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 .