This Sunday morning was the first time this winter having to scape ice off the car windscreen so I knew it was going to be a hard days fishing, but you can still have a good days fishing, Hillview is as good as any venue in winter.
On arrival as the fishery only 6 anglers had bothered to turn up. Normally there is at least 15 on a poorly attended day but many venues still have winter leagues running at the moment so we were all pegged on the Heron pool and all had plenty of room but it was going to be hard with that frost over night!
Peg 23 is on the end of the pool nearest to the café at Hillview and normally fishing this area you feel a little boxed in as you don’t really have a throw into the deeper water in the middle of the pool as this would mean casting passed the anglers on each bank either side. Today was OK though. The left hand bank (the causeway) between Moorhen and Heron pools wasn’t in due to work they are doing there with a digger widening the causeway and with only two anglers on the bank to my right I was able to throw a feeder towards the middle of the pool if needed and with this frost I expected the maggot feeder to come into play!
The plan was is see if I could catch on the pole and I set up a maggot rig at 13 metres which also doubled up for my short pole line as the depth of water was similar, a short soft pellet rig and one for margins but I didn’t really expect to catch there, thinking the fish would now be in the deeper water after the frost. If the fishing was hard at least I was able to throw out a maggot feeder into the middle of pool this week not being boxed in.
A slow start on the pole
I kicked off the match feeding micros at 13 metres with double red maggot over the top and 30 minutes into the match I caught a good F1 around 3 lb. But that proved to be the only one I caught here. I tried loose feeding a few maggots over the top but I could only catch small Skimmers and the odd Roach. The short pellet and maggots lines also produced nothing and even an early look in the margins produced nothing at was hard going as expected. So going no where after two hours it as time for plan B.
Maggot Feeder fishing
Winter is the time of the year for fishing the maggot feeder. the fish push out into the deeper water in the middle of the pool. It was clear that fishing the pole wasn’t going to work and after that frost and the conditions were bright, again not ideal for the pole so I reached for my maggot feeder. Things improved now and I began to catch the odd F1. It was a bit of a waiting game for each fish and with leaves floating on the water surface it was a bit of a pain sinking my line but at least I was now catching the odd fish. I still fed my pole lines with maggots via the catapult which is easy to do when fishing a rod and line. If things slowed up at least some bait was going in on these lines and I decided I would kept an eye on the other anglers fishing poles and as the day progressed if they began catching on the pole I would try it again. The last hour can be really be good at Hillview so I was keeping my eye on the other anglers.
As the day progressed I added 10 good sized F1’s and a few Skimmers on the maggot feeder. I had no Carp though and these seemed not to be feeding. Going into the last hour the angler on the next peg did finally catch a couple of Carp and this prompted me to go back on the pole for a short while but all I could catch was small Skimmers so I opted to throw back out the maggot feeder, staying on it for the rest of the match. I quite enjoyed it. I don’t normally fish it very often and really it’s a great winter tactic I should use more often.
The weight in
With only six anglers fishing the match the scales arrived early. I was 2nd to last to weigh in. The angler on peg 29 (Flyer) had already won the match with 70lb. I had watched him catch all day but not much else had been caught. I weighed in 40lb which easily put me into 2nd place (only paying 1st the 2nd) with only the angler next to me to weigh in. Unfortunately for me a last gasp carp he had on the all-out got him over the line for 2nd place with a pound more than me (41lb) But I was still happy I’d enjoyed my day fishing a method I don’t fish very often.
Maggot feeder set up
I used a 10ft Preston Mini Plus bomb rod as this has a light forgiving action that allows the use of a fine wire hook and a 2508 Daiwa TDR reel loaded with 6lb mainline line. I attached a free running small 10g Drennan maggot feeder using a 5 inch twisted boom on the mainline with 2 no.8 stotzs for the feeder to rest on. The twisted boom keeps the hook length away from the feeder which stops tangles and the hook length was a pretied 12 inch size 16 0.138mm (3.5lb) Kamasan B911 F1. When using this set up allow the rod to bend right round on the take and gently lift into the fish to avoid snap off’s