Orchard Lakes – Match Fishing Showdown

On Sunday the stakes were high, two fishers reputation were on the line. Orchard lakes, New Milton, was the venue. We fished the match lake for a few hours on a warm afternoon. The lake holds a mixed bag of species including carp, roach, tench and my old nemesis the barbel. The rules of the match were simple, most fish caught wins the match and can sleep peacefully knowing they are the superior angler and an all round better human being than the loser.

I set up to fish match style on the method feeder, using Dynamite Baits Robin Reb pellet on the hook, topped with a small piece of plastic corn. I rustled up my usual method mix of Silver X method mix, sweetcorn and some mixed pellet. The lake is a snake style lake with margins slightly shallower than the main channel through the middle. I decided to fish the island rather than the margins as the trees on the far bank made a really nice little shaded feature that I was sure fish would feed confidently under. General Ben decided to roll the big guns out and fish with a boilie and bag approach, to try and target the bigger fish.

As is the norm with these packed out commercial style match lakes the bites came thick and fast from the start. I opened my account with a small carp and Ben then followed suit with a much larger common. After releasing both fish, we recast and I was straight away into another fish. The fish fought like a ‘roider down Wind Street on a Saturday night but she eventually succumbed to my tiny tackle. As the bronze flanks followed the angular head into my landing net I immediately knew that I had caught my first barbel, a fish which has firmly resisted my advances for over a year (more angling and barbel-less shenanigans here). The next few bites were also mine and soon they were coming steadily enough to encourage Ben to change onto the method. This increased his catch rate dramatically and the competition was soon close again. I soon showed my class and humility, by crushing Ben into the ground like a piece of shit on my shoe, with a grand total of 14 fish to 9.

I was over the moon with the day’s bag; despite catching a still water barbel which plays second fiddle to his running water cousin. Ben’s bag also included his first ever barbel and another barbel for me which was a unsurprisingly a new PB. Finally I added a tiny tench to my account which was another PB, a disgraceful PB I know but since I reset my PB’s for this blog I haven’t crossed paths with any of these slimy little buggers. After the match we headed back to Ben’s for a bloody good game of monopoly (which I also dominated), but I will save that story for my upcoming blog which will document, in great detail, every game of monopoly I have ever played throughout my entire life. At least then, this will not quite the most boring piece of writing in the entire world.

Woodstock Pond – a Festival of Fish

Woodstock Pond in Newport is a lovely established lake next door to School Pond and Morgan’s Pool. All part of Newport Angling Association’s fishery complex on the outskirts of leafy Newport. Regular readers (all 7 of you) will know, that I recently smashed school pond to pieces on the waggler(click here).Woodstock pond is a mixed coarse lake reputed to have a few carp to around 20lb, tench, some big bream and skimmers as well as the usual silvers.

The day I fished, turned out to be a real scorcher, luckily, I had packed the world’s sportiest sunglasses just in case of a a rare Welsh day such as this. A day where the sun actually permeates through the seemingly ever constant band of thick grey cloud.My usual set-up for this kind of fishing  tends to consist of my Jon Wilson Quiver – a great rod, Drennan Red Range Reel – a great budget fixed spool, loaded with 6 pound line with a 15gram Drennan method feeder and pre tied 4 lb Guru Method feeder rigs on the end.

Gracing the bait bucket on the day were my old favourites Dynamite Baits 8mm Robin Red pre-drilled of course, a bag of mixed pellet from Cwmbran tackle; view their wares here, a tub of corn , and Dynamites Bait Feeder X ground-bait and fans favourite artificial corn. After last weekends escapades, maggots had been firmly banned by Caitlin.

I didn’t put in any free offerings at the start of my session as the sun was really blazing down and I didn’t feel the fish would be feeding heavily. Also using the method at range, I felt that I might be better off keeping my free offerings all in wrapped up in one tidy little package. I mixed the feeder X with the corn juice and some corn and mixed pellets. Then I slowly added little bits of lake water until I had reached a suitable consistency. I started with just a fake corn on the hair rig to try and entice more bites whilst the swim was getting going. At the start of the session I made the decision to concentrate purely on fishing tight to the island, and for once I was going to stick with this spot. After the first cast it took a few minutes before the rod tip started twitching, it suddenly looped around and we were into the first fish of the day a lovely little F1.


For the whole day the fishing was bite a chuck with a mixture of F1s and small commons being the order of the day. The fish were in the 1-3lb bracket. I eventually moved onto robin red pellet topped with artificial corn to try and entice some larger fish. This technique was semi successful and the stamp of fish did improve steadily throughout the day. All in all it was a great days fishing and I managed to land around 25 fish to put together a good weight by the end of the day. Next port of call is to return with a keep net and scales and see if I can put together a bag of 50lb. Potential quest?


My Top 8 Fishing Blogs

Here’s my top 8 fishing blogs (in no particular order!). Hopefully this list contains the best fishing blogs but if you know any more please pop a link into the comments below.

Number 8 – Totally Awesome Fishing

Graeme and Mike Pullen, seem to be at the forefront of the video magazine format style video. Any angler could learn from Graeme’s wealth of experience, I myself have put the infamous “twitching sprats” technique into practice more than a few times, to erm great success. Being from a similar neck of the woods as the TAF team, I have fished many of the waters which feature on their TAF channel, in fact, I was once fishing the Throop Stretch of the River Stour struggling for bites when Graeme and Mike swooped along the opposite bank hooking into pike time and time again. It was a shameful performance on my part but I don’t feel so bad because it was a bit like playing five a side with Ronaldo on the other team.

Number 7 – Chris Wesley Fishing Videos

Chris’ string of films demonstrate a masterclass in specimen angling. Chris latest videos are some of the best produced angling videos around. There is always some good fish in the net at the end of the day. Perhaps Chris’s speciality are beautiful carp from established southern gravel pits.

Number 6 – Carl and Alex Fishing

In a sport which is dominated by grey bearded pipe smokers Carl and Alex are proof that fishing does still appeal to the younger generation. Now teamed up with Anglers Mail, the young duo are already far more capable anglers than I will probably ever be.

Number 5 – Dan Jones Carp and Coarse Swansea

South Wales finest fishing blog, features an angler and his exploits around the local still water fishings and some prestigious welsh rivers. A talented angler and an all round nice bloke. Recommended viewing.

Number 4 – Wilderness TV

Wilderness TV are purveyors of fine fly fishing films both informative and well shot they are a pleasure to watch. My personal favourite “Fly Fishing in the Black Mountains” was the inspiration for a recent trip up to Grwyne Fawr Reservoir in search of wild brown trout.

Number 3 – The Wild North

My perfect life would be living in a cabin in Canada driving around boats and quad bikes, shooting guns in the air and doing fishing. Of course there are further aspects to a life in the wild. This film documents them,  a window from the civilised world out into the Wild North.

Number 2 – Fishing Britain

This is a fairly recent edition to my youtube playlists, a spin off program from the Field Sports Channel (also excellent if you are into your hunting and shooting sports). This youtube magazine is fronted by Hywel Morgan fly fishing legend backed up with regular appearances from angling legends like northern monkey Ant Glascoe Junior and submariner Richard Chapman. This show is the best thing to happen to fishing since the invention of the always hilarious boilie throwing sticks.

Number 1 – Back of the landing net

This channel provided me the inspiration to bore people with my own fishing exploits. Although, Back of the Landing net is far from boring, with genuine laugh out loud moments my personally favourite is Jay falling into King Vincent’s Lake on Somerley Estate (another one of my old stomping grounds). If you watch the series from start to end you truly do see an evolution of Chris and Jays fishing abilities, as well as increased production value. Despite recently breaking it into the main stream with fast cars and sponsorship deals on tap these two Dorset lads remembered there roots and built a friendly active community. On top of this they regularly organise charity events which include matches and the Three Peaks Challenge, I partook, in the Three Peaks Challenge with the boys and it was hard work but a great laugh. Check out the forum here.

Fly Fishing with Buzzers

Another brilliant video from Wilderness TV. If you’re a fisher check out their YouTube channel.



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