Horns dam fishery

21st February , peg 40 house section of Horns dam

Well another Sunday and another match this week i was going back to Horns dam for the winter league team match it was the final round and a couple of the squad had decided not to fish it because the team was languishing towards the bottom of the table , to be honest i wasnt to keen on fishing it myself but I’m always happy to help my mate out and i don’t think that i fished it too well wasnt  the last time i was here so i wanted to try to sort a few things out . For a change the weather had been nice for the time of year with temperatures hitting double figures but today we was due a light breeze with constant drizzle which is nothing that i couldn’t cope with although on the thirty mile trip to Preston the wind gradually increased and when i arrived at the venue it was blowing an absolute hoollie , i had a quick look at the lake before we did the draw and it looked like i had made the wrong decision in not choosing to fish the dam wall section as they had the wind off their backs but those pegs down the arm resembled the north sea .

When i got back to the car-park it was time for the draw and to be honest we had a distinctly average set of pegs and i was to be on forty which was on your right just as you walked up the path , it looked really good as i had an aerator to chuck the tip too a reed bed along each margin and too top it off i had a lot of protection from the wind making fishing the pole a lot easier than most of the anglers but after speaking to the lad running the match who was also in my section he informed me that it had finished last on the previous three rounds so my bubble had been well and truly burst but as it’s a team comp i still had a job to do .

My bait for the day was rather simple as i only had ;

Three pints of ground-bait mixed 50/50 of frenzied hemp and brown crumb

Three pints of white maggots

I decided not to bring any pellets today because it only produced tiny blades on the last round but after the match i think that it was a bad decision .

I targeted my peg with three swims these were ;

13m line straight in front of me i used a 4×12 rw maggie float with a staggered bulk starting above the six-inch hook length of 008 garbo my hook was a size twenty matrix silver fish , i fed this with three balls of groundbait at the start and would top up with a golf ball size when i was going to fish it .

6m line situated slightly to my left i used a 4×12 rw maggie float  with a staggered bulk starting above the six-inch hook length of 008 garbo my hook was a size twenty matrix silver fish , i fed one ball of ground-bait at the start and loose fed maggots with a catty every few minutes to get the silvers competing in the peg .

4m line i put this at the bottom of the slope to my right were there was a dead reed bed and if the wind got too bad i could drag it up the shelf a touch to help me present a static bait , it was just over 4ft deep here so i used a 4×12 rw maggie float i would have liked to use a lighter float but the wind was too bad at times it had a staggered bulk starting above the six-inch hook length of 008 garbo my hook was a size twenty matrix silver fish , i loose feed a dozen maggots by hand every five minutes while i was fishing my other lines just like you would when f1 fishing .

Tip rod with a 0.5oz tip which was the lightest that i had and i cast about 25m just to the right of the aerator i used a 15g cage feeder with a 2ft hook length of garbo 010 and my hook was a size 18 matrix bagger hook , i started by casting every ten minutes to get some bait down before then leaving my feeder in place for at least twenty minutes .

When the all in sounded i fed my pole lines with ground-bait before chucking the feeder out and to be honest i don’t really do a lot of rod work so it took me a couple of chucks before i found my accuracy but when you’re bream fishing i don’t feel it is necessary to keep everything on a sixpence , after about twenty minutes i was just messing about with my iPod when my tip slowly pulled round and a lift of the rod saw me attached to a skimmer of around 10oz which was the biggest fish i had caught in any of the previous rounds so i was mighty relieved when it hit the net , i hoped that i could be on for a few more as bream are normally shoal fish and i did get quite a few bites but the trouble was they were all from tiny blades i was also coming back with smashed maggots were i hadn’t seen any sort of indication after an hour i felt enough was enough and had a look at my pole lines .

I went onto my 13m swim first and i began getting indications from the start but they were all finger length roach which seemed to be the norm for in here i got my head down trying to catch as many of these fish as i could because i already had my bonus fish in the shape of that skimmer the trouble was i began bumping off a few off them because my solid six elastic was too harsh even though it was set really soft , i also noticed that the fish taking the bait on the drop were a lot smaller than those on the deck so i altered my shotting for a bulk+dropper so i could bomb my rig straight to the deck this slowed my catch rate down but on the plus side i did pick up some dumpy 4oz roach . The wind was getting gradually stronger and had swung round a bit which made fishing long a bit difficult so i gave my six meter swim a try i had fed this every few minutes since the match started so i was hoping that some fish had settled on it and i began catching the odd fish but it was a lot slower than my 13m line , i decided to begin feeding a small nugget of groundbait every five minutes to see if this would help and my catch rate did increase but it dragged a lot of small silvers into my peg , i spent the next hour swapping between the two swims to keep putting fish in the net but it was painfully slow at times and before i knew it the match had just two hours remaining .

I gave my short line a try as i had been loose feeding it since the match started and if the small silvers were settled on it then i could catch them a lot quicker , first drop and my rig hadn’t even settled when my float dipped under a sharp lift resulted in a foot of elastic coming out a netter roach approaching six-ounce not a bad start i then went on a mad little run of stamp roach between four-ounce + 1.5lb which really surprised me because i had seen nobody catch fish of this quality on earlier rounds i even managed to drop a half pound roach back into the lake plus another broke my hook length at the net but after a good forty minutes the bites understandably tailed off and when a couple of ruff got in on the action i decided to set up another swim at the same distance to my left although this did not produce a great deal it allowed me to rest the other line which meant i could keep putting the odd nice fish in the net in between the ounce roach .

With half an hour remaining i hooked a fish that fought a bit differently than the others and up popped up a snig off about 10oz which was fun trying to unhook but its presence in the peg seemed to put the silvers off because i struggled to add any more fish before the all out , after lifting my net out to see what i had i figured it was around double figures which should be enough to get really good points if not even win the section . After packing up i went round to see the captain who was fishing on the canal and he had done really well off peg nine which blanked on the last round catching 12lb of roach this was enough for third in his section only getting beat by carp weights on peg 1+2 , i followed the scales along the dam wall there was a couple of nice bream weights off it and apart from the early pegs everyone had over 10lb our angler on peg eight managed 16lb which was good enough for another third in section , our angler on the arm section peg 18 managed nearly 7lb of bits which was good enough for fourth in his section but there was a couple of unbelievable 18lb weights of bits , so it was all down to my section and the two anglers on the thirty pegs had caught 10lb +12lb 12oz all bream catch on the tip the latter weight was leading all the way till they got to my peg with my net going 12lb 6oz so for the third match running i had beaten by the matter of ounces i was kicking myself for losing those two fish but i had managed second in section from what i got told was a very poor peg so that’s not too bad i suppose .

As it turned out we ended up with 12 points this put us joint second on the day only one point behind the leaders and we also managed to crawl our way up the table a little into fifth place which was remarkable after all the upheaval during the earlier rounds and even had to fish one match with just three anglers , as a stand in i fished three rounds one on the canal were i managed 5th in section with 10lb this was my first attempt at fishing the pole over a bed of ground-bait which was an eye opener , the second was on the arm were i totally got it wrong and ended up catching 5lb of bits at 14m really struggling against the strong wind , then today i managed a second but being ultra self-critical i should have won the section by at least a pound but when your luck is out its out .

overall i think that i have learned a great deal about silver fishing on Horns dam as before the winter league i had not even seen the venue before i don’t think it had lived up to the expectations of most anglers that have contested the matches although the bream+skimmers finally made an appearance during the last round so it might just have been the time of year , it’s always hard trying to compete against anglers of this quality on their home waters but it has been an experience not too sure if i would like to repeat it although some of the team are keen to give it another try next year so watch this space .

Old Hough Boulders , winter league round seven

January 24th , peg 18 boulders


Today was round seven of Diggle AC winter league at Old Hough and after last weekend when everywhere was frozen solid i was glad to see temperatures gradually rise during the week culminating into the day of the match were it was forecast to hit double figures , the only down side was that all the icy water had gone into the lakes and after looking at the results during the week it had a dramatic effect on the weights so it looked like it could be a bit of a struggle but how wrong was i as you will find out later .After meeting up with the rest of group at the car park towards the side of the two lakes which would be in the draw bag and even after the last match which i won on boulders i still fancied a crack at goose as in my opinion it had more pegs capable of framing , but the draw gods wasn’t kind as i pulled out eighteen on boulders which i had been told was a very good summer peg but in the winter league it has only produced one weight into double figures which was right at the start of the series and my mood didn’t improve when i spoke to the lad who fished it on the last round who struggled for 6lb to finish last on the lake i had no other option but to give it my best shot if i still wanted to stay in contention for a top three finish in the winter league .

On arriving at my home for the next few hours i found it to be a touch over 14m wide and narrowed dramatically to my left where there was a bridge going over to the island which did look inviting but at 18m it was just out of my reach , so i decided to target a few areas which were ;

Channel swim at eight meters to the right of my peg and i started with a 4×14 RW maggie float but i changed to a lighter 4×12 half way through the match because i felt the fish were looking for a slower fall of the hook bait my shotting pattern was a bulk with two droppers , main was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 009 hook length and hook was a size eighteen matrix silverfish .

Far shelf rig which was positioned at ten o’clock near the bottom of the slope here i used a 4×12 malman roob float shotting pattern was a bulk spread a centimeter apart my main line was 014 garbo which had a four-inch length of 010 garbo my hook was a size 18 matrix bagger .

Far bank rig which was a foot away from the island i plumbed up to find 2.5ft deep and my float was a 4×12 RW maggie which had a bulk+dropper shotting pattern i would have prefered to use a lighter float but the wind was quite gusty so i figured this would give me better presentation in the conditions , main line was 014 garbo which had a six-inch length of 009 garbo and my hook was a size twenty matrix silverfish .

Far bank stealth rig although this didn’t work out for me on my last match i felt that this area of the lake would hold more carp and i would have prefered to be dobbing bread but like a tit i forgot to bring any so i had to make do with cupping a few grains of corn every twenty minutes , i positioned this rig tight to the far bank in two foot of water and i used a 4×14 malman roob i hoped that the heavier float would enable me to present a static bait my main line was 014 i also used a stronger 012 garbo hook length which had a size 16 lwg hook .

Bait for todays match was ;

Three pints of red and white maggots

One pint of mixed pellets micros and 4mm

One pint of corn

Small tub of 4mm expanders

When the all in sounded i started my match by feeding a couple of grains of corn onto my far bank swim i would repeat this every thirty minutes and i then went on my pellet line which was found at the bottom of the far shelf , i tapped in a few micros then lowered my rig directly over the top of it and i tried to be really accurate because you are trying to set a little trap for the fish . I expected to catch the recently stocked f1s , crucians or the dreaded small skimmers and It took about three feeds before i had my first bite to be honest i didn’t even see it because all of a sudden yards of elastic streamed out of my pole tip this was no little skimmer more like a nice sized carp , i played this fish rather carefully as not only was i using very light elastic and hook lengths but as i expected it to be a low weight match this carp could represent a third of my final weight , after about five minutes i had it in the net and at around three-pound it was a good start to the day , I went back out hoping that i might get another quick fish but even after a few more feeds i hadn’t managed another indication in twenty minutes even the tiny blades weren’t feeding which was strange .


I decided to spend no more time using pellets although i would keep feeding it and drop back on it during the match in case i could pick up another bonus carp from there , my next plan of attack was to fish towards the far bank with maggots and i hoped that this along with my channel swim would be the best lines on the day . I started drip feeding a few maggots over the top of my float and i didn’t have to wait long for my first indications , surprisingly i soon began catching chub+ide quite regularly but they was only around the three to the pound mark but at least i was putting fish in the net and i probably made the wrong decision in trying to alter a few things to get a bigger stamp of fish because after changing to feeding with a catty plus altering to an on the drop shotting pattern my catch rate slowed down drastically and what fish i did manage were around two ounce a piece even after reverting back to my original feeding pattern the damage had been done and the fish had moved off .


Reluctantly i had to go on my channel swim a lot sooner than i imagined which might have been the reason it never really worked for me today because i could only pick three fish at a time before they backed off although they was a bigger stamp at around ten ounce and at least i was giving my far bank line a rest although i had still been feeding it with a catty to hopefully attract some passing fish , i had a quick look on my corn swim but it failed to produce a single indication and so did my pellet line so with just two hours remaining i decided to concentrate on the two maggot lines as these produced bites more consistently . Back on my far bank line i was soon catching fish again but they wasn’t coming as quick as before and i decided to fish even tighter to the bank in a bit shallower water this was a bit of a master stroke as not only did i start catching quicker but they were also a bigger stamp including a couple approaching the pound mark , just like before though the fish wouldn’t settle and i had to keep rotating with my channel swim to keep fish coming to the net but i just couldn’t manage another bonus fish before the all out sounded .

I was a bit unsure how i had got on because i could only see half of the anglers on the lake and i reckoned that i had beat all bar one of them which was the lad on peg twenty who had caught some decent barbel from under the bridge , the scales soon arrived and i was the first to weigh in i was a bit surprised when my net went an ounce under twenty pounds because although i had caught a lot of fish i must have under estimated their size . The lad on peg twenty was next and his net went twenty pounds three ounce which was a bit agonising for me because it was twice that i had lost out on a better finishing position by that amount , the match was won with thirty pounds from peg four which was next to my winning peg from the last round and he also had a lot of barbel so i ended up third which was probably better than i originally thought i could manage at the start of the contest from that peg plus i had a really enjoyable day catching around seventeen pounds of silvers plus one carp .

On goose it had fished really well with thirty pounds needed to make the frame with everyone else catching nearly twenty pounds so that lake fished extremely well but the leader of the winter league had won the match and was now two points clear with just one round remaining so over taking him would be really hard so i think consolidating my third place position will be my aim on the last contest although on these lakes there is a few pegs which you can blow out on so you just never know . I have nothing planned for the weekend fishing wise yet so i will keep an eye on the weather before making a decision and might just have a pleasure outing , on another note i have been lucky enough to get three fisho tickets this year at herronbrook , oaks and partridge lakes so along with a few other big matches my fishing diary is coming along nicely .

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 .



pole fishing and match fishing subscriber classic at Tunnel barn farm

September 11th , peg two Top pool


Well the time has come for me to contest the pole and match fishing subscriber classic at Tunnel barn farm this is my first attempt at this competition but it certainly will not be my last , the only trouble with fishing tunnel barn was the early start needed to get there and today was earlier than usual with the rolling draw starting at 830 so i needed to get up at 5am so i could meet my mate at Llymn as for a change i wasn’t required to do the driving . The trip to the venue went extremely smoothly apart from the usual fifty mph zones and traffic build up towards Birmingham and we had a chat on how we would approach the match today . we arrived just after 8am which gave us time to grab a bacon buttie then have a quick look around the lakes which would be in the match and of all those that we saw i really didn’t fancy fishing Top pool as i had not really heard any good reports from this water and as we arrived back at the cabin we joined the queue for the draw towards the rear .The draw went smoothly as expected when Tom and Joe are running the event for a change my drawing hand let me down as i pulled out peg two on Top pool but to be fair it was in probably the best area of the lake but all ideas of a framing place had gone out of the window so concentrating on a section or maybe lake win was my aim of the day , on arriving at my home for the next few hours i found it situated in the bowl towards the rear of the lake it had an island straight in front which was 13m away and i then had two nice reed lined margins although on plumbing up they were pretty deep at over three-foot the only down side was that i was stuck in the middle of three anglers both of which seemed to be on better more consistent pegs .


I decided to fish three areas of my peg ;

Far-bank at the side of the reeds where i had plumbed up to find three-foot which i felt was a bit deep for a positive rig so decided to use a 4×10 Joof float this would allow me to let the hook bait fall slowly through the water layers , my main line was 014 garbo with a 012 hook-length which had a size 18 Matrix rigger hook attached and a micro bait band .

Mud-line under the overhanging trees and here i found the ideal depth of 18 inch which enabled me to use a positive size 04 Ruddy float with 014 garbo main line and a 012 garbo hook-length this had a size 18 Matrix rigger hook attached and a micro bait band .

Shallow this was situated at five meters towards the left side of my swim and i had two rigs set up one at 1ft the other at 2ft they both consisted of a 4×8 Preston chianti float with 012 garbo direct to a size 20 Matrix bagger hook .

Margin-line i plumbed up carefull on both my left and right hand sides trying to find the shallowest water possible and i managed to get a depth of two foot on my left hand side which was just in a little cut out of the reeds it was level for about a foot before gradually going deeper , i used a 4×12 Malman Speedy float with 014 garbo main line and hook length i used a size 18 Matrix bagger hook .

As we did not know which lake we would be on before the draw i decided to keep things a bit simple so i just had on my side tray ;

Four pints of red+white maggots

Three pints of fishery 4mm pellets

Mixed tub of hard hook pellets


As the all in sounded my first line of attack was against the far-bank rushes with pellet and i tapped in a kinder pot full of 4mm before lowering in my banded 6mm among it , no sooner had my float settled than it dipped under with a 2lb mirror carp hitting the net before the other anglers within eye shot had stopped feeding there swims . I went straight back out and missed an indication instantly but then the guy to my right hit into a carp which went straight through my swim this was always going to be a problem with the pegging being so tight it buried itself directly into the reeds where i had fished this understandably killed my peg so i decided to try my mud-bank line ,yet again i tapped in some 4mm pellets before lowering my rig in among it and it took a couple of lift+drops before i began getting indications but i didn’t have to wait long before i had my first f1 unfortunately my next couple of fish found an underwater obstruction no doubt it was a branch from the overhanging tree and i had no alternative than to plumb up a new swim further to my left i managed to find a similar depth although it was under some low branches which could make striking into bites a bit problematic .I managed a few fish from this new swim but it just didn’t feel right upon looking around the lake other people were similar to me in just picking up the odd carp it seemed that they had switched off with some many anglers here it is also a lake that does not hold that many matches so struggled to cope with the pressure , i had fed my shallow line for the past ninety minutes and after having seen a couple of swirls i picked up my deep shallow rig hoping that they might be f1s but as it turned out they were just ide around the 6oz mark not really what i wanted to catch although i was getting one a bung , i was netting around six fish to the others single carp or f1 for a similar weight and i spent around forty minutes doing this it was really good fishing the only real downside was that i needed to break my pole down when netting them because of the hill behind me this slowed my catch rate down i figured i was in front for the section but when the guy on peg three landed a double figure carp i knew i wouldn’t catch him up by catching ide so i made the decision to concentrate on my margin swim which i had fed for the last ninety minutes .I laid my rig in against the side of the reeds where i had earlier been big potting in maggots+pellets no sooner had my float settled than it dipped under but it wasn’t the carp i needed but small perch and they was there in numbers and i decided on a re-feed before going back across on to my original swim against the reeds i picked up a couple more f1s but it was very slow going , i was going nowhere fast and i decided to put all my eggs in one basket by concentrating on my margin swim for the remaining ninety minutes as this usually gets me out of trouble on most matches these days . The only trouble was that the small fish were still there in numbers which had me thinking on how i could get among the carp+f1s on the spur of the moment i decided to try hard pellet because that was what bait i was using when i fished across so i bit my hook length off replacing it with one containing a bait band , first drop with my new hook bait and no sooner had it settled than it dipped under thinking that it was yet another small silver i half heartedly lifted into the indication but my elastic shot out with my first f1 hitting the net in what seemed like an age but it gave me renewed hope that my margin swim would finally come good .In the next twenty minutes i began picking up the odd decent fish it was by no means hectic but my weight was ticking along nicely , it didn’t take to long before i had more problems to solve because now the fish were getting really cute because when i lifted into the bites the fish were now burying themselves straight into the reeds and my elastic wasn’t powerful enough to pull them away yet again this got me tearing my hair out especially as the fish had moved an underwater obstruction meaning i was now getting snagged up on that too . I decided to set up a new swim a bit closer to me although it was slightly deeper i found it to be a bit more snag free and it produced a good run of barbel+f1s right up to the all out whistle , i was a bit unsure at just how i had got out but i reckoned that i had around forty pounds and my main challenger for the section on peg three was admitting to the same so it was all down to the scales man and after what seemed like an age the finally turned up my neighbour had 43lb and my net just scraped 46lb which was more than i thought luckily this was enough to pick up the section i was still a little down heartened as i felt i had enough fish in my peg to contest for a low ton weight which would have been enough for me to frame .IMG-20150911-00762

On getting back to the cabin we had our pre match baked potato while we waited for the official results my mate had also won his section and lake so it was a profitable trip , it was soon time for the lads to read out who had done what and it turned out that 110lb had been enough to win with 100lb being enough to frame . So after picking up our money plus a bucket full of bait we headed on out two-hour trip home and it called time on my trips to Tunnel barn farm for the year but i can’t wait to get back there again . Next up on the horizon is my natural bait festival at Weston pools i hope to fit in a few trips there before that starts at the end of September and then it will be back on Partridge lakes for some cold weather f1 fishing with pellets it has been a good few months since my last visit and i can not wait to get back there .



Weston pools , Stretton pool

August 31st , Stretton peg 22


It had been a few weeks since my last visit to Weston pools and i would have really liked to have contested the big charity match there on the Saturday but unfortunately my wife was working over the weekend so i had to make do with fishing the bank holiday rover , we have had to endure some horrid weather in the previous few days with heavy rain plus a drop in temperature and when i woke in the morning it was still grey + drizzly but i hoped that it might improve during the day because after all i was fishing in a different country . After a pleasant drive down to the fishery i arrived in plenty time to have a look at all the waters which we could choose from and to be honest i really fancied fishing on Stretton even though i hadn’t been on it before as it had thrown up some winning weights during the week plus my mate has a club match there next Saturday , after speaking to a few of the regulars they agreed that Stretton was the place to be as it is usually the last water on the complex to get affected by the cold rain going in and the only trouble was a few of the best pegs had already been taken by pleasure anglers .IMG-20150831-00738

On getting back to the cabin it was soon time for the draw and i ended up way down the list to pick where i would be fishing today , one by one all the best pegs went with nearly 80 percent of the anglers choosing to go on Stretton and i was in two minds were to go but decided to stick to my original plan and picked peg twenty i didn’t know was a good or bad peg but at least it offered me a couple of empty spaces which is always handy . My home for the day was in the corner of the bay with as usually two really nice margins and i could even reach the next platform which is a novelty on here , i had just started plumbing up my six meter line and had shipped back to alter my float when i heard a smash behind me upon turning round i saw that a pig had run through my pole  i had seen that the field was churned up behind me but other than that no signs of them anywhere ! !

i decided to fish 

Margin , i plumbed up to find four-foot so used a 4×12 malman speedy float with 0.16 garbo main line and 0.14 garbo hook length with a size 18 matrix rigger hook .

Top kit , it was just a tad over four foot deep so used a 4×14 malman roob float with 0.14 garbo main line and a 0.12 garbo hook length with a size 18 matrix rigger hook .

Six meter , with it being five foot deep and as it usually tows on here with the aerators constantly on i used a 4×16 malman roob float  with 0.14 garbo main line and a 0.12 garbo hook length with a size 18 matrix bagger hook .


My five pint bait limit consisted of

Two pints of corn+hemp

Two pints of worm

One pint of fishery 4mm pellets

As the all in sounded in the distance i started on my top kit between my keepnets i fed a full kinder pot of pellets then lowered my rig in among it and it didn’t take too long before my float shot under with a little stockie carp hitting the net by lifting+dropping my rig i managed to catch a couple more before the crucians moved in , it wasn’t really producing how i wanted it to but i had early primed my six meter line with a pot full of chopped worms and it was fizzing away nicely so i expected a good response when i went on it but although i was getting bites and putting fish in the net they were 8oz ide not the carp i had hoped for i did manage a couple of big f1s on it but it wasn’t how i expected it to be so back to the drawing board on how i can make my this line work as it’s costing me the extra weight needed to contend for a framing position .

With two hours of the match gone i had thirty pounds in the net and i was struggling to get a better stamp of fish on either line , i just hoped my margin lines would get me out of trouble yet again although in the back of my mind i felt it was too early but i had nowhere else to go . I had flicked a few pellets on my left hand margin for the past hour so i went over it with a 6mm on the hook luckily it didn’t take too long before my float dipped and after a spirited fight i had my first decent fish , by feeding a full kinder of pellets i managed to keep putting the odd big carp or f1 in the net although i was conscious that i only had a pint of pellets so had to be careful how i went and i found that by working my rig like you would when fishing across got me a few extra bites .


As my pellets began to run low i decided to begin feeding the other margin at the side of the platform with corn+hemp through a cupping kit and this produced some more carp including a couple of near doubles , it was at this point when i noticed my elastic fraying near the pulla bung and i had to re tie it which must have stiffened my elastic up as i began bumping fish off , i would set the hook then a good 6ft of elastic came out before it popped of and as a consequence i started to play them a bit more softly which resulted in a couple making a bid for freedom under my keepnets it was really beginning to do my head in and it took me awhile to get my composure back and thinking about it now i would have been better changing to a softer elastic using my pulla kit a bit more .

I returned to my pellet margin line and started catching well again which settled me down  by swapping between the two swims i kept putting fish in the net and my clicker was working over time but i felt my quiet first two hours had cost me , i did manage another near double just on the all out which put me on eighty pounds roughly plus my silver fish net i did have a quick look at my nets and felt i could be close to my biggest match weight after i had packed up i went to catch up with the weigh in and there was a few ton weights before they arrived at my peg for the moment of truth , my first net went 54lb and I’m usually good at splitting my nets evenly so i hoped my second net went the same but it only went 45lb 12oz for an agonising 4oz short of my first ton of the year .

weston pools , open match

August 9th , Canal peg ten


After last weeks enjoyable match at Weston pols i was really keen to get back so i booked on for the open which would take place on just two lakes those are Weir+Canal and i really fancied another try on the latter , word had got round on how well it had fished lately as there was a big turn out of forty anglers including a few familiar faces from round my way .At 730 i began packing the car for the sixty mile trip to the fishery and the weather was forecast to be warm+sunny but yet again it ended up being a bit breezy later in the day , the only real downside was the change in air pressure which could make the fishing a bit harder especially shallow .

On arrival at the complex i booked on for the open and also for the two-day natural bait festival at the end of September which will be run in conjunction with Pole fishing magazine , i then spotted a couple of lads i know from Leigh tackle who hadn’t been here before so we had a quick walk round the lakes in the draw bag . Getting back to the cabin it was nearly time to start queuing for the draw this week they called out your names in the order of when you booked on to the match similar to how they do it at Sycamore fishery and as i only rang on Friday i was right down towards the bottom of the list , when it came for my turn i pulled out peg ten on Canal this didn’t mean a great deal which is something i like about fishing here because you don’t know if you’re on a flyer or not but at least i was on the lake that i wanted to be on .


Before i got my gear out i had a quick walk round to find where i would be sitting for the next few hours as it turned out it wasn’t far from where i was last week although it was on the opposite bank with my back to the campsite , i had some open water to fish shallow in , a lilly pad bed to my right at about eight meters out and some well established margins there was also some dense fir trees separating each peg and it meant you could only see a couple of anglers this was something i really like about the place because you can just concentrate on your own match not getting pressured into changing what you are doing to keep in contention .

Yet again i decided to keep things simple and i tackled it the same as i did last week ;

Margin , it was 4ft deep so i used a 0.4 malman speedy float with 0.16 garbo main line to a 0.14 garbo hook length and hook was a size 14s gamma power .

Top four towards the aerator to my right , i plumbed up to find it 5ft deep and with the stronger under tow i used a 0.6 malman roob float with 0.14 garbo main line with a 0.12 garbo hook length and my hook was a size 18 matrix bagger hook .

Shallow , i had 3 rigs set up covering 1ft , 2ft , and 3ft i used a 0.1 matrix series 3 float with 0.12 garbo direct to a size 20 matrix bagger hook .

As i was fishing the natural bait two dayer i choose to revolve my bait around what i would be using in the festival ;

2 pints maggots

2 pints corn+hemp

1 pint fishery 4mm pellets just in case things went a bit pear-shaped

When the hooter sounded for the all in i put a cup of maggots onto my top four line and one of corn+hemp in my left hand margin i then had a quick look over the top of it with a piece of corn on the hook just to see if any carp had followed the breeze into the peg but a bite less ten minutes put paid to that , so i changed tactics going on my five meter swim with double maggots on the hook it didn’t take long before i began picking the odd fish up a mixture of carp+f1s+barbel and with the aerator being left on all the fish thought like stink which must have something to do with the added oxygen in the water .

After ninety minutes bites started to slow down even though i topped up with a cup of maggots every few fish and i made the decision to start kinder potting every five minutes but all this did was bring them up off the deck which resulted in me foul hooking f1 after f1 so i decided to feed some corn+hemp which i later found out wasn’t the way to go because it killed my peg , luckily i had been loose feeding maggots on to my shallow swim since the match had started and even though i hadn’t seen any swirls i still expected a good response because the f1s can often be found just inches under the surface without giving themselves away .


I  had a quick couple of fish before they backed off i tried all sorts of different things but struggled to get bites and the ones i did get i kept missing , before i knew it i had wasted ninety minutes putting just ten pounds in the net exactly the same thing happened last week and as you can imagine it cost me because you can not lose that amount of time in opens and expect to compete . With two hours remaining i decided to concentrate on both my margin swim which i had kept topped up every thirty minutes with corn+hemp while i was fishing shallow and my first try on my left hand side with corn resulted in a barbel then a carp , i remembered that last week i caught three fish before it went quiet so i choose to refeed hoping this would settle them down and while i rested it i swopped sides which got me another couple of fish .


By rotating the two margin swims i kept putting fish in the net and in the occasional bite less spells i went back on my five meter maggot line which i had topped up with a cupping kit full of maggots this produced f1s+carp around the 2lb mark before i foul hooked a big carp which i played for nearly five minutes and just as i was guiding it over the net the hook pulled , i then went back on to my left hand margin nearly straight away my elastic got ripped out and i was attached to a bigger than average barbel but for some reason i played it a bit more gingerly this gave it chance to dive straight between my nets . The last thirty minutes were a complete right off apart from catching two small carp on my top four line both margins were devoid of fish this might have been down too ;

1, the disturbance of losing that barbel

2, the conditions had got a lot brighter meaning both margins had got no shade

3, the fish had moved up in the water but i wasn’t getting any liners

4 , i had began to run out of bait and had started adding pellets to my corn+hemp although that worked well last week

A bit sooner than i had wanted the all out sounded and called time on a confusing but enjoyable match with the middle part still causing me trouble and i need to make fishing shallow my main swim or ignore it all together because my feeding isn’t working at present so maybe concentrating more on the top four line could be a better tactic , i had 72lb on my clicker plus my silver net which i thought would be good enough to challenge for my section although the end peg 13 had caught well plus i had venue expert Matty Dawes on the other end peg and when they came round to do the weigh in i learned that they was paying top three on each lake rather than sections with it being a new venue i should really have asked about the pay out instead of  just presuming it would be the same as last weeks bigger open match .

My nets weighed 77lb which would have got me a default section but in the end i finished 5th on the lake which wasn’t to bad as it had fished a lot harder than i expected which wasn’t surprising with so many anglers on the lake , two lads that i know won both lakes so we had a drink to celebrate in the clubhouse before we set off home and we was made to feel really welcome even the owner came over for a chat although i didn’t particularly enjoy his choice of happy hard-core dance music but each to his own . I have already booked on for next Sunday were the open will take place on Weir , Stretton plus Clay pit all three of them i haven’t fished yet so i am really looking forward to the challenge and if i can sort out my mid match quiet spell i might be able to get a framing position catching a ton in the process .

Partridge lakes

November 1st , peg 81 Covey four


It has been a while since my last Saturday trip to Partridge lakes and although it has fished hard on here recently due to the inconsistent weather although i was quite looking forward to the match today , when i arrived at the venue i met up with a couple of friends for a chat and the proceeded to join the back of the queue and when it came for my pick out i pulled peg 81 on Covey four it made a change from being on my usual lake Covey three . As i arrived at the peg i did fancy it to produce a few fish with the wind blowing into my right hand margin and with the amount of scum on the surface it had gone that way for quite some time so i decided to set up just three rigs today;

Margin 3ft , 4×12 malmans speedy float , with 0.14 garbo direct to a size 14 kamasam x strong hook and yellow matrix elastic

Channel 6ft ,4×14 malmans roob float with 0.12 garbo main line and a 0.12 garbo hook length with a size 18 matrix bagger hook , red matrix elastic

Far slope 4ft  , 4×12 malmans roob float with 0.12 garbo main line and a 0.12 garbo hook length with a size 18 matrix bagger hook , red matrix elastic

My bait for the day was the same as i normally take on here but with a few pellets just in case because i had been told from a few people in the know that it was beginning to work on their ;

2 pints red and white maggots

1 pint ground-bait

1 pint micros dusted with ground-bait

Tub of corn

tub of expanders


When the all in sounded a kicked off my match fishing at 11 meters on my 4ft rig , i tapped in a kinder pot full of maggots before lowering my double maggot hook bait among it and was surprisingly into an f1 straight away quickly followed by another which was a good start but then the small rudd moved in this seems to be a problem on only Covey four . To solve this i set up a new swim to my left but this time with pellets a couple of feeds produced absolutely nothing so a change of bait back to double maggot and my float buried instantly with another f1 making its way to the net , it still surprises me that just a simple change of hook bait can turn a seemingly lifeless swim into a few bites .Another couple of feeds before my next bite but this time i had a carp on the hook which took off at a rate of knots and it wasn’t long before the inevitable happened my line broke but instead of my hook length it was the main line so a new rig was called for , with all the disturbance of re-plumbing i decided to rest the far bank for a while .

I had seen a few fish top in my margin so that is where i went next and decided that as it was still a bit cold i would just feed with a big kinder pot to see what response i got , so i deposited a couple of grains of corn plus ground-bait before lowering in my rig and not a great deal happened even after a few more feeds no liners or bites , i was on the verge of changing lines when my float shot under and i was briefly attached to a big carp but the hook soon pulled out it was something which i was going to suffer with all day .While there was still fish in the area i decided to give it another ten minutes and luckily this produced a carp off around 5lb but with no more indications coming i decided to rest this swim for later in the match .


My next line of attack was to be my channel swim where i had been big kinder potting maggots every twenty minutes since the match started , my shotting pattern was such so i could present a falling hook-bait and after my second drop my float dipped the elastic came out just a foot then fish off .This happened a further six times on the trot some i even got on to my top kit , i tried going shallower without much success in case they was off the deck and only once did i come back with a scale on the hook and it was beginning to do my head in but i did finally pick up a couple of f1s by laying on a few inch .

It seems that recent matches on here the fish don’t want to feed in the first half of the contest for some reason and that was the way it seemed to go today because lots of people were struggling within eye shot but with two hours remaining the fish finally went on to the feed , i went back on to my most prolific 13 meter line and i picked up a couple from my previous two swims but only when i set up in a new area of my peg too my right did my catch rate dramatically improve with ten f1s coming in an hour spell this began to fade when the cold rain started falling and i was kicking myself for not continuing feeding my channel swim as im sure i could have picked up a few extra fish from this line in the last forty minutes .


As the all out sounded i was unsure on just how i had done because most people were admitting too between 20-25 fish and the section would be decided by the person catching the bigger stamp off fish , my net went 34lb for third in the section beaten by a 36lb and 44lb both of which i felt my peg was capable of producing especially considering the amount of fish that i had lost and speaking to a few people after the match it was something commonplace all over the complex .

So that’s another match with more questions than answers but that is the reason we keep on going back , i am off to Sycamore fisheries tomorrow and i am hoping for a better draw than last week i quite fancy a bash on Silver birch but i don’t expect their to be as many anglers present after last weeks struggle so hopefully a bit of much-needed room .