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.

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Bradshaws fishery , winter league round five


November 19th

I have been back to Bradshaw’s fishery today for round five of my winter league and with the first proper frost of winter plus blue skies meant i expected things would be tough going , on arrival to the venue the wind was blowing from right to left it was feeling really chilly and i was glad that i had wrapped up warm before i had set off on my journey to the fishery , even in these conditions there was nearly a dozen anglers already fishing and it looked like we could be tight for space on the match . It soon came round for the draw I pulled out peg 31 which was not too far from where i was last week and they struggled down that end so i wasnt expecting things to be great , although on the plus side it was an end peg for the competition but I had to put up with pleasure angler’s to my left throwing in corn all over the place and I also had every peg in towards my right.

I began setting up and disaster struck as my recently repaired 11m section wouldn’t fit into the number seven one so fishing long was out of the question so I was at a disadvantage straight away , with limited options i decided to set up ;

Four meters towards my left just at the bottom of the near slope and i was going to fish pellets here so i used a 4×14 Md pellet float which had an inch spread bulk starting above my four-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Eleven meter directly in front of me which was the furthest that i could safely go and i was going to fish maggots over ground-bait , i used a 4×14 Md silver float which had a bulk plus two dropper shoting pattern and my main line was the usual 014 garbo that had a six-inch 012 garbo hook length attached .

Six meters slightly towards my right where it was the deepest part of my peg and i used a 4×14 Md maggot float with a staggered bulk shotting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo that had a six-inch 012 garbo hook length attached .

Bait for the day ;

3 pints of ground-bait

2 pints of soaked micros

3 pints of red and white maggots

small tub of 4mm expanders

When the all in sounded I started at 5m with pellets as i felt this was my best bet to catch some f1s+carp i began by clumping in some micros so that they fell in a heap directly to the bottom but i only managed a few small silvers doing this so i tried taping in some feed which i hoped would drag some better stamp fish in to the swim but after an hour had passed i still hadn’t seen any net fish , so i went out to 11m were I had earlier put in 3 balls of ground-bait and i began getting indications straight away but yet again they was just small silvers , i began cattying in some maggots every few minutes to try to draw some bigger fish this just produced more tiny fish and i was at a loss on what to do next but with the anglers all around me struggling it could just be a lack of anything decent in the area .

With half the match gone I was still really struggling so I put in a new swim towards my left kinder potting maggots in just to see if the ground-bait was attracting the small stuff and to an extent it did work because the silvers improved in size , i even managed a lonely f1 and then a perch around the pound mark which was nice catching as they aren’t in many commercials these days but it wasnt long before the tiny bits returned . With an hour of the match remaining and the light beginning to fade the pleasure anglers to my left began to pack up which gave me a bit of room so I put in yet another new swim this time directly in front at 6m , I began feeding small marble sized balls of sloppy ground-bait through a kinder pot before pinging a few maggots over the top and this finally got me some decent skimmers and f1’s but it was too little to late because i was quickly running out of time as the all out sounded to early for my liking .

I was the last to weigh in and when they arrived at my peg I ended up with 12lb which i caught most of it in the final hour it was easily enough for me to win my section , but I’m kicking myself a bit because just 16lb was required to come third overall and i felt that was manageable today if I had fished a bit better , the match was won from peg 25 with just under 40lb than second came from peg 7 with 25lb after that there was a couple of 16lb nets before the weights really dropped of which was no doubt down to the conditions .

I’m back at Old Hough on Sunday for the next round and with the weather going colder a good draw would be needed but hopefully i can keep away from the bad areas and consolidate my place at the top of the league as im on ten points at the moment after five rounds , fingers crossed i can drop at least one of my Bradshaw results then it will be a good winter league for me .

Bradshaw hall fisheries , round five winter league


12th November

I have been to Bradshaw’s fishery today for the 4th round of the winter league and it was due to take place on lake four which is somewhere that I had only fished once before coming third in the inter club match there this January , so I was really looking forward to it even though it was proper cold outside with plenty over night rain going in because you are usually guaranteed a few bites from the silvers and f1s . After my short drive to the fishery which only took about twenty minutes and i really need to make the effort to go more often next year , i met up with the lads contesting the winter league and everyone was looking forward to it as it had fished quite well on the recent club matches , we had most of the lake but with a few pleasure anglers on the early part it was going to be peg two miss one which could make things a bit interesting .It soon came round to draw time and i pulled out peg 27 which was half way along the far straight with your back to lake six , i was a bit unsure what to expect because i fancied a go on the opposite bank but at least i had a lot of open water to target although the wind was gusting from left to right and was forecast to get stronger as the match progressed .

With this in mind I decided to set up ;

Top four line just as the bottom levelled out a bit and as it was nearly six-foot deep here so i used a 4×16 Md maggot float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 010 garbo which had a size 18 guru maggot hook attached .

Thirteen meter line it was six-inch deeper than the above swim and i decided to use a lighter 4×14 Md maggot float with a staggered bulk in the bottom third of the rig ,  my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 010 garbo which had a size 18 guru lwg hook attached with a micro bait band .

Two shallow rigs set at four-foot one with a bait band the other a normal maggot rig my float was a 4×12 Md maggot hook with an on the drop shotting pattern ,  my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 010 garbo which had a size 18 guru maggot hook attached .

Bait for the day ;

3 pints of maggots

3 pints of soaked 4mm pellets

small tub of mixed 4mm and 6mm pellets

A mixture of ground-bait 50/50 frenzied hemp and f1 dark

When the all in sounded I fed 3 small balls of ground-bait on my four meter swim and began loose feeding a dozen maggots over the top every couple of minutes It wasn’t long before I began catching hand sized skimmers which was a good start to the match , the wind + tow was making presenting my rig really awkward and bites began to tail off after forty minutes so i fed another ball of ground-bait and decided to let it rest for a bit , I had fed pellets with a catty at 13m so i gave that a try I went on it expecting to catch small stockies with the odd better fish mixed in and i had a good run of fish on it including a bonus three-pound carp but yet again the wind was making presentation on the deck difficult , i knew that they had caught shallow on here and although i wasnt sure it would work today in the colder conditions but with my rig set at 4ft  i took the gamble of getting them up in the water this didn’t really work out for me and mid match i really struggled to put anything in the net I also lost two big skimmers when they jumped out of the water when hooked .

With just two hours remaining I put in a new swim at 11m towards my right were my pole was more manageable in the conditions and i fed a smaller softer ball of ground-bait with a dozen maggots through a cupping kit , my rig kept getting held up by small silvers as it fell so i bulked all my shotting a foot away from my hook length and this solved the problem as i was now catching a hand sized skimmer nearly every put in , when bites began to fade i put in a nugget of ground-bait in with a kinder pot which kept the fish interested and it wasnt long before i noticed the bottom fizzing away this resulted in a run of small f1s , the wind was getting continually stronger making my rig tow through pretty badly so i decided to double bulk my rig laying six-inch of line on the deck this kept my rig stationary and i was now waiting for positive lift bites I stayed here for the rest of the match catching skimmers + f1’s quite frequently.

At the all out I ended up third in the match and section with 34lb and 37lb won the opposite bank fished a lot harder with 20lb winning the section , I’m a bit disappointed with the result because I should have caught those extra few pounds and i did some things wrong but at least i have a better idea on what is required now , plus we are back there next week for round five so i don’t have long to wait to hopefully put things right , fingers crossed i can use this as one of my dropper results as i am on six points now after four matches and going from previous years ten points will be good enough to be the winter league champion .

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.