The Last Hurrah – March 2020

March arrives and the close season at Bowood looms closer. A short session on the first Monday on 12 from 11-2 sees a disappointing 7 roach 3 perch and a blade for a staggering 5oz! Next day sees me for a short session on the Pondtail I decided to chuck a feeder out for the bream with a worm whilst fishing the 5m whip on cheese, but first put a maggot on to get a couple of roach in the net. The cheese was a stupendous failure with no sign of a bite, reverting back to maggot didn’t produce any either, so the only action was on the feeder where 3 roach took a fancy to my worm. Five roach for 8oz, not the farewell to the season I was hoping for!

Friday was my next venture out and I reverted back to peg 12 but this time with the pole. I set up with a number 5 elastic to 0.16mm Shogun mainline and 0.10mm hooklength to an 18 and a homemade body down teardrop float with a green hollow 1.7mm bristle taking 0.6g. The pike rod, as usual was set up with a two single no6 barbless carp hook to a 15lb wire trace and a sardine bait. The pike rod produced two missed runs but the pole gave me a pike of 5-8 which gave a good account of itself on the 5 elastic. The 10m line also produced a skimmer of 1-13, 6 roach, a small skimmer and a mini perch for 2-10.

A three hour session the following Monday sees me finally hook a pike run for a small one of 5-7 with the pole producing 15 rudd and 15 roach for 2-6, all on double maggot, as usual single maggot is totally ignored!

Wednesday sees me back on 12 and some interesting action. Setting up as before I had a run early on from a scrappy jack of 3-10. I began to get a few bites on the pole when I hit a good fish that I eventually lost after 10 minutes without seeing it. Half an hour later the same happened,  a good fish hooked that I could do little with, finally getting it under my feet after 15+ minutes (I know the time as the Bowood House bell rang twice during the fight), to my surprise it was a a big tench (6lb+) that promptly went under the pike rod and into the weed bed and the hook pulled! I was not a happy bunny! Anyway an hour later the same thing happens and this time after 30mins I put the net under a pike of 7-6!

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You never know what to expect at Bowood!. A plugged away and had  a total of 13 roach, 8 blades and 2 rudd for 1-2 when I packed the pole up at which point the pellet waggler float I use as a pike float bobbed, and moved off, resisting the urge to strike and when it went a second time hit into a pike of 8-8 to finish the session. The beauty of the rig I use is the hook fell out in the net but the downside is the fish was only hooked in the lip with one hook despite the length of time I gave it to take the bait- hence the number of missed runs. All in all not a bad session with a 20-10 total.

Friday was going to be my last day at Bowood as I decided to give the last day a miss as I reckoned that it would be busy (more than two anglers!). Any way the day set off well with lots of bites coming on the pole then a bream of 1-14 turned up, followed by a run on the pike rod that gave me one of 9-4. The day continued along the lines of catch small fish hook a pike …the next one was a jack of 5-2 on the pole (I had taken the precaution of putting a top with a slack 8-10 elastic on). The last one on the sardine was one of 9-11 to finish the session. So 22 roach,1 mini perch, 20 rudd and 5 blades went 3-4 to give me a final session total of 29-3 a nice way to close the season.

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Family commitments then kicked in and with the ever worsening Corona virus situation it was Monday 23rd that I managed to get out next for what looks to be the last session for some time as that night the restrictions were announced. The last visit was to Patneys or to give it it’s proper name Woodside Lakes, two lakes that are in the middle of nowhere with no platforms or facilities – natural in every sense . When I arrived there was one car in the car park, a carp angler on the specimen lake, I parked on the other side of the car park and set up on the right hand side  of the match lake just before the first island. I had resorted back to my match set up rather than the trusty Maver Metalica and matchbox I use at Bowood. I decided on 0.14mm Shogun to a 0.12mm hook length to a 16 barbless with a home made float taking 0.6g. I had planned to fish the meat but on inspecting the meat taken from the freezer, it was too soft to keep the hook in plus I had forgotten my pole pots for this pole! Bait wise, apart from the meat, I had a half pint of fresh maggot, a few worms, some micros and 4,6 and 8mm expanders. Plumbing up carefully I found the deeper spot to my left that I had found on a previous visit, three balls of groundbait mixed with micros and some of the 4mm cubed meat was deposited and double maggot was put over the top of it. I began by catapulting some old maggot I had left from Bowood over the top every 5 minutes or so. After 30 minutes I had my first bite and missed it! This I had found to be the frustrating thing about this particular peg as it seemed to be home of a lot of mini tench that were very cagey feeders. I finally managed to hit my fifth bite, a roach of 4 oz. It was a good half hour before the next bite, a small perch. Ten minutes later I had a bite and latched into a carp that I had on for 30 seconds, before the hook pulled (the maggot had masked the hook). Another roach of 3oz followed after 15 minutes but then a run of missed bites as the wind picked up. At noon another angler turned up and went on the opposite bank just as I hit a bite from another carp, this time properly hooked and after the short fight(see video) weighed in at 5-8.  Only one more bite hooked in the next two hours a carp of 1-8, but two more were bumped. At which point I called it a day and went home.

No fishing for the foreseeable future but it will be a small price to pay to keep people safe.

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