Sunday, 17 August 2014

Pewsey & District Angling Association Kennet & Avon Canal Match, Bowdens Bridge Stretch 7th Aug

An early start this morning with the alarm clock going off at 0630 (now if that was a work day I would struggle to get out my bed) but with a match on the Kennet & Avon canal calling it was up dressed and a quick sit down with a coffee before heading out the door. Driving through Pewsey and towards Wilcot I wasn’t keen on the weather, plenty of grey clouds and a slight drizzle of rain I was already putting together a plan before I’d even drawn or seen my peg. With the weather being on and off over the past couple of days it was going to be one of them where I would find myself busy or scratching around for bites, Still a day out on the bank is a day not sat in. 

Having made the walk along Wilcot road onto the bank and a short 5 minute up the canal to the old swing bridge foundation I was met by most of the other Pewsey & District Angling Association lads, with a bit of banter out of the way draw time came with me pulling peg 9 out of the bag. With Gary Williams on peg 8 and Si Irwin on 10 I was keen to make a mark and catch quickly within the first 60 minutes but then keep the bites coming throughout. 
Looking at the peg I had the far bank 13 meters across with brambles a few over hanging trees and a few rat holes that must hold some resident fish (mainly perch). Plan of attack was 3 lines across starting from the left and working over to my right and if the fish were there fish it out re-feed then move onto the next one, but all 3 swims fed in a slightly different manner. I also set up a rig for down the track which to my surprise I had some depth in the way of 5 ½ ft. Rigs for the match consisted of the following 

Left 11 o’clock swim far bank 13 meters
Exner 0.1g float (short, stable pencil bodied float with a fine tip and wire stem, ideal for fishing in up to 2ft of water on the drop) Browning Cenex 0.08mm mainline, 0.06mm 4 inch hooklength to a B511 size 22 hook. Tapered shotting pattern of no 12 shot. 

12 0 ‘clock swim 11 ½ meters
Tubertini Stix 0.2g 4ft deep Browning Cenex 0.08mm mainline, 0.06mm 4 inch hooklength to a B511 20 hook. Bulk shotting with 2 droppers using no 12 shot.

Right 2 o’clock 13 ½ meters
Image dibber 3x9 2ft deep, Browning Cenex 0.12mm mainline, 0.10mm 6 inch hooklength to a B560 size 18 hook. 4 inches laid on bottom to keep the bait in place. 

Track swim 2 o’clock 5 ½ ft deep 6 meters
Richard Lattimer 4x12 squatt float,  Browning Cenex 0.08mm mainline, 0.06mm 4 inch hooklength to a B511 size 20 hook. Bulk Shot with 2 droppers.  

My left swim would be fed with ground bait and pinkie with pinkie being fed over the top via catapult. My 11 ½ meter line would be fed in the same fashion however caster would be added to the ground bait so I then had a change of hook bait as well as something on the bottom to hold them there. My 2 o’clock swim would be fed with chopped worm and caster and would keep having a quick look over on it to see if there were any bonus fish in the peg. My track line would be fed with caster, worm in balls of ground bait to get it to the bottom, the plan was to start here and move if there were no signs of fish within 15-30 minutes of the match starting but same as with my bonus line go over it to see if anything had settled. 

With the all in called it was off to work feeding my swims before setting about the track to see if I could mug and fish before shifting across to the far bank swims. With nothing in the net within 15 minutes and not even a bite indication it was over to the left hand swim. A pinch of pinkie pinged across and letting the float settle it wasn’t long before I was putting together a run of 10-15 fish. With 2 boats passing a quick small top up of ground bait saw the swim go dead (I’m thinking at this point that I’ve blown the swim by pushing it too hard to fast). Looking around me though no one was really catching and it soon became apparent that it was going to turn into a match where scratching for fish was the order of the day. Still with other swims to go at surly there would be a few fish in each. With half the match now gone and only 20 fish to show for it and with all rigs slightly refined for scratching I managed a few more fish for 30 fish in total. It seems no matter what I did with the rigs or the feeding the fish just weren’t interested or weren’t there. Spending time on my worm & caster line I thought I would be good for some half decent perch but nothing. With the boat traffic picking up it became clear that if there were fish around they didn’t want to settle and with boats moving down the track as well as the far bank it became more difficult throughout the day. Clearly the plan I had in my head on route to the canal just wasn’t playing and with most of the match gone it was clear everyone else was struggling to put fish together and come out on top. Surprising the other section past the bridge was also struggling and this is where the resident skimmers hang out, even they didn’t want to know. 

With the all out being called you could hear the relief from both sides of me, it hadn’t fished great and in fact most had struggled. With the scales coming round and with Si Irwin putting 1lb 5oz on the scales I wasn’t sure if I had enough to beat that as some of my fish had been small. I had a feeling I had a pound but not much more. Still 1lb 8oz went onto the scales and with 1lb 11oz coming from the other section it put me 2nd overall with me just edging the section it was nice to know that my just rewards for scratching around for a few fish left me with the section and 2nd in the super pools. 

I got asked why I sit on a canal bank scratching around for bites a few hours ago and it got me
thinking, interesting when I thought about it as its not everyone’s cup of tea. Whilst we are in a age of commercial fisheries where bags of carp can easily run into 300-400lb I find that on a canal (or river in that fact) that when that float goes under you don’t always know what you’re going to get next. One minute it could be a 2-3oz fish then it could be a 3lb skimmer that takes you for a ride down the cut. Add the fact of boat traffic, presentation of your rigs and feeding in a natural environment and not knowing what fish are in your peg keeps me going back for more and if I catch 10 fish or 100 fish it always puts a smile on my face. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy my fair amount of commercial fishing but find natural venues more challenging and appealing.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Browning Pole Only Match, Interested ? read on better be quick mind you !!

Are you still using a “classic” Browning pole?  Or perhaps you have an “old favourite” Browning lurking in the back of your tackle shed?  If yes, you’re invited to use it in a planned special match with the chance to win a brand new Browning Xitan pole and some more prizes.

The match is free to enter and is open to owners of pre 2005  Browning poles (see below).  It will be held on Saturday October 18th at Tunnel Barn Fishery. Spectators will be welcome and visitors will get the opportunity to try Browning’s latest range of poles. Bob Nudd will fish the event but will not be eligable to win a new pole!

Frerk Petersen, Marketing Director for Zebco Europe / Browning says: “Browning has been making poles for more than 40 years and we still have lots of customers who own or use one of our older models.  It would be good to get these old “warhorses” out for a special match.  Anglers will also be able to compare the old poles against our latest models to see how far pole technology has advanced. Even if just visiting the event, we would still be really interested to see any older Browning poles people have.  I’m sure it will be an interesting and fun day, and somebody will leave with a new pole!". To enter, or for more information email<> with your name and contact details and model of Browning pole you will be using. Closing date is August 31st

There will be a just a few special rules (see below) to ensure a fair match:

1) The pole used must be a Browning pre 2005 model.  Pole ranges like the Carboxys,  early Black Magics, Titaniums, Legends plus many others will be eligible.  If you’re unsure if your pole is eligible email Browning on the address above.
2) There will be pole length limit of 13m maximum and 6m minimum.
3) A maximum of 2 topkits, plus a separate cupping kit, can be set up.

Book a place, dust off that old pole and come and have a fun day!

Mill On The Soar Midweek Open 12th August

With a trip to the midlands on the cards to see family it would have been rude of me not to take my fishing kit up and have a go at one of the many fisheries that are in the area and enter into a mid week open.
With a look in the local paper I decided on the Mill on the Soar Tuesday open. A place that I enjoy fishing when I get the chance, but not visited in the last 2 or so years. With plenty of bites to be had from the big head of carp down to the bream and skimmers its one of those places you never know what you’re going to hook next.
The night before saw some heavy rain which was sure to move the fish around the lake, and with a wind blowing down one side of the lake when I turned up I wanted to be on the far bank where it was deeper due to how I wanted to fish it. With no luck at the draw and pulling out peg 7 I set off to my peg. The wind didn’t seem to affect this side of the lake with a slight left to right breeze moving down towards peg 2. With the far bank about 20 minutes away and with one of the locals giving me an idea of where the fish would be the first port of call was my 10ft bomb rod with a small inline method feeder. With a post on the far bank at my 11 o’clock and with the bank looking like it was undercut the plan was to throw it tight to the far bank and see what became of it.
With the wind not really affecting the peg I opted on a 3 pronged attack on the pole fishing 13 meters straight out (I didn’t want to go past 13 meters in case the wind picked up and then found it a struggle to hold my pole) one thing I always try and take into consideration when long pole fishing.
I had a short line 5 meters out at 1 o’clock and then another line 5 meters out at 10 o’clock.  Both my long line and my 1 o’clock lines would be fed with soft 4mm pellet with a 6mm soft pellet on the hook that way it gave me the chance to hit the bream, skimmers and carp within the lake (plus it was all I had brought up with me bait wise from down south) I also added a couple of grains of corn into each swim which then gave me a option to change the hook bait over.
My 10 o’clock swim would be a paste swim and would be only touched in the last hour of the match, with there being no depth in the margins I would then treat this as my margin swim where I had found just under 2 ft of water. Another reason why I wanted to draw the other side of the lake due to the better margin pegs, but with the look of the draw gods not on my side I had what I had and had to make it work. 

Rigs for the day consisted of the following 

13m meter swim
3 ½ ft deep to a Hillbilly Chump 0.3g mainline 0.16mm Browning Cenex, 6inch 0.12mm hooklength, Tubertini 606 16 hook (light hooklength to start and depending on if the carp moved in gave me the chance to change up) simple bulk shot and 2 droppers to get the bait down. Elastic Green Browning Cenex set soft on a pulla.

1 o’clock 5 meter swim 3 ½ ft deep Hillbilly Oliver 0.16mm Browning Cenex, 6 inch 0.14mm hooklength, B911 16 hook. Same as my 13 meter swim bulk and 2 droppers and elastic choice.
10 o’clock swim 2ft Hillbilly AK47 float 0.18mm Browning Cenex line, 0.16mm hooklength, B911 size 12 hook. All shot just under float but only half shot to read when the paste came off the hook. Elastic choice purple Hydro. 

With my pole lines covered and having set up a small method feeder and a banjo it wasn’t long before the all in. Straight away all the lines were fed before moving onto my 13 meter line and waiting for the fish to settle. Now when I first initially fed I only fed about 50 4mm pellets and a few grains of corn to try and gauge the swim. This was done on both lines except my paste line which I fed a full pot of 4mm and a bit of paste. With indications on the 13 meter swim that there were fish feeding it didn’t take long before the float went under and carp number 1 was quickly in the net. Another carp quickly followed, followed by 3 skimmers weighing a 1-2 a piece, all this in the first 30 minutes. Looking around and with no one catching it looked like I might be in for a good day if the carp remained in the swim. 

It seemed that the carp had moved out as whilst there were plenty of indications on the float they just didn’t seem interested in my hook bait with the float dipping but nothing on the end. With the possibility they could be liners and that the fish were just of bottom the rig was adjusted where still nothing was hooked. I believe due to the head of silver fish and small skimmers they had moved in and were having a go at my hook bait, that means one thing to me that the carp have moved on as they would normally push the smaller fish out to feed. With a top up of 4mm pellets it was onto my short line to see if I could get anything short, this gave a nil return before moving back out onto the 13 meter line this time with a change of hook bait in the form of a piece of corn. This produced yet another 2 skimmers at a pound a piece yet no carp and with the float constantly dipping it was turning into a frustrating day. 

With things not looking good it was good to see Mark Russell (Drennan Leicester) pop by to see how I was getting on. And whilst I was stumped for ideas he said “fishing corn ? crush the middle out so your left with the skin and try that) I’ve done it in the past but just didn’t think (just goes to show when you think too hard sometimes the basics go out of the window) This proved a good step with a few more skimmers hitting the net before Mr angry carp 1 turned up and dragged me to the far bank into the next swim before losing my hooklength. It wasn’t long before Mr angry carp 2 turned up and dragged me into the empty peg to my left across to the far bank before losing yet another hooklength. Things were clearly not going to plan and what turned out to be a good day were now turning into a bad day and I was fishing just to save face.
With just over an hour to go it was time to hit the paste swim at 11 o’clock 5 meters out. This brought a return straight away with 2 carp in quick succession but yet again the float was dipping it looked light I was going to get bitted out yet again. You could tell when the carp move in as the float would settle and a last thump of the float under the water brought another carp getting it in just before the all out. 

A bad day at the office for a place that has always been a good place to me proved when I put 36lb odd on the scales and with the next peg to my right having a double figure carp in the last 5 minutes proved my fate with me finishing 4th overall. The far bank (with the wind howling down) produced the goods with 1st / 2nd coming from there with my mate on the right taking 3rd by 3lb.
Looking back at my results in the past its always been on chopped worm and caster and with me not planning to fish the venue before I came up and not being able to get hold of any caster might have proved my downfall, it’s not an excuse but felt with the right bait I could have done better. Still those in the top 3 were worthy winners and to come back to a venue that I hadn’t fished in about 2 years with approx 14-16 on the lake I can take some positives away from it. 

Next stop back to the canal back on the Kennet & Avon for a PDAA match on the Sunday where I feel more comfortable and in tune with the place at the minute, looking at what I might have ahead there is the Sensas Canal masters B&J series as well as a potential winter league mainly on the Thames. Add that to fishing for the Royal Artillery at the end of the month in the inter corps and with the Army Angling Federation Group matches ready to kick back off again on the canal and river its getting busy again.  

Kennet & Avon Canal Crab Apple Tree Section 8th August

Well another trip to the K&A canal in my challenge to fish every stretch that is run by Pewsey & District Angling Association. Today I fancied the crab apple stretch which sits back the opposite way from Wilcot Road and a short walk from Pewsey Wharf.
The stretch does hold some bigger fish in the way of bream and tench and the plan was to target those species and also see if I could catch a bigger stamp of roach from the stretch. Having arrived early to avoid the boat traffic I settled on a swim as the canal bends round to the left, with a bed of reeds far over with a small bay and overhanging trees it looked like it would hold a few of the bigger fish I was after.
The plan was a 3 pronged attack with a line going in down the track and would be fished whilst the other 2 far bank swims were left to settle. Having found 4 ½ ft 5 meters out down the track I set up a Richard Lattimer 4x12 squatt float. Mainline of choice was Browning Cenex 0.08m to a 4 inch 0.08mm hooklength finished off with a B511 size 20 hook, Shotting consisted of a simple bulk of no11 shot and 2 droppers. Elastic choice was a latex no3.
My far bank swims were both identical in their setups  with both of them robust enough to land and get a tench away from the far bank before it made a run for it. Float choice was a 0.1 Hillbilly Oliver (a similar shape and design to a Preston Chanti) to a 0.14mm mainline finished off with a 0.12mm 6inch hooklength. Hook choice was a B911 size 16. Shotting was kept positive with the depth only being 1 1/12ft deep I wanted the bait to hit the bottom soonest so everything was placed just above the hooklenth loop. Elastic was a Browning Cenex 6-8 hollow set on a pulla bung. Now looking at the setups for the far bank they seem like over kill and slightly heavy for the canal but with me looking for tench the gear needs to be robust and once caught will scrap until the very end and will make a lunge for any form of cover they can find or in this case snags from over hanging trees. With the setup I had today it give me time to get them away from the far bank play them and hopefully land them but at the same time the elastic is soft enough to land smaller fish.
Bait for the day consisted of Corn, hemp, caster, pinkie and a kilo of Browning Champion’s Choice canal groundbait. Down the track would be fed with caster and Groundbait only with double pinkie on the hook with a change to caster to try and pick out the bigger fish.
Across on the far bank swims I fed groundbait with hemp, caster and corn mixed in, 2 golf sized balls went in on each line and were left to settle. Having fed all my lines it was onto the track line which started to produce straight away on a pinkie hook bait and a switch to caster brought a few of the better stamp of fish before baits started to slow down and a top up was required. By now I had had a boat move by straight over my track line yet the fishing picked up once again and I was catching well switching between double pinkie and caster. Then disaster! Whilst most boats were happy to pass closer to me or down the track I noticed 1 boat that was holding tight to the far bank a quick shout to ask him to shift closer to me and the near bank brought no response as I watched him brush the reeds on the far bank and motor through both my far bank swims (if there were tench and bream feeding there, they weren’t going to be there now) With the realisation that both swims had been trashed it was a quick top up and back to my track line hopping I could salvage something from the far bank later on but had my doubts.
With the bites still coming down the track and a better stamp of fish coming to the net than at the 2 previous stretches I had fished I was happy. The fish seemed to be on the feed so I upped the feed and added a few grains of corn to the next top up of groundbait and caster as I believed there were bigger fish moving into the swim. This was confirmed after 15 minutes of the top up going in when my float shot under and my number 3 elastic came shooting out and off down the canal it went. Having managed to control it and tunrn it back towards me it wasn’t long before I had 8 meters of pole in the air trying to land a tench I had been playing for about 15 minutes. With the net out ready to land it, it made another run for safety which my elastic bottom out and a rig coming back at me at mach 10 with no hook length Dammm! It had managed to snap me. Regaining my composure of the last 20 minute battle with the tench I gingerly went back onto the track line to see what damage it had done due to it swimming all over the shop through my track lines and both far bank swims. The peg seemed quiet and the tell tale signs of fish feeding had disappeared. Still perseverance saw more groundbait and caster go in and it wasn’t long before another run of fish were in the net. With the clicker hitting 130 fish and with half being a better stamp to what I have been catching it was time to call it a day.
 Looking back its always going to be one of them “it got away” never the less another good days fishing on the canal. With 3 stretches down the question is where will I end up next ?

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Kennet & Avon Canal Wilcot stretch

Well another day of my summer leave and another day down on the canal. I had already made my mind up that I was going to the Wilcot Road stretch on the K&A due to easy access, the issue would be finding somewhere to fish as come the summer months the boats tend to double along the bank side and finding somewhere can be a pain. Still the decision had been made and after packing my kit I set of on the 20 minute car journey down the road. Having looked at the weather report I had mixed feeling as to what the weather would do today on route there were dark clouds with the occasional spit of rain, however the weather man had said it would clear up quickly (only time would tell)
On arriving at Wilcot the car was parked and a quick walk down the bank confirmed what I had already thought boats everywhere. Having walked up and down the stretch I settled on a swim not far from the bridge where there was a narrow boat secured on the opposite bank (a feature to fish to at least) Looking at the swim I had the boat to my right and a bank of reeds to my left. The plan was set, 2 lines fished to the far bank one just off the reeds at 11 o’clock and another one in between a tree that was directly in front of me and the boat at 2 o’clock. Both swims provided shade from the sun that was now starting appear however I knew that by midday the reeds swim could possibly slow down if the shade disappears so this swim would be fished first before moving across onto my right hand swim where by the looks of it would be in the shade all day. I deliberately didn’t set up a track line due to the amount of boats that travel up and down the stretch and for me to catch 100-200 fish they would be sat on the far bank as the boats yet again passed closer to my side of the bank than across due to the tree, plus they would also have to slow down due to going under the bridge so hoping on minimal disturbance to the swims.
Setting up didn’t take long before I was looking for around about 1-2ft on the far bank which I found just off the reeds, I am a firm believer of the 2ft rule and have fished a few different canals in the past where this has paid off. I find the depth just right for fishing either squatt or pinkie across.
Having found just under 2ft on the reeds swim and a 1 ½ on the boat swim my rigs were adjusted accordingly. My reed swim consisted of a Richard Lattimer squatt float 4x10 to a 0.8mm mainline and a 4inch 0.06mm hooklength with a bulk and 2 droppers with a size 22 B511 hook. The boat swim was the same again a Richard Lattimer squatt float this time 3x9 with a 0.08mm mainline and a 0.06mm hooklength with a spread out shotting pattern finished off with a B511 size 20 hook (so I could switch to double pinkie)
Now the reed swim would be fed with pinkie and groundbait and fished positively with regular top ups after every boat and fished out, where the boat swim would be fed with pinkie only (no pole or cad pots just pinging it across little and often) the reason being I wanted to see if the stamp of fish would change depending on how the swim was fed and fished (would I catch more just off the deck or on the drop)
Having fed 2 golf ball size balls of ground bait one lased with pinkie across on the reed swim it was off to work, almost straight away the float shot under and it wasn’t long before I got into a rhythm of head down putting together 50 fish in the first hour with regular top ups of ground bait as per the boat traffic which started to pick throughout the morning. With the shade slowly starting to disappear on the far bank the fish was starting to back off before the float shot under and my number 3 elastic shot out and steamed of down the canal, after a quick and brief fight a nice 1lb hybrid was in the net. With 76 fish on the clicker I fished out the reed swim till I hit 100 fish, it was clear with the sun beaming down the fish had moved. No worries 100 fish in the net and now time to move to the boat swim.
There were plenty of signs there were fish in the swim from me just pinging pinkie over but would they be a better stamp than what I had caught over to my left. With an hour and a half left of how long I wanted to spend on the bank I was keen to hit another 100 fish off this swim as well. It didn’t take long to realise that this was going to be achievable the fish were there in numbers and also a better stamp. I would feed 5 pinkies lay the rig in the float would settle then gone, with the boat traffic still steadily going up and down the canal the better stamp would back off before moving back in after a couple of minutes. Clearly just feeding pinkie without groundbait seem to attract the better stamp of fish yet no elastic ripping bonus fish was seen over the next hour or so. With 10 minutes to go and the clicker hitting the 200 mark I called it a day. Another good day on the K&A canal with the canal in fine form at the minute, 2 visits with a pint of pinkie and a kilo and a half of groundbait and 400 fish later shows there is plenty of sport to be had on the canal its just a matter of keeping it simple.
That 2 stretches of the K&A canal complete which is run by PDAA question is which stretch will I end up on next ?