Sunday, 29 March 2009

Sunday 29/03/2009 - Carps AC - Huntstrete Withy Pool

Prior to the draw we had a small rendition of “Happy Birthday” for Bob Price who was 71 today. I was going to record:

Bob the Bread Blanks on his Birthday”

However, one hour before the whistle Bob disappears off behind the island (pegs in the 50’s) and landed three double figure Carp on Bread.

I drew peg 42. A peg I am familiar with. I set up for pellet and Skimmers at 6 metres (the peg is only 13 metres wide), a light Ronnie rig and a margin paste rig for the Carp. I fed wet micro at 6 metres, but started on the caster. I had a good run of Ronald’s to 8oz until some bank walkers pushed the fish further out. I switched to the pellet rig. I was getting very quick bites, which indicated that the Ronnie’s were also over the pellet. No sign of the Skimmers. This line started to frustrate. It was noticeable that the Carp were not feeding either. So I decided to set up the 4 metre whip and after trying all depths found that one foot deep was the most productive and had a good run of Ronnie’s. However, the fish were lying off the feed, with only two to three Ronnie’s being caught on any one line. I must have missed hundreds of bites. I weighed 15lb for first in the Silvers and third in the match for a pick up of £45.

The match was won by Terry Bruton (pictured right with the Silvers winner) from peg 61 with a low 17lb 7oz. Terry caught on a 3 gram waggler at full depth with 8mm hard banded pellet fished over 8mm pellet. Terry fed 1 ½ pints.

Full Result:

1. Terry Bruton 17-07-0 peg 61

2. Gordon Cannings 15-14-0 peg 60
3. Mike Nicholls 15-0-0 peg 42
4. Dave Bacon 14-01-0 peg 67
5. Bill Ferris 12-03-0 peg 44
6. Darren Gillman 9-12-0 peg 47 (pictured right with a 1lb 3oz Roach from his catch)

Top Silvers:
1. Mike Nicholls 15-0-0 peg 42
2. Bill Ferris 12-03-0 peg 44

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Thursday 26/03/2009 - Bathampton AA over 55's

Today saw the start of the Bathampton AA Disabled and over 55’s 2009 series. It’s open to all Bathampton AA club members that qualify. The first match was held on Bridge Pool; everyone’s favourite. The first match usually has a high turn out, however, due to the horrendous weather conditions rain and high gusting winds the attendance was down to the usual hardy twenty.

"There is only one thing worse than fishing in a gale - that is not fishing at all".

I must say it was nice to see Mike Jones out match fishing again after a twenty year lay off. I had heard through the grapevine that Mike had been practicing for these matches at Huntstrete.

I had my usual discussion with Colin before the match re only selecting the best pegs equal to the number of anglers fishing. What happens, Colin puts 24 peg in the draw and good pegs 16, 18, 24, 30 aren’t drawn, whilst the worse pegs on the venue pegs 12 & 13 are, with the anglers on these pegs not weighing, hence, not having a days fishing - exasperating!!

I drew peg 14. I think it is probably the deepest peg on Bridge Pool. I have been lucky up to now not to have drawn it. Where was Tom Coulston when I needed him, this is his usual peg! The wind was gusting in to me around both sides of the opposite island, so I was forced to fish short. I started at 5 metres with pellet over pellet which resulted in a few very small Skimmers, the going was very slow. I had also fed caster at 7 metres, so I switched to this line. I started to catch Ronnie’s up to 3oz regularly on single caster, so I decided to stay with this line for the rest of the match (on hindsight this was probable a mistake). With a couple of hours to go I decided to up the caster feed, which resulted in a 2lb Tench. However, it also brought in the Carp which chased out the Ronnie’s for half hour or so. I finished the match with 12lb 10oz of Silvers for fifth in the Silvers.

Mike Jones (pictured right playing his first Carp on 1.7 lb bayer hook length - can you still get that! Mike is also using a Mitchell Match Reel - I think it's the one I once owned but swaped it for his a ABU 601) won both the match and the Silvers from peg 15. Mike caught six Carp for 41lb 12oz plus 15lb 14oz of Silvers for a total weight of 57lb 10oz. Mike caught on the waggler at full depth with maggot hook bait. It was good to see Mike (pictured lower right with his Carp Catch) on his first match get a good draw and catch a few fish.

I was also good to see the Silvers match to closely contested, with only a fish or two separating the top five.

Full result:

1. Mike Jones 57-10-0 peg 15
2. Chris Snow 43-14-0 peg 21
3. Ian Sheppard 24-0-0 peg 19
4. Kevin Collins 22-08-0 peg 3
5. Dave Bacon 20-0-0 peg 28
6. John Wild 17-09-0 peg 32

Top Silvers:

1. Mike Jones 15-14-0 peg 15

2. Ian Sheppard 14-14-0 peg 19
3. Colin Golding 13-04-0 peg 17
4. Bob Feltham 12-15-0 peg 11
5. Mike Nicholls 12-10-0 peg 14

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Esox lucius

There are two reasons for adding this to my blog, a phone call from Malcolm Murfett of Bathampton AA committee re Club Record catches and the current series of Extreme Fishing, currently being shown on Channel 5.

Take extreme fishing first. I personally think it to be an excellent programme, albeit it being over acted by Robson Green – unless he does get that exited when catching fish! The episode that I relate is the Pike fishing in a secret lake at the bottom of Sleeping Lady Mountain. They arrive there in a small plane, which lands on the frozen lake. The guide cuts a hole in the ice and erects a tent up over it to aid visibility (reduce back light) in to the deep clear water. Subsequently, by dangling a lure on a piece of string near the surface attracted the Pike. The Pike were then speared by a Trident (Neptune’s fork), but with nine prongs on the fork instead of the usual three! At the beginning the programme the guide explained that the lake was once full of Trout, Grayling and Char, but now all were extinct, except the Pike. The Pike’s population had in fact increased due to Pike eating Pike, with no other predator, other than Neptune! Why does this concern me? Well I am finding that my beloved Bristol Avon is steadily going in the same direction. Long gone are the Dace and Skimmers with the Roach fishing generally being isolated. However, there are still large shoals of big Bream, some now reaching 10lb (which the Pike appear to ignore – perhaps they find them too big to eat). I can’t go fishing on the river in the autumn and winter without a 4oz to 8oz hooked Roach being taken or attacked by Pike (incidentally Pike also ignore the 1oz to 3oz Roach). I don’t know the answer to this problem, but perhaps we can kill two “issues” with one bird (see photograph right).

Secondly Malcolm Murfett and I were talking about Bathampton AA club record catches. I told him the story of the 28lb 10oz Pike I caught on the “point peg” at Kelston in 1988 when fishing with my son Mark in the October half term. We had started the day fishing for Roach and had a few decent ones before being consistently attacked by Pike. Fed up with this, I set up one Pike rig and we took it in turns landing Pike between 5lbs and 6lbs - one after the other. We then hooked the 28 pounder. The Pike was distinguishable due to it having one gill plate missing. It was weighed and immediately returned to the water. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me that day. Malcolm thought this might be a Bathampton AA club record.

I then remembered a huge Pike Dad caught in 1953. I was told it was 29lb 2oz (pictured  upper right – the weight is pencilled on the back of the photograph). The Pike was caught from a peg on Claverton Island. Another one over me Dad! Like me it would have been an “opportunist” catch rather than a planned Pike fishing trip.

Another notable Pike from “The Opportunist Pike Angler” (pictured right with his Cripps Pike) caught on the Cripps River in 1975. I not sure of it’s weight but certainly a “teen double”.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Sunday 23/03/2009 - Hillview Open

Well it was a Hillview “double header” this weekend. I decided to go back for the Sunday open, as it was planned for the canals. It being Mothers Day I felt a bit guilty going fishing and leaving Brenda on her own. I also woke with a bunged up nose and a splitting head ache, after a few disprins I still decided to go.

It was nice to see some old and new faces in attendance. However, it was sad to hear of the passing on of Terry Parker. He was an excellent Angler and well respected in the West Midlands; we had many a peg and canal battle at Hillview, with the honours about even (I can hear disagreeing). Terry often came good late in the match, so you needed to keep an eye on him. Rest in peace matey you and your humour will be missed.

It was a good turn out with all four canals needed. I drew peg 72 on the third Canal, which I was pleased with (photograph right shows my peg). I set up one rig for over, one paste and light pellet rig for down the “track”. I fed two lines over and lightly fed down the track. I started quite well with a run of Tench and a few stockies down the track. Most anglers had gone straight over and were also catching well. The track died, so I tried over and had a few more Tench and a 3lb Carp. For some reason the Carp were cruising around and only settling in the middle pegs. The lad (the subsquent winner) on peg 74 was catching good size Carp to 3lb tight over, fishing meat. It was interesting to see him texting on his phone and striking at the same time – not seen this before! At half way my head ache had returned and the swim had completely died (as had most end pegs). As I couldn’t see it improving and having about 12lb in the net I decided to pack up and leave early (bloody conscience – did I throw any section winnings away - no!). On packing up Bill eat all my remaining bait - sweet corn, expander pellet, etc… he will have a belly ache in the morning. After I packed the car I felt there was something missing – there was, my rear pole roller – lucky enough Keith found it and is keeping it for me.

Full Result:

1. Jake Cork 58-03-0 peg 74 (that’s Jake third angler down in the above photograph)
2. Dave Gregg 53-14-0 peg 67
3. Tony Gibbs 46-02-0 peg 57
4. Bryan Gallagher 39-10-0 peg 50
5. Gary Clark 37-10-0 peg 41

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Saturday 21/03/2009 - Hillview Open - Rover

It was a good feeling to be going fishing with my son Steve again after his two and half year’s lay-off. He’s been busy bring up my beautiful twin Granddaughters. The choice of venue was Steve’s; he has always enjoyed fishing at Hillview, I have too. After an egg and bacon toasty, we drew for our position in the rover. I drew peg 13 (not that I am superstitious) and Steve 7. We were informed that Moorhen was now fishing best out of the two Lakes. Steve chose peg 19 and I chose peg 2 both on Moorhen (photograph upper right shows our pegs; that’s Steve on the right of the sign - setting up, mine is on the left), purely out of nostalgia. It’s the peg I have enjoyed fishing most over the years. I’m hopeless on picking pegs on rovers.

My peg is the deepest on the venue, which gradually shelf’s off to eight foot at 10 metres. I use three rigs; one 4x16 ay 10 metres; one 4x14 at 5 metres and a margin rig to the right over the straw bale. I started fishing 4mm GOT pellet at 5 metre, which resulted in three foul hooked carp and three scales in the net! The Carp were up in the water cruising around. I then had a run of Bream to 3lb. I had fed corn at 10 metres, so gave that a go. I had one Roach and a 3lb Bream. Back onto the 5 metre line and another run of Bream with a couple of “Stockies”. I kept switching between the two lines until the last hour or so, then in to the margin with paste!! I had two good Carp, the second chasing out any remaining Carp. I decided to finished the match on the 10 metre line which resulted in another Carp and a 2lb Skimmer. I weighed 35lb , which included 20lb of Bream for seventh in the match.

Steve beat me with 65lb 8oz. He was helped by a PB Carp of 19lb (pictured upper right with his PB). Steve caught most of his Carp on pellet from both his left hand and right hand margins. This put Steve 3rd overall and a pick up of £30.

The match was won by Saturday regular Gerry Tweed (pictured lower right). Gerry chose peg 70 on the third Canal for 94lb 6oz (a "nearly ton") of small Carp caught on soft pellet.

Full Result:

1. Gerry Tweed 94-06-0 peg 70
2. Richard Ahearn 87-02-0 peg 32
3. Steve Nicholls 65-08-0 peg 19
4. Gary Pickings 53-0-0 peg 28
5. Alan Such 45-06-0 peg 16Trevor Chalk 38-02-0 peg 37 (must be close season on the rivers)

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Wednesday 18/03/09 - Carps AC - Sedges - Brick Lake

This was the first time back since last September so I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to fish, and the approach I should take. I drew peg 4, which isn’t quite between pegs 5 and 9, my favourite Skimmer pegs. However, I was hoping for a Carp Slayer to have drawn peg 5. However, I couldn’t have had a worse angler (for me that is) arrived on peg 5 – Dave Wride. I knew it would be difficult to beat him off his peg. Before the "all-in" I had a chat with Rich Coles who has been fishing the venues Silvers League, Rich suggested expander pellet over micro, topped up with through a kinder pot. I also spoke to Jess Jordon, who had caught a few Skimmer on the previous Sunday's match from peg 4, Jess had fed ground bait and fished expander over the top. So I decided to start short at 8 metres with ground bait laced with dead red maggot (a line I could throw away – which I subsequently did). I also fed a pot of micro at 13 metres at 12 0 clock. I started over the GB with double red maggot hook bait. I caught Skimmers straight away from 4oz to 2lb, but they didn’t stay for long. As expected Dave Wride was catching regularly at 14 metres, with soft pellet on the hook. I decided to also fed a pot of micro toward peg 5 at 11 0 clock and a pot at 2 o clock. I went out in front with pellet at 13 metres and had a few more Skimmers. Dave was still catching steady and by half way was well ahead of me. I kept topping up all three swims with kinder cupped micro. The 2 o clock swim produced absolutely nothing, with the 11 o clock swim producing the lion’s share of my 28lb 6oz of Silvers. This put me second in the Silvers and 4th overall and a pick up of £35.

I was pleased with my elastic set-up comprising 1.8 mm diameter Vespe hollow through my top three, attached to a Preston Pull-a-Bung. I didn't loose any Skimmers whilst playing them. I even landed all the "flyer's".

The match was won by Gordon Cannings (pictured right with his Carp catch) with 64lb 4oz from his usual corner peg 10! Gordon caught an equal share of Carp on the pellet waggler fished 3ft deep and on the pole at 11.5 metres. Surprisingly enough his catch included 10lb of Silvers – must have been a few about then!

As predicted the Silvers was won by Dave Wride with 46lb 8oz of Skimmers and Bream. Dave used soft pellet hook bait over kinder potted Swim Stim micro pellet (the green ones). He also fed about one pint.

On the whole the Lake fished very well with plenty of Skimmers being caught. This fishery is managed extremely well by Jamie and Denise, and seems to improve on every visit.

Full Result:

1. Gordon Cannings 64-04-0 peg 10
2. Dave Wride 46-08-0 peg 5
3. Rich Coles 28-14-0 peg 12
4. Mike Nicholls 28-06-0 peg 5
5. Roy Short 22-08-0 peg 13 (all Silvers)
6. Ryan Potter 22-0-0 peg 3

Top Silvers:

1. Dave Wride 46-08-0 peg 5
2. Mike Nicholls 28-06-0 peg 4

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Sunday 15/03/2009 - Avon Angling Open - Avalon Fishery

I have it on good Intel that a Dace of 1lb 3oz was caught last week on the River Chew at Compton Dando. This is the Bathampton AA waters – right hand bank upstream of the river bridge. Shame the season has ended, otherwise I would have given it a go next week. Roll on the 16th June.

Well, I couldn’t draw peg 26 again as it wasn’t in the draw bag. So I drew the nearest to it; peg 25! I decided this time to go easy with the micro pellet, feeding a small amount at 11 o clock on the 14 metre line. However, I also decide to feed a ground bait and caster line at the same distance, but at 2 0 clock. I couldn't get a bite on either line, until I switched to worm over the GB line. This resulted in two Skimmers, one Tench and a small Carp, all in consecutive put-ins! I kept trying the pellet line but to no avail. I bravely decided to feed chop worm and caster over the GB line, this totally killed the swim. Now well past the midway point, I decided to set up the 4 metre whip with maggot and caster for the Ronnies. Strange, I couldn’t string any more than a couple of Ronnie’s or Rudd together at any one position. I tried all sorts of feeding patterns, but couldn’t work it out. The fish appear to be very nervous. I finished the match with 1lb 5oz of Carp and 4lb 3oz of Silvers for a total of 5lb 8oz.

The match was won by my good friend Clayton Hudson (pictured right with two of his best double figure Carp) from peg 38 with 115lb 6oz - an all Carp catch. Clayton fished the pellet waggler eighteen inches deep up to the far island, hair rigging 10mm hard pellet and feeding six and eight mm pellet over the top. However, Clayton struggled in the last hour, landing one more Carp. He had the match won after the first hour anyway!!

The Silvers was won by Alan Oram with just 10lb 14oz of Tench and Bream from peg 19. Runner up was Chris Derrick with 10lb 4oz, having a 3lb 4oz Crucian adjudicated as a non Silver fish – unlucky Chris; they count on every other match I fish.

Full Result:

1. Clayton Hudson 115-06-0 peg 38
2. Steve Skelton 45-15-0 peg 11
3. Vince Brown 41-0-0 peg 5
4. Lee Pesticcio 33-13-0 peg 3
5. Alan Smith 30-14-0 peg 16 (three Carp – one 16lb 4oz pictured right)
6. Anthony O’Reilly 28-0-0 peg 6

Top Silvers:

1. Alan Oram 10-14-0 peg 19

2. Chris Derrick 10-04-0 peg 12
3. Steve Kedge 9-15-0 peg 30

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Wednesday 11/03/2009 - Avon Angling Open - Avalon Fishery

It could be that we have now seen the end of this miserable Winter, much warmer today, with temperatures up to 13 degrees.

What are the chances of drawing the same peg again? Well the answer is the same as the first time. I drew peg 26, the same peg from which I won the Silvers from last Wednesday with 26lb. I was a bit disappointed as I wanted to test another peg for the Silvers. I needn’t have worried as the Skimmers switched off and the Carp switched on. I decided to feed differently this time and fed 250 ml of micro, much more than last time by 200 ml. All I succeeded in doing was to attract the Carp. It took a long time before I had my first Skimmer, but I did have plenty of indications that Carp were feeding at all depths except on the bottom! I caught the odd Skimmer throughout. However, mid match I had a run of five Carp in consecutive put in’s, two I lost which were probably foul hooked. I had another five minutes later. The upshot was that I over fed for the Silvers; just too positive. The four Carp weighed 16lb 8oz and weighed 10lb 12oz of Silvers for a total weight of 27lb 4oz. This put me third in the Silvers, by default, and last in the money with a pick up of £20.

The match was won by Martin Lenaghan (the same Martin I wrote about on Monday’s match) from peg 5 with an all Carp catch of 88lb 2oz. Martin fished the shallow pellet waggler one foot deep to the far bank with 10mm hard pellet over loose fed 6mm pellet, feeding about one pint.

Runner up was Dean Mallin (pictured right - has he got false teeth?) from end corner peg 24 with 82lb 9oz. Dean caught into the end margin with both sweet corn and pellet on the hook over potted micro pellet.

The Silvers was won by Eric Fouracres (pictured lower right with some of his third framing weight of 74lb 8oz) with 15lb 2oz from peg 16. Eric caught quality Tench and Skimmers on hard 6mm pellet fished over hard 4mm pellet at 17 metres to the island.

The fish of the match was caught by Vince Brown from peg 28. Vince caught a 12lb 8oz Ghost Carp (pictured bottom centre with Vince – magnificent fish, well done matey) on the waggler over to the island – ask Vince the rest!!

Full Result (close match with a fish or two separating both frames):

1. Martin Lenaghan 88-02-0 peg 5
2. Dean Mallin 83-14-0 peg 24
3. Eric Fouracres 74-08-0 peg 16
4. Steve Skelton 62-08-0 peg 40
5. Tony Rixon 60-8-0 peg 19
6. Alex Murry 60-4-0 peg 11

Top Silvers:

1. Eric Fouracres 15-02-0 peg 16
2. Lewis Jones 12-02-0 peg 32
3. Mike Nicholls 10-12-0 peg 26

Monday, 9 March 2009

Monday 09/03/2009 - Bob the Bread's Rover Match - Bitterwell Lake

I’m rubbish when it comes to “Rover” matches. Even though I drew position three I chose to fish with the gusting wind blowing from my left to right on peg 9. For the better presentation for the Silvers fishing I should have chosen the road bank, with the wind off my back. However, I did get the swim right for the Carps winner!

I set up one rig and started on the 3 mm pellet. This resulted in three Skimmers. However, I managed to bump a few off so changed down to a three elastic. But this wasn’t the answer as I still kept loosing the odd Skimmer. I now put it down to the gusting wind. I changed to caster and maggot and had a run of Skimmers, until my neighbouring angler hooked a frisky common which went through my swim. I struggled for the rest of the match. I did have a run of four decent Skimmers – one after the other – all pulled out! I weighed 9lb 11oz which put me second in the silvers and a pick up of £20.

The match was won by Martin Lenaghan (pictured right) with 39lb 8oz from peg 8. The peg I suggested he fish for Carp. Martin caught on the usual hair rigged treble bread, with 2 ½ foot leader.

The Silvers was won by Bill Ferris on the road bank peg 5. Bill weighed 12lb 4oz fishing double Pinkie on the hook at 10 metres.

Full result:

1. Martin Lenaghan 39-08-0 peg 8

2. Bob “The Bread” Price 35-04-0 peg 12
3. Mervyn Skuse 19-02-0 peg 10

Top Silvers:

1. Bill Ferris 12-04-0 peg 6

2. Mike Nicholls 9-11-0 peg 9

Sunday 08/03/2009 - Viaduct Winter League Teams of Five - Final Round Five

I had a phone call from mate Darren Gillman who had been, fishing the ATSWWL Semi final on the K&A Canal for Bathampton AA. He informed me that the team had “finished, plumb last”. The match was won by Garbolino BMG with Diawa Gordon League and Preston Thatcher’s coming joint second – all three qualifies for the AT winter league final – not the Nene again, unlucky sods!!

Today was the final match of the series. I was looking forward to fishing the last match on Campbell Lake. I didn’t mind where I drew; I didn’t expect to draw the sacred Harry Potter peg (123). However, Captain George pull peg 111 for me, I was delighted, as it’s a good Silvers peg. I spoke to a few of the venue regulars and they advised I should be thinking Carp on the straight lead and treble corn. So I thus, felt obliged to set it up. I also set up two Silvers rigs (both 4x14 wire stem). One for 10 metres and the other 4 metres (in case the wind picked up!!). I started at 10 metres and had a couple of decent Skimmers before the Ronnie’s moved in. I really struggled for any decent Silvers. The wind was blowing at me from about 10-o- clock and was pushing the float through with it; I just couldn’t pick up the tow. We then had a horrendous storm of high gusting winds and hailstones. I had to stop fishing the pole and chuck the lead out (see it has its uses). Fair play to the angler on the next peg 112 (pictured right - take note of the amount of pole he has behind him - this helps compendate for the wind - the angler being the point of rotation) who stuck it out. The angler behind me also tried to continue fishing only to see his Maver pole shatter in to three pieces. After the storm the wind became more persistent, changing by about five degrees more in to my face. This change allowed me to present the double caster over loose fed caster much better. In fact I began to pick up the tow. What a change this made in the last half hour or so of the match, I just could not fish fast enough. I had three personal best Perch that weighed a total of 8lb, three Tench and two Bream. Even though I was fairly weather battered by this time I didn’t want the match to end. End it did and I weighed 19 lb of Silvers for fifth (they pay four) on the Lake and 16 points and first in the Silver and a pick up of £110.

The match was won by Andy Lloyd from peg 15 with 170lb 7oz. Andy fished the pole down the right hand margin landing 22 carp on Maggot and sweet corn.

At last the team had a decent draw. George played the Captains role by weighing 10lb of Silvers off an un-fancied peg on Cary. However, team mate Matt Cardwell (pictured right) did brilliantly off Lodge peg 66. Matt put 89lb of Carp on the scales for second overall and the best weight off Lodge throughout the series – well done Matt.

The team amassed a score of 74 points, which put us joint second overall. As I half expected this pushed the team up the league to fifth overall and last in the money and a team pick up of £100 and a box of Sensas ground bait. Well done lads. Most importantly we beat Avon Angling by a considerable margin of 20 points!!

Full Result on the day:

1. Andy Lloyd 170-07-0 peg 15

2. Matt Cardwell 89-0-0 peg 66
3. Stuart Taylor 74-02-0 peg 16
4. Steve Jackson 50-09-0 peg 50
5. Steve Kedge 49-01-0 peg 97
6. Ian Willets 46-01-0 peg 132

Top Silvers:

1. Mike Nicholls 19-0-0 peg 111

2. Steve martin 16-04-0 peg 116
3. Stuart Foale 16-01-0 peg 71
4. Paul Greenwood 14-11-0 peg 126

Teams on the Day:
1. Wiltshire Angling 83
2. Viaduct Allstars 74
2. Team Keyford 74
5. Enterprise Angling 71
6. Team Veals 71
7. Somerset Angling 65

Teams Overall (final league position):
1. Somerset Angling 356 (£750)
2. Viaduct Select 300 (£500)
3. Team Keyford 296 (£300)
4. Maver Veals Red 291 (£200)
5. Viaduct Allstars 286 (£100)
11. Avon Angling 266

Top Overall Individuals:
1. Steve Kedge 94 (£250) (out of a possible 100 – incredible)
2. Ray Hayward 78 (£160)
3. Jess Jordan 76 (£100)
4. Chris Davis 76 (£80)
5. Kevin Perry 73 (£60)

Thursday, 5 March 2009

The Rise of the Bathampton AA Match Team

The following tells the story of the Bathampton Angling Association Match Team and their spectacular rise to fame and glory.

The story starts with me. In 1976 I was a Committee member and officer of Bathampton AA, holding the position of Match Secretary, which I had just taken over from Mike Jones. I will never forget Mike Jones and me pegging the 315 pegs needed for the Bathampton Christmas match on the Saturday and Mike taking forth place on the Sunday. Mike usually gave his winning hampers to a local charity.

In the same year Bathampton AA took the decision to affiliate with the National Federation of Anglers (NFA). As Match Secretary I was expected to build and manage a team to contest the next NFA third division national. Lucky enough it was to be fished on the River Huntspill, King Sedgemoor Drain and South Drain. This was at a time when the Huntspill was a very popular match venue holding events regularly with in excess of 150 anglers participating from all over the country. I believed that with the right anglers Bathampton AA could win this national first time out. I knew the anglers that could achieve this. However, they were split between a many clubs.

In 1972 Richard Coles (pictured right - yes - he had more than one chin back then) and a few of his mates from the Bath AA club – Clive Summers, Hughie Evans, Terry Norris, Roger Newman and Chris Ollis - got together a six man team to fish a local Mini League. They called themselves the “Casters”. They soon made their presence felt, winning the league first time out and continued to succeed in the following years.

Richard then decided to build a bigger squad to enter in the Angling Times South West Winter League (ATSWWL). They chose to fish under the Bathampton AA club banner. With Bathampton already having a team fishing the league, so was born the Bathampton B team. More success followed for Richard and his team, when in 1974 Bathampton B won the ATSWWL title. However, they couldn’t quite make it through to the final.

I immediately looked to the Bathampton B team as the nucleus for my national team. However, they needed strengthening with a bias to the particular venue. I identified two highly respected anglers which I believed were paramount to getting others to follow. These were Mike Jones (pictured right) and Mervyn “Topper” Haskins (pictured lower right). Both were then fishing for the City of Bristol winter league team, as were some of the other anglers I had identified. Well, it took me for what seemed ages to get them to switch. In the end I think it was Mike Jones’s allegiance to Bathampton AA that swayed it, as he was still an active Bathampton Committee member. I finally got them to agree. However, the top men on the Huntspill (now referred to as “venue experts”) were Joss Saunders, Dave Searle, Graham Pepper and Malcolm Levy all from Bridgwater (or there about). As some were also City of Bristol team men they quickly followed Mike and Topper. I had the opportunity to include my self in the team, however, due to family and work commitments I chose to remain as Team Manager. There was no way I could spend the amount of time and money the team had committed to spend on the river bank. I finally got the squad together that I believed could take the title:

Richard Coles (Captain)
Mike Jones
Topper Haskins
Joss Saunders
Dave Searle
Graham Pepper
Clive Summers
Hughie Evans
Roger Newman
Terry Norris
Chris Ollis
Nick “The Stick” Iles
Malcolm Levy
Eddie Shortman
Glyn Brace
Tom “The Bomb” Coulston
Bob Warren
Gordon Jones

You wouldn’t bet against this team today!

Well they practiced endlessly, at every opportunity. The practice started to pay off as the teams members were framing in all the practice matches right up to the day. There were many areas on the Huntspill where only small Eels could be caught, for which, we had a method sorted. As the team had now become 2 to 1 favourites it was necessary to keep the method close to our chests. I can now reveal that the method was to “lay-on” close in to the bank with very sensitive balsa wagglers fashioned by Malcolm Levy, Dave Searle and Joss Saunders, very similar to the larger versions still used today. The bait of double squatt would drag nicely up the inside margin, which was fished on a 13 foot float rod.

Well practice do make perfect – BUT, we didn’t plan for the drown poor of cold overnight rain. We were all disappointed to find the fish not responding as planned, particularly the Eels. We managed a lowly and disappointing thirteenth place.

With the Bathampton AA squad now fully established and an opportunity for me to still join the squad I decided now was the best time for me to step back and leave the management in the capable hands of Rich Coles and Mike Jones. Family life was the real decider, as I had two young sons. Looking back I made the right decision, proof of this is that it’s our Ruby Wedding next year in 2010.

But the story continues.

With this match now behind them and lessons learnt, they looked forward to the 1977 third division being fished on the River Trent. Again after lots of travelling and practice they just missed out on promotion, finishing in eleventh place. They missed out on promotion by just one place.

The next national in 1978 was to be fished on River Witham, which was similar to the River Huntspill in many ways; Eels and Bream and no natural flow. In 1978 also saw the first division national being fished on our home waters the Bristol Avon. They saw, and took the opportunity to exchange information with the Barnsley Blacks, Tom Pickering, Jim Baxter and Edgar Purnell, whose local river happen to be the River Witham. This proved a successful for both teams. On August 23 1978 Bathampton AA took the Third Division National title beating 73 other teams. They did it with a combined weight of 33lb 13oz 4drams and accumulated 806 team points.

The match was expected to be dominated by bloodworm. However, Edgar Purnell put the team on to small immature chrysodine maggots on 22 hooks fished over loose fed squatt. This proved to be the key as the bloodworm failed to produce as expected.

The winning team is (pictured right) with the NFA Division Three trophy:

Back row L to R: Glyn Brace, Jimmy Norris, Clive Summers, Hughie Evans, Dave Searle, Roger Newman, Joss Saunders, Graham Pepper.Front Row L to R: Malcolm Levy, Chris Ollis, Rich Coles (Captain) and Tom Coulston.
You will notice that Mike Jones was missing from the team line up. Mike chose to fish the national on his beloved Bristol Avon for Stockport Federation.

In the same year Bathampton AA were also competing in the East Anglian Cup (later to be the Captain Morgan Cup, then the DFDS Cup). This was a very sought after cup and was considered the FA Cup of the Angling world. All the top Teams throughout the country challenged through knockout stages. It was a team on team contest based on weight. Bathampton AA won through to the final beating teams Stephens Talisman of Swindon, North Somerset and West Wiltshire, Harleston of Norfolk, Burton Mutual. With further help from Tom Pickering and Dennis White of the won the final against Lincoln. The match was fished on the river Trent at North Muskham on the 25 November 1978. Bathampton AA more than doubled the weight of Lincoln, who was favourites to win. Bathampton weighed 28lb 15oz whilst Lincoln could only manage 14lb 1oz. The team picked up a winner’s cheque of £2,500 and of course the “Angling FA Cup”.

The squad are (pictured right with the East Anglian Trophy). Their individual weights were:

Roger Newman 2-12-0

Hughie Evans 1-13-0
Ray Sims 3-2-4
Nicky Isles 4-12-0
Mike Jones (Captain) 6-14-4
Robin Smith 2-9-8
Clive Summers 1-12-0
Paul Dicks 1-0-0
Jimmy Norris 1-1-0
Topper Haskins 1-4-0
Gordon Jones 0-9-0
Rich Coles 1-5-0

Lincoln had returned good practice catches using caster and were confident in this choice of bait for the big day. However, Bathampton chose to go after the Chub using 2 ½ BB stick floats and bronze maggot. As fate would have it; there was a hard overnight frost which turned the tactics in favour of the maggot and gave Bathampton AA; sweet revenge for the disappointment of the Huntspill.

So in 1978 Bathampton had done a “Cup double” – Third Division National Champions and East Anglian Cup Winners. However, it didn’t end here.

With Bathampton AA now promoted to division two, as fate would have it the NFA second division national was again to be fished on the River Witham on the 18th August 1979 with 80 teams competing. Could Bathampton win again? Well in was the closest ever recorded national with a points tie for first place between Bathampton AA and Little Lever AA. Both teams tallied 746 points each. However, Bathampton made it two NFA National wins in consecutive years beating Littler Lever AA on weight.

Bathampton AA 32lb 2oz: Little Lever AA 30lb 1½ oz.

The winning squad is (pictured right) and the Team card read:

Section A. Glyn Brace 1-2-0 – 62 points
B. Jimmy Norris 0-1-12 – 2
C. Dave Searle 1-11-0 – 76
D. Malcolm Levy 2-14-8 – 80 (section win)
E. Edie Shortman 1-9-12 - 66
F. Roger Newman 2-4-8 – 63
G. Tom Coulston 3-15-4 – 73
H. Hughie Evans 5-12-12 – 80 (section win)
J. Chris Ollis 1-15-8 – 53
K. Nicky Isles 4-3-0 – 78
L. Joss Saunders 0-1-8 – 41
M. Graham Pepper 6-6-8 – 72 (11th overall)

If you wondering why the Captain didn’t fish; here it is in his own words: “I left myself out because I am a coward. I could not bear to leave any of the lads out of the line-up”.

Malcolm Levy before the match pledged that if Bathampton AA won again he would jump off Kirkstead Bridge. True to his word Malcolm (pictured right jumping from Kirkstead Bridge and lower left what the papers said - thats what you call jumping in; unlike today's anglers jumping in to a three foot deep pond on top of a boat disguised as a £25,000 cheque) stripped down to under pants and jumped. I understand that from that day onwards Malcolm had problems with his ears; I am not surprised. In another chapter I will cover another “jump” from County Bridge in Keynsham.

Formation of this team and realising my ambitions for Bathampton AA is one of the high-lights of my angling career.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Wednesday 04/03/2009 - Carps AC - Bitterwell Lake

The BBC weather forecast had left me pondering whether to go or not today. Glad they got it wrong again, and that I did go. The weather was reasonable right up to weigh in when we had a snow flurry; didn’t last long though. We were greeted by the usual pleasant greeting from Mary and Clive Reid (pictured right serving a cupper to Tom “the Bomb” Coulston in their tea/tackle shop).

Bob Warren and I walked the pegging and were amazed how close the pegging was from peg 6 to 10. Guess what Bob drew peg 6 and I peg 10!! However, I was happy with my draw as it was an end peg. The peg was just before the end of the concrete path.

I set up the 4.5 metre whip for caster and maggot and a pellet rig at 10 metres. I would have fished further out but was limited by the bushes behind (as with most anglers, I don’t like breaking down the pole if I can help it). I started on the whip and caster; nothing – on to the whip and maggot, which resulted in one small Ronnie. Out on the 3 mm GOT pellet fished over 2 mm green Cats and Dogs pellet (purchased from Clive’s shop). I started to catch Skimmers and had a good spell where I had four decent Skimmers on the trot. After which I bumped two good-un’s and then struggled, picking up the odd 12oz Skimmers to the end. After the previous match at Bitterwell I promised myself I would fish caster in the last hour, I didn’t and now regret not doing so. I weighed 18lb 8oz Skimmers for first in the Silvers and third overall, picking up of £30.

The match was won by Bob Price form peg 9, next to me, weighing 64lb 13oz. Bob caught on the straight lead with a three foot leader with three pieces of 10 mm punched bread hair rigged.
Why is it that feeder angler’s feel that they have the right to cast over pole anglers swims? They appear to rotate on their seat box and cast where they are facing!! I don’t mind, as long as the fish they are playing don’t end up in my Silvers swim.

The man of the match for me was Tom Thick (pictured right with his catch - envious or what) who weighed 17lb of quality caster caught Roach. Tom caught fished peg 1 and caught both at 115 metres and short down the left hand margin. Tom fed about one pint of caster.

Full Result:

1. Bob “The Bread” Price 64-13-0 peg 9
2. Bob Warren 30-12-0 peg 6
3. Mike Nicholls 18-08-0 peg 10
4. Tom Thick 17-0-0 peg 1
5. Charlie Barns 6-07-0 peg 7
6. Bill Ferris 3-14-0 peg 4

Top Silvers:

1. Mike Nicholls 18-08-0 peg 10
2. Tom Thick 17-0-0 peg 1

Over dinner tonight the conversation came round to Sir Fred Goodwin's (RBS) £650k pension. My wife thought that he should give it back, on the basis it was an obscene amount. I disagreed, I wouldn't give it back either - who would really. So a quite night ahead. In fact fair play to Sir Fred Goodsum for his negotiations skills - have a goodun.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Sunday 01/03/2009 - Viaduct Winter League Teams of Five - Round Four

Captain George had a nasty car accident during the week, so much so, the fire brigade needed to cut him from his car. However, he was physically fit enough to fish (complete with bandaged arm - see photo below), albeit shaken up.

It was my turn on Spring Lake. Captain George drew me peg 13. Ask anyone I am not superstitious! What made things worse is was a corner peg (well almost). I was hopeful of a few decent Skimmers on dead maggot over ground bait and perhaps some decent Ronnie’s on the caster. I was instructed by Captain George to try for Carp down the edge in to the corner. So I set up two rigs at 13 metres, one for Ronnie’s over caster and the other for Skimmers. I also set up the waggler for well down in to the corner edge. I stated by putting in one orange size ball of GB at 1 o clock and twenty or so casters at 11 o clock. I followed this up with ten pieces of sweet corn into the far left hand corner. I started over the GB with double dead maggot (well nearly dead – I had a chuckle to myself, remembering the hours I have spent over thirty years trying to keep maggots alive and in pristine condition – the maggots today have been in a plastic bag submerged in water with no air, in my fridge for twenty four hours and - blimey they are still wriggling!). I had a few Ronnie’s and a 12 oz Skimmer before the wind picked up – blowing from my right to left. The wind made it difficult to present and got increasingly stronger. I find it particularly difficult to pick up the tow in shallow water (three foot). I think the tow is proportionate to the depth versus the wind force. Anyway the Silvers dried up. So out on the caster line – nothing; I didn’t have a bite on the caster, can you believe this!! Remembering my instructions I went on to the waggler down the edge with sweet corn. Again, the presentation wasn’t right. I decided to set up the straight lead with hair rigged bread. I started my usual count to sixty and on the count of four hooked an 8lb Carp. As the Silvers had dried up I decided to stay on the lead, but didn’t have another bite. With my 4lb of Silvers I weighed 12lb, which gave me 12 points from the twenty on offer.

The team (pictured right - L to R: Matthew Cardwell, Me, Bela Bacos, Darren Baker and Captain George Perkins; I must ask what size shoes George takes) had a mediocre draw, but we again managed to beat Avon Angling with 57 points to their 55. This put us 8th on the day, keeping us in 11th position overall with 212, just six points behind Avon Angling.

The match was won from peg 110 by Tony Creech with 55lb 13 oz of Carp. Runner from peg 97 was Tim Pallant (pictured lower right) with 51lb 11 oz, again a mainly Carp catch.

The Silvers was won by Steve Kedge; you guessed it from peg 123 - again, with 30lb 7oz. He draw this peg next league match - or can he cast a spell!!!

Full Results:

1. Tony Creech 55-13-0 peg 110
2. Tim Pallant 51-11-0 peg 97
3. Nigel Easton 43-12-0 peg 131
4. Greg Victor 41-09-0 peg tba
5. Tony Rixon 38-11-0m peg 52
6. Andy Lloyd 38-06-0 peg 1 (good weight off this peg)

Top Silvers:

1. Steve Kedge 30-07-0 peg 123
2. Bob Gullick 20-06-0 peg 18
3. Steve Denmead 16-06-0 peg 77
4. Kev Perry 13-02-0 peg 125

Teams on the Day:

1. Somerset Angling 84
2. Viaduct Select 81
3. Mosella Sedges 77
4. Garbolino BMG 70
5. Team Keyford 66
6. Maver Veals Red 63
7. Reels and Deals 60
8. Viaduct Allstars 57

Teams Overall:

1. Somerset Angling 291
2. Viaduct Select 257
3. Maver Veals Red 236
4. Sensas Thyers 231
4. Westerleigh Blue 231
6. Garbolino BMG 227
11. Viaduct Allstars 212