Sunday 15th December
With it fast approaching Christmas i decided on one last trip to Partridge lakes and see if i could continue my good run of form on their . I did have the opportunity to fish a match on Beacon view with the Hindley labour club lads and that was where my usual travelling companion decided to go , but the lure of Partridge lakes and some winter f1 fishing was too strong for me and that’s where i headed .
T he weather leading up to today was best described as awful with heavy rain , strong 60 mph winds but it was fore cast to be a lot better and the wind + rain would hold off to around two ish fingers crossed . But the down side was that the in consistent recent weather has made the fishing rather patchy and their fore i decent draw was necessary to do well , i think that a prolonged cold spell with frosty mornings would make the fishing a lot better but it wouldn’t be the best weather to fish in .
We had thirty people attending the open match which was a little down on the usual because the Leigh tackle winter league was taking place on the same day , so after my usual bacon and egg buttie it was time to start queueing up for the draw . It soon came around to my turn and out i picked peg 96 on covey 4 which wasn’t the worst lake to be on but i wasnt too sure just where my peg was , after being informed to go down to the furthest car-park and that it was near the bridge and this filled me with hope because as you all know f1s love a feature .
When i finally got their though i was rather dis heartened with the peg being only 9m wide and the bridge was only 1m to my left , to make matters worse i had Kieran rich and i middy sponsored angler whose name i cant rember both in my section and i was up against it before i even started fishing but i was keen to have a good day because it will be my last trip this year due to family commitments .
On settling in at my peg i had a plan in mind on just how to target it and hopefully enable me to extract as many fish as possible from it .
Swim 1 , 4ft deep rig which was a 4×14 malman winter wire with 0.10 garbo line straight through to a size 20 gamma pellet hook , i had a spread bulk of number 11 stotz starting 4 inch from my hook to help me see the shy f1 bites quicker . I decided on this depth because that is where i have had the most success fishing on here in winter , so i planned on trying various areas at this depth along the far bank .
Swim 2 , 2.5ft deep rig which was a 4×12 malman winter wire with a 0.12 garbo main line attached to a 0.10 garbo hook length attached to a size 18 gamma pellet hook , the shooting was set for fishing on the drop with punched bread or white expander and i intended to fish it along the far bank trying to pick up a carp or big f1 . I also used this rig for fishing under the empty platform to my right and this worked really well on my last visit here .
Swim 3 , which was 5ft down the track and also under the bridge my rig here was 0.10 garbo line straight through to a size 20 gamma pellet hook with a spread bulk of number 9 stotz starting 6 inch from the hook . I haven’t really had much success fishing it on here but with the weather turning colder it was my back up plan .
Didnt really need much in the way of bait today ,
1/2 pint white and red maggots
1/4 pint soaked micros
1/4 pint crushed expander
small tub of 4mm white and normal expanders
small tub of bread for the punch
All the swims where a lot closer together than i would have liked so i was eager to be ultra careful not too over feed and when the all in sounded i went out with my shallow rig with a piece of punched bread on the hook , i began working the far bank starting near the bridge and on only my second drop i hooked a 5 lb carp which came in like a wet sack Nice Start .
No more bites followed in the next twenty minutes so i went onto my more reliable 4 ft rig straight in front of me with maggot on the hook because it seemed to be the bait which every one is catching on now going from the results on the internet . After reading a recent article in the Angling Times by Steve Ringer suggesting that he gets more bites using double maggot and one of each colour i decided to give it a try .
I began drip feeding maggots through a kinder pot but after twenty minutes of lifting-dropping i didn’t have a single sign and thought that the disturbance of catching that early carp must have un-settled my peg , so i set up another swim a meter to my right but decided to use my favourite white expander and it took a while for me to find the exact area where my pellet would just touch bottom , also registering on my float tip which is a must for these shy biting f1s and when i found it i began tapping in a few micros mixed with crushed expander then started lifting-dropping trying to entice a bite .
It didn’t take long before i was into my first f1 of around the 1lb 8oz mark and a further three followed before on one of by lifts a pricked a fish on the way up and this killed the swim , it has happened to me a few times recently on here and i need to think about the fact that does lifting-dropping get me more bites compared to a static bait and the disruption to my peg of a foul hooked fish especially in winter where bites are at a premium ?
In the first ninety minutes i had about 10lb in the net and i was well on the way to the thirty pound i thought would be needed for the section but this is where it all went wrong , after setting up another new swim even further to my right where it began to widen and even though i was still using pellet on the hook i just couldn’t get a bite . I noticed that their was the odd bubble coming up from the middle of the channel directly in front of me at about 5m , so i decided to try here and after trickling in the micros-crushed expander and after a while i began getting phantom bites , by that i mean your float would slower disappear and on lifting you would be attached to fresh air ! ! !
I put this down to line bites with the fish picking off the micros on the way down , maybe i should have fed small balls of feed which would have gone straight to the bottom and not trickling the micros in loose ?
I tried fishing six-inch of the deck first but no indications followed and then i tried my four-foot rig with again no bites , strangely when i fished off the deck the phantom bites also stopped so maybe it was fish that we’re hitting the shot on my rig with my last shot only six-inch from my hook?
Any way back to the fishing , i had flicked a couple of maggots towards the bridge for over two hours with a view to fishing it in the last hour and because i was struggling i had to go on it sooner than i planned . The trouble was i couldn’t even get a bite from their and thinking about it after the match the bridge was too close to my peg for it to work properly .
We was now fast approaching the last hour and i hadn’t had a proper bite for nearly two hours , since both the anglers on either side of me were picking up the odd fish and showing their class . For some strange reason i decided to go back on my four-foot rig but this time try between the two swims along the far bank that i had the most success with , i also went two-inch deeper and back on white expander .
Bearing in mind that i was only one foot away from the two swims where i couldn’t buy a bite , my first lift-drop resulted in the slightest of tremors on the float and i was attached to my first fish in an age and when i went back out i missed a bite , had the f1s been their all the time or had they just decided to feed ?
In the last forty minutes i had four big f1s and lost two fish at the net because i was rushing to get them in because time was running out fast and when the whistle went i was kicking my self for not trying it earlier but to be honest never in my wildest dreams did i expect it to work so well Strange fish these f1s .
I worked hard for my 17lb today and i don’t think their was enough fish in the peg to compete for the section which was won by the middy sponsored angler to my right with 24lb . So what could turn out to be my last match of the year was a bit of a disappointment but at least i have a few things to ponder about over the Christmas holidays .