Bradshaw hall fisheries , round five winter league


12th November

I have been to Bradshaw’s fishery today for the 4th round of the winter league and it was due to take place on lake four which is somewhere that I had only fished once before coming third in the inter club match there this January , so I was really looking forward to it even though it was proper cold outside with plenty over night rain going in because you are usually guaranteed a few bites from the silvers and f1s . After my short drive to the fishery which only took about twenty minutes and i really need to make the effort to go more often next year , i met up with the lads contesting the winter league and everyone was looking forward to it as it had fished quite well on the recent club matches , we had most of the lake but with a few pleasure anglers on the early part it was going to be peg two miss one which could make things a bit interesting .It soon came round to draw time and i pulled out peg 27 which was half way along the far straight with your back to lake six , i was a bit unsure what to expect because i fancied a go on the opposite bank but at least i had a lot of open water to target although the wind was gusting from left to right and was forecast to get stronger as the match progressed .

With this in mind I decided to set up ;

Top four line just as the bottom levelled out a bit and as it was nearly six-foot deep here so i used a 4×16 Md maggot float with a bulk plus two dropper shotting pattern , my 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 .

Thirteen meter line it was six-inch deeper than the above swim and i decided to use a lighter 4×14 Md maggot float with a staggered bulk in the bottom third of the rig ,  my main line was the usual 014 garbo and hook length was six-inch of 010 garbo which had a size 18 guru lwg hook attached with a micro bait band .

Two shallow rigs set at four-foot one with a bait band the other a normal maggot rig my float was a 4×12 Md maggot hook with an on the drop shotting pattern ,  my 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 .

Bait for the day ;

3 pints of maggots

3 pints of soaked 4mm pellets

small tub of mixed 4mm and 6mm pellets

A mixture of ground-bait 50/50 frenzied hemp and f1 dark

When the all in sounded I fed 3 small balls of ground-bait on my four meter swim and began loose feeding a dozen maggots over the top every couple of minutes It wasn’t long before I began catching hand sized skimmers which was a good start to the match , the wind + tow was making presenting my rig really awkward and bites began to tail off after forty minutes so i fed another ball of ground-bait and decided to let it rest for a bit , I had fed pellets with a catty at 13m so i gave that a try I went on it expecting to catch small stockies with the odd better fish mixed in and i had a good run of fish on it including a bonus three-pound carp but yet again the wind was making presentation on the deck difficult , i knew that they had caught shallow on here and although i wasnt sure it would work today in the colder conditions but with my rig set at 4ft  i took the gamble of getting them up in the water this didn’t really work out for me and mid match i really struggled to put anything in the net I also lost two big skimmers when they jumped out of the water when hooked .

With just two hours remaining I put in a new swim at 11m towards my right were my pole was more manageable in the conditions and i fed a smaller softer ball of ground-bait with a dozen maggots through a cupping kit , my rig kept getting held up by small silvers as it fell so i bulked all my shotting a foot away from my hook length and this solved the problem as i was now catching a hand sized skimmer nearly every put in , when bites began to fade i put in a nugget of ground-bait in with a kinder pot which kept the fish interested and it wasnt long before i noticed the bottom fizzing away this resulted in a run of small f1s , the wind was getting continually stronger making my rig tow through pretty badly so i decided to double bulk my rig laying six-inch of line on the deck this kept my rig stationary and i was now waiting for positive lift bites I stayed here for the rest of the match catching skimmers + f1’s quite frequently.

At the all out I ended up third in the match and section with 34lb and 37lb won the opposite bank fished a lot harder with 20lb winning the section , I’m a bit disappointed with the result because I should have caught those extra few pounds and i did some things wrong but at least i have a better idea on what is required now , plus we are back there next week for round five so i don’t have long to wait to hopefully put things right , fingers crossed i can use this as one of my dropper results as i am on six points now after four matches and going from previous years ten points will be good enough to be the winter league champion .

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Widdows flash , 1st round Angling times supercup


May 6th

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Today i was contesting the first round of the Angling times supercup with the Adlington angling center team where we would be fishing against Crown tackle our local rivals and with over a hundred teams in the northern half of the draw i was a bit surprised to get them so soon in the competition but it is what it is , after having had a group meeting we decided to hold it at Widdows flash in Spring view near Wigan and although it wasnt a venue that any of us had much experience of we felt that it would suit majority of our anglers with it being a mix of silvers plus carp .

After having managed to get one squad practice plus a team match against Stockton heath angling group on the higher numbered pegs the lads felt that we had worked a couple of things out which would hopefully catch us 20lb of silvers from any peg plus a few carp then we could have a good chance of winning the sections required to go through to the next round , we obviously would have liked to have had a couple more sessions on the lake to tweak a few things but with two other teams also using widdows flash as there supercup venue all the weekends had been taken and in fact we had to give up a day so that crown tackle could have a practice on all the lake which was more than we had managed , as a few of our team had declined to take part in the contest for various reasons we was down to our bare bones as a new team we had not got the strength in numbers just yet so i felt we would be up against it to get through but was going to give it our best shot .

As i was running the match today i needed to be at the fishery early so it was a good job it was only ten minutes away from home and i was quite shocked to see a couple of our squad members already there when i arrived but it showed that they was eager to give a good performance , the water we was fishing on today is a donut style lake with the island between 14m+16m away and with out a breath of wind plus bright skies the fishing could be tough especially after the match the previous day were the average weights was less than twenty pounds , although the framing weights were quite good but unfortunately we wasnt going to have any anglers in that area as i had decided to put six of us on the low numbers and six on the high numbers which would give each team two end pegs .

At nine o’clock myself and the opposing team captain started the draw and i had the last peg in our home bag that put me on eleven which was right near the car park , it wasnt the best area to be in going from the limited knowledge i had of the venue because we had not practised on this side and i was also up against the end peg but on the plus side i didn’t have far to walk.On arriving at my home for the next few hours i decided to set up a few different rigs to cover my options because with it fishing hard the day before i felt it might be a scratching around match so i set up ;

Margin rig at the side of the lily pads to my right the shallowest water i could find was two foot so i used an 0.4 MD diamond float with my usual 014 garbo main line and i upped my hook length to 014 garbo as well because there is a few big carp in here .

Top four swim for fishing at the bottom of the near slope this was an area that i had caught some bonus fish on by loose feeding maggots quite heavily , i used a 0.2 MD maggot float which had a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern spread along my 014 garbo main line and attached to it was a six-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Three quarter line which is where we expected to catch majority of our weight consisting of nice stamp skimmers from here by loose feeding casters and fishing six-inch of the deck because we found that if you fished on the deck the stamp of silver was a lot smaller , as we would be fishing through the water i used a 0.2 MD maggot float which had a bulk plus dropper shotting pattern spread along my 014 garbo main line and attached to it was a four-inch 012 garbo hook length .

Shallow far bank rig where i wanted to catch the odd carp and i used a 0.1 MD mini maggot float which had three number eleven shot just above the four-inch 012 garbo hook length i would be using hard pellets so it had a size twenty guru lwg with a micro bait band .

Deck far bank rig yet again i was targeting carp and i used a 0.2 MD mini maggot float which had an on the drop shotting pattern for fishing through the water , my main line was the usual 014 garbo and a four inch 012 garbo hook length i would be using hard pellets so it had a size twenty guru lwg with a micro bait band .

Bait for the day was ;

Two pints of casters

Two pints of fishery 4mm pellets

One tin of corn

Small tub of mixed hard hook pellets

When the all in sounded i began by fishing across to the far bank to try to pick up a bonus carp because there seemed to be a few cruising about it would also give me chance for me to prime my three-quarter skimmer line which i would loose feed a dozen casters through a catty every five minutes , i purposely didnt feed any pellets across until i knew how the carp would respond to any bait going in so i kept a close eye on those anglers around me to see what they was doing and the guy to my left had four carp in quick succession by dobbing bread all of them foul hooked but he wasnt the lad in my section . With no bites coming in the first twenty minutes on normal pellets i rooted around in my tub of mixed hookers and found some white 6mm , this worked a treat as i managed two carp by dobbing my rig under the over hanging reeds but i also lost a couple in a snag a meter from the far bank in between me and the lad towards my right , with those early bonus fish in the net i went onto my skimmer line expecting to catch straight away but all i could manage was a couple of small roach and by this time the lad to my right had a caught two carp as well .

I had no option other than to go back across to the island and i did manage another carp but also lost three on the snag which put me behind in the section also it limited my options when going over to the tins , with ninety minutes of the match gone all signs of carp had disappeared so i decided to ping pellets to try to draw some back but this turned out to be a big mistake as it just killed the across line . Back on to my skimmer swim but yet again it didn’t work my banker swim wasnt producing i was also behind in the section and for the next hour or so i put next to nothing in the net it looked like i was blowing out big time , i had an early look on my margin line which produced a couple of indications on corn but a change to treble maggot saw me add some big roach to my net although it wasnt exactly what i needed to be catching .

I had fed my top four with casters since the match started so i hoped that this would produce for me because i was at least three carp behind  i had an indication straight away which saw a big skimmer hitting the bank but it was a loner so i decided to cut out the loose feed and change to big potting casters , this worked well for me as i added three more decent skimmers over the course of the next ninety minutes although i could only catch one of them from each feed usually after about twenty minutes of the bait going in , for the rest of the match i rotated between the far swim plus top four this had me putting the odd stamp fish in the net and i was slowly pulling my way back into the section , but i yet again lost a few carp in the snag late on because i had to risk going towards it to get a bite .

when the all out sounded i was unsure if i had done enough but had a sinking feeling that i was a carp behind , it was soon time for me to start the weigh in  ;

Section A  21lb vs 24lb crown tackle

Section B 17lb vs 41lb crown tackle

Section C 19lb vs 16lb adlington angling

Section D 11lb vs 25lb  crown tackle

Section E  29lb vs 18lb adlington angling

Section F 14lb vs 24lb crown tackle

So unfortunately we had got beaten 4-2 but at least i had managed to keep up my one hundred percent record  in the competition by winning my section for the fifth time running but i was still to get past the second round despite fishing for three different teams , our only other section winner was from the most consistent performer in the squad on the venue and i would like to wish Crown tackle all the best in the competition .

Adlington angling center

 

Partridge lakes winter league team match


26th February

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Today i was back at Partridge lakes for the winter league team match and after the last round where we managed to finish joint second on the day so we was all upbeat of another good showing so that we could hopefully start to move up the table because we was still in the bottom third , the weather had yet again taking a turn for the worse this time we had the back-end of a hurricane to contend with and would it be too much to ask that we could have a half decent day for a change .

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On arrival at the fishery everywhere was flooded after the heavy overnight downpour but at least the wind was so far manageable but it was due to increase dramatically during the day , i met up with the rest of the lads in the cabin because they wanted to be first in line for a pick in the bag of doom and strangely i had been relegated from doing the draw but i think i will be doing it for the remaining rounds because apart from one peg we had yet another shocker of a draw ;

Marsh 16

Piper 38

Covey six 139

Willow 6

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The last of them would be my home for the day which is yet another last in section peg and out of the eight rounds so far i have only had two that have been able to produce a day’s fishing but at least i wasnt too far away from the café so i could get a drink or something to eat ,Willow lake was probably the only one on the complex that held a proper mixed bag of fish to target and the peg i was on had an island at 14m with an empty platform either side although i was just on the edge of the wind which was blowing from left to right but slightly over my shoulder , if it stayed at the same strength i could just about manage to hold my pole still enough so that i could present a rig tight over to the island which is where i expected to catch the most of my f1s during the match , i plumbed up lots of lines all over my peg and it stayed a constant 4ft deep from the edge of my nets too about a meter from the island although it went a few inch shallower towards my left this meant that i didn’t have a great deal in the way of rigs to set up ;

Island rig tight to the reeds at 2.5ft deep and i used a slightly heavier than usual 0.3 maggie float with a bulk plus two dropper shoting pattern 014 garbo main line and a 010 garbo six-inch hook length which had a size 18 guru maggot hook attached .

I set up two rigs to cover my 4ft lines a light rig which was a 4×12 maggie float with a bulk plus two dropper shoting pattern 014 garbo main line and a 010 garbo six-inch hook length which had a size 18 guru maggot hook attached , the other rig was a heavier 0.4 round bodied wire stemmed float which would give my rig more stability in the worsening conditions i used a bulk plus two dropper shoting pattern with 014 garbo main line and a 010 garbo six-inch hook length which had a size 18 guru maggot hook attached .

With the f1s taking a liking for pellets at Partridge lakes you would be surprised to hear that it was on my side tray for todays match ;

One pint of soaked micros

One pint of soaked 4mm pellets

One pint of crushed expander ground-bait

One pint of red and white maggots

Small tub of 2+4mm expanders

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I began my match by feeding a golf ball sized nugget of ground-bait onto my right hand 11m line which i was going to leave for at least thirty minutes so the skimmers could settle on it and i then went on to my six meter swim i tapped in a dozen micros with a ten pence sized piece of ground-bait , i then lowered my lighter rig over the top and with the back shots sunk just under the water enabled me to keep my float really still , it took me a couple of feeds before i began getting indications and in the first couple of hours i had a really good run of catching skimmer up to 10oz when bites began to tail off i just topped up with another ball of ground-bait , every so often i would drop onto my right hand 11m line but strangely i never got an indication on it and maybe it was because the wind was stronger on that side although i did try my heavier rig which didn’t make any difference .

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I noticed that most of the lads in my section had managed to pick up the odd f1 among the silvers and if i wanted to do any good i felt that i needed to pick up a couple myself , so i went on my long line at the side of the reeds and i decided to start on maggots because at least i would be able to put some line on the deck using them on the hook as the wind was really beginning to get strong but thirty minutes of wrestling with my pole without an indication and i felt enough was enough as i didn’t fancy breaking my pole today , when i dropped back onto my six meter line the skimmers had vanished and it never really got going there for the rest of the match so i decided to put in another swim at 11m towards my right but just fed maggots through a kinder pot because i noticed that the lads either side of me had caught f1s using it , this line was very slow although i did manage a big skimmer plus a perch about a pound but it never really got going for me and neither did my loose fed maggot swim at four meters which i had thrown a dozen maggots since the match started this just produced a couple of roach , In the latter part of the match i tried in front of my left hand platform where it was a bit calmer but all i had to show for it was a missed indication and i just had time to rotate all my swims before the all out catching a solitary skimmer .

As i began packing my gear away i couldn’t help but feel that i would have been better just picking up the odd skimmer on my six meter swim because it would have pushed me closer to my target weight of 15lb which is what i expected would be needed for good section points today , although when i saw the odd f1 come out i figured that i would need to catch a couple as well and as it turned out i was right because apart from the section winner on peg four who had 31lb plus the benefit of the calmer water where the fish had backed off to but still fished a good match , the rest of the section was pretty close ;

peg 1 had 10lb

peg 2 had 15lb

peg 4 had 31lb

I had just under 10lb from peg 6

peg 8 had 13lb

I reckon that i could have had the extra few pounds to finish at least third in section if i had fished a better match but i ended up last and the rest of the team didn’t do that much better as we totaled 16 points on the day it was only to be expected from the draw we had but at least i didn’t lose or break anything today which was a bonus in the hurricane winds we had to endure towards the end of the match , I’m back at Partridge lakes for the last round of the individual winter league on Sunday and i just hope that i can finish it with a bang which would hopefully leave me in a top ten place as that was my target at the start of the contest .

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Coppull lodge


February 18th

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Today i decided to have a trip to a local deep natural water Coppull lodge for a sneaky practice before our knock up with the rest of the squad next Saturday because we where looking at a few venues to use for the upcoming Angling times supercup and this was a place that isn’t your standard fishing so we hoped that it could give us an advantage over the other teams , i hadn’t been here for about three years so i was expecting to be catching plenty roach+perch shallow like on my previous visits but i had also heard that the skimmers were going to be the target species today so i was quite looking forward to the challenge .

After a bit of a lie in i arrived at Coppull lodge just after nine and i was surprised to find six anglers having a little knock up plus three carp lads with nine rods out so as you can imagine it was a little bit crowded , i didn’t fancy sitting on one of the more fancied car park pegs because i doubt that i would learn a great deal and managed to squeeze in half way down the right hand bank , on getting to my home for the next few hours i decided to set up just the two rigs ;

7m deck rig it was top three deep here so i used a 0.8 perfect Gloucester float with a bulk at two foot plus two dropper shotting pattern my main line was 014 garbo which had a six-inch length of 010 garbo and my hook was a size 18 guru maggie .

4ft rig for fishing shallow and i used a 4×12 maggie float with a strung out shotting pattern my main line was 014 garbo which had a six-inch length of 010 garbo and my hook was a size 18 guru maggie .

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Bait for the day was

2 pints of red and white maggots

3 pints of ground-bait 70/30 frenzied hemp and ringers green

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I began my session by cupping in five balls of ground-bait onto my seven meter line and i expected a bit of a wait before the fish settled on it but surprisingly i had a small skimmer almost straight away although it seemed to be a loner as i had no further indications in the next forty minutes , i was beginning to think that i had made a big mistake feeding so much at the start especially as i hadn’t seen anybody put anything in the net so far , then out of the blue my float slid under with a 10oz skimmer hitting the bank and a six more similar sized fish followed in a twenty-minute spell it looked like they had finally settled on the ground-bait . when bites began to tail of a bit i began loose feeding maggots to try to draw some roach into the peg so that i could catch shallow and therefore let the skimmers re group on the deck , after a while i began getting the odd liner so i put in a couple more balls in and picked up my shallow rig but after twenty minutes all i had to show for it was a tiny roach plus a missed bite not really what i had expected because on my last visit you could catch 10lb up in the water from every peg .

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It was time to drop back on the deck but i continued the loose feeding and the skimmers were lined up again as i had another good spell  all the fish were like peas in a pod and in a couple of years time it will be a really good skimmer water , i did notice that i was getting stupid indications on the float and felt that the constant fall of maggots had brought them off the deck but only by a couple of feet so i decided to knock that on the head for the time being , i then had a quiet spell for twenty minutes and i was beginning to doubt my decision but i found out what had unsettled the skimmers as yards of elastic came shooting out of my pole tip when i finally got it to the net i saw a huge perch then the hook pulled so after a few swear words i went back out again .

The skimmers were still a bit iffy again so i choose to start kinder potting in a ball of ground-bait every five minutes or after a fish this seemed to settle them down  and i went on another little run of fish , strangely when the sun poked its head from behind the clouds the bites stopped and even in this deep water the bright conditions had a bearing on how the fish reacted after a while it dulled a bit and the fish were back on the feed again , at three o’clock the knock up finished and i wanted to see how they had got on which would give me a bit more of an insight on how it fished on the other pegs so i packed up at the same time , the match was won with just six pounds and they kindly weighed my catch it went a shade over twelve pounds not too bad for my first visit in a few years i also learned a great deal which was my main reason for going in the first place .

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I’m back at Partridge lakes for the penultimate round of the individual winter league which i am really looking forward to i just hope that i can draw a good peg and catch a few fish .

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Bradshaws lake four , inter club challenge


January 28th , peg twenty lake four

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Today i was contesting the inter club challenge against some top teams in the Bolton area and i was fishing with Stockton Heath angling group , it was due to take place on Bradshaw’s lake four which is a fishery that i do not frequent that often , in fact i had never fished this lake before so a bit of internet home work was required and i got in touch with a couple of lads that have contested the silver fish matches who pointed me in the right direction . Although any fish was allowed in the match i was looking forward to doing a bit of silver fish fishing for a change and if any carp came my way then that would be a bonus , but to be honest i didn’t expect many of them to be caught especially after the recent drop in temperatures and we was faced with constant rain today which would make things a bit tricky but at least we only had a slight breeze to contend with .

After my short twenty-mile drive to the venue which took a bit longer than i had originally planned as i had to travel through the town center and i arrived just after eight which gave me plenty of time to meet up with the team before having a quick look at the lake which was tree-lined on one side with some floating islands , along the other side it was more open water with a bit of a drop off behind you which would make shipping back a bit awkward when fishing long and every peg had a new platform , when i returned to the cabin it was nearly draw time and i was charged with doing the team draw i cant rember the exact pegs but i was going to be on twenty which didn’t mean a great deal because like i mentioned earlier i had not fished this lake before .

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I had quite a long walk before i reached my home for the next few hours and on reaching it i had two bushes either side of me which looked like they might hold a few fish , but i also had another lake behind me which meant placing my rollers a bit awkward and i also had to ship back over the water as well so i made sure my pole was put together tightly because i didn’t fancy going for a dip if they came apart .When i had finished sorting my gear out i decided to mix my ground-bait so it would have time to settle before the match started and after speaking to a couple of lads they put me on to a mix of 40% ringers green + 60% frenzied hemp i hoped this would help me target the skimmers and the odd f1 , i then started plumbing up my swims and surprisingly it was quite a flat bottom with only a few inch difference between my 11m loose feed line and my 14m ground-bait line , i also put a swim in towards the rushes to my left at 6m where i would throw a few maggots every ten minutes until i went onto it and then alter things as needed .

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11m+14m swims i used a 4×14 maggie float that had a bulk plus two droppers shotting pattern with 014 garbo main line and hook length was 010 garbo that had a size twenty guru maggot hook .

6m swim i used a 4×10 maggie float that had an on the drop shotting pattern with 014 garbo main line and hook length was 010 garbo that had a size twenty guru maggot hook .

Bait for the day was ;

2 pints of red and white maggots

3 pints of ground-bait

When the all in sounded i put five tangerine sized balls of ground-bait onto my 14m line i would have liked to have used bigger ones but had stupidly left my larger cupping kit at home and there was no point rushing because i didn’t want to be spreading my bait everywhere , i was going to let this line settle for as long as possible so i began on my 11m line loose feeding maggots and at first all i could catch was 2oz roach , i was beginning to think i had got it completely wrong as my neighbour had started feeding pellets really negatively and began catching some hand sized skimmers + f1s plus a carp around 2lb which meant i was always playing catch up although he was already fishing at 14m and i had that to fall back on later in the match .By constantly feeding a dozen maggots i was soon getting a small silver every five minutes which doesn’t sound a great deal but on looking around everyone seemed to be struggling so i was happy just putting something in the net for the time being , i did manage to pick up a couple of bigger roach but i was eager to give my 14m swim a try to on my first drop resulted in a 10oz skimmer which was a nice start , i hoped that a shoal of them had settled on it but it turned out to be a false dawn as i had to wait 15 minutes before i had my next indication and even though i was fishing nearly dead depth with my float shotted to a tiny pimple the bites were hardly noticable especially at 14m , it seemed like the fish had just stayed over the top of the feed without moving and i did try slowly dragging my hook bait from right to left which did produce a couple more skimmers but it just didn’t seem right , so i went back onto my loose fed 11m line while i pondered on what to do next and yet again all i could catch was small silvers plus the odd netter roach mixed in .

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With ninety minutes of the match remaining the rain finally relented and in the calm conditions i went back on to my 14m swim but this time i decided to feed a small ball of ground-bait through a kinder pot to see if i could get them back on the deck and this worked remarkably well , as i had a skimmer every chuck for nearly an hour most of them was about 4oz but i did have the odd better one mixed in and i did bump a couple of smaller ones of on the way in , which i didn’t think anything of it until the weigh in later , with thirty minutes remaining the rain returned with a vengeance it might have been coincidence or not but the bites suddenly stopped and i spent too long catching next to nothing before the all out sounded .

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After hastily packing my gear away i had a quick chat with the lads around me to see how they had got on they guy to my right wasnt giving much away but i figured he was my main danger for the seven peg section , it didn’t take long before the scales arrived and i awaited my fate as i expected my main danger had 11lb 14oz then i put 11lb 10oz on the scales getting beat by a few ounces it looked like those couple of bumped fish had cost me 70 quid but you win some you lose some , on the team front i think we finished last after some shocking weights which was only to be expected on our first try on the lake and as it turned out i ended up third out of the 35 anglers as only a handful of people managed to break double figures with 17lb winning the match .

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Tomorrow i will be back on the bank at Partridge lakes for yet another team match but this time the 2+2 lads just hope we can get a better draw because we have had some shockers so far this year .

 

Goose green fishery


Goose green fishery

Goose green fishery

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bait for the day was ;

Two pints of red+white maggots

Half pint of pinkies

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

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

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

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

Weston pools Belvedere lake


Sunday 20th March, peg 27 Belvedere

I had looking forward to getting back to Weston pools for some time because it is turning into my favourite fishery, not sure why but it just keeps me coming back and with all my winter leagues having finished I jumped at the chance especially, as I would be contesting the Easter bank holiday contest, I hadn’t been for nearly five months since the big autumn match in October, I was going to use it as a bit of a fact finding mission so I could reacquaint myself with the fishery. I had been keeping an eye on the recent results which showed winning weights around the sixty pound mark a lot less than could be expected in the height of summer but as we were just on the cusp of spring, I thought it was pretty reasonable for the time of year.

The draw time at Weston had just been changed so there was no need for an early start and I headed off on my sixty mile journey just before eight o’clock as it was nearly all motorway miles , arrived with plenty time to spare this gave me chance to have a walk around the fishery. It looked a lot different with all the vegetation, not in full bloom and strangely the lakes looked a lot smaller than I remembered. When I got back to the cabin it was nearly time for the draw as there would be 36 anglers contesting the match they decided to put a dozen on Weir, Belvedere and Stretton; this would give everyone a spare peg when it came for my turn at the draw bag I picked 27 Belvedere. not where I wanted to be, I had fished the area twice before struggling both times but there isn’t much I could do about so off I went to my home for the next few hours.

Open settling in at my peg I decided to keep things simple setting up;

Top three swim, here I was going to be using pellets so I used a 4×14 malman roob float which had a split bulk starting above the four-inch garbo 010 hook length.

Margin swim, I positioned this at the side of my empty left hand platform were I plumbed up to find just under 4ft and I used a 4×12 malman speedy float which had a staggered bulk above the six-inch garbo 012 hook length.

13m swim, I set two rigs up on this line so I could fish on the deck with a 4×12 RW maggie float with an on the drop shotting pattern so, I could fish through the water and my other rig was for fishing shallow incase they came up in the water.

My bait for the day was;

2 pints of red and white maggots

2 pints of fishery micros

1 pint of fishery 4mm pellets

small tub 4mm expanders

small tub of white hooker pellets

For a change I was ready well before the all in and, at eleven o’clock it sounded in the distance I began on my top three pellet swim, I tapped in a few micros then lowered my rig carefully in among it and waited, nothing happened for five minutes so I trickled in a few more. I was being really careful with the feed as the water was still cold, another ten minutes without a sign and I made a decision to flick three 4mm pellets around the float every couple of minutes to try to force the swim, because trickling in micros wasnt working if it didn’t work I figured that I wouldn’t be staying too long on that line anyway, luckily the noise of the pellets hitting the water attracted some fish into the swim as, I began getting indications but for some reason I missed them all even though they were proper gazunders and they might have been line bites because they wasnt your normal expander bites.

I had been cattying in a dozen maggots on my 11m swim since the match started and, after forty minutes I went on it hoping that some fish might have settled on it, but another twenty minutes without an indication had me a bit worried because other than the two anglers facing the pots to my left had caught a fish. Finally I had a little dip on the float which took me by surprise as I hadn’t had a sign in nearly ninety minutes but this got my attention and it wasnt long after when I had another bite. This resulted in an Ide around the pound mark hitting the net one more quickly followed, I hoped that a few more might of settled on the bait but for some reason they just disappeared on me, I was puzzled at the reason why maybe the splash on the surface after I hooked it had disturbed the shoal my 8-10 NG gilbert elastic being too strong for them but its hard to get the balance right between being soft enough for Ide and strong enough for the Barbel.

With no more bites coming on my long line I gave my margin swim a go, mainly to see if I could sneak out a bonus barbel or two but not even a liner after twenty minutes. Soon it had me picking up the long rig again, yet again I picked up a couple of Ide pretty quickly before they backed off and I decided to plumb up another swim at the same distance to my left I found it to be four-inch shallower but I could still use the same rig for both. My reason for doing this was that I could hopefully pick fish off from both of them and rotating between the two should keep me catching for most of the match, but it didn’t work out like that and as it turned out I could only catch from my original deeper one, I should have gone further out or put another one to my left were it was a similar depth but I was being a bit lazy.

Altering my feeding from the catty to using a medium sized cad pot and shotting to a bulk+dropper, my reason for changing was that all the fish seemed to be coming from the deck and luckily it got me the response I required because it got me back among the fish again mainly Ide but I did manage two f1s, I kept rotating my lines but I could only get indications on my original far line which was strange. So with just twenty minutes of the match remaining I dropped onto my barbel line, between my nets and my float buried straight away which took me by surprise as I didn’t react quick enough and it had me under the nets before I could blink. I did manage to get one out around the 3lb mark and I was kicking myself for not going on it sooner as the all out sounded in the distance.

The scales soon arrived at the lake and the anglers opposite had caught quite well, especially the ones that had some sort of feature to fish against; there was a forty pound weight and a couple of low thirty pound nets before they arrived at my peg, the dozen Ide, two f1s and a solitary barbel I managed went 19lb so I was a bit off the pace which, was only to be expected after not visiting Weston pools for over five months! I’m back there on Easter Monday for another try before that I have a practice match on Goose green fishery for the super-cup which, I’m looking forward to although the weather isn’t forecast to be great with it being a bit damp+breezy good for skimmer fishing though.