I decided to get peg 6 out of my system on the Friday and armed with my trusty weed rake arrived at 8:15, Managed two throws to 10m before the unthinkable happened on the third throw, the rope came back minus the rake. Somehow the knot had come apart! Putting my anguish to one side I fished from 8:45 until 12:15, usual set up and despite sticking with corn for the majority of the time ended up with 31 rudd for 5-04 mainly due to a cracking rudd of 1-10, a PB for Bowood. I did lose a foul hooked pike also.
So on to Sunday and the penultimate round of the Summer League on the Thames at Clanfield. I have not been doing very well this season but with the temperature due to peak at 29C I was grateful to draw peg C2, permanent peg 62 which offered some shade for a large part of the day plus the bonus that you can park behind your peg at Clanfield. I did not get my phone out for pics – I was too focused on what I needed to do. I had a large overhanging tree along side an old sluice opposite while the main flow was a couple of rods short of this. Plumbing up I had about six feet or so of water at 11m and I put 4 balls of groundbait laced with casters, wheat and hemp at the start and went over it with a 1g Grey with a 0.10mm hook-length to an 18 with double maggot. I immediately was into tiny bleak and dace, then gudgeon, all the while I was loose feeding maggots every few minutes across towards the flow priming it for the second hour of the match when I was expecting the pole line to slow.
After an hour although I was still catching the odd fish I was getting pestered by unhittable bites which I guessed where crayfish, I went across on the waggler, third cast I had a small chublet and began to pick up the odd small fish before hitting a better fish which turned out to be a chub of about 10-12 ounces, two casts later disaster strikes – a cast catches a hither to unseen branch and although I managed to pull the rig out of the tree it catapulted back and lodged in the large reed bed on my bank to the left that was inaccessible and I lost the lot. Reaching to my bag to get my tube of wagglers I discovered to my horror that they were not there! I had left them in my other bag back at home, so that was the end of the waggler, back on the pole I had a very quiet middle period apart from the ghost bites when I hit one and found myself connected to a jack pike – which did not count in the match, and subsequently lost close in. I plodded away and ended up with 15 dace, 11 bleak, 5 chub(lets), 5 roach, 23 gudgeon and a perch for 2-8-8 and this beat just 3 others in the section.
Licking my wounds, I missed Bowood on the next two very hot days and tried on the Wednesday, this time going on peg 4 (peg 6 was taken!), fishing from 8:45 to 12:15 I took a different approach and started with a homemade float taking just 2 no 8 and had a few small rudd on maggot to start before switching to corn for the rest of the time. I had one bream of 3-05 plus 8 rudd for a 3-10 total! The guy on 6 had a few bream and a couple of tench fishing two rods a float and a feeder.
I gave Bowood a miss for the rest of the week preparing for my visit to Bromley Mill near Eccleshall, Staffs. Setting off at half past 5 I arrived just before 8, 45 minutes early for the draw. Bromley Mill is a one off fishery- very shallow and the carp will swim right up to your box as you need to sit in the water to be able to position your keepnets. Anyway I drew peg 18 which was on the opposite bank to where I wanted to be but was a shortish walk although I had the scales!
To cut a long story short I had one carp on the method and then switched to the pole at 10m, all the time feeding the margins to my left and right with hemp, wheat, pellet and corn which saw frustratingly lots of carp come in but not take any bait seemingly rooting around for the bloodworm! I did hook one carp from the left margin but lost it. I had all my fish from the 10m line and ended up with 9 carp hooked, 5 landed plus 11-06 of bream and roach for a 37-11 total and 11th out of the twelve fishing. Les who organised it thanked me for coming so far but said I had drawn possibly the worst peg!
Back to Bowood on Tuesday but this time on the opposite bank and peg 23, fishing 9-15 to 12:45.Plumbing up at 11m it was very weedy but I found a gap that I could fish into. Only about 4 feet deep I started the usual way with 3 balls of groundbait and the obligatory wheat, hemp and corn. Starting on maggot I had to wait a little before the rudd arrived and after a few switched to corn. It was hard going but by switching baits I managed to get 21 rudd, 2 roach and a solitary bream of 2-06 for a 3-08 total.
Next day sees me back at peg 6 fishing 9:00 to 12:20. Beginning in the usual way I had no response to maggot which filled me with hope as it is usually a sign that the larger fish are already present. Corn went on the hook and by 10:00 I had bream of 3-06, 4-04 and 3-01 in the net, it then went quiet after I missed a bite and I may have messed it up by potting a top up ball of groundbait as I only had a roach, two rudd and five skimmers thereafter for a level 12-00 weight.
Friday sees me back at peg 6 (getting into a rut again!) fishing 8:45 to 12:30. There were 2 anglers fishing further up on pegs 8 and 10 and it turned out that the one on 8 who was also fishing a pole had 14 bream by the time they left at 12, most of which were caught before I got there. This seems to be more common now at Bowood, the bream seem to be feeding early on whereas in past seasons early starts were a waste of time, must try again in the coming month! Anyway back to peg 6 fishing my usual heavier rig I cupped in 4 balls of groundbait with the usual corn, wheat and hemp, stuck a maggot on and almost immediately as there was no response put corn on. Within five minutes the float lifted a a bream of 2-10 was in the net! Further bream of 4-09, 2-12, 1-14 and 2-06 followed all without the float going under.
At this point it may be worth explaining my shotting pattern as at first glance it looks very crude! Due to the weed and in particular the elodea type weed that grows I needed a pattern that would get me through the weed (and rudd although this part didn’t work!) or at least show when the bait was caught on a weed stalk, to this end all the shot are placed as a bunch 4-6 inches from the hook. The depth is then plumbed so that the bulk is only an inch or two off bottom, this has two effects, firstly it is a lift rig as the larger fish will be affecting the bulk if they take the bait in their usual head down grazing manner and then righting themselves; secondly it acts a a very short pivot, the fish can not move far before the bulk is affected, even a turn of the head after taking the bait will indicate a bite.
So back to the fishing, the session ended up with a tench of 4-06 and 1 roach a 1 rudd for an 18-15 total.
I use an old boss trolley for Bowood but one of the tyres had developed a slow puncture and it had been getting progressively worse, investigating previously it was right on the valve, not repairable but despite pumping up just before leaving home, within 100m it was dead flat, so coming back to the car was hard and it certainly made my knees incredibly sore, so much so that I did not think I could manage the long walks at Radcot on Sunday with my normal match kit. The new inter tube would not arrive in time so I made a conscious decision that as we were not threatening the league in any way and had been told to just fish for ourselves, I would take the rucksack seat, keepnet bag, bucket with bait and my Chinese three rod holder that also had tackle pockets for floats, hooks and shot.
Sunday arrived and driving past Radcot on the way to the draw I was shocked to see that the field in which we usually park was completely filled with tents! At the draw it transpired that Radcot downstream was a no-no due to lack of access and that there would be a section at Kelmscott and everyone else would park at Grafton lock and there would be a section above the lock and two below, D section would be a horrendous walk! Fortunately I was drawn at Kelmscott and although faced with a Bowood length walk up to the stock pond at least it was flat. My peg was about 30-40m below the pill box.
As it turned out I spent the match sitting on my keepnet bag on the bank rather than the chair. I had set up a waggler on my 13 foot Lazer Extreme match rod, a 6xno4 stick on a 14 foot Lazer Tornado and a block end feeder on a Lazer Extreme Leger. Now many will not have come across this make but the rods are a legacy from my Buygoodtackle days when the strap line was “If we won’t use it, we won’t sell it!” Hence most of my tackle is now at least 14 years old and much of my non-BGT tackle much older!
Back to the match, the flow was towards the far side but I decided to do as I did at Clanfield and start on the nearside before going across. To this end I introduced 4 balls of groundbait and loose fed just hemp and wheat on the stick line while catapulting maggots across every 5 minutes or so. Third run through with the stick in the nine feet of water brought a small chublet and from then on it was a bite every few runs through, mainly small bleak or chublets but also a net roach and 6oz chub. After an hour, as expected it began to tail off so a switch to the waggler was in order (still feeding the stick line). I discovered that if I cast in the main flow I did not get a bite whereas if i cast just beyond I would get one, albeit from small chublets or bleak. I continued to pick off small fish until I inexplicably hooked an underwater bramble that was not there for the previous 50 casts! This resulted in my rig being retrieved but the homemade waggler stem was snapped so a new float was attached. With an hour to go I hooked a better fish that turned out to be a chub of about 1.25lb that was safely netted, by the all out I had 32 bleak, 22 chub/lets, 6 roach, 3 perch and a solitary gudgeon for 5-07. With half the section weighed I was lying second but decided to make my way home to watch the Lionesses!
No matches now until September but August awaits with the prospect of a couple of early morning starts!