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.