As I write this on the first day of the river close season and of Bowood (yes it still holds a close season!) I think it is time to reflect on the season just passed at Bowood, but more of that later! March starts and I make my way to Bowood along the slippery muddy path until I get to the short section between the fields where I find the path is blocked by a fallen tree.
Having negotiated the tackle over the tree and through the stream that was now in place with all the extra rain water proving too much for the small culvert I finally got to peg 10. Setting up I was not too confident as the water was flowing and not very appealing with a clay colour in evidence. Setting up as per norm I was surprised when the float lifted after half and hour and a small roach graced my net – that was the blank saved! A further roach and rudd followed at 10 minute intervals before the pike float skated across the surface and disappeared, a solid strike resulted in a feisty pike of exactly 9lb, however on unhooking the pike which had managed to hook itself on both single hooks at opposite sides of it’s mouth my grip slipped- the pike flared and despite me wearing a filleting glove I managed to get two gashes in my thumb that began bleeding profusely. Getting the pike back in the water I looked in the bottom of my box for my styptic pencil only to find it was not there! I realised that I must have left it in my seat bag from my visit to Peatmoor! As you are aware the anti-coagulant nature of the pikes teeth meant I was not going to stop the bleeding easily, so wrapping the thumb as tight as I could in a rag I proceeded to return my 2oz of silvers and beat a retreat over the stream and tree back home!
It was over a week before I was able to venture back to Bowood and was greeted by the sound of a chainsaw as I got out of the car. Realising the tree was being sorted I made my way along the left bank to peg 21. Setting up I remembered why I tended to fish the right bank, firstly the depth was a good 4 feet shallower at 11.5m than the opposite bank at 10m and secondly it was far more exposed to any wind coming down the main part of the lake, and today was very windy and cold. I opted for one of my BGT Rounds taking 0.8g with a 0.10mm hooklength to an 18. Two balls of hard groundbait were deposited along with a few grains of corn and a big pinch of wheat and hemp. The pike rod was cast out to 20m with the usual sardine bait. It was slow but eventually the float disappeared and a 3oz roach was in the net. Five minutes later the float went again and this time a gust of wind caught the pole as I was bringing the roach in and bumped it off! That was the end of any action on the pole. After an hour or so one of the regulars came along and while we were chatting the sardine was taken, a strike was met with the resistance of what felt like a decent pike. As I managed to get it closer and intro the shallower water the fight changed and I could see that the wire trace was caught around its fins and I was in effect trying to bring it in broadside on. Fortunately after a few failed attempts at netting it, the pike managed to untangle itself and had a couple of “flarings” before succumbing to the net. It felt heavier than I thought when lifting the net out of the water and had a two-tone colouration , getting it onto the soft squelchy grass I unhooked it without any fuss – the bottom single hook was in the scissors. The scales showed it was 15-08. (Apologies for the poor photo!)
The only other action came from three “ghost” runs where the strike met with no resistance and the sardine came back untouched, despite one of the runs ending up 10m away from where it started! We are suspecting carp or tench as pike would have left some indication on the bait. On packing up the other angler was still biteless!
With the end of the season rapidly approaching I ventured to The Pondtail, peg 1 on the last Friday to fish the whip as the rain and wind we had been having had left me unsure the main lake would be worth fishing. Anyway it was very windy and cold rain being driven into my face- I was glad I had decided to give the main lake a miss as I would never have been able to hold the pole. Anyway, I fished 9:15 to 11:15 by which time I had had enough! I fished the 5m whip (Chinese of course) and by being patient had 8 roach for 1-13, so they were a better stamp than usual. I also dropped one and lost a good fish that I think was a big perch to a hook pull resulting from the maggot masking the point of the hook!
I decided to take a chance and went on the last Sunday of the season and was shocked that there was only one other car parked up. The Pondtail field was now home to about 200 sheep and as the ground had been soft and slippery before now the path was rutted with imprints of sheep hooves and was very dodgy! I managed to get to peg 10 and was thinking it was a mistake as the wind was very strong but I had a go and deposited two balls of groundbait at 10m with a liberal helping of corn, wheat and hemp. I opted for a 0.5g homemade diamond bodied float with 0.10mm hooklength to an 18. The pike rod was dispatched as usual with a sardine bait. It took 15 minutes before the float lifted and a small roach was in the net, this was followed at intervals by two more roach and two blades. The wind was a real problem and giving me a real buffeting but after two hours the float lifted and a strike found myself attached to a better fish that turned out to be a bream of 2-08, this was followed by another roach and blade before another bream of 3-09 came along. There was a lull followed by a roach and then another bream style bite that I missed. That was it for the next hour before a strike produced a jack- one of the smallest I’ve had at Bowood of 1-08 and that was my lot! A total of 7-14.
I had been planning on going on the last day, the Monday, but on waking I was so sore and achy after the buffeting from holding the pole in the wind I decided to listen to my body and give it a miss.
So that was another season over at Bowood and time to reflect on the past season. Sadly, I keep a spreadsheet to record all my visits so here are this year’s stats:
75 visits costing £2.67 a visit, producing 700lb exactly at an average of 9-5-8. Eighteen pegs were fished, with 3 visits to the Stock Pond and 16 to the Pondtail;
25 pike were caught weighing 230-14 at an average of 9-3-8, including 3 on the pole, 11 doubles with best two being 24-10 and 15-08;
42 tench weighing 157-12 at an average 0f 3-12 with best being 6-15 and 7 over 5lb;
45 bream/large skimmers weighing 91-10 at an average of 2-0-8 with 13 over 3lb and best at 5-01.
I fish Bowood as it is so convenient, literally 3 minutes from setting off to getting out of the car, but this comes at the cost of fishing other venues. My time up to June 16th will be spent on other venues and match fishing but I have already resolved to fish more venues next season but still aim to visit Bowood plenty!