30 December 2009

A Short Barbel Fishing Session

A Short Barbel Fishing Session

Winter time with strong south-westerly winds and heavy rain I reckon is the time to get on the rivers and seek the barbel, that's just what I am doing as I have for many years. I usually leave my Lancashire home around 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning for the for the 250 mile long drive south, Once in Newbury I sort out my accommodation for a few days, then its off fishing the Wasing Estate waters on the Kennet or Enborne. For membership details Tel 01189-714-140. These following events are from one of my many winter trips. On this occasion I chose to fish the Kennet on the Woolhampton beat. My first swim was an area with lots of cabbage patches under my rod tip, an ideal area for perch and roach. A few feet out from the far bank was a dead tree, downstream I had a clear area of gravel, over hung by the far bank Alder and Willow trees and bushes. A good Wallis cast would drop the bait in the area I wished to fish. As the river was low and clear I felt the barbel would be tight to the far bank where they had some overhead cover,they certainly wouldn't be roaming all over the river until darkness. Tackle was a Grauvelle 12 foot barbel rod, in which I had every confidence, matched with a centre pin reel and 12lb bs line. Having tied on a size 4 barbless hook, I lightly pinched on 2 LG shot two foot from the hook. Bait was sausage meat paste.

In the first couple of hours I had three small twitches, I say small, more like a signal crayfish lightly touching the bait. Striking at all three I missed the first, connecting with the other two twitches, both barbel were about 7- 8lbs. No way would those fish have been caught with the rod in the rest. Some anglers tell me they couldn’t be bothered holding the rod all the time. That’s OK but I go too catch fish not watch a couple of motionless rod tips. Recently I was talking towell known big fish angler Len Arbery who also agreed with me that many fish are lost through anglers not holding the rod. I have often fished a dough bobbin when barbel fishing when I am getting tiny knocks. Remember not all barbel give three foot twitches.

A Powerful Adversary

An hour later
I felt a light tap as something gingerly picked up or moved the bait. A sixth sense told me to strike. Immediately the rod hooped over the reel grudgingly giving line. Something big and powerful was hooked up to my line, it went off downstream not wanting to stop, but eventually the pressure exerted by well balanced tackle had the fish slowing down. Suddenly it changed direction moving fast upstream I gained line as quickly as possible. Then the fish shot across the river diving towards the branches of a long dead tree in the margins. I thought “If it gets in that tangle of branches all will be lost”. Swinging the rod to my left I cramped on the pressure moving downstream at the same time which pulled the fish of course. Suddenly it was out in the open water. A minute later the prize was mine, as it went into my landing net. I dropped the rod, gripping the arms of the landing net I dragged the net and fish up the bank, then onto a sponge mat. I quickly realised it was a nice double. After couple of pictures I watched it swim off strongly, hopefully to grow into a fifteen pounder. Why don't you get out on your local river this weekend. If you don't have the gear, then take a look at Tackle Discounts or visit their new retail store, your certain of finding a bargain.

23 December 2009

Fish Legal formally the Anglers Conservation Association

Fish Legal forces open the filing cabinets of Government pesticide licensing body

In a ground-breaking Decision, over three years in the making, the Information Commissioner has overwhelmingly endorsed Fish Legal’s case that hitherto secret and redacted Environmental Risk Assessments of pyrethroid sheep dip must be disclosed in full.

Although currently suspended from the market, pyrethroid sheep dips have been responsible for huge damage to invertebrate and fisheries in upland streams and rivers across the UK.

In his Decision (FER0137609), the Commissioner has ruled that the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA):

- did not deal with Fish Legal’s request for information according to the law;
- did not deal with Fish Legal’s request within legal time limits;
- unlawfully withheld information relating to emissions to the environment;
- unlawfully refused to disclose information in order to protect the commercial confidentiality of sheep dip manufacturers;
- was not entitled to refuse to disclose information to protect manufacturers’ intellectual property rights;
- was not entitled to refuse to disclose information on grounds that it was the subject of internal communications

Guy Linley-Adams, Head of Legal at Fish Legal said:

“We believe this decision now drives a coach and horses straight through the cosy licensing procedure for all veterinary medicines and pesticides in the UK.

If residues of these or any other pesticides can find their way into the wider environment, they are to be considered as ‘emissions’ under European law. This has the effect of lifting the cloak of commercial confidentiality that has for so long shrouded the licensing of pesticides in the UK.

Public authorities cannot by law keep secret environmental information relating to emissions to protect manufacturers’ commercial confidentiality.

Over the three years this has taken, we have always believed that this would be the Commissioner’s decision.”

Fish Legal, acting on behalf of anglers across the UK, believes that the risk to the aquatic environment of the use of synthetic pyrethroid dips in real farm situations is just too great and now calls on the Government to make the current temporary suspension permanent.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of Fish Legal and the Angling Trust said:

“Fish Legal, and the Anglers’ Conservation Association before it, has battled for years on behalf of our members to win access to this information, which is vitally important to the investigation and assessment of environmental damage from these pesticides.”

10 December 2009

Martin James Does it for Charity

BBC Broad Caster Martin, continuously works for charity and so I though it only fitting to post his recent activity here.
I have just returned from Dubai where I took part in the The Smile Train Run a 10K run!!. I’m not sure how familiar you are with this charity but The Smile Train is the world’s largest and most effective cleft charity, for as little as $250 and in just 45 minutes, this true, modern-day medical miracle can change a child’s life forever. http://www.smiletrain.org/goto/milesforsmiles09 The run raised $50,000-00 also it was announced that Dubai Duty Free had donated a million and a half dollars. All in all it was a very satisfying.
Before going off to Dubai I organised a concert for my other Charities During the past few years with so many servicemen coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan I felt I should also try to generate extra funds for the Army Benevolent Fund. and Crossroad Care as I work quite hard for both charities. Also any serviceman home on leave from Afghanistan can have a free days fishing on some 2 miles of the river Ribble I look after, its a salmon sea and brown trout water, plus some good chub,
The idea of the concert which was a great success and a sell out, come about when I took comedian singer song writer Phil Cool fishing for a week in Berkshire on the River Kennet. During the week Phil caught some good fish including chub of 5-13-0 6-7-0 and a whopping barbel of 14-15-0. At the end of the trip Phil said "What do I owe you" I said "Just make a donation to one of these charities". After a few minutes Phil said "I will better than that, I will do a free concert" Then Tewitfield Fishery owner Les Bratsby said "Our band O'Connor's Fusiliers will give an hour". Everyone agreed it was a great evening and as several people told me its all down to the kindness and generosity of fisherman. The sale of Phil Cool's DVD's raised £198-00, Split between both charities. I am told the The Army Benevolent Fund boxes raised just over £94-00 I spoke with the manager of the Grand today who will have a final total for me from ticket sales early next week, its seems both charities will receive over a £1,000-00 each. It was so popular I plan to make it an annual event.

12 November 2009

'Martin James' Rolling meat for Chub

Rolling Meat

for Chub

I woke on Wednesday morning to a clear sky, light wind and the prospect for mild weather conditions. Prospects of a good day at the waterside were excellent. I was going to fish for grayling but having seen the river with a steady flow and carrying a few extra inches of water with some colour. I decided on a session after the chub. My bait bucket contained bread, sausage and cheese paste, three baits I rate highly for chub. As I drove into the car park a dozen Canada geese flew low over a nearby field, in the middle of the bunch was a white farmyard goose which I found quite amazing. Threading the line through the rod guides, I tied on a size 4 barbless hook. A wren chattered loudly from a nearby hawthorn bush, on the other side of the car park another chirped back, the sun was trying to burn through the thin cloud, hopefully it wouldn't succeed.

Slinging the bait bucket over my shoulder, I picked up my rods then headed upstream; a cormorant flew low over the water. I cursed the bird under my breath. With so many small dace, chub and roach in the river, the last thing we wanted were some fish eating birds descending on the river. Three hundred yards further upstream, an angler fishing with stick float and double maggot on a size 16 hook was catching some nice roach between 12 ounces and a pound, plus some quality dace.

Half a mile further upstream I arrived at the area I had chosen to fish, a long steady glide below some fast swirling shallow and boulder strewn water. The swim I had chosen to fish, contained the odd football size boulder, a length of alder tree which had been in the river for several months was a spot where I have caught chub in the past. A kingfisher with its shrill whistle flew low over the river towards a large willow tree just upstream of where I was sitting then perched on one of the lower branches.

With a water temperature of 50 degrees F, a nice flow and plenty of colour. My first choice bait was sausage meat and crust fished as a balanced paste, which I would roll down the swim. If it becomes lodged I gently lift the rod tip and the bait usually bounces over the obstruction. The way I fish is similar to Czech nymphing. Casting upstream I kept the rod high then I followed the bait downstream, as the bait passes below me I lower the rod tip allowing the bait to trundle downstream. As it starts to swing into my bank I strike it off. Then rebaiting I start all over again.

A dozen lumps of sausage meat paste the size of a bantam egg were catapulted upstream, followed by three orange size balls of mashed bread. I sat back too enjoy a fresh brew. A group of noisy long tailed tits settled in the Willow tree chattering away as they hunted for tiny flies and other insects.
After about an hour, it was time to make my first cast. Fifty minutes later I had a take which I missed. Rebaiting I cast upstream, as the bait trundled through my swim the rod tip pulled over, my strike connected. It was a chub about two and a half pounds. In the next two casts I had two more chub about 3lbs apiece. A dozen casts later I hooked a better fish which weighed 4-12-0. Shortly after catching this fish the rain arrived which continued for well over an hour, during which I didn't get a single take.

After topping up the swim with more bait size lumps of sausage meat paste and mashed bread, I walked back to the car for lunch. The float fisher was still catching. With some hot soup and fresh crusty bread I sat back watching the river. Lunch over I made my way upstream under a clearing sky, stopping on the way to talk with the float fisher, who was getting a bite every cast. Mostly small dace and chub.

Back in my swim a barbel rolled, conditions looked good. On my second chuck I had a barbel about 3lbs, quickly followed by another of the same size. Twenty minutes later I had a nice chub of 4-6-0. In the next thirty minutes I had three more small barbel. Then followed a quiet spell, I tried crust, flake, lob worms and cheese paste, with just one eel for my effort. A good couple of hours followed when I probably had 16 takes hooking 7 fish which included 3 chub of 4lb plus, three big chub weighing in at 5-4-0 5-10-0 5-14-0. I fully expected this latter fish to be well over six pounds.

I suppose it was about 4-30 - 5-0 PM when I had a savage pull then hooked a heavy fish, which fought strongly heading upstream towards the Alder tree snag. Slowly the pressure started to tell and I was soon able to draw a very long fish over the net. My immediate though was, 'This could well be a six pounder' the scale needle hovered between 6-4-0 and 6-5-0 I decided on 6-4-0 It was time to go home after a great day at the waterside. Why not call into Tackle Discounts new store at Europa business Park Parsonage Road Stratton Swindon SN3 4RJ where I will be opening the new store on December 5th at 11-am Tight lines everyone

06 November 2009

BBC Radio's Martin James, 'It's time for Grayling'

BBC's Radio Lancashire 'At the Water's edge' Martin James
'It's Time For Grayling'

How many of you are sitting at home thinking What am I going to do today, now the trout fishing season has ended. The answer is quite simple go chase the grayling often known as "The Lady of the Stream" a fish left over from the ice age. Grayling are a great game fish and are available from many rivers and streams throughout England Wales and Scotland.
Your river brown trout equipment will be suitable, Yes you will need a selection of nymphs and dry flies. Its surprising how often on the coldest of days, you will find grayling rising to a dry fly. Choose a selection of Czech and Polish Nymphs, A few leaders between 9 and 12 feet with a tippet point of 3lbs bs. Of course in the colder weather you will need some warmer clothes so that you enjoy the experience of being out in the countryside during the winter season. The price of grayling fishing is relatively cheap compared with the cost of trout fishing. Many stretches of river trout fishing costing a £100-00 a day can be fished for £10-00 a day when grayling fishing. So do not hang up your rod's for winter, get out there and have some exciting fun with Grayling.

04 November 2009




Bank Holiday Monday 26th October 2009

An excellent day for the final competition of the year, which also decided the Junior and Senior Angler of the year. Final league table positions can be found in this link: league table OCT 26th.xls . The weather was sublime and over 40 people showed up on the day to both fish and eat... Thanks to Mark and Ray our cordon bleu chefs on the day and Martin Browne for supplying the food. The Senior angler of the year was Stuart Marry and the Junior angler of the year was Martin Baily both pictured below receiving their prizes from club treasurer Tony Reilly

Stuart is not happy because there was no cheese for his burger

Martin Baily looks well pleased, But Tony discovered that Stuart robbed his cheese

All this season the number of fish caught so far is over 500

02 November 2009

Swedish carping
Mikael Persson sent us his report on his Carp fishing in Sweden last week. It seems that carp fishing is becoming ever more popular in Sweden and having fished for everything from roach to salmon Mikka decided last year to concentrate more on his carp fishing. Fishing a local lake that he stocked with his father around 20 years ago Mikka baited the lake before doing his first night. Unfortunately his first night was uneventful and his return to carp fishing was a blank! Not deterred he returned the next week and fished for Four nights. The results this time where better catching one carp each night with the biggest being 14.3kg(31.5lbs). A cracking start to his campaign. For Sweden this is a large fish and the only other waters that contain bigger in the area are private. Mikka's son who is 14 decided he wanted some of the action and so the next trip they both set off for a couple of nights fishing.
A great start for his son saw him land 3 carp of 7.5kg(16lb 8oz), 10.8kg(23lb 10oz) and a cracking carp of 14.8kg(32lb 9oz). By the end of the summer his whole family where fishing with his Seventeen year old Daughter also catching a few good fish.
Tactics in Sweden are similar to the U.K with Mikka using Scopex and Banana boilies, fished snowman style with pop-ups on bolt rig set ups.

27 October 2009

Diary Piece - From the Cotswolds

I thought that It may be a nice idea to include a short diary piece about my own angling and also articles from customer's and Friends of Tackle Discounts. Well with the weather up and down I could not decide what to do this weekend, like most people I had a list of jobs to do at home so my time is limited and I have to try and make the most of my angling time. The intention was to do an afternoon and evening session on a new stretch of the Bristol Avon that I have just joined on Sunday. However Saturday was mild and wet and so I decided the river could wait another week or two and I would try one last session for the tench and carp on the syndicate lake I run. This lake is extremely difficult at any time of year with only a small number of fish, masses of natural food and carp that seem to always hide away! (don't they always!). I managed to talk a good Friend and fellow member, Matt Woods into an afternoon session on Sunday and we arrived just after lunch time. The plan was to fish a deep bay where the wind was blowing and put a couple of rods out for the carp and fish the float in the deep margin for whatever came along!!

We set up and both put out our carp rods, Matt opted for a scattering of 15mm boilies to a gravel patch against some reeds in about 8 ft of water whilst I decided to try and tempt a fish with Flouro hook baits and small PVA bags of mixed pellets. Carp rods sorted and a bit of float fishing was in order. Two balls of ground bait just of the marginal shelf and then regular loose feeding of maggots soon got me my first bite from a 5oz perch. Throughout the afternoon I managed to pick off an occasional roach or perch but unfortunately the tench seemed to have switched off for the winter. I did get a call from Matt in the swim next door when he hooked something bigger which turned out to be a pike of around 8lb, that had taken his maggots on his float rod. Just as it was getting dark a few fish began to roll out in the open water and so we decided to hang on for another hour or so.

At 7.30 I heard Matt's alarm sound a few beeps and then the sound we all love of a screaming alarm. The fish was obviously a carp but Matt could not tell yet how big as it swam towards him relatively easily. As he drew it towards the net we could see it was fairly fat but it only looked short. All of a sudden the fish woke up and the next 5 minutes where spent trying to keep it out of the reeds either side of the swim. Eventually the fish slid over the net cord and I was surprised to see just how fat the fish was. Onto the scales it pulled the dial around to exactly 31lb 8oz. A new Personal Best Common for Matt and only his 3 rd carp of the year.
A big well done to him, as he is an excellent all round angler who this year has had specimen tench, roach and carp in just short sessions from some extremely difficult venues. As for my session, well just a hand full of roach and perch and then just before packing up a bream of around 7lb. Next week it's off to the river Avon for some barble action(hopefully).

12 October 2009

Emerald Islanders sponsored by Flextec, at the "Airflo Anglian Water Internationals"

I travelled for my last fishing trip of the 2009 season to the mighty Rutland Water in England. I was competing with my team "Flextec Emerald Islanders" in the Airflo Anglian Water International. Travelling with team mates Arden, Brian, Stevie, Aidan and Sammy we set off early on Saturday 3rd October to catch the 7.30am Belfast Stranraer Ferry. With 40 -50 mph winds the ferry was a bit rough to say the least and a few pints were spilled (lol).

After a 6hr drive we arrived at Rutland at 4.30 pm to see some of the boats head in with their catches, but we found that the staff at Rutland had refused to let boats out due to the high winds.

Would have been a great day for fishing back home, we thought!

Anyway, we went and found the cottages that we had hired for our 5 night stay, unloaded the luggage and various cases of beers, ciders and spirits, then headed off to Oakham to meet the "Kent & Sussex" Team and our good mates,"The Welsh Hawks" for a curry and a beer or two. ;)
A great night was had(I think) :lol: and it was up the next day at 8am to get out onto Rutland to get some practice in. It was the first time any of us would have been on Rutland this year so we didnt know what to expect but we knew that most of the other teams had been practicing on Rutland very frequently, or fished various matches throughout the year, so without local knowledge, we were at a high disadvantage.

We met familiar faces, including Team G Loomis Belgium, who kindly took a photo of our team.

I was paired with Stevie for the first days practice and we were sent off to have a look around the north arm. With fish both tight in to the weeds feeding mostly on Corixa, yet plenty of fish feeding in open water we decided that we would fish both the weeded shores and fresher undisturbed open waters. Our first port of call was Barnsdale, that we heard had been fishing well. We were actually suprised that no other boats were there. Anyway we had great success in the first 1 hour with Stevie picking up 4 fish to my 2, but I was lucky to get my second big brownie of the year. This time a Rutland brownie of around 6lbs on one of my own wee Cormorants fishing slow beside the weed beds. 8-) We put him safely back by the way.

Only half the size of the one earlier this year on Chew :lol: , but my biggest Rutland Brownie to date.

We picked up quite a few fish that day as a team. After we met Phil, a friend of mine who lives locally, we headed off back to our cottage for something to eat and a few beers. A few of the successful patterns were tied up for the next days practice, in betwween sips of beer. :lol:
Day two practice and I was paired with Arden. Again we had a great day afloat, picking up fish everywhere we went and on various methods as well. Arden also picked up a nice Rainbow of about 5lbs during practice.

Sammy and Brian were also into rod bending action as well, as were Aidan & Stevie.

And I got my Flextec rod tested on quite a few occassions.

We headed home, had another curry and a few more beers, then had a quick get together to tie more flies and discuss our tactics for day one of the International match. We had basically 3 or 4 patterns that were catching the majotrity of our fish in practice.

Day one of competion and I was drawn with Mike Smith of Greenwells persuaders. We had a great day afloat in windy conditions. After heading back and meeting the rest of the lads I found that we had 26 fish as a team. We were not sure how we compared to other teams as although it was less than we had caught in practice, it was a difficult day with less than ideal conditions for rainbows and a lot of boat pressure in the popular areas.

Anyway we got the final results of day one and were more than delighted with our position. We were in 6th place out of 25 teams and only 17lbs behind the leading team "Neilston Flyfishers" from Scotland. More importantly we were ahead of some of European top teams, including 2009 Lexus Team Champions "Ospreys" which included TV personality Hywell Morgan.

Here are the day one results:

No Fish Total Weight
Lbs Ozs
1st Neilston FlyFishers 33 79 2 1/2
2nd Change Flyfishers 32 77 1 1/8
3rd WelshHawks 32 73 4 3/8
4th Iain Barr Fly Fishing 30 66 6 1/4
5th G. Loomis Team Belgium 26 65 15 1/8
[b]6th Flextec Emerald Islanders 26 62 15 3/4[/b]
7th Gargunnock Ac 26 62 9 7/8
8th Kent & Sussex 26 61 2
9th Loop UK 24 59 6
10th Team Tightlines 23 53 2 3/4
11th Wye Knots 22 51 12 1/4
12th Margam Flyfishers 21 48 7 1/2
13th Ospreys 19 42 2 1/8
14th Port Glasgow FF 19 42 5
15th Orkney FFC 18 41 6 3/4
16th Llandegfedd FFA 17 40 4 1/8
17th Woodford Greys Ireland 19 40 12 5/6
18th Seighford Sharks 18 39 11 7/8
19th Froggies (France) 17 38 9 3/8
20th Leven Fly Casters 16 36 2 5/8
21th Fish Hawks 15 36 10 3/8
22nd Stocks Harriers 16 35 11 1/2
23rd Shetland Islanders 15 32 10
24th Greenwell Persuaders 13 30 3 1/8
25th Thalassa AC 13 28 10 1/4

Day two and I was drawn with of one the top guys from Ian Barrs team, Andrew Scott . Andrew's team were lying in 4th place and Andrew had bagged up with 8 fish the day before so I agreed to go to his spots initially. When the shotgun went we headed off along with Ian Barr to their successful area. But to no avail. Andrew only got 1 fish in the first hour and things looked very different to the day before. It looked like it might be a struggle for us. We eventually headed to where I had caught fish the day before at buoy 10 and things improved almost instantly. I hooked and landed a fish which put my cast in an absolute mess. :x While I was unravelling my cast Andrew hooked and landed 3 fish in about 5 casts :o . We had a few fish to ourselves and no boats near us. We ended the day with 9 fish. 6 for Andrew and 3 for me and we both lost a few fish each, so we had a good day afloat with plenty of craic. Andrew was Iann Barr's top rod and a winner of this competion when his team won it in 2008. So to keep 6-3 was ok for me I guess.

Anyway, when we arrived in I realised that our team had a bad day afloat with only 13 fish. It was clear that we were going to drop down the table. We ended up in 14th place out of 25 top teams so we were very proud indeed.

One of the highest places for an Irish Team in this competion and the highest placed Irish Team in any major competition final this year.

Final overall placings were:

1. Change Flyfishers 'A' Team 66 fish for 159lb 14 7/8oz
2. Welsh Hawks 60 fish for 149lb 4 3/8oz
3. Neilston Fly Fishers 52 fish for 126lb 2 1/2oz
4. Kent & Sussex Fly Fishers 51 fish for 121lb 13 1/8oz
5. Team Tightlines 49 fish for 120lb 4 3/4oz
6. Margam Fly Fishers 53 fish for 119lb 14 1/2oz
7. Team Loop UK 48 fish for 118lb 6 5/8oz
8. Iain Barr Fly Fishing Team 51 fish for 114lb 4 1/2oz
9. G Loomis Team Belguim 50 fish for 113lb 8oz
10. Ospreys FFC 50 fish for 109lb 10 7/8oz
11. Gargunnock AC 44 fish for 107lb 7 1/2oz
12. Seighford Sharks 45 fish for 103lb 15 3/8oz
13. Orkney Trout Fishing Association 42 fish for 96lb 10 3/4oz
14. Flextec Emerald Islanders 39 fish for 95lb 0 1/2oz
15. Team Woodford Greys Ireland 40 fish for 92lb 14 3/4oz
16. Port of Glasgow Fly Fishers 40 fish for 92lb 7 1/8oz
17. Fish Hawks A 38 fish for 90lb 2 1/8oz
18. Froggies Fly Fishers (3F) 39 fish for 87lb 14 3/4oz
19. Llandegfedd FFA 35 fish for 82lb 12 1/8oz
20. Wye Knots 34 fish for 80lb 6 1/2oz
21. Thalassa AC 32 fish for 72lb 0 5/8oz
22. Leven Fly Casters 33 fish for 71lb 6oz
23. Shetland Islanders 33 fish for 69lb 6oz
24. Stocks Harriers 30 fish for 69lb 4oz
25. Greenwell Persuaders 'B' 23 fish for 53lb

Well done to “Change” on their fantastic victory. Jim , Jimmy Jock & Wullie and the boys.

A big well done to our pals the "Welsh Hawks" in second place. Russ, Gazza & Gus & the lads - some top angling.

Great angling by Russell Owen (Welsh Hawks) who caught the heaviest bag on the final day and to Wullie Leach (Change) who had the best bag over the 2 days.

Also a mention to my pal Simon Newman (Kent & Sussex) who caught the second higest amout of fish over the two days with 15 fish.

Well done lads

17 August 2009


The 2009 FLEXTEC IRISH TEAM FLY FISHING CHAMPIONSHIPS took place on Saturday 15th August on Lough Lene Westmeath.
With 112 anglers taking part representing 28 teams from all over Ireland, fishing was exceptionally difficult. Trout were locking on to the Lough;s migrating snail, and when they do this they are almost impossible to catch. Weather conditions made matters worse with changeable conditions with gusts up to 40kmph

Well done to
Galway & Corrib. Mike Keady, Basil Shields, Tom "Doc" Sullivan, and Andy Boyd.

Best team in Ireland by a long long way. Convincing Champions with 18 fish on an exceptionally tough days fishing.Must mention Basil. Another victory this year. Your on some run basil. Definately in my opinion the Tiger Woods of Irish Fly Fishing. Certainly the best in Ireland for both Wild & Stocked fish.With anglers like Basil & Tom Doc already qualified for the 2010 Spring International on Lough Conn, no reason why the Irish boys cant take GOLD.

Tom "Doc" Sullivan, Andy Boyd, Basil Shields, Ian Rowand (Itffa) Mike Keady (Captain)




5TH PLACE --------- AGIVEY


28 team took part. Here are the top 7 teams that got in the prizes.

1st Galway Corrib 5075 points

2nd Loughrea 2700 points

3rd Dublin TA 1825

4th Owenabue 1775

5th Agivey 1650

6th Conn Cullin 1 1525

7th Bandbridge 1475

Of the 112 Anglers taking part 57 anglers caught fish.

Top 20 Individuals were

1st Basil Shields

2nd Mike Keady

3rd Tom "Doc" Sullivan

4th David Egan

5th Sean Goulding

6th Gary Byrnes

7th Seamus Kelly

T8th Brendan Murray, Frank Reilly, John Oneill

11th Gary Stewart

12th Richard Reilly

T13th Barry Healy, John Smith

15th Greg White

16th Robert Reilly

17th Patrick Sweeney

18th Jonnie McMahon

T19th Paddy Daly, Mervyn Campbell, Noel Shields

A BIG THANKS to all who took part in supporting the event and as always a MASSIVE thanks to FLEXTEC TACKLE DESIGN. Look out for their new extensive range to rods & reels in 2010 And thanks to my boat partner Andrew Boyd of Galway Corrib for a great days craic. Would love to have seen you land that monster that broke you mate.

13 July 2009


Irish Team, Flextec Emerald Islanders, have qualified for the 2009 Airflo Anglian Water International Final, at Rutland Water in October of this year.

The team consisted of (left to right), pictured above in their new Flextec Tackle Design Fleeces

Top Row: Aidan Rose, Greg White, Arden Pollock, Mark Duncan
Bottom Row: Stevie Ellis, Sam McGowan

The boys travelled to Lynn Brenig in North Wales to compete in the Welsh Heat of this prestigous competition, against some of the top teams in the UK.

Finishing 4th overall, they have secured their place in the grand final where they will compete against some of the top teams in Europe including teams from France & Belgium.

They caught a total of 25 fish on the final day and Arden Pollock (Emerald Islanders) finished the second best rod of the day.

The lads would like to thank Andrew Train for all his help and support and will try exceptionally hard to promote his brand of Flextec at the International final in October. Cheers Andrew mate. We toasted you after our success.

Mark Duncan of the Flextec Emerald Islander with a superb 5.25lb Brenig Rainbow which he took during practise. This turned out to be the heaviest fish of the entire week on Lynn Brenig.

The Flextec Emerald Islanders meeting at lunch time during practise on Llyn Brenig

Arden Pollock's Flextec Rod, bent into a hard fighting Lynn Brenig Rainbow.

Arden with a lovely example of what Lynn Brenig has to offer.

Sam McGowan (Right) and Aidan Rose, stopping to a quick chat at the "Woods"

Mark Duncan "celebrating" after making it to the International Grand Final.

Mark..... Regretting, celebrating, after making it to the International Grand Final.
Cheers Andrew.

04 July 2009

LAS Esthwaite Pairs Pike Cup

The last sunday in June and the beautiful location of Esthwaite Trout Fishery played host to the LAS pairs Pike Cup which was being sponsored by Tackle Discounts. Nestled in the Lake District Esthwaite is renowned for its superb Trout fishing and for the first time was to play host to a summer piking extravaganza and become the venue that one fisherman will certainly remember for the rest of his life.

Andrew had taken the weekend off from his hectic work schedule to present the prizes and hopefully to let his blood pressure return to normal and so the two of us set off on the saturday arriving at the hotel late saturday afternoon and almost immediately joined several LAS members in the beer garden. Yes, before you mention it I had managed to book us into another pub. An evening of banter, angling stories and wind-ups was soon underway as we all settled down to our evening meal of crisps, nuts and pork scratchings.

An early start the next morning and a help yourself breakfast of cereals and coffee did nothing to satisfy the hunger of the crowd of fishermen and we made the short journey to the venue with the sound of rumbling echoing in our ears. It wasn't thunder but the sound of our stomachs but all was soon forgotten as we reached the venue to be greeted by a stunning, flat calm water.

There is always a spanner in the works when a fish-in is organised and this proved no different as a text message from Phil Tonks informed me that he had broken down and had to be towed home. I broke the bad news to his boat partner, Rob Smallbone, and with that the pairs set off with Rob up against it from the start as we tried to figure out how we could score it should he get into the top places at the end of the day.

With some of the best Lure anglers in the country present we were certain that it wouldn't take long before the fish were being landed and sure enough we spotted John Cheyne into a fish. With Andrew and myself motoring around taking photos and enjoying the scenery we were not part of the competition but it would have been nice to have landed one of the Esthwaite giants and while

motoring over to the action we received our one........and only hit of the day and I totally failed to connect with our adversary.

The scenery was stunning and after an overcast start the sun burned through the morning cloud and onto the necks of the competitors around 10am, opening up the vista surrounding us.

Stories soon started filtering back to us that some nice pike had been landed which the pair of us put down to chinese whispers as we had only seen a couple of fish landed and the way we were fishing we were unlikely to see any around us

We managed to get to the last 10 minutes without any fish so to uphold my honour I decided to get the light gear into action for the trout and with a small Bete spinner which had proved deadly for trout in the past I cast out and within seconds I had a 4lb rainbow in the boat. Honour upheld we headed home.

One thing which is as certain as not eating in a Lake District hotel is that every angler will have a golden day which will live in the memory long after the event and the unbelievable had happened. Rob Smallbone had managed to catch more than any other pair of anglers, a brilliant acheivement and when his best 3 fish were weighed they came to an amazing 51 1/2 lb. This included breaking his personal best twice over and landing the biggest fish of the competition.
All 7 of his fish came to the net by 10.15am which gave him time to recover before the competition end.

Just behind in 2nd place came Steve Wade and Andy Surgey, a popular result among the other anglers and if they caught as many fish as they gave people laughs over the weekend they would of surely won. In 3rd place came John Cheyne and Steve Bates leaving the Welsh challenge just behind in 4th after months of them promising the cup was bound for Wales.

Alex from the fisheries staff presented a very nice trophy to Rob and which we will be returning next year to fish for again. Thanks to the staff at Esthwaite for putting on a super days fishing and for saving my waistline with a well timed buffet at the end of the day. The predator season at the fishery is from October 1st to March 31st and if you've not been before then put it on your to do list.


1st Rob Smallbone........Best 3 pike.....51 1/2 lb

2 Greys spinning rods

2nd "Wadey and Sharkey"......Best 3 pike.....41lb 2oz

2 Okuma spinning reels

3rd John Cheyne and Steve Bates....Best 3 pike.....38lb 6oz
2 Savage Gear 4play lures of choice

Best Pike.......Rob Smallbone.....19lb
A Flextec Pike Fly rod

Well done to all the lads who showed up and showed me up and a special thanks to Andrew Train from Tackle Discounts (no, he doesn't tell me what to write) and so it ended that the 1st LAS pairs cup was won by an angler fishing alone. Lets hope that we are still fishing for it in 20 years time when the legend of "Golden Rods" who won it on his own is still chatted about over a beer.

23 June 2009

Confessions of a mediocre angler!

The Fleet had all we needed. Good beer and a quality english breakfast.
After huge anticipation the 16th had finally arrived and at one minute past midnight myself and two friends, Steve and Phil cast our lures blindly into the dark night of the Warwickshire Avon. The only indication that we had of the lures hitting the water was a distinct splash. Unfortunately it was the only splash we heard and after half an hour we retired to our beds in the Fleet Inn at Twyning which was to become our base for the next couple of nights. It was pure coincidence that we had chosen a pub to stay in........honest guv!

Steves perch looked like being the biggest.
4.00 am and we were up and rearing to go, boats were loaded and the new Minn Kota pulled us powerfully upstream. The rods were out as we trolled to our first chosen swim and at just after 5 am Steve landed the 1st fish in the shape of a small zander and then a couple of minutes later he followed it up with another. It took me a couple more hours before I landed a fish and Phil had been struggling as well.

Phils huge pike upped the ante!

The day continued in the same vein with fish coming slowly until the evening when we retired to the bar for some well earned drinks and food. It had been a beautiful day with the sun burning down on us which we blamed for the low number of fish caught and we staggered off to bed and the promise of a better 2nd day

The zander were not going to get any bigger for me, no matter how close I held it to the camera

Day 2 and that was certainly it for the sunshine. Overcast skies and persistent rain promised much better fishing, especially when zander are concerned. The fish were not having any of it though and we struggled all day to get fish into the boat. After a couple of hours totally fishless the rod finally bent into a........bream. I dunno, you lure fish for 20 years with no sign of the slimy dinnerplates then two come along in a month. This time it had taken a small rapala and was landed with the treble firmly embedded in its mouth.


The highlight of the day was Phils personal best zander of around 5lb. He never weighed it so I'm allowed to be generous. The evening session was the most fruitful and once again I managed to land a good perch to confirm my "Perchmeister" tag and I landed quite a few fish before we retired once again to the pub.

Tonksys best Z

Come to daddy. 2lb 4oz, my best perch from the Avon

Day 3 and the weather just got worse, rain and a cold forceful wind meant keeping the boat on a good course which required all my concentration. The fishing was poor and we finished our little adventure with very few fish on a very poor day. It had however been a good laugh and much more fun than sitting in front of the TV watching "Pets do the funniest things". We had managed to land about 50 fish between us over the 3 days which by sheer coincidence was about the same number of pints we had downed. I hope my doctor doesn't read this!!!!!