November 29th , peg nine prospect
Today was the third round of the Diggle AC winter league which was due to take place on lucky dip + prospect these were another couple of lakes that i hadn’t fished before at Old Hough so as usual for me i did a bit of homework before hand on how best to tackle them and i learned that there was a good head of skimmers in them both but you needed to target the carp tight across to be in with a chance of framing plus there is a large head of nuisance bits which could be a problem or in my case they was a godsend as you will find out later. Yet again the weather leading up to the match had been up and down there seemed to be a bit of a common theme occurring recently, today we was faced with the back-end of a hurricane with 60 mph gusty winds forecast and some heavy rain the latter thankfully never arrived although the conditions i faced were the worst i had ever fished in.
On arriving to Old Hough i made my way round to the back of the complex were the two lakes i was due to fish were situated. Upon driving past west sooty it resembled the north sea and i just hoped it wouldn’t be as bad on lucky dip + prospect pleasantly it wasn’t with a couple of trees managing to block out the worst of it on a few pegs it was even flat calm ! ! Obviously these were the ones everybody wanted to be sat on and as the draw began i hung towards the back of the crowd , i picked out peg nine on prospect just the usual end peg flyer which had the bonus of the wind blowing towards and it looked really fishy with a reed lined margin plus the point of the island to target although i did find out after the match that those pegs down that end wasn’t the best .
With the weather being as bad as it was i decided not to set up too many rigs choosing to target ;
Channel at eight meters were i plumbed up to find a touch over five foot which i put in between the margin and the point of the island because of the conditions i used a 4×16 malman roob and the shotting pattern was the usual bulk + two droppers my main line was 012 garbo which had a six-inch 008 garbo hook length attached was a size twenty gamma black hook .
Bottom of near slope here i found around four-foot and as i was fishing on the drop i choose to use a 4×12 tbf cult float with a spread bulk of number ten stotz my main line was 012 garbo which had a six-inch 008 garbo hook length attached was a size twenty gamma black hook .
Dobbing rig which i was going to do down the length of the long reed lined margin it was three-foot deep here so i used an 03 matrix series three float which had 012 garbo direct to a size16 guru lwg hook and i started six-inch of the deck but would work the depths till i hopefully found a few carp .
Feeder rig i used an eight foot matrix carp master rod and as i was only chucking 16m i had a 15 gram small pellet feeder which had a short four-inch 014 hook length that had a 16 lwg hook attached with a micro pellet band .
My side tray had an array of bait for a change ,
Two pints of red and white maggots
One pint of soaked micros with a dusting of f1 dark ground-bait
One slice of steamed rolled bread cut into four pieces with a 7mm and 11mm punch
Small tub of 4mm expanders
Small tub of 4mm white soft hook pellets
Small tub of hard pellets
When the all in sounded i proceeded to put two balls of micro pellets onto my eleven meter line through my kinder pot because i had stupidly left my cupping kit at home as i had decided to use my carp today pole which i felt would cope with the conditions a lot easier and it was in side my other pole ,although i didn’t really think that this would hinder my fishing as i expected it to be quite hard going with all the recent cold rain going into the lake . After feeding my pellet line i started my match by dobbing bread all along my left hand reed lined margin and with the wind blowing that way too i really expected there to be a few carp present but yet again at Old Hough i never had an indication despite trying various depths and pushing my rig in between all the gaps in the reeds after thirty minutes of trying i decided to waste no more time doing it so i went on my pellet line hoping that a couple of skimmers had settled on my earlier feed , after laying my rig in over the top of the micros i held it tight against the wind it didn’t take long before my float slid under a firm strike resulted in a foot of size six solid elastic sliding out of the pole tip and i put the net under an 8oz skimmer which was a good start but my next bite resulted in me coming back with half an expander then i landed a 2oz skimmer then a micro gudgeon not what i wanted , i reefed with another ball of pellets which resulted in my line fading so i scattered in some loose micros creating a bigger feed area for the skimmers to settle before leaving it to settle for a while .
Since the match started i had thrown six maggots onto my top three-line which was at the bottom of the near slope so that was my next line of attack and i began laying my rig through the loose feed this resulted in a fish a chuck but they were from 1oz silvers , with so many of them present i figured that there couldn’t be much bait reaching the deck were i felt the bigger stamp would be more comfortable so i doubled the amount i was throwing in and put all my weight above the hook length i thought this would get my hook bait to the bottom quicker but the little fish were still taking it on the drop . I had noticed that the two anglers towards my right had caught the odd carp + f1 by fishing tight across to the island fishing corn they could cope with the wind as it was a lot calmer on those pegs with just the odd strong gust where i had it blowing constantly over my shoulder , i did reluctantly set up a line across at 14m which was half way down the far slope but with no corn on my side tray i decided to use pellets because i felt this would limit the amount of silvers i would be catching as this last thing i wanted would be to ship all that way across and come back with a tiny fish , after persevering on this line for nearly half an hour feeding every five minutes with micro through a kinder pot all i could manage was a couple of 4oz skimmers but with the wind getting stronger it was hard work keeping the rig still .
Yet again i went back onto my 11m pellet line where i had earlier feed some micros but all i could catch here was tiny silvers again and i needed to find a couple of bonus fish to get me back into the contest and i figured the best place for me to do this was to fish across so out came the feeder rod with a yellow bandum on the hook which was the closest i had to a piece of sweet corn , i started by plopping in my tiny pellet feeder over my 14m line but even after casting every five minutes this failed to produce a single liner in a twenty-minute spell so i decided to go tighter to the far bank and set up a new swim in between the two reed beds after a couple of quick casts to get some feed there i began leaving my rig in for around ten minutes in case the disturbance of the feeder going in had pushed the carp out of the swim this kind of worked as i began getting the odd liner but even after ringing the changes with the hook bait i couldn’t get a positive bite .
Before i knew it i had spent an hour putting nothing in the net so yet again it was time for a change so i set up a new line towards the left hand reeds but choose to use maggots here as i felt that pellets wasn’t the right bait to use today , i began kinder potting in maggots every five minutes and tried to keep my rig still on the bottom but yet again i was getting bombarded by small silvers plus the wind was getting atrocious so i packed most of my pole away as i decided to concentrate on my top three-line for the remaining ninety minutes . I knew that i was way off the pace for framing so it was damage limitation time as the winter league was being run on overall points and if i was only catching small silvers at least i was adding weight to my net , i was soon catching a fish a chuck mainly 2oz roach but if i did get my bait to the deck i did pick up a couple of 8oz ide and i tried various feeding patterns + shotting patterns to try to attract a better stamp but to be honest i never really managed to work it out although i did catch nearly sixty fish before the all out .
As i was packing my stuff away i didn’t really know how my net compared to the other anglers i knew that the lads to my right had done well but everyone else seemed to be struggling the same as me , the weigh in soon started with two low twenty pound weights coming from peg five and seven then my net went nearly eight pound which was more than i had thought i must have caught nearly 4lb in that last ninety minute spell i was kicking myself for not concentrating on it for longer as only ten pound got fourth on the lake . Lucky dip had fished even harder than prospect as only 13lb won it although it did have to put up with the worst of the conditions and it was strange that my weight was the best from all the eight corner pegs with the middle ones producing better , as all the results were reckoned up i ended up fifth so yet another bad day at the office where i could have done much better if i had known the water a bit more but on the plus side I’m still up towards the top of the league , i failed to lose or break anything and it didn’t rain .
Back to Old Hough again next Sunday for round four of the winter league this time it’s back on boulders+goose and looking at this week’s open match on boulders were seventy pounds won i hope to finally draw on it .