Monday, 22 August 2016

Sunday 21st August - SW Super League (final round) Bristol Avon, Newbridge

This was the final round of the SW Super League and I feel I have improved due to fishing it over the past 3 years. I like all the venues used, Gloucester Canal, River Huntspill and the Bristol Avon. With 8 teams of 8 participating it does not run itself so a big thank you to Dave Micklewright and Nicky Johns plus all the other helpers.

The draw took place as usual (for the Avon) at the Stothert and Pitt Rugby Club who always make us welcome and provide a good service before and after the matches.
My first job was to shake the hand of the man below, Shaun Bryan who fished a great match on the Div 1 National on the Tidal Trent finishing up with 30 plus kilos for 2nd overall.

Shaun with his trophy and medal, well deserved.

So onto the match itself..... Glen Calvert fished for us due to not have any other league commitments on Commercials and we also had Jeff Surman standing in for Sam Johnson who was fishing a Feeder Fest qualifier further on down the river at Keynsham.
The previous couple of days there had been a fair bit of rain and I was expecting a good amount of colour in the river but took a look at it on the way to the draw and was surprised it was still quite clear, there was a bit more pace to it though.
The draw took place on time and I was allocated Peg 74, eleven pegs downstream from where I was the previous week and the peg Mark Bromsgrove won off with 14lb 4oz. I had fished the peg a couple of years ago and messed it up but knew what to do this time. I can only remember out of the team what peg Glen had as I was going in the same direction as him (he was on 92 and we both walked from the draw). My walk was a little shorter than the previous week but much more comfortable due to purchasing a Rigger Platform Barrow, what a great piece of kit.
I passed Mark Leader who was on 76, 75 was not in and saw my peg was down a very steep bank again but would be fine once I got down and erected the Rigger Platform. The added bonus was there was no one above me, the next angler Gary O'Shea was around the corner after the old railway bridge. 
I had heard Mark caught on the waggler at full depth the previous week but due to the increased pace of the river decided against that. Two pole rigs were set up, top 4 at 10 meters with a 1.5 gram and top 5 at 13 meters with a 2.5 gram plus a feeder rod for fishing right across. Ground bait mix was Black Lake, Gross Gardons and River.

Nice peg

I was ready with about 20 mins to go so chopped up a fair bit of worm as I find I don't do it as much as I should once I start fishing.
On the ''all in'' 10 balls went in on the pole lines, 6 at 13 and 4 at 10. Des Shipp came 2nd the previous week so followed his approach. I only mixed in some chopped worm on the 10 meter line. 
Starting on the 13 meter line and as expected I had a bite first put in and it was a decent roach of around 5 oz followed by smaller samples and then perch. I was going quite nicely on this line and then the dreaded wind picked up and 13 meters became difficult. I came in at 10 meters and started to pick up the odd small perch and very very small roach. An hour had passed and the wind was getting stronger and I felt I was going no where on the pole lines due to not being able to present the bait right. At this point i calculated I has around 3lbs at most. 
I decided to pick up the feeder rod and give it a go, I think I heard a few other anglers plopping out the feeder so knew they too were having problems.
I had already clipped up to the edge of a tree on the far bank which was a fair old chuck but hit the target area first time with hemp and caster and double red on a drennan forged 16. I had a bite straight away but missed it due to the wind making me misjudge the strike. I re-postioned the rod rest and connected with a roach the next cast. Small chublets began to follow over the next hour, not many but a good sign. I kept putting the bait in regularly in the hope bigger chub might appear and in the third hour a few did, great bites and put up a good fight for their size. I kept to the 0.13 hook length but upped the hook to a 14 as I did't want to loosed any.
Mark shouted up to ask if I was catching and I replied that I had about 10lbs, he said he didn't have that.
The wind kept up and it made me stay on the feeder. I continued to add the odd fish changing the hook bait to small red worm or double caster to keep the fish coming, it was not fast and furious but my weight was going up.
On the ''all out'' I was pleased with my day.
Word down my 'section' was that 10lb was about the best but i have heard that before.
Gary O'Shea was the first to weigh in the Section and returned 9lb 10ozs which was better that the previous week off the same peg.
I thought I may have had around 15lbs, was not far off and registered 14lbs 4oz, already the guys were saying that was going to be good enough for the 'Section'.
It did turn out to be the best weight so chuffed with that.

some of the weights were quite tight

nice bag of chublets 14lb 4ozs

As I walked back downstream towards the Rugby Club I met up with Glen who was still packing up, he had smashed his 'section' with 9lbs plus of perch on the pole, happy days.

Back at the Club I met up with the rest of the guys who had mixed results. It wasn't until I asked them what won their 'section' that it dawned on me I might frame.

Turned out I came second overall, beaten by 10oz to first place! No worries though, £70 section and £75 for 2nd.

Our Team was 3rd on the day, we have been improving so lets hope it continues.

League overall was won by the consistent Thatchers.
2nd was Lobbys
3rd was Sensas 88

Pleasure session planned on Wednesday on the Gloucester Canal, no fishing next weekend and then the following weekend off to Ireland to fish the Arva Festival.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Sunday 14th August - SW Super League Bristol Avon, Newbridge

So ... on to the last two matches of this long standing League made up of 8 Teams of 8. The draw was scheduled for 08:30 but Nicky Johns who assists Dave Micklewright run the League over slept and finally arrived at around 09:40 ish. Fair play to all the anglers who were very patient, after all who else would put in the work and effort?
With the late draw fishing would be 12:00 - 17:00 as there are some very long walks. There were two England Internationals fishing today, Calum Dicks who was fishing for us again and Des Shipp who was fishing for his second Team, namely Thatchers. 
Prior to the draw Team Captain Chris Hook (great surname) had been down to look at the river and reported hardly any flow, it was also due to be very bright later on as well.
Chris came back with the draw and I was on 65, a hell of a walk no matter which end you approached it from. Looking at the weight sheet from the previous weeks practice match 8lbs had come off it.
Calum was on 122 which was two pegs away from the 53lb bream weight last week!
After a sweaty walk and a bottle of lucozade later I found my peg after walking past it, a lot of them are poorly numbered or not at all. It was a long way down to the water but there was a very small shallower ledge at the bottom of the steep bank which I managed to get my box onto with the front legs more or less fully extended (getting back up would be an effort).

it was a good 10 foot drop down into the water.

i had about 90 minutes to set up and I needed all of it due to climbing up and down the bank with the gear. Set up was a 1.5 grm, top 5 deep at 11 meters, a shallow rig (0.50 grm) set at around 3 foot for fishing 11 meters plus, a 1 grm rig for down the edge 2 meters out from the bank where it was around 8 foot. Finally a ''window feeder'' for fishing across. Did not have time or the energy to set up the waggler, on reflection I should have.
Most people ''ball it in'' at the start and you have to follow suit otherwise the fish may be drawn away from you. Some times it works sometimes it doesn't.
12 big jaffa's went in at the start laced with hemp and caster at 11 meters and some chop down the edge. 
As expected first put in on the 11 meter line and with maggot on the hook the float sailed away and a small roach was swung to hand. Same again for the next 5 trots through, a change to single and double caster brought slightly better roach and then a few perch started to show.  My 11 meter line lasted about 40 minutes tops.
Others must have experienced the same thing as you could hear the feeders going out.
I stuck it a little longer and snared the odd perch on the chop line as well as the end of the trot on the 11 meter line but after an hour and quarter grabbed the ''window feeder rod''. Filled with caster and hemp and plugged with a little ground bait it landed perfectly under the far bank tree and the tip rattled straight away. I connected with a baby chub and thought there may be a few bigger ones around like the previous week. I had loads of bites but was only hitting one in about ten. Very small roach were the problem so very hard to hit.
I had the odd look on the pole lines as all the while I kept feeding them but it was no good.
I stayed on the feeder for the last 2 hours solid and did connect with a skimmer of around a pound but the hook came out at the net.
The 'Section' was very tight and won by Paul Purchase with 6lb 13oz, he managed a couple of big eels with gave him the advantage. There were 3 other 6lb weights, I managed 5lb 6oz so that lost skimmer cost me, still 4 points in a hard Section.

Calum won his Section with 11lb plus getting a few early Skimmers on the ground bait feeder and then catching shallow. Sean also picked up money coming second in his Section with 8lb odd.

The ever consistent Mark Bromsgrove won the day with 14lb plus (a very low weight compared to the previous week, I don't think any bream were caught).
Cannot remember who was second but believe Des was 3rd with 12lb plus.

Thatchers are still top of the table, we are 6th.

Last round is next week, same place then its finishing off the prep for the Arva Festival.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Sunday 7th August - SW Super League practice, Bristol Avon Newbridge.

With the final two Super League matches scheduled for the Newbridge Section of the Bristol Avon 6 of us booked in for this practice match which was a 50 pegger. The whole stretch was used from the Little Field above Newbridge to the end of the trees towards Salford Rowing Club.
Kev Dicks was in charge of proceedings today and got the open draw well under way by 08:30 with fishing 11:00 - 16:00.
In the draw due I was fairly near the front and was pleased when I drew peg 24 just downstream of the Pump House at Newbridge. Team mate Lewis Walker was on this peg last year and had 12lb odd off it to win his Section. He caught chub across on the waggler. The peg is known to have form and you can get into the water which is a bonus.
Calum, Lewis and Nigel where in the trees, Chris was on 7 in the little field and Rob was past me in the 30's down the straight.
Looking at the river when I parked up it was barely moving, it was overcast with some drizzle which was forecast to change to bright sunshine later on.
It was only a short walk to the peg (makes a change) and it did look nice. I had 2 hours to set up so no rush.
26 was the next peg in below me and Kev Dicks was on this, he knows the Newbridge Section better than most.
There was only a slight breeze so I set up a 4AA waggler to fish at around 3 foot hoping to spray maggot over the top and right over to the far bank cover. The tip was set up to fish the same line with a Bob Nudd 'window feeder'. Finally just one pole rig with a 1.5 grm float, the depth was just under top 4 at 11 meters. I was going to set up a shallow rig but decided to keep it simple.

lovely peg

The 11:00 'all in' soon came around and on the shout I put in 9 big gaffa's laced with hemp and caster plus some left over squats from last week. The mix was just River and Gross Gardon's.
A few chucks with the feeder put some caster and hemp in on the far side.
As expected first run down with the float it buried and a small roach was swung to hand, this pattern was repeated for about 20 minutes before I started loose feeding hemp over the top of the ground bait with the odd caster included. The stamp of roach got slightly better with a few net fish. I knew I was doing OK by the end of the first hour so kept going with the feed as the bites tend to tail off toward the end of the first 90 minutes to the end of the second hour. I was surprised to get a few chublets at around 8ozs and then a few decent perch in-between more roach.
It was a lovely bit of fishing and I was happy with the presentation and the rig. Approx 90 minutes in I could see Kev was now on the tip but decided to remain on the pole until the bite dried up completely.
Just after 2.5 hours it did dry up. I could only get the odd bite right at the end of the trot and usually was a small perch. The wind also got up and it was difficult to hold the pole so it was time to try the far side. The waggler was out of the question due to the strong upstream wind so the tip it was.
I bought some window feeders for Ireland so this was their first outing. The fly like a bullet so were perfect for hitting the target in the strong wind. I got a couple of knock first cast but missed the bite as I had not got the rods position quite right in the wind. A few casts later and more missed taps on the tip I sorted it and connected with a roach of around 6ozs. More decent bites followed and I started to get a few chublet's around 8ozs. I kept casting regular and connected with some better fish loosing two of them in a snag.
At 15:00 and with an hour to go the bites dried up and I lost another good fish but was fairly happy with my day.
I had the scales so walked down to 52 first and then back on myself.
The Section was tight with an average of around 7lb per angler prior to me weighing in.

Chuffed to win the Section while in the company of some good anglers.

My Section winning bag.

Back at the results most of the team had done OK.
Chris had 6lb odd, Calum 19lb plus, Lewis 17lb 14oz, me with 17lb 10oz, Nigel and rob struggled.
Calum also picked up his section but by default.

Lobby's Andy Richings won the the day with 11 bream for 53lb , Mark Leader was second with 39lb, Mark Bromsgrove third with 34lb and Lance Tucker fourth with 31lb, they were all in the same Section.

Overall in our team we had a 6th, 7th and 8th.

Pleasure session on the River Kenn this week then back to Newbridge on Sunday.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Sunday 31st July - SW Super League River Huntspill

We had our Team Meeting on the Wednesday night with England International Calum Dicks in attendance. Calum was kind enough to bring us some gifts in the form of pole floats and hooks along with some advice, he was also going to fish with us for the remaining three matches. Given the management structure at Maver UK has changed this will help us to maintain our relationship with the Company which is launching some new products and improving the quality of others over the next few months. I am also going to replace my non Maver items.
We discussed how the venue had been fishing and came up with a plan which all of us would stick to using the pole. Calum gave us a ground bait mix which consisted of a 3kg mix of three different ground baits (we will keep that in our back pocket for future use). We would add a pint of hemp and a pint of caster. It was going to be a positive approach and something we had never done before or been used to. In addition we also into intended to bait up a bream line with an approach we will also keep in our back pocket for now.
Saturday saw quite a bit of prep but once complete I felt confident thanks to Calum.

The very experienced Calum Dicks, good to get his advice.

Match day came with the draw being held at Laburnum House at 08:30 with fishing 11:00 - 16:00. Captain Chris Hook was early in the draw due us paying our money early and we had time for a quick review of the pegs before heading off. 
I was on 57 upstream of Woolavington Bridge, also above the bridge was Calum and Lewis. Passing them they were setting up platforms in the water. The sun was out and a small ripple on the water, it did look good.
As I got nearer my peg I could see Andy Power was on 58. Due to the vegetation no one would be able to see whether or not anyone was catching and on what method.
After the long walk I still had 90 minutes to set up. Two similar pole rigs were set up on 1 gram floats to fish at 14 and 13 meters where the depth was around 4 foot. An eel rig was set up for fishing to my right and left at 10 meters, I also set up the feeder for fishing at around 2/3 rds the way across. it is very wide at this end and did not try to get all the way over.
Ground bait was already pre mixed  and just needed a bit of attention to get the consistency right.
I was ready with 15 minutes to go and looked at the amount of ground bait I had to put in as per the plan!

On the ''all in'' I began feeding the pole lines first and finished 15 minutes later. Next I fed the feeder line which tool another 15 minutes! So with the first 30 minutes gone I put a maggot on my 14 meter pole line. Straight away it sailed under and a 4 oz roach was netted, taking no chances. for the first 2 hours it was all going to plan and I was happy with progress as a few small skimmers and perch also came to the bait. I was using caster on the hook and feeding hemp every put in. 
The wind became stronger so came in a bit shorter and continued to catch although presentation was not great and I bumped a few decent fish. Tried the shorter eel lines but nothing. 
By 3 p.m. and with an hour to go I was knackered holding the pole in the wind so picked up the feeder. 
First cast I had a small knock which I hit resulting in a skimmer of around 8 ozs. 15 minutes later a more positive bite in the form of a drop back giving me a bream of around 3lbs, happy days. I had a couple of small blades and perch for the remainder of the match. 
I had the scales and assisting was Andy who said he had around 25lb, I could hear him casting out the feeder for most of the day.
Here are the scores on the doors for our Section.

I was happy with my weight, I had followed the Team plan to the letter, perhaps if I had gone out on the tip and hour earlier I would have snared another bream or two which would have made all the difference.
Mark Leader had a good day on the bream with 34lbs 13oz and went on to win the match so fair play to him. Andy Power who also had bream came second overall.

Thatchers won on the day with Sensas 88 coming second, cannot remember who was third, we were fourth so not bad, two of our Team picking up 2nd in Section money (Chris and Sam). 
The wind picking up scuppered our plan after 3 hours and we were slow to re-act. Still learned an awful lot and I personally ended up in the top 20 out of 64 anglers. 

Newbridge on the Bristol Avon next week for a practice match before the next two rounds. 

Prep also beginning for the Arva Festival first week in September.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Update - Holiday, River Huntspill, River Kenn

Well it's been a while but then I have been to Las Vegas, Hawaii and San Franciso. Las Vegas was an experience but I've been there and do not intend to go back in the foreseeable future. Too busy, too much concrete and plastic. I loved Hawaii, we stayed on the big island of Oahu flying into Honolulu and headed for some super and quality accommodation on the West Coast. As an ex Royal Navy sailor I found Pearl Harbour quite moving especially when visiting the Arizona Memorial.
Calling into San Francisco for 3 nights on the way home was also very good, Alcatraz especially.

Arriving home on Sunday 17th July we did not have time to get over our ''jet lag'' as we set off to London on the 19th for our youngest daughters graduation, so proud of her.

The remainder of the week saw me sorting my life out and doing some prep for a Super League Practice match on the Huntspill.

The practice match was well attended despite the current mood of the venue, well it's always moody and can be a difficult nut to crack. Most anglers, me included end up chasing those ghostly bream and only the odd angler connects with them.
Lance Tucker was in charge today and he did run a very good match. Sections used were Woolavington Bridge up and down and Withy Grove up and down so good access and not many long walks.
I drew 138 which was upstream of Withy Grove a section I had not fished before but word was there was plenty of roach there. The peg looked quite good when I got there with quite a few small fish topping and what looked like a few blows from the middle across to the far bank.

Set up today as it was a practice was Feeder for all the way across, waggler for the middle and pole at 13 meters.
I will not go anymore technical than that as it was all very simple. Depth was more or less the same all the way across and around foot.
As usual I fed 5 hard ball of ground bait laced with squat, hemp and caster at 13 meters then fed around 8 feeder fulls of chop, squats and caster across.
After that I started on the tip loose feeding the waggler line halfway across. I had a couple of bits on the tip in the first 20 minutes (small rudd) but after that it went quiet. 50 minutes in I was bored so came in on the pole and started to catch small roach. I re-fed and rested this line after 30 minutes giving the waggler a go and had a few small fish on that as well.
The rest of the match was really spent between the waggler and the pole apart from the last 20 minutes on the tip.
I ended up with 1kg 450grms for around halfway in the Section. On reflection i wish I had stuck to either the pole or the waggler all match. The Section was won by Martin Barrett with 6 kgs of waggler caught silvers. 3 kg odd was second.
Overall Kev Rowles won with 8 kg of bream, Clive Branson was second with 7 kgs on the waggler and Martins 6 kgs was good enough for third.
We have the pleasure of Calum Dicks fishing for us in the last three matches and he is giving us some coaching tomorrow night so looking forward to that.

The following day I went on the River Kenn for a 3.5 hour session in the afternoon as my car is getting repaired this week after some twat keyed it while I was fishing a Bristol City Docks Match.
I settled in on peg 22 and fished the pole at 13 meters, with a 1.5 gram float using double caster on the hook over Sensas Roach and Brown Crumb with left over squat, hemp and caster from Sunday. It was a great short session with a mid double figure bag of mainly quality roach and a couple of hybrids.

Great to see the roach showing now.

So.... it's good to be back and looking forward to sunday on the ''spill''.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Sunday 26th June - SW Super League practice match Lower Bristol Avon

This was the first major match on the Lower Bristol Avon of the new season. The section used was Swineford to Jack Whites and 44 Anglers were booked in. The draw was at 08:30 with fishing 11:00 - 16:00 due to some long walks as there is only really three points of access and gear needs to be lifted over Kissing Gates and Styles. There were payouts for the top 4 and 4 sections of 5 and one of 4, each paying out £50 which is the way to go I believe.
4 of us from the Team were taking part, Chris, Lewis, Rob and myself even though Chris and I are away for a few weeks from 2nd July.
We were near the front of the due when the draw was called so a quick get away in order to park. Lewis was in front of me and pulled out peg 9 at Swineford, second field and I pulled 7 so we were both in the same section. I did fancy it even though these were not the usual permanent pegs.
On arrival and after we had loaded up we had to go through the first field of uncut grass which was knee high followed by doing a series of lifts with other anglers to get the gear over the Kissing Gate. I was a the first peg directly after the gate.
The river was well coloured due to the previous days storms and it was a very steep climb down the steps cut in the bank to get down near the water.

The picture does not give the full extent of the gradient down the bank.

I toyed with just standing up but made the decision to take the box down the bank and setting up more comfortably which resulted in straining my back.
I set up a feeder rod and a topper float for down the middle as straight out in front of me the river came back on itself and was very shallow compared to around 6' in the middle. The pole was out of the question as the bank behind me was too steep and close.
Due to the colour and location you had to give it a go for the bream. While fishing the tip for 2 hours I fed the middle with hemp and caster. 
it must have been on about my 8 cast with the tip I had a big drop back bite and I connected with something really solid on the strike which moved a few feet and then the line went slack. The hook length had been bitten through so Mr Pike must have liked the whole dendra. 
Lots of taps were experienced on the tip and I got plagued with tiny fish and not even hooking them.
The tip rod went up the bank and first trot down with the float I had a roach of around 4 ozs. 
Sensas 88 captain Lance Tucker who was below me came up for a walk. I knew he had been mainly concentrating on the tip but said he had only bits but did loose a bream.
I carried on with the float and after a while fed small nuggets of ground bait laced with hemp and caster and with caster on the hook started putting a few fish together although no netters.
I was enjoying the day even though in terms of the overall match I was going nowhere.
I know it was only a 5 peg section but as you can see from the weigh board it was very close. Nick Johns above me spent more time on the float and his swim lended more towards it.

On reflection ..... I should have spent more time on the float, stood up rather than take all my gear down the bank, perhaps set up a long whip.
The middle section threw up a couple of big bream weights as expected with a 44 lb plus net and there was a another with over 30 lbs and a couple of 20 lbs.

Fellow Blogger Tim Ford was also fishing, his report and view of the match can be found at

Well I might get out this week before my trip to the States on Saturday but no more matches until Sunday 24th July, it will be on the River Huntspill.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Sunday 19th June - Clevedon Club Match River Kenn.

This was the first match of the river season and I was really looking forward to it following my catch of 7 bream on opening day. There were only 10 booked in for this match which included a few new members which is good for the Clubs bank balance. I was surprised there was not a few more as we had a lot of interest at the back end of last season due to the river producing massive bags of roach. The bream that were being caught on the days prior to this match had been well published on Facebook.
I drew peg 3 which was a permanent peg down near the sea wall and was happy as it was also an end peg. My team mate and captain Chris Hook (new member on the day) drew next to me on peg 4. I think this was only the second time Chris had fished the river so he followed me down the road to a close parking area within the residential area which runs along the river path. We park in the 'Tynings' and you could not have got any closer to our pegs, 5 minute walk.
On arrival at the pegs there was a downstream wind blowing, despite this I still set up a waggler rod as well as the feeder and pole at 13 meters for down the middle. Chris next door just set up the feeder and pole.
On the ''all in'' I started on the waggler spraying caster and hemp to try and get a few fish in the next as there was the odd roach and chub topping. Chris on the other hand went straight on the feeder putting in a few casts first to get some bait into his selected area three quarters the way across.
The waggler proved a bit difficult due to the wind and after 30 minutes or so it went up the bank behind me and Chris had a couple of bream as well.
Out went the feeder towards a tree on the far side and just downstream with a small red worm and red maggot. A few casts later the tip went around and a good bream was on only to come off half way across. A few casts later and the tip flew around again, picked the rod up and it was solid with that thumping feeling indicating ... bream on. It was a good fish of around 5lbs so I was off the mark. Chris mean while had a added a few more! Another bream quickly followed for me, it was another good fish and more like 6lbs. Within 10 minutes I had another but lost it due to thick marginal weed to my left, it was my fault for not controlling it better. I added a few more perch, roach and eels but no more bream.
Chris ended up with 14 bream, 13 on the feeder and 1 on the pole and I knew he had won the day.

Chris with his fantastic bream catch of just over 71lbs

Gary Cross suffered a lot of liners on the day but ended up with over 45lbs

Bread and Whip expert Scott Smallwood was third with over 35lbs and included a nice hybrid

Club Chairman Steve Bonwick had over 18lbs for 4th including some nice skimmers

My 2 bream and bits went over 15lbs for 5th

The river fished really well on the day, fish responded to a number of methods, I will be looking to have a few outings during the weekdays over the coming months.
Great value for £20 senior and £5 for a junior which also includes the Bristol Avon, Swineford to Jack Whites.