Season closes at Bowood

Well another year over at Bowood and a totally different experience to last year. March Began with me at peg 11 on St David’s Day and me leaving three hours later frozen and biteless! I gave Bowood a rest and turned my attention to Fishomania. I had managed to get 4 tickets this year, two at Viaduct, Woodlands View and Larford and it must be said that I have no illusions of winning it but view it as an opportunity to learn and gain more experience of big match atmospheres.

The trip down to Viaduct was interesting in that it was freezing cold, windy and I drove through sleet and then snow to get there. The complex is set in a valley and was buffeted all day by gale force winds. At the draw the talk was of Campbell 113 and 114 being the form pegs, so when I pulled out 114 I was pleasantly surprised and looking forward to catching a few ! Arriving at 114, I was greeted by a peg set out from the bank on staging with the gale hitting it head on and the odd fish topping.Setting up I decided to use mainly bomb with a pole set up in case they moved in range. First mistake! The wind caught me when I was setting up the pole and the number 6 section disappeared in to the water just out from the bank- despite trying to scoop it out with the landing net, it remains in the murky waters !

So top five was going to be my pole line! By the time the all in went I was frozen despite having multiple thermal layers on. It had been noticeable that the topping fish were slightly to my right and then on the all in disappeared completely! Bomb cast out with a 10mm pellet on a stop, I began to get the odd nudge and rattle from small fish before after 20 minutes or so the guy on 115 hooked and landed a carp around 6lb, as he was landing his fish my tip pulled around and I was into a good fish that eventually kited to my left before the hook pulled. On retrieve I had a scale on the hook, confirming my suspicion that it was a foul hooker. The next four hours were spent me watching the guy on 115 bag up on the bomb, despite trying various baits I could not get a run of fish and ended up with 6 carp for 38-3, losing 3 foul hooked fish in total, beating the guy on my left who had 5 plus one tench, 115 (Matt Greening)won the match with 160lb+ with 129lb second from the peg opposite him. Many had packed up and gone before the end of the match with the conditions being horrendous for those like myself with the wind coming straight into you.

I had a bit of a break then but managed to get down to Bowood for the last day of the season, still on peg 11 although there were 3 others down there for a change. I potted out a small handful of micro pellets on to my 10m pole line before setting up, I discovered I had left my groundbait on the side in the garage so it was going to be a loose feed jobbie today! Pike rod was duly made ready with a “joey” as bait and lobbed out very close to where I had potted in the micros. I set up a white hydro top with a homemade float taking a no4, 2 no8 and 2 no10 droppers to a 20 on 0.10mm Shogun hook-length. Put a plummet on and checked I had got the right depth, then went to put a couple of maggots on only to see the pellet waggler I was using as a pike float disappear, a quick strike and after a short fight a pike of 7-14 was in the net!


The pole was slow but I was beginning to get a few bites from small skimmers, by loose feeding a pinch of micros every 4 minutes or so together with 3-4 maggots (I was catapulting out more than this really but the majority were floating casters from my month old maggots! I was hoping the noise would attract the fish but not feed them).

After an hour the pike float went again, this time a fish of 8-06


That was the end of the pike action for the day but I then had a run of tench interspersed with a few better skimmers and two roach. The biggest tench managed to snag my pike kit so ended up playing tench and pike kit! The tench went 4-14, 3-14, 3-10, 3-09,3-08 plus I lost another when the hook pulled. Altogether at the end of the day a total of 23-12 in the net , made it a round 40lb including the pike for a good farewell from Bowood! As others packed up it was a tale of not doing very well so I was pleased with my day.


Fickle February and that “B” section!

Last day of January saw me back on the K&A at Pewsey for the third round of the Teams of 4. Incredibly I drew B7, B section again and although in the trees my bonus this time was a crayfish! 24 small fish for 0-11-8 and last in section. Despite trying for a skimmer or big perch I did not get a bite on my “bonus” set-up. Team did equally as well and we are definitely the strongest team as we are holding the rest of the league up!

Into February and my first visit to Bowood (peg 11) saw a change in fortunes with bream of 3-14 and 3-6 coupled with a lost tench saw me with plenty of action on the pole plus a pike of 5-5 and 3 missed runs. The bream came to double maggot while joey mackerel did the damage with the pike. Buoyed by this relative success I returned the next day to find no large fish and no runs on the pike rod, having to be satisfied with a clutch of small fish for 1-8-0.

A day off to do the shopping followed but I was back on the Friday and it was a frustrating tale of lost/missed fish. I ended up with 2-12-0 of small fish but lost a pike about 5-6lb on the pole at the net, a large bream at the net plus an unseen fish possibly a tench but may have been a pike. Adding to my chagrin were a further two missed runs on the pike rod.

The following week I did no better with 2-8-0 of small fish and no runs, but at least I did not lose any fish! Friday saw me head of to Salisbury and Witherington Farm to fish with young Tom. Chatting to the guy in the tackle shop there had been some sport with silvers to be had on the first couple of pegs on the snake. A slow start finally saw Tom begin to catch after missing 6 bites, which prompted me to adjust his tackle slightly, he then began catching roach up to 6ozĀ  and the odd skimmer wqhile I happily plodded along getting roach and skimmers while keeping an eye on Tom.

Sunday saw the final round of the Teams of 4 at Pewsey and someone somewhere must be having a laugh at me as yet again I drew B section, not content with that I had exactly the same peg as round 1! So in 4 matches I drew B13, B10, B7, B13!

Starting on the punch I caught sporadically but when the first bank walker came up after two hours my 13 fish were winning the section, sadly after a couple of boats went through the punch line died and I struggled to to get anything other than “pairs of eyes” on the squatt, nothing on the worm or caster. By the whistle my 1-4-0 gave me 4 points out of 9, with the ones above me all having bonuses. C’est la vie! The team points total was 8 so we stayed as the strongest team!

Following week saw me back at Bowood, not hopeful as we had an overnight temperature of -4C but a pike of 3-6 and bream of 2-10 lifted the spirits slightly. Couple of days later I was back but the underfoot conditions were so bad last timeĀ  I had decided to take the seat-bag and waggler for a change. A very pleasant day fishing caster saw plenty of bites and 2-8-0 of small fish.

On the Sunday I took the same kit but had amended my pike tackle , replacing the slim cigar style pike float with a pellet waggler that took the same amount of shot but was lighter and smaller. The thinking being perhaps the resistance of the float was the cause of the missed runs. Casting out with a bait on I found I had got the depth wrong and as I begin to retrieve a pike took the sardine, unfortunately it was only lightly hooked in the lip and as I drew it over the net the hook hold gave and it flipped away- another lost fish, this time about 8lb. No further pike action and a busy day with the roach saw me accumulate 4-4-0 by the end.


Two days later I was back with the same kit but this time I went across the other bank and walked the 1100+ paces to peg 20. I wanted to fish the feeder and set myelf up with the feeder clipped up at 50 turns of the handle with a pike bait 20 odd yards out to the left so it was in my sight-line. A few quick casts to get some bait down and I began to get bites from small roach and after putting about 10 in the net I hit into a bite only to be met with the solid resistance of a good fish. I was not sure what it was as it plodded about with the odd head shake but it was very difficult to get it to move. After 5 minutes I had it about 25 yards out and it kited to my left and managed to tangle the pike kit.So now playing the fish and the pike tackle I slowly managed to get the fish within netting range, then I saw it! A pike of 15lb+ hooked in the tail! Gently I steered it towards the net but could not get its head in the net, just as I got half of its body across the net the hook pulled! Despite a quick lift of the net the pike swam off! I was left with such a tangle that I had to redo both sets of tackle and when I started again the disturbance had obviously moved the fish off and I only had two further bites.

Same tackle but this time on the waggler on peg 11 was my next outing and remarkably I had one bite on the pike rod a jack of 3-8-0 and nothing, nado, zilch on the waggler. I put this down to the bitterly cold easterly wind and packed up after 3 hours. So ended February! I think I lost more fish this month than the rest of the year put together!