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 , rover open match

Belvedere peg 18 , June 25th


With all my big matches over till September where i had very limited success it was time to start going to places that i enjoy fishing for a couple of months to get some confidence back and top of my list was the impressive Weston pools fishery in Oswestry which is only sixty miles from my home , i had fished it a handful of times last year and every time that i went i really enjoyed it because the fishing is totally different to anything we have in the North West as it is all lake fishing compared to canal style waters with f1s the dominate fish , here there is a variety of species to be caught including very hard fighting barbel in fact every fish you catch gives a really good account of themselves probably due to the aerators being left on all the time and on some of the waters when contesting the match it is like you are fishing on your own as there is ample vegetation separating you from the other anglers , the pegs are also a reasonable distance apart which is something that i feel makes this fishery different from lots of others especially when you have taken part in fisho qualifiers where everybody is on top of each other .

Weston pools has a late draw during the summer months so there was no need for an early start which made a refreshing change and on arrival at 830am i saw a few lads that i know so had a quick chat about how things would go today , i then grabbed a bacon buttie before having a wander around to see where i fancied going because todays match was a rover and to be honest every where that i went looked appealing but if i had a choice then i would go on Belvedere as it was the water which i had most experience of , just as i got back to the cabin it absolutely bounced it down for about ten minutes although when the draw started the sun came out and the rain never returned for the rest of the day .



As i was one of the first people to book on for the open match i had an early dip in the draw bag to see which order i would be in to choose a peg and would you believe it i only pulled out number one so first choice would be mine because i hadn’t been here for some time i was a bit unsure on where to go , i settled on Belvedere peg 18 this gave me plenty of options including a bed of lily pads at eleven meters which in the bright conditions i felt the fish would back off into as the match progressed . On settling in at my home for the next few hours i decided to set up ;

Margin four meters towards my left because there was nobody down that side of the lake , it was around three-foot deep so i used a 4×12 speedy float which had a split bulk above the 0.12 garbo hook length which had a size 16 lwg hook attached .

Top three straight in front of me this is usually a good place to start on here and i choose to kick off with pellets so used a 4×14 roob float as it was over four-foot deep which had a staggered bulk shotting pattern ,my main line was the usual 0.14 garbo which had a four-inch hook length of 0.12 garbo .

Eleven meters at the side of the pads where i was going to be fishing worm+caster after plumbing up i found five foot so used a 0.4 jadz float which had a wire stem for a bit of extra stability and my shotting pattern was a bulk+dropper , my main line was 0.14 garbo and i had a six-inch length of 0.12 garbo hook length that had a size 16 lwg hook attached .

Shallow for the side of the lily pads i set up two identical rigs one at two foot the other a foot , my float was a matrix series three float in 0.10 and i used 0.14 garbo main line which had an 0.12 garbo hook length attached .

Bait for the day was ;DSC_0115

A kilo of worms

Two pints of casters

Two tins of corn

Two pints of fishery 4mm pellets

Small tub of 4mm expanders

When the all in sounded i fed two pots of worm+casters at the side of the pads and then went on to my pellet swim so i taped in half a dozen 4mms before lowering my rig in over the top , i didn’t have to wait long before my float shot under a sharp lift resulted in yards of elastic streaming from my pole tip and after a spirited fight i netted a nice mirror carp which was a good start to proceedings i hoped that a few more similar sized fish would be mooching about , but with nothing much happening on my top three-line when using my kinder pot i decided to began feeding heavier by hand to try to draw something into my swim and to some extent it worked as i went on a run of hand sized crucians not really what i wanted to be catching today .


With things not working how i would have liked on my top three swim i decided to go and see if anything had settled on my initial feed at the side of the lily pads , my rig had only just settled with half a worm on the hook when the float slide under i guided the fish into open water before shipping back and it all went swimmingly until i got it on to my top kit when it started fighting like a demon , it was definitely a barbel and it tried its darndest to get under my platform i was a bit out of practice in catching these fish but i finally had it in the net at around five pounds it was one of the biggest i had caught . My next bite resulted in an ide of around 10oz i had to be really careful when shipping this fish back because it was splashing about on the top due to the strong elastic , i then had a little run of alternating between barbel+ide before bites began to tail off so i had another refeed and added all the bits of worm i had remaining from the hook baits , i felt that by doing this i might keep the barbel in the swim a bit longer but it seemed to have the opposite effect because my next six fish were all ide and i decided to put in another cup of bait but this time with a lot more particles caster+corn along with the worms .


I then had a quite fifteen minutes i was beginning to think that i had made a mistake with my last feed but after a while the fish returned and this time they were barbel although i did lose my next two under my nets which was all down to me not being aggressive enough with them , i did begin to get to grips with them and had another little run of fish but with bites slowing yet again i had to put some more bait in this strangely didn’t have the desired effect although on looking around everybody seemed to be in the same boat .With a few fish milling about under the pads i decided to give shallow a try and began pinging half a dozen casters at my float , at first all i could catch were hand sized silvers but slowly i began adding a few ide then the odd f1 and i even had a barbel up in the water but i never managed a proper run of fish , i tried back on the deck but this time with double caster on the hook and i had three f1s on the trot then a barbel i thought i might have finally sorted it but yet again the ide returned in numbers .

We was now approaching the final two hours of the match and it was time to start fishing the margin as this is normally a very good option for on here , i dropped my rig in tight against the reeds with half a worm on the hook and i began getting little dinks on the float but with it being so deep i didn’t want to strike unless it was a proper gazunder this should hopefully keep the foul hookers to a minimum , it didn’t take long before i had a proper bite a little lift resulted in yards of elastic coming out of the pole tip and just as i was guiding it around to the front of me the hook pulled this happened a couple more times which did my head in a bit .

I put in a full cup of particles on my margin swim to try to get the fish settled on the deck and i then went back on my long line but all i could manage was ide , i kept dropping on to my margin swim but for some reason it failed to get going as i could only manage a barbel+small tench and i spent the rest of my match just picking up ide on the deck at the side of the pads . The all out called time on a confusing but still enjoyable match as i could only catch ide+barbel in any numbers and it’s usually prolific with carp+f1 , it was definitely down to the bright still conditions at the top end of the lake because in the bowl at the over end where it was more shaded by the trees and had some ripple produced a 140lb+135lb weight , my nets went just short of sixty pounds which included nearly twenty pounds of silvers and i even lost a dozen barbel due to angler error but it wouldn’t have made a great deal of difference in the overall scheme of things , the other two lakes fished about the same with the winner coming from Weir 150lb and on Stretton every angler had over a ton with most fishing shallow with pellets catching all f1s .


I am off somewhere new at the weekend as i am going to Blundells fishery in Warrington to contest the rover match and i hope to be able to get on Trio lake as it has thrown up some nice weights recently on the weds just gone 270lb won the match so i am understandably looking forward to giving it a go .


Weston pools Belvedere lake

Sunday 20th March, peg 27 Belvedere

I had looking forward to getting back to Weston pools for some time because it is turning into my favourite fishery, not sure why but it just keeps me coming back and with all my winter leagues having finished I jumped at the chance especially, as I would be contesting the Easter bank holiday contest, I hadn’t been for nearly five months since the big autumn match in October, I was going to use it as a bit of a fact finding mission so I could reacquaint myself with the fishery. I had been keeping an eye on the recent results which showed winning weights around the sixty pound mark a lot less than could be expected in the height of summer but as we were just on the cusp of spring, I thought it was pretty reasonable for the time of year.

The draw time at Weston had just been changed so there was no need for an early start and I headed off on my sixty mile journey just before eight o’clock as it was nearly all motorway miles , arrived with plenty time to spare this gave me chance to have a walk around the fishery. It looked a lot different with all the vegetation, not in full bloom and strangely the lakes looked a lot smaller than I remembered. When I got back to the cabin it was nearly time for the draw as there would be 36 anglers contesting the match they decided to put a dozen on Weir, Belvedere and Stretton; this would give everyone a spare peg when it came for my turn at the draw bag I picked 27 Belvedere. not where I wanted to be, I had fished the area twice before struggling both times but there isn’t much I could do about so off I went to my home for the next few hours.

Open settling in at my peg I decided to keep things simple setting up;

Top three swim, here I was going to be using pellets so I used a 4×14 malman roob float which had a split bulk starting above the four-inch garbo 010 hook length.

Margin swim, I positioned this at the side of my empty left hand platform were I plumbed up to find just under 4ft and I used a 4×12 malman speedy float which had a staggered bulk above the six-inch garbo 012 hook length.

13m swim, I set two rigs up on this line so I could fish on the deck with a 4×12 RW maggie float with an on the drop shotting pattern so, I could fish through the water and my other rig was for fishing shallow incase they came up in the water.

My bait for the day was;

2 pints of red and white maggots

2 pints of fishery micros

1 pint of fishery 4mm pellets

small tub 4mm expanders

small tub of white hooker pellets

For a change I was ready well before the all in and, at eleven o’clock it sounded in the distance I began on my top three pellet swim, I tapped in a few micros then lowered my rig carefully in among it and waited, nothing happened for five minutes so I trickled in a few more. I was being really careful with the feed as the water was still cold, another ten minutes without a sign and I made a decision to flick three 4mm pellets around the float every couple of minutes to try to force the swim, because trickling in micros wasnt working if it didn’t work I figured that I wouldn’t be staying too long on that line anyway, luckily the noise of the pellets hitting the water attracted some fish into the swim as, I began getting indications but for some reason I missed them all even though they were proper gazunders and they might have been line bites because they wasnt your normal expander bites.

I had been cattying in a dozen maggots on my 11m swim since the match started and, after forty minutes I went on it hoping that some fish might have settled on it, but another twenty minutes without an indication had me a bit worried because other than the two anglers facing the pots to my left had caught a fish. Finally I had a little dip on the float which took me by surprise as I hadn’t had a sign in nearly ninety minutes but this got my attention and it wasnt long after when I had another bite. This resulted in an Ide around the pound mark hitting the net one more quickly followed, I hoped that a few more might of settled on the bait but for some reason they just disappeared on me, I was puzzled at the reason why maybe the splash on the surface after I hooked it had disturbed the shoal my 8-10 NG gilbert elastic being too strong for them but its hard to get the balance right between being soft enough for Ide and strong enough for the Barbel.

With no more bites coming on my long line I gave my margin swim a go, mainly to see if I could sneak out a bonus barbel or two but not even a liner after twenty minutes. Soon it had me picking up the long rig again, yet again I picked up a couple of Ide pretty quickly before they backed off and I decided to plumb up another swim at the same distance to my left I found it to be four-inch shallower but I could still use the same rig for both. My reason for doing this was that I could hopefully pick fish off from both of them and rotating between the two should keep me catching for most of the match, but it didn’t work out like that and as it turned out I could only catch from my original deeper one, I should have gone further out or put another one to my left were it was a similar depth but I was being a bit lazy.

Altering my feeding from the catty to using a medium sized cad pot and shotting to a bulk+dropper, my reason for changing was that all the fish seemed to be coming from the deck and luckily it got me the response I required because it got me back among the fish again mainly Ide but I did manage two f1s, I kept rotating my lines but I could only get indications on my original far line which was strange. So with just twenty minutes of the match remaining I dropped onto my barbel line, between my nets and my float buried straight away which took me by surprise as I didn’t react quick enough and it had me under the nets before I could blink. I did manage to get one out around the 3lb mark and I was kicking myself for not going on it sooner as the all out sounded in the distance.

The scales soon arrived at the lake and the anglers opposite had caught quite well, especially the ones that had some sort of feature to fish against; there was a forty pound weight and a couple of low thirty pound nets before they arrived at my peg, the dozen Ide, two f1s and a solitary barbel I managed went 19lb so I was a bit off the pace which, was only to be expected after not visiting Weston pools for over five months! I’m back there on Easter Monday for another try before that I have a practice match on Goose green fishery for the super-cup which, I’m looking forward to although the weather isn’t forecast to be great with it being a bit damp+breezy good for skimmer fishing though.

Weston pools open match

1st November peg one belvedere

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With there being another big seventy peg match at Weston pools this weekend i decided to give it one last go before i gave the place a rest till next easter because in my opinion i feel that it is a better venue when the weather is warmer . A common theme keeps appearing on my matches recently regarding the weather as yet again the heavens opened over night with a week’s worth of rain coming down in just a few hours and this along with the thick foggy cold conditions would not only make the fishing a bit more difficult but also the drive down to the complex a bit problematic baring this in mind i set off on the sixty minute journey slightly earlier than usual luckily everything went ok and i arrived with plenty time to spare .

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After booking on to the match and wishing my mate oggy well done on winning the club angler of the year at partridge lakes the day before , i found out that clay pit wouldn’t be in the draw bag today i didn’t really know what to feel about this because i still hadn’t even seen that water yet and this also meant that all the four lakes would be pretty tightly pegged . As we began queuing for the draw i managed to catch up with a few of the regulars i know to try to get some up to date information on how it would fish today because it had been nearly six weeks since i last visited the fishery , when it came to my turn to choose a peg i pulled out number one on belvedere to be honest i wasn’t impressed because even though i had only fished here a handful of times i had fished the peg opposite during the recent festival and struggled to put a run off fish together .

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On arriving at my peg which was found just behind the tackle shop i had an empty peg either side of me and some open water to target but i was just off the lily pads which were a good carp holding feature i even had Welsh international Ian Leach a couple of pegs too my right so winning my mini section could be hard because of the later than planned draw we only had forty minutes to set up so i choose to fish ;

Top kit , as it was four-foot deep i used a 4×12 malman roob i was going to fish pellets on this line so my shooting pattern was a tightly spread bulk above the four-inch 012 garbo hook length which had a size 18 matrix bagger hook attached .

Top six , this plumbed up just a touch over five-foot and stayed the same depth a meter all around which was good as i planned on using maggots here i used a 4×14 mw slim float which had a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was 014 garbo and hook length was 012 garbo which had a size 18 matrix bagger hook attached .

Margin , which was situated at the side of the platform too my left which i had been advised to do at the draw my float was a 4×12 malman speedy and because i expected some decent fish on this line i stepped up my hook length to an 014 garbo with a size 16 matrix bagger hook .

Shallow i just had enough time to set this rig up and even though there was a couple of fish topping i didn’t really think that it would work in the misty conditions , i used a 4×8 chianti float with 010 garbo direct to a size twenty matrix silver fish-hook .

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Bait today was going to be ;

Two pints of red and white maggots

One pint micro

One pint 4mm pellets

One pint sweetcorn

Small tub of expanders .

As the hooter went off in the distance to signal the start off the match and i began by trickling some micros in on my top kit line directly in front of me after a while i began getting a few indications but nothing positive so i started to lift+drop my rig to try to entice a bite i also started flicking a couple of 4mm pellets at my float hoping that the constant plop plop would draw some fish into this swim , twenty minutes passed and i was still bite less not the start i wanted i was on the verge of trying somewhere else when my float dipped under and i was attached to something decent after a spirited fight i had a 3lb barbel in the net although i really could have done with it being an f1 or carp . Yet again i began getting stupid indications on the float (which i later found out was gudgeon) before i knew it the first hour had flown by with just the solitary fish in the net , i had cupped in maggots every twenty minutes on my six meter line which i hopped that some fish might have settled on but yet again i struggled to get any proper bites and apart from two ide plus a foul hooked carp which i lost that was all that i could manage in the second hour .


I had kinder potted a couple of grains of corn + a few pellets in front of the empty platform so i hopped that my margin swim would get me out of trouble again as it usually does on here but this time it didn’t because it failed to produce a bite all match and it was turning into a real struggle , the guy facing me had caught a couple of big carp by feeding very little at 13m and sitting waiting for an indication i didn’t really have an other option so i decided to follow suit setting up two lines one directly in front of me which was the same five foot depth as at six-meters here i choose to use pellets  but the other swim towards my right was just four-foot deep this would be my really negative corn line .

I started on my pellet line just tapping in a dozen micros through my kinder pot after a few feeds i began getting some indications and after playing about with my shotting pattern i managed to convert these into proper bites as i managed to put a couple of f1s in the net just when i thought  that i might be on for catching a few fish i bumped of two in a row which seemed to disrupt the shoal as after that all i could manage was to foul hook another big carp i kept having a look on my negative corn line but all this produced was a small gudgeon which was a major surprise because it could only just fit the hook bait in its mouth and with an hour remaining of the match i only had about 8lb in the net .


I decided to go back onto my six meter line and with nothing to lose i decided to try to force the peg by loose feeding a dozen maggots twice every five minutes it took a couple of feeds before i began catching a few ide i kept switching between my deck and shallow rigs  by doing this i managed to finally begin putting some fish in the net , a couple of them spewed up some maggots so i decided to cut down the amount that i was feeding the fish kept coming right up to the final whistle and i was kicking myself for not trying it sooner because i doubled my weighed in that time but in these weather conditions i doubted that feeding heavily would have worked so well .

As the scales arrived at my peg i was the first to weigh in with my nets going just under twenty pounds the Welsh international to my right showed his class by doubling my weight but we was the only ones to bother the scales man on this side of the lake , sixty pounds won the match from peg 19 on canal and a mid forty pound net was good enough to get you in the frame in fact just forty pounds got you in the top ten so it was a fair if not hard match i really enjoyed it just a shame that i didn’t sort it out a bit sooner .



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 .


Weston pools natural bait festival rules

I have copied this directly from the weston pools website in case anybody has missed it 2015 Natural Baits Festival arrangements…

Thursday 24th September – Pre festival drinks at Weston Club House (for the brave!)

Friday 25th September – Registration starts at Weston Tackle at 08:30 and closes at 09:30 All anglers fishing the festival are to sign in at the shop and pay both days “Super Pool” (optional) by 09:30 no exception.

Draw for day 1 – random draw all pegs in fishing lakes Belvidere, Stretton, Canal, Weir,

Based on 64 anglers fishing (numbers correct as of Tuesday 22/9/15)

16 anglers on each lake.

11:30 – Bait check – strict 5 pint limit to be observed please note this is a Pole only as advertised Natural Baits tournament. – Allowable bait as follows

Caster, Maggot (all types), Worm, Corn, and Hemp no other bait allowed and must be presented in five pints; no ground bait allowed no liquid additives flavours / colours allowed.

 Worm = 1 pint

All bait to be presented in appropriate bait containers, demonstrating quantities. We are aiming for a “fair for all” approach and making the contest the same for everyone. Checks will be carried out by Weston staff and Pole Fishing reps.

All In 12pm fishing till 5pm start and finish by the hooter, matches to be fished in accordance with Tri-Cast Weston’s Open match rules please make yourself familiar with the net rule ALL NETS  must be dipped on arrival and laid out at anglers pegs they are entered into the water ten minutes before the all in. Fish split as follows – Net 1 – All Silver fish, Barbel to 2Lb and anything else under 1Lb.

Nets 2 / 3 direct fish split 50/50 with a limit of 60Lb per net.  Weston representatives will coordinate the weigh in please do not crowd the Scalesmen and checkers.

Day 1 result will take place along with hot food (and beer!!) in the Club House from 18:30.

IMPORTANT Day two draw will also take place after the result on Friday evening. And to clarify the fishery will be closed from anyone walking around after the weigh in.

Friday evening at the club house entertainment in the form of Karaoke (Tom Scholey leading this) and Hardcore tunes will follow the food result and draw….

Keep Nets can be left at the fishery overnight if anglers wish to do so see Richie in the morning for location.

Saturday 26th Day 2 – Anglers will know their peg allocation from the previous evening entry to lakes is allowed from 10:00 and not before to avoid any confusion no one is allowed through the gates less fishery staff before this time. All in 12:00 All out 17:00 with the bait check again from 11:30.

Anglers that fished Belvidere or Wier on day one will rotate and fish either Canal or Stretton on day two, vice versa anglers that were pegged on Canal or Stretton on day one will then fish Belvidere or Wier on day two

The final result will be decided on section points 16 anglers per lake 16 points in each section 1 point for a lake (section win) 16 for last place if there is a tie on points weight count back will decide the eventual winner.

Payout as follows (Based on 64 anglers)

£100 per eight peg sections 1st = £60 2nd = £40 …… 2 sections per lake four anglers picking up section money per lake per day

Over all winners pools = 1st £1000 2nd £600 3rd £500 4th £400 5th £300 6th £200 7th £136. Paid out after two days competition to the top seven over all anglers.

Super Pool – optional and will pay out dependant on numbers entered – based on full entry £10 per day paying top five each day 1st £256 2nd £160 3rd £128 4th £96 5th £64

Final result and celebrations (hot food) in the Club House from 18:30.