I did manage to get out on the last day of January to peg 10 at Bowood. On arrival I was not particularly hopeful as I had brought my usual pole gear and pike rod but there was a very strong cross wind. Anyway I set up as usual with a 0.10mm hooklength and a 18 and introduced a couple of tangerines of groundbait then set about fighting the wind. After half hour the float on the pike rod disappeared and a strike produced a jack of 4-10. Back to the pole and after an hour I admitted defeat and packed the pole away as the wind had increased in strength and there was no way I could hold the pole. My focus was now on the pike rod and after another 2 cups of coffee (about an hour and a quarter) I put the sardine about 6m out from the bank. Ten minutes later the float bobbed and skated away, a strike showed this was no jack and after a dogged fight I put the net under a pike of 14-6. At this point I decided to call it a day and managed to reach the car before the rain started!
It was the Friday before I returned, again to peg 10 fishing 9:45 to 12:15. I was disappointed that I did not get a single indication on the pole despite running through the range of baits and smaller hooks/line. However it was not to be a blank as at 11:10 the pike float slid away from it’s position 10m out and to the right of my pole line. The strike was met with a solid resistance and the rod arced around indicating a good fish that persisted in staying deep and requiring me to backwind on a couple of occasions. Eventually I managed to get it close to the net and could see the bottom single barbless hook in it’s scissor,before guiding it over the waiting net. I weighed the fish 3 times to be certain, 24-10 a new PB by 2oz!
I allowed my self another cup of coffee and fished until 12:15 before packing up.
Monday, back at peg 10 but a totally different situation met me. The water was up by several inches, muddy, cold and flowing! You could barely see an inch into the water. I gave it a go hoping that the bream may show but was biteless – a blank!
Wednesday I decided to give the main lake a break and set up on the Pondtail peg 2 with the intention of fishing a feeder for the first 40-50minutes and then fishing the waggler across the far side of the lake for a change. On my arrival there were two cars parked up and two more arrived after I started, they all were on the main lake so I had the Pondtail to myself. Starting on an open end feeder I used one of the trees across the opposite field as my aiming point and cast the feeder at a 45 degree angle to where I was fishing (there are only two pegs and I was on the last one) 50 turns of the reel handle. Normally I would have had 5-6 quick casts to get some bait down but on this occasion I began fishing immediately but compromised by leaving the feeder in place for only 3-4 minutes before recasting. After 3 casts I had a slight tremor on the tip, a strike produced a roach of about an ounce. After 45 minutes I had put 3 roach in the net and missed 2 bites plus pulled out of what felt as if might have been a skimmer. At this point the feeder went up the bank and I reached for the waggler. I had set up a homemade sarkandas reed float with a 3mm pole tip as an insert, the beauty of which was that the yellow tip was highly visible at the 20+m I was fishing.
I only loose fed, beginning with two pouches of hemp and one of wheat, thereafter alternating between 6-10 maggots and similar quantities of wheat every cast. Five minutes in and my first bite produced a small roach, thereafter the bites came at fairly regular intervals, not frantic but often enough to keep my interest. I stopped after a couple of hours and my sparse net of 13 roach and a solitary perch weighed 1-10. As I was packing the car two of the other anglers returned from the main lake and it seemed it was very slow with only one fish of 11lb between the four fishing.
I was planning on going on the Friday (today as I write) but the cold night with morning temperatures only just above freezing and bright sunshine persuaded me to keep my powder dry until next week.