Old hough winter league


December 12th

Today was the penultimate round of my winter league and with the last round being cancelled due to the snow i hadn’t been out for a few weeks so was really looking forward to it , although the weather wasnt going to make things easy because it had taken a dramatic drop in temperature with every were being frozen solid . The day before i had rung the fishery to find out the conditions of boulders+goose and they told me it was mostly free from ice with just the odd peg being covered in cat ice which sounded promising , i did decide to take my ice breaker with me just in case and it turned out i had made the right decision because on arrival there was a lid on the lakes .

In the conditions a good draw was going to be a massive advantage because there was a few areas that had fished hard on the earlier rounds , it was soon time for the draw and i left it till late to have my pick in the bag of doom pulling out 14 on boulders not what i wanted especially after leaving the lakes flyer in the bag which my main rival for the winter league was going to be on . When i arrived at my home for the next few hours i decided to break out three channels in the ice to eleven meters because i did not feel that the carp would want to be tight towards the far bank , after removing all the floating icebergs from my swims i had a quick plumb up and after finding just over four-foot everywhere in my peg i figured i was on for a tough match but at least i wouldn’t need lots of different rigs so i decided to set up ;

Pellet rig i used a 4×14 Md wire stemmed float which had an inch spread bulk starting above my four-inch 010 garbo hook length , i expected this to be my banker swim with all the hand sized skimmers in the lake .

Maggot rig i used a 4×12 Md maggie float which had a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern spread along my 014 garbo main line which had a six-inch 010 garbo hook length attached to it , my hook was a size twenty guru maggot hook and elastic on both rigs was Preston size six hollo .

Dobbing rig which i would use along the edge of my ice channels and if it melted i would search all along the far bank , i set it at four-foot which was six-inch off the bottom and i used a 4×12 Md diamond float with all my bulk under the float then two size eleven stotz spread along my 014 garbo main line , attached to it was a six inch 012 garbo hook length with a size 16 guru lwg hook .

Bait for the day ;

1/2 pint of soaked micros

1 pint of red maggots with a handful of fluro pinkies mixed in

1 slice of bread

Small tub of 2+4mm expanders

When the all in sounded i began on my right hand swim and i tapped in half a dozen micros every couple of minutes but a bite less twenty minutes wasnt what i expected especially with the amount of small skimmers in here , i switched to my maggot line directly in front of me and bearing in mind what happened on my pellet swim i went even more negatively just trickling a couple of maggots in through a kinder pot , after ten minutes i had my first fish which was a small roach but at least it saved the blank because i had only seen one other fish get caught although that was a four pound carp so we was all playing catch up if we wanted good points today . I kept trickling in the maggots and i was slowly building up the swim putting some roach in the net with the occasional decent ide among them , after a while my bites stopped and i soon found out why when i hooked a carp which shot off under the ice towards my right , all i could do was put my pole under the water and pray that it stopped i did manage to get on to my top kit but it bolted again in the clear water resulting in the hook bending out slightly which meant it pinged off , so for the second round running i had lost what turned out to be at least second place on the lake fish .

Understandably the disturbance had disrupted the peg but slowly i got the fish back feeding putting some small silvers in the net , when the rain started it began melting the ice this had a disastrous impact on the fishing because everyone on the lake stopped getting any sort of indications for at least two hours , with all the ice now gone i picked up my dobbing rig to see if i could snare myself a carp but despite working my rig to the extremes of my peg both left and right i didn’t manage a single bite . With ninety minutes of the match remaining i was back plumbing up to see if i could find any sort of depth variation and i finally found an area about a meter square which was a couple of inch deeper at eleven meters towards my left so i put a swim in there with another at 11m to my right so i could rotate between them both , i started trickling in maggots on both but i only managed bites on my left hand swim and i was soon catching some small silvers with an occasional decent ide mixed in , when the all out sounded i was kicking myself for not finding the slightly deeper swim sooner and it goes to show how important it is to search all your swim but with the lake being frozen i was a bit limited on where i could go .

When the scales arrived at my peg i put my ten ide plus a smattering of silvers on the scales which went just short of six pounds this was enough for a comfortable third place but with only nine pounds + eleven pounds filling the places above me i just needed a bonus carp to challenge them , this result pushed me down to second in the league table just a point behind the leader but at least i know which anglers i need to beat on the last round although i will have to wait nearly a month to do it and it will take place at Bradshaw’s on lakes five+six somewhere i haven’t fished before so i will be up against it a bit .

 

 

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Old Hough winter league , round six


November 26th

I was back at Old Hough today for the 6th round of my winter league which so far I was leading the way even though i had struggled on the last two matches with a 3rd+4th at Bradshaw’s fishery and i need a top two finish on any of the three remaining matches so that i could drop my worst result , but with conditions turning colder there was definitely areas on Boulders+Goose that you didn’t want to be in so a good draw would be an advantage .

The weather over the past few days had been awful with a big drop in temperatures plus a cold easterly wind with sleet so you could say winter has finally arrived this of course would have a big impact on the fishing because you are usually targeting carp+barbel among the silvers on these waters , when i arrived at the fishery i met up with the rest of the lads and we was all unsure on how it would fish today but most of us agreed that 20lb would be a good weight on the day .

Goose lake

It soon came round to the draw and with all the hands coming in from all angles as everyone rushed in to find their fate so for a change I left it till the end to have my pick in the bag of doom and I had a choice of two which was between the best peg on boulders or the worst on goose , surprisingly I ended up the latter of the two and it seemed like my drawing arm has deserted me for the time being but to be fair i have had my fair share of decent pegs so far this year .

On settling in at my home for the next few hours I had the wind smack in my face so it was going to be a cold one and with it only being just over eleven meters wide I didn’t have a lot of room to set up lots of different swims which i felt would be needed in the conditions picking up the odd fish from each so i decided to set up ;

a dobbin rig set up at two foot deep and i would poke my rig in between all the overhanging reeds , i used an Md 4×12 dobbin rig i had all my bulk under the float with a couple of number eleven stotz spread along the 014 garbo main line and hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo which had a size 16 guru pellet hook attached to it .

pellet channel rig positioned at eight meters to my left where i had a bit of open water to go at my float was a 4×16 Md pellet and my shotting pattern was an inch spread bulk starting above the four-inch 012 garbo hook length which had a size 16 guru pellet hook attached to it .

maggot rig which i put eight meters towards my right in the calmer water my float was a 4×12 Md maggot float which had a bulk plus two droppers shotting pattern and hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo my hook was a size 18 guru maggot .

long margin at four meters towards my left where i had a dead reed bed after dragging my plummet around a found a snag free area where it was nearly three-foot deep and my float was an Md diamond to help keep my rig still in the choppy conditions , the main line was 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo which had a size 16 guru Lwg hook attached to it .

My bait for the day was a bit of everything ;

3 pints red and white maggots

1 pint of micros

1 pint of black swim stim

1 pint of corn

1 slice of bread

small tub of mixed size expanders

When the all in sounded i started my match by dobbin bread all along the far bank and had nothing to my right in the calm water which was a surprise as i expected a few carp to be sitting there out of the cold wind , a switch to the left hand side and I hooked a small carp which might have been foul hooked as it came of at the net i thought that it was a positive sign with maybe a little group of fish sat in that area but all that I could catch after that was small silvers even after working my rig right to the point of the island , i decided to change this swim to an on the deck corn rig and found a flat area at the side of some over hanging reeds where i had hooked the carp earlier so i tapped in a few grains of corn+micros then left it to settle for a while .

I went on to my maggot swim which i had fed with half a small cupping kit every twenty minutes since the match started i found that this worked remarkably well on my other rounds on here and i found that you needed to feed the small silvers off before the bigger fish moved in although on here the silvers wasnt as big a stamp as on Boulders pool , i managed to catch a few ide but the bites were really finicky  the shyest of bites often produced the bigger fish and they seemed to be just sat over the feed not moving picking off the maggots , so I decided to rest it for later in the match but i would still be feeding it like i had done at the start and i switched to my pellet swim that i had earlier put in a golf ball of ground-bait+micros , this just produced small hand sized skimmers which to be honest i expected they was coming quite frequently and maybe i could pick up a bonus fish or too but i was happy putting something in the net .

When I saw the odd carp coming out I gave my left hand margin a try with corn and after about five minutes my float flew under I was then playing a decent carp for the next few minutes , I was about to net it when the hook pulled out and for a split second it just sat there out of netting range before slipping back into the depths in the back of my mind i knew that in the conditions it was going to cost me dear , no more bite ensued in the next twenty minutes so i reefed it with some corn+ground-bait and while it settled I rotated all my swims for the next few hours adding next to nothing to my net . With ninety minutes remaining I finally managed a good run of big ide down the track but even after feeding it all match the bites was still very finicky which i did not expect and with the sun finally going behind the clouds it enabled me to fish my left hand margin again so i spent the remainder of the time there this got me three small carp and two missed bites before the all out sounded.

After packing up i caught up with the scales man and peg two had run away with the match pulling out thirty pounds of carp then there was a few people struggling to break five pounds , peg eleven had 12lb and I managed to finish 4th with 11lb but the lost carp cost me dear as 13lb had come second from flyer peg 18 , when the winter league is all over and I just hope that I won’t live to regret it but overall it fished really hard with most angler’s falling to catch 5lb on both lakes as the fish had decided to shut up shop in the cold weather.

Old Hough winter league round three


5th November

Today i have been back to Old Hough fisheries today for the third round of the winter league and after all the cold over night rain plus a recent drop in temperature I expected it to be a bit tough going , so a decent draw would be an advantage and when I pulled out 18 on boulders lake I was quite happy because there is worse place’s to be i had also been on this peg last year which would give me a heads up on how best to fish it , yet again i had a few of the anglers towards the top of the table on my lake so i hoped that i could have a good match and take a few points of them which would help keep me ahead in the winter league .

On settling at my home for the next few hours i had an island at 14m which had some over hanging reeds and an empty peg either side which would give me a bit of room , after having a good plumb around i decided to set up ;

Channel rig at eleven meters either side of me were it was nearly five foot deep and i expected this to be my best swim today due to the conditions , i used a 4×12 Md maggot float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern and my hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo which had a size 18 guru maggot hook attached to it .

Far bank rig set at three-foot deep which was a meter from the cover as i didn’t expect anything to be shallower and i used a 4×10 Md maggot float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern and my hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo which had a size 18 guru maggot hook attached to it .

Near shelf rig and after plumbing up i found a nice hole about four meters towards my left where it was just over three-foot tight to the bank , i used a 4×12 Md maggot float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern and my hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo which had a size 18 guru maggot hook attached to it .

Bait for the day was ;

4 pints of white and red maggots

2 pints of 4mm pellets

small tub of mixed hard pellets

When the all in sounded i started my match down the track at eleven meters either side of me and i fed one with a kinder pot of maggots the other i potted in maggots with a cupping kit every twenty minutes , to be honest it was really hard going for the first couple of hours and I managed to get bites from small silvers but i wasnt to worried because i could only see one person catching the odd carp ,i had to go across to the island before I caught a couple of f1’s by kinder potting in 4mm pellets but yet again the bites were few and far between .

Gradually my track lines came good for me but strangely I wasn’t catching the stamp ide required to bump up my weight although I was more than holding my own from what I could see on the lake and i just kept rotating between the two swims picking up the odd carp in between the hand sized skimmers , i had one golden hour where i couldn’t get in quick enough but for some reason the bites tailed off and after twenty minutes of inactivity i had another plumb around finding a little hole a few inch deeper just a foot away from my original swim , i felt that my bait would have settled there and after altering my rig i dropped on it which resulted in another good run of barbel+carp . We was fast approaching the last forty minutes and i had fed my near slope with a cup of maggots every thirty minutes i really wanted to go on it earlier but the sun was preventing me from doing it , finally it moved round enough for me to see my float and I was able to go down my left hand margin at four meters , this produced a good run of big fish i probably added over ten pounds to my net and when the all out sounded I was kicking myself for not being able to go on it sooner.

Luckily it didn’t cost me as I ended up with 40lb which was enough for the lake and match win so that’s three out of three so far in the winter league , it was noticeable that some areas of both boulders+goose lakes had fished really hard again and it could be a damage limitation job if you draw there so even though i was doing ok at present it could still all change , but there is a new venue for me to try in the next two rounds as we are at Bradshaw’s on lake four so i will be messaging a few people to give me a heads up during the week .

Old hough fishery , winter league round two


October 29th

Today i have been back  to Old Hough fisheries for the second round of my winter league and this time it was going to take place on boulders + goose which is somewhere that i have not fished for over twelve months so i was really looking forward to the contest especially after my good result in the first round , after yesterday’s very blustery conditions I was glad to wake up and see it a lot calmer but with bright skies plus colder conditions it could make things a bit difficult although on these lakes you was targeting silver fish with the odd carp coming out .

On arrival to the fishery i meet up with the other anglers and a few of them had fished a couple of matches on these waters which would obviously give them an advantage but from what i heard there seemed to be a lot more carp showing than i thought , it soon came round to draw time and when i had a dip in the bag of doom pulling out peg 11 which i was pleased with as it was an area that I had fished before , doing well winning the match with nearly 50lb of ide although I was definitely on the colder side of the lake with the trees blocking out the sun.

I decided to set up ;

Two foot rig for fishing tight to the far bank and i used a 0.4 Md diamond float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was six inch of 012 garbo my hook was a size 18 guru maggot hook .

Three foot rig for fishing at 11m which was about half way up the far slope and i used a 4×12 Md maggot float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was six inch of 012 garbo my hook was a size 18 guru maggot hook .

Five foot rig for fishing at six meters down the track and i used a 4×12 Md maggot float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was six inch of 012 garbo my hook was a size 18 guru maggot hook .

Bait for the day was ;

Four pints of red maggots

Two pints of 4mm pellets

Two pints of ground bait

When the all in sounded i started my match by fishing across at 14m tight to the over hanging reeds i put in a large kinder pot of maggots and a nugget of ground-bait  but this only produced a stockie carp plus a few small silvers in the first hour , looking around i saw everyone fishing in the same area and was struggling just like me but in the back of my mind I knew that the fish wouldn’t want to be in the shallow water but i got suckered into going tight across . I decided to drop further down the shelf in a depth of 3ft at 11m and by feeding maggots through a kinder pot then letting my rig fall up the slope , doing this produced a few nice ide but I made the mistake of changing my feeding to using a catty which didn’t work for me and i switched because i hoped that it would drag more fish into the peg which it did but only tiny silvers .

Since the match started I had potted in maggots on my left hand channel swim at six meters and when I dropped on it after two hours I caught some decent ide between the small silvers but it gradually got better , as i began catching a few small carp and i felt that with it being hard going i needed to rest this line for a while so I put in another track swim six meters to my right but this one I fed with a big kinder pot of maggots , it didn’t take to long for the fish to settle on the bait and i had a good run of fish including a couple of barbel but as the contest went on with the conditions getting colder ( on my side of the lake anyway as the opposite bank they were sitting in t-shirts ) the bites were getting really delicate and often the slightest of dinks on the float would result in a big carp and for the rest of the match I rotated between them both, the swims got better and better as the bigger fish bullied the smaller silvers out of the peg.

The all out called time on a really enjoyable match as I caught a proper mixed bag of fish not knowing what i would be putting in the net next which made a nice change from all the f1 fishing i had done recently and when the scales arrived I had 27lb to beat , my net went 44lb which was enough for the lake and overall match win so thats two out of two lake wins in the winter league I’m back there next Sunday for round three on boulders and goose again where i am sure to come crashing to earth with a bump .

Old hough fishery


22nd October

I have been to Old Hough fisheries today in Cheshire for the first round of my winter league with Diggle AC and it was going to take place on lucky dip + prospect , i had only fished these lakes a couple of times before and that was around this time last year so i was really looking forward to catching up with the other lads , during the week leading up to the contest i messaged a few people to try to get a heads up on how it was fishing plus what tactics + bait was working .

After arriving at the fishery i had a quick chat with the lads taking part and even though storm Brian was still crashing about but luckily the surrounding trees provided a bit of cover from the elements , at the draw I somehow managed to pull out my usual end peg this time it was 16 on lucky dip although to be honest all the recent good weights had come from the middle of the straits , so i was a bit unsure on what to expect from my peg but at least i didn’t have far to walk because it was right at the side of the car park .

When i settled in at my home for the next few hours the wind was blowing over my shoulder which meant I could just about fish the far bank at 14m so i decided to set up ;

3ft rig for on the top of the far shelf at the side of some over hanging reeds and along my right hand margin so with the conditions being a bit on the rough side , i used a 0.4 Md diamond float with an inch spread bulk above my four-inch 012 garbo hook length and my hook was a size 16 Lwg .

Top three swim at the bottom of the near slope in 5ft and i used a 4×12 Md maggot float which had a staggered bulk shotting pattern spread along the bottom half of my rig and i used a six-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Six meter channel swim towards my left and also at the side of the aerator on my right , it was nearly 6ft deep here so i used a 4×14 Md maggot float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern and my hook was a size 16 Lwg .

Bait for the day was ;

Two pints of corn

Two pints of 4mm pellets

Small tub of 6mm expanders

When the all in sounded this I started my match across to the far bank about a foot away from the cover and i began kinder potting in a few 4mm pellets+corn , it didn’t take to long before my first fish hit the net which was a mirror around the three-pound mark and in the first hour I managed 15lb of small carp if it carried on like this i could be on for a nice weight . It was just my luck when the wind turned blowing from left to right and I couldn’t present my rig properly across , so I began feeding my track swim with pellets + corn which was a bit sooner than i would have liked and it only took about twenty minutes before I began picking up a few carp and then I heard a crash behind me the rollers had blown over cracking my 11m section.

This cut down my options some what i concentrated my efforts on my left hand channel swim and i was getting plenty of indications but i was finding it hard to connect with them , i even had a run of losing three fish at the net which was a bit frustrating . After changing a few things i finally began putting the odd fish in the net and i changed to feeding half a cupping kit full of corn+pellets this initially killed my swim but after twenty minutes i had a brace of decent sized carp , so i needed somewhere to rest it and i went down my right hand margin where it was sheltered from the strengthening wind i began by taking it a bit easy with the feed tapping in some corn+pellets until i knew what response i would get , after about five minutes i had my first fish from the swim which was a small barbel and i had a good run catching a mixture of fish .

Every thirty minutes i would go back onto my channel swim and pick up a couple of quick carp before i needed to re feed , so i went back on my right hand margin and caught a few more but towards the last hour my bites began to tail off and as i couldn’t add-on another section to follow them along the margin , so i decided to put in half a cupping kit full of feed in to try to draw them back into the swim but this had the opposite effect as it killed my swim dead and for the rest of the match i sat it out on my channel swim catching next to nothing , strangely my top three swim never produced a bite all match and neither did my swim at the side of the aerator.

At the all out i had 45lb on my clicker and after packing up i caught up with the scales with 49lb being in the lead , when they arrived at my peg i was last to weigh in and my two nets went 58lb which was enough to win my lake and also second in the match, apart from me all the other framing weights came from the middle of the straits which was what i expected given my recent information so all in all it was a good start to the winter league.

I am back there for round two on boulders + goose next Sunday but before that its the last round of the teams of three at Cunneries fishery so fingers crossed  I can keep my good run going.

Old Hough winter league


December 18th , peg eight boulders lake

Today was my last round of my winter league at Old Hough in Cheshire and as i was lying in sixth place due to missing a couple of rounds , i felt that i would be up against it to get in the overall money positions but i had framed in four of the previous five matches that i had fished and more importantly i had enjoyed catching a few silvers which is always nice in the cold weather . My thirty mile trip down to the fishery for the last time this year went really smoothly which made a nice change because as you all know the M6 can be a proper nightmare at times and i arrived with plenty of time to spare , i managed a quick walk around the two lakes in the draw bag and i really fancied another try on Boulders because it held a bigger stamp of fish so would obviously be easier to get a winning weight although as on Goose there was definitely a few areas you don’t want to sit in . The weather for the contest was the same as it had been for the last month with calm bright conditions and around six degrees this had made the fishing really hard everywhere , the Thursday open match taking place on these lakes had been a proper struggle with lots of anglers failing to break into double figures so all the talk at the draw was of how hard it might be today but it was the same for everyone and you just had to get on with it , when the mad rush began to have a dip in the bag of doom i managed to sneak in near the front of the queue and i was quite happy to see peg eight on Boulders lake stick to my mitt , in the earlier rounds of the winter league we had decided to leave this area out as it is never usually put in on the opens but the last couple of matches it had been put in and framed on every occasion so i was hopeful of catching a few fish .

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On settling in at my home for the next few hours i had quite a lot of areas to target ;

I had about five meters along the side of the island which didn’t have a great deal of cover and as it was over 14m away i would need to ship back twice because i had a hill quite close behind , so i decided to begin my match dobbin bread in that area and after plumbing up i found it to be around 2ft deep which wasnt ideal , i used a 0.2 matrix series three float which had two number eleven stotz spread down the 014 garbo main line and my hook length was 010 garbo which had a size 18 guru pellet hook attached .

I put in two swims in the deepest water i could find which was five foot this was positioned in open water at eleven meters either side of the island and i used a 4×12 RW maggie float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was 010 garbo which had a size twenty guru maggot hook attached .

My other rig was for the bottom of the far shelf at four-foot deep and it was also the same depth at the side of some lily pads towards my left which was close enough for me to feed by hand , i used a 4×10 RW maggie float with a staggered bulk shotting pattern which would give me a slow fall of my hook bait my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was 010 garbo which had a size twenty guru maggot hook attached .

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Bait for the day was ;

1 pint of red and white maggots

1/2 pint of corn

1 pint of ground-bait

1 slice of bread

small tub of 2mm expanders

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When the all in sounded signalling the start of the match i shipped out to the island and began working my disk of bread all along the far bank , i was poking my rig into any likely looking area i did get the odd sign which i missed and i put this down to small roach , it was only when i pulled my rig a couple of feet away from the cover going into a some slightly deeper water that i managed a carp about three pounds and i had an ide soon after but i then struggled to get any more indications , i even tried maggots tight to the cover in case any more ide was sat in the area but this didn’t produce any bites either and i felt that if you are usually going to catch dobbin for carp there would be a little nest of fish in a certain area but because i had only managed that solitary fish i decided to put in a few grains of corn at both points of the island .

With an hour of the match gone i went onto my left hand channel swim where i had been pinging six maggots every five minutes and i hopped that a few ide might have settled on the feed as i had seen a couple of top in the area before the match started , but because nobody had drawn the early numbered pegs i feared the fish might back of into the space and after letting my rig fall through the water i began getting middered by tiny silvers , so i changed my shotting to a bulk+dropper as this would allow me to get my bait to the bottom quicker and this kind of worked for me because i did manage a couple of better fish but they wasnt the usual stamp for in here plus they also wasnt there in any numbers either .

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I changed to my right hand channel swim where i had fed a ball of ground-bait at the start of the match i did this because there was a lot of hand sized skimmers in this lake and i felt that i could add a couple of pounds of them into my net while i pondered on my next move , but even they was proving hard to catch it just seemed that there wasnt many fish willing to have a feed today and everybody on my lake was struggling too , it was noticeable that only a few ide had come out so far and thinking about it after the match i wasnt quick enough in changing my feeding to target other species as i expected ide to produce the bulk of my weight today .

My next move was to go on to my four-foot rig at the bottom of the far slope and began by just trickling in a couple of maggots in case i had over done it with the feed on my other lines plus i could always increase the amount if i needed too , i started by catching a few 4oz roach but at least they was bigger than any of the other silvers that i had managed and i was also adding some weight to my net , after a while it went a bit quiet  i was on the verge of increasing the amount of bait that i was feeding when my float slide under and i had a bonus f1 in the net although like usual on these two lakes it was a loner , but the disturbance had upset the silvers on this line so i decided to have ago with corn were i cupped a few grains in earlier incase there was any more bonus fish in the area but a bite less ten minutes on each line soon had me picking up my dobbin rig and this did produce another ide but nothing in any numbers .

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I had continued to feed my left hand channel swim with a catty while i had fished else were so i decided to drop back on it to see if anything had settled there and i did pick up a couple of net fish among the small silvers , with just ninety minutes of the match remaining i had a decision to make because i needed to attract a bigger stamp of fish into my peg as i could see a lad to my right catching the odd big ide and i felt he was eating into my lead , i choose to feed a ball of ground-bait onto my left hand channel swim and bulk all my shotting above the hook length which would enable me to fish expanders , while it settled i rotated my other swims to no avail so i spent the rest of my match on left hand line and luckily for me i began catching a few hand sized skimmers by swapping between expanders and maggots i managed a couple of bonus net crucians+tench , in the last hour i must have added three pounds to my net which doesn’t sound a great deal but when you’re only looking for 15lb to win it was a rather substantial part of my final weight .

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As i began packing up everyone was saying that i had won the lake as nobody else had managed a carp and it would be nice to finish the winter league like i started it with a match win on boulders lake, as it turned out i did manage to finish first but without my good last hour i wouldn’t have managed it as i weighed in with just over 14lb for the third match running at Old Hough and second was 11lb with third just 8lb , Goose lake fished a bit better with 20lb winning then 11lb second and 10lb third . When i got back to the car park they was starting to reckon up the overall winter league points and i had beaten a few of the lads today which was above me in the table at the beginning of the day so i hoped that i had done enough to get into the money , as it turned out i had managed to scrape into fifth overall with 15 points from six matches which was last place in the money but it was really close as 10 points came first then just five points covered five places , to be honest i was quite happy with how my league panned out because after missing my two dropper matches due to clashes with the partridge lakes winter league i was always going to be up against it and apart from the one match where i finished sixth on the lake from a really bad peg i fished well with two wins , two seconds and a third .

So with that out-of-the-way i will now be targeting Partridge lakes for the next couple of months with both the individual and team of four winter leagues on my agenda .

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 .

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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 .