North pond Dunwear , Mysterious Bites and the Clapper.

The North pond at Dunwear can be considered to be the doyen where fishing venues are concerned. Way back in 1905 it was with the Middle pond (now defunct) and the old South pond (which dried up way back and is now the main car park) that this complex became the first place that Bridgwater Angling Association acquired for fishing. North pond has definetly made its mark in history where angling is concerned. Throughout its years its characterics has certainly evolved. One has to bear in mind that way back in its infancy it was a relatively isolated place with only the fore two mentioned ponds for company. This was a time when the nearest main road was the old Bridgwater to Westonzoyland road. There was no big/senior pond or Railway pond. The Smiths and Sydenham estates were 5o years in the future.

A map of the ponds from 1904

Way back nearly a 100 years ago it a venue that was renowned for quaility roach and by that I mean roach of 2lb plus was common. My first encounter with North pond was in 1975 when entry could be gained at the bottom of Alderney Road. Their were 3 of us and we opted to fish what is now called Little Willow. North pond was to me and still is today to some extent something of an enigma. At the time it was the biggest lake we kids had fished added to that was the depth. It was by far the deepest venue we had visited. The depth was roughly 8ft and it was a good job that I had replaced my 6ft spinning rod to a cheapo 12 ft float rod. This was the first of a few visits to the swim. The 1975 season was our first season proper and obiously fishing knowledge back then was minimal and one had gotten used to that when we went fishing catching loads of fish was a situation we had yet to encounter. Thus bites for us was always at a premium.

Little Willow as it is now.

The fishing session started a right real quandry that was to last for a week. We fisherman well know that part of the joy of fishing is that when the float goes under you never know what you will get. Whilst fishing this early July day of 1975 the three of us were glad to be getting bites, if memory served me correctly we were pleasantly surprised to be getting a fair few bites. Say once every 15 to 20 minutes (this was good going for us). But there was a problem, a snag, a hitch. something that turned into right old puzzle. It was the bites themselves, the float would just sail right under, okay there might of been a slight bobbing before hand but all in all the bites were bold and very positive and the float would plunge beneath the surface. That was the good part, the second part (the bad part) was when you struck there was nothing, bugger all, not a sausage. the rod would not even bend. We trio must have had 10 bites each but all suffered the same fate complete and absolute nothing. It was time to go, the other guys who fished with me had just taken our mysterious fishing episode on the chin and appeared to have put it down to experience.

But not me I had something to solve, at school that week I found it difficult to concentrate, be it in English, Maths or standing in the corner with a dunces cap on. I just could not get them bites out of my head. Midweek I had to run an errand for my mun which found me visting the local butchers. The boss man of the shop was a very keen angler indeed and was always interested if I had been fishing or not. I told him about these unhittable bites that we had encountered. “what you want to do me lad is that you want to change to a bigger hook”

The following Saturday came and the other two previous companions decided to watch Saturday morning tv. No not me I had better things to do then oggle at the delectable Sally James on Tiswas, I had a mission to complete. Once again the swim was empty and this time armed with a size 14 hook instead of a 16 I proceeded to fish. Once again it was ground hog day. Every 15 to 20 minutes the float would sink with out trace, but nothing. After a few more bites I decided to swap from a size 14 to a size 12. But no the bites still kept coming but to know avail. Around noon totally dejected I packed up.

The next day, Sunday I set of once again and arrived at my now adpoted swim about 7:30. I was lucky the pond had a few anglers dotted around it but Little Willow was once again vacant. Yep ground hog greeted me once again with the same format. Every time the float went under I struck at a different angle but I just could not connect. I been at it for nearly 3 hours and yet still nowt. “any joy kid” I turned around, It was the angler who had been fishing to my left, he wore a black boiler suit, black rimmed glassses and a camouflage hat. On his feet were a good old pair of hob nailed boots. He also donned his rod holdall and behind him was his trolley,(he had packed up and was on his way home). I say this guy was late 30’s early 40’s. “no you” I repleid “had a few decent roach, my favourite can’t beat them, proper fish” I explained to this advid Roach angler of my predicament. “What hook size you using” “I’ve gone from a 14 to a 12” “what…… what you doing lad trying to gaff um” “well that’s what the butcher said me to do” With that the black boiler suited roach angler smiled, he turn to a pouch on his seat box which was on his trolly and had a rummage, he pulled a out a package and handed it to me. “use them kid” With that he departed trailing his trolly behind him “So long kid good luck” he shouted. That was it he was gone. I looked at the packet, it was a pack of size 20 hooks. Nothing ventured nothing gained. I replaced my so called gaffing hook with a petite size 20. Baited it with 2 maggots and casted in.

10 minutes went by and once again for what was now normal the float plunged under. I picked up the rod but owing to previous experience a spirit of despondency had creeped in I stuck with the feeling of the same old same old. But no there was resistance, the rod top jerked and the line went taut. FISH ON. The fish was not big by any means but was big enough for the landing net to be brought in to play. It was in, the instigator of my bite was in the net. An eel of about 4 ounces was soon unhooked and promptly dropped into the keepnet. 15 minutes later the float dipped under again and another eel about the same size was bagged. In all I had 5 small eels for the session. This may not sound a lot but for a 11 old kid with limited fishing ability this a personnel battle that had been won. I prided myself by being confronted by a mystery, persevering and achieving a creditable outcome. Not bad, Job done.

The unsung heroes taking a well earned break.

The North pond has had its up and downs over the past and throughout its history has had problems with pollution but now in the the modern era problems has emerged with the oxygen content and fish has unfortunately been lost. The blame can be attributed to the fact that North pond has now been encapsulated by a fair number of trees and bushes and by the housing on the north bank. All which has thwarted the wind from oxygenating the pond. So once again it was the unsung heroes of Dunwear (Bill, Matt, Rips and Grant) to take up the challenge and sort the problem. Hence armed with it seems with every type of chain saw the guys went to work felling trees and getting rid of bushes surrounding the pond to let the much needed wind to permeate the lake. Fingers crossed.

The result of the tree felling with the portaloo in the back ground.

In the last month it can be said with a great degree of certainty that we have had our fair share of rain. Not only does excess rain cause problems for the rivers and drains but ponds are affected as well, no more so than Dunwear. Each of the 4 ponds are inter connected to each other through a series of pipes, this is all part of system to control the water level of the ponds. The main element which prevents the whole complex from over flowing is the ditch which is situated at the south western corner of Railway pond which runs parallel to the railway line and in to the river Parrett next to the railway bridge via a pipe with a flap on the end which opens and shuts automatically. This contraption is known as the clapper. The clappers job is to regulate the water level at the ponds in conjuction with the tide on the river Parrett. But in recent weeks the clapper malfunctioned and caused all sorts of problems with the level in the ponds, causing some slight flooding. South pond was particulary hit with an influx of brownish water. But now as I understand it the thing has now been fixed and things have returned to some sort of normality. Fingers crossed once again.

The next match for Watchet angling club will be on Saturday 21st at Trinity Waters on Woodlands lake which is part of the optional winter match series – silvers only.

Thank all folks tight lines.

Pete C

The maintenance of South pond, Restocking of Big pit and Railway, Grayling in the Canal!

On the December 3rd some of the unsung heroes of Bridgwater Angling Association were once again using their own time for the benefit of others. This time their objective was to make improvements to the South pond at Dunwear. One of their chores was to rake a clear passage through the reed bed that bisects the South pit to enable the wind to penetrate all the pond and to clear snags of the bottom. Later on in the day another task was tackled, that of helping with the restocking. Around about 2 oclock a considerable stock of fish arrived at the Sedgemoor road entrance to the ponds courtesy of the people from HBS fisheries. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So enough of me.

The carp went in to big pit and the roach and rudd went into Railway pond.

Around about the very early 1980’s one Harry Sutton who was a dentist in the town and a life member of Bridgwater Angling Association wrote a considerable piece on the subject and history of stocking fish in the Bridgwater area.

Restocking is a somewhat provocative word. Amongst anglers it has so often been held to mean improved fishing. This is by no means the case in most instances. Qualified and experienced fishery people usually take the view that such interference with a fishery cannot be justified without proper investigation into the need, and understanding of the possible consequences. It should not be thought that the more fish put into the water, the better the fishing. In fact it seems that in the past associations have expanded energy and money in making their fishing worse.

On the other hand, criticism of this kind has been made without realisationof the circumstances. The former rivers authorities did not have the fishery departmentments now usual with the water authorities and the same ability to give advice on the management of fisheries. The angling associations lacked the necessary knowledge and money to carry out complex preliminary work. When faced with serious problems, and in particular, pollution or other disasters, they could only do their best. Their efforts may be blundering but it seeems likely that without them many rivers would have been left fishless.

Rightly or wrongly, the association has pratice restocking for well over half a century. The first net for use in connection was purchased in 1925. This was the time when the cost of live fish was realised, and the younger members of the committee came to see the desirability of returning catches to the water. The conception of conservation of fish came to the locality, but it was scoffed at by the older members. However, in due course, it was obvious that it was being widely accepted throughout the country. The general use of keepnets soon followed.

Some very approximate records of fish planting done by the association exist. They show a surprising amount of work having been carried out. They go back to 1925 and may be very incomplete and vague but something useful emerges from them. Time has shown that there is a paucity of evidence of permanent benefit to the fisheries. In many instances there have been the appearance of improvement, but sooner or later there has been a reversion to the former state.

As it has been implied, understanding of fisheries management was very deficient among anglers, and perhaps the widest gap was the lack of understanding what was meant by ‘over population’. Where the average size was low and small fish very abundant, the remedy was to plant more fish. Little consideration is needed to see that the fish have failed to grow to normal size owing to there being insufficient food to meet the needs of a large population. The addition of more fish makes the situation worse. It is the ‘new’ fish which suffer most readily and the effort has been wasted. A good example was provided by two separate occasions when quality roach were introduced into the North pond at Dunwear to rectify a super abundance of small fish. In both instances they failed to appear in the following season. Further the very few which were caught shortly after the introduction showed signs of marked emaciation. This is a matter which should be considered before any kind of restocking is carried out.

When a water is about to be back filled or threatened in some other way it may be laudable to transfer the fish elsewhere. It seems better than letting them perish, but it must be realised that there are hazards attached to putting adult fish into a new environment. The balance of a fishery involves a complex relationship with all forms of life in the water, and this is easily disturbed with adverse results. More obviously, there is no assurance that the new arrivals will be able to adapt to new conditions and sources of food, or that they may not do damage to the existing stocks. It may be interesting to note that some recent research has suggested that fish put into new surroundings may be harrassed by the existing population to the point of starvation.

A very valuable conclusion drawn from records of restocking is that carp and tench have been the most consistently satisfactory. Carp in particular seem to be able to adapt to a wide variety of new circumstances, and to live harmoniously with other fish. There is little to show that the introduction of carp have failed to make long term improvements to the fishing. Some of the successes are very clear. ‘Mirror’ carp has transformed all conceptions of specimen carp. The transference of small carp from Screech Owl in 1925 had profound effects on carp fishing in the lower parts of Bridgwater and Taunton canal. Results with tench are a little more doubtful. There have been failures but the cause was not known. In spite of this they have shown themselves more than worth planting.

Assessments of results obtained with other fish are not easy to make because the data has been masked by pollutions and other adversities, but by and large, reasons for doubt are clear. Thousands of rudd and very many tench have been turned into the Huntspill over many years, but the number caught now cannot be reconciled with any conception of success. There were similar instances that have been observed.

Suitability of the environment for each species of fish is paramount. At one time comittees made quite absurd demands. For instance the Bridgwater Angling Association continued to introduce fish into water where they have little or no chance of survival. About 1926 grayling were planted in the canal at North Newton and this was at the instigation of the secretary of the then Fisheries Board! They were never seen again. Fish turned into waters unfavourable to them cannot be expected to flourish, and will likely to disappear. Ascertaining the suitability of habitat is by no means easy. Information about the general principles of this matter is freely available, but when applied in particular circumstances it often proves quite inadequate. Fish which might be expected to thrive fail to do so. The converse occasionally happens. Presumably each case has to be asssessed individually. This is a task beyond the abilities of angling associations, and probably the capabilities of water authorities are not sufficient. They lack the facilities for what appears to be a very long term operation. It is easier to wait to see what happens! Recently water authorities have been saying much about water quality, but it seems that this is being estimated in terms of what is desired in potable water, rather than the qualities required by fisheries? These qualities are not the same.

This is a photo taken from the 1936 edition of the Bridgwater Almanac. Note the part about Grayling.

The extraordinary fecundity of fish is often overlooked. if the conditions in the water, are right, and this may be something more than water quality as it is understood, restocking would be quite unnecessary. Their great capacity for reproduction is, in fact, at the root of the problem of over population, where the treatment is culling. It is a fact which so many anglers find hard to accept. Advice about making drastic reductions in the numbers of fish has been met with hostility by clubs. Any idea of destruction of fish seems heresy.

It is important to understand that where fish stocks have been depleted, it is essential to try to ascertain the cause, and to consider its removal. If this cannot be done the new fish must suffer the same fate as did those they are intended to replace. Unfortunately, the difficulties are great, and dealing with the cause may be impossible. There are very good reasons for the belief that the decline in the quality of fishing about which there have been so many complaints, can be traced to modern farming methods. It is unlikely that this can be altered!

Two observations may be added. The temptation to plant exotic fish, or any other species not endemic to the district should be resisted. If such fish find the local waters favourable there is risk that they will undergo a ‘population explosion’ which means they multiply vastly at the expense of the existing fish and thereby do great damage. Enterprises of this kind can be justified only by great need. Of course, this is why the use of grass carp for weed control has been resisted. However, it is now firmily established that they will not be able to breed in the waters of this country.

Conservationists in general tend to take a friendly attitude towards angling, but there are a few who think they have reason to be critical. To them it might be said that no body or organisation has done more than the angling fraternity to pressure authority to act against pollution of waterways. This is in every way as much to the advantage of conservation.

Phew, well that’s the history lesson over, Until next time tight lines.

Pete C.

Good Silvers bagging at Plantation and Angling around the Bridgwater Area in 1970.

The angling equivalent to the russian Wagner group, Watchet angling club fished their winter league match at Plantation lakes on Saturday November 26th which was an all silvers affair. This is the venue that a lot of Watchet angling members have been singing their praises about. Well from driving of of Middle Lane in to the car park a scene that greeted me was that of mud and pot holes bordering on craters filled with water. It remined me of what an assembly point from world war one must have looked like before the troops were frog marched of to the trenches. But one endured. It was nice to see the fishing colleagues once again and enmesh oneself in to the giving and taking of abuse.

The walk around the main pond gave the impression this was far from being a commerical venue. This brought back memories of the days long gone where like Plantation, fishing of of pallets was as rare as hens teeth. This place has a tad of where nature is given a free hand. Trees abound the pond aplenty and athough thwarted by winter you can tell that bankside vegetation has it say in warmer times. The main lake at plantation for me is home for home.

The match it self even in the dank dreary dab battlehip grey weather was for me a pleasure to fish. The pond is crammed with silvers of an enjoyable size and are agreeable to catch. The winner was the one to watch Ian Ricketts. Ian who in many club members eyes is one of the ablest silvers anglers had a hefty weight for the time of year of 17 lb 14 oz. This was 2oz better than 2nd place Rob Dodd who had (work it out) 17 lb 12oz. Rob who owing to the configuration of the lake was pegged to my left but in some senses behind me, said before the match that he didn’t fancy his swim. But with some nice size skimmers to his credit at the weigh in it seems his concerns were unfounded. Paul Smith who is one of the main instigators of flying the flag for this venue had third spot with 15lb 8oz. In fourth was our much cherished Spielsekretärin fuhrer Alan Bland with a weight of 14lb 14 oz. If it wasn’t for the fact this was a silvers only competition he would have doubled his weight for during the match and out of character of the gist of things landed a right lump of a Carp of a guestimate of 15 lbs.

I don’t want to waste time here and just pour out the same old dialogue because that would just be an act of trying to bore people. The main plan of attack for all paticipants was to use mosty maggot and or pinkie with the pole. Some did have spells on the waggler and there were a few who tried chopped worm and caster. But to re iterate the mainstay was maggot and pole. Here’s the table.

In conclusion the weights that was achieved was quite noteworthy and the praise that was heaped on this venue before hand was well justified. Remember these weights came in the middle of winter when most still waters go into semi habination mode This is a place that should be on every silvers angler radar fullstop.

1970

I spent most of the year of 1970 aged six. For me life then for yours truly consisted of short trousers lady bird books, crayons, plastic mechano and being madly in love with Valerie Singleton. But my main thought though was that this school lark is a load of old b**locks whats the point of being taught to reed and right, I rather be out playing in the garden. 1970 although it was more than fifty years ago it still can be deemed part of the modern era. Man had gone to the moon (oh by the way “Huston we have a problem” happened in 1970). From a certain angle one can say that 1970 was the turning point where the black and white of yester year went in to colour.

From a angling viewpoint it was a world of fibre glass rods, swingtips, wicker baskets and match weights devoid of carp. Carbon fibre was yet to come like wise the method feeder as well as as hair rigs. pole fishing in this country in this year was virtually non exsistent. Today looking back the tackle employed might seem rather primitive and antiquated. Every thing was done with rod and line but it was how these things were fine tuned that separated the men from the boys. Bridgwater Anglimg Association in those days had quite a healthy match fishing scene and match reports were printed on a regular basis in the sports section of the Bridgwater Mercury. So as something of a small tribute to those angling past masters I thought why not print these angling snippets from the Mercury here for all you lovely people to see.

Summerhayes Sellicks 13/11/2022

Sunday the 13th November was a spare day for me so I decided to fish the open match at Summerhayes on Sellicks lake. There I met a charming happy go lucky sort of chap one Jamie Rich. As many of you might know Jamie is the guy behind that most popular of fishing blogs called Against men and Fish. So if you people want to see a proper fishing blog click here. https://www.againstmenandfish.com/

You may want to know how I got on in the match well read Jamies blog or have a a ganders below. (not very well is the answer).

Jamie and yours truly.

The next match for the Watchet club is on the B & T canal at the bottle neck at Huntworth, the date December 10th.

Until then tight lines

Pete C.

It could of been better at Parchay.

This was Watchet Angling club last match of the season before the winter break and before the start of the winter league. In the week proceeding the match there was a few mutterings about choosing Parchay as the venue but obviously these murmurings petered out and Parchay was fished.

First on the day was Paul Smith and everyone in the club knows that Paul is definitely more at home on natural venues such as the King Sedgemoor Drain, the Huntspill and the Canal. Well his loyalty has certainly paid of by thumping the entire field in a match where fish were a premium with a lot of the guys in the match. Paul strutted his stuff by landing 2 lovely tench, the biggest being an absolute corker of which tipped the scales at 6 lb 3oz and the other weighed in at 4 lb 4oz. Paul used the pole and the bait was worm.

Second from peg 80 was Ian Ricketts, Ian was busy through out with plentyof small fish on the whip with maggot. His weight was 4lb exactly.

Now it was me who finished in third place and was just pipped by Mr Ricketts by a measly 2oz. I did start of on the waggler but this achieved next to nothing. It was when I went on the pole that things started to come together. But as usual Pike was the problem and I hooked 3 of the blighters throughout the match. Bait of course was maggot and the final haul from peg 84 was 3 lb 14 oz.

Dave Colley (4th) was pegged next to me on 85, used pole and whip with maggot for a weight of 3 lb 11 oz, he too was also plagued by the old Pike.

Both Alan Bland (5th) Dave Nash (6th) and veteran Bob Pascoe (6th) did well to get the weights they got owing to where there were pegged.

The bottom 4 Stuart Frampton, Alan Jenkins, Ian Grabham and Eric Searle really did struggle and for them it was really a match to forget.

The only excitement for most of the guys was a tractor on the other bank which was cutting back bushes and trees and was trying to get an enrty in the Guinness book of records for the worlds most noisest tractor. Oh there was a bit of amusement for me and Dave Colley watching this oldish foriegn lady chasing cows with a branch next to the car park, but that was it.

So of the match one could well, put it in a folder and file it under “one for the connoisseur”

But lets not forget the 2 tench that Paul Smith landed.

The results

Match fished on the Stathe drain on October 29th.

Drive out of Bridgwater on that ghastly Westonzoyland road, drive through the village of Westonzoyland, pass the outskirts of Middlezoy until one reaches the awful T junction that takes one on to the Glastonbury to Taunton road. Turn right proceed through the uninspiring Othery, straight on until Burrow Bridge, transverse the bridge over the River Parrett and take the next left. There you will be greeted by a road of just barely acceptable standards. Endure the road come lane hybrid by dodging the on coming traffic (and the odd throng of Lycra cladded cyclists) for about 1.5 miles and there on the right you will stumble across a amply sized car park. This is the anglers car park for the splendid Stathe Drain. Well I may stand corrected here because it is also referred to as the West Sedgemoor drain or according to google maps the Sedgemoor Old Rhyne. Well what ever! Here you will find a venue that has all the trappings of old school fishing.

Stathe drain one could say has the attributes of the Kings Sedgemoor drain and the Bridgwater and Taunton canal combined. Old school fishing through and through. It is slightly wider than the canal but the banks has the same characteristics of the KSD. That of obliging the angler to be able in most cases (except my peg) to be level with the bank. The average depth comes to about four and a half foot and is an ideal water for the pole and the whip.

Well twas on the 29th October the jolly match angling troupe of dubious mind and body Watchet angling club held a six hour match on this delightful venue, this was the first match in the Watchet angling winter league.

Top spot was obtained by Rob Dodd with a weight of 10lb exactly. Mr Dodd at the draw pulled out one of the favoured swims that being peg one which is the one situated closest to the pumping station. He started of as though his pants was on fire. A nice size tench a right lump of a bream and a right hefty perch all found themselves in Roberts net within the first hour but alas poor Robs swim died a death. One could put the demise down to that of the flow. Every angler at the start was greeted by the flow of the Stathe drain going from ones left to right i:e flowing to wards the pumping station. Come roughly 11:30am the flow dwindled to nothing. Then at just after 2pm the flow started again but this time in the opposite direction (right to left) This unexpected behaviour signed the death warrant to many but not all swims. Robs was no exception and said after the match if it wasn’t for the first hour he would of weighed in ounces. Rob alternated between whip and pole. Bait was caster for the first hour and a half and then pinkie mostly there after.

It was close between second and third place. Dave Nash who on these types of water is like a pig in S**T absolutely lapped it up from peg 8 for second spot. A very good weight of 6 lb 10 oz was put on the scales by Dave who used whip and waggler, caster and feeding hemp was method of attack.

In third place from end peg nine was a gentleman who is one to look out for in the winter league. Ian Ricketts managed a haul of 6 lb 05oz which was obtained by whip and maggot. It must be noted that these two weights consisted of all smallish fish but owing to the conditions on the day i:e with the flow being some what erratic it was credit to their angling skill to achieve such fine weights.

I was some what bowled over when some one told me that the guy who finished in fourth today was forty year old. Baby face Ian Grabham ( who most of the club thought was very much younger) eeked out 4 lb 04 oz from peg six. Pole and whip with maggot was employed here.

Stuart Frampton (fifth) had a middling sort of weight, that of 2 lb 14 oz from peg seven. His plan was to use waggler with maggot.

Paul Smith could only nail a weight of 2 lb 04 oz using mainly pole and waggler with maggot. Pauls home for the day was peg 3. Sixth was his final placing.

Me, Pete curnow managed seventh from peg two. Now arriving at my peg I was confronted by a so called swim which was mainly a three foot shear drop to the water. Hence it was a bloody good job that I had brought my spade. I spent fifteen pigging minutes digging to get my peg to some sort of a fishable swim. Say that although I could only muster 1 lb 14 oz in the end I found the experience of fishing here most pleasing. Ok I did have some periods of inactivity but it was nice to catch the type of fish that I have not caught for a long time, that of Ruffe, Dace and Gudgeon. Most of my catch came from the pole and maggot, at one stage I even used squat on the hook to try to entice a bite. But all in all a big thumbs up.

Our most gracious match secretary Alan Bland was placed eighth with a weight of only 1 lb 03 oz, pole and worm was the mainstay of his tactics. Alan fished peg four.

Our much beloved NHS hero Dave Colley fished peg six and could only muster 15 oz with pole and maggot. This haul placed him in last place at number nine. But to be fair owing to Dave being a popular guy and a so called social animal he had to depart from the match an hour before the end.

The results table.

Dunwear ponds

It would be most unfair if I didn’t mention the on going work at Dunwear ponds. Matt ,Bill and the gang seem tireless in their aim to keep improving this venue. Their latest project is it seems is the creation of two more swims. If one goes through the gate that leads to North pond pass the portable toilet carry straight on to about forty meters and on your left you will see a newly created pathway. This path way runs parallel to the very over grown pond which long ago was known as middle pond. Walking along this route you will come to the bank on big pit nearly opposite the helicopter swim. It is along this bank that the two swims are being made. Carry on along this path and one will end up in Mc creedys swim. So once again it is hats of to the gang.

Summerhayes

I am sorry report to that the Willow lake at Summerhayes is no more. This once cheerful lake which had a certain type rustic appeal have now had most of its pallets removed and have been joined to the large lake called Big Eight. Hence now owing to the new configuration Willow lake has become Little Eight. It will be interesting to see how this new formation turns out.

That all folks except to say that the next match in the Watchet angling winter league will be on the KSD at Parchay on November 12th.

Until then tight lines

Pete C.

Young Grabham Grabs Top Spot at Sedges Tile Lake.

Match Fished on Sedges Tile Lake 8th October 2022.

First on the day was young Grabham, Fishing from peg 36 Ian once again showed his fishing expertise by beating the field with a not to be sniffed at haul of 98 lb 10 oz. Ian fished a variety of methods but the main two employed were pellet feeder to the island and pellet shallow. I can’t remember this gentleman being out of the top 4 hence he has certainly made his mark on the club. A very big well done indeed to you sir.

Eric Searle achieved a good second on peg 38 with a weight of 92 lb 10 oz Eric spent most of the match on the feeder with sweetcorn. He did try his much beloved pellet but to no avail.

Third place went to Paul Smith, Paul drew out peg 40 the corner swim nearest the car park and had jolly good old day catching a creditable weight of 81 lb 12 oz. Pauls main plan of attack was using the pole at 3 plus 3 with worm and soft pellet. Paul did bag the top silvers weight of 25 lb 1oz. So it is congratulations to him.

We had a guest angler in at number 4 who used to hang around with the Watchet gang, one Dave Gartenfeld. Mr Gartenfeld resided in corner peg 31 for a net of 79 lb 9 oz. He managed to get one carp on the pellet waggler. But most of his haul came on the pole to the margins using meat, maggot and pellet.

Our NHS hero Dave Colley who slaughtered the field last time out dropped to 5th place today. From peg 26 Dave had an all Carp net of 53 lb 6oz and used pellet feeder with a 6 mm pellet. As things turned out he caught all his fish in the first 3 hours and did not have a bite after that.

Alan bland experienced the opposite effect and caught his first carp with an hour to go and ended up with a total Carp weight of 46 lb 07 oz. His total net was only 6oz more for 46 lb 13 oz. He caught all his carp on his much beloved paste. His home for the day was peg 27. He finished 6th.

Stuart Frampton pulled out of the bucket corner peg 21 next to the gate and put on the scales 44 lb 14 oz. He tactics of choice was feeder with orange and yellow wafters. Stu got 7th place.

In at number 8 was out of form Rob Dodd. (out of form at placing number 8, when I’m out of form I get DNWI). Rob on peg 23 had a balanced weight of 19 lb 2oz of silvers which got him 2nd in the silvers table and 19 lb 06 oz of carp for a grand total of 38 lb 08 oz. This was obtained on the pole with maggot and pinkie.

Phil Dodd finished in 9th position, once again he took things in his stride, sat on the feeder with maggot and took a haul of 31 lb 11 oz from peg 33.

Ending up in 10th was Ian Ricketts. Ian managed to put on the scales 21 lb 12 oz from roadside peg 22. Pole with maggot was used and apparently poor Ian suffered a lot of fouled hooked fish.

Alan Jenkins got 11th spot from corner peg 30. Alan for the majority of the time struggled but things came together for him late on. He mainly used pole and maggot and managed to catch a weighty eel of note. Mr Jenkins total came to 21 lb 2oz.

Bob Pascoe found himself in at number 12 with 20lb 9oz. Bob who was on peg 35 used pole and maggot.

Veteran silvers basher Dave Nash did indeed have an all silvers haul from peg 32 for a net of 13 lb 8 oz from peg 32. Pole and Dave’s favourite bait of caster was used.

84 years young Tony Richards was placed 14th of of roadside peg 25. Tony kept to what he knows best, that of pole and maggot. Total weight for the day for octogenarian Tony was 12 lb 04oz.

Yours truly had a right stinker of a match and ended from peg 29 in 15th place with a anaemic weight of just 4 lb 9oz. Basically the tactics employed didn’t work and the bait was the wrong ones. Enough said except to say there is always next time.

Poor Nige Coram had a shocker as well and didn’t even bother to weigh in.

The final placings.
Top six silvers.

Now our Spielsekretärin furher Alan Bland has been very busy indeed ringing around and booking up venues for the optional winter match series which is silvers only (proper fishing) and a mighty fine job Alan has done as well. For there is some good choice venues to fish, a few in the club are particularly pleased with Plantation lakes being on the fixture list. I myself with others from the silvers bashers in the club are looking forward to fishing the Stathe Drain and the river Tone at Athelney.

The next match will be at Parchay on the Kings Sedgemoor Drain on Saturday October 22nd (old school fishing, yea). So see you guys there.

Tight lines

Pete C.

NHS Hero Colley Bashes the Field at Shiplate Main Lake.

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.

Final placings.
Top six silvers.

The next match will be at the Sedges Tile lake on 8th October, don’t forget have the breakfast.

Until then tight lines.

Pete C.

Ivan Marks Floats and Thwarted by Cat Pee.

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”.

Some of Ivan’s achievements.
This is Ivan posing in front of my trophy cabinet (only kidding).

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.

Until then Tight lines.

Pete C

(right where is that bloody cat).

Thank you Jim Ignatowski.

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.

Jim Ignatowski

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”.

People, watch the video.

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.

The final placings.
The top six silvers weight.

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.

Until then tight lines.

Pete C.

It’s Not The Winning But The Taking Part.

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.

Final placings.
The silvers table.

The next match for the Watchet is next week August 13th at Avalon on the roadside bank.

Tight lines

Pete C.

Nearly Buggered by Stratification.

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 results
Top silvers

The next match for Watchet angling is at Summerhayes in 3 weeks time lake to be decided.

So until then it is tight lines.

Pete C.