The last day of January started with an early morning call that resulted in a six hour journey (thanks to road works and accidents) up to Yorkshire due to a family emergency that led to me staying in Yorkshire for three weeks sorting out various issues with a further visit still to come in March. So when I finally got the opportunity to get on the bank on the 24th of the month I headed to peg 10 at Bowood and fished 9:45 to 12:15. The session started with me getting a sardine out to about 15m on my standard float tackle and starting on the pole at 10m over a single ball of groundbait laced with a little wheat and a pinch of maggots. Bites were not forthcoming until twenty minutes in the sardine attracted a jack of 2-14 which totally mangled the bait to such an extent that I had to pick the pieces out of the mouth before I could see the hook to retrieve it from just inside the bottom jaw!
A little while later the float went again, this time another jack of 3-08 which had not damaged the sardine thankfully as I was beginning to run low of decent ones. The pike line then went quiet and I began to pick up roach and rudd of half ounce size, then that went quiet before the float slid under and a strike met with a familiar unyielding weight – another pike which came leaping out of the water before succumbing to the net at 3-01. One further pike on the sardine of 4-00 between more small roach and rudd left me with 24 roach and 8 rudd for 1-03 and thus a 13-10 total.
On the Sunday Gareth was going to watch the Rugby League match at ours so we arranged to have a morning session at Blacklands. I ended up on peg 17 and Gareth on 16 – either side of the tumbledown jetty/overflow. The session lasted about 2 and a half hours for me (9:45-12:15) by the time I had got all the bait sorted and bits and bobs.Gareth was soon off the mark with roach, skimmers and hybrids up to just over a pound fishing maggot over worm. We had both set up a pellet line directly in front of us at about 8-9m with a worm line towards the end of the jetty, I had a much slower start, in fact it was about half an hour before I managed a bite. A few roach came from the worm line but after an hour I swapped to my pellet line with 4mm expander and found immediate success with roach taken a few inches off bottom. After about 2 hours I switched back to the worm line and had a perch of 1-02 on worm and a hybrid of 1-08 on 6mm expander. So an enjoyable if frustrating session ended with 16 roach for about a pound to pound and a quarter plus the two aforementioned fish.
My third and final session of the month was on the last day, the Tuesday and once again peg 10 at Bowood was to be the venue. I set up as normal and introduced one ball of groundbait laced with a few grains of wheat, some micros and a pinch of maggot at 10m in what was now gin clear water. The pike rod had a sardine on, although it was the last of the “decent” baits as the rest already had deteriorating stomach areas. No bites on the pole but after only ten minutes the sardine was taken but I missed the run. Fortunately the sardine was still okay and was dispatched out again only to be taken again after a further 10 minutes and for me to miss the run again! Twenty further minutes elapsed and it was third time lucky as a jack of 4-09 came to the net. Still no bites on the pole but a further run on the sardine provided a better fish of 7-04. I was now using the less appealing sardines but it seemed to make no odds to the pike as after a wait when I had a bite on the pole which produced a half ounce roach, a further two jacks of 4-05 and 4-04 came to the net. I literally had cast out the sardine and shipped out the pole when I realised the sardine had been taken! A strike met with a solid resistance and after gingerly playing the fish in it rested in my net -17-07. At this point I packed the pike rod up, had a couple of flick ins close with the top two that produced a half ounce rudd and packed up, happy to end the session with the prospect of rain looming.(left is the 7-04, right the 17-07.