Thursday, 24 December 2015

Thursday 24/12/2015 - Windmill Fishery - Open - Match Lake

Although a few days ago the weather forecast wasn’t good for Christmas Eve, Geoff Francis and I still decided to go whatever, even it was just for breakfast at the Beefeater. For me I wanted to try out my new micro video camera (pictured right without its waterproof housing). I first tried it at Harescombe with it attached to my head. However, because it doesn’t have a viewfinder it’s difficult to setup, plus I was surprised how little I move my head instead I moved my eyes (shifty). Another try today but instead of having it on my head I set it up on a bank stick. Unfortunately the wind was so bad the bank stick was moving too much. It wasn’t until the third hour that I had another try. The results are shown below – weather conditions were far worse than the video shows.

Because of the date and the weather conditions there were only four of us willing to brave the conditions and spouses. We couldn’t decide on the pegs as I wanted to be sheltered from the wind because I only fish the pole, Bob Price wanted peg 10 in the draw although it was a tad windswept it wouldn’t affect him as he fishes the lead plus it’s his favourite peg! We decided on a rover.  I drew peg 1 so first out and sat on peg 30 deepest peg on the Lake, Geoff sat on peg 32. Bob on peg 10 and Ted Bethel on peg 7.

Geoff decided to put up his umbrella attaching it to his box. He left his box for 5 seconds long enough for the box to do a Mary Poppins into the Lake. A bit windy then.

One rig – 4x18 Jolly to be fished at top-set and top-set plus one where I had 9 foot of water and I was still about 2 foot up the inside shelf. I fished semi-hards over pellet and caught most of my Silver on the longer line once the wind subsided a bit.

I caught Silvers (Tench, Skimmers and Crucian’s) steady throughout putting 18lb 8oz on the Scales. No Carp. Very enjoyable. The Small Skimmers seem to be bigger every time I go.

Geoff Francis fished the method catching seven Carp which he thought was enough to put a third net in. His estimate was well short of the 70lb net limit with 25lb 12oz.

Ted DNW’ed.

Bob “Medium Slice” Price (pictured upper right) won the match on bread on the lead for 60lb 6oz.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

20/12/2015 - Harescombe Christmas Match - Match and Field Lakes

Off to our first Christmas match of the year. Bela had a hangover so I drove to Harescombe. It was like being with a girl driving instructor – back seat drivers, I only stalled twice.

A good turn out of 35 anglers, 19 on Match Lake and 16 on Field Lake where we all thought the winner would come from. In to the draw bag ably held by Andy Price’s Granddaughter and out comes peg 29 – double take on this one as it’s a peg I haven’t drawn yet and was looking forward to it although it has an up and down history, but last Thursday Tony Rixon won off it. Bela drew just a couple a pegs away on peg 2. For company on peg 30 was Andy Taylor.

I set up the usual 4x14 Jolly which after plumbing around found that the deepest part was at the tail end of the flow from the stream weir which was running quite hard. However, after marking the depth I reduced the depth by 8 inches to fish out in front at top-set plus one which also suited the depth at 10 metres aimed towards the overflow pipe. The other rig was a 4x10 Yoof to fish down the RH side and at 10 metres at 30 inches depth, one metre away from the side end bank. I really wasn’t sure how to loose feed as both the flow and the uneven depth was a conundrum.

I stated at 10 metres with the Jolly using 6mm meat over potted micro. It took a while to catch my first fish a 1lb F1. Being an active angler I dumped this line probably too early in favour of the closer line with double maggot over loose fed maggot. This produce loads of bites, unfortunately mainly Ronnie’s and Gudgeon. Just the one F1 from this line and even though I stayed faithful to this line it didn’t yield anymore decent fish. I was now in struggling mode so fed some maggot on the 10 metres Yoof line and tried RH inside line with double maggot where I had been dripping in maggot, again nothing just Gudgeon. Out on the long Yoof line and first drop in a 2lb Chub followed by a couple of small stocky Mirrors. From observation the Match Lake was fishing hard. I reset the Jolly to full depth and tried trotting from the weir, loose feeding maggot onto the weir allowing the float to drag out to full depth. This was the most productive line, catching the odd F1 but mostly Stockies. I stayed here for the remainder on the match. I must say it was weird catching Carp in running water – my first time.

I finished the match with 20lb 9oz for about halfway which earned a box of biscuits and some beers which were soon devoured by Bela and me in Bar-Gar-Age.

Bela did well from his peg catching 24lb 15oz and a Lake pick-up.

The match was won by Stuart Graham (pictured upper right being presented with his hamper and brace of Pheasants by match organiser Andy Price) with 61lb 10oz from Filed Lake. Stuart caught on the pole at 10 metres using maggot hook bait fish over potted caster and maggot at full depth.

Results and Weigh Sheets:

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Thursday 17/12/2015 - Harescombe Fishery - Cost Cutter - Match Lake

We spent a long weekend in Brighton visiting my Grandchildren before they went off to Germany to spend Christmas with their other Grandparents. I travel most of the way by Motorway and was left wondering how drivers of Land Rover Vogue’s enter and exit motorways as I only seen them in the outside lanes – perhaps they stay on the M25 going round in circles.

With a lay-off of nine days I was keen to get out fishing again. At 05:30 this morning the outside temperature was 13 degrees, amazing!

I arrived at Harescombe in plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast, as did many others for the pre-match banter. Wozzy Stuart Barnett arrived and the focus soon turned to taking the rise out of his float making escapades, Alan Oram did best with “Berni the Bolt” making reference to the large size of Wozzy’s float tips.

As Stuart Graham wasn’t fishing peg 29 was up for grabs which was happily drawn by Tony Rixon. I ended up on peg 24, not unhappy with this peg. For company I had Adrian Jeffery on peg 23.

I set up the usual two rigs – 4x14 Jolly and the 4x10 Yoof. I started on the Jolly at top-set plus two sections fishing 6mm meat hook bait over potted pellet at 1 o clock. It took a worrying while to get my first bite, a small F1. After a few missed bites the swim died. I had been loose feeding live red maggot at top-set plus one down wind at 11 o clock which was to be my banker. Unbelievably this produced bugger all. Time for rethink, I decided to get more pole out and fish down to the pallet of peg 25 with the Yoof with double maggot over potted maggot. I started to catch a few F1’s but couldn’t string more than two together. I put this down to the clarity of the water the fish were backing away from hooked fish. With the Jolly abandoned I opened up a top-set margin swim loose feeding maggot. Between the two swims I caught the odd F1, small Barbel and Chub. It was never manic.

I finished the match with a lowly 21lb 15oz for 6th overall.

The match was won from Stuarts peg 29 by Tony Rixon (pictured upper right with his catch) with 60lb 3oz. Tony caught on pellet…see his blog for details. An excellent weight on the day.

Full Result:

  1. Tony Rixon 60-03-0 peg 29
  2. Chris “Dobbin” Telling 37-05-0 peg 3
  3. Martin Hook 33-08-0 peg 7
  4. Roy Liddell 25-09-0 peg 13
  5. Alan Oram 24-09-0 peg 9
  6. Mike Nicholls 21-15-0 peg 24
Weigh Sheet:

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Sunday 21/08/1981 – Bath AA – Charity Match – Bristol Avon – Town Waters to Monkton Combe

This was to be a 250 pegger through Bath Town up to Monkton Combe - Midford Brooke. The match was being run by Bath AA. The match attracted top anglers from all over the country with the final entry being 234. The draw was at the Crown Inn at Bathford and staggered over an hour. As usual I arrived early waiting for the draw to start (first to draw is assured the winning peg is still be in the bag)! In I go and out comes peg 249 one from the end of the match length. Checking the pegging map I found I was two below Midford Brooke (see picture upper right for peg location - the first three pegs marked with X). Not much parking here so rushed off to park, the walk was short but needed to cross railway lines.

My peg looked spot on but was hoping that the upstream end peg right on the mouth of Midford Brooke would not be drawn. The peg downstream was a little close for my liking. My hopes were double dashed when matey Eddie Shortman (pictured right) came running to his peg 250!!

I set up the tackle box on a weed bed so I able to get reasonably close to the water that said the weed bed was a potential threat to landing Chub, my target fish.

I decided on the waggler and a maggot feeder both to be fished with Bronze Maggot.

I had been sent some great wagglers from an Angler called Derek Spillsbury from Burton-on-Trent. Derek had been practicing for a National Championship on the Avon and for some help I gave him he gifted me the floats (my last remaining pictured right). His friend Ken had made them.

I chose to fish 2lb Maxima straight through to a 18 hook. I started on the waggler and caught Chub straight away (which was the case with the Avon Chub) the next Chub I lost in the weeds. After landing six Chub and loosing two the swim died. Time for the Thamesley maggot feeder and managed a few small fish, Gudgeon and Roach. I decided to stick to the waggler for the remainder of the match – resulting in a few small Dace.

With such a big match you never knew when the scales would arrive or how you had fared. Luckily Eddie was first to weigh in and me second. Eddie had also been catching Chub and thought he had just pipped me, which he had with his 14lb 13oz 8drams and my 12lb 2oz. Did those two lost Chub cost me?

I was one of the first back to the pub and found myself stood at the bar next to a guy called Charlie Barnes – our first ever meeting. We sat chatting over our pints I think Charlie had caught 10lbish. No idea how we had done until the results were read out and I was delighted to have come 6th overall and pick up a weeks wages and a waggler rod (can’t remember which rod, so it wasn’t spectacular). I think Charlie was either 10th or 12th. Eddie came 3rd overall with his 12lb.

A memorable day with the match being won on the pole!!

Media Report:

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Sunday 06/12/2015 - Windmill Fishery Open - Match Lake

Another very mild day for December, but when are the winds going to subside? Bela and I had another good breakfast in the Beefeater where we were joined by Lee Weller.

Apparently the last match here Dave Haines drew a Golden peg and technically won the match but unfortunately got disqualified for going over in his Carp net. Some would say his no show was down to a sulk!!

Terry did his usual role call as per video below – watch out for the Bike Rack!!.

Mandy did the draw for the three Golden pegs and peg 22 came out. A peg I have won off so was hoping to draw it. And I did – yippee. Then I realised I would have to fish for Carp to claim the extra £100 – Umm.

The wind was horrendous and thought the tip would be the way to go. Not for me though as I don’t bring it, in any case I wasn’t going to change my very enjoyable way of fishing for £100. Bela was on peg 24 and I suggested he fish it – “The Dead Head Lead”. He did, making some excuse that his garage door crashed down disabling his shoulder, apparently due to the high wind.

I had pre-mixed my GB so was pissed because it would be wasted as I choose to fish 4mm semi hards over 4mm pellet in the hope of beating the Dead Heads. I set up a 4 x 16 Jolly to fish as far as the wind would permit which was top-set plus one 10 inches up the inside shelf in 6 foot of water, plus one section for wind ballast. The presentation was crap. I also decided to use the GB and fed it down the RH margin, not that I even tried it, but watched in case a Carp tail appeared in the two foot of water.

I started well catching a Carp first put in followed by two more all were caught within 6 inches of their mouths. As I said this was down to the crap presentation. I had been fishing a Drennan 8-10 yellow elastic which I was thinking was too light for lading these Carp during which I then hooked a big Carp which did me in the margin weed. As it happens we wait for a disaster before making changes. I upped the elastic to a Drennan 10 -12 Red. Can you believe it I hooked a 2lb Skimmer and bumped it off – Bugger?

I stayed on this line catching the odd Carp and accidental Skimmers and Crucian’s until 45 minutes when the wind dropped so I could go out to full depth - another section. I had a few better Skimmers and one smaller Carp - in the mouth.

I finished the match with seven Carp for 30lb 10 oz and  my accidental Silvers weighed 14lb 2oz for a total weight of 44lb 12oz for a Silvers first and third overall. I was beaten twice for the Golden peg by Dead Heads on the lead – as I suspected. Nonetheless I thoroughly enjoyed how I fished – bloody wind.

The match was won by Bob “Medium Slice” Price (pictured right with the Silvers winner) with 51lb 60z from peg 30. Funny enough Bob caught on bread on the lead over to the point of the island, feeding nothing.

Bela also caught on the led catching ten Carp for 50lb 7oz – just 15oz behind Bob. The van once again had a double pick up.

Full Result:

  1. Bob Price 51-06-0 peg 30
  2. Bela Bakos 50-07-0 peg 24
  3. Mike Nicholls 44-12-0 peg 22
  4. Norman Ferris 33-09-0 peg 10
  5. Chris (work the surname out from the weigh sheet) 32-15-0 peg 26
  6. Luke Pester 32-14-0 peg 8
Top Silvers:

  1. Mike Nicholls 14-02-0 peg 22
  2. Darren North 8-07-0 peg 4
Weigh Sheet:

Add caption

Friday, 4 December 2015

Bristol Commercial House League - The Early Years

In 1973 a Mr Colin Golding started as a sub-contract Draughtsman at Masson Scott Thrissell Engineering (MST) in the next drawing office to mine. He was an angling hero because he had been selected to fish for the England World Coarse Fishing Championship Team. Colin had just come back from the match in France and we spent some time hiding behind drawing boards chatting fishing. Colin didn’t get to fish any of the championship matches, being reserve both days. However, England did finish third. Colin pictured below with the rest of the England Team.

Over the years I have been honoured to have fished in the same matches as five of the above.

At the time I was the secretary of the MST Angling club and Colin encouraged me to put a team into the Bristol Commercial House League (BCHL) ran then by John James and Brian Britt. We did this in 1973 managing to cobble together a team which consisted of regulars: Me, Dad, Ron Gaulton, Chris Gaulton, Les Evans and various members of the club whom I nagged into fishing – some of the lads pictured right (taken on the free stretch of the Bristol Avon above Weston Lock).

The MST club decided to affiliate with Bathampton AA (BAA) enabling us to have four matches a year on any of their waters. This required me to attend monthly BAA committed meeting at the Charmbury Arms in Bath.  I looked forward to these meetings as I was able to talk match fishing with one of the top six anglers in the country – Mike Jones, not that he was that forth coming!! Back then the Committee were all top match men except the Treasurer who didn’t fish.

Colin was right the BCHL proved a good league to develop match fishing experience. As time went by I couldn’t maintain a MST team so had to pull out. However, I soon signed up for other teams and continued to fish the league for over for 30 years for these teams: - MST, Rolls Royce, DRG, Jayne’s Contractors and Fry’s.

With most of the matches being fished on the lower Avon and 50% of those on the Fry’s stretch (free peg fee for BCHL) a part of the Avon I came to love because you never knew where the winner would come from week to week a fairish section with each swim having its own character. Topper Haskins also loved it fathering many, if not all of the names for the swims.

The Bay, The Stream, Arm Chair, Opposite the Carp Hole, The Gully, Blackberry Bush, The Straight, The Calvert, The Barge, The Lone Tree, The National Swim, Cow Dip, The Trees, The Stump, Sugar Hole (A small stream which Topper swore he could smell chocolate in it).
So if I drew a peg two above the Arm Chair I could more or less walk straight to it, which was important as none of the swims were short walks.

The BCHL was a very strong league with plenty of great anglers. The following is Media coverage of some matches which I managed to framed in during those early years: -

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Thursday 03/12/2015 - Harescombe Fishery - Cost Cutter - Match Lake

Travelled today with the Carpenter that owns the van (pictured right), I wasn’t permitted to mention his name as he was having a sneaky practice before his Christmas match in Saturday. Tony Rixon was missing today apparently he has the Sh1t’s, sat home all day on his thumb.

We had the usual warm welcome from End Peg Price, cooking our breakfast. Well done to Andy and his team Lobby’s for nicking both first overall on the day and team overall in the upper Thames Winter League. Must have upset a few teams coming up from third!! Well deserved I think.

Fourteen fishing today, including float entrepreneur - Wozzy - Stewart Barnett.  We are all waiting for the closing down sale when he moves back from Wales to Ozz!

Why is there so many ways to spell Stewart? Stuart Graham went into the draw bag hoping to avoid his resident peg 29 – no chance. I went in and ended up on corner peg 30 next to Stu (name fits all) a peg I had fished before. No emotion as at least I would be out of the gales force winds and heavy rain which didn’t materialise. In fact it was a proper global warming day.

Initially two swims, the RH margin to float a 4x10 Yoof and a line at top-set plus two (with a third section for ballast and quicker shipping) for the usual 4x14 Jolly.

Fed the LH margin with pellet as I did the Jolly line where I started with 6mm meat hook bait and caught F1’s straight away. The swim had a peculiar tow in towards and to the right difficult to tempt them holding back and running , so it was a question of holding a let run for a little way then hold back kicking the hook bait up which got me the bite I wanted. I did catch a couple of proper Carp to 2lb before the swim died for unexplainable reasons. I spied some colouring up in the RH margin (with the bare bank) so what did I do, feed it with maggot – why? I can’t help myself. Tried both margins and only managed a Gudgeon from the RH side on maggot. It was time to switch the Jolly line to within loose feeding maggot range which for me was top-set to the LH side at 10 o clock. The presentation was much better with regards to tow. I had a good run of F1’s plus the usual couple of Barbel. I decided to abandon the LH margin instead favouring the RH side where I continued to dribbled maggot. It wasn’t until the last 45 minutes that I focussed on the RH margin and had a run of big F1’s and three proper Carp.

I thought I might have 40lb but weighed 48lb 2oz for a narrow win over Stu on peg 29 (catch pictured upper right).

Full Result:

  1. Mike Nicholls 48-02-0 peg 30
  2. Stuart Graham 43-02-0 peg 29
  3. Alan Oram 33-0-0 peg 17
  4. Roy Liddell 31-10-0 peg 21
Weigh Sheet:

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Sunday 07/10/1980 - South West Winter League - Bristol Avon - Christian Malford

I had a great job for a single man which I was told I had for life. Alas I wasn’t single and had two sons aged seven and four so in 1980 I decided to change jobs for something more office bound. The advantages were being able to spend more time with the family and perhaps get more fishing matches in. Disadvantage I lost the company car so purchased a Beetle which was to serve me well for many years.

I was still fishing for the Golden Carp winter league team and I had an opportunity to fish the SWWL being pegged on the Bristol Avon at Christian Malford a venue I had only visited a couple of times so was looking forward to it, it had some flow and stories of plenty of big Roach.

I cant remember where what my peg number was but do remember having to drive through a farm yard and park in a field full of cattle just before he M4 motorway bridge. I soon found my peg and recognised it from the many times I had driven east up the M4 always having a quick look over at the river. I was one peg above the deep bend I can’t remember who was on this supposed flyer – more above water than under. Matey Ray Sims was one peg up stream of me (GEarth picture right X’s showing the three pegs mine in the middle).

It was an easy peg to access and fish requiring just a 4BB Ivan Marks Pacemaker (great floats), with a new type fine wire 16 hook to 1.5 Maxima hook length and 2lb main line, ABU 607 reel and Shakespeare President 13 foot rod. Bait wise it was Hemp, Casters (home cooked) and maggots.

Ray was quite close upstream so I fed down the peg casters shorter than the hemp. Single caster on the hook and I was soon catching quality Roach to 12oz. This was short lived as I was getting Pike trouble which resulted in me lifting Roach out as quickly as I could. The Pike were jumping clear of the water trying to snatch them. And this is where the chose of hook failed me the fine wire was bending resulting in lost fish, so I changed back to the Gold Mustad hook. It didn’t stop the Pike but I didn’t loose as many. Ray Sims came down to find out what all the splashing was. He watched for a while and was amazed how many Pike were in the swim Ray had just one Roach! Unsurprisingly half way through the match the swim completely died. With an hour to go it was my turn to go to Ray’s swim again attracted by splashing.  The Roach shoal had moved upstream to Ray and he was catching well and managed 6lb before the end, plus a few lost Pike!

I finished the match with 13lb 14oz. I promised myself I would go back to the swim and pleasure fish it, but never have.

Godfrey Hargreaves (pictured right) won the match with 29-13-08 of Roach on bronze maggot from a downstream peg somewhere near the Church. Godfrey then owned the House of Angling shop in Swindon and passed away in 2013 aged 65.

The angler on the bend had a 3lb I think.

Arriving back at the car I was worried when I saw lots of Bullocks surrounding my car, as I got closer I could see them licking it. The penny dropped I had polished my pride and joy the day before and they had taken a liking to the polish. I got a bank stick out and managed to get in the car and back to the results with the paintwork in tack.

Full Result:

  1. Godfrey Hargreaves  29-13-08
  2. Mike Nicholls 13-14-0
  3. Mike Farr 11-02-0
  4. Dave Clutterbuck  9-11-08
  5. Chris Copper 8-06-08
  6. Trevor Gunning 8-01-08
Media Reports:

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Thursday - 26/11/2015 - Harescombe Fishery - Cost Cutter - Match lake

I was talking to a fellow Angler (I was going to say an old guy) a couple of weeks ago whilst waiting for the draw. He said he rarely wins any pools money and looks on the day as an “Expensive Day Ticket”. This got me thinking and I concluded that it’s much, much more than that. Pleasure fishing tends to be catching nothing and go home early, catch loads and go home early. What you get in a match irrespective of the number of competitors is the camaraderie in the cafĂ© before the draw and good company during the match, keeping you there until the end just in case. Plus you always have the possibility of landing on a few fish to compensate for your value for money day ticket.

Uneventful drive followed by a breakie and a chat about what’s going on in the angling world – e.g. Stafford Moor draining Pines Lake.

Draw time and we let Stewart Graham draw first as he has spent so many matches on flyer peg 29! He broke his run picking peg 10. In I went and came back with peg 6. Wrong end I was thinking. Arriving at the peg I was disappointed to find that there was little to no bank side vegetation for margin cover. Plumbing around I found the margin shallow and flat until it fell off to full depth – not good for the way I feed and present. I set up the two rigs a 4x14 Jolly which was heavier than I would have liked, but the peg was an inbetweener with the 4x12 being a tad bit light. This rig was to be fished down wind just down the inside shelf at top-set plus half. The other rig was the usual 4x10 Yoof for both baron margins. Bait tray I had caster, maggot, semi hard 4’s, meat and soaked pellet – a lot for me.

All ready for the all in - see video below for the Duck call all in.

I fed the LH margin with soaked pellet and the RH with caster and the Jolly line with soaked pellet with a smidgen on 6mm diced meat. I started well catching five decent F1’s before the swim completely died; it wasn’t even a question of the F1’s moving up in the water. As expected the margins were difficult especially the RH as it was up-wind and blowing through too much. The caster margin produced nothing. Decision made I switch the Jolly to top-set plus two and switching to live maggot feed and ditto on the hook. This brought some bites even though it was from Skimmers and Ronnie’s. This kept me busy and interested. Unfortunately this only produced a couple of F1’s. Alan Oram and Stewart Graham were catching well short on maggot, so conclusion was that there wasn’t the numbers of F1’s in my swim. Having thrown in the towel for coin I decided to experiment. So set up 13 metres and had a go with pellet and meat, I did catch a few F1’s over but it wasn’t long before the Silvers were nibbling the meat. Perhaps I should have started over there – who knows.

I finished the match with 32lb 8oz for nowhere, nonetheless an enjoyable day.

The match was won by Stuart Graham (pictured right with his catch) with 69lb 2oz from peg 10. Stewart caught most of his F1’s at 4 metres using maggot hook bait over loose fed maggot.

Full Result:

  1. Stuart Graham 69-02-0 peg 10
  2. Martin Hook 48-04-0 peg 24
  3. Alan Oram 47-14-0 peg 8
Weigh Sheet:

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Sunday 22/11/2015 - Windmill Fishery Open - Match Lake

Went out to the car early to pack, no frost or ice on the car windows, packed the car, had a cuppa back to the car and the glass iced up in 20 minutes!! I filled the kettle with warm water and washed the windows. That said we were promised a less windy day and warmer day the yesterday.

Bela was working this weekend to catch up on last weeks rained off work, so it was the Beefeater for breakfast on my lonesome.

I just managed to be first to the fishery, beating fifteen others for the 08:30 draw. I was about fifth to draw and out came peg 18, which didn’t mean a lot to me except I was told it was the shallow end and was likely to be Carp free this time of year. Not an issue for me.

OK the winter has suddenly been thrown at us, so need to change the approach? I decided to start where I finished the last match which meant setting up the 4x12 Jolly for semi-hard over soaked pellet to be fished at full depth at top-set plus two. As back-up I set up a 4x10 Ronnie rig.

I started on the semi-hard and had a bite immediately a 1oz Skimmer, for the next 45 minutes I stayed on this with a 4oz Skimmer the biggest fish to grace the keep-net. I was getting plenty of indications from these small fish but they were too small to pull the float down. I had been loose feeding caster both sides so tried the Ronnie rig and had a few Ronnie’s but I was missing too may bites. I decided to mix some GB in the anticipation that I might get the Skimmers close in on the Ronnie rig. This didn’t work so I added caster to the GB and caught Ronnie’s averaging 2oz, which was much quicker than trying to catch the micro Skimmers further out. I converted the Jolly line to meat but trying it a few times found that the tiny Skimmers were converting a cube of meat into a sphere. This was soon abandoned to fish for the Ronnie’s for the rest of the match. Absolutely no sign of a Carp except a late welcome addition of a 1lb Crucian.

My net of Silvers (pictured right) weighed 14lb 3oz for first in the Silvers – just.

The match was won by John Osborne (pictured right with the Silvers winner) with 51lb 2oz from peg 23. John caught at 15 metres up the far shelf using either 6mm expander over 6 mm feed pellets or maggot over maggot. Well done matey.

Full Result:

  1. John Osborne 51-02-0 peg 23
  2. Mike Wilson 42-10-0 peg 26
  3. James White 27-13-0 peg 22
  4. Gary Walsh 19-07-0 peg 30
  5. Mark Summer 17-0-0 peg 2
  6. Bob Price 16-0-0 peg 20
Top Silvers:

  1. Mike Nicholls 14-03-0 peg 18
  2. Steve Dawson 11-12-0 peg 11
Weigh Sheet:

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Thursday 19/11/2015 - Harescombe - Cost Cutter - Match Lake

It looks like Two Pots and paste have gone into hibernation. The chest virus is all but gone but didn’t want to get wet so unusually put the brolley in the car as it promised to be persistent rain for most of the day brightening up around 3 o clock. And that how it transpired, except the temperature dropped once the rain stopped.

After a breakie I was first into the draw bag and out came peg 20. Happy with this as I reckon at the mo you need to draw middle - up, plus I fished it three weeks ago and had a good day next to Rich Heatley who we haven’t seen since – missing you matey come back up.

Found myself pegged opposite Tony Rixon (pictured right trying out his new Drennan Carp pole) but only for a few minutes because he had set up in the wrong peg!!

I was able to park behind the peg plus due to light winds able to put the brolley up. Last time on the peg I initially caught down the shelf then over to the far bank at 13 metres but due to the conditions I only set up the one top set, leaving the rest of the pole in the car. I attached a 4x10 Yoof to fish in both margins, the RH margin caster over caster and meat over pellet in the LH margin, so not much on the bait tray. I did feel naked not having set up the Jolly.

During the first two hours I was beginning to believe I had made a big mistake as Chris Fox was catching over and Martin Hook was catching short down the shelf with maggot (where I would have fished the Jolly). However, I was putting the occasional F1 in the net from both margins. Come mid match the fishing got better but it was hard to keep the fish coming. I then spotted the RH margin colouring up thinking it was Carp, alas not it was due the persistent rain running down the hill into the Lake. The caster was a bit disappointing adding only five F1’s plus my usual Barbel and a bonus 12oz Roach. The meat margin was working
best and into the fourth hour I started to catch steady anticipating a good last hour which I felt I needed to catch up Chris and Martin. Unfortunately the opposite was true – it slowed. However, during the last 10 minutes I put five F1’s in the net all averaging 2lb with one going 3lb.

I weighed 63lb 2oz which is a lot more than I thought for a narrow match win over Chris Fox (pictured right with the match winner)


  1. Mike Nicholls 63-02-0 peg 20
  2. Chris Fox 60-06-0 peg 14
  3. Tony Rixon 52-10-0 peg 8 & 9
Weigh Sheet held by "Gordon blew-it Chef":

Monday, 16 November 2015

Sunday 19/08/1979 – Portcullis Open – Warleigh – Bristol Avon

I hadn't been fishing for some time due to work and family commitments so it was nice to sneak a match in. The match scene was much better organised than today, with all the clubs getting together to sort a annual match calendar and would publish forth coming events (typically shown right). So I choose to fish the Portcullis match at Warleigh. The match was being organised by Rich Croker (yet to be of Scotts Tackle fame). I chose this venue because Dad favoured fast running venues so took me here regularly pleasure fishing. The match stretch was up and down stream from the Warleigh Aqueduct – on the far bank, the draw being underneath the Aqueduct. This meant carrying the one rod and the six legged (latest addition) wicker fishing basket from the car park on the A36 down to the K&A Canal over the Aqueduct and down the side to the river bank for which a number of steps had to be negotiated which were of all different sizes, a final jump off the wall at the end! Other than the fishing a comment that has stuck in my mind ever since which was made by the eloquent Rich Croker – “These steps are like men’s pricks, all different”.

No draw tin, hat nor bag, Rich just threw the swim cards up in the air for a free for all. One landed by my toe so picked that one up peg 12. Where was that? Smack where I was standing on the wall under the Aqueduct. No walk and a wall to sit on with the basket by my side. The swim was high off the water with a three foot wide weed bed in front, so if a decent Chub was hooked I was going to struggle to net it. As was usual with this stretch of the Avon it suffered a down stream wind, which today was quite strong. I set up a top and bottom float (home made) with strung out number 4 shot with a number 16 gold spade Mustad hook. All lines 2 and 1 ½ lb Maxima. I fed casters and had single on the hook after half hour and one small Dace I knew I had to change to a waggler. So I re-set the rod with a 2AA waggler, smaller than usual because I had also decided to fish close in just off the weed bed again with caster feed, caster hook bait. The presentation was much better and caught small Roach, Chub and Dace not loosing any in the weeds as they were small enough to swing.

I couldn’t see any other angler and once the scales reached me I was surprised to find that my 6lb 4oz was winning the match, but there were better swims to be weighed. Luckily it had fished hard so with no one beating my weight I was pleased to take the spoils. I suspect the weather conditions didn’t help the weights.

A right to do getting  up the side of the Aqueduct followed.

Full Result:

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Sunday 15/11/2015 - Windmill Fishery Open - Match Lake

I woke early this morning by the gusting winds and with a sore throat and chesty cough. Bela has it also to be clear he started it! Packing the van the wind didn't too cold. After a fill up at the Beefeater it was on to Windmill Fishery where the wind appeared to be worse and colder. It looked to me as if the near end and part of the far bank was float fishable (see video below). Both Bela and I agreed to not fish but return home. I think Tim Ford was planning to fish so see his blog for any remainders!

Wonder why it's called Windmill?

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Thursday 12/11/2015 - Harescombe Fishery - Cost Cutter - Match Lake

On the way to the venue there was a serious accident on the M5 just after Junction 12 - south bound, loads of police directing traffic off the motorway back to J12. Luckily I just made it off in time. The South bound carriageway was closed for most of the day which meant on the way home I had to go around the back roads to Stroud and get on at J13 to avoid hold-ups.

There was a cold wind blowing down into the valley with it flat calm the near end and rippling the far end as pictured right.

I guess the traffic may have deterred some anglers as only eight of us made it.

In to the draw bag and out comes peg 2. The peg Tony Rixon wanted last match – god knows why as he struggled. That said at least I was, to some, degree out of the wind, in fact I parked the car closer to peg 1 to get some extra shelter.

I set up the usual rigs but found the margins shallower and flatter than other pegs I have fished, which was a bit disappointing. Out at top-set plus one I had about 4 foot. The plan was top fish caster in the RH down-wind margin and meat in the LH margin and dead reds out in front on the Jolly.

After the initial feeding of all three lines I started on double dead reds and soon had a 1lb Barbel ripping the elastic out. After missing a few bites from tiny fish I foul hooked an F1 which I lost followed by a couple more foulers not reaching the net. An hour gone and still the one fish in the keep net. So it was time to try the margins. The upshot was I could catch an F1 from one margin then having to switch margins to catch another and that how the match developed. Throughout the day and unusual for the venue and me I lost a total of 11 F1’s either foulers or lightly hooked. The impression I got was there wasn’t the head of fish in this peg at the moment as they all seem to have migrated to the other wind covered end.

I weighed 33lb 2oz which although only got me third I was satisfied with how I fished.

The match was won by Brian Duckett (pictured right with his catch) with 45lb 6oz from peg 10. Brian fished the Jigga with hair Rigga banded pellet, feeding hard 4’s over the top. Umm.


  1. Brian Duckett 45-06-0 peg 10
  2. Martin Hook 43-12-0 peg 6
  3. Mike Nicholls 33-02-0 peg 2
Weigh Sheet:

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Sunday 08/11/2015 - Tony Rixon Open - Harescombe Fishery - Fields Lake

I was back travelling with Bela even though I was risking catching his Man Flu. First stop, the Beefeater for a scrummy breakfast.

Both of us were looking forward to fishing a new venue the Fields Lake at Harescombe with the promise of lots of big Carp but most importantly for me big Ronnie’s, which was to be my focus for the day.

I think we were all hoping to draw the near end where the Lake was the widest. In to the draw bag and out comes peg 4 which put me half way along the left hand bank, reasonably happy with this. However, because there wasn’t much structure to the parking I had to walk from the van.

For company I had Kev Moulton to my right and Alan Oram to my left – good company then.

The pegs I really fancied were pegs 10 and 11. These were taken by Bela and Tony Rixon (pictured above).

My bait tray was made up as shown right.

I set up three rigs – a 4x16 Jolly to fish at top-set plus one at 12- o clock where I would be fishing in five foot of water some 2 foot up the inside shelf. The Ronnie rig and a margin paste rig for the down wind margin in 3 foot of water.

I started by feeding a pot of micro with 10 pieces of 6mm meat out on the Jolly line and started to loose feed caster on the Ronnie line. First put in on the Ronnie rig with single caster I hooked and landed a 4lb Common Carp. The writing was on the wall I should have forgotten the Ronnie’s and changed to Carp fishing. I didn’t because I was still expecting to catch some big Ronnie’s. I did catch a few but it was really slow and they were only 3oz fish. The wind wasn’t right for this rig dragging it through too fast. I changed to the Jolly with 6mm meat but that produced nothing. I decided to change this line to caster with a dash of worm. I tried a piece of worm but didn’t have a bite switching to double caster was producing bites on the drop which I couldn’t hit. So I set up the 4 metres Drennan whip with a small waggler, set to full depth but fished on the drop with just 5x12 shot droppers. This initially worked better but if I loose fed I would hook a Carp. So I had to sneak the caster feed in by pot, it wasn’t idea but kept the odd Ronnie coming. I did hook 10 Carp on the flick tipped whip loosing 7 hooks and landing 3 Carp on 0.1 G-line! I had been feeding hard 4’s down the RH margin so rested the Ronnie’s and tried the  paste and had two Carp. The wind dropped in the last hour so I went back on the Ronnie rig and had a good 15 minutes catching Ronnie’s to 6oz. However, they were soon being disrupted by Carp landing another two before the all out.

I finished with a disappointing 11lb 8oz of Silvers putting me second in the Silvers and my Carp weighed a surprising 41lb 8oz fro a match third with 53lb.

The Match was won by Tony Rixon (pictured right with some of his catch) with 114lb from peg 9. See his blog on how he thrashed around shallow long on the pole.

The Silvers was won by Stewart Graham (pictured right a bit hazy with the match winner – unfortunately he couldn’t keep still!) with 12lb 2oz from peg 8. Stewart caught short using worm and caster.

Today was a bit of a trial match and I think we all concurred that although it’s a great pleasure fishing Lake it isn’t a Match Lake. That said the day was very enjoyable, especially as both Bela and me picked up some coin – double bubble again.

Bela decided to take a "Long Cut" Home around Yate - Duh!

Full Result:

  1. Tony Rixon 114-0-0 peg 9
  2. Bela Bakos 84-03-0 peg 10
  3. Mike Nicholls 53-0-0 peg 4
Top Silvers:

  1. Stewart Graham 12-02-0 peg 8
  2. Mike Nicholls 11-08-0 peg 4
 Weigh Sheet: (4 DNW's)