Ardent readers of my beloved blog will probably first of all look at the bottom part of the results table to see once again how badly yours truly has done. Well sorry to disappoint you my angling flock but you will not find me there, alias you won’t find me in the top part either. For Friday I had to travel to Boots in Taunton to have my 2nd vaccine jab. I may now be resistant to the old Covid bug but in this situation it seems a give and take situation or a balancing act has arisen. For although in theory I am now fully inoculated, it came with a price. Soon after the jab say about an hour and a half I had the most thumping headache which lasted for a good day. So come Saturday the day of the Trinity Waters match I just put up the white flag and threw a sickie. Hence this abridged match report is done thanks to the co operation of the match secretary Alan Bland. Alan was kind enough to phone through the results and gave me a very brief summary of what went on.
So here goes, in Alan’s own words the “fishing was very spasmodic and the fish really did not feed with any confidence throughout” and as normal with this venue it was Carp that made up the main bulk of the match weight. One good point to note was the quality of some of the Perch that was caught. Ian Townsend who got 3rd had one of 2 lb 4 oz. Nigel Coram in 2nd spot had a nice one of 1 lb 14 oz, Mr Alan Bland caught one of 1 lb 11 oz and veteran Bob Pascoe netted one of 1 lb 3 oz.
Now we all know that the Watchet Angling club is blessed by having a really good match secretary in Alan Bland , no one can deny that. Saturday however dear old Alan broke with tradition. Owing to the fact that this guy works a night shift a couple times a week, poor fellow come Friday night and he’s absolutely shattered, goes to bed for a good nights kip. Nothing wrong in that you may ask, well there was a slight hiccup in that he did not get out of it until 08. 30am Saturday morning and the snag is that the draw is at 08.45am. For the first time ever Alan was late. Well Alan did arrive at Trinity Waters car park at 09.00 am to a standing ovation from the club members (we can be a right sarcastic lot sometimes you know). This was the match where the draw was going to be made for the clubs pairs competition. This should’ve been done at the beginning but because of sleepy head this was now done after the match.
Draw for the pairs
Pete Curnow V Dave Nash
Alan Bland v Ian Townsend
Paul Smith V Alan Jenkins
Dave Colley V Phil Dodd
Bob Pascoe V Tony Richards
Eric Searle V Steve Warren
Rob Dodd v Nigel Coram
I was just had an interesting chat with the chairman of Bridgwater Angling Association Nigel Gillard. Nigel who is one of the major inspirations behind the revamp of the club gave some more snippets of the proposed plans for Dunwear. As mentioned before it was put forward that a bridge was to be built at the Sedgemoor road end of Railway pond. This bridge would span the narrow end of the pond and in turn would save anglers a lot of time in getting to the swims on the far side. Well I can tell you that work on the bridge will start later on in the year. Another bit of info that came to light about railway pond is that when the pond was blighted by that dreaded Water Primrose a survey was done to see the best way to eradicate this menace, but something else came out of the survey, the people behind the survey stated that they had never seen so many Tench before in one lake. Well here’s to the future then. The stocking policy I was told for the Railway pond come the new match lake will be predominantly done with silver fish, any carp over 6 lb will be removed. (what a good idea). Also later this year a restocking of South pond will take place.
Well that’s all folks, take care and tight lines.
Ps I wish to apologise to our newest member of the club Steve Warren because and I am not apportioning blame but I was told your surname was Warner. Hence the mistake in the previous post. Sorry chum.
They came, they fought and they conquered. The angling might of the Cwmbran Nobblers were the opponents of the minnows of the match fishing world the humble Watchet Angling club. The competition was the first round of the Bait Tech cup which is run with the help of the Angling Times and was formerly The Van der Eynde cup.
The venue for this angling mismatch was non other than Avalon fisheries. The Watchet Club was split in to two teams. Those who finished in the top six of last years league table became The Watchet Black team, and the next six became the Watchet Red team but alas some of the Watchet guys who finished in the next six had other plans. So some of the Watchet team where made up of two guests Jamie Cooke of Sedges fame and our good friend and ex member from Dorset John Barker.
Hence it was Watchet Black versus Watchet Red versus Cwmbran Nobblers.
There were six sections of three anglers, one angler from each team. The winner from the section would get one point, second placed angler would get two points and the angler who came last would obtain three points. Just for the record if an angler blanked the poor sod would get four points.
So the team with the lowest points would be the winner. Simple.
14 lb 09 oz
37 lb 11 oz
15 lb 09 oz
9 lb 03 oz
64 lb 11 oz
6 lb 07 oz
4 lb 10 oz
42 lb 01 oz
50 lb 13 oz
5 lb 08 oz
30 lb 03 oz
29 lb 08 oz
59 lb 07 oz
13 lb 01 oz
48 lb 09 oz
Points to note
Poor Shaun Wilson who drew peg one set up and owing to the forces of nature had to relocate to peg two. What only can be described as white fluff falling from trees deciding to accumulate in his swim, making it totally unfishable.
The Watchet Red fished with a man short owing to the fact Dave Colley couldn,t make it because he had to visit a sick friend. Dave would’ve been on peg six.
Now the eagle eyed amongst you would’ve notice that yours truly on peg three had managed an abysmal weight of only 11 oz. Yep once again I managed to win the unenvied prize of the wooden spoon, and this time I managed to do it in some style. But for the record and this is damage limitation shall we say, the previous two years in this competition I managed to win my section.
Hence as you can see both the Watchet teams where firmly put to the sword by a truly professional and competent performance by the Cwmbran Nobblers. The Cwmbran Nobblers now go through to the next round. A final word, I found the Cwmbran side a most friendly bunch of guys indeed, they were very chatty and most accommodating and very approachable and were a pleasure to fish against regardless of the result. Just one small disappointment though being Welsh I was expecting at the the end of the match a nice rendition of Man of Harlech. But no doubt they had other other things on their minds such as getting home and having a celebratory drink of a pint of Allbright bitter.
Once again guys well done and all the best for the next round.
Ardent readers of this blog will know of my interest of the goings on at Dunwear ponds and the making of the Railway pit into a match lake. Well I was given permission by the chairman of Bridgwater Angling Association to get on to the far bank which is currently closed to members of the club and to take photos and a video. The plan is to have the match lake up and running by June the 16th. There are plans I’ve been told to make a car park just as you go in to the Sedgemoor road end . Also I have been told that there are plans to build a bridge from the proposed car park to the far bank on Railway pond but we will have to wait and see.
The next match for the Watchet club will be Saturday June 5th at Trinity Woodlands.
So see you then.
This post was published late Monday morning. I goes to work at 2 pm and at 7:45 pm I get asked by the boss if I want a early finish so I says “yes”. So I ‘m thinking I have a change and go home via Dunwear ponds instead of my normal route. So I get to the main gate to the ponds of of Dunwear lane. I look at the gate and me thinks there is a new notice so I takes a picture. See below.
So then forget about June the 16th. It is likely that the Railway match lake will be ready on July the 1st. Oh well as long as it benefits the fish we can wait.
On Saturday 22nd of May 2021 Watchet Angling Club was once again used as cover for a covert meeting for some of the southwest most notorious undesirables. Subjects discussed ranged from embezzlement to making use of the dark web. The venue for this meeting of criminal minds was Sedges Brick lake. After tips and suggestions where swapped to increase ones ill gotten gains. it was time to carry on with the deception and delve in to the art of match fishing.
The intellect and finesse of Denise managed to persuade the club members that it was better to chose the swims for the match by selecting numbered balls from a bucket instead of an all in brawl.
First on the day and in his usual position was top rod or should I say top pole because that’s what he always uses, was none other than the man himself Rob Dodd. Fishing corner peg 11 Rob fished to his right with long pole with baits corn and maggot over pellet for 77 lb 12 oz.
Second spot with 53 lb 04 oz went to new kid on the block Mr Steve Warren. Steve who fished peg number 1 had most of his action in the last hour. Steve fished meat and pole in the margins.
Ian Townsend found himself in third spot with a haul of 44 lb 6 oz from peg 4. Pole at 8 meters with sweetcorn on the hook was his method.
Fourth position was relatively new kid on the block Nigel Coram on peg 14. Nige alternated between pole and feeder and main bait was wait for it banana and strawberry paste. Uhm. Mr Coram put 42 lb 4oz on the scales.
Match secretary Alan Bland occupied fifth from peg 12 using his beloved paste and meat on the pole. His catch was 37 lb 07 oz.
Dave Nash was sixth with a weight of 24 lb 13 oz. Top silvers bagger used single and double maggot on top 3 and 6 meters. From peg 18 Dave managed the top silvers weight.
Paul Smith who was seventh like Dave Nash just had an all silvers weight from peg 5 of 23 lb 12 oz. Method employed was mainly pole at varying distances swapping between dead red maggot and caster. Paul had the 2nd highest silvers weight.
Tucked away in the corner on peg 20 was veteran Bob Pascoe. Using pole and maggot at varying distances managed a weight of 21 lb 14 oz. Bob finished in eighth place.
Ninth position was laid back angler Phil Dodd who employed his tried and trusted method of feeder and dead red maggot of peg 17. Phil put 18 lb 10 oz on the scales.
NHS hero Dave Colley fishing corner peg number 10 fished the pole and maggot and caught 14 lb 13oz for his efforts.
Here we are again, last again but and it’s a big but, but for one calamitous moment things could of been a little bit different. Around about 2.45 float goes under and before I could strike the elastic starts shooting out. And for next ten minutes this Carp gave me the bloody run around. 3lb bottom and a size 18 hook ain’t much help in these situations but fate would have it and I use the word fate here in the strongest possible terms. I managed to land it. It is in the landing net and on my lap. Paul Smith to my right on the next peg stood up and had a look , this carp is a fair old size. “do you think I stood put it on the Scales ?” I asked Paul (Any fish weighing 15 lb or more has to be weighed, the weight recorded and the fish put back, no fish bigger than 15 lb to be put in keep nets). “can’t quite quite see from here” Paul said “Better err on the side of caution”. With that this beast of a Carp decided that he had spent enough time in the landing net told me to go forth and jump out the net back in to the water. Bast**d. This disastrous episode happened on peg 6. I fished most of the time with red maggot at 12 meters. My weight and by the way I did bother to weigh in was 6 lb 13 oz.
We had some bad news before the draw. We were informed by Paul Smith that our dear old friend and club member Alan Jenkins was taken to Musgrove hospital (I believe Friday just gone) suffering from pneumonia. I did get in touch with Alan through Face book and he’d seemed perky enough and seems to be recovering slowly.
I am pleased to say that work at Dunwear ponds is coming to fruition in terms of the development of the railway pit. Nine pallets has now been installed on the far bank and I have been informed by the Bridgwater Angling Association chairman Nigel Gillard that the Railway pit come match lake will be ready for June 16th this year. It will be interesting to see how this project will pan out. I really do hope that this adventure will be successful. The time and effort that has been put in to get this of the ground has been enormous and on this basis it deserves to be a great success.
The pallets now installed on Railway pit. Sorry for the crappy photos.
Yep it that time of the year again, for this coming Saturday is the first round of the Bait Tech cup. Both Watchet teams, the black team and the red team are drawn against Cwmbran Nobblers. The venue for this jolly old threesome is Avalon.
The next club match will be the week after on Saturday June 5th at Trinity.
The Watchet angling ensemble decided to plonk their selves down at Avalon Fisheries for their biweekly meet up and have another shot at match fishing. The forecast of heavy rain did not materialize but a very gusty breeze was determined to have it say. Well put it this way it was easier for me to become Pope than to fish more than 7 meters out on the pole, enough said. Hence it was going to be this dastardly wind that was going to dictate tactics. I say tactics most of us just turn up with the assumption that anything goes and hope for the best.
Now before we get in to the nitty gritty, the nuts and bolts of the excitement that occurred during the match I want to bring to your attention some laws and rules of the land that have for one reason or another have never been take taken of the statute book.
1. All beached Whales and Sturgeons must be offered to the reigning monach.
2. No person shall in the course of a business, import potatoes which he knows, or have reasonable cause to suspect, are from Poland.
3. It is illegal in Scotland for a boy under the age of ten to see a naked mannequin.
4. In the metropolitan police district, it is illegal to carry a plank of wood along the pavement.
5. The metropolitan police act of 1838 states that it is against the law to knock on some ones front door and run away.
6. You are not permitted to linger after a funeral has taken place.
7. It is against the law to have a pigsty at the front of your house.
8. It is an offence to beat or shake your carpet or rug in the street in London.
9. It’s still illegal to allow your pet to mate with a pet from the royal household.
10. You can be fined up to £1000 for hanging your washing across the street in the UK.
11. Members are not allowed to wear a suit of armour inside paliament.
12. It’s actually illegal to be found drunk in a pub.
Now there is a rule in match fishing which may seem strange to outsiders as the above laws may seem strange to us. The rule in question is that Pike do not count in matches. Well this ruling was probably viewed as an annoyance to Nigel Coram who was fishing on peg 12. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words so have a look below.
In top spot and in his usual position was top rod himself Robert Dodd. Rob fished sweetcorn in the margins to his left for a very good weight indeed of 144 lb 01 oz. Rob fished end peg number 16. Good on yer mate. Well done bud.
In second place was veteran Carp expert Eric Searle. Poor Eric was suffering badly with sciatica. But made up for it by hauling in 78lb 03oz for the runner up spot. Feeder and pellet was employed from peg 9.
3rd went to club secretary Alan Bland. Alan struggled most of the match but had a golden period at the end by fishing to his right from peg 1 with meat and maggots. His catch was a respectable 40 lb 09 oz.
In to 4th was Ian Townsend. Ian used corn in the margins at peg 10 and put 33 lb on the scales. I noted that Ian was a tad disappointed with his catch, I haven’t the foggiest why. Think on the bright side mate, in terms of match fishing it could be worse, you could be me.
NHS hero Dave Colley obtained 5th from peg 6. It was pellet and feeder for the Carp and pole and maggots at a short distance for his silvers. Total weight for Dave was 30lb exactly.
The guy who hit the headlines for this match one Mr Nigel Coram weighed in the 6th highest weight from peg 12. Feeder and 8mm boilie got him 28 lb 04 oz. Once again I am indebted to this gentleman for helping me get my top 2 kit back after it fell into the water. Thanks mate.
With a weight of 28 lb 02oz was Paul Smith who found himself in 7th from peg 5. Paul caught 3 Carp on the feeder with 8 mm pellet and used the short pole with worm for his silvers.
8th place was Bob Pascoe. This silvers bagger got the top silvers weight of 13 lb 09 oz. Method employed was 5 sections out on the pole and red maggot as bait. However to his annoyance he did land 2 Carp which put his total up to25 lb 05 oz. Bobs peg was number 3.
Dave Gartenfeld found himself at 9th on peg 14 with 4 Carp caught on bread. In his own words ” landed 4 lost 4″. Total weight for Dave G was 25 lb 01oz.
Yours truly on peg 13 (unlucky for some as the saying goes.) was 10th. I Fished top 2 plus 2 with red maggot. I obtained a total weight of 19 lb 13 oz, this consisted of a silvers weight of 10 lb 09 oz and one Carp which was hooked 5 minutes from the end of 9 lb 04 oz. I got £8 for 2nd silvers weight yea. Sorry but I don’t have much to boast about in match fishing terms these days.
Stalwart Alan Jenkins was 11th who as some of you guys know is not in the best of health, caught a weight of 13 lb 10 oz from peg 4. Worm and pole was used for his silvers, whilst feeder and banded pellet was employed for his Carp.
Happy go lucky Phil Dodd was 12th from peg 7 with a weight of 8lb 14 oz. Phil used the waggler with double maggot over hemp.
Dave Nash who appeared to have had a torrid time gave up the ghost, packed up and went home early. But he did contribute by helping Nigel bank his Pike.
As some people know I spend some of my spare time doing charity work with the Inland Waterways Association (IWA). Look at the post on the subject from about a year ago. In short we hang out at Bridgwater Docks and do all sorts of activities such as litter picking, painting and grass cutting etc. Owing to my connections with the IWA I often get asked about the situation with the on going events at the docks.
Well the Canal and River Trust (CRT) used to lease the docks from Somerset County Council (SCC) but now the CRT have given the lease up blaming maintenance costs. However, boat owners were handed notice to remove their vessels from the docks by the end of April, with discussions ongoing about what they do in the future. Some owners have removed their boats out completely and will set up at other venues , but apparently the remainder will move their boats up the canal and moor up at suitable places.
But the strong rumour now is that the docks will be drained so that the dock walls can be inspected for insurance purposes. That folks is all I know.
Work at Dunwear ponds is still ongoing and the plan is that fishing platforms will start to be erected in the Railway pond come match lake next weekend. Net dips have now been placed at the entrance to North pit and south pit.
Just a reminder for the Watchet members that match fees are due at the next match, which will be at Sedges Brick on Saturday May 22nd.
That group of social misfits, social pariahs and social outcasts who every 2 weeks congregate together and gel into the Watchet angling match group held a competition at Landsend Fisheries on the Match lake on Saturday April 24th 2021.
In top position at number one spot was one of the doyens of the local match scene Mr Paul Smith. This gentleman pulled corner peg number 13 out of the envelope. Fishing down the edge to his left and out in front at 11 meters, Paul put on the scales 60 lb 15 oz. He fished mostly with soft or banded pellet.
Ian Townsend made 2nd place from peg 12 which was directly opposite Mr Smith. Ian’s plan of attack was meat and corn down the edge. 45 lb was his weight of fish.
Fishing champ Rob Dodd who normally finishes in the top two found himself relegated to 3rd. Rob on peg 3 produced a weight of 38 lb 09oz. This was obtained by fishing to the island with corn over pellet.
Finishing 4th was Nigel Coram on peg 5. Nigel employed mostly the pole and fishing caster shallow. He managed to get a nice lump of a Carp on paste. Total weight for Nigel was 29 lb 09 oz.
In at 5th was last time out winner NHS hero Dave Colley. From peg 15. Dave alternating with feeder and pole with baits of sweetcorn and maggot obtained a total catch of 27 lb 06 oz.
Octogenarian Bob Pascoe was 6th with a haul of 23 lb 12 oz, Red maggot on the pole was his method from peg 21. Bob bagged one Carp but lost another. Still not a bad weight.
Brummie Dave Gartenfeld occupied 7th from peg 17. Tip and pole with maggot got him a weight of 18 lb 05 oz.
Eric Searle on peg 1 was 8th with a catch of 16 lb 05 oz swapping between pellet on the feeder and pole got him his weight.
Phil Dodd took things in to his stride by just using the waggler. Fishing on golden peg number 10. Phil had one Carp and 7 lb of silvers which came to 12 lb 05 oz. Maggot was his bait. He came 9th.
Slivers bagger Dave Nash came in at number 10 from peg 24, with an overall catch of 10lb 2oz. Dave fished at 8 meters on the pole alternating between single and double red maggot.
Match secretary Alan Bland came 11th with a weight of 7 lb 7 oz from peg 22. Poor Alan struggled and being Carp oriented was disappointed to only land one from the edge on meat. Also apparently throughout the match because of Alan’s predicament of shall we say lack of fish activity got untold abuse from the angler to his right not mentioning any names but it was Mr Nash.
Yours truly ended the match in my normal default setting, that of finishing in the bottom 3 at position 12. Whose cares I just take it on the chin and come up with the old adage ” there’s always next time” I had just 5lb 9oz of silvers from peg 7 but did enjoy myself which is the main thing. Landsend fisheries have under gone a restocking, and this was apparent in the make up of my catch. I had a lot of small Crucians and Tench around the 4 to 6oz mark which was different to the catches I normally experience from this venue. I fished at 8 meters and the bait was red maggot. I did hook one Carp which took me straight to the island where it decided to take up residence. So I found my self holding my number 2 section with the elastic stretching all the way to the island. (how many have found yourselves in that situation eh). But with some good advice from Nigel who was next to me on my left managed to retrieve the situation and in the end only lost my hook. Thanks Nigel.
Alan Jenkins on peg 9 found himself in last place with just 1 lb 14 oz of slivers. Alan did hook a decent size Carp on meat from the margins to his right. But it wasn’t Alan’s day after about 3 minute of doing battle the fish decided to slip the hook. Alan mostly fished the pole at 7 meters and now and then swapped to the feeder. It’s only fair to say that Alan does suffer from bad health and this is some times a handicap when it’s comes to fishing. But good on yer mate for showing a fighting spirit.
Readers of this blog will know that I have been keeping an eye on events at Dunwear ponds in recent months. Talking to some of the people in the know about the goings on at these lakes, it is hoped that the Railway pond which now is going to be the match lake will be ready for June 16th. The proposed idea to let the swims that are on the public foot path in railway pond to return to nature will now not happen. These swims will now have pallets, the reason being is simply to increase capacity in terms of pegs. The planned car park at the Sedgemoor road entrance now seems more likely than not. All the swims in South pond have now been totally gated off so now South Pond is only accessible by the members and not the public. And on top of that large notice boards have been place at both entrances for the benefit of the members and public alike.
The pictures below show the gated swims on South pond back of big pit.
Below are photos of the swims in railway pit on the public foot path side that were going to be given back to nature but will now have pallets.
The next match for the Watchet club will be at Avalon on Saturday 8th of May. According to my calendar this day is down as Victory Day. Victory for who though? The next match after that will be on May 22nd at the Sedges on Brick lake.
Way way back in the 1960’s when I was 6 years old, yours truly was invited to a friends birthday party, that day after school had finished mum picked me up and of we went to the house of concern. Mum knocked on the door which was soon opened. We were met by the smiling face of Marlene the mother of Mark whose birthday it was, she ushered us in to the hallway. Mum reached into her hand bag and gave me Marks present. “go on give Mark his present then” I went into the front room which was where the birthday bash for the under 7’s was going to be. Marlene and mum had a good old chinwag and after a few minutes mum left. It was the first time I had been to Marks’s house and the configuration was completely different to my abode. The scene before me was about 6 kids sat around a large table playing with spinning tops, Lego and plastic Meccano etc. I went up to Mark who was pleased to see me. I handed him a box that was gift wrapped. He opened it up and stared at a toy die cast racing car made by Matchbox. His eyes lit up and with an enthusiastic grin the table for the next 5 minutes to him was Brands Hatch.
I sat at the table and started to look around at the room. At first, I looked out of the window at the front lawn then at the side wall which had a fireplace with a mirror above. I turned around to look at the back wall and there on the wall was something I had never seen before. Now bear in mind I was 6 at the time and most kids at that age are still taking in life, certain concepts such as the legal requirement to go to school and father Christmas. Oh, and Janet and John books (look it up if you’re under a certain age).
This discovery of mine had me fixated, I was so obsessed by the item on the wall all the noise of the kids around me just faded away. What on earth was this thing on the wall I was absolutely mesmerised. With the limited knowledge of 6-year-old I had eliminated the thought that this was a picture, a photo, a clock and it definitely was not a mirror. My scant description of this mysterious object was that it was rectangular shaped and had yellow edging. I was dragged out of my reverie by the arrival of Tressa who was Mark’s Auntie. Tressa was like her sister cheerful, friendly and smiling. “Right put all the toys away and let’s put the tablecloth on shall we” she said. The toys found their way back in their boxes and as a result the tablecloth was laid. Tressa, who was still in the room, spoke once more with a slightly raised voice “Ok Mar all set” I once again I had my eyes set on the strange object on the wall. Shooosh I was taken back and slightly startled, the centre of the object moved side wards, in an instant the centre had been replaced by the jovial face of Marlene, “ok here we go” spoke Marlene. At the tender age of 6 I had my first encounter with a serving hatch. Moments later plates of jelly, trifle and biscuits were carried through from the kitchen to the front room via the hatch. Amazing!
Halfway through the party I turned around again and looked at the serving hatch and had a bizarre thought. You could open the serving hatch get someone you don’t like tie their hands behind their back put their head through the hatch slide the door back until their head was jammed, the person would be stuck, and if you really didn’t like the person you could use something heavy like a baseball bat or lead piping and whack their head. ( Okay I’m still only 6 and I still have to learn right from wrong).
Now put the clock forward 50 years or so and I am getting ready to fish a match at Trinity Waters, so to get some info on how it’s been fishing I decided to look at their Facebook page. Well scrolling down I came to this post.
And the past week the BBC put on their website this picture.
Well it’s when I see things like this my mind drifts back to Mark’s birthday party back in the 1960’s, the serving hatch and that bizarre thought.
The Match itself.
At number one spot was NHS hero Dave Colley. Dave fished on peg 14, his tactics for his winning haul of 45 lb 05 oz was pole at 10 meters and later in the the margins his main bait was sweetcorn. Well done mate.
2nd spot went to maestro Rob Dodd who on peg 24 just used double red maggot to tempt his fish. The main weight of his fish came in the last hour in the margins. For his efforts Rob’s total weight was 34 lb 10 oz.
3rd was Ian Townsend on peg 10. Now get this he had a little moan about lack of bites but managed to put on the scales a very creditable catch of 29 lb 06 oz. Ian used meat which appears to be his favourite bait at the moment. He fished mostly down the edges.
In 4th place on peg 29 and everyone was pleased for this guy was Tony Richards. This veteran angler who has been very poorly indeed and owing to his illness haven’t fished with the club for 14 months. Regardless Tony put in an excellent performance with 19lb 14 oz this consisted of a Carp of 10 lb 04 oz. Tony fished close in on maggot all day. Welcome back.
The match secretary Alan Bland ended up in 5th from peg 26. He had a single Carp of 12 lb and 7 lb 01 oz of silvers, Alan fished maggot at vaying distances.
Paul Smith had the top silvers weight of 12 lb 06 oz from peg 9. He employed pole and waggler with worm and maggot. His was an all silvers catch. Paul also had a nice eel to boost his haul. Paul finished in 6th.
On peg 22 and sitting comfy on his chair was Phil Dodd who fished the feeder with dead maggot all day. For 7th he had a all silvers catch of 11 lb 01oz.
In at number 8 was Silvers angler Dave Nash. Dave fished the pole and whip with single maggot on peg 7 which happened to be golden peg. His all silvers catch came to 9 lb 10 oz.
9th was angling veteran Alan Jenkins from peg 21. Alan just had 2 fish a Carp of 7 lb 11 oz and a handy size Perch which weighed a creditable 1 lb 10 oz. His tactics was pole with maggot or meat. Catch total was 9 lb 05 oz.
Shaun Dyke found himself at 10th spot with a catch consisting of 2 Carp which came to 9 lb 03 oz. Peg 10 was his abode, his method was pole and expander pellet.
On peg 6 was Brummie Dave Gartenfeld. The corner swim did not produce for poor Dave whose fish tipped the scales at 5 lb 02 oz. Double red maggots fished on the pole was employed by Mr G who finished 11th.
Yours truly Pete Curnow could only muster 4 Skimmers and some bits for 12th. Fishing the pole mostly at 13 meters with single and double red could only buy me 5 bites and 4 skimmers Fishing both margins only resulted in bits. I was on peg 12. My total was a measly 4 lb 02 oz. I did miss a Carp at the net though “honest”.
Having a torrid time on peg 11 was Carp king Eric Searle, unfortunately the Carp in his swim went on hunger strike so poor Eric could only put together a weight of bits of 3 lb 03 oz. Maggot and pole was his effort.
On peg 13 was Nigel Coram. Nigel stuck it out to the bitter end but decided not to weigh in.
The next match is on the April 24th at Landsend Fisheries on the match lake.
On January 4th 2021 another lock down was announced. So where match fishing was concerned, the bugle was sounded, the last post was played, the flag lowered, the draw bridge was pulled up and our beloved sport once again went in to stasis. For 3 months it was pleasure fishing only which is definitely better than the first lock down. But us band of brothers who have been embedded with the love of angling and a competitive spirit had just had to grin and bear it. Come April 3rd and the superlatives struggles to get the measure of the of the moment, the atmosphere of banter and expectation that flowed through the car park at Summerhayes fisheries. For this was Watchet Angling’s first match after lockdown, the gang was back. We were momentary united in the knowledge that once again for the foreseeable future that match fishing was back and that we can once again indulge and cherish. So at 10 o’clock the whistle was blown and a mixture of the pious and the ungodly, the haves and the have nots and the gifted and not so gifted took up the challenge once more. A new chapter has now started and the stage has been set, the gauntlet have been thrown down once more, let the rivalry begin.
First on the day, was Rob Dodd who was on peg 15, Rob caught the bulk of his weight of fish at 16 meters to the island using maggot. This was a bit of an effort owing to the fact that the wind which strong at times was in his face. But undeterred he persevered throughout to bag the winning catch of 61 lb 08 oz.
2nd place was Ian Townsend who on peg 23 fished the pole to his left margin for an all Carp haul of 46 lb 15 oz The bait employed was meat and corn.
With a weight of 44 lb 13 oz was 3rd place Dave Colley our NHS hero. Dave used a pellet feeder to the island and his main bait was sweetcorn. Peg 8 which was golden peg was his home for the match.
Mr Eric Searle who was on peg 11 kept things simple by fishing to his left at a meters length to tempt 35 lb 05 oz all on maggot. He achieved 4 th spot.
In 5th place was Dave Nash who was on unfancied peg number 2. He did really well to eek out 15 lb 04 oz of silvers and 19 lb lb 12 oz of Carp, Fishing 4 meters out on the pole with single and double red maggot got him a total weight of 35 lb. Dave achieved the top slivers bag.
6th place was taken by match secretary the one and only Alan Bland. Alan’s tactic was to fish down the edge to his left, and to employ meat as his bait. Alan drew peg 19. He put 29 lb 09 oz on the scales.
Paul Smith who in in 7th place fished on peg 22 employed maggot and pellet to the far side both on the deck and later on shallow. Also caught one on bomb and bread. His total for the match was 25 lb 14 oz.
On peg 13 unlucky for some, was Alan Jenkins, Alan fished mostly cage feeder with micros in the feeder and no ground bait and on the hook he used banded pellet. Alan bagged a reasonable catch of 25 lb 06 oz. Alan finished in 8th place.
Occupying 9th place was Phil Dodd, Phil made himself comfy on his chair and just used the method feeder with dead maggot as bait. His weight for the day was 22 lb 15 oz. This was achieved from peg 3.
In 10th place was new kid on the block Shaun Dyke who fished from peg 14. Shaun mostly fished to the island and as a consequence tempted a total weight of 20 lb. His main bait was meat.
Another new kid on the block is Nigel Coram. Nigel who happens to be a bailiff for Pawlett ponds took up 11 th spot with a total of 18 lb 07 oz. Nigel used both pole and feeder rod. His main bait on the day was maggot. Just a word of thanks mate for helping me with my number 4 and 5 sections of my pole when the bloody things got jammed.
Your truly was in 12th place from peg 16 with 16 lb 03oz with an all Carp catch, 5 in all. I did not have my first bite until 3 hours in. All my fish came from both margins on worm. 2 from my left side and 3 from my right.
Using the method feeder with banded 4 mill pellet right across to the island from peg 5 was the brummie Dave Gartenfeld. Dave ended up with a weight of 14 lb 13 oz and 13th place.
At number 14 spot was Bob Pascoe, owing to the fact that Bob has got a few personnel issues he didn’t turn up until 10 o’clock, so he was at a disadvantange right from the start. But Bob being Bob put a brave face on things and caught 2 Carp for 5lb 5 oz and 1 lb 10 oz of silvers for a total weight of 6 lb 15 oz. Bob’s peg was number 6.
I was talking to one of the bailiffs at Dunwear ponds today Monday 5th and there appears to be interesting developments happening at the venue. The Railway pond has had extensive work done to it in terms of the banks. The plan is to let the swims on the public foot path side to over grow and give them back to nature. The main area for fishing in railway pond will be the far bank ie the railway bank and up the sides. Later this week apparently people will be coming to visit Railway pond to measure it up for pallets. There is also rumours afoot as well and I stress rumours in the strongest possible terms that there is a possibility of spaces being made just inside the gate at the Sedgemoor road end for car parking. Now like I said it is only rumours.
The next match for the Watchet club will be this coming Saturday April 10th at Trinity Woodlands.
It was 1954 Ray Parrett who was instrumental in the organising of the 1948 Angling National on the river Huntspill received a querry from the National Federation of Anglers about the possibility of using the river Huntspill once again for the 1955 national. The reason being was that the water that was scheduled for the event would not be ready.
This request posed a problem that needed thinking out. But this plea to use the water would be a great opportunity to make amends for the venues poor performance 7 years previous. Meetings were set up to look in to mechanics of putting together the event. But there were one great snag, it was forecast that the entry had increased by 25%. The number of teams in 1948 was 72 but 1955 the turnout would increase to 99. The number of anglers would be 1,188. A formidable challenge confronted the organising committee enhanced by the fact that only one bank of the Huntspill was to be used, a ruling stipulated by the N.F.A. To stage the match there was only one way it could be done and that was to bring in the use of the the river Cripps and the King Sedgemoor Drain. This would would provide the necessary length to accommodate the requirements. This suggestion was put forward to the N.F.A and it was duly approved.
This acceptance caused a plan of action which began in October 1954 not quite a year before hand. A match this size requires immense preparation and obtaining enough scales believe or not is one of the main problems. Scales were borrowed from clubs as far away as Coventry and Sheffield. Recruitment of a 100 stewards was needed to look after the competitors and to weigh in at the end.
A coach was run over all the routes and everything was timed to such an extent as to take in to account the time needed to load and unload all the anglers and of course their equipment. Military precision was order of the day.
Which water would produce the top weight even with the knowledge of the locals there was a lot of different opinions. Some picked the Huntspill, others opted for the King Sedgemoor Drain. The latter had a mixture of expectation and guesswork. Small matches had been fished at this venue from time to time but it had been kept mainly for the use of the pleasure fisherman. No big match match had ever been held on the Drain so there was no real pointer of how on the big day this water would react especially with some 8 miles of bank being pegged.
A lot of the local organisers were dubious and the thought of hundred of anglers trampling up the banks and scaring fish would contribute to poor weights. A special notice was put in the match programme pleading anglers to keep away from the waters edge. Unfortunately in the main this was not heeded. The general after the match opinion was that competitors going upwards from Bradney and down from Greylake had the effect of driving the fish in to the middle reaches of the venue in the vicinity of the Westonzoyland, the D section of the match. One of the main organisers Ray Perrett was only slightly convinced of this prognosis and his opinion why the winning weight was produced on section D was in effect more or less virgin water, very rarely fished.
Conditions for the match were very favourable indeed unlike 1948. The weather was mild and just enough wind to create a reasonable ripple for the Huntspill.
The Match exceeded all expectations to the relief and joy of the organisers. The outcome wiped out all the bad memories of 1948..
The total weight for 1948 was 539 lb 07oz
The total weight for 1955 was 4036 lb
The overall winner was one Mr Jack Carr from Sheffield Amalgamated which happened to be the top team. Jack was pegged at D93 on the Westonzoyland stretch. This was the section that was a total unknown and put the clock forward 10 years to the 1965 national and this remote section would once again produce. (see post on 1965 national).
Jacks story was, he set of determined to catch anything that was going, using a crow quill float (ha yes remember them) taking a weight of 2 AA and a size 18 hook. He laid a path of maggots right across the drain and about 15 minutes in hooked a small roach, then another and followed with one of ten ounces. The next bite he hooked and the rod bent double but alas the fish slipped the hook. His next fish was a handy size bream of a pound and a half. It was at this time he decided to change to a size 14 hook. This proved to be successful, for soon after he was landing bream from two and a half pounds to three and half pounds. Only one fish was lost after the hook change and that was owing to the line snapping due to a shot being nipped to tightly. A few lumps of ground bait and some maggots kept the fish interested while he tackled up once more.
The match was from 11am until 4 pm and by 3.45 pm he was confident he had beaten his previous best weight of 47 lb. and still the fish kept coming. He netted another, by this time his net was solid with fish and the bream’s tail protruded out of the water. Another fish was landed and tail number two was clearly visible. Could the net possibly hold any more fish? His watch said 3.53 p.m. and there was still time. But the fish had the final say and his float did not move again and the whistle sounded.
At the weigh in he prayed that his keep net would stand the strain of the weight of fish. In Jacks own words, he seized the top and, on hands and knees reached down reached down into the water with his landing net in an attempt to bring it under the bottom of his keep net. But it couldn’t be done for the latter was so bulging with fish it would not go through the rim of his landing net.
Discarding his landing net he got hold of the bottom and tried to lift it horizontally to distribute the weight as evenly as possible, but it was far to heavy and it got stuck half way. A steward came to his aid and helping arms went around his waist and out came the net. Owing to the limitation of the then standard weighing scales, ten weigh- ins were needed before the stewards announced his weight to be sixty eight pounds and two and a quater ounces, This was almost double the previous record figure for the national which had stood for nineteen years.
The Westonzoyland stretch or the D section posed a massive problem for the stewards, for there had never been a section in the history of the nationals that had produce such figures, for that day 33 anglers in D section weighed in between them over 1100 lbs an average of over 33 lb each. Bear in mind the capacity of the scales and that the match ended at 4 pm. Well at 6.45 pm a urgent message was received at head quarters for more scales to be sent to D section owing to the fact that the stewards were unable to cope with the tremendous catches. The head quarters for the 1955 National was at the now defunct Prince of Wales pub in Woolavington. This pub closed in 2015 and has now been converted into a convenience store run by the co op. But to get a message from the remote D section on the Kings Sedgemoor Drain to Woolavington is no easy task as us locals will tell you. And do remember this was 1955 and no mobile phones.
Ray Perrett who walked the banks during the match and watched a great number of anglers came to the conclusion that a lot of the anglers employed the wrong approach. To quote Ray “undoubtedly quite a number of competitors were not used to our type of water and did not make the best of their opportunities. Mistakes were made of plenty and some incapable of profiting from them. For anglers of any experience at all to go on using ultra fine tackle , 18 hooks to nylon after being repeatedly broken by big fish passes my comprehension”.
According to Ray Sheffield Amalgamated were fortunate to win the match, not through any bad fishing on their part, but simply because one angler, of another team, fishing on the Kings Sedgemoor Drain threw away the match. His team finished well up the list, actually only twenty pounds or so behind the winners. They should have been top had he taken his chances given to him.
Ray goes on to say “In the short space of time I watched him, I saw him lose fish after fish, bringing bream of around the two pound mark up to the surface and then losing them. Stewards in the section told me that he had been doing this all day and it was disheartening to watch such an angler being given such an opportunity and letting it slip right away.
One of the stewards could not stick it any longer, and after seeing this go on for some time , went outside his province, as it were, and offered him some useful advice. It was to discard very small hooks and change over to a no 12 or 14. Actually this was invaluable advice, coming as it did from a good local angler who knew the water. But it was not taken in the right spirit, and the reply was, “you seem to know all about it, perhaps you could do better.?” The answer from the steward came with out hesitation. It was “give us your rod chum!”
This angler ended up with a only a moderate weight when he should of been well up amongst the top notchers. He completely threw away his chances, for he continued to lose fish up to the final whistle, an opportunity just fritted away. His team could have been champions for the first time had he played his part as he should have done.
One last point to note about this match was owing to the sheer number of anglers and the geography and distances involved, which caused the administration of the match to be no easy task. The winner wasn’t announced until 8:45 pm and indeed some of the weighing in of D section took place in the dark.
Once again I would like to thank John Essex for providing a lot of the material for this article.
Watchet Angling update.
Notes for the Watchet Angling as you should know by now that both Watchet teams, Black and Red were drawn against Cwmbran Nobblers in the Bait Tech cup. The venue has been decided and thus Avalon Fisheries at Shapwick has been chosen. The date of the match is Saturday the 29th of May. The club match on April the 24th at Landsend is now on the match lake instead of the specimen lake.
Just remains to say to the Watchet mob that our next match is at Sellicks at Summerhayes this Saturday coming April the 3rd.
World war two had ended three years previous it was now 1948 and the horrors of war still remained fresh in the memories. The population were getting used to being without their loved ones, relatives and the ones who simply did not return. Austerity was the norm, bomb sites were still in attendance throughout the country and rationing went on. The country was exhausted. The spirit of the people which was impossible to subdue or defeat pumped life in to a new beginning. The masses pulled together and laboured back normality. The life of the once was, was slowly being reinstated.
Within the masses was a subset of society we all know well, that of the angler. The desire to get back on the bank never went away. The competitiveness of competition still burned in many and the match scene became vibrant once again. The national angling championships continued again straight after the war in 1945. Okay but the 1948 angling championships on the river Huntspill was different for a number of reasons.
This was far of Somerset, of the beaten track, an unknown to many of the match angling brethren.
The Huntspill was a unique venue at the time. It did not show up on any ordnance survey maps. For officially it did not exist. One thinks of the word river and think of a natural feature. An artifact created by Mother Nature herself. Well the Huntspill is totally artificial, it is man made. The creation of this waterway started back in 1939. The reason for it’s construction was to supply a nearby ammunition factory with 4.5 million gallons of water a day. The project was completed in February 1943. It was a giant undertaking, for its length is roughly 4.9 miles. At the rivers beginning, Gold Corner its width is 160 feet which gradually tappers down to a 120 foot at the outfall where it joins the River Parrett. Both banks has a 1 in 4 slope which extends out to 26ft foot where it then levels of to a depth of 6ft.
The venue was put forward by Bridgwater A.A. owing to the fact that the matches fished on venue by the club had been producing very good weights. The National Federation of Anglers (N.F.A.) president, one T. A. Woodhouse O.B.E was sent down to view the venue by his aptly named General Purposes Committee. His mission was to see if there was a suitable length to fish the match. Mr Waterhouse had a good look around, pondered and was convinced. The Huntspill it was.
Now one can only imagine what the typical northern match angler would of said on hearing about the venue chosen in far of Somerset. To most this was match fishing’s terra incognita, an outpost of match angling.
“The river Huntspill where’s bloody river Huntspill never bloody eard of it.”
“In bloody Somerset bloody ell lad they don’t match fish down there do they, if they do it be with string and bent pin”.
So the scene was set, now this was remember 1948 petrol rationing was still in existence and this was the pre motorway age. But undeterred folks as far away as York and Hull got their angling gear together loaded it on the charabanc said goodbye to their loved ones and of there went to an angling unknown. Now for people who have never heard of a charabanc well it’s a coach from the first part of the 20th.
Charabanc pronounced shar uh bang. This is from French which roughly translated means carriage with wooden benches. There you go you learn something new every day.
However no matter how much effort was put in to make this a delightful and agreeable event, Mother Nature had the last say, for the early part of the week running up to the occasion there were 3 hard frosts, a thing that is very rare in Somerset during the month of September. That was bad enough but on the day there was lack of wind and the Huntspill was dead calm. The locals knew conditions were far from ideal. To fish well the Huntspill needs a bit of a chop on the water. For the oganisers it was a big disappointment and they knew what was coming.
The match was fished and the weights were indeed low. The total catch was 539 lb 7oz.
In total there were 72 teams of 12 anglers which equated to 864 anglers fishing.
The overall winner was one Mr William (Billy) Thompson of the Leeds and District team. An angler through and through. A defiant figure indeed, wounded in the great war an action which resulted him being invalided out. Whilst in his local hospital the doctors told him his fishing days could soon be over. Well one could well imagine on what was said by this tough old nut “Eee lad thee may be ready for thy bloody wooden box but I aint” Absconding from his hospital bed he went home got his fishing gear together and joined a match on his local water. Still feeling very ill he just stretched out on the bank and watched the other competitors and eventually giving out advice to the angler on the next peg. In due course he managed to set up and began fishing himself. Catching Roach and Dace he managed to eek out the winning weight of 4 lb. Billy was far from being a one of. Having won his first match in 1913 he continued to cut great swathes in the angling world and ended up with a toll of over 300 match victories. Billy admitted that fishing was the thing that kept him going and alive. The granite block from which he was chiseled has long been out of stock. People of his generation have long since passed away. There is an old adage that goes “they don’t make them like that any more”. In Billy’s case they certainly don’t and the angling world is much poorer for it.
The Match in general was a great disapointment, a great many dry netted and after the match feelings were intense. Remember a lot of teams had travelled far for little or no reward. Even in the Leeds and District team which won, out of 12 anglers 3 blanked. To quote from the book The Huntspill River by local angler Ray Perrett who incidentally was captain of the Bridgwater team that day.
“The anglers who took part were naturally disappointed, some to the extent of expressing their feelings quite strongly. It was with a grin That I remember a certain member of the York team saying “well if this is your secret river it’s a great pity you did not still keep it a secret””
The match which shall we say could of been a lot better and a lot of anglers understandably went home frustrated and annoyed. Wind the clock forward to 1954 and the N.F.A approached Bridgwater A.A. to see of the possibility of using Huntspill again for the 1955 Angling National. This would be an opportunity for the river to make amends. But that’s another story.
I would like to pay much thanks to one John Essex who provided much of the material for this blog. John is one of the foremost angling historians in the country, not only that he has achieved much success in the match fishing world as well. One of his many honours was to be invited by one of the greatest match anglers ever, Ivan Marks to join his team the Leicester Likely Lads , one of the most formidable teams of the 1970’s. John has picked up 5 Division 1 National team medals and has won numerous top class matches. A back problem caused him to give up the match fishing circuit a situation which made him decide to concentrate on coaching the Leicester junior team and with his skills lead the team to win 5 N.F.A junior national championships. This gentleman is also the author of a book titled The National Angling Championships. A truly authoritative book which traces the full history of the National Angling Championships from its beginning in 1906 right up to 2018. The book is just over 450 pages long and is very well researched and trust me it’s well worth the money
The draw has been made for the Bait Tech Supercup and is pictured below. As it stands the matches are to be fished on the weekend of April 24th/25th. However because of Covid 19 these dates could be flexible owing to the problem that Cwmbran might be restricted by different lockdown rules in Wales and might not be allowed to travel to England. Alan Bland the captain of Watchet Black will soon contact the captain of Cwmbran and hopefully the situation may be made clearer.
The date for the next Watchet match has now been changed to April 3rd from March 27th but it’s still at Sumerhayes on Sellicks lake.
So it just remains for me to say thanks for reading and tight lines.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Below is the table of the results of the top 8 individuals
Note all these anglers were in section D.
76 lb 9 oz
55 lb 3 oz
53 lb 8 oz
52 lb 8oz
N A Mumford
48lb 14 oz
45 lb 5 oz
G D Adcock
43 lb 6 oz
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.
93 lb 7oz
Coventry and District
70 lb 9oz
Gloucester United A.A.
Notts and District Federation
65lb 15 oz
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.
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.
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.