I spent the afternoon in the pleasurable company of Matt and Phil at Bradshaw Hall fishery in near Bolton. I have never been a big fan of commercial fisheries but find that in the winter they usually guarantee a good stream of bites. I find these bites invaluable when taking Matt fishing, as it was only 4 degrees this afternoon and the east wind soon stripped us of any warmth we had enjoyed from the cars heater on the drive up. My theory being that he will forget about the cold if he's catching fish.
We fished lake 7 (the small lake with the square island) for the first time ever, and surprisingly found bites few and far between. I set up with a punch rig over liquidised bread, and Matt with a maggot rig which allowed a free fall of the bait for the last 12 inches. The water in front of us wasn't deep, only about 3 and a half feet, and we both fish midway to the island in the deepest water we could find (at about 6 metres).
Phil who had a longer pole and could reach the far bank was using casters, he was getting a bite a chuck from chub to about a lb. There are times when size matters as proved by Phil who was catching more fish than Matt and myself combined at a ratio of about 8 to 1 !!! The fish obviously enjoyed the cover of the overhanging branches on island, and didn't stray that often into more open water. I did swap over to maggot at one point and despite steady loose feeding couldn't tempt the fish away from their patrol route/cover.
We fished from 12 til 3.30pm and i was glad when it was time to pack up. At least we didn't blank as both Matt and I had a few small chub and perch between us. Certainly not one of my more memorable winter trips to Bradshaws, and i doubt i shall fish lake 7 again in winter. Phil thinks lake 2 fishes best in Winter as its about 12 feet deep, I normally fish lakes 3, 5 or 6 but i guess if you don't swap about occasionally you don't discover anything new. All i discovered today was that i need a longer pole - though I'm loathe to buy one as it won't be used that often. Maybe i might have a look on Ebay for a cheap second hand one.