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Monday, 26 January 2015

Emerald Pools, Sapphire, 25 Jan (10 pegs)

Out of an original 16 / 17 that were booked in for this one by Saturday night we were down to 10.
All the usual excuses such as swollen legs, wife's car broke down, bad run on the fruit machines, Ashton Gate etc
But the one that did make me laugh was "I'm going on holiday on Thursday"!
Anyhow it was probably a blessing in disguise as Alan the owner had phoned me a week or so beforehand a bit concerned as a few pegs were, shall we say, in need of a bit of gardening!
Well ok, more like completely overgrown with reeds making some pegs unfishable and others challenging.
In fairness Alan is planning a big overhaul over the next few weeks and hopefully the lake will be transformed by the time we're down there next in March.
Anyways, Mr Rixon had kindly donated a pegging plan (elegantly drawn with a crayon on a paper bag) based on the results from his match down there last Thursday and after ten minutes of communal head-scratching we managed to decipher the treasure map and sort out ten pegs.
Only "problem" though was that two of them were alive with fish, peg 10 which was on the island facing the lodges, and 8 which was at the far end of the reed jungle (and the golden peg).
These pegs were occupied by Lee Waller and Alan Healey respectively so it looked like last week's pound profit would be short lived.
The rest of the lake seemed a bit lifeless in comparison so it looked like it was going to be a 2 horse race between Lee and Alan, and as the payout was to be top 2 overall and 1 silvers pool realistically the rest of us would want to be avoiding carp and targeting silvers instead.

For my sins I had drawn peg 2 (permanent peg 3) which gave me quite a large expanse of open water in front and I could comfortably reach the end of the island at 14m slightly to my right.
Mark Radford was on the other end of the island in peg 1 which for some reason has the name "Wiggets Corner".
I've no idea who Mr Wigget is but I guess he's none too bothered about his fishing but at least it's handy for the bar and the toilet facilities.
Speaking of which they are the tidiest toilets I've yet come across at a fishery so fair play to the owners on that score.
Anyway just around the corner from Mark was Chris Szakacs with a nice looking peg that gave him pretty much all of the back of the island to play with.
And back on my left was Matt Challenger, the silent assassin, who also had an island corner to fish to.

I set up two rigs, one for 13m in open water and one for close-ish to the island (but not close enough to get snagged in any underwater obstacles) where it was 4" shallower and that rig would also do for down the edge to my right but that was a waste of bait so no more on that (as they say in the more popular blogs)!
Bait was a selection of live / expired maggots, casters, soft pellet and corn with some wetted micros for feed.
I was tempted to set up a lead to chuck to the reeds out in front past the islands but time was getting on so on the all-in I fed both pole lines with a little bit of everything and went out on the open water rig.
Matt had opted to go out tight to the island dobbing bread and was soon hauling out tiny roach.
Mark Radford did the same and got attached to underwater obstacles and moaned a lot!
After about 10 minutes I had a bite on soft pellet which produced a nice sized rudd and for the first hour I was kept quite busy with good roach and rudd falling to anything I put on the hook until the bites started to slow and the fish started getting smaller.
So I gave that line a small pot of feed and went over to the island which was a similar story.
By now Matt had landed a couple of small carp in between the blade roach, Chris Szakacs was getting some tidy carp and good silvers and Mark was on his third or fourth rig, fishless and having a moaning competition with Steve O Toole. 
Meanwhile Alan, after catching some quality silvers, was netting a procession of carp and Lee Waller was also doing well as was expected.
Lee Williams, on the other end of the reed jungle from Alan was keeping busy, just how busy you can find out from his own blog here.
Back in my peg and by the halfway point I'd had a few more good roach and rudd plus the smallest carp in the lake before hooking a lump that headed off round the back of the island back towards Lee's peg before the hook pulled.
I had another look on the open water line but it was now dead which was disappointing as I was hoping they'd be queuing up after resting it and I wished I'd stuck on it longer before going over to the island.
For some reason the deeper rig was working better over by the island with a few inches on the deck but I ended up trashing that rig through shipping back a bit over enthusiastically.

I then went through a dodgy spell of bumped fish and missed bites which turned out to be due to a blunted hook.
Then another junior carp went a bit mad and buggered the swim up and after that it slowed right up and I could only get tiny roach come the end.
Chris Szakacs however was having a good last hour and was regularly netting carp and (worryingly) good roach and although I couldn't see him, I could see the end of Lee Williams' pole and there were quite a few silvers attached to the end of it!

The outcome of the match was a foregone conclusion ....
Alan weighed in 99lbs 9oz which also included the top silvers weight of 11lbs which, with being the golden peg as well, meant a healthy payout of £111 (including my £1).
Alan caught mostly on maggot and fed about three pints of the same.
Lee Waller managed 54-3 for second place and Chris weighed in 38-15 for third.
The silvers pool went to myself, by default, with 9-7

A very smug Alan Healey

Lee Waller

Full Result:
  1. Alan Healey (peg 8)* ....... 99-9
  2. Lee Waller (10) ............ 54-3
  3. Chris Szakacs (9) ......... 38-15
  4. Lee Williams (7) ........... 18-2
  5. Steve Burgess (2) ......... 13-15
  6. Matt Challenger (3) ....... 13-1
  7. Mark Radford (1) ........... 6-4
  8. Mike Wilson (4) ............. 5-13
*golden peg

  1. Alan Healey ...... 11-0
  2. Steve Burgess .... 9-7
  3. Chris Szakacs .... 7-11
  4. Lee Williams ...... 5-6
  5. Mike Wilson ....... 4-9
  6. Lee Waller ......... 4-7
  7. Matt Challenger ... 3-10
  8. Mark Radford ..... 3-0

Next week we are back up at Harescombe, I shall be taking a leave of absence for this one so the blog will be left in the capable hands of Mr Szakacs

Friday, 23 January 2015

Shiplate, Main Lake, 18 Jan (13 pegs)

Prior to this match I did receive some cheery news courtesy of Pete Sivell who I came across in Scotts on Saturday morning.
Apparently, during the Thursday evening Docks match Alan Healey somehow managed to jettison his seat box and everything attached to it into the water.
Luckily for him he managed to hang on to it long enough for someone younger and fitter to turn up to drag it all back out.
That would have been one match where I would really have liked to have been pegged next to him!

Anyway 13 fishing today on a very soggy Shiplate main lake and with cold bright conditions and a gentle breeze putting a bit of ripple on the lake I was hoping that even if the carp weren't playing ball the silvers might, and especially the big bream that inhabit this lake.
And with all of Psv's silvers specialists present (except Lee Williams who has an identity crisis) I was expecting an interesting match.
So with this in mind we settled for top 3 overall and 2 silvers payouts.
And put 7 on the sheltered far bank and 6 on the underwater bank.
(Guess who never brought waterproof boots)!
Peg 5 for me then, and for company I had Adam Caswell on 6, who for some strange reason was keen to lose a pound, and to my right, on peg 4, was Lee Waller who would be fishing for silvers as he doesn't own a topkit with anything over 4 elastic.
Opposite I had Simon Belcham on 12, also likely to be sprat bashing, and he was sandwiched between Alan and Matt Challenger (another silvers expert).
The hot peg (15) was occupied by Mark Radford so first place looked pretty much sewn up but he did have Derek Lucas next to him on 14B so he would be pressured!
Brian Shanks was on peg 1 and I had been reliably informed by one of the resident experts that peg 1 will fish well when peg 15 doesn't (and vice versa) so that would be interesting.
Strangely then, on the all-in shout Mr Belcham went out on the feeder and before I had finished potting in a few micros, casters and stunned maggots on my pole lines he was playing and landing his first carp ....
And not long after that Matt Challenger was fiddling with the scales to weigh a 4lb9oz grass carp .... So much for my pre-match assessment then.

I had started the match with the intention of fishing the waggler with corn and a couple of pole lines with stunned maggot / caster or corn for bait.
Normally I would have mixed up some groundbait the previous night but having got in at 3:30 Sunday morning I hadn't and I didn't fancy mixing any before the match as the water was too cold!
So I made do with some soaked micros.
As per my plan I started on the wag with corn and after an hour that had only produced just one dip on the float that came out of the blue and I missed it. 
Various combinations of numbers and colours of maggot had only given weightless roachlets and by that time the wind had got a bit stronger and was blowing at me and to my left which was dragging the float along a bit so, with the three anglers opposite having all caught carp on the tip (Alan had also hooked a carp but fortunately lost it) I gave in to temptation and dug out a lead rod with a pellet feeder attached.
This was plopped out with a couple of stunned maggots on the hook.
After 15 minutes an 8oz hybrid saved the blank (always a relief) and another 15 minutes later the tip went round again and something was on that was shaking it's head but not really pulling back very hard.
I was hoping it was one of the big bream and wound it in very gingerly but as it got nearer the bank it started to wake up a bit and turned into a carp that needed a bit of juggling to fit into the landing net which was a bonus!
Trying the pole lines with maggot over micros was slow going but a couple of small skimmers kept me interested.
Especially as nobody else seemed to be catching much.
Adam meanwhile had gone for another wander to leave his bait mountain to settle and revealed that Mark on 15 had, as expected, caught a few carp.
Shanksy was struggling on peg 1, Darren North on peg 3 was admitting to at least one carp, a tench and a few skimmers.
And Lee next door was playing around with micro roach although I did see him land a carp that he was vastly understating as "a small one".
Adam was on ounces until the last half hour at which point he snared a 5lb bream that had taken a liking to the bait mountain.
I spent the rest of the match swapping around without much success until 10 minutes from the end when I hooked a carp on the pole line on a single caster.
Once netted there were just a couple of minutes left so there would be no injury time fished today as I knew I had a decent weight!
Mark weighed in first and his four carp (caught on 8mm pellet) were, as expected, good enough to win with 21lbs 7½oz.
Next best on that bank was Matt Challenger who added 4-9 of silvers to his grass carp for a total of 10-8.
Me Healey could only manage 7-5, Adam's "slab" boosted his weight to 5-9 which was good enough to win the silvers and I was pleasantly surprised to find my 2 carp and 2-14 of silvers totalled 20-6 and was good enough for 2nd.
Lee's 5-4 of bits was good enough for 2nd in the silvers and Darren managed a total of 16-14 which was good enough for 3rd.

Full Result:
  1. Mark Radford (peg 15) ....... 21-7½
  2. Steve Burgess (5) ........... 20-6
  3. Darren North (3) ............ 16-14
  4. Lee Waller* (4) .............. 14-14
  5. Matt Challenger (13) ...... 10-8
  6. Simon Belcham (12) ....... 8-7
  7. Alan Healey (11) ............ 7-5
  8. Ryan Radford (14) .......... 6-7
  9. Adam Caswell (6) ........... 5-9
  10. Keith (7) .................. 1-1
  11. and 3 dnw's (including peg 1)
*golden peg
  1. Adam (1 fish) Caswell ..... 5-9
  2. Lee (lots of fish) Waller .... 5-4
  3. Matt Challenger ........... 4-9
  4. Darren North ............... 4-4
  5. Alan Healey ................ 2-15
  6. Steve Burgess ............ 2-14
  7. Simon Belcham .......... 2-7
  8. Keith ................ 1-1
  9. Ryan Radford ..... 0-13
  10. Mark Radford ..... 0-1½

Oh, and if anyone's wondering what Mark Radford's ½oz is all about ....
Adam volunteered to take charge of the weigh-in (a thankless task), and Mark wasn't overly happy that his solitary roach was called at 1oz so I gave him an extra ½ to shut him up, even though he had clearly won the match ... no pleasing some people!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Sedges, Tile Lake, 11 Jan (15 pegs)

Back again to Tile lake at Sedges for our first match of the year as it's always good for a few bites especially when a lot of other venues have gotten a bit challenging.
Plus its a venue I really like (which helps)!
So with this being my last year in charge of the fixture list (yes I know I'll be sadly missed lol) I suspect we'll be fishing a few more matches there yet.
Anyway, it was a relief to find the gale force winds we'd had over Friday night and into Saturday morning had passed and we were greeted with a reasonably nice day for the time of year, not too cold and with a bit of breeze blowing into the causeway bank.
With 15 fishing I put 8 on the more sheltered rosdside bank and 7 on the causeway side.
All four corners were in including 30 which is a peg that I usually avoid but it has had a bit of form recently but if I could have chosen a peg it would have been 40 as the wind was pushing into it so it's just as well it wasn't a rover match as Chris Szakacs drew it and ended up chucking back (hero to zero award maybe)???
Otherwise I would have been happy anywhere on the road bank except 23 which I had last time round and spent the day watching other people catch, including Adam Caswell on 21.
So back on 23 again for me and to make matters worse, Alan Healey was 2 pegs up on 25 so if things didn't go too well for me I would be hearing all about it
(And I did)!
Payout today was top 2 overall, one silvers (as the silvers weights have been iffy) and two 7-peg sections as Ryan wasn't in the pools today.
It was agreed to split the sections between the two banks regardless of where Ryan drew so it was Sod's law then that Ryan drew on the 7 peg bank resulting in a section of 8 and a section of 6 but nobody was too concerned.
The match started slowly for most although Keith Ray on 21 got off to a good start getting regular bites chucking a lead with bread? (I think) along the bank and over to the island.
Over the course of the first two hours he landed half a dozen carp and was looking on course for an easy win but for some strange reason his peg completely dried up after that, they probably moved up into the safety of empty peg 22 (or peg 23).
In the meantime, Matt Taynton who was next to me on 24, after a fruitless hour throwing a lead around, switched to the deep wag and started catching a few out in open water alternating between maggot and pellet on the hook and feeding a small amount of 6mm's.
Elsewhere Lee Williams and Chris Gay were having a close battle on 27 & 28 (read Lee's blog here ) and on the opposite bank, Mark Radford was getting a few on 33 as was Rich Britton on 37.
Winner on the day was Matt Taynton with 57-4 caught mostly on the wag on the deck with pellet.
Rich Britton was 2nd with 51-11 caught on bread popped-up at various depths.
And Lee Williams just about got the better of Chris Gay with 49-4 against 47-6 which gave him 3rd (section win)
Mark Radford took the second section with 38-14 and Lee Waller needed just 4lbs to take top silvers.
I had a crap day believe it or not, the tip produced nothing, I never had a proper wag set up in the rod case and a half-hearted play around with a pellet wag set to 4 feet deep was equally fruitless.
And I struggled for most of the day at 14m with various baits for a paltry 2-14 of silvers.
My only saving grace was that at one point later in the match I did hit into something that pulled out a lot of elastic and it wasn't a carp but it mattered not as it soon un-hooked itself.
Possibly if landed it could have got me the silvers money but everyone loses fish so no point in going on about it but it made me feel slightly less insignificant at the time!
Especially as I started 2015 giving pound coins to Alan and Adam.

Full(ish) Result:
  1. Matt Taynton (peg 24) ....... 57-4
  2. Rich Britton (37) .................. 51-1
  3. Lee Williams (27) ................. 49-4
  4. Chris Gay (28) ..................... 47-6
  5. Mark Radford (33) ................ 38-14
  6. Keith Ray (21) ..................... 18-0
  7. Alan Healey (25) .................. 12-13
  1.  Lee Waller ....... 4-0
  2. Chris Gay ......... 3-0
  3. Steve Burgess .... 2-14