Old Hough winter league

13th November , peg 14 Lucky dip


Today was the third round of my winter league and we would be on prospect+lucky dip , i had fished prospect a couple of times last year and to be honest i had struggled so wasnt really looking forward to it , but with my disappointment on the last round where i finished fifth i really needed a good result to keep me towards the top of the table and after speaking to a few lads who fished there quite regularly they pointed me in the right direction regarding tactics , so at least i had some sort of game plan on the day of the match even if it took me out of my comfort zone .The weather leading up today’s contest  had been quite reasonable for the time of year with a slight raise in temperatures plus light winds which made a nice change because both times we fished here last year its was near gale force ,so after a pretty standard trip down to Old Hough with yet more road works on the M6 and then i had to navigate two sets of diversions near the fishery which made me a bit later than i usually arrive but i still had time to have a look at a couple of pegs in the draw bag that i wouldn’t mind being on .


When i got back to the car park i didn’t have too long to wait before the draw took place and after the mad rush subsided i took my turn , i pulled out number 14 on Lucky dip this was situated towards the top end of the lake near the car park and as i hadn’t fished this lake before i was a bit unsure on what to expect , on settling in at my home for the next few hours i had a dead reed bed to my right and some lily pads coming from the far bank at just over 14m away and with this in mind i decided to set up .


Top four at the bottom of the near slope positioned towards the side of the dead reed bed to my right and i was surprised to find a touch over 4ft , i was planning on loose feeding casters on this line so choose to use a 4×12 maggie float with an on the drop shotting pattern , i hoped this would allow me to pick up some silvers as my rig fell through the waters and my main line was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 010 garbo hook length attached .

Channel swim at eleven meters positioned towards the left of my peg and after plumbing up i found almost six-foot , i was going to be feeding balls of ground-bait on this line and i expected to catch in the bottom third of the water .so i used a 4×14 maggie float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern and my main line was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 010 garbo hook length attached .

My next swim was for in front of the lily pads at 14m it was also 4ft deep but because i expected to catch a few carp , i decided to step things up a little so used a 4×14 maggie float and my main line was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 012 garbo hook length attached , my shotting was a bulk plus dropper but i could alter this to an on the drop pattern if i required during the match .

I also set up a rig to fish tight to the far bank but as it was only a touch over two foot i didn’t expect to catch a great deal on it , so i decided to use it as a negative corn line feeding just a couple of grains every twenty minutes , i was hoping that doing this i could attract a couple of passing carp into swim and i used a 0.4 matrix series three float which would give me lots of stability when fishing so far across , my main line was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 012 garbo hook length attached .

My bait for the day was ;

2 pints of casters

1 pint of corn

2 pints of ground-bait


When the all in sounded i fed two balls of ground-bait + casters onto my channel swim , then i began fishing my top four line i started loose feeding a dozen casters over the top of my float and began laying my rig in through the water , i had expected to be catching small silvers straight away before a bigger stamp of fish moved in but it took a good thirty minutes before i had my first indication which i bumped off and with the two anglers on end pegs to my right had began picking up the odd carp i was already well behind , so i decided to follow suit but instead of going tight over to the far bank straight away i started in front of the lily pads and at first i began kinder potting in some casters but it was only when i began cattying in casters that i started getting bites , the fish i was catching were only 4oz chub+ide but at least i was putting something in the net and after a while the activity on this line caught the attention of a passing carp because my next fish took my hook bait on the drop before bolting right into the pads snagging me up , the disturbance obviously killed my far bank swim so i decided to see if anything had settled onto my channel line but i was still going to feed it with my catty .

On my channel swim i decided to use double caster because i wanted to avoid the attention of any small silvers this meant i had quite a wait for an indication but when they did materialise it was only the slightest tremor on the float tip more like your winter f1 bites however the fish were all quality as i had a run of half a dozen big skimmers , as the fish werent putting up much of a fight i decided to get up and change my elastic I’m not sure if this was the reason but bites began to tail off , i had to choose away of topping up my swim so i put in a small ball of ground-bait through my kinder pot and also fed some casters with it , this prolonged the swim for a little while but when i began catching chub plus some smaller hand sized skimmers i felt that even in these cold conditions i needed to top up with two big balls of ground-bait .


while i let my feed settle i had a look on my other swims but all that i could manage was five small chublets , the two anglers towards my right were picking up carp every so often and i decided to try fishing tight to the far bank in two foot of water , i put all my shot under the float and with a couple of casters on the hook this would allow for a slow fall which should hopefully get me a couple of carp , i started in front of the lily pads so was about half depth this produced an odd chub but it was only when i went tight across that i managed my first carp of the day , i never had more than one bite in the same place and i really should have been a bit more active by adding another section , this would have opened up more water for me to go at but it would also mean that i needed to break down twice and i didn’t fancy doing that , my next carp took me by surprise and had me in the reeds before i could react this killed the swim so i decided to drop back on my channel swim to see if anything had settled on it .


I was still getting the odd indication but now i was missing majority of them and those i did catch were of a very small stamp , i even tried single caster on the hook but strangely the fish didn’t want to know and i had a really frustrating hour where i hardly put anything in the net , i put in another channel swim to my right but just fed it negatively incase i had over done it on my other line in the cold conditions i kinder potted in half a dozen caster and a tiny ball of ground-bait , i then held my rig really still over the top of it and waited for an indication but a fruitless twenty minutes had me back onto my original channel swim . Thankfully it seemed that a few fish had settled on to it and it might have been down to the time of day because there was only an hour of the match remaining , i then had a really good spell of catching some good fish and i had a proper mixed bag i even managed an unseasonal tench which put up a good fight in the colderning conditions , the all out came a bit soon for my liking and i knew that my quiet spell in the match would cost me especially as the lad too my left had managed a good run of carp in the closing stages of the match , i felt that i had finished fourth at best today and i really struggled to catch any carp across those that i did hook i lost in the lily pads .


As i began packing up i heard a few of the lads had struggled on both lakes especially towards the opposite end of the lake and it looked like the fish wanted to be out of the cold wind today , when the scales made their way round to me i managed 27lb which was more than i thought i had caught this put me second on the lake but the two end pegs to my right where yet to weigh in , surprisingly the lad at the side of me only had 24lb as he seemed to have caught carp for most of the day but the guy on the other end peg had 39lb which took the lake win and pushed me down to third which is were i stayed , so after an enjoyable but frustrating match i finished third which keeps me up towards the top of the table although not for long because i am missing the next round as it clashes with the teams of four at Partridge lakes but you’re allowed to drop two of your worst results so with four rounds left it is still all to play for .



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