Sunday, 19 November 2017

ATWL Final Round - K&A Canal Bath

Another busy week (so what I hear you say) but I give my gear a good going over Friday night and Saturday (between watching the Gas lose again) to  get it right for the canal. I feel like I have come down with another cold and have a cold sore, and just felt run down since Friday.

The draw was back at the Crown Pub in Keynsham, and I was a little late arriving having some issues where the toilet was concerned. Still I had time for a breakfast and said goodbye to the landlady who was off to another job she said. The first match on the canal at Bath is usually a good one as the fish have not been caught for a long time, the match was pegged from Meadow Farm out to just past the swing bridge at Bathampton. The town stretch was not pegged as ponds there are empty due to some work going on. However, if anyone is looking for a good day on the canal I suggest go to the Malthouse as I heard the fish from below were moved into there!

Draw done and I was off to Meadow Farm, not on the flyers either side of the bridge sadly but up towards the old lock. I managed to find a parking space very near to Meadow Farm lane, and was soon walking down the lane to the canal. Rich Lacey walked along with me and he was on the next peg and we struck a pound side bet up. By the bridge the canal was alive with fish and I couldn't believe the fish that were topping and blowing all on this side of the canal.

Got to my peg and it was just past where the little stream comes in, Vic Abbot was on that peg. It kind of looks the same through here, and the canal is a good depth with nearly 5ft down the middle and at least 3 feet over. Although it looks like there is a lot of cover over all of this is growing up just back from the concrete wall, so the features are above the water if you get what I mean.


I set up two rigs for bread, a 0.4g Preston PT4 with 18PR333 to 0.08 for bagging, and the same float but 0.3g with 18 PR311 to 0.07 for catching roach when it was harder.  I assembled two Preston Silvers 5 floats for fishing bloodworm, both had 22 PR311 to 0.07, one was for right over the other for 11.5m up to my left at 10 o'clock. A caster rig and worm rig were also put up.

Ready on time today, and I called the all in, I potted in a ball of bread at 4m, and some joker on my two bloodworm lines, I also fed some casters across by catty.  I picked up the bagging bread rig and dropped it in with a big piece of punch, straight under, small roach, same next drop in, same next drop in, then a 4oz roach. I was getting a bite as soon as the float was settling, I couldn't really catch any quicker, but the fish were less than an ounce and other than that 4oz roach I was slightly disappointed at the size of roach. I was of course hoping for a skimmer or two, but they never showed, and I was kept busy catching small roach. After about 30 mins I switched to the lighter bread rig as I had been missing a few bites, and by fishing off the bottom I carried on catching small roach. Eventually of course this line came to a grinding halt, but I was happy enough, and felt I was doing as well as anyone else, although Rich told me he had a couple of skimmers and a decent roach but not much else.

I went across to look for an early caster fish, but I never had a bite, so onto the bloodworm where I would carry on catching roach I thought, ummm no! I caught one see through perch and that was it, I could not get a bite, I was shocked. Eventually I had enough and went for a walk, and when I came back and sat down down wondering what to try next I went with the bloodworm right over. Well the float buried and I had a roach on it, then I had another, and another 6 or 7 before it went dead again. Strange since I had not fed it again or done anything different.

The last two hours I managed to pick off odd roach and ruffe from my bloodworm lines, I did get two little hybrids on my caster line but on a maggot hook bait, sadly the chopped worm line never gave me a single bite. Lots of bites but I knew I didn't have enough to win any money today, and Rich gave me a lesson winning the section with 8lb 8oz, take away his three bonus fish and he probably had similar to my weight of 5lb 6oz, but that's fishing and I paid over my £1. Walking back we had to face the long walk up the lane, it is a steep lane, which gets steeper towards the end. I started walking up with Rich and Nathaniel Johnson, and I was determined to get to the top without stopping. I did manage this and celebrated like Rocky did in his first film, Rich got it and shouted "Adrienne!!" Lol I said I should have had a £1 with them on that.

Back at the pub and more lovely roast potatoes and a couple of pints before the results were read out.

1st Nathaniel 16lb from one below Meadow Farm Bridge
2nd Ian Stainer  15lb two above Meadow Farm Bridge   (Nicky Johns was 1 above, had 4lb)
3rd Andy Cranston 12lb  from outside the George
4th Warren Bates  1llb up towards the Swing bridge somewhere
5th Mark Williams 11lb

Kev Dicks won the knockout beating Mat Challenger

Rich Whitmarsh was the top individual over the series.

On the day Bathampton won, Sensas were 2nd and Thatchers 3rd.

Overall Thatchers and Bathampton tied on points, but with 4 match wins to two Thatchers won the league.

Well done to everyone who took part, well done to Mark Harper for running the league. The fishing was as ever good overall and I enjoyed it immensely, and I enjoyed the banter back at the pub.

Next week it is the 4th round of the Commercial House and that is at Newbridge which will be the last match on the river for a long while.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Bill Milton Memorial Poppy Match

The one match I always look forward to more than any other is without a doubt the Poppy Match. The biggest match on the river Avon and for a very fitting cause, all of those people who gave their lives so that we could have our way of life, it simply cannot be forgotten or underestimated.

Friday night was a superb night out, celebrating Glenn Bailey's birthday, safe to say it was a brilliant night out, and I am not allowed to mention that Glenn was still being sick until 2pm on Saturday. My head was a bit sore but not so bad, and I did not need to do much prep other than mix some gbait and get my bait from Scotts.

Saturday was an alcohol free day and I awoke Sunday morning feeling fine and excited. It was good going back to Frys after many years for the draw, the new social club is very nice and has some very nice Polish staff, the breakfast was in my opinion great value for money and very nice. This match is so good for seeing anglers who love to support it and I hardly see otherwise, Mike Spence, Mike Shellard, Bob Price, and many many more.

Whilst enjoying my breakfast I was indebted to Mark Harper who paid my £20 pools for me. I also had to sort out a ticket for the legend that is Andy Power, and fair play he turned up and paid me for it. Before the draw Brian Lloyd read out the citation for the 2 minutes silence, this was impeccably observed by all the anglers, but it went on and on until Paul Benson asked who was timing it, and neither Ray nor Brian was! A huge roar of laughter went round after that. Draw underway and I was really hoping for a peg at Newbridge as the river was a great colour for bream, a draw at Jack Whites or Crane would mean fishing for your section. Well blow me if I didn't go and draw peg 1, this meant I was on peg 3 at Newbridge the same peg I had two weeks ago, what are the chances of that!

After giving advice to a number of anglers I got on my way, my thoughts were a decent peg but not one I could win off. When I got to the river at Newbridge and looked at it I was even more convinced bream would feed. Got to my peg and thought well I won't do any good fishing for roach today, but will there be any bream in the area.


I set up a gbait feeder with 0.165 exceed to 14 PR355 which is one of my favourite bream hooks for feeder fishing. I did consider setting up a pole rig for a while but talked myself out of it and decided to go all out for the slabs! On the all in at 10am I threw in 14 balls of gbait containing 1/2 pint of caster and plenty of chopped worm on about the 16m line. I then underarmed my feeder over this with 3 red maggots on. Think I missed a bite first chuck, next chuck a good drop back bite and fish on, as I brought the fish a bloody pike grabbed it as it came to the surface and then let go. I netted a
6oz roach. During the first hour of the match I had regular bites on maggots and worms all from roach, these were from 4oz to 1lb like the one below (thanks to Lee Trevitt for the photo of this roach he caught).



On the hour mark I hooked a good fish and it had to be a bream I thought, but soon after the line went slack and I lost it, balls. I wound in to find no hook and I am sure it was the pike bit me off as I no pressure on the hook to break 6lb line.

The next hour for me was slow, I had a few hybrids that were only 2oz each and a gudgeon and as the second hour approached I thought this was not going to be my day. Glenn rang me to have a chat and I had another drop back bite and when I hit the fish tore off downstream, what was this, another sodding pike I thought, but they do count. I took my time and got the fish in close, I was shocked to see an upside down bream surface, it was hooked under the body and it went into the net! Catching that bream I put a dendra on the hook with two dead red maggots, and 10 mins later I was playing another bream and all of a sudden I was excited. The next 40 mins went past without any action, I decided to put two dendras on the hook and this was a good move as I took two 3lb bream in two casts. Again the bites ceased and I tried various hookbaits and at at 13:10 had a 1lb skimmer on 3 red maggots.

With nearly two hours left to go and 20lb+ in the net I was more than happy, I knew other anglers had more bream than me but I thought a few more might get me in the money. Darren Gillman came to watch me for a while but I was unable to catch a fish for him, and alas I had one more bite which the worm doubled over the hook and that was my lot, not a fish. I sat there thinking of all the late bream that would be caught pushing me down the frame.....

I had the scales and the lad below the board (nice cos that means a free bottle of wine after lol) and I said go to peg 10 and weigh back to me. On permanent peg 20 was Craig Pinker who had fished a lobworm all day, and he had 9 bream for 37lb, mega.


Jan Mazek had 10lb on 16 and then a lad on 14 had 18lb 8oz.  Gerry Welsh on peg 8 had 8lb and peg 5 had less than a 1lb. My turn and I was pleased to have two weighs for 23lb 10oz. The fouled bream went 6lb 9oz, here it is.

I knew Kev Boltz had 12 bream from peg 54 and was going to be hard to beat, and a few others had bream, I hoped I would get in the frame.

Back at Frys and I was really pleased to hear that Kev had won with a brilliant 59lb, he had bream to over 7lb, well done Kev, you've kept my record intact as the only person to win this match more than once!!  Craig Pinker was second and Andy Curry was 3rd from peg 28 with 32lb, well done lads. It was then my turn, so 4th place today, and a nice pick up of £145, dead handy. I also won a prize on the raffle which was a box of 50 hook lengths pre tied, new Preston hooks with pellet bands, happy days.

I stayed behind to have a beer with the lads, and thank Ray and Paul for another well run Poppy Match, probably raised £1700 again for the Poppy fund, brilliant.

I have to finish by saying that Swineford, Crane and Jack Whites really fished poorly, with only a couple of double figure weights. Mat Challenger (man of the moment) had a bream first cast and an 8lb carp to be beat weight with 11lb. Shaun Townsend drew the best dace peg at Jackies and caught less than 2lb, bad luck Shaun, right peg wrong day.

Next week is another challenge all together as it is the K&A canal at Bath, new rigs, new elastics, new bait.

Tight lines everyone, and as the citation says..... "With the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them."

Sunday, 5 November 2017

September / October 1998

No fishing for me this weekend which meant I have had a couple of lie ins and got a few jobs done. The 5th round of the w/l is going on today in the K/A canal up around Melksham, so I'll have to read Ivan Currie's blog to see how it fished and how the team did. I did given Glenn a quick call and his section was all level with about 2lb being best with a couple of hours to go.

Sunday 13th September I found myself fishing the final match of the Superleague on the Gloucester canal. a venue quite frankly I struggled and still struggle with. This day was no different and I managed to catch 3 fish, 2 eels and a skimmer on the feeder for 2lb 15oz. I came halfway in the section and thanks for coming, team were 3rd on the day and that meant we ended the league 3rd overall which was not too bad considering the standard of angler.

The following weekend I went out on my 30th birthday for a bit of pleasure fishing at Newbridge. Not sure what peg as I didn't record that in my diary, but the river was low and clear. I fished the waggler and caught 2 chub, some pups and dace, not one roach, for 12lb.

A couple of weeks later it was the first round of the Commercial House which was fished on the Bristol Avon at Swineford and Crane. I got a corker, peg 16 int he second field at Swineford. I began the match on a long rod with crowquill, 20 to 1.7lb Bayer. Feeding maggot and hemp I had a few roach and dace and a bonus 2 1/2lb chub. The long rod was used not because of the depth but because of the weed in front of me, and it kept the chub out of the weed. I also fished a maggot feeder right over with a 16 to 2lb maxima, and I had 5 small chub on this. It was a good start as I won the section and came 3rd on the day with 13lb 1oz, the team came 1st so it was happy days.

4th October and the ATWL kicked off on the same bit of river, but this time I got a poor peg in the Long Ashtip field (back then this field was pretty poor). It was a hard match with just a few roach and perch coming out on the crowquill 2/3 over, but after 2 hours bites became really hard to come by. A few perch on the feeder on worm were all I could muster. I ended with 3lb 3oz which beat everyone in this field, but was hammered by anglers past it, 7 out of 11 points for me was job done but the team had a few bad uns and we were 3rd on the day.

Round 2 of the Commercial House and once again I was pegged at Swineford, long walk this time up to peg 27 (same peg I had this year). I fished a stick float with caster and hemp on a 20 to 0.10 and had a few small fish but nothing great, when I hooked a big pike I tried my best to play it out, they counted back then, but it did me. This also killed the peg completely, I had a couple of casts on a gbait feeder which was a waste of time it seemed, and first cast back on the stick I hooked a good fish. Turned out to be a 3 1/2lb chub and was virtually my last fish. My weight on the day was only 4lb 15 1/2oz and that got me 12 points from 14, that weight would be last in the section every time now, which just shows how much the fishing has improved. Team won on the day so we were flying after 2 rounds.

Sunday 18th October, same bit of river for round 2 of the ATWL. I got given A1 which was the peg on the Outfall at Swineford, not a peg I really fancied as the conditions were not great with the river pacey. It was not quite right on the crowquill and at the time bream were not showing on this peg, so I cast a maggot feeder slightly above the outfall where there were some trees. I had lots of bites on this from 2oz dace, and chublets of the same size. I did manage two chub of 12oz each but it was small fish otherwise. I remember enjoying the day working hard and concentrating on getting the set up right to hit as many bites as possible. 8lb 3oz was my final tally and I was only beaten by one person in the section. Team performance was a repeat of round one as we were 3rd again.

The following week the Com House was cancelled after a bad storm brought 90mph winds and heavy rain which caused the river to burst its banks. I popped up to Bitterwell lake to use some of the bait I had already purchased. I fished a waggler with an 18 to 0.10, 1 no 8 and 3 no 10 down the line feeding casters. Best hookbait was double red maggot and I caught mainly skimmers and 5 small carp for about 25lb.


Sunday, 29 October 2017

ATWL Bristol Avon Newbridge - Round 4

Well after last week's match I was sick as a pig and didn't go into work on the Monday, it turned into a hacking cough which kept me and the wife awake most nights. That's the sob sorry done. Made some rigs up, tied some hooks and mixed my groundbait Saturday morning and felt well prepared.

I did have a few drinks Saturday, mainly Jameson whiskey which I hoped might numb my sore throat, and I did sleep better, still woke up early with the clocks going back lol. Off to the draw and once again it was a nice breakfast at the Crown in Keynsham. Whilst eating there was a debate as to who would draw for our team, and in the end "Lucky" Lee Trevitt volunteered. When he came back with the pegs he had drawn a few good ones, he was end peg in the trees, Luke Sorokin was on 50, and I was on peg 3 in the little field.

I got to my peg and was knackered, couldn't believe how hard I found the walk, but guess that's the lurgy. Peg 3 is the upstream peg and back in the summer it held a lot of skimmers, but in the winter leagues the skimmers have not shown and pike have been a pain.



I looked at the river and I was pleased it was not gin clear, maybe some skimmers might show? I set up a feeder rod, but it was never used, a 4g bolo with 18 to 0.10, a 2gm pole float with 20 to 0.10 and a 1g pencil float with 20 to 0.10. I also set up a flat float with 18 to 0.10 with the skimmer in mind. For the last weeks I have been using the Preston Flurocarbon hook length in 0.10 and I have had no problems with it all, in fact it is bloody strong as you will see...

I was positive about the peg and therefore I made up 12 balls of gbait which held 1/2 pint of caster, 1/2 pint of hemp and a good helping of pinkies. I threw them in at 13m, I'd normally only go to 11m but thought an extra section might give me a better chance of skimmers, though I wasn't expecting to see any of them till later on. I began on the 2g rig with single caster on the hook, missed a bite and then had a roach, then another roach, then a third which a pike took, new hook required. Back in and I was getting bites but not hitting them all, and then had another pike take take a fish, this one stayed on a bit and in the end I got the bloody thing in, about 3lb.


Back in and still a bite every drop in from small roach, but I didn't feel I was hitting enough bites so switched to the pencil float. This was a good move and I definitely hit more bites, but I had to shallow up and was about 1 foot off the bottom and still getting bites on the drop. Surprising really as at this stage I was not loose feeding, just plopping the odd ball of my mix. Another pike put in an appearance, this one was a double and it forced me off the pole onto the bolo. I was able to get bites on this but fish to bite ratio was poor, but fish hooked and landed ratio was better!  After a while I decided I was missing to many bites and went back on the pole, a good move as I had a couple of 4oz roach when the pike got me again, and again and I had enough and went for a walk to Ivan Currie on peg 7, he was suffering pike strikes to and generally fed up.

I went back and began loose feeding heavily with hemp and caster, I was worried that bleak might come in, but as it was they never did, I had 20 mins without a pike attack and then I had one on proper. I played it for 5 to 10 mins, and really gave it some stick, I actually had it in the net but it wasn't all in and got out, think it was getting on for 12 to 14lb. Anyway it decided to go down stream and eventually the line parted, but I was amazed how far it went before the 0.10 broke.

Giving that pike a bit of a headache seemed to improve things and I had a good 30 mins on the pole fishing shorter at 11m catching small roach, eventually of course a pike fecked this too. A dingy went past me with three rather unpleasant lads in it who were piking, just as they got past my peg they had one, a double, how many of these feckers are in here I thought.

The last 90 mins were still a bite a chuck, I had tried the flat float on and off but only caught the same size roach or a little perch, it was clear to me the peg was full of roach and pike. A very large pike emerged during this time, it was huge, I saw it a numbers of times go for my fish, but I think it was too big to be really fast. There were still other pike in the peg, as I lost 2 on the bolo which were clearly not big pike. Eventually the leviathan got me, and I was never going to win any battles with this one so just pulled hard until I snapped. 10 mins to go I hooked it again, and then tied on my last pre tied hook length. Caught a few more roach and that was it.

I cannot say it was a lovely day's fishing, but it was a bite every single run through, I honestly think without pike trouble there was a chance of getting near 20lb of roach. Dean Harvey who was on his usual peg 16 came up with the scales and weighed me first, I was still packing away so wouldn't get to see the others weigh in. My roach went 13lb 14oz, a little less than I hoped, guess the fish were not as big as I thought. Once I packed up I met the lads below the bridge but everyone had weighed in. The weights in my section are show below, Dean had small skimmers on the pole and feeder, and two 6lb bream in two casts on the feeder.


Back to the results and it was soon evident that the river had fished well today, pike had been a pain for many, but for the first time bream had shown in some areas. There were 24 double figure weights today and every section was won with double figures, see below where you can see 1st and section weight in each section, not bad fishing.


Winner on the day with Rich Whitmarsh who had 45lb from the Norfolk reeds, bream and skimmers on the feeder. Second was Steve Hutchinson on the peg below Rich, Steve had 42lb of bream and skimmers on the pole.

3rd team mate Luke Sorokin 30lb 6oz, roach, skimmers and bream on the pole peg 50
4th Mat Challenger 23lb 11oz on another flyer peg 76, he had a lovely net of quality fish on the pole.
5th Dean Harvey 23lb 9oz
6th Shaun Townsend 23lb 8oz  (feeder angler these days)

Thatchers managed to win on the day with 29 points, Bathampton 27 and Die Hards 26. League overall is now Thatchers one point ahead of ahead of Bathampton. There are two matches left on the K&A canal next week is up at Melksham, I'm dropped for that so weekend off for me, so next match is the Poppy.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

ATWL - Bristol Avon Keynsham

I had a lovely week away in the Isle of Wight with my wife, never been before but we really enjoyed it. Towards the end of the holiday I went down with man flu and a nasty cough which keeps me awake at night. It was that bad that I turned down a trip to the pub Saturday with Glenn and Mike Nicholls. All I could do Saturday was minimal preparation for the river and slump in my chair and feel sorry for myself lol.

Lee Trivett and Andy Ottaway had pegged out the match and messaged the pegging, when I saw it on Sat night I thought well anywhere but G section will do, G was bottom of the Crane which as not been good of late. Anyway come Sunday morning and I felt like shit and the wife said I shouldn't go, but it was a team match and we all know we have to do the necessary for the team. I now wanted to draw a short walk and really don't think I could face Swineford, so G section would be nice and short. After another decent brekky the draw was done, and it turned out we had the same peg from the earlier round, so all of us on pegs another angler in the team had drawn. Blow me if I didn't get my wish, G5, the first peg above the cattle grid at the Crane about as short a walk as I could get. The peg has not won the section of late but it is always one I'm happy to draw being an end peg, no chance of framing but a decent section peg.

I set up the pole to fish at about 13m as the flow here is across more, a good thing today as the river rose and got pacey and I was less affected than most. The flow was OK, and so a 2 grm and 1gm rig looked OK to me, and they went through the peg OK. A 14BB crowquill and and Gbait feeder were also set up. The wind was a nightmare, into me and a bit upstream, and I could see that it would make life difficult. The picture below does not do justice, but at times it was a right b'stard.


I was just about ready on time and let fly with 12 balls of gbait full of caster and hemp. I was quite positive with the feeding as I thought with the river having extra pace it might fish well. I went out with the 2g float first and stuck on a single bronze maggot, the float ran down past where I thought the gbait had settled and then some more and then went under, 1oz roach. The next 4 or 5 rns through produced nothing, but then I had a small dace. It was not a stellar start by any means, but bites started to come on and off from small roach and dace. The first hour was not prolific by any means and I reckon I only had 1lb 4oz by the end of it, not great at all but Darren Gillman who was a couple of pegs above was also struggling. Darren has been the king of the section so he was my paceman, if I could keep up with him I should do well.

Second hour and I hit a pike, I had it on for a few minutes and did my best to piss it off, I finally broke on it and hoped I had given it a tooth ache. For the next two hours I never had any pike strikes, but the fishing was still really tough, there were clearly fish there but I was having to work hard to get bites. Aaron Britnell came for a walk up to watch his mate Mat on the peg above me, and he also spent some time watching me. I might get 4 or 5 fish in as many chucks on the pole, then nothing, changing to the crowquill might do the same, but then nothing. Changing hookbaits, maggot colours, caster would also make bites, I couldn't believe how much I had to change. Of course then the pike came back, the 2g pole rig got trashed and I needed to set another up, I chucked the feeder out for a bit whilst I put a new rig on and had bites but didn't connect, roach.

The crowquill got the pike treatment, and so another new hook etc, and I kept battling the elements, the wind was a joke, I was in and out of the tree on my left and suffering a lot of tourettes trying to fish a tidy match. I kept throwing small balls of gbait in and hoped better fish might turn up, but they never did. Thanks to Aaron and the many other people who were walking the bank I knew my section was not fishing well, I therefore stuck to trying to catch the small fish and avoided going on the feeder. Mat above me had lost a bream on the feeder and lost another late on, but I stuck to my guns. With about 30 mins left I hooked a little fish I thought, but when I shipped back the rig was solid and I assumed I was in a snag I had hooked before. I started pulling hard for a break, as you do, and then the rig started moving upstream and not long after bit me off, that was a bloody big pike!

When the all out was called I was tired, aching, felt like shit and just hoped that I might have won the section to make it all worthwhile. The scales were operated today by legend Dave Lewis, and he weighed my fish first and called out 7lb 10oz, not sure that would be enough. However, Mat had 2lb, and then Darren had really struggled and had just over 4lb, Vic Abbot had 6lb+ and on the gantry Dave had 5lb exactly which included a nice 3 1/2lb chub. A section win, yay, worth it after coughing my guts up all day, lol. Thanks to Aaron for the photo.


I was one of the first people back to the results, and was glad I could get a seat to rest. As the lads started to come back it was very obvious we had done well today, in fact we had 7 section winners and one who was 3rd in the section (Martin Barrett). Obviously we won the day by a long way, but with Bathampton scraping second place by 1 point we are tied at the top with them overall.

Top anglers today

1st Mark Harper 35lb 6oz, bream from peg 6 at Swineford
2nd Tom Morretti 26lb 10oz Jack Whites (same peg Glenn had last week)
3rd Randy Branston  22lb 5oz Jack Whites (same peg Ivan Currie had last week)
4th Lee Trivett and Matt Challenger 17lb 12oz.

The river was more coloured by the end of the match, and had more pace, and for some anglers their pegs were a bit too fast for the float, the river still fished well in most places.

Newbridge next week, hopefully I feel better.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Commercial House Round 3 - Bristol Avon Keynsham

Thanks to social media I was able to order some bait via Facebook messenger with Matt Challenger whilst I was working in Munich this week. It is not conducive for match prep to be working away so much and then watching Rovers on a Saturday. However, you only get one chance on this planet so I like to fill my days as much as possible whilst I'm fit and healthy. I was worried about my participation Sunday as Friday and Saturday I had a bad back and was struggling badly, thankfully it improved enough that I could get my gear into the car Sunday morning without too much pain.

I was slow getting to the draw so I didn't have time for breakfast, and before long the draw was underway and I was hoping for a peg at Swineford or Jackie Whites. Thanks to Mark Harper I got my wish and was on peg 27 at Swineford, and that meant another long walk along the cycle track, it takes me about 20 minutes. Our team was struggling for anglers and I had managed to get Andy Curry to fish for us, he probably was regretting saying yes to helping after he was given a peg at Frys lol.

Right, finally at the peg and soaked with sweat, as was Martin Barrett on peg 29. I was happy with the peg as it usually holds plenty of roach and sometimes the odd skimmer, but in this section there are some great pegs and 15lb has to be the target to do well. It is comfortable peg once you are down in it, but really not good for the pole with a high bank immediately behind you, so all rods for me today.

The river is really clear at the moment and does not have much flow, I really felt a peg with chub on would be better than roach today. My peg has most of the flow from about 7m to half way across and so this would be my main attack.

I set up a 7 no4 stick float with 0.10 to 20, a 4g bolo with 0.10 to 18, and a gbait feeder which was not used. I did set up a chopped worm rig on the pole for fishing 10m down the inside, but this only brought me 1 perch.

The question for me was to use gbait or to loose feed, and in the end I went with just loose feeding due to the clear water and long trot I had. I began on the Bolo but it wasn't quite right to me and bites were not positive so I switched to the stick float and was soon getting a bite most casts, trouble was I was either missing them or catching 1/2oz fish. It was not the start I'd hoped for but when loose feeding the swim can improve so I persevered and upped the caster and hemp feed. The first hour wasn't great, and I was a long way behind Martin. I switched back to the bolo on my 18 foot rod and bites were better but the fish were still small. There were clearly plenty of small fish in the peg, and the bait was being picked up on the drop forcing me to shallow up a few times.

In the second hour I picked up my two best fish, both roach at about 6oz. I was catching best on a bronze maggot on the hook, caster did not produce better fish at all. I tried a tare a few times today, but again I only caught a couple of small fish and often had fast unhittable bites which I think might have been from dace which I had on and off.

Halfway through and I don't think I had 4lb in the net so not going well. Glenn rang me, he was for the second match running on the fence peg at Jackies which is solid with dace and he was bagging. Every time I tried to up the feed to feed off the bits my bites would slow right down, and I just got the feeling the bigger stamp of roach were not feeding. Then to make matters worse I managed to catch the tree on the strike and snapped off below the bolo. I could not fish the stick as the wind was to strong upstream and so I had to set up again. At first it seemed the rig was not working as well as before, however, things improved and the last two hours the roach were better and I could get runs of 2oz roach but after three on the trot you would be back to tiddlers. I started to feed maggots heavily over where there was not much flow, but did pick up a few roach here. It was a case though of casting around the peg to try to find those slightly better fish before they moved again. The last 90 minutes I reckon I caught most of my fish actually away from the feed, and this was something many people experienced.

Match over and I thought I had about 9lb which I expected to only beat a couple of people today. Sam Johnson had a nice walk to weigh the section in, and when he got to Martin 26lb was top and 10lb was next. Martin had 13lb+ , he had fed a bit of gbait but had managed a dozen chublets across which was worth a couple of pounds at least, I'd not seen one of them. My turn and I was a little surprised to see 11lb 4oz on the scales, "a lot of fish" was the comment, and on another day with better quality it would have been 20lb, but if's, but's and maybe's....

Paul Isaacs had won our section from Bitton Brook, he had 6 decent chub and lots of dace, roach, bleak and chublets, a busy day and well done him. Martin was 2nd and I was 3rd in the A division.

The long walk back but at least the sun was shining and it was such a pleasant day weather wise. Back at the results and I soon found out some parts of the river had fished very hard, and most of the river was below par today, the exception being Jack Whites which was superb.

1st Glenn Bailey   27lb dace at 4m Jackies
2nd Paul Isaacs     26lb  chub Bitton Brook
3rd  Ivan Currie    21lb  dace (peg above Glenn)
4th Ian Pauley      18lb dace (couple of pegs below Glenn)

In the A div Thatchers B were first and Thatchers A second, and after three rounds these two teams are 1st and 2nd respectively.

In the B div Maver are leading Stand and Deliver. But in both divisions it is still quite tight and all to play for.

Next week it is the same venue (less Frys) for the third round of the ATWL, and unless there is a decent amount of rain then we can all look forward to a tough match, unless you can draw bunghole pegs lol.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

ATWL Round 2 Bristol Avon Newbridge

The older I get the more I forget I think, I am sure there are many things I mean to mention in my blog and later in the week I recall them. Another busy week where Wednesday I was in Birmingham presenting an award, the event was hosted by news reader Katie Dereham, nice lady.

For a change I went out Friday night with the wife and we had a nice meal and a few drinks and had a good chat with Shaun Townsend and his wife Lyn. Next day I woke I was a little tired, it was either the day 20km on the bike to work and back, the 6km walking to pubs and home, or the many pints of Thatchers.... perhaps all three took their toll.

Saturday popped to Scotts, saw a few anglers in there including Bob Price who told me still reads my blog and likes it, thanks Bob. I was at home all afternoon and had time to prepare some rigs and gbait etc whilst listening to the radio, and it was rather pleasant listening to the Gas winning 6-0 away from home.

Sunday morning all fit and ready to go and by far the best breakfast at the Crown so far I feel. Lovely people in here run the pub and I'm glad we had to move to this pub from the rugby club. Anyway, paid my pools, picked up a few Preston bits I had ordered and then got told draw was done and I was in the trees on peg 118. I'd rather not go to the trees when the river is low and clear but such is life.

The section is only 5 pegs, but it was well spread, Rich Whitmarsh was on 113, then myself, Towner was on 122, Shane Caswell 126 and finally a young lad called Randy Branston on peg 130 was end peg and the end peg is always a boon here. Before I go on I should mention that Shane has bought a new keepnet recently, and the last two matches he has had a lot of trouble with it tangling up as he weighs in, wish I had a video of it lol.

I got down in the water and got comfy, I set up a crowquill, feeder, and 4 pole rigs, a chopped worm rig, 1gm, 2gm and 3gm flat float. I was a minute or so late starting, so Shaun below me balled it in before me, then I got going and threw in 12 balls. Out with the 2gm rig and no bites on a caster or a maggot, out with the 1gm and finally a couple of roach on a maggot but right down the peg below the gbair, it was not a good start, but then I had a couple of fish over the gbait, including tow perch. I was struggling though and was concerned, so when I then saw around 10 to 12 bream roll up and down the far side within a couple of minutes I was just waiting for them to arrive on the pole line, they didn't.

After about 40 minutes and no more than 1 1/2lb in the net I had 10 chucks on the feeder to get more bait out there. I tried the crowquill over the pole and had a couple more roach but again these were down the peg. I tried the pole again and out of the blue had two roach that must have been nearly 8oz each, then I had a couple more perch and then it was dead. I gave the feeder a go but it was just a couple of little roach.

From this point on things went downhill for me big time, I just could not get any bites on the pole or crowquill. In fact I think I went two hours without a bite over my pole line, and just had a couple of perch a roach and a ruffe on the feeder. I was looking at a very bad result and hoping that one of those bream would grab my feeder hook bait. With about 35 mins to go, after a good go on the feeder I had another look on the pole, blow me the float went under, and it did so every run through until the end of the match, though bites were quite hard to hit with little flow and a terrible light which made it hard to see the float. When I called all out I was left feeling happy with the ending but not sure what else I could have done.

Everyone in the section was admitting to 5lb, so as I thought I had 5lb I wasn't thinking I would do to well, Randy had 7lb 6oz and won the section, Rich was 2nd with 7lb 3oz, Shaun had a late skimmer to give him 6lb 13oz, Shane had some nice roach for 6lb 10oz, and I was last with 6lb 6oz.  Just 1lb between all five of us and I was whipped. Such is life, I didn't feel like I fished a bad match, it was just hard, I bumped and dropped a couple but we all do that. There you go, from Hero to zero lol.

I had heard during the match the river was fishing hard, and so it proved with Warren Bates only needing 13lb to win the match, he was on 76 and had a 5lb bream plus plenty of roach. 2nd was Paul Elms from form peg 92, Paul had a lot of chublets. Mark Harper was 3rd from peg 5 and Mat Challenger framed again with 9lb from peg 49. Just out of the frame was Andy Curry, fair play to him as he is just getting back into his fishing and it was good to see him again.

Bathampton won on the day and Nomads came 2nd, my lot were third, which means Bathampton lead overall after two matches by 1 point from Thatchers.

No let up for me at present, I'm off to Germany working for a few days, Commercial House next week back at Keynsham, hoping I get my mojo back.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

ATWL - Bristol Avon Keynsham - Round one

I knew I would feel tired Sunday morning, but I hoped a breakfast and cuppa would perk me up. Meeting up at the Crown in Keynsham it was not long before the draw would commence. There were four sections at Swineford, three on the Crane and one at Jack Whites. Andy Ottaway and Lee Trivett had pegged it and done some serious swim clearing on pegs 17 and the gas pipe. When the team draw was done I could not believe it when Lee drew 17 and Andy the Gas Pipe! Myself I was going for the long walk up to the Beach at Swineford.

I walked along the cycle track with Shaun Townsend who was on peg 29 in the other section, it was a good workout.I finally got to my peg with less than an hour to get ready. I'd forgotten my waders so was lucky that Andy Britt could lend me his, thanks mate. All I had time to set up was a 2g pole rig with 20 to 0.10 a 4g flat float with 18 to 0.12, and a waggler with 20 to 0.12. It was an awkward peg for sishing a pole but there was a nasty downstream wind which ruled out the crowquill, plus there have been skimmers showing in the area and I thought the pole would be best for them. Before I go any further I was surprised to see Dave Stiff on the peg below me, end peg. Surprised because he had walked up from the Crane, can't believe a bloke who lives on a boat doesn't know where to walk from lol!!!



On the all in I threw 8 balls of gbait in, I had worms, casters and hemp in the balls. I loosefed maggots and hemp further out and down for the waggler line. I began on the 2g rig, the first half dozen runs through were a little disconcerting as I only had 1 small roach and dace. I was expecting decent roach on caster, but it wasn't happening. Then about 30 mins I had a 6oz roach, next drop in another good fish but this appeared to come off on the way back I thought. Next chuck another but pike took it. Soon after another pike took a fish and snapped me. New hook length lasted all of a couple minutes as pike did me again. I then bumped a decent fish and quite frankly everything was going wrong. I did manage to land a couple of 6oz skimmers and after the first hour had about 2lb.

Going into the second hour I was playing the pike again, this time it stayed on for a while and eventually it swam into the reeds under my feet and I lost the whole rig, oh you pig I think I said... I attached another 2g rig and soon was back in action, but bites were almost non existent and I guessed the pike had unsettled the fish. Out on the wagg for a bit, it wasn't great but I did have a couple of 3oz chub and dace and bleak. I kept thinking though I needed skimmers as I thought my section would be won with 15lb+, so out with pole again. Over the next two hours I never had any pike trouble, yippee, and by feeding casters and topping up with the odd food rich ball of bait I caught the odd small skimmer and some roach. I only had 3 skimmers on the flat float, but the 2g rig fished a little over depth with either maggot or caster was by far the best.

Going into the last hour the skimmers seemed to have had enough, and I worked hard with the waggler and pole to catch roach, the waggler was better as it avoided the pike which had returned!

With the match over I was knackered, throwing the pole up behind me, and having to stand up to it every time was hard work, but I knew I had a decent net and hoped I had 15lb. Once I had finally packed up I had to weigh in as I had the scales, we started with Dave and he had 9lb 8oz which included a brea, of 3 1/2lb, nice one Dave. My turn next and I was pleased to see the scales record 17lb 10oz. Jeff Surmon above me had 11lb 8oz, then Andy 8lb 7oz, and last Shane Caswell on Bitton Brook had 8lb 10oz.  Section win for me and job done, so it would make the walk back a little easier.

Mike Kent had taken a walk on the river and he took this photo of my catch.

Finally back to the pub and I was wet through from sweat so glad of a Thatchers Gold to cool down. It soon transpired the team had done really well and we won on the day with 36 points out of 40, Bathampton were second.

Top 6 was something like this....

1st Martin Barrett  24lb dace and roach, steps at Jack Whites.
2nd Lee Trivett  20lb+ 6 chub peg 17 Swineford
3rd Mat Challenger 19lb 10oz  chub peg 12 Swineford
4th Andy Ottoway 19lb 4oz chublets and bits Gas Pipe Swineford
5th Rob Jones  18lb 15oz  roach, dace, couple of big skimmers and perch, peg 4 Swineford
6th Me 17lb 10oz.

The Crane was poor today with everyone having pike problems and 10lb the best weight I think.

I think I had enough fish on the hook today to come 2nd, but everyone had pike trouble and lost some fish, Lee lost 3 big chub for example. First hour was a nightmare, but after that things got better and it was a lovely day catching on the pole, and catching small skimmers is great fun.

Round two at Newbridge next week.

Viaduct All Winners Final

The blog is back after I spent a great week on holiday in Zante, loved it and so glad I went. It was a busy week for me and with this match on the Saturday and the first round of the winter league on the Sunday I had to use Friday afternoon / evening to do all my prep. Not easy to get all my gear organised for a day on carp and then the river, but it has to be done.

Met up Saturday morning in Cannards Well with Mike Nicholls and Glenn Bailey, bit early for my liking but meant we had brekky in double quick time. Once at the Viaduct there were plenty of winners already there, and the talk was you needed to draw Campbell lake to win the £1000 prize. 67 anglers were fishing and as well as Campbell, Carey, Lodge and Match lake were all in, even if you drew poor there was £65 for winning your 5 peg section. Into the draw queue and I had two of the best draw bags in front of me, Des Shipp and Andy Power, not bad anglers either lol. I just hoped I could get a flyer on Campbell as that was going to be my best hope of getting in the frame against tall the regulars and very good anglers. I pulled out 117 on Campbell, happy days. It is a peg not used in most matches as it is set back and hemmed in, and 116 and 118 usually catch in the edge back towards it.



Once at the peg I had to move Steve Nadin's keepnet, Steve was on 80 and didn't expect to see anyone on 117. I reckoned my best bet to do any good was to catch on the straight lead, and in by the tree on my left (see pic) and my margins left and right. Two rigs did for the pole, both 4x12 but one for meat with 0.16 to 12 PR478 and one for hard pellet with 18PR36 to 0.16.

When the match began I started at 8m right in front with meat looking for a mug fish, no bites here at all sadly so I moved to the same distance but next to the tree with meat. One skimmer was all I had from there so not a good start but Dave Romaine on 118 was fishless and not much was happening. I was feeding a few 8mm pellets with the catty out for the lead so went on that. It didn't take too long for me to get a little 3lb carp, and about 20 mins later another of the same size. An hour gone and that was all I had, but it was more than my neighbours,

The next hour went passed without any action, and the third hour was also poor until a few carp started to show themselves out in front. I had a few on the lead but again only small fish, but at least I was getting a few liners and indications at last even if the carp were still hard to catch. With about 90 minutes to go I had 9 carp for 40lb, Dave was still struggling but then had a carp on meat, I had tried the tree and margin lines without a sign, but I saw a few bubbles by the tree. Out with the rig and within no time I was attached to carp, I had to give it some stick because the branches, but it came out and was about 5lb. Back out in again fed a bit of meat and another carp, about 8lb this time. Typical of carp these days, they were coming on the feed and coming in closer late on. I couldn't absolutely empty it but I did at least manage to put another 7 carp in the net from this line, I lost two I think, one was definitely a fouler. I tried the margin to the right with pellet and hooked one, but despite me pulling hard the scrapper did me in the brambles.

Match over, it was certainly a bit tough where I was and from what I could tell I was looking good for a section win. In the end only one other angler weighed in my section, on 116 and he had 65lb, 115, Dave on 118 and Nick Ewers on 119 all chucked back. I weighed 100lb 10oz so was happy enough with that and it was nice to finish my commercial fishing off with a ton.

I had to shoot off straight away as I had a work do to attend, a good night playing skittles, so I missed the full results but I do know that Andy Power won the match from peg 129 with over 200lb. He'd have probably won it from my peg too.


Sunday, 10 September 2017

Commercial House Round 1 - Bristol Avon Swineford to Frys

A busy week this week, got to see England football team play at Wembley, spent a couple of days working in Northern Ireland and then spent Friday travelling to and from Plymouth taking my eldest daughter back to Uni. I also had to peg out a section at Jack Whites, and this was not at all straight forward due to a boat moored in the steps peg and a high tide to contend with. I did my best to give anglers pegs that they could fish from with the tide.

Sunday morning arrived and I checked to see if the moored boat had gone, but alas no, so had to peg around it. Then onto the Crown in Keynsham for an OK breakfast and the draw. Now normally I am given a peg at the Crane, and whilst my first choice is always Swineford I would take the Crane today and hope to avoid the tidal sections at Jackies and Frys. However, Mark Harper had other ideas and drew me at Jackies. We had peg 9 and that meant the end peg, so I was more than happy with the peg and would have to try to beat the dace pegs up in the shallows. I decided to attack the peg with rods only and left the pole in the car and made the walk across the field.

I got to the peg after a nice walk and as I remembered it was a steep peg ravaged by dogs and so it would need some serious digging out first. Thankfully Mark had lent me a spade so I was able to make a good job of it after 15 minutes. This picture doesn't do the steep bank justice.


Sweating like a pig I now had to think about setting up and I was going down the crowquill route, a 12BB float was set up, but I soon changed that to 14BB as the wind was horrendous blowing downstream. An 18 to 0.12 was I thought right for the fishing today. I set up a waggler and a feeder too. I took my box and other stuff down the peg and got as comfy as I could, I Was about 3 foot off the water but with the tide coming up by at least 2 foot I was going to stay where I was.


When the match began at 11pm the river was still rising and it did so for nearly 45 minutes. I tried fishing a maggot feeder across to the trees but this was a waste with no bites at all. I did take 4 perch on a lobworm tail cast randomly round the peg. Then as the river started to drop I threw in 5 balls of gbait and went over the top with the crowquill with double maggot on the hook. I had a few bites almost straight away and had a couple of dace and a perch, then a couple of chublets. I threw a small ball of gbait in about every 4 runs down and it was proving successful with bites coming straight away and all down the peg. The wind was an absolute nightmare, but even with a bow in the line I could get bites. I spent about 90 minutes putting fish in the net fairly regularly, and they were decent size.

With about 2 hours to go the peg went from regular bites to a real struggle, I could hardly get a bite. I tried loose feeding a bit of bait, reduced hook and line size but all to no avail. Two hours to go I reballed it and added a bit of worm for good measure. It did not work at all, and with 90 mins to go I was in trouble as I needed to get bites regularly on the float but now I could not get any. I went for a quick walk and my worst fears were confirmed with Nicky Johns getting one a bung above me and Jeff Surmon getting a few too. I thought I only had 5lb at most and that would be probably last in section. I spent most of the last hour on the feeder looking for a bonus bream, but I had 2 perch and a roach and that was it. I was gutted.

Packing up I was quite down, I had expected to catch at least 10lb off this peg today, if not more. I could not believe that being on an end peg the bites dried up, maybe I pushed the peg too hard, but I expected a lot more and when I did catch I caught really well.

The scales were going to be unkind to me, and so it proved, with my lowly 6lb 12oz beating only one angler in the A div and a couple of B div anglers. Nicky Johns on the peg above me caught small roach all day on the crowquill and won the section with a high 11lb, well done. He balled it and loosefed over the top.

On the overall stakes today the match was won by Glenn Calvert on peg 3 at Swineford with 21lb of bream and skimmers. Liam Braddell was on peg 15 at Swineford and had a good 18lb for second. Clive Branson on peg 2 at Swineford had 15lb of bits for 3rd and young Andy Cranston was last in the frame with a high 14lb from just above the bay at the Crane.

Thatchers B won the A dive and my Thatchers A were second. Maver Cadbury won the B div today.

The river fished OK but it did not hit the heavy heights of previous years, I feel it is still to clear and the rain we've had has done nothing. I cannot fish the next round as I'll be in the sun, so no blog now for a few weeks.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Turner 400 River Thames

What happened to August? That month seem to fly by, it was a busy month but September looks just as busy. I was asked if I was available to fish a couple of matches on the Thames, only this Sunday was free so happy to fish in the Thatchers team for the Turner 400 fished around Clanfield and Radcot areas. It was going to be an early start as I had to be at the Swan at Radcot for 7:30am, so alarm was set for 5:30am. I had fished this part of the river once before, that day I drew at Radcot by the pub so I had not really seen the rest of the river. We had two teams in today, A team was Lee Trivett, Andy Ottaway, James Carty and Tom Morreti. B team was Ian Pauley, Luke Sorokin, Andy Cranston and myself.

The draw took a while as there were 30 teams fishing today, and Ian came back with our pegs telling me I had an end peg. I was at Rushey, one above the bridge above the Trout inn. I remembered people saying you could see a lot of chub from the pub as they knew they were safe and couldn't be caught. I followed Tom to the river as he was up the top of my section and I found I could park right behind my peg, nice! The river here is not that wide some pegs just 12m, others about 25m and some are absolutely feature ridden. My peg looked OK but I was feeling very optimistic having a nice long run.


There seemed to be a bit of flow in close to 2/3 over, the river was clear when you looked in close  (aren't they all) but also seemed to be a a bit of a blue /green colour, not sure if it was algae or my eyes. It was only shallow here, no more than 6ft at most. I set up a few options today, a 4m for fishing to hand, a 0.5g rig with a bulk and droppers, and a 4x14 strung out rig, both with 22 to 0.08 and and for fishing at 10m. A 3g flat float for fishing worm down the peg and lastly a 2 1/2 AAA waggler.

The match stated at 10:30 and it was already raining by now and the wind had also picked up and was gusting downstream after being flat calm. I cupped four balls of gbait in at 10m, two balls at 5m and began on the 10m line looking for roach on the caster. The first four attempts were thwarted by minnows which held the float up, so I pushed the bulk down. I had some quick bites but did not connected and suspected minnows, but after 15 mins I finally had a proper bite and netted a 6oz roach. I would be happy catching that stamp of fish and was hoping for a few more, but alas I was not to see another roach for a few hours. All I could muster on the long pole was a bleak, three gudgeon and a chublet. I dropped in on the short line with the whip looking for gudge, nothing other than the odd hold up from minnows.

A poor start, and whilst I had been fishing the pole I had been feeding hemp on it, and feeding a few maggots across and down the peg for the waggler. Out on the waggler and I fished it a foot off bottom with 3 no10 shot down the line. Thirty minutes on this yielded two chublets, a tiny dace and a couple of minnows. The next couple of hours were piss poor, I couldn't any bites bar the odd minnow bite but did manage two small perch on the wag. With about 2 hours to go I cupped in 5 balls of gbait stuffed with hemp, caster and worms hoping for a bonus, though my worm line had not produced a sign. I let it settle and then tried the waggler casting tight across into the dead water, I had a couple of small fish here but was going nowhere. I began to feed a whole pouch of maggots down the peg in the hope of waking some chub / draw them up from the bridge. I had to gamble as I had so little in the net.

Trying the pole with the bulk rig overdepth, I eased various hook baits down the peg which got me a 4oz perch, but when I tried the light rig with just less than hour to go I hooked a roach, which I pike grabbed. I held on and it let go and a 4oz roach was in the net. I took another two roach in 15 mins but again that was my lot.

Last 30 mins on the waggler and nothing doing, but then I spotted a few top a long way down the peg, I took the waggler off and put on a 5AAA model. I cast it as far down the peg as I could and with double maggot on the hook I had 3 chublets in my last 3 casts though one was nicked by a pike. Should I have done that earlier or was it the time of day? Forty five minutes later after packing up and chatting to Tom (who had already weighed in) we noticed that chublets started topping down where I caught them late.

Tom had done well catching nearly 7lb of perch on worm and would do well with that. When the scales got to the straight I was on the weights were poor, I think I beat the 6 lads above me, and I only weighed in 3lb 8oz. Shocking. I beat 15 anglers with that weight in the section, most of those were my side of the bridge as below it I was told most people had 5lb+.

Back at the results and all of the team had done average, with 4lb weights and no one getting on a shoal of fish. Talking to a very good local angler he told me how he would have fished my peg, and it was virtually how I did today, he also said the 3 or 4 pegs above me can be very good and this match last year produced well, they were probably some of the worst pegs today though. I waited around for a while but the results it seemed were going to be late, so I shot off and it seems the rest of the team did too as we knew we would not do any good today. As it turned out both teams were divided by just the 1 point, and we finished in about 13th / 14th place.

Cold, wet and hungry I was glad to be home and tuck into a roast made by my lovely wife.

Busy week now, London tomorrow, Northern Ireland Tues to Thursday, Plymouth Friday and then it is the weekend again lol! Commercial House next Sunday, glad to be back close to home, I really think I am due a decent draw on the river.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Tony Rixon Float Only - Viaduct Fishery

Not fishing related but I managed to cycle to and from work a couple times last week, I have done this because my weekly football has stopped due to the all weather pitch being destroyed as it was part of the old Grange school. I'm 49 next month and keeping relatively fit is something I try to do, it helps prepare me for the river walks too lol.

Mike Nicholls had asked me to stand in for him this round, and I was happy to help out although he was not doing any good in the league it would help Tony keep the numbers up. Glenn arrived about 7:25 and we proceeded to squeeze the gear into the car, and I managed to drop my mobile phone and watched slip through the slit in the drain in the road. Luckily the drain was full of dirt and not water and we managed to lift up the iron and retrieve it, phew! On to Canards Well for a breakfast which I enjoyed, there were a few other lads in there and Martin and Joe McMahon blocked most of their cars in with their van.

Arrived at the fishery and plenty of time to unload the car, once again I was without a shuttle as it won't fit in the car. It was good to see Robin Guy who I have not see for quite a while, he was fishing an open on Lodge. It wasn't long before we were queueing for the draw and I was fairly in the queue and soon into the coffee tin, I was disappointed to see peg 94 on Carey as I felt a draw on Campbell was required for framing. It is not a peg I have drawn before, but Glenn has three times and said he didn't like it. Glenn zoomed off to 115 on Campbell leaving me to stagger to my peg with my gear, though thanks to Bela and his young travelling partner Joe who also took some kit for me and I got there in one journey. The pegging was tight today but I had a bit of room as I have a corner to fish to, but it would probably be all or nothing depending if the carp were in the area or not. I though my section went to my left, where Dave Evans (I think I got the right one) was on 95. Mr Rixon was on 96 and Dan White on 97. However, my section went from Dave round to 86, where Craig Edmunds was sat, bugger.

It was going to be a hot and sunny day, and as you can see from the picture flat calm, opposite on 90 was Glenn Calvert, and young Joe was next to him on 88.


I decided I wasn't going to take on the 16m shallow anglers at there game, plus my arms won't take it as my tendons are still painful. I set up a paste rig for 5m and one for 13m, a shallow waggler for casting around the peg and over to the pallet on the end bank. I set up a mugging rig and a 4x12 rig for fishing hard pellet at 14m to might in the margin. It was very deep in the margin, 3 foot but I could not get in tight as there were lots of over hanging branches etc, but I thought with it being shady it could be good. See picture of the margin.


When the all in was shouted I fed my two paste lines and fed a few 8mm pellets in the margin and to the end bank for the wag. I dropped in at 5m with the paste looking for a mug fish, but there was no fizz and no sign and then I saw a carp so went out with mugging rig. I didn't get the carp I saw, but another came into view and I nailed this one, a nice start and 8lb in the net. I couldn't see any other carp after this and then noticed the 13m line was fizzing, so out with the paste rig. The rig sat motionless for 5 mins whilst there was a bit fizz going on, then a proper bite and carp on. It was a another mirror of around 7lb this time. Next drop and another wait then another carp hooked, but this one came off after a minute, it didn't feel fouled. A skimmer and then a wait and another carp hooked and it felt a good un.... But we shall never know as my elastic snapped, bad angling there as it was obviously weak but I did not check it. Sadly that was the end of my paste line for carp, never saw or hooked another carp here all day.

Next plan was to try the waggler, and I gave this 30 minutes, casting to the platform and to the open water. I had one bite next to the platform which I missed and that was it. I tried the paste, the margin and the waggler but all were rubbish, I had some skimmers on the paste line and that was it. With 2 hours to go and only two carp in the net things were not good and Trig was easily winning our section. I went into the margin again with an 8mm pellet, and I had an indication as soon as the rig was in position, and soon after had another bite and hooked a carp, got this one out without too much trouble as was only about 6lb. It was difficult to feed the swim due to all the branches and I had to lean out to feed with a catty, I did put a toss pot on too to try to get a few pellets close to the hook bait. Anyway next drop in and another carp on and this one was probably 10lb, a lovely looking fat common. I took another two carp in as many drops and all of a sudden I was thinking if this carries on I might be able to get a ton. Of course it slowed right down, and when I had a tench and a skimmer it was plain to see the carp were gone.

I tried all the other lines to rest the margin, but nothing was doing, so I decided to stick it out in the margin. I did manage two or three more carp, another tench, a lovely 2lb hybrid and a skimmer. I also managed to pull out 4 branches and carious twigs. I also pulled out of 3 carp, which I was sure had now come off bottom and were probably fouled. The last one swam out of the corner, and then despite my best effort swam back into the corner. It got round some snags but was still on, I managed to get it free and then it came off and a twig was attached to the hook instead. That was literally just before the all out and the rig was resembling a pigs tail and it was match over.

When the scales came up I saw that Tony had 75lb and Dave 28lb, my turn next, and my silvers went just under 15lb and my carp 69lb, so 84lb+. That was top in the section until Trig weighed in 140lb+ so no coin for me today.

Campbell had fished very well today and there were weights all around the lake, I believe the top three were Shaun Townsend 217lb (peg 125), Tom Magnal 216lb (121), Dave White 185lb (135).

Shawn Kitteridge won the silvers with about 34lb from peg 119.

Congratulations to Craig Edmunds for winning the league for the third year on the trot, and bad luck to Tom Magnall who came 2nd having 6 section wins but missing out on weight.

Full results are on Tony's blog.

A tough but enjoyable day, and Glenn managed to win his section on Campbell. Not sure what I am doing next Sunday, might be on the Thames.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Super League Final Round - Bristol Avon Newbridge

Two weekends without fishing passed quite quickly, I had enjoyed some quality time with the family and even managed to get some sunburn by the sea.

This final round was a bit tense for my team, were in second place in the league just a few points ahead of Lobby's, and desperate to hang onto second place, winning was not possible as DGL had pissed it already. Saturday morning I spent preparing and checking I had everything ready, Saturday afternoon was spent with Glenn and Mike in the pub whilst keeping up with the Gas score.

It was a nice start to the day on Sunday weather wise although rain was forecast later. I decided to try the breakfast at the Riverside where the draw was, it was a help yourself affair today and so I had my fivers worth, and it was not bad I thought. Team member began arriving, some looking very tired after their exploits the day before on the National where Thatchers came 20th out of 49. It was decided that I should do the team draw, well that was not much of a change, and also it was no change when I drew the same peg the team had last week! They came 2nd off it last week, but there were some tough pegs I thought and no real fliers, at least given the conditions. I had put myself on peg 84, and that is an area that I would always say is useless, but last week that area fished well so I was happy enough.

I got to the rugby club and parked up and was soon on pushing my trolley up the path, I passed some nice pegs that I would have fancied, and some I would not. Lance Tucker was on 88 and his peg had won the section the week before ( a surprise to me as again I think its crap) then I guessed / worked out where 84 was, with the next peg number being 79 above me I had a lot of room. As you can see my view from the top of the bank, from where I had to fish, there was a nice willow tree right next to me on the left which I hoped would hold some fish.


The water was very clear and the flow was low, so I expected a tough match for most people. Setting up I had a 2g rig with 18 to 0.10, a 1g with 22 to 0.08 (fine for me I never usually go this light in summer), a 1g with 13 B711 to 0.15 for worm. I also assembled waggler and mid match a feeder but neither were of much use.

The match began at midday and I threw in 10 balls of gbait containing casters, hemp and pinkie. Picked up the 2g rig and tried a caster, first fish was an ounce at most, after a few minutes I had managed two similar ones and the float would not go under, not a good sign. Picked up the light rig with a caster and nothing, on with a maggot and bites began and I was catching the odd tiny roach and perch. I was gutted by the size of the fish, but there is not a lot you can do when you ball it as I firmly believe you catch what is there. After an hour bites reduced and it was time to try the worm line close to the tree, nothing, one missed bite and no second chance lol.

I gave the waggler a quick 15 mins for 1 bleak, hmmm where are all the chublets? Back on the pole and I could get the odd bite but was missing a lot, I thought I knew why, and when I put a pinkie on the hook I knew I was right, roach and pommies less than an ounce. Unfortunately I couldn't make bites on anything else so caught as many as I could, but even then presentation had to be worked at and varied to get these little blighters to take the pinkie.

I tried the worm several times and only had one 4oz perch, the waggler produced two roach, but they were at least 2oz! With an hour to go it started to rain and was quite heavy, I fed the pole line heavy with casters and hemp, hoping to get a decent roach or chub, sadly none appeared and I was left feeling the peg had been devoid of any quality, I had 104 fish but couldn't see them going much more than 6lb. As I turned round to pack up I was greeted by a host of slugs everywhere lol.

Lance below me had struggled, and Ian Stainer above me said he had too. However, as we went to weigh the lads in below us it was evident those pegs had all faired better. Winner of the section was Kev Abigail on peg 97 (this peg was last in section last week) he had 12lb 2oz and he had caught some big roach and a bream on the pole in the first 2 hours, one of the roach was well over a pound and a half. Here is the man and his bag of fish, well done Kev.

Above Kev, Dave Micklewright had just under 9lb of quality roach and chublets, and then on peg 90 Andy Jane had 10lb 12oz of roach. Lance managed 4lb+ for last in section, and then my fish went 6lb 3oz, and I only beat Lance as Ian had 6lb 9oz which included three large eels. A disaster for me and I hoped the rest of the team had done better. Here is my net of sprats, slightly smaller stamp than what Kev had PMSL...


Back at the results and Mr Harper was no best pleased when I told him I only had 2 points as he was convinced Lobbys would beat us. However, he was wrong and the team had come second on the day and claimed second place overall. DGL won again to ram home their dominance, with Neil Richards man of the league fishing five rounds and winning his section every match, and he won the match today with 19lb 9oz. Neil drew peg 138 but had to move to 140 due to a boat in his peg, and that also happened to Darren Gillman who was supposed to be end peg but had to move above anglers, all annoying and bad luck for Darren.

Kev Abigail was second, then came Dave Clapton with 11lb 14oz of skimmers from peg 26, Matt Challenger 11lb 4oz, And Jayne 10lb 14oz and Charlie Valender 10lb 11oz. Not bad weights but nowhere as good as recently, pike are more of a problem, and bream are not feeding at the moment.

I've got to fish Viaduct this weekend, I'm filling in for Mike Nicholls in the last round of the Tony Rixon float only league. That's handy as I have to go back soon for the all winners final, but then it will really be about getting my head on for winter leagues and other river matches.


Sunday, 6 August 2017

July / August 1998

You may be wondering why there is no actual fishing blog this weekend, well it's because I was so tired after catching so many fish at Evesham last week, lol. The real reason is because I had watched T20 cricket Friday night (present from my daughter Lucy) and then watched Bristol Rovers at Charlton yesterday (and yes we lost there again). There would be no time for prep, and I thought I might be suffering a bit, in the end for various reasons it was a good call. I did have a quick walk along the bank at Newbridge and saw a few fish being caught, Dean Harvey had a couple of bream and a number of aanglers were catching roach, it was good to see Darren Gillman back on the bank again and he had just short of 10lb. Not sure what won it, but good practice for next weeks superleague, think I've been dropped for not fishing the practice as we had 10 anglers fishing today, such is life.

July 1998 didn't start well, I fished a FishOMania qualifier on the K&A canal, had a tench and some bits and chucked back.The following weekend I pleasure a lake called Sevington with Dave Haines. I'd never fished it before but got on a peg where I could fish to the point of an island. I fed some pellet, corn and caster over there and fishing with a dibber and 14 to 0.16 I had a lovely bag of tench, crucians and carp for approx. 70lb. However, I did lose 10 carp and my elastic snapped twice, this was because there were brambles trailing into the water and they cut my rig and elastic to bits. After having a chat about the place with a few of the lads we had a knock up at the place the following Saturday. I drew a peg next to a bridge wall. I started off trying to catch the small tench and crucians that I had last week, but I really struggled to get many, whilst opposite me Mark Bailey was catching them steady. Changing tact I fished up against the wall and hooked and landed seven small carp and my final weight of 20lb 8oz was tied for top spot with Mark.

The next two weekends I spent fishing the K&A canal at Honey Street but I caught so little there's not much point recalling, just over a pound each time, and way down the section each time, shite.

Into August and onto the Huntspill, a venue that I liked (still do) to fish and generally did OK on. I drew peg 34 and started on the gbait feeder, but after 90 minutes I was still blanking and I never had a bite on the feeder all match. I fished light on the pole with a 20 / 22 to 0.10 and had 8 eels on bronze maggot, these weighed 1 kilo 850g. I was happy to have caught the eels but without a bream I was never going to do any good here. Back again the following week for another open match, this time I drew peg 73. I had an enjoyable match, a couple of small skimmers on the tip and then no more, but lots of bites on the pole roach and eels feeding caster and maggot. 3kilo 250g was only good enough for 3rd in section. Despite my less than average performances the team still picked me for the superleague match, I moved a little further up the venue getting peg 102.  It was a struggle though with nothing on the feeder and just scratching for eels and roach again. It was back to Imperial scales and I had 3lb 11oz, this was 3rd in the 9 peg section, so OK for the team and we managed to come second on the day.

Fourth match on the trot on the Spill, and I was drawn somewhere near the clapper. I finally managed to hook a bream on the feeder, but lost it! One skimmer in the net and as usual it was on to the pole and today there were only eels about. I had 6lb 2oz in the end all at 13m with 01.0 to a 20 on 1 gm float, double maggot on the hook was best today. I was second in the section today and the team were 3rd.

Not a very inspiring couple of months then but as ever it was a learning curve.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Matchfishing Team Qualifier, Warwickshire Avon Evesham

A few weeks ago, I had a text from team mate James Carty, and at the time I must have been distracted by something, or under the influence. He asked me if I wanted to fish this team match at Evesham, for some reason I said yes anything to help the team. Turned out I was the last angler to say yes and so we had a team. Now in case you did not know Evesham used to be a mecca for river anglers, and the fishing good, but for many years it has been very hard and very tough fishing. I have watched anglers who fish it regularly such as Shaun Bryan, Mike Martin Davis and Trevor Chalk post their results on Facebook, and a large part of the time it is not good, 2lb to 3lb is good, anything more than that mega.

Sunday morning up early and I have packed the kitchen sink, it is not a bad drive to Evesham, M5, A46 and you're there. I have actually never fished here before, so had to follow instructions to get to the draw, it was next to the famous restaurant at Hampton Ferry.


The rest of the team arrived, James, Ian Pauley, Colin Dance and Tom Morretti. Ian had been very useful getting some information before the match and he knocked me up a 6gm flat float. Trevor Chalk had also given me a very good run down on main methods, so I felt as prepared as I could be. We were last but one team to draw, so only choice of two pegs for Ian to choose from. I was placed on peg 20, which I at least knew wasn't in the deeps an area I wanted to avoid. It turned out the peg was in the Crown Fields, and I was just above the main road bridge, with 2 anglers above me in my section and the other 11 below the bridge. It was nice to park the car behind the peg, and I soon had my gear on my peg after moving an angler who thought it was peg 18 lol. The view of my peg today.


There was a nice willow tree across but there was little flow next to it sadly, as you can see the road bridge below me, which was packed with cars and angry drivers as most of the day there was serious road works going on.


I was happy enough with the peg as i had a lot of room and thought I might be able to draw some fish or at least keep a few bites coming. It was this extra room which helped me decide on my approach, a waggler with 22 to .10 to fish just past middle and down the peg, a 2gm flat float for 6m with 22 to 0.10, 4x14 strung out rig with 20 to 0.08 for hemp, a 1g pencil float with the same hook etc, and the 6gm flatty with 0.12 to 16.

Knowing the there had been a match the day before and that only 1lb 5oz had come off my peg I was going to take it very easy. We started at midday and I began by bait droppering some maggots at 6m, and fed some maggots over with the catty, and fed hemp at 13m. I was hoping to have a nice little run of fish at 6m, but it was proving tough with 3 gudgeon, 2 perch a roach and a chublet after 30 mins. I rested it and had a look on the waggler, I caught a couple of tiny chublet fry, a few bleak and a couple of 2oz chublets. It was hard to feed as the wind was hard upstream, and I missed bites regulary but think this was those tiny chublets.

Back in on the short pole and a couple more small fish and no more, I decided to feed a little bit of chopped worm and maggot here and go back on the waggler again. A few more bleak, a dace and another chublet, but all small. I then spied 4 or 5 small perch by my keepnet, well I could see the bottom four foot down it was so clear. I dropped my rig and watched the hook bait, I caught 4 1-2oz perch before they fled. Back on 6m line and a chublet on red maggot about 2oz, but no more bites, so I put a tiny bit of worm on the 22 hook, and this was a good move as I had 3 more little perch, a gudgeon and a 3oz chublet.

Two hours in and with everything a struggle it was time to try the hemp line. Well the wind was now awful and there was also a lot of streamer weed / pandocks coming down as the river picked up flow from the overnight rain. In 45 minutes I caught 3 roach on hemp, missed a few bites, but it was just not fast enough and the wind was killing it. Even though I thought there were roach there I gave up on it. I fed 2 balls of gbait with chopped worm and caster at the top of the peg at 13m, and started feeding casters with the hemp in the hope of getting the odd roach later down the peg.

I took some more small fish on the waggler, and then went out on the 6gm flatty, after sitting there for about 10 mins I was just thinking of going back to the wag when the float dipped, and then it slowly sank from view, fish on. I knew straight away it was an eel, and netted it safely as it wasn't huge at about 7oz, but my biggest fish by far. No more bites on this so I fed more worm and caster but this time with the bait dropper. I tried the pole line a few times with the hemp rig and 1 gm float, all it threw up was a couple of small roach / chublets on a maggot, but waste of time really. I had another eel about 4oz 30 mins to go and a few more bits on the waggler. Match over and I hoped I had 2 1/2lb.

The lads above me said they had really struggled and were only admitting to a 1lb, and when they weighed in they had 1lb 7oz and 1lb 4oz.  It made me laughed when I weighed in as the people on the scales and walking down were really impressed with my net of fish, one even said I was a hero, lol. Anyway my fish weighed a huge 3lb 7oz and as Trevor had told me try to catch 2lb to 3lb I was happy with that. I did not bother to follow the scales down as there were lots of people behind me in a kiddies playground. However, the lad below the bridge told me he had 2lb and the lad below 3lb, and said I would do well in the section.

Back to the results and I was the first one back in the team, they have a big whiteboard in the draw "office" and I could see every anglers weight on every peg in A section, where Colin had 8 points out of 14 with a level 2lb. Then my section was written up and I was winning it with the last two pegs to go, pegs 35 and 36, these two smashed though with 5lb and 5lb 4oz, so third in section and job done for the team. Soon after Ian Pauley came back, he was second in his section with 3lb 4oz, and things were looking good. Tom Morretti in the last section had weighed 2lb and was joint 3rd, but sadly James Carty had really struggled in the deeps and had 40 tiny fish for 9oz and only beat one angler.

As a team we came 5th, we were I think 3 points behind 3rd place which you needed to qualify for the final. I was really chuffed to find out that the two anglers who beat me both framed, and so I got the £60 section money by default, happy days. Today was always going to be rock hard, I knew that and tried to get my head in the zone, having never fished the place before it was a bonus to get a pick up, I never had a pike take a fish which I'm sure helped. All that said I won't be rushing to get back here, not when the fishing on the Bristol Avon is so much better, but I can see why people go to Evesham, easy access and platforms and a test of character.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Riverfest Qualifier Bristol Avon Newbridge

Well the day finally arrived where I would have a chance to get to a big money final, the Riverfest. However, there was the small matter of 59 other anglers who also had a chance too, and some very good anglers would be fishing; Hadrian Whittle, Dave Harrell, Mark Downes, Steve Hemmingray, Clive Branson, Andy Power and many others plus a lot of local lads. I took breakfast at Wetherspoons in Hanham again, and when I got to the draw at 9:25 the car park was rammed! The draw was 10am but it seemed a lot of anglers thought it was 9am and had been there early lol.

Chatting with Warren Bates, Graham, Hunt, Mat Challenger and others we all knew where we wanted to draw and that would be a bream peg, 49 to 61 was going to be good, plus the end of the straight 36 to 40, but with a bit of colour in who knows where they might show. I was in the draw queue quite early and saw Callum Dicks get 52, one away from where he was last week and next to peg 50 that won, he would surely do well there today. I pulled out peg 30, not great, only 3 1/2lb came off it last week and it's not really the bream peg it used to be. However, there might be a few bream around and with decent bream pegs in my zone (the end of the straight) I would have to go for bream.

I drove to the pump house and sat in the car for 30 minutes as it was pissing down with rain. The start of the match was not until 12:30 and it would not take long to set up so I tried to stay dry. When I finally got to the peg the rain started again and so the phone was kept hidden and no photos again today. Peg 30 has a lovely flat bottom in the water so nice and easy to get the box in. I set up the obligatory groundbait feeder with 14 PR355 to 0.148 exceed and hoped that would be the main thing used today. I also set up two pole rigs a 2gm with 18 to 0.10 and a 4g flat float with 16 to 0.12. Everything was basically revolving around me catching bream and skimmers as I could not see a net of roach winning the zone. My peg had a nasty snag on the pole line, it was just down stream and during the match if I strayed to near it it was end of hook length. At midday I was still sorting things out when Steve Nadin next door on 28 threw in a ball of gbait, I shouted out immediately and no more gbait went in, he came up and and said he thought it was midday start as per the ticket, but at the draw it was announced it was 12:30. He was absolutely gutted and worried he would be disqualified, but I said don't worry about it just get your head sorted and carry on.

At 12:30 we all balled it in, and I put plenty of casters and chopped worm in the 14 balls, I then had 15 casts on the gbait feeder to get some bait in over there. I thought I would have an early look on the pole to see what was about, but it was not that great with hybrids, perch and roach but all less than 2oz. I tried bigger baits and worm but all to no avail, so not wanting to carry on with bits I gave the feeder a go. It was a bite a chuck on this from small chublets and perch, not the fish I wanted but I was casting in regularly and getting bait in. Then on the hour the tip did a bit of dance and I struck to feel a better fish, it was a skimmer nudging 2lb and that got me encouraged. No more followed and it was back to small fish. I then was told that Steve below me had a 5lb bream on the pole, and then I heard his pole snap.  I went back on the pole but just like before it was just the odd small fish, the flat float would sit nicely but wouldn't go under.

The wind got up and blew as usual up the straight, at the same time the river stopped flowing and lots of floating debris got stuck in front of me, meaning I had to stick with the pole until it cleared. Eventually it cleared and back out on the feeder but nothing was doing, just a long wait for a bite from a chublet or perch. I tried going out with really big baits but never had a pull. The angler above me was Kev Bennett and he came down and said he had 2 bream on the feeder in the first hour, and nothing since, and he said Steve had another bream on the pole and had lost one. I was getting beat both sides and seemed to be using anti bream gbait lol.

I really cannot say much more cos it never happened for me, I never had a sign of a bream and just kept getting small fish despite ploughing the bait in. In the last hour the rain returned and was torrential, I was soaked right through by the end of the match. I pulled my net in and chucked back 7lb+ which was a long way short of a good weight today. I packed up and chatted with Dave Stiff and a few other anglers who were walking about or going home early like Callum who not had a bream again, I was soon home and drying things off.

From what I can tell Hadrian Whittle won the match from peg 50 (he drew this peg the last two matches for Kev Dicks who won both times!) where he had about 9 bream on the flat float. I think the angler on peg 3 in the little field who had 33lb would have won my zone and come 2nd. The zone in the trees was won by Mark Downes I think with just 8lb. Warren Bates passed this info on to me as he had gone to the results, he had 19lb from last peg in the little field which won him the section by default and he was 6th overall, good from that peg.

Well the run is over, not surprising really, but fun while it lasted. I made the right decision going for bream and would have needed 6 or 7 to do any good. Next week could be another struggle as I am fishing a team match on the Warwickshire Avon at Evesham. That places gets hammered and in some sections 3lb is mega..... Not really expecting much as I've never fished it before but as ever I'll give it my best shot.