Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Wednesday 25/02/2009 - Avon Angling Open - Avalon Fishery

My first visit to Avalon Fishery (Glastonbury - West Hay)) for some years, certainly well before Vic Bush and Lee Nutland took over. The access road hasn’t changed much, still requiring a 4X4 to get to the car park. However, it has given me the confidence to hit the speed bumps faster than I have been. That’s the negative over. I must give credit where credit is due; Vic and Lee have vastly improved the venue. The fishing is far better than I remember; particularly the Silver fishing. The location has always been very much “in a nature reserve” with all the tranquillity.

I drew peg 26, three pegs up from the bottom right hand bank end peg. I was able to drive to the bottom car park, just a few metres from my peg. It’s about thirty metres to the island; so one of the widest pegs. I had a spare peg each side of me, with Martin Alexander on end peg 24 (only took a feeder rod) and Tony May on my left peg 28. I didn’t really know what to expect and was nearly tempted to set up a waggler, to the island for Carp. Not withstanding I settled for one 4x16 rig up for the Silvers in conjunction with 4mm GOT pellet. As the bottom was fairly flat I was able to fish the same rig at both 13 metres and 14.5 metres. I fed both lines with micro. First put in I had a 4oz Skimmer. The up shot was that I got my head down and caught 4oz to 12oz Skimmers steady throughout. However, I did have three occasions where I lost the fish due to Pike problems I had one Skimmer taken from the hook and nearly landed another Pike – it snagged me on the inside. I did have two small Tench, which I suppose did compensate. I weighed 26lb 10 oz for first in the Silvers and a pick up of £40.

The match was won by Tony Rixon (pictured right) from peg 12 with 120lb 5oz of quality Carp. Tony caught on “conventional” peacock waggler at half depth with 8mm hair rigged pellet on the hook. Tony fed one pint of 6 mm pellet throughout the match.

Full Result:

1. Tony Rixon 120-05-0 peg 12
2. Nick Collier 73-10-0 peg 21
3. Dean Mallin 68-08-0 peg 38
4. Gary Wall 64-0-0 peg 1
5. Anton Page 50-02-0 peg 26
6. Mike West 46-0-0 peg 7

Top Silvers:

1. Mike Nicholls 26-10-0 peg 26
2. Lewis Jones 17-06-0 peg 32
3. Tony May 17-04-0 peg 28

All the above picked up money - Tony does spread the dosh.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Sunday 23/08/1970 - Colendense Printing - Club Match - Hampshire Avon

As my Brother-in-law Phillip Hoare (pictured right - first from left, that's me third from left - the picture was taken many years ealier on a family day out fishing) worked at Colendense Printing Company in West Street Bedminster, Dad and I were invited to one of their club matches on the Bat and Ball (it’s a pub) stretch of the Hampshire Avon. It was a Charabanc job, with us being picked up at the Kings Head pub on the A38. Dad never learnt to drive, so we would have walked the two miles from home to the Kings Head. We usually caught the bus back home.

This match took place on the Sunday before my wedding!

There were three prizes up for grabs (all small trophies – no cash):

Heaviest weight
Heaviest fish
Best specimen (closes percent to the current record)

It all turn out a bit embarrassing for me as:

I won the match with 23lb
I weighed a 3lb 12oz Chub for the biggest fish (Photograph right - me with Chub. I now wish it was the picture of my Dace)
I caught my best ever Dace, weighing a massive 1lb 1oz – just 8 drams off the then current British record.

Landing the Chub was down to Dad as he waded in to the river to free the fish from streamer weed.

I had some stick going back, particularly about my forthcoming marriage.

Dad and I were invited to go again with them the following year to the Royalty waters in Christchurch – Hampshire Avon. This trip was memorable for two reasons. The first was that on the way the Charabanc had a puncture in the front tyre. This happened on the A36 near Codford. No problem you think, especially with twenty or so able bodied men ready and eager to help change the wheel. However, not that simple, the driver informed us that he didn’t have a spare! With no mobile phones two lads set off in search of a phone. One of the lads noticed that there were two sets of wheels on the rear. So he proposed that we take one off the back and put it on the front. The driver wasn’t having it “it’s illegal”. The upshot was the Charabanc was commandeered and the tyre taken off and fitted to the front. On arrival the driver was sent to get a new tyre. His passing comments were “I’ll get the sack”. Without any thoughts of getting home we all set off to find the section of the river we had booked. I am not sure of the name of the section of river we fished, but it was on a big sweeping bend.

The second memorable reason was the amazing Roach fishing we all had. It was not a pegged match but pleasure fish where you wanted – crafty Dad fished the inside of a bend and must have had 50lb of Roach from 8oz to 1lb 12oz. I didn’t have as much as Dad, but did weigh a 2lb 13oz Roach still today my personal best. As for the Charabanc driver he was waiting for us at five o clock and shared a drink and a laugh about it all on the return journey.

It was traditional when on a fishing trip that involved a Charabanc to stop in a pub on the way home. Have a look at the attached photo of us on one of those stops (Dad circled centre picture bottom left). Don’t get thinking where’s the removal van for the tackle – everyone and everything fitted in the Charabanc. Compare this with the typical tackle load taken today (wheel barrow needed) by my travelling partner Bela Bakos (pictured bottom right).

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Sunday 22/02/2009 - Carps AC - Big Money Silvers Match - Viaduct

The phone was ringing when I got home. It was Darren Gillman. His first words were “would you believe me if I told you I had drawn the same peg on the Kennet and Avon Canal that I had framed off last week”? My answer was "of course I believe you - no surprise for me". However, a different story this week 3lb 5oz and last in section. The Skimmers on the canal will move hundreds of yards once caught, the Ronnie’s tend to stay a few weeks longer before they also move off to quieter waters. Apparently, today there were a number of twenty pound weights – one coming from Georges turning bay.

On arrival at Viaduct and with close inspection of the lakes; my expectations weren’t high. My thinking was that twenty pound would be needed to win (wrong)! I was hoping for a peg with the wind off my back. It wasn’t to be. I drew peg 114 on Campbell. I set up a light ground bait feeder rod and a wire stem rig at 13 metres. I wasn’t convinced that ground bait would work; so I fed caster at 13 metre and cast the GB feeder to one thirds with double maggot (red and white). This resulted in four Ronnie’s and two tiny Skimmers. The swim soon died. At least I was right about the GB. Out on the pole with double caster and was soon in to a skinny 1lb 8oz Tench. The Viaduct Tench fight similar to the Brsitol Avon Chub; diving for the bankside vegetation and under the platforms, because of this the pull-a-bung really came into it's own. I kept this swim going through out the rest of the match, catching the odd Tench and decent Skimmer. This lasted until the last hour when the Carp moved in (some refer to them as vermin - good description today). I hook three and landed one. This spoiled, what would have otherwise been, a good day. I finished with nine Tench and six Skimmers for 23lb 12oz. This put me eighth overall, just out of the money.

When we heard that Steve Kedge (pictured above right - some say Harry Potter – I’m beginning to believe he has cast a spell over the draw bag) had drawn peg 123 a groan went round the venue. Steve doesn’t need a second invitation; winning the match with 63lb of Tench and Skimmers. Steve said after the match that wherever he put in, he caught fish “it was solid”. Steve caught both short (the top set) and long (13 metres). All his fish fell to caster. Steve picked up the £400 big money purse.

Runner up was Andy Lloyd on the next utilised peg 125 (I wonder why they don’t use peg 124?). Andy weighed 36lb 14oz of Skimmers and Tench; his catch included a surprise 3lb Chub.

Captain George Perkins (pictured right) finished fourth overall with 32lb 2oz from peg 130. George caught mainly Skimmers using just his top set and caster.

Full result:

1. Steve Kedge 63-0-0 peg 123
2. Andy Lloyd 36-14-0 peg 125
3. Mark Broomsgrove 34-04-0 peg 69
4. George Perkins 32-02-0 peg 130
5. Chris Davis 31-05-0 peg 68
6. Nicky Collins 28-14-0 peg 66

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Sunday 25/08/1974 - Ridgeway AA Browning Cup - Bath Town Waters

My first match win

My first match win was the Ridgeway AA contest fished on the Bristol Avon – Bath Town waters behind the Winsor Castle Public house.

Headlines and write up in the Bristol Evening Post:
“Mike Pips dad for top spot”

“Mike Nicholls took points off his dad Ivor when Ridgeway and District AA held their Browning Cup match.
Mike total at the end of the day was 4lb 1oz, well clear of father Ivor’s 3lb 2oz, which won dad the second place.

Bob Merrick came third with 1lb 14oz; Bob is Vice Chairman of the Association.
The Juvenile cup was won by Stephen Merrick, with 1lb 5oz, and Andrew Saunders took second with 1lb.
The clubs league positions after four matches – and three to come – are headed by Dick Chappell (28 points), Pete Hathway (30) and Pete Shellard (34).”

1. Mike Nicholls 4lb 1oz
2. Ivor Nicholls 3lb 2oz
3. B Merrick 1lb 14oz
4. P Shellard 1lb 9oz
5. D Chappell 1lb 8oz
6. S Merrick 1lb 5oz

This week the club announced their winter league team. It is:

Brian Bateman
Merv Brown
Dick Chappell
Maurice Coggins
Reuben Jefferies
Ivor Nicholls
Mike Nicholls
Bob Merrick
Ron Morris
Mike Talbot
Bob Walker
Arthur Warren

Andy McEwan
Dave Clutterbuck!
Steve Merrick
Pete Shallard
Pete Lewis

Extract from the Angling Times:
“A Father and son team swept the board in Ridgeway’s Browning Cup match fished on the Bristol Avon at bath, taking first and second place.
Bristol Engineer Mike Nicholls weighed in 4lb 1oz of Roach, Dace and Chub for victory. Closely followed by his Father, Ivor Nicholls, with 3lb 2oz.
A Father and son team swept the board in Ridgeway’s Browning Cup match fished on the Bristol Avon at bath, taking first and second place. Bristol Engineer Mike Nicholls weighed in 4lb 1oz of Roach, Dace and Chub for victory. Closely followed by his Father, Ivor Nicholls, with 3lb 2oz.”

1. Mike Nicholls 4lb 1oz
2. Ivor Nicholls 3lb 2oz
3. B Merrick 1lb 14oz
4. P Shellard 1lb 9oz
5. D Chappell 1lb 8oz
6. S Merrick 1lb 5oz

After 39 years this match is still vivid in my mind. I fished a home made float (very similar to the top and bottom floats Terry Bruton was using with Bread) – fished “Nottingham style”. In today’s words - the “Waggler”. I remember not catching much until I started to feed hemp. Towards the end of the match I was catching small Dace regularly (swim pictured below right).
Oh yes, and this was first time I beat Dad. I fondly remember reading the following write up in the Angling Times with much satisfaction, especially with our result being so far ahead of the rest. I think dad was just as pleased. I caught all Dace - forget the press spin on things – there were no Chub in the river back then or I couldn’t tell the difference! The Browning Cup was solid silver, which was typical of the trophies back then.

So Dad and I made it into the Winter League Team. Dave Clutterbuck only making reserve; can’t be right!

I can’t wait to fish my fish my first team match.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Wednesday 18/02/2009 - Avon Angling Open - Landsend Fishery

I had intentions of pleasure fishing today; however, Bill Ferris offered me a lift to the Carps AC match planned for Landsend Specimen Lake. I then discovered that, due to only five being booked in the match was combined with the Avon Angling match booked for Match Lake.

Pegs 21 and 6 were drawn in the Carp golden peg and peg 25 drawn for the Silvers golden peg. I am beginning to think I’m a bit lucky, as I pulled peg 25 and with £95 in the golden peg kitty it was get your head down time. The peg has a bit of form for Silvers; few F1's and Crucians', so I was well pleased. However, on arrival at the peg the water colour was a bit like tea; I believe this to be due to an early cold water Algae bloom. This concerned me a bit as it can sicken the fish. I set a 4.5 metre whip for the Ronnie’s, a light rig for the Caster at 14.5 metre; about 1 metre form the end margin and a pellet rig for the same distance towards the island. I started on the whip with caster, but realised straight away the Ronnie’s weren’t having it. I then went on to the pellet, which resulted in a 7lb 2oz carp. I followed this up with a run of seven Crucian Carp – looking good! I then caught a few small Skimmers, but the Crucian’s had done a disappearing act. I went in to the margin with double caster and hooked a double figure Grass Carp, but after five minutes we separated company – I think this was down to me being impatient with the pull-a-bung. I still need to refine this method. I weighed 13lb 2oz of Silvers for a total weight of 20lb 4oz and a pick up of £24. At least no one else was able to win the £95!!

The match was won by Alan Oram (pictured right) from inform peg 19 with 38-04-0 of Carp. Alan fished 13 metres with corn over corn.

The Silvers was won by Nick Collier (pictured bottom right) from peg 5 with 26-0-0. Nick fished caster over caster at 11.5 metres then switched to single maggot over loose fed maggot for mostly F1's and Crucian's.

Overall the venue fished very well, which was reflected in the very close result.

Full Result:

1. Alan Oram 38-04-0 peg 19
2. Martin Lenaghan 37-10-0 peg 40
3. Craig “Trigger” Edmonds 37-05-0 peg 13
4. Dell Housen 35-07-0 peg 20
5. Nick Collier 34-04-0 peg 5
5. Nick Duckett 34-04-0 peg 15
6. Tony Rixon 29-02-0 peg 22

Top Silvers:

1. Nick Collier 26-0-0 peg 5

2. Tony Rixon 16-0-0 peg 22
3. Mike Nicholls 13-02-0 peg 25

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Sunday 15/02/2009 - Viaduct Winter League Teams of Five - Round Three

During dinner this evening I had a phone call from Darren Gillman who had been “practicing” for the forth coming Angling Times Winter League Semi-final on the Kennet and Avon Canal - Bathampton. He told me he had also been battered both sides: unlike me had finished fifth overall with 10lb and a pick up of (undisclosed for tax reasons). Well done Dar. May the drawbag stay with you up to the big day.

I was all set for a peg on Match Lake – I have fished this lake four times over the years, the worse result being second overall, but still managed first in the silvers. Blimey, I wasn’t prepared for peg 4 on Spring Lake – the Match Lake section includes the first six pegs on Spring to make up the twenty peg section. If I had planned properly I would have taken a few slices of bread. Captain George as usual had it spot on: Carp over to island on the lead: plus “plenty of Roach”. Say no more!

I set up all sorts – 3AA waggler. Straight lead (please note George), 4 metre whip, Ronnie rig at 13 metres and Skimmer rig at the same distance. I Started on the straight lead with double hair rigged corn, which resulted in a drop back bite; struck nothing – wind-in quick – in contact. After 2 minutes I lost the fish. On retrieval I had some terminal tackle attached to my line – snap swivel, hair rig etc… I think the Carp had been previously foul hooked and was carrying around with it the residual terminal tackle. I decided to try the whip and caster, only to find the peg solid with Ronnies: four to the ounce!! Steve Mayo on next peg 3 was catching Carp on popped up bread. I scrounged some bread off Bob Gullick, however, by the time I tried it Steve had nine Carp in his net and a dying swim. See what I mean about being prepared!! Steve fished three piece of 10 mm punched bread on a two inch long hair rig. This apparently is buoyant enough to pop on the bread six inches or so, with any further buoyancy aids. I am not convinced that the bread would stay up on it's own for more than say 45 seconds.

I finished the match with 3lb 15oz of Ronnies. This put me well down: again – but not last. I was heart warming: but disappointing that the Steve Skelton had blanked on the Monk swim – at least I managed two “Sundace”! If Steve and Paul read this, I suggest you try and spread some of the small Ronnies around.

The match was won by Simon Jones on peg 131 with 108lb 5oz. Simon caught on the straight lead with corn hook bait.

The Silvers was won with 29lb by Trevor Senior (Years back I fished matches with Trevor's Dad) from peg 111. This was a notable catch as Trevor doubled the weight of the Silvers runner up. Trevor caught at 7 metres using caster over loose fed caster, feeding about one and half pints through out. Trevor caught Perch, Skimmers and Tench, with nothing under 2lb!

My travelling partner and team mate Bela Bakos had an interesting day fishing peg 60 on Lodge lake. Bela weighed 18lb 6oz with only 4lb caught I the mouth!! I took the attached video (bottom centre) of him weighing in – note the some of the comments from adjacent Anglers. Bela foul hooked two Bream and one Carp - "fin perfect" Bakos (sorry about the sound, but the sound team had an off day).

Team wise the All Stars slipped to 16th on the day with 44 points. This now puts us 12th overall with 155 points. But can we catch Avon Angling, who have 163 points?

Full Result:
1. Simon Jones 108-05-0 peg 86
2. Jamie Smith 93-12-0 peg 131
3. Steve Mayo 77-10-0 peg 3
4. Fred Roberts 76-10-0 peg 2
5. Paul Garrett 56-10-0 peg 98
6. Rowland Lucas 53-04-0 peg

Top Silvers:
1. Trevor Senior 29-0-0 peg 111
2. Mark Broomsgrove 14-13-0 peg 70
3. Eric Fouracres 14-02-0 peg 115
4. Brian Shanks 12-05-0 peg 95

Top six teams on the day:
1. Maver Veals Blue 71
2. Avon Angling 66
3. Enterprise Angling 65
4. Westerleigh Blue 64
5. Sensas Thyers 62
6. Haines AC
16. Viaduct All Stars 44

Teams Overall:
1. Somerset Angling 207
2. Westerleigh Blue 187
3. Team Viaduct 184
4. Sensas Thyers 181
5. Viaduct Select 176
6. Maver Veals Red 173
12. Viaduct All Stars 155

Friday, 13 February 2009

Mike's Pick of Pics

I have now included in My Favourite Websites - "Mike's Pick of Pics". Just click on the title and it will take you to:

A single click on the thumbnail picture reveals MUCH more?

This is just a few pics to start. I will be updating this regularly with many more, so keep an eye open.

If you have any photographs that you think may be of interest to match anglers in the South West please forward a copy to:

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Wednesday 11/02/2009 - Carps AC - Plantation Main lake

Well I had decided to give fishing a miss until next weekend, to give my eyes a rest from the cold winds. It appears, that, I have some sort of cold virus in my eyes. However yesterday, I went out for a walk to Bitterwell Lake, which I found to be partly frozen. There was only one angler fishing, you guessed it, Ian “Bloke” Pulsford. I went and watched him for a few minutes, during this short time he landed half dozen Roach to 12oz and one similar sized Skimmer. Bloke was fishing the waggler with white maggot on the hook, which he fished over loose fed mix coloured maggot. Anyway this whetted my appetite. So I booked in to fish the Carps AC match at Plantation. What I didn’t anticipate was the sever overnight frost on top of the thawing snow; the roads were treacherous. I nearly turned round at Chew Magna. Wish I did. However, it was an excellent turn out for the conditions. I drew permanent peg 27 – peg 2 on the day (pictured right – complete with ice). Out came the ice breaker and on came a sweat. After twenty minutes I had adequately cleared the swim to ten metres. I decided to kinder pot in caster with various baits on the hook. After trying red/white maggot, Pinkie, worm, caster and pellet I had five micro Perch. I decided to pack up and returned the Perch, amazingly some Mallards close by eat two of them!!

I then watch Colin Golding for ten minutes, or so, who was two pegs down. Colin was catching Roach and Skimmers on Caster over loose fed casters (about ten casters every fish). Colin then told me about his near miss with his new Colmic X5000 pole.

Colin came second over all with 7lb 15oz of Silvers.

The match was won by Pete Sivell with 10lb from peg 7. Pete had all Silvers on caster.

Full Result:

1. Pete Sivell 10-0-0 peg 7
2. Colin Golding 7-15-0 peg 4
3. Mike Owens 3-14-0 peg 9 (1 Carp)
4. Tom Coulston 2-04-0 peg 6
5. Bill Ferris 1-15-0 peg 3
6. Andy Curry 1-02-0 peg 8
6. John Bennett 1-02-0 peg 1

What Colin had done was to press the male end of his pole section (this process is normally used on the number five section up to number eight) in to polystyrene (the stuff your TV was packed in), cutting a cylinder section, then araldite into the pole section. I wonder why the pole manufacturers don't do this as standard!!!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Saturday 01/09/1973 - Bathampton AA Waters - Claverton - Manor Field

The following article was published in the Anglers Mail:
“Barbel Experiment”

Nine Barbel scaling 46lb caught by Bristol Angler, Mike Nicholls has set the seal of success upon an experiment started 20 years ago.
At that time there were no Barbel in the Bristol Avon, a river of long, slow flow running reaches and occasional fast runs.
As a long-term experiment, officials of the former Bristol Avon River Board planted 54 tiny Barbel into the river in 1955.
Now Mike has proved the experiment is a success by taking the nine fish, the best 5lb, from the Manor Field length at Claverton on float fished tares.
Two more barbell captures have been confirmed from Lancashire’s River Ribble.
Wigan angler Peter Hodgkinson landed two 2oz fish at Melling Wood, Preston.

Roger Newport secretary of the Leigh-based Fir Tree AS landed a three inch fish at Barton Flats, the next length downstream.”

I caught these fish from the “Funnel Swim” in Manor field. I went there expecting to catch Roach and Hybrids on Hemp and Tares and couldn't believe it when I started to catch Barbel. This was the first time I had seen one in the flesh. I actually hooked ten but lost the last one, as it straightened the hook. Another angler fishing upstream from me asked what bait I was using. I explained that I was feeding hemp, with tares on the hook, both of which could be purchased from pet shops. Just as I was packing up the angler came back, explaining that he had been into Bath and bought some tares, but couldn't get them on the hook. Because hey were too hard! I apologised to him, for not explaining that they required cooking for an hour before use! I hadn’t fed that much (typical do I hear) so I gave my remaining bait and offered him the swim. I do hope he caught on them. I have not fished the swim since.

This catch was taken just four days before my first son Steven was born.

Later that season in one of the regular Bathampton AA Open matches, Jim Baines weighed in a couple of caster caught Barbel from the “corner swim” at the top of the Manor Field. These matches were always well supported with usually 100 plus anglers – what’s happened?

As happens, I didn't have my camera with me so, no photographs of these particular fish. However, on the 01/09/2006, exactly 33 years later, I was invited by my good friend Andy Gifford, who is Roach and Barbel Specialist (pictured below left with me and Barbel - sorry Andy - too small to photograph - I know tiddlers to you) to fish the Avon and Tributaries waters on the River Frome. We both caught a net full of Roach, Bream and Chub; plus we both landed a Barbel each. All caught on tares!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Wednesday 04/02/2009 - Carps AC - Huntstrete - Withy Pool

Well the weather goes from bad to worse; should I go, or, should I do a couch potato? Although the first test was starting in Jamaica I decided to go, well the temperature had risen to zero! I was amazed to find another nine lunatics’ who had braved the conditions. The conditions made pegging easy - where swims were ice free. This was pegs 69 through to pegs 59 (photograph right shows the clear areas (far top) and the prevailing conditions).

Last Thursday I had a pleasure session on peg 67 and had 30lb of Skimmers, plus two Carp. I recon that 10% of the Skimmers had Cormorant spear marks on them – a bit worrying. So, any peg around this area would be good. In fact I drew peg 69, which was the first peg next to the ice. I was well pleased. I started at top set plus four sections – two swims – a light rig up to the edge of the ice, over caster and one out in front with pellet. It took me two hours to get my first bite - a micro Perch. Other than pegs 69 and 68 (Bill Ferris) everyone caught Carp. I ended up with six Ronnie’s and one Perch for 8oz and won the Silvers by default with 8oz and a pick up of £35. Bill Ferris had one Ronnie (DNW). The only other Silver fish caught was a 3lb 14oz Bream by the match winner John Bennett (pictured right with his Bream) from peg 67.

John Bennett (Photograph bottom right with one of his Carp) weighed an amazing 60lb 4oz. John caught at 13 metres using maggot and 4mm expander pellet over micro pellet.

Runner up was Andy Curry with 48lb 12oz from peg 66. Andy fished 10 metres with Corn.

Full Result:
1. John Bennett 60-04-0 peg 67
2. Andy Curry 48-12-0 peg 66
3. Bob Price 28-0-0 peg 62
4. Colin Golding 26-12-0 peg 60
5. Andy Gard 9-12-0 peg 64
6. Bob Warren 5-02-0 peg 61

Top Silvers:

1. John Bennett 3-14-0 peg 67
2. Mike Nicholls 0-8-0 peg 69

Monday, 2 February 2009

Lucky "Bloke"

The above title is reference to Ian (“Bloke”) Pulsford. Ian earned his nick name through him referring to everyone he first met as “Bloke”. Bloke had retired from work in his early forties to fish full time. Bloke had built a reputation as the only angler in the South West that fished every day of the week. However, his match fishing with Bathampton is limited for financial reasons. Bloke is a close friend of England International Des Shipp. Bloke will tell you that he taught Des all he knows – there may be some small amount of truth in this – Des always appears to know how venues that Bloke fishes are responding.

Bloke fishes regularly at Bitterwell Lake – particularly Tuesdays. So it was no surprise that I met up with him whilst out walking the Lake.

I exchanged the usual “how’s it fishing” stuff, and for some reason the discussions got around to dropping pole sections in to water! Bloke then went on to explain this amazing story:

It was one day in 2005, when Bloke decided to go pleasure fishing on the Bristol Avon at Keynsham, electing (for reasons only known to himself) to fish the swim just below the Donkey field, behind Keynsham Marina (photograph right shows the swim, but subsequent to the following events the swim had a “Kissing Gate” erected right on it). This section of the river is rarely fished and used mainly during winter league matches, particularly when the river is running high. This is due to it being just above Keynsham Weir and is between twelve and fourteen foot deep, with the summer water level having a slow steady flow. It’s also unpopular because of the narrow foot path and the overgrown trees each side of the swims (see photograph lower right). It’s not somewhere you would select the pole as first choice. Feeder is the most popular choice. During the session Bloke lost a number six section from his new pole, into the murky depths. He tried all the usual landing net business to recover the section, but to no avail. So, being cheesed-off Bloke packed up and went home.

On his arrival home, his wife Margaret, known as Marge noticed that Bloke looked a bit down hearted. Marge enquired for the reason. Bloke explained what had happened to his pole section and the £200 cost for replacement. Marge asked why he didn’t get in to the water to recover it. He explained that the swim he was fishing was 13 foot deep and he was concerned about debris from the trees, etc… which may cause injury; in any case Bloke admitted that he is not a particularly strong swimmer.
His Wife then volunteered to go and try and recover it for him as she was a much strong swimmer. Bloke tried to dissuade her, but she was now set on trying.

So the next day Bloke and Marge, duly attired in swim wear, arrived at the river. Marge stripped down to her swim suit and dived in the river – YES DIVED IN! Marge made repeated dives only to return to the surface with bits of wood, branches etc…Bloke finally persuade her to give up and return home without the section.

I discussed the whole event with Marge, explaining how the first dive down, was the most important, as initially the body if full of oxygen. Repeat dives would last less and less time due, to the depletion of body oxygen. On the first dive Marge made it to the bottom but could only see "stones in the murky, green water". Marge did find and retrieve some sticks and branches. Marge also explained that at the time, the flow of the river was quite strong, hampering her staying in position over where the pole entered the water. Marge, thought afterwards - "what if, she had drowned, how would Ian explain it to the Police". Marge thought this scenario hilarious.

Have a look again at the top photo – would you dive in to this swim to retrieve a £200 pole section – not likely! Marge did at the age of 58. Well done Marge.

Below, middle, is a picture of hero Margaret and Ian celebrating their 40th (Ruby) wedding anniversary.

The only way to describe someone who is the position to go fishing every day and have a Wife prepared to dive in to a river to retrieve your tackle is:
Lucky Bloke

Sunday 01/02/2009 - Viaduct Winter League Teams of Five - Round Two

The Forecasters unfortunately got it right (for once) bitterly cold Easterly wind blowing in from Siberia.

Knowing that I would be pegged on Lodge Lake I really wanted a peg with the wind on my back. I was thinking pegs 59 to 64 would be idea. Guess what I got my wish, once again. I drew 64 on the “Monk” (pictured right). However, I think the fish know when your heart isn’t in it, or they look for cover under the ripple. I wasn’t up for this.

I had heard Steve Long (pictured right) had taken up fishing again, so asked him the question – it was great to hear he had won the Carps AC Silvers the previous week. Steve had also drawn on Lodge, peg 59. I thought of having a pound side bet with him, and then thought better of it – he must know every peg on his fishery.

Captain George, explained that there were Carp to be had by fishing either the waggler or 17.5 metres of pole between the two goal post (top left of the above picture). Well, I did try double red maggot at 16 metres to no avail. The waggler I could get tight in, in fact I could regularly hit the right hand post with my waggler, but no goals. The skimming wind soon dragged the float off station.
However, I did have a Silvers plan up my sleeve. I really did expect to catch a few Skimmers and Ronnies. However, I couldn’t get a bite. After four hours I started to think about what colour text would be best to put “BLANKED” in my blog when I had a lift bite, which resulted in a Motherless Minnow (Leucaspius delineatus or Belica), or sometimes known as "Sunbleak" or "Sundace". In any case the critter came off shipping back. A least I now had a target species! Before I go further, I need to explain something’s above these Critters – they are extremely difficult to catch. They are similar to a two inch river Dace, but quicker! So on the hook goes a flouro Pinkie; this should do it! Not a bite! Back to the big red maggot and another lift bite and the second Motherless on the hook; again shipping back it comes off. You have to realise that you don’t always hook these fish; they more often have the maggot stuck in their mouths. So next time it would be the old Canal and Perch trick (where the Perch has only the end of the worm in its mouth) of lifting clear of the water and swinging to the bank; no unshipping, as the water pressure pulls the gob stopper free. On the next lift bite, a steady lift and a gentle swing to the bank and at least one point in the bag. I did the same on the next put in, and then back to 16 metres for a Carp. At the weigh in I left the scales men discussing whether it was half ounce of one ounce; I will never know now. I think I ended up third last in the section.

The team did really well from an average draw, with the youngsters’ doing the business. Viaduct All-stars finished joint fifth with 61 points. We were one of the few teams to all weigh in. This result moves us up from 11th to 9th overall with 111 points. Well done lads, I hope I can contribute more next time.

The match was won by Simon (Ditch) Hebditch (pictured right) with 91lb 5oz from peg 102 Cary. Ditch caught on the straight lead with punched bread on the hook.

The Silvers was won by John Dursley from peg 60 with just 7lb 8oz of Skimmers.

And ..... Steve Long was 5th in the Silvers with 5lb 6oz of Skimmers caught on the caster and waggler.

Full Result:

1. Simon (Ditch) Hebditch 91-05-0 peg 102
2. Matt Tainton 55-0-0 peg 77
3. John Green 45-05-0 peg 86
4. Nicky Collins 40-04-0 peg 130
5. Dave Roper 39-11-0 peg 73
6. Joss Garrett 38-12-0 peg 96

Top Silvers:

1. John Dursley 7-08-0 peg 60
2. Keith (Mash) Mashender 7-04-0 peg 113
3. Steve Mayo 6-10-0 peg 103

Top Teams on the Day:

1. Westerleigh Blue 78
2. Somerset Angling 68
3. Viaduct Select 65
4. Garbolino BMG 62
5. Fox Match 61
5. Viaduct All-Stars 61

Top Teams Overall:

1. Somerset Angling 153
2. Viaduct Elite 129
3. Westerleigh Blue 123
4. Maver Veals Red 122
5. Sensas 119
9. Viaduct All-Stars 111