Today was the last round of Diggle AC winter league at Old hough and we was due to fish on Boulders + Goose which i was happy about as these waters had fished a lot better during the series of matches , i was in a good position towards the top of the league table and i was looking for a draw which would give me a chance of a few fish to consolidate it but in the back of my mind was that i could draw in one of the poor areas because there was some pegs that had not produced all winter . The weather leading up to the match wasn’t that bad for the time of year a bit cold but nothing to worry about or so i thought as i made the thirty mile trip to the venue the temperature just dropped and dropped , when i got of the motorway it was think with frost then i spotted the odd duck pond in the farmer’s field frozen over not what i wanted to see and i was hoping that the lakes at Old Hough wouldn’t be the same but as i approached the lakes we would be fishing majority of it had a lid on it ! !
After unpacking the van the rest of the anglers were in deep discussion on what we should do and it was decided that we would break the ice on all the pegs in the draw bag so nobody would have the disadvantage of doing it on their own we also delayed the all in till 1030 , as everyone mucked in clearing the ice we soon had the pegs clear but i did notice that the flyer pegs 16+18 on Goose and pegs 20+5 on boulders were already free from ice and would no doubt be the pegs everyone wanted i know that i did .
As you can see the ice in my peg isn’t that thick but it has been broken out a bit more than i would have liked , i just hope all the disturbance has not upset the fish too much .Usually you find that the water is warmer actually under the ice so i am going to position my two channel swims tight to it ;
On the left hand side i will be using pellet because the last i fished this peg that is where i managed to pick up the bonus carp , i will be using a 4×14 malman roob float with 014 garbo main line and a six-inch length of 010 garbo hook length attached to it was a size twenty matrix silver fish pattern , i would feed the swim with a kinder pot of micros and ground-bait every thirty minutes occasionally dropping on it during the match although i wont be wasting too much time on it as i am only expecting the odd bonus fish .
On the right hand side i choose to use maggots because i think this will be the best bait to use today it is also positioned towards the open water which was not frozen so obviously not been disturbed by the ice breaking and i expect this to be my most productive swim due to the cold conditions . i am using a 4×12 RW maggie float with an on the drop shotting pattern allowing for a slow fall of the hook bait my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was a slightly lighter 008 which had a size twenty matrix silver fish hook attached , i decided to feed this swim with half a cupping kit of maggots every half hour and top up through a kinder pot when fishing it .
Along the far-bank i was in a bit of a quandary on which depth to start in and finally settled on three-foot which was a couple of feet down the slope , i used a 4×10 RW maggie float with an on the drop shotting pattern my main line was 014 garbo and hook length was 008 garbo which had a size twenty matrix silver fish pattern , i started off tight to the ice towards the right and would began feeding by trickling in maggots through a kinder pot this would hopefully attract the attention of any passing fish without over feeding them . I also had a dobbing rig set up to push in between the reeds this would hopefully pick up a carp or two i used a 0.3 matrix series three float which had two number 11 stotz spread down the line the rest of the shotting was under the float , my main line was 014 garbo and i had a slightly stronger 010 hook length with a size 16 matrix bagger hook attached as it was only two foot deep i left a longish line between float and pole tip so as not to scare the fish off .
On my bait table i had a mixture of pellets and ground-bait but will be mostly concentrating on maggots as i expected chub+ide to be the main species i would be targetting today , i also had a couple of slices of bread for dobbing .
The first two hours of the match where really slow going as i only managed to catch a couple of chub one on my maggot line tight to the ice and the other dobbing bread , but even though i worked all along the far-bank with both rigs i failed to get a single indication and it was the same on my channel swim which wasnt that surprising as al the ice had started melting lowering the water temperature and dropping to the bottom of the lake .
With things not working as i would have liked on my three-foot line i got off my box and set up a 4ft rig all the lines + hooks were the same i just upped the float size to a size 4×12 RW maggie yet again i began by drip feeding the maggots in but this didn’t get the desired response so with nothing to lose i began feeding quite heavy using a small kinder pot every five minutes and out of the blue i had three quick fish then nothing .
With the temperature gradually increasing i noticed a few fish top along the far-bank and i decided to give my three-foot rig another try , this produced a chub straight away taking the bait on the drop so out came the catty and i managed to sneak a couple more out by rotating between the two lines i managed a dozen chub+ide .In the last forty minutes the sun went behind the clouds making it feel a lot colder and all my indications stopped so i decided to spend the remaining time on my channel swim this would also give me chance of a bonus fish but the only bites i could manage were from tiny skimmers and when the all out sounded i was unsure how i had got on because i could only see a couple of other anglers .
As i began packing up the scales came round and i was the first to weigh in on my lake the 12 chub+ide plus a few skimmers went just under 7lb which was about what i thought , the conditions really put paid to any chance of getting a decent weight and i felt that i never got to grips with the peg as drip feeding did not produce then when i fed a bit heavier the fish i caught were spewing up maggots ! ! Peg twenty was the next to put his fish on the scales which took the lead with 10lb and he caught all his fish under the bridge were the water must have been a couple of degrees warmer , the next couple of anglers really struggled as they failed to break 3lb and the last angler to weigh in put just over 7lb on the scales to knock me back down to third so for the second match running a matter of ounces had prevented getting me a better finishing position which i knew would cost me in the league .
On getting back to the car-park the final league positions were ready to be announced ;
First place was Graham with 13 points
Second place was Ian with 14 points
Joint third place was me and JP with 15 points
So like i originally thought my last couple of matches were i just missed out had cost me a better finishing position but to be honest the real damage was done in the earlier rounds when i fished some shocking matches as i was getting used to the venue because i had not been here before and was expecting it to be your standard f1 fishing not the un orthodox chub+ide but you live and learn .