Sunday, 1 April 2018

Lindholme Lakes Winter League 2017/18

As many of you are aware, the Lindholme winter league is one of the best in the country, with some of the England’s best anglers taking part. 

I have fished this winter league for the last 3 years (including this one) and have had some good results finishing 2nd in the first one and 10th in the second. This year I was determined to improve on last year’s performance.

The league itself started way back in October 2017 before what seemed to be the longest winter in history gripped hold of us.

Round 1
I drew Strip Pond peg 19 which is a decent peg situated in the middle of the lake. I was certainly no disappointed, as it can be a very good area moving into the colder months. If I remember correctly I caught on Bomb and Corn three quarters of the way across the lake (we were pegged on just one bank) and on the pole with pellets at 13 meters, finishing with 42lb for second in section to Les Marshall.

Round 2
I drew Bennys Lake peg 21, which is on the far arm of the  I finished with 88lb 7oz for second in section behind Paul Yates. lake. We had a freezing cold wind directly in our faces that day which wasn’t very nice. As the wind was quite bad I opted to start on the method at around 20 meters, which produced regular bites at the start but they tailed off prompting me to switch to the pole. I fished this with 4mm hard pellet at 8 meters and caught pretty steadily considering the bad conditions.

Round 3
I drew peg 65 on Bonsai, I caught not a lot, if I remember correctly we had some seriously cold weather leading up to this match which knocked the fishing right off. I think I ended up catching on maggots on the pole as I couldn’t get a bite on anything else. I finished with 18lb 14 for 3rd in section. 

At this point in the league I was well off the pace, I really needed to kick on a gear if I was to start clawing myself back up the leaderboard.

Round 4
I drew 28 on Bonsai, which was a decent section draw, I opted for an all-out maggot attack that day and it definitely paid dividends. I caught on 2 lines at 14.5 meters cattying maggots over the top and switching between single and double maggot on the hook. I finished the match with 32lb of mainly silver’s and won the section.

Round 5
I drew peg 25 on Laurels, which is a very good winter peg. It was situated on the end of one of the arms that used to be on laurels (the lake has now had a major makeover). On that day most of the lake was frozen over, so I cleared 2 channels at 11 and 1 o’clock angles. I broke these to around 13 meters, as I wanted to get finished before everyone else so that my swim had time to settle. I fished maggots on both lines, tip tapping 6-10 maggots each drop in. I finished with 76lb 1oz which was enough to win the section and the match.

Round 6
I drew peg 84 Bonsai which is a good peg but this was without doubt the hardest match of the entire winter league for me. I just could not catch anything until the last hour when some fish moved into the reeds to my right and I managed to winkle a few out. I finished the match with 14lb for 3rd in my section behind Nick Speed, who had 20lb and Alex Dockerty who had 18lb, proving how hard the lake fished that day.

Round 7
This was the first round after the Christmas break and the new stocking of Chub into the lakes. I drew peg 52 on Bonsai, which is the deepest area of the lake. My plan was to fish maggots long and try and catch a good weight of chub. This worked a treat as I finished with 56lb 3oz which was made up of 43lb of Chub and Skimmers plus 13lb of F1s and Carp. This gave me a much needed section and I also managed to win the match.

Round 8
I drew peg 6 on Willows which is on the first arm on the roadside bank; it isn’t usually pegged in the open matches, peg’s 5 and 7 are the normally used pegs. But I had heard it was used in a midweek match and a few fish had been caught on it, this gave me some optimism!
I went to the peg to find a strong wind blowing from left to right and into the bay. I was governed by the wind on the distance I could fish the pole, so I aimed my box with the wind a touch and set lines at 6 and 13 meters. I caught on maggots on both lines and finished with 59lb 14 for the section win and I managed to win the match for the second match in a row.

Round 9
I drew peg 21 on Loco, I had to fish a totally different approach to all the other matches as this lake is vast and the fish like to sit in the middle of the lake. I set up a 12ft Sphere Feeder rod with a Black Viper reel as I needed to fish around 60 meters. I planned to use a 36g Hybrid feeder with micros for feed and an Orange Wafter hook bait. I also set up a bomb rod for fishing bomb and corn at 20 meters. All my fish came on the same line and I finished with 78lb 1oz; Four of the fish alone weighed 45lb between them.  

This gave me the section win and amazingly I won the match again making it 3 on the trot.

Round 10
I drew peg 4 on Strip, which was in a fairly good area of the lake. I opted for a change of approach to the usual maggot attack, opting for micro’s and corn instead. The reasoning behind this was some previous experience on the lake at this time of year in the last couple of winter leagues.  I just had a feeling this approach would be a better option than the maggots and fortunately it was and I caught steadily on the pole at 14.5 meters most the day for 67lb, which won me the section. I was now on 6 section wins, 2 seconds and 2 thirds which took me to the top of the league with 1 round to go.

Round 11
I drew peg 35 on Bonsai which I was happy about as the open match on the Thursday was won off 34. I decided on a 3 line approach, firstly a line at 13 meters in the open water. The second line was to target the island at 16 meters and the third and final line was down the left hand edge near to a reed bed. It wasn’t fast and furious but I caught steadily, switching between lines to keep bites coming. At the end of the match I weighed in 49lb 10oz which won me the section.
I was absolutely over the moon as this secured me the league win with 7 section wins as results counted.
To win this league is a dream, such is the calibre of angler fishing it!

The top 9
Myself with 7 points first dropper a 2nd
Paul Christie 8 points first dropper a 2nd
Nick Speed 9 points first dropper a 3rd

Dan Bennet 10 points first dropper a 2nd
Steve Mazza 10 points first dropper a 3rd
Ric Francis 10 points first dropper a 4th
Ryan Lidguard 11 points first dropper a 2nd
Alex Dockerty 11 points first dropper a 3rd second dropper 3rd
Ben Fisk 11 points first dropper a 3rd second dropper 4th

Well done to all anglers and the fishery for such a great winter league.

I have certainly learned a few things this winter, the main one is how prominent maggots have been this winter. In previous years pellets have still dominated in winter at Lindholme, but this year maggots have definitely been the stand out bait. Switching between kinder potting and using a catapult to feed has worked wonders. I usually start with a kinder pot as I can regulate how much feed is entering the swim, but on a few occasions the bites have dried up after a short while, but introducing a few maggots over the top via a catapult has brought the peg back to life and I have started catching again. I will definitely remember this for next year.

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