Old Hough Fishery , Winter league

Peg 16 Goose lake , December 11th

Goose lake

Today i was back at Old Hough fishery in Cheshire for the next to the last round of my winter league and after missing a couple of matches due to other fishing commitments i needed a framing place on both remaining matches if i was going to stay towards the head of the table , but this would need a lot of luck in the draw bag because it has emerged from this years results that there was a few areas on boulders+goose that you just couldn’t compete from , after last weeks frozen spell it had finally began to warm up a touch as we was nearly touching double figures  but this meant we had a lot of rain to contend with especially overnight and as result i was unsure how things would pan out today although with lots of silver fish being in the lakes i was sure that i could Winkle out a few bites .

After a pretty straight forward drive to the fishery for a change ( M6 is a nightmare ) i arrived with plenty time to spare and after having a quick look at the lakes in the draw bag i noticed that they was pretty coloured which is only to be expected with all the recent rain , i felt that this wasn’t ideal when targeting silvers plus there was an easterly wind to contend with although to be far it was only a slight breeze but might become a problem if it increased during the contest , i also expected the fish to be settled out of it as well which is where the normally bad pegs are found so it could make things a bit interesting today .It was soon time for the draw  and i decided on another early dip in the bag of doom as it worked for me last time , lo and behold i ended up with the exact same peg as my last match here peg 16 goose which i was really pleased with because it had framed on nearly every match on the winter league plus i had a couple of ideas on how to drag out a few more pounds because i don’t feel like i fished it to its full potential last time even though i managed second with 13lb of silvers .


On settling in at my home for the next few hours i decide to set up ;

4ft maggot rig this would cover both margins against the dead reed beds and also half way down the far bank slope , i used a light 0.2 maggie float with a bulk+dropper shotting pattern my main line was the usual 014 garbo and attached to it was an 010 garbo hook length with a size 20 guru maggot hook .

Channel swim were it was nearly 6ft deep , i plumbed up various parts of my peg 6m right+left then 13m towards my left where it was the widest part of my peg and i had noticed a few fish topping on both my last matches here ,it sloped slightly from left to right but only by about two-inch so i was able to use the same rig and my float was an 03 maggie float with a bulk+2 droppers shotting pattern  my main line was the usual 014 garbo and attached to it was an 010 garbo hook length with a size 18 guru maggot hook .

Farbank rig for fishing corn against the reeds , i found a touch over two foot at the point of the island to my left and similar to my right were there was a dead reed bed , i used a matrix series three float which had my usual 014 garbo main line and upped my hook length to an 012 garbo because i expected to be targeting carp on these two swims .

My bait for the day was ;

2 pints of red and white maggots

1 pint of maggot mulch ground-bait

1 tin of corn

Small tub of 2+4mm expanders

When the all in sounded i began by feeding half a dozen grains of corn plus a nugget of ground-bait on both of my across swims i planned on trying here occasionally during the match hoping to catch an odd carp which is something that has let me down on my matches in this winter league because the lack of a bonus fish has cost me a better place on nearly every one of them and also put half a cup of maggots onto my 13m left hand long line as i wanted to leave this as long as possible so that a few of the bigger ide might settle on it . i started my match on my left hand channel swim which is where i caught most of my fish when i last fished this peg although i was using pellets then and this time i decided to use maggots because i did catch quite a few fish but they was mainly small crucians+skimmers but as i really wanted to target the ide today which weighed twice as much so it would be easier for me to build up a good weight , things started really slowly for me as i only managed to catch two ide but i hoped that by continuing to feed my swim regularly with a kinder pot of maggots every few minutes i would then hopefully be able to draw a few more fish into the peg .

After twenty minutes it wasnt really improving but on looking around the lake it seemed nobody was catching a great deal and most of those within eye shot had decided to sit it out for a bonus fish  , i felt that i might have made a mistake not starting with pellets because no doubt this would produce a few bites for me and i really needed to be catching constantly incase somebody was going to bag a couple of carp ,so i set up another line to my right at six meters where it was only a couple of inch deeper but this time i fed a small ball of ground-bait then fished a 4mm expander over the top and this finally got me a run of fish but as i expected they were off a small stamp but at least i was putting something in the net while i had a think about my next move . The first hour flew by and i had less than two pounds in the net but i had seen the lad to my left catch a small carp which was bigger than my net of fish , so i decided to give my far bank swims a try to i began on my right hand one at the side of some over hanging reeds , i lowered by rig in with a small piece of corn on the hook then had a bit of a wait which is something that i am not comfortable doing because i like being busy and after what seemed like an age i had a couple of indications on the float before it buried , a firm strike resulted in a hand sized skimmer making its way to the bank  ( not really what i expected to be catching ) i decided to try my left hand swim but after ten minutes my float handed even twitched so i re fed both of the far bank lines with half a dozen pieces of corn and hoped that i might have better luck on my next try on them .

My next swim to try was the long left hand one as i had seen a few fish top in the open water and i had fed a few maggots with a catty over the area i had cupped in the bait at the beginning of the match , i shipped my rig in with double maggots on the hook then flicked my rig out and held it on a tight line so it would fall slowly through the water , it didn’t take long for me to start getting indications on the float but it was only when i adding a couple more stotz to my float so it was the slightest pimple on the surface (more like you would when f1 fishing ) that i managed to hit any of them  it was strange because they was all ide around the 8oz mark and every one of them that i caught had a load of maggots in the back of their throats it seemed like they was just sitting over the bait gorging on the bait going in ,after around thirty minutes it seemed like they had gone out of the swim because i could only catch small skimmers again i decided to put in another half pot of maggots in and then rested it for a while .

I went onto my four-foot rig which was half way up the far shelf i began by kinder potting in some maggots but quickly changed to cattying in them because i felt that it gave me a better chance of drawing some fish into the area , by laying my rig in so that it fell up the far slope on a tight line i managed to pick up the odd ide or chub quite constantly and although they was only  averaging around the 4oz mark i was quite happy putting them in the net , by alternating between this swim and my long line i kept putting something in the net right up to the all out but although i had a proper mixed bag  i never did manage to snare a bonus fish . I’m still getting used to this silver fishing with regards to weight so i hadn’t a clue what i had caught but reckoned it was about ten pounds and speaking to a few of the other lads on the lake they had a similar weight although every one of them had at least one carp , my main challengers for the winter league was also on my lake so i could really do with beating them today and when the scales arrived i followed them around writing the weights down , peg 3 had 11lb , peg 8 had 12lb , peg 11 had 15lb which was a remarkable weight from there as it had finished last on every round he caught five carp dobbing bread at 16m right+left of his peg , yet again i ended up second with 14lb so a lack of a bonus fish had cost me and it was exactly the same on my winter league last year but i had really enjoyed myself nonetheless which made a nice change from f1 chasing , i had managed to pull a couple of points back on the leaders but with just one match remaining i feel that i was going to struggle to get in the top three overall although you never know because there is some shocking areas on both lakes which will get you last on the lake every time so you just never know .




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