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15.5.21 - Willows

OK, so I went for an experiment today. I've fished Willows a lot this closed season and have sort of got the hang of chucking a leger up against the island, but have also looked at the margins and just wondered... So, with the lilies starting to emerge at the bankside I stuck on a float, far more interesting to star at than a bobbin, chucked in some balls of mashed bread and cast a rod length out. After a couple of missed bites, in true Mr Crabtree style, the float zipped away and I was into a g

Bayleaf the Gardener

Bayleaf the Gardener in Willows

1lb Rudd 14.5.21

Grove Pond 3.30-5.30pm My original plan was to catch roach on meat up in the water, but the roach weren't in evidence, except a few very small ones, and for a time the rudd were. My rudd pb is a hefty 2lb 2oz, but after that I think my best was a mere 9oz. So I was very pleased to catch a second best rudd at 1lb 0 oz. I had 5 rudd in all, a couple in the 6-7oz mark.

The Flying Tench

The Flying Tench in general

14.05.21 - Willows/Alders

So the plan was to spend half of the session at Willows, then cross the 10-yard causeway to Alders for the rest. But an hour in, with a 3lb 7 tench under my belt, I looked at myself in thick jumper, gilet and coat in mid-May and decided the cold north breeze in my face would be slightly less uncomfortable on my back and crossed the Rubicon early for slightly   The decision was soon justified when my shivering stopped and out came a 4lb 1 tench.  I calculated that after Tuesday's carp any by t

Bayleaf the Gardener

Bayleaf the Gardener in Willows/Alders

11.5.21 - Willows

There was a repellent south wind when I arrived, creating quite a chop, and with anglers on my fave sheltered swims on Alders, I went for Willows, with the wind on my back casting at the island. A good evening. Commons of 9lb 7, 8lb 6, 10lb 14 all in beautiful condition, and a tiddler Mirror of 3lb 8. 30lb+ of fish is always a good day. I hit every bite too, for a change, albeit I lost two more fish. 

Bayleaf the Gardener

Bayleaf the Gardener in Willows

Roach up in the water 9.5.2021

Grove Pond 3.30-5.30pm I'd been told this lake holds roach up to about a pound, so the aim of today was to start a quest for these (also rudd and crucians) by experimenting with a new bait, meat. I've used big chunks of luncheon meat ledgering for chub and barbel, but only once tried smaller pieces on the float for smaller fish. I started with maggot to build confidence. Quite slow, I soon found small pieces of meat approx 5mm square got just as many bites, and I hooked a couple of sma

The Flying Tench

The Flying Tench in general

8.5.21 - Alders

Arrived in pouring rain and left in 40mph+ winds. That's May 2021 for you. Stopped for a while to help the working group plant bull rushes and irises around adjacent Willows.  Help required please:  it was a quiet day by previous week's standards, the stop/start frosts probably having an effect. This said, for the solitary 4lb bream I caught, I had 4 good fish slip the hook after cracking 100mph bites, where the bobbin cracked into the rod. Each was on for between 10 seconds and a couple

7.5.21 - Alders/Willows

I got to Alders today and found four more anglers than the normal none. I think this came from my spreading recent catch details on the Newbury Angling Association Forum. To the best of my knowledge no one caught, nor had my pal, Peter,  on his trip yesterday. On behalf of the fish, I'd like to apologise to all. If it's any consolation, I had just a couple of line bites there this afternoon before switching to Willows for the last hour. As a punishment from the fish gods, my one decent

04 05 21 - Alders

After the 40mph winds of Bank Holiday Monday evening, Tuesday's were a mere 30+ The swell on the lake looked more like the North Atlantic than Maytime Berkshire,  better suited to surfing than fishing, but I had a few hours and gave it a go. Less bites in total than of late, there were still several will-he-wont-he bites where the bobbin rose, fell a little, fell a little more, rose again etc but did not develop into bites. Then there were the ones that nearly pulled the rod out of the

03.05.21 - Alders

Bank Holiday Monday, with winds in excess of 40mph but mercifully the accompanying rain gave me the honour of keeping away until I'd finished my session. Alders is now my favourite lake. You'll have read that last Friday was a day of tentative movements on the bobbin whereas Saturday brought good solid takes. Today was back to finickity. On and off, the bobbin played about all day. Sure, some were line bites, but others had fish playing with the bait for several minutes without taking it pr

1.5.21 - Alders

I was surprised to find myself the only one in the car park at 7am, even if the temperature had fallen again to two degrees. What did they know? I spurned the popular Willows lake for the comparatively ignored adjacent Alders given my bream and tench haul of yesterday. Given I'd missed so many finicky bites, I'd brought a swimfeeder mix to chuck out with a longer hooklength than my usual method feeder, thinking to outfox the wary bream. I set up and soon wilted as my totally disproportionate han

Grove Pond 30.4.21

3.30 - 5.15pm  This lake belongs to Wantage Angling Club, of which I am a member.  After a series of cold nights, and bright sun all afternoon, I had few expectations of catching fish, but I was pleasantly surprised. I float-fished maggot and had about 15 small roach, about 5 rudd (best a chunky 7oz) and 3 nice crucians, all about 6oz. As far as I know this lake doesn't hold any mega-specimens, but it's a very pleasant lake to fish.

30.4.21 - Alders

I'll draw a veil over this mornings start at Willows. While the sound of the cuckoo and woodpecker was a delight, the cold start and bitter northerly wind was not, and had me running to the car for my gloves. The morning was thus predictably quiet on the fish front, so I cut my losses and crossed the causeway to the adjacent Alders lake. This was a good move, even if the wind did swing south to resume blowing in my face. I started close in near some sunken willow roots. Just one bite on swe

27.04.31 - Willows

Well, today was the day I sussed this fishing lark. Everything I touched went right. I got the swim I wanted after work, and casted right in the spot that I'd planned. Eight minutes later, the bobbin cracked against the rod and something powerful was stripping line, bolting away from the central island, leaving me to hang on, relieved that I'd decided not to set the line clip. On a whippy rod and light-ish line to aid casting, the fish can give good fight, this one took took line several times a

23.04.21 - Willows

An enjoyable if not spectacular day on my mission to crack Willows (and Alders once the lilies are back) before June 16th. After yet another (light) frosty night there was a breeze, predominantly easterly, but changed throughout the day that took the edge off the temperatures despite unbroken sun all day. I was required to keep my thick jumper on until 2pm. With up to eight anglers at any time, this small lake felt a bit pressured, and not much came out all day. Compared to what I saw my pe

20.4.21 - Willows

A fab Tuesday evening after the first few warm days of Spring. Walking around to choose a swim, I watched half a dozen carp basking in the shallows, Deciding I'd spook them if I made any sort of cast. I walked on, tackled up and pinged a method feeder towards the island, and had a still hour to consider the wisdom of ignoring an area with fish in before the rod top bent round. I thought it was a small one as it seemed quite willing to be wound in, until the moment we saw each other, at which poi

17.4.21 - Willows/Warwicks

Never try to repeat a success, they say. Quite right too. Within fifteen hours of leaving Willows, head fuzzy with carpy joy, I was back in the same swim at first light despite the frost for a second helping. Presuming it would be too cold for the carp to be on the feed until the sun hit the water, I started with a light float and maggot for some less fussy roach and bream. Over the next hour I had no bites at all and had seen four carp come out to anglers unaware of my excellent fishy thinki

16.04.21 - Willows

Well, my plan to fish Alders and get to know its contours and mysteries over the weeks ahead before the season resumes properly lasted about an hour. The frost I arrived in was driven off by a strengthening northerly wind and my uncomfortable biteless session came to an end when the bailiff arrived and told me of his p.b. mirror (26lb) and bream (11lb) in an hours session at adjacent Willows last week. At Willows I started on float while the temperature struggled to get up to potential carpin

14.04.21 - Knotts

Right. An evening unaffected by snow showers where I can have  a crack at what I imagine are large-ish roach in the swim where I can consistently catch half-pounders. Though I get a tiddler first cast, it's quite slow despite regular gentle loose-feeding of two swims. I finally get most bites fishing at around 7ft deep. The biggun's remained elusive, though I did end up with fourteen roach in a few hours, five of which between six and twelve ounces. So the big ones remain elusive, though all the

10.4.21 - Willows

Having sat since first light and with no sign of fish life, I was comforted when the bailiff turned up suggested I was doing the right thing, method feeding towards the island. He suggested I change my pale pop-up hookbait to a fluorescent wafter. In the few minutes that we spoke, three carp jumped clear of the water by the island in front of me. After he left no more fish rose. A coincidence, surely?!? Later on a chap came and set up along the bank from me. He cast out then turned to start


A lovely day to be out in the early Spring sunshine; unless you were a fish, who kept well out of the way. No bites all day (yet again) on pop-ups, bread or pellet. My get-out-of-blank float road was also untroubled all morning. I had some bites when set overdepth but no takes, which made me think that the crayfish have woken up again. Come the afternoon, the clouds rolled in, the breeze started and I scraped nine roach, the biggest a welcome three ounces. Ah well.

6.4.21 -Knotts

Having fished after work a week ago in twenty-three degree heat, this Tuesday I hoped that the day's snow showers were over and I'd just have the north wind to deal with. No such luck. I was hit by a 15-minute blizzard that dropped 2mm pellets of white around me while the wind took every bit of feeling from my fingers. Surprisingly perhaps, I had by then managed seven roach, one about half a pound, which made it worthwhile despite the early finish and chilblains. 

3.4.21 - Dobsons

Different day, same cold, north east wind but this time no prospect of later sunshine. Wanted a swim with the wind on my back rather than in my face, so chose the far east bank of Dobsons for the first time. From this end of the lake I could see nine bivvies set up. None of them seemed to catch. For the third session on a row, I didn't get a touch on pellet of wafter on method feeder all morning, fishing up against the artificial island. Kept a float on second rod and eked out just the one solit

2.4.21 - Dobsons

With the partial release of lockdown combining with the Easter weekend, the Dobson's car park was rammed full, and bivvies had appeared all around the nearby lakes like mushrooms on a dewy field.  Good Friday? Pah! My preferred swim was surprisingly free, but this turned out to be in the face of a north easterly wind was cold enough to have me returning to the car for furry hat, scarf and gloves after twenty degrees plus in the last few days. It was really cold and didn't the fish know it and ke
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