Tuesday, 30 September 2014

A Long Time Away!

I honestly hadn't realised it's been six months since I last sat down and updated my blog! So what's happened in that time?

Well, away from match fishing I've finally managed to catch my first 20lb carp, a common of 22lb 14oz. Alas, it wasn't from the river but I've still done it! The river campaign hasn't been a complete loss, but I had a while off it at the start of the season as I was just too busy. I've notched up a small common of just over 8lb but I was quite happy with that - a fish that perhaps had never been caught before. It certainly put up a hell of a scrap! I've still got one more session planned while the weather holds - you never know...

I've not done incredibly well in terms of matches, about half-a-dozen wins and a few frame places. There has however been a lot of could have / should have done betters. The best of the bunch was a win this Sunday just passed with 127lb 5oz - mostly taken on the short pole and meat/corn, either in the edge or just down the near slope. Thoroughly enjoyable as much for the beautiful weather as much as the fishing!

With the evenings well and truly drawing in, and the fact that I've actually got my home broadband in to the 21st century and got it wireless, I'll hopefully be bringing back a few regular updates!

Tight Lines!


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Winter League Final Round 23/3/14

And once again there's no picture! It's not that I forgot, it's just the weather decided to go back to winter and rain/sleet on us as I packed up, not the best conditions to get a camera out.

Before the draw the points were read out and I had a two point lead, however I knew I dropped more points as my worst result was a better result than the second placed anglers. However, it was impossible for me to finish outside of the top three so at the very least a placing was on the cards!

I had mixed feelings about peg 25 when I drew it - generally it's a decent peg, and one that's been kind to me in the past. However, in the last few matches the anglers there have struggled. To add a little spice to things my nearest rival in the league had drawn peg 27 - the next peg in to my left! I had three rigs up to approach the peg. A deck rig about 3ft deep which did both across at about 15m and in to the margins to my left at 6m, a shallow rig to fish at around 2ft deep across and a track rig in about 6ft of water fished at an angle to my left at 13m just where it started to shallow up. All the rigs had .14 hook-links to size 16 B611's and were matched to brand new Preston 12 Dura Hollo, which happened to be through brand new top-kits of my nice shiny new G-Max Super Match pole! A little birthday present to myself last week.

On the whistle I fed a small ball of dampened micro pellets and a few grains of corn on the track line before going across on the deck rig on corn. I spent the first half an hour having five minute drops along the bank in front of me looking for any signs. With no signs directly in front of me I fed a tiny sprinkling of micros and two grains of corn directly in front of me before picking up my shallower rig and baiting it up with a 9mm piece of punch. Dropping the rig that bit further down the peg than I'd already tried didn't work, so I went to the full 16m (no 17.5m extension, my old one doesn't fit!)

I'd say the rig had been in about thirty seconds before the float plinked under and it was fish on! A lively but brief scrap saw a common of about 3lb in the net - the first fish I'd seen anyone catch. The next drop down the same hole saw a small mirror of just over a pound in the net just as fast. Not wanting to push the fish away too fast I dropped a touch closer. After a minute or two I thought about dropping what seemed that crucial foot further along when again the float was gone. A slightly bigger fish of around 4lb was the culprit. A liner/missed bite followed next drop and it seemed that a decent weight could be on the cards. No sooner than that thought crossed my mind than the fish seemed to do the off!

I tried over the tiny bit of bait I'd fed across to see if the fish had come to that, but with no signs there I decided to leave the line to hopefully recover and I had a drop over the track line. No bites came on either corn or maggot, so I decided to try a bit of punch. I'd just decided that it was a bit early for that line to go when the float decided it was going to go. The trouble was, I missed it! I plugged away at it for a bit longer but it never moved again so I fed a tiny amount on it and left it.

I went back across on the punch but had no joy in the area I'd had my bites from before. I picked up the deck rig and started to search along the bank - if I didn't catch a fish on it then hopefully a liner would at least reveal where the fish were. The plan seemed perfect when I had two quick liners halfway between the feed and where I'd caught. It's just a shame the fish didn't agree as my piece of punch on the shallower rig surprisingly went untouched!

At this point I wasn't unduly worried, I'd only seen one other small carp caught, but I started to trickle a few casters in along the edge - if I didn't catch any carp here it could hopefully throw up a few chunky weight building perch. I tried down the middle and at least the float went under a few times, but only from tiny perch taken on double maggot.

After a few "wasps" I searched back along the far bank with absolutely no joy, while the only other action I'd seen was the last peg along my bank had a carp. Back in the edge and double maggot on the hook bought another tiny wasp-like perch so I tried double caster. After a minute or two the float slowly slid away and the lift was met with the slow head shaking of a better perch, perhaps of about 12oz. However, no more followed.

With time running out I knew I was ahead of everyone I could see. A quick try down the track and then back in the margins gave no bites at all. I went back across on punch, set just off the bottom. Unlike the last few tries I just had a feeling - a sixth sense if you like that I was going to get a last fish or two off this line. A bite after about a minute still came as a bit of a surprise mind! This fish felt better than the others and after a decent tussle a common of about 5lb was put in the net with twenty minutes to go. The next drop saw a missed bite so I shallowed up to 2ft. The next drop in saw the float away again after a short wait and again this fish felt bigger than the last and was reluctant to leave the far bank. After a while he slid in to the net, a decent common of about 7lb - things were looking good! The next drop over things looked even better as the float barely settled before plinking under. An even more sluggish and heavy fight than the previous one ensued, and it saw me slip the net under a mirror every bit of 10lb with about a minute of the match left! I did think there may just be time for another (how greedy!), but despite my willing the float didn't slip away again before the whistle. But with the angler next peg (who was second in the league) packing away fishless it was job done.

When I caught up with the scales 8lb was top weight, and the only people admitting to more than one carp yet to weigh both said they had five - the last two pegs to weigh. My baby carp plus a perch went 2-12 on the scales, while my five "proper" carp went 30-10, most of which came in that last late spell! The final two pegs both fell short, with both weights going just shy of 20lb.

I have to say I think that was the hardest match of all five in the league, certainly in terms of how much I put in to it, so it was nice to wrap up winning the series with a win - especially on a day where the weather was most definitely back to winter, with thunder and lightening, rain, hail and even a bit of sleet thrown in! A far cry from the last round two weeks previous where we sat in t-shirts in the sun and I caught all my fish on meat! It was also nice to christen my new pole, and to catch some decent sized fish on it gives extra confidence. I'll be the first to admit I had some decent draws in this league (makes up for last year!), but you still have to catch the fish.

I'll try my best to keep a few blogs going up for you to read, so until next time, tight lines!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Winter League Update

Right-o, I have to start with an apology for not updating this blog with round four of the winter league, I've just been busy!

I had another 4th place last week, but with my closest competitor finishing second there is very little gap between us - and my worst result to drop is better than theirs meaning I drop more points, what a bummer! I also lost a fish at the net when a new lot of Preston 13h broke as I stripped it through the pull bung, which cost me a place. I've used the stuff since it came out in the late summer/early autumn of 2004 and never had a problem with it until now - but once is enough and it's all been stripped out and replaced with the new Dura Hollo 12.

I had hoped to give said new elastic a run out yesterday, and it looked promising at the draw with a decent peg (one that I won off a couple of weeks ago!) but it fished hard - very hard! There were three good weights in the frame but then very little caught - I tipped back two big crucians, a 3lb bream and some perch, not exactly the test run I hoped for it. I was going to write a blog as I've a few free days this week, but I think that time is better spent rig tying rather than writing about a match where I never saw a sign of a carp in my swim.

I'll definitely have a write up of the final round for you at some point next week, hopefully with a write up of a good match!

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Winter League Rd 3 23/2/14

Well, I remembered to take the batteries out of my camera, recharge them and put them back in - but I still forgot to take a peg picture for you! Must be getting old I reckon...

The previous Sundays practice on the new lake went well, for me anyway. The lake fished hard all round (as did most places looking at the results quickly in the paper) I drew a well noted winter peg (27) and had seven carp and two big skimmers for 31lb - second weight was 8lb and I was the only angler who had more than one carp.

This weekend was different - it had been relatively mild for the week, and the Saturday night wasn't clear, cold and with a full moon. My draw saw me sat on peg 18 - I don't really mind the peg as it tends to be okay in the winter, although the week previous it was in the middle of three blanks.

I had four rigs up - one for on the deck across at 16.5m in about 3ft of water, one for dobbing along the bank, one for the track (14m angled left with the wind gusty) and a silvers rig for fishing at 5m.

With the match starting I fed the silvers line and the track line before going across on the deck rig with corn. No liners led me to try the dobbing rig, both left and right along the island (needing 17m of pole) but still with no joy. I could just see my peg from last week catching well from the off, and the peg to my right had a small carp too. Time to try and make something happen!

I fed across, just a tiny pinch of crumb and a few micro pellets, before having five minutes down the track on corn. I didn't expect it to go, and it didn't! Back across and a missed bite that may have been a liner was followed by what was certainly a liner. I picked up the shallow rig (set at about 2ft) and went across. The float only sat for a few seconds before plinking under and soon my first carp was in the net, a baby of about 1lb 12oz! I had an even smaller one next drop (small enough to go in the bits net) before I lost the next carp which felt much larger than the other two. I had a high tuft of grass behind me, and had to lift the pole high to ship back - it was awkward to play fish for sure!

I thought it made no difference when it was perhaps only two or three minutes for my next bite ( a common of about 3lb), but no sooner had the fish arrived than they vanished. I tried all over the peg but with no joy, so I re-fed a tiny amount and left it again.

Down the track gave no joy, so I went back across. Nothing where I'd had the first couple of bites, but a bit further to my right I had another bite and put another common of about 3lb in the net. After that bites became scarce again! I could still see peg 27 catching, and then the peg to my left had a run of three decent fish down the track. I couldn't make that line work though, despite it being the only line that produced for me the week previous!

It was simply a case of going through the motions - I had an odd try on maggot which gave me a few perch, before missing a bite across on the deck. Dropping the shallow rig in gave me a quick bite but that fish (it felt like a small carp, like the one I'd put in the silvers net of 1lb or so) came adrift, again as I had to lift the pole high to get it over the grass behind.

With perhaps three-quarters of an hour to go I saw a fish move well down my peg to my left. Going the full 17.5 down there the float plinked under instantly. After a lively tussle a common of a good 4lb went in the net, and perhaps ten minutes later his twin brother joined him. A missed bite after got me thinking of a late bag up, but the next bite gave me a roach of about 2oz, as did the next three drops! Too much like hard work at 17m+. I dropped in down the track, but with no signs I had a last drop across but no more carp came, just another small roach.

The lake had fished much better than the week previous, and in the end my 19lb 15oz was only good enough for fourth place, with weights of 21lb, 24lb and a runaway 62lb. The pegs either side had 9lb and 15lb.

With two rounds to go I'm narrowly leading the league, although with the worst result to be dropped it's far from over. I promise next time I'll get a pic, and try to find a bit more time for a better write up. Back in a fortnight!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Winter League Rd 2 9/2/14

Back again, like I promised! I did forget to take a peg picture - I'm out of the habit now, but I'll try and remember next time.

So, on to round two of the league. The previous Sunday's practice match I won with 38lb odd, consisting of eleven carp down the edge in the first three hours, mostly on caster. The peg then died a death but with just 12lb being second the damage was done.

The wind was a bit wild (still, we've been very lucky in my area compared to many others) and I skilfully managed to avoid the reeds pegs where I drew the week previous! Peg 44 was to be my home for the day - a peg with little or no recent form. Actually (the wind aside which was left-to-right and slightly at me) I wasn't too upset with the peg, being in the bowl of the lake and having the small island to fish too.

First up was a bomb rod - unsurprising given the weather! I then had a good plumb around trying to see if I could find the remains of any lillies but there seemed to be little there - in the summer the peg has a huge lilly bed in. With nothing to find I settled on a line at 9m which was as much as I dared get out in the wind, and even then I couldn't hold it all the time. Last up was a rig to fish for a few silvers - this was at just 5m.

With the match started I had a few chucks on the bomb, trying to find signs of any carp - none were had, although the pegs opposite had no such trouble and were in to carp pretty quick! On the forty minute mark I decided it was best to put something in the net and picked up my light rig. I'd been flicking odd casters here but my first drop was on a single red maggot. It didn't take me long to get off the mark as two small roach fell on my first two drops. At least it was the dreaded "nil points" avoided!

My third drop took longer to get a bite, and when I struck the slow chugging and copious amounts of number 8 lakky suggested it wasn't a roach! The fish chugged around for a minute or so before charging off and snapping me - DOH! In all honesty, I do think it may have been foul hooked.

A new hook link on and I decided to have a quick look on the corn line, but with no joy. That said, I didn't give it long with the wind making any sort of decent presentation very hard, even with a long line and well back-shotted  rigs.

Back on the silvers line and a slightly better roach gave hope that I could at least keep up with any one-carp weights with silvers. The next drop didn't produce the hoped for better stamp roach though - it saw quite a bit of number 8 lakky streaming out again! A very lively 2lb ghostie was subdued so I decided against scaling up. Perhaps a bad choice when the float was instantly away again with another carp on - this one felt bigger and plodded to my right and eventually found a snag (most likely a lilly stem, further along from where I plumbed as it was further right than the boundary of my swim). So another rig back without a hook-link! Enough was enough and I got off my box to get a top-kit with 11h in it to give me a better chance.

Predictably, scaling up proved the end of the action so I went back on the tip, this time much closer to the small island. It had been out about  five minutes before the tip flew round and a common of about 3lb joined the smaller ghostie in the net. Next cast and after a similar amount of time the rod absolutely flew round again but to my disbelief there was nothing on the end when I picked it up! No way could that have been a liner. I did however get a liner next cast, but the next half an hour was wasted on the tip for no more action.

With an hour and a half left I started to get odd silvers again on maggot. Caster didn't seem to produce at all so I plodded away on the small roach. I had an odd try longer on the pole on corn but nothing came (and the wind was still a pig!) and I also tried bigger baits on the closer line. Nothing came on corn, while a big punch yielded roach that were smaller than the ones on maggot!

With half an hour left the roach seemed to fade a little, and briefly so did the wind. With all the carp bites coming just as my bait had settled I took the brief lull in the weather as a chance to spread the shot out to get a slower drop on the rig. It turned out to be a good decision as two drops in a row the float zipped under just as it was settling, and two more 3lb commons found their way in to the keepnet!

No bites came after that quick flurry, so with twenty or so minutes left I had another chuck on the bomb and corn. Barely had I put the rod down when the tip hurtled round - it wasn't a carp, but a crucian of about a pound was welcome all the same! I had another cast on the bomb, but I wasn't convinced it was going to go again so I finished up on the close in maggot line, putting two better roach about 3oz a piece in the net, but no more carp.

It was clear that the two pegs opposite were first and second (weights of 55lb and 25lb they had), but third looked a tight run thing. Two other people had three carp that looked bigger than mine, and actually they did weigh more than my four smaller carp. Lucky I had the crucian and a few roach then, and my 3lb of bits meant I just snuck in to third with 14lb 4oz! From memory the next two weights were 13-4 and 12-6, but I do know without the bits I'd have finished fifth or sixth.

The third place means that after two rounds I'm leading the league, although there are still three rounds to go with the worst result being dropped. Still, it's a nice position to be in - hopefully I can still be there after round five!

Tight lines all, and if I don't manage to report on the weekends practice I'll definitely report back in a fortnight on round three.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Winter League Rd 1 26/1/14

Right, I promised a friend I would blog for my winter league, so here it is! I can't promise that every update will be early, but I will do it for all five matches fortnightly from now on. I may even manage to fill the weeks in between too, if I can.

The weather was forecast to turn wet and windy after the draw, but thankfully lake one is quite sheltered. In terms of pegs, as long as I avoided the front of the lake (2-9 and 34-40) I wasn't too fussed. When peg 13 came out I was quite happy - it's normally a bit of a nursery peg, but bites are the name of the game really in the winter league!

As you can see from the pic, I had four rigs up - three for the far bank (two identical shallow rigs, but one with 11h lakky and one with 13h) both were finished with .12 hook-links and 16 B611's. I had a deep rig up too, with 4ft of water tight to the vegetation on the far bank. This was a .3gr Nick Gilbert Power Finesse, with a .12 hook-link to a size 18 Drennan Wide Gape Match, paired with 11h lakky. Last up was a roach rig and somewhere to drop on to if the wind got too much! I had a little over 6ft of water here (at 11m), and the rig was a .4gr Nick Gilbert Power Finesse. Hook was a size 20 Drennan Wide Gape on a .10 hook-link. Matched to original no8 Preston lakky, it was light enough for roach, but enough to give a fighting chance should a carp show there!

On the whistle I fed a pinch of hemp and caster on this line, before going across on the punch on the lighter lakky shallow rig. A few knocks showed there were some fish present before the float went away and a tiny roach was on the end! After a few missed bites I tried caster on the shallow rig and had a couple of slightly better roach (twelve-to-the-pound) before a few tiny fish muscled their way in.

As the rain started I went on the deck across and the first bite was from a better roach of about 3oz, before again the fish turned tiny. I decided to try a corn skin on the hook, and it had barely been in the water a minute before the float burried and the lift was met with lakky streaming out. The fish tore off to my left  before coming off. That said, I'm sure it was foul-hooked.

Predictably it slowed the swim so I decided to have a drop on the roach line, after feeding four grains of corn across. It was slow to begin with, and I was just toying with leaving the line when the float slipped away. A slightly better roach was the result, and a three or four followed, including one about 4oz that needed the landing net!

As the line faded I topped it up with half-a-dozen casters and went back across on corn. I had a near instant bite which I missed, before a much slower and dithery bite bought me a 2oz roach on corn. No more bites led me to try caster, both on the deeper and shallower rigs but any bites were just tiny roach. I came back on the deeper line and had two reasonable roach before the rain got even heavier and the line seemed to die.

About two hours in and having had enough of the rain, I relented and put my brolly up! I hate sitting under the thing, but the trees were keeping the worst of the wind off and with bites hard to come by now (even on maggot) it was a bit of welcome shelter. Odd carp had been caught to my left, so increasingly I plugged away on corn hoping for a carp.

Eventually, with a little over two hours to go the float plinked under in the manner that you just know is a carp, and the lift was met with a sluggish chugging on the end as a 2lb common that looked as cold as me made a mistake! No more bites followed, so I topped up with four grains of corn and had a look on the roach line, but nowt was doing.

Back over on corn but I had no more more bites. I plugged away for about twenty minutes when the slightest movement about three feet to the left of my float caught my attention. Even as I write I'm not entirely sure it was a fish... Anyway, in for a penny and all that, I picked up the lighter shallow rig and baited it with a 9mm punch. I laid the rig in, the float cocked and then simply wasn't there! The lift saw the lakky stream out as carp number two made it's mistake. Again, a small one about 2lb, but a fish all the same!

The next three drops all did the same, except the last fish was about 4lb instead of 2lb. A change to the slightly heavier rig didn't make any difference (well, the fish don't know what lakky is on it!), but the 13h just helped me get the fish away from the brambles hanging in the water! The last part of the match went pretty smoothly and odd fish kept coming. I had a tiny area between two yellow brambles at 16m where if I could hold the rig nicely I got bites. I missed a few, and as tends to happen when I was on thirteen carp the next one came off - five minutes before the end. I did manage to get one more after, so I must not grumble! I had one mirror of about 4lb, while the others were all between 1lb 12oz and 3lb.

I guessed my fourteen carp would go around 40lb, which as it turned out was pretty accurate as they totalled 40lb 12oz. My bits went 1lb 14oz for a total of 42lb 10oz. A decent days fishing given the weather, and more so as it was good enough for first place(and my first win in three months!), with peg 20 having 25lb odd for second. A good start to the winter league, even if it'll probably take until the next round for my gear to dry out!

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Ending The Year With A Whimper!

Well, I know I promised you a blog after Sunday, but in all honesty there's nowt to write about! A very sharp frost Saturday night seemed to upset most fishery's from what I've heard. I drew one of the two peg's I didn't want and didn't really catch a lot. Five small roach and a small skimmer to be exact. I could have caught small fish but it's hard to get your head down for them when only a couple of pegs up someone is bagging, and on the golden peg too!

So a disappointing year in angling finished in a disappointing way - my worst year results wise for a good few years. The brightest point would have to be away from match fishing too with my pb river carp which I nabbed early one morning before work in September. I'd really like a river 20lb'er next year, but it seems I've been saying that for a long while too. Hopefully 2014 is a much better year for angling for me all round!

Hopefully you all had a good Christmas, and a Happy New Year to you all. I hope it's a fish filled one!