Sunday 8th Feb 2015 – Heskin Old Hall pond 1
After a few text messages during the week to Gary about match fishing at weekend, we jointly decided to give matches a rest due to the weather and have a go at catching some silverfish from Heskin Old Hall Fishery. Armed with an ice breaker and with the temperate gauge showing -2 degrees, Gary picked me up at 8:30am and off we set to Heskin (via McDonalds, and a little detour).
Arriving at the venue our first choice was to target the roach on pond 2. The water was completely ice-free but with 4 lads on opposite sides of the lake chucking method feeders and leads everywhere we decided to have a look at the conditions on pond 1. Having only fished this water once before a few years ago, I was surprised to see that it was still partly frozen with the majority of the lake covered in cat ice bar the near bank (the water has more trees surrounding it than pond 2). We decided to get down on the first 2 pegs through the gate with myself on peg 7 and Gary on my right.
I was able to reach the edge of the cat ice with 5 sections of pole so this would be the distance I would be fishing for the day. My plan was to fish maggot but I also had a tin of corn and ½ a pint of micro pellets as change baits.
I decided to keep it simple and only set up 1 rig. A carbon stemmed 0.2g handmade chanti style float on 0.12 mainline to a 0.10 5-inch hooklength and size 18 B510 hook was the weapon of choice. This was shotted spread bulk style using no.10 starting just above the hook length. My elastic choice for silvers is solid 6 Preston slip.
Plumbing up my chosen line gave me around 4.5ft and I was soon ready to start fishing. Feeding around 30 maggots via a toss pot (spreading the bait over a small area), I laid my rig in and it wasn’t long before I started to catch roach. These where a fantastic stamp overall, everyone was a “netter” and I was having a whale of a time. Suddenly the sight of orange elastic streaming out of Gary’s pole showed he had hooked into something a little bigger and after a long tussle he placed the net under a good carp around 8-9lb (lucky git!!!)
We was only fishing for 4-5 hours and time was passing quickly catching a dog roach almost every drop in, working the rig helping induce a few bites and laying it in by flicking it past the feed and letting it fall on a tight line worked well. Interestingly the smaller stamp fish were caught on the drop. This seemed to only happen in quiet spells when not getting bites on the deck.
After around an hour of fishing I plumbed another line to the left of the swim in the same depth of water and decided to try feeding corn sporadically and dropping over it to see if I could pick up a carp or decent bream but nothing really materialised from the swim and I shelved the idea after a few looks.
I was catching regular now and the sight of silver swished in the clear water when a dog roach was hooked was mesmerizing. Gary and I were both catching well but the stamp of fish I was getting were much bigger than them that Gary was (My peg was a little further out into the water and I was feeding much heavier, I think these where the reasons).
Later in the day (after a visit from my old man) my float dipped and I was into my first decent 1lb+ skimmer of the session. I decided to ring a few changes and swapped my shotting from a spread bulk to a bulk and 1 dropper. I also changed my feeding a little to increase the amount fed but less often. This seemed to work and I was into my best spell. A dozen decent skimmers and some big hybrids plus a 1lb plus roach graced the net. I also hooked a decent bream but unfortunately this slipped the hook. A few more fish followed and it was time to call it a day.
Gary had used a keepnet and with the good carp and his silvers combined he had easy over 20lb of fish in the short time we fished. I decided to not use a keepnet but with the dozen skimmers and the stamp of my fish I would estimate I too had easily over 20lb of pristine silvers (probably more weight than Gary but I won’t upset him hahaha). Heskin Old Hall is a cracking winter venue and the float kept going under all day with an excellent stamp of silverfish. I can see myself being a regular winter visitor in the future, silverfish will certainly play a big part in my future winter days out on the bank.