December 13th , peg six canal
Today i was to be standing in for my mate the big dipper in the teams of four winter league at Horns dam which was another new venue for me to try i had done a lot of silver fishing this winter rather than the targeting f1s which is probably why he asked me , i didn’t really know a great deal about the fishery even the information i could find on the internet was rather sketchy and apart from it being full of small silvers with people using large amounts of ground-bait that was all i could find so i would be going into the match a bit blind but i was looking forward to the challenge .
The days leading up to the match had been the usual wind and lots of heavy rain especially on Saturday today it was dry + calm but we had to contend with a drop in temps plus the first frost of the winter not good , after packing my van i headed off on the thirty mile trip to Preston it was noticeable that the degrees were dropping with lots of frosty fields the further i travelled . As i arrived to the venue i was for a change the last person there and in my absence the Jeffs floats team had decided to let me do the draw because apparently i am rather good at it , so after picking three pegs out for the lads on the dam it was time to pull out a peg for myself on the canal and my home for the day was number six this was just over half way along the stretch which is usually the best place to sit when trying somewhere new .
As i mentioned earlier i had never fished this lake before so i purposely took my time getting to the peg so i could have a good look on where everyone was setting up there swims so i could follow suit and nearly everyone was putting two swims in one at four meter the other 13m , the canal was more like an elongated tear shape and i was towards the narrower end but it was still a good twenty meter wide after plumbing up on my near line i found it to be nearly five foot but the further i went out the shallower it went so i decided to put this in at four meters which was right on the crease of the lake bed . On top of the shelf it was around four-foot deep i was in a bit of a quandary because i wanted to fish further out than those around me which i felt would give me an advantage but i also wanted to make sure i would be able to fish it if the wind got up so i settled on 15m i decided to set up just three rigs today ;
Top four line i set up two rigs to cover this swim the first was a 4×12 tbf cult float which had a bulk plus two droppers shotting pattern and my main line was 012 garbo which had a six-inch hook length of 009 garbo with a size 20 matrix silver pattern , the other rig was an on the drop pattern so i used an 4×10 tbf cult float my main line was 012 garbo which had a six-inch hook length of 009 garbo with a size 20 matrix silver pattern the elastic on both rigs was size six matrix solid .
Far line i expected this swim to produce more bonus fish with maybe the odd carp so i slightly stepped up the rig i used a more positive 4×14 rw maggie float which had a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern my main line was 014 garbo with a six-inch length of 012 garbo and hook was a size 18 matrix bagger hook my elastic was ng green 8-10 hollo .
Bait for the day was ;
One pint red maggots
Two pints of casters
One pint of corn
Four pints of ground-bait which was a mixture of 50/50 brown crumb and dynamite baits frenzied hemp which i added two hand fulls of casters .
Yet again when the all in sounded i hung back a bit until i found out just how many balls of ground-bait the other anglers decided to put in on each line , i put two tightly squeezed tangerine sized balls in on my four meter line plus another cupping kit full of loose ground-bait and i then put three similar sized balls onto my far line with another of loose ground-bait plus corn which would hopefully allow a bigger stamp of fish to settle on it . I then began the match using my strung out rig with a single caster on the hook it took awhile before i got my first fish which was a micro perch not the start i wanted especially as everyone else was picking up roach quite often while i was struggling for bites i just couldn’t work out what i was doing wrong , i didn’t feel comfortable wearing my jacket as it restricted my movement so even in the very cold conditions i had to take it off this helped me focus my attention on getting a few bites and also allow me to begin loose feeding over the top of my float .
I changed to my more positive rig and began sprinkling in maggots through my kinder pot this finally got me a few fish but it was only when i began laying my rig in against the wind then allowing it to run through did my peg really kick off i had about forty minutes of a fish a chuck all roach around 2oz a piece , i then hit in to something bigger as a few meters of my elastic came rushing out the pole tip after a short fight up popped a perch over a pound but just when i was about to net it the tiny hook pulled out of its boney mouth this understandably disrupted the shoal of roach so i fed another loose ball of ground-bait on this line before giving my long line a try ,
It didn’t take to long before i began getting indications on my far swim and at first they was a similar size to what i was catching on my top four line as i was the only angler fishing that far out i didn’t know if i was doing the right thing but at least i was putting fish in the net plus it gave the fish on my short line a chance to settle down a bit , i decided to begin topping after every couple of fish by filling half my large kinder pot with maggots or casters then capping it off with my original ground-bait mix after a while i began to attract a lot better stamp of silver most around hand size plus i picked up a couple of bonus skimmers averaging around the 10oz mark i had to wait longer between bites but i felt they was worth waiting for when the small silvers got in on the act again i decided to refed a ball of groundbait before going on to my short line while it rested .
My top four line was very hard work as i couldn’t put a run of bites together and those i did land were a lot smaller than what the other anglers around me was catching so i began spending longer and longer on my 14m swim , this was putting a lot of pressure on it and as a result towards the last hour of the match bites really began to tail off i don’t think i helped things when i bumped off two nice skimmers in consecutive put ins this was due to my size eight elastic being too strong and i really should have changed it to a size six but at this point of the match my hands really weren’t working in the cold wet conditions it just goes to show the importance of setting up correctly before the match starts but i did feel this swim could produce a carp or two which never materialized . I decided to drop right down to a size 008 hook length with a size twenty matrix silver fish hook to see if this could help me Winkle out a couple more fish in this hard part of the match and i did manage a couple of hand sized roach before the all out sounded which called time on yet another difficult contest and i don’t think that i ever got to grips with how the fish wanted to feed today .
As i began packing up i started thinking on what i could have done different today and apart from put in a pellet line in long for the skimmers instead of the ground-bait but in all honesty i didn’t expect them to play such an important part in the match , i would have also put my near swim another section out but before the all in i was confident that the bottom of the crease towards the deeper water was the place to be , i should have also set up my tip rod using either maggot or open-ended feeder because the guy a couple of pegs to my right was the only person to use it but picked up some nice stamp silvers casting a meter from the far bank before he broke his rod .
They started the weigh in at the high numbers and when they reached me 18lb was leading the way my net went 11lb which is more than i had thought the guy to my right only put 4lb on the scales but after that the further you went the better the catches went culminating in the last two pegs getting first and second with 24lb + 30lb with the last weight included nearly twenty pound of carp and was the only peg to produce one , i put the increase in weights down to the fact it gets a lot wider towards that end plus i heard it was nearly a foot deeper as well which the fish would have been more happy sitting in and in the end i finished fifth in section not my best days fishing although the canal was a lot better than the dam as lots of people struggled to get over 4lb on there .
Back to my winter league at old hough next Sunday where we will be on lucky dip or prospect let’s just hope the wind isn’t too bad because you really need to fish at 16m to pick up the carp and i am toying with the idea of feeding balls of ground-bait in on my channel swim which could help the skimmers settle but i haven’t decided yet , i am also looking forward to getting back on the banks of partridge lakes for the christmas match as i haven’t been there in ages and i have almost forgot what an f1 looks like .