This was Watchet Angling club last match of the season before the winter break and before the start of the winter league. In the week proceeding the match there was a few mutterings about choosing Parchay as the venue but obviously these murmurings petered out and Parchay was fished.
First on the day was Paul Smith and everyone in the club knows that Paul is definitely more at home on natural venues such as the King Sedgemoor Drain, the Huntspill and the Canal. Well his loyalty has certainly paid of by thumping the entire field in a match where fish were a premium with a lot of the guys in the match. Paul strutted his stuff by landing 2 lovely tench, the biggest being an absolute corker of which tipped the scales at 6 lb 3oz and the other weighed in at 4 lb 4oz. Paul used the pole and the bait was worm.
Second from peg 80 was Ian Ricketts, Ian was busy through out with plentyof small fish on the whip with maggot. His weight was 4lb exactly.
Now it was me who finished in third place and was just pipped by Mr Ricketts by a measly 2oz. I did start of on the waggler but this achieved next to nothing. It was when I went on the pole that things started to come together. But as usual Pike was the problem and I hooked 3 of the blighters throughout the match. Bait of course was maggot and the final haul from peg 84 was 3 lb 14 oz.
Dave Colley (4th) was pegged next to me on 85, used pole and whip with maggot for a weight of 3 lb 11 oz, he too was also plagued by the old Pike.
Both Alan Bland (5th) Dave Nash (6th) and veteran Bob Pascoe (6th) did well to get the weights they got owing to where there were pegged.
The bottom 4 Stuart Frampton, Alan Jenkins, Ian Grabham and Eric Searle really did struggle and for them it was really a match to forget.
The only excitement for most of the guys was a tractor on the other bank which was cutting back bushes and trees and was trying to get an enrty in the Guinness book of records for the worlds most noisest tractor. Oh there was a bit of amusement for me and Dave Colley watching this oldish foriegn lady chasing cows with a branch next to the car park, but that was it.
So of the match one could well, put it in a folder and file it under “one for the connoisseur”
But lets not forget the 2 tench that Paul Smith landed.
Match fished on the Stathe drain on October 29th.
Drive out of Bridgwater on that ghastly Westonzoyland road, drive through the village of Westonzoyland, pass the outskirts of Middlezoy until one reaches the awful T junction that takes one on to the Glastonbury to Taunton road. Turn right proceed through the uninspiring Othery, straight on until Burrow Bridge, transverse the bridge over the River Parrett and take the next left. There you will be greeted by a road of just barely acceptable standards. Endure the road come lane hybrid by dodging the on coming traffic (and the odd throng of Lycra cladded cyclists) for about 1.5 miles and there on the right you will stumble across a amply sized car park. This is the anglers car park for the splendid Stathe Drain. Well I may stand corrected here because it is also referred to as the West Sedgemoor drain or according to google maps the Sedgemoor Old Rhyne. Well what ever! Here you will find a venue that has all the trappings of old school fishing.
Stathe drain one could say has the attributes of the Kings Sedgemoor drain and the Bridgwater and Taunton canal combined. Old school fishing through and through. It is slightly wider than the canal but the banks has the same characteristics of the KSD. That of obliging the angler to be able in most cases (except my peg) to be level with the bank. The average depth comes to about four and a half foot and is an ideal water for the pole and the whip.
Well twas on the 29th October the jolly match angling troupe of dubious mind and body Watchet angling club held a six hour match on this delightful venue, this was the first match in the Watchet angling winter league.
Top spot was obtained by Rob Dodd with a weight of 10lb exactly. Mr Dodd at the draw pulled out one of the favoured swims that being peg one which is the one situated closest to the pumping station. He started of as though his pants was on fire. A nice size tench a right lump of a bream and a right hefty perch all found themselves in Roberts net within the first hour but alas poor Robs swim died a death. One could put the demise down to that of the flow. Every angler at the start was greeted by the flow of the Stathe drain going from ones left to right i:e flowing to wards the pumping station. Come roughly 11:30am the flow dwindled to nothing. Then at just after 2pm the flow started again but this time in the opposite direction (right to left) This unexpected behaviour signed the death warrant to many but not all swims. Robs was no exception and said after the match if it wasn’t for the first hour he would of weighed in ounces. Rob alternated between whip and pole. Bait was caster for the first hour and a half and then pinkie mostly there after.
It was close between second and third place. Dave Nash who on these types of water is like a pig in S**T absolutely lapped it up from peg 8 for second spot. A very good weight of 6 lb 10 oz was put on the scales by Dave who used whip and waggler, caster and feeding hemp was method of attack.
In third place from end peg nine was a gentleman who is one to look out for in the winter league. Ian Ricketts managed a haul of 6 lb 05oz which was obtained by whip and maggot. It must be noted that these two weights consisted of all smallish fish but owing to the conditions on the day i:e with the flow being some what erratic it was credit to their angling skill to achieve such fine weights.
I was some what bowled over when some one told me that the guy who finished in fourth today was forty year old. Baby face Ian Grabham ( who most of the club thought was very much younger) eeked out 4 lb 04 oz from peg six. Pole and whip with maggot was employed here.
Stuart Frampton (fifth) had a middling sort of weight, that of 2 lb 14 oz from peg seven. His plan was to use waggler with maggot.
Paul Smith could only nail a weight of 2 lb 04 oz using mainly pole and waggler with maggot. Pauls home for the day was peg 3. Sixth was his final placing.
Me, Pete curnow managed seventh from peg two. Now arriving at my peg I was confronted by a so called swim which was mainly a three foot shear drop to the water. Hence it was a bloody good job that I had brought my spade. I spent fifteen pigging minutes digging to get my peg to some sort of a fishable swim. Say that although I could only muster 1 lb 14 oz in the end I found the experience of fishing here most pleasing. Ok I did have some periods of inactivity but it was nice to catch the type of fish that I have not caught for a long time, that of Ruffe, Dace and Gudgeon. Most of my catch came from the pole and maggot, at one stage I even used squat on the hook to try to entice a bite. But all in all a big thumbs up.
Our most gracious match secretary Alan Bland was placed eighth with a weight of only 1 lb 03 oz, pole and worm was the mainstay of his tactics. Alan fished peg four.
Our much beloved NHS hero Dave Colley fished peg six and could only muster 15 oz with pole and maggot. This haul placed him in last place at number nine. But to be fair owing to Dave being a popular guy and a so called social animal he had to depart from the match an hour before the end.
It would be most unfair if I didn’t mention the on going work at Dunwear ponds. Matt ,Bill and the gang seem tireless in their aim to keep improving this venue. Their latest project is it seems is the creation of two more swims. If one goes through the gate that leads to North pond pass the portable toilet carry straight on to about forty meters and on your left you will see a newly created pathway. This path way runs parallel to the very over grown pond which long ago was known as middle pond. Walking along this route you will come to the bank on big pit nearly opposite the helicopter swim. It is along this bank that the two swims are being made. Carry on along this path and one will end up in Mc creedys swim. So once again it is hats of to the gang.
I am sorry report to that the Willow lake at Summerhayes is no more. This once cheerful lake which had a certain type rustic appeal have now had most of its pallets removed and have been joined to the large lake called Big Eight. Hence now owing to the new configuration Willow lake has become Little Eight. It will be interesting to see how this new formation turns out.
That all folks except to say that the next match in the Watchet angling winter league will be on the KSD at Parchay on November 12th.
Until then tight lines