It was not until the Sunday that I was able to venture to Bowood again, arriving I was shocked to see that I was the only one there on the first Sunday of the season! I trundled off to the early pegs and decided on peg 5 as the water was too clear on the earliest pegs. After raking the swim to give me a clearish channel with 3.5 to 4 feet of water I decided on a homemade short rugby ball style float with a 0.16mm Shogun mainline and 0.16mm Tornado hook-length to a 14. I kick started the swim at 10m with 3 balls of groundbait laced with a few kernels of corn, wheat, hemp and some left over casters at 8:50 and settled down to see if anything would attack the 3 maggots. It was fairly quiet which always suggests to me the presence of something bigger but Bowood seems to buck the trend of most waters where an early start is best and it is usually 10am before any fish seem to show!
I had a few small rudd before 10am and kept alternating between the maggots and corn but it was at 10:30 when I hooked my first better fish, a tench of 2-14, one of the smaller ones at Bowood but the first tench of the season is always a welcome sight.
The temperature had dropped 10C from the 16th and the wind was very strong at times, making presentation difficult, but at 11:30 I hooked another better fish, this time a tench of exactly 4lb which tried hard to snag me in the copious weed but I eventually got it in with a load of weed wrapped around the float!
The only other fish of note was a large bream that I pulled out of as it did a swimmer’s roll in the weed. When I stopped at 1:50 I had 31 rudd, 1 roach and 3 skimmers to add to the tench giving a 9-15 total.
Tuesday 21st sees me back at peg 5 this time starting at 9:45 with surprisingly two other angler in situ on the other bank towards the island. Using the same rig and feeding regime I had a small blade after ten minutes then nothing, a switch to corn saw the float bob a few times before lifting and a few feet of elastic come out before the fish managed to snag me in the weed. Five minutes later a similar bite but this time a bream of 2-04 found it’s way to my net. Over the rest of the session until I packed up at 13:45 the bites were identical and resulted in bream of 2-12, 2-13, 3-12,3-12, 2-15 and a tench of 5-08. I did also have 3 further skimmers and a roach for a 24-07 total but lost 4 tench and 6 bream with the weed!
Friday sees me up at Makins Fishery near Nuneaton for the Pellet Guys Pairs run through the MFSReborn site. I had been drawn with Les who I shared a cabin with at Woodland View. The peg I drew on a windy miserable day (no photos) was Derwent 28 which was a form of snake lake- not my favorite type of fishing! Anyway to cut a long sad story short I landed 6 carp and 5 rudd but lost 5 carp to end with 23-00 and last in section. Les by a quirk of fate had also landed on Derwent but on the other side of the lake and also came last in section! Next day I hoped I would avoid Derwent and fortunately drew Lagoon 16. It was only when I got to my peg and looked at who else was in my section that I realised I was in the proverbial “section of death” to use a football term. I had Pete Bailey, Barry Gabriel, Josh Blavins, Dave Pearson and Glen Butler to name but a few of the class anglers in the section. Anyway I resigned myself to just enjoying the day (hopefully) and sorted out my kit.
To be fair the peg looked fishy and I set up 6 rigs to cover 11m, 2+2, and margins plus a feeder but my main idea was to fish 4mm meat at 2+2 with the option of changing to paste and then going to the margins. The margins proved interesting as the right margin was as deep as the 2+2 line whereas the left margin this side of the vacant peg was about a foot shallower but beyond the peg was similar to the other margin. At the start I put a ball of groundbait with pellet and corn at 11m and went straight onto the 2+2 line simply loose feeding 3-4 pieces of 4mm meat. Within 2 minutes the float had buried and I had a carp of 3lb in the net, the first hour seemed to rush by and I had clicked 16lb. The next couple of hours were not as manic but steady with bream also showing although I did lose one carp. With two hours to go I tried the margins- I had been feeding three areas, the right margin just beyond the overhanging weed, the left margin short of the platform and the left margin at 11m . The short left margin did not produce at all but by nicking a fish from the other swims and alternating I managed to keep puttying fish in the net. When the whistle went I reckoned I had about 60-70lb, the weigh in showed I had exactly 60lb and third in section which I was more than happy with. I had lost a total of 3 carp, the last of which was hooked just before the whistle and had taken me into the tree roots right at the end of the bank. As a pair we ended up 17/24.
Next day (no peace for the wicked) was round 3 of the Summer League on the Bristol Avon at Chippenham. I drew B8 which was “in the trees”. A steep bank, narrow platform and bright sun in my face did not mean a comfortable day and the phone stayed sealed in my jacket pocket so sorry no pictures. The only flow was at 14m but I did have some lilies at 10m to by left. I primed the long swim with three balls of groundbait laced with casters, wheat and hemp and there after loose fed hemp and the occasional caster. The fish were small! Going out to 14m with a high bank was very difficult and then coming back with a chublet that was a third of an ounce was not great! As usual with the Avon the first hour is key and I had 11 small fish in the net before the action died, a switch to chopped worm by the lilies produced nothing, so back out to the flow at 14m and trying to nick the odd small fish. After 3 hours I tried the lilies again with chopped worm and this time hooked a good fish, playing it carefully I got it to the point where I had unshipped to the top kit and had just put the landing net in the water ready when it suddenly pretended to be a tarpon and shot out towards the lilies pulling the hook free! To say I was gutted would be an understatement as I knew that was probably mt chance of decent points gone. The match ended with me having 3 bleak, 12 chublets, 3 roach and 4 minnows for 11oz and last in section, the lost fish would have lifted me to 4th from 11th! The rest of the team fared equally badly and we finished last on the day!
That was it for June as next morning we travelled up to Yorkshire to stay with my mother-in-law while my brother-in-law had some respite from his caring duties. Next month we conclude the Summer League with two matches on the Thames plus a Maggot Drowners match at the Glebe.