September arrives and it is with expectation of the bream turning on that I went to peg 12 at Bowood. The day began with a 1oz skimmer/blade \and that was it as far as the bream were concerned, 8 rudd and 32 roach saw the session out at 3-12. No sign of any bigger fish. To compensate for my disappointment, two days later I did the long walk to Stock Pool and sat on peg 2. Once again slow to start I had the roach and small pasty carp in fits and starts initially on maggot but then on wheat before the larger fish moved in and 7 carp ended up in the net (in order of capture 2-10, 2-6, 7-11, 1-14, 4-12, 2-4) which along with the smaller fish gave a total of exactly 26lbs. Tactics for both sessions had been the same as previously.
I then had a couple of sessions on Pondtail that are recorded elsewhere before having another session on Pondtail 2 this time with 102 roach on the Chinese whip for 6-1 but also being snapped by a large fish, possibly a carp. Back to 12 and this time with the pike gear in tow. Getting the roach going stimulated the pike and two samples of 7-0 and 9-7 followed. I have found that getting the correct size of bait is paramount to getting a run, if it is too small or too big it is ignored; a 6-8inch bait seems to be best. In between the pike I also had a tench of 2-6, 16 roach, 3 skimmers, 2 rudd and a perch for a 22-14 total.
Bowood then had to take a back seat as family commitments took me north and a week in Hornsea with the mother-in-law on holiday. The good thing about Hornsea is that 10 minutes away is Westlands , a commercial fishery with a good tackle shop and this is where I would be heading for some short afternoon sessions.
First visit was on the Saturday but with a majority of lakes taken with matches I ended up on Canal about half way along. Gareth had taken back the telescopic rod to China on his last visit, so I took the plunge and bought one from China a 3.6m (12ft) 99% carbon version costing a total of £9.37 delivered to my door! I set this up with an inline method feeder and baiting with a Bait-Tec Juice pellet cast the feeder tight against the far bank. Setting up the float rod as well I fed the middle withe micros and down both edged with 4mm pellets. The afternoon was one of those frustrating ones where you know the fish are there but not having it, one small pasty from the feeder line, one small skimmer and perch from the micro line saw me turn my attentions to the edges.
Once again it was slow but swirls told me the fish were around, most activity was on the right edge so I decided to concentrate my efforts there. The bailiff came around for the day ticket money and commented that there may well be barbel where I was fishing. Any way I had a few small carp and one of 4lb before hooking a good fish that I had on for over five minutes, slowly going to the left and right and across the lake, I had it in netting range on more than one occasion but could not get it’s head up; finally it made off one more time to the left and we parted company! That was the last of the action! I did not go on Sunday as it was booked up with matches.
Monday saw me return and after a while saw me settle for Middle lake, the furthermost corner with the wind (such that is was) blowing into the corner. Again both rods set up but I only fished with one at a time.
Beginning on the float I began fishing directly in front while also feeding the corner to my left. A couple of small carp followed before I decided to go down to my left, a couple of better fish to 4-6 came before I took the gamble and put the float rod up the bank and swung the method on top of the same line, a further 16 carp came to banded pellet (The Juice), biggest being 6-14. The Chinese rod coped admirably with them and had a really nice action, as well as being incredibly slim. The session saw me end with 20 carp for 68-8 (I weighed each fish and jotted down the weight on paper).
Next afternoon saw me back at Middle but this time in the opposite corner (peg 26?).
I decided to concentrate on the waggler for most of the session but did have a few fish at the end on the feeder. Loose feeding 4mm pellet and using corn and banded pellet I had a succession of carp and F1, missing a lot and bumping fish, despite this I managed 12 carp/F1 and 2 skimmers for a 35-13 total, so you can see the fish were of a similar stamp to previously, the best being 4-14. However it made for an enjoyable session with not many slack times.
My last session was made on Little Tench, the far corner peg on the roadside. I adopted a similar approach with most of the time fishing the waggler with just short bursts on the feeder. Corn and banded pellet saw a run of fish come to the net but they were significantly smaller with 27 carp and 2 roach weighing in at 44-14. A busy final session but enjoyable despite the very windy conditions.
Back home and the first round of the North Wessex Winter League arrives at Sutton Benger! I tend not to take my match kit to Benger, opting instead to take my Bowood tackle as the walks can be totally savage and the soil is very cloying clay. So to the draw and I drew B6, upstream of the top weir, driving down the lane to the river I parked up in the car park took 4 paces across the track and there was my peg- a real savage walk! This peg is feast or famine usually, with the chance of chub (usually later in year though) and big perch.
I set up the usual feeder, waggler, worm rig and light rig, cupped in 4 balls of groundbait laced with about 50 casters and 20 grains of wheat and went out to 10m (where the flow was) with double maggot on a 20 to 0.10mm below a 0.5g Blues float in the 6 feet of water. Third run through I had a roach of 3oz and a succession of smaller roach followed until I hooked a better fish, a roach of about 10 oz, that I guided in past the remnants of the stalks only for it to make a dart to my left into the pad of lilies and the hook to pull! A second better fish was lost to a hook pull , this time further out, leaving me unhappy to say the least. As usual after 75 minutes the bites tailed off and dried up- time to introduce the worm at the end of the lilies, only nothing happened- nado-nothing. On to the waggler and by feeding two different areas and swapping between them I was able to put the odd fish into the net. More chopped worm introduced over the groundbait produced a couple of small perch plus one of 8-10ozs followed by a small chub of 6oz. By the time the whistle went I thought I had about 3lb in the net. I realistically thought I was fishing for 5th in section as the weir peg flier was in our section plus 3 other very good pegs in the first field. When I came to weigh in Mick Rozier on B1 was leading with 6lb+- a big chub and some decent perch with Frank Humphries next on 4-5, I watched as the scales settled at 4-3 (those roach cost me!), the weir didn’t produce leaving me third. Not too bad a start.
Mid week after some painting around the house I headed for 12 at Bowood with pike rod and on a glorious autumn day without a cloud in the sky and warm sunshine I did not get a bite nor run in three hours. In fact I did not see a sign of any fish apart from three separate occasions when a pair of eyes dimpled the surface. I packed up and walked back to Pondtail where I had 3 hours on the pole for a change – 100 roach, 1 perch and 1 gudgeon- yes fish other than roach. Best fish was 1-7. in a total of 7-9.