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 http://www.blacklandlakes.co.uk/
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