Woodland View Silver Fish League 2018
Iain Swanson 22nd January 2018
I blogged about this league last winter, so thought I’d do an update on this year’s league to see how it compares.
The league is run by Woodland View Fishery in Droitwich and fished over 8 matches, with your worst points dropped. This is just a silver fish league, so no Carp, F1s or Gold Fish count and if caught will not be weighed in.
The league started on January 6th, with around 30 anglers in the league and a few more fishing it as opens.
Hoping for a good start and a decent draw, the first peg that I pulled out of the tin was 54 on Back Deans. Not an area I would have picked, but probably a fair section.
I’d been on this peg the week before Christmas as drew it in the fur n feather match, but that day I was looking for Carp not silvers.
Started off on a pinkie line at 13m, fed a decent amount to kick off then was topping up depending on bites. It was a tough start though, bites were a premium and when I did get them they appeared to be Carp as I lost 3 big fish and put back about 7 F1s that didn’t count.
I was also feeding a caster line at 5 sections, where I was looking for some better stamp Roach but this didn’t materialise sadly.
I stuck at the long pole line though, and it was a waiting game for bites. Ended up weighing 5lb 8oz which turned out to be 2nd in a very tough section.
6lb won the section from the corner peg, so was very close with one bonus fish between a section win and second.
Was relatively happy with that to kick the league off though.
The following week, I was pretty happy when I drew peg 10 on Arles Lake. Arles is probably my favourite lake for silver fish, and it’s also the oldest and most mature pool on the complex.
The plan of attack was a similar one to last week, pinkie line on the long pole then Caster closer in.
This time my peg was full of small Roach and was getting a bite every drop. The fish weren’t big though, but with no skimmers being caught around the rest of the lake decided to plug at it and catch as many of these small roach as I could.
It ended up being a good shout as well as I weighed 11lb 4oz which won the lake so good points for the league and it put me in joint 2nd place after 2 rounds.
Round 3 and I was on a different lake again, this time on High Pool and peg 31. High pool is the deepest lake on the venue with it over a to kit deep at 8m, so a little more challenging with long rigs a heavier floats required.
It was a freezing cold day, with sleet and rain falling for the entire match. There were a few large clumps of ice floating around the lake as well, and a few of the lads at the top end having to break ice to get a rig in the water.
My hands were that cold that half way through the match my hook caught underneath my fingernail, at the time I didn’t feel it but later on that evening when I warmed up it really started to throb!!
On the day, the long pole with Pinkie was the best line again, but do think I made a mistake by not persevering more on the short caster line as those who did well seem to have caught on this.
Disappointing day though as I weighed 5lb 8oz which was last in my section. The section was won with 11lb, so it was tight again but I wouldn’t have got near that in all honesty.
So hopefully that is my dropper round out of the way!! Apart from Charlie who was on Arles, the 4 of us who were 1st and second in the league all bombed out in this round which has opened it right out.
The gear I use on this league is quite simple, for the long pole line I’m using a size 20 or 22 hook to a 0.08 Milo Krepton Fluro Carbon, Hooklength, 0.10 Krepton mainline and a Milo Oxon float from 0.2g up to 0.5g that I use in the deeper water on High.
The other rig that I use for fishing the caster, is the same lines and hooks but with a Chianti style float.
Elastic is a solid number 4, so nice and soft when your catching the small Roach and Skimmers.
Bait wise again is pretty simple, all I take is Pinkie and Caster with a small tub of worms for the hook in case the skimmers do show up.
So all in all apart for the disaster on High Pool, it hasn’t been too bad a start so far with my last in section as my dropper round we are still in with a shout.
Let’s hope for a decent draw and some good points next week!
Pick a peg or two!
Iain Swanson 28th February 2017
Well here it was, the final round of the Silver fish league at Woodlands View, it’s been a great league again with around 40 anglers competing for the league and enjoying some great winters fishing.
As we were travelling up on Saturday, I said to Callum that if I could pick a peg today I’d go for 34 on Arles. I even joked in the café with Lee that as Harvey wasn’t there today there would be one end peg and flyer free for someone and that I’d take 34!
I could not believe it when I drew, as I did indeed do a Houdini and draw 34 on Arles! Can honestly say that I’ve never done that before and picked the peg that I fancied so was well pleased with that.
First thing I thought of was I’d said in last week’s blog that the rest of the pegs in the section would struggle to compete with 34 so the pressure was on to catch a few!
After dropping Callum off on back deans again (he seems to be living on that one poor lad!), I headed back and began to set up.
34 is quite a narrow peg as there is a point from the island meaning that its only about 14m wide. Just off that island is also quite shallow, so it’s great for the Carp in the summer, but in the winter the skimmers tend to live in the deeper water at about 11m and on the short lines where the deepest water is.
The plan for today was pinkie at 11m, then a couple of caster lines at 2+2 and 2+4 with a view of not just sticking to one area but all over the peg.
Rig wise I was using some of my own 4x10 home made floats, on 0.10 main line to 0.08 hooklengths and a size 20 Suehiro hook. Elastic was a solid number 3 on all top kits as you don’t want these fish being bumped off!
Hooter went and I kicked off with a palm sized amount of pinkies on the 11m line and proceeded to flick casters on to the caster lines close in. In previous weeks bites tended to be pretty instant on here, but today it seemed a little slower and it took a good few drops before the first fish was in the net. That was also a tiny skimmer not a Roach surprisingly!
The fish were starting to come thick and fast, before the first proper fish was hooked and gave me a right run around on a number 3 elastic! It turned out to be a decent hybrid too and not a F1 or Carp that was a proper little bonus! Next drop though, I did hook a carp that made a bid for freedom and won the battle.
Re-feeding the swim, next I had a look on the short lines but only one small Roach came on that so went back long but didn’t give up on those lines and kept flicking casters over it.
The lost Carp didn’t seem to affect the swim that much as was soon back into the Roach and Skimmers again on the long line, but all the time kept feeding the other lines.
I kept the fish going for a good while before it was time again to have a look on the caster lines. This time the fish were there, and I caught a few better stamp skimmers and Roach which was a great little boost to the weight.
I kept alternating lines for the rest of the match, picking up Roach and skimmers on each and keeping moving around the peg in order to keep the bites coming. The guy to my right had a very good run late on with Skimmers though so wasn’t really sure if id’ done enough.
Adrian came with the scales and I weighed 14lb 8oz which was enough to win the section and come third overall in the match. So happy days, I’d managed to get the potential out of the peg!
The results on the day were:
1st Kane Woodfield (Sensas Black Country) 19lb 8oz
2nd Andy Pollard (Daiwa Gordon League) 16lb 14oz
3rd Iain Swanson (Milo) 14lb 8oz
League wise, I personally finished with 21 Points that put me 14th out of 40 overall. Not too bad considering the standard of anglers there and it did result in another brown envelope. At the same time though, disappointing as my bad 5th in section probably cost me a top 10 place. Still onwards and upwards and will look forward to next years league again.
Carl Hopps (Chopps) win the league after being very consistent throughout so a massive well done to him and the other anglers that framed.
The final league standings was:
1st Carl Hopps (Smithys) 10 points
2nd Simon Nickless (Sensas Black Country) 11 points
3rd Charlie Vallender (Lobbies) 12 points, & 86lb 1oz
4th Lee Edwards (Maver) 12 points, & 66lb 3oz
5th John Harvey (Preston Innovations) 12 points, & 62lb 6oz
Thanks to Adrian, Mike and Denise Mason at Woodlands View for a superbly run league and some great fishing. They also gave Callum a goody bag of tackle as a reward for him fishing every round in all weathers. and despite a few blanks early on it’s been a great learning curve and experience for him helped by all the anglers that have fished the league.
Iain Swanson 22nd February 2017
There was a lot more anticipation for the latest round of the Woodlands View Silver Fish league, probably because the temps had risen considerably through the week.
We went from having snow and shaking like a sh@ting dog last week, to the barmy heights of 11c this weekend. In the penultimate round of the league everyone was hopeful of a good days sport at least.
With the pending Preston Pairs Final being held at the venue the week after, there was a decent turnout of 14 extras practising for this even (even Mr Neal graced Woodlands with his presence!)
Anyway dipping into the box, I pulled out Arles 28…again! I have been on this peg before and the one next to it so knew the area pretty well!
The last time I was on it though, it was an end peg and today it wasn’t as had anglers on 26 and 24. In a very good section it’s not the best peg and is always going to struggle to compete with 34 but was still quite happy with the draw.
Plan as ever was a pinkie line long, then caster line at 6 sections and also a 2+2 line on pinkies. I also had chopped up a bit of worms as there is plenty of skimmers in Arles who are partial to a few diced worms!
Kicked off by potting in a decent cup of pinkies long, followed by some casters on the other line, and it wasn’t long before some Roach were in the net and bite were thick and fast.
Mostly small Roach, but I did have a few small blades amongst them which was a good sign.
I was feeding the caster line and 2+2 line whilst I was fishing the long line and after an hour or so decided to have a little look on it as quite a few people were catching skimmers (especially the angler on 34).
This didn’t result in any, but it did produce a few bigger Roach, which was a bonus as did the 2+2 line when I dropped in on that for a look.
It wasn’t really happening though so I potted in some more pinkie on the long line and went back on that. Quite instantly I was playing a Carp, although I didn’t know it was a Carp at the time and was secretly praying for it to be a big perch or bream. Alas it was a Carp though and I did get it in, but they don’t count so it was catch and release!
This was followed by another good fish pulling the elastic out, this time though it was a good skimmer of about 1 ½ lb that was very welcome. A few more smaller blades also followed before the Roach moved back in.
The rest of the match was spent rotating the lines I had in the hope that the big skimmers would show up somewhere but alas they didn’t! I did have plenty of fish though and it was bite a chuck for most of the match so a really nice days fishing.
The guy on 34 though had caught superbly well and I thought he would win the match outright when he tipped 20lb on the scales. That was until we heard that Andy Power had weighed 28lb from the opposite bank of Arles.
Arles had fished superbly well, and all the framing weights coming from it.
I weighed it 13lb 10oz that would have won previous matches, but today was only enough for 4th in my section which now puts me on 20 points (dropping my worst result)
Chopps again come up with the goods and came second in his section and third in the match to take the lead in the overall league with John Havey Dropping a few points having come third in his section on high.
So full results were:
1st Andy Power (Preston Innovations) 28lb 8oz
2nd Dave Brown (Maver Midlands) 20lb 2 oz
3rd Carl Hopps (Peg Ones) 19lb 6oz
4th John Dale (Peg One) 19lb 8oz
Carl Hopps 11, John Harvey, 12, Simon Nickless & Kane Woodfield 14, Lee Edwards 15, Charlie Valender & Andy Pollard 16.
So it looks like the league is Chopp’s now as John will be missing from the last round due to the winter league final. Should be a good last match though to end what has been a great winter league.
I’ll bring you final blog of this league next week!
Iain Swanson - 14th February 2017
The latest round of the Woodlands View silver fish league was eagerly anticipated after a long week grafting in work!
Had a bit of a shock Saturday morning when I got up though, as was greeted by a bit of a covering of snow with plenty of the white stuff still falling in the normally warm and sunny Ebbw Vale.
Wasn’t really expecting it but hey ho, it is winter after all and was layered up so should be ok!
There was no snow in Droitwich, but it was bitterly cold, the chill factor definitely took the mercury below 0c so a cold difficult day was in store for us.
I’ve been pretty lucky so far, being on Arles for most of the rounds. This time though I was headed somewhere different as FD 25 stuck to my hand.
Hadn’t fished Deans this Silvers league, but have caught plenty of skimmers of there in the past so was as ever optimistic of a few bites.
My young protégé Callum was just along the bank on FD 29 so one drop off made life a bit easier this week and I was actually ready for the all in when Mike sounded the hooter!
It was bitterly cold and it was a very slow start all over, Tom Scholey opposite nabbed a skimmer first drop but otherwise most anglers were motionless apart from a bit of shivering!
I started on 11m, but with no bites, soon went out to 13m which resulted in a pretty immediate bite. Sadly though it was one of the new F1s, that didn’t count so he had to go back.
Shortly after the elastic was flying out again, this time with a bigger Carp on the end that had no intention of stopping anytime soon and the hook came back a lot straighter than when it went in.
Armed with a new hook length, back out we went with some more pinkies and another bite! Happily though, this one turned out to be a Skimmer.
Not a massive one but a Skimmer none the less.
By now Chopps on my right had a few too and was building up a bit of momentum and flying ahead so I was playing catch up. After some regular feeding though and having a bit of patience in waiting for the bites my bites increased and I was soon up to 6 Skimmers in the net and feeling pretty pleased as two of them were decent sized too.
I had been feeding the 6m line and the 2+2 line but one missed bite on the 6m line was all that happened on those despite regular feeding and drops on it.
The long line though did continue to produce though and by feeding two lines left and right, I managed to keep some bites coming when a lot of others were failing.
Small hooks and light lines was definitely the order of the day, I was fishing single pinkie or casters on a 22 Suehiro to 0.08 hooklengths with small 4x10 floats dotted down to a dimple.
I had no idea how the rest of the section had done though when we came to weigh in, news was though that Charlie had double figures from the other end.
That turned out to be 13lb and a weight that no one else was close to beating.
Chopps to my right put 8lb on the basket which was the next best, I thought it would be close but not quite as close as I also put 8lb on meaning we tied for second place in the section and the lake.
We had also the section money by default as Charlie ended up second in the match with his superb 13lb 3oz from peg 23.
At this stage of the league though the points are more important as it is getting very close at the top, with Chopps himself one of the front runners.
I’m not up there myself sadly, as with my first round disaster and last in section dropper taken off am now on 16 points and off the pace setters
The league itself looks like this with just two more rounds remaining:
John Harvey & Carl Hopps – 9 Points
Simon Nickless – 10 Points
Kane Woodfield – 12 Points
Lee Edwards – 12 Points
It’s still all to play for next week and with a mild front coming in, anything could happen!
Section of Doom!
Iain Swanson 8th Feb 2017
Round 5 of the Woodlands View silver fish league and although there was a little ice on the car early doors, a much milder day was on the cards.
Sure enough when the sun came up, temperatures rose with it and it really was a nice day to be out on the bank.
This week they had included Ghost into the equation, so I was hoping for a draw on there or on Arles again.
John “Houdini” Harvey was bigging up the fact that he could predict where he can draw at the moment, and when questioned he opted for Arles 25.
I kid you not, when the draw was made he did indeed draw Arles 25! Peg 23 was also in this week though so it wasn’t quite the end peg he was hoping for but still called it on the nose….Unbelievable!
I drew Arles again, but this time peg 12 and the one young Callum was sat on last week.
There was a pretty good turnout this week, with a few of the river leagues finished and a few booked in to practise for the forthcoming Preston Pairs Final there.
When I got to my peg, although quite pleased with it looking around to see who was setting up in my section would lead anyone to believe it was the section of doom!
On end peg was England international Callum Dicks, next to him was Dan Ashington, then there was Andy Power to my right who’s literally been there and won it! Then myself, Woodlands regular Phil Bishop to my left, and on the other end peg was Capewell senior who was sat on the same end peg that Luke won the lake off previously. Hmmmm ok…..not too much of a challenge then!
For the first time this league as well I was actually ready to start when the hooter sounded! A good result in itself!
In went a small pot of pinkies at 13m, followed by a few casters and a bit of chopped worm at 6 sections and we were away.
Bit of a slow start though and it was about 10minutes before the first redfin was in the keepnet.
Next bite and my number 3 elastic was pouring out of the pole , I did take it steady as there are a lot of big Perch and Tench in Arles so there was no guarantee it was a Carp.
Fears confirmed though as the hook pulled an a large scale was left on the hook as a souvenir of our brief and one sided tussle.
Next drop, float buried again and yet again the elastic was pouring out as another Carp bolted for freedom. The outcome was the same as the earlier battle, although no scale was left on the hook as it was straightened like a needle!
Great start eh! I was more than a bit worried that I would be totally Carped out all day, but thankfully they were the only ones I made contact with.
Once the commotion settled down the Roach moved back in and was soon catching them very regularly. They were only small though, and I knew to build any sort of weight I would need some bonus fish to grace the landing net.
I kept feeding the caster and worm line as the long line continued to produce the micro roach!
After a hour or so of careful feeding on that line, I had a drop on it and pretty instantly had a bite. A nice Roach was soon in the net and next drop, another bite and a bigger fish seemed to have taken a liking for the casters. After carefully playing a heavy weight for a few minutes, a nice big Perch popped up and was quickly scooped! That’ll do nicely!
Didn’t have any more bites on the caster line after that so rested it and went back on the long line where the micro roach were eager to munch on a few pinkies again!
I did keep feeding the caster line though, and went back on it after another hour which resulted in a nice skimmer and a few more net roach! Happy days again!
Whilst all of this was going on, I was also priming up a line on 2 + 2 ready for the last hour as do think the bigger roach come in on this on the later part of the match.
It did pay off as well and although they could have done with being a bit bigger, I was catching quicker as it was so close in.
The match finished and the section was weighed in. Capewell Senior on the end had 8lb, Phil B next to me had 5lb, I weighed 10lb 8oz, then the faultless Andy Power put a superb 14lb on the scales to win the lake and the section. Callum put 11lb 4oz on the scales on the end so I ended up 3rd in the section, but another 1lb and would have be 2nd!
A nice day all in all though and a superb 31lb of Skimmers came off Deans caught by Charlie Vallender who won the match comfortably.
Well done Charlie!
Round 6 next week and just 3 more rounds to go
Iain Swanson - 1st February 2017
Last Saturday it was round 4 of the Woodlands View silver fish league, and it was due to be a little milder this week thankfully.
I dipped into the box and out came Arles again and number 25. My first thoughts were mixed! I was glad that I had drawn on Arles again, but this peg has been the wrong end of a good section lately so unsure if it would give the chance of good points or not.
The one good thing was though that it was an end peg! Woohoo!
It was another tough section as well, with a lot of good Woodlands Anglers setting up on the pegs to my left so was up against it before a line was wet.
The plan today was a similar approach to previous weeks, pinkies long at about 13-14m, Caster on 6 sections and Pinkies on a 2+2 line.
Before I knew it the hooter was sounded and we were off…well most others were but I wasn’t quite ready!
Off we went though and in went about a dozen pinkies on the long line followed by some casters and pinkies flicked onto the other lines.
Last week, and indeed the other times I had been on Arles it was pretty instant on the long line with plenty of bites. This time though, it was a slower start with no one really catching anything for the first few minutes.
This did pick up though, and it wasn’t long before the first Roach was safely in the keepnet.
As time went on, the swim was building up nicely with plenty of small Roach and even a few small Skimmers coming off that line.
I had been regularly feeding the caster line though so after a couple of hours catching Roach decided to have a look on it. First drop, missed a bite! Second drop, missed a bite! Third drop a roach, but quite a nice stamp one in fairness so things were looking up! Fourth drop, a nice sized Skimmer….happy days! Fifth drop, nothing and no more bites so they obviously spooked off having hooking that Skimmer. I had a search about for a while but no more bites, so went back long but continued to feed it for anther go later.
The Roach were still coming in on the long line so plugged away at that putting fish in the net. I did have another few goes on the caster line and on the pinkie on 2+2 and did pick off a few fish on each of them.
I ended up with 8-0-0 which was enough for 2nd in the section but took the section winning points for the league as Andy who had won the section wasn’t in the league! Was very happy with that result in fairness as thought the pegs in the higher numbers would come back with a few lb more as they have done better in previous weeks.
No let up now though as its back there again next week for round 5!
Another good resulted need please!!
Seconds out....Round 3!
Iain Swanson 23rd January 2017
Round 3 of the Woodlands View Silver Fish League last Saturday and boy was it a cold one!
When the windscreen deforested and we left the valleys aroud 6.45, the trusty dashboard temperature gauge was reading -3.5c brrrrrr!!
There was a very hard frost on the ground on arrival at the fishery, but the lakes were ice free due to the aerators and bubblers being on for the past few days.
They were switched off just after the draw to allow the water to calm down as when they are all on it creates a very strong tow.
I drew peg 28 on Arles, which I was really happy about as its definitely been the best lake since this series started. Was only a peg away from where I was on the first round though and I struggled to find any skimmers in that match, but bites were plenty at least.
The plan was long 13m line fishing pinkie, casters at 6 sections then a 2+2 line again on pinkies, with a bit of chopped worm as back up incase it was very hard
I started off on the ling line feeding pinkies through the kinder pot to keep it accurate, and thankfully bites were pretty quick in coming. Small Roach once again were the quarry, similar start to the first match as well.
Whilst I was fishing the long pole line, I was feeding up my other swims in the hope that they would either come short and a few bonus fish would also turn up on the caster line.
Despite the cold, the sport was pretty good and the Roach and a few bonus small Skimmers were going in the net pretty regularly. I did continue to switch lines though, resting the long line and having a look on the others. The 2+2 line, didn’t really take off though and only a few small roach came off that line which was a bit disappointing.
The caster line at 6 sections did bear fruit though, although the fish weren’t there in massive numbers, it did add a fair bit of weight to my net with a couple of better stamp roach, 2 skimmers and a brucie bonus big perch taking a liking to the shells.
The long line also produced pretty consistently throughout the day, the numbers of small roach probably making up the bulk of my weight.
I think it’s really important at this time of year to keep working the rig and the bait through the water columns. I don’t believe the fish are sat on the bottom, but at the same time don’t move about that much so need a little enticing to take the bait.
I ended up weighing 11lb 12oz which was really happy with on the day. The section and match was won by Charlie Vallender with a superb 18lb of Roach and Skimmers.
My efforts though were rewarded with a default section win and 5th in the match so a few quid came home in the wallet!
It’s the same again next week, so here’s hoping for another draw on Arles!!
Chasing Silvers....Part 1 & 2
Iain Swanson - 16th January 2017
2017 started the same as 2016 with the individual silver fish league at Woodlands View in Droitwich. I’ve fished this league for the past few years now, and really enjoy the fishing and the craic that goes with it. Woodlands offers some superb silver fish sport through the winter months, with all the pools well stocked with Skimmers, Roach and Perch.
The first round I drew peg 27 on Arles, which is right by the café and main car park. I was secretly hoping to get on Arles, but to be honest on the opposite side to where I was. Funnily enough though exactly where the end peg specialist John Harvey drew after dipping in the box straight after me! Still, undeterred after dropping young Callum off in the corner of Back Deans I headed for the peg in anticipation of some good silvers sport.
I set up three main lines, a line starting at 11m then going out to 13 &14m, a 2+2 line at the bottom of the shelf and also a line at around 8m. I plan it this way so I can cover as much water in the peg as possible! In winter when the fish shoal up tightly, I always try to utilise the peg as much as possible. I started on 11m line on pinkie, fished on a chianti style float with strung shot feeding little and often. This resulted in pretty instant bites, although the fish were not very big the float was going under very frequently. After an hour or so it did dry up as predicted, so another section went on and I went out to 13m on the same rig and started catching again.
Whilst I was catching on this line I was feeding 2+2 line with Casters, as usually you can catch some bigger roach and skimmers by doing this that really bumps the weight up. Despite trying it several times, it resulted in zero bites! Very strange as its normally a bit of a banker line to get a few better Roach, but not today.
I had also started feeding the 8m line, but this also didn’t amount to anything either other than a few small perch. The Roach were still there on the long line so that was now the main line, but I did keep feeding the other lines as looking around the lake knew I needed some Skimmers if there was to be any hope of doing well. The skimmers never showed up for me sadly, and I ended up with an all Roach weight of 7lb 10oz. That was a decent weight on the day as the other pools had fished very hard apart from high, but sadly it was down in the section points stakes as a fair few did snare a few skimmers. Harvey on the end peg opposite in fairness did superbly and nabbed 4 with Roach to top up to win his section, but it was really close around Arles….so close in fact that just one skimmer would have given me 2nd in the section, 2 skimmers and I could have won the lake! Such is though, have had a nice day none the less. My young protégé Callum recorded some good section points though on a tough Back Deans section weighing 2lb 4oz but coming in 3rd in the points stake.
So onto week two and in run up to this, the weather had been pretty grim with temps falling below zero overnights and a layer of snow on the ground when we left home. Hoping for another draw on Arles, after the usual bacon and egg sandwich out came High 14. Hmmmmmm interesting! Andy Morrison won the lake off that peg the previous week, but it is a chuffing deep area of the lake and with the drop in temps would it be the same this week. It was a real section of death this one with former league winners Andy Pollard, Si Nickless and Fishermans Friend Tony Troth to name but three Woodlands regulars that were all sat in a row next to me!
Plan of attack was pretty similar to last week, but with bigger floats as this peg is very deep! Needed short 4s on the top kits for the long lines it does drop off considerably. Started off on 11m and nabbed a few quick Roach but it wasn’t fast and furious, more like hit and miss! It was freezing cold though and with cold rain also falling we knew we were in for a tough one. Skimmers were again going to be like bars of gold, and again I failed to catch one. The best line ended up being 2+2, but I just couldn’t put a run of fish together. Would catch a few then the bites would vanish! Despite going longer and looking all over to see where they had gone, it turned out to be a waiting game for them to drift back in again and catch a few more. I ended up with 3lb 8oz, Andy P on the end had 7lb something, Tony T next to me had 2lb, Si Nickless had 7lb as well. Former team mate Kane Woodfield won the lake on the opposite bank with a great net of Skimmers and Roach for 9lb 7oz. Even though there was a few low weights around the 1lb mark and eveb down to 10oz, this was a good section compared to far bank of back deans as 4 out of the 6 in section dry netted! Just goes to show the effect the past weeks weather has had on the fishing.
Onwards and upwards though, same again next week for round 3!
Christmas is coming!
At this time of year, most of my fishing is done at Woodlands View in Droitwich. As well as the silver fish league that kicks off in January, the weekend opens are generally well attended and to do well I believe you have to be prepared to catch Skimmers and Roach as well as Carp.
Two weeks ago saw me fishing the Saturday open match that was going to be on Front Deans lake. This is one of my preferred lakes at the venue as it does hold a lot of silver fish that provides plenty of bites if the going is tough in the cold weather.
I drew peg 4 which (and a first for me) was an end peg so was quite optimistic for a fair days sport. The approach here is quite a simple one, I have two main lines a long pole line at around 13m where I’ll be looking for Carp on Corn and Pellets. The second line is a silverfish line fished at 2+2, and predominantly fished with maggot or caster. I decided on maggots, mainly because working away through the week and fishing on Saturday I struggle to get fresh casters!
The other line is a bomb rod, bomb fishing seems to be standard in every match anglers winter armoury this days and it can be a great method. I use the Milo Superba 10ft Bomb which is lovely and soft, so perfect for this type of work. On the business end of this, is a hair rigged bait spike so I can alternate between corn and bread punch. I generally start on this from the off as it’s a good indicator on how the day is going to progress. On the all in I searched around the peg on the bomb but proved fruitless with no bites or liners to be had.
It was a cold and miserable day with a heavy drizzle and fog to contend with as well as the fish, and looking around no one was catching.
First drop on the long pole line though did result in a quick bite, not a carp but a skimmer and at least something was in the net. This was followed by a few smaller ones before the bites tailed off and the float was sat motionless again. I swung around to my left and lay the rig out at an angle to search out the swim a bit and to my surprise the float buried instantly and the Milo White hollow was streaming out of the top kit! It wasn’t a big Carp, but a Carp none the less and a welcome addition. Despite more searching about though no more bites where had all over my peg.
So with nothing happening on a miserable day and no one around me really catching either, I decided to go for silvers that I knew Front Deans was full of. I target these by fishing a 4x12 Chianti on 0.12 main line to a 0.10 hook length. A single red maggot is then presented on a size 20 Suehiro barbless, all attached to a number 4 solid elastic. It is a bit of a risk using as light as a number 4 elastic as the Carp in here can go to over double figures but it just works better for the skimmers and roach for me. If you play the carp well on a puller kit and you can usually get them in.
I fish two areas on this line, to my left and to my right and alternate between the two feeding each with a pinch of maggots every couple of minutes. After building the swim up nicely I had a great day on this catching some quality Roach and Skimmers whilst everyone else on the lake was sat fishless.
I even managed to land two Carp (small ones admittedly) and sure enough by playing them steadily on the puller kit got them in. The three Carp went on the scales for 8lb then when the net of Silvers went on top I ended up with 32lb 2oz which was enough to win the match. Second was Glyn Clarke with 25lb 12oz and third was C Gregory with 20lb 5oz.
So the decision to go on the silvers line was a good one and without doubt won me the match.
The following Saturday we were back there again, this time for the Christmas Fur n Feather Match. There was a great turnout of anglers all in festive spirits assembled in the Café when we arrived eagerly looking forward to the match. It was another cold day, but dry and not much wind so pretty good winter conditions in fairness. Front and Back Deans were being used for this one, I drew on Front Deans again and this time peg 25 which is on the opposite bank to last week. It was a similar plan to the previous week, but I was hoping for a few more Carp as word was there had been a few showing in this area lately. Started off on the bomb and I did have a few liners before it finally went round and an angry 3lb common was netted. A good start but not as good as Gaz Kirkham opposite who had already netted 3 fishing the same method but it was a start!
After a spell of inactivity I went on the long pole, but it proved biteless, so my thoughts turned again to the 2+2 silver fish line.
However I didn’t discount this long pole line coming good, so whilst I was winkling out a few skim bobs and roach I kept putting a few grains of corn in hoping that a few Carp would turn up.
The silver fish line wasn’t as fast and furious as the previous week so after building the long line up for a while I did go back on it. This seemed to have worked and second drop back on it I was playing a carp, and a decent one at that! Happy days!
I kept feeding around the peg on the long line with corn and a few 6mm fishery pellets and in the last two hours landed another 6 Carp to add to my earlier silvers and pair of Mirrors. This time I weighed in 42lb 8oz which was a section win and third overall on the day. This resulted in winning a superb hamper of food and booze that was well received by the clan when I got home!
The match was won by Luke Capewell who fished a superb match in the corner of back deans (peg 47) to weigh a mixed net of 50lb 8oz, second was Garry Kirkham with 43lb 4oz. Quick mention to my young protégé Callum who fished his first match at Woodlands that day and weighed a very respectable winter weight of 16lb. Callums only 14 and has been travelling with me since the summer, to learn a few different methods and venues. He’d come up with with me the week before as well and sat behind watching how I was fishing it. This week he had a go and beat a few regulars in the process!! Well done Callum and keep it up!
That was probably my last match of 2016, as with Christmas falling on a weekend some family time is in order, but hopefully I may be able to squeeze a pleasure session in before New Year and get plenty of prep ready for the Silver fish league that kicks off January 7th.
Have a great Christmas all, i'll be back in the new year with some more blogs!
‘I don’t drive for hours to sit on bad pegs!’
Is the comment I seem to be coming out with a lot of late I’m very PLEASED to say!
It’s been a busy few months and we are now well into winter mode.
My autumn at Weston unfortunately came to an end with the all winners final. Brilliant event as per usual, or it was until I drew.
Surely I don’t draw bad? That was quickly answered as peg 4 on canal stuck to the mit. There isn’t much to dislike about any of the pegs at Weston and is why I love it, but recent form said it would be rubbish and in truth was the only area of the complex I didn’t want.
Off we went wondering how to get a result from there. Match win out of the equation, it was a section place I had my sights set on. I remember sitting on my box looking at the swim wondering where I could catch a weight from… never good, staring down the barrel.
Softly softly was the approach, and let the match develop to see where it headed. I started on pellets short and got one liner after 30 minutes. I sat there doing nothing watching what was happening around me to try and decide how to attack the long lines.
Theres no rush to try and force things when theres nothing happening around you, so you can take your time. I went out to 13m and tapped in a few pellets. I’d only seen one fish caught by then so I went into scratching mode to try and get a bite. After jigging a 4mm Juiced up Xpand for a few minutes I was attached to a very angry carp. A start at least.
These fish fight like I’ve never seen before. It’s outrageous! You don’t know what gear to use, as no matter what you do, you seem to have to play them for an age.
I do actually think they intend to inflict pain on you when you hook them. I’m sure if they had a middle finger they would stick it up to you, before trying to wreck your rig by swimming off a million miles an hour.
Angry blighters… you swear every one is foul hooked but they aren’t.
I repeated the process and before long was starting to string a few fish together. I had to switch and fish other lines to rest them, but by doing so I had a lovely day. I weighed 70 odd lb and to my amazement was good enough for the lake win.
Very happy with that…
Winter league season was about to start, and with one eye on that I had to pull away from Weston and make a trip to Tunnel for a tune up ready for the leagues.
...and that’s where the hand of god reappeared! Mint!
The first open I drew New 33… everyone said it was good, of course I disagreed but managed to catch a few badly for 70 odd lb and 3rd overall. Pete Pup Black was round the corner and the cheeker bugger spent all day waving F1s at me rubbing it in that he was catching. He’d hook a fish, look up, big cheesy grin.. little shit! I laughed loudest though as I pulled his pants down and slapped his arse as he fell 5lb short of me!
He was waving F1s, but I had trouble picking up 5lb carp to wave back.
I’m glad I went as my gear was all wrong. Back home and a few hours on the kit.. Milo No1 Hollow back in the Stripper Kits and ready for the next go.
Following weekend and me and Donk graced them with our presence. Pup has won on the Saturday so had his tail up, that was until I drew 24 on Jenny’s. I’d never fished Jenny’s but was informed by everyone that I was a drawbag ba@###d and was going to win the match. It was a bit tightly pegged due to high numbers but hey ho… ‘you don’t drive all that way to sit on s##t pegs!’ Donk was also 2 pegs away just along the bank.
We all started short, me on juicy Xpands with a view to fishing maggots later on. Theres not really a lot to tell apart from saying that everyone was right, I had drawn a flyer. It wasn’t daft fishing but there were bites to be had and by working through the depths and changing lines I caught 98lb and did manage to win the match.
What was interesting is the depth changes, as it's something I work hard and learn loads from. I had a swim tight to the far bank in 18 inches, It was devoid for most of the match. I had a spell there though when everyone else was fishing shorter, deeper and catching very little when it was solid. Then 20 minutes later it was devoid again… is that me knackering the swim or have they simply moved?
The lake fished really well, donk caught a load and framed too. Shaun, Aiden and Mark (Tunnel teammates) had all drawn decently on Extension and duly all picked up. Shaun coming 2nd in the match. A nice confidence booster before we got stuck into battle and I must admit I was happy to see Milo take top spot on both Saturday and Sunday there.
The first round of the league beckoned and I couldn’t go!! I had to work. I hate work, it gets in the way of fishing and is a real bind… having to fly to Italy for a long weekends fishing with Stevie G, Brad, Milo et all was a real chore.
I was devastated to find out it was 18 degrees, sunny, windless and fishing well. Why me? So unfair!
I bundled some rigs and clothes into a bag and off we went for the annual workathon!
Love this weekend… loads of fun! Flat out with 11 nationalities all brought together to fish Milo Day at a venue called Tensi, an hour outside Milan.
This is a team event which sees one angler on each of the 3 lakes. Pegging can be a touch on the tight side but at least you don’t have to shout at your neighbour to be heard. It was a difficult match, a frustrating one as the way your neighbours feed can have a massive effect on your peg. Nothing you can do when you have length limits and your sat 3m apart. The theme was the same for both me and Steve. We fed typically English style and fished for bites. This caught us fish early very well but the guys around us who fed ‘Italian style’ (pilled it in at the start) caught well late as the fish backed off the pole lines. They did this by fishing long lines way past their feed. We did the same but it was strange as we couldn’t catch on the long swinger, only the lads who fed heavy at the start did. But… they managed to claw back the deficit and just pip us both. although it was too close for us to decipher if what we had done was right or wrong. Good fun fishing top 6 deep on a swinging rig though… woooosh, out she goes.
Good old Brad Titmus managed to find a few and duly smashed his section to bits, he even caught short… he had 40 off kg. The legend that is Mr Claudio won the day individually AGAIN with 54kg. Mans a machine.
There was a sea of red cheering as the prizes were given out and Merida’s finest Tommy Romera and co won the event. A great set of lads and bugger me they can fish a bit… I really enjoyed showing people the preparation we go through with baits like pellets and expanders, its very new to most in Europe. Even better when they then beat you using them… they come and say thank you!… yeah cheers, smiling through gritted teeth!
It was a crazy weekend and the Monday we got up at 4am to drive 2 hours south to fish 2 more matches before we flew home that night. Yep, 2 matches, one day and then a flight home…
We drove down through Milan in thick fog, like the wacky races with the 20 strong convoy sticking close to each other not to get lost. Interesting is one word, frightening is another…
Arriving we quickly drew and off to the pegs for a whirlwind 4 hour match. A new venue, nice, can’t pronounce let alone spell the name so won’t try and what a shock to find out nobody knew anything about the place (the sly grins kind of gave that one away!) this was the Bait-Tech trophy. I managed to find out that we were fishing for small stockie ish type carp. ‘I got this..’ I thought as I assembled some pellets, expanders and kinderpots ready for a bit of stockie bashing on short and long pole. Carp and Coarse pellets in 4mm and 6mm and 6mm Expands and some corn was the game, billiard table flat meant a muti rig did everything and a duplicate multi ring on a long line in case the days prior antics arose again.
In we went and nothing much happened. We all started short, how very UK… but before long I shoved out to 13m to hook and land my first 1lb fish. Mint, here it comes, Milo, polish that trophy son!
The lad to my left followed me and started catapulting corn all over his swim. “Best of luck with that” I thought as I sat there jigging a pellet over an accurately potted 8 x 6mm pellets.
I think it was his 8th fish that it sank in I was getting smashed. How does that work? anyone? Answers on a postcard to Cantcatchfishanymore.com.
I obviously followed suit to try and save some kind of face but I was thrilled even more to see the angler 2 up pot in a black bucket full of corn and then hook and land a 15lb grass carp which I didn’t even know were in there. As this was a Bait-Tech event put on by Milo I was of course the happy to be there guy with a crowd of people asking me all about fishing and bait asking why I wasn’t catching anything… Loved that. Taxi!!
Steve and Brad didn’t do much better!
All out, weigh in (didn’t take me long) results, draw, off we go again.
An hour later I was on a different lake faced with a much better prospect. A method feeder only Match. Yeah baby, we definitely got this.
One rod, simple set up and the only decision was to where to chuck as this venue had never seen a feeder before. I earmarked 3 lines, 13m (pole line) 30 turns and a longer chuck, 70 turns to a spinner. I mixed a load of micros into some Envy (oh my god how good is envy – forgot how nice that is) and soaked some for some neat around the feeder loveliness.
Nobody knows anything about feeder fishing this lake so do you sit and wait? Do you try and build a swim? Do you chuck it about? Clip up? leave out long time? Again, apparently none of those! I had one pull, a carassio so ugly the poor thing needed feeding to a catfish to put it out of its misery.
I later found out the game was to use a massive feeder and chuck it in wherever you liked. It seemed the grenade like noise it made when landing attracted the fish more than the gentle enticing plop of the small delicate rig I was presenting. That and straight groundbait round the feeder NO pellets…
So, I didn’t win that one either! The taxi did then turn up, hugs, kisses and handshakes and we were off to the airport…
Love a snore on a plane, woke up when we landed, in the van, 3 hour drive home, 2am bed, 7 am back up for work none the worse for my efforts. What trip to Italy.. ?
Are your eyes stinging yet? I hope so as I’m still not done…
Whilst away improving the Export business for Bait-Tech, it was the first round of the teams of 4 at Tunnel. Boyzone were all ready and although missing I managed to find a replacement who I hoped wouldn’t let the team down too badly. It was short notice, I didn’t have any other option so had to settle for Andy Bennett filling in for me. Guess I’ll have to catch up all his lost points on the next round…
It seems as though the lads listened to my wise words of coaching and they put in a proper performance. 93 points (I think). Bagger, won his lake – of course. Aiden made the most of a peg to win his and the other two, Mark and Shaun also managed top 5 in both of their 26pegs.. believe me, that is mega – well done lads!
Back to the real world and its getting colder by the minute. Tunnel beckoned once again as we started the Angling Trust winter league (teams of 8) My Shakespeare Superteam Bait-Tech squad of Captain Aiden, Mark Malin, Mark Taylor, Steve Conway, Myself, The Wern, Eggy and Donk. We have a strong side for this so expect good results. Mainly of course, because The Wern is draw master!
A couple of teams had fallen away late leaving just 40 fishing this event. A shame really as it could be so much bigger, the fishing is great and the venue can more than cope.
Anyhoo, the unthinkable happened and Lee drew a set of pegs that were a bit iffy. He did redeem himself though and at least gave me a flyer. Peg 7 on Extension was home for the day. Lucky it was a day when a lot of fish seemed present in that ‘gap’ area and I managed to catch fairly well considering the biting wind and freezing rain. It wasn’t a big weigh affair but my 54lb was enough to win the section and the lake. It was the first real cold snap and that caught a few out I think.
I fed very little, dripping in odd pellets and maggots and fishing glugged maggots on the hook to pinch odd bites. Catch and move was the theme as they backed off very quickly.
The Wern sat on unfancied 25 and duly won the match.. good old boy! A well angled 67lb was just enough to pip Paul Holland into 2nd spot and I managed to rock up in 3rd. Team did well under difficult circumstances to win the day 13points, Donk and Eggy also making the long journey count by winning their sections. Well done us, home for tea and medals!
Round 2 of the teams of 4! I’m back!
The lads seemed so happy I was back for this one, so at least they didn’t have to put up with Bennett again.
Luck of the Welsh seemed good as they forced me into the draw line. Shaun had told me under no circumstances was I to return without peg 33 on top lake for him. No pressure…
Aiden got peg 30 on high pool – flyer, although I don’t know why.
Mark was heading to 33 on Extension – this is pooh as you are hemmed in with lads fishing towards you from either side. Sorry bud..
Shaun looked at me with daggers when he was handed New 29 and… you guessed it…
I was off to Top 33! What an angler!
Bumped into me old mate Chunk Shipp and he was moaning that I was going to win the match… this when he was going to Jenny’s 20 and I’m sure most of you know what happened there… he had a steady match… pffft!
Anyway down to business and I expected it to be good. I had a target weight of 90lb in my head and this is where my problems began.
For those who know Top lake and the peg, theres almost too many options. Edges, an Island, stumps to fish to, flat bottom open water areas… all sorts.
I started short and lost 2 foul hooked fish straight away. This was a concern as you never foul hook them normally. Yanni across the lake on 3 got off to a flyer tapping pellets in and this kept me off the dobbing long line rig thinking they needed feeding. I arsed about trying to make things happen only to admit defeat and reach for the long line swinging rig. I'd set this to fish half depth and as I was ½ a meter short of the island at 16m. I set the lash long enough so I could have a good look up and down both sides of the Island.
Juice smeared bread on the hook I was soon into small f1s and slowly started to pull some ground back. It was far from easy though as they faded fast one you caught a few. This frustrated me as to be honest I thought catching them would have been fairly easy. I couldn’t line any numbers up so had a look on my other lines firmly believing I just needed to get it right and I'd bag. How wrong I was. I fished quite a few lines nicking fish here and there but never got anything going and before I knew it I was counting the clock down as the match had all but gone.
How had I managed to f##k this up? why weren’t they crawling up the rod? I hadn’t done anything daft with the feeding… the match ended with a me in fits of anger at my poor performance.
Although the lads said it is usually a better peg later when it’s been cold for a while, it was clear to me I was going to lose points as id fished a poor match.
I’m still livid now as I write this, as you simply can’t miss opportunities to score. Looking back I don’t think I could have caught 79lb that was needed for a lake win and 3rd in section (split with house pool) but I should have been 4th not the 7th I ended up.
And I got away with 7th… very close, missed out on 2 points by 1lb weighing 50lb but there were loads of high 40s and I didn’t deserve to beat them. I was proper angry man at the results, and apologised to the lads for a crap performance. Aiden won his lake AGAIN – Awesome form. Mark did brilliantly from that tough extension peg and so did Shaun salvaging more than double figure points from a poor bit on new.
As the points worked out my disaster didn’t do too much damage in the grand scheme of things, but that doesn’t ease the pain at all. I got giddy because of the potential of the peg and this cost me as I should have fished a nice steady match with a little more patience.
I’d have caught 60-70lb and taken home the points the peg was worth. Sorry boys!!
I bet those few points bite me on the ass at some point!
Next day and we were back again for the next round of the teams of 8.
I was a little nervous about this having heaped so much pressure on myself to correct the wrongs from the previous day. I was handed Extension 36 down in the wides which gave me mixed emotions. Love the area generally as you have lots of water and different depths to fish but it had less than favourable form. For company was young buck James Allen, and the other side Paul Holland was assembling his gear. I felt a bit for Paul as its rare that you don’t get cut off by anglers around you. But Mark had done well from there the day before so the game face was on. You can’t give someone like Paul a sniff as he’ll hand you your arse and think nothing of it…
The match started slowly… very slowly… I found myself short of the island again so it was out with the swinger to see if there were any milling around. A carp and 2 f1s later I was happy enough but being so hard I was keen to come off it and rest it, let them regroup before having another go. I dropped in on pellets and then maggots but little happened. Gradually, a bite, then another, then nothing but it was progress. Every now and again going long to nick a bite and another fish on the dob.
I did a bit of swapping and changing throughout the match and caught a few at 13m in deep water. It had been hard work though and I knew lots had struggled. It turned into a decent match for me and by the end I was happy that id at least fished a lot better than the previous day. I bundled 57lb onto the scales for a section and surprising lake win ending up 4th overall. Wern who sat himself on 21 (nobody is surprised with that I know) won his, Aiden, again, won his, Shaun only won the bloody match of peg 13 new with a colossal 80lb and Jack who had left his gear on 7 so decided to fish there for the 2nd day in a row.. won his.. Team win, home for more tea and medals!
Well done to everyone who fished, it was tough day for many but everyone managed a few bites. Thanks to Mike and Sarah for all the hard work organising us all!
Riverfest this weekend… can’t wait to see the best bash up the Wye.
I’m missing Weston and trying to plot a trip as soon as possible.
Also on the tick list is a load of brutes on a waggler down the duct… it’s going to have to get a visit soon! Withdrawal is kicking in!
Ciao for now!!
Feast, Famine and the sunshine bus!
Well, what can you say? There you go England, see if you can win one if we refuse to play for 60 minutes... see how generous us Welsh are! Lucky it wasn't 50 minutes or it would have been tears and world cups all over again... fair play, they deserved it. We were rubbish!
That was the end of Saturday and I was up like a shot early the next morning as we were off ooop norf again. Up the road to the fabulous Weston Pools again.
Wern's house for 5:30 (ish, its usually ish with me!) in, gone, and were nervously walking into the pub of ill repute two and a bit hours later. This is where it happened.. the infamous 'double it' mistake. I was keen to look around to see who was about in case the bloke who ordered the breakfast banquet got spotted...
Luckily, the same waitress wasn't working so we sat and relaxed while ordering our sensible (Welsh word for massive) breakfast.
For a change we were early.. unheard for us! We pulled into Weston and walked into the tackle shop to Mike and Richie. "Early boys" it's a 10 am draw... we looked at each other like Harry and Lloyd from dumb and dumber..time for a walk and a drive down to the Clay pit for a look.
The Wern hadn't see it before, so I was keen to show him!
We had a quick chat with the owner Mike and when asked if he was fishing he replied, "No, no room." "We have 44 booked in and I've turned that away as well" he said. " I want people to have a days fishing so I won't ram the lakes full of anglers, especially at this time of year.
You need a little room!" How reassuring is that to hear after a 2 hour drive!
Good pal Chris Jones turned up, and we chewed the fat a while over a brew.
Chris knows the place very well so it was nice to hear his thoughts on the place and how to fish it. Id caught a few on my last trip so I was keen to get stuck in again. We bimbled around looking at pegs and there were a few on Canal that we all fancied. With Canal, Jacks and the Clay pit in, nobody really knew where to draw.
Stood in the draw queue I was surrounded by the northern massive. Good friend Pete Mahoney was there, and so was most of Manchester by the seems of things.. Partridge may have been missing a few.
To top things off, newly qualified Fish O god, Jamie Hughes appeared. Oh here we go again, just don't draw with him in view I thought!
Rich, as usual, conducted the draw with fine military precision. Another note of gesture was the offer of a lift for anyone drawn on the Pit who struggled for transport. Very good! More brownie points!
As me and stumps were so late booking on we were all but last to draw. Chris got in first and promptly drew 16 on Canal. Bunghole! Why change the habit of a lifetime. In went the hand of god and 17C.. means nothing to me.. oh, canal! Next to Chris.. that will be a pound coin lost to the local hero on the better peg. Tidy!
Wern.. 17.. the clay pit. We got my kit out and put the booster seat in. Off he drove, full of the joys of spring and sausages!
Weather was lovely.. what a nice change. No wind, sunny and it even threatened to be warm when in the sun. A joy to be out. Clearly a massive pressure change and although I feared for the fishing, I was more than happy to sit there bite less without having to wear a million layers, fight to hold 5 joints or get piss wet through! Where are the Ray Bans?
I'm never ready.. my peg is about 20m wide to the far bank rushes that looked rip for a dob. Hmm, long line time! I set up the usual for track short and edge etc. but as the whistle went, rather than rushing I knew this one rig was worth taking another 10 minutes to get right. I had a .5grm Milo Koi 30 on a line just about half way down my number 5 joint.
For anyone who hasn't done this it looks crackers but can be super effective. I set the float to 2ft and with a plummet fond the bottom to be around 3.5-4ft deep across. I started just over half depth and bait was to be a piece of juicy bread.
Bait list was a simple as ever. Bag of fishery Micros soaked and 'Juiced' up. Few pints of magwars to be launched at 5m and some Xpands and a tin of corn for the hook.
The Whistle was long gone and looking up the lake Wendy Locker was already playing an edge fish.. on with a disc of bread and out to the full 16m limit a big head and flick the rig out to the far bank. Something soon had a peck at it and after two roach dibs a positive bite was met with solid resistance and carp on!
Next job was playing and landing them. Circus clown sums it up! the small fish would be fine but the larger ones would need some stripping so it was stand up, pull as much lacy out of the pole as possible and play them off a dead top kit. pull them up scoop, easy right?
I was off and running and a few more chucks soon had me a few more bites. I had also broken out the grass carp rig as I assembled 8 of them in quick fashion. This was hard work but really rewarding fishing. Get it right and bites were there to be had. There slight drift made life hard as the soft right to left breeze put a big belly in the line and drag it off the spot.
I soldiered on.
Chris next to me was starting to put some fish in the net and Wendy bagged early but I stuck with it as the fishing in general was hard and I was catching the odd un. Mid match it slowed right up and a quick feed and drop in down the middle at 13m had me an F1 and a Carp quickly.
Then nothing. It dawned on me after my 3rd swim and attempt to catch over feed that these fish were in one place and one place only. The shallow water tight across the far bank.
Swing me out again and another was soon heading for the net. I carried on with this as apart from Chris and Wendy I couldn't see anyone else catching.
A call from the Wern showed how hard it was as 4 fish was winning the pit.
Hmmm head down and keep going.
Chris was catching some of the feeder much to my annoyance and even had me considering it at one point. I decided against it as the fish were clearly off the bottom and I swung my way towards the end of the match.
15 minutes to go and with it slowing I binned it and dropped on my short maggot line I'd been priming all day. Chris did the same and caught 3 in 3 puts while I sat there motionless, 3 minutes to go I shipped to 13m, dropped 6 maggots in and was promptly rewarded with a small park bench.
All out! An awesome days fishing. I'd really enjoyed it. hard work and a load of effort needed but so rewarding. The Grass Carp rig had worked a treat and these things were up to 4lb.. I had clearly become a finely tuned specialist grass carp master!
I spent all day whistling some random Johnny Cash tune which had me and Chris in stitches. One of those real annoying catchy tunes, I was made up to hear it had spread throughout the field and by the end of the day half the lake were whistling 'Ring of Fire'.. classic ha!
At the scales, they were showing the weather had won as a hard day for most.
10-20lb the field I knew I had a few more than that, much to Chris's
annoyance I managed to put 57lb of a real mixed bag on the scales.
He weighed next and started shinning the pound coin, as he weighed 40lb. Still a great weight on the day though.
Wendy was nearly last to weigh, and I knew she had won. I was surprise to hear she had 59lb though.. just out in front.
A massive well done though. Whats noticeable she caught in the shallowest part of her peg too. The edge.. that's no coincidence!
The Pit had fished hard and the Wern's weight of 20lb was just beaten into 2nd on there. Id managed 2nd overall so a few shillings were heading our way!
That's the massive Roast Beef dinner and a pint paid for after the
match in the clubhouse.. Mint! And mint it was!
We finally said our farewells and jumped into the van for the long trip home. Pee break just outside Hereford... I waited in the van.
A tap on the window had me look round to see what can only be described as something off the sunshine bus. Look how happy he is.. look at the bloody size of those! I'm still laughing thinking about... what a picture.
Engulfed! Gone! Home we went!
Another comedy day out.. Brilliant fishing and the fine dining is something I can definitely get used to..
Not long people... Spring is coming!
Until next time...
The Road to Fish O and Johnny Rotten… Pt 2!
Apologies for the delay with this but a largely uneventful (for me anyway) Fish O Mania qualifier got in the way on Wednesday.
Massive well done to young Greener for qualifying, and deepest commiserations go out to those who were close. As my drawing arm performed so well again, I had the opportunity to watch some of those on the better pegs. Bites… now theres a novelty.
I watched legend, Dave Roberts keep a close eye on travelling partner Mathew as he bullied his way to victory. I must say he performed well, and looked in complete control from start to finish. Another Welsh wannabe (person from Hereford) into the finals.
Anyways less of that and more of me! Let’s rewind a few days and have a look at the last day of another double header weekend. Viaduct for the last round of the Pro Natural Winter League. The Wern and I rocked up to another windswept but at least dry fishery.
I was heading for Spring lake and I was praying for a nice easy finish to the league. To do some damage you really need an island chuck as the units tend to drift around the edges of it and mince around under the cover of the trees. You will catch a few in open water and definitely in the corners but rarely enough to beat the islands.
Of course it was clear cold and blowing and as we are now in March, the skimmers are waking up and silver matches have been won with over 40lb of them on several occasions. This weather could easily put the big moody buggers off their grub so these big skimmers could be very valuable.
The Wern was doing the team draw. I told him straight away not to come back unless he had drawn me 16, 5 or 4. 16 has won every round, 5 and 4 had the wind off their back and could get you a bite or two so you’d take them… definitely take them with that wind.. it was bitter.
Wern can be a tad vocal on times and is usually a dead giveaway for the state of peg drawn. When he sloped back towards the van and my head dropped straight away. “FFS Wern, where am I going?”
Nothing… as he handed me the team sheet.
He’s only gone and done it again!!! My hero! Peg 4! You’ll do! comfort! Ahhhhhhh!
Not only that but Thatchers had this draw the previous round and won the day with 68 points. A good solid set of pegs all except Jones who was wiping his tears away stood on peg 107. 2 bites Rob.. be a hero! Mega points.. If he could do that we should do okay.
Cheery as ever I skipped off to my home. Plan of attack was simple.. 3 rods!
Rod 1 – bomb for carp to the island!
Rod 2 - Skimmers, feeder 10m short of the island
Rod 3 – skimmers, waggler, 10 m short of the feeder, half way out in the lake, corn over loose fed corn.
Its super important to give yourself a the best chance possible and these 3 rods all had a specific purpose. Firstly I set up a Milo Premiership 10ft feeder rod for the Carp chuck to the island. These are big fish, and the extra power the Premiership feeder rods have were going to be ideal for pulling these heavyweights away from the island should I hook them.
This was going to be the main line of attack and was clipped up really tight to the island. The next line of attack was the waggler rod, where I hoped to pick up the odd bigger skimmer and maybe a rouge carp. This gave me an option to rest the bomb line and still offer a viable catching area. Resting swims is so important. When you catch a few at this time of year they get spooky and little 10-20 minute rest lets the fish regroup and settle again. Can often be as important as fishing it, especially if the guys around you are fishing theirs as they will push the fish into your swim.
The feeder was clipped up to what seems to be no man’s land BUT it’s there if the wind batters me and renders waggler impossible but mainly to offer another bite should the skimmers get twitchy and back off the waggler line. this often happens in shallow water with big fish.
The All in sounded, and a Piece of Bait-Tech Poloni was deposited next to the island. This was a sit on your hands job as you can’t feed as its too far and in all honesty you wouldn’t want to anyway. 3 casts and 1 hour 15 in and all was calm. No bites no matter what I used. Nothing was happening round the lake and apart from some silvers, 1 carp was best… hard day ahead..
It was time for the secret weapon. Out with the bottle of goodness. I’d had a few different baits soaking in The Juice overnight. These fish were definitely not near the bottom, so it was time to stick a bait up in-front of them. I turfed out a Juice soaked rig and as it thumped against the clip and dropped in, I knew it was a bite… patience patience…. And whilst stood talking to Glen next door (I tend to stand up to stop me reeling it in all the time) round she went and carp number one was on! Well done me!
Clearly a few had moved through the peg as over the next 40minutes I had 5 bites and landed 4, all super tight to the island on popped up, juice laced bait. If I had to re-chuck after an aborted cast (no squirrels for me this week… well, maybe one!) I’d glug the hookbait before casting it back out. I had two takes as the bomb hit the deck so they must like the stuff!
Squirrel botherer, bodge basher, Fabio was up on peg 2 and had one carp and some skimmers. This was my chance to give it a rest. With no more bites I put the bomb rod down and chucked the waggler. 11ft Superba is just lovely for this, even better when I was soon attached to a 2lb brazem after my first bite over the odd loose fed grain. The lads round the lake were thrilled to hear me talking about the stunning condition of this big, plump, heavy bream id just caught.. clearly I can’t repeat some of the words offered my way!
It was freezing but I was starting to enjoy myself, Id managed another 3 big skimmers and losing another the swim died. I picked the feeder rod up as I wanted to leave the carp line as long as possible. Out she went with a tiny feeder full of F1 and a single golden grain on the hair. Had they backed off?
Yes! As the tip flew round and skimmer number 5 was on. Nice! (or more than likely just solid!) safely landed I was back in, 5 minutes and number 6 came my way.
By now there were odd carp being caught and I was aware that next peg buddy Glen was playing his 4th carp on tip. Steve came round for a chat and as I’d been sat there biteless for ten minutes it was time to search for another carp. Back out and rod in the rest. I was turned around on my box chatting away when Steve mentioned I might want to reel that one in. The rod had once again gone after being out there for ten minutes. 5 now and some skimmers. I’d definitely got points but with the Power sat on 7 and 3 hooooge things in his net it was far from over. I looked at my watch, 8 minutes left. I wasn’t 100% about the last cast so if I was to recheck, now was the time. Re-glugged, rechecked, she landed sweet. Rod in the rest and up the bank to start putting my kit away. Again, this was to stop me picking it up and striking at liners or anything daft like that.
Seconds to go and I’m stood over the rod in disbelief it hadn’t gone round. “Glen, I can’t believe this hasn’t … oh.. that will be on!” ALL OUT – FISH ON!
I duly played and landed a pristine common. Thanks for coming!
Up runs Fabio, as the nerves were jangling after leading the individuals going into today. He had 3 plus skimmers and the Power 4 brutes in the corner.
“What this juice then?” He said as he grabbed a few of my baited hooklengths. What happened next will live with me forever…
“Taste a bit.. its all over those baits..” With that, in one motion he engulfed the lot. They were still on bloody hair rigs…
I looked up after a yelp to see hooks stuck in lips and baits hanging off them.. he looked like Johnny Rotten, piercings everywhere.. Fabs, you never cease but to entertain me.. or give me material.. incredible, priceless. I had tears rolling down my face! Need a disgorger?
Back to the match and those cheeky skimmer proved vital as my 70lb 6 carp and 6 skimmers were enough to win me the lake.. hoorah!
Power’s 4 fish went 60lb and he lost a few too! It was a close match as peg 16 had 67lb and there were a few 50s..
Back at the ranch Jones walked in, tipped his hat! “how many Jones?” he raised his mit..“5 Boy!” Heroic performance.
The Wern had a nice day for 85lb and world of bob meant his 5 fish somehow ended up as nearly 50lb on Match lake for 3rd.. results in and 77 points for a win on the day.. well done us!
Overall it was a joy to see peg buddy Glen and his team take the honours.. well done men. It’s a tough league especially in those conditions. Fred Roberts once again smashed it from fancied peg 113 to win lake and match overall securing the individual glory to match his team victory. Well done mate! Johnny Fabio Rotten managed to get all the hooks out of his chops in time for a pic and well done for coming 2nd. Never a dull moment!
And as for me.. last week was still in my mind… the peg that has caused me sleepless nights and nightmare had once again struggled. Hardly any tip fish caught again… hmm maybe it wasn’t all my fault after all..?
Awesome league, thanks to Steve, Matt, Helen and the team at Viaduct. Clayton Hudson for taking my money every week and not grizzling once about being on some real shitty pegs!
Roll on next year…
The road to Fish O and Johnny Rotten…
Here we go then, Fish O time again. Let the circus begin. Nice to actually get some tickets this year unlike last year’s big fat zero!
Tunnel Barn, what a venue for the first one. I’ve been on it all winter and as the weather is still rubbish it was always going to be a case of fish your normal match. No practise needed for this one! Mint!
I picked up Donk and we set off, stopping for light refreshment en route. Feeling suitably full from my skinny frappamochccachino and slice of fruit we descended on a very full looking carpark. Into the new conservatory, very nice too, for a coffee and a chin wag we were soon assembled at the draw queue. I somehow found myself near the front, and a glance behind confirmed I had clambered to the front of what was draw bag central!
You could almost predict the pegs they would be on… most of the boyzone team were there too so banter was rife and everyone a little bit excited.
After all the bumf and usual rule giving heckles, we got round to drawing. Apparently, I’m really good at this and so it proved when Canal 8 stuck to my mit. Hmmm the same peg my good buddy Desmond had twice in two weeks and failed to catch double figures off. Happy with that?
Donk followed me into the bag and pulled out peg 6 on Canal. This was Donk’s first go at a fish O qualifier so I tried not to depress him too much, but let’s say I didn’t fancy it.
A few behind us was Jamie Hughes. Canal 1… oh my god… one of the hot picks. One happy lad who, if you’ve paid attention will know has got on quite well this year at tunnel. There were some other serious anglers on brilliant pegs, so it certainly wasn’t all over. It was all down to how it would fish as Jennies and Club hadn’t been used in the winter league, and were tipped to win also.
I was setting up very slowly when fellow Welsh dangler Rob Jones pulled up… me and Donk had travelled up together, and then drawn next to each other… they must have kept a stretch of bank specifically for the taffs, as bugger me Jonesy was the other side of me.. feeling slightly bullied by the Welshist brigade here… just rude!
Me and Jones, now theres a pair who can moan. A fine art well displayed as we got some gear out. I don’t know why he bothers going as every single time he’s been for the last 20 years he’s draw a shitter.. every one! I’d have given up by now! Life's just not fair Rob. How do these people have all the luck when we get none!
I set my gear up and glared at the one solitary piece of foliage I had to fish to. Just 1! No wonder team ship couldn’t catch there. One thing I was sure of was the fact I wasn’t going to do anything different to the way I’d been fishing it all winter. I’d had a great winter and felt in touch, so if there was a chance I thought I’d back myself. Same old 4 rigs covered everything. Simple baits covered in Juice and I was ready. Donk was keen, I wasn’t, Rob, already hanging from a tree. All in!
On with piece of juicy bread at half depth, I shipped out to see if I could snare one of my predicted 5 bites. I laid the rig in, it cocked and bounced about in the waves before moving slightly.. lift, nothing.. nahh! Laid it back in. cocked rammed under and I was in. Only bloody got one!! whooo Hooo.
Nice big F1 seconds into the match… I looked down the lake to see Donk playing one, and Jamie netting one. Oi oi.. whats this? Jones had started short and soon binned it off, then he too was playing a fish on the loaf.
This, much to my complete amazement carried on for a short while and after 30 minutes I had already caught more than I thought I would. Jamie and Donk were flying with Jamie clearly starting to pull ahead. Our swims started to fade and while donk carried on for a while, I knew we were done for as that man on the end continued to slay em. I soon swapped and set about enjoying myself and by working hard, moving swims and depths I found myself fishing short for the final half hour. I managed a few, which was interesting especially after i'd langered maggots at it all day. I could only catch feeding 6 maggots at a time on this line.. strange.. handfuls all day then that..
Anyhoo, I was more than pleased with my days sport from what I thought was a no hoper, and a peg I wouldn’t have gone to if I hadn’t had Donk with me. Just goes to show, you never know where they will be. I weighed 65lb to just nick a quid of the Jones. Donk was well in front of me and fished a great match to weigh a brilliant 85lb. Jamie as you all know smashed it with 141lb. Pure class!
As the results came back we soon realised we had managed 2nd and 3rd overall.. would you Adam and Eve it? Thanks for coming, wedge in the sky rocket, nice pick to send my Italian buddy, and it was home for tea and medals. It fished really well considering the conditions and if you must have these big matches when its cold like this, make sure you put them on venues like that. Loads of bites.. everyones a winner..
Home for a kip and assemble the riot gear for a day taming creatures…
Here Andy takes up the story from the 2nd day of his mammoth weekend..
Well, after what seemed a blink rather than a sleep I clambered back into the van and headed for stump’s house. Loaded up and off we went to wreak vengeance on the South West’s finest.
We collected captain rentagob en route and the three of us headed south in search of gratification from the weekends efforts.
Fuelled up after pit stop we squeezed into the Viaduct car park and unloaded the gear. I was heading for Match lake and because of the severely hard conditions the day before I was glad of the prospect of a few bites. Match lake is a split section with several pegs on Spring lake next to it. it’s a bit of a lottery as to which lake dominates as mild weather means the hooooge units of spring have a go and cold weather usually means the more bites of Match can get you better points. With the weather being horrendously cold I was glad to be handed peg 50 on match.
After a quick hunt in the car park, an arm around Mark Harper soon made him realise we had in fact beaten them the day before and I was more than happy to take a tenner off him for securing another win today. He had other thoughts on the matter of course and I don’t blame him after the set of pegs he showed me… whats the saying? Same old faces on the same old pegs! Definitely the case for Mr Shipp as he’s was going to bung hole AGAIN and he is definitely…. old!
Off I trotted to peg 50 (strolled very slowly trying not to get out of breath). On arrival it was a joy to see the nicest man in angling parked right behind me. Freddo Roberts was chatting partner for the day and good old Shippy along the way on the next peg. Luckily, me being on a different lake I had my back to them so could play the ignorant hard of hearing card if the abuse got too much.
Match lake, its shallow being around 2.5 feet and has a nice island chuck for most. Its full of big Joey Carassios, some lovely carp and a good head of skimmers and roach. Plenty to go at here. As its so shallow the trick is usually to catch on rods for as long as you can before picking the pole up to see if anything had come over your short (13-14m) lines before you go long late to catch more in the last hour. Sounds easy enough. Lake win coming up!
Bait list was simple, tin of corn, tin of Boosted in 6mm bits, some maggots, Viaduct’s own super-casters (cheers Fred ;-)) some bread, a bag of Bait-Tech’s F1 and a bottle of The Juice to dunk everything in.
3 simple pole rigs, 2 for the long lines and a superlight roach rig for a short caster line. All this finished with 2 Superba rods, a 10ft Bomb/feeder rod and a my new 11ft waggler to give it some tradition!
I quite fancied it and even more so after the whistle went and the lad on the next peg was playing a big carp before Id chucked out. Good signs!
Out went the loaf and I sat back waiting for the rod to take off. Ten minutes passed and I’m still actionless but admiring the lad on the next peg who was now playing his third.. come on then.. my turn!
On the 15 minute mark Fabio sat the other side of me finally landed one in the water after no bites from the squirrels. Round it went and he too was leisurely playing a carp. I looked on genuinely pleased for them both as it was bound to happen for me too.
Fabio decided to put his squirrel rig back on and whilst discussing the tactic of branches I finally got a tug. Happy days, here we go.
Hmm, slightly hard done by to have caught a small F1 when the other lads are all catching carp but undeterred I pushed on. Fabio looked bored so chucked in the water again and was instantly rewarded with another carp. The squirrels may not have been playing ball but it seemed the carp were. Good lad fabs.. let em have it!
By this time Lewis on my right was now relieving the lake if its contents on the loaf. Way in front I was now getting twitchy as I picked up into my second bite. Again a small fish but at least it was a carp. This could be looking up.
Or bloody down it seems as no matter what I did the next two hours were biteless. I tried everything in the old tricks book to get a bite and while the others slowed down it was a complete blank for me. Fabbio’s trick of resting his swim and fishing the tree line was still doing the trick as he was snaring a fish soon after landing one in the wet stuff. .......Oh mate, I hope you read this because that was funny. When you looked at me and shrugged your shoulders for the 15th time I nearly burst. As if anyone carries that many bombs with them… experienced in the art of squirrel are you?
Back to the match and after a 5 minute break from abusing Des, I thought I better put some fish in the net. I’d been feeding casters lightly short, so out went the roach rig and thank god at least I could catch those! I was motoring and caught roughly 4lb in just over half an hour but as these started to fade un-coincidentally the guys around me started to catch again. I was getting slammed and could do nothing but follow suit. Roach weren’t going to salvage anything for me. The odd long pole started to appear and yes, again, with the wind driving at me at had to go long as soon as Lewis hooked a carp on a cube of meat.
How long before this long pole line and meat kicks off?
I’ve been on it about..” clunk! “Oh yeah!”
It gets worse…
After sitting there for and age gently working two swims looking for a mere sign that a fish may be there, I snared one. Lovely, here we go!
Fabio cupped in some meat and he too was sat there long. Three of us in a row…
Minutes later, just to make sure I hadn’t been kicked hard enough, Fabio is playing a big carp on pole. Lewis is now emptying it and I’m sat there with my thumb up my ass wondering what the hell I’m doing wrong. It’s now like a race between Lewis and Fabio as to who can rub it in the most.
No matter what I did I barely got bites and managed half a dozen F1s towards the end. The whistle went and even Des thought better than to take the piss. I can honestly say I’d never experienced anything quite like that before and I hope never again.
Even now I couldn’t tell you why, what I did wrong or how I could correct it. I probably had a touch more wind than most (standard - ed) but not enough for it to make that much difference or so I thought. Granted
I was ruined and shattered after the weekends antics and I am very aware of how that can affect your performance but certainly not to that level, I’d have been better off asleep on the bank!
I was and still am lost for words with it all and you know how bad it must be for that to happen!
So my bank went as follows:
49 – 53lb
50 – 18lb
51 – 76lb
52 – 41lb
Which were 1st, 2nd, 3rd on the lake. Well done to Lewis he fished a good match. He got a sniff and went for it… good angling! Fabio, well, what can you say. Heroic. Especially after all that blanking when trying to catch furry ones!
Me.. bemused, confused and more than frustrated especially as it should have been mega points rather than the half way I ended up.
In the car park it was clear we had bombed as a team. The tough winter just smashed us across the face and left us in its wake… to make matters worse Thatchers won the day so the big bet was quits…
I would never normally disappear straight after the match but the team was shattered after some long drives. I’ll definitely give Mark his chance to rub the victory in next time I see him. I look forward to that… NOT!
Dejected, hurt and wounded we left for another 2 hours in the van made worse by having to pay to get back to my own bloody country… still the upside is it keeps the English at out!
Get me home for a kick up the arse and a kip! That noise you can hear…. That will be my bubble bursting!
Fish O next week – Wooooo Hooooo lets AV IT!
So close but definitely too far….
Well, are we all sitting comfortably? Ready for my tales of legendary performances? Good! Lets get to it..
Another week flew by all too quickly. A very quick visit from fellow legend Dave Roberts was brought to an abrupt end when I realised the time as I was due to set off for Peterborough. It was Friday evening and I was shattered… thank god I only had a 4 hour drive ahead to the Winter league Final the following day on Decoy and the Drains.
Captain Calamity Mitchell turned up, threw kit in van, stocked up on sweets, patted the wife, kissed the dog goodbye and we were off…
The thought of such a drive with the human rentagob sat next to me was almost too much to bear. The only thing that kept me in the game was the huge amount of Haribo he had brought to keep me sweet (excuse the pun). The poor lad had to loose feed sweets at me to stop me moaning all the way there.
The Winter League Final was something we all very much looked forward to. Format, as I’m sure you already know was 2 x 5 man teams. 1 on the drains, 1 on Decoy. My Frenzee South West side had again qualified from Tunnel Barn, and after winning the day on Lindholme last year we were buoyant and ready for the hard fight ahead.
With more teams this year, circa 36 I believe, it was certainly going to be that. Sure enough the professional outfit I’m part of was sat in the digs having a team meeting tying rigs. I can absolutely assure you there was no heavy drinking or late nights and at no point did any of them have to be put to bed such was the state they were in. Ultimate professionals!
We rocked up at 10:30 and although I was adamant I was going to bed the lads assured me that we would only have 1, 2 pints max! As we waltzed into the battle cruzer we caught sight of another team who thought they could compete.. Thatchers were already in there and getting chirpy.
They clearly had too much already… Me and Mr Harper were soon shaking hands on a bet as to how our teams would do. We had a two dayer lined up as the 4th round of the Viaduct winter league was the following day so a double wager it was.
Let’s have a think about this… they are in a pub drinking with us before fishing against us the next day… that’s just not sensible… surely they should know better? Let’s have a drink boys… and goodnight!
After my pint I strolled back to the BnB for a well-earned rest.
Up bright and breezy and I was the first down for a lovely ‘double it’ breakfast.
In all honesty living so far away none of the Decoy team had been over to practise although we did have master Whincup in the side so there wasn’t anything he didn’t know. Donk, Bob and Big Boy (Steve Aryes) had been over for a day on the drains and all seemed confident.
Out of the draw came a set of pegs that meant nothing to me! The lads were quickly off to the drains as we found our respective lakes on site. Oak 5 was my home for the day… It was blowing a gale, guess what? Yep, in my clock again. Jesus, it was cold! Nasty hard Easterly wind put the fear of god in me for the fishing stakes. I had also been reliably informed that Oak 5 was uhhhh no good.
As I grumbled my way to the peg I noticed a man, full of the joys of spring and someone who would definitely cheer me up sat on the very next peg. None other than super hero Mark Addy was perched next to me all smiles and joy! ……………………Shoot me now!
Mark, unlike me clearly doesn’t love a multirig as he explained how the 1 rig he set up covered everything from his margin to his long pole. ‘for something to do, just incase… I’m going to duplicate it!’ he said. Had me laughing before my gear had come off the trolley.
It was this point that the 2nd bet of the trip presented itself and a moanathon with Mark was about to get underway.
I must admit I was a little uninspired at my peg, we know the place is solid but the pressure of these massive events usually knocks the sport. Add this fffffffffreezing wind and I was seriously concerned about catching some fish. I assembled 3 multirigs. A Milo Clarius for a positive approach with the shotting down, something I could control in the wind better. An arty farty rig in case I has to chase ide and Joe Carassios through the layers (wanted to avoid this rig at all costs in this weather) and the grand finale was an dobbig/edge rig for… something to do.
The old tip rod appeared against my better judgement as it seemed strange to be chucking this somewhere when you can only fish 14m. Still, I followed as instructed and that was me ready.
Tin of Juiced up Corn and my ever faithful fish catchers, my Bait-Tech Xpands in 4 and 6mm, some micros, 4mms, maggots and casters completed the list.
At that point I had no idea what I was going to do with any of it.
Across from me was Tunnel team man, Aiden big arms Mansfield. He was having a terrible time peeling his ears off his cheeks in the wind.
Although told I had the worst draw of our team on Decoy I was hopeful I could make something happen so on the all-in I dropped straight in on the short line in hope of an early bite and to give myself a chance to see what happens around me. Some went straight onto the bomb, others the long pole, others the short pole.
One thing that was consistent, the lack of activity!
It wasn’t too long before Legend next to me was playing a large carp on the lead. That was safely netted to take an early lead. Then across from me, Ant King (I think it was anyway – apologies, beer goggles..) snared one too! I was just about to drop everything and go long on pole when I had a movement and hooked an F1. Off the mark at least…
Nothing much happened for anyone for a while after that and the realisation was starting to kick in of the damage this weather had done. I dawned on me that I may have missed bite time long as no matter what I did, what I fed or where I couldn’t buy an indication. Id left well a lone the area to my right for a ‘safe zone’. With all the fuss on the lake I do like to leave an area for them to back off to. 2 hours in with not a single indication more I gave in. I reached for my rod and swapped the bomb for a small cage feeder, the smallest I had. Packed with micros and a hair rigged juicy corn on the hook I swung it out.
Something had made me swap from a bomb… I didn’t feel there was many fish there and they definitely weren’t going to pick a bait up unless enticed to do so.. the attraction of the pellets was going to draw them in. Or so I hoped.
10 minutes passed and I’m now watching 2 pegs further up the lake catch one a bung. This had me even more concerned as there wouldn’t be fish here if they are catching like that up there.. then, round she went. Then again, ten minutes later, then again ten minutes after that. I was inspired again, but I needn’t have been as it all but disappeared. And that was pretty much that.
Most around me had faired very similarly to me. Mark had snared a beast on short pole an maggot after be poised like a heron for an hour.. he nearly played the poor thing to death but it went in his net and two fingers came up at me.. is that your 2nd Mark? ha
The weigh in revealed a hard days fishing that unfortunately didn’t do justice to a quality fishery. The weather had balled the fish up and well done to those who caught a few.
Spare a thought for Mr Tommy Hillier, part man, part fish who didn’t have a bite next to the guy who won my lake and the whole match with a very well angled 85kg! fishing can be so cruel.
I was sure I was bottom 5 but having walked around I found out Id managed 8th (I think) from my 18 pegs… I’ll take that! Gramps or is that grumps next to me beat me by 1kg… So that’s why they call you sir!
Results started to come in and although we knew we were miles away from winning we had done okay. Back to the presentation and first thought was how good it looked with all the teams there in their team gear. Very impressive and you get a real feeling for what an event like this means to fish let alone do well and win. Of course, the best of the best were all on show and it was great to see so many teams fishing.
A massive well done goes to Lee Kerry for the thankless task of organising it. Well organised, well run and all in all a great day out. Ossett as you’ll know won the event and huge congratulations go to them. I was told they put the effort in and practised hard. Good, just rewards. To win an event like that against those teams is massive so be very proud boys.. good skills.
As for the main even and THE bet. Well, I’m a little disappointed yet thrilled to bits that our team ended up just two spots out of the main prizes and 12th overall. It was a massively tough event with the weather making it harder. Our lads fished really well and some great performances from Donk and James Allen on the drain. Good effort lads. Of course, there’s room for improvement but there always is… location and circumstance was definitely against us.
So the all important question is where did Thatchers end up? You better have a look and find out….
Presentation done, round of applause, into the van, nip home, sort kit, up early, down to Viaduct… so far I’m on about 6 hours sleep since Friday and were up and at em again… I’ve got a Bet to win…
Stay tuned for the epic 2nd day finale… part 2 is coming soon!
No thanks, I’m on a diet......
I left you last week with ideas of wrestling units from Viaduct. Well, after a complete balls up on my part with dates and bookings, I found myself very much looking forward to the long awaited trip up to Weston Pools near Oswestry.
I’ve only manged one trip up there before for the Welsh national some years ago. The fishing was awesome back then, and with reports from a lot of my friends that it had only got better...I was champing at the bit.
For the few of you reading this that haven’t been I recommend you do, as the complex as a whole with its wooden lodges, new swanky pods, new large bar and tackle shop is a real treat to visit.
I rocked up outside Dai’s (Lee Werrett) house at 6am sharp.. ish. Bundled him in and off we went for the 2 hour drive north. If you are wondering why I’m calling him Dai, you have to ask him yourself as I’m not permitted to tell you.
As we approached the van veered off the road at the sign of ‘all you can eat’ breakfast so we stopped for a little refreshment. I was about to go for the fruit and yoghurt selection, when Dai mentioned how long a day it would be and I may need a more substantial hearty intake to last the day.
The good lady approached to take the order and Dai was happy to order his usual mountain of fuel. “You have to put fuel in a Ferrari” he said. Fair point thought I.
After his long list of breakfast had been discussed she turned her attention to me and asked for my order.. “yeah, just double what you have there please!” and off she toddled…
Well, 5 minutes later Lee’s very appealing breakfast appeared and I must say I was looking forward to receiving mine.. until it arrived.. I think she may have misunderstood me as this platter of pig turned up that was nothing short of a celebration of Pork!
Rather than ‘double it’ meaning I’ll have that as well, she actually brought me double everything that Lee ordered! A sight to behold…
I did ask for her to change it but she said ‘don’t worry, eat what you can..’ wink emoticon Lee looked game so in we went. Man V Food got bugger all on us! I failed miserably and lee ate everything else.. wow, he was hungry!
On to the fishery and into the draw. With Canal, Weir and Clay pit being used I was keen to see more of the onsite lakes as last visit I was on the Clay Pit.
Peg 10 on Weir came out, but with help needed to find the lake let alone the peg I most grateful to those pointing me in the right direction.
At the peg I was a little glum as I'd drawn YET AGAIN in the SODDING WIND! It was blowing a hoolie, and was definitely going to make life hard. Couple that with not having a tube of glue what I was about to tackle, I sat there a little bemused.. Although… the wind was warm, and if pushed it was the end of the lake I would think the fish would be.
After the cold snap, a new ‘warm’ wind like this usually peps up the sport a bit. Actually fishing for them would be the difficulty as it was short pole or shorter pole sort of blowing.
Team mate Chris Jones had said to use my tunnel barn gear of light lines hooks and bait so with that in mind I got my maggots, bread, fishery feed pellets and ole faithful juicy pellets out.
New venues for me mean an age to set up so by the time the whistle went I had only 1 top kit up. Out went the bomb and juiced up bread while I assembled more rigs. Bloody wind! Struggling to tighten up here… ah no, that will be a fish on already! 30 seconds in and a 3lb carp lay in the bag.. #likesmileyface
Another 2 followed quite quickly before I wound in to plumb up! At this point I had 2 rigs up and both turned into multi-rigs.. love multi rig! 5ft down the edge.. that did every part of the edge I dropped in on. Another at 6ft did everything in open water.. how good is that!?
Rigs were simple, Milo Oxon floats in .2grm for the edge and a .5grm Milo Clarius for open water. The Clarius is a longer tipped pattern I could use to get everything down under the skim and surface tow with the wind. Both were on .15mm Ghost to a .10 hooklink and a 16 Suehiro T213. Easy!
My peg was a strange shape in that I had a small peninsular 6 joins out that was a corner of my edge. Wind hacking past I quite fancied it for a bite, even though I was told the fish are well out and won’t be short. 40 minutes in with not a lot happening for anyone I decided to feed some bait as up to now I hadn’t, as had just sat on bread on the lead. Keeping my beady eyes peeled of course!
Rather than feed it and leave it, I thought I may as well drop over the top of it for ten minutes as it seemed very little would be lost.
I tapped in 20 maggots and the same with micros and with 2 wrigglers on the hook I lowered it in. 5 minutes passed and I was largely peed off with the wind and lack of activity before the float sank. Lift, nothing.... must be dragging on something.
I laid the rig in again and as the maggots drifted down something grabbed it and I was into a fish… a 3lb F1 lay in the net and I was a happy ish.. boy.
Back in followed by a pinch of micro and some maggots and it wasn’t long before I was playing another, this time a small stockie carp. This was an awesome sight but did concern me that the swim would die, and I couldn’t follow them anywhere due to the wind.
I caught well for an hour, and put about 10 fish of varying size in the net. The swim then faded, and fears were that I had pushed too far. I did in this case mean to though, as I knew they probably wouldn't come back until late and I needed to secure as many fish as possible and pull as far in front as I could.
Sure enough the swim was devoid and I thought I had been catching some residents rather than pulling new fish into the swim. Out on the pole and it was torretts time again! What is it with this weather.. I can’t cope anymore..
The bit that bugged me was there was the odd bite to be had. I nicked the odd fish and fouled and lost a couple so they were there. I just couldn’t present it as I wanted and how they would have liked it.
Two of the team lads, Matty Powel and Chris Jones came round for a walk.. Matty was doing really well and managed his first bite in 2 days angling… strangely, they were empty handed! Yep, no coffee. These young pups need to learn a thing or two. Rules are rules.. if you want to come and chew my ear you must bring me a gift! Coffee, chocolate, cake… I’m not shy!
So, after a skylining from them it was back out on the loaf and a moan about conditions… everything pinged slack as another fish liked a chunk of XXXthick! Two more followed before I sensed a drop in the wind. Not a distinct drop but enough for me to hold 8 joints with a grimace.
A little bit of work had me getting the odd bite but it was real difficult fishing. Enjoyable though as it’s always nice catching a few on a new lake. Into the final stages and maggots were just pipping pellets, but you had to feed pellets to get the quick response.
Barbellous maximus put in an appearance, and they don’t half pull back a bit. A foul hooked 10lb carp tuned out to be a 2lb barbell.. oh.. like that is it..
Minutes to go and after a few F1s I hooked another whisker. Finally managed to get this in, and with seconds left shipped out and laid the rig in. No time for feeing this was last chance saloon of 1 bite.
The float settled and thumped under.. fish – on! All out!
This thing went mental and had me holding 13m of pole under a rope that divides the lake with my elastic bottomed out thinking I'd foul hooked a massive carp.
Slowly it started coming back, and I manged to get a few section off. I lifted 7 joints into the air as I was desperate to see what violated me. Up came, yep, you guessed it, a bloody big barbel. It was probably 10 minutes after the whistle when I finally scooped it.
5-6lb of solid, angry fighting machine. Hell of an impressive creature but rather worrying that it did that to me in the middle of winter, and they go up to more than double figures! Next time I’ll be going with some spare pants!
The wind had blown but I’d had a great days fishing. I thought I may have won my lake but putting 69.12lb on the scales it was enough for the overall win. even better.
But, the best was yet to come. Back the bar for a pint and post match analysis. What a boozer to have on site. Beautiful, Mike has done a hell of a job.
We sat chatting to a few lads who fished.. out comes a hooooge roast dinner. Of course we had worked up an appetite after that meagre breakfast so it wasn’t long before Lee was at the bar pleading for a couple to be sent our way.. football on, roast dinner, pint! Life is sweet!
Big thanks to Richie and Cagsey Parry for running the match.
Good food, good company, good fishing… top day out… and all for less than 10,000 calories…
When we going again?
Tunnel Barn Farm Grand Finale!
After another quiet week in work I landed in Manchester Airport late O'clock Friday night. Having been away visiting a customer at a trade show (that's wenglish for 'on a jolly in Prague') a little 3 hour drive home saw me have just enough time to load the van, pump some pellets and get changed before setting off back up the motorway to Tunnel barn for the last round of the hotly contested winter league.
Those who have read my previous posts know that the best looking, youngest and most talented team on the bank are narrowly lying in 3rd and a mighty ask was needed for us to pull the deficit back and claw back 2nd position.
Guru had this won with a gap nobody was going bridge but with 3 or 4 teams hunting that 2nd position it was very much all to play for.
The weather was once again beautiful, sunny, warm with a little breeze..deluded much? Freezing cold and that biting wind was going to make it hard work. There even seemed a sharp cold edge to it we hadn't yet experienced this year.. it was proper arctic!
Drawbag Neal marched forward when called in the queue... here we go then..everything was crossed in hope of a decent set of pegs. Out came:
Mark Malin - Canal 11 - end peg wink emoticon
Aiden Mansfield - New 40 - half a chance of points there.. happy enough
Shaun Little - Top 15 - don't ask me I haven't a clue, told its half a
chance of points
Me - High 21 - No idea just know the lake is rammed so should get some bites.
After the standard venue stroll and peg chat all seemed happy enough and basic plans were hatched.
I settled in and set up my standard rigs. All I basically do here is cover depths. I find the shallowest part of the swim I'm likely to fish and the deepest and work rigs around that. generally means 4 rigs from 2 - 5 feet.
This time we went a bit deeper as High pool is 7 feet down the middle. A bit too deep for F1s for my liking... not that I suppose they mind one bit...
We had the edge rig in 4 foot, this was a multi rig (love a mutli rig - one rig suits all) and doubles as my far bank rig.
The bottom was flat so another rig did all of that from 4-13m, this in about 7feet of water. I had a shallower part of the far bank at 2 feet so another for that and completed by the obligatory shallow floating rig that ill use for flicking about and playing with.
As you can see there really isn't anything complicated and this is how I have fished it all winter.
Bait list was the same as always but with the exclusion of the loaf on this occasion. It seemed a bit coloured and because the lake was full of newer, smaller fish they generally want feeding if you are to build a peg. Was in the van though should I get peckish!
I had my usual pellets dowsed in the goodness and my Xpands oozing loveliness. Some maggots, F1 GB and a few cans of Red Bull to try and stop me from falling asleep and disappearing head first in the drink... I was overly concerned about this as I had Welsh hater, abuse giver Mr Mark Eves for company and very much in earshot (earshot can constitute a different country in this case mind you).
The level of hatred he has for the people of God's country is astounding and quite upsetting. It was 'nothing short' or bullying if you excuse the pun.. wink emoticon
So with mighty Mark translating our conversations for everyone, a quiet day was definitely not on the cards for our neighbours. An interesting mix of Welsh and cockney wannabee, did raise the odd chuckle even though most were too busy concentrating hard on staying warm.
The match got underway and I made a bold move to feed some bait from the off. By that I mean the use of the black bucket.. a redundant item usually kept for those odd situations where I'm filling it in down the edge... out she went to the top 2 and 2 line and in went 100mls of micros and a few 4mms. Then, 150mls of maggots went over to the shallow far bank line. I was definitely banking on catching a few today.
I dropped straight in short over the pellets with a juicy Xpander on and sat and waited. People all around me were playing fish already.. oh dear! Have I over cooked it? it was -40 degrees after all. As another wave rolled over the float it did something strange and a sharp lift was met with the resistance of the first Joey Carrassio of the day. I had big potted here to try and catch quick. It takes a long time and is highly risky fishing micros in that depth so by big potting I had planned to catch a number of fish over
one feed very quickly, then repeat. 7 joeys later and I was flying.
Seemed the right move and as I was thinking about feeding again I gambled and dropped back in. Sure enough another bite but I felt Id pushed it a bit far by not feeding and sure enough next drop nothing followed by nothing. Swim exhausted and dead. It's a difficult one to judge when doing this but don't ever completely fish your swim out unless its intentional. I soon had to move and try and repeat the process.
It wasn't too long before my curiosity got the better of me and I reached for my multi rig to have a play across. I'd had a few missed bites and liners, and wasn't catching as I wanted to so had to go searching the depths to find out where they wanted to be.
I shipped across and tapped a few wrigglers in, lowered down and got the pole ripped out of my hand by the wind, cheers!
Try again and clamped on I soon had a dip and Joe Carrassio was on this time.. that's better and what I wanted to see. Unfortunately this was a little short lived so I was soon up shallower again and looking on the 2ft rig.
This was the swim that got a dose of wrigglers early doors. Hmm back to the Joeys but plenty of then had me hanging round on this longer. I was catching well but losing my head a little with the wind and doing all this whilst looking through slightly tired eyes.
Then it happened. Oh god no.. not infront of them or specifically him.. I had at this point stopped trying to catch fish and turned my attentions to the fluffier side of the local wildlife.. I'd gone squirreling. I had sat there for a few minutes sneakily trying to untangle it without alerting the demon menace.
Then it happened.. "OH! OH NO! OH HE HAS.. WE ARENT WATCHING DON'T WORRY!" Came the cry!
I gave up and threw my pole back as fits of laughter started to ring out.
Although the best bit was when I couldn't break my .10 hooklink.
That even had me laughing! Elastic bottomed and me,
not the smallest of blokes pulling the other end. do you think it would give.. finally a heave saw my hook part and with a new hooklink on and much abuse under the belt I shipped back out for another go.
It was a strange match, so cold and my sporadic catching couldn't seem to be answered as it could have been concentration levels due to cold and tiredness or it could have been the peg and the iffy fish but try as I may I couldn't get it solid.
The banker last hour down the edge didn't happen either only for them to turn up with 5 minutes to go where I then caught 4 for 8lb! Frustrating wasn't the word.
The match ended and I knew I'd been well beaten by Lloydy a few pegs up and the two lads opposite me on the other bank. But with people shouting about having 50 odd fish and me not knowing it was anyone's guess. Lloydy came up and had 60lb which was winning so far. I had no ideas but was chuffed to bits to weigh 65lb. Round went the scales and that man again, Jamie Hughes stuck another brilliant catch of 80lb on the scales.
He's been in a different league this year. Hats off as he recorded his 5th 90 peg match win out of the 10 round league. Have a little think about that and look at who's fishing in the league... amazing!
So lying in 2nd we went round to the pegs I know had put 20lb on me. 66lb and 68lb had me feeling sick.
Don't get me wrong Id had a lovely day with plenty of bites but I know I should have caught more than that!
I had to settle for 4th on the lake which is okay, good points and a nice busy day.
Back at the coffee machine and there seemed a few nervy faces. Aiden had come back after a grind on New to finish 6th. A great job on a very hard day.
Mark hadn't fared so well and canal had been rubbish for everyone. There were more than a few single figure weights on there and being in with Extension it was never going to compete.
Shaun strolled in and slapped a lake and section win on the table.. what a man! Not only the 2nd best looking in the team but what a performance! Apparently he gave Des opposite the right ump... I don't believe that.. I've never heard Des moan.. must have been a different Des Shipp to the one I know.
So, we're on it.. we have got the result we needed it was now all down to see how the other teams had done. It was very close to call and we all tried to add up points.. Christ anglers are crap with figures!
Results in and.....
I thank you! takes a bow graciously! We'd managed to sneak it by a couple of points. Awesome.
Making life a little sweeter was the cash we had won all
league had been saved and then split making for well over a monkey in the sky rocket! Well done lads...
I must say a few thank yous to Mike, Sarah, Les and the team for running a superb event. My first go in this league and I've loved every minute. Roll on next year.
My team are mad as hatters, well done lads. Great company, all
chipped in and a load of fun to boot. Of course, well done to team Guru for smashing the league. Steve, Paul, Pemb and Myles were consistently brilliant and of course Jamie for taking home most of our money.. ha.. well done to all.
Home for Tea and Medals.
So... next were off to Bait-Tech Viaduct to tustle with some brutes.. bring it on!
Top was just tops…
Saturday arrived in the blink of an eye after the obligatory week of madness and fun that is work.. Tunnel awaited us.. the penultimate round of the teams of 4.
Guru have this sewn up and with the weather mild all week there would be too many fish feeding for them to have the much needed (from our point of view) blow outs. Far too good for that to happen. In 2nd place were the Drennan Banbury Gunsmiths side. Again, a crack team who are super tough to topple. We sat in 3rd spot from 22 teams and really had our eyes set on 2nd place overall. That’s the target anyway.
It was a shock to system to hear the alarm this week. I had a little lie in last week which meant I missed the draw.. This week however I was up and at em and a message to the boys at 5:45 as I was leaving had them all hoping the welsh drawbag was going to come good again.
Unfortunately it was average at best as unbelievably the flyers didn’t stick to the mitt.
First out was Shaun on Extension 6.. that will do, not bad at all and a good stockie peg if you need to graft on lots of bites. New 35 for Aiden – sorry pal.. I won’t say any more apart from sorry! The lead singer of the group, Malin, was heading for high 23. Happy with that as he loves that pool and must know all 3 billion fish by name.. #worriedabouttheweather
Me, well I thought I’d take one for the team and pick a very average to poor formed peg in the way of Top 5. This bowl can be good or devoid so it’s a toss of the coin. Peg 33 is usually the form peg affording a load of room as you are on your own. This can usually salvage some points even when the going is tough.
At the peg the lake was chocolate brown after the light rain we had had.. I glance across to see none other than fish (or is that peg) magnet Adam Wakelin was assembling some kit on 33. He was filling in for Steve Ringer and the guru team. Tough day in the office was about to start..!
It took me an age to set up.. plumbing up was a nightmare as the bottom for whatever reason is like an egg box such is the peaks and troughs depth wise. I was far from happy.
The rigs assembles were much the same as usual this time using my new lovely Milo Oxon inline floats that seem to suit perfectly. Again, as per I set up 4 rigs basically covering the depths and with my plummet not far from me I thought that would see some use.. I also set a bomb rod up to chuck across to the island.
Bait list was again kept simple.. there no need to complicate anything. Xpand pellets in ‘The Juice’, micros for feeding in… juice, bread soaked with???? Correct! maggots fed on… and my favourite bag of F1! Simple right!
Setting up the wind was horrific. I was nicely tucked behind a tree but I am assured it wasn’t pleasant wink emoticon
So to the crux of the match.. in we went and all four of us sat in the bowl unsurprisingly started on pellets short. I was soon rewarded with a few fish and decent start. Very encouraging as it could mean the bowl will fish.. a few liners and foul hooked fish had me reaching for maggots earlier than anticipated as the precision needed to fish pellets was near impossible with the waves and tow.
A shame as I did feel pellets would have been better if I could have fished them nice and neatly. The maggot rig started to work and a few ide and some F1s started to oblige. Although I felt slightly behind Wako I was sure our catch rate would give us good points as we had pulled in front of the other lads in the bowl. Apart from the weather it was wonderful fishing. I came in on the short line early as I felt feeding this was actually slowing my catch rate a little further out. They were there and although not the easiest to catch due to the steep groves in the bottom I did catch well right through to the end. We’d had a great ding dong and although close I felt he was always 10% in front.
When the scales finally arrived I thought 70-80lb and was happy enough. I was shocked to see Adam stick a brilliant 108lb on the scales.. I didn’t have anywhere near that. Impressive as I didn’t think he had that much…
I seem to be really good at judging these F1s as I was quite close to my 70lb estimate.. I only weighed 104lb! bloody hell! Happy, surprised but a little frustrated not to have caught him. We all like to win don’t we…
The venue had fished it maracas off! There were great weights everywhere but luckily we ended up 1st and 2nd overall. I’ll take that from there!
The good fishing and crap weather had actually cost us as a team. Mark got literally blown off his peg. I think his pole is now in 30 pieces. Aiden, as expected had to watch the pegs with room around him catch more.. Shaun, I was chuffed to bits with as he’d caught 60 odd pound of small stockies from the nest they live in.. trouble was, typically all the units in the lake fed and people everywhere had 70lb plus.. frustration.com!
We hadn’t fared so well but amazingly still hang onto 3rd overall. Although the gap has opened to 13 points, they can look out as the final round approaches this week and the war paint is very much on!