Old Hough Big Max

January third , peg ten Big Max


At the weekend i was due to fish the latest round of the Diggle AC winter league at Old Hough but in the week i found out that there had been a mishap with the booking of the venue , rather than be on lucky dip + prospect we was going to be on Big Max which at first i was rather happy about as it has a big head of large f1s +carp and i had also won my last match on it with a near ninety pounds . Although my happiness soon faded when i found out that the match on it the previous day was only won with thirty pounds with only low teens being required to frame plus they had decided that the match wouldn’t be part of the winter league , the weather over the weekend was forecast to be pretty damp to say the least and on the day of the match it rained constantly from start to finish but at least we hadn’t had a concerted cold spell yet which is good for the start of January .

After my short thirty mile journey to Old Hough i was one of the first to arrive the conditions didn’t look that bad with light drizzle and a slight breeze from left to right although it was due to increase considerably as the day progressed , as the hustle + bustle of the draw took place i ended up with peg ten which i found round the far side of the lake and on arriving at it i had the misfortune of a head wind meaning i was going to get proper soaked it was also noticeable that it was quite colder than the far side i felt it could have an effect on the fishing as well , the peg itself had an island chuck of at least thirty meters and some reed lined margins but the front of my platform was also weedy i don’t think that this peg had been fished a great deal in the past few weeks.


On settling in at my home for the next few hours i decided to attack it by setting up ;

Matrix 8ft carp master tip rod which i clipped up at 25m because i remembered on my last visit that it was weedy + shallow tight across i also felt the carp or f1s would be happy sitting in the deeper water and as it was a bit colder on this side of the lake i decided to start by using the straight lead with a two foot hook length of 014 garbo that had a size 16 guru hook it also had a bait band attached .

Pole line i plumbed this up at eleven meter which was manageable in the conditions and it also gave me options of going further out later in the match , i decided to use a heavier more stable float with a 4×16 malman roob coming out of the box my shotting pattern was a bulk with two droppers and it had 014 garbo main line which had a six-inch hook length of 008 garbo , attached to it was a size twenty Matrix bagger hook this would allow me to use either pellets or maggots on the hook .

When the all in sounded i cast my lead out to my far bank marker with a yellow buoyant bandam in the bait band which i hoped would stand out in the muddy water and i had intended on pinging a couple of pellets over the top , but the wind was that strong i just couldn’t reach i had to make the most of any quite spells that came along . After ten minutes of inactivity i recast my rig out but this time with a hard 8mm on the hook which was the same as i was trying to feed , this seemed to do the trick because 15 minutes past before my rod was nearly dragged in and i was attached to one of the many large carp in the lake , i was just getting it under control when it darted to my right which broke my hook length and it was probably my fault as i had not tied up a fresh hook choosing instead to use one from a few years back worse was to follow when i found out i didn’t have any more long enough .


After rummaging through my hook length box i found one that was around a foot in length but after casting back in it just didn’t feel right and i decided to start using a pellet feeder as at least this would allow me to get some bait near my hook bait , i had three quick casts every five minutes to try to get some fish to settle in the area and then began the wait for a bite , ten minutes passed then twenty without even a liner and i was on the verge of giving up before going on the pole when my tip pulled round by keeping my rod low , bumping and winding i soon had a big 2lb f1 in the net . I cast back out with renewed vigour hoping that a couple more had settled on the feed but yet again i was in for a bit of a wait and it took another ten minutes before my next pull round but it did result in a similar sized f1 on looking around the lake this put me in front , i then had a thirty minute spell of inactivity and decided to go on to my pole line to pick up a few silvers and maybe the odd f1 as this would at least allow me to keep adding fish to my net , i began by feeding a full kinder pot of pellets before lowering my expander hook bait among it and then proceeded to keep my rig still over the top of it this resulted in a couple of missed indications but when i did finally connect with one it turned out to be a 4oz skimmer not exactly what i was looking for especially as bites were really hard to come by .


Another thirty minutes on the tip did not produce a single liner so back on the pole i went but i decided to change it for maggots hoping this might get me among the large head of roach , i began catching small silvers around 1oz a piece but i was struggling to get a bigger stamp and i started to feed a full kinder pot after every fish to try to get a bit of bait on the deck , i also changed my shotting pattern to a bulk + single dropper because i felt that the small roach were intercepting the bait as it fell so hopefully my increased feed would help pin them to the deck and might even drag in a bigger stamp by doing that i did pick up the odd four ounce silver among the bits . When the bites began to slow down i had another look on my tip rod but this time i began getting the odd liner which at least showed that a few bigger fish had made their way around from the other side of the island , although i didn’t get any proper indications and thinking about it now i should have kept clipping up closer + closer towards me until i had a proper pull round because it seems obvious that the fish were settled in deeper water .


Back on the pole and i was considering putting in a line further out but with the wind still gusting badly plus the lads either side of me who was fishing at 16m were not catching any quicker than my short line and in fact it was easier for me to put a few fish in the net , i spent the last hour fishing the pole on my short six meter line and among the plentiful small silvers i managed my biggest fish of the day which was a 3lb f1 it came in really easily even on my solid six elastic but it felt like a block of ice , unfortunately i didn’t manage any more before the all out sounded and to be honest i was glad to call time on what was a pretty poor match as i hadn’t caught a great deal like most people around me plus i was soaked through . When the scales arrived at my peg 13lb was in the lead and my net went a surprising 10lb that lost carp cost me dear you just can not make mistakes at this time of year because it would have been more than three-quarters of my match weight , as i began packing up the rain stopped wind dropped and the sun came out Typical ! !

As i got back to the van i heard that 20lb had won so i ended up third which i was sort of happy with because other than the lost carp i don’t think that i could have done a great deal different , back on the winter league next weekend this time it’s on boulders+goose lets hope i can finish in the top three which should keep me in contention and I’m looking forward to getting amongst the recently stocked f1s let’s just hope the weather is a bit better for fishing .





Partridge Lakes, Open Match, 13.12.14


Weather: Sunny Intervals, 0C, 4 mph SW wind, Air pressure 1020

Peg: Covey 110

26 Fished

Today’s open was to be on Covey 5+6, with the winter league taking up Covey’s 1-4.

There had been an overnight frost leading to a 1cm covering of ice on the lakes, so the ice breaker would be needed today.  I was hoping to get back on Covey 6 today as I seem to draw on Covey 5 more often than not and although there are some good pegs on it they seem few and far between in the winter, with the current form areas being around 115,122 and 126. I drew peg 110 and I was extremely disappointed with this and if you asked me before the draw what would be the last peg I wanted from the 2 lakes, peg 110 would be it, followed by 107. This is the 3rd time this winter…

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Winter dobbing with bread

As we are fast approaching the depths of winter with no doubt some hard frosts and frozen lakes ahead now is the time to practise the art of dobbing bread , this approach will catch the fish in your peg without the risk of spooking them by feeding which is often the case at this time of the year and it can catch some of the biggest fish in the lake , bread is the best and safest option to use during the winter months as it is soft and visible which swells up in the water by giving it a slight squeeze it makes sure that it sinks as slowly as possible .

To do this you need to drop your hookbait into any likely looking area off the bottom a good starting point is two thirds of the actual depth , with the fish being laid up for winter your trying to put it right on their noses to try to entice a bite and it will allow you to locate where abouts in your peg that the main bulk of fish are before going onto your more usual rigs .

Using a light float with just two or three small shots down the line this will help present the bait naturally but make sure that it is stable because the carp will not touch a rig that pulls through the swim and also leave a bit of the bristle showing so the swollen bread will sink it down to the tip then you know that it has reached the correct depth by giving the bread a slight squeeze it makes sure that it sinks as slowly as possible . Cold water means clear water so a thinner more supple line can be an advantage as the fish are also generally quite docile and in active during winter so you can get away with it also avoid having too short a line above the float then you can keep the pole tip well away from the fish .

Lay the rig in side ways by holding the float on a tight line encourages the bread to slowly arc through the water and you should expect a bite just before or after it settles , if you fail to get an indication try altering the depth a few inches at a time and keep shallowing up until you start hitting the bites even in the depths of winter you can catch them in just 1ft of water. Try placing the rig in any fishy looking spots because in this weather the fish will be huddling together off the bottom for warmth and safety , location is the key when dobbing in winter and once you get a bite their is usually a little pod of them a disk of punched bread is the number one hook bait as it will catch you fish when they are not prepared to feed on anything at all .

Below is a video by the mighty Steve Ringer who can explain it all far better than me but i hope that my little waffle about it helps just a little bit .


Croft Fishery

Hylton number 2 , Jan 2nd

Croft fishery

Croft fishery

It didn’t take long before i was out fishing for the first time this year , i did have the option of going on the new years day match at Sycamore fishery but the weather was best described as awful so i choose to go today instead when the weather was forecast to be a lot better and after some heavy over night rain i woke up to find blue sky’s and a gentle breeze .

I decided on a trip to Croft fishery and go on the back lake because it has form in cold weather with it being predominately an f1 lake , although it is stream fed so lots of recent rain had made it very clear and it would obviously make the fishing a lot harder so my rigs would have to be altered to suit the conditions i faced today .



After plumbing up at 13 meter because the fish on here tend to back away from the bank due to the clear water , i found 5 foot depth in a few areas at this distance which would make only needing one rig . My float choice was a malmans speedy which has a thicker tip that i could see better against the speckled back ground , the main line was 0.10 garbo and a 0.07 garbo hook length attached to a size 20 gamma black hook . Decided on a shotting pattern of a bulk with two droppers to allow for a slower fall which i felt would be necessary as the fish would be watching the bait settle in the clear conditions .

The last time that i fished here i caught really well shallow although today there was no fish showing on top but i decided to set one up any way for when they turned up later in the day , i used 0.10 garbo main line set at 2 foot with a matrix 0.3 float which had a single dropper shotting pattern and my hook was a size 20 gamma pellet hook .

Bait table

Bait table


1/2 pint red maggots

1/4 pint soaked micros

1/4 pint green fish meal

small tub of white and normal expanders

At 10.30 i was all ready to go so i shipped out to 13 meter and tapped in four maggots with a nugget of micro-fish meal , a couple of lift-drops to try to induce a bait resulted in an indication almost instantly with a 1 lb f1 coming to the net . I went back out and re-fed the same amount but no matter what i did i couldn’t get another bite , after almost an hour of working my swim nothing was happening so i tried flicking in a few maggots to try to get a few fish into my swim or maybe even compete shallow .


After another thirty minutes of in activity i decided to try shallow even though their was no signs on top , my first couple of flicks with my rig didn’t produce but after that i began getting sail away bites which i just couldn’t connect with . A change of depth though produced a couple of 2oz roach , not exactly what i planned on catching today so i decided to re-try on the deck but this time two meters to the right for when the f1s might be reluctant to move .

From what i could see most people were catching on maggot so i choose to cut out the pellets and even the loose feeding because it was only attracting small roach , surprisingly this worked because after only ten minutes i was into another f1 about the same size as the other one and after a couple of small roach , another change of swim was required and funnily enough it produced exactly the same with a quick f1 followed by a few roach .

I doubt whether i was over feeding because i was only feeding six maggots after every fish but i decided to try not putting any bait in on my next swim , i still kept lifting-dropping to try to entice a bite and after catching a few small roach , i was on the verge of putting in some bait to try to attract a bigger stamp of fish when a little dink saw me attached to the first of a brace of 2 lb bream and another f1 .


I had finally managed to put some fish into the net but i then had another problem to contend with the low winters sun had emerged from behind the facing trees and made fishing my main swim impossible . I had a quick look at my other swims in case any thing had settled their but apart from a few more small roach that’s all i caught so decided to call it a day with, four f1s , two bream and six small roach for about 10lb . It wasn’t the best of days fishing and it seems winter has finally arrived , the other anglers were catching about the same but using pinkie and fishing a lot further out at 16 m.

Those attending Sundays open match on here could be on for a struggle, weather depending i will probably be back on Partridge lakes open match but it aint  looking promising at the moment just hope it isn’t as wet and windy as they predict .