Old hough winter league

December 12th

Today was the penultimate round of my winter league and with the last round being cancelled due to the snow i hadn’t been out for a few weeks so was really looking forward to it , although the weather wasnt going to make things easy because it had taken a dramatic drop in temperature with every were being frozen solid . The day before i had rung the fishery to find out the conditions of boulders+goose and they told me it was mostly free from ice with just the odd peg being covered in cat ice which sounded promising , i did decide to take my ice breaker with me just in case and it turned out i had made the right decision because on arrival there was a lid on the lakes .

In the conditions a good draw was going to be a massive advantage because there was a few areas that had fished hard on the earlier rounds , it was soon time for the draw and i left it till late to have my pick in the bag of doom pulling out 14 on boulders not what i wanted especially after leaving the lakes flyer in the bag which my main rival for the winter league was going to be on . When i arrived at my home for the next few hours i decided to break out three channels in the ice to eleven meters because i did not feel that the carp would want to be tight towards the far bank , after removing all the floating icebergs from my swims i had a quick plumb up and after finding just over four-foot everywhere in my peg i figured i was on for a tough match but at least i wouldn’t need lots of different rigs so i decided to set up ;

Pellet rig i used a 4×14 Md wire stemmed float which had an inch spread bulk starting above my four-inch 010 garbo hook length , i expected this to be my banker swim with all the hand sized skimmers in the lake .

Maggot rig i used a 4×12 Md maggie float which had a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern spread along my 014 garbo main line which had a six-inch 010 garbo hook length attached to it , my hook was a size twenty guru maggot hook and elastic on both rigs was Preston size six hollo .

Dobbing rig which i would use along the edge of my ice channels and if it melted i would search all along the far bank , i set it at four-foot which was six-inch off the bottom and i used a 4×12 Md diamond float with all my bulk under the float then two size eleven stotz spread along my 014 garbo main line , attached to it was a six inch 012 garbo hook length with a size 16 guru lwg hook .

Bait for the day ;

1/2 pint of soaked micros

1 pint of red maggots with a handful of fluro pinkies mixed in

1 slice of bread

Small tub of 2+4mm expanders

When the all in sounded i began on my right hand swim and i tapped in half a dozen micros every couple of minutes but a bite less twenty minutes wasnt what i expected especially with the amount of small skimmers in here , i switched to my maggot line directly in front of me and bearing in mind what happened on my pellet swim i went even more negatively just trickling a couple of maggots in through a kinder pot , after ten minutes i had my first fish which was a small roach but at least it saved the blank because i had only seen one other fish get caught although that was a four pound carp so we was all playing catch up if we wanted good points today . I kept trickling in the maggots and i was slowly building up the swim putting some roach in the net with the occasional decent ide among them , after a while my bites stopped and i soon found out why when i hooked a carp which shot off under the ice towards my right , all i could do was put my pole under the water and pray that it stopped i did manage to get on to my top kit but it bolted again in the clear water resulting in the hook bending out slightly which meant it pinged off , so for the second round running i had lost what turned out to be at least second place on the lake fish .

Understandably the disturbance had disrupted the peg but slowly i got the fish back feeding putting some small silvers in the net , when the rain started it began melting the ice this had a disastrous impact on the fishing because everyone on the lake stopped getting any sort of indications for at least two hours , with all the ice now gone i picked up my dobbing rig to see if i could snare myself a carp but despite working my rig to the extremes of my peg both left and right i didn’t manage a single bite . With ninety minutes of the match remaining i was back plumbing up to see if i could find any sort of depth variation and i finally found an area about a meter square which was a couple of inch deeper at eleven meters towards my left so i put a swim in there with another at 11m to my right so i could rotate between them both , i started trickling in maggots on both but i only managed bites on my left hand swim and i was soon catching some small silvers with an occasional decent ide mixed in , when the all out sounded i was kicking myself for not finding the slightly deeper swim sooner and it goes to show how important it is to search all your swim but with the lake being frozen i was a bit limited on where i could go .

When the scales arrived at my peg i put my ten ide plus a smattering of silvers on the scales which went just short of six pounds this was enough for a comfortable third place but with only nine pounds + eleven pounds filling the places above me i just needed a bonus carp to challenge them , this result pushed me down to second in the league table just a point behind the leader but at least i know which anglers i need to beat on the last round although i will have to wait nearly a month to do it and it will take place at Bradshaw’s on lakes five+six somewhere i haven’t fished before so i will be up against it a bit .




Weston pools open match

1st November peg one belvedere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bait today was going to be ;

Two pints of red and white maggots

One pint micro

One pint 4mm pellets

One pint sweetcorn

Small tub of expanders .

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


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

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


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

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



Weston pools -Stretton pool

peg 22 stretton pool , September 20th


Today was the last chance for me to sneak a practice match at Weston pools before the natural bait festival there next Friday , on the morning of the match i woke to find thick fog so i decided it would be best to set off a bit earlier than usual which should give me plenty time to get to the complex safely but with the late draw there it wasn’t that big a deal. On arrival i was one of the first to get there so after booking on and paying the rest of the deposit for the festival i had a walk round to see if any fish were giving their presence away canal, Belvedere and stretton were in the draw bag so with forty anglers contesting the match we should all have a bit of room but the recent cold temperatures and rain i wasn’t sure how well it would fish especially as majority of the aerator had also been turned off .After my stroll round the lakes i got back just in time for the draw and there was a nice turn out with a few from round my way plus the odd smattering of big name anglers which were no doubt doing what i was trying to get an edge before the festival , i didn’t have to wait that long before my name got called out for the draw and it was just my luck when i pulled out peg 22 Stretton the same peg i broke my pole on my last visit so no doubt i was in for a tough match with the pigs limiting my options on what is a poor area of the lake .


On settling in at my peg i weighed up my options and the one good thing was that i had fished it before so i had a good idea on where to start plus as i had just natural baits i could compare my catch at the end ;

Margin both right and left i used a 4×14 speedy float as it was nearly 3ft deep i used 016 garbo main line that had a 014 garbo hook length and a size 16 lwg guru hook my elastic was size 14 durro set tight although i had to change it later in the session due to suffering hook pulls+breakages .

Top four line i choose to fish a bit further down the slope due to the colder water temperatures it was 5ft deep here so i used a 4×14 joof float that had a bulk+dropper shotting pattern my main line was 014 garbo and an 012 garbo hook length my elastic was red nick gilbert elastic size 10-12 .

Shallow i set up two rigs to cover my options this was set at 1ft+2ft and both were 4×8 preston chiantis on 012 garbo direct to a size 20 matrix bagger hook my elastic was green nick gilbert size 8-10

Bait today would be what i hopped i would be using on the festival but after todays match i might have a little review ;

Three pints casters

Two pints corn and hemp


When the whistle went for the all in i kinder potted some corn+hemp on my top four line i decided that i would take it easy with the bait until i knew how the fish where going to respond with the recent drop in temperature and with no bites in the first 15 minutes it looked like i could be on for a long day , so i decided to loose feed casters over the top of my float to try to drag some fish in the swim and this seemed to work as at last i began getting indications but it was only when i changed to double caster that i had my first fish a carp around the 3lb mark . I then had a quick f1 before it went quiet again but by laying my rig in at different angles plus working around my feed area i managed to fool a couple of barbel and these fish are notoriously difficult to get off the bottom they can also disturb anything in your swim on the deck because on my next few drop-ins with the rig i kept getting snagged up on something right were i had fed , i had to go nearly two foot too my left or right before i got some clear water so i choose to replumb my top four line towards by right while it settled from all the disturbance and went onto my shallow swim at 9m which i had fed with a catty since the match started , ideally i really would have liked to have gone further out but the pigs behind me meant that i would require to break down twice as ide were the target i didn’t feel it would be quick enough to amass a weight by doing that and yet again for some reason my shallow approach didn’t work for me which is strange as i can normally do quite well using that method maybe they just didn’t want caster ?


I decided that i wouldn’t waste any more time fishing shallow and went back onto my new top four line i had tapped in a mixture of corn,hemp,caster every ten minutes so i felt that a few fish might have settled there and i did manage a couple of nice sized f1s on caster but they wasn’t present in numbers strangely a change to corn just produced ide ! ! I began to think it was going to be one of them days as with nearly half the match gone i only had 20lb on my clicker i just hopped my margins would work as well as my last visit to this peg and i decided to feed my right hand swim by big potting hemp+corn at the side of the spare platform , where on my left hand swim i choose to loose feed casters heavily by hand because i didn’t want to get them off the deck as this would make them harder to catch . I began on my caster line and almost instantly my float buried a sharp lift saw yards of elastic stream out from my pole tip which resulted in a broke hooklength , then my next bite resulted in a hook pull and i wasted no more time using this elastic so swapped for my lighter red matrix this worked well because i didn’t lose another fish during the rest of the match .


When bites began to slow on my left hand margin i went on to the opposite side at the side of the platform with corn on the hook at first this just produced a few sharp dips on the float which might have been line bites as i struck into thin air , another pot of bait seemed to settle the fish back down as i finally began catching a few fish from there and funnily they were all carp exactly the same happened last time i fished it but i put that down to feeding pellets on that side but maybe that’s just where the carp lived ? by swapping between the two margin swims i kept the fish coming although it was noticeable that the longer i fished my right hand line the further i would need to push it to the empty platform and with forty minutes left both my margins died , i should have put in another swim or tried my top four swim again but hindsight’s a lovely thing and when the all out sounded it called time on a confusing match as it turned out my nets went 67lb and i was the only one to weigh in my little bay .

Overall the venue fished really well with six tonne weights coming of Stretton alone and both Belvedere + canal both were won with over a tonne , the natural bait festival at the weekend will have sixty anglers contesting it and i have been led to believe that they will be split into two rotations with one day you being on either Stretton or Belvedere 15 on each , the other day being on Canal twenty anglers or Weir ten anglers and also someone will be coming round to make sure you had the correct five pints of natural bait . I am really looking forward to fishing this festival and i just hope it goes as well as my Tunnel barn one , on Sunday there is the Welsh national event and the Matrix team are doing it which i hope to be a part of that’s if things ever get sorted out ! !

Rosemary wood , island pool

25th August , peg 5

A new venue for our club today and the furthest we have had to travel this year , so hopefully we will catch well other wise i might be getting some ear ache as per usual . After returning from pegging out and finding all fifteen anglers was here early so three sections of five today , i had been expecting to get a phone call from someone saying they had got lost !!!! So with all present we did the draw a bit early and i ended up with the last peg in the bag which was number five , not a bad area to be in all accounts with an island to chuck too and plenty bank side vegetation to target latter in the match .

The target species are carp around the 3lb mark although they do go to double figures in here , skimmers and some clonking big ide and with this in mind i decided on a worm and caster attack close in at six meters and hard pellet shallow and on the deck at 14 meters like i had seen on the latest winning pegs seven dvd .

My rigs where ;

6m , when i plumbed up it was noticeable that the water was a bit lower than usual and when i found the crease of the near shelf it was about three foot deep and i set up this swim to my right out of any disturbance from my other swims . I used a 0.4 scone float with a thick bristle because i was using worm sections and as i was expecting to catch carp every thing was a bit heavier than usual , with 0.14 garbo line straight through to a size 14 hook and preston 13 hollo elastic .

14m deck , it was 4ft deep here and because i was using pellets i went for a 0.4 float with a thin bristle to show up any little dinks , i set this up a few inch over depth because it was a bit windy today . i used 0.14 garbo line to a size 0.12 garbo hook length and a size 18 hook with a micro band attached with 13 preston hollo elastic.

14m shallow , i set this at 2ft which was half depth and could go shallower if required , i used 0.14 garbo line straight through to a size 16 hook with a bait band and 13 preston hollo elastic because i only expected to catch carp on this today

My bait was ;

One pint of casters

One kilo of worms

One pint of 4mm hard tiger fish pellets

Small tub of 6mm hard tiger fish pellets for the hook

As the all in sounded i proceeded to put in two medium cupping kits of pellets at 14 meters and i intended to re feed this line every thirty minutes un till i go on it later in the match . I also feed my six meter line with a medium cupping kit of worm , caster and micro , then went over the top with a section of worm . Nothing really happened for the first twenty minutes apart from the odd small perch , so i began re feeding with a kinder pot every five minutes or after every fish which ever came first . This brought an instant response with some nice ide coming to the net mixed with the odd skimmer or roach , after forty minutes of catching well and still no carp so after bumping a nice ide at the net i decided to change my 13h to a lighter orange matrix because i didn’t want to suffer any more hook pulls from the ide .

After ninety minutes my six meter swim began to slow down , where as the guy to my right began getting the odd carp further out . So i proceeded to put another two medium pots of worm , caster and micros in and went out to try my 14 meter swim with a banded pellet on the hook . After having feed it every thirty minutes and with some bubbles coming up i expected an instant response , i did have some indications but nothing positive so i began loose feeding four mm pellets over the top with a view to drawing a few carp into my area and maybe try shallow if i saw any swirls . No more bites where forth coming so i tried shallow , but after trying all the usual tricks in a thirty minute spell i didn’t have any bites .

I went back on to my six meter line hopping that the big ide would have moved back onto it or maybe a few carp , but after making the mistake of not keeping feeding it for an hour while i was fishing long and now not even the perch was present in the swim . We was fast approaching the third hour and still i hadn’t had a carp in my net , so i decided to have a look on my pellet feeder to the island rushes and after constant re casting every five minutes i began getting a few liners before i picked up a one pound skimmer not exactly what i was looking for but a fish none the less , but un fortunately after that fish no more indications came my way in a further forty minutes .

The lad to my right was still picking up the odd carp but was now having to cast forty yards with both pellet waggler or method feeder in between the two islands to get bites , so it looked like they had followed the wind down to the far side of the lake . We was now fast approaching the last ninety minutes and i needed to put a run off fish together so i had no option but to try and re build up my six meter line for hopefully a good final hour . Slowly but surely i began getting bites first from perch and then the odd big ide returned , by altering the shotting pattern for a slower fall of the bait and lowering it down among the kinder pot of feed i managed to keep the fish coming.

It went quiet on me at one point and i thought i had maybe over done it with the amount of bait going in , but i found the reason why when i first hooked and landed a really nice looking and very hard fighting three pound ghost carp , quickly followed by a bigger mirror carp and i then pulled out of another which took the worm on the drop so may have been foul hooked but it didn’t fight like one . Un fortunately no more carp came my way but i did land a flying skimmer and a few more big ide before the all out .

Upon starting the weigh in on peg one i had totally forgot about the lad on the end peg who was also in my section and i couldn’t see what he had caught because of the tree , i was surprised when he put 32lb of carp on the scales caught on the method feeder because i heard that he wasn’t doing that well .I had become engrossed with a next peg battle against the guy to my right for the section but i could never get level with him and when he caught a carp on the whistle that was that , i weighed 31lb of mainly ide and the next peg weighed 35lb so no points for me again this week although it was another close run thing and losing the odd fish cost me again this week .

Section A , peg 4 35lb

Section B , peg 6 46lb

Section C ,  peg 12 39lb

My match went like this today ;

1st hour 5lb

2nd hour 10lb

3rd hour 1lb

4th hour 5lb

5th hour 10lb

A good start and finish but my middle part of the match when i fished pellet didn’t work , not sure why banded pellet isn’t working for me on the deck this season and in hind sight i should have fished paste in that part of the match because it worked well on their last year .

My main challenger for the title who i beat in last seasons winter league and no doubt wants to get me back , picked up two points today so my lead is now cut to the solitary point , but on the plus side the lowest i can finish is second which is good but i will still be trying my best for the win because chances like this don’t come around to often .

All in all it turned out to be one of our better matches this season but they are fully booked up already for next year , so i will have to see if they would like to fish it again in two years time , that’s if im still in charge by then because you never know i might decide to go some were new ,who knows whats around the corner .

What did i learn today

My strongest swim was worm and caster at six meter , heavy feeding was in order today .

For some reason hard pellet at 14m both on the deck and shallow didn’t work .

Pellet feeder to the island didn’t work either but the reeds around it wasn’t knocking a sure sign of no carp being present .

Should have tried caster shallow on my six meter line for the ide because i had a couple take the worm as it was falling .

Never leave feeding fish because its hard to get them back .

The lad who won Section A , had to keep chopping and changing to pick up the odd carp , fishing pellet waggler and method feeder in between the islands at distance and the silver fish he caught with maggot on the pole made the difference between me and him in the end .

Paste seemed to be the best bait today and the lad who won Section B ,  feed heavy in the last hour using a pint of micros at 13 meter and was on a carp a chuck in that time .

The lad who won Section C , had a carp on every five minutes but lost over twenty pound of carp under the lily pads and was un lucky not to have won today .

So off to Wrightington Rivi view on Sunday for the last club match of the year not my favorite venue and its all down to the last match which makes it intresting for those at the top . Keep reading to see if i can get the points needed to win the club .