Monday, 14 July 2014

Shearwater lake nr Warminister Part 1

My fishing seems to have taken a back step at the minute due to work and family life but managed to
spend a couple of weekends down at shearwater lake nr Warminster. For those that are not in the know this is one of the jewels in the crown down this neck of the woods in fishing terms. Whilst no match fishing is allowed on the lake it is very well known for its specimen carp and large shoals of bream and skimmers as well as holding a good head of roach.
The lake its self is approx 37 acres with depths from ranging from 4-6ft all the way to 20 odd ft on the dam wall. The lake is surrounded by woodland it is a part of the Longleat estate which holds another 3 lakes.
I managed 2 days on the lake 1 being the 6th July and the other on 12th July fishing different methods throughout the 2 visits.

6th July
Having arrived early and expecting the gates to have just opened I arrived to find the gates opened and Bivi's everywhere (The gates used to open at 0700 now it looks as if they are open 24/7 allowing the carp anglers to fish both banks) So picking a swim wasn't going to be easy due to limited swims left. I opted for a swim about 50 meters further down the lake from the boat house which was free and was perfect for the tactics I was going to use for the day.
With Shearwater I like to split the day down into 2 fishing 2 methods one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
The plan was to fish long traditional feeder tactics with natural baits moving on to fishing a pellet feeder short in the afternoon the target species was the skimmers and bream, but trying to sort out the better stamp of bream.
 Morning Feeder gear

The long swim consisted of the following bait and tackle
50/50 mix of brown crumb and Browning's Champion Choice Sweet Breams ground bait with chopped worm and caster fed through a Browning Wire match medium cage feeder with a lob worm nipped of with a caster on the hook.
The tackle used for the job was a Browning Black Viper MK12 rod, a stepped up feeder rod powerful enough to get the feeder out long but not sacrificing on the sensitivity to spot the finicky bites that sometimes are encountered here. Reel was a Browning Xitan MF 940 reel matched to 0.22m 9.80lb Cenex Feeda line. Hook length was a 3ft Cenex 0.16mm 6.0lb finished of with a B911 size 14 hook.

Afternoon Pellet Feeder Gear

4mm/2.3mm dampened Skretting pellet with a small amount of Sensas IM5 natural mixed in. Hookbait was a 6mm Bait tech strawberry jelly pellet.
Tackle consisted of a Browning Champion Choice 11ft super feeder to a Xitan MF 930 reel. Reel line was again Cenex Feeda 0.18mm 6.10lb. Pellet feeder was a small Guru inline feeder finished off with a 3 inch Cenex 0.14mm size 16 PR36 hook.

Onto the mornings swim, with knowledge of the bottom of the lake being firm and stony (just ask the carp anglers when they retrieve their heavy leads to find them bashed up)  I wanted to fish long but at the same time accurate and comfortably so found a marker on the far bank and cast out. Retrieving the feeder I had 85 turns ideal for what I wanted to achieve. Next part was to get some bait down on
the bottom so changed to a bigger feeder  less the hook length and cast out 10 big feeders full of chopped worm and caster plugged by the 50/50 mix of brown crumb and ground bait. A change of feeders and a added hooklength and another cast out saw me sit for about 5 minutes before the rod wrapped round and a nice bend in the rod saw me land a carp ! (not what I came for but neither or less a fish in the net)
Another cast then saw the tip slowly go round and with less of a bend in the rod and a welcome sight came to the surface in the shape of a 4lb bream. This carried on for about 2 hours before the bites died of and the swim became quiet (had a feeling the carp might of bullied their way in and pushed the bream out as they have a tendency to do). Theory was proven when yet again the rod tip shot round and carp number 2 was shortly in the net after a quick fight.
Having sat for approx 10-15 minutes it was clear the bream had backed off from the feed but there were indications they were there just not sat right on the feed, so I changed to a 5ft hook length to see if they were still interested in the hook bait.
This proved a good choice as it wasn't long before another bream fell victim to my landing net. The change seemed to work and the bites seem to come quicker. Overall I must of had about 75-90lb of bream all in a mornings work average size was 4lb moving up towards 7lbs. Next stop was the pellet feeder in the afternoon.

For my pellet feeder swim I clipped up at 45 turns so about halfway short of the long swim I had used in the morning. Same again I was after the bream but expected to catch a few carp (I had been throwing 4mm pellets down the edge all morning to see what would come in close, needless to say the carp were in in numbers mopping up the bait then moving back out and by the looks of it preferred the more shallower water.
Now with my pellets I had prepared them that morning with the rest of my bait and with the sun shining down on them They could have dried out, What I tend to do now is bring an atomiser for just this occasion. A quick couple of sprays every 15-30 minutes and a towel over the top keeps the moist and soft ready for when you need them.
I like to mix the 2.3mm and the 4mm pellets together and with a bit of groundbait ands to the dinner on a plate effect when using a pellet feeder, depending on the day I will either use a hookbait similar to what I am feeding or I will use one that stands out as a sight bait (natural pellet with a red hookbait stands out which can lead to quicker bites as the fish target the larger sight bait.
With my first cast as the I sunk the line I had a bite almost straight away, a 5lb bream what a result. The fish were clearly in the warmer shallow water as it then manic over the next 3 hours with skimmers and bream fall to the net at a fast pace (one thing I did notice was they were a better stamp
of fish to those caught on the long feeder tactics) clearly the bream and skimmer are used to being fed pellet on a regular basis and are quite happy to indulge.
 To speed up the bites the hook bait was now not being inserted into the pellet feeder as the bream were hitting it sometimes in mid water or just as it hit the bottom. Still the carp were happy to sit just in front of my footplate and much of the free offerings I had been feeding. With the time ticking on and about 100lb of bream caught it was time to call it a day.

Looking back it seemed the bream were happy to feed on the long line yet backed off after a while once the carp moved in (a change of hooklength sorted that), yet on the shorter line they were confident to feed quite aggressively with a better stamp of fish ending up in the net. Clearly pellets are their choice bait and out caught the long swim.

Notice this is Part 1, Once I get the chance I will write up part 2 which saw me change from feeder tactics to the slider and pellet wag methods.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Gold Valley Lakes Fish O Mania Qualifer 23rd Apr

Today saw me fishing in my last Fisho Mania qualifier down at Gold Valley. After the disappointment of not being able to fish the Viaduct qualifier due to food poising I was keen to get down to Gold on the day and see what the draw bag gods gave me.
With most Fisho Mania qualifiers in the past the excitement of taking part normally leaves me tossing and turning the night before struggling to get a decent nights sleep, however I slept well knowing all my kit was prepared and ready.
With a hours drive down the road it didn't take long to get there, the car park was over flowing and knew if I had drawn bad or had a bad match there was no chance of leaving early as I would be blocked in, so the attitude was to fish no matter what and see what comes up.
Having met a few familiar faces and a chat it was time to business and the draw. With the que already formed I jumped on the back end of it and drew my peg when it came round to it. Peg 81 on middle wasn't what I was hoping for as I wanted to be on Gold in the early numbers. From the cafe you could see the wind moving across the lakes and down towards the cafe. With me being on peg 81 I was on the back end of it 3 pegs of the corner and hoping there were some fish that wanted to stay off the wind in the calmer water.
Arrival to the peg saw me set my kit up, this time the rods coming out before the pole as I planned on setting about fishing  feeder and bomb tactic's with the pellet waggler thrown in should the fish come up in the water.
The pole would come into play later on but first it was cast out clip up and ensure all my rods were hitting the same spot.
Kit setup was as follows

Method Feeder 
Browning Champion Choice 12ft feeder, Xitain FD 930 reel 6lb mainline to a running Kobra 20g method feeder, 4 inch 0.16mm hooklength finished of with a PR36 size 16 hook banded hair rig.
Bomb Line 
Browning Commerical King 10ft, Browning ultimatch reel 6lb mainline to a running Browning hybrid bomb to a 1ft 0.16mm hooklength on a size 16 PR38 hook banded hair
Pellet Waggler 
Browning Medium Commerical King Pellet Waggler, Xitian FD 940 reel 5lb mainline to weighted pellet wag starting with a 2ft hooklength size 16 PR36 hook banded hair rig.

These 3 rods gave me the option to change from one to another depending on where the fish were and what they wanted to feed on.

The pole was set up with 2 throw away lines 5 meters out and 13 meters out and planned to only sit on them should I be in trouble on the tip and planned on going over them should the day be slow and in the last 1-2 hours to see if the fish had come in short.
Set up was as follows
Pole Bowning Z9 
5 meter swim
Browning hollow green 12-14 rating Mick Wilkinson cane diamond 0.40g float to a 0.18mm main line,0.16mm 6 inch hooklength. Size 16 PR36
13 meter swim 
Browning hollow green 12-14 rating Mick Wilkinson cane diamond 0.40g float to a 0.18mm main line,0.16mm 6 inch hooklength. Size 16 PR36

With the all in Hooter being sounded it was off to work with the the bomb deployed first with an 8mm pellet on the hook and a few 8mm pellets catapulted out.
I had a feeling this was going to be a waiting game for the fish to come onto the feed, a few liners suggested there were fish in the swim. Looking left and right of me both anglers had deployed the same tactic but notice I had cast further out into the middle of the lake.
After 30 minutes the rod tip went round and it wasn't long before a 1 1/2lb Skimmer was in the net. Not the best of starts as I was after the carp in the lake as this was what was going to build my weight up. Looking left and right again I noticed they hadn't caught so couldn't complain. After an hour on the bomb and no indications of liners and with the tip not going round I switched over to the pellet wagger to see if they were up in the water. First cast and fish on, however by the way the fish was making a run for it it was foul hooked and this was confirm when the line went slack and all I came back with was a scale. 30 minutes and no more bites saw me back on the bomb, this time no indications what so ever and clearly the fish had backed off, where as before the were indications to say the fish were feeding, even if it was skimmers. With no one catching on both banks top end of the lake it was clear either the pressure of every peg in had caused the fish to not play game or they were down the bottom end.
With angler to my right moving to his pole line and losing a carp it was time to have a look and see if any fish had settled on my line, straight away the float went under and a 2lb skimmer was in the net. Back out and another 30 minutes saw me bite less. Back onto the tip and this time on the method with dampened down micro pellets wrapped around it. This method didn't see any action so it was back out on the bomb, by now I was quite happy to pack away with an hour to go with only 2 skimmers to show for it. With the bomb out I collapsed my pole rigs and sat it out.
I then had a 30 minute spell which saw me land 3 carp on the bomb and lose a fish of considerable size and things were looking up. By now the angler to the right had 1 carp on his pole line and there were signs the fish were starting to move in, with my pole rigs back on the winders which I came to regret it but it was now a matter of sticking at it on the bomb hoping for a few more fish. This didn't happen and I watched the angler to the right catch one in the last 5 minutes as well as one of the anglers across the far bank.
3 of us in the section with 3 fish were up for the section win however when the scales came round I was short by a pound in weight and lost the section with the other 2 angler weighing in the same weight.
With the wind blowing down lake and having a chat with the lads I knew I wasn't going to compete with the better pegs on Gold, still a day out on the bank fishing in a Fish O Mania qualifier is a day not at work. Always next year.
Well done to Pemb Wrighting winning the qualifier with 115lb 15oz from peg 5 on Gold lake.

Lychgate Fishery Stoke Golding Saturday Open 19th Apr

With my Easter leave in full swing it was time to go back up to the midlands to see the family as well as get back out on the bank, this time at a local fishery just down the road where I had not fished
Leading up to me fishing I had kept an eye on the open results and noticed due to a few cold nights and frosts had knocked the fishery slightly in regards to weights with the fish not wanting to play game, but with a chance to fish somewhere new and pit my skills against the venue locals I thought it was worth a shot.
I arrived nice and early for the draw and sat down ears to the ground to find out how the match fished the day before and where the fish were appearing. With sketchy info my hand went into the draw bag and out came peg 46 which meant nothing to me at this stage other than it was on the strip/canal part of the lake and hadn't been fishing that well.
Having arrived at the peg I noticed I had a spare peg to my right with another angler being on the left so had space to play with.
To my left I had around about 8 meters to the far bank with it getting wider the further right I went, opening up into a small bay before splitting off further down towards the island and the next angler pegged.
With the wind blowing down the lake from right to left the plan would be to set up 2 lines to the left where the bank was 8 meters out then off to the right where I had space I would set up another line 13 meters out before deploying the bomb and pellet towards the far bank which was out of pole reach that way if the fish backed off I might be able to keep in touch with them.
Rigs for the day were as follows

Pole Browning Xitain Z9
Top 2 plus 2 left swim 
Browning yellow hollow 8-10 rating on a preston pulla. Hillbilly Frostie 0.20gr 0.12mm main line, 0.10m, size 18 B911F1 hook.
8 meter swim  on the far bank

Browning blue hollow 10-12 rating on a preston pulla. Hillbilly Oliver 0.1gr 0.14mm main line, 0.12mm, size 18 B911F1 hook.
13 meter swim 
Browning yellow hollow 8-10 rating on a preston pulla. Hillbilly Frostie 0.30gr 0.12mm main line, 0.10m, size 18 B911F1 hook.
Bomb setup 
Browning Commerical King 10ft Bomb rod, Browning Ultimatch reel loaded with 5lb line to a running bomb setup to 1ft 0.16mm hooklength, PR 36 size 18 hook pellet band.

With the fish not wanting to play i chose a light setup so that I could land every fish and make them count, understandably there are large carp in the lake and bags of over 100lb are recorded in the warmer months. But with yet another frost I didn't think this would be the case today and with the average fish being 3-4lb I could land these with ease on the setup above.

With the all in being called all lines were fed from left to right with 3mm dampened down pellets and 5-10 pieces of meat. The plan was to feed light and ease into the the match. I started on my short line (2 plus 2) of to the left first half way from the far bank to see if I could get the fish to get there heads down and catch a few as the came down the lake from the top. After 15 minutes and a few indications the float went under and fish number 1 was in the net with a weight of 4lbs, result ! so went straight back on the line to see if I could get another. After a fruitless 30 minutes and no more indications I swapped swims and went for the 8 far bank line to see if the fish had backed off and were moving tight to the bank, this wasn't the case and after 30 odd minutes it was time for a change.

At this point with 1 carp in the net I wasn't worried due to the anglers either side of me not catching either and knew it could be hard fishing for the day. A move over to the 13m line saw me land another carp and overall whilst it was slow was happy. All the time I had been on the pole lines I had been feeding little and often 8mm pellets across on my bomb line. With no more indications on the pole lines it was time to re feed and switch to the bomb. I had been watching a few of the rushes on the far bank twitching whilst sat on the pole.
With the bomb out about 2ft of the far bank It was time to sit it out and wait. After a few re casts and another 60 minutes it was time to shift back onto the pole lines (I had noticed I had a few liners whilst the bomb was out so there were fish passing through)
On moving back onto my left lines and spending a hour back on them it produced no more fish, slightly surprised as this was the narrowest part of the peg and with me having 2 lines I thought it would catch a few fish moving through with the less space and more chance they would feed.
Back on the 13 meter line saw me land another carp to 4lb and with 12lb in the net was slightly worried as the peg to my right was now catching and losing a few.
The next 45 odd minutes saw me land another carp and approx 15-16lb in the net and no indications that other anglers were doing well other than the lad to my right who was now starting to catch carp at a steady rate I re feed all my pole line and went back out on the bomb. With another fruitless 30 minutes and time fast running out it was now make or break.
However the "make" didn't come into it and the "break" did with me not catching any more fish throughout the rest of the match.
On the all out I had been soundly beaten by the angler on the peg to my left who had put in a good display (taking 3rd in the match) With word that a few anglers out of sight had caught steady I made the choice to throw back to save time with the weigh in and to hide my blushes.
What had started well turned into a crash and burn match with me not being able i believe to keep the fish in the peg with there heads down.

1st Andy Swift, peg 26 - 63lb 8oz pole/corn
2nd Steve Brindley, peg 2 - 42lb 11oz pole/corn
John Waples peg 72 - 40lb 15oz pole/pellet
Mick Smith peg 68 - 39lb 11oz pole/maggot 
5th Albert Bray, peg 12 - 28lb 7oz pole/meat

Overall I enjoyed my visit to the fishery and found the lads to be friendly. Having a bad match has deterred me and I plan on fishing the venue again once back in the midlands to see if I can improve my results. 
Next match sees me at Gold Valley for my last Fish O Mania qualifier of the year. Just hope the drawbag gods are on my side for that one.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Army Angling Federation Group 2 Todber Manor

Well it’s been a while since I have fished an Army Angling Federation match and with me being on Easter leave gave me the perfect opportunity to get back on the bank.
Todays venue was Todber Manor with 38 anglers split between 2 lakes with 2 sections on Park lake and the other section on white posts. Ideally I wanted to draw park lake due to the fact I had fished it a few times in the past but by no means an expert.
Having made the journey down the A303 I pulled up at the café for a breakfast, nice to see so many familiar faces, some I had not seen in a while.
With the draw soon taking place it wasn’t long before my hand was in the bucket and out came Park lake peg 7 (meant nothing to me at all but was happy with the lake I had drawn).
On getting to my peg I had the island 16 meters across with the island finishing just off to my left. Having fished the lake before the first plan of attack was to fish pellet long and see if we could drum up the F1’s from the far bank.
With a bit of space to my left I wanted to use this to see if any fish moved into the area as it couldn’t be covered by the surrounding anglers and with a ripple on the water was an ideal spot to see if I could get the fish up in the water and catch F1’s.
With a margin to my left with a tree starting to over hang the water I noted this as my margin swim and with another line on the inside of top 2 plus 2. 4 lines in total and was confident I would be able to get a good run of fish going throughout the day.
My long line rig was made up of the following; Browning hollow reflex yellow 8-10 rating, Browning Cenex 0.12mm main line to 0.10mm 4 inch hook length. Float of choice would be a 0.2gr Hillbilly Oliver finished off with a B911F1 hook.
My 14 meter shallow line of to the left would be a jigger float set 2 ft deep with a banded pellet on a size 18 B911F1 hook elastic choice Browning hollow Reflex blue 10-12 rating.
My short line (top 2 plus 2) consisted of a 0.2gr hillbilly Chump and was set on the yellow 8-10 hollow and would be a positive rig with the bulk shot closer to the hooklength with 2 droppers.
My margin line of to the left saw me reach for another Hillbilly pattern this time an AK47 which I would dot right down. This time the elastic was upped to cope with the fish that might be lurking down the side and my choice was Green Reflex Hollow 12-14 rating.
The plan was to feed sparingly on my of my lines with a little and often approach less for the margin swim.
Bait for my of the day would be hard 4mm & 6mm pellets fed on all 3 lines with 4mm expander upping it up to a 6mm if needed.
For my margin swim I planned on lose feeding groundbait adding a few grains of corn and meat with every put in. This gave me the option to change hook baits when required.
With the all in it was time to get to work and try and build some form of rhythm up. It wasn’t long before I was into fish on the far bank with small F1’s coming to the net on a regular basis. I could see there was quite a bit of activity on the far bank with fish topping it was just a matter of keeping them there. The float shot under with yellow elastic streaming out of my top kit (this clearly wasn’t an F1 and gave me a run about for about 5 minutes before it was scooped up with an 8-9lb carp in the net. With the feed going in on a regular basis on the far bank and shallow line it didn’t take long before 2-4 ducks on the lake took notice with them closing in on my far bank swim as well as hovering around my shallow line intercepting my bait as I fed with my catapult, not what I wanted or needed but carried on never the less.
This sort of affected the fish and I could see that the activity of the far bank was becoming less and less with the ducks started to muscle their way in. Then it came, I couldn’t buy a bite switching between my far bank and shallow line brought a few fish but nothing constant (it was all starting to go wrong and I quickly needed to put some fish in the net)
Having persevered for the next hour or so trying to get the fish back in the swims I decided to have a look down the margins as I was slipping down the pecking order and looking like doing nothing within the match with it half way gone I was positive there would be a few down the left hand side.
Looking down the edge there were signs of fish as the water was starting to colour up as the fish gained confidence and started to feed. On went an 8mm cube of meat and it didn’t take long before the float buried and a better stamp of fish started to come to the net. Over the next hour the margin seemed to be holding a fair few fish, with regular top ups of lose groundbait and a few pieces of corn and meat things seemed to be on the up.
Looking at my watch there was an hour and a half to go and I was thinking to myself if I could keep this up I should be able to redeem myself and scrap a frame within the section (the fish must have heard me as it turned out to be the famous last saying) I foul hook a fish in the next put in which completely destroyed the margin, there were bow waves everywhere as the fish within the swim were clearly spooked by the commotion of the foul hooker and made a bee line for the open water.
After that I spent the other hour and 15 mins as a spectator as Danny Jones and Mick Craddock caught fish after fish down the edge and were putting a good run of fish together.
With the all out called I knew I hadn’t done well and had a guess I had 40lb in the net with the pegs to my right easily beating me.
With the scales coming round my thoughts were proven with me weighing in 23kg’s with Danny and Mick respectably weighing 30kg and 45kgs clearly and soundly beaten.
On the bright side the weather had been nice with the sun shining with a steady breeze, couldn’t help think that the sun seemed to play a part in the fish not wanting to play once it was up at midday as the fish could be seen cruising just under the surface also enjoying the sun.  
Looking back I could have changed things earlier which could of seen me land more fish but at the time I tried to push the swim to make what I had set out work.
Oh well always next time and as always its good to just get out on the bank and catch a few fish.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Day on the K&A Canal at Pewsey Wharf

Well with the start of my Easter leave period it was time to forget about work for a few weeks and focus back on my fishing (something I have been unable to do for the past couple of month)
Not looking to fish a match I either had the choice of local commercial waters, Shearwater reservoir or the Kennet & Avon Canal. After a bit of too and throwing I decided that I would nip down the canal for the day to blow off the cob webs. With near enough 6-7 miles of canal to fish due to being a member of Pewsey District Angling Association I opted for Pewsey Wharf due to the ease of getting there and a parking space which is close to the bank side.
Having never fished it before thought it would be a good place to go and see how it fished.
Having arrived at about 9 in the morning with just some punch, pinkies and groundbait it soon became apparent with the water having plenty of colour that the punch would be out of the question and  I didn’t see it playing a major part of the day to temp many fish.
I opted for 3 lines in total 1 short, 1 down the centre of the canal and 1 at 13 ½ meters across. On plumbing up I noticed there wasn’t the define track you normally got down the centre of the canal with it being nearly 4-4 ½ ft all the way across, it was also towing through at a steady pace bringing with it plenty of surface leaves, twigs and shrubs add to the fact that the warf can get busy with boat traffic I was having second thoughts on if this was a good idea or not, but still I was here now so of I went.
The first line I set up a Tubertini Stix 4x12 to fish punch short (with the water being a chocolate colour I knew this could be hit or miss but thought I maybe able to mug a few fish whilst my other lines settled.
My main line was Browning Cenex 0.08mm to a 4inch 0.06mm hooklength with a positive shotting of a bulk and 2 droppers. Hook pattern for nearly 90% of my canal fishing was a B511 size 22.
My centre line consisted of 2 rigs one was a Tubertini  4x14 set up exactly the same way as my short line. The 2nd rig was a Tubertini Concord 4x14 which would be used for when the canal started towing through giving me more control over the float and presentation as I could hold it back.
My 13 ½ meter line consisted of a Tubertini Concord float again this time in a 4x12 with a spread out bulk, I later changed to a Dardun slim 4x12 later on in the day. This line would be purely a groundbait and pinkie line and this is where I intended on catching most of my fish depending of the boat traffic. 

My Groundbait consisted of 50/50 mix of Browning Champion Choice Gardons and Canal, giving it a nice colour and sweetish smell but with not to much feed contained with in it.

Having got everything ready I fed all my lines and went straight for the short line, after a fruitless 30-45 minutes with no bites I shifted to my centre line. After a slow run of fish and trying both rigs adjusting the depth up and down as well as the shotting pattern I was stumped, 2 hours in and I had single figures to show for it, there wasn’t much boat traffic and there were plenty of fish showing over the far side so plan C came out and it was to concentrate on the far bank and see if anything became of it.
I fed another 2 golf ball sized balls of groundbait. What I like to do as well is push my thumb into the ball so it creates a whole this gives me the option of filling the void with pinkies then plugging the gap up then least I know my all my bait is getting to the bottom and not being intercepted half way down.
With my Tubertini Concord float over at on the far side it didn’t take long for it to shot under and a better stamp fish was in the net. This carried on for a while and I was steadily putting a few fish in the net and was well into double figures. With the afternoon approaching and the sun moving it was getting difficult to see the float tip due to it being fine and dotted down. This is where my new Dardum slim 4x12 float came in. A thicker more visible tip allowed me to see the float perfect. Having only just got hold of these floats I was keen to give them a go. It proved to be stable and well balanced and considering they are handmade there seems to be a lot of thought and time put into these. A steady design yet strong and sensitive. With the change of float I started adding more fish into the net before the float shot under and number 4 elastic was flying out the top kit. After careful and nervy fight I managed to net a Bream/hybrid to just over 2lb, Result!!
After a run of 4-6 fish I noticed I was having to constantly top up my feed with groundbait and pinkie to keep the fish there and biting. By now I had 40-50 fish. Once again the float shot under and it wasn’t long before a nice 1lb skimmer was in the net (I was hoping this would carry on as the smaller stamp were still weight builders with the odd bonus fishing making an appearance)
It wasn’t to be after a boat came through crashing into the far bank vegetation and then revving the living hell out of its motor to get unstuck, that had just sent every fish packing down the canal and away from the noise and disturbance. I soldiered on for another half hour with no luck and decided to call it a day. On looking in my net I must have put together 6-7lb worth of fish maybe a bit more. Overall not a bad day considering the boat traffic and the conditions on the canal with all the floating debris towing through. What looked like turning into a slow day changed into some what a steady day with a few bonus fish.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Looking for a new reel for 2014 ?

Browning Xitan FD  940 Reel

Impressive reel with large spool diameter for match angling. The ultra smooth and progressive carbon drag system and carbon handle, with an additional double handle supplied, will satisfy even the most demanding angler. The specially desgned line clip has a protective coating to prevent line damage. The line roller runs on ball bearings making the reel incredibly smooth and powerful.

  Standard features

9 bearings for a silky smooth action.
Wide and easy to use line clip.
Non twist line roller with ball bearings.
Sensitive carbon multi-disc front drag.
Continuous anti-reverse.
Shallow aluminium spare spool.
Supplied with sing and double handles.

Black Magic Burner
The Black Magic® name is synonymous with quality match and feeder reels at reasonable prices. The new Black Magic Burner features high ratio gearing to speed the retrieval rate which is particularly useful to save time and energy, when fishing at longer distances. The reel also features a very smooth gearing and a reliable drag system.

Standard features
• Flat long-cast aluminium spool
• Nylon ABS spare spool
• 5 high-performance stainless steel ball bearings and 1 needle bearing
• Continuous anti-reverse
• Gear ratio of 6.1 or 5.5 : 1
• Balanced rotor, producing silky smooth action
• Finely adjustable large-surface front drag
• Compact housing design
• Outstanding line protection line clip.


Ultimatch Competition Reel
A compact, top-quality and good looking front drag match reel with a large diameter spool which stops line coiling and bedding-in – a common problem when using the thicker lines that are now common in match fishing. This reel has been purpose designed for modern competition fishing and is packed with features like a one touch folding handle for convenience when carrying rods ready assembled. Perfect for both float and feeder fishing. Performs as well as it looks. The deep spool supplied has TWO line clips for „double clipping“ – for accurate fishing at distance.

Standard features
  • 6 bearings for super-smooth running and winding power
  • Metal body construction
  • Shallow over-sized metal spools
  • Line friendly clip in a wide recess
  • One-touch folding handle
  • Non-twist line roller and large diameter bail
  • Sensitive multi-disc front drag
  • Continuous anti-reverse
  • Supplied with spare spool

Jeffries Cup Old Nene 6th November 2013

Still catching up with my blog so here is another match that sticks firmly in my mind

Having picked Ben Bentley up at 0330 we made way up country to March in good time, having time to stop off for a McDonalds and a brew.
Having met everyone and having a good chin wag and catch up I learned that I would be fishing in the Army C team. With the draw about to take place off went the captains to draw for the teams, I had managed to get A section which for those who know the area well was pegged behind the BMX track. A quick drive in the van saw Ben draw peg 2 and me on beg 12 just over the bridge and down to the right with a quite a bit of space to play with.

On getting to the peg I had a boat far bank left and right and the run off of some ones back garden (bound to hold a few fish around there)
Looking at the colour of the water is was quite clear and my main plan of attack was to fish bread short and down the track with a hemp line towards the far bank and a bonus line at the edge of one of the boats looking to snare a few decent sized perch.

For my punch line I went with top 3 plus one where it was around 4ft deep and free of weed fishing 4 inch off bottom. For this my set up was as follows my trusty Tubertini Stix 4x14 with Browning Cenex 0.10mm main line to a 4inch 0.08mm hook length. Bulk shotted to get the bait down to where the fish tend to feed. As with all my punch fishing a B511 hook size 20 was used. Elastic choice was size 4 solid Cenex (a slight step up to what I use on a canal in general but there is a good stamp of fish if you can get on them and with everything it needs to be able to do the job)
Another rig was setup but a step up in float to a 4x16 should it start to flow.

My punch line down the track consisted of a Tubertini Concord, I tend to use this float a lot when fishing down a track on a canal or very slow moving river. A sensitive float that I find I can hold back if needed. The same set up was used as per my short rig however this time I started of with a 4x16 shotted with an olivette and a few droppers to get the bait down. And should the flow picked up had a 1.0gram concord set up as well. Elastic was again size 4.

My hemp line was about 2 meters of the far bank where I had found 3ft of water. My setup consisted of the following a Sensas Auchy 0.2gram float shotted using a strung out pattern of number 12 shot. Main line was 0.10mm with a six inch 0.08mm hookength tied to a senses 3405 size 20 hook. The plan was to feed this initially via a pole cup then ping approx 5 grains of hemp over it every 5 minutes and have a look on that line once I had moved onto my track line and keep going over and having a look to see if the roach hemp had turned up.

My last line was my bonus line just of the far right boat hopping to catch a few perch later on in the match if my other lines started to get quiet. For this I used a Richard Lattimer Squat float 4x12 with a 0.12mm mainline and a 0.10mm 8inch hook length to a B983 size 14 hook. This would be fed with worm and caster with a fat lobbie on the hook.

With the all in being called I set to work priming all my swims before settling on my short bread line. The fish seemed to come fast and furious with positive bites leading the way. There had been one or two boats moving up and down but this didn’t seem to cause much problems for the fish and they were more than happy to hang themselves on my hook.
By now I was in a rhythm but noticed it needed a positive approach to keep the fish coming and was feeding a tiny ball after every 3rd fish to keep the bites coming. I knew that sooner or later that my short line would dry up but whilst it was still going I was going to catch every fish I could of it before moving lines. All the time 5 grains of hemp were being pinged over to the far swim in the hope the roach would turn onto it.
After 2 hours and with approximately 3-4lb in the net fishing short the swim died, but at the same time so did the flow. Moving straight down the track saw a few fish in the net but nothing as positively as what had happened in the first two hours. Having a look to my left I notice I wasn’t the only one that had slowed down catching. With me adjusting the rig moving up and down within the water and changing the size of the punch saw a steady run of fish in the net, but now I was having to work a lot harder to put a run of fish together. I noticed that the flow had still stopped which I was surprised due to the amount of rain we had had over the last couple of days and with the old nene being controlled by slues gates.

With 2 hours left it was time to have a look on my hemp line to see if the fish had moved onto it. First put in brought an instant bite and a fish in the net (great I thought if there and they are having it I could soon double my weight due to the stamp that hemp normally brings. Another 2 fish in the net then saw the bites tail off, after setting on it for a while trying to work the rig and change it around it was time to move across to the bonus fish line which I had topped up every hour and then left to see if the fish moved in and started feeding with a bit of confidence. A nice perch or tench would see me push my weight up just that little bit more.

A steady run of smaller perch over the last hour kept me catching and entertained but no big tench or perch this time round.
With the rain now picking up I was glad the all out was called so I could get my kit packed up and away before the heavens opened. Moving around the section saw some good weights come out but with Matt Hall on over 10lb it was always going to be a struggle to get near that. Ben had 6lb 15oz and with a shinny pound on the highest weight between us I wasn’t sure I had that much to compete with. With the scales coming to my peg I put 6lb dead on them 15oz behind Ben and minus £1. I had managed to beat my left and right which I was happy with but felt with the flow dropping off the fish didn’t really seem interested after that. Section winner was Matt Hall with over 10lb.

Still always next year and where I always look forward to any time I can spend on the Old Nene having fished it a few times when fishing in the AAF Gp 3.


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AAF GP2 Kennet & Avon Canal Bishops Cannings 16th October 2013

Its been a while since I updated by blog and now 2014 is upon us I will endeavour to keep it updated from

This was the first match of the Army Angling Federation Group 2 for the 2013-2014 season and saw us fishing the Kennet & Avon Canal down at Bishops Cannings. Having had plenty of rain over the previous night and with it still raining on route down to the canal I sort of gathered that it could be a difficult day for some.

Having had breakfast and getting the draw out of the way it was a quick chat with the other 2 lads within the team before setting off to our respected pegs.
I had managed to draw near enough mid section on peg 9 out of 15 peg section but still felt if I could get my head down and work at it I should be able to pull a few fish in.

Having made my way down the muddy towpath to my peg I noticed the wind was getting up and it was still raining (nothing worse than setting up in the rain) Having looked at the peg it was just over 13 meters wide with a tree just off to the right of me with a boat to my left and right. With the wind picking up and dropping off the plan of attack was to go short fishing punch on a match kit plus 1. With the water quite clear this is where I intended on catching from the off until I had fished it out then moving down the track. My other options were to fish bottom of the far shelf and also far shelf towards the cover of the tree and have this as a bonus fish line as I would be able to fish it all day with the wind.

For my punch lines I set up the following rigs
Short line consisted of a Tubertini Stix 4x14 on 0.08mm Browning Cenex line to a 0.06mm 4 inch hook length finished off with a size 22 B511 hook. Elastic choice was a size 3 solid Browning Cenex elastic. Approx depth was 4 ½ ft deep. Shooting arrangement saw one rig set up strung out and another with a bulk with 2 droppers. If I have time I will always set 2 rigs up that way I can see how the fish like to take the punch. One rig gives a nice slow fall whilst the other one is more positive getting the bait down quickly. Both rigs were set 4 inch of the bottom and this is where I always start then adjust accordingly depending on bites.

Down the track rig consisted of a Tubertini Concord 4x14 using again 0.08mm mainline to a 4inch 0.06mm hook length finished off with a B511 size 22 hook. This was a positive rig with a bulk and a couple of droppers to get the bait down due to having just over 6ft of water. This line would be used once the fish had backed off or the short line became dry. Punch would be the way forward again on this line with a bit of fine gravel mixed in to get the bait down due to the flow but still slow enough to create a cloud on the way down.

Bottom of the far shelf consisted of a Richard Lattimer Squatt float 5x12 same line and hook length but this time on a no 2 solid Browning Cenex elastic. The plan was to use this as a Ground Bait and squatt line should it become hard and I started to struggle. A reversed tapered shotting pattern to help ease with the bait dropping slower, starting 3 inch off the bottom.

 For my bonus fish line tight across I managed to find 2ft of water which was ideal and what I was looking for. For this line I chose a Richard Lattimer Squatt float again this time 4x12. Reason being is with the light conditions it has a very visible tip which can be seen easily. Main line was 0.14mm with a 6inch 0.12mm hook length. Size 7 solid elastic, heavier than the rest of the rigs but should I hit a decent perch I didn’t want to lose it. Hook was a B983 size 16. This line would be fed with worm and caster and with a fat lobby on the hook.

Having sorted my peg out the all in was called, far bank line was fed with worm and caster and left to settle, Squatt line was fed and left with the line being fed by a catapult and 5-6 squatt every 5 minutes.
I began on the short line and cupped in a golf ball size of punch onto the short line.  
Straight away the float went under and it wasn’t long before I settled into a rhythm of catching short and feeding my squatt line. With the fish taking the bait positively I soon moved from my strung out rig to my bulk rig where I was able to catch slightly quicker. After the 2 hours I had managed to catch at a steady rate with the odd top up and a smaller ball of punch added to the swim. With next to no boat traffic all was going well until I had a walker behind me with approx 6 dogs. With the dogs causing a hell of a lot of noise and with the wind picking up the fish seem to move on, don’t know if it was the wind or the noise which unsettled them but the short line had dried up and the fish had moved.
Straight onto my down the track line saw me yet again catch steady for about another hour before that then went dead due to boat traffic. I came short again to see if the fish had turned up again to no avail so it was now over to my squatt line after re-feeding my bonus line.
This brought a steady run of fish to the net but nowhere near the stamp I was catching on the punch, but looking to my left and right it was better than nothing and it looked like some anglers were struggling to get a run of fish together.

With the wind starting to pick up I made the call to get over to my bonus line and see what was there should I not be able to fish it later on. With the float settled it wasn’t long before it went under and small perch was in the net. This continued at a steady pace but nothing of a decent stamp which the canal holds, still fish in the net so I couldn’t complain. With this line starting to get slower with and hour to go I decided to start back on the short line and split the last hour down moving around the swims to see if any fish were still willing to feed. A slow last hour with a few more fish from each swim saw me finish with 119 fish as the all out was called.

Looking at the angler to my left and right I knew I had done well but was interested to see how the end of the sections faired. Had they run away with it or would it be tight at the top for a section placing ?
Moving around with scales it was evident it was going to be close with just under 100grams separating the top 3.
Once everyone had weighed in I learned that I had managed to come 3rd in my section 10grams of 2nd and 70grams of 1st. A result I was happy with considering 1st and 2nd had come nearer the end of the sections but a few more fish would have seen me take the section.

Results Top 3
1st 3.050 kg Danny Jones
2nd 2.930 kg Ben Bentley
3rd 2.920 kg Chris Glover

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Munter Hunting In The Margins

I’m back! It’s been a while due to work and family commitments but I am firmly back on the bank fishing as
hard as ever.
Over the last weekend I decided to dust of the kit and go in search of a few fish and ended up down at Vale Farm near Longparish. The weather seemed spot on slightly cloudy throughout the morning with blue skies and warm sun in the afternoon. Perfect weather for a few fish.
The plan was to hit a few margin fish, due to the fact there are some large carp contained within the lake that regularly feed and hang out close to the bank. Looking at both margins I decided on fishing 4 meters to my left where there was a over hanging tree, a nice feature to fish to and one that would also appeal to a few resident carp. With 2 foot of water and a shelf that came out 1 ft from the bank before a steady slope it seemed a good place to start and one I was confident on catching a few fish.
I am a firm believer in fishing a balanced set up for all my fishing and never going over the top, even in the margins. My main line choice hasn’t changed over the past 2 years and I opt for Browning Cenex line every time, supple and Strong ideal for the type of fishing I set out to do.
 I always use hook lengths as I believe it gives you more options on what line and hook you can use and you are not set to a certain pattern with it tied straight through.
On the other hand you also have to think about fish welfare.
The floats I use have to be tuff as boots due to the nature of margin fishing and it must be able to stand up to getting dragged through bank vegetation and snags. For this I have opted for a Demon G made by G Floats. A diamond shape pattern made from high tech foam.
My hook choice hasn’t changed over the years as I haven’t seen the need to change (if it isn’t broken don’t change it) so a Kamasan B911 is always first choice.
The set up looked something like this 12-14 Browning Cenex Reflex hollow elastic set lose on a pulla bung. 0.16mm main line to 0.14mm 6 inch hook length with a Demon G 0.20g float finished off with a B911 size 14 hook.
The plan of attack was to feed often down the margins with meat and corn and to make as much noise as possible when cupping in down the margin to ring the dinner bell.
The reason why I set the elastic lose is it gives me chance to set the hook once the fish has taken the bait and then walk them out of the swim into open water so as not to spook the remainder of the fish feeding I find with the more larger fish this is a achievable.
How many times have you hit a fish and its felt the resistance on the elastic and bolted for you then to see massive bow waves as the remainder of the fish get spooked and move back out into open water.
Once the fish is in open water I let the balanced tackle do the work.
For my bait it would be a 50/50 mixture of 8mm meat and sweet corn giving me the options of changing hook bait to either. On the hook it was either double 8mm meat or double corn nice large bait for a few large fish.
Having let the swim settle it wasn’t long before there were signs of fish feeding with swirls starting to show as well as the water starting to change colour due to the disturbance in the swim.
Having let it for about another hour to get the fish feeding confidently it was time to go over and see just what resident carp were there.
It didn’t take long before the float shot under and fish number one was walked steadily out of the margin and into open water before finding its self in the landing net. A 10lb mirror carp started off the day with them queuing up after that. A nice 15lb mirror capped of what was a busy day catching margin carp and one that I enjoyed. All the way through the session the fish seemed confident to feed whilst their brothers in arms were being picked off one by one. I believe this is down to having a balanced set up and one that you have confidence in.

Sunday, 14 April 2013


Browning have dedicated a website purely to its flagship pole the Browning Xitan Z12 Evolution pole. Still unsure what pole to get look no further !

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Browning poles landing awards in England

The current range of Browning Xitan poles is landing award after award in pole fishing motherland England. Magazine Total Coarse Fishing crowned the Xitan Z12 best pole on the market. England's biggest-selling fishing magazine, Angling Times, voted the same model best "Flagship Pole", its award for the top model across all brands. Finally, Pole Fishing magazine named the Xitan Z12 Innovation of the Year 2012 while the Xitan Z7.5 was crowned best pole in the medium price segment.
 Zebco Europe's Director for Marketing & Product Development, Frerk Petersen, is delighted with the accolades. "Recognition in this particularly discriminating and competitive market is always something special. It is satisfying that our intensive work over the last three years has been rewarded. Our English consultant, Frank Thomas, and our Product Manager, Jürgen Masuch, have continually challenged the engineers and encouraged them to come up with solutions that were previously unthinkable. Even 30 years ago, when I was a youngster, I believed Browning poles epitomised optimal quality. Our developers are working hard to ensure that this remains the case in the future.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Browning Hybrid Rod Range

Want to know what Mark Sawyer from the Angling Times has said about these rods and why they offer you the best of both worlds, then read on