HAND MADE FLOAT'S
By Clive Branson
Gold Medal Groundbaits
By Clive Branson
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By Popular demand I have put together my experience and the experience of other anglers fishing Belmont on the River Wye at Hereford. A breakdown of how too approach and fish each peg. Having fished this venue for over 30 years I believe I may help other anglers with my experiences (This is a guide only and each anglerís skill and ability will determine his/her own catch result)
(The target weights and methods vary according to water conditions. The methods described also can change due to weather conditions)
Peg 1 - The top end of Belmont an area called Brienton. The top peg is just above the fence and just below the famous blockhouse swims where Lee Edwards broke the River match record of over 300lb of Chub. This top peg come off a run off from rapids and can produce good weights of chub and barbel. Either on a heavey Waggler or Balsa float. The waggler would have plenty of weight down and over depth running it through tripping bottom and expect to catch small chub at first and then barbel. Loose feeding plenty of hemp and Caster using bronze maggot on the hook. If the conditions are cold and water is running clear I may start with Bread flake on the hook and orange size balls of breadcrumb 2/3 across for the first hour and still loose feed down the middle to 1/3 of the river. On a good day my catch target would be 30lb-50lb I did manage to finish 3rd on the Wye charity match one year using the bread flake catching 35lb of chub from this peg
Peg 2 - This peg is first above the fence while old peg 2 was first below the fence. Although I have never drawn this one until recently. The swim starts to slow down and would approach this swim simular to peg 1. The only difference I would look to use a swim feeder across if things become hard. If the water is up then this peg could beat peg 1 hands down however peg 1 should beat this one on a good day. Target weight the same as peg 1
Peg 4 - The peg below the fence (Old peg 2). This was a noted winning peg until match organiser included the pegs above the fence, hence the change of numbers. Yet still a good peg on its day, On the far bank is a large underwater stone that breaks the flow and is a natural holding spot for chub. Starting the session I would chuck a feeder across to this feature getting some feed into the swim in the way of caster's and hemp expecting to catch early. Double caster on a 16 forged hook diameter 20 hook length. On a clear water day I may try the bread across first using a 6 swan loafer float bulked down 16" from the hook and 1 bb 5" above the bread flake size 6 - 8 hook. I remember a match a couple of years ago when the only way I could catch was scaling down to 20 hook and 1.8lb hooklength catching on the feeder 4lb chub and just winning a section
Peg 6 - Just out of the residential shoal of chub except when the river is running high and the fish drop back from the shallower pegs above. The river now slows up and becomes slightly deeper. I did manage a double figuer bag of chub from this swim a few years ago, using floating casters in the groundbait mix drawing up from from below. You can catch dace early on in the winter season too, on the stick float or waggler and this peg sometimes produces bleak. Catching close in on a 3meter whip can produce double figure bags, loose feeding red and white maggots 16 hook threading the maggot on the hook and expect 10-20 fish on the same bait.
Peg 8 - Some matches peg 8 is left out due to lack of fish in the swim. However recently it has been known to throw up some good double figure weights on the stick float 2 rod lengths out. Early in the season Perch may be caught down towards the bottom of the swim.
Peg 10 - This peg 10 can throw up some surprising weights of fish, including bream, barbel and chub. 2/3 across the swim is a gravel bed and stone feature, this is where the river stream runs and can expect to catch on the feeder. Weights of over 50lb have been recorded hear, most anglers will catch a barbel or two and pellet being the best bait. I fished this peg for 3 hours on the maggot feeder and caught nothing until I changed to halibut pellet and the swim came alive with barbel. (Note: Peg 10 may have moved to peg 8 due to the match organiser adding extra teams into the winter league series)
Peg 11 - This peg just below a stream that separates the two swims, here you can catch the tail end of the barbel shoal 2/3 across the river using the feeder, their are more chub in this swim than the one above, I would try a bread approach too as well as the stick float for dace under the rod tip. I have caught dace here early on in the season but for some reason they disappear later on.
Pegs 12-14 - Sometimes these pegs are not put into a match; once called cyanide straight. However I have whitnessed huge chub from area and in a practice session I caught a 5lb 8oz chub on the bread. In one match I saw 5 chub weighed in at 26lb + A far bank approach using a 8 swan shot chubber with bread flake. Every other cast a large pouched catapult of breadcrumb with mixed crust offerings, these would float after breaking up from the soft balls of groundbait. Failing that a large 4oz flat maggot swimfeeder fishing a bow in the line. Sometimes this peg can produce good weights of dace on the stick float inside early on in the winter season.
Peg 15 - This is an inside swim due to the over hanging trees, stick float maggot and caster. I won a section from this peg with 15lb+ under the tree However Lee Gardner Shakespeare team caught over 36lb of mixed barbel and chub from this swim on the feeder half way across on his first visit to the river
Peg 16 -18 -20- These pegs are much the same with odd shoals of chub on the far bank. I did manage 11lb of dace on the stick in a match a couple of years ago. My approach would start on the Bread fishing far bank with a 6-8 Swanshot loafer changing to maggot and caster later. Then perhaps a maggot feeder.
Peg 22 - A noted peg above the electric cables a long swim that has produced winning weights of chub down the middle to far bank. On the chubber and large waggler. Far bank feeder has also caught perch as well as chub. Looking to catch 20lb -40lb on a good day. I would use the same approach as above and also look for some large perch that live close in on the Chopped worm. Chub show up close in when water level is up.
Peg 24 - Another good swim on its day, the residents often throw bread into the water opposite to feed the swans and ducks. Carp also resident in this area a few caught over the years and Danny Baker from Tredegar caught one for over 30lb in a match previously. Swimfeeder far bank is best. Although I would approach the same as above. This swim can also produce when the river is up a few feet.
Peg 25 - The first peg above the electric cables not always put in matches but it is a long trot and capable of throwing up chub across far bank. Tree roots hold a resident shoal that wander between the pegs above and below
Peg 26 - One below the electric cables and this one has know to throw up some good weights of chub across. However in recent seasons there seems to be a lack of chub here and the swims above. Perch and roach on the inside on stick and pole works sometimes.
Peg 27 - Not such a good peg without any feature to fish towards, clear bank inside. Again a good dace area on its day. Pole to hand can produce bags of dace over molehill and hemp mixed together. 7 meter to hand feeding hard balls up stream and catching over the feed in front. I use internal elastic in a beafed up top joint, where once I used a solid glass top. A good winter peg close in and I have caught on the pole feeder from this peg to win a section in a winter league
Peg 28 - Not so many chub in this area, more dace and I caught 26lb of them in a match here, using stick float and boly float, loose feeding over half a gallon of hemp and 6 pints red maggot. When there is colour in the water I use molehill to pin them down and the boly float comes into its own. I also managed 22lb of bleak from this peg when it was up and coloured, fishing close to the bush above that creates an eddy when up.
Peg 31 - This peg is on the second gate and is a very good peg with a little water on. Winning my section here on a pole feeder catching dace to hand. Also know to throw up bleak weights. A small stream across can produce the odd chub on feeder.
Peg 30 - Just above the pump house I would use a similar tactics to the pegs above but feed close in for a late burst of roach. Fishing close to the bank with a 6 bb stick float, feeding caster/hemp and red maggot on the hook. straight lead down the swim will pick up larger 1lb+ roach later on. Also when the bleak are abundance this can be a very good peg for them with over 30lb caught in matches.
Pegs 32- 34 - Above the Pump house where bleak can become a nuisance when loose feeding, so a stiff molehill approach is advised, unless you set your stall out for bleak and in this case 20lb+ of them is on the cards. 3meter whip with a light but strong pole bristle pole float, 3lb line straight through, 16 long shank hook, threading the maggot on the hook. Target weight for bleak is 30-35 to the lb 900 bleak over 5 hours should give you 20lb+
Peg 36 - Below the Pump house and the start of the Ash Path pegs. A good area for dace on the pole to hand. On a clear day I have caught on the waggler up in the water mid river. loose feeding maggot but best weights are on the pole when the river is coloured. Winning a match here many years ago using the now popular pole to hand method in front of other anglers including angling correspondent Dave Harrel. I was pioneering a new way of fishing, now used by most anglers on the Wye circuit. 70% seived molehill with 30% flavoured groundbait mixed stiff as to sink fast, flatten off balls so they don't roll. Over shot a round body 8-10gram pole float, holding back over the feed on the bottom ease through the swim slowly
Peg 38 - Similar methods to the above, however there are Barbel in this area and a chuck 2/3 across with the swim feeder is worth a go. A bow in the line method for drop back bites is best. Halibut is now the popular bait but don't forget the caster. I have won money from this peg using both methods.
Peg 40 - As the peg above although now a noted barbel peg. just above the old ferry. Winning weight from here include barbel caught on swimfeeder tactics, caster and pellet. Still good for dace inside and odd perch and roach show up. I would start on the feeder and feed close in with loose fed maggot and hemp. Introducing a tangerine size ball of molehill groundbait mix on the 7 meter pole line. Coming over it after 30 mins unless I start to catch barbel
Peg 42 - These swims have mixed bags, dace on the inside and barbel across. Worth a cast with the feeder across and if the barbel show then a match winning weight could easily be achieved. I would approach this swim the same as above
Peg 44 - Used to be a flyer for chub on the bread flake, now these days barbel have taken root due to the nature of the gravel bottoms. They can be caught almost anywhere in the swim with pleasure anglers opting for the inside and double figure fish caught in the evening. Good dace area too
Peg 46 - Barbel have shown here in big numbers in the past, yet dace are very prominant and match weights of over 30lb+ are possible. Big chub have been known to come out of here in the past too. Same approach as above.
Peg 47 - This is the first peg without access to the opposite bank therefore a good swim across the river that sometime in the past have caught Bream. There is a big tree trunk that has been cut back to access the swim. A good inside swim that holds Perch and Chub on the stick float.
Peg 48 - This peg is a long peg and noted for bags of dace. Start by balling in 10 balls of heavy mixed molehill, sweet groundbait and hemp, flattening the balls so that they don't roll out of the swim. Loose feeding red maggot over the top. Using the boly float trotting down stream untill the fish come to the balls of groundbait. Might take up to 30 mins then swap for the pole to hand to speed up the catch rate. Target 30-40lb on a good day
Peg 50 - Just one above the old railway bridge opposite the railings. More perch to be caught here plus roach, however dace being the dominant species so using the methods above will produce a good weight. Roach come late close in. Unfortunately these pegs are doubled banked with the Railing pegs opposite therefore a feeder approach will compete with anglers opposite. A steady knob of groundbait on the stickfloat and pole to hand is the approach
Peg 52 - One above the Bridge where large perch live closer to the bridge and over hanging trees. Stick float trotting down loose feeding red maggot and chopped worm. Lob worm on the hook. I use an over shotted 6gram pole float with a long rod to slowly inch down the bait in the swim. Holding back every few seconds will lift the worm off the bottom and this can produce bites from big 2lb+ perch. Lookout for chub and chublets too
Peg 54 - Not used often in matches due to the close proximity of the bridge and kids throwing stones. However the swim here is shallower and therefore faster in nature, where bleak can be caught on the whip, plus dace on the boly. Small roach live here too, stick float best Target weight is double figures only. Barbel can be caught with the feeder by casting slightly up stream towards the buttress of the bridge.
Peg 55 - Roach sometimes show close in as well as the odd times out in the middle. Can not always compete with pegs below, however a good inside peg when the river is up due to the bank cut away. Start by balling in a few orange size groundbait flattened balls and loose feed over the top, if the bleak arrive in number then go for them otherwise hope that the dace and roach come
Peg 56 - Top of the sport field below the old railway bridge. Start of the old good dace pegs, stick float approach to begin with then nailing the dace down with molehill and hemp mix pole to hand. Bleak around this area too. Big Perch and roach on the inside down towards the over hanging bush. To aviod bleak feed loose maggots away from your dace attack
Peg 57 - This is the sunnyside of the river where I believe the temperature can warm the water up on a cold winter day. Always bring sun glasses when fishing this area. Can sometimes throw up a very good bag of dace on the pole to hand, starts to shallow up further down the peg, as a rule the better peg is below. Close pegging.
Peg 58 - This peg becomes shallower than the others in the vicinity and the dace can accumulate here in large numbers. Pole to hand method is the winning tactic with weights exceeding 50lb possible. Because of the number of dace here they can be caught close in and sometimes off the bottom and on the drop. I would set up two pole rigs here, one at 7 meters and one at 4 meters trying to draw the fish in close
Peg 59 - Just coming out of the hot spot of dace fishing, yet I have known good weights of dace coming from this swim. Pole to hand and waggler up in the water down the middle of the river. Feeder down the middle can catch a few fish too, including odd barbel and chub. If the dace don't arrive in numbers early I would attack the middle before the anglers opposite compete for the same fish
Peg 60 - This peg is a bit of anomaly due to its nature. Chub in the middle have been known to come and so have barbel and bream with a winning weight of over 60lb+ in the past. Nevertheless most times a struggle to put a decent catch together from this swim, I would try chopped worm on the bait dropper here looking for some big perch
Peg 61- 62 - Just above the Scout hut a long swim that has produced good weights of chub in the past. Fishing the bread can catch fish almost straight away but if the river is up then a close in approach is best. Mixed species of fish to be caught here including bleak
Peg 63 - Below the old cider out flow where large Perch can be caught on the worm, chopped worm with baitdropper, Red maggot a good bait too. Also large numbers of bleak to be caught on the whip.
Peg 64 - Same as the peg above. Huge amount of fish can be seen early morning topping in mid river, Dace, Roach, bleak etc.. Mixed tactics include Pole to hand for dace, Roach on the tip and stick float, Waggler down the middle and up in the water, also dragging bottom where Bream have been caught previously. This is where I made the pioneering article on pole fishing to hand in the Improve your Fishing Magazine back in 1989
Peg 65 - Last peg above the boat house and with no pegs below this can be a flyer. Same as above however bleak can dominate anything you try so going all out for these fish can produce a large weight. There are large perch also to be taken on worm close in using baitdropper and pole tactics holding back
These pegs below are opposite the Rugby club and Boat house
Peg 72 - Not normally put in, however can produce small chub and roach not forgetting the Perch that live here, a very snaggy peg due to the amount of brambles and bushes that fall into this area. Good for bleak when river is up
Peg 74 - The first peg top of the railings opposite the ash path pegs. A noted Perch peg with weights of over 50lb caught in the past. Due to over hanging trees above a feature of cover. Worm attack is best holding back with flat float produces good perch on denro or lob worms. Red maggot catches too. Also a good shoal of chubblets to be caught on the wagg and stick
Peg 75 - The next best peg in this section with dace coming into the equation, with perch on the inside and dace on the pole line this can be a good peg. Hadrian Whittle (Hereford) has drawn this peg twice in the Wye Championships and caught 37lb and 30lb respectively. Also Chubblets to be caught on the waggler and stick
Peg 76 - Known to hold bream which can be caught when the river is up and coloured on the pole or swimfeeder. However not normally a good peg in the section, can produce winning weights of bleak when the river is running very high as the water backs up due to the bushes.
Peg 78 - Same as above however as the end peg in this section and not the best of the railing pegs but best when the river is low and trotting down to the railway bridge for perch or very good when the river is high. I have known huge bags of chublets from this swim in years gone bye Lee Woodhouse catching 120lb in one match. Barbel also live here although very seldom caught
Peg 79 - One below the railway bridge. Good for perch, very snaggy close in below the bush, with dace and roach on the pole float held back so not to snag when trotting down. Good peg for section pionts in matches. Very good for bleak when river is up and coloured. New wooden stage in place
Peg 80 - Simular to the one above but with more dace, fishing pole to hand, large pike in this area. Over hanging tree below so hard to trot a long swim. A link down the swim produces good roach and odd chub. New wooden stage in place
Peg 81 - A nice swim with roach that live here to be caught close in on the stickfloat. A new wooden platform for comfort and safety. A large over hanging tree below the swim good cover for chub and chublets. Dace and perch to be caught here too.
Looking downstream from pegs 82-83
Peg 82 - 83 - Due to no trees or bush cover these swims can sometimes be very hard to put a large bag of fish together, nevertheless when the roach are feeding these swims can be very good. Fishing the boly or large stick two rods out knobs of molehill and hemp. Dace can be caught on the maggot in the middle. Fishing stands are currently being erected for comfort and safety. Odd barbel can be caught here
Peg 84 -85- 86 - With tree cover these swims can produce most times, perhaps not competing with some swims in the section yet giving the angler a good day fishing, catching a mixed bag of dace, roach, odd big chub and perch. Also bleak to be caught on a hard day.Stick float Boly or avon float. These pegs have had a makeover by the Hereford A/C and have constructed fishing stands for comfortable fishing and safety
87 - One of my favourite pegs having won a section here with 48lb of mixed roach,chub and dace. A wooden stand has been constructed here
Peg 88 - Can produce good bags of roach when they come into this part of the river, fishing the stick and boly under the rod tip, and with the swim feeder also producing some unexpected weights of bream, barbel and chub Also a good Perch area in the winter
Peg 90 - Opposite the Boat House these swims can produce good weights of chub down the middle on the bread or bunches of maggot and caster. Using a 6 swan Chubber Loafer or 8 gram Boly float with knobs of Brown crumb or sticky maggot with fine gravel to help it sink fast. I caught 36lb of Chub on the bread flake in one match from here
Peg 91 - Caught when the river was up and coloured, down the side straight lead, luncheon meat 15lb 6oz 3rd in match, normally very good for roach on the boly or avon float down the middle.
Peg 92 - One of the best lower pegs and a good Roach area when the species migrate into the area, normally as the winter gets colder. Also good chub to be caught either inside or down the middle. Large stick float 6-8 bb strung down the line. Little blocked maggot feeder works well too
Peg 94 - Just above the Belmont road bridge, good for roach and dace, Large stick float holding back three rods out just under the shadow of the bridge the river shallows up but good for odd chub. Another winning tactic is a 4oz feeder across the river for chub, maggot or caster, bow in the line for drop back bites. Some snaggs here
Peg 95 - Under the bridge, easy comfortable cement peg but usually with a howling down stream wind caused by the Motorway Bridge funnel. Good for chub and roach, with river shallowing up there are two depths to fish under the rod tip, plumb up before fishing, some snaggs to avoid due to shopping trolley paradise. Chub to be caught across on the bread too or maggot feeder. I Caught 42lb of roach here on the stick float one match when they migrated into the area
Peg 96 - A flyer most days and an end peg, with a large head of chub to be caught on the waggler mid to far bank. Start with the bread flake across before swtitching to the maggot and caster. Swimfeeder works well across, also a stick trotted down to the old Belmont Bridge works well. Roach and dace here too. There is a huge shoal of resident Barbel and Chub below the bridge that can't be accessed, so plenty of feed to bring them up
Tennis Courts Section
Peg 97 - 98 -100 - On its day these pegs can catch good bags of Dace and Chub. Waggler down the middle caster and maggot. Big Barbel some doubles can be caught on the feeder across. Halibut pellet is recommended. Odd Carp around this area too. When the river is up a few feet big chub can be caught close in on the stick and straight lead. I weighed in 20lb 8oz last season with two barbel and three grayling on the waggler when the river was low and clear
Peg 101 - Last but one peg in the section, a noted flyer with many big weights coming on the feeder and chubber across there are large stones in the swim that appear when the river is low, a good natural feature. With a 50yard chuck down river there is a foot bridge that hold a large shoal of small barbel. I caught them late one year by casting down stream after a slow start in front of me. Coming 4th in a winter league series 26lb+ Also winning a winter league in 2013 with 45lb of chub on my half barrel chub float using the bread flake
Peg 102 - This peg is an out and out flyer the last one above the foot bridge. A good stick float peg that runs off to the bridge, that hold a large shoal of chub and barbel. Strong waggler rod open end reel straight through 4lb line 6bb stick float loose feed 6 pints of bronze maggot.
(All pegs numbers are correct as I write this however the match organiser may change numbers at any time)
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