Coaching session with Andy Bennett

Partridge lakes , Spey canal peg 12

Weather was ; overcast with light rain and blustery cold wind towards Willow pool the temperatures was around 12 degrees.

Fishing across

we started off by using pellets as this is what i had struggled with especially keeping the fish feeding in your swim the bait we used was coppen soaked micros as standard but he had a little trick with his expanders this was he used un-pumped expanders he prepares them by placing them in a food bag the night before with a bit of water in it , on getting to your peg he puts them in a tub of water were of course they all float but if you give them a light squeeze under the water before hooking this makes them sink but nearly always you don’t need to as the hook weight will counterbalance the buoyancy of the floating pellet .

We plumbed up to find the required 2-3ft depth which is perfect at this time of year a 4×12 float similar in style to a roob which had all the shot bulked above the short three-inch hook length although you could spread them a cm apart if you started getting indications but struggled to hit them , a size 16 guru lwg hook which helped to slowly sink the expander it also improved on the hook hold and my elastic was the new nick gilbert green 8-10 but the most important thing was the pole pot as you will find out later the new preston cad pot with the holes in were highly recommended as it helped with the feeding because by putting your pot in the water where you would be fishing the pellets would fall in a clump you then put your hook bait on top of it you do this by lowering the bulk in first then slowly follow it down with a tight line and when you get to nearly the stem of the float let it fall in a heap by doing this it would be similar to setting a trap like the method feeder , at this time of year you don’t need to sprinkle in pellets as it will only bring the fish up in the water resulting in missed bites and foul hooked fish .

You should feed every three minutes lift and drop after two minutes which could attract the attention of an f1 but it tends not to be that effective at Partridge lakes , be careful how much you feed through the cad pot because the pellets will just lay dormant on the bottom which will just result in a build up of bait this could stop the fish settling in your peg or make bites harder to get as the f1s will have more choice to pick from, when it gets a bit colder a sprinkle pot is better because you can feed three times with one pot if you don’t get a reaction either a bite or liner then move swims because the fish often will not move to you when the water is just above freezing .When fishing with maggot across you can use the same rig but with a staggered bulk and use the same kinder pot but attach the lid if you dip it in the water before shipping out this helps stick the maggots to the pot which reduces spillage plus when you put it in your swim at the side of your float they will fall in a clump straight to the bottom this helps stop liners as the fish will follow them down and you can get away with feeding more heavily and more regularly as they will disperse on the bottom or hide in the silt so you are never having a build up of bait .

Six meter deck rig with maggots

When fishing with maggots the way you lay your rig in can make the difference in getting a bite or not there is a few ways you can do this ;

the normal way just flicking your rig out letting it fall on a tight line .

lowering the bulk down slowly among the feed .

laying your rig in with the float on one side of the feed and hook on the other this would allow the maggot to fall slowly in the last third of the water .

Only in extreme depths or conditions do you need to use a float heavier than a 4×14 which is yet again similar to a roob but has a carbon stem this helps with your float following the hook bait through the depths , the shotting pattern is a bulk with two droppers spread six-inch apart and the hook was the same size 16 lwg which was loaded with double maggot one hooked normally the other through the pointy end . It’s important to feed twice every three minutes this helps draw the fish into the peg the first grabs the attention of the f1s where the second one helps get them to the deck , always lose fed this line from the start of the match the more accurate you are the better and if it is a lot colder we’re winning weights are around the 50lb mark then feed through a cupping kit every thirty minutes this seems to work a lot better because they don’t disperse out of you peg as quickly in a lower temperature and its often better to fish this line in the last two hours and it can usual get you out of trouble . By feeding while your float is in the water this tells you if the fish have moved up the layers so you know when to pick up your shallow rigs .If you only feed this line with a kinder pot or sprinkle pot you will miss out on the attraction of loose feed it can also lead to foul hooking as the fish are now in a tighter feed zone but if you have fed by hand then it can get you a quick bite or two .

Weston pools natural bait festival 2015

weston pools natural bait festival

Well today was the day for my second ever festival and as you would expect i was really looking forward to it as it was to take place on the mightily impressive Weston pools fishery , as you are all probably aware i have fished it for the last six weeks and been getting some reasonable results the class of angler that these big money matches attract it would always be difficult to compete but i was going to give it my best shot . There was seventy people down to fish the festival and these would be split over four lakes on the complex in a rotation system with Belvedere and weir being on one day then canal and stretton the other day each water would have two eight peg sections and the top two in each of them would pick up some money , for some reason on this festival they had decided to score points on your final position on the lake not sections which would always count against the average anglers like me especially if you get a bad draw .

We needed to get there pretty earlier on the first day so i began on my journey at around 630 as we were expected to book on between eight and nine , the draw was to take place at 1030 then we was due to fish between 12 and 5 , then back to the clubhouse for something to eat while we awaited the first day’s results then do day two’s draw before heading of home around 8 o’clock so it was going to be a very long day and next year i will definitely looking at staying over . After hanging around for what seemed like an age we finally were ready for the draw and my golden arm had let me down recently today was no different as peg 29 Belvidere stuck to my hand not the best of starts one of the worst pegs on the least fancied water , on getting to my home for the day it did look really fishy with two long reed lined margins and plenty of open water to target especially as the aerator had been turned off but the only real downside that i could see was that this area was in the shade with a cold wind blowing this way as well which would have meant the water temps would be a bit colder plus all the lads down the other side were wearing t-shirts were i was wrapped up shivering .


I decided to fish a nice uncomplicated match with just three lines to get me a few bites these were ;

Margin , i plumbed up on 4m either side so i could find the same depth which was nearly 4ft and i used a 4×12 malman speedy with 016 garbo main line and an 014 garbo hook length which had a size 14 guru lwg hook .

Top four line , here i found the crease in the lake bed although it was only six-inch deeper because i would be fishing maggot on this line i used a 4×12 malman roob float with a carbon stem which had a bulk and two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was 014 garbo which had an 012 garbo hook length attached to it was a size 18 matrix bagger hook .

Ten meter line , i would be fishing this on the deck with a size 4×12 malman roob float with a carbon stem which had a bulk with two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was 014 garbo which had an 012 garbo hook length attached to it was a size 18 matrix bagger hook and i would fire in maggots over the top looking for signs of the fish coming shallow if they did i had a 4×8 preston chianti set 2ft deep with 012 garbo direct to a size 20 matrix bagger hook .


My bait was also simplicity itself with just ;

two pints corn

three pints red and white maggots

As the gun shots sounded in the distance signalling the all in i went onto my top foul line feeding maggots through a kinder pot every five minutes it took awhile before i began getting indications and not to long after that i began putting some fish in the net which were a nice stamp of ide but it was very slow going , after a while i began getting stupid bites and i couldn’t believe that they had come up in the water so close in so i flicked my shallow rig over the top this produced a couple of f1s but as i expected they didn’t want to settle . I had fed my ten meter swim with a catty since the match started so i decided to give my short line a rest and went to see what had settled on my long line but yet again i was only catching ide on the deck not the hoped for f1s or carp which was a surprise , by alternating between the two swims i kept adding a few fish including a bonus carp which took the maggot hookbait on the drop and although i wasn’t really bagging in the back of my mind i was always confident of my margins producing as it is a noted big carp area .

With ninety minutes of the match remaining and with the guy on the opposite bank picking up the odd carp from his spare platform i decided to give my margin swim a whirl , after feeding it for the past few hours with half a cup of corn every thirty minutes so i expected a few fish to be settled but after spending ten minutes on each side without even a sign i didn’t want to waste any more time there so went back to pick up a few more ide and i must have tried fishing the margin half a dozen times without an indication before the all out which was really puzzling as i can usually rely on it to get me out of trouble i could only think it was down to the shade on my side of the lake . As i was waiting for the scales to arrive i had a quick walk round and it was very noticeable that half of the lake had fished hard with most anglers admitting to under 50lb with the sunny side having nearly 70-80lb , the weighman soon arrived with the first angler in my section who also won the lake was young Jack O O’Sullivan with 83lb and then the pole fishing editor Tom Scholey put 56lb on the scales to take second and my nets went 46lb which was more than i thought this got me third in the section but only tenth on the lake so that was my festival up in smoke .

On getting back to the cabin i caught up with a few of my mates and they had done a lot better than me with one getting second on Belvidere lake and the other third on canal pool so they was both in the running for a top six finish , after the results were called out it was time for the draw and i hoped for some better luck which is what i hoped i had got with peg nine stretton sticking to my hand as this was a noted flyer Joe Carass had caught 90lb from it today so i was understandably looking forward to catching a few fish tomorrow now it was time for the long drive home .

Day two 

With the draw already having taken place the day before there was no need for an early start because nobody was allowed around the waters before ten o’clock and i arrived at the fishery around 1030 this allowed me plenty time to get ready for the 12 o’clock start , after my short walk to my peg i was surprised to find that they had cut down the over hanging willow tree on the far bank plus the pegging was really tight along this part of the lake and i felt that this might have a detrimental to affect how my peg would fish but down the bottom end near the bay they were well spaced out


I planned on fishing a nice easy match with just a few swims i hoped that this would help me concentrate on getting the feeding right on each of them because that is what is letting me down at present ;

Top three-line , with the water being a bit colder of late i decided to fish this at the bottom of the slope in the crease of the lake bed i had been told that the barbel hang around this peg and to set up a line either side of me but with an angler to my left i decided to just put the one in towards the spare peg , i used a 4×12 malman roob with a carbon stem it had a bulk + dropper shotting pattern as i would be feeding maggots on this line my main line was 014 garbo with a 012 garbo hook length which had a size 18 matrix bagger hook .

Margin , i put this in on either side tight to the bank i used a top kit to my left and top four to my right which was just a meter of the spare platform i couldn’t really go any closer as the other angler on that side had plumbed up right in front of it , with it being nearly 4ft deep i used a 4×12 malman speedy float which had a glass stem to help withstand being dragged through the rushes or even worse my keepnets and my main line was 016 garbo and 014 garbo hook length which had a size 16 guru lwg hook .

Shallow , i didn’t really have much success using this recently but i always feel it’s worth setting up if they turn up i had two rigs set up one at 2ft the other at 3ft both were the same 4×8 preston chianti float with 3 number eleven stotz spread down the 012 garbo line which was direct to a size twenty matrix bagger hook .


Bait today was ;

4 pints maggots

1 pint of corn

When the all in sounded i went on my top three-line to my right and i began feeding this every three minutes with maggots after about ten minutes i had my first fish which was yet again an ide they keep on following me over the weekends matches , after catching a dozen of these in thirty minutes they seemed to disappear and i soon found out why when my next fish was a carp around the 4lb mark after that though the crucians moved in  i decided to rest the swim but kept feeding it , so i plumbed up a new line at 13m using the same rig obviously i couldn’t feed it by hand at that distance so i picked up the catty and fed every three minutes with a dozen maggots yet again the ide moved in first but although they was there in numbers they didn’t weigh a great deal and i needed to find out where the f1s+carp are in my peg .

From what i could hear those anglers down the split to my left were also struggling to find a better stamp of fish and it seemed all the bigger fish had followed the wind down towards the bay where there was a bit of room soon half the match had passed the fish seemed to disappear all together and with the guy to my right big potting towards the platform i decided to go out to 16m so i could fish towards the empty peg opposite with maggots , i fed through a large kinder pot and although it was awkward shipping back as i needed to break down twice but it was worth it as i finally began getting the odd f1+barbel which was bumping my weight up . When i had a run of crucians though i decided to set up a new line towards the tree stump but this time using corn i fed half a dozen samples then waited for a proper bite after ten minute my float shot under and i was attached to my first carp for nearly two hours after a five-minute fight i had it in the net no more indications on this line so i was soon picking up my margin rig , i had flicked a mix of mags + corn to my left in the cut out in between the reeds almost as soon as my rig had settled i was attached to a barbel and i was rubbing my hands together thinking that a shoal had settled there but no it was a loner .

With the last hour fast approaching i decided to concentrate on my top three-line to my left hand side as this was where the barbel turn up late in the match and this time i wasn’t going to be disappointed because i had a run of them straight away , by feeding heavily i soon had them lined up and i also had the odd carp mixed in between i think i put at least twenty pound in the net before the all out sounded .  I knew i hadn’t done well enough to finish in the top five on the lake as those anglers in the bay had caught really well but i still had a good day even if it was rather confusing . When the scales arrived on the lake i walked down to the bottom end and followed them round there was two ton weights and a few 90lb from that end of the lake my section was won with 120lb by young Jack O’Sullivan who had now won both days so will be well in contention for winning the competition , i put 65lb on the scales which put me second in the section for the time being before Rossendale matrix top bagger Andy berry had 75lb on the next peg and there was no more weights of any note from down the split so yet again i had finished third in my section but tenth on the lake .

On getting back to the cabin to await the results i managed to catch up with my mates and one had blown out like me the other had managed 4th which put him on six points so we needed to wait and see if that would get him into the top five , after a while the results were read out and he ended up sixth just out of the money there was also a tie for the top place between Andy Bennett and Jack O’Sullivan with the f1 bagger winning on weight . Thanks to all those that took part and helped run an extremely good festival just a shame it wasn’t run on section points as i would have finished a lot higher than a top forty position also an extra day would have been nice but i just suppose i will have to make do with the Welsh national at Weston pools tomorrow instead as a guest angler in the Matrix LTB team lets hope i do not embarrass myself .


Partridge lakes

17th April , peg 87 covey 4

Well Thursday soon came round and a return to Partridge lakes was in order for another try at the mid-week open match and after Tuesdays match i was hopping for a better catch because i thought that i had got it sussed at last but as you will find out later things didn’t exactly go to plan but i did  manage my best match weight of 77 lb although i was a bit disappointed not to break the ton with a quiet first hour costing me .

Anyway back to todays match i arrived at the venue around 830 and after booking on i went for a look at Spey canal where the first Balmoral club match of the season would take place , when i got back to the cabin it was nearly draw time so i made my way to the back of the queue and all the usual mid-week anglers where in attendance , there seemed to be a few more here than on Tuesdays open .


The weather today was over cast and very windy which would make fishing most pegs extremely difficult , on todays match i managed to draw peg 87 on covey four and i was happy with that because this lake threw up a few 100 lb weights the last time i was here it is also in a good area but the wind was really gusting down the straight in front of me so i couldn’t fish exactly where or how i wanted too .

I learned on Tuesdays match that the fish don’t push out to the island with fewer anglers on it and most caught on their top kit so with this in mind i set up four rigs to use today ;


Top kit , 4×12 preston chianti with 0.10 garbo line direct to a size 20 gamma pellet hook and my shotting pattern was a spread bulk of size 11 stotz starting 6 inch from the hook my elastic was matrix orange . After plumbing up i found 2 ft deep and a nice flat area , i planned to fish pellet here and was loose feeding hard 4 mm pellets on this line .

Top 5 line down the edge i had planned on fishing to the next platform but the wind was just to bad , i used a 4×12 malmams speedy float with 0.12 garbo line direct to a size 18 gamma pellet hook and my shotting pattern was a more positive bulk of 9 stotz starting 6 inch from the hook my elastic was matrix red .

2 ft shallow , 4×8 preston chianti with 0.10 garbo line direct to a size 20 gamma pellet hook and my shotting pattern was 3 number 11 stotz spread down the line to allow for a slow fall of the maggot to mimic the loose feed .

1 ft shallow , 0.3 matrix series 3 float with 0.10garbo line direct to a size 20 gamma pellet hook and my shotting pattern was a more positive one which would allow for better hooking and i only had a short six-inch lash between float-pole tip .



1 pint 4mm pellets

2 pint mixed maggots

small tub expanders

small tub corn

When the all in sounded i cupped in some 4 mm pellets on to my 5 meter line and went over the top with my rig , a couple of lift-drops resulted in an early bite and a f1 graced the net but after foul hooking and losing a big carp it seemed to kill the swim so i re-fed with another cup of pellets and tried my top kit line a bit earlier than i had planned , yet again i had an early f1 but missed bites was beginning to become a problem and i should have really tried coming of the deck some thing for me to try on my next visit .

The first hour was a bit of a let down and i was a bit reluctant to try shallow because i was unable to loose feed far enough by hand , but when the guy to my right started picking up the odd fish up in the water and with my margin swims not producing as i would like i had no option , so i put on my deep shallow rig and picked up the catty i began flicking maggots about 6 meters out and laid my rig in over the top , the first few fish were small rudd but it didn’t take long before my elastic came shooting out and i was attached to the first of many big f1s .


The wind was a real nightmare at times not with my presentation because my pole coped well but with my cattying maggots so i couldn’t feed with the regularity i would have liked too and this resulted in the fish drifting in and out of the area . At times it became impossible to fish long so i kept trying my top kit line and this produced the odd f1 but i really needed to catch shallow to build up a weight .

With two hours of the match remaining i decided to concentrate on fishing shallow and persevere with the conditions and just as i thought my swim was building up nicely with more and more f1s coming to the net with the odd 5lb carp mixed in , it was noticeable that by slapping-tapping my rig it produced in an instant bite but the wind was playing havoc with my lighter float when doing this and a few times i came back with a tangled rig .


So i tried my heavier more positive but shallower rig and this worked extremely well and the fish where hooking themselves against the pole tip , in the last hour i would get groups of f1s then a ten minute wait for a bite so i didn’t get my feeding right but at least the ones i caught where the bigger and wiser f1s and not the smaller stamp which others seem to get on here which i find a bit strange .

At the all out i was unsure on the weight i had but i did a good job of separating the fish into two nets some thing i don’t do a great deal of on the venues that i have my club matches on , when they came round to weigh in my nets the 40 f1s plus 2 carp went 76 lb which is a new personal best match weight for me and I’m chuffed at doing that but also feel i could have had the ton from this peg if i had fished shallow from the start or even if the wind had not been as strong which would have enabled me to feed better .

Covey 4 was won with 110 lb

Covey 3 i think was won with 80lb

Covey 2 was won with 160 lb

And that man Andy Bennett won Covey 1 with over 190 lb , not sure how he does it but the man is a machine when on f1s .

My next match will be on Partridge lakes Spey canal for the first of this seasons club match and i just hope it fishes as well as it can do because its capable of throwing up some big weights but not sure if it will as we have every peg in but we will find out on Sunday .


Hall lane fishery , Bessies pool

peg 40 , 9 th April


With the open matches starting on Hall lane at the weekend i thought that i better go down and see how it was fishing before i decide on where to fish on Sunday plus i had not been there since last years winter league and hadn’t fished Bessie since last June .When i arrived at the venue there was quite a few anglers knocking about most where spread about on the three waters which as usual looked really well maintained and no doubt they was getting ready for the start of the up coming club season , i headed to the far car park and i had planned on fishing the middle split section of the canal but Andy Bennett was giving a coaching session on that part so i gave him plenty of room and went on to the other straight which was somewhere else i hadn’t fished .


The weather today was really nice with blue skies and a bit of sun for a change , although the wind was quite blustery at times and it was blowing away from the car park down the full length of the canal which is no surprise for on here . So with the weather conditions in mind a settled on peg 40 which was a quarter of the way down the length so no long walk for me today and it was just on the cusp of the wind ripples , as i set up my gear i noticed that the far bank seemed a lot closer than i had remembered with it being only 13 meters and i am sure that on last years club match which was on the other straight i fished 14 meters to the island .

I had been told by my mate The Big Dipper that it was starting to fish really well so i was looking forward to the day’s fishing and i set up just the two rigs ;


Far bank ; 4×12 malmams speedy float with 0.12 garbo main line attached was a size 18 lwg guru hook .

4 foot ; 4×14 malmams speedy float with 0.12 garbo main line attached was a 0.10 garbo hook length and a size 18 lwg guru hook .

My bait was just plain pellets Cheap As Chips ;


Micro 1 pint

4 mm 2 pint

4 mm expanders normal in a small tub

i did take a bag of paste but never used it .

At 1 pm i was ready to get going and because the water temperature was still quite cold i started on my 4 foot rig which i plumbed up to find a flat spot on both slopes , their was a guy on the other bank fishing tight across so i could keep an eye on him and compare our catch rates .With the carp in here being of a nice stamp around the 2 lb mark i decided to put a medium cupping kit full of micros- 4 mm pellets on both lines and i also decided to loose feed a dozen 4 mm on to my 4 meter line every few minutes for later in the day .


I filled my medium kinder pot with pellets and shipped out to 11 meters , tapped out my feed and lowered my hook-bait amongst it and after a few lift-drops my float buried with a nice 10 oz chub making its way to the net .On my next ship out i fed exactly the same way and this time a little dip of the float resulted in a 1 lb fully scaled mirror carp coming to the bank , after spending the last few weeks fishing for small silvers it made a change fishing for some thing that pulled back a bit and it took me a while to get used to the Preston side pullas that i fitted in my pole two months ago .


Things where going incredibly smoothly with a fish coming every five minutes i had about 15 lb in the first hour and about the same in the second most where carp in between 1 lb – 2 lb , after feeding my top kit 4 ft line for nearly two hours i gave this a go and was expecting an immediate response but ten minutes with out an indication was not what i hopped would happen and i was on the verge of giving it up as a bad job when my float dipped which resulted in my biggest fish of the day a nice 4 lb common carp , a few smaller stockies followed but it wasn’t as prolific as my other line .


With two hours remaining i decided to try my far-bank swim which wasn’t really tight across but 1 ft away and after plumbing up i found 2 ft depth with a nice flat spot , i shipped across with my kinder pot full of 4mm pellets capped with micros and lowered in my 4 mm expander this resulted in a few chub then the stockie carp moved in . They was small at first before getting bullied out-of-the-way by a bigger stamp of fish it was noticeable that you would get 4 or 5 fish then have a ten minute wait for a bite .


I had an hour left of fishing and with me still having nearly one pint of 4 mm pellets remaining i decided to increase my feeding because i felt that in summer i am not putting enough bait in to keep the fish in my swim and i am feeding for individual fish like you do in winter . So instead of shipping in every few minutes out came the catty and this really increased my catch rate because i would feed a pouch of 4 mm then ship out with a kinder pot full of micros and more often than not i would have a bite as soon as my float settled , i don’t know whether it was the amount of bait that was going in or maybe the noise of the pellets hitting the water but it really did work and was a bit of an eye opener for me .


At the end of my four hours i had 50 carp and a dozen chub for about 60-70 lb not a bad days fishing and i am looking forward to giving it a go in a match their on Sunday where i am sure it will fish extremely well , i have a couple of things that i didn’t have time to try which could hopefully improve my catch rate and am looking forward to spending some time on here this summer along with Partridge lakes hopping to finally break my 49 lb best match weight and maybe get it up towards the ton .

I am off out again on Friday making the most of the nice weather to give Spey canal a try before the first club match of Balmorals season on there 20 th April .

Partridge Lakes

Sunday 23rd , peg 27 covey 2

Covey two

Covey two

After having to endure another weekend away from fishing the previous week due to illness yet again and i cant believe how many times i have been to the doctors since turning forty Must Be Getting Old . Anyway today i was feeling over the worst of it and was eager to get back on the bank and a return to Partridge lakes was in order , a nice easy 80 peg match to blow away the cobwebs and they definitely where with the weatherman getting it right for once i had 30 mph gusts of wind to contend with and it was bloody freezing but at least it was mainly blue skies with only the odd hail storm thrown in .

On arrival at the venue we was greeted to the usual big Sunday crowd of anglers but one person who wasn’t attending today was the new Kamasam match man of the year Andy Bennett who was out busy spending his 5 grand winnings , it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bloke who always has time to answer your questions and on my last match here on covey 6 he had even aloud a few people to sit behind him when he fished and still managed second .It seems that every weekend more and more people are attending which shows how well Partridge lakes is and i cant understand how some people have a dig at the place without having ever fished there .

Anyway as me and John was early yet again we decided on a walk round to see just how bad the conditions where that we would be contending with today , to be honest it was pretty bad a bit like Holbar last Wednesday and with the wind ripping through from right to left , so i really didn’t fancy sitting in a head wind today .

When we arrived back at the cabin we saw one of our Balmoral club anglers Branny who hadn’t been out for a while Bit Of A Fair Weather Angler but because he had booked yet another coaching session with Andy May for the following Friday he wanted to get back in the grove before then and hopefully he will write it all down so i can put it up on my blog site .


When it came to draw time i pulled out peg 27 on covey 2 and i had only fished this covey once which was over 18 months ago when i had blanked so i didn’t really know how best to fish it , John drew a really good peg on covey 4 and i was glad for him when he did the business winning his lake and got 6th catching 52lb of carp plus f1s from in front of the empty platform something he is getting really good at and will hopefully work all summer for him .  My match didn’t work out any where as good as you will find out later .

On arrival at my peg i was on probably the worst one in the section with it being just off the bend and with the wind ripping round it and my keep net even kept getting blown out it was that bad , with this also being a new area to fish i decided to target it like i would on any peg on covey 1 to 4 .



4×12 and 4×14 set at 3 ft deep with 0.12 garbo main line with a 0.10 garbo 6 inch hook length attached was a size 20 gamma pellet hook , my shotting pattern on both rigs was a spread bulk of size 10 stotz  spread an inch apart . My reason for having two rigs at the same depth was that i wanted to see which would work best in the conditions , i used these rigs at both my far bank at 10 meters and on my top kit .

4×16 set 6 foot deep for the channel , i had 0.12 garbo main line with a 0.10 garbo 6 inch hook length attached was a size 18 gamma pellet hook , my shotting pattern was a spread bulk of size 9 stotz spread an inch apart .

After thinking about my earlier matches on here about feeding i came to the conclusion that maybe my lowish weights of around 30-40lb was because i wasn’t being aggressive enough and not targeting the 60-80lb needed to frame so today i made a conscious effort to up my feed today and make sure i fed regularly at least every five minutes but i didn’t up my kinder pot size just yet remaining at a medium size due to the recent cold weather , i had contemplated feeding just hard 4 mm pellets with a banded 6 mm on the hook but with the recent drop in temperature i decided to leave this for another warmer day and i had my usual expander-micro-crushed expander combination as back up .


2 pints red and white maggots

1 pint hard 4 mm pellets

1 pint soaked micro pellets

1 pint crushed expanders

small tub white and normal 4 mm expanders

At 1015 the all in sounded and i shipped out to 10 meters with a full kinder pot of maggots with a single red on the hook , i began trickling in the maggots over the top of my float about six every minute or so . No indications where forth coming after five minutes so i shipped back in and repeated the process , this time i had an f1 almost instantly .A further 3 or 4 followed in quick succession but the gusty wind was playing havoc with my presentation and my float kept towing the opposite way to it , so i had to push my rig up the slope using the last dropper to anchor it and this brought me a couple more but when i lifted into one that didn’t even register on the float then i deep hooked one slightly i knew this wasn’t working for me .


I went back to my original line a bit deeper and picked up a few more fish , in the first hour i had eight nice sized f1s for around 10lb and i was well on my way to my 40 lb target but as usual this was where my match fell to pieces yet again because as i was continuing with my positive feeding plan and the fact that only me was fishing along the far bank which seemed strange to me at the time but my pole was coping well in the conditions and i found out after the match that covey 2 was performing well on top three recently .

I think that i drew too many fish into the area i began foul hooking fish and bumping them off at the net plus i latched into a lump which broke my 0.10 hook length some thing that has never happened to me on here before . I decided to leave my maggot line to give it a rest to see if that improves things for later in the match , i set up a new swim one meter to the left but this time i chose to fish pellet but continued with the positive feeding regime with micros this time and i began picking up the odd f1 but it was no way as prolific as the maggot line .


My back up plan was the channel swim at 6 meters to the left where i had fed with a small cupping kit full of maggots every thirty minutes since the start but no matter how many times i try doing this i can never get it to work for me and i don’t think that this tactic i will be pursuing in the future , so i will be looking for something else because i feel that on here you need two swims to get the best from your peg and their fore challenge for a framing place .

So with just 90 minutes remaining and i was well down in my section so i went back across and re-plumbed up a new swim 2 ft away from my original maggot line , it only took a couple of feeds to get the f1s lined up again but after catching another five fish the same problem as before re-occurred with me missing bites and bumping fish . This time i managed to solve the problem by increasing the hook size to an 18 with double maggot on the hook and taking a size 13 stotz from the rig to show slightly more bristle which in turn would give the f1 a bit longer to take the bait before i struck and i was kicking my self for not trying this sooner .


When the all out sounded it was the end of a very frustrating days fishing where only a few things working for me , the positive feeding approach really opened my eyes and i will be looking forward to re-trying it in the next few weeks . Some thing that i will also be looking at is giving my swims more time to produce because at the moment i am too keen to change when really i should be more patient because i think the f1s at Partridge come along in groups and i think you need to catch as many as possible before waiting for the next group to arrive .

For the record my 19 f1s weighed 22 lb for last in my five peg section , where their was three low 40 lb and a 30 lb net so i was in an area that held some fish but didn’t make the most of it as usual . I am going to my local Hewlit fishery for a few hours tomorrow for a bit of shallow fishing and haven’t been for a while , it might be good practice for the up and coming matches at High field fishery one of which will be in the Super cup . So it will be a fortnight before a return to Partridge lakes for the start of the Balmoral club season with a match on Spey canal .

Partridge lakes

9th March , peg 137 covey 6

Another Sunday has come along which could only mean that i am off to Partridge lakes to fish the open match and for a change the weather forecast was correct with blue sky’s and 14 degree temperatures , the only down side could be the lack of a breeze which would make the fishing tricky in the bright conditions . Because there was no winter league on this week we had about 90 anglers attending which meant that all six coveys would be in the draw bag and to be honest i really didn’t fancy picking 5 or 6 as the fish in those i had heard where on the small side which would make it more of a fish race , rather than working your peg to get as many bites as possible which i like doing .

A couple of my friends where fishing today for the first time in a while  so after having had a chat we joined the queue for the draw about 3/4 from the back and funnily enough all three of them drew on my favourite covey 3 with two of them even being side by side . When it came to me my home for the day was peg 137 on covey 6 and this was some where i hadn’t even seen never mind fish but luckily for me The Big Dipper had fished it in the Leigh Tackle Winter League so after a few texts i had all the information required to get the best from my peg but he also told me it wasn’t the best in the section and to only expect between 20-25lb so no two nets for me again this week .


After dropping off John at covey 3 i made my way round to the car-park for covey 6 and when i got to the lake i was quite impressed with how it looked , it was an elongated figure of eight shape with one long straight and a few pegs over the bridge down the split . All the pegs was nicely spaced with two empty either side of you , the far bank was about 12 meters away and the depths were the same as on coveys 1-4 .

I had been told that on here it was all pellet but seeing as though i had brought two pints of maggots with me i planned on putting in a line with them some were and as usual i plumbed up a few spots but settled on just four different areas to target .



2 ft rig , 0.4 matrix series 1 float with 0.10 garbo line straight through to a size 20 gamma pellet hook .

3 ft rig , 4×12 malmams speedy float with a spread bulk above the 6 inch hook length , main line was 0.12 garbo and a 0.10 hook length my hook was a size 20 gamma pellet hook .

channel rig , 4×16 malmams speedy float with a bulk and two droppers shotting pattern , with 0.12 garbo main line and 0.10 hook length with a size 20 gamma pellet hook .

all the above rigs had orange size 10 matrix elastic .



1 pint micros

1 pint 4mm feed pellets

2 pints mixed maggots

1 pint crushed expander ground-bait

small tub of 4mm expanders both normal and white

At 1030 i was ready to get started so after filling my medium kinder pot full of micros+4mm and capped off with a touch of crushed expander, i shipped out to 11 meters where it was 3 ft deep and i had two lines one at ten o’clock the other two o’clock importantly they was both at the same depth so i could rotate them . I deposited the bait then followed it down with a white expander on the hook , after a few lift-drops my float burred and i was attached to the first of many f1s but not the small 8oz ones that i had expected but ones that weighed over the 1 lb mark , if they continued coming at this size i could be on for a nice weight .


The first two hours went better than i had hopped and by rotating the swims and changing between normal + white expanders i put over 20 fish in the net for about 25 lb and i had already hit my target weight and if it continued like this i could be on for my best match weight from here , but as usual my mid match blip cost me yet again .

I decided to rest my far bank Never A Good Idea To Leave Feeding Fish and try my top three-line which i had fed since the match started but thirty minutes with out an indication wasn’t what i expected even though the guy opposite was catching f1s on it although they were the smaller 8oz stamp and maybe i should have feed pellets instead of maggots .

I decided to leave this line for a while and began cupping in maggots in the channel for later in the match , i then went back on to my 3ft rig again without success maybe i didn’t give it enough time for it to respond after not feeding it for thirty minutes but i cant just sit and wait for some thing to happen and another change was in order . I tried my 2 foot line in case the fish had pushed further up the slope and this worked with me getting back among the fish , although i noticed that i would get a quicker bite with my pellet just off the deck .  I was slowly putting fish in the net but when some small chub put in an appearance i took the opportunity to try my channel rig which only resulted in a small f1 and crucian


So back i went on to my 2 ft line and after a while i began getting into the fish again but it wasn’t as good as before and i even had a few take the white expander on the drop so a change of shotting pattern was in order and this produced a few bonus fish . I noticed a few swirls towards the mud bank so i reduced my rig to 1 ft and this got me back among the fish again i also altered my feeding pattern to after every third fish which worked well and with only forty minutes remaining i was even contemplating putting another net in .


When the all out sounded i thought that i had nearly 50lb in the net but was disappointed that my 90 minute quiet spell had cost me any chance of the section , but i had learned a lot about covey 6 and would really like another go on their soon because i have a few ideas that i would like to try . For the record my 45 f1s and stockies went 44lb 10oz which was a bit lower than i expected but still a good weight for the time of year , 60lb won my section and every peg had over 30lb with Andy Bennett winning the lake with 80lb .My mates on covey 3 struggled for around the low 20lb mark and it fished a lot harder than i thought on their but the first really sunny spell of the year had the fish heading for any shade that they could find .

What Did I Learn

Pellet was by far the best bait especially white expander .

3 ft was the best depth and i should have set up more lines when things slowed down because i had plenty room .

Fishing a few inch off the deck got me more bites .

Letting my bait slowly fall through the swim by altering my shotting pattern got me a few bonus fish when using white expander .

Fishing tight across at 1 ft deep got me another run off fish late in the match .

Try feeding hard pellets in the channel and not maggots , although i don’t think the channel line will produce now it’s getting warmer .

Paste on top 3 might be worth a try as is banded pellet across .

Didn’t see many people catch on top 3 line and those that did where getting small f1s .

Fish didn’t want much feed going in and by feeding after every fish wasn’t the way to go today because my catch rate improved when i began feeding after every third fish .

Back on to Partridge next Sunday and i hopefully might get out for a few hours in the week but not sure where though just yet .