Justin was second with 11lb 1oz.

I was looking forward to the Bank Holiday weekend and a pairs festival at Summerhayes, on the first day I finished second in my section on Sellicks with 8lb 13oz of skimmers and my partner Ray Wickham was second on Longs also with 8lb 13oz. So going into day two we had 4 points and were lying second in the silvers behind Nigel and Glynn Wickham who had a perfect 2 point score.

Day two arrived (and so did the rain!) and a good draw was essential and we didn't get it, Ray drew an out and out carp on Sellicks and when it was my turn to draw, peg 39 was still in the bucket and I hate that peg with a passion and of course I drew it! I really struggled for 5lb 6oz which gave me 5 points and a blow out. Ray did a bit better finishing third in his section with 6lb 6oz to give us 12 points in total. We ended up just missing out as 11 points was last in the money but the draw had beaten us today and I went home wet and disappointed.

My last match of the month was at Dillington and I struggled again if I'm honest, I kept swapping between a depth rig and a shallow rig without really catching well on either and ended up with 8lb 10oz and a section win. I lost too many fish and missed loads of bites which was costly as Bruce was second with 9lb 4oz, Fieldy won by a mile with over 300 fish for 17lb 11oz on his favoured whip approach.

Highlights - a decent first day in the two day pairs festival
Lowlights - drawing peg 39 on day two!

September 2014

I phoned Pete at Summerhayes to book in for the first match of the month and he said the match was on Sellicks and possibly Lily as well depending on numbers, when I got to the venue the number of cars told me we'd be on both lakes. I just can't get on with Lily and normally draw it if it's being used, thankfully I managed to pull out peg 21 on Sellicks which is also a decent silvers peg (although not as good as peg 3 where Glynn Wickham drew!). I caught skimmers (and a lovely crucian carp around a pound) quite well until the last hour when I could only catch carp. My 13lb 2oz of silvers was enough for second (behind Glynn yet again!) and I picked up £25 to get the month up and running.

The last Summer League match at Dillington saw me draw peg 24 but once again I've missed loads of bites fishing shallow and at times I was only hitting one in ten! I ended up with 88 fish for 9lb 10oz which was enough for third place and £22. Bruce Hunt won with 16lb 4oz and Fieldy was second with 11lb 13oz and won the league and Bruce pipped Rob Cox to grab second place.

My final match of the month was on Longs at Summerhayes and I drew peg 12 which is one of the better silvers pegs, it's not as good as peg 32 though and guess who had drawn that?, yep, Glynn Wickham of course! I also had Ray Wickham next door on peg 11 and we had a right peg to peg battle. I caught well until the last hour and Ray had a couple of big skimmers late and I thought he'd beaten me but I just edged it with 16lb 10oz to his 15lb 12oz. People were saying Glynn had 20lb plus but it was a lot closer than that and he only just pipped me with 17lb 3oz but he still took yet another pound off me!

Highlights - an envelope in all three matches
Lowlights - Glynn beating me again (twice!)

October 2014

I was really looking forward to getting back on the river but I drew at Redbridge and deep down thought it might be too early for it and I was right, my two roach, one gudgeon plus five minnows gave me a grand total of 7oz!

The second match saw me at Isle Brewers on peg 122 and I had a bite every chuck but mostly from small fish with odd better roach and dace to weigh 4lb 4oz to sneak into third place and pick up £20. I also secured a precious section win for the league. Langport invader Baz Morgan won the match with 11lb 10oz from peg 17, picking up the golden peg money and a pound off me along the way.
Baz had a profitable day
Highlights - third place (and a section win) in the second V.E.S. match 
Lowlights - a disastrous first match! 

November 2014

In round three of the V.E.S. league I drew peg 128 which is one of the best pegs on the river, it was up and coloured and I thought I would be in for a good day but I just couldn't get the fish lined up and had to chase them around to end with 3lb 12oz which put me fourth in my five peg section - not good! Hurf won his first ever match with 7lb 4oz from peg 120, well done mate.

After heavy rain we were out the pond for round four, I had a fairly enjoyable day catching 6lb 13oz for a section win and I did win my pounds back from Baz and Hurf. The whip boys dominated with Martin winning with 11lb 10oz followed by Bruce and Fieldy.

Highlights - drawing peg 128 
Lowlights - cocking up peg 128!

December 2014

I drew peg 115 at Redbridge in the Xmas Fayre and was expecting it to be hard, I had four bites in four chucks, losing a good fish before landing two chub for 4lb (one weighed 3lb 6oz) and then never had another indication. Tony Newman won from peg 109 with four chub for 11lb 13oz and he lost two, Rob Cox was second with 6lb 12oz from 128 and Neil Dring third with 5lb 7oz from 129 so the good fish I lost cost me.

My first match at Summerhayes for a while saw me struggle for 3lb 6oz of silvers but as only 4lb 6oz was needed for second and 5lb for first and I lost a good skimmer I wasn't far away.

My final match of the year was at Summerhayes on New Year's Eve and on arriving, most of Longs was frozen which didn't bode well, with 21 fishing Pete decided to have two matches split between Longs and Sellicks. I fancied Sellicks but wasn't too upset when I drew peg 34 on Longs, a great peg. I had a steady day catching 13 carp and a few roach on dobbed punched bread for 31lb 3oz and top weight on the day. The icing on the cake was when my 6oz of roach doubled Brendon's silvers weight and I took yet another pound off him.

Highlights - winning at Summerhayes on the last day of 2014
Lowlights - lost fish costing me in the first two matches


After a dodgy start to the year when I snapped my pole things improved rapidly and I was winning matches all over the place including my first win on Sellicks and only my second ever golden peg win with a nice net of roach at Dillington. I also managed to win the V.E.S. Precision league after many years of trying and enjoyed some fantastic roach fishing out the pond along the way. For good measure I also won the Royal Oak league and had my best month ever winnings wise. For the first nine months I was on track to have my best year ever but things tailed off towards the end of the year although I easily surpassed last years total.

A great day with Russell Hilton on the top end of the Taunton and Bridgwater canal saw me set two new pb's with pike of 8lb 5oz and perch of 2lb 6oz. I headed to Gillhams in May and added a third pb with a 10lb pacu and also equalled my biggest ever fish with a 260lb arapaima, another great trip.

I've got lots planned for next year already with an assault on the tench in Cheddar reservoir pencilled in with Russell Hilton and I haven't forgotten that flounder or those pesky mullet either. I'm also hoping to get back to Thailand and Gillhams but also a couple of other venues as well. Of course I will still be bringing you match reports, the latest tackle reviews and some great interviews too.

Matches won - 9
Silvers wins - 1
Golden peg wins - 1
Winnings - £1281

Matches fished - 47
Number of pick ups - 30
Success rate - 63%

New venue pb match weights
Dillington  - 22lb 8oz
Summerhayes - 58lb 12oz
Emerald Pool - 44lb 10oz

New pb's
Perch - 2lb 6oz - Taunton and Bridgwater Canal
Pike - 8lb 5oz - Taunton and Bridgwater Canal
Pacu - 10lb - Gillhams