Monday, November 30, 2015

River Isle - Royal Oak Winter League 4 - 29th November 2015

Very strong winds were forecast for today and it was sounding like we could be in for a very unpleasant day weather wise. I got to the pub and there were a few other anglers there enjoying a hearty breakfast to set them up for the day battling the elements and hopefully catching a few fish. Stu Alford came straight over and paid me his pound from last week, cheers mate. A quick look at the section boards revealed Rob had put some cracking pegs in and every one of them was capable of winning, although the pegs at Redbridge would be pretty exposed today.
Stu paid me his pound from last week*
My drawing arm hasn't been working very well in recent weeks and Tim Ford commented on last weeks post and said to go in first as all the good pegs are still in there, he's right of course, the winning peg is still there but by my thinking, all the bad ones are still in there too! Anyway we didn't need to worry about that today as I'd be happy with any of them, Rob announced the draw and asked if I wanted him to draw for me and I said go on then. He pulled one out and handed it to me, I opened my fingers slowly hoping it would say 120 but I wasn't too upset when I saw I was on peg 129.

Stu drew Barney's Bend (126) and wanted to win his pound back and Hurf on 120 and Steve P on H2 at Hambridge were both keen to have a side bet as well. After checking I had enough change to pay everybody, it was time to head off to the river. Peg 129 is across a field and through a couple of gates so it took several trips to get all my kit to the peg and I was rushing around a bit to get ready in time. I plumbed up and my rig was nowhere near deep enough so I had to tie some more line on which wasn't ideal. There was a copse to my right on the opposite bank which I'd hoped would shelter me from the wind a bit but it was howling down the river making it a struggle to hold the pole at 8.5 metres.
Peg 129
I had just enough time to pour a coffee before the whistle went, I shipped out and let the rig run through while trying to maintain some kind of control but the wind was already a nightmare, I missed a bite first chuck and the caster was smashed. Next put in, the float sailed away again and this time the strike saw a fair bit blue hydro appear before I netted a nice 6oz roach. It was then a bite a chuck and I was catching a lot of small roach, dace, chublets and gudgeon with the odd better roach among them. After an hour I had 33 fish and thought I must have getting on for 3lb, a great start.

The second hour was similar and although I wasn't getting as many fish, the roach were a better stamp and I had another 24 fish and thought I'd probably added another 3-4lb to the net. The wind was already proving to be a real pain, several big branches snapped off the trees and landed in the swim and I was beginning to think that if my pole got through this unscathed, it would be a miracle. I started to suffer the odd quiet spell during the third hour and thought either a pike was lurking or some chub had moved in and I hoped it was the latter. I had another 21 fish but also had a good roach come off at the net.

A bank walker turned up and watched me for a bit before saying he recognised me from the blog, he said he reads it every week and really enjoys it and found the fishery focus I did on the Isle really useful, I didn't get his name but thanks for that, it's always nice to get some great feedback. I had a good spell while he was watching and caught quite a few small fish plus a couple of decent roach. There were obviously a lot of fish in the peg and if I could have got decent presentation I think a big weight was on the cards but I still thought I was on target to do 14-15lb which I felt wouldn't be far off today.

With an hour to go, I was up to 100 fish but still getting quite a few gudgeon, small chublets and roach so I was feeding hemp and casters quite heavily, hoping that more of the bigger roach or even a chub or two might feed. The wind was so bad I was getting really frustrated with the pole getting blown about and also trying to swing small fish in was a nightmare as they kept getting blown out of reach and as a result I suffered with several bouts of wind induced Tourette's throughout the day.

As the light started to fade, I started to catch some better roach and then with only ten minutes left, I've struck into what felt like a better fish. I glanced behind me as I shipped the pole back and when I looked back again, there was a fair bit of elastic out and I had to ship the pole back out again. It felt like a lump and I really thought I'd hooked a big chub. It plodded about and slowly but surely I started to gain the upper hand and as the float appeared and the fish started to come to the surface, I have to say my heart was in my mouth. Then all of a sudden the tension was released as a 4oz roach flew out of the water and as I shipped back again, the pike had another go at it's intended meal - bugger!

I still had time to catch a couple more decent roach to put me on a total of 122 fish (plus a few minnows) as the five hours drew to a close and I thought I'd hit my target weight of 15lb, maybe a bit more. I started packing up and hadn't quite finished when Fieldy turned up with the scales, he asked how I'd got on and I said I had around 12-14lb. I asked him and that's when the pantomime started (well it is that time of year!), he said he probably had the same as the last match (oh no he didn't!) where he had 10lb 12oz and that he hadn't used his landing net all day (so I knew he'd done well). I pulled my net out and Dame Fieldy said he had nowhere near that (oh yes he did!), I was slightly disappointed when the needle settled on 12lb 3oz and I knew it wouldn't be enough today.
I had 12lb 3oz which included some nice roach
Fieldy had a cracking net of fish weighing 14lb 5oz from peg 128
Stu had 5lb and was overjoyed at paying me another pound!
We walked up to his peg and as soon as he took his net out, I knew he'd done me as he had some lovely quality roach and weighed 14lb 5oz. Then Stu Alford had a lot of small fish for a level 5lb, so I was a pound better off at least. We headed back to meet the others and Karl Aplin had the top weight at Redbridge with 3lb 14oz from peg 110, Rob had one chub for 2lb 12oz from peg 112 and Hurf had 2lb 8oz from the weirpool and although he lost a pound to me he had the consolation of catching the biggest ruffe of the day! Down at Hambridge, Justin had 8lb 8oz and Steve P had 4lb 1oz so I'd won all three side bets and finished second on the day and picked up £30. *Thanks to Hurf for the photos.
Karl had the top weight at Redbridge with 3lb 14oz*
Hurf had 2lb 8oz...*
Which included this specimen ruffe*
1 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 14lb 5oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 12lb 3oz
3 - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 8lb 8oz

Considering the weather, the river had fished really well again as lots of small fish continue to feature in catches although the mild weather is certainly helping on that front. After four matches and dropping the worst result, Fieldy leads with a perfect three point score followed by me and Rob on six (we're behind you!, okay enough panto references for now). Next week it's the Xmas Fayre and I'd be happy to draw the same peg again.

Next up - Xmas Fayre

What's new - Lots of page updates and look out for my next interview and review of SSP Baits coming soon

Check Out - My latest Pondip post (below)

Friday, November 27, 2015

My Latest Pondip Post

Have a look at my latest post for Pondip on the essentials I never leave home without

http://pondip.co.uk/blog/fishing-basics/5-fishing-essentials-never-leave-home-without/

Monday, November 23, 2015

River Isle - V.E.S. Precision League 3 - 22nd November 2015

We had some horrible weather on Saturday, with strong winds and much colder temperatures it was looking like winter had finally arrived. The fact I had to defrost the car this morning seemed to confirm it although thankfully the wind had dropped. I got to the pub fairly early and there was a decent turnout of eleven and a quick look at the section boards revealed Rob had pegged Redbridge, Isle Brewers and Hambridge, all great areas but the pegs I really fancied were the weir pool at Isle Brewers (120) which has been very consistent or one of the two pegs below Hambridge which I've never drawn. I didn't particularly want to be above the bridge as all three pegs struggled when we were there a few weeks back.

Rob announced the draw and said the two golden pegs were 129 and H3, both have won plenty of matches so there was a good chance somebody would be collecting a bulging brown envelope today. When I stuck my hand in the hat, there was only one peg left which turned out to be H4 which is the first peg above the bridge and I was pretty disappointed, it can be a really good peg but I still think it's a bit early for it. The two golden pegs went to Jake (on 129) and Rob drew his second on the trot in this league which put him on H3 and I'm getting him to pick my lottery numbers next week!

We got to the river and it looked lovely, nice tinge of colour with some pace and I started to think we might be in for a really good day, especially as there were no bullocks in the field today, the only thing that slightly worried me was that there were no fish topping. Leighton Cox was above me on the bend with Stu Alford on H6 where I was in the last V.E.S. match and he accepted when I asked if he wanted a side bet.
My peg looked nice
Leighton was above me...
and Stu Alford was above him
I set up a 0.6 gram DH16 and a 1 gram bodied float, both with 0.12mm hooklengths and size 18 B611's. I plumbed up and had a nice depth to my right and straight out in front but the peg shallowed up towards the bridge. Rob shouted the all in and I started on the heavier rig with double red maggot on the hook at 8.5 metres down the middle. I was inching the float through when it buried and the strike resulted in a pleasing amount of yellow hydro coming out of the pole tip before I swung in a 4oz roach. I had a slightly smaller one next chuck before the next one was smaller again so I switched to caster to see if I could catch some more quality. It didn't really work and I was just waiting longer for bites, I could see Rob below the bridge and he was catching small fish regularly as was Leighton above me.

After an hour I had 17 fish for a pound or so and I knew that was way off the pace to do any good today and I needed some better fish to start showing. I saw Leighton net a decent fish and shouted up to ask what it was, he said it was a chub around 2lb so at least they were in the area. Heardy was below Rob and although I couldn't see him, I could hear him and it sounded like he was catching some nice fish although he was suffering quite a bit of pike trouble. I kept swapping between caster and double maggot and was getting odd small roach but after a promising start I wasn't putting much in the net. I tried fishing a section shorter to see if I could catch the small fish quicker but after an initial flurry of fish I went back to struggling.

A big pike kept making it's presence known under the bridge but so far it had left me alone and I don't think the tiny fish I was catching were a big enough meal for it! Rob was still catching lots of small fish with the odd netter among them, Martin had a decent perch and I didn't know what to do next! I said to Stu before the match started that I thought 20lb would be needed to win today but after two hours I knew it wouldn't be me!

I was getting more bites with the lighter rig but mainly from small fish so when I laid the rig in and the float sailed away I was expecting another small roach but this time a fair bit of Drennan Aqua elastic came out of the pole, the fish plodded about and I knew it would be a perch and it was, not a monster but at 10oz it was very welcome and hopefully there were a few more where that one came from. I could hear Martin getting very frustrated as every time he hooked a better fish, pike were coming from every direction to snaffle it and there was even a pike attacking his keepnet!

While Heardy was getting frustrated with pike stealing his better fish, I was equally annoyed that apart from that perch I couldn't catch anything that required me to get my landing net wet! I tried shallowing up the heavier rig and going to 11.5 metres by the point of the bridge, I had a 3oz roach and missed a couple of bites but it was short lived and I went back to catching the odd small fish on the lighter rig. It sounded like Leighton and Stu were also both now struggling while the two below the bridge were still getting a fish a chuck!

When Rob called the all out, my clicker was reading 86 fish and I thought I might scrape 5lb and the only chance I had of a pick up today was if Rob and Heardy framed and I beat the two above me and sneaked a section win by double default! I packed up and we walked up to weigh Stu in, he'd had a similar day to mine and had sixty odd small fish plus a bonus perch for 3lb 10oz, Leighton weighed 6lb 11oz and I knew I didn't have that, for once my guesstimate was pretty close as I actually weighed 5lb 2oz.
Stu had 3lb 10oz
Leighton won the section with 6lb 11oz
I had 5lb 2oz and my new Bait-Tech hat didn't bring me luck today
Below the bridge Rob had 10lb 13oz and Martin had 13lb 15oz which meant I was fourth in my five peg section which wouldn't do my league position any good at all! *Thanks to Rob Cox for the photos.
Rob had 10lb 13oz from H3 for second place*
Heardy won with 13lb 15oz despite loads of pike trouble*
Back at the results and the other section had also fished pretty well with Fieldy weighing 10lb 12oz for third place overall, Frank had 9lb 3oz from peg 120 to win the section and Jake had 8lb 4oz from 129. Steve Parker had 3lb 13oz from 126 so I was a pound better off, I should have been £2 up but Stu did a runner without paying!

After three matches and dropping the worst result, Fieldy and Heardy are on three points followed by Frank on four and Justin on five. I'm currently languishing way down on seven points and need a good result in the next match, in my defence the three pegs I've drawn so far 123, H6 and H4 haven't been great.

Next up - River Isle

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My last match (below)

 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Dillington Pond - Royal Oak Winter League 3 - 15th November 2015

With more rain towards the end of the week, we were back out the pond for this match and there was another good turnout including Tackleuk's Ashley Tomkins who was joining us for the first time this series. Rob announced the draw and I fancied a peg on the roadside and when I had the last peg in the hat which was number 22, I thought I'd got my wish but then Rob said I was actually on peg 14 on the end bank which Hurf found very amusing!

The forecast wasn't great for today and when I got out the pond and saw I'd have the wind straight in my chops, I thought it might be a case of battening down the hatches. Ash was next door in peg 13 but I had plenty of room to my left with Rob my nearest neighbour on peg 19! I got comfortable and set up a 0.5 gram Drennan Roach float to fish at 10 metres which wasn't too bad with the wind hitting us head on rather than from the side, I also set up a little Preston Chianti for fishing shallow. Both rigs had size 18 B611's to 0.10mm hooklengths.

For bait I had the usual maggots, casters and hemp plus I mixed up some Bait-Tech Pro Nat. Just before the start Rob blew the whistle to signal a minutes silence for the poor innocents who lost their lives in Paris, what a terrible world we live in. The second blast of his whistle signalled the start of the contest and I cupped in two balls of groundbait at 10 metres before starting over the top of it with double red maggot on the hook. It didn't take long for the float tip to disappear from view and I was soon swinging in a small roach to get me off the mark. I switched to caster and carried on catching including the odd better roach and rudd and after a really good first hour I had 37 fish in the net.
Mixing up my favourite groundbait!
I shouted up to ask how Ash was getting on and he replied he was struggling and was quite a few fish behind me at this early stage. I could see all three of my side bets today, Rob and Hurf in peg 10 were both fishing the feeder and I hadn't seen them net any skimmers or bream yet and Steve P was up by the pumphouse in peg 24 and had lost a big chub in the first ten minutes but had been quiet since. The second hour started and I had a couple more fish before I had a bit of a tangle and after sorting that out I noticed there was a wind knot in the line and I spent quite a while trying to unpick it when I should have just put a new hooklength on, which is what I ended up doing anyway - doh!

My bites started to slow up and after half an hour I tried the shallow rig and although I was getting odd fish, it wasn't fast and furious and I only added another 19 fish. I started feeding another line just off the reeds to my left at 10 metres and kept swapping between the two, I was still getting roach but only the odd good one, Steve P had netted a decent fish and Hurf had started to catch some skimmers but I felt my pounds were still safe for the time being.

Around the halfway point, I still thought I was doing okay but some bigger fish were coming out, Justin on peg 6 landed a good fish, Hurf had a bream and Steve P also netted a lump. Then I saw Ash strike into a fish and loads of orange number four elastic came streaming out of his pole tip as an angry chub took exception to being hooked, he had it on for a while before losing it. Not long after he hooked another and did well to get it out on 0.08mm hooklength, I still thought it was tight between us but then he was into another and I was getting fed up of seeing his orange elastic!

I was still swapping between the two 10 metre lines and getting the odd roach and rudd, I did drop off a 4oz perch that I should have netted but tried swinging in. Then the float sailed away by the reeds and I struck into a good fish and there was yellow hydro everywhere, I played the fish out in open water and when it eventually surfaced it was a decent chub of 2lb plus, I carefully shipped back, and netted it without too much fuss and I even let out a little whoop!

There seemed to be quite a few bonus fish showing, I saw Fieldy in peg 2 and Justin in peg 6 both use their landing nets and then Ash had his third and fourth chub (and lost another as well) and was looking good for yet another victory. When Steve P landed another lump, I'd gone from doing okay to struggling and being in danger of losing all three side bets! I was still getting odd roach but missing loads of bites and when Rob called time my clicker was reading 107 fish, I had 123 for 13lb last week but I did have that 2lb chub today so hoped I might have a similar weight or a little more.

I packed up and walked round to watch our section weigh in and get some photos, Steve P was first and he had a nice bream and two chub plus some roach and rudd for 13lb 6oz and I thought that would be just enough to pip me. Karl Aplin in peg 20 had 1lb 2oz and then Rob had some nice skimmers for 6lb 3oz from peg 19. Then we got to my peg and when I pulled my net out I still thought I'd fall just short of Steve's weight but the needle pulled round to 14lb and I'd actually gone into the lead but I knew that would only last until we got to Ash next door.
Steve weighed 13lb 6oz which included a nice bream and two chub
Karl had 1lb 2oz
Rob had some nice skimmers for 6lb 3oz
I had 14lb including this nice chub*
He plonked his fish in the weigh sling and the scales bottomed out so we took his biggest chub out. His first weigh was just shy of 20lb and then we weighed the chub which went 4lb 8oz, a cracking fish which gave him a total of 24lb 7oz. We met the others and when Hurf said he'd weighed 16lb 5oz I thought he'd be second but Fieldy had weighed 18lb 2oz from peg 2 which included five chub, all caught at four sections on half a lobworm! Justin had also had a nice day and weighed 14lb 11oz which included a nice bream and he won that section and I won mine and picked up £15 which helped pay for the day. I also ended up 2-1 up on the side bet front which was better than I thought it was going to be. *Thanks to Harry Hebditch for the photos.

Hurf had a nice bream plus skimmers on the feeder for 16lb 5oz and third place*
Fieldy had 18lb 2oz which included five chub*
Ash won with a lovely net of fish weighing 24lb 7oz which included chub to 4lb 8oz and some quality roach
So the pond continues to fish really well, obviously the mild weather is helping but it's always throwing up some surprises. The top six all had double figures today which is brilliant fishing, I felt a little sorry for Steve P who never picked up a bean when normally at this time of year 13lb gets you in the money!

It's early days but after three matches and dropping the worst result, Fieldy leads the league with two points followed by Rob on three and me and Justin on four.

1 - Ashley Tomkins (Tackleuk) - 24lb 7oz
2 - Graham Field (Taunton) - 18lb 2oz
3 - Steve Hurford (Ilminster) - 16lb 5oz

Sections
A - Justin Charles (Ilminster) - 14lb 11oz
B - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 14lb

It was also the final of BBC2's 'The Big Fish' on Sunday night and they were in Zambia, I have to say the location was absolutely stunning, the fishing less so. The finale saw the remaining three competitors trying to catch tiger fish on the fly, spinners and bait with James the only angler to do so and he was crowned the winner and deservedly so in my opinion. I have to say I really enjoyed the series and I hope they do another. The highlight for me was the sturgeon fishing in Canada which looked amazing, the low point was Laos which promised so much but delivered so little. Also the majority of the competitors seemed to come from a fly fishing background which seemed a little unfair on us coarse anglers, with really only Ripon representing us and he spent most of his time falling out of boats and breaking rods. On the whole it's a big thumbs up from me and I thought it worked with Ben Fogle and Matt Hayes at the helm, roll on series two.

In other news, I've just received a parcel from SSP Baits to review, they are a new bait company but I have to say, my first impressions are excellent and they have an exciting range of products including groundbait, pellets, boilies and additives, check out the full range at www.sspbaits.com and look out for my first review coming very soon.

http://www.sspbaits.com/
And finally, I've entered this blog into the 2016 UK Blog Awards and would be very grateful if you could spare a few minutes to vote for me, I'll post on here a bit nearer the time when the voting opens.

http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/

Next up - River Isle

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My last match (below)
 

Monday, November 09, 2015

Dillington Pond - 8th November 2015

With loads of rain on Friday and Saturday morning, the river was bank high and unfishable so we were out the pond today and after last weeks disaster it would be nice just to put some fish in the net. Today was supposed to be a V.E.S. Precision match but Rob said it would be rescheduled to one of the free dates where hopefully we'd be able to fish the river. Draw time arrived and as always I fancied a peg on the road side but pulled out peg 2 where I was in the last match here.
I was on peg 2 again
The forecast was pretty dire for today with showers and gusty winds expected, we got to the pond and the level was up and it was quite coloured but not as muddy as I thought it was going to be. There were loads of fish topping and with it still being exceptionally mild for November, I thought it would fish well today. Rigs for today were a 1 gram Drennan Tipo for fishing on the deck and a little Preston Chianti for fishing up in the water, both had 0.10mm bottoms and size 18 B611's. For bait I had casters, maggots, hemp and Bait-Tech Pro Nat Dark groundbait.

The only anglers I could really see were Jake Woodard on 19 and Rob on 20, I could just about see Heardy on 22 if I leaned forward on my box. On the whistle I cupped in two balls of groundbait at 10 metres before starting with double red maggot on the hook and had a small roach first chuck. I stuck a caster on and carried on catching small roach but did have a couple of nice rudd and after an hour I had 32 fish for probably 2.5lb. Jake was fishing the feeder and I'd only seen him net one skimmer and Rob was swapping between the feeder and pole and only getting odd fish so at this early stage I felt I was doing okay.

The second hour carried on in the same vein but I was getting quite a few fish on the drop so it was time to try the shallow rig, first chuck I had a decent roach and carried on catching quite well with the average stamp bigger than the fish I was catching on the deep rig. By the end of the second sixty minutes, my clicker was reading 59 fish and I reckoned I had around 5lb, Jake had added a nice 2lb tench and an eel but I thought I was still just ahead. I couldn't really see what anybody else was doing but Hurf turned up for a walk round and said none of the anglers on my left were really bagging up.

Things started to slow up during the third hour and missed bites became a problem once again, changing depths and moving shot around would result in a fish or two but I only added another 20 fish although I did have some cracking roach with a couple around the 12oz mark. Jake on the other hand was now flying, he was catching skimmers regularly and even added a big perch for good measure. The blustery wind was also increasing in strength and making presentation a nightmare at times.

I tried the deep rig again and had a couple of fish but I was having to wait too long for bites so it was back to the shallow rig and missing lots of bites! I started feeding another line at 10 metres and swapping between the two which seemed to help and I've had some more good roach. With about an hour to go it was obvious there was only going to be one winner as Jake was still catching skimmers and it was looking like he was going to do a good weight. Scott Jackson came for a wander and said Big Frank on peg 7 had caught a slab and some skimmers on the feeder but nobody else was admitting to much.

Rob called the all out and I finished up with 123 fish which I hoped would give me double figures, I knew Jake had probably won the match but I wasn't sure how Heardy had fared, I did hear him cussing when he lost a bream late on. I packed up and walked round to get some photos of the weigh in, we started with Karl on peg 14, he'd struggled for 6oz but at least he was still smiling! Then Steve Parker had 5lb 14oz next door which included some lovely roach.
Karl had struggled but at least he was still smiling!
A big thumbs up from Steve who weighed 5lb 14oz and had some lovely roach
Then we got to Frank and his bream and skimmers pulled the needle round to 10lb 14oz and I thought it might be tight between us. Fieldy was only admitting to 3lb and said he'd be last on the pond but nobody was surprised when he actually weighed 6lb 7oz! We reached my peg and when I pulled my net out, I still thought it would be close between me and Frank, he was on the scales and called my weight at 13lb, so I'd won the section at least.
Big Frank had a nice bream and some skimmers for 10lb 14oz
Fieldy had 6lb 7oz which included some nice perch
My fish weighed a level 13lb
We loaded the cars and drove round the other side for the results, as expected Jake had the top weight with a lovely net of fish weighing 24lb 7oz, all on the feeder with pinkies on the hook. Heardy had the next best weight on that side with 11lb 8oz, which meant I'd finished second on the day and picked up £30 which was very welcome after a bad run over the last few weeks (and it was nice to get a pound back from Steve P as well). Rob had 2lb 7oz which was enough to take the section money by double default and Gordon had struggled by the pumphouse for 13oz. *thanks to Rob Cox for the photos.
Jake had a lovely net of fish to win with 24lb 7oz*
A close up of Jakes catch*
Martin was third with 11lb 8oz*

1 - Jake Woodard (Ilminster) - 24lb 7oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 13lb
3 - Martin Heard (Mosella) - 11lb 8oz

Sections
A - Frank Woodard (Ilminster) - 10lb 14oz
B - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 2lb 7oz

A really enjoyable day with plenty of bites and some quality roach and rudd, it's certainly an intriguing venue and it will be interesting to see how it fishes as it gets colder.

This weeks 'The Big Fish' on BBC2 was the best one yet, they were in Canada and the scenery was stunning but the fishing was even better, the first two tasks were fishing for salmon and trout which saw some nice fish landed but in the final challenge they were after the mighty white sturgeon and what an amazing fish! They all caught some massive fish with several approaching seven feet long and even Ben Fogle got in on the act. Dan hooked a large sturgeon and had it beat only for the leader to give way as the fish was near the bank, understandably gutted, he got back in the boat and landed the next one. The only women left, Jo, hooked a huge fish and had a titanic battle which she was just about winning when the hook straightened, she was in tears and knew she needed that fish to stay in the competition, it was the right decision that she went home. It's the final next week and they are headed to Zambia and it hopefully it will be a cracker.

Next up - River Isle

What's new - Lots of page updates

Check Out - My last match (below)

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

River Isle - 1st November 2015

With no scheduled league matches this week we decided to have a knock up and also use it as a chance to have a look at some other stretches of the river. There had been a lot of rain earlier in the week and the river was unfishable on Thursday but with no more of the wet stuff, the river should be nigh on perfect for today. I got to the draw and a quick look at the weigh boards revealed Rob had pegged 14 and 15 at Coxes, 82 and 85 at Ashford, 95 and 96 at North Bradon and 123 and 124 at Isle Brewers. The only peg I didn't really fancy was 123 and at the draw I hung back hoping somebody else would pull it out and when I saw young Karl had it, I stuck my hand in the hat.

Two of the pegs I really fancied were 14 and 15 but they had already gone, drawn by Bruce and Heardy, then Hurf had a look at what he'd drawn and he was happy with 95, I looked at my peg and I was on 82 which is the mill pool at Ashford, a peg I've done well off over the years but have struggled the last couple of times I'd drawn it. Steve P had drawn 85 (The Big Bend) below me and I thought it would fish well. After driving to the river and unloading our kit we headed towards our pegs, the river looked perfect with a tinge of colour and some much needed pace. My peg is just above a cow drink and there was plenty of evidence of bovine activity (if you know what I mean!) and the ground was pretty churned up but I couldn't see any in the field and I was hoping they'd been moo-ved on!
Peg 82 looked gorgeous and I couldn't wait to get started
I set up a 1 gram round bodied float and also a DH16, both with size 18 B611's to 0.12mm hooklengths before plumbing up, the swim was a bit shallower than I remembered but I still really fancied it. The only downside of the peg is you're sat on a high bank so for the second week running I was struggling to reach the water with my landing net, mind you with my catch rate lately, I don't really need a landing net anymore!

The start time arrived and I began with the heavier rig holding back just above a branch in the water, I had a few minnow knocks before a positive bite resulted in some blue hydro coming out and I saw a dace or chublet twisting in the flow, I was just about to start shipping back when a big chub appeared and had a look at the fish I was playing which then came off! I wasn't too worried though as there were obviously quite a few fish there and it wouldn't take many of those chub to build a weight.

It was overcast and there was still some low lying mist around and as I looked to my left, I could see some dark shapes in the mist and sure enough it was a load of bullocks (and yes I did say bullocks!) and they were heading my way. I had a horrible feeling I was about to receive some payback for laughing at Justin last week! They crowded around me in a semi circle and just wouldn't leave me alone, I tried ignoring them but they would then just start edging ever closer and the last thing I wanted today was a broken pole.
My new fan club!
I then tried shooing them away but they were having none of it and then around ten of them decided they wanted a drink and my swim was the ideal place to quench their thirst! I had hoped that when they'd finished they might bugger off, but no, they just resumed where they'd left off by standing there staring at me and occasionally having a pee. By now over an hour had passed with me having my back to the river and the herd was showing no signs of becoming bored, I was getting more and more frustrated as there was a great peg behind me and I wasn't fishing it! I decided the only chance I had of getting a days cow free fishing was to move to another swim in the next field. The only peg between me and Steve was number 84 which hasn't been used for a few years but used to do the odd decent weight when the river was up and coloured like today.

So after about four trips across the field being pursued by the cows every time, I eventually got my kit over the gate and then had to walk along the edge of a ploughed field and beat my way into the peg which obviously hadn't been fished for a long while. I was by then a sweaty mess and to be honest not really in the mood for fishing but I had to stay to the end so I could weigh Steve in. I got my box level and surveyed my second peg of the day, it looked okay but you could see the bottom through most of the peg but there was a tempting looking eddy at the bottom of the peg that looked like it might hold a few fish.

I plumbed up to find a decent depth and was soon fishing, I caught a chublet quite quickly but any thoughts of catching a few fish soon disappeared as it became obvious that there was still quite a bit of weed around and it got quite a bit shallower right across to the back of the eddy. I did add two more little chublets but it just didn't feel like there were a lot of fish there (unlike my first peg!). Stu Alford turned up and said Bruce in peg 14 already had over a hundred fish an hour ago and Heardy in 15 was getting a few as well. He didn't stay long as he had to start work (he's on nights) although I reckon he could have sat behind me all night and he wouldn't have seen me catch a fish!

Nothing was going right, I put the pole down so the rig was just holding back to my right while I had a packet of crisps and when I'd finished I lifted the pole to find I was snagged up, I pulled and the rig came free, only to end up in the tree above me. I eventually got the rig back and thought I'd better check the depth again, I put a plummet on and shipped out, lowered it in and it fell off! It was time for a walk and I went down to see how Steve was getting on, his swim looked nice but it had changed a lot and was 14.5 metres across which looked like hard work, especially as he'd only caught minnows. After a quick natter, I walked back and phoned Hurf to see how he was getting on, he said he'd lost a big chub but was catching small fish so it was looking like I'd be paying him a pound later on.

I sat back on my box and went through the motions for the remainder of the match, only adding a minnow to my meagre catch and was relieved when the end finally arrived. After packing up, I walked down to weigh Steve in and he'd caught a few fish late on, some lovely dace and a trout that had to be a pound and a half, he weighed 2lb 12oz in total and I waved goodbye to another nugget as my fish went a whopping 3oz! We walked back across the field to the cars and there wasn't a bloody cow in sight! In hindsight I'd have been better off staying where I was, surely they'd have got bored sooner or later or maybe followed Stu when he turned up. Oh well, it didn't really matter now, one thing I did know was that I was having beef burgers for tea!
Steve had 2lb 12oz from peg 85
Hurf had this nice chub in his third placed 4lb 9oz (Thanks to Harry Hebditch for the photo)
Bruce won with a lovely net of fish weighing 12lb 9oz from the tank traps (thanks to Rob Cox for the photo)
Hurf turned up and gave us a hand back with our kit, cheers mate, he'd weighed 4lb 9oz which included a nice chub and Harry on peg 96 had a few fish for 1lb 2oz but had lost a couple of big chub. Back at the results and as expected Bruce won with a cracking net of fish weighing 12lb 9oz from the tank traps although I was quite surprised that Heardy only had 4lb 5oz from peg 15 which meant Rob was second with 4lb 13oz from 124 and Hurf finished in third place.

1 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 12lb 9oz
2 - Robin Cox (Ilminster) - 4lb 13oz
3 - Steve Hurford (Ilminster) - 4lb 9oz

So another bad weekend for me, it's one thing drawing a duff peg but I'd walked away from a definite framing peg today, what a numpty!

Apologies for the late blog but we've had problems with out heating and I'd like to say a massive thanks to Scotty Jackson who has been fantastic in helping get it sorted, cheers mate. I also missed BBC2's The Big Fish but caught it on the iPlayer last night, they were in Costa Rica and it was the best episode yet, loads of fish caught, topped off with a magnificent sailfish, what a creature. Felt a bit sorry for Ripon who cocked up a take from a sailfish and then did it again! It probably cost him his place on the show but over the three challenges, I think it was the right choice. They are off to Canada for next weeks episode and from the trailer it looks like they catch some monsters and I'm looking forward to it (well it's nice to see some fish being caught because I'm not catching bugger all at the moment!).

Next up - River Isle

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