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 .
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
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 .
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 .
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 .
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 .
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)
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 .
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 .