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 .


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


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 .


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 .


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 .


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 .


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)


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 .


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 .


Horns dam canal , winter league

December 13th , peg six canal


Today i was to be standing in for my mate the big dipper in the teams of four winter league at Horns dam which was another new venue for me to try i had done a lot of silver fishing this winter rather than the targeting f1s which is probably why he asked me , i didn’t really know a great deal about the fishery even the information i could find on the internet was rather sketchy and apart from it being full of small silvers with people using large amounts of ground-bait that was all i could find so i would be going into the match a bit blind but i was looking forward to the challenge .

The days leading up to the match had been the usual wind and lots of heavy rain especially on Saturday today it was dry + calm but we had to contend with a drop in temps plus the first frost of the winter not good , after packing my van i headed off on the thirty mile trip to Preston it was noticeable that the degrees were dropping with lots of frosty fields the further i travelled . As i arrived to the venue i was for a change the last person there and in my absence the Jeffs floats team had decided to let me do the draw because apparently i am rather good at it , so after picking three pegs out for the lads on the dam it was time to pull out a peg for myself on the canal and my home for the day was number six this was just over half way along the stretch which is usually the best place to sit when trying somewhere new .


As i mentioned earlier i had never fished this lake before so i purposely took my time getting to the peg so i could have a good look on where everyone was setting up there swims so i could follow suit and nearly everyone was putting two swims in one at four meter the other 13m , the canal was more like an elongated tear shape and i was towards the narrower end but it was still a good twenty meter wide after plumbing up on my near line i found it to be nearly five foot but the further i went out the shallower it went so i decided to put this in at four meters which was right on the crease of the lake bed . On top of the shelf it was around four-foot deep i was in a bit of a quandary because i wanted to fish further out than those around me which i felt would give me an advantage but i also wanted to make sure i would be able to fish it if the wind got up so i settled on 15m i decided to set up just three rigs today ;

Top four line i set up two rigs to cover this swim the first was a 4×12 tbf cult float which had a bulk plus two droppers shotting pattern and my main line was 012 garbo which had a six-inch hook length of 009 garbo with a size 20 matrix silver pattern , the other rig was an on the drop pattern so i used an 4×10 tbf cult float my main line was 012 garbo which had a six-inch hook length of 009 garbo with a size 20 matrix silver pattern the elastic on both rigs was size six matrix solid .

Far line i expected this swim to produce more bonus fish with maybe the odd carp so i slightly stepped up the rig i used a more positive 4×14 rw maggie float which had a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern my main line was 014 garbo with a six-inch length of 012 garbo and hook was a size 18 matrix bagger hook my elastic was ng green 8-10 hollo .


Bait for the day was ;

One pint red maggots

Two pints of casters

One pint of corn

Four pints of ground-bait which was a mixture of 50/50 brown crumb and dynamite baits frenzied hemp which i added two hand fulls of casters .

Yet again when the all in sounded i hung back a bit until i found out just how many balls of ground-bait the other anglers decided to put in on each line , i put two tightly squeezed tangerine sized balls in on my four meter line plus another cupping kit full of loose ground-bait and i then put three similar sized balls onto my far line with another of loose ground-bait plus corn which would hopefully allow a bigger stamp of fish to settle on it . I then began the match using my strung out rig with a single caster on the hook it took awhile before i got my first fish which was a micro perch not the start i wanted especially as everyone else was picking up roach quite often while i was struggling for bites i just couldn’t work out what i was doing wrong , i didn’t feel comfortable wearing my jacket as it restricted my movement so even in the very cold conditions i had to take it off this helped me focus my attention on getting a few bites and also allow me to begin loose feeding over the top of my float .

I changed to my more positive rig and began sprinkling in maggots through my kinder pot this finally got me a few fish but it was only when i began laying my rig in against the wind then allowing it to run through did my peg really kick off i had about forty minutes of a fish a chuck all roach around 2oz a piece , i then hit in to something bigger as a few meters of my elastic came rushing out the pole tip after a short fight up popped a perch over a pound but just when i was about to net it the tiny hook pulled out of its boney mouth this understandably disrupted the shoal of roach so i fed another loose ball of ground-bait on this line before giving my long line a try ,


It didn’t take to long before i began getting indications on my far swim and at first they was a similar size to what i was catching on my top four line as i was the only angler fishing that far out i didn’t know if i was doing the right thing but at least i was putting fish in the net plus it gave the fish on my short line a chance to settle down a bit , i decided to begin topping after every couple of fish by filling half my large kinder pot with maggots or casters then capping it off with my original ground-bait mix after a while i began to attract a lot better stamp of silver most around hand size plus i picked up a couple of bonus skimmers averaging around the 10oz mark i had to wait longer between bites but i felt they was worth waiting for when the small silvers got in on the act again i decided to refed a ball of groundbait before going on to my short line while it rested .

My top four line was very hard work as i couldn’t put a run of bites together and those i did land were a lot smaller than what the other anglers around me was catching so i began spending longer and longer on my 14m swim , this was putting a lot of pressure on it and as a result towards the last hour of the match bites really began to tail off i don’t think i helped things when i bumped off two nice skimmers in consecutive put ins this was due to my size eight elastic being too strong and i really should have changed it to a size six but at this point of the match my hands really weren’t working in the cold wet conditions it just goes to show the importance of setting up correctly before the match starts but i did feel this swim could produce a carp or two which never materialized . I decided to drop right down to a size 008 hook length with a size twenty matrix silver fish hook to see if this could help me Winkle out a couple more fish in this hard part of the match and i did manage a couple of hand sized roach before the all out sounded which called time on yet another difficult contest and i don’t think that i ever got to grips with how the fish wanted to feed today .


As i began packing up i started thinking on what i could have done different today and apart from put in a pellet line in long for the skimmers instead of the ground-bait but in all honesty i didn’t expect them to play such an important part in the match , i would have also put my near swim another section out but before the all in i was confident that the bottom of the crease towards the deeper water was the place to be , i should have also set up my tip rod using either maggot or open-ended feeder because the guy a couple of pegs to my right was the only person to use it but picked up some nice stamp silvers casting a meter from the far bank before he broke his rod .

They started the weigh in at the high numbers and when they reached me 18lb was leading the way my net went 11lb which is more than i had thought the guy to my right only put 4lb on the scales but after that the further you went the better the catches went culminating in the last two pegs getting first and second with 24lb + 30lb with the last weight included nearly twenty pound of carp and was the only peg to produce one , i put the increase in weights down to the fact it gets a lot wider towards that end plus i heard it was nearly a foot deeper as well which the fish would have been more happy sitting in and in the end i finished fifth in section not my best days fishing although the canal was a lot better than the dam as lots of people struggled to get over 4lb on there .

Back to my winter league at old hough next Sunday where we will be on lucky dip or prospect let’s just hope the wind isn’t too bad because you really need to fish at 16m to pick up the carp and i am toying with the idea of feeding balls of ground-bait in on my channel swim which could help the skimmers settle but i haven’t decided yet , i am also looking forward to getting back on the banks of partridge lakes for the christmas match as i haven’t been there in ages and i have almost forgot what an f1 looks like .


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 .

Sycamore fishery

Peg 16 Silverbirch , 11th June


After the weekends some what strange match i was back at Sycamore fishery to try to put a few things right but yet again i was left with more questions than answers just your typical f1 match then .After the previous days thunder-storm which will have hopefully freshened up the water a bit , today we was faced with warm weather , blue skies and little in the way of breeze which isn’t actually what you would like for fishing but can’t do much about that .

I had heard rumors that their might be a full house for todays match so i was a little disappointed with the 21 we had attending and it seems to be attracting some better class of angler these days too which can only help in improve your fishing technique .But at least we would all have a bit of room and come draw time that’s exactly what i was looking for , with the club not turning up at the weekend to fish Silver birch it meant that it was a week since anyone match fished it and i was eager to give it a try , so when it came to my turn i choose peg 16 halfway down the straight with two empty pegs either side .


My match plan was the same as always on here , start in the margin before going across and spend the last 40 minutes back to the margin but i had decided to try a different bait combination today ;


margin 2.5ft deep ,0.3 scone pellet float with 0.10 direct to a size 20 gamma black hook and elastic was red matrix .

far shelf 2ft deep , 0.3 matrix series 3 float with 0.12 garbo line direct to a size 20 kamasan f1 hook and micro bait band , my elastic was orange matrix

tight across 1ft deep , 0.3 matrix series 3 float with 0.12 garbo line direct to a size 20 kamasan f1 hook and micro bait band , my elastic was orange matrix .



1 pint mixed maggots

1/2 pint micro dusted with ground-bait

1/2 pint soaked 4mm pellets

small tub mixed hard pellets

As the all in sounded i went onto my left hand margin and began flicking maggots at the float , it didn’t take long before i had my first which was a f1 and the fish seemed ravenous because i had 17 over 8oz plus a dozen silvers in the first hour but i noticed the bites beginning to slow down so i was eager to give the swim a rest and not take the last fish from it like i did on my last evening match here .


My next line of attack was at 12 metres which was half way up the shelf at 2.5ft depth , i haven’t been happy with how my expander fishing has gone lately so i decided to change to a 4mm banded pellet also i had given up on the sloppy ground-bait too and gone for lightly dusted micros which could be made into a ball , i hoped this would make a difference to my far bank work which has let me down on my last few visits here .

I taped in a kinder pot full of micros and followed it down with my banded pellet , the bait hadn’t even touched the bottom before my elastic ripped out of my pole and a nice sized stockie made its way to the net , i then had a variety of species before it started slowing down and i probably wasted twenty minutes without changing swims which cost me a fair few fish because i worked out that 15 fish an hour would be needed for a good weight as they are slightly smaller on Silver birch .


After setting up a new far bank swim to my right i was back catching again but they was a smaller stamp of f1 , after two hours i had 27 fish over 10oz which was slightly off my target number but it was more than i caught all match on Sunday and it just shows how different these evening matches are .When i started missing bites on this line and then bumped of a small skimmer i decided on another change of rigs , so i cupped in some loose ground-bait tight against the far bank and gave it twenty minutes to settle while i was waiting i re-tried both of my far shelf rigs although i caught they wasn’t coming quick enough for my liking .

When it was time to try my far bank line i didn’t exactly get the response i had hoped for , first put in i had a barbel then a small f1 and then a crucian but i was having real trouble hitting the bites and kept coming back with silk weed on the bait band .Enough was enough i needed to catch some quick fish and as we were fast approaching the last hour out came the margin rig again ,i had been continuously feeding this swim with a variety of baits since the match started and maybe i had overdone it because it was black with fish .


I was struggling to get my rig to the deck and when it did i was getting liners left-right-center , a change of shotting pattern for on the drop produced a couple of stockies and going shallower didn’t work so i bulked up my shot near the hook length and went a couple of inch over depth , i vaguely remember Jamie Hughes fishing like this in the Fisho final last year for the barbel and it worked for me today too because it was barbel central on my margin and when i worked out what the best shotting pattern was , they were literally pulling the elastic out before i could strike and in the final forty minutes i had 15 of them upto 1.5lb .


As the all out sounded it was obvious that it had fished better than at the weekend and rumour was their had been an 89lb from Davids pool which came as a real surprise , there was also two mid 50lb nets from Rowans and my 47 fish mainly barbel was enough for 47lb and second best weight from Silver birch behind an 87lb from peg eight . So as you can see it fished extremely well and a quiet forty minutes mid-match cost me a chance of framing because 60lb was well within my reach from this peg and i cant wait to give it another try as it is becoming one of my favorite venues but it might be a few weeks as my wife starts working away again for a fortnight but before then i have a club match at widdows to contend with so lets hope i can keep my good form for one more match anyway .


Partridge lakes

peg 89 Covey 4 , 19th Jan

After last weeks section win on Partridge lakes i was eager on a return and today was my chance to get back , i woke up to find light drizzle after two days of heavy showers but the forecast for the rest of the day was going to be very nice with a light breeze and warmish for the time of year .

These conditions brought the anglers out in force with the open match being full with 65 attending and they where also turning anglers away because they hadn’t booked on which was a surprise because it had been fishing hard on their at present and four of the top six weights on Saturdays match had come from covey 5 which wasn’t in the open match today . The Leigh tackle winter league was also taking place and in mid January it resembled a fisho qualifier with 145 people knocking about .


When it got round to my turn for the draw i really fancied a return to covey 3 were i always seem to do well but i pulled out peg 89 on covey four , not my favourite lake and also a new area to contend with . As i arrived at my peg i noticed that i was probably on the worst one in the section but im not using that as an excuse for a bad days fishing .

I felt that after last week that i was beginning to finally get my head around the venue and had worked on a plan to get the best from most pegs on the complex , this was to target the 4 ft line for most of the match because that is the area i had most success with and i also had a channel swim as a back up plan .

malmams winter wire

malmams winter wire


4 ft rig for pellets was 0.10 garbo line straight through to a size 20 gamma pellet hook , my shotting pattern was a strung bulk a cm apart and starting 6 inch from the hook .

4 ft rig for maggots was 0.1o garbo line straight through to a size 20 gamma black hook , my shotting pattern was a strung bulk an inch apart starting 6 inch from the hook .

6 ft channel rig was 0.12 garbo main line to a 0.10 6 inch hook length of 0.10 garbo with a size 20 gamma pellet hook attached , it had a strung bulk starting just above the short hook length .

all rigs were used with size 10 orange matrix which i have found to be perfect for the f1s and carp on here , using a preston pulla bung .



1/4 pint fluro pinkies

1/4 pint red and white maggots

1/4 pint soaked micros

1/4 pint crushed expander

small tub 4 mm expanders normal and white

As the all in sounded i went across to the left hand part of my peg about 2 ft away from the far bank with a white 4 mm expander on the hook and a dozen micros in the cad pot , i was hopping to get an early carp like last time i was on this lake . After lifting-dropping for five minutes before a little dip saw me attached to a carp that bottomed out my orange matrix elastic out and just kept on going , not the start i was looking for worse was to follow when on my next put in saw me loose a big f1 at the net .

Thirty minutes in and i finally managed to start putting a few f1s in the net , they seemed to be a lot bigger stamp on covey four than in the other coveys and all the bites where just tiny dips on the float but my malmam winter wires was working extremely well , by slowly pushing my rig up the slope i managed to get my expander registering on the float which showed all the finicky f1 bites .

I had been extremely careful not to over feed so it was a surprise when my swim died on me but that seems to be the norm for on here , i wasn’t that entirely bothered though because i had what i felt was my best bait to use now and i made another line 2 ft to my right still at 4 ft depth though . I shipped out with a single maggot on the hook and six maggots in the kinder pot , but un-fortunately this only resulted in small rudd and i noticed other anglers being plagued by silvers using this bait so i made the bold decision to forget maggots which had won me my previous sections and concentrate on just pellets .

I went back out with a pellet on the hook with a bit of crushed expander in the pot and this resulted in another run of big f1s , so they must have been their all the time but couldn’t get to the bait before the greedy rudd which doesn’t happen on the other coveys . Suddenly my swim died and i didn’t get any sort of indication i was just going to set up another swim when my float buried and i was attached to a carp and this time i managed to get it in with out too much bother , but on my next put in i lost an f1 at the net which un-settled my 4 ft line so i decided to try else were in my peg .

My next two hours was a complete disaster , first i tried my channel swim at 11 meter to my right with out a bite in thirty minutes , then i tried my 4 foot rig along the near slope for thirty minutes with out a bite and finally i work my far bank lines again without success . This mid match quiet spell happens to me every time that i fish on here and i need to sort it out because today it definitely cost me a chance for my section .

In the last hour i finally found some fish at six meters mid channel to my right , i had upped my feed to a full medium kinder pot of micros and crushed expander to try and make some thing happen which it fortunately did and i began a run of f1s with another carp mixed in but i knew that i was at least six fish behind so i began rushing to get them in quicker and this resulted in me pulling the hook out of a couple .

When the all out sounded i knew that i hadn’t done enough to compete in my section this week with my 14 f1s and 2 carp not being enough against the 21 and 24 f1s caught either side of me , if i had found the fish in the channel quicker or found a couple in the quiet spell it could have been all so different and so for the first time in an age i decided not to weigh in but i think i have learned a lot again today and really need to start putting it all together in a match .

Widdows fishery

15th Jan , peg 24


With my job being a little quiet at the moment i took the opportunity for a short afternoon session and after last weeks good silver fish catch their was only one place that i wanted to go , so after a little detour to pick up some maggots me and John headed off to Widdows fishery .

On arrival there weren’t a soul about which wasn’t a surprise in the recent rainy weather but today it isn’t that bad with it being quite mild and only a light breeze , so we had the choice of pegs and after last weeks good show on the low numbers we decided to try the other bank and see how that side fishes , we settled on pegs 24+25 just at the side of the wooden boards .


After the recent heavy rain it was noticeable that the water level were quite high and after plumbing up i found that last weeks rig was a good 4 inch to shallow even at 13 meters where the shelf would normally be , so a new rig was called for . After plumbing up a few different areas i found that their was only a few inch difference so only one rig would be called for today .


0.3 maver float with a thin tip to show any delicate bites from the roach , main line was 0.10 garbo with a 0.07 garbo hook length and a size 20 gamma black hook .


1/2 pint red maggots

1/2 pint pinkes

Because of what i learned from last weeks visit i decided too only take maggots-pinkies and that turned out to be a mistake as you will find out later .

At 12 i was ready to get started so i shipped out to 13 meters and began catapulting in half a dozen maggots every minute , it didn’t take long before i was into some nice stamp roach and in the first hour it was all so easy with a dozen fish coming my way . After that it went a bit harder as they got a bit un-settled but with a change of shotting pattern i could keep them coming before all of a sudden it died on me and at first i thought that a carp might have scared them off .


All the first hour while i was catching well my mate was struggling on pellet he was also fishing at 13 meters the same as me , but when i stopped catching it coincided with a shoal of skimmers settling on his swim and he began eating into my lead . I set up a new line in the channel were it was slightly deeper and here i decided to feed with a kinder pot to try to keep the fish on the deck making them easier to catch but apart from a few quick fish this also died on me STRANGE .

I had flicked a few maggots to the side of some reeds on my right hand margin were it was 4 ft deep and after ten minutes my float buried and elastic shoot off , but after a few seconds the small hook pulled out and no doubt it would have been a carp which would have only broke my light hook length so i wasn’t too down heartened .

My mate John was still bagging up on the skimmers using pellet and his secret additive for his micros , so with nothing else working i reluctantly decided to follow suit and soaked some micros i also pinched a hand full of his expanders . I plumbed up a new swim at six meters which was in the middle of the channel well away from where i had fed any maggots in case they had put the fish off .

We was now into the last hour so it was now or never if i was going to try to catch my mate up , it took me a good ten minutes before the fish found my kinder pot of micros and i was finally into my first skimmer of the session and it was slow going at the start but it was starting to build up nicely and just before we called it a day at 4 pm i had the biggest fish of the session with a nice 3 lb bream .


I ended up with 32 fish mainly roach and my mate had over 40 fish nearly all skimmers which would have weighed a lot more than my catch , it seems strange that last week i couldn’t get a bite on pellet on the low numbered pegs and this week on the high numbers that’s all they wanted , it might be the in consistent weather or just that the skimmers are in certain pegs and at least i know how to tackle a winter match situation on here because their maybe one taking place next Sunday .

Partridge lakes

Jan 12th , peg 73 covey three

covey three

covey three

After having had a few successful weekends silver fishing , i thought it was about time for my first match of the year and my destination of choice was to be Partridge lakes where on my last few visits had done well picking up the odd section and getting a couple of fifths , i just hope i can get back in to the f1 groove .

As i was travelling on my own to the match today i decided on a later start than usual because last time i went i was stood about for ages waiting for my friends to arrive , when i woke on Sunday i was faced with a frozen car which took me a lot longer than i planned on getting ready to go and as a result meant i only got their just on time to pay .

The frost on the ground wasn’t as bad as i thought it would be but as it was the first proper one of the year this meant it would fish hard today but no doubt some one would be sat on a ball of f1s and be in for a good days fishing Hope its me . We had forty people who decided to brave the elements so as their was no winter league this weekend they decided to use all six coveys and spread the anglers about , not to sure if this would be a good idea because it would allow the f1s too back off into the quieter areas of the lakes .

As i was waiting towards the back of the draw queue i was thinking about where i didn’t fancy drawing and coveys 2 + 5 was high on the list as was being in the split because i cant get my head round fishing them and it was also prone to getting a lot of wind and with my pole being quite old it gets blown around a lot .


When it got round for my turn to pick i pulled out peg 73 on covey 3 which to be honest was my preferred destination and its funny how i always tend to end up on covey 3 all the time , good job i like it on their .The peg number seemed very familiar and its only when i got their that i remembered it was the same peg that i fished on the fisho qualifier the previous year and it wasn’t far from where i had won my section a few weeks ago .The only down side was the fact it was on the split but i had only one other angler to contend with on their and i was also on the windward side which was another positive because as you all know the f1s prefer a ripple above their heads on here .

My peg was only 10 meters wide so i would have to make use of all the extra space i had to my left if i was going to do any good today , i decided on 4 rigs today but expected to catch the best at four-foot because that’s what has worked well for me recently .

winter wire

winter wire


3 ft deep rig , 4×12 malmams winter wire with spread bulk starting above the 0.10 garbo hook length with a size 20 gamma pellet hook .

4ft deep rig , 4×14 malmams winter wire with a 1 cm spread bulk starting above the 0.09 supplex hook length with a size 20 gamma pellet hook and this rig was for pellets .

4 ft deep rig , 4×14 malmams winter wire with a 1 inch spread bulk starting above the 0.09 supplex hook length with a size 20 gamma black hook and this was for maggots .

channel rig , 4×16 malmams winter wire with a 1 inch spread bulk starting above the 0.10 garbo hook length with a size 18 gamma pellet hook .



1/2 pint red maggots

1/2 pint fluro pinkies

1/2 pint micros dusted in crushed expanders

small tub 4mm expanders normal and white

Because i had expected the fishing to be hard i decided on taking some fluro pinkies with me today although in my rush to get ready this morning i forgot my bread .

As the all in sounded i went out to my 4 ft rig swim which was 2 ft away from the far bank rushes , with a single red maggot on the hook and deposited six maggots capped of with a few micros dusted with crushed expander because i expected it to fish hard i was using the firenzee micro pole pots today being careful not to over feed . I lowered my rig in with the feed and just as it settled my float slowly slid under , a quick lift resulted into me being attached to some thing heavy and after about five seconds my small hook got dislodged , when i got my rig in it had a scale the size of a ten pence attached to it Not the best of starts .

I shipped straight back out and re feed hopping that the disturbance wouldn’t have scared the f1s away , ten minutes of working my rig resulted in a little dink and i was on my way with my first f1 of the day . Another quickly followed before it went quiet on me and i was now in a quandary on whether to re-feed or not because i couldn’t see many other people catching , i made the decision to risk it but twenty minutes of in activity saw me reaching for my pellet rig and another swim was plumbed up two feet to my right .

In this swim i would only be feeding micros i shipped out with a white expander on the hook and after another quick f1 before it went quiet but this time i decided not to re-feed after it , another twenty minutes past before my float lifted a few mm and i was attached to another fish  , after this one i decided to put some bait in because i hadn’t feed this line for thirty minutes .

After the first hour my four f1s had me well on the way to catching the twenty fish i felt would be needed to get the section today but after my decent start this is where i began to struggle with the next two hours seeing me put nothing in the net and i was also going through my rigs to try to find the fish , i had fed my channel swim at 6 m to my left with a dozen maggots every twenty minutes for two hours and this didn’t produce a single bite neither did my 4 ft margin swim in front of the empty platform .

So for the last two hours i decided to concentrate on my only line that produced any fish even though the wind had got up and would make presenting a good rig very difficult . I had read some were that triple fluro pinkie can get you bites from f1s when all else fails because i hadn’t feed this line with any feed for two hours i decided to try feeding and fishing pinkie , this resulted in me getting back among the f1s but it was noticeable that you would get two bites in quick succession before a long quiet spell , so i kept setting up new swims further and further too my left and at 13 meters i was really struggling to see the float and i resorted into taking a shot from my rig and lifting at any thing that resembled a bite .

In the last two hours i put a further ten f1s in the net and only lost a foul hooked carp , but i got a feeling that the fish didn’t want to be at this depth because normally they would pull the elastic left or right when you hooked them but today they was pulling the elastic towards me and really bending the pole tip down . Funny thing was i couldn’t get a bite in the channel on the deck and i cant see them being shallow or could they be ?

At the all out i was un sure how well i had done in the section because the anglers to the right of the bridge had caught similar to me but luckily they wasn’t in my section and in fact the lake was won from the side of the bridge with 22 lb he also had 14 fish too , the guy either side of me had five fish each and the aerator peg didn’t produce today and for the third time in four matches on here i had won my section with 17lb . If i had concentrated more on the 4 ft far bank line i would have caught considerably more but im learning all the time on here and not bad for a noddy who can’t catch on Fleetwood fish market !!!


Un fortunately there is not catch shots today because i couldn’t feel my fingers during the match and didn’t want to drop my phone in the lake and i have to find a way of keeping my hands warm because that’s all that’s preventing me from enjoying my self fishing in the cold conditions .