October arrives and hopes of pike and bream at Bowood come to the fore. The bream have been conspicuous by their absence this year with tench being the main action to date. Still I trudged off to peg 12, now I know I am boring fishing the same peg but my rationale is that it is the deepest peg in the area and if I consistently fish it the fish will get used to finding food there and remain close by. As I have said before Bowood is little fished and it is rare to see another angler so setting up a peg with regular bait makes sense.
Three balls of groundbait laced with a sprinkling of micros and a few casters are deposited at 11m, and pike rod cast with a mackerel tail just to the right and at 13m, I shipped out with double maggot and 2 minutes later the float dips and a roach of 13 ounces arrives in my net. I hoped that was to be the start of a good day but that was my one and only bite on the pole despite going down to 0.10mm and a 20. There was one piece of action at mid day when the pike float lifted and disappeared resulting in a pike of 9-2 and that was it for the day.
That was it until the week-end when we had round 2 of the North Wessex at Clanfield. I don’t mind Clanfield although it is very peggy as you can drive and park directly behind your peg, which on this occasion was A7 or peg 21 which was on the straight immediately after a long sweeping bend that formed a cattle drink. Plumbing up showed that there was a deep hole just to my right upstream that sloped up to about 8-9 feet in front of me at 11m with a fairly consistent depth right across the river. Anyway I set up a worm rig, a light rig (1g) and a slightly heavier one of 1.5g, with the intention of starting light and moving to the heavier one if needed. The match starts and two hours later I have about 4ozs in the net and really struggling, with nothing showing, to make matters worse as end peg i didn’t have a clue how the rest of the section was doing but suspected that the first pegs would be catching as they were in a hot area. My fortunes changed slightly as the cows arrived for a drink creating plumes of muddy water coming through my peg plus streaks on my car from the licking the cows were giving it! I began to pick up pairs of eyes gudgeon, so stuck the heavier rig on to get the bait down quicker and settled down to try and scratch as best I could. The match ends and I manage to weigh in 2-6 of the eyes but as I suspected the top pegs all had 4lb plus leaving me with a miserly 2points for my efforts.
After Sunday I needed some encouragement so I headed for Pondtail peg 2 for a 3hour session on the Chinese whip, fishing double maggot I managed 160 roach and 2 perch for a weight of 10-2.
Pintail 1 was the next visit and again on the whip, this time just a short 2hr session saw 105 roach and 3 perch for a level 6lb. Peg 12 was calling so that Monday i headed down and set up as per usual with pike rod out with a mackerel tail and pole at 11m. I have probably omitted to mention my pike set up for some time so as a recap it consists of a 2.5lb three piece carp rod allied to a Shakespeare Omni X loaded with 12lb line, my terminal tackle consists of one of my pellet wagglers taking 5g on a sliding set up, with usual barbless trebles (this was to change !). The day began slowly with 6 roach and a small hybrid for 2-6 but the pike saved the day with three coming to the net, the first 10-0 to the mackerel tail, the next a jack of 3lb again to a tail and finally an 11-4 to a red smelt. The day decided me that I had enough of trebles getting caught in the net so I decided to ditch the trebles and that week made up some single hook traces to 20lb wire.
Friday sees me back at peg 12 with single hook traces, this time the smaller fish were playing ball and on double maggot I had 17 roach (biggest 12oz), 15 rudd 1 perch, a skimmer of 1-8 plus 3 small blades which added to a solitary jack of 4-3 gave me a 9-8 total.
Sunday saw me at Lechlade for the third round of the Winter League. The organisers had managed to get us parking in the field next to the riverside car-park which would save us splashing out £5 on parking fees, but it backfired a bit as the entrance path back to the riverside park had been sealed off so it meant a lot longer than the normal long walk to the river. Anyway I ended up drawing C5, my usual 150m stretch of river- I always seem to get the same area over the years!- in the small paddock just over the stream bridge. I had 10 foot of water at 11m and about 3foot on the 5m line with a handy looking bush in the water on my side 5m downstream. To cut a long story short the bush and inside line were both a waste of time with no sign of fish and I spent the majority of the match at 11m holding back hard and then running through before holding back again which accounted, all bar 6 waggler caught fish, for 31 roach, 16dace, 2 skimmers, 2 perch, 1 gudgeon, 1 little chub and 9 bleak for 5-13 and third in section. The two who beat me caught on the whip at 5m for 6-15 and 6-12.
Tuesday and peg 12 called – I keep throwing in wheat and pellet when I leave in the hope that the bream will find it and settle but once again I had a solitary small skimmer and 27 roach for 4-6 on the maggot plus a pike of 6-4.
Friday sees me stop being so boring and walk around the far side to peg 22 which is almost opposite 12!! I had forgotten how shallow it was on this side with about 3.5feet of water at 11m. As I was setting up another angler arrived with a couple of pike rods and set up on peg 12!
I adopted a cautious approach as the wind was cold (the left side of my face was cold but my right side burning with the winter sun!) two pots of loose groundbait with a pinch of wheat, micros and maggots was introduced with a pinch of maggots fed at regular intervals. It didn’t go to plan as 10 small roach and a perch for 9ounces was my reward (plus a couple that came off). Just after taking the pictures, as i was packing up my top kit, the pike float lifted and shot off, a strike, the clutch grumbled and the pike was on, flashing in the water, it was a fish of 8-9lb when the single hook pulled out. I think I need to ensure the clutch doesn’t stop me getting a good hook hold in future!The guy on 12 had not had anything when I left a few minutes later.