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.
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..