December Darkness 2021 -Part 2

Monday 20th I managed to sneak in a session from 9:15 to 12:05, this time back at peg 10. Strangely, yet again, no bites on the pole but action on the pike rod. The first run came at just gone 10am which I felt momentarily before the sardine came flying back at me, recasting it was a little over 10 minutes before the float slid away again and this time I hit into the fish, a feisty 7-03.


An hour later the float slid under again and a strike was met with a solid resistance, the fish keeping low and slow only waking up as it neared netting distance when it went off on a couple of powerful runs. Drawing it towards the net I could see the single hook clearly just nicked into the scissor of the pike’s mouth and was relieved when I finally got it into the net 13-03. You can see my “pike” float in the picture.


I am convinced that the slim pellet waggler I use for piking helps as it gives minimal resistance to a taking fish.

Christmas and family then intervene and it was not until the 29th that I ventured out again. In the interim period I had received two Chinese whips I had ordered from Aliexpress- one 3.6m the other 4.5m, both carbon and the same make as my 6m and 7m whips. The combined total for the two including VAT and delivery was £22.08 vastly cheaper than ones in this country. On the subject of whips, I get really frustrated when people talk about elasticating their whips as in my eyes a whip has a flick tip and once elastic is brought into the equation it becomes a pole (albeit a short one). The excuse given is that it is an insurance against hooking bigger fish but providing there are no snags you should be able to land a 5-6lb fish on a whip if you know what you are doing and if they are fishing a venue with lots of carp present then the whip is not the tool for the job! (Rant over) Back to the fishing- I decided to give the 3m a try out and after making up a rig at home (must do a guide to how I make Chinese whip rigs!) I ventured to the Pondtail peg 1. Now the weather had not been the best and indeed was wavering between heavy drizzle and proper rain for the 2 hours of my visit (9:45- 11:45) and this was reflected in the water – hot chocolate would be the usual description given the clay rich soil that was in the area but it reminded me more of the cups of tea my grandmother used to make with CO-Op 99 tea leaves, tannic orange! Not only was the water heavily coloured but was flowing like a medium paced river! Added to this I had to negotiate a full blooded 4 wheel slide when pulling up to park, managing to stop crashing into the fence with 4 inches to spare!

I wanted to give it a go so plumbing up I had about 5-6 feet of water so introduced 4 walnuts of groundbait in a diamond pattern and began on double maggot, a white and red. Loose feeding a pinch of hemp and half a dozen grains of wheat every other cast it was 10 minutes before I had my first bite, a roach that dropped of as I swung it in, indeed I dropped the first 4 fish hooked, so the size 20 was taken off and I quickly whipped on a size 16 Preston N10 which has been my go-to hook for the whip as it has a long shank to make unhooking easier. After this I never lost another fish and managed to sneak out 14 roach in the remaining time for a 1-09 total with double faded bronze maggot proving best (faded because they were 3weeks old!).

That was it for 2021, an eventful year in so many ways, here’s looking forward to 2022 (I may sneak out for a couple of hours to start the New Year in the right way!). Happy New Year and tight lines.

December Darkness 2021

December arrives and a trip to the Pondtail peg 1 is called for. I decided on the 6m Chinese whip and the short bulbous float dotted down.

Two golf balls of groundbait are thrown in followed by a sprinkling of hemp, a white and a red maggot goes on the 16 hook and nothing. A slow start but the first bite came after a quarter of an hour, a roach of 2oz, thereafter the fish came at regular intervals, all roach except a perch of 2oz and a better perch of 1-04 which was dealt with easily by the flexibility of the whip. The session ended after 2.5hrs with 32 roach and the two perch for a 4-08 total.

Friday the third sees me back at peg 10, the weather had produced a cold night but now a brilliant sunny morning with no cloud and clear water, however after an hour it turned very cold and despite my best efforts the 3 hour session saw me produce my second blank of the campaign. So my first blank was on the 50th visit to Bowood since the start of the season on 16th June and my second was on the 53rd!

Time moves on to Wednesday 8th, days are now getting greyer/darker with little sun on offer so I decide to fish the banker to catch some fish – Pondtail peg 2. This time I started on the 7m Chinese whip but after 11 roach I felt that it may be better closer in so changed to a 3m Chinese whip with a more traditional pole float (home made of course) and added a further 21 roach to the net, giving me a 3-06 total for the session. It should be said that the depth close in is almost as deep as further out – about 5-6ft. Why I thought it would be better close in I don’t know, I just had a hunch and went with it!

Friday 10th sees me back at peg 10 with bright sun and a cold wind! I had a session from 9:30 to 12:30 without a bite on the pole but at 10am the pike rod went and a strike resulted in a slow, sullen response that became more energetic as the fish realised it was hooked. As the bells finished chiming 10am I slipped the net under a 13-00 pike.


Fifty minutes later the float went off again and this time a scrappy fight from a pike 11-04 signaled the end of any action.


Sunday sees a change it is the annual Pike Cup at Peatmoor. It is fished as a rover but I decided to set my stall out on peg 10 which is at the point of a bay with a bush in the water on both sides of the peg. To cut a long day short – nobody caught a pike/lost a pike/missed a pike or saw a pike! The highlight for me was when a kingfisher went fishing from the bush on my right, less than 10 feet away, caught a roach that looked like half the size of the kingfisher and proceeded to whack it on the branches of the bush until it could devour it!

Tuesday 14th sees me back on peg 10, fishing 10:00 to 1:00, this time no runs on the pike rod but 2 net skimmers, a net roach and a gudgeon gives me 1-13.

This episode finishes with me fishing the Pondtail peg 1 on the Friday (17th) with the 5m Chinese whip My bait tray now included the fresh wheat that I had soaked for 4 days but after 2 hours and not a sniff of a bite on maggot or wheat I packed up having recorded my third blank of the campaign on my 57th visit! My only excuse is that the night had been colder by a couple of degrees and I had scared a cormorant off the water on my arrival – perhaps they were too cold/wary to feed or it may just be me!