Saturday, 22 April 2017

Marsh AC Claygate Lake Eva 22 04 17

With my recent run of form I was dreading this match. History placed me on a peg that should never have been in the draw a couple of years ago and it still haunts me to this day. It was an end peg at the end of the lake with no depth and clear water all the way across, how I managed to weigh in that day amazed me. Still today was another day. Mick was driving today, so at least I could relax on the way down. After stopping off at Monks Lakes for a breakfast stick and a cup of tea, we were soon arriving at Claygate Lakes. It was busy with another match on Sophie's lake and plenty of pleasure anglers lining the Specimen Lake and half of our lake.
Unfortunately, this was the first match we had following the funeral on Friday of Martin Hucker, a longstanding member of the club who always had time for everyone. A few words from the Chairman Dave Collier and a small collection was made which will be passed onto his family at this sad time. Tight Lines up there Martin.
We had the railway bank and the straight up to the entrance. 18 pegs in total and from previous experiences everyone wanted to draw 17 or 18. The lake narrows here and by fishing up to a small island you can get plenty of bites. So where do I draw Peg 2, only slightly nearer to pegs 17 and 18 than Jim Boase on peg 1. However I was quite pleased as I could reach the large island with 12.5m although shipping back and forth is a nightmare with a railway line directly behind you and steep banks. I would have to break down twice to get to a top kit. Mick had drawn peg 7 and from where I was I could see if he was catching or not ( hopefully).
I decided to fish 4 lines today one at 12.5m where I had 3ft of water across to the island about a foot away. The next two lines were at 5m at 10 and 2 O'clock where it was around 4ft deep. My last line was down the edge to my right.The deeper rigs were DT Diamonds, .16 stroft to a B911 f1 size 16 with a bulk of shot 5 inches from the hook. Elastics were all white hydro bar the margin where I planned to use a soft black if required. Bait was 4mm GOT sinkers with a 6mm hard pellet or meat on the hook I did have some expanders with me as well.
At the all in we observed a minutes silence and proceeded onto the match. I cupped in a small amount of pellet onto the left hand 2+2 line and threw a dozen onto the right hand line. Another small pot to 12.5m before going across with the 3ft rig and a 6mm hard pellet, a few lift and drops and a small chub was soon in the net. A carp around 3lb followed before the F1s arrived in small numbers. After 30 minutes they disappeared and after re-feeding I had a look on the left hand 2+2 line, nothing, a look on the 2+2 line right and a couple of small F1s. Jim next door was getting a few F1s on maggot at the same distance but was also getting odd roach and skimmers. Terry was struggling but Mick and Clive were setting the pace according to the grapevine.By rotaing my lines I was able to keep fish coming throughout the day, they were not big fish, in fact the 3lb carp I had second put in was the biggest fish of my day. The bites were proper f1 bites, very delicate and I had to dot the float right down to see them but the white hydro was perfect for them.
At the all out I reckoned on 75lb consisting of around 50 fish. Mick was being quite coy about his weight and was just saying it was close. Not normally a good sign for me lately.
Jim was first to weigh and put a 53-00 starting weight. I upped that to 83-08 before Terry chipped in with a level 43-00. Mick was next and his two weighs pulled the scales round to 81-08, 2lb in it and he was right it was close to call, 1 fish in it. Clive was next  with 52-00 before turning up the straight. John put 29-04 losing out to Dave with 39-08. The dangerman in the club is Al, a cracking angler who is a sponge for knowledge. His weight of 73-08 was a great weight considering he is spending a fair bit of time coaching his son. Little Al was next with 12-12 before we come to the flyers,pegs 17 and 18. I was leading up to this point, but Tony and Chris had both not found a good run of fish. Tony blaming everything but himself for his failure to catch, however he pipped Chris with 40-00 dead to 39-08. Chris not catching his normal supply of silver maggot fish today.
1st Keith Ashby 83-08
2nd Mick Wright 81-08
3rd Al Loader 73-08
4th Jim Boase 53-00
5th Clive Pritchard 52-00
6th Terry Goff 43-00
So a welcome match win, after a dismal run of form. I do not win many matches so it is always nice to prosper. I have taken leave of one of Mick's MK Nuggets to make it 6-2 in his favour but the weather is turning and I do not give up easily.
My next match is May 6th at Coleman's Cottage Pathfield Lake, a venue I have fished before but not for a few years so it will be nice to renew acquaintances.
Finally RIP Martin Hucker, no longer in pain, sleep peacefully.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Alders Farm Ash Lake 180417

Someone told me today that they were going through a crisis of confidence at the moment, I thought about it for a little while and after the initial mickey taking, I thought do you know what I could be too. Everything I am doing at the moment, fishing wise, does not seem to be working together.
Today, was the Tuesday Cost-cutter on Ash Lake at Alders Farm. I have not fished it for a few weeks but have noticed that pegs 1, 2, 12, 20 and 30 were fishing well. Having transported my gear down the hill to the cafe and sitting outside on the patio, I was asked where I would like to fish, any peg on the dam wall was the answer, the reason was the wind was blowing towards that end of the lake and I wanted to fish corn in the deeper water at 2+2 and later down the edges. I really fancied the corn getting plenty of bites today. I was confident. Mick and Vic were both in attendance today so as per usual I had my MK Nugget at stake with Mick. Mick goes in first and pulls out peg 20. I follow him into the box and peg 2 sticks to my hand. A good peg, but a little too shallow for what I wanted to do today, I did have pellet with me but really only wanted to use it as feed and not fish it. Vic had drawn another good peg, 12, wind blowing in and some form. Jim had drawn peg 30 with Dennis on peg 1. I had Ken and Matt Kearns on pegs 3 and 4 with the Lancaster Brothers on 6 and 7. Trevor had drawn 23 Paul on 21, Steve Wroe on 18 and Madd on 10.
I planned to fish the corn today, so set up a 2+2 line in the shallow water and would feed by hand but did not expect to catch there regularly. I had another corn line at 11m in the slightly deeper water and planned to fish 11m towards the reed bed at 2 O'clock and another line at 9m into the reed bed at 3 O'clock.
Starting off at 11m I had a small carp around 1lb first put in and another couple in the first half hour but I was also getting liners. I shallowed up a couple of inches to come off deck and nicked another couple of fish before it slowed. I re-fed the line with corn and a few pellets to try to get the fish back on the deck. I went to the 9m line line next to the reeds and had a short spell of fish which even with black hydro could not stop fish going into the reed bed. A look at 11m to the edge of the reeds saw a few more fish but I was losing more than landing them. I was either foul hooking them or the hook was pulling out as I was shipping back. I reckoned I had lost more at the half way stage than caught. I changed the elastics over, adjusted depths, I just could not get it right. It did not seem to make any difference. I changed hook pattern switching from a Kaizen to a B911f1 hook to see if this made a difference, all to no avail. I could hook them but not land them.
Ken next door was also struggling, picking off odd fish, mostly on the feeder, Matt was getting a few fish at 6m whilst I could see Jim catching well throughout. My crisis of confidence was taking effect. I had enough fish on the hook to compete yet, would have little to show for it at the end of the match. And to make matters worse I could see Mick catching late on down the edge.
After a frustrating five hours, it was my turn to weigh in. 63lb for nowhere. A good peg wasted.
1st Trevor Price 150-11
2nd Charlie Lancaster 141-00
3rd Vic Nugent 107-06
4th Jim Stubbings 99-09
5th Terry Lancaster 83-00
6th Matt Kearns 75-02
Mick took another nugget off me to make it 6-1 and I need to sort my crisis out quickly before I set up a direct debit. Tomorrow another pleasure day at Meadowlands before Vic goes in for surgery on his knee.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Pleasure Day Meadowlands 120417

With a spare day off before starting work, I fancied a day out at Meadowlands to set up a few waggler and bomb rods that have been gathering dust in the bag. Vic is off on holiday and Mick had gained permission from his better half to join us, as long as he was back early as it was his turn to cook tea.
Mick had never seen Meadowlands before so we all met up at Jacks cafe before travelling the 30 minutes to the lake. Vic had fished it quite a few times whilst I have had a day on Lambsdown lake and another on Warren, both being very enjoyable yet so different.
Arriving at the site we purchased day tickets and armed ourselves with fishery 8mm pellets, I like these as they are quite heavy pellets and ideal for pinging out at distance. A chat with the bailiff, saw us heading the short walk to peg 18, 20 and 21. Me on 18, Vic 20 and Mick 21.
As I stated earlier, I needed to set up my rods for a festival in May, so stripped them right back, added new line and redone two rods. One waggler and the other a bomb rod. Both Mick and Vic were fishing well before me but had had no signs on the waggler. With the wind blowing right to left I felt it would be a struggle on the waggler yet still planned to fish this early as the wind later in the day was planned to get up. With this in mind I set to fish a comfortable distance where I could get the feed. I also fed a line further out for the bomb and if the wind dropped anytime I could still reach it.
Feeding 3 or 4 pellets at a time, I was into a nice rhythm Feed, Cast, Feed, Twitch, Feed, and do it again.after around 10 minutes the float dipped and fish number one was on and at around 4lb was a good start. Back into the rhythm, and another ten minutes passed and as soon as the pellet plopped onto the surface it was fish on. Another 5lb and a welcome sign. It went quiet for the next half hour so I switched to the bomb and had a better fish around 8lb. A couple of skimmers came to the net during this spell.
Both Vic and Mick were both off the mark and at one time all three of us were in at the same time.
The fishing was not prolific by any means and I persevered with waggler when the wind would allow and a couple more came to it. I think the wind blowing right to left and gusty at times hampered the presentation a lot and the bomb was definitely a more productive method on the day. Yet I still ended up with 10 carp and 4 skimmers. The better fish on the bomb. Vic had a similar catch whilst Mick was slightly behind, shame there is no nugget on pleasure days.
I packed up early and set up another couple of rods before packing them all away. Until next time where I will be at Alders Farm again for the Tuesday Cost-cutter.

Drennan Alders Pines Lake 110417

Things have been getting worse with my fishing lately, some poor draws which we all get now and again unless your name is Mick, some poor performances as well. It seems that I cannot string more than a couple of fish together, yes I am catching but no way near enough to even class it a day out. I feel that I am at a crossroads with my fishing, do I stick to fishing the corn which I feel I can do quite well, but it either works or does not. Or do I get my head down and try to learn how to fish and more importantly feed the pellet?Things are not looking good on the MK Nugget front either, slipping to a 4-1 loss at present.
Anyway enough of my ramblings, 14 of us graced the cafe at Alders Farm for the Tuesday Cost-cutter. The match itself was on Pines Lake and I was keen to correct some mistakes from the previous week. I was not too hopeful, after pulling out peg 19, the same peg Mick had last week and put 90lb on the scales and to round it off Mick drew peg 17. He did say that the fish came late in the day last week on maggot over pellet, so that was my plan. We had Terry Lancaster on 16 and Paul Hawkins on 20. Trevor Price had my peg 12 from the previous week so I would be interested to see how he catches and try to find out where I went wrong. Miles was on his own on the dam wall with Steve Potter on peg 1. Good mate and work colleague Vic Nugent was fishing his first match for over a year, but he still had a drawing arm on him on peg 7.
I set up five rigs today. One for the margins, another for 2+2 and one for 3+2 in case they backed off. I also set up a 11m line and a shallow rig. My plan was to fish maggot down the edge with GB. Maggot over pellet on my close lines and pellet over pellet on the longer lines.
After feeding my long line and edge swim I cupped in a half pot of 4mm fishery pellet onto 2+2 and started off there. 10 minutes in and nothing, 15 minutes and my first bite on double maggot, then nothing. Pushing the rig out to 3+2 and 6 inches off deck I hooked my first carp, back out and nothing. Out to 11m and pinging a few 4mms and fishing a 6mm banded pellet. A couple of small carp came to the net.
Mick was getting a few on the tip to the island and we were even in fish but his looked bigger. Paul was struggling, Miles was getting plenty of action on the dam wall. I could see Trevor in the distance netting odd fish and Steve Potter on 1 was also in action. I could hear Madd talking to the whole lake although I am sure it was not intended, anything from which bands Trevor was going to see, to the accomodation at Stafford Moor. Sometimes he does not realise how loud he can be. LOL.
A quick look down the edge saw me re-feeding after 10 minutes with nothing to show for the effort. I decided to have a look shallow, arming the band with a 6mm Jupiter I soon was picking off odd fish, pinging over the top. However I would get 1 or 2 and then nothing for 15 minutes, despite alternating the feed rate and depth. Mick was now catching fish on his 2+2 line so I gave it a go and saw my float sit motionless for the next fifteen minutes.
At the all out I felt that there were not enough fish close in to pose a decent threat to the weigh in and I spent too much time tring to get it to work. In hindsight fishing shallow for the whole match was probably, my best bet for the whole match.
1st Steve Potter 131-10
2nd Miles Philipps 130-03
3rd John Light 123-00
4th Trevor Price 117-14
5th Gavin Mills 113-09
6th Vic Nugent 77-14
My weight of 46-10 saw me finish nowhere, with Mick taking another Nugget off me with 64-02. Mick now leads 5-1, all of his wins coming at Alders.
Next day out for me is Meadowlands tomorrow to set up some rods in preparation for the upcoming Stafford Moor festival in May.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Drennan Alders Farm 040417 Pines Lake

They say things come in threes, well this is my third fishing trip within my four days off work. Good luck normal follows bad luck as they say, so I was looking forward to this match. It was on Pines lake, one of my favourites in the country let alone Alders Farm.
Mick and I were to resume battle for the MK Nugget so that added a bit of extra spice to the day and with 15 other anglers vying for top spot and a separate silvers pool. There was plenty to go at.
That was where my day started going wrong, en route to the venue a Wood Pigeon decided to headbutt my front grill at 70mph. One very dead pigeon and a gaping hole in the grill. Still I was going fishing.
Get to the venue and everything was good, chatting away to friends old and new. Then the draw. I wanted any peg except 10 or 12 as I thought it would be too shallow at this time of the year. I also thought for a change I would go into the bag before Mick and see if I could get one of the flyers he regularly draws. Wrong peg 12, great in Summer, not so good this time of the year. Off I trot with Mick in tow, on his way to peg 19, another peg he would do well off.
I decided to fish similar to my last outing on Pines, corn at 5m, pellet or corn at 12m and the left hand margin with maggot. Wrong side for me as I am left handed and have to turn completely ninety degrees to fish it.
Starting off at 12m on pellet I had a small carp around 3lb first put in and then nothing for 10 minutes before his mate joined him in the keep net. It was slow going and despite pinging and toss potting I could not string a run of fish together, after an hour I had five carp for about 15lb.
A look onto the 5m line saw no bites, in fact I never had a bite on it all day despite trying corn, maggot or pellet.A quick look down the edge and a couple of quick fish. Then nothing. Back out to 12m and another couple of fish before it again went very quiet.
Back to the edge and I decided to concentrate on this for the remainder of the match. It was too early but I was getting battered off the next peg by Graham West and was struggling so felt I had nothing to lose.
Cupping in two pots of GB and the same of maggots I was hoping for a reaction. I was fishing at 11m in about 12 inches of water. I managed to nick a couple quickly over the feed but then started to foul hook a couple which disturbed the peg. Re feeding the margin did not seem to work as I was still having to wait for bites.
At the all out I felt that I had not fished the peg as I should have, I got it all wrong. OK there were not many fish in the peg but those that were there were catch-able and I did not do it. I got it wrong.. No excuses.
And to make matters worse Mick popped 98lb on the scales to double my weight.
1st Gavin Mills 171-07
2nd Pete Archer 159-14
3rd Charlie Lancaster 133-01
4th Graham West 129-14
5th Trevor Price 114-00
6th Mick Wright 98-10
I will be back on next week on the Tuesday Open and hopefully my luck will have changed and I start to get things right on the fishing front.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Alders Farm Spring League 02 04 17

I thought I would have a nice relaxing weekend, a trip to Arrans on Saturday and fish the friendly costcutter at Alders on the Tuesday. However on Friday, I had a call from Phil Young asking if I would stand in for him on the Spring League as he was unwell. As I cannot commit to the League fully as I work too many weekends making it unfair on my team mates, it was nice to fish when I can and if I can help out a good friend it was worth another early morning.
I would be fishing with Nick Pringle and Ian Pretty in the team of three event and after securing some bait from the fishery shop, was soon drinking a cup of tea in the cafe. Ian, Nick and Phil had agreed to rotate their sections during the League so I would be positioned in B section. The dam wall, The Corner of Death or on one of the two satellite lakes on the complex. With Monies paid, Ian was going to draw our peg. A section peg 7 Nick Pringle, B section peg 12 myself, C Section Peg 23 Ian.Not the best of draws.
For company I had Del Smith on 10, although not in my section, however Hugh Crawford on 15 was. So needed to keep an eye on him as well as the guys on Wood Lake behind me.
I opted to fish 4 lines today, 2 at 12m at 10 and 2, a line at 5m and the left hand margin. I started off fishing 12m at 2 and first put in with a 6mm pellet saw a 2lb skimmer come to the net. Ten minutes later and a carp around the same weight was in the bag. At least both keepnets were getting used. With no more bites I switched to 12m at 10, no bites so re-fed and a look at 5m. I had been throwing 3 or 4 grains of corn since the start and was hoping to snag a few. However, nothing.
A quick look down the edge saw no signs of fish. It was fishing quite hard in the corner of death, Del was rotating his lines and getting nowhere. Hugh was struggling. Back out to 12m as this was the only place I had had a bite and another hour on it saw 3 more 2lb fish in the net. I was hardly set the place alight. I just kept rotating the lines in the hope that on one of the fish would turn up.
By the fourth hour I had around 25lb in the net and went down the edge for the fourth time. This time the float dipped and a carp was soon in the net. Del was getting a few indications at 6m and Hugh was nicking odd fish from his margin swim. I decided to fish the last couple of hours down the edge as this offered the best chance of a few fish. Switching to maggot on the hook over GB I was soon getting a few fish until the last half hour when even this line died. I felt I had done alright after the match.
My catch of 71lb was enough for fourth in the section. A good points score from an unfancied peg, beaten by one on the dam wall and the two anglers on pump lake. Unfortunately we tied for last on the team front, Ian having 61lb from peg 23 and Nick 59lb from Peg 7.
Although it seems as if the lake fished hard, it was another fair match with plenty of peg to peg battles. All sections were won with over a ton with lots of good back up weights.
My next match is on Tuesday on the Alders Farm Costcutter.

Marsh AC Arrans Lake 01 04 2017

The past few months have been a bit of a non fishing event for me, no club matches and plenty of work mean that the days off usually mean pleasure sessions somewhere, not something I really enjoy. So with the start of the Marsh AC season starting on the 1st of April, it was time to make a fool of myself and try to recoup some of the pound coins I have been giving away to Mick.
With it being fairly local to us, just over an hour away, Arrans Lake is becoming a big weight water especially during the summer months. However, our club members struggle with the big weights for various reasons and a decision was made to bring forward our normal Summer match to the Spring, to try to bridge the gap and make for fairer matches. A move I welcome. Matches could now be won with 120-150lb rather than the 500-800lb matches in the Summer months.
I was driving ,so picked Mick up at 0540 and a nice steady plod through the M1/M25 corridor, saw us arrive just before 0700 at Rosie's Cafe just outside Chelmsford. A nice full English and a cuppa with Simon,Gino Tom and Bernie before the move to the lake 10 minutes away.
With Club fees and pools paid and barrow loaded, I was asked to peg the lake out with instructions to peg the car park bank and the right hand side. Allowing a bit extra room we did go one peg on the far bank.
At the draw I pulled out peg 4 with Mick drawing peg 12 and still he cannot get off that bank. After all it is a good bank, so he was not too disappointed. For company I had Jim and Dave Collier either side of me, with Al Loader on peg 6, I could keep an eye on him whilst he empties it.
All the good weights come from fishing close in, so set up 4 rigs to fish 2+2, 2+1 at 2 and 10 O'clock and a margin rig next to a clump of reeds. Line was .20 to a size 16 B911 to fish both banded pellet or corn.
At the all in I cupped in a small amount of corn and 4mm sinkers to 2+2 and placed a grain of corn on the hook and I was instantly into a Rudd around 6oz. A couple more followed before the black hydro came out a lot further and carp number one was in the net. After the first hour it was fishing harder than I expected. I had around 6 carp for about 15lb. Dave had caught a couple which looked bigger and Al was catching odd fish, but none of us could line them up in any numbers. Jim was busying himself trying to catch 40lb of silvers.This trend continued throughout the first couple of hours. Indeed we did not need the usual half time break.
Into the second half of the match, and I decided to up the feed and try to force the fish to feed. I was now getting a few fish and catching well on my margin rig, when the owner arrived and promptly stood over the margin watching my float. This had the effect of killing the swim dead and took nearly an hour to get back to catching from it. Dave and Al were both catching well now and I knew that "lost hour" cost me. Jim's silver fish quest had been curtailed as the carp pushed his silvers out and was getting a few carp to finish off the match.
Although the highlight for me and a lesson to all. Mick had placed a top kit on his roost with baited hook. A Mallard decided it was free food and promptly snaffled the tasty morsel and ran off with hook impaled and top kit following. Luckily the Mallard was safely caught and unhooked and flew off without being harmed.
1st Al Loader 221lb
2nd Simon Watkins 180lb 
3rd Dave Collier 179lb 8oz
4th Keith Ashby 166lb
5th Clive Pritchard 143lb 8oz
6th Mick Wright 127lb
So the clubs decision to move the match forward worked as the match was much closer than normal. I managed the secure the MK Nugget and reduce the deficit to 2 with Mick still leading 3-1. Next match for me is a guest appearance on the Alders Farm Spring league for the Pringle's side tomorrow.