A November to forget!

This will be a very short update on what has turned out to be a bad month with the death of my father-in-law up in Yorkshire on the 15th curtailing any opportunities to get out on the bank.

The month began badly with the penultimate round of the North Wessex Winter League taking place at Radcot on the Thames. Now Radcot is my least favorite venue on the Thames as it is so peggy and affected by the weather. This match was to prove this in abundance. I drew the last downstream section F2 which gave me the board also. I had a straight featureless peg with a depth of about 9-10 feet at 13m with a bitter wind off my left shoulder. I set up a waggler, a feeder and two pole rigs – one with a 5g Blues  float to have some control and a lighter 2g Paster both had a20 to 0.08mm hook-length. I started cautiously and cupped in 3 balls of groundbait with a few casters on 13m and began drip feeding maggot at 5m just over the shelf. 20 minutes later I lifted the float to reset it and found a small dace hanging on – at least I had not blanked I thought! Two hours later and biteless I caught a pair of eyes- so small I was unsure what it was! Then in the last hour and a half I managed to snare 3 small chub. Nothing on feeder, nor waggler. The section went like this F1 6oz, me 1-5, F3 18lb (5 bites on feeder 5 chub from the front of the only large tree in the water in sight), F4 14lb (4 bites from the rear of the same tree 3 chub and a huge perch), F5 end peg in the match 10lb of small fish on waggler. I hate Radcot!

The match turned out better team wise as we finished second on the day and cut Radcot’s lead to 2points with one match to go.

The only other visit I made was on the following Monday whenI managed to talk my friend Pete Sarahs into coming out to Blacklands with me. I put him on the Bench peg and I fished the peg on the right of him, almost in ythe corner. Anyway we had a good day with Pete catching about 15lb and I ended up with 25-14 including a carp of 3-10.

That was it for the month as I had to pull out of the final Winter League match on the canal at Pewsey, which to Radcot’s credit they won with Pewsey finishing second on the day and in the league overall.

Hopefully December will be kinder and I’ll have some photos/videos to include.

Why video?

I started videoing, not for this blog but for me to check on my technique. Some examples of this :

  • Feeder fishing at Larford I was able to get an accurate assessment of if I was hitting the same spot each time;
  • Feeding- I can check whether I am feeding consistently or leaving over long gaps in my “rhythm”
  • Playing fish and losing them- I can spot if I have made errors in shipping back and created slack line

You get the picture? However, it is one thing to be able to identify the issues and it is another to be able to consistently rectify them. Again the videoing allows me to see if there is an improvement or am I lapsing into bad habits again!

My set up is quite straight forward – a bikers tubular camera that is mounted on an old tripod with an usb battery pack. The camera cost £30, the tripod was an old pole roller one approx £12 and I had the battery pack for my phone anyway but again £10, finally a 32gb micro sd card £9

Sometimes you can get things you are not expecting as these two clips from Clanfield show – the first a kite that was around all day with 5 others and the second an inquisitive dragonfly


A mixed October

Before we get into October I fished Patneys on the last day of September and decided to try an area that everyone said was rubbish – the first pegs as you get to the lake. I chose the right hand side and had a bank of small rushes to my left going into the corner of the lake, this I baited with a large pot of micros and some corn and left. I wanted really to try the open water and a different approach; I planned on fishing expander at 11m and feeding micros with a plug of groundbait via a small pole pot.

Plumbing the swim showed a far shallower area than elsewhere on the lake and I had about 4-5feet of water at 11m. It began slowly with the first hour putting a dozen micros and a small plug of groundbait in every put in for no response. Then a lift bite and a skimmer came to the net, for the next two hours I had eleven carp, of no great size, but I found that I needed to keep the bait static and not lift and drop as you would normally. The session ended with about 14-8 as a total. The reeds had provided one small carp when tried but in fairness I did not focus on that area.

October arrives and I head off for my first session at Blacklands – I avoid it during the late spring and summer due to the campers and increased day-ticket prices, but come October the price falls and the campers are thin on the ground. I decided to start on the bench peg and set up just one rig, a 0.5g home made “Chianti” style float with a bulk set 2 feet off the bottom and 2 x no 10 droppers below that, leading to an 18 hook. This was teamed with a no 5 elastic on a puller with 0.12 Shogun main line to 0.10mm hook-length. I set up two swims about two metres apart at 11m, the left hand one (11 o’clock) was fed with micros, the one on the right (1 o’clock) was given a pot full of chopped worm with micros mixed in.

Starting on the worm line I was soon into roach and it became noticeable that the fish had found the free offerings as both swims were awash with bubbles- the proverbial Jacuzzi. I find this is an encouraging sign as I find that I will always catch when this happens, despite what others say about the fish being harder to catch. When the bubbles subsided it was an indication to top up and they start again! After a run of roach and skimmers I finally hooked into something much larger and after an interesting and protracted fight I put the net under a 7-9 carp.


The worm line slowed after the usual two hours and a move on to the 11 o’clock line saw the skimmers waiting.  Bait was expander and again a static bait was best. The session ended with me having 27 skimmers, 22 roach, 1 perch and 1 tench plus the carp for a 23-6 total. A nice start to the month!

The Sunday saw the second round of the North Wessex Winter League, on the Thames at Clanfield. I was drawn at permanent peg 80 or E1 in the match, so I had scale duty also. A lot of talk before the match was how the roach had disappeared, but as they had been hammered during September it was little wonder that they were “sulking”. Plumbing up my swim I found about 9 foot of water at 11m , where the flow was, but for some reason I took some time to plumb the inside line  about a meter or so from the bank and found a deep hole, (a foot deeper than my main line) about 5m down the swim. I set up a standard rig of a BGT 1g Grey coupled to 0.08mm hook-length and a size 20 micro-barbed hook for my main line, with a 1g “Yellow” for the inside hole with an 18 to a 0.10mm hook-length and a 2g Paster with 0.12mm and a 16 should anything large turn up. A shallow set waggler for the far bank was also set up – the far bank was only 3-4 foot deep compared to the nearside deep water.

4 balls of groundbait laced with caster were put on the 11m line and it was 20 minutes before the float dipped and a small dace resided in my keepnet. The first hour was a struggle as only 5 other very small dace went into the net. A dropper of chopped worm went onto the 11m line and third run down the float went under and I missed it, half hour later and no further bites I decided to see if there was anything in the “hole”. A dropper of chopped worm went in and third put in again the float buried and a 2oz perch ended up in the net. This carried on for a while with  the odd perch showing up and topping up with a dropper every half hour or so but into the third hour it died. Time for the waggler- I had been firing maggots across regularly since the start but it was again very slow with the odd micro dace and then a run of three bigger chublets(1 ounce!), with half hour to go it was a real struggle with the river seemingly now devoid of fish. A dropper of chopped worm went out on the 11m line and my lighter rig followed it with a small thin piece of worm, with 15 minutes left the float buried and I hooked into my biggest fish of the match -a small chub that I managed to manoeuver it through the weed close in and in to the waiting net. That was basically the end of the match , no roach at all. On weighing in I had a level 3lb and won the section with the team taking second on the day.


Next outing was to Blacklands and it proved to be an eventful day. Following the storms around the world this was the day the sun turned hazy red, high winds, eerily dark, so dark the ducks left the water and began bedding down. It was an odd time to be out fishing but I sat at peg 10 (end of the island) and began in a similar fashion to my previous visit but today was slower at the start, I then had a problem as the wind subtly changed direction, so instead of blowing directly into my face it swung more to my right, this resulted in a huge bank of leaves that had been dislodged by the high winds and had amassed in the margins to my right now come and scatter in front of me making it very difficult to get a bait cleanly in the water. Still I persevered and ended up with 21 roach (best 0-13), 20 skimmers, 3 perch and a solitary tench of 2lb for a 17lb total. My worst day at Blacklands but not bad considering the weird conditions.


The Saturday saw a 5am start from home to Cudmore near Stoke for an MFS match on Milo, a venue I had never fished before,  organised by Steve May. Fortunately I was not driving, I had kindly been offered a lift by Herbie (“Herbie is our leader” as the chant goes!) as we were meeting with others after the match to discuss updates to the website. We were now in the midst of storm Brian and the accompanying rain and wind was a factor in pegging the majority of the match on the deeper bank where there was some shelter. I drew peg 6 and had Steve on my left and young Sarah on my right. I set up a bomb rod for if it got too bad to hold the pole (not needed in end) and decided on a twin attack at 5m and at 8m given the prospect of the high wind. I had 9-10foot of water on both lines and cupped in 5 balls on my 8m line and 1 on the 5m all laced with dead pinkies and caster. Starting on the 5m line I was 4 fish behind Steve and 2 behind Sarah before I had my first bite. I began catching on and off all day up to the fourth hour when I suffered an hour without putting any thing in the net before catching a few more in the last hour.

After 3 hours my top kit stuck in my no 4 – you know when you put it in to ship out and you feel a “clunk” and you think “***** that’s jammed”, despite trying throughout the remainder of the match it remained stubbornly solid, the whistle goes and it comes apart no problem!!!!

Anyway I was battered on both sides with me weighing in 11-0 to Steve’s 20lb and Sarah’s 17lb. I ended up 5th in section and scored 2pts towards the league table that runs from September to July.

Next day still recovering from the journey to Cudmore I was up early again for the third round of the NWWL at Lechlade. Leo our team captain got me to draw the pegs for this match and I managed to draw him the flier next to the bridge at Lechlade with it also being a Golden Peg worth £200 if it won the match! I was down stream above St John’s Lock on E4.  As I was setting up I had a call from Leo to say that info given to one of our members was that I was on a chub peg!. Now I remember this peg as I drew it about 5 years ago and was told the same then but on investigating with a local there had been a chub catch there previously- 10 years ago! So this info was now 15 years out of date- just shows you how labels can stick with little substance to them! Just as 5 years ago I spent time on the waggler looking for a chub with only one bite – a gudgeon. The waggler went through lovely but you can’t catch what is not there!

Anyway apart from the waggler I had about 10-11 foot of water at 11m with a large bank of weed just over the drop off at 3 metres, clear water and a cold wind off my left shoulder. I set up a 1g and 2.5g Paster plus a 5g “Blue” should I need it. 0.08mm hook-lengths to 20s on the Paster rigs and 0.10mm to an 18 on the 5g rig. Four balls with caster went in at the start and 20 minutes later and no indications I lifted the rig to find I had hooked a small dace. That was my only fish after an hour so I then spent the two hours on the waggler for the one gudgeon. Back on the pole and a small perch came to some chopped worm followed by two more gudgeon. So with an hour left I had 4ozs in the net and all the while I could see Paul Rice on the end peg of the section catching small fish on the waggler! I put another dropper of the rest of my worm out and with 20 minutes to go hooked a better fish that I managed to gingerly steer through the weed and into the waiting net – a perch of about 10 oz. Back out and another bite, a perch of about half ounce that got blown off the hook by the gusting wind.  I put a caster on and was rewarded with a two net roach and the final whistle went. On the weigh in I managed 1-6 for third in section, beaten by 2ozs on peg1 by John Swann of Radcot with Paul winning the section with 2lb. Oh for another 10 minutes and I would have had the section!

Team wise we finished top on the day with Leo indeed winning the match and picking up the Golden Peg in the process. On the individual front it was tight at the top before the match with 5 of us separated by 1 point, it still remains tight with possibly anyone of 6-9 anglers able to win the individual title with two matches left.



Showery September

September arrives and thoughts turn towards Winter Leagues but first there was another holiday with the in-laws to navigate. A trip to Sutton Benger peg 135 kick starts the month, a short session with minimal kit


produces a mixed bag of roach, rudd, dace, bleak and little chub with the fish coming on the pole but noticeable amongst that was a roach caught on corn and rudd on wheat as I tried some alternatives in preparation for the first of the North Wessex Winter League matches at Benger.

Three days later I drove down to Patneys to do something a little different; I had been talking to the owner and asked if he would have any objection to me fishing the Specimen Lake with the pole. At first he was not keen but on reflection said I could, provided there was no-one else around and that I brought my nets and transferred any fish smaller than 3lb into the main lake. The Speci lake was clear so I headed up to the left had corner where a bed of Norfolk reeds reputedly held the smaller fish away from the prying eyes of any cormorants. I set up two rigs, the first on a KND black hollow and a homemade float taking 0.4g to 0.16 Shogun with 0.14mm hooklength and 16 hook. This was to be my rig for the open water directly in front of me at 11m in about 6 feet of water. The second was a KND yellow hollow of 14-16 strength linked to 0.18mm Shogun and a 0.16mm hooklength , again to a 16. This was aimed at a slightly deeper but flatter area to the surrounding area off the reeds to my left. I decided to fish away from the reeds in order to give myself a chance should any of the large carp show.

Starting by potting in a large pot of micros with some 4mm and corn plus meat to the “reeds” I potted in two orange sized balls of fishmeal based groundbait onto my other line along with a half pot of micros. Starting on the long line in front of me with double maggot on the hook, and loose feeding maggot plus micros, I was biteless after an hour despite ringing the changes. I decided to have a look on the “reeds” as I had been loose feeding micros and 4mms plus the odd maggot. A further half hour on inactivity followed before the float dipped and …I missed it! With my interest rekindled I went back in and 5minutes later hooked a mirror carp about 2lb which was safely deposited in the keepnet ready for later. A further 20minutes went by and another similar sized mirror was added. After this it went quiet and the only other fish was a small perch that grabbed the maggots while shipping out. A change to corn saw a run of 4 more carp, 1 mirror and 3 commons from just over the pound up to 2.5lb, 3 “bar of soap” tench. I then hooked a better fish that tried to get into the reeds but was turned and decided to charge of down the other end of the lake, I managed to get it under control and eventually netted a mirror of 9-10lb. Next put in I hooked another good fish but this time after a lengthy fight the hook straightened! At this point I packed up as I only wanted to catch the smaller fish to transfer, the tench were left in the Speci as per instructions but the 6 carp were moved to the match lake.


So off on holiday to Hunmanby, a small place outside Filey on Yorkshire’s east coast. I had discovered a day ticket water a couple of miles away from where we were staying and had with me the usual holiday tackle, the plan being – visit places during first part of day and then grab a couple of hours fishing late on in the day. On the Sunday I turned up to Rosedale Fishery mid afternoon and following the track around the lake I parked up and decided on peg 5, away from everyone else and in some trees at the far end of the lake. The lake itself was quite busy with a lot of activity on the early pegs (pegs 40-44?), after a dry morning it was now raining- a scenario that would follow me all week until the last day!


The picture shows peg 5 during a break in the rain! As you can see the holiday kit was the 5 piece Shakespeare Travel match and the telescopic Zebco feeder, bait was the trusty corn, pellet and cheese. The water was a decent depth with about 7 feet at the edge of the tree, a couple of balls of soft groundbait laced with micros plus some cheese and corn was deposited while I spent the first hour on the in-line method which produced a carp of 5-6lb.


A swap to the float after an hour saw two further carp of 3 and 4lb plus 2 skimmers and 12 roach (including one on cheese) before it was time to go. A total of roughly 17lb.

Next afternoon saw me back at peg 5 this time ending up with one carp of 6lb, 17 roach and 1 rudd , for about 9-10lb. A pleasant enough couple of hours despite the rain! The following afternoon and I was back on peg 5 but this time I had decided to try the margin on my left, this resulted in a carp of 8lb, 6 roach, 2 bream and 1 small tench for about 11lb


The Wednesday saw me try the other end of the lake, peg 37 with a large overhanging willow to my right with lillies on my right and left. The rain still accompanied me and after a slow start fishing at 3 rod lengths into about 5 feet began getting some roach before hooking and losing two large carp that went through the lillies on my right.  A switch close in to the small bank of lillies on my left, that I had been drip feeding since my arrival resulted in a further 4 last carp, one of which took me steadily out to 30m before going through a submerged reed bed and breaking me. A frustrating evening saw me end with 9 roach, 1 rudd, 2 bream and a chub! for about 4lb.

Lesson learned next day I avoided the lillies as I was not geared up and headed for peg 3 which had a bank of rushes on its left margin that I had seen another angler do well off. Fishing the margin exclusively I ended up with 12 roach, 1 perch, a carp of 3lb and another of 11lb for a 16lb total.IMG_20170914_155635939.jpg

My final session was the only one when it did not rain at some point! Peg 40 near the entrance saw me end with a 4lb carp on the method, 9 roach, a tench and 11 gudgeon! for about 5lb. I did lose 1 carp fishing close in when the hook pulled.

Back home thoughts of the forthcoming Winter League led me to peg 121 on Benger, C5 in the earlier Summer League contest. The river was gin clear with little flow and I decided to fish it differently to the norm, instead of putting 5-6 balls of groundbait in I simply loose fed maggot.


I found the best flow was in close at 4m and by coming 18″ off the bottom in 9feet of water I found the “better” roach, in a couple of hours I had about 4-5lb but had also lost a large unseen fish.


The Friday saw me return to Benger -peg 13 for a short two hour session, again trying the loose feed only and bait off bottom, slower this time as there was little flow but a 1lb and a half suggested I was on the right lines.

Match day arrives and I draw B5 – peg 14. With Mick Rozier of Isis on peg 13 I knew I had to perform if I was to get off to a good start. A 1.5g Paster to 0.12Tornado and 0.10mm Shogun to a 18 was my worm rig with a 0.5g BGT Grey rig with 0.10mm to 0.08mm and a 20 for maggot on no5 elastic and a waggler for across if needed. The problem was that there was little flow, what flow there was was slightly this side of middle river. Starting as previously with loose feed and just tripping bottom I began to get small chub (pairs of eyes!) and the odd roach, shallowing up saw a slight increase in size but it was a case of head down and catch what you can! With an hour to go it was not good as the flow had slackened (if that is possible) a few casts on the waggler saw a succession of small roach and chub reach the net before the inevitable happened and I hooked the overhanging tree and snapped off with 10 minutes left. The pole went out with the light rig and with 3 minutes to go I hit a better fish that turned out to be a chub of over a pound, after a nervy scrap through the weed close in it was safely deposited in the net as the whistle went.

Following the section down there was a 21-7 from peg 10, (10 chub landed and 10 lost!), Mick Rozier was lying second with 3-8 of better roach when I came to weigh in  4-7, that chub had sneaked it for me and got me a brown envelope for the section by default with the chub catch winning the match. Next match we are back at Clanfield, then Lechlade..



August Ahoy!

A strange title you may well think but everything will become clear by the end!The month starts in a quiet way with a visit from China of my youngest, Gareth and his wife Wendy. First visit was for the three of us to go for a short session at Patneys (right hand side in the bay area where I had fished with Tom and Simon). Wendy was set up with a whip (Chinese of course with Chinese float), Gareth set up a pole to fish at about 7-8m and I fished long at 13m. First fish for me was a carp about 4lb and a trio of 2lbs plus rudd and skimmers followed to a variety of baits. Gareth hammered out the rudd and perch together with several 3lb carp and Wendy caught perch and rudd steadily before we departed.

Next outing was just the two of us and we visited the local River Marden at Hazleland to fish the weir. Now it has been over 10 years since I last fished the Marden although it is the closest water to me, I can’t figure out why it was so long between visits. Anyway we set up light with a bag of tackle (bag/seat) and an unhooking mat to sit on a pint of maggots, some worms and cheese. A simple running lead with a 3/8oz bomb to a 4lb hook length and 16 hook completed the set up. A short flick into the edge of the flow soon saw Gareth in action with a couple of trout (most unexpected),



This was followed up by a bream and an eel, while I contributed a couple of small chub. Plenty of bites on worm, maggot attracted too many minnows!


One further visit before he went back was again to the Marden, but downstream at Stanley.We were both shocked to see how overgrown it had become with some of the prime chub and barbel swims no longer accessible. We managed a few small chub by moving around but we both left feeling a sense of regret at the state of the stretch.

Gareth sent me these pictures a couple of days after their return to China, caught in the swim where he had the monster catfish, he had 4 on paste. Not sure what the fish are, my first glance said roach/ide but the mouth is more carp like- answers on a postcard please if you know what they are.


Back to the UK my first outing was to the Glebe for the Angling Trust Masters, a team of 6 event where I was lucky enough to be representing MatchFishing-Scene. The event was down on numbers this year due to a clash with the Division 1 National and other events, but even so the calibre of angler was high and my target was to not come last! Pools paid and team draw made, I found I had been drawn on Uglies, peg 44 by all accounts a potential good peg with big carp on offer. Setting up I could only see two other anglers on the far side – the maestro Andy Kinder (if you ever get a chance for a coaching session with Andy, take it- he is a fantastic coach) and Nick Merry.

My peg had a large willow on my left that I could get under and fish against the boards, I also had a shrub on my right margin, both of which were fed, a 6m line at the edge of the willow and one at 11m directly in front, plus another short line in front. A feeder was also set up with the minimum hook length allowed of 20inches. I set up a rig for each of my lines to a 0.20 with hooks varying form 16 to 12 (my paste rig). The all-in sounded and I fed my 11m line with 3 balls of groundbait and half a pot of micos plus some 4mm and corn, the short lines were fed differently with the willow line seeing a pot of 4mm and corn while the line in front had micros (this was going to be my paste line).

To cut a long story short my first fish came after 10mins – a roach on the 11m line. The next 2 hours saw no action from carp on any line plus nothing on feeder, desperate, I put a bunch of maggots on and immediately began to catch small perch on the 6m willow line. With an hour and a bit to go I had 5-7 in my silvers net and no carp, Andy and Nick had both been catching on the bomb out towards the central island that runs down Uglies and Andy was now catching short in the margins. The heavens then began to open and I finally hooked something in my right hand margin (I had been cupping in big pots of groundbait every 20 minutes or so for the previous hour)


This one went about 11lb I had another of about 8lb and pulled out of a foul hooked one  to end up with 19lb of carp and a total of 24-7 and last in section. At the weigh-in Andy said it was a feast or famine peg – if the carp turned up it would have been solid but if they weren’t there it could be a real struggle- as I found out! Team wise we came last but one!.

A short session on Peg 139 at Benger on the weir saw me go light with the same kit as on the Marden and a couple of hours later saw me finish of with some roach, dace, perch and one bleak all taken on the lead. Nothing spectacular but a pleasant session.

Bank Holiday week-end arrives and the final match of the Wessex Summer League at Clanfield. We were heading the league but our closest challenge was going to come from Bankers who had pulled in a couple of “ringers” including Richard Chave of Colmic! Drawing last as League leaders we had peg 2, the boards, and I was on C section. Clanfield is a pleasant way to end as we can drive along the fields and park next to the peg. On this occasion we had a herd of inquisitive young cows that  made their way along inspecting each car and cleaning the cars with their tongues!

My peg looked fishy with a big willow on my right hanging out 10m into the river, just to the edge of the flow, rushes on the far bank (but no flow), and a steady depth on my preferred line at 10m at the edge of the flow. Five balls of Bait-tech Pro-Natural with a handful of casters and wheat were cupped out at the start and a 2g Paster to 0.12 Shogun and 0.08 hooklength to a 22 completed the set up. The shot was bulked 18 inches above the hook with 2 no 8 droppers. Red maggot on the hook saw a steady stream of bites by sometimes running through with the flow and other times holding back, if bites slowed a change to white or bronze maggot brought a quick response before returning to red again when it slowed. I had intended to create a worm line but on opening the bag found they had mysterious all died overnight and I did not have a single worm. By topping up with a ball of groundbait every so often and loose feeding hemp and wheat with the  occasional caster I ended up with 1 chublet, 92 dace, 9 gudgeon, 3 perch and 15 roach for a total of 4-14 and 3rd in section, beating Mr Chave of Bankers in the process. The team finished 3rd on the day and we won the League!

Now back to the title – 3 hours in and boats have been going past on a regular basis then we get a boat that is constantly revving and spluttering that finally dies at my peg and drifts end on against the willow, they managed to manoeuvre it back to the far bank eventually (30minutes plus!) then hailed a long boat for a tow back up the river- this is what happened…


Hey oh- tomorrow is another day.


Jumping July

July sees me jumping all over the country, as you will see. We start off at Larford near Stourport for a MFS match on Specimen Lake. All the talk at the draw was that the middle pegs 65-70 would be the best draws so when I picked out 67 I was pleased. It turned out that it was two pegs away from where I had drawn last year so I was looking forward to a good day, despite the recent rain that had fallen.

I started off on the method feeder at 40 yards but no indications 40 mins later saw me swap to the pellet waggler , again no response! An hour and a half in and I had not had a sign of a bite! Out went the pole to my 13m line which I had been feeding since the start along with a 5m line and two margin lines. A couple of skimmers on pellet then a switch to maggot for some roach at least saw some fish being put into the net. A switch to the 5m line saw no response so with a little over 2 hours to go I tried the right margin after putting in 3 cups of loose groundbait – nothing! Over to the left margin which was on the verge of an overhanging bush , after a couple of skimmers a carp of took my double sweetcorn offering.


The carp was about 10lb and another later on about 9lb set me in the right direction but then a foul hooked carp was lost after a few minutes before a real lump of a common took my bait, played it in and had it over the net 3 times but it wouldn’t fit in it, finally the hook got caught in the net and the carp flipped off. I reckon the carp was at least 15lb and in reality a whole lot bigger! That was the end of the action apart from a couple of skimmers and I ended the match with 28-12 for fourth in section which was won with 32lb! Those lost carp cost me! The anglers either side had 23lb on my left and on my right didn’t weigh in, the “best” pegs were the worst in the match on this occasion.

I then had a week away taking the elderly in-laws to a cottage near Hornsea on the East Yorkshire coast. The cottage was less than a mile from Westlands Fishery so I managed to get a few short sessions in!

First session was on the Canal lake which is like a normal canal but with a bowl at the end, this is where I had my first two sessions.

Westlands Canal.jpg

You can see my “holiday” kit, a Shakespeare Travel Match (5 pieces) coupled with a Chinese reel, a telescopic Zebco feeder rod with a small Interceptor  reel. a 2m telescopic handle with a fold up landing net, waterproofs that are stored in the seat bag along with a small box of tackle together with scales and a Dunlop EVA bait bag with two internal bait bowls. Bait was micro and 4m fishery pellet and corn.(I did have a few other flavoured pellets for hookers).

The swim had about 4 feet of water two rod lengths out and I began here with a couple of pouches of dampened micros and a small ball of Sonubaits F1 groundbait. The session was only short but I managed a couple of bream of 3lb and 2lb, an F1 of 2lb and loads of roach and skimmers plus a roach of 1-2.

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Session 2 saw me back at an adjoining peg  this time for a clutch of skimmers to 1.5lb and a solitary carp of 4lb. Session 3 I moved to the Tench lake and had a ghostie of 9-9 and mirror of 4-8 on the feeder before changing to the waggler for commons of 5-12 and 7-8 together with a stack of roach for a total in excess of 30lb. I was fishing a 0.12mm Tornado hooklength to a 16 on the float and a 0.20mm hooklength on the feeder.

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Session 4 saw me back on Tench but peg 9 instead of 5 the previous evening.This time I just fished waggler and ended up with 40 roach, 5 skimmers and 1 F1 plus a mirror of 13-12. All taken on corn or banded pellet. The fight with the mirror highlighted to me just how much stick you could give on 0.12mm and a match rod!

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Session 5 saw me back on peg 5 and once again concentrating on the float (although I did have one small carp on the feeder), again I concentrated on the float but also fished closer in to the margins where I had a common of 7lb a ghostie of exactly the same size, 4 smaller carp and a clutch of roach plus a rod bender of 15-4 that took several attempts to land in my inadequate net!

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That session totaled 38-39lb. My last opportunity was on the final evening when I fished peg 3, this time losing 4 good carp with hook pulls but catching 5 bream, 9 F1s and 14 roach to end the holiday!


Back home my first outing was to Patneys where I fished the left bank mid-island for 3 hours.Tried the wheat a lot in this session and caught skimmers roach and carp on it, ending up with a 3lber (not wheat), a 2lber, 3 x 1lb and 4 less than a pound plus roach and skimmers. An enjoyable short session on the pole at 13m.

Sunday saw me at Alders Fishery near Milton Keynes for an MFS match on Pines. I drew peg 16.


I began at 11m and had a few small carp before trying the 5m line with no luck, eventually having to move into the left hand margin (the shallower of the two), starting on paste but ending up on 3 maggots to get bites. 61-1 was the end result, all carp with the exception of a solitary bream of 2-14. A poor 3-4 hour cost me but it was interesting that Rik on my left was fishing the same margin but further along was catching on paste but I couldn’t get a response on it!.


Moving on I had a Summer League coming up at Sutton Benger so decided to have a session just to check how it was fishing. Peg 10 is not a swim I would usually choose at it tends to be chub or very little., but on this occasion I was surprised by the number of very small chub, dace and roach that were present- I mean small most only the size of a small minnow. By fishing over groundbait and then changing to worm I managed to put together about 5lb of fish including some net roach and perch.


Match day came along and I was hoping to be in section A or B rather than the downstream C and D sections that I figured would be murderous to walk after the heavy rain. I was last to draw as the league is drawn in reverse order, so as league leaders we had what was left- the scales and Peg 1. I ended up on B section and what can be a good swim in the weir.

Starting at 11m on the edge of the flow I found that there were a plethora of mini fish but whenever I hooked anything over 2oz a large pike decided to grab it! 5 hours later I weighed in 5-2 with several of my larger fish with pike teeth marks! That was good enough for 2nd in section. I went back to the HQ but no-one from C or D section had even left the field by then so after half an hour with them still not on their way I went home- still awaiting result!



My floats!

DSCF0117 Carp wagglers 1+2g upto 4 +6g

DSCF0146 Giants, 14,16 and 18g (made for Erne Winter League team). Other floats are 1g yellows

DSCF0148 Yellows 0.5g to 2g

Diddy Dil (inline) o.2g

dorcan Dorcan 0.05g


Blues 0.5g up to 12g


Lifters (0.4g)


Pasters (0.5g, 0.75g, 1g, 1.5g, 2g, 2.5g, 3g)DSC06776

Pellet Wagglers 5g


BGT2 (0.2, 0.3, 0.4 and 0.5g)


Bloods (0.2g)


Dibbers – from top 0.3g, Dils (inline) 0.2g, Dibberlites 0.2g, Diddies 0.05g


Left to right – wire Grey 0.2g, Bloods, Dorcans (0.05g), Greenies (0.4g), Greys 0.1g



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Pinks (0.2, 0.4, 0.6g)


Rounds 0.5g (takes more like 0.75g)


The Greys (0.5, 0.75, 1g)

June’s Journeys

June starts with a day out with Simon and young Tom at Patneys. Simon was put into the corner of the bay  on the right hand side with an 8m pole and Tom is put on “peg 3” while I am on “peg 2”. Day starts brightly with Simon into a carp before I have set up, but drama strikes as Tom’s top4 swims off into the lake as soon as his back is turned and then his “mended” float rod snaps when trying to retrieve it! Tom finishes the day fishing a float on a carp rod! Overall we caught but not spectacular, I ended up with 25c carp (biggest 4lb), 7 rudd, 5 skimmers and a roach for around 20lb.

Two days later I was at Peatmoor in Swindon for the annual Peatmoor v Three Counties match – this is one I try not to miss and is a friendly affair. I drew peg 16 which turned out to be old peg 21 as they have re-pegged the venue! A small feeder started the match with a first cast to see if I had any fish  in front of me. This was followed by 6 quick casts to get some bait down then two pole lines were fed- 10m groundbait and caster with 4mm meat at 13m. Back on the feeder and 10 small roach in the first 90 minutes was not what I was hoping for. The pole lines were indifferent- nothing on the meat and the 10m line only produced two small fish. I ended up fishing my top two and plundering 20 small fish close in to finish with a level 2lb.

Next outing was an open at Patneys. The pegging had changed this time and we were at the top end scattered around the island. Peg 6 gave me the end peg at the end of the island on the right bank. Once again it was slow going and along with a few small carp two larger brethren boosted my weight to 10-6 and nowhere!

With the next round of the summer league coming around I headed off to Dodford Farm to see what was working. The place was very shallow (2feet) and overgrown with Norfolk reeds and there was no way 24 pegs would fit in but the owner had a digger that was put to work while I was there and truckloads of reeds were dug out. Before the digger reached me I managed to get a couple of carp on corn in the margins at 9lb and 10lb plus over 50 rudd/roach – mainly on corn as maggot seemed to produce very small fish. So that was my tactic sorted- corn!

June the 16th always has a special place in my heart- the first day of the river season. I had decided to have a couple of hours at Sutton Benger on the downstream end. To this end I decided to travel light, a wand and float rod plus haversack seat with bait in a eva bag. Parking up I could see that the barbel anglers were out in force with a couple already in the downstream weir, I headed up well away from the weir (pegs 138 and 139) and walked up to peg 111 which was where the last work party had got to with their new pegs and strimmers. The river was hardly moving with many pegs not fishable with cabbages and weed but I settled in on peg 120 which was on the inside of an “s” bend. The water was clear of weed and I set up the wand to put a small groundbait feeder alongside a bank of rushes on the far bank. First 10 casts saw 2 roach, 3 little chub, 2 fish lost on the retrieve and 3 missed bites then nothing! No matter what I tried that was it, so packing up and returning to the car I passed a couple of other anglers who were finding the same thing a run of bites then nothing.

This month was promising much but not delivering so far but the 22nd and 23rd saw me in Leicestershire at the Glebe  for the two day HillBilly Pairs event, one of the prime events on the MFS calendar. The pairs are drawn on the first day and one fishes Pool 1 while the other fishes Pools 4,5,6 or7; then on the second day you swap over pools. I was paired with Glen and would start on Pool 4 peg 69. The weather was fine and got increasingly sunny at one point I swapped hats. starting on the feeder across it was 40minutes before I had my first fish- a small carp of 3lb. I had primed the pole lines at 13m (pellet), 2 lines at 2+2 one with pellet the other with corn and two margin swims (corn and pellet). After an hour I went on to the 13m line expecting an immediate response – no such luck! Indeed after 3 and a half hours I had about 7lb in the nets- another small carp and a bream. In desperation I turned to the margins; as always one margin seems to be much better than the other, in this case the right margin has where the action was. By the end of the match I weighed in 54-9 but had lost a double at the net which was to prove costly. Pool 4, which was one section went like this 113lb, 54-13, 54-9 (me), 60-9,. 91-5 and 40-1.

I found that a single grain of corn topped by some of that Chinese paste produced bites faster than just corn or just paste.

The first day had thrown up some unusual results and there was nothing in it going into day 2 with most pairs still able to win.

Day 2 saw a gloomy start with a stiff breeze and rain in the air. I drew peg 24 on Pool 1 and set up the swims as previously.

After 45minutes and not a flicker on the tip I went onto the 13m line and it was like a repeat of Day 1 with a couple of small carp and bream in the nets with 3.5 hours gone for about 10lb. This time the margins did not produce but the 2+2 line did with a run of fish coming to corn and by taking a couple of fish from each side I was able to have a good end to the match and weighed in 76-02. Peg 23 weighed in 36lb and peg 25 weighed in 20-1 so I was chuffed. Pair wise Glen to be fair carried me and we ended up on 12 penalty points and 6th overall out of the 24 pairs, the winners had 9 points but the guy who beat me by 4ozs on Day 1 was in the winning pair- that lost double came back to haunt me!

Two days later I was back at Dodford Farm for the third leg of the Summer League. The only peg that I did not want was A5 – one immediately at the entrance that all the cars had to drive past, no thick reeds to fish to, and a pile of stumps directly in front reaching out to 13m+. The only “clear water was a channel to the left and to the right. Yes I drew it! I began to realise I was in more trouble than I thought when I could not get a bite on corn while everyone I could see were hammering out the rudd on maggot. Stubbornly I stayed with the corn and after 15 minutes got a net roach, followed 15 minutes later by a fingerling carp. The clear water – was not clear, the reeds had been cut subsurface and I was constantly getting snagged. After 3 hours I was way behind but the rudd seemed to have disappeared from the others pegs with only the odd one coming out. in desperation I decided to fish 2+1 with maggot and started to catch some small rudd, eventually ending with 2-13. The section was a disaster for me with A1 weighing 10lb+of small rudd, A2 7lb, A3 15oz, A4 4lb and A6 another 4lb. The difference was A1 and A2 had clear water that they could attack, A3 had a reed bed but had subsurface stems like me, A4 and A6 had clear water with a reed bed. Still if I had gone on the maggot earlier it may have been different?


Last day of the month saw me at Benger Peg 135, not a peg I would normally fish but I wanted to try something. I fished a waggler and loose fed wheat with only 20 maggots being added throughout the 3 hours I fished. It was a bite a chuck but from very small chublets,dace and roach. Many dropped off as I had forgotten to put some micro-barbed hooks in the haversack seat. I ended up with about 1-8 including a perch at the end of about 4oz. The only other thing of note was the fact that a pike of about 5lb kept attacking my keepnet!

July sees me at Alders, Larford and Summer League 4 at Benger!




A variety of videos of me fishing – almost better than watching paint dry!

If you have a few minutes spare and you want to see some of the action (?) from the blog

A quiet time at Blacklands!

Catching bream on the cheese at Blacklands

A Blacklands carp interrupting the silvers!

A small pike at Bowood

A small carp from the “swearing” peg at Theale

A Bowood tench

Bowood bream  4-13

The ultimate tactic to get a bite- pour a cup of coffee! Bream at Larford

A carp at Rolfs

May’s Menu

May was to prove to be an odd month for me with a week away at the start plus some house work  (painting) to do, I decided to concentrate on Patneys and to try different baits and feeding to see what effect each would have.

Visit one was just before I went away and I decided to fish the method to see if it would produce I picked a peg on the left bank and mid island and had a couple of hours on the feeder with micros and pellet , then tried capping the micros off with a bit of groundbait. The result was plenty of interest on a slow day (judging by others fishing) with more bites coming after I began skinning with the groundbait. After a couple of hours I went on the pole at 13m and had a couple there including the biggest of the day at 4lb. Total in 3.5 hours, 10 carp for about 14lb.

Returning from holiday my next visit to Patneys I again went on the left bank, this time further along to the end of the island, which has been peg 4 in matches. This time I decided to revert to my usual tactics of negative feeding with a toss pot but also fed wheat and just fished the pole at 13m. The result was 10 carp rotating meat, expander and wheat, 2 skimmers on expander and 1 rudd on corn. Plenty of missed bites on meat and wheat, I suspect they were rudd. Two carp lost and approx 15lb in total.

Visit 3  I decided to try the right hand side before the bay starts (peg 1 ) but left the pellets in the bag and decided to try worm.  Half a large pot of finely chopped dendras was used to kick start the swim and after an initial couple of pasty carp I began to get pestered by small perch and rudd. I persevered for an hour or so with a couple of rudd, skimmers and two small tench before swopping to meat while still feeding worm, this resulted in a run of carp, nothing large, biggest about 2-3lbs. I ended up with 25 carp for about 18-20lb.

Visit 4  was at the end of the month and I had been pondering as to what to do – worm seemed to attract small fish as did corn, meat was as good as anything to produce bites but the size of the fish covered the full spectrum, wheat was an interesting change bait and did no harm in feeding it. Those of you who have read previous posts know that my son works in China and on his last visit I had asked him to bring me some Chinese paste. Now this is used on their commercials mainly for crucians/F1s/carassio but I fancied giving it a go!


The weather was not brilliant and it rained off and on the whole time I was there (3 hours fishing) but I was determined to try it out, so I set up in the bay, not in the hot spot (peg 3) but on the adjacent bank. Plumbing up I found that it sloped away sharply but found a flat area at 11m which gave me about 7 feet of water with the wind driving into my face after 10 minutes of starting!


Two rigs were set up a 0.75g BGT Paster to 0.14mm Shogun and a 16 hook and a home made abbreviated tip  taking 0.2g for 11m to the left an 4 foot of water.

Mixing the paste was straight forward- I used about half a pack and mixed with an equal amount of water. I made sure I kneaded it well as I knew that it was a fibrous type and the kneading would activate it. I also had some Chinese banded mini sticks (vegetable pellet) to try. You can see one in the bait box below.


I ripped a small piece of paste off and tried to form a ball, on shipping out it immediately unraveled and hung from the hook like a leaf. Dropping it over the swim primed with a handful of micros and one ball of soft groundbait, I didn’t react as the float dipped then reappeared. Interesting I thought! Ripping another piece off, I this time hooked it like a maggot and doubled it on itself so it was hooked twice, if you see what I mean! Shipping out, it got to the bottom and after about 10 seconds the float buried and I lifted in to what felt like a good fish. Gently playing it back I got back to section 4 before it made another lunging run and the hook pulled!

I would love to say that it got better and better but the reality was that I was getting a bite a chuck on the paste, the problem being that the rudd decided it was their favorite food and if by chance I managed to get a piece down to the bottom I was getting skimmers, roach and small carp. The mini-stick received the same treatment as did meat when I tried that. I think that the larger carp were getting ready to spawn and the smaller fish were enjoying the chance to feed without being interrupted by their larger neighbours!

I will continue to try the paste and June will see me have the opportunity to fish a couple of matches at Patneys, Peatmoor, the Glebe and the 3rd round of the Summer League at Dodford Farm.  We shall see!