Thursday, 28 January 2016

Thursday 28/01/2016 - Coffin Dodgers Silvers League - Round Two - Windmill Fishery - Match Lake

My head is usually filled with fishing next and future match, but not at present, it’s all filled with kitchen, which I am currently refurbishing. The fishing kit was half heartily readied.

First stop the Beefeater for breakfast. No roofers or scaffolders in here at £8.99!!

As we are rotating sections it was our turn in B section. The end peg 9 would be good. First to pick and end peg was mine. For me it was a double edge sword. I knew this end of the Lake tended to be predominately small Ronnie’s with plenty of Carp. Even though we had an overnight frost after a spell of high temperatures and rain there was plenty of colour in the Lake. So I was hoping the Ronnie’s would oblige as I suspected that if I fished long with semi- hard pellet for the Skimmers I might out get Carped-out. On next peg 8 was Mr Personality Dave Wride.

So I set up three rigs – The Ronnie rig, a 4x16 Jolly with 0.12 hook length with a size 20 – 808 hook to be fished at 9 metres in 6 foot of water at 2- o clock with single maggot over GB laced with maggot. Finally a 4x16 Jolly with 0.14 hook length with a number 18 – 808 hook to fish 4mm semi-hards at 10 metre out in front over micro – I expected this to snare Carp and not the sought after Skimmers.

I fed all three lines - Ronnie line maggot in GB, same for the short/long line and wetted micro on the long line.

I started on single wriggling red maggot and thankfully was soon catching small Ronnie’s from ½ oz to 2 oz. The wind was strong as usual on this fishery and because I was fishing down wind the float was towing back towards me, which was OK. After 15 minutes Dave Wride landed a decent Tench followed quickly by a Crucian, so it was catch up for me. Paul Barnfield on peg 7 was quiet so guessed he wasn’t catching. I tried the short/long line with single maggot and was catching the same size fish as on the Ronnie rig. Where there are small fish in abundance they will get to the bait before the bigger stand-off fish. I tried the semi hard on the longer line which also resulted in small Skimmers and Ronnie’s and as expected Carp. I landed three 7 pounders and four 4oz Mirrors on the pellet. I decided to abandon all the long line especially as the wind was picking up. However, I kept feeding the long line with wetted micro to stop the Carp straying onto the Ronnie line which I decide to fish out to the end of the match feeding the laced GB every 45 minutes. I had bites most of the rest of the match and during the last 45 minutes had two decent Skimmers, plus the Ronnie’s got bigger.

I finished the match with 12lb 2oz for a section win and second overall (catch pictured upper right). I thoroughly enjoyed the match.

The match was won by the man that doesn’t need an introduction pictured right who snared 14lb from peg 25… see his blog for the intricate and piss taking details.

Back to the pub after where my dry January ended!

Full Result:

A Section - Steve Dawson 6-15-0 peg 4
B Section – Mike Nicholls 12-02-0 peg 9
C Section – John Barker 3-08-0 peg 22
D Section – Tony Rixon 14-0-0 peg 25

Weigh Sheet:

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Thursday 14/01/2016 - Coffin Dodgers Silvers League - Round One - Windmill Fishery - Match Lake

First time out fishing since Christmas Eve where the weather was absolutely awful, by Boxing Day afternoon I was in bed with Tonsillitis and a Chest infection. Two weeks on Antibiotics followed. Just about right today for the start of the Coffin Dodgers Silvers League being fished this year at Windmill Fishery.  If it was windy and raining again I would have second thoughts. However, after a night of heavy rain followed by clear skies and temperature below freezing I decided to go. But first I had to de-ice the car finding it hard to pull the car doors open.

Firstly it was breakfast in the Beefeater 5 minutes from the fishery.

The league is in safe hands with Ray Beazley running it, limiting the entrants to 20 with 4 sections of 5 anglers paying two in each section with no overall payout on the day.

I thought the icy wind was to be from the NW but arriving at the fishery it was coming from the SW. So a draw on the far bank with the sun in the face and wind off my back would be good. I wasn’t disappointed pulling peg 2. I found myself wedged between Dave Wride (peg 1) and Paul Barnfield (peg 3).

I decided to target the Ronnie’s because the margin on this peg is 4 foot deep. So I set up the Ronnie rig to fish maggot over GB laced with a few Pinkies. The other rig was a 4x18 Jolly to fish top-set plus one which took me to the bottom of the inside shelf.

Having set up and with plenty of time before the all in I went for a walk and took the pictured below looking down the Match Lake, the strip of blue is sky which I haven’t seen for many weeks. On round to have a chat with Des Shipp and took the short video which can be viewed at the bottom of the page.

I fed micro at top-set plus one and GB into the margin. I started after the Ronnie’s and although I was getting indications I wasn’t catching as quickly as I needed to. So I tried the semi-hards over the micro with the float towing gently to the right but not producing bites. Both Dave and Paul were catching small Skimmers at 11.5 metres. I kept feeding GB on the Ronnie line and trying maggot which only resulted in a few tiny fish plus a 6oz Perch. I added another section and re-fed micro at top-set plus two. With Paul landing five decent Skimmers in as many put-ins and Dave Wride catch a couple of bonus fish - the penny dropped. The sun was so bright that the fish had backed well away from our bank. So back on the semi-hards at top-set plus two and I was soon playing what I thought was a decent Skimmers alas not – a 3lb Carp was landed and returned. I added another section taking me to top-set plus three where I had fed some more micro. This brought me four more Carp one more landed, two broke me and I pulled put of a foul hooker. It wasn’t until the last hour that I started to settled down catching small Skimmers to 3oz on semi-hards. It was all too late to catch up with my neighbours. Another lesson learnt should have known better to fish short on a bright cold day.

I ended third in the section and eighth overall with 4lb 9oz. Nonetheless very enjoyable day.

Paul Barnfield (pictured right) won the match with 8lb 15oz from peg 3. Paul fished at 11.5 metres using 6mm JZP jelly pellets on the hook over micro feed. Paul also caught on maggot over the same line.

Section Winners:

Section A – Paul Barnfield 8-15-0 peg 3
Section B – John Barker 6-06-0 peg 9
Section C – Des Shipp 7-06-0 peg 23
Section D – Mike Jones 5-12-0 peg 25

Weigh Sheet:

Sunday, 3 January 2016

The River Huntspill

Back in the 1960’s very few anglers had cars so it was a real treat to fish further a field such as the Huntspill River, a five mile straight channel excavated during the early years of the second world war. It ran from Gold Corner, where it was connected to the South Drain, to a new outfall on the estuary of the River Parrett and had retention sluices at both ends, so that it acted as a long reservoir. It was intended that in the summer, when water supply was lower, it would serve as a reservoir with water pumped from the moors; in winter as a drainage channel, via gravity drainage. Pictures right looking towards railway bridge and Withy Grove on further to the Motorway Bridge.

The plans were for a 25-foot deep channel, with the excavated earth used to create flood banks at its edges. At this depth, water could flow into it from the moors by gravity, but problems were experienced with the design. Because the underlying soil was peat the weight of the flood bank caused it to rotate and push upwards in the bottom of the channel. Experiments were carried out to find the optimum size for a stable channel, and the result was one that was only 16 feet deep. The flood banks could not exceed 15 feet in height, and had to be set back from the edge of the channel by at least 30 feet. Because of the lack of depth, water from the South Drain had to be pumped into the river. The existing pumping station at Gold Corner could not cope with all the water from the drain, as well as flood water from the moors, so had to be enlarged.

The primary way to get there was by organised Coach trips (Charabancs). The pictured below typically shows one of these fishing trips with Granddad (with his usual bottle of Light Ale), Dad and me sat in front middle. Back then the river was very deep at least 12-foot and we fished it float ledgering with long home made wagglers. The problem was casting any distance as we were limited to using centre pin reels it meant pulling line off the reel through four or five rod rings. The river was absolutely rammed with “Bootlace Eels” so plenty of hook lengths needed.

Back then the River Authority maintained the River regularly letting the level drop considerable which I witnessed only the once, which was at a South West Winter League which Dad was fishing and he took me as spectator and general nuisance. The picture centre says it all. I remember Dad getting told off by Mum for allowing me to get mired in the grey Huntspill mud. There was plenty of flow so was fished very differently from when it was full.

Since then I have pleasured fished the Huntspill regularly with Dad and Granddad travelling in the back of my Uncle Dugs van.

I also fished a few matches with the likes of Dave Searle and Joss Saunders the Anglers to beat on the waggler and small fish.

The river was popular with Bridgewater AA running huge matches especially popular was the Huntspill Championship with anglers coming from all over the country to fish the match which was usually double banked and a sell-out. I fished a few of them but it was very hard to land on the winning shoal of Bream. I remember Les Evens endeavoring to collect 2000 worms before a Championship. I fished plenty of opens and team matches and framed up a few times but I was never consistent. I did qualify for the Woodbine regional final just up from Gold corner with 14oz!! The final was to be fished on the Gloucester Canal which I couldn’t fish due to other commitments.

I remember one pleasure session with Dick Hodges and Son Steve. Steve put up his umbrella and soon found himself 10 feet out in the Huntspill. The Huntspill is very exposed to all elements. It took a while to recover his umbrella. We fished on and when I got Steve home Mum wasn't amused with me because he was covered in grey mud - what goes round comes round.

The only match I have recorded was the 125 peg John Handley Memorial Match fished from Gold corner to the Railway Bridge. I drew the last peg on Withy Grove right up next to the Motorway Bridge just above the slipway and spent the whole day with the thumping of car tyres going over the bridge Joints. I only set up the pole at 13 metres fishing double caster over big pots of caster and initially caught well but couldn’t keep the Bream and Skimmers coming. The match was won by matey Tony Rixon who had draw midway along Withy Grove. At least I went home with more than a headache. Rixon Trick Em.

The river now is probably at less than half the original depth probable cause being the rising peat as originally discovered during construction.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Review of 2015

January: In between the Viaduct Winter League dates I planned to revisit Hillview Fishery because the daft 200-300lb winning weights would have reduced to something more sensible of around 100lb. The first match they included an optional Silvers Pool which I willingly entered. I won my section and the Silvers alas they haven’t ran another Silvers pool since, it’s a shame because there are some lovely Roach and Skimmers to be caught here. At least I was able to get in on the photograph with the venue expert Neville Groves. With Tony Rixon having changed jobs he switched his midweek matches to a Thursday and chose Emerald fishery – Sapphire and Ruby Lakes. The weather always seemed to be crap when we fished these matches, but the fishing was good with plenty of small Carp to be caught plus decent Roach which I targeted. The Roach here don’t themselves up easily. My Silvers weight gradually increased after every match. Luckily I had Glenn Bailey as company and was able to share the driving. The BAA Silvers Thursday league also started.

February: Although I started the Viaduct winter League I only managed to fish the first three matches because I developed Pneumonia and had an enforced lay-off but was determined to see the BAA Silvers League against the Special Ones advice (and fool hardy). I was still having a few trips to Hillview View and Emerald Fishery with Glenn Bailey. I was blind paired with Dave Bacon in the BAA Silvers League. The first two matches I did well, midway we both had a bad one, and then Dave pulled it together in the last two matches dragging us up to third overall and last in the money. Emerald was also proving lucky with Glenn picking up regularly in the overall and myself winning the Silvers.

March: Silverfox Team faired much better in the Viaduct Winter League this year beating Avon Angling, mainly due to Leon Hubbard and Gordon Cannings efforts. I have now retired from this League with Tom Mangnall taking my place; we have also strengthened the team with the addition of Adrian Jeffery who has all the qualifications needed to be a Silverfox. Glenn and I continued our visits to Hillview because we were enjoying the company and the fishing. I had the pleasure of watching the Hillview wizard – Trevor “Top Kit” King (pictured right) win a match on Canal 3 – interesting, especially for me as Terry fishes very short.

April: Tony Rixon had bit the bullet and switched the Thursday matches at Avalon Fishery which Glenn and I choose to fish. Again it was a similar pattern to Emerald Fishery with Glenn regularly picking up in the overall and me picking up in the Silvers. I was still visiting Hillview Fishery and returned occasionally to Ivy House. The BAA Silver League came to end with Dave Wride winning the league and myself finishing joint 6th with Tony Rixon. I didn’t really enjoy the league much because the fishing was terribly patchy. The BAA Over 55’s matches started in April fishing three matches in which I struggled to catch in all three. No Carp, because most of them had been removed. Tony’ short pole (top-set plus three) match series started at Chiltern trinity on Woodlands. I started well winning the match with 117lb 9oz.

May: I managed to get Son Steve out fishing on a Saturday choosing Ivy House. Both of us intending to fish for the Silvers. The upshot was that Steve narrowly beat me on the Silvers; lucky for him getting home I won the match! First trip down to Landsend Fishery with Bela and found ourselves looking at each other from pegs 13 and 11. I had a tremendous last hour adding some big Carp winning the match with 159lb 13oz; Bela came third with 142lb 8oz, so another happy van. Another first since the Viaduct winter League – a Thursday Cost Cutter I drew peg 114 and won the match with 233lb 12oz again adding 100lb + in the last hour using half a top-set, my highest overall weight of the year. I have to confess I was a tad jealous of Steve Longs Silvers winning catch of 58lb. I paid another visit to the Bridge Pool at Dave Crookes Fishery in the Over 55’s. Once again it generally fished patchy weighing a miserable 4lb 8oz. This fishery was my favourite venue, not minding where I drew. The venue has gradually declined over the last few years. I decided to make this the last match here and look elsewhere. I also decided not to fish the 2016 BAA Silvers League. Luckily there is going to one running at Windmill Fishery. I drew well again in the Tony’s short pole match at Chiltern Trinity Woodlands coming 3rd overall.

June: This is my favourite month because of our fishing holiday at Viaduct. Some new faces this year – Gordon Cannings and Geoff Francis put in a visit – unfortunately Mark Tanner appears to be “loved-up” preferring Le Mans instead. The month started with Tony’s float only at Viaduct and although I really fancied my draw peg 116 the wind proved all wrong with me and Alan Oram struggling on adjacent pegs – not a good start to the league. Bela and I returned to Ivy House and had a double pick-up with Bela thrashing himself to first overall and me winning the Silvers. Tony’s float only at Landsend didn’t go to plan on reflection I didn’t feed enough. A trip to Acorn and I drew a peg 34 which was solid with small Carp, unfortunately they were all spawning and I had a right frustrating match, not catching them in the mouth until the last two hours. Glenn “Top Pots” won the match. I ran a short pole match at Viaduct on Campbell and it fished exceptionally well, with once again “Two Pots” winning the match (I am running two short pole matches in June 2016 – Saturday and a Wednesday). Back to Ivy House catching my highest Silvers weight of the year 40lb 14oz – all Ronnie’s, which was only good enough for second in the Silvers as Gary Etheridge beat me with 56lb 10oz which would had been higher had Gary had more than one tin of corn. June was the start of the Amalgamation winter league fished at the Sedges Fishery, we were to alternate between the Canal and Tile Lake. We started on the Canal and I was impressed with the venue as it suited my style, winning the Silvers with 22lb 12oz consisting of ten species of Silvers. 

July: I bought myself a 13 metre Drennan Acolyte Carp pole plus the 9 metre Margin pole with all sections interchanging a real bonus. It’s an excellent pole suiting my purposes. A made a couple of fruitless visits to Viaduct Fishery this month trying to qualify for the Silver all winners just getting pipped in to second or third. Back to Landsend for Tony’s Float Only, my prayers were answered when I drew Walters Lake, best match so far winning the Lake but wouldn’t contribute towards any league coin. Back to Chiltern Trinity – Woodlands for Tony’s short pole League. I drew well again winning the match. So three section first I was doing well, but sat on my shoulder was Trigger, who was having a great run of wins. Another of Tony’s Float only league this time at Ivy House. I didn’t draw that well but managed a section second. I missed the Tile Lake match in the Amalgamation League so it was back on the Canal, another enjoyable day catching both Silvers and Carp for a 2nd and 2nd. Back to Viaduct for a Cost Cutter match which was well attended due to fifty Firemen practicing for their national match on the Saturday. At last I qualified for the Silvers all winners final, primarily due mostly, if not all the anglers fishing for Carp.

August: Tony’s float only moved to Sedges Fishery I drew a good Silvers peg but it wasn’t until the dying hour that the big Skimmers started to feed how many times does this happen. Back again to Sedges on Tile Lake for the Amalgamation League I drew next to matey Dave Bacon with Dave winning the match and me winning the Silvers with all Ronnie’s. Last round of Tony’s Short pole Match at Chiltern Trinity – Woodlands I thought I had drawn well, but had Trigger in my section on a good peg the upshot was I blew it only catching four big Carp late on, but had done enough to remain in second place, can’t complain I had four good draws and picked up every match – well done Trig. Back on the Sedges Canal in the Amalgamation League this time with “Two Pots” who drew the flyer peg 64 and won the match I again won the Silvers. Bela, Two Pots and me fished an open on Viaducts Carey Lake what was interesting was that Bela won the match and Two Pots was second, alas Two Pots chucked back some Skimmers to free up another keepnet enough escapees we think to have won the match. Tony Rixon and I found a replacement venue for the BAA matches on a Thursday – Harescombe Fishery and what a fishery it is really suiting short pole fishing. We both have enjoyed good results here.

September: Back to Sedges Fishery - Tile Lake a strange match working hard for five hours catching Ronnie’s for 22lb then in the last hour landed 14 Carp for 115lb. Next match was back on the Canal with Two Pots and it was a repeat of previous. With trips to Landsend, Avalon and Harescombe I decided to give the local venue Windmill Fishery another try and must say I had a great day on the Silvers winning the Silvers with 22lb 10oz Bela and I decided that we would be going back again soon. Back down to Sedges with Two Pots and I drew really well - peg 21 in the corner, that said it is a method feeder peg and as I don’t/can’t fish that way I thought I might struggle and I did, again that said I didn’t fish it well on the pole either. Two Pots winning again.

October: The first match was the Viaducts All Winners Final with Bela and Two Pots who drew well, the draw leaving me on the right Lake but peg 129 one below the spit. Not a winning peg I thought but on hindsight it could have been closer. Why is when the pay out are much bigger anglers think they have to feed proportionately larger amounts, young Greenwood next to me on the other side of the spit was blasting pellet all match feeding 10 pints this didn’t help me and helping Chris Davis next peg to him even less. I later thought if I had anglers next to me of similar minds I might have got closer to the winning weight. I did win my section as did Bela and Two pots. The match was won by Craig “Trigger” Edmonds – who else at the moment (still waiting for that fish and chip supper that was promised). The final match of the Amalgamation League at Sedges Fishery was on the Canal which had been fishing hard finishing fourth overall and second in the Silvers. The League fish-off was won my John Osborne – well deserved. A few trips to Harescombe and Windmill Fishery proved to be rewarding. Next was the Viaduct All Winners Silvers Final. I drew well on Carey peg 100. The problem I have with Viaduct this time of year the fish generally move out of my reach which proved today. On reflection and with some advise from Gabe who was on next peg 99 coming second overall I might have got closer to the main money only managing a section third.

November: I spent the whole of November fishing either Harescombe or Windmill Fisheries I did have one trip to Ivy House all being productive.

December: Likewise I spent the whole of December fishing Harescombe and Windmill fisheries again being very productive. If anyone had any doubts about Global warming and its effects these were dispelled during this month with high temperatures up to 16 degrees. High winds and heavy rain.  I think it spurred on the Paris summit climate change talks.

I lost two great Angling friends this year – Dave Crookes and Dave Bacon. The latter being well known on the local match angling circuit plus he had a tackle shop in Bath. Dave Crookes may well be mainly remembered for his years of loyal service to Bathampton Angling Association as General Secretary. However, I will remember him firstly as a great angler. Example fishing next to him in a winter league on Kelston straight, the flow here is forced over to the far side by the point peg Dave knowing this fished a Crow Quill within six foot of the far bank and was catching Roach regularly to win the section – some cast and line control left a long lasting an impression on me. RIP Dave’s.

The Facts and Figures behind 2015:

I like playing with numbers especially if they a £ sign in front. The figures remain fairly consistent over the years without any significant dropping off of anglers and results.