January 24th , peg 18 boulders
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 .
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 .
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 .