Monday, July 31, 2017

Dillington Pond - Summer League 7 - 30th July 2017

I was back at Dillington for this weekends match and I have to admit that after getting it wrong in the two matches I've fished so far, I didn't know what I was going to do today. Another cracking Ilminster Bowling Club breakfast set me up for the day and great value at a fiver. Rob announced the draw and after delving into the bucket of dreams I was quite pleased to see I was on number 7 on the far side, a decent area. The forecast for the day wasn't great with storms predicted in the afternoon although as we took our kit to the pegs it was nice and sunny and hopefully they'd got it wrong again.
The view from peg 7
I'd popped to Tackleuk yesterday to pick up bait and also bought some bits and bobs and made up several new rigs up and tied a load of hooks. I got one of my new rigs out, a Drennan 0.4 gram Pencil to fish just past the reeds as that's the line where the bream and skimmers seem to be showing, along with a Drennan 0.2 gram AS1 to fish two sections to hand plus a little Preston Chianti for up in the water. On the side tray I had casters, maggots, corn, Bait-Tech Super Seed hemp and I also mixed up some Pro Natural Dark with the Juice added to the water. My neighbours were Nick Payne on my right and Big Frank to my left with Adie next to him, also in our section was Jake on peg 1 and Steve P on peg 2.
Pro Natural Dark and The Juice
On the whistle I cupped in two pots of caster and corn at 8 metres just off the reeds to my right and then three balls of groundbait at the same distance off the reeds to my left before starting on the top two to hand rig with single red maggot on the hook and was soon catching small rudd and roach, I switched to caster and started getting the odd better fish but I was also bumping a few. With nobody really bagging I stuck with it and got to 50 fish in just over an hour for around 2.5lb before having my first look on the longer line with corn on the hook.

I gave it thirty minutes but no indications saw me try over the groundbait line with the same result, I tried caster but only had a few small fish and much like the last match I was starting to wish I'd just stayed on the short line and not wasted time trying to catch bonus fish. I fed both longer lines again and went back to catching rudd, roach and perch and even had a Dillington barbel (gudgeon). Bill had a couple of skimmers down on peg 13 and Adie landed a good bream but from what I could see nobody was bagging. I probably had 4lb or so was doing okay and then things got even better when I hooked a decent fish which turned out to be a lovely little tench around the pound mark.
 I love tench!
I was still catching small fish quite well but as a few more skimmers were starting to show I had another quick go over the longer line but still no bites. Frank phoned Jake who said he'd had a couple of chub and bream so it was looking like he'd frame and I thought Adie and Bill (who had now landed a bream) would be up around there too but with the bream averaging 4lb apiece and the skimmers about a pound, they probably had 6-7lb each and I didn't think I was too far away from that. I decided to get my head down and fish the short line as I thought double figures was still possible. We'd had a few showers but thankfully nothing anywhere as bad as predicted although I did have to put my coat on.

But then Nick has had two decent fish in quick succession and it was all getting rather tight, I reached 128 fish, which at an ounce apiece would give me 8lb or so, hopefully a bit more as I had that tench but then Nick landed another bream and I had to have another go for a bonus fish. I fed some more corn and casters and would go over it for the last hour, I carried on catching roach and rudd and got to 150 with sixty minutes left so picked up the heavier rig and went out with a grain of corn on the hook and fed some hemp and casters via a toss pot.

Half an hour passed without any indications and I was just starting to think I was wasting my time, when the float dipped and slid away, I struck expecting to be met with solid resistance but missed it! I thought to myself it was probably a roach and shipped back out and lowered the rig in, the float barely settled before disappearing from view and this time the elastic did come out. It was obviously a decent fish and I have to admit my heart was in my mouth when I could see it was a nice slab around the 4lb mark and breathed a sigh of relief as it slid over the rim of the net.

That fish put me right back in the mix and I was hoping there was still time for a few more, I had to wait 15 minutes for the next bite which was a skimmer about a pound and next chuck I had another and with ten minutes still left on the clock, I was praying for another but that was my lot. I quickly packed up and took some of my kit back, Frank said he'd struggled and Adie was admitting to 10lb. I had the scales so walked up to peg 1 to start the weigh in, as I passed Nick he said he had seven or eight decent fish including two good bream.

Jake had a nice bag of chub, bream and skimmers weighing 21lb 3oz and I didn't think anybody else had that, Steve P was next and had 6lb 2oz from peg 2 before we got to Nick, he weighed 15lb 13oz and I thought I'd be just short of that. As it turned out I was a lot closer than I thought when the needle settled on 15lb 5oz and I was cussing as I'd missed/bumped and dropped off a couple of pounds of fish today.
Jake had a lovely net of chub, bream and skimmers weighing 21lb 3oz
Steve P had 6lb 2oz from peg 2
Nick had some nice bream and skimmers to weigh 15lb 13oz
I had one bream, two skimmers, a tench and 150 bits and bobs for 15lb 5oz
Frank had 5lb 2oz from peg 8 (but was camera shy this week) and then Adie weighed 11lb 15oz which included a big, dark old bream.
Adie had a big bream and some skimmers for 11lb 15oz from peg 9
Back at the results and top weight in the other section was Fieldy with 10lb from peg 14 followed by Bill with 6lb 12oz from 13, Rich S had 5lb 12oz, Leighton had 3lb from 24 and Rob chucked back on peg 19. So I ended up in third place and picked up £25, an enjoyable day and it was nice to finally get a few better fish on corn but they haven't turned up until the last thirty minutes and that 9lb of fish from the short line has been crucial.

1 - Jake Woodard (Ilminster) - 21lb 3oz
2 - Nick Payne (Ilminster) - 15lb 13oz
3 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 15lb 5oz

Sections
A - Adie Bishop (Taunton) - 11lb 15oz
B - Graham Field (Taunton) - 10lb

In the league, after seven matches and dropping the two worst results, the top five looks like this,

Bill Hopping - 8 pts
John Dursley - 9 pts
Graham Field - 10 pts
Adie Bishop - 12 pts
Jake Woodard - 13 pts

Next weekend I'm fishing a double-header with Todber Manor on Saturday and Perry St on Sunday, I'm really looking forward to Todber but I'm also under no illusions and expecting a battering!

Next up - Todber Manor

Coming soon - My next review

Check Out - My latest interview (below)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Paul Jessop Interview

In yet another first for the blog, my latest interview is with angling inventor, Paul Jessop,

Hi Paul, firstly could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi Jamie, I’m just a typical working family man with a wife, two kids and a couple of dogs to support. I have been fortunate enough to work in the chemical industry all my life and at the moment I work on a massive site that makes little tiny plastic pellets which are then re-melted to make food packaging. I started fishing at 7 years old when my dad took me and my brother down the river Hull because he didn’t know what to do with us during the school holidays. We didn’t catch a thing but I loved every minute of it and I am still just as keen now as I was back then. I would describe myself as  a good club angler and I have fished for a number of clubs down the years.
Paul in his workshop

Thank you and for those readers that haven't heard about the Sodafloat, could you explain more about the concept and thinking behind it?
The Sodafloat is a new type of feeder float that enables an angler to feed and fish with any sinking bait at any distance they want to cast it. The list of baits that can be used includes hard pellets, sweetcorn, luncheon meat, hemp, maggots, casters and even “runny” baits like chopped worms and groundbait slop – but you can use any bait that will fit into it. It works because it has a sliding ball which moves between the bait housing (that contains the loosefeed) and the bottom of the stem. When the Sodafloat is cast out the ball sits against the bait housing, sealing it in, so none is spilt. Then, when is lands in the water the ball drops after a few seconds because at first it contains a pocket of air, which bubbles out and gets replaced by water. This action makes the ball drop down the stem which releases the loosefeed. It’s a simple principle (the displacement effect discovered by Archimedes) which is why it is called the Self-Opening Displacement Action float.
The Sodafloat in action

I thought of the idea whilst fishing a match at Lambwath lake in Aldborough. All the fish were gathered around a central rope, but it was a windy day and I just couldn’t catapult the bait out accurately to reach the fish. The beauty of the Sodafloat is that you can also place your hookbait inside it, so when you are casting at the rope, your hook cannot snag on it. After the Sodafloat lands in the water you get a few seconds before the ball drops, but if you keep the line tight you can reel it into position without it emptying, so you can over cast it then reel it into position.

Check out my review here - Sodafloat review
I'm intrigued by the whole process, could you give us an idea of how long it took from the initial idea to get to the finished product we see before us today?

After I came up with the idea, I knocked up a prototype in my garage using a few things I had lying about and realised that I might be on to something. I bounced some emails off the major fishing tackle producers and one of them agreed to see me. They were that happy with it that they suggested patenting the idea, which is exactly what I did. All this took a while and the patenting process alone took about 3 years. All in all, I would guess from start to finish it took over 5 years to develop the idea into the finished product you see here.
Were there any major stumbling blocks? Did you ever think it wasn't going to happen?

Eventually the tackle producer and I went our separate ways, but I had already committed to patenting the Sodafloat and being a bit stubborn (or stupid) I decided that I could make a go of it on my own. This was one of the most frustrating periods of the development because I didn’t know who to approach to actually turn the prototype into a finished product and I spoke to a lot of people before I managed to find somebody who understood what I was trying to do. Eventually I found the right man who was a fisherman himself and he got it right from the off. We all need little bits of luck in our lives and I think this was a lucky break for me when we met.
So what constitutes a typical day for an angling inventor?

Off shift I get up at 7 with the kids and see them off to school, take the dogs for a walk then get the laptop out when I get home. I can then spend the next few hours sending emails, making phone-calls, keeping up with the social media (which takes up way too much time), processing and packing orders until some other domestic duties need doing. My wife calls me a workaholic because I am always busy with something, but I try and have some quality time everyday with her and the kids. When I am on shift, I have to try and fit everything in in the hours that I am not at work, so quite often I am still at it while midnight. My mind is always ticking and quite often ideas will pop into my head and I keep a notebook to jot them down until I can get a bit of tinker time in the garage.
Do you have any plans to do this full time?

My ambition for Peejay Tackle is to create a firm that will support my children, who both have learning disabilities - I think this drives me more than just wanting to do it for myself. I am lucky because I get enough income from my regular job and I do get a lot of time off to pursue this venture. I have a few things up my sleeve and if things go well then who knows?

What can we expect next from Peejay Tackle? Have you got anything else in the pipeline you can tell us about?

I am a bit secret squirrel about new developments but we plan to develop the Sodafloat range initially to improve our offering and then there are a number of things in the notebook that will be of interest to the anglers out there. We want to be known as an innovative brand, our motto is “innovation not imitation.”
You’re obviously a very keen angler, what’s your favourite style of fishing?

I love fishing the stickfloat on rivers and during my youth I spent a lot of time down the length and breadth of the river Trent with my Pete Warren stickfloats and crowquill avons. I love the constant movement of the water and float and the satisfaction of getting your feeding right and mending your line so it is perfectly in line with your float. Then, when it does go under and you get that swoosh as you pull your line through the water and watch the tip of your rod when you see the fish start to kick – absolutely blissful.
Your favourite species?

Chub - where they are present I seem to have a natural affinity for them and they have got me out of jail a number of times in matches. I grew up in an age where they were often the most reliable big fish on the rivers that I fished and they can be caught on the hottest and coldest of days, on a number of different baits.
Where is your favourite venue?

River – the Trent at Carlton, during our club matches I was unbeatable on here for a while.
Stillwater – 100 Oaks at Sutton upon Derwent. A variety of pegs can win on the day and there is a good head of chub as well as carp. It’s a great venue for the Sodafloat.

Have you any angling heroes or anyone who has inspired you?
There have been a few over the years – Ivan Marks, Frank Barlow, Bob Nudd, Tommy Pickering, Bob Roberts, Des Taylor, Alan Scotthorne and more recently Steve Ringer. I like anglers that innovate and think about what they are doing.

What’s your biggest fish in the UK? And abroad?
My captures are very modest – a carp of 16lb 3oz in a match at the Nest in Winteringham almost 30 years ago and abroad, just mullet from a Spanish harbour on breadflake. None of them weighed, but I guess the biggest would have been about 2lb. I am hoping to beat this next year with a trip to France though.
Paul with a carp caught using a Sodafloat

A lot of people say commercial fisheries have been the saviour of match fishing, especially with the decline of the rivers but more recently there seems to have been a swing away from carp back towards silver fish matches and rivers, where do you think the future of fishing lies?
I think anglers are suffering from carp fatigue. Initially it was a novelty catching big bags of relatively large fish that tug back a bit, but when all is said and done, we are sitting by the sides of relatively new fisheries continually catching the same variety of fish and people have started to get bored with it. It’s good to see anglers starting to fish for silvers again and running silvers only matches, you do need a different skill set and you’ll become a more accomplished angler if you fish for all varieties. Add in the beauty of the fish themselves and the natural diversity you find in more established venues and it is no surprise to me that we have seen a swing back to the rivers. All things are cyclical though and there will always be a place for the commercials
One from the archives, Paul's first barbel from the Trent back in 1984

Being an innovator yourself which items of tackle of methods do you think have revolutionised the face of angling?
The development of carbon and graphite into the materials used to build rods and poles has to be the number one innovation during my generation. Poles were not generally available when I first started fishing although they were used on the continent. I remember my first model was an 11m glass fibre Sundridge one that was heavy as hell – nothing like the poles we have nowadays. Other things that have impressed me have been method feeders and the invention of the hair rig.

And any that, in your opinion, should never have seen the light of day?
I believe that all invention should be celebrated because it develops the sport – even if this takes us down a road that I personally wouldn’t want to travel. Frequently the initial invention is used as a stepping stone for other inventions / uses that the original inventor never envisioned.

If you had a time machine is there one moment in fishing you wished you could go back and change? i.e. a dream fish coming off at the net or a decision in a match that’s cost you a title?
Going back a few years, I was fishing a club match on a fen drain and a win would have won me the league. I think 5lb won the match and I knew I was there or thereabouts when I lifted into a big eel. I played it out really carefully, netted it after a couple of attempts and unhooked it in my landing net – so I could grip the eel with the landing net mesh. As soon as I released the hook, the eel shot out of the net with all the grace of a leaping salmon and splashed back into the water. I lost the match by ounces and the eel must have weighed a pound and a half

Have you got one piece of advice that will help the readers put more fish in their nets?
In a match situation, stick with the methods you are best at. If you haven’t practised it don’t do it, you’ll waste too much time trying to perfect it. Remember the golfer Gary Player's quote” The more I practice, the luckier I get.”

Well thank you for giving up your time but before I let you go, here’s a few more quick-fire questions,
What’s your favourite drink?

Ice cold Becks from a bottle - I always have some in the fridge in the garage
Favourite meal?

I love a fillet steak with all the trimmings
Do you support a football team?

Coming from Hull, it could only be Hull City, but I lived in Manchester for 10 years and I am a bit of a Reds fan as well.
Favourite film?

The Commitments
TV show?

Game of thrones
What music do you listen to?

Mainly rock and indie, but in the last few weeks I have seen The Flaming Lips and ELO.
And finally what’s your idea of a perfect day?

Waking up and taking the dogs for a walk. Then packing the gear into the car with the anticipation of a days fishing ahead. Meeting up with the lads and enjoying a cooked breakfast before pulling an unfancied peg out of the drawbag. Making all the right decisions at the right time during the match and winning by the narrowest of margins (for future banter rights). Driving home whilst listening to Hull City continue their record unbeaten run on the radio and on arrival having the kids meet me to help put my gear away. The wife will have already run me a Radox bath, spread rose petals over the surface and taken the top off a bottle of Becks and left it on the side. After half an hour basking in the bath it’s then on to the pub to spend the winnings on a meal for us all and a few more pints. (it’s never happened yet, but it would be a perfect day)
Well thank you very much Paul, from Against Men and Fish and I look forward to seeing your next project

Website - Peejay Tackle

* All images courtesy of Paul Jessop

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Perry St Pond - League 8 - 23rd July 2017

I was on the high numbers at Perry St for the penultimate league match but with lots of rain over the last few days and the temperature down a few notches, I wasn't sure my usual shallow approach would work today but just in case I actually gave my favourite dibber some tender loving care and made up a new rig. Another brilliant Millfield breakfast set me up for the day before we headed to Perry St to do the draw.
Battered and bruised but still going strong after years of abuse
The Sadborow guys drew first and were on their way and then it was our turn, I was hoping for a peg up the far end but was gutted when I pulled out peg 19, it's been poor for most of the series although the Tart did a good weight off it the last time we were here. Picky also didn't look very happy to be on peg 17 although we both had plenty of space, I had empty pegs either side and Picky had one on his left, which hopefully wouldn't do us any harm.
The view from peg 19
End peg Hoffy was on corner peg 11, Mark was on 12 and Delia Smith was next door on 13 (and had brought some scrummy shortbread this week), the Tart was on 14 with Bushy on 16 and with Janders on a corner in the other section, this could be an expensive side bet day! I set up the three usual rigs, the renovated shallow dibber, a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp for the 5 metre meat line and a Drennan Crystal Margin for the inside to the left by the cormorant roost. The side tray had Bait-Tech 6mm Carp and Coarse pellets, 6mm Strawberry Meat, maggots and 8mm Juice Dumbells (Sinkers and Wafters).
Delia modelling this weeks cakes (Tesco's Finest Belgian Triple Shortbread)
I was ready with half an hour to spare so wandered up to see what the good pegs looked like, while setting up I hadn't seen many carp moving about and really wasn't sure I'd catch shallow today but as I walked up the pond, I could see the odd dark shape and while we stood behind Hoff offering him words of wisdom (well, taking the piss), there were pods of carp cruising about. I headed back with a few minutes to go and had to time to admire the Tart's fine selection of rigs and he took great delight in showing me one of his deep rigs!
The Tart with one of his deep rigs!
I couldn't see anybody in my section so would have to rely on the bankside grapevine to get an idea of who was catching, opposite I had the top three in the league, Shane on peg 1 (which hasn't been great), Exeter Mike was on 2 (and thankfully with it being cooler, he was keeping his shirt on!) and Howard was on 4 which has been really consistent and he said he wasn't ready to relinquish his yellow jersey just yet!

The Tart got us underway and I cupped in some meat at 5 metres and then fed a bit of everything in the margin before starting at 11.5 metres with 6mm banded pellet (just for a change!). Howard flew out of the blocks and Mike and Shane both hooked early fish as well although Mike lost his. I wasn't confident I'd catch shallow and no indications or signs of carp after 15 mins seemed to back this up but then the float buried and I safely landed my first fish, carp number two soon followed but any thoughts of bagging soon disappeared and I finished the first hour on two carp. I was still fairly pleased as it's never a fish race and twelve carp is normally there or thereabouts although Howard obviously hadn't read that script as he was bagging and even a top kit breakage only slowed him down momentarily!

I had my third carp quite quickly and then lost one and with a few carp now showing themselves, I thought I'd be in for a nice steady day but then it started raining and the fish did a disappearing act. Shane was on two fish and Mike had landed one but had also lost a couple of foul hookers. So with only three fish after two hours and already off the pace, I had to try something else. My next port of call was the 5 metre line, I fed a few cubes of meat via a toss pot, the float buried and a fish was on, although a 2oz skimmer wasn't the result I'd hoped for. The next bite resulted in my fourth carp but I then I missed a couple of indications and I can only seem to catch one carp off this line every week!

I went back out with the shallow rig and managed to mug a decent fish (despicable!) to put me on five, Picky wandered up and said he'd had four although one was a lump so it was pretty close between us for the pound as we approached the halfway point. Over the next hour and a half I added four more carp, two on pellet and two on dumbells to put me on nine carp which put me back on target although the grapevine was saying that Bushy and the Tart were getting a few. I did lose a couple of foul hookers including one that I really thought I had a chance of landing but it came off at the net.

I'd been feeding the 5 metre line with a few cubes of meat every few minutes and as there were quite a few bubbles coming up, I gave it another go, a 2lb bream first chuck was encouraging and things got even better when I had a carp next put in. There were obviously a few there as I then hooked a lump, it didn't tear off and was just plodding about, it came to the top several times and was a good mirror of 7-8lb, it wasn't giving me too many problems and I nearly netted it a couple of times, I was stripping elastic via the pulla bung and it was almost ready for the net when there was an almighty twang and the line snapped above the float, I managed to salvage the float with a desperate lunge of the net and I'm sure the carp winked as it disappeared from view!

I was seriously gutted and I just knew that fish was going to cost me, worse still I didn't have another suitable rig which is just down to really poor preparation, there were still blows coming up over the feed and I didn't know what to do, with only half an hour left, I went back out with the shallow rig and had a carp quite quickly but any thoughts of a grandstand finish soon disappeared and of course I sat there chuntering under my breath about that lost fish and my stupidity! I kept trying to mug the odd fish but they weren't having it and then with only minutes to go, I flicked the rig in front of a few fish but this time the float buried.

I really wanted to make this one count so was taking my time and inching the pole back, I unshipped two sections and then the poxy hook pulled out and it just wasn't destined to be my day! I went back out and just as I dropped the rig in, the Tart shouted 'all out' followed by 'fish on', just to compound my misery! I'd finished with eleven carp and that bream (plus a small skimmer) and thought I had around 40lb, Picky said he'd ended up with eight although he had some big fish, Bushy had a similar number, the Tart was admitting to 40lb which normally means he's got 60lb, Section Commander Smithy and Mark had struggled and Hoffy had fourteen carp.

I packed up and took some of my kit back to the car before wandering back for the weigh in which always starts at peg 11 but when the Tart said we'd start with me, I knew he'd done alright because he wanted to see what I had first. My silvers weighed 2lb and my first carp net went 16lb 6oz before my other carp net had some better fish in which weighed 27lb 6oz to give me a 45lb 12oz total. Then it was Picky's turn and his bits and bobs weighed 10oz before he plonked some lumps in the weight sling which pulled the needle round to 24lb 2oz, I was in charge of the board and could see his other net needed to be over 21lb and when he pulled it out it looked a lot more but the Tart called it at 21lb 2oz to give him a total of 45lb 14oz and he'd done me by 2oz!, it was a job to tell who was more pleased, Picky or the Tart!
I had 45lb 12oz but poor prep has cost me today!
Picky only had eight fish for 45lb 14oz
I paid Picky my pound and made sure I had another to pay the Tango Twat shortly, Bushy was next and had a proper lump that had to be 12lb+, his eight fish went 42lb 3oz and the weights were all very close. Then it was the turn of the Tart and his carp went 43lb 4oz but he still had another net in and when he said it contained silvers I thought he was lying but for once he was telling the truth and 8oz gave him a total of 43lb 12oz and I was back to 1-1 on the side bets but taking a pound off the Tart always fills my heart with unimaginable joy! Also due to my celebrations I forgot to get a catch shot of him!
Bushy weighed 42lb 3oz despite having broken ribs!
Staff Sargent Smithy had struggled for 16lb 12oz and there are two versions of the photo below but only one is suitable for publication! Mark had 25lb 10oz and then Hoffy had 52lb 10oz to win the section.
Smithy had 16lb 12oz from peg 13
Mark had 25lb 10oz
Hoffy won the section with 52lb 10oz
So really close weights again with one fish separating second and fifth place and several people had lost fish that could have won it. I'm still really annoyed with myself because using a rig that's been in my box a while is bad enough but not having another rig set up is inexcusable, especially as I made a rig up on Saturday, I could have even made a rig up while I was waiting for the match to start!

As expected, Howard comfortably won the other section with 86lb 2oz and goes into the final match in two weeks with a three point lead, Exeter Mike finished second in the section with 28lb 8oz and Mike Collins was third with 24lb 2oz on the feeder which included nearly 10lb of silvers. Shane finished fourth with 16lb 10oz, Pup had 16lb 7oz from peg 8, Janders had 12lb 10oz and Richard Collins had 9lb 10oz from peg 7.

When the others got back from Sadborow, it had fished quite hard for the first time this series with Yardie (Chris W) recording the best weight of 44lb 9oz from peg 9 followed by Bish with 37lb 4oz from peg 5 and Les with 35lb 6oz from peg 3.

Les read the results out and I picked up £30 for third in the section and finished 2-1 up on the side bets, also the score between me and the Tart stands at 5-3 in my favour so he can't beat me this series and will soon have to go back in his box for another year!

Sadborow
1 – Chris W (Torquay) - 44lb 9oz
2 – Steve Bishop (Chard) - 37lb 4oz
3 – Les Braunton (Chard) - 35lb 6oz

Perry St Low
1 – Howard Watts (Torquay) - 86lb 2oz
2 – Mike Hosgood (Nr Exeter) - 28lb 8oz
3 – Mike Collins (Chard) - 24lb 2oz

Perry St High
1 – Mark Hollister (Chard) - 52lb 10oz
2 – Alan Gage (Chard) - 45lb 14oz
3 – Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 45lb 12oz

Howard did really well today and after last weeks blip, he is back on track and looking good in the yellow jersey, it's still tight and the top three have it all to play for in two weeks time. With one match to go, the top ten in the league looks like this,

Howards Watts - 18 pts
Shane Jeffery - 21 pts
Mike Hosgood - 21 pts
Chris W - 24 pts
Jamie Rich - 25 pts
Brendon Ions - 25 pts
Steve Bishop - 29 pts
Les Braunton - 31 pts
Steve Osborne - 33 pts
Janders - 34 pts

Next up - Dillington (and rig making on Saturday!)

Coming soon - My next review

Check Out - My last match (below)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sadborow - League 7 - 16th July 2017

The section draw put us back at Sadborow for this match which meant I'd be a Perry St for the last two and after the last league match where I had a cracking days fishing, I was hoping for another open water peg. After another lovely Millfield Café breakfast we headed out the pond to do the draw, we were one short today as Bushy had broken some ribs - get well soon mate.

Les got our section draw underway so we could head off, I went first and he said that's peg 9 gone and when I looked I thought he was right but it was upside down and peg 6 was my home for the day. It's a good peg and has won the section several times but is just a bit awkward to fish, Hoff had a nightmare on it in the last match where he spent more time hunting squirrels up the tree than fishing. The Tart drew peg 5 and wasn't impressed even though it's the peg he set the match record from, Chancellor Smith let out a little whoop and was over the moon to draw his favourite peg 8, Picky drew the one I wanted, peg 9, Hoff was on peg 1 and Mark was opposite me on peg 3.
The view from peg 6
We got to the pond and once again there were carp everywhere and I was hoping for a nice days shallow fishing, maybe with the odd bit of skilful stalking thrown in, although the pond did look very clear. As I got to my peg, I could hear sawing and looked over to see the Tart taking gardening to the next level as he chopped down a sizeable tree!
Torquay's answer to Charlie Dimmock in action!
I set up the usual three rigs, an inline dibber for up in the water, a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp for the 5 metre meat line and a 0.3 gram Drennan Margin Crystal for down the edge to my left, all had 0.14mm bottoms with size 16 B911's. The side tray had Bait-Tech 6mm Carp and Coarse Pellets, 6mm Strawberry Meat and maggots (dead and alive). I was ready with 15 minutes to go so walked up to see a very chirpy Commander Smith and get a photo of this weeks cakes, Tesco's Finest Granola Squares.
Superintendent Smith modelling this weeks treats  
On the whistle (well the Tart mumbling all in!), I cupped in some meat at 5 metres and a bit of everything on the inside before starting at 11.5 metres with a 6mm banded pellet. I expected sport to be instant but it actually took a little while for anybody to catch and if my memory serves me correctly, it was Emperor Smith who was first off the mark. After 10 minutes or so, I finally hooked one and then the Tart did as well, his came off and I made the fatal mistake of laughing so the fish fairy knocked mine off too, which I probably deserved!

Everybody was getting a few but it wasn't as prolific as last time, Captain Smith was the early pace setter and got to four carp quite quickly but nobody was running away with it, after the first hour I had seven or eight and had lost a couple but was doing alright. The Tart was just ahead going into the second hour but he wasn't counting his chickens yet (mind you I'm not sure he can count!) as in the last match, Bushy had flown out of the blocks on his peg only for sport to fade.

The banter was first class and Lord Smith's laugh had me in stitches, he started to bag right up and I was catching more regularly although rather annoyingly I had a couple more come off, after the second hour I was up to 18 carp and it was looking like some big weights were on the cards. Picky was getting a few as was Mark although Hoff had lost several and done a bit of squirrel hunting as well. I was feeding a few cubes of meat at 5 metres every few minutes along with some dead reds down the edge and after around two and a half hours I could see some tails down there waving at me and couldn't resist dropping the shallow rig in there, the float went away and another carp was on.

I really thought it would be like shelling peas and if it slowed I could always go back out shallow and then there was always the 5 metre line which I'd been carefully nurturing. I became somewhat mesmerised by those waving tails but apart from a lost foul hooker, it wasn't really happening. Squadron Leader Smith was now 'flying' and I said I reckoned he'd do 200lb today, I went back out shallow but it was hard going so I tried the inside again but this time with the margin rig and three dead reds on the hook, first put in, the float slid away and I had another carp, cracked it! but then the next two fish were a 6oz roach and a 12oz eel so not cracked it then!

I tried meat but didn't have a fish on it so I moved to the 5 metre line and had a carp quite quickly but then two missed bites and time was ticking by and that wasn't the answer either. Hoff and Mark both caught well from their inside lines and when Mark said he now had 25 fish I'd gone from doing well to struggling and although I still thought Corporal Smith would win at a canter, second and third was anybody's.

The Tart was getting some good fish although Picky had gone rather quiet and any attempt from the Tart to engage him in conversation was met with a reply so rude it can't be repeated here! The Tart also lost a fish when the elastic snapped and had his cupping kit come off so maybe we should change his name to Calamity Jane! I'd gone firmly into headless chicken mode and didn't know what to do next, the waving tails had disappeared and I couldn't catch shallow.

With two hours to, much like the last match, the pond switched off, pods of carp (including some nice ghosties) could still be seen cruising about so I slipped a 8mm Juice Dumbell in the band to see if I could stalk a few, I hooked a fish quite quickly which turned out to be a nice bream around 3lb but the carp were still proving to be hard work, I did land a couple, including a nice golden koi/ghostie which looked very similar to one I had in the last match. Commander Smith hooked the Tart's rig and elastic and landed the carp but fair play to him he put it back. The Tart hooked a fish and then shouted the all out, my clicker was reading 29 (28 carp and that bream) but with Hoff admitting to over 30 carp, the Tart saying his clicker was reading 103lb and Captain Smith having bagged up, I knew there would be no envelope this week.

Delia Smith gave me one of his lovely cakes and then I was first to weigh, my three nets went 75lb 14oz and I knew I'd finish well down with that, then Smithy had a brilliant 104lb 2oz, Picky had 57lb 10oz so at least I'd won a pound, Hoff had 94lb 12oz and then it was Mark's turn, his two carp nets went 70lb 8oz and I thought I might sneak another point but then he spoilt it by adding 7lb of silvers for a total of 77lb 8oz. Last to weigh was the Tart and after five weighs his total was 112lb 1oz so I'd be stopping by the fish and chip shop on the way home and worse still I had to give him a pound!
My 75lb 14oz finished well down in the section
Smithy with part of his 104lb 2oz
Picky had 57lb 10oz which included a nice bream
Hoff had 94lb 12oz from peg 1
Mark had 77lb 8oz
The Tart won the section with 112lb 1oz
Back at the results and Perry St had fished well with Karl (standing in for Chris W) topping the low numbers with 96lb 8oz from peg 5 followed by Geoff Young with 69lb 12oz from peg 2 and Les Braunton was third with 62lb 6oz from peg 10. Exeter Mike had the best weight from the high numbers with 61lb 10oz from peg 13 followed by Shane with 60lb 9oz from peg 11 and Janders was third and took a nugget off me with 40lb 10oz from peg 17.

Sadborow
1 – Brendon Ions (Torquay) - 112lb 1oz
2 – Mike Smith (Torquay) - 104lb 2oz
3 – Mark Hollister (Chard) - 94lb 12oz

Perry St Low
1 – Karl Everton (Torquay) - 96lb 8oz
2 – Geoff Young (Torquay) - 69lb 12oz
3 – Les Braunton (Chard) - 62lb 6oz

Perry St High
1 – Mike Hosgood (Nr Exeter) - 61lb 10oz
2 – Shane Jeffery (Chard) - 60lb 9oz
3 – John Anderson (Donyatt) - 40lb 10oz

My blow out today effectively ended any hopes I had of a league placing, long time league leader Howard also blew out and Shane has now moved level on points with him, Exeter Mike's third section win on the bounce has moved him into third spot so as we head into the final straight it looks like being a close fought race between those three. After seven matches, the top ten in the league looks like this,

Howards Watts - 17 pts
Shane Jeffery - 17 pts
Mike Hosgood - 19 pts
Brendon Ions - 21 pts
Jamie Rich - 22 pts
Chris Whitham - 23 pts
Steve Bishop - 27 pts
Janders - 28 pts
Les Braunton - 28 pts
Mike Smith - 28 pts

Next up - Perry St

Coming soon - My next interview

Check Out - My last match (below)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Hebditch's Pond - Charity Pairs Open - 9th July 2017

As we hadn't fished Hebditch's pond for a while, Hurf arranged a charity pairs open but with a twist, it would be totally blind meaning you wouldn't even know which pond you were on until you'd drawn a peg and you wouldn't know who your partner was until after the match! I must admit I'm not really a fan of this format as you have to take bait for both venues and there is also the chance of doing really well, only to be paired with someone who has blown out!  I can't say too much as I wasn't prepared to step up and arrange the match, so fair play to Hurf and at the end of the day, it's for a great cause.

The eighteen allotted spaces filled up in no time and along with the regulars we had the likes of Tackleuk bagger Ash, Exeter Mike and even Janders fancied a change of scenery! We actually ended up with nineteen when Nick P arrived but he was happy to just fish for the superpool money and put a fiver in the charity pot. After another fantastic Bowling Club breakfast it was time to draw and I hung back hoping the Dillington pegs would go as I really fancied a day at Harry's and for once my plan worked as my ping pong ball had H9 on it and I was in an area I've done well from before.

Hurf had got my bait for me (cheers mate) but as he was at Dillington I let him have my casters as I wouldn't need them, before heading off to Harry's. After a short drive we all arrived and although the level was down a little bit, there were carp everywhere and I was hoping I'd be able to get a few shallow. It was already shaping up to be a scorching hot day and I made sure I slapped on plenty of sun cream after trying to get Karl to apply it for me but for some reason he wasn't too keen! My neighbours for the day were Karl on my right and Jake on the other side, Nick and Steve P were on 7 and 6 with Big Frank on the opposite bank on 5, Stu was on peg 4 which was in the shade, then Rich was on 3, Bill on 2 and Rob was in the trees on peg 1.
The pond looked lovely with loads of carp cruising about
I got my box set up nice and low to the water, rigs for the day were my favourite little shallow rig, a 0.4 gram Drennan Carp for fishing on the deck at 10 metres and a Carpa 2 for fishing just off some reeds on my inside to the left at top two plus two. On the side tray I had 6mm Bait-Tech Carp and Coarse Pellets plus some 2mms I'd soaked and given a dusting of Special G Dark, maggots (dead and alive) plus some corn to which I added a glug of The Juice. Most of us were ready with 15 minutes to go and having a natter behind Jake's peg, several people fancied a side bet so along with Janders (it would be done on points as he was on the other pond), Steve P, Rob and Jake all wanted to take nuggets off me.
Todays menu
On the whistle I fed two lines at 10 metres with micros and corn plus the inside with micros, corn and dead reds before starting shallow at 11.5 metres with banded 6mm pellet. It didn't take long to hook my first carp about 2-3lb only for it to come off at the net, great start! There was elastic out all around the lake along with a few bending rods as a few people were fishing the feeder. It didn't take long to get off the mark and I started catching really well with carp averaging 1-3lb although I did have one about 3oz so they are obviously breeding. I could see Jake was catching so shouted up to ask how he was doing and he was one ahead of me and had lost a few too.

After an hour I had ten carp (plus the tiny one which I didn't count) but I was expecting sport to slow at some point. Bill was catching really well on his usual paste and I could see Frank netting fish regularly too. It was neck and neck between Jake and me and the second hour was very similar with another ten carp for me and I edged ahead of him but it was still very tight. Going into the third hour sport slowed for most people as the temperature started to rise even further and the pole was almost too hot to handle at times and my live maggots soon joined the dead ones! Nick and Karl were getting odd fish on the feeder but Bill was still bagging and looking like doing a big weight.

I added another nine carp during the third hour but the average stamp was smaller and I was starting to think about trying the inside where I'd been feeding a few pellets regularly and I could see the odd fish mooching about. I plugged away fishing shallow for the fourth hour and added another six carp (plus another couple of those micro carp and a little chublet) and was still doing well because everybody, with the exception of Bill, was now struggling.

Going into the penultimate hour, it was a real struggle and my cause wasn't helped when I lost a couple of fish including another right at the net. I was still a few fish ahead of Jake but then he had a couple of fish from his inside line so with around an hour left I tried mine for the first time, I had to wait a while for a bite but then the float slid away and I had a decent fish around 3-4lb, next chuck I bumped one and then missed a few bites. I had another about a pound but when my next fish was another of those micro carp I decided to spend the remaining half an hour fishing shallow and managed two more fish around 2-3lb apiece to finish with 42 carp (plus a few tiny ones, that chublet and a couple of rudd).

Jake said he'd had 32 carp so with Bill winning at a canter, I hoped I'd done enough for second on the lake. We started the weigh in with Frank who had 33lb 5oz, young Stu was next and 15lb 2oz which included about 5lb of roach and rudd, Rich had 19lb 4oz before we got to Bill and after several weighs his total was 114lb 14oz so yet another win for the Paste King. Rob had 15lb 4oz but had a lovely barbel around a pound and a little tench as well.
Big Frank had 33lb 5oz from peg 5
Stuart had loads of fish for 15lb 2oz
Rich had 19lb 4oz from peg 3
Paste King Bill with part of his 114lb 14oz
Rob had the best fish of the day with this lovely little barbel
Next up was Karl who had 13lb 10oz and then it was my turn, after four weighs my total was 62lb 14oz, Jake had 48lb 10oz and the last two to weigh were Nick who had 23lb and Steve P who had 14lb. So I ended up second on the lake and claimed the three side bets before heading back to the Bowling Club and praying I'd be paired with someone who'd done well at Dillington.
Karl had 13lb 10oz from peg 10
I had 62lb 14oz which put me second on the lake
Nick had 23lb from peg 7
Steve P had 14lb from peg 6
Back at the results and the pond had fished really well, Ashley Tomkins had an awesome days fishing, catching 3 good bream and 47 skimmers from peg 2 to weigh 69lb 3oz and reclaim the match record. A string of double figure weights followed with loads of skimmers, bream and the odd chub featuring in catches, Hurf was second with 19lb 3oz from peg 8, John Dursley had 15lb 6oz from peg 1, Justin had 14lb 1oz, Exeter Mike had had 13lb 7oz from peg 13, Harry had 11lb 12oz which included loads of small fish and one of the ponds elusive crucians, Leighton had 9lb 1oz from peg 9, Adie weighed 8lb 10oz from peg 4 and Janders had 8lb 2oz from peg 14 and had to pay me a pound. It just goes to show you can never tell in this game, I thought Dillington would fish hard as hot, bright conditions aren't the best for bream fishing, yet the match record is broken and last week Janders would have framed with 8lb whereas this week it was the lowest weight. Thanks to Harry Hebditch* and Steve Hurford** for the photos.
Ash with part of his record breaking 69lb 3oz*
Hurf had a cracking net of chub, bream and skimmers weighing 19lb 3oz*
John was third on the lake with 15lb 6oz from peg 1*
Justin had 14lb 1oz for fourth*
Exeter Mike had a nice net of fish for 13lb 7oz from peg 13*
Harry had 11lb 12oz which included one of the venues rare crucians*
Leighton had 9lb 1oz from peg 9*
Adie had 8lb 10oz which included this nice bream*
Janders also had a nice bream and weighed 8lb 2oz from peg 14**
Then came the lottery that is drawn pairs but as there was only one bucket, the balls were picked out and written down, i.e. the Dillington pegs on one side and Harry's on the other so nobody had a clue who they were with. It wasn't just us who were confused as when the results were read out, firstly there was a tie on points with Justin and Jake winning, Hurf and Frank second and Harry and Bill third, then somebody realised that there was an error so Hurf and Frank were called out as winners which meant Harry and Bill leaped frogged Justin and Jake on weight and they ended going from first to third in one fell swoop!

Drawn Pairs
1 - Steve Hurford and Frank Woodard - 6 pts
2 - Bill Hopping and Harry Hebditch - 7 pts (on weight)
3 - Justin Charles and Jake Woodard - 7 pts

Hebditch's Pond
1 - Bill Hopping (Ilminster) - 114lb 14oz
2 - Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) - 62lb 14oz
3 - Jake Woodard (Ilminster) - 48lb 10oz

Dillington Pond
1 - Ashley Tomkins (Tackleuk) - 69lb 3oz - New Match Record
2 - Steve Hurford (Ilminster) - 19lb 3oz
3 - John Dursley (Enterprise Angling) - 15lb 6oz

A fantastic £120 was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support so a massive thanks to the Hebditch family for letting us use their pond, Ilminster Bowling Club for accommodating us and to Hurf and Rob for organising the match. If you would like to find out more about this brilliant organisation and the invaluable work they do please visit their website - Macmillan Cancer Support

Before I go I have to say I felt a bit sorry for Ash, he fished a brilliant match, setting a new match record in the process and didn't frame (he did pick up the superpool money), similarly I must admit I was bit gutted to come second on my lake and third overall and not pick up a bean. As I hinted earlier, I'm just not a fan of this type of match where the winners are decided on pulling names out of a hat! It just becomes a complete game of chance and it doesn't matter how well you've done, this may come across as somewhat sour grapes but I can assure you it's not as I realise it's a bit of fun and for a good cause. Over the years we've supported loads of great charities and I hope we continue to do this.

Perhaps a better way of doing it would have been the pools money was paid out to the top three on each pond and instead of a superpool, we all put a fiver in for the drawn pairs and paid out the top two pairs £60 and £30, that way you've still got the fun element and the people who struggled have a chance of picking up without penalising those who've done well. If it had been a regular pairs and I'd been with one of my usual partners, Justin or Hurf, we'd have won today. I'd be interested in your thoughts/suggestions but please keep it clean and not abusive!

Update - Well, this week's blog caused a bit of a shit storm which I never intended to happen and I agonised over the post for hours last night and today before hitting the publish button. I certainly didn't mean to offend or upset anybody and if I did I'm sorry but at the end of the day, the views contained in this blog are mine and all I said was that I wasn't a fan of the format for this weekends match. I knew what the format was when I put my name down and paid my pools and if I'd ended up paired with Ash for example I probably wouldn't be writing this now, as Rob said yesterday 'If you don't like the format, don't fish' which to be honest, I probably won't next time.

But at no point have I criticised the club which I've been a member of for 38 years and do my best to promote on the blog, Facebook, in the local papers and angling press at every opportunity, I also haven't criticised Rob or Hurf who I think do an amazing job and without all their hard work and time, we wouldn't have any matches. I've organised matches so I know how much time and effort goes into running them and I also know that no matter what you do, you can't please everyone and somebody always knows better even though they're never prepared to step up to the plate and I certainly wouldn't be able to devote enough time to do it.

In fact right at the start of the post I said ' I can't say too much as I wasn't prepared to step up and arrange the match, so fair play to Hurf and at the end of the day, it's for a great cause.' and then at the end 'A fantastic £120 was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support so a massive thanks to the Hebditch family for letting us use their pond, Ilminster Bowling Club for accommodating us and to Hurf and Rob for organising the match.' All I did was say I wasn't a fan of the format and made a couple of suggestions for possible tweaks to the format that would keep everyone happy, so once again I apologise if I've offended anybody.

Next up - Sadborow

Coming soon - My next interview

Check Out - My last match (below)