Bandit JC making off with his swag, disguised to hide the shame.

Nice net on a cold day

Andy Tickner

Just incredible!

Revenge is sweet......

Brian Beacroft with his winning haul.

Season Finishes with a Bang (for some)
Gabriels Fishery, Sliver Lake - 15th March 2015 - Overcast but dry - 9c

18 turned out for this last match, but on this fairly small lake, you needed a good draw to be on the fish in the still cold conditions. For those that drew well, they had a pretty good day but for others it proved quite a struggle evidenced by Superteam Captain Craig Winchester with a DNW!

Most of the weights came from the near end of the lake where the carp were to found wintering amongst the stick-ups and it proved a close battle between Dave Hughes and Paul Oliver. Dave found a lot of smaller carp on the pole with corn from his patch of stick-ups up against the island. Paul nicked a couple of carp on the feeder early but then sat it out with pole & maggot for a few larger carp from his island of stick-ups shared with Brian Beecroft on the next swim. He also found three large perch to boost his weight. 

Come the weigh-in Paul put 44lb 8oz on the scales and 1st place on the day with Dave 2nd on 39lb 12oz. 

John Gibbons had a nearside patch of stick-ups a way down the bank and resorted to fishing right in amongst them to get bites. Once hooked there was an explosion of splashing as he virtually had to lift them up and over to stop them reaching safety in the roots, but it proved successful enough for 3rd place with 31lb 4oz. Bruce Scott was pegged on a wide part of the lake where even his long pole prowess was never going to reach the fish, so he resorted to the feeder to pick up odd fish throughout the day to complete the frame with 24lb 8oz.

There were five more double-figure weights but just odd single fish after that.

Nip & Tuck 
Fairlight Fishery, Match Lake - 8th March 2015 - Sunny intervals - 12c.

With 20 turning up for this one, there were fears that it might be a struggle with so much pressure. However, for those on the feature pegs at least, the returns were not bad at all - maybe the first signs of Spring put the fish in the mood for feeding.

It proved to be a close contest between the top two despite contrasting methods. Phil Harris was drawn on the centre spit opposite the smaller island where he stuck to one of his favourite methods of a bomb baited with corn lobbed close to the island. This produced a steady succession of carp throughout the day and a final winning weight of 45lb 6oz and ending the season much as he started it. Meanwhile Jasper Stevens was also on the spit but opposite the larger island, where he spent the day wrestling with up to 16m of pole in the breeze but also tempting carp on maggot out the 'stick ups' regularly to finish 2nd with a similar bag of 43lb 10oz. PAUL HARDING was in the frame yet again, fishing the same area as Jasper but from the car park side and using corn rather than maggot. He finished 3rd with 34lb 8oz. Paul Oliver was 4th with 27lb exactly from the canal section by nicking odd larger carp on the pole with maggot.

There were a number of double-figure weights from most of the noted pegs, but virtually all carp. With the silvers seemingly absent on the day, it was a bit of a struggle for those on the open water pegs who scratched around for the odd small roach & gudgeon.

Brian Bites Back
Chequertree Fishery, Lake 1 - 1st March 2015 - Windy but dry - 8c

18 made the long trip down to Ashford with hopes of plenty of bites after the good visit in January. The strong winds made presentation tricky on the pole, but nevertheless most were determined to make it their main line of attack as it usually produces well here. Although the pole did produce a few bites for most, it was only from small skimmers or roach with no sign that the carp were willing to come in close. Those who tried the feeder started to find that the odd carp or bigger fish seemed to be out towards the open areas in the middle of the lake. For Brian Beacroft, this was manna from heaven as he only ever brings his pole for decoration and he was able to chuck his method feeder with dead maggot out into the widest part of the lake and pick up carp regularly throughout the match. He landed nine carp up to 8lb for a winning weight of 46lb 8oz, giving a satisfying "two fingers" to the rest of the field after all the stick he has taken over the last few weeks. Well done Brian! - that's twice he has won a match on this particular lake.

Paul Oliver was out on the crowded muddy spit and switched between pole-caught silvers on soft pellet and Carp/F1's on the pellet feeder for 2nd place with 32lb exactly. Andy Tickner drew a flyer (as always) but once again this season found his self-confessed 'Noddy' reputation wearing a bit thin as he winkled out a good mixed bag of silvers and carp, fishing maggot on the short pole under the one overhanging tree on the lake. He finished up 3rd with a decent bag of 30lb 6oz. 4th place went to Barry Stagg who was also out on the spit and found that only the feeder with bread would bring the better fish, finishing just 1lb behind Andy on 29lb 6oz.

There were plenty of double figure weights amongst the rest so it could have been worse from a lake which was frozen over two days before and encouraging for next season when our visits here will be earlier in the year. 

The semi-final of the knockout held on the day resulted in Jasper Stevens going through, only just beating Phil Harris (who did not attend) and Paul Oliver beating 'superstar' Bruce Scott.  

Basie produces plenty of Bites
Basingstoke Canal, Heathvale Bridge - 22nd February 2015 - Frosty start but dry with gusty winds - 8c

Not the most popular venue, but for the 9 that turned up, it proved a decent day. Canal fishing is a different proposition from regular commercials and you have to tolerate the procession of bikes, walkers, dogs and boats. You are also unlikely to need two weighs, but nevertheless it can still be highly enjoyable if you adjust your sights accordingly. 

 After some dour canal days last Autumn, no one quite knew what to expect. Most started on the bread punch so it was a pleasant surprise to get bites from the off. Pretty small roach for the most part, but at least the float kept going under regularly. Mark Merrett was on the downstream end peg where he fished punch all day and managed to find some better roach and the odd skimmer to win the match with a really nice mixed bag of 7lb 2oz. Next peg, Mickey Biles set out his stall to target the big perch that often show, but they seemed a little reluctant to feed on this occasion and the two lumps he did connect with, both got the better of him. Paul Oliver however did manage to hang on to one bonus 1lb+ Perch on the worm to add to punch-caught roach for 2nd with 4lb 6oz. Phil Harris failed to find any bonus fish but still enjoyed his day with a net of small roach and 3rd place with 3lb 3oz.  

There were no blanks at least, which is more than can be said of the £8 per day commercial fisheries of late!

Martin Cooks up a storm
Hartleylands Farm Fishery, Reservoir Lake - 15th February 2015 - Chilly but dry - 8c

​As anglers, we have optimism in abundance and the slight thaw during the week spawned hope of a good day in prospect for the 22 who turned out for this one. In the best of conditions, this lake is peggy and it is usually the deeper, wider end that produces the best and this day was no exception. The average size of carp here, means you have to target them for a chance at the frame, but bites were few and far between for most. For the first few hours, Mickey Biles, Craig Winchester, Mark Merrett & John Palmer all traded odd lumpy fish on the feeder and it was too close to call. Meanwhile, Martin Cook was plagued with liners, but after some head-scratching, he finally found where the fish wanted to be and never looked back as he took a steady procession of carp to over 10lb (see picture) throughout the afternoon with his bomb &  feeder cast fairly short into the deep water with small pellets or maggot. Whilst almost everyone else slowed (or stopped completely) he continued to put fish in the net for an impressive winning weight of 63lb 1oz. After his encouraging start, Mark Merrett was one of those where bites dried up, but his four carp were still enough for 2nd and 31lb 10oz. Next to Mark, John Palmer also put just a few fish on the scales but still managed 3rd with 29lb 9oz. Mickey Biles netted a couple of decent bream to go with his 3 carp for 25lb 2oz and 4th place.

There were some other remarkable catches however. Long time absentee Steve Longhurst was pegged up the shallow end and decided early on to not waste time trying for carp and stuck to plundering the silver stocks and an all-roach bag of 17lb 12oz. Perhaps more remarkable was that Brian Beacroft finally managed to end his run of blanks, catching no less than 3 carp for 15lb which really rubbed salt into the wound for van-mate Dave King who himself did a 'Beacroft' by completing his own hat-trick of blanks! Captured in the picture below is that rarest of sights of Brian actually landing a fish.....

Merrett Excels at Puddledock
Puddledock Fishery, Road Lake - 8th February  2015 - Cold & Breezy - 5c

Cat ice at one end of the lake showed that although marginally warmer than recent weeks, water temperatures remained very low, but still 19 made the trip across the border to Essex for this one.

Once again, the draw bag was important as the Carp seemed to be congregated at the far end, like a line had been drawn across the lake. Even Mark Merrett did not try to claim all the credit for his win and was magnanimous in saying "they were just there!". He enjoyed a great day with a succession of carp on the pole with slow sinking bread or maggot over a light bed of micros & groundbait. His fantastic weight of 65lb was miles ahead and a great return in tricky conditions. (Pictured below is the remainder of his catch after the scales had bottomed out) Pegged at the far end, Phil Harris also managed to find a few carp on the pole for 2nd place with 29lb 2oz and likewise Jasper Stevens, two pegs away, who managed 3rd with 22lb 14oz. John Palmer completed the frame thanks to a lump of a carp with 20lb 2oz. 

Special mention must go to Brian Beacroft & Dave King (pictured below). They enjoy a very close relationship in many ways, not just van-mates and nip & tuck in the championship, but were once again pegged next to each other. In the spirit which befits their relationship, they were the only two DNW's on the day making 'hat trick' of blanks for Brian and two on the trot for Dave. Roll on Summer....   

Baaaarrry finds a Lucky Horseshoe 
Frant Lakes, Horsehoe Lake 6, - 1st February 2015 - Cold with a bitter wind - 2.5c

As the cold spell goes on, so does the draw lottery and the pattern of 2015 matches continues. Once again, the few fish feeding appeared to be tightly shoaled, this time around one corner of the horseshoe where the top three weights were all pegged. 

Barry Stagg tempted his first Carp quite early which gave him encouragement to stick to his plan of fishing worm or corn on the pole, tight to a few free offerings. He added further Carp (including a lump of 10lb 10oz) and the odd Bream at intervals throughout the day for a brilliant winning weight of 34lb 13oz.  A really excellent result on a tough day and he made the very best of a good peg and a well-deserved win. Whilst often in the frame, it was great to see Barry finally win his first match in a while.

Martin Cook was on the next peg and fishing similarly managed to lose a couple early on, but then hung on to a few carp and perch for 2nd with 18lb 15oz. Championship hopeful Graham Stevens was on the next peg and whilst he could not find any Carp, did tempt some really big perch on worm to go with other silvers and 3rd place with 10lb 11oz..

For the other 13 who turned up, it was tough, especially for those pegged in the narrow arm of the horseshoe where the best weight from four adjacent pegs was just 1/2 oz! Are we mad or what?

Unusual Double-Tied result at Monks
Monk Lakes, Bridges Lake - 25th January 2015 - Frosty & Cold - 3c

The continuing cold snap was not enough to deter an amazing turnout of 26, all keen to experience for the first time, the quality fishing that this lake has a reputation for. It is an unusually attractive lake for a commercial venue, being some 16 acres of interesting bays and islands and reportedly full of quality Bream, Tench & Roach as well as Carp. Unfortunately, the cold and with the lake being partly iced over, conditions were very much against us and it proved a real struggle around most of the lake.

What few fish that were feeding, seemed to be concentrated in the central area and it was here that the top four came from. On the straight bank adjacent to Puma Lake, Keith Bibby made a welcome appearance after a bout of poor health. He could find nothing on the pole line and so resorted to a small feeder with groundbait & maggot carefully cast out amongst the floating icebergs where he managed to pick up odd skimmers regularly. On the opposite side, Paul Oliver was pegged out on one of the small islands, but finding nothing on the feeder, switched to a long pole up against the ice floe to pick up a tench and five bream by switching between maggot, pinkie & worm. Come the weigh-in, both put exactly 10lb 14oz on the scales for joint 1st. 

Jerry Hutchins was on the peg next to Keith and equally could also only tempt bites on the feeder whilst Jasper Stevens was on the next peg to Paul and likewise, caught nothing on the feeder but managed 3 Bream on the pole. Bizarrely, both weighed-in exactly 8lb 4oz for joint 3rd. Being on opposite sides of the lake, the curious double-tie was only revealed when the weights from the two different scalesmen were combined back at the car park!

With the large attendance, 5th place was also paid out and went to Dave 'Carp' King who was the only person to catch a carp (2 in fact) to weigh in 7lb 9oz. Sadly there were five DNW's and a number more who only managed a few ounces.

It is a real shame we were not able to experience this beautiful venue under more favourable conditions, but fishing in January is always something of a lottery. Maybe next time....

Miracle at Horsmonden
Rob's Lakes, Triangle Lake, - 18th January 2015 - Very Cold - 2.5c

With insufficient pegs at Lakeview, this fixture was moved to Rob's where previous visits had produced good bags of Silvers. So despite the very cold conditions, the 17 attending were hopeful of a few bites. Unfortunately, few was what most experienced as the fish seemed very reluctant to feed and for most, connecting with the occasional tiny bites proved very difficult. 

When self-confessed 'noddy' Andy Tickner drew the winning peg from our last visit, he was confident of wasting the flyer, as he had done on many previous occasions. But just to prove that every dog has his day, Andy caught roach & skimmers steadily from the off plus one bonus carp fishing maggot over small balls of groundbait, close in on the pole. Despite unkind comments from nearby pegs like "If Andy's catching anyone can" he continued to put fish regularly in the net until the last hour or so, by which time he had an unassailable lead, as what bites there were, dried up for everyone. 

So after nearly 200 matches with W&DAS, Andy finally won his first match outright with a great mixed bag on the day of 14lb 15oz. A fantastic result because even if you do draw a flyer, you still have to catch them! It just goes to prove the unique attraction of Match Fishing that in the right circumstances, anyone can be a winner. Well done Andy!

Bobby Stone managed to include a couple of decent perch in amongst a few roach and skimmers to finish 2nd with 7lb 8oz with Paul Oliver 3rd on 6lb 9oz and Dr Dave Hughes on 6lb 4oz.

Biles ahead of the Rest
Tricklebrook Fishery, Match Lake - 11th January 2015 - Cold and breezy - 4c

A reputation for big weights of silvers attracted 21 to brave the cold conditions. It was a bit of a squeeze to get all the pegs in and very cozy on the spit area particularly but there was plenty of good banter to keep the spirits up. The information was that there were carp present but they don't tend to feed in the winter. How wrong can you be! Within two minutes of the all-in at least four anglers had put a carp in the onion bag. 

For most, the initial carp were one-offs, but for Mickey Biles pegged next to the empty far bay, they just kept coming to his feeder with maggot fished tight to the grass opposite to run out a clear winner with 37lb 4oz. Big John Palmer also nabbed a quick initial carp and added a few smaller fish throughout the day on the pole for 2nd with 13lb 6oz in the narrow end of the spit. Phil Harris struggled to find much action with the silvers and so resorted to a small bomb with corn flicked out to the island where he picked up a number of small carp for 13lb 4oz. Completing the field was Bob Stone who also found a few carp on the feeder and 12lb 8oz. 

Not quite what was expected, but everyone had a few fish which is all you can ask on a cold mid-winter day. 

New Year starts with a bang
Chequertree Fishery, Lake 2 - 4th January 2015 - Dead calm with freezing fog - 2.5c

What an amazing match this turned out to be! It was 3c at the draw and got colder throughout the day but for most there was enough action to forget the freezing feet. 16 members were well rewarded for braving the conditions and the long drive.

Chequertree is like an giant aquarium in more ways than one, with all colours of koi, goldfish, F1's and Sturgeon as well as all the conventional coarse species, so most methods accounted for a few fish for everyone. However, it was the long pole that proved most consistent on the day with three of the best exponents of the art that made up the frame. Nobby Whiteing was pegged 7 and made the most of a bit of space at that end of the lake where he fished long pole with small pieces of meat over sprinkled micro-pellets, keeping the exotics and regular larger carp coming steadily throughout to finish 1st with a remarkable weight of 67lb 6oz. Running mate Bruce Scott fished similarly on peg 11 but using mostly soft pellets for a ally nice multi-coloured net of 52lb 8oz and 2nd place. Opposite Bruce on peg 27 was Dave Hughes, also using pellets on the hook where he came a close 3rd with 50lb 2oz. Had he managed to hang on to either of the either of the Sturgeon he hooked, the result might have been very different. 4th was Jasper Stevens with 40lb 4oz and brother Graham brightened up his otherwise frustrating day of lost fish by finally managing to land a 12lb 4oz prehistoric Sturgeon (see picture).

A really good match this one and everyone is now looking forward to our return visit on March 1st. 

Doc finds a cure for the post-Christmas Blues

Claygate Lakes, Lake Eva - 28th December 2015 - Cold but mostly sunny - 4c

After a couple of overnight frosts, the 12 who were not ill or otherwise hung-over turned up for this outing and were relieved to find the lake ice-free and quite inviting. Lake Eva has a large head of F1's which seem to feed whatever the weather and so it seemed when Barry Stagg hooked his first within seconds of the all-in. However, they can also be shy and easily spooked, retreating to the island snags or away into the un-pegged areas.

Dr. Dave Hughes did really well by regularly ringing the changes and switching between soft pellet on the pole and pellet or corn on the method. His peg 7 was end-peg in the match on the railway side and gave him space to keep the F1's coming regularly and a brilliant and convincing winning weight on a very cold day of 53lb 8oz. Jasper Stevens was pegged 31 closest to the small top island, where he could pursue the fish right into the cover with the pole. He managed a couple of proper carp plus F1's for 2nd on the day with 33lb 12oz. On a roll from the Christmas match, Mark Merrett struggled for bites on the pole so resorted to his Fairlight tactics of a tiny feeder with bread cast close to the island from Peg 6 and 31lb 8oz to finish 3rd. 

All caught a few fish with only 2 failing to make double figures on the day, so a great way to get some fresh air after three days of over indulgence.  

Christmas Cheer at Fairlight
Fairlight Fishery, Match & Old Lakes - 21st December 2014 - Overcast, breezy - 10c

With 19 turning out for this one, it was decided to spread the match over both lakes to give the best chance of a good day's fishing for all. A good decision as it turned out, with a decent day for most considering the time of year and type of fishery this is. No points or pools, just prizes for the winners, organised by Craig Winchester in advance. Thanks Craig!

Top weight on the day and Match Lake winner was Mark Merrett who stuck to his banker plan of white crumb in a banjo feeder and bread to catch carp steadily throughout the day for 32lb 8oz. Mark was pegged next to the channel through to the new section, casting alongside the island snags. A couple of pegs to the left, Paul Oliver alternated between cage feeder with corn and pole with maggot for 9 carp and 25lb 4oz for 2nd on the Match Lake. Bruce Scott was 3rd with 23lb 8oz on pole & maggot from the new section.

On the old lake, it was close. Junior Callum Hutchins led the way initially with a few carp on the method, but Jason Courtney was not about to let sentimentality or Christmas charity get in the way, so when his pole line proved singularly unproductive set about cynically copying Callum by also chucking a method feeder across the old lilys. Alternating between pellet and maggot he managed to lose 2 and land 8 carp for top weight on the old lake of 28lb 6oz, including the best fish of the day, a scale-perfect common carp of 6lb 8oz to take the additional best fish prize. Steve Allen was tucked in the corner of the old lake where he quietly winkled out a number of carp for a very close 2nd on the lake with 28lb exactly. 

Only 6 anglers failed to make double figures which is pretty good considering although this did include Jerry Hutchins (soundly beaten by his son Callum off the next peg) and Nobby Whiteing (drawn on the same peg he won from on our last visit), who each received a plummet and a 'how to fish' DVD for last place on each lake.....

Beautiful Venue, shame about the fishing!
Guinea Lake, Newdigate - 14th December 2014 - Mostly bright but chilly - 7c

22 members turned out on a crisp frosty morning with high expectations for this first visit to a new venue for W&DAS. However, the two coldest nights of the winter so far had left part of the lake lightly frozen and the fish in no mood for feeding. With only Tench, Bream, Crucians and Orfe stocked in the lake, there is no back up species to target resulting in no less than 18 of the 22 ending up fishless over the five hours. 

After an hour, no one was admitting to a bite when a shout went around the lake that Gary Toland had landed a tiny skimmer on his feeder line out in the deep water from peg 4. Was the slight rise in temperatures about to spark a feeding frenzy?

Sadly no, although Gary did go on to pick up a couple more skimmers and a magnificent Golden Orfe for the top weight of 5lb 3oz. Graham Stevens was on peg 11, a spit of bank which enabled him to reach the deepest water with the pole from where he managed to pick up no less than 8 small skimmers and 2nd place with 3lb 12oz. PAUL HARDING on Peg 13, was daydreaming late on in the match when he was mugged by a solitary 3lb Tench which proved good enough for 3rd. Mickey Biles on peg 3 was the only other angler good enough to catch on the day and his 3 skimmers added up to 2lb 10oz and 4th place. ​​

Invicta Shield Triumph
River Medway, Yalding - 7th December 2104 - Overcast, Chilly with occasional rain - 9c

Sadly, only three teams turned out for this long-established fixture. The river too, proved typically challenging and scratching for bites was the order of the day. The historic flyers on this stretch are also the furthest pegs along narrow paths, muddy fields and stiles so the draw can bring on mixed emotions. Jasper Stevens was up for the walk though when he drew end peg 36 and knew it was worth it when he landed an early Bream on the pole line. Four more followed plus some bits and a winning weight of 11lb 2oz. Craig Winchester was drawn in the middle of the stretch and managed to winkle out a bonus Chub and a bonus Bream on his pole line to add to a number of small roach and 2nd overall with 5lb 2oz. Graham Stevens was also one of the long walkers where a Bream plus bits gave him 3rd with 3lb 5oz. Paul Oliver managed 4th with 1lb 11oz 8dr.

The top 4 weights from each club count towards the trophy and with Jasper, Craig & Graham managing 1st, 2nd and 4th overall respectively, the result was in no doubt. Nicely done boys! 

Full Result:
Club                                              Aggregate Weight
W&DAS                                                          21-4-8
Southwark & Camberwell                                  6-8-8
Banstead                                                          1-0-0

Carp Soup can be Good Therapy ​

Tylers Common, Willow Lake - 30th November 2014 - Chilly, overcast but dry - 9c ​

After a few weeks at some 'challenging' venues, 19 members made the long trip over the border to Essex in the hope of some serious action. Despite the venue being hammered on the previous day, most were not disappointed (apart from Bruce Scott of course who described his 94lb as "Rubbish" and Mickey Biles who seemed to be fishing a different lake). The top four were spread all around the lake and backing weights were too (apart from Biles corner). First on the day and no surprise for this type of venue was Alex Whiteing who concentrated on the short pole at 4 to 5 metres with maggot to catch carp steadily throughout the day and a great return of 124lb 12oz. Paul Oliver employed similar tactics and after a patchy start also got the carp coming steadily on maggots to finish 2nd with 106lb 4oz.

Mick Gray was one of the few who managed to get fish going in the margin and had a blistering last hour or so by dropping in close to the grass with meat, finishing close behind in 3rd with 104lb 2oz. Martin Cook made a welcome return, although troubled with back problems was forced to fish with rod and line. It didn't seem to hamper him too much though as he still managed to drag out 99lb and 4th on the day. There were a number of other 70, 80 and 90lb weights and a good day for junior Callum Hutchins who managed a very creditable 49lb 8oz. ​

Whilst not quite the 250lb that had won the match the previous day, all in all, for a chilly day at the end of November, most (apart from Mickey Biles) put plenty of fish in the net and thoroughly enjoyed the therapy.

Bad Habits at Monks

Monks Match Lake 3 - 23rd November 2014 - Breezy with constant heavy rain - 11c ​

Maybe the filthy weather or the long trip that kept attendance down as only 12 turned out for this one. Then again, perhaps the sensible ones knew just how hard it would be.The match lakes at Monks are an odd design being essentially square with a central spit virtually dividing the lake in two, but having no pegs at the top and bottom sides. This means the corners or ends of the spit tend to be the flyers. That was very much the case on this occasion, particularly when drawn by two of the best of our commercial carp anglers!

Nobby Whiteing had the end of the spit to himself and made no mistake in catching lumpy carp and a solitary Barbel from right on the corner margin using meat and maggot on the pole to win the day with 87lb 6oz. Graham Stevens fishing on the opposite outside corner gave Nobby a real run for his money though, switching between feeder to the end bank and pole in the margin to finish 2nd with 74lb 8oz. Not sure about the baits, but knowing Graham, smelly cat meat was likely to feature....

For the rest of the field, it was really tough going with only two others managing double figures and a couple of DNW's. Paul Oliver picked up three lost carp and a few silvers for 3rd with 31lb 12oz and Jasper Stevens managed a couple of late carp to come 4th with 12lb.  The only consolation was that most of the superstars in the Winter League being fished on the other lakes struggled just as much on the day! ​

Top of the table clash ends in a Score Draw

Weir Wood Reservoir, North Bank - 16th November 2014 - Overcast & Calm - 12c

The fishery management seemed keen to put us off holding the match with claims that the water was overflowing, flooded and mud bound and that the boat was unavailable to transport tackle. But the 12 hardy souls from W&DAS are made of sterner stuff and decided to slog up the hill to take advantage of the unusually calm conditions. Once there, the conditions looked good with the water lapping the bottom of the grass bank. ​ Although spread out over no more than 150 yards, the match was a "game of two halves". The six lower pegs found it tough going, scratching for odd fish whilst there seemed to be far more fish further down.

Alex Whiteing and Paul Oliver were drawn on pegs 12 and 10 in the 'better half' of the stretch. Both started on the feeder picking up roach and small skimmers regularly with Alex trying the whip and Paul alternating to the waggler to keep fish coming. Come the weigh-in, both managed to put 11lb 14oz on the scales for an unusual tie.

It was pretty close for the rest of the frame with Barry Stagg coming in with 7lb exactly and Phil Harris on 6lb 15oz.  Like Bough Beech a few weeks previously, it is odd why the fish can be so tightly holed up in such a vast expanse of water and a bit of a disappointment for those in the wrong place. But all in all, it was an interesting and close match, which is what its all about.

Be careful what you wish for..... ​

River Thames, Walton Bridge - 9th November 2014 - Sunny & calm - 13c

"We need a bit of colour in the river", was the unanimous cry of those planning to attend this annual Thames outing. Usually true, but the sight that greeted the 12 who turned up was a bit of a shock after the albeit heavy showers of the previous few days.  The river had colour alright - the colour of hot chocolate. It was also absolutely racing through with logs, branches and all kinds of floating detritous coming down.

Attempting feeder fishing to target the big bream reported to be coming out was virtually impossible. It seems that after the last winter floods, the new river management plan is to simply open all the gates and get the water away as quickly as possible. Such a shame as hopes were high for a good day but it became a case of just scratching out what you could.

Paul Oliver was drawn at the upstream end on the wall and fished down the edge with stick float and pole to winkle out a couple of bonus perch plus a number of small roach & dace to win with 2lb 9oz. Craig Winchester was in the slighly shallower but slower paced water behind the marina where he kept the tiny roach & dace coming on the waggler and 2lb 4oz. Mickey Biles was 3rd with similar tactics but using pole for 1lb 14oz. The only consolation was that the weather was good and nobody blanked (although it was close for a few!)

Woodpeckers proves a challenge

Woodpeckers Match Lake - 2nd November 2014 - Breezy with rain - 13c

19 members turned up on a pretty unpleasant day but sadly most returned very little for the effort. As with most commercial fisheries these days, Carp are probably needed for a win, but Woodpeckers traditional backup of skimmers, roach and tench now seem curiously absent.  Mark Merrett read the script though and pegged at the back of the far island threw a method feeder with dead maggots towards the reeds and a steady run of Carp throughout the day and a convincing win with 36lb 4oz. On the next peg and 2nd yet again was PAUL HARDING (he is going to win a match one day) who battled a few larger carp amongst the stick-ups for 21lb 8oz.

Paul Oliver was at the other end of the lake next to the fading lily pads and managed to find a few skimmers plus a couple of margin carp and 17lb 4oz. Martin Twine completed the payouts with 17lb from the top end. Bruce Scott was the only other angler to manage double figures with many of the rest struggling for the odd fish. Disappointing....

Blanking at Bough Beech

Bough Beech Reservoir - West Bank - 26th October 2014 - Dry and breezy - 16c

20 anglers turned out for this allegedly unpopular venue.... However many wished they hadn't bothered when over a third of the field failed to weigh in. Anglers were spread up the West Bank from the Hut bay to 'Lone Tree Point' and due to low water levels, the shallow bay was dry and pegged across to accommodate the numbers. Between the nine anglers in the bay swims there were seven blanks and two caught 3 fish between them for 9oz total!

For those at either end though, it was a different story. Drawn on the first peg, Alex Whiteing continued his run of good form catching Roach & Skimmers steadily throughout the day and a decent winning bag of 15lb 10oz. At the other end right on Lone Tree point, Dave Hughes marked his return after a few weeks of international fishing with a similar mixed bag for 14lb 10oz and 2nd place. Barry Stagg, also on a good run after his runners up spot in the Eden Challenge, completed the frame with 11lb 40z. 

A close one at Sumners

Sumners Ponds - Match Lake - 19th October 2014 - Mild, Bright & Breezy - 19c

A favourite venue this one, mainly because of the number of really big fish to be had, saw 25 members attend. It is often all about the draw here and this was no exception and it was around the bay and first island that you wanted to be. But as always, you still have to catch them. That is exactly what Graham Stevens managed to do. Pegged on the last peg of the open water on the far side, Graham initially found chucking a feeder out to the big island unproductive, so switched to a big waggler to the same area finding a succession of carp, many well into double figures. He topped this off with a couple of monsters from the margin in the last hour to finish with 119lb 2oz.

Two pegs further round in the open water saw Chris Lawrence stick to his feeder plan where he caught steadily throughout the day to come a very close 2nd with 116lb 5oz. Again, he had a net of just a dozen or so really massive carp (by normal commercial standards). Well done to both - a great match!

Pegged on the opposite (toilet) side was a line of several anglers who all opted to fish the pole in the open water where some serious elastic stretching was going on. Winning this local tussle was Nobby Whiteing who included a couple of big barbel in his net for 79lb 12oz and 3rd place.

Sumners also holds a great head of Silver fish which can provide sport for those not drawn on the carp so an added interest prize is offered for the best silver fish net. After some challenging results earlier in the season, it is good to see Andy Tickner finding some form lately and taking the prize with a 22lb 10z net of roach & skimmers taken on pole & maggot/corn. He also managed to hang on to a couple of passing carp in the process to give him 45lb overall. Not bad for a Noddy!

What a Grueller!

Basingstoke Canal - Government Road - 5th October 2014 - Chilly & Autumnal - 13c

Billed as being the CALPAC Putney Cup for teams of 4, Epsom AC was the only other club that could be bothered to field a team in addition to the 3 teams put out by W&DAS. Whether other teams knew how tough it was going to be or just a general malaise from CALPAC affiliated clubs is difficult to say, but either way these long-established events are becoming farcical and need a radical re-think if they are going to continue. 

As things unfolded, Epsom won the team event by one point despite being heavily outnumbered! So far as the W&DAS results went, Phil Harris seemed to be fishing a different venue (perhaps he nipped over to Gold Valley) as he managed to catch throughout the day for a decent bag of 4lb 12oz. Only three others managed to break the pound barrier for the rest of the placings with Graham Stevens on 1lb 14oz, Mark Merrett on 1lb 4oz and Mickey Biles on 1lb exactly and 2nd, 3rd & 4th respectively. 

Nobby does the double

Hartleylands Farm - Nicks Lake - 28th September 2014 - Mild with sunny intervals - 19c

Surprisingly, only 20 anglers turned up for this very popular venue, but as usual, it produced consistent great sport for all. Alex Whiteing managed to draw the same peg that he won from on our last visit here and made no mistake again this time to win with 199lb 4oz. Steve Allen had an arm-aching day on the method feeder admitting to some 140-odd carp and 2nd place with 177lb 4oz. Graham Stevens usually does well here so no suprise to see him in the frame with 133lb for 3rd place with Bruce Scott close behind on 125lb to complete the places.

Once again, there were big weights throughout the field with 7 members breaking the 'ton'.

River Matches are not dead yet

River Eden - Chiddingstone SNAC Stretch - 21st September 2014 - Sunny Intervals - 21c

After two weeks of aborted team competitions, it was back to the normal championship match programme. The mainly dry summer meant low flow and water levels but the river did still retain a little colour. However, it was hard to find even the traditional swims through the overgrown bankside vegetation and clear that very little maintenance has been carried out here this year.

For the 16 anglers who made the effort, there was encouraging numbers of small roach, chub, perch, gudgeon & bleak showing which provided plenty of bites for everyone. These small fish are not great weight builders, so generally you needed to find the bonus tench or bream to get into the frame. Craig Winchester was not happy when he drew the same long-walk peg that he had struggled from on his last visit, but soon cheered up as he latched onto his first Tench. Fishing worm & caster over hemp and groundbait, he added a second tench plus a couple of bream and bits to take the honours on the day with 13lb 8oz. He also admitted to losing a couple more tench which would have boosted his weight still further.

Jasper Stevens was equally unimpressed with his 15" deep  'washing machine' peg but found the fish in residence from the off and managed to keep them coming throughout the match to end with a really nice mixed bag of roach, perch, chublets gudgeon and bleak weighing 9lb 11oz. Making a rare but welcome appearence was Hugh Blake who drew a deep swim immediately abover the weir where he also nabbed a couple of tench plus a few small fish for 3rd place with 8lb 12 oz. Mark Merrett enjoyed the longest walk but the end peg produced one decent bream for him plus other smaller fish for 8lb 7oz. 

All in all, it was great to get out to an attractive, natural venue and enjoy a close and competitive match. 

A Marathon not a Sprint

Kingscote Fishery - 31st August 2014 - Pleasant Sunny Intervals - 21c

An hour into this match and everyone assumed they would be fishing for 2nd place as PAUL HARDING raced away from the field. PAUL made the best of one of the few island pegs, chucking a method feeder with corn alongside it, catching a dozen or so Carp in the first hour alone whilst everyone else managed just the odd one or two. He continued to add carp steadily throughout the first half of the match and although his swim died almost totally in the afternoon, no one thought he could possibly be caught.

But beware the Nobster...

Alex Whiteing was pegged opposite PAUL and started by throwing a feeder to the other side of what is a very small island yet managed only three small carp throughout the morning. In desperation, he turned to his favoured method, fishing (lots of) maggots in the margin and sure enough, started to catch the occasional but much bigger stamp of carp. Graham Steven was next to Nobby but with no island to fish to, used a cage feeder with maggots in the open water and did well to catch carp regularly throughout the match. Paul Oliver was in the corner the other side of Nobby and with no feeder line available, fished pole in the margins with maggots and corn to also catch a steady run of carp.

Come the weigh in, things turned out to be very close and interesting. Nobby had indeed managed to overturn the lead and win the match with 68lb 12oz courtesy in the main with his last fish - a stunning 12lb 3oz mirror carp. PAUL HARDING was relegated to 2nd (yet again!) with 55lb exactly. Graham Stevens finished in 3rd with 52lb 11oz and Paul Oliver 4th with 50lb 7oz.

Whilst it was a great match for those in the frame, for the rest this fishery was a bit of a struggle. With very few silver fish of any description to be seen, it was carp or nothing for most. Almost everyone had one or two carp, particularly early-on in the match, but for the remainder of the time and particularly for those pegged in the narrower neck of the lake, it became a bit of a grueller. The numbers had been limited to 20 in anticipation of the lack of decent pegs, so it was particulary disappointing that one booked angler failed to turn up when several others had previously been turned away.

Typical August Bank Holiday!

Osprey Lake, Copthorne - 25th August 2014 - Constant Rain - 19c

What a soggy affair this turned out to be with no let up in the heavy rain for the entire duration of the match. Despite the weather it was a good match for the 12 hardy souls that turned out and a relief to find that the recent enforced closure of Woodpeckers did not seem to have affected the fishing. Nearly all managed double figures and good mixed bags.

Top man on the day was Phil Harris who did well on the pole close in at peg 11 to land half a dozen quality carp plus skimmers for 38lb. 2nd was Barry Stagg on Peg 5 who used pole and feeder for a real mixed bag and 27lb 8oz. Paul Oliver was 3rd from Peg 13 with 25lb of mostly carp on the feeder & pellet.

Maze Lake - a real Puzzle

Maze Lake, Beaver Farm - 24th August 2014 - Sunny Intervals - 21c

Finding your way around the Maze lake can be confusing but the greater puzzle for many was how to get a bite. In return for a premium day-ticket you would not expect to be struggling for ounces or even blanking (Andy T), but that was the case for many of the 20 anglers that turned up for this one. The only plus point was that with so few fish to be had, it did prove a close contest.

Pegged at the right end of the outer canal, Paul Oliver waged a mostly losing battle with the carp in the close confines and snags but did manage to hang on to seven Carp & F1's plus a small pike for 23lb to take first place on the day, all taken on pole with meat or maggot. Close behind and 2nd yet again was PAUL HARDING who after struggling on the pole, threw a feeder out alongside the large lily pad in the open bay to also nab a few carp for 22lb.  Big John Palmer took time out from his summer child-minding duties to take a 19lb mixed bag of skimmers and carp from round the backside (his favoured area) under the trees and 3rd place.  Dale Smith completed the frame with 18lb. ​

Snapped Tackle & Plop

Back Arun Match Lake - 17th August 2014 - Breezy with occasional heavy showers - 20c ​ ​

As usual for this venue, the post-match talk was all about the fish that did not make it to the net, rather than those that did. 22 members turned up to do battle with the supercharged carp that know ​every weed patch and snag (of which there are many) in the lake and it proved an interesting and close match. Continuing his return to form was Alex Whiteing who managed to drag 59lb of reluctant carp from ​their homes in Peg 20 to take top place on the day, fishing pole and meat. Not far behind and making his first appearance in the frame for W&DAS was a very happy Mick Gray who finished 2nd with 50lb exactly from peg 8. Dave C King took to his trusty heavy method feeder and lobbed it the whole ten yards to the far side of his Peg 14 to haul out 45lb for his customary once-a-year appearance in the frame leaving Phil Harris in 4th with 41lb, who also fished with a heavy bomb rig to overcome the snags. 

​After a small carp made off with his top two sections, Mark Merrett had no hesitation in going in after it for the second time this season. Ever keen to save money, he has now taken to including shower gel in his bait bag to save using hot water at home and needs only one more such dip to complete his personal hygiene regime for the whole of 2014!

Poor Craig Winchester had to witness the spectacle from the next peg but still managed to snap some pictures despite the laughter. ​ ​ ​

Bertha fails to spoil the Party

Hartleylands - Nick's Lake - 10th August 2014 - Gusty High Winds & Heavy Rain - 21c

The remnants of Hurricane Bertha hit the South East this morning bringing some atrocious conditions for fishing. Yet despite the forecast, 23 souls braved the conditions for what turned out to be a truly extraordinary match.

Pick of the bunch was Alex Whiteing with a well-deserved return to form on his big 60th Birthday. It seems that so many fish were keen to come and wish him a Happy Birthday that he amassed a fantastic weight of 245lb 1oz fishing the margins either side of Peg 17, alternating between maggot and meat fished on the short pole. Not just stockies either, but a good number of lumps including a beautiful mirror well into double figures and a 7lb Barbel combined to give him the best birthday treat he could possibly have wished for. Well done Nobby on a great day in more ways than one. Presumably he will now be using his Bus Pass to get to future matches....

The backing weights were some way behind, but nevertheless good by any standards. Paul Harding (that's PAUL HARDING in case he is having trouble hearing....) was top of the following pack with 164lb 8oz and Jasper Stevens finally finding some form, was close behind on 162lb 10oz. Paul Oliver completed the frame with 146lb 12oz.

Perhaps most remarkable of all was the fact that 15 of the 23 anglers attending broke 'the ton' weight for the day. There are not many regular club matches where you could you weigh in over 100lb and still come 15th! The lowest weight (which was not Andy Tickner) was still a creditable 37lb. ​John Gibbons was one of the 100lb+ club and completed his enjoyable day by making off with the mystery peg money.

Venue change suits most

Rob's Lakes, Kent - 3rd August 2014 - Sunny & breezy - 23c

With three clubs booked to fish the scheduled Bough Beech fixture, many members had expressed concern about the prospect of the long walks over difficult terrain and the possibility of being pegged in the sometimes barren areas. The Match organisers therefore took the opportunity to change the venue to test out this currently secret and virtually unfished three-lake complex. In response, 25 members turned up for this unusual challenge. ​

Two of the three lakes were pegged, one allegedly mostly carp and the other mainly mixed silver fish. As it turned out, the carp lake was certainly full of them but averaging just an ounce or two each. Graham Stevens found by fishing worm pieces against the far bank he managed to keep them coming for 1st on the lake with 13lb 8oz with Martin Cook fishing similarly for 2nd with 12lb 2oz.

The silver lake threw up a few surprises with a number of decent and very pretty carp to 6lb being caught. The fickle silvers however were in abundance in some areas but almost totally absent in others. Dave Hughes kept them coming throughout the match however, fishing short pole and maggot which together with a couple of carp gave hime an impressive total of 36lb 8oz and 1st on the lake. Paul Oliver was another fortunate enough to be drawn on the fish and managed 1 gudgeon, 1 skimmer and about 198 roach for 26lb and 2nd on the silver lake.

There were a couple of other 20lb plus weights from Paul Harding and Steve Allen, who both managed to add carp to their silver fish. Jasper Stevens had his poor day brightened by making off with the Mystery Peg prize of £25.

No Surprises at Ribbon Lake

Sumners Ponds - Ribbon Lake - 27th July 2014 - Hot & Humid (again) - 26c

A creditable 25 turned up for this one all hoping to draw the one peg that has won almost every match anyone can remember. Consequently, there were groans all round when Paul Oliver pulled it from one of the few remaining pegs in the bag. For those unfamilar with the venue, on the centre island facing the car park, there is a peg with one of only two bushes on the whole lake where the Barbel seem to call home.

Sure enough, Paul made the most of his good fortune to win convincingly with 46lb 15oz. When fishing at the bottom of the far shelf produced only a few small tench, crucians and skimmers, he fed heavily with maggots tight to the far bank in just a few inches of water to take a steady succession of Barbel and Chub throughout the rest of the match, only slowing when he ran out of bait....

Martin Twine was a bit upset when his peg left of the bridge turned out to be 10 yards away from it, but still managed to keep the Barbel coming on the 16 metre line with soft pellet to finish 2nd with 22lb 8oz. Mickey Biles was pegged just over the bridge alongside the only other bush and fished tight under it with maggot to also nab a number of Barbel for 19lb exactly and 3rd place. John Gibbons managed 4th with 15lb 4oz. ​

With the hot weekend weather the campers were out in force and so too were the kids, one of whom tried Martin Cook's patience with a clean break of one of his most expensive sections by running into it on his bike. After some negotiation with the venue owners and the parents he did get some modest compensation but nowhere near enough to cover the damage. Martin was last heard still muttering about his plans for gun emplacements and barbed wire for the next visit....

Yo Ho Ho!

Weir Wood Resevoir - 20th July 2014 - Sunny, Hot & Humid - 27c

Fishing the North Bank these days has become a bit of an expedition. After parking at the fishing lodge, all the tackle is loaded into the baliff's boat and ferried across along with a few of the less mobile passengers like Bobby Stone, in a scene reminiscent of Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. The rest of us then had to drive to the Southern Water car park and walk up the hill.  Most of the field dutifully set up their feeder rods and cast towards the horizon in the expectation of a few pull rounds from big slabs.

However, Bruce Scott knew different benefitting from a sneaky practice during the week and waded out armed with a whip, taking perch and roach 'one a bung' for six hours to win the match with 30lb exactly. Keith Bibby stuck to the feeder though and caught small skimmers and roach steadily to take second place with 22lb 8oz, just pipping Graham Stevens who fished similarly into 3rd place with 22lb 6oz. The blazing hot temperatures made a pleasant change from the wind, waves and rain that resevoir visits usually seem to entail, but the sight of Mark Merrett stripping down to his undies and wading out to test the depths was just too much for most....

Framfield Off Form

Framfield Fishery - Spring Lake - 13th July 2014 - Hot & Humid - 28c

It was just about a full house for this popular bagging venue. Despite a brief deluge at the start, it was so hot that even the fish did not really feel like doing anything and a number of people 'struggled' (i.e. only managing 40lb-50lb). On the plus side, it did make for a close and interesting contest. As usual, Callum Hutchins drew a flyer for himself and his Dad opposite the gap on the nearside of the lake. This produced an interesting fish for fish battle between Jerry Hutchins and Graham Stevens a couple of pegs along. Both fished close in with maggot but it was Jerry who just ran out the winner with 143lb 8oz, half a fish ahead of Graham who weighed 142lb 8oz.

Just a few pegs away, venue experts Bruce Scott and Nobby Whiteing were drawn next to each other and had their own battle for the rest of the frame. Nobby just pipped Bruce with weights of 97lb 12oz against 93lb 4oz for 3rd and 4th respectively.

Paddling at Puddledock

​Puddledock Fishery, Upminster - 6th July 2014 - Showery & Humid - 23c

With unforecast heavy rain at the draw, it looked like a wet day in prospect but it was only really the fishing that turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. As the sun came out, most anglers managed to nab the odd carp or two on the method feeder, but it was clear they were not really "having it" in the way that this fishery is usually capable of.

Paul Oliver managed to find some decent skimmers feeding up in the water to add to the carp which together were enough to win on the day with 50lb exactly. Jasper Stevens managed to keep the odd carp coming to finish 2nd on 45lb and Martin Cook stuck to fishing under the trees in the margins for 3rd with 39lb 6oz. ​John Gibbons took the mystery peg prize.

Ringers at Lake John ​

Lake John, Waltham Abbey - 29th June 2014

Former W&DAS junior, Daniel Diment was invited as a guest for this match and took the place apart putting the regular members to the sword. He fished up in the water to land Bream and Carp and a fantastic weight of 147lb.

However, it was a really close and exciting match amongst the members with just 1 or 2 fish separating the top six. Best of the also-rans was Graham Stevens with 57lb, brother Jasper with 55lb and Martin Cook on 54lb.

Mixed Fortunes on the River

River Arun - Swan Meadow - Pulborough 22nd June 2014 ​

Only 12 turned out to try the river on the first Sunday of the season, which looked in prime condition. Everyone had a few small fish straight away, but the tide turned early in the match and the fish just switched off for most, but not all. Dr Dave Hughes opted for a short walk and fished just below the bridge to win with 12lb 2oz; Paul Harding was opposite the bungalows and managed 11lb 15oz with Craig Winchester losing his venue expert crown relegated to 3rd with 7lb 9oz.

The rest of the field managed just a pound or so for a disappointing day.

Deja Vu?

Woodpeckers Osprey Lake - 15th June 2014 - Mainly Cloudy 17c

Another good turnout for this thankfully local venue, although was a bit of a squeeze to find 30 resonable pegs. No mega weights here but a challenge none the less and a very close contest. In a repeat of the one-two from Hartleylands, it was new member Dave Hughes who made the most of his jungle swim managing to extract a few Carp for 31-8-0. Paul Oliver was 2nd again with 30-4-0 from peg 5 on the open bank with six carp, two taken each on feeder, long pole and margin plus a few silvers. Joint third were Martin Cook & Bruce Scott both on 27-12-0.

Bruce's weight was boosted by loads of the newly stocked small barbel. If they all thrive and grow, things could become very interesting here in the future. It was also Round 1 of the Knockout. Results as follows:

Chris Lawrence beat Peter Crowhurst: BobBalding beat Gary Toland:  Nobby Whiteing beat Terry Archer:  David Hughes beat Dave King:  John Gibbons beat Martin Twine:  Phil Harris beat Bob Stone:  Bruce Scott beat Brian Beecroft:  Paul Harding beat Micky Biles:  Martin Cook beat Barry Stagg:  Peter Rock beat Steve Longhurst:  AndyTickner beat Mark Merrett:  Mick Gray beat Steve Allen:  Don Boutell beat David Adby:  Paul Oliver beat Graham Stevens:  Jasper Stevens beat Dale Smith. ​A couple of notable 'David and Goliath' struggles here with Andy Tickner and Peter Rock both going through. Well done boys - just goes to show anything is possible with fishing... Graham Stevens was the lucky recipient of the Mystery Peg prize of £30.

Phew - what a scorcher!

Tylers Common - Horseshoe Lake - 8th June 2014 - Blazing Hot 25c

Not even the prospect of mega-weights was enough to tempt many regulars to take on the challenge of the steep hill down to Horseshoe on what promised to be the hottest day of the year so far. As a result, only 22 turned out for this one. Whilst the weather forecast was right, the weights were not quite as forecasted, but Steve Allen still needed to beat the ton to win this match.

Pegged at the start of the central spit, Steve did well in making the most of his end peg, fishing up the reedy margins to land all carp with a solitary skimmer to win with 104-4-0 and a great day's sport. Half-way up the spit, Graham Stevens had a small willow to one side and embarked on this usual all-out attack on the bigger carp from the margins using nine tins of cat food in the process! The tactic worked well though and he finished just one decent fish short of Steve on 97-0-0.

What the van smelled like on the way back with three lots of nets, all that cat food residue and in that heat with no air conditioning doesn't bear thinking about.

Bruce Scott was drawn next to Graham but didn't fancy his peg much (does he ever?). With no bankside cover he resorted to picking off small carp of the feeder initially but with heavy feeding did manage to get some larger specimens up against the grass bank the margin late on to finish third with 86-6-0. Mick Gray came in 4th with 85-0-0, so all in all, a pretty close match. ​

Martin Twine once again made off with the mystery peg money of £22.

Angling Times Supercup vs Dorking AS

Second Round 7th June 2014

The threatened summer monsoon fortunately passed by Orchard Lakes at Tonbridge for this eagerly awaited re-match from two years ago. Sadly, W&DAS were not so lucky and failed by the same 7-1 margin. A mid-week practice probably didn't help the tactics during which the team discovered that huge numbers of fish would come to heavy feeding close in. On the match day however, with two other matches already in progress and the 16 competitors filling the spit area, the fish were much more wary and spread out.

The Dorking tactics of lighter feed and fishing further out paid dividends. Well done to Antony Stevens for at least preventing a whitewash. Full results as follows:

C Lunt 64-2-0 Graham Stevens 54-7-0 M Fritt 62-14-0 Craig Winchester 50-12-0 Wally 88-12-0 Mark Merrett 28-8-0 M Cooper 55-14-0 Martin Cook 44-6-0 G Sharples 43-8-0 Jasper Stevens 60-0-0 G Ross 105-14-0 Nobby Whiteing 58-0-0 D Roberts 109-7-0 Paul Oliver 77-10-0 S Parkins 110-14-0 John Gibbons 73-8-0

Good Sport for many at Hartleyands 

Hartleylands - Nicks Lake - 1st June 2014 - Sunny Intervals & Mild - 19c

Over 30 members nearly filled Nicks Lake and most had a good day's sport. As usual, there were plenty of small carp eager to feed and although a few managed to find some lumps, not in the numbers needed to achieve the really big weights that this venue is capable of. ​On his debut outing, new member Dave Hughes stuck to a method feeder thrown a distance to the point of island at the far side of the lake to catch carp constantly throughout the day for a winning weight of 166-8-0. Paul Oliver drawn at the opposite end adjacent to the car park fished similarly but also managed a few larger fish from the margins to finish wth 148-8-0.

Two other new members completed the frame. Martin Twine admitted to over 100 fish for his 104-12-0 for 3rd place and Dale Smith narrowly missed out on a ton weight with 98-12-0. Pete Crowhurst can treat his missus to another takeaway after grabbing the mystery peg prize of £33.

Orchard Place is tough going

Orchard Place Farm - Match Lake 6 - 25th May 2014 - cool & breezy - 13c

28 anglers made the trip including all those likely to fish the same venue in the upcoming Supercup match against Dorking. Unfortunately the W&DAS curse struck again  when the fishing failed to live up to expectations (or is it the quality of anglers?). Much of the spit area was a real struggle with many going long periods without a bite, so it was the far side that seemed to fish best although far below the usual bagging.

Winner on the day was Nobby Whiting with 67-6-0 caught F1's on the short pole line using white maggots over pellet feed. On the next peg to the left was John Gibbons who fished similar tactics but using pellets or other larger baits for 53-14-0. The man in form, Phil Harris, resorted to a feeder lobbed to a small island off the spit to find some fish to claim 3rd with 45-8-0 and Martin Cook managed 4th from his favourite peg at the end of the spit with 44-8-0.

Plonker of the day was Paul Oliver who waged a fish-for fish battle with Nobby off the next peg to the right, diligently splitting his catch between two nets. The first net weighed 33lb and the second weighed 4oz thanks to large hole in the bottom. What might have been.... Still, better to do it then than on the Supercup! Brian Skilton came out on his first match in ages and ran off with the mystery peg prize.

Sumners is Hot - but only the weather....

Sumners Match Lake - 18th May 2014 - Hot & Sunny - 24c

This is a much anticipated fixture and 28 members booked in with hopes of a great days fishing. May can often be a difficult month when the fish have love on their minds rather than feeding and so it proved. The few feeding carp seemed to be shoaled up in certain areas and the top three weights all came from adjacent pegs around the nearside open water and opposite the first island.  Barry Stagg got off to a flying start landing a number of lumps on feeder in the open water and quickly started to panic about how many keepnets he might need.

However, as things slowed for him, he was steadily overhauled by Phil Harris fishing pellet waggler up to the island who finished with 126-10-0 and his second win in a row. Phil looks to be a man to watch as the season unfolds. Bobby Stone also found the fish during the latter half of the match on feeder fished short over his own island of groundbait to finish 2nd with 110-0-0 relegating Barry to 3rd on 83-12-0. Gary Toland completed the frame with 63-10-0 from the top end.

​Recent results suggested that the carp might be moody so as a one-off, there was a special prize for the best Silver Fish bag which was won by Peter Crowhurst with 14-12-0 which included two nice Barbel. Terry Forrest also had a good Barbel weighing 7-8-0 and to add to his smile, made off with the mystery peg money.

The pairs competition proved a close thing. Phil Harris & Graham Stevens came out top with 139-10-0 with Bob Stone & Paul Oliver runners up on 134-9-0.  For the rest of the field, the going was pretty tough with many catching just the odd fish or two. The first pegs on either side of the lake seemed particularly difficult where Andy Tickner and Dave Harper each managed just a few Silvers. Maybe next time....

Not quite Fish-O-Mania

Monk Lakes - Match Lake 1 - 11th May 2014 - Overcast with a very gusty cold wind - 13c

A remarkable 30 members turned out here expecting plenty of bites from this prolific venue. As it turned out, perhaps a combination of the pressure of the Fish-O qualifier held a few days before and the quite bitter cold and strong gusty wind made things very difficult with bites were hard to come by. Even the silvers refused to co-operate.

Nevertheless, it turned out to be a close contest with just a single carp separating the top four places.  Making his mark was new member Phil Harris who came out on top with 41lb 4oz of mostly carp on the short pole or feeder fished into the corner margins. 2nd was John Gibbons who is proving a dab hand at chucking a method at carp, taking 39lb 12oz from the open water off the spit. Paul Oliver was 3rd fishing the opposite corner from Phil with 37lb 12oz of Carp & Tench, also on short pole and feeder. With his back to John G, Craig Winchester knew the pole would be virtually impossible in his exposed swim so resorted to the feeder out in the open water and completed the close frame with 37lb 2oz. Gentleman Peter Rock made off with the mystery peg prize of £30. 

New Season - Old Face

Framfield Brookhouse Lake - 4th May 2014 - Calm but overcast 15c

28 anglers turned out for the season opener at this popular bagging venue, although most expected to be fishing for 3rd place behind venue experts Bruce & Nobby. As it turned out, it marked a welcome return after a couple of years lay-off for old member Steve Longhurst. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the break has not hampered his ability as he made the most of his peg 36 draw taking 83lb for top spot by a big margin. The rest of the frame was made up with George Stone on 55lb, Nobby Whiting 45lb 10oz and John Palmer on 40lb 8oz. 

​Things were a bit of a disappointment for many on the day probably due to the pressure from the almost capacity turn out, but that's fishing for you... The new mystery peg payout for each match introduced by Martin Cook for the new season was won by Martin Cook! Hmmmm...