August 2022 – Hotting up!

Following a chat with another Bowood angler who reckoned he was getting most fish (bream/tench before I was arriving, I set myself the task of trying an early approach again. Peg 8 was my selected swim and the first of 4 balls of groundbait laced with corn, wheat and hemp was deposited at 06:25. I dispensed with the usual approach of starting with maggot and went straight out on corn. Tackle was the homemade rugby ball float taking 0.8g that was set as a bulk six inches above the size 16 hook to 0.16mm Shogun line. It was not until 07:00 when the float rose that I contacted my first fish, a bream of 3-04, another of 3-08 followed by tench of 3-03 and 3-13 up to 09:00. I was adding a further ball of groundbait every 40minutes or so plus regular pinches of loose fed wheat and hemp.Between 9:00 and 11:30 it went a bit mad with further bream of 2-04, 4-12 and 4-00 plus tench of 2-08, 4-02, 3-00 and 3-09. The sun then began to get hotter and I only added one skimmer, two roach and 2 rudd by the time I packed in at 12:00

I think the jury is still out as to whether the early start is worth it, but 39-03 is not to be sneezed at even if most came after 9am- could this be due to the main groundbait being put in earlier- I’ll never know!

Next day I decided to have a couple of hours on the Pondtail on the 5m whip. Starting at 2pm and finishing at 4pm I had the no 2 orange float on with a sixteen hook to 0.10mm and a 0.12mm mainline. Shotting was a bulk two feet from the hook with a no10 and no 9 stotz as droppers; I put in three golf ball sized balls of groundbait and loose fed wheat and hemp (pinch at a time) every other put in. I had an enjoyable session with 29 roach, 3 being netters and a solitary perch that also needed the net for a level 4lb. I should have had more but bumped several good fish before deciding to change the hook, which solved the problem.

Friday sees me back at peg 8 but at my usual time. It was very slow and apart from a lost tench I only had 4 rudd, 3 roach and a blade to show for my efforts, so I decided to be silly and just fish the top two for ten minutes – not changing the rig or anything. In those ten minutes I managed to put 30 rudd in the net, I was quite pleased as I have in the past on various venues had timed sessions of an hour when I have had 180 fish, so although a short session the rhythm needed was still in my muscle bank so to speak.

The week-end was avoided and Monday sees me at peg 7 for a change, starting at 9:00 and finishing at 12:10. I used a homemade 1g pencil float with a 2mm bristle for a change but the shotting was the same. I did start on maggot and had a small rudd first put in so changed to the corn. After half an hour a few bubbles appeared and the float lifted, a strike was met with a very scrappy fight from a tench of 2-04. From 10am to 11:30 I then had a procession of mainly smaller bream 2-06, 2-04. 4-04, 2-12 and 2-04 with just a skimmer, a further rudd and a solitary roach thereafter for a 17-02 total.

Wednesday sees me back on the Pondtail starting fishing at 7:40 until 9:20 to avoid the hot temperatures that had returned. Interestingly I did not get any bites after 9am. Anyway fishing the 5m whip with the same set up as previously, I started on maggot which was a bit slow so changed to double wheat. First cast with double wheat the float buries and I strike into a better fish that had me playing it carefully and guided it to the net – a roach of 1-11!

1-11

Next cast I hit another but as I was eating a sausage roll in celebration I managed to lose it with the hook pulling but not before I had seen it in the clear water. That effectively killed the swim so ended the session with 14 roach and a perch for 4-06.

I returned back to the Pondtail on Friday fishing 7:20 to 9:00 as the temperatures were soaring. No massive roach this time but 11 roach and 2 perch for 2-05, but I did hook a large fish, probably one of the carp that I had on for some time before it managed to snap the hook-length in the lilies on my right. Bowood was hosting the annual Country Fair on the Saturday and Sunday so there was a procession of lorries, cans, horseboxes and cars going past me on the bridge. Indeed I am sure that affected the fishing as once they started the fishing got harder.

Sunday I had a go at the Pondtail with the whip again on peg 1 from 7:20 to 9:00 when it was getting too hot. I had 11 roach and 4 perch for 2-04 but most came before 8am, from 8am until I packed up at 9 there must have been 100+ vehicles go past – the trailers/horseboxes/vans were getting ready for the 10am start and subsequent packing away!

No matches this month but once we get into the cooler weather I’ll be back on the main lake and will have a go on the stock pond plus peg 17 for a change!

July 2022 Part 2 – a Comedy of Errors

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.

1-10 rudd

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!

Peg 18

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!

July 2022 Part 1

Returning from Yorkshire I had two days to get ready before I was off again to the Glebe near Hinckley for a Maggotdrowners match organised by Whisker. Arriving in plenty of time after setting off at 05:45 I was hoping to be on Pool 6 or 7 rather than Lake 1 but drew peg 2 on Lake 1. Still I was not too disappointed as it meant a short journey with my kit.

Peg2 at the Glebe

I set up a cage feeder with a 20 inch hook-length as is the requirement at the Glebe but was sure I would be on the pole mainly so set up a11m rig, two 2+2 rigs and a margin rig. The two 2+2 rigs altered only in that one was bulked , the other with spread shot in the last half. Line was 0.16mm Shogun or Tornado with a size 16 Matrix bander. The margin was 0.20mm straight through to a 14 Chinese hook.

The match started and after depositing three balls of groundbait on the 11m line and a single ball with corn and pellet on the 2+2 line I reached for the feeder that I had clipped up for a point short of the far bank. So the next two casts ended up well on the far bank! Still don’t understand how that happened so after a quick adjustment I spent 20 minutes having 5 casts and staring at a motionless tip. The feeder went back up the bank even though Chris on peg 1 was getting a bite a cast on the feeder! On to the 11m line, 6mm pellets had been fed every few minutes and the first drop in resulted in a bite and the elastic coming out of the pole, only after a few minutes for the hook to pull as the fish got within netting range. That was it for a while before a bite out of nowhere saw a three pounder being slipped in to the net. Another bite and another lost fish with yet another hook pull, at this point I took the Matrix bander off and replaced it with a size 16 Chinese hook and didn’t suffer any further losses.

After a couple of hours I had clicked about 12lb, made up of 3 carp and some skimmers on a mixture of pellet or corn hook baits, Chris on Peg 1 was way ahead and still catching. I moved onto the 2+2 line and starting on corn was rewarded with an immediate carp of about 4lb then nothing.

The right margin

I had primed a line just off the tree at 2+2 distance on my right and this produced a few skimmers and a further carp, swapping between the lines and baits I managed to nick the odd fish but with two hours to go I went for the margins, the right was deeper but produced nothing. The left was at least a foot shallower.

The left margin

I had been loose feeding corn and pellet into both margins but I now potted in three big pots of loose groundbait into the left margin and went in with double corn, strangely, no response until I changed to single corn and I then had a slow but steady run of fish until the end. At the weigh in I put 13-14 of silvers on the scales (all skimmers except for a solitary perch) and 64-10 of carp for a 78-08 total.

Section A

It was an unusual week as Tuesday got taken up with household shopping and Wednesday the car had it’s MOT and thankfully passed which meant I could go to Bowood on Thursday which is when we usually do the shopping! Peg 6 was my selected swim which was very weedy but had a good colour and I was hopeful. Priming the swim in my usual fashion with 3 balls of groundbait with corn, hemp and wheat I started with a homemade “chimp” type float to 0.18mm main line and 0.16mm hook-length to a 14 B911X and double maggot at 9:30, my first fish was a small skimmer followed by a rudd, at which point I switched to corn. As the bell was chiming for 10am I hooked into a good tench that I managed to extract from the dense weed on two occasions before a typical swimmers roll dislodged the hook. Twenty minutes later similar story except it came off in the weed. I began to wonder if I should have brought the rake but although dense the weed should not have been a problem. A further wait and this time I managed to extract the tench out of three weed beds and land it safely at 5-07.

The session was frustrating as rudd moved in when there were no tench around but I lost a further tench, two big bream and and unseen torpedo that snapped me- pike/carp/tench- I’ll never know! I ended up with the solitary tench and 14 rudd plus two skimmers for 7-03 plus 6 lost fish!

Next day I was back at peg 6 again to see if I could improve on the situation by using a heavier elastic, the big change was the weather was now very sunny and hot. The water had cleared a bit but unfortunately the session went the way of the previous one. I had 16 rudd, 7 skimmers and a solitary roach for 3-14 on wheat and the following losses:

Tench – hook snapped- yes hook snapped at bend after getting fish through two weed beds

Tench – snapped in weed to my right

Bream – hook pulled close in prompting my to put slightly lighter elastic on

Tench – snapped in weed.

Can’t remember the last time I snapped the line so often in a session.

3-14

Pondtail Peg 1

Following Friday’s session and the weather getting hotter I opted for a short session on the Pondtail on Sunday. I fished the 5m whip from 9-15 to 11-15 and had a pleasant session with 23 roach and 1 perch for 3-07 on maggot, feeding wheat and hemp.

So avoiding the very hot days I ventured to peg 5 on the Wednesday fishing 8:45 to 12:30. Setting up as on peg 6 I had a couple of early maggot fish before switching to corn. It was just past 9:30 when I had my first tench of 3-07 that I landed together with copious amounts of weed. I had reverted to a 10-12 elastic that seemed to be soft enough for the silvers/bream but with enough grunt to deal with the tench. The next tench hooked I lost with it coming adrift in the weed bed to my right. I had one further tench of 3-08 to go with my 10 rudd for a level 9-0.

3-07 and 3-08

Sunday sees me at Clanfield for the penultimate leg of the Summer League (which has not been going well for me!), sandwiched between that at the final leg is a visit to Bromley Mill near Stafford.

June 2022 part 2- Here, there and everywhere!

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.

2-14 the first of the season

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!

Tench 4-00 minus the weed!

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!

5-08
Not the best photo!

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.

Left margin
Peg 16 Lagoon
Right margin

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.

June and the canal!

First Sunday in June saw me at the second round of the Summer League at Dunn Mill, Hungerford on the Kennet and Avon Canal. I was drawn B10 which put me not far off where I was in the pairs match a couple of years ago! The tow path at my peg was quite narrow and with one thing or another my camera stayed locked away! I plumbed up and settled for a close in line just over the near shelf, two down the track, one to the left would be my groundbait line the one to my right a chopped worm and caster, the far side was very shallow and I settled for a line at 13m, just off the far bank.

I began on the short line and had 13 small fish in the first hour on pinkie, losing a good fish early on, possibly a perch before trying my groundbait line which proved less than spectacular but again losing a decent fish , chopped worm only gave me one small perch so it was across to 13m with a Peatmoor float on a number 2 elastic, 22 hook and 0.07mm line, feeding squatt with pinkie on the hook. I ended up fishing this way for most of the match which was difficult as with the narrow tow path I had the option of not unshipping until the top kit by lifting the pole on top of the 10 foot hedge behind me or unshipping twice; I opted mostly for the double unshipping! Gary Didcott on my left had caught some skimmers and I knew I was behind him and I had not seen anything to my right. At the weigh in Gary weighed in 4-11 and my 49roach,15 gudgeon, 6 perch, 4 dace and a solitary bleak weighed in at 2-13, the angler to my right had a grueller and weighed in 0.5oz.

As things stand we are up to 5th place after getting 5th place on the day! Still not convinced by their scoring system but they run it as they want!

So now I had some caster and squatt spare so Wednesday I bought a day ticket and set of for the K&A at Horton- about 10 minutes from home. I ended up fishing at the end of the pontoon of moored boats on the far bank which was about 12 feet below where my car was parked!

I was sitting a few feet off the water and decided to fish a line close in which as it turns out was the deepest water, a line across level with the boats but away from them, a line in the area between the pontoon (squatt) and the bow of the last boat (caster) and a worm line at the same distance but angled off to the left, just off the shallow water. Rigs were similar to Sunday –

The “Blood” for my close in line
The Peatmoor for the far side squatt and caster lines
My homemade worm float

The peg was just at the start of a long sweeping bend which coupled with the pontoon and moored boats opposite would explain why the deep water was on the inside. Starting on the inside after introducing a ball of groundbait on both the far side lines plus regular loose feed of squatt and casters while I fished the inside I was hoping to get the fish confident before going across. Fishing pinkie I began to get some roach and perch plus the odd small skimmer before moving on to the squatt line after about 40 minutes. The next hour or so was constant action mainly from small roach, moving on to the caster line that also produced – small roach to the caster with the odd bigger one and hand sized skimmer. Finally I gave the worm line 40 minutes and again had a run of skimmers and perch before I decided to make my way home. The final tally was 31 roach, 20 perch and 16 skimmers for 4-5lb.

Buoyed by the action I took the plunge as I worked out that it would be cheaper to pay the £37 for a canal membership that would see me through to June 2023 than buy day tickets given I would still want to fish somewhere during Bowood’s close season and not have to travel too far! So on Friday, still with some squatt and casters left, I returned only to find that there was nowhere to park! The lay-by that is the usual parking spot in the lane was full with cars and a German registered camper van! Not one person to be seen fishing so there was no alternative but to try other spots along the canal -after visiting four other areas which were discounted due to either no parking, parking but no spots available due to boats moored up for as far as the eye could see, parking but a narrow towpath with a procession of bikes going past or the final one parking but a short pound with horrible coloured flowing water due to the procession of boats going through the locks at either end. I went home and decided to give it a miss until next year!

June 16th arrives, the start of Bowood, but first I had to do the weekly shop so it was about 10:35 before I actually started fishing in peg1. I had made the decision to fish peg 1 if the water conditions were okay or peg 3 if they were too clear. As there was already an angler on peg 3 I tried peg 1 as it had a bit of colour but not as much as I would like. I put the rake through first before setting up. The weather was sunny, hot with little if any wind- not ideal! I introduced three balls of groundbait with some squatt, caster, wheat and corn and crossed my fingers! Tackle was 0.16mm, size 16 and an Ugly Duckling float. I started on corn as I had left my maggots in the fridge! Fishing from 10:356 to 2:15 I did not get a single bite on corn managing to catch 12 rudd on a bunch of squatt for 14oz. The fish were there as I saw three bream about 3lb plus a long broad backed common well into double figure plus had 3 pike attacks on rudd that I was bringing in. I had a walk up to peg 3 who was having no luck and looked at peg 5 which is going to be my peg on Sunday – nobody will be fishing it as it is choked with weed and unfishable at present – the weed rake will soon remedy that! The pairs match at Makins is looming and the third round of the Summer League on the Avon at Chippenham is the day after!

May 2022 – Summer League

Friday 20th, two days before the Summer League I headed down to Witherington Farm, just outside Salisbury, with the intention of fishing Cottage in preparation for the two day Pete Bailey shindig at the end of May, plus to get any cobwebs out of my system for the weekend. The day did not start well with light rain (no photos of the peg!), people already on Cottage and got worse when I realised that I had left my bucket with the bait at home in the garage! Fortunately I had some pellets in one of my other bags plus some Chinese paste, so it was going to be a banded pellet or paste day! Then I find that my large barrow wheel for the Octbox is flat so I have to use my two side wheels as the main wheels and put the handles in the foot plate extension so am pushing it from the opposite end!

I settled on Sellwood peg 10 which had clear water in front and two nice looking margins. Plumbing up I found little difference in depth anywhere apart from my left hand margin which was about eight inches with s slope going down to the main depth of approx 3 feet about a metre out. I opted to try a 2+2 approach straight in front plus fed the right margin with micros and 4mm pellets, I did feed the left margin in a similar way but when tried it proved biteless so concentrated on the right margin. Tackle was a homemade slim teardrop float with a 2mm bristle taking a bulk of 4 x no 8 and two no10 droppers, a 0.16mm Shogun line to a 16 Kanto hook (a chinese hook), a 12-14 hollow elastic completed the set up. I also set up the margin rig I used at Staits with a 14 hook.

Cupping in a mix of 4mm and micros on the 2+2 line I was soon getting bobs on the float as small fish tried to suck in the 6mm banded pellet, after 10 minutes I had a “proper” bite and pulled out of a carp after a short fight with a scale on the hook, I had two more of these false bites before I managed to get and land my first carp of around 3lb. The bites continued and I had a few porpoise impersonating bream to go along with a couple more carp of 4lb and 6lb. After an hour or so I decided to give the paste a try on the 2+2 line and was greeted almost immediately with a bite I missed. Still on the 2+2 line I had the biggest fish of the day at roughly 8lb plus what looked like a crucian although it could have been a brown goldfish!

Moving onto the margin, I decided to keep the same rig as the depth was the same and proceeded to get bites from more bream and carp plus a solitary rudd, all on the paste, ending the day with 8 carp, 9 bream, the crucian and rudd for between 45 and 50lb (I actually clicked 49!) with me losing a total of 5 carp, mostly foul hookers. So not too bad given my main bait stayed at home, and at least the rain stopped by midday! The wheel was pumped up on return but was flat again within hours, couldn’t find the puncture and then found that the bearing had sheared- so a new puncture proof wheel is on order!

Sunday sees me at South Cerney for the first match of the Summer League, eleven teams of four to be split between Gilmans and Staits. The drawbag was not kind to team captain Darren or me as we ended up on very poor pegs on Staits while Craig and Nigel had good pegs on Gilmans. Anyway I was at the far end of the road bank, with the rope on my right and a snagpit on my left! I set up waggler, feeder, and two pole rigs- one for the margin and one for 11m which was about 7ft deep. I compromised with the long rig and used a 0.16mm main line to a 0.14mm hooklength and a 16 Kanto hook. My margin rig was the 0.20mm to a 14. Bait was micros and 4mm, some 8mm for pinging, expanders, worms, corn, hemp and paste, with crushed expander as groundbait. Before the start Craig came along and told me the bad news- this was the peg he had last weekend in a two day match and he came last in section after a good position on the first day! We agreed any thing better than last would be a bonus.

First 20 minutes I spent out on the feeder close to the rope with no joy. Back on the 11m line I was hoping something had settled on the three balls of groundbait with hemp and pellet. Double maggot on the hook and after a couple of minutes a half ounce perch means the blank is saved! The rest of the match was spent trying to get a decent fish but skimmers and perch came on the pole line, the margins were a waste and five roach on the waggler meant that at the end of the day I had 28 small perch, 4 skimmers and 5 roach, Brian Ballard on C8 the other side of the rope and on a flier had managed to find some proper bream and won the section with 19lb+. I was surprised to find that my fish weighed 6-09 which put me 9th out of the eleven in the section so I was moderately pleased as it had been a very hard day.

Part of the team sheet!

No fishing in the week as was tied up with chores and hospital appointment, so it was straight into the two dayer at Witherington Farm organised by Pete Bailey. A draw of 9:30 meant a leisurely start and I parked up with plenty of time. Sellwood and Cottage were being used on both days and it was to be a random draw each day. Peg 9 on Cottage came out of the bag and I was not too displeased with the draw as I had fished the peg several years ago and knew it would give me a days sport. I had decided to focus entirely on the pole and had left the rods at home; plumbing up I found a consistent depth and settled on a 2+2 line and two margin lines, the right hand margin being deeper but with less cover whereas the left margin had a nice bank of rushes projecting out a foot from the bank.

I set up the two rigs I had used for Sellwood but the difference was I had changed the elastic in the margin kit from a hollow to a 2mm solid Chinese elastic set soft. Starting by cupping in micros, some corn, 4mms and hemp into both margin swims I introduced two balls of groundbait on the 2+2 line and began with a banded 6mm pellet. It was slower than I expected and after an hour or so I had 4 bream in the net and had lost a carp that was probably foul-hooked. I had tried maggot, expander paste and corn with corn and expander producing most interest. I then made the decision to go down the margins early and see if there was any interest, starting with the right hand one. I had been feeding regular helpings of micros and 4mms into both margins with just a few grains of corn, starting on paste I had another bream then nothing, corn was tried and nothing, so I swung around to try the left margin on corn.

A couple of minutes in and I was getting indications on the float with fish brushing the line before finally a proper bite an another bream, then nothing. At this point I decided to rotate the three swims, taking a fish before moving on. This seemed to work and I began to get the odd carp interspersed with the bream, losing 8 carp in total, most seemed to be foul-hooked. By the end I had clicked 31lb of bream and 57lb of carp but was unsure how accurate this was! The scales arrived and I was shocked to find my bream weighed 31Lb and my carp 57lb! A total of 88lb and second place on the lake.

31lb of bream

Day 2 and I was back on Cottage this time peg 14, but what a difference a day makes- the carp were in a full throttled spawning frenzy, thrashing around in the reeds and even under the platforms – they were not going to feed! I had set up before most people had arrived as the draw had taken place the previous evening. We had agreed that we would not fish the margins or the island until the frenzy had ceased and things were calm, consequently I plumbed up and found the deeper water was to the left of my peg, so fed two swims at 2+2 and 11m with crushed expander groundbait and the usual micros, hemp and corn.

Peg 14 Cottage

I started on maggot hoping for a run of silvers/bream given the carp were otherwise occupied but an hour later I still had not had a bite despite trying all different baits. The wind had picked up and was cold plus blowing straight into my face. After two hours I was still biteless when I had a bite on the 2+2 line that turned out to be a carp (possibly foul-hooked) but after several minutes I managed to get it in close when it made a dive for under the platform and the hook pulled. Still blanking others were struggling also with just a few silvers being caught and the odd carp.

By about 1:30pm the carp had calmed down enough for us to try the margins, starting on the right margin the float was getting buffeted as fish went through the swim but then it slowly sank and the resulting strike resulted in a very welcome- bream of about 2lb! The blank had been saved. Continuing down the right margin I managed to get two carp of about 3lb plus lose a third that may have been foul-hooked all on corn. At this point the sky went very dark and the rain arrived in bucketfuls which was very unpleasant as the wind was blowing it straight into me, then the float sank and I hit a heavy fish that had me sweating as it took what seemed an age to get it within netting range and then ages to get it’s head up, I eventually slipped the net under a lump of about 12lb. About 5 minutes later the rain stopped but so did any activity in the right margin, swapping to the left margin I lost one carp when the hook pulled and came back with a scale and that was it for the rest of the match! The rain had the opposite effect two pegs along as the carp started to feed voraciously on the 5m line on meat!

At the weigh in I put my four fish on the scales for 20-04 only to find that was enough for second on the lake, beaten by the late run of meat fish! So Cottage had been kind to me for the two days! Next up is the Summer League Round 2 on the Kennet and Avon Canal at Hungerford, the two day Pairs at Makins followed next day by Round 3 on the Bristol Avon at Chippenham and of course Bowood opens on the 16th!

May 2022 – Summer League Prep

May starts with a lot of household painting chores but my focus soon moves on to the impending Summer League starting with a lake match at South Cerney’s Wick Water complex on Gillmans and Stait Lakes. The league consists of eleven teams of 4 so the match in effect would be two sections on both lakes. Previously I had visited one of the bad pegs on Stait and a not so good one on Gillmans, the rational being that if I was fortunate to draw on one of the better areas I am confident that I would do okay, but the team result would hinge on those unfortunate to be in the poorer areas, so any method of putting ounces in the net would be worth exploring.

I decided to give Stait another go on Monday 9th, this time on peg 36, almost opposite peg 1, again not a good area compared to the other pegs on that side of the lake but better than peg 1! On walking down I was greeted by a mother with her goslings .

Anyway I set up two rigs (I had decided to leave the rods at home), the first a 0.3g rig with a spread bulk of number 8s for fishing at 2+3 range, 0.16mm line to 0.14mm hooklegth and a 16, teamed up with a soft set 8-12 hollow elastic; the second for fishing at 11m was a similar rig but with a 0.4g slim rugby ball 0.16mm hooklength and bulk plus one dropper, teamed with a black hydro equivalent. The plan was to feed caster on the short line and worm and pellet on the longer line. Three balls of crushed expander went out at 11m followed by a pot of finely chopped worm with some 4mm pellet. The short line was fed with one ball of the expander and caster, as an experiment I also threw a handful of mixed micro and 4mm pellets down to my right a foot out from the bank where a small shrub was growing.

Starting on the short line on maggot saw small perch and rudd put in an appearance before a few skimmers showed up. After about 40 minutes I had a look on the long line and was rewarded with – nothing! Back on the short line saw more skimmers being brought to the net- best about 2lb before a light coloured movement to my right saw a good carp in the margin chomping on my loosefed pellets. I brought the rig in and picked up my long rig, pulling the float down so I was fishing about 2 feet deep. Dropping a banded 6mm in, the float was buffetted around by the swirls of the feeding fish before it disappeared, a lift and a light brown torpedo came hurtling out of the water and did a very good impression of a flying fish before the hook pulled! Another handful of pellets went in and ten minutes later more shadows and swirls appeared, this time the torpedo stayed in the water but the bow wave as it went down the lake with me adding sections suggested a good fish- then the hook pulled! At this point I thought to myself that I need to get a grip and set up a proper margin rig- this was a 12-14 elastic, with a homemade short “BGT 1” style float to 0.20mm Shogun and a 14 hook.

Fifteen minutes later the fish were back feeding and after some swirling the third fish was hooked, this went of like a rocket and I hung on with extra sections in play it was pulling the elastic out to an alarming length as it tried to get to the island 30m away. Somehow I managed to turn it but could not make much headway, 5 minutes into the fight Darren turns up and tells me the average for the lake is 12-18lb with a lot of 20s! To cut a long fight short, it was another 10 minutes before I managed to slip the net under the beast that was hooked in the pectoral! Darren reckoned it was about 17lb!

Despite further attempts and plenty of swirls that was the last action from the margin swim, I did go back on the 2+3 line and managed to hook a carp there which eventually threw the hook. I ended the session with 11 p[erch, 10 rudd, 10 skimmers and 2 roach for about 10lb, giving me plenty of food for thought.

So it was back on Friday, this time to Gillmans and peg 10 with a heavy wind blowing left to right (somehow the other side of the island was flat calm!) and after 5minutes when the aerator on peg 9 switched on a heavy tow!

During a calm spell!

I set up a 2+2 rig (waste of time as did not get a single indication), and a rig for 10m, which was about as much as I could hold in the wind. I actually swapped the rig from the 0.5g I had been using to a 0.8g ion order to try and improve the presentation. I had introduced 3 balls of groundbait laced with pellet and corn at the start and after no bites close in I went out and stayed on the long line. My first bite came after 2 hours and I had to scale down to a 0.10mm hooklength to get any action. Gillmans has very few if any carp but lots of tench and bream. It was not until I introduced a bit of chopped worm that I got any joy (and not a lot of that!) with some rudd coming to the net. To save you the tedium of my misfortune I ended up with 8 rudd and a bream of about 1.5lb for a total of 3-4lb.

The other people on my bank far equally badly (or worse!), however the other side of the island fished brilliantly, Darren turned up later just before I left and he had 20lb of rudd on the waggler from the other side! Still I now have a plan of attack for whatever lake or side of lake I draw!

A slow start to April Part 2!

Before diasppearing to Droitwich I managed to head to Staits, this time on a Tuesday and managed to find it free from a match. Having paid for my day ticket I drove around and parked at the far end and opted for Peg 1 – the first peg on the roadside- an area that I had been told was difficult. My thinking being if I could work out an approach for the difficult areas then if anyone in the team drew them (probably me!) then at least we would have a tactic!

Peg 1 Staits

I opted to ignore the island as the info was that the carp were usually at the other end of the lake and again I wanted to concentrate on the pole. I elected to try three lines, the first at 11m, another at 2+2 and the left hand margin by the overhanging bush. I am slightly odd in the sense that most people will start at the full distance of their pole- either 16m or 14.5m- while I prefer to settle on a different line to those around me and 10/11m is often ignored which is why I fish it! Anyway I put 3 balls of crushed expander with some 6mm pellets at 11m while putting a solitary golf ball of the same at the 2+2 line. I proceeded to loose feed pellet over the top of the 11m line and a pinch of maggots every put in on the short line. A handful of pellets was put into the margin and left for 20 minutes before repeating.

Tackle was heavier than I probably would normally use for silvers but with the possibility of carp I thought discretion was the better part of valour! The long line was 0.16mm to a 0.14mm hooklength to a 16 barbless with a 10-12 elastic set soft, while the 2+2 was 0.14mm to a 0.12mm to a 16 and a hybrid elastic which I think was 6-10, again set soft.

Starting on the 2+2 line I began getting bites after 15 minutes or so and after 2 hours had 7 roach, 3 perch, 2 rudd and 9 skimmers, the biggest being 1.5lb. At this point I decided to try the long line, putting on an expander, there was lots of interest but no positive bites, I did managed to foulhook and lose a decent fish, possibly a proper bream when the hook pulled leaving me with a scale and some slime! The margin again showed lots of activity but mainly from small fish and a solitary perch was the result.

So on to Droitwich and Woodland View, I was charged with running the event and the majority were staying on site in the caravan/lodges. I was to share with Les Hobson. Anyway we were scheduled to fish Arles then Hay and Barley and ending up on Front and Back Deans, on arrival I found this had all changed and we were now on Big and Little Als on Day 1, then on Front and Back Deans for the next two days, with each angler fishing both pools, ie if you drew Front Deans on Day 2 you would draw from Back Deans on Day 3. So having sorted out the pools for the three days and the pegs we were to use, I got the draw underway and after everyone had drawn I was left with peg 10 on Little Als.

Little Als peg 10

Arriving at my peg I realised it was the peg that the match was won from on our last visit with the fish coming from right into the corner of the lake. My elation lasted all of two minutes as Tony Wynn (always refered to as Tony Wrexham) turned up and said he was on 11, I thought that was on the other side but it transpired that they had put the peg literally in the corner of the lake so Tony was able to fish along the side bank with ease and I could not get anywhere near ! Added to that we had a strong wind blowing directly in our faces and into the corner. You can guess what happened – Tony bagged up with carp and weighed in 80-12, at one point saying he had caught 20 carp without losing one and then proceeded to lose the next three!

My match was not comfortable, I set up a margin rig, a rig for 11m that was not used and a 2+2 rig for worm and another for pellet To cut a long story short, Tony had 4 carp in the net before I had a bite, I ended up with 4 carp that I clicked at 16lb and lots of micro perch plus the odd small skimmer for 19-1, Herbie on my left had 1 carp and I ended up 5th out of 6 in the section! Les suffered a similar fate also finishing 5th.

Moving on to Day two I was left with peg 14 on Front Deans -an end peg, arriving I was hopeful as the wind was blowing directly into me .I set up a top kit line with a tosspot with a homemade 0.3g slim chianti style float with 0.16mm to 0.14mm and a 16, a 2+2 line with a similar float taking 0.4g and the same set up, a margin rig with 0.20mm and a 16 and a 11m rig with a 0.5g rugby ball float with the same set up as the 2+2 . As a back up I also set up a bomb rod but did not expect to use it and didn’t!

Peg 14 Front Deans without the wind!

I started the match with the wind- and it was a cold one!- coming straight into my face, the sun was obscured by the tree on my right so it felt distinctly wintery whilst the anglers on the other bank were in tee shirts, I ended up wearing my jacket zipped up tight. I began on the top 2 line, toss-potting in micros and with an expander on the hook, I was quickly into fish and had clicked 20lb in the first hour when horror of horrors the wind swiung around to blow down the other end of the lake and the bites died! I scratched around rotaing through the line getting a couple more carp on worm on the 2+2 line and one from the margin but at the end I weighed in 39-10 made up of 25-02 of carp and 14-08 of silvers. This left me 5th in section only beating Tony Wrexham who again drew next to me! So on to the final day and I was left with peg 35 on Back Deans – not great as Pete Bailey (sponsored by Colmic) had fished it the previous day and had caught 80 odd pounds but had only come 4th in section so it must have been tough! I set up as before but without the bomb rod. (No pictures for this day!) Once again I was drawn next to Tony!

I began as before with the sun on my back but the wind in my face (off and on), the top kit line produced some F1s and skimmers and by rotating the lines before going down the edge I managed to get 34-05 to put on the scales, consisting of two better sized carp, some F1s and some bigger skimmers/bream, this got me to 3rd in the section. I collected the boards and sat in my car to do the results before dsriving to the on-site cafe to do the results and payouts. Special mention must go to Barry Gabriel (Bazz Wrexham) who won the festival with a perfect score of 3 points and 288-03. Seventeen different anglers won something as I paid first two in each section plus top 5 overall in festival, I was not one of the seventeen!

Must do better next time!

A slow start to April 2022

A combination of family visits and weather means there has only been one trip so far this month, indeed as I write this I should be out fishing but when I got up and got ready I was greeted with “surely you are not going in this lot” – looking out of the window I finally see that the rain is hammering down and so I relented and went to get changed !

Anyway the one trip I did manage to make was mid-week to the South Cerney Wick Water complex as the first Summer League match was scheduled on Gilmans and Stait lakes. Talking to the other team members there seemed to be an agreement that Stait was the potential fly in the ointment as it was extremely peggy and some areas seemed devoid of carp which made up the bulk of the weights. I had decided to try one of the very poor pegs to see if I could work out a tactic to at least get mediocre points if we were drawn in it, however that plan went by the wayside as on getting my day ticket I was told there was a match on it! So Gilmans it was!

I decided to opt for the first peg on the lakeside bank as it had no island to fish to but had some reeds in the corner. Plumbing up I found it to be fairly shallow at about 4 foot deep and was fairly consistent once you got beyond the first shelf which was about 3 foot and exstended just beyond the 2+2 mark. I set up two rigs, the first to fish at 10m with a home made rugby ball float with bulk set at two feet and three droppers to a 0.10mm hooklength to an 18. The second was a 0.4g homemade rounded diamond with the bulk at mid depth and two droppers to an 18 with similar line. The more observant will notice I have a keepnet in the water and another ready by my box – I was not that optimistic! The rule is that tench and bream go in one net, silvers in another, I was told in the tackle shop that it would be highly unlikely that I would see any carp! I had opted to forego my normal Bowood kit and instead go with my match kit as it was to be a practice, although I left the rods at home as I wanted to concentrate on the pole.

As you might guess from the photos, there was a wind coming left to right, however this increased significantly during my session, to the extent that I could not keep the pole still at 10m and was forced to go on the 2+2 line. I began by cupping in two small balls of crushed expander with some wheat and maggots and loose fed both the lines every five minutes with a pinch of maggots and wheat. It took 15minutes for my first bite and I missed it! Next put in the float disappeared after a few minutes and the first “fish”, a micoscopic perch saved a blank having taken a liking to the double maggot offering. The session continued in a similar vein, if I could hold the float still I would get a bite, sometimes from a perch but interspersed with rudd, the biggest of whish was about 10-12oz and required the net! Once I was forced to go on the close line, the situation did not change with perch and rudd featuring with the addition of a solitary roach. After three hours I had 21 perch, 15 rudd and the solitary roach for 3-4lb when the rain arrived in tandem with the wind, at this point I decided to cut my losses and go home.

The end of the month will see me at Woodland View near Droitwich for a 3 day MFSReborn festival which I am running (for my sins) so hopefully I may have some fish to talk about!

March 2022 Part 2- Boddington, oh Boddington

With the end of the river season also being the end of the season at Bowood I was faced with one match in March on the last Sunday at Boddington Reservoir in Northamptonshire. I had actually booked the match for the MFSReborn site but more of that later. I intended to go up the previous weekend to see the water level and speak with the bailiff regarding allocation of pegs and Darren Edgell said he would come along also. Before that I had a host of jobs to catch up on around the house so it was indeed the visit to Boddington that was my first chance to fish.

Meeting up with Darren at the Brunch Bar on the outskirts of Banbury we carried on to Boddington and parked up. I had forgotten that they had put in a gentle ramp to replace the “heart attack hill” that we previously had to negotiate so that was a welcome development. I had made a decision not to take a pole and match kit instead my tackle for the day was to be my Bowood matchbox, the Chinese whips and a couple of rods- a waggler and a feeder. I settled on peg 38 and Darren on 39 with the water level high, lapping over the top of the fist platform down.

Peg 38

For those unfamiliar with Boddington, there are a series of concrete steps and platforms on each peg reaching out to about 3-4m, I am not sure if it is 3 or 4 platforms in total as my memory is playing tricks having only once fished at the base of the “stairs”. The wind was not too bad when we got there, strong, cold (easterly) and in your face but increased significantly during the day with gusts of 33mph plus a steady wind into the high twenties. This had a profound effect as starting on the 5m whip Chinese style I began catching roach only for the wind to increase and the tow pick up so that it was faster than the Thames in summer! My presentation was totally wrong and I struggled, Darren was fishing a pole and had started the day with 15 (fifteen) balls of groundbait but was able to keep his float relatively steady between gusts to catch . A swap to waggler was no better and in desperation I swung a feeder out on my whip line, this at least got me a couple more fish but that died when I lost a roach over a pound when the hook pulled in the wind. I ended up with just 9 roach and 6 lost fish, Darren managed 44. To give you some idea of the wind the water was splashing up into my face!

Returning home things went from bad to worse when my computer cut out in mid flow, initially I thought it was a power cut but quickly dismissed that thought as the screen was still on! To cut a long story short the motherboard had short circuited so I got hold of a cheap refurbished computer to tide me over, disassembled the old computer and stored the parts with the intention of upgrading the new one with said parts once the year’s warranty expires.

The matches we have held at Boddington in the past have attracted over 40 anglers but I had initially 15 expressing interest and had booked 12 pegs knowing I could add more, however by Wednesday we were down to 6! Covid, family issues, health problems and work abroad had taken its toll. I could not ask some anglers to do a 160 mile round trip for a match involving 6 anglers so with regret I cancelled the match. I was grateful to those who had already paid the peg fee refusing my offer of a refund as I still had to pay for the pegs booked! Darren and Nigel Russell still wanted to fish so as I was going anyway to pay the bailiff we had a friendly £1 bet.

The water level had dropped about 4-6inches and the wind was not nearly as strong but cold! I set up on 34, Nigel on 36 and Darren on 38. I began on the whip with the same box and rig and although I had brought a pole and rods I stubbornly stayed on the whip for the 5 hours! I began well and had eight decent roach in the net in the first hour and then the bites died! Single maggot, double maggot, caster, off bottom, hard on bottom, whatever I tried I could not buy a bite while Darren and Nigel were getting consistent fish. In the last 4 hours I had 4 fish, 2 of those came in successive put ins in the third hour, one came in the fourth hour and the final roach was foul hooked in the tail! Towards the end a pike angler came along and asked how we doing, when I told him he said that he often had big pike out of that peg and that confirmed my suspicions, especially when the bailiff came to see the weigh in and said that I probably had “the big pike” sitting in front of me!

Anyway my 12 roach weighed 5-01 so they were not a bad stamp, Nigel had 17-12 by fishing 18″ off bottom at 13m and Darren a similar number to Nigel but smaller weighing 10-15.

My 5-01
Nigel 17-12
Darren 10-15

April beckons and a three day festival at Woodland View at the end of the month.