Ash Ponds – Stoke Xmas Fayre – 14th January 2024

Sunday was Stokes rearranged Xmas Fayre match on Ash Ponds and Parrett Works with 13 anglers on the river and 19 split between Ponds 2 and 3 at Ash. You could choose which venue you preferred and I went for Ash 2 as when I fished it for the first time in 2021, I’d really enjoyed it catching carp and some silvers for 62lb and second on the lake behind the gorgeous Mr Chant who had over 80lb.

A fair few of us met at Cartgate for breakfast which got the day off to a nice start, then it was onto Ash Village Hall for the draw where hot drinks and biscuits were provided. The river anglers drew first and headed off before it was our turn. I picked a card and was on peg 9 which was pretty much opposite where I was last time. When I got there Neil P was nearly directly behind me on the prolific Pond 3 where all the big weights were predicted to come from. My neighbours for the day were Dennis H on peg 10 and Steve ‘The Corner King’ Parker on my right.

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The lake is fairly shallow at around 3ft so I set up a 0.25 gram Guru Carbon Slim with a size 16 GPM-B to 0.13mm (and a duplicate in case of breakages). I was expecting mainly carp with the odd silver so had compromised with the hooklength and the top kit had black hydro in. The side tray was nice and simple with lots of maggots, some disco pinkies plus Bait-Tech Special G F1 Dark.

Despite another chilly night, I still thought you’d need 70-80lb to win our lake and probably 100-150lb would be needed on Ash 3. The Grand Wiz wished us all ‘A Merry Xmas’ and got us underway with a very musical toot on his whistle. I just fed a little nugget of groundbait and a few pinkies at 11.5 metres and went over it with double maggot on the hook. Neil said Chanter opposite him on peg 18 was into a carp straight away and not long after the two Chris’s (White and Haines) across from me were also both into fish.

I missed a bite before connecting with what felt like a decent silver but it came off so I swapped top kits to one with grey hydro. Next put in I’ve had a nice roach around 8oz followed by a lovely fish of over a pound and when the next two chucks resulted in a 2lb skimmer and a 4lb bream, I was in heaven! Things then slowed up a bit but I did have a couple of small silver bream and two more nice roach before the inevitable carp put in an appearance.

It sounded like the pond behind me was fishing hard with just the odd fish showing and apart from GW, Hainsey and me, the rest were struggling on our lake. I was just toss potting in maggots and a tiny amount of loose gb every chuck but after a great start on the silvers, I was now only catching carp and if anything my peg was getting stronger as the match wore on.

A few more fish were starting to come out, Parker ‘The Pole’ was getting some nice skimmers, Bagger Burton on peg 7 landed a decent tench and Nick Veale next to him was catching some carp fishing long. The Grand Wiz had slowed up a bit although Hainsey switched to waggler and was now bagging. With around two hours to go, my bites slowed up at 11.5 metres so I added a section and went past the feed. This worked a treat and if anything I was now catching better than before, if indications tailed off, dropping back on the feed would normally result in a quick fish.

The Wiz signalled the all out and I think I’d finished up with around 18 carp (and had only lost one all day) plus my silvers. Priv asked if I’d give him a hand weighing in, so we started with Dennis who had 6lb 4oz, my silvers went 7lb 15oz before my two carp nets totalled 84lb 5oz. Steve P weighed 10lb 12oz of skimmers and then Bagger’s tench was 3lb 10oz (the only bite he had all day!).

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Dennis weighed 6lb 4oz on peg 10

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I had 92lb 4oz which included 7lb 15oz of quality silvers

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Parker ‘The Pole’ had some decent skimmers for 10lb 12oz

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Ian ‘The Tinca Tamer’ Burton had a nice fish of 3lb 10oz

Nick V weighed 43lb 8oz of carp and then Hainsey had some lovely bream, perch and roach for 12lb 15oz plus 89lb 14oz of carp to go into the lead with a total of 102lb 13oz. The Grand Wiz had 54lb 3oz, Les on peg 3 weighed 25lb 3oz and then Cliffy had packed up early to go and get the all prizes ready and Priv didn’t weigh on peg 1.

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Nick Veale had 43lb 8oz from peg 6

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Hainsey had the top weight on the day with 102lb 13oz which included some big bream

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The Grand Wiz was third on the lake with 54lb 3oz

Over on Pond 3, Chanter had the top weight with 62lb 4oz with Dan Squire second on peg 11 with 56lb 10oz and young Luca King did brilliantly on his first visit to finish third with 34lb 5oz from peg 19.

Back at the Bell Inn for the results and the river had been very hard with Fieldy on peg 1 just needing 1lb 9oz for top spot closely followed by David Hilton with 1lb 7oz on peg 17 and Derek Goad was third with 11oz.

Pond 2
1 – Chris Haines (Haines Angling) – 102lb 13oz
2 – Jamie Rich (Against Men and Fish) – 92lb 4oz
3 – Chris White (Stoke) – 54lb 3oz

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Pond 3
1 – Steve Chant (Somerset Rig Company) – 62lb 2oz
2 – Dan Squire (Stoke) – 56lb 10oz
3 – Luca King (Haines Angling) – 34lb 5oz

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Steve Parker (Ilton) – 10lb 12oz

1 – Graham Field (Taunton) – 1lb 9oz
2 – Dave Hilton (Stoke) – 1lb 7oz
3 – Derek Goad (Stoke) – 11oz

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All the anglers enjoyed a lovely buffet before it was time for the prize giving and I took home lots of chocolates plus a couple of prizes from the raffle. Andy Saunders very generously donated a rod to the raffle which raised a fantastic £228 for the clubs charity. The club would like to say a massive thanks to Cliffy Gaylard for getting all the prizes, arranging the village hall teas etc, Dave Pope for pegging the river and everybody else involved in organising (and fishing) a brilliant event.

Thanks to kind donations from Rob Cox (£6), the Grand Wiz (£5), Norts (£1) and Burnsey (£1) the Nugget-O-Meter jumped up to £59.

There’s still a great offer running if you fancy treating yourself to some new fishing gear, use the exclusive discount code AgainstMenandFish10 to get 10% off when you shop online at Somerset Angling

Also I still have copies of my book available from eBay here or Amazon here


And if you could spare five minutes to leave a nice review on Amazon, it would be very much appreciated.

Next up – White Springs

Coming soon – Lots more match reports

Check Out – My last match

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Posted by Jamie Rich

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