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:

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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: