With Gareth safely back in China I went to Blacklands on the Monday to find it covered with a sheet of ice and my ice breaker at home! Pegs 4,5 and 6 were partly clear but I decided to go on peg 1, fortunately the ice was thin and was broken with a pole cup and landing net.
I set up with just the one rig, a homemade diamond style float taking 0.6g on 0.12mm Tornado with an 15cm 0.08 Shogun hooklength to a 20. I had a bulk shot 2 feet from the hook, a number 8 just 6 inches below that and
then two number 10 stotz at the hooklength loop. This is a pattern I had been experimenting with and it seemed to work very well to date. I began cautiously with micros on the left of the peg and worm on the right but less than I would normally introduce at the start. Two hours later and not a bite, plus the ice was rapidly thawing and the ice water seemed to be having a detrimental effect but then suddenly as if a tap was turned on I had a bite every put in on worm – one perch and 36 roach later I packed up, undecided why the “tap” had been put on…Was it a change in atmospheric pressure or…
Saturday saw the next in the series of matches I had arranged at Blacklands. Just 8 taking part this time with some other events locally clashing, this became 7 with a no-show. I drew (or rather Dazza did for me) peg 8. I set up the usual rigs – the diamond and a chianti style for on the drop. This time I had decided on 4 lines, the first at 11m to my left was to be my worm line, a pellet line straight in front of me at 11m, another pellet line 11m to my right almost 6m out from the bank and a caster line a metre off the island.At the start I put in my usual decent dollop of choppie , and a big handful of pellet cupped on to both lines, a cup containing about 200 casters was put on my island line. Starting on the worm was a steady start before moving onto the pellet lines, rotating between then and occasionally trying the caster line to plunder some better roach I ended up with 28 roach, 36 skimmers, 2 perch and a gudgeon, at the weigh in the scales went to 20-10, I have to use two weighs as the scales I have go to 20lb and always weigh in last. After this when I was gathering my net I found I had missed a roach – 10oz to be precise much to Dazza’s amusement, so my real weight was 21-4, still not enough to change my position. Must remember in future to thoroughly check the net and spread it out tidily!! The weights went as follows
Peg 2 23-11 Peg 8 20-10 (21-4)
Peg 3 16-06 Peg 10 15-01
Peg 5 11-10 Peg 12 21-09
Peg 6 11-05
Thanks to Dazza for the pics of some of the catches
The following week I returned but decided to fish the other lake- Stan’s. Now this is a very different prospect with a consistent depth of about 3-3.5ft and despite the cold weather I fancied it for a change. Setting up on the right hand bank with the building behind me I set up a chianti style float to 0.08mm hooklength and a 20, kicking off with the usual worm to the right and pellet to the left approach IO had a very pleasant session with 9 perch, 8 roach to 12oz, 56 skimmers to 3-3 and a solitary carp that gave me the runaround on my no.5 elastic with no puller!
The silvers came to 20-08 giving a total of 25-06 with the carp- a pleasant if cold outing.
Two days later I decided to give the river a go and see if I could get one of the pike that cause so many problems on matches. The top weir at Benger was my choice, but with the temperatures showing -2C I was not over hopeful. I had traveled light and put a float out with a joey for the pike and a maggot feeder with a small piece of worm on a 0.08mm to a 20 and chopped worm in the feeder as my other rod, mainly to keep my interest! After 10 minutes I had a bite on the feeder that I missed and that was that for two hours. I decided to pack the rods away and resorted to getting my 5 piece Shakespeare travel match rod that always goes everywhere with me in the car along with my emergency tackle and give the backwater a go for an hour.
Tackling up, I found about 5 feet of water and catapulting out some maggots I immediately began to get bites and had 3 small fish- a dace and two chub before it went dead- possibly a pike! Twenty minutes later after feeding the cheeky robin that landed on my rod I gave it best and went home! March beckons and a final match at Blacklands