Diggle AC winter league rnd two at old hough

November 22nd , peg eleven goose lake

Goose lake

Today was the second round of the Diggle AC winter league at old hough and yet again it was to take place on goose+boulders the same waters as last week ,as we was fast approaching december the weather understandably had taken a turn for the worse with the first proper frost of the year which no doubt would have a dramatic affect on the weights , especially if the results of the previous days open match here was to go by with just twenty pounds winning and five of the top six weights all came from the same area on boulders the top weight from goose was only 12lb .Luckily on the morning of the match i didn’t have to scrape the van windscreen of ice but the dashboard showed a massive one degree although it did double in temperature by the time i got to the fishery and in fact it did not feel that bad especially if the cold wind stayed away , with all eighteen anglers in attendance it wasn’t long before the draw took place and i fancied a go on boulders lake as i heard that it held more f1s which are a more reliable target species at this time of year and something i am more comfortable in catching but yet again i ended up on goose lake this time peg eleven it was situated around the back of the lake in no man’s land after a couple of texts to lads who fished it a lot i found out it wasn’t a great area to be in not really the news i wanted to hear although i had worked out a plan during the week on how best to target the peg because i am still relatively new to the venue .


My rigs for the day are going to be ;

Far-bank dobbing rig here i used a 0.2 matrix series three float my line was 012 garbo direct to a size 16 guru lwg and my elastic was matrix orange size ten, i had plumbed around in front of the reeds to try to find the average depth of the swim and when i felt a couple of carp brush the line to the right of my peg i was quietly confident of catching a few of them i purposely stopped plumbing up in that area so i wouldn’t disturb them anymore hoping they would settle back down again .

Far shelf rig at three-foot deep here i would be fishing pellets so i used a 4×12 malman roob float with 014 garbo main line and my hook length was a short 3 inch length of 010 garbo which had a strung bulk just above it the elastic here was matrix orange size ten.

Channel swim i plumbed up two lines one 7m to my right which i would feed with half a pot of maggots every twenty minutes and the other line 11m to my left which i would feed with a pot of ground-bait + dead pinkies every thirty minutes i hoped the skimmers would settle there although i wasn’t to sure that it would work that’s why i decided to position it so far out of my peg , i plumbed up to find just under five foot so used a 4×12 chianti float my main line was 014 garbo which had a six-inch 010 garbo hook length that had a size twenty matrix bagger hook attached to start with i had a bulk and two dropper shotting pattern but i would change this for a more positive pattern if i began catching well on pellets over the ground-bait swim my elastic was matrix yellow size 8 .

Near side shelf rig which was positioned a bit further down the slope in deeper water at 4ft on this line i used 014 garbo main line with an 012 hook length and my elastic was matrix red size twelve , i had upped the strength here because i hopped this would be a good area to pick up a bonus carp or two .

Bait for the day was going to be ;

Two pints of red and white maggots .

Two pints of f1 dark groundbait with a hand full of dead pinkies in it .

One pint of soaked micros .

One slice of steamed and rolled warburtons orange toastie bread cut into 4 pieces and i had a size 11mm + 7mm punch .


As the all in for the match sounded i eagerly shipped out across to the far-bank where i had earlier felt the carp with my plumet i began dobbing at the side of the reeds and had a piece of 7mm punched bread on the hook , i was a bit surprised that i didn’t get any indications straight away and i had to change depths, increasing the punch bread size to 11mm , going into all the nook+crannies in between the rushes , i even tried going 14m on either side but i still didn’t have any positive bites this was similar to my match last week and it’s a bit strange that i can get this method to work on most waters but struggle when using it on here maybe it is down to the stocking levels of carp but i am not to sure . I decided to waste no more time using it luckily those anglers around me hadn’t caught a great deal i wasn’t that far behind and my next move was the pellet line at three-foot down the far shelf , with the weather conditions being as they were i decided to go easy on the feed so i began by tapping in a few micros hoping to attract the attention of any passing fish and i could always increase it if i needed to , after about three feeds i began getting indications on the float which looked like very shy f1 bites i tried to alter my shotting pattern to try to help turn the little dips into fish and i finally began hitting them but it wasn’t the f1s i was looking for but small 4oz skimmers plus the odd micro crucian not what i wanted to be catching i persevered on this line for a while in case any bigger fish settled but apart from a solitary half pound skimmer it didn’t get any better .

I had fed both my channel swims every thirty minutes and as we was nearly ninety minutes into the contest i felt that i had no other option but to go on it , i started on my left hand line over the top of the ground-bait with maggot on the hook and i began getting indications straight away but yet again they were very hard to hit similar to those on my pellet line , unluckily they also turned out to be the same stamp of fish and i have a feeling that the fish meal in ground-bait + pellets aren’t the way to go on here but i suppose if things go really hard they can guarantee you a bite or two . I went on to my right hand maggot swim and after a while i began catching some 6oz ide which seems to be the average size of silver fish in here i was happy putting the odd fish in the net as i was on a par with those anglers around me but i felt that i needed to be catching a lot quicker if i was going to trouble the framing positions , so i began firing six maggots every few minutes towards the far bank rushes i hoped this would attract the attention of some carp and after twenty minutes i went over it with my dobbing rig that had two maggots attached . It worked remarkably well as i began a good run of stamp ide and with still no sign of a carp i quickly changed to a more suitable silverfish rig this increased my catch rate significantly although it was noticeable that the odd fish was spewing up bait a sure sign that i was over feeding the swim , a change from using the catty to a kinder pot and only feeding every two fish seemed to solve the problem it also got the ide on to the deck making them easier to catch but my elastic was a bit heavy at eight hollo causing the fish to splash on the surface when hooked this disturbed the shoal as they seemed to push further under the rushes .


I felt the swim could do with a rest and i had seen a couple of carp come out on the opposite bank so i could also do with a bonus fish or two so i started feeding my left hand margin swim with a mixture of micros+ground-bait while this settled i tried to find another area along the far bank where i could get another run of ide but strangely apart from one that took it on the drop i couldn’t get attract another bite , so back to my original line and yet again they was lined up but in the back of my mind i felt i needed a carp to get in the money so i kept on trying my margin in ten minute spells every thirty minutes but this failed to produce a bite . In the last forty minutes the fish really backed off this coincided with the sun going in and the temperature beginning to drop , thinking about it now i should have fished further down the slope or kept on feeding my channel line which would have given me some were to go to when i felt the fish needed a rest .

When the all out sounded i wasn’t to sure how well i had got on so would have to wait for the scales to arrive to tell me my fate as they turned up on my lake i followed them around to see how everyone else had got on , i noticed that boulders lake had been rock hard with people struggling to break 8lb on my lake goose peg six took the early lead with five carp for twenty pounds , there was then a few weights under 4lb until it was my turn to weigh in and my 50 silvers went just over 15lb which was more than i thought as im still getting used to this style of fishing , peg 16 had another all ide net for 18lb ,the lake flyer peg where i was last week had another carp weight of 19lb so i ended up fourth not really what i wanted and I’m sure that if i had fished a better match i could have framed today but at least i had caught a few fish almost trebling those either side of me .

Not to sure if i can make the next round on lucky dip + prospect lakes  as the wife is working Saturday night so that will be one of my dropped matches but if i can sort something out i will try to fish it as i don’t want to limit myself to the results i can get rid of as it will be hard enough keeping at the top of the league with the standard of anglers fishing it .

Diggle AC winter league old hough

November 10th , peg 18 goose lake old hough


Today was the first round of the Diggle AC winter league at old hough with eight matches taking place on goose,boulders,lucky dip and prospect , it has been awhile since i had contested a winter league and was quite looking forward to it even if it was going to take place on waters i had yet to try at the fishery which would make it more of a challenge . Yet again the weather leading up to todays match was pretty lousy with lots of rain and gale force winds although the temperatures were still high for the time of year , i just suppose it is something that we will have to get used to but it is a lot better than snow and ice in my opinion .When i woke on the morning of the match the weather didn’t look that bad it was a bit breezy but at least it was still dry well for the time being anyway ,i set off on the short thirty mile journey to the venue at 730am and just as i got of the motorway it went ominously dark with black clouds congregating above the inevitably soon happened as the rain absolutely lashed it down for a full twenty minutes only easing when i pulled into the fishery but luckily it was the only down pour we saw during the day .


Obviously i was the first to arrive but i didn’t have to wait too long before all eighteen anglers turned up and the draw began , i waited for the crowd to die down before taking my turn and strangely for me i pulled out number 18 on goose the out-and-out flyer for the lake although to be honest i would have rather been on the same peg on boulders , on arriving at my peg you could see why it has the recent form as it had a bridge plus aerator to my right and it was also only 13m wide which would be handy if the wind increased during the day as it was forecast to do .As it was a new venue for me today i had done my homework on it and was told that it had a good head of 3 to the pound ide , barbel , carp plus the usual smattering of f1s and as recent winning weights were around the forty pound mark rightly or wrongly i felt that targeting ide was out of the question preferring to go for the bigger stamp of fish and i decided to fish three areas of the peg ;

Dobbing across to the far-bank reeds i plumbed up to find three-foot in front of them so as usual i began six-inch of the deck before working through the layers if i began missing bites my rig was a matrix 0.2 series three float with a spread bulk of number 11 stotz along the 012 garbo line which was direct to a size 16 lwg hook .

Pellet rig i managed to find a flat bottom around 11m at a touch under three-foot my rig was 4×12 malman roob float which had a bulk shotting pattern on the 012 garbo main line just above the short three-inch 010 garbo hook length and my hook was a size 18 lwg .

Channel line i put this towards the aerator at six meters were i found just over five foot my float was a 4×14 malman roob with a carbon stem which had the usual bulk at two foot + two dropper shotting pattern the main line was the usual 012 garbo with a six-inch 010 hook length that had a size twenty lwg hook attached .


My side tray consisted of the usual ;

Two pints red and white maggots

One pint soaked micros

One pint soaked 4mm pellets

One slice of steamed and rolled bread

Small tub of 4mm expanders

The all in sounded at ten o’clock and i decided to spend the first hour dobbing bread across until it got to windy plus it will also give me chance to see where everybody else was fishing before i put bait in on the wrong areas off my peg , i started towards the reeds on the left six-inch of the deck with a 7mm punch of bread on the hook i was lift+dropping the rig so that it fluttered down slowly hopefully catching the eye of a passing carp . It took me awhile to find an area of the far-bank where i got any indications but i still needed to find the depth which the fish were comfortable in and i finally got my first fish at two foot deep it wasn’t the hoped for carp but a barbel not really what i expected to catch , by working my rig in all the gaps between the reed bed i was getting lots of indications which kept me interested although i was struggling to connect with them a change to an 11mm punch before pushing it tight to the tins produced a 1lb chub yet again not what i wanted to be getting and i was on the verge of packing it in when my float buried a sharp lift resulted in yards of elastic disappearing under the bridge before the hook pulled .

The dobbing line really wasn’t working out as i had planned so i decided to bin it off and went on my eleven meter pellet line i tapped in some micros before lowering my rig in among it then waited for a sign of fish , nothing happened so i repeated the process every couple of minutes i hoped that the falling bait would attract the attention of an f1 but thirty minutes past and still nothing nearly two hours of the match had passed with only three fish in the net i was on the verge of blowing another flyer so i needed to have a re-think on what to do next . Every twenty minutes i had put a pot of maggots under the aerator this could be my make or break method today first drop on this line and a little dip on the float resulted in a hand sized skimmer coming to the bank i began a little run of these fish although they wasn’t massive at least i was adding to my net , a change to feeding through a kinder pot resulted in a bigger stamp of silver fish and i had an hour of catching these but i still needed to catch some bonus fish to do any good so when bites on this line died off i decided to rest it for a while .

The wind was gusting quite strong into my right hand margin so i decided to plumb up my three-foot rig along here and started again first with pellets then going to maggots if i needed to with the wind blowing hard it made controlling the rig pretty difficult and a really should have changed to a heavier one , instead of tapping in pellets i decided to feed a full kinder pot then try to hold my rig still over the top of it and it took a couple of these before i had my first indication which was a positive sign not long after i had a skimmer over a pound it didn’t take much longer before i finally had my first carp which at 7lb doubled my weight two smaller ones quickly followed then it understandably slowed so i changed back to my channel line while it rested .

I had kept feeding my aerator swim and first drop i noticed a little dink on the float i half expected it to be another silver but a little shoal of barbel had settled there i managed six on the trot before they backed off , by rotating these two lines i managed to keep a nice stamp of fish coming to the net and it was all going reasonably well until the final forty minutes when back on my channel swim i hooked another big carp it was just about in netting range when i noticed that my landing net had become loose so stupidly rather than scoop it i let the elastic go from the side pulla while i tightened up the net , i replayed the carp again got it back to the net then the hook pulled after a few choice swear words i shipped back out another quick bite and i was attached to a barbel which was no bigger than any other i had caught but for some reason the hook length broke I’m not sure if losing the carp before had weakened it but i couldn’t quite get my head round the reason why , back out again with a fresh hook length on another quick bite resulted in another bumped barbel that was nearly ten pound lost in 15 minutes things were going a bit pear-shaped but i did kind of pull things back with a carp and an f1 strangely my only one of the day .

As the all out sounded i thought i had done reasonably well but as i would be the last to weigh in i would have to wait and see , after i had packed up i caught up with the scales man on Boulders lake as i could be drawn on their next week it was noticeable that this lake was not as affected by the elements the weights were all around the mid twenty pound mark with the top two anglers having over thirty pounds from the high numbered pegs . Back on goose lake and weights again was very similar to Boulders  i was a bit surprised in just how many nets of ide had been caught maybe i had dropped the ball in not fishing for them today , when they got to my peg i had 32lb to beat and i was rather confortant of having more than that although when the scales went round to 36lb it was a bit closer than i imagined .

All in all i ended up first on Goose and second overall so not a bad start to the winter league sitting joint top of the table but very early days yet , i think i have learned a great deal about the lake which i think will put a few extra fish in the net so i will have a think during the week on how best to carry out my ideas and can’t wait to get back there on Sunday .

Limbrick fishery match lake

November 7th , peg four match lake


I had intended on contesting the open match at Partridge lakes but with the rain continuing to pour down and now there was the threat of a strengthening breeze so i decided for an extra few hours in bed , around dinner time it was forecast to get a bit better and luckily for me it did as i spotted some blue skies in the distance this was all the incentive i needed to back my gear into the van before heading off to Limbrick fishery . I arrived at the venue around 1230 and unsurprisingly i was the only person there so with all the lake to choose from i settled on peg four as this would give me chance to give both sides of the water a chance , with only a few hours on the bank i decided to keep it pretty simple choosing to concentrate on dobbing bread which i have never done much of in the past but it will come really useful in the coming winter months .


Dobbing rig , i plumbed up across to the far-bank reeds where i found an average depth of 4 foot so i set my rig at 3 1/2 foot which was six-inch off the deck this is always a good place to start and i also left a longish lash between float + pole tip so this would give me plenty of depth to work with , my float was an 0.2 series three matrix float which had a strung out shotting patterns of number 11 stotz and my line was 012 garbo direct to a size 16 lwg hook .

Pellet rig , between the two reed beds in front of the mud bank i plumbed up to find a flat area at 3ft on both sides which would give me a couple of options regarding feeding and with the wind increasing a bit i decided to use a 4×14 malman roob float with a bulk above the short 3 inch 010 hook length my main line was 014 garbo .


Bait for the day was ;

Small tub 4mm expanders

Half pint soaked micros

Slice of bread cut into 4 pieces with two punches one 7mm the other 10mm

I began dobbing bread in a hole towards the left of my swim i managed to push the rig right in among the reeds with a 7mm disk of bread on the hook and i began lifting+dropping the float but five minutes of inactivity got me moving to another area which was directly in front of me i still stayed at the same depth as i started at because i felt it was right and would only alter it if i began to miss a few bites , another five minutes past without a sign when out of the blue it shot under and after a spirited fight a mirror carp around the 2lb mark hit the net it’s always nice to get your first fish under your belt when using a new method on a relatively new venue . By fishing in the same area of my peg i managed a nice run of ten carp including a couple around the 4lb mark plus a couple of hand sized silvers and it was all so simple really the bites would usually come just as the float settled from lift+dropping the rig with the disc of bread catching their eye as it fluttered down .



In the distance the dark clouds started grouping together and it wasn’t long before the rain started again because the fishery was near rivington it can often get the worst of the weather as the clouds need to lighten their load before going over winter hill which is something to bear in mind if you plan on giving the place a try in the near future , i was struggling to keep my bait dry and the damp conditions had a detrimental effect on my bread that i was using as i could only manage half a dozen punches before it got to fluffy for the hook then kept falling off on the ship out although when i did get it across to the far-bank the carp were still feeding and seemed to be coming even shallower as now 2ft was the best depth to use .


The rain didn’t look like stopping any time soon so i decided to try my pellet swim until conditions improved and i choose to fish on the right side of the mud-bank a bit further up the shelf than were i was catching dobing bread , i wanted to try a different feeding pattern today my plan was that i would begin by sprinkling in a few micros every couple of minutes to try to draw some fish into my feed zone and then when i began catching i would change to dumping the pellets in i hopped this would keep the fish on the deck making them easier to catch well thats what i intended on doing but fishing doesn’t always work out like that . As i mentioned earlier i started sprinkling in the micros and almost instantly i began getting line bites with fish not wanting to stay on the deck this gave me no option but to change to the dumping method earlier than i wanted , this kind of worked as i was managing to keep my hook bait still right over the top of the micros which resulted in me picking off the odd f1 including a couple around the 2lb mark but it was a lot slower than the last time i fished pellets here which was round the other side of the lake and it seemed there was less f1s on the lower number pegs although i may be wrong as this is only my second trip to Limbrick fishery .


With the rain finally easing and some blue sky appearing in the distance i decided to spend my remaining time back dobbing bread because it was definitely the method to use as i was getting more bites using it and the carp were of a nice stamp as well , i had to stick my 14m section on to find another area which held a few fish and yet again i had a good run all caught at about 2ft off the deck and when i started being bothered by the silvers again i changed to a bigger 11mm punch this reduced the amount of indications i was getting but the fish i was getting were of a bigger stamp .After nearly three hours and the light fading fast i decided to call time on a short but enjoyable session here i ended up with thirty fish on my clicker which included half a dozen hand sized silvers for around 30lb i was a bit disappointed with my pellet line but that’s fishing for you and it was obvious that they wasn’t happy feeding on the deck probably down to all the cold rain going in over the last few days .

Weston pools open match

1st November peg one belvedere

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With there being another big seventy peg match at Weston pools this weekend i decided to give it one last go before i gave the place a rest till next easter because in my opinion i feel that it is a better venue when the weather is warmer . A common theme keeps appearing on my matches recently regarding the weather as yet again the heavens opened over night with a week’s worth of rain coming down in just a few hours and this along with the thick foggy cold conditions would not only make the fishing a bit more difficult but also the drive down to the complex a bit problematic baring this in mind i set off on the sixty minute journey slightly earlier than usual luckily everything went ok and i arrived with plenty time to spare .

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After booking on to the match and wishing my mate oggy well done on winning the club angler of the year at partridge lakes the day before , i found out that clay pit wouldn’t be in the draw bag today i didn’t really know what to feel about this because i still hadn’t even seen that water yet and this also meant that all the four lakes would be pretty tightly pegged . As we began queuing for the draw i managed to catch up with a few of the regulars i know to try to get some up to date information on how it would fish today because it had been nearly six weeks since i last visited the fishery , when it came to my turn to choose a peg i pulled out number one on belvedere to be honest i wasn’t impressed because even though i had only fished here a handful of times i had fished the peg opposite during the recent festival and struggled to put a run off fish together .

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On arriving at my peg which was found just behind the tackle shop i had an empty peg either side of me and some open water to target but i was just off the lily pads which were a good carp holding feature i even had Welsh international Ian Leach a couple of pegs too my right so winning my mini section could be hard because of the later than planned draw we only had forty minutes to set up so i choose to fish ;

Top kit , as it was four-foot deep i used a 4×12 malman roob i was going to fish pellets on this line so my shooting pattern was a tightly spread bulk above the four-inch 012 garbo hook length which had a size 18 matrix bagger hook attached .

Top six , this plumbed up just a touch over five-foot and stayed the same depth a meter all around which was good as i planned on using maggots here i used a 4×14 mw slim float which had a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was 014 garbo and hook length was 012 garbo which had a size 18 matrix bagger hook attached .

Margin , which was situated at the side of the platform too my left which i had been advised to do at the draw my float was a 4×12 malman speedy and because i expected some decent fish on this line i stepped up my hook length to an 014 garbo with a size 16 matrix bagger hook .

Shallow i just had enough time to set this rig up and even though there was a couple of fish topping i didn’t really think that it would work in the misty conditions , i used a 4×8 chianti float with 010 garbo direct to a size twenty matrix silver fish-hook .

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Bait today was going to be ;

Two pints of red and white maggots

One pint micro

One pint 4mm pellets

One pint sweetcorn

Small tub of expanders .

As the hooter went off in the distance to signal the start off the match and i began by trickling some micros in on my top kit line directly in front of me after a while i began getting a few indications but nothing positive so i started to lift+drop my rig to try to entice a bite i also started flicking a couple of 4mm pellets at my float hoping that the constant plop plop would draw some fish into this swim , twenty minutes passed and i was still bite less not the start i wanted i was on the verge of trying somewhere else when my float dipped under and i was attached to something decent after a spirited fight i had a 3lb barbel in the net although i really could have done with it being an f1 or carp . Yet again i began getting stupid indications on the float (which i later found out was gudgeon) before i knew it the first hour had flown by with just the solitary fish in the net , i had cupped in maggots every twenty minutes on my six meter line which i hopped that some fish might have settled on but yet again i struggled to get any proper bites and apart from two ide plus a foul hooked carp which i lost that was all that i could manage in the second hour .


I had kinder potted a couple of grains of corn + a few pellets in front of the empty platform so i hopped that my margin swim would get me out of trouble again as it usually does on here but this time it didn’t because it failed to produce a bite all match and it was turning into a real struggle , the guy facing me had caught a couple of big carp by feeding very little at 13m and sitting waiting for an indication i didn’t really have an other option so i decided to follow suit setting up two lines one directly in front of me which was the same five foot depth as at six-meters here i choose to use pellets  but the other swim towards my right was just four-foot deep this would be my really negative corn line .

I started on my pellet line just tapping in a dozen micros through my kinder pot after a few feeds i began getting some indications and after playing about with my shotting pattern i managed to convert these into proper bites as i managed to put a couple of f1s in the net just when i thought  that i might be on for catching a few fish i bumped of two in a row which seemed to disrupt the shoal as after that all i could manage was to foul hook another big carp i kept having a look on my negative corn line but all this produced was a small gudgeon which was a major surprise because it could only just fit the hook bait in its mouth and with an hour remaining of the match i only had about 8lb in the net .


I decided to go back onto my six meter line and with nothing to lose i decided to try to force the peg by loose feeding a dozen maggots twice every five minutes it took a couple of feeds before i began catching a few ide i kept switching between my deck and shallow rigs  by doing this i managed to finally begin putting some fish in the net , a couple of them spewed up some maggots so i decided to cut down the amount that i was feeding the fish kept coming right up to the final whistle and i was kicking myself for not trying it sooner because i doubled my weighed in that time but in these weather conditions i doubted that feeding heavily would have worked so well .

As the scales arrived at my peg i was the first to weigh in with my nets going just under twenty pounds the Welsh international to my right showed his class by doubling my weight but we was the only ones to bother the scales man on this side of the lake , sixty pounds won the match from peg 19 on canal and a mid forty pound net was good enough to get you in the frame in fact just forty pounds got you in the top ten so it was a fair if not hard match i really enjoyed it just a shame that i didn’t sort it out a bit sooner .