Old Hough Boulders , winter league round seven


January 24th , peg 18 boulders

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Today was round seven of Diggle AC winter league at Old Hough and after last weekend when everywhere was frozen solid i was glad to see temperatures gradually rise during the week culminating into the day of the match were it was forecast to hit double figures , the only down side was that all the icy water had gone into the lakes and after looking at the results during the week it had a dramatic effect on the weights so it looked like it could be a bit of a struggle but how wrong was i as you will find out later .After meeting up with the rest of group at the car park towards the side of the two lakes which would be in the draw bag and even after the last match which i won on boulders i still fancied a crack at goose as in my opinion it had more pegs capable of framing , but the draw gods wasn’t kind as i pulled out eighteen on boulders which i had been told was a very good summer peg but in the winter league it has only produced one weight into double figures which was right at the start of the series and my mood didn’t improve when i spoke to the lad who fished it on the last round who struggled for 6lb to finish last on the lake i had no other option but to give it my best shot if i still wanted to stay in contention for a top three finish in the winter league .

On arriving at my home for the next few hours i found it to be a touch over 14m wide and narrowed dramatically to my left where there was a bridge going over to the island which did look inviting but at 18m it was just out of my reach , so i decided to target a few areas which were ;

Channel swim at eight meters to the right of my peg and i started with a 4×14 RW maggie float but i changed to a lighter 4×12 half way through the match because i felt the fish were looking for a slower fall of the hook bait my shotting pattern was a bulk with two droppers , main was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 009 hook length and hook was a size eighteen matrix silverfish .

Far shelf rig which was positioned at ten o’clock near the bottom of the slope here i used a 4×12 malman roob float shotting pattern was a bulk spread a centimeter apart my main line was 014 garbo which had a four-inch length of 010 garbo my hook was a size 18 matrix bagger .

Far bank rig which was a foot away from the island i plumbed up to find 2.5ft deep and my float was a 4×12 RW maggie which had a bulk+dropper shotting pattern i would have prefered to use a lighter float but the wind was quite gusty so i figured this would give me better presentation in the conditions , main line was 014 garbo which had a six-inch length of 009 garbo and my hook was a size twenty matrix silverfish .

Far bank stealth rig although this didn’t work out for me on my last match i felt that this area of the lake would hold more carp and i would have prefered to be dobbing bread but like a tit i forgot to bring any so i had to make do with cupping a few grains of corn every twenty minutes , i positioned this rig tight to the far bank in two foot of water and i used a 4×14 malman roob i hoped that the heavier float would enable me to present a static bait my main line was 014 i also used a stronger 012 garbo hook length which had a size 16 lwg hook .

Bait for todays match was ;

Three pints of red and white maggots

One pint of mixed pellets micros and 4mm

One pint of corn

Small tub of 4mm expanders

When the all in sounded i started my match by feeding a couple of grains of corn onto my far bank swim i would repeat this every thirty minutes and i then went on my pellet line which was found at the bottom of the far shelf , i tapped in a few micros then lowered my rig directly over the top of it and i tried to be really accurate because you are trying to set a little trap for the fish . I expected to catch the recently stocked f1s , crucians or the dreaded small skimmers and It took about three feeds before i had my first bite to be honest i didn’t even see it because all of a sudden yards of elastic streamed out of my pole tip this was no little skimmer more like a nice sized carp , i played this fish rather carefully as not only was i using very light elastic and hook lengths but as i expected it to be a low weight match this carp could represent a third of my final weight , after about five minutes i had it in the net and at around three-pound it was a good start to the day , I went back out hoping that i might get another quick fish but even after a few more feeds i hadn’t managed another indication in twenty minutes even the tiny blades weren’t feeding which was strange .

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I decided to spend no more time using pellets although i would keep feeding it and drop back on it during the match in case i could pick up another bonus carp from there , my next plan of attack was to fish towards the far bank with maggots and i hoped that this along with my channel swim would be the best lines on the day . I started drip feeding a few maggots over the top of my float and i didn’t have to wait long for my first indications , surprisingly i soon began catching chub+ide quite regularly but they was only around the three to the pound mark but at least i was putting fish in the net and i probably made the wrong decision in trying to alter a few things to get a bigger stamp of fish because after changing to feeding with a catty plus altering to an on the drop shotting pattern my catch rate slowed down drastically and what fish i did manage were around two ounce a piece even after reverting back to my original feeding pattern the damage had been done and the fish had moved off .

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Reluctantly i had to go on my channel swim a lot sooner than i imagined which might have been the reason it never really worked for me today because i could only pick three fish at a time before they backed off although they was a bigger stamp at around ten ounce and at least i was giving my far bank line a rest although i had still been feeding it with a catty to hopefully attract some passing fish , i had a quick look on my corn swim but it failed to produce a single indication and so did my pellet line so with just two hours remaining i decided to concentrate on the two maggot lines as these produced bites more consistently . Back on my far bank line i was soon catching fish again but they wasn’t coming as quick as before and i decided to fish even tighter to the bank in a bit shallower water this was a bit of a master stroke as not only did i start catching quicker but they were also a bigger stamp including a couple approaching the pound mark , just like before though the fish wouldn’t settle and i had to keep rotating with my channel swim to keep fish coming to the net but i just couldn’t manage another bonus fish before the all out sounded .

I was a bit unsure how i had got on because i could only see half of the anglers on the lake and i reckoned that i had beat all bar one of them which was the lad on peg twenty who had caught some decent barbel from under the bridge , the scales soon arrived and i was the first to weigh in i was a bit surprised when my net went an ounce under twenty pounds because although i had caught a lot of fish i must have under estimated their size . The lad on peg twenty was next and his net went twenty pounds three ounce which was a bit agonising for me because it was twice that i had lost out on a better finishing position by that amount , the match was won with thirty pounds from peg four which was next to my winning peg from the last round and he also had a lot of barbel so i ended up third which was probably better than i originally thought i could manage at the start of the contest from that peg plus i had a really enjoyable day catching around seventeen pounds of silvers plus one carp .

On goose it had fished really well with thirty pounds needed to make the frame with everyone else catching nearly twenty pounds so that lake fished extremely well but the leader of the winter league had won the match and was now two points clear with just one round remaining so over taking him would be really hard so i think consolidating my third place position will be my aim on the last contest although on these lakes there is a few pegs which you can blow out on so you just never know . I have nothing planned for the weekend fishing wise yet so i will keep an eye on the weather before making a decision and might just have a pleasure outing , on another note i have been lucky enough to get three fisho tickets this year at herronbrook , oaks and partridge lakes so along with a few other big matches my fishing diary is coming along nicely .

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Hewlit pit


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After missing last weekend due to the freezing conditions i decided to grab a few hours fishing on my local water Hewlit pit which is only a ten minute drive from my house but is somewhere which i don’t visit that often , in fact i only managed to grace its banks once last year even though the fishing can be extremely good as it has a very high stocking plus i heard that they had added even more to it this time some chub+ide . I arrived at around one o’clock and i was surprised to see another two hardy souls sitting on the best pegs so i settled down on unlucky for some number thirteen which as far as i can remember was a good area the only trouble would be is the sun glare on the camera this is something that i will need to be aware off if i want to make good recordings , as i was in silverfish mode after my recent winter league exploits that is what i set out to target on today’s session and as i was in an experimental mode i decided to have another go at balling in ground-bait because my only other attempt at doing it was at Horns dam which didn’t go too well and i would be interested to see how i fared using it today even though the conditions for doing so wasn’t the best after all the ice had melted into the water and made it a bit clear .

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I decided to fish two lines today one at six meter the other at thirteen meters and as there was only four-inch difference i was able to use just the one rig which was an 0.4 scone float , my main line was 014 garbo which had a six-inch length of 009 garbo that had a size twenty matrix silverfish and my elastic was solid six preston slip .

I was only fishing for a couple of hours i didn’t need too much bait and i took with me ;

One pint of red and white maggots .

Four pints of mixed frenzied hemp and brown crumb ground-bait .

I started my session by cupping in five orange sized balls on my short line and another three on my long line , not surprisingly it took a good twenty minutes before i started getting indications but not from the silvers i expected to be catching but hand sized f1s and i was thinking that i might have made a mistake so i began cattying in a dozen maggots on my thirteen meter swim to see what response this got me . After a while the roach got in on the act and i had a run of about a dozen fish around the four-ounce mark it was nice fishing just a shame they wasn’t a bit bigger when bites began to tail off i fed another ball of ground-bait and then went to try my long line , i had a lot of trouble trying to get my bait to the deck because the newly stocked finger length chublets were nailing the maggots as it fell through the water they were obviously being attracted by the loose feed i had fired in , i thought it would be best to stop feeding that way preferring to big pot the bait instead this at least allowed me to get my hook bait to the bottom even if i was still catching the small chublets . After a couple of feeds i began to attract a bigger stamp of silver even a few pound sized f1s got in on the act and i was enjoying myself catching a fish every few minutes , with it only being a pleasure session i wanted to catch at a more comfortable six meters because the steep banking can be a bit of a pain when fishing long , first drop on this line and i had a chub nearly two pounds then another and another it was all going swimmingly until a bank walker wearing a fluro jacket put paid to that line unsettling them in the clear water .

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I decided to spend the final thirty minutes back on my long line and started catching hand sized f1s which were fun but it suddenly dropped in temperature and started to get a bit dark so i thought i better start packing up , just as i got home the heavens opened so it looked like i had made the right decision and on the fishing front i had a good three hours catching a dozen f1s a similar amount of big silvers and countless little chublets so a fun packed three hours which blew away the cobwebs . Looking forward to the next to the last round of the winter league at Old Hough on Sunday so lets hope for a good draw and i can catch a few fish , i will be putting up a short video of today’s session in the next few days so keep an eye out for that .

Old Hough winter league round six on Boulders and Goose


January 10th , peg five Boulders

Today was round six of Diggle AC winter league on Old Hough and it was due to take place on lakes Boulders+Goose which i was glad about as it seemed the more consistent of those that i had fished so far , with the league being really tight at the top i needed a good result to stay in contention especially as you can drop your worst two results and mine were pretty poor so i needed a top three finish in the remaining matches . Yet again the weather leading up to todays contest had been a bit iffy with lots of heavy rain plus a drop in overnight temperature although we still had not seen the first frost of the year , but we got lucky on Sunday as it was forecast to be dry with light winds and a reasonable temp for the time of year .

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After meeting up with the rest of the lads at the car park near the lakes we would be fishing and it was soon time for the draw , out i pulled number five on Prospect which i was happy with because going from previous results it seemed to hold a few fish although it wasn’t a noted flyer . On settling in on my home for the next few hours i had an empty peg either side of me and a far-bank which was just short of 14m it had two dead lily pads either side of a nice mud-bank , i felt that a low twenty pound should be required to make the frame today so i decided to target a few areas of my peg that would help me achieve it and these were ;

Pellet line at three-foot, i positioned this swim directly in front of me just a foot away from the far-bank it was a foot shallower tight to it but i didn’t think that the fish would feel comfortable in that depth of water at this time of year , my rig consisted of a 4×12 malman roob float which had a spread bulk shotting pattern , i used 014 garbo main line and attached was a three-inch 010 garbo hook length it had a size 18 matrix bagger hook , elastic was green NG hollo size 8-10 .

Pellet line at four-foot , this was found at the bottom of both slopes and i used a 4×14 malman roob float which had a spread bulk shotting pattern , i used 014 garbo main line and attached was a three-inch 010 garbo hook length it had a size 18 matrix bagger hook , elastic was green NG hollo size 8-10.

Channel swim at six meters i put this at an angle to my left towards the better pegs , my float was a 4×12 RW maggie and shotting pattern was the usual bulk plus two droppers and my main line was the standard 014 garbo which had a six-inch 009 hook length that had a size twenty matrix silver fish-hook , elastic was solid size six preston slip .

Far-bank maggot line it was mainly for the ide which are a nice stamp in here , i used a 4×10 RW maggie float which had an on the drop shotting pattern and my main line was 012 garbo which had a six-inch 008 garbo hook length that had a size twenty gamma black hook attached , elastic was solid size six preston slip .

Bait for the day was ;

3 pints red and white maggots

1 pint soaked micro pellets

1 pint sweet corn

small tub 4mm expanders

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As the all in sounded i put a small cupping kit full of maggots on to my channel swim and a few grains of corn plus micros on a 14m line at the bottom of the far slope towards my right which was well out-of-the-way i used this as my stealth line hoping that a few carp might settle there throughout the day , i continued to feed both swims every thirty minutes before going on them in final two hours of the match that was my plan anyway . I kicked of fishing on my four-foot pellet line which was positioned at two o’clock , i tapped in a few micros before lowering my rig slowly among them and it only took two feeds before i had my first indication which resulted in a hand sized skimmer hitting the net another quickly followed , i was beginning to think i had made a mistake feeding micros but my next fish was a newly stocked 10oz f1and just as i was thinking that i might be on for a few of them the skimmers were back in numbers .

After thirty minutes of catching them with no signs of the f1s returning and the lad to my left catching the odd carp closer to the island ( who i later found out was dobbing bread ) i had no other option other than to pick up my 3ft pellet rig which was further up the slope and yet again a similar pattern emerged catch a few skimmers then a stockie f1 before the skimmers returned , i decided that using micros are not the way to go on here because apart from being midered by small skimmers you are missing out on the many other species in the lake .

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My next plan was to use the far-bank maggot swim which i had fed six maggots every five minutes since the match started so hopefully a few ide had settled on it , i laid my rig out so it fell slowly through the water and just as it reached the deck it shot under with an 8oz chub coming to the bank , i had a good thirty minute spell of catching a mixture of fish between 2-10oz before they backed off and i did not have to wait long to find out the reason as after a while my float shot under then meters of size six elastic came flying out of the pole a nice fight ensued i was lucky that the tiny hook did not pull as i even missed it twice with the net before i finally had the 4lb mirror carp .

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I changed my feeding to putting in a small kinder pot of maggots in every five minutes instead of using the catty i hoped this might keep the fish on the deck and even encourage another carp to settle but unfortunately it had the opposite effect with bites becoming hard to come by , i decided to revert back to pinging a few maggots in and while i built the swim back up i gave my stealth line a try with a piece of corn on the hook . I dragged my rig up the far slope to give it a bit more stability and prepared to wait but it didn’t take long for me to begin getting indications which i kept missing i even put the smallest piece of corn i could find in the bait box but still i failed to hook one ( thinking about it now it must have been the small skimmers again being drawn in by the micros ) all the time i had fished my corn line i had thrown a dozen maggots onto my near swim so i gave this a try but a bite less twenty minutes passed which wasn’t what i was expecting although this had failed to work on both goose+boulders in past matches, another look on my three-foot pellet line resulted in a couple of hand sized crucians before the small skimmers got in on the act and on looking at my watch there was two hours of the match remaining and i had ten pounds on my clicker , from what i could see this had me in front apart from the lad on peg two so i needed to step it up a bit and i just hoped my channel swim would work out for me .

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I made the decision to not waste anymore time on my pellet lines and concentrate on both my maggot swims for the remaining part of the match because these were being the most consistent allowing me a chance for a bonus fish , i picked up my channel rig and five minutes past without a proper bite but i was getting little indications on the float after a while i gave one a big lift and to my surprise i was attached to a barbel this was the last fish i expected to be catching at this time of year , another soon followed and then a couple of roach+ide but when bites started to tail off i refed with another pot but this stopped the bites altogether , it seemed that it would take two feeds twenty minutes apart before the fish would settle but with so much bait on the deck the big silvers were coming in spewing up maggots so they must have gorged themselves and hardly moving which is why the bites were being so delicate .

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I refeed my six meter line with half a cupping kit of maggots and allowed it to settle , i then went back on to my far-bank swim which i had continued to feed with my catty every five minutes whilst fishing my channel swim , i was soon into the chub+ide again although i did start getting midered by tiny roach every now and again. I was tempted to increase the feed but i didn’t want to ruin that line completely as i was still in contention for a top three finish ,so i choose to fish it in spells and every time i came back with a little silver i would feed through my kinder pot if this didn’t bring a better stamp i would go back onto my channel swim, i made a determined effort to lift into every little indication and i was back catching some nice silvers plus another couple of barbel although i did lift into a few phantom bites (need my glasses changing)

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I alternated between the two swims and was catching the odd fish quite regularly right up until the last twenty minutes when bites deserted me on my six meter line , i also tangled my far-bank rig by being to hasty in shipping in+out this meant i had to alter my three-foot pellet rig and to be honest it just wasn’t working right as i began missing a few bites but it did allow me to use double maggot on the hook which might have been the reason although i did manage a 10oz ide five minutes before the all out . It was soon time for the scales to arrive and i followed them around to my peg , strangely the better pegs failed to produce so my main threat was the lad next to me on peg two and he had 19lb most of it caught in the first ninety minutes when dobbing bread to the far-bank reeds catching six small carp , it was now time for me to see if i had managed to catch enough and luckily my net went twenty pounds which was enough to take the win plus my main rivals for the winter league struggled which was a nice bonus .

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I really enjoyed my match today and caught a variety of species , getting bites for most of the day although i did do a few things wrong and I’m still not happy with my feeding but a wins a win , lets hope i can manage a couple more in the remaining winter league matches . The weather towards the weekend is looking a bit dodgy with our first proper night-time minus temperatures so i am leaning towards giving match fishing a miss and if i do go it will be to Limbrick around dinner time when it has warmed up a bit . as there it will give me chance for a bit of dobbing and maggot work similar to what i am doing at Old Hough .

 

Old Hough Big Max


January third , peg ten Big Max

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At the weekend i was due to fish the latest round of the Diggle AC winter league at Old Hough but in the week i found out that there had been a mishap with the booking of the venue , rather than be on lucky dip + prospect we was going to be on Big Max which at first i was rather happy about as it has a big head of large f1s +carp and i had also won my last match on it with a near ninety pounds . Although my happiness soon faded when i found out that the match on it the previous day was only won with thirty pounds with only low teens being required to frame plus they had decided that the match wouldn’t be part of the winter league , the weather over the weekend was forecast to be pretty damp to say the least and on the day of the match it rained constantly from start to finish but at least we hadn’t had a concerted cold spell yet which is good for the start of January .

After my short thirty mile journey to Old Hough i was one of the first to arrive the conditions didn’t look that bad with light drizzle and a slight breeze from left to right although it was due to increase considerably as the day progressed , as the hustle + bustle of the draw took place i ended up with peg ten which i found round the far side of the lake and on arriving at it i had the misfortune of a head wind meaning i was going to get proper soaked it was also noticeable that it was quite colder than the far side i felt it could have an effect on the fishing as well , the peg itself had an island chuck of at least thirty meters and some reed lined margins but the front of my platform was also weedy i don’t think that this peg had been fished a great deal in the past few weeks.

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On settling in at my home for the next few hours i decided to attack it by setting up ;

Matrix 8ft carp master tip rod which i clipped up at 25m because i remembered on my last visit that it was weedy + shallow tight across i also felt the carp or f1s would be happy sitting in the deeper water and as it was a bit colder on this side of the lake i decided to start by using the straight lead with a two foot hook length of 014 garbo that had a size 16 guru hook it also had a bait band attached .

Pole line i plumbed this up at eleven meter which was manageable in the conditions and it also gave me options of going further out later in the match , i decided to use a heavier more stable float with a 4×16 malman roob coming out of the box my shotting pattern was a bulk with two droppers and it had 014 garbo main line which had a six-inch hook length of 008 garbo , attached to it was a size twenty Matrix bagger hook this would allow me to use either pellets or maggots on the hook .

When the all in sounded i cast my lead out to my far bank marker with a yellow buoyant bandam in the bait band which i hoped would stand out in the muddy water and i had intended on pinging a couple of pellets over the top , but the wind was that strong i just couldn’t reach i had to make the most of any quite spells that came along . After ten minutes of inactivity i recast my rig out but this time with a hard 8mm on the hook which was the same as i was trying to feed , this seemed to do the trick because 15 minutes past before my rod was nearly dragged in and i was attached to one of the many large carp in the lake , i was just getting it under control when it darted to my right which broke my hook length and it was probably my fault as i had not tied up a fresh hook choosing instead to use one from a few years back worse was to follow when i found out i didn’t have any more long enough .

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After rummaging through my hook length box i found one that was around a foot in length but after casting back in it just didn’t feel right and i decided to start using a pellet feeder as at least this would allow me to get some bait near my hook bait , i had three quick casts every five minutes to try to get some fish to settle in the area and then began the wait for a bite , ten minutes passed then twenty without even a liner and i was on the verge of giving up before going on the pole when my tip pulled round by keeping my rod low , bumping and winding i soon had a big 2lb f1 in the net . I cast back out with renewed vigour hoping that a couple more had settled on the feed but yet again i was in for a bit of a wait and it took another ten minutes before my next pull round but it did result in a similar sized f1 on looking around the lake this put me in front , i then had a thirty minute spell of inactivity and decided to go on to my pole line to pick up a few silvers and maybe the odd f1 as this would at least allow me to keep adding fish to my net , i began by feeding a full kinder pot of pellets before lowering my expander hook bait among it and then proceeded to keep my rig still over the top of it this resulted in a couple of missed indications but when i did finally connect with one it turned out to be a 4oz skimmer not exactly what i was looking for especially as bites were really hard to come by .

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Another thirty minutes on the tip did not produce a single liner so back on the pole i went but i decided to change it for maggots hoping this might get me among the large head of roach , i began catching small silvers around 1oz a piece but i was struggling to get a bigger stamp and i started to feed a full kinder pot after every fish to try to get a bit of bait on the deck , i also changed my shotting pattern to a bulk + single dropper because i felt that the small roach were intercepting the bait as it fell so hopefully my increased feed would help pin them to the deck and might even drag in a bigger stamp by doing that i did pick up the odd four ounce silver among the bits . When the bites began to slow down i had another look on my tip rod but this time i began getting the odd liner which at least showed that a few bigger fish had made their way around from the other side of the island , although i didn’t get any proper indications and thinking about it now i should have kept clipping up closer + closer towards me until i had a proper pull round because it seems obvious that the fish were settled in deeper water .

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Back on the pole and i was considering putting in a line further out but with the wind still gusting badly plus the lads either side of me who was fishing at 16m were not catching any quicker than my short line and in fact it was easier for me to put a few fish in the net , i spent the last hour fishing the pole on my short six meter line and among the plentiful small silvers i managed my biggest fish of the day which was a 3lb f1 it came in really easily even on my solid six elastic but it felt like a block of ice , unfortunately i didn’t manage any more before the all out sounded and to be honest i was glad to call time on what was a pretty poor match as i hadn’t caught a great deal like most people around me plus i was soaked through . When the scales arrived at my peg 13lb was in the lead and my net went a surprising 10lb that lost carp cost me dear you just can not make mistakes at this time of year because it would have been more than three-quarters of my match weight , as i began packing up the rain stopped wind dropped and the sun came out Typical ! !

As i got back to the van i heard that 20lb had won so i ended up third which i was sort of happy with because other than the lost carp i don’t think that i could have done a great deal different , back on the winter league next weekend this time it’s on boulders+goose lets hope i can finish in the top three which should keep me in contention and I’m looking forward to getting amongst the recently stocked f1s let’s just hope the weather is a bit better for fishing .