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!




Partridge lakes open match

February 28th , peg 25 covey two

With all my winter leagues having finally finished where i had a fair bit of success and enjoyed doing them a great deal even though they revolved around silver fishing which I’m not to comfortable in doing , so now i was free to do a bit of f1 chasing and after blowing away the cobwebs on a short session at the cunneries i decided to book on the Sunday open at Partridge lakes i hopped that i wouldn’t be too far of the pace even though i had not been for almost four months . The earlier part of the week leading up to the match had seen a prolonged cold spell dropping to minus four during the night but as the weekend arrived the temps gradually increased and on the day of the match we was treated to blue skies , a light easterly breeze and a high of six degrees not exactly the weather required to get the fish feeding in numbers .

With Partridge lakes only being a fifteen minute drive away i had a bit of a lie in which made a nice change after all the early starts i had done over winter and i arrived just after 8 o’clock to be greeted with a choka block car park as the penultimate round of the team matches was taking place , i managed to catch up with a couple of lads from the Matrix LTB who had done extremely well in the Angling Trust winter league finishing seventh out of thirty high-class teams taking part . Before i knew it the draw was taking place so i made my way to join the queue in the cabin when it came round for my turn i pulled out number 25 on covey two not exactly the place i wanted to be especially as the lads fishing in my area the day before had really struggled but i was here now and i wanted to get a feel back for the place after spending so long away .

On arriving at my home for the next few hours i found it just a couple of pegs away from the bridge with my back to Willow lake with the breeze blowing into the bay near the bridge and it was only eleven meters wide so it wasnt looking too promising especially as it was peg two miss one so not a lot of room to be had but on the plus side i had an empty platform towards my left , i decided to set up a few rigs to cover my options today which where ;

3ft and 4ft i used a 4×12 maggie float which had a staggered bulk starting above the six-inch 009 hook length and my main line was 014 garbo , i feed these swims with a small kinder pot just trickling in a few maggots every couple of minutes to try to drag some fish into my peg but being really careful not to overfeed .

Channel rig with the conditions being reasonably calm i got away with a 4×12 maggie float which had a bulk plus two droppers shotting pattern although i could spread it out if i required a slower fall of the hook bait , i used an 009 six-inch hook length and main line was my usual 014 garbo i feed it with a small cupping kit of maggots every thirty minutes hopping that a few f1s would settle on it in the latter part of the match .

Dobbing rig set up at three-foot to start with which was set six-inch off the deck i used a 03 matrix series three float with all the bulk under the float and just one dropper down the line , my main line was 014 garbo and hook length would be 010 as there could be a few carp caught by doing this as expected i wouldn’t feed a thing but push my rig in amongst all the dead reed beds along the far-bank .

Bait for the day couldn’t be simpler just a slice of toastie with a 7mm punch and two pints of maggots .

When the all in sounded i thought it would be best to start on my four-foot rig because it was still cold and then work my way further up the slope as the day progressed , i tapped in six maggots then laid my rig in so it fell up the shelf giving me a tight line between float+hook my rig hadn’t even settled when the elastic came out unfortunately it was a foul hooked f1 which came off after a short fight but at least it showed there was fish in the area . It took a couple more feeds before i finally had another indication which resulted in my first f1 hitting the net and i was rather optimistic of catching a couple more from the same line but thirty minutes without another sign had me scratching my head especially as the lads either side were picking up the odd fish , i replumbed up another swim at the same depth towards my left which was strangely a lot further out from the far-bank yet again this produced a solitary fish with no other indications .

I noticed that the other anglers were fishing in a lot shallower depth really tight to the far-bank so i figured that i was fishing in the wrong depth so i followed suit and picked up my three-foot rig then plumbed up to find a suitable flat area , a couple of feeds resulted in a quick bite which i missed but it was a positive sign the only trouble was my next indication resulted in a small silver hitting the net which as you all know isn’t what you want on the coveys as it’s a sure sign that the f1s are not present . At this point i noticed a swirl in the reeds to my left so i quickly picked up my dobbing rig and dropped a piece of bread among them my float had not even settled when the elastic shot out after a short fight the hook pulled on what i thought was a nice carp , after a few choice swear words i dobbed around for a while longer without another sign so i plumbed up with my three-foot rig at the side of the reeds and began trickling in some maggots it took about twenty minutes before i had another bite which resulted in another f1 coming to the bank but yet again no more indications followed .

Yet another swim was called for so i went further along the left hand margin at 11m but this time further down the slope incase the fish had backed off into the quieter water between the two pegs after a while i managed another f1 then nothing else and a theme seemed to be recurring today because no matter what i did i just couldn’t put a run of bites together , i could see the reeds knocking like mad in between the empty platform and the angler on peg 27 but he was oblivious to it so i stuck a couple more sections on taking me up to 14m , i went as close to them as i was allowed after plumbing up i was surprised to find a touch over three-foot and this made controlling my rig a bit awkward it was a good job the conditions weren’t to bad , after a while my float buried and i was attached to another carp this put up a very spirited fight when i got it to my top kit i found out why as it couldn’t be far off double figures , i just felt that i had it under control and was about to net it when it wouldn’t fit my struggle trying to get it in the landing net causing it to bolt this resulted in the hook pulling it just wasnt going to be my day .

i did another rotation of all my swims without a single sign and as we was approaching the final hour i gave my channel swim a try which i had fed since the match started with a small cupping kit full of maggots , i hopped that it could pull me out of the shit as it is normally a reliable tactic for the latter part of matches but yet again i had a quick fish then nothing and after rotating my swims once more without success then the all out sounded in the distance calling time on a very frustrating match . The lad to my right who had the benefit of the ripple blowing into the bay plus the bridge had picked up the odd fish all day and i noticed he had limited himself to just four different swims by being really patient on this tough day he managed to put 34lb on the scales which put him 4th overall , the guy to my left had also fished a similar match but caught less f1s but had a carp in the last twenty minutes this gave him a low twenty pounds my six fish would have gone about ten pounds but i didn’t bother weighing in today .

So that was another Partridge match over with and yet another struggle from a bad draw im sure my unlucky run at the draw bag will end soon fingers crossed but to be fair i have had my run of flyers on here its just that i haven’t made the most of the situation ,hopefully i will be back for another attempt at the weekend and this time fish a more patient match to see if this produces better results it cant make it any worse anyway .

Diggle AC winter league rnd three

November 29th , peg nine prospect


Today was the third round of the Diggle AC winter league which was due to take place on lucky dip + prospect these were another couple of lakes that i hadn’t fished before at Old Hough so as usual for me i did a bit of homework before hand on how best to tackle them and i learned that there was a good head of skimmers in them both but you needed to target the carp tight across to be in with a chance of framing plus there is a large head of nuisance bits which could be a problem or in my case they was a godsend as you will find out later. Yet again the weather leading up to the match had been up and down there seemed to be a bit of a common theme occurring recently, today we was faced with the back-end of a hurricane with 60 mph gusty winds forecast and some heavy rain the latter thankfully never arrived although the conditions i faced were the worst i had ever fished in.

On arriving to Old Hough i made my way round to the back of the complex were the two lakes i was due to fish were situated. Upon driving past west sooty it resembled the north sea and i just hoped it wouldn’t be as bad on lucky dip + prospect pleasantly it wasn’t with a couple of trees managing to block out the worst of it on a few pegs it was even flat calm ! ! Obviously these were the ones everybody wanted to be sat on and as the draw began i hung towards the back of the crowd , i picked out peg nine on prospect just the usual end peg flyer which had the bonus of the wind blowing towards and it looked really fishy with a reed lined margin plus the point of the island to target although i did find out after the match that those pegs down that end wasn’t the best .


With the weather being as bad as it was i decided not to set up too many rigs choosing to target ;

Channel at eight meters were i plumbed up to find a touch over five foot which i put in between the margin and the point of the island because of the conditions i used a 4×16 malman roob and the shotting pattern was the usual bulk + two droppers my main line was 012 garbo which had a six-inch 008 garbo hook length attached was a size twenty gamma black hook .

Bottom of near slope here i found around four-foot and as i was fishing on the drop i choose to use a 4×12 tbf cult float with a spread bulk of number ten stotz my main line was 012 garbo which had a six-inch 008 garbo hook length attached was a size twenty gamma black hook .

Dobbing rig which i was going to do down the length of the long reed lined margin it was three-foot deep here so i used an 03 matrix series three float which had 012 garbo direct to a size16 guru lwg hook and i started six-inch of the deck but would work the depths till i hopefully found a few carp .

Feeder rig i used an eight foot matrix carp master rod and as i was only chucking 16m i had a 15 gram small pellet feeder which had a short four-inch 014 hook length that had a 16 lwg hook attached with a micro pellet band .


My side tray had an array of bait for a change ,

Two pints of red and white maggots

One pint of soaked micros with a dusting of f1 dark ground-bait

One slice of steamed rolled bread cut into four pieces with a 7mm and 11mm punch

Small tub of 4mm expanders

Small tub of 4mm white soft hook pellets

Small tub of hard pellets

When the all in sounded i proceeded to put two balls of micro pellets onto my eleven meter line through my kinder pot because i had stupidly left my cupping kit at home as i had decided to use my carp today pole which i felt would cope with the conditions a lot easier and it was in side my other pole ,although i didn’t really think that this would hinder my fishing  as i expected it to be quite hard going with all the recent cold rain going into the lake . After feeding my pellet line i started my match by dobbing bread all along my left hand reed lined margin and with the wind blowing that way too i really expected there to be a few carp present but yet again at Old Hough i never had an indication despite trying various depths and pushing my rig in between all the gaps in the reeds after thirty minutes of trying i decided to waste no more time doing it so i went on my pellet line hoping that a couple of skimmers had settled on my earlier feed , after laying my rig in over the top of the micros i held it tight against the wind it didn’t take long before my float slid under a firm strike resulted in a foot of size six solid elastic sliding out of the pole tip and i put the net under an 8oz skimmer which was a good start but my next bite resulted in me coming back with half an expander then i landed a 2oz skimmer then a micro gudgeon not what i wanted , i reefed with another ball of pellets which resulted in my line fading so i scattered in some loose micros creating a bigger feed area for the skimmers to settle before leaving it to settle for a while .

Since the match started i had thrown six maggots onto my top three-line which was at the bottom of the near slope so that was my next line of attack and i began laying my rig through the loose feed this resulted in a fish a chuck but they were from 1oz silvers , with so many of them present i figured that there couldn’t be much bait reaching the deck were i felt the bigger stamp would be more comfortable so i doubled the amount i was throwing in and put all my weight above the hook length i thought this would get my hook bait to the bottom quicker but the little fish were still taking it on the drop . I had noticed that the two anglers towards my right had caught the odd carp + f1 by fishing tight across to the island fishing corn they could cope with the wind as it was a lot calmer on those pegs with just the odd strong gust where i had it blowing constantly over my shoulder , i did reluctantly set up a line across at 14m which was half way down the far slope but with no corn on my side tray i decided to use pellets because i felt this would limit the amount of silvers i would be catching as this last thing i wanted would be to ship all that way across and come back with a tiny fish , after persevering on this line for nearly half an hour feeding every five minutes with micro through a kinder pot  all i could manage was a couple of 4oz skimmers but with the wind getting stronger it was hard work keeping the rig still .

Yet again i went back onto my 11m pellet line where i had earlier feed some micros but all i could catch here was tiny silvers again and i needed to find a couple of bonus fish to get me back into the contest and i figured the best place for me to do this was to fish across so out came the feeder rod with a yellow bandum on the hook which was the closest i had to a piece of sweet corn , i started by plopping in my tiny pellet feeder over my 14m line but even after casting every five minutes this failed to produce a single liner in a twenty-minute spell so i decided to go tighter to the far bank and set up a new swim in between the two reed beds after a couple of quick casts to get some feed there i began leaving my rig in for around ten minutes in case the disturbance of the feeder going in had pushed the carp out of the swim  this kind of worked as i began getting the odd liner but even after ringing the changes with the hook bait i couldn’t get a positive bite .

Before i knew it i had spent an hour putting nothing in the net so yet again it was time for a change so i set up a new line towards the left hand reeds but choose to use maggots here as i felt that pellets wasn’t the right bait to use today , i began kinder potting in maggots every five minutes and tried to keep my rig still on the bottom but yet again i was getting bombarded by small silvers plus the wind was getting atrocious so i packed most of my pole away as i decided to concentrate on my top three-line for the remaining ninety minutes . I knew that i was way off the pace for framing so it was damage limitation time as the winter league was being run on overall points and if i was only catching small silvers at least i was adding weight to my net , i was soon catching a fish a chuck mainly 2oz roach but if i did get my bait to the deck i did pick up a couple of 8oz ide and i tried various feeding patterns + shotting patterns to try to attract a better stamp but to be honest i never really managed to work it out although i did catch nearly sixty fish before the all out .

As i was packing my stuff away i didn’t really know how my net compared to the other anglers i knew that the lads to my right had done well but everyone else seemed to be struggling the same as me , the weigh in soon started with two low twenty pound weights coming from peg five and seven then my net went nearly eight pound which was more than i had thought i must have caught nearly 4lb in that last ninety minute spell i was kicking myself for not concentrating on it for longer as only ten pound got fourth on the lake . Lucky dip had fished even harder than prospect as only 13lb won it  although it did have to put up with the worst of the conditions and it was strange that my weight was the best from all the eight corner pegs with the middle ones producing better , as all the results were reckoned up i ended up fifth so yet another bad day at the office where i could have done much better if i had known the water a bit more but on the plus side I’m still up towards the top of the league , i failed to lose or break anything and it didn’t rain .


Back to Old Hough again next Sunday for round four of the winter league  this time it’s back on boulders+goose and looking at this week’s open match on boulders were seventy pounds won i hope to finally draw on it .

Diggle AC winter league rnd two at old hough

November 22nd , peg eleven goose lake

Goose lake

Today was the second round of the Diggle AC winter league at old hough and yet again it was to take place on goose+boulders the same waters as last week ,as we was fast approaching december the weather understandably had taken a turn for the worse with the first proper frost of the year which no doubt would have a dramatic affect on the weights , especially if the results of the previous days open match here was to go by with just twenty pounds winning and five of the top six weights all came from the same area on boulders the top weight from goose was only 12lb .Luckily on the morning of the match i didn’t have to scrape the van windscreen of ice but the dashboard showed a massive one degree although it did double in temperature by the time i got to the fishery and in fact it did not feel that bad especially if the cold wind stayed away , with all eighteen anglers in attendance it wasn’t long before the draw took place and i fancied a go on boulders lake as i heard that it held more f1s which are a more reliable target species at this time of year and something i am more comfortable in catching but yet again i ended up on goose lake this time peg eleven it was situated around the back of the lake in no man’s land after a couple of texts to lads who fished it a lot i found out it wasn’t a great area to be in not really the news i wanted to hear although i had worked out a plan during the week on how best to target the peg because i am still relatively new to the venue .


My rigs for the day are going to be ;

Far-bank dobbing rig here i used a 0.2 matrix series three float my line was 012 garbo direct to a size 16 guru lwg and my elastic was matrix orange size ten, i had plumbed around in front of the reeds to try to find the average depth of the swim and when i felt a couple of carp brush the line to the right of my peg i was quietly confident of catching a few of them i purposely stopped plumbing up in that area so i wouldn’t disturb them anymore hoping they would settle back down again .

Far shelf rig at three-foot deep here i would be fishing pellets so i used a 4×12 malman roob float with 014 garbo main line and my hook length was a short 3 inch length of 010 garbo which had a strung bulk just above it the elastic here was matrix orange size ten.

Channel swim i plumbed up two lines one 7m to my right which i would feed with half a pot of maggots every twenty minutes and the other line 11m to my left which i would feed with a pot of ground-bait + dead pinkies every thirty minutes i hoped the skimmers would settle there although i wasn’t to sure that it would work that’s why i decided to position it so far out of my peg , i plumbed up to find just under five foot so used a 4×12 chianti float my main line was 014 garbo which had a six-inch 010 garbo hook length that had a size twenty matrix bagger hook attached to start with i had a bulk and two dropper shotting pattern but i would change this for a more positive pattern if i began catching well on pellets over the ground-bait swim my elastic was matrix yellow size 8 .

Near side shelf rig which was positioned a bit further down the slope in deeper water at 4ft on this line i used 014 garbo main line with an 012 hook length and my elastic was matrix red size twelve , i had upped the strength here because i hopped this would be a good area to pick up a bonus carp or two .

Bait for the day was going to be ;

Two pints of red and white maggots .

Two pints of f1 dark groundbait with a hand full of dead pinkies in it .

One pint of soaked micros .

One slice of steamed and rolled warburtons orange toastie bread cut into 4 pieces and i had a size 11mm + 7mm punch .


As the all in for the match sounded i eagerly shipped out across to the far-bank where i had earlier felt the carp with my plumet i began dobbing at the side of the reeds and had a piece of 7mm punched bread on the hook , i was a bit surprised that i didn’t get any indications straight away and i had to change depths, increasing the punch bread size to 11mm , going into all the nook+crannies in between the rushes , i even tried going 14m on either side but i still didn’t have any positive bites this was similar to my match last week and it’s a bit strange that i can get this method to work on most waters but struggle when using it on here maybe it is down to the stocking levels of carp but i am not to sure . I decided to waste no more time using it luckily those anglers around me hadn’t caught a great deal i wasn’t that far behind and my next move was the pellet line at three-foot down the far shelf , with the weather conditions being as they were i decided to go easy on the feed so i began by tapping in a few micros hoping to attract the attention of any passing fish and i could always increase it if i needed to , after about three feeds i began getting indications on the float which looked like very shy f1 bites i tried to alter my shotting pattern to try to help turn the little dips into fish and i finally began hitting them but it wasn’t the f1s i was looking for but small 4oz skimmers plus the odd micro crucian not what i wanted to be catching i persevered on this line for a while in case any bigger fish settled but apart from a solitary half pound skimmer it didn’t get any better .

I had fed both my channel swims every thirty minutes and as we was nearly ninety minutes into the contest i felt that i had no other option but to go on it , i started on my left hand line over the top of the ground-bait with maggot on the hook and i began getting indications straight away but yet again they were very hard to hit similar to those on my pellet line , unluckily they also turned out to be the same stamp of fish and i have a feeling that the fish meal in ground-bait + pellets aren’t the way to go on here but i suppose if things go really hard they can guarantee you a bite or two . I went on to my right hand maggot swim and after a while i began catching some 6oz ide which seems to be the average size of silver fish in here i was happy putting the odd fish in the net as i was on a par with those anglers around me but i felt that i needed to be catching a lot quicker if i was going to trouble the framing positions , so i began firing six maggots every few minutes towards the far bank rushes i hoped this would attract the attention of some carp and after twenty minutes i went over it with my dobbing rig that had two maggots attached . It worked remarkably well as i began a good run of stamp ide and with still no sign of a carp i quickly changed to a more suitable silverfish rig this increased my catch rate significantly although it was noticeable that the odd fish was spewing up bait a sure sign that i was over feeding the swim , a change from using the catty to a kinder pot and only feeding every two fish seemed to solve the problem it also got the ide on to the deck making them easier to catch but my elastic was a bit heavy at eight hollo causing the fish to splash on the surface when hooked this disturbed the shoal as they seemed to push further under the rushes .


I felt the swim could do with a rest and i had seen a couple of carp come out on the opposite bank so i could also do with a bonus fish or two so i started feeding my left hand margin swim with a mixture of micros+ground-bait while this settled i tried to find another area along the far bank where i could get another run of ide but strangely apart from one that took it on the drop i couldn’t get attract another bite , so back to my original line and yet again they was lined up but in the back of my mind i felt i needed a carp to get in the money so i kept on trying my margin in ten minute spells every thirty minutes but this failed to produce a bite . In the last forty minutes the fish really backed off this coincided with the sun going in and the temperature beginning to drop , thinking about it now i should have fished further down the slope or kept on feeding my channel line which would have given me some were to go to when i felt the fish needed a rest .

When the all out sounded i wasn’t to sure how well i had got on so would have to wait for the scales to arrive to tell me my fate as they turned up on my lake i followed them around to see how everyone else had got on , i noticed that boulders lake had been rock hard with people struggling to break 8lb on my lake goose peg six took the early lead with five carp for twenty pounds , there was then a few weights under 4lb until it was my turn to weigh in and my 50 silvers went just over 15lb which was more than i thought as im still getting used to this style of fishing , peg 16 had another all ide net for 18lb ,the lake flyer peg where i was last week had another carp weight of 19lb so i ended up fourth not really what i wanted and I’m sure that if i had fished a better match i could have framed today but at least i had caught a few fish almost trebling those either side of me .

Not to sure if i can make the next round on lucky dip + prospect lakes  as the wife is working Saturday night so that will be one of my dropped matches but if i can sort something out i will try to fish it as i don’t want to limit myself to the results i can get rid of as it will be hard enough keeping at the top of the league with the standard of anglers fishing it .

Diggle AC winter league old hough

November 10th , peg 18 goose lake old hough


Today was the first round of the Diggle AC winter league at old hough with eight matches taking place on goose,boulders,lucky dip and prospect , it has been awhile since i had contested a winter league and was quite looking forward to it even if it was going to take place on waters i had yet to try at the fishery which would make it more of a challenge . Yet again the weather leading up to todays match was pretty lousy with lots of rain and gale force winds although the temperatures were still high for the time of year , i just suppose it is something that we will have to get used to but it is a lot better than snow and ice in my opinion .When i woke on the morning of the match the weather didn’t look that bad it was a bit breezy but at least it was still dry well for the time being anyway ,i set off on the short thirty mile journey to the venue at 730am and just as i got of the motorway it went ominously dark with black clouds congregating above the inevitably soon happened as the rain absolutely lashed it down for a full twenty minutes only easing when i pulled into the fishery but luckily it was the only down pour we saw during the day .


Obviously i was the first to arrive but i didn’t have to wait too long before all eighteen anglers turned up and the draw began , i waited for the crowd to die down before taking my turn and strangely for me i pulled out number 18 on goose the out-and-out flyer for the lake although to be honest i would have rather been on the same peg on boulders , on arriving at my peg you could see why it has the recent form as it had a bridge plus aerator to my right and it was also only 13m wide which would be handy if the wind increased during the day as it was forecast to do .As it was a new venue for me today i had done my homework on it and was told that it had a good head of 3 to the pound ide , barbel , carp plus the usual smattering of f1s and as recent winning weights were around the forty pound mark rightly or wrongly i felt that targeting ide was out of the question preferring to go for the bigger stamp of fish and i decided to fish three areas of the peg ;

Dobbing across to the far-bank reeds i plumbed up to find three-foot in front of them so as usual i began six-inch of the deck before working through the layers if i began missing bites my rig was a matrix 0.2 series three float with a spread bulk of number 11 stotz along the 012 garbo line which was direct to a size 16 lwg hook .

Pellet rig i managed to find a flat bottom around 11m at a touch under three-foot my rig was 4×12 malman roob float which had a bulk shotting pattern on the 012 garbo main line just above the short three-inch 010 garbo hook length and my hook was a size 18 lwg .

Channel line i put this towards the aerator at six meters were i found just over five foot my float was a 4×14 malman roob with a carbon stem which had the usual bulk at two foot + two dropper shotting pattern the main line was the usual 012 garbo with a six-inch 010 hook length that had a size twenty lwg hook attached .


My side tray consisted of the usual ;

Two pints red and white maggots

One pint soaked micros

One pint soaked 4mm pellets

One slice of steamed and rolled bread

Small tub of 4mm expanders

The all in sounded at ten o’clock and i decided to spend the first hour dobbing bread across until it got to windy plus it will also give me chance to see where everybody else was fishing before i put bait in on the wrong areas off my peg , i started towards the reeds on the left six-inch of the deck with a 7mm punch of bread on the hook i was lift+dropping the rig so that it fluttered down slowly hopefully catching the eye of a passing carp . It took me awhile to find an area of the far-bank where i got any indications but i still needed to find the depth which the fish were comfortable in and i finally got my first fish at two foot deep it wasn’t the hoped for carp but a barbel not really what i expected to catch , by working my rig in all the gaps between the reed bed i was getting lots of indications which kept me interested although i was struggling to connect with them a change to an 11mm punch before pushing it tight to the tins produced a 1lb chub yet again not what i wanted to be getting and i was on the verge of packing it in when my float buried a sharp lift resulted in yards of elastic disappearing under the bridge before the hook pulled .

The dobbing line really wasn’t working out as i had planned so i decided to bin it off and went on my eleven meter pellet line i tapped in some micros before lowering my rig in among it then waited for a sign of fish , nothing happened so i repeated the process every couple of minutes i hoped that the falling bait would attract the attention of an f1 but thirty minutes past and still nothing nearly two hours of the match had passed with only three fish in the net i was on the verge of blowing another flyer so i needed to have a re-think on what to do next . Every twenty minutes i had put a pot of maggots under the aerator this could be my make or break method today first drop on this line and a little dip on the float resulted in a hand sized skimmer coming to the bank i began a little run of these fish although they wasn’t massive at least i was adding to my net , a change to feeding through a kinder pot resulted in a bigger stamp of silver fish and i had an hour of catching these but i still needed to catch some bonus fish to do any good so when bites on this line died off i decided to rest it for a while .

The wind was gusting quite strong into my right hand margin so i decided to plumb up my three-foot rig along here and started again first with pellets then going to maggots if i needed to with the wind blowing hard it made controlling the rig pretty difficult and a really should have changed to a heavier one , instead of tapping in pellets i decided to feed a full kinder pot then try to hold my rig still over the top of it and it took a couple of these before i had my first indication which was a positive sign not long after i had a skimmer over a pound it didn’t take much longer before i finally had my first carp which at 7lb doubled my weight two smaller ones quickly followed then it understandably slowed so i changed back to my channel line while it rested .

I had kept feeding my aerator swim and first drop i noticed a little dink on the float i half expected it to be another silver but a little shoal of barbel had settled there i managed six on the trot before they backed off , by rotating these two lines i managed to keep a nice stamp of fish coming to the net and it was all going reasonably well until the final forty minutes when back on my channel swim i hooked another big carp it was just about in netting range when i noticed that my landing net had become loose so stupidly rather than scoop it i let the elastic go from the side pulla while i tightened up the net , i replayed the carp again got it back to the net then the hook pulled after a few choice swear words i shipped back out another quick bite and i was attached to a barbel which was no bigger than any other i had caught but for some reason the hook length broke I’m not sure if losing the carp before had weakened it but i couldn’t quite get my head round the reason why , back out again with a fresh hook length on another quick bite resulted in another bumped barbel that was nearly ten pound lost in 15 minutes things were going a bit pear-shaped but i did kind of pull things back with a carp and an f1 strangely my only one of the day .

As the all out sounded i thought i had done reasonably well but as i would be the last to weigh in i would have to wait and see , after i had packed up i caught up with the scales man on Boulders lake as i could be drawn on their next week it was noticeable that this lake was not as affected by the elements the weights were all around the mid twenty pound mark with the top two anglers having over thirty pounds from the high numbered pegs . Back on goose lake and weights again was very similar to Boulders  i was a bit surprised in just how many nets of ide had been caught maybe i had dropped the ball in not fishing for them today , when they got to my peg i had 32lb to beat and i was rather confortant of having more than that although when the scales went round to 36lb it was a bit closer than i imagined .

All in all i ended up first on Goose and second overall so not a bad start to the winter league sitting joint top of the table but very early days yet , i think i have learned a great deal about the lake which i think will put a few extra fish in the net so i will have a think during the week on how best to carry out my ideas and can’t wait to get back there on Sunday .

Limbrick fishery match lake

November 7th , peg four match lake


I had intended on contesting the open match at Partridge lakes but with the rain continuing to pour down and now there was the threat of a strengthening breeze so i decided for an extra few hours in bed , around dinner time it was forecast to get a bit better and luckily for me it did as i spotted some blue skies in the distance this was all the incentive i needed to back my gear into the van before heading off to Limbrick fishery . I arrived at the venue around 1230 and unsurprisingly i was the only person there so with all the lake to choose from i settled on peg four as this would give me chance to give both sides of the water a chance , with only a few hours on the bank i decided to keep it pretty simple choosing to concentrate on dobbing bread which i have never done much of in the past but it will come really useful in the coming winter months .


Dobbing rig , i plumbed up across to the far-bank reeds where i found an average depth of 4 foot so i set my rig at 3 1/2 foot which was six-inch off the deck this is always a good place to start and i also left a longish lash between float + pole tip so this would give me plenty of depth to work with , my float was an 0.2 series three matrix float which had a strung out shotting patterns of number 11 stotz and my line was 012 garbo direct to a size 16 lwg hook .

Pellet rig , between the two reed beds in front of the mud bank i plumbed up to find a flat area at 3ft on both sides which would give me a couple of options regarding feeding and with the wind increasing a bit i decided to use a 4×14 malman roob float with a bulk above the short 3 inch 010 hook length my main line was 014 garbo .


Bait for the day was ;

Small tub 4mm expanders

Half pint soaked micros

Slice of bread cut into 4 pieces with two punches one 7mm the other 10mm

I began dobbing bread in a hole towards the left of my swim i managed to push the rig right in among the reeds with a 7mm disk of bread on the hook and i began lifting+dropping the float but five minutes of inactivity got me moving to another area which was directly in front of me i still stayed at the same depth as i started at because i felt it was right and would only alter it if i began to miss a few bites , another five minutes past without a sign when out of the blue it shot under and after a spirited fight a mirror carp around the 2lb mark hit the net it’s always nice to get your first fish under your belt when using a new method on a relatively new venue . By fishing in the same area of my peg i managed a nice run of ten carp including a couple around the 4lb mark plus a couple of hand sized silvers and it was all so simple really the bites would usually come just as the float settled from lift+dropping the rig with the disc of bread catching their eye as it fluttered down .



In the distance the dark clouds started grouping together and it wasn’t long before the rain started again because the fishery was near rivington it can often get the worst of the weather as the clouds need to lighten their load before going over winter hill which is something to bear in mind if you plan on giving the place a try in the near future , i was struggling to keep my bait dry and the damp conditions had a detrimental effect on my bread that i was using as i could only manage half a dozen punches before it got to fluffy for the hook then kept falling off on the ship out although when i did get it across to the far-bank the carp were still feeding and seemed to be coming even shallower as now 2ft was the best depth to use .


The rain didn’t look like stopping any time soon so i decided to try my pellet swim until conditions improved and i choose to fish on the right side of the mud-bank a bit further up the shelf than were i was catching dobing bread , i wanted to try a different feeding pattern today my plan was that i would begin by sprinkling in a few micros every couple of minutes to try to draw some fish into my feed zone and then when i began catching i would change to dumping the pellets in i hopped this would keep the fish on the deck making them easier to catch well thats what i intended on doing but fishing doesn’t always work out like that . As i mentioned earlier i started sprinkling in the micros and almost instantly i began getting line bites with fish not wanting to stay on the deck this gave me no option but to change to the dumping method earlier than i wanted , this kind of worked as i was managing to keep my hook bait still right over the top of the micros which resulted in me picking off the odd f1 including a couple around the 2lb mark but it was a lot slower than the last time i fished pellets here which was round the other side of the lake and it seemed there was less f1s on the lower number pegs although i may be wrong as this is only my second trip to Limbrick fishery .


With the rain finally easing and some blue sky appearing in the distance i decided to spend my remaining time back dobbing bread because it was definitely the method to use as i was getting more bites using it and the carp were of a nice stamp as well , i had to stick my 14m section on to find another area which held a few fish and yet again i had a good run all caught at about 2ft off the deck and when i started being bothered by the silvers again i changed to a bigger 11mm punch this reduced the amount of indications i was getting but the fish i was getting were of a bigger stamp .After nearly three hours and the light fading fast i decided to call time on a short but enjoyable session here i ended up with thirty fish on my clicker which included half a dozen hand sized silvers for around 30lb i was a bit disappointed with my pellet line but that’s fishing for you and it was obvious that they wasn’t happy feeding on the deck probably down to all the cold rain going in over the last few days .

Weston pools fishery

Canal peg twenty , August 2nd


After a couple of weeks of feeling rather disheartened with the way my fishing was going i decided to try a change of scenery to see if that would help get my spark back and out of the blue i got an invite to contest a big eighty pegger at Weston pols which is a place that i have heard great things about so i jumped at the chance especially after my first visit there a month ago when i caught a shedfull and a real mixed bag as well .

The draw was due to take place at ten o’clock which meant that i didn’t have to set off that early which i was pleased about and in fact i only left the house at 730 which is when i would normally set off to Partridge lakes the sixty mile trip to the fishery went really well and i was glad to leave the grim weather conditions of Wigan for the sunny if rather blustery Oswestry, i arrived just before nine o’clock this gave me plenty of time to book on the match then check out all five of the waters in the draw bag apart from the Clay pit which is situated a mile off the complex this was also the one i didn’t fancy drawing mainly because i hadn’t have a clue on how to get there .


At ten o’clock they started the draw which went really smoothly and i picked out canal twenty this didn’t mean a great deal but no doubt it will be a flyer if previous experiences where to go by , when i finally located were i would be fishing it was found on the end of the split and like majority of the pegs on here i had a really nice margin on either side with the far-bank being nearly thirty meters away which would be ideal for a feeder chuck if i hadn’t left it at home a novice mistake but to be honest i didn’t expect to use it after my last visit here .

Upon settling in at my peg i decided not to over complicate things and target just three areas which were ;

Shallow , i had three rigs set up to cover the upper layers which were 1ft , 2ft, 3ft and i used an 0.1 Matrix series one float with 012 Matrix line to a 010 garbo hook length which had a size twenty matrix bagger hook elastic was orange size 10 matrix ..

Top kit , i used a 4×14 malman speedy float with 014 matrix line and a 012 garbo hook length which had a size 16 matrix bagger hook elastic was red size 12 matrix .

Margin , i used a 4×12 malman speedy float with 016 matrix line and a 014 garbo hook length which had a size 16 matrix bagger hook elastic was yellow size 14 matrix .


With the fishery having a strict five pint limit i was in a bit of a quandary on what to take with me but i finally settled on ;

2 pints of casters

2 pints corn+hemp

1 pint fishery 4mm pellets

As the all in sounded in the distance i cupped in some corn+hemp on to my top kit line and went over the top of it with a piece of corn on the hook , with the aerators always being left on while the match took place my rig was towing through and i had to lay six-inch of line on the deck to keep it still long enough to attract a bite and i should really have changed it for a heavier float but as I’m still getting used to the venue i will know for next time . On my last visit when i fished Belvidere the top kit was quite prolific for a wide variety of fish today though it was slow with only the odd crucian+barbel and i think it was a mistake not feeding pellets , in the first hour i had 15lb on my clicker not really what i expected and all the time i had fished i was pinging half a dozen casters on to my six meter shallow line this was usually a banker method at this time of year on here but yet again it was slow going and i had to work extremely hard to attract bites ;

changing depths

changing shotting patterns

constantly laying my rig through the falling bait

I found the 3ft rig was the best depth and letting it hang at full depth for ten seconds sometimes got you a bite from a bigger f1 but most of the time i was getting ide upto the 2lb mark , after two hours i had thirty pounds on the clicker plus the silvers net which i didn’t count  and i could only see a couple of other anglers due to the bank side vegetation i was keeping up with their catch rate but i had noticed that both of them were already fishing in the margin catching the odd carp+barbel i thought it was a bit early in the match to be doing it but as my other lines were not really producing so i decided to follow suit and put in two cups of corn+hemp+pellets on to my left hand swim leaving what i would hope to be the better right hand swim towards the point of the island for later in the match .


After spending another twenty minutes shallow with just the odd fish to show for it so i decided to have a look on my margin almost straight away i was getting indications and it didn’t take long before my float shot under after a spirited fight i had a pristine five-pound common in the net , a couple of smaller ones followed before i began catching crucians around the pound mark so i refed with two more cups of bait and normally i would feed after every fish but the five pint limit had me a bit concerned . While i had been fishing my margin i had fed my top four line quite heavily with casters by hand to see what response i got when i saw a few swirls plus some dark shapes under the surface so i grabbed my shallowest rig and began laying it through the falling casters , it didn’t take too long before i was picking up some nice ide but they began to back off and as we was approaching the final ninety minutes i decided to concentrate on my margins .


I mixed all my remaining bait together which gave me just over two pints of particles perfect for the carp+barbel and i put in one cupful on each side before topping up with a kinder pot after every fish , this worked really well as i went on a run of carp on my left hand swim before swapping swims to my right hand side with the same result and my clicker was ticking along nicely . In the last thirty minutes i thought that i could be approaching the ton but i then had a dreadful spell of bumping off four decent carp none of which i felt was foul hooked and where no doubt down to me being a bit eager with the side puller although i don’t think i was overly aggressive , i did manage to catch a couple before the all out sounded including one right on the whistle which called time on a very enjoyable match in pleasant surroundings .


When the scales arrived i felt that i would be just short of the magical ton and unfortunately that was the case when after three weighs it was added up to 96lb i followed the scales down my section and was still in front until the last person had 103lb so near yet again but on my first try at a match on here i was really happy learning a great deal . overall the match was won with 150lb and 16 tons in total from the eighty anglers which were spread all over the complex although Weir + Clay pit seemed to have fished the best and my weight put me in the top 25 .

After speaking to a few of the locals after the match plus looking at the results on the internet it seems that the method feeder across , fishing the top four and margins was the best tactic on canal and i cant wait to get back there again which will hopefully be next weekend either the rover on Saturday as i quite fancy trying Canal twenty again or the open on Sunday i am going to find out which lakes are in the draw bag before i decide .