October Outcomes 2021 Part 2

My next foray to Bowood saw me at the Pondtail peg 1 with the whips. I had decided to ignore the main lake as the forecast was not brilliant with heavy winds which would have made it extremely difficult to fish a pole comfortably.(Reading between the lines, yes I whimped out!)

I decided to tackle the session with the 7m Chinese whip but instead of using my usual long Chinese float I instead opted for a short 4 inch one with a bulbous tip which surprisingly took a lot more weight! The 0.14mm mainline was supplemented with a 0.12mm hooklength to a 16 microbarb. I threw three golf-ball sized balls of groundbait in and followed it up with 20 grains of wheat and similar of hemp. The float was dotted down but because of it’s bulbous tip was very visible and bites were easily seen. Bait was double maggot.

Now there is one thing I have not mentioned – an old friend was at the peg when I arrived, Cyril the swan/cygnet, who was looking to be fed./ I did resist the temptation! Anyway the fish were obviously hungry as in the first 15 minutes I had 12 roach, I was loose feeding the wheat and hemp every other cast and stuck with the double maggot approach. I did have a couple of instances when the bites died followed by a perch but another ball of groundbait brought the roach back.I did get one good roach that I decided to weigh which went exactly 1lb. The session lasted 2.5 hours and I ended up with 72 roach and 4 perch for 11-06. I was more than happy with the way it had gone and really enjoyed using the Chinese whip which was more fun than the stiff European versions. I do have difficulty understanding why people elasticate whips as it defeats the whole purpose of the equipment, if they are concerned about hooking bonus fish then fish a pole to hand! I did have one incident when Cyril displayed his ninja skills by creeping up behind me and trying to nick my groundbait bowl!

I was planning on going to the main lake on Friday but on Thursday evening I received an email asking if I was still available to fish the Maggotdrowners Mystery Team at the Glebe on the Saturday, a match I had offered myself as a reserve for! So Friday was taken with sorting the match kit for the early start on Saturday. The match was one where you draw a peg and at the end you find out who your team mates are, the team draw having been done the day before and stored in secret! Anyway the day did not start well as I was making good time and the sat-nav predicted I would be there 30 minutes in advance of the draw, when I arrived at Cirencester to find the road closed so followed the diversion signs that took me in a big loop back to where I started! IT turned out there where at least 3 road closures and they all had diversions but some bright spark had not used the usual circle/triangle/square signs to distinguish them! Anyway 30 minutes later and I had managed to get back on route but was predicted to arrive dead on time. In the event I managed to arrive 7 minutes early for the draw and got my nets dipped.

I drew peg 11, one I had not fished before but one of the regulars who asked me where I had drawn grimaced! I set up a feeder with the intention of switching the feeder to a bomb later in the match, only to discover I had not packed my catapults! That was one tactic gone! I set up a 0.6g homemade chianti style float for 11m with a toss-pot for feeding with a 0.14mm hooklength to a 16, the shot was bulked 2 foot away from the hook with 2 droppers below. I also set up a rig set at 4feet for the close line which turned out to be 2 +1 sections and a margin rig of 0.20mm to a 12.

I set off on the feeder but after no interest after 6 casts in 30 minutes that went up the bank and I was on the 11m pole line which was not any better. Trying different baits- corn, pellets of various types produced a bite after an hour – a skimmer of about 10oz, so at least I wasn’t blanking! That remained all the bites I had after 2 hours so on to the short line. Nothing on corn or pellet but I had made up some Chinese paste from a recipe on a Chinese video. First put in and the float buried and I missed it! For the next hour and a half I managed to hit some bites and added a carp of about 6lb, 3 skimmers similar to the first, a bream of about 2lb and a gudgeon! I then lost a carp that went ballistic through the swim only for a me to retrieve my rig with a large scale on the hook- a foul hooker! This seemed to kill the swim and with no further bites I explored my margin swims. First drop in on my left margin on single corn produced an immediate bite that I missed then nothing. Switching to the right margin (both margins had been loose fed since the start on a little and often basis) on single corn produced a couple of bobs. At this point I decided to concentrate on the right margin for the rest of the match but switched to double corn. This resulted in me adding 2 further carp and a crucian but also losing 2 crucians, a skimmer and 2 carp! Not a brilliant day! At the weigh in I had 7-02 of silvers and the carp went 16-06 for a 23-08 total which put me last in section. My team mates it transpired caught less than me but ended up last but one in their sections so of the 6 teams of 3 we were the strongest, holding everyone else up at the bottom!

Tuesday sees me back at peg 10! With the lake to myself it took an hour before I had a bite- not a good sign and ion the following two hours it got slightly better but not by much! I had 13 rudd, 6 roach and a gudgeon for 2-01. I did lose a pike of 5-6lb foul hooked in the tail on the pole after a long fight with a couple of aerial acrobatics when it managed to dive into the reeds on my left and leave the hook there! I think I may need to do some gardening there as they are encroaching further out into the lake. I had one run on the pike rod that I missed through being too eager and I also had another of those ghost bites with the float slightly bobbing and the sardine (which has quite firm for a change) had a rectangle cut out of it’s side almost as if done by a knife!. I am considering fishing a small hook with a piece of flesh on it and seeing what occurs!

That was it for the month as the rain gods were angry with me and on the Friday and Sunday I awoke to very heavy rain which had taken place during the night as well so I decided discretion was the better part of valour and although I don’t mind fishing in normal rain, the rain that was coming down was far too heavy!

October Outcomes 2021 Part 1

Friday 1st October, went to the Pondtail peg 2 with the whips for a short session, the weather was supposed to be dry but once there the Bowood micro-climate kicked in and we had some heavy rain but worse still it was very cold rain. so I lasted 2 hours but only had 4 bites, 2 roach for 7 oz , a missed bite and a roach that dropped off. Not an auspicious start to the month!

On the Tuesday I headed down to peg 10, this time it was dry but very windy. Getting the right presentation was proving difficult and my ten roach, five rudd and a solitary skimmer was looking a meagre return after 3 hours when I decided to pack up, lifting the pole I hit into a good fish which took a goodly bit of elastic out when the pike float disappeared, initially I thought it had got tangled up in the pole line as the fish had run in that direction but it soon became obvious that a pike was the cause. So now I had a good unseen fish on the pole and a pike on then pike rod, I managed eventually to get the pole fish in and netted – a tench of 4-08, the pike turned out to be a jack of 3-03 and the hook fell out in the net, one of the beauties of fishing two single barbless carp hooks.So my fortunes had changed from 2lb of silvers to a 9-11 total just as I decided to pack up!

Back to 10 on the Friday, a sunny day but 2 missed runs on the pike rod and a hard won 13 rudd, 9 roach and a skimmer for 2-12. I am not totally sure that the runs were from pike as Tim , the gamekeeper, had related to me that several members had commented on “ghost runs” – perfectly good strikes at runs that resulted in nothing. His theory was that they were not pike but possibly the bigger tench or even the odd carp taking the fish, this certainly has some merit as on calmer days the float would sometimes give slight bobs without anything developing, the bait on inspection had been stripped of flesh in areas.

The following Tuesday sees me back in the rut – peg 10! Now I made a fatal mistake at the start of the session, I had a quarter pint of old maggots that I was going to add to the groundbait but on setting up I had a visit from a young swan/older cygnet who I have named Cyril. He made a beeline for me and made the usual throaty sound asking to be fed which I duly obliged with the said maggots. Cyril has so unwary that he even took the ,maggots from the tub that I was holding. Anyway apart from a couple of occasions Cyril stuck around for the whole session.

I fished a slightly lighter float this time, another homemade rugby ball of 0.5g and three balls of groundbait saw an immediate response from roach before the rudd arrived. I started as usual on double maggot but spent a fair amount of time on the corn with not much joy, a couple of fish on wheat and then back on maggot. The pole caught fish weighed 5-02 made up of 26 rudd 10 roach, a hybrid and a skimmer, but this time I had two runs on the pike rod, the first a scrappy 7-02 followed by a double of 11-02

both on sardine, the bigger one taking the bait just as the bells were chiming noon- this seems to be a regular feeding time as I regularly get a run between 11:45 and 12:15! Cyril was a spectator for the pike as you can see in the video!

Friday the 15th arrives and peg 10 beckons! I returned to my more usual heavier rig on the pole and the usual three balls of groundbait did not bring a response at first, in fact after the first hour I had 5 roach 3 rudd and 2 small skimmers on the maggot. At this point I decided to turn my attention to the wheat with the odd dabble on corn. Double wheat was immediately interesting the fish and by loose feeding 10-15 grains plus similar amounts of hemp I managed in the next two hours to bring the total up to 26 roach, 31 rudd and 6 skimmers, giving me a 5-10 total. This time no interest at all from the pike.

I must try not to fish peg 10 next time! Anyway this is what Cyril thinks of it.

September stumbles 2021 – part 2

Returning home, complete with wife (!), after the various family duties in Birmingham and Yorkshire, it was not until the 22nd that I ventured out to Bowood. Looking back I realised that it was roughly the same time in previous seasons that I had started taking the pike rod, so sticking to prior form I packed pike kit in with the rest of the tackle and trundled off to peg 10. Setting up and armed with last season’s sardines that had been in the freezer since January, I managed to put one on the homemade wire trace with the two size 8 barbless carp hooks and cast out only to see the sardine float despite having 4 SSG on the line! Reeling in I dropped it in the side of the platform off the rod tip thinking the water would thaw it out without it being a surface target for any sea-gulls! It sank while I was setting the pole up and I carried on setting up when I noticed a bob and the float running across the surface, a quick strike and before too long an 8-00 pike was in the net. A lucky start!

Anyway a new sardine had the same treatment but no run this time, so it was cast out just beyond pole range. I had decided to revert to my “winter” rigs for Bowood with a 1g Paster float and 0.12mm Shogun hooklength to a 16 allied to a lighter 6-10 elastic. Three balls of groundbait went out on the 10m line along with a handful of hemp and wheat plus 10 kernels of corn. Double maggot on the hook and 10 minutes later a small skimmer was in the net. The absence of immediate interest from rudd raised my hopes that the bream may be around, so a change to corn was in order. Things didn’t pan out as expected with the odd small skimmer and a hybrid before rudd appeared. It was odd but no roach were showing, then after an hour or so the pike float bobbed and slid away. A strike was met with solid resistance and a stubborn pike of 11-04 was finally netted.

The pole line was very slow with just the odd rudd taking the corn but then a minute dip and slight movement to the left made me instinctively strike and see a good amount of elastic come out and a strong fish charge to the left and then back to the right, a good few minutes passed before I was able to put the net under a tench of 5-04. Resuming I had a few more rudd before a bite around 1pm just before I was going to pack up resulted in a solid resistance which immediately made me think pike, only to be proven correct as Mr Pike decided to tail-walk a couple of times which can be good fun on a rod and reel but is doubly so on a pole. Eventually I managed to net it and it pulled the scales down to 7-08, so with my rudd, skimmers and hybrid that gave me a 32-08 total, a pleasing session particularly as I had been filming it, changing camera half way through the session. I was not pleased when I got home to find the second camera had stopped recording after 5 minutes and had not captured any of the fight with the tench or pike nor me posing with the tench before releasing it! GRRR!

Two days later I was back at 10 with slightly different weather – the previous cloudy overcast weather was replaced by a very warm and sunny day. Starting as before I was intrigued that my first 5 fish were roach whereas they had been absent on my previous visit, the day was unremarkable in that I ended up with 25 rudd, 9 roach and 6 skimmers for 4-01. The pike rod produced no interest but my corn on the pole resulted in two pike that were both lost, one a tail-walking double that I had on for 7-8 minutes before it found some lilies on my left and managed to snap my 0.12mm hooklength.

I avoided the week-end and it was the Tuesday that I returned to peg 10 only to find that the large tree in the middle of the field that used to provide some welcome early morning shade in the summer had been felled and the estate workers were busy with the chain-saw, preparing for it to be burnt as it was apparently diseased. Anyway I stuck it out fishing from 9:15 to 12:05with no sign of pike but 20 roach, 16 rudd, 4 skimmers and a hybrid gave me a level 5-00.

The weather put me off going for the last two days of the month with strong wind and rain but all in all September was kind to me!