September Sojourn 2020

September arrives and the first Friday sees me at Bowood peg 20. The session starts slowly with me priming the swim at 11.5m with 3 balls made up of 2 parts Caperlan Etang, 1 part Coco Belgique and 1 part vanilla laced with a sparse helping of wheat, corn and micro pellets. Corn did not get any response for 30 minutes until the float lifted (I am persevering with the double bulk approach) and the strike resulted in a small bream of 1-10 coming to the net, the next hour was interspersed with roach and rudd at intervals before at 10:30 (the bell was chiming) the float disappeared and I struck into what felt a better fish. The fight was not like a bream nor a tench nor typical of the pike and you would have seen my jaw draw when it finally surfaced – a perch. Now it is rare to catch any perch on the main lake and they usually are 1-2oz when they do occasionally appear, but this pulled the scales down to 1-6, a PB for Bowood and a vary pleasant surprise.

Next put in another decent fish, this time a tench of 2-2, again one of the smaller tench but more of them later! Back to the odd roach, rudd, a couple of hybrids and a skimmer before ending the session with a better roach of 12oz. The final total for the 4 hours 15 roach, 9 rudd, 2 hybrids and skimmer and the 4 better fish for 9-2.

Next day I was back but this time taking the long trek to the first peg on the stock pond. I wanted to have a session on this peg as I had the Monkees v Shandees 3 day match coming up at the Glebe and wanted to try various things.That night had been a bit cooler but I was hopeful of some action. Setting up at 11.5 metres in 7-8 feet of water I fished a 1g home made job with the bulk set at 3 feet from the hook and three no 8 droppers below. Line was the usual Shogun 0.16mm to 0.14mm hooklength and a 16.

Three balls cupped in with wheat, corn and 4mm pellet, sat back and waited, 10 minutes later float dipped and a roach was soon in the net! Things didn’t quite go to plan as the carp were not playing ball but I had a nice 3.5hour session with 32 roach that weighed 5-3 and a solitary carp of 4-12.

The Monday sees at the Pondtail, peg 1 me for a short session with the whip. Very slow but managed to winkle out 8 perch, 18 roach and 24 gudgeon – nice to see the gudgeon making a comeback, we must be in one of the high points of a three year cycle they go through.

Wednesday sees me travel up to the Glebe for the aforementioned M V S match. I was fishing for (handicapping more likely) the Shandees in this North v South annual encounter, I was drawn peg 106 on Pool 7 for the first day, a new pool for me in my infrequent visits. The fact I did not take any pictures may tell you something about the peg! Clear banks so no margin cover. I decided to set my stall out with 6 lines of attack,

1. feeder over

2. groundbait and pellet at 13m

3. 5m straight in front with pellet/corn

4. 2m out from bank at 7m pole distance groundbait

5/6 the margins one with pellet and corn the other wheat and corn.

First cast on the feeder I had a bite as I was cupping in on the 5 metre line (this is allowed under the Glebe rules) and managed to net a carp of about 6lb, the next 3 hours were biteless on the feeder long pole and short line. I went on the angled 7m line and by alternating between corn/paste/pellet managed to put one or two fish in the net, finishing with a couple from the margin (left one) on corn for a disappointing total of 54-11 (7 carp I think, plus lost 2 and a skimmer of 1-11).

Day 2 sees me on peg 8 on pool 1. I discovered at the draw because of a couple of withdrawals two pegs were being taken put and yes one of them was 106! I had been told that there was a hole close in to the right of the peg and when Jason Weston trundled up on the left of me he confirmed that they normally caught to the right half way between the stump and the post in the water. I plumbed up there, at 13m 5m in front and also close into my right just over some bankside reeds forming a bay.

Feeder didn’t produce, long pole neither, 5m line was a waste so I went on the right hand area where I had been feeding groundbait, pellet, hemp and wheat. I began to get some bites landing a couple of bream before a couple of carp then more bream , I belatedly tried the inside line only to find the carp were there, adding three more and losing two in the last 30 minutes. When packing up I was told by Shorey666 the section winner the day before he had all his fish in that bay, he had seen me plumb there and thought I was aware of it!!! The bream went 19-11, the carp 31-6 (just 2 lost) for a 51-1 total DOH!

Final day and peg 13 is drawn for me on Pool 1 another peg that had won the section the day before.

Again a carp early on was a one off on the feeder, the 13m line produced not a single bite and most the action was fixed on the 5m line in front, 7m to the side and the right hand margin. To cut a long story short, 7 carp lost 2 for 41-14 and 10-5 of bream for 52-3, consistent if nothing else!

Family matters then stop me wetting a line for a week and a return to Bowood with my first visit to peg 10! I decided to increase the initial feed and put in 6 balls laced with wheat and corn. I also put out the pike rod with a sardine to one side of my swim. A slow start then a roach, a skimmer and it goes quiet, the float dips and a better fish comes to the net – the smallest tench I have caught at Bowood at 1-11! The session went on in a similar vein with catch a few small fish, swim goes quiet, hook at tench. I ended up with 5 smaller tench of 1-11,3-10,3-12,2-5 and 2-3, 1 skimmer, 10 roach and 6 rudd for a 16-4 total. However I also lost a good tench of 4lb+ plus an unseen fish that I suspect was a pike plus I hooked a tail walking pike of about 6-7lb that was great fun on the pole, but not a sniff on the pike rod! Typical!

I decided to reduce the tackle down to a waggler and feeder rod combined with my rucksack seat for my next visit on the Sunday, taking the 1340 paces to peg 14, the last peg in the top field. I had some groundbait left over from the Glebe – Green lipped Mussel- and wanted to get some practice on the feeder. I started with an open ended 30g feeder and 3ft hooklength of 0.12mm to a 16.

Starting on worm with chopped worm in the feeder I began getting indications from small skimmers and roach, ragging the worm, maggot produced small roach and a switch to corn gave a slightly better stamp. After an hour I rested the swim and had a dabble on the waggler at 15m where I had been feeding wheat, same story with rudd and roach attacking the corn and wheat baits. Back to the feeder and a minute twitch on the tip was struck at resulting in a small bream of 1-10. I was on braid mainline and I am sure I would not have seen that bite if I was on mono. The next 2 and a half hours see me land bream of 2-4, 1-8, 1-4, 2-8, 2-0 ,2-4, 1-10 and 1-15 which with my four skimmers, 10 roach and 2 rudd gave me an 18-12 total before the 1340 pace return journey!

Two days later back on the long trek, this time to peg 13, same kit but this time the waggler stayed in the bag. A slow start with the groundbait the same but the three hours produced three bream of 2-4, 4-0 and 2-0 along with 10 roach and 5 skimmers for a 9-12 total, I bumped one good bream and that was the signal for them to move off!

It is interesting that my reel and braid are both Chinese, both perform admirably, have lasted well and the combined total of £15 (reel £9, braid £6 for 300m) makes them totally affordable if not fashionable!

The last Friday sees the temperature go down to 3C overnight and it was only 6C when I arrived at peg 10. I had decided to go back to 10 rather than try and continue the “fish every peg” target as given the sudden change I figured the pike might be more willing than the bream to feed. I cast my first sardine at 9:15 and began setting up the pole, but stopped and put my neck warmer on and zipped up my jacket tight as the wind was very strong and cold. I began on maggot to see if anything was over the three balls of groundbait I had cupped in. Fifteen minutes later I had a minute roach to show for my efforts, this is usually a sign of something larger in the vicinity so on went the corn but after an hour I had moved on to 3 roach, albeit the corn fish were bigger. I decided to top up and switch back to maggot, this prompted a few roach before it quietened down and a switch to corn saw some net roach coming to the net. The major problem was the strong cross wind was making the pole difficult to hold never mind present a bait attractively! Every time I was able to present the corn in a reasonable manner I was getting a bite, the problem was my shoulders were getting sore with the constant battering of the pole by the wind. Suddenly the pike float stopped its rhythmic bobbing with the waves and slid under, my first run of the season a firm strike was met with an equally firm response from the pike which finally succumbed after trying to impersonate a jet boat! Not massive at 8-12 but a welcome intervention on a cold windy day, I gave it another hour and packed up just after 12pm with 17 roach, 3 skimmers,2 rudd and a hybrid weighing in at 3-10.

Sunday sees me at Sutton Benger guesting for Clanfield in the North Wessex Winter League. I was hoping not to draw the last two sections which had mega walks through cloying mud and was relieved when told I had been drawn in the top field , B4 which was permanent peg 13. Not fantastic unless there was a bit of flow and there wasn’t! But you are able to park next to the peg so no long walk .

The water was fairly clear and you could see thousands of this year’s fry in the margins. Usually you can get an hour or so at the start to catch well but as soon as the sun hits the water it kills it and you are in scratching mode for the rest of the match. With this in mind I opted for a groundbait line at 11.5m where there was six feet of water, a 5m line with hemp and wheat, a second 5m line 6m down the peg, a far bank waggler and small feeder.

The previous night had been cold so I started with 3 plum sized balls of groundbait (2 parts Sensas Noire, 1 part coco belgique, 1 part vanilla, 1 part Caperlan etang) with 30 casters and similar amount of hemp. The depth was fairly uniform so I had set up just two rigs, the first a 1.5g Paster that would act as both my main attack and later worm rig with a 0.10mm hooklength to a 20 microbarb. The bulk was set two feet from the hook with a single number eight dropper (I would later move a number 6 from the bulk down to the number 8 to counteract the minnows). A single ball went on the 5m line and this was fed with hemp and wheat throughout the match.

The match started and second run through I had a microscopic gudgeon, then another, and another , then a minnow then a smaller than microscopic gudgeon! I was feeding a pinch of casters every put in whilst feeding about a dozen maggots across every other put in. At this point I changed to double maggot and proceeded to catch minnow and gudgeon interspersed with 2 half ounce roach and 3 small chublets! A switch to caster saw a slowing down of the minnows and a slightly better stamp of gudgeon (4 to the ounce). After an hour an a quarter the sun was up and the bites slowed right down. A switch to the waggler sees – minnows- then a net roach then minnows.

I had continued to trickle casters on the 11.5m line and tried a bit of chopped worm, no reaction at all, possibly any perch were gorged on the fry! Back to the pole line and more gudgeon on caster, nothing on feeder nor on the short lines, into the last hour and a little bit of shade was coming back, with 30 minutes to go I hooked another net roach and added a few more gudgeon. At the weigh-in I had 25 gudgeon, 3 chublets, 17 minnows, 4 bleak and 4 roach for 1-14-8 and second in section, beaten by the first peg who had 3-10 of gudgeon. Clanfield won the day as well so my efforts were not in vain.

October sees me at a group coaching session with Andy May at Partridge Fisheries up North!

August 2020 -part 2 (careful what you wish for!)

Lat time I was looking forward to the onset of winter as I don’t like hot weather or I should say it doesn’t like me! A few more days of hot days sees me venture out for a Saturday morning short session on the Pondtail. This time on peg 2 and only fishing the feeder. Casting down the lake to the edge of the weed bed 30m to my right and 40m out it was slow going but ended up getting 15 roach for 2-4. I had a couple of cast straight out in front and managed to hook a good fish that I am guessing was a carp that took me into a patch of lilies before parting company. That signaled the end of my session and I scuttled off home!

The weather now breaks but I am stuck in for the week, Friday being my only opportunity to get out and guess what – the heavens open and we get  biblical rain! I don’t mind fishing in the rain but the next day I was on the Canal Pairs qualifier at Hungerford and wanted to keep my waterproofs dry until then! Next day parked up at Hungerford near the Borough Arms where the draw was scheduled, Darren my partner arrived and we went up only to find the pub all locked up with no-one around. Quick check on the web-site and no mention of any changes, Darren phones the organiser and gets voicemail so leaves a message. Next thing a van drives by and stops – Richard Chave- recognised us from previous matches and tells us to follow him as the draw was changed as the pub was not big enough given the covid situation. Would have been nice for that to have been put on web-site! Anyway we managed to get to the draw in plenty of time and organiser apologised, think he must have felt guilty as we were the first pair to be called up to draw. At the draw he had mentioned that they had had a problem with wasp nests, one on B section was right on a peg but the nest had been destroyed/removed, the other was on A section but it was still there as it was between A8 and A9, what did I draw- A9.

At least drawing first gave me plenty of time to get to the peg and set up. The peg looked nice with overhanging branches on the far bank.

I knew that I would not compete in a small fish race with the likes of James Carty, Gary Etheridge and Richard Chave, who all had walked past me so decided to set my stall out for skimmers and perch that I knew frequented the area. I set up 4 rigs, one for squatt/pinkie across, one for skimmers across and two track rigs a lighter one for anything that swam and a heavier set up for fishing worm and the bonus perch. I discounted the inside line as the tow path was very narrow and there had been a lot of disturbance with the other anglers going to their pegs and walkers.

Anyway the match started and to cut a long story short I struggled as the roach were microscopic as were the gudgeon, I started on the track line while feeding across for later and lost more small fish than I have for ages, I began to wonder if they were not hooked but just holding on to the pinkie!Hungerford

I only had a couple of small roach across, no interest in the caster and caught mostly down the track over my ground bait line, I had fed another line to the right with a fish meal groundbait and loose fed micros. Worm produced nothing when first tried but an hour later 2 perch, the first about an ounce, the second about a pound, then nothing. The match ended with 22 roach, 7 gudgeon, 12 skimmers, a ruffe and the two perch for a 3-6 total and no wasp stings despite them being a constant companion. A8 had 3-5 and A10 following a good start had 5-4. Talking afterwards with the angler on A8 who was local it seemed the two pegs we had drawn were very good winter pegs and he had caught well on the inside before going down the track! James came down and had weighed in 200 roach for a 6lb weight, Richard had similar and had just pipped him but Gary on the end peg had 11lb. Darren on B section had a similar experience and weighed in 3-5.

It was Wednesday before I could get out again- a short afternoon session on the Pondtail peg1, but this time I just took the whips. I decided to fish the 4m whip that I had set up for Port Talbot Docks with a 3g Paster. Now this may seem excessive in 7ft of water but I don’t subscribe to the fashion of fishing as light a float as you can get away with. I think this stems from years ago catching half ounce rudd in the docks which were holding up an 18g float! I would rather fish with a float that can “boss” the conditions rather than fly on the edge of acceptable. Anyway two balls of groundbait went in and caster and wheat were loose fed every put in. Starting on double maggot, I was soon catching roach and by swapping the hook bait from maggot to caster to wheat to pinkie and rotating the fish kept coming. I stopped at 100 fish after 2 and three quarter hours, 85 roach (best 14oz-weighed), 13 gudgeon and 2 perch for a weight of 10-14.


August was quickly going and I made the most of the last few days by going three days running. Firstly a return to the Pondtail peg 1 again on the whip for a 3 hour session. Slower this time but 50 roach, 26 gudgeon and 6 perch weighed in at 8-02, best roach this time 10oz. I do like using the Chinese whips as they have the capacity to bend right around if needed and have a far nicer action in my mind than the European versions.

Saturday sees me complete the first part of my mission to fish every peg this season with me visiting peg 20. This now leaves only the island pegs to complete that side (unless peg 15 becomes fishable at some point). I plumbed up carefully and found a flat spot on the slope at 10m. The wind was strong but coming into me before being funneled down the arm of the lake so holding the pole was better than expected. I decided to attack the peg a bit more than usual as I knew bream had been caught in the area. Five balls laced with squatt and micros were deposited along with half a pot of wheat micros and a dozen kernels of corn. I had set up a 1g home made float with a 2mm red and yellow tip, the bulk set 2 feet from the hook and 3 no 8 droppers to a 16 hook.

Ten minutes in and things were looking up – no bites, this may sound odd but usually if there are no larger fish around the corn is attacked by small rudd and roach, a period of no bites told me there was a chance of something better (as long as it wasn’t a pike!). Fifteen minutes in and the float disappears, a gentle lift sees the elastic come out and a 3-12 bream come to the net after a scrappy fight. Ten minutes later another bite results in a smaller bream of 2-3. Then a few roach and rudd appear- a signal to top up with a ball of groundbait to supplement the wheat I was loose feeding. This was the case for the rest of the session, bream of 2-5,1-15,1-8,3-0 and 2-2 followed interspersed with 20 roach to 10oz and 16 rudd- the bream went 16-13 while the rest weighed in at 6-10 making a 23-07 total.

Next day sees me head up to peg 9 (only peg 10-my favorite- left for the right hand field). For once I did not have the lake to myself with an angler on 10. A quick chat and checking he was okay with me dropping in 9 I set up with the same rig as the day before. The wind now was a cross wind from right to left and I opted to feed 4 balls this time, loose feeding wheat over the top. No such luck this time with rudd attacking the corn immediately!


The session went slowly with me catching 2-3 then a lull then another 2-3, etc I ended up with 15r, 5 rudd, 2 hybrids and 2 skimmers for 5-04. I was sure there was something bigger down there but no response from whatever it was. You can see my “pole-roller” for Bowood in the photo. I opted out of going on Bank Holiday Monday, so my August is complete. September awaits with 3 days at the Glebe for the Monkees v Shandees and perhaps an assault on the top field (pegs 11-14).

August 2020 Part 1 (Roll on Winter)

Following my blank I opted two days later for a session on the Sunday from 8-30 to 12-30 on the shallows, peg 3 to be precise. The peg was one that looked difficult to access at the start of the season still had all the potential hallmarks of a disaster waiting to happen with the reeds to the left and right but centrally it had cleared a bit. I began with my usual rig for the shallow end and cupped in the habitual 3 balls with 2mm pellet, wheat and a few pieces of corn. Third put in I had a rudd then it went quiet before the float rose like a polaris and a strike saw the elastic come out for a bream of 2-3 to be guided through the vegetation to the net.

More rudd and roach followed before another quiet spell was broken by a skimmer of 1-12. This is a feature of fishing at Bowood – if the roach/rudd stop feeding you know a larger fish has moved in, the question is what? It could be a bream, tench, pike or even one of the elusive carp at this time of year. Anyway, the action continued with the roach and rudd until I packed up, I had a session on the wheat that brought bites faster than the corn but spent a fair bit of time trying a Chinese paste mix that unfortunately the rudd took a liking for! I ended the session with 25 rudd and 12 roach for an 8-2 total.

Peg 15-unfishable


Two days later with the weather more overcast and a bit cooler I took the long walk up to the end peg on the left bank only to find peg 15 totally disappeared within a dense bank of reeds that stretched out into the water. So peg 16 it was, the only other peg in the smaller of the two arms of the lake, nestled behind the island.

Plumbing up I found I had about 3 feet of water and fishing the same shallow end rig as previously I started with the usual 3 balls,etc.. Second put in I had a roach on the corn, then another then nothing. Five minutes passed and the bulk that I had set 6 inches from the hook and 2 inches off the deck created another polaris effect and a strike saw the elastic come out and a fish kite off to my right. A bream of exactly 3lb was soon in the net, followed 10 minutes later by one of 1-15. The roach then took over interspersed with rudd for the next hour before a quiet period and a row of small bubbles indicated the potential arrival of a tench. A smaller lift of the float resulted in a  fish being connected with that ran off to the right before being turned and after a scrappy fight one of the smallest Bowood tench at 2lb came to the net. Ten minutes later the same happened but this time it was a much larger tench that plodded around at first before heading off to the right again  and eventually the hook pulled! Up to this point the weather had been totally different and was almost cool for a change, by the time I packed up after 3.5 hours I had amassed 50 roach and 21 rudd for an overall total of 16-11.

4 Aug

Aug4 9-12

I missed the next three days as the weather got hot again and I  suffer in the heat which is why I like winter!Saturday say me back on peg 3 for a short morning session from 8 to 11, this was no different in approach and one skimmer of 1-8 plus 8 roach and 8 rudd for a 3-8 total was the result.

Next day I changed tack and went for an evening session from 6-8:30, this time on peg 8. I was hoping that the larger bream and tench had moved into the slightly deeper and cooler water – wrong,  10 roach and 7 rudd for 2-8 proved me wrong for that session anyway!

Two days later I trundled up to 19, the last peg before the island.

peg 19 right view down the arm

Peg 19 left view down the lake

Peg 19

I had decided to fish the pole although the regulars who fish the peg fish feeder. Plumbing up I found I had just over 6 feet at 10m and I had opted to change from my norm by using a heavier home made pencil float with a bulk of 5 x no4 10 inches from the size 14 hook with a smaller bulk of 4x no 8 just 4 inches from the hook. The smaller bulk was set to be just off the deck. I started with 4 balls this time with the usual wheat, corn and 2mm pellet. Corn on the hook saw instant response from fry attacking the float and the corn! Third put in saw a roach come to the net then a quiet period was broken by a run of bream over the next hour – 2-3, 2-4, 2-6, 1-2 then they were gone and as the sun got hotter and hotter I ended up packing up early with 7 rudd, 6 roach and 2 skimmers giving a 9-4 total. I managed to stagger back the half mile to the car feeling absolutely rotten. The thermometer in the garden shed was showing 102F when I got back! Roll on winter!

11 aug 4bream

July Japers part2

Two days later I was back in the twenties, I have made myself a target of fishing every peg at least once this year and I wanted to get the twenties out of the way before the summer was over. Peg 24, opposite 4 and 5, was my choice for the session and as it was still quite shallow I had brought the spinning rod should any pike show.


The same rig used on peg 3 came into play and with approx 2.5ft of water I cupped in 3 balls and deposited half a cup of 2mm pellets and wheat with a dozen kernels of corn at 11.5m and went out on the corn. The usual dips and plucks from the fry began but then halted after 20 minutes; the float lifted and a bream of 2-4 was gracing the net after a spirited fight. Ten minutes later the same scenario but this time one of 1-12. It then went quiet, thinking there may be a pike around the spinning rod came into play but no interest there. Back on to the corn and 4 rudd and 1 roach was all I could muster. Decided to have a last few casts on the spinning rod before packing up and fourth cast in a scrappy jack took the lure, I thought it looked 12oz but on the scales it went 1-8! Anyway that was that and I trudged back to the car with a total of 5-12.

21-07 5-12

That morning I had spotted some carp and bream by the bridge in the Pondtail and had decided to have a go at them, so the next day I had the unusual luxury of a very short walk from the car to the first peg on the Pondtail. I had left the pole at home and decided to fish a method towards the reeds by the bridge and a waggler for the roach in front of me.


Setting up a 20g in-line method with a .20mm Shogun hooklength to a 14 with a bayonet, I was planning on trying 8mm and 10mm boilies/wafters  with Swinstim being the groundbait for the method. The float was set up with a 2AA peacock waggler with just 2 number 10 shot on the line . Plumbing up I had 6 feet of water at 2 rod lengths and I kick started that swim with a ball of groundbait (not the Swimstim) and about 40 pieces of wheat. I began by putting the method out with a 10mm white shellfish boilie and went straight on the maggot on the float. The Pondtail is chocked full of roach but it was very hard going, 20 minutes before I had a bite on the maggot, and after the first hour on the float I had only 4 gudgeon and 4 roach.However the method had surprised me as in the same time I had a roach of 14oz on the shellfish  boilie and a hybrid of 1-9. In the next hour I changed to wheat on the float and it was like a tap was turned on, with bites every cast, the second hour saw me adding a further 2 gudgeon and 11 roach to the net, it would have been more but I had missed a bite on the method with an 8mm white pop-up but on changing to a chocolate orange 10mm wafter I had added a roach of exactly a pound, a further hybrid of 1-6 and lost another unknown fish. At this point I dispensed with the float and concentrated on the method as the sun was getting higher and I felt I only had another 45 minutes before any shade would be lost. Next cast nothing. Followed by another, then a good wrap round and I was into a better fish which after a short scrap turned out to be a carp of 3lb. Two further casts were motionless and I called it a day with a 9-13 total.


Two days later back in the twenties – 23 to be precise for a short session between 10:30 and 1:30.peg23

Depth was a more reasonable 4 feet but I went for the slightly heavier rig. Starting in my usual fashion I had a couple of early rudd then it went quiet. A lift of the float and the elastic came out as a bream tried unsuccessfully to get to the far bank! A short fight only made more difficult by an unseen weed bed close in that the bream knew all about but I didn’t, resulted in me slipping the net under  a bream of 2-4. Twenty minutes passed before the next bite, a rudd. The odd rudd and roach made an infrequent appearance before the float lifted and a far weightier fish stretched the elastic, this took longer but a tench of 4-10 soon was in the net.jul24 8-8

A few more rudd followed and I ended with just the 8 rudd, 3 roach and a small skimmer giving an 8-8 total.

Back to the Pondtail on the Sunday, armed only with a method rod!(mistake!) The plan was to fish until midday, so at best 3 hours. The first hour resulted in one missed wrap round and nothing else. The second hour was not much better but I did hook my solitary bite, a good carp by the feel of it, I managed to keep it out of the rushes by the bridge but it found the one snag in open water and parted company with me! The final hour saw a  motionless tip and a blank was saved by a foul hooked roach!

Tuesday saw me back on the twenties – 22 for the session.


Starting the usual way it was very slow on corn, not even dips and bumps from the fry, a change to double wheat saw a change in fortune and 22 roach, 9 rudd and a skimmer for 4-12.  Next day I returned to fish peg 3. There had been some rain during the day and overnight on the Monday and I reckoned the colour would be suited to the shallow pegs. Starting off in my regular way I was soon into roach and rudd on the corn, the swim then went quiet and some typical tench bubbles started to appear, a couple of minutes passed when the float lifted and a tench was hooked, not a massive one but given the weedy nature of the peg it was a tussle to get it into netting range, it slipped into the net then darted out again before the hook pulled! Forty minutes later another tench hooked, this one made a beeline for the lillies 12m to my right, I managed to get it away from the lillies then knitted one and purled one through the weed in front of me to finally net this one at 4-4.

Tench 4-4

A few more roach and rudd came before I hit into another good fish that led me a merry dance through the weeds, finally surfacing it was a good bream close to 5lb, as I drew it to the net the hook popped out agonisingly short of the net. I was not a happy bunny! The session ended with me on 20 rudd, 16 roach and 3 skimmers for 9-6.

29-07 9-6

Friday, the last day of July sees me at the Pondtail for a short session on what was promising to be the hottest day of the year for the area, again just the method but this time I blanked, I had one bite on the fourth cast that I didn’t hook and that was it ! A blank! I lasted a little over two hours before I felt I was melting and went home!


July Japers (part 1)

July did not start well due to two new sofas being ordered and only one delivered as the courier had lost one! So it was not until the first Sunday that I managed to get out.  Bowood was very quiet and I walked up to peg 6 for a change. Setting up with a slightly heavier float in the 4-5ft of water I again bulked the shot six inches from the hook to counteract any weed and small fish on the surface, I began by introducing three balls of groundbait (1 part lake, 1 part vanilla, 1 part coco belgique, from the Caperlan range), and a dozen grains of corn along with a handful of 2mm pellets and a similar quantity of wheat. Second put in and the float lifted, a gentle lift saw the elastic (KND hybrid 8-12)  come out and a small bream of 1-10 come to the net. Unfortunately that was not the start of a bagging session, instead the morning progressed slowly as before with pike scattering fish on a regular basis. I ended up with 5 roach, 4 rudd, 14 small skimmers, 1 hybrid and that bream for 4-12.

Undeterred I was back the following day this time on peg 5, similar set up and approach same result but no bream – 26 roach, 33 rudd and 5 skimmers for 5-1 and a great deal more pike activity.

Friday was my next chance and I made my way up to peg 7, this time with a spinning rod in attendance. Similar approach ending in 30 rudd, 16 roach, 6 skimmers and a hybrid for 7-1. This time I tried spinning every now and again to no avail apart from one take that was on for 10 seconds before throwing the hook!

jul10 7-1

Sunday saw me travel up the M5 and M6 to Bromley Mill lake near Stoke for a Match-fishing Scene match organised by Les Hobson. I had been told it was shallow and you would need to sit in the water to get depth for your keepnets- three of which had to be put in at the start! I drew peg 7 which was the furthest walk and according to Les the match the previous day had been a struggle for those further down the lake. The arrow in the picture is where I drew- for some reason I forgot to take any other snaps!

Bromley Mill peg7

When I set up I found there were carp coming right in to the keepnets- Les had warned us of this and said some would swim under your box! I had 3 foot of water at 10m which is all the regulars fish usually and 14 inches off to my right at 5m. I began on the method but after 20 minutes with little indication gave that up and went on the pole. After an hour with no bites and a brief dalliance at the end of my keepnets I decided on a change. I had noticed a lot of carp moved through the swim from the right, so dumped a half pot of 2mm pellets and wheat off to my right about 4m out from the bank and a small nugget of Swimstim groundbait and left it for 5minutes allowing the fish to find it (which didn’t take long) and get their heads down. The next 10 minutes were frustrating as carp were all over my single corn bait but not taking it. Change to double corn and still no response. I finally had a bite and bumped it! Now an hour and a half into the match and blanking whereas others were catching on a fairly regular basis. I then hit upon the idea of putting all the shot under the float so the bait was not tethered in a position. First put in the carp swirled around the float looking for the wheat I was feeding every put in, this time the whole rig moved to a new position in the aftermath of the carps swirls, 5 secs later the float buried and the 14-16 yellow Slik elastic was called into action. A carp of about 4lb was deposited in the net, another handful of wheat was thrown into the area and single corn put on the hook, 5minutes later carp number 2 went into the net.  So it carried on for the rest of the match until the last 15 minutes, by which stage I had caught 20 carp and lost 6, but had managed to snap the last 2 inches off my number4 section (it was already splintered and weak being 20+years old) and had replaced it with a short number 4 that didn’t really suit the top kits and I was having to make sure it was securely in place before shipping out. The inevitable happened I hook a carp, carp runs to my left and I start to bring it back with a nice angle between tip and carp, glance around to make certain of getting pole onto roller and in that instant carp changes direction, angle is lost and the top kit flies off towards the centre of the lake. Unwilling to risk another kit I put a small bomb over the feed area but no further fish by the time of the whistle going.

I was first to weigh in and that may be why I didn’t take any photos plus still aggrieved at losing the top-kit (at least the barbless hook would mean the carp would soon divest itself of the top-kit). The scales showed I had managed 94-6 for fourth overall and lost the section money to Les who had 102lb. An enjoyable day out and lots to think over on the 2.5hour journey home.

Wednesday sees me sufficiently recovered to venture to Bowood. Now this time I was going to peg 21 –


my better half and I go for an early morning walk several times a week and usually stop for a coffee at a tree stump by peg 21. This morning I had noticed several dark shapes , either tench or bream under the surface in pole distance. When plumbing up I had 5 feet at 11.5m and set up with a 0.8g float and 14 hook to 0.16mm Shogun. Single corn followed the three balls of groundbait cupped with 2mm pellets, wheat and 12 grains of corn. Twenty minutes in the float lifted and a strike resulted in a bream of 2-1 coming to the net. Fifteen minutes later a similar bite was met with a far more spirited fish, a tench of 4-14. Another tench of 4-6 followed by a bream of 1-14, 7 rudd, 3 roach and a skimmer gave me a total of 15-13. Glad I went for that walk now!

15Jul 15-13

Friday sees me back at 21 but with no great expectations as the morning walk had not yielded any indications like previously. Same set up and approach but this time a bream of 1-10 first put in then just 4 roach, 3 rudd and 3 skimmers on the corn for a level 3-0.

Sunday sees me back at Bowood but no other anglers- the lake to myself! I decided to bite the bullet and try peg 3 – this has a reed bed directly in front of the platform, 5 minutes of work and I had a channel I could ship out and net fish in.


I reverted back to my peg 1 and 2 rig


and began with my standard 3 balls cupped in with corn,2mm pellet and wheat, feeding 10 pellets and similar amounts of wheat every other cast. First put in I had a 3oz rudd on single corn, next put in a larger fish pulled the elastic out and I was pleased to put the net under a rudd of 1-1, my PB for Bowood.

rudd1-1 19jul

The 3.5hour session went well with regular bites despite the attentions of pike that still refused to take a lure! I ended up with 50 rudd (not including the one above), 8 roach and a skimmer plus a bream of 2-9 for 13-4 from a swim nobody fishes because it looks unfishable.

13-4 19jul

With my next outing on Tuesday I am going to try another peg in the 20s.



June part 2!


It is unusual for me to go to Bowood over the week-end but I made an exception on the Sunday and was surprised to find it very quiet with the field all to myself. I decided against peg 2 and set up on peg 4 which at least had 3-4 feet of water to play with!

Three balls went in to start laced with 2mm pellets, corn and wheat, corn was my starting bait, with a similar set up to previously except I had got a 0.8g float with the shot all bulked 6inches from the hook in order to get past any weed. The session started slowly but then a steady string of roach and rudd interspersed with a scattering of fish around the float showed the pike were still active but strangely I have yet to hook one or have a fish taken. After an hour I hit into a slightly better fish- a bream of 2lb, this pattern continued with roach and rudd being interrupted by small skimmers and two further bream of 1-14 and 2-4, plus one further bream lost in a weed bed close in. The session ended with 21 roach, 21 rudd, 8 skimmers and those 3 bream for exactly 15lb.

jun21 15lb

Monday saw me take the Logan in for it’s MOT which it thankfully passed, so it was Tuesday morning before I returned for a short session before it got too hot. Peg 4 again this time it was a lot harder with the pike very active so it was catch a couple , pike set the fish scattering, wait, catch a couple more and repeat! I ended up with 14roach, 7 rudd and 3 skimmers for 4-2 and no lost fish!

Next day back again for a morning session but this time on the other bank on the first peg, peg 25 in my new regime. Seen below on far bank, sited between pegs 1 and 2.


I do not usually fish this bank as I have never had much joy and it tends to be shallower (if that is possible) but I had seen some better fish roll along the far bank previously. Plumbing up with the same rig I found I had 14 inches of water at 10m. One ball was cupped in followed by half a pot of 2mm pellet, corn and wheat topped by loose groundbait. An hour went by before I had my first indication, a quick dip of the float that resulted in a small roach, at least I wasn’t going to blank! Ten minutes later another small roach followed, then it went quiet for a while before the float lifted and a strike saw the elastic come out for what felt like a good fish. Gingerly easing back through the weeds I eventually put the net under a tench of 4-12, the first of the Bowood season.

Tench4-12 Jun24

A quiet spell followed before a couple of bream at 2-10 and 1-8 plus 3 more roach ended the session with me melting in them sun but happy with a 9-4 total.

I managed a short evening session on the Friday of a couple of hours, with the weather cooling rapidly I was expecting a struggle but I went  to peg 2 and put three balls at 10m with the usual free offerings and sat it out with corn. It was not hectic by any means with it being 40 minutes before a bite, a roach of 6 oz, 5 further roach (the best weighed at 9oz) and 2 rudd gave me  2-2 total.

Jun26 2-2

No larger fish showed but the pike again were very active, I am tempted to try a bit of spinning at some point.


Bowood June 2020

June 16th couldn’t come fast enough and on a hot, sunny morning I unpacked the car and trundled along to my chosen peg for the day – peg 2. Now at this point I have a confession to make as some pegs have disappeared (although still shown on the map) and originally this was peg 3, so for the sake of clarity for the future I have taken photos of the 10 pegs that are now in the field and will now rename them from peg 1, my chosen peg up to peg 10 (the old peg 12!) – clear as mud!

Top left to right – Peg 1 when I arrived, peg1 10 minutes later!, peg2 (future work), peg 3 – long term project I think!

Middle – peg 4, peg 5, peg 6

Bottom – peg7, peg8, peg9, peg10.

Thankfully some of the platforms have been repaired and the grass/reeds cut back so we can get to them!

Anyway the water had a nice colour to it and although it was between 18 inches and two feet deep I fancied it for a few fish given the weather had been fairly warm and the fish seem to congregate in the shallows at the start of the season and gradually move up the field. I set up with a 0.4g short homemade rugby ball float to 0.16mm Shogun with the bulk all set at the 0.14mm hooklength to start with a 16 hook and no droppers. Three balls of groundbait along with 2mm pellets, a few grains of corn and a dollop of wheat were cupped in at 10m and single corn went on the hook. Interestingly there was no response from any roach which is usually a sign that the bigger fish are already in the swim. A dozen pellets and similar of wheat were catapulted around the float every 5 minutes. After the second lot went in the float lifted and a strike saw a goodly portion of elastic come out, two minutes later the first fish of the Bowood season was in the net – bream of 4-6.

june16 20 4-6

In the next 20 minutes two further bream were hooked and lost, suspecting the elastic was too severe I changed to a lighter set 10-12 and upped the hook to a twelve. The day went in a similar pattern, catch a fish or two , lose two or three. Some I am sure were foul hooked but by the end I had managed to land 8 and lose 12! The bream in order went 4-6, 5-11, 3-15, 4-13, 4-12, 4-14, 3-14, 3-0 for a 35-05 total and not a single roach to be seen.

Not a bad start to the season! It was the Friday before I could return and the weather had changed with rain the previous day and night and was still raining that morning, although it was due to clear about 11am.

I decided to give peg 1 another go although I was not expecting much because of the weather. Setting up in a similar fashion, it was hard work on the corn with a solitary roach of 5oz the only excitement in the first hour, from there on I alternated corn, wheat, expander and maggot to winkle out 14 roach, 3 rudd and a hybrid for 4-11. Most of the fish came on maggot or pellet, but I caught on wheat as well. I did lose a good fish that weeded me in a sub-surface bed, possibly a tench.

jun19b 4-11

I will take a long look at the weather for my next visit, I am tempted to clear peg 2 but it is only a few inches deeper, peg 4 may be my next port of call! On a separate matter I have added the articles by my son Gareth of his fishing  in China to the blog and they can be accessed from the navigation bar at the top of the page.

Maybe or may be not!

So May comes (and goes) with Covid-19 spreading globally, lock-down still in place for the silent majority and the news full of the transgressions of lock-down, so it was a relief when the Angling Trust managed to persuade the Government to allow angling again. Incredibly even that was met with indignation by some anglers who have not a clue about how government works. Rant over, back to the fishing, or may be the lack of it! I decided to ignore the first week of “freedom” to let the initial rush die down and planned to visit Patneys when it finally opened. In the meantime I made up some rigs using some of the floats I had put together during the lock-down.

I often have referred to my homemade floats without actually showing them so here are the latest versions! Floats 4-6 (reading left to right) are specifically intended for Bowood as they have a 2.5m or 3mm bristle which allows me to use heavy droppers (almost a double bulk) to combat the weed and allows me to see the float at range if necessary. Floats 1,2 and 5 tend to get used at Patneys while 7 is used for margin work.

Patneys (Woodside Lakes) have introduced a booking system which limits the match lake to 21 anglers and allows you to see how many and who, booked on. I let the first week go after opening  and waited until the Monday to book on for the Wednesday as only 2 others had done so. By the following morning there were only 2 swims free! I didn’t fancy that so I cancelled my booking and decided to go to Isis No 1a instead.

Arriving at the lake on the Wednesday mid-morning having completed our early morning walk to Bowood, I settled on peg 3, a peg I had had some success from in the past during May I was the only one on the lake, there were others on the main lake.


The plan was to fish alongside the lilies on the right where there was a deeper hole. Setting up with a yellow bristled float (number two above) to 0.16mm Shogun and a 0.14mm hooklength to a 16 I plumbed up and then started to test the shotting , only to catch a rudd on the bare hook! Corn and 2mm pellet were dispatched with a ball of groundbait next to the lilies and I waited, and waited, and waited… Corn, meat, expander were all ignored, in the end I put on maggot and had 4 rudd on it before I gave up and went home.

The following Tuesday I arrived back at about 9am and settled into peg 6, again with the lake to myself.IMG_20200602_091315282

This time I used the same set up but put 3 balls of groundbait and a pot of corn and pellet out at 11.5m into 7 feet of water straight in front and a solitary ball plus corn and pellet (2mm) at 10m in a “bay” in the lilies. I started at the 11.5m line on corn and was immediately into rudd. By alternating between the two lines and loose feeding 15-20 pellet every so often I managed to keep a run of bites coming with the occasional quiet spell. A switch to expander tended to produce smaller rudd so I stuck with the corn and at 11:45 hooked into a good fish that hared off towards the far bank. After a scrappy fight I put the net under the first tench of the season, a fish of 4-9. A had a few more rudd, a solitary roach and a “bar of soap” tench by the time I packed up at 1pm. A total of 10-2 in the roughly 3 hours of fishing.


The only sour note was I had been filming with a new cheap camera as my others were playing up and I had forgotten the most important rule- the memory  card (32GB) only records 3 hours then clears and starts again! As I had set it up before setting up my tackle I had lost all the fishing time, just having the last 5mins and packing up- DOH!

Anyway, my Bowood ticket has been bought and I am ready for the 16th when the season opens. On our walks I have been taking note of the water clarity and there seems to be a lot more colour than last year so fingers crossed I will start of with some good bream and tench action. Gareth, my son  in China, has been encouraged to write up some of his fishing visits and they have gone on the Blog section of the Matchfishing-scene  site, for those not members (it is free to join!) here are some links.

Tales from China 1    Tales from China 2  Tales from China 3


Healthy April

As April draws to a close and we are in the sixth week of lockdown my archives get visited to see if there are any videos that need editing or have been forgotten about. Together with a dusting down of and cleaning poles,  checking rigs and tying copious hooklengths,  the making of new floats seems a way to fill the time for a day or so but ultimately there is only so much you can do/want to do!

Bowood still features, as it is so close the wife and I walk there every other day rarely seeing more than a handful of dog walkers/ joggers/ twitchers out for their exercise like us. The sight of various deer at close quarters tends to lift the spirit somewhat and makes us feel extremely fortunate to live so close as to be able to visit so regularly during the lockdown.

In many ways this year has all been about Covid-19 for us as Gareth and family were stuck with us for 6 weeks during the height of the lockdown in China and returned a month before the lockdown here. From what we know once the central government discovered the situation they took control and acted decisively with a total lockdown not just in Hubei province, but across all provinces where there were cases. Gareth’s in-laws at the height of their lockdown were able to leave their gated community once every two days (and only one of them) to get food. Temperatures were taken on exiting and on return and shopping consisted of handing a list in at the front door of the shop and the shop keepers then making up the items in bags before bringing them to the door. No public transport was operating and cars were not permitted on the road. Even now masks outdoors are compulsory and only the secondary schools have started to reopen for some year groups. The nature of the society there meant that the people were compliant and tracking of infected people was more straightforward and diligently undertaken with subsequent testing for those who had contact with an infected person.

I suspect it will be July or later before any limited angling is allowed again but all credit to the Angling Trust for putting forward a phased plan to help get us back on the banks again. In the meantime I have rediscovered Fishsim 2, which for those uninitiated is the best and most realistic fishing simulator for the pc. I was fortunate to have several of the venues I created during the beta stage included on the original cd. Gareth had asked for an old laptop of mine to take back as he was unlikely to be able to go fishing in China on his return and was looking to use the laptop for work and also Fishsim2. Anyway this has resulted in me creating 12 new chinese venues over the last month and having virtual matches against Gareth on a weekly basis, I do well if it a small fish venue, he enjoys the big fish ones!

Anyway the archives threw up two items to include – a cheeky visitor at Rolfs, and what I will be missing at Bowood! Stay safe.

The Last Hurrah – March 2020

March arrives and the close season at Bowood looms closer. A short session on the first Monday on 12 from 11-2 sees a disappointing 7 roach 3 perch and a blade for a staggering 5oz! Next day sees me for a short session on the Pondtail I decided to chuck a feeder out for the bream with a worm whilst fishing the 5m whip on cheese, but first put a maggot on to get a couple of roach in the net. The cheese was a stupendous failure with no sign of a bite, reverting back to maggot didn’t produce any either, so the only action was on the feeder where 3 roach took a fancy to my worm. Five roach for 8oz, not the farewell to the season I was hoping for!

Friday was my next venture out and I reverted back to peg 12 but this time with the pole. I set up with a number 5 elastic to 0.16mm Shogun mainline and 0.10mm hooklength to an 18 and a homemade body down teardrop float with a green hollow 1.7mm bristle taking 0.6g. The pike rod, as usual was set up with a two single no6 barbless carp hook to a 15lb wire trace and a sardine bait. The pike rod produced two missed runs but the pole gave me a pike of 5-8 which gave a good account of itself on the 5 elastic. The 10m line also produced a skimmer of 1-13, 6 roach, a small skimmer and a mini perch for 2-10.

A three hour session the following Monday sees me finally hook a pike run for a small one of 5-7 with the pole producing 15 rudd and 15 roach for 2-6, all on double maggot, as usual single maggot is totally ignored!

Wednesday sees me back on 12 and some interesting action. Setting up as before I had a run early on from a scrappy jack of 3-10. I began to get a few bites on the pole when I hit a good fish that I eventually lost after 10 minutes without seeing it. Half an hour later the same happened,  a good fish hooked that I could do little with, finally getting it under my feet after 15+ minutes (I know the time as the Bowood House bell rang twice during the fight), to my surprise it was a a big tench (6lb+) that promptly went under the pike rod and into the weed bed and the hook pulled! I was not a happy bunny! Anyway an hour later the same thing happens and this time after 30mins I put the net under a pike of 7-6!


You never know what to expect at Bowood!. A plugged away and had  a total of 13 roach, 8 blades and 2 rudd for 1-2 when I packed the pole up at which point the pellet waggler float I use as a pike float bobbed, and moved off, resisting the urge to strike and when it went a second time hit into a pike of 8-8 to finish the session. The beauty of the rig I use is the hook fell out in the net but the downside is the fish was only hooked in the lip with one hook despite the length of time I gave it to take the bait- hence the number of missed runs. All in all not a bad session with a 20-10 total.

Friday was going to be my last day at Bowood as I decided to give the last day a miss as I reckoned that it would be busy (more than two anglers!). Any way the day set off well with lots of bites coming on the pole then a bream of 1-14 turned up, followed by a run on the pike rod that gave me one of 9-4. The day continued along the lines of catch small fish hook a pike …the next one was a jack of 5-2 on the pole (I had taken the precaution of putting a top with a slack 8-10 elastic on). The last one on the sardine was one of 9-11 to finish the session. So 22 roach,1 mini perch, 20 rudd and 5 blades went 3-4 to give me a final session total of 29-3 a nice way to close the season.


Family commitments then kicked in and with the ever worsening Corona virus situation it was Monday 23rd that I managed to get out next for what looks to be the last session for some time as that night the restrictions were announced. The last visit was to Patneys or to give it it’s proper name Woodside Lakes, two lakes that are in the middle of nowhere with no platforms or facilities – natural in every sense . When I arrived there was one car in the car park, a carp angler on the specimen lake, I parked on the other side of the car park and set up on the right hand side  of the match lake just before the first island. I had resorted back to my match set up rather than the trusty Maver Metalica and matchbox I use at Bowood. I decided on 0.14mm Shogun to a 0.12mm hook length to a 16 barbless with a home made float taking 0.6g. I had planned to fish the meat but on inspecting the meat taken from the freezer, it was too soft to keep the hook in plus I had forgotten my pole pots for this pole! Bait wise, apart from the meat, I had a half pint of fresh maggot, a few worms, some micros and 4,6 and 8mm expanders. Plumbing up carefully I found the deeper spot to my left that I had found on a previous visit, three balls of groundbait mixed with micros and some of the 4mm cubed meat was deposited and double maggot was put over the top of it. I began by catapulting some old maggot I had left from Bowood over the top every 5 minutes or so. After 30 minutes I had my first bite and missed it! This I had found to be the frustrating thing about this particular peg as it seemed to be home of a lot of mini tench that were very cagey feeders. I finally managed to hit my fifth bite, a roach of 4 oz. It was a good half hour before the next bite, a small perch. Ten minutes later I had a bite and latched into a carp that I had on for 30 seconds, before the hook pulled (the maggot had masked the hook). Another roach of 3oz followed after 15 minutes but then a run of missed bites as the wind picked up. At noon another angler turned up and went on the opposite bank just as I hit a bite from another carp, this time properly hooked and after the short fight(see video) weighed in at 5-8.  Only one more bite hooked in the next two hours a carp of 1-8, but two more were bumped. At which point I called it a day and went home.

No fishing for the foreseeable future but it will be a small price to pay to keep people safe.