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.

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Horns dam fishery


21st February , peg 40 house section of Horns dam

Well another Sunday and another match this week i was going back to Horns dam for the winter league team match it was the final round and a couple of the squad had decided not to fish it because the team was languishing towards the bottom of the table , to be honest i wasnt to keen on fishing it myself but I’m always happy to help my mate out and i don’t think that i fished it too well wasnt  the last time i was here so i wanted to try to sort a few things out . For a change the weather had been nice for the time of year with temperatures hitting double figures but today we was due a light breeze with constant drizzle which is nothing that i couldn’t cope with although on the thirty mile trip to Preston the wind gradually increased and when i arrived at the venue it was blowing an absolute hoollie , i had a quick look at the lake before we did the draw and it looked like i had made the wrong decision in not choosing to fish the dam wall section as they had the wind off their backs but those pegs down the arm resembled the north sea .

When i got back to the car-park it was time for the draw and to be honest we had a distinctly average set of pegs and i was to be on forty which was on your right just as you walked up the path , it looked really good as i had an aerator to chuck the tip too a reed bed along each margin and too top it off i had a lot of protection from the wind making fishing the pole a lot easier than most of the anglers but after speaking to the lad running the match who was also in my section he informed me that it had finished last on the previous three rounds so my bubble had been well and truly burst but as it’s a team comp i still had a job to do .

My bait for the day was rather simple as i only had ;

Three pints of ground-bait mixed 50/50 of frenzied hemp and brown crumb

Three pints of white maggots

I decided not to bring any pellets today because it only produced tiny blades on the last round but after the match i think that it was a bad decision .

I targeted my peg with three swims these were ;

13m line straight in front of me i used a 4×12 rw maggie float with a staggered bulk starting above the six-inch hook length of 008 garbo my hook was a size twenty matrix silver fish , i fed this with three balls of groundbait at the start and would top up with a golf ball size when i was going to fish it .

6m line situated slightly to my left i used a 4×12 rw maggie float  with a staggered bulk starting above the six-inch hook length of 008 garbo my hook was a size twenty matrix silver fish , i fed one ball of ground-bait at the start and loose fed maggots with a catty every few minutes to get the silvers competing in the peg .

4m line i put this at the bottom of the slope to my right were there was a dead reed bed and if the wind got too bad i could drag it up the shelf a touch to help me present a static bait , it was just over 4ft deep here so i used a 4×12 rw maggie float i would have liked to use a lighter float but the wind was too bad at times it had a staggered bulk starting above the six-inch hook length of 008 garbo my hook was a size twenty matrix silver fish , i loose feed a dozen maggots by hand every five minutes while i was fishing my other lines just like you would when f1 fishing .

Tip rod with a 0.5oz tip which was the lightest that i had and i cast about 25m just to the right of the aerator i used a 15g cage feeder with a 2ft hook length of garbo 010 and my hook was a size 18 matrix bagger hook , i started by casting every ten minutes to get some bait down before then leaving my feeder in place for at least twenty minutes .

When the all in sounded i fed my pole lines with ground-bait before chucking the feeder out and to be honest i don’t really do a lot of rod work so it took me a couple of chucks before i found my accuracy but when you’re bream fishing i don’t feel it is necessary to keep everything on a sixpence , after about twenty minutes i was just messing about with my iPod when my tip slowly pulled round and a lift of the rod saw me attached to a skimmer of around 10oz which was the biggest fish i had caught in any of the previous rounds so i was mighty relieved when it hit the net , i hoped that i could be on for a few more as bream are normally shoal fish and i did get quite a few bites but the trouble was they were all from tiny blades i was also coming back with smashed maggots were i hadn’t seen any sort of indication after an hour i felt enough was enough and had a look at my pole lines .

I went onto my 13m swim first and i began getting indications from the start but they were all finger length roach which seemed to be the norm for in here i got my head down trying to catch as many of these fish as i could because i already had my bonus fish in the shape of that skimmer the trouble was i began bumping off a few off them because my solid six elastic was too harsh even though it was set really soft , i also noticed that the fish taking the bait on the drop were a lot smaller than those on the deck so i altered my shotting for a bulk+dropper so i could bomb my rig straight to the deck this slowed my catch rate down but on the plus side i did pick up some dumpy 4oz roach . The wind was getting gradually stronger and had swung round a bit which made fishing long a bit difficult so i gave my six meter swim a try i had fed this every few minutes since the match started so i was hoping that some fish had settled on it and i began catching the odd fish but it was a lot slower than my 13m line , i decided to begin feeding a small nugget of groundbait every five minutes to see if this would help and my catch rate did increase but it dragged a lot of small silvers into my peg , i spent the next hour swapping between the two swims to keep putting fish in the net but it was painfully slow at times and before i knew it the match had just two hours remaining .

I gave my short line a try as i had been loose feeding it since the match started and if the small silvers were settled on it then i could catch them a lot quicker , first drop and my rig hadn’t even settled when my float dipped under a sharp lift resulted in a foot of elastic coming out a netter roach approaching six-ounce not a bad start i then went on a mad little run of stamp roach between four-ounce + 1.5lb which really surprised me because i had seen nobody catch fish of this quality on earlier rounds i even managed to drop a half pound roach back into the lake plus another broke my hook length at the net but after a good forty minutes the bites understandably tailed off and when a couple of ruff got in on the action i decided to set up another swim at the same distance to my left although this did not produce a great deal it allowed me to rest the other line which meant i could keep putting the odd nice fish in the net in between the ounce roach .

With half an hour remaining i hooked a fish that fought a bit differently than the others and up popped up a snig off about 10oz which was fun trying to unhook but its presence in the peg seemed to put the silvers off because i struggled to add any more fish before the all out , after lifting my net out to see what i had i figured it was around double figures which should be enough to get really good points if not even win the section . After packing up i went round to see the captain who was fishing on the canal and he had done really well off peg nine which blanked on the last round catching 12lb of roach this was enough for third in his section only getting beat by carp weights on peg 1+2 , i followed the scales along the dam wall there was a couple of nice bream weights off it and apart from the early pegs everyone had over 10lb our angler on peg eight managed 16lb which was good enough for another third in section , our angler on the arm section peg 18 managed nearly 7lb of bits which was good enough for fourth in his section but there was a couple of unbelievable 18lb weights of bits , so it was all down to my section and the two anglers on the thirty pegs had caught 10lb +12lb 12oz all bream catch on the tip the latter weight was leading all the way till they got to my peg with my net going 12lb 6oz so for the third match running i had beaten by the matter of ounces i was kicking myself for losing those two fish but i had managed second in section from what i got told was a very poor peg so that’s not too bad i suppose .

As it turned out we ended up with 12 points this put us joint second on the day only one point behind the leaders and we also managed to crawl our way up the table a little into fifth place which was remarkable after all the upheaval during the earlier rounds and even had to fish one match with just three anglers , as a stand in i fished three rounds one on the canal were i managed 5th in section with 10lb this was my first attempt at fishing the pole over a bed of ground-bait which was an eye opener , the second was on the arm were i totally got it wrong and ended up catching 5lb of bits at 14m really struggling against the strong wind , then today i managed a second but being ultra self-critical i should have won the section by at least a pound but when your luck is out its out .

overall i think that i have learned a great deal about silver fishing on Horns dam as before the winter league i had not even seen the venue before i don’t think it had lived up to the expectations of most anglers that have contested the matches although the bream+skimmers finally made an appearance during the last round so it might just have been the time of year , it’s always hard trying to compete against anglers of this quality on their home waters but it has been an experience not too sure if i would like to repeat it although some of the team are keen to give it another try next year so watch this space .

Horns dam team of four winter league


February 7th

Today i was going to fish Horns dam as a stand in for my mates Jeff’s floats team which was languishing towards the bottom of the winter league and i was also down to fish on the arm section that had produced lots of small silvers with the odd bonus skimmer if you are lucky so with that in mind i had decided to try something a bit different from the norm on here which i will go into more detail later in the blog . After my thirty mile drive up to Preston where the venue was situated i was one of the last to arrive so i hadn’t long to wait before the draw took place and as the team had finished last on the previous round we had the pegs which were left in the bag , my home for the next few hours was going to be peg thirty and this didn’t mean a great deal as i hadn’t seen the lake before but after pushing my gear around to it i found out that it was right at the start of the split so i shouldn’t be too far away from the fish fingers crossed .

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On settling in my peg i had a strong cross wind blowing from left to right that was forecast to get worse as the day progressed so with this in mind i decided to set up three rigs to cover my options ;

Six meter line  this is what i had been told was the best area to fish with loose feeding by hand the best way to attack it  and i set up two rigs for this swim the first was a 4×12 rw maggie float which had an on the drop shotting pattern , the other was a more positive 4×14 rw maggie float which had a bulk+dropper shotting for when the fishing was really good and i also expected it to pick up some bonus fish because it would enable me to produce a static bait , on both rigs i used 0.14 garbo main line with a six-inch length of 009 garbo hook length and elastic was solid size six preston slip .

fourteen meter line i hoped that this would be my bonus skimmer line and i fed it with four balls of micros at the start of the match , with the wind being as bad as it was i decided to use a 4×16 malman roob float this would allow me a bit more stability of the rig and i could even put a few inch of line on the deck as i was using the more positive double bulk shotting pattern the main line was my usual 014 garbo and hook length was a three-inch piece of 010 garbo that had a size 16 matrix rigger hook , elastic was the same size six preston slip .

On my bait table i had ;

Two pints of red+white maggots

Three pints of soaked micro pellets

Small tub of 4mm and 6mm expander pellets

Small tub of 4mm white expanders

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The normal thing to do in here is to feed ground bait at the start of the match but today i decided to use pellets because i felt these would be better for the skimmers so when the all in sounded in the distance i proceeded to put three balls of micros plus one lose cup of micros on to my long pole line and i wanted to leave it for as long as possible as this would allow the skimmers to settle a lot better , i then started my match on my top six swim with my on the drop rig i began feeding through a large kinder pot trickling a few maggots in constantly and when the wind allowed i would lose feed a dozen by hand , i kept letting my rig fall through the water with the feed but a bite less twenty minutes wasn’t what i expected especially as it was supposed to be a small fish race and the other anglers on the opposite bank where also catching quite well although they did look like they was fishing further out than me , so with not a lot happening on my original line i decided to put another section on the pole and after plumbing up i found it to be the same four-foot deep so i was able to use the same rigs , another bite less twenty minutes had me moving again and this time i put it towards my right which gave me better presentation in the windy conditions yet again it was only a couple of inch shallower but i finally managed to catch a couple of ounce roach in the net although i was waiting ages for any indications .

Biggest fish of the day

Biggest fish of the day

The first hour passed with only some small roach in the net so i had no other option other than to go on my long line a bit earlier than i wanted , so out i shipped my pole with a 4mm expander on the hook and no sooner than my float settled it slid under with skimmer number one coming to the bank but at 2oz i would need a lot of these to get a double figure net , this swim was producing quite regularly but all were of a similar size or smaller and i didn’t feel my double bulk shotting pattern was correct for fish that size so i changed for a bulk + two droppers this worked a lot better and i had a good run of ten in forty minutes . With the wind increasing steadily i was really struggling to present a static bait which is necessary when using pellets so i decided to change my hook length to a six-inch length of 009 which had a size 18 matrix silver fish-hook attached this would allow me to use double maggot on the hook i hoped this would attract a bigger stamp of fish and also allow me to lay a bit more line on the deck , my change of tactics didn’t really work out as i had planned because the size of fish remained the same but i was now missing a lot more bites and bumping the odd fish off as i shipped in so another change of hook length to a size twenty matrix silver fish-hook was called for this sorted the problem as i began hitting a lot more indications . With conditions not improving any i had a look on my top six swims but they failed to produce a single fish so i had no other option but to fight the wind at 14m and catch anything i could , the lads within view on the opposite bank had slowed down there catch rate but mine was getting better all the time the only trouble was the only two bonus fish i hooked both fell off moments after the strike which was not what i wanted or could explain ! !

It was soon time for the all out and i had managed a grand total of sixty fish i was unsure of my weight but figured i had about three pounds which i was told had been enough for good section points in previous rounds , as the scales reached my peg i was the last to weigh in and it seemed that the arm had fished a lot better than people had thought it would with 11lb winning , 9lb second then a couple of 6lb nets and my fish went 4lb 8oz which was good enough for fifth in the section . If i had been able to catch on my six meter line or not had that blank hour i could have probably reached 6lb or more if you factor a couple of bonus skimmers into the equation , overall the match was won with 18lb and 15lb came second . The team had one last in section , two fifths in section and one first in section which gave us 19 points , fifth overall on the day i think this is their best result so far and also lifts them up off the bottom with one round remaining , on a personal note i have stood in twice for the team and managed two fifth positions not the best of returns but to be honest i have struggled to get too grips with this style of fishing .

My next match is the last round of the winter league at Old Hough were im in joint third place only a couple of points behind the leader so it’s still all to play for , i just need a peg with a chance of catching a few fish and i should be fine . After that i think i might have a look at doing some f1 fishing because it seems like an age since i last caught any so , Partridge lakes ,Cunneries or Bradshaw’s will be on my agenda before my busy Spring , Summer and Autumn campaign .

 

Heskin hall pond one


IMG-20150208-00480With the weather being forecast to be pretty awful today i was in two minds whether to venture out or not and only decided to go late on sunday morning because the heavy rain + strong wind had not materialized just yet but I’m sure it wasn’t far away , so with a match obviously out of the question due to my late start i settled on the ever reliable Heskin hall which is somewhere that i don’t fish a great deal but is a belting silverfish water rammed with skimmers although it is only a twelve peg water but you’re guaranteed a few bites . So after picking up a couple of pints of maggots i headed off to the other side of Wigan into the country side of Heskin as i arrived at the farm i was surprised to see a few cars knocking about and after unpacking my van i headed off across the field to pond one it was rather hard work pushing my trolley across the muddy ground and i was huffing+puffing when i finally got to the pond , luckily i was the only person on it so i had the choice of pegs and i didn’t fancy sitting under the trees because when it did begin to rain it would last or feel a lot longer with the drops coming from the leaves even though these are probably the best pegs to fish , i had a walk round to the other bank which although was more open to the elements the pegs were situated closer to the water with a bit of a bank behind allowing for the wind to blow off my back and over my head i also chose one that had a bush to my right which also helped in protecting me from the elements .

On settling in on my peg i decided to fish two swims ;

Maggot rig which i situated at an angle to my left at five meters out after plumbing up i found it to be five foot deep so i used a 4×12 rw maggie float that had a strung out shotting pattern of number eleven stotz , main line was the usual 014 garbo that had a six-inch length of 009 garbo hook length attached my hook was a size twenty matrix silverfish hook and elastic was size six preston slip .

Pellet rig i put this towards my right at the same distance yet again it was only a touch over five foot but i decided to use a heavier 4×14 malman roob float which had a double bulk shotting pattern , my main line was 014 garbo and i used a short three-inch hook length of 010 garbo attached was a size 18 matrix bagger hook elastic was a size six preston slip .

On my side tray i just had the basic ;

Two pints of red and white maggots

One pint of soaked micros

Small tub of 4mm expanders

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At eleven o’clock i was ready to get started and before going on my maggot line i fed a full small cupping kit of micros i would top this up with half a cup every twenty minutes , leaving it to rest for at least an hour allowing the skimmers to settle on it which is always important if you want to catch a few fish . Picking up more maggot rig i decided to trickle a full small kinder pot after every fish or every five minutes which ever was the earliest , i know loose feeding would have been better but the wind was gusting from right to left meaning i couldn’t group the feed as i would have liked , first drop and my bait didn’t even reach the bottom before a finger length roach took it a further five quickly followed and i needed to have a re-think on how i presented my rig i changed my shotting pattern for a more positive bulk+dropper and with so many small fish present i figured that there wouldn’t be a great deal of bait getting to the bottom so i changed kinder pot for the next size up and tapped it all in at once . By altering things a little i finally got my rig to reach the bottom were the bigger silvers were waiting and i went on a little run of catching fish up to 8oz after about half an hour bites seemed to tail off a bit and i had held my rig tight against the slight under tow but after allowing it to travel through my swim about a foot i found the fish again going on another little run .

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After an hour i was eager to give my pellet line ago hoping that the bigger skimmers had been given enough time to settle and after lowering my rig in slowly i held it directly over the micros , i didn’t have to wait long before i had a classic skimmer bite as the bristle of the float came lifting out of the water and i soon had it in the net at around the pound mark it was a good deal bigger than those on my maggot swim , a further dozen followed of similar size plus a few smaller hand sized fish in the next sixty minutes to be honest it was just like shelling peas and i was really enjoying myself in the countryside it was miles away from the hustle+bustle of the big matches i had usually been attending , sometimes its just nice getting back to basics and fishing like i did when i first started many ,many years ago i even saw a kingfisher working along the opposite bank i had not seen one of those for many a year .

During the two hours i had fished the weather had got gradually worse with the wind changing direction blowing directly in to my face plus the drizzle had started but this had no real effect on the fishing but it did make my short number four section stick in my top kit which made my life a bit more awkward , a quiet ten minute spell on my pellet line then the float shot under and a firm strike resulted in yards of my size six elastic streaming out of my pole it was no doubt one of the many carp in here which grow into double figures after what seemed like an age with the fish ploughing through both my swims multiple times i finally had it under control and i was just about to net it when the hook pulled causing my rig to tangle the ten minutes i spent untangling it at least allowed both my swims to settle back down . As i mentioned earlier with my pole getting stuck i could only use the one rig on both swims plus i couldn’t use my cupping kit so feeding my pellet swim took a lot longer than before so after taping in four lots of micros i went back on my maggot rig , i had altered my shotting for a bulk + dropper and i was soon back catching hand sized silvers one a chuck just like before .

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With thirty minutes of my session remaining i decided to spend it on my pellet swim my first couple of fish were small skimmers and i feared that the bigger ones had drifted out of the peg with the disturbance of the carp but gradually the stamp skimmers returned , i managed another half a dozen before i landed my biggest fish of the day which was a bream of about three pounds and as the rain had relented a little i decided to call time on my short three-hour session i was soaked to the skin but had really enjoyed it , i ended up with thirty fish over ten ounce plenty of those hand sized skimmers plus rafts of tiny fish at the start before i worked out how best to catch the better samples . I did take another video which i will be putting up in the next couple of days and any constructive feedback will be greatly received because it’s all relatively new for me at the moment , i am going back to Horns dam winter league on Sunday to fill in for my mate on Jeffs team this time i will be fishing the dam itself which is another new water for me to try and i have heard it’s all small silvers plus the odd bigger skimmer so i should get a few bites fingers crossed .

 

Old Hough Boulders , winter league round seven


January 24th , peg 18 boulders

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Today was round seven of Diggle AC winter league at Old Hough and after last weekend when everywhere was frozen solid i was glad to see temperatures gradually rise during the week culminating into the day of the match were it was forecast to hit double figures , the only down side was that all the icy water had gone into the lakes and after looking at the results during the week it had a dramatic effect on the weights so it looked like it could be a bit of a struggle but how wrong was i as you will find out later .After meeting up with the rest of group at the car park towards the side of the two lakes which would be in the draw bag and even after the last match which i won on boulders i still fancied a crack at goose as in my opinion it had more pegs capable of framing , but the draw gods wasn’t kind as i pulled out eighteen on boulders which i had been told was a very good summer peg but in the winter league it has only produced one weight into double figures which was right at the start of the series and my mood didn’t improve when i spoke to the lad who fished it on the last round who struggled for 6lb to finish last on the lake i had no other option but to give it my best shot if i still wanted to stay in contention for a top three finish in the winter league .

On arriving at my home for the next few hours i found it to be a touch over 14m wide and narrowed dramatically to my left where there was a bridge going over to the island which did look inviting but at 18m it was just out of my reach , so i decided to target a few areas which were ;

Channel swim at eight meters to the right of my peg and i started with a 4×14 RW maggie float but i changed to a lighter 4×12 half way through the match because i felt the fish were looking for a slower fall of the hook bait my shotting pattern was a bulk with two droppers , main was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 009 hook length and hook was a size eighteen matrix silverfish .

Far shelf rig which was positioned at ten o’clock near the bottom of the slope here i used a 4×12 malman roob float shotting pattern was a bulk spread a centimeter apart my main line was 014 garbo which had a four-inch length of 010 garbo my hook was a size 18 matrix bagger .

Far bank rig which was a foot away from the island i plumbed up to find 2.5ft deep and my float was a 4×12 RW maggie which had a bulk+dropper shotting pattern i would have prefered to use a lighter float but the wind was quite gusty so i figured this would give me better presentation in the conditions , main line was 014 garbo which had a six-inch length of 009 garbo and my hook was a size twenty matrix silverfish .

Far bank stealth rig although this didn’t work out for me on my last match i felt that this area of the lake would hold more carp and i would have prefered to be dobbing bread but like a tit i forgot to bring any so i had to make do with cupping a few grains of corn every twenty minutes , i positioned this rig tight to the far bank in two foot of water and i used a 4×14 malman roob i hoped that the heavier float would enable me to present a static bait my main line was 014 i also used a stronger 012 garbo hook length which had a size 16 lwg hook .

Bait for todays match was ;

Three pints of red and white maggots

One pint of mixed pellets micros and 4mm

One pint of corn

Small tub of 4mm expanders

When the all in sounded i started my match by feeding a couple of grains of corn onto my far bank swim i would repeat this every thirty minutes and i then went on my pellet line which was found at the bottom of the far shelf , i tapped in a few micros then lowered my rig directly over the top of it and i tried to be really accurate because you are trying to set a little trap for the fish . I expected to catch the recently stocked f1s , crucians or the dreaded small skimmers and It took about three feeds before i had my first bite to be honest i didn’t even see it because all of a sudden yards of elastic streamed out of my pole tip this was no little skimmer more like a nice sized carp , i played this fish rather carefully as not only was i using very light elastic and hook lengths but as i expected it to be a low weight match this carp could represent a third of my final weight , after about five minutes i had it in the net and at around three-pound it was a good start to the day , I went back out hoping that i might get another quick fish but even after a few more feeds i hadn’t managed another indication in twenty minutes even the tiny blades weren’t feeding which was strange .

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I decided to spend no more time using pellets although i would keep feeding it and drop back on it during the match in case i could pick up another bonus carp from there , my next plan of attack was to fish towards the far bank with maggots and i hoped that this along with my channel swim would be the best lines on the day . I started drip feeding a few maggots over the top of my float and i didn’t have to wait long for my first indications , surprisingly i soon began catching chub+ide quite regularly but they was only around the three to the pound mark but at least i was putting fish in the net and i probably made the wrong decision in trying to alter a few things to get a bigger stamp of fish because after changing to feeding with a catty plus altering to an on the drop shotting pattern my catch rate slowed down drastically and what fish i did manage were around two ounce a piece even after reverting back to my original feeding pattern the damage had been done and the fish had moved off .

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Reluctantly i had to go on my channel swim a lot sooner than i imagined which might have been the reason it never really worked for me today because i could only pick three fish at a time before they backed off although they was a bigger stamp at around ten ounce and at least i was giving my far bank line a rest although i had still been feeding it with a catty to hopefully attract some passing fish , i had a quick look on my corn swim but it failed to produce a single indication and so did my pellet line so with just two hours remaining i decided to concentrate on the two maggot lines as these produced bites more consistently . Back on my far bank line i was soon catching fish again but they wasn’t coming as quick as before and i decided to fish even tighter to the bank in a bit shallower water this was a bit of a master stroke as not only did i start catching quicker but they were also a bigger stamp including a couple approaching the pound mark , just like before though the fish wouldn’t settle and i had to keep rotating with my channel swim to keep fish coming to the net but i just couldn’t manage another bonus fish before the all out sounded .

I was a bit unsure how i had got on because i could only see half of the anglers on the lake and i reckoned that i had beat all bar one of them which was the lad on peg twenty who had caught some decent barbel from under the bridge , the scales soon arrived and i was the first to weigh in i was a bit surprised when my net went an ounce under twenty pounds because although i had caught a lot of fish i must have under estimated their size . The lad on peg twenty was next and his net went twenty pounds three ounce which was a bit agonising for me because it was twice that i had lost out on a better finishing position by that amount , the match was won with thirty pounds from peg four which was next to my winning peg from the last round and he also had a lot of barbel so i ended up third which was probably better than i originally thought i could manage at the start of the contest from that peg plus i had a really enjoyable day catching around seventeen pounds of silvers plus one carp .

On goose it had fished really well with thirty pounds needed to make the frame with everyone else catching nearly twenty pounds so that lake fished extremely well but the leader of the winter league had won the match and was now two points clear with just one round remaining so over taking him would be really hard so i think consolidating my third place position will be my aim on the last contest although on these lakes there is a few pegs which you can blow out on so you just never know . I have nothing planned for the weekend fishing wise yet so i will keep an eye on the weather before making a decision and might just have a pleasure outing , on another note i have been lucky enough to get three fisho tickets this year at herronbrook , oaks and partridge lakes so along with a few other big matches my fishing diary is coming along nicely .

Hewlit pit


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After missing last weekend due to the freezing conditions i decided to grab a few hours fishing on my local water Hewlit pit which is only a ten minute drive from my house but is somewhere which i don’t visit that often , in fact i only managed to grace its banks once last year even though the fishing can be extremely good as it has a very high stocking plus i heard that they had added even more to it this time some chub+ide . I arrived at around one o’clock and i was surprised to see another two hardy souls sitting on the best pegs so i settled down on unlucky for some number thirteen which as far as i can remember was a good area the only trouble would be is the sun glare on the camera this is something that i will need to be aware off if i want to make good recordings , as i was in silverfish mode after my recent winter league exploits that is what i set out to target on today’s session and as i was in an experimental mode i decided to have another go at balling in ground-bait because my only other attempt at doing it was at Horns dam which didn’t go too well and i would be interested to see how i fared using it today even though the conditions for doing so wasn’t the best after all the ice had melted into the water and made it a bit clear .

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I decided to fish two lines today one at six meter the other at thirteen meters and as there was only four-inch difference i was able to use just the one rig which was an 0.4 scone float , my main line was 014 garbo which had a six-inch length of 009 garbo that had a size twenty matrix silverfish and my elastic was solid six preston slip .

I was only fishing for a couple of hours i didn’t need too much bait and i took with me ;

One pint of red and white maggots .

Four pints of mixed frenzied hemp and brown crumb ground-bait .

I started my session by cupping in five orange sized balls on my short line and another three on my long line , not surprisingly it took a good twenty minutes before i started getting indications but not from the silvers i expected to be catching but hand sized f1s and i was thinking that i might have made a mistake so i began cattying in a dozen maggots on my thirteen meter swim to see what response this got me . After a while the roach got in on the act and i had a run of about a dozen fish around the four-ounce mark it was nice fishing just a shame they wasn’t a bit bigger when bites began to tail off i fed another ball of ground-bait and then went to try my long line , i had a lot of trouble trying to get my bait to the deck because the newly stocked finger length chublets were nailing the maggots as it fell through the water they were obviously being attracted by the loose feed i had fired in , i thought it would be best to stop feeding that way preferring to big pot the bait instead this at least allowed me to get my hook bait to the bottom even if i was still catching the small chublets . After a couple of feeds i began to attract a bigger stamp of silver even a few pound sized f1s got in on the act and i was enjoying myself catching a fish every few minutes , with it only being a pleasure session i wanted to catch at a more comfortable six meters because the steep banking can be a bit of a pain when fishing long , first drop on this line and i had a chub nearly two pounds then another and another it was all going swimmingly until a bank walker wearing a fluro jacket put paid to that line unsettling them in the clear water .

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I decided to spend the final thirty minutes back on my long line and started catching hand sized f1s which were fun but it suddenly dropped in temperature and started to get a bit dark so i thought i better start packing up , just as i got home the heavens opened so it looked like i had made the right decision and on the fishing front i had a good three hours catching a dozen f1s a similar amount of big silvers and countless little chublets so a fun packed three hours which blew away the cobwebs . Looking forward to the next to the last round of the winter league at Old Hough on Sunday so lets hope for a good draw and i can catch a few fish , i will be putting up a short video of today’s session in the next few days so keep an eye out for that .

Old Hough winter league round six on Boulders and Goose


January 10th , peg five Boulders

Today was round six of Diggle AC winter league on Old Hough and it was due to take place on lakes Boulders+Goose which i was glad about as it seemed the more consistent of those that i had fished so far , with the league being really tight at the top i needed a good result to stay in contention especially as you can drop your worst two results and mine were pretty poor so i needed a top three finish in the remaining matches . Yet again the weather leading up to todays contest had been a bit iffy with lots of heavy rain plus a drop in overnight temperature although we still had not seen the first frost of the year , but we got lucky on Sunday as it was forecast to be dry with light winds and a reasonable temp for the time of year .

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After meeting up with the rest of the lads at the car park near the lakes we would be fishing and it was soon time for the draw , out i pulled number five on Prospect which i was happy with because going from previous results it seemed to hold a few fish although it wasn’t a noted flyer . On settling in on my home for the next few hours i had an empty peg either side of me and a far-bank which was just short of 14m it had two dead lily pads either side of a nice mud-bank , i felt that a low twenty pound should be required to make the frame today so i decided to target a few areas of my peg that would help me achieve it and these were ;

Pellet line at three-foot, i positioned this swim directly in front of me just a foot away from the far-bank it was a foot shallower tight to it but i didn’t think that the fish would feel comfortable in that depth of water at this time of year , my rig consisted of a 4×12 malman roob float which had a spread bulk shotting pattern , i used 014 garbo main line and attached was a three-inch 010 garbo hook length it had a size 18 matrix bagger hook , elastic was green NG hollo size 8-10 .

Pellet line at four-foot , this was found at the bottom of both slopes and i used a 4×14 malman roob float which had a spread bulk shotting pattern , i used 014 garbo main line and attached was a three-inch 010 garbo hook length it had a size 18 matrix bagger hook , elastic was green NG hollo size 8-10.

Channel swim at six meters i put this at an angle to my left towards the better pegs , my float was a 4×12 RW maggie and shotting pattern was the usual bulk plus two droppers and my main line was the standard 014 garbo which had a six-inch 009 hook length that had a size twenty matrix silver fish-hook , elastic was solid size six preston slip .

Far-bank maggot line it was mainly for the ide which are a nice stamp in here , i used a 4×10 RW maggie float which had an on the drop shotting pattern and my main line was 012 garbo which had a six-inch 008 garbo hook length that had a size twenty gamma black hook attached , elastic was solid size six preston slip .

Bait for the day was ;

3 pints red and white maggots

1 pint soaked micro pellets

1 pint sweet corn

small tub 4mm expanders

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As the all in sounded i put a small cupping kit full of maggots on to my channel swim and a few grains of corn plus micros on a 14m line at the bottom of the far slope towards my right which was well out-of-the-way i used this as my stealth line hoping that a few carp might settle there throughout the day , i continued to feed both swims every thirty minutes before going on them in final two hours of the match that was my plan anyway . I kicked of fishing on my four-foot pellet line which was positioned at two o’clock , i tapped in a few micros before lowering my rig slowly among them and it only took two feeds before i had my first indication which resulted in a hand sized skimmer hitting the net another quickly followed , i was beginning to think i had made a mistake feeding micros but my next fish was a newly stocked 10oz f1and just as i was thinking that i might be on for a few of them the skimmers were back in numbers .

After thirty minutes of catching them with no signs of the f1s returning and the lad to my left catching the odd carp closer to the island ( who i later found out was dobbing bread ) i had no other option other than to pick up my 3ft pellet rig which was further up the slope and yet again a similar pattern emerged catch a few skimmers then a stockie f1 before the skimmers returned , i decided that using micros are not the way to go on here because apart from being midered by small skimmers you are missing out on the many other species in the lake .

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My next plan was to use the far-bank maggot swim which i had fed six maggots every five minutes since the match started so hopefully a few ide had settled on it , i laid my rig out so it fell slowly through the water and just as it reached the deck it shot under with an 8oz chub coming to the bank , i had a good thirty minute spell of catching a mixture of fish between 2-10oz before they backed off and i did not have to wait long to find out the reason as after a while my float shot under then meters of size six elastic came flying out of the pole a nice fight ensued i was lucky that the tiny hook did not pull as i even missed it twice with the net before i finally had the 4lb mirror carp .

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I changed my feeding to putting in a small kinder pot of maggots in every five minutes instead of using the catty i hoped this might keep the fish on the deck and even encourage another carp to settle but unfortunately it had the opposite effect with bites becoming hard to come by , i decided to revert back to pinging a few maggots in and while i built the swim back up i gave my stealth line a try with a piece of corn on the hook . I dragged my rig up the far slope to give it a bit more stability and prepared to wait but it didn’t take long for me to begin getting indications which i kept missing i even put the smallest piece of corn i could find in the bait box but still i failed to hook one ( thinking about it now it must have been the small skimmers again being drawn in by the micros ) all the time i had fished my corn line i had thrown a dozen maggots onto my near swim so i gave this a try but a bite less twenty minutes passed which wasn’t what i was expecting although this had failed to work on both goose+boulders in past matches, another look on my three-foot pellet line resulted in a couple of hand sized crucians before the small skimmers got in on the act and on looking at my watch there was two hours of the match remaining and i had ten pounds on my clicker , from what i could see this had me in front apart from the lad on peg two so i needed to step it up a bit and i just hoped my channel swim would work out for me .

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I made the decision to not waste anymore time on my pellet lines and concentrate on both my maggot swims for the remaining part of the match because these were being the most consistent allowing me a chance for a bonus fish , i picked up my channel rig and five minutes past without a proper bite but i was getting little indications on the float after a while i gave one a big lift and to my surprise i was attached to a barbel this was the last fish i expected to be catching at this time of year , another soon followed and then a couple of roach+ide but when bites started to tail off i refed with another pot but this stopped the bites altogether , it seemed that it would take two feeds twenty minutes apart before the fish would settle but with so much bait on the deck the big silvers were coming in spewing up maggots so they must have gorged themselves and hardly moving which is why the bites were being so delicate .

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I refeed my six meter line with half a cupping kit of maggots and allowed it to settle , i then went back on to my far-bank swim which i had continued to feed with my catty every five minutes whilst fishing my channel swim , i was soon into the chub+ide again although i did start getting midered by tiny roach every now and again. I was tempted to increase the feed but i didn’t want to ruin that line completely as i was still in contention for a top three finish ,so i choose to fish it in spells and every time i came back with a little silver i would feed through my kinder pot if this didn’t bring a better stamp i would go back onto my channel swim, i made a determined effort to lift into every little indication and i was back catching some nice silvers plus another couple of barbel although i did lift into a few phantom bites (need my glasses changing)

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I alternated between the two swims and was catching the odd fish quite regularly right up until the last twenty minutes when bites deserted me on my six meter line , i also tangled my far-bank rig by being to hasty in shipping in+out this meant i had to alter my three-foot pellet rig and to be honest it just wasn’t working right as i began missing a few bites but it did allow me to use double maggot on the hook which might have been the reason although i did manage a 10oz ide five minutes before the all out . It was soon time for the scales to arrive and i followed them around to my peg , strangely the better pegs failed to produce so my main threat was the lad next to me on peg two and he had 19lb most of it caught in the first ninety minutes when dobbing bread to the far-bank reeds catching six small carp , it was now time for me to see if i had managed to catch enough and luckily my net went twenty pounds which was enough to take the win plus my main rivals for the winter league struggled which was a nice bonus .

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I really enjoyed my match today and caught a variety of species , getting bites for most of the day although i did do a few things wrong and I’m still not happy with my feeding but a wins a win , lets hope i can manage a couple more in the remaining winter league matches . The weather towards the weekend is looking a bit dodgy with our first proper night-time minus temperatures so i am leaning towards giving match fishing a miss and if i do go it will be to Limbrick around dinner time when it has warmed up a bit . as there it will give me chance for a bit of dobbing and maggot work similar to what i am doing at Old Hough .