Mid week with the last days of June saw me return to Bowood armed with my weed rake, I cleared 3 pegs – 5,8 and 12. Before and after can be seen below.
As previously experienced, raking a swim kills it for that day and this was no different – another blank. I had now sorted out in my mind what was needed;
the clarity of the water meant that a pole over the shallow pegs was a no-no but the weed meant that any tench hooked on rod and line would have to be dragged through weed and therefore lost, in all probability. The solution was to fish the deeper water although this was not the norm at this time of year. So that Friday evening saw me arrive at peg 12 which was just a mass of green weed, I knew the bottom was clear so this was just surface weed, ten minutes later after slowly easing the weed towards me and into the margins I had a clear channel up to 11.5 m ( I would need to do this on all subsequent trips as the wind blew more weed in to cover the peg).
Two balls of groundbait laced with micros and a few pieces of corn went into the swim to kick start it. Did I say kick start, after an hour an no signs I introduced some chopped worm with micros and corn and half a worm on the hook , ten minutes later fizzing started and 5 minutes later a tench of 3-4 lay in the net, the first of the season- always a welcome sight.
A top-up of worm saw another tench hooked, but this time lost in the weed and the evening finished with one further tench of 5-8. This would be my lot for a couple of weeks as I had to go north to take the mother-in-law on holiday.
Holidays in Brid mean I get the chance to go of in the late afternoon to Rosedale Fishery at Hunmanby near Filey. My first session saw me on peg 2 where fishing the waggler I had 25 roach, 1 skimmer and 4 small tench for 7-14, all on the corn. I had two further sessions, both on peg 39. The first saw me finish with 10 roach, 3 skimmers, 2 tench and 1 rudd for 4-10 but also carp of 5lb, 3lb and 3x 2lb for 14-0 and a total of 18-10, again all on waggler and corn. The last session was possibly the most interesting as I had 3 roach, 3 skimmers and 3 tench for 4-10 (again!) but this time I noticed carp literally at my side in the pads. Now peg 39 has a large willow overhanging on the left of the peg with pads going out to a rod length or so, but under the willow it was pad free but had evil looking brambles in the margins instead. Using the telescopic feeder rod with 0.25mm hooklength to a 14 with 3 BBs 18inches above the hook, I lowered my double corn offering into the clear area the size of a dinner plate 6 feet from the platform. You could see the tails as the carp rooted around for the micros I was feeding constantly, the line tightened and I was in, an angry carp raced through the pads, but by keeping the tip in the water and following the carp through the pads I was able to eventually land a 3lber. Back in and this time a carp shot off under the tree before the hook pulled. Next in and with tails swirling around the line tightens and a better fish heads through the pads, 5 minutes later and I have an angry 12lber in the net. I went on to hook 5 further fish, losing all of them, 3 to hook pulls, one shedding the hook into a 12foot branch under the brambles(I had to pull for a break on that one as the branch was coming so far out then stuck!)and the final one snagging me under the tree in the “clear water”, managed to get that back though! An exciting evening and although some may question the sense of fishing such a snag pit, playing fish by keeping the tip low or in the water helps greatly in overcoming the potential pitfalls as shown by not snapping on any fish.
Finally back home and Bowood peg 12 for an evening session, after clearing the weed I dispensed with the groundbait and started with a pot of chopped worm , micros and a few pieces of corn. Fifteen minutes in and the float lifted to provide my keep-net with a small tench of 2-14. I should explain my set up, due to the weed and shoals of rudd and roach I was using an 0.8g float with 4 x no4 set 12 inches from the hook and 3x no9 stotz 6 inches from the size 14 hook. Line was 0.18mm to 0.16mm hooklength, both Shogun. My aim was to get the bait down quick but have a very positive indication for lift bites that you invariably get with tench. My pole I use for Bowood is an old 13m Maver Metallica, some ridicule Maver poles as being prone to breakages but I have to say that the Metallica is the strongest pole I’ve ever used(so good I have 2) and I’ve yet to break a section (I hope I haven’t tempted fate with that!), elastic is KND Green.
Anyway, I digress, the method I was settling on was hook a fish- feed worm- wait for bite; this seemed to work as I had further tench of 3-8 and 4-10 while losing 4 in the weed, a small roach and rudd also joined the tench in the net. Buoyed by this success, I returned the next evening for another 2.5 hour session and fishing the same way on peg 12 I had 3 rudd plus tench of 3-8, 4-4, 1-15, 4-10, 3-14, 6-2 (a PB) and 4-10 plus lost 3 others in the weed. A night to savour!
The following week I had two further evening session both on peg 12 but not as successful with the hot, sunny evenings having an effect The first saw one tench of 4-8, 2 rudd and a roach with two lost tench, including one that must have found a sharp snag as the elastic snapped and on inspection looked as if it had been cut rather than frayed. The following evening followed a similar pattern with a solitary tench of 3-0, 8 rudd, 3 roach and a perch with a further 2 tench lost in the weed.
With the next round of the Summer League at the weekend, I went to Sutton Benger down stream for a session. I struggled up through the field with huge cracks in the ground (the trolley went in up to its axle on several occasions. I wanted to fish the hard pegs and I walked past the fliers by the trees and had a look at peg 130- it didn’t look fishable with pads sub surface across the entire river. I trundled on further and settled into peg 127 which had clear water. There was little if any flow and what there was showed up at 2+2 range. Two balls of groundbait went in, one hard with 20 maggots in, the other slightly softer so it broke up at mid-water in the 8 feet I had. Loose feeding hemp and wheat I found fishing a white and red maggot produced most bites and from better fish, ending up with 1.5 to 2lb of small roach, perch, bleak, chub and gudgeon. The only other excitement was a big dog chubb that serenely cruised downstream disdainfully ignoring my attempts to mug it, and my keep-net being attacked by a pike of about 5lb!!
Friday saw me back at Bowood, peg 12 again for tench of 4-8 and 2-6, none lost this time plus a couple of rudd. Then the weather changes- we have rain so the visit to Benger on Sunday becomes a horrible march through cloying mud to my peg D1, down stream where I practiced. When I arrived I could not believe the pegging – the peg I had rejected on Wednesday for being unfishable was my home for the match! I plumbed up as best I could and found a tiny hole at 11m and a clear area on my 2+2 line between two banks of pads. So two pole rigs set up, one light and one heavy for worm, plus a waggler set 3 feet deep. Starting the same way as Wednesday but putting caster in the groundbait as well as maggots I started to catch tiny roach, chub and bleak short, while feeding hemp, after an hour this died, nothing on the 11m line and the rest of the match was spent scratching on the waggler and the light rig with worm. I ended up 4th in section out of 7 which I was chuffed with, especially as when others saw my pe4g they congratulated me for getting what I did out of there.
My youngest, Gareth, had now arrived for a couple of weeks from China and he had bought a Bowood ticket as he was planning on coming over in the new year also. So Monday saw us down at Bowood in the evening, Gareth went on 12 and I fished 11. I had to fish at 10m as there was a bank of weed at 11m. Fishing the same way with a bank of very dark clouds and heavy winds, that had pushed the weed down the bottom of the lake, saw me get 2 tench of 3-14 and 3-8, losing a further 2 plus 6 nice roach. Gareth on 12 had a tench of 4-4 and lost one plus loads of roach.
Final day of July and 6pm saw us on the pegs, this time Gareth fancied 11 and I went on 12. Tench of 3-1, 5-3 and 3-8 with no losses plus some 6 roach and 4 rudd saw me end the month in pleasant manner, while Gareth had tench of 3-14 and 4-5 plus lost 2 further tench in weed as well as some good roach.
No sign of bream yet at Bowood, not even skimmers, which is very odd. August beckons and a few more evening sessions before my next match- the Riverfest at Clanfield, followed by the final Summer League on the same venue.