My year in fishing 2017

As the year turns i always like to have a look through all my match results to see how well or badly that i have done , after deciding not to do any of the major qualifiers this time as i have usually struggled to get a day’s fishing on any of them preferring to take my chance on a few of the local festivals and team events as i had been invited to join the Daiwa Adlington squad this turned out to be a good decision for me as i managed ;

Partridge winter league individual ended up 13th with ten points from five rounds but an extra point here and there would have made all the difference .

Weston pools spring three-day festival a bad last day pushed me out of the top ten into 14th .

Cunneries spring league teams of three which was my first attempt at team fishing and Adlington ended up 4th overall .

Mossella summer league after missing two rounds i had no room for error and one bad match dropped me down to 9th .

Weston pools natural bait festival ended up joint 5th with 3 points although i tried to force my peg on the last day because i needed a good weight to make the frame which didnt really work out for me .

Cunneries autumn league teams of three were we ended up 5th .

Old Hough winter league after winning the first three matches i am now second with one round remaining but there’s only one point in it so hopefully i can pull it back next year .


I also did a few one-off events which i did reasonably well on ;

Cunneriers charity match win with sixty anglers contesting the event my biggest match win to date .

Golborne miners charity match win at cunneries fishery

Cunneries pairs event finished sixth overall with three points and i managed a section win .

Bradshaw’s inter club challenge i ended up third overall but the team struggled .

Partridge pairs event were we had a top 12 finish .

Angling times supercup  where i managed a section win for the 4th year running but the team got beat 4-2 .

North vs South at Tunnel barn farm i was second in my ten peg section which helped the North win for the second year running .

Hooked for heroes match on Wrightington canals were i ended up third overall .

Lloyd’s meadow interclub match i ended up fourth and the team won on the day .

In the few open matches that i managed to squeeze in during the year i had a mixed bag of results which was only to be expected on the venues that i fished , my best match was a third place finish at Partridge lakes although i was on a very good peg ;

Wins — four

Second — two



In the heart of summer i went on a good run of getting five straight ton plus weights from three different venues ;

Hall lane bessies pool on the mossella league 170lb and 103lb

Cunneries s canal 110lb and 100lb

Weston pools belvedere 100lb

Of all the matches that i have contested during this year the one which sticks in my mind the most is the open about a month ago at Partridge lakes when i just missed out on getting on the board with just twelve f1s for 17lb and i had to work really hard for every single one of them , missing a grand total of just two indications i felt that i had made the correct decisions and got the most from a very average peg which means more to me than winning any open match .

So all in all i feel that my year has gone really well for me as i am just an average angler who lacks a winning mentality but if i want to keep improving that will be something that i need to work on , my plans for next year will be very similar but i need to give myself a better chance on the festivals and leagues by doing more practice on the venues rather than trying to wing it which gives me little room for making bad choices , i would also like to thank Leigh tackle for inviting me to be part of the newly formed match group which i am really looking forward to and also everyone that has taken the time to read and like my blog because after four years it is still going strong even after the influx of blogs which have made their way onto Facebook .


Weston pools fishery

September 16th

I decided to have a change of venue today and headed off to Weston Pools Fishery for a bit of practice before next week’s natural bait festival which i am contesting for the third year running and i seem to be improving on every one of them so fingers crossed it will continue for me , with the recent drop in temperature and cold rain going in the lakes I expected the fishing to be quite tough as you are targeting mainly carp+barbel but I always enjoy fishing this venue and to be honest it is my favorite match water because it’s totally different from anywhere in the north-west i just wish it was a few miles closer .

On my arrival to Weston pools I booked on to the match then had a quick walk around belvedere and i noticed that the fishery staff had done a lot of work removing overhanging branches + general tidying up the banks in readiness for the upcoming festival , this was the only water that I wanted to be on as the other two lakes in the rover wasn’t going to be in next weekend and to be honest i have always struggled on this lake for some reason so i could do with the practice even if it did mean i had little chance of framing today , after taking note of a few pegs that i fancied i made my way back to the cabin stopping off on the way to talk too a few friendly faces who i hadn’t seen for quite some time and when i finally got there it was nearly draw time , I managed to pull out ball eight which meant i was mid way in the queue for a pick and one by one all the best pegs went.

When it came to my turn I decided to settle on peg 22 belvedere which although wasnt a fancied peg it did give me a bit of room and to be honest there isn’t much point sitting on a flyer because you don’t learn a great deal plus i would be very unlikely to sit on one in the festival with so many draw bags in attendance , I set up a few rigs to cover my options ;

Top kit line between your nets which is usually a banker method on here for the barbel , even though it was only a touch over three-foot deep i used a 4×16 joof float with all the bulk above my 4 inch hook length to get the bait to the deck really quickly .

Bottom of the near slope at three meters were it was around five foot deep and i used a 4×14 joof float with a staggered bulk starting above my four-inch 014 garbo hook length .

Margin rig top three towards my left in 18 inches of water at the side of some reeds which was the shallowest water i could find and i used a 0.4 MD margin munter float , my main line was 0.17 garbo and hook length 0.16 garbo which had a size 14 guru lwg hook .

Six meter rig for fishing on the deck under my shallow line and my float was a 4×12 joof float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern .

Two shallow rigs set at two foot + one foot , my floats were a 4×10 MD mini mag with a small bulk above a four-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Bait for the day was;

3 pints of casters

2 pints of corn and hemp

2 pints of corn

When the all in sounded I fed my top three-line with half a cupping kit full of corn+hemp mix and while it settled I had a quick look on my top kit for hopefully a quick couple of barbel but this just produced a small silver with no more bites or liners that was a waste of time but i would keep dropping on it now + again during the match , I then went on to my top three swim and had a bite almost straight away which I pulled out of, then I hooked something a bit bigger which after a spirited fight snapped my 6lb hook length after spending the last few months just catching f1’s i needed to get my head around this style of fishing were they pulled back a bit ! !

After an hour I had next to nothing in the net so I went on my shallow six meter swim which I had primed from the start feeding a dozen casters every few minutes but all this just produced was hand sized silvers so you can safely say so far it wasn’t going to well  , i did try my deck rig underneath my shallow swim but this just produced line bites and maybe i should have set up a new rig for fishing at half depth .

Two hours of the match had already passed and i had about ten pounds in the net so I re-plumbed a new swim at top four towards my right at the bottom of the slope , after feeding some corn+hemp through a large kinder pot i began getting the odd bite from decent fish and topping up every time i caught one worked remarkably well as I had a good run of carp+barbel right up to the all out , but I lost a lot of fish today and i even did a bit of squirreling lol no doubt this was due to the fact that i wasnt used to playing fish of this size which pulled back a bit .

When the all out sounded I ended up with just short of 60lb this was good enough for third on the lake + fifth overall but with just 74lb coming third in the match it was a missed opportunity for me today and i really need to start taking these chances when they present themselves , I had probably fished my worst match in a long time today but at least I had got it out-of-the-way and I learned quite a bit which is my main reason for going.

I’m looking forward to spending most of the week re doing hook lengths and making new rigs in preparation of the natural bait festival next weekend which is always my highlight of the fishing season before it turns to scratching for bites on the multiple winter leagues i am doing this year .

Weston pools natural bait festival 2015

weston pools natural bait festival

Well today was the day for my second ever festival and as you would expect i was really looking forward to it as it was to take place on the mightily impressive Weston pools fishery , as you are all probably aware i have fished it for the last six weeks and been getting some reasonable results the class of angler that these big money matches attract it would always be difficult to compete but i was going to give it my best shot . There was seventy people down to fish the festival and these would be split over four lakes on the complex in a rotation system with Belvedere and weir being on one day then canal and stretton the other day each water would have two eight peg sections and the top two in each of them would pick up some money , for some reason on this festival they had decided to score points on your final position on the lake not sections which would always count against the average anglers like me especially if you get a bad draw .

We needed to get there pretty earlier on the first day so i began on my journey at around 630 as we were expected to book on between eight and nine , the draw was to take place at 1030 then we was due to fish between 12 and 5 , then back to the clubhouse for something to eat while we awaited the first day’s results then do day two’s draw before heading of home around 8 o’clock so it was going to be a very long day and next year i will definitely looking at staying over . After hanging around for what seemed like an age we finally were ready for the draw and my golden arm had let me down recently today was no different as peg 29 Belvidere stuck to my hand not the best of starts one of the worst pegs on the least fancied water , on getting to my home for the day it did look really fishy with two long reed lined margins and plenty of open water to target especially as the aerator had been turned off but the only real downside that i could see was that this area was in the shade with a cold wind blowing this way as well which would have meant the water temps would be a bit colder plus all the lads down the other side were wearing t-shirts were i was wrapped up shivering .


I decided to fish a nice uncomplicated match with just three lines to get me a few bites these were ;

Margin , i plumbed up on 4m either side so i could find the same depth which was nearly 4ft and i used a 4×12 malman speedy with 016 garbo main line and an 014 garbo hook length which had a size 14 guru lwg hook .

Top four line , here i found the crease in the lake bed although it was only six-inch deeper because i would be fishing maggot on this line i used a 4×12 malman roob float with a carbon stem which had a bulk and two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was 014 garbo which had an 012 garbo hook length attached to it was a size 18 matrix bagger hook .

Ten meter line , i would be fishing this on the deck with a size 4×12 malman roob float with a carbon stem which had a bulk with two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was 014 garbo which had an 012 garbo hook length attached to it was a size 18 matrix bagger hook and i would fire in maggots over the top looking for signs of the fish coming shallow if they did i had a 4×8 preston chianti set 2ft deep with 012 garbo direct to a size 20 matrix bagger hook .


My bait was also simplicity itself with just ;

two pints corn

three pints red and white maggots

As the gun shots sounded in the distance signalling the all in i went onto my top foul line feeding maggots through a kinder pot every five minutes it took awhile before i began getting indications and not to long after that i began putting some fish in the net which were a nice stamp of ide but it was very slow going , after a while i began getting stupid bites and i couldn’t believe that they had come up in the water so close in so i flicked my shallow rig over the top this produced a couple of f1s but as i expected they didn’t want to settle . I had fed my ten meter swim with a catty since the match started so i decided to give my short line a rest and went to see what had settled on my long line but yet again i was only catching ide on the deck not the hoped for f1s or carp which was a surprise , by alternating between the two swims i kept adding a few fish including a bonus carp which took the maggot hookbait on the drop and although i wasn’t really bagging in the back of my mind i was always confident of my margins producing as it is a noted big carp area .

With ninety minutes of the match remaining and with the guy on the opposite bank picking up the odd carp from his spare platform i decided to give my margin swim a whirl , after feeding it for the past few hours with half a cup of corn every thirty minutes so i expected a few fish to be settled but after spending ten minutes on each side without even a sign i didn’t want to waste any more time there so went back to pick up a few more ide and i must have tried fishing the margin half a dozen times without an indication before the all out which was really puzzling as i can usually rely on it to get me out of trouble i could only think it was down to the shade on my side of the lake . As i was waiting for the scales to arrive i had a quick walk round and it was very noticeable that half of the lake had fished hard with most anglers admitting to under 50lb with the sunny side having nearly 70-80lb , the weighman soon arrived with the first angler in my section who also won the lake was young Jack O O’Sullivan with 83lb and then the pole fishing editor Tom Scholey put 56lb on the scales to take second and my nets went 46lb which was more than i thought this got me third in the section but only tenth on the lake so that was my festival up in smoke .

On getting back to the cabin i caught up with a few of my mates and they had done a lot better than me with one getting second on Belvidere lake and the other third on canal pool so they was both in the running for a top six finish , after the results were called out it was time for the draw and i hoped for some better luck which is what i hoped i had got with peg nine stretton sticking to my hand as this was a noted flyer Joe Carass had caught 90lb from it today so i was understandably looking forward to catching a few fish tomorrow now it was time for the long drive home .

Day two 

With the draw already having taken place the day before there was no need for an early start because nobody was allowed around the waters before ten o’clock and i arrived at the fishery around 1030 this allowed me plenty time to get ready for the 12 o’clock start , after my short walk to my peg i was surprised to find that they had cut down the over hanging willow tree on the far bank plus the pegging was really tight along this part of the lake and i felt that this might have a detrimental to affect how my peg would fish but down the bottom end near the bay they were well spaced out


I planned on fishing a nice easy match with just a few swims i hoped that this would help me concentrate on getting the feeding right on each of them because that is what is letting me down at present ;

Top three-line , with the water being a bit colder of late i decided to fish this at the bottom of the slope in the crease of the lake bed i had been told that the barbel hang around this peg and to set up a line either side of me but with an angler to my left i decided to just put the one in towards the spare peg , i used a 4×12 malman roob with a carbon stem it had a bulk + dropper shotting pattern as i would be feeding maggots on this line my main line was 014 garbo with a 012 garbo hook length which had a size 18 matrix bagger hook .

Margin , i put this in on either side tight to the bank i used a top kit to my left and top four to my right which was just a meter of the spare platform i couldn’t really go any closer as the other angler on that side had plumbed up right in front of it , with it being nearly 4ft deep i used a 4×12 malman speedy float which had a glass stem to help withstand being dragged through the rushes or even worse my keepnets and my main line was 016 garbo and 014 garbo hook length which had a size 16 guru lwg hook .

Shallow , i didn’t really have much success using this recently but i always feel it’s worth setting up if they turn up i had two rigs set up one at 2ft the other at 3ft both were the same 4×8 preston chianti float with 3 number eleven stotz spread down the 012 garbo line which was direct to a size twenty matrix bagger hook .


Bait today was ;

4 pints maggots

1 pint of corn

When the all in sounded i went on my top three-line to my right and i began feeding this every three minutes with maggots after about ten minutes i had my first fish which was yet again an ide they keep on following me over the weekends matches , after catching a dozen of these in thirty minutes they seemed to disappear and i soon found out why when my next fish was a carp around the 4lb mark after that though the crucians moved in  i decided to rest the swim but kept feeding it , so i plumbed up a new line at 13m using the same rig obviously i couldn’t feed it by hand at that distance so i picked up the catty and fed every three minutes with a dozen maggots yet again the ide moved in first but although they was there in numbers they didn’t weigh a great deal and i needed to find out where the f1s+carp are in my peg .

From what i could hear those anglers down the split to my left were also struggling to find a better stamp of fish and it seemed all the bigger fish had followed the wind down towards the bay where there was a bit of room soon half the match had passed the fish seemed to disappear all together and with the guy to my right big potting towards the platform i decided to go out to 16m so i could fish towards the empty peg opposite with maggots , i fed through a large kinder pot and although it was awkward shipping back as i needed to break down twice but it was worth it as i finally began getting the odd f1+barbel which was bumping my weight up . When i had a run of crucians though i decided to set up a new line towards the tree stump but this time using corn i fed half a dozen samples then waited for a proper bite after ten minute my float shot under and i was attached to my first carp for nearly two hours after a five-minute fight i had it in the net no more indications on this line so i was soon picking up my margin rig , i had flicked a mix of mags + corn to my left in the cut out in between the reeds almost as soon as my rig had settled i was attached to a barbel and i was rubbing my hands together thinking that a shoal had settled there but no it was a loner .

With the last hour fast approaching i decided to concentrate on my top three-line to my left hand side as this was where the barbel turn up late in the match and this time i wasn’t going to be disappointed because i had a run of them straight away , by feeding heavily i soon had them lined up and i also had the odd carp mixed in between i think i put at least twenty pound in the net before the all out sounded .  I knew i hadn’t done well enough to finish in the top five on the lake as those anglers in the bay had caught really well but i still had a good day even if it was rather confusing . When the scales arrived on the lake i walked down to the bottom end and followed them round there was two ton weights and a few 90lb from that end of the lake my section was won with 120lb by young Jack O’Sullivan who had now won both days so will be well in contention for winning the competition , i put 65lb on the scales which put me second in the section for the time being before Rossendale matrix top bagger Andy berry had 75lb on the next peg and there was no more weights of any note from down the split so yet again i had finished third in my section but tenth on the lake .

On getting back to the cabin to await the results i managed to catch up with my mates and one had blown out like me the other had managed 4th which put him on six points so we needed to wait and see if that would get him into the top five , after a while the results were read out and he ended up sixth just out of the money there was also a tie for the top place between Andy Bennett and Jack O’Sullivan with the f1 bagger winning on weight . Thanks to all those that took part and helped run an extremely good festival just a shame it wasn’t run on section points as i would have finished a lot higher than a top forty position also an extra day would have been nice but i just suppose i will have to make do with the Welsh national at Weston pools tomorrow instead as a guest angler in the Matrix LTB team lets hope i do not embarrass myself .


Weston pools natural bait festival rules

I have copied this directly from the weston pools website in case anybody has missed it 2015 Natural Baits Festival arrangements…

Thursday 24th September – Pre festival drinks at Weston Club House (for the brave!)

Friday 25th September – Registration starts at Weston Tackle at 08:30 and closes at 09:30 All anglers fishing the festival are to sign in at the shop and pay both days “Super Pool” (optional) by 09:30 no exception.

Draw for day 1 – random draw all pegs in fishing lakes Belvidere, Stretton, Canal, Weir,

Based on 64 anglers fishing (numbers correct as of Tuesday 22/9/15)

16 anglers on each lake.

11:30 – Bait check – strict 5 pint limit to be observed please note this is a Pole only as advertised Natural Baits tournament. – Allowable bait as follows

Caster, Maggot (all types), Worm, Corn, and Hemp no other bait allowed and must be presented in five pints; no ground bait allowed no liquid additives flavours / colours allowed.

 Worm = 1 pint

All bait to be presented in appropriate bait containers, demonstrating quantities. We are aiming for a “fair for all” approach and making the contest the same for everyone. Checks will be carried out by Weston staff and Pole Fishing reps.

All In 12pm fishing till 5pm start and finish by the hooter, matches to be fished in accordance with Tri-Cast Weston’s Open match rules please make yourself familiar with the net rule ALL NETS  must be dipped on arrival and laid out at anglers pegs they are entered into the water ten minutes before the all in. Fish split as follows – Net 1 – All Silver fish, Barbel to 2Lb and anything else under 1Lb.

Nets 2 / 3 direct fish split 50/50 with a limit of 60Lb per net.  Weston representatives will coordinate the weigh in please do not crowd the Scalesmen and checkers.

Day 1 result will take place along with hot food (and beer!!) in the Club House from 18:30.

IMPORTANT Day two draw will also take place after the result on Friday evening. And to clarify the fishery will be closed from anyone walking around after the weigh in.

Friday evening at the club house entertainment in the form of Karaoke (Tom Scholey leading this) and Hardcore tunes will follow the food result and draw….

Keep Nets can be left at the fishery overnight if anglers wish to do so see Richie in the morning for location.

Saturday 26th Day 2 – Anglers will know their peg allocation from the previous evening entry to lakes is allowed from 10:00 and not before to avoid any confusion no one is allowed through the gates less fishery staff before this time. All in 12:00 All out 17:00 with the bait check again from 11:30.

Anglers that fished Belvidere or Wier on day one will rotate and fish either Canal or Stretton on day two, vice versa anglers that were pegged on Canal or Stretton on day one will then fish Belvidere or Wier on day two

The final result will be decided on section points 16 anglers per lake 16 points in each section 1 point for a lake (section win) 16 for last place if there is a tie on points weight count back will decide the eventual winner.

Payout as follows (Based on 64 anglers)

£100 per eight peg sections 1st = £60 2nd = £40 …… 2 sections per lake four anglers picking up section money per lake per day

Over all winners pools = 1st £1000 2nd £600 3rd £500 4th £400 5th £300 6th £200 7th £136. Paid out after two days competition to the top seven over all anglers.

Super Pool – optional and will pay out dependant on numbers entered – based on full entry £10 per day paying top five each day 1st £256 2nd £160 3rd £128 4th £96 5th £64

Final result and celebrations (hot food) in the Club House from 18:30.