January 2022 – a slow start

The title refers not the fishing but my opportunities to get out! Due to a variety of factors it was not until the tenth day of January that I managed to get to Bowood. I was expecting coloured water with flow due to the weather we had been having but I fancied some of the middle pegs when I set out- pegs 6, 7 or 8, not sure why but had a feeling they may be worth a try. Anyway arrived with one angler already in situ – on peg 10- but I set up on peg 7. The water was indeed flowing and coloured, also very cold! I began tentatively with two golf ball sized balls of groundbait and some hemp and wheat, the pike rod was put out with a sardine at about 14m and I sifted through my month old maggots that were in a right state for two reasonable specimens to go on the hook. I had put a 0.5g homemade chianti style float on to cover the 4.5 feet of water and had scaled down to a 20 on the hook. A couple of quick micro roach then a nettable skimmer saw me up the hook to a 16 when out of the blue the sardine was taken and the float drifted off to the right on a run, a strike brought a scrappy fight from a 7-01 pike, a good start after 30 minutes. A return to the pole saw me having to work for bites but a run of small roach and skimmers (blades) kept me interested. A lull in bites was broken by the pole float slowly going under and a lift resulted in the solid resistance that I recognised as being a pike. Playing it carefully I managed to get it into netting range before it realised what was happening and it made off on a run that the elastic managed to curtail but unfortunately a couple of minutes later as it was plodding back to nettable range the hook pulled!

This signaled the return of bites from small roach on the pole and about 20minutes later the pike float went again, this time a strike was met with a solid resistance a a more measured and deeper fight, eventually resulting in a battle worn fish of 12-14.

I gave it three hours in total but then I began losing the feeling in my finger tips so called it a day with 18 roach, 6 skimmers and a very rare for the main lake but welcome gudgeon. These along with the pike made a 21-05 total.

Now it was not until the Sunday- 6 days later- that I ventured back to Bowood for no other reason that the weather had turned very cold with the water in the bird bath being frozen for 3 days plus very bright sunshine. Now I know some people will welcome the sun but I have found that a bright day with the low winter sun allied to freezing temperatures does not give you the best chances fishing. Perhaps I should have gone anyway but I didn’t! So it was to the Pondtail peg 2 that I ventured on the Sunday morning for a session between 10 and 12. I had spent the time at home revamping my Chinese whip rigs and set up with a 5m rig with a “size 3 thick tip” float as I refer to them (the middle float taking 1.9g olivettes and two number 9 stotz plus a number11 stotz) .

The weather had got milder but I was greeted by the usual mizzle and rain for about 10 minutes before it cleared. I primed the swim with two firmish balls of groundbait and a little bit of hemp and wheat. I had thrown in the remainder of my maggots on the last trip and had bought some fresh mixed maggots. Baiting my hook (a Chinese 1# that equates to a size 16) with a white and a bronze I had my first fish within minutes only for me to not catch it as I swung it in, it hit my hand and bounced back! The two hours past quickly with the fish, all roach, coming in bursts of 2-3, any protracted lull was the signal to introduce another golf ball of groundbait, so by the end I had 30 roach for 2-13.

You may be able to pick out the float towards the bottom right corner but the quality is not brilliant I’m afraid.

I have been persuaded to fish the local summer league this year for Darren Edgell’s Team Bankers! Starts in May with two commercial style lakes at South Cerney for the first match, then off to the Kennet and Avon canal at Hungerford, followed by the Bristol Avon at Chippenham, the Thames at Clanfield and finally the Thames at Radcot at the end of July. That should be a good series!

Chinese Whip Rigs

When you buy a Chinese whip off Aliexpress it usually comes with a spare top and a bunch of freebies.

The “Freebies”

Starting at above the float is a rig making kit and a winder with a complete rig minus hooklength for the length of whip bought (more of this in a bit). Below the float is a green “doughnut that I believe is to go on the whip close to the butt to prevent it being pulled of the rests that they use! The blue roll is a self adhesive sponge handle grip similar to those used on squash or badminton racquets.

The rig provided is set up so that it is easily adjusted by moving the rubber stops –

The rig provided.

As you can see the rig consists of a small float adapter held in place with two float stops then a black plastic tube with metal wrapped around it, held in place by two float stops at either end leading to a swivel that they attach the hook length to. The rigs in China that are provided when you buy a whip are slightly different in that they have a two hook hooklength and have a pole winder type attachment that straps to the whip for transport purposes.

Basic rig making kit!

The basic kit needed to make a rig in China would be the above, float stops cost £2.29 for 300, the weight tubes cost £2.18 for 100 and the lead strip was £2.54. All the prices include VAT and delivery. You will notice that the lead strip if marked out in 0.1g segments for ease of cutting and has a special non-leach coating.

I have adapted the basic set up as unfortunately using the lead strip would be illegal in the UK so I have replaced it in two ways, firstly using either the foil covering from wine bottles (good excuse to have a glass!) or wrapping plasticine/tungsten putty around the weight tubes or secondly, and the easier option, use in-line olivettes!

I have dispensed with the swivel and simply use a loop to loop approach for attaching the hooklength. The Chinese rigs seem to have a heavy line of perhaps 8-10lb whereas I do not go above 0.14mm for the main line. The rigs are stored on spools in their own case. One case for the shorter whips one for the longer ones.