Yew Tree Fishery Neston Winter 2013

Yew Tree Fisheries, Winter Fishing.

Many anglers pack there gear away as soon as the cold winter sets in but is that really the best thing to do? Today I was going to find out if it was wise or not to fish commercial fisheries even in the coldest of weather!


Angler: Haydn Ward


Pole: Maver medusa XM 14.5m

Venue: Yew Tree Fisheries small lake.

Today was going to be a cold one. I knew it from the moment I got out of bed. With a slight frost and snow foretasted I decided I was mad enough to take a chance and head to Yew Tree Fisheries.  I had a slight plan of action in my head and I was hoping to film the first AnglingAdict video of the year. I had asked around for some info on how the lake was fishing and Karl (a friend of mine who used to fish the water frequently) recommended peg 2 fishing tight to the island at 12m.

I arrived at the fishery in overcast conditions with the temperature reading 1 degree. I had numerous layers on and a pair on fingerless gloves….. I thought I was prepared; I was very wrong!  Standing on the soft ground of the track down to the lake I analyzed the water. The one obvious thing I could see was that I had every peg to choose from. Therefore, I had a walk around to see if peg two actually looked the best, Karl was right, it did look the best!

After getting the gear from the car to the lake and after Paul the owner had lent me a keep net I started to set up in the cold. Fortunately for me, the sun came out and as I started to get my box into position I felt pleasantly warm sunlight beaming down on my face, it didn’t last though. Once I had set up and was sat comfortably the clouds started to dominate the sky and the temperature fell again.

The Methods/ Tackle

I had thought carefully about what tackle I was to use and in what way to use the tackle. I knew from the beginning that it would be wise to set up a feeder rod to try and pick up some better fish, other wise know as ‘bonus fish’.  I had thought about fishing a running lead to a quick change bead but also considered a maggot feeder and or method feeder approach. I decided to fish to my strengths. Fishing to your strengths is something I am 100% in agreement with. If you are targeting a venue where you know what all the locals are using to catch fish then by all means try it but if you are unfamiliar with the method I always opt for trying a method I am most confident with. In my case, the method feeder. In the past I have had more success with this method than a maggot feeder or straight bomb. Consequently, I decided that it could work for me today.

My method feeder set up was as follows.

Rod: Maver Powerlite 9ft feeder, a great rod for short casts but also is able to punch out a feeder a decent distance. With a soft action I knew this was perfect for all fish I would catch today. The reel was a Drennan Red feeder reel and it was geared up with 5lb Maver line. I used a 25g small Drennan method feeder and a short 4inch hook length to a size 20 wide gape hook. 

I also had a two pole lines set up, both across to the island. One swim at 12m straight out in front in 3ft of water (4inch away from the island bank) and another swim on the tip of the island in just over 3ft of water.I planned to fish 4mm expander pellet on my line straight out in font and maggots to the tip of the island.

Pole rig set up: I was fishing with a 0.3g inline pencil float, shotted so that less that half a cm of float could be seen along with a 20 wide gape hook again. The pole was Maver Madusa XM and was fitted with a solid number 4 elastic. I fished the same rig in both swims and marked on my pole with tipex the depths of each swim. This meant all I had to do was move the float up or down slightly and I was ready to dob in on the line I was going to try next.

 Time to get started

 The time was 11:45am, my pole lines were all plumed up ready to fish, I shipped out to 12m and potted in about 15-20, 2mm micro pellets. I had a 4mm expander on the hook and lowered it slowly into the water. After around 10 minuets of fishing in that swim, I had no indications of fish. I shipped back and decided to pot in around 7 maggots on my other pole line at the tip of the island, with a single red on the hook, I waited 5 minuets to see if any fish were in the swim… Nothing! I shipped in and decided to have a cast on the feeder and wait until later before going on the pole line again.

What a good idea that turned out to have been! I picked up my rod and cast out to around 5m off the tip of the island in to around 4-5ft of water. My plan for the feeder was to cast it around until I found the fish. After about 3 minuets of my small method feeder being in the water, the tip flew round and the rod shot off my rest towards the water! A rush of excitement overflowed my body as I grabbed the rod! I could tell that this fish was not at all put off by the cold water and was fighting just as hard as it would do in the summer. Knowing this was not a skimmer or a roach, my hopes had suddenly risen for the session, as I slowly managed to bring the fish towards me it stopped… I was snagged! After desperately trying everything to free the fish and my line the fish came off and I had to pull for a break! I imagine the fish was around the 3-4lb mark, I was gutted! The situation became even worse when I lost my feeder too; the fish had not only snagged the hook on something but the feeder also! After I had reeled in my bare line I wanted to get out there again as fast as possible!

Opening my feeder draw on my box, my heart sank when I saw the only other method feeders I had with me were big ones! The only option I had was to see if I could borrow a method feeder off the angler that had turned up. I strolled over to him and introduced my self; I explained the situation and this man who was called Ryan (picture below) very kindly supplied me with a method feeder and mould!

Once I had set the method feeder up again, (which took a matter of minuets) I cast out to the same spot with the same bait. I was fishing with 2mm micros on the feeder and 2-3 red maggots on the hook. Sure enough, the tip ventured round and another good fish was on. I did my best to get this fish away from the snag that the previous fish had got me in but when I lifted the rod to net the fish, the taught line fell slack! The fish had come off! I was really annoyed and made another attempt to catch a fish by casting over the same spot again.

This time it was about 5mins before the tip went round. When it did, I lifted the rod to feel a lighter weight on the end. Slightly disappointed, I brought the fish to the net and after unhooking the brown gold fish of around 1lb I baited up and cast again.

I continued to fish the method feeder for a while and it produced about 5 more brown gold fish plus a nice roach. Eventually the bites drifted away and the swim died. I decided it was time to take a look on the pole line again but this time fishing maggot on my original pellet line.

I shipped out to the swim 12m out in front and dropped the double red maggot hook bait into the lake. After not getting a bite I made the move and tried fishing a foot to my left with my bait just off bottom. The move worked like magic! Within seconds I was bringing in a small roach and the fish kept coming from that spot for the proceeding 20 minuets.

Just like the feeder swim, it died and I put my pole to one side while I used the last 30 minuets to fish the feeder again.

Casting to the same angle as before but a few meters further out, the fish started to come to the net again. Two skimmers of around 10oz and another Brown gold fish of about 10oz. The time on my phone read 3:30pm and I needed to be ready for being picked up by 4:00pm. I got off my box with feet like ice blocks and fingers like icicles! Not very pleasant! Any how, after packing my gear back onto the trolley I reviled from the water my keep net… Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture but I had a decent bag considering no other angler had more than 5 fish and the conditions were freezing to say the least. In conclusion not a bad session even though it was too cold for me to film a new video!

Tight lines and wet nets from me Haydn Ward the AnglingAdict!