Monday, 30 April 2018

Sunday 29/04/2018 - Shiplate Open - Hawthornes and West Pool

Six Bristolians go west and one looked the worse for wear. I travelled with Bay-la. This fishery is a “Ray Munford” it’s so clean you can fish in your best suit.

Everyone is moaning about weather including me. I‘ve had enough of it I wasn’t fooled by the picture right; bloody nasty cold Northerly blowing and five degrees.

Into the draw bucket and out comes peg 9 on Westpool the Canal I was hoping to draw as I expected it to be the most sheltered – wrong. With the pools payout paying top overall and Silvers on each Canal with the highest weights getting the better payout I expected Westpool to provide the top three Silvers weights, but the lower overall weights; so potentially two Silvers on my Canal. So my target set.

I was given some Sonubaits Pro expanders to try. It was easy enough to prepare them the night before – a handful in a plastic bag covered by tap water for 30 minutes, drain water and put in fridge for the morning. I need to try pumping them and see it that works as otherwise it can be wasteful.

I set up a 4x12 Winter to fish top-se plus three for Skimmers over GB/micro with 4mm Sonubait expander on the hook, and the Ronnie rig for maggot over maggot.

Fed a small ball of GB with some loose micro and started loose feeding some maggots over the Ronnie line. I shipped out to find Carp swirling over my feed, plus loads of liners, but the carp would not follow the micro down. They were sat there with their mouths open two inches below the surface waiting for the next batch to arrive. Two foul hookers later – one in the net. I switched to just small hard balls of GB with micro hidden inside. This helped, but not enough. The catching went - one 12 oz Skimmer then a Carp followed by a long wait over fizzing – repeated this six times before the swim slowed and the wind got two strong pushing the float through with it. Bay-la had drawn peg 1 and was catching Chub on corn - he didn’t have any maggot. The Canal was fishing hard and I thought the Silvers weights would be low and  low double figures would be enough for the Silvers so abandoned the Skimmers/Carp and concentrated on the Ronnie’s in the shallow margin which were to say the least small but eager to feed. I was doing well on them for an hour then the Carp paid a visit waving their tails at me. This slowed things down for the last hour having to spread the feed all over to pick the odd one off.

My seven Carp weighed 24 lb and my Silvers 13lb 4oz which just fell short on my Canal with Ray Wickham’s 14 lb winning it. I was only half right about where the weight would comes from as all the top weighs came from Hawthorne’s including two near 20lb weights of Silvers. Bay-la had two near misses coming second in both pools on Westpool.

The match was won by Rich Hawkins (pictured right with the Silvers winner) with 140 lb 2 oz from Hawthorne’s peg 7. Rich caught on meat over loose fed meat at top-set plus one.

The Silvers was won by Rob Birch with 21 lb 8 oz from Hawthorne’s peg 15. Rob caught midway using expander over micro.

Usual suspects back to the Lock Keeper with bright red wind burnt faces for a consoling drink. It was another very enjoyable day once a gain at this great fishery.

I concluded that the expanders are well worth a try I will gets some more and try pumping. They are one of the more resilient expander on the hook and with a careful strike they will hang onto the hook for another dripping.

Result: - All Hawthorns Canal

  1. Rich Hawkins 140-02-0 peg 7
  2. Dom Sullivan 125-12-0 peg 9
  3. Tim Ford 115-04-0 peg 1

  1. Rob Birch 21-08-0 peg 15
  2. Ron Stark 19-04-0 peg 3
  3. Golly Jones 17-08-0 peg 12
Weigh Sheets:

Friday, 27 April 2018

Thursday 26/04/2018 - Bathampton AA - Over 55's - Withy Pool

Geoff and I had a very cold breakfast at Hanham Wetherspoons – especially the beans.

Chris Orris is always adding to his kit and today saw the first appearance of his new wheel barrow wheels – pictured right.

There was twenty one fishing today so some difficult pegs in the draw bag. Because Withy Pool is in a semi-valley the wind can make presentation very difficult; as was the case today; hardly anyone would be exempt.

In to the draw bag and out comes peg 47. When the Pool was well stocked with Silvers this was the boss peg for them. However, recent results have proved the opposite. For company I had Paul “smiler” Haines on peg 45 and John “Gas” Smith round the corner on peg 48; around from John on the end peg 49 was Titch (pictured right our scales person today). I enquired the reasoning to his nickname. Apparently he got it from all the girls he went out with when a teenager.

With the match split in two I planned for Silvers in the first half and Carp the second. I anticipated catching well on the waggler so set that up first, next a 4x16 to fish at top-set plus three where it was 8 foot deep. Last a 4x12 to fish the margin to my right in three foot of water at top-set plus 2; well away from the bridge gap – so I thought!

The first half was very poor for the Silvers catching only three Ronnie’s on it. The tow was quite bad making presentation poor. The pole line where I had fed a ball of GB laced with casters and DR’s did produce four small Skimmers before it completely died. I thought I would swap to 4mm expander over micro; which worked better catching some more small Skimmers and the odd Ronnie, but this didn’t last long either. I was glad to hear the half time whistle. Only two Carp were weighed. Back in the saddle and time for Carp down the margin with 6mm expander where I had fed some hard fours. First try and I’m playing my first Carp. Unfortunately, it straightens the hook – a big fish definitely in the mouth. Re-fed and tried the other line and hooked another big Carp. It’s amazing how they know where the bridge gap is. What followed kept all those that could see me (and there were far too many) amused for 15 minutes whilst I was walked along my peg to the Bridge. Twice the float got caught in the margin brambles where I thought I had lost it, but managed to free the float each time to find it still attached. I managed to recover and thinking all the time the hook length must be getting more vulnerable all the while; and that’s what caused me to finally lose it. The upshot was my hook found six big Carp with three fouled and three in the mouth. I lost the lot. There were quite a few Carp lost today peg 44 -7, peg 45- 5, me 6, peg 48-2 and peg 49-3. The Carp are starting to wake up but not quite feeding properly.

My Silver weighed 4lb 2oz. I believe Withy Pool is seriously lacking Silvers.

The match was won by Gerry Walsh with 64 lb 9 oz from peg 54. Gerry caught on the pellet waggler over to the rope fishing two foot deep. Two of his fish took the scales round to 32 lb.

The Silvers was won by Tony Rixon with 19 lb 6 oz from peg 61. Tony didn’t start catching until his Pheromones arrived. A lot of worm chopping going on. See his blog for more details…Runner up was Hughie Evans (pictured right) with 14 lb 8 oz consisting mainly of three big Bream.

Geoff promised the repeat of the eye candy that was serving last visit, a slight disappointment but not entirely wasted. We were joined by Mr and Mrs celebrating their anniversary with a candle lit meal.


  1. Gerry Walsh 64-09-0 peg 54
  2. Chris Rolfe 62-14-0 peg 68
  3. John Smith 30-05-0 peg 48
  4. Paul Barnfield 26-15-0 peg 35 

  1. Tony Rixon 19-06-0 peg 61
  2. Hughie Evans 14-08-0 peg 60
  3. John Smith 11-08-0 peg 48
Weigh Sheets:

Monday, 23 April 2018

Sunday 22/04/2017 - Windmill Open - Match Lake

Well done to Craig Edmonds on winning the Frenzee Whiteacres Festival. Some luck is always welcome, but the most important ingredient is having served the Apprenticeship in match angling which Trigger has done joining our Avon Angling team when he had hair and wearing short trousers often mentored by Tony Rixon et al. More to come me thinks.

After the poor attendance at Windmill last match I opted to try and get the attendance up through Face Book. This appeared to work with 18 fishing this week. I can’t help thinking that this is the job of the fishery management.

Back travelling with NOT BELLA meeting up with the usual suspects in Wetherspoons - Staple Hill. Please everyone save me form more ear ache by calling him BELA, BERT or TREV.

With the water temperature increasing rapidly I suspected the Carp would provide most sport. Into the draw box and out comes peg 24. Not the right end I was thinking as its 9 foot deep, the other end being half this so the water temperatures would reflect this. Dave Willmott passed by and cheered me up by saying it was the worse Silvers peg on the Lake and I wouldn’t win from it! For company I had Two Pots on peg 25. The peg has won previously with Carp by fishing the feeder/lead over to the island – Life’s too sort for this. There are some large Carp which can be caught down the margins at this end.

I set up the Ronnie rig but had to shorten it due to the left hand rope being so close. A 4x16 set up to fish down the inside shelf in 9 foot, but from recent experience didn’t expect to catch on it; and finally a 4x12 Yoof to fish down the RH margin for later in the match.

I fed the margin with micro and dog meat in gravy. Fed a ball of GB laced with DR’s. I started on the Ronnie rig to see if there were any willing to snaffle my live single red. Luckily they did, but they were small, missing loads if bites. The wind was blowing from the SW which made presentation difficult. The Ronnie’s slowed so thought I would set up the waggler to see if I could catch some Carp groupies over to the island. The wind giving crap presentation but I did have an 8 oz Skimmer and bounced a few more Ronnie’s across the water. Then I cast and the middle section of the waggler rod snapped clean in half for no apparent reason! Everyone at our end was struggling as we watched Carp being caught down the far end. I decided the margin wasn’t going to be of any use coin wise especially as Two Pots had been trying it in and off. Having tried the deep rig with double DR’s and as expected not one indication, so I spent the most of the rest of the match on the Ronnie rig. In the last ten minutes I thought I would give the Dog meat a try in the margin and had two bites which probably were liners but still don’t know if this meat is going to make a come back.

My small Ronnie’s weighed 7lb 14oz for first Silvers. This surprised me as I did expect to get well beaten by big Skimmer either fished for or Accidentals.

The match was won by Shaun Townsend (pictured right with the Silvers winner) with 189 lb 9 oz from peg 11. Shaun caught most of his Carp fish shallow/slapping long with 6mm pellet fished over the same lose fed.
Bela Came third so it was a case of a van double bubble and double trouble because Bela also had a smashing time breaking his 13 metre butt section carrying out his enthusiastic slapping. This forced Bela into his margin where he started to bag giving Shaun a short scare.

A few of us went back to the Jolly Cobbler for a pint with Podge to end another memorable day.


Shaun Townsend 189-09-0 peg 11
Martin Mc Mahon 136-02-0 peg 9
Bela Bakos 113-01-0 peg 10
Brain Shanks 99-04-0 peg 4
Joe McMahon 86-00-0 peg 22
Stuart Barnett 66-06-0 peg 7


Mike Nicholls 7-14-0 peg 24
Dave Willmott 5-12-0 peg 19
Bob Warren 4-13-0 peg 12

Weigh Sheet:

Friday, 20 April 2018

Thursday 19/04/2018 - Shiplate - Cost Cutter - Main Lake

I have been having problems with the Baittech Expanders so thought I would compare the new Sensas expander (pictured right). However, I really didn’t get to give them a fair trial, so jury still out. The Sensas bag is much bigger but holds the same amount at a higher price!!

Geoff and I tried Shipham again but wasn’t as lucky as last time with them not being prepared to open early. This worked out fortuitous because Mark Jones (cooks better than he draws) had his Chef’s van at the fishery. One large and one small breakfast eaten alfresco. One of the best I’ve had recently. However, there was a few bit’s of flying plastic cutlery due to the food being over enthusiastically eaten.

Gamekeeper Steve thought the weather was September like – hoping he meant last September and not next.

Everyone was winter demob happy with some sunshine at last.

Into the plastic tub and out comes peg 7. Arriving at the peg I realised that I would be in the shade for most of the day and with a light chilly breeze blowing in to me. I was soon thinking I had demobbed my warmer clothes a bit too early, this whilst Geoff was basking in the sun opposite on peg 13A. I was happy enough with the peg. My thinking was that due to the bright sunshine and flattish calm water the Skimmers might not put in an appearance, so thinking Ronnie’s. Set the Ronnie rig up and a 4x14 which I swapped down to a 4x12 to fish top-set plus four for Skimmers. I fed the Skimmer line with some micro then a ball of GB laced with some caster and live maggot on the Ronnie rig line. First I tested the Ronnie’s which produced some Perch a Skimmer and some Ronnie’s. I then tested the Skimmer line with 4mm expander and after a bit of a wait I had a small Skimmer followed by a Ronnie. Right decision made the Ronnie rig was going to give me the higher weigh! The problem is once you go this route you have to get your head down and keep at it. From what I could see in the first hour I was doing OK especially opposite. With 45 minutes to go the sun appeared from the shadows and killed the Ronnie line so fed a big cup of micro on the Skimmer line and first put in hooked a 2lb Skimmer on the drop which came off at the net – nearly snatched it!  Then foul hooked a Carp, landed three and foul hooked another – umm. The upshot was I got it wrong letting my impatiens get the better of me once again. I’m now sure I would have caught more had I sat it out on the 4mm expander.

My Ronnie’s weighed 16 lb 4 oz and my three Carp 24 lb 2 oz for a half way total of 40lb 6 oz.

The match could have been won by Tich Williams with 222 lb but had a net disqualified. This left Gary Flinders (pictured right with the Silvers winner) in top spot with 164 lb 6 oz from peg 5. Gary caught on allsorts – stalking, shallow and on bottom using pellet on the pole at 16 metres.

The Silvers was won by Mike Laird with 43 lb 8oz from peg 15. Mike caught on corn over 4mm pellet.

Because the road was closed we had to go via Bleadon which was convenient because Geoff and I ended up in Brent House for another enormous Carvery. Geoff over faced himself leaving some of his! Another enjoyable day out in the life of a full and part time Pensioner.


  1. Gary Flinders 164-06-0 peg 5
  2. Tich Williams 140-06-0 peg 1 (82-04-0 deducted)
  3. Mike Laird 114-06-0 peg 15

  1. Mike Laird 43-08-0 peg 15
  2. Dave Wride 25-08-0 peg 8
  3. Nigel Wickham 24-0-0 peg 14B
Weigh Sheet:

Monday, 16 April 2018

Sunday 15/04/2018 - Shiplate Open - Squircle

I went out for a drink Saturday with Bela and Geoff. We had a right laugh taking the piss out of a plumber. The drink was going down fast and furious. I think it must be because it’s the first time we have seen the sun for many long months. I was sensible enough to stop before Geoff and Bela, but not sensible enough! My sleep was regularly interrupted finally getting up feeling very jaded and with a headache. Geoff and I went for breakfast at Shipham, I was hoping that this would help on the road to recovery – it didn’t.

Geoff and I had a walk around the pond, there was a cold SE wind blowing into all of the near side pegs especially peg 12 – Geoff and I didn’t want that one, unlucky Geoff. Gamekeeper Steve commented that the weather was good for October! Geoff told me there would be just a few showers today so left the umbrella home, wrong, it rained very much all day, at least it stopped before packing up.

Into the draw tub and out comes peg 14. This happened to be the peg I broke the record on two years ago. Since then the pond has been made bigger/longer with more pegs, however, the fish are growing fast. This year will see the record go I think. I was happy with the peg mainly because I had the rain and wind on my back.

A hangover and fishing does not mix especially when you’re in your 70th year. Whilst I was setting up I knocked my maggot bait box into the pond, salvaging a just a few DR’s. I set up a 4x12 to fish full depth in four foot of water at top-set plus one and a 4x10 Yoof to fish to the island. I started by feeding the two lines with wetted micro and soften 4’s. Starting in the deep water resulted in one small Goldfish. The upshot was the only place I could catch was over to the island but it was very slow catching the occasional small Carp. With an hour to go I decided a change was necessary, so switched to maggot, but due to the low stocks mixed up some GB to feed them. This worked well and I started to put some fish in the net. I knew the change wasn’t due to the time of day because most anglers I could see had slowed right down. Unfortunately, probably a few minutes late switching because my 26 lb 2 oz put me one out of the coin by 8 oz, ouch. I have to confess the peg was worth at least second place, so all down to me. Still enjoyed the day much better than sitting home feeling sorry for yourself.

The match was won by convivial Steve Howell (pictured right with his net of fish – two years ago these were all less than a pound) with 40 lb 12 oz from end peg 15. Steve caught initially on bread, and then expander then on to maggot all caught over along the island to his right. The other end peg was second.

Geoff and I decided we needed the hair of the dog and stopped in a pub that was locked in the 1960’s called the White Hert? One guy wanted some peanuts so had to walk down to the next pub to buy some!!


  1. Steve Howell 40-12-0 peg 15
  2. Nigel Webber 33-08-0 peg 2
  3. Gary Flinders 29-01-0 peg 5
Weigh Sheet:

Friday, 13 April 2018

Thursday 12/04/2018 - Bathampton AA - Over 55's and Disabled - Bridge Pool

It was Wetherspoons Hanham for breakfast with Geoff this morning where we met up with Ray B and Paul H – nice and hot.

The venue has been fishing well from selected swims for the new arrivals. Because pleasure anglers don’t like walking far pegs 11, 10, 9 and 8 were the pegs I was hoping for.

Nineteen fishing so room for a few more. Into the draw bag and out comes disc 24. This is a strange peg, being all or nothing, but generally happy with it, but had some concerns on the how clear the water was. Most probably due to all the rain over previous days. The format was different today with the match being split into two halves with a Carp weigh in at half time. I was apprehensive about this, but as it turned out found it acceptable. In fact at half time I was able to make up a Carp rig. The Banana walk was replaced with Banana weigh in.

Because of the change I decided to split my match in to two. First half focus on Silvers and the second Carp. I set up the Ronnie rig, a light 6 inch Drake bodied waggler, a 4x12 to fish over to the far bank in three foot of water which was only top-set plus three and a bit, finally a 4x16 to fish to my left at full depth . The first half didn’t go too well, I caught some Skimmers over GB on the full depth rig for about 30 minutes until it completely died even though there was some pimpling visible, all I could catch was tiny Perch. Swim abandoned. Had a go over to the far bank and had one small F1 and two Ronnie’s. Time to try the Ronnie rig with maggot over maggot, which resulted in two Ronnie’s one being 10 oz. As we know the venue lacks any numbers of small Ronnie’s so that was it from my favourite rig. Time for the waggler fished down the left side of the island with maggot over maggot catching another two small F1’s loosing a near 2lb Perch at the net, another couple of Ronnie and a 1 ½ lb Skimmer. That was it until the first Carp weigh in which I recorded my three F1’s at 2lb 14oz.  Well behind.

My focus switched to Carp feeding the far bank swim with hard fours. Started a new margin swim down to my right, to be precise behind me, kindering hard fours with some micro I wanted to use up. First try over the new swim I landed a 4lb Carp on 4mm expander. I then had a run of four quick F1’s then a 18lb 8oz Mirror which boast my anticipation of making the top three. However, because we have to weigh these larger fish in and return immediately it flipped over and broke my top-set – bugger. A few more 4 to 6lb Carp followed before it slowed so tried over to the Island with 4mm expander and caught two more F1’s. I think I was catching all the F1’s that were in my vicinity because the bites were instant. Back down the margin where I was rewarded by a 3lb Tench. I knew it was a Tench by it’s fighting pattern.

My Silvers weighed 8 lb 2 oz and my total Carp weighed 48 lb 12 oz for a second overall weight of 57 lb 8 oz. On reflection I ‘m sure I wouldn’t have added much to my Silvers weight had I continued to fish for them. Also I might have caught more Silvers in the first half fishing the waggler in the deeper open water.

Come the last hour I got very cold due to the NE winds blowing in at me. When is the weather going to improve - ever?

The match was won by Tony Rixon (pictured upper right with half his catch) who out gunned us all fishing 17 metres over to the opposite island. Tony is the only won BIG enough to handle this length. Tony weighed 80 lb 1 oz from peg 28 with a 50/50 catch across the two halves. This shows that those with the fish in front of them will continue catching even though there is a mid-match weigh in. See Tony’s blog for further details.

The Silvers was won by Paul Barnfield (pictured right with the Silvers runner up) with 18lb 12oz. Paul once again moaned on some late big Skimmer from peg 4.

The usual suspects went back to the pub where it was apparent Geoff Francis is finding retirement hard as he kept nodding off!


  1. Tony Rixon 80-01-0 peg 28
  2. Mike Nicholls 57-08-0 peg 24
  3. Harry Muir 47-09-0 peg 11

  1. Paul Barnfield 18-12-0 peg 4
  2. Dave Gillard 17-15-0 peg 16
  3. Geoff Francis 15-06-0 peg 29
Weigh Sheet:

Monday, 9 April 2018

Sunday 09/04/2018 - Windmill Open/Knock-up - Match Lake

Ten days ago at Withy’s over 55’s match I noticed that matey Steve Dawson didn’t look so good. He said he had a bad leg and was limping. Some days later Steve drove himself to hospital to discover he had, suffered a stroke. I’m not sure what the situation is at the moment, but get well soon and back out on the bank.

I met up with Geoff at Wetherspoons in Staple Hill for breakfast then on to the fishery.

Because the Windmill Fishery is local, a few of us tried to get some interest in fishing the venue via social media, but could only muster seven, which is a shame. Hopefully when the match results are seen from today match we might get a few more attend.

Down rock and roll road to the draw and out comes peg 23. I was happy enough with this. The weather was supposed to be warmer, alas not as there was a stiff cold Northerly blowing down the Lake.

Easy set-up, the Ronnie rig and a 4x16 winter which needed two feet adding to the rig length due to the depth being near 9 foot at top-set plus two outwards.

Two lines at top-set plus three one with micro and maggot and the other GB laced with a few Pinkies.

After feeding two lines I started on the Ronnie rig with live reds over loose fed reds and soon started catching small Ronnie’s and Rudd. I then had a F1 which apparently was a mirage because the management said there wasn’t any in the Lake!  Out on the micro line and after trying 4mm expander I switched to maggot and had one decent Skimmer. Over to the GB line and had one small Carp and a Ronnie. Carp were now being caught down to my right over to the far shelf which was far too far for a pole. I thought of setting up the waggler but decided that the wind wasn’t conducive. Now well behind on Carp and with both long lines completely dead – too deep me thinks. I selected to fish the match out on the Ronnie rig. I had a decent day on the rig adding two more decent Skimmers plus loads of small Ronnie’s and one disrupter – a near 10 lb Mirror Carp in pristine condition.

I finished with 14 lb 2 oz of Silvers and 12 lb 9 oz of Carp for a total of 26 lb 11 oz winning the Silvers pool.

The match was won by Tim Ford (pictured right with his catch and the Silvers winner) with the best weight of the year with 73 lb 5 oz from peg 25. Tim caught some on the lead and some munters down his LH edge…see his blog for further details.

Back to the pub for the usual debrief to end another great day in the life of a match fishing pensioner who is now in his 70th year.


  1. Tim Ford 73-05-0 peg 25
  2. Glenn Bailey 55-07-0 peg 21

  1. Mike Nicholls 14-02-0 peg 23
  2. Dave Haines 5-07-0 peg 17
Weigh Sheet:

Friday, 6 April 2018

Thursday 05/04/2018 - Shiplate Fishery - Cost Cutter - Main Lake

This was Geoff Francis first week as a part time Pensioner and realised by the end of the day how hard it is retiring from business into part time angling! We didn’t realise that Shipham cafĂ© didn’t open until 08:00, but were lucky they were there preparing the food and opened at 07:30 for us. It was a short wait before we tucked into a decent breakfast. However, the fishery also provided breakfast through Head Chef Mark Jones and his chef’s van (pictured right). Tony Rixon was soon tucking in to a full English whist he explained to the watching audience the key aspects of the “Rixon Scale“ breakfast rating (pictured lower right).

A glorious day but the bloody wind still has that cold bite to it – still in full winter uniform.

Into the Gamekeepers Lodge to pay Carol the £12 pools. No ones here for the money, only the exceptional fishing, company and lovely environment Steve has created.

In to the draw tin and out comes peg 2 providing a short walk for me and Geoff who was on peg 3. Tich walked by and said he drew it on the Sunday’s match and struggled for bites. In fact with every passing angler my expectations were lowered including the venue expert Jim Thomas who hasn’t had a venue record from it yet, but a good Carp peg in the summer – unfortunately the match finished at 16:30 today! Apparently there are some Chub in the peg – where have I heard that before.  Nonetheless I set up a 6” drake straight waggler to fish the far island, which was only 13 metres away, but thought this would give better presentation to the Chub. The Ronnie rig and a 4x12 winter were also set up. I had a plumb around and found the deepest place was at top-set at 3 foot 6 inches with it gradually shallowing to three inches on the far side.

I’m thinking a negative approach would be the order of the day and had some GB left over from the weekend and thought this might be a good start, so fed a neat small ball at top-set pus three. I started on the Ronnie rig with caster over caster and couldn’t get a bite, very unusual, so quickly switched to maggot over maggot and had a Ronnie first try followed by a 1 ½ lb Hybrid.  The wind was making presentation very difficult and had to abandon it for a while. Meanwhile Geoff had landed a Chub on the waggler, so I fed a few maggots over to the island to my left. I had few cast on the waggler but found it difficult to cast due to an over head branch (I guess it’s not normally a problem as it would be very unusual to fish a waggler in this peg). I had one Ronnie and a small Skimmer, again the wind was just too bad. So over the GB, first with a 4mm expander and had a 4oz Skimmer first try, then another smaller one. I switched to single live red maggot and even though the float was going slightly with the wind had a great two hours catching Skimmers from 4 oz to 1 lb averaging 6oz, regularly topping up with a small ball of neat GB. I then had a narrow escape from my pole being bombed by two Muscovy Geese (pictured right) which decided to take off and Steve is right when he said their take-off is similar to that of a Lancaster bomber, needing plenty of runway. Apparently they are family pets named Elvis and Priscilla!

The wind ebbed and the float started going with the under tow coinciding with the fishing slowing. Because the peg is narrow giving a funnelling effect the tow became worse as the day went on. I tried the waggler again with no joy the same for the Ronnie rig. So I decided to open a new swim down to my right with GB laced with Pinkies. The depth was the same as I had been fishing but added an extra six inches to the depth to slow the float down. This worked but this time catching mainly Ronnie’s. I did lose a couple of foulers due to dragging. Right near the end I landed a decent Perch (pictured right). At about this time I looked around to Geoff doing a catch and release on a Carp that leapt out of the water. The Carp was enormous, more like a Dolphin! Geoff lost two more lumps from his margin. A frame position on the hook me thinks.

I finished the match with 23lb 2oz for second Silvers so was well pleased with that from the peg.

The match was won by Roy Ede (pictured right with the Silvers winner) with 39lb 12oz from peg 1. Roy caught down to his right at full depth using corn over corn. I did notice there were a few foul hookers lost.

Geoff and I celebrated his semi-retirement with a pint and a Carvery at Brent House, Geoff’s definitely a carnivore.

Full Result:

  1. Roy Ede 39-12-0 peg 1
  2. Mike Laird 37-14-0 peg 15
  3. Dave Wride 34-12-0 peg 5
Top Silvers:

  1. Dave Wride 34-12-0 peg 5
  2. Mike Nicholls 23-02-0 peg 2
  3. Mike Laird 18-04-0 peg 15
Weigh Sheet:

Monday, 2 April 2018

Sunday 01/02/2018 - Todber King of The Manor Sivers Final - Ash, Hillview and Home Ground Lakes

I travelled alone today which proved to be unnecessary had I done my homework, meeting up with Dave Lewis at the venue who had driven passed my house to get here. The last time we travelled to a match was some 20 years ago to the Slough Arm on the Grand Union Canal, so it was his turn to drive! It was also nice catching up with his Brother Hutch who had also qualified – I’m guessing worms were involved for both. Both still do some orienteering on the Bristol Avon.

I had a walk around the three Lakes and it was strangely flat calm and bright which lead me to think it was going to be hard. After the pre-draw chat I had an open mind as to where I wanted to draw. John Candy will tell you that predicting the winning Lake/pegs are impossible. I agree.

In to the draw bag and out comes peg 80 on Home Ground. At last a peg I can park behind. Before unloaded the tackle I searched out Gary O’Shea on Ash. He thought I couldn’t win it from the peg with the pegs opposite being favourite. For company I had Ash Tomkins on peg 78. I couldn’t help noticing that there was plenty of strong completion for the section – Nicky Collin, Mark Harper, Dave Roper and Ash to name a few. I guess it was the same for all the sections in such a final.

Whilst setting up I was looking for some positives and found one in the fact the wind was blowing into our end (it’s usually the other way). I set-up my favourite Ronnie rig, the 4 metre Drennan whip, a 9 inch Drake waggler and a 4x14 F1 winter to fish at 10 metres out in front. I started by feeding two balls of GB with Dead reds, caster and Pinkies at 10 metres and loose fed some casters down wind at 10 –o’clock. I had four goes on the Ronnie rig with single caster and with no indications, so went out at 10 metres with single DR on the hook. First put in I had a small 3oz Skimmer followed by a 4oz Ronnie. I fished this for an hour catching this stamp of fish mainly with the biggest being a 1 ½ Skimmer and a 12oz Ronnie. The fish seemed to like the GB so re-fed another ball laced with just loads of caster. Whilst I let that settled I went back in the Ronnie rig and had 30 minutes catching quality Ronnie’s until it died. The initial thinking was Carp disruption – it wasn’t. Back on the 10 metre line and a few more small Skimmers – plenty there, but need to catch this size fish short/ to-hand. It then slowed as did Ash next door. So went on the 4 metre whip with red maggot over loose fed wriggling maggot. This provided a few more Skimmers’ and Ronnie’s but that soon slowed. Umm. Got up for a call of nature and watched the wind and the penny dropped. The fish were following the wind. So with about 15 lb netted I picked up the waggler and with single DR on the hook fished over live reds I could follow the edge of the wind. It was very noticeable if the wind dropped completely I couldn’t catch. During the last hour I had a great time catch decent Ronnie’s to 6oz, Hybrids and Skimmer to 8 oz, picking of a bonus old 4 lb Bream. The nearer it got to the end the better the fishing became. I fed about ½ kilo of GB, ¼ pint of casters, hand full of Pinkies and ½ pint of live maggots.

I wasn’t sure what weight I had but as soon as I picked the net up realised I had a least 30lb. They in fact weighed 33 lb 14oz (upper pictured right) which was enough to beat Tony Rixon into second place overall by 12oz. Pre-weigh in Tony was playing his usual mind games “of I only got 25 lb” – after our last match at Shiplate where Tony took home a £1 in pools money more than me -  revenge was sweet. I forgot to ask John what privileges other than qualifying for next years final the title "King of The Manor" entitles me to - keys to the tackle shop would be good! 

Spare a thought for Nicky Collins who was on peg 89 and from the first minute to the last was playing Carp. He didn’t let it get to him fantasying about Carol Kirkwood and at one time he had us worried he was going to start singing “The Rind Stone Cowboy”.

It was another great days fishing on a great venue. This has to be the best catchable Roach venue in the South West.

John Candy was right when he said the winner could come from anywhere with the top three all coming from three different Lakes pictured below centre.

Full Result:

  1. Mike Nicholls 33-14-0 peg 80 HG
  2. Tony Rixon 33-02-0 peg 61
  3. Chris Albiston 32-08-0 peg 75 Ash
  4. Gareth Boycott 31-02-0 peg 73 Ash
  5. Joint: Dave Lewis 20-09-0 peg 67 Ash and Jack Stamp 20-09-0 peg 84 HG
Weigh Sheets: