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!