After the match at Sutton Benger I did manage to sneak a visit in to Bowood before the end of September – a 4 hour stint on peg 10. No pike but a nice session on the pole resulting in 57 roach, 12 skimmers, 3 hybrids and 28 rudd for a 12-1 total.
So into October and did it rain! I had a practice match for the next round of the North Wessex at Clanfield on the Sunday so spent the4 time sorting things. Setting off on the Sunday I was dubious as the rain had been unrelenting and there was a lot of areas of flooding on the roads. Still I arrived, in the rain, to discover that the bottom field was out of use and all pegs would be cramped into the first field BUT we would have to walk to the pegs rather than the usual drive across the field. At this point I said no thanks, remembering a similar incidence 20 years previously wading through knee high puddles in the field to reach the river that absolutely knackered me then, and went home!
Tuesday sees a break in the weather and I find myself at peg 10 at Bowood. Now at this point I should say that I am still looking to fish every peg and only have pegs 11,12, Stock 2 and the Island left but I fancied 10 after the rain. I decided to play safe and put in just 3 balls of groundbait, usual rig and three maggots to kick off with. It was a slow start which suggested there was either larger fish (tench/bream/pike) about or the weather had turned them off! Slowly by swapping between corn, wheat and double maggot I began to put some fish in the net, a run of small skimmers at first then roach.I then hit into a large fish which I thought may be a pike as it just held station on the strike before slowly plodding off. As I got it closer in it woke up and took off on a couple of powerful runs before I managed to get it within netting range (down to my top kit). I had still not seen it but there it was- a good tench doing a swimmers roll and heading off on another short run before it was turned and the hook pulled!
I was not happy to say the least but got my head down and carried on picking of the silvers when the pellet waggler on the pike rod signaled a run. Quickly shipping in I struck into a spirited fighter of exactly 9lbs.
Somewhat mollified by catching the pike I went back to the silvers only to hook another good fish that took what seemed like an age to get in – a tench of 5-14.
So after 4 hours I packed up with25 roach, 11 skimmers,2 hybrids and 1 rudd plus the pike and tench for an 18-10 total.
Next day I had a short session (2 hours) on the Pondtail peg 1 with the Chinese whips. Fishing the 4m whip with the 3g float (set up for Port Talbot Docks) I fed casters that I had turned and alternated between double maggot, caster and wheat for 60 roach, 31 gudgeon and 9 perch for a 8-6 total.
Thursday I contacted Darren Edgell, my pre-Covid travel partner for details about Sunday’s draw for him to tell me he was at Clanfield and just landed a barbel of 16-04!
Next day with Darren’s success still in mind I settled at 10 again and cast the pike rod out just as the bell tolled 9am. Setting up the usual rig on the pole I adopted the same cautious approach with three cups of groundbait cupped in with a sprinkling of corn and wheat. Starting on double maggot I was soon into roach, not frenetic but steady, then at about twenty to ten the pike float went off on a run, shipping back quickly, I hit it and a momentary solid resistance then nothing as the sardine came back. Recasting I went back to the pole but just after 10:15 the pellet waggler indicated another run which this time I hit and after a momentary thought that it was a middle sized jack the fish went on a powerful run, I could do little with the fish but with side strain and steady pressure managed to turn it towards me, gradually getting it back in front of me but the fish carried on swimming past! It went on 4 further runs that saw me frantically back winding before finally it appeared, a real crocodile of a fish, and at the third attempt it was safely in the net. A PB for me 24-8, I had a cup of coffee after releasing the fish to calm me down!
I managed to carry on until 12:30 but packed up with a broad smile on my face! The rest of the catch was a 4-13 net comprising 30 roach,8 rudd,1 skimmer and a perch.
Sunday arrives and the next round at Clanfield. This time we are thankfully able to drive to the pegs albeit by a circuitous route. I was drawn B1 (scales) on permanent peg 12. Darren said it was an okay peg for roach and chances of a barbel or chub from the downstream tree on the far bank. I set up a waggler, stick and feeder plus 3 pole rigs a 1g BGT Grey with an 0.1mm hooklength to a 20, a 3g Paster as a worm rig and a 2.5g Paster with an olivette 3 feet from the hook and two no8 droppers to a 20 again on 0.10mm Shogun.
I began by feeding 3 balls of Sensas Noire, laced with a sprinkling of casters, wheat and hemp, on the 9m line at the edge of the crease. I would feed a pinch of casters every put in over this, I loose fed hemp and wheat closer in but 3m down the peg in a steady bit of water as a potential hemp line for later in the match. The tree was loose fed with maggot every other put in on the pole and with hemp every fifth put in.
I began on the 2.5g rig and had 8 roach and 2 gudgeon in the first hour. It then slowed down and the gudgeon became more frequent and smaller. By swapping between thew 2.5g rig, the waggler and the stick I managed to amass 21 roach, 18 gudgeon, 6 minnows, 3 chublet, 1dace and 1perch by the end. The highlight being a roach of 1-10 taken on the pole by running it down the swim.
The section looked to be close and although I couldn’t see the next angler I had heard plenty of splashing! On weighing in I had 5-3-8 beaten into third by a 5-4-0 and the next angler with 5-9-8, both of them had 2-3 chub over the pound mark. As a team we managed second on the day and retain the lead in the league by 2 points, Darren however had a grueller on a poor peg and was last in section with 2oz .
Tuesday sees me back at Bowood and peg 10 again! A bit later this time, I managed to get the pike rod out by quarter past nine and the pole by half nine, same approach with same rig – boring I know! Anyway the day was interspersed with two pike of 6-06 and 6-08, 21 roach, 4 skimmers and 14 rudd. No runs missed and packed up by 1:30pm!
Next day, the 14th sees me with the ready rod bag and haversack walking to the Stock Pond, to tick off peg 2 from my list . I was only planning a short spell (3 hours) and although I had a feeder rod with me the plan was to fish the waggler for a change. Inspired by Sidestream Bob’s float making I had made up some peacock wagglers and wanted to give them a try out. Taking 2AAA they (well the one I used!) cast well and the tip was very visible. I had taken some fresh groundbait to mix and the remains of the previous session (approx 3 balls worth) but I decided to put in two balls at 20m and feed hemp and wheat over the top while using double maggot on the size 20 hook. I put in the last ball after an hour and didn’t bother mixing any more up. I had a variation of the double bulk set up I have been using on the pole as I wanted to get down through the upper layers fairly quickly in the 6 feet of water, so I had a mini bulk of 4 no 8 2 feet from the hook and 3 no 11 shot 8 inches away from the hook.
The three hours passed quickly with interludes of watching kingfishers fishing opposite and regular bites from 64 roach that came to 6-10.
Next up will be round 3 at Lechlade on the Thames and Covid rules permitting a coaching day with Andy May.