Friday, 30 March 2018

Thursday 29/03/2018 - Bathampton AA - Over 55's and Disabled - Withy Pool

It's been very long winter and I have enough now!

With a 09:30 draw Geoff and I had plenty of choices for breakfast choosing the Hanham Wetherspoons. The food was a bit warmer than usual.

It was back on Withy Pool for the first of this years Coffin Dodgers. The pool hasn’t been fishing nowhere near like it use to and has been a disappointment so far. We are hoping things will improve with the weather.

In to the draw bag and out comes counter peg 40. Umm, plenty of room though. Last match only two Roach came from it! This peg is in a corner so with pegs 41 and 42 not in it was a question of fishing 90 degrees to them as pictured right. No company today as the next angler was too far for any sensible conversation.

My only hope of coin from this peg was to snare a Carp. So set up a margin rig for the RH side in 3 foot of water. The waggler a nine inch bodied Drake. For the Silvers a 4x16 and the Ronnie rig.

After setting up I thought I would find where Geoff had drawn. I was beginning to think he had gone home when I found him hidden away behind the island on peg lonely 54.

I fed the margin with micro and corn. The Silver line with GB laced with some maggot at top-set plus three and fed casters on the Ronnie line. The upshot was I caught a few small Ronnie’s, Skimmers and a Perch before the GB line died and could not be revived with topping-up. This coincided with a horrendous down pour of ice cold rain. So tried the Ronnie rig for a few minutes but knew this wasn’t going to happen. So the rig was retired, feeding casters in the margin over the top of the corn. Last chance of Silvers was the Waggler. With maggot over maggot I caught a few more Ronnie’s, but it was slow. I then hooked a bloody big Common Carp which I played for an age – well 15 minutes. Unusually it ran three times to a tree along my end bank. I was expecting my 0.14 hook length to break, but it held fast. The third time I got it under control ready for netting the hook pulled – bugger my chance of coin gone. Always looking for reasoning – did I play it too long aware how important the fish was? Decision was then made to fish the margin for another Carp where I had one bite which I missed on double caster.

My few Ronnie’s weighed 3lb 10oz. With so many DNW’s it wasn’t that bad a weight from this peg – and had my chances.

The match was won by Harry Muir (pictured right with the Silvers winner) with two Carp for 27lb 11oz from peg 74. Harry caught on the lead with banded pellet on the hook, fished over loose fed pellet. Both fish come from near the corner aerator.

The Silvers was won by Tony Rixon with 13lb 12oz from peg 59. Tony caught…se his blog for details.

Full Result:

  1. Harry Muir 27-11-0 peg 74
  2. John Smith 18-15-0 peg 49
  3. Paul Barnfield 13-15-0 peg 43
Top Silvers:

  1. Tony Rixon 13-12-0 peg 59
  2. John Smith 10-15-0 peg 49
  3. Steve Dawson 9-0-0 peg 44
Weigh Sheets:

Monday, 26 March 2018

Sunday 25/03/2018 - Shiplate Open/knock Up - Westpool

It was the usual messing around with the clocks Saturday night where we lost an hour, its time to stop this nonsense. The girls in Shipham café got it right delaying opening by an hour. This meant Geoff and I had to find somewhere else for breakfast and decided to lash out on a £12.50 Holiday Inn breakfast. There is only so much you can eat.

Only nine of us booked into the Westpool open being run by Glynn Wickham. This Canal is the least of all fished on the complex so Geoff and I were looking forward to it. We had the draw next to the Canal where there was plenty of fish showing. First draw put me on peg 7; however, there were only eight swim cards in the hat, so redraw. This time peg 13. None if this numbers meant anything to me or Geoff who was on peg 11. Dom Sullivan was on peg 10 and wasn’t happy because he was the only one with someone each side. Dave Willmott was giving the impression that he was hung-over, his head wasn’t with us for sure. Dave drew end peg 1 and wasn’t that pleased with it. Got to my peg and found it well constructed with pea gravel and close to the water, no fishing from a high piers with drop nets on this fishery.

The fishery was paying two overall and one Silvers. Because of this I wanted to keep my options open for as long as I could. I had heard that someone had caught 26lb of Chub off one of the pegs, so decided to set up the waggler for across even though it was only 14.5 metres wide for maggot over maggot, a 4x12 to fish at top-set plus four out in front with 4mm expander over micro, The Ronnie rig and a 4x10 for the margin. During the set-up I noticed that there were some very large Carp toping so changed up some of my elastics.

After feeding the micro line and the margin with some micro and maggot I started on the Ronnie rig with caster over caster. Second cast I foul hooked a decent Carp during the tussle I noticed that my landing net was out of reach sat behind me with my keepnets. Not to worry I lost it anyway. In went the nets and started again. It was soon a replay with another foul hooker spending the rest of its match in the Canal instead of my net. As per Thursday’s match I soon realised the Ronnie’s didn’t want the caster so switched to the long line with the 4mm expander. No sign of a fish although there were plenty of Carp showing on the surface. Picked up the waggler and with single red over loose fed reds I had a 5lb Carp first cast, followed by a 1 ½ lb Chub. Another fouled Carp on the waggler which was only on for a Nano second even if it was hooked at all. The Ronnie’s then moved in and it was one a cast, however, it was much too slow on the waggler so switched back to the Ronnie rig this time maggot over maggot and had a couple of hours catching small Ronnie’s and occasionally I was caught by Carp adding two between 5 and 7lb. Time for a Banana walk. Geoff had been struggling but had started to catch Carp in his margin. Dom said he had 30lb of Carp, but both Geoff and I thought he had more. The rest were struggling. So I had to make the final decision Carp or Silvers and as I had 20lb of Carp and was laying second thought I would try the margin for a while. This produced three decent Carp on double maggot over loose fed maggot. However, the water beneath had some hidden snags which I did finally teach myself how to avoid, the lesson costing me three Carp. In the last hour I started to worry about loosing my second place to Geoff who was catching well in his margins even thought like me had a few fights with the marginal reeds. I just about kept even with Geoff on the Carp front knowing my Ronnie’s would make the difference.
My Silvers weigh 11lb 3oz for joint second Silvers and my Carp weighed 42lb 14oz just 4oz more than Geoff. My total weight took me to second weight overall with 54lb 1oz. Both Geoff and I was surprised that Dom only weighed 61lb this was due to his fish being half the size of the ones we caught.

The match was won by Dom Sullivan (pictured with the two things he loves most – his misses and a net full of Carp). See Dom’s blog for more details on how he caught. I’m not sure “Caught Short” applied to him today!!

The Silvers was won by Dad Wickham (pictured right with the winner - Dad on the left) with 14lb 7oz catch of Skimmers from peg 3. Dad caught on either single red or double Pinkie over GB supplied by his Son’s.

Excellent small venue stuffed with quality Carp. For future reference the Chub swim is apparently peg 1.

Full Result:

  1. Dom Sullivan 61-04-0 peg 10
  2. Mike Nicholls 54-01-0 peg 13
  3. Geoff Francis 43-13-0 peg 11

Top Silvers:

  1. Ray “Dad” Wickham 14-07-0 peg 3
  2. Mike Nicholls and Mark 11-03-0 pegs 13 and 5
Weigh Sheet:

Friday, 23 March 2018

Thursday 23/03/2018 - Shiplate Fishery - Cost Cutter - Main Lake

First stop for Geoff and me - Shipham Café where we found Tony Rixon struggling to eat a small breakfast. Umm! Enjoyable plate of food especially the eggs.

Into the Game Keepers Lodge to pay the pools and to book in for Sundays open match on Westpool where venue expert and pleasure angler record holder Jim Thomas was being his usual affable self (pictured right). Jim was a member of our Avon Angling side back in the day on the River.

We were promised 10 degrees, nothing like that, more like 1. The wind was bitter – I hoped would draw out of it on the far bank for once, now completely fed up with these cold winds. Into the draw bucket and out comes peg 5. Definitely not out of the wind, in fact the very opposite with the wind blowing in at 11 –o clock!! However, I guessed the Silvers would be under the cover the wind was providing, cant have it all. I fished this peg last year and had 30lb+ of Ronnie’s. So the Ronnie rig was the first to make it into the roost. Next was a 4x14 to fish at 10 metres with the 11.5 metre section behind for some ballast and quicker to the roller. This rig was for Skimmers. Last was the waggler with a 9 inch bodied Drake.

I fed a smidgen of micro at 10 metres, starting on the Ronnie rig with caster over caster. Now of you don’t get a bite first or second try then the Ronnie’s aren’t feeding and I didn’t, so went on the Skimmer line with double unconscious reds, but decided to keep a few casters going in over the Ronnie like for later. The presentation was crap with the float going with the wind. It was a case of holding back then letting it go a bit like stick float fishing. My first bite was very positive from a 1lb Skimmer. This was followed quickly by another. I switched to 4mm expander. I don’t know what’s going on but the new bag of Baitec expanders are not the same and are much too squelchy and irregular, but do catch fish, as I then had two better Skimmers. It was a question of catch a brace followed by a bit of a wait, then another brace. I had been topping up with a small amount of micro through out. After three hours it slowed so switched back to maggot and had a few smaller Skimmers, Hybrids and Ronnie’s.  After trying the Ronnie rig again to no avail I decided to give the Skimmer line a rest and try the waggler. I needed to put a foot on bottom to get any sort of presentation. With double red over loose fed caster it wasn’t long before I had a 12oz Skimmer, things to come I hoped. I thrashed about in areas that the wind decided I should fish nicking the odd Ronnie. Last hour or so I decided to sit it out on the pellet for the Skimmers. The rest did the swim good as I started catching some better ones but I needed to be patient. I hooked and landed a 5lb pretty Carp. In the last throws I hooked three more Skimmers all lost one was foul hooked and came off attempting take-off, the other the hook pulled close in and the other may of may not have been hooked properly. I put this down to Carp disruption.

My Silvers weighed 24lb 4oz for second in the Silvers and the pretty Carp bringing my weight up to 29lb 13oz for fourth overall. It was another memorable and excellent days fishing at this venue. All my fish were in excellent condition including the bigger Skimmers, none suffering from keep net fins/tails. All we need now is for Steve and Carol to sort out the weather.

The match was won by Tom Light (pictured right) with an excellent weight on he day of 114lb 10oz from end peg 15. Tom caught on corn fished at 13 metres down to his left 5 metres out from the bank. Tom used one tin of corn which he fed in conjunction with 4mm hard pellet. The picture right shows the quality of the fish that can be caught at this venue.

The Silvers was won by Tony Rixon (pictured right with his net of White Bait) with 24lb 12oz from peg 3 …see his blog for the details. During the weigh in Tony said that “no one has more than 15lb of Silvers” – really Tony!!

He last and final part of a great day was the stop in the Lock Keeper for a few beers. I did have to watch Geoff and Dave Willmott eat their £13.50 fish and chips!

Full Result:

  1. Tom Light 114-10-0 peg 15
  2. Terry Taylor 53-10-0 peg 1
  3. Mark Jones 46-04-0 peg 14
  4. Mike Nicholls 29-13-0 peg 5

  1. Tony Rixon 24-12-0 peg 3
  2. Mike Nicholls 24-04-0 peg 5
  3. Roy Ede 22-12-0 peg 12
  4. Nigel Wycombe 20-04-0 peg 13
Weigh Sheet:

Friday, 16 March 2018

Thursday 16/03/2018 - Bathampton AA Open - Dave Crookes Fishery - Withy Pool

The following message received from Dave Bruton (Terry’s Son) please circulate to all Coffin Dodgers new and old:

Hi Mike
Hope you are good? Just wanted to give you an update on my dad!
The last couple of weeks he has not been good and keeps falling over and now had his license taken away! I don’t think he will ever be able to fish again! I would also like to thank you and the lads at Hunstrete for looking out for him over the years and making it so he could fish! Please can you let the lads know and thank them from me for all what they have done

Back on Withy again!! Nineteen booked in so we could be more selective on which pegs to put in. However, it’s such a hard venue to peg.

“Just in time” Chris Orris – some say he’s either been to the Happy Eater or has auditioned for Hi-Di-Hi. Later his new acquisition was to blow off in the wind to reveal what some thought was a scull cap!!

We were all hoping for peg 57 where the better Silvers fish appear to have been corralled by the “Black Death”.  The fish are also shoaled up on  the now defunct peg 50.

Into the draw bag and out came a peg which I recorded with the scribes noting I was next to Dave Poole. Two minutes later I had forgotten which peg it was, but seen Dave Poole heading off so followed him. Luckily he had the weigh sheet so peg 59 it was – thought it had a 9 in it!!

Opposite on peg 49 was Dave Gillard (view from my peg) who did invite me to cast over to the old peg 50. However, even though the visibility was much better there I would stick to the bounds of my peg.

Not the peg I would have chosen simply due to the wind once again being in my face combine that with the tree line and sun I couldn’t see any sort of coloured float top – I tried them all settling on a red top waggler with a dash of white on the top. As for the pole I had to fish 11.5 metres round at 10-o'clock to reach an area giving some sort of visibility.  My expectations weren’t high as the peg hasn’t fish that well so far this term. My thinking was to fish for Ronnie’s until the last hour then up the feed in the anticipation of a Carp or two.

I set up the 11.5 metres of pole with a 4x16 and fed two large balls of GB laced with maggot but started on the waggler and started as expected catching small Ronnie’s on maggot over maggot. The presentation was good but I would say for 25% of the time I couldn’t see my float. Feeding was equally as difficult due to the gusting veering wind. I’ve had enough of the winds through this winter. I kept plugging away on the waggler for a couple of hours until it slowed then switched to the pole where I could get a bite every put in from tiny ½ oz Ronnie’s, most of which were coming off shipping back – very frustrating. Decided to put a lot of caster over this line and revert back to the waggler.  The fish had returned so kept on with this until I had another go with the pole with a single caster and caught/lost more small Ronnie’s and one 4oz Perch. The small fish certainly like the ground bait, but guess this size of fish is not the preferred fodder of Cormorants. I could see Carp starting to show over between the ropes to the left of old peg 50, so time to up the feed. The Ronnie’s switched off which I was hoping was due to Carp, if it was I didn’t catch one. My loose feeding was awful spreading far too far which wasn’t conducive to focusing a Carp on my hook bait.

I weighed 7lb 12oz for third Silvers and picked up second by default. I wish I could have used the pole properly, next time I will definitely employ a corn and micro line.

More ribbing followed back at the pub from Dave “last gasp” Gillard who hooked his usual last 10 minute Carp.

The match and Silvers was won by Tony Rixon from flyer peg 57 with 47lb 14oz which included 27lb 1oz of Silvers (27lb of quality of silvers pictured right - If only these were in every peg!). For how Tony caught see his blog…

Overall the Pool fish terrible with some swims nearly devoid of catchable fish.


  1. Tony Rixon 47-14-0 peg 57
  2. Dave Gillard 16-0-0 peg 49
  3. Martin McMahon 13-11-0 peg 47

  1. Tony Rixon 27-01-0 peg 57
  2. Mike Jones 9-03-0 peg 63
  3. Mike Nicholls 7-12-0 peg 59
Weigh Sheets:

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Tuesday 13/03/2018 - Acorn Cost Cutter - Paddocks

With the Grandchildren off on school camp I decided to try Acorn especially as they have stocked some good Roach and Skimmers. I haven’t fished here for 9 months so wasn’t sure on the best approach. The information was the Silvers were around peg 9 to 19 where they were initially stocked.

Into the draw bag and out come ping pong 5. This is the peg I fished my first match and had a good day catching Carp. Unfortunately I was told the focus is still on Carp. Oh well.

Set up two rigs a 4x10 for over where I found a flat shelf in 30 inches of water, which only needed just over 11.5 metres. I planned to fish 4mm expander over hard 4’s. The other rig was a 4x 12 to fish top-set plus two for Silvers using single red over loose fed maggot. The wind was nipply over my right shoulder so initially fancied it over whilst feeding up the Silvers line.

Started over feeding hard 4’s through the kinder pot and with 4mm expander on the hook I started catching small Carp – 8oz to 1 lb size. Happy with this as I was catching them regularly whist everyone appeared to be struggling. I added two decent Skimmers on this line and lost a big Carp which went behind the keep nets so a top-set shuffle followed unfortunately I did recover the rig less the Carp – bugger, sneaky bastard. The wind started to veer blowing more to my left which had the effect of moving the fish with it. I then struggled. As it happened I stayed far to long over, not going over the Silver line until the last hour where I started to catch decent Ronnie’s regularly until the end.

My small Carp weighed 12lb 7oz and my Silvers 11lb 2oz for a total of 23lb 9oz. The match was very close with the one lost Carp costing me third overall. However, had I fished for Silvers all match I might well have framed in the Silvers. Making the right decisions isn’t always possible, left a few things to ponder on.

The match was won by Martin McMahon (pictured right) with 41lb 12oz from unfancied peg 27. Martin caught all his fish over to the point of the Island using maggot over maggot fishing two foot deep in 3 foot of water at 13 metres. Martin Loose fed about one and half pints of maggots throughout.

The Silvers was won by Silvers regular John Barker (pictured right with his catch) with 22lb 9oz from peg 14. John caught on maggot over maggot by switching around his peg.

It was another enjoyable match. But nearly hit a gaggle of Geese roaming in the road coming home!


  1. Martin McMahon 41-12-0 peg 27
  2. Ray Bazeley 39-10-0 peg 16
  3. Mike Owens 28-05-0 peg 19

  1. John Barker 22-09-0 peg 14
  2. Dave Wride 20-13-0 peg 1
  3. Martin McMahon 17-14-0 peg 27
Weigh Sheets:

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Sunday 11/03/2018 - Ivy House Winter League - Match Lake, Moorhen and Kingfisher Canals

I needed a match so rang Andy Lloyd at Ivy House. It was the last of his winter leagues and had some spare spaces; I suppose it was the last match “I’m not doing any good” effect. Three sections Kingfisher, Moorhen and the Match Lake which appears to have been converted to a Carp Slayers venue, which I was hoping to avoid.

Into the draw box and out came white ball 32. End peg on Moorhen Canal (pictured right). I was told it was a good Skimmer peg with very few Carp, so that appealed. However, the more anglers I spoke to about the peg the lower the appeal became! On next peg 34 was Ryan Shipp who said that the two times he’d fished it resulted in a blank and one Skimmer. Umm. Surely the advantage of an end peg would help?

I set up the one rig a 4x12 F1 Winter to fish at top-set plus three. Skimmers or nothing it was then. GB laced with red maggot was fed out in front and with a single on the hook it took 30 minutes to get my first bite a 1lb Skimmer. Perhaps they had roll-up. Not - I struggled adding just a few small Ronnie’s. I opened another line at the same distance at 10-o clock again with maggot and GB. This resulted in another 1lb Skimmer and one Ronnie. I struggled for most of the match for bites and it wasn’t until the last 30 minutes that I added two better Skimmers and a few more Ronnie’s. I did foul hook a big Skimmer which pulled free.

I weighed 7lb 8oz for last but three on the Canal. That said I did enjoy it. The peg certainly kept me thinking which helped with the enjoyment. I think come warmer weather there will be some good weight of Skimmers from this end of the Canal.

Jon Clarke (pictured upper right with his catch) won our Canal with 33lb 2oz of small Carp caught mainly on corn over corn at 13 metres.

The match was won by Dave Fox (pictured right) with 103lb 2oz from Carp Match Lake peg 7. Dave caught on the lead fished over to the opposite margin using Waffters fished on a 6 inch hook length. Dave landed fourteen Carp losing two.


  1. Dave Fox 103-02-0 peg Match 7
  2. Matt 38-08-0 peg Match 9
  3. Jon Clarke 33-02-0 peg Moorhen 26
  4. Ian 26-10-0 peg Kingfisher 49
  5. Chris 25-08-0 peg Moorhen 34
  6. Jason 18-08-0 peg Match 4
Weigh Sheet:

Friday, 9 March 2018

Thursday 08/03/2018 - Shiplate Fishery - Cost Cutter - Main Lake

Last week whilst I sat watching the snow drift against the garage door I wondered what Bela thought about this bad weather being named after him?

First match of the year for this very popular Thursday cost cutter. First stop for Geoff and me Shipham Café – one small and one large devoured – enjoyed by both. Geoff wanted to go to sleep after though.

Arrived at the fishery and had a walk down to the Main Lake where the match was to be fished and found it looking absolutely immaculate. All the trees trimmed and banks cleared. This fishery is very well maintained and run by the two pictured right – Carol and Steve.

I was fancying peg 11 but ended up on peg 1 for my first time (pictured right). Very much noted as one of the two Carp flyers the other being peg 15. Jim Thomas came down and had a chat and confirmed it was a Carp peg with only small Silvers inhabitation. After the horrendous weather we've had recently no one knew how it was going to fish, best guess not very good. Fishing for Carp on this peg is easy but it’s not in my mentality to sit it out for four or five Carp even though it would probably win the match.

Initially set up the pole and plumbing up found it to be one of the shallowest pegs on the Lake at about 4 feet. I set up the waggler to fish for best presentation directly into the wind coming in at me at 2–o-clock and a margin Carp rig as back-up.

Feed the pole line out in front at top-set plus two with GB laced with loads of Pinkie. The fed the margin with micro and live reds. I started on the waggler with single live red fished at far as I could catapult live reds, which wasn’t far. I was amazed I had a Ronnie first cast. The waggler was working well and I was getting a small Ronnie every chuck. I soon decided that if I was to be a threat to those on Skimmers pegs I would have to catch much quicker. So set up the 4 metre whip with a small waggler rig which was sufficient to reach my GB pole line. I did get some better fish on this including a 1lb Hybrid and three 12oz Skimmers. However, I couldn’t keep them there and topping up always resulted in a quiet spell. I decided the waggler was producing best and stayed on it until 15 minutes to go when it started to rain and went down the margin with triple maggot and caught a few better Ronnie’s and a Perch. I then hooked a Carp which because the line had gone around his Pectoral fin came in sideways and straight into the landing net where the fight began!! Last few minutes I missed a bite which may have been a Carp liner.

Carol asked me what I had caught. I replied one 10lb Carp and 15lb of Silvers. I was 1oz out on the Carp and 2oz on my silvers weighing 24lb 13oz. for a 4th and 4th picking up 2nd in the Silvers.

I learnt a lot today about this peg but not sure what.

The match was won by Roy Ade (pictured right) with a brilliant Skimmer catch of 38lb 10oz from peg 11. Roy caught at 7 metres fishing 4mm expander over micro. Well done to him for a double bubble catch.

Geoff did well fishing the waggler on peg 12 for 13lb 12oz of Roach. It was back to the Lock Keeper for the usual post match inquest.


  1. Roy Ede 38-10-0 peg 11
  2. Nigel Wycombe 27-11-0 peg 15
  3. George P 27-04-0 peg 3
  4. Mike Nicholls 24-13-0 peg 1

  1. Roy Ede 38-10-0 peg 11
  2. Nigel Wycombe 16-06-0 peg 15
  3. Mark Walsh 16-04-0 peg 4
  4. Mike Nicholls 14-14-0 peg 1
Weigh Sheet:

Friday, 2 March 2018

1999 -2000 - Embassy Pairs

Andy Floyd and I decided to enter the 1999 – 2000 Embassy pairs being fished on both the River Huntspill and King Sedgemoor Drain on July 8 1999, which was built up as a very big match and indeed it was with 275 pairs entered. Two section A and B – A being the Huntspill and B the Sedgemoor. The draw was at the Burnham-on–sea holiday camp.

The Sedgemoor had been particularly kind to me, so wanted to be B section. Likewise Andy wanted the Huntspill. Not sure how the sections were decided whether we drew for them or we
placed ourselves, nonetheless we both got our wish. I drew section peg B164 (swim card pictured right) which I discovered from the map would place me on the south bank around Bussex Bend up from Parchey Bridge and was really hoping to be on the Calvert just before the bend.

I dropped Andy off at Withy Grove so a decent area especially as he would be on the North bank. Got to Parchey Bridge parked up and had the choice of walking or waiting for the Farmer and his tractor at the cost of £1. As it would be a while before all the stragglers and lost souls loaded up I could be at the peg which I was eager to locate. So a long walk followed. I was slightly disappointed to walk pass the Calvert, but only by ten pegs. Even though we had some heavy overnight rain the river looked in good trim. I have done well opposite here before catching Bream to 7lb on the waggler and caster, so that was first to be set-up, followed by the Normark No 1 feeder and the13 metre pole with 1 gram float bulked with Olivetti plus dropper. By then Anglers on the Farm tractor had only just arrived! Due to it being summer the grasses and sedges where very high so it was near impossible to see neighbouring anglers.

Come the all in I loose fed some casters and started on the waggler. I started to notice the water was picking up some pace. It was soon apparent that the Sluice Gates had been opened down at Dunball. Good communication then. It wasn’t long before huge rafts of weed were bombing down Drain making fishing impossible. The anglers around me went on a heavy feeder fished up high down the middle which was a joke as they soon have tons of weed building around the line. I hope Andy was doing better!

After some thought decided that the flow would soon subside so put a worm and caster on the feeder loaded with GB and caster and lowered it in off the end of the rod tight down the edge in the hope of a Perch or Eel. Within seconds the tip went round and I had a 7lb Bream in the net. No one had seen this and that’s the way I wanted to keep it. In again and with in seconds another decent Bream. In again as quickly as I could because I felt this spell would only last as long as the sluice gates were open. I looked behind me and a couple of anglers were watching me. The cat was out of the bag! My match went like this: ten minutes on the waggler – nothing, forty minutes on the feeder down the side - seven Bream losing the eighth with the hook pulling due to my haste to landing it, four hours ten minutes on the pole, waggler and feeder – one 4oz Chub!

My seven Bream weighed 17.420 kg (38lb 6oz) for ninth overall and ninth in section with 267 points.

The match was won with 113lb. That heavy flow certainly got them feeding.

Again I chose to walk back to the car instead of waiting for the tractor. Because Withy Grove was busy plus my long walk and drive Andy had walked down to the end of Withy Grove where I found him waiting. Andy was smiling he had weighed 17lb which was to be worth fourth in his 275 peg section and a mega 272 points. The talk during the drive back to the results was our hope that we would make the top five qualifying pairs for the Denmark final. It took ages for the result; Andy and I were overjoyed when we were announced second overall pair just three points from winning with 539 points – should have taken more care with that eighth Bream. So my car had a very rich double bubble. Further great news when team mates Ron Hardiman and Mark Cooke were announced third – so some good company on the trip.

The final was the week beginning 09 June 2000 which was nearly a year after qualifying. Both Andy and I were really looking forward to the trip with the time really dragging. Our appetites were wetted when we received all new fishing luggages – Red with the Embassy logo.

We both felt like winners before we stepped on the boat to Denmark. All 80 finalists were to enjoy a seven day, all-expenses paid trip to Denmark which includes a return ferry crossing from Harwich to Esbjerg, coach transfers to and from the superb Tre Roser Hotel in Kolding, a reception, a presentation dinner and three days fishing (one days practice and the two day final on two Lakes in Jels).

At last we were off to Harwich to catch the overnight ferry to Esberg. We were first in the car park, but not for long. We loaded our tackle onto a huge furniture vans then boarded the ship. We found our cabin which we shared with Ron and Mark. Dumped our luggage and attended a meeting where we were again handed more freebies which included a £50 voucher to spend on board in the duty free shop. We were also given food and beer vouchers for the evening meal. No expense spared by W & H O Wills – the Embassy Sponsor. One Northern Angler spent his food voucher on cigarettes and tried to blagg a dinner. This was soon dealt with by Tommy Pickering – a true leader. I didn’t have enough beer which leads to not much sleep especially with us all taking turns to empty out bladders throughout the night.

Due to the sailing times between Harwich and Esbjerg, only one day's practice could be included in this year's final. Embassy however compensated every finalist with a cash bonus for the loss of the practice day, in essence no competitor paid for their fuel costs to Harwich and back home. Personally I would have preferred the extra day to practice both venues. Upon arrival in Jels we all had the opportunity to look at the big Lake and as mentioned by previous finalists, the water truly was crystal clear. An official welcome was followed by a Viking village visit, then back to the hotel to unpack. That evening saw the draw permutations for the following three days made (first day practice, then match days 1 & 2). I drew on the Golf course bank on Jels. Andy would fish Soslette (Mink Lake), at the start of the section, unlike Jels Lake, Soslette apparently had excellent water colour. The two anglers from Swindon had been there the week before practicing and I tried to get some info from them, but failed early evening, but later I discovered that they had been blanking on Jels Lake! I wish I had taken more notice of this fact.

We weren’t allowed any tackle in the hotel, however, just across the road they had arranged lock-up garages so come morning we loaded up the van that was to take us to our venues (pictured right).

We were limited to 10 Kg of dry ground bait each match day! Strangely the rules dictated that we had to use it all!

We were dropped off near the Golf Club which meant negotiating the Golf course during which one of the lads got hit by a golf ball whilst crossing a fairway! The weather was bright but extremely windy. I had drawn next to the lad that got e had a really nasty bump on his face and didn’t do much fishing. I choose the feeder to fish long range for Bream, well as far as I could catapult GB. I must say I killed any chance of catching in the first twenty minutes bombardment as did many others. Along with those around me I didn’t have a bite. With ¾ of practice day gone most were asleep or on the bank sunbathing. A Viking ship came out on the Lake and could hear the beating of the drum as they rowed against the wind. Once they reached the end they choose to raise the square sail to go down wind. We all pissed ourselves laughing because the wind was so strong that they lost control and ended up crashing into the bank and getting a soaking (pictured right the long boat moored up behind a Angler which was the only place you could catch a Roach or two). I decided the next day I would fish sparingly for a Perch as some were caught.

Andy had done really well on Soslette (Mink Lake) catching 20 kilos. We drew again for our pegs, I was hoping to be on the Viking Village bank which fished best in practice, but ended up on peg 17 on the Golf Course section again just a few pegs from where I practiced/blanked.

The next morning I noticed the flag outside the hotel which was indicating gale force winds which meant more feeder fishing. We all made a quick dash across the Golf Course – no
injuries this time. Ron and I was drawn one peg away from each other. The organisers had put out marker posts which were “not to be waded beyond”. The guy that put them in must have either been in a boat or was a nine foot Viking because even with chest waders on I couldn’t get near them. I did set up long legs on the box so could sit out of the freezing cold water (Ron upper pictured right in foreground motionless and me three up carefully winding in the feeder in case a micro Perch had hung itself). I decided to fill the feeder with chopped worm with a small piece on the hook and leave it there until I had a bite – or not. This cast was to be my most hopeful. I did have an indication and struck nothing just a chewed worm. That was the end of my excitement for the rest of the match. The Angler on the end peg had three Perch for mega points. We had another safe dash across the Golf course. I had a chat with the van driver who told me that that the Lake had been netted and the fish put on farm land for fertilizer, wasn’t our angling abilities then.

Back to the Hotel where Andy went first with great news he had come third in his section of 20 and fourth overall on the day with 25 kg and a pick-up. Then I had to give him the bad news – my blank. After a decent evening meal a few of us went out on the town to look for a pub. We finally found one called by all names “The English Pub”. The pub was empty before we arrived. Most Danish folk don’t tend to go out drinking in the week saving themselves for a right piss-up on weekends.

At last my turn on some fish drawing peg 21 on Soslette (Mink Lake). Andy drew a decent peg on the Viking Village Bank on Jels Lake near the landing stage. Again the wind was horrendous. I arrived at my peg which was end peg next to a fence. I was determined to try and fish my pole at 9 metres to hand with a 3 gram Jolly. The only other possibility was the feeder. With plenty of GB mixed and loads of chopped worm and casters mixed in I balled it on the pole line. First put in I had a lifter and swung a 12 oz Skimmer - nearly to hand but ended up 20 feet behind me due to the wind blowing it off the hook. The 9 metre to hand pole was impossible - just a dream. So I settled down chucking out the feeder on the same line. There was absolutely millions of 12oz to 1lb Skimmers in front of me. The problem was hooking them on the feeder as I was getting lots of liners. The tip wouldn’t sit still. The angler next to me in the meantime was waiting an age for a bite but would catch a 4lbBream! I came to the conclusion that this was due to me being on end peg where the small fish were getting to my bait quicker than the bigger fish. One of the organiser came down and watched my tip and asked how I knew when to strike. I said it was a bit of a guess but waited until the rod nearly dragged in. It was a very frustrating days fishing. I weighed 18 Kilo for a section 5th for 15 points. Very few of my Skimmers broke the pound barrier!

Back to the Hotel and Andy had caught a couple of Roach for ¾ Kilo and 2 points. So at least we shared the good and bad, making me feel better. Team work!! Overall we came 28th out of 40 with 34 points. On hindsight I should have made more use of the practice day. The Jels Lake had a lot of margin weed which surely would have held a few Perch? I didn’t try this instead I tried to empty it with nonexistent Bream! On Soslette Lake I should have fished the pole close in at four metres, I would have definitely caught more, but I had broken a cardinal rule and had already committed by balling long.

It was a great week with great company, food and drink. It was a pity that Jels Lake fished so badly, because of this the following years (and Last) Embassy Pairs was moved to Spain.

The pairs were won by Rick Tweddell and Brian Harding – well done to them. (Pictured right). Nice guys.


1. Rick Tweddell (Spalding, Lincs) & Brian Harding (Spalding, Lincs) 75 pts (£6,000)
2. Stu Conroy (Warrington, Cheshire) & Steve Conroy (Warrington, Cheshire) 68 pts (£3,000)
3. Klaus Fix (Nuneaton, Warwicks) & Paul Turner (Pendeford, Wolverhampton) 66 pts (£2,000)
4. Gary Whalley (Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside) & Jimmy Hines (Wigan, Lancs) 61 pts (£1,500)
5. Gary Drew (West Wickham, Kent) & Paul Wiltshire (Sidcup, Kent) 60 pts (£1,000)
6. Neil Mallinson (Durkar, Wakefield, Yorks) & Gary Skelley (Huddersfield, West Yorks) 56 pts (£750) and Steve Raper (Leeds, Yorks) & Paul Clark (Bradford) 56 pts:
7. Mallinson & Skelley take sixth place on superior overall weight - 52.300 kg to 46.400 kg


Bob Bates (Wisbech, Cambs)) 44.120 kg (£2,000) 
Martyn Blank (Rotherham, South Yorks) 37.760 kg
3 Ian Lovett (Hucknall, Nottingham) 35.460 kg
Neil Mallinson (Durkar, Wakefield, Yorks) 31.700 kg
Stu Conroy (Warrington, Cheshire) 31.420 kg
Jimmy Hines (Pemberton, Wigan, Lancs) 29.720 kg

Ian Lovett (Hucknall, Nottingham) 35.460 kg
Paul Wiltshire (Sidcup, Kent) 27.680 kg
3 Tom Pickering (Doncaster) 27.320 kg
Andy Floyd (Kingswood, Bristol) 25.040 kg
Paul Clark (Birkenshaw, Bradford) 24.780 kg
Mark Cooke (Coalpit Heath, Bristol) 24.330 kg

Bob Bates (Wisbech, Cambs)) 44.120 kg
2 Martyn Blank (Rotherham, South Yorks) 37.760 kg
Neil Mallinson (Durkar, Wakefield, Yorks) 31.700 kg
Stu Conroy (Warrington, Cheshire) 31.420 kg
Jimmy Hines (Pemberton, Wigan, Lancs) 29.720 kg
Phil Austin (Stanley, Wakefield, Yorks) 28.680 kg