February 2023 – a sprint at the end!

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.

January 2023 – Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 2023 Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disjointed December 2022

As I write this with one further day of 2022 to go I am suffering from withdrawal symptoms – not been to Bowood for over a month and amount of times out on the bank has been severely curtailed by family matters and illness. Anyway to cut a long story short I have managed to get on the bank with Gareth for a couple of hours at Christian Malford on peg 8 of the Calne stretch of the Bristol Avon where we took two rods, a bomb rod and a pike rod with the idea of alternating as we caught/didn’t catch!

As you can see, the ground is frozen solid with a heavy frost and the air temperature was just above freezing! The pike rod was put down the side of the big slack next to weed beds while the bomb rod was also put down the slack with double maggot. Ten minutes in and there were a few bobs on the pike rod followed by it heading out from the slack- a strike brought nothing! Back out and another 20 minutes before it bobbed again and disappeared, this time a strike resulted in a feisty fight from a 4-06 jack.

No further action on the pike rod and after various minnows from the slack a few casts out into the flow with a small maggot feeder produced a few bites including a small dace of an ounce or so. After two hours and coffee finished we headed home relieved that at least we had caught.

A few days later I had a couple of hours to myself and decided to investigate the upper reaches of the Marden in Calne as Gareth had taken Zachary there and had lost a good fish, possibly a large roach. Although I have lived in Calne for a good few years and fished the Marden lower down, the stretch below the town was just a typical brook (or so I thought!). I eventually found the swim Gareth had fished and armed with a bomb rod set to with double maggot – to no avail.

I gave it half an hour and then moved further down stream, finding only one more fishable spot, that again produced nado!

Backtracking I crossed over to the other bank and discovered that the river opened out into clear swims further down that I will investigate further at some point. The one swim I did try again bore no fruit!

Christmas came and went and the only other expedition I made was to accompany Gareth and Zachary to the Kennet and Avon canal at Great Bedwyn’s Church stretch for pike. Fishing a single rod, with a brolly set up to keep the rain and chill wind off Zachary, my role was that of ghillie/fish spotter, alas there was not a single fish that topped and the pike float stubbornly remained visible despite Gareth trying various positions. Still Zachary enjoyed the two hour or so experience and was happy to see six GWR trains go by.

2023 beckons and the Teams of Four series on the K&A at Pewsey starts on the 8th which will be an interesting if difficult event. Here’s hoping for a healthy New Year to you all.

November 2022 Part 2- Others fishing!

It was not until Wednesday 16th that I ventured out due to the rain that had been falling, even so I only fished from 9:45 until 12:50 as the rain returned from 11-12 and then again at 1 on my way back to the car from peg 10. Ah yes, I am getting ahead of myself!I began in my normal way with three balls of groundbait cupped in, one soft and two hard with one hard ball dropped from a foot or so to give a plop and ring the dinner bell so to speak. Anyway it was quite slow but I managed 9 rudd, 7 roach, 3 small skimmers/blades and another gudgeon! These totaled 1-04 but I did also get a feisty pike of 10-04 after about an hour.

Now that is the last of my fishing this month as I was on call to collect my son, his wife and my grandson from Heathrow if they could exit China with the various Covid lockdowns and restrictions. They were collected on the 21st late on and are now in the throes of finding somewhere to live so I am on taxi duty!

That Friday (25th) I had arranged to meet Tim, a fellow Maggotdrowner, at Blacklands for a coaching session on the pole. He had been gifted an old pole and although a competent rod and reel angler had admitted he had no clue with the pole. I set him up on Heron lake by the overflow and went through the basics.

The first two hours were as expected more difficult for Tim as he got to grips with the pole but the second two hours saw him hit and land most of his bites but did lose what looked to be a very nice net roach. At the end I had a few minutes on Tim’s box so he could see me put into practice what he had been doing (when coaching I never fish as I feel I need to constantly watch and amend the learner’s actions).

One of the first things Gareth had done was to sort out his rod license and buy a Calne AA permit. On the Sunday I took him and grandson Zachary to the River Marden at Hazeland for a short session in the top field, again I was not fishing as I had not got a Calne ticket. The river was pushing through and very coloured. Starting on a bomb Gareth tried various areas before I suggested he tried at his feet where there was a small eddy albeit very snaggy. First put in he had a bite that was missed but resulted in a sucked maggot then he managed to get a roach, at which point 4 year old Zachary wanted to get in on the action, he missed a couple of bites and then had a gudgeon. It was at this point I set up a 3m whip that he could use and drop into the eddy at his feet. Several minnows came to the net as well as a good few missed bites and snags. After about and hour or so we made our way home.

The final fishing related visit was taking Gareth, alone, back to Hazeland to fish the weir. Fishing the bomb again we were pleasantly surprised by the number of bites despite the ferocity of the water coming over the weir. A perch of 1lb 8oz and a roach of 13oz were added to the net along with other smaller samples in the hour and a half we were there.

So next I must go fishing myself!

November 2022 Part 1 – At Last!

November arrives and on the first day I keep to my word and head up to peg 14 in the top field, the furthest peg on the right bank. Now the walk up here is not the easiest as when you get into the top field you have to navigate a steep slope with no flat area plus the ground is invariably sodden so a trolley is impracticable so I went forth with my Chinese rod bag holding the pike rod, a feeder and a waggler plus various bank sticks/handles, the pike handle was carried separately together with the keepnet bag and bait bucket. My haversack/seat held the rest of my bits and pieces.

The day was very windy with showers and I managed to fish from 9:15 to 12:15 before setting off for home. I decided to stick to the feeder as I wanted to get some casting practice in but still put the pike rod out, trying the margins and further out to no avail!

The open-end feeder was dispatched to the clip at 43 turns with a 24 inch 0.10mm hook-length to an 18 with double maggot, the feeder loaded with micros, and wheat in a mix of roach and fishmeal groundbait. I had six casts to put some bait down after an initial 5 minutes to ensure there was not a shoal of bream already in residence! It took 15 minutes before I had the first bite (this was the third proper cast) from a small roach and that was how the day went with missed bites and 10 roach, 6 small 2oz skimmers/blades and 3 rudd for 1-08.

Back to peg 10 on the Friday I began a bit later at 9:30 fishing through to 12:30. The water still had a fair bit of colour so I was not too hopeful of pike but put a sardine out to 20m while fishing the pole at 10m over 3 balls of groundbait. The going was slow with just a couple of small blades at first which I hoped meant there were some bigger fish around. The pole line went dead after an hour, not that it had been lively before that, but I took it as a sign that there may be a pike in the area so wound the sardine in to about 11m, just off my fishing area. Ten minutes later the pike float disappeared and a strike resulted in the first pike of the season coming to the net, albeit only 5-12 but a pike nonetheless! The pole line then started slowly to offer more activity and another “dead” spell about 11:45 saw another pike run from the same area, this time a bigger fish of 7-06, so in the space of a bit over an hour I had got my piking season off to a start! I ended up with two roach, six rudd, nine blades and a rare gudgeon amassing 1-04.

I took a photo of some “blades” as sidestreambob had not heard of the term before and as such it made me realise that it may need explaining, but a picture will help. Blades refer not to Sheffield United but small skimmer bream usually under 2oz as when they are swung in the silver sides glint like razor blades!

The following Tuesday I was back at peg 10 fishing 9:10 to 12:00 although the weather was bad with heavy rain with very few gaps. Fishing in my usual manner it was slow going with small blades the main source of activity until it went dead about 11o’clock and then the float slid under and a strike was met with an immovable object that resembled being caught on the bottom but I immediately knew this was a pike as that is the scenario when you hook them on the pole – just a solid weight until they realise they are hooked! Five minutes later I had it close in and had to reach for the pike net as it looked a double figure fish, then it dived into the marginal reeds on my left and managed to snap the 0.10mm hooklength!

Restarting a few more small fish came before another quiet spell at 11:50 signaled potentially another interloper. This time the pike rod saw the action and a little before 11:55 a pike of 10-10 was in the net! It was at this point I decided to pack up as there was a lull in the rain. My 9 blades,7 roach and 1 rudd dragged the scales down to a magnificent 0-14!

Next day I was back at peg 10 still with wind and rain but fished 9:45 to 1:00. I put the pike rod out to 11m to start and set the pole up. I had just put the first ball of groundbait in the cup when there was a run on the pike rod, a strike was met with a disappointing fight from a fish of 6-13, from there on at roughly 45 minute intervals there was pike action resulting in a very feisty 4-02 and a welcome 9-10.

In between I had nine roach, four rudd four blades and two surprise gudgeon for 0-15 but last fish of the day was another pike on the pole, this time one of exactly 6lb which gave me a very pleasant total of 27-08.

On the way back to the car I had slipped on the sodden grass and wrenched my knee so on the Friday it was a case of being sensible and forsaking the chance of more pike and fishing the Pondtail. I decided to just fish a homemade waggler at 20m for a change and fishing from 9-15 to 12:00 I had a fun session with 61 roach and three perch for a level 5lb taken on 0.10mm hooklength to an 18 using just three no9 droppers in the 8 feet of water.

So after a slow start the pike have turned up at last, my next task is to source some decent sardines as I am down to my last few!

October 2022 – Part 2

Monday 17th returned to Pondtail for another session on 5m whip on the same peg (2) but with a different hook! Fishing from 9:10 to 12:10 I set up in identical fashion perhaps best explained by a picture!

Hopefully you can make out how the olivettes and float are locked plus the dropper stotz used. Anyway I started by throwing out 3 small “fists” of groundbait, 2 hard and one softer and proceeded to loose feed 8-10 grains of wheat every couple of minutes. I was soon into fish with the multi coloured tip easily identifying bites on the drop and lifts! The session went better with 50 roach and 4 perch and just the odd fish lost for a 4-09 total.

Wednesday sees me back at peg 10 for a session from 9:30 to 12:30, once again the pike were conspicuous by their absence, with no runs nor blank spells between bites which usually is a sign. Obviously the warm weather is not getting them into their usual seasonal habits. I had added a little bit of fishmeal groundbait to my usual mix and the difference was startling as the blades that appeared once in a blue moon became the dominant species with 21 blades. 10 roach and 4 rudd giving a 3-04 total. I had tempered my approach and had reduced my hook-length to 0.12mm as there was still a bit of colour in the water but I am sure it was the introduction of the fishmeal that prompted their appearance. As usual I fed only wheat.

Events and the weather then conspired against me so it was not until the following Tuesday that I was able to have a session on the Pondtail – this time peg 1. I was glad to be out, especially as it was my birthday and I am no officially a pensioner! The Pondtail did not look great with cold dirty water cascading into the pool, fishing from 8:45 with the same approach and tackle it took 40 minutes before I got my first bite and fish, so at least I hadn’t blanked! It was a full hour before my next bite and then from 11am until I packed up at 11:50 I caught a further 14 roach making it 16 in total for 1-06.

I returned on the Friday to the Pondtail to find the water was coming in at a more reasonable pace but there was a significant tow. This time I opted for peg 2 and a 6m whip, fishing from 8:55 to 11:35 I had a roach of one ounce second cast and that was it, no matter what I tried I could not buy a bite.The session was brightened up by the appearance of a stag munching fr4om the low branches on the far side before running across the hill to the dense vegetation opposite me. Unfortunately my phone could not get a better shot than this!

I decided to go to peg 10 on the Sunday as Monday was taking up with house maintenance! Once again no interest in the pike rod nor signs of pike striking. In a similar fashion to the last visit to peg 10 the fishmeal once again produced blades with a couple of 4oz skimmers added in.The session was interspersed with rain but was okay as it did make the unshipping of the pole easier with wet hands!The final total of 16 rudd, 26 blades, 12 roach and a perch went 4-14, all apart from one rudd coming to double maggot as I made the decision to keep on maggot while occasionally trying the corn as some of the blades would suck a kernel to a skin but would not get it in their mouth!

November beckons and I am of a mind to give the top field a go with the feeder (and pike rod) just so I get out of my usual rut and do something a bit different!

October 2022 – Surprises!

By the Monday (3rd) I was feeling a bit better and decided to head down to peg 10 at Bowood only to find that Bob, the other regular local had beaten me to it. I know that if he is pike fishing he will have two rods out and one bait would have been put to the left of peg 10, so I decided to give him room and set up on peg 8. After a while he came down for a chat and said an osprey had been seen during the week, now this made sense as the last visit I had seen a large bird with a skimmer of about a pound in its talons flying down the lake but had dismissed it as being an osprey as it seemed too dark but it was! The local twitchers and photographers were out in force on the far bank and they were not disappointed as the osprey soon appeared for them – the picture is taken from one of the photos they subsequently posted.

Osprey at Bowood 3-10-2022

Anyway I started off at 9:30 as per usual with 3 balls of groundbait laced with some wheat and a few grains of corn. A couple of rudd came to the maggot before I switched to corn and I have to admit my eyes kept switching between my float, the pike float and the osprey!About 10:30 the float lifted and a solid resistance was felt leading to a sluggish but heavy weight coming towards me, as I was about to unship at the top two the fish woke up and steamed off with yards of elastic being pulled out as I hurriedly followed it out before getting a modicum of control back. My first instinct was it could be a pike but eventually I was proved wrong as a tench of 5-08 came to the net.


A few more rudd and a solitary roach came to the corn before an almighty crash 15m to my left and half way across saw the osprey dive from nowhere and pluck what looked to be a fish of about 6oz out of the water and fly off. Unfortunately for the photographers and twitchers- they had left about 20minutes before!

One further bite at about 11:30 resulted in a more spirited initial scrap from another tench of 3-12 and I called it a day at 12:30 as I was feeling surprisingly tired – obviously I was overdoing things too soon!The silvers weighed in at 1-04 for a 10-08 total.


I was a bit wary of going again too soon as I felt rough when I got back to the car and then the wife developed the same symptoms I had so it was not until the following Tuesday (11th) that I ventured out again to peg 10. This time I was on my own but the temperature at 9am was 3C with a heavy frost on the ground, by the time I had packed up at 12:15 and got back to the car it was bright sunshine and 13C! Surprisingly I had no runs at all on the pike rod and ended up with 27 roach, 3 rudd and 2 blades for 3-01, a sign perhaps that the rudd are quietening down and allowing the roach to get at the bait!

My only other visit to date was Friday 14th to the Pondtail fishing 9:35 to 12:05 on peg 2 with the 5m Chinese whip. I used a different rig to normal with a more orthodox Chinese float but with a slightly thicker bristle taking 1.3g. I set the olivette bulk 3 feet from the hook and had 3 droppers below it ending in a 0.10mm hook-length to a size 18 Blue Au Lion D’Or hook which was a mistake as it turned out! I introduced a ball of groundbait and fed a pinch of wheat every other cast, topping up the groundbait with a ball the size of a golf ball every 30 minutes or so. I was in to fish, well bites, immediately. The problem I had was the set up was too sensitive! I was seeing every dip as the fish blew the double maggots in and out. I eventually got myself in check and delayed any strike until it was a definite bite either holding the float under or lifting and holding. The other frustration I had was I was bumping/ pulling out of fish, I came to the conclusion that the blued hook was too fine a wire and springy and I needed a slightly heavier less springy hook. However as I had only taken Gareth’s canal stool there was not a suitable hook to change so I put up with it! The usual also happened with me getting a blank spell of 10-15 minutes with no bites, I am sure these are caused by either the arrival of one of the few resident carp or larger bream coming into the swim. Anyway I ended up with 30 roach a perch and a gudgeon for 2-13, having lost/dropped at least 10 mainly better fish, one being a net-able perch that escaped as I placed the net in the water!

Plenty for me to ponder, especially as apart from that one run when the reel broke I have had no interest from the pike so far and am still to open my account this season!

September 2022 part 2

Friday after my excursion to the Glebe finds me stuck in the rut again – peg 10 at Bowood, fishing 8:35 to 12:00. I was still only taking my pole but had thought about taking the pike rod as well, so set up in the usual way with one main exception- previously I had been fishing a bulk only 5-6 inches from the hook to combat the weed but now I adjusted the shotting so the bulk was two feet from the hook with two sets of two no 8 droppers as this would allow for a more natural fall but still show up clearly if the rig was caught on a stalk. Four balls of groundbait were cupped in with some corn, hemp and wheat, starting on maggot on the 10m mark I had a roach followed by a small skimmer which prompted a change to the corn. Bites were still forthcoming but I was having to wait longer but at 9:30 the float shook then lifted and a lift produced a solid response from a fish that plodded as I managed to guide it towards me before it realised it was hooked and set off on a run that saw elastic streaming from the pole. It took quite a bit of time before the net was finally slipped under a tench of 5-10.


Now as it happens I had forgotten to replace my landing net after the Glebe as i had taken it as a spare so I was left with a Chinese one I had bought to try but had to use a work around as they use different sized threads to us! The net was only just attached to the handle by a couple of turns but held (for this fish!).

The rest of the session went as usual for this time of year- catch some roach and rudd, things go quiet (pike moves in), catch some more(pike moves off), and repeat! Just about 11:50 the float dipped and disappeared, a strike was met with a goodly amount of elastic coming out and after a brief but feisty fight a tench neared the net, at which point the net fell off! I managed to hook the end of the handle under the net and get it onto the platform eventually, while still hanging on to the tench. Grabbing the net I stooped on the platform and managed to scoop the tench all 4-12 of it. At which point I thought enough was enough! The final tally with the tench was 12 roach 11 rudd and the skimmer for 12-13.


Monday sees me back at 10 this time with the proper landing net and the pike kit but things didn’t go to plan as 9 roach, 9 skimmers and 14 rudd for 3-03 was my return and not a single run on the pike rod. Undeterred back to peg 10 on the Wednesday starting in my usual fashion I soon changed to corn and was rewarded with a tench of 3-12 more rudd and roach followed slowly before another tench of 5-14 put in an appearance with the only other action of note was me being snapped by a good fish after a fight of 2-3 minutes that I suspect was a pike! No runs again on the pike rod despite trying different areas/twitches, etc. Eleven rudd two roach and a small skimmer came to 1-10 for a 11-04 total.


It was no until the Monday that I was able to go again back to 10 for an abbreviated session of 8:45 to 10:45 that will be explained by reading on! I was not feeling great to be honest when I arrived at the peg but put it down to not having made the trek for a few days. Setting up as per normal the sardine on the pike rod was dispatched to about 12m out and a couple of metres to the right, the pole had me thinking it may be a good day as the first two fish were skimmers, not big but usually the harbinger of better bream. Switching to corn I had some more skimmers, roach and rudd when at 10:15 the pike float disappeared and the line tightened, closing the bail arm I wound down and struck only for the spool to whirl in freespool and create a birds nest. Quickly untangling the morass of line I soon discovered that the reel was broken the spool was turning as well as going up and down on the turn of the handle meaning no line was being retrieved, so hand-lining the line back on the spool I was relieved to find I was not attached to a fish (one of the advantages of fishing single barbless hooks), so broke down the pike kit and packed it away. Unfortunately the swim was now dead, Mr Pike had taken up residence, I was still feeling off it so decided to give it best, return home and set up with a different reel for the following day. The 10 roach, 6 rudd and 8 skimmers went exactly 3lb. On inspection it appears that something has sheared- probably through the abuse I have given it over the years.

At home I set up with a new reel that my late father bought for me years ago and prepared for the Tuesday only for me to be met with a day of problematic weather and me feeling rough, so I stayed at home which as things turned out was the correct course of action! I seemed to have picked up a bug and spent most of Wednesday and Thursday laid low losing 10lb in weight in the process! Writing this I am beginning to feel human again and may venture out on Sunday or Monday with any luck.

September 2022- close but no cigar!

September kicks off on the Friday with a session on peg 6. Setting up in the usual way I had 3 small rudd on the maggot and then swapped to corn for no interest at all! There was lots of pike activity along the arm, literally every 5 minutes there would be an eruption of small fish as a pike attacked. After two and a half hours without any sign of a bite on the corn I thought I would have a mess about fishing the same rig but on the top two with maggot, this resulted in 97 rudd and 3 roach in 35minutes to give me a total of 3-11. Not a fantastic start to the month!

Back on Monday I opted to try peg 10 and I had only corn or wheat as bait, no maggots! Fishing 8:45 to noon I plumped for keeping the same shotting pattern although the weed was starting to die back I still felt there was sufficient on the bottom to cause problems so the bulk 5-6 inches from the hook remained! It took about an hour before I began to catch small skimmers then a better one of just over a pound along with the odd rudd and roach, about 10:15 the float lifted and a strike latched into a better fish that came in quietly at first making me think it was a better bream before it realised it was hooked and all hell let loose before an angry tench of 3-06 was netted.

I had one further tench of 3-13 to go with the better skimmer. seven rudd, four roach and five small skimmers for a 10-10 total.

Wednesday I was back to peg 10, still just with wheat and corn although this time the action was more muted with no tench showing but I did have a bream of 3-10 to go with 16 rudd, 9 roach and a skimmer for a 7-07 total. I mused as I walked back about the symmetry of the last two session weight!

That was it for Bowood as the following week I was at the Glebe for a two day pairs competition that I was running for MFSReborn and wanted to sort out my natch kit in preparation for the time away. The pairs would be drawn on the first day and the 36 anglers were split into two groups – The Pros and the Noddies (I was a Noddy), each pair would include a member from each group and the Noddies would fish Lake 1 on day 1 while the Pros were on lakes 5, 6 and 7. Day 2 would see us swap lakes. There were three sections of 6 in each group.

The draw was done I was paired up with Simmo, who drew peg 94 on lake 6 while I drew peg 15 on lake 1. Peg 15 is not a great area as it is exactly half way on the horseshoe shaped lake and if the wind blows the ends tend to fish better! I set up a feeder, a rig for fishing at 11m, two rigs for the 5m line and two for the margins – one with 0.20mm to a 12 that I intended to use with paste or bunches of dead maggots and the other with 0.22mm to a 16 for corn/pellet.

I called the all in and went on the 5m line to see if I could snare an early fish -NO don’t be silly!- on to the feeder for an hour or so for one skimmer, so then on to the 11m line that had been prepped at the start with a ball of groundbait and loose fed pellet thereafter. A skimmer came after 5 minutes followed by another then I hooked a carp that threw the hook after a minute or so, at which point the heavens opened and it properly rained for the next three hours during which I managed to lose another two carp (one definitely foul hooked as a large scale came back on the hook) and had a couple more skimmers. With 2 hours of the six hour match left I came back on the 5m line that I had religiously been feeding with a few 6mm pellets, I had a carp of 4lb on banded 6mm pellet but lost another, possibly foul hooked. Six pots of groundbait were introduced on the left margin, the right margin had been fed with corn and hemp from the start every ten minutes or so. Bunches of maggots were attacked by hordes of small perch, paste produced a skimmer and then a carp. I was swapping back from left to right and in the end I managed to get a few late carp on JPZ red 8mm pellets. All in all it was not a brilliant day my silver net weighed 10-00 and the carp went 27-08 for a 37-08 total and fifth in section. My kit was soaked but had started to dry out and at least we were able to set up and pack up in the dry! I gathered all the result sheets and went to my hotel to sort the money and results. Simmo had a better day with 148-12 and a fourth in section.

Day 2 arrives with sunshine and I have the last peg in the bag – 106 on lake 7, Simmo was on peg 5 on lake 1. Getting to my peg I was met with the typical strip lake appearance, but I had room on my right as Herbie (our Leader) was next peg in the corner on peg 109. Herbie said I had drawn poorly yesterday and today the lake should get better further down to the left!

Peg106 left
Peg 106
Peg106 right

Following various discussions I overheard at the draw plus what Herbie had said I decided to dispense with the feeder and put a 10g lead on with a three foot 0.18mm hook-length to a 16, intending to fish a banded 8mm pellet. I also set up two margin rigs as previously, a 5m rig and two 11m rigs, one with a bulk and two droppers the other with the shot spread over the last three feet in the 6 feet of water.

Just as the day before I began at 5m but this time the float went and a carp of 4lb went into the net! No further bites so out on to the bomb, catapulting 6mm out to about 20m with an 8mm Red Robin on the band. No response so changed to a 6mm in the band and almost had the rod pulled from my hand with a savage take from another 4lber. The next hour and a bit I had one more but lost 3, two were my own fault as after I got snapped I tied another hook on and obviously didn’t tighten it down properly as the next fish was on then the hook unraveled. Lo and behold I made the same mistake again! Angry with myself I eventually netted the extra one and changed to the pole at 11m where the 6mm pellet and groundbait had got some fish interested in fact you had to keep feeding 3-4 pellets to keep them interested or the skimmers came back. I had a few more carp but lost a couple as they seem to fight harder than most carp I have encountered with even 3lb fish heading to the far bank at a rate of knots! Fortunately the larger fish tended to be slower but harder to move up in the water.

The match went on similar lines with me swapping between the 11m and 5m lines until with two hours to go I tried the margins, again finding most success with JPZ red 8mm. I lost only two more, one a ghostie of about 6lb when the net was half way over him and the hook pulled but I couldn’t scoop him up fast enough.

At the all out I had clicked my carp nets as 41lb and 46lb with my silvers as 1lb, the weigh in showed, 45lb, 47-04 and 1-04 for a 93-08 total, so close to the magical ton but those lost fish proved costly. That put me 4th in the section while Simmo finished with 152-04 for third. That put us 13th out of the 18 pairs. An interesting two days and one thing that I took away was the fact that my feeder rod that coped with double figure carp at Larford was undergunned for the Glebe, but for the odd times I fish there I will just cope with what I have!