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.


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.

A Fishing Match, Car Fire and a Domestic.

Saturday March 26th saw the resumption of the Watchet Angling club match league and I just like state that the club is hale and hearty. A good turn out emerged and as usual banter, insults and wise cracks were a plenty. The winter league for mad and hardy ended three weeks ago and in the end the attendance was meagre. The last two matches had a trivial turnout of just four people. One could just say the spark of competition had deserted and the whole thing fizzled out. But lets not take away the fact regardless of lack of enthusiastic competitiveness that congratulations should not go amiss on Dave Nash the eventual winner.

First on the day (and here I am trying to tempt fate in the nicest possible way) was once again the clubs Mr consistent Steve Warren . Steve pulled out peg 34 which is on the road side and his method was to use pole and hard pellet throughout the match. 52 lb 6 oz was his winning weight.

The winner.

In second place we find Taunton boy Ian Grabham who had a reasonable haul from car park peg 37 of 43 lb 14 oz. Ian kept things simple from what can some times can be a difficult peg by fishing mainly the margins with maggot.

Mr 2nd.

Third place was the well known guy in match fishing circles Robert Dodd. Rarely out of the top five Rob fished peg 26 and managed to put 39 lb 14 oz on the scales. His plan of attack was pole (what else for this guy) and maggot.

Rob the 3rd.

NHS hero Dave Colley obtained 4th from peg 13. Dave alternated between pole in the margins and pellet feeder across to the far side. Bait was maggot and pellet and his weight was 25lb exactly. I must admit he really did look cool in his shades.

4th bloke.

5th spot was occupied by one of the two clubs octogenarians Tony Richards . Tony who had peg 36 the one nearest the hut had in total a weight of 21lb. But this angling veteran took the money for top silvers which came to 10 lb 13 oz. So it’s a big well done to him. What else for Mr Richards but pole and pinkie.

Top silvers guy.

Fishing on peg 28 was laid back fisherman and Ex head bailiff of Bridgwater Angling Association Philip Dodd. Phil employed the method feeder with dead maggot to tempt an all carp net of 17 lb 6oz. Phil was 6th placed.

The clubs other octogenarian Bob Pascoe occupied the 7th place with a bag of 17 lb 5oz from peg 7. Bob managed a silvers haul of 10 lb 2 oz which gained him second spot in the silvers table. Bob fished a lot to his left in the margins with maggot and pole. Bob mixed his fishing by having a good old jolly sing song. Good on yer mate.

The one and only Bob Pascoe.

Nigel Coram in 8th made the best of a below average peg. The culprit concerned was peg 21. But Mr Coram endured and ended up putting on the scales 17 lb 2 oz. Tactics used was pole with paste and maggot. Well done bud from a crap peg.

Mr Coram.

Yours truly was 9th with a weight of 15 lb 15 oz from peg 9. I had two carp on hard pellet with method feeder on the far bank and three carp from the pallet to my right which I caught on sweet corn. Am ruing the fact that I’d hooked four more carp that unfortunately evaded my net. “PANTS”. But it was a pleasurable day and was enhanced by having Bob Pascoe next to me and hearing him having a good old sing song.

Some poor sod.

Alan Jenkins was to my left on peg 11. Good old Alan had a haul of 15 lb 7 oz. This happy go lucky bod used pole with a variety of bait such as maggot, chopped worm and caster. Also used was feeder with pellet. Alan got 10th spot.

Alan Jenkins in action.

In at number 11 was Ian Townsend on not the best of pegs, number 17. But perseverance paid of and Ian managed to obtain double figures with 13 lb 14 oz. Pole fished with meat in the margins was the mainstay of his attempt.

This is Ian weighing in for Eric.

Placed at number 12 was Eric Searle. This formidable carp guru was at odds from the biggest pallet on the lake that of peg 15. This was another out of sorts swim and thus Eric Struggled and just managed to get in to the realms of double figures with 10 lb 14 oz. Pole to the margins with pellet and corn was what was employed by Eric.

Dave Nash the silvers expert couldn’t produce any of his magic which won him the winter league thus slumped to next to last place with a total catch of 5 lb 15 oz. Dave did cheer himself up however by paying me a visit during the match (owing to boredom through lack of bites) and giving me maximum abuse. Peg 32 was Dave’s peg for the match.

Mr Dave Nash, the winner of the winter league.

Poor Alan Bland had a torrid time from peg 19. Our much beloved match secretary could only muster a small weight of 3 lb 4 oz. This earned him a placing rank of 14th. But to be fair the pegs from 15 to 21 were the most unfancied pegs on the lake.

Alan Bland who did not have the best of pegs.

New kid on the block Ian Ricketts had the unwanted stigma of having DNWI next to his name. But it was not a clear cut case of Ian not catching any fish. It was probably more to do with him trying to keep his sanity. Poor Mr Ricketts had drawn peg 30 which is on the road side and backs on to the Big 8 carp lake. Directly behind him was a group of carpers in their bivvy. Add in to the mix a visit from one of the wives/partners who then started to read the riot act in terms of an in-balance of time spend on the bank and time spent at home with the kids and the consumption of a vast quantity of Thatchers Gold. Things got a little bit out of hand with some other carpers allegedly joining in the ruction and taking sides. There was a bit of argy bargy to an extent that some one called the police to report a domestic. Poor Ian was trying to concentrate on his fishing but alas the commotion behind was just to much and probably did what a lot of anglers would of done and packed up.

The results table.
The top 6 silvers anglers.

Just after 2 o’clock a series of loud bangs erupted and disturbed the peace and tranquility of the match. At first I thought the Russians had given up on Ukraine and decided to take Summerhayes instead. From my peg I could see vast solid plumes of black smoke and through the trees a raging fire. It appeared that some one decided to have a rather large bonfire on one of the properties adjoining the fishery. More bangs followed and the black smoke prevailed. Minutes later Pete the owner came around, I duly pointed my finger at him “what have I told you about playing with matches” I said. Pete went on to explain that a car was on fire next to the entrance to the fishery and just wanted to warn people.

At 18 minutes past a fire engine arrived to douse the flames and was present for about 40 minutes. The fire crew were very considerate indeed by just activating their blue flashing lights and not operating the siren. A Ploy as not to frighten the fish.

The match had ended and the weigh in had taken place, most of the tackle had been packed in to the back of cars and vans etc. The results were analysed and as usual at this time excuses and abuses were exchanged. It was during this period of so called reflection, two police officers appeared on the scene. First thoughts by the Watchet gang was they had come to investigate the events of the car fire. But the boys in blue had come to sought out a domestic. If only they had come sooner perhaps Mr Ricketts would of weighed in.

March 14th just gone was a nice sunny day and seeing it was the last day of the River season I decided to take a bike ride to Parchay and from there walk along the north bank pass Bussex Bend up as far the out fall of the river Sowey and Lanacre Rhyne. This is about a mile from Greylake car park. Now people who are regulars to this blog will know that I visit this remote stretch on an ad hoc basis. The last time I fished this stretch I meet a couple of contractors who worked for the EA who told me of a plan to construct a series of islands in the bank. Well construction of one of these proposals has now been been completed. (see video below). So a stretch of a possible match fishing location has now been thwarted. Thanks!

This construction is about a mile from Greylake car park going to wards parchay. More bank taken away from the anglers.

The next match for the Watchet club is at Woodlands lake at Trinity Waters on April 9th.

Until then it’s tights lines to one and all.

Pete C.

Match of Sorts Fished at Parchay on 13.11.2022

The match fished at this venue on the 17th of July of this year was spoilt by the mass battalions of the lets ruin the anglers day, see post if you haven’t a clue what the eck I am talking about. The proposed match that was to be fished on the 11th of September was thwarted by Lemnoideae ie Duckweed to me and you. So the people who like to swim, paddle board, canoe and dive bomb from Parchay bridge were prevented from carry out their pastime of ruining the match anglers day by the cold weather. The duckweed that was prevalent in September is probably bobbing up and down some where in the Bristol Channel after being flushed out in to the river Parrett. So it was all systems go.

The Friday before the match, a question was put forward about the numbers who would be fishing. Well an answer came back from our beloved match secretary, that if Alan Jenkins was to turn up it would be “Bo Derek”. Well I honestly believe that most people who read this blog will know who the voluptuous Miss Derek is. Was this lady who has the looks that could make mens legs turn to jelly be coming to join us? Was this lady who has the ability to make men swoon going to participate with the likes of Watchet angling club. Afraid not, in fact I have more chance to get to the top of mount Everest and back in just boxer shorts and flip flops then to be joined by the likes of Miss Derek. No indeed Bo Dereck in this context means Ten, apparently this lady starred in a film with Dudley Moore called simply 10, so there you have angling brethren a Bo Derek means 10. You learn something new every day!

Anyway what about the match itself, to put it plainly and to get straight to the point even if Miss Derek did turn up, it would still be a disappointment. First on the day was Silvers expert one Mr David Nash, Dave had the peg nearest to the bridge and managed to put together a winning weight of 1 lb 10oz. This Phenomenal weight was achieved mostly on the whip with red maggot. In second place with a head turning weight of 11oz (yes I am afraid it was that bad) was Brummie guy Ian Townsend.

Snapping at Ians heals in third place and this bugger took my pound of of me was our much liked NHS hero Dave Colley who amassed a back breaking weight of 7oz.

Carp basher and end pegger Eric Searle came 4th with 4 Perch which came to a mind blowing 3oz.

Eric who was pegged next to me, entertained me by singing several times and I emphasise the word several, the song Delihah. I asked him on one occasion what he had caught, the reply was “an elephant……. guess what I caught it on?” “Don’t know Eric a banana” “nope a rhinoceros”. The lack of bites and activity was it seems affecting peoples mental heath. (only kidding Eric).

There was a problem at the weigh that had to be solved for the placings, you have now had the 4 top weights. Tony Richards early in the match saw some sense, packed up and went home. That had left 4 of us who had fish to weigh. Unfortunately the scales are only calibrated to register ounces and pounds not milligrams. So to determine the placings Alan Bland, Paul Smith, Ian Grabham and yours truly stood in a circle with our hand out stretched and with our total catch in our palm for comparison. The placings where as follows 5th Ian Grabham, 6th Alan bland, 7th Paul Smith and me who got 8th.

So there you have it folks a match memorable for the wrong reasons.

The Morecombe and Wise show in the 1970’s on christmas day was compelling viewing and used to top the viewing figures with well over 20 million tuning in. One of the trade marks of the show was at the end. Ernie and Eric would do a rendition of the song “Bring me sunshine in your smile bring me laughter all the whle”

Like wise there was another popular TV show which had an end of show rendition that was The Good Old Days which based itself on the old time victorian music hall and the performers on stage and even the audience dressed accordingly. At the end of the show all the performers would get back on stage and with the audience participation all would sing “Down at the old Bull and Bush” Isn’t that lovely, they don’t make programmes like that any more.

So to mimic this, Watchet angling decided at the end of the match to do their own rendition with a song that would portray our wonderful culture at the club, to show our sophistication and mastery of the English language. To show of our social skills and our educational background and to boast of our standing in the world. But above all to express what a wonderful time we had.

A couple Fridays back my good friend John Hughes and I decided to fish Dunwear. The swim chosen was what some people call the point and others refer to it as the headland. I have mentioned before that way back in the 1970s when fishing Dunwear was much more popular than it is today that this swim was the number one swim and during the summer and autumn months you would be guaranteed cracking sport. It was so much favoured that certain people would come down from the midlands and the north, indeed from all over the country to fish it. But some people being what they are, used to stay in the swim for up to a week to the utter annoyance of we locals. Hence complaints were put forward to the powers that be at the time in Bridgwater angling circles and to cure this problem a rule was created stating that no angler or group of anglers were to occupy a swim for more than 24 hours. Just to stay on the point of how popular Dunwear was from a fishing point of view. Back in the days when the close season was enforced on ALL waters if you did not get to the ponds early on the opening day of the season June the 16th you would not get a swim at all. Bear in mind Dunwear ponds had many more swims that it has today. Well how did me and John do, well John was piking with dead bait and yours was fishing for anything that goes with a waggler. Well John had two knocks and I had a bite so to sum it up the sport wasn’t exactly over awing. But there is an element that I like about our beloved sport and that is you can have a bloody good gossip with your mate when the fish ain’t obliging. Something you can’t do if your playing football or rugby etc.

I am getting mixed reports about the fishing at Dunwear. Railway is still not producing, indeed the sport is, (to cut a fine point on the matter) diabolical. I was talking to one of the bailiffs and this is becoming a matter for concern. But lets end on a brighter note South pond is apparently producing good sport with plenty of decent size skimmers coming out as well as some nice Perch. Also bear in mind that there are plans to restock this pond early next year.

The next match for the Watchet club is 2 weeks time at Parchay once again with or without Bo Derek. If the fishing is going to be the same again I would think using a keep net would be a slight over kill or be like cracking a nut with a sledge hammer so I might take a tea cup instead.

Tight lines

Pete C

Match fished by Watchet Angling and on Big Gripe.

Rob Dodd absolutely crushed it and left the rest in his wake. Roberts weight of 87 lb 04 oz was out standing considering the time of year and conditions. The cold nights and the amount of rain we had previous did not thwart once again inform Mr Dodd on peg 10 who implemented the pole at 16 meters to the island with maggot as bait.

Steve Warren who knows no different than to finish in the top four who has now been tagged as Mr consistent. Well finding himself in 2nd place Mr warren on peg 37 used pole and banded pellet to obtain a healthy weight considering, of 34 lb 14 oz. Well done indeed.

Brummie Ian Townsend in at number three used corn and maggots (five maggots on hook) with pole to catch 27 lb 11 oz on peg 6. To quote Mr Townsend ” it were bloody hard going” We know chum we were there.

What a good result for octogenarian Tony Rchards who just turned 84 years young. This angling veteran finished in 4th spot with a total weight of 20 lb 11oz. Tony’s swim which was peg 16 burst into life in the last half hour with a Carp and many good quality silvers. His bait was bread punch. To boot Tony took top silvers weight of 10 lb 04 oz a very fine performance to be sure.

Alan Bland during doing the weigh in was convinced he was going to end up near the bottom but was pleasantly surprised when his all Carp weight tipped the scales at 16 lb 02 oz and earned him a creditable 5th placing. Pole with maggot and meat from peg 36 got him 3 chunky Carp. Oh apparently a lot of swearing again was involved.

Out of sorts and white van man Nigel Coram found himself at number six. Nigel on peg 28 had a weight of 16 lb. Pole with maggot was used. Things could be on the the up.

Yours truly ended the match in 7th place. Fishing on peg 20 which I have named the micro pallet owing to it’s lack of size, I started of out in front at 11 meters with dead red maggots over micros but to use the local angling vernacular only had a few snots. All my Carp came from my left fishing to the pallet on peg 21 using corn as bait. Total weight was 15 lb 04 oz. Didn’t come last “brill”.

Top silvers basher one Paul Smith struggled throughout but managed to scrape together a combined weight of 15 lb 02 oz. Peg 8 was his abode and pole and maggot was method. No doubt things should improve once again for Paul who is never far away in the silvers table. Paul eneded the day in 8th.

9th was Dave Nash, Dave took things in to his stride and just fished the ordinary waggler. On road side peg number 34 he manged to put on the sca a total of 14 lb 08 oz. The bait used was either single or double maggot. This earned him 2nd in the silvers table.

Mr Philip Dodd occupied 10th spot with a haul of 8 lb. Phil once again employed his favourite tactic that of method feeder with dead maggot. Phil caught 2 Carp as well as some silvers from peg 32.

In at 11 was another octogenarian Bob Pascoe, Bob had drawn peg 39 next to the car park. For his endeavours he ended up with 7 lb 01oz by using pole and maggot. However Mr Pascoe did win a fiver for 3rd top silvers weight.

12th was Ian Grabham from Taunton who on peg 12 could only bring to the scales 5 lb 10 oz. Plan of attack for Mr Grabham was method feeder with pellet against the island. If I recall correctly this is Ian’s worst performance of the season.

Dave Colley who was Ian’s next door neighbour on peg 14 was pipped by Ian by a ounce for a weight of (do the math) 5 lb 09 oz Dave employed employed the feeder to the island. Mr colley finished in 13th.

Alan Jenkins slipped slightly back to second bottom from previous placings. Alan fished the roadside on peg 30. His all silvers catch came by using the pole and maggot for a total of 3 lb 09 oz. His words were “just couldn’t buy a Carp” in which Dave Nash replied ” you don’t buy them you catch them”.

Eric Searle was devoid of any type of luck on peg 18 poor Eric who normally catches Carp at will was flummoxed by the Carp just simply not obliging. He could only muster a total of 3 lb 02 oz which was caught by pole and maggot. Rest assured that if the Carp were cooperating he would have given Rob Dodd a run for his money.

The Results Table.
Top Silvers.

For match anglers or indeed pleasure anglers alike over a certain age will remember the time when matches could be held over the entire stretch of the Kings Sedgemoor drain about 8 miles. Back in 1965 when the Bridgwater Angling association hosted the the national angling championships over 600 anglers where peg on the KSD. But now move the clock forward to the present and great swathes of bank are now over grown and unfishable. A good example is Greylake, it is now imposible to hold a match next to the bridge like in days gone by. The the only viable stretches to hold a match now is Parchay. But some of the pegs there are a bit difficult to fish with anglers who got dodgy Knees and bad backs.

Well as some of you know a walk I did from Parchay bridge to Grey lake last year uncovered a really good stretch of bank that was more than capable of holding a match. That said stretch however is a bit remote. It is 1.2 mile from the car park at Greylake and trust me it takes over half an hour walk to get there. The stretch is 400 meters long which is ample for most club matches. The track that leads to it from Greylate car park is only suitable for 4 wheel drives and similar vehicles. The track is mostly on a peat based soil so is very susceptible to becoming very boggy and uneven during wet weather.

About two months ago I was talking to the chairman of Bridgwater Angling Association Nigel Gilland who was fishing the big pit at Dunwear. He mentioned that he often fish the above stretch and drives to it down the track. He also mentioned that the farmer who rents the land is helpful where the key to the gate is concerned. He also added that he could not understand why most matches on the KSD were always held at Parchay when you have got this stretch. Well sorting out the track which wouldn’t break the bank and slipping the farmer a bottle of whiskey, would make matches here possible.

October 14th just gone and game for anything me and my mate John Hughes (ex Somerset angling) decided on fishing some where different, opted on this stretch. Travelling light, of we set from Greylake car park on foot. It took us about 35 minutes to reach our destination. John set up just for pike and me, well I just set up a waggler rod. Results fish wise was very disappointing as neither of us had a bite. Also the swim I was fishing was blighted by streamer weed. But in a positive frame of mind. 1) the track can be sorted. 2) a few days before a match a few people could go down and rake the swims, no big deal. 3) on the way to the match one could stop of at the off license and buy a bottle of Johny Walker for the farmer.

Okay we caught no fish but to be honest the conditions wasn’t favourable. But staging a match here is very doable. A plan of action was spinning around in my head. After nearly four hours me and John decided to pack up. It was while I was waiting for John I looked towards my right and about a 150 meters away two men appeared. They were dressed in Hi Viz clothing and were armed with poles and a simple eletronic measuring device. Surveyors that what these two were. But what were they doing in this remote stretch? So curiosity got the better of me and of I went and meet up these two fellas. Point to note here is that these two were very friendly and approachable. And of course I did ask them what they were doing.

The answer astounded me. These men were contractors working for the Environment Agency and they were surveying the bank for a construction of what they described as a wildlife sanctuary. This haven for wild life would measure a 100 meters long. A ditch would be made that would run perpendicular for 6 meters to the bank then go at right angle which would run parallel to the bank and then turn toward the KSD again as to create a island in which plants shrubs and small trees would thrive. They say a diagram is worth a thousand words so have a look. So 100 meters of bank which could be used to stage a match has now been taken away. In fact it puts the whole idea of holding a match here very much in doubt. Bloody typical.

Now I have to say I am all for the saving of the environment and the preservation of wildlife, dont get me wrong here. And I honestly think the angling fraternity are of the same voice. But my gripe here is this. We had to walk over a mile to get to the stretch. Within that mile I would say there where five fishable swims. Only five owing to the bank being left with out maintance.

Talking to the surveyors, there are apparently and don’t quote me here but I thought they said there were going to be seven of this wildlife constructions altogether along the bank of the KSD. So if this is the case then that’s 0.7 km of bank being taking away from angling. No doubt the rent for the KSD which Bridgwater Angling Association pays to the EA will stay the same. If the same effort that is put into the building of these wild life habbitats was also used to improve the certain stretches of the KSD ie that mile of bank from Greylake car going towards Parchay. We could say that the EA rod licence and the rent that Bridgwater Angling Association pay (£10,000 per year for both the KSD and the Huntspill) was worth it. Is it worth it I let the Angling Brethern decide.

Unil next time

Tight lines Pete C

Mayhem at Parchey on The Kings Sedgemoor Drain.

It was a bright sunny Saturday morning and the wind was negligible The sun had given notice that it was going to be a nice hot summers day. The odds and sods, the oddballs and misfits of society which every two weeks metamorphosize into the Watchet Angling club met at the stone strewn dust ridden car park at Parchey on the Kings Sedgemoor Drain. As usual insults where traded and lies and fibs about the previous weeks fishing were swapped.

A short chronological order of events.

The draw was made at 0845, and of we jolly well went with a hop and a skip across Parchey bridge on to the bridgwater bank (Parchey to Bradney) to our allotted pegs.

The hopeful participants as normal set out their stall, setting up poles, whips and waggler rods. Task completed and there was time found before the off for people to walk the banks and have a bit of a chin wag.

10.00 am whistle is sounded and battle commences, This is where Alan Bland takes up part of the story. Alan our much beloved match secretary had pulled out peg 86 which people who have local angling knowledge will know is right next to the bridge. ” I started to catch right away, a fish a chuck. An hour and a half in to the match I reckoned 20lb plus is on the cards here alright as the stamp of fish were improving”. This unfortunately was the lull before the storm, dark clouds were looming, disaster was coming around the corner.

11.30 The first of the foot soldiers and shock troops appeared from the “lets F**k up the anglers day” battalion. Convoy after convoy followed and made headway to the far bank next to the car park. Base camp was set up where exercise “let’s p**s the anglers off ” was coordinated from. Tents and gazebos where set up to add a touch of professionalism to the operation.

11.45 am The amphibious section enters the water. This devious group was well equipped to employ the ultimate amount of mayhem. A plethora of craft from paddle boards to canoes, from rubber dinghies to rubber inflatables were employed to maximum effect to ruin one’s fishing. The foot soldiers had there own tactics to, to cause total destruction of ones chances of catching fish. In military type precision they aligned themselves on Parchey bridge and at a set time leapt and let gravity take over and enter the water with the greatest noise possible.

At one stage there was well over a 100 people participating and one point Tony Richards who was on peg 84 counted 47 people in the water at once. The disturbance of the water was such that Alan Bland had to alter the depth of his tackle and lay on the bottom to stop his float from moving. He also commented that if there was a burger or ice van present they would of made a killing. This sums it up. Once this crowd of people arrived the fishing just died.

Okay trust me I am no killjoy and I don’t want to take away peoples fun and pleasure like ours was on Saturday.

But here is a few points to note.

The rules of the Bridgwater Angling Club (which rents the water from the EA) and which indeed are common sense are.

No boats on Bridgwater Angling waters are a allowed. Bloody hell what I saw the word flotilla, regatta and armada springs to mind.

No swimming allowed in Bridgwater Angling waters, oh well a few got away with that one then.

No fires on the banks of Bridgwater Angling water. Well you could smell barbecues from our bank.

Not for one moment do I blame Bridgwater Angling Association. Give me some slack here for the moment. Last year Alan Bland, Dave Nash and yours truly pleasure fished midweek the same place but a bit further up the bank and the same thing happened but on a very smaller scale. Next day Alan rang up the Enviromental Agency to complain. He was passed on from one department to another. In the end the answer given was it’s a matter for the police or the local authorities.

Right stay with it. If I own a commercial fishery I am responsible for the upkeep of the place. It is up to me to make sure that people adhere to the rules. If there is a commotion on site it is up to me to sort it out or call the police. Bear in mind if you just fish my fishery for the whole season you still need an EA rod license.

The Kings Sedgemoor Drain is the responsibilty of the EA. There fore it up to them to police it.

There are no signs in place with the rules on at the entrances to the banks.

Now reading this you might rightly say why did you lot fish here in the first place. Okay.

Above is a photo copy of the junior fixture list from the 1980/81 Bridgwater license. Have a look. There you will see matches held at Greylake, Bradney, Silver fish and of course Parchey. Holding matches at Greylake, and Silver Fish are totally out of the equation now owing to state of the venues. Bradney looks to be in a terminal state of decline and the conditions of some of the pegs make it more or less impossible for older people with back, hip or knee problems to fish. So now in a reality sense Parchey is only the real option on the table now.

It appears that the EA want your rod license money and nothing else. Since the EA took over from the National Rivers Authority the conditions for fishing on the KSD have gone down hill at a great rate of knots. To quote Wordsworth “they are like the lilies of the field they neither reap or do they sow” Bridgwater Angling Association used to get quite a lot of income from pegs fees from matches held on the KSD. The 1965 national had 800 anglers on the drain alone and clubs from all over the southwest used to book matches on this water. But owing to the state of the drain match fishing has plummeted and fees has diminished. These fees help to pay for the rental for this venue. The sear cheek is that the EA still expect the rent to be paid but owing to their ineptness have thwarted the means in helping paying it. In other words Bridgwater Angling have been screwed. Enough said.

The results of the match have been somewhat over shadowed by the above events. But it got to be noted that for obvious reasons the better weights were furthest from the bridge. But lets not take any credit away from the people who done well.

First on the day from peg 69 was Paul Smith with a good weight for the conditions (hot and mostly windless) of 10 lb 05 oz. Paul employed mostly pinkie and short pole and the waggler and maggot.

Mr Nigel Coram who was end pegger on peg 64 done well for 2nd spot with a reasonable weight of 7 lb 04 oz his tactics was short pole with maggot over black ground bait.

Making amends from his last match was Ian Townsend with a weight of 5 lb 10 oz from peg 66. Ian used corn and maggot with pole. Mr Townsend got 3rd.

In 4th we find Dave Nash from peg79. This silvers veteran landed a weight of 4lb 04 oz. Method employed was waggler and maggot and whip and caster.

Alan Bland who was at ground zero of the mayhem got 5th with a weight of 3 lb 10 oz on peg 86 his approach was pole and maggot, but note he did not have any fish after 11.45 am.

In all honesty I think owing to the circumstances it is best to draw the line at the match summary here because it seems immaterial to carry on.

I was over at Dunwear ponds a few days ago and was horrified by how much the green algae had taken hold in big pit and it seems that this hot weather is not going to help matters. Below are the swims back of South pond.

The people on the Bridgwater angling committee must be pulling there hair out it’s been nearly 2 months now since you could fish big pit. First it was the fish that was late in spawning and now the algae problem. Fingers crossed for the future.

Well that all folks on this somewhat melancholic post.

Tight lines Pete C

The National Angling Championships 1965.

This is a couple of pictures of a swim. As a swims it does not stand out in anyway particular. it’s a rather unassuming swim, nothing special to note. Not very picturesque or charming. So one can assume it’s a swim or peg if you prefer that is just ordinary and average. This so called run of the mill peg however has a unique feature. It is a swim that is located on the Kings Sedgemoor Drain and is the exact mid point between Parchay and Greylake bridges. It is 1.86 miles from both. As for getting there one can imagine it can be a bit of a trek. It is not helped by the fact that the track alternates from being none-existent to a simple construct created by the ambling of cows. This uneven, rough and bumpy path which fades in and out might be okay for our four legged friends of the bovine family to move over but for us bipeds it a different matter for the ordinary walker or even more so for the angler burden by tackle . On average it takes roughly 40 minutes to get there. This swim is located on the Westonzoyland stretch which in itself is a far of place. One can say about the above mentioned swim its probable that more people have walked on the moon than have fished here.

X marks the sport. The mid point swim.

But one Saturday way back in 1965 the 11th of September to be exact this Westonzoyland stretch and the mid point swim became for a few hours the epicentre or ground zero of the match fishing world. For this day was the day of the 1965 angling national championships.

A few facts from 1965

The venues used were

The river Huntspill.

The river Cripps.

The South Drain.

The Kings Sedgemoor Drain.

110 teams took part.

1320 anglers fished.

The Head quarters for the match was at Westonzoyland air field.

The Draw was at 8am.

It was a 5 hour match.

There was heavy rain the week leading up to the match.

On the day of the match there was a strong wind.

It was the National Angling Championships golden jubilee, ie it was the 50th one to be held.

The HQ was at the Westonzoyland air field, owing to heavy rain in the week prior to the match the place was a bit of a quagmire.

Dave Burr of the Rugby Federation team picked out of the bag peg D63, which is roughly the mid point swim. After being dropped of at Parchay bridge a long walk to his peg was in front of him. Indeed it was the 1.86 miles and from the records he had to pass 133 pegs to get to his. Now bear in mind that this is 1965 and that the fishing trolley was an idea in its infancy. Dave being far sighted however fitted his rather large wicker basket with an axle and 2 five inch wheels. Dave came with intent and a determination, the will to do well. His inventory that day was astounding, 30lb of dry ground bait, 9lb of wet ground bait approximately 2 gallons of squats, 6 pints of pinkies and 4 pints of maggots, some turning to caster. Armed with the wheeled basket, rod holdall and bait bag he set of to his designated peg. But alas it wasn’t a straight forward trek, for half way disaster struck, the axle on his basket broke. So with no alternative he left his bait bag and rod holdall and carried his basket 20 yards, left it and then went back for the bag and holdall took them to the basket and repeated the process. Now I told you it was a long way, well he was ten minutes away from his peg and the starting whistle went. He eventually got to his peg and and realizing he had to do something his first act was to throw a few balls of squats in and then preceded to set up. His approach was to set up a Milbro glass fibre rod with a 506 ABU reel loaded with two and half pound reel line, and use a 4 bb ducker float with size 18 hook. Now I know we live in the age of the mass produced synthetic plastic transparent float with out charm or character and with that some people may not of heard of a ducker float so as the saying goes a diagram is worth a 1000 words. so.

The Ducker float,

Dave had a roach to start with and with the introduction of ground bait started catching some nice size skimmers. But as things was starting to get into gear yet again another set back reared it’s ugly head and this time it was the reel, it was was not feeling right and the line was not running of as it should , so an important decision had to be made and made it was, so Dave broke of above the float made a loop, changed reels to a Mitchel 300 threaded the line through the rings again and rejoined up with his previous float and terminal tackle and carried on as before. Although it wasn’t plain sailing owing to the fact he had lost a few nice fish and had to change hook sizes he did catch quality fish consistently. A while into the match a crowd began to congregate behind Dave and his angling neighbours for this was D section, the section which was predicted by the pundits to produce the winner, as the match went on this angling congregation began to grow even more, the numbers quoted where between 200 to 300 people. Dave and his angling neighbours were pegged on a huge bream shoal that was the resultant of anglers walking to their pegs from Parchay and from Greylake and unnerving the fish towards the middle section which was of course D, an angling equivalent to Grouse beating. Now it all right having a favoured peg in a big match but can you keep your nerve and will you have enough angling prowess to achieve success.

The two photos above show some of the crowd that had gathered behind the anglers on the prolific D section.

The 5 hours were up the whistle was blown and it was now the time of reckoning, the time of judgement. The weigh in. This weighing in became a focus of great expectation and curiosity and hence the great thong of spectators who had gathered during the match now started inching forward to crowd around the anglers in D section with interest.

Winning match weights of 150 lb are not uncommon nowadays so you may be surprised that the match scales used on this particular day only went up to 10 lb. Yep that’s right just 10 lb, this type of scales where considered sufficient owing to the fact the people didn’t catch big weights in them days. So weighing in was no easy task and the scales had to be used several times for the weighing process for the anglers in D section. The huge bream shoal that was spread across a lot of D section did not make the scales men job easy as this massive shoal of fish created the fact that 7 anglers in a row amassed a total weight of 304 lb between them. The weighing of D section to the relief of the people who was on scales duty had come to an end and after quick calculations it was found that after early set backs Dave with a cool head and the right frame of mind achieved the winning weight of 76 lb 9oz, not only was this the winning weight of the 1965 National but it was a the highest winning in the history of Nationals at that time. A record that would stand for 25 years.

The long homeward journey back to Parchay bridge car park for Dave was a much more joyous occasion than the calamitous trek to his peg. For amongst the great ensemble of spectators who had watched the goings on was a few of Dave friends from the Rugby Federation team. The espirit de corps took hold and one guy carried his basket, another his rod holdall, and another friend his bait bay. What a jolly lot the Rugby Federation where.

Dave Burr the eventual winner landing a nice fish from peg D63.
Dave in action once again.
The moment of truth Dave Burr help to weigh his catch.

Below is the table of the results of the top 8 individuals

Note all these anglers were in section D.

1stD BurrRugby Federation76 lb 9 oz
2ndC CloughCoventry55 lb 3 oz
3rdR GwinnettDerby53 lb 8 oz
4thL LivardGreat Yarmouth52 lb 8oz
5thN A MumfordNotts Federation51 lb
6thN SwanGloucester AA48lb 14 oz
7thD CooperWarrington45 lb 5 oz
8thG D AdcockSpalding43 lb 6 oz
Dave the winner stepping up to the platform to get his rewards.
What a collection for Mr Burr.

Once back at HQ its was confirmed what everyone had suspected that Dave Burr was the overall winner and what added to a great day was the congratulations from one of the greatest anglers of his generation the great Billy Lane. Dave for his incredible achievement was awarded a plethora of cups and a few hundred quid to boot, courtesy of the bookies and the pools. Dave was far from being a one hit wonder indeed he was a regular winner of many big matches and went on to fish for England. Another point to note about this triumph was the weight that Dave caught was instrumental in helping his team to secure top spot and push the favourites Coventry in to 2nd place.

The top team positions.

1stRugby Federation93 lb 7oz
2ndCoventry and District86lb 3oz
3rdDerby A.A.70 lb 9oz
4thGloucester United A.A.70lb 7oz
5thNotts and District Federation65lb 15 oz
Colin Clough of Coventry who achieved 2nd place was pegged next to Dave Burr, Note the chop on the water.
One smiling R Gwinnett for Derby who was 3rd.
This is one of the bream caught by L Livard which helped him to 4th spot.
N Mumford playing a fish from peg D 62. He claimed 5th.
This young man is one 17 year old Nicholas Swan also from D section who finished a very creditable 6th .
Young Mr Swan again whose team was Gloucester.
This is Ralph Cooper of Warrington looking pleased with his efforts which gained him 7th spot.
Spalding Angler Mr G Adcock working hard for 8th.

An angler pegged next to Parchay bridge.

The dust from this match has long since settled and this far flung place, this stretch has now returned to its default setting of solitude and abandonment. Some of the angling brethren will give this stretch a character assassination. The arguments for such a case would be it’s to far to walk, the path is bad. the swims are crap. How do I know if there’s any fish there. etc. etc.

Once again this place reverts back to an angling outpost.
The once was section D now undisturbed, tranquil and serene.

These points are justifiable and some what warranted. The commercials have made angling hassle free and comfortable. These modern creations has made places like this more or less redundant and unwanted. I myself will not give this place any negativity or criticism for me it has a certain type of attractiveness an allure and appeal and hence in the summer I hope to do a video in some shape or form from here. Whether you are a person whose glass is half full or half empty on this place there is one thing however that you cannot do. You cannot and I shall repeat you cannot ever take away this locations history and its place in angling folklore.

Two foot notes from this match that I managed get from the angling press of the day.

Two stewards , Edwin and Brian David on J section on the river Huntspill at Woolavington bridge were horrified when a small car drew up and a man and two small boys got out. Complete with fishing tackle they approached the river, lined with the country’s best match anglers.

“what d’you think you’re doing?” asked the stewards .

“going fishing” was obivous reply.

Upon being told that they could not fish there then, the highly indignant reply was “why not everyone else is”.

The Coventry team who where the Man City of their day stayed on to fish a match on the Bridgwater and Taunton canal the next day (Sunday). The one and only Billy Lane had top weight of 4 lb 11 oz 2nd was Joe Dyer with 4 lb 6oz and 3rd was Norman Webb with just over 3 lb.

Billy Lane with his haul of trophies from a life time of fishing.

Acknowledgement. I want to thank the great man himself Dave Burr after conversing with him through email decided to send me spare copies of the Angling times and Angler’s Mail from that time. Dave I am truly grateful. Also I want to pay thanks to John Ellis who is the National Fisheries and Angling Manager for Canal and Rivers trust who helped me to get in to contact with Dave.

I obtained some information for the above post from an excellent book by John Essex entitled The National Angling Championships, in it Mr Essex has written in the chapter about the 1965 National. I quote “Congratulations to secretary Ray Perrett and the South, East, and West Somerset Federation for their brilliant organisation. Everything, including the coaches went with out a hitch”. Ray Parrett was a stalwart of angling in the Bridgwater and Somerset area. He fought tooth and nail to ensure the National in 1965 was held locally. Unfortunately Ray is no longer with us but owing to his contribution to the local angling fraternity I will do a post on him in the near future.

This post is late in coming owing to the fact that my broad band connection was down for nearly 2 weeks.

Until next time take care and tight lines.

Pete C.

Optional Winter Match fished at Parchay on the K.S.D on 31 October 2020

Once again we had to put up with the same weather as that of the Prince Edward islands (see last blog post). 8 people turned up and 1 took exception to the inclement ( a lovely word to describe the conditions) weather and fearing that later in the day that the Environment Agency would open up the flood gates and run the so called flood water of which would cause mayhem to the fishing, turned tail and went back home. So 7 hardy souls remained to battle and endure the remnants of hurricane Zeta and storm Aiden.

Before the draw Alan Bland was tasked to hand out what can only be described as a small gift on be half of a dear friend and doyen of the club one Tony Richards who alas has been suffering ill health and is unable to participate in his favourite pass time at present. So with thought and lovely gesture Tony gave a bag of ground to each member who turned up. Unfortunately Tony is unable to leave his house at present so Alan done the honours. Tony our thoughts are with your in your difficult hour and on behalf of every recipient many thanks and get well soon.

Many Thanks Tony.

The Results

1stRob Dodd11 lb 08 oz79
2ndPaul Smith11 lb 06 oz82
3rdDave Nash8 lb 09 oz84
4thAlan Bland5 lb 05 oz85
5thPete Curnow3lb 06 oz80
6thIan Townsend3 lb 02 oz81

First on the day was end pegger on peg 79 the one and only Rob Dodd. Rob had a simple approach that of whip with caster over hemp. This guy put 11 lb 08 oz on the scales.

Robs winning weight.

2nd top weight was Paul Smith, Paul was pipped by just 2 oz by Rob. Fishing mainly waggler with double red landed 11 lb 06 oz from peg 82. His method with the waggler was to fish the middle about 6 inches over depth with the tip sticking out more than usual to get decent size skimmers.

Thanks for the tip Paul.

2nd placed battling with the elements

3rd was Mr Dave Nash aka silvers bagger. Dave put together a net of 8 lb 09 oz. From 84 the method employed was waggler and maggot.

4th spot went to Alan Bland from peg 85 Alan the match secretary and a mighty fine job he does too, put on the scales 5 lb 05 oz. The tactics employed was short pole, maggot and caster.

5th spot was yours truly. I kept things simple with waggler and maggot. From peg 80 I managed to scrap together a weight of 3 lb 06 oz.

6th spot was Ian Townsend who could get the title of Mr inconsistent. Match before last DNWI (Sedges) , last match crushed it with a really good win at Summerhayes and now once again find himself at the wrong end of the table with a weight of 3 lb 02 oz from peg 81 . So next time it seems he is due another win. Ian did not have the best of starts by breaking his pole.

Eric Searle on peg 86 nearest the bridge DNWI. But fair shout to him he stuck at it to the bitter end. Eric did comment that at one stage he did not have a bite for 3 hours.

The norm before the start of the match if i am in the position of being ready before the of, is to get up from ones peg and have a wander up and down the bank and give abuse to the other competitors. This it seems is the only part of match fishing that I’m any good at. Any how this particular match I had just set up and was ready to disembark my peg when who should appear. None other than the eventual winner Rob Dodd. Conversation ensued and of course the subject was fishing. We both reminisced about our times in the juniors etc. Then it came to the subject of winning matches now people who are Au Fait with the local match angling scene will know that Mr Dodd is no stranger to winning the odd match or two.

” I have won a match myself Rob” Rob looked at me in such away that he seemed he was Startled. He recovered his composure “oh yea I remember the Huntspill” . he managed to utter.

“That was 2014 mate I won one more recent than that”

Taken aback once again “Really”

” Yep 3 year ago that knock up we had at Burton Springs”

After regaining back some sense of normality “oh yea I remember”

I went on to explain to the amusement of Rob that such a rare occasion warranted a memento, an item to be treasured to remind yours truly of what seemingly looks impossible can be achieved. So I have the the actual weighing sheet or in this case the back of a breakfast cereal packet. So where is this priceless piece of angling history kept. Well it is hanging not in the Albert and Victoria Museum or the Louvre Museum in Paris. But hangs like a soiled gym sock on a shower rod on the inside of the door to my fishing shed and folks here is the prove.

Okay once again we enter another period of lock down but unlike the 1st one we are able to go pleasure fishing. But I stress that match fishing is not permitted. So this means the next match after lock down which ends on December 2nd will be on the river Tone on December 5th.

Until next time don’t forget to bath or shower. Meet you guys on the other side.

Pete C

Parchay Match 12 September 2020

Parchay to Greylake stretch on the Kings Sedgemoor Drain.

The Kings Sedgemoor Drain has been on the Bridgwater AA ticket for many many years and has the fishing rights from Dunball to Greylake a continous stretch of about 8 miles. Now as a guy who likes looking at remote places on a map, one stretch has always intrigued me. The stretch in question is the stretch between Parchay and Greylake.

Here is a few approximate stats.

Parchay to Greylake is 3.7 miles or 5.94 km

Parchay to Bussex Bend is 1.24 miles or 1.99km

There is a foot bridge called Cradle bridge which is situated 1.98 miles or 3.19 km from Parchay bridge who’s only practical use is for the walker not for the run of the mill angler with all his or her gear. The nearest parking to this bridge is Burdenham farm which a tad under a kilo meter away. From here you go down a track then across a field, if that is not of putting to the match angler with trolley the bridge itself will be. It presents a formidable obstacle indeed owing to it’s width.

I know that some pike anglers use the bridge as a short cut to this stretch but there are not heavily burdened by the amount of tackle like the match or average pleasure angler. But all in in all the only practical way to this middle stretch is by the two road bridges.

So of I went for a hike on the north bank from Parchay to Greylake armed with camera to a place of rarity and seldomness, rarely visited and seldom fished. Once you get passed the first 500 yards which I must say does see a fair few anglers, but after you get a sense of the shunned and the neglected, alright there are a few places here to fish up towards Bussex bend, but this is mostly done from the opposite bank what is locally known as red track. Red track has the distinct advantage of one being able to drive one’s car right on to the bank. However this track only goes as far as the out fall of Andersea Rhyne which is 1.26 km from Parchay bridge. From there on the fishing is only practicable from the north bank.

Now Bussex bend it self is a great dissapointment, the thought of sitting on one’s seat box right on Bussex bend itself and casting a line is only fantasy for nature has decided to have her own way and has completely shrouded it in 5 foot tall reeds.

It’s when you turn the corner at Bussex bend the stretch takes on a new atmosphere a place of the remote and afar. The out back and the back of beyond. It wouldn’t surprise me if no one has fished this stretch for years. To call it a lonely place would do it a great injustice. The word lonely conjures up a world of sadness and melancholy, this couldn’t be further from the truth. One could say of this stretch from Bussex bend to Greylake that it’s a place wrapped up in a lovable desolation.

This is the approach to Craddle footbridge.

Now passing cradle bridge and continuing towards Greylake there is a stretch that is approximately 2.4 miles from Parchay bridge and about 220 yards before you hit where the Sowy river and Langacre rhyne enters the KSD. It is a stretch well worth noting, it is a place like no other on the drain, it is an ideal spot to hold a match. The banks are more or less level with the water and are completely flat. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words well instead of a picture I have a video which is just as good.

There is only one problem holding a match here and that is the remoteness of the place. Like I have already it is 2.4 miles from Parchay and 1.4 miles from Greylake. There is a track of sorts but not really suitable at all for the average family car.

Here is the above said stretch marked on the on the map.

The final 1.4 miles or so of KSD changes in character dramatically after passing where both the Sowy and the Langacre flows in to the Drain the water narrows considerably and in some places you can fish the far bank with a pole. There are a few indents in the rushes suitable for fishing and some of these look quite pleasant but these are very few and far between. Alas this stretch has all the hall marks of a water in decline, a fishery that has been neglected and shunned a venue where nature has taken over and has decided to stay.

Watchet angling match at Parchay 12 September 2020

It is the second time in a row now that the Watchet angling mob has had their match on the King Sedgemoor Drain at Parchay on the permanent pegs. (Bridgwater bank). This anomaly occurred because, put it simply the dilapidated state of the river Huntspill and thus the inability of any club being able to stage a match. Its saddens me to see the demise of this venue, a venue in its hey day held matches for the national angling championships which had attendances of over 700 anglers. I had an interesting conversation last week with the chairman of Bristol Amalgamated Fisheries a sprightly 85 year old guy called George who has been chairman for nearly 50 years among other things, he mentioned about the fact that the EA take in 14 million pounds in revenue from the sale of rod licences but only 1 million of this is put back in to angling. Well that explains the Huntspill then. Enough enough lets get on with the results.

1stEric Searle12 lb 02 oz81
2ndAlan Bland11 lb 04 oz82
3rdPaul Smith11 lb 02 oz85
4thDave Nash10 lb 03 oz79
5thBob Pascoe9 lb 14 oz78
6thGeorge Fletcher8 lb 05 oz84
7thPete Curnow8 lb86
8thIan Townsend6 lb 12 oz77
9thDave Colley6 lb 07 oz80

1st on the day was none other than the Mr carp orientated Eric Searle who showed that he is becoming of a bit of an all rounder. Eric of of peg 81 amassed a net of 12 lb 02 oz. This was achieved by whip and maggot.

The winner.

2nd place went the clubs paste expert and match secretary Alan Bland. Forsaking his beloved paste Alan caught most of his fish on caster and pole for a weight of 11 lb 4 oz. His abode for the match was peg 82.

Alan with his now familiar hat.

3rd place went to Paul Smith on peg 85 who fish the waggler and whip with red maggot as the main bait. Now I let you guys in to a little secret at the end of the match he genuinely believed he had the lowest weight. A nice surprise then mate.

Paul Smith anxiously waiting.

4th was the winner of the previous match a certain Dave Nash. Dave who just could not pull it of this time had a weight of 10 lb 03 oz. Caster and sweetcorn on the whip was the method. Dave’s peg was 79.

Veteran angler Bob Pascoe was 5th on peg 78 with 9 lb 14 oz. Bob caught all his fish on caster.

6th place went to newcomer George Fletcher. Bolton Wanderers supporter George on peg 84 nabbed out 8 lb 05 oz using pole and whip with maggot as bait. Like me poor George had trouble with bloody Pike.

7th was yours truly on peg 86 with a total of 8 lb. I employed waggler and maggot.

8th was Ian Townsend who was 3rd last time but could only muster 6 lb 12 oz on this outing. Fishing the end peg number 77 Ian mostly used double caster on the pole. Luck was not with Ian as he lost a Tench at the net.

9th was NHS hero Dave Colley. Dave employed the pole and waggler with mainly maggot to eek out a weight of 6 lb 7 oz.

Point of note that me and Paul Smith did have quite a lot of Ruffe and Gudgeon.

There are 5 dates to note, these are for one of matches.

Possible venues in consideration are the River Cripps, B&T canal and even the North Drain.

Next match will be at Shiplate on the main lake in 2 weeks time on Sept 26th but this could be in jeopardy owing to new lock down rules and the fishery owners discretion.

Until then take care and don’t forget to change you clothes.

Tight line Pete C

Parchay Match 29 August 2020

Approaching my swim and surveying it surroundings and trying to take in the dilapidated state it portrayed. My mind wondered back to the time when I was in the army. It was 1981 and I was doing basic training. We had in our troop a very odd person indeed by the name of Egan, his first name escapes me. Now trust me he was odd. Odd by character and odd by physique. He was a mixture of wit, intelligence and boarder line insanity. But the strangest thing about Egan was his appearance. He was tall and gangly with a rather large head and a very wide mouth, in fact he reminded me of one of the robots on the Cadburys smash advert from the 1970s.

Get a broom handle stick a pumpkin on top and you will have an item with physical attributes as Egan. Egan’s head proved a problem for his beret and his cap badge. The cap badge should be aligned over the left eye and the beret should slope from left to right. But not for Egan owing to the configuration of his head the cap badge would end up over his nose and his beret would slope on both sides from the middle like a roof top. 

Now as time went on during this period of basic training all of us squaddies in the troop   became aware of Egan’s inability to run and it was becoming a concern for the training staff. Well this one day the squad went out for a run and it was during this run that we had notice that Egan was absent. When we returned to the sports field we had set of from we noticed Egan with 2 PT instructors. The squad was ordered to sit on the grass while the instructors tried to sort out Egan.  “right Egan all we want you to do is just run around the sports field and come back here”. Poor Egan this was well beyond his physical capabilities. “well get a move on Egan” Now what happened next has remained with me ever since. 

Egan started running up and down on the spot with his long lanky arms motionless at his sides, his head was going from side to side and his wide mouth was opening and closing and he  seemed to be taking in vast gulps of air. Someone in the squad remarked that Egan must be an alien and is unable to cope with our atmosphere. One of the instructors pointed his finger “go on Egan that way what the matter” But poor old Egan kept on running up and down on the spot and just kept making gulping noises. That was it, the other instructor got behind him and pushed him. That seemed to do the trick or so it seemed. With great gangling strides of he went head still going from side to side and his arms still motionless at side. This was the British army’s equivalent to Basil Fawlty alas after 50 yards he stopped. The poor fella just put his hands on his hips and start gasping, he just could not cut it when it came to running. “you’re not fit for purpose” yelled one of instructors. That was the very first time that I had ever heard that phrase. Now nearly 40 years on I am grabbing that phrase and using it to describe my peg bloody peg. Thanks to Dave Colley who lent me his reed cutter and Alan Jenkins who did the same with his weed rake and 30 minutes of my time the swim became just fishable and just fit for purpose. 

Unfit for purpose. The Egan peg.

The Results

1stDave Nash21 lb69
2ndRob Dodd20 lb 06 oz86
3rdIan Townsend15 lb 12 oz79
4thPaul Smith9 lb 06 oz80
5thDave Gartenfeld9 lb 04 oz68
6thDave Colley8 lb 09 oz78
7thEric Searle8 lb 02 oz81
8thAlan Jenkins5 lb 10 oz77
9thAlan Bland5 lb 07 oz85
10thPete Curnow5 lb 01 oz83
11thBob Pascoe4 lb 12 oz84
12thPhil Dodd4 lb 02 oz82

Top spot went to Mr silvers basher himself Dave Nash with a good weight of 21 lb. Dave emloyed two and a meter whip with caster. 69 was Dave s peg.

Bugger me where did all these come from.

On peg 86 was 2nd placed angler Rob Dodd with another fine catch of 20 lb 06 oz. 5 meter whip fishing caster over hemp did the trick for Rob.

A smiling Mr Dodd with 2nd top weight.

3rd was Ian Townsend on peg 79 who used the pole and double caster to catch 15 lb 12 oz this included 2 nice size Tench. This was Ian’s first trip to this venue, a good result mate.

A very pleased Ian with 3rd top weight.

4th was Paul Smith who tempted out 9 lb 06 oz on waggler and caster. Also corn was used to eek out the better size fish. This all happened on peg 80.

Right behind Paul was Dave Gartenfeld with a respectable haul of 9 lb 04 oz from peg 68 . T op 2 plus 2 was used to obtain this catch. Now Dave actually managed quite a rarity indeed by landing a mirror Carp although weighing only 14 oz never or less quite a catch.

6th place went to Dave Colley with a weight of 8lb 9 oz. Dave method corn and maggot on the whip from peg 78.

7th top angler was Eric Searle on peg 81 with 8 lb 02 oz. Tactics used was whip with worm and maggot.

8th went to Alan Jenkins on peg 77 with a weight of 5lb 10oz using whip and pole with caster. Fair play to Alan who struggled with the bank owing to his bad knees, He gave a stiff upper lip and carried on regardless. Good on yer mate.

Alan Bland the match secretary occupied 9th spot with a haul of 5lb 07oz. The method employed was pole with caster worm and corn.

Yours truly managed 10th placing. Now I am not one for whinging but it took a good 30 minutes to hack down reeds and to rake out weed to make my peg which was peg 83 fishable. And at this stage I would like to pay thanks again to Dave Colley for lending me his reed cutter and Alan Jenkins for lending me his weed rake. Nice one Guys. Any how I managed to obtain a weight of 5 lb 01 oz from using waggler and maggot.

Bob Pascoe found himself in 11th place, fishing peg 84 he had a catch of 4 lb 12 oz. This was obtained from using top 2 plus 4 with maggot.

Number 12 was one Phil Dodd on peg 82 using maggot and waggler he managed to put on the scales 4 lb 02 oz.

The standing so far before the last match,

Okay guys the next match is at this venue again on Saturday August 12th.

So until then tight lines and don’t forget to change your clothes.

Pete C.

Watchet Angling winter league Rnd one 26/10/2019

Yes folks it’s that time of year again The clocks go back, Bridgwater carnival approaches and Christmas as they say is just around the corner, But most important the winter league. The time of overcast drizzle, rain, wind and cold.

The first round of the Watchet winter league took place on Saturday the 26th of October 2019. The venue being Parchay on the Kings Sedgemoor Drain. This was a first in a series of nine matches stretching to the last one on February 22nd next year.

Fate alas did play its part by family, work and other commitments which decimated the field of anglers from a possible of nine to just four. I myself was absent owing to work (PANTS!).

The conditions was not exactly favourable with strong winds and rain throughout the entirety of the match. The tow at the beginning was flowing towards down stream but in the last hour and a half the flow reversed. Owing to lack of numbers the pegging was such that one peg was next to the car park near the fence, the other 3 angler were pegged on the Bridgwater Bank on the first 3 pegs.

Paul Smith had top weight of 20lb 12oz. This top bag consisted of all roach, Paul who was a late arrival owing to the fact that he had forgot his bait used caster, hemp and tares. He fished short pole and whip. Paul fished the first peg in on the Bridgwater bank.

2nd top rod was match secretary Alan Bland who had amassed a weight of 18lb. This consisted of 2 tench one of one of 4lb 14oz and another of between 2 1/2 and 3lb. The rest of the catch was an equal amount of roach and perch Most of his catch including the 2 tench were taken on caster using the short pole. Permanent peg 85 was Alan’s spot.

3rd place Eric Searle who just fished the pole had 16 lb to his name all of small fish quite a good haul. Maggot was the main bait used Eric was the on permanent peg 86.

Bringing up the rear with never or less quite a decent weight of 9lb was Dave Nash who had the car park swim. Dave fish the whip with caster and hemp. Dave catch consisted of all smallish fish. One important point to note was that Dave had to pack up early owing to work commitments.

This picture was taken by Dave Nash who fished the car park swim. From L to R Paul Smith, Eric Searle and Alan Bland

All in all the weights were better than expected considering the conditions, so well done guys. Next match will be at Pawlett ponds on Saturday 9th November.