Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Summerhayes - Open - 28th March 2016

The weather overnight was horrendous and it was relief to wake up this morning to see all our fence panels still intact! As I loaded my kit up, I was pleasantly surprised that it was nowhere near as windy as they'd forecast but I was well aware how quickly things can change after yesterday! I got to Bridgwater and as I pulled into the carpark, it looked like there was a good turnout judging by the number of cars. All the usual faces were there plus the Tart who was back for another go after getting battered both sides on Sellicks yesterday! He also turned up wearing the most disgusting trainers ever!
Judge for yourselves....
The draw was announced and I quite fancied a peg in the early thirties as they've been really consistent for silvers or even 18 or 19 down the end where I was on Wednesday but I pulled out peg 26 on the track side which I thought might be too far down. Martin Addicott gave me some hope when he said him and his boy had some nice skimmers and tench from peg 28 during a pleasure session in the week.
Peg 26
Pete had put every other peg in to give us some space and my nearest neighbours were Jess Jordan on peg 24 and Rob Birch on 28. The wind was quite blustery and just enough to be a right pain so that every time it gusted you were looking around to make sure everything was where it should be! I set up a 10 x 11 MW F1 Slim to fish at ten metres and a little 0.3 gram NG XT Mini Gimp for the five metre line where it was a little deeper. This rig would also come into play on the longer line if the tow was bad as a few inches of line on the bottom would hopefully help with presentation.

I was using Sticky Method Pellets again and for the hook I had the usual 4mm expanders but I'd added some of Bait-Tech's 'The Juice' to the water I used to pump them. The all in was shouted and I cupped in half a pot of expanders at ten metres and the same on the shorter line, I did also cup in a ball of groundbait at ten metres angled to my right but despite trying it and topping it up several times during the day I never had a bite over it.

I started over the micros at ten metres and it took a while to get my first bite and the resulting strike saw a good skimmer leap out of the water, thankfully it stayed on and at around 1.5lb, I was off to a 'flying' (pun intended) start. A small skimmer and a roach followed and I was thinking I might be in for a good day when the bites just stopped. Jess and Rob were struggling although I'd seen Tom Mangnall on peg 30 catch a couple of small carp and Alex Murray over on 17 looked to be catching quite well. Apart from a couple of missed bites and some tiny roach, that was it for me in the first hour.

Jess had a nice skimmer and then just as the second hour started I hooked a lively fish which didn't feel like a carp and turned out to be a nice little tench of 10oz or so but it just wasn't happening and I only added one half decent skimmer and a few blades during the remainder of hour two. It wasn't just me though and nobody around me was catching silvers apart from Bruce Hunt on peg 19 who had resorted to catching some small roach. We had a few rain showers and along with the wind, I was starting to feel quite cold and not getting bites wasn't helping much either!

Over the next couple of hours it was really tough going and the only action I had came from two carp, Bruce landed a big perch that looked to be 2lb plus and was doing well and Rob reported that he'd seen Andy Hembrow over on peg 11 catch some nice skimmers. With two hours left and only around 3lb of silvers in the net, I came in on the five metre line for the first time. I'd been dripping a few micros in every time I shipped out but I wasn't confident as this line hadn't produced for me in the previous two matches. After a few minutes, I had a good bite which I missed and all of a sudden I was interested again. I hit the next bite and a decent amount of blue hydro exited the pole tip, I carefully shipped back before netting a decent skimmer.

A few minutes later I had another and all of a sudden I was up to 5lb of silvers and there was still an hour and a half left. My next fish was a small roach so I went back on the longer line for a bit but only had another little blade. I'd just gone back on the short line when Scotty Russell turned up to see what was happening, the last time he brought me luck and I caught two skimmers while he was with me so I was hoping for a repeat performance today.

With an hour to go, Jess and Rob decided they'd had enough and they weren't the only ones to head off for an early bath, on the early pegs on the far side, Martin Addicott was the last man standing (well sitting actually but you know what I mean!). As I was chatting to Scotty, my float disappeared and I bloody missed it, there were some blows coming up over the feed and a few minutes later the float went again but this time I connected with it and another good skimmer was added to the keepnet. The next bite resulted in another tench, a lovely golden one of 12oz or so and there was still the best part of half an hour to go.

He left me to it and went to see how Alex was doing and just after he left I had another decent skimbob followed by one of 4oz with just a few minutes left on the clock and I still had time to miss another bite. I only had 12 skimmers, two tench and a few tiny roach plus the two carp and I thought I might have between 6-7lb of silvers. I packed up and as I was loading the car, the Tart wandered down and was admitting to 30lb plus of carp, thankfully I couldn't hear his coughing over the wind today!

Pete started the weigh in over on the early pegs and it didn't take long as the only anglers to weigh in were Martin Addicott with 23lb 9oz on peg 5 and Adie Richards had 4lb 6oz of silvers from peg 9. Then we got to Andy Hembrow who had a nice bag of skimmers and tench weighing 15lb and then had 24lb of carp to go with them, Adie Bishop then pushed Andy into second place when he put 47lb 11oz on the scales from peg 12. Ray Wickham did well from peg 15 when he weighed 7lb 6oz of silvers and I thought I might be close between us.

Alex Murray had 34lb 7oz from peg 17 and then Bruce went into second place in the silvers with 10lb 15oz which included that cracking perch which we weighed at 2lb 7oz. I knew I didn't have double figures so I needed to either beat Ray or Andy needed to frame if I was going to sneak an envelope today. Mike West pushed Alex down a place when he weighed 35lb 13oz of mainly carp from peg 21 before it was my turn, my two accidental carp weighed 7lb 8oz before I pulled my silvers net out and it felt a bit more than I thought, Adie called 9lb 3oz so I was in third place in the silvers.
Bruce had this lovely perch of 2lb 7oz
Tom Mangnall had 23lb 1oz, Roy Hughes had 15lb 7oz and that just left the Tart and as long as he didn't beat Andy's weight I'd get second in silvers by default, of course he was miles out with his estimate and weighed 43lb 14oz to take second place and seemed more concerned about making sure he'd cost me money than the fact he'd framed, strange boy!

Back at the results, we all had a very welcome hot drink and Pete called out Adie Bishop as the winner with Brendon second, Mike West third, Alex fourth and Martin Addicott was last in the frame. Andy took the silvers as it was worth more with Bruce second and I was third and picked up £16 to keep my good little run going.
A good turnout today
1 - Adie Bishop (Summerhayes) - 47lb 11oz
2 - Brendon Ions (Tackle Trader) - 43lb 14oz
3 - Mike West (Summerhayes) - 35lb 13oz
4 - Alex Murray (Sign Solutions) - 34lb 7oz
5 - Martin Addicott (Taunton) - 23lb 9oz

1 - Andy Hembrow (Clevedon) - 15lb
2 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 10lb 15oz
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 9lb 3oz

Next up - Summerhayes

Coming soon - Some more great reviews

Check Out - My last match (below)


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hebditch's Pond - 27th March 2016

I was due to fish a pairs match at Summerhayes today and tomorrow but with only a few booked in, Pete made the decision to cancel the pairs and just run two individual matches instead so I decided to stay local today and fish at Harrys with a few others and then fish Longs tomorrow. I picked Hurf up on my way as he'd had van troubles and met the others at Cartgate for breakfast. We decided to leave out the two pegs on either side of the reeds as they've been dominating the matches and Harry spread the pegs so everybody would all have plenty of room. I fancied peg 13 where Alex Murray had done well in the pairs a few weeks back but pulled out 15 which is still a decent peg.

The weather had been gorgeous on Friday and I even sat outside tying some rigs up in the sunshine but it looked like we weren't going to be so lucky today or tomorrow with Storm Katie due to batter the South West. Although as we drove to the venue, it was quite bright so maybe they'd got it wrong! We unloaded the kit and as I walked to my peg I was met by Hurf and Harry who said a tree had gone down in my swim and I could fish either peg 1 or 14 instead, I chose the former even though it hasn't been great in the previous two matches as the wind would be side on rather than in my face.
Peg 1 (with Hurf opposite in peg 13)
I set up a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp float to fish at 10 metres and a Carpa 2 float to fish at 5 metres and also at 10 metres to my left where there were some dead reeds. For bait I had corn, maggots plus some 4mm SSP Baits Dark Silt pellets which I covered in water for a few minutes to soften them up. Hurf shouted the all in and I cupped in half a pot of 4mm's, maggots and corn on all three lines before starting at 10 metres straight out in front, I had toss pots fitted to my top kits and would feed a few pellets and a couple of grains of corn every put in.

After a couple of minutes, the float sunk from view and carp number one was soon in the net, next chuck I had another and it was solid, mainly small carp between 12oz and 2lb and I could see most people catching fish. After about three quarters of an hour I was on twelve fish and shouted up to Steve P on peg 3 to see how he was getting on and he replied he had six, so I was doing okay at this early stage. I was catching on corn and after an hour I was up to sixteen carp, I cupped in some more feed on the other two lines but in the previous two matches I never had a bite on the shorter lines.
Another carp safely landed
Hour two was similar and I added another thirteen carp and if I could keep this up I would be on for a big weight but going into the third hour, we started to get some rain and the wind was picking up. I had a few more carp plus a rudd from 10 metres but bites were slowing up a little so I cupped in some feed before trying five metres to let it settle. I missed a bite after a few minutes and then I happened to look away for a minute and the pole was dragged round by an angry carp! I added a few more but they were on the small side so I had a look down by the reeds. I had to wait a while for a bite but my first fish was a decent one of 3-4lb and several more followed. I had another thirteen fish to put me on 42 carp (and a rudd) after three hours. I'd only lost a couple of fish although I did have a few hairy moments when I struck into a carp and the line had wrapped round the pole tip but thankfully it came off without any damage done.

The weather was now pretty horrible although to be honest me and Steve P were relatively sheltered compared to the others on the far bank who were getting it right in the chops! I got to 50 carp before going back to the car to get a third keepnet. I carried on getting odd fish by the reeds but it slowed up so I tried five metres again but didn't have anymore fish there, back at 10 metres in open water I was expecting to bag up after resting it for a good while but I was having to wait ages for a bite there as well. I could see Jake catching really well on the far bank but Hurf looked to be struggling and Harry's cause wasn't helped when his top two came off while playing a good carp and it did a very good Excalibur impression before finally disappearing from view!

For the remaining part of the match I swapped between the two ten metre lines, catching the odd fish from each until Hurf called an end to proceedings, I ended up with 61 carp plus that solitary rudd. I packed up before we went round to start the weigh in with Hurf, he was looking very wet and windswept but still weighed in 34lb 15oz before Harry had 24lb 6oz, next up was Jake and after several weighs his final total was 64lb 14oz and I thought I might have a little more than that. Steve P said he'd caught mainly pasties and had nowhere near Hurfs weight but like most anglers he can't lie straight in bed and weighed 48lb 1oz. Then it was my turn and after I'd emptied all three nets, my total was called out at 94lb 9oz and I'd fallen just short of the my third 100lb plus weight but still a lovely days fishing and I picked up £45 plus nuggets from Hurf and Steve P.
Hurf had 34lb 15oz from his armchair peg!
Harry had 24lb 6oz
Jake was second with 64lb 14oz
Steve P with some of his 'pastie' carp!
My 94lb 9oz was top weight
1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 94lb 9oz
2 - Jake Woodard (Ilminster) - 64lb 14oz
3 - Steve Parker (Ilton) - 48lb 1oz

I'd just like to say thanks again to Harry for letting us fish the pond and another £25 went into his charity pot for The British Heart Foundation, a great cause.

Next up - Summerhayes

Coming soon - My review of 'The Juice'

Check Out - My review of Bait-Tech's new Sticky Method Pellets (below)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Bait-Tech Sticky Method Pellets Review

At The Big One, along with 'The Juice' the other new Bait-Tech product that stood out was the Sticky Method Pellets, Dean Barlow gave us a little demo and yes, they looked fantastic for fishing the method, something I just don't do but the more I spoke to Dean, the more I began to realise that confining their use to just fishing the method feeder was doing this great new product an injustice! Once prepared (simplicity itself but more of that later), they can be used for fishing the method but they can also formed into balls and cupped or thrown in or you could even use a groundbait punch to give you uniformly sized nuggets of pellets that can be fed via a toss pot.
Sticky Method Pellets
Dean gave us a great little demo
As I said earlier, preparing the pellets is so easy, even I could do it! You simply pour the required amount into a bait box, cover with water for two minutes, drain it off and let them stand for ten minutes and there you have it, perfect Sticky Pellets, ready to go!

My first outings with them proved to be very successful, the first match was in quite windy conditions and this is where the Sticky Method Pellets come into their own, we've all had those days where you go to ship out and as the pole comes off the roller, there's a slight jolt which results in no micros in your toss pot! Now with these micros you can squeeze them into a little ball and ship out with confidence. I drew an area not known for it's silvers form and managed second place on a difficult day, you can read all about it here - Summerhayes Sunday

I was back again for the midweek match and this time drew (or rather Pete drew for me) a really good silvers peg, I've had a lovely day catching skimmers and crucian carp on Bait-Tech 4mm Xpands over Sticky Method Pellets to win the silvers with 15lb 10oz, the full report can be found here - Summerhayes Wednesday
A lovely days fishing
So the early indications are very good but I think adding 'The Juice' to the water before you prepare the pellets might make them even better! I will keep you updated......
The perfect partnership?
Coming soon - Look out for my reviews of 'The Juice' and Ringers Spring Loaded Bait Punches coming soon.

*Bait-Tech sent me this product for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions contained in this post are my own.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Summerhayes - Open - 23rd March 2016

As I had a week off work, I thought it would be rude not to fish my first mid week match for ages and I was in a really good mood, that was until I received a text from the Torquay Tart informing me he was fishing today, he knows how to ruin someone's day! I was up in plenty of time but got stuck in the same traffic I get stuck in everyday on my way to work! I phoned Pete and asked if he could draw my peg for me and when I eventually arrived at the fishery he gave me the good news I was on peg 18 which was next door to where Adie had won the silvers on Sunday, that'll do, can you draw for me every week please Pete?

Although we'd had frost overnight, the sun was out and it was looking like being a nice day, I collected a couple of nets and drove down to the other end of the lake, I had to pass the Tart who was on his usual flier, peg 29, and we agreed to have a pound on silvers and a pound on carp. My nearest neighbours were Bill Hopping on my right and Martin Addicot on my left, both were several pegs away so we all had loads of room.
Peg 18 on Longs, thanks Pete!
Being a bit pushed for time I quickly assembled the same two rigs I used on Sunday, a 10 x 11 MW F1 Slim for soft pellet and a 0.4 gram Malman Pencil for fishing banded pellet (not used again) and mixed up some Thatchers groundbait (50:50 natural and dark). Also on the side tray were some Bait-Tech 4mm Xpands and some of the new Sticky Method Pellets, which I'm already very impressed with. I was just about ready when the Tart brought down a cup of coffee for me, maybe he's not so bad after all (although I was still half expecting to find some maggots or chopped worms in the bottom of the mug!).

Pete shouted the all in and I fed three lines at 10 metres, one on the right with a ball of groundbait, the one straight out with quarter of a cup of micros and one to the left with half a pot, a few micros were also deposited on the 5 metre line. I started in the middle of the longer lines and was a little surprised, when after 15 minutes, I still hadn't had a bite! The Tart had already netted a couple of fish and made sure I knew by coughing very loudly every time he did so! I went over the groundbait line and finally had a bite, which of course I missed, I then had a small blade of 2oz or so before catching two slightly better skimbobs around the 4oz mark. I switched back to the middle line but still no bites so it was then onto the left hand line, the float buried and things got better when I slipped the net under a 6oz skimmer. It was short lived though and over the next half an hour, I only added a few small fish from the left and right hand lines.

The Tart was still catching well and it was looking like I might have to borrow his tube of Savlon today! Martin was struggling and Bill had landed a couple of early fish but was now searching around for bites. My first bite off the middle line was a 3lb carp which wasn't the result I wanted and after two hours I hadn't got 2lb of silvers yet! Also after a nice sunny start, the temperature had dropped a few degrees and I had to put my fleece back on. Then out of the blue I've had a decent 8oz skimmer off the middle line, then one of a pound or so and then a flier of the same size and unlike Sunday, this one stayed on the hook and I'd doubled my weight with three fish!

I had a quick look on the other two longer lines which just resulted in the odd small skimbob and tiny roach, back on the main line and a good bite saw a fair bit of blue hydro come jagging out of the pole tip, it didn't feel like a carp and I was really happy when a lovely crucian popped up, things got even better next chuck when it's identical twin joined the party and my silvers total was now around 5-6lb. Another decent skimmer followed and then more blades, much like Sunday, after a couple of fish, it paid to rest the main swim and have a look somewhere else for ten minutes before returning.

Martin landed a nice skimmer and the Tart was still dong well judging by all the coughing! I'd been feeding the 5 metre line all match but when I tried it, the result was just more small fish and I think it needs to warm up a bit before this line comes good. Two more lovely crucians came from the middle line and I was really starting to enjoy myself, I was getting the odd 4-6oz skimmer as well as blades. Martin shouted and when I looked down he had a huge eel in his landing net and as he'd had a couple of decent skimmers and a tench, he was putting a good weight of silvers together as well.

Going into the last hour I was still getting the odd better skimmer and I'd landed a couple of nuisance carp as well and I was just thinking how I hadn't lost a fish all day when I've hooked a carp and as I was bullying it, the hook pulled out, oh well, never mind. Next chuck the rig didn't even settle before the float disappeared and as soon as I struck I knew I'd foul hooked a decent skimmer, I shipped back very carefully and got down to the top kit before the poxy hook pulled out! I went out again and hooked another carp which I gave a bit too much stick and the hooklength gave way. After putting another hook on, I had one more small skimbob before the final whistle. My final tally was 33 skimmers, 4 crucians and 3 carp plus a few small roach which I didn't count.

I packed up and we caught up with the scales as they reached Chris Boulton and he went into the silvers lead with 8lb of motherless minnows! Bill had 50lb of carp to go into the overall lead and then it was turn, my three carp went 11lb 6oz and then my silvers went a bit more than I'd thought when Adie called out 15lb 10oz. Martin was next and his silvers went 8lb 12oz and the eel had to be 3lb+, I tried getting a photo but both the eel and Martin were rather camera shy! The Tart had done well when he weighed 64lb 12oz but as he only weighed 14oz of silvers, it was all square on the side bets.
I had a lovely day catching 15lb 10oz of skimmers and crucians
Snake charmer Martin Addicot!
Gary Sparks had a nice net of silvers weighing 12lb odd from peg 33 and then Andy Hembrow pushed the Tart into second place with 71lb+ from peg 36. Back at the results Pete confirmed I'd won the silvers and I picked up £26 to finish off a really nice day.
My first silvers win of the year
1 - Andy Hembrow (Taunton) - 71lb+
2 - Brendon Ions (Tackle Trader) - 64lb 12oz

1 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 15lb 10oz
2 - Gary Sparks (Summerhayes) - 12lb+

Next up - Hebditch's Pond

Coming soon - Latest Bait-Tech and Ringers reviews

Check Out - My last match (below)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Summerhayes - Open - 20th March 2016

With no Ilminster matches now until May, I booked into the match on Longs today and also phoned Janders who said he'd like to come along as he hasn't been fishing since last year. Despite it being the first day of Spring, there was still a definite chill in the air as I loaded the car. I picked Janders up and we were soon pulling into the car park, it looked like there was a decent turnout and one of the first people to greet me with a cheery 'Please go back on the river' (or words to that effect!) was Adie Bishop. I nearly didn't recognise him as he was sporting a big, very bushy beard, which just goes to show how long it's been since I've fished here last!

After collecting some nets, paying our pools and having a very welcome cup of coffee, it was time to draw. Pegs around 32-34 have been doing well for silvers in the last couple of matches with weights between 12-15lb, I never seem to do very well from that area but I needn't have worried as I managed to pull out peg 38 in front of the car park which definitely wasn't in the plan! Pegs 37-39 can be quite good carp pegs but they're narrow and haven't got much silvers form - great! Janders was in a similar boat as he was on peg 21 down the opposite end, another peg that doesn't seem to be on many silvers anglers wish lists!

With it being so cold, I thought the silvers weights would be lower today with 8-10lb probably enough to win. I set up a 10 x 11 MW F1 Slim with 0.10mm bottom and size 16 Tubertini 808 to fish expander pellets and also a Malman 0.4 gram Pencil with an eyed size 16 Kamasan B911 to fish a hair rigged banded hard pellet in case small fish were a problem. On the side tray I had my favourite Bait-Tech 4mm expanders plus some of the new Sticky Method Pellets. They are simplicity itself to prepare, you just put the required amount in a bait box, cover with water for two minutes, drain the water off, let them stand for ten minutes and they are ready to go! I was going to feed three lines with these new micros and I also mixed up some Thatchers groundbait to give me another option.
Peg 38 on Longs
On the whistle I cupped in quarter of a pot of micros at 8.5 metres straight out in front, half a pot at 11.5 metres to my right and a ball of groundbait 10 metres to my left, finally I fed a few micros on the 5 metre line, angled slightly to the left. I started straight out in front with an expander on the hook, after a couple of minutes, the float sunk from view and 2oz skimmer got me off the mark. I missed a bite before the next fish was a 12oz carp then just as I thought I might be in for a good day, the bites stopped! I had a quick look over the groundbait line but no indications and I was back at 8.5 metres, another small carp was followed by a little blade and then I've had two good skimmers and a carp in quick succession before it died again as we approached the hour mark.

I hadn't seen a lot being caught, Jason King on peg 36 had a couple of carp as did Bill Hopping on peg 1 but at this early stage I was doing okay. I had a quick look over the groundbait again and this time I had a carp and then hooked a decent skimmer but disaster struck as I was shipping back and it leapt out of the water, shedding the hook in the process. This killed the swim for ages and I only added another little 3oz skimbob over the next half an hour. The 8.5 metre line produced another carp but from doing well, I was now really struggling and I had to stop to put my coat and gloves on as it got even colder.

I was dripping micros in on the 5 metre line every time I shipped out but wanted to leave it as long as possible before trying it and the same with the right hand 11.5 metre line which I would keep feeding but leave until the last hour before going over it where hopefully a few skimmers would be lined up! I kept alternating between the 8.5 and 10 metre lines but the shorter line was the only place I could really get bites but you couldn't sit and wait for bites, I'd get the odd carp or small skimmer and then I'd have to rest it again for a bit. After three hours I had a quick go on the 5 metre line but despite trying it on and off throughout the match, I never had a bite there.

Glynn Wickham had a wander and reported he was really struggling, he said Roger Russell had a few silvers but it hard going for most and it was looking like my earlier estimate of 8-10lb was a tad optimistic! Bill and Jason were still catching the odd carp and I thought they'd be there or thereabouts. I added a couple more 4oz skimbobs but with time running out, I thought I only had 3-4lb. Then Scotty Russell turned up and while he was stood with me I had a good skimmer of 1.5lb and then next chuck I had one of 6oz or so and started to get interested again with an hour to go. He went to see how his Dad was doing and took his luck with him as my bites tailed off once again. I tried the right hand 11.5 metre swim that I'd carefully fed all day for the first time and yep, you guessed it, I never had a bite there!

My next visitor was Ray Wickham and he said that Adie 'Grizzly' Bishop was admitting to 6-7lb of silvers and I knew I had nowhere near that, I did add one more 3oz blade before the all out and finished up with thirteen skimmers for between 4-5lb plus seven carp. The scales started with Jason on peg 36 and his total of 39lb 9oz included 4lb 13oz of silvers and he led both the silvers and the carp until we got to Adie on peg 19 whose silvers went 9lb 8oz. Lewis Jones came close with 36lb on peg 17 before Martin Addicot continued his good run and stormed into the lead with 61lb 4oz from peg 11.

Bill Hopping weighed 40lb 6oz to go into second place and then I was last to weigh, my carp went 12lb 12oz and then I pulled my silvers net out and Pete called it at 5lb 15oz which was enough for second. Back at the results I picked up £25 for second in the silvers plus a pound off Janders who didn't weigh in, I did look around for Glynn so I could collect his pound but he was nowhere to be seen!
Todays board

1 - Martin Addicot (Taunton) - 61lb 4oz
2 - Bill Hopping (Summerhayes) - 40lb 6oz
3 - Jason King (Summerhayes) - 39lb 9oz
4 - Lewis Jones (Summerhayes) - 36lb

1 - Adie Bishop (Summerhayes) - 9lb 8oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 5lb 15oz
3 - Jess Jordan (Summerhayes) - 3lb 14oz

So it was pretty hard going today but it is still very cold, I'm back again on Wednesday so lets hope the sun comes out then!

Next up - Summerhayes

Coming soon - Latest Bait-Tech and Ringers reviews

Check Out - My review of the Big One (below)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Big One - 19th March 2016

As always I was really looking forward to the Big One as it's a chance to see what's new on the tackle and bait scene as well as getting to catch up with some friends I don't get to see nearly enough. Hurf came along to keep me company once again. First stop was the Gillhams stand and with Stuart and Sean away on a fishing trip, I finally got to meet Dean and Jenni Handley who were helping out on the stand. I'd never met them before but felt like I'd known them for ages through their Facebook posts and what a lovely couple, they're off to Gillhams on Thursday and I look forward to seeing their photos, good luck guys! Website - Gillhams Fishing Resort
The Gillhams stand with the lovely Jenni in pink and Dean just behind
Then we headed to the Bait-Tech stand, and what a stand it was!, I think this was the first time they were exhibiting and as you'd expect from such a professional brand, it certainly looked the business and was manned by a host of big stars including Andy Neal, Dean Barlow and Dickie Carr to name a few. The lovely Hayley showed me all the new products and the two I'm really excited about are the new Sticky Method Pellets and the additive/glug The Juice. Website - Bait-Tech
The Bait-Tech crew, what a lovely bunch
Dean giving us a demo of the new Sticky Method Pellets
The finished product
The Poloni hook bait range
Bait-Tech particles
Oils and liquids
Andy Neal is a big fan of The Juice
Dean gave us a little demo of the Sticky Pellets and initially I thought they're a great idea but I wasn't sure I'd use them much as I don't fish the method but after chatting to Dean and having a look, there are many more applications than just the method, you can mould them into small balls for feeding via a pole cup or even by hand or you could use a groundbait punch to get identical size nuggets every time. The Juice looks and smells great and there's been loads of hype around it and I can't wait to try both of these exciting new products. We also had a long chat with Bait-Tech and Matrix backed Jamie Harrison, what a lovely guy and hopefully the next interview on the blog.

I can't wait to try these out
Other big brands included Daiwa, Guru and Garbolino and for the second year running, we tried to have a chat with Des Shipp on the Preston stand but he's so popular, we couldn't get near him, maybe next year!
The Guru stand was very popular as always
We also stopped and had a chat with Dave Harrell and I picked up some lovely bodied floats which look spot on for the Isle (although I'll have to wait until October now to put them through their paces!). Website - Dave Harrell Angling
Dave Harrell and floats galore!
The DH13 pattern looks perfect for rivers
The SSP Baits stand looked great and I had a lovely chat with Mark Hoye and Kevin Stacks about their innovative bait range derived from the sports nutrition industry. Website - SSP Baits
SSP Baits
Phil Ringer was demonstrating the new Ringers Spring Loaded Bait Punch and Chocolate Orange Wafters. The bait punch looks a great piece of kit, they're strong and robust, brightly coloured, float, can be used for bread and meat. Each pack contains a 8mm and 11mm punch and retails for £6.99, look out for my full review coming soon.
Phil Ringer had some great new products on display
Ringers Spring Loaded Bait Punches and Chocolate Orange Wafters
So another great show and it just seems to get bigger and better every year. If you're going tomorrow, have a great day or if you've never been, make sure you go next year, you won't be disappointed.

Monday, March 14, 2016

UV Angler Insect Shield Buff Review

Back in February last year, Kitshack contacted me to ask if I'd review one of their Polar Buffs from the new Anglers Collection, if you didn't see it at the time, you can find it here - Polar Buff Review
I was very impressed with it and at The Big One at Farnborough in March I visited the Buff stand and said I'd love to take one of their UV Insect Shield Buffs to Thailand with me on my next visit. I contacted them just before my latest trip and they said to choose one from the website, I picked one with a rather appropriate scales pattern and it arrived a couple of days later. *Since I've got back the scales pattern doesn't seem to part of the range anymore but there are still some great designs, have a look - Kitshack Website
Great pattern!
According to the website, the UV Angler Insect Shield Buff is 'Based on High UV Protection Buff® (so it offers at least 95% protection from harmful UV rays). Insect Shield Buff® has been impregnated with a special long lasting, effective, odourless and convenient form of insect repellent. Effective for at least 70 washes against mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, fleas, chiggers and midges.' so it sounded just ideal for Thailand where there are obviously loads of mosquitos that are rather partial to munching on some lily white English flesh! They can be a real pain when you fish into dark and especially when using a head torch as they seem hell bent on getting you to swallow them!
Worn like a mask it protects your nose, ears and neck
Fully Buff-ed up, worn in conjunction with shades and a baseball cap
My first day at the lovely Exotic Fishing Thailand in Phang Nga and it was hot, very hot, for most of the morning you are sheltered from the heat by the sala but as the sun moves round there is no escape until it starts to go down behind the impressive mountains that overlook the fishery. It was during these periods that I found the UV Protection properties of the Buff indispensable, there are many wears to wear a Buff but just wearing it around your neck protects the vulnerable back of your neck or pulled up over your nose and used in conjunction with a baseball cap and sunglasses, your head, face and neck are fully protected.
Protected in the heat of the day (please ignore the lily white legs!)
I caught lots of fish at EFT with the last half an hour as it got dark, particularly productive. You can read more about the trip here - Thailand Trip and during this period, I would wear my Buff over my mouth and I can honestly say I didn't have any problems with mozzies or any other bugs, I was a little worried that there might be a strong insect repellent smell that would become cloying after a while but this wasn't the case at all. So yet another great product from Buff and it's amazing how much protection you can get from one piece of material, my head was fine but despite using an insect repellent spray, the mosquitos had a field day on my legs! It's a shame they don't make leg Buffs!

The UV Angler Insect Shield Buff retails for £22.00, of course if none of the Angler designs are to your taste, there are some more in the Adult Headwear UV Insect Shield section.

*Buff sent me this product for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions contained in this post are my own.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

River Isle - 13th March 2016

With no scheduled match this week we decided to have a little knock up on the river as it would be our last chance before the season ended. We also wanted to have a look at some different swims and five of us met at Coxes before deciding on going to have a look at the Horlicks stretch which I haven't fished for many years. It had changed a lot but there were several nice looking swims in the first field, we decided to try the old pegs 22, 21 and 19 and then, so there weren't any mega walks, pegs 14 and 15 at Coxes.

I pulled out 21 which used to be a great chub peg and although shallow you could often see the fish swimming about. There was plenty of cover and I really fancied I'd get a few today, Harry drew 19 and Steve P was above me on 22 which left Bruce and Hurf on pegs 14 and 15. We'd had another frost overnight which was a bit of a shock to the system after Thailand although it was looking like the weather was going to be glorious today, not so great for the fishing but nice for the anglers.

As I was setting up, the sun came out and the river was a lot lower and clearer than I'd originally thought, I hadn't seen any fish moving but still thought I'd catch fishing against the cover. I plumbed up and only had around twelve inches of depth plus the flow was a lot pacier than I'd expected and my one gram rig wasn't man enough so I set up a 1.5 gram Drennan Carbo (yes, Old Faithful was back!) which sat a lot better in the flow.
Looks nice doesn't it?
On the whistle I started with the hook buried in a single caster and expected to catch quite quickly but it didn't happen, I then held back against the cover but still no indications, I tried further down the swim, against the far side at 13 metres but nothing. After an hour I was still blanking, Steve above me had only caught a couple of minnows and quick phone call to Hurf revealed he was struggling too with just a couple of tiny chublets plus some minnows. I just kept feeding casters and hemp and trying different areas hoping a couple of chub might show later on. I must admit I was surprised we hadn't caught some small chublets and dace but several frosts followed by a bright and sunny day probably hadn't done us any favours.

After two hours I still hadn't had a bite and Harry walked up and he hadn't either, we sat behind Steve for a while and watched him catch a few more minnows but it was almost like the whole stretch was devoid of fish. Hurf phoned again and said he was still struggling as was Bruce, so it wasn't just us. Another hour passed and Harry decided he'd had enough and to be honest if I hadn't had the scales and the pools money in my wallet, I might have followed him! It wouldn't take a lot to win today so I carried on in the hope I might snare a late chub. I won't drag this out any longer than necessary and you can probably guess that I didn't catch and after the highs of Thailand, I was back to Earth with a resounding bump!

To rub salt into my wounds, Steve gave me a whooping when he weighed 3oz of minnows and took great delight in taking a pound off me. The others got back and Bruce had done well to catch 4lb 2oz of small fish for an easy victory with Hurf only needing 9oz to take second spot. Thanks to Hurf for the photo*
Bruce did well on a tough day to win with 4lb 2oz*
1 - Bruce Hunt (Tiverton) - 4lb 2oz
2 - Steve Hurford (Ilminster) - 9oz

Next up - The Big One

Coming soon - My latest Buff review and next Pondip article

Check Out - My trip to Thailand (below)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Thailand - 1st March to 11th March 2016

After a really stressful time of it for the last ten months, I really needed a holiday and of course Thailand would be the destination. It was all a bit last minute but I really wanted to do some fishing and managed to book four days at Exotic Fishing Thailand in Phang Na, a new venue for me. I arrived at Phuket airport and a taxi took me to the hotel to freshen up before going to have a look at the lake which is set in a stunning location beneath an imposing mountain. Lots of fish could be seen topping and several were landed while I was there and I couldn't wait to get started the next day.
EFT is set in a stunning location
The first day saw me pull out of a couple of fish before finally opening my account with a 15lb Asian redtail catfish, a 44lb Siamese carp followed and then as it started to get dark I lost an arapaima near the cage before catching two Amazon redtail catfish. Had a nice meal and a few beers in the restaurant before heading back to the hotel.
First fish of the trip, 15lb Asian redtail catfish
44lb Siamese carp
20lb Amazon redtail catfish
The next day I had a couple more Siamese carp of 37lb and 26lb plus a new species in the shape of a 14lb albino pacu, two more pacu followed including a new personal best of 20lb before I hooked a fish that tore off so fast I couldn't keep up and several times I thought I'd lost it before the guide slipped the net under a lovely Chao Phraya catfish of 55lb, another new species. I also hooked a big alligator gar on a piece of chicken that was nearly at the net when it shook its head and threw the hook! Had a good night out in Phang Nga at some Thai karaoke bars.
14lb albino pacu
55lb Chao Phraya catfish (new species for me)
Another lovely meal in the restaurant
It's worth talking a little bit about the some of the rigs used which were new to me, alongside the usual pellet and fish/predator rigs, there is a float method feeder and a cage feeder. Both have a ball of laam (rice powder) moulded around the feeder and the float rig has a pellet hookbait while the bottom rig just has three poly balls threaded on the hook. The fish then attack the ball of laam and suck in the hook, clever eh? Similarly with the float, lots of bait fish attack the laam and predators smash into the small fish so along with carp and pacu, lots of fish like snakeheads and catfish get caught on it!
20lb pacu caught on the float
Day three was a little quieter and I had a redtail of 15lb and lost a fish but as darkness fell I had a lovely 25lb Tiger Shovelnose catfish which was one of the fish on my wish list. Then, all too soon, the last days fishing arrived and the action started with another albino pacu but then needing a toilet break I left the guide in charge of the rods and on my return, he had a fish in the net and it only turned out to be a Niger/Ripsaw catfish which was one of the fish I really wanted but as I didn't catch it, I didn't get a photo, it was still nice to see one in the flesh, awesome fish.
I love Amazon redtail catfish!
Stunning Tiger Shovelnose catfish
Then I hooked a fish that neither myself or the guide were sure about but it turned out to be a Salween Rita catfish, a very rare one and more than made up for missing out on the Ripsaw. I had a big Asian redtail of 33lb which was a new pb, another Siamese of 35lb on the float and then literally with five minutes to go until the all out at 19:00, the rod with a piece of chicken under a bubble float screamed off and during the fight, I had no idea what it was until it surfaced close in and it was a good sized arapaima, finally caged, it was estimated at 120lb and you couldn't have scripted a better end to my four days of fishing. Not the biggest 'arry I've ever caught but it maintains my record of catching one every trip during my seven visits to Thailand. I ended up with 17 fish of 9 different species and had a great time, if you fancy it, check out the website at Exotic Fishing Thailand
I was very happy with this 17lb Salween Rita catfish
33lb Asian redtail catfish (a new pb)
120lb arapaima, a fantastic fish to finish off my four days at EFT
Then it was off to Ao Nang for five days of relaxing, eating and drinking and it was lovely to catch up with Steve Mayo, Tony Wynnick and Richie Hull too. Had some lovely meals, a great massage and plenty of Tiger Lite beer and we even headed to a shooting range which was good fun, before heading back to reality. Best start saving for the next one!
Ao Nang beach front
Me with Richie, Steve, Tony and the Crazy Bar girls
Krabi shooting range
Good fun!
Me with a machine gun
Next up - River Isle

Coming soon - My latest Buff review and next Pondip article

Check Out - My last match below