Our NHS hero Dave Colley gave us all a lesson in how to trounce the opposition. Today Mr Colley decided to take no prisoners and to go all out for victory. Fishing from peg 10 Dave fished feeder with pellet to the island which is where he took the vast majority of his impressive catch from. Although he did take 5 carp from the margins on pole and corn. Rob Dodd who fished the peg next to him told some of us that he had to keep reminding Dave that he had a bite. I could not quite read in to that but perhaps because Dave was catching so many fish that at one stage he became tired out and kept nodding of. When I talked to the owner afterwards, he asked me how the match went, When I told him the winning weight was 158lb from peg 10 he was very impressed indeed. So it is hats off to Dave Colley and very well done indeed.
Fishing from peg 14B Eric Searle conquered 2nd place with a very acceptable weight of 84 lb 11 oz using feeder and pellet. Before the start of the match I asked Eric “I bet your going to be on the feeder all day” Eric’s reply to was ” yep if I don’t get a bite I don’t get a bite and that’s that” Well Eric not only did get a bite you had plenty mate.
Young Ian Grabham who seems never to be out of the top four these days found himself in 3rd place with a haul of 58 lb 03 oz from peg 4. Ian had most of his fish on method feeder with micros and wafters. He did have a fair size Carp of 15 lb 2 oz.
Now finishing in 4th spot was yours truly who pulled out peg 13. I decided to start of on the method with banded pellet but after an hour I only caught one nice skimmer. Went on the pole at 10 meters for another hour with dead maggot for a few bits which include two Ruffe. Most of my silvers weight came after midday when I went back to the method feeder where I caught some quality skimmers. But like the majority fishing the match most of the action took place in the last hour in the margins. It seems the trait on the main lake at Shiplate is that the large carp come in to the margins in force. I know it happens at other fisheries but at Shiplate it is very much pronounced. The amount of swirling and tail fins protruding out of the water was remarkable. However to cut a long story short in this last magical hour I caught three carp for a total of 36 lb 6oz. The biggest weighing 14 lb 14 oz. The bait for the margins was corn and worm. My total was 45 lb 15 oz.
Our Spielsekretärin fuhrer Alan Bland in fifth like me had a lot of action in the last hour. Peg 15 was his place and he managed a haul of 44 lb 05 oz. Meat and corn was the bait. Alan won the Jotty Memorial (largest carp) with a right beast of 15 lb 11oz. So it is congrats to him.
Stuart Frampton who was pegged next to me on 14 had most of his 43 lb 01 oz net on meat down the edge. Poor Stuart managed to break his pole top on one of them beastly carp.
All of us expected more from Mr Rob Dodd than his 39 lb 15 oz. Rob fished pole and maggot and was drawn on peg 11. No doubt he was probably distracted from his fishing by constantly telling Dave Colley in peg 10 that he’d had a bite.
Veteran angler Tony Richards amassed a weight of 34 lb 13 oz on his favourite method of pole and maggot from peg 3. Tony always shows his angling prowess by using 2 lb hook length and still manages to land decent size carp.
Bob Pascoe had peg number 1 and used pole, maggot and caster for a weight of 32 lb 01 oz. You can always tell when Bob hooks a Carp because all you hear is “vermin bloody vermin”. You see Bob is a silvers man.
Dave Nash fishing on peg 2 did not catch a carp but the dedicated silvers basher got top silvers weight with 29 lb 5 oz. The bait used was maggot and caster.
Paul Smith who picked out peg 6 fished the pole with corn and caster. Paul had one Carp of 8 lb 5 oz and a total weight of 26 lb 15 oz. Paul finished in 11th place.
Phil Dodd who ended up in 12th as always took the laid back approach and just fished the feeder with dead maggot as bait. From peg 7 Phil put on the scales 21 lb 13 oz.
In 13th position we find Ian Ricketts of of peg 8. Ian who would definitely admit to having better days could only muster 16 lb 4 oz. Pole with maggot was used.
Apparently a few choice anglo saxon words were used by Nigel Coram (pictured above) to describe his match and thought it was better that he had DNWI next to his name.
The next match will be at the Sedges Tile lake on 8th October, don’t forget have the breakfast.
Owing to my cat Ami peeing on my telephone socket and shorting out the connection yours truly has been without the internet for nearly a week. Also yours truly has lost the notes to the match that was fished by the Watchet angling club at Trinity Waters on September 9th. Hence it is going to be a very concise account of the events indeed.
Nigel Coram smashed it with a good weight of 74 lb 05 oz fishing from peg 14 his winning tactic was pole and corn.
Rob Dodd got the runner spot up from peg 28 apparently worm was the main bait.
Eric Searle was third from peg 6 with feeder and pellet.
Well that’s it like I said not your normal match report and very concise it was to.
Ivan Marks Floats.
Looking on facebook the other day some one posed the question “what did you have in youth that you haven’t got now” The answers were varied, some genuine and others which also was true but entered for the wit as opposed to the nostalgic element. Answers such as hair, teeth and youth etc. But reading through the responses a thought occurred to me what would be my response if the question was slightly different. “what did you have in your youth and still wish you still had now”.
Well being an angler of sorts since 1974 when I was still 10, I wished I still had my first rod and reel but alas owing to the handle of the reel snapping off and the metal ferrule of the rod giving up the ghost shortly after, both were consigned to the bin. But I still have some things associated with my fishing youth from the 1970s, these include a couple of catalogues from a Leicester tackle shop called Marks and Marlow which was run by Ivan Marks and Roy Marlow.
For people over a certain age Ivan Marks needs no introduction he was an angling legend a giant among giants. He was the top angler of his age. Ivan’s success on the rivers Welland, Nene, Trent, Witham and Severn was 2nd to none. He won 3 Great Ouse championships in 4 years when attendances for these matches where well in the 100’s. To sum up this guys reputation in his book Ivan Marks on Match Fishing circa 1975 the introduction was done by a reputable angling author called John Goodwin. In the intro he writes “There are a million match anglers in England at the moment. It’s a fair bet that out of all that number there must be thousands who don’t know who the minister of sport is; but you’d be hard pressed to find a single one who hasn’t heard of Ivan Marks”.
As already stated Ivan ran a fishing tackle shop in Leicester with his business partner Roy which at the time was renowned throughout Britain and Europe in particular for the quality of it’s floats.
The Marks and Marlow catalogue main purpose it seemed was to promote The Ivan Marks range of floats. Although in name it is a catalogue but one could owing to its format and content call it a magazine on float fishing. The layout is superb as you can see from the pictures below. A very clear diagram with a detailed description of how the floats should be used.
These where produced in the days of when you entered a tackle shop part of the walls would be covered in floats attached to cards. The Ivan Marks range stood out. Looking at them on the wall you’d appreciated the quality and the workmanship. There were 16 patterns in the range so here goes. The Dart, the Carrot, the Waggler, the pacemaker, the Avon, the Zoomer, the Arrow, the 2mm Antenna, the Reed antenna, the Stick, the Ducker, the All-balsa, the Swinger, the Missile, the Canal antenna, the Javelin. As you can see from the list that there was a float for any situation. And thus one can deduce from this that the design of these floats were well thought out and practical.
one can say with a fair amount of certainty that the Ivan Marks floats made a considerable contribution and were the epitome to what I would personally say was the golden age of float fishing with rod and line. (gave me some slack here). These floats were conceived during the time when pole fishing in this country was in its absolute infancy. This was a time when float fishing with rod and line was the dominant practice amongst the coarse angler. But as we come to the present day, modernity has taken its toll on the humble fishing float.
Now most angling shops through no fault of their own I must add, display their floats in plastic trays or plastic cups. The floats of today are are made of plastic or some poly carbonite and this really does gives a synthetic and unnatural look, an appearance that is stale and dull. But these floats I have to say does what it says on the tin and as the saying goes looks are not everything. But looking at these 2 catalogues it does bring back happy memories and a longing for the past. So going back to the start and answering the question from facebook “What did you have in your youth but haven’t got now”
Waking up on Saturday morning just gone “September 17th” I was greeted by bloody back pain. So when I get back pain there is no way I can sit on my seat box for any length of time. In fact it makes my back worse. So I duly rang our Spielsekretärin fuhrer Alan Bland and reported that I was ringing in sick, thus I missed the last match. The match in question was Watchets Match at Avalon on the road side. All I managed to get was the results and I have to thank young Ian Grabham for that. Cheers Ian.
So it congratulations to Eric Searle who had top weight and to Dave Nash who had top Slivers.
The next match for the Watchet mob is this coming Saturday the 24th at Shiplate on the Main lake.
Todays match ( Saturday 27 August 2022) was held at Trinity Waters and for most people in the club know it is not exactly my favourite venue. Not because it is a crap venue, oh no, it is a well stocked water with an abundance of fish and the majority of anglers love the place. But for me when I fish matches there I normally end up in the bottom 3. I am at a loss of why this is so, perhaps it is indeed down to sheer incompetence of ones certain angling ability. I like to think I approach these matches rationally by thinking things out and having some sort plan but with that am flexible and change things about if needs must by watching what other anglers do. But things don’t seem to work out for me at Trinity. For all my efforts the out come is always pretty lousy. So that’s thinking it rationally, so what about thinking irrationally, illogically or in an unreasonable manner. Well here goes.
It quite possible but more likely implausible that every time I fish at Trinity I simply pass though an invisible cloud of fish repellent. Who knows. But I like think it all down to a guy called Jim Ignatowski. Yep good old Jim. I reckon if not irrationally that there is a celestial governing body and within that governing body is a department that allocates guardian angels. Well that certain fateful day, the day I was assigned mine, the members of the said department were in a jovial mood after a lunch time session down the pub, thought they have a laugh and duly assigned me dear old Mr Ignatowski. Who is Jim Ignatowski I hear you cry. Well for people of over a certain age might just remember a fabulous American sit com called Taxi. Jim Ignatowski is one of the main characters of that show. The character of Jim is that of a left over from the 1960’s drug culture and his most common character trait is his extremely spaced out behaviour as a result of drug misuse. Poor Jim gets things muddled up and some times thinks that weekends are 9 days long “because we had switched to the metric system”.
According to catholic teaching guarding angels influence our will. So called guardian angels cannot directly move the will but they can indirectly influence it through our senses and intellect. This means that guardian angels try to influence every part of our being for the better. Now you got to bear in mind I am lumbered with Jim who appears to sway my train of thought within in a mindset of a spaced out junkie. See the problem.
First on the day and this was achieved in some style was Eric the Carp basher Searle who trounced the rest of the field with a fine performance of 126 lb 04 oz. Eric used the feeder with pellet and wafters (orange). What a fine performance from peg 31. But Eric don’t make a bloody habit of it, gave the rest of mere mortals a chance. LOL.
Second place went to Alan Bland our Spielsekretärin fuhrer with also a very fine performance from peg 16 of 95 lb 03 oz. Yep you guessed it, for people familar to these write ups, Paste. what else. Spielsekretärin fuhrer Bland seems to be hitting a good run of form of late so it’s a very well done to him indeed.
Rod Dodd had a good day from peg 27. It was a slow start for Rob but things gradually picked up which lead to a reasonable catch of 77 lb 06 oz. Pole and worm did the business to earn 3rd place. Rob bagged the top silvers weight.
Young Ian Grabham took 4th from peg 30 with 73 lb . One of his tactics was to fish with pellet up in the water. This guy like Alan Bland seemed to have hit a vein of form so it a hearty congrats to him.
In 5th position we find our special guest star Ian Townsend. Old smiler was once a member of the Watchet club but had to leave owing to work commitments. But Ian did find time to fish today and had a worthy catch of 63 lb 08 oz from peg 24. Ian put his favourite bait of meat on the back burner and opted for paste instead. Things were slow at first but the last one and a half hours did the trick.
Another guy who had a good day on the paste was Paul Smith who put 58 lb 13 oz on the scales from peg 22. Paul finished in 6th.
Stuart Frampton in 7th from peg 21 had an all carp weight of 54 lb 02 oz. Stu had his catch on meat.
My next door neighbour on peg 12 one Mr Ian Ricketts ended in 8th spot with a haul of 38 lb 03 oz. Ian used expander pellet and worm to achieve a weight of 38 lb 03 oz. He also managed to get 2nd highest slivers weight.
Yours truly from peg 10 got 9th placing with a total weight of 33 lb 01 oz. I managed to catch 3 chunky carp which were all caught on paste. I did use the feeder with worm which got me the bulk of my slivers. But unfortunately bites dried up in the 2 hours thus the placing.
Veteran Tony Richards on peg 28 put 32lb 05 oz on the scales, which gained him 10th place. The bait employed was maggot and caster. Tony had one of the biggest carp of the day weighing in at 13 lb 07 oz’s Tony showed his angling skill by landing the beast on a size 18 hook and 2lb hook length.
Placed at 11th was Dave Nash who had corner peg number 6. Dave who was sporting his wide brim somerset cricket hat had a total haul of 28 lb 10 oz. Baits used was maggot , corn and caster.
12th was Phil Dodd who used mostly the feeder and obtained a net of 21 lb 01oz from peg 25. Phil had to leave the match for about an hour to check on his much beloved dogs. Thus could of had a better weight if it wasn’t for his benevolence towards his canine friends.
Bob Pascoe did not have the best of matches and his misfortune provided some entertainment for the rest of gang. This poor guy hooked a carp but lost his top 2 section. As a consequence the pole section decided to go on a merry little journey around the pond courtesy of the hooked carp. Many people who had their feeder rods handy tried casting to it but that was easier said than done as every one who saw this spectacle (and that was everyone fishing) was amazed at the speed of the thing. But there was a happy ending to this episode in that Bob did get his top 2 back. Bob finished in 13th spot from peg 14 and corn was his main bait.
In 14th place was dear old Alan Jenkins He was doing okay on the silvers but like me struggled in the later part of the match. Alan Had one carp but lost another when his pole elastic snapped. Mr Jenkins was pegged next to me on peg 8 and used various baits.
Foot note ……. as you can see I did not finish in the bottom 3 as normal and thinking rationally I think Jim must of had a lie in.
A few weeks ago as some of you might recall certain members of the Watchet team went to fish the semi finals of the Angling Times Supercup at Gold Valley lakes under the guise of Watchet AC red. Almost immediately after the weigh in and when able to do so we buggered of and did not wait for the results. This was a tactic to spare our blushes as we knew we did not do all that well. The angling time on the 9th of August printed the results and the tactic of clearing of as soon as possible proved the correct one.
Owing to the unfishable state of the King Sedgemoor drain the next match is back at Trinity lakes on September 10th.
The laws of the fore gone conclusion was thrown out the window and was replaced by the laws of fluke when at Kia Ora lakes near Cullumpton on April 23rd the Watchet Red team managed one of the biggest sporting upsets of all time by beating the mighty Exeter AC on their own ground in the Angling Times super cup.
After a period of post match trauma and denial, members of the Exeter team regained their senses to congratulate the victors and to inform us that the next round, the semi finals, would be held at Gold Valley Lakes on July 30th.
Gold valley lakes to the members of Watchet Red team had the hall marks of that famous speech to the nation by the then prime minister in 1938 Neville Chamberlain when referring to the Sudeten land as a faraway place of which we Know little or nothing about. The only information that we could gather was from the Gold Valley web page which was some what derisory for an event of this nature. I did ring up the venue and the advice that was given was that the bait was pellet or maggot and keep it simple. OKAY.
Our Herr Kapitan of the team Dave Nash did a splendid job arranging the hiring of transport and the pick up points for the team. The transport in question was a 5 seater van with a storage compartment at the back which in theory would be ample. The plan was that team member Mike Griffiths would do the driving, picking up first Tony Richards in the wee small hours then on to pick up Herr Kapitan, Me at my place at 6:40 am and on to Bawdrip to collect Bob Pascoe. The other member of the team our NHS hero Dave Coley who resides in Bristol made his own way to the venue. So the last to be pick up as mention was Mr Pascoe, but a problem arose, although Bob had the least amount of gear the snag was would we be able to fit it in the back of the van. Well by hook or by crook we managed to achieve it. Although we had to take one of Bobs rods in to the passenger section and I ended up carrying my bait bucket loaded with bags of ground bait and pellets on my lap.
So all loaded up and every one collected it was of we go to the land of our terra incognito, to the land marked on the map of beware here be dragons.
On entering the complex and walking around Gold Valley one had a sense of seriousness and preoccupation. Where us the Watchet team have the mantra “it’s the taking part that counts” one could sense that the other 11 teams taking part had the attitude it’s the win or nothing. Our team was the last to draw. All 6 of us piled in to the on site tackle shop and approached the desk where the match organiser from the Angling times was situated. After checking every ones EA license he looked down at the piece of paper in front of him which had a list of all our names on. What happened next took most of us by surprise he simply went down the list and just wrote the peg numbers next to our names. This was far from what we were used to by drawing peg numbers out from the bag. We presumed that the draw was done before hand and that the guy had a good memory!
Well next to my name he wrote the number 69, so that was my home for the day. On arriving at my peg I was greeted by a concrete slab instead of the normal grassy bank or wooden pallet. This kind of summed it up really, To be perfectly honest I did not know what to expect visiting Gold Valley for the first time. I would say it was more urban than rustic than I expected. We had the joy of 2 hours of set up time, which was ample. The team had in mind that according to the information obtained that the depth would be depending where you were pegged would be between 4 and 8 foot. On plumbing I just managed about 2 and 1/2 foot. Talking to the guys either side the conversation was basically the same.
Me “fish this place often ?”
Other angler “yea on average twice a week”
So was up against it then.
20 minutes before the start I got a visit from Mike Griffiths. “you wouldn’t believe it there’s a guy up from you who got 8 nets ready and there another bloke whose got one of them 4 grand poles from Diawa”. Well that just confirmed it That Watchet Red Team were the humble pond dwellers amid the ocean titans of the angling world.
The hooter sounded the start and within a few minutes some anglers on the far bank was having their pole elastics tested. I did not have my first fish until 25 minutes in which was a chunky F1. But I must admit this was followed by much splashing from the pegs on either side. I was definitely on the slippery slope to a right old tonking. Well to use a phrase “to cut a long story short” come the weigh in the anglers each side of me both had 30 lb each and yours truly weighed in 15 lb 09 oz.
The results of the other members were
Bob Pascoe 51 lb
Dave Coley 39 lb
Tony Richards 20 lb
Dave Nash 14 lb
Mike Griffiths 9 lb
The only placing in a section we know off was Bob who thought he had 6th section.
Once we were all weighed in and made our way back to the car park it was decided to pack the van and depart the place as quickly as possible to spare our blushes. Surprisingly there was no mention anywhere in the angling press or indeed on social media of the match results. Which seemed odd seeing it was the Angling Times Super cup semi final south. But still do the members of Watchet Red team care. “I think not”. It was the taking part that counted.
Summerhayes Saturday August 6th.
Saturday 6th August saw the gang back in action, this time Summerhayes was the place of contest and it is great to report that the fish on Sellecks lake was on the whole most obliging.
Champion for the day was Nigel Coram on peg 5. Good old Nige amassed a very impressive weight indeed of 125 lb 04 oz. Now when asked about the bait which was responsible for this haul. The answer was “paste, banana and strawberry” However it wasn’t all plain sailing as poor Mr Coram broke his number 5 section on his pole. Ouch expensive.
Another fine weight was obtained for 2nd place. Ian Grabham managed to put on the scales 122 lb 06 oz. Young Grabham mostly fished the margins with paste, corn and meat . Fishing top 2 plus 2 also. So it a well done to Ian who had peg 18.
Fishing corner peg 23 Spielsekretärin fuhrer Alan Bland broke the ton barrier with 102 lb. This was achieved by paste fishing four plus two.
Eric Searle found himself in 4th with another cracking weight of 93lb 02 oz from peg 15. Method feeder with pellet was mostly used.
On peg 2 we find Dave Nash who normally bags up on silvers but today was different as the vast bulk of his catch was Carp. His total weight was a not to be sniffed at 73 lb 07 oz. All down the edge with sweetcorn and maggot for 5th.
Good old Bob Pascoe was in at number 6 from peg 12 for a bag of 48 lb 12 oz. Bob as usual kept things simple, maggot and not far out was the tactics.
Yours truly had a good day on peg 14 for an outstanding weight of 48 lb 11 oz. (well for me it is). Method feeder with pellet and pole with corn and meat in the margins gave me 7th spot.
In the life of Rob Dodd he had a shite day as this match fishing guru normally dwells in the top four of the results table. But this time he had to mingle with us also rans. Finishing in at number 8 Rob just used the maggot and pole. His haul was 44 lb 10 oz from peg 13.
Mike Griffiths drew out peg 5 and ended in 9th position with a weight of 44 lb. Bait was maggot and corn on the pole.
10th placing was Tony Richards on peg 21. Tony used top 2 with maggot for a catch of 33 lb 04 oz.
Alan Jenkins was in the position of 11th from peg 11. Alan used maggot and pole and complained of the amount of carp he had hooked but lost. If only mate. His weight was 25 lb 02 oz.
The next match for the Watchet is next week August 13th at Avalon on the roadside bank.
The venue for the next match for that rag bag collection of cut throats, bandits, hustlers, and crooks who shelter under the name of Watchet angling match group was down to be the Tile lake at the Sedges fishery. But alas this wasn’t as straight forward as it seemed, for the hot weather had taken it’s toll on poor old Tile lake, the oxygen level was being depleted at a fair old rate and it was feared by the owner Jamie Cook that there was a big possibility of fish loss. As a precaution there has been no fishing on Tile lake what so ever since Tuesday. Come the Thursday a notice was put out on social media that the evening match that day was postponed because of the falling oxygen levels. Alarm bells started to sound in the Watchet Angling camp. Rumours started to spread about the up and coming fixture. “The match might be switched to brick lake, or another venue or cancelled altogether”. Once again social media was utilized and the word was sent out by our great Spielsekretärin fuhrer Alan Bland on Thursday that a decision would be announced early Friday afternoon.
So with bated breath and great anticipation the Watchet gang waited for our great leader to take to the podium. The time had arrived and with a fanfare of trumpets and drums our great Spielsekretärin fuhrer proclaimed that Jamie cook, by fine tuning and tweaking against the onslaught of nature had turned things around and managed to restore the oxygen levels of Tile lake to a point where fishing was once again possible. Thus Tile once again it was.
But it does ponder the question why does hot weather have such a detrimental effect on lakes and ponds in terms of oxygen levels. Well here goes.
The life cycle of any pond can be broken down into two stages
Stage 1, during this stage organic matter from plants,birds, animals, fish and other debris begin to accumulate on the bottom of the pond. It is this organic matter that starts to decay and it is this decaying process that devours the oxygen content in the bottom layer. However when this happens it is not all doom and gloom. Wind plays a very crucial part in the health of ponds by inducing the action of mixing. Wind causes a under tow which in turns blends the upper and lower level of lake/pond together which in turn distributes oxygen evenly throughout.
Stage 2 But cometh the hot weather and things start to break down. The culprit is a condition called stratification. This beastie happens when hot summer sun warms up the upper layer of the lake. Now the warmer the water the less dense it becomes ie it becomes much lighter than the colder water in the bottom part. As the sun warms the upper layers even more, the temperature difference between the upper and lower layer becomes more wide. So in layman terms you have very light water at the top part and very heavy water at the bottom part. Now once the temperature difference between these layers reach a certain point a thermocline is created.
A thermocline is the transition layer between the warmer water at the surface and the much colder water at the bottom. In the thermocline the temperature decreases rapidly from the upper layer to the much colder deeper water. Regardless of wind action when the thermocline is created the upper and lower layers can not mix. Now as already described deoxygenation takes place in the lower layer through decaying matter and this carries on throughout. However because there is now no mixing with the upper layer which has more oxygen, the bottom part of the lake because of continuing deoxygenation becomes more or less a dead zone. As a consequence the fish move up to the upper layers and start to deplete the oxygen level at the surface and that is when the problem occurs.
Well amid the hot weather the match was fished. First on the day was last time out winner ( I hope he ain’t going to make an habit of it) Stuart Frampton from peg 33 who had 85 lb 10 oz. Stuart just fished the margin to his left with meat and worm.
Rob Dodd pulled out the hat peg 37 which was also the goldern peg. Fishing pole with maggot over groundbait Rob achieved a weight of 85 lb 09 oz but unfortunately was pipped from grabbing the goldern peg money by an ounce.
Bob Pascoe in third on peg 29, the so called silvers Guru appeared to jump over to the dark side as he had a Carp net of 58 lb 06 oz and a total overall of 71 lb. Pole and maggot was employed.
Alan Bland our Spielsekretärin fuhrer (look up Spielsekretärin if you must It’s German) used mostly paste to gain fourth spot and a weight 65 lb 09 oz from peg 38.
Believe or not but Eric Searle our resident carp basher actually found himself in unfamiliar territory but having the top silvers net. Altogether Eric had a total weight of 62 lb 03 oz to get fifth from peg 23. Tactics used was feeder in which he had 3 carp but Eric caught the bulk of his fish fishing top 2 plus 3 with meat.
In Sixth spot we find Ian Grabham. Corner peg 21 was his home for the day. Ian put on the scales 57 lb 05 oz. Meat and paste down the edge seemed to work for Mr Grabham.
Seventh was Nigel Coram on peg 7. Nigel who did not have the best of starts to the season faired better to day. Paste was used to catch a total weight of 52 lb 04 oz.
NHS hero Dave Colley pulled out corner peg 40. Fishing not all that far out using wafter pellets got him a total of 51 lb 11 oz, to finish 8th.
Number nine was Ian Ricketts on peg 27. Feeder to the Island with pellet got him a weight of 46 lb 09 oz.
Paul Smith had a weight of 44 lb 01 oz obtained by fishing 13 meters with maggot and worm. Paul had peg 36 and was 10th.
Veteran Tony Richards was in at number 11. Tony did not have his normal number of fish but made up for it in quantity. Maggot and pole was used for a weight of 36 lb 01 oz from peg 39.
Mike Griffiths who had peg 32 next to me struggled through out and put on the scales 21 lb 07 oz. Maggot and corn was mostly used. He did manage to land a carp right on the whistle. Mike finished in 12th spot.
Phil Dodd ended up in 13th with a weight of 19 lb 10 oz from peg 25. Phil fished feeder to the island with single maggot.
Sporting a Somerset cricket hat Dave Nash on peg 22 used the waggler and maggot approach to land a total of 18 lb 11 oz for a finishing place of 14 th.
In 15th, well it me yours truly who managed a haul of 17 lb 11 oz from corner peg 31. Yea it looked very attractive indeed. Plenty of margin to fish to, a bush to my left, an aerator in castable distance and a tree about 20 yards to my right. Just one problem the fish did not seem to like it. Most of my feeble weight came on the feeder with pellet casting right under the tree to the right. Oh well always next time.
Poor Alan Jenkins in 16th fished opposite me in corner swim 30. Alan ended up with a total of 14 lb 07 oz by using mostly chopped worm and meat on the pole. But to be fair Alans swim was blighted by surface scum making things most difficult.
Last but not least in at 17 was a guy I had not seen since my school days and for 2 years we were in the same class together at Sydenham Comprehensive. We also fished for the Bridgwater juniors way back in the 1970’s. Chris Williams unfortunately just managed an all carp catch of just 14 lb 04 oz all obtained from the margins with meat from peg 25.
The next match for Watchet angling is at Summerhayes in 3 weeks time lake to be decided.
The reason for people wanting to go fishing has been debated at length a great many times, and there has been much pontification about it. In this connection it has been suggested that by taking folk away from the stress of modernity and the grime of the concrete jungle into the fresh air the cost of the National Health Service has been reduced. All this may be true or otherwise but one can persume that people go because they enjoy it.
One may be inclined to feel that formerly anglers had a clear idea about the pleasure of angling and that associations were organised mainly from this point of view.
Often there is an appearance that a keepnet stuffed with fish is always synonymous with satisfactory fishing, and a blank means failure. It is not true. Many of the happiest days have been spent with a very modest catch. To be perfect, the day needs something more than just the catching of fish. Just what is required is governed by the outlook and temperament of the individual.
To me fishing is a good excuse to be in the countryside and to enjoy what it has to offer in terms of its flora and fauna. Others may look for more. The companionship of friends or chance acquaintance add so much to the day.
Now it seems that an intensity and seriousness is creeping from a certain standpoint. It is probable
the influence of contest fishing has some thing to do with this. The pleasure and excitement which fishing matches bring is obvious and no one would deny them it. The participation of fishing a match is an opportunity to pit ones skills against other anglers and to bring forth the competitive spirit and of course the friendship and banter. There is, however, a feeling that the availability of large prizes and pools which has permeated the match scene has taken away a chunk of relaxed ambience from certain types of matches. The need to win as opposed to, like to win, has created in some respect an air of tension. This is far removed from the older concept of the ‘contemplative man’s sport’. I know it take allsorts to make a world but I take my cue from that old adage of ‘it’s not the winning that counts but the taking part’ this is just as well as my sedate attitude to my match fishing results has been put to the test many times. The last match (read on) is no exception. Thus my tranquil and placid frame of mind just leads me to say “who gives a toss there is always next time”.
Match fished at Shiplate Main Lake on July 2nd.
Good old Stuart Frampton had a shocker of a match last time out on the canal lake at the Sedges but made up for that this time by getting top spot from peg 15. Fishing to the reeds to his left with feeder and once again and in his own words the bait used was “all sorts”
Second place went to veteran silvers man Dave Nash. Dave only had a carp weight of 16 lb 13oz hence the bulk of his net was made up with a not to be sniffed at silvers haul of 37 lb 07oz. Thus he had a good pay out for coming 2nd in the match and having top sliver weight. Now Mr Nash has no excuse for not getting a hair cut else he’s going to end up looking like Cousin It from the Adams Family.
Carp basher extraordinaire, one Eric Searle got third spot with 49 lb 9 oz from peg 14 b. Eric kept things nice and simple with feeder and pellet.
Alan Bland had the highest weight on the near bank with 33 lb 15 oz. Guess what the bait was, yep that’s right his beloved paste.
Ian Grabham from peg 14 also followed in Mr Blands foot steps and used paste to gain 5th spot with 33lb 01 oz.
Rob Dodd found himself in strange territory by not catching a carp. But as usual put in a good showing by having 2nd top weight in the silvers which got him in at number 6. He fished the margins to his right with corn.
In at number 7 we find Ian Ricketts. Ian just had one carp, but what a cracker coming in at 16 lb 03 oz. Ian used mostly worm and pellet as bait.
Dave Colley who took my pound fished peg 12 with mostly pellet and feeder and obtained a weight of 23 lb 05 oz for 8th.
On peg 1 we had Tony Richards who had an all silvers haul of 21 lb 11 oz and with that finished in 9th.
Paul Smith paid me a visit 2 hours in to the match and reported that he was struggling but managed to redeem himself some what with an all silvers weight of just a tad over 20 lb for 10th placing.
In 11th place we have the one and only Bob Pascoe who mostly fished maggot from peg 4 and put 16 lb 04 oz on the scales.
When I visited dear old Alan Jenkins more or less straight away after the match on my way to the car park, the first thing he said “I’ve got no carp” Well Alan you are not alone in fact that makes 6 of us all together. Alan using chopped worm and caster from peg 3 for a haul of 10 lb 04 oz.
Well as logic dictates some one has to have the lowest weight and alas it was yours truly. With what can only be describe as a meagre and somewhat feeble catch of 5 lb 10 oz from peg 8. I fished the margins to my left to a fence which partly went into the water. I did hook 2 carp but typical the fore mentioned fence proved my undoing and became a place of escape for these hooked beasties. But most of the time as you can guess my swim was it seems devoid of fish. That is until the weighing in gang enters my swim armed with clip board, scales, tripod, weigh sling and weigh mat. The usual words were uttered with a mixture of amusement and sarcasm” here’s the winner” “top peg this” etc, etc. The question was asked “whereabouts did you fish Pete?” I pointed to the left hand margin and to my surprise and annoyance, there they where swirling, bubbling, showing tails and doing everything possible to make their presence known. It appeared it was the fish equivalent to showing the finger. Little bastards.
Poor Nigel Coram had a torrid time by all accounts and just ended up with the dreaded DNWI next to his name.
The next match will be on July 16th at the Sedges on Tile lake. May I recommend the breakfast.
Way back in the very early 1990’s, 1993 to be exact yours truly was residing down in Plymouth. I was, believe it or not a mature student at the city’s university. I was living in student digs which was shared by 5 other students. It was a rather large house and thus accommodated all 6 of us students quite comfortably. Plus there was a sizable common room with a telly. Now being university students and thus in theory would of reached a certain level of decorum, a roster was set up for the purpose of who had charge over what TV channel to watch on each day. It was a Saturday the 15th of May 1993. The time was roughly 7:30pm and according to the roster I had command of the channels. There was only two of us in the house that day, being a weekend most of the occupants went home or stayed some where else. But this particular day the only 2 inhabitants was me and a Cypriot student called Photus Paranados.
Dear old Photos was a intelligent complex, polite decent chap but his character was some what tainted by the way he was easily agitated. This said day yours truly is sat in the common room getting ready to watch a programe on ITV called The Bill. Enters Photus who one could say was in a state of excitement.
“pete don’t forget at 8 is the eurovision song contest”
“Well you’re going to watch it”
“Photus people in this country would rather watch the bloody test card then watch that crap”
Photus now started to show symptons of stress
“pete you can’t be serious everyone watches the eurovision song contest”
“well I don’t and I am going to watch The Bill”
Photus went into great detail that the eurovision song contest was part of the fabric of cypriot and greek culture and as a consequence he had invited about 15 of his mates around. (hence the stress)
“photus the only way you’re going to get me to turn over channels is for you to go and get me fish and chips”
” I promise, you get me my fish and chips and I will relinquish the control of the TV over to you”
He just stared at me for a bit and within an instant of he went and a few seconds later he was closing the front door behind him.
Minutes had passed the door bell rang, it had started, in they came the Cypriot Greek society were turning up in their twos and threes. Each one had brought food and drink and made their way to the common room( where I hasten to add the TV was now showing the appropriate channel ). The invites had nestle down on the sofa, chairs, puffies and even the floor ready for Eurovision 93.
Photus arrived back, entered the room looked at the TV, acknowledged the fact that the correct channel was now showing and duly gave me my fish and chips. The next few hours for me was a time time of intrigue and bewilderment. The food and spirit bottles was a plenty and so was pen and paper for each one saw the need to take notes on each act. They spoke in their native tongue which to me sounded like a mixture of Russian, someone gargling boiling water and bird song. The strange language was interrupted every so often by English when one would ask me my opinion of the present performance. My answer was duly noted then written down. I lasted as long as I could and decided to have an enforced early night. I got up and made for the door.
“pete don’t you want to see the results”
“no not really”
The next day being Sunday I decided to go for a stroll to Plymouth Hoe and try to make sense of the previous evening. Photus decided to join me. We took a short cut through Beaumont Park. This is a park like any other park, a play area in one corner for the kiddies, trees through out which got the odd visit by a squirrel, people sat in small groups chatting laughing and chilling. In all Beaumont park is just a normal park by any means.
So there we are just walking through this nondescript park, without warning Photus places his hand on my shoulder which was an indication to stop. I looked at Photus who was looking all around in a completely baffled state. He had all the characteristics of some one who was totally dumbfounded.
I kept looking at him and trying to comprehend Photus’es strange behaviour. He looked at the trees and all around in a 360 movement looking mainly at the ground.
“Pete the grass”
“what about the grass”
“were does it come from?”
(Oh bloody hell eurovision and now this)
“Photus it is natually occurring”
“NO NO NO some one must of put it there”
“Don’t be blasphemous”
“all right mother nature”
“what do you mean mother nature whose that”
Yes the conversation for me was becoming rather painful. Photus after a short while had calmed down and returned to a less flustered state. He gained his composure and started to explain that in his native Cyprus owing to the semi arid climate that the only grass there was, was in front of posh hotels and important buildings and it was put there by some one ie landscapers and gardeners etc.
Images of what Cyprus could be like started to appear in my mind like the mid west dust bowl of America in the 1930’s and the planet Mars.
But I wonder what dear old Photus would of made of todays venue fished by the mish mash of the angling world, Watchet angling club. The canal Lake at The Sedges. It is a place where greenery takes centre stage and is pleasing to the eye. Nature has taken on itself to daub it with reeds, bushes and grass banks, this is a complete contradiction of your typical muddy carp puddle. It’s a place where one can go fishing and enjoy the idyllic surroundings and not really care about the catch. Well that’s my humble opinion and after the match views of other anglers might be some what contrasting.
The weather had changed from previous days. It had become much cooler and there was a few rain showers. A good turnout of 16 anglers saw a mixed bag of results.
Alan bland our beloved match secretary found himself at number one with an all carp net of 33 lb 14 oz. Mr Bland who occupied the corner swim opposite the car park peg 64, fished paste to his left. Good on yer Alan it’s about time you got top spot.
Second went to Ian Grabham who from peg 45 used mostly corn, pellet and paste and managed an haul of 28 lb 03 oz.
In third was, man about the local match scene Rob Dodd. He fished mostly to his left margin with maggot and pellet over ground bait for a weight of 26 lb 01 oz. Peg 61 was the one he pulled out the hat.
Fourth was yours truly on corner peg 53. It was one big struggle until I had a golden period with two hours to go and caught five carp. Maggot was the bait over pellet. Most fish came from fishing at 10 o’clock to the Island. It was a weight of 19 lb 01 oz for me. Not last brilliant!
Eric Searle with a net of 18 lb 04 oz got 5th from peg 43. He used pellet both on pole and feeder.
Veteran Tony Richards on car park peg 41 put 17 lb on the scales for 6th, double maggot at 2 plus 3 straight out on the pole was employed.
Another veteran Bob Pascoe who found himself on peg 58 used maggot only on the pole to tempt a weight of 12 lb 05 oz. Bob was 7th.
Number 8 was Dave Nash who fished opposite me on peg 52. Dave had an all total weight of 11 lb but congrats to him for bagging the top silvers weight of 8 lb. Caster and maggot on the pole was the method.
9th place was Mike Griffiths this gentleman on peg 60 managed a total of 10 lb 12 oz. Mike used pole maggot and caster.
At number 10 was Ian Ricketts who just managed to get into double figures with 10 lb 09 oz from peg 63. Hard pellet and maggot on the pole was used.
11th spot was happy go lucky Alan Jenkins. Alan on peg 59 eeked out a net of 9 lb 10 oz. Alan employed a variety of baits on the pole.
Paul Smith in at 12 struggled of of the golden peg 47 and did not have his first bite until three and a half hours in to the match. Pole and worm got him out of trouble for a weight of 7 lb 03 oz.
Laid back Phil Dodd from Car park swim number 42 caught 6 lb 09 oz. Phil used the good old waggler and maggot for 13th place.
Dave Colley in at 14th really struggled and just had 2 fish for 5 lb 07 oz, both caught on corn. Peg 49 was his home for the day.
15th spot was Stuart Frampton from peg 62 for a weight of 3 lb 14 oz. It was a bit of alsorts in terms of bait to try and get them going.
Poor Nigel Coram had a torrid time and got the wooden spoon from peg 51. Nigel ended up with 2 lb 02 oz. One has to feel sorry for this guy as the last match saw his swim ruined by some twat (see last post) and as a consequence came 2nd last. But mate there is always next time.
A word of note, some of us before the match had breakfeast at the cafe on site and I must say and this was not just my opinion but the food was fantastic. Trust me it was well worth the money. So it’s hats of to Denise and Jamie. A big well done.
In other developments Bridgwater Angling Association has decided to close Dunwear and Combwich ponds for the time being because of fish spawning. I will keep you guys up dated.
The next match is at Shiplate main lake on July 2nd so see you there.
James Hopwood Jeans is a man most people would probably never heard of, one can say here he is definitely not a house hold name. But lets not take any credit away from dear old James who passed away back in 1946, for James or should I say Sir James to give him his proper title was in his day a very outstanding person in his field. He was a guy that could be termed a genius. He was a professor in applied mathematics at Cambridge and Princeton. He made important contributions in many areas of physics including quantum theory and the theory of radiation and stellar evolution. But he was known among his followers and acolytes for a saying that represents the density of Stars in the cosmos “put 3 grains of sand in a vast cathedral, and the cathedral will be more closely packed with sand than space is with stars” Now fishing Saturday’s match at Trinity Waters this saying has certain overtones to the amount of feeding fish in my swim. Hence put 3 grains of sand in a vast cathedral and the cathedral will be more closely packed with sand than my swim is with feeding fish.
Trinity Waters Woodlands lake is as the saying goes is marmite. You either like or you don’t and I am afraid that I loiter in the latter camp. All respect to the owners and this is not to slag of the venue , for me to do this would be absolutely wrong, indeed such actions would enter the realms of total fabrication. No this venue to me in relation to catching fish is a total enigma. It is not as though when one enters ones peg that yours truly plays loud rock music or tests out the latest model of pneumatic drill or invites The London philharmonic Orchestra along for a rehearsal. No I must simply put it down to that I am either absolutely crap at this venue, a theory which I like to sweep under the carpet and keep it there, or that the fish some how have a sense of my presence (not through lack of hygiene I can well assure you) and simply bugger of to take up residence in other pegs thus leaving my swim with the same density of feeding fish as already been described. But never mind the match fished by the Watchet Angling on Saturday June 4th and taking me out of the equation produced some very good weights especially where silvers were concerned.
It was as we say in angling terms “double bubble” that of top weight overall and top Silvers for the illustrious Rob Dodd. Rob had an outstanding bag of silvers which tallied to a weight of 49 lb 10 oz added with a carp haul of 30 lb 04 oz he managed to put on the scales 79 lb 14 oz from peg 8. Fishing mostly straight out on the pole it was corn and maggot over ground bait. So it’s a hearty well done to him.
Second went to recent newcomer Stuart Frampton. Stu had corner peg number 6 and caught a reasonable weight of 68 lb. Within his catch was a 3lb tench, a perch of 1 lb 10 oz and a bream of 3 lb 09 oz. His tactic was to fish down the edge to his right with corn.
Eric Searle in third had peg 12 and every time I looked up over towards where he was fishing he seemed just to be sitting there with his hands in his pockets and looking like he was having a kip. But looks can be deceptive and this was certainly the case with Eric who weighed in 44 lb 09 oz. Pellet and feeder was employed.
Ian Grabham got 4th spot from peg 28. Fishing mostly down the edge with corn and meat he managed to get a weight of 35 lb 10 oz. But it was not plain sailing as he struggled in the first part of the match.
Our NHS hero Dave Colley found himself in fifth with a haul of 33 lb 06 oz. From peg 14 Dave was constantly reminded by a few other match anglers near by, that there was a snag to his left. This was all done in the name of sarcasm, as poor Dave found out several times to his cost. Pole with maggot and corn was Dave’s plan of attack.
Paul Smith in 6th had a middling sort of day from peg 30 for catch of 26 lb 03 oz. This was achieved by pole with mostly soft pellet, corn and maggot.
7th was Ian Ricketts, fishing on peg 27 and like the other Ian (Ian Grabham) struggled in the first part but redeemed himself later on by ending up with 22 lb 14 oz. Ian used paste to tempt his carp.
Good old Alan Jenkins grabbed position number 8 on peg 25 with 21 lb 09 oz. When asked about methods and bait his reply was quite simple “allsorts”. Fair enough thanks Bertie Basset.
In at number 10 is yours truly with 17 lb 7oz from peg 21. Now the weight of 17 lb 07 oz I must admit is shall we say a bit of a facade a deception of sorts in terms of the sport that was had. In all I had a total of 4 fish. At 1:30 with just 14oz in the net and fishing the margins to my left with pellet the float plunges under, I strike, the elastic storms out and the carp makes a b line to my next door neighbours swim that of Mr Nigel Coram where it done its upmost best to cause as much commotion and mayhem as possible, and it did a pretty good job in all. After what seemed an age I managed to get it to the net. As soon as the fish was about to be scooped up, BANG the pole snaps, the fish still on the hook then decided to take refuge under one of my keep nets. A plea for a landing net went out and the well mannered Nigel Coram came to the rescue and gave me his. The beast was finally landed, but that was it. After that there was no more bites for me or poor old Nigel. The foul hooked carp came to 16 lb 9 oz. This was my get out of jail card, a sheer fluke.
Alan Bland was pegged on number 17 and came 11th. Lack of bites was the main problem for Alan but fishing the margins with meat he managed to land 2 carp in the last half hour to get a weight of 17 lb
Laid back angler Phil Dodd had most of his action in the last part of the match when he landed 3 nice skimmers on the feeder with maggot. From peg 24 Phil’s net came to 14 lb 11 oz.
Veteran angler Tony Richards drew out peg 31 and managed in the end 14 lb 01 oz for 13th. Tony used the pole with maggot, caster and bread punch.
The unfortunate Nigel Coram who was pegged next to me on peg 22 had an all silvers bag of 12lb 04 oz obtained by fishing the pole with a variety of baits. Remember because of a certain episode in the match poor Nigel couldn’t buy a bite after 1:30. Sorry mate.
Bob Pascoe on peg 10 must of had at least 150 fish, but match fishing is not a numbers game but a weights game and owing to the size of fish Bob good effort could only muster 10 lb, all from pole and maggot.
The next match is at the Sedges on the Canal Lake on June 18th so until then it is tight lines from Pete the Fluke.
Eleven members of the Watchet Angling gang decided to ply their so called match fishing skills on Brick lake at the Sedges Fishery on Saturday 21st in the year of our lord 2000 and 22. The weather was very accommodating warm with little wind. The atmosphere was jovial and jolly with the usual abundance of banter being dished out and the competitive spirit was very much alive.
Carp basher extraordinaire One Eric Searle managed to occupy top spot from corner peg 11. Eric did not do any thing complicated and caught the majority of his haul on feeder and worm. Eric’s all carp catch came to a tidy total of 86 lb 10 oz. So it is a hearty congrats to him.
Rob Dodd fished straight out in front of him at a comfortable 9 meters on the pole to nab top silvers of 29 lb 02 oz plus a carp weight 49 lb 14 oz for a grand total of 79 lb. The bait was double red which was fished over ground bait. Rob pulled peg 13 out of the hat.
Robs dad Phil got 3rd spot. If there was ever a prize for being Britains most laid back angler surely he should get first prize. It appears that Mr Dodd senior employed his most favoured approach that of feeder and dead maggot. From peg 16 Phil put on the scales 41 lb 03 oz, Phil also got 2nd silvers.
Paul Smith who was next to me on my left had another corner swim, peg 10. Paul fished the feeder and pole at varying distances with mostly pellet. Paul put on the sacles 38 lb 15 oz. Paul vented a slight fustration in the car park before the match started, the reason being was that the match before some one paid in to the pools (which Mr Smith is the guardian of) some american coins instead of proper money and managed to have gotten away with it, this left poor Paul short out of pocket. Hey mate try them on the coffee machine at work.
5th placed was Pawlett ponds bailiff Nigel Coram, Nige on peg 6 bagged a weight of 34 lb 07 oz with pole and corn.
Much beloved match secretary Alan Bland had peg 12 and struggled most of the match but managed to bank three hefty carp and some bits of silvers for an end weight of 31 lb 03 oz. Paste was mostly used to get 6th place.
7th place went to Dave Nash the silvers maestro who used pole and waggler with caster and maggot. Mr Nash obtained a weight of 27 lb from peg 7. Dave got 3rd place in the silvers.
Yours truly on peg 9 got 8th spot. Up until 30 minutes to go I just had one small skimmer and that was it. But the last half hour I got 2 carp and 3 descent sized skimmers just fishing in the margins to my left with meat on the hook. This took my tally up to 25 lb 12 oz. Thanks to the last half hour I managed to ward of utter disaster.
Tony Richards the bee man had an all silvers bag of 21 lb 10 oz. From peg 14 Tony started of on bread but then switched to maggot. Fishing the pole throughout.
In 10th was Alan the tackle shop Jenkins. Alan who drew out peg 8 got a weight of 18 lb 2oz, He had 2 carp, one on tip and pellet and the other was on pole and maggot.
Last but not least and that is for sure is every ones friend Bob Pascoe. This veteran angler had an all silvers catch of 17 lb 12 oz which was tempted on the pole with meat.
The History of Screech Owl Ponds
The history of Screech Owl ponds is difficult to assess. Rumour, and vague stories handed down , suggest that it was a place of consequence for fishing even before Dunwear. The brick works long since been demolished, appeared to have been amongst the older established installations of that kind. There fore many of the ponds must have been dug out very long ago. In spite of the comparative antiquity, excavations for clay continued off and on up until about the 1940’s, and much of the water space was created during the period between the two world wars. The Orchard pond which is on the west side of the venue was dug in the 1920’s.
Some of the stories told by older angler and had since been passed down were about large carp, but how large did not appear. None of these accounts suggested any degree of popularity. Even in the 1920’s there was only a small coterie who held the fishing in great favour. It was possible to visit Screech Owl day after day without meeting another fisherman. When the brick works were in operation the water levels were kept much lower than they are now and there were pathways through all the reed beds. This with the solitude made it a fascinating to explore and find unknown ponds. It was not until the 1970’s that the place became popular.
During the 1920’s and up to the 1930’s the only freshwater fish known in these ponds were roach and carp. Both suffered from over population and were numerous with low average size. There were places where the carp might be caught remarkably easily. Catches of over twenty in a day were quite possible but none could be over three pounds-most much less. Most of the roach would have been about two ounces, with a very occasional half pounder from one of the smaller ponds. However it was a very pleasant place to spend a days fishing.
In the 1940’s the drainage authorities seemed to adopt a new policy of linking ponds with rhines. A channel was cut to join the Screech Owl ponds with the rhine running along the south side. This rhine passed under the railway to meet the one following along the canal to wide waters. It contained a remarkable variety of fish. It may be assumed that during the floods these fish found their way in to the ponds because not much later the stocks were greatly augmented by tench, pike, perch and later bream, and some rudd also appeared. The tench multiplied and gave great sport, with fine catches. This was apparent soon after the war and it was then that Screech Owl started getting notice by a small band of anglers which lead to a slow growth to popularity. This invasion of new species had some effect on the carp population. Rapidly they diminished in number, and began to grow larger. Better and better fish were taken until it seemed that a specimen carp water was developing. However, it appears that their place had been taken by bream.
Around about the time of the arrival of the new species a very big shoal of mullet found their way in via one of the rhines which joins the river Parrett. They soon scattered widely over the ponds and were at times clearly visible. They were a great provocation to some of the anglers because they proved uncatchable. They might be seen to be feeding on the small prawns which had also invaded the water but invariably these failed as bait on the hook.
It was not long after the war that the brick works went out of use, and the whole area was sold to become a bird sanctuary. Then Bridgwater angling secured proper fishing rights. It was a satisfactory arrangement lasting until the death of the owner. Afterwards the venue was acquired by the Somerset County Council and was designated a nature reserve in accordance with the appropriate laws. These required priority to be given to conservation of wild life. It had been decided that the region was eminently suited for the purpose. The continuation of fishing was acceptable and it was possible to rent part of the bank space for anglers. but alas continuation of renting bank space was terminated during the mid 2010’s and thus Screech Owl is no longer a venue to fish.
The next match for the Watchet Club is at Trinity Waters on saturday the 4th of June.
The bricks and tiles was until well in to the mid 20th century an industry of quite traditional significance around Bridgwater and Highbridge. Excavations for the necessary clay created very many ponds in the district. In the earlier stages of the activity when digging was done by hand they tended to be small in the area, but with the coming of more sophisticated machinery they were much larger and latterly some covered as much as 20 acres. Having a favourable depth of about 5 to 7 ft, and a considerable enrichment from the surrounding agriculture land, nearly all became good fisheries. With the exception of a few such as Dunwear and Screech owl they were, for many years, not held in high esteem by the anglers. Most were disregarded, probably because so much other fishing was available and the demand so very modest. It is only with the growth of the popularity of angling that their potentialities were realised. Their value is further increased by their being so much less vulnerable to pollution than the other waters.
The place of the Dunwear ponds in the affairs of the Bridgwater angling Association has in previous post has been asserted. It was here where it all started, and all down the years there have been a panorama of its history. The leading personalities of each decade made their appearance at the ‘ponds’. Over so much of the time Dunwear was the most frequented of all the venues on the Bridgwater license, and the ‘regulars’ could be expected in their favourite places throughout each season. It was accepted that they might monopolise these swims, and it was quite customary to refer to ‘Watkins swim’ or ‘Ran hooks swim’ and so on. It was so for very many years. The main interest centered around the specimen contests, and competition for the capture of the largest carp was often intense.
Of all the ponds at Dunwear, the North and middle ponds must be the oldest. The middle pond is now the overgrown pond located behind the portaloo just after you enter the gate to get to North pond on your left. They were matured waters at the time Bridgwater Angling association was founded. Alas the date at which these were dug is not known, but it is more likely to be some time in the 1800’s.
There is a mystery about how these ponds acquired their fish stocks. It is very likely that those of Dunwear came from the river Parrett in the first place. Certainly, there was a rumour that they were taken from the river at Oath, but just who carried out the transportation is lost in obscurity.
Like many other disused clay pits the ‘ponds’ contained a fairly wide variety of fish. What ever the source of the original stocks may have been, much has been planted by the Association over a long time. During the years, carp, tench, roach, rudd, pike, perch, bream and even an occasional chub have been taken. In the early years a few bream were introduced to the North pond. The original fish soon disappeared, but a limited number of skimmers remained for quite 30 seasons.
By and large, carp have been the main attraction. For very long they were all of the original ‘wild’ or indigenous variety. These carp had a very modest average size and there is no recollection of a double figure specimen having appeared in the former days.
In about 1950 Ray Perrett brought about the introduction of some fast growing ‘mirrors or what was known then as continental carp-king carp he called them. As in or other places, this wrought an entirely new conception of what a specimen carp had to be. At Dunwear during the 1970’s carp over 20 lb became quite usual.
There is no idea just when the perch were not present in the ponds, but as so frequently happens with these fish, stocks fluctuated in both quality and quantity. There have been times of abundance, and some very creditable size fish. They have given a volume of pleasure to many people and sometimes come as a welcome relief from the tedium of pursuing unresponsive carp.
It might have been extraordinary if roach and rudd had not been conspicuous, but it would have been equally surprising if they had not suffered the over population which is so usual in enclosed waters of this kind. Only occasionally were fish of worthwhile size seen. The exception was described in a previous post on pollution of Bridgwater waters. This happened in the 1920’s as a consequence of the depopulation arising from a polluted ditch. The surviving roach with out much competition for food grew to over 2 lb and roach fishing in Dunwear at this time entered a golden age. Rudd we know arrived in the ponds in 1924 when they were spreading throughout the district.
Formerly, tench were seen very infrequently, but later they became established and have prospered. Although some good fish have been encountered over the years, the average size have been below that is usual in other waters. On the other hand, their general condition have been more than satisfactory, and they have given excellent sport. They have been a very valuable addition to the stocks.
When the old South pond (which is now the car park) silted up some sea bass must have found their way up the channel or ditch that had been cut to join North and Middle pond. (Bearing in mind that the old South pond was joined to the river Parrett at one stage). Thus North and Middle pond had a sizable population of sea bass for a long time and grew to a fair size. One could be observe in middle pond which was about 7 lb. Eventually they died out. One imagines that they could not breed in the freshwater. On infrequent occasions they did take a bait. When this happened it usually left the surprised angler to survey the wreckage of his tackle. They could move faster than the carp! With these sea fish other estuarine creatures arrived such as flounders, I can testify to this as I have seen one caught in the Railway pit way back in 1976. Another sea invader was a small type of prawn which multiplied in the water and provided a very good bait for perch and carp. Erroneously the anglers called it a shrimp.
Another species of fish which inhabits both North and South pond is a fish which is locally known as the Sun Bass. The real name for this fish is the Pumpkinseed. This small fish often takes up residence in the margin weed and was often targeted by young anglers with dead lines. It is a mystery how these fish got here. It is interesting to note that these fish are classed as an invasive species and imports of these fish are banned by the EU.
The association in 1956 purchased the North and South ponds and this was for a nominal sum. The value of the clay pits had not been realised, and it was a extremely fortunate transaction . The sum paid was little over £100 and now ponds of this kind would cost many many thousands. After the business had been concluded it was to be seen that the conveyancing had been carried out badly. There were errors in the deeds and inconsistencies in the boundaries. In recent years Bridgwater AA has deemed it reasonable to purchase the other 2 ponds that of big pond and the Railway pond. This transaction has paved the way for improvements to be made, mainly with security gates and the introduction of pallets and a restocking of the ponds. The future for Dunwear ponds seems well secured for the time being.
The above aero picture of Dunwear ponds was taken in 1952. The black arrow points to the newly dug South pond. The green arrow points to North pond with Middle point slightly to the left. The red oval shape encompasses the big pond which as you can see started of as a lot of small pits.
Saturday just gone May the 7th Watchet Angling had a match at Avalon fisheries, on the road side. The match was blighted by white popular trees sheading the white fluffy bits on to the lake making fishing in certain swims very challenging indeed.
The next match for the Watchet mob will be on Brick lake at the Sedges on Saturday 21st of May.