Old hough fishery

22nd October

I have been to Old Hough fisheries today in Cheshire for the first round of my winter league with Diggle AC and it was going to take place on lucky dip + prospect , i had only fished these lakes a couple of times before and that was around this time last year so i was really looking forward to catching up with the other lads , during the week leading up to the contest i messaged a few people to try to get a heads up on how it was fishing plus what tactics + bait was working .

After arriving at the fishery i had a quick chat with the lads taking part and even though storm Brian was still crashing about but luckily the surrounding trees provided a bit of cover from the elements , at the draw I somehow managed to pull out my usual end peg this time it was 16 on lucky dip although to be honest all the recent good weights had come from the middle of the straits , so i was a bit unsure on what to expect from my peg but at least i didn’t have far to walk because it was right at the side of the car park .

When i settled in at my home for the next few hours the wind was blowing over my shoulder which meant I could just about fish the far bank at 14m so i decided to set up ;

3ft rig for on the top of the far shelf at the side of some over hanging reeds and along my right hand margin so with the conditions being a bit on the rough side , i used a 0.4 Md diamond float with an inch spread bulk above my four-inch 012 garbo hook length and my hook was a size 16 Lwg .

Top three swim at the bottom of the near slope in 5ft and i used a 4×12 Md maggot float which had a staggered bulk shotting pattern spread along the bottom half of my rig and i used a six-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Six meter channel swim towards my left and also at the side of the aerator on my right , it was nearly 6ft deep here so i used a 4×14 Md maggot float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern and my hook was a size 16 Lwg .

Bait for the day was ;

Two pints of corn

Two pints of 4mm pellets

Small tub of 6mm expanders

When the all in sounded this I started my match across to the far bank about a foot away from the cover and i began kinder potting in a few 4mm pellets+corn , it didn’t take to long before my first fish hit the net which was a mirror around the three-pound mark and in the first hour I managed 15lb of small carp if it carried on like this i could be on for a nice weight . It was just my luck when the wind turned blowing from left to right and I couldn’t present my rig properly across , so I began feeding my track swim with pellets + corn which was a bit sooner than i would have liked and it only took about twenty minutes before I began picking up a few carp and then I heard a crash behind me the rollers had blown over cracking my 11m section.

This cut down my options some what i concentrated my efforts on my left hand channel swim and i was getting plenty of indications but i was finding it hard to connect with them , i even had a run of losing three fish at the net which was a bit frustrating . After changing a few things i finally began putting the odd fish in the net and i changed to feeding half a cupping kit full of corn+pellets this initially killed my swim but after twenty minutes i had a brace of decent sized carp , so i needed somewhere to rest it and i went down my right hand margin where it was sheltered from the strengthening wind i began by taking it a bit easy with the feed tapping in some corn+pellets until i knew what response i would get , after about five minutes i had my first fish from the swim which was a small barbel and i had a good run catching a mixture of fish .

Every thirty minutes i would go back onto my channel swim and pick up a couple of quick carp before i needed to re feed , so i went back on my right hand margin and caught a few more but towards the last hour my bites began to tail off and as i couldn’t add-on another section to follow them along the margin , so i decided to put in half a cupping kit full of feed in to try to draw them back into the swim but this had the opposite effect as it killed my swim dead and for the rest of the match i sat it out on my channel swim catching next to nothing , strangely my top three swim never produced a bite all match and neither did my swim at the side of the aerator.

At the all out i had 45lb on my clicker and after packing up i caught up with the scales with 49lb being in the lead , when they arrived at my peg i was last to weigh in and my two nets went 58lb which was enough to win my lake and also second in the match, apart from me all the other framing weights came from the middle of the straits which was what i expected given my recent information so all in all it was a good start to the winter league.

I am back there for round two on boulders + goose next Sunday but before that its the last round of the teams of three at Cunneries fishery so fingers crossed  I can keep my good run going.

Old Hough winter league

13th November , peg 14 Lucky dip


Today was the third round of my winter league and we would be on prospect+lucky dip , i had fished prospect a couple of times last year and to be honest i had struggled so wasnt really looking forward to it , but with my disappointment on the last round where i finished fifth i really needed a good result to keep me towards the top of the table and after speaking to a few lads who fished there quite regularly they pointed me in the right direction regarding tactics , so at least i had some sort of game plan on the day of the match even if it took me out of my comfort zone .The weather leading up today’s contest  had been quite reasonable for the time of year with a slight raise in temperatures plus light winds which made a nice change because both times we fished here last year its was near gale force ,so after a pretty standard trip down to Old Hough with yet more road works on the M6 and then i had to navigate two sets of diversions near the fishery which made me a bit later than i usually arrive but i still had time to have a look at a couple of pegs in the draw bag that i wouldn’t mind being on .


When i got back to the car park i didn’t have too long to wait before the draw took place and after the mad rush subsided i took my turn , i pulled out number 14 on Lucky dip this was situated towards the top end of the lake near the car park and as i hadn’t fished this lake before i was a bit unsure on what to expect , on settling in at my home for the next few hours i had a dead reed bed to my right and some lily pads coming from the far bank at just over 14m away and with this in mind i decided to set up .


Top four at the bottom of the near slope positioned towards the side of the dead reed bed to my right and i was surprised to find a touch over 4ft , i was planning on loose feeding casters on this line so choose to use a 4×12 maggie float with an on the drop shotting pattern , i hoped this would allow me to pick up some silvers as my rig fell through the waters and my main line was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 010 garbo hook length attached .

Channel swim at eleven meters positioned towards the left of my peg and after plumbing up i found almost six-foot , i was going to be feeding balls of ground-bait on this line and i expected to catch in the bottom third of the water .so i used a 4×14 maggie float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern and my main line was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 010 garbo hook length attached .

My next swim was for in front of the lily pads at 14m it was also 4ft deep but because i expected to catch a few carp , i decided to step things up a little so used a 4×14 maggie float and my main line was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 012 garbo hook length attached , my shotting was a bulk plus dropper but i could alter this to an on the drop pattern if i required during the match .

I also set up a rig to fish tight to the far bank but as it was only a touch over two foot i didn’t expect to catch a great deal on it , so i decided to use it as a negative corn line feeding just a couple of grains every twenty minutes , i was hoping that doing this i could attract a couple of passing carp into swim and i used a 0.4 matrix series three float which would give me lots of stability when fishing so far across , my main line was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 012 garbo hook length attached .

My bait for the day was ;

2 pints of casters

1 pint of corn

2 pints of ground-bait


When the all in sounded i fed two balls of ground-bait + casters onto my channel swim , then i began fishing my top four line i started loose feeding a dozen casters over the top of my float and began laying my rig in through the water , i had expected to be catching small silvers straight away before a bigger stamp of fish moved in but it took a good thirty minutes before i had my first indication which i bumped off and with the two anglers on end pegs to my right had began picking up the odd carp i was already well behind , so i decided to follow suit but instead of going tight over to the far bank straight away i started in front of the lily pads and at first i began kinder potting in some casters but it was only when i began cattying in casters that i started getting bites , the fish i was catching were only 4oz chub+ide but at least i was putting something in the net and after a while the activity on this line caught the attention of a passing carp because my next fish took my hook bait on the drop before bolting right into the pads snagging me up , the disturbance obviously killed my far bank swim so i decided to see if anything had settled onto my channel line but i was still going to feed it with my catty .

On my channel swim i decided to use double caster because i wanted to avoid the attention of any small silvers this meant i had quite a wait for an indication but when they did materialise it was only the slightest tremor on the float tip more like your winter f1 bites however the fish were all quality as i had a run of half a dozen big skimmers , as the fish werent putting up much of a fight i decided to get up and change my elastic I’m not sure if this was the reason but bites began to tail off , i had to choose away of topping up my swim so i put in a small ball of ground-bait through my kinder pot and also fed some casters with it , this prolonged the swim for a little while but when i began catching chub plus some smaller hand sized skimmers i felt that even in these cold conditions i needed to top up with two big balls of ground-bait .


while i let my feed settle i had a look on my other swims but all that i could manage was five small chublets , the two anglers towards my right were picking up carp every so often and i decided to try fishing tight to the far bank in two foot of water , i put all my shot under the float and with a couple of casters on the hook this would allow for a slow fall which should hopefully get me a couple of carp , i started in front of the lily pads so was about half depth this produced an odd chub but it was only when i went tight across that i managed my first carp of the day , i never had more than one bite in the same place and i really should have been a bit more active by adding another section , this would have opened up more water for me to go at but it would also mean that i needed to break down twice and i didn’t fancy doing that , my next carp took me by surprise and had me in the reeds before i could react this killed the swim so i decided to drop back on my channel swim to see if anything had settled on it .


I was still getting the odd indication but now i was missing majority of them and those i did catch were of a very small stamp , i even tried single caster on the hook but strangely the fish didn’t want to know and i had a really frustrating hour where i hardly put anything in the net , i put in another channel swim to my right but just fed it negatively incase i had over done it on my other line in the cold conditions i kinder potted in half a dozen caster and a tiny ball of ground-bait , i then held my rig really still over the top of it and waited for an indication but a fruitless twenty minutes had me back onto my original channel swim . Thankfully it seemed that a few fish had settled on to it and it might have been down to the time of day because there was only an hour of the match remaining , i then had a really good spell of catching some good fish and i had a proper mixed bag i even managed an unseasonal tench which put up a good fight in the colderning conditions , the all out came a bit soon for my liking and i knew that my quiet spell in the match would cost me especially as the lad too my left had managed a good run of carp in the closing stages of the match , i felt that i had finished fourth at best today and i really struggled to catch any carp across those that i did hook i lost in the lily pads .


As i began packing up i heard a few of the lads had struggled on both lakes especially towards the opposite end of the lake and it looked like the fish wanted to be out of the cold wind today , when the scales made their way round to me i managed 27lb which was more than i thought i had caught this put me second on the lake but the two end pegs to my right where yet to weigh in , surprisingly the lad at the side of me only had 24lb as he seemed to have caught carp for most of the day but the guy on the other end peg had 39lb which took the lake win and pushed me down to third which is were i stayed , so after an enjoyable but frustrating match i finished third which keeps me up towards the top of the table although not for long because i am missing the next round as it clashes with the teams of four at Partridge lakes but you’re allowed to drop two of your worst results so with four rounds left it is still all to play for .


Old hough winter league with Diggle AC

December 20th , peg 12 Lucky dip


Today was round five of the Diggle AC winter league at Old Hough and today it was to be contested on Lucky dip + Prospect which wasn’t the best of waters if the last match on it was anything  to go by because unless you were able to go across for the carp you had to try to pick up the odd better stamp silver from the channel in between all the 2oz bits , the forecast was for strong winds yet again but it should stay dry and i just hoped that the direction of the breeze might be blocked by the trees giving the chance of at least a couple of pegs being able to fish towards the far-bank .

The thirty mile drive to the venue went reasonably well and i met up with the rest of the lads near the lakes  as i feared the wind was ripping through towards the bottom of them away from the car-park and probably only two pegs on each lake were capable of fishing towards the far-bank , it was soon time for the draw and after all the hustle+bustle it was time for my pick and out i pulled number twelve on prospect the same peg got second on my last visit here by catching carp across with corn but i didn’t think that would be possible in today’s conditions .



After settling in on my home for the next few hours i assessed the peg to see where i thought i could put in my swims giving me the best opportunity of presenting a bait properly and these would be ;

Bottom of the far slope at 13m as this was the furthest i could manage to hold my pole i also used it on my near side slope towards my left which was down wind of my peg , i chose  a 4×14 malman roob float as it was just over 4ft deep and the extra weight would be handy in the conditions my rig had a strung out bulk starting above the short four inch hook length  i would use this for fishing either corn or pellet .

Channel at six meters i felt this would be my best chance of picking up the bonus fish required if i was to do any good today , i stepped up my float size again to a 4×16 RW maggie hook which had a bulk plus two droppers shotting pattern this had a six-inch hook length attached .

On the drop rig for fishing with the top kit along the near shelf as this was where i caught majority of my fish on my last match here although they were a very small stamp so with this in mind i decided to use a 4×10 tbf cult float with a strung out rig of size 11 stotz , i didn’t expect any bonus fish here so used 010 garbo main line with an 009 garbo hook length which had a size twenty matrix silver fish hook .


My bait for the day was ;

Two pints of maggots

One pint of corn

One pint of micros

Small tub of 4mm expanders

Small tub of white hook pellets

As the all in sounded i put in a small cupping kit full of maggots on to my channel swim before going out to my 13m line with a piece of corn on the hook i deposited a small kinder pot full of corn+pellets and then tried to hold my rig still over the top of it but it was very hard work as the wind was really battering my pole plus my rig was towing through quite badly  so i had to lay more + more line on the deck to try to present a static bait , it wasn’t that surprising then that i was still bite less after thirty minutes so i decided to spent no more time struggling with the wind and went onto my channel swim where i hopped that a few fish had settled on my initial feed . After about ten minutes my float dipped under and i lifted into an ide of around 10oz which the hook pulled out of just as i was about to land it not the start i wanted , another ten minute wait before i had my next indication this resulted in a pound plus skimmer hitting the net and i was thinking that a little shoal of them might have settled as i managed a couple more hand sized samples but it was short-lived because the fish seemed to drift off .


I put in another cup full of maggots before going onto my top kit line to see if i could put a couple of pounds of small roach in the net but unlike my last match here were this was my best line today i couldn’t attract a single bite even though i had been loose feeding a dozen maggots every few minutes since the all in , with things not going to well i decided to put some bait in at the bottom of the near slope six meters towards my left i felt that this could produce a bigger stamp of fish so i feed a cupping kit full of corn+pellets but this also failed to produce a bite . Back on my channel swim and i was picking up the odd silver averaging 4oz a piece on looking around everybody was struggling so i wasn’t that concerned just yet although it would only take some body to catch a carp and it could all change , with that in mind i felt that if i could get another swim to start producing fish then i could rotate them which should hopefully prolong my catch rate and as my channel line was the only one producing fish i set up another line to my right here i would kinder pot in some pellets plus two grains of corn , my first try on this new swim with pellet got me a couple of hand sized skimmers i gave a piece of corn a try to see if it could pick up a bigger stamp of fish and after a ten minute wait my float slid under which resulted in an unseasonal tench nearly a pound popping up in front of me .


Back to my original swim for a few more stamp silvers before rotating lines to pick up a couple of small skimmers and that’s they way i spent my match up until the last hour when indications started to drop off it was also noticeable that i deep hooked a few silvers on my maggot swim so i was obviously not seeing all my bites for the next thirty minutes i couldn’t buy a bite but then the wind started to ease which meant i no longer had to lay as much line on the deck and i began seeing the tiny little dips on the float and i finished the match with a run of six f1s plus a small barbel on my pellet swim .I was unsure how i had got on but felt that i had kept in touch with all the anglers within eye shot and i didn’t have long to wait to find out my fate the lad to my right weighed in 13lb 40z , my net went 12lb 14oz and a lad opposite put nearly 16lb on the scales for the win so i ended up third just missing out by a few ounce on second and that seems to be the way my matches are going in the winter league at the moment as im struggling to find the bonus fish in these low weight matches although i am still in forth so lets hope i can keep up towards the top of the leader board .


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 .