Monday, 26 January 2009

Sunday 23/06/1974 - Ridgeway Club Match - Crane Keynsham

From the age of about ten I regularly fished with Dad and Granddad (Dad pictured right in the tea gardens below Keynsham weir). The tea gardens have now been combined with the car park for the "Lock Keeper" pub. The pub back then was named the White Hart. I can remember regularly fishing Jack Whites on the Bristol Avon with my Granddad George, who I always, referred, to him as Granfer (pictured below right with, a then the Bristol Avon river record 6lb Brown Trout caught on maggot on the "Scours" below Keynshan Bridge - County bridge). After a mornings fishing, Granfer would strip down to his underpants, and swim from Jack Whites bridge, up stream, to the lock gates. I would follow him, walking along the bank with his clothes. He would then dry himself, with his clothes, and go in to the White Hart and bring out a bottle of lemonade and a packet of Smiths crisps for me. He would then disappear for what seemed hours. Dad would carry on fishing for his beloved Dace and Roach, minding the fishing tackle.

Dad had spent many years match fishing, and had started to focused more on pleasure fishing and Trout fishing on the Reservoirs. However, in 1969 I decided I would like to take up match fishing and enthused Dad to start again, and persuaded him to join the Ridgeway Club.

Our first match together was the Ridgeway contest fished on the Crane stretch of the Bristol Avon at Keynsham. A part of the river that dad, had fished, many times over the years.

There would have been at least twenty anglers fishing. Each angler, would have only the one float rod, centre pin reel and a wicker basket. The bait would have been one pint of maggots, a couple of slices of white bread and brown crumb for ground bait. There wouldn't have been any feeder fishing, as quiver tips weren't invented! On the rare occasion some anglers would use their float rods to ledger, but rarely caught much, other than the odd "boot lace" Eels.
The following is the result of the match extracted from the Angling Times:

"Forty year old Peter Shellard of Bristol won the Ridgeway contest on the Bristol Avon at Keynsham with 2lb 6 ½ of Eels.
There was little flow on the river and boats were troublesome but Peter found fish throughout the match by laying on under the far bank with two white maggots on an 18 hook.
Runner-up was 33 year old Bristol engineer Doug Alderton with a mixed catch of Dace and Eels weighing 1 3/4lb."
Peter Shellard - 2lb 6 ½ oz
Doug Alderton - 1lb 12 oz
Ivor Nicholls - 1lb 11 oz
Stephen Merrick - 1lb 9 oz
Peter Lewis - 1lb 7 oz
Mike Nicholls - 1lb 2 oz

I can’t remember much about the day, except, I was so proud to see my name in the paper along side Dad’s.

A few points to note:
- The weights were poor due to the river having suffered pollution.
- Two boats probably passed all match
- I don’t think Peter was laying on over the far bank. So match reporting hasn’t changed much!

Two white maggots, still today, the best "all round bait" for Eels.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Sunday 25/01/2009 - Hillview Open

Back to son, Steve's, favourite venue. It is also high on my favourite list too. Keith Hill (pictured right in the kitchen) owns and runs the fishery with son Dave. Keith is Head Chef and serves up a good breakfast (but, will never make “Master Chef”). It was nice to meet up again with old stalwart Robin; complete with shotgun. Robin does the vermin kill before the match (Rats, Cormorants and other undesirables – no seagull’s squawking around this venue). I don't know why more Bristol Anglers don't fish this venue, as it's only a steady drive up the M5, which takes about 40 minutes.

I not only have fond memories of this venue because of the excellent fishing, but it’s the first commercial venue that I fished. I have learnt a lot from fishing here, particularly from the Midland anglers (Brummies). Some of the knowledge has come from discussion, but most from watching the likes of Neville Groves, Lee Richards, Tony Parker, Terry King, etc…These are excellent anglers – they know how to feed and present. I checked my records and the last time I fished the venue was 21/11/2006 and I weighed 138lb from 2nd Canal peg 60 on corn for first overall.

Today’s open match was advertised as a “Rover”. So Bela and I walked round the venue three times and decided on ten pegs that we would pick. However, due to the high turn out it was decided to have a straight draw. The high turn out was primarily due to the Warwickshire Avon being in flood.
I drew peg 52 on the first Canal (my swim is pictured right). Keith noted that Son Steve had drawn this swim many times in the past. Not one of the best draws on this Canal. you need to be middle to right. Bela drew peg 39 on Heron Lake. Neither of us drew any of the ten pegs we would had selected.

The water was extremely clear, so I set up one rig for “down the track” a 4 x 12 Jolly with 0.12 bottom and a Tubertini 808 hook. I fished red maggot over micro pellet and caught Ronnies straight away. I kept a few coming with one 1lb Skimmer by careful feeding. I switched to 4mm GOT pellet and caught a few small (4oz) Mirror Carp. I weighed 11lb 10oz for second in the section. The section was won with 18lb (four decent Carp). As always on this venue, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The match was won by Alan Higgs (pictured right) with 25lb 10oz from Heron Lake peg 27. Alan caught on waggler and maggot. Some years back Alan and I used to fish for the Hillview winter league team. Incidentally the winter league is still running. I was a member on the Avon Angling team that won the very first Hillview winter league.

My Travelling partner Bala Bacus (bottom pictured right with a 2lb Perch) was joint second with 21lb 4oz, again with mostly waggler caught carp with treble red maggot on the hook. The wind prevented him from feeding.

Hillview always produces a close match (one fish usually separating) – as it
was again today.

Full Result:

1. Alan Higgs 25-10-0 peg 27
2. Bela Bakos 21-04-0 peg 39
2. Dave Greg 21-04-0 peg 73
4. Mark Pincher 19-06-0 peg 80
5. Tom Gibbs 18-06-0 peg 48
6. Francis Poulter 16-08-0 peg 22

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Wednesday 21/01/2009 - Carps AC - Bitterwell Lake

I have always enjoyed fishing Bitterwell Lake, which is a pleasant 15 minute drive from home. However, it can fish hard at times, which it did today. Lots of anglers moan about the bait bans imposed by Clive Reid the Fishery Manager (it’s Council owned and many years gone by, was a popular outdoor swimming pool – diving boards and all), but it’s the same for everyone. There is nothing wrong with Casters, Maggot and Pinkie. The bans affect the Carp Slayers more so than Silver Anglers.

I don’t mind where I draw on this venue. Today I drew peg 3 which was the first peg from the car park on the road side. There was some “Cat Ice” in all the swims along this bank, which soon cleared. When the water is clear, as it was today, you really need to fish as far out as possible. The waggler can be the right choice in this case, wind permitting. Due to the road behind, I was limited to 10 metres. I set up one rig a 4x14 home made special wire stem. I decide on two swims one to fish everything over the fisheries green 3mm pellet (Cats & Dogs pellets - they are quite good) and the other caster. I started with maggot over the pellet with double dead maggot and straight away, I foul hooked a Carp, which pulled free. It was very slow so swapped to single red wriggly maggot which resulted in a couple of small Ronnie’s. I switched to caster over the caster line, to no avail, so swapped to feeding Pinkie on this line. I then started to catch some Skimmers and Ronald’s to 12 oz. The best Skimmer weighed about 1lb 12oz. I wish I had switched back to caster later in the match when things got hard, as both Tom Thick and Charlie Barnes caught some quality Roach in the last hour or so. Another lesson learnt and now in the memory bank. I weighed 13lb 12oz for first in the Silvers and, as there were no Carp caught, first overall, for a pick up of £30.

Runner up was Tom Thick (pictured right (library picture as I couldn't catch both Tom and his Roach together, as neither would pose still long enough)) peg 8 on the “diving boards” with 6lb of quality Roach (pictured bottom right).

Tom “ounced” out travelling partner Charlie Barnes who had 5lb 15oz on peg 2. Both caught quality Roach late into the match on caster.

Colin Golding who selected the pegs today discovered that the Sun always rises in the East and always sets in the West, but the wind does not always come from the South West!!

Full Result:

1. Mike Nicholls 13-10-0 peg 3
2. Tom Thick 6-0-0 peg 7
3. Charlie Barnes 5-15-0 peg 2
4. Bill Ferris 5-04-0 peg 4
5. Steve Jefferies 2-13-0 peg 9
6. Andy Gard 2-11-0 peg 5


Sunday, 18 January 2009

Sunday 17/01/2009 - Viaduct Winter League Teams of Five - Round One

Today was the first match of five matches in the Viaduct Winter League. Which comprises 20 teams of five (100 pegs). I am fishing for the “Viaduct All Stars”. The team:

George Perkins (Captain)
Matthew Cardwell
Darren Baker
Bela Bakos
Mike Nicholls

Last winter league they were named the Viaduct Juniors! I suppose it’s my fault (ageism) they felt the need for change – a bit disappointed really – I have never fished for a junior side!

The league is based on drawing your section/lake for the first match then moving a section every match; so today I drew Carey 99; so next match I will be on a peg, to be drawn, on Lodge Lake (great it’s a float only section). The match pools are paid to the top four in each section; plus a super pool run by Clayton Hudson, comprising of £5 Silvers and £5 overall.

I was instructed by Captain George to fish the straight lead with a ring of ten maggots. I explained that I didn’t have a ring. So off to the peg, where I found the wind blowing right to left, at 11 o clock. I decided that the waggler was not in contention due to the skimming wind, so set up a light GB feeder with 0.14 hook length and 18 hook for single and double dead maggot. I also set up the straight lead for hair rigged double sweet corn. I decide not to set up the pole as I knew the team method was out and out straight lead, you need at least one Carp for reasonable points. I started on the GB feeder with double dead maggot, which resulted in a 1oz Ronnie. So with 1 point in the bag, out went the double corn. Surprise, a bite first cast, and a foul hooked Carp lost after about one minute. Never mind, re-baited and out again. Again , another bite, which I missed. NOW THE CONFESSION; on winding in I found that the fish I had previously foul hooked had straighten the hook, which I didn’t notice whilst baiting up (ven with my glasses on), DUH! There is the first time for everything. I didn’t have another bite on the straight lead, so at 12.30 I decided enough was enough so set up the pole. I fished dead red maggot over ground bait for a Silvers weight of 5lb 6oz. I don’t think this gave me many points; but time will tell.

Considering the "All Stars" returned some low points the team finished a credible joint 11th with 50 points (averaging 10 points per man - half way).

Ben Heath (pictured right with this beautiful 16lb 8oz Common Carp) was in my section on peg 96 and caught Carp steady all day for section winning weight of 47lb 14oz. Ben caught on treble hair rigged sweet corn.

The match was won by Alex Murray with 64lb 9oz from in-form peg 131. Runner up was Mash (pictured centre right) with 61lb 15oz from peg 7 - Spring Lake. Mash fished treble maggot long down to the left had weed bed.

The Silvers was won by Tony Rixon (picture bottom right with some say his "look alike" son Tom Thick – I don’t think so, the sense of humour and moaning differentiates the two – by the way Tony says doesn’t drink) with 16lb 12oz from peg 123 on Campbell. Tony caught on the pole fishing caster and sweet corn over lose fed caster at both 16 metres (because he can) and 14.5 metres. His catch included a whopping 3lb Perch (caught close in with double caster) and two Tench!! I was also Tony’s birthday 49 today; happy birthday mate!!

Full Result Overall:

1. Alex Murray 64-09-0 peg 131
2. Mash 61-15-0 peg 7
3. Steve Kedge 59-05-0 peg 73
4. James Knight 57-13-0 peg 42
5. Mark Broomsgrove 53-14-0 peg 132
6. Ben Heath 47-14-0 peg 96

Top Silvers:

1. Tony Rixon 16-02-0 peg 123
2. Chris Davis 16-04-0 peg 67
3. Nicky Collins 10-11-0 peg 19

Top Teams (points):

1. Somerset Angling 85
2. Sensas Thyers 72
3. Viaduct Select 69
4. Maver veals Red 66
5. Team Viaduct 64
6. Avon Angling 64
7. Reels & Deals 60
8. Garbolino Bmg 56
9. Teams Veals 52
10. Team Keyford 51

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Sunday 11/01/2009 - A week back in the Ice Age

Thursday 08/01/09:

Bela Bacos and I had booked in to guest in the Landsend Fishery Individual League. However, Tony Rixon rang today explaining that the ice was so thick (2 inches plus) that the league was cancelled. But, Tony intended to run a “break-your-own-ice” open on the third and fourth Lakes (Tony does have a whopper – ice breaker that is)!

Tony also explained that he had been down to the Avalon Fishery on Wednesday pleasure fishing! It took him 2 hours to break the ice out to 13 metres. The result, one bite, no fish.

I also had a call from Terry Bruton. He had been out walking the Huntstrete complex, reporting Bridge Lake was completely frozen with no clear areas. However, Withy had signs of anglers breaking the ice and expected there to be some clear swims by Sunday when he and Bob Warren planned a practice session. But what delighted Tel most, was that he didn't spot one Seagull. Don’t worry Tel, they will be back!

Friday 09/01/09:

Whilst the Lakes are completely frozen the Management at the Viaduct Fishery has started a new sport. Apparently, you chose a Lake, then decide whether you walk slowly across from one side to the other, or run! Well, Steve Long (pictured right) chose Campbell and walked and Paul Greenwood chose Lodge and ran. Both survived, with Steve taking the pools money by the fact that walking was considered more risky (time at risk and all that) plus Campbell being wider. I wonder who is the heaviest; not much in it is my guess. As with most commercial fisheries matches are cancelled for this weekend.

Saturday 10/01/09:

I decided against fishing Landsend Fishery due to the weather and chesty cold which everyone seems to have. So Man U v Chelsea on the TV appears favourite.

An e-mail from Darren Gillman with pictures (see right) of his recent draw (some say flyer – Tim Ford thinks so, who is laid up with a virus - staring at four walls apparently) on the K&A at The George section, Bathampton. He was one of only three to weigh, in his ten peg section (third in section). As the ATWL semi final is being fished on the K&A on the Bathampton Waters this year, there are a number of teams practicing. My money’s on Bathampton specially if Lee Trivett (pictured right) can catch 2lb Roach like the one he caught in the 2006 SWWL match at Newton St Loe (Newbridge, that is; three below the railway bridge).

Sunday 11/01/09:

I decided to walk the K&A where the BCHL was being fished. I arrived 30 minutes before the “all in” only to witness many anglers still breaking the ice. The ice was approximately 30mm thick in most swims. The first angler I met was Lee Trivett (pictured bottom right). I had to take this photo; look at his head gear; I wish I had hair like his. Before I left, he had managed, one tiny Perch on Joker. From what I could see most anglers were catching, mainly Roach on punch with the odd 8 oz Skimmer or Perch and Roach on B&J. Went round to the Brambles just before the bay at Bathampton where Glenn Bailey was catching the odd Perch, Roach plus he had two bonus 12 oz Skimmers on big Blood Worm over Joker. I notice Richard Chave (I nick named him Rigsby some years back - when he was making up and selling canal rigs) had drawn the turning bay, which was also end peg on the day, but was struggling when I left him.

The Tubetini Stix floats carbon/wire (bottom right) were proving very dominant for fishing the punch, with the Sensas Desque Erics wire/wire popular for the 

Monday, 5 January 2009

Sunday 04/12/08 - Veals Teams of Four Winter League Final Round 8 - Viaduct Fishery

Well today the weather conditions put the “Winter League” firmly in the match title, with the match resulting in a real lottery, with many good anglers failing to weigh. With ten days now of heavy overnight frosts, followed by cold easterly winds, the venue was completely frozen. There was a lot of pre-match talk, as to whether, the match should be fished. On hindsight, I think it was the right decision – it’s all about fishing, isn’t it?

Charlie deserted his Angels today (AWOL). Our super-sub Paul Lock was called in, with Rich Coles promoted to Captain. Charlie has pulled some excellent pegs for us all for seven matches now – I knew it was a time for change – for the worse! Rich Coles pulled peg 2 on Spring for himself – can you believe it - I was one away from drawing it again, as it happens I wouldn’t have said no to this peg on the day. I was drawn peg 128 on Campbell, which is the top side of the spit. When I got to the peg out came the ice breaker (upgraded to a 4lb Lump hammer). First chuck it bounced off the ice much to Steve Seagar’s amusement. Thank Goodness that Steve Long and Paul Greenwood came along with the SS Manic. I captured a short video (top left - you can see the Railway Viaduct over the river Carey in the back ground - from which the venue takes it's name) of Steve in full ice breaking mode (unlike it's Sister Ship, the Manic is unsinkable). Apparently it’s for sale for £6. I think it will be much more effective with a 250 HP outboard motor on it (similar to the ones in Thailand – with the long props). Thanks Steve and Paul – great job by the fishery Management.

Well, I knew the score – single red maggot fished over kinder potted dry ground bait with four pinkies in the mix. However, I didn’t have my first bite until the twenty minutes left mark – in the remaining twenty minutes I had ten small Ronnies for 8oz, which gave me 7.5 points. This gave me an individual grand total of 94.5 points.

I was leading the individual league with 2 points ahead of Chris Davis, and needing 5 points to be sure of finishing no lower than second (as it happened the few that could catch us all blanked). Chris Davis was one of only four anglers to weigh in on Carey, finishing third with 12oz. So Chris took the individual title with 98 points - 3.5 points ahead. Well done Chris.

Well, with only Rich Coles and myself weighing in the Angels could only manage 14.5 points on the day, which dropped us from third spot (in the team money) to 6th overall (Last but one on the day then!!)

The match was won by Steve Kedge (pictured right - I love this photo - Ian Spriggs look-a-like - but some say Harry Potter) on peg 110 (current Carp form peg). Steve caught 27lb of Carp on the straight lead out to the aerator. The only other Carp weight was Phil Cooper with 3lb 4oz from opposite peg 130.

The top Silvers was Steve Mayo from peg 18 on Spring Lake with 8lb 3oz of Skimmers.

I must say Veals Tackle put up excellent prizes (Tim Pallant of Veals pictured right putting out the prizes). I came away with £350 worth of tackle (Diawa rod and reel). Chris Davis chose a £400 Preston Space Station (for wicker basket cases this is a tackle box). It was sad news that Veals are pulling out of the sponsorship next year - I hope that Jerry and Jeff have a re-think, as they will be sadly missed.

Full Result on the Day:


1. Steve Kedge 27-0-0 peg 110
2. Phil Cooper 3-04-0 peg 130


1. Steve Mayo 8-03-0 peg 18
2. Ray Hayward 7-06-0 peg 47
3. Clint Wojtyla 6.05.0 peg 42
4. Brian Shanks 4-05-0 peg 123

Top 15 Individuals Overall:

1. Chris Davis 98
2. Mike Nicholls 94.5
3. Adam Palmer 84
4. Mark Broomsgrove 83.5
5. Tony Rixon 80
6. Ryan Shipp 77
7. Vince Brown 77
8. Jon Gray 75.5
9. Eric Fouracre 75
10. Clayton Hudson 73
11. Tim Pallant 71.5
12. Dave Downton 71.5
13. Martin Pettifer 71.5
14. Rod Wootton 70
15. Steve Kedge 69.5

Teams Overall:

1. Westerleigh 96.5
2. Sedges Mosella 80.5
3. Somerset Angling 81
4. Avon Angling 80
5. Maver Veals Blue 75
6. Charlies Angels 69.5
7. Sarfix South West 68.5
8. Dynamite Baits 68
9. Team Veals 64
10. Sensas Thyers 58
11. Norfolking Good 57.5
12. Maver Veals Red 56.5
13. Sartan Club AC 50.5
14. Landsend A 34.5
15. Landsend B 34