Monday, 23 April 2018

Sunday 22/04/2017 - Windmill Open - Match Lake

Well done to Craig Edmonds on winning the Frenzee Whiteacres Festival. Some luck is always welcome, but the most important ingredient is having served the Apprenticeship in match angling which Trigger has done joining our Avon Angling team when he had hair and wearing short trousers often mentored by Tony Rixon et al. More to come me thinks.

After the poor attendance at Windmill last match I opted to try and get the attendance up through Face Book. This appeared to work with 18 fishing this week. I can’t help thinking that this is the job of the fishery management.

Back travelling with NOT BELLA meeting up with the usual suspects in Wetherspoons - Staple Hill. Please everyone save me form more ear ache by calling him BELA, BERT or TREV.

With the water temperature increasing rapidly I suspected the Carp would provide most sport. Into the draw box and out comes peg 24. Not the right end I was thinking as its 9 foot deep, the other end being half this so the water temperatures would reflect this. Dave Willmott passed by and cheered me up by saying it was the worse Silvers peg on the Lake and I wouldn’t win from it! For company I had Two Pots on peg 25. The peg has won previously with Carp by fishing the feeder/lead over to the island – Life’s too sort for this. There are some large Carp which can be caught down the margins at this end.

I set up the Ronnie rig but had to shorten it due to the left hand rope being so close. A 4x16 set up to fish down the inside shelf in 9 foot, but from recent experience didn’t expect to catch on it; and finally a 4x12 Yoof to fish down the RH margin for later in the match.

I fed the margin with micro and dog meat in gravy. Fed a ball of GB laced with DR’s. I started on the Ronnie rig to see if there were any willing to snaffle my live single red. Luckily they did, but they were small, missing loads if bites. The wind was blowing from the SW which made presentation difficult. The Ronnie’s slowed so thought I would set up the waggler to see if I could catch some Carp groupies over to the island. The wind giving crap presentation but I did have an 8 oz Skimmer and bounced a few more Ronnie’s across the water. Then I cast and the middle section of the waggler rod snapped clean in half for no apparent reason! Everyone at our end was struggling as we watched Carp being caught down the far end. I decided the margin wasn’t going to be of any use coin wise especially as Two Pots had been trying it in and off. Having tried the deep rig with double DR’s and as expected not one indication, so I spent the most of the rest of the match on the Ronnie rig. In the last ten minutes I thought I would give the Dog meat a try in the margin and had two bites which probably were liners but still don’t know if this meat is going to make a come back.

My small Ronnie’s weighed 7lb 14oz for first Silvers. This surprised me as I did expect to get well beaten by big Skimmer either fished for or Accidentals.

The match was won by Shaun Townsend (pictured right with the Silvers winner) with 189 lb 9 oz from peg 11. Shaun caught most of his Carp fish shallow/slapping long with 6mm pellet fished over the same lose fed.
Bela Came third so it was a case of a van double bubble and double trouble because Bela also had a smashing time breaking his 13 metre butt section carrying out his enthusiastic slapping. This forced Bela into his margin where he started to bag giving Shaun a short scare.

A few of us went back to the Jolly Cobbler for a pint with Podge to end another memorable day.


Shaun Townsend 189-09-0 peg 11
Martin Mc Mahon 136-02-0 peg 9
Bela Bakos 113-01-0 peg 10
Brain Shanks 99-04-0 peg 4
Joe McMahon 86-00-0 peg 22
Stuart Barnett 66-06-0 peg 7


Mike Nicholls 7-14-0 peg 24
Dave Willmott 5-12-0 peg 19
Bob Warren 4-13-0 peg 12

Weigh Sheet:

Friday, 20 April 2018

Thursday 19/04/2018 - Shiplate - Cost Cutter - Main Lake

I have been having problems with the Baittech Expanders so thought I would compare the new Sensas expander (pictured right). However, I really didn’t get to give them a fair trial, so jury still out. The Sensas bag is much bigger but holds the same amount at a higher price!!

Geoff and I tried Shipham again but wasn’t as lucky as last time with them not being prepared to open early. This worked out fortuitous because Mark Jones (cooks better than he draws) had his Chef’s van at the fishery. One large and one small breakfast eaten alfresco. One of the best I’ve had recently. However, there was a few bit’s of flying plastic cutlery due to the food being over enthusiastically eaten.

Gamekeeper Steve thought the weather was September like – hoping he meant last September and not next.

Everyone was winter demob happy with some sunshine at last.

Into the plastic tub and out comes peg 7. Arriving at the peg I realised that I would be in the shade for most of the day and with a light chilly breeze blowing in to me. I was soon thinking I had demobbed my warmer clothes a bit too early, this whilst Geoff was basking in the sun opposite on peg 13A. I was happy enough with the peg. My thinking was that due to the bright sunshine and flattish calm water the Skimmers might not put in an appearance, so thinking Ronnie’s. Set the Ronnie rig up and a 4x14 which I swapped down to a 4x12 to fish top-set plus four for Skimmers. I fed the Skimmer line with some micro then a ball of GB laced with some caster and live maggot on the Ronnie rig line. First I tested the Ronnie’s which produced some Perch a Skimmer and some Ronnie’s. I then tested the Skimmer line with 4mm expander and after a bit of a wait I had a small Skimmer followed by a Ronnie. Right decision made the Ronnie rig was going to give me the higher weigh! The problem is once you go this route you have to get your head down and keep at it. From what I could see in the first hour I was doing OK especially opposite. With 45 minutes to go the sun appeared from the shadows and killed the Ronnie line so fed a big cup of micro on the Skimmer line and first put in hooked a 2lb Skimmer on the drop which came off at the net – nearly snatched it!  Then foul hooked a Carp, landed three and foul hooked another – umm. The upshot was I got it wrong letting my impatiens get the better of me once again. I’m now sure I would have caught more had I sat it out on the 4mm expander.

My Ronnie’s weighed 16 lb 4 oz and my three Carp 24 lb 2 oz for a half way total of 40lb 6 oz.

The match could have been won by Tich Williams with 222 lb but had a net disqualified. This left Gary Flinders (pictured right with the Silvers winner) in top spot with 164 lb 6 oz from peg 5. Gary caught on allsorts – stalking, shallow and on bottom using pellet on the pole at 16 metres.

The Silvers was won by Mike Laird with 43 lb 8oz from peg 15. Mike caught on corn over 4mm pellet.

Because the road was closed we had to go via Bleadon which was convenient because Geoff and I ended up in Brent House for another enormous Carvery. Geoff over faced himself leaving some of his! Another enjoyable day out in the life of a full and part time Pensioner.


  1. Gary Flinders 164-06-0 peg 5
  2. Tich Williams 140-06-0 peg 1 (82-04-0 deducted)
  3. Mike Laird 114-06-0 peg 15

  1. Mike Laird 43-08-0 peg 15
  2. Dave Wride 25-08-0 peg 8
  3. Nigel Wickham 24-0-0 peg 14B
Weigh Sheet:

Monday, 16 April 2018

Sunday 15/04/2018 - Shiplate Open - Squircle

I went out for a drink Saturday with Bela and Geoff. We had a right laugh taking the piss out of a plumber. The drink was going down fast and furious. I think it must be because it’s the first time we have seen the sun for many long months. I was sensible enough to stop before Geoff and Bela, but not sensible enough! My sleep was regularly interrupted finally getting up feeling very jaded and with a headache. Geoff and I went for breakfast at Shipham, I was hoping that this would help on the road to recovery – it didn’t.

Geoff and I had a walk around the pond, there was a cold SE wind blowing into all of the near side pegs especially peg 12 – Geoff and I didn’t want that one, unlucky Geoff. Gamekeeper Steve commented that the weather was good for October! Geoff told me there would be just a few showers today so left the umbrella home, wrong, it rained very much all day, at least it stopped before packing up.

Into the draw tub and out comes peg 14. This happened to be the peg I broke the record on two years ago. Since then the pond has been made bigger/longer with more pegs, however, the fish are growing fast. This year will see the record go I think. I was happy with the peg mainly because I had the rain and wind on my back.

A hangover and fishing does not mix especially when you’re in your 70th year. Whilst I was setting up I knocked my maggot bait box into the pond, salvaging a just a few DR’s. I set up a 4x12 to fish full depth in four foot of water at top-set plus one and a 4x10 Yoof to fish to the island. I started by feeding the two lines with wetted micro and soften 4’s. Starting in the deep water resulted in one small Goldfish. The upshot was the only place I could catch was over to the island but it was very slow catching the occasional small Carp. With an hour to go I decided a change was necessary, so switched to maggot, but due to the low stocks mixed up some GB to feed them. This worked well and I started to put some fish in the net. I knew the change wasn’t due to the time of day because most anglers I could see had slowed right down. Unfortunately, probably a few minutes late switching because my 26 lb 2 oz put me one out of the coin by 8 oz, ouch. I have to confess the peg was worth at least second place, so all down to me. Still enjoyed the day much better than sitting home feeling sorry for yourself.

The match was won by convivial Steve Howell (pictured right with his net of fish – two years ago these were all less than a pound) with 40 lb 12 oz from end peg 15. Steve caught initially on bread, and then expander then on to maggot all caught over along the island to his right. The other end peg was second.

Geoff and I decided we needed the hair of the dog and stopped in a pub that was locked in the 1960’s called the White Hert? One guy wanted some peanuts so had to walk down to the next pub to buy some!!


  1. Steve Howell 40-12-0 peg 15
  2. Nigel Webber 33-08-0 peg 2
  3. Gary Flinders 29-01-0 peg 5
Weigh Sheet:

Friday, 13 April 2018

Thursday 12/04/2018 - Bathampton AA - Over 55's and Disabled - Bridge Pool

It was Wetherspoons Hanham for breakfast with Geoff this morning where we met up with Ray B and Paul H – nice and hot.

The venue has been fishing well from selected swims for the new arrivals. Because pleasure anglers don’t like walking far pegs 11, 10, 9 and 8 were the pegs I was hoping for.

Nineteen fishing so room for a few more. Into the draw bag and out comes disc 24. This is a strange peg, being all or nothing, but generally happy with it, but had some concerns on the how clear the water was. Most probably due to all the rain over previous days. The format was different today with the match being split into two halves with a Carp weigh in at half time. I was apprehensive about this, but as it turned out found it acceptable. In fact at half time I was able to make up a Carp rig. The Banana walk was replaced with Banana weigh in.

Because of the change I decided to split my match in to two. First half focus on Silvers and the second Carp. I set up the Ronnie rig, a light 6 inch Drake bodied waggler, a 4x12 to fish over to the far bank in three foot of water which was only top-set plus three and a bit, finally a 4x16 to fish to my left at full depth . The first half didn’t go too well, I caught some Skimmers over GB on the full depth rig for about 30 minutes until it completely died even though there was some pimpling visible, all I could catch was tiny Perch. Swim abandoned. Had a go over to the far bank and had one small F1 and two Ronnie’s. Time to try the Ronnie rig with maggot over maggot, which resulted in two Ronnie’s one being 10 oz. As we know the venue lacks any numbers of small Ronnie’s so that was it from my favourite rig. Time for the waggler fished down the left side of the island with maggot over maggot catching another two small F1’s loosing a near 2lb Perch at the net, another couple of Ronnie and a 1 ½ lb Skimmer. That was it until the first Carp weigh in which I recorded my three F1’s at 2lb 14oz.  Well behind.

My focus switched to Carp feeding the far bank swim with hard fours. Started a new margin swim down to my right, to be precise behind me, kindering hard fours with some micro I wanted to use up. First try over the new swim I landed a 4lb Carp on 4mm expander. I then had a run of four quick F1’s then a 18lb 8oz Mirror which boast my anticipation of making the top three. However, because we have to weigh these larger fish in and return immediately it flipped over and broke my top-set – bugger. A few more 4 to 6lb Carp followed before it slowed so tried over to the Island with 4mm expander and caught two more F1’s. I think I was catching all the F1’s that were in my vicinity because the bites were instant. Back down the margin where I was rewarded by a 3lb Tench. I knew it was a Tench by it’s fighting pattern.

My Silvers weighed 8 lb 2 oz and my total Carp weighed 48 lb 12 oz for a second overall weight of 57 lb 8 oz. On reflection I ‘m sure I wouldn’t have added much to my Silvers weight had I continued to fish for them. Also I might have caught more Silvers in the first half fishing the waggler in the deeper open water.

Come the last hour I got very cold due to the NE winds blowing in at me. When is the weather going to improve - ever?

The match was won by Tony Rixon (pictured upper right with half his catch) who out gunned us all fishing 17 metres over to the opposite island. Tony is the only won BIG enough to handle this length. Tony weighed 80 lb 1 oz from peg 28 with a 50/50 catch across the two halves. This shows that those with the fish in front of them will continue catching even though there is a mid-match weigh in. See Tony’s blog for further details.

The Silvers was won by Paul Barnfield (pictured right with the Silvers runner up) with 18lb 12oz. Paul once again moaned on some late big Skimmer from peg 4.

The usual suspects went back to the pub where it was apparent Geoff Francis is finding retirement hard as he kept nodding off!


  1. Tony Rixon 80-01-0 peg 28
  2. Mike Nicholls 57-08-0 peg 24
  3. Harry Muir 47-09-0 peg 11

  1. Paul Barnfield 18-12-0 peg 4
  2. Dave Gillard 17-15-0 peg 16
  3. Geoff Francis 15-06-0 peg 29
Weigh Sheet:

Monday, 9 April 2018

Sunday 09/04/2018 - Windmill Open/Knock-up - Match Lake

Ten days ago at Withy’s over 55’s match I noticed that matey Steve Dawson didn’t look so good. He said he had a bad leg and was limping. Some days later Steve drove himself to hospital to discover he had, suffered a stroke. I’m not sure what the situation is at the moment, but get well soon and back out on the bank.

I met up with Geoff at Wetherspoons in Staple Hill for breakfast then on to the fishery.

Because the Windmill Fishery is local, a few of us tried to get some interest in fishing the venue via social media, but could only muster seven, which is a shame. Hopefully when the match results are seen from today match we might get a few more attend.

Down rock and roll road to the draw and out comes peg 23. I was happy enough with this. The weather was supposed to be warmer, alas not as there was a stiff cold Northerly blowing down the Lake.

Easy set-up, the Ronnie rig and a 4x16 winter which needed two feet adding to the rig length due to the depth being near 9 foot at top-set plus two outwards.

Two lines at top-set plus three one with micro and maggot and the other GB laced with a few Pinkies.

After feeding two lines I started on the Ronnie rig with live reds over loose fed reds and soon started catching small Ronnie’s and Rudd. I then had a F1 which apparently was a mirage because the management said there wasn’t any in the Lake!  Out on the micro line and after trying 4mm expander I switched to maggot and had one decent Skimmer. Over to the GB line and had one small Carp and a Ronnie. Carp were now being caught down to my right over to the far shelf which was far too far for a pole. I thought of setting up the waggler but decided that the wind wasn’t conducive. Now well behind on Carp and with both long lines completely dead – too deep me thinks. I selected to fish the match out on the Ronnie rig. I had a decent day on the rig adding two more decent Skimmers plus loads of small Ronnie’s and one disrupter – a near 10 lb Mirror Carp in pristine condition.

I finished with 14 lb 2 oz of Silvers and 12 lb 9 oz of Carp for a total of 26 lb 11 oz winning the Silvers pool.

The match was won by Tim Ford (pictured right with his catch and the Silvers winner) with the best weight of the year with 73 lb 5 oz from peg 25. Tim caught some on the lead and some munters down his LH edge…see his blog for further details.

Back to the pub for the usual debrief to end another great day in the life of a match fishing pensioner who is now in his 70th year.


  1. Tim Ford 73-05-0 peg 25
  2. Glenn Bailey 55-07-0 peg 21

  1. Mike Nicholls 14-02-0 peg 23
  2. Dave Haines 5-07-0 peg 17
Weigh Sheet:

Friday, 6 April 2018

Thursday 05/04/2018 - Shiplate Fishery - Cost Cutter - Main Lake

This was Geoff Francis first week as a part time Pensioner and realised by the end of the day how hard it is retiring from business into part time angling! We didn’t realise that Shipham café didn’t open until 08:00, but were lucky they were there preparing the food and opened at 07:30 for us. It was a short wait before we tucked into a decent breakfast. However, the fishery also provided breakfast through Head Chef Mark Jones and his chef’s van (pictured right). Tony Rixon was soon tucking in to a full English whist he explained to the watching audience the key aspects of the “Rixon Scale“ breakfast rating (pictured lower right).

A glorious day but the bloody wind still has that cold bite to it – still in full winter uniform.

Into the Gamekeepers Lodge to pay Carol the £12 pools. No ones here for the money, only the exceptional fishing, company and lovely environment Steve has created.

In to the draw tin and out comes peg 2 providing a short walk for me and Geoff who was on peg 3. Tich walked by and said he drew it on the Sunday’s match and struggled for bites. In fact with every passing angler my expectations were lowered including the venue expert Jim Thomas who hasn’t had a venue record from it yet, but a good Carp peg in the summer – unfortunately the match finished at 16:30 today! Apparently there are some Chub in the peg – where have I heard that before.  Nonetheless I set up a 6” drake straight waggler to fish the far island, which was only 13 metres away, but thought this would give better presentation to the Chub. The Ronnie rig and a 4x12 winter were also set up. I had a plumb around and found the deepest place was at top-set at 3 foot 6 inches with it gradually shallowing to three inches on the far side.

I’m thinking a negative approach would be the order of the day and had some GB left over from the weekend and thought this might be a good start, so fed a neat small ball at top-set pus three. I started on the Ronnie rig with caster over caster and couldn’t get a bite, very unusual, so quickly switched to maggot over maggot and had a Ronnie first try followed by a 1 ½ lb Hybrid.  The wind was making presentation very difficult and had to abandon it for a while. Meanwhile Geoff had landed a Chub on the waggler, so I fed a few maggots over to the island to my left. I had few cast on the waggler but found it difficult to cast due to an over head branch (I guess it’s not normally a problem as it would be very unusual to fish a waggler in this peg). I had one Ronnie and a small Skimmer, again the wind was just too bad. So over the GB, first with a 4mm expander and had a 4oz Skimmer first try, then another smaller one. I switched to single live red maggot and even though the float was going slightly with the wind had a great two hours catching Skimmers from 4 oz to 1 lb averaging 6oz, regularly topping up with a small ball of neat GB. I then had a narrow escape from my pole being bombed by two Muscovy Geese (pictured right) which decided to take off and Steve is right when he said their take-off is similar to that of a Lancaster bomber, needing plenty of runway. Apparently they are family pets named Elvis and Priscilla!

The wind ebbed and the float started going with the under tow coinciding with the fishing slowing. Because the peg is narrow giving a funnelling effect the tow became worse as the day went on. I tried the waggler again with no joy the same for the Ronnie rig. So I decided to open a new swim down to my right with GB laced with Pinkies. The depth was the same as I had been fishing but added an extra six inches to the depth to slow the float down. This worked but this time catching mainly Ronnie’s. I did lose a couple of foulers due to dragging. Right near the end I landed a decent Perch (pictured right). At about this time I looked around to Geoff doing a catch and release on a Carp that leapt out of the water. The Carp was enormous, more like a Dolphin! Geoff lost two more lumps from his margin. A frame position on the hook me thinks.

I finished the match with 23lb 2oz for second Silvers so was well pleased with that from the peg.

The match was won by Roy Ede (pictured right with the Silvers winner) with 39lb 12oz from peg 1. Roy caught down to his right at full depth using corn over corn. I did notice there were a few foul hookers lost.

Geoff and I celebrated his semi-retirement with a pint and a Carvery at Brent House, Geoff’s definitely a carnivore.

Full Result:

  1. Roy Ede 39-12-0 peg 1
  2. Mike Laird 37-14-0 peg 15
  3. Dave Wride 34-12-0 peg 5
Top Silvers:

  1. Dave Wride 34-12-0 peg 5
  2. Mike Nicholls 23-02-0 peg 2
  3. Mike Laird 18-04-0 peg 15
Weigh Sheet:

Monday, 2 April 2018

Sunday 01/02/2018 - Todber King of The Manor Sivers Final - Ash, Hillview and Home Ground Lakes

I travelled alone today which proved to be unnecessary had I done my homework, meeting up with Dave Lewis at the venue who had driven passed my house to get here. The last time we travelled to a match was some 20 years ago to the Slough Arm on the Grand Union Canal, so it was his turn to drive! It was also nice catching up with his Brother Hutch who had also qualified – I’m guessing worms were involved for both. Both still do some orienteering on the Bristol Avon.

I had a walk around the three Lakes and it was strangely flat calm and bright which lead me to think it was going to be hard. After the pre-draw chat I had an open mind as to where I wanted to draw. John Candy will tell you that predicting the winning Lake/pegs are impossible. I agree.

In to the draw bag and out comes peg 80 on Home Ground. At last a peg I can park behind. Before unloaded the tackle I searched out Gary O’Shea on Ash. He thought I couldn’t win it from the peg with the pegs opposite being favourite. For company I had Ash Tomkins on peg 78. I couldn’t help noticing that there was plenty of strong completion for the section – Nicky Collin, Mark Harper, Dave Roper and Ash to name a few. I guess it was the same for all the sections in such a final.

Whilst setting up I was looking for some positives and found one in the fact the wind was blowing into our end (it’s usually the other way). I set-up my favourite Ronnie rig, the 4 metre Drennan whip, a 9 inch Drake waggler and a 4x14 F1 winter to fish at 10 metres out in front. I started by feeding two balls of GB with Dead reds, caster and Pinkies at 10 metres and loose fed some casters down wind at 10 –o’clock. I had four goes on the Ronnie rig with single caster and with no indications, so went out at 10 metres with single DR on the hook. First put in I had a small 3oz Skimmer followed by a 4oz Ronnie. I fished this for an hour catching this stamp of fish mainly with the biggest being a 1 ½ Skimmer and a 12oz Ronnie. The fish seemed to like the GB so re-fed another ball laced with just loads of caster. Whilst I let that settled I went back in the Ronnie rig and had 30 minutes catching quality Ronnie’s until it died. The initial thinking was Carp disruption – it wasn’t. Back on the 10 metre line and a few more small Skimmers – plenty there, but need to catch this size fish short/ to-hand. It then slowed as did Ash next door. So went on the 4 metre whip with red maggot over loose fed wriggling maggot. This provided a few more Skimmers’ and Ronnie’s but that soon slowed. Umm. Got up for a call of nature and watched the wind and the penny dropped. The fish were following the wind. So with about 15 lb netted I picked up the waggler and with single DR on the hook fished over live reds I could follow the edge of the wind. It was very noticeable if the wind dropped completely I couldn’t catch. During the last hour I had a great time catch decent Ronnie’s to 6oz, Hybrids and Skimmer to 8 oz, picking of a bonus old 4 lb Bream. The nearer it got to the end the better the fishing became. I fed about ½ kilo of GB, ¼ pint of casters, hand full of Pinkies and ½ pint of live maggots.

I wasn’t sure what weight I had but as soon as I picked the net up realised I had a least 30lb. They in fact weighed 33 lb 14oz (upper pictured right) which was enough to beat Tony Rixon into second place overall by 12oz. Pre-weigh in Tony was playing his usual mind games “of I only got 25 lb” – after our last match at Shiplate where Tony took home a £1 in pools money more than me -  revenge was sweet. I forgot to ask John what privileges other than qualifying for next years final the title "King of The Manor" entitles me to - keys to the tackle shop would be good! 

Spare a thought for Nicky Collins who was on peg 89 and from the first minute to the last was playing Carp. He didn’t let it get to him fantasying about Carol Kirkwood and at one time he had us worried he was going to start singing “The Rind Stone Cowboy”.

It was another great days fishing on a great venue. This has to be the best catchable Roach venue in the South West.

John Candy was right when he said the winner could come from anywhere with the top three all coming from three different Lakes pictured below centre.

Full Result:

  1. Mike Nicholls 33-14-0 peg 80 HG
  2. Tony Rixon 33-02-0 peg 61
  3. Chris Albiston 32-08-0 peg 75 Ash
  4. Gareth Boycott 31-02-0 peg 73 Ash
  5. Joint: Dave Lewis 20-09-0 peg 67 Ash and Jack Stamp 20-09-0 peg 84 HG
Weigh Sheets:

Friday, 30 March 2018

Thursday 29/03/2018 - Bathampton AA - Over 55's and Disabled - Withy Pool

It's been very long winter and I have enough now!

With a 09:30 draw Geoff and I had plenty of choices for breakfast choosing the Hanham Wetherspoons. The food was a bit warmer than usual.

It was back on Withy Pool for the first of this years Coffin Dodgers. The pool hasn’t been fishing nowhere near like it use to and has been a disappointment so far. We are hoping things will improve with the weather.

In to the draw bag and out comes counter peg 40. Umm, plenty of room though. Last match only two Roach came from it! This peg is in a corner so with pegs 41 and 42 not in it was a question of fishing 90 degrees to them as pictured right. No company today as the next angler was too far for any sensible conversation.

My only hope of coin from this peg was to snare a Carp. So set up a margin rig for the RH side in 3 foot of water. The waggler a nine inch bodied Drake. For the Silvers a 4x16 and the Ronnie rig.

After setting up I thought I would find where Geoff had drawn. I was beginning to think he had gone home when I found him hidden away behind the island on peg lonely 54.

I fed the margin with micro and corn. The Silver line with GB laced with some maggot at top-set plus three and fed casters on the Ronnie line. The upshot was I caught a few small Ronnie’s, Skimmers and a Perch before the GB line died and could not be revived with topping-up. This coincided with a horrendous down pour of ice cold rain. So tried the Ronnie rig for a few minutes but knew this wasn’t going to happen. So the rig was retired, feeding casters in the margin over the top of the corn. Last chance of Silvers was the Waggler. With maggot over maggot I caught a few more Ronnie’s, but it was slow. I then hooked a bloody big Common Carp which I played for an age – well 15 minutes. Unusually it ran three times to a tree along my end bank. I was expecting my 0.14 hook length to break, but it held fast. The third time I got it under control ready for netting the hook pulled – bugger my chance of coin gone. Always looking for reasoning – did I play it too long aware how important the fish was? Decision was then made to fish the margin for another Carp where I had one bite which I missed on double caster.

My few Ronnie’s weighed 3lb 10oz. With so many DNW’s it wasn’t that bad a weight from this peg – and had my chances.

The match was won by Harry Muir (pictured right with the Silvers winner) with two Carp for 27lb 11oz from peg 74. Harry caught on the lead with banded pellet on the hook, fished over loose fed pellet. Both fish come from near the corner aerator.

The Silvers was won by Tony Rixon with 13lb 12oz from peg 59. Tony caught…se his blog for details.

Full Result:

  1. Harry Muir 27-11-0 peg 74
  2. John Smith 18-15-0 peg 49
  3. Paul Barnfield 13-15-0 peg 43
Top Silvers:

  1. Tony Rixon 13-12-0 peg 59
  2. John Smith 10-15-0 peg 49
  3. Steve Dawson 9-0-0 peg 44
Weigh Sheets:

Monday, 26 March 2018

Sunday 25/03/2018 - Shiplate Open/knock Up - Westpool

It was the usual messing around with the clocks Saturday night where we lost an hour, its time to stop this nonsense. The girls in Shipham café got it right delaying opening by an hour. This meant Geoff and I had to find somewhere else for breakfast and decided to lash out on a £12.50 Holiday Inn breakfast. There is only so much you can eat.

Only nine of us booked into the Westpool open being run by Glynn Wickham. This Canal is the least of all fished on the complex so Geoff and I were looking forward to it. We had the draw next to the Canal where there was plenty of fish showing. First draw put me on peg 7; however, there were only eight swim cards in the hat, so redraw. This time peg 13. None if this numbers meant anything to me or Geoff who was on peg 11. Dom Sullivan was on peg 10 and wasn’t happy because he was the only one with someone each side. Dave Willmott was giving the impression that he was hung-over, his head wasn’t with us for sure. Dave drew end peg 1 and wasn’t that pleased with it. Got to my peg and found it well constructed with pea gravel and close to the water, no fishing from a high piers with drop nets on this fishery.

The fishery was paying two overall and one Silvers. Because of this I wanted to keep my options open for as long as I could. I had heard that someone had caught 26lb of Chub off one of the pegs, so decided to set up the waggler for across even though it was only 14.5 metres wide for maggot over maggot, a 4x12 to fish at top-set plus four out in front with 4mm expander over micro, The Ronnie rig and a 4x10 for the margin. During the set-up I noticed that there were some very large Carp toping so changed up some of my elastics.

After feeding the micro line and the margin with some micro and maggot I started on the Ronnie rig with caster over caster. Second cast I foul hooked a decent Carp during the tussle I noticed that my landing net was out of reach sat behind me with my keepnets. Not to worry I lost it anyway. In went the nets and started again. It was soon a replay with another foul hooker spending the rest of its match in the Canal instead of my net. As per Thursday’s match I soon realised the Ronnie’s didn’t want the caster so switched to the long line with the 4mm expander. No sign of a fish although there were plenty of Carp showing on the surface. Picked up the waggler and with single red over loose fed reds I had a 5lb Carp first cast, followed by a 1 ½ lb Chub. Another fouled Carp on the waggler which was only on for a Nano second even if it was hooked at all. The Ronnie’s then moved in and it was one a cast, however, it was much too slow on the waggler so switched back to the Ronnie rig this time maggot over maggot and had a couple of hours catching small Ronnie’s and occasionally I was caught by Carp adding two between 5 and 7lb. Time for a Banana walk. Geoff had been struggling but had started to catch Carp in his margin. Dom said he had 30lb of Carp, but both Geoff and I thought he had more. The rest were struggling. So I had to make the final decision Carp or Silvers and as I had 20lb of Carp and was laying second thought I would try the margin for a while. This produced three decent Carp on double maggot over loose fed maggot. However, the water beneath had some hidden snags which I did finally teach myself how to avoid, the lesson costing me three Carp. In the last hour I started to worry about loosing my second place to Geoff who was catching well in his margins even thought like me had a few fights with the marginal reeds. I just about kept even with Geoff on the Carp front knowing my Ronnie’s would make the difference.
My Silvers weigh 11lb 3oz for joint second Silvers and my Carp weighed 42lb 14oz just 4oz more than Geoff. My total weight took me to second weight overall with 54lb 1oz. Both Geoff and I was surprised that Dom only weighed 61lb this was due to his fish being half the size of the ones we caught.

The match was won by Dom Sullivan (pictured with the two things he loves most – his misses and a net full of Carp). See Dom’s blog for more details on how he caught. I’m not sure “Caught Short” applied to him today!!

The Silvers was won by Dad Wickham (pictured right with the winner - Dad on the left) with 14lb 7oz catch of Skimmers from peg 3. Dad caught on either single red or double Pinkie over GB supplied by his Son’s.

Excellent small venue stuffed with quality Carp. For future reference the Chub swim is apparently peg 1.

Full Result:

  1. Dom Sullivan 61-04-0 peg 10
  2. Mike Nicholls 54-01-0 peg 13
  3. Geoff Francis 43-13-0 peg 11

Top Silvers:

  1. Ray “Dad” Wickham 14-07-0 peg 3
  2. Mike Nicholls and Mark 11-03-0 pegs 13 and 5
Weigh Sheet:

Friday, 23 March 2018

Thursday 23/03/2018 - Shiplate Fishery - Cost Cutter - Main Lake

First stop for Geoff and me - Shipham Café where we found Tony Rixon struggling to eat a small breakfast. Umm! Enjoyable plate of food especially the eggs.

Into the Game Keepers Lodge to pay the pools and to book in for Sundays open match on Westpool where venue expert and pleasure angler record holder Jim Thomas was being his usual affable self (pictured right). Jim was a member of our Avon Angling side back in the day on the River.

We were promised 10 degrees, nothing like that, more like 1. The wind was bitter – I hoped would draw out of it on the far bank for once, now completely fed up with these cold winds. Into the draw bucket and out comes peg 5. Definitely not out of the wind, in fact the very opposite with the wind blowing in at 11 –o clock!! However, I guessed the Silvers would be under the cover the wind was providing, cant have it all. I fished this peg last year and had 30lb+ of Ronnie’s. So the Ronnie rig was the first to make it into the roost. Next was a 4x14 to fish at 10 metres with the 11.5 metre section behind for some ballast and quicker to the roller. This rig was for Skimmers. Last was the waggler with a 9 inch bodied Drake.

I fed a smidgen of micro at 10 metres, starting on the Ronnie rig with caster over caster. Now of you don’t get a bite first or second try then the Ronnie’s aren’t feeding and I didn’t, so went on the Skimmer line with double unconscious reds, but decided to keep a few casters going in over the Ronnie like for later. The presentation was crap with the float going with the wind. It was a case of holding back then letting it go a bit like stick float fishing. My first bite was very positive from a 1lb Skimmer. This was followed quickly by another. I switched to 4mm expander. I don’t know what’s going on but the new bag of Baitec expanders are not the same and are much too squelchy and irregular, but do catch fish, as I then had two better Skimmers. It was a question of catch a brace followed by a bit of a wait, then another brace. I had been topping up with a small amount of micro through out. After three hours it slowed so switched back to maggot and had a few smaller Skimmers, Hybrids and Ronnie’s.  After trying the Ronnie rig again to no avail I decided to give the Skimmer line a rest and try the waggler. I needed to put a foot on bottom to get any sort of presentation. With double red over loose fed caster it wasn’t long before I had a 12oz Skimmer, things to come I hoped. I thrashed about in areas that the wind decided I should fish nicking the odd Ronnie. Last hour or so I decided to sit it out on the pellet for the Skimmers. The rest did the swim good as I started catching some better ones but I needed to be patient. I hooked and landed a 5lb pretty Carp. In the last throws I hooked three more Skimmers all lost one was foul hooked and came off attempting take-off, the other the hook pulled close in and the other may of may not have been hooked properly. I put this down to Carp disruption.

My Silvers weighed 24lb 4oz for second in the Silvers and the pretty Carp bringing my weight up to 29lb 13oz for fourth overall. It was another memorable and excellent days fishing at this venue. All my fish were in excellent condition including the bigger Skimmers, none suffering from keep net fins/tails. All we need now is for Steve and Carol to sort out the weather.

The match was won by Tom Light (pictured right) with an excellent weight on he day of 114lb 10oz from end peg 15. Tom caught on corn fished at 13 metres down to his left 5 metres out from the bank. Tom used one tin of corn which he fed in conjunction with 4mm hard pellet. The picture right shows the quality of the fish that can be caught at this venue.

The Silvers was won by Tony Rixon (pictured right with his net of White Bait) with 24lb 12oz from peg 3 …see his blog for the details. During the weigh in Tony said that “no one has more than 15lb of Silvers” – really Tony!!

He last and final part of a great day was the stop in the Lock Keeper for a few beers. I did have to watch Geoff and Dave Willmott eat their £13.50 fish and chips!

Full Result:

  1. Tom Light 114-10-0 peg 15
  2. Terry Taylor 53-10-0 peg 1
  3. Mark Jones 46-04-0 peg 14
  4. Mike Nicholls 29-13-0 peg 5

  1. Tony Rixon 24-12-0 peg 3
  2. Mike Nicholls 24-04-0 peg 5
  3. Roy Ede 22-12-0 peg 12
  4. Nigel Wycombe 20-04-0 peg 13
Weigh Sheet:

Friday, 16 March 2018

Thursday 16/03/2018 - Bathampton AA Open - Dave Crookes Fishery - Withy Pool

The following message received from Dave Bruton (Terry’s Son) please circulate to all Coffin Dodgers new and old:

Hi Mike
Hope you are good? Just wanted to give you an update on my dad!
The last couple of weeks he has not been good and keeps falling over and now had his license taken away! I don’t think he will ever be able to fish again! I would also like to thank you and the lads at Hunstrete for looking out for him over the years and making it so he could fish! Please can you let the lads know and thank them from me for all what they have done

Back on Withy again!! Nineteen booked in so we could be more selective on which pegs to put in. However, it’s such a hard venue to peg.

“Just in time” Chris Orris – some say he’s either been to the Happy Eater or has auditioned for Hi-Di-Hi. Later his new acquisition was to blow off in the wind to reveal what some thought was a scull cap!!

We were all hoping for peg 57 where the better Silvers fish appear to have been corralled by the “Black Death”.  The fish are also shoaled up on  the now defunct peg 50.

Into the draw bag and out came a peg which I recorded with the scribes noting I was next to Dave Poole. Two minutes later I had forgotten which peg it was, but seen Dave Poole heading off so followed him. Luckily he had the weigh sheet so peg 59 it was – thought it had a 9 in it!!

Opposite on peg 49 was Dave Gillard (view from my peg) who did invite me to cast over to the old peg 50. However, even though the visibility was much better there I would stick to the bounds of my peg.

Not the peg I would have chosen simply due to the wind once again being in my face combine that with the tree line and sun I couldn’t see any sort of coloured float top – I tried them all settling on a red top waggler with a dash of white on the top. As for the pole I had to fish 11.5 metres round at 10-o'clock to reach an area giving some sort of visibility.  My expectations weren’t high as the peg hasn’t fish that well so far this term. My thinking was to fish for Ronnie’s until the last hour then up the feed in the anticipation of a Carp or two.

I set up the 11.5 metres of pole with a 4x16 and fed two large balls of GB laced with maggot but started on the waggler and started as expected catching small Ronnie’s on maggot over maggot. The presentation was good but I would say for 25% of the time I couldn’t see my float. Feeding was equally as difficult due to the gusting veering wind. I’ve had enough of the winds through this winter. I kept plugging away on the waggler for a couple of hours until it slowed then switched to the pole where I could get a bite every put in from tiny ½ oz Ronnie’s, most of which were coming off shipping back – very frustrating. Decided to put a lot of caster over this line and revert back to the waggler.  The fish had returned so kept on with this until I had another go with the pole with a single caster and caught/lost more small Ronnie’s and one 4oz Perch. The small fish certainly like the ground bait, but guess this size of fish is not the preferred fodder of Cormorants. I could see Carp starting to show over between the ropes to the left of old peg 50, so time to up the feed. The Ronnie’s switched off which I was hoping was due to Carp, if it was I didn’t catch one. My loose feeding was awful spreading far too far which wasn’t conducive to focusing a Carp on my hook bait.

I weighed 7lb 12oz for third Silvers and picked up second by default. I wish I could have used the pole properly, next time I will definitely employ a corn and micro line.

More ribbing followed back at the pub from Dave “last gasp” Gillard who hooked his usual last 10 minute Carp.

The match and Silvers was won by Tony Rixon from flyer peg 57 with 47lb 14oz which included 27lb 1oz of Silvers (27lb of quality of silvers pictured right - If only these were in every peg!). For how Tony caught see his blog…

Overall the Pool fish terrible with some swims nearly devoid of catchable fish.


  1. Tony Rixon 47-14-0 peg 57
  2. Dave Gillard 16-0-0 peg 49
  3. Martin McMahon 13-11-0 peg 47

  1. Tony Rixon 27-01-0 peg 57
  2. Mike Jones 9-03-0 peg 63
  3. Mike Nicholls 7-12-0 peg 59
Weigh Sheets:

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Tuesday 13/03/2018 - Acorn Cost Cutter - Paddocks

With the Grandchildren off on school camp I decided to try Acorn especially as they have stocked some good Roach and Skimmers. I haven’t fished here for 9 months so wasn’t sure on the best approach. The information was the Silvers were around peg 9 to 19 where they were initially stocked.

Into the draw bag and out come ping pong 5. This is the peg I fished my first match and had a good day catching Carp. Unfortunately I was told the focus is still on Carp. Oh well.

Set up two rigs a 4x10 for over where I found a flat shelf in 30 inches of water, which only needed just over 11.5 metres. I planned to fish 4mm expander over hard 4’s. The other rig was a 4x 12 to fish top-set plus two for Silvers using single red over loose fed maggot. The wind was nipply over my right shoulder so initially fancied it over whilst feeding up the Silvers line.

Started over feeding hard 4’s through the kinder pot and with 4mm expander on the hook I started catching small Carp – 8oz to 1 lb size. Happy with this as I was catching them regularly whist everyone appeared to be struggling. I added two decent Skimmers on this line and lost a big Carp which went behind the keep nets so a top-set shuffle followed unfortunately I did recover the rig less the Carp – bugger, sneaky bastard. The wind started to veer blowing more to my left which had the effect of moving the fish with it. I then struggled. As it happened I stayed far to long over, not going over the Silver line until the last hour where I started to catch decent Ronnie’s regularly until the end.

My small Carp weighed 12lb 7oz and my Silvers 11lb 2oz for a total of 23lb 9oz. The match was very close with the one lost Carp costing me third overall. However, had I fished for Silvers all match I might well have framed in the Silvers. Making the right decisions isn’t always possible, left a few things to ponder on.

The match was won by Martin McMahon (pictured right) with 41lb 12oz from unfancied peg 27. Martin caught all his fish over to the point of the Island using maggot over maggot fishing two foot deep in 3 foot of water at 13 metres. Martin Loose fed about one and half pints of maggots throughout.

The Silvers was won by Silvers regular John Barker (pictured right with his catch) with 22lb 9oz from peg 14. John caught on maggot over maggot by switching around his peg.

It was another enjoyable match. But nearly hit a gaggle of Geese roaming in the road coming home!


  1. Martin McMahon 41-12-0 peg 27
  2. Ray Bazeley 39-10-0 peg 16
  3. Mike Owens 28-05-0 peg 19

  1. John Barker 22-09-0 peg 14
  2. Dave Wride 20-13-0 peg 1
  3. Martin McMahon 17-14-0 peg 27
Weigh Sheets: