Monday, 31 December 2018

Review of 2018

2018 started well with the first two opens - Bathampton AA and Windmill being double bubbles - Silvers and overall.

The next open match I organised at Boyd Valley Lake. It was soon obvious that the Silvers were shaking nervously in the reeds trying their best to avoid predators - primarily Cormorants. Luckily enough I caught eight fry Ronnie's to weigh 3 oz for a pick-up by default! The Carp caught were in excellent condition. I took my two 12 year old Granddaughters down there in the summer and it was quality Ronnies every put in for them.

During February I visited Plantation for two of Chris Rolfes open matches. It's a great venue especially for Silvers, coming second in the silvers with 28 lb is great fishing.

I have been going on and off to Hillview in Tewkesbury since it opened. I'm not so keen on the current summer Carp slaying, preferring instead to visit in the dead of winter when its sensible fishing. Only the one trip which through a good draw I won with a sensible 63 lb. Matey Dave Willmott was a close second. I will be back again in 2019. Keith is building another Lake behind the fourth Canal so that will be interesting - can't have too many Lakes.

Started fishing the Shiplate Thursday matches with Geoff Francis. We both enjoy fishing it's such a nice clean place to fish. Well managed by the Game Keeper "I've only got one cartridge so don't expect a warning shot" and Goldie Locks "who ate my porridge". We always stopped on the way home for a meal, mostly Brent House carvery.

April and it was time for the Todber King of the Manor Silvers final. I was in two minds whether to go. I was glad I did as I won it, beating Tony Rixon by a couple of ounces. I'm still not sure which was better the £825 pick-up or beating Tony by such an excruciating margin?

It was a question of either Huntstrete, Windmill and Shiplate for a good few matches. I then decided to fish the Todber Manor three Dayer. I felt I did well from the peg 23 at White Post, but didn't get it right for the next two days. The subsequent learning has encouraged me to try again in 2019. What a venue, suitable for the Carp Slayers and Silvers anglers - right balance of both. John Candy has got it right, then there is his pre-draw wit.

Come June Bela and I had a few trips to Ivy House fishing the two Canals. I really enjoyed fishing these, it's where I caught my two heaviest Silvers weights. Andy Lloyd has got the pools right - if you win both Silvers and overall you pick up both. Andy has constructed a new Lake named Heron and has been stocking it with various types and size of Carp - opening in April I think. Baggy always catches a few on his favoured paste or corn.

Early June is our group holiday at Viaduct. I spent the holiday chasing the Silvers which I failed miserably, often getting beat by Two Pots with his accidentals fishing paste. We are down there again this year but have another four coming taking us to ten, will miss Podge. Should be interesting trying to get ten of us in the local curry house. May have to leave the "bring our own" outside.

June also sees the start of Tony Rixons short pole and float only matches. Todber Manor was a welcome addition to both his leagues. I did well in the Short Pole picking up in every match - mainly Silvers, but did have my heaviest weight in this league nearly 200 lb. However, due to family commitments I missed three matches in the float only league, fishing three and picked up section in two, so okay. Thanks to the three anglers that stood in for me. It would be nice to actually fish them all in 2019, but already guessing the Special One is making plans for Michael.

Geoff and I had a few trips to Harescombe match Lake. We did okay, but thought the weights were down and found it a bit peggy. Still will be back in 2019, even if it's to have one of Pricey's breakfast, plus I have ran out of reading material. Then there's the friendly regulars.

I stayed local for a while fishing Ivy House, Windmill, Hunstrete and Shiplate until the Todber pairs started which I was to fish with Bela. However, due to the matches being on a Saturday Bela had too much work on, so Martin McMahan stepped in. I Did well in the first two but couldn't fish the last two because I got a bacterial infection and spent five days in hospital. The Doctors tried very hard to find out the cause but so far have failed. They are still taking blood for analysis. They even sent some to Porton Down!! As soon as the Special One agreed I was out fishing in time for the Viaduct Silvers league.

I never seem to get a decent start in this Silvers league and it was the same this year. I drew three time on Lodge and managed on one pick-up for second in section and once on Campbell for another section second. Again I has two surprise family commitments so missed two matches and blow me both reserves won their sections!

It seems that anglers are wanting to stay local especially in the winter, which is having the effect of reducing the size of matches. However, the numbers fishing matches in the South West have stayed consistent. During 2018 I have been weighing more Carp with the Silvers appearing to be reducing. I hope this is not the case.                        

                                               Some Facts and Figures - 2018

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Saturday 22/12/2018 - Viaduct Christmas Match - Campbell, Carey, Lodge, Match and Spring Lakes

Bela and I stopped at the usual Canards Well for breakfast, very good. Arrived at the fishery early and had time for a few chats. John Fuidge and me were watching plenty of fish activity on Lodge, place to draw I was thinking. Joe McMahon explained that Dad Martin had bought a new pole and has picked up in the Silvers the two times he's used it. Apparently Gordon Cannings asked whether it had come with instructions! If it did he must have left them home today!

With 72 fishing today the draw was going to be so important.

In to the draw coffee tin and out comes peg 10 on Spring, which is on the Monk and was working hard and making quite a noise.. As I had only prepared to fish for Silvers I was satisfied with this peg. It's a good caster and waggler peg. Got to the peg and found the wind was blowing in at me from 2 o'clock so manageable.

So the waggler erected, the Ronnie rig, a doubtful 4x12 to fish maggot at 10 metres over GB and the GB feeder. Started by feeding the Ronnie line with caster, similarly the waggler line and lastly the 10 metre line with just the investigatory ball of GB laced with LR's. Started on the Ronnie rig and had a 2 oz Hybrid first try. That was it with the caster. So tried the 10 metre line with maggot hook bait and started to catch small Ronnies. Looking around I couldn't see anyone catching. Thought I better try the waggler and caster which was my banker. I was missing bites and as the caster wasn't damaged it was either tiny Ronnies or Motherless Minnows. I did have a few Ronnies but no sign of Skimmers. Fishing either the waggler or the long line was too slow to build any sort of weight with the Ronnies so decided to feed some GB laced with Pinkie on the Ronnie line to see if I could get them close. This worked and started to get regular bites by topping up with small ball regularly. However, I knew that without Skimmers I wasn't going to get in the Silvers coin. So kept trying the waggler which I had been regularly topping up with caster. Again only missed bites and a few Ronnies. The angler on peg 11 had been fishing the waggler with corn so kept an eye on him in case he caught - he didn't. So I tried the GB feeder with an LR tipped with a Pinkie I was expecting the tip to register a small Ronnie straight away, bit amazingly it just sat there! The Lake was fishing awful and with anglers now packing up early I decided to finish the match on the Ronnies rig with the hope a Skimmer of four might come in over it.

I finished with about 150 Ronnie's for 11 b 1oz . I knew that I needed some better fish to frame. The highest Silvers weight on Spring was 12 lb!! The two anglers to my left DNW'd, Rob Parker on peg 8 won the Lake hamper with three Carp.

The match was won by Mark Wynne (pictured upper right with some of his catch) with an incredible weight of 179 lb 2 oz from Lodge peg 66. Mark caught down his LH edge using bread hook bait. I recently questioned whether peg 66 would still be a flyer Carp peg after it's sever tree pruning - so that was answered today. Well done Mark.

"Wynner gets his Turkey dinner"

The Silvers was won by Gary O'Shea (pictured right with his catch of Skimmers) with another spectacular weight from Lodge Lake of 45 lb 10 oz from peg 69. Gary caught on both corn and caster hook bait fished over the same feed. Gary fed half a pint of caster and half a tin of corn. Well done Gary.

I was right about wanting a draw on Lodge. Match Lake fished well especially in the 40's.

Back to the Lodge where drinks and mince pies welcomed us. Now which prize will I get for my 37th place?

A great thanks to Matt Long for getting the result out so quickly and Helen for getting the tea's and prizes sorted. Apparently Steve was seen a few times drinking Fosters hidden well out of the fray.

Full Result: (no peg numbers this blog)

Thursday, 20 December 2018

20/12/2018 - Bathampton AA - Over 55's Christmas Match - Bridge Pool

Me and the Special One had a great weekend down Brighton with son Mark and family, with so much bad weather around it looked like I choose the right weekend to miss the fishing. However, I was really looking forward to getting back out again. The last match of the year for the Coffin Dodgers is the Christmas match and we usually won't be back together until March. However, Dave Gillard is running a series of matches for club members during Jan, Feb up to the re-start in March 2019, details are on the BAA website.

Geoff Francis picked me up and as usual we had breakfast in Hungry Horaces, which was OK. On arrival I had a walk around the Lake. With all the recent rain I was expecting to see some colour washed in from the surrounding hills, alas not the water is getting clearer by the week. I did notice a few dead Carp, one 6 lb which had signs of being half eaten by Mink.

Into the draw bag where I was hoping to miss the pegs in the 30's and out comes peg 30! On arrival I had good company with Paul Barnfield on peg 31 and Enigma on peg 29. Enigma is a very inventive angler, and showed me his new (old) fishing umbrella which he had cut down from a full size one (upper pictured right). I was impressed as it just covered the important bits but still allowed fishing the waggler and pole, plus made netting fish easier. It was also more wind resistant.

Set the waggler up, a Ronnie rig and the main attack a 4x16 Winter to fish at 10 metres. I started by feeding some GB laced with some dead Pinkies on the Ronnie line and at 10 metres. Started long and soon caught a 6 oz Hybrid on a single LR. I then lost what I think was a small F1, followed by losing three 2 oz Ronnies. The Ronnies settled over GB and it was one a bung, but they were really small. So  tried to catch them short on the Ronnie rig. Unfortunately they preferred to stay well out, I did managed to catch a couple before picking up the waggler rod. I fired a few LR's out and with a single on the 18 hook I started to catch some slightly better Ronnies. which weren't falling off on the retrieve. The swim died for a while due to playing a foul hooked Carp which I pulled out of. Back on the pole and again it was a small Ronnie every put in. Back out on the waggler and I hooked what I thought was a decent Skimmer. I played it carefully to find I had a near 2 lb Perch. As I was netting it, it spewed up a 2 oz Ronnie which had been thoroughly chewed and had it's head missing - amazing. I don't know why but the waggler line died completely, which I spent too long on catching nothing (which was to cost me a higher placing). In my defence there probably another big Perch to be had! I spent the remainder of the match on the long line picking off small Ronnies on the drop. Absolutely no sign of a Skimmer.

I weighed 8 lb 6 oz for 5 th in the Silvers and only 1 lb 9 oz behind the Silvers winner!

The match was won by Paul Haines (pictured upper right with his Carp catch) with 31 lb 12 oz from peg 27. Paul swapped between the feeder and the pole fished at 16 metres.

The Silvers was won by Paul Barnfield (pictured right with the match winner and their Christmas booty) with 9 lb 14oz. Paul caught on maggot over GB fished at 13 metres.

Everyone showed their appreciation to Chris Rolfe for running the series and especially todays match. It's not an easy job.

It was back to the pub with the usual suspects where I again watched them downing Doombar whilst I drank squash. Well done to Geoff Francis for coming second overall.


1. Paul Haines 31-12-0 peg 27
2. Geoff Francis 17-04-0 peg 18
3. Dave Gillard 10-01-0 peg 28


1. Paul Barnfield 9-14-0 peg 31
2. Dave Poole 9-05-0 peg 14
3. Chris Rolfe 8-09-0 peg 6

Weigh Sheets:

Friday, 7 December 2018

06/12/2018 - Bathampton AA - Over 55's - Hunstrete - Bridge Pool

Out to the garage in the dark and whilst finding the garage light I felt some satisfying crunching under foot. Last night I un-bagged some red maggots into a bait box which for all intents and purposes were dead. However, not the case with the mild night temperatures they revided and sweated up - the rest we all know. So spent 15 minutes trying to hide the evidence of this from the Special One.

Travelled with Geoff Francis which always means a full breakfast which we had a Hungry Horace's. I have started enjoying food again so it went down well.

BAA had planned to Siltex the pools earlier this week but for some reason it didn't happen, this cheered up all the twenty anglers fishing today. Let's hope they stop this all together and stop wasting club funds.

I'm still a bit under the weather so thought about a near draw, but soon changed my mind as I hate fishing on the road bank. Into the draw bag and out comes peg 16. Happy with this as it's a short walk and would have the wind off my right shoulder. However, this peg hasn't really produced since the summer, but has a great record. I have had some great days on this peg and I still hold the Pool record from it. For company I had Pete Turner on peg 18, John Smith on peg 24 and behind me on peg 15 the affable Pete Greenslade.

Three rigs - The Ronnie, a 4x12 Roob set to 3 1/2 foot for fishing 11 metres to the opposite island and a 4x16 Winter to fish at 2 o'clock at topset plus three barrels for Silvers. On the bait tray - 1/2 pint of now live reds, handful of Pinkies some wetted micro and some sonubaits 4mm expander, which have gone a darker colour and don't expand as large - consistency would be good!

Fed both the Ronnie line and Silvers line with one small handful of GB laced with a few pinkies and LR's. Started on the Silvers line with single or double LR's on the hook and had a 1 oz Skimmers first and second put-in. I then had to wait before I had the next Skimmer which was about 1 lb. I kept topping up with a laced knub of GB to keep the Skimmers coming. I then had four big Skimmers in four put-ins but lost two of them, glad Mike Jones wasn't here today as I did say a double bugger. At least the feeding was more akin to Skimmer's where it was feed a knub and wait for them to come over it which allowed me to have a swaray over to the far bank. I started over kindering in a few expanders and micro. With 4 expander on the hook I had indications right away but found the expander not robust enough as striking at liners which meant re-baiting. So switch to kindering LR's with double on the hook. This was better for lifting and dropping but was still not connecting with the bites/liners. I then had a 1 lb Roach followed by a 12 ouncer, the culprits for all the missed bites I think. I then had a couple of F1's and four stock Carp. Having kept an eye on the Silvers line I saw some pimpin so back on this line produced some better Skimmers. So a pattern was formed - feed - leave - over to the far bank - back over pimpin. I did hook an 8 lb Carp over, losing it trying to net it, the water was so clear the Carp could see the landing net coming and would dive off, another bugger, I thought this might cost me today. Towards the end of the match the Ronnie's started to have a feed which meant leaving the far bank instead focussing on the Silvers line. As I wasn't catching Ronnies over the Silvers line earlier I left the Ronnie rig in the Roost.

I finished with a total of 31 lb 2 oz comprising of 17 lb 6 oz of Silvers. Luckily this was enough to win both overall and the Silvers - so another double bubble.

The runner up was Pete Turner (pictured right) with 26 lb 1 oz from peg 18. Pete had two big Carp for 21 lb.

The Pool fished better than it looked today.

It was back to the Pub with the usual suspects, where I had to watch Doombar being consumed whilst I drank a cup of black tea!!


1. Mike Nicholls 31-02-0 peg 16
2. Pete Turner 26-01-0 peg 18
3. Tony Rixon 26-0-0 peg 31
4. Alan Oram 23-02-0 peg 6
5. Steve Dawson 13-04-0 peg 33
6. Harry Muir 13-0-0 peg 11


1. Mike Nicholls 17-06-0 peg 16
2. Paul Banfield 11-0-0 peg 4
3. Dave Wride 10-12-0 peg 7

Weigh Sheets:

Monday, 3 December 2018

Sunday 02/12/2018 - Viaduct Silvers League - Round Five - Campbell, Carey and Lodge Lakes

After a five week lay-off and spending six days in Bath's RUH with a bacteria infection I was looking forward to getting away from Brexit discussions which is swamping the news. I was tested for allsorts including Leptospirosis. Currently all the test have proven negative with the doctors saying that they may never know the cause. However, more blood test today and hoping to get signed off by my Doctor on Wednesday. Myself, I think it was fishing related, it's surprising what we put in our mouths on the lake side!

I had a choice of either Todber Manor on Saturday or Viaduct Slivers league on Sunday. The Special One wouldn't let me do both. However, the decision was made to go to Viaduct based on having a lift with Bela. Thanks to Mark Poppleton for sorting a reserve for Todber.

After a  decent breakfast in Canards Well the first fry-up for five weeks. I had a walk around the lakes and noticed that Lodge peg 66 has had a severe hair cut (pictured right). I was left wondering whether it would still remain a flyer Carp peg. Time will tell.

Early into the draw and a swim card jumped into my hand which I thought was a good omen. Opened it to find I was on peg 121 - longest walk and an unsociable peg. I couldn't make up my mind what colour float to use as the light was shocking, I find red best compromise in these cases. What is really needed is a float that changes colour with the change of light! So set up a 4x12 Winter, the Ronnie rig and a waggler. However, having agreed with the lads each side how far I could fish it I didn't feel comfortable so left it in the roost and the casters in the bag. I had a chat with Bob Gullick who had been on the peg last match who said he had 4 lb of Ronnie's and no Skimmers. Bob also added that there had just been a two day Perch festival on the Lake with it full of Prawns (what's that about). I went back to my peg with my chin in my chest. Looking for positives the wind was blowing down to this end and in fact was in my face and it was mild at 13 degrees. So I chose to fish GB and maggot all day in two swims one short on the Ronnie rig and the other long at top-set plus three barrels. Fed a one squeeze ball of GB laced with Pinkie on each line. I started long and was soon getting indications. Knowing that I would have to dot right down I found seeing the float difficult. But by a slight lift and drop I started to catch 4 oz Skimmers. I had a reasonable first hour catching these and found a quicker response as soon as I topped up. I didn't have one proper bite with them all being lifts and nudges. I missed a few bites as I was slow spotting these unusual bites. I swapped between the two lines catching Ronnies on the Ronnie rig. What was interesting was the swapping of feeding patterns between the two species. The Ronnie line was fed and left whilst the Skimmers line had to be fed and fished. I kept small fish coming for most of the match and with two minutes to go hooked a Tench on the Ronnie rig which came off. Judging by the amount of Tench slime on the line it might have been fouled hook, leaving my biggest fish at 6 oz!!

I thought I had 14 lb but Steve Long decided to give me 9 lb 8 oz. Aide memoire - Lend Steve my special enlargement glasses next time. However, this gave me a second in section pick-up with Chris Davis winning the section with 16 lb 7 oz from peg 125. ell done to him. So would have finished second in any case. I must say I did enjoy it but found it very tiring. I need to get match fit.

The match was won by Steve Tucker (pictured right with a nice net of Skimmers) with 32 lb 14 oz from peg Carey peg 81. Steve Set up four pole rigs all Garbolino DC C32 .2.4 all 012 to 08 G Power line size 20 hook in 4ft of water on three lines at 14m feeding Special G black and pro natural lake with casters and red squatt. Steve caught steady all day on casters rotating the three lines but had to top up after every 2-3 fish. Steve and pairs partner Gary O'Shea had a good weekend winning the Todber Pairs the day before. Well done to both worthy winners.

Bela was disappointed with his catch today but that what some of the draws give you. Live ti fight another day.

Unfortunately I mixed my dates and will miss the last match. Good luck to all.


1. Steve Tucker 32-14-0 peg 81
2. Gary O'Shea 23-07-0 peg 96
3. Paul Elms 21-10-0 peg 59
4. Sam Powell 21-08-0 peg 129
5. Alvin Jones 20-08-0 peg 86
6. Nick Ewers 19-15-0 peg 130


1. Sam Powell 4 points
2. John Fuidge 4 points
3. Craig Edmonds 5 points
18. Mike Nicholls 10 points!!

Weigh Sheets: