Widows flash fishery

November 18th

widdows fishery

With the weather looking pretty reasonable for the time of year , blue skies , light winds and a settled ten degree temperature which had been similar all week , so with this in mind i decided to make the effort to get on the bank again for the first time in a couple of months after my little operation just to see if i could get the enjoyment back . Obviously when you are pleasure fishing you want a few bites to keep you active and warm so today i would be hopefully targeting the silvers , which are plentiful in Widdows flash fishery with some nice sized skimmers and roach although i had not been here in a couple of years but i couldn’t see much changing in that time .

After my short ten minute drive to the fishery i was surprised to see half a dozen anglers already there which looked promising although they was on the favoured pegs , from previous experience i knew that the car park side pegs were very shallow so those were out of the question and i finally settled on peg 19 were it was a couple of feet deeper but i had to contend with the footpath behind me although i could not see that being too much of a problem in the brisk conditions and i could always break down twice if it got busy with dog walkers .

On settling in at my home for the next couple of hours i decided to keep things simple while it was a short session and i just set up ;

top four line towards my left at the bottom of the near slope in 4ft and i would feed this by hand with maggots so used a 4×10 maggie float with a strung out shotting pattern , main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 010 garbo which had a size 20 guru maggot hook attached .

eight meter line down the center of the lake were it was just over five foot deep and i would feed maggots here by catty so i used a 4×12 maggie float with a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern  , main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 010 garbo which had a size 18 guru maggot hook attached .

At eleven o’clock i was ready to start fishing and as i was setting up i kept an eye on those other anglers near me but i had only seen one small silver being caught , so with this in mind i was going to be very wary with the amount of bait i put in . I sprinkled a dozen maggots in down the track and began on my top four swim throwing four maggots around my float every couple of minutes then laying my rig through the falling bait , after nearly an hour i was still biteless and i had still only seen that small silver been caught right at the start of the session , so i needed to either have a review of things or just pack up and go home thankfully i managed to talk myself into doing the former of them and plumbed up a couple of new swims ;

13m directly in front at the bottom of the far bank slope were it was just over 4ft deep

13m towards my right down the middle of the track were i found a small meter by meter hole where it was just six-inch deeper at just over five foot but it could make all the difference at this time of year when the fishing was difficult .

pushed my top four swim about six-inch further down the near side slope ;

I also mixed up half a pint of micros too see if the fish meal could get the skimmers interested in feeding and i decided to kinder pot in some pellets plus a couple of maggots directly in front of me then potted twice that amount on my long channel swim which i would leave for at least twenty minutes so that hopefully the skimmers would settle on it , all the time that i had done the alterations to my swims i had continued to loose feed maggots on my top four swim so i gave this another try while my other lines settled down a bit . It took about five minutes before i finally had my first indication and i then had four nice sized roach on the bounce , i couldn’t quite work out if it was just the time of day or that the slight drop down the slope had made that much of a difference but i wasnt complaining anyway .

I decided to rest my top four swim for a while and went on to my 13m line directly in front of me , after taping in a couple of maggots plus a sprinkling of micros and no sooner had my float settled then it slide under with a ten ounce skimmer making its way to the bank , for the next thirty minutes i kept putting the odd fish in the net and i was quite happy getting a few bites at last but i had to be really careful with the amount of feed i was putting in because if i over did it i would have to wait quite some time for an indication .

After awhile the bites on my long line had almost disappeared i didn’t want to kill the swim completely so i gave it another feed of micros before giving it a rest and trying my channel swim , i had to wait a lot longer for indications but the fish i did catch were well worth it because they were skimmers touching the two-pound mark and for the rest of my short session i rotated between all three swims picking a couple of fish off from each before swapping lines . At three o’clock it got noticeably colder and i was waiting a lot longer for a bite so i made the decision to call time on my fishing and after my very poor start i was pleased to end up with thirty skimmers plus a dozen roach for about twenty pounds , not to bad in the conditions and after my break away from the sport lets hope i don’t leave it as long before my next trip out on the bank .



Old Hough winter league

December 18th , peg eight boulders lake

Today was my last round of my winter league at Old Hough in Cheshire and as i was lying in sixth place due to missing a couple of rounds , i felt that i would be up against it to get in the overall money positions but i had framed in four of the previous five matches that i had fished and more importantly i had enjoyed catching a few silvers which is always nice in the cold weather . My thirty mile trip down to the fishery for the last time this year went really smoothly which made a nice change because as you all know the M6 can be a proper nightmare at times and i arrived with plenty of time to spare , i managed a quick walk around the two lakes in the draw bag and i really fancied another try on Boulders because it held a bigger stamp of fish so would obviously be easier to get a winning weight although as on Goose there was definitely a few areas you don’t want to sit in . The weather for the contest was the same as it had been for the last month with calm bright conditions and around six degrees this had made the fishing really hard everywhere , the Thursday open match taking place on these lakes had been a proper struggle with lots of anglers failing to break into double figures so all the talk at the draw was of how hard it might be today but it was the same for everyone and you just had to get on with it , when the mad rush began to have a dip in the bag of doom i managed to sneak in near the front of the queue and i was quite happy to see peg eight on Boulders lake stick to my mitt , in the earlier rounds of the winter league we had decided to leave this area out as it is never usually put in on the opens but the last couple of matches it had been put in and framed on every occasion so i was hopeful of catching a few fish .


On settling in at my home for the next few hours i had quite a lot of areas to target ;

I had about five meters along the side of the island which didn’t have a great deal of cover and as it was over 14m away i would need to ship back twice because i had a hill quite close behind , so i decided to begin my match dobbin bread in that area and after plumbing up i found it to be around 2ft deep which wasnt ideal , i used a 0.2 matrix series three float which had two number eleven stotz spread down the 014 garbo main line and my hook length was 010 garbo which had a size 18 guru pellet hook attached .

I put in two swims in the deepest water i could find which was five foot this was positioned in open water at eleven meters either side of the island and i used a 4×12 RW maggie float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was 010 garbo which had a size twenty guru maggot hook attached .

My other rig was for the bottom of the far shelf at four-foot deep and it was also the same depth at the side of some lily pads towards my left which was close enough for me to feed by hand , i used a 4×10 RW maggie float with a staggered bulk shotting pattern which would give me a slow fall of my hook bait my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was 010 garbo which had a size twenty guru maggot hook attached .


Bait for the day was ;

1 pint of red and white maggots

1/2 pint of corn

1 pint of ground-bait

1 slice of bread

small tub of 2mm expanders


When the all in sounded signalling the start of the match i shipped out to the island and began working my disk of bread all along the far bank , i was poking my rig into any likely looking area i did get the odd sign which i missed and i put this down to small roach , it was only when i pulled my rig a couple of feet away from the cover going into a some slightly deeper water that i managed a carp about three pounds and i had an ide soon after but i then struggled to get any more indications , i even tried maggots tight to the cover in case any more ide was sat in the area but this didn’t produce any bites either and i felt that if you are usually going to catch dobbin for carp there would be a little nest of fish in a certain area but because i had only managed that solitary fish i decided to put in a few grains of corn at both points of the island .

With an hour of the match gone i went onto my left hand channel swim where i had been pinging six maggots every five minutes and i hopped that a few ide might have settled on the feed as i had seen a couple of top in the area before the match started , but because nobody had drawn the early numbered pegs i feared the fish might back of into the space and after letting my rig fall through the water i began getting middered by tiny silvers , so i changed my shotting to a bulk+dropper as this would allow me to get my bait to the bottom quicker and this kind of worked for me because i did manage a couple of better fish but they wasnt the usual stamp for in here plus they also wasnt there in any numbers either .


I changed to my right hand channel swim where i had fed a ball of ground-bait at the start of the match i did this because there was a lot of hand sized skimmers in this lake and i felt that i could add a couple of pounds of them into my net while i pondered on my next move , but even they was proving hard to catch it just seemed that there wasnt many fish willing to have a feed today and everybody on my lake was struggling too , it was noticeable that only a few ide had come out so far and thinking about it after the match i wasnt quick enough in changing my feeding to target other species as i expected ide to produce the bulk of my weight today .

My next move was to go on to my four-foot rig at the bottom of the far slope and began by just trickling in a couple of maggots in case i had over done it with the feed on my other lines plus i could always increase the amount if i needed too , i started by catching a few 4oz roach but at least they was bigger than any of the other silvers that i had managed and i was also adding some weight to my net , after a while it went a bit quiet  i was on the verge of increasing the amount of bait that i was feeding when my float slide under and i had a bonus f1 in the net although like usual on these two lakes it was a loner , but the disturbance had upset the silvers on this line so i decided to have ago with corn were i cupped a few grains in earlier incase there was any more bonus fish in the area but a bite less ten minutes on each line soon had me picking up my dobbin rig and this did produce another ide but nothing in any numbers .



I had continued to feed my left hand channel swim with a catty while i had fished else were so i decided to drop back on it to see if anything had settled there and i did pick up a couple of net fish among the small silvers , with just ninety minutes of the match remaining i had a decision to make because i needed to attract a bigger stamp of fish into my peg as i could see a lad to my right catching the odd big ide and i felt he was eating into my lead , i choose to feed a ball of ground-bait onto my left hand channel swim and bulk all my shotting above the hook length which would enable me to fish expanders , while it settled i rotated my other swims to no avail so i spent the rest of my match on left hand line and luckily for me i began catching a few hand sized skimmers by swapping between expanders and maggots i managed a couple of bonus net crucians+tench , in the last hour i must have added three pounds to my net which doesn’t sound a great deal but when you’re only looking for 15lb to win it was a rather substantial part of my final weight .


As i began packing up everyone was saying that i had won the lake as nobody else had managed a carp and it would be nice to finish the winter league like i started it with a match win on boulders lake, as it turned out i did manage to finish first but without my good last hour i wouldn’t have managed it as i weighed in with just over 14lb for the third match running at Old Hough and second was 11lb with third just 8lb , Goose lake fished a bit better with 20lb winning then 11lb second and 10lb third . When i got back to the car park they was starting to reckon up the overall winter league points and i had beaten a few of the lads today which was above me in the table at the beginning of the day so i hoped that i had done enough to get into the money , as it turned out i had managed to scrape into fifth overall with 15 points from six matches which was last place in the money but it was really close as 10 points came first then just five points covered five places , to be honest i was quite happy with how my league panned out because after missing my two dropper matches due to clashes with the partridge lakes winter league i was always going to be up against it and apart from the one match where i finished sixth on the lake from a really bad peg i fished well with two wins , two seconds and a third .

So with that out-of-the-way i will now be targeting Partridge lakes for the next couple of months with both the individual and team of four winter leagues on my agenda .

Old Hough winter league round two

October 30th, peg 14 on boulders+goose

Goose lake

Today was the second round of my winter league at Old Hough and it was due to take place on boulders+goose the same lakes as on the first round where i managed to catch a few silvers really enjoying myself in the process , so as you can imagine i was really looking forward to another good days fishing especially with the weather having seemingly settled down and after learning that the road into the fishery had been closed i felt that i would benefit from a slightly earlier than usual start .

I arrived at the complex with plenty of time to spare and as usual i was there on my own which gave me plenty time to have a walk round both the lakes in the draw bag , strangely i didn’t see a single fish top but i did see the odd bubble come up from down the track so i figured that the deeper water would be a good place to start especially on goose lake , when i got back to the car park most of the other anglers had arrived but we was waiting on a couple of lads that had got lost so the draw was delayed for thirty minutes and when we finally got going i ended up on peg 14 goose , not exactly where i would like to be especially as only 14lb came off it on the last round most of which were barbel from down the edge so i felt that it was a bit of damage limitation today .

On settling in at my home for the next few hours i found that it was only eleven meters across and with no far bank cover but i did have a dead reed bed to my right bearing this in mind i decided to concentrate on the deeper areas of my peg and set up ;

3ft rig which was a good meter of the far bank and i decided to use a 4×12 maggie float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 010 garbo hook length attached .

4ft rig this gave me plenty of areas to target , in front of the dead reeds to my left , bottom of the far shelf and also six meters towards my right so i decided to use a 4×12 maggie float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 010 garbo hook length attached .

Channel swim , i had to go eleven meters to my right to find anything deeper than four-foot and even then it was only six-inch deeper which isn’t what i expected but there was the odd bubble coming up so i felt it might throw up the odd fish or two ,i decided to use a 4×14 maggie float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern , my main line was the usual 014 garbo which had a six-inch 010 garbo hook length attached .

Bait for the day was two pints of maggots and a bit of bread for dobbin although with it being so shallow across i didn’t even consider using it today , when the all in sounded i started along the dead reed bed because i expected the silver fishing to be quite good so i began feeding maggots quite heavily by hand but a bite less twenty minutes wasnt the start i wanted , upon looking around everybody seemed to be struggling as well so i decided to cut back on the feed till i get the odd indication and i also set up a new swim across at the bottom of the far slope  , i trickled in a couple of maggots every five minutes a bit like you would when f1 fishing at this time of the year and at last i started picking up the odd fish but they was a lot smaller than i expected as they were only averaging 3 oz a piece , after an hour i had six fish in the net which wasnt great and it was dieing on me but when a lad came round who was fishing the other lake saying nobody had even managed a bite it seemed that i was doing ok and for some strange reason it was fishing a lot harder this week even though the conditions were the same as on my last match here .

I decided to put in a small ball of ground-bait six meters towards the right of my peg in the deeper water in the channel as i hoped some of the small skimmers which are usually a nuisance might settle on it and this in turn might attract a few better fish into the swim , after a bite less twenty minutes on my long line i decided to drop on it a bit earlier than i had planned and i began putting the odd small skimmer in the net , as it was the only line constantly producing bites i decided to put in another swim to my left and after a bit of trial+error i found out it was best to feed a golf ball of ground-bait through a kinder pot then fish the other swim , by doing this i managed to keep the bites coming and every now+then i would try double maggot on the hook to see if i could entice a bigger stamp of fish but it just resulted in a missed indication.

With bites on my channel swims tailing off i figured that it could do with a rest to help the skimmers settle down again so i plumbed up a new line at 11m to my right were i found it was a few inch deeper , i decided to feed it with a catty and alter my shotting to allow for a very slow fall of the hook bait because i felt this would give me the best option of picking up some chub or ide which were bigger than the skimmers , it also gave me a chance of hopefully picking up a bonus or two and i did begin catching the odd fish but just like the other swims there wasnt any numbers of them , by rotating between the three lines i managed to keep adding to my net but i never did manage to get the bonus that i needed which cost me in the end because although i probably had the biggest fish count i was a few pounds of the framing position , my net of little bits went just short of five pounds and two low eight pound weights made the frame with 13lb winning from peg 16 which is usually a good area to draw but in the conditions he fished remarkably well .

Boulders the other lake in the draw bag was shocking and only seven fish got caught between the three framing positions with the other lads blanking , 7lb won the lake with two anglers tieing for second with 3lb one of them had a solitary foul hooked bream and i just can not believe how bad these lakes fished today but it’s probably a sign of things to come with winter approaching fast . I am off to Partridge lakes next weekend for the first round of the teams of four winter league and i am fishing for 2+2 team which is one of only a couple that are not sponsored , so it will be tough going to compete against them although it will give me a chance to hopefully learn a few things especially as i have not fished this before because to be honest i am not a fan of team contest but after saying all that there a good set of lads im fishing with and it should be fun .

Angling times Supercup round one , Goose green fishery

Goose green fishery match lake peg 7 , April 9th

Today was the first round of the Angling times supercup and my mate  had  asked me to fish for the Stockton Heath team although, after last years debacle when things really didn’t go to plan I was a bit unsure about accepting the offer however I decided to throw caution to the wind as it was with a totally different group of lads. For those of you who don’t know anything about The Angling Times Supercup competition you have to enter a team of six lads and each of us would be in a section of two or three depending on how many teams you was fishing against, so basically you only needed to beat the lad at the side of you to gain a point for your squad and if both teams tied on points it would then go down to cumulative weight this was the fourth time I had fished this event with three different groups of lads, individually I had quite a good record in this competition winning my section on all bar one of the matches in the first round and on the other it was a three-way tie where I finished second in section so still picked up good points, on the team front though it was a different story as I had only gone past the first round once and last year I got beat on weight which is always a kick in the teeth , I always wondered why they never do teams of five so things like that do not happen in the future.

We had been for a practise match a couple of weeks previously where the weather was atrocious but at least we had managed to sort a few things out and came up with a game plan so we was pretty confident of holding our own against Trafford Angling even though they had home advantage and been fishing a winter league for the past month or two so obviously had some tricks up their sleeves, after my thirty mile trip to the venue which took over an hour with all the roadworks, then restricted speed zones on the motorway near Manchester I finally arrived at the fishery and met up with the rest of the squad , we was all in an upbeat mood although a couple were understandably a bit nervous as it was their first attempt in the competition.

Before the draw had taken place it was agreed that certain areas of the lake we were not allowed to use tip rods because it would limit the distance people could fish, I was put on peg seven which was on the far side of the lake where the boards are and on our practise match we didn’t fish this part of the lake as it was a very poor area but like I mentioned earlier you only needed to beat the angler at the side of you and I was quite confident of doing just that because I tend to do better on places that you need to scratch around for bites.

On settling in at my home for the next few hours i decided to set up three rigs ;

Long line at 14m were after plumbing up i found it to be 10ft deep so i used a 4×16 malman roob which had a bulk plus two droppers as a shotting pattern and my main line was 014 garbo which had a six-inch hook length of 010 with a size 18 silver fish-hook .

Six meter line i really would have liked to fish this line closer in but in this area the peg was all over the place sloping badly from right to left and i had to go that far out to find a flat spot , as it was 6ft here i used a 4×14 maggie float with a bulk two foot away from my hook and then two droppers which would allow for a slow fall in the final third ,my main line was 014 garbo which had a six-inch hook length of 010 garbo with a size 18 silver fish hook .

Shallow rig which was set at four-foot deep but i would alter this as the match progressed , my float was a 4×12 maggie which had a strung out shotting pattern along the 014 garbo which had a six-inch hook length of 010 garbo with a size 20 silver fish-hook .

Bait for the day was rather simple ;

Three pints of casters

Three pints of soaked micros

Small tub of 4mm expanders

Small tub of white hooker pellets

When the all in sounded I put a small cup of casters onto my six meter line and two cups of pellets on my fourteen meter swim, my reasons for doing it was that I wanted to keep the fish on the deck because this was where the bigger silvers had been caught plus, you would also get chance to catch a bonus skimmer although there wasnt that many caught in the practice match, I left my far swim to settle and went onto the six meter line hoping to get a quick couple of pounds of silvers which is what I did although, they were a lot smaller than i wanted to be catching. After a while I began getting into a nice routine and it was all going well, I started double feeding a dozen casters every five minutes over my float but even this heavy feeding brought them up of the deck and when I had a few liners I picked up my shallow rig this improved my catch rate to one every two minutes, I saw a few skimmers come out on the noted flyers but as mentioned earlier you only had to beat the lad to your left and, I was catching twice as fast as he was although only small silvers so I just kept putting fish in the net unsurprisingly my catch rate slowed and I needed to really work at it changing shotting patterns & depths to keep the roach coming.

Every hour I decided to spend ten minutes on my far swim, to see if I could pick up a bonus skimmer which would have boosted my weight considerably, however all I could manage were small roach so I re-fed it with a ball of micros and then went back on to the shallow rig, after the rest I always seemed to pick up a few better stamp roach on it before I was back into the two ounce roach this is basically how my match went and i could only catch small silvers on all of my lines so i spent most of my match fishing shallow , although strangely i would pick up a bigger stamp of fish by letting my hook bait just hang there mid-depth and I only really had one moment of worry when my neighbour managed to catch a small skimmer but it turned out to be a loner and as the all out sounded I was pretty confident of winning my section.

After packing up I went round to see the other lads in the team and it looked like we had got properly beat on two sections & won two sections, the remaining sections would be pretty close and this is how it panned out. Unfortunately the two sections which we felt would be close went the way of Trafford AC but only by the odd pound so we ended up getting beat 4-2 so well done to them and I hope they go far in the competition, on a personal note I kept up my record of winning my section comfortably this time with my hundred roach weighing 15lb compared to my neighbours 6lb but I still have only made the second round once so that needs improving on and now that that’s over with for another year I’m going to have a couple of weeks of to recharge my batteries before i am back on the match scene.