Jealous July 2021 (Part 1)

July starts on the Friday 2nd with a visit to peg 6. Peg 6 has a channel dragged out by myself but has thickish beds of weed to the sides and the odd strand directly in front just out of net range. I tend to have the first 8 or so pegs to myself at present as they are so weedy and most members fish with rod and reel and would not be able to extract the fish from the weed with any confidence. In this situation the pole reigns supreme as the ability to put pressure on the fish to turn deeper into the weed tends to get them to swim out! Anyway back to the fishing, I set up with the long 3mm tipped rig with 0.18mm Shogun line to 0.16mm hooklength and a 14 B611. The swim was fed as the bell, in the Bowood House clock tower, chimed 9am with 3 balls of groundbait cupped in with a few samples of corn, a handful of hemp and a small handful of wheat at 9.5m marked on the pole section with black marker, which meant that I had half a section behind me. The groundbait was a mix of 1 part Cocoa Belgique, 1 part Vanilla, 1 part Gros Gardon, 1 part Gardon Competition and 1 part Etang (all Caperlan, ie Gooster).

Starting on three maggots to get something in the net, a small rudd was deposited then I switched to corn. Slow at first, which was usual as the fish rarely seem to wake up until 10am for some reason! The first bite resulted in a hand sized skimmer, followed shortly after by another slightly bigger sample before a lull was broken by a Polaris type lift and a 2-05 bream came to the net. Two further samples of 2-08 and 3-00 came at intervals before two better rudd and a skimmer appeared. I then hooked and lost in the weed a proper slab which signaled the end of the bream but had two tench of 3-15 and 3-08 and lost another in the weed by the end at 1pm. Altogether the session came to a round 20lb, a nice start to July.

Peg 6 July 2nd bream 2-08
Peg 6 July 2nd lost tench

Monday sees me back but this time at peg7, less weedy than 6 but still with some serious sub-surface banks of weed in places. Fishing the same way the session began at 8:45 with a run of small rudd (7) and three small skimmers. Switching to corn I had a run of 4 tench between 9:50 and 12:30 weighing 3-09, 3-00, 3-02 and 5-07 interspersed with two bream of 1-14 and 4-11 with no fish lost! I finished at 1pm with a 23-01 total.

Wednesday sees me back at peg 7 and a slower start ending with 4 tench of 2-12, 3-06, 3-12 and 2-11 together with 8rudd and 3 skimmers for 13-06.

July 7 Peg 7 13-06

Two days later I returned to peg 6 and unlike the previous visits when I had the lake to myself there were two cars already present. On arriving at peg 6 I could see one fishing up near the island on peg19 and assumed the other was on the top field pegs. Setting up the usual way it was a slowish start and by 11:15 when the angler in the top field came past I had only had a solitary tench of 3-12 and a clutch of small rudd, skimmers and roach. Stopping for a chat it transpires he actually reads this and travels in from Bristol to fish the lake. He trudged off and as he got into the car park field the float buried and a tench of 2-06 came to the net. This was the start of a period where the tench were present as evidenced by the bubbles as they browsed for the hemp and wheat I had been loose feeding, eventually the float lifted and I latched into a better fish that weeded me three times in different areas before I managed to put the net under a tench of 6-15, a PB. Another tench of 3-00 came along by 1pm and just as I was thinking of packing up the float ran across the surface and a lift saw me latch into another decent fish, a bream of 5-01. This prompted me to carry on and indeed when I packed up at 2:30 I had added bream of 4-15, 2-08, 1-12 and 2-04 to give me a 36-02 total.

July9 6-15
5-01
36-02

It was the Tuesday before I returned to peg 6 and fishing the usual way and starting at 9 through to 1pm I managed 4 tench (3-07, 5-02, 2-11 and 2-12) a small bream of 1-12, 3 rudd and 1 skimmer for a 16-02 total, losing a tench and a bream in the weed .

13-06

Next day, which is unusual for me as I tend to go on alternate days, I returned to peg 6 but as the saying goes you can overplay your hand and I struggled with two bream of 3-0 and 1-15, 3 skimmers and 2 roach for 5-05. I was not alone in my struggle as another angler on the other bank had a similar experience and I did not see him catch.Friday comes along and I roll up on peg 5 with the lake to myself. Setting up as per norm I had a channel in front that I had previously raked and there was a clear area to my left at 45 degrees out to 8m. I fed both areas but all my action came from out in front. Starting on maggot I could not get a bite, now this may sound bad but I was hopeful as this usually means one on two things- either a pike is sitting in the swim or bigger fish were already present. Having started at 9am on the chimes by 10:20 I had 6 bream 2-07, 4-11, 2-08, 4-14, 2-08 and 2-10, then disaster struck I lost a good bream in the weed and that was it from the bream! It was already hot at 9am and the sun was getting higher with a couple of large carp cruising around the middle with their backs out of the water. At 11am I lost a tench in the thick weed and not long after lost a good fish that was either a very large tench or one of the carp that weeded me in a big clump of weed at 12m . It went very quiet then and you could see the bream up on top with the carp basking in the hot sun so at noon I called it a day and went to cool down!

Peg 5
Peg5 lost tench
Peg 5 Bream

I may only be able to get out for the trip to Bromley Mills for the rest of this month as my eldest has now received a date for his operation that will lay him low for the next 3-4 months so will be on taxi duty to and from the hospital and back and forth to Birmingham. Although I jealously guard my opportunities to get on the bank now, there are some things more important!

Juddering June 2021

Well the planned excursion on the pole never happened due to a variety of family issues so it was not until the 16th, the opening day of the Bowood season that I was able to venture out. Last year I had plundered some bream from Peg 1 and I had decided to give it a go again this year if the colour was okay. Arriving at Peg 1 , having taken a slow and steady walk down, it was well weeded but there was some colour in the water so the rake was put into action and soon there was a fish-able channel to attack.

Tackling up I had decided to use an Ugly Duckling float taking 1g, heavy for 2 foot of water but I wanted to make sure that the bait got down past any weed or marauding rudd! Three balls laced with corn and wheat were deposited at 9m and I settled down with corn on the hook. After an hour I was half expecting a bite but when none occurred I put 3 maggots on in desperation which resulted in a small bream of exactly 2lb followed by 3 rudd and a roach. Switching back to corn it was an hour before the float lifted and ran across the surface, striking I connected with an angry tench that shot off into the weed, I managed to coax it out of the weed only for it to get weeded close in finally relocating my hook in the weed and swimming off! This happened one more time and the only other action as pulling out of a foul hooked pike!

The Ugly Ducklings

Next day was the wife’s birthday and was spent partly getting ready for the two day pairs event at Makins on the Friday and Saturday. I had been drawn on Phase 2 on the first day and drew peg 9 on Snake. Snake conjures up the image of a canal style lake but it was nothing like it! A rectangular lake with peg nine being in a corner with an overhanging large bush right in the corner. Now this was June, so the weather was awful with heavy rain all day without respite! My waterproof Goretex overtrousers could not cope and I was soaked from the waist down, my top half was fine despite the uncontrollable shivering I had at times throughout the match. Due to the weather my camera stayed firmly in my bag as did my phone. Anyway the peg looked inviting and I had decided on 4/5 possible areas to attack: one at 5m directly in front of me, another at 11m in front, a metre out from the bush at about 7m out to my left, the right and left margins. I put 3 balls of groundbait with 2mm pellets out at 11m, a single ball at 5m and the tree line, with a half cup of 2mm pellets with some 4mm pellets on both margins with meat featuring on the left and corn on the right.Starting at 5m it was VERY quiet with very little indication of any interest from the fish.I was loose feeding 4mm pellets by the tree and also in front but after an hour had 1 carp on meat at 5m so went on to the tree line.

I had set up a homemade chianti style float of .6g to 0.16mm Shogun and a 16 with a 12-14 hollow elastic. Fishing meat I began to get the odd bite but after losing my third fish in the bush I swapped the rig onto a heavier elastic and plodded on through the match, picking up carp at a regular rate, nothing large, average about 3-4lb, until with about 90minutes to go it died – not just for me but the whole lake just switched off, a move to the margins saw me get two more carp (slightly better sized)a bream and a couple of roach all from the left margin. At the end I had clicked 67lb on my carp net and thought I might just get to 80lb with my small carp and silvers net. The scales showed I was almost correct except that I had 61lb odd in the carp and 20lb+ in the silvers for 81-13 total.

Trudging back to the car was a real effort, despite it being 200m max and on a flat good surface, I was not in the best of states when I arrived back. A brief rest (in the rain), and packed the car and went off to find my hotel. After checking in and a cup of tea and a hot shower, I spent most of the evening drying my clothes on the radiator in the room. Next morning it turned out that my partner and I were lying in 3rd spot out of the 20 pairs, so all to play for! Day 2 meant I was on Phase 3, and I drew Thames 17. Checking with the venue regular who had drawn it on day 1 it transpired the usually good peg had not fished at all and he had struggled to catch much at all (can’t remember if it was 6lb or 14lb). Still it was a different day and on arrival I found the peg was a short walk from the car (phew) and was on a canal style lake with rushes on the central island. It looked fishy and there were numerous carp cruising around.

I set up a margin rig, one for the far bank and one for the track. Feeding 2mm and 4mm pellets down the margins with corn and meat, 2mm and groundbait down the track and 4mm loose fed across, I managed 2 rudd from the right margin and lost a micro rudd on the way in from my only 3 bites in the first 5 hours! With an hour to go I was resigned to last place in the section but plugged away on the left hand margin with double corner finally getting two more bites which both turned out to be carp that I clicked for a 6lb total. However the scales told a different story and I weighed in 10-7, still last in section though. Back at the headquarters we discovered we had dropped to 8th overall. On the bright side I managed to dry out my waterproofs on the grass during the match.

It was the Tuesday before I felt recovered enough to go to Bowood, I had also bought some new overtrousers, I tried this time peg 4 with a light chianti style float and struggled (recurring theme- I hope not!) ending with 30 micro rudd and 2 roach for 1-06, no sign of any larger fish but plenty of pike activity around midday!

Wednesday sees me back but this time for an evening session (5:45 to 8:15), dropping in on peg 3 a 5minute raking gave me some fish-able water. I began on maggot with the Ugly Duckling rig and had a rudd first drop in so went straight on the corn and ended up with one tench of 3-12 but lost 4 more in the thick weed. I swear these tench have Masters Degrees in using weed as a disgorger!

Friday sees me back at Peg 3 for a morning session (8:45 to 1:45). Starting with the Ugly duckling rig and maggot, I put 3 balls laced with hemp and wheat out at the start and after 20minutes had a bite – a small skimmer. This was followed by 3 further small skimmers and a roach before changing to corn. A 15 minute lull was interrupted by a small bream/large skimmer of 1-11, a further lull was broken at 11am by the first of 4 tench, 2-06, 4-12, 5-04 and 3-09 and not a single fish lost! That gave me a level 18lb and the walk back to the car was not as bad as a result!

5-04

I try and avoid Bowood at the week-end so it was Monday when I returned to Peg 3 but struggled with one tench of 2-12 and 5 rudd, losing 2 tench in the weed for a 3-02 total. Next day sees me back for my last session in June, this time going to the other bank and peg 23. It was very thick weed out from 5m to 11m so the rake was put to use and I set up a different rig – a homemade rugby ball style float with a long 3mm tip, again taking 1g, bulked 15 cm from a 14 hook on 0.16mm Shogun line. The depth was about 4 foot but I only had a narrow channel to fish so cupped in a fair bit of hemp and wheat with 4 balls of groundbait. It was not until gone 10 o’clock that I had my first fish a roach on maggots, followed by 4 rudd, back on the corn then sees action from tench- a fish of 2-08, then losing two more in the weed before landing a tench of 4-15 and losing two more tench in the weed plus a foul hooked pike! The session ended with a 7-13 total and me thinking about how to avoid losing the fish in the future. I suppose the easy answer is to fish where it is not weedy but I know the tench love the weed and that is where they are!

July sees more Bowood action and hopefully a return to Bromley Mill in Staffs for a match.

May (2021) I catch a fish please.

Well 94 days after leaving hospital I finally got on the bank for the Three Counties v Peatmoor match at Peatmoor Lagoon. I adopted a cautious approach and left the match kit at home and took my Bowood box with a waggler and feeder set up as I was unsure how long I could manage a pole for. I am planning to try a short session in the future with the pole just to test the water so to speak! I did take my whips but did not get them out of the bag!

Anyway I drew peg 7, one of two pegs at the top end away from the rest of the match and had Gary Reeves as company on peg 6. Set up was straight forward, home made peacock waggler with 0.10mm Shogun hooklength to a 20, feeding caster at 4 rod lengths coupled with a small groundbait feeder again to the same size hook and hooklength on my Preston Carbonactive 9ft quiver. The feeder was clipped up at 3/4 distance where the old stream bed runs and from experience the bream are most likely to show. Groundbait was a non-fishmeal concoction made up of Caperlan Lake together with the usual Cocoa Belgique and vanilla, chopped worm and caster would be sandwiched by the groundbait in the feeder.

The match kicks off and after 5 casts without bait to get some feed down I went across with single red maggot expecting instant response from the roach. NO knocks were forthcoming, which was unusual, this is usually a sign that there are either bream in the swim or it is going to be very hard! A slight shiver on the tip prompted a strike to find a partially sucked maggot. Second cast same thing with a maggot that was just burst, probably the fry that occasionally were jumping at the distance. That was the end of the action on the feeder, I had been feeding caster every 5 minutes on the waggler line and after and hour with no sign of a bite I succumbed and went on the waggler, still no response.

By this time the weather had changed from the bright, warm sunshine to a dark, gloomy sky with a swirling wind that prompted both of us to don our coats. Gary had been fishing a method out to the island and he too was without any indications and apparently neither had any one else in the match! He finally put up his pole and after two hours hooked what looked to be a microscopic roach that came off on the way in. Twenty minutes later he netted a small perch which was the only fish to be caught at that stage!

I decided to adopted the Coffee Rule – if I was still biteless by the time I had emptied my flask I would go! Experience at Peatmoor has shown that if you are blanking after 3-4 hours you will still be blanking after 5, so despite rotating between the waggler and feeder nothing changed, so after 4 hours I packed up and went home. Not the return to the bank I was hoping for but nonetheless I was back and that was the main thing for me.

During the match I had been getting updates from my son Gareth, in China, who was fishing the Shiqi river in Zhongshan – he was fairing a little better getting 3 skimmers by fishing paste at mid depth. This may not sound great but it is a very difficult place to fish and to catch skimmers is a major bonus.

Next steps will be a session on the pole before Bowood opens on the 16th and the MFS Pairs match at Makins on 18/19th.

Another April

Just a short one this month as not a lot is taking place on the fishing front as I continue my slow recovery. I am now up to 3.9miles which equates to home to the white gate at the end of the Pondtail and home again. Stamina improving but strength not up to much yet (probably will start of on rod and line when I first go!).

April has been spent tying hooks, creating rigs for the 6m whip that arrived, making some sarcandas reed insert wagglers and sorting out my bits and pieces of tackle that I always have to hunt for! One positive thing is I treated myself to a reel from Ali Express, not the usual £10 jobs that have served me well in the past but a SeaKnight Treant lll in a 4000 size for the princely sum of £23.52 delivered, that includes the 20% VAT we have to pay since Brexit!

I was a bit dubious about the over sized handle but it does feel okay, the handle folds down and in general the reel feels very smooth and free running with a good clutch. I got it with the intention of using it on the feeder so it will be interesting to see how it performs.

I am aiming to fish the Three Counties v Peatmoor match at Peatmoor Lagoon at the end of May, a match I always try to support no matter what but will limit myself to feeder and waggler to be on the safe side!

A slow March to recovery

Day 33 since release from hospital. Must say thanks to all those that sent their best wishes to me. The road to recovery is going to be long but I am on the way! I have set myself a target of taking part in the MFS Pellet Guys Pairs at Makins on June 18/19 so we shall see. Yesterday completed 2.36 miles to what the wife and I call Purgatory Peak at Bowood, the start of the first hill down to the bridge; our walk usually involves “Hell’s Hill” on the way to Bowood, Purgatory Peak and Satan’s Slope down to the parking area at the bridge (you can tell we have been watching Supernatural by the names!). The walk yesterday took as long as it used to take to walk down to the bridge and back , so still a way to go in terms of getting back to normal.

In my enforced absence from the bank side I reflected on the past season and looked at the spreadsheet I use to log my visits to Bowood (sad, I know). I made a total of 67 visits at a cost of £2.95 a visit, catching a total of 665-08 at an average of 9lb 12oz. The season was the reverse of the previous one when bream had been scarce and tench had been plentiful. I weighed any fish over a pound separately when caught, so accumulated 51 bream for a weight of 125-08, the biggest being 5-11 with 10 further fish over 3lb. The 13 tench went 46-07 with the best 5-14 and 5 over 4lb. The pike was not bad given the best part of the season for them I missed, 26 pike for a total of 226-02, this included 6 taken on the pole (best 9-04), but the highlight was the PB of 24-08 with 3 further doubles of 13-06,11-08 and 10-02. Not necessarily massive fish but not bad in terms of sport given I used the pike rod as a sleeper while on the pole.

I have also been using my time to make up some floats and will look to get them on rigs in the near future.

Almost fatal February.

This will be a very short write up for reasons you will see!

February starts with me walking down to peg 10 at Bowood, setting up the pike rod and getting a call from my wife that my son had taken a turn for the worst and as an “at risk” with us as his support bubble, I quickly packed up got back home unloaded the car and then loaded the car with what we would need in Birmingham, by midday we were at his place in Birmingham. To cut a long story short the next week was spent sleeping on his floor, shopping for food and caring for him. Fortunately it was not the serious flare up that could only be treated in hospital and after discussions and visit to the GP/hospital it was decided it was safer to treat at home with antibiotics and close monitoring. Luckily it worked out okay and with a week gone we felt confident enough to return home.

The Wednesday was my first opportunity to go to Bowood so peg 10 was tackled starting at 9am and had my first bite at 11:30 a small roach, two more came along by 12 and I missed a run on the pike run when I packed up. The weather and other things got in the way so it was not until Tuesday 16th that I planned to go again. Woke up on the Tuesday and had a shooting pain in my left shoulder, no way I could move easily let alone hold a rod or pole – ibuprofen taken and a day in doors in some discomfort!

Wednesday the shoulder had eased and my midday seemed fine. Thursday got into the car to do the weekly shop and felt my back twinge on the right side, by the evening I was in a lot of pain and unable to eat or sleep. Friday contacted doctor who suspected kidney stones, referred to Chippenham Hospital for second opinion/possible treatment, telephone call from doctor there suggested to go to A&E Swindon, I couldn’t drive and wait for ambulance was 3-4 hours, so booked taxi and 10 minutes later on way to Swindon.

To cut a long story short- collapsed in Swindon, scan showed a big clot, so was sent to Gloucester in ambulance, arrived and rushed up to intensive care, more scans showed it was getting worse, they decided to undergo an emergency procedure usually used on stab victims but were unsure if it would be possible because of where issue was. 1am Saturday they phoned my wife to tell her and said she should be prepared for the worst. Three hours on the operating table, back into intensive care. Returned home late Thursday, very tired, weak, sore and VERY relieved. Writing this has knackered me so will leave it there, no fishing for foreseeable future but targeting June if I am still on path to recovery. Catch plenty of fish for me!

An even slower end to January 2021!

January is not the most welcoming month weather wise, it can be a complete mixture of all the inclement types of weather and this year has been worse than usual. To carry on from where I left off last time, the ice had gone but was replaced by rain, rain and more rain ; I have no problem with fishing in the rain, my waterproofs do their job and keep me dry and I do not use a brolly, but the problem with constant rain is the state of a) the water and b) the underfoot conditions. Anyway I plucked up courage and trudged off to peg 10 on the Friday with the intention of videoing the 10m Chinese whip (the banana). I managed to slip and slide my way to 10 and set up the whip with a 5g Blues rig, 0.14mm main to 0.10mm hooklength and an 18 with double maggot and the pike rod. Now at this point I must mention that with the heavy rain over the previous days the water had gone up and now resembled oxtail soup with plumes of sediment clearly visible (the only thing that was visible in that mess!). I began on the 10m whip and have put a couple of clips to show the action on casting and striking, no playing fish as after almost 2hours I had not had a bite. I swapped to the 7m whip instead and managed to avoid the blank with a shell-shocked roach of an ounce- my only bite!

The weather now went cold- very cold so when we went for a walk on Monday the lake was still frozen but with the weather warming up slightly the thaw had started. Next day I went to the Pondtail peg 2 armed with the icebreaker and managed to get a reasonable space as the ice was thin and melting. Over the weekend I had finally taken my old ABU 506 apart and cleaned it up so it now worked- only taken me 15 years to do it! New line had been spooled and although the conditions were not good I wanted to give it a run out to check it was okay. The water was gushing through the weir and it was akin to trotting on a slow river but try as I might I remained biteless, running through going over depth and dragging made not a jot of difference as the fine weather promised on the forecast never materialised and the Bowood micro-climate kicked in with heavy drizzle that further melted the ice and lowered the water temperature again. I gave it two hours then packed up, walking back to the car, Tim, the gamekeeper, drove past going about his business and pointing to his head mouthed “You’re mad!”

I think he may well be right. However I planned to go on Friday but rain in the preceding days had caused flooding on the roads and fields and when the heavy rain began on Thursday night and carried on into the morning I thought about the potential oxtail soup waiting for me at peg 10 and showed a little bit of sanity and stayed home and did this!

A slow start to January 2021

The loss of my trusty ice breaker saw a visit to the local DIY store for a length of chain on the Saturday after New Years Day. Equipped with a new chain a new breaker was assembled!

I was loathe to but decided to give it a go on the Sunday, Peg 10 seems a lot further when you have an ice breaker on the trolley I discovered! The temperature was just below freezing when I arrived but was due to rise to the giddly heights of 3C.

Peg 10 was still covered in ice, as was most of the lake apart from a strip on the far side that stretched a 100m or so and was being kept clear by the wind movement. Setting to work with the breaker I cleared an area out to 9m, based on the fact that was the easiest distance to throw the breaker, but rather than the usual rectangle shape, I cut a funnel shape in the ice so I could put a pike bait out as well.

Peg 10 with ice!
Peg10 after the breaker!

With the ice now cleared I decided to not cup in any bait, rather use a kinder pot to deposit a few micros and maggots with a groundbait plug. My sardine bait for the pike was lobbed to the edge of the right hand edge of the ice about 7m out. I didn’t have long to wait before I had a bite on the pole, a small roach, followed by two microscopic perch.

The bites continued and whenever they tailed off another plug of groundbait kick started them again. The fish were small but welcome, after an hour another brave (fool-hardy) angler arrived on the far bank and went on 19, by the island, which had a clear patch of water, again fishing for pike. The morning passed quickly with regular bites and at 10:30ish the pike float slid beneath the ice! A low strike was met with solid resistance but a fairly short if scrappy fight ended with a pike of 6-12 in the net. A bonus on such a day!

About 11:45 3 other anglers turned up and I decided it was time to think about going, the temperature had risen to those heights of 3C and the ice had started to melt, making my area bigger but the ice water was going to have an effect on the fish. I ended up with 50 small roach and those 2 perch to go with the pike. I said they were small and they were the scales showed 2-9 for the 52 fish! I told the new anglers that I was leaving if they wanted to drop in to my peg (as it was the only one clear on this side).

Tuesday Lockdown 3 starts and angling is not allowed, by Thursday thanks to the efforts of the Angling Trust it was back on the allowed forms of exercise providing it was done locally. If ever there was an example of why everyone should be a member of the Angling Trust, this was it. It may be a pandemic this time but you only have to look at what has happened to angling in Germany in the past as a result of not having a coherent Governing Body to see why we need the Angling Trust.

I decided to leave the weekend alone and returned to peg 10 (yes the rut has set it) on the Monday. The walk was not pleasant to say the least with the underfoot conditions being very slippery. The colour was dropping out of the water and with a very cold wind straight in to my face I lasted 3.25 hours. It was an hour before I had a bite and lost it, in fact that was a theme for the session with 8 small roach being landed and 9 being lost. The hook was checked and fine, it was after the fourth fish landed I discovered the reason, the fish was not hooked but hanging on to the maggot! It seems the ice water had made the fish very lethargic and they were just holding the bait rather than wolfing it down. The session ended with my 8 roach weighing 0-4-8!

Various factors then came into play that stopped me going again until the following Monday. Determined to break the rut, I took my rucksack seat, waggler/feeder/pike rods up to the island to try and almost complete my mission of fishing every peg this season.

I decided to fish a waggler given the overhanging trees and found about 4 feet of water 15-20m out. My first problem was that I did not have a catapult, as when I went to retrieve it from the front pocket it was not there! So I prepared to introduce two balls of groundbait with a few micros and pinkies in them.The pike rod was lobbed out to the left about 20m, just over a slight drop off, with a sardine as per usual. Looking around the island it now only had the one fishable area as the brambles had taken over peg17, so it looks as if I have fished all the available spots this season!

Ten minutes in I had my first bite which I missed, next cast missed again, third cast I hooked what looked like a hand sized skimmer that flipped and came off! I then began to get a run of roach and managed to keep them coming by introducing a ball of groundbait every 40 minutes or so. The pike rod was totally inactive! Towards the end of the session, a large double flashed through the surface chasing the roach, I then moved the pike rod into that area but to no avail. I had set myself a target of 50 roach if possible and at 12:15 achieved that and decided to pack up. Whilst doing so the pike swirled again! The 50 roach plus one rudd and one small skimmer weighed 5-1.

The weather is not looking brilliant at present with the forecast of more rain making the poor underfoot conditions even worse (if that is possible). I have made up a rig with a 5g “Blue”and given the opportunity I am planning to do a follow up video session with my 10m Chinese whip – the “banana”.

December 2020-part 2 what weather!

After Sunday’s disappointment at Peatmoor I headed to Bowood 10 on the Tuesday without much hope as the rain had continued and the Pondtail was up and coloured and on arrival it looked as if peg 10 had become a huge cup of PG Tips. Still I put the sardine out with little hope and decided to put three balls of groundbait down and see if I could coax something out of the tea! Surprisingly I managed to get a few bites leading to 10 roach and a small skimmer for the enormous weight of 9 ounces! Still I felt as if I had achieved something by catching at all in the conditions.

The weather was such I did not go again until the Tuesday of Christmas week, fishing 9:15 to 12:30. The water was still very coloured but at least it had a better hue to it. The rut continues and peg 10 sees me putting out the sardine and introducing just two balls of groundbait to start. Small roach attacked the double maggot on the first two put ins then went dead, I suspected a pike and 10 minutes later the pike rod was in action as the pellet waggler slid away. This produced a good start – a pike of 9-14.

I could not get any bites on the 10m line so switched to the top kit line and began getting regular fish, albeit small interspersed with two more runs resulting in fish of 6-05 and 6-08. The pike were clearly in situ and pushing the silver fish towards the bank. When I packed up I had 53 roach and 14 rudd for 3-04, all taken apart from the initial two on the top two line.

Christmas arrives and it is the Wednesday before I attempt to go again, now the weather has changed to sub-zero temperatures and this was to cause me an unforeseen problem – the car locks froze and I could not open the boot (could not even get the key in to start). After trying several methods I gave it up as a bad job and went to B&Q for a new shower hose on the suggestion of the wife – “it might jog it open”. Arrived at store- boot opened!

Next day, New Year’s Eve, tried again, temperature was -3C, lock frozen again but this time a hair drier manages to thaw it open! Car loaded and set off on the 3 minute trip to Bowood, lock was frozen again. After a couple of minutes I managed to get it open, the Pondtail was covered in ice apart from Peg 1 where the whirling current was keeping it clear, so ice-breaker in tow I set off for 10. Arriving at 10 the main lake was covered in a thick sheet of ice, so my trusty ice-breaker was thrown to 10m and the sawing back process began. Reaching 7m the chain got stuck and it took a few moments and hefty tugs to release it and continue the sawing process until it got to about 3m out and it stuck again, this time the hefty tugs saw the chain stuck in the ice and the rope come back to me! Landing net was quickly put up and reached beyond the chain sticking up in the ice only to find the path I had cut had refrozen, on tapping the ice the chain disappeared into the 5 feet of water! Faced with no breaker I trudged back to the Pondtail and fished the whip for an hour without a bite before deciding to cut my losses and go home! A disappointing end to 2020

Fishing the Chinese Whip.

I have posted this on MatchFishing Scene but for completeness here it is on my blog!

I have mentioned these whips in my blog on numerous occasions but have put together a rough (very rough as video is not my forte!) video of almost 7 minutes dealing with my use of the whips. In terms of cost they are very cheap in comparison to whips in this country, as an example the 5 whips in the video cost less than £25 in total. I have just ordered a 7m carbon version for £10.50 delivered!(This does include a coupon plus discounted “Singles day” price – real price now £15.60 delivered. If you can get past the differences in action they are very suited to UK style fishing and versatile – I use these whips at Port Talbot Docks with floats up to 5g.



Well whip turned up , well wrapped in sturdy bubble wrap, taken a bit longer than usual because of Black Friday and Singles Day (11th Nov) sales. Unwrapped and found extra top 2 sections, float, rig winder set up already, two packs of float stops, a plastic donut(?) and a handle wrap similar to what you would put on a badminton racquet. Obviously not tried it out yet but on scales it went 233g but then I realised that I had left the bung in place, that weighed 22g so weight of whip itself is 211g. Butt diameter is 23mm and tip is 0.9mm. Closed length 780mm.

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On investigating the extras further the packs that I thought were float stops are actually a complete rig making kit.

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In the packet are float stops, a green float adapter a swivel, a plastic in line boom and a thin lead strip. Unwinding the made up rig you can see how it all fits together. The float stops for the float and weight make it a very versatile rig in terms of depth and the hook length is attached via the swivel. I can see me setting a rig up in similar fashion but using either a loop or a mini quick change swivel in place of the swivel. I have since discovered that the “donut” is used to put on the whip when it fits into a Chinese seat rest to prevent it being pulled in!

The whips are designed to bend right through and are “floppy” by European standards but they work! The flick tips are very fine and the whips are never elasticated as the whip does all the work. The action at first seems odd but you soon get used to it!