Sunday, 22 November 2009

Elphicks North Lake - November 2009 Session

After my successful session on North Lake back in July I was itching to get back to the place and have another go. Even though it was November the weather was quite mild although the forecast was for a fair amount of rain. This proved to be the case with rain lashing down on us most of the week.

Jamie Melham joined me again for this 72hr session.

Despite this we all managed a few fish, I ended the week with 6 Carp to 23lbs whilst Jamie managed 11 to 26lbs.

The strange thing was all the fish fell to baits fished in conjunction with plastic corn, the banker methods of maggots failed badly with only a couple of missed runs to show for it.

One thing I was pleased about was the way my new bite alarms performed. They are a set of Sundridge Wirelessa alarms and proved to be excellent value for money.

Jamie and I are already planning another trip once the weather warms up, hopefully sometime in April 2010.

This time we're planning on booking the whole lake so we can have the choice of whatever swims we want.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Sams Lake - Silver Fish Match

As I was car less Bill Gibbins kindly offered to pick me up for this one and with all the gear loaded we made our way to the Weald of Kent Golf Club where we to meet a few of the others taking part in the match for a hearty breakfast.

Having never fished Sams lakes before I picked Nick Gilbert's brain about what the best approach was going to be and soon had a plan formualted.

Arriving at the fishery it appeared it might be a bit hard today as conditions weren't exactly perfect and it was likely to be won at the draw bag. Putting my and in the bag I pulled out peg 25, fairly comfortable with the wind off my back.

That was where my luck ended as my match was really hard going.

I ended up with a measly 5lbs 12ozs and a few pulled muscles as my box leg collapsed part way through the match and despite yelling for help I struggled to get myself upright.

The match was won by Matt Love with a creditible 24lbs 13ozs from peg 11, with Anglingman coming second with 21lbs 7ozs.

I quite enjoyed the day and will make another trip to Sam's sometime in the future probably when the weather is a little better.

At the end of the match Nick gave me a selcetion of his new hand made floats and I have to say they looked superb. If they perform as good as they look they should be superb.

Monday, 14 September 2009

What a great day !!

I was lucky enough to be invited along this afternoon to fish a syndicate lake a few miles from where I live. A friend of mine set up the syndicate some 18 years ago and to be honest hasn't really fished the lake much because of work commitments so he was keen to take me along to see how the lake was fishing.

I tried to glean a bit of information about the place but all he could tell me was that there were Tench and Bream to about 5lbs, Roach to 2lbs, Perch to 4lbs+ and some very big Pike. Also about 10 years ago one of the members stocked 100 Carp at between 3lb and 5lbs which in his opinion was a mistake. I decided to take along a waggler rod and also a feeder rod which would be used on a buzzer as a bit of a sleeper rod. Bait wise I had the usual pellets, a bag of groundbait, some corn and a few worms.

On arrival at the lake I had a look around and settled on a nice looking swim with a small island about 25 metres away as well as some nice reed beds in both margins. Setting up the feeder rod I baited it with 2 grains of corn on a hair and managed to drop it tight to the island first cast. Before I'd even got the rod on the rests it was off, the reel screaming. I just lifted the rod and hung on. Clearly this was far bigger than anything I'd heard about, other than maybe the pike, so I was looking forward to seeing what I'd hooked. A few minutes later and a fine looking Mirror carp of 15lbs 4ozs was staring back at me from the folds of the landing net. 'Blimey' my mate said ' they've grown on a bit" !!!!!!! With 4lb mainline I was beginning to wonder if I was a little undergunned but thought that maybe I'd just been lucky and caught a mug fish and would be OK.

Next cast and within 2 minutes I was in again, this time the fight lasted somewhat longer but eventually I slid the fish over the net, another mirror, this time going 16lbs 12ozs.2 fish in 2 casts and over 30lbs already I was beginning to enjoy this.

One thing Steve had told me was the way the Bream leap from the water when hooked and this I was looking forward to seeing. Well I didn't have to wait long as Steve soon struck into one. I couldn't believe my eyes, as this Bream of about 3lbs just leapt from the water time and time again like a rainbow trout on speed. I've never seen anything like it. After the Breams aerobatics I went back to trying to get my waggler rod actually in the water but again was interupted by another screamer and I was again attached to an angry carp. This one didn't fight at all and was soon netted, Not a mirror this time but a gorgeous leather carp of 11lbs. That was it I just chucked the waggler rod up the bank and concentrated on the feeder, I put the buzzer away and fished it normally.

Well as the afternoon wore on it was Carp after Carp, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. To be honest I might have, as the place is gorgeous, totally peaceful and miles from nowhere. I even saw 2 kingfishers in the few hours I was there. They have even built a small lodge with full cooking and washing facilities. By the time 8.30pm came along it was getting blooming dark so we packed up. Steve had managed a great bag of Bream and Roach as well as a couple of Carp whilst I finished with 14 Carp all between 10lb and 16lbs 12ozs. I also had a couple of nice perch both around the 2lb mark and a few Bream.

I have to say I've not enjoyed a session like that for years, and can't wait to go back. At least now I know what to expect I might go a bit more prepared next time. I'm quite pleased now I left the pole at home.

As the syndicate has a publicity ban I didn't take my camera along so sorry no pic's this time.

Saturday, 12 September 2009 Southern Champs 2009

Today saw me making the short journey to Hartleylands Farm Fishery for the Southern Champs 2009.

I thoroughly enjoyed my day even though I struggled off a fancied peg 23 on Nicks Lake and managed to smash the power waggler rod I bought from Nick last year in two places on a 1lb 8ozs Carp.

It didn't matter what I tried but I just couldn't get the fish to take ANY bait I tried on the method feeder despite the swim being absolutely stuffed with fish by the island. Hard pellet in 3 sizes and 3 different colours, soft pellet in 4 sizes and flavours, maggots and corn all failed to produce more than 2 bites. Even tried pellet wrapped in paste and that didn't work either.

Fed up with all the inactivity I decided to try the pellet wag however even that didn't produce either, which was a major shock as this was my banker method, and I only managed a handful of bites on it all match.

With 3/4 of an hour to go,and somewhat in desperation, I decided to fish the margins and ended up catching well in the last hour at 5 metres with paste, why oh why didn't I try it earlier, it was solid.

Never mind, at least I managed to take another shiny gold coin from Peter with my 31lb 8ozs so that was a bonus, in fact it was my 3rd £1 coin from Peter in my last 4 outings.

Well Done to Nick Coster on his win, and finally a message to Matt, all you needed to do was hook a duck like Peter and your day would have been complete. Hard luck mate you hard a real mare of a day.

Roll on next years Southern Champs, surely it can only get better.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Southern Intersite 2009

(Picure kindly borrowed form Peter Morton's blog )

After all the bragging the day of reckoning was upon us.........................

Over the years a series of matches has been organised between Talk Angling, Total Fishing, Angling Forums and This has become known as the Intersite series and has become a hotly contested group of matches.

More recently numbers have dropped off and not all the matches have been held however the Southern match has always managed to appear in the calender.

And so it was that 40 souls decended uopn Monk Lakes in Kent to contest the 2009 Southern Intersite Match.

For my sins I was once again organising the match and this year it was to be held on Match lakes 1 & 2 and at 9am everyone was eagerly awaiting the draw. As I needed to be back at the Clubhouse early after the match and as I was the captain I picked Peg 4 on Lake 1 as my home for the day whilst everyone else drew for their pegs.

Matt Love was well pleased with peg 22 on the end of the spit on Lake 1 and to be honest he would be in with a shout of winning the match from there.

Peter my arch nemesis was happy as he'd drawn peg 60 on Lake 2, he's not a fan of Lake 1.

My plan for the day was to fish two lines on the pole, the first at 7 metres straight out in front and the other in the margin to my right. I also had set up a pellet wag in case the fish wanted it shallow at distance.

I called the 'All In' and cupped two pots of pellet on each pole line and started firing pellets out on the wag line, about 10 pellets every 15 seconds, to try and get the fish up in the water. 1st cast on the wag and it was fish on, not huge but at around 2lbs it was welcome. Unfortunately it was a loner and nothing else followed and by the end of the first hour Iwas struggling.

By now I had seen a lot of bubbling at 7 metres so tried that line. Again 1st put in resulted in a bite, not a carp this time but a lunatic Barbel of about 1lb. This was soon followed by half a dozen more before the line died. I had continued to fire pellets out on the wag line and there were more fish rising for them so I went back out. After a few missed bites I finally connected with something ablittle bigger, a carp of 5lbs which really put up a fight. I managed about 4 more fish in the next hour before giving up again.

The 7 metre line was still bubbling so I went back there again.
Again it was Barbel that were present and this time there seemd more of them as over the next couple of hours I put 15 in the net, all around the 2lbs mark.

Around me others were struggling and it appeared that Lake 1 wasn't fishing particularly well. I had heard that quite a lot on lake 2 were bagging and it was becoming clear the winner would probably come from there.

Matt was having a mare on peg 22, despite this being a real flyer peg he just couldn't put a run of fish together whatever he tried. To my left Paul Law (Talk Angling) had by now started catching regularly and it looked as though he was doing better than most on Lake 1.

The reaminder of the match was a bit of a struggle for me, I would catch one or two fish before having to switch lines. The margin swim proved worse than useless as all i could muster from there was two tiny skimmers.

At the 'All Out' I knew I would be nowhere near framing as the catch rate of others around me had improved in the last hour. With only 4 in each section (1 from each team) I was hoping to maybe get reasonable points. I knew Paul had beaten me but I hadn't seen the others catching much. Paul was 1st to weigh and put a fine 103lbs-04ozs in the weigh bag, I was next with 54lbs 10ozs. Dave Churchwood from Angling Forums weighed 87lbs 4ozs whilst Brian Jackson from Total Fishing returned a miserable 25lb 4ozs. So I was third in section and that meant 3 points for the team.

The weigh in revealed that indeed Lake 1 had fished hard and Paul law eneded up the winner of the lake. Matt had really suffered and only mustered 47lbs 8ozs from a peg many thought might be the winner.

The final team points are below:

Total Fishing
20 points

Angling Forums
21 points

28 points

Talk Angling
31 points

Individually the match was won by Nick Gilbert ( with a fine 168lbs 4ozs from peg 67 on Lake 2. As I suspected this lake had fished much better with only 4 anglers recording less than 100lbs.

Back to the tea wagon for the presentation and then home to reflect on where I went wrong. To be honest I don't think i could have done much more, the fish just weren't there.

Never mind there's always next year which may well be on a new venue.

Sorry there's only a couple of pic's but my daughter had used the camera the day before and flattened the batteries.

Friday, 7 August 2009 Pairs Weekend

Rolfs Lake 8th & 9th August 2009

Following my week away Carp fishing it's back to my first love, Match Fishing, and the Pairs Weekend at Rolfs Lake in Oxfordshire.

Rolfs Lake has reputation for throwing up some huge weights so everybody was looking forward to some real Carp bagging.

Leaving home around 8.30am I made my way to Rolfs via the dreaded M25 and then the M40. I was stunned though to be pulling into the fishery just before 10am. I couldn't believe how quiet the roads had been. Already in attendance were the lads that had fished the invitation match Dave the Fish had organised for the day before and a good number of tents and bivvies were already erected. I take the easy option and sleep in the car during these weekends (more of that later) so all I had to do was wander round having a chat and find out about how the match had fished the day before.

The news wasn't great, the fishing had been fairly hard with the winning weight being taken by Teepee despite him starting an hour and a half after everyone else. Well done Teepee.

In no time at all the draw for the Pairs was being made and I was paired with Westy (Tim Westmorland) who really cheered me up by telling me he'd only caught one fish on the friday.

Soon after the draw for pegs took place and I was delighted to find myself with Peg 6 for the day, a known flyer peg which can always be relied on for a decent weight. (that is of course until an angler of my calibre draws it)

Company for the day was to be Simple Simon on peg 34 opposite me, Mickthe Chippy on peg 7 and the Malman brothers, Gaz and Alex who despite travelling loads of miles had managed to draw next to each other.

After seeking some advise I was told the only way to fish Peg 6 was to feed a line at 5 metres and stick with it. Apparently the fish follow this line after entering the little lake from the bigger side and there is a little weed on the bottom which seems to hold the fish.

At the all in I fed 6 big potfuls of 6mm Skrettings pellet on the 5 metre line and a couple in the margin to my right and waited for my first fish. Bait for the day was going to be exclusively paste.

Right from the start I was being plagued with strange bites that just lifted and dropped the float without really taking the bait properly. Sometimes the float would just sit under the surface about an inch and stop. Eventually I got fed up waiting for the float to bury and hit a few of the strange bites. However this only resulted in foul hooking the Carp and the net result being a scale on the hook. MicktheChippy was sniggering away to himself in the next peg every time this happened, still at least he was happy. Eventually I managed to snare a decent fish which just came straight to the surface so I slid the net under it. Looking down it was a lovely looking carp and when weighed went 16lbs 4ozs. Eddie was on hand with his camera and took a few shots before I returned it to the lake.

Despite the problems I was having these were nothing compared to Simple on Peg 34. He had like me been struggling a bit and eventually hooked in to a Carp that took him straight under the bushes. Whilst trying to get it free his top three came away from the rest of his pole and just sat their like excalibur. Now Simple may be his name but he's not silly, he knew if he waited long enough Malc would come round and retrieve it for him however before Malc had chance to arrive Mitch on the next peg offered to help and just stripped off to his under crackers and jumped in.

As soon as he was in the water you could hear camera shutters going off from all around the lake, (poor Mitch). Soon enough he'd retrieved the top kit and was helped from the lake by Simple. Alas the fish had long gone.

My day turned out to be a frustrating one with foul hooker after foul hooker coming my way and by the end of the match I'd got 16 scales sitting on my side tray. I did manage to land 3 more fish and ended with a total of just 56lbs 120zs, not what I was hoping for especially as I'd had my usual £1 side bet with Peter 'Mugger' Morton.

As the scales made their way around it soon became clear that the lake had again fished hard for many, the eventual winner on day one being Dave Moore from Peg 8 with 116lbs 12ozs. More than half the field had however had less than 50lbs so I somehow managed to end up in 9th place. Better than that though was the news that Peter had really struggled from his least favoured peg 13. Recently he's drawn the peg on quite a lot of occasions and I think his heart just wasn't in it. His 39lbs 8ozs meant that after more than 18 months I'd finally won a £1 coin back. Hurrah !!!!!! My partner Tim and I were struggling in the Pairs competition and were in 9th place after day 1, in the lead were Dave Moore and Paul East (nomorelongwalks) with 13 points.

The handing over of the coin was duly photographed for posterity amongst rather a lot of banter from the assembled masses.

The evening was spent like every other year with a fine barbie and the comsumption of more than enough Lager before I finally retired to my car around 1am. I was quite surprised how chilly it felt in the car when I shut the doors and got ready for sleep so looked for my sleeping bag, Bugger, I'd left the bloody thing at home. All through the night I kept waking up probably as I was shivering so much, by the time I finally got to sleep I was wearing 2 sweatshirts, 2 polo shirts, 2 pairs of trousers and a coat and was still freezing!!!!!!!. I woke the next morning around 6.30am still absolutely frozen so decide to get up and see if anyone else was about. A few were beginning to stir so I stopped for a chat with one or two before scrounging a cup of Coffee off of Malc to warm me up. With the draw not for a good few hours I made up some new pole rigs and a couple more balls of paste before grabbing a bite to eat.

The draw for day two was eagerly awaited by everyone and some hoped they would not draw any where near where they had been the day before. Peter was of course one of these, and I could see he was hanging back a bit waiting for a few others to draw before trying his luck. Webbo however had other ideas and said that the bottom pair from day one would draw first. Unfortunately for Peter he and Dirk were in last place so they would be first in the draw bag. With drums rolling Peter dipped his hand in the bag and was pleased to see he'd got Peg 20, then his head seemed to drop when he realised where it was. It was not an area that had fished well of late so it looked like he may be in for another hard day.

My peg for day 2 was to be peg 32, yet another fancied peg, and right next to the car park so a nice short walk.

For company today I had Clive on peg 31, Dave Moore opposite on peg 9 and Gemma "The Minx" Doyle on peg 8.

There are 2 lines to fish on this peg, one at 7 metres diagonally towards peg 9 and the other over the top of the small bush along the bank to my left. At the all in I baited both lines with copious amounts of 6mm pellet and waited. The wait was a long one and 3 hours into the match I was fishless. Mind you I did have couple of scales on my side tray. Clive on the next peg was also struggling.

From where I was I could see Peter and knew he too was having a difficult time, this meant that if I could get a few fish feeding I might just have a chance of taking yet another £1 coin back. John , the lake owner, came round and suggested I feed a lot more along the margin line as this was always good for a few fish late on in a match so I upped my feed rate. Try as I might though I couldn't get anything that even resembled a bite and by the end of the 4th hour I had only 1 fish in the net which I'd caught at 7 metres. Clive by now was picking up the odd fish so there was hope for me yet and not much later I struck into Carp number 2. By the end of the match I'd caught just one more Carp and knew that I'd cocked up yet another flyer.

From what I'd seen Peter had yet again suffered a mare but I wasn't sure exactly what he'd caught so I'd have to wait for the scales to see if a miracle had happened for the 2nd day running.
The scales showed that Gaz Malman had easilly won the match with a fine 165lbs from Peg 37, 70lbs more than the 2nd placed angler which was Methodgob with 94lbs. By the time we reached Peter the others were giving him a fair bit of stick, by the time he'd weighed his fish he was getting plenty more. A meagre 16lbs 40zs was all he had to show for his efforts however I knew I'd not got much to weigh but thought I'd probably done enough. My fish were put on the scales and there seemed to be a sharp intake of breath from everyone following the weigh in, the good news for me was my fish went 19lbs 4ozs. I'd done it, 2 £1 coins from Peter in consecutive matches, unheard of before and unlikely to happen again so I was delighted. Peter took all the banter he received well and congratulated me on my fine weekends work. I've got a sneaking feeling he hasn't heard the last of it yet though.

Webbo dissapeared to work out the final placings,

and after a short while announced that DavetheFish and Alex Malman had pulled back a deficit of 12 points to overtake Dave Moore and Paul East to win the Pairs Championship for 2009.

The good news for me was I'd somehow managed to secure 2nd place in section by default on day 1 so picked up a little beer money.

As is always the case the weekend was a fabulous success, thanks must go to Dave 'Webbo' Webster for organising the whole thing and to John and Pauline for providing a fine fishery even if the fish didn't really want to play ball.

As a footnote I've managed to work out where it all went wrong for Dave and Paul on day 2,

Paul was obviously totally stunned and confused after his day 1 placing so much so that he couldn't find his peg on day 2 and fished in the middle of a field.

Roll on next year, I can't wait.

My next trip out will be the annual Southern Intersite match at Monk Lakes so keep checking back in for my report on the days events. With any luck my run of luck winning £1 coins from Peter will continue.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Elphicks 26th - 31st July 2009

North Lake 5 day Session

Well the time had finally arrived for my 5 day session carp fishing at Elphicks Fishery in Kent. The original plan had been to fish somewhere in France but my mate went and got his girlfriend pregnant and now, as they say, the rest is history and he is the proud father of a gorgeous little girl. So after looking around for somewhere in the UK to go we settled on North lake at Elphicks just a few minutes from home.

Arriving around 1pm we had a look around the lake and settled on the first 3 swims on the right hand bank. Word from the bailiff was that these swims had been producing a lot of fish and were always popular. Neil (one of Jamies work colleagues) took the first swim, Jamie the 2nd and me the 3rd. Knowing how the lake was stocked both Jamie and I had set a target of beating our personal bests, mine 27lbs 90zs and Jamie 26lbs. Neil having only starting carp fishing a few months ago was going to be happy with anything he caught.

In what seemed no time at all I was set up and raring to go. The usual method at Elphicks is to spod out a decent bed of particle and pellets and fish single hookbaits over the top so thats what we did. Bait for the week was to be either Mainline Fusion or Cell boilies in 18mm size. As you can see from the buckets above, there were 2 more in the bivvy) I'd got plenty of bait to put in. (More of that later)

The daytime proved very frustrating with just a few bleeps and not much else but once the darkness fell things started to improve. Jamie was the first to connect just after midnight, with one of North lakes residents and it sure gave him one hell of a fight, not a huge fish, a Common of 14lbs, but in lovely condition. As it turned out we were to see a lot of fish this size during the week.

At 2.15am I was next to have a screaming run, mine too was to prove to be one of the lakes smaller resident Commons but at 14lbs 8ozs I was relatively happy.

During the first night both Jamie and I had a couple more fish but they were all of a simlar size. Neil however had nothing at all, mind you I doubt if he have heard his buzzers, that guy could sleep for England.

Monday morning and the sun was shining. Having heard about the lakes Catfish I decided to put one rod out with half a tin of chopped ham and pork on the hook. Dropping it close in the margins on my right I threw the contents of a tinm of sardines and just left it. The other two rods were to be fished the same as yesterday. The Catfish bait had only been in the water a short time when the buzzer started screaming and all hell let loose. Hanging on for dear life the fish made a series of powerful runs stripping line form the reel even with the clutch set tight, however after about 15 minutes I finally got it close to the bank. As I was sliding across the surface I could see it was a good size cat, probably around 40lbs+ but the hook hold was very dodgy being right in the front of the mouth in the boney crushing pads. Very carefully I brought it closer to the net when it decided it was having none of it and turned and fled. Unfortunately the hook pulled and the fish was gone.

I carried on trying for a Catfish throughout the week and was finally rewarded with this monster, which incidentally took a Maple 8 pop up boilie fished on a Zig Rig just under the surface.

I was to hook into another monster Cat on Thursday which gave me one hell of a work out. After making 6 massively powerful runs it decided to dissapear round the back of the island 3 swims down and all I could do was try and put the brakes on in the hope of turning it. Alas the hook pulled. The guy in the next swim down saw the cat twice during the fight and estimated it at around 8o-90lbs, no wonder it gave me the run around. Next time I'll go a bit better equipped with the right tackle to handle these monsters.

Monday evening into Tuesday morning during darkness was fairly frustrating, with only 1 run for Jamie, which resulted in this, a ghost Common of 18lbs 4ozs,

and just 1 run for me which resulted in my best fish of the trip so far, a Mirror of exactly 20lbs.

The frustrating part was the fact that there were obviously a lot of fish moving around causing liner after liner but they just didn't want to get their heads down on our baits. I must have woken 6 times to shorts bursts of bleeps from the buzzers which then stopped.

Tuesday morning was very quiet, there didn't seem to be in the way of fish moving around as they had done previously, something just didn't seem quite right. Maybe it was because it had been very still overnight and in the morning there was a horrible green slick across the surface which looked very much like Blue Green algae to me.

The wind however picked up mid morning which cleared the slime and as lunchtime approached Jamie struck in to what was a powerful fish. the fish was definately better than anything we'd caught so far and so it proved with this beauty of 26lbs 10ozs soon gracing Jamies landing net. As you can see he was very happy as it was only day 2 and he'd beat his PB.

As the afternoon wore on Neil managed a few of the smaller carp mainly around the 12 - 15lb mark however he did manage to connect with one better one a Mirror of exactlt 20lbs.
At 3.45pm I was in again and againhad to hang on. This one must have been taking some of the Rolfs Lake steroids as it just didn't want to come in and took nearly 15 minutes to get to the bank. I was well pleased though, when it turned out to be my 2nd 2olb+ fish, a lovely Common of 21lbs 12ozs.

Tuesday night was another one of those nights when the smaller fish came out to play with a succession of 12-15lbs fish falling to all three of us.
Wednesday proved to be Jamies day when after catching nothing since 2.30am he had a screamer of a run. This was definately something better and Jaime took his time with this one. By the time he'd fianlly got it on to the unhooking mat he was shattered but the smile soon returned when the fish was weighed and went 32lbs 8ozs smashing his PB out of sight.

After that fish whatever happened was going to be a bonus and we all managed to land plenty more, this one of Jamies went 21lbs 4ozs.

And this Common with a touch of Ghostie about it went 14lbs fell to me.

As the sun came up on Friday morning I had a wander around the lake mainly to try and get some reception on my mobile, if you are not on O2 it's blooming useless. I stopped and had a chat with a couple of guys fishing just down the bank from me who'd we'd got friendly with. They had been bagging all week with a lot of big fish. By now they had had 5 fish over 30lbs and had lost count of the amount of 20's. In total they finished with around 1200lbs of fish between them.
I knew they had been doing something different because of the success they had had but hadn't managed to work out what. After having a chat and a cuppa I found out what it was. Do you remember that earlier I mentioned about of bait I had well this paled in to siginificance compared to what they'd got through. 40 kilos of spod miz 60 kilos of boilies had gone into thier swims, at my estimation thats somewhere around £700's worth of bait that had gone in, no wonder there were a lot of fish in front of them.
Coming to the final night and after more fish between 12 and 14lbs and I was still secretly hoping for something a bit bigger. I had 4 kilos of spod mix and around 4 kilos of boilies left so most of that went out into the lake, 2 rods were fished over the bed of bait and I put another rod out for a Catfish. The Catfish rod was the first to go but as before it proved to be another kitten this time around 3lbs.
At 1.05am the left hand rod screamed off and I leapt from my bivvy hoping that this would be the one. As it turned out it was another of those pesky 12lber's so it was back to dreaming of that monster. 2.45am and another screamer and this time things felt much better. After a series of strong runs I finally slid the fish over the net and a big smile came to my face, I knew it was a good fish but how good and would it beat my PB?
The scales told the story, 26lbs 2ozs, not quite a PB but a stunning fish, and just look at the size of the paddle at the back no wonder it tore line from the reel with ease. It looked a young fish so has plenty of growing to do. I'd love to catch it again in a few years time when it will undoubtably have packed on some weight.
All in all I was well pleased with the 5 days. Yes, I know there are a lot of bigger fish in the lake, but as a relative novice specimen Carp angler I was pleased with my final totals, as we all were.
Neil finished with 9 fish for 133lbs, Jamie had 10 fish for 182lbs 4ozs including beating his PB and I finished with 15 fish for 200lbs. (those little Cats certainly didn't help my total weight)
Would I go again, Yes!!! I'd go tomorrow, I loved every minute of it.
Will I stop fishing matches and take up Specimen carp hunting, no chance, well someone's got to make Peter look good.
Actually, we are already looking at what to do next year, do we go back to Elphicks or maybe venture to France as originally planned. At the moment Elphicks is favourite as we learned a lot while we there, however it's along way off and things change so we'll just have to see. Maybe I'll look to make it a Fish In, now that would be fun.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Monk Lakes - Match Lake 4

Brits versus Aussies - The 3rd Test
Last night I had a phone call from one of my Wifes Aussie relatives asking if I'd take him fishing while he was over here on holiday for a few weeks. So after some rapid tackle organising I arranged to take him to the Monk Lakes complex.
Arriving around 10am we decided to fish Match Lake 4 as the wind was, as always, blowing a hoolie and making the other match lakes difficult to fish.
Settling in to pegs 155 and 156 which were relatively sheltered I showed Ronny how to rig up a pole and explained how to fish with it before leaving him to have a go.
Now coming from Aus he'd never even seen a pole let alone fished with one so for once I felt confident I'd catch more than him. His only experience of fishing had been fishing for Baramundi and Brim so whatever he caught would be new to him.
Bait wise we had a selection of hooker pellets, some corn and a pint of maggots. Ronny decided to try a pineapple soft hooker first and before I'd even got my bait in the water he'd connected with a small tench. This was followed by a successsion of it's brothers before he connected with a nice Tench of around 2lbs.
His method of shipping back left a little to be desired but he did ok and landed the fish.

I'd decided to fish exclusively down the margins and fish tight to the reeds. First put in caught and small mirror carp of around a pound was soon on it's way in. This was soon joined by it's brother.

As the day wore on Ronny continued to catch plenty of fish mainly small Tench but with the odd better carp thrown in for good measure. I continued to bag up in the margins with a selection of Carp, Tench, Golden Tench and Ide, most were in excellent condition but this one had seen better days, it's mouth was so badly damaged I don't know how it managed to get an 8mm hooker in it.

The weather was almost spot on with overcast skies and a breeze blowing in to our bank so fishing the margins was the best place to be.

By the end of the session I'd had somewhere around 60lbs whilst Ronny had probably caught 30lbs+, I'd could have easily caught more but spent quite a bit of time coaching Ronny.
All in all an enjoyable session although the constant beep beep from guys fishing the match lakes with buzzers did drive me slightly potty. I have to admit dragging out small Carp and Barbel on 2.75lb carp rods with line around 20lb breaking strain was somewhat over the top, maybe they had heard that Charlie Chawner had caught a 17lb fish from Match lake 3 during the weekend.
Ronny thoroughly enjoyed his day and hopefully we'll manage another session before he goes back home.
My next trip out is to be a week long session fishing on the dark side. I'm off to Elphicks Fishery to fish North Lake in the hope of beating my personal best Carp. There is certainly plenty to go for.
I'll post a full report on my return.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Rolfs Lake 10th & 11th July 2009

Day 1
After spotting a post from Malc Doyle suggesting a special night match at Rolfs Lake in Oxforshire I jumped at it. I just love the place, it's a beautiful lake with wildlife in abundance.
Tonight match was to be something that had never been tried before at Rolfs and with fishing times being 6.30pm till 11.30pm it was going to be dark before we finished.
I'd formulated a plan in the days running up to this match which was to fish paste exclusively, as I'd read that it was producing a lot of decent weights and had made up 8 huge balls before I left home.
I've never done very well when I've drawn in the little side of the lake so hoped to draw away from there, of course when I stuck my hand in the draw bag I found peg 2 stuck to my palm. Exactly where I didn't want to be but when I got to my peg it looked quite inviting.

I spoke to Eddie Taylor-Green, who fishes Rolfs Lake an awful lot, about the best way to fish the peg and he told me to fish two lines one straight in front at 5 metres and the other at 3-4 metres along the margin to my left. His other piece of advice was to feed, feed and feed, oh and not to forget to keeping feeding. One other thing he did say was that the fish in Peg 2 were big so I should be prepared. Luckilly I'd just bought some Red Hydro so was ready for whatever they threw at me.

Armed with his advice I was set up with plenty of time to spare and wandered round and had a chat with those close by which included Tony (spamwham), Al, Nick (Neo1) and Terry (Wily). All were really looking forward to what proved to be a great match.

The first couple of hours for me went by with little action apart from a couple of carp early on. They were both good fish though, the first going 13lbs+. the others around me were also finding things alittle difficult although most had caught a few. I kept feeding staedilly, as Eddie had said, and eventually things started to improve. Try as I might I couldn't buy a bite on the margin line but the fish were now queing up at 5 metres. As the darkness fell John, who runs Rolfs, turned on the floodlights which was great for those in their beam but it didn't make a jot of difference to my view so I quickly attached a starlight to my paste float which made all the difference.

With an hour to go I was really motoring and had already passed the ton (the 1st time I'd ever done this at Rolfs) and was looking good for a very big weight. Eddie had been right when he said the fish were big as all bar two of the carp were 'weighers' and I was up and down like a fiddlers elbow back and forth to the weigh station. Tony on peg 40 to my left was suffering and having a real nightmare with fish that kept trashing his rigs whilst Al on peg 4 could be heard moaning everytime I got up to weigh another fish.

By the end of the match I was absolutley knackered and knew I'd caught a big weight. Two of the fish I'd caught went 16lbs and 17lbs 2ozs and went mental when hooked but I have to say I was very pleased with the way my pole handled them armed with the new Red Hydro.

As the scales went round the lake it appeared that a lot of fish had been caught although a few had struggled once the lights went on. Dave the Fish in particular had really suffered and had to go for a walk to cool down as the lights were burning the back of his neck.

Finally the scales reached my peg and when the 'weighers' sheet was added up I'd got 190lbs without the couple of fish in the net. My final total was 202lbs 2ozs, a personal best match weight and of course my first ton and double ton from Rolfs Lake. I was ecstatic...................

It turned out my weight wasn't quite enough to win the match but I'd finished a fantastic 3rd and I knew I'd sleep well tonight even though I was sleeping in the car. Simon E on peg 16 had won the match with 242lbs 4ozs with Steve Wilson on peg 30 finishing 2nd with 225lbs 4ozs ( a new personal best match weight). The total weight of fish caught by the 19 anglers was 2288 lb, an average of 120lbs 4ozs per angler. There were 3 x 200lb+ weights and 9 x 100lbs+ weights so it showed what the lake can do when it gets dark.

I have to say the night match was a great success and most importantly everyone had managed to stay safe and not fall in. I for one can't wait to do it again.

Day 2
After finally getting to bed at 3.30am I had a decent nights and woke about 7.30am to the sound of Malc laughing and just knew he'd been awake all night. This turned out to be the case as Steve Wilson had originally planned to sleep in the fishery caravan but had mysteriously been locked out by Gemma and Simple. Now whats that saying....When the caravans rocking don't go knocking.....Steve obviously decided not to disturb them so he went and woke Malc and they stayed up all night talking.
The mornings discussions were all about the way the lake had fished last night and whether the pegs that weren't fished last night would be at a disadvantage today. A few of those fishing today had not fished last night and were soon arriving and were looking for information about which pegs fished well and what methods had proved successful.
Peter Morton, my arch nemesis, came and spoke to me and seemed genuinely pleased that I'd caught a double ton the night before but warned that now he was here things were bound to go downhill. By the time the draw arrived everyone was bursting to get started apart from Peter who semed to be hanging back from the draw bag. It seems he was worried about drawing peg 13, somewhere he'd drawn a bit too much lately, and one he'd really struggled on. My lucky drawing hand seriously let me down picking me peg 36 not only was I again in the little lake but worse than that it was one of those pegs not fished the day before.

To make matters even worse when I got to my peg I looked round and saw Peter dumping his gear down on the next peg !!!!!!!.

I have to say I've drawn peg 36 before and really struggled so I wasn't looking forward to what the day had to offer but as last night proved I can catch plenty of fish when they are in front of me so there was some hope.

This hope soon faded when after 2 and a half hours I'd caught next to nothing and had to watch those around me bagging. Peter was catching steadilly and I was well behind him whilst Tony on peg 7 was absolutely flying. I remembered what Eddie had told me the day beofre and decided to really go heavy with my feeding and in the last two hours fed 6 bags of pellet. This seemed to work as finally I was getting bites. The trouble was so was Peter and he continued to keep catching well. I thought I'd better take an action shot as he was bound to ask me for some pics for his blog.

The fish had taken his some time to land and proved to be a good fish so I took a pic of that too.

By the end of the match I'd only got 4 'weighers' for about 50lbs but at least I'd managed to catch a few. By the time the other few fish were weighed I'd finished with 61lbs. Peter kindly returned the favour and took a pic of my best fish a lovely common of 14lbs which fought like crazy, I'm sure John must feed these fish steroids.

Today hadn't fished quite so well but almost eveyone had caught a few fish. Spare a thought for Gemma though who having finished last on friday night managed that feat again having only been able to catch 1lb 4ozs of silvers. (Probably a good thing as I expect she was tired after the night in the caravan !!................behave Vince!!)
I'm not sure of the full results yet but do know that Ryan won the day with, I believe, 197lbs from the car park bank, Well done Ryan.
Finally I must thank a few people, firstly Malc for organising both matches and giving me an invitation.
Secondly to John for letting us fish the 'Special' on friday and for all his hard work in keeping the fishery the place of dreams that it is.
Finally my thanks must go to Eddie Taylor-Green for his help and advice, cheers mate.
My final thoughts must go to Dave, the owner of the website. Not only had he travelled all the way down form Yorkshire to fish but he'd managed to snap one of his top kits playing a carp but then went on to lose another when he stuck it between his legs to feed his peg whilst playing another fish and had it dragged in to the lake. OOooopppss!!!!!!!

Sunday, 5 July 2009 - Individual Champs 2009

The 2009 Individual Champs held on the match lake at Larford Lakes, Stourport, Worcestershire took place today. This is a match that I have the pleasure of organising and have done so for a few years now and thoroughly enjoy doing so.

So many anglers originally booked in that I had to form a reserve list but in the end just 38 turned up hoping to be crowned Individual Champion 2009.

Talk at the draw was about the big weights that can be caught in the match lake and where the best place would be to draw. One thing I'd noticed was how close the pegs were, there can't have been more than about 10 paces between each one so fortunately today we were using every other peg.

I quite fancied a peg near the club house so of course drew just about as far away as was possible, peg 51 at the far end in a bay. For company I had Simon elsey on peg 53, Midge, Croydon Angler and Royst. Also close by and in full view were Clive and of course my nemesis, Mugger Morton.

My day turned out to be difficult one. I couldn't buy a bite and with 3 hours gone had caught hardly anything other than 1 carp on the feeder. Peter was putting afew in the net but not as many as Tony (Spamwham) who was bagging. By the end I'd given up hope, it didn't matter what I tried there just weren't any fish in front of me, even fishing maggot brought no response. To make it worse I could hear Malc catching fish after fish on the other side of the island, just a good job I couldn't see him or else I might had slit my wrists.

The weigh in told a story, all those pegged in the same bay as me had struggled, it appeared that the fish just weren't there and were all in the main part of the lake.

Congratulations to Fordy on another fine win with 116lbs 7ozs, the only ton+ weight of the day.

Full results by peg no. are shown below. Thanks must go to the fishery staff for looking after us, Lyn for her hard work with the raffle, and to everyone who made the effort to come along and make the day a success.

P2 Bucko 14-01 P3 Smasher (DNW)

P5 Simple Simon 63-15 P7 Baggingman 89-03

P9 Sprucey 46-01 P11 Milo 55-08

P13 Genus9 73-00 P15 Gemma 15 15-11

P19 Me 23-16 P21 Paul Scatt 37-10

P23 ED10 72-05 P25 Dirk 53-12

P27 Mike Globe 64-03 P29 Dai Fish 28-02

P31 BaggerJ 40-13 P33 Floatfisher Jnr 53-04

P35 Spamwham 96-15 P37 Peter M 50-05

P39 Marginman 34-06 P41 Clive 19-03

P43 Drynets 16-10 P45 Royst 34-10

P46 Midge99 18-02 P47 Croydon Angler DNW

P51 Vince G 17-11 P53 Simon Elsey DNW

P55 Malc 89-12 P57 Fish4alarf 18-13

P59 Bungee 98-13 P61 MarkCAdroit 54-04

P63 Aigy 66-03 P65 Fordy1 116-07

P67 Ulladubulla 34-15 P69 Looney 50-02

P71 Hicko1 82-02 (inc 1 fish 16-01) P73 J R Hartley 47-05

P75 Budgie65 31-13 P77 Steak 36-02

Sorry no pics as I'd managed to leave the camera on after taking the first one and flattenned the batteries. OOOooops!!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Faye's Charity Match - Monk Lakes

Well today was the day that so many members of were waiting for.

A while ago a young lady called Faye asked the members for help in coming up with an idea for a present for her Dad for Christmas. Faye suffers from an awful illness that keeps her more or less bedridden so as is the way with not only did some ideas come forward but a collection was made and some lovely items of tackle purchased and delivered. Faye was delighted by the members generosity.

it was decided that a charity match would be held to raise money for Fayes favourite charity, postpals, which helps people in a similar situation to Faye.

27 brave souls arrived at Monk Lakes not only looking forward to the match but also eagerly awaiting the arrival of Faye who was maiking a special visit to say thankyou.

As many of you know I always have a £1 side bet with Peter Morton and as luck would have we drew next to each other so it would be easy to see how he was getting on.

Well what a day!!

First and foremost, a huge thankyou to all the Maggotdrowners who came along, as well as those who supported from afar, to help such a wonderful young lady. Faye truly is an inspriration to us all, despite her illness she was desperate to come along today and show her thanks for what this great online family of ours is doing for her. She never stopped smiling the whole time she was with us and certainly brightened up my day even though the fishing where I was was hard. It was lovely to see her get involved at the recording the weights from her wheelchair, she clearly enjoyed doing it.

Liz (Faye's mum), how you managed to get through today without bursting in to tears is a mystery to me, you have a beautiful daughter who you must be very, very proud of. Dave your speech at the presentation brought a lump to my throat and I'm not ashamed to admit, a tear to my eyes. As the above shows, today had a profound effect on me and the memories will live with me for a very long time.T

he fishing for me was today was hard, not helped by the fact that as I said earlier I'd managed to draw next to Mugger Morton on a day that I really wanted to beat him. It certainly added some extra pressure.

Needless to say I lost another £1 + a fiver I promised to the kitty if I didn't beat him. Things looked good for a while with 3 carp in quick succession then it all went t*ts up, and while I sat looking a a motionless tip or pole float Peter was slowly nicking Barbel on the maggot feeder. (Guess who didn't bother to take any maggots today). At the weigh in it was clear I'd had a mare, only weighing 13lbs 8ozs. Peter had easily beaten me with 25lbs 4ozs.

The match winner was Al with just over 94lbs.

The amount money raised was superb and when the final total is in it will be well over £700, a marvellous effort.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Mansfield Lake, Nr Canterbury

Mansfield Lake - 2nd May 2009

Some time ago Mick the Chippy Pearson (Worzel to his friends) posted that he was arranging a little get together at Mansfield Lake nr Canterbury. Having visited the lake before in the winter I decided to go back and see what it would fish like in the warmer weather.

As the place is tucked away in deepest darkest Kent Bill Gibbbins suggested he pick me up, mainly because I have a Sat Nav which would ensure he could find the place.

Bill arrived at 7am and the car was soon packed. Making our way through the Kent countryside I said to Bill I'd like to draw one of the pegs on the Southern Side by the car park. The reason for this was it was where I guessed most pleasure anglers would fish (they are lazy buggers you know) and hopefully have put in a bit of bait. Also there are some lovely looking patches of reeds and large lily beds which should be natural fish holding areas.

Now I normally like to draw early on but this being one of Mick's matches things were a little different. He had decided that we would draw depending on the order we arrived at the fishery. Well as Bill and I were the last to get there I only avoided drawing last by getting out of the car before Bill. There were still a few of the southern pegs in the bag when I drew so I was happy to see peg 11 nestling in my palm.

After the obligatory huge breakfast roll had been consumed I made my way to my peg and was pleased to find a nice looking lily bed on one side and some reeds on the other. For company today I had Kev the Catch on my left and Mike Jameson on my right.

Just to make things interesting onthe opposite bank was my arch nemesis Peter. As usual I had a £1 side bet with him and hoped that maybe today would be my day to finally win one.

I decided on three lines of attack, one margin rig for the reeds to my right where I found about 1 foot of water, 1 rig for the lily bed to my left where I found 4 feet of water tight to the lily bed and a waggler line. I set up both pole rigs with Malman 4 x 14 Thicko's with size 16 b911's and a 4bb insert waggler to fish approximately half way across the lake.

Bait wise I had with me, corn, luncheon meat, worms, maggots, various flavoured soft hookers and a ball of paste.

At the all in I fed 2 cups of 4mm skretting pellet laced with a few bits of corn and a few maggots on each pole line and fired out a couple of pouchfuls to the middle of the lake. My plan was to start on the waggler to give the fish time to settle closer in. First cast with corn and the float buried but it wasn't the greatest resistence that met the strike but a greedy 4 oz roach. which was soon in the net. After a few more casts and a change to worm on the hook the waggler shot away and this time my 12ft Normark Microlite rod arched over. It took a little while to subdue the fish but soon a carp of around 3lbs was in the net. Looking across to Peter it seemed he was stuggling and a s yet hadn't had a bite. Hopefully things would contnue like this and I might actually bag a decent net of fish. However as is usual for me things got worse, much worse. Even though I was getting indications on the float it just wouldn't go under so I started striking at the small dips. Unfortunately I didn't connect with anything so after about an hour I came in to the pole line next to the lilies. Baiting with half a worm I dropped the rig right next to the lilies and waited, and waited and waited. Even though there were bubbles everywhere the fish didn't seem to want the bait no matter what I used, corn, meat maggots and paste all taking a turn.

With the water so shallow on the other margin line I wanted to leave it longer so went back on the waggler. Again first cast it buried and another roach came to hand. Well by now I was starting to worry about where I would find any decent fish especially as Al at the far end of the lake seemed to be catching carp fairly regularly and Bill next to him having a couple of decent bream.

Mike next to me had managed a few small tench on the paste in the first couple of hours whilst Peter still remained fish less. Others around the lake had caught the odd carp but it was fishing very hard. I'm fairly certain that the carp had other things on their mind as the reeds all around were resembling a knocking shop.

Things remained hard and nearing the end of the match I'd only caught one more fish, another carp of around 3lbs from the shallow line.

However the good news was Peter was still struggling having resorted to catching small roach. maybe, just maybe today was the day. Peter had however set up a feeder rod as by now Mike opposite him had gone home, disappointed with his catch rate, and Peter was able to cast acros to the lilies by Mike's platform.
With a few minutes to go Peter had managed to find one carp so things were now getting a bit close. He has a reputation of mugging a good fish late on in matches so I kenw anything could yet happen. With barely any time left I looked at my watch and it read 4 o'clock, however as the 'All out' hadn't yet been called I assumed Mick was running the match to French time. Peter by now had gone over to fishing along to the next platform with his feeder as he had seen fish moving there. I was willing Mick to shout that time was up as I knew I had more than Peter and finally would take a £1 off him after too many times trying.

I heard Peter comment to Ryan that there was a ghostie carp which just wouldn't get it's head down when suddenly his rod was almost ripped off the rest. 8 seconds later, yes you read it right 8 bloody seconds, Mick called the 'all out' .......................... My heart sunk, I could see that it was a decent fish and was fairly certain that Peter wopuld have more than me if he landed it. Needless to say he was the target of much encouragement from everyone around the lake who like me couldn't believe he had the cheek to Mug yet another late fish....

As the scales showed he'd gone and done it again and taken another of my shiny coins. To say I was gutted was an understatement, the last time we fished Mansfield Lake he did me by 1 oz and this time he'd done me with a very late, possibly too late, fish as if i'd been running the match the 'all out ' would have been called by my watch which would have meant he wouldn't have caught it. ( I'm not bitter !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! honestly I'm not !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! no seriously I'm really not a bad loser!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Oi Chippy buy a new bloody watch, yours runs slow !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Anyway back to the match. Congratulations to Al on a fine win on a hard day and to Dean for his 2nd place on his first MDer's outing. Thanks to Mick and his assorted brothers for organising the day and to Old Crapper for the after match refreshments.

After Mick had handed out the money to the winners I had a little surpise for him. I then made a little speech, I said to Mick that I knew what a family man he was and how it would be nice if his brothers could see what he got up to in his younger days whilst out chasing the ladies. I told him I managed, after searching the internet, to find a long lost, home movie and that I'd like to present it to him.
Here's what I gave him.

And here's a close up,

Somehow I reckon he might just find a way of getting his own back sometime, but don't worry I've got another surprise for a future match planned and this time it's not for Mick.

Be afraid, be very afraid..........................................

By the way, anyone got the number for the Samaritans?