Monday, October 26, 2015

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League 2 - 25th October 2015

I got to the pub for the draw early and there seems to be more and more cars outside every week! We were up to 15 anglers this week, which is great to see, Paul Homewood, Bob Hammond and the Langport invader, Baz Morgan, were joining us today. Rob had pegged Redbridge, Isle Brewers and Hambridge with five pegs on each stretch. I was a little surprised Hambridge was in again after it had fished so hard last week but we'd had a fair bit of rain yesterday and I was hoping there would be a tinge of colour in the river today. The landlady, Cindy, drew the golden pegs for today and she pulled out two crackers, last weeks winner, 129 and 109 which wins more than its fair share of matches.

I had the last peg in the hat which turned out to be H6 at Hambridge that did 9oz last match, great! To be honest I still quite fancied it, especially if there was some colour and pace on the river. Justin and Gordon were on the two pegs below me and Harry and Paul had drawn below the bridge which was in for the first time this season. I pulled up in the car park just as Justin was headed off across the field, there was a herd of bullocks in there and they made a beeline for him, crowded around him and he was looking a little nervous. Did I go to help him? Of course not, but I did shout 'Rawhide' and took a few photos!

Round 'em up Justin!
Gordon arrived and between the three of us, we decided that the only way we would be able to fish without having to constantly look over our shoulders and wipe cow poo off our tackle would be to fish from the other bank so we drove back and parked by the bridge. Gordon and Justin were able to get fairly low to the water but I was stuck on top of the bank and could only just reach the water with my landing net! Looking at the river I was amazed at how low and clear it was, it was almost like yesterday's rain hadn't happened!
Looking downstream from my peg
I set up a 0.6 gram DH16 and a 1 gram bodied float but couldn't really see me using the latter as there was no flow at all and the lighter rig just sat there. With hardly any fish topping combined with the clarity of the water and no flow, I just knew we were going to struggle. The start time arrived and I began fishing down the middle at 8.5 metres, feeding casters and maggots slightly upstream and hemp straight out in front of me, I was also firing some casters down the peg to hopefully draw some fish up from Justin's swim.

Gordon was into small fish straight away and Justin was soon off the mark as well whereas I couldn't get a bite! I tried to my left where it was slightly deeper and started getting the odd tiny gudgeon but although it's a good sign for the river, I was starting to get sick of the sight of them! After an hour I only had a few small gudgeon and a little chublet and was going nowhere fast. Justin was still catching odd roach on the stick float but a pike had started to make it's presence known which at least provided me with some entertainment while I was sat there catching not a lot.

I tried maggot, caster, fishing 11.5 metres to the far bank and down the peg and I even stuck two more sections on and went 14.5 metres upstream and had a dace first chuck but that was it and it was too much like hard work for very little return. The farmer also turned up and moved the cows into another field which at least stopped them sky lining my peg and scaring all my fish! Justin was still catching small fish as was Gordon although he was suffering some pike attacks now as well. I hadn't seen any pike as yet, mind you, they would probably starve to death in my swim!

With two thirds of the match gone, I only had a handful of tiny fish that wouldn't weigh a pound and the only reason I was still there was the possibility that a few chub might show up and save the day. Another thirty minutes passed and I was going through the motions a bit when I laid the rig in and before it had even settled, the float slid away and the strike resulted in a fair bit of my new Drennan Aqua elastic streaming from the pole tip. I initially thought chub but it turned out to be a nice perch about 8-10oz and very welcome all the same.

I would like to report I bagged up for the remainder of the match but that didn't happen although I did have two more perch of a similar size plus a few more small fish so my final tally wasn't too embarrassing. Justin soon arrived with the scales and my fish weighed 2lb 3oz, Justin had a lot of small fish for 3lb 3oz and Gordon had a similar catch weighing 2lb 11oz and I thought they both had a lot more than that.

I had 2lb 3oz
Justin had a frustrating day with cows and pike! (but still beat me with 3lb 3oz)
Gordon weighed 2lb 11oz but was still smiling despite also suffering pike trouble
So it had been hard going on our side of the bridge, it was a different story downstream though as Paul Homewood had a cracking net of fish weighing 15lb 6oz on the whip which included six nice perch and Harry Hebditch also had a nice days fishing with 8lb 14oz, Harry had some nice perch but also lost a big chub at the net (thanks to Harry for the photos).

Harry had a nice net of fish weighing 8lb 14oz
Paul Homewood ad 15lb 6oz which included several good perch
Back at the results and Steve Parker had the top weight at Isle Brewers with 11lb 8oz from peg 120 which meant Paul had won, it also meant the golden peg fund was safe as Bruce and Rob had struggled in pegs 129 and 109. Heardy had the next best weight there with 8lb 2oz from 128 and Fieldy had the best weight at Redbridge with 6lb 1oz from 110.

1 - Paul Homewood (Taunton) - 15lb 6oz
2 - Steve Parker (Ilton) - 11lb 8oz
3 - Harry Hebditch (Yeovil) - 8lb 14oz

A - Graham Field (Taunton) - 6lb 1oz
B - Martin Heard (Mosella) - 8lb 2oz

My poor run continues so come back next week to see if I can do any better, I couldn't believe how low and clear the river was today and its still in desperate need of more rain.

I was really looking forward to this weeks episode of The Big Fish on BBC2 where they headed to Laos but to be honest it was the worst one yet! They caught very little and the contestants seemed to spend the entire time falling out of boats, getting snagged up and breaking rods. One women in particular missed two of the tasks because of heat stroke but when she returned for the final challenge, bearing in mind she was in grave danger of being sent home, she ended up sat in the river trying to catch fish in her hat! Disappointing given that she's been afforded an opportunity most anglers would kill for, she didn't even make for good telly in the previous two episodes! Next week they are in Costa Rica which looks amazing and if the trailer is anything to go by they actually catch some fish as well.

Next up - River Isle

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My review of Marukyu JPz pellets for Pondip (below)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

River Isle - Royal Oak Winter League 2 - 18th October 2015

After blanking in the first match, I needed a decent result today or my league was over before it started, I got to the pub for the draw and saw Rob had pegged Isle Brewers again but had also put a few pegs in at Hambridge, they were full of fish at the end of last season but I thought it might be a bit early yet. We had another new face fishing today as Harry Hebditch was joining us for the first time, we'd spoken on Facebook a few times but it was nice to finally meet him in the flesh. Harry is a farmer and has a cracking looking lake on his land so hopefully he'll let us fish it at some point. Hurf was sporting a rather fetching new fishing hat which he hoped would bring him luck!
Hurf had his new lucky hat on today!
Looking at the section sheets, Rob had given anglers a choice on several pegs (which I think is a really good idea) although I didn't fancy 123 where I was last match much and having the choice of 122 didn't really appeal either! When Rob announced the draw I decided to hang back and see if someone else drew it and after a couple of people had pulled pegs out of the hat, Fieldy did just that for me - cheers mate! Hurf was happy as he'd drawn 125 and he also had the choice of 124 (so maybe his lucky hat was working already) and when I opened my hand, I was the next peg downstream, 126, a great peg but now I had to try and do it justice!

I had a quick chat with Justin who was second off it last week, as there are two places you can fish the peg and he said he'd sat upstream of the bend. I got to the river and dropped my kit off at the top of the swim before having a look at the bend, the river was still painfully low and clear and we need some rain desperately. I decided to fish at the top of the swim as it looked really nice with two branches in the water down the peg. I walked back to the cars to let Hurf have his bait and he was concerned he hadn't seen any fish move and he could see right across the peg, he still wanted to have a pound side bet though!
I sat above the bend
I got back to my peg and I have to say once again what a cracking job they've done cutting out the swims, I was able to get my box quite low to the water and there was plenty of room. The main flow was on the inside and I set up a 0.6 gram DH16 for running through and after plumbing up there was a deeper hole in the slacker water at 8 metres and I set up a 1 gram bodied float for there. Lastly I set up a 13 foot float rod with a little 2AAA Drennan Crystal Waggler which I hoped wouldn't spook the fish in the clear water. I shotted it up with just a couple of number tens down the line and all three rigs had 0.12mm hooklengths with size 18 Kamasan B611's. When I picked up the bait from Tackleuk yesterday I also bought some of the new Drennan Aqua F1 and Silverfish Bungee elastic. Rated 4 to 6 it looks perfect for roach fishing at Dillington and hopefully it would get a decent work out today (although I think there would be some raised eyebrows if I weighed in any F1's today!).
I was hoping my new elastic would get a good stretching
10:30 arrived and I started on the waggler, fishing in the flow with a single caster on the hook and feeding maggots, casters and hemp. Much like last week I was into small chublets, dace and gudgeon straight away and the swim was obviously full of fish as wherever I cast the float it would go under but nothing over an ounce. After an hour I had 24 fish but probably didn't have much more than a pound in the net. I tried the pole with the lighter rig but that just resulted in more small fish so I tried the heavier float in the deeper water and first chuck the float buried and a better 4oz roach was the result, a couple of smaller roach followed before it was back to chublets and gudgeon.

Back on the waggler and I added a few inches to the depth and had a better roach, the float sailed away on the next cast as well but this time I struck and it was solid before the fish woke up, tore off and snapped the hooklength like cotton - bugger! I'm pretty sure it was a chub and it would have been a nice bonus. After tying a new hooklength on I carried on catching small fish but that lost fish played on my mind. Stu Alford turned up for a walk round and said Hurf was catching a fish a chuck but they were mostly gudgeon. After the second hour I'd caught another 20 fish but I wasn't sure I had 2.5lb yet and unless the stamp of fish improved (and I stopped losing chub!), I would be a long way short of my 10lb target.

As the halfway point approached I had lost my way somewhat and was swapping between all three rigs and catching fish on all of them without putting a great deal of weight in the net. There were loads of decent fish topping below the two branches in the water but despite running the waggler right down the peg and fishing the pole at 11.5 metres and holding back by the branches, all I could catch was more gudgeon and chublets. I tried upping the feed to see if I could bring the fish up the peg but they wouldn't budge and I couldn't help thinking I'd have done better if I'd sat on the bend.

I carried on catching small fish but in an almost carbon copy of the last match, as the day wore on the ratio of gudgeon to chublets/roach/dace increased and those gobios just don't weigh very much. Unlike last Sunday, this week I didn't have a last gasp chub (I fluffed my chance earlier!) but as I had more fish, I hoped I'd done a bit better than then. I ended up with 125 fish plus a few minnows which I didn't count. Gordon arrived with the scales and I was really disappointed when I only weighed 6lb and felt I'd cocked up a flier today. Gordon had struggled in 128 for 1lb 1oz and then as we walked down to weigh Justin in on 129, he was admitting to double figures but when he pulled his net out he had loads of quality roach and a big chub and after two weighs, his total was 23lb 4oz, a fantastic bag of fish, well done mate. He also said it could have been more but he suffered a fair bit of pike trouble throughout the day.
I had a level 6lb
Gordon had 1lb 1oz from the Big Bend
Justin with part of his 23lb 4oz winning catch
As we walked back to the cars we met Fieldy who weighed 5lb 1oz and Hurf who had 3lb 2oz (so his hat wasn't that lucky after all!) which meant that as long as Justin framed I should win the section. Back at the results and Hambridge hadn't fished very well at all with Rob having the top weight of 5lb 3oz, so I actually ended up in second place and picked up £30 plus nuggets from Hurf and Steve P who actually won the bottom section with 1lb 15oz. The other two down there had struggled a bit, Karl had 9oz and Harry had 12oz but he said he enjoyed it and is coming again next week.

1 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 23lb 4oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 6lb
3 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 5lb 3oz

A - Graham Field (Taunton) - 5lb 1oz
B - Steve Parker (Ilton) - 1lb 15oz

So for the second week on the trot I can honestly say I've had a bite every chuck and all those small fish bode well for the future. Considering how low and clear the river is, it's fishing well, if we get some rain I think it will fish its nuts off!

I'm still really enjoying The Big Fish on BBC2, they were in Cuba this week and fishing for those bonefish looked exhilarating and as for those tarpon, what amazing creatures. I have to say I wasn't so keen on the rubber ring challenge but it was still quite interesting. They go to Laos next week and I bet they'll encounter some weird and wonderful species there.

Next up - River Isle

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My last match (below)

Monday, October 12, 2015

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League 1 - 11th October 2015

After blanking last week I was hoping for better things today, I knew Rob was pegging Redbridge and Isle Brewers and from all accounts there were loads of small fish topping when they were down there yesterday sorting out pegs. I got to the pub for the draw and there was a decent turnout of twelve (well eleven actually because Heardy was going to meet us at the river and we had to draw a peg for him!). Looking at the pegs I really fancied 109, 120, 125, 126, 128 and also thought 129 might be in with a shout, so a 50:50 chance of drawing a flier. I really didn't want 122 or 127 as, although they are worth a few fish they're not winning pegs. Rob announced the draw and said Steve Parker would go first and pull out a peg for Martin and 122 was the result!, that was one peg I didn't want out the way.

For a change I went into the hat fairly early and pulled out a peg but didn't look straight away, Hurf had done the same so we both looked at the same time, he was on 127 and I was on 123 and I didn't fancy either very much. My peg has won a few matches and I won off it once with 12lb odd but I've also struggled off it a few times. I got to the river and took my kit to the peg and they'd done a lovely job yesterday cutting out the swims. As per usual I was rushing around a bit to get set up in time, rig number one was the 0.6 gram DH16 float I used last match (hopefully it'll actually go under this week!) and I also set up a 1 gram bodied float. The swim looked quite nice and there were loads of small fish topping in the flow although the river was very low and clear.
Peg 123
The start time arrived and I baited up with a single caster and started inching the lighter rig through in the flow and started getting bites from tiny dace, chublets, gudgeon and minnows straight away, I also had a couple of slightly better roach. After an hour I'd had 15 fish (although I wasn't counting the gudgeon or minnows). There were obviously loads of tiny fish in the peg and I was getting a bite a chuck but missing quite a few. There were several little clumps of cover on the far bank and I felt sure that was where the chub were hiding even though it was quite shallow across, so I cut a lobworm in half and went over with the heavier rig and after a short wait, the float sailed away and a greedy gudgeon was the result. Rob came up and said he hadn't had a bite yet, while he was with me I missed a few bites and had another gobie but I stayed on it too long really and put very little in the net before I switched back to caster.

I was starting to wish I'd set a little waggler up as I'd get a couple of dace or roach before they'd back away from the pole and I'd have to try somewhere else, I was catching a fair few gudgeon but they were tiny. There were also quite a few stick ups and I got snagged a few times during the day, losing a couple of hooklengths in the process. The gudgeon and minnows were proving to be a bit of a pain in the bum, so I even tried a black Marukyu JPz pellet thinking it might look like a big grain of hemp, I had a few knocks and then the float sailed away and I had my best roach of the day, a 6oz fish. I had another roach and then bumped a fish but I spent too long trying to catch on it, they certainly deterred the gudgeon and minnows but I still wasn't putting much in the net. I think they'll be worth trying out at Dillington for those quality roach so I'll keep you updated with how I get on.

With about two hours to go, it didn't seem to matter where I tried, if the float went under, a gudgeon was the result and a pike also started to make it's presence known, it grabbed two fish but thankfully let go of both (it obviously didn't like the taste of gudgeon!). Along with getting snagged up on the stick ups and cabbages a few more times, it was turning into a frustrating day. Big Frank phoned from Redbridge and said he'd caught some nice roach and dace earlier but had slowed up now and Steve Parker below him was struggling and a big pike was causing him some problems.

I carried on catching gudgeon and the very occasional chublet or small dace and with about 15 minutes left I was up to 40 fish for 2.5lb plus about 50 gudgeon which I thought might give me another pound or so and I knew that wouldn't be any good today. I was trying against the far bank at the top of the swim and had a small roach, then next put in, the float buried and a quick lift of the pole saw me hit solid resistance, another snag I thought but then it started moving! I threw the pole behind to stop it getting under the far bank rubbish and using the pulla bung I slipped the net under a 1.5lb chub which was a nice late bonus. I still had time to go back out but that was the last of the action.

I packed up before grabbing the scales and walking up to weigh Heardy in, he had 120 small fish for 5lb 1oz and I knew it would be close between us, my chub assisted net went 5lb 9oz which I was a little disappointed with. As we walked down to weigh Rob in, he was admitting to 3.5lb but as soon as he pulled his net out, I knew it was more and the needle settled on 6lb 6oz. Fieldy started saying he thought he had a similar weight to mine and Heardy's so we immediately knew he probably had a lot more as he's a worse estimator than me! He also said he had 117 fish but they were all tiny although he'd neglected to mention the quality roach and a decent perch as he weighed 8lb 13oz to go into the lead.
Martin had loads of small fish for 5lb 1oz
My late chub boosted my catch to 5lb 9oz
Rob had 6lb 6oz including a nice perch
Fieldy had 8lb 13oz from 125
As we got back to the cars the anglers from below the bridge were already there and Justin had the top weight with 11lb 13oz from peg 126, Jake had 6lb 9oz from 128, Gordon weighed 4lb 13oz from 130 and had lost a chub and Hurf had 4lb 1oz. That just left the anglers at Redbridge and I started to think I might have a chance of the section but it wasn't to be as Neil had 12lb 2oz from 120 to win the match and Big Frank had 6lb 2oz to win the section by default, I did take a nugget off Steve Parker who had 2lb 8oz.

So all in all a much better match than last weeks with loads of small fish showing which is a great sign, although they will do a disappearing act when we have the first frost. It was also great to see several nice perch featuring in catches, Rob and Fieldy both had one and Neil had three in the weir pool. The river is still very low and clear though and desperately needs some extra water and a good flush through.

1 - Neil Dring (Ilminster) - 12lb 2oz
2 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 11lb 13oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 8lb 13oz

A - Frank Woodard (Ilminster) - 6lb 2oz
B - Jake Woodard (Ilminster) - 6lb 9oz

My bad run continues so come back next week to see if I can do any better. In other news I really enjoyed The Big Fish on BBC2 last night, they've tried to do something a little different and I think it worked (obviously it would have been better with me on the show!) and I'm looking forward to next week when they head to Cuba. Also the blog has flown past 300,000 hits so thank you so much to everybody who follows my exploits and I really appreciate every comment and kind word.

Next up - River Isle

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My first post for Pondip (below)

Monday, October 05, 2015

First Pondip Post

My first post for Pondip has now gone live, check it out by clicking the link below,

Also look out for my review of Marukyu JPz pellets coming soon......


Sunday, October 04, 2015

River Isle - Royal Oak Winter League 1 - 4th October 2015

I was really looking forward to getting back on the river today, I got to the pub in good time and there was a decent turnout of eight anglers including some more news in the shape of Gordon Aplin and his son Karl. Gordon's face looked familiar and he said he used to fish matches back in the era of Adrian Green, Barney Crockett, Dennis Priddle and Don Jobson etc. Rob was in two minds whether to fish Coxes or Isle Brewers and I said we ought to fish the top end as it tends to fish okay early on before we get the first frosts. The club has several sections of river and we can't keep fishing the same pegs week in week out.

Rob was just about to announce the draw when Justin Charles ambled in without a care in the world and Rob had to put another peg in and amend the sections and payout before trying again. This time there were no interruptions and after I pulled a peg out of the hat I opened my hand to reveal the number 22, it wouldn't be my first choice but it's a peg I've wanted to have a go at for several seasons and now I had my chance. Heardy had drawn peg 27 in the copse and wasn't happy, he'd been telling us how he's been bagging up at Stafford Moor on the pellet waggler and his lowest weight this year was 82lb, we told him there was a good chance that wouldn't be the case after today!

As I parked up I could see Bruce and Fieldy stood on the bridge looking at the river and they said there were loads of fish in peg 17 where Bruce had drawn so nothing new there then! Rob had drawn peg 15 which I really fancied and young Karl was in the tank traps (peg 14) but I thought he might struggle a bit as he didn't have a pole. I got to my peg and there was nice pathway strimmed through the nettles to the river so a big thanks to Fieldy who came down on Friday and did all the swims. My swim looked really nice with loads of cover and overhanging bushes although the river was painfully low and clear.
My peg had loads of cover and looked really nice
I went to Tackleuk yesterday to pick up my bait and they had some of the new Dave Harrell DH16 floats which I thought would be ideal for shallower swims and for when there's not much too much flow so I bought a 0.5 gram and a couple of  the 0.6 gram versions and actually made a few rigs up last night. I got the lighter version out and fine tuned the shotting before plumbing up, despite the river being very clear there was a good depth and I really thought I'd get a few today. I also set up a 0.75 gram Drennan Carbo and both rigs had size 18 Kamasan B611's and 0.12mm hooklengths.
Dave Harrell DH16 floats
As I was getting my bait out of my carryall, I realised I'd forgotten to bring any hemp and I hoped it wasn't a bad omen. The start time of 10:15 arrived and I flicked some feed in the flow just in front of me and also fired some casters under the overhanging bushes where I hoped some chub might be lurking. I started fishing in the flow with caster on the hook and normally you'll get a few early, mug fish, usually chublets and dace but this didn't happen and I found myself searching around the peg earlier than I would have liked and I couldn't buy a bite anywhere, not even from a minnow. I tried poking the pole right under the bushes at 11.5 metres but my nice shiny new float just sat there.

I tried fishing at the same distance to my right where there was a bit more flow but nothing and it really was like the swim was devoid of fish. By now we were an hour into the match and Justin appeared behind me and said he hadn't had a bite either, he did say Fieldy below him on peg 24 had two small chublets but it was already sounding like it was going to be rock hard today and he said he would probably pack up and head off somewhere else.

I gave it another half an hour before going for a walk to see how the pegs further up were doing, I bumped into Stuart Alford and Pete Lonton who had popped down for a walk, they said Bruce was struggling in 17 but Rob was getting odd fish and Karl in the weirpool was getting a fish a chuck (so much for struggling without a pole then!). I sat behind Bruce for a bit and although he didn't catch while I was there, odd fish were topping above him and we saw a decent fish swim up past him in the flow.

Next stop was Rob and he said he'd caught a couple of nice trout along with some dace and chublets, I had a quick chat before walking up to see Karl, the swim did look lovely although a tree had come down across it since I'd fished it last and you can't fish the tail of the swim any longer. I asked how he was doing and he said he'd been catching well but he was trying the tip and hadn't caught on it yet. I left him to it and walked back, thinking it wouldn't take a lot to get in the money today, Justin had long gone and left me the scales as a present - cheers mate!

I thought my best bet was to try and catch a couple of decent fish under the bush but despite trying double maggot, caster and lobbie, I never had a bite. Out of desperation I even tried to catch a minnow on single maggot but with the same result and I couldn't believe I hadn't had a single indication! I tried upping the feed to force something to happen but to no avail. With ten minutes to go I thought I'd had a little knock and the float started moving but I struck and the caster wasn't touched so I might well have imagined it and that was that, a blank and not a great start to my river campaign!

I packed up and went down to weigh Fieldy in, he'd caught eight chublets for 1lb 9oz and there was a good chance he'd pick up money with that! We met up with the others and it hadn't fished very well at all, Karl had won with a decent net of fish weighing 8lb 1oz and had done really well in his first match with us, Rob was second with 4lb 5oz and Fieldy was third. Bruce won the top section with 1lb 4oz and Heardy only needed 9oz to win the bottom section and was still having a bit of a moan, I didn't help when I suggested it might have had something to do with him fishing 8mm pellets! Steve Parker only had an ounce but it was enough to take a pound off me.
Fieldy only needed 1lb 9oz for third place
Sat here typing this I still can't believe it fished as hard as it did, I realise the river was really low and clear but it was mild and looking through my records the corresponding match in 2013 was fished in similar conditions and I had 7lb 13oz from peg 23 and only won my section and Steve Parker had 6lb 11oz from peg 27, whereas the weights today were more akin to matches held after a hard frost! At least we know pegs 14 and 15 still hold fish but I'm not sure I'd fancy fishing any of the others again for a while and then only if the river was up and coloured.

1 - Karl Aplin (Ilminster) - 8lb 1oz
2 - Rob Cox (Ilminster) - 4lb 5oz
3 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 1lb 9oz

A - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 1lb 4oz
B - Martin Heard (Mosella) - 9oz

Next up - River Isle

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My last match (below)