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Gareth's Fishing Blog

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Back to the blog!

Well after having a bit of a break from blogging I've decided to pick things up again. I haven't actually fished that many matches since my last blog. I had a 1st and 2nd in consecutive weeks at Greenridge Farm,both on peg 4 canal 1 with 89lb and 96lb on caster short. I then had 3 weeks off due to other commitments before coming 4th overall on my first and only visit to Dandy's Ford fishery with 64lb on the method feeder and pellet wag. I had a nice end to the evening match series at Whinwhistle winning the last 4 matches on the bounce and also ventured up to my old stomping ground Hillview in Tewkesbury. On the Saturday I bombed out with 44lb of skimmers from one of the lakes but on the bank holiday Monday match I drew a peg on the back canal and won the match overall with 118lb on shallow caster to the far bank. My next match then saw a bit of a blowout on canal 3 at Greenridge and I actually packed up early which is something I very rarely do! I hadn't taken any maggots and got caught out bigtime as everyone around me fished maggots and caught a few. I tipped back about 30lb (9 carp) caught short on corn but the winner had 61lb on maggot across.
The next match saw me draw canal 2- the place to avoid with just 60lb being the best weight for weeks and weeks. I drew peg 16 and fished maggot across and corn short for 76lb and the win with 40lb second. Two days later saw me back at Greenridge for a charity match in aid of Help for Heroes and I drew peg 19,again on canal 2. I fished maggot across and corn short,but also mugged some big fish down the middle early on maggot and eventually put 144lb 7oz on the scales. This easily won the canal but there was a 151lb from canal 1 so I finished up second overall. I picked up some cash,had a nice trophy,a new best 5 hour match weight and most importantly of all took a shiny pound off Pete Bailey who drew canal 3 and put 89lb on the scales. Pictured is Mark Richardson (centre:winner with 151lb) Mark Cannings (right:3rd with 136lb) and myself The following Saturday I again drew canal 2,this time peg 20. I wasn't too happy with the draw but by fishing maggot across and to the parrallell bank (endpeg) and then corn short I put 103lb on the scales for the lake win with 86lb second. Yet again it was only good for 2nd overall as Dave Hydes put 112lb on the scales from canal 3. I actually had a fish-on at the whistle but it went under my platform and broke me. It was only about 6lb so didnt cost me but bad angling nonetheless! This match was the first time they had done an optional superpool at Greenridge and as Dave hadn't gone in it and I had I pocketed an extra £60 for my troubles which was nice!
Over the course of the summer I had also managed to finish in 7th place in the Hampshire region of the Angling Times County Champs with 80 points. The semi-final was at Gold valley and I decided to give it a go. It was a bit of a baptism of fire as I had Will Raison next peg to my left and Tommy Hillier next peg to my right. They both fished brilliant matches and qualified with 130lb and 103lb respectively,all caught on the tip. I just missed out in 7th place with 62lb,70lb odd was needed to get through so one decent carp could have seen me OK. I fancy Hampshire's chances with William,Tommy,Pemb Wrighting,Myles Levy and John Light. Good luck boys!
Finally I have had my full sponsorship with Romsey Bait and Tackle extended to April 2011 so I would like to give a big thanks to John and Amanda for continuing to support me. It's a very well stocked shop and all of their livebait comes from Gold Valley and the quality is second to none.
The reason I decided to pick the blog up again is because this weekend saw the first match in the winter series at Greenridge Farm. The format is simple- there are 20 matches (every Saturday except the first in the month) and your best 12 results count. There are 10 points for a canal win so the maximum score available is 120. It's usually one with 115 points + so it's not easy to win. I would have had a decent chance of a pick-up in the summer league with 4 x firsts, 2 x seconds and a third but unfortunately I only fished 9 out of 12 matches so didn't qualify. I will be fishing the majority of the winter series so will hopefully be up there come March.
Unfortunately match organiser Mick Kenny has had to have an eye operation so will be out of action for a few weeks. I wish him a quick and speedy recovery and hopefully he'll be back at Greenridge very soon. Andy Potter took over and would organise the match. With just 16 fishing we were split into two sections of 8 and canal 1 and 2. I really wanted to be on canal 2 as I have won it in my last 4 matches on there. I wasn't too disapointed however when peg 11 stuck to my hand. I drew this peg on my first visit in April 2009 and came 2nd with 96lb,then came 2nd again with 42lb through the ice last February so I was hoping to make it third time lucky. The only other peg I've drawn 3 times is peg 19 and I came 2nd the first two times before winning it on the third. Hopefully the pattern would continue!
Peg 11 can be a bit hit and miss as with all end pegs. Pegs 8,9 &10 were usually better but I felt sure I'd have a chance. I decided on a 4 pronged attack,a maggot line to the farbank,a maggot line to the side bank towards a small pipe,a maggot line in the deep water at 11m and my usual short corn line at 4m. The short corn rig was a 0.2 Hillbilly Billybob on 0.16-0.14 and an 18 B911. I plumbed this on a top 2+2 at an angle to my left,just at the base of the near slope. Shotting was a spread bulk of 10's and elastic was yellow bungee on a pulla. The 11m deep line was a 4x14 KC Chimp on the same gear as the short line. For the farbank I had two lines,one up the shelf and one down it. Both rigs saw a Hillbilly Billybob on 0.16-0.14 and an 18 B911. The top shelf rig was a 0.1 and down the shelf was a 0.2. Both rigs were matched to double 8 slip. The top shelf rig also doubled up as the rig for fishing to the pipe along the bank to my right at just over 13m. For bait I had 2 tins of corn and 4 pints of maggot.
The all in was called and I potted in a pinch of maggot on the top shelf line,a full pot of maggot on the 11m deep line and threw half a dozen grains of corn onto the shortline. Kicking off on the top shelf I started to catch the odd small roach so continued to cadpot in half a dozen maggots every put in. After around 35 minutes I hooked my first carp which was soon safely in the net,despite being foul-hooked. Dave Hydes on peg 10 to my left was spraying bait about (as he always does to good effect) but he was also feeding his short line with handfuls oif maggot,less than a metre away from my short corn line. Despite always looking to fish 'away' from corners when on an end peg I quickly plumbed a short corn line to my right and started to feed here instead as I knew I would struggle on the left hand line with the amount of feed in close proximity. Nonetheless I would continue to feed the left hand line just in case.
The top shelf line didn't seem to be working so I dropped down a shelf and added 2 quick carp,giving me 3 after an hour. It was hard work though and I didn't feel like there were masses of fish in front of me,as I was getting very few signs. After two hours I had 7 fish in the net and felt it was now time to feed the pipe line. A pinch of maggot was cupped in and first drop saw a 6lber in the net with another of around 4lb next drop. This line then also went quiet. Dave next door was catching regularly by spraying maggot so I soon got the catty out and started to loose feed the pipe line. This worked to a degree as I added a few more fish but I couldn't keep them coming. I had a large tree to my left so couldn't see the rest of the canal so it was hard to know how I was faring. I was having a few quiet spells but kept rotating my lines picking off the odd fish. I had 2 carp on the deep maggot line but it didn't seem right for some reason. I even set a new line up at 17m into the corner but this didn't work, nor did trying a shallow rig as there were a few fish mooching about. I then started feeding the far line with a catty which had some effect as I found a few more fish. The short corn line gave me a couple of quick fish before it went quieting but by regularly feeding I picked off a few more. With 40 minutes left I had 23 carp in the net,taken off 5 different lines and then the peg just died! That can be the trouble with end pegs sometimes,if the fish move out there's not alot you can do. The all out was called and I felt very deflated as I felt sure that last spell would cost me. I thought I had around 70lb and I felt sure that Dave next door had 90-100lb.
After packing away the scales made their way to my peg and I tipped 81lb 14oz on the scales- more than I thought. Dave then totalled 76lb odd which really surprised me. There were then a few 40-50lb weights before Jamie Payne tipped 79lb something on the scales- a bit too close for comfort! I was a bit surprised to have won as I felt sure the quiet spell would prove costly but I was fortunate to get away with it on this occasion. Pete Newman won canal 2 with 74lb odd which meant I had won the superpool for the 2nd match out of 2.
After a swift beer after the match I pocketed £90 but most importantly had kicked off the winter series with a maximum 10 point score. I'm back at Greenridge again this Saturday hoping my run of good form (fliers) continues!
Posted by Gareth at 03:041 comment:

Monday, 19 July 2010

On Hold...

Well, alot has happened since my last blog,and most of it isn't fishing related! In the last 6 weeks my girlfriend has moved in with me,we had a week in Tenerife and a few family do's so time on the bank has been rather limited. I have also changed poles from a Daiwa G8 to a Garbolino Super G10. Finally I have been lucky enough to land a full bait sponsorship deal from Romsey Bait & Tackle. This makes it alot less painful when taking 5 pints of caster to Greenridge Farm. I must say a big thanks to John Hardeley for backing me with the sponsorship.
I have fished two evening matches at Whinwhistle,coming 1st & 2nd,with 21lb both times,mostly consisiting of carp caught down the edge on corn. I also fished a match at Greenridge Farm and drew the wrong end of canal 2- peg 13. I managed to catch a few late on caster short for 56lb,beating the two either side of me but way off the pace of the other end of the lake.
This Saturday I was back at Greenridge for another crack. With 25 booked on only 3 canals were needed this time. After a later than usual breakfast I had my dip into the bag and pulled out peg 28,2 in from the far end of canal 3. I had only fished canal 3 once before, and that day I got caught out as I had no caster. This time I had 5 pints so hoped to do better than the 36lb odd I had last time. To my right I had venue regular Andy Vane, with Lee Woodhouse on endpeg 30 and Mark to my left on 27. The match the week before had fished very well,with 16 weights over 100lb,with Pete Newman winning overall with 176lb odd from peg 29 on shallow pellet. AFter speaking with Pete during the week I planned to fish a similar way to the farbank- just a length of line with a band on a hair,allowing you to get right into the ratholes under the cover. It's by no means the prettiest way to fish as there's no float,but using a float asks for trouble as you instinctively strike,resulting in rigs getting caught in the far bank vegetation on more than one occasion. I planned to start on the deck across,so set up a 4x12 Scone Jubleez for the 2.5ft deep swim,on 0.18-0.16,a Tubertini 3 and 14 latex. The shallow rig was a foot of 0.16- 16 Pr36 with a band on a hair and 14 latex. I also planned on fishing caster short,so plumbed a line at 3m- a 4x12 NG Finesse,0.16-0.14 and a 16 B911. This was matched to yellow bungee and shotted with a spread bulk of 10's, set 2 inches over depth just up the near slope slightly. For bait I had 5 pints of caster,3 tins of corn (for the inside line,although I didnt actually fish here) a bag of 6mm pellets and some 8mms for the hair.
The all in was called and I potted in around 20 grains of corn and a pinch of pellet right up the farbank before throwing a couple of handfuls of caster on the short line. I had an early carp on corn across but it was a bit of a false dawn as after 3 hours I had just 3 carp in the net for about 7lb- 2 across and one short on the caster. The guys on the next pegs were fairing no better and it became quite clear there weren't many fish at our end. I knew that my best bet was going to be the short caster line which I had been feeding from the off. Fishing double caster with a spread bulk and regularly feeding by hand I began to catch a few. Going into the last hour I was absolutely flying and included a few better fish up to 8lb. When the all-out was called I had a fish on and dropped my 28th carp in the net after the whistle. It had been pretty tough and Mark & Andy either side of me both tipped back 7 carp each. Lee on the end peg weighed 30lb odd before my weight was called out at 97lb 4oz. The rest of the weights were in the 30-40lb bracket before we got the far end and Jamie Payne put 86lb on the scales before Paul Barnard on the end peg plonked 124lb on for a comfortable win. I managed 2nd on the canal and 5th overall,with 114lb winning canal 2 and 103lb winning canal 1. I had fed 4 pints of caster on the line I caught well on and learned plenty which I will put to good use next time. I picked up £40 for 2nd in section and after the usual post-match beer headed home.
I have made the decision to put my blog on hold for the foreseeable future. I am struggling to find the time and rather than do a half-arsed job I would rather leave it until things settle down and I can give each blog 100%. I hope you have enjoyed reading about my exploits half as much as I've enjoyed writing about them. I will be black blogging one day but until then 'Tight Lines' and I hope to see you on the bank someday.
Posted by Gareth at 04:18No comments:

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

End of May double header

Well yet again I am having start my blog with an apology for not updating sooner. It's been the most hectic few weeks and in all honesty I haven't been able to spend much time on the bank. I have fished 5 Wednesday evening matches coming 1st,2nd,2nd,3rd and 4th. The fishing has been very tough and on two occasions I was less than 1lb off the place ahead. I also fished a match at Greenridge Farm a few weeks ago and got caught out big time. I drew canal 3 and didn't have any caster whereas those that did bagged up. I managed 10 carp on corn short for 34lb but was way off the pace- lesson learned. This weekend I had a double header of matches with Greenridge on the Saturday followed by Todber Manor on the Sunday. After getting battered at Greenridge the time before I made sure I had some caster this time and went armed with 6 pints.
I was at the venue almost 2 hours early and it's only 5 minutes from my house....that's the excitiment of a match I guess! After the usual breakfast it was time for the draw and with 28 booked pretty much all of the pegs were in on canals 1,2 & 3. If it wasn't for the fact that there was a festival on at Witherington Farm canal 4 would have been included,something I am yet to have seen in the 15 months or so I have been going to the venue. Into the drawbag I went and out came peg 19. I was happy with this as I drew the peg a few weeks previous and managed 80lb on meat across so I knew it would hold a few fish. I had Andy Potter to my left on 18 who always does well at Greenridge. My main plan today was to be caster across with meat short in the deeper water. For the far bank I set up two rigs- a 4x10 Scone AM Wellardz on 0.18-0.16 and an 18 PR36. Shotting was a spread of 3x10's and elastic was 14 latex. I also set up a small drennan carp 4 on thew same terminal gear set at 6 inches. The Wellard rig was set at around 2ft to fish on the deck just down the shelf but would also be my shallow rig for coming away from the island if needed. For down the track I set up a 0.2g Nick Gilbert Decker on 0.18-0.16 and a 16 B911. This rig covered two lines,the first on a topkit+ short 4 and the second at 6 sections. This was shotted with a spread bulk of 10's and was again matched to 14 latex. For bait I had 6 pints of caster,a tin of hemp and 3 tins of 6mm meat.

The all in was called and I flicked a dozen cubes of meat on the short line before potting in half a pot of hemp and a handful of meat at 6 sections. I dropped in on the short meat line and kept flicking a small amount of bait over it. The catty was already in my hand and I was firing a pouchful of caster to the farbank every 30 seconds or so. After around 5 minutes I had a carp of 3lb in the net,with another following 10 minutes later. To be honest these were bonus fish as I was looking to put anything in the net while priming the shallow line. After half an hour I hadn't added any more so was soon on the far bank line on the deck rig with double caster. Although I caught odd fish it wasn't great but nobody was really catching and it was evidently going to be a pretty tough day. I cut back on the amount of loose feed but maintained the regularity feeding around 10 casters at a time. Andy to my left was foulhooking a few and getting some of them in but from what I could see most people weren't really catching. I knew my best chance would be to persevere with the shallow line and after around 3 hours the fish arrived and I started to catch. It was proper shallow fishing- feed,drop rig in,hook fish,feed,ship back halfway,feed,get down to topkit,feed,net & unhook fish,feed....
The fish were by no means crawling up the pole and I had to search about and switch between the two rigs to keep them coming. Occasionally I would drop short on the 2ft rig and find a fish before switching to the 6 inch rig and finding another. Crucially I wasn't foulhooking any which meant I hardly lost a fish whereas those fishing on the deck were losing plenty. I had one hairy moment where a fish tore through a clump of grass and snagged me but eventually I managed to get the fish out and and in the net. This happened again later on but this time I lost the fish and spangled my rig. I also smashed a topkit when about to net a fish-I'm pretty sure there was a nick in the no 2 and with a bit of pressure it soon went BANG! Every now and then I would drop in on the meat line and up the intensity of the casters long which would result in a quick fish when dropping back in. Unbelievably I couldnt catch on the track line which really suprised me. This was a bit disapointing as you can often pick up some 8-9lb fish here which are worth 3 of the far bank fish. When the all-out was called I had 25 carp,a 2lb chub,half a dozen small tench and the odd roach. Andy had caught a few in the last hour on a top 4 but I knew he wouldn't have as much as I did.
The scales started up the top on peg 12 and Andy Vane put 60lb on,followed by a few 30lb-40lb weights- it had fished very hard for most on canal 2. Andy Potter put 54lb on before my weight was totalled at 80lb something,enough for the win with 60lb being 2nd. The buzz after the match was that one of the two £500 golden pegs might have gone as Mick Howells was admitting to a ton+ on peg 7. He actually put 112lb on the scales which was enough for the overall win and a nice £500 bonus! I picked up £60 for winning canal 2 and canal 3 was won with 90lb. All in all it was a strange day as it fished quite hard. One things for sure,I'll be taking caster on my next visit!
Sunday saw the MFS match at Todber Manor. I fished this venue in April 2009 and had 66lb of mostly F1's for 3rd in section. That day I was told that my peg,28, wasn't in the best area as it was a bit of a nursery for the F1's and you needed proper carp to do any good. On my first visit I caught all day and beat those around me but was beaten by the 2 pegs at the top end of the section.
I was the first one in the carpark (as usual!) and had a quick walk around. 5 minutes later Pete Bailey pulled up and we had a quick walk around. We both agreed that anywhere in the lower numbers would be better and apart from 38 we didn't really fancy anywhere in the thirties or high twenties. Bit by bit everyone arrived and soon there were 21 of us ready for the draw. I pulled out 2 pegs,one for me and one for Pete. I opened mine to reveal peg 32 and Pete opened peg 12...doh! After trudging round to my peg the most obvious thing was the wind. It was already quite breezy and I felt sure fishing across to the farbank would be difficult. As I was picking my girlfriend up from Bristol airport straight after the match I had little room in the car so when Pete kindly offered to let me borrow his Colmic XT500 earlier in the week I jumped at the chance as it meant I could leave my rod bag at home,freeing up some space for a suitcase. I have to say it's a great pole and I was very impressed with it.

The first thing I did was a bit of 'gardening' in the edge to my left as I wanted to get right in against the bank in the 2ft of water. I soon had a lovely little gap cut out that looked sock on. Next it was time to assemble my two rigs for the farbank. The first was a 4x12 Scone Jubleez on 0.18-0.16 and a size 3 Tubertini 175. This was shotted with a spread bulk of 10's and a backshot, matched to 14 latex. I found the standard 2ft of water on the shelf and also found the same depth on my inside line. I also set up a shallow rig- 4x10 AM Wellardz on 0.18-0.16 and an 18 PR36 with the same elastic. This was set at 8 inches deep. Finally I set up a rig for down the track at 6 sections- a 4x14 KC Chimp on 0.18-0.16 and a size 3 Tubertini 175. Shotting was a spread bulk of no:9's and matched to red vespe bi-core. I planned to fish meat on this line so the rig was set 3 inches overdepth. For bait I had around 3 pint of caster (left over from Greenridge) a couple of tins of hemp,a tin of corn and 4 tins of 6mm meat. I couldn't really see anyone from my peg,with Paul Law (JustinCase) 3 pegs to my left and magneticpauli two to my right. There were trees between us so it was to be a lonely old day for me!
The all in was called and I cupped half a pot of hemp and meat down the track,threw a handful of caster and some meat down the edge before going straight on to the far line with meat on the hook and a kinder of meat and hemp. After a couple of missed bites I connected with a fish and soon had a 1lb mirror carp in the net. In the next 10 minutes I put 4 F1's in the bag but the wind was increasing and making proper presentation a nightmare. After 20 minutes I was on the meat down the track line and after 3 or 4 kinders of bait I started to get a few signs and began to put a few fish in the net. I was catching all sorts- golden tench,skimmers,hybrids,F1's,the odd carp and I was being pestered by roach. Although they were decent fish averaging around 6oz they were not what I was after. I tried bulking my shot hoping to bomb the bait down a bit but this was certainly not the answer and the spread bulk was alot more effective. I played about with laying the rig in and feeding patterns and found the best way was to feed a kinder full of meat and hemp and then flick the rig to my left,keeping a tight line as the spread bulk registered. I caught plenty of F1's on the drop like this. I tried fishing a foot off the deck but this only resulted in skimmers and fishing a foot deep only saw roach. It was strange but I persevered with the deep spread bulk rig and was constantly adding fish to the net.
All the while I was feeding caster down the edge,a small handful every 2 minutes or so. After a couple of hours my girlfriend rang just as I dropped a fish into the keepnet. I quickly baited up the edge rig with a piece of meat and dropped in before answering. After a couple of minutes the float buried and I lifted into a decent fish. I hastily hung up the phone and a couple of minutes later had a fat 5lb mirror in the net...bonus! As soon as I hooked the fish I threw some more bait in but the next three drops saw roach so I gave it two big handfuls and came off it as it was still a bit early to be down the edge. I made the decision to feed it quite heavily and spend the last two hours on it,putting whatever I could into the net from the track line. Back down the track and I upped the quantity of hemp slightlyand cut down on the meat which saw my catch rate increase. I managed to find a few of the proper carp here and there but I couldn't get them lined up. Every now and then the wind died down and I'd nick a fish from the farline but presentation was so difficult due to the conditions. With 2 hours to go I fed a big pot down the track and dropped in down the edge- it was solid as I took 5 fish in as many put ins. Every time I'd hook a fish it would swim out of the peg and I would throw a handful of caster and a few bits of meat in which meant there was always a fish waiting for me. My only concern was the fact that I was rapidly running out of caster so I tried bulking it out with some hemp. This didn't have the desired effect and I could feel the margin going away from me slightly. Whenever it went a bit quiet I would go back down the track while feeding the edge quite heavily. After nicking the odd fish from the track line I would always get a fish pretty instantly down the side. I must have foulhooked a fish as it tore off and broke my hooklength so it was back on with an 0.18 bottom this time.
With an hour to go Paul thought the match was over and dumped a load of corn down the edge. When he found out it was actually a 6 hour match he quickly got some more bait and started to sack up! My edge wasn't as strong and I was only picking off the odd fish. In the last hour I only put 4 carp in the net which was disapointing. Redpaste (4 pegs to my right) put 16 in the net in the last hour after also feeding heavily with corn. When the all-out was called I felt sure it would cost me. The scales started to make their way around and after a few 50-70lb weights Redpaste put 104lb on the scales and I knew I didn't have that. Although I had caught over a hundred fish my weight was called at 90lb 14oz . Paul then put 92lb on the board which was closer than I thought as every time I looked up in the last hour he was playing a fish from the edge. The rest of the lake had fished ok with pretty consistent weights. Pete Bailey obliterated the match with 170lb on shallow meat...I knew I should have given him the other peg at the start! In all seriousness Pete is the best snake lake angler I've seen and he would have done that sort of weight from any peg-simply awesome. My 90lb was enough for 6th overall and I must admit I was a little bit disappointed as if I'd had a good last hour like most people I could have easily got the 106lb needed for 3rd. Running out caster had cost me dear and with another couple of pints I would have done alot better. In hindsight I should have fed alot more corn down the side as this is what both JC and redpaste did to great effect.
All in all it was a great day and a very well run match- a big thanks has to go to Mark Poppleton (Slider) for organising and running the day. Todber is a super venue and everyone caught plenty of fish. Most importantly of all I took a pound (well 2 x 50ps!) from Snooty Fox who had claimed that 'Welsh pounds are easy' hehe, Cheers mate!
I'm not actually going to be fishing for the next 2-3 weeks as I've got a load on with work and then I'm off to Tenerife with my girlfriend. Personally I'd rather be at Greenridge with a gallon of caster...but don't tell her that!
Posted by Gareth at 03:28No comments:

Sunday, 2 May 2010

The Steve Ramsay Memorial Weekend 2010

Well I can hardly believe it's been a year since the last Steve Ramsay Memorial but this weekend saw matchfishing-scenes finest gather in Salisbury for a weekend of drinking with a bit of fishing thrown in. After finally finishing work at 4.30pm on Friday I made the 25 minute journey to Withy where one or two of the lads were milling about. After catching up and having a walk around the lakes the rain started so most people headed off to town. A quick taxi to The Kings Head and after a shower and a change I was soon tucking into a delicious Thai meal with Pete Bailey,Graham Aveyard,Pebs and Fordy. It really was top notch and the Thai beer went down a treat. What happened over the next few hours is a bit of a blur but it involved a group of us drinking just about every drink in Bar 44 and after a nice friendly bouncer refused to let myself and Jamie Jones (dotteddown) into a club we somehow found our way back to the hotel at about 3am. I was sharing a room with Jamie and was woken at 7am by a pigeon on our roof. It sounded ginormous and I reckon it was really a badger as it was massive! After forcing down a quick breakfast we were soon on our way to Withy in a minibus that was swiftly turned into a gas chamber by what sounded like the philharmonic orchestra on their Southern leg of the UK tour.......
At 9.30 we were ready for the draw and with my day 1 section on Cottage lake the only pegs I really wouldn't have fancied were 5 & 6,and when I drew peg 7 I wasn't exactly delighted but when I found that peg 8 wasn't in meaning I could fish to the corner I was suddenly more optimistic. Dave 'Pikey' Pearson was opposite me on peg 14 (I think) and when I walked round and commented that he had drawn 'exactly the same peg as last year but on a different lake' I was soon getting some stick. What I meant was that he was in the left hand corner with his back to the tackle shop again but somehow it didn't come out right! I really wasn't in the best shape and almost fell in when putting my nets out....this was going to be a long day......
The obvious area to target was the edge down to my right. There was bare mud bank at 17.5m but after shipping out I soon sacked this as a bad idea as I was in no shape to fish at 17.5m all day. I settled on a line at around 12m where there was a good 3.5 foot tight to the reeds. For this line I set up a 4x12 Scone Jubleez on 0.18-3 Tubertini 175 and orange wilkie elastic. I had a good plumb around and earmarked a few areas in case I needed to search around,with a second edge line at 16m. My open water line was straight out at 12m where there was around 4ft. The peg was very flat from a few metres out which made things simple. I planned to fish corn on this line,feeding decent amounts as I was after proper fish. This rig was a 4x14 KC Carpa 2 on 0.18-Tubertini 175 3 and orange wilkie,set at dead depth. My third rig was for a pellet line at 5m and this was a 0.2g NG Decker on 0.18-0.16 and a size 1 Tubertini 175 matched to red vespe bi-core. Finally I set up a straight lead rod although I only had one chuck on this. For bait I had plenty of corn,some 4mm pellet and 4mm & 6mm expanders.
The all-in was called and I cupped in around fifty 4mm pellets at 5m,a full pot of corn at 12m and a pot of corn & pellet down the edge. Kicking off on a 6mm expander at 5m I lowered the float down and after 30 seconds the float buried and a 1lb skimmer was soon in the net. I started to cadpot in a few 4mms and after 20 minutes I'd had a couple of skimmers although the rig was a bit heavy as I was expecting carp. I was soon on the long line with a single grain of corn but 5 biteless minutes led me to re-feed with half a pot and drop back in on the short-line. The fishing was pretty tough and no-one was setting the world on fire. The long corn line wasn't really working but I maintained feeding half a pot of corn every 30 minutes or so as I felt sure they would turn up. I was picking up the odd skimmer on the long corn line but hadn't had a sign of a carp. I was soon off my box and set up a lighter pellet rig on 0.14-0.12 and an 18 B911 to yellow bungee and plumbed a new line at an angle to my right and picked up a few more skimmers.
After around 3 hours I was soon down the edge as I had been feeding half a pot of corn and a pinch of pellet every 45 minutes or so. I didn't get any immediate signs but after kindering in some more corn I soon had a bite and added a small carp to the net. It wasn't hectic so I refed and dropped back in at 5m. A quick bite saw a 2oz skimmer in the net and next drop the float buried and I lifted into heavy resistance. I thought the fish might be foul-hooked but 10 minutes later I slipped the net under a pristine mirror carp that was 10lb+ hooked square in the top lip....bonus! In the last few hours I added a few more carp from down the edge and one at 13m long and when the whistle went I was relieved as I was struggling bigtime....I knew I shouldn't have had that 13th Jaegerbomb on Friday night! I apologise for the shortness of the match details as I really can't remember how many carp I had as it's all a bit of a blur.....
I thought it might be close as Pikey had caught a few and I really didn't have a clue what weight I had. When the scales got to me Rick Baxter was winning with 39lb odd and when my mixed net (skimmers/tench/small carp and goldfish etc) went 30lb I knew I had 3 carp in the other net for 20lb+,and the scales bounced around to 23lb 8oz giving me a 53lb 8oz total. When Pikey pulled his nets out it was clear it was going to be very close. His final weight was called at 54lb 12oz meaning he had beat me by 1lb 4oz. I was absolutely gutted as I bumped a few fish and in hindsight fished too heavy. I should have fished a sensible pellet match out in front and a proper rig down the edge. I also lost a 6oz skimmer by trying to swing it in....I didn't realise how costly this would prove until day 2.
Jamie had fished an absolute blinder on Barnmoor,catching 52lb 13oz of all skimmers,a super weight without carp. Withybagger won Selwood with 86lb 8oz. I was still in with a chance going into day 2 but I felt sure that 1lb 4oz deficit would cost me big time overall.
After finally getting in the taxi at 7.30 I was absoultely knackered and was glad to get back to the hotel room. A quick half hour kip followed by a shower and we were soon on our way out again. We had booked a table at the local Mexican restaurant for 10 people but as there was a slight wait of 10 minutes when we got there 6 of them left to get fish and chips! That left myself,Jamie,Fordy and Pebs and the meal was superb,washed down by a few Mexican beers. Pebs and Fordy put the world to rights and we all had a good laugh. We couldn't face a heavy night of drinking for a second night so after a few beers back at the hotel we retired at around quarter to 1 and zonked out.
The dancing badger woke us again the next morning and after another breakfast we were soon on our way to Withy for day 2. We got there a bit early for a walk around the snake and with the wind being quite strong and forecast to get worse I knocked up a bag of swimstim green as I felt that the method could be useful if it became impossible to present a bait across on the pole line. At the draw I went into the bag and pulled out peg 42 which didn't mean alot to me but after speaking to Blakey he told me it was a pretty good peg and I had a good chance. I had a few spare pegs to my right which meant I would be able to fish the method to the point by the bridge. For this I used my usual set-up- 11ft Beastmaster,Daiwa TDR,6lb sensor,a small inline 30g feeder and a 4-inch hooklength of 0.18 to a 20 GURU MWG. I prefer to use mini boilies when fishing the method but as these were not allowed it was to be 2 dead red maggots as hookbait. The next line was at 14.5m to the far bank. For this line I set up a 4x12 Scone Jubleez on 0.18-0.16 and a size 2 Tubertini 175 matched to red vespe bi-core. I hoped to catch a few fish down the edge to my right at around 10m,right in front of the spare platform. It looked spot on and I knew I'd have a few fish there at some stage. For this line I set up a 4x12 Scone Jubleez on 0.18-size 3 Tubertini 175 and wilkie orange. As a bit of an insurance policy I set up a line for down the track where there was around 5ft of water. For this line I set up a 4x14 KC Chimp on 0.16-0.14 and a 16 B911 matched to yellow Drennan bungee. For bait I had some soaked micro's,soaked 4mms,a tin of 6mm meat,plenty of corn and some expanders for the hook along with my method groundbait.
The hooter went at 11am and I decided to kick off on the method without feeding the pole lines. I was clipped tight to the bank and first chuck the tip rattled round but I think it was a small skimmer as it fell off after a second or two. Next chuck and a carp was on,not big at around 2lb but a welcome start. I started well and after less than 30 minutes I had 6 carp in the net. They weren't proper lads but they were coming pretty quick although things started to slow up with only 2 more coming in the next 30 minutes. After an hour I fed a pot of corn & pellet with a small amount of meat down the edge and a small amount of corn and a pinch of micro's across. I spent another half an hour on the method and had 2 more carp,slightly better ones at around 4lb apiece,giving me 10 carp for around 30lb or so after 90 minutes which wasn't too bad. I decided to come off the feeder line as it had slowed right up and all signs had stopped. The wind had died down slightly but as I was the first peg on a bend it was whipping round the corner and making things very difficult for myself and Gary Haisman on peg 43 to my left. First drop on corn across and a quick bite saw a 2lb F1 in the net. I then added a few small skimmers and goldfish so started to cadpot some corn in but the wind was making things very difficult.
I had been feeding the edge with half a pot every 30 minutes or so and at the half-way stage I dropped in with a cube of meat and kindered in some corn. A bite wasn't long in coming and the satisfying sight of orange elastic was soon exiting the pole. A chunky 5lb mirror was in the net and with two and a half hours to go I thought I would find a few more. There was some floating grass down the side to my right so I started to loose feed meat here at the base of the shelf,feeding 3 or 4 cubes every few minutes. No more bites on my edge line saw me re-feed and have two fishless chucks on the method,throwing down the edge at around 20m.
There was now 2 hours to go and I could see Pikey catching a few as he had a few spare pegs either side of him. I couldn't see what he was netting as the island was partially obscuring the view but he was putting a few fish in the net. There was now two hours to go and back down the edge saw a couple of quick carp. I had now started to feed a full kinder pot of corn with a pinch of meat every put-in,fishing a 6mm expander over the top. It wasn't hectic but I was catching the odd carp but I couldn't seem to keep the fishing coming. I foulhooked a couple so refed with neat corn and dropped in at 3m on the meat and after a few minutes had a quick bite that was a 1lb skimmer. I dropped in down the edge and had a quick bite that was a right old herbert of around 12lb....very useful! The wind had now died a bit so I fed a bit more corn across before catching another carp down the edge. I then lost one down the edge that was possibly foulhooked before hooking a nice 4lb fish that had it's nose over the rim of my landing net before the hook pulled and I wasn't quite quick enough as it agonisingly disapeared into the depths. A quick re-feed down the edge and I was back across to the farbank and a quick bite saw a 4lber in the net before cadpotting in some corn and then losing a fish at the net that I suspect might have been foulhooked. I was starting to get frustrated at losing a couple of fish so re-fed across before catching another couple down the edge. Back across and I had a couple of skimmers and goldfish but no proper carp. Gary to my left had filled it in with caster down his edge and was now catching quickly and they were proper fish.
I had a carp down the edge with 15 minutes to go and hoped for one more before the all-out but it wasn't to be. In hindsight I should have fed more down the edge but due to the cold & wet conditions I had been a bit too negative at times. I knew I would be in with a shout but I could see Pikey had caught a few and Gary had caught a few lumps late on so it was likely to be close. After packing away I wandered round just as Pikey was weighing in and he put 79lb exactly on the scales. I thought I had around 80lb so this was likely to be very close.....
Scone plonked 61lb on the scales before a couple of 30's and 40's. After two weighs my weight was called at 80lb 4oz...beating Pikey by 1lb 4oz. Unbelievably we had both caught the exact same weight over the 2 days- 133lb 12oz. Gary Haisman then put 78lb 12oz on the scales which was a bit too close for comfort but with no big weights from the other end of the section I had won and Pikey was second. This meant we were both tied on 3 points with the exact same weight. I suggested a race around the Snake to decide the outcome but somehow Dave wasn't keen on this idea....
Everything now rested on the result on inner snake as if Jamie won his section or came 2nd with more than 80lb odd he would win. If not myself and Pikey would tie for the title. When I got round to the scales Jamie was indeed winning with 101lb 4oz but BNF had put an impressive 96lb 14oz on the scales- just one fish from knocking Jamie back a place. As usual Pete Bailey annihilated the section with 175lb odd- he's nigh on unbeatable on snake. This meant that Jamie was second in section and tied with us on 3 points but had a superior weight advantage of just under 20 pounds.
Back at the lodge and after a quick burger it was time for the raffle. Once again I didn't even come close to winning anything....I don't think there were any red tickets in the bucket! The results were soon read out and confirmed that I had tied in joint second place with Pikey on 3 points and 133lb 12oz. The odds of this are unbelievable and I was really ruing a couple of lost fish. To think that if I had caught an extra 1lb 5oz on day 1 I'd have won it with 2 section wins is a bit frustrating,but the same thing can be said for Pikey on day 2 as that's how close it was. Jamie was a very worthy winner as to catch 52lb of skimmers on day 1 while still p*ssed is worthy of the title on it's own! A big well done mate,a top quality performance over the two days- simply awesome.
There was just time for me to recieve a special award from Scone. I was presented with a nice little trophy,about 6 inches tall,red and it's battery operated. That's right....I won the award for 'Dildo of the Weekend' for claiming there was a badger on the roof and pointing out that Pikey had drawn the exact same peg on a different lake. Although I didn't manage to get a picture myself I'm sure it will crop up online sooner or later as there were plenty with their cameras out....gits!
The most important result of all was the fact that we raised a massive £1857 for charity which is a great achievment and by all accounts is a new record. A big well done to all involved,especially Nicky the Bricky who has the unenvious task of putting it all together.
Roll on next year......
Posted by Gareth at 13:55No comments:

Thursday, 29 April 2010

First evening match of the year

Yesterday saw the first evening match of the year at Whinwhistle fishery. I hadn't fished there since winning the last round of the winter league so was looking forward to the evening opens kicking off. The first match was an early start due to the light levels and was scheduled for a 4pm draw with fishing from 4.30 to 7.30. I didn't think I'd get out of work in time for the early one so asked for a peg to be left in the bag and I hoped to get there by 4.30....better late than never! Becuase I thought I'd be late I loaded the car with minimal gear-seatbox,1 method rod,nets and a small bag of bits...simple! As it happened I managed to get away from work at 3.45pm so made it just in time for the draw. There were 8 fishing which wasn't a bad turnout for the first match,especially as it was an early start. As soon as I arrived it was time for the draw and today we were on Whinwhistle Islands. I was second into the bag and out came peg 8....flyer! I have only fished this peg once before and that was in the first round of last years summer league and I managed to win the match off the peg that day. It's a bit of a zoo creature peg and the hardest part is getting the fish out as it's pretty shallow and full of features. People have blanked on the peg on occasions because although they get a few bites,getting a fish in the net is what counts. (the pictures are from when I drew the peg in last years summer league)
The start was put back to 4.45pm to allow people enough time but I was ready within 5 minutes,not like me atall! The rod was an 11ft Shimano Beastmaster,Daiwa TDR,6lb sensor,a small inline 30 g feeder with an 0.18 hooklength to a size 16 GURU QM1 with a bayonet on a hair. For bait I had a kilo of swimstim mixed the night before,some mini 8mm boilies and a tin of corn. I clipped up to the side of the pads opposite at around 14m. I would also use this clip down towards the small bay to my right and I planned to throw most of the tin of corn in at 5m to my right on the corner. With everything ready I went for a walk to have a chat with a few of the others.
The all-in was called and I fed the corn and 1 small ball of groundbait at 5m to my right before plopping the feeder out by the pads. I planned to give each cast 3 minutes inititally but after 20 seconds or so the rod was pulled off the rest but unfortunately the fish broke me. A new hooklength was clipped on and the process was repeated. This time I had to wait all of a minute before the rod wanged round but this time I managed to control the fish and a few minutes later I had a fat 8lb mirror in the net. After a few more casts the tip wanged round again and once again my hooklength gave way. The trouble was I only had 0.18 hooklengths tied up with bayonets. I knew I couldn't keep losing fish so decided to tie up a new hooklength on 0.22 but with a korum quickstop on the hair. This meant I would need to fish corn,something I don't like to do on the method generally,but atleast it would give me a better chance of landing fish. Soon after the tip slammed round and after a bit of tooing and froing I managed to control the fish and it was soon safely in the net,this time a bit smaller at around 5lb. The next two fish hooked broke me on 0.22,there was simply nothing I could do as it was like hooking turbo charged submarines.
This line then went quiet,no doubt caused by all the disturbance,so it was time to chuck down to my right. I had managed to cadge a slice of meat from Andy Franks so went with a 6mm punch and second chuck the tip went round and I had a 1lb tench in the net. Second chuck and I hooked a carp which annoyingly fell off. This line then also went quiet and with just over an hour to go I had 2 carp in the net and needed to find a few more. I plopped the method in at 5m to my right on a grain of corn and after a couple of casts the tip went round and I soon had a chunky mirror of 3-4lb in the net. After this I was getting silly bites from skimmers so came off this line,took the clip off and chucked down towards the sluice in my peg. I was now back on the 0.18 trace as I prefer to use mini boilies and as I wasn't fishing tight to a feature I felt I would be ok. However it can be very tricky to land fish from this area as you have to guide them between two sets of lillies on each bank. After a few casts the tip slowly went round and I was convinced I'd hooked a skimmer as it didn't really fight. I was a bit surprised when it turned out to be a common carp of around 4lb. The next fish I hooked towards the sluice kited straight into the pads and after 5 minutes or so the hooklength went bang.
There was now 20 minutes to go and I decided to focus on the long chuck. Soon after the tip went round and straight away I stood-up on my footplate with the rod behond me as high as I could get it. This worked as planned as the fish wallowed on the surface allowing me to pick up the slack and I soon had a nice 4-5lb fish in the net. 10 minutes later the same thing happened and once again I got the rod as high as I could and the fish was soon safely in the net with his 5 mates.
The all-out was called at 7.45pm and with 6 carp and a small tench in the net I thought I must have 25lb +. After packing up in about 2 minutes (again not like me!) I went for a wander and it looked like the win was mine. I was first to weigh and the scales settled on 32lb 4oz. The other weights were quite consistent with most anglers registering double figures,with 22lb enough for second place. It was nice to start the evening matches with a win and in the 16 I fished last year I picked up in 13 so I wouldn't mind matching that again!
This weekend sees me at Witherington Farm for the Steve Ramsay memorial. It's a weekend of drinking with a bit of fishing thrown in so although I'm booked in for the bank holiday Monday open at Whinwhistle there's every chance I'll be in no fit state to fish it!
Posted by Gareth at 01:52No comments:

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Blast from the past....

Well once again my blog is a bit late. It's been a hectic couple of weeks with work,my birthday and also a family bereavment so I simply haven't had the time. There are 3 matches to write about. The first was on Saturday 10th April at Greenridge Farm. I drew peg 19 on canal 2 and the consensus was that it wasn't the best peg and hadn't produced for a good while. By fishing meat tight to the farbank I managed to take 24 carp (with a further 4 on corn short late on) for 76lb. The guy on end peg 20 had 102lb for the win with 2nd place coming from the other end of the canal with 79lb. I lost a couple of fish which cost me 2nd spot but I was pleased overall as I am starting to get to grips with the venue more and more.
The following weekend I was supposed to be flying to Ireland on the Friday night,landing back at Bristol on Sunday night and then driving straight back to my parents house in Wales as I had a funeral to attend on the Tuesday so had some time-off. Well,thanks to that Volcano my good plans were scupperedwhich meant one! After a couple of quick PM's to Jake Cork on the Friday I found myself booking into the Saturday open at Hillview Lakes in Tewkesbury. My new plan was to set off at around 6.30am,drive the 2 hours to Hill View,fish the open and then have an hour long journey back to my parents house in South Wales. Hill View was always my favourite venue and I used to regularly fish the Wednesday,Saturday and Sunday matches from the age of around 17-20. It was strange pulling into the carpark for the first time in 4 years and I soon saw some of the old faces as well as some new ones. After Jake came over to say hello I polished off a massive breakfast and was ready for the draw as were 28 others. Both lakes were in along with canal 1 and the general feeling was to avoid the canal,so anything below peg 40 would do. Into the bag went the lucky left hand and out came.......37,that'll do! This put me towards the end of the causeway bank on Heron. After getting to the peg I had Ian Didcote (diddy123) behind me on Moorhen peg 9 so atleast I'd get to see a few fish!
Going from past experience along with speaking to a few people before the draw I had a rough idea of my approach. The sun was blazing with very little ripple and a few fish were mooching about near the surface. I planned to start on pellet short at around 4-5m,shallow meat long between 13m-16m and corn down the edge in front of the spare pallet to my left. My short pellet rig was a 4x12 Chianti on 0.16-0.14 and an 18 B911 to yellow bungee. Shallow rig was a 4x10 Chianti on 0.18-0.16 and an 18 PR36 with a band on the hair and yellow bungee. I set the rig at 8 inches with a 3ft lash as I used to find a long line worked better on bright still days at Hillview. Finally the edge rig was a 4x10 Chianti: 0.18-0.16 and a size 3 Tubertini 175 matched to red vespe. This was plumbed in front of the platform in just over 3ft of water. For bait I had a bag of fishery 4mm pellets,3 tins of meat (2 x 6mm,1 x 8mm),2 tins of corn and some expanders.
The all in was called and a pot of corn and pellet went to the edge swim before I baited with a 4mm expender,put a few 4mms in a cadpot and shipped out to 5m and 3 cubes of meat were pinged out to around 13m. After 5 minutes of lifting and dropping I hadn't had a bite so added a few more 4mms to the cadpot and repeated the process, all the while pinging meat long. Neville Groves had a few early carp short but it was pretty quiet and after 50 minutes I had a skimmer of around 1lb in the net from the short line and despite trying the long line a couple of times I hadn't had any signs shallow. A carp swam past a few metres out so I flicked the rig in front of it and it snaffled the bait but frustratingly fell off after a few minutes. However this led me to believe the fish weren't really feeding so it was back long & shallow but I flicked the rig past and to the right of where I had been feeding. After a few seconds the float buried and a carp was on. A few minutes later and a fat 10lber was in the net. Next put in after a few slaps the float buried and another carp was soon in the net,this time a good 9lb fish. Over the next couple of hours it was a case of flicking the rig around the peg and snaring the odd fish although they were clearly not really in a feeding mood. I kept pinging meat to the same spot at around 13m but was only feeding one or two cubes every 5 minutes or so and picking off fish beyond the feed. All the while I had been feeding to the next platform and hoped that it would be worth a few late on. Ian had been struggling behind me but with 2 hours to go he switched to the margins and started to bag a few.
I managed two fish down the edge but one was foul-hooked and I also lost one before the all-out was called. I thought I had 60-70lb and with Neville admitting to a ton plus I had to hope I might sneak the section. I was the last angler to weigh and when it got to me Neville had put 120lb on the scales,Jake had put 68lb but most others on the lake had struggled. Diddy had put 106lb on for second overall. My weight was called at 66lb 12oz- less than 2lb off second on the lake and a couple of lost fish had cost me. Chatting to Ian afterwards I realised I had fished the edge wrong as it was far better to fish to the side of the platform where it was that bit shallower than in front of it. It's little things like this that can make a big difference and I knew it had cost me.
I heard a rumour that somebody had dropped out of Sundays match so when I got home an hour later I rang to see if I could get on and was told that I had infact won my section and there was an envelope there for me....doh! The sections were split which I wasn't aware of. With a space available for Sunday I duly booked on....well,I had to collect my winnings didn't I!
Arriving at the venue at around 8.45am I duly paid my pools and with 40 fishing there would be 15 on each lake with 10 on canal 1. Once again I really wanted to avoid the canal so was pleased when peg 10 stuck to my hand,almost behind where I was the day before. It was the end peg on the causeway bank with a corner to my right. the next peg to my left was in so there was no platform to fish to and with Neville Groves on a good peg in peg 8 I knew he would be a real threat. My plan was similar to the day before with a shallow 'mugging' rig although this time it was a Scone AM Wellardz on 0.18-0.16 and an 18 PR36 with a band on a hair and yellow bungee. The edge rig was a 4x10 Scone GAZE on 0.18-0.16,Tubertini 175:3 and orange wilkie elastic. I found 2.5ft at 5m to my right and 12m along the bank. The long line would be potted and the short line would be fed by hand. Finally I set-up a short rig at 4m- 4x14 KC Chimp on 0.16-0.14 and a 18 B911. For bait I had 3 tins of 6mm meat,2 tins of corn and half a bag of 4mm feed pellets.
The all in was called and 2 pots of corn with a pinch of meat and pellet were cupped in long down the edge,a handful of meat went short down the edge and a cadpot of pellets went in at 4m,followed by 3 cubes of meat pinged out to 13m. No bites short so I was soon on the long shallow rig and found a few carp. It was hard going for most and several people were fishless after a couple of hours. I had 5 carp in the net all on shallow meat,Shaun Wilson & Richard Ahearne were catching well on the pegs in the far corner and Neville was picking off odd fish shallow. At this stage my peg dried up and I couldn't buy a bite anywhere. I'm really not sure why as I even went out to 16m and played about with the depth etc but it was like a switch had been thrown. I had a couple of looks down the edge but this was also devoid and I knew I needed it to come good to stand any chance. I had been feeding the long edge with half a big pot every half an hour or so but this clearly wasn't working so with just over an hour to go I decided to feed a full kinder pot every 5 minutes. This worked to an extent as in the last hour I managed to get 6 carp down the edge but there were no real lumps and when the all-out was called I expected to have somewhere in the region of 40lb.
The scales made their way around with Richard Ahearne putting 98lb of maggot caught edge fish on the scales before Shaun tipped 84lb of shallow caster fish into the sling. Most other people struggled big time and my 11 fish went 42lb odd,but with Neville framing with 94lb and the overall winner coming from the bottom bank with 102lb I picked up £40 for the section win.
Having not been to the venue for 4 years I was pleased with 2 section wins and I learned plenty and there's a few things I would do differently next time,especially when fishing the edge. I had a good chat with Neville after the match and picked his brains on a few things which I will utilise on my next visit. After packing up I went round to see Shaun & Richard and spent a good hour catching up. I used to fish with them regularly and used to travel with Shaun so it was good to see them. Hillview is 2 hours away from me but I absolutely love the place and will be making the effort to get up there a few more times this year.
Posted by Gareth at 03:45No comments:

Monday, 29 March 2010

End of the winter....

This weekend saw another 'double header' of matches for me. The first was the Saturday open at Greenridge Farm. After the usual breakfast and laughs we were ready for the draw. The golden peg was drawn first- peg 7 on canal 1. A few comments were made along the lines of 'that's safe' as canal 1 had been won with just 28lb the week before,with 130lb winning canal 2. Due to this the 16 anglers were split into 9 on canal 2 and 7 on canal 1, leaving the worst area on canal 1,the middle,with a couple of spare pegs. Into the drawbag I went and out came.....peg 7. Despite being the golden peg it was a less than great draw as the two pegs to be avoided were 5 and 7. Mark Cannings had the joy of drawing peg 5.
As always I try to be positive and the one thing that might make a difference was the fact that I had a spare peg either side,something that I find especially important on canalised venues as the fish will often settle in the quiet areas. After looking at the peg I started to consider my approach. In the last couple of matches I have found corn in the deeper water to be very effective,so my first line was on a top 2 + 2 (about 5m) slightly to the left. This was at the base of the near slope and was a 4x12 chianti on 0.14-0.12 and an 18 Gama Pellet. This was shotted with a spread bulk of 10's and shotted at dead depth in around 5ft of water. The peg was fairly flat down the middle and I had the same depth straight out at 10m. I also plumbed over to my right towards the spare platform although I wouldn't feed/fish this for a while as I wanted any fish to settle in the quiet water as mentioned. For fishing across in around 2ft of water I set up a 4x10 Chianti on 0.16-0.14 and an 18 B911. Shotting was a small bulk of 10's at half depth. The depth was very uneven along the farbank so I picked two spots where I had the same depth,although the one was very snaggy and I actually lost my hooklength and plummet so this line was sacked-just the one line across then! Lastly I set up a rig for fishing to the side of the spare platform to my right in 3ft of water- 4x12 chianti-0.16-0.14 and an 18 B911. All three rigs were set to yellow drennan bungee with a pull bung. For bait I had a tin of corn,a pint of maggot,some 4mm pellet and 6mm expanders.
The all-in was called and I potted a dozen grains of corn in at 10m,half a pot of maggot down the edge and flicked a few grains of corn in at 5m. Not bites on corn to the farbank saw me attach a small cadpot and dribble in some maggot but the double maggot hookbait resulted in a few 1/2oz roach....hmmm
All the while I had been flicking the odd grain of corn in at 5m but despite dropping in a couple of times I hadn't had a bite. Mark was getting the odd small carp to my left and Andy Potter was catching really well on the peg behind me on canal 2. After an hour and 15 minutes the float buried at 5m and a 3lb carp was soon in the net. This was a false dawn however as I couldn't buy another bite here. A quick carp on corn at 10m offered some encouragement followed by a 2lb skimmer soon after. This line was then also biteless and I was starting to realise why the middle of canal 1 was the place to avoid....
A quick bite down the edge saw a small 1lb stockie on maggot but I could only catch one fish from a line before it died. I even knocked up a shallow rig and started pinging 6mm pellet towards the far bank but 15 minutes on this told me that it wasn't going to work. With around two and a half hours to go any chance of the golden peg seemed to have gone as I had just three carp and a skimmer in the net for around 7-8lb. At this point I plumbed a line towards my right,with 10m of pole fishing about 5m out from the bank. I cupped in a dozen grains of corn and left it for 5 minutes. By this stage I realised that my best bet would be to stick with one line and make it work,rather than chopping and changing every 5 minutes. The depth was the same as my 5m line,and with the float almost overshotted and brought back with some vaseline the rig was a sensitive as I could get it,something that I felt would be important in the flat calm and bright conditions. After 10 minutes of lifting and dropping the float finally dipped and I lifted into a good fish. A few minutes later and a fat 8lb mirror was lying in the net. I shipped back out,tipped 6 grains of corn out of the cadpot and a few minutes later the float again buried and I had a 5lb carp in the on! By regularly sprinkling corn through a cadpot I was catching quickly and they were a decent stamp of fish. The thought started to cross my mind that the golden peg might be on....
Alot of people had stopped catching although pegs 10 & 11 down to my right were catching quite regularly they were fishing to the farbank and the fish were of a smaller stamp. People started to take notice and 'the golden peg's going today' was being said by a few. I knew I was still quite away behind but by regularly feeding corn,lifting and dropping the hookbait I was bagging. The only problem was I had a couple of spells where I went 10-15 minutes without a bite which wasn't ideal,but by dribbling in some more corn the fish would return. It was nice fishing and I don't think I missed a bite and didn't lose a fish.
The all-out was called and I really wasn't sure how I'd done. My clicker told me I had 19 carp but I also had a skimmer and a couple of brown goldfish in there aswell. Some of the carp were proper lads but there were also a few 1-2lb fish in the net so it was hard to guess a weight. Most people were adamant that I'd done enough to take the Golden Peg but I kept telling them I hadn't. My main concerns were Andy Potter behind me and the guy on end peg 1 on my canal who had seemed to have a few. I was very anxious packing up as I thought I had 60-70lb in the net and Andy was admitting to 60-80lb. This could be close.....
They started weighing canal 2 in first and Andy put 81lb on the scales. I shook his hand and congratulated him as deep down I knew I wouldn't have that much. Dave on peg 11 then put 63lb on the scales followed by a 44 and a 50. After two weighs my weight was called out at 71lb odd.....just two proper fish short. I was a bit gutted by this as I had caught really well in the last two hours and had I made the switch earlier I might have had enough. The guy on end peg 1 then put 80lb on the scales knocking me back into third place and £35 for second in section. After the match there was a nice buffet put on as it was the end of the winter series that was won by Pete Newman. Heading home I was a bit deflated as I had come so close to a bumper payout. The only consolation is the fact that no-one had expected me to have a chance from my peg,it would have been far worse if I'd have blown a flyer. I just had to hope I could go one better and win the Winter League at Whinwhistle the following day.
Sunday dawned an hour earlier due to the clocks changing but I was still awake before my alarm as today was the final round of the Whinwhistle winter league. If you are a regular reader you'll know that following a win last week I was now tied on points with Phil James with a 3lb weight advantage. After tucking into a breakfast the banter was flying around as we awaited the draw. It was also the final of the knockout cup which saw me against Phil so it was going to be 'winner takes all'. The peg I really wanted to draw was Whinwhistle 6,with peg 7 being my second choice. These pegs are spot on for the method feeder and I had actually stopped on after the match the week before and spent a few hours fishing the tip on peg 7 as it's always been my weakest method so I need to improve. Following a good practice with a few fish caught I was confident in using it and hoped I'd draw one of the few pegs that it was suitable for. Into the bag I went and looked in sheer disbelief at the disc in my hand....W6! I couldn't believe it,just when you think the drawing gods are against you THE peg you want sticks to your hand. The draw was always going to be crucial today and I now knew I had a big chance of winning the league. Phil drew Whinwhistle 1,the end-peg and a great peg on it's day. This made things very interesting but made my task as simple as can be....beat Phil to win both the league and on!
As you can see in the picture opposite the peg has a tree going into the water next to the platform on the farbank. This would be the main focus of my match as I know it holds carp,the trouble is getting the casting bang on the money as you have to get right up against the tree...overhanging branches and all. For this I got my ready made rod out of the bag- 11ft Shimano Beastmaster,Daiwa TDR,6lb sensor with a doctored 30g small preston feeder. The reason it's doctored is due to the fact that Whinwhistle has an 8-inch hooklength rule. This is far from ideal for fishing the method but Andy Shanks came up with a way of gluing a swivel into the top of a preston inline feeder which makes it easier to fold the hooklength over and bury the hookbait in the feeder by layering the groundbait 3 times. Sounds simple......ha! Hooklength was 8 inches of 0.18 Silk Shock to a 20 GURU MWG- spot on for two dead reds. Groundbait was Green Swimstim mixed the night before and riddled four times.
I spent a good deal of time clipping up with a 1oz lead to get bang on the money- my practice session the week before was proving crucial. With the feeder line sorted it was time for a Plan B. The temptation was there to only set up the tip but being a league match I needed a back-up in case it didn't work. This would be my standard pellet line that has served me so well all winter- a 4x12 KC Chimp on 0.12-0.10 and an 18 808. This was set at dead depth in 4 1/2 feet of water,shotted with a bulk of 10's with 1 dropper and matched to double 5 slip. I plumbed two lines,one at 11m and another at 14.5m. If I ended up on the long line I would be struggling!
For bait I had a kilo of groundbait and half a pint of reds for the method,some damp micro,crushed pellet and some 4mm & 4.5mm Ringers expanders. With everything ready I got 'in the zone' and awaited the all in.
The whistle went and the feeder was despatched to the farbank.....first cast and I caught a branch,losing the lot,not the ideal start! If it wasn't for the fact that I'd sussed the method the week before I would normally have picked the pole straight up and thrown the rod up the bank. However I knew that the method was key to winning the section so quickly rigged up,checked the clip which was still bang on and recast......and caught ANOTHER branch! Things weren't going to plan....I was now 5 minutes into the match,lost 2 feeders and hadn't spent any time actually fishing. Time for a clear head,remind myself of the fact there was still almost 5 hours to go and start fresh. After taking half a turn off the clip I cast out for a third time and this time it was inch perfect,landing right on the spot with a small plop. As I was sinking the line I felt a tap on the tip and after placing the rod on the rest it was pulled off after 2 on! A few minutes later and a fin perfect 4lb carp was in the net. This was a big relief and certainly settled my nerves! The next couple of casts were spot on but didn't result in any fish. After the third cast (after the last fish) the tip again pulled round after a minute or two and carp number two was on it's way,this time a fat little mirror of around 3lb. This was now the ideal scenario as these early fish settled me down and gave me the confidence to spend some time on the tip. A few more casts were uneventful before the tip dropped back on the 45 minute mark and a skimmer of around 1lb was soon in the net. Things then went quiet and after an hour I changed from casting every 3 minutes to every 5. This seemed to do the trick as the rod was pulled off the rest soon after and a 2.5lb tench was soon in the net. The next cast went a yard too far and crashed down through the overhanging branches. Before I even had chance to do anything the rod was almost pulled out of my hand as a fish hooked itself almost instantly. Frustratingly the hook pulled. The next 8 casts didn't even give so much as a liner so I potted in a small ball of crushed pellet with a few micros at 11m. The next cast on the tip was biteless so with a fair bit of bait on the tip line I decided to rest it and have an hour on the pole,hopefully putting a few skimmers in the net in the process. The rest of the section was fishing very hard,with just a few small skimmers showing. Crucially,Phil was blanking......
Lowering a 4mm Next Generation expander down the float barely settled as a 2oz skimmer snaffled it. Over the next hour I put exactly 30 skimmers in the net,averaging 2oz but with a better 12oz sample and the odd 6oz fish it kept my catchrate ticking over nicely. With two hours to go I had two carp,a tench and around 5lb of skimmers in the net for around 14-15lb. This was comfortably winning but I was well aware that Phil needed just two carp to wipe that out. Peg 1 threw up an 11lb last week so I wasn't resting on my laurels by any means.
First chuck on the feeder was spot on again,and I actually said 'that's a fish' as it was bang on the money. Sure enough after 4 minutes the tip slammed round and another carp was on. Again it was around 3lb but it settled me down again as it showed me that the rest had done some good. However this was a bit of a false dawn as I didn't add anymore in the next half an hour. Hmmm....decision time. With 90 minutes to go I was back on the pole but as I hadn't been trickling in the small amounts of pellet required to keep the line ticking over the fish had all but gone,with just three 2oz skimmers and a 2oz carp in the next 15 minutes. There was now one hour and 15 minutes to go,Phil was still near enough blanking,I had around 18lb in the net and with the pole line not really working I made the decision to spend the rest of the match on the tip. Would it be the right decision.....?
After a couple of casts right alongside the platform the tip flew round again and a 2lb carp was soon in the net. Although they were a pretty small stamp I was grateful of any fish I could get. Ten minutes and two casts later the tip was once again flying round and another carp was on,this time a bit bigger at 4lb or so. I then added another carp with 15 minutes to go and victory was almost in the bag. As the clock ticked down the rod slammed around with seconds to spare and carp number 6 was soon in the net with his 5 mates,netted a minute or two after the whistle. Phil had struggled bigtime and apart from Oscar to my left who had caught two late carp on the method by chucking towards the sluice nobody had really caught.
I was relieved when the whistle went as I had achieved what I set out to do and won the Winter League. Phil was the first person to come over and shake my hand. Unfortunately it hadn't happened for him today but he's a top angler and is always there or there-abouts. The win was confirmed when my 7lb 10oz of silvers and 21lb of carp gave me a 28lb 8oz total comfortably winning the section and match overall. Oscar was 2nd with 17lb and Bob Wackrill was third with 4lb odd of small skimmers. After packing away I drove up to the lodge where we were treated to an end of series meal of steak pie,chips and peas....delicious! Next came the presentation where the top 5 were announced. In fifth place was Oscar Wylde,followed by Phill Timms in fourth,Roger Clacey in third,Phil James in second and myself winning. I ended up winning by four clear points as my four section wins,two seconds,two thirds and a fourth gave me a 15 point total (dropping the 4th as worst result). I picked up £40 for the section,£65 for winning the knockout and £135 for the league giving me a £240 total payout. This went someway to compensate for my Golden Peg near miss of the day before. As you can see in the picture I also picked up two nice trophies that are now proudly sitting alongside the Summer League one I got last year. That's now four leagues I've fished at Whinwhistle,coming third in each of the first two and then winning last years Summer League and this years Winter League. Winning the Knockout Cup was the icing on the cake as it meant I'd won everything possible at the venue over the past 12 months. There was talk afterwards of making next years league 'Englishmen Only'.....

There's no summer league this year and I'm not sure what to do about next years Winter League. Part of me thinks it's time for a new challenge but I really enjoy the matches as they're a great bunch of blokes and the fishing's always challenging. I've got plenty of time to make a decision and for the time being I'll reflect on what's been a succesful winter campaign.
Posted by Gareth at 07:25No comments:
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About Me

Gareth My name is Gareth Boycott,I'm 23 and have recently moved to Romsey having lived in Salisbury for the past 18 months. I work as an agent and promoter in the entertainment industry and have done since graduating with an English degree in 2007. You might know me from Total-Fishing.Com and where I post under the name 'Welshmagic' View my complete profile

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Whinwhistle Fishery

A rare river blackwater carp caught on the stickfloat

A trout taken on rolling meat from The Avon at Salisbury

My first barbel- 6lb 15oz

A late summer 5lb 8oz chub from the severals fishery

A view of Severals fishery in Ringwood where I fish for barbel and chub in the summer

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