Herronbrook canal pool

Sunday March 13th – Canal pool peg 41 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two pints soaked micros

Two pints soaked 4mm pellets

Small tub 4mm expanders

Small tub 4+6mm white pellets

Two pints red+white maggots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Bradshaw hall fishery , lake six

March 6th , lake six peg 15

This weekend i decided to fish a match with the winter league lads on Bradshaw’s fishery lake six and even though it is only ten miles away from my house this is only my second ever visit which i will be rectifying in the coming months because it is a well established venue with all the lakes being well looked after , there is nine different styles of waters on the complex with canals 8+9 being the main match lakes where they get attendances in excess of forty anglers , they have also run a very successful silvers contest over winter producing plenty double figure nets of quality fish these took place on lakes 3+4 .

On the morning of the match i woke to find a frozen windscreen which was a bit of a surprise even after all the snow we had on the Friday i hopped that we had seen the back of all that cold weather , the van on the trip to Bradshaw’s showed a mighty minus one degree and it failed to rise above three degrees all day plus i had only been driving for ten minutes when it started snowing again the closer i got to the fishery the stronger it went not exactly what i was expecting the weather to be like today . When i got to the complex it had relented a bit and didn’t take too much longer before it stopped all together , as per usual i was the first of our group to arrive so i had a quick look at lake six which is the one where the match would be taking place the video gives you a look at the water .

As i arrived back at the car-park there was a couple of lads that i knew so had a chat with them while i was waiting for my group of anglers to finally turn up , around ten to nine they arrived and it was then a bit of a rush to collect the pools then start the draw when it came for my turn i pulled out peg 15 which to be honest didn’t mean a great deal as i had not fished it before . On getting to my home for the next few hours i found it situated on the far side with your back to the stream at the side of the water outlet which was pumping through because all the cold water from the other lakes where running into it , i felt this could have a big impact on how it fishes today and i would be really negative with the feeding until i knew what the response would be . The species i was looking at catching today was f1s+skimmers and i hadn’t really done a great deal of lake fishing for f1s preferring to contest matches on your typical snake lake waters so i was well up for the challenge of chasing them around the peg , i decided to set up three rigs to cover my options and these were ;

Top four line which was five foot deep and as i would be loose feeding maggots on this line i used a 4×12 maggie float with an on the drop shotting pattern my main line was the usual 014 garbo that had a six-inch length of 009 garbo .

Pellet line which when plumbing up i found it to be seven-foot so i used a 4×16 roob float that had a spread bulk an inch apart just above the four-inch hook length .

Three foot shallow line because i had heard there was plenty chub in it  and they just might come shallow but i wasnt that confident but set up a rig just in case , i used a 4×12 maggie float which had a strung out shotting pattern allowing for a slow fall of the hook bait my main line was 014 garbo and hook length would be a six-inch length of 009 garbo .

Bait for the day was ;

Three pints of soaked f1 micros

Two pints of red and white maggots

Small tub 4mm expanders

Small tub 4mm white pellets

The all in sounded and i began on my top four line feeding half a dozen maggots by hand every couple of minutes , i noticed that nearly every other angler had gone straight out to 14m with some even deciding to feed with a big pot and i hopped that with them doing that it would play right into my hands as it would give the fish a safe zone for them to back off in too . The first twenty minutes was a complete write off as my maggot swim failed to produce a bite and it was only when i went onto my pellet line at ten meters did i begin to get a few indications , i kept trickling in a few micros every couple of minutes and began lift+dropping my rig to try to entice something more positive but it was very hard work it was only when i changed to a heavier hook bait that i caught my first fish a skimmer around the ten ounce mark .

By keeping on doing the same thing with my rig i began to pick up a few f1s but i got a bit keen with the feed and they backed off even though i was only putting in half a dozen micros every few minutes it just goes to show how finicky the fish were being today , so i replumbed up a new swim a couple of feet to my right and started again it took about ten minutes before i was back catching a skimmer got into the act first then the f1s moved in , i really struggled to get my feeding correct as i either put too many pellets in my pot and spilled them when i struck or didn’t put enough in so was forever shipping in and out . When the bites tailed off again i put on another section and started again chasing the fish all over my peg by doing this i kept putting fish in the net up to the last forty minutes when i pushed them out of reach going past my sixteen meter pole limit , my top four maggot line which i had fed since the match started failed to produce a single sign and i even resorted to trying to catch shallow without success i think this was down to not preparing it properly as it was more of an afterthought rather than a preset plan for me to do it.

When the all out sounded i felt that i had fished a really good match and enjoyed myself chasing f1s all over my peg it certainly made a change from fishing snake lakes where everything is done at set times during the day , i noticed that a heavier pellet produced more positive indications some of which were lift bites and every fish was hooked in the top lip a sure sign of good presentation ,i followed the scales round the lake and the leading weight up to me was 22lb my 34 f1s+skimmers went thirty pounds to take the lead which lasted just one more weight because the next angler at the other side of the water outlet had 36lb and that went on to win the match with me finishing second , there was lots of weights around the twenty pound mark and i was surprised that it had fished so well in the cold conditions .

I am off to Herronbrook next Sunday to fish the teams of four standing in for a mate in the Ted Carter team , which I’m really looking forward too as i have only been there once before and have my first fisho qualifier there in April so need to see how it is fishing , after that i have some super cup practice on Goose green fishery before the Easter match at Weston pools so i have got a busy few weeks coming up a sure sign of summer and it’s just how i like it .

Old Hough winter league , Boulders and Goose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First place was Graham with 13 points

Second place was Ian with 14 points

Joint third place was me and JP with 15 points

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









Heskin hall pond one

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

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

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

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

On my side tray i just had the basic ;

Two pints of red and white maggots

One pint of soaked micros

Small tub of 4mm expanders


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


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

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


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


Partridge lakes Xmas match

27th December , peg ten Ribbon


Well today was my last match of the year and i couldn’t think of a better place to fish than Partridge lakes especially as it was their annual Xmas contest and today they had over two hundred anglers in attendance , this was even more impressive due to the weather the previous day resembling the great floods of years past with rivers all over the place bursting their banks causing roads closed everywhere you turned and i had to wait till the morning of the match before making a decision whether to travel to the venue or not , as you can probably guess my the post i did decide to go although i had to make a major detour through Leigh in aid for me to get there and as the draw was due to start at 830 i left my house around 710 and after making good time with the roads being empty which wasn’t that surprising as most people would still be in bed , on arrival the car-park was choka and i had to park all the way down near Holbar which meant a bit of a trek to the cabin were i picked up some discounted maggots before joining the queue for the draw and it was almost an hour later before i got a chance to pick , when i pulled out peg ten on Ribbon i was reasonably pleased as it had a bit of form although it wasn’t the best on the lake it should give me a chance for at least the section if not the lake win .


I felt that i would be better of leaving my car where it was and trolley my gear across the car-park on arriving to my home for the next few hours i was quite pleased as it had a far-bank reed bed , a mud bank which i remembered from the only time i fished this water had a big cut out underneath it plus another reed bed towards my left hand margin . As i began setting up one by one all the other anglers began to turn up which included a few Partridge lakes regulars along with some lads i hadn’t seen before which wasn’t surprising with the big turnout today , on settling in at my peg i had a think on which areas i felt would get me a few fish and these were ;

Obviously i figured my main line of attack would be in front of the dead reed bed across and i plumbed up to find it to be four-foot deep , with this lake being flat calm with the trees offering a nice wind break i decided that i could use a lighter more delicate float which should allow for better presentation giving a more natural fall of the bait . I used a 4×12 malman roob float which had 014 garbo main line and as i would be using pellets my hook length was three-inch 010 garbo that had a size 18 matrix bagger hook attached my shotting pattern was your standard one centimeter  spread bulk above the hook length .

My next area was in front of the hole in the mud bank on plumbing up i found just a touch over two foot and i wasn’t sure this would be a depth that the fish would feel comfortable sitting in today although i just couldn’t ignore it in case a couple of carp were hiding in it . i used the same 4×12 malman roob float as this would help me keep the rig still in the shallow water i had 014 garbo main line and as i would be using maggots my hook length was a longer six-inch 010 garbo that had a size 18 matrix bagger hook attached my shotting pattern was your standard one inch spread bulk above the hook length .

The other rig i set up was for the channel and i had a quick plumb around to find the deepest part of my peg it seemed to level out at four meters where it was a touch over five foot so i decided to put it at a comfortable six meters this lined up handily with a reflection of a tree in the water allowing me to be pretty accurate with my feeding , here i used a 4×14 RW maggie float as it had the carbon stem which allowed the float to settle at the same time as your bait fell my shotting pattern was the usual bulk plus two droppers and my main line was 014 garbo with an 009 garbo six-inch hook length that had a size twenty matrix silver fish-hook attached .

My other rig was one that i set up in the spur of the moment as it was a shallow one set at two foot deep i only choose to use it because i saw a couple of fish top in front of me as i was setting up and i used a 4×8 chianti float with 010 garbo direct to a size twenty matrix silver fish pattern .

I had all sorts of bait in my bag because of the amount of different lakes in the draw bag but as Ribbon was one of your more standard f1+ide waters i took to my peg the standard ;

Two pints of red and white maggots

One pint of soaked micros

One pint of four mm pellets

Small tub of expander pellets

Small tub of white hooker pellets


As the all out sounded in the distance i put half a small cupping kit of maggots on to my channel swim and i would continue doing this every twenty minutes which would hopefully allow a few fish to settle on it before i had a good final ninety minutes fishing it , i then shipped out to where i had earlier plumbed up at the right hand side of the dead reed bed and i tapped in a small kinder pot full of micros then proceeded to hold my rig still over the top of it , in the next ten minutes not a great deal happened so i shipped back in to refill my pot but this time i changed the lid for a sprinkle pot as i hopped that the fall of a few micro pellets might attract a few f1s into the swim but thirty minutes in i was still fish less with only a couple of slight indications to show for it . A replumb a bit further to my left and i was back fishing again this time i cut right back on the feed only tapping in six micros at a time just incase the initial amount of bait on my other swim had caused the fish to not settle , after only ten minutes of being ultra negative i finally had my first fish which was a hand sized stockie and i was glad to get off the mark because it was looking like it could be a very hard day , slowly my swim began to get a bit better as in the next half hour produced two stockies plus a proper f1 around the 1lb mark and i missed a couple of indications as well .


I don’t think that i had over fed the swim but it did began to tail off so yet again i had to replumb a bit further towards my left and all three of them were only one a couple of feet apart so it seemed a bit strange that the new one produced indications from the off it just goes to show how finicky the f1s were today no doubt to all the cold rain going in recently , by following the same feeding regime i managed another couple of stockies plus a bigger f1 in the next thirty minutes but yet again after almost exactly the same amount of feeds the fish backed off . Another swim was called for but this strangely did not produce a bite and neither did any of my earlier ones so with two hours of the match gone i had only six fish in the net ! ! I had been loose feeding a dozen maggots on my top three-line which was at the bottom of the slope to my left for the past forty minutes so i hopped that a few fish had settled there but twenty minutes of laying my rig through the water produced absolutely nothing not even a little silver fish and thinking about it after the match it was probably to close to the bottom of my keep net


My next port of call was going tight across to the mud bank a choose to use double maggot on the hook i put in a kinder pot full of them before working my rig among them but yet again this failed to produce an indication and i had gone nearly an hour without seeing a fish , i had no  option other than to go on my channel swim a bit earlier than i would have liked  it looked that this wasn’t going to produce either until out of the blue my float dipped under and a big ide was added to my net , another bite less ten minutes had me reaching for my shallow rig which i used along the dead reed bed but this also failed to produce an indication even though i worked it in between all the reed stems and even along the mud bank .


With just forty minutes of the match remaining i decided to spend it fishing my top six line as this is where i had caught my biggest fish and if they turned up i could still be able to put a weight together as from what i had seen so far twenty pounds would be a good weight from this lake today , i changed from feeding through a cupping kit to using a kinder pot every five minutes by doing this it seemed to provoke a response as i managed two more stamp f1s and another big Ide before the all out  although i did notice that the f1s i caught weren’t hooked neatly which in my mind meant the rig wasn’t working correctly which could have resulted in indications that i hadn’t seen .

I didn’t bother weighing in because the lads in my section to the left had caught more than me as i guessed my weight to be around 12-14lb not the best days fishing and it was a shame to finish my year on such a low , back on the winter league trail at Old Hough in January with just three matches remaining so i could do with an improvement in form and pick some better pegs to help keep me towards the top of the table .





Old hough winter league with Diggle AC

December 20th , peg 12 Lucky dip


Today was round five of the Diggle AC winter league at Old Hough and today it was to be contested on Lucky dip + Prospect which wasn’t the best of waters if the last match on it was anything  to go by because unless you were able to go across for the carp you had to try to pick up the odd better stamp silver from the channel in between all the 2oz bits , the forecast was for strong winds yet again but it should stay dry and i just hoped that the direction of the breeze might be blocked by the trees giving the chance of at least a couple of pegs being able to fish towards the far-bank .

The thirty mile drive to the venue went reasonably well and i met up with the rest of the lads near the lakes  as i feared the wind was ripping through towards the bottom of them away from the car-park and probably only two pegs on each lake were capable of fishing towards the far-bank , it was soon time for the draw and after all the hustle+bustle it was time for my pick and out i pulled number twelve on prospect the same peg got second on my last visit here by catching carp across with corn but i didn’t think that would be possible in today’s conditions .



After settling in on my home for the next few hours i assessed the peg to see where i thought i could put in my swims giving me the best opportunity of presenting a bait properly and these would be ;

Bottom of the far slope at 13m as this was the furthest i could manage to hold my pole i also used it on my near side slope towards my left which was down wind of my peg , i chose  a 4×14 malman roob float as it was just over 4ft deep and the extra weight would be handy in the conditions my rig had a strung out bulk starting above the short four inch hook length  i would use this for fishing either corn or pellet .

Channel at six meters i felt this would be my best chance of picking up the bonus fish required if i was to do any good today , i stepped up my float size again to a 4×16 RW maggie hook which had a bulk plus two droppers shotting pattern this had a six-inch hook length attached .

On the drop rig for fishing with the top kit along the near shelf as this was where i caught majority of my fish on my last match here although they were a very small stamp so with this in mind i decided to use a 4×10 tbf cult float with a strung out rig of size 11 stotz , i didn’t expect any bonus fish here so used 010 garbo main line with an 009 garbo hook length which had a size twenty matrix silver fish hook .


My bait for the day was ;

Two pints of maggots

One pint of corn

One pint of micros

Small tub of 4mm expanders

Small tub of white hook pellets

As the all in sounded i put in a small cupping kit full of maggots on to my channel swim before going out to my 13m line with a piece of corn on the hook i deposited a small kinder pot full of corn+pellets and then tried to hold my rig still over the top of it but it was very hard work as the wind was really battering my pole plus my rig was towing through quite badly  so i had to lay more + more line on the deck to try to present a static bait , it wasn’t that surprising then that i was still bite less after thirty minutes so i decided to spent no more time struggling with the wind and went onto my channel swim where i hopped that a few fish had settled on my initial feed . After about ten minutes my float dipped under and i lifted into an ide of around 10oz which the hook pulled out of just as i was about to land it not the start i wanted , another ten minute wait before i had my next indication this resulted in a pound plus skimmer hitting the net and i was thinking that a little shoal of them might have settled as i managed a couple more hand sized samples but it was short-lived because the fish seemed to drift off .


I put in another cup full of maggots before going onto my top kit line to see if i could put a couple of pounds of small roach in the net but unlike my last match here were this was my best line today i couldn’t attract a single bite even though i had been loose feeding a dozen maggots every few minutes since the all in , with things not going to well i decided to put some bait in at the bottom of the near slope six meters towards my left i felt that this could produce a bigger stamp of fish so i feed a cupping kit full of corn+pellets but this also failed to produce a bite . Back on my channel swim and i was picking up the odd silver averaging 4oz a piece on looking around everybody was struggling so i wasn’t that concerned just yet although it would only take some body to catch a carp and it could all change , with that in mind i felt that if i could get another swim to start producing fish then i could rotate them which should hopefully prolong my catch rate and as my channel line was the only one producing fish i set up another line to my right here i would kinder pot in some pellets plus two grains of corn , my first try on this new swim with pellet got me a couple of hand sized skimmers i gave a piece of corn a try to see if it could pick up a bigger stamp of fish and after a ten minute wait my float slid under which resulted in an unseasonal tench nearly a pound popping up in front of me .


Back to my original swim for a few more stamp silvers before rotating lines to pick up a couple of small skimmers and that’s they way i spent my match up until the last hour when indications started to drop off it was also noticeable that i deep hooked a few silvers on my maggot swim so i was obviously not seeing all my bites for the next thirty minutes i couldn’t buy a bite but then the wind started to ease which meant i no longer had to lay as much line on the deck and i began seeing the tiny little dips on the float and i finished the match with a run of six f1s plus a small barbel on my pellet swim .I was unsure how i had got on but felt that i had kept in touch with all the anglers within eye shot and i didn’t have long to wait to find out my fate the lad to my right weighed in 13lb 40z , my net went 12lb 14oz and a lad opposite put nearly 16lb on the scales for the win so i ended up third just missing out by a few ounce on second and that seems to be the way my matches are going in the winter league at the moment as im struggling to find the bonus fish in these low weight matches although i am still in forth so lets hope i can keep up towards the top of the leader board .


Partridge lakes open match

December 19th , peg 110 covey five


Well today was a very rare day indeed not only was i fishing on a Saturday but i was also on Partridge lakes which was somewhere that i hadn’t visited in over two months and i was really looking forward to it as i can not remember the last time i had caught any f1s as i had spent most of the so-called winter fishing for silvers , the weather leading up to the match had been pretty reasonable for the time of year with it being eight degrees at night and mid double figures during the day although we still had some breezy conditions plus lots of rain to be honest it felt more like the start of autumn rather than the middle of winter .

On arrival at the venue there was another good turnout of over seventy anglers meaning coveys 1 to 5 would be in the draw bag as i began queuing up with all the usual faces plus a smattering of your pro anglers and as i waited in line i noticed that all the framing weights on the result board had come from pegs out of the cold wind which was no doubt down to the fact that you could present a bait accurately across to the far-bank , when it came for my turn to pick out i pulled peg 110 on covey five which was only a couple away from my last visit in an area that isn’t the best and ever since i had got my head round f1 fishing my golden arm has let me down big time .


When i got to my home for the next few hours i wasn’t that impressed as the wind was towing through quite strong from left to right meaning fishing across would be nearly impossible and i was also in pegs 114 , 115 and 117 all of which had better form plus the later two had the wind blowing off their backs so they could fish in the areas the f1s wanted to sit in . But i would give it my best shot and you just never know as fishing is a strange sport i decided to set up the usual three rigs which would be ;

Three foot , this would be for both slopes i was very dubious if i would be able to use it across but i plumbed it up anyway just incase my float was a slightly heavier 4×14 malman roob shotting pattern was a spread bulk , with 014 garbo main line and a short four-inch 010 garbo hook length this had a size 18 lwg hook attached .

Four foot rig , this was for the bottom of both slopes incase the f1s could be in slightly deeper water  my float was a slightly heavier 4×14 malman roob shotting pattern was a spread bulk , with 014 garbo main line and a short four-inch 010 garbo hook length this had a size 18 lwg hook attached .

Channel swim at six-foot i felt that in the conditions this would be my main line of attack and i used a 4×14 rw maggie float which had a bulk + two droppers shotting pattern , i used 014 garbo main line and a short six inch 010 garbo hook length this had a size 18 lwg hook attached .

Bait for the day was ;

Two pints of red and white maggots

One pint of micros

One pint 4mm pellets

Small tub of 4mm expanders


When the all in sounded i fed a small cupping kit full of maggots on to my channel swim which i positioned towards my right hand side of my peg as it allowed me to put my back to the wind this would also give me better control over the rig , i then began my match fishing at five meters towards peg 109 at four-foot deep dragging my rig slightly up the slope and i tapped in a few micros every five minutes being careful not to put a lot in until i knew how they would respond and unfortunately they didn’t because i was still bite less after forty minutes just like the anglers either side of me . I then had to resort to struggling with the wind across to the far-bank but my rig was pulling through like a train which wasn’t ideal when you’re using pellets or any bait for that matter and i ended up putting my four-foot rig a lot shallower enabling me to have a longer lash this helped matters but i still couldn’t attract any indications .


I had no other option other than to try my channel swim a lot earlier than i planned it wasn’t exactly hectic but i did at last begin picking up a few fish i had a good thirty minute spell where i caught half a dozen f1s but then i managed to lose a decent carp which broke my hook length when it made a dart for freedom under the keep net , then i lost another f1 straight after when the hook pulled at the net this kind of disrupted my swim because i couldn’t get another bite after that  so i set up another swim to the left side of my peg but chose to use pellets incase the fish responded better to that bait but this failed to produce a single indication and i decided to concentrate on my maggot swim for the rest of the match with the regular feeding i soon got them lined up again i even started getting liners which was strange in the middle of december .


I really should have got up off my box and set up an on the drop rig but i made do with altering my deck rig so it had a slower fall in the final third of the water this got me a few more f1s and even a couple of big ide just as was thinking i might be able to put a run of fish together to the all out the fish vanished which was a bit puzzling and I’m still not to sure what i did wrong , i thought that it might benefit from a rest so i had another look down my right hand slope line with pellets it took me awhile to get my rig to settle in the correct area but when i did manage it i had another run of f1s right up to the final whistle although i felt it was to little too late although i didn’t really have a clue how they had got on further up the straight .

I was the first to weigh in for my section and my 17 f1s plus a few ide went just over 17lb the guys either side of me didn’t bother the scales man but the better pegs on the bend had caught a lot more 114 had 24lb and 115 won the section with 29lb but strangely 117 didn’t weigh in , overall it was a rather confusing match for me and i would have probably benefited from changing lines quicker but I’m not to sure where i could have gone apart from further down my right hand margin .

Tomorrow im back at old hough for round five of the winter league this time were back on lucky dip + prospect and i just hope this wind drops which should enable me to fish across were the bigger stamp of fish live other wise it will be a scratching for bits match not really what i want to be doing .