Millcotton Project. Hello all fishing lovers, Today’s post is “Millcotton Project”. We hope this short article is useful for you, all fishing lovers.
Millcotton is the name of a Wellingborough & District Nene AC club water about a ten minute drive from home. It was created to be like a commercial style snake lake. Forty match pegs plus five disabled. So it makes a complete circle (though not circular) around a central island. Pegs average 14m wide though there are some that are 16 and three that are 11-12. The stocking is a mixture with carp (ave. 3lb but enough larger ones up to 10 to keep you interested), plenty of skimmers (ave 8oz, some to 1 1/2 lb, roach, rudd, crucians (some to 2lb), and some small tench, barbel, chub, perch and at least one goldfish (2lb). And this is just one lake on the club’s £35 a year card.
In the Autumn of 2013 while recovering from my brain haemorrhage I fished it quite a bit. I couldn’t drive so a member of the family would drop me off and pick me up. A chance remark by my son set me on a mission. When picking me up one day he said that I must have fished every peg on the lake (bar the disabled ones). I realised that I actually had not. I had my favourite pegs and even fishing the annual Summer evening matches there were still pegs I had missed. So I set myself the target of fishing all forty pegs.
It has taken me about eighteen months to complete but I have at last managed it. I had always believed that there were certain areas that fished better than others so I decided to record every session. Keepnets are not allowed so I recorded all my catches in a notebook, noting what species and weights. This information was then recorded on a spreadsheet. I thought I would share some of the highs & lows of the journey.
I have a very simple, if possibly lazy way of fishing this lake. Most people will put out 14m of pole and fish the far bank margins. Holding 14m of pole all day is tiring and I believe that the fish have got wise to this and shy away from the pole over their heads. And as I started this task when not in good health I chose a simpler method. I nearly always start on the pellet feeder. I can get this set up and fishing quickly and then take my time with the pole. One of the main reasons for doing this is that even if I don’t catch I hope to see indications via line bites that the fish are active. That gives me a clue as to how to start feeding the pole lines. It also means I can put the feeder out when I want to have lunch and again while packing the pole away. Over the time I have been doing this it has brought me some bonus fish.
On the pole I generally start on six or seven sections depending on the width of the peg. A couple of the wider ones will see me going to 8 if I get no bites shorter. Feed is always micros and/or 4 mil pellet (groundbait not allowed). Hookbaits are expander pellet (2, 4 & 6 mil), corn, meat, and maggot in the Winter. I have found you need to go through your baits if you are not catching. One week they want 4 mil pellet, the next corn skins and a week after that its single red maggot. I have described my standard rigs in other posts so won’t repeat myself here. If conditions allow then I look to fish three spots with the same rig at top 6/7 distance and then add a section and look for three more. I am looking to fish with the bait just touching bottom but a variation of an inch or so in depth across the three spots is acceptable, I just plumb up to the deepest.
One alteration to this will be on pegs that have lily beds either side. On these I have found it is worth sticking to around six sections of pole. I look for an imaginary line between the furthest edge of the two beds of lilies and fish on that line. I believe that the carp patrol from one bed to the next along this line.
The strangest thing I find is the amount of feed the fish will accept. Even in mid-Winter I have managed to get through three pints of pellets or more. My theory on this is that unlike a true commercial I don’t think a lot of food goes in the lake as it is mainly fished by pleasure anglers. There are occasional club matches and the Summer evening open series but most of the time it sees little pressure. So I think the fish are hungry. Also the head of silvers means that the carp have competition for what food there is.
I compare that to Decoy Lakes at Whittlesey and I have fished both in the same week and used roughly half the amount of bait at Decoy to catch a bigger weight than I had used here. There are Winter days on Millcotton when I can get away with feeding a full 200 mil pot at the start and catch quickly. Though I usually build up to this as the day progresses and the fish tell me what they want by their reactions.
The best day by far was on peg 31, 27 September 2013. I had 27 carp, 20 skimmers and 2 crucians for an estimated 70lb. Second to that was peg 36 on 3 December 2014. That day I had a stellar start with the air temperature at just 3 degrees. I had four carp inside the first eleven minutes, another ten minutes later and then struggled for 2 1/2 hours with one fish every thirty minutes. The end of the day saw the fish switch on again and I ended with seventeen carp, two roach and a crucian for around 57lb. the temperature stayed low all day but the fish were obviously in a feeding mood.
My worst day was on 8 December 2013 when I sat on peg 19 without a bite for three hours. I moved to peg 31 and had one carp, five skimmers and two crucians for about 8lb. On 4 Feb 2014 I sat on peg 40 and had one solitary roach. But I put that down to someone standing behind me for the first two hours. I have since re-fished both pegs and discounted those first attempts as one-off poor days. Finally re-fished peg 40 at the end of February 2015. Managed 29 carp, but 21 of those were six inch stockies that had gone in the week before. I didn’t see any decent sized carp until after 4:30pm when the larger ones bullied the stockies out and in around 45 minutes I had four fish between 2 1/2 and 4lb.
Peg 19 on 12 February this year produced 26lb with six carp and ten skimmers. Two of the carp went 6 & 7 lb. The first came first cast on the feeder, the heavier one on the pole as I was deciding to call it a day. I had been getting tiny indications all day on the pole with a float dotted down to just 1 or 2 mm showing. Finally hit one and it produced this best fish of the day.
Below are two graphs showing my weights across all the pegs. The second shows an adjusted weight for Summer sessions. For dates between May and September I have halved my weight. A very rough way of comparing Winter & Summer weights.
In total I caught 980 fish weighing 1130 lb. That averaged out to 24.5 fish and 28.25 lb per session.
That may not seem much but 31 of the 40 sessions were between October and April. If I look at just the nine Summer dates then they averaged 40 lb, the 31 in Winter were 24. Probably fishing what I consider the poorest pegs in Winter wasn’t the best idea, particularly when I had to break the ice on one of them. Still caught though.
The graphs tend to support my belief that the best pegs on the lake are between 27 & 37. They have produced good days even in Winter. I have a target when fishing the lake in that I consider catching ten (proper) carp to be a reasonable day. More than twenty is stellar. I fished pegs 20 & 40 just a few days after a stocking of six inch carp. On both days I had twenty of these to boost numbers of carp caught. Hopefully they will survive and thrive. I have not failed to reach the ten carp target on any of pegs 27-37. The reason these pegs stand out I believe is that I think they get more sun than any others. They may also be slightly deeper but not by much and have some lily beds between some of the pegs giving the fish cover.
The totals for my own “fishing race” are
Carp – 391
Skimmers – 349
Crucians – 55
Tench – 29
Others – 42
Pegs 21-25 can be hard to fish and catch carp in any numbers from. I think this is because they are furthest from the car park, don’t see much if any sun in Winter and thus don’t get as much feed as other areas. Meanwhile there looks to be better results from 1-20. Probably because there are entrances at pegs 1 and 12. 37-40 get fished a lot but results from here are not as good as you may expect. May again be due to the amount of sunlight and possibly just a bit too much pressure forcing fish towards the mid 30s.
One interesting thing is the changes I noticed over the eighteen months. The skimmers definitely got bigger. Initially I estimated them to average six ounces, by the end they were certainly half pound or more with some noticeably bigger ones.
Another change is that when I started I could almost guarantee catching one or two carp on the pellet feeder while setting the pole up/packing away. Since mid 2014 this has not been the case. I struggle now to even see a few line bites.
I have also caught more roach in the Winter of 2014-15. Perhaps because I fished maggot a bit more.
In 2014 the margins didn’t produce as they had done in previous years. Disappointing for me as I love this style of fishing. But I had a bad 2014 everywhere when margin fishing. I don’t think I committed to it and didn’t put my confidence in it enough. Must do better in 2015.
I didn’t specifically record my best fish from the water. But I have had a few at 8lb and probably one or two touching 10. My best ever from here is 11. Strangely, almost as a parting gift my last proper carp of my last session on 28 Feb. on peg twenty was 9 lb. A good scrap on 14 elastic, 0.10 hooklength and 18 B611.
So, venue expert now? In a way possibly yes though I certainly don’t show that in the Summer evening matches. Favourite peg? Really anywhere 27-37 as I know I’m on a good stretch and can expect to catch well.
Happy to chat on the bank if you see me. I usually have a blue Avanti bait bucket and sit on a very old blue Rive box with original Octoplus legs. Meanwhile I now feel free to fish a few different waters, I’ve neglected my canal fishing for the last two Winters, though that’s partly health related. I may even return to the river, I fancy a few roach on hemp.
Article source: neilofthenene.blogspot.com