Bewdley – Severn Float Champs

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Round 3.  Drew peg 72, aka Bewdley Pier and had to fancy it as I had taken 28 Lbs off it last time!  To be honest, when I got there it was obvious that the 1m or so of extra water was probably about 12″ too much for the peg, and there was no obvious crease line or slack to work off.  But I set to my task anyway, a 6 x No.4 WS stick, a 4 x No.4 Lignum stick, a 1.5g DH11 at 6m to hand, a 0.75g DH11 at 4m to hand, and a 4g WS 5m to hand anbd a 4g WS Avon on the Conni in case I wanted/needed to bump a meat pellet through the swim.

I also mixed up 5 pints of GB and added 5 pints of freshly collected molehill, and laced it with 1 Pt of Hemp and 1.5 Pts of Caster.  and kicked off with a ball of this and loose fed maggot over, fishing off my rod end.  It was a full half an hour before I had my first bite, missed this but hit the next one and was winding in a decent Dace until it pulled off.  Doh!!   I went back in fully expecting to start catching but with no response, so I switched to the lighter stick rig and finally, 45 minutes in, I started to pick up (mainly) small Dace.   The bext 45 minutes produced about 15 fish so it wwas hard work, and to be honest it never got any better.  The closest I could catch was just about on the limits of whip range, so I did try the rig without success.  And a lot of my early fish came right down the swim, past the tree.   Playing around with the feed didn’t have much effect in moving them up, so I decided to try to make the best of what I had, in part working on the basis that if the silvers didn’t dominate I could well hook a Barbel or two (I didn’t!!).

The swim never really took off and I eeventually scratched my way to 5-2-8, which was a poorish result on a day when the river fished quite well, and knocked me back something like 11 places!!  Top weight was 25 Lbs off 63, 2 Barbel, 13 Lbs of Roach, another 30 Lbs lost, some to Pike, Simply Lovely.  GM, 84 and 98 also picked up, and the Cottages featured well in the frame, taking 4 slots including a fine 18 Lbs by CB off peg 44.  So must try harder and hopefully this is my probable worst result.

And talking of Pike, my peg had one that was easily 20 Lbs!!!!   Total phsyco, I had follows on my maggots when I was retrieving, 3 fish taken, umpteen failed strikes.  Perhaps it’s not that surprising that my fish wouldn’t settle properly!

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Pontymister Canal

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I won’t bother stating Halls Road, you know that already!   Actually Tuesday was scheduled to be a run up to Hereford to run a stick through somewhere in the middle of the Tennis Courts, lovely level, perfect float fishing conditions.  But I was stopped at the 2nd last set of traffic lights before hitting the M4 when my ex phoned and, as always, I picked up in case it was something to do with Fflur.  Which it was, in a roundabout way, as my ex had cocked up her diary and was stuck for the afternoon school run.  So, all the way around junction 28, dropped off the float rods, put the caster and maggot back in the fridge and picked up my pole and some worms instead, off up the cut!!!

Everty cloud etc. and one unexpected plus from my enforced change of plans was that I was in to take delivery of one of the Sensas ready bags that I’ve ordered, as I’m in transition from using a conventional rod holdall to having rods set up ready, now that Nige has showed me how!!  Anyway, Halls Road, peg 5.  Fed choppie on 7 sections left and straight across, balanced up one of my recently purchased Drennan AS4 WS floats, size 16 3405 to 0.10 fluor, and dropped in with a piece of dendra.  The first hour was pretty solid, mainly decent Roach (ex-14 Locks??), with bites every drop-in on either line,   Second hour was slower, still picking off some decent fish, odd small Skimmer, couple of small Carp and a solitary Chublet in the mix, but I could still raise bites through careful top-ups and by resting lines.  Third hour was slower again, so I opened a third line left on 8 sections, and was still picking off the odd decent fish off each of the lines in turn.  But to be honest the 3 hour session was just right because by 2 pm it was becoming hard work, and unlike last week where the swims were still producing, I was happy enough to call it a day and get on with the school run.  And no Bream or other bonus fish, wwhich was a little disappointing.  But I still managed 5 Lbs plus of fairly decent silvers, so a reasonable alternative on the day.  The Wye will have to wait now until next week!

River Wye – Riverfest Qualifier

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Belmont peg 93, end peg!   Simply Lovely!!   About 4′ on so pushing a bit with a bit of colour, so a few options to play with.  Settled for a Bolo line 3 rods out over groundbait, a choppie line at 9m and a stickfloat line inside.  I was warned that a residual weedbed to my right would be an issue on the inside lines and that did prove to be the case.

Spent 30 minutes on the flatfoat with worm but it didn’t look right even with an 8g Cralusso, which is about my top end for a flattie.  Stickfloat down the side was OK but only off bottom due to the weed.  So after 45 minutes I decided to scrap the pretty approaches and chuck a feeder mid-river.   I came back with mangled maggot early on (but no indication on the tip), so some signs of promise.  Eventually after 45 minutes a classic drop-back resulted in a Barbel.  I spent a bit longer on the maggot then went through a couple of options, meat pellet, halibut pellet, without any interest so reverted to maggot and  then had a spell on the lobbie.  With about 90 minutes to go I decided to try again with the lobbie but on a hair-rig.  Andy Thomas was behind me at the time and I commented that the lobbie looked so good I could eat it myself.  Obviously a Barbel was of the same mind because the feeder had hardly touched bottom when the rod arced over and Barbel No.2 was on its way to the net.

I obviously then spent the last 90 minutes with my eyes glued to the tip, but no further bites were forthcoming.  So 2 bites, 2 Barbel.  Now 2 Barbel on that stretch could weigh 8 Lbs total, but they could also weigh 18 Lbs.   In this case, they weighed 11-5-0.  The qualification weight in my Zone was 11-10-0.  Ouch!!!  But that’s how it goes.  The obvious answer of course would have beeen another fish, but I tried every bait option and even dropped to a lighter feeder to get some movement going, and couldn’t magic up the critical extra bite.   Must try harder (or be just a tadge luckier perhaps………)

Pontymister Canal

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Short Friday session in betweeen school runs.  Slightly longer shuttle push, up to peg 12.5, i.e. across from the pandocks.  And no real preamble as such, just cupped in some choppie at two points around the pandocks and sat back to await developments.

Early response was from Roach, and some decent Roach as well, including one that must have touched 10 oz.   Then the odd Skimmer and Chublet and eventually 2 proper Bream pretty much back to back.  But next I hooked something which basically ripped a path straight through the pandocks.  Carp?  Tench?  possibly dog Chub.  Anyway, no chance on my lightish rig.  I managed to hook a 3rd Bream but it pulled, might have been fouled.

So not as busy as Tuesday but 2 Bream, a few Chublets/Skimmers/baby Carp and quite a few net Roach for good single figures and another enjoyable session.  I must try to get around to a late pm session soon.

Cefn Mably – Over 50s

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No viable midweek match option, and the continued unsettled weather made any travelling an unattractive option, so in preference to a pleasure session on the canal or Morgans I opted to have a go for the silvers pot at Mably.  Perparation consisted of emptying a freezer tray of groundbait, grabbing some frozen dead reds and 3 pints or so off caster and turning up.

I drew peg 11 which, apparantly, is the dogs for Carp fishing with the tip over to the Island.  Great!!  No tip rod but more importantly, no intention of fishing for Monks Food.   Instead I set up a 0.4 and a 0.6g Drennan Lake rig to fish overdepth at 13m and a 0.3g Chianti style rig to fish on 6 sections.  I added 1 pint of caster and 1/2 pint of dead reds to 6 pints of defrosted groundbait, then rolled in 3 balls long and balled in 6 tennis balls short.  Instant response short (so balling works, interesting!), small Skimmer but then a couple of better examples, all on single maggot.   Stayed short for 30 minutes or so, picking off some more small Skimmers, then dropped in long and took a couple of decent skimmers there, so two swims to work off.  2 hours and 6 decent Skimmers in I fed some minced worm and groundbait long, and when I dropped in with dendra pieces I picked up a couple more decent Skimmers, so I fed minced worm short and picked off some Skimmers there on dendra.

Three hours in and I’d picked up a dozen decent ner Skimmers plus some smaller samples.  Skimmer No.13 came long on dendra, and there were definite signs of some fish being present, odd liners etc.  But then the inevitable happened and Skimmers No.14 was obviously fouled and pulled off.  This effectively killed the long swim, and most of my remaining fish came short, and back on the lighter rig with maggot.  And re-balling worked!!!!  I reached 16 decent Skimmers and thought I might have 20 Lbs, but they weighed a little lighter than I expected and I actually dropped 14-8-0 on the scales, easily enough to win the silvers pool against stiff competition (joke, no competition), but giving me an enjoyable and free day’s fishing in the blustery conditions.

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Pontymister Canal

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Monday was a wash-out, I was totally wiped out from the long trek Sunday (need to think this through for next year!)  Lazy start to Tuesday but I got myself sorted, blitzed some liccie, loaded up and picked up a few items but forgot the Warburtons, so after a slight detiur to Aldis I eventually rocked up at Halls Road and decided to fish peg 6 for a change.

Cupped in a ball of lickie on 6 sections and some choppie left on 7 sections, walked back to the car to get my canal rigs (Doh!!!), rigged up and dropped in with a 6mm punch.  Missed a few early bites so dropped to a 5mm punch and scaled up to a size 18, which worked and I had a half dozen  or so small Roach, which looked like ex-14 Locks transfers.  Then I had a bit more elastic out due to a hyper-active Chublet around the 6oz mark.   The disruption seemed to kill the swim so I switched to dendra over the choppie line and took a couple of Chublets back to back.   So I basically decided to drop the punch approach and concentrate on worm over choppie and caster over pinged caster across, both on 8 sections.

More Chublets followed on both lines, then a slow bite on the worm line resulted in a different, heavier response, and I was playing a Bream.  I soon netted a 2Lbs fish which was a PB for me on the canal, and next drop in produced a slightly smaller example.  No more Bream rocked up but I had a couple of decent Skimmers and some stamp Roach, and ended the session with 2 Bream, 2 Skimmers, 13 Chublets and a smattering of Roach for at least good single figures.  Decent fishing for a 2 hour+ session, still more to go at when I had to pack it in due to a schol run.  Simply Lovely.

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Tidefest

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Sunday saw my now annual trek up to London to fish what must be one of the most unusual and at the same time undersold natural venue matches on the calendar.  7am draw, at least the roads were fairly quiet!!!!  After 2 year in a row below Kew Bridge I ended up on peg 5 below Chiswick Bridge, downstream and opposite bank.  By 9.30 am the tide had ebbed enough to allow us to to kick off, so I targetted a line 35 turns out and started getting some gear in.  44g on the feeder proved a little light, a quick switch to 60g fixed that.  About 30 minutes in I had the first in what turned out to be a series of Eels.  Definitely a bad sign, and even worse when they cannot be weighed in because they are, of course, an endangered species across Europe, with the sole exception of peg 5 at Chiswick where they seem to be experiencing a resurgence………..

I gave the initial line 90 minutes, by which time it was down to 25 turns, then kicked off again at a full 35 turns.  About 30 minutes into Phase 2 I had a suspicion that there might be some silvers knocking around so I switched back to triple maggot.  Sure enough, I immediately had a classic and very Chubby drop back, which I somehow managed to miss completeely.  But next chuck I didn’t, and managed to nail a Chub.  Hooray, a fish at last.  But only more Eels to follow, and when even these seemed to lose interest, although the river seemed to be much slower ebbing than previous years, I kicked off a Phase 3 with 45 minutes to go.  15 minutes into this Phase I had a rattle followed by a dropback and was reeling in something which pulled off just as I caught sight of it.  Reasonable Roach I think.  And that was about that, I hooked and landed my 11th Eel on the whistle, and promptly chucked it back, the same as the previous ten.

So, 1 Chub, 1-1-0.  Bit different to last year!!!   Best weight in my zone of 10 pegs was 14Lbs+ off the bottom end peg, Barnes was similar, 8 Lbs off the bottom end peg.  The Kew stretch did produce Bream but I’m not yet aware of the weights.  But always next year!