Steve Gardener needs no introduction to the angling world, he has fished at the highest international level for 27 years and has literally been there and done it.

In his Team England career he has won a staggering 11 team World gold medals since he made his debut back in 1987.  Steve is the ultimate team angling professional, frequently putting the team before personal achievements.

Now retired from the international team events, Steve continues to fish several matches a week, from local opens to large scale matches in Europe.

Steve who continues to be backed by Milo will give us his weekly update on this page of all his latest matches and events that he fishes.

It promises to be highly entertaining reading, so make sure you bookmark Gardener's World for an exclusive insight into the angling exploits of the one and only Steve Gardener.

Gardeners World - Catching Up

17th March 2018

Hi folks, playing catch up a little bit on my reports as we didn’t get chance to blog last week so I’ll update you on a few of the bigger matches since I last wrote.

The Passies Winter league came to a conclusion recently on a bitterly cold day.  Going into this round I had a 5th, a 6th then 2 section and match wins so needed another good day today to stand any chance of getting in the top 3.

I drew peg 12 which is an island chuck peg, it is shallow though and with the water temperature only 3.8c I feared the worst.

Started on the pole, feeding very negatively looking for some bites just to get things going but never had a bite.  Simon next door and another chap did have a few early skimmers on the tip, which I was quite surprised about to be honest.  After a few more anglers started to pick up fish on the tip, I picked my rod up and decided to have a few chucks on it.

To my surprise it wasn’t long before my tip started to go round and a few skimmers were being added to the net, with the odd bigger stamp as well.

I was catching quite consistently, and so were a few others around the lake that I was amazed at given the water temperature.  Quite a few we catching on the pole line as well, so as a bit of a gamble, I potted in a big ball of groundbait and micros, incase the tip slowed up.

Slow up it did too, as predicted the shoal moved on and bites dried up, so it was time for a look on the primed up pole line. 

Dropped back in on it and had a little dink, was beginning to think that it was a little roach or something before it buried and a nice 1 ½ lb Skimmer was soon in the net!

This was the only bite on the line before the all out was called.

I tipped 22lb onto the scales, and was delighted for that to win the match again!  The sweat was on though if it was enough to squeeze into a podium finish!

It turned out there was 3 of us tied on 8 points, I ended up 3rd as had the worst dropper out of the three of us.  Terry Harrison was declared the winner and Jamie Grainger was 2nd, so big well done to you both.  A good result though considering the bad start I’d had to this league.

Then on the Wednesday it was the penultimate round of my Bury Hill League.  Due to a few playing catch up in work after the disruptive weather there we had a few pegs spare so put a few less in on the day.

I was heading to peg 4 which is a big chuck open water peg, and next peg to the feeder master Brian Nesbit. 

Brian had some fish early and was taking a lead before most of us had had a bite.  I did start to catch, and some nice Bream as well but Brian was pulling ahead of everyone and catching consistently.

To be honest, I was playing catch up as the match progressed and was hoping to get second in the section as Brian was walking it.

Brian sure enough went on to win the match with a brilliant 43lb of Bream and Skimmers, Ian Roger was 2nd with 33lb and Brian Spiking 3rd with 25lb.

I was happy enough with my 22lb that put me 2nd in the section so decent point for the league.

With one round to go, its myself and Brian that are in pole position so the next match could be an interesting one!

Will let you know how I get on next time.

Am looking forward to trying all the new Bait-Tech products this week, probably at More House Farm so will let you know how I get in with this too!

Have a good weekend.



Gardeners World – Hanging On!

23rd February 2018

Hello all and welcome to this weeks installement!

Its been a good week, with a couple of lovely days fishing enjoyed at Passies and Bury Hill.  I fished Saturday at More House, but wont go into details on that as it was only a small knock up again.

Sunday though I was at Passies for the winter league round 4.  One of the things that I always do is I try and have the last peg in the hat, Sunday though there was three pegs left and with one angler running late the organiser drew for him which turned out to be my peg from last week!

So I ended up with peg 24 that blanked last week!  Still it was a different day and anything can happen.

There was a really strange temperature change too, when I left home it was -0.5c and the car was frosted over.  However the forecast of isolated frost was correct as after the short 30mile journey it was a barmy 7c at Passies!

I set up the pole and a method feeder, a lot of people here don’t fish the pole or if they do it is as a last resort but I always do and start on it.

Kicked off and I didn’t have to wait long until the fish started to come in.  90minutes in and I was flying with about 25lb of Skimmers in the net before it went dead.  I’ve mentioned before how tight these fish are shoaled up and it was the case again today. 

Tony Snade and Simon Ellis were also catching well by this time and my fish had gone.  So it was time to chuck the tip out and see what was out there. 

This worked as well but not like it was on the pole line but I was managing to put some fish in the net and in my mind just hanging on to the lead.

The later part of the match was switching about and picking up fish where I could.  I had a few more on the pole, a nice 2lb Perch from the edge plus a few more Skimmers on the long pole to weigh 45lb 2oz.  I was sweating though as knew Tony and Simon had a similar weight. 

As it turned out, I hung on by the skin of my teeth to win the match with Tony weighing 44lb 4oz for 2nd and Simon 43lb 13oz for 3rd…..phew!!

Wednesday and it was time for a bit more Bream fishing at Bury Hill on the midweek winter league.  We’d had a bit of frost, but nothing to drastic so was hoping for a good day again.

I drew 37 which was in a good area and was pretty happy to go on that one.  By the time we had started a pleasure angler on the other bank had had 6 Bream so signs for a few fish were looking good.

The match started and I did get another good run of fish early on before I really started to motor again.  At times the tip was going round as I was tightening the line up.

Everyone was catching a few but I had an idea I was pulling ahead again and definitely in my section I was leading it.

Mark Hatherway next to me was struggling though, when I shouted over to him half way through the match to see if he was catching he wasn’t with only a few odd fish and liners to report back.

Going into the last hour, I was picking up odd fish but it went quite again and the shoal had moved away.

That is when Mark started catching, and catching quick!

He’d gone from sitting there almost biteless to catching one a bung, and again I was sweating to see if I could hang on to the lead I’d built up.

This time I couldn’t hang on to it and fair play Mark put in a brilliant last hour display catching 12 big bream in that time to add to his earlier 6 to weigh 55lb 8oz.  I weighed 52lb 12oz and even though I had more fish, had fallen short.

I did lose a big tench in a snag that has cost me the match, so kicking myself a bit on that.

All my fish fell to my trusty ground bait mix of Bait-Tech Envy Green / Special G Dark / Karma equally mixed, with a 8mm The Juice white sinker banded on the hook.

This works really well for me and I’ve got total confidence in this mix for all my Bream and Skimmer fishing.

So that’s the story of my few matches, not sure what will happen next week as if the “beast from the East” comes in as forecast there could be a few frozen lakes about!

Anyway have a good weekend folks and see you soon



Gardeners World – Just the One

February 16th 2018

Hi everyone, just the one match to blog on this week which is the Passies winter league that I fished last Sunday.

I did fish Saturday and Wednesday, but sadly the turnouts were low again so they were just knock ups really and not a lot to talk about as I only had one bite Wednesday at Willinghurst!

So Sunday was the winter league at Passies, I’d had two disasters before hand so was hoping for a better day.

I drew peg 5, that I knew quite well as had drawn it last year and also knew that a few big perch lived here!

I started fishing on the long pole, my reason for doing so is if there is skimmers there then they need to be caught as you can’t keep them so once they are gone, they are gone.

Well they weren’t there anyway, and I didn’t have a bite nor did I have a bite on the feeder after a few lobs of that!

I had been feeding casters on a line at 5 sections looking for Roach or maybe the bonus Perch that lived around there.

After being a bit patient, I had a bite.  It was a little dink, then slowly it went under and I knew by that it was a perch.

Sure enough a decent perch of around 10oz was in the net, and I was off the mark.

This was shortly followed by a few more, the biggest being about 2lb and a right specimen. 

Had a bit of a quiet spell then, so decided to have another go on the method feeder for half hour.  This proved to be another good shout as the tip went round a few times and I managed to put 5 small skimmers for about 3lb in the net before the shoal vanished and I had to come back in on the short pole line.

The rest had done that a bit of good too as when I went back on that line, by being patient again I snared a few more nice Perch!

I caught 7 Perch for about 11lb and those 5 Skimmers to give me a total of 14lb 14oz which am happy to report won the match!

It was very close though, Jamie Granger was 2nd with 14lb 6oz so if I had lost any of those fish it would have demoted me to 3rd or maybe even 4th place!

All’s well that ends well though, and was very happy with that result to top the week off.

Next week we have got my mid weeker on Bury Hill and a then the winter league again on the weekend.

Hope you all have a good one!



Gardeners World – Where is everyone?

9th February 2017

Hello all, hope you had a good week and managed to catch a few fish.

This isn’t going to be the longest report today, as there isn’t a massive amount to write about!

Saturday and Sunday I went to More House Farm, but there was only 5 and 7 turn up for the matches so we just had a walk off and a bit of a knock up really.  I did come 1st and second and had a few fish but can’t really class them as matches.

Wednesday though it was the next round of our Bury Hill Winter league.  When we got there, conditions were good.  The wind was only slight but coming from the West which meant it was perfect and on our back.

Will took the water temperature reading, and it had dropped to 4.9c, which wasn’t good and when it drops that low usually means trouble!

This proved correct, as after 4 hours and 55mins of the match, 1 fish had been caught which was Brian Nesbit who had a Bream of about 3lb.

I’d been fishing very negatively, tiny cage feeder with hardly anything inside and a double dead fluro pinkie on the hook just looking for anything.

Then with minutes to go I had a bite, and a small 4-5oz Skimmer was hanging on to the pinkies!

I actually thought it had come off at one point, but up it popped and that was the only other fish to be caught out of 24 Anglers!  I obviously came 2nd with that, and won a few quid but most importantly didn’t blank and got the section points!

I had to draw out of the hat for payouts on who was 1st and 2nd in one section and 2nd in the other 2 sections!

So that was it really, that was my weeks fishing!  We had a question this week that came in from Steve Cowley on Facebook.  Steve asked:  “Do you think we would ever see yourself grace the international scene, now there is a veterans championship.

I for one would love to see Bob, Kevin, Dennis, Tommy and yourself one more time as I believe this was the best England team bar none.”

First of all thank you Steve, it’s flattering that you put me on that list as they are all incredible anglers and some of the best in the UK.

To answer the question though, its probably not something I’d look to do to be honest.  I had 27 fantastic years fishing in the England Team and fished with some of the best anglers to ever come out of England in that time.  When it was time for me to wind down though, I made a conscious decision that I would step back from team fishing at that level and shortly after leaving the England set up, I also left Dorking.  I just fealt that the time was right, and even though my enthusiasm for match fishing has and never will change, my enthusiasm for travelling all over the world chasing big events has.  As well as that, a lot of the guys who I fished with over those years, not just the England lads but the likes of my sponsor Milo, the Italians, and friends from other nations etc are not doing it either.

If they all were part of their countries vets team then it may be a different story, but for the time being I’m happy doing what I’m doing now.

I do fish a few matches in Italy every year, which I really enjoy and is a great chance to stay in touch with a lot of those guys but that is for either individual or pairs matches.

Many thanks for the question though, and indeed putting me in that bracket.

Hope you all have a good weekend, hopefully we’ll have a little more to talk about next week!



Gardeners World – Can’t Complain!

2nd February 2018

Hello everyone, well I think mixed fortunes is the best way to describe my fishing since last week.

It’s been ok though, and I’ve caught some fish which is great for this time of year.

Lets start with More House Farm last Saturday, I drew peg 23 which is my favourite peg on the venue.  It’s a really good F1 peg, with the odd bonus Carp also known to be caught from there so was well happy to draw that.

I started down the track on Maggot over micro’s, and had an F1 followed by a few liners.

Must have been fish that were shallow, as the float was burying under but I was striking to nothing.

After that it went a bit dead, so I went across to some rushes and had a couple more along with a Carp of about 7lb which was a real bonus.

That soon died a death as well, so came back down the track but all I could catch then was tiny fish so started to scratch my head wondering where I could get a fish from next.

I went down the edges, a hooked a good fish but it snagged me on a branch and I lost it.

Can you believe it, next drop in I’ve hooked another good fish which was an F1 of about 5lb but this one also come off so I’ve now lost about 10lb in two drops!

I did manage to catch a few more before the all out was called, and weighed 8 fish for 28lb which actually won the match!  Stuart Williamson was 2nd with 22lb and Mike McMillian was third with 16lb.  So thankfully the lost fish didn’t cost me any money!

Sunday then I was back at Passies for the winter league that has been a bit of a disaster for me so far.  This match didn’t get any better either as I struggled to get any decent fish.  I had plenty of bites but they were all tiny Roach on the pole.  I couldn’t get anything on the feeder, which you needed to do well.

Another disappointing day really, I ended up with 14lb which was only 5th in the section with 31lb winning it.

Wednesday after making about 60 phone calls, I decided to run a knock up on Bury Hill.

Conditions were pretty good and a lot better than the previous rounds of my winter league!  The water temperature was up a tad as well, so we were hopeful that it would be at least as good as the last round.  Steve Martin drew my peg for me, and I was delighted to see that he put me in the middle of the island!

After an hour though, hardly anyone was catching and I hadn’t had a bite.  The guy on peg 36 had 3 fish, Will Raison had a small Skimmer and that was about it.

I put a cast it to the middle instead of over to the island and managed to catch one.  Then following that, I had 2 in 2 casts off the long line to the Island so it was a bit of progress at least.

It was noticeable though later in the day when a shoal had moved in as everyone started catching at the same time.

Mostly in ones and twos, but John Swan on the end was getting one a chuck having not had a bite for nearly 3 hours.

John went on to with the match with 43lb, Tony Morris was 2nd with 28lb and I was 3rd with 8 fish for 24lb.

So all in all it hasn’t been too bad, I’m a bit fearful for next week though as we are suppose to be having some cold weather coming in so it could be difficult again.

We’ll see though, hopefully next week when I blog I’ll be telling you what another good week I have had.

Until then, tight lines



Gardeners World – Batten down the hatches!

26th January 2017

Only two matches to tell you about this week, I went Saturday to More House but Sunday was a wash out and only a couple turned up so it was cancelled.

Anyway Saturday I went and drew peg 5.  Expected it to be a hard day, and it certainly was!

We got there and didn’t see any signs of life what so ever, you normally can feel a few fish with the plummet as well but today it was nothing.

It was the same for everyone though not just me, the weather had really put the brakes on the fishing.

After 2 hours, all I had in the net was a small crucian about 6oz and a microscopic Perch!

Given how many fish are in this lake, just shows how hard it was on the day.

I stuck it out down the track in the end, hoping that something would take a bit of interest but it was like flogging a dead horse.

Ended up with 3 small Crucians, 3 Skimmers and in the last hour had 2 small F1s to weigh 9lb that was no where in the match.

Don Garnish won it with 9 fish for 25lb, Mark Parrot was 2nd with 23lb and Jon Money third with 18lb.

After Sunday’s wash out it was off to Bury Hill for our midweek league match, and it fished a lot better than in did on the previous round.

Conditions though, were horrendous as we were all battered by gail force winds! I think only one person set the pole up it was that bad, as there would have been a lot of snapped carbon if people did.

That said, I did regret no setting one up as at 1.30 the wind dropped and it went dead flat like a mill pond!

We did have to wait for bites though, and in between I managed to get a cheeky photo of Ian and Shaun next to me!

The island pegs fished the best again though, Brian Nesbitt winning the match with a great 61lb that he caught on the method feeder.  Jeff Vallence was 2nd with 43lb and Don Garnish was having a good week came 3rd with 39lb.

I managed a 3rd in my section with 15lb, although was kicking myself as think I missed a bite when I was answering a call of nature!  That could have put me 2nd in the section too!

Three of my fish I had on groundbait feeder, and I had four on the method.  John Radford comfortably won the section with 25lb.  John and Will now are joint 1st in the league!

So a little bit of a shorter blog this week thanks to Sundays wash out, next week now I’m at More House Saturday, Passies Sunday and Willinghurst Wednesday so three different venues!

Until then, hope you have a good weekend.



Gardeners World – Mixed fortunes

19th January 2018

Mixed fortunes this week, but then that’s winter fishing for you!

Saturday I headed back to More House Farm for the open and drew peg 18.  This is a peg that I have drawn quite a few times, have won off it and have blown out off it so it was anyone’s guess how it would fish now.

It was a very slow start as well, no fish moving anywhere and hardly any bites or movement around the peg.  The lake was really coloured still, with visibility very poor for the fish so I was fishing with maggots in the hope that they would stand out a little more.  As I feard though it was a very hard day, I did get a few fish eventually and stuck at it as everyone was on with a shout right up to the last few minutes.  I ended up with 17lb which was 5th in the end and one out of the money.  Sam Docker won the match with a 43lb, and he’s been fishing brilliantly there at the moment so well done to him.  2nd was Mark Parrot with 25lb 8oz then 3rd Mark Smith with 25lb 4oz so very close and from 2nd down could have gone a number of ways with a few extra bites.

Sunday I was off to Passies for the silver fish league, we don’t get to fish here very often so really enjoy fishing this as it’s a great venue and league.

I drew peg 15 and the start was very typical to most matches here where you catch a few very small skimmers immediately before it drys up and you come on a close line looking for Roach.  If your fortunate you also get a good feeder peg, where you can catch a few proper Bream and bigger skimmers. 

For me though, it was a very tough day.  I ended up with 5lb 4oz, for no where in the section and got a battering off Sam Sim on the next peg who fished a great match to weigh 16lb.  Sam caught a few skimmers on the method feeder to bulk her fish up.  I had a few decent Roach late on but was a bit of a disaster really for me! ….(I owe you one Sam!!)

Reflecting on the match after (as always), the two lines you fish there are close for Roach and long for the skimmers.  That bit of no mans land in between isn’t ever utilised, but im not sure if that was a mistake.  I saw a decent fish roll to the side of me at about 6m, I also heard later that a few anglers had caught on that line late in the match.  It’s the deepest area as it shallows up the further you got out, so maybe there was bigger skimmers sat in that area.

Food for thought, for the next match.

Terry Harrison won the match with 43lb and Charlie Lovell was 2nd with 28lb, both of them caught some nice Bream.

Wednesday was a lot better day, I went to Willinghurst for the open that was on Old lake and drew peg 12.  I’ve never drawn this peg funnily enough, but was pretty happy with it as the wind was hacking down into it.  It’s quite a narrow peg, but with no one pegged on the opposite bank there is still a lot of water to go at.

There is also a bar that runs through there, where it shallows up to around 3ft, so the plan was to fish the bomb just over the bar.  I had Pete Turnbull next to me so was in good company for the day, and even gave him a few slices of my bread so he could fish bomb and bread.

The match started and we both kicked off with bread, but it was quiet until Pete announced he had a couple of liners!  Glimmer of hope we thought!

It wasn’t long after that Pete was into a fish that was foul hooked and he lost.

I decided on a change and put some punched meat on instead of the bread and it seemed to do the trick.  It wasn’t long before the tip started to go round and I was into some fish.  A really nice stamp of Carp as well, and I had a lovely days fishing catching 17 of them in the end for 131lb and the match win.  Pete was second with 85lb and Don Garnish was 3rd with 47lb.  So we were lucky, as they were obviously shoaled up in front of us and it was just a matter of being patient and picking them off.

Lovely day though and certainly made up for all the recent struggles!!

This weekend I’m going to be at More House Saturday and Sunday, and although it is going to be hard it does keep you thinking and working so lets hope for a few bites.

Have a good weekend.



Gardeners World- Better to be lucky than good!

12th January 2018

Hello all and a happy new year to you!

Been a while since we blogged but we are back now for 2018.

So last weekend it was a double header at More House Farm, the water level on there has gone through the roof lately.  Also when it rains like it has done, it colours up due to the clay.  To a point where you can’t see a few mm through the water even at this time of year.

This results in the fish coming up in the water through the layers and a lot of foul hookers, even when your shipping out.

So Saturday I drew peg 16, which was ok but really struggled for bites.  Ended up that I was sat next to the overall winner Mark Glym who was sat in the bay and managed to find a few fish for 38lb which is a really good weight at the moment.  Don Garnish was 2nd with 15lb and Sam Docker 3rd with 13lb.  I had a tough day and put 9lb 4oz on the scales which was 5th.

Sunday it was back there and this time I was sat on peg 28 which I was quite happy with, as conditions were very poor but I had the wind off my back and three areas of water to go to.  Its probably the same everywhere at the moment, but you need to be patient for bites.  Bait wise I took Maggot, Corn and Pellets and also fed just a thumbnail of groundbait to try and attract a few fish to feed in the coloured up water.

Started down the track, and hooked a skimmer of about 1lb.  Unfortunately the hook pulled as I was about to net it!   Not a good start as every fish could be crucial.

The next hour I managed to catch 2 more skimmers then it went dead (or even more dead!).

I tried the other lines but nothing, no signs or movements anywhere. 

Then all of a sudden I noticed 2 bubbles come up, so I gently put a few micros over it and sat on it for a while as it had to be fish.  Not long after I had done that an big cluster of bubbles came up that looked like a Carp was there.

Really strange though, as the float never moved a mm!  After I while I gave up on it and tried another line to a tree, this resulted in an instant 5lb Carp.  After that I moved swims again and caught an F1 but that was then the end of the day as no more bites followed.

I ended up with 8lb for 5th again, the match was won by John Money who had 5 F1s for 16lb but a very strange and frustrating day again.

Onto Wednesday and it was the first round of the Bury Hill League that myself and Andy Ryan runs.  The league is capped at 24 anglers and very popular to the tune that we have a waiting list starting in July!

So when I run matches I always get someone else to draw for me, this time was no different and there was a few jeers and comments when got put on peg 32!  Id won a match before Christmas off peg 33, and this was a bit better.

The plan was an out and out method feeder job to the Island, it would be another waiting game though and you’d need to be confident in your approach and bait.

I use a groundbait mix of Bait-Tech Karma, Special G Dark and a sieved Envy Green which I find works well for me.  On the hook then is a 8mm The Juice Sinker pellet.

We were fearing the worst though as after 90mins, no one had had a bite that we knew of.

Slowly but surely, tips started to go round and people started to catch a few Bream.  When I say as well you have to be patient, it the 5 hour match I probably made 15 casts it total and had 7 bites.  6 Bream and a Tench to weigh 32lb which won the match.

Shaun Silvestre was 2nd with 20lb and Ian Chatfield 3rd with 10lb 12oz so you can see how hard it had been.

Great start to the league for me though, and looking forward to it again next Wednesday.

This weekend I’m at More House Saturday, Passies on Sunday so will report back next week.

Where ever you go, hope you have a good one and a few bites!  Don’t forget the flask


Gardeners World - Winters tails

24th November 2017

Hello everyone, well winter fishing is well and truly taking hold now with the fish shoaling up and becoming increasingly stubborn and wary.

We missed last weeks blog, so here’s an update of what I’ve been up to since the last instalment.

A week last Saturday I was at More House Farm for the open match, there was a good turnout and I drew peg 8 which isn’t usually pegged. It can be a very good peg for Carp, so was in for an interesting day.

First drop down the track I had a bite within seconds, but it was a foul hooked F1 that I lost only to bring in a scale! Nothing much else for a while then, until a lovely 10lb bonus Carp ended up in the net. That was very welcome indeed!

The talk about it being a Carp peg was right, as apart from one stray F1 all I caught was Carp.

It was weird though as you’d catch two fish from an area and they would move, it was as if the pressure was getting to them and they’d swim off.

I ended up with 73lb, which in fairness is a great winter weight but that only put me in 6th place! It was close though, well 2nd to 6th was anyway! Sam Docker won it with a great 118lb, 2nd was Dave Walker with 87lb then Big Si was 3rd with 83lb.

The following Saturday I was back there again and drew peg 7, I can never remember that being in the hat before! This is a very narrow peg with top 6 touching the far bank!

Would you believe it, it was like history repeating itself as first drop I had a foul hooked F1 that I lost but then I landed another nice Carp shortly after!

It was a similar sort of match as well, having to catch a few then move as the fish would drift off.

I had a big patch of foliage to the one edge so decided to plumb up and see what was there as was sure cold see some movement by it. I found 3ft of water and it was home to a few fish there as well as I got a few out from there before having to move back across and search around again. 4mm Expander over micros was the best bait on the day, although I did catch a few late on maggot over micros.

I ended up with 65lb which was enough to win the match! 2nd was Dave Churchwood with 52lb and Tony Yanni was 3rd with 41lb.

Following that I was on a two day winter mini fest on Monk Lakes. It was nice to be back there as I always see people that I haven’t seen for a long time so great to catch up.

It fished hard though with the water quite clear and a lot of emphasis was to be on if you had a good feeder peg.

Day one I drew peg 32 which guess what ……is a really good pole peg in the summer!

It looked nice though, I decided to feed two areas one negative and one positive with micro’s.

Started on tip for the first 45 minutes and didn’t have a bite! I could see Adam Lee and Terry Harrison catching, so I went and had a look on the negative line.

This resulted in two small skimmers and that was it, nothing on the positive line either so I had to plug away on the feeder and ended up with 9lb for nowhere!

Day two and I drew peg 10 that was a little more feeder friendly as it face the point of and island. Only trouble was that about 3 other pegs also faced the point of this Island!

I started off on the method and had a few skimmers about 2lb and 1lb quite quickly which was ok to start with. Then I had a slightly bigger Bream around 3 ½ lb at about 12 o’clock.

Didn’t have a bite on the pole all day despite fishing out to as far as 16m.

I did have a better day though and weighed 18lb, but that was still not enough to do any good so a bit disappointing.

But that’s winter fishing for you!

This weeks questions comes from Richard Scott from Swindon who has emailed us and asked “In the winter, do you flavour, colour or use anything else on your expanders to try and get an edge”

Hi Richard, no I don’t use anything to flavour them but I do have all types of different expanders on my side tray. Expanders by their very nature differ massively from batch to batch, so what I do is have a variety of these that vary in natural colour and density and size. For instance if I’m fishing close in I’ll use a very soft light one, or on the flip side if Im on the long pole will use a much more denser one so it doesn’t come off as easy when fishing at length.

I know a lot of people that use various flavours, and swear by them but I don’t. As I said though if you can, then try and take a mixture of different types and you maybe surprised at the results.

Hope you all have a good weekend, I’m off my holidays now for a few weeks again so will be back in December to let you know how we got on.

Until then, tight lines!



Gardeners World – Milo Day 2017

10th November 2017

Hi all, well its been a really busy few weeks so much so I could do with a holiday!!

You may have seen the video’s that were put on, but last week I was out in Italy with Milo for the Milo day 2018 and also the Bait-Tech trophy that we fish for.

It was tiring but a great trip, and its always nice to catch up with my Italian friend.
The fishing was also good, but if you don’t like tight pegging look away now!

We fished four days over there on the Italian versions of commercial fisheries where the pegs are 4m apart or 6m if your really really lucky!

Arrived on time and headed to the warehouse to sort my kit out and re elasticate my pole ready for fishing the next day.

Day one of fishing and it was a teams of 3 practise match where we were all in the same box, so fishing basically the same peg. 

It took a while to get into, but we all caught fish with Claudio doing the best on maggots and leading the way. We ended up 2nd which was a good start to the proceedings!

Next day it was the official Milo day which is a massive event with anglers travelling from all over Europe to fish.

This time me Brad and Claudio were on different lakes, and i’m afraid I let the team down!
I came 3rd in my section with 13kg with Brad and Claudio both winning theirs. This put us is 6th place overall, but out of 50 teams fishing it wasn’t a bad show!

Following Milo day, we fished an open that was a little bit more relaxed even stopping for 90mins for everyone to have lunch. Very interesting match though, I started on top 5 and had a few but they soon back off longer. After the lunch break everyone else went long but I stayed short as would have that line too myself. 

Interesting though as learnt a lot about Catfish on this match, we were getting a lot of little taps on the float and most people were striking at them thinking it was little Carrassio. However, watching a Italian guy close by he wasn’t and was letting the tap away until the float sailed away and didn’t come back. We learnt that the little taps was the Catfish tapping the bait with its whiskers. I tried this late in the match after seeing what the other guy was doing and sure enough I hooked and caught a decent Cat!
We stayed on after the match and caught a few more by doing that, the guy who we watched doing it went on to win.

Day four and it was another venue, similar fishing with maggots and big maggot for the hook. This day though we had a real luxury as we were 6m apart!
That showed as well as the fishing was a lot better, I weighed in 30kg for a section win so happy days!

The final day was the Bait-Tech trophy, and it was back to the venue where we had been catching the Catfish. I drew right by Brad and Milo somehow, this match feeder was allowed and I set up a method feeder, as well as to fish the method it was good to show the new rod to the other anglers.
I had a few on the method, but also set my stall out to fish short and for those Catfish we had caught. Typically though none were caught and they didn’t show!!
I ended up with 29kg, Milo had a great 43kg but strange how two days could be so different!

Following the match I had to leg it back to the airport to catch the plane home, tired but as always a great trip.

Back in blighty I went to More House Farm on the Saturday, not having been there for a month didn’t know what to expect. I drew peg 25 which is a really good F1 area.
As we had had some frosts and low overnight temps, I started off very negative just feeding small amounts and feeling my way into it. 

The track was quiet with not a lot of activity or bites, so I had a look long and never looked back. The first 8 drops I had 8 F1s, and that continued pretty much for the duration fishing expander over micros.
I did come back in on the track and had a few odd fish, but it was tight over where the fish were. I weighed 125lb which was enough to win the match, and was a lovely days fishing.
Second was Tony Yanni with 107lb and third was Stuart Williamson with 105lb so its fished really well.

Sunday and we were off to Willinghurst (with Jimmy for company!) with old and Johns lake in the mix for the open. I drew 45 on John’s, which is a narrow peg to the bar so I set up a long pole line, couple of short and a straight lead rod.

Started on the pole and had one really quickly, but then nothing. Decided to chuck the lead out and did have a few more, and by looking around the lake I seemed to be doing ok as it was hard going.
The match was very hard with no bites and hardly anyone catching, so I stuck a few maggots on to see if that would work.
There was plenty of Roach to be caught, but I didn’t have any silvers elastic with me and would bump them if I used what I had.
So I put a long rig on, so I could basically fish for them to hand on a top kit. It worked really well too and was catching regularly whilst no one else could get a bite. I even had a cheeky 4lb Carp and 2lb hybrid by fishing like this which bumped my weight right up.
I ended up with 28lb which won the section and was 3rd in the match. Gary Clifford won it with 45lb with all Carp that he caught late on, Tony Kent was second with 34lb and myself 3rd with 28lb.

Wednesday just gone, it was back to Willinghurst and we were on top lake. I’ve drawn this lake I the winter previously and you have to fish long usually to get on a few. Ive started on 14.5m and would have gone longer but the wind was such that you couldn’t get the presentation right for it.
Cut a long story short, the match has again been pretty much dominated by maggots with Ian Rogers opposite blitzing it with 92lb, that included a superb weight of Skimmers.  Mark Glyn was second with 61lb and I was third again with 57lb. 

Winter is well and truly with us now though, with other baits coming in to focus. One things for sure, I’ll be stocking up maggots every week from now on mark my words!!

Hope you all have a good weekend on the banks, catch you next week


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Gardeners World - Back in Blighty!

27th October 2017

Hello all, well I’m back in Blighty after a great couple of weeks in Florida.

I did do a bit of fishing, couple of days on the beach and of course a few trips out on the boat over the reefs.

We caught some great fish, some Red Fish, Grouper and the highlight was this monster of a bull shark that took team effort of three of us taking it in turns to bring in.

As you can see for yourself, it really was a beast of a shark that was thankfully safely unhooked and returned unharmed.

I got back last Saturday and promptly got ready to fish the Alan Harrington memorial match at Willinghurst.

I knew Alan well, so always try to fish this one if I can.

The match was spread over four lakes so everyone had plenty of room and options.  I drew quite a decent peg on new lake, but had the remain ants of storm Brian blowing in my chops all day made it a bit difficult.  It was a bit of a culture shock as well after being in the sun for a few weeks!

Anyway not really being in touch with the venue I kept my options open and set up edge lines, top 6, long pole with a view of searching all over the peg.

I started on top 6 and instantly had a 10oz Carp then nothing for 2 hours after searching around.  I decided to set a bomb up and flicked it down to the corner.  That was a good result as a 10lb was soon in the net, but then that was it for that line too.

Scratching my head a little, I came back in on the top 6 line and decided to stick at that potting in meat and fishing an 8mm cube on the hook.

I did get them going a bit better but you had to be patient to get bites.  Late on as well a few turned up down the edge and I managed to put 82lb on the scales which was 2nd on the lake.

Mark Smith won the match with 146lb on old lake, 2nd was Ian Dixon with 120lb again on old and 3rd was Alec Bishop with 102lb.

Wednesday I was back there again and drew peg 4 on top lake that I really fancied.  Jimmy came as well so we had plenty of entertainment for the day at least!

I started negative feeding with two lines on 6 sections, again we had loads of room and loads of options.

90mins in and I had 6 fish in the net which was ok, but it had gone dead.  I saw a few fish swirling so quickly put on a swing rig to see if any would have some shallow.

I did have four fish by doing that, but didn’t really think it was going to win me the match.

Before the match, Jimmy said to me that to win, you need to be patient and prepared to sit and wait for bite.  I admitted to him afterwards that he was right and had I followed his wise words could have won the match.

I ended up with 70lb which was 4th, the match was won with 85lb so a few more fish by waiting for bites and I could have done that.

Still we live and learn eh!

It’s another change of scenery for me next week as I’m off to Italy to fish 6 matches in 5 day as part of the Milo day event.

It’s a bit tiring but a great trip and will report back on how I got on when I get back.

Until then, have a good weekend and enjoy your fishing



Gardeners World – Can't complain!

2nd October 2017

Hello all, this is my last blog for a couple of weeks as I’m off to do some fishing of a different variety.

It’s time for my annual trip to the Florida Keys, so I’ll send Iain a few updates when I’m there to show what I’ve been catching but the blogs will return after the trip.

So last Wednesday I fished Willinghurst and the match was on top lake. I drew peg 14, and didn’t like it to be honest as your tucked into a corner and cramped for space and options.

The match started slow, and two hours in I hadn’t had a bite and was struggling to see the float due to a really thick scum that had blown in making it difficult to see and present the float.

I decided on a change and went on the method, casting down to peg 15 in the hope of a few pulls. As it turned out this was the only place I could catch, I did get a few fish but was well off the pace.

I ended up with 57lb which was good for nothing except a “thanks for coming”.

The match was won by Stuart Williamson with 157lb, Terry Harrison was 2nd with 145lb and Shaun Silvester 3rd with 130lb.

I was due a duffer though in fairness, as I’ve been drawing some really nice pegs lately so can’t complain!!

I wasn’t sure if I was going to go Saturday as Friday I was having more laser eye surgery and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to see enough to go! 

As it turned out though, this time the results were instant and I walked out of there seeing a lot more than when I walked in!

So a quick call to book in for the match only to find out that the Saturday match was fully booked! So jumped on the bus home having had in my mind-set that I wasn’t going!
That was until I had a text late in the night to say that someone had dropped out and there was a peg!

A quick panic and sort out, and we were off to More House where I also drew a really nice peg in 43.

Started down the track as normal on the paste and caught one, then nothing couldn’t get another bite. Looking around the lake nothing much was happening anywhere to be fair which was worrying!
So I decided to have a look over the far side and it was pandemonium, missed bites, liners, foul hookers but no proper bites it was crazy! 

In a bid of almost desperation I threw a load of 4mm’s in on my paste line in the hope that it would bring a few fish on.  
It wasn’t too long before there was a load of fizzing so they were obviously there eating but I was still struggling to get bites.

It occurred to me that they were eating what I was feeding, but not what was on the hook so to try something a bit different I started flicking out tiny bits of paste as feed instead of 4mm pellets.

This seemed to trigger a response and I did start to catch well, but it was too late to make any impact on the outcome of the match.

I ended up with 74lb that wasn’t anywhere near the frame sadly, but who knows if I had changed my feeding earlier what would have happened.

The top three also caught on maggots, so in hindsight I should have definitely taken them with me.

Gary Cooper won the match with 133lb, Stuart Williamson was second with 107lb and Sam Docker 3rd with 100lb.

So that was my week, I didn’t fish Sunday as had to pack my bags and get ready for my trip to Florida, so it wasn’t to greater week to end on before.

But there we are, that’s the way it goes I shall be back with even greater determination in a few weeks time.

Not many photo’s this week sorry, just one of the scum that I had to deal with at Willinghurst so have put some others in of what I hope to be getting in the coming weeks.

Until then, thanks for reading and enjoy your fishing!



Gardeners World – Third time 2nd / must try harder!

22nd September 2017

Hello all, hope you have had a good week and been catching a few fish.

Well the weather is definitely changing now, the nights are getting colder and temperatures are dropping.  I can normally judge by my fish in my pond when that starts to happen, as when I walk out in the morning, if they are all subdued and not looking for feed then I can generally tell its going to be a tough one.

Saturday it was just that, and I went to More House Farm.  I drew really well, if there was a peg I would have picked the peg I drew would probably have been it.  It was peg 14 and when we got there, there were a few fish moving about  too which was a good sign.

I plumbed up across, but there is a lot of overgrowth and bits hanging into the water so it wasn’t going to be easy.  I found a nice spot though, but typically it was under a cormorant wire so not ideal for the strike!

I also set rigs up for down the middle on paste and expanders, also for down the edge on meat over pellets.

It was a really slow start to the match, with no bites down the track I went across and did pick off the odd fish.  Had loads of signs over there, but a lot of liners and the odd foul hooker told me that they weren’t really in much of a mood to feed.

It was a case of I’d catch the odd fish, then have to move and look at a different line and catch another one and move again.  I only had 3 fish down the edges, but did manage to get a few on a line down to my right hand side on paste.

I ended up with 84lb which was third in the match, it was won by Gary Cooper who did really well off his peg and caught them on maggots late down the edge.  Bob Clampit was 2nd with 90lb then me with 84lb.

In hindsight I think I should have put a small method feeder tight over, and it could have resulted in a few more fish.  Hindsight’s a wonderful thing though!

Funny story today though, about halfway through the match I netted a fish and when I went to unhook it noticed an old rig in the net.  On further examination, it was a rig that I’d lost back on August the 12th on peg 16!  That day, I had a little “incident” where I nearly went in for a bath, but in the process at that exact time I had a bite and it pulled my top kit in never to be seen again!!  No sign of the top kit sadly, but it was definitely the rig that I lost attached to it!!

Sunday and I was off to Willinghurst for the match that was on Johns lake, I drew peg 36 and it was a crazy slow start for everyone.  There was the odd fish that was caught on the method feeder but not a lot else was happening.   It was a really slow day, for me I had a couple on the method on the bar, then some on the lead on meat just off the bar.  Towards the end then I picked off a few down the edges, by feeding quite positive there.  In the last hour I had 4 good fish from there to give me 54lb which was 3rd again.

Martin Johnson won it with 75lb, the meat man Shaun Silvestre was 2nd with 59lb, so I wasn’t too far off second!

Have to mention John Radford opposite, who has started to catch well on the long pole and pellets.  That was before he had a phone call off his wife to say she had gone into labour!

John had to pack up and leg it, not before we had all wished him the best and a merry Christmas!   All went well though apparently so congratulations to them both on the new arrival.

Wednesday I went back to Willinghurst and back on Johns lake, I drew 45 that has some nice edges so was hoping for it to be a bit better.

It started better that the Sunday match with a few more fish caught, I started on the method and had a few before moving onto the pole where I had a few more.

Towards the end I did what I did the previous week and fed quite positive down the edges, hoping I would get a good of fish again.  Again it did work too and I put a few better fish in the net.

I ended up with 75lb which was 2nd, Mick Keeper won the match with 94lb and fished a good match just fishing pellets at 6m all day.  Well done Mick!

Third was The Meat Man Shaun Silvester with 71lb, caught on….meat on the bomb, so ‘ managed to beat him this match!

This weeks question comes from Alastair Gavin on Facebook who asked “when would Steve typically target silver fish instead of carp on a commercial fishery? is it about timing, conditions or something else?

Hi Alastair, tricky one that and to be honest a lot of the venues I fish through the winter I wouldn’t target silvers as I know full well that your going to need Carp to do any good.  However, its really about knowing the venue where your at and where you draw.  If for instance on your venue it is a lot of bomb work through the winter, and you know that your in an area where they don’t particularly shoal up, then its worth keeping your options open and feeding a silvers line.  You can also do this and prime it up whilst your waiting for the tip to go round.  I would also do this if the venue was known for a lot of skimmers or Bream, Im not sure I would do it to target Roach particularly as you would need an awful lot of them to make up for a couple of Carp.  But of there’s bream to be had there then it would be worth doing. 

Another good option though, would not only just target the silvers but target everything that swims.  If you have a line on something like worm and caster, on the pole very often you will catch the Bream, Big Perch or what ever else but also stand a good chance of hooking Carp should one swim through.  I think that’s what I would do anyway, and go for everything that is in front of you!

Couple of pics this week, first one of me and my Dad (Jimmy)! and then Gary Cooper who won at More House Farm.

Have a good weekend


Gardeners World – 13 unlucky for some

15th September 2017

Bit of a change last weekend, on Saturday I went to Warwick Wold Fishery.  This is a lovely fishery, that I think has a lot of potential for the future.

Although the fishery is quite new, the lakes are well established and its very well laid out.

The match was spread over two lakes and I drew peg 13 on Dream Lake.  Turns out it wasn’t very lucky for me either!!

It was a bit of a struggle early on, and the fish were small with the biggest fish that turned up late were only around the 2lb mark.  I had plenty of bites, and a nice days fishing but only weighed in 35lb.  Terry Harrison won our lake with 52lb, and the match overall was with 98lb off the other lake.  It was a continental payout though, so Terry was smiling!

To top the day, after the match everyone gets complementary tea and cakes!  Must admit even though I didn’t do any good in the match it was a nice day out and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It’s most certainly going to develop into a great fishery that I will definitely be going back to.

Sunday I went to Bury Hill for a charity match, the match was in aid of young lives V Cancer and it was great to see it so well supported.

It was well organised and even had a huge raffle with loads of prizes donated by tackle shops, businesses and individuals.

Fishing wise I drew well and pulled 71 out of the bag, which I was very happy about as it had a good island chuck.

Main attack was the feeder, so I clipped up at half way across and another long line just off the island.  I also plumbed up on the pole line, but it wasn’t very deep at all with a maximum of 3ft.

Started off putting a few quick casts out on both feeder lines to leave some groundbait there, before feeding the pole line.

Started catching a few small skimmers straight away, but the angler on 74 was flying ahead with some Bream and a massive 17lb Carp that he had to weigh and put back.

My swims got stronger as the match went on though and I too started to bring back some better fish before disaster struck!  I somehow hooked a big Pike or Zander which gave me a right run around.  It ended up taking me into a lilly bed that has been fenced off and I was stuck fast.  I had to pull for a break, and lost a bit of line, but as I was clipped up and didn’t count my reel turns I had lost my distance mark.

So re set up again, and it took a while to get my mark and get the fish back for a while.

I ended up with 54lb which was 3rd in the match, behind Mark Edwards in second with 58lb and the chap off 74 with a superb 70lb of Bream to go with his already weighed 17lb Carp for 87lb.

Another great day though and more importantly the match raised an excellent £1900 for the charity as the venue had kindly donated all peg fees to the charity as well.

So all in all, I did enjoy myself last weekend!

This weeks question comes from Andy Bently who emailed us and asked “In winter on a silver fish only match, how would you approach catching small skimmers when ground bait & soil is barred?”

Hi Andy, thanks for the question and it’s a tricky one but the first thing that springs to mind is by using dampened micro pellets.  Depending on how deep the venue is you can feed them in a few ways, either loose or gently squeezed into a ball.  I would favour the later and believe it is the next best thing to bring in and hold skimmers in the peg when ground bait is not allowed.  I would feed to swims, one to the left and one to the right with one fed positive and one negatively.  What I mean by that is, if I chose the left hand one to be positive would feed it with probably 50% or more feed to the negative line on the right.  I would start on the positive line, then if the skimmers respond to it and you catch then feed the other line positive as well.  If they don’t however, then I’d switch to the negative line and try to gradually build the swim up again.

Hookbait wise I would cover my options and try small expanders, dead reds or a bit of worm.  Small amounts of these could also be fed with the micros, although air of caution with maggots of there are lots of tiny Roach of nuisance size!

That’s the attack I would go for, remember it is winter so scale terminal tackle down accordingly too with nice soft elastics and 0.08 or 0.10 hook lengths 

Given all of that, I’d say you’d be well prepared to bring the skimmers in and catch them.  Let us know how you get on, and if we need to tweak the approach send us another email and we’ll take another look at it.

Best of luck!

If you have a question for me, drop us a line to and we’ll get it answered in the near future.

Have a good weekend



Gardeners World - Making the changes

8th September 2017

Afternoon all, and welcome to my latest instalment!

I don’t know what’s it like where you fish, but lately round here the match attendances seem to be dwindling away.  Don’t get me wrong, my enthusiasm and preparation for a match will be the same if it’s a 5 pegger or a 100 pegger!

But numbers turning up for open matches do seem to be dropping of for some reason.  On the flip side though, the club scene seems to be very healthy with loads of clubs having sell outs every week. 

Is this where all the open anglers have gone?  I can understand the reasoning for it if it is, and it does offer a great craic with the diversity of different venues.

Just an observation as sometimes an open match these days, wouldn’t even have been a section not too long ago.

Anyway on with my report, Saturday I went to More House Farm and there was a good few there for this one so was a good match.  I drew peg 40 in the wides and quite fancied it as well.  It was the peg that Sam Docker won off the previous week, fishing the feeder tight over.

Plumbing up both my edge lines were the same depth, so that was perfect and all the signs were pointing for a good day.

I started on the 5m line, still on paste at the moment but there wasn’t a lot happening with no fizzing and not many bites. 

Picked up the odd fish but it wasn’t happening so I decided to have a little go on the tip to the far bank.  Again though, I had a couple but it wasn’t really getting going so I turned my attention to the edges and a close in line on the top 4.  I had a bit more room to my right, and it just goes to show that room is everything on some of these venues as that is where the fishing did get better.  I started on meat down there, but a change to expander really upped my catch rate and I finally started motoring.

I ended up with 126lb which was only good enough for 4th, Alec Bishop won it with 170lb, 2nd was Stuart Williamson with 134lb and third Terry Malloy with 127lb.

Sunday I was off to Willinghurst and the match was on top lake, I drew 29 which is a good peg and very consistent to be fair so it was the type of draw that you run to!

Started on the paste down the middle, feeding a few pellets to bring a bit of interest in.  I had one about 3lb quickly, before the swim died.  So, I shipped out and had a look long and caught another one before the swim died again.

Next I chucked the method out to the gap, which resulted in 3 fish before that line also died.

I had been priming up my edge lines too, close in it was only about 10” so I came out from the bank a little as would rather catch them in a bit more depth than that.  I had fed some of the Bait-Tech Sticky Method Micros, and with about 3 hours left of the match saw a swirl down there. 

That was it then, I went on the paste down there and it was solid with proper lumps so I obviously stayed on it for the rest of the match. 

I ended up with 198lb which won the match, Ian Dixon was 2nd with 127lb and Martin White was 3rd with 105lb.

Following the weekend, I run a two dayer again at More House Farm on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Day one, would you adam and eve it, I drew peg 40 again so I knew what I was going to do!

Started on top 5, I was catching a few fish but they weren’t very big which was a bit worrying.  I was going nowhere so came in to the top 4 line and started feeding some 4mm’s ad went on the paste.  The result was instant and I was quickly landing bigger fish on that line so the switch paid off.  Didn’t have a touch on the feeder that day either, nor did the normally good margins produce very much.

I ended up 2nd with 202lb, Sam Docker who is fishing really well at the moment won it with 229lb and Alec Bishop was third with 198lb from the same peg he’d won the match off previously.

Onto the second day and I drew peg 10, I’ve been on this peg 4 times recently so had a fair idea on what to expect there as well.

As usual, started on the paste at top 5 and the fish were small again and despite me putting a few fish together I was falling behind again as I knew Sam and Alec were again catching well.

Switch to the 4m line gave me a few extra fish, but was getting a lot of liners and false bites from it so I was thinking that they could be up in the water.

I don’t normally fish shallow a lot here, but today the fish were up in the water as in the last hour alone I did about 90lb!

This gave me a great weight of 244lb, but amazingly that was only enough for 3rd place!  Alec Bishop won it with 337lb and Sam Docker was 2nd with 266lb.

Overall Alec Bishop won it, Sam was 2nd and I came 3rd.  Great few days fishing though and really enjoyed it.

Next week it will be a little bit different as I’m off to Warwick Wold Saturday, then Old Bury Hill on Sunday so we’ll have something new to report on.

Until then, have a good weekend and enjoy your fishing.



Gardeners World - Mixed bag

1st September 2017

Hello all, hope you enjoyed a nice long bank holiday weekend and got a bit of time in on the bank.

My weekend started Saturday when I went to More House Farm for the open, I drew peg 49 and quite fancied it for a few fish.

I had two nice edge lines, but started off down the track on paste throwing a few pellets over it.  Had a few fish, but it wasn’t fast and furious so had a quick look down the edge.

This only resulted in a small carp though, so a quick re think and I started a couple of new lines on top 4 to my left and in front of me.

The fish I was catching to my left were small, but the line in front did throw up some proper fish and we were back in business.

The remainder of the match was spent on these lines, and a few off the edges and I weighed 163lb which was third on the day.  Sam Docker won the match with 182lb and Ian Harrington was second with 167lb.

Quite interesting though, Sam was behind me and I could hear the constant plop and splashing as he was catching on the pellet feeder.  I’ve never even taken a rod on this lake, let alone thought of fishing the feeder, but as it is just over 16m wide with a 16m pole limit  Sam could get tight over to the far bank.  Which essentially won him the match.

Well done Sam, and some food for thought!

Sunday, I wasn’t planning on going fishing as was going to be spending the day with my daughter and the grand daughters.  But they announced that they wanted to go fishing!

So we ended up going to Deans Farm where they had a great day catching loads of small fish and enjoying themselves!  Priceless!

Monday it was back to More House Farm for the Bank Holiday Open, I drew peg 10 that I had seen a lot of recently as it is the peg I had for both days on the two dayer a few weeks ago.

Thinking back to that match I started off and decided to feed out, away from the rushes to my left plus the usual track and edge lines.

It was a weird day, and as usual for More House fished completely different to Saturday, and the previous matches that I was sat on there.  By 1.15 I only had 9 fish in the net, shouted over to Stuart who had 14, but said the guys in the bay all had over 20.   I was way off the pace, so a quick change was needed and came back off the rushes to the middle where there was no fizzing and did start to catch better and also had a few late on the meat down the edge.

I ended up with 146lb, which was no where in the match!  It had fished its socks off with Alec Bishop winning it from peg 2, Andy Quarmby was second with 217lb, third was Luke Gasson with 211lb.

Wednesday we were back at Willinghurst, and back on Johns lake that had been fishing very well.  I drew peg 11 and quite like the peg.  There is an empty platform to my left that is a bit snaggy in the margins, but in front of the platform is clear so that’s where my positive edge line would be.  I had another line to my left, but couldn’t go too far as there is a pipe going across the lake so you can’t fish over it.

I started on the method onto the bar that runs though the lake and had a 3lb Carp quite quickly before coming onto the 5m pole line that was fruitless. 

I had a few more chucks on the method but it was too slow and knew if I was going to do any good, I had to catch on the pole.

So I cracked on with the 5m line and had a few fish on it, before coming down the edges.  Strangely my left hand positive line didn’t produce, the right hand side did though and the remainder of the match I was just rotating these lines picking fish up on each.

I weighed 139lb 8oz which was second behind Anthony Parker with 146lb.  Don Garnish was third with 139lb, so I’d done him by 8oz!

Good ole Don was still smiling though despite being done by ozs!!

So that was my week, a second, a third and an also ran!  Caught plenty of fish though so another nice few days fishing.

Have a good one, don’t forget if you want a question answered next week drop us a line at


Gardeners World – The best form of ground baiting is…..

25th August 2017

Hello again, hope you had a good week on the banks!

Saturday I went to More House Farm for the open and drew peg 16 again!  As I said last week, it is usually an end peg last week there was pleasure anglers the other side of me but this week with a full house this week it was pegged.

Anyway the peg itself is not nice across, the bottom is uneven there is loads of branches and snags under the surface so it is primarily a track and edge line approach.

More House being More House though, it was like a completely different peg to what it was last week.  The line I caught all my fish on to my left, I couldn’t get a bite.

After 3 hours in, I had 3 fish in the net and was going nowhere!

I decided to start a new line down to my left, but out from the bank and just over the ledge.  First drop on it on paste and I had one followed by a few more.   The only downside to this swim was that I could be stopping them coming in to the margins.  But I was catching on it so did preserve and just fed the right had margin with meat and micros.

The right hand margin though, never got going and I caught pretty much all my fish on that new line to my left.  I ended up weighing 92lb, which was 4th on the day.  Rick Baxter won the match with 114lb off peg 14, Gary Cooper was 2nd with 102lb from peg 12, Bob Docker was 3rd with 96lb from peg 10, then it was me with 96lb.  So a close match all in all, but I was a bit off the pace really on the day, and needed my edge line to have produced a few more.

Sunday then I went to Willinghurst which was pegged on Johns lake, I must admit when I drew peg 40 I did have a bit of a moan as its not a peg I’m that confident with.  Lets be honest, we all have our pegs on venues that we don’t like for one reason or the other even when other anglers do like them.  Although it can be good, this is one of mine!  So I did bump my gums a bit !!

Anyway got there and set up, I started on the bomb but after 90mins it was really slow going and Id only had about 1 ½ lb so was head scratching time.

I started to loose feed 6mm pellets on the top 5 line, first drop down and the float dipped..missed it!  Next drop..float dipped again…missed it!  Third drop…float dipped and hit it and it was Carp on!  I was starting to fear the worst that it could have been roach so was really glad to see the elastic fly out!

A few more good Carp followed, before the Roach did move in and it was time for a look down the edge to my left.  I had potted in a big pot full of the Sticky method Micros, and first drop in I had a good fish in the net, followed by a few more before I had to re feed.

By doing that, the edge line was solid and I then cut back a bit on my feeding as didn’t want it to get too crowded down there!  It was that solid at times that my paste was barely hitting the bottom before it was fish on!

I never looked back after that and it was constant until the end of the match.  I weighed 187lb which was enough to win the match, Stu Williamson was 2nd with 132lb and Ray Warren 3rd with 130lb so was a nice day after all!

I did justifiably get a bit of stick after the match as I’d just won off a peg I was moaning about, but as my good friend Milo always says to me “Stevie the best form of ground baiting your peg is by moaning about it” ha ha very true words Milo!!

I did say as well that I would confess about it in my blog so to the Willinghurst lads that reads this… See I have admitted it all!

The pictures this week are of some fish from Willinghurst plus my edge line from More House Farm that looked lovely but didn’t throw up any fish!

Anyway that was my couple of matches since I last wrote, this weeks question comes from Dan Peel who asked “What is my preferred baits to use on the method feeder”

Well I don’t do a massive amount of method feeder fishing to be honest, as the venues I fish doesn’t require it.  But when I do it is based around where I am fishing too and the depths.

If I’m fishing up against a far bank that is quite shallow, then I always tend to use micro pellets, with a banded 6mm on the hook.  I think that it is perfect for that style of fishing and holds the fish there longer.  Groundbait can easily be wafted away by feeding fish and then the fish can disappear too.  Pellets are more likely to hold them longer in that scenario, which I why always favour it.

If though i’m fishing in open water, that is a bit deeper I always go for Bait-Tech Karma groundbait.  I haven’t tried many others to be fair, but have total confidence in this.  It is really fine, and versatile enough so I can add a few micros to it if I need to as well.

On the hook again, I prefer to use 6mm pellets, I have used pop ups and wafters etc but think there is nothing better that just a standard pellet as if they are coming in to feed on it, they will suck up what ever is on the hook anyway!

Hope that helps a bit Dan!

If you have a question for Steve next week then email


Gardeners World - Autumn Vibes!

18th August 2017

Hello all, my phone problems continues so I have to apologise I don’t have any photo’s for this week.

But anyway last Saturday I was back at More House Farm for the open.  It was well attended as well, probably due to the cracking weights that we’d had in the two dayer earlier in the week.

I drew a good peg that normally would have been an end peg, but threre was some pleasure anglers on the pegs past it so it wasn’t an end peg!

The weather was getting a bit Autumnal as well with the overnight temps dropping slightly.  I don’t think it’s the start of Autum yet though, as they could quite easily rise again.

Kicked the match off on paste down the track, but I didn’t get the start I wanted and no bites and no fizzing either which was strange.  I swung around to my right a bit, and had a drop in the shallower water but still not a lot.

Hmmmm this was going to be a struggle today then!

Next option was the far bank, where I had a few but it was an awful swim really un even and snaggy so wasn’t too confident to stay on that line.

I came back in down the track and caught a few, but all the time had been feeding my edge line that I had changed to micros and meat.

Cut a long story short, the fish did turn up close in for me but it was a bit too late really.  I ended up with 100lb 12oz that was a bit better that I thought but was only 4th in the match.  Stewart Williamson won it with 131lb, Dave Pearson was 2nd with 119lb and Terry Malloy 3rd with 114lb.

Sunday, there wasn’t much on again so I fished a diddler at More House, won’t go into it too much as there wasn’t many of us there but I did win it!

Wednesday then I went to Willinghurst for a change, and drew my usual winter peg 22 on top lake in the back spit.

Ian Dixon has done a lot of work here since I had last fished this peg, and the branch that use to hang down has been removed.

Started down the track, but nothing not a sniff so I went long over to the far side where the tree used to be on a hard 6mm pellet.  There was fish there but it was a nightmare as the float was dancing about like hell and I was foul hooking a few too.

So I decided to chuck the method out there rather than mess about on the pole and it worked a treat too.  Managed to put a decent run of fish together by doing that, but continued to put some bait down the middle and the edges hoping they would come onto it later on.

After I while I did notice some fizzing down the middle where I had been feeding so it was time for another look.  Sure enough a few fish had turned up there and I had 4 fish pretty quick over it.  One of them being a lovely lump of around 12lb!

On the other pole lines though Roach were a real nightmare to get through so I ended up rotating between the middle line on paste and method feeder close in.

I weighed in 141lb which was 2nd, Stuart Williamson won it again with 155lb.

So it was a decent day all in all and we all caught a few fish.

This week’s question comes from Mathew Wright who asked:  With the end of the summer now in sight, how long do you see the past working for?

Well that’s the million dollar question really, and I’m not really sure.  IT depends a little bit on the overnight temperatures that we will get over the coming weeks.

Looking back at my diary, last year I caught well on the paste until September 7th but I went on hols after that match so it may have lasted a few more weeks.

You have to be careful though at this time of year so you don’t put all your eggs into one basket.  You need to be mindful that although it may have worked well last week, a slight dip in temps could kill it.

There are tell tale signs to look for though, and through experience and knowing the venues you can normally get a feel for when it is on the way out.

I do think there is still a bit of mileage in it yet though as we get a couple of weeks yet before I need to change, but as I said above don’t rest on your laurels and make sure you have plan B ready incase in does fail!

Have a good weekend folks and catch you soon



Gardeners World - Combine Harvested!

11th August 2017

Hello again, its been a busy week since the last blog and I’ve fished four matches all at More House Farm.

Its been fishing its socks off lately, but I’ve also stuck to it as feel that the way venues are fishing at the moment, if you keep chopping and changing you wont be as in touch with them and as a result wont compete.

By that I mean, if your fishing a venue that you haven’t visited in a while it could take you an hour or so to work out what is best for your peg on the day.  But by then you could be a fair way behind the anglers who are in tune with it and know exactly what to do. 

I know at More House within the first few minutes what sort of day its going to be and can then build my match around it.  Where if I hadn’t been there for a while it would take a lot longer, and in that time I have wasted potential catches.

So anyway on to my reports, last Saturday the open at MHF I drew peg 43, which can be a good peg and the one that I have done my biggest ever weight from.  The plan was, paste on top 4 and top 5 then edge lines to my left and to my right.  I started down the track and had a good run of fish straight away, then went down a line to my left that was a little bit shallower than the track.

That also worked well, and by rotating these lines I managed to keep a good catch rate up.  Even when we had a massive storm with torrential rain!!  In fact it was during that rain storm that my catch rate was the best! 

The edge lines also paid off in the later stages of the match and it was one of those days where I couldn’t do wrong no matter where or what I fished.

I ended up with 251lb which won the match, second was Adam Lee with 161lb and third Gary Ford with 151lb.

Sunday was back there, but this time the match was on canal lake so would be a bit different.  I also drew the jackpot peg so had to go for it!

Started off on paste again, but they weren’t really having it so a switch to the method feeder to the far bank was the next option.

This worked well and I did catch a lot better on it, even when a huge combine harvester came behind us and covered us in dust!  It looked like something that has evolved from the American army or something it was that big!

Not only that but it kept getting jammed up and the alarms and all sorts kept going off which no doubt spooked every fish in the lake!

I weighed in 84lb which although isn’t the biggest weight, was enough to win the match again and off the jackpot peg so a nice brucie bonus!!

Tuesday and Wednesday I ran a 2 day match on More House, and again it fished its socks of.  Un believably I drew the same peg on both days!  Peg 10!!  I didn’t even draw it, as when I run matches always get someone else to draw for me.

On the first day it was a bit frustrating as couldn’t really get them going lie I had on the Saturday despite having the feeling that they were there.  Previously I had fished with a big bit of paste and the bites were so instant and confident most fish where hooked and caught.  On this day though I was foul hooking, missing bites and losing fish until put a tiny bit of paste on.  That seem to sort the problem out, but I was still a bit off the front runners.

Mark Parrot won the first day with 213lb, second was Matt Hooper with 201lb, third Don Garnish with 186lb, then me with 185lb and Adam with 184lb!

So day two and as mentioned above drew the same peg again!  I knew exactly what I was going to do, and was a lot more carefull with the feeding.  It didn’t start off too great though as after two hours I only had 12 fish in the net.  I had fed my edge lines with micros and meat which was ok but not really fast and furious either.  So I decided to have a drop with paste on my edge lines, just to see if it would work.

It didn’t half work too as I was into fish straight away and never looked back!

That great late run down the edge gave me 224lb and third on the day.  Mark Parrot won the match again with 251lb, Adam Lee was second with 242lb, then me third with 224lb and Alex Bishop fourth with 223lb.

Overall, Mark Parrot was the clear winner with 466lb, second was Mr Lee with 426lb and myself third with 409lb and Alex Bishop fourth with 381lb.

It amazes me this fishery how quickly it changes and how the same peg on consecutive days can act so different.  To do well then comes back to what I said earlier about staying in touch with it and having the knowledge and experience on knowing what to do in order to compete.

This weeks question comes from Mark West who asked about flavouring pellets and do I use any.

Well yes I do for the bigger sized pellets such as 4mm, 6mm and 8mm, and my favourite liquid at the moment is by using the Bait-Tech Pellet Oil.  Not only does it give them a lovely oily coating and fishmeal scent, with it being an oil it essentially conditions the pellets.

I don’t use it on the micro’s as don’t think you need too, especially as I use the sticky method pellets.  But for the larger ones, I’d definitely give this pellet oil a go as it is brilliant.

Bit of a long read this week as could have written a book on the past week!  But hope you have enjoyed as I have enjoyed some great fishing.

Until next week, have a good weekend and hope you catch plenty!


Gardeners World - Special Guest!

4th August 2017

Been an interesting weekend, last Sunday I was guesting for the Guru Team at Monk Lakes in the teams of 6 league. Pete Upperton and Darren Dodge couldn’t make this one, so for some reason they asked me.

If you have never been to Monk Lakes, it’s a bit unusual as there is 3 match lakes that are perfectly square with a spit running up the middle of them. The teams of six meant there was one angler in each “bowl” of the lake.

Payouts were done on bowls, and then lakes so it was all very well organised and very fair.

I was on lake one and after an early draw at 8am, saw me heading for peg 8. I haven’t fished Monk for a while, but know plenty of people that do so got some good information on it and was please to hear that paste was working so well!

I started on top 5 as my info said that most people there catch well on top kits, edge and short pole lines. I did have the option to go further out if I needed to and out to 11m.

The all in went, and in typical Monks fashion first drop in the float buried and I was into a fish. A nice 6lb Carp too that was closely followed by a 5lb fish, so that was a nice start to the day.

Then I struggled to get another bite, so had a quick look down the edge but nothing so put a section on and went out to top 6. Low and behold the bites came again, and I had 5 fish one after the other before it dried up. So pushed out further and by going out on 7 sections I managed a few more.

It was a funny match, in that respect as it was as if there was a shoal of 4 or 5 fish swimming about, you’d catch them then would have to wait for the next lot to move into a line.

The rest of the match I was chopping and changing lengths from 5 sections up to 8 section in order to keep a few bites coming. Late on it did get a bit more difficult as the wind picked right up and I could have trotted the float through as if I was fishing the trent!!

I ended up with 84lb which was second in the section and picked up a few quid for that as well. The match was won by Pete Goodwin and Tony Flint who had tied on 194lb 4oz, both were on lake 2.

The team won on the day as well with 5 out of the 6 of us picking up envelopes to split in the pot. Funnily enough though Mark Goddard was the only one who didn’t have an envelope yet he ended up with a few quid more that the rest of us!!! ….not sure how that one worked out hahaha! We had a good laugh about it though!

Wednesday and it was off to Willinghurst for a soaking, sorry I mean a days fishing! It was lashing it down in traditional British Summer time weather.

I drew 15 on Top Lake and since my last visit there they have done an aweful lot of work on the fishery. Almost to the point of it was like a different venue!

I started off feeding about 20 pellets on my paste line, and also a little bit down the edge.

First drop in the float cocked and instantly buried within a few seconds, and a nice 6lb fish was in the net. Then….nothing! Then a few leaping skimmers and roach which was a bad sign!

The fish were fizzing too, but I had the feeling they were Bream and not Carp.

I had to work really hard to get any sort of run of fish, it was only at the end down the edge that I managed to put a few regular bites together.

I had them over a bed of Karma and Sticky method pellets

Don opposite me started catch very well towards the end of the match too, to the point of I though he would win easily. He was fishing a method feeder to the corner, and having one a chuck.

He didn’t win it though, he just got beaten by Kevin Parker who weighed 176lb, Don was 2nd with 172lb and Pete Turnbull 3rd with 151lb.

I ended up with 101lb which was no where on the day, but at least the kit has a few days to dry out now!

We have a question this week from Dave Piction who has asked: I have read your blogs where you talk about the sticky method pellets on your pole lines, how do you fish those on the pole and not the feeder?

Well Dave I think these are fantastic pellets and not just for wrapping round a method feeder. The way I prepare them though is a little different to what you would do for the feeder. Basically I tip the dry pellets into a bait box (usually a 3 pint) and cover them with water completely. What I do different now though is I leave them in that water all day long. I don’t drain them off, just leave them submerged in the bait box for the day.

They don’t go quite as sticky as when you drain them off for the feeder, but they swell up a bit like an expander pellet that you don’t need to pump. The beauty of this is as well, they don’t break down like traditional feed pellets, they keep their shape and structure for the duration. I then scoop them into my pole pot, drain the water off and pot them in.

Its as simple as that, but so effective

They are brilliant, and to be honest all I use now when it comes to feeding micros as have total faith in them along with many others who are now also switching to them.

If you have a question for next weeks blog then drop us an email to, until then have a great weekend and see you soon.

The pictures below are my peg on Willinghurst Wednesday, my phone has been on the blink recently so didnt manage to get any from Monks sorry, but there is a nice arial shot so you can see what I mean about the layout of the lakes.


Gardeners World - Back to it!

28th July 2017

Hello everyone and welcome back, there was a bit of a holiday from my ramblings the past few weeks due to some holidays.

I was away in Spain to help celebrate a good friends wife’s birthday, which happened to be right next to the River Ebro.

I didn’t have any rods with me though (probably a good thing), but it looked a stunning river full of Chub and didn’t see a soul fishing it either.

So just a catch up of matches since I’ve been back before we get back into the usual routine next week.

Last week I fished an evening match in Ockley and drew a interesting peg that I’d fished before and caught some Sturgeon from.  As it was a short evening match, there’s no point messing about so it was a very focussed attack with Paste and Meat.

The match started and had a good Carp pretty much straight away, after that though I had a funny spell where was bitted out by silvers and tiny fish.

Change of plan to another line, resulted in a quick bite that was really weird bobbing the float about slowly before it went.  I struck into it thinking it was a small carp again but it was a “clunk” and elastic came streaming out before a 3ft Sturgeon jumped clean of the water!

I managed to get it in, and it would have been a double figure fish but the rules state that they are to be released straight away and all Sturgeon count as 5lb.

After that fish went back I did have a better run of Carp and another Sturgeon to end up with 81lb that was 3rd in the match.  Terry Malloy won it with 130lb and Mick Keeper 2nd with 96lb, so a nice evenings sport.

The other Sunday there wasn’t a lot on locally, and I ended up booking in on a match at Balbeach Res.  A venue I haven’t fished for many years.

The match was a practise for a feeder match I believe but it was anything goes today.  A little under prepared with info and bait due to the late decision to go there, I decided for an all out feeder approach.  The match was on the dam wall with depths of 30ft +, so it was heavy feeders and grouundbait mixes on the day.  Cut a long story short I ended up with 10lb of Skimmers which wasn’t anywhere in the match, but I really enjoyed being back there and bumping into some old friends who I hadn’t seen for years.  One of them being fellow Bait-Tech Angler Dean Barlow, so was great to have a good catch up with him.

I’ve also been to Willinghurst a few times since I last wrote, drawing the same peg 6  twice as well!  Both matches I fished the same, Paste close in and down the edge and the method feeder out in the open water.

The first match I weighed 206lb which was good enough to win the match, the second match I weighed 221lb but came second!  So it has been a really good few matches on there for me recently.

We do have a question this week too from Richie Caddock who asked:  Ive read in former blogs that you fish a lot of rigs straight though.  What line do I use for my pole rigs for doing that?

Well this year I have been using a new line from Milo called Fortress Special Competition, I picked up on it when I was visiting Milo a while back and absolutely brilliant.

I’d go so far to say as well that its probably the best line I’ve ever used.  I’ve only used it in 0.14, 0.16 and 0.18 at the moment but its superb . 

Very strong for the diameter and so supple that you can move shot around with out any damages. 

Its not available in the UK just yet, but hopefully will be soon!

Any questions for next week, drop us an email to

Have a good weekend


Gardeners World - Jimmy's Back!

7th July 2017

A few matches to blog about this week, starting a week ago when I fished a match on a new venue called Pips lake.  When I first joined Dorking the captain at the time was Peter Knight, this lake is called Pips lake and is owned and run by Pete’s son Pip.

Bit unusual as there is a lot of Sturgeon in there, not huge ones but big enough to cause you trouble getting them in a landing net!

There are scales dotted around the pegs as if you get one, you have to weigh them and put them straight back.

I drew peg 1 which was right by the car park and had a scales behind the peg , Jimmy B was opposite and is super excited again as he has a bit of time to fish.

My peg was quite shallow with on about 2 ½ ft of water to go at, but as this was an evening match most of the fishing would be done down the edges on meat or paste.

It fished really well, I was a bit out of it as ended up with 87lb.  Jimmy’s excitement was further fuelled as he won it with 156lb, this included a big Sturgeon of about 10lb.  That was great entertainment watching him playing that I can tell you.  He was stood up on his platform trying to get it in his net, much to the amusement of everyone in view and shouting for help bless him.  Sturgeon go stiff, so they wont bend into a landing net so you almost got to get them in tail first.

He got it in though and proceeded to walk around the lake with it to my scales to weigh it, grumbling all the way around that no one would help him out! Well done Jimmy!

Saturday and we went to More House Farm for the open on there, it was a good turn out too so a lot of pegs went in the hat.  I was pleased to see peg 5 end up in my hand which can be a flyer! 

It was my usual plan for More House, with paste down the track whilst feeding my edges.  Started off ok, with a few quick fish in the net before I foul hooked a couple.  Switching over to the margins, but they weren’t really there and only had one so didn’t stay there that long

I noticed one of the lads catching on paste a bit further out in the deep water, so had a look on that and a few more fish followed.

I was keeping in touch with the front runners, but it wasn’t fast and furious so decided to have a look tight over on the far bank.  This was a bit of a waste of time to be honest, mainly due to the fact it was chaos over there.  There was that many fish, the float wasn’t staying still and was being dragged all over the shop by foul hookers.  So needless to say I didn’t stay on it long.

I came back in to my original paste line that I had been feeding, hoping that they were lined up there.  They were as well thankfully, and in the last hour I had 54lb of F1s and Carp to weigh 160lb and get the match win.  Mark Goddard was 2nd with 104lb, Pete Turnbull third with 100lb and Jimmy 4th with 87lb.  So a really good match and a great win!

Sunday, I wont blog about as I was due to fish a match but only 5 of us turned up so not going to go into details about that one!

Wednesday though it was back to Willinghurst, and I drew my favourite peg on the complex peg 20.  I like this peg as it gives you so many options and you can catch on everything!

The peg didn’t really do justice on this day though as I was always playing catch up Jimmy had drawn on the back spit and was doing well, as was Toni Yarnni.  I was struggling though, was only getting a few on the paste over pellets, although my fish were bigger.  In a bit of desperation I went long down the edge to my left again on paste over pellets and did manage to snare a few on a bit of a late run.

I wasn’t going to get near Toni or Jimmy though, and Toni went on to win with 182lb on pellets from peg 29.  Jimmy was 2nd with 154lb on paste and I was 3rd with 123lb.

So a decent week all in all though with a win and a third!

This weeks question comes from Ian from Birmingham who emailed and asked “My local commercial responds well to worm and caster, but I miss an aweful lot of bites, and its getting frustrating”.  “Can I do something to change, and hit more bites”.

Well Ian, the first thing to think about is are you foul hooking fish?  If not then I would think that it is not Carp you are missing the bites from.  If it was Carp and they were liners then you would be foul hooking a few from time to time so it could be another problem.

If you are feeding caster with the worm, then it could be drawing  a lot of silvers into the peg which could be like a shoal of piranhas up in the water.  I’m assuming from the email that your fishing with worm on the deck, so what could be happening is the silvers that are coming shallow could be giving you liners. 

So how to combat this, well one thing to try is maybe stop feeding casters  and just feed neat chopped worm.  This will probably prevent the silvers coming in on mass and swimming into the line that could be the problem. 

Try that and see how you go, another thing to think of is are small fishing pecking at the worm itself on the deck but unable to eat it.  Best thing for that then is that if the float goes, don’t give it the big strike, just gently lift and if there is nothing connected just lower it again.  Probably be better for your sanity that giving the big strike!

Also are you hooking the worm right?  You want to be hooking the bits of worm right at the tip, give it a slap on the water too when you ship in as it will stop the worm from wriggling and folding over the hook that can also cause you to miss bite.

Try these couple of things and see how it goes.

There will be a little break from Gardeners World next week as I’m away for the weekend in Spain so having a weekend off from Fishing.  We’ll be back in a couple of weeks time though so fear not!


Le monde des jardiniers va en France – (Gardeners World goes to France !)

30th June 2017

Well last weekend was a little different as I was in France fishing a pairs match with Milo.  It’s quite a big match fished over two days, with the winning pair each winning a car!

I was travelling over with Brad Titmus, he picked me up early doors on the Thursdayand we headed over the water to France.  It was a bit warm when we go there about 2pm, with temps well into the mid 30s. 

We called off at the shop, met up with Milo and then headed to fish an evening match on one of the lakes.

The format of this weekend was that the draw would be done on the Friday for your lake for the Saturday, then on the Sunday you would draw again but be on a different lake.  So two lakes were in use for it.

So back to this evening practise match, the fish in these lakes were big but it was fishing very similar to the UK with the fish cagey and not settled on a depth or a method.

We couldn’t get a fish shallow, and everything we caught was on the bottom.  We ended up with 19kilo between myself and Milo that put us about 5th out of the 20 pairs that were fishing it.

On the Friday we had another practise session on the other lake, this wasn’t a match though just a pleasure day and typically we sacked up on most things that we did.  Most of the fish came down the edge with Milo landing one about 20lb that was a right lump.

After we’d finished, to kill a bit of time we had a go on the next lake over where Brad had spotted a few huge grass carp basking on the surface.  So he set a candle up on a waggler rod with a big chunk of bread and lobbed it out towards them.

It wasn’t long before a big grassie came and had a look at his big of baguette, so Brad gave it the big strike, and much to our amusement the candle ended up in the tree above him!

My turn next, so I hooked another chunk of loaf on and hurled it out to the cruisers.  Sure enough it wasn’t long before a big pair of lips was slurping at it and wallop it was fish on!

After a bit of a scrap, an awesome 30lb Grass Carp was on the bank!

That passed a bit of time, but the next day it was back to the serious stuff for the competition.  Milo had drawn for us, which saw us heading for peg 13 on the lake that we had fished the evening match on.  This peg had in fact won that match but I wasn’t that convinced by it.  I was hoping for a peg in the early numbers, which is closer to the car park and where gets fished more often.  Cut a long story short, I had 2 fish in the first 2 hours then didn’t have another one!  Milo didn’t fair much better with only a F1, Skimmer and a few small bullheads to give us a total of 7kilo and 6th in the 13 pair section.  It had as predicted fished patchy and very hard with quite a few blanks including the French champion!

Day 2 and we were up early again as it was a 5.45am draw!  I drew for us this time and we were on peg 6 of the other lake.  Started on 11m but nothing, so had a look longer and managed to get one on a 8mm banded pellet.  There is loads of small bullheads in this lake that are a real pain.  You have to fish big hard baits or they will just rip it to shreads.  Milo was using grains of fake corn, it cost him a fair bit too as they are 1.50 euro per grain and he went through quite a few!! 

Stuck at this line though and caught 5 , but also lost 5 before it went dead so decided to push out to the deep water for a look.

This only resulted in one more carp, so in the later stages came back in on the bar and put one more in the net before losing a fish just after the whistle that I’d played for an age.  Not that it would have made any difference to the outcome as we were way off it.

I’d had seven Carp and Milo had 5 which gave us 34kilos, the section was won with 49kilos by the same guys who had won the section and the lake the previous day.  Amazingly though they didn’t win the match despite two section and lake winning performances.  There was another pair that had done the same but with bigger weight count.

We didn’t stay for the full results as headed off to get the ferry back, but Milo and myself came about 14th out of 52 pairs so you can see how hard it was fishing.

Nice weekend away though, next we’re back in blighty for a bit of normality so will let you know how that goes in the next blog.

Have a good weekend


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Gardeners World – Lighter shade of pink!

23rd June 2017

Well that’s been a warm one hasn’t it! 

I’ve spent two days fishing under an umbrella and have still managed to get sunburnt!

Last weekend I went to More House Farm, Saturday it was on snake lake and I drew peg 5.

It’s a funny peg this is, can be good but a while back the original peg broke so they relocated it next to it.  The downside being you have only got a right hand margin line to fish as the old collapsed peg is still there to the left.

The right hand line though is a lovely edge so not all bad!  I started off down the track, but it was quiet and really struggled for bites.  Everyone seemed to be though, and after 3 ½ hours in I only had about 30lb in the net that I had caught rotating the lines and searching about the swim.

I gave Adam a call, and he was catching a few as was Ryan but most others were struggling.

With an hour and a half to go, the fish did turn up down my edge line and I managed to put a few bites together.  No where near enough though and ended up weighing 71lb, which was way off the pace in 5th.  Ryan Watson won the match with 134lb, Adam Lee was 2nd with 111lb, then there was a drop down to 84lb for third.

Sunday there was nothing on at Willinghurst, so I went back for another go at More House.  Was only a bit of a knock up on Canal Lake, but there was a good few of us there so it was game on.

I started off on top 6 on paste down the track, and also fed two inside edge lines that were identical in depth both sides.

Today I got off to a great start, and had 2 Carp and 2 F1s in the first 15 mins. 

Caught a few more on this line, before having a look down the edges as I could see a few others netting fish that had been caught close in.

I had 2 down there but bites were harder to come by, so had a look back on some other lines.  I Had a few on the method tight over, a few more down the track.

I had fed meat and micros on the edge line but didn’t think it was really right for the day.  So decided to pot in some groundbait and fish paste over the top and never looked back.

Alternating between the two, it was fast and furious fishing and I ended up with 164lb to win the match.  Tony was second with 150lb and Stuart third with 124lb.

So was really happy with that has had a great days fishing and won a few quid as well!

That was the last time out as the rest of the week I’ve been preparing for France as I’m off to fish a pairs match with Milo this weekend.

This week’s question comes from Stuart Wilson who says “I’ve lost my mojo for fishing the past year, I’ve still got all the gear but how do I get the enthusiasm back”

Well Stuart, there is no easy way to get it back other than to get out there and go fishing!  I don’t know if you’re a pleasure or match angler, but if you’re a match angler I would start by having a trip to the local tackle shop and start talking about it again.  If you want to get back into matches there are 2 options I would do.  

Either join a good local club who have a decet match calendar and are a welcoming bunch and start going with them.  Or I would pick a good local venue and stick with it for a few months challenging yourself to rise up the ranks.  It will probably take a while before your back winning matches on either, but don’t be afraid to ask questions and talk about it to fellow anglers.  One thing you can guarantee is that most fisherman whether they be match or pleasure love to talk about their latest wins, catches etc and that should fuel the enthusiasm.

One things for sure though, you wont get it back with your kit in the garage or the shed gathering dust.  Get it out and start tinkering with it and hopefully you’ll be itching to get back on the banks as soon as you can.

Good luck and I wish you every success.



Gardeners World – Ye with little patience

16th June 2017

Well it wasn’t a very productive week for me last week with no pick-ups to report.

Bit frustrating too as reflecting on the matches that I’ve fished, I think I had chances to have done a bit better.

Starting with Saturday it was back to More House Farm for the open, and I drew a great peg that has won the previous two Saturday matches peg 18.  It’s a funny peg and I know exactly how the matches have been won of it.  There is a stone bar just off the point of the island, well its more like an underwater rockery and you can’t fish it on the deck or you’ll just hook the stones and there are no flat spots.  The fish do come over it though for some reason, so you have to fish about a foot deep mid water.  One of the lads Anton who had won off this peg walked up before the match and said it looked completely different to when he won off it as there was fish everywhere then.  It was pretty baron looking today! Great!

Anyway, kicked off and I fed my usual lines down the track and close in to my right, but it was a really slow start with not a lot happening.  I tried putting some groundbait in tight over on the bar as well but they just weren’t there.

As the match wore on, the only way I could catch was by rotating and working the edge lines picking up odd fish here and there.  Then with about half an hour to go, would you believe it I saw a swirl over on the bar and they had arrived!

So I quickly went over on it and it was carnage over there, the float never sat still as there was about 5 fish swimming around it.  When it did go under, I was striking thinking that it was going to be foul hooked but to my surprise they weren’t!  In the last 30 mins I caught 3 good fish over there for about 18lb and was left asking why didn’t they turn up sooner!!

Gary Ford won the match with 137lb on meat down the margins, big Simon was 2nd with 97lb and Mark Goddard 3rd with 89lb.  I ended up with 78lb that was 6th or 7th.

If they had only turned up an hour earlier though I would have fancied my chances on a frame!

Sunday, glutton for punishment I was back there again and drew peg 22.  Plumbing up I found that down the edges I had about 6” deeper to my right with the edges only about a ft deeper that the main channel.  So the plan was to fish paste down the track, meat and micros close in and groundbait and meat tight over to the far bank.  The fish were still in spawning mode a bit though and there seemed to be a few darting about.

It started really slow again, and I couldn’t buy a bite on paste and with 2 hours gone all I had to show was two small Carp.  The usual motions had been gone through with close in, edge line, dobbin tight over all tried and failed.  Thankfully though as the match went on, a few fish did turn up but had to work hard for them.  I caught all the fish tight to the banks, close in to my left and tight over against the far bank. 

I ended up with 97lb which was 4th, Ryan Watson won it with 164lb from peg 6.  2nd was Mark Goddard with 124lb and 3rd Darren Dodge with 118lb. 

What was interesting though, I drew the scales on both days and weighing in I noticed that the stamp of fish has gone up considerably lately.  Where you are normally looking for a lot of F1s and a few bonus bigger Carp, this weekend it has been mainly the bigger Carp with a small splattering of F1s that has made up the weights.

So onto Wednesday and it was off to Willinghurst, where I drew in the bomb hole.  When you draw in there you can normally pick which peg you wanted to fish and me being me am usually undecided!

Ended up opting for peg 2 instead of 1a, and kicked off towards the grassy bank on hard pellets but all I could get was Roach!  The float was dancing around like a mad thing as it was solid with them in there.  So I went out to the middle and sat there a while, but no bites!

Went down the edge and had more Roach!  Great!  After 3 hours estimated to have had about 8lb which was going nowhere so a bit of a drastic change was required.

I thought to have a look down the 1a the peg that I was going to go on and first drop after feeding some groundbait I had a Carp!  Not a big one, but a Carp, a few more followed before it went dead again, so whilst I refed it I forced myself to fish out in the open and be patient.

Well would you believe it, after sitting on it for a while the float went and a much bigger Carp was in the net.

So, cut a long complicated story short, I spent the rest of the match switching between that line and the edge line where I would catch a few and have to re feed and wait.

It was one of those matches today were I was guilty of being too impatient and I should have stuck on the line in the middle and sat it out as I’m now convinced I would have caught steady off there even early on.

I weighed in 88lb which was 4th again and one out of the money again!  107lb won it, with back up weights of 96lb and 95lb so another few fish could have put me up a few places!

So there we are, not the best of weeks, but interesting none the less.  I’m back at More House this weekend then off to France the weekend after to fish a pairs match where the prize is a new car!!  So that should be an interesting one.

This week’s question comes from Ben Richards who emailed in with “When you fish the meat, do you flavour the meat or just use plain”

Well most of the time I tend to use plain Plumrose meat straight from the tin to be honest as its just what I have always done, and think the light colour is easily identifiable.

There are times where I have used the Bait-Tech boosted meats when the fishing gets a bit harder, and these are brilliant for that omitting lots of flavours so I do always carry a few of those too.

Its good to have a selection of both though, as a change of bait can bring you a bite when you think they have dried up. 

There’s no real right or wrong answer to this, and personally I like to mix it up by using the Bait-Tech ones and the plain standard supermarket ones.   If on your local venue, you are finding the plain ones aren’t working so well then get some of the boosted ones to try as they do work and work well.  I also like to fish meat over micro’s rather than feeding a lot of meat.  I just feel that a 6mm or 8mm cube over the top of a bed of micros stands out well and better that when there is a pile of meat over the bottom.  You don’t have to use much either by doing it like this so can freeze it and use another day after your session.

Have a good weekend all, if you’ve been on the rivers hope you’ve had a few pulls!


The photo's are of Sundays winner Ryan Watson and my peg from the bomb hole on Wednesday


Gardeners World – More House Tripple Header!

9th June 2017

This weeks blog is all about More House Farm, mainly because I’ve been there three times since last week.

Starting last Saturday, the match was on Sidewinder and I drew peg 13 which I was pretty happy about.  I’d fished this peg before but it has change so much since I was last on there it was almost un recognisable.

I’ve done a lot of head scratching since the last blog on how best to feed, going over the various options with Mark Goddard who last week caught well by dump feeding micros then fishing it out.  Mark explained how he had done that, and it resulted in the swim being nice and settled with very few foul hookers.

I decided to try that this week, on two swims to my left and to my right.  So started on it down the track and had two F1s both foul hooked!  Was looking like a different day again, and I couldn’t get a bite over it!

Going no where, I decided to have a look about, close in and down the edges but still nothing.

I noticed a few fish moving just past where I had fed so was just thinking about having a look shallow and some fizzing caught my eye back on the lines where I had previously fed.

Hmmm interesting I thought, so before the shallow rig went on I decided to have another quick look on that paste line. 

Would you believe it, I had four fish in four drops on it!

The peg had appeared to have had a kick start into life, as I also started catching on my edge lines as well feeding 4mm’s and fishing paste again.

I got into a decent rhythm then rotating between the lines catching a few on each then moving about and re feeding until the end of the match.

I ended up with 103lb which was just in the money and 4th on the day.  Richard James won the match with 127lb, Stuart Willimason was 2nd with 120lb, Gary 3rd with 105lb then me with 103lb. 

I did lose a big fish that broke me right at the end too, which cost me 3rd place but was happy with that after the strange start!

Sunday I was back on there and we were on Canal lake this time, I drew peg 19 which has a lovely left hand margin swim.  It was a bit overgrown so I gave it a bit of a short back and sides with my little clippers, and it was looking lovely.

I had to catch down there it looked that nice!!!

Started off top 5 on paste and had a few fish but they weren’t really going mad, so had a quick look down the edge that resulted in a nice Carp.  That was it though and trying my various lines with no bites got me thinking again.  I rang my mate who was down the other end of the lake and he had caught a few on the method tight to the far bank.

I didn’t really want to do this as you have got to literally land it in the grass to get a bite, but with me going nowhere fast decided to give it a bash.  It did work too and I had a few fish on it, I was also feeding 6mm’s over it and trying to land the pellets in the grass basically.

As the match was wearing on, I tried my edge lines again but still nothing, that beautifully landscaped area to my left had resulted in four fish all day! 

Then with about half an hour to go, I noticed a swirl down on my right hand margin!

They weren’t were they?.....first drop down there and wallop a 6lb Carp!  I did have a few more before the whistle, but didn’t think I had done particularly well.

I weighed in 86lb 8oz, can you believe it the match was won with 86lb 10oz and 86lb was third!  So one more fish for me or third place would have won it!

Wednesday I wanted to keep a bit of momentum so decided to go back there again to see I can sort this feeding out.  It was decided that we’d have a rover match, so I walked to peg 43 that I went on a few weeks ago.

Started on the usual down the track, feeding 4mms and the paste and it went off like a train!  I had 12 fish in the first hour and things were looking good.

As usual the bites did dry up and I had to go looking about again to get some more bites.  I did catch but it wasn’t as busy as my first hour.

I noticed Dave Pearson started to catch one a drop on the paste, and he wasn’t feeding a thing just using the paste to attract them in.

As a bit of a last gasp I decided to have a go close in, but not down the edge on paste and feeding just the odd few 4mm pellets.  Well, they were there and I should have gone on that sooner as in the last 20 minutes I had 6 carp to finish with 164lb and second again. 

Matt Hooper won it with 172lb and Dave Pearson was third with 150lb.

This place is so frustrating, I know I’ve said it before but it’s also the reason as well that I like it so much as you have got to think about it so much with the feeding its un believable.

No two days are ever the same, you could fish a peg today and bag up, go there and fish the same peg tomorrow and it would be completely different!!

I’m telling you all these things and the secrets about the feeding so you can read them and end up as confused as me!! Haha!

Well we’ll try again this weekend anyway and will let you know how I get on next week.

If your out on the bank, have a good one…it could be a bit damp Saturday so don’t forget the brolleys!

The pictures are of Matt Hooper and part of his 172lb winning weight Wednesday, and my edge line that I was ever so proud of....even though it only resulted in 4 fish!!



Gardeners World – Mixed Fortunes

2nd June 2017

Hello again and welcome back, hope you all had a nice long bank holiday weekend and spent some time on the banks.

Saturday I went to More House Farm and drew peg 28 by the bridge.  It’s a funny peg this is as your looking up the arms of the lake, and its almost like a fork.  Its not a bad peg though so was not to unhappy with the draw.

I started as I always do at More House, and that’s down the track on my Special G Paste.  I caught a few early on, so the signs were looking quite good with a couple of Carp and a few skimmers in the net.

I had primed up a few edge lines too, left and right hand side with meat over micro pellets.  Bit of a nightmare though as the match progressed, as a keen wind hacked up which blew a load of surface scum into my edges.  Don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m colour blind so only use yellow and black bristled floats generally.   With all the pollen and other surface scum that the wind was blowing in, it made life very difficult for me to see the float with the contrast of the scum against it.  We plodded on though and I think I made a bit of a mistake by searching round too much looking for fish that weren’t there.  I ended up with 137lb which was 3rd behind Antonio Poynter who won it with 197lb and Stuart Williamson in second with 162lb. 

Antonio fished a great match though and really unusually for More House his weight was made up entirely of Carp and no F1s.  No one had ever seen that before here as you normally get a good mixture of both.  He fished with maggots shallow over groundbait, and I even managed to get a photo of some of his catch below. 

Sunday I didn’t go as had a day with the family, Monday though it was back to More House as they had a Bank Holiday open.  I drew peg 43 which is a really good peg and the type that you run to..even at my age!

I know Ive said this before, but every time you go to More House its different, and today was no exception.  Plumbing up I wasn’t too happy as the depths were about uneven on my edge lines so took a bit of adjusting to get things right.

Started on the paste down the track, but the float didn’t move, not a bite!  So I put a few pellets in on that line and had a bit of a search around the peg.  Continuing to throw some 4mms down the track whilst I was doing so.

It was a strange old match this one, I got them going and caught well but never really got them lined up on any one line so had to constantly move around picking fish up here and there.

It may sound strange saying that I didn’t get them going too well when I weighed 159lb but that was only 8th place!  The venue had fished its knackers off with Adam Lee winning it with 210lb, Mark Goddard second with 197lb and Mark Smith third with 182lb off peg 28! 

Analysing the match after and speaking to Mark I think I should have dump potted it with pellets rather than little and often as that’s what he did and worked for him.  Interestingly, Mark Smith who came third on the peg I had Saturday, caught shallow!

Someone sent me a couple of pictures of Adam’s peg, and I think there was a few fish there!

So Wednesday it was off to Willinghurst, for the match that was pegged on new and Johns.  I drew peg 53 on Johns which has a lovely edge line to my left that screams fish!

Started off on the pole, and there was fish everywhere all over the surface but they were not feeding.

Was fishing shallow on a long line so not to spook them, but they were just not having it for some reason.

So came in and had a look on the deck, but still nothing.  After 75mins I’d had 3 small stockies for 1 ½ lb which was no good at all!

There’s a bar in this lake, so the next thing to try was the lead, pinging pellets over the top of it.   This worked well to an extent and I did catch 5 Carp off that before the bites dried up.

It was the type of day where I had to keep busy and catch and move, so to keep a few fish coming, I picked up a few on the long pole, short pole until it was time to have a look down that stunning edge line that I had fed with the Bait-Tech Sticky Micro’s.

So I went in on the paste, and instantly had 3 in 3 drops.  Bites disappeared then, so went a bit longer and had another 3 in the closing stages of the match.

I weighed 97lb, which to my amazement won the lake and second in the match.  Shaun Barnett won it with 124lb off new lake, and young Jake was third.

So all in all not a bad week, caught plenty of fish and enjoyed myself in the process so all is good!

Had a question this week from Jonathan Whitehouse who emailed us, and he asked “

I just wondered now that you fish a few commercial venues how many pole rigs you actually carry with you?  Also how many and what elastics do you carry as I carry far too many as do most anglers and I'd like to cut it back a bit and take less kit”

Well, I’m the worlds worst for this to be honest as my biggest bug bear is not to be prepared for all eventualities.

Rig wise, I carry 6 trays of winders each holding 28 rigs (2 on a winder).  This is mostly down to the fact that I fish direct for all of my Carp fishing so I don’t have hook lengths on them.  For F1 type venues, I do use hook lenths.  Most of my rigs though I have made up in 0.13, 0.15 and 0.17 lines, then different patterns for paste, edge lines, shallow and it all mounts up.

The same really for top kits, I use the Milo Carpodrome Elastics and for my commercials use them from the white (about 2mm) for light shallow work,  up to a size 7 (2.8mm) for down the edge.  I tend to carry 3 or 4 of each, and as I use the new Milo Top kit case to carry them I take them all as it will fit loads in there and they are all organised and easily accessible.

I am one of the anglers that probably (ok definitely) am guilty of taking far too much kit with me to a match.  But at most of the commercials these days you can drive pretty close to your peg and I’m of the opinion that I’d rather have it in the van in case I need it than cursing because I’d left it in the garage.

In saying that though, I do only take kit that I know I could need.  Light top kits, rigs, and my heavier continental river gear is all left at home in the garage.  So I’m not taking the kitchen sink, but do like to have all options and eventualities covered.

Any questions for next week, drop us a line at or send us a message on social media.

Have a good weekend

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Gardeners World – Getting better!

26th May 2017

Hi all, I’m going to start this week by just explaining what we mean when I talk about continental payouts.  It is used a lot at places I fish like Willinghurst, when the match is spread over a few different lakes and we’ve had a question to how this is worked out.

Basically if say the match is pegged on three lakes, the way continental payouts work is as follows.  First in the match, will always be first in the match irrespective of what lake the angler is on.  Then second place will be the best weight from the other two lakes, and third place the best the best result from the remaining lake.

It spreads the money round in a more favourable way, and you don’t get the scenario of needing to draw a certain lake to get in the main frame.

So anyway Saturday I was at More House Farm which isn’t a continental pay out as its only on one lake.  There wasn’t many there to be honest, so all the best pegs were put in so we could all have a days fishing.

I drew peg 31, and with there not many there I knew it would be a match to fish close in as a decent weight would be required. 

I started off on 5m on my trust special G Paste, and also fed lines down the edges fishing meat over micros.

Well the fish were there right from the word go and the sport was hectic to say the least.  After an hour and a half I’d had about 40 fish, and just by keeping it simple, rotating and feeding my lines throughout the match I kept the fishing coming and ended up with 75 to 80 fish for 203lb which was only enough for 2nd!  Stuart Williamson won it with 211lb and Mark Smith was 3rd with 197lb.

Sunday and Willinghurst was the destination, I drew 51 on Johns Lake and really fancied it as it was the last peg on the far back so had a bit of room.  

I won’t dwell on this match too much as it was a bit of a disaster, I had 3 fish in the first hour and a half then only another 4 for the rest of the match! 

One thing I will say though is when I always reflect on my matches, if it’s a bad one then it is usually one of two things.  Either there was fish there and I’ve done something wrong to have done so badly that I need to put right or there just wasn’t enough fish in the area.  That day it was the later, as judging by the in activity and lack of indications I did feel as if they just weren’t there.  Don’t get me wrong, if I had done something that I felt wasn’t right then I’d be the first to admit it, as can be very critical of myself at times.  Today though, I don’t think there was a lot I could have done differently.

So Wednesday it was back to Willinghurst for a charity match that was pegged over three laskes on a continental payout as mentioned above.  I always like to have the last peg in the bag (just one of those things!) but when I went to draw there was two left.  Unbeknown to me at the time one was 51 on Johns and one was 4 on top.  Both of which I’d fished in the past few weeks.  I drew 4 on top lake, and when I got there I could see that the fish were well and truly in spawning mode as there was a lot of crashing about down the edges.  As I spoke about in a previous blog, this has some nice edge lines so I had decided to feed groundbait at about 5m along the bank which was off the grass, then at about 11m there was some rushes so I potted in some of the Bait-Tech sticky pellets to those.

I started on 5m line, but hadn’t had anything and looked over and saw a swirl over where I’d cupped the groundbait in. 

Well I had to go and have a look didn’t I, and first drop I had a foul hooker…which I lost!

Next drop another bite and a proper one too, a good fish of around 10lb was in the net and hooked in the mouth.

It was a little bit of a damage limitation day though, as for every fish I’d catch Id foul hook one.  But it was one of those senarios where if I hadn’t have fed positively then I wouldn’t have had so many bites.

The peg did get stronger as the day went on and in the last 20mins I had 5 fish, two of which took the paste on the drop!

Ended up with 108lb which won the lake and came second overall, so a nice day. Stuart Williamson won with 164lb off Johns lake and Phil Meek was third by winning old with 91lb.

The pictures are from peg 4 on top lake and my edge lines again.

Have a great weekend and see you all next week



Gardeners World - Cant win a two pegger!

The bad run continues for me I’m afraid, with not a bean picked up since my last blog but anyway here we go...

Saturday I went to Morehouse Farm and drew peg 48, I’ve been on this peg a few times before and it’s a bit hit or miss.  On the far bank there is a lot of rushes and foliage so you have to pick your place to fish carefully.  If its blowing a bit like it was Saturday you got no hope of fishing up the rat holes were the fish live.

One thing the peg has really going for it though is its left hand margin, you have got a huge amount of room and a lovely edge to fish down.

It started off hard….and got worse!  I kicked off down the middle, foul hooked a carp and then nothing!  Not a sniff!  So I had a quick look down the edge and still nothing!

I went across as far as I could go and did pick a few odd fish up before that died as well.

No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get anything going.  I was alternating swims, depths and baits but it was a real struggle.  Even the left had edge line which had 20inches of depth that was perfect failed to throw up much and it was pretty much a non starter for me.

I weighed 56lb and a mile off, as Ryan Watson won with 126lb off peg 43, Dave Guntip was second with 108lb and Stuart Williamson third with 98lb.

So Sunday I trudged to Willinghurst and drew peg 36 on Johns Lake.  It can be a good peg, there is plenty of room and a bar that you normally catch a few by chucking a method on it.

I started on top 6, feeding quite negative with 6mm pellets.  I was also going to feed my edge lines, right side of me was going to be positive with groundbait and micros, to the left more negative with pellets.

I started on the method and hurled it out towards the bar, and pretty quickly had a Carp in the net.  I had been keeping an eye on others around me, and a few others also caught quick fish on the pole.  So I came in on the pole for a look on 6 sections, but nothing!

3 hours into the match and things were not going well, I had two fish Tom Arnot next to me didn’t have a lot and we were hearing that they were bagging up in the bomb hole.

We plugged away at it though, and I did manage to snare a few Carp on my negative edge line to my left.  To my right where I had fed more positive, nothing…not a sniff.

I wasn’t going to weigh in, but as me and Tom were going fish for fish we did just to see who’d won our little match!

I couldn’t even win that and I put 48lb on the scales with Tom weighing 51lb so not even any bragging rights in our little two pegger!

Adam Lee won the match with 112lb, Ian Dixon was second with 97lb and Luke Sheriff was third with 88lb. 

So I went home with tail between me legs for the second time in two days!

Refreshed after a few days off, it was back to Willinghurst Wednesday and I drew peg 4 on top lake.

I had decided to take it a bit more easy today, and feel my way into it rather than full steam ahead. 

Started feeding a few 6mm on top 6 but didn’t have a bite, two hours in and I was fearing the worst again as all I had to show was one small carp on the tip.

This peg has a nice edge lines, but it also has some rushes at about 9m on both sides so there is some options there.

I had fed both sides, and while I was keeping a look out for signs of movement there decided to ship out to 14m on pellets for a look.  All of a sudden…clonk was into one, followed by another, and another, and another!  Hmmmmm!  Could I be making a comeback!  It died on the long line, so came in to 6m and started catching there too.  Again on 6mm pellets.

I still needed my edge lines to come good though, as the 6m line died after a little run of fish.

With an hour to go and not a lot happeing on the edge lines I put a pot full of Bait-Techs sticky pellets down the left hand margins.  Would you believe it, in that last hour I had 8 Carp over it before the all out was called.

We had heard a few others had caught well, but wasn’t really sure what.

I weighed 121lb in the end which on the day was only good enough for 4th!   Adam Lee won it again with 181lb, Ian Dixon was second again with 137lb and Shaun Silvester third with 128lb.

So no brown envelopes again, but at least I did catch some fish this time!!

Think the lesson for this week, and I’ve thought about it a lot is that when your planning your match as your setting up you cant just think about the weather and conditions.  You have got to think about how the weather and conditions will affect the peg that your sat on as every peg is different.  Look at the peg and read the peg to see how conditions are affecting not just the venue and the day but that specific peg.

We had a question from Richard Harris via email today.  Richard said he is having trouble with his expanders, they either float or spit while hooking them.

Well Richard, I’ve changed the way I prepare my expanders.  I use to do them the night before then leave them in the fridge.

Now though I prepare them on the morning of the match.  Firstly make sure you have a good pellet pump, as if you have to keep pumping them they will split.  I fill the pump with water and pellets to what I want, then give it 5 or 6 quick pumps so they sink then drain them and leave with a covering of water until the match starts.

I have complete confidence in doing this now, and use the Bait-Tech 4mm and 6mm expanders with no problems.  Leaving them over night or over pumping can lead to them floating or splitting as you describe.

I don’t add anything too them usually, but if it is fishing hard then after pumping them I do add a little bit of “The Juice” to them and keep them in a bag for an hour to let the flavours soak in.  It also give them a thick and slightly more robust skin.

So may be worth giving that a try as well.

Hope that helps, but if anyone has a question for next week email and we’ll get in answered for you.

Until then tight lines and have a good weekend…I hope mine is a bit better or it may be my last blog!!

Only joking of course!!



Gardeners world – Duck it!!

11th May 2017

Well the eye was a bit better by the weekend (funnily enough!) so Saturday I went to Willinghurst.  I drew peg 15 on top lake and quite fancied it, I had a lovely deep edge to my left and a shallow one to my right.  You can normally pick a few fish up long thought the match as well, but its these edge lines that you have to make the most of.

I started at 6 sections with banded hard pellet, and fed quite negatively.  I had one quite quickly, then nothing so fed again and had a skimmer and no more bites.  Decided to have an early look down that deep edge on meat and did have one odd fish but that was it.

Three hours into the match I’d just the three fish and was going now where.  I’d also tried shallow, the bomb but couldn’t buy a bite.

So, I decided to pot in some groundbait and micros on the shallow edge line and after a while noticed a swirl! Hmmmm….so on went the special G Paste for a little look.  Pretty quickly I had one, so put some more pellets in and went down the right had side and had one there too!   The rest of the match I basically alternated between the two sides and did put some good runs of fish together.

I ended up with 117lb which I was quite pleased with, but sadly I was one out of the money as there was a 118lb, then Martin Johnson had 130lb and Adam Lee won the match with 160lb from the bomb hole.  Bit frustrating as had I fed positive on that shallow edge I think I could have got into the frame.

Well the next day I was back there and managed to draw next to where I was the previous day.  The peg I was on Saturday wasn’t in either, but the peg is completely the opposite to 15.  I had a tree to my right which was the deep area and shallows more to my left.

Fished the same sort of match more or less, starting off at 6m then searching around for some fish.  They were hard to come by though and it was a real struggle trying to feed and fight off all the ducks.  There were some right funny noises coming from my peg I tell you with me in a constant battle trying to scare off my feathered friends! 

Knowing what I did the previous day I tried to do the same, feeding negative in the deeper water but positive in the shallow.  Wasn’t really happening though and I was struggling.  The only place I could catch was under the tree to my right.  Anyway, long story short I had about 50lb so didn’t weigh in.  The match was won with 108lb so down a bit from the Saturday.

Interesting though, after the match I walked up to the peg I was on the day before and chucked my bait in the shallow edge.  Instantly the flocks of ducks were on it having a feast.  So as I was packing up then, I noticed that among all the duck the Carp were there!  It was black with Carp all fighting with the ducks to get some food!  Marvellous eh!!!

Wednesday I decided to head back to Moorhouse for a Duck free day!  I drew peg 38 which I wasn’t too despondent about as it can be good.  There was a bit of an awkward wind ripping through, making the long lines a bit harder but was manageable.

I started on top 5 on paste and instantly had a 6lb Carp in the net, that was a nice start followed by a couple of smaller ones that gradually got smaller and smaller too!  So I came off it and had a quick drop close in.  Had another fish pretty quickly before it went dead, so it was time to brave the wind and go long on meat over micros.  I did pick up a few fish before it went dead again.  As this was organised by someone else, he allowed us to fish up to the next pallet so I did.  I cupped in some micros and had a fish instantly on it, followed by a surprise 3lb Bream!

Id avoided the ducks, but it was at this time the geese woke up and decided to plop in the lake just off the platform I was fishing too!!  Can you Adam and Eve it!  It was ducks all weekend now I got to deal with Geese!!

I plugged away though again rotating the edge lines and in the last few hours got a great rhythm and run of fish going.  It was mostly F1s on meat over micros that did the damage and I ended up weighing 111lb to win the match despite making the strange funny noises to scare the geese off!

Don Garnish was 2nd with 85lb and Pete Turnbull 3rd with 84lb, but it was a good day all in all.

This week’s question comes from Ian who asks about what paste floats I use.  Well I use horses for courses, and have taken a few photos so you can see what I mean.

For the likes of Moorhouse I use a Carpa Ace that is modified slightly where I have the carbon coming out as a bristle.  Then for deeper water I use the Milo paste floats, then for edge fishing when Im looking for big fish I use a really robust Carpa float with a rubber just off the top of the bristle that I set to be just on the surface.

All in all though, for smaller carp and F1’s I like it to be a bit more sensate but strong, then if fishing for proper lumps then they have to be strong!

If you have a question, drop us a line to and we’ll get it answered.

Only one picture this week, and that’s of my measly 50lb in Sundays match as I didn’t weigh in I got the bloke next door to take it for me!!

Have a good weekend all



Gardeners World – Pisa the action!

5th May 2017

Last weekend I went over to Italy for the annual Red Tetragon pairs match that is held on the River Arno just outside Pisa.

I’ve fished this event with Milo for a good few years now and it’s a fantastic weekend. 

Its held over three days and you and your partner draw and essentially fish next to each other.  It was on a different stretch this year though and the fishing wasn’t quite as prolific as previous years.

In previous years big catfish were the target fished for with lots of maggots, and lots of heavy groundbait.  This year though it was different, the catfish were smaller and were only caught in the first hour and a half.  After that you were looking to catch mullet as the catfish do a disappearing act. 

The matches are quite bizarre compared with UK fishing, it’s almost as if it turns into a baiting contest at times as the fish react to the noise.  You put a ball in, then your neighbour puts in two!  It follows a very strange pattern and due to the amount of feed you have to put in your always on the go feeding and running the rig through.

The rigs I had prepared were heavy, probably a bit too heavy on reflection as you needed to be a bit more finesse than the thick bristled rigs I had prepared.  Floats were based on two main patterns, flat floats for holding back and round ones for running it through.  Varying sizes from 2g – 15g with big hooks to match.

Our event wasn’t the best, due to the very tight pegging (14 paces between pegs) you really needed an end peg to do well which we never got.  Day one turned out to be the best one for us where we weighed 16kilo for 3rd in the section.  It gradually got worse as day 2 we had a similar weight but for 6th in the section, then day 3 we were 9th so overall we were well out of it sadly.

As usual though the weekend was superb, Italian hospitality, hotels and the atmosphere second to none.

Was a bit of a mad dash on the Monday though to get my flight back, the match finished at 3.30 and my flight was due to depart at 6 so it was a sprint to the airport. 

I had a bit of a plan as well to get changed out of my fishing clothes, buy a can of lynx in the duty free to get rid of the fish smell and all would be good!  Didn’t quite happen like that though and cut a long story short ended up getting on the flight in my gear! 

Oh well!

The pictures are all from the weekend so you can see the bait, banks and pegging and rigs that we were using.  Some of the pics I took, a few of the others are courtesy of Matteo from Fishingmania who’s video’s you may have seen on facebook last week.

When I got back to blighty, Thursday I was in hospital to have the cataracts done on one of my eyes.  In a bizarre twist of fate the doctor who was carrying out the procedure was only from the very town I had been staying in last weekend!

It’s a small world!

I am hoping to get out on the bank this weekend, but after my cataract op I’ve got an eye patch on for a day or so (no one eyed jokes please! Haha!)  So if I do could be dependant on how quick I can see again but I’m hoping to at least be at Willinghurst on Sunday.

Hope you all have a good weekend and catch you next week


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Gardeners World - Easter Weekender

21st April 2017

Hope you all had a good long bank holiday weekend, and got to spend some time on the bank.

I was at Moorhouse farm all weekend, started off with a two day mini festival on the Friday and Saturday.  There was 24 of us fishing over the two days, broken down to 3 sections of 8 with the overall done on a points basis.

So day one, and I drew peg 16, an end peg and I did fancy it a little bit.  Before I tell you about my match, I’d like to speak about plumbing up your peg which is ever so important at venues like this.  Here, every peg is different so you have to spend a bit of time searching around so you can get a map in your mind of the bottom of the lake and judge where is best to fish.

For my edge lines I like to look for about 2ft of depth, I’m not too worried about how close that is to the banks but do feel that this is the optimum depth where to catch.  The ideal scenario is where your edge lines to your left and right are the same, but those pegs are few and far between!

So I started off down the track on paste as it has been working quite well up to now.  I had a few quick fish on it, but it died a death pretty quickly which left me going on the edge lines sooner than anticipated.   I picked up a few fish there and over on the far bank, but it was really slow and I ended up weighing 62lb which was well down in the section and essentially the end of my chances on the event.  The match was won by Mark Goddard with 147lb and Adam Lee was second with 132lb

Day two though, I drew 35 and stuck to a similar plan as day one.  Started off in the middle and had a Crucian to show for my efforts!  Not a great start!

It wasn’t really happening again so I decided to try something different and set a line up just off the bank in about 3ft of water.  Whether they just switched on or whether they were sat there but I did get a good run of fish going and ended up with 114lb. 

Robbie Taylor won this match with 193lb and Mark Goddard was 2nd with 174lb.  Over the two days, Mark Goddard won it with two sections wins and just pipping Robbie Taylor or weight count.  Stuart Williamson was 3rd.

I was under order in Sunday so had a day off, but was back at Moorhouse again on the Monday for the open. 

Plumbing up, I found exactly the same depth to my left and to my right which is very rare here but was really pleased with.

I decided to fish it a bit differently and opted to have a go at meat and pellets down the edge.  I did start on the paste again, and got off to a flyer and put 4 fish in the net very quickly.

When I came in to have a look at the edge line, I won’t lie as it was solid on both sides.

I got into a really good rhythm, with feeding and catching and caught lovely big F1s all day long.

I ended up with a colossal 244lb which comfortably won the match and was a real red letter day that don’t come around very often!!

The win certainly made up for the disappointment of the two dayer there so am looking forward to the next visit!

That’s my little summary of the weekend, if your out this weekend then hope you all enjoy it and we’ll be back next week to let you know how I got on.

Tight Lines



Gardeners World – Willinghurst Tripple Header!

13th April 2017

This weeks blog comes from Willinghurst, as literally I’ve been there all over the weekend and on Wednesday.

It started on Friday, when Jimmy Bullard and myself took his son Archie and my Grandson Henry for a few hours as they have been asking to go fishing.

We had a nice day, started off catching some small Roach but they wanted to catch the big ones and not wanting to disappoint, we managed to get them to catch some Carp too.  It was a lovely day, and a joy to see the delight on their faces when they were proudly bringing fish in.

Jimmy unfortunately though forgot his sun cream and ended up a lovely shade of pink!!

So Saturday it was back there for the match and peg 22 in the back spit stuck to my mit again for the second time that week.  This time though the wind was blowing the other way from right to left, so I was hoping that would result in less hook ups in the tree.

The peg is a bit of a snag pit with roots, branches and all sorts under the surface and the bridge and pipe that the fish run too.

I started off on pellets on the pole and was into fish straight away, this day though they seemed bigger than I was catching last time and the bigger ones for some reason to plough through the snags.  In fact, everything went pretty well and not one hook was lost on fish or snags.  Cut a long story short, I fished pellets all over the peg, from the far bank, close in, down to the pipe and basically kept rotating.  Over on the far bank though I did fish with a 7mm big of meat with the hook buried into it would sit among the snags and not hook them.

I ended up with 132lb which was 2nd on the day, Adam Lee won the match with 155lb then Tom Arnott was 3rd with 129lb so fealt a lot happier than I did the last time I was sat on 22 a few days earlier!

Sunday match old and new lakes were in, I drew peg 3 on old lake which can be a very good waggler peg as its one of the widest on the lakes.

The fish were up in the water so I started on the pole, but I had the problem that due to the sun glare and ripple I couldn’t see any fish cruising.   Nor could I see a float or feed properly due to the wind so I was fishing blind which wasn’t ideal.  I did catch 3 fish on the deck before I came shallow but it was a lost cause as I foul hooked and lost two such was the conditions.  I went on the waggler then, but again had the same problem that I couldn’t feed due to the wind.  I was in a bit of a pickle really and spent a few hours wondering what to do, I did pick a few more fish on the deck, short and on the bomb but as we were approaching the last hour I wasn’t in the race.  I decided as one last throw of the dice to try a long line shallow rig and fire 8mms at it and to my amazement I caught one pretty quickly.  I thought to myself if I catch another one now I think I’ve been fishing the rest of the match wrong.  Sure enough I did, and not just that the last hour by doing this I put 12 good fish in the net, so it did look like I was fishing it wrong!  I weighed in 122lb which put me 2nd again for the 2nd day running!  This time Tom Arnott won the match with 142lb, who caught all his fish shallow just off the wind.  Phil Morris was 3rd with 118lb.

Another good day, but can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I had long lined shallow from the start.

Anyway Wednesday we were back there again with Top and Old lake in, you never guess where I drew….only peg 22 on the back spit again!!  3 times in 4 matches I’ve been on there!!!

Anyway, off we went and the wind had changed again back to left to right, which is what it was doing when I had the disaster on there last Wednesday!

The good thing was I knew what I was going to do straight away…. go and chop a branch down that my top kit was dangling from last week.  I did of course seek permission before doing so and it was funny to see the number of hooks and floats that were attached to this branch.

The plan was the same as the last two matches on there, pellets on the deck in the various swims that I would rotate around and meat tight over hopefully avoiding the under water snags.  Today didn’t start as well as Saturday, and apart from a 10lb lump first cast the fish were smaller.  I even started catching roach, so when that happened I started searching about again.  I did lose a few more fish today, but I think there was a few foul hookers and a few that run straight into snags that I didn’t stand a chance with. 

I did lose one fish right at the net, as the line snapped on the hook.  I thought to my self at the time, I hope that doesn’t cost me.

The match was spent rotating 5 lines, which I had to do to keep the fish coming in.

I weighed 142lb 2oz, which was a great weight on the day….BUT….that lost fish at the net did cost me as the match was won by John Cook with 142lb 12oz.

Second again for the third match on the trot, Gary Simmonds was third with 131lb.

As I was reflecting on the past three matches, it occurred to me!  This year when I was applying for my rod license mine had gone down to £20 as I realised that this year I was officially an OAP!  So it makes sense now, I pay less so I catch less!!!

This weeks question is from Gary Pritchard who asked:  Do you fish any other disciplines in the UK other than match fishing?

Hi Gary, I used to but don’t anymore.  Back in the days of the old close season I use to fish some trout matches very regularly from March to June and use to enjoy it.  I’ve also done a bit of sea fishing but never tried big carp fishing. 

One thing I did do once is fish a Pike match on a river, I was using dead gudgeon as bait and using a big old Topper float.  I actually went on to win the match with 2 pike for 15lb.  The first one was 11lb and had a very large bream half way down its throat.  I remember praying that he didn’t regurgitate it as it was at least worth an extra pound!!

Ray Mumford came 2nd and was mighty cheesed off as he had about 6 jacks for 11lb and I beat him with 2 fish!!

Anyway folks, have a great long easter weekend and catch plenty of fish!

See you next week


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Gardeners World - Always Learning

6th April 2017

Hello all, I know I’ve mentioned my diary in previous blogs as it provides me with such valuable information on venues.

I’ve kept it for around 10 years or more now recording pegs, dates, weather conditions, baits etc etc and its amazing when you read back through it at the patterns that venues and pegs show.

It is especially handy when, like we are now going through a change of season to reference methods that have worked or haven’t worked.

This year on Willinghurst however everything has gone against the grain, and i’m the first to admit that i’ve made some mistakes and probably not looked into things as much as I should have done.

This time of year it was all meat and pellet on the lead, then waggler later on if you could bring them up in the water a bit.  This year though, its just not working and out of the last 5 matches I’ve fished there I’ve drawn what I considered to be good pegs for the time of year and think i’ve tactically messed them up by not fishing pellets long on the deck.

On Sunday I drew 26 on top lake, which is a shallow peg in the back spit.  I started on the lead and had a few small Carp on it, but they weren’t really having it nor were they close in.

Jimmy was on 24 and was suffering the same until he changed over and went on the pole with pellets on the deck.

After trying to force the lines I was banking on not producing I followed suit and set a rig up for pellets on the deck long.  It was then that I thought I’d been missing a trick as I did start to catch on it pretty quickly and consistently.  It was to little to late for this match but it dawned on me then that this is a method I should have set up.

I weighed in 51lb which was no where, Jimmy fared better and had 114lb most of which were caught on pellet on the deck!

The match was won by John Radford with 141lb from Old lake, second was Mark Goddard with 137lb and Jimmy B was third with 114lb.

Wednesday I was back there eager to put the learnings into action and drew peg 22 which is a narrow peg by the bridge.  I decided before hand, to attack it by pellets on the pole on the deck!

I caught straight away right from the off, but the bites tailed off a bit.  I continued to ping pellets over the line, whilst I had a look about over the other areas of my peg.  I went down to the bridge for a look and had a few there, came close in and got pestered by roach!   The best bet was to rotate the lines, catch a few fish then move but carry on feeding all of the swims.

The long line close to a bush was the most productive, especially when the sun was on it, but with a bit of a wind it was hard going and I lost a few fish in the bush as well.

Disaster also struck when I struck at a bite, missed it but the rig ended up in the bush.  It gets worse……as I was shipping back, just before I could reach my top kit four sections of pole were flying across the lake like a javelin and also ended up in the bush!  

It was easy to get them back thankfully as I could just walk over the bridge and get them, but having me leaning over my swim retrieving my pole didn't do me any favours!!!

Disaster number 2 struck when I was playing a good fish close in and took my eye off it for a second to throw some pellets down my edge line.  The fish swam under my net and snapped me off!

It was certainly one of those days!

I ended up with 96lb which was 3rd, Mark Glynn won the match with 104lb and Pete Franklin was 2nd with 99lb so that lost fish definitely cost me 2nd place and maybe the match!

Still its lessons learnt though, and i’m looking forward to getting back there now I’m more confident on the methods that are working.

My only other match to report on was last Saturday at Moorhouse Farm, I drew peg 2 and admit to being disappointed with that draw.  Its a very narrow peg, only 7 sections wide so doesn’t give you a lot of options really.  I decided that it was going to be a paste attack, down the middle, over the back and close in to my left.

I started down the track and fed a few micros and bits of paste on the other lines, just to give them a little taster!  Strangely though I never had a bite down the track so I went long and dint have a bite there either.

Went down the edge and managed to catch one, but it was slow.  As the match went on I did pick up a few fish on the other lines but it wasn’t good and thought I was well out of it.

I heard a few of the other lads starting to talk, and realised that everywhere was fishing hard and I actually wasn’t too far off it after all!

It was a bit of a grueller of a match but I ended up with 6 Carp and 6 F1s for 52lb that surprisingly was enough for third.  It was ever so close though, Luke Gasson won it with 58lb, Adam Lee was 2nd with 53lb then me 3rd with 52lb.  One or two more fish and it could have won me the match.

Still thats fishing for you, we are always learning and thinking.

This weeks question comes from Dave Lewis via email, and quite appropriate for my current fishing at Willinghurst that I have just been talking about.  Dave asked “When your fishing pellets on the pole, how do you hook them”.  “Do you lasso, bait band or use expanders”

Well Dave, I do things a bit differently to most people and I’ve had a few people ask me why do I do it when a hair rig would be better.  But I use a bait band from Stonfo, that has two holes, one for the pellet and one for the hook to go through.  A lot of people may frown on it, but it works for me and I’m totally confident with it.  It means I can slide the band around the shank it I want to, and have it sitting a variety of positions without worrying that the hair has got wrapped around the hook.  I was also getting fed up with the normal bait bands snapping and wasting hooklenghts and them rotting in hook boxes.  So I tried these and they work a treat, they are also invisible in the water so the fish won’t see them and they also won’t get caught up in landing nets!

Another factor is that if I want to change bait to corn or punch of meat, I don't have to set up a different top kit or change a hook length every time to do so.

It works for me and I know where my pellet is sitting on the hook every drop in!!

If you have a question for next week email and I’ll do my best to answer it.

Have a good weekend on the bank, set to be a scorcher so good luck to you all.


The pictures are of the bridge and "that bush" at Willinghurst, then the other two are my left and right edge lines at Moorhouse Farm


Gardeners World - Good Samaritans 

29th March 2017

Saturday I was back at Moorhouse Farm for the open, I drew peg 14 which is a really good peg and was pleased to see in my hand.

I was unloading the van though, and thought something was missing with my kit as it didn’t seem right.  After a bit of head scratching and searching, I realised my Milo top kit case and all my top kits was still in the garage!

Oh dear!

The week before at Willinghurst i’d left my nets at home, so I must be losing it in my old age!!  This all stemmed from a few weeks ago when I woke up one morning and noticed my van door was open,  the van was empty at the time and it was probably me again but since then I stopped loading up the night before and instead do it in the morning when i’m still probably half asleep!

Luckily my friend and good samaritan Mark Goddard was on hand to save the day and lend me a few so we were fishing!

The peg is an end peg as the section past me is reserved for pleasure anglers.  There was a few guys there, but in fairness they were good as gold and you wouldn’t have known there were there.

I started on paste down the track, I fed the edge lines to my left and to my right with some micro’s as well.  I didn’t have a bite down the track, so had a look on the close in lines.  This wasn’t too good though as the first 4 fish I hooked were foul hooked resulting in losing two of them.

Plugged away at it though and they did settle down and I did start to catch well, I also went over the far bank for a look which resulted in some more fish.  It was a bit awkward as to find a flat spot I was fishing under the cormorant wires but I was getting fish.

In the later stages of the match my left hand edge line really kicked off as well and I caught some cracking fish on paste pretty consistently for the last hour or so.

I ended up weighing in 101lb which was enough to win the match quite comfortably, second place went to Dave Churchwood with 71lb and third was good samaritan Mark Goddard with 57lb.

A good end to a day when I very nearly didn't fish!

I didn’t fish on the Sunday as was Mothers day so I spent some time in the house!

Wednesday it was off to Willinghurst, and it wasn’t a very big turn out so we were all on top lake.  I drew peg 29 which is a narrow peg, it can be good but you need them to rock up down the edge to do any good.  

I started long and had a decent start with 2 carp in the first 15 mins, then a Bream before it died!

The rest of the day was a bit of a struggle, and despite my best efforts searching around I was just making up the numbers and weighed 61lb for no where!  

My top kit trouble struck again as striking into one fish my top kit got pulled off and disappeared in to the far bank undergrowth before I could pick up my bomb rod to cast to it!

Worst thing was it was one of mine….not one of Mark Goddard’s sadly!! Ha ha ha!

Adrian Westgate won the match from peg 1 in the Bombhole and caught most of his fish in the very spot where I couldn’t get a bite last week!  Typical eh!

Swifty was second wth 112lb and Mick Keeper 3rd with 108lb.

So that was my week!  This weeks question comes from Paul Stevens who asked “ What is the strangest thing you’ve caught or seen caught”?

A funny one that springs to mind was a match on Nutfield Priory when the old Dorking Treasurer Stuart Beresford was fishing the waggler and caught a pretty angry terrapin!!  

Someone must have released their former pet there and it took a fancy to Stu’s maggots!

Quite recently though at Moorhouse Farm, my mate Pete Turnbull was getting frustrated as he kept missing bites all the time.  When he finally did hook one, we realised it wasn’t fish he was getting bites off it was frogs!!!

I do a fair bit of fishing in Florida, and one of the “hazards” over there is catching huge turtles!  You can foul hook them and they can take the bait  but you dont want to get too close to those as they would give you one hell of a bite so they are all catch and release as quickly as possible!

Right I’m off to make a checklist on what I need to load my van with this weekend!

Have a good one



Gardeners World - Bomb holed out!

23rd March 2017

Hello all, just two matches for me in the past week as Saturday I had to go and get my eyes tested!

Sunday though I went to Willinghurst for the open match, I drew peg 24 on top lake which was quite happy with.  Its a funny peg as it can be really good when its fishing its nuts off and it can be really good when its rock hard.

I fancied a peg on old lake, but shows how wrong you can be as all the top weights came from top.

I did think it was going to be a tough day though as first drop in on pellet I instantly had a Roach, which is not a good sign when you need a decent weight to do any good.  I ended up having to fish a hard 10mm pellet just to escape the Roach.  I managed to get a few Carp on this, a few more on the bomb before I decided to go down the edge for a look.  I added another 6 fish from the edge line before the all out was called.

I weighed 72lb, which was nowhere in the match!  The match was won by Mick Keeper with 172lb, Mick had a howling wind smack in his chops all day and fished pellets close in to take the win.  in second spot was Jimmy Bullard who had 172lb of Carp mostly caught on meat on the lead.  Third was Phil Morris with 135lb, the winners are pictured below complete with Mick’s winners medal that they are now giving out!!

Well Wednesday I was back there and drew peg 1 in what as known as the bomb hole (see pics!).  I started on the bomb on 10mm pellets but didn’t have a sniff, not a liner nothing!  I had been feeding a few edge lines as well, so I had a little look and had one straight away.  The fish are funny in here, you dont have to wait for the last hour to go on them, as if they are going to be there they tend to be there for the day.  I had another 4 Carp on those line before nothing!  A baron 4 hours without a bite anywhere!

I even went for a little stretch of the legs it was that bad!

I came back to it though and had another go and in the closing stages had another 4 in the last 20 mins that gave me 40lb for nowhere again!

Today the match was won by Anthony Parker with 126lb, Mick Keeper had another day with the wind in his chops but this time was 2nd with 117lb!

So not the best of weeks this week, have caught some fish though and still enjoyed it but would have liked a few more!!

This weeks question comes from Richie Thomson who asked about paste fishing, Richie asks “ When you fish paste, do you feed anything or just let the paste draw them it”

Well this is more of a complicated question that you could be led to believe.  It varies to be honest on where I am fishing and what I am fishing for.  

As a overview though, yes I do feed pellets when I fish paste.  If its a venue such as Morehouse Farm where the target is F1s and smaller Carp close in, then I would tend to feed micros or 4mms but quite sparingly.  If there are not many silvers in the lake then I wouldn’t feed a great deal but just put a few micros or 4mms in my pole pot when i’m shipping the paste out.

This I think doesn’t lead to too many fish in the swim and the problem of foul hookers or ghost bites.

If however I was fishing longer on paste, in deeper water I would tend to pot in some 4mm or 6mm pellets in more of a bulk potting and sit over it as I think the risk of foul hooking is less.

Then if its a venue such as Willinghurst where there is a massive Roach population I would feed with a much more positive approach with groundbait or heavily potted in pellets to get the Roach shift out from there.

It is very much venue dependant, so have a think about your target fish, the depth and have a practise but I am of the opinion that I would definitely feed!

Any questions for next week then email 

Pictured are the winners from Saturday match, then my fish and the peg from the bomb hole!

Have a good weekend, its suppose to be a nice one so good luck!



Gardeners World - Copy and Paste!

16th March 2017

The weather was a lot milder last weekend thankfully and it looks as if spring has sprung in the South East of England.

Saturday and Sunday I went to Moorhouse Farm, and the weather got me thinking that a few fish would be hungry.

Saturday I drew peg 48 and decided to start down the track on paste.  I instantly caught three fish, all F1s but a really good start before the bites stopped as quick as they came.

I had planned other lines to the left and to the right hand sides, just a bit out from the banks in about 3ft of water, again on the paste.  This didn’t really work though, so I came in closer to the bank in the shallower water which did result in a couple more fish.  As time was getting on though I was falling a bit behind so was thinking on what to do for the best.  I decided to stick to the close line put put another joint on so went a bit further over.  Another couple of fish followed, before the bites dried up again.  So I put another joint on and went even further down the bank, that worked a treat.

I caught steadily then in the closing stages of the match, all good Carp too up to about 4lb.  

I ended up with 62lb which was enough for 2nd, Jamie Grainger won the match comfortably with 96lb and Pete Turnbull was third with 61lb.  

Interesting match though, so with that in mind I decided to come back the following day!

So Sunday dawned and at the draw I always like to have the last peg, today though there was two left at the end with me and Stuart the organiser left to draw.  I picked the two of them up, and one dropped to the floor.  So Stuart picked that one up and I had the one in my hand!  I ended up with 43, and Stuart had peg 4….both very good pegs!  Stuarts was an end peg so a slight advantage but I was more than happy with 43.  

Started as I did yesterday, down the track on paste and the same thing happened.  I had 3 quick F1s before the bites died just like yesterday!

So same thing again I came in short for a look on paste and meat, and had a few fish before I had to search around the swim again.

I also had a line long on maggots and tight to the bank on paste and was catching well on all lines.  The key was though to keep rotating and moving around in order to keep the bites coming, and never sit on a line waiting for them to come to you.

When I say I was fishing paste, I was fishing it with a lot more finesse that you would normally associate with paste.  I was using a 4x12 float on 0.12 hook length to a size 16 hook, and fishing a blob of paste around about the size of a 10mm pellet.

It was a lovely days fishing though and I weighed 122lb to come second again!  Ironically Stuart won the match off peg 4 with 126lb and Pete Turnbull was 3rd again with 101lb.  All in all though was a nice couple of days fishing.

Onto Wednesday and it was the last round of the Bury Hill midweek winter league.  Will Raison was winning the league and only needed to catch a fish in order to win it.

Unfortunately for Will he put his back out the day before so was unable to fish so Simon Willsmore stood in for him.

I drew peg 24 which is in the deeps down by the boat house area area, pretty happy but its an unpredictable peg and one best suited to the pole as your at an angle to the guy on 27 so dont have much of a feeder cast.

I set a feeder up along with a few pole lines, but had it planned out that the pole was going to be my main attack.  Most people started on the tip, but I didn't and opted instead to feed a golf ball size of groundbait on one line and another ball half that size on another.

I got off to a good start too as a skimmer about 1lb was soon in the next followed buy a propper bream about 3lb whilst a lot of people hadn’t caught on the tip.

One of the problems at Bury Hill is no matter what you do, it is really hard to hold a shoal in your peg as you catch a few fish then they drift off.  I fed negatively on the pole line, just potting in tiny balls of ground bait every put it and this seemed to work well as I managed to catch well throughout the day on maggot and expander pellets despite several quiet spells where they moved out.

I weighed in 56lb of Bream which was a lovely days fishing and also won the match!  Happy Days!

Steve Sanders was 2nd with 49lb and Tommy Hillier 3rd.

League wise Will won the league with 8 points, I ended up 2nd with 9 points, Terry Harrisons was 3rd with 12 points. Then 4th and 5th was tied between Tommy Hillier and Gary Simmons who both had 13 points.  Tommy getting the nod on weight count.

Great league again though and every match has been different and I’ve been lucky to enjoy a few brilliant nets of Bream.

So that was my week, and a very good one it was too and most enjoyable.

This weeks question comes from Russ Bennett via email who asked “Are you going to be entering any big money qualifiers this year like Fish o or Match This?”

My simple answer is no i’m not, I did a few Fish o Mania's many years ago but its not for me anymore.  Since I’ve stopped fishing for England and Dorking my desire to drive miles and miles round the country chasing big events has gone.   Make no bones about it though, my desire to fish and to win certainly hasn’t and I’m committed and as focused as I ever was.

Now though I want to fish where I want to fish and when I want to fish without needing to do 400 mile round trips and long weeks and weekends away from home.

I do really enjoy the big Italian events though that I do with Milo, they are great trips and matches to fish and ones I thoroughly enjoy. 

I still fish a variety of venues around here, naturals and commercials but more than anything its about enjoying it and I have to be honest and say doing that and fishing where and when I want to is absolutely brilliant.

To end this week, id just like to emphasise that to you all that getting enjoyment out of fishing is everything and the whole reason we should all go every week.  So where ever your fishing takes you this coming weekend, make sure you enjoy it!

If you have a question for next weeks blog then email or send us a direct message via the Fishing IT Facebook Page.


Gardeners World 

9th March 2017

Hello everyone hope your having a good week! I didn’t have a very good day yesterday (Wednesday), but more about that later!

Last weekend I went to Morehouse Farm on Saturday for the open match. I drew peg 50, that I was ok with and hopefull of catching a few as it can be a decent area. It’s a bit hit or miss, but with the weather starting to show signs of improving I was as ever optimistic that we would be ok.

I started down the edge, as do believe there is a few fishing milling around there from the off. My thoughts were wrong today though as I only had one tiny indication but no proper bites or fish in the first 15 mins. So next stop was down the track, but that again saw me biteless so I had to go long over to the far bank. 

I didn’t go tight over though as didn’t think they would be bank hugging so came back by about 3ft which gives me about 2 ½ foot of water. I had two fish instantly, but also foul hooked and lost a couple as well, which wasn’t ideal as the fish spooked and the line died up, and I didn’t have another bite on it.

Scratching my head and wondering what to do, I decided to set a paste rig up as had a feeling a smelly bait may work to draw a few fish in. So after making some of my special g paste, I went on it and with a bit of patience managed to put a few fish together.

I plugged away at this and ended up with 20 fish for 56lb 12oz which gave me third place on the day. Adam Lee won the match with 60lb 8oz and Richard James was 2nd with 60lb.

Sunday I was off to Passies and the last round of the individual silver fish league. I drew the peg next to the one I had a few weeks ago when I had one Roach fishing through the ice.

But today was a different day, ice free and a heck of a lot milder than it was on that day.
Most people start on the feeder, but I always start on the pole as believe by having that long pole line to myself for a while can pay off. I also don’t think by not going on the tip I’m losing out on any fish on it as you always catch the fish sat in front of you when you do go on it.

So I kicked off on the pole, rotating lines to my left and to my right whist the others were hurling method feeders to the horizon! I didn’t have a bite for the first 10mins though which was a bit unusual but I soon started catching small skimmers pretty regularly. Strangely though I could only catch fishing to my left, the swim on my right seemed to be baron!

After a while of catching them, I did rest the swim and picked up my tip rod and put a few method feeders out there towards the island that was in front of me.
Sure enough the tip was soon going round and a few Bream and further Skimmers ended up in the net. I started off at about 8m from the island but ended up going closer and closer to keep the bites coming.

Due to the wind, a lot of people didn’t set the long pole up today, so it meant I had it to myself all match.

Swim rotation is the key to 99% of all matches and I spent the remainder of the time, switching from the tip to the long pole line. I did have a edge line primed up for some big Perch as well, but this line was a non starter today and no bites were had on this line.

I ended up with 21lb that was 2nd in the section and 4th in the match, Marcus Page won it with 36lb followed by Jamie Grainger with 25lb, Pete Grouse third with 23lb then my 21lb.

As this was also the last round, the league was won by Jamie Grainger who has been very consistent throughout having 3 section wins and two 2nds. Charlie Lovell was 2nd and Paul Gibson 3rd.
My bad start has cost me dearly having had a blank and one Roach for last, but a massive well done to Jamie who has fished superbly well throughout the series.

After I had cleaned my kit up, I was off to Willinghurst Wednesday for a change and drew on new lake. Cut a long story short, it fished very hard and I only caught 3 small fish for my efforts.
This was no where in the section, lake or the match with only 32lb winning the lake. A difficult day, but there we are we all have them!!

This weeks question came in from Keith Best via Facebook who asked me what groundbait mix would I use for Bream on venues such as Bury Hill and places like that.

Well I’ve been experimenting a lot this year with Bream Groundbait since I became a Bait-Tech angler. I used to use swimstim, but this year have been using a few different ones until I got it right. I’m a big fan of using fishmeal groundbaits for bream rather than the sweeter types. I have had some great days on the likes of Pro Natural Bream that is a biscuit based sweet mix, but keep coming back to fishmeal! 

The mix I’ve been using recently is Bait-Tech Karma mixed with the new Special G Dark, and found that is perfect for me and most definitely works at Bury Hill. Karma is billed as a method mix, but I have complete confidence in using it in cage, method feeders, and the pole line mixed right. I also like to add some micro’s to the mix as well and I feel by doing that you stand more of a chance of holding them in the swim.

What I would say though, is everywhere is different due to depths, contours, and what anglers are chucking in. I would pick a base mix like I did with Karma, then add your own touch to it on what you feel is right for the venue that you are fishing. My reason for having confidence in a fishmeal base is due to the amount of pellets that is used in the venues where I go, so fish now naturally associate that with food.

I don’t see a benefit in using a sweet mix when carpets of fishmeal are being laid every week. Then on the flip side, venues that don’t see a lot of pellets used would respond better to a sweeter attractant.

Hope that helps a little in you selection, but don’t be scared to try a few things there is no real right or wrong and you may stumble across a real winning combination that you will get fully confident with.
…..if you do just send us a message and let us know…we promise we won’t tell!!

If you have a question for next weeks blog then email or send us a direct message on Facebook 

The pictures are of my fish from Morehouse Farm and my edge line, then the peg and fish at Passies.

Hope you all have a good weekend, and enjoy!



Gardeners World - Tree Trouble

1st March 2017

Hi all, not an awful lot to report on fishing wise this week as I’ve only been on the bank once since the last blog.

That was Wednesday when I fished the penultimate round of the Bury Hill midweek winter league that I run.

More about that in a bit, but last weekend I travelled to Italy with Andy Neal for an Italian Fishing Exhibition to go on the Milo stand.

It was a really good show, and was great catching up with all my Italian friends and getting the chance to see some of Milo’s new kit that they are going to be bringing out.

One rod that caught my eye was a new Superba 9ft Bomb rod, I had already had a sneaky look at it the last time I was over but couldn't put it down all weekend it was that nice!

Keep your eye out for it when its launched in the UK as it is some bit of kit!

One thing did amaze me at this show though was how popular lure fishing is getting out there. Almost to the point of the American style with all the jazzy shirts full of logos, bright lures and shines kit etc! Its mainly for Rainbow trout that those guys fish for but its massive now over there.

I got back from Italy Monday night, so Wednesday it was back to Bury Hill for the league match.

Peg 6 stuck to my mit this week, which is ok. It has been throwing up some fish on the pole line lately so I was ok with heading for that one.

I started off on the feeder though, putting 3 quick casts out at 40 turns so get some groundbait down, but it didnt produce any bites or liners so I gave it the big one then and went longer.

This didn't produce anything either, so I came back for a chuck on the 40 turn line to see if anything had moved in.

All of a sudden I had a really violent drop back bite, and struck into a load of slack line. So I started winding in thinking id missed it, until I caught up with my feeder that was being towed very very quickly by something heading to my left.

As the line eventually tightened up I realised it was probably one of the lakes big Tench which by this time was heading for a tree to my left. There was very little I could do as the Tench went straight into the tree snagging me right up, before giving a little jump and shedding the hook. A great start!!

After this disaster I went on the pole line that I had primed up by feeding positively with three decent balls of groundbait and some dead reds. Straight away I was catching small skimmers around 6oz which was good, as the pole lines tend to get better as the day goes on.

Cut a long story short, I spent about 2/3 of the day on the pole line but wasted 1/3 of it on the tip as all I caught on the feeder was one 1lb Skimmer. As the day went on the pole line did get better and better with some bigger fish ending up in the net. Its definitely paid off to fish positive on the pole lines lately, something which we are not really use to on here, and every match has been different too.

I weighed in 25lb which won the section and was 3rd in the match. Marcus Page won the match with 33lb from peg 34, Tommy Hillier was 2nd with 30lb then me.

League wise now, Will Raison is winning it by a mile and only needs to catch a fish in the last round to be un catchable!

Including droppers (as you drop your worst) Will has 5 Points, Gary Simmons is 2nd with 7 points, then its me with 8 points and Brian Nesbit on 9 points. So the final round could be interesting as far as 2nd to 4th goes!

So that was my one and only match to report, this weeks question comes from Jemma Phillips who asked “Whats the most bizarre tactics you’ve had to resort to in a match, when its gone wrong or there was a problem like boats in peg, kit / bait problems etc”

Well Jemma, there are two instances that spring to mind on this. The first one was when I was fishing a national on the Ouse / Cam and was really struggling to get a bite. I’d fed a line really close in for Perch literally off the keep net it was that close. I’d fished the pole on it but hadn’t had a bite when all of a sudden a load of bubbles came up literally by my feet. 

Not a touch on the pole over it so I decided to drop my bomb down there with a bit of worm on to see what was down there. I was dropping this lead closer than off the rod top, and much to the amazement of myself and the chap next door I caught 5lb of Perch by doing it and also had a pike or zander bite me off! That gave me mega points on the day as it was a tough one! The guy next doors face was a picture though watching me drop a bomb so close in and catch! Really bizarre though why I couldn’t catch on the pole!

Another one that sticks in my mind was a match on the River Mole. This river is tiny, I mean its more like a brook that a river really and I must have drawn the narrowest shallowest peg on the stretch. I actually set up on a gravel island in the river and didnt have a lot of hope as the river was about 2ft deep and gin clear. We started fishing and after a couple of hours all I had to show was a few tiny (and I mean tiny) dace. Next thing I know I could hear this “chug chug chug” noise coming from down stream and looked down, and couldn’t believe what I saw!! 

A bloke was trying to get his clapped out old boat up the river. The old diesel engine couldn’t cope with the flow so he then try to row up, but because its that narrow the ores were to long. I still can’t believe what happened next! He jumped out into the river and proceeded to push his boat upstream walking right though my peg, that was only a few ft wide anyway!

I couldn’t believe it, and thought thats really blown it now so went for a walk for half an hour. I came back after the old boy had got his boat up into a bit deeper water and thought i’d better have another go. Anyway this old chap had put a lovely colour into the water and I went on to catch a chub and a pile of dace to win the match!!!

Its the only boat i’ve ever seen on that river and likely to see in that river in my life!

Anyway hope you all have a great weekend, any more questions email us on or send a direct message through the Fishing IT Facebook Page

Tight Lines



Gardeners World - Has Spring Sprung?

23rd February 2017

Hello all, well Saturday it was back to Morehouse Farm for the open.  I drew peg 34 which is a peg that hadn’t been used for a while and one I had never drawn before.  Its quite a narrow peg so my options were a bit limited, but I know it has thrown up the odd winter weight so you never know.

As it was a bit milder I kicked off fishing close in as believe it or not, I have found you can catch the odd fish there right from the off.  Today though I didn’t, so then I went down the track and still nothing! 

Next port of call was the far bank, where I had three Carp one after the other and then nothing again!

After searching about a bit, I decided to concentrate my efforts on the inside line.  Managed another three fish down there, two Carp and a skimmer before the all out went and I weighed 28lb.

The match was won by John Money with a superb 89lb, second was Mark Smith with 56lb and third was Don Garnish with 53lb.

Sunday it was on to Passies for the winter league, I drew peg 20 which is quite a good draw and one of the fancied areas there.  I had an Island in front and plenty of room to work with, so I fancied it a bit to be fair.  I kicked off on the pole line and had a skimmer straight away, it wasn’t a big one though and noticed that the anglers that had started on the tip had all landed bigger Bream.  After a few more small skimmers, I picked up the tip rod and slung it out.  This did result in a decent Bream straight away as well, followed shortly by another one and then a skimmer before it quietened down.

This peg is noted for a few big Perch, so going down the same route as last time I potted in some casters close in and went looking for them!

It’s really weird as mentioned before the bites you get are really slow, you get a little dink then the float goes slowly under.  I managed two good perch by doing this, but also lost two frustratingly.

Inbetween fishing this line, I was also going out on the pole and feeder lines where I caught well but also managed to let a good Bream go back as I was playing it on the tip.

I ended up with 29lb which was 3rd in the match, Simon Ellis won it with 34lb, 2nd was Jack Valling with 32lb.   I was a bit disappointed with myself to be honest as the 3 lost fish cost me the match, but not only that I think I should have just concentrated on the tip and short line and left the pole alone.  

But thats fishing, we live and never stop learning!

Wednesday we were back at Bury Hill, 23 was fishing and the areas before where the weights came off this week didnt show!  Cut a long story short I weighed in 25lb of Bream caught on the pole and feeder which was 2nd in my 8 peg section.

The match was won by Tommy Hillier with 37lb, Don Garnish was 2nd with 36lb.

I fed my pole line quite negatively, but think it wasn’t the right thing to do again as they anglers who had balled a bit in and waited for the fish to come over it did far better late on in the match.

So that was my week!

This weeks question came in on email from Adam Phillips who asked:  What is your most memorable bag of fish?

Well this was a real tough one to answer, and had me scratching the head a bit.  

The press made a lot out of a 43lb bag of Roach I caught from the Nene in a Angling Times Semi Final, which was a fantastic day and one of the memorable ones.

One that really sticks in my mind though was the World Championships at Holme Pierpoint in Nottingham.  The venue was fishing extremely hard, and a few hours into the match quite a lot of the field were blanking.  

Octoplus had donated all of us platforms for this match as the banks were so shallow, so we were sat out like on oil rigs!  Anyway Dick Clegg came up to me and was asking if I’d caught, and I hadn’t at that time.  

There was a big crowd sat behind me too as it was on our own soil and no sooner had Dick asked, then my float went under!  I struck and had a fish on, the crowd were instantly silenced and you could literally hear a pin drop as I slowly played this 4oz Perch.  I have never played a 4oz Perch as carefully in my life and when it went in the landing net a huge roar went up from the crowd behind me.  Dick just smiled at me and said “Now turn round Steve and give them a wave”.  Which I did of course!

Next drop in I had another bite and missed it!! 

That Perch however contributed immensely to England winning, as there was 14 blanks to my left and 5 to my right and put me 4th in the 25 peg section with only 5 of us catching a fish.

Not the biggest bag, but certainly the most memorable and always reminds me how crucial some fish could be.  Alan Scothorne, Callum Dicks have themselves recently caught just one fish in big events, but again enough to secure crucial points.

Have a good weekend all, I am off to Italy this weekend for a tradeshow with Milo so next weeks blog will only have one day on the bank.  

Im sure there maybe a few stories from Italy to tell though!



Gardeners World - Still grim down south!

16th February 2017

Hello again, well Saturday I went back to Morehouse Farm for the open match.

It was another really grim day, freezing cold and it was a struggle for most of the brave anglers that braved the arctic conditions.
I was of those who struggled and despite my best efforts only managed a couple of F1s to show for the shivers.

The match was tied with Big Sam and Robbie Taylor both weighing in 30lb 4oz to split the shares.

I didn’t go on Sunday as it took a good 24hours for me to warm up again after Saturday, so a day in the house was justified and did a bit of tweaking for Bury Hill League on Wednesday.

So Wednesday came and it was the fourth round of the league that I run on Old Bury Hill Lake. Mixed fortunes is probably the best way to describe my league so far, and top spot was already running away with Will Raison well clear of the rest of us.

Anyway I drew peg 27, which is a funny peg right by the boathouse. It’s on an awkward corner which doesn’t give a very big cast of about 30 turns maximum so I was hoping for a few fish on the pole.
I fished the cage feeder with corn and maggots, for a couple of skimmers but it never really got going. The pole line that I was edging my bets on also failed to produce many fish at all so it was a struggle again.

I was alternating between the two and picking up odd fish, but nothing of any real size or quantities. That was until my tip rod arched round like a big carp had got hold of it. I picked the rod up and it was a pretty solid weight, before it gave me a right old scrap. I didn’t have a Scooby Do what I was attached to, but it wasn’t coming in without a fight.

Had a bit of a shock when it popped up, it turned out to be a whopping hybrid of well over 3lb! Beautiful fish that give me the right run around.

I ended up weighing 13lb 4oz that put me third in the section. Brian Nesbit won the match with a great 65lb, Terry Harrison was second with 30lb 10oz and Ian Chatfield third with 27lb 8oz. Will was 2nd in his section so extended his lead a tad!

I’ve included the weigh and league sheets this week so you can see how it is panning out!

This weeks question came in via email and he asked: You mention in your blogs last year that you use Special G Gold as a paste. How do you go about using it and mixing it?

Well I’ve been using the Special G Gold Groundbait from Bait-Tech as a paste for quite a while now and have complete confidence with it using it literally straight out of the bag. 

To mix it I add what I think I will need for a session into a 3 pint bait box then add the water in slowly constantly stirring it until it almost forms a thick soup like texture. It’s a bit trial and error to get the consistency that you want, but I like to use it very wet and almost like a slop. After mixing it to that consistency I leave it set for half hour or so whilst I am setting up as it does stiffen up as al the particle absorb the water.
I’m not an expert in Groundbait production but there is something in this mix that makes it very sticky and even when it’s very wet will cling to the hook well and omit loads of fishmeal scents to draw the fish in.

Fishing wise, I cup it in as like I said above I do like to use it on the wet side and like to feed micros with it. As for paste rigs, I know a lot of anglers don’t use shot on the line and just use the weight of the paste to cock the float. I do though, I like to use the float shotted as I don’t want any buoyancy of the float pulling the hook out of the paste. If your using a more stiffer mix then you can go down that route, but with a wetter paste the float can and does pull the hook out of it. I tend to use a size 16 hook as well so there is not a lot of weight to that either and can easily pull through.

I’ve a lot of success using it like for F1s and big Carp this so give it a try…after the weather we have had lately I can wait for the summer to come so I can get back on it!!


Gardeners World - Never to old to learn!

9th February 2017

Saturday as usual I went to Moorhouse Farm, I got there a little early so decided to have a little walk around the lake and see what was happening.

Bumped into Jamie Grainger on the way around, who didn’t look very happy!  Poor Jamie has stood on peg 10 and the platform had given way so he ended up in the lake up to his waist!

As we squelched back round to the carpark, I remembered I had a pair of pink socks in the van so did the decent thing and offered them to him so at least his feet were dry!

Anyway, come the draw guess what peg I drew….peg 10!  Yep the one with the now broken platform and that Jamie had been wading in!

They did say though I could go on 9 because of that, so that’s exactly what I did.

I had planned to fish negative, but when the whistle went the peg was full of small fish with tiny Roach and Perch being caught every drop in.  I think I had a bite every drop in for the entire day and must have had more bites today than I have had the entire time I have fished this place!  I stepped the feeding up, to try and draw some Carp into to the peg but to no avail.  I just couldn’t get through these small fish for love nor money!

I ended up with 22lb of them which was about 5th I think, Stuart “Dilly” won the match with 36lb, but it was a difficult day not being able to get through the massive shoal of tiny fish.

Sunday I was back to Passies for the third round of the winter league, last time here I managed one Roach at 3pm so was certainly hoping for a better day today!

I drew peg 5 which was pretty happy with as it can produce some skimmers and generally it’s a pretty good area.  I know this lake pretty well so knew what my attack was going to be, my plans consisted of a long pole line, casters close in for perch and the feeder.

I kicked off on the long pole line as knew that if there was any Skimmers about, they would be caught pretty quickly on this line.  This proved right as I soon had a 1lb Skimmer, followed by a 2lb Skimmer then a bit of a lull before a few Roach and then a 3lb Skimmer found its way into the net.  This line doesn’t usually last though and true to form the swim then died.

So I picked up the feeder and hurled that out, hopeing for a few more, but strangely failed to get even a bite on the tip.

It was time for plan “P” and I came on the pole again short looking for some of the big perch that I know live here.

I fish for these on Caster, feeding quite generously for the winter  and then fishing a pale caster on the size 16 black Gamma hook which is set at a touch over depth.. and you wait!

The bites from the perch are really slow, you normally get a little dink, followed by the float going under really slowly.   This worked a treat, and it wasn’t long before I had 3 big perch in the net, all of which were touching 2lb.  The 4th bite I had though I bumped so was gutted at that and had to wait a while then for my next bite.  The next bite did come though and it turned out to be the biggest one of the day and must have gone 3lb at least. 

I ended up weighing 20lb 6oz which was enough to win the match, so was really pleased with that as it was also a lovely days fishing for those Perch.

Wet foot Jamie Grainger was 2nd with 18lb and Paul Gibson 3rd with 16lb.

So onto Wednesday, and we were back at old bury hill lake.  Not for a league match though, just for an open that we had arranged.

We pegged the same area as last week, but with only 18 fishing there was a bit more room.

Cut a long story short, Will Raison won the match with 63lb from the peg next to where I was last week fishing worm and corn on the feeder.  Tommy Hiller was 2nd with 47lb who caught on an orange wafter fishing the method at 60 turns “close in” and another line at 95 turns!

Ray Tingly was third with 38lb that was caught on the pole.

For me, I had a day where I fed too negatively on the pole.  I should have upped the feed on the pole line and let it settle then come on it late on, but I was too cautious and got it wrong.  Just goes to show that you never stop learning and had I fed more positively I’m now sure that I would have added to the 22lb I caught on the tip.

Next week its Morehouse Saturday and Sunday then Old Bury Hill for the league match on the Wednesday.  I’ll be giving that some serious though between now and then on my feeding!

This week’s question is from Mike Conway via Facebook who has asked: I’ve entered five Evesham qualifiers this year, how would you prepare yourself for such events.

Hi Mike, well Evesham is a funny place to fish and to do well at a venue like that is to practise and gain as much knowledge as you possibly can.  There is no easy way to do this as it can change so much, literally overnight depending on conditions.  Before you go to your first one, make sure you are prepared for all eventualities as you could draw a peg that is a waggler peg, hemp Roach peg, Barbel peg or even a Bream area!   Study previous  match results off the Hampton Ferry Website as they will give you a good idea on the what to expect from the different areas.  Ask some of the regulars there their thoughts on how the river is fishing closer to the time as well, most I’m sure will only be too happy to give you pointers.

Also don’t be afraid to ask people when you draw what the peg is like, as if it’s a bream area you need to know rather than waste your time fishing other methods that won’t work.

On a river like Evesham though, experience is everything.  If you don’t do well on the first couple then don’t give up!  Have a walk along with the scales after the match and see what and how people have been catching so you are more prepared for the next one.

In advance of the matches have a look through some old magazines, as the good thing about Evesham being so popular is that a lot of features have been done on the venue which will be a good starting point for preparing rigs, terminal tackle and bait.

If you can get the chance, the very best thing to do is either get up there for a practise or even go and watch a match, and walk the banks to see how the best anglers up there fish it.  Sometimes you can get a lot more by doing that than actually fishing.  As long as you keep your presence subtle and quiet without sky lining, most will be pretty obliging I’d imagine.

Like I say though, if you don’t do well the first few, keep at it as the more time you can spend on it the better you will become.

Enjoy it and I wish you the very best of luck


If you have a question for Steve, please email it to 


Gardeners World – Zero to Hero!

2nd February 2017

Yesterday morning when I was pegging out at Old Bury Hill, I was praying for a good day so I would have something to write about as the weekend was shall we say less than fruitful.

Saturday I went to Morehouse Farm and had one bite and err no fish… a blanket blank!

Sunday I went back to Morehouse Farm and had two bites!  One F1 and one foul hooked Carp for nowhere!

It was very difficult fishing, with both days the matches won with around the 20lb mark.

So as you can imagine, I was hoping for a few bites on the Old Bury Hill league match that took place yesterday (Wednesday).

I drew next to where I was last week, but this time the lake wasn’t frozen so we could fish the feeder so it would be a different match.

I started in the middle of the lake on a small feeder, I gave it two casts out and waited a while but didn’t have a bite so came in on the pole line for a look.  Again I didn’t have a bite, so next up was big bertha and I gave it the big one and cast to the island to see if that would change my fortunes.

I was secretly hoping that this would be the best line as the Carpers tend to spod a lot over to the island and is a hotbed for all fish to home in on the particles that get landed there.

It did and pretty quickly I had 6 bream in the net, so  the signs were looking good.   Bites tailed off though and so not to keep plug a dead swim, I came back for another look on the pole line to give the long line a rest.

Surprisingly back on the pole line I had another bream, then a few casts to the middle resulted in another 2 ! 

For the rest of the match I rotated my lines between the pole, middle of the lake on the feeder and casting to the island on the tip to land 20 fish for 63lb.

All of these fell to sweetcorn over Bait-Tech Special G Gold, on the feeder I had it hair rigged as think it offers a better presentation and positive bites in the clear water.

My 63lb was enough to win the match, which I was delighted with.   Not just for the win,  but to have such a nice days fishing after my recent run of bad results!

The results were:

1st Steve Gardener 63lb

2nd Gary Simmonds 35lb (caught on the method)

3rd Don Garnish 33lb 8oz

4th Pete Turnbull 33lb 4oz

Will Raison is winning the league by a country mile at the moment with 3 section wins out of 3 so 3 points.  Ian Dixon is second with 7 points and Terry Harrison and Tommy Hillier joint third with 10 points.

This week is the first of “Ask Steve” where your welcome to ask me any question you would like (within reason!).  Whether it’s a particular tactical question, or a general one about fishing or my career in the sport.

We’ll kick it off with a question that got sent in by Andy Bickley from Stoke.

Andy has asked:  Most feeder rods these days come supplied with 1oz, 2oz and 3 oz tips, how would you go about selecting the right tip for the day?

Well Andy, starting with the lightest tip I would only really use a 1oz tip on a still water where your fishing a light feeder and looking to catch small roach and skimmers where you need so see the most delicate of bites.  Then the 2oz tip is what I use the most of and would use this tip for most mid range commercial work or bit of a longer chuck on a natural venue where you need a bit more backbone to punch the feeder out.  Finally the 3 oz tip would be pretty much exclusive for rivers where the is a strong tow and heavy leads.

The general rule of thumb though would be dependent on the tow of the venue that you are fishing, the weight of feeder you are going to be casting out and the fish that you are targeting.  For instance on a commercial generally the fish will pull the rod round so you don’t need to worry about looking for shy bites.  In retrospect, if you were fishing a natural water in the winter looking to pick off small roach on a light set up then I’d put the 1oz tip on. 

Hope that helps!  

If you have a question for one of the future blogs, please get in touch by emailing or sending us a direct message via social media.


Gardeners World - 2 inches Thick!!

25th January 2017

Well the roller coaster of winter fishing continues, with another mixed set of results for me.

Saturday I fished the open at Morehouse Farm, that was still frozen solid.  I didn’t think I drew particularly well as its not an area that has produced of late, but optimistic as ever the gear was dropped on the peg and the routine of ice breaking began again.  Being a canal type lake, I dont like to break it right over to the far bank but just over 3/4 of the way over.  The ice was at least 2inches thick, so it was a pretty daunting job first lobbing the weight over to crack it, and then the clearing job.

You will be able to see from the photo’s below how thick it actually was and how much needed to be broken in order to fish.  

When we did start fishing, I was very surprised to catch a F1 in the first 10 minutes of the match!  The only one to get a fish for a good while too, until a few did start catching.  I was feeding very little (apart from the birds) just dripping a few micros and couple of maggots in now and again but just working the rig in my neatly cut out ice hole.

With a lot of patience I managed to catch 2 carp an another 3 F1s to weigh 18lb, that was enough to win the match!  

As luck would have it, I was also sat on the golden peg so it was a double delight for me!! Second was Terry Harrison with 11lb and third was Don Garnish with 10lb.  

Sunday I was back at Passies for the 2nd round of the winter league.  Having finished 6th out of 8 peg sections, I was hoping for a better one and claw some point back.

The ice breakers were out yet again, and it was another very hard day at the office.  I had one bite at 3o’clock, which was a small Roach and finished 6th of of 8 again as there were 2 blanks in my section.  The match was won with 16lb, Charlie who I wrote about last time was second with 13lb off the very same peg he drew last time!  This time though he had to fish the pole and not the method due to the ice.

So there we have it, winners enclosure saturday and an also ran on Sunday!  But like I said before, thats just winter fishing!  There is just little pockets of fish about that are willing to feed, if your lucky and drop on a few you’ll have a few bites.  But if not then it can be a long old day!

Have a good weekend, hopefully it will be a little bit milder for us!



Gardeners World - Frozen!

More freezing weather has hit the fishing hard round our way last week, we’ve had to deal with frozen lakes, ice and snow and that was just on the milder days too!   All in all its been really tough going for everyone.
Last Saturday and Sunday I went to Morehouse Farm and it was the same story on both days so i’ll summarise them as pair.  
The fish have literally shut down and are not feeding, and just holed up pretty dormant not interested in feeding what so ever.  Both days have been head scratchers with nothing really to go at or the chance of building a swim.  If you were really lucky you would have drawn on a pod of F1s and manage to hook a few, but if you didn’t then you were in trouble.

The Carp were there, and we all knew that they were there by the amount of liners and foul hookers we were getting.  You could drop your rig in and the float would shoot straight under, but striking to nothing as it was all liners.  I must have had around 50 instances where the float has buried, and only twice I’ve connected with a fish.
I dont think anyone caught a Carp that was hooked in the mouth, the only few proper bites were from F1s.
On the Saturday the match was won with 34lb which was F1s and a few foul hooked Carp, I weighed 25lb for 3rd having found a few F1s dobbing corn skins and maggots down the middle.  On the Sunday the match was won with 26lb and hardly anyone caught. There were quite a few Morehouse regulars taking early baths put it that way!!

Wednesday I was was back at Old Bury Hill Lake for the 2nd round of the midweek winter league that I run on there.  Will Raison had fished it on the Monday practising his feeder fishing at distance and it had a lovely colour to it and he had a right good winters day…. but when we got there on Wednesday the lake was frozen!!
Feeder fishing was out of the window so, we all agreed to break the ice and fish it as a pole only match.

Just over half way through the match, lets just say the signs were not very good!  The only person to have caught a fish was Will who had 2 tiny Perch.  As the afternoon went on though and the temps went up a little a few fish were starting to be caught.  There was a rumour that someone had a Ruffe, followed by the news that someone else had just landed a Bream! 

Will went on to land 3 Bream for 7lb 12oz and win the match easily!  Second was Terry Harrison with 1 Bream for 3lb 9oz, Third was John Bradford with 1 Bream for 3lb 8oz and 4th Ian Dixon with 1 Bream for 3lb 5oz!!  One section was actually won with 1 small Roach!
As for yours truly, I never had a bite all day!  I sat there for 5 hours staring at my float and not once did it go under!  Did have a bit of a excitement when the float seemed to move quite quickly sidewards, but realised shortly afterwards it must have been from a bit of water movement from a Pike or Zander!

So it was a blankety blank cheque book and pen for Stevie!

We got another one on there in a fortnight, I can envisage many sleepless nights of excitement in the build up!!

This coming weekend I am back at Morehouse Saturday, then got the next round of the Passies league on Sunday

Who knows what the weekend will bring!

If your venturing out, then wrap up but enjoy yourselves!


The first two photo's below are of Morehouse Farm and the third and fourth Old Bury Hill


Gardeners World - Fish or Bust....Feast or Famine Part 2!

Fishing is unpredictable at this time of year, one week you can be the hero and getting your elastic pulled the next have neck ache from watching next door net fish after fish.  There’s nothing you can do about it, and although frustrating thats winter fishing for you.

Last Saturday I went to Morehouse Farm and drew peg 38, which I was ok with as knew it had a bit of form.  But knowing this lake so well, I also knew that it is predictably un predictable especially this time of year.  I started of on 6 sections, which is down the middle as didnt want to go tight over if I could help it.  Plan was maggots and micro’s, lifting and dropping to try and entice bites.  The match kicked off and I was concerned as a few hours in it was quiet!  Dave next door had a few early skimmers for about 14lb compared to my couple of F1s for 7lb.  Dave’s match ended there though and he really struggled the rest of the match as it was evident the shoal had moved out of the area.  I put some more sections on and really searched around my peg looking for some indications to see if there was a ball of fish holed up there.  By feeding nothing and just searching about lifting and dropping, I did manage to find a few fish and put a few decent F1s and Carp in the net for 28lb.  This was enough for 3rd on the day that pleasantly surprised me after such a slow start.  Just goes to show that you really have to work at the swim and search every area of water, as you could be missing out if you don’t.  Match was won by Mark Goddard with 48lb, 2nd was Stuart Williams with 38lb. 

Sunday I went to Passies, this was the first round of the winter league so was hoping to kick it off with a good start.  I drew peg 23 that was 2nd to end peg down one of the arms of the lake.  Had good company with Charlie Lovell on my right and Paul Gibson on my left.  I started on the pole, but noticed Charlie and a few others went out on the method feeder.  I was quick off the mark with a few small blade skimmers but it wasn’t really happening.  Charlie however started catching proper Skimmers on the tip and his swim was getting stronger and stronger.  This is the neck ache match I mentioned above as he was really catching well along with Samantha Sim on the other bank, again on the method feeder.  I put the pole down and picked my rod up hoping to put some fish in the net but this again proved fruitless as the others in my section continued to catch well.  Cut a long story short, I ended up with a measly 6lb, Paul to my right had plugged away for 9lb on the pole, and Charlie tipped a superb 32lb on the scales only to be beaten by Sam Sim with 33lb.  Disappointing start for yours truly, but thats fishing for you!

Onwards and upwards though, with a cold week in store for us we’ll see what next week brings!

Until then, enjoy your Fishing



New Year, Same Me!  

Happy new year to you, I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year and looking forward to a bit of January fishing!

Been a while since I last blogged, mainly due to being away on my hols in December and then Christmas and New Year.  But its back to business as usual now, as far as the fishing goes anyway!

So as I mentioned above, I have been away on my holidays for the first part of the month in Antigua.  The holiday was spent with the wife and friends so it wasn't all about fishing, but I did manage to wet a line or two.

We spent some time on a small boat trolling over a number of Reefs and had some great sport catching Wahoo, Snappers, Jacks and even a few small Tuna.  It really is great sport, as we use relatively light gear and the rods are held at all times so you feel the bang as the fish smashes the lures!

Great holiday was had, but must admit it was a bit of a culture shock coming back to frozen lakes!

My last match of the year was at Moorhouse Farm for the New Years Eve Rover.  I drew and decided to put my gear on peg 36.  It hasn't shown too much form, but I remembered that this time last year it did throw up a few good weights so gave it a go.  The match was an interesting, but difficult one.  I was fishing maggots over loose fed maggots and micros.  Lifting and dropping the rig through the columns in the process.  The fish were playing silly though and I had to constantly move around the peg looking for them.  Ended up weighing 48lb which was enough for 2nd place with 60lb winning the match.  Even the native Guinea pigs on the island were impressed with one in habitant sat there for over two hours watch me...I kid you not!

New years bank holiday Monday I was back there again, this time for a pegged open that was really well attended.  I drew peg 50, which was a bit under water but looked full of fish.  It was full of fish as well, and by using the same method as I did on New Years Eve had a great days fishing.  Again they weren't easy to catch, as were being spooked when I was hooking fish.  But by being constantly on the move and rotating lines I kept the fish coming through the match to weigh 94lb and to take the win.  Second was Terry Harrison with 63lb and third was Mark Goddard with 54lb.

Wednesday then I co run a small widweek winter league on Bury Hill Lake, great standard of angler fishes it with the likes of Will Raison, Mark Goddard, Ian Dixon to name but a few.  This is a big old lake that is pretty much out and out feeder fishing for Bream this time of year.

Different anglers fish it differently with some fishing a method feeder, others opting for the rocket style and some who had a smaller chuck using a traditional cage.

Two hours into the match though I was worried, as hadn't had a bite nor a fish.  Will had a few round the back of the island and seemed to be leading.  The with an hour to go people started catching, Ian Dixon was playing fish very regularly and even I had managed a few Bream and skimmers.  Then it went dead again for me until the very last minute where the tip nodded round and Bream number 5 was in the net.  I ended up with 5 Bream and two skimmers for 18lb, which was 3rd in my section.  The match was won by Ian Dixon with a superb 28lb, with Will in 2nd place with 27lb.  It fished a lot better than we thought and was a really close match, so looking forward to the next one next Wednesday.

Well thats a bit of a round of of whats been happening in my fishing world, have a great weekend and see you all soon


(If you are able to zoom in on the photo, you'll see the guinea pig watching my match develop!)


Gardeners World – Hitting the Jackpot!

After the disaster of last Wednesday’s blanket blank, I head to Moorhouse Farm for the Saturday open match. There wasn’t many booked on, but the fishing there is superb, so I went in the hope of a few bites even though it was a really miserable wet day.

I drew and didn’t really fancy the peg at all as it hasn’t been very good up to now but fish have fins so set up as optimistic as ever.

I started off fishing maggots down the middle, which is a pretty good method at this time of year. Feeding, fishing then moving around the swim feeding again which worked really well and I got off to a flying start!

By the halfway point in the match I estimated that I had around 50lb – 60lb and was starting to fancy my chances a little. Was this a good draw after all!?!
But just as quick as I was catching, this fish vanished from me and I started to really struggle. It was as if I had caught all the fish in the peg and emptied the swim as it just went dead. I tried a host of other things, even going long towards the far bank that isn’t usually productive at this time of year but it only resulted in a couple of lost foul hookers.

I snared a few odd fish in the last few hours but knew that my chances of an envelope were gone. Sure enough when the scales came, my 79lb was no where in the match with 169lb winning it and 121lb second. 

Onwards and upwards and Sunday it was back at Willinghurst for the open. I drew top lake peg 18 and was pleasantly surprised when I got there as there seemed to be a lot of fish moving about.
For the first hour I spent it on the pole, but it was a complete waste of time with not a bite…not even a roach.
So I fired a few pellets around a couple of areas of the swim and picked the lead rod up. I saw a bit of movement at about 20m out, so chucked the lead to where it came from and was instantly into a fish.

Decided to have a go on the old popped up bread method next, so baited up and re cast. No sooner had the lead settled then the rod was off again. This time though to a Bream about 2lb. Out we went again, and this time……..nothing! Not another bite on it!

Back to plan A and a bit of punched meat was back on my hair rig and heading for the horizon. This worked again to an extent, but it was a funny match, I could only catch in one spot. But after a few fish from that spot, it would go quiet so I’d have to rest it, then go back on it after leaving it a while.

Ended up with 8 carp and that 2lb Bream which weighed 59lb and in a tough day was enough to win the lake, the match and a brucie bonus as I was sat on the jackpot peg!!
Happy days indeed so went home with a few shillings in the old sky rocket!

This is the last blog for a few weeks now as I’m off on my holidays again! This time to Antigua, where again I shall be having a good few days out fishing with some good friend.

Until then, enjoy your fishing and thanks for reading.


P.S Only a couple of pictures this week, and these are from under my brolley on a miserable day at Moorhouse!
Not very picturesque i'm afraid!


Gardeners World – Italian Milo Day

Last weekend it was time for the annual trip to Italy for the Milo day event (or Milo Weekender as it is now).
I was joined by UK Anglers Andy Neal and Brad Titmus for three days of competition on Italian style commercials.

These are massively different to UK commercials, first and foremost that they are usually perfectly rectangular and very deep! Top fives are needed on most of the venues, with 13m pole limits also in place.

People comment about some venues in the UK that has tight pegging but believe me, its nothing compared to these venues. At the best you are literally a few feet away from the peg next door so end pegs are a godsend and 9 times out of 10 produce section winners.
Even though the pegging is so close, you never see anglers tangling up together. The fish fight differently to UK and tend to come in rather than tearing off at all angles!

Your whole match also can be down too how your neighbours attack the peg. A lot of the locals bombard it with bait, usually maggots and corn and if you don’t follow suit you could struggle as the fish simply wont get to you.

The fish also push out as the match progresses, and when they do the Italians revert to even longer lines swinging the deep rigs way past the initial feed.

Hookbaits are generally maggots, but not the type we know! Normal maggots are fed quite heavily, with sticky mag generally but the hook bait is Jurassic ones! I’m not really sure what these creatures grow into, but but it this way….I bet they sting and you wouldn’t want them hatching in the garage!

Target fish are Carp and Carrassio’s, with some Skimmers and Roach as well although the later is generally avoided in favour of targeting the Carp.

The first day was a team match and the box Brad, Andy and myself drew was smack in the middle of the bank. Even Mr Neals luck in the drawing stakes didn’t rub off and were in the midst of a bank full of anglers. The way this works is that we drew a “box” with three pegs in so the team all fish next to each other. The three of us weighed in 37kilo which wasn’t any good really and put us about 5th team on the lake.

Day two and different format as the three of us were now on different lakes on the complex. We faired a bit better though as Brad won his section, Andy was second and I was third. Still off the pace though as that was out of the prize money as a team. Brand and Andy had a few euros pocket money though for their section placings.
Another bizarre thing about fishing over there is that every peg is taped off, a bit like international events but people wander about at will through them. One spectator came in to see me half way through, and before I knew what was going on was cheek to cheek with me taking a selfie!! 

Going back on what I said about end pegs, I saw at least 9 sections won from peg 1 on this day!!

The third and final day, was split into two matches. The first was a normal match on the pole and the second match would be fished on the method feeder. Again we drew in the middle of the lakes so none of us did any good unfortunately. 

We’d had a difficult weekend fishing wise, but that was made up for by the hospitality and fantastic company of the Italian Milo Anglers. It really is a great weekend and although a little tiring, very enjoyable.

This weekend is also the launch of my new book at Gold Valley Lakes. Details on how to get a copy can be found at if you do get a copy, really hope you enjoy it.

Tight Lines for now 



Gardeners World – Leaf it out!  A feast and Famine Weekend.

I was ummin and arrrin on where to go Saturday, and after hearing some good reports decided to go to Monk Lakes.

The match was on lake 2 and armed with a load of info from Mark Goddard I headed to peg 63 full of optimism for a good day.

It was pegged well and I had loads of room to go at so even though the temps had dropped a bit, was confident of a few fish.

I started at 5m with pellet fished dead depth and within a few minutes had a nice 7lb Mirror in the net.  A few more followed and after about 45 mins I estimated to have around 30lb in the net which was really promising.

That line died off a bit though, so I went long on the lead where I’d been pinging a few pellets.  This did result in a few more fish, before I came back in on the short line.  One of the key things with Monk is to keep moving and rotating lines and not be afraid to start new swims.  When I can back in on the 5m line, all I could get was small F1s, which is a clear indicator that the Carp had moved elsewhere.

I had also been feeding the edge lines with micros and a few expanders mixed in with them, but first drop in resulted in a skimmer!  I plugged at it though and upped the feed, which towards the end of the match resulted in a few more of the Monk Lake Mirrors that you need to do any good here.  They all fell too a Bait-Tech 6mm Expander over a bed of micro’s and expanders.

I ended up weighing 130lb which was 2nd on the day.  The match was won by Del Gladwin with 151lb, but really enjoyed my day here and I’ll def be back there very soon.

Sunday was on to Willinghurst and the start of the Winter league, so was hoping for a decent draw to kick the series off.  Sadly my usually reliable luck, deserted me and I found myself putting my box on peg 26 on the back spit that hasn’t been fishing well at all lately.

It’s a feast or famine peg, and on this match it was the later.  It was a really difficult day made worse by fighting a losing battle with leaves falling like rain.  There is an island on this peg at around 14m, and although its only 2ft deep it can throw up a few fish.  Anyway to get a bait over there I had to chuck a 2oz bomb with a lump of meat, and have my rod 3ft up in the air river style!!

I lost the battle with the leaves and the peg, and put just 6 fish on the scales for 19lb and last in my section….not the start I was hoping for!

Ah well, that’s fishing though!  Onwards and upwards, so until the next time have a good week enjoy your fishing and no leaf jokes please!!



Gardeners World - America to Willinghurst!

Hello again and after a little break I’m back in Blighty and back on the banks.

The little break in question, was a trip to Florida with good friend Steve O’Rourke and the wives.  We go every year and very fortunate that Steve actually has a little place over there along with a particularly decent Fishing boat!

Its not a fishing holiday as such, but it just so happens that a lot of it is spent on a boat!

We normally head out at first light and start off by trying to catch some bait fish, before heading out to the reefs to fish for Sharks, Grouper, Tarpon, Spanish Mackerel, Rays or anything else that fancies a meal!

The trick is to find a reef on the fish finder, then drop back off it and anchor up so we are fishing just off it.  The reason being that if you hook a proper fish they will run straight to it and instantly smash you up.

Then we chum the water with a mixture mashed and bloodied fish that creates a slick that no predator can resist investigating.  Then our freshly caught bait fish are lowered in on 100lb leader or wire (for the sharks) into the depths of about 20ft to 30ft water.

We had a thoroughly enjoyable week, catching Grouper, Tarpons and plenty of small sharks.  The pictures included are some grouper, the smaller one is around 70lb and the larger one somewhere around the 200lb mark!  The video that accompanies this is me giving a tarpon some welly that wouldn’t come up even after an hours scrap!!

Great trip yet again though and will be looking forward to the next one.

Back home last week though and a switch from the Sharks of Florida to the Carp of Willinghurst for the midweek open.  The match was held on two lakes, and I drew Johns lake and peg 6.  Since my trip the weather has cooled significantly and the paste rigs have been put away for another year.  I started on top 6 with pellets on the deck and had two quick fish before the bites stopped.  I went long and had another two before the bites dried up again! 

I decided to pick up the lead rod, with a hair rigged cube of meat on the business end.  I fished the rest of the match on the lead fishing and caught fish from 5 different areas pinging pellets over the top of them. 

I ended up weighing 77lb which was enough to win the lake and 2nd in the match.  Was really pleased with that as am always a bit out of touch following a break!

Sunday I was back at Willinghurst and drew peg 1A in the bomb hole!  Not a great draw as it is a very shallow corner peg.  So I decided to fish the pole but doing the same as I did on Wednesday with pinging pellets over a variety of different swims and fishing meat and pellet on the hook.

It’s a really shallow peg so when you hook a few fish they tend to spook and create bow waves through the swim.  This happened a few times so had to endure a few quiet spells and keep moving about and picking fish up from far and wide!

Ended up with 17 Carp for 67lb which was no where in the match unfortunately!

Still was nice to be back and on the box!

You may or may not have heard that I am releasing a book shortly!  It’s a bit of a story about my life in Match Angling and how my fishing has evolved and developed over my many years in the game!  It is due to be released on 5th November, and you can pre order copies via

Have a great weekend wherever your fishing this week



Gardeners World - Back to the drawing board!!!  6th Sept 2016

This past week I have had three trips to Willinghurst as there wasn't an open on Moor House Farm.

So if your sitting comfortably let me begin...starting from last Wednesday I drew on peg 13 on old lake. Unlucky for some? ...Well unlucky for me thats for sure! I must have run over a magpie or something on route as was well and truly doomed!

This peg is a corner peg and it looks really good, trouble is that to to well at Willinghurst you usually need the big edge dwellers to put in an appearance. This peg edge line is shallow, very shallow!

So I kicked off long in front of me in open water looking to find a bit of depth. That results in I came short and that resulted in more Crayfish! I came very short and that resulted in even more Crayfish!!

Scratching the head a bit wondering what to do next, I had a look around the peg hoping to find a bit more deeper water where some fish might be. At 11m I did find a bit more depth and did start catching a few. Trouble was though that this peg is that shallow that when you do hook one, the shoot off like a rocket and spook everything else in the area. But just as I thought i'd found a few, it was short lived and I haven't had a fish for the last three hours of the match so lets just say it wasn't the best of days and I drove home with that infamous D-Ream song ringing in my ears!

The match was won by John Cooke who had a cracking 161lb 4oz from top lake. Best on our lake was Pete Franklin with 122lb 8oz. Well done lads.

Saturday's open was on Johns lake and I drew peg 14 which could have been a good draw. When I say could have been, its a bit of a feast or famine peg! Sadly for me it was the later!
After three hours all I had to show for my efforts was 1oz which was one tiny Carp that I'm not sure could even get the bait in its mouth!
I was on the verge of packing up as could see the other side of the lake were catching a few. But in a bit of a reversal of the last match, this time the last cold of hours they moved in and I did manage to get a few bites. No where near enough though and ended up with 34lb. The lake had fished hard throughout and Jake Gallagher won it with a very good 68lb. 

Moving on to Sunday and the open was spread over new and pitance lakes this time. I drew peg five on new lake and though I was in with a chance finally! I started on the 5m line, and this time caught a few fish early on. Not massive ones though, small fish and a few 1lb skimmers. The edge line on this peg was also very shallow so I had plumbed and baited up a line close in but away from the bank in around 2ft of water. This did work quite well and I caught most of my fish of this line and put 64lb on the scales. Tom Arnot won the match with 80lb, I was 5th overall but 3rd on the lake and as it was a continental payout I managed to put a few shillings in the old sky rocket! 

Could have done better but a definite improvement from the last few matches!

During the lull in proceedings in Wednesday's match I managed to take a few scenic shots of my peg!
Pictured is that lovely corner peg 13 that was most certainly un luckly for me!!

Thanks for reading and enjoy your fishing this week



Deja vu! - 30th Aug 16

Hello again, and welcome back for the next episode!

Well last week I told you about a couple of matches at Willinghurst where I admit to making a few mistakes. If your like me, then after weeks like last week I am desperate to get back out there and make amends.

Well I had the ideal chance to do this on Wednesday as back to Willinghurst I only went and drew the same peg as I did last week and messed up on! Lightening does indeed strike the same spot twice!!

Determined to make amends and having read my little book the night before I set up the paste rig down the middle and my edge lines again. This peg isn't very wide nor is it very deep but can be very good so I had high hopes!

Kicked off down the middle firing 8mm pellets at my float (3 or 4 at a time) and with the tried and tested Special G Gold Paste Mix on the hook. I started really well and had a few big Carp about 8-9lb plus a few smaller ones before the bites dried up. I did have a little search about and started to feed the edge lines, but a lot more cautiously than last week!

When I tried it, the result was the same though Roach and Crayfish! I had been continuing to feed my middle line though with pellets and was waiting for the fizzing to start. As if by magic, they came on it and bubbles appeared all around there so over it I went. Cut a long story short I didn't mess it up this time, and caught steadily on it for the rest of the match.

I weighed 176lb for a lake win and second overall so was really pleased with that. Luke Sheriff won the match overall with 199lb from Johns Lake sat on the Bonus peg! Well done Luke!
I was pleased though as I proved my point, got it spot on and made amends for the previous weeks disappointment.

On to the Bank Holiday weekend and I was fishing a two day event at Moorhouse Farm held on the Saturday and the Monday. I had a day off on the Sunday and spent it with the family.

Started on the Saturday drawing peg 33. For me it was going to be a paste and edge match so that is what I concentrated on. To do well here you do need to set your stall up, plan your attack around a few lines and just go for it.
I caught well on both my paste line and my edge line and weighed 134lb which was second in the section.
Mark Goodard won the section and the match with 167lb.

As the match is rotating sections on the Monday I drew peg 5 up the other end of the lake. I think I dropped a bit of a clanger though by overfeeding it somewhat. I couldn't get a bite down the middle but did manage to find a few coming up the ledge to my right hand side. They also turned up down the edge and I did catch really well in the last quarter to put 188lb on the scales.

But it was that man Mark Goodard again who did the damage, he won the section and the match for the second time. This time with a superb 267lb. I rang mark a little way into the match to see how he was doing and knew he was flying ahead having about 30 more fish that me in the first few hours.

My weight of 188lb was made up with 62fish, and Marks 267lb was with 102 fish so you can see the sort of stamp we were catching.

No surprises that Mark easily won the two day overall, and yours truly came 4th with two section 2nds.

Big well done to Mark on a great two days angling

Nice weekend though and some great fishing and company throughout.

Who knows what next week will bring, but one things for sure I'll be reading my book again before I set off!!

Have a good one 


Pictures are of "that peg" at Willinghurst again!


Lessons Learnt! - 24th Aug 16

Well this past week it was back to the same venue's for yours truly meaning last Wednesday I went to Willinghurst Fishery. I drew Top lake peg 22 which isn't a bad draw and can produce some good weights.

I started on Special G Gold Paste down the middle as its quite a narrow peg. I had a few but wasn't getting anywhere with it, nor on my shallow line which was worrying.  
Things went from bad to worse though when I came on the inside line for a look as was plagued by small Roach and Crayfish!

Past experience told me that when your getting the Roach and the Crays the Carp will have done a disappearing act, which was more than a bit worrying as the match wore on.

I went for shall we say "a very positive approach" to my feeding down the edge line, in the hope that the Carp would turn up. The crayfish situation was that bad that at one point out of desperation I put my landing net in and give it a swoosh about. This was in the hope of either netting a pile of them or getting rid of them!  
Sadly it did neither and all I managed to do was net 4 Roach in the process! (they did go back!)

Eventually, after persistant feeding a few Carp did turn up but not in any numbers and foul hookers. There was also a few fish on route somewhere as this peg has a little bridge close to it and the fish very often swim to it and through it. For some reason they dont very often stay in this peg as they are off on their travels somewhere!
There's not much point going for them either as they are usually heading elsewhere and not interested in having a munch!

Last throw of the dice in the last 15mins I went back down the middle on paste, only to discover the fish were there! I had about 20lb in the final 15min and was left really kicking myself that I should have learnt my lesson from the previous week and stuck on that line.
Lesson Learnt!

Incidentally, I keep a diary of all my fishing matches and very often refer to it before a match. Although maybe a little old fashioned in the digital era, I still do it noting my peg, weight, bait, methods and any notable points worth remembering.  
After this entry, I shall highlight it in bold about the middle paste line!

Saturday I went to Moor House Farm, but sadly a poor forecast seemed to put everyone off as there was only 5 of us turned up. We had a fish anyway and although I'm not classing this as a "match" I did shall we say have the best weight of fish with 312lb . Like I say though, not going to go into that in too much detail as it was like pleasure fishing with the lake to ourselves! A nice day though none the less.

Sunday was back to Willinghurst to try and make amends for the disaster on Wednesday.
A lot of the lakes were taken up this week so the open match was put on New and Pittance lakes.

I'm sorry to say my poor run at Willinghurst continued, I only managed a few Carp and Bream early on and my edge line and paste line failed to make any impressions. 24lb I weighed in, but the match was only won with 81lb. Well done to Mark Glynn on the win, but again I left there knowing I should have done better!

I shall be reading my diary this week ready for the next match on there hoping for a bit of inspiration and teaching myself a lesson!

Couple of photo's this week of my pegs on Willinghurst, the narrow one on Top Lake and then the peg on Pittance Lake.

Until next time....tight Lines


** Check out this months Match Fishing Magazine for Steve's Feature on his European Match Fishing **


A Tale of Two Fisheries! - 18th Aug 2016

I went to Morehouse Farm again last Saturday and again I got caught in the same trap as I did the previous week.  
Started in the middle, had had one F1 and a small Carp quickly. But instead of getting my head down and sticking to my guns, as bites were hard to come by I started wandering about wasting time going long, shallow etc.

Finally when I got my act together, a few fish did come close in from feeding meat but was a wasted line again. I went back down the middle on paste, and started to catch well again as I did the previous week. I did stick it out on this line and managed to put 167lb on the scales by the end of the match that put me second on the day behind Stuart Williams who weighed 176lb. 

I did have a chance to win the match though as one drop in as the paste was falling my elastic ripped out and I was attached to one of the propper fish there. I played it for a good while and it was an easy double figure fish. But lady luck was not shining on Mr Gardener today and the hook pulled before I had chance to net it!

Very well done to Stuart though who fished a great match.

Sunday, you guessed it I was in the draw que at Willinghurst. This venue has been fishing quite strange recently, it starts really really slow. The first few hours can be a case of anything you put in the net is a bonus until the fish come close in late in the day.
In the first couple of hours I only managed 3 small carp shallow until I went down the edge.

When I did go down there though I was plagued by small Roach ripping the baits apart which was very frustrating. The only way to get the Carp was to feed very heavy, cupping in large pot fulls at a time until you get one. Then when you did get one you would have to do it all again!

This method does also have its downside as it then draws a lot of Carp in that can result in foul hookers. I foul hooked and lost 7 through the course of the afternoon but did get a few in the mouth too! Some people combat that by fishing the method down there, but I haven't had the will to do that yet but if it keeps up I may have too! 

I weighed in 86lb 8oz in the end which as was a continental payout brought me a bit of coin as I was second on the lake.

Bit annoying though with the foul hookers and as my peg was next to the track, I had a convoy of vans go past a few feet from where I was fishing!  
But there we are, have to grin and get on with it!

Tony Yianni won the match overall with 137lb, Mike Halstead was 2nd with 111lb 12oz so a very well done to them.

Good luck this weekend, see you soon



Gardening for glory!

Last Saturday I was back to Morehouse Farm for the open.  With a hectic past few weeks I haven't been to the venue for a while so was looking forward to getting back to it.  The trouble is, this venue changes weekly...even daily and you can quickly lose touch in whats been happening.

Generally speaking though at this time of year the key line is to catch big Carp close in.

Generally I kick off in the middle but opted not to today and instead start on the nearside ledge.  I caught a few early, but couldn't really put a run of fish together.  I wasn't too worried though as experience says that it gets better and better as the day goes on.

I had been feeding the edge line up, but strangely that was also quiet so I had to do something to make things happen.

I decided to up the pellet feed down the middle and it instantly started fizzing.  This is normally a bad sign, but I had a look on it and was surprised to find that the big edge fish were there on it.

Cut a long story short, I fished the rest of the match on this line and ended up weighing 153lb which was only enough for second place.  Dan Garnish won the match with 156lb and 151lb was 3rd and 4th so it was a really close match.

Sunday it was back to Willinghurst for the continental payout style open fished over three lakes.  I drew peg 9 on horseshoe and fancied it for a few shallow, then some more down the edge late on meat, pellet and paste.

I started shallow and quickly put three small Carp in the net.  This is quite unusual for this lake as it is a speci lake, so they must have been escapy's!

I continued with it though as not a lot was being caught around the lake until I felt it was time to go down the edge.

When I was setting up, I had skill fully trimmed a lovely little line out with my trusty Bosch Hedge Trimmer (other trimmers are available) even managing to make a nice pole rest out of the foliage!  This gardening is done with the permission and knowledge of the owners, before anyone asks as appreciate some venues don't allow it.  I've become quite an expert now in horticultural designs so may even go into business as a bush trimmer!

Anyway less about the gardening and back to the fishing!

I went down the edge and had a Carp, then...nothing!

Kept feeding though and kept plugging away and I ended up putting exactly 100lb on the scales which was enough to win the lake...Happy days!

Tony Kent won the match overall with 132lb, Paul Holland was second with 127lb then it was me in third.  But it didnt matter as I had won the lake and a bit of coin to put in the kitty.

Nice weekend overall though, just hope Mrs Gardener doesn't read this or i'll be up a ladder in the back garden next weekend!

Tight Lines!

Got to have the right tools for the job!  Below is my trusty hedge trimmer!


Belgium Bound!

It was another little trip over the pond last weekend as I travelled to Belgium to fish a pairs match with Milo. After the last logistical debacle though from my friends at easy peasy jet, this time I took the van!

Milo and I were fishing in an annual pairs match on a commercial style fishery, where one of the lakes is actually an out door swimming pool and beautifully landscaped in truly breath taking surroundings.

Anyway we arrived on the Thursday so had a few hours to practice on one of the lakes. This was a big event so 5 lakes were being used with 34 on each lake.

The way this event is run is that your partner is sat next to you, but with 5 lakes to chose from and two days of practise, it was a bit of a lottery which lakes to pick.

The event is fished then over two days and decided on section points, so there wasn't room for any errors on either days.

As it happens Milo and myself drew on Palais du Peche on both days over the weekend which was one of the lakes we had practised on.

Day one though, the drawing gods were not kind to us and it sat us down on the wrong end of the lake. Our plan was to fish pellets and paste on the deck then, if they come up in the water shallow rigs.

Now, the fish on here a big...propper big! Some go well over 20lbs and you can struggle to get them in the landing nets. If you catch the big ones, a steward has to be called to weigh it straight away.

We had a poor day though sadly and only ended up with a combined weight of 30kilos, which was 12th on the lake and a disappointing start to the match. The best weights as we predicted came from the other end of the lake 

Day two though we had a much better draw and was pretty optimistic about a few more fish despite not being on one of the 9 gap pegs!

The plan was again pellets and paste, we were slightly kicking ourselves though as a lot of the top weights on day one came from anglers who were feeding and fishing maggots shallow. Milo and I didn't have a maggot between us!  
One of the nice Belgium lads who had emptied it the day before gave me a pint, but at the rate we needed to feed them it was only enough for about 15mins!

So off we went, and we both started to catch well on pellets and paste on the deck. As time went on though I tried the shallow rig and started to catch Carp and F1s a lot quicker.
It was nothing compared to the maggot blasters though, the pair next to us were emptying it using big bunches of maggots on the hook. The fish were also a lot bigger and it was really noticeable how different the activity in the swims was.

We did what we could though, and had a far better day weighing a combined weight total of 183kilo. This was only enough though for 3rd on the day with an awesome 246kilo winning it.

I did use my pint of maggots up in the last 20mins of the match and it was even more evident that we had made a boo boo in not bringing any. It again transformed the swim and as it did on other pegs, the fish were bigger and more frequent.

Our first day blowout destroyed any chance we had of a podium finish, but it was another thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

We couldn't stay for the evenings festivities sadly as had a boat to catch. Was also a little cream crackered as well as the draws were blooming early! 6am on the Saturday and 5am on the Sunday (English Time) we were drawing our pegs! There was a little break after three hours though, where the anglers retire to a hospitality area for some food and refreshments that were very welcome.

Got back to blighty to schedule this time minus a few top kits, but with some of Milo's new Carpa Force nets (shhhh!!) and although there was no medals a great time was had. 

One funny moment (and I wish I had grabbed my camera) was Milo wrestling with a 20lb + Carp trying to unhook it! At one point it was as if they were either bear hugging or doing the tango!


Back to normality this week though with a couple of local trips on the cards.

See you soon



Il Capitano!

Welcome aboard this is your Captain speaking!  Or as I was known for the week “Il Capitano”!

I had agreed with Milo to travel out and assist with the Italian Team that was fishing their version of the 6 nations.  It was being held on a Canal in Almere, Holland, and a venue I had been to a few years back for the 2009 World Championships and also the venue for this year’s European Champs.

I flew out from Gatwick to Amsterdam on Tuesday in the usual high class airline that is known as Easyjet where I was meeting Milo to continue the journey down to meet the others.

Accommodation again was top notch, and we had been booked into the exquisite Centre Parcs lodges which were to be our HQ for the week.

The event was over two days of competition held on Friday and Saturday between Italy, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg.   On the Wednesday it was down to business, and we had a couple of days to practice and formulate our plan of attack.  The talk was that 2-3kg per man was a good target weight but after our first day of practise we knew that was going to be a tough ask unless some Bream showed up!  Without Bream we were lucky to be averaging 1kg per angler which was made up of small silvers and tiny Perch.

Our team plan was basically formed around two lines of attack, we had a short line at around 7 sections where we would feed negatively for the small fish, then a long 13m line where the feeding was to be more positive in the hope (and it was a hope!) that the odd Bream would show up.

This was a pole only match with 13m pole limits and international rules in place so you really had to focus your attacks, which is what we did.

After a couple of practises, day one kicked off on the Friday and the fishing was as we had predicted…hard going!   There was a lot of small fish being caught, but they were small and you needed a lot of them to amass a decent weight.  As the day went on though there were a few Bream starting to show, and Alberto one of our lads managed to catch two which eventually saw him win the day with around 6 kilo.  One Angler managed to hook a Sturgeon but after a short fight with it lost it.  Funny thing was that someone on the bank said, watch the guy next door hook it now!  Low and behold he did just that and even got it in, much to the disgust of his neighbour!

As a team though we did well and managed to win the first day with 9 points!  A fantastic results considering how tough the conditions were and how good the competition was.

On to day two, and the fishing was getting even tougher after a lot of pressure on it.  A few teams even conflicted the 13m Bream line in favour of fishing longer for the small fish that were pushing out. 

A few were still hooking Bream though, even though not always in the mouth!  One chap foul hooked three and lost two!  To give you an idea how tough it got on the second day Milo weighed in 700g and came second in his section! 

We stuck to our plan though and although we only finished third on the second day, our superb first day score was enough for us to hang on to win the event outright with 26 Points .  Germany were second with 29 points and Holland the hosts third with 30 points.

Individually our star man was young Alberto Italiano who had two section wins to win the individual stakes.  I have to say though I was very impressed with the team and the standard of anglers as a whole.  They all fished really well and deserved the result.

I actually missed the awards ceremony as had to get back to the airport for my flight home.  But there was one final bit of drama before I got back to blighty!  Just as I arrived at departures in the airport I had a text message to say my flight had been cancelled!  Can you just Adam and Eve it!!!

I could see on the board that there was another flight heading for Gatwick, but was told that was too late to get on it as they were boarding.  The only other option was to fly to Luton (even though my car was at Gatwick!)  then somehow get from Luton to Gatwick to pick up the car!

I had to go with that option as I didn’t want to be stuck in the airport overnight, so booked myself on it.  So off to departures I go and it is only the next gate to the flight that is going to Gatwick that hasn’t even boarded!  We even got loaded on before them , so I’m sure with a bit of help they could have got me on the Gatwick flight!

Anyway, landed in Luton along with a few other lads who had the same issue as I did, their car was also in Gatwick!   We got talking as had to wait over half an hour for our luggage to appear, and we decided to share a taxi save all the messing about.

We didn’t quite expect it to cost what it did though and it ending up costing me £195!! 

But despite the logistical issues travelling home it was a really enjoyable few days and was very proud that the team had got the win.

Over and out……

Steve “Il Capitano” Gardener

21st June 2016 Peg 49 Re visited!  

Hello again and welcome to my latest blog about my matches since last week.  The past week I’ve been staying local so sorry if they seem very similar, but that’s only due to a quite spell for me in my travels.  Coming in up in the next month though, I have got some exciting trips abroad planned which I hope will giving you a fascinating insight to some other aspects of fishing.

Anyway last Wednesday it was back to Willinghurst where I drew on the old lake, and found the fish were in a funny mood again.  There was loads cruising around all over the surface but didn’t really seem that interested in having a feed.  To cut a long story short, I had to switch lines a lot throughout the course of the match in order too keep a few fishing coming.  They didn’t really want it on any particular method though which was a bit frustrating.  It was only in the last hour of the match when I started catching down the edge that I settled down a bit.  I’ve ended up with 85lb which got me 3rd in the end.  Tommy Hillier won it with 122lb caught on the waggler and straight lead, and Liam Dixon was 2nd with 102lb, so I was no where near those boys!

Saturday I was back at Morehouse farm for the open and ever since I drew peg 49 a few weeks ago I have wanted to draw it again to have another go.  Anyway, Saturday I only went and drew it again!   Result!

I started off on the 5m line and put a load of micros in at the start then was loose feeding 4mm’s over the top.  This turned my swim in to a Jacuzzi with loads of bubbles coming up all the time.  I had a few fish over it and also had a few shallow but it wasn’t really working.   So I decided on a bit of a change and got my shallow rig and swung it round to my left hand side which turned out to be quite handy as the depth was the same as what I had it set at!

I started firing some meat at it and it worked a treat as I had a great mid match catching about 40 Carp, with only 2 of them being F1s!

Whilst that was going on, there seemed to be a few fish swirling in front of me as well, so once the meat line dried up went and had a go shallow on a 4mm pellet for a while before coming back in to the rushes on my trusty Special G Paste.  I put a few more fish in the net on the paste in the last half an hour and ended up winning the match with 133lb.  Peg 48 next to me was 2nd with 115lb and peg 43 3rd with 111lb.

It was a really interesting match though, this place never ceases to amaze me as two days are never the same.  The last time I drew this peg I had predominantly F1s, and today I’ve hardly had any!  It’s a venue where you have to constantly think about where your fishing, where you think the fish are sitting and constantly planning your next move.   That’s why I like it so much here as it rewards thinkers and busy anglers .

The final match of the week was back at Willinghurst again where I drew peg 26 on new lake that use to be an out and out flyer.  I say used to be as they have changed the peg around recently as it was winning so many matches (I never drew it before!).  A floating reed bed was removed and this is where all the fish used to sit and you used to be able to literally line them up.

Not now though, and I found the fish very hard to come by.  Paul Holland was opposite me and caught a few on the method but I decided not to set one up as he and I were a bit close really to warrant us both fishing it.  I had a few fish, a decent Carp, a Bream and a couple of smaller Carp but the sun went in and the wind picked up and I couldn’t get another bite.  So Sunday I’m afraid was a bit of a blow out for me!  But there we are, that’s the way it goes.  Mark Goddard won the match with 119lb from peg 3 on old lake, Mark has now been converted into using my Special G Paste Mix as well!

Anyway until the next time, have a great week and tight lines.


12th June 2016 Tale of two matches!

Just for a change last Wednesday I went to Willinghurst Fishery.  I drew peg 5 on old lake which was a peg I quite fancied to be honest.  When I go there, there was a lot of fish cruising around on the surface and with it being quite a wide peg I thought pellet shallow on the waggler would be perfect.  I also set up a short paste line and rigs for down the edge hoping that a few would turn up there later on.

The match started and I started off on the waggler, firing a few pellets around and casting regular to see if I could get some bites.  It was a weird day though, there was plenty of fish about but they didn’t look as if they wanted to feed a lot. 

Just around the corner from me though, I could see a few anglers were catching shallow but for some reason I couldn’t put a run of fish together for love nor money.

I plugged away at it though and in the back of mind thinking that they are bound to come down the edge late on and I’ll have them!

They didn’t though, nor did they come on to the paste line which was very unusual.

I ended up catching 9 Carp that weighed 57lb and was no where in the match.  It was a very strange day, and although I didn’t fish it I heard that the match on the Sunday was actually won off my peg with most of the fish being caught down the edge!  Marvellous!

Saturday it was back to Morehouse Farm and I drew peg 20, a lovely peg that has a cracking edge line to fish too so I really fancied a few fish.

It was a really busy days fishing, I caught on my Special G paste up on the shelf away from the silt on the line that I’ve talked about in the past.  This line again came up trumps for me and I’ve caught a lot of Carp and F1s throughout the day on it.

I also fished meat down the edge and finished up with 159lb which was enough for the match win.  I didn’t have a fish bigger than 4lb in that weight too so as you can see it was a busy day with plenty of bites.

Don Garnish was 2nd with 155lb and 3rd was 153lb so it was a good close match.

I’ve managed to take some pictures of this match, so you can see the sort of fish I was catching to make up that 159lb and also that lovely edge line I had to fish too.

Bit of a shorter blog this week as I didn’t fish on Sunday due to a family party, but thanks for reading and hope you have a great week.



Spring Watch!

Its more of the same this week from Steve as he fishes Morehouse Farm Saturday and Willinghurst on the Sunday.

Saturday saw me back at Morehouse Farm where I drew peg 38 on the area that is know as "The Wides". It is known as that as the area is a few meters wider than the rest of the lake, but you can make the far bank by fishing 16m. The real beauty of this lake is that you dont know how it is going to fish or where the winner is going to come from. When we got there the signs were good as there was no indication that the fish were spawning either so a lot of us were expecting some good weights. I set up rigs for the far side, 5m out on the paste and of course lines down the edge.

I started off on the 5m line and down the edge on meat but couldn't catch consistently. I had a few on paste, but found I had to wait for a bite with no liners or foul hookers either. One of the other strange facts with this place is that no two pegs are ever the same. Despite it being a commercial fishery, I think it must have been dug with a shovel as the depths vary massively right around the lake. Very often though when the fishing is hard here, one little trick that I do and can get you out of jail is fishing on the slope. By that I mean you plumb up and find the bottom of the shelf, then come back in a foot or so so your bait is resting on the angle. I had a rig set up for this as well, and first drop in the float buried and a nice 12lb Carp was in the net! Game on I thought!

Strangely though, that was my only bite on that line, so I went long on the 16m line to see if I can get some more bites. This did result in a few bites and some F1s, but it wasn't really going anywhere so decisions had to be made!

I made a judgement call to feed positive the 5m paste line with micros as with the edge lines not producing either, this looked like my best option.

It worked to an extent as well, as I started catching a lot more regularly and was seeing a lot more indications that a few had come over this line.

I ended up weighing in 98lb which was enough for 2nd in the match. 108lb had won it, with 79lb in 3rd place so it was a strange day with the predicted big weights not materialising. 

Sunday saw me at Willinghurst, there were three lakes being used for this match Old, New and Horsehoe. I drew peg 5 on Horseshoe Lake, and although its not a peg that had produced previously I set up optimistically as ever.

This lake is known as a speci lake with a lot of big fish present that are often fished for by the Carp Anglers. With that in mind my attack was positive and was going to feed quite aggressively down the edge.  
I started on a long lining shallow rig, not muggin as such but the fish in this lake are old and wise, and very often spook when the see a pole above their heads! 

So the rig is just a long lined shallow rig, where I started at 3ft depth and about 5ft of line to get a few big F1s early doors, then shallow up after a bit of feeding to try and catch a few bigger Carp.
As predicted I had a few, but strange as when ever the wind picked up to a ripple, the bites disappeared.

I had been feeding 6mm pellets on this line so thought I'd switch to 8mm's with a view of the extra noise could bring more fish in and up. This was a mistake however, and didn't work! I shouldn't have fed anything and relied on the plop of the rig.

With 3 hours in to the match I went down the edge for a look and had a bite straight away! But again for some reason the wind was blowing into my edge line and the fish didn't want to be in it.

I ended up with 95lb 5oz which was 3rd on the lake and the match, 116lb winning both. Had a bit of a disaster though with 15mins to go, I had a great bite but the line had looped around the tip in the wind preventing the elastic from working and the fish was bumped off. Second place was 95lb 10oz so that lost fish had cost me second spot!

Still, these things happen and there's no point dwelling on it too much! Onwards and upwards!

Sorry, I didnt take any pictures of my pegs this week but will make sure there'll be a few for next weeks blog.

Enjoy your fishing



Bank Holiday Blues!

In this week’s instalment Steve fishes his usual Wednesday open at Willinghurst, then embarks on a two day mini festival at Morehouse Farm over the bank holiday weekend.

Wednesday I fished the open at Willinghurst and a decent turnout saw the match pegged over three lakes, Horse, Top and Old.  I drew on the old lake and peg 13, which was a corner peg.  It’s a funny thing drawing these corner pegs, on the day they can be a feast or famine areas.  On this day though the fish were there, but they were spawning with a lot of activity happening in the margins.

It was a very slow start and a couple of hours in I’d only had one Carp and One Bream to show for my efforts.  I couldn’t really see what was going on around the rest of the lake, so I decided to do something that I never normally do, which is to get off my box and have a little look to see what else was being caught.  As it turned out the rest of the lake looked to be the same so I went back and stuck at it.

Literally all the fish were in the margins, so I came in and fished a good few meters short from where the activity was going on in an attempt to get some fish going and avoid the foul hookers.  This worked but I did have to push out further across as the match went on in order to keep the fishing coming.  I ended up with eleven Carp and a few bream for 79lb which was a reasonable weight on the day.  They do a continental pay out here and unfortunately 83lb won the lake and 81lb was 2nd.  I was third and the first one out of the money, so peg 13 was definitely unlucky for me!!

And so on to the bank holiday two dayer at Morehouse Farm Fishery.  On the first day I drew peg 49 which was a peg I’ve been sat on quite recently, and told you about last time out.  It’s a good peg but very close to peg 50 (surprisingly!) which means you don’t have an option to fish to your right margins due to the landscaping.  I had a clump of rushes to my left however so my main catching line I thought was going to be off that.  Again there were fish spawning all over the lake but as the day developed my paste line close in grew stronger and stronger.  It got to a point where my paste wasn’t even reaching the bottom before the elastic was being ripped out such was the love of the Special G Gold Paste mix!

I ended up with 116lb which was only good enough for 3rd in the section with 136lb winning it and 126lb 2nd.  Pete Turnbull won the match outright with 145lb, and it was going to be a very interesting day 2 as a lot of very good anglers had won sections.

So the Monday and day 2 draw was made, I pulled out peg 41 which is the only peg without a far bank line.  But it was a windy day so the long pole wouldn’t have played much of a part so it wouldn’t really matter.  I had a few bushes of rushes to the right of me which in all honesty would have been difficult to fish to as it would have resulted in a lot of lost fish and trashed rigs!  So not wanting to risk that early doors, I opted to start off fishing straight in front of me on the paste.  I fish the paste here as got a lot of confidence in doing so, it’s a venue however that a whole number of methods and baits work.  This is good as in these circumstances your best fishing to the method that your most confident with.  Pellets, maggots they all work but I have faith in fishing the paste so it is what I focus on. 

This worked ok and I was catching but it wasn’t mad nor was I foul hooking any either though which was a bonus!

After a while I went down the edge and opted for a swim to my right which is just off the rushes and again on my trusty paste.  My catch rate massively improved and I was getting a lot of fish quickly.  For some reason though I wasn’t catching the size of fish everyone else was but I was catching more frequently and building a decent weight.

I got my head down on this and went flat out on them until the end of the match.  I ended up with 131lb and was delighted to win the section.

The match was won by Pete Franklyn with 176lb and Adam Lee was second with 165lb.

Over the two days, Adam Lee won with 3 points, and Pete Franklyn and myself tied for second on 4 points but Pete got the nod after a superior weight advantage after his superb 176lb bag on the second day.

I was pleased with that though as a lot of very good anglers fish Morehouse Farm so competition is hard with a very good standard of angler fishing there.

All in all it was a very good weekend and most enjoyable fishing at such a nice fishery with great company…..I think every weekend should be a bank holiday!!

Tight Lines for now



1, 2, 3.....

The past week again saw me fish three matches, Willinghurst on the midweek open, Morehouse Farm on the Saturday and then back to Willinghurst on the Sunday.

The Wednesday match on Willinghurst I drew on the top lake and for a change a really good peg.  I say a good peg as everyone who normally draws it does well off it apart from me!  This end of the lake for some reason is not a lucky one for me and I don't have a particularly good record from it.  Mainly, as when I'm down there I get affected by wind (the weather elements, and not flatulence before any comments are made!).

Anyway, three hours into the match and I thought my luck was out again, as all I had to show for my efforts was one roach and one hybrid.  I had searched all over the boundaries of my peg with pellets, meat, paste and was thinking an early bath was on the cards.  However I potted in a fair amount of bait into the margins and as I was watching a guy opposite playing a fish at 5m, I glanced down and saw a swirl!  Hello....what do we have here then!  Somehow the fish had turned up on my inside line, and they were all lined up waiting for me to catch them!

The last couple of hours of the match was superb and by the time the all out was called I was fancying my chances of a pick up.  Scales came round and I surprised my self by weighing 122lb which was more than enough to win the match and a bit of money.  80lb was second, so even had a few to spare!

Saturday I was back at Morehouse Farm, the matches here are really good and attract a quality field.  There are a lot of very good anglers fish Morehouse so the competition is good, and the sport equally as excellent.

I drew a half decent peg that gave me a chance, and this time I caught from the off.  I had a mixture of Carp and F1s fishing shallow, before changing to my favourite Special G Paste.  It was a funny sort of day though, the fish didn't really want it on the deck in the deep water nor were they too confident shallow.  I eventually found the best way was fishing the paste on the shelf where it was shallowing up.   At the bottom in the deeper water it was around 4 1/2 ft deep and by coming back in a bit and fishing on the slope at about 3ft I found the fish.   I've had a lovely day, and weighed in 152lb which was only enough for 2nd place.  The Match was won by Mark Smith who had a excellent 205lb and had bagged all match.  I was well happy with that result though and a few more coins went into the purse.

Sunday, again was back to Willinghurst.

They did a continental payout, which means the match was split into 3 sections over two lakes.  The winner getting paid out as the match winner, then the winner of each section essentially framing.  

I had a few shallow and a few on the tip before trying the old margin swim.  This really boosted my weight on a tough day as had a couple of big units and even a nice bream for 53lb which was a section win and 3rd overall.  The match was won by John Radford with 76lb, so it was a tough one.

So in reflection it has been a very good week, I've enjoyed the fishing and having had three good draws so at least now I can afford to eat for a few days!!

I'll leave you with a favourite picture of mine to remind us that summer is on the way!  This was taken at Bury Hill, when I spent the day shivering and un intentionally jigging a float in a ice hole!

Until next time....have a good week



Getting Pasted! 

Wednesday saw me heading back to Willinghurst Fishery for the midweek open match.  As the weather is starting to change, the water temperatures are increasing and your tactics have to change accordingly.  I drew a reasonable peg (24) and with that in mind I kicked of fishing pellets shallow.  It started quite well and I had a nice run of small fish which gave me a good bit of confidence that the tactics was right.  Just as I was really getting into the groove, a strong breeze picked up and unfortunately killed what was a very productive line. 

It wasn’t just me who the wind effected either as all down our side of the lake the fish switched off.

A change was needed and I had to look around on a variety of lines to pick up odd fish, again on pellet but throughout the water columns.

Eventually I did manage to get a run of a few bigger fish down the edge on paste, but feared it was too little too late.  This was confirmed at the weigh in where my 94lb wasn’t no where near good enough to make a mark on the match.  160lb won it in the end, but had the wind not killed my shallow line it may have been a different story.

Saturday I decided to go to Morehouse Farm.  I’ve been going there a lot lately and it’s a lovely fishery that never fishes the same twice.  That’s half the appeal to myself and a few others that go there as it does make you really think about your match, your approach and certainly keeps you on your toes.  I was quite happy with the draw, the only downside was that I only had one good edge line to go at.  The ideal at this time of year is to have two edge lines at either side, so you can alternate between the two to keep the fish coming more consistently.  The match started at a snail’s pace…. well it did for most of us anyway!  Adam Lee opposite though went off like a train and everyone was playing catch up as his fish just kept on coming while the rest of us had to work hard and search about for bites. 

After some regular feeding and a bit of persistence though, a few mouths rocked up in the margins that wanting feeding.  A superb last hour on the paste saw me catch around 50lb of fish and put me in contention of a brown envelope.  The paste mix I use is the Bait-Tech Special G Gold Groundbait.  This is over wetted and it turns it into a fantastic paste mix that the carp seem to love.  Rig wise I use the Milo Concept Carpodrome 501’s in a size 16 to 0.16 Ghost.  Float wise, the Milo Koi 55 is perfect and very strong pattern great for fishing the putty.  The swim was getting stronger and stronger as the match went on and another half hour or so would have seen me beat Mr Goddard into second place!  As we predicted Adam Lee won the match with a great 140lb, Mark Goddard pipped me to second weighing 108lb and I was third with 105lb.  I did take home a few shillings and enjoyed the day so it was all smiles!

Sunday it was back to Willinghurst, and I drew 35 on Johns Lake.  I decided to start on the meat but it wasn’t really happening and bites were hard to come by.  A switch to pellets saw a few more bites but it was difficult to get the fish going.  Being the ever observant chap I am, it was apparent that the entire lake was suffering the same fate and no matter what we did we couldn’t put a run of fish together.  I did have a few bigger fish towards the end on the trusted Special G Paste but I was never in the race today and my 61lb was only good enough for 4th on the lake.  70lb was needed to win our lake so it was a close match and despite it being a tough one it was fair crack and had a few fish turned up for any of us it could quite easily been a different story.

It has been an interesting few matches, only one pick up for me this week but as I mentioned earlier the fishing is changing so when your next out on the bank take a bit of time in your preparation to consider what could work best in the circumstances.  A lot of fish are also getting ready to spawn, so that is another factor that needs to be taken into account. 

Hope you all have a great week and enjoy your fishing.



Back in Blighty!

Having unpacked from the Italian trip, this week was pretty much about local fisheries and getting some time on the bank.  On the Wednesday I decided to fish the open at Willinghurst Fishery, a venue I often frequent.

It appeared that summer had indeed arrived to the South East, so with temperatures on the rise I decided to opt for a pellet approach. After some generous and frequent feeding the fish came shallow and I had a lovely day, and catching fish up to 16lb I eventually won this little midweeker with 149lb and a few shillings were placed in the wallet!

Saturday I took a trip to Morehouse Farm and was more than delighted to draw my favourite peg on the venue.  Peg 23 was my home for the day, and if I could have run to it I would have!  However when we got to the pegs it was apparent that the fish at my end of the lake had other things on their mind other than eating pellets.  Love was in the air, and the edges were full of Carp thrashing about as they went into spawning mode.  Undeterred by the romantic intentions of the fish we set up and gave it a go.

Through trial and error, I managed to put a few fish in the net mostly F1s and small Carp on Pellet on the deck. The reason this peg is my favourite is that you have two lovely edge lines to fish to your left and to your right.  The depths on both sides are the same, so the same rig can be used for both and by alternating between the two you can put together a great net.  I did my best weight off this peg last year doing just that, when I weighed a great 232lb.  Saturday though I couldn't get the big fish to feed, and managed to weigh 93lb for way down the pecking order.  Mark Godard won the match with 192lb, second was 186lb, all from opposite us where they weren't troubled by the spawning fish.

Late Saturday night I made a spur of the moment decision to go to Monk Lakes on the Sunday.  I haven't been to Monk for a while but have heard some great reports coming from there so thought I'd make my return and give it a go.

It was another nice day, and a bit of a leaning curve for me.  I drew in the middle of the bank on lake 1, which I was pretty happy with to be fair.  Plan was to fish pellets up and down, some meat and although it was a little early I'd also brought some paste to try. 

The paste did work, and I had a few fish on it, but they weren't really the stamp I wanted so a re think was in order.  Was also struggling to see the float and bites long in front of me due to the glare coming off the water and the sun.  I caught pretty much all day, the better fish did come down the edge and I snared a few on meat to end up with 105lb which was 4th in the match.   As I earlier mentioned, it was a learning curve for me and if I was to fish the match again, I'd fish meat on the bomb as think there was definitely some bigger fish there to be caught on that.  As it was, plundering the pellet and paste, put me behind which you would struggle to catch up with.

Interesting match though, with a lot of food for thought and will be looking forward to the next little trip there.

Until next time, have a great week and hope you catch plenty of fish.


Milo Red Tetragon, 2 Day Match

River Arno, Pisa, Italy

30th April & 1st May 2016

I rate the Arno as one of the best rivers in the world and have been looking forward to the weekends event for a good while now.

We flew over on the Thursday, paying a visit to Milo HQ to sort our kit out and catch up with our Italian friends before travelling on to Pisa where the Milo Red Tetragon event was taking place.

I have fished this river for a good number of years now, so had a fair idea of what to expect.  Friday however was a practise day, where we could fine tune our rigs and bait ready for competition days ahead.

The target fish on the Arno are Catfish that tend to average around 3lb - 5lb.  Although you have to be prepared for all eventualities big or small.  In fact on the second day I landed one that was no bigger than a minnow!  This beast of a whisker took a liking to 6 maggots on a size 8 hook and was even cleanly lip hooked!  

The Cats in the river require a no nonsense approach to feeding and there were more red buckets on the banks that you would see in a B&Q Warehouse!  The mixes were made up from a 50/50 blend of Milo Special Carp and Bait-Tech Halibut Method Mix.  This was then blended with gravel and some casters and corn.  The pegging in these matches is typically Italian...very close!  So the gravel is essential part of all the mixes to ensure that you are feeding your swim and not the bloke downstream!

The other mix we use is a sticky mag mix, which is basically a couple of gallon of maggots mixed with sticky mag and gravel.  Balls of which are fed constantly throughout the match.

Rigs wise I set up two flat floats of 10g-20g and a 6g-10g traditional round float.  This was all on 0.25 mainline to 0.20 hook length with a size 8 loaded with maggots.

The river itself was carrying about 1m of water in the lead up to the event but had dropped off a little come the match day.  The temperatures also dropped, but it didn't affect the fishing too much and all competitors had a great two days sport.

For myself and my partner for this event (Milo Columbo), the draw gods smiled kindly on us and we were fortunate to win the event!

On the first day, I weighed in 28kg (approx 62lb) with Milo adding 7kg to give us a total of 35kg. 

The second day was even better and I put a great 37kg on the scales with Milo adding the extras to give us 52kilo (84lb) which was enough for the win.

It was a truly memorable few days with fantastic hospitality, weather and fishing made that little bit sweeter by getting the win.  Of course I didnt rub it in too much with a certain Welshman, although his blog may paint a different picture!

Until the next time, Ciao and tight lines