September Stumbles 2021

First day of September usually gets me thinking bream and pike season soon! I ventured not to peg 10 but on the opposite bank up to peg 20 (second peg from the island) just on a hunch.

Plumbing up I had a decent depth at 10m but it sloped down and leveled off at 11.5m so that is where I deposited four balls of groundbait (all Caperlan – Lake, Roach special, Vanilla and Coco Belgique in equal measures) with hemp, wheat and a few kernels of corn. Fishing a home made rugby ball taking 0.8g with the bulk set six inches from the 14 hook, the usual 3 maggots brought an immediate response from a couple of small rudd before the customary switch to corn. Bites came slower at first but the size of rudd improved, when I managed to get down past the rudd I found the odd small skimmer and roach before a lift of the float signaled the thump of a good fish, playing it gingerly through the various weed beds I slid the net under a tench of 4-10. Ten minutes later a bream of 4-00 was in the net, but then I lost 2 good tench in the weed. I was topping up with a ball of groundbait every 40 minutes and loose feeding hemp and wheat every couple of minutes. The lull with the larger fish signaled the return of the rudd and when that suddenly went quiet I hoped the tench had returned only for the float to slide under and the resultant strike hit a solid plodder- a pike, that soon parted company with me leaving an oval scale on the hook. From that point on I had rudd/roach/skimmers interspersed with a further tench of 5-09 and a smaller bream of 2-04, losing one further tench. The 35 rudd, 9 roach and 6 skimmers weighed 6-12 giving me a nice start to September of 23-03.

The 4lbers
5-09

Returning two days later to peg 20 I started in the same manner but lost a bream soon after starting and that was it for the bream but did manage to net tench of 4-07 and 4-00 to go with 34 rudd, 16 roach and 4 small skimmers to give me an 18-10 total, again losing a pike which this time bit me off.

Another two days pass and this time I am on peg 21, this is a lot shallower, barely 4 foot at 11.5m, and I remembered why I tended to fish the other bank which is far deeper in comparison. I went back to the Ugly Duckling rig I used in the shallow pegs but still fed as before, with the first ball going in as the bell in the tower sounded 9am. The maggot surprisingly was not taken by a rudd but by a small skimmer (blade) so I immediately went over to the corn, 10 minutes later I lifted in to a tench of 3-02, some better quality rudd followed this before a “runner” of a bite resulted in a bream of 3-04, the rest of the day up to 1pm when I stopped went in similar fashion – a better fish interspersed with some rudd. The day finished with another “pea in the pod” bream, two further tench of 4-00 and 3-00, 20 rudd and 2 skimmers/blades, the rudd and skimmers went 4-08 giving me a 21-02 total.

2 peas in a pod! 3-04

Two days later back at 21 I was feeling the heat – it had gone up to 28C and I fished 9-12 as It was getting too hot for me with little breeze, the fishing suffered al;so with just 7 rudd and 5 roach for a round 3lb.

Two days later (see the pattern!) I decided to give the Pondtail a go as the hot weather had been replaced by the threat of rain. Fishing the first peg I had taken the Chinese whips and opted for a 5m one with a Chinese float set up Chinese style but without any swivels. As I started to plumb up there was what we call a mizzle- similar to sea fret and during the 2 hour session I experienced, mizzle, drizzle, rain and heavy rain. 42 roach, 5 perch and 3 gudgeon for 6-08 were not put off by the weather, 26 of the roach taken on wheat. I now was faced with a break as I resumed my travels to Birmingham and Yorkshire!

Ruddy August – Part 2

I managed a couple of visits before returning to Birmingham for a couple of days (hospital visit for son and wedding anniversary- on same day!), the first a 2.5 hour stint on the Pondtail, peg 1. The weather forecast was stating zero percent chance of rain, but knowing the micro climate that is Bowood I took my waterproofs, just as well as it turns out as a fine mizzle (Yorkshire term I believe- like a sea fret) was in the air and by the time I had set up the 5m Chinese whip and was set to start the mizzle had become a shower which later progressed into heavy world-ending type rain! Undeterred I managed to put together a bag of 27 roach, 17 gudgeon and 2 perch weighing 4-08 on a mixture of double maggot or double wheat. I have noted before that a single bait gets no response strangely, yet a double or treble bait provokes interest! The good news was my waterproofs passed the test and I was dry until I took them off at the car and got wet just going from the boot to driver’s door such was the rain!

Next day I decided on an evening session on the main lake peg 7 and came armed with my back up winter waterproofs , I like to give wet waterproofs a day to dry/recover before wearing again, but fortunately they were not needed as the sun was out throughout the evening session. Fishing from 3:45 to 7:15 it was hard work! The jack pike were in action, scattering fish every couple of minutes but I managed top sneak out 5 rudd a roach and a tench of exactly 3lb for a 3-07 total. I also lost a good fish to a hook pull, possibly a bream and as this happened in the first hour it most likely did not help matters!

On my return from Birmingham and this was to be a longer period as the hospital visits were now completed and we felt it pointless me traveling to and fro unless circumstances changed, I took the plunge and headed off for the long walk up to the Stock Pond to have a go for the carp. I had put in a method rod to put out as well as the pole but was expecting most response from the pole.

Stock Pond peg 1- usually the “big”carp peg

Looking to the left towards peg 2
Looking to the right

Starting with 4mm pellets and hemp plus 3 balls of groundbait (green lipped mussel) and a few kernels of corn on the 10m mark in just over 7 feet of water I was hopeful of some carp action once the usual flurry of roach died down. I had opted for a wire stemmed home made rugby ball float taking just over 0.8g with the bulk set at three feet above the foot and two number 8 droppers below that, the last at the hooklength loop (0.16mm to 0.14mm) and a 14 hook. Beginning on maggot to get something in the net I swiftly changed to corn after two maggot roach were deposited in the net, the method remained lifeless with nothing interest in the yellow band-um wafter. Corn produced better quality roach but various sized pellets produced no response and despite the loose feeding of hemp and pellets no carp appeared, there was even a lack of tell tale bubbles anywhere to be seen. The method was up the bank after an hour and a half as I concentrated my efforts on the pole. The carp were not playing ball but the roach were ! After 3 hours I called it a day with 64 roach in the net which I thought was about 6lb, on weighing in my wet eva bucket I was surprised that the scales went around to 9-10.

I avoided the Bank holiday week-end but did venture out on the Monday, deciding to pay my first visit to peg 10! While setting up another week-day regular arrived and chatting he had also been plagued by pike in the top field (pegs 11-14) with several attacking his feeder while fishing (static) as well as on the retrieve. He had several pike on corn that season including a small one of 23-05, taken on 5lb line and size 12 hook! I remarked that it had been unusual as despite all the pike activity I had not had a single pike nor a pike attack any hooked fish, as I said it I knew I was tempting fate!

I was only intending to fish up to midday so began in the time honoured fashion of 3 balls of groundbait laced with wheat, hemp and a few grains of corn. Usual homemade float taking 1g with yellow tip with last 2cm blacked out with marker pen, size 16 hook to 0.14mm line. Treble maggot initially got no response in the 8 feet of water which led me to hope there were some bigger fish about but a flurry of bubbles suggested it was pike . Eventually I began to get some roach and small skimmers by swapping between corn and double or triple maggot with blank spells that usually ended by a flurry of bubbles as a pike cleared it’s gills, a small bream/large skimmer of 1-01 gave me hope but nothing bigger materialised until a lift of the float was met with a stiff resistance on the strike and then a plodding fight that turned into speedy runs as it approached the net, I had a feeling fate was having a laugh at me and so it was as a jack of 3-05 was netted with the sweetcorn still visible in it’s scissors. By noon I had 14 skimmers 10 roach and only 2 rudd plus Mr Jack for a 7-15 total, that brought my August outings to an end.

Returning to the musings in part 1 of August not being a brilliant month historically for me, this year a total of 12 visits have seen me average 6.95lb. I am looking forward to September!

Ruddy August 2021

August arrives and it is a case of a few days at home (alone) then back to Birmingham to rejoin Mrs J for a few days as elder son will be recuperating for some time and is not allowed to lift anything, plus various hospital visits to make …

I managed to squeeze in as much fishing as I dared whilst at home whilst keeping the household ship-shape! August 3rd sees me at Bowood peg 6 for a morning session. Fishing with my homemade special with the shot bulked at the hooklength loop I deposited my usual 3 balls plus loose helpings of hemp, wheat and a few grains of corn and put three maggots on to get a fish in the net before switching to corn but the expected bite from the small rudd did not materialise, instead the bait got down to the bottom uninterrupted. This usually sparks my interest as there is either a pike sitting there or there are bigger fish in the swim, after five minutes the float sank and a small skimmer ensured the session would not be a blank! A second slightly bigger skimmer followed which prompted a switch to corn, half an hour later the float did it’s Polaris impression and a steady lift saw the thumping of a good fish which ran towards the weed beds on the left before being turned and finally netted a tench of 3-11. The session followed a similar pattern, catch a couple of smaller fish, this time on corn, then get interrupted by a tench. I ended up with further tench of 5-01 and 2-11, 4 rudd, 3 skimmers and 3 roach for a 12-13 total.

Thursday 5th sees me at the Pondtail Peg 1 for a 2.5 hour session on the 7m Chinese whip. Three golf balls of groundbait to start followed by a loosefed pinch of wheat and hemp every cast saw slow action on the maggot and it wasn’t until I swapped to double wheat that the action got a bit quicker, even so 19 roach, a gudgeon and 3 perch were not what I was expecting. Although two of the perch were bigger than usual.

Next day I ventured down to the main lake and set up in the usual fashion on peg 7. Usual method this time the maggot saw 2 small rudd in the net before I changed to corn. Loose feeding hemp and wheat and adding a ball of groundbait every 40 minutes saw me get plenty of action on the corn from the slightly better sized rudd but also a bream of 4-07 and a tench of 4-04. The 33 rudd, 2 micro perch and 9 roach went 5-14 giving a 14-09 total. It has to be said this was one of the better August catches as looking back at my records (sad I know ) the average for August in general falls away dramatically and is between 6 and 9lb average for the month. I think this is not just a Bowood phenomena as https://stevetheangler.com and https://sidestreambob.wordpress.com, two fellow bloggers have been discussing the very thing.

Anyway back to the fishing, following a trip to Birmingham on my return I had an short evening session for a change on 11th August. Have to say it was very slow and 21 rudd and 3 roach, mostly taken on the maggot with just a couple on corn as I was getting bored with no signs of any thing else other than the jack pike that marauded through the rudd shoal around my float with alarming regularity. The evening was saved on the famous “last cast” by a Polaris lift on the corn and a scrappy 2-12 tench finding its way to my net giving me a 6-00 total.

Next day I decided to change tack and headed off for the rear of the island in the short arm- peg 16 where last year I had had a good session. I was presuming the weed would be receding but I was wrong and not having brought the rake I had to scratch around for gaps in the weed- obviously no-one had fished it this season! Anyway I scratched out 14 rudd and 6 roach for a magnificent 1-06 all on maggot, nothing on corn but again lots of jack pike activity.

I managed a morning session next day and returned to peg 6, starting as the bell chimed 9am and put 18 rudd and 5 roach in the net on corn before the float slid under as the bell was chiming 12 noon which resulted in a scrappy tench of 3-03, giving me a 5-03 total at which point I left!

Next day (Saturday) was my last chance before returning to Birmingham again, so I opted to set up on the Pondtail peg 2 and put a feeder out two thirds across at 45 degrees with chopped worm in the feeder and worm on the hook, while fishing a 5m Chinese whip. The feeder was up the bank after a couple of hours after 3 perch were the only interested parties and I concentrated on the whip which was going better than previously but the bites cut out after my 50th roach, a switch to double corn saw another 27 slightly better roach put in the net to join the others along with two micro perch. I thought I had about 5-6lb but on weighing them I was surprised to see the scales swing around to a level 9lb.

The main lake tends to hold the larger fish in the shallower end (1-7) until the weed starts dying back and then the fish migrate towards the main lake area and deeper water (8-14), so when I returned I had a session on peg 8 for 3 hours , 10-1, and apart from the rudd being ravenous and being savaged by the jack pike the only larger fish was a solitary bream of 2-1, which added to my 23 rudd made a round 5lb. One jack of about 3lb came hurtling out of the water through the rudd but on re-entry its tail hit my pole and it flipped into an inelegant fishy belly flop. I am very tempted to take a spinning rod at some point and have a go for these jacks

Jealous July 2021 (Part 2)

Only one session to report this time as I have been staying in Birmingham taking my elder son to and from hospital in the run-up to and aftermath of major abdominal surgery that has been on the cards for some time. Thankfully the 5.5 hour operation went well and he is at home now recuperating under the watchful eyes of my wife. His recuperation will take at least 3-4 months so I am faced with the prospects of splitting my time between home ( to keep things in order) and Birmingham, so my fishing may be somewhat curtailed.

I offered to pull out of the match at Bromley Mill as it was the Sunday after the Thursday surgery but was told by Mrs J to go and fish it as I could do nothing while he was still in hospital. So Setting off from home at 5:30am I arrived at Bromley Mill in good time for the draw. I was hoping for a peg with a bit of space and a short walk as I am still struggling as my core strength has still not returned fully. Anyway I drew a peg on the opposite bank to last year and only two pegs in from the gate so that was a relief.

The first thing that struck me was the colour of the water, last year it was gin clear, now it was so coloured you could not see the bottom even in 10 inch of water. I set up a method and after plumbing up settled on a 10m mark where I had about 3ft of water, this was to be tackled with a short rugby ball float with a 3mm tip, set low in the water. The only other rig I set up was one for the margins where I used a homemade BGT1 lookalike with all the shot around the float and set 3 inches over depth – this was what had worked so well last year.

The match got under way and I deposited a large cup of 4mm pellet, hemp and wheat with a few grains of corn at 8m in both margins, three balls of green-lipped mussel groundbait at the 10m mark along with a pot of wheat, a pot of mixed hemp and 4mm pellet, then went on the method. I was using that new Chinese reel for the first time and was very impressed despite not getting anything on it!

It seemed to be a slow start for most down our end of the lake but finally managed to get a bream on corn off the 10m line. That was the pattern of the day – nothing in the margins unusually,but they turned up as I was packing up! I plodded along putting bream in the net at irregular intervals, I lost one carp and landed my only other carp of about 5-6lb. Weighing in 27-11 I was disappointed in the sense that I was hoping to get among the carp, but happy that I had a short walk and a day’s fishing.

Jealous July 2021 (Part 1)

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

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

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

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

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

July 7 Peg 7 13-06

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

July9 6-15
5-01
36-02

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

13-06

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

Peg 5
Peg5 lost tench
Peg 5 Bream

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

Juddering June 2021

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

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

The Ugly Ducklings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5-04

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

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

May (2021) I catch a fish please.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another April

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

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

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

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

A slow March to recovery

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

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

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

Almost fatal February.

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

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

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

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

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