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.