Weston pools bank holiday match sponsored by Drennon


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After yesterdays disappointing practise for the supercup at Goose green fishery, I really hopped that I could have a much-needed good day’s fishing at Weston pools where, I would be taking part in the bank holiday match sponsored by Drennon. As always when I head here I was really looking forward to it, today for a change I had a travelling companion so I needed to do a bit of a detour before I headed off down the motorway on the sixty mile trip, and as it was also his first trip he was excited to contest the match as well.

On arrival at Weston pools we both booked on in the cabin and grabbed a bacon buttie whilst we both had a look around the lakes, when we got back it was nearly draw time and as usual there was plenty of people I knew including a lot from Partridge lakes & Leigh tackle, as I had booked on before Xmas I was one of the first to pick out popped 24 Stretton, another peg I had fished before but in summer, it would be totally different today especially as this lake had fished particularly hard. My mate had managed to get onto the match in the week so I had a long wait before it was his turn and he pulled out 17 canal which would have been a good draw in summer just a few months too soon for both of us.

On getting to my home for the next few hours I decided to have a nice simple match setting up;

13m line where it was a touch over five foot so i used a 4×14 maggie float with a bulk+dropper shotting pattern my main was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch length of 010 garbo and hook was a size twenty matrix silverfish .

6m line which i positioned towards my left hand side just at the bottom of the crease where it was four-foot deep and i used a 4×12 maggie float with a bulk+dropper shotting pattern my main was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch length of 010 garbo and hook was a size twenty matrix silverfish .

Margin swim which was six meters towards both platforms and this is where i hopped to get my bonus fish from so i used a 4×12 malman speedy float with 014 garbo main line which had a six-inch length of 012 garbo attached my hook was a size 18 matrix bagger .

My bait table couldn’t be any simpler with just three pints of red and white maggots on it, I hoped this wouldn’t be a mistake as I would concentrate more on my feeding and not confusing myself putting multiple baits in all over the place.

When the all in sounded in the distance I began the match by feeding half a cupping kit of maggots onto my long line I was going to leave this for half an hour to settle, I then went onto my short line and began tapping in six maggots every five minutes it took a couple of feeds before I had my first sign not long after an f1 graced the net although it was very small for in here at 8oz but it was a start, around ten minutes past before I had another of similar size but they wasnt there in any numbers and on looking around the lake it was noticeable that majority of anglers were really struggling with just the odd fish coming out . After thirty minutes I had originally planned on refeeding my long line but I decided as my six meter swim wasnt producing i would see if anything had settled on it a bit earlier , after around five minutes i had the slightest shimmer on the float and a sharp lift resulted in a nice stamp ide coming to the bank but with the steep banking behind me i was required to break down twice so i had to be really careful playing it as these fish are notorious for splashing on the surface. I went straight back out and I didn’t have to wait too long before I managed my next Ide which was of similar size to my first, I also noticed that like my other it was hooked well inside its throat and this had me a bit puzzled: as I was fishing just an inch over depth with every bite being the slightest of touches, I had a play about with the shotting to see if I could solve the problem as I figured I must not be seeing half my bites and no matter what I did it resulted in the same thing!!  (Thinking about it now i reckon that my initial feed had pinned the fish to the deck so that they were sat there hardly moving just picking up the odd maggot)

I had managed to catch four Ide over my original feed and when bites started to fade I had a decision to make, either feed another big hit of maggots with a cupping kit to concentrate them back on the bottom, or use a kinder pot which would attract the fish’s attention as it fell through the water, I decided to go for the former as it worked so well at the start of the match and this wasnt the way to go because although i did catch another burst of ide they were still deep hooked ! ! After two hours i had eight ide + two f1s in the net which was better than most anglers within eye shot but this was when things began to deteriorate as i just couldn’t attract an indication, I changed my feeding to a big kinder pot but this didn’t work and neither did feeding with a catty, I felt that my original swim had died a death and wasnt going to be coming back so I stuck another section on going to 14.5m and plumbed up a new line more to the open water towards my right because it looked like the lake had shut down with nobody catching a great deal I didn’t want to risk a big hit of maggots so went down the kinder pot route of feeding. Although i managed to pick up a couple more Ide on this line it wasnt really working how i would have liked it too but it might have just been the time of the match when most anglers really struggled, with an hour remaining I gave both my margin swims a try without a single indication which wasnt really a surprise as from what I could see only the end peg to my right had caught anything from it, just before the all out I rotated my two long lines and managed a solitary skimmer as the hooter sounded in the distance.

The lads either end of my eight peg section had caught quite well but other than that it had been a bit of a struggle, I managed ten ide , two f1s and a skimmer for around 12lb as I didn’t bother weighing in because like i mentioned earlier the two end pegs had caught ok , as it turned out only 23lb was needed to win the lake and after two hours I was well on target for that weight but things are never that simple in match fishing . When I got back to my van I dropped the fishing tackle off then went to see how my mate had got on and he had struggled as well, so not the best of days fishing for both of us but we will be back for another try not sure when though because quite fancy another go at Herronbrook before my first Fish’O qualifier of the year in May, below you will find a short video of todays match hope you enjoy it.

 

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Goose green fishery


Goose green fishery

Goose green fishery

Today’s match was going to take place on Goose green fishery which was where Trafford angling had decided to take us for the first round of the Angling Times super cup and as none of our squad had even seen the water before, obviously we wanted a practice chuck before the match took place in a fortnight’s time, I managed to find a bit of information about the venue through social media and I got told that it was a very deep lake with the main species to target being skimmers averaging two pounds and roach , so using this info i could put a plan together and as a result I felt pretty happy with my tactics for the day.

The weather leading up to the match hadn’t been great as we had to contend with strong winds plus heavy rain and today was no different we also had the added threat of a thunderstorm , luckily on the morning i woke to find it draw and i just hopped that it would stay that way for most of the day , after packing the van with my fishing gear and putting the address in my sat nav i headed off on my short thirty mile journey to the fishery , it took me nearly an hour to get there with lots of roadworks and temporary speed limits i even drove past the complex as it wasnt sign posted and you had to go down an unmarked road to get there . As a result I was one of the last to arrive and i only expected to know the organiser of the match but as usual for me i found a couple of friendly faces that i recognised from various matches around the north-west , i was a bit surprised to see the size of the lake we would be fishing it also had no permanent pegs so we had to put them where we thought they should go and as the wind was blasting towards the disabled pegs those were left out which meant everyone was a lot closer together and i mean close together being four meters apart at a push which was far from ideal .

After the hustle+bustle of the draw it was time for my pick and there was two left to choose from one which was in the teeth of the storm the other with the wind of my back this time i got lucky picking out the latter one , on settling in at my home for the next few hours i had already got a plan in mind but i was unsure whether it would be worth setting up the tip rod as nearly every one around me would be chucking to the very small island i decided i would give it a try but fish it around twenty meters ;

Six meter line , i plumbed up to find it was nearly 6ft deep so i used a 4×14 maggie float with a bulk+dropper shotting pattern my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was 009 garbo which had a size 20 matrix silver hook attached .

Thirteen meter line , here i found it was over 9ft so i used an 0.6 scone float with a bulk+dropper shotting pattern my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was 009 garbo which had a size 20 matrix silver hook attached .

Feeder line at twenty meters i used a twenty gram open-ended swim feeder which had a six-inch twisted loop boom and a 2ft hook length of 010 garbo that had a size 18 matrix bagger hook attached.

Bait for the day was ;

Two pints of red+white maggots

Half pint of pinkies

Three pints of pro natural groundbait mixed 50/50 with brown crumb

When the all in for the match started i fed four balls on my six meter line and six balls onto my thirteen meter then went on to my feeder line while it settled , i cast every five minutes so i could get some bait down and after four casts i had my first indication on the tip which resulted in a skimmer around the pound mark not a bad start to the session , i then began getting lots of little shakes on the float but nothing positive and then i picked up a small silver around 2oz not what i wanted to be catching after forty minutes without another skimmer i decided to go on my pole line to see what had settled on it . By now the wind had got a lot stronger which made holding the pole a lot more difficult this obviously had a bearing on my presentation and i also had to go lay six-inch of line on the deck to counter act the undertow i began catching a lot of silvers but they was a smaller stamp than i would have liked , since the match began i had loose fed maggots on my six meter line so when i dropped on it i expected an instant response and that’s what i got yet again they were smaller than i would have liked but at least i was catching quicker .

After a couple of hours the sky went black and we could see the thunder-storm heading our way in the distance , the heavens opened and not only put a dampener on the anglers but also on the fishing as the bites slowed right down which wasnt surprising , gradually it began getting better and it was noticeable that more and more skimmers were hitting the bank around the lake as the match progressed but my peg seemed to be getting worse as the bites deteriorated .With an hour of the match remaining the storm settled above us and we was greeted to some nice natural fireworks it didn’t look like it would be moving anytime soon so we called a halt to the match , after packing up it was time for the weigh in and it would be interesting to see how everyone got on as we all had a slight twist on how we attacked our pegs today , apart from two of us who struggled by fishing in a similar way me being one of them we all managed over double figures with nearly 30lb winning which wasnt bad in just four hours and it gave us a good idea on how to target the match but it will be very difficult beating Trafford angling on their home patch .

Tomorrow i will be back at Weston pools for the Drennon backed bank holiday open i just hope this weather improves and i can get back among the fish , below is a short video on todays match hope you enjoy it .

Herronbrook canal pool


Sunday March 13th – Canal pool peg 41 .

Todays match was going to take place at Heronbrook fishery in Staffordshire as I had been asked in the week, to stand in for the Ted Carters team; they was a man short and with the last round of the winter league at Whitmore fishery taking place at the same time, I was keen to take up the opportunity as I hadn’t fished the venue before and, my first fish’o qualifier was going to take place on it as well so I could do with a chuck there to get my eye in. I had already been told that I would be fishing on canal pool so it gave me chance to find out a bit about it beforehand using the usual social media outlets plus a couple of phone calls to people who I knew had fished it before.

So with all the required prep done during the week, it was time for an early night because I had to be up at 06:30am so I could arrive at the fishery in time for the 830 draw. The sixty mile trip went swimmingly as it was nearly all on the motorway but I did have a bit of a detour when I missed my turn off at a roundabout, making me go back on to a dual carriageway this added about twenty minutes to my journey and, when I finally arrived at Heronbrook fishery the draw was just starting as it was up to the captains to choose the pegs I had a little look at the lake I would be fishing it was your typical snake lake style water although a touch wide as it was over sixteen meters in parts. Once I got back to the cabin where the other team members had congregated I was informed I was going to be sitting on peg 41 and, as I walked back to the car I spoke to a few other anglers and they told the bad news; it was a very poor area plus with every peg being took on that length of canal I would be on for a very hard day at least I hadn’t far to walk to get there.

As I settled in at my home for the next six hours I had a couple of overhanging trees which, looked prime for dobbing along with some reeds although it was at least 15m across the rigs I settled on were;

3ft rig although it was really hard for me to find a suitable flat spot I used a 4×12 malman roob float with an inch spread bulk starting above the four-inch hook length of 010 garbo and elastic was green NG size 8-10

4ft rig which was towards the bottom of the far slope and also at the side of my left hand margin reeds ,  I used a 4×14 malman roob float with an inch spread bulk starting above the four-inch hook length of 010 garbo and elastic iwas green NG size 8-10

Channel rig  planned on using maggots here and as it wasnt that windy yet although it did get stronger as the day progressed, I could get away with using a 4×12 maggie float which had a bulk+dropper shotting pattern my hook length was six-inch of 010 elastic was the same green NG size 8-10

Dobbing rig I used a 4ft length of line as this would allow me to have a good lash above the float which was a 0.3 series three matrix and main line was 014 garbo that had a six-inch 012 hook length , I stepped up the elastic to matrix orange because this is where i expected to catch any carp and i heard they can run quite big in here.

With there being no bait limits at Herronbrook I decided to take a bit of everything to cover my options although it did mainly revolve around pellets;

Two pints soaked micros

Two pints soaked 4mm pellets

Small tub 4mm expanders

Small tub 4+6mm white pellets

Two pints red+white maggots

It was soon time for the all in and I decided to kick off by dobbing some 7mm bread disc’s along the far-bank pushing it into any nooks+crannies, among the branches and overhanging reeds I didn’t have to wait long for my first indication which, I missed but it was a positive sign. My next few bites were from small silvers and after about twenty minutes I decided to give up on dobbing for the time being and picked up my four-foot deep rig, although the weather was pleasantly sunny for a change the water was still very cold so I decided to take it easy with the bait until I knew how the fish were feeding so, after tapping in a few micros I lowered my rig slowly among them and tried to keep it static over the top of the feed, it took a couple of taps on my pole to scatter a couple of micros before my float dinked slightly and a little lift resulted in me being attached to my first f1 which did not put up much of a fight till I got it onto my top kit at around 2lb it was a good start to the match.

Upon shipping back out I didn’t have to wait too long before my next f1 hit the net and although I wasnt bagging, the size of fish that I was catching were a very nice stamp and, after a while the bites became a bit iffy so I had a play about with my feed + hookbait, it seemed that 4mm were the better feed pellets but they wouldn’t touch the heavier white hook pellets which I thought was strange but they are a bit of a Marmite bait only working on certain venues. By altering a few things I managed to add a couple more f1s before the bites tailed off again and when a roach got in on the action it was time to set up another line.

I replumbed up a new swim a couple of feet towards my left still using my four-foot rig and started again, it didn’t take to long before I was catching f1s again but after losing a fish at the net then virtually straight away foul hooking one directly over my feed it caused the fish to get unsettled and back off again. Another new swim was called for but this time I picked up my three-foot rig which allowed me to go tighter to the far-bank it took a bit longer for me to get a bite but, I put this down to how long it took me when plumbing up to try to find a suitable flat spot because, it was just like a sheer drop in places. I also noticed that the f1s were a lot smaller on this line but at least I was still catching unlike the lads either side of me who seemed to be really struggling.

After a while the wind got a bit stronger, the fish seemed to follow the breeze and my peg seemed to die completely where the lads towards my right kept their run going for longer, you need to make the most of the first hour to ninety minutes on these pegs because when the fish go they don’t tend to come back as you will find out later. Over the next two hours I set up multiple swims at various depths all along the far-bank with very limited success and I even tried dobbing again which just resulted in a small silver. I had fed my six-meter channel swim with twenty maggots every half an hour but I did not want to go on it too soon hoping that whatever f1s were in the area would settle on it. I had also flicked six maggots on my left hand margin swim at the side of the reeds every ten minutes so, I decided to give that a try but half an hour without even a bite was all I managed. As a last resort I changed my three-foot rig for a five foot pellet one and replumbed a new line towards the bottom of the far slope which, was 13m away but this was also a non starter. I had wasted nearly three hours of the match putting zilch into the net, so with just ninety minutes remaining I had no other option but go on my channel swim a couple of silvers took a liking to the single hook bait as it fell and after changing for a more positive shotting pattern + double mag hook bait it allowed me to get it to the deck, after a while I had my first indication which resulted in a 10oz skimmer hitting the net not exactly what I had in mind but at least I had added to the net a couple of bigger roach got in on the act too .

I noticed that a couple of anglers to my right had started catching f1s again, I hoped that some had settled in my peg as well but yet again, after working all along the far-bank I didn’t have a single indication and; with only my channel swim producing bites that’s where I spent the remainder of the match, finally hit into another f1 and when my next dip of the float resulted in yards of elastic coming out i thought that a few decent f1s had turned up at last but up popped a big chub and that was about it till the all out sounded i did have ten minutes dobbing along the far-bank after seeing a carp swirl but nothing came from it .

After packing up I followed the scales along my section and I was a bit surprised that they had put in a peg before the bridge which had a nice reed bed to fish too even though there was an empty peg along the straight and, as expected this won the section with 66lb, the lad on the other side of the bridge had 21lb then there was a 41lb which took second included a double figure carp and, after that the weights got gradually worse until the other end peg put 32lb on the scales, my catch went just short of 18lb and I had beat the anglers either side of me ending up 7th in the section only a couple of pounds from moving up another place.

All in all it was a very hard match for all the anglers along the straight somewhere, I hope not to draw anytime soon but on the plus side I have learned a lot about the canal on my first visit to the venue, overall it has fished extremely well with the top ten anglers all catching over a ton and the Ted Carters team I was representing today finished 12th with 22 points lets hope they can keep it going for the remaining rounds. Next weekend I’m back at the hugely impressive Weston pools and to be honest I can’t wait! It’s been a long time since my last visit role on Sunday!

 

 

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 winter league , Boulders and Goose


Today was the last round of Diggle AC winter league at Old hough and we was due to fish on Boulders + Goose which i was happy about as these waters had fished a lot better during the series of matches , i was in a good position towards the top of the league table and i was looking for a draw which would give me a chance of a few fish to consolidate it but in the back of my mind was that i could draw in one of the poor areas because there was some pegs that had not produced all winter . The weather leading up to the match wasn’t that bad for the time of year a bit cold but nothing to worry about or so i thought as i made the thirty mile trip to the venue the temperature just dropped and dropped , when i got of the motorway it was think with frost then i spotted the odd duck pond in the farmer’s field frozen over not what i wanted to see and i was hoping that the lakes at Old Hough wouldn’t be the same but as i approached the lakes we would be fishing majority of it had a lid on it ! !

After unpacking the van the rest of the anglers were in deep discussion on what we should do and it was decided that we would break the ice on all the pegs in the draw bag so nobody would have the disadvantage of doing it on their own we also delayed the all in till 1030 , as everyone mucked in clearing the ice we soon had the pegs clear but i did notice that the flyer pegs 16+18 on Goose and pegs 20+5 on boulders were already free from ice and would no doubt be the pegs everyone wanted i know that i did .

As you can see the ice in my peg isn’t that thick but it has been broken out a bit more than i would have liked , i just hope all the disturbance has not upset the fish too much .Usually you find that the water is warmer actually under the ice so i am going to position my two channel swims tight to it ;

On the left hand side i will be using pellet because the last i fished this peg that is where i managed to pick up the bonus carp , i will be using a 4×14 malman roob float with 014 garbo main line and a six-inch length of 010 garbo hook length attached to it was a size twenty matrix silver fish pattern , i would feed the swim with a kinder pot of micros and ground-bait every thirty minutes occasionally dropping on it during the match although i wont be wasting too much time on it as i am only expecting the odd bonus fish .

On the right hand side i choose to use maggots because i think this will be the best bait to use today it is also positioned towards the open water which was not frozen so obviously not been disturbed by the ice breaking and i expect this to be my most productive swim due to the cold conditions . i am using a 4×12 RW maggie float with an on the drop shotting pattern allowing for a slow fall of the hook bait my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was a slightly lighter 008 which had a size twenty matrix silver fish hook attached , i decided to feed this swim with half a cupping kit of maggots every half hour and top up through a kinder pot when fishing it .

Along the far-bank i was in a bit of a quandary on which depth to start in and finally settled on three-foot which was a couple of feet down the slope , i used a 4×10 RW maggie float with an on the drop shotting pattern my main line was 014 garbo and hook length was 008 garbo which had a size twenty matrix silver fish pattern , i started off tight to the ice towards the right and would began feeding by trickling in maggots through a kinder pot this would hopefully attract the attention of any passing fish without over feeding them . I also had a dobbing rig set up to push in between the reeds this would hopefully pick up a carp or two i used a 0.3 matrix series three float which had two number 11 stotz spread down the line the rest of the shotting was under the float , my main line was 014 garbo and i had a slightly stronger 010 hook length with a size 16 matrix bagger hook attached as it was only two foot deep i left a longish line between float and pole tip so as not to scare the fish off .

On my bait table i had a mixture of pellets and ground-bait but will be mostly concentrating on maggots as i expected chub+ide to be the main species i would be targetting today , i also had a couple of slices of bread for dobbing .

The first two hours of the match where really slow going as i only managed to catch a couple of chub one on my maggot line tight to the ice and the other dobbing bread , but even though i worked all along the far-bank with both rigs i failed to get a single indication and it was the same on my channel swim which wasnt that surprising as al the ice had started melting lowering the water temperature and dropping to the bottom of the lake .

With things not working as i would have liked on my three-foot line i got off my box and set up a 4ft rig all the lines + hooks were the same i just upped the float size to a size 4×12 RW maggie yet again i began by drip feeding the maggots in but this didn’t get the desired response so with nothing to lose i began feeding quite heavy using a small kinder pot every five minutes and out of the blue i had three quick fish then nothing .

With the temperature gradually increasing i noticed a few fish top along the far-bank and i decided to give my three-foot rig another try , this produced a chub straight away taking the bait on the drop so out came the catty and i managed to sneak a couple more out by rotating between the two lines i managed a dozen chub+ide .In the last forty minutes the sun went behind the clouds making it feel a lot colder and all my indications stopped so i decided to spend the remaining time on my channel swim this would also give me chance of a bonus fish but the only bites i could manage were from tiny skimmers and when the all out sounded i was unsure how i had got on because i could only see a couple of other anglers .

As i began packing up the scales came round and i was the first to weigh in on my lake the 12 chub+ide plus a few skimmers went just under 7lb which was about what i thought , the conditions really put paid to any chance of getting a decent weight and i felt that i never got to grips with the peg as drip feeding did not produce then when i fed a bit heavier the fish i caught were spewing up maggots ! ! Peg twenty was the next to put his fish on the scales which took the lead with 10lb and he caught all his fish under the bridge were the water must have been a couple of degrees warmer , the next couple of anglers really struggled as they failed to break 3lb and the last angler to weigh in put just over 7lb on the scales to knock me back down to third so for the second match running a matter of ounces had prevented getting me a better finishing position which i knew would cost me in the league .

On getting back to the car-park the final league positions were ready to be announced ;

First place was Graham with 13 points

Second place was Ian with 14 points

Joint third place was me and JP with 15 points

So like i originally thought my last couple of matches were i just missed out had cost me a better finishing position but to be honest the real damage was done in the earlier rounds when i fished some shocking matches as i was getting used to the venue because i had not been here before and was expecting it to be your standard f1 fishing not the un orthodox chub+ide but you live and learn .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heskin hall pond one


IMG-20150208-00480With the weather being forecast to be pretty awful today i was in two minds whether to venture out or not and only decided to go late on sunday morning because the heavy rain + strong wind had not materialized just yet but I’m sure it wasn’t far away , so with a match obviously out of the question due to my late start i settled on the ever reliable Heskin hall which is somewhere that i don’t fish a great deal but is a belting silverfish water rammed with skimmers although it is only a twelve peg water but you’re guaranteed a few bites . So after picking up a couple of pints of maggots i headed off to the other side of Wigan into the country side of Heskin as i arrived at the farm i was surprised to see a few cars knocking about and after unpacking my van i headed off across the field to pond one it was rather hard work pushing my trolley across the muddy ground and i was huffing+puffing when i finally got to the pond , luckily i was the only person on it so i had the choice of pegs and i didn’t fancy sitting under the trees because when it did begin to rain it would last or feel a lot longer with the drops coming from the leaves even though these are probably the best pegs to fish , i had a walk round to the other bank which although was more open to the elements the pegs were situated closer to the water with a bit of a bank behind allowing for the wind to blow off my back and over my head i also chose one that had a bush to my right which also helped in protecting me from the elements .

On settling in on my peg i decided to fish two swims ;

Maggot rig which i situated at an angle to my left at five meters out after plumbing up i found it to be five foot deep so i used a 4×12 rw maggie float that had a strung out shotting pattern of number eleven stotz , main line was the usual 014 garbo that had a six-inch length of 009 garbo hook length attached my hook was a size twenty matrix silverfish hook and elastic was size six preston slip .

Pellet rig i put this towards my right at the same distance yet again it was only a touch over five foot but i decided to use a heavier 4×14 malman roob float which had a double bulk shotting pattern , my main line was 014 garbo and i used a short three-inch hook length of 010 garbo attached was a size 18 matrix bagger hook elastic was a size six preston slip .

On my side tray i just had the basic ;

Two pints of red and white maggots

One pint of soaked micros

Small tub of 4mm expanders

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At eleven o’clock i was ready to get started and before going on my maggot line i fed a full small cupping kit of micros i would top this up with half a cup every twenty minutes , leaving it to rest for at least an hour allowing the skimmers to settle on it which is always important if you want to catch a few fish . Picking up more maggot rig i decided to trickle a full small kinder pot after every fish or every five minutes which ever was the earliest , i know loose feeding would have been better but the wind was gusting from right to left meaning i couldn’t group the feed as i would have liked , first drop and my bait didn’t even reach the bottom before a finger length roach took it a further five quickly followed and i needed to have a re-think on how i presented my rig i changed my shotting pattern for a more positive bulk+dropper and with so many small fish present i figured that there wouldn’t be a great deal of bait getting to the bottom so i changed kinder pot for the next size up and tapped it all in at once . By altering things a little i finally got my rig to reach the bottom were the bigger silvers were waiting and i went on a little run of catching fish up to 8oz after about half an hour bites seemed to tail off a bit and i had held my rig tight against the slight under tow but after allowing it to travel through my swim about a foot i found the fish again going on another little run .

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After an hour i was eager to give my pellet line ago hoping that the bigger skimmers had been given enough time to settle and after lowering my rig in slowly i held it directly over the micros , i didn’t have to wait long before i had a classic skimmer bite as the bristle of the float came lifting out of the water and i soon had it in the net at around the pound mark it was a good deal bigger than those on my maggot swim , a further dozen followed of similar size plus a few smaller hand sized fish in the next sixty minutes to be honest it was just like shelling peas and i was really enjoying myself in the countryside it was miles away from the hustle+bustle of the big matches i had usually been attending , sometimes its just nice getting back to basics and fishing like i did when i first started many ,many years ago i even saw a kingfisher working along the opposite bank i had not seen one of those for many a year .

During the two hours i had fished the weather had got gradually worse with the wind changing direction blowing directly in to my face plus the drizzle had started but this had no real effect on the fishing but it did make my short number four section stick in my top kit which made my life a bit more awkward , a quiet ten minute spell on my pellet line then the float shot under and a firm strike resulted in yards of my size six elastic streaming out of my pole it was no doubt one of the many carp in here which grow into double figures after what seemed like an age with the fish ploughing through both my swims multiple times i finally had it under control and i was just about to net it when the hook pulled causing my rig to tangle the ten minutes i spent untangling it at least allowed both my swims to settle back down . As i mentioned earlier with my pole getting stuck i could only use the one rig on both swims plus i couldn’t use my cupping kit so feeding my pellet swim took a lot longer than before so after taping in four lots of micros i went back on my maggot rig , i had altered my shotting for a bulk + dropper and i was soon back catching hand sized silvers one a chuck just like before .

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With thirty minutes of my session remaining i decided to spend it on my pellet swim my first couple of fish were small skimmers and i feared that the bigger ones had drifted out of the peg with the disturbance of the carp but gradually the stamp skimmers returned , i managed another half a dozen before i landed my biggest fish of the day which was a bream of about three pounds and as the rain had relented a little i decided to call time on my short three-hour session i was soaked to the skin but had really enjoyed it , i ended up with thirty fish over ten ounce plenty of those hand sized skimmers plus rafts of tiny fish at the start before i worked out how best to catch the better samples . I did take another video which i will be putting up in the next couple of days and any constructive feedback will be greatly received because it’s all relatively new for me at the moment , i am going back to Horns dam winter league on Sunday to fill in for my mate on Jeffs team this time i will be fishing the dam itself which is another new water for me to try and i have heard it’s all small silvers plus the odd bigger skimmer so i should get a few bites fingers crossed .

 

Old Hough Boulders , winter league round seven


January 24th , peg 18 boulders

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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 .

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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 .

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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 .