So May comes (and goes) with Covid-19 spreading globally, lock-down still in place for the silent majority and the news full of the transgressions of lock-down, so it was a relief when the Angling Trust managed to persuade the Government to allow angling again. Incredibly even that was met with indignation by some anglers who have not a clue about how government works. Rant over, back to the fishing, or may be the lack of it! I decided to ignore the first week of “freedom” to let the initial rush die down and planned to visit Patneys when it finally opened. In the meantime I made up some rigs using some of the floats I had put together during the lock-down.
I often have referred to my homemade floats without actually showing them so here are the latest versions! Floats 4-6 (reading left to right) are specifically intended for Bowood as they have a 2.5m or 3mm bristle which allows me to use heavy droppers (almost a double bulk) to combat the weed and allows me to see the float at range if necessary. Floats 1,2 and 5 tend to get used at Patneys while 7 is used for margin work.
Patneys (Woodside Lakes) have introduced a booking system which limits the match lake to 21 anglers and allows you to see how many and who, booked on. I let the first week go after opening and waited until the Monday to book on for the Wednesday as only 2 others had done so. By the following morning there were only 2 swims free! I didn’t fancy that so I cancelled my booking and decided to go to Isis No 1a instead.
Arriving at the lake on the Wednesday mid-morning having completed our early morning walk to Bowood, I settled on peg 3, a peg I had had some success from in the past during May I was the only one on the lake, there were others on the main lake.
The plan was to fish alongside the lilies on the right where there was a deeper hole. Setting up with a yellow bristled float (number two above) to 0.16mm Shogun and a 0.14mm hooklength to a 16 I plumbed up and then started to test the shotting , only to catch a rudd on the bare hook! Corn and 2mm pellet were dispatched with a ball of groundbait next to the lilies and I waited, and waited, and waited… Corn, meat, expander were all ignored, in the end I put on maggot and had 4 rudd on it before I gave up and went home.
The following Tuesday I arrived back at about 9am and settled into peg 6, again with the lake to myself.
This time I used the same set up but put 3 balls of groundbait and a pot of corn and pellet out at 11.5m into 7 feet of water straight in front and a solitary ball plus corn and pellet (2mm) at 10m in a “bay” in the lilies. I started at the 11.5m line on corn and was immediately into rudd. By alternating between the two lines and loose feeding 15-20 pellet every so often I managed to keep a run of bites coming with the occasional quiet spell. A switch to expander tended to produce smaller rudd so I stuck with the corn and at 11:45 hooked into a good fish that hared off towards the far bank. After a scrappy fight I put the net under the first tench of the season, a fish of 4-9. A had a few more rudd, a solitary roach and a “bar of soap” tench by the time I packed up at 1pm. A total of 10-2 in the roughly 3 hours of fishing.
The only sour note was I had been filming with a new cheap camera as my others were playing up and I had forgotten the most important rule- the memory card (32GB) only records 3 hours then clears and starts again! As I had set it up before setting up my tackle I had lost all the fishing time, just having the last 5mins and packing up- DOH!
Anyway, my Bowood ticket has been bought and I am ready for the 16th when the season opens. On our walks I have been taking note of the water clarity and there seems to be a lot more colour than last year so fingers crossed I will start of with some good bream and tench action. Gareth, my son in China, has been encouraged to write up some of his fishing visits and they have gone on the Blog section of the Matchfishing-scene site, for those not members (it is free to join!) here are some links.