November nibbles

With the approaching final round of the North Wessex Winter League fast approaching I pulled up at the car park at Milkhouse on Tuesday to put a bit of practice in for the Sunday. Walking up 250 paces from the car park I dropped in a large gap (100m) between two boats and set up 3 rigs – a 0.2g BGT Blood (top picture) for the punch and deeper water, a 4 x 10 BGT Peatmoor (bottom picture) for the far bank and a 0.4g home made special for the worm. Hook length for the two BGT rigs was 0.07mm Shogun to a 22 and 0.08mm to a 20 on the worm rig.


Kicking off with  a tangerine of liquidised at 2+2 distance (the deepest area since the BWB did the banking) I began getting fish from the off ranging from a half ounce up to 8oz but mostly in the 1-2oz bracket. I was finding that the fish wanted the punch falling and most bites were either a lift on the drop or the float would bury within a few seconds of reaching full depth. After an hour and a half, with the fish still feeding well, I came off that line and potted in a ball of groundbait with a few caster in it on the far bank line and about 20 dendrobenas finely chopped on the worm line which was an extra section out from the bead line, just as the bottom began to rise. A perch of about a pound several smaller ones plus a hybrid of about 12ozs obliged and again I came off feeding fish to try the far bank swim. Small roach were immediately on to my red maggot and after a while I came off them and introduced  another ball of liquidised and began catching on the punch again, after a while I tried the worm line again and again began to catch – so much for not coming off feeding fish! I packed up after 4 hours with about 6-7lbin the net, knowing that it had been a waste of time as it would not fish like that on Sunday!

Sunday arrived -preceded by two days of heavy rain! The water was now not as clear but too bad. I ended up drawing E3 which was about another 1000 steps past where I had practiced!The first thing that hit me was the fact that it seemed that every leaf on the canal had blown in front of me, the pegs in the rest of the section were clear! I set up the same as before but also set up a heavier worm rig with 0.10mm hooklengthy, just in case! It was apparent from the start that it was going to be harder and although a few fish came to the punch it was a lot slower, after an hour I tried the worm and had two small perch then nothing, across to the far bank and nicked a couple of roach in between hooking leaves. The match carried on like that- nick a couple of fish, rest the swim and try another line.With an hour to go my heart sank as Fred Parker (Isis) next to me landed a hybrid and the Radcot angler also had a better fish. Come the all out I was miserable with a weight of 1-2 and two points beaten by both Fred and the Radcot angler. The section was won by our other team with Colin Weston catching some hybrids for 3lb+. The long walk back past the other sections did not lift my mood as it appeared Chris Rushton had also bombed out (he did well surviving the match before heading off for hospital with chronic toothache). When the dust settled back at the pub we had managed to do well in the other sections and came second on the day and won the League by 5 points.


Wednesday saw me head back to Bowood where the coloured water on peg 12 finally gave me some action with a bream of 4-8, I lost a tench of 4lb+ at the net and had a 5-4 pike on the pole on worm. It was only on adding a pot of worm to some molehill soil that I began to get any interest, a smattering of bits saw me end with a 10-12 total.

Friday saw me head to Pewsey’s Lake for a short session before the Sunday match. I plumped on peg 5 and fed two pole lines at 11m at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock. Caster  plus one small ball of groundbait on the 10 o’clock line and micros on the other. I gave the pellet feeder an hour while the pole lines settled but no interest. On to the caster line and immediately began to catch small roach on red maggot, when I tried the micro line with expander I had to wait longer for the bites but the fish were slightly bigger. The caster line I attacked with a 0.2g BGT Shallow Long and strung out shot in the last 3feet  to an 0.8mm Shogun hooklength and 20 hook,  the pellet line was similar but attacked with a homemade special. After 4 hours I tipped back about 4lb+ of small roach.

shal 002.jpg

Sunday arrived and as usual there was a good banter beforehand. I drew peg 10 which reputedly was okay. Tackling up in the same way my hour on the pellet feeder produced a couple of nudges but no fish. Moving on to the caster line I began to pick up the odd fish but not as quick as mid-week. After an hour of this I went back on the pellet feeder and had a carp of 4lb almost straight away and then nothing. A few more roach off the caster line and with two hours remaining I put an expander on and went over the micros that I had been firing out every 5 minutes or so all match. I began to pick up better roach and then had 5 good skimmers plus a couple of small pasty sized carp to finish the match with 8-6 of solvers and 5-5-8 of carp which won me the silvers pool and put me 4th overall with two carp weights down the far end and Brian Shutler doing brilliantly off peg 3 with a big 20lb for second in the match.

The next few days saw a big freeze with sub-zero temperatures so on Tuesday I packed the ice breaker and headed off to Bowood peg 12. The temperature when I arrived was -5C, trudged down to find the ice stopped at peg 11 and the ice breaker was not needed.  First cast with the pike rod and a 10lber came to the net

Small roach followed off and on for another 2lb but nothing else.

Friday saw me back after the temperature had got above freezing for a couple of days- no ice breaker- you guessed it the lake was frozen, the Wednesday had been down to -6C and it had not recovered yet.

Sunday was another Pewsey match, this time on the canal, once more at Milkhouse. I drew peg 19 which was end peg but one so a long walk.The canal was mainly frozen but was clear where I was, I must say I would prefer to draw a peg with ice as I feel the water is warmer beneath it and the fish have cover over their heads.I set up in my usual manner and set about the match. The first hour or so was good with 25 roach coming to the punch then disaster a rumbling sound in the distance heralded a large barge coming through breaking the thick ice- in doing so it was having to rev more than usual so when it got to my open area the canal just turned into chocolate soup as the bottom was thoroughly churned up. I had 5 bites in the remainder of the match and weighed in 1-3, beaten by Nick Wurter on the end peg by 1oz and ending up 5th overall out of the 15 competing.


Back to Pewsey lake next!


Liquidising Bread part 2 – the rest of the essentials!

The blog on liquidising bread has been receiving a lot of attention so I thought I’d add the other aspect of the method – the bait and getting it on the hook! This may appear to be simple but so many get worried about it or don’t think about this aspect.!

The Bait

I use any fresh loaf, my current favourite because I like it to eat is Warbuttons Toastie (the orange packed one). In reality any fresh sliced bread will do and the thickness of the bread sometimes has a bearing on the fish but even on hard days I will opt for the toastie.

Firstly cut off the crusts and then cut the slice into 4 quarters, now with the back of a knife lay it over the quarter and press down to flatten the bread, repeat this as many times as it takes so the whole quarter is flattened. Repeat for the other quarters. I tend to prepare two slices for a match and if I get through the two slices I’ve had a red lettered day!

Secondly open out some clingfilm and place the quarters on to it so there is a gap of half inch (1-1.5cm) or so between them. Now fold the clingfilm back over them and cut it away from the roll. You can now press down between the quarters so they are individually wrapped. I then fold the whole thing up on itself so that it is at most 2 quarters by one quarter in size.

You are now ready to go fishing! When I am at the peg I will only take one quarter out at a time and any left over will go into the freezer as a standby in case I have forgotten to do some!

Getting it on the hook

There are several styles of punch on the market, most have a slot that you are supposed to put the point of the hook through to hook the bread. I do not use this type, I much prefer the old (bought when I was 16ish) punch shown below. There are a series of different sized brass punches that are stored inside and screw in, Seymo do a similar version with a plastic body. You can see the 3 things needed to punch bread- the quarter, the punch and a solid surface to press onto. My method is to punch the bread then push the bend of the hook (point away from the punch) into the bread and turn slightly, I find this will keep the bread on allowing me to lift and drop. The flattened quarter is also much easier to hook.


You will find that once in the water the punched bread will swell considerably as the water undoes the flattening process with the knife but as a consequence the bread is far more secure on the hook. I tend to use the quarter as a counter, a fish results me in punching on the right, a missed bite, bumped fish, leaf,etc… I punch the left.

Proof of the pudding that the punch works


Hope this helps!

Gin Clear October

Following the last visit to Bowood I had a Pewsey Club match on the canal at Wilcot on Sunday.The heavens opened for the draw and everything was soaked before we started to draw! I drew peg 9 on the Ladybridge side of the bridge and was told that the peg could throw up some skimmers if they were about. Plumbing up I settled on a 4m line which was to be my punch line, a line down the track with worm, a line about a section off the far bank for squats and groundbait and a line tight against the far side.

As the match started the rain stopped. After 20minutes and one fish on the punch I moved onto my squat line for a couple of eyes then nothing. Rotating between the lines did not bring any joy and it was a case of getting my head down and nicking a couple of fish here and there. The worm line produced one perch of a couple of ounces and one of 5-6oz then nothing. By trial and error I found that if I stuck with red maggot I was catching as many as if I had squat on. Martin Arris on my right had netted a nice skimmer from down the track so I needed a bonus, which sadly was not to appear. At the weigh in it was tight apart from the last but one peg  which had caught all day I put 1-2-8 on the scales Martin had 1-6-0.

Wednesday saw me back at Bowood on peg 12, I made a mental note that I must change peg but with the onset of Autumn/Winter peg 12 is my default as it has deeper water and I know that fish are present. The water was getting clearer, if that was possible,but I managed to get 80 small fish for about 5lb on the maggot and missed a run on the pike rod.

On to Sunday and the third leg of the North Wessex Winter League at Lechlade on the Thames. Little flow and clear water meant it was going to be a struggle, I drew B5 which was the first field upstream of the car park, about 150 yards up from the bridge. I had Fred Parker (IsisA) on my downstream end peg and Bob Garrett on peg 4 another 100yds or so upstream B1-3 seemed to be on the chub pegs so I was going to have my work cut out. The far bank had a very inviting run of overhanging trees and brambles that yelled chub yet I know from previous visits and talking to locals that trout tend to show there rather than chub! The match started and I went on a three pronged attack, a pole line at 5m where I had about 4foot, a pole line at 11m where I had about 7ft and then a waggler line across, but I also set up a feeder for across.

It was a slow start and I found that the way to get a bite was to hold back hard and let the bait rise up in the water, a succession of small dace, roach and gudgeon came but not very quickly, it was a case of 2-3 fish then they would back off. By rotating the three lines I ended up with 2-1 for 3rd in the section with Bob managing 0-4-8 and Fred 1-3-8.

Team wise we finished up 2nd on the day behind House of Angling but picked up 3 points on Isis A so with two matches cleft we are second, 2points behind.

Wednesday saw me try a new venue(for me) close to my home- Blackland Lakes. I had decided to test fish it if it fished okay and was suitable I would look to book it for a MFS match.

Firstly Blackland lakes is situated off Stockley Lane on the outskirts of Calne, Wilts. It has two lakes but there is only one they take match bookings for – Stan’s. In theory it holds 15 pegs but I reckon it will be good for 12, 15 would be a lot of crossing lines I think. It is a small (intimate) lake (pond) with a small island at the far end. Further details on website

Depth wise it is shallow I couldn’t find any more than 3 feet up to 13m out, but it seems to be a consistent depth throughout.
I test fished it today on the recommendation of a friend who fished a match there last January and had 26lb of roach, skimmers and some bigger perch and came nowhere! I plumped for a peg between two bushes on the left bank as you look at the pics.
Fished for about 4 hours in between plumbing elsewhere on the lake and had 50 skimmers up to 2lb, 15 roach and 16 perch. A conservative estimate of 20lb as the roach were all decent quality (3oz+ up to 12oz) apart from 2, perch were averaging the 4-6oz with the odd bigger one, skimmers fell in to two batches- the 2-3oz blades and the netable skimmers – they were split about 50-50.

I didn’t fish beyond 10m and indeed I felt I could have caught the same at 5m, the fish respond to little and often feeding (groundbait is not allowed) and I loose fed casters and toss potted small amounts of chopped worm if bites slowed. I bumped some better fish (probably perch)as I was using a lightish elastic (no4) . A pleasant change- coloured water and fish!

Friday saw me back at peg 12 Bowood with the water still clearing. One tench of 3-12 plus a pound of bits  and no runs on the pike rod decided me that it was time for a change! Sunday back at Bowood but this time on the opposite bank with a ewaggler and a pike rod plus my stool haversack. Started on peg 21, no bites/runs after 2 hours, moved to peg 23 -one possible dip on the waggler. Moved after another two hours to peg 25- right in the middle of the shallows.  I had about 3 feet of water but it was COLOURED unlike the tap water in the deeper pegs!!!! I had a run of bites from small fish finishing up with 30 for about a pound. There was the occasional swirl and fry scattering so I think there was a jack present but no runs on the pike rod.

The following Wednesday saw me back at peg 12 for a session that is etched into my memory. First cast with a half herring, setting up pole when I had a run, pole put to one side and I hit into what felt like a very big fish. I managed after 5 minutes to get it back to about 8m out when the hooks pulled! I put my last herring on the hook and cast out again. Managed to get the pole set up and began very slowly catching the odd small fish when another run – this time I connected with a jack of 6-8 that was duly returned. 1pm arrived and I had caught 6 small fish apart from the pike. I had tried mackerel without any success and had put a roach on the deadbait rod, I twitched the float closer so that is was level with my pole float, put the rod down and went to pick the pole up when the float bobbed then slowly went away!- pole to one side I hit into the fish and was greeted by the solid resistance of another big fish. I carefully played the fish in and was aghast when I saw the size of the crocodile in front of me- I could only get its head inside my 26inch net plus it was hooked by only one treble. Four attempts later I had managed to scoop half the pike into the net with half hanging over the side but has I began to retrieve the net the weight of the pike tipped the net overt, the hook caught in the net and the pike dropped into the water and rested there before slowly swimming off!To say I was gutted was an understatement but lesson learned – bring both nets with you in future!

Friday saw m,e return with just pike gear and a proper net! As I got settled the raion started and the bangs of the pheasant shoot began to get closer. After 2.5 hours they had arrived in my field and around peg 25, the rain was persistent and with no runs I decided to cut my loses and went home.


Sunday was the penultimate round of the winter league, this time at Radcot. Now Radcot has not treated me very kindly in the past and there is more chance of a very long walk than a short one. I drew for the team and ended up in D6 which was downstream from the Swan, permanent peg 8 I think- not a good draw by all accounts.The river was like tap water and plumbing up saw a very irregular bottom, indeed to my left at 10m you could see the bottom as it rose to form a plateau! I decided on a short 5m line, a line at 11m which was the same depth, and a waggl;er line across. A feeder was also set up. Two hours in I had my first bite and fish a gudgeon on 11m to a small piece of worm, in fact that was the only method and bait I could get a bite on and I ended up with 5 gudgeon and a perch of about 6 ozs for 0-10-0 and SECOND in section. To say it was hard …

The Isis A angler on the next peg E1 blanked, but so did our angler in E section! However elsewhere we did okay and were joint top on the day with House of Angling. We began the day 2 points behind Isis and ended the day with a 7 point lead and only one match left- on the canal!

It rained hard for a couple of days so I went to… yes peg 12 and the water was COLOURED(hurray). The bream did not show but a couple of net skimmers and net roach plus more of the 2-3oz fish showed what I had been missing. I lost one pike of 6-7lb when the hooks pulled again- must change that trace! Buoyed by the prospect of some proper fish I went back on the Sunday- I had the whole lake to my self again- but the water was once again gin clear with the bottom being visible 4 feet down and out to 3-4m. It was once again hard with just three small fish and a jack of 3lb with one other jack of 6-7lb lost- hooks pulled again- I think I am striking too soon but would rather strike too soon than risk the possibility of a deep hooked fish. I now take a second specimen net with me- just in case!

So to come….practice for the final match and then the final match of the winter league

A view of Bowood (pegs)

The view from the car  img_0403

420 paces to first gate, 60 paces to second then another 360ish to peg 12 and another 300 to peg 13! Who needs a gym when you have Bowood!

pegs13-to-17 View from peg 21.

peg21r View from 21 back towards the car!

Below (left to right) The bay at peg 18, Peg 19 to front and right. Note the platforms on the opposite bank here are reserved for Bowood staff.

Top left Peg 18, Bottom left Peg 19, right Peg 20 (island peg)

Top left view from 21 back past island to main part of lake, top right peg 22, bottom peg 23. Peg 12 can be seen on the far bank on the right.

peg11-winter14 Peg 11


Peg 4 the peg opposite is 24 with peg 25 another 30yards to the left out of shot!


View from peg 4 back towards the “shallows” and the car. Peg 25 can be seen opposite


Stuttering September

Early September is usually my favourite time to fish Bowood, the days tend to be warm and the bream are in a feeding mood.My first visit shattered this illusion, trudged down to the usual swims to find peg 12 taken so slipped into 11 – some 30 yards away. Began with 3 balls cupped in with some micros and wheat and slipped on a white and red maggot. Soon catching small roach and blades with the odd hand sized skimmer, tried the wheat but still the same stamp of fish so put on an expander for a few more fish of the same ilk. I stuck with the expander pellet as corn was not producing anything and finally lifted into a good fish that felt as if it may be a tench at first, certainly not a bream but then began fighting differently with a dogged resistance and odd run. I was amazed when it came to the net and saw it was a small carp, all 4-4 of it! Another target achieved! The session ended with a total of 12-12, not what I was expecting, but a carp at last from Bowood!

I have joined the Pewsey club and fish for their teams now, but had not been able to fish any of their matches up to this point due to other commitments. The approaching week-end saw me able to fish a match on their lake, the problem was I was not certain where it was exactly or what it was like, so a quite bit of research on Google maps located the lake and off I went mid week to see what it was like. Parking in the layby I managed to find the lake with a nice walkway laid down to the secluded lake- if you drove past on the lane you would not know it was there!

I plumped for a peg right in the middle (Peg 7) and was surprised to find on plumbing up that there was a decent depth of about 7 foot at 10m, width wise it was about 16m but I set up a small method feeder on an 8 foot Tri-Cast power wand to try there plus a BGT2 0.4g wire stem to fish at 10m with 0.10mm Shogun line to an 18.. I found that if I pulled the rig back a couple of inches that the depth shallowed up by 2 inches and I looked to fish right on this edge.. Beginning on the method I was soon into small carp on corn and after an hour I went onto the pole line which was now fizzing with the micros, wheat and groundbait I had cupped in. I had been loose feeding wheat and micros over the top for the hour I had spent on the method. Dropping in I began getting small roach on maggot at first, then on corn then on pellet before the larger fish moved in. I had a cracking crucian of 2-14, a bream of 2-6 a perch of 1-14 (all on pellet) plus a rake of small carp and one of 6-2. I reckoned on having 28 carp by the end and a total of over 35lb. A nice day’s fishing in pleasant surroundings.

I managed a couple of  short session down Bowood again before the week-end and firstly went into peg 9 just to see if the fish were still in the shallower water. I decided to stick with corn and managed 1 bream of 4-11 plus just over a pound of small roach. The next session saw me on peg 12 with just small fish for 4-0. The match at Pewsey arrived and I drew peg 3. I was expecting it to fish harder than the pleasure session and all the info was pointing to me being at the wrong end of the lake. I had an inviting far bank line and similar depth at 10m but no discernible variations. The match was disappointing from my point of view with it being a struggle once the sun was on the water. A couple of small carp on the method at first then nothing. A few small roach on the pole line, I lost one good fish that I hooked on the long pole, got back to netting range before it spooked in the clear water and raced off and the hook pulled! I managed to pinch another couple of small carp and weighed in 5-0, 3-12 of carp and 1-4 of silvers ( they have a separate silvers pool). Not a brilliant start to my Pewsey club matches but I did learn somethings for the future.

A session at Bowood on peg 6 was going well with a tench of 3-3 and a bream of 3-0 plus one of each being lost before a premature end was called due to a fully fledged storm with sheet and forked lightning!

A family holiday with the in-laws saw me return a couple of Sundays later for the first North Wessex Winter League match at Sutton Benger.I had warned the Pewsey teams that the first hour would be vital and once the sun got on the water they would struggle.I drew A6 which was permanent peg 3, for some reason they had put 3 pegs into the next field! The match began well and I had 2lb of small roach, dace and perch in the net after 40 minutes when the sun hit the water! It died and despite it going into shade for the last 30 minutes of the match I could only add 4 fish in the last 4 hours to weigh in 2-5. Upstream of me weighed in 9ozs, 1-14 then the ones in the other stretch weighed in 3-7, 3-13 and 8-7. The winner of the section, peg 1 was at least 300 yards above me and 100yds above peg 2, to say I was not chuffed with the pegging was an understatement, especially as I beat the next 5  downstream pegs from me .Team wise we did okay and were 2nd on the day only beaten by Isis on their home water by 2pts.

Tuesday saw me return to Bowood but again it was a struggle with peg 12 only producing 4-12, 4-5 of which was a tench hooked in its anal fin!The following day I was at Medley (Oxford) on the Thames fishing an MFS match. I drew peg 6 which in terms of our match was a peg about 3ooyds above the Perch Inn.Medley is a wide stretch of the river with depths of about 5-6ft but quite weedy at this time of year. I opted for a pole line at 11m where I fed groundbait and caster with loose fed caster and hemp over the top plus a waggler line about 3/4 across where I found the flow with a clear run through and catapulted maggots over this line from the start and every third run through with the pole. The match began slowly but I began to put together   a run of roach on the pole line before this died and I turned to the waggler for another run of roach before I hooked a good fish which I lost in a weed bed with the hook snapping. This signaled the end of the waggler line and with the pole line not producing I started a chopped worm line with an hour to go slightly further down stream in a clear patch and added some more roach and perch for a total of 6-11 and 5th overall.Pike had caused problems for many but I only lost two fish to pike.

Friday saw me back at Bowood peg 12 for 2-8 of small roach. It was frustrating as you would catch 3 or 4 then nothing. I suspected pike! The first  week of October was away with just the wife in the darkest depths of Devon and the opportunity to fish a series of small lakes in the valley where our lodge was situated. Nothing special over the week but plenty of roach, bream and the odd perch caught on wheat and corn.

Returning home I had the second round of the North Wessex Winter League at Clanfield the following day. B5 was my allotted swim (permanent peg 31). I had been told  that I would need to get into the water due to the big bed of rushes to my immediate downstream left and that a lot of chub up to 2lb had been showing- yeah right! I struggled to get anywhere safe in the water as as soon as I stepped in I sank into the cloying mud. I managed to position my box and hoped that the dispersal of my weight across its 6 legs would prevent me from disappearing! The match started and despite my optimism I could not get a bite on the pole line so the waggler came into play again.  By a constant trickle of loose feed I managed to catch chub – 2oz not 2lbs, and put together a weight of 4-8. The next peg downstream from me on our straight had 1 1/2 ozs, the section was won by the peg above me – 40m as the crow flies or 100m of river with 5-6.Second in section and the team slipped to 3rd on the day with Isis again winning and extending their lead over us to 5 points.

Wednesday saw me on the Thames at Windsor with MFS, drawing peg 15 I was well downstream with a longish walk. Setting up in the river again I found 12 foot plus at 10m and set up three rigs – a 1g, 1.5g and 2.5g Paster pattern that I have found works really well on the river.


I mixed up some Noire to get the bait down in the water quickly with casters and wheat in it. Waggler and feeder were both set up. The match starts and in the first hour I had 3 bites – a small dace and two small fish that came off on the way back! Meanwhile I could see the next peg down catch small fish consistently. Second hour – 1 bite a minute roach! Hours 3 and 4- hard for everyone, feeder produced nothing, waggler nothing, chopped worm nothing, downstream now also struggling. I then decided continuing doing the same would get me the same ie nothing! So I decided to spend the last hour on the feeder across the river close to the far bank trees. Maggot feeder on and launched across the river I held on to the rod, almost touch legering when I had a small rattle followed by another- a strike and a 3oz chub comes to the net. This continued for the final hour with small chub and roach making appearances at regular intervals, in fact I couldn’t get the feeder in fast enough at the end! Weigh in came and I put 3-15 on the scales for a section win and 3rd overall, a nice end to a disappointing match.

Friday saw me head back to peg 12 Bowood,after doing the weeks shopping,  with pike tackle  in tow.My previous visit had not produced a run but I thought it was worth continuing to take it. Lots of small roach (very small) came to the pole and I finally had a run which when I hit I felt a good fish before the hooks pulled! I was not a happy bunny! A second chance came an hour later and resulted in a lean jack of 3-14. The short session saw me land 160 roach and blades in the 4 hours for 6-4 (I said they were small)so the first double figure weight at Bowood(with the pike) for a long time!

It can only get better!

The end of summer

With the final round of the Summer League being at Patneys on the Sunday I went for a practice on the Thursday and decided to fish just for 3-4 hours but on the other back to last time . I ended up just past the end of the first island in open water and set up a top kit for close in plus another rig for 5-6m. The pattern followed the previous visit with fish coming immediately to the loose fed micros  with a banded pellet on the hook (I found this led to more fish being hooked). The average stamp was better than previously and best fish went just over 2lb, at the end of the2 and a half hours I had caught 100 fish – about 35lb and called it a day. I had managed a chat with the owner when he came around for the ticket money and he said that there had been some practicing the day before on the opposite bank and they had been catching bigger fish  by fishing 10m+. Another angler with his grandson was fishing a bit further round and when he came up to stretch his legs he was saying he was getting immediate bites on meat – all info that I locked away ready for Sunday.

Sunday came and for once I managed not to draw the scales. I found myself on B4 almost opposite where I had been on Thursday. The weather was not great with rain and wind forecast, indeed in front of me were the hills separating the Devizes road from the A4 London Road to Calne, these disappeared with the clouds and rain shortly after the start and did not reappear until after the end of the match. Interestingly Paul Rice and Lee Pollard, the two  in front of me in the league table had both drawn in A section which I could see to my left. The match started and after 10 minutes without a bite it became obvious that it was going to need a change of tactics. A small perch finally succumbed to a maggot on the close line but I needed to swap focus.

Thinking of what I had heard on Thursday I reached for my 11m rig ( a homemade special to 0.14mm and 0.12mm hook length and a 16 B11X) and cupped in a small ball of groundbait, a handful of micros and 10 4mm cubes of meat plus a few grains of corn. After twenty minutes I had a  carp around 2lb on expander which made me feel a little better, but I was adrift of Alistair Foreshaw on the next peg to my right (the point) who was caning out small fish on the whip.I decided that I needed to just keep on the 11m line and fed every 5 minutes or so with a pinch of micros and every 40mins cupped in another small ball with meat. The match followed a predictable path- feed, wait 20 minutes, get a bite…I had a couple of better carp of 6-7lb on meat plus a couple more around the 3-5lb and  a few of the stockies.

It was noticeable that apart from Alistair and Dougie Foreshaw who ironically was on the opposite point to Ali no one was really bagging. Several people were hooking and losing good fish or playing them for an age! I lost one real beast of a fish that bottomed me out and snapped my B611X hook! A section seemed to be struggling and I had not seen Lee or Paul catch much. The match ended and I was relieved that my fish went 28-10 for a second in section and third overall in the match. As it transpired Paul had had a nightmare with just 12ozs and Lee just over a pound and were well down the section. Back to the pub for the results and eventually it was announced that I had won the individual title by 1point.

August finished with me back at Witherington Farm with Tom and Simon- Simon has started to fish so that he can go with Tom. We plonked ourselves down on 78,79 and 80 on inner (Tom on 80 and Si on 79) Si was straight into fish on a margin whip and after struggling a bit, I lent him my margin pole and he had at least 40lb which was his best day to date, I had some carp across then late on in the margins for my regulation 52lb!

September arrived – but that will be for next time…( Bowood, Pewsey Lake, Thames, Winter League…)

Visit from China

End of July saw the penultimate round of the North Wessex Summer League at the Folly in Oxford. I went into the match tied on points as top individual with Pewsey colleague Chis “My Little Pony” Rushton but behind in weight. As it turned out I drew scales for the second match running and ended up on D1 with Chris also in D section on D5.

My peg was on the tow path at the rear of the care home  with the rest of the section around the corner mainly out of sight except for the corner peg  drawn by Craig Curtis. Plumbing up was eventful as apart from about 12foot of water at 11 metres my pole was cut in two half way along the number 4 section by a blind goose who managed to smash straight through it while his other 10 friends managed to fly over it with ease. I managed to ease the top section of pole back towards me and with the aid of organiser Darren Edgell on the end peg of C section finally retrieved it after about 5 minutes! Fortunately I was able to telescope the section as the goose had managed to make a clean break.

The match started and in between the walkers, boaters, canoeists…I managed to put together 27 roach, 7 perch, 5 bleak, 3 skimmers, 3 gudgeon, 2 chublets and a dace for 5-14. I couldn’t buy a bite on my chopped worm line and took all the fish over the 11m groundbait line together with about 5 reggies. I packed away sharpish and went to do my weighing duties knowing that Craig had caught well on both feeder and pole on the corner. First to weigh on the downstream end peg was Paul Rice with a section and match  winning 12-9 with a near 5lb bream plus perch.Craig ended up second in section and match with 12-2, my weight earned me 5 points, one few that Chris who had 2-11. At the end Chris told me he was away for the final match any way but it leaves me two points adrift in third going into the final match at Patneys.

August was disrupted in a sense as my younger son, Gareth was coming home for two weeks before returning to China where he is teaching English. He has been having an interesting time out there fishing wise including hooking a 20kg catfish from a wall 20foot off the water! More usually he has been getting tilipia and snakeheads on worm in one of the many cut offs from the Pearl River. Plus cracking bites off shrimps in a pond near his apartment.

The plan was to sort out the bits and pieces he needed to do then do some fishing !

First visit was an exploratory trip to Patneys, so that I could a) find it and b) have some idea of what it was like, as although it was quite close it was relatively new. Anyway we found it after asking some locals and proceeded to fish differently, I opted for corn at top two and Gareth fished maggot at top two plus 11m line with groundbait. Gareth had 250 fish in the 4 hours we were there, a mixture of small fingerling carp, roach perch and skimmers, while I had all carp except for 2 roach, 150 fish but mine were of a slightly better stamp with the best fish going 2lb+. So it looked like the match would be a fish race unless you could get the bigger carp coming consistently.

The next opportunity we had we went off to Witherington Farm in Salisbury and fished the inner snake as there was a match on the outer and busy elsewhere. A pleasant day with carp coming long and in the margins with us both having in excess of 56lb. Two days later I took Gareth to Viaduct as he had never been, we settled on Cary, Gareth on 75 and we on 76. 75 has a tree going out into the water and 76 has the aerator rope. Incidentally, the aerator was going all day. Gareth set up fishing close to the tree with corn, then paste and proceeded to lose the first 8 carp he hooked while catching skimmers and tench in between times, I started on the pellet waggler and had one fish of 7-8lb before fishing the pole at 11m and finally at 5m on meet. I had 8 carp  for approximately 80lb but lost 15! As Gareth lost yet another carp I gave him my top kit to use while I packed up my kit- fortunately this time he managed to land it!

Due to family visits we only had time for one more trip- this was to Larford where we set up on Specci pegs 28 (Gareth) and 29. I set up Gareth with a method feeder initially and he was soon catching skimmers and carp before trying the pole. I had a go on the pellet waggler but had just the one fish about 8lb and then swapped back and fore between the pole and pellet waggler (without much success). With a couple of hours before we had to go I primed the margins with groundbait and micros on both sides as did Gareth and soon the fish came in but were only moving through and not settling. I lost 4 as did Gareth then a group of larger fish moved in on my right and began to feed. I called Gareth and said for him to fish my swim with his pole while I packed my kit up. The result…


I think he smiled all the way home! We had one very short session on the river just with a whip where he caught roach, dace, perch and chublets before all too soon he was back off to China.

No time to rest though as on the Sunday I had a Feeder Masters qualifier at Keynsham on the Bristol Avon. To cut a very long story short the post code on the directions were wrong and a group of us (7!!!) were lost before we finally managed to get to the parking area. We were then faced with a walk across two football pitches and the same again through long uncut meadow. The premise of the qualifier is that if you win your section you go through to the final. I arrived at my peg C10 with about twenty minutes to spare and absolutely shattered from the walk, plus the realisation that Will Raison was in my section!

My peg was dodgy to say the least with a four foot drop down to a slope that led to an 8 foot drop to the water. I decided discretion was the best way forward and opted to set up right on top of the bank and managed to gingerly get down to position my keepnet so that there were at least 4 rings in the water and the opening facing me so I could put fish in the landing net and slide them into the keepnet that way. God only knows what to do if I needed to net a fish! We had been warned that the tide was due so there would be a 1m rise! Wrong, it was a 1m fall resulting in only the last ring of the net being in the water by the end of the match.


The match itself was underway before I was ready but I began by using a 30g feeder with a 60cm tail paternoster style to an 18 with double maggot.Noire  plus chopped worm and caster went into the feeder. The flow was towards the far bank and there was a nice crease at the edge of the two far bank trees, so I cast just over the crease and didn’t have to wait long before I was swinging in my first roach of the day. In fact the day went quite well with me casting every 3 minutes if I had not had a bite and I was getting plenty of interest from small roach, but hitting them was proving difficult. The bank runners were saying that everyone was the same with nobody claiming more than a few pounds. I managed to hook one better roach that I had to precariously make my way down to net but with an hour to go I swapped the feeder for a black cap one and had 10 casts with just maggots, a couple of roach came to this so I went back on the groundbait feeder and with 15minutes left I hooked a good fish that tried to get under my bank so after a few worrying minutes I just managed to slip the net under a good chub. (Thank god for 4m handles!). A couple of small roach ended the match and packing up I saw that I may be able to cut my journey back in half by going straight across the field I was in and over a style then across the driving range- still a good trek but better than the other way.

The scales arrived and I weighed in 6-11, which they all seemed to think woulsd win the section as no-one was claiming more than 5lb. (I thought this was too good to be true as match anglers always claim less than they have!) I trudged back to the car along with the chap below me and waited for the return of the others. I was right in my assessment as a certain Mr Raison had 6-15 and another angler had 7-10, I was third. I drove home happy in the knowledge that I had done reasonably well from the peg.

Two days later I ventured to Bowood and parked my self on peg 7 with a nice colour in the water, 10 minutes later I was shifting my stuff to Peg 8 as I could not find a clear spot to fish! I had a clear area at 10m in peg 8 and started in my usual manner but only 3 balls of groundbait this time with some micros, wheat and corn. There was obviously a pike around as the water would intermittently erupt with small fish scattering followed by a swathe of bubbles as the pike cleared its gills. For once it did not chase any fish I hooked but I did lose one foul hooked in the tail and another snatched at my corn before throwing the hook. I ended up with 100 roach/rudd and 2 small skimmers plus a pike of 5-3 taken on the jelly lure during one of its attempts of scattering a shoal! A total of 11- 04. Not a typical Bowood weight but it kept me busy!

Next stop Patneys and the final round of the Summer League!


Return to Bowood

The end of June saw the second round of the North Wessex Summer League at my least favourite venue – Horcott Lakes near Fairford. Horcott is renowned for its carp and tench but it is not a match venue! Catching a fish was the team plan! – with any microscopic rudd showing to be targeted. Previous visits had resulted in a blank (losing two carp in the abundant weed) and a 10 oz weight of small rudd. A couple of days before the match we were advised that as the main lake was fishing so poorly, two sections would be put on the little lake behind it.

The day came and with a late start and a pre-match barbecue it felt quite civilised apart from the impending sense of doom of where you may draw! Sections A and B were to be on the main lake with shorter walks while C and D  were on the little lake with C1 being the longest walk- yes you’ve guessed it, I drew peg 1 and ended in C section, so a long walk plus the scales.

My peg was interesting to say the least, crystal clear water, gravel bars at 35m with thick weed in abundance. You could see fish (carp and tench) moving across the bars so I set up a feeder to cast to the bar, a waggler and was not going to set the pole up but spotted Lee on the opposite bank (D section) set one up and as it is his water I thought I had better do so. With all the weed I decided on a red hydro with 0.18mm Shogun and 0.16mm hooklength to a 16. Depth wise I found about 5 feet at 11.5m and beyond that it began shallowing up and getting weedier.

On the whistle I cupped in three large cups of loose groundbait and two solid balls plus a half pot of micros with a few grains of corn and a bout 60 casters on to my pole line then went on the feeder with a drilled pellet. I began leaving it out for no more than a couple of minutes at first to get some bait down then left it longer with trying different baits for the next hour. Only indication was a liner from a carp that got the line caught round it’s dorsal, other than that- nothing. On the other bank I could see Lee and Chris Rushton,  Lee had already lost one carp that got weeded and Chris had got a tench. I could not see anyone  in my section due to the trees protruding out into the water. I had a quick dalliance with the waggler over the gravel bar but soon decided to come in on the pole line that I had been feeding with 10 casters every 5 minutes or so. I put on double red maggot so see if I could get any interest and after ten minutes the float lifted and on striking the red hydro shot out and after a short but nerve wracking fight I had a tench in the net- result!

The rest of the match went in similar fashion with bites coming at infrequent intervals I managed to lose 8 tench with the hook pulling as I tried to keep them out of the weed and snags but managed to land 5. Chis and Lee had had a similar experience but Lee had managed to land a carp on this carp rod set up and Chris managed to land a tench on the whistle. Lee’s carp weighed 6-7 and won the Golden Fish (biggest fish instead of Golden peg), he also won the match with 24-4, Chris was second with 21-7 and Paul Rice was third from the main lake with 16-4 of rudd. I won C section with 14-03 and was 4th overall with the next weight being 5lb in the section. Team wise we finished 4th on the day with two blanks (main lake) a third and my section win. As I said – not a match venue!

The next week it was Friday before I could get out and and a first visit of the season to Bowood. I made the usual walk down to the main field and was greeted with the shallows covered in weed, I decided to fish peg 6 which had enough gaps in the weed to fish comfortably. I began with my usual 3 balls of groundbait and a cup of loose with some wheat and casters I had left over from the previous match at Horcott placed just over the weed bed into a clear patch at 10m.IMG20160701120617

The next 5 hours flew by and was frustrating in that I had 64 roach/skimmers each of which was chased by pike, lost another 16 when pike took them and either pulled out or bit me off but I did get one of 8-10 that only just managed to get in the net!


Once the sun came up about 11 0’clock the pike seemed to back off and I began getting some better fish. I always feel summer has arrived when you get the first tench of the season and although I had them at Horcott I felt this first one at Bowood was special – only 3 -6, but the first of the season at Bowood.


This was followed with further ones of 4-0 and 5-4 plus a bream of 3-2 to give me a total of 31-10. A pleasing start to the season.IMG20160701123405


The Sunday saw me back at Larford for another MFS match. This time I drew peg 66 on the Chalet bank and found my peg to be at the end of the chalets with a tree to my right about 10m away and open water with lots of cruising fish! The owner of the last chalet was doing some work and had his door wide open with Radio 2 on so we had music all match!

I set up a pellet waggler, method feeder and three pole rigs – one for the margin down by the tree, another for the 5m line and the final one at 11m. Basically started on the method and had one liner , so went on to pellet waggler for next hour and despite many cruising fish only had one of about 9lb. Onto the pole line which had been fed with 4 balls at the start plus loose fed pellet in between. A couple of skimmers and  pulled out of one carp, landed another couple of about 5lb. Nothing on the 5m line so with 2 hours to go cupped in three pots of loose groundbait and a big pot of micros with some corn in a little bay next to the tree which had a depth of about 3 foot. Ten minutes later I am into the first of several carp, again losing 4 and managing to shatter into 4 pieces another top kit with red hydro in but managed to land the fish using 12 inches of pole!! At the weigh in the middle section (mine) appeared to have fished hard and I ended up with second in section for my 51-4. MFS matches tend to only pay sections so I picked up for the second match running- happy days!

Two days later I am back at Bowood same peg but this time armed with a spinning rod and a few jelly lures just in case the pike showed again. Started usual way, first put in, roach…taken by pike and bitten off! Out comes the spinner and third cast a pike of 7-10 is landed. Back to the pole and a lot slower than previous visit, possibly due to the wind and cooler temperature that meant I fished in my jacket! Ended the session with 23-14, another small jack of 2lb and three bream of 4-10, 4-4 and 3-4. Losses were 8 pike and 1 bream.


The next week was spent away on holiday with the in-laws. Arrived back on the Saturday and had a match on the Sunday- back to Theale with MFS. If you have read the previous visit’s blog you will know that I fished peg 57 (the swearing peg) and lost 20 carp! Managed to get to the draw at a reasonable time and drew – 57! So this was the chance to put into practice any lessons learned from the previous visit. Set up in a similar fashion to previous match with a 11m line on a red KND hollow (purple hydro equivalent but a bit softer), 5m line on a 12-14 hollow and a margin on red hydro. The big difference this time was the water had gone down about 18 inches so instead of setting up on top of the bank I was able to go to the water level. The match started as previously with three pots of loose and one hard ball plus micros and corn, but put about 1m further away from the tree than last time. Five minutes later float buried and first fish in net successfully!

first carp

The long line lasted about an hour or so with 14lb clicked and then only one fish in second hour- mistake one- stayed on long line too long! Into third hour and looked at 5m line where I had potted 4mm meat, managed to get a run of fish there before moving into the margins on my left where there were fish moving. First put in lost a lump that went straight into roots before I could stop it. Lesson learned and moved towards me by about a metre and picked up odd fish for rest of match. Weighed in 54-13 which more than doubled my previous attempt and only lost 11 carp. An improvement but still not good enough!

Tuesday saw me back at Bowood, startling a deer and buzzard on my drive down the lane to the parking.This time I decided to fish a bit further up into the deeper water and moved up 3 pegs to the next “fishable” one- peg 9. No pike trouble this time and with tench crashing about in the shallows around peg 3 it looked as if the hot weather had begun  spawning activity as tench chased tench through and over the weed beds all morning. The fish were hard to get and I persevered with corn  (because I had forgotten to pick up the maggots!) to get 5 tench 2-10, 2-10, 3-6,4-1 and 4-8 plus a small bream of 2-2 with just 1 tench lost.

The Sunday saw me back at Bowood but I had decided on an early start so I was there fishing at 6:30 having driven past 3 deer standing proud in the field next to the entrance and then came upon a stag with a full set of antlers standing in the middle of the track before thinking best of the situation and running off into the woods. Hundred yards on and I startle a buzzard who flies off with its prey in it’s talons. It is so easy to get blase about seeing these magnificent creatures, I keep reminding myself of how fortunate I am.

Back to peg 9-



Started in usual manner with the 5 balls of grounbait being cupped in with a liberal helping of wheat, micros and a few kernels of corn. Maggot on hook to start got a few fish in the net with no sign of pike.Change to corn saw nothing so I tried an expander- I had frozen a small bag sometime ago and had brought it to try as a change bait. A couple of plucks from the roach before a slight lift and I hooked into a hard fighting fish. After a struggle to get it out of the weed and turning some powerful runs which made me suspect a pike I was shocked when this appeared


My first carp from Bowood, albeit only 3-10. No further bites on expander so back on maggot and then rotating with corn saw a tench of 3-6 make an appearance by 10am. From 10 until 12 when i packed up I had a further 4 tench 3-12, 4-4, 4-6 and a PB for Bowood 5-5 a pike of 6 10 that took an 8oz skimmer with 1 further pike and 2 tench being lost. A nice net of 36-6.



Poor Decisions?

June is almost over and not added to this for a time so this could be longer than usual! End of April saw me at Larford again , this time for the Feeder Masters, a new competition in which you can only use a feeder- any type as long as it is a feeder and you cast overhead! I was there in plenty of time, drew Match lake peg 56 and set up a fixed elasticated feeder on one rod and a 30g open end feeder on the other. Groundbait was a 50-50 mix of Maryukyu 131 and 161 with a couple of handfuls of micro pellets added. On the whistle I had 8 casts with the open ended feeder to get some bait down then went over the top of it with the fixed method feeder and a drilled8mm pellet. The first hour saw only one small skimmer on the method so I switched to the open end feeder (and stayed on it for rest of match). The odd small carp came along together with the occasional skimmer but the match was made harder when we had a really prolonged hail storm that left the area white with my nets covered. The pictures below are taken an hour after the hail finished!

The match was slow for many with the angler on my left tipping back one small carp of a pound, I weighed in (for the hell of it) 9-9 with the end peg on my right weighing in 19lb. He had probably the same quantity of fish, but they were a better stamp.

May came and the first week I was away on a family holiday taking my wife’s elderly parents to a lodge at Hornsea. Nothing on our return but the following Sunday was the first leg of the North Wessex Summer League, a team of four event and I was making my debut for Pewsey after leaving Swindon Isis. The first match was on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Kintbury and the talk was of needing to be in the first few pegs in A section. As team captain for my team I managed to draw peg 7 and the section draw put me in A- result! When I set off for my peg I walked past all the pegs that peole were talking about and was about 75 yards further past the junction with the Kennet, a nice set of trees covered the far bank and I was hopeful. On my left and end peg was newly sponsored Ian Spanswick, a real threat on the canal and further down on my right was Tony Leech and then veteran Arthur Cook.  I set up three rigs- a 1.5g rig for down the track (the canal can tow like a river at times here), a 0.5g rig for down the track and a 0.5g rig for over at the edge of the trees. Depth wise I had about 4foot down the track and 3 foot along the tree line. The match started and Ian was straight into fish on the pole feeder, catching 3 skimmers before I had my first bite – gudgeon. I persevered with the track at the start for the first hour while feeding the tree line. I had a couple of small skimmers and roach before moving across after about an hour and a half. Ian began to slow down and I began to pick up the odd skimmer  with the best fish about 2lb.

The canal here is famous as it still has a horse drawn barge that day trippers can enjoy,we had been warned there would be a trip out and sure enough about 1pm the horse came past with the rope being eased over our heads. After the canal settled Ian began to get the odd skimmer as I did but with an hour to go I hit into a bream about 3lb that pulled a large length of elastic out before porpoising and throwing the hook. The match finished with me weighing in 6-4 with Ian weighing in an 8lb weight for the section and the match, so the lost fish cost me, I was second in section and picked up the section by default.

On to the end of May and an MFS match at Theale. This was a nice change as it was an 11am draw and fish 1 to 6pm, so there was no rush but I still managed to get there ultra early before the gate to the lane opened! I drew peg 57 which was a really fishy looking peg with a tree in the water, the downside was the overhanging branches that made fishing a feeder very difficult if not impossible. Before the start one comment about my peg was – “oh, you got the swearing peg”, I was to find out why it had that nickname very soon!

I decided to feed 3 swims – a margin swim to my left under the trees, a 5m line and an 11m line which was fizzing before the start. Elastics were a 10-13 on the 11m line, a 14-16 on the margin rig and a  black hydro on the 5m line. It began well enough, fed the three swims one cast with the feeder confirmed my suspicions about its practicality and so went onto the 11m line with meat. After 4minutes the video shows what happened! To cut a long painful story short I weighed in 23-8 after losing 20 carp with the hook pulling or them snagging in the tree, despite me changing to red hydro on the 11m line. I did two things wrong in particular, firstly I totally ignored the 5m line after finding a snag, the match was won on the 5m line on meat; secondly I should have stuck with the original elastic but baited the 11m another couple of metres to my right away from the tree and lifted towards the tree to encourage the carp to stay in open water. I am going back for another MFS match in July- we will see!

Into June and with Larford Fisho coming up on the Sunday I went to Witherington to spend the day with young Tom. We went on the inner snake and walked around the back end. We were soon into fish and although Tom didn’t get as many carp as he hoped for I took the opportunity to fish long and although the day was not spectacular on reflection I realised I had caught over 50lb of carp plus the odd skimmer.

Onto Larford and I drew Speci peg 34 – if I could have chosen my peg this was it! I managed not to run to my peg and was greeted with the sight of carp cruising everywhere. I turned out to be end peg on the bank as 35 was not drawn, two pegs away I had previous champion Steve Jackson. I had planned to attack the peg with a method and look on the 5m line with meat later in the match, but also set up a pellet waggler. As it turned out the fish were there but not interested, I had one skimmer on the method and then looked on the long pole line for nothing, 5m line-nothing and spent most of my time on the pellet waggler. I ended up with a disappointing 1 skimmer, 4 small pasty sized carp for about 2lb and one proper carp for a 16-6 total. Steve Jackson had about 3-4 carp and tipped back, the lad from Farnborough next to me had about the same and tipped back. Another year of Fisho over for me!

Onwards and the next Saturday was at Rolfs in Oxfordshire for another MFS match. I drew peg 24 which is on the car park bank so nice short walk! Rolfs is one of the venues where any carp over 10lb have to be weighed and returned straight away so there are a series of scales and weighing stations with troughs of water every 3 pegs for this to happen with a board to record your witnessed weight. I had read up a bit about the tactics and began on the 11m line  toss potting in a few 4mm pellets and a couple of grains of corn, I also put a couple of handfuls of pellet and corn down both margins. The match went quite well with 4 board fish to 12lb, most fish coming to the 11m line with a few down the margin later on. The key was to keep lifting and dropping the bait.  I think I lost about 8 fish. At the weigh in I had 71-13 for third in section beaten on the left by Billo who had 3 board fish in the last 10mins for 86lb and Shuar (Josh) who had 91lb on the end peg to my right.

Snapshot 1 (20-06-2016 17-24)

One downside was my top kit with the red hydro exploded into 4 pieces whilst playing a “board” fish, so I had an interesting time netting the fish!

The final jaunt was to the Glebe outside Hinckley for the MFS Hillbilly pairs event, spread over the Friday and Saturday. There was a random draw for pairs with one on Pool 1 and the other on Pools 4,5,6,7 on the first day, reversing for the second. A great experience but a shocking result for me over the two days with some poor decision making. Day 1 drew peg 67 on Pool 4, had only one margin peg to my right, 2 Four feet pegs at 10 and 2 o’clock approximately 2+2 and an 11m line plus feeder. Managed to clip up the feeder so it was within inches of the far bank and managed a few fish, losing 4, after spending half hour on my 11m line only to pull out of the first fish hooked! On to the 11m line again and a few fish again, nothing on the two 4 feet lines and finally a few fish down the margin. Lost 7 fish in total, weighed in 31lb, peg 66 (corner peg) had 46lb, the peg on my right had 15lb, then 102, 89, 68, 111lb. On reflection I probably fed too heavily, especially in the margin as the wind was blowing down the other end of the pool and I don’t think I had that great a head of fish in front.

Snapshot 1 (20-06-2016 19-13)

Day 2 saw me on Pool 1 peg 5 – I later found out that Shuar had won the lake on day 1 with 182lb using groundbait and maggots (what bait didn’t I bring!). I had a bush on both sides of me so two margin pegs, two four feet lines at edge of bushes and an 11m line. Began a lot more frugally with the feeding and I had taken the decision to mix it up by feeding a mixture of micros and 6mm pellets at 11m with a little groundbait, 10 o’clock was hemp and corn as was the left margin, 12 o’clock was pellet A positive start with 14lb on the clicker in the first hour at 11m, then two lost fish saw the swim die. I tried the 10 and 2 lines- nothing, back on 11m and picked up the odd fish. Swapped back and fore the 11m and 10+2 lines but only caught on 11m line, tried the margins with two hours to go and had three tench and one small carp from the left margin and a couple of perch and one lost carp from right margin. I could see the fish going in and out the right margin but the were not having it. All the while in the last hour I could hear splashing from the other side of the bush as they were obviously feeding and getting caught on the next peg! Last 10 minutes I had 3 fish from the 10 o’clock swim- my only 3 bites in two days there!

I weighed in 42lb and was really fed up. Lost 8 carp in total. Scone won section on peg 1 with 150lb+ despite letting a carp of about 8lb roll back before it could be weighed. Jay (Pellethead) on my left, had 120lb catching on the 5m line, down the margins late on and shallow at 16m, the other side of the bush weighed in 68lb. A great venue but poor decision making cost me, Scone said to me afterwards- “How many times a year do you fish this place?” to which I replied 1, “so don’t beat yourself up about it”. True words, but I need to get my decision making sorted as I feel I am having to many blank periods in matches. As an aside- just to make me feel worse- Andy Kinder won Pool 4 and the match with 212lb from the margin in (you guessed it) peg 67.

Onwards and upwards has to be my mantra!





April Follies

April promised to be a busy month in terms of matches with 7 I was committed to including 2 further Fishomania qualifiers, a Feeder Masters qualifier and 3 MFS matches.

Match 1 was an MFS silvers match at Barston, a venue I always enjoy going to. The early start meant I had to scrape the frost off the windscreen as it was -2 when I set out but ensured I was there in plenty of time for a bite to eat and drink before the draw in the lounge area of the Golf Club. The talk was of needing higher numbers and certainly past the mid 20s – I drew peg16, second peg as the match started at 14, so a short walk but not a promising area. As it was a float only event, I set up a waggler plus 3 pole rigs for my 4 foot swim – a 0.5g wire stemmed BGT2 with strung shot for fishing on the drop with a 20 to a  0.10mm hook-length, a 1g Paster with a bulk about a foot from the hook and one no 8 stotz as a dropper with a 20 to a 0.10mm hook length and a homemade wire stem black bristle taking 0.6g to 0.10mm and an 18.

At the start I cupped in two solid balls and two pots full of loose groundbait with a smattering of dead maggots and casters on the 14.5m line and one ball with casters at 11m. I primed the waggler line with about 30 casters. Things didn’t go to plan and the wicked wind blowing into my face did not help, to cut a long story short it was over an hour and a half before I had a bite and by the end of the match I had managed to get  a few skimmers for a level 6lb. The guy on 14 had 7lb, including a proper bream, the next peg 18 had 7 fish for 19lb mostly caught short at 6-7m!

No time to relax my next match was on the Wednesday at Woodlands View, a Fishomania qualifier. The draw saw me on Back Deans peg 43 and the wind and poor weather had followed me again. To say it was hard was an understatement but I weighed in to see what I had – my 3 carp and silvers went 19lb, the guy on my left had tipped back less than me, the one on my right had 4 carp-30lb!! Was glad to finally get home!

Yet again a couple of days to sort things out then back to Viaduct for yet another Fishomania qualifier.This time the weather was kinder than the previous visit and I drew what I thought was a good peg- 97. The next 5 hours was pure frustration, the carp were showing but not having it. I had one of 4lb on the bomb and pellet and pulled out of another that I thought was foul hooked. A change to the pellet waggler at 30-40m resulted in another 3 carp of 3lb and 2 at 10lb and another 3 lost that may have been foul hooked and another 2 where the hook pulled at the net. All the time I had been priming my 5m line with meat so with an hour to go I went on the pole with a homemade short tipped, long stem float, 0.18mm line straight through to a 16 and a piece of meat ripped off a slice about a 6mm pellet size.  Had 4 bites, hooked 4 big carp, lost all 4 at the net when the hook pulled. Result 27-8 (10 carp lost in total- I was not a happy bunny!)

Next day was more of a fun match at Peatmoor Lagoon, in Swindon, for the annual Peatmoor v Three Counties match, this is very laid back and very sociable but the standard of angling can be good also. I arrived at the car park puzzled why there was no one there apart from Pete the organiser, then I realised that the match was 9am to 2pm not 9am draw! Thankfully I am usually always early so I had arrived at 8:25, peg 20 had been drawn for me so off I trotted! My wand came out of the bag with a small open end feeder attached and 0.8mm hook-length to a 20. The pole was kept to one top given the time constraint with the depth being identical at 10 and 14.5m, the homemade black tipped wire stem used at Barston was pulled into service with the depths being very similar. I was ready as the whistle sounded and cupped 3 balls of groundbait with a few casters on to the 10m line, a single ball with a handful of casters at 14.5m then went on the feeder. Second cast I had a slow pull and a 8oz skimmer was in the net, then…nothing. After an hour I went on to the 10m line and had a couple of half ounce roach then nothing. Back on the feeder, all the time I had been priming the 14.5m line with 10 casters every 5-6 minutes, hoping to catch in the last hour. A few more spaced out  solitary roach on the feeder then it died completely, back on the pole and a few more small roach. Last hour came an I went out on the caster line and had a bite but bumped it, five minutes later same thing happened, so I decided to change my top kit for a soft set no3 guessing that the bream would not show and I needed to catch these roach. Next 40 minutes saw a procession of small roach being fed into the net. When the scales arrived it transpired that it had been grim  and my 2-0 was top weight with four to weigh- I ended up 3rd with a late bream beating me 3 pegs away and Pete on the end peg had found 7 small bream for 10lb

Next up was an MFS silvers match at Boddington. I really enjoy this match because the roach fishing is fantastic. Peg 46 so a longish walk compared to some, I set up a video with the intention of recording part of the match as I had Ian Leach, a Welsh international, next to me but somehow it did not record!. The match started with me cupping in three balls and a pot of loose at 6m and two further balls at 13m, in the time I had done this Ian had deposited 12 babies heads at 13m and caught 2 fish!!!I had set up a waggler, the pole for 13m and a 5m whip with a Chinese float to fish on the drop in the last 3 foot of the 10 foot of water. Apart from a short dalliance with the pole and the waggler I stuck to the whip and managed 18-9 made up of 96 roach. A great days fishing, Ian after a quiet period had changed to fishing shallow and gave a master class of catching the smaller roach ending up with over 30lb. I was third in my section- they pay top two!

The last match was another MFS silvers event, this time at Larford, with a slight twist. In this match any carp caught would count but only for 1lb. I drew peg 22 on the Specimen Burr bank and set up a feeder and two pole rigs. One pole rig was the Paster set up used at Boddington as I had top 4 depth of water at 11m. the other was a homemade float to 0.18mm line and a 16 hook- this was for my short line. The feeder set up was different than normal in that you are allowed fixed feeders at Larford, so I had a clip swivel attached to the end of the line with a 6 inch twizzled section. This would allow me to swap elasticated method feeders or put a normal feeder on and attach a hook length. Whistle sounded and I cupped in 3 balls on the 11m line and a few casters. The short line received a pot of 4mm cubed meat and casters. I had a few casts with the method and a pellet just to see if there was any response but soon changed to a 30g standard feeder with a 0.10mm hook-length to an 18 with double red maggot.

After a few casts I began to get indications and then had 3 skimmers in the 1 and a half bracket before it went quiet. A switch to the pole resulted in a couple more skimmers before that went quiet and so back to the feeder but no response. I then made the mistake of discounting the feeder and concentrated on the 11m line until the last hour, with the odd flurry of skimmers but a poor hour and a half in the middle with only one fish proved costly. Into the last hour and I moved onto the short line that I had been feeding meat on with some micros throughout the match. A couple of skimmers around 2lb came to this and a couple of missed bites when with about 20minutes to go I struck into a bite with a loud crack, the pole now looked like a huge swingtip! I quickly shipped back and got hold of the top kit; the pole had snapped 2inches up the top kit! However, my attention turned to the yards of elastic that were streaming out of the remnants of the top kit, I was still attached to what must be a carp!   Fortunately I was on a puller system so was able to begin to exert some control over the fish by retrieving the elastic and constantly changing the direction of side strain applied. After what seemed an age the fish came into netting range and I managed to net my 1lb carp- all 18-07 of it!


The match finished with me taking another small skimmer off the 11m line and the scales showed 27lb of skimmers plus my 1lb for the carp for a total of 28lb! The width of the carp was surprising- a comment at the weigh in was – “look at its head it’s like a baby’s”.

Next match is at end of April at Larford for the Feeder Masters.