Rob Butcher is the top Nomad at this weeks Hillview Sunday open

7 Jubilee Nomads visited Hillview this week for their regular Sunday open match. This week held on Moorhen and Heron pools 

This venue normally fishes well in the winter and there are always plenty of fish to be caught after a good breakfast from the fishery cafe.Rob, Stu, Robin, Doug and Mark drew on Moorhen while Phil and Andy drew Heron. Being on different pools wasn’t a problem as the battle for the pounds was very close with several 70lb+ weights recorded by the Nomads in a total weight of 468lb.Rob continued his good form from winning a 100 pegger at Woodland View the previous week, this time taking all the Nomads pounds (again) but also picked up in the mainframe winning his open section win with 75lb Well done RobAll the Nomads caught well during the match with both Andy Mitchell (72lb) and Phil Seedhouse (71lb) just missing out on their sections, both being 2nd in section.Other Nomads Stu Thomson, Robin Ballard, Doug Smith and Mark Birbeck still caught well and that’s why we fish these types of venue. The Overall match was won with 96lb so we weren’t far of the pace against the venue experts. We will be back.

Daiwa TDR Reels

A only use TDR reels for my running line work. Yes they are expensive, costing around £160 each but once you have used one you really don’t want to use anything else. My 2508 and 3012 single handle version are a pleasure is use

Their amazing winding power is impressive and with their smoothness they make large fish playing easy work.

The hard aluminium body ensures super sure ‘meshing’ of gears even when under load. The addition of Mag Sealed delivers a water impermeable liquid seal around the rotor and main shaft, protecting the mechanism from ingress of water and debris. The longer term gain is continued smoothness of winding and feel.Distance control is also a must have technique for match anglers and the HIP High Impact Line Clip has not only been added but improved too. The addition of a back shield between the clip and spool enhances line protection even further. A lighter but tougher rotor in the shape of Air Rotor ensures a quicker winding start up and even spread of compression making for smoother rotation when playing fish or winding heavy loads. 

  • Mag Sealed
  • Aluminium Hard body 
  • Air Rotor
  • HIP High Impact Line clip
  • QD Quick Drag
  • AirBail
  • Digigear
  • Single and double handle options on 2508 and 3012
  • Spare spool

Rob Butcher wins a 110 pegger at Woodland View

This match attracted 110 anglers for a clubman match at Woodland View. Tackle giant Preston Innovations sponsored the day and donated tackle prizes plus a goodie bag for every angler fishing the match. 

This was the venue’s thank you to all anglers who had fished club matches at the venue during 2018. One of our club’s Brookfields AC had fished several matches at Woodlands this year so we were able to fish the match. The match was on Front and Back Deans, Hay and Barley, Arles and Ghost pools. Rob drew well and ended up fishing an end peg on Back Deans, 48 to win the match with an excellent 81lb 12oz. Winning the Clubman Trophy to keep for a year and also a nice new rod from Preston Innovations. Other Jubilee Nomad’s Phil Seedhouse, Andy Mitchell and Doug Smith drew together in a section on Arles pool. with Phil Seedhouse picking up the section win with 29lb 6oz, while another Jubilee Nomads Robin Ballard, Stu Thomson and Steve Dobbs struggled in their sections.  Well done Rob for also winning all our Pound coins!

2nd placed on the Moors pool, Avalon Fisheries, 78lb

This match was the last match of a 3 day festival down in Somerset at 3 different venues. I’d struggled at Viaduct with a last in section on day 1 which really blew my chances of doing well this year. Then on the 2nd day at The Sedges I managed a 2nd in section. So I really needed a good result on this last match to finish up in a reasonable place. 

This final match on the Moors pool at Avalon fisheries saw me draw end peg 21 (and the longest walk) So I felt it may be OK for a few fish.   

On arrival at my peg I set up a bomb rod for throwing over to the island, long and short pole lines and a margin line to my left. I started on the bomb, a method which bores me to death but it can’t be ignored with the island being well out of pole range. I fired out a few pellets and baited up with an 8mm hard pellet on the hook while I potted in 6mm hard pellets at 13 metres and a pot of corn on my short pole line.  

The first hour on the bomb produced 3 carp and then it slowed down. I’d been topping up the 13 metre pole line with 6mm pellets every five minutes during the time I was fishing the bomb so after an hour and 20 minutes I tried there next fishing an 8mm hard pellet. I began getting bites and was soon catching some Carp. This continued for the next hour while I was pinging in 6mm’s before it started to slow down and I was catching the odd Skimmer. 

So at this point I potted in a cup of corn into my short left pole line where I’d fed a pot at the start of the match. The left margin also got a pot of meat for later in the match. Then I tried on my short right pole line where I’d  also fed pellets but I never had a bite. So I swapped to the short left pole line but this only produced a couple of Skimmers. It this point I’d now stopped catching carp so I decided to have a look in the margin. Nothing came from here in 15 minutes so I re-fed it and left. I was really scratching my head now. I’d had a good first two hours but I was really struggling. I went on the long pole line which again wasn’t producing and also the Bomb line and the margin line but again nothing and I now gone two hours without a carp. 

Going into the last hour a needed find some carp so I decided to return to the long pole line where I’d caught carp early in the match but I still couldn’t catch anything. 

At this point I made a change to my feeding and stopped feeding 6mm pellets and I started pinging in 8mm’s, after 10 minutes I was catching carp again, the feeding change had worked and I landed several more carp in the next 45 minutes before the all out. 

I weighed in 78ln 10oz which gave me 2nd place in the match and more importantly a section win. 96lb won the match. I just wish I’d made the change to 8mm feed pellets sooner! 

After the first days poor result at Viaduct This section win helped me climb the overall festival table and got me up to 7th overall.   

Hard Pellet Rig – 0.5g Nick Gilbert NG XT Finesse Power pole float set up on 0.17mm Guru N-Gauge with a bulk of no.8 shot, 18 inches from the hook with two no.10 dropper shot. above a 6 inch 0.15mm size 14 Guru SLWG banded hook. set up on Black Hydro.   

Bomb Rig – 8lb main line with a Preston Innovations ICS inline 20g match cube/bomb set up with a pre-tied size 12 banded Preston innovations KKM-B hook with a 0.19mm hook length. 

Andy Mitchell wins at Hawford Bridge

This was a Jubilee Nomad invitational match at Hawford Bridge fishery, during the Christmas break. 12 Jubilee Nomads and invited guested were pegged around the Penn pool.

Match organiser Andy Mitchell ran out the winner catching 14 Carp mainly on the Bomb and Bread to place 49lb 0oz on the scales. It was close for 2nd place with several anglers in contention but Phil Seedhouse claimed 2nd place, again mainly catching on the Bomb and Bread to weigh in 11 Carp for 32lb 0oz.Section winners were Mark Birbeck 30lb 0oz, Robin Ballard 29lb 0oz, Tony Hemming 26lb 0oz and Pete Dutton 24lb 0oz 

4th placed at Manor Farm Leisure, Thursday Open

With the week off work I was able to visit Manor Farm Leisure for their Thursday affordable open, held on the Boundary pool this week.I fancied a rod match with the Method and Bomb for a change. But it turned out to be a framing pole match in the end. 

I’d not had a session on the Method or the Bomb for a while and Manor Farm Leisure is one of those venues where these two methods work well. Plus I wanted some more F1 practise on the pole shallow before this coming Saturday’s Supercup semi final up at Tunnel Barn Farm so I set up Method and Bomb rods plus 3 pole rigs, a bottom rig, a shallow rig and an edge rig. 

I started on the Method fishing a 30g Preston Dura feeder loaded with micro pellets and a 6mm pellet on the hook half way across the pool. I had a pull round first chuck which was a small F1 in the first 5 minutes. I thought a good day on the rods was ahead of me. I cast out again and also fed a couple of pouches of 8mm pellets onto a short bomb time to my left just in case the method didn’t produce. But after 45 minutes with no more pull rounds on the rod despite several hook bait changes I threw the rod up the bank and picked up the Bomb rod a cast over the feed area I’d primed earlier.

Nothing happened which is pretty strange for this pool it normally responds well to the pellet and bomb approach. So with an hour and a half already gone in the match, was the pole going to get me some bites? 

I’d been feeding my 13 metre pole line via a cup a couple of times since the start of the match and I went out on the pole line with a banded 6mm hard pellet. After a few minutes I hooked and lost a good carp but I felt there were now some fish in the peg and sure enough after another few minutes I caught a couple of small F1’s. 

I carried on feeding this pole line via a cataplut pinging in 8-10 6mm hard pellets in every few minutes with the veiw of keeping any carp on the bottom, catching a few and then cutting down the feed to hopefully bring them up in the water for the last half of the match. 

My next fish was a big Carp around 8lb in weigh. As I hooked this carp I took my time with it, letting my No.12 Hollo elastic take the strain. I didn’t want to get broken like the first big carp. I was fishing fairly light with a 0.13mm hook lenght so I took my time this time!! 

The next 40 minutes proved to be good and I caught some small Carp and F1’s on the bottom in this period. The bites began to slow down now and I was missing a few bites. So had the fished moved up in the water?? 

I went out with a shallow rig and began slapping for a few shallow feeding F1’s. But as a back up I began feeding the left margin with corn for the last hour if required. The Shallow session proved fruitless I never had a bite for 30 minutes and then I saw a big carp swirl in the margin. So I tried this next.

I was fished the margin for 5 minutes hoping to catch that big carp I’d seen. However the carp in my Keepnets began splashing and this spooked the Carp it also broke the water with a big splash seconds after the carp in my keepnet had splashed. The angler on the next peg then caught a big carp after 5 minutes. Maybe it was the same one?? Anyway I carried on with the margin and I caught a couple of Skimmers. 

This margin was very shallow, only 6 inches deep and after 15 minutes I’d not had a Carp bite and there was only 20 minutes left. So I gave up on this margin and returned to the 13 metre pole line, but back on the bottom and I cataputed in some feed pellets hoping to bring the carp back. 

This worked I hooked a landed another Carp around 8lb after a few minutes and then a couple more F1’s before the all out. 

I ended the match with 42lb which was enough for 4th place in the match. an enjoyable days fishing even though I’d fancied a rod match at the start it was nice to catch some nice F1’s on the hard pellet. 

The bottom rig acounted for all the fish apart from the first Method F1 at the start of the day. 

Bottom Rig – 0.5g Nick Gilbert NG XT finesse HD Carbon pole float set up on 0.15mm Guru N-Gauge main line. a small bulk of no. 8 stotz’s with 2 no. 10 droppers spaced out in 6 inch gaps above a 6 inch 0.13mm hook lenght tied to a size 16 Guru Super LWG banded hook. Set up on a No.12 preston dura hollo elastic.

Preston Innovations ICS Feeder System

I love great ideas that save me time on the bank and Preston Innovation ICS Feeder system certainly does that!

The ICS (inter change system) has been around for several years now. Its a fantastic way of changing your terminal tackle on a ready made up rods in seconds and saves having to set up several rods for a match or pleasure session. Sometimes times during a match you may be be catching well and want to make a change with your terminal tackle. The ICS System does exactly that. You can change a Method/Pellet/Cage/Maggot feeder for a bomb or simply change the weight/size of the one your currently using. These allows for fine tuning of your set up. You may alter the feed going into a swim are add weight if the wind gets up.  

For this system to be of use its best for you to invest in some of the different feeders and bombs but once you have made the investment the benefits of such a versatile system really come into play. 

In line ICS System
In line ICS System

The set up is a simple central stem which can be cut back to your favoured size. I tend to keep it long enough to use even the biggest feeders though I think it doesn’t effect the fishing. Simply thread your mainline through the end cap first and then the stem and tie it to a click change bead using a 6 turn clinch knot (instructions Here) and then you can select your choosen hook length. (See picture left) then you can add or change your choosen feeder or bomb by threading it over the mainline and the sliding it down over the stem. 

I had found that some of the feeders can be hard to slide straight on though which can be a bit of a pain and a hard push is needed sometimes. The durable plastic stem with the choosen feeder helps casting and accuracy, but also guarantees that the weight transfer is to the base which means your feeder lands the right way up every cast. An ICS Swivel Stem Kit will convert any ICS product from an in-line feeder to a conventional style feeder set up, with the added benefit of still being quick change. Particularly useful with the In-Line Cage feeders, in-line Match Cubes and In-Line Maggot Feeders.

ICS Swivel Stem Kit
ICS Swivel Stem Kit

Most commercial fishery’s insist on a free running inline feeder set ups for the benefit of the fish. The feeder will never to attached directly to a fish.

The ICS system is free running but there is also an option of using an elasticated stems which help to absorb hook pulls. I should note if you use these you need to keep an eye in the elastic before it perishes though. 

Winter Months 

During the winter months we want to put in minimal feed in and the ICM system is a scaled down version of the ICS system where all the different feeder and bombs can also be purchased but in much small sizes so giving less water disturbance on the cast. 

On the whole the Preston ICS system has been something well worth investing in however it can cost you a few quid to stock up on all the options available.

3rd placed, Tunnel Farm Barn, Friday Flyer, Jennys 97lb

As my week off work drew to a close I fished my 7th match on the trott and visited Tunnel Barn Farm for their Friday Flyer held on Jenny’s pool.

On arrival at peg 6 I saw F1’s and carp up on the far self against the island at 13 metres so I planned to start there but to prime up my short topkit+1 line with pellets. Shallow and Margin rigs were also set up if the topkit line didn’t produce, but my plan was to catch short all day if I could, so not wasting time shipping out to 13 metres, As this was going to be a fish race!

So I started over to the island and had a great start catching some good sized F1’s and small carp on 6mm hard pellets, while feeding 4mm’s but I knew I needed to catch short. So after 45 minutes fishing long I came in short were I’d also been feeding 4mm pellets.

After a slow start short I began to catch some nice F1’s and a few Skimmers and I began building a good weight. Looking around at the other anglers, they were fishing shallow but I felt I was catching better on my short line so I stayed on this line for the next few hours. I was feeding 4mm hard pellets with a 6mm on the hook but I found that feeding a few 6mm’s also helped to draw in some bigger F1’s. 

Going to the 4th hour my catch rate was slowing down and I had to move around the peg on the topkit line to keep the fish coming. I decided to look shallow next and caught a good sized F1 but dispite slapped away for 20 minutes no more F1’s wanted a shallow pellet. So it was a quick look in the margins next but I could only catch small F1’s here. So I returned to the Topkit+1 line and starting catching some better sized F1’s 

At the end of the match I weighed in 97lb 10oz which was enough for 3rd place in the match and the best weight from my side of the pool. The match was actually won on the other bank with 248lb with 2nd weighing 174lb So I was a long way off the pace. I’d fished hard pellets all match but these two big weights had fished with maggots. I’m guessing they had fed several pints of maggots to catch those weights. There wasn’t really enough people fishing the match to justify feeding several pints of maggots due to the cost. But if you want to win at all cost that’s up you.

Top kit F1 Rig – 0.4g Nick Gilbert NG XT Jordan pole float set on 0.15mm Guru N-Gauge mainline with strung out no. 9 and no. 10 shot above a 6 inch 0.13mm hook length with a size 18 SLWG banded hook. Set up on black Hydro.

Section win, Trinity Waters, Woodland pool, 58lb

I normally get to fish Woodland pool at Trinity Waters, Somerset once a year as it’s a venue we nomally fish on our Jubilee 3 day festivals in recent years.

This is a deep pool with some really big Carp in it. At the draw a hoped for a good margin peg but I drew on the far side of the pool this time. On this side of the peg are actually pallets extended over the water. So if you want to fish the margins you are actually fishing behind yourself. The peg I drew also had both pegs each side to me very close. Catching big Carp to the margins would prove to be difficult as any large hooked carp will head straight underneath the pallets. I learnt this problem from my few visits previously to the venue.

So I ruled out margin fishing and set my stall out for catching fish straight out in front of me. 

I set up long and short pole lines, One for pellets at 13 metres and then corn left and meat to the right at 5 section of pole. If the fish were cruising up in the water I had a pellet Waggler ready and also a Bomb rod. 

At the all in and fed my pole lines and then kicked off the match on the Straight lead with an 8mm pellet. This produced a small Skimmer!! I stuck at it for another 30 minutes and then the rod pulled round and a carp around 8lb was safely deposited into one of my keep nets. Nothing else happened with either the Bomb rod or the Pellet Waggler so after I while tried the pole. 

I started feeding 6mm pellets over the 13 metre line with a 8mm pellet on the hook but this produced nothing after 30 minutes so I re fed and tried the short corn line. I began to get bites and caught a few Skimmers a nice Tench and then an eel. The carp just didn’t want to feed and most of the other anglers were also struggling apart from a couple of the noted pegs that always do OK. 

I switched to the meat line but things didn’t improve, I was just catching Silvers. So I started to rotate the poles line with little success. Then I finally hooked a large carp on the meat line. These carp fight extremely hard at Trinity and on this deep pool it take a while to get them up in the water. The problem then is stopped them swimming underneath the pallet and I lost this one under the pallet. So when I hooked my next one I had to take my time with it keeping out in the swim until it took its first gulp of air and when it was ready for the net. 

This fishing still wasn’t good for most anglers until and last “Golden” hour when the Carp began to come on the feed. I began to catch, but so did the other anglers that had been struggling. I managed to catch several more carp in the short meat line and did enough to get the all important section win with 58lb 0oz which also included 15lb of Silvers.

Meat Rig – 0.6g Nick Gilbert XT Decker HD pole float in 6 foot of water, set up on 0.17mm Guru N-Gauge mainline with a bulk of no.8 above a 6inch 0.15mm N-Gauge hook length with a size 14 Guru LWG spade end hook set up on purple Hydro.

Lake and Section win, Manor Farm Leisure Sunday Open

This week I visited Manor Farm Leisure for their Sunday Open, this week held on Island, Middle and Windmill pools.I drew on the Windmill pool and with just open water in front of me I set up two pole lines at 13 metres in 6 foot of water left and right and a bomb rod if things got tricky. 

Having caught well the last time here a couple of weeks ago on Boundary pool decided on fishing hard pellets on one line and expander pellet over mirco’s on the other plus a short maggot line in front of me at 7 metres. I started with a 4mm hard pellet and fed in a few 4mm feed pellets and after 10 minutes the float dipped and I was straight into a good fish which was a ghosty around 5lb. I great start! So I re-fed the line with another kinder cup of 4mm pellets and waited for a another, thinking I could be on a shed load of feeding fish. But Sadly that Carp was to be the only carp I caught all day. 

I stayed on the hard pellet line for the next hour but this only produced 3 small F1’s and a few roach but at least I’d had a good start compared with all the other anglers on the pool, hardly anything had been caught my them. 

With the bites slowing down now it was time for a change. So I kinder fed a pot of micro’s into the soft pellet line and fished a 4mm expander over the top. This produced a good Skimmer and a few more roach but no more F1’s so after another 30 minutes I decided to go back on the hard pellet line, but this time I stopped feeding the 4mm pellets and changed to feeding small balls of micro pellet, (squashed balls because of the depth of water) This seemed to do the trick and I began catching small F1’s again in between a few roach and skimmers. 

I then hooked a larger carp which I think was foul hooked as the elastic ploughed out. I played it very gently as it looked like the section would be won with a low weight today. I got it all the way down to my top two but then the hook pulled out. 

By this time the match was going into the last hour and I guessed compared to all the other anglers I could see I was doing OK and a section win was on the cards. I felt with the last hour the fish would come on the feed so I stopped feeding the mirco pellet and began to feed hard 4mm pellets. I was right the F1’s did begin to feed in the last hour and I went on to catch several more in the next hour. 

At the weigh in I was last to weigh in my section. I had 23lb to beat. Luckly I placed 24lb 6oz on the scales to win the pool and the section. 

The match was actually won with 70lb off the Middle pool and my section win wasn’t even enough to get into the top six finishers. So today I probably drew on the wrong pool and a section win was only the realistic option. 

Pellet rig – 0.6g Nick Gilbert NG XT Deano Diamond wire on 0.15mm Guru N-Gauge main line. A bulk of no.8 shot 18 inches from the hook length with 3 no.10 dropper shot at 5 inch gaps above a 6 inch 0.13mm Guru N-Gauge hook length with a size 18 SLWG banded hook. Set up to a no.12 Preston hollo elastic. 

Open match win, Manor Farm Leisure Sunday Open

This Sunday I visited Manor Farm Leisure for their open on Island and Windmill pools. This match was winter fishing at its hardest. 2 degrees and heavy snow, sleet and rain for the whole day. 

I drew on Island 6 and throw out the bomb with bread at the all in. I caught a small F1 in the first 20 minutes. But after an 1 hour that was my sum total of fish. So time for the pole at 13 metres. I’d been feeding maggots during the time on the bomb but I was just catching the odd small Roach and Perch. Things weren’t really going to plan. I decided two feed a new pole line with micro pellet, fishing a 4mm expander over the top but I never had a bite. So I went back on the bomb and bread but a little further out but the rod still never pulled round.

So I decided to go back to the maggot line. At least I was getting the odd small fish. The other anglers were all struggling, so it was a case of putting a few fish in the net, even though they were small. This time I decided to feed the maggots heavier and this did start to produce a better stamp of fish and I was catching better sized Roach. So I continued the feed the maggots heavier hoping to draw in a Carp. I caught a good Skimmer next about 2lb so the heavier feeding seemed to be working and I still hoped for a carp to come.

After an hour doing this I caught some nice Roach but the angler on the next peg had now caught 3 good sized Carp. So these silvers weren’t going to get me anywhere. So will 45 minutes left in the match I picked up the Bomb rod, changed to a 6mm hard pellet and throw it out even further out, having only 45 minutes left. Would the gamble work? 

Well after 10 minutes the rod pulled round and 5 minutes later I had a carp around 7lbs in the keepnet. I throw out again and then a had a small tap on the tip and then then a drop back bite. I lifted into the bite and the rod arc’d round which resulted in a small F1 around 2lb. 

With 30 minutes left in the match I was finally catching fish. A low winning weight was on the cards because of the horrible weather so I hoped for a couple more carp and during this time a caught a big F1 and another carp round 4lb. So the gamble paid off today with the late Carp but the 5lb of silvers during the mid part of the match were very important as they got me over the line today.

Bomb rig – 10ft Preston mini plus bomb rod and 2508 Daiwa TDR reel loaded with 6lb Daiwa XT mono to a 10g Preston ICS inline match cube with a 15 inch 0.17mm Guru N-Gauge hook length with a size 16 Guru QM1 hook banded with a 6mm hard pellet

Open match win, Manor Farm Leisure, Thursday affordable open

Using up a few days holiday from work before the end of the year meant I was able to visit Manor Farm Leisure for their mid week affordable open. I drew Windmill 34 in the shallows with only a 3 foot depth of water. But with a few days of mild winter weather I was still confident of catching a few fish.

I decided to fish in the deepest part of the peg I could find, 13 metres slightly to my left with expander pellets over micro’s. With it being relatively mild I pumped up some 6mm Ringers Next Generation expander pellets and also a few 4mm’s if it was hard going. A pint of maggots were the back up bait if things got really hard as the recent winning weights have been very low at this venue for several weeks.

I started on a 6mm expander and kindered in some mirco’s to see how it was going to fish. I had a good start catching 5 small F1’s and a few skimmers in the first hour. Then it slowed down and I had a switch to a maggot line I’d been feeding to my right at 13 metres. This line was just producing small Roach every put in and not really weight builders. I tried my maggot rig over the pellet line that I’d been feeding but this still produced the small Roach.

So it was time for a change. I’d caught some F1’s and a few Skimmers with the 6mm expander. I tried a 4mm expander but I was still catching the small Roach. So I decided to big cup in half a 250ml cup of micro’s into the pellet line. This did the trick, as after 10 minutes I attracted and landed a Carp around 4lb. 

So I began topping up the pellet line with mirco’s after every fish, getting some bait into the swim even though it was December! The fish were feeding and I caught several more F1’s, Skimmers and Roach during the next hour. 

Going into the 3rd hour I struck into something bigger, which turned out to be a Carp around 8lb. I’d decided to fish a 12 elastic as there are some big Carp in this pool and the 12 elastic gave me half a chance. Taking your time on these bonus fish in winter is very important and I let it tire out for several minutes letting the elastic take the strain before bringing it into netting range. 

I was beginning to build a good weight now and all my fish had come from the same line. I was thinking about resting this line and trying the short pellet line I’d been feeding as back up soon. But after another 10 minutes I was into another good Carp which was about 5lb this time. Again I let the elastic take the strain before nettting it. 

At this point in the match all was going OK so I decided to stay on the same line for the rest of the match. The fish didn’t seem to be bothered about the pole over the heads despite the swim only being 3 foot deep. I was catching Carp, small F1’s, Skimmers and Roach and all was good. 

Going into the last hour I landed a couple more good Carp around 4lb each and some more F1’s, Skimmers with the odd Roach. 

At the end of the match I weighed in 64lb 8oz for the match win. This was a brilliant winning weight for the 2nd week in December. I’d had bites all day from the same line. This day was one of my most enjoyable matches of the year and I was very pleased with my winning weight of 64lb which also was the best winning weight at the complex for several weeks. I just wish I could fish it more often but I have to work full time.

Pellet Rig – 0.3g Nick Gilbert XT finesse Carbon HD pole float set up on 0.15mm Guru N-Gauge main line with several no.10 stotz’s at 2 cm gaps just above a 6 inch 0.12mm Silstar matchteam hook lenght will a size 16 B911 F1 spade end hook. On a No.12 Preston Dura Hollo elastic.

2nd placed at Lands End Fishery, Bridgwater, 90lb

This weekend I travelled down the M5 to Somerset to fish the 3 day Somerset Leveller festival, fished on 3 different venues over the weekend.I had a poor start on the first day at Emerald pools finishing last in my section of four which pretty much killed off my hopes of winning the festival weighing in just a few Silvers for 7lb. It wasn’t just me though as there were low weights for most anglers around the pool.

The 2nd day didn’t prove to be any better at Trinity Waters I struggled again. Anglers were catching well apart from the section I was in. I even ending up fishing for a few silvers in the last hour as I was a where that the section was fishing badly and the 8lb of silvers that I weighed in helped me up to 2nd in the section along with the one small carp I’d caught earlier. In fact only 4 carp were caught in my section!

I really needed to catch a big weight on the last match!!

So for the final day I really wanted a better result to pull me up the final standings. The venue for the 3rd match was Lands End fishery nr Bridgwater and probably more suited to me. The match was a level playing field as this was a venue no one had fished before.

I drew peg 17 which meant nothing to me. So I brought some fishery pellets and a bag of ground bait from the fishery shop and went to find my peg. 

On arrival at my peg had an island to fish to at 16 metres. I started the match fishing just off the shelf to the island in 2 foot of water as it as very shallow close to the island and I didn’t want to spook the fish there. I began fishing a fishery 6mm hard pellet and feeding the same and had a good run of fish in the first hour before it went quiet.

My short line didn’t produce much but then with 2 hours to go I began feeding the right margin with 8mm cubes of meat and when I dropped my rig in after 20 minutes my pole float shot down straight away!! I had a good run of Carp in the next hour before the margin slowed down and then my landing net broke after landing a 10lb+ fish. Luckily I had a spare landing net in my bag and I carried on fishing, just hoping to catch a few smaller carp as my spare landing net was only a small one designed for F1’s

I ended the match weighing in 90lb 11oz which was enough for 2nd in the match and also an important section win. This being the main priority as the festival was decided on small sections. This final section win got me into the top 10, finishing in 9th place. 

So after a bad start the festival got better and I finally caught a few fish on the last day! I just wished I’d got down the margin on this final match earlier. Perhaps I’d have broken the tonne barrier if I had. We will never know. 

This festival proved again to be a great 3 day weekend. Some good fishing and there was always plenty of banter in the bar in the evenings as all the anglers fishing stayed at the same digs for the week. 3 daily wooden spoons were on offer for the anglers coming last each day, (not me this year) as well as an overall wooden spoon. This puts amazing pressure on us anglers fishing, if you aren’t catching you definitely don’t want to win a spoon and have it hanging from your neck on a bright red ribbon when you have to sit in the bar all evening with all the other anglers! A festival that I always look forward to every year.

Far rig – Nick Gilbert NG XT 0.2g Jordan set up on 0.15mm Guru N-Gauge mainline with a small bulk of no.10 stotz’s 18 inches from the hook with two no. 10 dropper shot above a 6 inch 0.13mm hook length with a size 16 SLWG banded hook. set up on a 10-14 Freezee hollo elastic.

Margin rig – Nick Gilbert NG XT 0.2g Mini Diamond set up on 0.18mm Silstar match team mainline with a small builk of no.10 stotz’s above a 6 inch 0.16mm hook length with a size 14 B911 spade end hook. Set up on a Preston hollo 16 elastic.

STAGfest – a 3 day fishing festival down in Somerset

What does a bloke addicted to match fishing do for a stag weekend

A night on the piss? Erh No, I’m to old for all that. Well why not go away for 3 days doing what I like best, a fishing festival down in somerset with 12 my fishing mates. That’s what I did, 24th-26th March 2017

So with my wedding coming up in Las Vegas soon STAGfest was born. I kitted out everyone fishing with a STAGfest fishing cap for the weekend and a nice engraved Silver Salver (well not quite silver, but it was still a bit pricey) was for the winner to keep forever. We fished 3 pools down in Somerset, Emerald pools, Avalon fisheries and Trinity Waters with 3 sections of 4 anglers each day counting towards the overall festival winner, The daily winner got a small payout which paid for his tea and we also had a daily silvers pool each day.

Evening banter in full swing back at the digs

Day 1 – Ruby pool, Emerald pools

Ruby pool – Emerald pools

This was a early start for us all, on the road at 6.00am to travel down the motorway to Bridgwater for breakfast at our digs for the weekend and then onto Emerald pools for the first match. Ruby pool is a small pool and mainly full of Carp and well suited to us as it’s depth’s were similar to the Jubilee fishery.
Steve Foster caught well on the pole from the all in and won the match with 61lb 7oz, with the other section winners being Mark Birbeck 46lb 3oz and John Swain 29lb 3oz. I drew the wrong end of the pool and weighed in the grant total of 3lb 13oz!! Maybe my presents from Mark Birbeck and Ian Pitman put me off. I was told to wear a pink T-shirt for the duration of the match and also had a pink blow up doll by the name of Daisy who sat on her own deck-chair beside me for the match. Maybe she would have caught more fish than me if I’d have given her one of my rods. I was then presented with another prize after the weigh in…….The Wooden spoon. After the match we all returned to our digs and Steve foster promptly opened up a bottle of Vodka at 5.30pm. I think his idea was to ply me with drink before we hit the bar in the clubhouse.
So an evening of plenty of drink and banter followed in the bar where I was presented with another couple of gifts, a Pink blow up pig called Peter and a musical singing Willie from Ron Evans (thanks Ron) which then set the tone for the evening!! We were all in bed my 12 midnight because we all had another match in the morning.

Day 2 – Moors pool, Avalon

Moors pool – Avalon
25lb of Silvers

I made my come back on this match winning the match with 39lb 12oz which also included winning the silvers pool as I weighed in a nice bag of Silvers for 25lb along along with 3 Carp, one of which was a lovely looking ghostie.

The other section winners were Rob Butcher 33lb 7oz and Graham Scott with 20lb 11oz. Steve Foster day one winner, drew the wrong end of the pool this time and picked up the Wooden spoon.

The evening pretty much followed the same as the night before, plenty of banter and a few drinks. Mark Birbeck had a big surprise for me though.
About 9.00pm I was told to sit on a chair in the middle of the room. I was a bit worried what was to follow! He had gone and organised a stripper for me. We all had a great laugh. It was all good clean fun though. I was just glad she didn’t weigh 20 stone or was called Dave!!
Theclocks were going forward tonight and we were all losing another hours sleep so we all left the bar around midnight, as going into the last day things were looking tight on the points. John Swain was leading the festival on 3 points with Graham Scott in 2nd place with 4 points. There were then 7 of us all on 5 points. So it was all to play for on the last day.
Going into the 3rd day myself and Steve Foster my room mate, both had a match win but also a Wooden Spoon each. It was all on the last match.

Day 3 – Woodland pool, Trinity Waters

Woodland pool – Trinity Waters

After another cooked breakfast we all checked out of our rooms and travelled over to Trinity Waters for the final match of the festival. With the festival being decided on 4 man sections all over the 3 days everybody was in with a chance of lifting the title. John Swain was the man to beat.
John actually won the match with 70lb 12oz catching mainly Carp on the bomb and so he claimed the festival title in fine form with 2 section wins and a 2nd. Rob Butcher won his section with 62lb 15oz and Andy Mitchell won the final section with 57lb 13oz.
I struggled again and picked up another wooden spoon but to be honest a never really wanted to win my own trophy!

The final Result

John Swain, STAGfest winner

John Swain – STAGfest winner

I’d brought a nice engraved silver Salver for the winner and I didn’t want it so maybe I didn’t fish it in the right mind set. I was glad John won the festival. Apart from me I think he was the only angler to wear his STAGfest cap for the whole duration of the three days including the evenings!

STAGfest result

Thanks to Mark & The Journey home

I would like to thank Mark Birbeck for organising STAGfest, the weather for the time of year was fantastic over all three days and plenty of drink and banter flowed in the evenings. The only bad thing over the 3 days was the drive home. The M5 had major delays and it took me a couple of extra hours to get home.

I was starving when I got back to Evesham so I decided to go through the drive-though for a Big Mac. When I got to the window the girl on the till couldn’t stop laughing. I couldn’t work out why until I looked to my left. The picture below taken on the last day before the drive home explains why!! I’d driven all up the M5 with Daisy by my side. (a present from the lads) I was wondering why lots of people where looking at me puzzled all the time.
This weekend was great fun and I really enjoyed it, Thanks to everyone that came to STAGfest

Daisy and me going through the MacDonalds drive though back home in Eveshham

Match and Series win

The match was really just a simple win. I drew a good peg Jubilee 25 from where I’d won from a few weeks previous. I caught on the pole at 16 metres that day but with a strong sideways wind today even fishing at 13 metres proved impossible and for most of the match I could only fish one line close in. 

I started the match on the Bomb with bread but I didn’t really fancy it as this hasn’t really worked recently. So after 20 minutes I threw the rod up the bank and I started on the pole at 13 metres staight out in front of me fishing double red maggot on the hook and loose feeding red maggots over the top. I caught a few Roach and a small Crucian carp in the next 30 minutes and things were looking good but then the wind began to get up and I could not hold my pole float still. 

So I had to start a new line close in. I had a bush to my left at 6 sections and I felt with the wind coming from my righthand side I would be able to fish infront of the bush and hold my pole float steady there. I felt I needed to draw some fish in and kindered in a few micro pellets and began fishing double red maggot over the top. I caught another small Crucian Carp after 10 minutes so this give me the confidence to stay on this line longer and I began to catch some very small Roach. These fish were very small but at least I was catching. 

I changed to corn next because these small Roach weren’t going to win me anything and it looked like a few small Crucians were in the peg, so I kindered in a few more mirco’s and few grains of corn. The Roach bites stopped but no crucain bites came. I needed to change tactic’s. 

I decided to add another pole section on and began loose feeding red maggots a little heavier. I felt feeding a few maggots wasn’t the best way because the small roach seemed to be eating the maggots quickly and I wanted to get a carp in the swim. This heavier feeding worked and I caught a Carp after 20 minutes along with a few more small Roach and then another Crucain. 

So I decide to stay on this line for the rest of the match. I didn’t need to think about the Bomb rod or even the small method feeder I’d set up. Not much was being caught by the other anglers and at least I was putting fish in the net. I only needed a section win to win the winter warmer series and I could see I was winning the section so I decided just to stay on this “catch anything that swims line”. looking to catch small fish but with the chance of catching a bonus Carp. This proved the case and I went on to catch 3 carp, 3 Crucains and a dozen roach. Two of theses roach also were around the 8oz mark so I was happy just fishing to catch anything. 

I actually ended up winning the match with only 19lb 4oz. The pool didn’t really fish that well and the fishing was differcult with the strong blustery wind. So I could only fish the one line close in today. 

19 fished 

Rig – A winter Carp rig – 0.3g Nick Gilbert NG XT finesee Carbon HD pole float in 3.5 foot of water on 0.14mm Silstar matchteam mainline with strung out no.10 stotz’s above a 6 inch 0.12mm hook lenght to a size 18 B911 F1 hook. set up on a 10-12 hollo elastic with a puller bung. 

Match win, Evesham Jubilee, Fur and Feather

I drew on Jubilee pool peg 1 for this match and with plenty of open water and also after an overnight frost in the middle of December I thought fishing the bomb and bread would enable me to find a few fish somewhere in the peg.

So I started the match fishing the bomb with three 10mm bread discs on a 1.5 inch hair. The reason for the long hair is because bread swells up on the hair and also means you can use a bigger hook than normal for the time of the year. which was an B911 size 14 on a 50cm 0.16mm hook lenght. The diamater of line doesn’t matter as this is set up to catch carp. I throw this around the peg for the first 40 minutes looking for a carp while I was feeding three pole lines with maggots, looking for an early carp. I never had a bite on the bomb so I throw the rod up the bank and tried the pole.

I set up only two pole rigs. a winter carp rig at 13 metres straight out in front of me at 13 metres and a lighter rig if I struggled for bites. 

The plan was to catch anything but I also knew that there are some bigger carp in this pool and with it only being a four hour matcn I thought that if I could catch at least a couple it would put me well up the section. 

I began fishing where I’d been catapulting 10 maggots in every 10 minutes fishing a strung out rig with double red maggot hook bait. Bites were slow so I began spreading out the feed maggots over a larger area, hoping to draw in a carp. After 10 minutes doing this the float buried and five minutes later I landed a 10lb carp! This was a great bonus and I carried on doing the same, spreading out the feed maggots hoping to draw in another carp, but nothing happened. So I decided I would rest the swim because it was a bright sunny day and the depth of water was shallow. I thought maybe the fish didn’t want a pole over their heads. I continued to feed maggots but tried the margins left and right. If I was to catch a fish it would be a bonus but I felt the 13 metre line needed a rest. 

I left the 13 metres line for 20 minutes and then tried it again and caught two more carp in 10 minutes! So maybe my thinking was right about the pole over the fishes heads was right. This was compounded by not having any other bites for 30 minutes after the last carp. So I rested the swim again and continued to feed maggots every 10 minutes and fished the margins for another 20 minutes. I did catch a small roach out of the margin but I really never fancied it and went back to the rested main 13 metre swim again. 

There was about an hour left in the match now and not much had been caught and I felt I was doing OK. I decided a change to single maggot on the hook and changed to the lighter rig hoping a catch a few silvers just to build my weight up. I caught a couple of good skimmers and three roach on this rig. Then the float buried again and had my fourth carp on. It was a foul hooker and I lost is after a couple of minutes. This told me a few carp may be back in the swim and I changed back to the heavier rig with the bigger hook and gambled by upping the feed maggots and spreading them out as I fed. I was glad I did becasue 10 minutes later I caught my fourth a last carp!! 

My total weight was 24lb 7oz. Which was 4 carp 2 skimmers and 3 roach which was enough to win the match where many of the other anglers fishing the match had struggled, which was probably because of the overnight frost, and the bright sunny conditions. So another good win where a bit of careful thinking was required to get the best from the peg. 

34 fished.

Rigs – 

Winter carp rig 0.3g Nick Gilbert NG XT Carbon finesse HD pole float. 0.14mm Silstar mainline to a 6 inch 0.12mm hook length to a size 18 B911 F1 hook with strung out no.11 stotz’s set up on a hollo Kamasan 10-12 elastic.

The light rig was the same but an 0.2g float with 0.12mm main line to 0.10mm hook length for a slower fall of the rig and a size 20 B911 F1 hook set up on white hydro.

Open match win, Jubilee Fishery

Being off work this week on holiday I was able to fish the Jubilee fishery Wednesday affordable open, this week held on the Withes pool. These matches generally attract 15-20 anglers each week and today saw 15 fishing. They have a bonus peg each week which is capped at £50.00 and then another one is started. Today there were 4 bonus pegs in as no one had won one for a while. I was lucky enough to draw Withies 3 which was one of the four bonus pegs.

Withies 3 is a good peg but hasn’t thrown up a good weight for a while but I was confident with the form I’m in at the moment on this pool. With not much colour in the water I decided to cut the feed down and plumbed up 4 swims. One over to the island at 13 metres fishing the top of the shelf in 12 inches of water. A mid track swim at 9 sections at about 11 o’clock to my left in 2 foot of water. The right margin and a semi margin to the left about 1.5 metres out from the bank at 6 sections in 2 foot of water. A bomb rod was also set up if I needed to cast around looking for fish. 

I began on the far island swim and kindered in a few micro’s, alternating between corn and expander pellet on the hook but after 45 biteless minutes it was time to change tactics. I decided to try the mid track swim and kindered in some 6mm cubes of meat with meat on the hook and this was more successful, hooking two Carp in 20 minutes, however I lost both of these at the net and I thought I was going to have one of those matches. The two bites did give me the confidence to stay on this line but I began loose feeding the right margin with corn as a backup swim and also kindered a few 6mm cubes of meat into the left semi margin with the intention of leaving it for a while. I carried on with the mid track swim and caught a couple more carp but it was still a bit slow.

After another hour in the mid track swim with no other fish it was time to change again I tried the left semi margin again kindering in another pot of 6mm cubes of meat. I caught two more carp straight away and fed again and then had another carp. Then the bites stopped, I thought the carp were coming in for the loose feed and then swimming out of the peg So I decided to up the anti and cupped in half a pot of 4mm pellets and meat, but 8mm cubes this time. I then rested the swim for 10 minutes while I tried the right margin where I’d feed corn. I thought with it being a bright day and it only being 2 foot deep maybe the carp didn’t want a pole over their heads.

After a biteless 10 minutes on the right margin and I went back over the left semi margin which I had rested and I caught a carp straight away. The carp had responded to the feed, so changing to 8mm meat had worked. I began kindering in 8mm cubes of meat every 10 minutes and caught a few carp doing this and had a good hour. I was getting bites only when I fed!

It was getting near to the end of the match and bites were slowing down and I was concerned I was feeding too much for a cold October day in water that wasn’t as coloured to the previous week. So I cut the feed down and began to feed just 6mm meat and 4mm pellets, but keeping an 8mm cube of meat on the hook. This helped and the bites began again and I landed several more carp doing this.

In the last 10 minutes I felt I needed a couple more carp quickly so I stopped feeding and tried to catch a feeding carp by catching on the drop. I caught two more Carp doing this but as it proved at the weigh in I already had enough weight to win the match anyway, but I didn’t know this at the time. I weighed in 53lb 1oz which on a cold October day was pleasing, I think with careful feeding and changing the feeding throughout the match was the key to the win.

A key item of tackle was a 4m long landing net handle which enabled me to land hooked fish away from a snaggy margin.


Mid track rig – 0.2g Nick Gilbert XT Decker HD pole float on 0.18mm Silstar matchteam mainline, a small bulk of no.10 stotz’s above a 6 inch 0.16mm hook length to a size 16 B911 spade end hook set up on purple hydro.

Semi margin rig – 0.2g Nick Gilbert NG XT mini diamond pole float on 0.18mm Silstar matchteam main line, a small bulk no.10 stotz’s about a 6 inch 016mm hook length length with size 14 B911 spade end hook, set up on Red hydro.

Open match win. Jubilee Fishery

Feeling confident from setting a new record on this pool last Saturday and then drawing a flyer that won the Sunday club match the following day with 71lb, I decided to attack this peg from the start. The plan was to feed the left hand margin from the off and drop on it early.

So right at the all-in I cupped in a full pot of 8mm cubes of meat and left it for an hour. I started fishing in front of some lilly pads to my left at 11 metres kindering in 2mm mirco’s and corn with corn on the hook. I had a few carp and stockies in the first hour but the fish where not big enough to build a good weight. I switched to the other side of the lilly bed which was straight in front of me at 9 metres but this was only producing small skimmers.

After an hour I decided to try the left margin that I had fed at the start, I tried it for 15 minutes and never had a bite so I decided to go for broke on the margin and cupped in another full pot of meat in. The reason I decided this was because if it killed the margin I still had a good option of going straight out in front of me to the far bank at 14 metres between two lilly beds, where I felt confident of a few bigger carp. So in went the pot of meat and I continued fishing over the lillys but again all I could catch was small stockies, Skimmers and a couple more carp.

After another hour a tried the left margin again but had no bites for 10 minutes. I felt the fish would come though and thought maybe the fish were backing off the feed. I came away from the margin by about a metre and caught a good carp around 4lb straight away, so my thinking proved correct. I then began to loose feed the margin and fish away from it and I began to catch some better sized carp.

Over the next 3 hours I was catching some good sized carp doing this and I stayed on this line for the rest of the match, knowing that if the swim died I still had the option of fishing over to the far bank if required. To keep the fish coming I loose fed meat but alternated in the margin by sometimes fishing over the feed and sometimes away from it and I learnt the better bigger carp were just off the feed line.

So the secret to this sucess was that even though I was catching well I was still thinking what and where the feeding fish were. Most fish were in the 3 to 4 lb bracket and I had a couple of lumps around 7lb. I only lost three foul hookers all day so a great days fishing and the only person to date to do two 100lb+ weights in as many weeks on this pool…. Ever!!


Margin rig was a 0.2g Nick Gilbert NG XT mini Diamond pole float in 2 foot of water on 0.18mm Silstar match team mainline. A small bulk of no.10 stotz’s above a 6inch 0.16mm hook length to a size 14 spade end B911 hook baited with 8mm cubes of meat. Set up on red hydro.

Far rig 0.3g Nick Gilbert NG XT Decker pole float in 3 foot of water on 0.18mm Silstar matchteam mainline, a bulk of no.8 stotz’s above a 6 inch 0.16mm hook length with a size 16 spade end B911 hook baited with single grain of corn, set up on purple hydro. 

Open match win and new venue record at The Jubilee Fishery, 163lb,

I drew Withies pool peg 7 (new peg 4) which is a peg that has been kind to me in the past and one that you can build a good weight.The Jubilee fishery is a club water and not a commercial fishery so you really have to think and find your fish to produce a good weight. I’ll explain how I did this and point out the key reasons why I succeeded in setting a new record.

I set up only two lines to attack this peg, one swim over to the far bank and a margin line to my left next to a line of reeds at 5 sections. Past knowledge had taught me that the margin can produce fish as I’d had 74lb in a match there several weeks ago. At this time of the year there is a flat spot on the bottom in 18 inches of water right next to some reeds which is the perfect depth for margin fishing. Some people prefer the right hand margin on this peg but I feel it’s is to weedy and you’ll lose fish and spook the others.

I began the match fishing over to the far bank under some tree branches and caught a few stockies on corn and pellet but this was only while I was primming the margin. I’d potted in a full pot of 8mm cubes of meat into the margin and left it for an hour to settle and bring in the fish.

After an hour noticed the angler to my right on the next peg catch a nice carp in his margin so I tried my margin and after 10 minutes I caught my first Carp. This gave me the confidence to stay on this line a little longer even though I thought it was to early and I began loose feeding cubes of meat every five minutes. I began catching well after 30 mnutes so I knew I was on for a good weight.

Now i’ll explain why I think I kept the Carp coming. Firstly you need to be tooled up for the job. The rig was an 0.3g Nick Gilbert NG XT mini Diamond MKII pole float, set up on 0.18mm Silstar matchteam main line with a bulk of no.8 stotz’s just above a 6 inch 0.16mm hook length, with a size 14 B911 spade end hook, (a 8mm cube of meat sits perfect on this size hook it’s if rolled onto the hook with the hook point showing) all set up on a red Hydro.

The Withies is a snake lake and there is no room to let carp run off otherwise the carp will swim into a snag on the far bank or further along the margin. The other very important part of the kit was a 4 metre long landing net handle. This was important because when I hooked a carp I was able to play and land it in the open water, away from where I was fishing and also away from the weedy margin to my right. Plus there was no risk of a hooked Carp going back into the left margin and spooking the other feeding fish. I believe this was the key to the match and why I was able to build the big weight. 

So with regular feeding of a few cubes of meat every five minutes over the next few hours I was able to keep the carp feeding in the margin. In fact the longest period I waited for a bite was about 2 minutes for the rest of the match and I only used 1 and a half tins of meat. I went on the weigh in 163lb 1oz for a new venue record on a wet overcast day which again was ideal.