The land is black!

I decided to have a break from Bowood and headed off to Blacklands but this time Heron Lake, where Gareth had caught through the ice last month. I rolled up at the same peg and lazily set up one rig to fish the 6 foot or so of water at 9m. Using one of my homemade floats taking 0.4g, coupled with 0.10mm mainline and 0.08mm Shogun hooklength to a 20, I set it up with the bulk about 18 inches above the hook with two no10 droppers spaced out below. I opted to prime two swims about 2m apart, the left hand one was given half a large pot of chopped worm with a few casters and a sprinkling of micros, whilst the right hand one was fed with the same volume of micros and a few casters. Both swims would be fed by catapult every couple of minutes with 5-6 casters.

Bites were not long in coming on the worm line and a run of roach in the 4-6oz bracket were interrupted by a roach over a pound (I had left the scales in the car). Not long later my no 6 elastic was given a stretch by a whopping perch that had me scurrying back to the car for the scales. When the needle settled it showed 3-1, a great start. The day continued and later I had another good roach, but smaller than the first, this was weighed and went exactly 1lb. When I packed up I estimated I had had 30lb made up of 20 roach, 20 skimmers (best 1lb) and 36 perch, including another of 1-4. A solitary carp of 4-8 also featured from the micro line on caster!

From the sun in the photos the weather turned to rain and it was on the Wednesday I went back to Bowood (peg 12!) hoping the coloured water, sorry chocolate, might prompt some fish to feed although I did not expect any pike. I was right about the pike  and managed to sneak out one small bream of 2-4plus a load of roach and skimmers for a 7-8 total. One unseen lump was also lost as nearing the net, grrrr.

Friday saw me back with the temperature back down to 1C. The chocolate had turned to tap water in just a couple of days and this time the only action were from two jacks of 6-12 and 5-4, not a single bite on the pole!

Sunday came around and off to Pewsey Lake for a club match. Peg 12 saw me down the right end again, but I am going to have to put in some serious time to get to grips with this lake. No carp on the method or waggler- remember last match! I ended up with a clutch of roach for 1-8- just enough action to keep the interest but annoying in that I lost a very good fish towards the end of the match that may well have been a bream.Tactics were similar to previous matches and not much different from the others fishing. Must try harder me thinks!

Tuesday and back to Bowood to find the tap water had become even clearer and worse still someone else was there fishing AND in peg 12!!!! I decided to give the other angler room as although the pegs are well spaced I went on peg 10 which was 40-50 yards distant.T water here is about 18-24 inches shallower but I set up the pole and cupped in three pots of loose groundbait with some casters. No bites an hour later when the pike float bobs and a run develops, pole shipped back quickly I managed to hit and land a pike of 12-04. Nothing else happened for another hour or so when another run on the pike rod was inexplicably missed. That was the end of the action, the guy on 12 had 1 jack plus 3 other runs which didn’t result in secure hook ups.

The final escapade in this session was back to Blacklands and Heron Lake, this time fishing on the Toilet Block bank at the point of the island. I could reach the point of the island with the pole but as I was after the “silvers” I ignored the obvious feature and plumbing up decided on 9m. Tackle was a homemade float with a chianti style body but a hollow tip, taking 0.45g. This was teamed up to 0.12mm Shogun and 0.10mm Shogun hook length. Bulk was set about two foot from hook with one no 9 and one no 10 dropper to a 20. Groundbait is banned so I began like the previous visit with chopped worm and casters a with a sprinkling of micros in front of me and micros and caster to my right. Both lines to be fed with casters but the micro line would also get alternate helpings of micros.

The first difference I found was that there were more roach about than had been the case before when perch were the dominant species. I had two that I weighed  1-4 and 1-2. IMG20170217113659.jpg

To cut a long story short I had the best part of 30lb by the time I was visited by Brian Shutler who had come to recce the venue for a match I had organised in a weeks time. I had also tried cheese as a third line but could not get a bite just over the cheese, but as soon as I had gone over the micro line I had been getting skimmers on cheese. While Brian was there I put some cheese on and had a bream of 3lb plus some skimmers, I also had a perch of about a pound and a quarter on the worm while he was there. In total when I packed up I reckoned I had caught 39lb made up of 40 bream/skimmers, 36 roach and 18 perch. (I tend to keep a mental record of the fish as I go along with the weight being added up in ounces fish by fish)

Hope the match fishes as well as this! I may do a feature on fishing the cheese in the future.

I see Icy!

So into 2017 we go, why break a habit of a lifetime so Bowood peg 12 was my first visit of the year. We were in the middle of a cold spell still and I broke the ice out to 10m fairly easily and managed to clear a reasonable area.


Three hours later and no bites or runs in the gin clear water I went home having bagged my first blank of the year on my first outing! It wasn’t until the Friday that I could venture back to peg 12. This time the ice was considerably thicker- over 1/2 inch and I managed to clear a much smaller channel than previously out to 9m. The water was still gin clear and I did not expect to get anything but after a couple of hours the pike float zipped off and I had an exhilarating fight under the ice with a jack of 6-12.  Still nothing doing on the pole. The jack turned out to be the only action of the day.

Sunday saw me back at Pewsey Lake for a club match. I was asked to draw the Golden Pegs and drew out 13 and 3. I drew 13, a good area plus one of the GPs.  I began on the pellet feeder for an hour while priming to swims at 11m- caster at 10 o’clock and micros at 2 o’clock. I only had the odd knock on the pellet feeder and pegs 14 and 15 in the bay had both caught several proper carp. Further to my left I had Brian Shutler and beyond him Gary Williams who was catching chub and carp on the waggler. The pole lines were slow and my tactics were obviously way out as pegs 14 and 15 continued catching while Brian on my left began to get a run of fish on the 11m line and the waggler across. Basically I was battered on all sides with my final net of 3 small carp for 4-1 and a couple of roach for 0-6  making me slightly better than peg 3 who blanked! The curse of the Golden Peg! Lessons learned for the future with the waggler now must be included in my tactics.

The following Tuesday I decided to have a couple of hours on the river as Bowood was still recovering from the ice melting partially! I headed to the bottom weir at  Sutton Benger on the Bristol Avon and decided to long trot with a centre-pin and 15 foot  MAP rod. I enjoyed a pleasant couple of hours catching roach and dace which was a change and made me think about next season and targets.

Sunday saw me on the canal at Ladies Bridge for a club match. I drew peg 2 in the wides and with the water a horrible colour plus the bank being very slippy and muddy with the rain we had been having plus the rain still falling I decided to set up a light feeder and the waggler that could cover all eventualities. To cut a long story short I blanked although I was happy with the way I fished and it was universally hard going. I didn’t wait for the weigh in as I had to drive up to Heathrow in preparation for collecting my son, Gareth, who was visiting from China.

Jet lag put to one side I took Gareth on the Thursday to Blacklandlakes which was the venue for an MFS match I was running on the Sunday. We got there to find what would be peg 12 covered in cat ice for a few metres out, so we settled on pegs 9 and 10. Gareth was into fish before I had tackled up and we continued catching throughout the day without catching anything spectacular, I ended up with36 skimmers, 9 roach and 6 perch for about 10lb with Gareth catching a similar number and weight but having more roach than skimmers. Worm again seemed to be the best bait.

Sunday arrived and Gareth went to fish Heron lake next to Stans lake, the venue of the match. The weather had turned colder and the lake was iced up except for an area around pegs 1 and 2. I spent some time breaking the ice at each peg so that it would be easier for people to clear their swims and Gareth went to clear his on Heron. Before the start I went down to see Gareth and was surprised to find that the ice was thicker- over 1/2inch and he had managed to clear out a space to 4m. I took over and managed to clear a swim for him out to 6m where he had 6feet of water.

As to be expected with twelve people on the lake clearing the swims it was harder than expected and I drew peg 12, opposite peg 1 and managed to clear an area out to 9m plus a channel to my right into a patch of clear water. The match went slowly at first then picked up with a succession of small fish on the 9m line, but as the ice began to melt this line died and I had to go into the swim on my right and on hooking fish stick my pole under the ice and steer the fish back with the pole going through the channel. I lost a couple of skimmers and had a quiet spell but ended up with 4-12 for third in section and 5th overall. A hard day unfortunately for the people who had traveled to fish, but the comment at the end was they would come back when the weather was better. After the pay out was complete I went to see Gareth as he still had not packed up so I suspected he was having a better day than us and that proved to be the case. He had taken a number of skimmers over the pound plus a perch of 1 1/2ld and numerous small perch and good quality roach. He enjoyed himself at least.

One last visit to Benger before Gareth departed and we had a decent selection of roach to 11oz, bleak, perch, chublets and perch. I again fished the rod and pin and Gareth started on the whip but moved onto the straight lead over the whip line. Thursday saw Gareth return to China, leaving temperature was 4C I think and it was 25C in Hong Kong when his flight landed!

Sunday saw peg 12 at Bowood have it’s usual visitor and again the clear water resulted in no bites on the pole but the day was saved by a pike of 14lb together with a jack of 3lb.IMG20170129114417.jpg

That pike represented a personal best at Bowood (for pike landed- I am still having nightmares over the lost crocodile!).

The last day of January saw me back at peg 12 but this time without the usual gear. The weather had turned from the cold and ice to days and days of rain. The water was chocolate and the underfoot conditions were awful so I was doubly glad that  I had decided to go with just the seat bag, a pike rod and the banana!(You need to see previous blogs-Chinese Takeaway- to see the banana!)

I had decided not to fish the Chinese floats but had set up a 5g BGT Blue with an olivette set about 2 foot from the hook and 2 droppers. I was not hopeful of any pike with the chocolate masquerading as water but put out a herring tail just in case. After an hour on the banana and no bites I noticed the odd fish top on the five metre line so i broke the banana down and used 8 sections which took me out to the 5m line and set up a small waggler with a bulk of 6 x no 8 and two no 8 droppers to a 20. Maggot on the hook and in the next two hours I had 21 small fish for a little over2 and1/2 lbs. At which point with it still raining and the sky going darker I decided to pack up and head home, getting back just as it started to rain a lot harder!

February sees me returning to Pewsey lake for the last club match prior to a busy March and April.