Cunneries fishery

January 20th

I have been to the cunneries fishery today to contest the open match and with nearly forty anglers fishing it was going to be split over the three of the lake’s , obviously a good draw would be an advantage and unsurprisingly I managed to pull out yet another end peg this time peg 26 on the S canal , but after all the recent cold rain and sleet going in over the past few days it was going to be hard work so i felt that it could be a good draw on the wrong day which was just my luck recently .

On settling in at my home for the next few hours and I set up the usual rigs, dobbin, track and 4ft.

3ft maggot rig , 4×10 Md maggie float which had an on the drop shotting pattern spread along my 014 garbo hook length and attached to it was a six-inch 010 garbo hook length .

4ft maggot rig , 4×12 Md maggie float which had an on the drop shotting pattern spread along my 014 garbo hook length and attached to it was a six-inch 010 garbo hook length .

Dobbin rig , 4×12 Md rugby ball patterned float which most of my shot under the float with two size 11 stotz spread along my 014 garbo main line and attached to it was a six-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Track rig ,4×12 Md maggie float which had a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern spread along my 014 garbo hook length and attached to it was a six-inch 010 garbo hook length .

When the all in sounded i began the match by dobbin bread towards the bridge in three-foot which was six-inch of the deck and i managed one quick f1 before I somehow managed to miss four bites on the trot, i just couldn’t work out how they wanted it despite changing depths + punch sizes and im really struggling with dobbin for some reason this winter.

Golden f1

With an hour gone and after seeing a few people catching f1’s by feeding I decided to follow suit and began trickling in a few maggots on my 4ft rig directly in front of me, after a couple of feeds I had another f1 before I foul hooked one which killed the swim and the fish were very shy which was understandably as the cold rain fell ,  i set up multiple new swims in the same depth all along the far bank and had the same problem every time as i would catch an early fish then struggle with foul hookers and my match was going pear-shaped , I then went two hours without a bite despite searching all over my peg and in desperation I kinder potted some micros in then fished maggot over the top on my original 4ft swim this got me two quick f1’s before the all out sounded , calling time on another frustrating match and for some reason this year im really struggling catching f1s which i can’t really get my head around because the last few years i have had some good results at this time of year when you need to scratch around for bites .

At the weigh in my six f1’s went just short of 9lb which was only good enough for half way on my two legs of the canal and the weights got gradually better the further you went to my right towards the car park so yet again i was on a good draw on the wrong day.


Partridge lakes , individual match

January 8th , peg 167 covey six


Today was the first round of the individual winter league at Partridge lakes and after having to miss it last year due to other fishing commitments i was really looking forward to it , even if it meant i would be at the same venue till the beginning of April  and i think that it is the longest i have stayed at one place in years but at least i would be local for a change , it would give me an opportunity to stay in touch with the moods of the fish and as the matches would be spread over the old lakes i shouldnt get too bored sitting on the same lakes .


After missing the last couple of weeks i was eager to get back on the bank and just hoped that i could draw a peg with a chance of a few bites because it had fished a bit iffy in places but it is winter after all , no doubt so did the other eighty anglers fishing the match and after my short drive to the complex i arrived just after 830 which put me towards the front of the rolling draw queue , when it came for my turn in the bag of doom i pulled out peg 167 on covey six which was the first one over the split and i had mixed views on it because the last time i fished Partridge lakes on the winter league team match i was on 169 were we all struggled for bites although the previous days open match a framing weight had been caught on 133 so there might be a few f1s in the area .


Before i began setting up i had a look at my peg to see if there was any signs of fish and although i didn’t see anything topping i did notice a few bubbles coming from the bottom of the far slope as i was sitting there it was like a who’s who of top Partridge anglers going past me into my section so i thought that i would be up against it getting good points today so i decided to have a nice uncomplicated match deciding to set up ;

Channel swim at eleven meters to my left near the start of the bowl because i was informed when i began plumbing up that i couldn’t go past the point of the island and as it was a touch over six-foot i used a 4×12 RW maggie float with a bulk plus two droppers shotting pattern spread along my 014 garbo main line attached to it was a six-inch hook length of 010 garbo with a size 18 guru maggot hook .

Four foot rig for fishing two lines across half way up the far slope and also towards the reeds to my left , i used a 4×10 preston maggot float with a bulk plus two droppers shotting pattern spread along my 014 garbo main line attached to it was a six-inch hook length of 010 garbo with a size 18 guru maggot hook .

Dobbing rig set at three-foot to start but i also had a three-foot length of line between pole tip+float so i could go deeper or shallower if required during the match , i used a 4×12 wire stemmed float which had a bulk at half depth then a couple of small droppers along my 014 garbo main line attached to it was a six-inch length of 010 garbo which had a size 16 guru maggot hook .


Bait for the day was ;

One pint of red maggots and handful of pinkies

One slice of bread for dobbin

A few micros

A bit off crushed expander ground-bait

A handful of 4mm expanders

I started the match by tapping in six maggots on both of my far bank swims and as i had felt a few fish knocking about while plumbing up in this area i hopped that i might be able to get the odd bite or two but i didn’t quite expect the start that i had although i didn’t add a great deal to my net , within ten seconds of my float settling i had an indication and a nice sized f1 in the net although it was hooked in the nose but in the next thirty minutes i lost four more fish , two of them with a hook pull at the net then a couple more also took me under the platform i put this down to the fact that i had recently changed to the short f1 kits and the fish were coming up a lot closer to me than i expected i was still trying to get the balance right when playing fish .

Unsurprisingly after losing those fish my bites stopped on my original swim and i had to replumb further to the left towards the point of the island at 14m , it took a couple of feeds before i began getting indications and not long after i had another f1 in the net by leaving my short number four on when playing the fish i seemed to have more control over what was happening , i managed a further four f1s on this line before they backed off and this was about the time the lad on peg 135 started fishing to the same point of the island . For the next hour i set up multiple swims towards my right in four-foot but strangely i never managed another sign going that way , i didn’t feel like the fish wanted to be in any shallower water so i went on to my top four line towards the left hand point of my margin and after tapping in half a dozen maggots i began getting a few indications , not long after i had a run of four f1s all of which were a nice stamp but no sooner had they turned up then they went and for the next forty minutes i was bite less after trying everywhere in my peg


As a last resort i picked up my dobbin rig and to be honest i didn’t expect this to work too well because i had talked to a few Partridge lakes regulars and they informed me that unless you was on a stack of fish then it would be a waste of time but anyway i decided to give it a go , i started at the point of the island and worked my way along the far bank a foot of the deck on my 4ft line but i didn’t have an indication until i got directly in front of me , in the next forty minutes i added five more fish to my net including a couple of small carp all of which were from the same area of my peg after catching those fish i struggled for bites and a change of punch or depth didn’t make any difference , i worked my way all along the far bank to both extremes without success  and i put this down to the bright sunshine as it finally made its way out from behind the clouds .

I dropped onto my channel swim for a while without any signs and another rotation of my maggot lines also didn’t produce an indication but with thirty minutes of the match remaining it went cloudy again , so out came the dobbing rig but i had to resort to going tight to the far bank cover in two foot to get any bites and this produced a decent f1 plus a couple of big chub before the all out sounded , it called time on a rather confusing match and i feel like i got a bit lucky because there was definitely a few fish in the area so after a bit of a bad start i finally managed to add a few fish on maggots before catching a few more by dobbing bread , overall i managed second in my section with 23lb getting beat predictably by peg 171 who also finished second overall , i got my default section as well and so i started my winter league with two points lets hope i can keep the good draws coming to the end .


Going to be back at Partridge lakes for the next round of the teams of four winter league and i think it might be a bit of a grueller with the forecast drop in temperature so icebreakers at the ready .



Jamie Hughes dobbing


Diggle AC winter league rnd three

November 29th , peg nine prospect


Today was the third round of the Diggle AC winter league which was due to take place on lucky dip + prospect these were another couple of lakes that i hadn’t fished before at Old Hough so as usual for me i did a bit of homework before hand on how best to tackle them and i learned that there was a good head of skimmers in them both but you needed to target the carp tight across to be in with a chance of framing plus there is a large head of nuisance bits which could be a problem or in my case they was a godsend as you will find out later. Yet again the weather leading up to the match had been up and down there seemed to be a bit of a common theme occurring recently, today we was faced with the back-end of a hurricane with 60 mph gusty winds forecast and some heavy rain the latter thankfully never arrived although the conditions i faced were the worst i had ever fished in.

On arriving to Old Hough i made my way round to the back of the complex were the two lakes i was due to fish were situated. Upon driving past west sooty it resembled the north sea and i just hoped it wouldn’t be as bad on lucky dip + prospect pleasantly it wasn’t with a couple of trees managing to block out the worst of it on a few pegs it was even flat calm ! ! Obviously these were the ones everybody wanted to be sat on and as the draw began i hung towards the back of the crowd , i picked out peg nine on prospect just the usual end peg flyer which had the bonus of the wind blowing towards and it looked really fishy with a reed lined margin plus the point of the island to target although i did find out after the match that those pegs down that end wasn’t the best .


With the weather being as bad as it was i decided not to set up too many rigs choosing to target ;

Channel at eight meters were i plumbed up to find a touch over five foot which i put in between the margin and the point of the island because of the conditions i used a 4×16 malman roob and the shotting pattern was the usual bulk + two droppers my main line was 012 garbo which had a six-inch 008 garbo hook length attached was a size twenty gamma black hook .

Bottom of near slope here i found around four-foot and as i was fishing on the drop i choose to use a 4×12 tbf cult float with a spread bulk of number ten stotz my main line was 012 garbo which had a six-inch 008 garbo hook length attached was a size twenty gamma black hook .

Dobbing rig which i was going to do down the length of the long reed lined margin it was three-foot deep here so i used an 03 matrix series three float which had 012 garbo direct to a size16 guru lwg hook and i started six-inch of the deck but would work the depths till i hopefully found a few carp .

Feeder rig i used an eight foot matrix carp master rod and as i was only chucking 16m i had a 15 gram small pellet feeder which had a short four-inch 014 hook length that had a 16 lwg hook attached with a micro pellet band .


My side tray had an array of bait for a change ,

Two pints of red and white maggots

One pint of soaked micros with a dusting of f1 dark ground-bait

One slice of steamed rolled bread cut into four pieces with a 7mm and 11mm punch

Small tub of 4mm expanders

Small tub of 4mm white soft hook pellets

Small tub of hard pellets

When the all in sounded i proceeded to put two balls of micro pellets onto my eleven meter line through my kinder pot because i had stupidly left my cupping kit at home as i had decided to use my carp today pole which i felt would cope with the conditions a lot easier and it was in side my other pole ,although i didn’t really think that this would hinder my fishing  as i expected it to be quite hard going with all the recent cold rain going into the lake . After feeding my pellet line i started my match by dobbing bread all along my left hand reed lined margin and with the wind blowing that way too i really expected there to be a few carp present but yet again at Old Hough i never had an indication despite trying various depths and pushing my rig in between all the gaps in the reeds after thirty minutes of trying i decided to waste no more time doing it so i went on my pellet line hoping that a couple of skimmers had settled on my earlier feed , after laying my rig in over the top of the micros i held it tight against the wind it didn’t take long before my float slid under a firm strike resulted in a foot of size six solid elastic sliding out of the pole tip and i put the net under an 8oz skimmer which was a good start but my next bite resulted in me coming back with half an expander then i landed a 2oz skimmer then a micro gudgeon not what i wanted , i reefed with another ball of pellets which resulted in my line fading so i scattered in some loose micros creating a bigger feed area for the skimmers to settle before leaving it to settle for a while .

Since the match started i had thrown six maggots onto my top three-line which was at the bottom of the near slope so that was my next line of attack and i began laying my rig through the loose feed this resulted in a fish a chuck but they were from 1oz silvers , with so many of them present i figured that there couldn’t be much bait reaching the deck were i felt the bigger stamp would be more comfortable so i doubled the amount i was throwing in and put all my weight above the hook length i thought this would get my hook bait to the bottom quicker but the little fish were still taking it on the drop . I had noticed that the two anglers towards my right had caught the odd carp + f1 by fishing tight across to the island fishing corn they could cope with the wind as it was a lot calmer on those pegs with just the odd strong gust where i had it blowing constantly over my shoulder , i did reluctantly set up a line across at 14m which was half way down the far slope but with no corn on my side tray i decided to use pellets because i felt this would limit the amount of silvers i would be catching as this last thing i wanted would be to ship all that way across and come back with a tiny fish , after persevering on this line for nearly half an hour feeding every five minutes with micro through a kinder pot  all i could manage was a couple of 4oz skimmers but with the wind getting stronger it was hard work keeping the rig still .

Yet again i went back onto my 11m pellet line where i had earlier feed some micros but all i could catch here was tiny silvers again and i needed to find a couple of bonus fish to get me back into the contest and i figured the best place for me to do this was to fish across so out came the feeder rod with a yellow bandum on the hook which was the closest i had to a piece of sweet corn , i started by plopping in my tiny pellet feeder over my 14m line but even after casting every five minutes this failed to produce a single liner in a twenty-minute spell so i decided to go tighter to the far bank and set up a new swim in between the two reed beds after a couple of quick casts to get some feed there i began leaving my rig in for around ten minutes in case the disturbance of the feeder going in had pushed the carp out of the swim  this kind of worked as i began getting the odd liner but even after ringing the changes with the hook bait i couldn’t get a positive bite .

Before i knew it i had spent an hour putting nothing in the net so yet again it was time for a change so i set up a new line towards the left hand reeds but choose to use maggots here as i felt that pellets wasn’t the right bait to use today , i began kinder potting in maggots every five minutes and tried to keep my rig still on the bottom but yet again i was getting bombarded by small silvers plus the wind was getting atrocious so i packed most of my pole away as i decided to concentrate on my top three-line for the remaining ninety minutes . I knew that i was way off the pace for framing so it was damage limitation time as the winter league was being run on overall points and if i was only catching small silvers at least i was adding weight to my net , i was soon catching a fish a chuck mainly 2oz roach but if i did get my bait to the deck i did pick up a couple of 8oz ide and i tried various feeding patterns + shotting patterns to try to attract a better stamp but to be honest i never really managed to work it out although i did catch nearly sixty fish before the all out .

As i was packing my stuff away i didn’t really know how my net compared to the other anglers i knew that the lads to my right had done well but everyone else seemed to be struggling the same as me , the weigh in soon started with two low twenty pound weights coming from peg five and seven then my net went nearly eight pound which was more than i had thought i must have caught nearly 4lb in that last ninety minute spell i was kicking myself for not concentrating on it for longer as only ten pound got fourth on the lake . Lucky dip had fished even harder than prospect as only 13lb won it  although it did have to put up with the worst of the conditions and it was strange that my weight was the best from all the eight corner pegs with the middle ones producing better , as all the results were reckoned up i ended up fifth so yet another bad day at the office where i could have done much better if i had known the water a bit more but on the plus side I’m still up towards the top of the league , i failed to lose or break anything and it didn’t rain .


Back to Old Hough again next Sunday for round four of the winter league  this time it’s back on boulders+goose and looking at this week’s open match on boulders were seventy pounds won i hope to finally draw on it .


Limbrick fishery match lake

November 7th , peg four match lake


I had intended on contesting the open match at Partridge lakes but with the rain continuing to pour down and now there was the threat of a strengthening breeze so i decided for an extra few hours in bed , around dinner time it was forecast to get a bit better and luckily for me it did as i spotted some blue skies in the distance this was all the incentive i needed to back my gear into the van before heading off to Limbrick fishery . I arrived at the venue around 1230 and unsurprisingly i was the only person there so with all the lake to choose from i settled on peg four as this would give me chance to give both sides of the water a chance , with only a few hours on the bank i decided to keep it pretty simple choosing to concentrate on dobbing bread which i have never done much of in the past but it will come really useful in the coming winter months .


Dobbing rig , i plumbed up across to the far-bank reeds where i found an average depth of 4 foot so i set my rig at 3 1/2 foot which was six-inch off the deck this is always a good place to start and i also left a longish lash between float + pole tip so this would give me plenty of depth to work with , my float was an 0.2 series three matrix float which had a strung out shotting patterns of number 11 stotz and my line was 012 garbo direct to a size 16 lwg hook .

Pellet rig , between the two reed beds in front of the mud bank i plumbed up to find a flat area at 3ft on both sides which would give me a couple of options regarding feeding and with the wind increasing a bit i decided to use a 4×14 malman roob float with a bulk above the short 3 inch 010 hook length my main line was 014 garbo .


Bait for the day was ;

Small tub 4mm expanders

Half pint soaked micros

Slice of bread cut into 4 pieces with two punches one 7mm the other 10mm

I began dobbing bread in a hole towards the left of my swim i managed to push the rig right in among the reeds with a 7mm disk of bread on the hook and i began lifting+dropping the float but five minutes of inactivity got me moving to another area which was directly in front of me i still stayed at the same depth as i started at because i felt it was right and would only alter it if i began to miss a few bites , another five minutes past without a sign when out of the blue it shot under and after a spirited fight a mirror carp around the 2lb mark hit the net it’s always nice to get your first fish under your belt when using a new method on a relatively new venue . By fishing in the same area of my peg i managed a nice run of ten carp including a couple around the 4lb mark plus a couple of hand sized silvers and it was all so simple really the bites would usually come just as the float settled from lift+dropping the rig with the disc of bread catching their eye as it fluttered down .



In the distance the dark clouds started grouping together and it wasn’t long before the rain started again because the fishery was near rivington it can often get the worst of the weather as the clouds need to lighten their load before going over winter hill which is something to bear in mind if you plan on giving the place a try in the near future , i was struggling to keep my bait dry and the damp conditions had a detrimental effect on my bread that i was using as i could only manage half a dozen punches before it got to fluffy for the hook then kept falling off on the ship out although when i did get it across to the far-bank the carp were still feeding and seemed to be coming even shallower as now 2ft was the best depth to use .


The rain didn’t look like stopping any time soon so i decided to try my pellet swim until conditions improved and i choose to fish on the right side of the mud-bank a bit further up the shelf than were i was catching dobing bread , i wanted to try a different feeding pattern today my plan was that i would begin by sprinkling in a few micros every couple of minutes to try to draw some fish into my feed zone and then when i began catching i would change to dumping the pellets in i hopped this would keep the fish on the deck making them easier to catch well thats what i intended on doing but fishing doesn’t always work out like that . As i mentioned earlier i started sprinkling in the micros and almost instantly i began getting line bites with fish not wanting to stay on the deck this gave me no option but to change to the dumping method earlier than i wanted , this kind of worked as i was managing to keep my hook bait still right over the top of the micros which resulted in me picking off the odd f1 including a couple around the 2lb mark but it was a lot slower than the last time i fished pellets here which was round the other side of the lake and it seemed there was less f1s on the lower number pegs although i may be wrong as this is only my second trip to Limbrick fishery .


With the rain finally easing and some blue sky appearing in the distance i decided to spend my remaining time back dobbing bread because it was definitely the method to use as i was getting more bites using it and the carp were of a nice stamp as well , i had to stick my 14m section on to find another area which held a few fish and yet again i had a good run all caught at about 2ft off the deck and when i started being bothered by the silvers again i changed to a bigger 11mm punch this reduced the amount of indications i was getting but the fish i was getting were of a bigger stamp .After nearly three hours and the light fading fast i decided to call time on a short but enjoyable session here i ended up with thirty fish on my clicker which included half a dozen hand sized silvers for around 30lb i was a bit disappointed with my pellet line but that’s fishing for you and it was obvious that they wasn’t happy feeding on the deck probably down to all the cold rain going in over the last few days .


Winter dobbing with bread

As we are fast approaching the depths of winter with no doubt some hard frosts and frozen lakes ahead now is the time to practise the art of dobbing bread , this approach will catch the fish in your peg without the risk of spooking them by feeding which is often the case at this time of the year and it can catch some of the biggest fish in the lake , bread is the best and safest option to use during the winter months as it is soft and visible which swells up in the water by giving it a slight squeeze it makes sure that it sinks as slowly as possible .

To do this you need to drop your hookbait into any likely looking area off the bottom a good starting point is two thirds of the actual depth , with the fish being laid up for winter your trying to put it right on their noses to try to entice a bite and it will allow you to locate where abouts in your peg that the main bulk of fish are before going onto your more usual rigs .

Using a light float with just two or three small shots down the line this will help present the bait naturally but make sure that it is stable because the carp will not touch a rig that pulls through the swim and also leave a bit of the bristle showing so the swollen bread will sink it down to the tip then you know that it has reached the correct depth by giving the bread a slight squeeze it makes sure that it sinks as slowly as possible . Cold water means clear water so a thinner more supple line can be an advantage as the fish are also generally quite docile and in active during winter so you can get away with it also avoid having too short a line above the float then you can keep the pole tip well away from the fish .

Lay the rig in side ways by holding the float on a tight line encourages the bread to slowly arc through the water and you should expect a bite just before or after it settles , if you fail to get an indication try altering the depth a few inches at a time and keep shallowing up until you start hitting the bites even in the depths of winter you can catch them in just 1ft of water. Try placing the rig in any fishy looking spots because in this weather the fish will be huddling together off the bottom for warmth and safety , location is the key when dobbing in winter and once you get a bite their is usually a little pod of them a disk of punched bread is the number one hook bait as it will catch you fish when they are not prepared to feed on anything at all .

Below is a video by the mighty Steve Ringer who can explain it all far better than me but i hope that my little waffle about it helps just a little bit .