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


Well its been a while since I have up dated my blog due having a busy work schedule over the past couple of months, but the same time I have managed to get out on the bank a fair bit competing in matches around the midlands clocking up a fair few miles in the car, by the looks of the results its been worth it !
Here is a brief run down of where I have been what I have been up to and where I have came in the matches I have fished.

15th February Army Angling Federation Group 3 Old Nene Benwick

This match saw me back on the Old Nene fishing in the next instalment of the group matches. After already fishing this stretch the backend of last year it was a stretch I was looking forward to getting back on to make amends of throwing the match away in the last hour and finishing 3rd in section. Drawing the higher numbers again I went on to win the section and finish 2nd overall in the match missing out on top spot by 10 grams !!! but it was another 1 point in the bank and a good days fishing overall.

25th February Knock up Rycoft fishery

The first of 2 knockups with the Maggot drowning lads saw me down at a fishery that is local to me and is only down the road. Turning up at the fishery we were met by strong winds and howling weather. The match was split over 2 lakes and I ended up on Moat lake. Having never fished it before and with the weather being like it was it was always going to be a suck it and see approach. This match saw me take 2nd in section and a day I would like not to remember the weather was horrid!!.

26th February Oaktree Lakes Practise Match

With me entering into the Oaktree spring series later on in March this was a chance to get a brief look at the place and see how it fishes and to get a basic understanding of the place as I had never fished it before. The fishery itself is located in Brinsley just of the M1 junction 28. This match was split between the 2 lakes and I ended on top lake fishing into one of the corners. The match saw me hook a few fish but also lose a few fish. Managed to finish 3rd overall in the match and 3rd in section. This fishery is a little gem and I am looking forward to fishing this again soon. Not a bad result considering I had never seen the place before.

4th March Knock Rycroft Fishery

Another get together with the maggot drowning lads saw me this time fish the carp lake in a carp and silvers match. Drawing my peg I fancied a silvers approach and decided to work hard putting together a bag of silvers, this time the weather was a lot better from the last visit to the fishery. Overall I had a cracking day managing to put 30lbs of skimmers on the scales coming 1st in the silvers match and 2nd overall. Was also happy that I had managed to put more weight in silvers on the scales than what the other anglers had caught in carp.

11th March Dudley Rods and Reel Angling Club Match 1 Greenhill Farm Fishery

This year I decided to get back into a club and with a few spaces coming up in this one I took a punt and joined. Its nice to get away from the very competive side of match fishing and to just have a good laugh with the lads and enjoy visiting some new venues and not take the fishing too seriously. This match saw me at a venue I hadn’t seen again and I managed to come 1st in section and 1st overall, but most importantly I had the chance to  relax and enjoy my fishing a bit more.

14th March Army Angling Federation Group 3 Decoy lakes  

Next match in the Army Angling Federation saw me at Decoy lakes competing in a silvers match on Beastie Lake. With the group now getting tight at the top of the table every point that is gained is a bit that will hopefully work you a bit further up the league table. This match saw me finish 1st in section and 3rd overall which to be honest I was happy with as yet again it’s a fishery I had never seen before and I was competing against anglers that had fished the venue in the past and at this stage of the game I didn’t want to be dropping section points.

24th March Match Fishing Scene Champs League Heronbrook fishery

Another venue I had not laid eyes on before but at the same time a chance to compete in the Match Fishing Scene Champs League. With 2 matches being run at the same time I ended on island pool and having forgot to pack my rods its was going to have to be a pole approach. Finishing the match on a run from fish down the margins I managed to place 3rd in section.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Shearsby Valley Lakes Winter Series Match 1 29/01/2012

With the let off after fishing the Old Nene fishing 3rd in section it was off to aShersby Valley Lakes to take part in the first winter series match. The incentive of fishing these matches is that the top 2 finishers of the match then qualify for the final in March with money being paid into the final pot throughout the 8 matches.
Having not fished the venue in a few years it was nice to re-visit the venue, the surroundings and the up keep and maintenance is top notch and has always been a good place to go to have some friendly banter.
Having about remembered how to get there it was straight in the cafe for a breakfast and a coffee. Today saw the match taking part on Willow which wasn't a lake that I had fished before. With winter in full swing I had a lot prior to coming down for info on the Internet and leaned that a 100lb+  bag had been taken a week before from the one of the pegs in the 20's. Sounds like the fish had shoaled up and someone had found them in one of the matches.
With the clock hitting 0900hrs it was time for the draw in went my left hand and out came peg 26 an end peg (come on I thought bound to be a few fish there!!!) so out came the kit and a quick run from the car park to my peg found me sat on my box looking at the lake and where to fish. With me having an end peg and a bank running to my right first port of call would be to set up a margin rig and find some depth down the edge where the fish might be hiding. After carefully plumbing up down the edge I had managed to find a hole 11 meters down the edge where the depth was a 1ft deeper than the rest of the edge.
Setup for this line was a double Number 8 elastic set on a pulla bung. Line was the new Browning Hybrid Mono line 0.12mm to a 6 inch 0.10mm hook length hook of choice was a B911 size 18. Float choice was a Sackup Silver back 4x10. The plan was to fed very little and just drip feed in a few 3mm dampened down pellets and one or two pieces of corn that would also be used as hook bait, switching between that and a  4mm expander.
My other line saw me 11 meters straight out to the front where I had found 4 ft of water which was at the bottom of a sloping ledge that came of a underwater bar that ran left to right then gradually sloping off flat.
Set up choice was a double 6 elastic set on a pulla same main line and hook dia to a B911 size 18 hook. Float choice again was a Sackup Silverback 4x12 with  strung out bulk setup. Same as the margin swim feed would be 3mm dampened down pellet fed sparingly with a few pieces of corn. Hook baits would be corn, 4mm expander or if it got really hard then a double maggot.
These were the only 2 lines I set up for the match. With the all in being called it was off to work.
With no movement on the float for the first 15 minutes I sat and watched the angler to the left on me catch 2-3 fish in quick succession. To be honest it didn't concern me due to the fact that we had just started and there was along way to go. With myself fishing pellet on the hook I made a change over to double red maggot as he the lad to the left had had them on that. After another 20-30 minutes the float shot under and carp number one was in the net after a nice little scrap.
The float went out again and then came a run of roach to about  1 lb each. With no body really bagging on the lake and the lad to my left slowing right down I was happy with my progress so far.
Just on the 2 hour mark the float shot under again and in came a 5lb carp, now I was happy with the way my match was going I knew it wasn't going to be full on action and that every bite counted. At this point I had started to take notice of one of the other lads a few pegs down who had now increased his pole length to 16 meters towards the island and was now starting to catch a steady run of carp to 5lb a piece. By the talk on the bank the fish were shoaled up by the island in the middle of the lake and a piece of corn was enough to tempt them into a bite. My bites had now started to slow down on my 11 meter line so into the left hand edge I went for the float to bury and a 2lb carp in the net. the next hour or so saw me adjusting the depth of my margin rig and searching for any carp that might be sat tight to my margin bank further up the bank. This brought a few more carp but were only to about 1lb a piece.
By this time the lad that had sat at 16 meters on his pole to the island was putting a steady bag of carp together and was clearly out in front leading the match by a clear 20-30lb at this point.
With the margin swim not producing it was back onto my 11 meter swim to see if any carp had got there heads down and would be tempted by a piece of corn or a 4mm expander.

With the all out being called I knew I hadn't wont the match due to the lad a few pegs down putting at least 20 carp in his keep net. With the weighing in coming round I felt I may have done enough for 2nd in the match and put 22lb odd onto the scales only to be beaten by 27lb and the winner that had 68lb, so I was going to have to settle for a 3rd place over all which I was happy with due to the fact that it was the first time in a few years I had fished the place. After talking to some of the other lads about how the peg just dried up I learnt that it was common place for my peg and had done the same in the last 2-3 matches catching steady for the first few hours only to just die of half way through the match.
Well done to the winner with a fine bag of carp and a weight of 68lb its always nice to draw on the fish but you also got to have the angling skill to catch um and get um in the net which is what the winner clearly did adding a section to his pole and ringing changes to his pole rig which brought him his rewards.
At the time of writing this the weather is not at its best with snow falling and settling up to about 4 inches my next match sees me back down Shearsby Valley lake trying to qualify for the final in March tomorrow (must be made to go out in this weather!!!)

Army Angling Federation Group 3 match 4 Old Nene March 25/01/2012

Well after being battered by the winds on Saturday down at Rycroft fishery I was looking forward to meeting up with some of the lads again and getting back on the Old Nene for the next instalment of our group matches within the Army Angling Federation group 3.
This match saw us on the March stretch which I had not fished before due to missing the first match because of work commitments. After the 2 hour journey down to the venue and a McDonalds on the way it wasn't long before we got there safe and sound to be met by a slightly coloured river with a slightly cold conditions. After having a look at the stretch we were going to fish and getting some advice on where the fish tend to show I wanted to be in the middle section or the end section further up the stretch.
With the team all sorted in went my hand to draw for the team picking 2 good pegs for the other lads and me picking out peg 2 within the first section (not where I wanted to be but that's fishing make the most of the peg and see what it throws up)
On getting to my peg which was right at the beginning of the section so a nice short walk with my kit I settled down to see where I was going to fish.
With punched crumb being a safe bet on this venue and with slight colour in the water I planned to set up a punch line 5 meters out to the left and ground bait line 10 meters out to the front another punch line 10 meters out to the right and a 13 meter hemp line just slightly right of my 10 meter line.
Plan was to start on the inside left line on the punch and then rotate through my lines should the fish back off.
My set up for my punch line was a Sackup Aqua float 4x14 to a 0.10mm main line and a 6 inch 0.08mm hook length matches to a size 20 B511 hook a set up that I have full confidence in, the shotting was a bulk half a foot from where the hook length and the main line met followed by 2 droppers. I am a firm believer in keeping the shooting pattern positive as I wanted the bait to get down to the bottom where the bigger stamp of fish will be, this was matched to a Browning Cenex solid number 4 elastic. This set up would also be the same for the right hand side punch line at 10 meters.
My ground bait line at 10 metres straight out consisted of a Sackup Aqua 4x14 to a 0.10mm mainline and a 0.08mm hook length with a size 20 B511 hook. For the shotting pattern I went for a shirt button style pattern so the hook bait had a slower fall through the water. Elastic of choice was a Browning Cenex solid number 5.
Last line I had to set up was my hemp line witch was at 13 meters. A size 5 elastic was again my preferred elastic set to a 0.10mm main line and a 0.08mm hook length to a size 18 B511. For my shotting pattern this was spread out across the line to give a more slower natural fall of the bait.
Looking back at my set ups for each line I am a firm believer of keeping things as simple as possible hence the main line and hook lengths all being of the same diameters as well as the hooks which I believe are a good all rounder for this type of fishing should I need to ring the changes within the match I have a starting point to start from.
With the all in being called it was off to work feeding my lines, both punch lines were fed with a big ball of punched crumb with a little aquarium gravel added to get it down to the bottom. My hemp line was feed with 250ml of hemp with the plan of going over it every half hour to see if the roach had turned onto it. If they had then it would be a matter of catching as many off this line as possible due to the roach normally being a better stamp.My ground bait line was fed with 3 balls with one containing a pinch of pinkie.
With me starting on my punch line at 5 meters and spending a good half hour on with only a few bites it was time to move around my swims to see if the fish had settled on one of my other line. With a full rotation complete and only a few bites this was going to be a hard match and one where I was going to have to ring a few changes. First change was to alter the depth of my ground bait rig and come up of the deck 2 inches at a time to see if the fish were off the bottom this brought a few small fish to the net but nothing that was going to get me in a rhythm to put a good bag of fish together. With over half the match left which was proving difficult and both anglers catching to my left I knew I was going to have to get the fish feeding one way or another.
Having spent most of the match being very cautious with feeding I decided to go all out and feed my punch line 10 meters out to my right with 2 big balls of punched crumb and then come 5 inch of the bottom. This proved to be the right choice as the float buried time and time again with a steady run of fish coming to the net for the last hour. Having spent most of the match going in cautiously over my swims and persistently trying to get my hemp line working I had now managed to put at least a kilo in the net in the last hour which was a sigh of relief and more to do with damage limitation with placing within the section and getting a few points.
With the all out being called I knew I had blown the section but felt I had done enough to come at least 3rd in the section. With the weigh in starting at the top end of the stretch it was clear that's where the fish were with the top ends pegs weighing in just over 5 and 4 kilos. As we moved further down the stretch the weights became less and less however with most anglers having well over a kilo of fish each. With me weighing in I put 1 kilo 300 odd grams on the scale for 3rd in section and what might prove to be a valuable 3 points and a let off for not reading the signs and fishing in a more positive manner.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Maggot Drowning Rycroft knock up match 22nd January

Well after the Christmas break this was to be my first match of the year which was to take place down at Rycroft Fishery Hemmington Nottingham.
The match its self was a knock up match organised by one of the lads off the Maggot
With 16 of us booked in the numbers were good and I was looking forward to catching a few fish and blowing the cob webs out. On stepping out of my back door early on the Sunday Morning I felt the cold gale force winds blowing on my face (looks like we were going to be in for a difficult match) the winds were howling.
After the 15-20 minutes trip down the motor way I was at the fishery waiting for everyone to turn up.
With the lads slowly but surly turning up we had the full 16 turn out which was good as there is always one or two that I thought wouldn’t have bothered due to the wind and weather in general. What a day for my first match of the year !!!
With the wind being like it was it was decided that we would split the match over 2 lakes 1 on Clover lake and one on Moat lake enabling us to peg it out with our backs to the wind (now that was a bonus)
On the draw I wanted to draw Clover Lake but ended up with drawing Moat lake peg 13. Oh well the draw never goes the way I would like it so of I went to my peg to have a look.
Even though the fishery is only 15-20 minutes its not a fishery I tend to fish on a regular basis I had collected snippets of information on both lakes and was told that moat had a sunken island running parallel to the bank running through the lake at around 13 meters.
After settling down I decided to keep this one simple with a line out on the pole at 13 meters and one on the inside just off slightly to the left with the wind the way it was I was going for anything fancy just 2 simple rigs fished in front of me.
With the match pegged on one bank and the wind blowing into the opposite bank I also set the bomb rod up to cast tight to the far bank/pegs.
For my pole lines I set up a Sackup SF Silver back 4x12 a true all rounder and has the benefits of a wire stem to help with stability but also sensitivity so I could see the bites clearly should the silver fish move in but also has the strength should the odd carp come in for a feed.
Line of choice is slightly different to what I have been fishing with and I am now using Browning Hybrid Power mono line supple, strong and durable I wanted to see how it preformed.  Main line was 0.12mm to a 6 inch 0.10mm hook length finished off with a Tubertini 808 size 16 hook. All connected to double 6 preston slip elastic set soft on a pulla bung. My shotting pattern was a bulk of number 9’s with a few droppers to register the float.
My inside line was exactly the same as my 13 meter line I wanted to keep everything as simple as possible.
As for feed on the pole lines this would dampened down micro pellet fed when required but in very small amounts just enough to catch one fish at a time. On the hook I planned to change between a 4mm expander, sweet corn and red maggot should the bites become hard. I wanted to feel my way into the match so no cupping kit was set up just toss pots on the top kits.
As for setting my bomb rod up this would be my trusty Browning force 10ft rod matched to a Browning Back fire reel with 5lb line. For those that are not familiar with Browning’s rod range the force range is one of the best I have used for what they retail at. Classy looks with a slim blank that has plenty of back bone in it to land any size of fish associated with today’s match fishing. It’s a rod that I like to use in the summer and is a proper bagging tool.
After clipping on a Browning Hybrid distance lead I attached a 1ft hook length plan was to fish a PR36 size 18 hook and fish popped up bread on the hair. This has caught me plenty of fish in the past and its just a case of finding the depth the fish are at through swapping and changing hook length lengths.
With the all in being called it was on to my 13 meter pole line. With the winds now blowing a full on gale that must have been reaching 40-50mph it wasn’t a line that I was going to stay on for long, even with the wind on my back it was still hard to control the pole. After an hour sat on the 13 meter line I fed my inside line and went out on the bomb casting tight to the far bank peg this is where I felt I could mug a fish or 2 should the fish follow the wind. After another hour and only a few indications that a fish or 2 could be there I reeled in and went on my inside pole line not a bite on that either after another hour!!
After another half hour the tip shot round and after a bit of a scrap carp number 1 was in the net (happy days)
With nothing else coming to the net after another hour and sitting on my pole lines I completely change tactics and swapped my distance lead for a small 20gram Kobra method feeder and threw it out just past my 13 meter pole line, within 15 minutes the tip shot round again and carp number 2 was in the net result!.
Straight back out saw the tip swing round again but this time I lost it gutted with the lake fishing hard every fish counted.
Looks like I may have found a few fish sat at the back of the sunken island. The last half hour saw no more action and all out was called.
What a match the weather was the worst I had seen it this year and to be honest I was glad the match was over.
On the weigh in it was clear that most had struggled with low weights coming to the scales 17lb odd was winning the lake even though I knew I didn’t have that my 8lb odd was enough for 2nd on the lake.
With the results in from both lakes it was clear that Clover had fished a lot better that what Moat lake had.
Winner on the day had 20lb 9oz from clover with the other lad picking up 2nd overall on my lake I was left to take the section money by default which was a surprise.