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!