June kicks off with the annual match at Peatmoor Lagoon, Swindon for the Three Counties against Peatmoor. I always try to fish this match as a past Secretary of Peatmoor and one of the adults who used to run the Three Counties junior team, but this year it was going to be harder than usual as there had been some spawning fatalities amongst the bream and the fish were still in spawning mode!
I arrived at the draw to see the usual familiar faces and drew peg 13 which was the old peg 17, hidden away in the trees – not brilliant by any means but at least I would have some shade! I kicked off the match by cupping out 3 balls of groundbait ( a mix of three different types) laced with a sprinkling of casters on to the 11m line and went on to the feeder, casting about 35m out. I had a few quick casts to get some bait down ,then red maggot on the 18 hook saw a couple of small roach and a couple of skimmers before it died. On to the pole line and was surprised when nothing happened, I was expecting a few roach to show interest, eventually I managed to scratch out a few more small fish and by alternating between the feeder and pole lines ended up with 2-5-8 for 3rd, beaten by 2-8 and 2-11 weights – a very poor day, indeed I did not have a bite for the last 2 hours.
The end of June was going to be busy with the MatchFishing Scene HillBilly Pairs over two days at the Glebe followed by the NW Summer League at Withrington Farm on the following day. With this in mind, my next venture out was to Withy for a bit of carp bashing! Peg 87 on the inner snake was my choice (the following day I discovered we had be only given the outer snake!) and it was evident that the carp had other things on their mind as they were still cruising around pairing up in the sunny conditions. I tackled the peg in my usual fashion for Withy – swim one was at 13m on the far shelf, pinging pellet and corn on the hook, groundbait went in at 5m for the skimmers with loose fed caster over the top and both margins fed one with corn and micros, the other with 6mm pellet and meat. It proved to be a hard day again by Withy standards with 33lb comprising of 10 skimmers (none from the 5m line), 3 roach, 1 crucian and 4 carp (6,6,3 and2), 6 further carp were lost- mainly foul hookers.
I returned the following week and this time fished peg 5 on the outer snake- the start of Cyanide Straight. The pattern was very similar with 20 skimmers, 2 roach and 1 rudd for 15-12 and 5 carp for 27-4, making 43lb. The carp went 5,2,12-4,3,5, most fish came from to corn from the left hand margin which was slightly shallower than the right.
I have had a season away from Bowood and although I enjoyed the change and the fishing at Blacklands, I did miss Bowood, especially the opportunity to go after the pike in winter, so this year with the encouragement of my better half I joined Bowood again. I decided to avoid the opening week-end of the season guessing it may be busy and head off on the Tuesday. The beauty of Bowood is that it takes me 3mins from getting into the car to getting out at Bowood! I arrived to find two other cars in residence and managed to park up in the shade of the oak tree and refamiliarise myself with the walk down top the lake. I arrived to find the first 5 pegs unfishable with the heavy weed- this was a blow as I had not brought the rake and I suspected these pegs would be the most productive at this time of year as they are shallow. I settled on peg 7 and looked into the gin clear water – so clear I could see the bottom at 13m in 5 feet of water! I knew it would be a struggle but after 4 hours and not so much as a bite on any bait, even maggot hand lined under the platform could not save me! The prodigal angler returned and was given a Bowood moody welcome!
The Friday saw me arrive at the Glebe, just outside Hinckley, where we were on lakes 1,4,5,6,7 and 9. ,I was in charge of the results and draw and as per normal we would draw for pairs and the first out would fish pools 1 and 4 while the second out would be on pools 5,6,7,9. The following day you fished the other sections to where you had fished on Day 1. I was drawn out first and peg 25 on Pool1 was to be my home for the day.
I set up a feeder ( you have to use a 20inch hook length on the feeder at the Glebe), a 13m pole line for on the bottom but with strung out shot, a 5m rig and a margin rig. Hook lengths were 0.20mm Shogun, with a size 12 on the margin rig, a 14 on the 5m line and a16 on the long line. All the floats were homemade, with the 13m line having a snub nosed bristle. Elastics went from Grey Hydro on the 13m line as I have found that I land more than on a heavier elastic for some reason, a 12 hollow and a red hydro on the margins, all set loose. The carp were again cruising and the sun was out and hot, starting at 13m after 30mins, after priming the other swims and having had some casts across for no response I had my first fish- a bream.
Indeed it was all bream at first before losing several carp that I believe had just swam into the line and got it wrapped around their fins. A frustrating day as I lost 10-15 carp, most foul hookers but was snapped on three occasions by large fish, twice from the right hand margin where they went directly under the overhanging bush and into roots and once in clear water, possibly hitting a snag? After losing the two fish under the bush I concentrated on the other margin and managed to weigh in 26-8 of bream and 43-4 of carp for 69-12 and last in section, everyone else in the section had over 100lb!
Onto day 2 and out comes peg 103 on pool 7 setting up the same as before, the feeder was consigned to the bank after 30 mins with no sign, the long pole line was not much better but at last I managed a bream of about 2lb on the hour mark. The pool was fishing hard, apart from the ends and a frustrating day saw me put 4 bream on the scales for 8-6 and 5 carp for 23-10, giving a round 32lb, beating peg 102 but no-one else in the section.
Pairs competition we finished 14th out of the 24 pairs mainly thanks to my partner having a first a second place.
The next day back to Withy for the second round of the Summer League. Out of the bag comes B5, permanent peg 36. The weather was very hot, indeed the car was showing 32C at the end of the match, and the carp were still cruising with other things on their minds. Starting across on a black hydro with a homemade float on 0.18mm Shogun to a 16 hook and corn I hit my first bite after 25minutes of pinging pellets only for the fish to come off half way across. An hour later with no futrher bites across or on the 5m line I decide that I had to scratch for a rudd in the margins as others had caught small fish and I needed to weigh something in for the team. So using my 5m rig which had a 18 hook on and double maggot I began trying to put small rudd in the net from my left margin, after putting about 10 small fish into the net I once again swapped between the far side and the 5m line but no signs of life other than the fizzing on my 5m line (BUT NO BITES!). I decided to stick with the small fish as no other angler was getting much in the section, so I decided to save the right margin and just concentrate on the left before trying later for carp in the right. More small rudd followed, then a small skimmer and better rudd, then nothing, just as I was thinking it was time to put a heavier rig on, the float buried and a lift was met with the solid resistance of a good fish, after a few heart stopping moments I finally had a carp of 5-6lb lying in my net.
A move to the heavier rig saw now response and a ball of paste in the right margin resulted in a foul hooker that pulled out eventually. Back to the lighter rig and another foul hooker lost. With thirty minutes to go I managed to hook another good fish that shot off to the far bank, 5 minutes later (although it felt a lot longer) I had a lump in the net, around 9-10lb, hooked in the middle of its side, I had been able to see my maggots in its side so was playing it as gingerly as I could!
No further action and at the weigh in I had exactly 17-0, 1-10 of rudd and the two carp went 15-6, enough for a section win. The team came 4th on the day so we now move to Sutton Benger on the Avon for the next round. Bowood awaits in between!