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About this blog

My trials and tribulations after 10 years off


Its been some time coming but I had to get back into it, Driving past rivers and lakes for the best part of 10 years reading the Angling Press and listening to Fisherman's Blues, has finally made me think. There's fish in that there water. smile.png


Over those years I have watched the progress of many old friends from within the sport I have never missed a copy of the mail or times, I have also seen like myself many disappear off the scene, some very old clubs / teams just vanish, teams like Essex County ( The Rainbow Warriors ) and my old gangs Defiant Mobile. and Trevs. a big part of my Angling history has vanished.

The introduction of fishing forums pretty much swung it for me and you have that little ugly bloke Les Woodmouse to thank for my return as if it wasn't for his charity auction that I won I can honestly say I would not have bothered.

Thanks to all the guys that have helped me along the way the list is endless but you all know who you are.

And the title of my blog well that comes from the early editions of Match fishing Magazine where David Hall used the words from a very funny guy and old friend of mine Cliff Hunt who wrote the Life at the Bottom Column, 

So Bottoms up chaps I hope you enjoy my adventure

Entries in this blog


Do you ever Doubt your Ability ? 7th June 2008

Do you ever Doubt your Ability ? 7th June 2008

Saturday 7th June brings me to familiar surroundings the Lake John car park Waltham Abbey, only today Im fishing an open on Beruit

Thats the name it was given by Colin Sucker Tasker due to his dislike for snake type lakes and there general appearance prior to the lake maturing.

I have never fished this lake before its a square lake with an island 26 pegs, and the island can be reached from every peg, maximum 14 metres.

We have the normal brekkie in the on site cafe the banter is running strong, Kenny Farrel is doing knot lessons on the top table and people are just genrally taking the ****, this is what open matches are all about.

The Draw

In the bag goes my hand, peg 3, I look at everyone and there is no comment the kind of silence you expect when you have drawn real bad, and no one wants to upset you by telling you, 

It doesnt really matter to me as I have never fished the place I ask a few questions of what to do and where to fish I get some mixed responses, does anyone actually know ?
Colin the owner is always on the money I ask him the crack he gives me enough pointers to get working with and I know he is never far off.

My peg

My peg looks nice, im in the middle of a far side bay with two points that stick back towards me from the far bank, both points can be reached with 14m its comfortable, My inside line has nice reed growth especially to the left leading up to peg 2 and to my right I have a gap in the reeds I can poke a pole through and keep myself well hidden.

The tactics for the day

Im expecting to make a few mistakes today, new venues take some sorting out but I have had a reasonable amount of info to work on

I set up a small dibber for the tight over features .19 to .15
two rigs for down the middle which incidentally is the main line on this place in the summer, they are two preston Chianti's 4x12 and 4x14 both .13 to a .10 hook length with an 18 808 hook, both with middy yellow high vis laccy I think its 10

my inside line is a .3 preston red bulked at half depth no droppers, I use some silicone on the bristle as Im fed up with pulling eyse out, and use my old faithful middy blue solid that super smooth elastic that people really need to jump on as its very good.

I plumb up the inside and have 2ft 6 inches tight up against the reeds, thats nice im sure I will catch there with minimal; spooking

the far side is a bit shallower I have to cut down the rigs a little

I plumb the middle and im quite shocked its 3 ft max all over, I was told it was a shallow peg but wasn't expecting that, I have to doctor my two fav rigs, I like to fish 18 inch of line between float and tip when im down the middle I like to be able to search a bit rather than drop off the end of the pole, it seems now days people insist on fishing 3 inches of line your missing out on too much doing this.

The whistle goes I cup some chopped corn and caster tight over on each feature and leave the bay free of bait incase it all goes wrong, two big pots of hemp with a little corn go down the inside both left and right
I put 1 large pot of 4mm polar ice pellet down the middle again with a few bits of corn.

out we go long

first cast produces a fly away bite I miss it and wait for another, I wait and wait nothing I feed again this is followed by another bit and I hook a carp only small but it comes off, I wait for another, "nothing" 45 minutes has gone and no fish the guys around me are catching and they seem to be doing the same as me, I put in another small cup the float buries and I catch an 8oz skimmer, at last I have a fish, I sit and wait and nothing,

This match is typically won with 40 to 50 lb im wasting time, I switch to the middle, I can see some fizzing over my pellet I drop in just off the bait, im getting silly little digs on what is a super sensitive float, then it disappears I lift into a fish, I feel like I have hooked the bottom only for the bottom to start swimming, it just swims and swims and swims, I have hooked forest gump. on middy yellow I have more chance of being prime minister than getting this in my elastic bottomed out and "BANG" back comes my rig it hits the pole and smashes into small fragments, at this point iam like WTF I was told .10 and 10 laccy 

I put on the lighter Chianti it has a longer line as well, the float goes I get a skimmer I feed again and nick a few more.

Im 2 and a half hours into this match and have put nothing together maybe 4 pound others have 20 plus im getting a tanning from each side and starting to doubt my ability.

I sit back have a cigarette and think about this for a bit

I needed a new approach fishing out a pot of pellet isn't working so I damp down some micro and put on a large toss pot I fill it 3/4 with micro (polar ice) add a few 4mm and half a dozen grains of corn, drop the float in and pour

im going to do this religiously now regardless 10 minutes later im getting a bite a chuck switching to corn gets me a nice run of crucians and skimmers, Im catching up, now the noddy in peg 3 is turning some heads, its always good when the guys each side start paying attention to you, it usually means they are concerned, this went on until 90 minutes to go I now have about 10 to 12lb I have started to suss things out feed every fish and have a long line keep the tip away from the feed area.

All this time I have kept feeding the inside bulking with hemp and a small amount of corn if the carp show it will take them ages to mop up all that hemp and I may just get a few off it.

I look round and the guy to my right has a good sized carp maybe 5lb I look at my inside line and its time to give it a shot.

First drop in results in a missed bite but im now on the edge of my box, amazing what a bite on a big bait can do

in again another bite, which results in about 6 meters of blue 20 shooting across the pond

I lose it

Is today gonna get any worse ?, in again within seconds I have another on I land a 2 pounder this is followed by 2 more in two casts but slightly bigger.

I have now been joined by the lake owner Colin, he sits down behind me, away goes the float I have a better one, only this time Im ready a few minutes later I have one about 5lb in the net, the problem Im having with these carp is Iam undoubtably in the shallowest peg on the lake you hit a fish and its immediately on the top it then goes off like a train in an attempt to gain freedom. I get a few more in and lose a very good fish about 6 or 7 pound it should have been in the office sadly even on this forgiving laccy the hook pulled.

I finish with 8 carp on the inside line and the whistle goes

I estimate 30lb after nearly 3 hrs wasted time I got my act together, next week I will get it right from the off unless conditions change

John Young won on the day with 37lb kenny Farrel 2nd with 36lb Martin Amos third with 34lb
I weighed 31 LB.12 oz I was one out of the money 

I cant be too disappointed first time there, and I wasted a lot of time, any one of 3 lost fish would have won the match if I had got the middle line right like the others from the start maybe I could have had 6lb more
Who knows, and I guess thats why we do this sport. As for the doubts, local knowledge was the key on this one, roll on next Saturday Im going back for more




Colemans Cottage my second open Match. 12th May 2008

Colemans Cottage my second open Match. 12th May 2008

After my first match at Lake John I was eager to get back into the fold, Its difficult as Im missing that always relied on local knowledge and it really is like starting from scratch.

I arrive at the venue armed with bait and rigs I put together from information gathered at my local tackle shop J and B's in Enfield

I take a peak at the lake it looks superb it looks like each peg has an island at around 14.5 metres nice and comfortable and the whole complex looks well thought out and well managed.

As Im taking this photo a car a van pull up, out get Dave and Mick Vincent two of my old sparring partners Im as shocked to see them as they are me, we walk over to the clubhouse and bump into another old friend Gary Miller we sit down for breakfast and fly through the last nine years in about an hour.

I daw peg 26 Im told thats a good peg, on a point, deep inside line you can often catch just down the shelf there isn't any inside cover, my island is very small and around 16.5 metres.

I get to my peg it looks fishy the way the peg juts out I can control a big part of the lake from this peg, Im armed with a bucket of the Carp Vader white pellets and a couple of tubs of the soft hookers 4 and 6 mm and this will be my main line of attack with hook bait switches as required.

The whistle goes I pot in 2 250ml pots of hemp and a pot of white 4mm sinkers at 5metres and the same at 16 with a few free offerings of corn 

1st cast is a missed bite on a soft 4mm pellet 2nd cast is a carp about 2 pounds i get a steady stream of small carp up to 2lb then I hook a good one my black hydra is stretched right through the next peg and the hook pulls,I return with a 10 pence piece sized scale, I have around 16 pound on the clicker and I hook another, this time its in the mouth I have to break down twice as the guys either side are fighting with rollers and I didnt want any of that, I break down at the top 5 then break down at the number 3, as I place sections 4 and 5 down the number 5 comes off and drops in the water to the right hand side of the platform, now I still have a fish on I give the fish some welly net the fish and attempt to retrieve my number 5 only as I got up I see it slowly glide away into oblivion.

Gutted is an understatement, I take the fish which is still in my landing net balancing in my keepnet unhook it and put it in the net.

In I go I need the section as I dont have a spare no 5 needless to say I had no luck its around 4ft deep at the end of the platform and 6 ft in the middle, I am deeply disappointed I draw a good peg and feed my pole section Iam now stuck with 4 sections of pole to fish with 
and of course I have been walking around where I now have to fish.

I percevere and set my stool out at 4 metres I cant even reach where I fed, I cup in some nosebag just short of the furthest I can reach
cast out and shake my head with disbelief, Im staring at my float half heartedly when it shoots away  I have hooked one of the lakes lumps, I have got a battle on my hands here as I only have my elastic there are no sections to add on, 15 minutes later Im rewarded with a lump around 10lb, 

I carry on heavily feeding pellet switching between corn and pellet on the hook with the occasional maggot, I hook another this time im in trouble it goes off like a train all I can do is put my pole under the water simply apply a little side strain and hope it stops, well it did I turned it and it made its way back to where I sat, after a merry dance around the inside another 10lb er in the net. this continued until the end I lost a couple of which im sure I would have landed given the availability of my number 5.

I went on to weigh in 78 lb good enough for 5th 112lb won it, I think I could have took the main envelope if I hadn't lost my 5.

After the match I went in for a proper swim I never found my section, Gerry the lake owner did get it back for me during the week they had some divers down there for other peoples sections a well spent 20 quid in my opinion.

Well the guys had a good laugh back at the clubhouse, and of course I would have done the same 




Whats all this fishing about ? Pleasure session first me thinks. 27th April 08

Whats all this fishing about ? Pleasure session first me thinks. 27th April 08

Snow snow and more snow.

Someone is trying to tell me something, we are not supposed to have snow this time of the year, more to the point I purchased all this new kit and forgot about clothing.

once I got warmed up and shook my way through near hyperthermia I finally got my head down and put a few fish together, in fact it was quite a nice day, plenty of good size skimmers, 4 or 5 tench a carp about 6lb and a wonderful looking black spotted carrot around 4lb.

So whats new

Number 4 elastic doesn't work any more, all the 22's and 24 hooks won't be any good, its wise to buy warm clothing for UK fishing, and I need a Sensas tin opener for my bait.

Fishing really has changed the fundamentals are the same but rigs baits and the general approach is totally different.

I ended the day with a comfortable 40 or 50 lb not bad for a noob or is this fishing of today ? I will hold back and answer that another day.

One thing quite funny happened today, I was fishing away and I heard lots of laughing coming from the opposite bank, It was my old drinking partner and good friend Colin Tasker, we go way back as he was setting up I called him on the mobile and told him I needed him on a job for an emergency after a small pause and some concern he looked up and spotted me, needless to say we had a great laugh for the rest of the day.

There is an open here Wednesday I nervously book a ticket





Lake John Wednesday 21st May 2008

Lake John Wednesday 21st May 2008

I have missed out writing up on quite a few opens as i'm fishing 3 a week and its a lot of writing so I will just write about the interesting ones.

The midweek match at Lake John is a favourite of mine, its stuffed full of skimmers 100 lb is not impossible and it really is a busy 6hr match so busy the time flies by. I often wonder why more commercial venue designers dont take this approach,and base the bulk of the fish on skimmers and roach that feed all the year round, with a good helping of tench rudd and carp. 

All the usual suspects are there at the draw Im looking for pegs 23 or 33 in the corner or anywhere on the back bank or 10 to 16 all the pegs are good I just don't like the remainder
I draw 34 I have drawn this before Im at the end of the island so have to take the feeder rod with me.

The main attack for me today is 13m and 6m lines and the feeder, the first 20 minutes will be on the feeder while the fish get there heads down on the other two lines.

On the whistle I cup in 8 hard balls at 13 metre packed with caster corn and micro pellet and 3 balls on the 6 metre line.

My feeder mix is simple yet effective I get a 2 pint tub put in a big handful of 6mm meat and two handfuls of hemp I add a little dry brown crumb to help it bind, I hair rig a 12mm soft pellet and a 10mm piece of meat and launch it out, it lands a foot from the island. 

before the off I had a few casts with a small bomb got my distance and clipped off,

You cant miss the carp in this place you must never let go of your rod otherwise it will be gone, i'm getting liners from the off, then a slow pull round I lift into it and have a skimmer about a pound and re cast, I hit almost the same spot and I'm getting liners once again, I wait and wait a few recasts later the rod tried to fly across the lake I lift into a carp, I land the fish its about 6lb, the two guys either side of me are catching steady on the pole lots of foul hooked skimmers they haven't got there heads down so I persevere with the tip. another half hour goes by and I have added two more skimmers, time for a change.


As a rule would expect the float to bury, but nothing, I lift the float slightly to one side and let it fall back into the water it sails away I ge the first skimmer on the pole and its hooked in the mouth, this is followed by half a dozen more then it goes quiet. I cup in two more of the same and switch to the 6 metre line,

I nick a couple of small fish but again have to wait for a bite, I hear a regular plop as skimmers are hitting the net in peg 33, sadly I cant see him due to a large reed bed I look to 36 the flier and Alan is getting a fish a chuck,

Something isn't right here, I can't buy a bite, a good trick I have found on this venue is when they are not having it a large pot of chop can bring the peg to life, I get my multi scissors out and chop up a 2 pint tub full, you may think this s a lot of bait but the place really is stuffed full of fish, they would devour a bag of micro pellets in minutes and move on, if you dont keep it going in or topped up, 
60 lb in 1 hour is a possible task when they are switched on as they can average 3 lb a piece on some days. I put a worm on and drop in over the top, 

about a minute goes by and my float lifts right out of the water, lift into a nice fish a bream about 2 lb's, I fsh a simple double bulk rig on this lake, conditions dictate the float size but typically between 0.5 and 1gr and I use a Garbo dc13 or dc6 its the same float one has a carbon stem the other a wire. I always bulk with no 9 stotz and have at least 3 no 10 stot droppers which always end up bulked 3 inches from the hook I use a o.13 mainline and a 6inch 0.10 hooklength,

No matter what line I fish and feed I'm struggling here, and just nicking the odd fish. I go out past my feed drop short and the same applies. The guy on 36 s still bagging, foul hooking fish left and right and getting them in, Im still hearing the regular plop from the other side of the reeds. at last the whistle goes, ts one of the only times I was happy to hear the whistle, I went on to weigh 37 lb to my left 71lb (3rd) and peg 36 two to my right he won the match with 78lb. I ended up just over halfway.

I like to analyze what went wrong, I dont beat myself up when things dont go right, but you have to have a mind like a sponge in this sport and take everything on board, Peg 33 to my left is one of the on form pegs, you fish into a corner, the peg has huge advantages, 36 is also a flier ( The winning peg) but this is mainly due to the island and its carp potential.

I ask the guys either side how much groundbait they put in at the start, I get a dodgy avoiding the question response, you know the type err well I err, none err quite a lot at the start, this isn't the first time I have had this response.

They are quite obviously in my mind doing it a little different although they did have favoured pegs, I dont believe there is a secret magic bait just how you apply things, and obviously you need a few feeding fish as the catalyst.

I cant wait until the next one in fact I had a sneak practice with my son the day after this he fished one method I fished my adapted method we fished the same rigs same lines the results are quite interesting and for another day 

Paul Law



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