Well the planned excursion on the pole never happened due to a variety of family issues so it was not until the 16th, the opening day of the Bowood season that I was able to venture out. Last year I had plundered some bream from Peg 1 and I had decided to give it a go again this year if the colour was okay. Arriving at Peg 1 , having taken a slow and steady walk down, it was well weeded but there was some colour in the water so the rake was put into action and soon there was a fish-able channel to attack.
Tackling up I had decided to use an Ugly Duckling float taking 1g, heavy for 2 foot of water but I wanted to make sure that the bait got down past any weed or marauding rudd! Three balls laced with corn and wheat were deposited at 9m and I settled down with corn on the hook. After an hour I was half expecting a bite but when none occurred I put 3 maggots on in desperation which resulted in a small bream of exactly 2lb followed by 3 rudd and a roach. Switching back to corn it was an hour before the float lifted and ran across the surface, striking I connected with an angry tench that shot off into the weed, I managed to coax it out of the weed only for it to get weeded close in finally relocating my hook in the weed and swimming off! This happened one more time and the only other action as pulling out of a foul hooked pike!
Next day was the wife’s birthday and was spent partly getting ready for the two day pairs event at Makins on the Friday and Saturday. I had been drawn on Phase 2 on the first day and drew peg 9 on Snake. Snake conjures up the image of a canal style lake but it was nothing like it! A rectangular lake with peg nine being in a corner with an overhanging large bush right in the corner. Now this was June, so the weather was awful with heavy rain all day without respite! My waterproof Goretex overtrousers could not cope and I was soaked from the waist down, my top half was fine despite the uncontrollable shivering I had at times throughout the match. Due to the weather my camera stayed firmly in my bag as did my phone. Anyway the peg looked inviting and I had decided on 4/5 possible areas to attack: one at 5m directly in front of me, another at 11m in front, a metre out from the bush at about 7m out to my left, the right and left margins. I put 3 balls of groundbait with 2mm pellets out at 11m, a single ball at 5m and the tree line, with a half cup of 2mm pellets with some 4mm pellets on both margins with meat featuring on the left and corn on the right.Starting at 5m it was VERY quiet with very little indication of any interest from the fish.I was loose feeding 4mm pellets by the tree and also in front but after an hour had 1 carp on meat at 5m so went on to the tree line.
I had set up a homemade chianti style float of .6g to 0.16mm Shogun and a 16 with a 12-14 hollow elastic. Fishing meat I began to get the odd bite but after losing my third fish in the bush I swapped the rig onto a heavier elastic and plodded on through the match, picking up carp at a regular rate, nothing large, average about 3-4lb, until with about 90minutes to go it died – not just for me but the whole lake just switched off, a move to the margins saw me get two more carp (slightly better sized)a bream and a couple of roach all from the left margin. At the end I had clicked 67lb on my carp net and thought I might just get to 80lb with my small carp and silvers net. The scales showed I was almost correct except that I had 61lb odd in the carp and 20lb+ in the silvers for 81-13 total.
Trudging back to the car was a real effort, despite it being 200m max and on a flat good surface, I was not in the best of states when I arrived back. A brief rest (in the rain), and packed the car and went off to find my hotel. After checking in and a cup of tea and a hot shower, I spent most of the evening drying my clothes on the radiator in the room. Next morning it turned out that my partner and I were lying in 3rd spot out of the 20 pairs, so all to play for! Day 2 meant I was on Phase 3, and I drew Thames 17. Checking with the venue regular who had drawn it on day 1 it transpired the usually good peg had not fished at all and he had struggled to catch much at all (can’t remember if it was 6lb or 14lb). Still it was a different day and on arrival I found the peg was a short walk from the car (phew) and was on a canal style lake with rushes on the central island. It looked fishy and there were numerous carp cruising around.
I set up a margin rig, one for the far bank and one for the track. Feeding 2mm and 4mm pellets down the margins with corn and meat, 2mm and groundbait down the track and 4mm loose fed across, I managed 2 rudd from the right margin and lost a micro rudd on the way in from my only 3 bites in the first 5 hours! With an hour to go I was resigned to last place in the section but plugged away on the left hand margin with double corner finally getting two more bites which both turned out to be carp that I clicked for a 6lb total. However the scales told a different story and I weighed in 10-7, still last in section though. Back at the headquarters we discovered we had dropped to 8th overall. On the bright side I managed to dry out my waterproofs on the grass during the match.
It was the Tuesday before I felt recovered enough to go to Bowood, I had also bought some new overtrousers, I tried this time peg 4 with a light chianti style float and struggled (recurring theme- I hope not!) ending with 30 micro rudd and 2 roach for 1-06, no sign of any larger fish but plenty of pike activity around midday!
Wednesday sees me back but this time for an evening session (5:45 to 8:15), dropping in on peg 3 a 5minute raking gave me some fish-able water. I began on maggot with the Ugly Duckling rig and had a rudd first drop in so went straight on the corn and ended up with one tench of 3-12 but lost 4 more in the thick weed. I swear these tench have Masters Degrees in using weed as a disgorger!
Friday sees me back at Peg 3 for a morning session (8:45 to 1:45). Starting with the Ugly duckling rig and maggot, I put 3 balls laced with hemp and wheat out at the start and after 20minutes had a bite – a small skimmer. This was followed by 3 further small skimmers and a roach before changing to corn. A 15 minute lull was interrupted by a small bream/large skimmer of 1-11, a further lull was broken at 11am by the first of 4 tench, 2-06, 4-12, 5-04 and 3-09 and not a single fish lost! That gave me a level 18lb and the walk back to the car was not as bad as a result!
I try and avoid Bowood at the week-end so it was Monday when I returned to Peg 3 but struggled with one tench of 2-12 and 5 rudd, losing 2 tench in the weed for a 3-02 total. Next day sees me back for my last session in June, this time going to the other bank and peg 23. It was very thick weed out from 5m to 11m so the rake was put to use and I set up a different rig – a homemade rugby ball style float with a long 3mm tip, again taking 1g, bulked 15 cm from a 14 hook on 0.16mm Shogun line. The depth was about 4 foot but I only had a narrow channel to fish so cupped in a fair bit of hemp and wheat with 4 balls of groundbait. It was not until gone 10 o’clock that I had my first fish a roach on maggots, followed by 4 rudd, back on the corn then sees action from tench- a fish of 2-08, then losing two more in the weed before landing a tench of 4-15 and losing two more tench in the weed plus a foul hooked pike! The session ended with a 7-13 total and me thinking about how to avoid losing the fish in the future. I suppose the easy answer is to fish where it is not weedy but I know the tench love the weed and that is where they are!
July sees more Bowood action and hopefully a return to Bromley Mill in Staffs for a match.