Thursday 28 March 2013

Will Winter Ever End?

Ah yes, I remember! This is what fish look like, right?
Very little to report this month I'm afraid. The coldest March on record for over fifty years meant any plans I had for a good end to the river season were abandoned and any sea fishing trips I had wanted to do were put off, opting instead to stay in and keep warm, rather than brave the biting easterly winds blowing outside. A trip to the River Kennet saw me catch a few grayling, dace and trout. Besides that, the only fish I've seen have been behind glass in the Bristol Aquarium. If like me you've not done much fishing of late and are perhaps beginning to forget what fish look like? Then it's well worth a visit. Go to for information. My plan for April is to catch a species of sea fish that I've not previously caught. Until the weather gets a little warmer though, you're much more likely to find me holding a television remote and PS3 controller, than you are a rod and reel!

Thursday 21 March 2013

Fly Fishing at Hawkridge Reservoir

A Hawkridge rainbow
I had been recommended by a number of our customers to try the fly fishing at Hawkridge Reservoir, a forty five acre water on the outskirts of Bridgwater, near the village of Spaxton. So, with some damsel patterns I had recently tied, I set off on Tuesday, arriving at the water late morning. There were a few boats out and some bank anglers in front of the lodge, two of whom hooked fish before I had even set up. Not wanting to catch my five fish limit too quickly, I tackled up a 9' 5# rod, a slow intermediate line with one of my flies and set off for the far end, leaving the lodge bank well alone. Just passed some trees, a small bay shielded from the worst of the wind, with a drop off to deeper water appealed. I waded out, cast a fly, counting down ten seconds and I was into my first Hawkridge rainbow after only a few casts. A second fish followed soon after the first and I then set off to explore more of the reservoir. Trying various spots and flies until late afternoon saw me catch my limit with the green and black damsel and dancer combination proving to be the best pattern on the day. Great success for my own flies and an enjoyable day on a new venue that I am keen to revisit. For information on Hawkridge Reservoir visit

A view looking down the reservoir

Monday 11 March 2013

Cadbury Angling Silverfish Open Match 4 of 4 Plantations Main Lake

The last of the planned Silverfish Only matches was once again well attended, with 17 anglers booked in, most of whom also indulged themselves in a tasty breakfast at Plantations Cafe.

To the draw, I had drawn 11, which has one of these silverfish matches back in February. The 'form' pegs of 4,5 and 7 had also been highlighted as ones to watch. Steve Mayo drew 5 and Andy Hembrow drew 7, good anglers on good pegs was sure to produce a weight to bother the scorers.

I was happy with my draw and was pleased to have Simon 'Skimmer' Carvallo next to me in peg 12, as least if it went quiet I had a mate to chat to!

I went with the 'in' tactic of cupping loose groundbait on two 13m lines, with the option of fishing 14.5 past my feed if I needed to.

I get up a Drennan G-Tip 3 0.6g for my 13m lines and a Drennan Pinkie 4x12 for a top kit edge rig and a Preston PT Series 4 for a 6m line, all tied to 0.11 with 0.08 hooklength and size 18 Gamma greens.

The previous night I mixed my groundbait of a 50/50 mix comprising of Sensas Lake and Crazybait Gold. I cupped in 3 cups on my left 13m line and 2 cups on my right 13m line, each cup had a pinch of caster and pinkie in, some finely chopped worm on my short edge line and a cup of groundbait with some caster on my 6m line. I kept hooking roach off both my 13m lines but the bites were coming slow and steady, not what I really wanted. I persisted and nothing but small roach.

After the first hour I had a look on my top kit edge line, I had continuously fed with pinches of caster and pinkie, I had bites straight away, a small perch, followed by a decent 8oz perch and then an 8oz roach, then the line died, only the odd small I topped up my 13m lines and headed back out over them.

I had to wait just a few minutes for a proper lift bite and a decent 1.5lb skimmer came to the net. 10 minutes later another, this time slightly smaller.

All the white Simon to my left was building a decent weight of smaller skimmers, catching them regularly throughout the day on his longer lines.

We had heard on the lake grapevine and Andy Hembrow in peg 7 was bagging up so everyone else was fishing for the rest of the places.

As the day went on the bites gradually dried up for everyone it seemed, the lake just seemed to flop. I was lucky enough to have a 1lb crucian to break up the afternoon of small roach catching.

I ended up 5th on the day with 10lb 8oz, I days fishing was had but not enough to get in on the money!

Rob Fogg in peg 18 was having a hard day which was topped off by a Canada Goose fling through his top kit and breaking the tip! Speaking of breakages, Lewis Walker, after recently converting to Daiwa poles from Maver, decided to loose feed his entire pole at 11.5m after his 13m section broke, we all heard it, like a shotgun going off!

The Excellent Winning Bag of 34lb

Down to the facts:

1st   Andy Hembrow     Peg 7     34lb 10oz
2nd Steve Mayo            Peg 5     21lb   4oz
3rd  Simon Carvallo     Peg 12    14lb

Section Winners:

Paul Nicholls                    Peg 4      13lb
Sam Johnson                    Peg 25     10lb 4oz Tied
Craig Tucker                    Peg 28     10lb 4oz Tied

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Fly Fishing at Barrow Tanks Near Bristol

Biggest of the day
Despite living close to Barrow Tanks for nine years now, I had never fished there, until this Tuesday. I woke to a bright frosty morning and was soon on the bank. Two of the three bowl shaped reservoirs were fishable, the third currently out of bounds, due to building work. I set up a 10' 6# rod with a die 5 sinking line, a booby and a blob were selected to start with. Experience has taught me that in these bright conditions the fish would likely be staying well down and so I spent the morning allowing my flies to sink deep in search of the recently introduced rainbows. Unfortunately, come midday, I was fishless. A change was needed and so I swapped to a midge tip and buzzers. A couple more hours past, still no fish, not a bite. As a few clouds appeared and the sun started to sink in the sky I felt hopeful of a fish. Switching to a fast glass line and an orange blob I headed to deep water. I was soon in to a trout of about 1lb and two more followed quickly, the biggest, just shy of 3lb. By this time the temperature was dropping and the fish switched off as quickly as they had switched on. Time to go home, feeling pleased to have had a few fish in difficult conditions, from a venue I'd not previously fished. For more information on Barrow Tanks visit

Flat calm and bright skies

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Clevedon Club Match. River Bristol Avon, Crane Section

This was my first trip to this stretch of the Bristol Avon and although I had been warned that this section doesnt't always produce, I was full of beans and ready to give it a go. My chauffeur for the day James Gunter and I set off early and were greeted with a hard frost and -3C!

After topping up our fuel levels at Macdonald's we met for the draw and Keynsham marina.

Adie Baker, Scott and Ivan had already walked and pegged the bank for us hardy souls.

I drew the furthest peg upstream, a bit of a walk but an end peg so I was happy. A few lads remarked that this peg would win the match! No pressure then!

I got to my swim and was pleasantly suprised at how comfortable it looked, no rope needed to get into the swim!!!

I setup a 2.5g Rive sliding body pole float, fished at 13m, straight waggler and a groundbait feeder, fished pasternnoster style.

I had mixed my groundbait the previous night, a kilo of Sensas Gros Gardons, a kilo of Sensas Noire and 2 kilos of damp leam. To this I added a pint of casters. I balled in 10 large 'double hand squeezed' balls in on my 13m line and flicked out the feeder near to the boat on the far side while the bait settled.

Nothing came to the feeder in 5 casts so I had a go over the balled in bait. I was running the float through on the pole and had signs of life straight away, a couple of bumped bites. I pesisted and caught a 3 decent roach on double bronze maggot.

Three more roach followed, not a bad first hour given the conditions and time of year I thought.

As the wind picked up fishing the pole became impossible, the river was tripping through at a brisk pace and with a strong down stream breeze the float was hammering through.

I went back to my feeder, loaded up and went for a double worm section hookbait. I had a decent bite after about 10 minutes, a small chub, which fell of at the net!!! I recast and was immediately rewarded with a skimmer of about 8-10oz. I did also bag a small gudgeon on the feeder after that.

After that my peg went swiflty downhill. For the next 2 hours I didn't have another bite. Adie and Scott walked up for a chat and said they had both a few roach and everyone was struggling so I was quieltly confident of what I had already caught. I kept in touch was James on the phone through the day nd he said he had been struggling to get bites in his swim.

The results were as follows:

1st. Myself 2lb 8oz
2nd Scott Smallwood 2lb
3rd Adie Baker 1lb