Weston pools fishery , natural bait festival 2017


September 22nd and 23rd

Today i was back at the impressive Weston pools fishery for my third attempt at natural bait festival which i was really looking forward too especially with the added twist of not being able to use pellets or ground-bait and so far i have made a progression from mid way on my first attempt where i was way out of my depth , to finishing just out of the top ten last year after winning my lake on the first day then ending up a disappointing fifth on Stretton the next day missing out on third by just 5lb which would have put me in a framing place , so it would be interesting to see if i had improved my fishing although i hadn’t been here a great deal in the previous  months which wasnt the best preparation for the festival , i think that this style of fishing really suits me because I’m an angler that struggles to catch big weights and win matches but am always there about in my section which is what you need to do in these style of events , no doubt i would do even better on the longer five-day contests but i suffer with my sleeping when i am away and my second day always lets me down i just hope things are a bit different this year .

After my early start i headed off on my sixty mile journey to the fishery which didn’t take to long as its nearly all motorway miles and i arrived just after eight o’clock which gave me plenty time to book on before getting a breakfast from the clubhouse , as usual on these events there was plenty big names knocking about plus most of the Welsh national squad as well as a few venue regulars and i feel it’s important not to let yourself to become star struck because they are just normal people even if you do see and hear about them all over social media , just like you and me they do suffer at the draw bag but they are also great lads to talk too and very approachable this took me quite awhile to get my head around which definitely affected my matches on festivals and big qualifiers .

Before too long it was time for the draw and this year the points would be for five peg sections and not full lakes which i felt would be better for me although it could mean that a few anglers would be tied at the top at the end of the two days , the rotation would be either Stretton+Belvedere  on the first day or Weir+Canal on the next day depending on where you drew on todays straight draw , the only lake i did not fancy drawing was canal because i had not fished it for quite some time . Strangely i ended up right at the back of the queue as i was too busy talking to a few lads i hadn’t seen for quite a while and when it came round for my turn in the bag of doom i pulled out peg one on Belvedere which i was a bit unsure about because it was a bit deeper down this end of the water plus i was up against two anglers on the pads but i would be giving it my best shot .

When i arrived at my home for the next few hours i was a peg away from the Lily pads which i could just about reach at 16 meters if i needed too and i had plenty open water to target plus a reed lined margin with a spare platform either side of me , things looked really promising and with previous knowledge of the venue i chose to target the resident carp today and decided to set up ;

Rig for in between my nets in three-foot and i used a 4×16 joof float which had a bulk of stotz above my six-inch 016 garbo hook length , my main line was 018 garbo and elastic was Preston size 15 hollo this might seem over the top but the fish will be under the platform in a blink of an eye so you need plenty of oomph to prevent this happening .

Rig for at the bottom of the near slope in 4ft and i used a 4×14 joof float which had a staggered bulk starting above the six-inch 014 garbo hook length this would allow me to flick my rig out so that it fell along the slope this worked really well for me on my last visit here .

Rig at six meters in deeper water and i used a 4×14 joof float with a bulk and dropper shotting pattern my main line was 016 garbo which had a 014 garbo hook length attached to it .

A shallow rig for fishing over my above rig and i would be loose feeding casters so used a 4×10 mini mag float with a bulk of stotz above the four-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Rig for at the front of each platform in three-foot and i used a 0.4 diamond shaped float with a glass stem my main line was 016 garbo which had a 014 garbo hook length attached .

Bait for the day was ;

3 pints of casters

1 tin of hemp

2 tins of corn

When the match started i fed my six meter swim with a pot of casters and i would keep an eye on it to see when it began fizzing , while i waited i had a quick look between my nets without feeding anything but ten minutes past without so much as a liner and i then tried throwing a couple of grains of corn around my float hoping that the plop of it going in might attract the attention of any passing carp , after another five minutes i got my first bite which was a common about four pounds and i then suffered with missed bites which turned out to me hand sized crucians so the carp must have been a loner . Thinking that the fish might be in deeper water with the recent drop in temperature plus over night rain so i picked up my top three rig and i kinder potted in some hemp plus a few grains of corn this produced a couple of quick carp but without getting another indication in twenty minutes i chose to rest this swim for the time being .

I had earlier noticed that my six meter line had fizzed and now that it had subsided with just the odd bubble coming up i decided to give it a try  my reason behind this was i expected the small stockies+silvers to be first on the scene which would attract the attention of the bigger fish , first drop on this swim  my float dipped under a sharp strike resulted in a two-pound ide coming to the bank not exactly what i had in mind another similar sized fish quickly followed so i decided to start pinging casters and picked up my shallow rig but this only produced small silvers , back on my deck rig and i only managed the odd bite from nothing proper so i put in another pot of casters then left it to settle .

I went back onto my top three-line and had a bite instantly which took off like a rocket heading towards the lily pads so i had to clamp up on the top kit which resulted in my hook length snapping and it was either a foul hooked carp or one of the big barbel in here , i should have learned my lesson and stepped up my hook length because my next fish after a spirited fight darted in between my nets resulting in another breakage . After that i just couldn’t get a bite close in and just picked up a couple more big ide off my caster swim ,after two hours that was all I had in the net which probably went under twenty pounds things wasnt going to well but those anglers within eye shot was struggling just like me .

 

But when the rain came and it got cloudier for some reason I began to start catching again on my close in swims resulting in half a dozen carp , i decided to stop putting feed in on my six meter swim as it was resulting in just silvers and began loose feeding caster heavily between my nets because i felt this was my best opportunity to do a big weight , i kept trying it every so often during the match and i would get a couple of quick barbel before bites slowed down so i kept resting it by going on my margin line which i fed one side with a kinder pot of corn+hemp the other with a big pot , it was very noticeable that my negatively feed line was by far the best producing a good run of carp but even just putting that little amount of bait in i began suffering with  liners and with just forty minutes of the match remaining i replumbed up my margin line near the empty platform tight to the bank in two foot and i managed four more carp before the all out sounded .

I was the first to weigh in on the lake and ended up with just less than 80lb which was good enough for a section win and fourth on the lake so i managed a good performance on the first day and its all still too play for , back at the club house after the food they had put on and a couple of beers it was time for the day one results to be read out yet again there was plenty weights over a ton with 155lb taking the win and well done to all the section winners+framers , it was then time for the draw for day two i was praying to get on Weir pool as it had performed best today and even though i was a section winner i had the lowest weight so needed a bagging day tomorrow , i went for an early dip in the bag of doom like i usually do but i pulled out peg 46 canal not great and after looking at the results it only produced a low 70lb today for third in section , after speaking to a few of the lads who fished that area of the lake there was a lack of f1s in the area and i had to find a way of catching the resident carp if i wanted to challenge for good section points so off i went to book into my digs before going to the pub for a few more beers after speaking to my mate i had come up with a bit of a plan and was feeling a bit more positive about day two of the festival .

 

After the usual crappy nights sleep it was time for the second day of the natural bait festival at Weston pools and on arrival i grabbed a fried breakfast before getting my gear ready because you are only allowed on your peg at 930 I was on 46 canal which I heard was an alright draw for good section points but no chance of getting a weight big enough to frame and before i headed to my home for the next few hours i decided to call at the on site tackle shop for some maggots because i had a sneaky feeling that with all the pressure from yesterday it was going to be hard work today .

I decided to set up ;

Top kit between by nets in three-foot of water and i used a 4×16 joof float with a bulk of stotz above my six-inch 014 garbo hook length , main line was 016 garbo and hook a size 14 lwg guru .

Margin rig top three towards my right in a cut out near the reeds , i found it to me quite flat and just over two feet so i used a 0.4 diamond float my main line was 016 garbo which had a six-inch 014 garbo hook length attached to it .

Top five towards my left at the bottom of the near slope where it was four-foot deep and i planned to fish maggots on this line , i used a 4×12 maggie float with a bulk+dropper shotting pattern my main line was 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo attached to it was a size twenty guru lwg hook .

Six meter line in the deepest water that i could find if the fish had backed off away from the near bank it was almost six-foot deep so i used a 4×14 joof float with a bulk+dropper shotting pattern and my main line was 016 garbo which had a six-inch 014 garbo hook length .

Bait for the day was ;

3 pints of maggots

2 tins of corn

1 tin of hemp

When the all in sounded i started on my top kit between the nets with corn on the hook and like on the previous day at first i did not feed anything , after about ten minutes i began getting little indications on my float which showed that there was something in the swim i didn’t have to wait too long before i had a proper bite which I bumped on the strike, I then had to wait ages for another one which turned out to be a crucian so i put a bit of bait in and left it for a while .I then had a look down my right hand margin which I had been told was the best place to fish from the lad on it the day before and he caught a few carp using corn , so decided to follow suit and kinder potted in some hemp+corn before lowering my rig over the top of it but this just got me some tiny indications and more crucians things was not going to well i did expect it to be a bit difficult but not this hard .

I decided to switch to my maggot rig five meters towards my left at the side of some reed’s and i began kinder potting in some maggots at first i kept catching small hand sized ide on the drop , so i altered my shotting putting it all above the hook length to get my bait to the deck quickly which helped a great deal as i now began catching a bigger stamp of silver and the odd stockie which was a bit more promising .After two hours I had about twenty pounds in the net things wasn’t going to well as i needed a big weight to be in with a chance of framing , I didn’t really know what else to do but for some reason I just tried my maggot rig between my nets and this finally got me a good run of f1s but i had to really work my rig to get a bite .

For the next two hours I rotated between my top kit and top four towards my left and picked up a few f1s and it was all going swimmingly i felt i was well in contention for the section win but i made the mistake of forcing the peg as i started throwing maggots on both lines the constant feeding brought in the barbel which was fun on my light elastic and after getting broken a few times I stepped up my hook length from an 012 to 014 which got me the barbel but reduced the amount of bites from the f1s.My last hour was really slow for me and I struggled to put anything in the net apart from a stray carp which must have got lost down this end of the lake , i kept trying my right hand margin swim but surprisingly it never got going for me as the lad on here yesterday had three-quarters of his weight from this area of his peg .

when the all out sounded i felt that i hadn’t got the most out of my peg and should have just fished a nice tidy match kinder potting in maggots for the f1s but like i said earlier i felt that i needed a good weight today plus a section win , but trying to do the first meant i neglected the second because when the scales arrived i managed just short of 70lb comfortably beating those either side of me who struggled for 20lb but the other lad in the bay which fished shocking on the first day did remarkably well catching a ton from down the edge , so this left me second in section and a top ten finish in the festival with three points which I would have been pleased at the start although by trying to get to much from my peg i over did the feed and blew my chance of finishing fifth although that would have been first out of the money .

So i was feeling a mixture of happiness and regret when the results were announced as i felt i had wasted a good chance today but that’s the way it goes sometimes , i would like to say well done to all those involved in running the festival and all the anglers taking part , i am already looking forward to doing it all again next year and i would recommend it to everyone because it really is a great experience .

 

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Weston pools fishery


September 16th

I decided to have a change of venue today and headed off to Weston Pools Fishery for a bit of practice before next week’s natural bait festival which i am contesting for the third year running and i seem to be improving on every one of them so fingers crossed it will continue for me , with the recent drop in temperature and cold rain going in the lakes I expected the fishing to be quite tough as you are targeting mainly carp+barbel but I always enjoy fishing this venue and to be honest it is my favorite match water because it’s totally different from anywhere in the north-west i just wish it was a few miles closer .

On my arrival to Weston pools I booked on to the match then had a quick walk around belvedere and i noticed that the fishery staff had done a lot of work removing overhanging branches + general tidying up the banks in readiness for the upcoming festival , this was the only water that I wanted to be on as the other two lakes in the rover wasn’t going to be in next weekend and to be honest i have always struggled on this lake for some reason so i could do with the practice even if it did mean i had little chance of framing today , after taking note of a few pegs that i fancied i made my way back to the cabin stopping off on the way to talk too a few friendly faces who i hadn’t seen for quite some time and when i finally got there it was nearly draw time , I managed to pull out ball eight which meant i was mid way in the queue for a pick and one by one all the best pegs went.

When it came to my turn I decided to settle on peg 22 belvedere which although wasnt a fancied peg it did give me a bit of room and to be honest there isn’t much point sitting on a flyer because you don’t learn a great deal plus i would be very unlikely to sit on one in the festival with so many draw bags in attendance , I set up a few rigs to cover my options ;

Top kit line between your nets which is usually a banker method on here for the barbel , even though it was only a touch over three-foot deep i used a 4×16 joof float with all the bulk above my 4 inch hook length to get the bait to the deck really quickly .

Bottom of the near slope at three meters were it was around five foot deep and i used a 4×14 joof float with a staggered bulk starting above my four-inch 014 garbo hook length .

Margin rig top three towards my left in 18 inches of water at the side of some reeds which was the shallowest water i could find and i used a 0.4 MD margin munter float , my main line was 0.17 garbo and hook length 0.16 garbo which had a size 14 guru lwg hook .

Six meter rig for fishing on the deck under my shallow line and my float was a 4×12 joof float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern .

Two shallow rigs set at two foot + one foot , my floats were a 4×10 MD mini mag with a small bulk above a four-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Bait for the day was;

3 pints of casters

2 pints of corn and hemp

2 pints of corn

When the all in sounded I fed my top three-line with half a cupping kit full of corn+hemp mix and while it settled I had a quick look on my top kit for hopefully a quick couple of barbel but this just produced a small silver with no more bites or liners that was a waste of time but i would keep dropping on it now + again during the match , I then went on to my top three swim and had a bite almost straight away which I pulled out of, then I hooked something a bit bigger which after a spirited fight snapped my 6lb hook length after spending the last few months just catching f1’s i needed to get my head around this style of fishing were they pulled back a bit ! !

After an hour I had next to nothing in the net so I went on my shallow six meter swim which I had primed from the start feeding a dozen casters every few minutes but all this just produced was hand sized silvers so you can safely say so far it wasn’t going to well  , i did try my deck rig underneath my shallow swim but this just produced line bites and maybe i should have set up a new rig for fishing at half depth .

Two hours of the match had already passed and i had about ten pounds in the net so I re-plumbed a new swim at top four towards my right at the bottom of the slope , after feeding some corn+hemp through a large kinder pot i began getting the odd bite from decent fish and topping up every time i caught one worked remarkably well as I had a good run of carp+barbel right up to the all out , but I lost a lot of fish today and i even did a bit of squirreling lol no doubt this was due to the fact that i wasnt used to playing fish of this size which pulled back a bit .

When the all out sounded I ended up with just short of 60lb this was good enough for third on the lake + fifth overall but with just 74lb coming third in the match it was a missed opportunity for me today and i really need to start taking these chances when they present themselves , I had probably fished my worst match in a long time today but at least I had got it out-of-the-way and I learned quite a bit which is my main reason for going.

I’m looking forward to spending most of the week re doing hook lengths and making new rigs in preparation of the natural bait festival next weekend which is always my highlight of the fishing season before it turns to scratching for bites on the multiple winter leagues i am doing this year .

Weston pools fishery


July 8th

I made a bit of late decision this week as i choose to fish the Match anglers Matches qualifier at Weston pools which was due to be split over Stretton and Belvedere , with thirty anglers due to attend we would still have plenty of room and to be honest i was really looking forward to it as Weston pools is my favourite fishery i can’t really explain why as it is just lots of little things which build up to a fantastic fishing experience . I was up bright and early to meet up with another Daiwa Adlington team member then made the sixty mile trip to the venue which as usual went smoothly with it being nearly all motorway travel , on arrival i booked onto the match picked up some fishery pellets and then found out their had been a bit of a mix up with the draw time with it being an hour later than planned but at least it would give me some time to grab a buttie from the on site café before having a look at the lakes in the draw bag , the match results during the week showed that the complex had been fishing really well which was only to be expected and to be honest i quite fancied a go on Stretton pool as i had always done well on their it would also suit my all out pellet approach .

On arrival back to the cabin i had a quick chat with a few lads i had not seen in a while and before i knew it the draw was due to take place , when it came round for my turn in the bag of doom i pulled out 29 on belvedere my golden arm had well and truly deserted me for the time being i just hope it returns soon , if you don’t know the peg it was in the bay behind the tackle shop a good area if it was winter as it is a bit deeper than the other end of the lake but in today’s nice sunny conditions i reckoned it could be a bit of a struggle and to make things worse i had the lake flyer in my section so i was also up against it for qualifying for the final because all you had to do was win against your five anglers to make it to Herronbrook fishery .

When i got to my home for the next few hours it did look a bit promising as i had ;

an empty peg either side

an aerator at 11m to my left

some over hanging reeds in my left hand margin which was within throwing distance .

The only really down side apart from the depth was the fact that it wasnt that wide and with another angler almost directly opposite i could only go out about 11m otherwise we would be doing a bit of sword fighting with the poles .

I decided to set up ;

top three directly in front of me where it was four-foot deep and i used a 4×12 md maggot float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern spread down my 014 garbo main line , attached to it was six-inch of 012 garbo hook length and my hook was a size 18 lwg with a micro bait band .

top four were on plumbing up i found the crease in the bottom at five foot before it started dropping off again and i used  a 4×12 md maggot float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern spread down my 014 garbo main line ,attached to it was six-inch of 012 garbo hook length and my hook was a size 18 lwg with a micro bait band

left hand margin in between the over hanging reeds were it was three-foot deep tight to the boards and i used a diamond pattern md float with an inch spread bulk along the 014 garbo main line starting above the six-inch 012 garbo hook length .

right hand margin at the side of the empty peg it was 3.5ft deep near the front leg and i used a diamond pattern md float with an inch spread bulk along the 014 garbo main line starting above the six-inch 012 garbo hook length .

two shallow rigs at 1ft+2ft and i used a 0.2 md mini mag float because there was a lot of under tow coming from the aerator .

i also set up a 9ft carp master tip rod with a small bomb as i would only be flicking it towards the aerator just in case there might be a couple of barbel or carp lurking about .

Bait for the day was a nice simple pellet match ;

3 pints of 4mm fishery pellets but would have been better with 6mm

3 pints of 8mm fishery pellets

small tub of mixed hard pellets

When the all in sounded i began fishing on my top three directly in front of me and i was throwing a couple of 8mm pellets around my float every few minutes to try to draw some fish into my swim , this was a usually a good tactic on here but you do need to be patient and confident in your approach . It didn’t take too long before i began getting the odd indication and soon after i had my first fish which was a carp about four pounds but slowly but surely i began putting some fish in the net they was all a decent stamp to which i expected in this area of the lake , with an hour of the match gone i started getting bites which i struggled to connect with so i tried a smaller 6mm on the hook this just resulted in some hand sized crucians+stockies which wasnt a good sign . I switched rigs to my deeper one and added on another section to see if they had dropped further down the slope and this seemed to work as i caught a couple of big f1s but when the stockies moved in it was time to try somewhere different , i had been loose feeding 4mm pellets on my left hand margin in among the reeds and although it was a bit early in the match i decided to give it a try , i started on the deck and would go shallow if i got any liners but after half an hour i had not even had a bite not exactly what i had planned although i would keep feeding it as i hoped they would turn up at some point during the match .

Since the all in i had pinging some pellets at eight meters and although i hadn’t seen any fish swirling on them i decided to give my shallow rigs a go , i started on my deepest rig and kept laying my rig in through the feed but apart from a couple of stockies it was a complete waste of time which was probably due to the close proximity of the aerator making my rig tow through un naturally , so that rig went up the bank and i flicked out the straight lead on top of where i had fed but after twenty minutes my tip had not even twitched so it seemed there wasnt a great deal in front of me at the moment . For the next couple of hours i put next to nothing in the net even though i had rotated all my lines and things wasnt looking good and it’s not as if the other anglers either side of me were catching a great deal just the odd fish , we was fast approaching the last ninety minutes and in the back of my mind i had a niggling feeling that the fish were happy on the four-foot line so i put on another section and plumbed up either side of me but as it was a bit further away from me , i couldn’t get the accuracy throwing so i had to kinder pot the pellets in and it took me awhile to build the swims up but when i did i was back catching carp including some approaching the 8lb mark understandably i lost a few fish as they fight remarkably hard due to the high oxygen levels in the water .

When the all out sounded i was kicking myself for not switching earlier but at least i had managed a few fish as i had 80lb on my clicker although i doubted that it would be enough for me to challenge for the section win and after packing up i went to see how my mate had got on down the other end of belvedere , as i walked down i asked how the other anglers had got on in my section the lad on the flyer was admitting to a similar weight as he had struggled losing a lot of fish in the lily pads , the scales finally arrived at my peg my three nets went a couple of ounces short of 80lb so for a change i wasnt that far off with my clicker and i had nearly doubled the weight of the anglers either side of me which was promising but the lad on the pads managed 85lb so i had just missed out on qualifying , it seemed that the lack of barbel in the area had cost me as nearly everyone on the lake had caught at least twenty pounds of them and for some reason my banker margins never produced either plus i was kicking myself for not putting in a couple of new lines in at four-foot a bit earlier but that’s the way it goes sometimes i am sure my time will come .

Weston pools fishery , spring festival


May 27th

Today i headed down to the hugely impressive Weston pools fishery in Oswestry to contest the three-day spring festival and i was really looking forward to it as it’s probably my favorite fishery because every lake on the complex is out of the ordinary with a large head of different species including barbel , all of them are extremely hard fighting which is no doubt down to the high oxygen levels in the water due to the aerators being left on all the time .

After another early start i had a pretty stress free journey down arriving with plenty time to spare before i needed to book on , so i went for a quick walk around the complex to see if anything had changed since my last visit a couple of months ago where i struggled on Belvidere but the conditions wasnt great for catching carp+barbel and every lake looked immaculate , apart from canal which they had to shut due to a problem with the water this was a shame i usually do quite well on it and this meant they had to rejig the pegging for the festival we also strangely had a few no shows .On arriving back to the cabin i had a chat with a few of the local lads that i hadn’t seen for a while and there was a lot of sponsored anglers knocking about plus nearly all the Welsh national squad so you could say it was going to be a tough but enjoyable couple of days ,when everything had been sorted there would be a straight draw today with ten anglers on weir+belvedere and twelve on stretton+clay pit , the second day would be another straight draw with all the lakes in except clay pit so it would be very tightly pegged and the last day would be the opposite rotation to the first day .

Day one

It was soon time for the draw and we had a minute’s silence for the people who lost their lives in the Manchester bombing the previous week which was a nice touch ,then the usual scramble ensued to try to get an early dip and i hung back towards the rear and when it was my turn to have a pick in the bag of doom i pulled out peg 17 on Weir , which i was reasonably pleased with as i got my best weight from this lake during the natural bait festival last year and after unpacking my gear i had a short walk to find my home for the next few hours , on arrival i found that i was one away from the aerator but like every peg on here i had two long reed lined margins plus plenty open water and another thing i like about this lake is the fact that you can’t really see many anglers around the lake so you can just concentrate on whats going on in front of you .

I decided to set up ;

top four line where i would be fishing corn so used a 4×14 MD diamond float with a wire stem because the tow can be quite bad on here and i hoped this would make it more stable , i had an inch spread bulk starting above the six-inch 012 garbo hook length .

13m line where i was going to fish casters on the deck and used a 4×14 MD roob style float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern , main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was a six-inch 012 garbo .

Shallow for fishing over the top of my long line i had two rigs set up one at 1ft the other at 2ft , on both i had a MD mini mag float which had a few number eleven stotz spread along the 014 garbo and hook length was a six-inch 012 garb

margin rig at the side of the reeds at four meters where i found a flat area in three-foot and with it being relatively protected from the wind i used a 4×12 MD maggot float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern spread along the 014 garbo main line and my hook length was a six-inch 012 garbo .

Bait for the day was ;

2 pints of corn

2 pints of casters

2 pints of fishery 4mm pellets

tub of assorted hard hook pellets

When the all in sounded i began on my four meter line as this was where i caught most of my fish the last time that i was on here and i deposited a large kinder pot full of corn then tried to keep my rig still over the top of it but it was towing quite badly so i needed to re adjust my rig to add a few inch of line on the deck , it took awhile for me to start getting indications which i kept missing but persevered with it as i expected the carp to turn up sooner or later but apart from a small stockie and a big skimmer the first hour was a waste of time . I had been loose feeding casters on my long line since the start and i began seeing a few swirls so i took the opportunity to pick up my shallow rig this produced a couple of decent ide straight away but then i kept missing bites which usually mean there all small fish present when using banded casters , i tried alternating the depths but never got back in touch with the fish so i dropped onto the deck underneath my shallow line and this produced a couple of barbel and f1s but it wasnt really working for me .

With half the match gone and not a great deal in the net i choose to drop onto my left hand margin were i had fed some pellets every thirty minutes since the match started and i hoped that it would produce to get me out of trouble although it was noticeable that it was fishing hard today so i wasnt that far behind ,i began picking up the odd f1 and big crucian in the next hour but i needed to catch the carp if i was going to pull back on those anglers in my section . I had purposely left my right hand margin alone which is where my empty peg was so that it would be a safe area for the carp to back off into , i changed my bait to an 8mm pellets and taped in half a dozen 4mm pellets so i was fishing for one carp at a time and i set myself a target of ten before the all out , doing this worked really well for me as i managed seven big fish in the next hour before they backed off and i added on an extra section going towards the point of the margin this got me back among the fish but only f1s+stockies .

When the hooter sounded to signal the all out i felt that i hadn’t done enough to be in chance with getting the section as i had fifty pounds on my clicker plus my silvers  , after packing up a had a chat with the other anglers in my section it seemed that a few had struggled but a couple admitted to a similar weight to me so it could be close and when the scales arrived at my peg 75lb was winning which also won the lake , my three nets went 62lb this put me second in section right to the Welsh international Darren frost who had 66lb so that pushed me back down to third and out of the default section money not the start of the festival i wanted although i did end up 5th on weir , but i did learn a great deal and i needed to catch silvers because all the other anglers had double figures of them which definitely cost me today .

After packing up i meet up with the rest of the anglers while we waited for the results and to do the draw for Sundays match , 166lb had won the match from peg six on stretton but Belvidere had performed the best with eight of the twelve anglers catching over 90lb and obviously i would like to be on that lake , but it looked like i had run out of luck because when i went to have a go in the bag of doom i pulled out peg 16 on weir right at the side of where i was today and with nearly every peg in on the lake it was going to be very hard work but at least i could hopefully put into practice what i had learned .

Day two 

The next day i headed off to my home for the next few hours i was a bit subdued as i expected the fishing to be a lot tougher today especially as i would be sat in the middle of five anglers and with three end pegs in my section i didn’t fancy my chances of getting good points but i would of course be giving it my best shot , after unpacking my gear i decided to set up a few rigs which i hoped would help me put the odd fish in the net and these where ;

13m line which i had decided to change to pellets and used a 4×14 MD wire stemmed float with an inch spread bulk starting above my 012 garbo four-inch hook length which had a size 18 guru lwg hook attached with a mini bait band .

Shallow for fishing over the top of my long line i had two rigs set up one at 1ft the other at 2ft , on both i had a MD mini mag float which had a few number eleven stotz spread along the 014 garbo and hook length was a six-inch 012 garbo that had a size 18 guru lwg hook attached with a mini bait band .

top four line which i also changed to pellets and used a 4×14 MD wire stemmed float with an inch spread bulk starting above my 012 garbo four-inch hook length which had a size 18 guru lwg hook attached with a mini bait band .

margin rig for fishing at five meters along both margins and i used a lighter float then yesterday with an MD 012 maggot float with a bulk plus dropper as i felt that i would pick up a few fish on the drop in three-foot , my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo which had a size 18 guru lwg hook attached with a mini bait band .

Bait for the day was just ;

2 pints of fishery 4mm pellets

2 pints of casters

small tub of various size and colour hard pellets for the hook

When the all in sounded i decided to feed a dozen pellets on my four meter and thirteen meter swims before going onto my left hand margin shallow with banded caster because my mate who fished this lake yesterday caught a lot of silvers by doing it , i had missed out on catching these fish which cost me a better finishing position and it didn’t take to long before i began getting indications , with a couple of big ide hitting the net in the first ten minutes  i then had a run of tench and crucians which added about ten pounds to my net during my opening hour then things went a bit quiet . I kept loose feeding casters on my margin swim to try to draw the silvers back and i then had a look on my four meter line where i had kinder potted a few 4mm pellets every fifteen minutes so i expected a response straight away despite it fishing hard my float didn’t even move for half an hour not exactly what i wanted , a switch to my long line wasnt any better but by pinging three 4mm pellets every five minutes to try to draw something into the peg it took about thirty minutes before i finally caught a barbel it was very slow going all around the lake with not much being caught , so i spent  the next couple of hours rotating my swims trying to catch what i could but with two hours of the match remaining i only had about twenty pounds in the net .

I decided to spent the rest of my time on my right margin which i had purposely neglected to feed so that it would create a safe area for the carp to sit in which is usually a good ploy on a high pressured water and i tapped in a few 4mm pellets before flicking my rig out so it fell along the slope before keeping my float still over the top of it , within ten minutes i had a carp in the net and i set myself a target of catching ten of them if i was going to do any good on the lake after my slow start to the match . I kept putting some fish in the net and it was noticeable that you would often get a couple quickly before waiting ages for a bite so i decided to rotate both my margin swims to see if i could get them working for me but strangely the left hand one never got going as i only had small skimmers or gudgeon from it , this left me concentrating more on the right hand side but i needed to rest it from time to time so i kept having a look on my four meter swim directly in front of me this produced a couple of carp and by rotating between them both had me catching the odd fish , just as the all out sounded i lost a decent carp which i felt could prove costly and despite me not quite hitting my target i was sure that i had caught enough to compete in the section .

When the scales arrived at my peg 47lb was winning the section my three nets went an agonising 43lb just missing out on the section by a couple of pounds but i suppose when your luck is out your luck is out and the lost carp cost me which was only to be expected on these tight matches the section i was in only had ten pounds difference between first to last , although i felt that i had done reasonably well from the peg i was on finishing fourth on the lake and yet again i had learned quite a bit plus enjoyed the day which is the important thing . On arriving back to the cabin we had a bbq and a pint while we waited for the results to be announced before doing the draw , i was in the rotation of belvedere + stretton so at least i wouldn’t be on weir again and when it came round for my turn in the bag of doom i hoped for a decent peg so i could finally catch a few fish , when peg 12 stretton stuck to my hand i was reasonably pleased because 80lb had come of it today although yet again i would be up against it for good section points , as the lower numbers had produced all festival and the match was won from peg eight by Matt Godfrey with 130lb so there was a few fish present .

Day three

So here we go it was time for the last match of the festival and after the heavy over night rain plus grey skies i hoped that it might be a good days fishing with the fish having a feed , we was only allowed on the lakes after ten o’clock so i managed to have a quick word with a few of the anglers who had fished stretton over the last couple of days but to be honest i already had a plan in mind and was looking forward to finally catching a few fish . When the gates to the lakes opened i made my way round to peg 12 on stretton which would be my home for the next few hours and it was situated at the end of the leg meaning i had a bit of open water to target plus two empty pegs either side of me so it all looked promising , i decided to set up a few rigs to cover my options ;

13m line where it was six-foot deep and as it wasnt towing through i used a 4×12 MD maggot float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern which was spread along the 014 garbo main line , attached to it was a six-inch 012 garbo hook length with a size 18 guru lwg hook .

shallow line for fishing over the top of my long line i had two rigs set up at different depths both had a MD mini mag float with a bulk above the six-inch 012 garbo hook length attached to it was a size 18 guru lwg hook with a mini bait band as i was going to be using banded caster .

Top three-line where the shelf flattened out and i used a 4×12 MD roob styled float which had a spread bulk above the four-inch 012 garbo hook length that had a size 18 guru lwg hook with a micro bait band .

margin rig for fishing at the side of both platforms where it was 3ft deep so i used a 4×12 MD maggot float with a bulk plus dropper spread along the 014 garbo main line which had a six-inch 012 garbo hook length attached .

Bait for the day was ;

2 pints of fishery 4mm pellets

2 pints of casters

small tub of mixed hard pellets for the hook

When the all in sounded i had a quick look on my left hand margin at the side of the platform where i had felt a couple of fish when i plumbed up earlier and i hoped that i might snare a carp or two before they vacated my swim , i lowered my rig in so my 8mm pellet went in quietly as possible and after a couple of minutes i had an indication on the float which resulted in a hand sized crucians not exactly what i had in mind but i decided to give it another go , I’m glad that i did because my float had only just settled when a sharp lift of the pole resulted in the elastic streaming out of the pole tip and after a spirited fight i had a near double figure carp in the net . As there was still a few fish in the swim i decided to keep fishing the platform and began tapping in a few 4mm pellets from a couple of feet above the water which helped draw the carp back into the area , i kept alternating how i laid my rig in and dropping my pellet in right at the side of the bank helped me add some weight to my net but after an hour bites began to tail off .

I had a look on my top three-line towards my left and tapped in a couple of 4mm pellets before lowering my rig in slowly among it as they fell , by lifting + dropping i managed to attract a few bites first from small crucians then the odd big f1 or carp but if i over fed it the fizzing was awful causing me to have line bites of foul hooked fish and i had to keep setting up new swims , surprisingly i found it best not to feed more than two pellets at a time with an 8mm on the hook and then sit it out waiting for a proper bite this resulted in a few more carp and for the next few hours i was happy putting a few fish in the net . For the past hour i had loose fed casters quite heavily by hand at four meters towards my right hand margin where there was some over hanging vegetation and i hoped that i might catch a few f1s shallow underneath it , i started on the deck first getting bites straight away but not from the expected species as i had a raft of small ide + gudgeon and i even tried shallow which didn’t improve things so i decided to stop feeding it in case it interfered with my margin swim on that side .

With the last two hours fast approaching i decided to spend it rotating my two margin swims and i picked up some nice carp for the rest of the match but strangely my right hand side produced a much smaller stamp plus more f1s , apart from losing the odd fish and getting snapped i felt that i had fished an ok match but i couldn’t see anyone in my section so i was unsure how i had done . As i began packing my gear away a couple of my neighbours came down to see how we had got on and with us all admitting to a low eighty pounds i could be a very close run thing , when the scales arrived at my peg 91lb was winning the section i knew i hadn’t got that but my three nets went 83lb and as i followed the weighers up to the remaining anglers they both beat me by a couple of pounds pushing me down to 4th so yet again a solitary lost fish cost me second in section which was about right for my festival .

So i had finished in a disappointing 14th place with nine points and lack of recent venue knowledge cost me as it took me awhile to get back to grips with the place , but of course i still really enjoyed myself even if the fishing was not up to its usual standard although in my opinion this made the festival even better because every section was extremely tight with nearly all of those i contested being split by just ten pounds , i would like to thank Weston pools for running the festival plus all the anglers contesting the matches and i cant wait to get back there for another match .

 

 

Weston pools fishery , Weir pool


November 9th , Weir pool peg eight

Weir pool

Weir pool

After my eventful trip to Weston pools during the natural bait festival a few weeks previous i decided to venture down to Oswestry for one last time this year before my winter leagues at Partridge and Old Hough start , the match was due to be on Weir+Belvedere which is a couple of waters that i enjoy fishing although to be fair every lake on the complex can produce lots of fish and after looking at the website during the week the weights were still relatively high , so i was really eager to get there especially as the weather during the week had remained pretty constant which usually improves the fishing .

I arrived at the fishery around 845 and both car parks where heaving as there was two club matches on plus the open which just goes to show the popularity of Weston pools , i had enough time to book on for the match before grabbing a bacon buttie then having a look at the waters which were in the draw bag , there was plenty of locals knocking about plus a few familiar faces from Partridge lakes as well and it turned out that there would be thirty anglers contesting the event which made the pegging very tight so obviously a good peg would be required to do any good today . When i got back to the cabin it was soon time for the draw and as i was one of the last to book on during the week i was way down the list before it came to my turn , after what seemed like an age it was finally my go in the bag of doom and it looked like my good run had continued as i managed to pull out peg eight on Weir pool which was near where the rover match was won the day before with nearly a ton .

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On arrival at my home for the next few hours i had two nice reed lined margins plus plenty of open water to attack although fishing longer than eleven meters could be a bit problematic with the high banking behind preventing you from shipping back , as i began unloading my gear i noticed that nearly every peg was taken apart from two but at least we had plenty room on this lake so i hoped that it wouldn’t be that bad i decided to set up ;

Top four , this is where i caught most of my fish on my last visit here using corn so i figured this would be my main line today as well , it was a touch over four-foot deep so i used a 0.4 double deez float which would give me enough stability especially with all the shotting above the six-inch 014 hook length that had a size 14 guru hook attached .

My left hand margin was three-foot deep which was about six-inch shallower than my right so i decided to target their , i used a 0.2 double deez float which would give me enough stability especially with all the shotting above the six-inch 014 hook length that had a size 14 guru hook attached .

My long line was at eleven meters and after plumbing up i found a nice crease in between the two depths of water it also felt quite firm which was a positive sign , it was around five foot deep so i used a 0.4 roob style float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern my main line was 014 garbo which had a six-inch 012 garbo hook length attached and as i was going to be using hard pellets i used a size 16 matrix rigger hook with a micro bait band .

For a change i had decided to bring my eight foot matrix carpmaster tip rod and i was going to cast this about 25 meters towards the aerator as i remembered reading that the carp usually back off to the middle when it gets pressured , i had a half ounce lead with an eighteen inch hook length that had a size 14 matrix rigger hook attached with a mini bait band and i would change the size of hook length to find out which was best as the match progressed .

Bait for the day was going to be for targeting carp which as it turned out was a mistake ;

Three pints of fishery 4mm pellets

Three pints of corn

One pint of fishery 8mm pellets

Small tub of mixed hard pellets for the hook

Small tub of 6mm expanders

When the all in sounded i began on my top four swim i through in a few grains of corn around the float every couple of minutes to try to draw some fish into my swim , it took about twenty minutes before i had my first indication which resulted in a foul hooked f1 not the start that i wanted as i expected some carp to be in this part of the peg so i continued putting in a few grains around the float but after an hour i still only had that one fish in the net .

I had been pinging half a dozen pellets onto my long pole since the match started so i hoped that a few f1s or carp had settled on it and i had bites straight away but not from the required species as all i could manage was a run of hand sized crucians , two hours in i only had 3lb in the net after looking around it seemed most anglers were in the same position and it was fishing totally different from the natural bait festival its surprising what a drop in temperature can do even if it was only a couple of degrees .

My next move was to pick up my tip rod and as i don’t tend to do a great deal of this style of fishing i decided to cast my straight lead which gave me something to aim at before feeding half a dozen pellets over the top , i was casting every five minutes and began getting liners straight away which was a positive sign after twenty minutes my rod was nearly pulled in with a two-pound f1 hitting the net ,by changing the size of hook lengths and different coloured pellets or semi buoyant bandums i had a good run of f1s+carp in a ninety minute spell although i didn’t get anything over three pounds but at least i was finally putting something in the net .

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After a while all the bites and liners stopped this coincided with the wind changing direction slightly blowing towards the car park , i wasnt sure if the fish had gone with it or sat in the calm but one thing was for certain they were no longer sat in front of me , i took a few turns of my line clip allowing me to cast further towards the middle but this didn’t produce any sort of indication so i decided to keep pinging the pellets and drop onto my pole lines but yet again apart from the odd crucian or ide it was a waste of time , back on my straight lead and my tip failed to even twitch there was just an hour left of the match and i was at a loss on what to do next but with no other option i began feeding my margin swims  i also fed a top three-line quite heavily with corn .

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After dropping onto my left hand margin with a 6mm expander on the hook and i had a bite out of the blue which i pulled out of then i had ten minutes without a sign , a change to my top three swim and i had an ide on corn not good but my next bite saw me land a carp about five pounds which was a bit more promising , although it must have been a loner because ten minutes of inactivity had me trying my long line this produced a couple of f1s and just as i thought i could be on for a few fish at last they vanished . This had me rotating my pole lines yet again which produced another f1 from my margin more annoyingly though is i got snapped on 014 garbo hook length from a big carp just as i was about to net it and that was that as the all out sounded in the distance , it was a shame that i couldn’t get my straight lead to work for longer but to be honest nothing really worked for me today and i put this down to being too positive with the feed expecting to be targeting a ton net of fish , i should have really been a bit more conservative and gone for the f1s because only 70lb was needed to win the match with 60lb making the frame but my 35lb was way off the mark .

So that’s my trips to Weston pools over with for another year and although i had only been a handful of times i did manage four ton weights so it is definitely one of my favourite fisheries and i can not wait to get back there when it starts warming up again but before then it is time for my winter leagues starting with a bit of silver fishing at Old Hough before the teams of four start at Partridge lakes .

Natural bait festival at Weston pools 2016


September 23rd and 24th

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Today i was attending the natural bait festival at Weston pools fishery near Oswestry and it is somewhere that i always enjoy fishing because there is nothing like it around the North West area , i had contested the event last year to be honest i was well out of my depth getting smashed up on both days but sometimes that is how you learn and my recent form had been quite reasonable , i was confident of catching a few fish but i had put that improvement down to pellet fishing and that type of bait wasnt allowed in this festival so i had to have a bit of a rethink on what to use over the two days , especially as they had increased the limit allowed to eight pints and i settled on five units of maggots + two tins of corn for both days i felt this would allow me to cover my options which ever lake that i drew on .

On the morning of the first match i had an early than usual start because they wanted everybody to be at the fishery before nine o’clock so it would give them time to sort things out before the draw took place and with me travelling down on Friday i also had to contend with the rush hour traffic as well , so i decided to set off at seven o’clock and this got me there with plenty time to spare even after stopping of for breakfast at mcds on the way there . When i finally arrived at Weston pools there was plenty big names knocking about including a few of the Welsh national squad and lots of sponsored  anglers plus the usual faces from Partridge lakes + Local lads , after confirming my attendance at the tackle shop we then had a bit of a wait before the draw was due to take place so i had a bit of a stroll round the lakes and then had a chat with a few friendly faces and i know plenty of people on the bank these days , it is times like these that it would be nice to travel down with someone so you could share the experience but most of the lads i fish with do not want to be taken out of their comfort zone which is a shame because you learn a hell of a lot competing against the class anglers .

When i got back to the club house it was nearly time to hit the draw bag but before that they confirmed the fishery rules and told us that there was going to be two lakes of 15 anglers which were canal+stretton then three lakes of 12 which were weir+belvedere+claypit so if you drew a lake with 12 the day after you would fish a 15 and the other way round if you drew the big number first , as the mad rush to pick a peg started i decided to hang back towards the rear while i waited for my turn and for hopefully a change luck i tried my left hand which got me peg six on weir pool after speaking to a few people i wasnt in the best area of the lake but will catch a few fish so things looked promising .

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When i got to my home for the next few hours it looked really nice as do most pegs on here with a long reed lined margin on both sides but the one thing i like about Weir pool is that everybody has exactly the same set of features but one advantage that i had was the wind was blowing in my face , i decided on a rather simple match as i figured this would be the best way to catch a big weight so i just set up ;

Shallow , with the steep hill behind me i was limited to fishing eleven meters but the wind prevented me from being accurate with the catty any further out anyway , i set up two rigs one at a foot the other two foot i used a 0.1 matrix series three float with three number eleven stotz spread down the 012 garbo main line and attached was a six inch 010 garbo hook length .

Deck rig for under my shallow line and i used a 3×12 maggie float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern , main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was six inch of 012 garbo .

Top three swim , this is often a line which can produce really well on most lakes so i expected to catch most of my fish from here and with plenty carp in this lake i decided to up my gear a little , i used a 0.3 maggie float with a staggered bulk shotting pattern along the 014 garbo main line and attached was a six inch length of 014 garbo with a size 14 hook because i planned on fishing corn here .

Margin swim , top four to my right in a little cut out between the reeds where after plumbing up i found it to be eight inch shallower than my left hand swim , i used a 4×14 float with 014 garbo main line and 014 garbo hook length which had a size 16 hook attached because i was going to pot in maggots .

Bonus fish line which i pinched of Jamie Hughes and i expected to catch some big barbel from right between my keepnets so i needed to really beef up my tackle because the fish would drag me under the platform straight away , i used 016 garbo main line with a six inch length of 014 garbo hook length with a size 14 hook and elastic was solid size twenty .

I started my match on my top three swim directly in front of me with corn on the hook and as they usually catch well on the Weir throwing pellets round there float i decided to replicate that by using corn hopping the plop of it going in would attract some fish into my swim i was also keen not to over do it so that when the carp came in there would not be a lot of bait on the deck so that they would pick up my hook bait more easily , this worked remarkably well as i managed to catch eight fish in the first hour for nearly forty pounds and had only used a handful of bait but understandably bites began to drop off plus i was now catching the odd crucian which wasnt a good sign so i tried upping the feed with a large kinder pot but it didn’t really work out .

All the time i had fired maggots onto my shallow swim and i started on my deck rig until i had seen signs of them up in the water but i only picked up a couple of f1s at full depth , i was getting indications on my float showing that they was shallow but when i went on my deeper shallow rig i struggled to hit the bites and on my one foot rig i didn’t even get any bites , it was really confusing and i spent way too long putting hardly anything in the net which wasnt want i wanted after my good start so i didn’t bother with it anymore preferring to concentrate on my close in swims .

Back on my top three line and i picked up a couple more carp+f1s but they wasnt there in any numbers , with two hours of the match remaining i began to pot in some maggots on to my right hand margin and while this settled i had a quick look between my nets if i didn’t get an indication within a minute i would move onto another swim , but no sooner had my float settled than it shot under and this is when the fun started as the barbel tried to drag me under the platform even the size 20 elastic was struggling to keep them out , you had to be really on the ball when the float buried and i had to lunge forward as soon as i had any movement which was really fun as my top kit bent in ninety degree angles , you would probably only get a couple of goes at it before they backed off so it was important i didn’t waste too much time on it without catching .

On my margin swim i began catching straight away and i found it best to keep topping up with a kinder pot then lowering my rig in among it as it fell and i would get a proper bite as soon as it settled , with the margin being nearly four foot deep you was always going to get line bites so i ended up taking a shot of my rig so i could read the bristle better and this helped me put more fish in the net but im not sure i got my feeding correct because they kept backing off , a quick look on my keep net line produced a couple more barbel including one about five pounds which surprisingly swam straight into the open water which made a nice change . In the last ninety minutes i fished the perfect match picking up a couple of fish from each line as i kept rotating the swims and i didn’t lose a single one , the all out came way too soon for my liking and i had 97lb on my clicker plus my silver net which i had put in all my f1s so i reckoned that i had a good ton .

After packing up i knew that i had beat five of the lads on the other side of the lake which i could see and i had to wait for the scales to confirm things , i did not have to wait long before they turned up to start the weigh in and as i had packed my gear away i decided to follow them round to see how everybody had got on because you can’t see many anglers from where i was sitting , there was a 123lb weight from peg two that was still in front when they reached me and my three nets went 143lb which was a lot more than i thought i had , luckily i had decided to put my f1s in the silvers net and these went nearly forty pounds because i normally put them in with the carp which would have put me over the net limit i had also stupidly only brought three nets with me so i had been really fortunate in being able to manage my weight , the rest of the anglers on my lake couldn’t beat my weight so i had somehow managed to finish top which was my best result in any match so far and to be honest i couldn’t really believe it but everything went to plan apart from the middle part when i tried to force them shallow .

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Back at the club house they had put on some food while we waited for the placings to get sorted after having a drink and a chat with a few people the time flew by , before i knew it was time for the results and not only had i won my lake i was also the 8th best weight on the day but Weston pools had fished extremely well with thirty tons coming from the 72 anglers and over 6000lb of fish being caught , after all that had got sorted it was time for the draw to take place for the next day and i would be on either Stretton or Canal the former had produced a remarkable ten tons from fifteen anglers where the latter had been a bit of a struggle so obviously i wanted to be on Stretton , yet again i hung back towards the end of the queue i used my left hand to pick out my peg this resulted in me getting Stretton five which was down the arm of the lake out of the main bowl and i had fished this area a couple of times before so i knew what to expect but you really needed the wind to be blowing my way to have a chance of a good weight , after grabbing another drink and having a chat with a few of the lads that had fished the lake i was going to be on tomorrow i made my way on the short drive to my bed and breakfast .

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After a pretty crap nights sleep yet again when i stay over somewhere i made my way to the fishery feeling a bit crappy and because we wasnt allowed on to the bank before 1030 am everyone was hanging about on the car park chatting about what they thought would happen today especially as the weather had turned a bit colder with rain + strong winds forecast , it was soon time to make our way to the pegs and as i settled in at my peg i was still not feeling a hundred percent but i felt that i needed at least a top three finish out of the 15 anglers to stand a chance of getting into the top ten anglers overall , but it would be difficult as i had some very good people on Stretton and i decided that my best way to achieve it was not to over complicate things and just fish the same swims as on Weir but i had to use new rigs because it was at least a foot deeper on this lake ;

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Top three both to my right and left like the previous day i was going to fish corn just flicking in a couple of pieces around the float every couple of minutes , with the water towing through quite hard i decided to use a heavier 4×14 speedy float with a staggered bulk along the 014 garbo main line and hook length was also 014 garbo .

Margin swim at the side of the empty left hand platform where it was four foot deep so i used a 4×14 float with an inch spread bulk above the six inch 014 garbo hook length .

Top six deck line which was underneath my shallow hand feed maggot swim and i used a 4×14 maggie float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo which had a six inch 012 garbo hook length .

I had two shallow rigs set up , one at three foot and the other two foot because i didn’t expect the fish to be really shallow in the weather conditions plus i could always shorten them if they did come further up , i used a 0.2 matrix series three float with 012 garbo main line and a six inch 010 garbo hook length .

Bait for the day was the same as the previous day ;

Six pints of maggots

Two pints of corn

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I started my match by fishing on my top three towards my left with corn on the hook and i was throwing the odd piece over the top of the float but it wasnt as hectic as on Weir , it took a good twenty minutes before i had my first bite and then i pulled out of my first two carp which wasnt the start that i wanted with so much at stake , indications on my original line where very hard to come by so i swapped to my right hand swim and after a couple of feeds through a kinder pot i finally began to catch a few carp they was a nice stamp as well . The first hour flew by and i had not really added a lot to my net but i had fed my shallow swim since the start so that was my next port of call , i began on my deck rig but i struggled to get my bait to the bottom with small silvers intercepting the maggots on the way down and i had to alter my shotting pattern putting all the weight just above the hook length , this helped a bit if i did manage to get it to the bottom i would get a nice sized ide or f1 and i went on a good run of catching twenty fish in the next hour but looking round i could see other anglers catching carp from their margins so i had a decision to make on what to do next .

Even though i had caught well on the deck i felt that i was catching the wrong species and was falling behind the other anglers within eye shot so i decided to change tact going all out for carp+f1s , i went back onto my top three swims i chose to big pot maggots on one line to see what response this got me i hoped this might help some f1s+ide to be caught there and by alternating between the two i managed to start catching some nice sized fish , but it was only when i dropped down to an 012 hook length with a 16 hook did i start bagging although this meant i had to be more careful when playing fish and i did lose the odd carp as i tried to get the balance right .With ninety minutes remaining i thought that it was time to drop onto my margin swim at the side of the empty platform and i began big potting in maggots but all i could manage where liners , it was only when i changed to kinder potting in corn did i start catching fish and i had a run of eight carp quite quickly although i do not think i got my feeding quite right as i had a thirty minute spell of foul hooking fish which resulted in a couple of trashed rigs . I decided to leave my margin line to settle down for a bit and went back on my top three this resulted in a couple of near double figure carp , after about twenty minutes i dropped back on my margin thankfully it had settled down a bit and i picked up the odd three pound carp up to the all out which i hoped had got me back into contention .

After packing up a few of the other anglers had made their way to my end of the lake to see how we had got on and a few of them admitted to catching about a ton which is similar to what i felt that i had , it was soon time for the weigh in i hoped that i had done enough to get a top three finish Andy Bennett was first and he put 145lb on the scales which was enough for the lake win , my net went exactly 100lb and i felt it wouldn’t be enough as it turned out i was right because at the other end of the lake there was a 130lb , 104lb , 103lb which knocked me back down to fifth on the lake the latter two weights had really got to me as i only needed one more carp and i must have lost nearly ten during the course of the match but i suppose that’s the way it goes sometimes .

So i ended up with six points from the two matches which was a lot less than i expected before i started the festival and after packing up i made my way to the club house to see who had won what , as it turned out i had finished joint eighth overall which i was made up with but that was until i found out four points would have come forth and that is where i would have finished if i had managed one more carp on the final day so i was feeling a mixture of gutted and pleased at the same time , especially as i doubt that i would get a better chance against the calibre of angler on show over the two days but hopefully i will continue to improve before my next festival at Weston pools in May and i would like to thank everyone involved in running the competition because as per usual it all went smoothly .

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I’m going to be fishing Herronbrook then back to Weston pools in the next couple of weeks before the start of my winter league at Old Hough and the teams of four at Partridge lakes  i cant believe how quick this year has gone .

 

Weston pools , open match on clay pit


September 4th , peg 24 Clay pit

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After yesterdays eventful match at Partridge lakes were i got properly soaked i was really looking forward to drying my gear out at the always impressive Weston pools and with the open being spread out over Weir , Stretton and Clay pit you always had a chance of catching a good net of fish but with the recent weather i doubt that many people would manage to catch over a ton . I slightly misjudged the time it took to get to the fishery and only just arrived in time for booking on at 930 which meant that i would be one of the last to have a go in the bag of doom but before i had to worry about that , i grabbed a bacon buttie then had a quick look at the lakes and i really fancied a draw on Weir pool or Stretton but my luck was out yet again as you will find out later . As i got back to the cabin it was time for the draw and with over fifty anglers present it took some time before it got round to my turn and after a bit of a wait i had my pick with peg 24 on Clay pit sticking to my hand , now in all my time coming to Weston pools i had not even seen this lake because it was situated a mile of sight so after getting some directions i headed of to the pit and to be honest it was a lot closer+easier to find than i imagined .

On arrival i parked up before getting a glimpse of the lake and it was quite large with the pegs well apart from each other , it was also in a bit of a dip surrounded by trees which meant that the wind was more swirling around and not blowing in a certain direction , after making my way to the peg i had a bit of a platform so i could fish back on myself if i wanted to do and after settling in at my home for the next few hours i was a bit unsure on how best to target it because i had heard it was deep , really deep in places and i decided to set up ;

Margin tight to the bank towards my right where i was going to feed maggots and after plumbing up i found about 2ft so used a 0.4 ruddy float as this would allow me to keep my rig still if any of the carp came in to feed , my main line was 016 garbo with a 014 garbo hook length which had a size 14 hook attached .

Margin at the side of the reed cover towards my left and i would feed micros+corn there as it was about four-foot deep this heavier bait would hopefully keep them pinned to the deck , my rig was a 4×12 speedy float which was a robust float that would stand up to be dragged through any vegetation and  my main line was 016 garbo with a 014 garbo hook length which had a size 14 hook attached .

Top three-line and i would have put this in further out but after finding six-foot here i felt that if i put it in any deeper water i would struggle with line bites and foul hooked fish , as i would be fishing hard pellets here i decided to use a 4×16 malman roob with an inch spread bulk above the four-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Shallow line i set up two rigs to cover my options on this line but with it being so deep and very few fish showing on the surface plus the overnight rain i decided that i would kick of with a 3ft+4ft rig , i used a 0.2 series two matrix float on both and had an on the drop shotting pattern .

Bait for the day was ;

2 pints maggots

1 pint micros

2 pints 4mm pellets

2 tins of corn

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I started my match on the top three towards my right and with the water being so deep i didn’t want to begin loose feeding so put half a cupping kit full of micros in before dropping my rig in over the top of it , i didn’t have to wait long before i had my first fish which was a hand sized carp and i then had a little run of f1s but even though i was feeding tightly squeezed balls of soaked micros i began foul hooking fish , i didn’t really know how best to solve the problem and i altered my shotting on the rig for a bulk plus two droppers this enabled me to catch a few more but it wasnt that prolific so i decided to put in a full pot of micros to see if i could get them back on the deck but as i feared doing this kind of killed the swim .

It was now an hour into the match and i had about 15lb in the net which was not to bad but i had fed my shallow swim which is where i hopped that most of my fish would come from , i went onto my 3ft deep rig first i began firing in a dozen 4mm pellets every few minutes this got the fish competing , i caught a quick six fish but I’m not sure i feed heavy enough because they kept drifting in and out of the swim i noticed that every fish i hooked pulled the pole straight down and maybe it was the clear water but they definitely wanted to be deeper , so i changed to my 4ft rig this got me catching but it wasnt long before they backed off again and i had a long spell of inactivity .

I dropped back onto my top three-line while i pondered on what to do next and i did pick up a few more fish but it wasnt right , i remembered that i had read somewhere on the internet that they had caught in six-foot when fishing shallow in the previous weeks on here and with nothing else happening i hadn’t got anything to lose , so i butchered my top three rig then gave it ago and surprisingly i was soon getting indications again but this is where my problems started because i kept pulling out of fish as i was about to net them or getting broke , i put this down to the fact that i was fishing so deep and i had to pull the elastic really tight so i could try to net the fish . A change to a heavier elastic just kept me breaking hook lengths and a lighter elastic had them running me under my platform , i finally found something in between the two and also trying to land the fish about two foot down soon had me back catching , but when i hooked a carp about six pounds i had to net it with three joints of pole in the air which wasnt an ideal situation to be in .

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With ninety minutes of the match remaining i had a look on my margin swims my shallower maggot right hand one produced plenty bite but only from small silvers where as my left hand deeper line gave me lots of liners without anything proper so i gave it another pot of feed , before going on to my shallow line a go and i added a couple more f1s but it was definitely fading because i hadn’t got another swim where i could catch a few fish which would help me rest the shallow line , dropping back onto my margin i had a proper gazunder straight away with the elastic streaming out of pole tip and i couldn’t get the right angle to enable me to add the other sections of my pole so all i could do was hang on but it wasnt long before the inevitable happened as my hook length snapped . I then had a forty minute spell where i couldn’t add anything too my net and i felt that any chance of a top three finish on the lake had gone but with a couple of pints of maggots sat on my side tray i decided to see what response this got me , i started feeding them quite heavily  too my surprise i began catching again after a while i was even getting swirls on the top so i swapped to my three-foot rig and i then went 1ft deep with a longer lash flicking my float away from the pole tip . I added about a dozen f1s in the remaining forty minutes so i was kicking myself for not doing it sooner but as i was still learning about the lake i knew that i would make a few mistakes , i had thirty fish on my clicker for about 50lb but i didn’t bother weighing in as when the scales arrived to me you needed 70lb to get in the top three and i knew that i had not got that .

Yet again it was an enjoyable if rather frustrating match which seems to be a common theme for my matches this year and i need to have a review about what I’m going to do next year , but before that i have a trip back to Partridge lakes on Sunday for the open before the North vs South 200 pegger at Tunnel barn , then the natural bait festival back at Weston pools and then i have a couple of winter leagues to target so my fishing shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon .