January 28th , peg twenty lake four
Today i was contesting the inter club challenge against some top teams in the Bolton area and i was fishing with Stockton Heath angling group , it was due to take place on Bradshaw’s lake four which is a fishery that i do not frequent that often , in fact i had never fished this lake before so a bit of internet home work was required and i got in touch with a couple of lads that have contested the silver fish matches who pointed me in the right direction . Although any fish was allowed in the match i was looking forward to doing a bit of silver fish fishing for a change and if any carp came my way then that would be a bonus , but to be honest i didn’t expect many of them to be caught especially after the recent drop in temperatures and we was faced with constant rain today which would make things a bit tricky but at least we only had a slight breeze to contend with .
After my short twenty-mile drive to the venue which took a bit longer than i had originally planned as i had to travel through the town center and i arrived just after eight which gave me plenty of time to meet up with the team before having a quick look at the lake which was tree-lined on one side with some floating islands , along the other side it was more open water with a bit of a drop off behind you which would make shipping back a bit awkward when fishing long and every peg had a new platform , when i returned to the cabin it was nearly draw time and i was charged with doing the team draw i cant rember the exact pegs but i was going to be on twenty which didn’t mean a great deal because like i mentioned earlier i had not fished this lake before .
I had quite a long walk before i reached my home for the next few hours and on reaching it i had two bushes either side of me which looked like they might hold a few fish , but i also had another lake behind me which meant placing my rollers a bit awkward and i also had to ship back over the water as well so i made sure my pole was put together tightly because i didn’t fancy going for a dip if they came apart .When i had finished sorting my gear out i decided to mix my ground-bait so it would have time to settle before the match started and after speaking to a couple of lads they put me on to a mix of 40% ringers green + 60% frenzied hemp i hoped this would help me target the skimmers and the odd f1 , i then started plumbing up my swims and surprisingly it was quite a flat bottom with only a few inch difference between my 11m loose feed line and my 14m ground-bait line , i also put a swim in towards the rushes to my left at 6m where i would throw a few maggots every ten minutes until i went onto it and then alter things as needed .
11m+14m swims i used a 4×14 maggie float that had a bulk plus two droppers shotting pattern with 014 garbo main line and hook length was 010 garbo that had a size twenty guru maggot hook .
6m swim i used a 4×10 maggie float that had an on the drop shotting pattern with 014 garbo main line and hook length was 010 garbo that had a size twenty guru maggot hook .
Bait for the day was ;
2 pints of red and white maggots
3 pints of ground-bait
When the all in sounded i put five tangerine sized balls of ground-bait onto my 14m line i would have liked to have used bigger ones but had stupidly left my larger cupping kit at home and there was no point rushing because i didn’t want to be spreading my bait everywhere , i was going to let this line settle for as long as possible so i began on my 11m line loose feeding maggots and at first all i could catch was 2oz roach , i was beginning to think i had got it completely wrong as my neighbour had started feeding pellets really negatively and began catching some hand sized skimmers + f1s plus a carp around 2lb which meant i was always playing catch up although he was already fishing at 14m and i had that to fall back on later in the match .By constantly feeding a dozen maggots i was soon getting a small silver every five minutes which doesn’t sound a great deal but on looking around everyone seemed to be struggling so i was happy just putting something in the net for the time being , i did manage to pick up a couple of bigger roach but i was eager to give my 14m swim a try to on my first drop resulted in a 10oz skimmer which was a nice start , i hoped that a shoal of them had settled on it but it turned out to be a false dawn as i had to wait 15 minutes before i had my next indication and even though i was fishing nearly dead depth with my float shotted to a tiny pimple the bites were hardly noticable especially at 14m , it seemed like the fish had just stayed over the top of the feed without moving and i did try slowly dragging my hook bait from right to left which did produce a couple more skimmers but it just didn’t seem right , so i went back onto my loose fed 11m line while i pondered on what to do next and yet again all i could catch was small silvers plus the odd netter roach mixed in .
With ninety minutes of the match remaining the rain finally relented and in the calm conditions i went back on to my 14m swim but this time i decided to feed a small ball of ground-bait through a kinder pot to see if i could get them back on the deck and this worked remarkably well , as i had a skimmer every chuck for nearly an hour most of them was about 4oz but i did have the odd better one mixed in and i did bump a couple of smaller ones of on the way in , which i didn’t think anything of it until the weigh in later , with thirty minutes remaining the rain returned with a vengeance it might have been coincidence or not but the bites suddenly stopped and i spent too long catching next to nothing before the all out sounded .
After hastily packing my gear away i had a quick chat with the lads around me to see how they had got on they guy to my right wasnt giving much away but i figured he was my main danger for the seven peg section , it didn’t take long before the scales arrived and i awaited my fate as i expected my main danger had 11lb 14oz then i put 11lb 10oz on the scales getting beat by a few ounces it looked like those couple of bumped fish had cost me 70 quid but you win some you lose some , on the team front i think we finished last after some shocking weights which was only to be expected on our first try on the lake and as it turned out i ended up third out of the 35 anglers as only a handful of people managed to break double figures with 17lb winning the match .
Tomorrow i will be back on the bank at Partridge lakes for yet another team match but this time the 2+2 lads just hope we can get a better draw because we have had some shockers so far this year .
January 22nd , peg 151 covey six
Today was the second round of the Partridge lakes winter league and after managing a 2nd in section on the previous round i hoped that i could build on that this week but after my performance on the teams of four i wasnt that optimistic , the weather during the week had been quite reasonable for the time of year with some settled temperatures at last but as per usual it was all change by the weekend as an easterly breeze had brought some cold weather and we was back down to minus temps during the night , it was forecast to be 2 degrees all day with some snow flurries and no doubt this would affect the fishing today but it would be the same for everyone so no point complaining .
I arrived at the fishery just before 830 and joined the queue for the rolling draw and this week fate decided to give me peg 151 covey six , i was in two minds of what to expect as everyone i spoke too said it wasnt the best but peg 149 had won the open the previous day and in my limited experience the fish don’t tend to stay in the same place when they have been caught , so i hoped that the f1s might have backed off in front of peg 150 and i did go to my home for the next few hours with a bit of confidence .
After settling in at my peg i had the cold easterly wind blowing into my right hand margin so far it wasnt that strong but it was forecast to get a bit stronger during the match , i set up my usual Partridge rigs which where ;
3ft maggot i used a 4×10 maggie float with a bulk plus two droppers spread along the 014 garbo main line and attached was a six-inch 010 garbo hook length my hook was a size 20 guru maggot hook .
4ft maggot i used a 4×10 maggie float with a bulk plus two droppers spread along the 014 garbo main line and attached was a six-inch 010 garbo hook length my hook was a size 20 guru maggot hook .
Dobbing rig i used a 0.3 matrix series three float with a bulk under the float + two droppers spread down the 014 garbo main line attached to it was a six-inch 010 garbo hook length my hook was a size 16 guru pellet hook .
Channel swim i had to use a slightly heavier float than i wanted as i only had 4×14 maggie floats deep enough in my box , my shotting pattern was a bulk plus two droppers spread along the 014 garbo main line and attached was a six-inch 010 garbo hook length my hook was a size 18 guru maggot hook .
On my side tray was pretty straight forward ;
2 pints of red and white maggots
1 slice of bread
When the all in sounded i began on my 4ft maggot rig directly in front of me and decided to take it easy with the feed in the conditions just tapping in four maggots every ten minutes , it took twenty minutes before i had my first indication which resulted in a big f1 although i did notice that it was slightly deep hooked in the mouth , even though i had my float just dimpling the water with the aid of some bristle grease and i must have been slightly over depth which is easily done when fishing on the far bank slope , on my next put in i brought my rig a touch closer too me and after a couple more feeds i had another f1 which took my maggot on the drop so for my next few drop-ins i kept laying my rig through the water trying to mimic the fall of the loose feed this resulted in a couple more fish hitting the net .
In the first hour i managed five f1s which on looking around was a lot better than anyone within eyeshot apart from peg 156 who was bagging and that was only to be expected from the lakes flyer as they had been balled up in that area in the last two months , with no more indications coming from my original swim i decided to set up a new line towards the point of the island by doing the same laying my rig in through the water as my loose fed fell i managed a further four fish in the next hour but yet again they backed off away from the feed , with nobody catching a great deal to my left i was reluctant to put in a line that way but i hadn’t many options left so i had too and unsurprisingly i had a barren thirty minutes , so i decided to pick up my dobbing rig too see if i could locate any fish either by getting bites or liners telling me there was fish in the area and after working my rig 14m to my left i could only manage a liner and a missed indication directly in front of me which just goes to show the lack of fish down that side of covey six .
With two hours of the match remaining i decided to drop onto my channel swim at 13m to my right and even though i knew that this was probably going to be my best area of the peg, i was reluctant to go on it sooner in case i pushed them out of reach , especially as the lad on 149 was already fishing at 16m and struggling to catch anything other than the odd f1 among the gudgeon . I fed a small kinder pot full of maggots then lowered my rig over the top of it and i let it fall on a tight line if any f1s in the area were watching it as the hook bait fell , it took about ten minutes before i had my first fish and i managed four in half an hour before they backed off so i added another section then started again , the same pattern emerged as i had another four f1s but they was only little stockies this time and with twenty minutes left i had to put the 16m section on , before the all out i managed another f1 plus a chub then i lost a fish which took me round the island just as the whistle sounded and i just hoped it wouldn’t cost me as apart from a couple of pricked fish that came off on the way in i hadn’t done a great deal wrong .
As i began packing up i could hear a few people moaning on how bad it had fished but in the conditions it was only to be expected as the f1s had no doubt shut up shop in certain areas , when the scales arrived at my peg i had 18lb to beat i was confident that i could better that as my 18 fish went 26lbs this got me the section , which puts me on three points after two rounds but there is still along way to go yet and just one bad draw can be the end of your challenge for top ten honors .
Next week i have a double-header as Saturday i will be at Bradshaw’s lake four for the teams of four club match then i am back at Partridge on Sunday for the 2+2 team where we are due a half decent draw for a change after having a couple of shockers recently , but overall it seems i have made a good start after the team sponsorship with Daiwa Adlington angling center .
January 15th , peg 119 covey five
After last weeks eventful match where i somehow managed a default section win in the individual winter league at Partridge lakes where it was safe to say i was a bit rusty after my christmas break , i was hoping to try a few different things out to improve my catch rate and i would have loved to go during the week but unfortunately work must come first although the weather would no doubt have put me off as well because we had our first spell of snow plus freezing conditions . So today i was looking forward to the return too Partridge lakes for the winter league teams of four where we was lying mid table and i was charged with doing the draw for the team as we had a bit of a shocker on the previous round , so after arriving at the fishery i met up with the rest of the lads and after a bit of a mix up with the pools money i only got to the draw queue late with just a couple of people behind me , i managed to pick out ;
Covey six 167
Covey five 119 which was my draw for the second time in three rounds and it is a peg that you would be fighting for fourth place in section with 113 .
On arriving at my home for the next few hours i had the strong wind blowing off my shoulder towards peg 117 and i decided to set up the usual rigs ;
Three foot maggot rig , i used a 0.2 maggie float with a bulk plus two droppers my main line was 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 010 garbo which had a size twenty guru hook attached .
Four foot maggot rig , i used a 0.3 maggie float with a bulk plus two droppers my main line was 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 010 garbo which had a size twenty guru hook attached .
Channel rig 11m to be right , i used a 4×14 maggie float with a bulk plus two droppers my main line was 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 010 garbo which had a size twenty guru hook attached .
Dobbing rig , i used a 0.3 matrix series three float with a wire stem for stability with two droppers spread down my main line was 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 010 garbo which had a size 16 guru hook attached .
Five foot rig for down the side of the dead reeds i used a 0.3 maggie float with a bulk plus two droppers my main line was 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 010 garbo which had a size twenty guru hook attached .
Bait for the day was rather simple which is to be expected for the time of year ;
One pint of red maggots with a handful of pinkies
One slice of bread for dobbing
A few expanders both 4+2mm
Some crushed expander
A handful of micro pellets
When the match started i began by dobbing a 7mm disk of bread a foot of deck all along my far bank four-foot line and after working to both extremes of my peg i only had a couple of line bites to show for it , i then tried tight to the far bank cover in two foot but this didn’t produce a proper indication either so my next move was to try my four-foot rig with maggots where i had the line bites when dobbing earlier and as the lad on 117 was catching at the same depth i expected to get a few bites , although the strong cross wind was making presentation hard work and i needed to take a shot of my rig to pop the float up a touch so i could see any indications , after a couple of feeds i had my first bite which resulted in a small stockie f1 hitting the net and over the next forty minutes i managed three more similar sized fish before things went quiet , during the next couple of hours i set up multiple swims at this depth and never had a single indication i even tried my three-foot rig against the far bank cover but the wind was playing havoc on controlling my rig , the only place that i could present a bait properly was on my channel swim so i decided to feed a dozen maggots every ten minutes on it and i then had a quick look at the side of the dead reeds but apart from a few gudgeon i never managed a proper fish in twenty minutes , the guy to my right was fishing long down the channel towards me and was catching the odd f1 so i decided to drop on to my 11m swim but yet again i had a bite less thirty minutes in fact the middle of the match was a complete waste of time .
In the last hour i dropped back on to my left hand margin at the side of the reeds and i managed another three f1s before i foul hooked a fish so they backed off out of the swim , so that was it no more fish hit the net before the all out sounded calling time on a rather frustrating match and i managed just seven f1s for six pounds which unsurprisingly put me last in section although i was only a couple of pounds from finishing in a better position , on the plus side i stayed warm and dry in the cold rain as it was the first time i had used my Halkon hunt waterproofs in these conditions .
When i got back to the cabin i found the other lads and we had a complete blow out with 19 points this put us joint last on the day dropping us down to 13th on the overall table , so not the greatest of days but im back at Partridge next Sunday for the second round of the individual winter league i just hope that i can draw a bit better next time .
January 8th , peg 167 covey six
Today was the first round of the individual winter league at Partridge lakes and after having to miss it last year due to other fishing commitments i was really looking forward to it , even if it meant i would be at the same venue till the beginning of April and i think that it is the longest i have stayed at one place in years but at least i would be local for a change , it would give me an opportunity to stay in touch with the moods of the fish and as the matches would be spread over the old lakes i shouldnt get too bored sitting on the same lakes .
After missing the last couple of weeks i was eager to get back on the bank and just hoped that i could draw a peg with a chance of a few bites because it had fished a bit iffy in places but it is winter after all , no doubt so did the other eighty anglers fishing the match and after my short drive to the complex i arrived just after 830 which put me towards the front of the rolling draw queue , when it came for my turn in the bag of doom i pulled out peg 167 on covey six which was the first one over the split and i had mixed views on it because the last time i fished Partridge lakes on the winter league team match i was on 169 were we all struggled for bites although the previous days open match a framing weight had been caught on 133 so there might be a few f1s in the area .
Before i began setting up i had a look at my peg to see if there was any signs of fish and although i didn’t see anything topping i did notice a few bubbles coming from the bottom of the far slope as i was sitting there it was like a who’s who of top Partridge anglers going past me into my section so i thought that i would be up against it getting good points today so i decided to have a nice uncomplicated match deciding to set up ;
Channel swim at eleven meters to my left near the start of the bowl because i was informed when i began plumbing up that i couldn’t go past the point of the island and as it was a touch over six-foot i used a 4×12 RW maggie float with a bulk plus two droppers shotting pattern spread along my 014 garbo main line attached to it was a six-inch hook length of 010 garbo with a size 18 guru maggot hook .
Four foot rig for fishing two lines across half way up the far slope and also towards the reeds to my left , i used a 4×10 preston maggot float with a bulk plus two droppers shotting pattern spread along my 014 garbo main line attached to it was a six-inch hook length of 010 garbo with a size 18 guru maggot hook .
Dobbing rig set at three-foot to start but i also had a three-foot length of line between pole tip+float so i could go deeper or shallower if required during the match , i used a 4×12 wire stemmed float which had a bulk at half depth then a couple of small droppers along my 014 garbo main line attached to it was a six-inch length of 010 garbo which had a size 16 guru maggot hook .
Bait for the day was ;
One pint of red maggots and handful of pinkies
One slice of bread for dobbin
A few micros
A bit off crushed expander ground-bait
A handful of 4mm expanders
I started the match by tapping in six maggots on both of my far bank swims and as i had felt a few fish knocking about while plumbing up in this area i hopped that i might be able to get the odd bite or two but i didn’t quite expect the start that i had although i didn’t add a great deal to my net , within ten seconds of my float settling i had an indication and a nice sized f1 in the net although it was hooked in the nose but in the next thirty minutes i lost four more fish , two of them with a hook pull at the net then a couple more also took me under the platform i put this down to the fact that i had recently changed to the short f1 kits and the fish were coming up a lot closer to me than i expected i was still trying to get the balance right when playing fish .
Unsurprisingly after losing those fish my bites stopped on my original swim and i had to replumb further to the left towards the point of the island at 14m , it took a couple of feeds before i began getting indications and not long after i had another f1 in the net by leaving my short number four on when playing the fish i seemed to have more control over what was happening , i managed a further four f1s on this line before they backed off and this was about the time the lad on peg 135 started fishing to the same point of the island . For the next hour i set up multiple swims towards my right in four-foot but strangely i never managed another sign going that way , i didn’t feel like the fish wanted to be in any shallower water so i went on to my top four line towards the left hand point of my margin and after tapping in half a dozen maggots i began getting a few indications , not long after i had a run of four f1s all of which were a nice stamp but no sooner had they turned up then they went and for the next forty minutes i was bite less after trying everywhere in my peg
As a last resort i picked up my dobbin rig and to be honest i didn’t expect this to work too well because i had talked to a few Partridge lakes regulars and they informed me that unless you was on a stack of fish then it would be a waste of time but anyway i decided to give it a go , i started at the point of the island and worked my way along the far bank a foot of the deck on my 4ft line but i didn’t have an indication until i got directly in front of me , in the next forty minutes i added five more fish to my net including a couple of small carp all of which were from the same area of my peg after catching those fish i struggled for bites and a change of punch or depth didn’t make any difference , i worked my way all along the far bank to both extremes without success and i put this down to the bright sunshine as it finally made its way out from behind the clouds .
I dropped onto my channel swim for a while without any signs and another rotation of my maggot lines also didn’t produce an indication but with thirty minutes of the match remaining it went cloudy again , so out came the dobbing rig but i had to resort to going tight to the far bank cover in two foot to get any bites and this produced a decent f1 plus a couple of big chub before the all out sounded , it called time on a rather confusing match and i feel like i got a bit lucky because there was definitely a few fish in the area so after a bit of a bad start i finally managed to add a few fish on maggots before catching a few more by dobbing bread , overall i managed second in my section with 23lb getting beat predictably by peg 171 who also finished second overall , i got my default section as well and so i started my winter league with two points lets hope i can keep the good draws coming to the end .
Going to be back at Partridge lakes for the next round of the teams of four winter league and i think it might be a bit of a grueller with the forecast drop in temperature so icebreakers at the ready .
Well another year has flown past and i have had an indifferent season yet again , i always like having a look at how my matches have been won or lost for me and how i could change things to improve my results ;
At the beginning of the year i finished off my 2015-2016 winter league at Old Hough fishery framing on the three remaining matches , which helped me finish third overall although in the back of my mind i felt that i should have won it because i missed out on a better place by ounces on a few of the contests .
In February i stood in for the last couple of rounds for Jeffs floats team of four at Horns dam fishery this was another venue that i had not seen before and it was also all silvers on a big lake so i was rather out of my comfort zone , it took me awhile to get used to things but i improved on every round with a 4th , 3rd then 2nd in section on the last round this helped to push the team from bottom of the league to finish 5th which was a mid table position .
March + April revolved around fishing the Angling times Supercup this year i was in the Stockton heath team which had a very tough draw away against multiple finalists Trafford angling , they took us to a small lake on the outskirts of Manchester called Goose green fishery there was very little in the way of information on the internet but a couple of practice sessions helped point us in the right way ,on the day of the match i was on the dam wall and i plugged away all match catching small silvers shallow ending up with 15lb for a comfortable section win the team ended up losing 4-2 but at least i kept up my record of winning my section on every round of the Supercup that i had fished .
May had me travelling down to Herronbrook for a bit of practice for the upcoming Fisho qualifier as i hadn’t seen the place before and on my first visit to the venue i managed my first ton of the season from the match lake , my other trips also went quite well averaging 70lb a visit so i was quite confident of doing ok but the fisho was all over at the draw as i drew a very poor area on canal and had my first early dart of the year .
June was a busy month with a visit to a new venue every week ,Cunneries s canal managed 70lb for second in section , Tunnel barn jennies pool bit of a struggle for 40lb , Oaks fisho on ash pool had 60lb but lack of venue knowledge cost me as i was sat next to the winner , Partridge fishery for the fisho and managed second in section with 70lb and last up was a trip to Weston pools were i had 60lb but fished the wrong bait on belvedere .
July + August had me staying local as i had a few weeks on Blundells trio were i managed 400lb in five visits including two tons , two trips too Partridge resulted in a couple of narrow section seconds catching over 60lb both times and finally i had my first ton at Weston pools catching 110lb shallow from Stretton pool including 40lb of crucians .
September had me travelling back to Tunnel barn for the annual North vs South match and yet again i managed second in my 12 peg section catching 80lb of f1s on pellets this helped the North win yet again , my other trip had me off to Weston pools fishery for the natural bait two-day festival this is always my highlight of the year and on the first day i drew Weir pool i was quite surprised to catch 145lb for the lake win which had me up towards the top of the leader board , the second day had me on a good peg on Stretton and after a slow start i managed another ton mainly caught in the margin this had me 5th on the lake but one more fish would have put me third , back at the cabin i ended up joint 8th for my best moment in fishing so far but it was tinged with a bit of disappointment because just 3lb would have got me 4th overall .
October and i were staying local again as i had a couple of matches at Partridge lakes managing a third overall with nearly 90lb plus two section wins , it was then time for the start of the winter league at Old Hough and my first match saw me catch 50lb of silvers for the match win which was a good start .
November and in between the Old Hough winter league i was also doing the team of four at Partridge lakes with 2+2 team but the mixture of f1 + silver fishing wasnt great for me because i struggled at Partridge managing two 4ths and a 3rd in section , at Old Hough i had a third and last in section .
December and i decided to just concentrate at Old Hough for the time being this worked really well because i framed on the remaining matches including a win on the last round , which helped me to finish 5th overall in the winter league but the last in section plus missing a couple of matches cost me in the end and it was still very tight at the top with just a few points separating those anglers .
Overall this year i have fished 51 matches on 11 different venues in the country managing to pick up money on 20 of them , but what i need to concentrate on is my last hour in contests which always seems to let me down because i have finished second in section on at least a dozen matches and i don’t think that is to bad as apart from my winter league every competition has had over thirty anglers competing plus i have managed seven tons which is my best total in a season so far .
I am going to start the year at Partridge lakes till April fishing the teams of four + individual leagues and i think that staying at the same venue for a few months will keep me in touch with the fish helping get better results , after that i will probably be either going to blundells , herronbrook or weston pools for the summer+autumn then back at Old Hough for the winter league and i have also decided not to do any big qualifiers preferring to concentrate on the festivals as i feel that they give you a better chance of a day’s fishing rather than cramming two hundred anglers onto fisheries that just can not cope .