January - April:
Decided to reduce the amount of compulsory matches during the winter months and sacrificed
the Viaduct Winter League choosing to stay local selecting instead to fish the Windmill
Fishery Thursday Silvers League run by Ray Bazeley. It was an eight match series
which took me to the beginning of April. The first match I got wrong but
otherwise had a good series winning the knockout and series runner up, picking
up in seven of the eight matches. Tony Rixon rightly winning the series
especially as for one match he had stand-in Des Shipp in his section. The only
change to the series format would to have a free draw every match instead of
being locked in with the same section anglers for each half the series. Only
one other venue visited during this time – Harescombe a favourite of mine the
fishing being particularly to my liking as is the company. This particular match was won
by youngster Ryan Summerhayes, who had just passed his driving test. I experimented
with videos and bought various waterproof cameras, definitely need a cameraman
as it is almost impossible to film anything sensible whilst match fishing on
your own, plus as was pointed out I’m not the best orator.
April – May: Up
to mid-May I spent fishing either Harescombe Thursday matches or Windmill
Sunday matches with satisfying results and most importantly plenty of bites. Both Fisheries suit
my style of fishing catching mainly on top-set with one and two sections, no
thrashing about with 16 metres of pole needed, if it is ever needed.
May: Was the
start of Tony Rixon’s Short Pole match at Chiltern Trinity - Woodlands and also
his popular Float Only League. Unfortunately I could only fish half the short
pole matches. It was my first visit of the year to the incredible Viaduct
Fishery for the first of the float only’s managing a mere 3 points with 103lb!
But I did beat two from peg 111. The Shaun Townsend evening “Just Turn
Up” matches started at the end of May so tried one and I was blown into
submission not quite making the end of the match, lost all the feeling in my
hands. I fished another two of his matches and picked up in both just missing out on
£100 golden peg by 2lb weighing 120lb! The Curse of the Golden Peg.
favourite month, well anglers my age that can remember the excitement of June
the 16th and getting out for the first match on the rivers after
three months of polishing tackle. I have tried to keep the excitement going by
organising our June weeks fishing holiday at Viaduct with the 16th
in it. We had another great week with Tim Ford, Glenn Bailey, Martyn Woodington, Geoff
Francis and Gordon Cannings all great company both on the bank ans off – what goes on tour stays on tour! We are booked in
for 2017 with Martyn Woodington counting down the days to when he can have
another go at driving backwards and forwards over my five keep nets. During the
week I ran two short pole (top-set plus three) matches on Campbell which proved very popular. Interestingly
the weights are not affected, with less foul hooked fish. I think we should all
be fishing CIPS 13 metre maximum pole rules even after BREXIT.
July: Was the start
of the Amalgamation Autumn eight match series fished at SabreLake
and Tockenham Reservoir. I really enjoyed fishing SabreLake
as it has lots of quality Silvers, especially Roach. Unfortunately, the
organisation was not to my liking – enough said. Glenn Bailey aka “Two Pots”
talked me into fishing Bob Sheppard’s Three Dayer at Viaduct – Campbell Lake.
Thought I might do OK with paste on the pole but got battered by the lead
chucker’s, unfortunately no Silvers pool, so no coin for me. That said the standard
of angling was very high, not the mugging event that Glynn promised me. We
stayed at the Globe Inn which does serve great food especially the Carvery
night, however, the rooms leave a lot to desire.
Windmill Fishery - South Gloucester show matches
were fished over a Saturday and Sunday with Silvers only on the first day and all
in on the second. Luckily I drew well winning the Silvers with us all getting
battered by Carp in the process. So we were expecting good weights the following
day. Although I drew a reasonable peg and started
well putting 33lb in the net
in the first hour – that was it, I couldn’t even catch any Silvers over the
next 5 hours! Because everyone suffered a similar experience I managed to sneak
in last in the big money. As I have suspected the Silvers fed well the day
before and switched off which also affects the Carp feeding. Get Silvers
feeding in the peg and the Carp will soon be nosing about. A profitable weekend
for many of us as the matches are heavily sponsored. Tony had one of his float
only’s at Shiplate Farm Fishery, it has to be said this is one of the best kept
fisheries I fished. Because of the numbers fishing a section was put on a pond
called “Squircle” apparent two circular stock ponds joined by a rectangle, which I drew on. As
expected because it was a small pond with loads of small Carp it suited me,
breaking the pond record with 71lb 12oz. The fishery usually gives £100 for Lake
records during matches, but it wasn’t to be, was this because Bela broke
Hawthorns record with 208lb and The Trig broke the MainLake
record with 222lb all in the same match, after all a match record is a match record!
Both the Tony’s leagues came to an end with Tony winning his short pole and Trigger winning the Float Only “Some say he can’t count any higher than section first, all I know it’s The Trig who won the Float Only with a perfect
spent most of the month fishing Windmill Fishery. There have been plenty of
negative comments about this fishery mainly from people that hasn’t fished it.
Over the year I have grown to understand it and has become a favourite venue of
mine. I fished it 32 times and picked up 28 times. This month the Viaduct
Silvers League started with 55 quality South West anglers fishing, plenty of
competition which is what we all look for.
October - November: Spent
my time between, Windmill, Viaduct Silvers League and Harescombe in 15 visits
this year I picked up 12 times. I like
the 5 hour matches as it gets me home early. At the end of November I took my
first visit of the year to Hillview Fishery in Tewksbury, enjoying a peg to peg battle with
Dave Crookes fishery aka Huntstrete was re-opened after the dreaded KHV. I have
read a few articles on this virus and concluded that high water temperatures is a key factor, might be worth trying closing Lakes when the water temperature reaches
15.5 Celsius to minimise Carp stress. I fished the Coffin Dodgers Christmas
match on Bridge Pool. Also fished the one at Windmill, which was Terry’s last
match before he retired. Lots of comments made about his Buffoonery, which I
sometimes enjoyed. One thing I can guarantee he will be missed mainly because
he did a lot for match anglers, in particular the financial sponsorships. I had
a reasonable Viaduct Silvers League until I drew the dreaded 132 and next to
Bela for the third time, the man is a jinx, plenty of Carp here as subsequent
open matches proved. The final match I drew well peg 69 on LodgeLake,
winning the match on the waggler and caster, feeding ¼ pint all day. As with
most matches I came away
thinking “what if” and this match was no exception. An
hour to go I swopped to a bigger waggler at the same time the fishing tailed
off, so was it the switch or did the Skimmers stop feeding, might have been the
Carp becoming active, will never know. This qualified me for the all winner’s finals.
All through the league I beat every angler each side of me and managed 12th
overall and finished in pocket which is my primary aim. The league was won by
Matt Tomes, a popular winner especially for me.
2017: I’m not
sure what will happen with Windmill Fishery at the moment rumour indicates it
will let out on lease. Not necessarily a bad thing for match anglers.
Ivy House may figure more in my match calendar as Andy is
restocking his MatchLakes and digging a new Lake
for F1’s and Silvers.May also try the over 60's on Wednesdays which has just started.
I hope that the fishery management at The Dave Crookes
Fishery leaves the Lakes alone, free from fish movement and Siltexing giving
nature a chance.
I have been publishing one of our South West Legends Scrap book - Mr Colin Golding which will run into 2017. Amazing record and some interesting history. I have been thinking on how we can get all the small 20 pegs matches together and have some bigger opens.Perhaps the larger fisheries can take a turn in running 50 + peg matches. Back in the day when I was running the Bathampton Juniors I was getting 40 + youngsters on the banks all keen to fish matches. Then there was the Silver Dace Juniors that organised a Junior Summer League with 8 teams of six anglers. Match angling is lacking this and something needs to be done now if our sport is to be saved. The Angling Trust has started the Talent Pathway which focuses on a small number of the more talented juniors from each region which isn't nearly enough. Tackle manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers need to invest heavily in their own future. This investment could be either by providing funds to angling clubs or employment of full time Junior organising officers in each region.
Finally: I found
this cutting right in my scrap book. Bela always managed to catch a Bream or
two on the River – a confidence thing. I was also sent the picture of him with
a net of Irish Bream – recognise him. Next year will be our 10th year of travelling together.
The night before the match I had a call from Mike Jones
explaining that a young angler aged 14 who was taking part in the Angling Trust
Southern Talent Pathway had requested to fish our Coffin Dodgers Christmas Match.
Of course everyone welcomed Will Bedel especially as he would reduce the
average age. Will would also benefit by fishing with over a 1,000 years of experience
fishing today. However, this took me way back when I was the Junior Organising
Officer for BAA when another 14 year old had written to the Committee asking if
he could fish Huntstrete alone because his Dad couldn’t stay with him, which at
that time was a rule of the club. I proposed that he should be allowed to fish;
however, the then Chairman said rules were rules not permitting a vote hence he
was barred from fishing. This incensed me so I resigned there and then and
walked out, never to return. How things change.
18 Dodgers and one half fishing today so we had the usual
photo call (pictured centre below).
The thinking was that the road side would be the better pegs
because it was believed that is where the fish have been fed during the long
closure. In to the draw bag and out comes peg 26 on the far bank, one of the
deepest pegs on the Lake. That said I was
reasonably happy as I had an empty peg each side.
The bait tray first where I had caster, dead reds, pumped 4
and 2mm expanders, wetted micro and GB.
I set up two rigs both 4x16 Winter F1’s one with black top
and the other yellow. The plan was to fish dead red over GB fished out in front
at top-set plus three using the black tipped float and if the fish were responding
well I would feed micro and fish pellet on the yellow tip float at 10-o-clock.
I stayed on the black tip all match!! To say it was hard was an under
statement. The bites were really iffy losing loads of 1oz Skimmers shipping
back as they were lightly hooked (easy to blame the elastic – but not). These
small Skimmers didn’t want to feed on bottom and wouldn’t take an up in the
water static bait. Feeding wasn’t easy to understand either. I kept tiny
Skimmers coming by swapping between the short line and another lined I opened
at top-set plus four.
I finished the match with 8lb 10oz for second Silvers and
The match was won by Ken Morgan (pictured upper with his two
Carp) with 11lb 5oz from peg 28. Ken caught on the pole at 10 metres fishing
red maggot over GB.
The Silvers was won by Rich Coles (pictured right with his
Xmas spoils) with 8lb 12oz from peg 16. Again Rich caught on maggot over GB.
Young Will Bedel lost a Carp but did land a 1lb Perch (pictured
right) and a few Roach for 1lb 15oz from peg 24. Well done to him.
It was also well done to Chris Rolfe for running the match
and getting the prizes (pictured back of his car).
Today was Windmill Christmas Match and Fishery manager Terry’s
last before he retires. Have a good-un matey, you will be missed that’s for
sure and of course my mate Bentley the Jack Russell. The attendance had increased from 20 to 23 for some unknown reason.
However, everyone there could be classed as regulars. The word was that we had
to go in through the bottom entrance because the overhead power cables were to be
repaired. So it was to be Terry’s last faux pas with lots of us sliding in the mud
whilst the sensible ones used the normal entrance!
The draw was brought forward to 8 am so an early start for
breakfast, Geoff Francis, Bela and I stopped at the Beefeater and was surprised
to find the breakfast already set out in buffet style, suit us Sir.
After a slip-slidey arrival it was time for the usual
buffoonery then into the draw box and out comes peg 13 – Nooooo. It was unlucky
for some, well me. That said I started to look for positives – Plenty of room
down on the end bank on my own. I had won the Silvers from it back in the
summer, so that’s the target. Plus the Fishery had forgone their peg fee so the prize money was hiked up with the winner getting £100 and the Silvers winner £60.
I choose a 4x14 F1 Winter to fish down the shelf in six foot
of water at 1-o-clock at top-set plus four with 20 - 808 tied to 0.1 GLine.
Also a heavier rig a 4x16 F1 Winter to fish top-set plus three out in front
with a 16 – 808 tied to 0.14. I started by feeding the one dinner plate on the
shorter line with wetted micro with 4mm expander on the hook. It took a long
while to miss my first nibble, soon after I netted a ½ oz Skimmer. I was
struggling as I expected with such baits, so I opened up another dinner plate
with my GB laced with Pinkie on the longer line and started to string a few
tiny Skimmers together when I hooked and landed a 1lb Specimen (sorry John
Barker – jammy me). The swim soon died I kept topping up and at halfway hooked
and landed a 10lb Mirror on the 0.1 bottom, inspecting the hook length it
looked a bit worse for wear – that a do for more Silvers! Fifteen minutes later
I hook another 10lb Carp and to no surprise to me it broke me – lazy bugger. Just
as the temperature took a sudden drop I decided to hand tie a 20-808 to 0.14
which took a while with my cold hands. After a long struggle catching the odd
small Skimmer I hooked another Carp and confidently landed it - two in the bag.
Another few Silver ounces in the bag when I hook another Carp which was
enormous and played it for some while and at one stage nearly got it in the
net, it then slipped the hook, and a long sulk ensued. That was it for the
exception of a few more tiny Skimmers.
My two Carp weighed 15lb 13oz and my silvers 3lb 8oz for a
total of 19lb 5oz. This gave me first in the Silvers and fourth overall, and
luckily the two lost Carp only cost be one position but more importantly no
loss in coin!!
The match was won by Shaun Townsend (pictured right with the
Silvers winner) with 50lb 9oz from peg 8. Shaun caught most of his Carp on the
waggler into open water using either Corn or maggot hook bait. Shaun fished a
Finally: we still don't know who is taking over from Terry so will need to look for alternative venue until this is resoled to our satisfaction!!
My Thursday match calendar is fully booked now until 6th
April so today was the last chance to fish one of my Favourite venues for a
while - Harescombe. Usual breakfast prepared by Chef Andy Price who had a River
Frome hangover catching a mere 5oz yesterday. Talking of hangovers Roy Liddell was
missing today apparently has started a three week Hogmanay.
In to the draw bag and out comes peg 8. Looking at the Lake pegging map I had plenty of room with Hookey two
pegs to my right and Lee Waller two pegs to my left. Whilst tackling up Lee
decided to make it five pegs to my left down to Alan Oram by doing the full
Monty into the Lake complete with tackle box and all that was attached to it. In
the process he broke three sections of his pole. I usually take the opportunity
to take a video; however, Lee needed help so I was collecting all things that
floated with my landing net. It was pack up time for him and go home as none of
our clothes wouldn’t fit Lee, where was Andy Price when you needed him. Lee
took it well and still had time for a smile (pictured right). Luckily his
Android was still working.
The Lake has been fishing hard;
however, it’s start where you finished the last match, well nearly. I set up
the usual 4x12 F1 to fish full depth at top-set plus either 2 or 3 sections. I
decided on a negative light rig in case, a 4x10 F1 to fish on the top-set with
a long line down wind – RH side with pinkie 6 inches off bottom.
I started on top-set plus two with 4mm expander over damped
micro and had an 8oz F1. I then had lots of shy bites so switched to 2mm
expander and after three tugs I could catch a ½ oz bottle top every put in, a
lot of effort for not much return. So after 45 minutes I switched to the
top-set light right with single Pinkie over loose fed pinkie, which are a
bugger to loose feed accurately. Plenty of bites from small Ronnie’s ensued. I
then had a run of three decent F1’s which were soon to disappear and it was
back to the Ronnie’s. As soon as the small Ronnie’s disappeared it was time to
anticipate run of a couple of F1’s and that how the rest of the match panned
out – Ronnie’s and F1’s.
I finished the match with 34lb to be beaten in to second
place by 1lb by Derek Jarman (pictured right) who was on end peg 14 and caught
over using maggot over maggot.
1 Derek Jarman 35lbs 0ozs 0drams
2 Mike Nicholls34lbs 0ozs 0drams
3 Brian Duckett30lbs 0ozs 0drams
4 Alan Orum24lbs 6ozs 0drams
5 Terry Girdlestone15lbs 10ozs 0drams
A different weigh in today with Jemma Phillips (pictured
right) assisting Andy weighing using her newly developed system match angling
result service which can be logged into and shows the weigh-in live as it
happens. Today I did copy and paste the result in from her website which can be
First stop Shipham Café where Mr and Mrs Stung-Buttocks
joined us for breakfast.
Chatting with Bela on the rest of the way to the fishery
included the mention of pegs 132 and 131. Bela was concerned because I had
mentioned these pegs and we might draw them again, just as if! In to the draw
coffee tin, not first today I was one behind Andy Power who pulled 81, one crap
peg gone then. In I go and because Des Shipp wasn’t fishing today I pulled a
peg he would have otherwise drawn peg 69 on Lodge, a decent peg at last.
Can you believe it Bela drew peg 131 again; there wasn’t
anything I could say to him, not even there are worse pegs because there isn’t.
That said Bela did well catching 6lb from it today which would have put him second in section last match!
For company on peg 68 I had league leader Matt Tomes and on
peg 70 Kev Bailey. I did fancy the waggler today so that was the first thing I
erected with a 3 BB insert with a no 11 and no 12 down the line to a 808 hand
tied to 0.1 G Line. Next was the short Ronnie rig then the 4 metre whip and finally
a 4x10 F1 float to fish at maximum length if 13 metres – hoped that if I used
it the float would keep going under.
I had some GB left from Thursdays match so damped it down
and fed it all at 13 metres towards opposite peg 62 laced with Pinkie and
caster. I planned to leave this for at least 2 hours. I started on the short
Ronnie rig with single caster over loose caster and caught about 2lb including
a 1lb Hybrid before they backed off, so on to the 4 metre whip and kept a few
Ronnie’s to 3oz coming – no sign of the tiny Ronnie’s today. I noticed that
there were a few decent Skimmers topping over the rope toward the disabled peg –
which isn’t unusual for this Lake. So was keen
to try the waggler, but before I did I wasted 5 minutes over the GB line with
single caster, but due to the opposite trees disrupting the reflected light I couldn’t see the float that
well. So it was on to the waggler with single caster over loose fed caster. I
had a great hour in the middle of the match catching seven Skimmers to 4lb a
few small Hybrid and some Ronnie’s. The waggler I selected was working well,
but the wind picked up and found it too light to pull the line straight to it,
so I snapped on a small bodied waggler which did what I wanted but although it
was right for dragging line it wasn’t as good fishing off bottom, hence the
fishing slowed. I think I was too premature in changing because the wind
dropped in the last hour and I couldn’t be bothered to change back (there was a
time I would have set up two wagglers). I had only one more decent Skimmer and
one foul hooked Carp before the all out.
I weighed 30lb 3oz for a match win (pictured right with my
catch) and pleased not to have spoiled it for Matt Tomes who got his second in
section to win the overall league. Well done matey a popular winner. As for my
league I finished 12th the best I could hope for from some of the
draws, beating each side on very match. It was an excellent league with a
strong line up and well run by Matt Long. Be back next year.
Decisions, decisions Harescombe ruled out because it has
gone clear, but with the mild weather? Windmill, might be too windy, so the
choice was the Dave Crookes Fishery on Withy Pool.
The weather had a complete change from minus frost to plus
13 degrees this morning, temperatures which can be expected in summer, however,
it was damp.
Defra has stated that all chicken, turkey and duck owners must keep them
indoors for 30 days from yesterday and take steps to separate them from wild
birds. So I was surprised for the first time to see four chickens on the banks
of Withy, I was also surprised that the head count remained the same when I
left!! Well Christmas is around the corner (pictured right - that's the Dawson picking up his dipped nets).
It was nice to see Terry Bruton here today especially as he was 80 years
old last month. Unfortunately, Terry was taken ill during the match and was
picked up by son Dave. Dave has subsequently confirmed Terry is now home and is
as good as it gets at 80.
It was a too good a turn out for this pool with 22 fishing, a venue very
difficult to peg.
In to the draw bag and out comes peg 61. Happy with this as
the Carp can haunt this area during the winter. The problem it would
necessitate to fish at 11.5 metres minimum. The wind wouldn’t hinder as it was
blowing in at me, which I was hoping would reduce throughout the match – it did.
For company I had Steve Dawson on our bank end peg 62 and on the other side Glynn
Sage on peg 60 – if you’re hungry this is the man to be next too – sacks full
of food on offer all day.
One rig a 4x16 Winter F1 a tad heavier for the five foot
depth I found at 11.5 metres. I tied a 20 – 808 to 0.14 (I did expect a Carp or
two) with a 12 inch hook length. The peg gets deeper the further out you fish
so I set the depth so that it was just touching bottom at full length but
allowing the wind to blow the long hook length up the slope by about 12 inches.
Steve and I agreed that 5lb would be a good Silver weight from these pegs. So a
negative start with a small knub of sieved Sensas Magic and single just
wriggling red maggot on the hook and I had a great start with the dragging up
the shelf working well catching small Skimmers to 4oz regularly. I then hooked
a 10 lb Carp which gave a slight tightening of the bum before I netted it. I
kept topping up with the GB catching small fish regularly, I did foul hook a
Carp and I also lost a 3lb foul hooked skimmer close in, until 90 minutes to go
and decided to kindering dead reds and micro pellet – a mistake as during the
next 30 minutes I didn’t have a bite. The blackened float was very difficult to
see and the headache started. I mixed up so more Magic and whitened the float
tip and started a new line to my right in dark water. Amazingly first try I
hooked and landed an 8lb Carp. The remainder of the match was slow adding only
a few ounces to the net.
My two Carp weighed 18lb 2oz and my Silver 12lb for first
overall and third in the Silvers.
The Silvers was won by Paul “Barny” Barnfield (pictured
right with the match winner) with 18lb 10oz of waggler caught Roach with maggot
hook bait fished over small catapult fed GB and maggot fished over to the old
I travelled with Geoff Francis today, his first time at
Hillview and a baptism of fire from Keith Hill. Keith has just spend £300 on a
new sign (pictured right) and was
watching everyone via his CCTV and because Geoff and I didn’t put our nets
straight out he pounced on us, I said it was too small and we didn’t see it, he
wasn’t amused as it’s 8 foot high! Nonetheless, we had a decent breakfast.
Huggy was in his new tackle shop dragging in customers
(pictured lower right).
Twenty two booked in so Keith put in the two Lakes and two Canals
numbers 2 and 3. Canal 3 was fished the day before and there were a number of
DNW’s, so didn’t want to draw here.
In to the Woolley hat and out came peg 79 – Canal 3! Wrong
Canal, wrong end, I was sandwiched between young Josh Clarke and Shaun Bruton
who was on the end peg and the only peg that was frozen. The upshot was Shaun
and I didn’t have a bite on anything we tried with Josh caught ten Rudd for
8oz. No more about today.
The match was won by Griff (pictured lower right with half his
catch) with 93lb from Heron peg 32. Half of Griff’s weight was made up with
Carp with the remainder F1’s. Griff caught at either 9 metres or 11 metres
using maggot over maggot, an excellent weight on the day.