Sunday, 28 September 2014

Pewsey Hot Damn its Milkhouse

Bad start to the day with the Flyer (van) power steering packed up so quick change and whack the tackle into "Kate" my car.  Not sure if I am having a hot flush but I sweating like a fat lass in a chip shop.  Stick on the air conditioning and try and calm down.  I hate rushing, and I hate last minute changes. After arriving and accompanying Leo to peg, I stick out the match signs. Got to try and keep the other towpath users happy.

Martin Aris arrives early and is confident of a good day. His recent hard work practising is beginning to bear fruit with some better match weights. Confident to go two quid with Brian Shutler.

Its all gonna be on the draw today. Milk house is fishing well. Pegs 1,2, and 3. 14, 15 look the pegs although I fancy 9 its got some lovely features, and looks full of fish.  The draw begins and we all dive in with Steve Dean getting the prize peg 1 and Marc Kay getting the equal prize of peg 15.  Me well I was left with the blandest peg on the stretch peg 10.  My run of bad draws continues.
 Still no use bitchin, just tackle up and get on with it.  Start plumbing around for some sort of feature.  The recent canal trust dredging 
and bank repairs has left a uniform 4 feet across to two thirds with a foot deep far shelf.  Not good, but set up the 3 mtr whip. Two track swims and one across , although I would have preferred the shelf to be 2 feet as opposed to a foot deep. 

God its bloody hot.  

I must be going through the change or something but its like a summer day. we are two days away from October and in the field opposite they are collecting hay!!!

The match starts at 9.30 and almost immediately the boats come out of hiding and within 45 minutes we have had 8 boats two canoes and a Kayak; plus I have been double boated.  Not impressed.  High footfall on the towpath added to cyclists (middle aged men in lycra) mamils. 

Its all going on.  The caw of  a grey Heron opposite and the blue flash and high peep peep of the King Fisher as it skims the surface at light speed as it passes by. The canal silt and reeds etc settle and the first bite for nearly an hour is a fat gudgeon.  Fifteen more before the monotony is broken by a Roach.  Not big but still a fish.  I can hear Si Irwin getting arse'y with a boater who was going way to fast.  

As normal Si had done the polite thing by using words like PLEASE and the normal pleasantries; but this idiot was I am a boater and anglers are not wanted.  Despite our best efforts to share the facility of the canal in a responsible way some idiots just don't care.

Sign language settled the passing argument and I knew the boat was near to me as the bow wave that preceded it was making its way past like the Severn Bore.  I expected a surfer on its front edge.  

More wildlife interspersed my few bites. With for the second week in a row a grass snake swims by. On the river last week and this week the canal.  Don't think its the same one though. 

The match move on quickly and I am grinding out the micro fish. Si Burden on the peg I wanted (9) was flashing his pole in and out to the overhanging tree opposite, and I knew I was getting beat.  Derrick (on my left) then hooked a flying roach and he struggled to get it into his net.  Tried to get an idea of its size but it looked a pound easy. News that Martin had one too and Spanners was getting one a chuck pushed my enthusiasm for the day even lower.  

Good news on Spanners though, got his mojo back.  Section on the river last week; coming good at the right time for winter league. Good for Pewsey.

Seriously though with Steve Dean Chris Rushton and Paul Giddings on the fliers in the low numbered section one and Leo , Spanners , and Marc Kay on the fliers in my section I needed to work harder. 

Championship leader Brian Shutler  ( well hes tied with me at the start of the month, but has his nose in front now I'm sure) bagging with Skimmers and Si Irwin getting a big Hybrid; I really am being taken to the cleaners.

The 2.30 finish comes way to soon and although I have had a good last hour with a fish a chuck its not going to be enough. Rumour has it Marc Kay on peg 15 has enough "slabs" to lay a patio. My meagre scratched out bag is not going to be enough, just needed a bonus fish....again! Bad draws and no bonus fish will be on my headstone I am sure.

Marc has had a bag full on the end peg 15 , over 9lb not slabs as I would know but certainly some lovely skimmers and Spanners has 7 lb +(below) good to get the bonus skimmer/hybrids.  Martin has a pound and 3/4 Roach and Derrick too has one of similar size.

The weigh in continues, and amazingly my weight clocks in at 4 lb, gotta be happy with that from a bad draw and featureless swim
Brian's done me by 6 ounces though and Si Irwin is close with his lovely Hybrid (below) boosting his bag.

Pegs one to 8 to go and it can only get worse. These are the fliers, and with Chris Rushton Paul Giddings and Danny Jones in with Si, then its goodnight sweetheart for me. 

To top it Steve Dean is on peg one and that is stacked with fish, the dredging barge is only 3 feet on the towpath bank to his right; and the fish hole up under it..  The weights are taken and only Danny has shone to tie with Brian Shutler for third leaving Si Irwin section by default.

So its Marc Kay 1st, Spanners 2nd, and Danny tied with Brian for third. Si section by default and me section by default........ result! Never would have guessed it from that peg.
So on the points front, I think (to be confirmed by Leo the Match Sec) its as follows with Brian sneaking another couple points on me in the joint Lake / Canal Champs.

Mark Kay 15
Spanners 14 - running away with individual Canal champs
Danny / Brian 12.5 each
Si Irwin 11
Me 10
Steve Dean 9
Leo Pocock 8
Derrick Hillier 7
Paul Giddings 6
Martin Aris 5 on the rise getting better
Si Burden 4
Chris Rushton and Chris Glover 2.5 each
Steve Hiscock 1

So to the money winners (Left to right Marc Kay, Brian Shutler,Me, Danny Jones, Ian Spanners Spanswick and the joker on the end Si Irwin)

Back on the winter league next week at Clanfield

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Wessex Winter League R1 Sutton Benger

Jumped into the flyer and pulled away struggling with deteriorating steering. Power steering knackered and new steering rack needed; but it will have to do.  Katy Perry first on the sounds today with your Hot and your cold.  Which was apt really as the yesterdays humidity and thunderstorms had been replaced by a fresher colder morning.

Had the dance vibes blasting and music from the 80,s including Lionel Richie , Five Star, Chaka Khan and Imagination was making me dance in my seat.  Clearly the bump and grinding to "Body Talk" by Imagination was arousing the local ladies as a large crowd of Lycra clad ladies were running towards me.  It was like an Lynx effect advert loads of women running straight at me.  Whoa'' ladies one at a time, the love Walrus has time for you all.

My mistake its the Tidworth Joggers passing by.  Still their loss.

Arrived at the White Hart in Lyneham for the draw. Had all the team sheets printed and a booking in sheet done to save the organizers time.  Need not have bothered. Handed over the £396 for the three teams. Sorry says Pete the organiser cant accept that its not on my paperwork.  No says I thought it would save time. Sorry no do it on mine. Teams registered I asked for the pools sheets. Filled them out and stepped up to pay the £60 pools for each team.  Sorry says Pete cant accept the pools money till you've filled out the Captains Cards !!!!!!  Your having a tin bath says I , but he was adamant. So away to fill out Captains cards.

Finally after a prolonged brief I drew Peg one for our team, which after a shuffle left me with C1.  Bugger wanted D1 the flier below the weir but that one went to Steve Trevett fellow team mate.  Still not to worry C1 should be in front of the tress and they are know Chubb pegs.  Not to be though I was above the Chubby pegs and my peg had apparently been dug out by ISIS club with a JCB this past week. All feature removed it was a featureless peg. Blast this was going to be a grind.
Some 20+ meters wide it was 5 feet at my feet then 6 foot all the way till 6 feet from far bank when it shallowed to 5 feet again.  Not one single feature in my entire trot.  Isis guy goes by to say nice peg now isn't it we dredged it out this past week.  Delightful.

To my right and downstream it looked wonderfully Crabtree like with loads of chubby looking bushes hanging in the water overhanging trees and  and much more appealing.  On my left I had Leo from Pewsey 2 ( two weeks in a row pegged next to Leo)  he was looking forward to the match and hoping the entertainment was going to be like last week with me placing wagglers in the trees.  Unlucky Leo no trees this time for me.  He on the other hand hand a smashing looking swim overhanging trees etc if much more shallow than mine.

Still a little Karma.  Ten minutes before the match I here cussing as Leo adorns the tree opposite with his first waggler.  Just had to get up and go along and say " nice decorations mate".

The feeble whistle indicated the start and I put in 4 x bait droppers of hemp and choppy. Minimal movement meant it wouldn't go far down stream. So I dropped in the Dino 0.75 float with worm and waited for the float to move either down stream at snails pace or to slide away.  After two trots in 15 minutes I changed to a bronze maggot.  The float dipped and the 6 elastic pulled out and went up stream and a nice 12 oz chublett graced the landing net.  Three more roach and nothing. Change to punch bread and three more roach. An hour in know and I am struggling.  Leos barely had a bite and Martin above has had nothing.  Down stream the two ISIS boys on home water were trotting under the willows and had already been rewarded with a chubb each.  Guy below has been led a merry dance by a monster tench before being snapped.  

I try the wagg across up in the water to try and get some Bleak at least but after 25 trots through at different depths . I put the rod behind me and go back on the 11 meter line.  Trying over depth and holding back I scratch a couple more Roach and a bumble Bee Perch. before another barren hour.  God this is a grind; and its not helping knowing ISIS guy is on his 5th Chubb.  The all out is called and whilst I had scratched well (fish every 20 minutes)I barely had 2 lb  and had a feeling was well last in my section.
Packed away I walk down to Brian Shutler (Pewsey 2) on peg 8 just above the weir.  Inevitably Brian has a Chubb ( good anglers never fail to produce and Brian is good , very good)2 lb + and a good few small fish but has struggled.  Lee Knight (Pewsey 3) also has a clonking Chubb 3 lb+ and bits, as well as stories of further lost Chubb.
Further Large Chubb feature and in the end I did well to get 5th in section and 4 points.  The rest of the score sheets are as follows.
Chris Rushton wins A section. Well done Chris

Well done to Spanners picking up second
Steve Trevett makes the most of the best peg on the river and takes his section.

Chris Glover takes his section with Kev Chubb mid section and Si Burden 3rd.

Danny Jones keeps up the pace winning his section.

So know for the team sheet.

 The five Chubb man Paul Rice from my section wins with 13 lb 11 oz. Danny was second, Steve T third and Chris Rushton fourth.  With Mike Marsden and Chris Glover getting sections as well a good day all around.  Swindon ISIS win it with 36 points, Pewsey 1 second with 35 points. Pewsey 2 third 5 points behind and Pewsey 3 tied 4th with Radcot.  So a fine start to the Winter League campaign.

A delighted Chris with a pound from Mike Marsden and 4th in match. Well done Chris.  Next week back on the cut at Milkhouse for the Pewsey Championship.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Pewsey Lake Match 6 ...........Bad day at the office

"The Indians send signals from the rocks among the pass, the cowboys take position in the bushes and the grass. The squaw is with the Corporal she is tied against the tree. She doesn't mind the language its the beating she don't need" 

The music of Squeeze and Cool for Cats, accompanied me across a dismal Salisbury plain.  The clouds and dank atmosphere heralding the proper arrival of an autumnal day.  Leaves were falling and I dreaded seeing the Lake.  Funny time of year the water starting to foul up with acidic compostable vegetation falling freely from the trees.  Coupled with the low autumn sun trajectory the lake is losing its summer welcome door mat.

" and out of Wandsworth with their numbers on their names. Its funny how the missus always looks the bleeding same; and meanwhile at the station there's a couple likely lads. Who swear like hows your father, and their very cool for cats".

Squeeze come to an end as I near the lake and XTC start up with "We're only making plans for Nigel".  Some of the lads are already there. Looking at their wrist watches and shouting abuse about my out of character lateness.  I am not that late and actually have my kit lakeside before them.  After walking the lake to see what pegs I will take out for those who have changed their mind about coming; I sit and start to take the money and book people in.  The lake doesn't look promising and gut feeling made me think I should have stayed at home.

Last of the 6 hour summer matches sees the draw done Brian Shutler has the Scales on end peg 3.  He is already moaning before the match starts about the leaves and his peg being unfishable.  I chuck my keep net in and it settles on the raft of leaves till I wriggle it around it breaks the meniscus of the water and sinks.
Tiny, tiny fish flip on the surface and my initial feeling of dread at drawing in section one again!!! Abates a little and a glimmer of hope flickers into life. Do I put my Carp keep net in? Chances of Carp are low unless the sun comes out.  Chas (below) on my left talks me into putting it in, saying you don't want to be fiddling around if you do hook one. So in it goes.

I whistle the start of the match and cup in. Before I have finished baiting up Gary P, on peg 4 and Steve Hiscock on 14 (end peg) have had a Carp a piece. So I quickly ship out on my main attack line and start feeding the edge whip line for the guaranteed small fish.  So when the float didn't move as expected I knew today would be all about playing catch up.  Tiny fish that barely moved the float came to hand one after another, but not enough.  If I am going to get these I might as well do it on the whip at least its quicker.  However the water was turner colder by the minute and under the raft of leaves colour was dropping out of it as the sinking leaves pressed the green algae into the lake bottom.  Brian is walking the bank still moaning at only having a few Carp and losing 4 others!! Oh of only I could draw an unfishable peg~!!

The weakening autumnal sun breaks the gloom and filters through the trees to leave a dappled sunlight on the far bank.  As nothing is happening in my main areas I flick a insert waggler into the far bank and ping a few maggots in the hope of a cruising Chubb.  The float dips and a pleasing 2 oz Roach (freezing cold) comes to hand.  After landing the float in the same spot like a butterfly with sore feet and with absolute synchronicity 14 little peas in the pod Roach graced my net and my spirits started to lift. The from nowhere a gust of wind sees my waggler adorn the trees opposite. In worsening breezy conditions  I cheerfully tackle up again and promptly flick the first cast alongside the last.  Trees two Gary nil.

After Leo and Chas had stopped laughing , I fired a third toward the sunny patch, and dragged back some broken branches. You couldn't have made the birds nest that greeted me if you tried, so after tackling up again!!I started over.

I had wasted nearly an hour and 15 minutes untangling things, so was not delighted when the next cast hit the water at rods length. Closer inspection found the line had gotten behind the spool (how I don't know).

My temper blew and Leo was saying to Chas "well the fishing is crap but the entertainment is brilliant. And Chas was adding comment that he thought it was early to be putting up Christmas decorations but the trees opposite did look nice with all the floats hanging from them!  Leo spluttered into his coffee and almost missed the Carp that was pulling his rod into the Lake.

He did gain control and a lovely Carp soon graced the landing net.

Now it really was catch up time, two more belting runs for Leo resulted in snapped hook links, before he had another Carp.  I tried to emulate by changing to the tip and the 'method' but with no joy.

I was running out of floats and hook links, so had to go back to the pole; but with the fish being 4 to the ounce. Realization dawned that it was a bad day at the office for sure.

I had been a little unlucky, in fact if I was an undertaker people would stop bloody dying I am sure; but there just wasn't many fish swimming in the stretch I was on.  You will see later if not for Leos Carp nobody two pegs either side of me were catching anything and you can't odds that.

The end came mercifully, and I could not wait to pay out the pools and get away.  The weigh in saw some nice Carp as normal in section 2 Simon Burden leading the way with two for 14 lb 7 oz.

Mark Kay also had two for 12 lb 5.  Chris Rushton had some pups to go with his bigger silvers. Me well considering.......................... I had a few silvers but Gary Perryman had had a Perch to go with his first minute Carp and Steve Cross had had a skimmer or two so it didn't look good for section points for me.

 My silvers had tied Gary's 2 lb 4 oz Carp but his 4 oz Perch gave him the edge, but not enough to catch Steve Cross. Shutler despite his unfishable peg had produced lots of puppy carp for 15 lb 12 to go with his 5 lb 11 oz silvers...................... oh to draw an unfishable peg.

 Brian takes first and first in the super pools as well as silvers and Si Burden , Mark Kay and Leo share the rest of the money.  Once again if not for Carp, my silvers would have looked respectable, but hey ho such is life.  Glad the disasters are left on the lake side.  Looking forward to starting the winter league on the river next week.  The humour and banter (leg pulling) at my expense continued as the winners are photographed.  Glad somebody enjoyed the day.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Back on song with " St John"

After a medical issue I returned to the bank side this week with a pleasure come research session at St Johns Lock on the Thames at Lechlade. Having run the bank last week at the Turner 400 (Radcot) I was going to return this week. Gagging to fish the river ahead of the winter league, I was set on the SWAN OPEN at Radcot. However two hefty motoring bills put the mockers on the entry fee and pools and I had to say "step away from the draw bag and back away".

So when the young lady below asked if I would join her on the river how could I refuse.

Actually it was my fellow team mates, Spanners, PG and Chris Rushton who asked; but you can but dream. Nice waders!

So it was a beautiful morning that greeted me as I jumped into the newly fixed flyer and headed north.  The music pumped as the young people say and I was getting jiggy with it. I think that's the terminology. Still get excited to go fishing just like I did as a boy; and the thought of rod in hand on a river was especially exciting.

Met the lads and whizzed to the parking area; and the rush was on to pick a good looking peg. Chris got everyone chatting and then sneakily said "later losers" as he rushed headlong to get there first.  So much for team effort.  We arrived and everyone chose a peg.  I left my choice til last, and amazingly nobody had taken my choice.  To me it looked great a bush in the river causing a crease with a slack inside and flow outside.

Although I was determined not to get pole - itis and fish the wag and mag, or the bolo or even a stick.  I started at  10 meters on the pole.  The crease was also above a good drop off from 4 to 6 feet.  In went the first of three bait droppers of hemp and caster plus three cupped balls of Sensas River Black ground-bait with a little Leam for the depth.

The pole rig settled and slid away to a bumble bee of a perch. Not the Roach I had hoped for but I was back and catching .............yes.

In again and one after another some 20 odd Gudgeon some real crackers.  The river still had its summer coat on and was looking a little tired and dirty. Well coloured it was in need of some rain and a bloody good flush through. Still while it was this steady might as well fish the pole.  After a couple of boats had come through and St Johns lock had been up and down a few times the river did start to pull a little.

So down went the top kit and I picked up a 7 BB "Drake" stick.  Fishing my 14 foot drennan acolyte Abu close faced 709 with two pound line straight through to a 20 with single bronze maggot.  I was loving it. In truth I was the wrong side of the river for the stick and with a difficult wind it was all I could do to keep the line mended and straight off the water behind the float. Coupled with the slow flow a waggler across would have been a better option.
Still I persevered and the Roach and tiny chubletts started to come one a chuck. I upped the feed rate and changed to caster to try and pick of some bigger fish. First net-able fish was a nice Perch and then a couple of hand sized skimmers.  Bit more hemp and another bait dropper of caster; and through again. 

No bite, so again through and nothing. Adjust the rig to come of the bottom by around 8 inches and wallop under she goes a little-un. No wait its off up stream and under the bush to my left. The water boiled with silt and through the gloom rolled the silvery green side of a near double pike.  What is it with pike and me lately, it  seems like one every week. The hook length couldn't stand up against the razor teeth and the drake stick flew past my ear without warning.

Sit down take a breath and think what to do.  In my heart of hearts I knew the stick was not the way in these conditions, but I tied a new hook link.  I cupped in another ball of ground-bait on the stick line and left it to settle.  Out come the waggler rod now.  Pinging a mix of bronze and caster two thirds of the way across I prepared to fish.  After several no bite runs on the thick top, I unclasped and replaced with an insert wag and came to half depth.  

Bulk around the float and strung out no 8 shot to an 18 with double caster, brought no fish. So changed hook bait to single bronze.  Bang under she goes and a reasonable stamp of Roach between 2 and 4 ounces start to flow toward me.

Feeding regularly now and fish are near the surface.  So I shallow off and immediately hit bleak after bleak. Back down to 4 feet and the float flies away as a "brown trout" makes the clutch slip as it rips down stream.  I get it back to the net before a flip and a twist razors the hook length and we part company.  All the bleak on the surface and the constant flow of maggots have turned the resident Pike orgasmic.  So much so that hitting the bites has become difficult, as the pike strike upwards at the surface fish.

Time to back off.  The wind has changed again to a slight up stream; and the ever busy lock sees the water flowing again.  So back on the stick, bulk shot down to bait dropper level and start fishing over depth and holding back. 20 Gudgeon and one Ruffe later, I decide that, I am not really learning anything here.  Need to find the bonus fish.
Chris is getting demoralised and decides to call it a day after struggling in his chosen snaggy swim.  To be honest mine has gone quite too, I think the Pike has forced the fish out. The bailiff takes my ticket money and I stroll up to see PG and Spanners.  PG is doing well on his chosen method and Spanners is faring better than Chris but not lighting up the world.

I decide to fish down stream away in the hope of drawing the fish back up to me, but no real joy. Same tiny fish.  After another hour PG and Spanners have had enough, and I have to agree Gudgeon bashing is not blowing my skirt up.  

Spanners throws back, as does PG saying he had around 5 pound of nice Perch and bigger Roach.  Me I had around 4 lb +. Loads and loads of Gudgeon and small fish so a busy day but no weight.

Glad to be back, shame I cant join the boys again next week ahead of the end of month North Wessex winter league starting.  

I am afraid my lake match organiser duties will see me back on Pewseys Lake.  Hey ho two weeks might give the river time to freshen up.

See you next week, off home to see the girl of my dreams, no not the one at the top of this blog! My ever enduring / suffering beautiful wife Wendy.