July Japers part2

Two days later I was back in the twenties, I have made myself a target of fishing every peg at least once this year and I wanted to get the twenties out of the way before the summer was over. Peg 24, opposite 4 and 5, was my choice for the session and as it was still quite shallow I had brought the spinning rod should any pike show.

peg24

The same rig used on peg 3 came into play and with approx 2.5ft of water I cupped in 3 balls and deposited half a cup of 2mm pellets and wheat with a dozen kernels of corn at 11.5m and went out on the corn. The usual dips and plucks from the fry began but then halted after 20 minutes; the float lifted and a bream of 2-4 was gracing the net after a spirited fight. Ten minutes later the same scenario but this time one of 1-12. It then went quiet, thinking there may be a pike around the spinning rod came into play but no interest there. Back on to the corn and 4 rudd and 1 roach was all I could muster. Decided to have a last few casts on the spinning rod before packing up and fourth cast in a scrappy jack took the lure, I thought it looked 12oz but on the scales it went 1-8! Anyway that was that and I trudged back to the car with a total of 5-12.

21-07 5-12

That morning I had spotted some carp and bream by the bridge in the Pondtail and had decided to have a go at them, so the next day I had the unusual luxury of a very short walk from the car to the first peg on the Pondtail. I had left the pole at home and decided to fish a method towards the reeds by the bridge and a waggler for the roach in front of me.

P1P!left

Setting up a 20g in-line method with a .20mm Shogun hooklength to a 14 with a bayonet, I was planning on trying 8mm and 10mm boilies/wafters  with Swinstim being the groundbait for the method. The float was set up with a 2AA peacock waggler with just 2 number 10 shot on the line . Plumbing up I had 6 feet of water at 2 rod lengths and I kick started that swim with a ball of groundbait (not the Swimstim) and about 40 pieces of wheat. I began by putting the method out with a 10mm white shellfish boilie and went straight on the maggot on the float. The Pondtail is chocked full of roach but it was very hard going, 20 minutes before I had a bite on the maggot, and after the first hour on the float I had only 4 gudgeon and 4 roach.However the method had surprised me as in the same time I had a roach of 14oz on the shellfish  boilie and a hybrid of 1-9. In the next hour I changed to wheat on the float and it was like a tap was turned on, with bites every cast, the second hour saw me adding a further 2 gudgeon and 11 roach to the net, it would have been more but I had missed a bite on the method with an 8mm white pop-up but on changing to a chocolate orange 10mm wafter I had added a roach of exactly a pound, a further hybrid of 1-6 and lost another unknown fish. At this point I dispensed with the float and concentrated on the method as the sun was getting higher and I felt I only had another 45 minutes before any shade would be lost. Next cast nothing. Followed by another, then a good wrap round and I was into a better fish which after a short scrap turned out to be a carp of 3lb. Two further casts were motionless and I called it a day with a 9-13 total.

Roach1-0,0-14

Two days later back in the twenties – 23 to be precise for a short session between 10:30 and 1:30.peg23

Depth was a more reasonable 4 feet but I went for the slightly heavier rig. Starting in my usual fashion I had a couple of early rudd then it went quiet. A lift of the float and the elastic came out as a bream tried unsuccessfully to get to the far bank! A short fight only made more difficult by an unseen weed bed close in that the bream knew all about but I didn’t, resulted in me slipping the net under  a bream of 2-4. Twenty minutes passed before the next bite, a rudd. The odd rudd and roach made an infrequent appearance before the float lifted and a far weightier fish stretched the elastic, this took longer but a tench of 4-10 soon was in the net.jul24 8-8

A few more rudd followed and I ended with just the 8 rudd, 3 roach and a small skimmer giving an 8-8 total.

Back to the Pondtail on the Sunday, armed only with a method rod!(mistake!) The plan was to fish until midday, so at best 3 hours. The first hour resulted in one missed wrap round and nothing else. The second hour was not much better but I did hook my solitary bite, a good carp by the feel of it, I managed to keep it out of the rushes by the bridge but it found the one snag in open water and parted company with me! The final hour saw a  motionless tip and a blank was saved by a foul hooked roach!

Tuesday saw me back on the twenties – 22 for the session.

Peg22

Starting the usual way it was very slow on corn, not even dips and bumps from the fry, a change to double wheat saw a change in fortune and 22 roach, 9 rudd and a skimmer for 4-12.  Next day I returned to fish peg 3. There had been some rain during the day and overnight on the Monday and I reckoned the colour would be suited to the shallow pegs. Starting off in my regular way I was soon into roach and rudd on the corn, the swim then went quiet and some typical tench bubbles started to appear, a couple of minutes passed when the float lifted and a tench was hooked, not a massive one but given the weedy nature of the peg it was a tussle to get it into netting range, it slipped into the net then darted out again before the hook pulled! Forty minutes later another tench hooked, this one made a beeline for the lillies 12m to my right, I managed to get it away from the lillies then knitted one and purled one through the weed in front of me to finally net this one at 4-4.

Tench 4-4

A few more roach and rudd came before I hit into another good fish that led me a merry dance through the weeds, finally surfacing it was a good bream close to 5lb, as I drew it to the net the hook popped out agonisingly short of the net. I was not a happy bunny! The session ended with me on 20 rudd, 16 roach and 3 skimmers for 9-6.

29-07 9-6

Friday, the last day of July sees me at the Pondtail for a short session on what was promising to be the hottest day of the year for the area, again just the method but this time I blanked, I had one bite on the fourth cast that I didn’t hook and that was it ! A blank! I lasted a little over two hours before I felt I was melting and went home!

 

July Japers (part 1)

July did not start well due to two new sofas being ordered and only one delivered as the courier had lost one! So it was not until the first Sunday that I managed to get out.  Bowood was very quiet and I walked up to peg 6 for a change. Setting up with a slightly heavier float in the 4-5ft of water I again bulked the shot six inches from the hook to counteract any weed and small fish on the surface, I began by introducing three balls of groundbait (1 part lake, 1 part vanilla, 1 part coco belgique, from the Caperlan range), and a dozen grains of corn along with a handful of 2mm pellets and a similar quantity of wheat. Second put in and the float lifted, a gentle lift saw the elastic (KND hybrid 8-12)  come out and a small bream of 1-10 come to the net. Unfortunately that was not the start of a bagging session, instead the morning progressed slowly as before with pike scattering fish on a regular basis. I ended up with 5 roach, 4 rudd, 14 small skimmers, 1 hybrid and that bream for 4-12.

Undeterred I was back the following day this time on peg 5, similar set up and approach same result but no bream – 26 roach, 33 rudd and 5 skimmers for 5-1 and a great deal more pike activity.

Friday was my next chance and I made my way up to peg 7, this time with a spinning rod in attendance. Similar approach ending in 30 rudd, 16 roach, 6 skimmers and a hybrid for 7-1. This time I tried spinning every now and again to no avail apart from one take that was on for 10 seconds before throwing the hook!

jul10 7-1

Sunday saw me travel up the M5 and M6 to Bromley Mill lake near Stoke for a Match-fishing Scene match organised by Les Hobson. I had been told it was shallow and you would need to sit in the water to get depth for your keepnets- three of which had to be put in at the start! I drew peg 7 which was the furthest walk and according to Les the match the previous day had been a struggle for those further down the lake. The arrow in the picture is where I drew- for some reason I forgot to take any other snaps!

Bromley Mill peg7

When I set up I found there were carp coming right in to the keepnets- Les had warned us of this and said some would swim under your box! I had 3 foot of water at 10m which is all the regulars fish usually and 14 inches off to my right at 5m. I began on the method but after 20 minutes with little indication gave that up and went on the pole. After an hour with no bites and a brief dalliance at the end of my keepnets I decided on a change. I had noticed a lot of carp moved through the swim from the right, so dumped a half pot of 2mm pellets and wheat off to my right about 4m out from the bank and a small nugget of Swimstim groundbait and left it for 5minutes allowing the fish to find it (which didn’t take long) and get their heads down. The next 10 minutes were frustrating as carp were all over my single corn bait but not taking it. Change to double corn and still no response. I finally had a bite and bumped it! Now an hour and a half into the match and blanking whereas others were catching on a fairly regular basis. I then hit upon the idea of putting all the shot under the float so the bait was not tethered in a position. First put in the carp swirled around the float looking for the wheat I was feeding every put in, this time the whole rig moved to a new position in the aftermath of the carps swirls, 5 secs later the float buried and the 14-16 yellow Slik elastic was called into action. A carp of about 4lb was deposited in the net, another handful of wheat was thrown into the area and single corn put on the hook, 5minutes later carp number 2 went into the net.  So it carried on for the rest of the match until the last 15 minutes, by which stage I had caught 20 carp and lost 6, but had managed to snap the last 2 inches off my number4 section (it was already splintered and weak being 20+years old) and had replaced it with a short number 4 that didn’t really suit the top kits and I was having to make sure it was securely in place before shipping out. The inevitable happened I hook a carp, carp runs to my left and I start to bring it back with a nice angle between tip and carp, glance around to make certain of getting pole onto roller and in that instant carp changes direction, angle is lost and the top kit flies off towards the centre of the lake. Unwilling to risk another kit I put a small bomb over the feed area but no further fish by the time of the whistle going.

I was first to weigh in and that may be why I didn’t take any photos plus still aggrieved at losing the top-kit (at least the barbless hook would mean the carp would soon divest itself of the top-kit). The scales showed I had managed 94-6 for fourth overall and lost the section money to Les who had 102lb. An enjoyable day out and lots to think over on the 2.5hour journey home.

Wednesday sees me sufficiently recovered to venture to Bowood. Now this time I was going to peg 21 –

Peg21

my better half and I go for an early morning walk several times a week and usually stop for a coffee at a tree stump by peg 21. This morning I had noticed several dark shapes , either tench or bream under the surface in pole distance. When plumbing up I had 5 feet at 11.5m and set up with a 0.8g float and 14 hook to 0.16mm Shogun. Single corn followed the three balls of groundbait cupped with 2mm pellets, wheat and 12 grains of corn. Twenty minutes in the float lifted and a strike resulted in a bream of 2-1 coming to the net. Fifteen minutes later a similar bite was met with a far more spirited fish, a tench of 4-14. Another tench of 4-6 followed by a bream of 1-14, 7 rudd, 3 roach and a skimmer gave me a total of 15-13. Glad I went for that walk now!

15Jul 15-13

Friday sees me back at 21 but with no great expectations as the morning walk had not yielded any indications like previously. Same set up and approach but this time a bream of 1-10 first put in then just 4 roach, 3 rudd and 3 skimmers on the corn for a level 3-0.

Sunday sees me back at Bowood but no other anglers- the lake to myself! I decided to bite the bullet and try peg 3 – this has a reed bed directly in front of the platform, 5 minutes of work and I had a channel I could ship out and net fish in.

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I reverted back to my peg 1 and 2 rig

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and began with my standard 3 balls cupped in with corn,2mm pellet and wheat, feeding 10 pellets and similar amounts of wheat every other cast. First put in I had a 3oz rudd on single corn, next put in a larger fish pulled the elastic out and I was pleased to put the net under a rudd of 1-1, my PB for Bowood.

rudd1-1 19jul

The 3.5hour session went well with regular bites despite the attentions of pike that still refused to take a lure! I ended up with 50 rudd (not including the one above), 8 roach and a skimmer plus a bream of 2-9 for 13-4 from a swim nobody fishes because it looks unfishable.

13-4 19jul

With my next outing on Tuesday I am going to try another peg in the 20s.

 

 

June part 2!

 

It is unusual for me to go to Bowood over the week-end but I made an exception on the Sunday and was surprised to find it very quiet with the field all to myself. I decided against peg 2 and set up on peg 4 which at least had 3-4 feet of water to play with!

Three balls went in to start laced with 2mm pellets, corn and wheat, corn was my starting bait, with a similar set up to previously except I had got a 0.8g float with the shot all bulked 6inches from the hook in order to get past any weed. The session started slowly but then a steady string of roach and rudd interspersed with a scattering of fish around the float showed the pike were still active but strangely I have yet to hook one or have a fish taken. After an hour I hit into a slightly better fish- a bream of 2lb, this pattern continued with roach and rudd being interrupted by small skimmers and two further bream of 1-14 and 2-4, plus one further bream lost in a weed bed close in. The session ended with 21 roach, 21 rudd, 8 skimmers and those 3 bream for exactly 15lb.

jun21 15lb

Monday saw me take the Logan in for it’s MOT which it thankfully passed, so it was Tuesday morning before I returned for a short session before it got too hot. Peg 4 again this time it was a lot harder with the pike very active so it was catch a couple , pike set the fish scattering, wait, catch a couple more and repeat! I ended up with 14roach, 7 rudd and 3 skimmers for 4-2 and no lost fish!

Next day back again for a morning session but this time on the other bank on the first peg, peg 25 in my new regime. Seen below on far bank, sited between pegs 1 and 2.

peg2

I do not usually fish this bank as I have never had much joy and it tends to be shallower (if that is possible) but I had seen some better fish roll along the far bank previously. Plumbing up with the same rig I found I had 14 inches of water at 10m. One ball was cupped in followed by half a pot of 2mm pellet, corn and wheat topped by loose groundbait. An hour went by before I had my first indication, a quick dip of the float that resulted in a small roach, at least I wasn’t going to blank! Ten minutes later another small roach followed, then it went quiet for a while before the float lifted and a strike saw the elastic come out for what felt like a good fish. Gingerly easing back through the weeds I eventually put the net under a tench of 4-12, the first of the Bowood season.

Tench4-12 Jun24

A quiet spell followed before a couple of bream at 2-10 and 1-8 plus 3 more roach ended the session with me melting in them sun but happy with a 9-4 total.

I managed a short evening session on the Friday of a couple of hours, with the weather cooling rapidly I was expecting a struggle but I went  to peg 2 and put three balls at 10m with the usual free offerings and sat it out with corn. It was not hectic by any means with it being 40 minutes before a bite, a roach of 6 oz, 5 further roach (the best weighed at 9oz) and 2 rudd gave me  2-2 total.

Jun26 2-2

No larger fish showed but the pike again were very active, I am tempted to try a bit of spinning at some point.

 

Bowood June 2020

June 16th couldn’t come fast enough and on a hot, sunny morning I unpacked the car and trundled along to my chosen peg for the day – peg 2. Now at this point I have a confession to make as some pegs have disappeared (although still shown on the map) and originally this was peg 3, so for the sake of clarity for the future I have taken photos of the 10 pegs that are now in the field and will now rename them from peg 1, my chosen peg up to peg 10 (the old peg 12!) – clear as mud!

Top left to right – Peg 1 when I arrived, peg1 10 minutes later!, peg2 (future work), peg 3 – long term project I think!

Middle – peg 4, peg 5, peg 6

Bottom – peg7, peg8, peg9, peg10.

Thankfully some of the platforms have been repaired and the grass/reeds cut back so we can get to them!

Anyway the water had a nice colour to it and although it was between 18 inches and two feet deep I fancied it for a few fish given the weather had been fairly warm and the fish seem to congregate in the shallows at the start of the season and gradually move up the field. I set up with a 0.4g short homemade rugby ball float to 0.16mm Shogun with the bulk all set at the 0.14mm hooklength to start with a 16 hook and no droppers. Three balls of groundbait along with 2mm pellets, a few grains of corn and a dollop of wheat were cupped in at 10m and single corn went on the hook. Interestingly there was no response from any roach which is usually a sign that the bigger fish are already in the swim. A dozen pellets and similar of wheat were catapulted around the float every 5 minutes. After the second lot went in the float lifted and a strike saw a goodly portion of elastic come out, two minutes later the first fish of the Bowood season was in the net – bream of 4-6.

june16 20 4-6

In the next 20 minutes two further bream were hooked and lost, suspecting the elastic was too severe I changed to a lighter set 10-12 and upped the hook to a twelve. The day went in a similar pattern, catch a fish or two , lose two or three. Some I am sure were foul hooked but by the end I had managed to land 8 and lose 12! The bream in order went 4-6, 5-11, 3-15, 4-13, 4-12, 4-14, 3-14, 3-0 for a 35-05 total and not a single roach to be seen.

Not a bad start to the season! It was the Friday before I could return and the weather had changed with rain the previous day and night and was still raining that morning, although it was due to clear about 11am.

I decided to give peg 1 another go although I was not expecting much because of the weather. Setting up in a similar fashion, it was hard work on the corn with a solitary roach of 5oz the only excitement in the first hour, from there on I alternated corn, wheat, expander and maggot to winkle out 14 roach, 3 rudd and a hybrid for 4-11. Most of the fish came on maggot or pellet, but I caught on wheat as well. I did lose a good fish that weeded me in a sub-surface bed, possibly a tench.

jun19b 4-11

I will take a long look at the weather for my next visit, I am tempted to clear peg 2 but it is only a few inches deeper, peg 4 may be my next port of call! On a separate matter I have added the articles by my son Gareth of his fishing  in China to the blog and they can be accessed from the navigation bar at the top of the page.

Maybe or may be not!

So May comes (and goes) with Covid-19 spreading globally, lock-down still in place for the silent majority and the news full of the transgressions of lock-down, so it was a relief when the Angling Trust managed to persuade the Government to allow angling again. Incredibly even that was met with indignation by some anglers who have not a clue about how government works. Rant over, back to the fishing, or may be the lack of it! I decided to ignore the first week of “freedom” to let the initial rush die down and planned to visit Patneys when it finally opened. In the meantime I made up some rigs using some of the floats I had put together during the lock-down.

I often have referred to my homemade floats without actually showing them so here are the latest versions! Floats 4-6 (reading left to right) are specifically intended for Bowood as they have a 2.5m or 3mm bristle which allows me to use heavy droppers (almost a double bulk) to combat the weed and allows me to see the float at range if necessary. Floats 1,2 and 5 tend to get used at Patneys while 7 is used for margin work.

Patneys (Woodside Lakes) have introduced a booking system which limits the match lake to 21 anglers and allows you to see how many and who, booked on. I let the first week go after opening  and waited until the Monday to book on for the Wednesday as only 2 others had done so. By the following morning there were only 2 swims free! I didn’t fancy that so I cancelled my booking and decided to go to Isis No 1a instead.

Arriving at the lake on the Wednesday mid-morning having completed our early morning walk to Bowood, I settled on peg 3, a peg I had had some success from in the past during May I was the only one on the lake, there were others on the main lake.

IMG_20200602_090940972_HDR

The plan was to fish alongside the lilies on the right where there was a deeper hole. Setting up with a yellow bristled float (number two above) to 0.16mm Shogun and a 0.14mm hooklength to a 16 I plumbed up and then started to test the shotting , only to catch a rudd on the bare hook! Corn and 2mm pellet were dispatched with a ball of groundbait next to the lilies and I waited, and waited, and waited… Corn, meat, expander were all ignored, in the end I put on maggot and had 4 rudd on it before I gave up and went home.

The following Tuesday I arrived back at about 9am and settled into peg 6, again with the lake to myself.IMG_20200602_091315282

This time I used the same set up but put 3 balls of groundbait and a pot of corn and pellet out at 11.5m into 7 feet of water straight in front and a solitary ball plus corn and pellet (2mm) at 10m in a “bay” in the lilies. I started at the 11.5m line on corn and was immediately into rudd. By alternating between the two lines and loose feeding 15-20 pellet every so often I managed to keep a run of bites coming with the occasional quiet spell. A switch to expander tended to produce smaller rudd so I stuck with the corn and at 11:45 hooked into a good fish that hared off towards the far bank. After a scrappy fight I put the net under the first tench of the season, a fish of 4-9. A had a few more rudd, a solitary roach and a “bar of soap” tench by the time I packed up at 1pm. A total of 10-2 in the roughly 3 hours of fishing.

IMG_20200602_130736786_BURST000_COVERisispeg6

The only sour note was I had been filming with a new cheap camera as my others were playing up and I had forgotten the most important rule- the memory  card (32GB) only records 3 hours then clears and starts again! As I had set it up before setting up my tackle I had lost all the fishing time, just having the last 5mins and packing up- DOH!

Anyway, my Bowood ticket has been bought and I am ready for the 16th when the season opens. On our walks I have been taking note of the water clarity and there seems to be a lot more colour than last year so fingers crossed I will start of with some good bream and tench action. Gareth, my son  in China, has been encouraged to write up some of his fishing visits and they have gone on the Blog section of the Matchfishing-scene  site, for those not members (it is free to join!) here are some links.

Tales from China 1    Tales from China 2  Tales from China 3

 

Healthy April

As April draws to a close and we are in the sixth week of lockdown my archives get visited to see if there are any videos that need editing or have been forgotten about. Together with a dusting down of and cleaning poles,  checking rigs and tying copious hooklengths,  the making of new floats seems a way to fill the time for a day or so but ultimately there is only so much you can do/want to do!

Bowood still features, as it is so close the wife and I walk there every other day rarely seeing more than a handful of dog walkers/ joggers/ twitchers out for their exercise like us. The sight of various deer at close quarters tends to lift the spirit somewhat and makes us feel extremely fortunate to live so close as to be able to visit so regularly during the lockdown.

In many ways this year has all been about Covid-19 for us as Gareth and family were stuck with us for 6 weeks during the height of the lockdown in China and returned a month before the lockdown here. From what we know once the central government discovered the situation they took control and acted decisively with a total lockdown not just in Hubei province, but across all provinces where there were cases. Gareth’s in-laws at the height of their lockdown were able to leave their gated community once every two days (and only one of them) to get food. Temperatures were taken on exiting and on return and shopping consisted of handing a list in at the front door of the shop and the shop keepers then making up the items in bags before bringing them to the door. No public transport was operating and cars were not permitted on the road. Even now masks outdoors are compulsory and only the secondary schools have started to reopen for some year groups. The nature of the society there meant that the people were compliant and tracking of infected people was more straightforward and diligently undertaken with subsequent testing for those who had contact with an infected person.

I suspect it will be July or later before any limited angling is allowed again but all credit to the Angling Trust for putting forward a phased plan to help get us back on the banks again. In the meantime I have rediscovered Fishsim 2, which for those uninitiated is the best and most realistic fishing simulator for the pc. I was fortunate to have several of the venues I created during the beta stage included on the original cd. Gareth had asked for an old laptop of mine to take back as he was unlikely to be able to go fishing in China on his return and was looking to use the laptop for work and also Fishsim2. Anyway this has resulted in me creating 12 new chinese venues over the last month and having virtual matches against Gareth on a weekly basis, I do well if it a small fish venue, he enjoys the big fish ones!

Anyway the archives threw up two items to include – a cheeky visitor at Rolfs, and what I will be missing at Bowood! Stay safe.

The Last Hurrah – March 2020

March arrives and the close season at Bowood looms closer. A short session on the first Monday on 12 from 11-2 sees a disappointing 7 roach 3 perch and a blade for a staggering 5oz! Next day sees me for a short session on the Pondtail I decided to chuck a feeder out for the bream with a worm whilst fishing the 5m whip on cheese, but first put a maggot on to get a couple of roach in the net. The cheese was a stupendous failure with no sign of a bite, reverting back to maggot didn’t produce any either, so the only action was on the feeder where 3 roach took a fancy to my worm. Five roach for 8oz, not the farewell to the season I was hoping for!

Friday was my next venture out and I reverted back to peg 12 but this time with the pole. I set up with a number 5 elastic to 0.16mm Shogun mainline and 0.10mm hooklength to an 18 and a homemade body down teardrop float with a green hollow 1.7mm bristle taking 0.6g. The pike rod, as usual was set up with a two single no6 barbless carp hook to a 15lb wire trace and a sardine bait. The pike rod produced two missed runs but the pole gave me a pike of 5-8 which gave a good account of itself on the 5 elastic. The 10m line also produced a skimmer of 1-13, 6 roach, a small skimmer and a mini perch for 2-10.

A three hour session the following Monday sees me finally hook a pike run for a small one of 5-7 with the pole producing 15 rudd and 15 roach for 2-6, all on double maggot, as usual single maggot is totally ignored!

Wednesday sees me back on 12 and some interesting action. Setting up as before I had a run early on from a scrappy jack of 3-10. I began to get a few bites on the pole when I hit a good fish that I eventually lost after 10 minutes without seeing it. Half an hour later the same happened,  a good fish hooked that I could do little with, finally getting it under my feet after 15+ minutes (I know the time as the Bowood House bell rang twice during the fight), to my surprise it was a a big tench (6lb+) that promptly went under the pike rod and into the weed bed and the hook pulled! I was not a happy bunny! Anyway an hour later the same thing happens and this time after 30mins I put the net under a pike of 7-6!

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You never know what to expect at Bowood!. A plugged away and had  a total of 13 roach, 8 blades and 2 rudd for 1-2 when I packed the pole up at which point the pellet waggler float I use as a pike float bobbed, and moved off, resisting the urge to strike and when it went a second time hit into a pike of 8-8 to finish the session. The beauty of the rig I use is the hook fell out in the net but the downside is the fish was only hooked in the lip with one hook despite the length of time I gave it to take the bait- hence the number of missed runs. All in all not a bad session with a 20-10 total.

Friday was going to be my last day at Bowood as I decided to give the last day a miss as I reckoned that it would be busy (more than two anglers!). Any way the day set off well with lots of bites coming on the pole then a bream of 1-14 turned up, followed by a run on the pike rod that gave me one of 9-4. The day continued along the lines of catch small fish hook a pike …the next one was a jack of 5-2 on the pole (I had taken the precaution of putting a top with a slack 8-10 elastic on). The last one on the sardine was one of 9-11 to finish the session. So 22 roach,1 mini perch, 20 rudd and 5 blades went 3-4 to give me a final session total of 29-3 a nice way to close the season.

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Family commitments then kicked in and with the ever worsening Corona virus situation it was Monday 23rd that I managed to get out next for what looks to be the last session for some time as that night the restrictions were announced. The last visit was to Patneys or to give it it’s proper name Woodside Lakes, two lakes that are in the middle of nowhere with no platforms or facilities – natural in every sense . When I arrived there was one car in the car park, a carp angler on the specimen lake, I parked on the other side of the car park and set up on the right hand side  of the match lake just before the first island. I had resorted back to my match set up rather than the trusty Maver Metalica and matchbox I use at Bowood. I decided on 0.14mm Shogun to a 0.12mm hook length to a 16 barbless with a home made float taking 0.6g. I had planned to fish the meat but on inspecting the meat taken from the freezer, it was too soft to keep the hook in plus I had forgotten my pole pots for this pole! Bait wise, apart from the meat, I had a half pint of fresh maggot, a few worms, some micros and 4,6 and 8mm expanders. Plumbing up carefully I found the deeper spot to my left that I had found on a previous visit, three balls of groundbait mixed with micros and some of the 4mm cubed meat was deposited and double maggot was put over the top of it. I began by catapulting some old maggot I had left from Bowood over the top every 5 minutes or so. After 30 minutes I had my first bite and missed it! This I had found to be the frustrating thing about this particular peg as it seemed to be home of a lot of mini tench that were very cagey feeders. I finally managed to hit my fifth bite, a roach of 4 oz. It was a good half hour before the next bite, a small perch. Ten minutes later I had a bite and latched into a carp that I had on for 30 seconds, before the hook pulled (the maggot had masked the hook). Another roach of 3oz followed after 15 minutes but then a run of missed bites as the wind picked up. At noon another angler turned up and went on the opposite bank just as I hit a bite from another carp, this time properly hooked and after the short fight(see video) weighed in at 5-8.  Only one more bite hooked in the next two hours a carp of 1-8, but two more were bumped. At which point I called it a day and went home.

No fishing for the foreseeable future but it will be a small price to pay to keep people safe.

A February Whipping

The start of February arrives with Gareth et al still here thanks to the Corona virus. We managed a short session on pegs 12 for me and 11 for Gareth. Gareth missed 2 runs and had 48 small fish for 2-0 while I had no interest from the pike but had 31 roach and 22 rudd for 2-2. They were SMALL!

Two days later back again for a couple of hours late in afternoon same results- Gareth missed two runs on 11 and had 25 small fish, while I had no interest on 12 but had 21 roach, 8 rudd and a blade for 1-4. It is worth mentioning that we were fishing two single hooks on the wire trace as I have stopped using trebles, this does lead to more runs being missed but it is so much better unhooking the fish.

Next day we decided to take Zach to the Pondtail to catch his first fish, so strapped in to Gareth chest we went on the first platformmmexport1581275487334

armed with a 3m whip, a bag of mixed groundbait and a pot of maggots. A nugget of groundbait with 3-4 maggots was put in every couple of minutes and eventually after 5 minutes the float dipped and was missed! Next put in and…

Mission accomplished, Gareth went off with the others for a walk down the lake leaving me to amass another 21roach and a hybrid in the next half hour.

We made the decision after this visit to forget the poles and just take the pike rods and whips for future visits as the sessions would be 2 hours at best. Next afternoon the plan was put into action with me on 12 and Gareth on 11 (his choice). Fishing 4m whips I had 15 roach and 15 rudd for 1-3 but also had pike of 11-0,9-0 and 5-0, Gareth on 11 had pike of 8-2 a bream of 2-7 plus another pound of small roach and rudd on the whip.  Double maggot was the only bait to attract the silvers, no bites on single at all.

Two days later back again in the wind and rain as storm Dennis took hold, same pegs, Gareth getting a rudd of 1lb plus a load of bits for 3-1 on the whip plus a pike of 4-8, while I had pike of 5-6 and 8-11 plus 20roach, 18rudd and a perch for 1-13 (small fish!)

Sunday should have been round 5 of the Port Talbot Docks Winter League but the organisers had called it off on the Wednesday as the extent of Dennis became known, this led to the owner cancelling the rest of the matches as he felt they should have waited longer before cancelling. The result being that the 4 matches fished counted and the league ended with me in 9th and Darren in 7th spot. Can’t help feel sorry for the organisers as they were proven correct in their assessment!

Dennis came and went, trees were down and needed to be cleared on the estate roads and the water went very murky. Wednesday saw us on the usual pegs but me on 11 this time.No runs which was not surprising given the water but 14 blades and 5 roach on the whip for me for 1-6 while Gareth had a skimmer of 1-4 and 5 blades for 2-0. Two days later we had 2 hours on the Pondtail, with Gareth fishing feeder and worm in the hope of getting a  bream, I plugged away on the whip on the first peg for 21 roach for 2-6, Gareth managed 2 roach on the worm. It was four days later we managed another short session, again I went on 11 and had a skimmer of 1-4, 7 roach and a hybrid for 2-1 while Gareth struggled in the wind and rain on 12 for just 3 roach, we packed up after an hour and a half in a break from the rain as we could see another heavy system approaching, just making it back to the car before it came down!

Another short session the following day on Pondtail, again Gareth fished the feeder and had 10 roach, I managed 37 roach, 2 perch and 7 gudgeon for 4-2 on the whip. Friday sees us having a slightly longer session of 2.5 hours, I was again on 11, managing two pike on the sardine both fish remarkably weighing exactly the same at 6-9, the small fish had disappeared and I had 4 fish on the whip, 3 small roach and a stonking 1-0 roach. Meanwhile Gareth had 3 roach on the whip  and a pike of 8-4.

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Following day another late afternoon session on the same pegs sees me nab skimmers of 1-6 and 0-15 on the whip plus 5 roach and a perch for 2-9 while Gareth on 12 had 10 roach and 2 blades for 0-8, missed two runs but did land a pike of 11-4 so he was happy!

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Finally things were getting back to a semblance of normality in China and Gareth had booked tickets to leave on  Thursday 27 (43 days after arriving for a 13 day stay!) so we only managed one further session at Bowood, again on 11 and 12, I fished 11 and again had a skimmer of 1-4 on the whip plus 10roach, a perch and a blade for 2-6, Gareth had 10 small roach and blades for 0-8 from the murky water. It was probably the coldest I have felt there in a long time with icy rain sweeping into our faces. Needless to say no pike!

As I write this, they have arrived back in China safely, Zachary probably expresses it best…

Disrupted Plans Jan 2020

The New Year  saw me back in the rut – peg 12, but it threw up a hectic session with 76 roach and 6 rudd  for the princely weight of 2-12! But also two pike of 8-6 and 6-8. Back to 12 on the Monday sees a change to gale force winds and chocolate for water, 33 roach and 7 rudd were winkled out at 2+2 as I couldn’t control the pole at 10m! Again small fish for a 1-8 weight – I gave up after 2 hours as I just couldn’t control even 2+2.The weather continued to create havoc and it was the Friday that saw me back at 12, later joined by another regular on 11, both of us biteless in the 4 hours I fished.

Time to brush off any New Year blues and head off to Port Talbot, as usual it was raining when we met to transfer the kit to one car and stopped once we got going! As soon as we hit Bridgend we hit biblical rain but fortunately we managed to drive out of it and it was only light drizzle when we arrived at Bros Cafe for the draw. On the way down Darren asked what peg I fancied and I replied that I would like one down the bottom end for a change but not really bothered as long as I didn’t get peg 7 – what did I draw -peg 7, Darren fared a little better and drew end peg 3. Last time I could not get the whip or pole line to work and had to scratch for 25 fish mainly on the feeder, still it was a new day and I had to get positive about it or I would be beaten before I started!

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I began the match with 8 jaffas laced with micros, dead reds and casters at 8m and put 2 similar jaffas at 4m on the whip line. Starting on the margin pole at 8m it was 5minutes before I got my first bite, a 2oz roach, this was followed at intervals with more roach and the odd perch before slowing right down after an hour and only 10 fish in the net. Onto the whip line that I had been feeding with loose hemp and the occasional nugget of groundbait, a slow run of roach and perch saw me finish the second hour on 30 fish, the third hour started slowly and prompted me to try the 8m line again only to get a roach first put in then nothing. On to the feeder at 20 turns and again slow with just two roach, one on worm the other on maggot (during this spell the heavens opened and we had a patch of rain and hailstones for about 15-20 minutes), at this point I decided to cut my losses and stick on the whip.The end of the third hour saw me on 37 fish. The fourth hour was totally different weather wise as the sun came out and shone directly down the dock onto peg 7 so I was having trouble seeing the colour of my maggots let alone the float, adjusting the feeding so it was more of a 1m strip in front of me I alternated the glare free areas to finish the fourth hour on 55 fish.

The final hour started slowly but 37 roach in the last 40 minutes saw me finish on 97 fish. I had not had a single net fish or skimmer. Darren weighed in first with 12-3 he said he had 103 fish but crucially he had caught some skimmers- including two in the last 10 minutes to boost his weight. Mel on peg 4 weighed in 14-1, peg 6 weighed in 8-0, my fish went 9-2. Peg 8 on the headland had been catching well all day on the feeder and weighed in 20-4 for a match win, the rest of the weights were very close with 5 weights between 11 and 12lb, then several in the 16-18lb region.
Going home and reflecting on the match, we agreed that despite being newcomers we were not too far off the pace and just need to have a reasonable draw, two matches left to make a difference
The Wednesday saw the arrival of Gareth accompanied by his wife Wendy and my grandson Zachary from China. Sunday sees us grab a few hours at Bowood Gareth fishing 12 and I went on 11. The water was a better colour now and somehow the fish had moved down to 11, I had one pike of 5-15, a skimmer of 1-12 and 12 roach (1-5-8), whilst Gareth didn’t get a run and had to make do with15 roach. Back the next day for another short session, I went on 11 again and had 5 roach, while Gareth fished 12 and had 1 roach but as we were packing up hit a run on the pike rod which resulted in an 11lbe. IMG_20200119_095701859_HDRIMG_20200120_162900727
A few days later we managed another short session with me on 11 and Gareth on 12, this time I had a a pike of 6-2 and 10 roach, while Gareth managed pike of 4-0 and 5-14 plus a clutch of roach, rudd and blades for 2-2.
Sunday sees us arrive for a late afternoon session with Gareth due to go back on the Tuesday, unfortunately there was another angler on 12 with a float also on 11 so we fished the shallower pegs, me on 9 and Gareth on 10. We had no pike although the angler on 12 had 4 small samples in the 2 hours we were there, but we were kept busy with small roach and rudd, I finished with 22roach and 15 rudd for 1-12 while Gareth had 15roach and 5 rudd for 1-8.
The corona virus then disrupted plans as the advice from Zhongshan was not to return as everything was shutting down! Wendy works as a manager in a hospital and the advice came from her colleagues. So plane tickets were cancelled and bags unpacked, the silver lining was we had more time with Zachary and the chance to go fishing a few more times. The day after they should have left we were back at Bowood for a another short late afternoon session, with Gareth on 12 and me on 11. Gareth had a bream of 1-8 and 9 roach and 1 rudd for 012, while I sneakily managed to get skimmers of 1-4 and 1-0 plus 10 roach and a rudd for 1-2 plus a pike of 9-1. All the pike were taken on a double single hook rig and sardine bait.
As I write this tickets have been booked to return and then two hours later cancelled following the Foreign Office statement that Britons should leave China!  We will see what February brings, will they still be here?

Farewell 2019

December starts in chilly fashion with me arriving at Bowood with heavy frost and the air temperature at -2C at 9am. Peg 12 looked okay and with the heavy frost causing a mist to rise from the water but I wondered whether the sudden drop may make it more difficult than it looked. Starting cautiously with one ball of light groundbait laced with just a smattering of micros and about 20 casters I began on the pole with a size 18 to 0.10 Shogun, having put a sardine out as usual on the pike rod. I began catching small roach on double maggot before being interrupted by the elastic coming out on the strike and a slow ponderous fish moving off. My initial thought was pike as it was a typical scenario at Bowood, the tench seem to move off faster and even the bream are faster. I’ll never know if I was correct as the hook pulled half way in.

Back to catching small roach when 10 minutes later the same happened only this time after the slow ponderous start it realised it was hooked and went a run that saw the hook being pulled out again. Back out and a slower wait for the roach, 30 minutes pass and the elastic comes out again, only this time I manage to steer a jack of 4-2 to the net. The roach are now coming a lot slower and it is apparent that there are pike in residence as another two are lost on the pole before a jack of 4-8 is netted on the pole. I then manage to miss my one and only run on the pike rod! DOH! Another two pike are lost, one with a snap, I am guessing that the other pike may have been foul hooked possibly. I packed up with 30 roach, 3 rudd and a perch in the net at 1pm and on returning to the car found the temperature had risen to 5C.

Two days later back at 12 with a very heavy fog, began slowly with odd better (relative to the others I had been catching) roach until 11am when the fog lifted and bright sunshine hit Bowood – from this point until I packed up at 1pm I only had a solitary bite. The seven roach remained my only fish, no sign of any pike!

Sunday sees a change and me fishing the annual Pike match at Peatmoor, you can select your peg and move as the mood takes you so I headed for Peg 1-

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the first time I had managed to fish it in the match. Two rods are allowed so I opted for a sprat on one and sardine on the other, both fished on my usual float(pellet waggler) and single barbless hooks. Before I had even sorted one rod out a pike was taken opposite on spinner 5-2. Two hours later I was still biteless when the sardine float went, a strike met with a solid resistance and the pike managed to get around my other line before being netted. Sorting out the tangle of line wrapped around the pike I finally had the fish weighed at 7-10, which put me in the lead. Usually if you get one pike on peg 1 you will get other runs so I ignored the temptation to move and stuck it out until the end of the match – no further runs! My one fish put me second as the spinner had worked it’s magic with 3 fish falling for the lure to give a winning 15lb total. I think I have been second or third 5 times in this match now and never won it!

Back to Bowood on the Wednesday, peg 12 started at 9:15 had 6roach and 4rudd by 10:30 when there was a very sudden drop in temperature- almost as if you had stepped into a freezer suddenly. There were no more bites from 10:30 to 11:30, the rain started and I went home!!

The rain continued and continued but more of that later, Sunday sees me meeting Darren for the second round of the Port Talbot Docks Winter League.

The day didn’t start well apart from the 30mph winds and rain the motorway junction outside Chippenham was closed which meant a diversion to come on at the Bath junction. The rain was causing all kinds of problems with 3 accidents seen on the way to the Docks, fortunately by the time we got to Bros, where the draw was held, we had driven past the torrential rain and were greeted with a heavy drizzle. The day didn’t get any better with the draw being totally cocked up – we should have been in rotating sections but the organisers gave up and changed it to a random draw for all matches after the first attempt prompted a call for a redraw. Result was instead of being in the preferred high numbers where the original plan would have placed us we ended up in the same section as the first match with me on 7 and Darren on 6. First bit of luck was the rain had stopped and the wind dropped by the time we got to the pegs.

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I set up the feeder with a 30g open end on a link swivel tied directly to the braid (no shock leader- never found I needed one particularly with short casts) and a 15 inch hooklength of 0.12mm to a 16 looped around the braid above the knot to form a sliding paternoster. The margin pole came out at 8m with red hydro to a 14g giant to a 16 on 0.12mm. Two whips set up at 4m and 5m, 3g at 4m and 5g at 5m. The match started and 10 balls went in on the pole line in about 14-15ft of water. A small nugget went on the 4m whip line and I started on the pole while watching Darren as he was fishing the whip exclusively and if he started to catch I would swap over. A bite first put in saw a two ounce roach swing merrily towards my hand before dropping into the water at my feet!(It was going to be one of those days). After ten minutes the weather changed- the wind that had dropped came back with a vengeance with 35mph gusts.

The first hour proved to be a warning of what was in store with very few bites and no-one catching much. I had 9 roach in first hour, Darren 7, whereas we were expecting to hit between 30-40 an hour from past experience (more of that later!) By the end of the second hour I had added 2 more roach, Darren was up to 20, I had broken up some cheese into pellets that had gone into the groundbait I was feeding but resisted the temptation at this point to try it, instead put half a medium dendra on the hook and swung it out into the wind that was coming straight at us. After 5 minutes the float buried and a 12oz skimmer was safely in the net, soon to be followed over the next hour by several more some small but including one of about 2lb, then the wind went from 30mph to a reasonable 20mph and the bites dried up! I now reached for the cheese  to no effect, then tried mussel ( match record several years ago of 80lb+of bream was taken on mussel!) still nowt.
I rang the changes to no effect, the whip lines had only given me three roach, so I thought sod it and went out on the feeder managing a few more roach and a couple of skimmers by the end. The five of us in this part of the dock weighed in as follows peg3 7-8, peg 4 8-1, peg 6 8-1, peg 7 8-1, peg 8 DNW, the rest of the section was the other side of a small headland and went Peg 10 17-0, peg 11 DNW, peg 12 15-01. The lower section was far more consistent with mainly double figure weights headed by one of the organisers on peg 20 with 30-7.
Talking to Scott Williams on peg 3 at the end we asked why he fished most of the match on a feeder as he is known as the whip king at the docks taking many 30lb+ nets of whip caught roach. He explained that the heavy rain we had been having usually spells the end of the big shoals of roach that he had plundered and the shoals break up and seem to disappear meaning that skimmers come to the fore. Armed with this we will take stock and think about what we do for round 3 – next Sunday.

The rain did not abate and I decided that going to Bowood would be a waste as previously the water was chocolate and flowing like a river at times so with the local river up and a muddy torrent instead of its clear steady flow (even after the previous rains) I had an enforced break until the following Sunday’s return to Port Talbot.

With it being the Sunday before Christmas the cafe we normally use for the draw was shut so we had to meet at the docks at 8:15, that meant Darren and I had an extra half hour in bed before setting off at 6:30. The trip down was uneventful and we made good time, arriving at the dock entrance before anyone else.The draw this time put Darren on 13 and me on 11 – one day we may get to draw down the bottom end! Bearing in mind what we had learnt last time I did not put up any whips , just a feeder and the margin pole with the usual 14g Giant.
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The weather, for once was kind to us with winds of only 20mph and the occasional short shower. The fishing however was a different matter! We learnt that the day before that the anglers plundered the bream on 12 and 13 with one angler having 4 keepnets out as there had been an influx of warm water from the steel works but there had been very heavy overnight rain that had cooled the water. At the start I began with 10 balls laced with dead reds, corn, casters and wheat and went straight over it looking for an immediate response, which came in the shape of a 2oz roach.

Unfortunately it was a case of diminishing returns as by the time 50 minutes had gone the bites had dried up and I had put 15 roach in the net. Picking up the feeder I began with a half dendra and chopped worm, dead reds and caster in the 40g feeder. Casting every couple of minutes I began to get a few bites but it was slow, switching to double maggot speeded it up slightly but it was a case of waiting and putting the odd small skimmer in the net. The guy on 12 was also struggling and the angler on peg 10 (the fancied one in this top half) had put a glut of roach in the net fishing the waggler shallow (4-6feet) but was now on the feeder and catching skimmers.

I could see Darren had decided to fish the 4m line and was catching but despite further attempts on the margin pole line it was not worth sticking with. The guy on 12 had tried the short line with no success so I decided to stick it out on the feeder , ending the match with my lowest weight of the series so far – 10-6, the guy on 12 had 8-2, peg 10 had 19-8. Darren had managed 175 fish for 15-12 while Scott on peg 14 won the match with a top 2 catch of roach plus one bream of 26-12.
Annoyingly the area we had drawn last match had fished well with a string of double figure weights with the exception of peg 7 (my peg last week!).

The trip home was the best we had in terms of traffic but I came to the conclusion that my decision making is crap! Next time I am going to do it differently!

Christmas then intervenes with a trip to Yorkshire but on the return I get a last chance at Bowood. Peg 12 was calling me  and on arrival I find a reasonable colour but still flowing. The sardine is put out and three balls of groundbait with some caster, wheat and dead reds are put in on 10m, maggots on the hook and the pike rod goes! A strike is met with a solid thump and after a short but feisty fight a pike of exactly 10lb is in the net – a welcome start!

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Bites were aplenty but the fish were painfully small and 61 roach, 2 rudd and a small skimmer at the end of the session went 2-12 with a further two pike missed, to conclude 2019. The New Year will see more action on peg 12 (hopefully) and the last 3 matches at Port Talbot. Have a good one !