January 2023 – Part 2

Following the match at Pewsey the weather takes a turn as the temperature falls at the start of the week to sub-zero, particularly over night but then becomes ever so slightly milder for the next two days. Friday sees me head for Bowood, my intention on Thursday had been to go on the main lake but I decided on the morning to go to the Pondtail instead and fish the whip. Getting to the bridge area I was met by two shocks- firstly the bridge was closed and a large part of it was missing, secondly there was a swan standing on the ice on the Pondtail – both lakes were frozen!

There was a small area clear but no where near the platform, so it was ice breaker time! I was shocked at how thick the ice was and was only able to clear an area out to 2m after 20minutes.

Using the 3m whip with a couple of sections retracted I was able to fish the five feet of water but without much hope. Loose feeding a couple of pinkies every few minutes saw no action on the usual double maggot approach, nor on single maggot. A change to a 22 hook and double pinkie saw an immediate “skating” bite which resulted in a roach that was duly netted.

Ten minutes later I missed a similar bite then it went quiet, a change to single pinkie produced a bumped fish and another missed bite, so after two hours and my flask being empty I packed up relieved that I had been able to fish and had some action!

No match on the Sunday but Gareth wanted to go to Christian Malford with Zachary for pike , so off we went only to find a string of cars parked up. Investigating we found there was the rearranged Xmas match taking place (which obviously was not listed), so back in the car we decided to go to the Isis water at Sutton Benger and for me to fish with Gareth watching/acting as ghillie! Parking at the far downstream border by the bridge we settled on the bridge peg as the slack there gave the chance of a few fish plus there had been pike action there previously. Casting out a sardine it was within 15 minutes and the float bobbed and started traveling against the flow, a strike was met by a firm resistance and a pike about 8lb flashed clearly a foot or so down before releasing the bait! That was it for the pike and even a try with a leger and maggot produced only one sucked maggot so we went home disappointed!

Next day we were back at Christian Malford fishing 2-4pm trying peg 8 and 11 with no success apart from a one ounce roach on the maggot to prevent a blank. Similarly on Thursday we fished 1:30 to 3:20 with no pike action with Gareth getting a roach and a minnow for me to save the blanks! Friday I went to the Pondtail to find it still frozen but starting to thaw which resulted in a drop in the water temperature and although I could now fish a 3m whip without retracting any sections my sole bite resulted in a tiny perch!

Sunday sees me back at Pewsey for the third leg of the teams of 4. I draw C11 which puts me on the boats section first peg after the wires which is a good draw normally but as with my luck I draw a good peg when conditions are wrong! The peg along with the two pegs to my left are covered in thick ice at least an inch thick while the rest of the section is mainly cat ice or very thin ice that has disappeared before the end of the match whereas our pegs stay iced all the time! It took about 30-40 minutes to break a path for top2 plus 4 to be clear by which time I was knackered!

I only set up two rigs – a Blood with 0.06 to a 24 and a Peatmoor to a 0.06 and 22- intending to fish the edges of the ice and seeing what I could scratch out. To cut a long story short I ended up with 18 roach, 17 perch and a blade for 1-11 with the majority of the perch being similar in size to the Pondtail one, the exception being one of about an ounce that was taken by a pike and after an interesting struggle under the ice the pike let go and I had my perch! I ended up beating 3 others in the section (next weights were 1-12, 1-13 and 2-00) but suffered from blank periods when I am sure the pike was in residence. Hopefully next week for the final match the ice will have gone, although the section at Milkhouse had ice approaching 2 inches thick!

January 2023 Part 1

Happy New Year, albeit a bit late! The weather has had a huge impact on my ability to get out but Sunday 8th saw me at Pewsey for the Teams of 4 series fishing for Bankers (Darren Edgell, Nigel Russell and Paul Rice). The weather was predicted to rain all day and it did! I was drawn at Bowdens, peg E2 (no photo due to the rain) and started on the top 2+1 line on punch over liquidised, missing my first bite and not getting any others on the punch, so put a red pinkie on and bites immediately. In fact it was going really well until an idiot in a moored boat tried to set off and managed to stop just before hitting my net and then proceeded to back up and plough straight over my bread line killing it dead! So groundbait down the track and pinkie over the top allowed me to scratch out some more fish including a 6oz perch, no bites on the worm but I did get a couple of small roach on double maggot down the track. The far bank was not productive due to a pike and I finished with 19 roach, 8 perch, 2 gudgeon and a blade for 1-12 and 10th out of 13 in the section. My first choice bread float – the Blood

So on to Tuesday and I had arranged another session with Tim to look at posture when pole fishing but for me to also fish. The session was due to be 10-2 but on the morning Tim messaged to say he was having a bad day health wise and would come along and watch but was not up to fishing. I got to Blacklands by 9:30 and set up on the same peg that Tim had fished in November. The weather was not great with drizzle for much of the day, Tim arrived and set up under a brolly and I talked through what I had set up and then revisited plumbing the swim. Starting with chopped worm next to the overflow having potted in micros directly in front at about 9m I found it hard going with bites few and far between on both lines, by the time Tim decided he need to go at about 12:30 I had only caught 12 roach and a better hybrid but had also lost a good fish to a hook pull. When Tim had gone I fished on until 1:30 and the micro line woke up with a further 20 roach and another hybrid resulting in probably a 3lb+ weight. I did have quite a few missed bites on expander.

So the Sunday saw the second round of the Teams of 4 with me drawing A3 at Milkhouse. The peg was in a gap between two boats but there had been a lot of tree clearing with logs on the bank and debris in the water that I needed to clear.

Starting the same way with a bread line at 2+1 which was surprisingly deep, again only one fish on the bread but immediate response when a pinkie was put on. The fish were very small and after a dozen or so fish it began to slow down and a move into the track with pinkie over groundbait brought a run of similar small fish. I just got my head down and scratched the best I could and seemed to be doing okay until a double canoe literally went right over where I was fishing with 2 hours to go and killed it. The far bank produced only 4 fish in the last 2 hours and despite starting a separate worm line further down the track no bites on the worm again! I weighed in 1-11 with the Matrix angler on my right weighing in 2-03 so that lost 2 hours cost me big time as I finished 12/13 in the section.

What was more galling was on the Friday Gareth had spent an hour on the canal at Devizes fishing the 4m whip while his wife did some shopping and had a 5lb bag of mainly roach!

I think I will be trying to get to Bowood for a session soon as the water levels seem to be dropping after the rains, fingers crossed!