Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Thoughts of 2013

Can't believe that another year has gone by, the winter league matches have gone so quickly this year, not sure if it's a sign of me getting old.  I was very pleased that we won our league again. So looking forward to another semi final on the Kennet and Avon Canal at Marlborough and good luck to A4 lads at Coleman's Cottage .
Breaking the Manor Farm Leisure 5 hour match record, with 353lb 8oz from Middle pool. 

Also lucky enough to draw an end peg on Big Franks double header, and won that match with 385lb in 4 hours!!

Didn’t qualify on Fish o Mania  (will apply for ALL 16 tickets in 2014) 
No good at Rolfs festival

1 point away from making a frame place at Manor Farm Leisure

Didn’t catch 100lb of silvers at Rolfs Lake.

Didn’t go to Alders farm this year (will be 2014!)

Came 4th in the Turner 400

To be part of the winning team of the Thames Champs (team did win this year, but I was away in whiteacres)
I didn't catch a 20lb carp on the pole.  However, I will have new Colmic Quasar Pole (see video below) to hopefully catch some big fish and some bigger match weights!


Winter Leagues
Winter League fishing has always been in my fishing diary since the age of 15, and I am concerned about its welfare, as is a lot of anglers that I fish with.  I am thinking about not fishing any more Angling Trust Winter leagues, and I will focus on the commercial side, with work commitments it’s difficult to get the time to fish one aspect of fishing, yet alone both, it’s demanding on time with preparation of kit and money.  Fishing some natural venues isn’t so appealing to me now as, which does pain me to say....
I have seen a massive decline in attendances, the matches haven’t got the number of anglers like they used to have.  Milton Keynes was the prime example where our first practice match was only a 30 pegger.  This was unreal, as you would expect 60+, and ten years ago it would be 100+ pegger.  So the reward of this kind of fishing for me is becoming exhausted.  I love fishing for Drennan Banbury Gunsmiths,and feel lucky to fish with them, and you know this team is good as it has held the same team members for many years, therefore a lot of us are good friends.  However, travelling a long way to fish these matches used to give me a buzz as they were 100 good anglers fishing, but fishing a 30 pegger isn't the same.   

The cost of team fishing on natural venues with natural baits is expensive!  I would take, lob worms, bloodworm, joker, casters, groundbaits, it is a financial strain compared to the cost of a sack of pellet or supermarket baits.  I remember fishing Radley in a Winter League, I had 26lb of roach, and my bait used that day was 8kg’s of groundbait, ½ kilo of joker, 4 pints of caster, 1pint of maggot.  That day was awesome and won £80, which would of just about paid for the day.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t fish to win money, as I work for that, but £80 per fishing match is a lot of money to me and most people as a disposable income.

Fuel costs have hit a lot of people and their business.  So peoples disposable income isn't there!

Cormorants have without doubt has had immense impact on our waters across the country.  Not only have they eaten a lot of fish but the fish have shoaled up tightly, safety in numbers, and therefore some venues have become very peggy, fish shoal up by bridges, towns, etc....

Angling Trust have taken over the winter leagues and have taken more money from teams to enter their Winter Leagues and yet seem to give a lot less back in my opinion.   The Surrey league was run without all teams paying a full enter, and therefore when it came to the end of the six rounds, they were told that their league wasn't valid.... why wait until the end of the league to address the situation? 

This years Angling Trust Final was on the Trent, which is a venue that was always going to be incredibly hard and very low weights on the cards, especially with final been so early in the season.  A lot of anglers, including myself find it hard to find out the reason why this venue was selected?   We all know that rivers tend to fish better later in the year, like September, as early season fishing on rivers tends to be all about big fish or nothing.  Maybe low percentage of anglers would be a lot of fish, and this would look good for the cameras to promote rivers, but for most it would be a struggle.   Was this a wise choice of venues to try and safe the future of team match fishing?   

The final this year is going to be on Leeds and Liverpool canal..... I hope i’m wrong, but this will be another tough venue.  We go fishing to catch fish, I like value for money, so travelling hundreds of miles to catch very little isn't going to go down well.    My lowest weight in the Oxford league this year was 4lb+ and that same match one of the sections had 7lb 15oz as it's lowest weight (roach were 30 plus to the pound) that's plenty of bites and good fishing!
Team fishing is struggling to survive for several reasons, maybe some I have covered already above, but why put the Winter League Final on a venue that has and did take a lot of negativity?  The idea of going fishing was to catch fish.  Why not put a few venues forward and let the anglers who fish the event decided where they want to go?   I know it can be difficult to choose venues and to satisfy everybody, but I don’t feel that the 2013 winter final didn’t help the leagues motivation, most winter league rounds consist of 50 anglers.  Our Oxford league is just about surviving, Upper Thames is alright, but I used to fish that with teams 12 and not 6 and they were all 100 peggers!!


I have been sponsored by Vespe for a few years now, and there elastic is very good and has helped me catch some big catches and big fish.   Vespe have a nice web site, which is worth having as look at, if you haven’t already.

Colmic have supported me for just over a year and I have been lucky enough to try some good products out.    Also we have formed a new Colmic Airon Team, which is Mark Malin, Kurtis Tranter, Sam Nobbs, Frank Donachie, Myself and Karl Stephens. 

Sam Nobbs a star of the future!

I hope you have a great 2014 and I'll hopefully see you on the fishing bank.

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