The History Of Bridgwater Angling Association, Part 2.

As already stated the 1930’s was a time of steady enlargement of the association where membership was concerned. But all this was brought to a halt by the out break of world war two in September 1939. Very soon, even those not eligible for service in the forces, found themselves occupied with various wartime activities which sadly reduced opportunities for fishing or serving the affairs of the association.

In spite of these pressures there were some who were able to find chances of getting out with their rods. Very soon they were confronted by shortages of tackle and bait. The resources of the tackle manufacturers were being diverted to war work. It was hooks and line which presented the greatest difficulties. Various ingenious expedients were adopted to overcome these. It was not long before it was realised that the suture silk used in the course of treatment of wounds was identical with the fishing lines of those days. Some hospitals noticed a mysterious disappearance of this material.

In the later part of this turbulent period, during which of course, Ray Perrett was secretary, developments of momentous portent were taking place. A large scale programme of improvements to the drainage of the moors around the Sedgemoor area was getting underway. The Huntspill river was cut and was completed in February 1943. It could be mentioned that the general belief that this waterway was created for the purpose of supplying water to the Royal Ordnance factory at Puriton is not true. It may have had importance in this direction but its main purpose was to drain the land up towards Glastonbury. This function had been seen long before the war. Furtherance of the agricultural potential of the land was made more essential by the German U boat campaign.

The Kings Sedgemoor Drain was widen extensively throughout its length, and subsequently other channels such as the North and South Drains and the West Sedge Moor Drain appeared. The transactions relative to the former two occupied some months but while these were taking place Raymond Parrett backed by a guy by the name of Paul Hellard, refused in spite of many protests , to call the committee together . They held off taking this proper course of action until they were able to present a fait accompli. No doubt this simplified the negotiations but it was a highly unconstitutional procedure which would not be tolerated in present times.

These acquisitions, with the increasing popularity of angling appearing after the war, soon took the membership from hundreds to thousands and brought the funds to beyond the wildest dreams of those who controlled the association in former days.

The large measure of opinion questioning this apparent progress soon became evident. It has been mentioned that it was felt that it went beyond the requirements of the local anglers. To meet the expenses incurred, encouragement had to be given to anglers from farther afield, including in particular those from the Bristol area, towards whom a feeling of friction had grown up. This was thought to contrary to the interests of the local angler. The contention was that the Bridgwater Angling Association had been set up to meet the needs of those living in the locality, and that it should give priority to this aspect of it functions. It was a view that lingered on for quite some time.

A suggestion put forward was that another and separate association might be floated. It could embrace the waters further removed from Bridgwater and accommodate the visiting anglers whilst the associations original waters could cater for the locals. It may have been worthy of consideration then but its practicability may be doubtful now.

The advent of the improved drains marked a turning point in the Associations fortunes and built the reputation of Somerset fishing. All England championship contests on the Huntspill and Kings Sedgemoor Drain made these and other waters in the vicinity known and indeed famous throughout the country. Membership spread widely and especially into industrial areas. The consequent influx of visitors in holiday times must have made an appreciable contribution to the local tourism. It could be said that Association was on the angling map. Three national championships were held and written about on this blog.

Although constructed essentially as channels for the free passage of flood water, the drains have supported excellent fisheries and some of the local angling clubs are now largely dependent on them for their fishing. It was the quality of the bream and tench which made them so popular and valuable. It was very good fortune that they came to the fore front when the rivers of Somerset had declined somewhat from their former glory.

The depreciaton of the fisheries in the drains and other waters during recent years through pollutions and excessive weed growth is very obviously a great tragedy, but it must be realised that but for the efforts of many dedicated members in spurring authority on to taking action taking action as far it was possible the consequences may have been far worse.

Also the effects of weed growth which has made so many of the lesser drains useless in summer is to be regretted. So often these little waters have been considered unimportant and it has not been seen sufficiently clearly that they had have added variety to the local fisheries and have provided the kind of quietude coveted by many fishermen.

The 1950s and the 1960s brought a variety of challenges to the Association and one of the biggest problems was pollution which will be one of the main subjects in part three.

Tight lines

Pete C

Winter league Match Fished at Sedges on Feb 19th 2022

The venue listed on the match calendar was somewhere. Now being slightly sarcastic (who me) that could mean anywhere from White acres in Cornwall to some obscure lake on Shetland. Well things wasn’t as drastic as that. The first choice was Parchay on the Kings Sedgemoor Drain. But that idea was put paid to by the arrival of storm Dudley which decided to deluge parts of our much beloved Somerset with rain water in vast quantities. This in turn would initiate the powers to be to open every sluice every clyce and every type of gate responsible for flood control on the the KSD. Which in turn would create a situation where fishing would be impossible.

So the match lake at Combwich which is aptly named the sardine factory by our dear match secretary owing to the size of the fish caught by yours truly, was than promoted to first choice. Come Friday the eve before the match I gets a phone call from my good old mate the one and only Alan Jenkins. The subject of his message was that he had been in touch with a Bridgwater Angling bailiff Trevor Coombes, who promptly told him that because of the carnage caused by storm Eunice all Bridgwater waters were closed due to safety reasons. Well that put paid to Combwich then.

So a few phone calls were made and in the end it was decided that we had to rely on Jamie Cook from the Sedges to accommodate 4 anglers whose sanity is quite questionable. A venue was finally found and it was the canal lake.

We where thin on the ground with a meagre attendance of four. We were even lucky to get that! It had been doing the rounds that Paul Smith’s car had blown up and thus he wouldn’t have been able to make it. ( well I did warn him that parking in Moscow’s Red square with his car decorated with the Ukrainian flag was a bad idea) So out of the kindness of his heart Dave Nash went all the way from Bridgwater to Pilton to give Mr Smith a lift. Alan Bland our match secretary extraordinaire was working and the rest rang in sick or just said “up yours do you think I’m stupid.” or words to that effect.

Four anglers were it seemed were to endure rather than fish. The draw was a rover or as some people prefer to call it a London draw. I pulled out number one and had first choice so I opted for peg 41 in the car park but honestly owing to the conditions it didn’t really matter. The weather was brutal and inhumane, high winds and persistent rain dictated the day.

The fishing was from 10 until 3 but as the match got going it became apparent that staying until the end was going to be quite a challenge indeed. The wind picked up considerably accompanied by an improvement in rain fall. Holding a pole was becoming a bit of a problem, caused by the wind and the cold attacking ones fingers. At 1120 I had a few bits in the net but definitely nothing of note. I went to talk to my neighbour on the next peg Ian Grabham who as I approached caught his first fish, a small roach. He explained it took him about 5 minutes to put maggots on the hook because of frozen fingers verging on frost bite ( yes folks it was that bad). The cold was bitingly intense.

It was agreed among all concerned that there would be a decision made at 12. I went back to my peg and to top it all the zip on my so called water proof jacket busted. Wind and rain straight in my face with a malfunctioning water proof jacket, well you imagine. I caught a few more bits, 12 o’clock came, a conference of sorts was held and 1 o’clock was decided to be the finish time. A skimmer of about 12 oz was added to the net as well as some more bits. But a big relief came when it was the end of proceedings.

Congrats to Ian Grabham who had first spot with 3lb 6oz this consisted of mostly bits but also 2 nice size skimmers.

Yours truly with 1lb 12oz came 2nd with just bits and 1 nice skimmer, it would of helped if I could have held the pole straight.

Dave Nash and Paul Smith fought it out for 3rd place and it was a gnats whisker in it with 8oz and 7oz respectively. Both catches consisted of, guess what? all bits. The bait used by all who took part was maggot and pinkie. As is with life near the end it started to brighten up, but by then we all had had enough and some of us were thoroughly soaked to the skin. There was just one last thing to do concerning this match and that was to firmly place one ex water proof jacket in my wheelie bin.

Two points to note from the Bridgwater Angling prospective.

One, is that the club will know for certain when the restocking will take place for South Pond by this Friday. I have been told by Someone in the know that this will consist of a 125 carp between 2 and 5 pound.

Two, there will be a AGM for the Bridgwater Angling Association on the 15th of March at Bridgwater town hall. You have to show your full Bridgwater license on entry.

Scouts honour, part 2 of the history of Bridgwater Angling Association will be on the blog by the end of the week.

Until then tight lines

Pete C.

The History of Bridgwater Angling Association, Part One

The year in which it all started and by that I mean the formation of Bridgwater Angling Association was it appears 1905 and there seems ample support for this date. Amongst the various accounts which have been heard there is one that has been told by a former member and his story has been passed down throughout the years.

It is more than probable that Dunwear ponds were a popular fishing venue for anglers at the back end of the 18oo’s. Now according to historical accounts in 1905 they consisted of the North pond, Middle pond and a South pond. Now we know the location of North pond, that has stood the test of time. South pond which is mentioned is not the South pond of that we know today. The original South pond was situated were the car park is now and the reed bed to the left as you enter the car park. The middle pond still exits but is is now completely over grown see map below. The yellow is North pond, The green is Middle pond and Red is South.

A time came when the owners of the brickworks situated in Plum Lane and surrounding lands were complaining about damage being done to bricks and tiles in the yard, and they decided to prohibit fishing. Just who is to blame is not on record. Amongst the then small band of anglers there were some with a small degree of influence. They approached the owners with a proposition that they be granted the right to fish on condition that they formed an association and accepted responsibility for the behaviour of the members. This was conceded, and the Brigwater Angling Association came in to being.

Thus it can be asserted that Dunwear ponds was the Associations birthplace. Down through the years following, so much of the history was enacted there. Outstanding members long since departed from the scene, came to fish in their chosen swims with regularity, and made such a contribution to events inseparable from the development.

No rent was asked for these fishing rights and they continued to be held free of charge until 1956. In that year changing circumstances led to the Association being able to purchase the North, Middle and the “NEW” South Pond (the one we know today). The cost was £100!

It seems very certain that the first secretary was one Herbert Farrance. His large family was very well known in the district and particularly in angling circles. Several family members were very keen anglers and were deeply involved in the origins of the Association. Herberts mother in law a one Mrs Novark also took an important role in the club beginnings. By all accounts this lady was a formidable character and noted for riding a tricycle loaded with her fishing tackle along the canal.

An advert printed in the Bridgwater Mercury from 1904.

It’s unlikely that Mr Farrance remained in office for any length of time, because it appears quite early on that the secretaryship was held by Cliff Allen. He appears to have occupied this position for a period until his livelihood took him away from Bridgwater. Then his brother Arthur took over and resumed the responsibility.

It now appears that Arthur Allen served through a time of relative tranquility as far as angling matters are concerned, but it was a period that saw the violent disruption of world war one. Arthur retired in the late 1930s to be followed by the legendary Ray Perrett. It may be asserted that Raymond had a longer and more eventful term in office than any other secretary. Although this in turn was interrupted drastically by war, It saw profound developments in the history of the association.

Ray Perrett’s father had a significant place in the early angling scene. He kept a well established grocery business in St Johns street Bridgwater roughly where the William Hill bookies is now. With the assistance of a younger Raymond he sold some fishing tackle as a side line. This took place in a part of the shop where anglers brought and exchange stories of their fishing adventures. Photos of specimen fish and out standing catches where often exhibited in the window.

Even a sparse account of the history of Bridgwater Angling Association would be incomplete if it did not contain the surname Vinten. Snuffy as he was called by his friends was apparently by all accounts a small man with a shrewd mind and a force full personality. Snuffy kept a shop in Fore Street on the corner of Court St in Bridgwater He sold tobacco, fishing tackle and guns. At the time and by that I mean in the early part of the 20th century it was the angling centre of the local area. This was the place where angling issues great and small were debated and settled. Mr Vinten had been chairman of the association since its inception, but the strange thing is that no one at the time can ever recall him attending a committee meeting. But if anything appeared in the minutes which failed to meet his approval, the secretary was required to strike it out. Snuffy died in the late 1920s and his death was considered a great loss to association and to local angling.

Go back a hundred years or so and you would of met Snuffy.

One Frankie Styler was another person who figured prominently in the early days. As far as it can be ascertained he was the clubs first treasurer and his retirement did not come until to the 1950s.

Like so many personalities of the association Frankie was a shop keeper, he had a drapery business in Eastover in Bridgwater which was not far from the Bridgwater Motor Company. Roach fishing was his main love and like many of his contemporaries, he would not have been happy without an average of about three quarters of a pound in his catches, this meaning that many of his fish would be well over a pound. Certainly he would be very far from happy with the quality of roach fishing that is prevalent today.

There was a trio often seen to be seen at Dunwear ponds or on the banks of the canal. It consisted of Ran (Randolf) Hook, Wally Roberts and Jim Jefferies.

Ran Hook was chairman for a period from some where in the early 1920s until the late 1930s. Immaculately precise in all his methods, he won the Association cup on five occasions. At the time the cup competition was the event of the year and getting ones name on the plinth was a real distinction. There was an intense rivalry between him and Bill Watkins who also had won the cup on several occasions.

Wally Roberts was almost a dwarf but what he lacked in height he made up for in angling prowess. He was a likable man and seemed incapable of saying or implying anything unpleasant about other people. Amongst the fisher folk of the day Wally had enormous respect as a first rate angler. How ever later in life he had fallen victim to the economic state of the country then prevailing and was reduced to rather straightened circumstances, and added to this predicament poor Wally began to suffer from failing eye sight. Jim Jefferies was another splendid companion but his life was cut short during an out break of very serve influenza.

Another unforgettable character was a gentleman called Stan Lewis. Stan stood in direct contrast to Wally Roberts. He was an enormous man. He was well known in sporting circles around the town. As a young man he played rugby for Bridgwater. He was well over six foot tall and in training weighed in over eighteen stone. An excellent angler by all accounts and it was some somewhat incongruous seeing such a man handling the most delicate of tackle. Later he became the land lord of The Crown Inn in St John street in Bridgwater.

There were so many who featured in the evolution of the association that it is quite impossible to do justice to all of them. One can mention a few names from the early days. Albert lock, who followed Frankie Styler as treasurer, Bill Carver, Jack Diamond, Cliff Lea, Bert Croker, were amongst those in the fore front before the first world war. Fred Denner Sammy Adlam, Cyril Matherick, Bob Radford, Bob Stacey, Donald Baggs, Mitchel-the mad jeweller- and pennywho kept a barbers shop on the Taunton road all seemed conspicuous a little later. The Hoopers, a father and two sons, and the Seamen family were essential features of the scene at Dunwear.

The history of the association over the years before 1914 is now very vague and shadowy. No one from them days who were involved are no longer around. It may be guessed that some of the members of the Farrance family, Ray Parretts (more on him later) father, and Snuffy Vinten where amongst the people concerned, but an attempt to name all the active spirits would be hazardous.

In the 1920’s the association reached a mile stone in that the membership exceeded 200 and to boot had a healthy bank balance. Come the 1930’s the club would start to develop. Definite signs of progressive thinking and concern for the future was quite evident, but this was brought to a halt by world war two. In the next part we see how after the war Bridgwater Angling Association evolved in to one of the biggest angling clubs in the country.

A day on the bank at Banklands.

Thursday February 3rd just gone my dear friend John Hughes and I decided to have a go at fishing the Bridgwater and Taunton canal at Durston. Our original plan was to fish the bank between Maunsel Lock Tea rooms and the Somerset Boating Centre. On entering the car park we were met by a hearty group of volunteers from the Taunton section of the Inland Waters Association. Amid the hustle and bustle of unloading hedge trimers, shears and other assorted tools and bits and bobs, we where told that our intended place of fishing was the target of a good old tidy up and a bout of well needed hedge trimming. Fair enough no problems with that, so me and John decided to fish the other side of the bridge known as Banklands.

Nothing complicated was implemented I just set up a small waggler and John decided to go piking with ledgered dead bait. The most notable thing about this stretch is that it is not all that deep, I say three and a half foot at most. But this did not seem to spoil the fishing. Yours truly had a most productive day with out even trying. Plenty of plumpish Roach, Rudd, Perch and hybrids were caught, even a Dace. John managed to catch a pike of about 5lb which put a smile on his face. All in all it was a pleasant days fishing. This was a type of session where one just chilled out and just took in the surroundings and lived the moment.

John catching his pike

It has been mentioned before in this blog that one of the nice things about fishing the canal is that you meet a lot of pleasant people who always have a bit of time for a chat. I got talking to a local lady who lives in one of the nearby farms who was out for a jolly old stroll. She happened to mention that in all the time she had been walking this stretch we were the first anglers see had ever seen fishing this part of the canal. I think this a bit of a shame, but saying that me and John agreed to visit this place again. The fish know of this place and so should you.

That, all for now Part two of the history of Bridgwater Angling Association will be in the next post, until then tight lines Pete C.

One of Watchet Angling Blackest Days

“Looks like were in with a chance of bagging up”

There were 7 intrepid anglers who turned up to fish the winter league match on the river Huntspill at Gold Corner. The conditions were far from idea, the weather was cold and the wind was almost none existent, to use the old adage it was like a mill pond. The river itself was about 3 foot down from its normal level. This was helpful because it made it possible to get right down to the waters edge and fish reasonably comfortable. On the other hand if it was at normal level it would have been almost impossible to hold a match here because the nature of the steep banks.

My peg. Like a mill pond it was.

The 7 anglers which included yours truly of course went through the process of doing the draw, of going to ones peg, of setting up, of settling down and waiting for the whistle.

Now from a personal angle the peg I drew out of the hat was number 1 which was closest to the bridge. Now people who know Gold corner will know that the bridge houses the pumping station whose purpose is to pump flood water from the south drain in to the Huntspill which then carries on out to sea.

Owing to the configuration of my peg and a rather large bramble bush behind me it was nigh impossible to fish the pole, so the waggler was employed instead. The fishing box was positioned appropriately, ground bait was mixed, waggler rod was set up, the depth was plumbed, an area was decided to fish and the float was shotted exactly right, I was all set ready to go. With a few minutes to spare I surveyed the water in front of me. As mentioned before it was like a mill pond. I knew it wasn’t going to be a cakewalk, but I was quietly confident that I would catch something, even a Ruffe or 2. My mood was optimistic and blanking wasn’t deemed an option. The whistle was blown and I casted in. Almost straight away Dave Colley in peg 2 to my left spoke “crikey what’s that” and pointed towards the bridge. Now they say a picture is worth a 1000 words.

At 09:59 AM.
At 10 :00 AM
At 10:01 AM

The water in front me became a swirling mass of eddies, vortexes and whirlpools. The chances of me catching fish now went from an extreme form of maybe to the same chance as me becoming pope. One would cast in and to dampen down my, shall we say annoyance would play a game, the game in question was guess which direction the float would go. Would it go to my left, or to my right, would it come back towards me or would it go out to the middle. it was now like fishing in a bloody washing machine. A plan of action was now needed. A plan was concocted and implemented. In terms of the Borg in Star Trek The Next Generation. Resistance is futile. So the white flag was raised and a despondent yours truly did not pack up immediately but had a good old chin wag with good old Dave Colley from peg 2 who was also affected. In fact as time elapsed every one fishing would become affected. Dave Nash came to visit about 20 minutes into the match, he was on his way back to the car to get his coat as the temperature was falling. He informed us that no one had had a bite. Me and Mr Colley carried on with our quality gossiping. Come 11.15 I decided to give Dave Nash a visit who was end pegger on peg 7. As I passed every one, there was familiar body of words emerging which can’t be repeated here.

The so called match in progress.
End pegger Dave.

Dave was wearing a face of defeat. He reeled in his waggler to show me how much depth he had, it was barely two and a half foot in the middle. The prospect of fish obliging was grim indeed. Then the cracks started to appear. ” we have to tell Alan ( match organiser and beloved match secretary) it’s no good carrying on, we should all pack up and call it a day” Well with what was happening in my swim I was in total agreement. Walking back and passing everyone again it was plain to see that there was a mood of low spirits and a loss of hope. To cut a long story short, with the full agreement of every one. It was decided that all should pack up and bugger of. At 12 o’clock the bank was completely devoid of anglers as all had upped sticks and went on their merry way. No one but no one had had a bite.

No comment.
Sorry folks I just had to do it.

Now I can look on the bright side and put forward an element that the glass is half full. Here I will install a bit of subterfuge, a bit if you like, a slight deceit, some form of creative accounting. Here goes.

The saying goes that a good angler catches ten percent of the fish in his swim. I go with that. Now the conclusion is that there was no fish in my swim what so ever. Not one, nothing.

Ten percent of nothing is nothing and that is what I caught nothing. Enough said.

The unsung heroes of Bridgwater Angling Association who slog their guts out improving the swims and foot paths and delve in to the art of litter picking at Dunwear ponds have added a touch of finesse to their handy work. That of naming of some of the swims and putting up well crafted signs as part of the process.

I can well understand how certain swims have come to have certain names. But for the life of me Grey Tailors. I been scratching my heads guys and still none the wiser. So it answers on a post card please.

Well that all folks on the day after one of Watchet Anglings blackest days.

Tight lines Pete C

Match Fished at Combwich Match Lake on January 8th 2022

During the early 16th century a explorer by the name of Ferdinand Magellan decided to up sticks for a while and with the knowledge that it was impossible to sail of the edge of the world took his ship to the west coast of South America and sailed south. He ended up at a place he named himself called Tierra Del Fuego. Tierra Del Fuego is an archipelago at South America’s southern most tip. This Island group contains the famous Cape Horn and is home to the southern most settlements on earth out side Antarctica. The climate at these latitudes can only be described as cruel. The place is whiplashed by gale force winds and soaked by rain most of the time, the temperature rarely achieves 9 degrees in summer. The weather of Tierra Del Fuego has the classification by the meteorologists as a sub polar oceanic climate. This inhospitable climate has the same characteristics as the weather in the Faroes Islands and northern Iceland.

Mr Ferdinand Magellan.

Whilst there old Ferdo come across the native indigenous people called the Yaghan . Now these people were a very remarkable people indeed, they were remarkable not for any ground breaking scientific discoveries or that they built vast cities adorned with the latest technological achievements. No it was quite the opposite, they were remarkable by how extremely primitive they were. So primitive in fact that there wore little or no cloths, this could be deemed a money saver by the outside world, but alas this concept was completely lost on these people because they hadn’t even discovered currency either. These people were renowned for their complete indifference to the cold weather. These guys were often observed to sleep in the open completely unsheltered while the Europeans explorers shivered under blankets. This strange way of life came about because over time the Yaghan people had developed a significantly higher metabolism than the average humans allowing them to generate more internal heat thus helping them to combat the harsh conditions.

Hi guys want to fish a match I’ve just a place that will suit you right down to the ground

Well the match fished by the intrepid members of the Watchet Angling club on Saturday January the 8th could of done with the same DNA as the above members of the Yaghan tribe. For the weather that had to be endured at the Combwich match lake could only be described as sub polar oceanic. The wind howled, the rain poured and the knife sharp cold made a persistent presence. In other words and to cut straight to the ordinary bare bones language the weather was crap, very crap, bloody awful. So the six anglers who’d seemed that they had nothing better else to do may have lacked some of the DNA of the Yaghan people but this was probably counter balanced by the so called insanity gene.

The draw for the match was a rover or what some people refer to as a London draw.

so the order of choice of peg to fish was as follows.

Dave Nash

Pete Curnow

Alan Bland

Eric Searle

Paul Smith

Dave Colley.

The map of the match.

First on the day and no stranger to top position was ” I’ve got a new pair of water proofs” Paul Smith. Paul had a really cracking weight owing to the so called inclement weather of 9 lb 6oz. Top angler Paul fished at 13 meters with pinkie over F1 dark ground bait.

The winner.

In second place was none other than renowned silvers basher Dave Nash. Pinkie over once again F1 ground bait did the trick. Dave fished at varying distances and to his left. Dave ‘s not to be snubbed at weight was a healthy 5 lb 6oz.

Mr Nash.

With a jaw dropping 7oz yours truly found himself in a very remote 3rd place. I struggled at first (obviously) but after observing small fish topping I played the get out of jail card, I put on a very light rig and proceeded with a tactic which one see as damage limitation. I ended up with between 40 and 50 fish which appeared to be Bleak and Minnow hybrids. These microscopic creatures were lured to my keep net with pinkie and a Sensas ground bait could Ablettes.

A mind blowing 7oz.

Alan Bland our much beloved match secretary decided on a swim at the opposite end to the car park. Now Alan did catch fish, unfortunately they were Carp and our winter league being a silvers only did not count. But Mr Bland did manage to catch one small Rudd which was estimated to be 3/4 oz. The little beast got Alan 4th spot.

Alan just before the of.

Poor poor Dave Colley our much liked NHS hero had a torrid time. So much in fact that he couldn’t even muster a bite. Hence total weight of fish was zero. Poor Dave who now resides in Bristol hence he has a bit of a drive to get to some of the matches, summed it up “it made no difference to my weight if I stayed here or stayed at home”. But what ever the outcome he always wears a smile and certainly flies the flag for the “lets give it ago brigade”.

Dave Colley our much liked NHS hero giving it a go.

Eric Searle who decided to fish the opposite bank to most other people gave up the ghost an hour before the end. But one most give this guy some credit to turn up in the first place.

For it must be said that Eric does suffers from poor health and to last as long as he did in the appalling weather should be an effort of note. So see you next match mate.

This is Eric (honest) who put in an effort.
The results table.

With the match finished and most of the gear packed away it was time for the end of the match chin wag. The main topic was where to fish the next match. Well a few suggestions were made such as the KSD or the canal, I even suggested the South drain at Shapwick. But it seems likely now that conditions permitting it could be Gold Corner either on the Huntspill itself or the Cripps river. But failing that owing to our ability to endure there is always the southern tip of South America and the wonderful Tierra Del Fuego.

A probable next venue.

Once again the unsung heroes have been out and been applying their charitable efforts to improving the swims at Dunwear ponds. This jolly gang has greatly improved the gate swim which is located at the back of railway pit and is the swim nearest to the entrance on Sedgemoor road. The swim has been widen considerably and has been raked and cleared of most debris. Even up to the bank to the left which backs on to houses were a boat was needed. So once again guys a big big thank you from all concerned.

What a happy and cheerful lot these are.

It must be stressed the above people were not the entire gang, at the time this photo was taken there was some more volunteers improving the aptly name High Up swim on railway pit, so it hats of to them as well.

Swims like these are made by a group of people willing to give up their spare time for the benefit of other peoples enjoyment.

Well that all folks, take care and don’t forget to change your cloths.

Tight lines Pete C.

Match Fished at Wide Waters on 11th December 2021 and Dear Old Jack

11th of December 2021 saw five harden anglers chance their luck to spend a fruitful day away from a nice warm fire and bag up on the Bridgwater and Taunton canal. Most rang in sick. The draw which was like the last match which was (according which side of the fence your on) a rover or a London draw.

The draw takes place. Alan Bland (L) Dave Nash (M) Paul Smith (R).

Order of draw

Alan Bland 1

Eric Searle 2

Pete curnow 3

Paul Smith 4

Dave Nash 5

So of we jolly well went from the Boat and Anchor car park along the tow path towards wide waters and to the place of plenty. I decided to pick a swim about a 100 yards down from the bottle neck, the place where the canal narrows before it enters wide waters. The rest decided to huddle together right up to the bottle neck. This was handy just in case they all wanted to break in to a little sing song.

The so called map of the match.
No comment.

For yours truly setting up in the peg had the touch of all the calamity of a Norman Wisdom film. Hence in one moment of total and complete and utter stupidity and pure clumsiness your truly stood on his favourite waggler rod and ended its useful life. Gutted.

T here is one nice aspect about fishing the canal and it is the friendliness of some of the people you meet walking along the towpath. About 11.30 I got talking to a very pleasant gentleman who had stopped and asked me if I had any luck. We got talking and it came about his son was fishing Trinity and had just caught a few nice size carp. He then showed me a photo of his other son who also was a carper holding a fair size fish. But alias it transgressed that this young man had passed away nearly two year ago, cut short in the prime of life by bowl cancer. This resonated with me because three weeks back I had attended a funeral of a work mate who at the age of sixty two was also thwarted by bowel cancer. So for the next five minutes or so we just taught about our loses and the wonderful work that the Macmillian Nurses do and like wise the people who work at the St Margrets Hospice. My only regret was, I never got this guys name.

The wonderful Jack Hargreaves.

This was also the case for my next visitor who I recognised vaguely. It came about that he knew a few members of the Watchet angling club. We got yapping about the past, mostly about the demise of Bridgwater AA club matches and lack of youngsters taking up our beloved sport and indeed what they are missing by not being in the great out doors and enjoying the country side. “Talking of youngsters” I said. And told the story of Jack Hargreaves from that 70’s classic television series called Out of Town. Jack did a interview for a documentary about his tv series and also his life. In the program he mentions about a small charity he had set up, the purpose of which was to take groups of school kids from the inner cities who had never been to the countryside and show them what rural life was all about. Jack said the funny thing was that the most asked question he was asked from these groups was ” why do all the farmers always put their farm gates where all the mud is, why don’t they put the gates somewhere else”. This little saga certainly put a smile on my visitors face.

What a stupid place to put a farm gate.

With that this guy went of to talk to Eric Searle. On the way back he stopped at my peg “just seen Eric he haven’t had a bite you ought hear his descriptive language of what he thinks of this place” Now any one who knows carp maestro Eric will know his ability to, shall we say torture the English language. “I’ll be back later to give you a hand with your keep net at the weigh in” the familiar stranger said as he left. “yea right”

The winner.

Now what about the match itself. Paul Smith the silvers king once again took the honours with a handy haul of 8 lb 8oz. Paul made use of the whip with an assortment of baits (bread pinkie and maggot) Also implemented was the pole with worm and caster for the far side. Right at the death more or less at the whistle he managed to land a descent perch from this tactic.

Mr Nash who got 2nd.

In second place we find another angler who is adapt at catching silvers, one Mr David Nash. In his own words he just kept things simple with whip and pole fishing mostly at 4 meters out with maggot and feeding liquidised bread. His haul came to 5lb 6oz.

Yours truly.

Yours truly find himself in third with an un-breath taking catch of 1 lb 12 oz. Now let’s be a person who glass is half full here, I didn’t come last. For the first part of the match I didn’t have a bite, nowt, nothing, not a sausage, bugger all. So drastic measures were called for and I changed right down to a size 24 hook and 1 lb bottom. Yep for a swim that appeared to be absolutely devoid of fish this change certainly got me out of jail. The pole was used and pinkie was employed as the bait. Fishing 4 meters out seemed the most productive line.

The battle for 4th and last place was done by eye instead of the scales owing to lack of fish. Looking in to Eric Searle’s and Alan Bland’s keepnets and using our so called expert knowledge it was decided to give Eric 4oz for 4th and Alan 2oz for the wooden spoon.

Eric who knows a swear word or two.
The final table.

The next match in this little winter league series will be on the Kings Sedgemoor Drain at Parchay. On January the 8th 2022.

So logic dictates that there is no more matches until after christmas so it just left for me to say a merry christmas and a happy fish fulled new year to one and all.

Pete C.

Storm Arwen and the Irish Connection.

Storm Arwen as predicted had surely arrived with storm force winds which wouldn’t look out of place of the tip of Cape Horn and knifing cold which would be more at home in Siberia. Well with these conditions what type of people would actually be mad enough to fish a match. Take you pick from the list below.

1) Ones IQ is roughly the same as one shoe size.

2) Ones brain cells are misfiring in all directions.

3) Once arrived at a psychiatric hospital and was instantly turned away as a lost cause.

4) You actually counted the green hairs on the palms of your hand.

5) Searched for a gas leak with a lighted match.

6) Believe in father Christmas.

Originally this match was scheduled to be fished at Parchay on the KSD but owing to the fact that no one wanted to be guy roped to the bank and also as some one suggested because of the inclement weather it would be like fishing mid ocean. Hence the venue was changed to the match lake at Combwich. Probably the only sane element about this match.

A group discussion on how one managed to avoid the men in white coats.
Cheer up Eric and have a coffee.

In number one spot by a mile was one of the end peggers Paul Smith. Mr Smith Esq amassed a very creditable bag of silvers which tipped the scales at 9 lb 6 oz. In amongst his haul, a bit of a surprise this, was a handy size Tench caught at 8 meters. Paul although caught most of his fish at 13 meters alternating between maggot and pinkie. Hearty congratulations to him on what turned out to a very good weight on a extremely difficult day.

Well done Mr Smith.

2nd place want match angling stalwart and club secretary Alan Bland. Alan fished to his left from one of the pegs nearest the car park. He struggled in the first part of the competition but the sport picked up later on. Alan bagged a weight of 3 lb 11 oz.

Alan with his trade mark fag.

Dave Nash was 3rd with a catch of just 15 oz he had according to the watchet angling grapevine all his fish in the first hour and a bit.

Eric the carp bagger Searle struggled through most of the match. His result says it all 1 skimmer for 8 oz which was caught in the first hour then now’t. Nothing, not a sausage.

Mr Nash auditioning for Phantom of the Opera.

Yours truly had a more active time then most, yea straight up. I reckon I caught between 30 and 40 fish. Unfortunately in this game size does matter and on this occasion and in angling terms I wasn’t all that well endowed. My weight came to a meagre, a scantly 6 oz.

Making use of my telescopic lens.

Dave Colley our beloved NHS hero who resides in Bristol threw in the towel with about an hour to go. I had a thoughtful visit before he went. In his hand he had his total catch. About 5 or 6 small micro Rudd which appeared to be a day old. I duly took a photo, with that instead of donating them to John West he threw them back. Nothing wrong in that I hear you say but unfortunately when it comes to throwing them back Mr Colley is not all that accurate and all of his fish landed in my keep net. When it came to the weigh in it was decided not to take any action because the fish were that small it wouldn’t made the blindest bit of difference anyway.

It’s the taking part that counts Dave.

Before the match it was decided to do a so called London draw or a rover. Six anglers, so six pegs went in to the bag numbered 1 to 6. The person who pulled out peg 1 would have first choice to where to fish, the guy who pulled out peg 2 would have second choice etc etc and the poor guy who pulled out peg number six would have to take what was left.

Now it seems there is a slight connection with me who pulled out peg one and ended with a meagre 6 oz and this joke.

Q Why is it that the Irish have all the potatos and the Arabs have all the oil?

A Because the Irish had first choice.

The results.
The map of the match.
I thought that after the match I would help empty some bins

The next match for the Watchet club is on the canal at Huntsworth on 11th December, draw at 8:45am fishing from 10am until 3 pm.

Until then take care, tight lines and top of the morning to yer.

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

Winter League Match Fished at Combwich Match Lake on 30 October 2021.

This was the first of nine matches in the Watchet Angling winter league. The general consensus amongst the gang before the start was that it was going to be hard going and it was believed that five pound would be a good target weight. Some of the folk fished midweek and the outcome was that although silvers made an appearance so did some carp. However a lot of over night rain might make things difficult we just had to wait and see.

Well there was you could say a bit of a shock today but emphasis is on the word bit. The shock was not cataclysmic but never or less the shock did register slightly on the Richter scale in the realms of angling. Eric Searle Carp bagger extraordinaire actually won a silvers match. Eric who was situated on peg number 3 fished out to his right to the rope at 11 meters with wait for it 2 maggots and 2 pinkies on the hook. Eric fished over ground bait containing both maggots and caster. This winner did fish the margins to his left for the first part of the match but in his own angling vernacular “could only get ninjas” ( small fish to joe public) . All in all with the conditions not exactly perfect Eric’s winning weight of 11 lb 09 oz was definitely not to be sniffed at. So it’s a big well done to him.

2nd place went to the fella on peg 7 which was occupied by silvers expert Paul Smith. Paul who’s weight was a tidy 8 lb 03 oz was obtained by fishing 2 lines at 11 meters over chopped worm with maggot or pinkie on the hook. Paul did try an inside line but caught only an eel.

Alan Bland our much beloved match secretary found himself in third from peg 6. Fishing at 11meters with red maggot either double of single, Mr Bland in the end managed to put 7 lb 02 oz on the scales. Included in his catch were a couple of nice small tench. However there was an observation made about our match secretary from Paul Smith who was in the next peg to Alan. “I have never known a guy to burp and break wind so much” An accolade that Alan just might be proud of.

Dave Nash who on arrivial seemed to take a fair while in deciding were to park. Driving in to the car park, then reversing back again Stopping on the track having a good look, then once again exiting the car park completely for about two to three minutes. At this stage a few club members who saw this performance honestly thought he had changed his mind and gone back home. But he did return to eventually draw out peg 9 and catch a weight of 6 lb 9 oz which got him 4th . Pole and his favourite method the waggler was employed. A fair amount of his haul was caught on the top three straight out in front. Red maggot was the bait.

Nigel Coram who finished 5th on peg 5 managed to put 4 lb 14 oz on the scales But fishing the peg was very difficult for poor Nigel. Owing to the characteristics and the position of the peg, sunlight shining on the water with the breeze making a strong ripple made seeing ones float very hard. So full marks for perseverance. Method employed was maggot over ground bait at 12 meters.

Yours truly one Pete Curnow struggled throughout on peg 8. I managed to put a measly 1 lb 10 oz on the scales. I started of on the waggler which at one stage seemed impossible to shot. Cast out and the float would stick out about and inch, add a number 10 shot and the bloody thing would sink. It had all the characteristics of some pole floats. However after much changing of different combinations of shotting, I managed to get it just right. However after and hour and a bit I managed with great difficulty to catch one small roach with the wag. So out came the pole and I started fishing the margins to my right and almost immediately caught a small Tench. To cut a long story short I stayed on this approach and had my fair share of micro rudd.

About 2 o’clock I hit a carp which on the the light elastic I was using I would have had more chance to become pope then to have landed it. So in the end I got snapped up. I stayed with the waggler for the last hour. Well I say the last hour, at 2.55pm the float goes under and it’s another bloody carp. Once again this time with the waggler rod I was using, a Drennan ultra light float rod which is capable handling 10 oz bottoms I had no chance. The action on this rod is superb for small fish. I once managed to hook a carp on this rod at Trinity Waters, I’d played it for 10 minutes and eventually got it to the net. But owing to the characteristics of the rod when I tried lifting the exhausted carp over into the landing net this rod just bent and bent and bent. With gritted teeth, closed eyes and praying like mad hoping the rod wouldn’t break I kept lifting the rod up but in the end the line gave way. So you see at 2.55 pm another carp and another snap up which happened almost immediately. So instead of setting up again I decided to pack up. The Combwich church clock chimed 3 o’clock so the whistle was imminent or so I thought. Mr Nash in the next peg along and with a look of bewilderment asked why I’d packed up.

Well at the draw I picked my peg out and more or less set out to get to my swim. But as most match anglers know, a lot of anglers loiter around immediately after the draw discussing and moaning how crap the peg they have just drawn is. But it was in this period a discussion took place and it was agreed that the match would be extended by half an hour until 3.30 pm. All well and good unfortunately no sod told me.

Dave Colley our NHS hero should be commended as this gentleman travels all the way from Bristol to fish the Watchet matches. But today there might have been a tiny element running around in his mind of was it worth it. For poor Dave could only put together 1 lb 08 oz for 7th place. Fishing on peg 10 Dave used the pole and maggot at varying distances, however to his credit he did land a small carp. But alias being a silvers only match it did not count. But what ever the out come Dave Colley always has a smile.

Poor Alan Jenkins at the end of the match decided not to weigh in his solitary fish a roach about 2oz and instead opted for DNWI next to his name. Alan however in the gist of things managed to land a couple carp. So he didn’t go home bored.

The next match in this winter league is down for November the 13th on the KSD at Parchay. But factoring in the inclement weathers ability to desposit vast amounts of rain and the expertise of the drain to turn itself in to a raging torrent, there is a probability that this venue might change to the canal at wide waters. So anticipating this scenario it is planned that on the 11th of November Alan Bland, Dave Nash and me will go down at midday and cut and rake swims out, but all is welcome to participate.

Tight lines to one and all

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