Not November 2021 ! – Part 2

Now as you are probably aware peg 10 at Bowood is my winter go-to peg as it is deeper and I work on the principle that so few people a) fish Bowood, b) fish for silvers that if I keep to one peg then there is bait going in and keeping the fish in the area. The downside of this it can become a habit that is difficult to shake off and you get caught in a rut. I decided that to get out of the rut I would fish either peg 8 or 9 on my next visit. As it happened when I arrived on the Friday one of the locals was on peg 10 anyway fishing for pike so I dropped in to peg 8.

Peg 8 is a lot shallower at only about 5 feet rather than the 8-9 on peg 10 so I set up slightly differently with a homemade shortish Chianti style float taking 4 no 8 shot and 3 no 10s. I set the bulk at18 inches from the hook with 2 no 10 droppers, line was 0.12 Shogun to a 0.10 Shogun hooklength and an 18 fine wire hook. I began by potting in three balls of groundbait (cocoa Belgique, Vanilla, Lake and Roach competition in equal measures) with a few grains of corn and about 40 pieces of hemp. The pike rod was suitably adjusted for the depth and a sardine was sent out to about 12m.

The roach were the first to appear on double maggot and after about 4 fish I switched to corn and while the bites were not as fast in coming the stamp of fish was better. After about an hour I had a run on the pike rod that I briefly thought I had hooked but then the bait came flying back at me, undetered I cast back to roughly the same area – 10m as I had twitched the initial cast after 40mins- and fifteen minutes later the float bobbed then slid away, this time the fish was hooked and a jack of 5-01 came to the net. I ended up the session with 23 rudd, 16 roach and 2 skimmers to give me a 10-10 total with a further missed run and a lot of the mysterious bobbing! The angler on 10 missed two runs also but did get a pike of 13lb.

The week-end was left alone and I returned on the Monday but the weather had taken a turn for the worst and there was frost on the ground with an air temperature of 1C with bright sunshine – not ideal by any means. I tend to keep the sweetcorn in a one pint bait box and wrapped up in a freezer bag with the air taken out and stored in my bait fridge in the garage. On arrival I add water to the bait box and wash the corn a couple of times then cover with fresh water, doing this a can can last me 2-3 weeks or more. Putting the water in the sweetcorn I was shocked by how icy the water felt. Starting cautiously I potted in a small ball of groundbait with just a smattering of corn and hemp (I need to do some more wheat!) but in the three hours from 10 until 1 I did not get a single bite on the pole and to make matters worse I missed a run on the pike rod so ended up blanking like the angler on the other bank on peg 20 who arrived just after me and packed up at the same time!

Two days later I was back at peg 10, the water was still icy and I started the same way, very cautiously, this time after and hour and twenty minutes the float dipped and I avoided a blank with a net-able skimmer that weighed 10oz, this turned out to be my only bite on the pole! At 11:45 the pike float disappeared and the strike produced a solid response a very welcome pike of 12-10 and that was it with me packing up at 12:45.

I have three unhooking mats but I deliberately do not use them at Bowood, experience has shown that the pike are far more active/unhappy on a wet unhooking mat than on the spongy soft grass at Bowood. It is very rare for the pike to flap around when on the grass whereas they can be a real handful on the unhooking mat – hence the lack of a mat in the photos at Bowood.

I decided that I needed to spread my wings a bit as I had not fished a river this season so on the Friday I headed to the downstream stretch of Sutton Benger with the rucksack seat and my Chinese rod bag carrying rods set up for a stick float, a waggler and a feeder. Baitwise I had maggots, cheese, micro pellets and worms. I slotted in the weir swim and starting on the maggot feeder I had a bit of interest after ten minutes – from a robin that settled on the rod near the first ring and looked at me as if to say “why are you not feeding me?” The robin was dutifully supplied with maggots and I managed to winkle out a roach, a dace and a bleak before I give in to my urge and got the stick float out. I had been priming a swim about a rod length out where there was a slightly deeper channel where I could trot my 5 x no4 through. The next hour was spent trotting through with one small chub and 6 bleak coming to the net. The fish were not big, indeed the total weight was only 9oz for the 10 fish but it was nice to get back on the river.

That visit turned out to be the last opportunity this month as a combination of booster jabs, visitors and -2C temperatures in the day made me think discretion was the better part of valour and I stayed in the warm! As I write this the temperature has gone from the -2C of yesterday to 9C but it is then getting colder again so the fish will not know whether they are coming or going!

Not November 2021 ! -Part 1

The end of October had been a wash out in terms of fishing and it was cabin fever that set me off to Peg 10 on the first of the month (against my better judgement). Getting out of the car, the Pondtail was flowing and a horrible colour but I still took the long walk to peg 10 on the main lake. The main lake was a horrible chocolate colour, high and flowing, in fact if Cyril (my friendly swan) had put in an appearance he would not have been able to swim beneath the platform as he had previously. Having walked there I gave it a go and made up a bit of groundbait and put a homemade rig taking 1g on. To cut a long story short, I fished 9:15 to 11:45, had my first bite at 11:17 of a half ounce roach and a second bite from a similar sized blade ten minutes later. Having avoided the blank I did the sensible option and went home!

It was not until the Friday – Bonfire Night- that I ventured to Bowood again, this time the water was back to normal but we had been on the receiving end of two frosts and stepping out of the car, the temperature was only 2C with the ground white. I had deliberately only brought the whips to fish the Pondtail so I set up on peg 2 with a 6m Chinese whip and short Chinese float that somehow took more weight than the long ones. Anyway two walnut sized balls of groundbait were introduced and double maggot was presented while loose feeding hemp and wheat. I was relieved when the float lifted on the second cast and a two ounce fish was swung in. Two hours later 80 roach were in the net for 7-03 and I decided to head back. Unusually no gudgeon or perch appeared!

I decided to do something different and go to Bowood on the Sunday but this time to take the seat bag and rods and head up to the Stock pond. I had bought a three rod bag from Aliexpress and had put a feeder rod, a method feeder rod and a waggler all set up in it along with bank stick and landing net handle.

I arrived at peg 2 (the small carp peg) and set up the waggler that had my original 1970’s Abu 506 on it and the feeder rod. I began by throwing a ball of groundbait laced with micros out to about 20m and followed it up with some hemp and wheat. I intended to let it settle while I fished the feeder for a start. Ten minutes in and I hooked a roach, soon followed by a succession of missed bites and then another roach. After an hour I had 4 roach and too many missed bites – the feeder went up the bank and I reached for the waggler to see if the fish were on the loose hemp and wheat I had been catapulting out every ten minutes. The first two casts saw small roach on double maggot come to the net, but a switch to corn on the hook saw me wait longer but the stamp of roach was better with a couple needing the net! Anyway the action was not fast and the three hours saw me total 25 roach for 4-06, an average just under 3oz.

Next day I’m back at Peg 10, fishing 9:15 to 12:50. I now reverted to a BGT Round that took 0.8g (although it was marked up as 0.5g) with a yellow top having the top inch coloured with a black maker so it stood out in the white water.Fishing the usual way at 10m on the pole with the sardine on the pike rod out at 20m. Action on the pole was slow with roach at first before rudd muscled in. After an hour I had a run on the sardine, striking I latched on to a feisty pike of 7-05. By 12:35 I had 12 roach, 12 rudd and a small skimmer for 2-10 when I decided to pack the pole away ready to leave at about 1pm. I had moved the sardine a lot closer in- only 6-8m out, I had just finished putting the pole in the rod bag when the float bobbed and disappeared, a strike was met with a slower, heavier fish that only woke up when in netting range, as I maneuvered it into the net the hooks dropped out but a swift lift and he was mine! I left him in the net to weigh and recover a small double of 10-04.

Due to car issues it was not until the Friday that I was able to go again- back at 10 (the rut has set in!) Fishing in a similar manner it was a lot slower at first but ended up with a jack of 4-10, 21 roach and 20 rudd for 4-06, making a round 9lb total. I left the week-end alone and returned on the Monday for one of the most bizarre days for a long time. Arriving at the parking area in bright sun-light I walked down to peg 10 with my coat on the trolley. Unpacking the trolley, I placed, as I usually do, my bait bag, keepnet bag, rod holdall and coat on the platform thinking I may be regretting leaving my sunglasses in the car, I turned and went to retrieve my box. Picking it up I turned around only for the sun to disappear, a heavy mist descend and by the time I walked the handful of paces to place my box on the platform the far bank was out of sight! It was like something out of a Hammer movie or a Steven King novel!The fog stayed until I went at 1pm albeit it had lifted greatly by then but I could not make out the outline of the island until 11am and did not see the outline of Bowood House until noon. I would not have been surprised to see a headless horseman- it was that type of atmosphere!

Anyway back to the fishing, usual set up produced 14 rudd and 7 roach for 2-10 plus a jack of 5-05. I had run out of sardines and put on a joey mackerel and this brought another of the phantom bites – two bobs, just as if a pike was taking hold but then nothing. On retrieving it there was a two inch cut along its underbelly as if it had been done with a filleting knife, no teeth marks or other marks at all. I am at a loss as to what it could be. We’ll see what the rest of the month brings!