Old Hough winter league round three


5th November

Today i have been back to Old Hough fisheries today for the third round of the winter league and after all the cold over night rain plus a recent drop in temperature I expected it to be a bit tough going , so a decent draw would be an advantage and when I pulled out 18 on boulders lake I was quite happy because there is worse place’s to be i had also been on this peg last year which would give me a heads up on how best to fish it , yet again i had a few of the anglers towards the top of the table on my lake so i hoped that i could have a good match and take a few points of them which would help keep me ahead in the winter league .

On settling at my home for the next few hours i had an island at 14m which had some over hanging reeds and an empty peg either side which would give me a bit of room , after having a good plumb around i decided to set up ;

Channel rig at eleven meters either side of me were it was nearly five foot deep and i expected this to be my best swim today due to the conditions , i used a 4×12 Md maggot float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern and my hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo which had a size 18 guru maggot hook attached to it .

Far bank rig set at three-foot deep which was a meter from the cover as i didn’t expect anything to be shallower and i used a 4×10 Md maggot float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern and my hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo which had a size 18 guru maggot hook attached to it .

Near shelf rig and after plumbing up i found a nice hole about four meters towards my left where it was just over three-foot tight to the bank , i used a 4×12 Md maggot float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern and my hook length was six-inch of 012 garbo which had a size 18 guru maggot hook attached to it .

Bait for the day was ;

4 pints of white and red maggots

2 pints of 4mm pellets

small tub of mixed hard pellets

When the all in sounded i started my match down the track at eleven meters either side of me and i fed one with a kinder pot of maggots the other i potted in maggots with a cupping kit every twenty minutes , to be honest it was really hard going for the first couple of hours and I managed to get bites from small silvers but i wasnt to worried because i could only see one person catching the odd carp ,i had to go across to the island before I caught a couple of f1’s by kinder potting in 4mm pellets but yet again the bites were few and far between .

Gradually my track lines came good for me but strangely I wasn’t catching the stamp ide required to bump up my weight although I was more than holding my own from what I could see on the lake and i just kept rotating between the two swims picking up the odd carp in between the hand sized skimmers , i had one golden hour where i couldn’t get in quick enough but for some reason the bites tailed off and after twenty minutes of inactivity i had another plumb around finding a little hole a few inch deeper just a foot away from my original swim , i felt that my bait would have settled there and after altering my rig i dropped on it which resulted in another good run of barbel+carp . We was fast approaching the last forty minutes and i had fed my near slope with a cup of maggots every thirty minutes i really wanted to go on it earlier but the sun was preventing me from doing it , finally it moved round enough for me to see my float and I was able to go down my left hand margin at four meters , this produced a good run of big fish i probably added over ten pounds to my net and when the all out sounded I was kicking myself for not being able to go on it sooner.

Luckily it didn’t cost me as I ended up with 40lb which was enough for the lake and match win so that’s three out of three so far in the winter league , it was noticeable that some areas of both boulders+goose lakes had fished really hard again and it could be a damage limitation job if you draw there so even though i was doing ok at present it could still all change , but there is a new venue for me to try in the next two rounds as we are at Bradshaw’s on lake four so i will be messaging a few people to give me a heads up during the week .

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Old hough fishery , winter league round two


October 29th

Today i have been back  to Old Hough fisheries for the second round of my winter league and this time it was going to take place on boulders + goose which is somewhere that i have not fished for over twelve months so i was really looking forward to the contest especially after my good result in the first round , after yesterday’s very blustery conditions I was glad to wake up and see it a lot calmer but with bright skies plus colder conditions it could make things a bit difficult although on these lakes you was targeting silver fish with the odd carp coming out .

On arrival to the fishery i meet up with the other anglers and a few of them had fished a couple of matches on these waters which would obviously give them an advantage but from what i heard there seemed to be a lot more carp showing than i thought , it soon came round to draw time and when i had a dip in the bag of doom pulling out peg 11 which i was pleased with as it was an area that I had fished before , doing well winning the match with nearly 50lb of ide although I was definitely on the colder side of the lake with the trees blocking out the sun.

I decided to set up ;

Two foot rig for fishing tight to the far bank and i used a 0.4 Md diamond float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was six inch of 012 garbo my hook was a size 18 guru maggot hook .

Three foot rig for fishing at 11m which was about half way up the far slope and i used a 4×12 Md maggot float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was six inch of 012 garbo my hook was a size 18 guru maggot hook .

Five foot rig for fishing at six meters down the track and i used a 4×12 Md maggot float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was six inch of 012 garbo my hook was a size 18 guru maggot hook .

Bait for the day was ;

Four pints of red maggots

Two pints of 4mm pellets

Two pints of ground bait

When the all in sounded i started my match by fishing across at 14m tight to the over hanging reeds i put in a large kinder pot of maggots and a nugget of ground-bait  but this only produced a stockie carp plus a few small silvers in the first hour , looking around i saw everyone fishing in the same area and was struggling just like me but in the back of my mind I knew that the fish wouldn’t want to be in the shallow water but i got suckered into going tight across . I decided to drop further down the shelf in a depth of 3ft at 11m and by feeding maggots through a kinder pot then letting my rig fall up the slope , doing this produced a few nice ide but I made the mistake of changing my feeding to using a catty which didn’t work for me and i switched because i hoped that it would drag more fish into the peg which it did but only tiny silvers .

Since the match started I had potted in maggots on my left hand channel swim at six meters and when I dropped on it after two hours I caught some decent ide between the small silvers but it gradually got better , as i began catching a few small carp and i felt that with it being hard going i needed to rest this line for a while so I put in another track swim six meters to my right but this one I fed with a big kinder pot of maggots , it didn’t take to long for the fish to settle on the bait and i had a good run of fish including a couple of barbel but as the contest went on with the conditions getting colder ( on my side of the lake anyway as the opposite bank they were sitting in t-shirts ) the bites were getting really delicate and often the slightest of dinks on the float would result in a big carp and for the rest of the match I rotated between them both, the swims got better and better as the bigger fish bullied the smaller silvers out of the peg.

The all out called time on a really enjoyable match as I caught a proper mixed bag of fish not knowing what i would be putting in the net next which made a nice change from all the f1 fishing i had done recently and when the scales arrived I had 27lb to beat , my net went 44lb which was enough for the lake and overall match win so thats two out of two lake wins in the winter league I’m back there next Sunday for round three on boulders and goose again where i am sure to come crashing to earth with a bump .

Old Hough winter league


December 18th , peg eight boulders lake

Today was my last round of my winter league at Old Hough in Cheshire and as i was lying in sixth place due to missing a couple of rounds , i felt that i would be up against it to get in the overall money positions but i had framed in four of the previous five matches that i had fished and more importantly i had enjoyed catching a few silvers which is always nice in the cold weather . My thirty mile trip down to the fishery for the last time this year went really smoothly which made a nice change because as you all know the M6 can be a proper nightmare at times and i arrived with plenty of time to spare , i managed a quick walk around the two lakes in the draw bag and i really fancied another try on Boulders because it held a bigger stamp of fish so would obviously be easier to get a winning weight although as on Goose there was definitely a few areas you don’t want to sit in . The weather for the contest was the same as it had been for the last month with calm bright conditions and around six degrees this had made the fishing really hard everywhere , the Thursday open match taking place on these lakes had been a proper struggle with lots of anglers failing to break into double figures so all the talk at the draw was of how hard it might be today but it was the same for everyone and you just had to get on with it , when the mad rush began to have a dip in the bag of doom i managed to sneak in near the front of the queue and i was quite happy to see peg eight on Boulders lake stick to my mitt , in the earlier rounds of the winter league we had decided to leave this area out as it is never usually put in on the opens but the last couple of matches it had been put in and framed on every occasion so i was hopeful of catching a few fish .

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On settling in at my home for the next few hours i had quite a lot of areas to target ;

I had about five meters along the side of the island which didn’t have a great deal of cover and as it was over 14m away i would need to ship back twice because i had a hill quite close behind , so i decided to begin my match dobbin bread in that area and after plumbing up i found it to be around 2ft deep which wasnt ideal , i used a 0.2 matrix series three float which had two number eleven stotz spread down the 014 garbo main line and my hook length was 010 garbo which had a size 18 guru pellet hook attached .

I put in two swims in the deepest water i could find which was five foot this was positioned in open water at eleven meters either side of the island and i used a 4×12 RW maggie float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was 010 garbo which had a size twenty guru maggot hook attached .

My other rig was for the bottom of the far shelf at four-foot deep and it was also the same depth at the side of some lily pads towards my left which was close enough for me to feed by hand , i used a 4×10 RW maggie float with a staggered bulk shotting pattern which would give me a slow fall of my hook bait my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was 010 garbo which had a size twenty guru maggot hook attached .

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Bait for the day was ;

1 pint of red and white maggots

1/2 pint of corn

1 pint of ground-bait

1 slice of bread

small tub of 2mm expanders

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When the all in sounded signalling the start of the match i shipped out to the island and began working my disk of bread all along the far bank , i was poking my rig into any likely looking area i did get the odd sign which i missed and i put this down to small roach , it was only when i pulled my rig a couple of feet away from the cover going into a some slightly deeper water that i managed a carp about three pounds and i had an ide soon after but i then struggled to get any more indications , i even tried maggots tight to the cover in case any more ide was sat in the area but this didn’t produce any bites either and i felt that if you are usually going to catch dobbin for carp there would be a little nest of fish in a certain area but because i had only managed that solitary fish i decided to put in a few grains of corn at both points of the island .

With an hour of the match gone i went onto my left hand channel swim where i had been pinging six maggots every five minutes and i hopped that a few ide might have settled on the feed as i had seen a couple of top in the area before the match started , but because nobody had drawn the early numbered pegs i feared the fish might back of into the space and after letting my rig fall through the water i began getting middered by tiny silvers , so i changed my shotting to a bulk+dropper as this would allow me to get my bait to the bottom quicker and this kind of worked for me because i did manage a couple of better fish but they wasnt the usual stamp for in here plus they also wasnt there in any numbers either .

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I changed to my right hand channel swim where i had fed a ball of ground-bait at the start of the match i did this because there was a lot of hand sized skimmers in this lake and i felt that i could add a couple of pounds of them into my net while i pondered on my next move , but even they was proving hard to catch it just seemed that there wasnt many fish willing to have a feed today and everybody on my lake was struggling too , it was noticeable that only a few ide had come out so far and thinking about it after the match i wasnt quick enough in changing my feeding to target other species as i expected ide to produce the bulk of my weight today .

My next move was to go on to my four-foot rig at the bottom of the far slope and began by just trickling in a couple of maggots in case i had over done it with the feed on my other lines plus i could always increase the amount if i needed too , i started by catching a few 4oz roach but at least they was bigger than any of the other silvers that i had managed and i was also adding some weight to my net , after a while it went a bit quiet  i was on the verge of increasing the amount of bait that i was feeding when my float slide under and i had a bonus f1 in the net although like usual on these two lakes it was a loner , but the disturbance had upset the silvers on this line so i decided to have ago with corn were i cupped a few grains in earlier incase there was any more bonus fish in the area but a bite less ten minutes on each line soon had me picking up my dobbin rig and this did produce another ide but nothing in any numbers .

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I had continued to feed my left hand channel swim with a catty while i had fished else were so i decided to drop back on it to see if anything had settled there and i did pick up a couple of net fish among the small silvers , with just ninety minutes of the match remaining i had a decision to make because i needed to attract a bigger stamp of fish into my peg as i could see a lad to my right catching the odd big ide and i felt he was eating into my lead , i choose to feed a ball of ground-bait onto my left hand channel swim and bulk all my shotting above the hook length which would enable me to fish expanders , while it settled i rotated my other swims to no avail so i spent the rest of my match on left hand line and luckily for me i began catching a few hand sized skimmers by swapping between expanders and maggots i managed a couple of bonus net crucians+tench , in the last hour i must have added three pounds to my net which doesn’t sound a great deal but when you’re only looking for 15lb to win it was a rather substantial part of my final weight .

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As i began packing up everyone was saying that i had won the lake as nobody else had managed a carp and it would be nice to finish the winter league like i started it with a match win on boulders lake, as it turned out i did manage to finish first but without my good last hour i wouldn’t have managed it as i weighed in with just over 14lb for the third match running at Old Hough and second was 11lb with third just 8lb , Goose lake fished a bit better with 20lb winning then 11lb second and 10lb third . When i got back to the car park they was starting to reckon up the overall winter league points and i had beaten a few of the lads today which was above me in the table at the beginning of the day so i hoped that i had done enough to get into the money , as it turned out i had managed to scrape into fifth overall with 15 points from six matches which was last place in the money but it was really close as 10 points came first then just five points covered five places , to be honest i was quite happy with how my league panned out because after missing my two dropper matches due to clashes with the partridge lakes winter league i was always going to be up against it and apart from the one match where i finished sixth on the lake from a really bad peg i fished well with two wins , two seconds and a third .

So with that out-of-the-way i will now be targeting Partridge lakes for the next couple of months with both the individual and team of four winter leagues on my agenda .

Old Hough winter league round two


October 30th, peg 14 on boulders+goose

Goose lake

Today was the second round of my winter league at Old Hough and it was due to take place on boulders+goose the same lakes as on the first round where i managed to catch a few silvers really enjoying myself in the process , so as you can imagine i was really looking forward to another good days fishing especially with the weather having seemingly settled down and after learning that the road into the fishery had been closed i felt that i would benefit from a slightly earlier than usual start .

I arrived at the complex with plenty of time to spare and as usual i was there on my own which gave me plenty time to have a walk round both the lakes in the draw bag , strangely i didn’t see a single fish top but i did see the odd bubble come up from down the track so i figured that the deeper water would be a good place to start especially on goose lake , when i got back to the car park most of the other anglers had arrived but we was waiting on a couple of lads that had got lost so the draw was delayed for thirty minutes and when we finally got going i ended up on peg 14 goose , not exactly where i would like to be especially as only 14lb came off it on the last round most of which were barbel from down the edge so i felt that it was a bit of damage limitation today .

On settling in at my home for the next few hours i found that it was only eleven meters across and with no far bank cover but i did have a dead reed bed to my right bearing this in mind i decided to concentrate on the deeper areas of my peg and set up ;

3ft rig which was a good meter of the far bank and i decided to use a 4×12 maggie float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 010 garbo hook length attached .

4ft rig this gave me plenty of areas to target , in front of the dead reeds to my left , bottom of the far shelf and also six meters towards my right so i decided to use a 4×12 maggie float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 010 garbo hook length attached .

Channel swim , i had to go eleven meters to my right to find anything deeper than four-foot and even then it was only six-inch deeper which isn’t what i expected but there was the odd bubble coming up so i felt it might throw up the odd fish or two ,i decided to use a 4×14 maggie float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 010 garbo hook length attached .

Bait for the day was two pints of maggots and a bit of bread for dobbin although with it being so shallow across i didn’t even consider using it today , when the all in sounded i started along the dead reed bed because i expected the silver fishing to be quite good so i began feeding maggots quite heavily by hand but a bite less twenty minutes wasnt the start i wanted , upon looking around everybody seemed to be struggling as well so i decided to cut back on the feed till i get the odd indication and i also set up a new swim across at the bottom of the far slope  , i trickled in a couple of maggots every five minutes a bit like you would when f1 fishing at this time of the year and at last i started picking up the odd fish but they was a lot smaller than i expected as they were only averaging 3 oz a piece , after an hour i had six fish in the net which wasnt great and it was dieing on me but when a lad came round who was fishing the other lake saying nobody had even managed a bite it seemed that i was doing ok and for some strange reason it was fishing a lot harder this week even though the conditions were the same as on my last match here .

I decided to put in a small ball of ground-bait six meters towards the right of my peg in the deeper water in the channel as i hoped some of the small skimmers which are usually a nuisance might settle on it and this in turn might attract a few better fish into the swim , after a bite less twenty minutes on my long line i decided to drop on it a bit earlier than i had planned and i began putting the odd small skimmer in the net , as it was the only line constantly producing bites i decided to put in another swim to my left and after a bit of trial+error i found out it was best to feed a golf ball of ground-bait through a kinder pot then fish the other swim , by doing this i managed to keep the bites coming and every now+then i would try double maggot on the hook to see if i could entice a bigger stamp of fish but it just resulted in a missed indication.

With bites on my channel swims tailing off i figured that it could do with a rest to help the skimmers settle down again so i plumbed up a new line at 11m to my right were i found it was a few inch deeper , i decided to feed it with a catty and alter my shotting to allow for a very slow fall of the hook bait because i felt this would give me the best option of picking up some chub or ide which were bigger than the skimmers , it also gave me a chance of hopefully picking up a bonus or two and i did begin catching the odd fish but just like the other swims there wasnt any numbers of them , by rotating between the three lines i managed to keep adding to my net but i never did manage to get the bonus that i needed which cost me in the end because although i probably had the biggest fish count i was a few pounds of the framing position , my net of little bits went just short of five pounds and two low eight pound weights made the frame with 13lb winning from peg 16 which is usually a good area to draw but in the conditions he fished remarkably well .

Boulders the other lake in the draw bag was shocking and only seven fish got caught between the three framing positions with the other lads blanking , 7lb won the lake with two anglers tieing for second with 3lb one of them had a solitary foul hooked bream and i just can not believe how bad these lakes fished today but it’s probably a sign of things to come with winter approaching fast . I am off to Partridge lakes next weekend for the first round of the teams of four winter league and i am fishing for 2+2 team which is one of only a couple that are not sponsored , so it will be tough going to compete against them although it will give me a chance to hopefully learn a few things especially as i have not fished this before because to be honest i am not a fan of team contest but after saying all that there a good set of lads im fishing with and it should be fun .