21st February , peg 40 house section of Horns dam
Well another Sunday and another match this week i was going back to Horns dam for the winter league team match it was the final round and a couple of the squad had decided not to fish it because the team was languishing towards the bottom of the table , to be honest i wasnt to keen on fishing it myself but I’m always happy to help my mate out and i don’t think that i fished it too well wasnt the last time i was here so i wanted to try to sort a few things out . For a change the weather had been nice for the time of year with temperatures hitting double figures but today we was due a light breeze with constant drizzle which is nothing that i couldn’t cope with although on the thirty mile trip to Preston the wind gradually increased and when i arrived at the venue it was blowing an absolute hoollie , i had a quick look at the lake before we did the draw and it looked like i had made the wrong decision in not choosing to fish the dam wall section as they had the wind off their backs but those pegs down the arm resembled the north sea .
When i got back to the car-park it was time for the draw and to be honest we had a distinctly average set of pegs and i was to be on forty which was on your right just as you walked up the path , it looked really good as i had an aerator to chuck the tip too a reed bed along each margin and too top it off i had a lot of protection from the wind making fishing the pole a lot easier than most of the anglers but after speaking to the lad running the match who was also in my section he informed me that it had finished last on the previous three rounds so my bubble had been well and truly burst but as it’s a team comp i still had a job to do .
My bait for the day was rather simple as i only had ;
Three pints of ground-bait mixed 50/50 of frenzied hemp and brown crumb
Three pints of white maggots
I decided not to bring any pellets today because it only produced tiny blades on the last round but after the match i think that it was a bad decision .
I targeted my peg with three swims these were ;
13m line straight in front of me i used a 4×12 rw maggie float with a staggered bulk starting above the six-inch hook length of 008 garbo my hook was a size twenty matrix silver fish , i fed this with three balls of groundbait at the start and would top up with a golf ball size when i was going to fish it .
6m line situated slightly to my left i used a 4×12 rw maggie float with a staggered bulk starting above the six-inch hook length of 008 garbo my hook was a size twenty matrix silver fish , i fed one ball of ground-bait at the start and loose fed maggots with a catty every few minutes to get the silvers competing in the peg .
4m line i put this at the bottom of the slope to my right were there was a dead reed bed and if the wind got too bad i could drag it up the shelf a touch to help me present a static bait , it was just over 4ft deep here so i used a 4×12 rw maggie float i would have liked to use a lighter float but the wind was too bad at times it had a staggered bulk starting above the six-inch hook length of 008 garbo my hook was a size twenty matrix silver fish , i loose feed a dozen maggots by hand every five minutes while i was fishing my other lines just like you would when f1 fishing .
Tip rod with a 0.5oz tip which was the lightest that i had and i cast about 25m just to the right of the aerator i used a 15g cage feeder with a 2ft hook length of garbo 010 and my hook was a size 18 matrix bagger hook , i started by casting every ten minutes to get some bait down before then leaving my feeder in place for at least twenty minutes .
When the all in sounded i fed my pole lines with ground-bait before chucking the feeder out and to be honest i don’t really do a lot of rod work so it took me a couple of chucks before i found my accuracy but when you’re bream fishing i don’t feel it is necessary to keep everything on a sixpence , after about twenty minutes i was just messing about with my iPod when my tip slowly pulled round and a lift of the rod saw me attached to a skimmer of around 10oz which was the biggest fish i had caught in any of the previous rounds so i was mighty relieved when it hit the net , i hoped that i could be on for a few more as bream are normally shoal fish and i did get quite a few bites but the trouble was they were all from tiny blades i was also coming back with smashed maggots were i hadn’t seen any sort of indication after an hour i felt enough was enough and had a look at my pole lines .
I went onto my 13m swim first and i began getting indications from the start but they were all finger length roach which seemed to be the norm for in here i got my head down trying to catch as many of these fish as i could because i already had my bonus fish in the shape of that skimmer the trouble was i began bumping off a few off them because my solid six elastic was too harsh even though it was set really soft , i also noticed that the fish taking the bait on the drop were a lot smaller than those on the deck so i altered my shotting for a bulk+dropper so i could bomb my rig straight to the deck this slowed my catch rate down but on the plus side i did pick up some dumpy 4oz roach . The wind was getting gradually stronger and had swung round a bit which made fishing long a bit difficult so i gave my six meter swim a try i had fed this every few minutes since the match started so i was hoping that some fish had settled on it and i began catching the odd fish but it was a lot slower than my 13m line , i decided to begin feeding a small nugget of groundbait every five minutes to see if this would help and my catch rate did increase but it dragged a lot of small silvers into my peg , i spent the next hour swapping between the two swims to keep putting fish in the net but it was painfully slow at times and before i knew it the match had just two hours remaining .
I gave my short line a try as i had been loose feeding it since the match started and if the small silvers were settled on it then i could catch them a lot quicker , first drop and my rig hadn’t even settled when my float dipped under a sharp lift resulted in a foot of elastic coming out a netter roach approaching six-ounce not a bad start i then went on a mad little run of stamp roach between four-ounce + 1.5lb which really surprised me because i had seen nobody catch fish of this quality on earlier rounds i even managed to drop a half pound roach back into the lake plus another broke my hook length at the net but after a good forty minutes the bites understandably tailed off and when a couple of ruff got in on the action i decided to set up another swim at the same distance to my left although this did not produce a great deal it allowed me to rest the other line which meant i could keep putting the odd nice fish in the net in between the ounce roach .
With half an hour remaining i hooked a fish that fought a bit differently than the others and up popped up a snig off about 10oz which was fun trying to unhook but its presence in the peg seemed to put the silvers off because i struggled to add any more fish before the all out , after lifting my net out to see what i had i figured it was around double figures which should be enough to get really good points if not even win the section . After packing up i went round to see the captain who was fishing on the canal and he had done really well off peg nine which blanked on the last round catching 12lb of roach this was enough for third in his section only getting beat by carp weights on peg 1+2 , i followed the scales along the dam wall there was a couple of nice bream weights off it and apart from the early pegs everyone had over 10lb our angler on peg eight managed 16lb which was good enough for another third in section , our angler on the arm section peg 18 managed nearly 7lb of bits which was good enough for fourth in his section but there was a couple of unbelievable 18lb weights of bits , so it was all down to my section and the two anglers on the thirty pegs had caught 10lb +12lb 12oz all bream catch on the tip the latter weight was leading all the way till they got to my peg with my net going 12lb 6oz so for the third match running i had beaten by the matter of ounces i was kicking myself for losing those two fish but i had managed second in section from what i got told was a very poor peg so that’s not too bad i suppose .
As it turned out we ended up with 12 points this put us joint second on the day only one point behind the leaders and we also managed to crawl our way up the table a little into fifth place which was remarkable after all the upheaval during the earlier rounds and even had to fish one match with just three anglers , as a stand in i fished three rounds one on the canal were i managed 5th in section with 10lb this was my first attempt at fishing the pole over a bed of ground-bait which was an eye opener , the second was on the arm were i totally got it wrong and ended up catching 5lb of bits at 14m really struggling against the strong wind , then today i managed a second but being ultra self-critical i should have won the section by at least a pound but when your luck is out its out .
overall i think that i have learned a great deal about silver fishing on Horns dam as before the winter league i had not even seen the venue before i don’t think it had lived up to the expectations of most anglers that have contested the matches although the bream+skimmers finally made an appearance during the last round so it might just have been the time of year , it’s always hard trying to compete against anglers of this quality on their home waters but it has been an experience not too sure if i would like to repeat it although some of the team are keen to give it another try next year so watch this space .