Thursday, 28 July 2016

Looks like I'm back and time to get my head back into match fishing

Wow! Just looked at the last time I posted on here (May 2015) it’s been that long with not much really to report. My match fishing over the past 12 months has taken a massive step to the side whilst I have concentrated on work, family and moving house. I have been active in patches but not really put any consistent time on the bank with me at times losing interest in fishing in general. The bug is back now that I have settled back up in the midlands and back to my old stomping ground (and where I learned to fish)
I have given up my individual sponsorship with Browning and now in a position to use whatever tackle I want. Some may say I’m mad giving up such an opportunity to be sponsored by such a large tackle brand but to be honest my heart wasn’t in it anymore. What people need to understand is that sponsorship is a two way process (you don’t get nothing for free) and with me inactive on the bank whilst I concentrated on work and family I wasn’t for filling my side of the deal and was unfair to Browning. I would like to thank Browning for the years they supported me and wish them well for the future.
Looking upwards and forwards I am now in a position to get my head 100% back into match fishing and looking forward to the challenges on the bank against similar minded people. I feel I now have the freedom to be able to express my thoughts more on what’s going on within the angling world as well as give honest opinions on tackle that I’ve purchased, this is what I want to use this page for on a more regular basis as well as keeping everyone up to date with my match fishing.
Couple of topics that I will be writing on in the next few weeks include the Fisho Mania format, the tackle industry (in general) and a few tackle reviews including Commercial Indication floats, Spotted Fin (which is a new bait company on the market) and various other bits and bobs that I buy along the way. Until then tight lines, enjoy the weather on the banks and catch plenty of fish.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Clearly I need to post more often !

It’s been a while since I have written anything on here and slightly disappointed that I have not kept the updates coming. Work has played a massive part in not finding the time but I have still managed to hit the bank on regular occasions. So what have I been doing since my last post?
My fishing has sort of taken a step in a different direction over the past year or so with regards to where I fish and how. Looking at my older posts you would have probably realised that I am spending more and more time now on the canals and rivers, and a direction I am currently enjoying. Don’t get me wrong I still like the odd commercial match and fish my fair share most months but my passion to get back on the natural venues is becoming more and more appealing.
I sort of look at it this way, when I’m on a canal and drop my float in you never know what you’re going to catch next depending on baits used (take for example fishing the far shelf on a canal with pinkie and groundbait, a method I enjoy knowing I can catch a steady rate of fish.  You start catching small fish then a bonus skimmer to 1 lb comes along which wasn’t expected) and in a match that could bump your weight up considerably as well as the enjoyment of catching it on small hooks and light lines/elastics. Granted it’s not every ones cup of tea but for me there is a certain skill involved with regards to reading the swim as well as presenting your bait.

I feel moving back to these sort of venues has also helped back on the commercial scene, and what I mean by that is certain lessons have been taken from the canals rivers and lakes adjusted accordingly looking more closely at my shotting patterns, floats, line and what I want to achieve suppose it can be described in one word as “watercraft”.

As for commercials there is still a time and a place that I make for to get out and about (you’re not always going to catch a shed load of fish on a natural venue so a day out catching carp is always a welcome after a hard match on say a canal (and just like a commercial it can be hard work some days) 

Another thing I have always looked at is venues (now I am no means a venue expert on any venue and don’t spend a lot of time fishing one stretch of the canal week in week out or a commercial for that matter) and like to spread my time out across a variety of venues and 9 times out of 10 will never fish the same venue/stretch twice in 1 month. I sort of enjoy getting round out and about. Take for example April/May I have fished the Sensas Kennet & Avon canal spring series  twice on 2 different stretches, I will have fished the Sensas Gloucester canal 3 times spring series (3 different stretches) Orchard lakes, also fished Todbur Manor, Witherington farm, Viaduct twice so I do my fair share of travelling to different venues and keeps me keen.Over the past few months I dread to think how far I’ve travelled in my car just to get to matches.

Since I last posted I’ve had my ups and downs in match fishing and I will be honest I’ve had some pretty crap results as well as some good ones. The winter league I did with Pewsey started of great with a section win but then found it hard going to put any decent run of results together for the rest of the matches. Still time on the bank has still taught me some valuable lessons. 

Couple of results that stick out was the Angling For Hero’s match held at Willinghurst fishery, drawing an un fancied lake in the form of pittance in a 90 peg match I managed to beat most coming 4th on the day using bomb and pellet tactics winning the section and lake. 

Looking back at the Army Angling Federation group 2 Fur & feather match at Witherington Farm on a 50 peg match I managed to squeeze a match win by 1 kilo becoming the group 2 Fur&Feather champion for that year which is by no mean easy considering the anglers that fish( that goes for them all to be honest)
Another one has to be the Sensas Commercial house league which was held on the K&A Canal at Bathampton on an 86 peg match which saw me take just under 10lb of skimmers to come 2nd overall and a day that I enjoyed having not seen the stretch before. 

There are other section frames and match wins on commercials and canals but I think the above stand out at the minute. So looking at what I’m currently doing and involved with, as I’ve mentioned above I am currently fishing the Sensas K&A Canal spring series teams of 4 with Sensas Cardiff Nomads as well as the Sensas Gloucester canal teams of 4 (which is a baptism of fire at the minute being a difficult venue to get your head round) before heading away with work for 2 months. On my return I have the Angling Trust Upper Thames winter league to deal with before potentially getting in on the action for the Pewsey teams of 4 series on the K&A Canal before hitting the Basingstoke Canal for their winter series teams of 4. Plus fishing a few commercials along the way where ver takes my fancy. 

Sunday sees me back on the Gloucester canal before hitting Viaduct fishery Wednesday before heading back to the K&A canal the Sunday after so at the minute and while I have the chance it’s all go with the fishing.

Friday, 26 September 2014

North Wessex Winter league Round 1 Bristol Avon Sutton Benger 21st Sept 14

Today saw me back on the Bristol Avon at Sutton Benger for the first round of the North Wessex winter league fishing for Pewsey team 2. After last week’s practise I was sort of confident I could put a few fish in the net and help the 6 man team out with regards to points.
This must have been the first time I have fished in a team for a winter league as I have always gone it alone in the past but with the chance to get some team fishing under my belt it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up and I thank Pewsey & District Angling Association for the chance. 

After a quick half hours car journey down to Lynham I seemed to be the first one there (must have been too keen) but it wasn’t long before the rest of the team showed. Having paid my entrance fee for the league and pools for the match it wasn’t long before the draw came around. Having managed to gain snippits of info throughout the week there were certain areas I wanted to stay away from and I preferred to be placed below the weir. 

With the draw done and Leo Pocock using his magical drawing arm we were placed on the end of every section which was a bonus. I had drawn E8 and with D section being from the weir down I was fearful I would end up on a bend where I didn’t want to be.
With a quick 10 minute ride in the car I was at the stretch, with kit out I made the 10 minute walk to my peg and noticed I had drawn just off the bend but in an area which didn’t produce the week before with anglers packing away and not weighing in. With a slight sigh I started getting my kit out understanding the fact that I was team fishing and the name of the game was to put as many fish in the net for points so was determined to give it a good go. 

First mess up of the day saw me throw my keep net out and decide not to hold onto it, so in slow motion I watched as the whole of my keepnet hit the water and started to sink slowly. With the bank being 4ft drop down to the water I quickly got the landing net handle out and prodded around to see how deep the water was. Another 4ft deep with a slight ledge close to the bank about 1 ft great I thought so with a quick balancing act I was of the bank and in the water trying to retrieve my keep net when the ledge gave way and I ended up to my thighs in water, still got my keepnet back and just about got back up the bank. Taking my wellies off and pouring out the water you could see the other anglers going to their pegs chuckling to themselves, oh well.

With me finally settled it was time to look at the swim. It had a slow flow with a nice colour in it and it looked deep (this was confirmed when I started plumbing around) I couldn’t really fish down the sides due to the vegetation and with me being 4ft up in the air on the bank I was sky lined from the start which didn’t help. I opted for 3 swims a 5m pole line 11m pole line and a 14 ½ meter pole line right up against an overhanging tree on the far bank, with the waggler setup as backup. There was a nice gap in the tress just up to my left which I could have reached with 16 meters but with the rule of no fishing up stream then it was out (shame as it looked as a good chub holding area) Looks like I would have to try and tempt them out and onto my 14 ½ m swim which was always going to be hard as they enjoy having overhead cover.

With all my lines they were 8ft deep so set up a 1gram, 2 gram and 2.5gram Sensas Jean Francois pole float starting with the lightest float near with the heaver floats moving out where the flow was at its best. All bulk was set 18 inches from the hook with the plan of changing it as I saw fit depending on the bites. The 1gram float was fished slightly over depth and this would be my worm line and wanted the worm planted to the bottom of the river. Feed for the other 2 lines would consist of lose feeding hemp, caster and bronze maggot with caster and red maggot being the hook bait of choice.
I did mix about half a kilo of groundbait but didn’t want to use it unless I was in trouble and the fishing was hard, as even though it does bring in the smaller fish I was after the larger stamp and plenty of them. Still with the peg not having much form it was something I had in the back of my mind that I might end up using it. 

With the all in called it was out with the worm on the short line fed via a bait dropper and a pouch of caster and hemp fed across. My match started slow with no initial run of fish coming to the net. I managed to catch fish of all 3 lines in the first hour but it was slow and it seemed the fish didn’t want to settle, yet the fish I was catching were of a good stamp. 

With half the match gone I was getting slightly worried I was being left behind in the section and with me not being able to see the rest of the section I opted to feed my groundbait on the short line to see if I could get the fish to move in and settle. This brought a quick run of fish  before the swim died yet again. Still with the odd fish coming from the other 2 swims and the odd fish of the waggler I opted to put my 16 meter section on and try and push the rig further towards the far bank over hanging tree and let it trot down. This brought a nice run of 5 chublet and a sigh of relief (a few more fish in the net and a good stamp at that) It was clear to see they had been feeding on my caster and hemp as their mouths were full of it. With an hour left I noticed one of the anglers to my left pack up and disappear (at least I wasn’t last in my section I thought to myself) A few more fish in the last hour and with the all out being called I thought I had blown it within the section and for the team. With Paul Giddings on the peg to my right in F section he was admitting to 4lb and I was admitting to 2lb it wasn’t long before the scales were on route round to me first. 

The general feeling was the section had fished poor and most had struggled and with the scales zeroed it was time to pull my net out and see what I had. A few eye brows were raised with the remarks “their quality fish” and considering I had to scratch around to find them I presently surprised to put 4lb2oz on the scales. With others saying they had struggled I followed the scales around the section as I had already packed my kit away.  As I followed them around it was clear to see most had struggled with very few quality fish in the net but at the same time quite a few small fish had been caught. With 3lb11oz the nearest to mine I had won my section and gained a valuable 8 points for the team. 

With Danny Jones taking F section and the rest of the team gaining mid section results it was interesting to see where we would finish overall. Back at the pub and with the scores being finalised Pewsey team 1 had come 2nd, Pewsey team 2 had finished 3rd and Pewsey team 3 had come joint 4th. Overall a good day had by all with stores of lost chub above the weir being the talk over a pint. Still a strong performance by th October. 
Pewsey & District Angling Association over the first round with some good results. The next round is being hosted by Clanfield on their home water on the river Thames on the 5

Before that though I find myself back on the K&A canal for the next round of Pewsey’s canal championships’ before shifting my attention back onto the commercials for a day at Willinghurst Fisheries for a charity Help 4 Hero’s match on the 4th October.  Winters coming and things are starting to get busy.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Saturday Open Bristol Avon at Sutton Benger 13th September 14

With the sun out and Phill Colins “easy lover” blasting over the car stereo plus getting some funny looks as I made my way through Marlborough it was just over an hour’s drive to Sutton Benger and the Bristol Avon for the Saturday open. I was keen to get on this when I found out they were running one as I am back there next weekend for the start of Wessex Winter league with Pewsey. Having never fished the stretch before it was sort of a throw away match with me looking to try and gauge how best to attack the venue and sort out the better stamp of fish.  

Having arrived I found out that we would be fishing the lower stretch from the weir down (meant nothing to me at the time but noticed the further downstream you went the less flow was around) I wanted to be as close to the weir as possible where there was plenty of flow and an area that screamed fish. Watching the locals get their kit out of the cars I noticed the lads had plenty of worms for bait (brought a kilo myself) and had already been told you need plenty of worm and maggots for the stretch, but lay off the groundbait or you will just get bitted out with small fish.

Having a quick chat with the other 2 Pewsey lads that had also booked on it wasn’t long before the draw, the golden peg was drawn and the locals said that if the right angler was on it then that would fall (well that wasn’t going to be me then) as I drew peg 16 at the weir, result ! just where I wanted to be. Whilst the peg looked uncomfortable setting up wise it had a few options to go at to find the fish with some good slack water close in and running water further out towards the far bank.
Plan was set 3 rigs up to hit the swim with the waggler as backup. I wanted to start short for as long as possible before having to move out, I noticed within the swim there was a load of weed and cabbage heads just off to my left and were clearly visible (nice perch holding area with the odd specimen lump hopefully lurking around) the next 2 lines would be concentrated in the faster moving water towards the far bank where there was a clear run off from the weir. The waggler was set up and would also be used on the far bank swim should the fish not want a pole over their heads. My rigs were as follows 

5 Meter swim straight out 7ft deep
Elastic number 8, Browning Cenex 0.12mm mainline, Sensas Jean Francoius 1gram float, 0.10mm 8inch hooklength finished off with a size 16 B520 hook. Rig to be fished 3inch laid on bottom to keep the bait still. 

11 Meter swim far bank 8ft deep Rig 1
Elastic number 8, Browning Cenex 0.10mm mainline, Sensas Jean Francoius 2.5gram float, 0.10mm 8inch hooklength finished off with a size 18 B520 hook. Bulk of weight 12 inches from hook. Heavy float in aid to get the bait down and hold back against the faster flowing water within the swim.

11 Meter swim far bank 8ft deep Rig 2
 Elastic number 8, Browning Cenex 0.10mm mainline, Dino Roach Royal 1 gram float, 0.10mm 8inch hooklength finished off with a size 18 B520 hook. Bulk of weight 12 inches from hook. Bait just touching bottom main purpose of the rig to trot it through and see if the fish preferred it running at them. 

Mainly for the far bank and set at half depth with the option going deeper should the fish be sitting towards the bottom. Kit used Champion choice 13ft match light rod matched to a Xitan MF 930 reel.
With the all in soon called it was straight out with a bait dropper full of chopped worm and caster on my 5 meter line. Leaving it to settle it was a pouch of bronze maggot and a pouch of hemp on my far bank swim before chucking the waggler over it and letting it slowly trot downstream. This brought a run of small fish but not what I was looking for. A shift to my 5 meter swim and it became apparent that the perch had moved in over my bait as a steady run of perch came in quick succession before the line died down. A quick re-feed through a bait dropper and again brought a run of quality perch to the net. Now in a rhythm of catching short whilst still feeding my far bank swim I hooked a nice perch, after a quick fight with it trying to head for cover and any snag within range I had its head up. I was just about to land it when smash a pike had gone for the perch getting the perch and cutting my hook length at the same time (perch must have been 1 ½ lb and the pike was a hell of a lot bigger).
New hooklength on and back out saw the line still producing but not as quickly as it had been doing. A run of yet more perch and a few more hooklegnths lost due to the know resident pike who was having his lunch on me the swim was now starting to slow to the point of the line taking too long to produce a fish and was becoming unproductive with regards to putting a weight together. With the far bank swim being fed for the last 2-3 hours I was hoping the fish would be lining up.

Shipping out and starting at the start of the run produced some good quality roach which were sure to build my weight but it wasn’t long before the pike had realised this and was still hungry for more. I was finding that some of the fish best responded to me slowing the bait down before inching it through and slowing it down towards the backend of the trot with the better stamp at the end of the swim. The only battle now was trying to get them in quickly enough before the pike had his tea as he had set up camp at the end of the swim as well. I adjusted all my rigs so I could break down and swing to hand on either my top 4 or 5 so I could get the fish in quicker but still the pike persisted and were quicker than me at times. With swim now starting to slow down I made the decision to rest it
before hitting the 5 meter line again.

Hopefully the perch were still there and the pike had moved off and this proved right with a big perch first put in to about a 1 ½ lb. Another steady run of perch and I was in again feeding far bank and quickly getting the fish out of the water on my 5 meter line. Once again it was evident that the pike had followed me back onto my 5 meter line and after a few more hooklengths and lost fish (one being my fault as the elastic streamed out of my pole with a bigger perch heading straight into the snags on the right of my swim) the swim again died. Back out on my far bank line for the last hour saw me frantically shipping in and out putting together another 2lb not knowing what everyone had as I was blinded from the rest further down the bank. 

With the all out called and a quick minute to reflect on the last 5 hours I felt I had spent too much time on my 5 meter line trying to make it work when clearly it had died and maybe lost a couple pounds across. Add that to the 2 lost perch reaching for a combined weight of 3 ½ - 4lb due to pike and one taking me into a snag I had lost a few pounds, still 85 fish and I reckoned I had 7lb. With no time to lose it was get the kit away and off downstream to do the weighing in. With the last 2 anglers on the stretch already passing me it looked like it had fished hard for some (still less to weigh in)
Going up the bank there were weights from 5lb-7lb and had a feeling it was going to be tight. With the scales coming round and my turn to weigh in, lifting my net I knew then I had more than 7lb and this was confirmed with 8lb14oz going onto the scales. A small smile on the face as I knew I had won the match but at the same time disappointed I hadn’t put double figures onto the scales. Still no need to beat myself up too much I had never seen the stretch before and it was good to come away with a result. 

Next weekend sees me back down where I think another simple approach will be required but at the same time fishing within a team means putting fish in the net and scoring points so depending on where I draw could mean same tactics or slightly refined one as to not let the team down.