Final Matches

Due to absence again! here is a short report on the final two matches

Hartleylands, Pear Tree Lake - 17th March 2019

1st - John Mills                   43lb 14oz

2nd Jasper Stevens           38lb 15oz

3rd Phil Harris                    37lb 9oz

4th Barry Stagg                  29lb 8oz

Bobby Stone was 2nd in section with 26lb with the all the others in the frame.

Still not back to past form, but a really close match and good to see John achieve his first overall win after coming close a few times recently.

Sumners Ponds, Match Lake - 10th March 2019

1st Mike Brewster                116lb 12oz

2nd Graham Stevens           115lb 8oz

3rd Bradley Garner               89lb 1oz

4th Martin Twine                   79lb 5oz


Bob Docker 50lb 11oz, John Palmer(!) 23lb 9oz

John Mills 54lb, Dave Hull & Tony Morris (joint) 40lb 9oz

Mike Brewster & Graham Stevens

How close was that one!!1

Hurricane Freya makes for a wild and wet day

Orchard Place, Lake 6 - 3rd March 2019 - Rain and Gusty High Winds - 10c

Despite the awful forecast, the lake being double-booked again and the swims resembling a ploughed field, 21 still turned out for this one. With 10 from another club pegged on the far side, Sam did well to squeeze in enough pegs on the rest and still give everyone a bit of room. 

The top-half pegs on the spit facing the car park are unremarkable to look at but always seem to do well on our visits here. Up and coming F1 master, John Palmer was on one of them and for the 2nd week in a row, set off like a train with F1's coming quickly to the pole in open water and leaving Sam on the next peg, struggling to keep pace. Meanwhile, on the 1st peg on the car park bank Paul Oliver was getting a few on the pellet feeder out to the island. 

As the day wore on, bites slowed on the spit but Paul managed to develop inside lines on both margins to keep a few fish coming to maggot on the pole. Despite a late surge from Sam on his inside line, Paul manged to hang on to win with 109lb 12oz, a decent return for five hours on a foul day. Sam hung on to 2nd place with 98lb 5oz.

Meanwhile on the top bank, Adrian Bell and Keith Harper fought it out fish for fish, with Adrian eventually finishing 3rd with 73lb 1oz and Keith 4th on 71lb 1oz. Amazingly, king of the bits Keith did not have a single silver fish.

In the two sections, the low numbers on the spit was Sam, John Palmer (55lb 12oz) and Bob Docker (43lb) and on the higher numbers on the car park and top bank was Paul, Adrian & Keith.

Yet again, Orchard delivers incredible fishing with 24lb being the lowest weight. 

Early Spring?

Claygate, Lake Eva - 24th February 2019 - Cloudless and warm 13c

Due to an unfortunate dispute with the owners, the scheduled More House match was replaced by another visit to Lake Eva, which interestingly attracted a few additional members to give 24 again. Overnight had been absolutely freezing and was still cold in the car park at the draw. However, as the day wore on, the temperature climbed to an unseasonable 13c and a beautiful spring-like day.

24 is a bit of a squeeze here and the cold start meant bites were not easy to come by, but it soon became clear that a few fish were willing to have a go, but seemed to be shoaled up in quite tight pockets.

Dave Morris was on the wides and put his trusty feeder and wafter tactics to good use, picking up F1's and Carp regularly through the match. A near 10lb carp caught in the last 30 mins proved a great boost to take his weight to a winning total of 44lb 15oz and enough to overtake Dad on the opposite bank who had been catching well all day but was relegated to 2nd with 42lb 3oz. Paul Oliver was on the narrow bank peg 15 where he was too lazy to fish 16m so also plonked a small feeder to the island with pellet or maggot to grab 3rd with 40lb 6oz.

Controversially, Sam Docker was a couple of pegs along on 13 where it is slightly wider and had to use his 17m pole to reach the island to bag 35lb of F1's which would have been good enough for 4th place. However, to his credit, he subsequently checked the Angling Trust rules which we adopt for our matches to find that there is actually a 16m limit for poles, so immediately disqualified himself and returned the section 2nd winnings. That promoted (believe it or not) Jonny Palmer to 4th place who had set off like a train in the early part of the match but seemed to get stuck in a station after a couple of hours.

There were three sections of 8 on the day as follows:

Sect. 1 Dave Morris, John Palmer

Sect. 2 Paul Oliver, Ian Carley

Sect. 3 Tony Morris, John Mills

Nice to be out in the sun and most had their strings pulled a few times at least.

Gold for some

Gold Valley Lakes, Middle Lake - 17th February 19 - Sunny Intervals 9c

A great turnout of 24 for this one were hoping for a few bites, but it was one of those days of a match of two halves. As the lake has more pegs one side than the other, it was decided to have split the two sections as the top and bottom half of the lakes. As things turned out, it was a good decision as the top half fished way better than the bottom. 

It was the top two corners that fished best of all, although of course, it may have been purely down to the quality of anglers. Either way, it was Graham Stevens on peg 100 on the Syndicate bank that came out on top with 49lb 3oz. In the opposite corner peg 61 on Gold bank, Dave Hull finished 2nd with 35lb 11oz with Tony Morris 3rd on peg 97 with 30lb 5oz. 

Top weight on the bottom section was Paul Oliver from peg 82 with 22lb 7oz, followed by Gary Clifford on 80 with 20lb 8oz and Mick Hull 3rd in section with 16lb 7oz from peg 76. 

Another good example of the sections system resulting in the full 6 members paid out.

Match Catch up

Due to absence, just a brief catch up on some missing results.

Claygate, Lake Eva10th Feb 191stM*** M******68lb 2oz

2ndBob Docker37lb 4oz

3rdSam Docker13lb 13oz

4thMike Brewster27lb 8oz

Monk Lakes 1
3rd February 191stPhil Harris39lb 1oz

2ndM*** M******21lb 8oz

3rdKeith Harper16lb 9oz

4thMartin Twine14lb 4oz

Willinghurst, Johns Lake
27th January 191stCraig Winchester41lb 4oz

2ndMicky Biles25lb 8oz

3rdBobby Stone24lb 8oz

4thJasper Stevens23lb 2oz

The Barmy go to Barming

River Medway, Barming - 20th January 2019 - Sunny but cold - 5c

It had been a cold miserable week and another sharp overnight frost, but the sun rose to herald a beautiful mid-winter day for the 8 daft enough to make this trip. The stretch always looks inviting and was a bit clear, so no one expected any big weights, but hoped for a few bites at least.

Graham Stevens drew the disabled peg 1 next to the car park and was not impressed, particularly when local venue expert Martin Cook turned up and helpfully announced it was a rubbish peg and he might as well go home now.  But they reckoned without Shakey's talent as after 40 minutes he had a tremble on maggot feeder cast across to the moored boat opposite. He tightened down on tip and it duly trembled again to be met with a huge sweep of the rod as Graham struck. After a difficult battle lasting at least 3 seconds, a gudgeon of 4 drams went into the massive 3 metre carp keepnet all alone. And that's the way it stayed. Despite casting to the same inviting spot for the rest of the match, that was Graham's only action as he remained biteless. But he had the last laugh as the closest the rest of us came to a bite was the odd knock from a stick brushing the line on its way downstream. A proper grueller if ever there was one. 

So, 7 out of 8 Palmered including the man himself but what can you say? Let's hope it is booked again for next January....

Typical Winter on the Res

Hartleylands Reservoir - 13th January 2019 - Strong Breeze but milder - 11c

17 turned out for this one and still a squeeze to give everyone space. It was the usual story for most of slinging a feeder of some sort out into the bay and hoping the tip would go round. It did occasionally, but most often for Ray Brewster in the middle of the car park bank. Switching between wafters and maggots, he managed to find enough carp to win on the day with a decent enough 41lb 14oz. Drawn end peg at the shallow end, Craig Winchester was not impressed with his draw, but managed three carp on the feeder, topped up with some decent silvers on the inside for 28lb 3oz and 2nd in section and overall. Maybe there is a lesson here, having wasted numerous flyers this season, put him on a no-form peg and he frames. Just can't take the pressure.....

On the end and far bank section, it was great to see new member John Mills get into the money for the first time. Drawn 1st peg on the end bank, he stuck to the feeder, eventually finding five decent carp for 26lb 6oz to win the section and take 3rd overall. Paul Oliver was a few pegs along and winkled out three carp and some decent silvers for 24lb exactly and 2nd in section. 

Credit must also go to Keith Harper who stuck to his trusty 2+2 silver rig setup which yielded 170 roach and small skimmers for 21lb. A busy day's winter sport by any standards.

It was also an opportunity to complete the ritual humiliation of John Palmer. Whilst he did actually manage to catch today, his 3lb 3oz was last place, demonstrating that his 4th Xmas match blank was no fluke. Time to accept his 4th wooden spoon like a man.

Feast or Famine at Passies

Passies Match Lake - 6th January 2019 - Dead Calm 8c

With much of the lake still weed-bound, it is just as well only 13 turned out and were spread around the clear patches on the road and bunker sections. Jasper Stevens has an affinity with this venue as he made it three wins in three visits here.

Helped by drawing the far-end peg on the road bank, he managed a remarkable 53lb 4oz for a great start to the New Year. The rest of the road bank really struggled for ounces with the next best weight being John Benjamin with 5lb 6oz from the other end peg and 2nd in Section

Things were a bit better on the bunker section with Phil Harris winning that one and 2nd overall with 39lb 11oz. 2nd in section and 3rd overall was Micky Gray with 33lb 14oz.

Still a decent and interesting venue, but a shame the owners are letting it go to pot.

Usual Suspects enjoy their Christmas Cheer

Orchard Place, Match Lake 6 - 30th December 2018 - there was weather

Only sketchy details available for this one, but one might have predicted the result without going to all the trouble of fishing....

Sam Docker won with an amazing weight for the time of year of 106lb 2oz. Ian Carley is also getting to like this place and managed 2nd with 68lb 5oz, Bob Docker was 3rd with 64lb and M*** M****** 4th with 61lb 5oz.

Sumners fishes well for the time of year

Sumner Match Lake - 23rd December 2018 - Rain dying out and mild - 10c

18 decided to escape the pre-Christmas chores which allowed 9 on each side. This was a combined Silvers and Overall match which worked well to give everyone something to fish for. 

Top overall weight was for Tony Morris with 62lb 11oz, closely follwed by Micky Gray on 56lb 8oz and Chris Lawrence 3rd with 54lb 14oz. A decent close contest again.

For the silvers only, Mark Hathway managed a creditable 24lb 12oz with the man himself, John Palmer coming 2nd with 13lb 10oz which included a fantastic 1lb 13oz roach. Not bad for a numpty.

Big Christmas Turnout

Morehouse Farm, Sidewinder Lake - 16th December 2018 - Sunny/Overcast  - 9c

Although a slight rise in temperatures was forecast, the cold of the previous week was still enough to see a frost and cat ice around parts of the lake. Not that it put off the hardy souls from Warlingham as a magnificent 28 turned out to snaffle their Christmas presents and free grub. 

Predictably, it was pretty hard going although a lot less so than 2017's Christmas match here and in the end, a good close match. Despite many of the venue experts in attendance, it was Tony Biddle who came out on top on the day from peg 49 on the island. He managed to take a regular run of carp on the pole top 2 with maggot from the margins on either side of his peg and record an excellent 32lb 5oz. Great result Tony!

Dave Morris managed to draw the favoured wides (yet again) and tried to repeat his victory from a few weeks previous, with his small feeder and wafter approach. He fell just short but still weighed a good 30lb 13oz for 2nd overall from peg 42. Dad Tony Morris on peg 37 made it a close run family thing, taking 3rd with 25lb 11oz. There were magnificent hampers on offer for the top 6 places on the day and the other hamper winners were Dave Johnson (24lb 12oz), Keith Huggins (22lb 14oz) and Martin Twine (21lb 13oz). 

Other section pools winners not already mentioned were Sam Docker and Bradley Garner (jointly 16lb 1oz), Mark Hathway (also 16lb 1oz) and Bob Docker (17lb exactly).

There were only two 'Palmers' this year and unbelievably one went to the man himself, John (sicknote, but at least Nick Knowles likes me) Palmer, for the 4th Christmas match in succession. You couldn't make it up. He wimped out of the post-match festivities at the Burgess Hill football club, leaving Gary Toland (pictured) as the only other blank, to face the humiliation alone but to at least receive a much coveted wooden spoon.  Palmer now has enough for a dinner service and why with Warlingham at least, the word 'Palmer' has become synonymous with meaning "I am a complete numpty and unable to catch a fish". 

All in all, a great Christmas Match with a few bites for most and a good laugh all round.

Big thanks go to Craig Winchester for doing a great job in organising and wrapping the hampers and to Crawley Tackle Warehouse for their very generous support. 

Cold Snap makes things difficult

Gold Valley Lakes, Middle Lake - 9th December 2018 - Sunny Intervals but strong NW winds - 7c

Although the air temperature didn't look too bad, there was a serious wind chill that had been pushing down the water temperature all week. It also made pole fishing very difficult for most of the 17 who turned up, given the exposed nature of the lake and strong tows in the water.

Big summer weights were a distant memory this time, with everyone scratching for bites and fish. Sam Docker has become a bit of a convert to the feeder in the last year and put it to good effect to winkle out a few skimmers and small carp and enough for a win on the day with 17lb 6oz from peg 78. Graham Stevens was on the next occupied peg 76 with a similar bag of 13lb 13oz for 2nd and M*** M****** on 67 managed 3rd with 12lb 13oz.

Unusually, it was the near end of Gold bank (pegs 61 to 80) that produced the best of what little was on offer and it was a real struggle for the rest. Happily, at least the section payout system provided some reward for endurance with Tony Biddle (5lb 6oz) and Keith Harper (4lb 14oz) 1st and 2nd in the 87 to 98 section, Sam Docker and Paul Oliver (8lb 4oz) from 78 to 85 and Graham and Mark from the lowest numbers.

Roll on Summer.

Pear Tree tough again

Hartleylands Fishery, Pear Tree Lake - 2nd December 2018 - Sunny Intervals & Mild - 12c

Conditions looked good for this one with 18 turning out in anticipation of a good day's sport.  Pity the fish seemed to have other ideas.

The new section at the top end was left out, but it was Tony Morris who drew the last peg on the far side where he had a choice of islands to throw his feeder and wafter to. After just a couple of small carp from the old island, he chucked close to the new one and enjoyed a purple patch of decent carp in the middle part of the match. This proved more than enough on the day to give him a winning weight of 41lb exactly. Micky Gray comes out occasionally to teach us all a fishing lesson and when he drew favoured peg 5, he made no mistakes. After catching a few on the feeder, he switched to the pole around 9m and continued to pick off a steady run of small carp to take 2nd place with 25lb 5oz. Keith Harper also drew well for Peg 1 where his pole and maggot tactics brought him 3rd place with 19lb 15oz.

The new Section payout was in place for this match with three sections of 6. This produced Micky Gray and Keith Harper the one-two in the low numbers, Tony Morris and Gary Toland (17lb 4oz) the middle section and Paul Oliver (17lb 4oz) & Phil Harris (16lb 7oz) the high numbers. 

Although the weights do not look terrible, it did not fish well and even the section winners only had a handful of fish. What has happened to the thousands of small carp that used to pester you in this venue?

A real one-sided contest

Monk Lakes, Bridges Lake - 25th November 2018 - Chilly Easterly Breeze - 11c

It can be a real effort to book this venue for a Sunday match and give the chance some quality silver fish and a break from routine commercials. It was disappointing therefore, that only 12 were interested to attend.

This is a pretty, 6 acre lake so being able to spread around could give 1/2 and acre each, but local knowledge suggested that the pegs down the left hand side were the more productive, so there were 8 anglers down that bank and 4 on the right hand side, but still loads of space for everyone. 

It seems the fish can't tell right from left, as all four on the right hand side had a cracking day's winter sport whilst the rest really struggled. You just can't odds it. 

Dave Hughes was on peg 32 where he cast a feeder with orange wafter into the open water to pick up 9 decent bream for 21lb exactly and a very satisfying win. On peg 22, Dave Johnson fished similarly and although had a couple more fish, they were slightly smaller and totalled 20lb 14oz, just 2oz behind. Chris Lawrence was on peg 31, behind Dave but facing the opposite way. He stuck to maggot and feeder which produced a nice mix of silvers for 19lb 14oz.

By contrast, best weight on the other bank was Barry Stagg with just 8lb 12oz. 

Shame it was such a struggle for some, but it is a lovely lake and cold easterlies never seem to bring out the best.

More winners at Morehouse

Morehouse Fishery, Sidewinder Lake - 18th November 2018 - Sunny but cold easterly breeze - 10c

21 turned out for this one despite a sharp frost overnight and plenty of recent cold rain. Not the best of conditions, so it was expected to be hard but at least we were able to utilise the whole lake and try to peg the better areas. The line up also featured several talented new members, so the Committee had previously decided to change the pools payout to a section basis with an optional  'Superpool' for the overall winners. That way, the pools are more spread out and everyone has something to fish for.

It was tough as expected, with the most consistent area being the far side and wides, pegs 30 to 43. In the middle of the wides peg 39, Dave Morris made the best of his small feeder and wafter approach to the island margins where he picked off F1's and Carp steadily for 56lb 3oz. A decent weight on the day. Paul Oliver was 2nd in section with 30lb 2oz from peg 40.

The container and island section, pegs 19 to 49 was much tougher, but showed the best of the new pools system as the Stevens brothers benefited by taking 1st & 2nd in the section with 22lb 15oz for Jasper and 22lb 8oz for Graham, weights that would have seen them out on the money on an individual basis. This section also featured venue expert and author of the new pools system, Sam Docker who managed just 3lb 7oz courtesy of an F1 foul-hooked on the whistle. It is reassuring that he is human after all.

The low numbers section, pegs 2 to 18 was a mixed bag but won by Adrian Bell, with a creditable 53lb 4oz off peg 2 caught on pole-fished expanders and maggot up and at the bottom of the far shelf. 2nd in section was new talent Chris Bishop with 30lb 10oz from peg 14. 3rd in this section was new member John Mils with 15lb.

Top individuals overall and winners of the Superpools then were Dave, Adrian and Chris. 

More Proper Fishing but at least a few fish

Bough Beech Reservoir, Dam Wall - 11th November 2018 - Squally Showers & Breezy - 13c

A creditable 15 turned out for this one on what was not the most inviting sort of day to be sat on an exposed Dam Wall and where we experienced almost all four seasons in one day including some remarkable rainbows across the water. Pegging started just before the steps and went round towards the tower, with the water at the lowest level we have experienced in recent years. 

The fishing was perhaps predictably hard, but Graham Stevens fared best from his swim in the middle of the pegs where he managed to sort out a number of small skimmers from the little perch, all caught on maggot with micros and groundbait in the feeder. His 6lb 11oz was enough for a good win on the day. Tony Morris took 2nd with a similar 4lb 15oz net and Jasper Stevens 3rd on 3lb exactly, like everyone else, both also caught on long-range feeder. Small perch and pope provided a few bites for everyone, but the roach were noticeable for their absence. Shame the same could not be said of the pike however which proved frustrating as always.

Section winners were Barry Stagg on 2lb 9oz and Paul Oliver on 2lb 12oz.

Another venue perhaps best avoided in the winter.

 Proper Fishing can be tricky

River Ouse, Hamsey - 4th November 2018 - Overcast but dry - 13c

Only 9 members were brave enough to turn out for this one, for when the going gets tough, only the tough get going. Although there had been a sharp frost during the week, conditions had turned milder and no one quite expected what was to come. 

As we set up, the tide was backing up quickly and it was virtually unfishable during the first half hour, but everyone expected things to change once the tide turned. When it did, the flow was almost as fast in the other direction, but at least a bait could be presented well enough on the pole or feeder. The only thing absent were bites. After four hours, the levels had dropped, the flow was steady and the colour looked ideal, but still no one had enjoyed a single enquiry. We were just debating about drawing for the pools when an excited whoop came down the bank as Barry Stagg swung in a Rudd that had taken his feeder-fished maggot from the far bank.

Meanwhile, even Tony Morris who is also a member of the host club for this stretch was walking around, assuming it was just one of those days. On returning to his peg, he took out his keep net to dry and threw in all of his remaining groundbait like a barrage, onto the 7 metre line and set about just waiting out the last hour. Unbelievably, within 10 minutes he had a bite and a small chub was in the landing net. To add insult to injury, the chub duly coughed up a pile of bronze maggots that only Craig Winchester had on his bait tray from a couple of swims up.

However, sadly this did not signal the start of a late feeding frenzy and it was the last of the action apart from M*** M****** who somehow managed a roach fry that was not hooked, just sucking on his tiny worm piece and would not let go.

Strangely, the weigh in did not take long. M*** was given a generous 8 drams as it would not register on the scales, Barry recorded 4oz for his Rudd and Tony's chub weighed in at a magnificent 6oz to give him a most unlikely win. 

Understatement of the day also went to Tony who commented "This is a Summer venue really".

Sam's the Man

Orchard Place Fishery, Lake 6 - 28th October 2018 - Overcast, breezy & cold - 7c

The first real cold snap of the season put off both fish and anglers as only 12 turned out for this one. Perhaps just as well as a booking malfunction by the fishery saw another club promised the same pegs. As it happened, it worked out OK as the other club took the spit and we spread around the far side where the wind was mostly off our backs.

There is never a shortage of bites here, but the more difficult conditions did make it more of a challenge than the silly fish-races of the Summer months, so most started quickly with a few F1's in the net. Unusually, the feeder did not seem to produce much, so most just stuck to the pole.

Sam Docker is a bit of a venue expert and having fished it several times recently in grown up matches, put his expertise to good use. He fished short pole with pellet initially, but switched to maggot for greater speed as the match progressed. This brought him a comfortable win with 158lb 5oz from the open water at the top end. Tony Morris was pegged next door and did well in trying to keep pace, but finished a way behind with 117lb 5oz, but good enough for 2nd. Bradley Garner was end peg at the top of the car park bank and although took a while to get going, was piling fish into the net in the latter stages. So much so, that he went well over the limit in one net and was knocked back to 60lb to give him an amended total of 106lb 12oz. Without the knock-back he would have just pipped Tony for 2nd by ounces, but them's the rules!

Keith 'Tom Daly' Harper went back to his old ways of turning up late, but managed to stay out of the water this time. Drawn on the other end peg at the start of the back straight, he fished Top 2 + 1 with maggot and cloud groundbait to take a creditable 102lb 1oz. 

As always, the backing weights were decent for such a cold day and a decent match all round.

Jolly Green Giant Strikes Again

Willinghurst Fishery, John's Lake - 21st October 2018 - Bright Sunshine - 20c

First time on this Lake and none of the 17 that attended had much of a clue what to do. The only info to be had was that it was likely to be hard and that the carp tend to sit out in the middle where a shallower bar extends down much of the lake. With notionally 50 pegs available, we were able to spread out all around the lake to give plenty of space for our wayward casting.

From the off, odd carp were being picked up all around the lake on the feeder and as predicted, all came from the middle. Those trying short of long poles struggled for any kind of bite other than from small silvers. As the match progressed, the fish seemed to be cruising around in small shoals and it was a case of grabbing one or two before they moved off elsewhere, although they did seem more concentrated in the central and narrower part of the lake.

Phil Harris was pegged at the end of the narrower part where he picked off some decent carp steadily on the method with his favourite bait corn, although he did finally admit to using a wafter occasionally to tempt an extra bite or two. It proved enough for a win on the day with a total of 55lb 15oz. A few pegs nearer the middle, Barry Stagg started well, putting 4 or 5 carp in the net on the method before many had even had a bite. It slowed somewhat as the match progressed but he finished close behind Phil for 2nd with 48lb 3oz. Pegged opposite Barry on the cafe side, Chris Lawrence also started well on the feeder and was probably one of the few who went on to find a couple of extra carp on the pole and prove good enough for 3rd place with 41lb 5oz. 

All bar 2 anglers had more than 20lb, so although it felt like a slow day, it was a close match and weights were OK. It's a nice looking lake with plenty of space and a good breakfast available, just a shame that it is pretty much carp and feeder only. 

A mention in dispatches for self-confessed Noddy Andy Tickner, who included a beautiful 12lb carp in his 21lb 11oz total and probably catching more in this one day than the rest of the season so far put together....


Poor Pear Tree

Hartleylands Fishery, Pear Tree Lake - 7th October 2018 - Sunny but Cool - 16c

This lake can be prolific when you hit it on the right day, but can be equally moody if conditions are less than perfect. With a lot of cold overnight rain and 21 anglers squeezed in, we suspected it might be be a bit hard. 

When the default opening tactic of feeder to the island fails to produce quick bites, you know you are going to have to work for your fish.

Graham Stevens was pegged in the far side corner at the car park end and with no island chuck to distract him, concentrated on the pole tight to the nearside reeds with maggot. This produced regular carp with the odd bonus fish around 8lb and enough for a narrow win with 56lb 4oz. Terry Archer was on the nearside opposite the 1st island and whilst he did manage the odd fish on the feeder, most came from his two long pole lines,  one with worm and the other pellet. With a bonus 10lb 3oz carp on the board, he ran Graham a close 2nd with 55lb 12oz.

Sam Docker almost reached the point of going home when he realised he could just get his pellet feeder under the island trees with an underarm cast. This brought a run of carp late on to nick 3rd place with 49lb 2oz pushing Paul Oliver into 4th on 36lb 11oz.

Phil Harris and Dave Morris were the two section winners. Tony Morris had a generally dreadful day but hooked a magnificent 18lb 6oz carp on the whistle to avoid the embarrassment at otherwise weighing only 5lb.

Sumners Back on Form

Sumners Ponds, Match Lake - 30th September 2018 - Sunny & Calm - 20c

21 members turned out for this one and hopes are always high here, for a prolific days fishing. From the off, most were getting plenty of wrap rounds but they tended to be coming from the recently stocked commons & mirrors, most of which struggled to make 1lb. You need an awful lot of them to equal just one of the older residents. However, as the match progressed, they tended to make way for their older relations and it became clear some decent weights were on the cards.

One man who excels in such conditions is Sam Docker. Despite not being keen on his peg at the end of the 2nd island on the far side, he found plenty of proper carp out by the island and later down the margins, all caught on banded pellet with pellet feed on the pole. The result was a fantastic total of 208lb 13oz and a good win on the day.

Ian Farmer is a new member to W&DAS, but comes with a talented local reputation. He was pegged in the middle of the far side of the bay. A few chucks with the feeder produced very little and after two hours was struggling to reach 10lb. He therefore decided to concentrate on the margins, where he fed lightly with 8mm pellets to keep the roach at bay and fished paste over the top. Despite the light feeding, the swim got stronger and stronger as time went on, in the end being more than good enough for 2nd place with 160lb 2oz.

Terry Archer was pegged between the two islands on the near side where the sheer size and power of the carp rushing towards the island snags took him by surprise resulting in an early battle literally exploding three sections of pole. However, he soon got the measure of the beasts and landed enough to take 3rd place with 105lb 2oz.

Chris Lawrence took the far side section with 102lb and M*** M****** the other with 94lb 13oz. Special mention also goes to Brian Beacroft who failed to win any money, but just managed to break the ton with 100lb 4oz.

There plenty of good backing weights and even the lowest recorded was still a decent day with 32lb.


Lack of interest and fish on the Eden

River Eden, Broad A Chiddingstone - 23rd September 2018 - Rainy - 17c

Only 7 made the effort for this one, which seems a sign of the times. The weather was not great and the river was rising throughout the match.  

Plenty of fish were caught however, but no bonus fish showed which is reflected in the final weights. With his 2nd river victory of the season, it was Barry Stagg on the Inlet peg that topped the small field with 7lb 8oz. Jasper Stevens managed 2nd from the lagoon with 6lb 10oz  and Bradley Garner in the Washing Machine managed 3rd place with 5lb 5oz.

A good close match, but a pity it was not better attended, especially as many of the swims have now been properly cleared.

Things ain't what they used to be

Willow Park, Small Lake - 16th September 2018 - Sunny intervals - 21c

With recent visits to Middle Lake proving patchy for many, it prompted a change to the Small Lake which historically was full of smaller carp and other mixed species. It did mean limiting numbers to 18, but there were hopes of a good day for all, especially as the weather was set fair too.

How things change. Within minutes of the all in, Graham Stevens was into a double figure carp from the margins (see picture) of his peg outside the shop and there were one two similar lumps coming out elsewhere. Apart from the odd small skimmer, there was little sign of the shoals of smaller fish that used to oblige. Most then were forced to change tactics, except of course venue expert, Gary Clifford, who knew from the off that he just had to sit it out for larger carp.

It took a while for them to come, but they duly did to his short pole-fished pellet, feeding lightly with pellet over the top. Gary caught around 8 or 9 eventually during the latter part of the match to win on the day with 51lb 15oz. Graham Stevens eventually managed to add 4 more decent carp to his early one to take 2nd place with 38lb 10oz. PAUL HARDING took a similar bag from his corner peg and a welcome return to the frame with 37lb 9oz. Bradley Garner on the back bank also managed four lumpy carp for 35lb 1oz and 4th place.

Not really bagging by today's standards and not much else to justify the whole lake cost, so not sure we'll be back anytime soon. Shame, as it is a lovely looking venue with great facilities. 

F1 Frustrations at Gold Valley

Gold Valley, Middle Lake - 9th September 2018 - Overcast and breezy - 20c

The heavy stocking of F1's and small carp have certainly transformed the fishing on Middle lake and the 19 attending were looking forward to plenty of bites. No worries in that regard, as getting bites wasn't really a problem, but missing them or foul-hooking certainly was. Keeping them coming is also a challenge with F1's as they spook easily and you have to chase them around.

The other issue at the moment is that many of the fish are small and sorting out the better specimens can be tricky. Paul Oliver drew well (for a change!!!), on corner peg 85 and found one way to do it. Giving up with the pole, he stuck to 6mm hard pellets on a small pellet feeder which avoided the foul hooking problem and also seemed to pick out the better fish.  It also meant he could easily switch between different lines to keep the fish coming. In the end, it proved enough for his first win of the season with 83lb 4oz.

Pegged side by side at the clubhouse end, arch rivals Dave Morris and Sam Docker battled fish for fish on pole and pellet, with Dave having the benefit of an alternate feeder line out by the small island. At the weigh in, both claimed the other had the upper hand, although Dave seemed sneakily confident with his four nets out. However, the varying sizes of these fish make it really difficult to judge the weights and it was Sam who won their mini battle and take 2nd overall with 73lb 7oz. It was close though, with Dave still managing 3rd overall on 71lb. 

The Gold bank did not fish so well on the day where Mark Hathway took that side section money with 48lb 8oz from the 1st corner peg, whilst Gary Daniels took the other section with 57lb 5oz. 

All in all, a decent days fishing for most and with great prospects for the future as all these little carp grow!

Jolly Green Giant scores again

Hartleylands Reservoir - 2nd September 2018 - Sunny & Hot - 23c

The 19 attending this one were happy to see plenty of carp cruising around on the top in the early morning sun and hopes were high for a good day. It was for some, but much depended on the draw. 

At the off, pellet wagglers flew out from those in open areas which were quickly snapped up by some chunky carp. Dave Morris, Barry Stagg and Paul Oliver on pegs 5 to 7 (on the wide part of the far side) all put fish in the net regularly, with Dave particularly looking to be running away with it. 

Meanwhile, in the shade of the car park bank, things were much quieter with very little happening for anyone. Phil Harris won here last visit by fishing down the edge with corn, so being just one peg away this time, had confidence in the method. However, despite heavy feeding with corn, very little was happening and by half-time he must have been at least 50lb behind those opposite. But patience and confidence in your method can be a virtue and as the 2nd half progressed, Phil began to pick up bigger carp regularly and made six trips up to the scales to weigh double-figure fish that had to go straight back.

Meanwhile, Dave Morris was having a perfect match. After his pellet waggler line slowed, he moved to the margins that he had been baiting regularly and was immediately into a new supply of decent carp, despite foul-hooking and losing a few. Next door, Paul Oliver was surprisingly finding fish on the pellet feeder in the 15ft depths of the open water whilst Barry Stagg stuck with the pellet waggler that was still bringing him regular fish.

It was too close to call at the weigh in, but it turned out Phil and his golden niblets had just done enough to win with 133lb 1oz. Dave Morris was a fish behind on 125lb 4oz with Paul Oliver on 115lb 15oz and Barry Stagg 100lb 4oz.

There were a few other decent weights, but for those in the narrower part, it was a bit of a struggle.

Urban Myths are sometimes right

Morehouse Fishery, Sidewinder Lake - 26th August 2018 - Heavy Rain - 17c

A common question from non-anglers, is "Fish like the rain don't they?", to which the usual response is "why would they care, they are already wet". It's the anglers who are not so keen, particularly the 21 participants who looked anxiously at the angry clouds gathering at the draw. 

The deluge started shortly after the all-in and continued unabated for the whole match, making it a very soggy affair indeed. At times, the rain was so heavy, perhaps the fish really did think the splashes were 8mm pellets raining down, as they certainly switched on for many as the match progressed.

Making the best of the conditions was Phil Harris on peg 17. After a paste line down the middle and some looks right across on the long pole failed to generate much action, he reverted to his stock in trade, feeding corn heavily in the margins. Once they turned up, there was no looking back and the inside line just got stronger through the second half of the match where he seemed to be playing fish constantly. Fortunately, the fishery net store was nearby as he needed to grab a 4th net for safety. Final tally was a fantastic 212lb 6oz and a good win over some of the venue experts on a difficult day.

Talking of venue experts, it was Sam Docker on peg 26 who came closest where his pole and pellet expertise also helped him find plenty of decent carp and a 2nd place weight of 152lb 6oz. New member Keith Huggins on his first outing with W&DAS certainly put down a marker with 133lb 13oz from peg 30 for 3rd place, just pipping former club champion Steve Longhurst who did well to take 132lb 1oz from peg 46 on the island, where he fished maggot over groundbait in the margins. 

There were two more ton-plus weights and plenty of good backing weights making for a good day all round. It is also interesting to see that the top 4 all produced big weights with very different methods and that they can come from any area. Certainly makes for a good match fishery.  

Gary takes crown at Royal Berkshire

Royal Berkshire Fishery - 19th August 2018 - Overcast then sunny intervals - 24c

Many members missed out on this one with only 13 turning up, admittedly during peak holiday season. Past visits have been difficult, but this time with plenty of space to spread out, every one had a decent day.

Gary Clifford is one who understand commercial carp fishing and after putting a few small F1's in the net from open water, knew they were never going to produce a big weight. He therefore decided to focus down the margin with paste over pellets and almost immediately started to pick up larger carp regularly. With a 60lb net limit, it was not long before his 3rd net went in and then a borrowed 4th, as he continued to pick up decent carp, although had to push further along the margin to keep in touch. At the weigh-in, he put a tremendous 141lb 4oz on the scales for a very convincing victory.

Next peg right, Jasper Stevens struggled to control the hooked fish with the very long pole needed to reach the island, so decided to concentrate shorter at the edge of a large lily pad. Here, he winkled out a nice mixed bag of Carp, F1's, Bream and Roach on worm over choppie & groundbait, which proved good enough for 2nd place with 66lb 11oz. 

Paul Oliver was the other side of Gary and had a number of F1's on the pellet feeder in the large bay across plus a few carp that didn't manage to get into the marginal tree roots for 3rd place with 51lb 12oz. Graham Stevens was 4th with 49lb. 

So other than Gary, it was a pretty close affair, and with the lowest weight still being 17lb, it was a pretty decent day all round. 

The river throws up surprises too

River Eden, Broad A Chiddingstone - 12th August 2018 - Overcast with odd spots of rain - 20c

Some midweek downpours looked to have done the trick and the 13 hopefuls looked longingly at the inviting flow and colour it had put into the river. A lot of recent work had also opened up many of the swims so the low attendance gave the chance to spread out and the 4 'short walk' swims went as far as the weir.

Bobby Stone declined a short walk, hoping to get on a noted peg further down so moaned like only Bob or Micky can, when  he drew peg 3, the one short walk still in the bag. He trudged off muttering "If I had wanted a short walk I'd have asked for one" (or words to that effect). Six hours later, he wasn't moaning as he held court in the car park, relating every detail of his stunning victory to the adoring crowd. Peg 3 was the 'lagoon' where he fed lots of chopped worm and fished worm over, which tempted a Carp around 9lb plus a Tench, Bream and a few other bits for a convincing winning total of 18lb 7oz.

Another river expert, Steve Longhurst drew the 'washing machine', an uninviting looking peg but where he caught mostly chublets and roach steadily for the first few hours. Despite having to scratch around in the fringes during the latter part of the match, he still put 9lb 6oz on the scales and a good 2nd on the day.  

Gentleman Peter Rock has found a rich run of form lately and had his eyes on peg 1 from the start. Of course having fully loaded up his trolley, he duly drew it. for the shortest walk there is. There are no real options in this peg, so he just fished the steady flow down the middle for a regular run of bits, but then boosted by an exciting and very welcome 3lb chub. This was enough for 3rd place with 7lb 5oz. 

The expected long walk pegs failed to produce much at all, with most scratching for bits and it was Paul Oliver who just managed 4th with 4lb 14oz from the weir. 

Disappointing for most after all the early optimism, but a great day for Robert Stone.

Always Surprises on the Silver Lake

Orchard Place, Silver Lake - 5th August 2018 - Cloudless and hot - 27c

The heatwave was back with a vengence for the 19 out to top up their tans, at a venue without an inch of shade anywhere.

Anyone with a passion for watercraft or those that like to moan about never drawing 'flyers' could be easily confused about this place. The first year we came, the big weights were all from the middle pegs. Last year it was the last three pegs, this year the first three pegs. It certainly keeps you guessing.

Keeping well covered up from the sun, it was Adrian Bell on his first visit who really did the business, delivering exactly what was ordered. On peg 2 at the start of the lake, he fished long pole towards the far side with worm over lots of choppie, which plenty of big Ide particulary took a liking to. He also added a nice assortment of skimmers, tench and roach to the mix too to finish in 1st place with a fantastic silver net of 35lb 10oz. 

Next door on Peg 1 was Sam Docker who spent the first four hours throwing tackle around in frustration as he tried to remember what a silver fish looked like. The closest he usually gets is the odd silver ghostie. However, whatever God he prays too was smiling on him as usual, when he heard the sound of a slurping carp and it was not coming from Lake 6 behind him. A quick change to a mugging rig saw him catch the first of six carp, with the remainder coming from the end margin on pellet to give him a weight of 25lb 10oz and 2nd place. Just unbelievable! He probably goes to an Indian restaurant and orders omelette and chips.

On peg 3, was 'not so little Jonnie Palmer'. Flush with success from Gold Valley, he was so confident in his abilities, he couldn't be bothered to fish long and just stuck his pole out to the middle with pellet or meat, yet somehow still managed to nick 3rd place with 23lb 6oz, although that also included a small carp that had escaped Sam's swim.

 Two sections on the day went to Chris Lawrence in the high numbers with 19lb 8oz and Paul Oliver with 22lb 3oz.

Despite much abuse directed at Sam for framing on a silver fish lake with carp, it did make for a different and interesting match and well done to Adrian for following the script!

A soaking extinguishes the heatwave

Gold Valley Lakes, Middle Lake - 29th July 2018 - Constant rain and blustery wind - 19c

Whilst the gardens needed some rain, the 16 who attended this one regretted the timing of this break in the weather. It just poured down all day and half the lake faced the blustery winds head on making it thoroughly miserable. 

Craig Winchester was drawn in the middle of the Gold Lake bank and whilst not a noted area, he did have the wind behind and took the decision to fish short (2 + 2) where he could feed small balls of groundbait easily by hand. Additional stockings of small carp & F1's meant there were plenty of ravenous fish around, just not very big and giving lots of line bites and foul hookings, so he gave up with the soft pellets and stuck to banded hard pellets. This helped improve the stamp of fish a bit and coming shorter still, helped with the speed of catching. These tactics paid dividends in the tricky conditions as he ended up winning with 50lb 13oz. On the opposite bank, Graham Stevens also decided to fish short but with pieces of worm hookbait fished over groundbait, which also helped target the slightly bigger fish and prove enough for 2nd place with 42lb 8oz. Tony Morris was next to Craig but fishing longer pole, caught far fewer fish (using a method known only to Tony), but whatever it was somehow attracted more larger specimens. He finished 3rd with 38lb 13oz. 

Conscious of the possible admiring gaze from Will Raison, Lucky John Palmer fished his little heart out on Gold bank to take that section with 28lb 8oz, whilst Paul Oliver took the other section with 37lb 1oz.

A great half of a match

River Ouse, Hamsey - 22nd July 2018 - Still Blazing Hot - 28c

Just 11 proper anglers turned out for this one. Given the heat, it is a good job you are able to drive to your peg as there might well have been casualties trying to drag trollies up the bank through the long grass. The lack of rain also meant there was not much flow and a shallow tide did little to improve the upstream period either.

At the whistle, most went in with pole and maggot over groundbait, and whilst many were a bit circumspect, maybe cupping in a small ball, Jasper Stevens went for it big time with a barrage of cricket sized balls on the 11m line, where it is about 12ft deep. He, like almost everyone else, was immediately into smaller fish and roach, dace and chublets were being swung in regularly along the stretch. For Jasper however, he manged to intersperse some real quality bream amongst them and by half time was really flying. 

At around midday however, bites just stopped and theories abounded about why. The heat? The sudden upstream breeze? The tiny reversal in the flow? Whatever the reason, the afternoon was only for sunbathing. However, come the weigh-in, Jasper had done enough damage in the morning and put a cracking bag of silvers on the scales including 4 decent bream for 16lb 3oz.

Barry Stagg was all on his own in the top field where he stuck to his trusty 17ft long rod and waggler with maggot and managed to find a steady run of quality roach with a few larger chublets. With no real bonus fish, he did brilliantly well to finish 2nd with 13lb 1oz, despite having a sleep in the afternoon. Paul Oliver managed 3rd on pole and maggot, due mainly to a bonus bream and a tench which boosted his weight to 8lb 3oz. 

Everyone had plenty of bites, just a shame that they didn't keep coming throughout the day. Maybe next time?

Dragster Carp on the Raceway

Falkenvil, Racetrack match lake - 15th July 2018 - Even Hotter - 29c

As the heatwave continued it was a very welcome venue where you can drive right up to your peg rather than slogging over the fields in serious temperatures and humidity and the 16 attending took full advantage.

With 8 on each carriageway, pegs were nicely spaced but for most, things got off to a quiet start. Roland the owner openly admits that this lake doesn't get fished much and the carp can be a bit cagey, but as the day wore on and they came out to play in ernest, few were really prepared for the sheer speed, power and size of these fish, supercharged by the extra warm water. After the match, the talk was not about how many were caught, but how many were lost. It proved to be more about the percentage you managed to land that made the difference and it was M*** M******* who made the most of an almost completely bare clay and grass bank  island of the far carriageway, where he was able to lay a paste bait directly on the bank about 6" deep. As the carp stopped to mop up the pellets sprayed up the bank, they fell to his tasty paste regularly. With no bushes or snags in the vicinity and his animal rigs to boot, he managed to get virtually everything into the keepnets to record an impressive winning weight of 117lb 7oz - all beautifully conditioned mirrors & commons. 2nd place on far carriageway was Bob Docker in the first corner peg, where despite a quite 1st 3 hours, went on to weigh 47lb 11oz.

On the near carriageway, it was Graham Stevens who got the best of the beasts with 67lb 12oz on pole and meat with Keith Harper 2nd with 54lb 9oz. It was tales of woe and lost fish after that for whilst the trees, bushes and reedbeds have turned this into an attractive mature fishery, the residents know every snag and have the power to find them. Exciting but frustrating!

Tons for some at Monks

Monk Lakes, Lake 1 - 8th July 2018 - Just Hot - 27c

Many regulars were missing, but still 18 turned out for this one and produced big weights for some.

Top of  the shop was part-timer Gary Clifford who breezed in for his first match in a whole and basjed out a magnificent 202lb 6oz. Mark Hathway also put a very decent weight on the scales, although some way behind with 159lb 5oz with Tony Morris 3rd on 138lb 12oz. Phil Harris was best of the rest with 80lb 15oz with 70's. 60's 50's and 40's for most of the rest of teh field.

You can't really knock it can you?

Great Match at Passies

​Passies Ponds, Match Lake - 1st July 2018 - Continuing Heatwave - 25c

What a fantastic and close match this looked to be as 19 took to the fields for swims between the rapidly spreading weedbeds. Jasper Stevens seems to have an affinity for this venue, drawing similarly to last time here, he just came out on top with 89lb 10oz. Hot on his heels was M*** M****** just 11oz behind on 88lb 15oz. Mark Hathway managed 3rd with 66lb 4oz, again followed very closely by Lucky John Palmer, now dropped as an England contender, but still showed his prowess with 65lb 13oz.

Great weights all round really as even 16th place managed nearly 40lb. 

River Fishing is for the die-hards

River Medway, Barming - 25th June 2018 - Hot & Sunny - 24c

Only 11 made the effort to visit this beautiful stretch, but it turned out to be even tougher than expected, with even the bits proving hard to find. Tony Morris managed to snaffle a small jack Pike which boosted his weight to 4lb 3oz which was enough for a win. Graham Stevens was 2nd with 3lb 4oz and M*** M****** 3rd with 2lb 6oz. After that, it was mostly small stuff...

After the Lord Mayor's Show

Hartleylands Fishery, Pear Tree Lake - 17th June 2018 - Rain at first then sunny intervals and breezy -18c

The real hot weather had abated and conditions looked good for fishing (once the rain stopped) for the 21 attending this one. However, once again we seemed to have picked Pear Tree on an off-day. The bailiff afterwards was equally disappointed with our efforts but tried to cheer us up by saying all the lakes at the fishery had fished poorly that day. Does anyone really understand the moods of fish?

Perhaps one person does more than most. Asked before the draw which pegs were favourite, Sam Docker responded with "pegs 4 to 7" and then promptly drew number 4. He is beginning to get a liking for the rod and line approach, so duly put his pellet feeder out to the island with an orange wafter hookbait and was into the small carp from the off. Unlike most, he managed to keep them coming for most of the day as the only consistent method, despite attempts at mugging and looks down the margin. Nevertheless, it proved more than enough as he put 117lb 13oz on the scales for a comfortable 2nd win on the trot. 

Graham Stevens was on peg 6 where he struggled like most to catch regularly on the feeder, but found some real proper fish in the margins late on, to boost his weight to 62lb 3oz and 2nd place.

Talking of proper fish, venue local and most senior member on the day Peter Rock managed to hang onto an astonishing 17lb 15oz carp, hooked on maggot, pole fished under a marginal tree. He also lost several others which were apparently "bigger". Even so, he did manage to put enough in the net to take 3rd place overall with 58lb 9oz off peg 9, taking the scalps of some decent anglers around him, including thrashing England hopeful John Palmer off the next peg. Rocky is fast becoming the man to watch at this venue, with this great result coming on top of his section win on our last visit. Very well done Peter!

Paul Oliver was over the other side of the islands where he managed 4th with 55lb 5oz. There were also section wins for Phil Harris with 48lb 4oz on the far side and Dave Morris with 50lb 10oz on the near side.

Once again, apart from Sam, it was a relatively low weight affair but a good close contest. 

Sam Docks 7 nets for a record Breaking day at Orchard

Orchard Place Farm, Lake 6 - 10th June 2018 - Sunny intervals and breezy - 23c

With many regulars away, 24 still turned up for this most popular venue and were pegged around the spit, far side and top end. With the weather set fair, everyone expected a bumper day and so it proved - although surprisingly, not for everyone.

With little shelter at Orchard, the breeze blowing across the lake from the far side set up a strong ripple for those on the right of the spit and far side, but flat calm on the left. The predominantly empty  pegs on the car park side also helped those fishing into that bowl of the lake. So perfect conditions for some and when you get a great angler on a great peg at the right venue, everyone else was fishing for 2nd.

Sam Docker was in the middle of the left side of the spit and set about attacking the swim like only he can. Catching carp shallow is very much a strength for him and he knew exactly what to do. Feeding sloppy groundbait with a banded pellet fished shallow, he was into the F1's straight from the off and just never stopped for six hours solid. By the end of the match, he had banked 142 fish (that's one every two and a half minutes), used seven keepnets and put a magnificent total of 328lb 2oz on the scales. A veritable masterclass of this type of fishing, nearly three-times that of his closest rival on the day. It was also a personal best match weight for Sam by some distance and likely a Warlingham match record too. Magnificent effort Sam!

Amongst the also-rans, it was a much closer affair when another venue specialist, Micky Gray pegged on the top end also fished shallow with maggot for a more relaxed 122lb 9oz and 2nd place. Terry Archer was on a favoured peg, top right of the spit and put 121lb 12oz on the scales for 3rd place and Graham Stevens also on the top end bank completed the frame with 117lb 12oz for 4th. 

There were section wins for new member Gary Daniels on his first outing with 88lb 13oz from the higher numbers and Dave Hull with 102lb 2oz from the spit section. Those on the right side of the spit and far side were left feeling a little disappointed, as the fish just didn't seem to be there in their usual numbers, but most still had 50lb+ to show for their efforts and so a decent days fishing any any standards.

The adjacent pictures shows Sam with his 7 keepnets ready to weigh-in and then a very happy Sam taking a much needed sit down afterwards to recover! Well done again Sam - come to Barming on the River and let someone get revenge!

Proper fishing can be frustrating

Bough Beech Reservoir, West Bank - 3rd June 2018 - Hot, Still  and Sunny - 24c

A creditable 18 turned up for a bit of proper fishing and hoping to latch onto a few big slabs and roach. Unfortunately, there were a few syndicate members already in residence resulting in the match having to be spread over three areas in order to give them space. The water levels were right up however, so we were able to use the Left hand Bank to the bay, the First Point and Lone Tree Point areas, although the three areas produced starkly different results.

For those pegged around Lone Tree Point, whilst there were a few fish to be had, more often than not they were grabbed by rampaging pike, wasting lots of time and tackle and resulting in more than the occasional expletive! The First Point by contrast seemed almost devoid of fish, with two anglers leaving early after a biteless few hours and those that stuck it out picking up solitary fish. The only exception was Barry Stagg who managed to find a few skimmers and roach on the waggler for an enjoyable 13lb 12oz, although not enough to make the final frame. 

It was the Left Hand Bank that was the only area to produce consistently, although even here, the usual feeder tactics produced virtually nothing. Fortunately both Bream and roach seemed comfortable to be in just 3ft of water in waggler range, making quite a pleasant change. After some pretty dismal returns from the mid-week Viaduct trip, Craig Winchester turned his fortunes around to win a very close contest with a brilliant net of Skimmers and Roach totalling 31lb 4oz, all caught on the waggler with maggot between 10 and 20 yards out.  Pushing him all the way was Dave Hughes who called upon his recent Irish Festival experience, but just failed to catch Craig with a similar bag of 30lb 5oz, also mainly on the waggler. 

Although some way behind, 3rd and 4th places also came from the same beautiful looking 100 yard stretch (see picture) with M*** M****** weighing in 15lb 8oz, unusually catching a few on a method feeder lobbed short and Jasper Stevens in 4th place with 14lb 4oz.

There were three others with double-figure bags, so we've had worse days at Bough Beech, although not everyone who attended would necessarily agree!

Bell rings the dinner gong

Morehouse Fishery, Sidewinder - 27th May 2018 - Sunny & hotter - 25c

A slightly disappointing 19 turned up for this one meaning pegs 1 to 14 had to be left vacant for day tickets. 200lb+ weights on the previous day's open match had everyone anticipating a great day but whilst the tricky F1's kept people busy trying to keep them on the hook, the bigger carp were much rarer than usual, so perhaps again, they were thinking about spawning.

Adrian Bell was drawn end-peg 43 at the top of the narrow section. After struggling to catch much with the usual far bank pole tactics, he could see plenty of carp cruising in the empty water to his right and adopted a slightly unusual but highly successful method on the day, by fishing shallow with casters, pinging them in regularly over the top. Once started, he never looked back and caught throughout the match to record not only an excellent win, but his best ever match weight of 137lb 8oz. Very well done Adrian!

In form Phil (the "Corn King") Harris was on peg 48 on the island where he also managed to keep fish coming regularly, particularly during the later part of the match with pole-fished corm or pellet in the margins to take 2nd place with 114lb 8oz. Final money place and the third 'ton' of the day went to Steve Longhurst on peg 22 where most of his 102lb came unusually from the nearside margin and eclipsing those pegged closely around him.

It was also the annual Pairs Match on the day when Gary Clifford's 80lb combined with Adrian's top weight put them clear winners of the trophy with 218lb. Runners up were Steve Longhurst and Paul Oliver with a combined 180lb.

Although we failed to match the silly weights of the previous day, you have to say it did fish pretty well. The lowest weight on the day was still 33lb - a decent day by any standards. 

Sumners below Par

Sumners Ponds, Match Lake - 20th May 2018 - Sunny & Hot - 23c

This one is always eagerly anticipated and 23 members were keen to get stuck into the hoards of double-figure carp that abound in this lake. Unfortunately, as is often the case in May, the carp had other things on their mind than feeding and for many, it was a bit of a struggle by Sumners standards.

Once the whistle had gone, it quickly became clear that the absence of feeding carp was giving the roach and silvers free rein to attack every bait the moment it hit the water, regardless of how big or tough it might be. Even hard 8 & 10 mm pellets on a band were no match for the ravenous shoals providing constant plucking on the tips and  3" specimens could regularly be see skimming across the water attached to a size 12.

It did turn out to be a good day for the Morris family however. Both drew well at the near end of the first island but on opposite sides of the lake, with Dave on the near side and Dad Tony on the far side. Tony is on a bit of a roll at the moment having just returned with great results from a couple of the premier Irish festivals, but had no trouble switching tactics for this type of fishing. It was Dave who managed to find a few carp by sticking to feeder tactics and avoiding most of the bits to enjoy a good win on the day with 75lb 5oz. He only just claimed the honours from Dad (pictured) who switched between feeder and pellet waggler to finish just behind for 2nd with 72lb 13oz. Graham Stevens was at the other end of the island from Dave and found that by getting his method feeder right close to the island snags, he probably had a 50/50 chance of getting one out before it dived into the roots. He pulled hard enough to get a few lumps out and enough for 3rd with 69lb 15oz.

Last but not least, with at least a temporary return to the form with which he finished last season, was wee Johnnie Palmer. Sharing the whole of the top end bay with Dave King, he picked up over 20 tench in the early part of the match and topped up with a few later carp to finish 4th on 58lb 70z. It won't last....

Interesting results on the Hartleylands Res.

Hartleylands Fishery, Reservoir Lake - 13th May 2016 - Overcast but remaining dry - 16c

Under the new ownership, this lake has been changed to a full-time match lake and so our first opportunity to fish it in the warmer weather. 23 turned out to see how it would fish.

Historically when you could only fish it in the winter, the shallow end was the place to avoid so only a few pegs were put in down there, which may have been a mistake in hindsight. One thing is for sure, the carp definitely did not want to be in the deep water as the conventional bomb or method out into the bowl failed to produce anything except the odd skimmer.

Graham Stevens abandoned that approach after 20 minutes and threw out a pellet waggler which was grabbed instantly by a decent carp and set the pattern for the rest of the match. Almost everyone else began to try the method, but with varying degrees of success. Forays up the margins also began to produce fish for some, so it was clear that the carp wanted to be shallow.

In the corner nearest the Carp Park, Barry Stagg employed a pellet waggler method all of his own. He just chucked out a regular waggler set about 3ft deep with a pellet and just left it. No feed to speak of, yet down it went on a regular basis right throughout the match and despite losing a few in the nearside snags, put a good number of chunky carp in the net. Next peg the other side of the corner, was Phil Harris and with Barry exploiting the open water, opted to fish alongside the marginal reeds with corn on the pole. This approach just got better and better as the match went on and it was clear the match was between these two, although both claimed that the other had won. When the scales provided the final verdict, it was Phil who had snatched victory in the end with a fantastic 111lb 4oz, with Barry 2nd on 102lb 13oz. A great effort by both of them.

Meanwhile, Terry Archer drawn in the middle of the far side was sticking with more conventional pellet waggler tactics which produced a steady run of good-sized carp and a 3rd place total of 79lb 13oz. 4th place went to Mick Hull who had the end peg on the nearside shallow end where he caught well in the margins to prove that the shallow end is no longer the place to avoid with 75lb 14oz.

There were also two sections, one either side. On the far side it was won by Jasper Stevens with 37lb 7oz and on the near side by our most senior angler on the day, Peter Rock who managed a magnificent 51lb 4oz also from the margins.

It was double-figures at least for everyone else, including plenty of decent silvers if you wanted to fish for them, so a pretty good day all round.

Muggers Steal most of the Pools Money

Monk Lakes, Match Lake 3 - 6th May 2018 - Cloudless Skies & Hot - 23c

It was good to be back at Monks for the season opener and a good attendance of 26 came out to play. The curious design of these match lakes where the central spit almost divides the lake into two separate bowls, creates a certain predictability. One bowl is inevitably more prolific than the other and the resultant 8 'corner' pegs are usually the ones you want to draw. So it proved on this occasion where the far bowl was full of sunbathing carp and the temptation was far too great for Bandit Docker who pulled out his weapon to plonk a slowly sinking pellet into the path of the cruising carp. Having seen the Bandit mug a couple in quick succession, Bradley Garner scratched his head, put all the shot up under the float, slipped an expander on the hook and attempted to copy Sam with his first attempt at the controversial method. From then on, the Master and the Apprentice went fish for fish for most of the rest of the match. 

Meanwhile, another Master of the Kent commercials, Ian Carley, had drawn corner peg 123 which is now full of reeds to attract the fish still further. Some colossal battles ensued as Ian struggled to keep the often huge carp out of the snags, many of which he ended up losing, taking with them his entire stock of suitable rigs. Every now and then however, he did manage to bring one to the net to keep the pressure on the muggers opposite. 

Come the weigh-in, amazingly Apprentice Bradley came out on top of the Master and Apprentice battle with a very impressive 111lb 14oz, just beating Master Sam who put 104lb 11oz on the scales. It was also enough to win the match overall, so a well-earned 1st place for Bradley.

Ian managed to split the two after his exhausting battle with the beasts with 108lb 13oz. He would actually have won the match, but after going over 60lb in one net, it is knocked back to 50lb so had to settle for 2nd with his adjusted weight.

New member Mark Hathaway resisted the temptation to join the criminal fraternity for the first couple of hours, but when all other proper methods failed, he too resorted to the mugging rig to pick up a lot of fish in the 2nd half of the match and a 4th place total of 88lb 13oz. 

Many of those who stuck to more orthodox methods did struggle somewhat, but there were some good silver fish nets and everyone enjoyed their day in the sunshine for the first time in a long while.