Sessions 27 + 28 + 29 – Holiday Park Fishing

This entry in my blog covers three sessions that I fitted in during a week’s holiday at the Lakeside Holiday Park, Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset. We’ve been here probably 7-8 times, always in October, over the years as a Sun Newspaper £9.50 venue. A small compact site with the added attraction for me of a residents-only fishing pool of probably 2 acres in size with the usual species resident – perch, pike, roach, carp, bream, tench,… and usually also tip-top entertainment on the evening including the obligatory, for us, the evening bingo session. However, due to the current pandemic all entertainments (other than the fishing) were off the cards – no bar, no restaurant, etc – and was thus an accommodation-only break. Usually you just took your own towels and bedding covers although even these were hireable but this year you had to take not only your covers but also your own quilts, pillows and towels. However, despite the lack of provided facilities, etc it was still a great holiday and great value – I mean, where would you find even a basic hotel double room for £150 for 3 nights – probably be pushing that for 2 nights even? And yet, for that price, we had a really nice 6-berth static caravan with all needed facilities for cooking, etc for 7 nights – and free fishing!

So, to the fishing….

OK, as I said, Liz and I have been to this park around 8 times or so and we usually arrive early so I can spend a few hours lure fishing pre the van being ready to access – vans are always ready by the official 1600 booking in time, but often become available at 1500 …. but we arrive at 1200 so I can do my lure flinging stuff. Then the following day I’m out about 0630 (still dark at this time of year) setting up my gear ready for the first light to cast in and fish until around 1100 before returning to the van for a bacon/sausage butty or similar and then Liz and head off to the town for the afternoon. The following day is usually a full day session on the pool for Liz and myself… and I usually manage one more early morning session later on.

And our results for our 8 years of trying? Well, Liz has never even had a bite and myself, a couple of years ago, did have a pike take my sweetcorn bait as it was being retrieved but then bit me off at the net. And that’s the total action in the 8 years! But a guy did show me where the bream are a couple of years ago – and he pulled out 5 or so bream of 4-5lb in as many casts as I recall!

Anyway, we come to the latest trip…

The early arrival was not possible this year as we were warned that no facilities, including toilets, would be available until access was allowed to the vans at 1600 and that a contactless sign-in system would be in place. It actually suited us as the later arrival meant that we could take the cats to the cattery on the day pre-setting off from home thus saving one day’s fees rather than taking them on the previous day. However, the on-arrival lure session had to be given a miss. But three short sessions were made over the week…

For all three sessions I fished the same way – same tackle, same bait, same presentation – float fishing sardine deadbaits for pike. One 12’ 2.75lb TC rod, 20lb mono line, 25g cigar float, 15g quick change lead and a 30lb wire trace terminating in the standard size 6 twin treble snap tackle. Liz fished one session (Session 28 – 16th October) with a groundbait/maggot feeder.

Session 27 – 13th October 2020

I set out at 0630, still dark, to my swim of the day at the left hand corner of the pool, the location where I’d had that previous pike take. The water depth around there was a more-or-less level 4’6” and the banks were populated with overhanging bushes. By 0700 all rods, nets and mats, etc were setup ready and the light was just perfect to start. I discovered that I’d forgotten to pack my injectable oil and liquid attractors but I had brought my bag of old baits that had been sliced up and I catapulted some of these pieces all around my intended area of attention. The weather at that point was ok, and I had been warmed up by my prepping movements … but then several short showers passed along with a breeze picking up and it went quite chilly. So, 0945, without any action being apparent, the thoughts of a bacon butty in the warmth of the caravan became quite enticing and I decided to start to pack up… but at about 1000 the float slid away and a pike of 5lb 1oz was successfully landed. However, by this time I’d put away the camera/tripod and scales so I had to rest the fish in the water within the landing net whilst I unpacked them (although I didn’t bother with the tripod) …

At this point, still cold and damp but nevertheless elated with the result, I decided a warming and celebratory bacon butty was definitely needed!

Session 28 – 15th October 2020

0800 Liz and I ventured from the van intending a full day’s fishing together. This time we decided we’d try the right hand corner of the pool, an area that we’d never fished before but looked good. A few small fish moving also seemed a good sign. Water depth was between 7’-8’. I fished as the previous session presenting baits on the bottom and up to mid-water but by 1200 I’d not had a touch – and neither had Liz on her feeder rod – and as a cold breeze picked up we decided to put discretion before valour and called it a day.

Session 29 – 17th October 2020

Another 0630 departure from the van saw me back in my first swim of the week. However, during the week, I’d managed to obtain, courtesy of Tesco’s, some Cod Liver Oil and Fish Sauce (basically blitzed anchovies) for injecting into the bait which I did… and also put out small fish pieces for further attraction. 1100 – after no interest being shown in my bait I decided to cast very close to the bushes running away from me up the left end of the pool … the cast saw my bait land where I wanted it, however, the breeze took my line up over some branches of a tree next to me. I tried to clear the line but in the end the terminal tackle became lodged solidly and the line snapped …. leaving my float and terminal tackle (inc the snap tackle) blowing about in the breeze … luckily the bait itself had fallen from the hooks so the resident seagulls were safe in the short term … but, as is the norm, the ensemble was about 6” further out than I could reach with my landing net to try to recover. I was in a bit of a quandary as to what to do then but soon remembered the small 6” Gardner rake I carry attached to a good length of the orange twisted nylon cord often used for camping or for crab lines. So, after a few throws, I managed to get the rake in the right position and managed to remove the tackle from its location albeit that the float landed next to me and the rest of the kit fell directly down into the water but safer than dangling up in a tree I think… BUT somewhere during the procedure the line had been pulling on the rod tip and 6”+ of the tip had snapped off! So at this point I decided – time for a butty!

So, I’ve been searching the ‘net for a replacement rod – I needed a Ron Thompson Desperado 12’ 2.75lb TC to match with its remaining twin as when I use two rods I always use matched pairs (rod/reel/line) so it was either locate an identical replacement or buy a new matching pair. As it turned out, the Desperado is no longer a current model and the only ones I could find are being sold by Angling Direct … at £39.99 … and as I only paid about £20 each for them originally from Go Outdoors I wasn’t chuffed about that! So I’ve now got two new rods on order from Amazon for £11 each! 🙂 The remaining Desperado might be set up for a new purpose or even car booted in the spring along with other unneeded rods and other fishing gear …. and general extraneous household stuff.

WATER TEMPS:

ScreenHunter 09

AIR TEMPS:

ScreenHunter 11

Session 26 – First Day Of Pike Season – And AWAAAAAAAY I Went! Incorporates A Couple Of Surprises Too …

Thursday 1st October was a very special day for me – also enhanced by the fact I’d not been able to fish the previous week due to family commitments – due to it being the first day of MY new pike season – and also further enhanced by the fact that, due to my health issues, I’d missed the whole of the 2019-2020 pike season completely. So to me, to whom pike are the superior quarry, the day was like all my Christmases rolled into one – regardless of whether I caught or not … but did I?? Umm, AWAAAAAY!… and wait and see! A lot of rambling to be done before I get to that point LOL!

I mention ‘MY’ season. Legally these days there is no official pike season but in days past pike fishing was only allowed from 1st October through to the end of what was then the start of the general coarse fishing season on 15th March. However, myself, I do almost observe that old season albeit ‘my’ season is extended a couple of weeks until March 31st. There are several reasons for my choice. At other times there are other, spring, summer, autumn species to fish for – I personally feel I’m contributing to maintaining the health of the pike population in that despite their macho image they are actually fragile fish that can suffer from excessive exercise in the warm air/oxygen depleted water of warmer periods – and looking forward to 1st October replaces the old magic of the arrival of the old coarse season on 16th June. Anyway, my main pike water club agrees with me and NO pike fishing is allowed in any of its water by any method at all between 1st April and 30th Sept.

So, the days previous to the outing was mainly prepping and checking my gear was all intact and in working condition. I do try to maintain separate sets of ‘general’ gear and ‘pike’ gear but I still find that I need to transfer items between bags especially if I intend to livebait as I need my float rod and light tackle (floats, hooks, shot, etc) for the catching thereof – and then there are items like cameras, scales and thermometers that one needs. I do buy and add items bit by bit over the years to try to make each set of kit self contained but not reached that point yet. And after the session (or at least before the next session of the ‘other’ type) it has to be ensured that the borrowed items are returned to its proper bag… something that sometimes goes wrong! This year’s intended addition, and being actively researched for, to the pike bag are scales – looking for digital ones that will display in ‘LB:OZ’ format of some kind really as I’m ‘old skool’ and ‘KG’ and ‘JIN’ are as useful and as meaningful to me as a knitting pattern printed in Japanese! And I *HATE* scales that display in that bastardised unit, the ‘decimal LB’… the decimal point has NO place in imperial measurements! So, although I can easily recognise 3.75lb as being actually 3lb 12oz, and convert other less value-to-value recognisable values reasonably accurately and quickly in my head, the sight of a decimal point makes my teeth grate! And if I’m going to be paying good money for the item I want to be comfortable with it. End of this edition’s rant! LOL!

So, come the day, I’m up at 0530 – get deadbaits from freezer, maggots from fridge and finish the loading of the car. And then have a bite of breakfast and an eye-opening cup of coffee… and leave the house to head for the pool (Pike Water 5) bound at 0645 arriving at 0700. On arrival the gate is closed and still locked on the combination – good sign, I’m first there and able to get the swim I wanted!

The usual tackling up, prepping the ‘station’, etc and I make my first cast with my maggot baited float rod in search of live baits at 0800 … and 0825 the first fish is landed. Not what I really wanted this time – a 6oz bream – as too large for my needs of the day and so it is slipped back …. and AWAAAAY!

Next fish is landed at 0850 … and this is the first of the surprises alluded to in the title … its a perch!! Now that may not seem strange in the usual run of things but…. two or three years ago I said to Liz that in 6-7 years of fishing at this venue I’d never seen nor heard of a perch being there – and I usually fish with worm/maggot at least for some part of a non-pike session. Actually, having said this to Liz, on the next session on this pool when I lifted my landing net from the water there was a minnow sized perch nestling in the bottom! However, since then I’d still not seen another perch there although I did hear a couple of times of a 3lb’er that appeared to live in the vicinity of one certain swim. So the capture of this perch was a big surprise and although bait sized I returned it with reverence …. as I did the other 6 perch I caught (biggest about 6oz) on the day … so from one seen perch in the best part of 10 years, I suddenly encountered seven in the one session! AND the second of the surprises – all of them came to RED maggots and red maggots only! Nothing on white ones other than bream and small silvers. Now in 60+ years of fishing I’ve always found that maggot colours didn’t statistically make any sort of noticeable difference to catches – back in the day when you could get bronze and yellow maggots (can you still get them? I always order mixed red and whites) I never found if you switched through all the colours that anything changed at all – if you were catching you still caught at the same rate with whatever colour you put on the hook, if not catching then changing colour made no difference. So I had put down ‘preferred colours’ to the whim of the angler rather than fishes choice… but on this trip its made me think again… SPOOKY!

Anyway, back to the day’s fishing …

0855 – I managed to capture my first bait suitable fish – a roach of a couple of ounces – and by 1100 I’d managed to catch 3 more.

1100 – the float rod was wound in and the 2 pike rods set up to fish the livebaits under floats with changing depths throughout the rest of the session (between 4’ and 8’ generally) along the marginal slope/shelf where I find the pike tend to patrol – and I’ve yet to have even one take in open water over the 10 years I’ve fished this water..

I hook my livebaits carefully in order that I can release them after  use by lip hooking to the middle hook of a dual hooked trace and have enough trace twixt the two hooks to place the second hook, without tension, into the dorsal fin itself instead of into the fish’s body. I also try to limit the use of a bait before release so as to try to preserve its life.

I say hooks as a generic term as I make traces up to suit my needs for both live- and deadbaiting – some traces consist solely of one large single hook, others one treble hook, others have various dual single/double/treble hook combinations. On this session my traces had a mid wire single hook for lip hooking (bait held on by use of a bait flag) and a size 6 double hook on the end to connect into the dorsal fin. By choice but it is also a club rule, all my hooks are (a) barbless or (b), specific to the case of non-barbless trebles, have crushed barbs on two points with the barb kept intact on the third point which is solely used for bait attachment.

So…. there I am fishing my baits … and the float wavers … and skims along a bit … I pull into it and feel the resistance … and then the hooks come adrift… so I cast to same spot and a few seconds later… float bobs again … pull into it … resistance … hooks pull free again… cast out again and nothing for 15 minutes or more so I retrieve line in stops and starts … and right as I’m about  to lift bait from water a big swirl as a pike grabs the tail end but not hooks … bit of tug-o-war before pike releases again! Another 30 minutes passes without incident and I recast very tightly to the reeds bordering the bank to my right…. few seconds later float bobs and twitches … a bit harder strike is made this time …. and its firmly attached this time… and eventually I slip the net under a 5lb 7oz pike! Ecstatic am I or what!! J Not a world breaker and not long out of pikey nappies but the feels the best of starts to my new pike season for me!

So I fished on until 1415 with deadbaits I’d taken along with me but without further ado despite trying other swims and heading AWAAAAAAY! home a very happy bunny….

PLANS:

No more fishing for me now until at least 12th October as we are away on hols for that week and so I need to prep for that. However, the holiday site does have its own fishing pool for residents only so hopefully we’ll make use of that 2 or 3 times over the hols especially as all the other onsite facilities are closed due to covid and I expect cancellations made due to covid have lowered the site’s income appreciably ie no clubhouse/bar, bingo, shows, etc… I’ll probably have at least one pike session and one general one. For me water temps are still a bit high for pike fishing. I like temps of below 7/8’C for my serious pike fishing and the past few years have meant its been late December/January before that’s come about.

TEMPS:

AIR:                  MIN: 10.3’C       MAX: 16.2’C
WATER:           MIN: 10.6’C       MAX: 14.8’C

WATER TEMPS:

2020-10-01 WATER TEMP

AIR TEMPS:

2020-10-01 AIR TEMP

Session 25 – Proper Fish … And Some Carp LOL!

Monday 14th September I ventured out to the club pool (AA-B) that I’d been wanting to visit recently but due to circumstances I’d had to settle for alternate venues. However, on this fine and sunny day, although maybe NOT as good as the temperature readings shown below would suggest as an air temp high of 40+’C does seem slightly high although possibly, with the thermometer exposed in direct sunlight, it doesn’t seem unfeasible as I’ve recorded temps in excess of 50’ in previous times under such circumstances and the water temps do appear to be as would be expected. Anyway, it was a bright warm sunny day with only a slight breeze….

Setting off at 0700 I arrived pool side, parked 15’ from my selected peg for the day, at around 0730.

My Swim

The blue line that you see to the left of the picture is one of the lines that cross the pool between most swims in order to act as a cormorant deterrent – and I also noticed a large ‘eagle’ kite attached to the top of a large tree to act as a ‘scarecrow’ type deterrent – plus this pool used to be carp free until about two years ago when ‘cormorant resistant’ carp were added on EA advice – and have had an effect mainly due to the usual muddying of the water due to their digging and thus the clear water as was is now far more translucent/opaque so fish are not so easily located by the cormorants…

Car unloaded, some feed (cereal/particles/maggots) was fed into the swim, my ‘station/area’ and accessories (eg landing net, unhooking ‘cradle’ (Korum Fast Mat – https://www.korum.co.uk/products/fish-care/fast-mat), scales, camera on tripod) were all sorted and ready to hand and first cast was made at 0800.

Tackle for the start, and most, of the day … my trusty 12’9” (TBH it was 13’ back in the day but an unfortunate incident saw 3” of the tip snap off in yesteryear) Hardy Matchmaker clone (made by a moonlighting Hardy’s rod maker using the exact components and blank as the original) … this was coupled with 6lb line … size 10 barbless hook baited with worm (dipped in ‘Predator Plus’ which I find good attractant for tench and bream too) and tipped with cross hooked maggot to prevent the worm’s escape … and a 6BB crystal waggler float slightly over-shotted to be fished laying-on completed the setup.

Bites were had from first cast but had difficulty connecting and I assume they were small perch mouthing the free ends of the worm. First fish hooked came at 0845 and turned out to be a common carp of 7lb 14oz…

7lb 14oz Common Carp

… and this was followed later by a nice bream of 4lb 12oz…

4lb 12oz Bream

… and these were quickly followed by a couple of perch of around 3oz and 6oz..

And then at 0920, the float disappeared and a strike met with solid resistance immediately followed by the fish flying almost unstoppingly across the pool straight for the patch of lily pads that can be seen over by the far bank… I say ‘almost unstoppingly’ but, in fact, I did stop it just short of the pads and was just managing to gain back about 12” of line when all went sickenly slack. I suspected a hook pull but when I retrieved the end of the line it seemed I’d suffered a snap-off about 2”-3” above the hooklink.

After that all went quiet for a while with just an occasional tweak or slight lift/wobble of the float but between 1050-1130 I did manage 4 or so small perch. In the interim I did also try sweetcorn but still just with the small wobbles continuing.. so possibly roach/rudd nibbles…

1130, I switched from the 6BB crystal waggler to a 5AA wind/driftbeater type float fished in the same method as previously.

At 1145 I landed a 3lb 0oz bream followed by another of 2lb 12oz twenty minutes later…

3lb 0oz Bream
2lb 12oz Bream

1220 I switched to bread baits which seemed to entice slightly heavier bites but still nothing was hooked until 1310 when a 7lb 6oz mirror carp was landed…

Following that I switched between worm and bread baits until 1545 when I packed in for the day and added a few more perch to my tally including my ‘Best Of The Day’…

‘Best Of The Day’ Perch

AHEAD:

Well, this will have been my last session until Thursday 1st October, which in itself will be my first pike session of my new pike season. I’m away all next week in Great Yarmouth at the bros-in-law’s-alike caravan, taking said gent and partner – and Liz – and a freezer and can fridge with us to install in the ‘van as well, so its a fishing free week but wouldn’t have room for tackle anyway!

And this possibly – but extremely unlikely to be given the warm winters we’ve been having recently – may have been my last ‘general’ fishing outing until April 2021. For piking, I like water temps to be below 8’C and at the moment they are generally around 15+’C and it will take some time to drop even with a few frosts appearing, etc. So I expect I will flit between some pike bait fishing, pike on lures and ‘general’ fishing until such times as conditions become more pike favourable for me.

TEMPS:

AIR:                  MIN: 11.1’C       MAX: 42.0’C
WATER:           MIN: 15.1’C       MAX: 16.9’C

WATER TEMPS:

AIR TEMPS:

Session 24 – Out And About Again

Monday 7th September and I ventured out again, this time to the closest of my club pools (SAC-DP). I had intended to travel further afield to another water of another club but due to having to take the car in for service on the following day (8th) with having washed it and valeted the interior and said pool being down a pot-hole riddled (and water filled) half mile dirt track I decided against plus the fact that for almost a week the car has been beeping warnings about a ‘brake fault’ – in fact, it beeped, displayed ‘Brake Fault’ and then ‘STOP!’ which makes you wonder, if the brakes were faulty how are you expected to stop?? However, these warnings often bear no relation to the truth and this one was actually indicating a ‘rear foglight bulb blown’ as it had done before some time back…. Also Liz was hearing (but not me) a ‘grinding’ noise from the front nearside – turned out to be a bit of corrosion on something on which ‘my man’ stripped down the component and cleaned and lubricated it… so all good now – apart from the fact ‘my man’ informed me that both front tyres were worn and needed changing soon – within the month actually – and as Liz and I are due to be making two trips to Great Yarmouth and one to Burnham-on-Sea within the next month that’s something I need to act upon. Bit of good news though – seems in the last year the car’s mileage has only gone up by 3,000 miles! Probably due to lost holidays due to lockdown, etc, my lack of fishing trips due to my health and the loss of Wednesday Pub Nights. So, basically the car has only been doing shopping trips and getting Liz to work, both of which are probably less than 5 mile round trips. Anyway, the service needed basically boiled down to a minor oil change. Still £254 though… 😦 Anyway, hopefully, won’t be too much expenditure on it in the future as we’re saving up to replace it, hopefully early in the New Year as our insurance expires on 12 March 2021 so want to get it done before then. Looking for a Ford Galaxy (or Seat Alhambra or VW Sharan – same vehicle basically – same VW engines and chassis but different bodywork and trims. We’ve been well pleased with our 2005 Galaxy – 187,000 miles on clock and runs like a dream but bodywork dinged by supermarket parking, some of the interior electronics could be better (some old broken wires patched by ‘my man’ – £50 fix better than £400+ for new loom! But some functions still not right. No safety issues just inconveniences). Anyway, best motor I’ve ever had – sometimes over 50mpg on a run, 30mpg around town – never had another motor that did better than 25mpg, on long motorway run even, before. Also holds all our tackle PLUS our camping gear (a not inconsiderable quantity – 7-man tent, cookers, larders, tables, chairs, 4/5 large boxes of equipment and food and generally 2x powered cool boxes!! LOL…) with (a bit of) space to spare. As I say, its a 2005 model and so we’ll be looking to replace it with a 2013/14 model – manual+diesel – hopefully.

Fishing, fishing, fishing!!

OK so I set off from home at 0700, arriving at the pool at 0715 – the first there albeit by 2 minutes because as I got out of the car to padlock the gates behind me the second angler arrived…. so we had a sequence of me unlocking/opening gates down to the pool and the guy behind closing and locking behind him.

Having finally parked up I discovered the possible importance of less tackle… as he had less he set off for his swim before myself, and he chose the swim I’d hoped to get. Not a disaster as I settled in a swim 2-3 away from him that gave me access to the feature I wished to fish to… the island.

The Swim

So, first casts were made with my pair of ledger rods both with 8lb mono – one with a size 6 bread baited hook, the other size 8 worm baited – and both fitted with frame feeders – at 0815 after having pre-fed, via catapult, 6 balls of particle enhanced crumb.

Re-casts were made a 30 minute intervals with re-loaded feeders but by 1300, my packing up time, I’d not had one decent take. In fact, the only indications of fish life out there were 3 single beeps due possibly to line bites.

I did cast out my Deeper Sonar Pro Plus too towards the end of the session and that didn’t spot one decent fish in the area in front of me at all although there were possible signs (green streaks) of fry located in the mid-waters.

Anyway, September has arrived – the time of year when I start recording the temperatures 🙂 And the day fell into that plan…

TEMPS:

AIR:                  MIN: 13.4’C       MAX: 23.2’C
WATER:            MIN: 12.1’C       MAX: 15.8’C

WATER TEMPS:

AIR TEMPS:

Session 23 – Return Of The War Torn Warrior!

Well, that is how it seems after the trials and tribulations of the past 11 months.

My two operations (first one in Sept 2019 which removed a rectal cancer which meant I had an ileostomy and had a bag attached to my stomach for several months and then a second one on June 7th 2020 – actually due in April but was postponed due to CV19 – which reversed the ileostomy and reverted me back to normal plumbing) in themselves were no problem at all – felt fit enough even the day after to resume my normal life BUT messing with the digestive tract doesn’t do it any favours and it ‘sulks’ and has ‘tantrums’ (ie refuses to function or becomes ‘hyperactive’ and doesn’t find middle ground easily) and which is the dominant one can change hourly. At these times laxatives and anti-diarrhoea are a man’s best friend if one is capable of balancing them! Oh well, I’ll say no more on that other to say the difficulties experienced were due to those two and being incapable of forecasting which and when will start to ‘play’ as one need(s/ed) to stay in close proximity to a ‘safe harbour’.

However, as time has passed things have settled a bit – especially in the last 3 days after swapping my laxative of choice from ‘Fybogel’ to ‘Dulcoease’ which works in a completely different way according to the online blurb… anyway, those past 3 days have seemingly put me back to ‘normal’ … no discomfort from feeling of bloating and associated lethargy nor any need to race upstairs since!

SO…. I finally made it back to the water’s edge yesterday (31-08-2020 at KF-WL1) with Liz and, I  did take a portable bucket loo and pop-up loo tent just in case – as I will for at least the near future – but never needed which was great! 🙂

This is actually the pool we fished and my chosen swim. There are two pools at this club venue – this one which we allow day tickets on (mixed fishery) and the other is a member’s only water which has more carp. Personally this smaller day ticket water is my preferred one of the pair although Liz prefers the other. On arrival on-site we did drive down to the other pool and found two cars already parked up although we couldn’t spot anyone around (later told one of the guys was around 5 yards from his car around the corner). Anyway, the two swims we usually fish on a short (20-30 yard long) spit that sticks out into the pool were both free so we had a walk to look-see but there seemed to be a lot of weed in the water that tends to drift about when a current builds up so we decided to fish ‘my’ pool as as we passed by we saw that it was clear of weed, etc. and looked very inviting.

The Pool

So, again, Liz and I have our ‘usual swims’ on this water and, as no-one else was there, that’s where we set up, Liz’s swim being the next swim to the left of me more directly opposite the island.

Liz elected to feeder fish two rods with frame feeders – one fished across to the island, and the other fished out to her left just off the edge of an overhanging bankside tree/bush.

I decided to fish, as I often do on this water, on the float using lift method to begin with although later in the session after lunchtime and only having a had a few ‘bits’ (less tha Liz!) I noticed swirls from what I thought to be rudd when feeding the swim and I reshotted my line to fish on-the-drop (and I can’t remember the last time I used shot as small as No. 6) … which resulted in more takes albeit not rudd.

So, results at the end of day … Liz had 2 roach, 1 rudd and 2 perch … myself, 1 roach and 10 perch. And not one fish exceeded 3oz as a guessitamate. Did mean no nets, weigh slings, etc to dry out at the end of the day though!

So, not the greatest of days in terms of results but more than made up by just being back on the waters again – and even just able to be back at the waterside again. A pleasant day … finalised in the traditional manner of beer and scratchings and nuts (no cobs available) in the beer garden of our local hostelry….

Next outing – probably next Monday (7th?) as although I usually fish Thursdays this weeks is ‘booked’ to do some work around the house – probably trying to get our new side gate up. Up to now I’ve probably only managed 1-2 days where I had the energy to do ‘stuff’ – and one of those days was taken up by lawn cutting usually, the other doing prep stuff for things to be done… like prepping the gate posts and painting wood protection on them… so a few irons in the fire to be completed now I’m starting to get back to my old self – and so for a time it may be once-a-week fishing.

We do have a couple of breaks to look forward to as well – one of which should include some fishing J and we’ve just had a long weekend in Liverpool which was very enjoyable.

Late Sept: off to Great Yarmouth to the caravan of Liz’s brother and partner for a week… and then probably doing the same trip a few weeks later as brother/partner have decided to live over there as their main residency, initially in the caravan but may also shop around for an abode… so I’m taking them and their two cats.

2nd week of October: a Sun newspaper £9.50 break to Burnham-on-Sea – the only one of our holiday bookings for 2020 that has survived CV19 regulations as the others earlier in the year got cancelled – as did Liz’s plans for a holiday with her family in Malta, later Cyprus (I don’t do abroad! Rather have the time to myself and go fishing! LOL). We generally go to this site most years around Oct, small family run site, quiet and easy walking to beach and town (inc for the traditional Wetherspoon’s holiday breakfast!) – and has an on-site fishing pool for resident’s only 🙂

OK then! Best wishes to all … and tight lines!

I’m Back!!!

Ummmm …. seems that WP has again ‘upgraded’ (euphanism for ‘made a simple system totally non-understandable’) the editing/writing system … why can’t people leave well alone??? What the F (as in ‘Flip’) are these ‘blocks’? Don’t need them! Just want to write words and add pictures!!

Anyway, rant over…

Not sure if there’s been any reports written up since the end of June – to be honest I’ve not been up to logging in here until today really – but not seen any e-mail’s that have notified me of any new posts being made? But then again when I came to my pages it was only allowing me to access as a ‘follower/reader’ and had to go to ‘WordPress.com’ and login so it seemed to have ‘forgotten me. Anyway, hope people have been out and doing OK … I’ll have to search through the postings!

Anyway, quick update on the situation so far…

Operation went well … was in ward for 8 days … but 8 days too many…. due to CV19 the wards were even more restricted than usual, no walks out of ward around the hospital corridors for exercise and so was confined to a small ward of about 20′ square shared by 4 of us for the entirety of the stay – and no visitors allowed. I’ve always thought prison was a soft option but had second thoughts on that BUT they do get exercise periods, etc.

Still recovering/settling body now … operational stuff all fine no issues with that at all in terms of pain, infections, etc, etc…. but the workings of the bowels are another matter and I’m still trying to get the balance of laxatives/anti-constipation meds right! One day I’m one way, the next another – and I have the odd ‘perfect/normal’ day. Anyway, slight improvements happening (and its only been 7 weeks since the op) as time passes.

Even planning to fish on Monday (1st Sept) … with a toilet tent and bucket purchased! So a blog due soon!

Spent this past weekend on a break in Liverpool – enjoyed although I went a cropper on Sunday night – on the way to the pub not on the way back I hasten to add! Not watching where I was going and put foot over edge of kerb and stumbled. Glasses bent at the hinge on one side which pushed into my face and slight cut on eyebrow – managed to straighten glasses without any breaking of the hinge which looked likely to happen. Right leg still feels a bit dead-legged too…. other than that I was fine.

Off to Great Yarmouth with Liz – and her brother and partner to their caravan – for a week at the end of the month. And in October Liz and I are having our usual week long break in Burnham-on-Sea at a site with a fishing lake, our only early year booking to have survived the CV lockdown, etc. We were booked for Shrewsbury Folk Festival next weekend but that was cancelled (although they are doing a ‘virtual 2-day festival’ shown on their website over Sat/Sun… and the 2020 tickets are now valid for 2021 instead)… and Liz and family were due to go to Malta late Sept which got cancelled and so they changed plans to go to Cyprus instead to meet up with their parents there (ex-pats there) instead but even that was cancelled … and so that’s the reason for our caravan trip.

Right have to go now – unpacking and washing from the L’pool weekend to be done!! LOL!

Best wishes to all!!

Fishing Out Of Bounds

As I said in my last missive fishing is now off my agenda for a while – hopefully make it back in August sometime… main date for me is 1st October when my fishing until 31st March turns to being 95+% pike orientated.

Also one of my clubs has acquired two new pools which I hope to be able to fish in the near future so August would be good in that respect.

So, I’ll be away due to having an operation to reverse the ileostomy I was given in Sept 2019.

I had my pre-op yesterday (29/6) and will be having CV-19 swabs and CV-19 antibody blood sample taken on Sat (4/7), and the operation itself on Tues (7/7).

At least it’ll give me chance to catch up on the exploits of others on here!!

In the last couple of days one of my two hearing aids packed in which made the pre-op difficult with the nurse filling in the questionnaire getting quite frustrated at time – but not easy listening when the speaker is sat 2+ metres away wearing a mouth/nose mask AND full face shield and half your hearing is taken away – also hospital rooms are quite echo ridden at the best of time I find. Usually Liz sits in with me and helps but due to the current restrictions that isn’t possible at this time. Probably take pencil&pad to allow conversation via those but not sure about restrictions that may affect multiple handlers?? Saw my audiologist about broken aid yesterday – would need sending to workshop for repair which would take a few weeks possibly and no ‘loaners’ available. However, according to his notes, I am due to receive new aids in a few weeks time anyway it seems, so we have decided against repair as it wouldn’t usefully achieve much   and just await the new ones 🙂

As visiting isn’t allowed on the wards I’ve put Skype on the laptop I’m taking in to be able to talk to Liz. Also installed ‘Virgin 2 Go’ so that I can watch TV all day long (most channels) without paying the £30+ to watch the hospital supplied service … and have also installed BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub and Amazon Prime Video. So no lack of viewing material – even if you don’t count the fishing videos I’ve also copied across to the hard drive! Also reading material consisting of IYCF, Anglers Mail and a Bill Bryson book that my sister brought in to me on my Sept visit AND some e-texts to read via my android tablet…. And audio needs will be supplied by Spotify!

So, I’ll be away from the water myself – but will be looking forward to the reading of the endeavours of others!

RUBBERISING NETS: my version will have to go on the back burner now…. but here are some (USA) videos on which it is based on …. I used Plasti-Dip as my rubberiser…. and a 30″ Korum Folding Spoon net…. As you can see the P-D can be obtained in 2 forms, tin or spray. I recommend the tin! With an open material like a mesh there is a lot of waste when using a spray. Also as the material is thick in the tin I suggest that possibly thinning slightly with MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone – aka Butan-2-one) may be helpful. I’ve not tried thinning yet – I have the MEK but not used it yet and I was intending on using it when I did Liz’s new net and perhaps giving mine a re-dip. However, undiluted worked fine when I did mine but I just wonder if a slightly better result could be obtained (thinner solution might infiltrate the mesh material better?). Basically, I take the mesh off the rim, wash it in just hot water (90′ cycle in the washer, no soap/detergent, etc) to remove any impregnated chemicals there may already be, pour P-D into a disposable aluminium basting tray (and possibly dilute), then wearing plastic gloves (cheapo polythene) just add mesh and soak completely in the P-D, squeeze out excess and hang up to dry but may need to ensure that the mesh is opened out by some method to prevent sides sticking together …. one of those sock type hangers (£1 from Poundland) that consists of 2 concentric rings of pegs is good OR two long canes passed in parallel through opposite sides of the top of the mesh and placed over the backs of two chairs works fine too – sure you’ll get the gist of that! A greased box or ball placed in the bottom may help too but to be honest I didn’t use a bottom spacer and all was fine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPT7NSnqiFA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NF-EojPBHYY&t=15s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW4AsJXyIOs&t=13s

ANYWAY, TIGHT LINES! SEE YOU SOON!!

Session 22 – What The Blank!!!… PLUS Fishing Curtailed Soon.

Monday June 22nd was a day at my local club pool (SAC-DP) for a day when I was accompanied by a pal who is a new member of the club although we are acquainted by both of us being members of another club. This was my friends first day’s fishing on this water although he had walked around the pool previously.

2020-06-22

We met up, as arranged, on the venue’s car park at 0730 before heading to our desired swims, both fishing out towards the pool’s small island. On arrival there were already cars parked up including on the small 4-5 car capacity car park at the far end of the pool so I was a bit anxious our pegs may have been taken but luckily (or otherwise as it turned out) they were vacant awaiting our residency.

We settled into the swims and I elected to ledger fish with just a single rod with frame feeder. Mike, my companion, also fished feeder I believe.

First casts were made around around 0830 and we awaited our first action … and we were still waiting for it at 1500 when Mike packed in, and I, 15 minutes later after a last cup of coffee did the same. However, it seemed that Mike had had 3 line bites over the session easily beating my single one. But mine was bigger! LOL!!

So not an exciting day although dry and, when the sun passed by the trees around us, quite warm although when in the shade it was quite a chilly breeze.

Biggest, event of the day was when my mobile rang – in the bright light I managed to press the wrong button to answer and it seems I ‘declined’ the call – and when checked the number was showing as ‘Unknown’ and so I was unable to ring back immediately. However, the phone soon ‘pinged’ to indicate an incoming message… from the local hospital… asking to ring back on a given number. Having done so I was informed that my postponed ileostomy reversal operation, initially set for April 6th, had become reactivated again and has been rescheduled for Tuesday 7th July with a pre-op appointment set for Monday 29th June – and I’ll also have to have a CV-19 swab/test done 72 hours previous to the actual operation, so that will probably be Sat 4th July. Further, I am now undergoing the necessary 14 days of self-isolation before the operation date.

I must say, the interval between the postponement and the renewal of operation dates has seen see-saw feelings on the matter mainly due to doing the one thing you should never do, at least regarding medical matters… Google!! When I did so, looking for what people had to say about their recovery/lives following the op, one chap and I quote verbatim without the slightest exaggeration (although that’s not to say that the original poster didn’t either) said he was still taking 40 loperamide (Imodium) tablets daily and had to visit the loo 20-30 times a day! That filled me with dread and put the idea of saying ‘NAY!’ to the op for quite time until sanity returned and I realised that was VERY different to what was being said by many others… Anyway, now, I’m well up for it! 🙂

However, being me – and my name should be Murphy really (if anything inconvenient that can happen, it will) or even Sod (like Murphy but happens at worst possible time too) – this comes at a time when pubs are due to re-open and when a long awaited angling event is set to happen in the interim!

SO… no fishing for me now until I imagine at least mid-August – and a hoped for last session on Thursday this week to try to leave on a good note has fallen victim to the self isolation requirement. However, I’ll be happy enough if I can make the water’s edge again by the start of October to start my pike season, a season I virtually missed last year due to the original operation and its following recovery period and then having kidney problems on top of that.

So, you bloggers, will be my water side life for a while and I’ll have to live those times through you! So, go get ’em for me!! 🙂

Best wishes to all … Steve

Session 21 – Got The Feeling Back This Time…

…. and I’ve also just edited the last posting to correct a ‘day’ error…. the 15th June having been a MONday rather the THURSday I’d originally written 🙂

Following the more successful last session I decided that on Friday 19th June I’d make a return to the ‘water of bad feeling’ from the outing previous (Session 19 at AA-GH).

The weather here had been pretty wet and windy the previous few days but the forecast for Friday for the day of the outing was improved – and a couple of days before was forecasting it as mainly bright, dry and calm. Well, in the event there were dry and calm spells of varying durations but these were interspersed with everything from overcast to misty rain to downpour…. but the latest forecast available had stated it would like this and being forewarned I was inevitably forearmed too – and the 60″ oval brolly was brought out for a quite-rare-for-this-time-of-year outing as its mainly used in winter time when I pike fish and need to protect myself from the chilling northerlies. Another reason for light summer use is that, like a bivvy, it requires a decent sized area on a flat bank which limits it to a small number of my venues anyway. Anyway, when used it is a godsend – not only encloses my good self in comfort but also my tackle and bait bags and only the rod holdhall/quiver has to suffer the elements…

Anyway, as you can see I got the brolly set up firstly before  sorting out the rest of tackle which was then done in the shelter from  the wind and, as it was at the time, a light drizzle.

Tackle for the day: my 2 ledger rods (1.75lb TC) with 8lb line to size 6 hooks with free running frame feeders on 6″ links of 6lb mono. Rod pod with my two new bite alarms (cost £5.50 each INC postage from China! And worked well :).

First casts were made at 0730 in the drizzle with worm and bread as the baits… and by 0805 I’d had bobbin rises on both rods albeit either too quick to strike at or missed on the strike… and by 0815 the rain had abated and the skies brightened… However, as said previously, the weather was like a yoyo…

0845, and the first fish of the day was landed, a mirror carp of 4lb 5oz…

2020-06-19 Steve - Mirror Carp 4lb 5oz

4lb 5oz Mirror Carp

And over the rest of the day I suffered 3 hook pulls and one snap-off (under quite light tension at the time and suspect a line fault) but did also land a 3lb 3oz mirror carp (worm), 3lb 3oz common carp (prawn), a 4lb 2oz mirror carp (bread), a 3lb 4oz common carp (bread) and the final fish of the day was, fittingly the largest of the day, another 5lb 7oz common carp (bread).

2020-06-19 Steve - Common Carp 5lb 7oz

5lb 7oz Common Carp

No bream which I had been hoping for though.

I packed up at 1430, a bit earlier than I’d intended, but I’d used up the last of my prepared groundbait for the loading of my frame feeders, it was nice, dry and sunny but with a few darker clouds approaching it seemed a good time to do so, a float I suspect was snagged to the bottom near the far bank and which I’d spotted the week earlier was still there so I thought I might pop round with my ‘general purpose’ rod with a decent weight attached and try to catch around it and release it … the heavy weight I used was a neodymium magnet (high power) that I’d bought some time ago in order to do some ‘magnet fishing’ but never got round to actually doing and so I thought ‘2 birds with one stone’ – try to release float and also cast about and see if I captured any old broken off terminal tackles via their hooks or perhaps some lost lures. As it was both birds were dead in the water – the float lay in such a position that I couldn’t cast into a place whereby I couldn’t get my line loop around the float ie cast outside of the float but then wind back in with the line inside the float’s position from the either of the pegs each side of it due to the position of a trees and bushes and their overhangs over the water – and after a dozen or more casts out along the bank in several places I collected not even a bit of rusty old tin can and the magnet came back as clean as a whistle … perhaps the canal might be better with shopping trolleys or Black Country Whales (from the local dialect – ‘I cort a whale in the cut only the uver day!’, ‘Blimey! wot did yoe do wiv it?’ ‘Ar chucked it straight back in agin, day I?  It day av no spokes!’… LOL) in great abundance it seems!

PLANS

Off out to another club pool and meeting up with a friend who not only is a member of the club controlling the intended water but is also a fellow member of another club of mine.

Should be a good day… 🙂

Session 20 – Things Improve Again…

Needing to recover from the disaster that was my last trip out, I set off out on Monday 15th June to a club pool (AA-BP) that usually provides a good result. I say usually as it can be a bit moody and tends to be a ‘hot’ water, in that the warmer the water is the better the results and winter time it can be ‘very hard’… but even that is not a given as a few years back, in late October, with water temps still being too high for my, and it seemed the pike’s too, piking  at around 10’C I decided to switch to perch fishing (worm/maggot) at this water until the temps dropped to 8’C or below… and all through the rest of October, November and December, fishing it at least once weekly I could not catch a single perch BUT I was having tench after tench after tench every session EVEN when the water dropped sub 8’C! So not only had I been catching in these cool temperatures but also catching the least expected species…

But no deviation from the expected on this session…

I left the house at 0500 … arriving at the pool at 0545 … and was, unsurprisingly, the first there… (only one other arrived during the rest of the day too, the club president, at around midday IIRC) … and headed off to my intended swim of the day, or rather swims, as there were two I fancied next to each other but which I rarely fish. However, both pegs were a bit overgrown – not too badly but needed a bit of work to clear some reeds around the sides of both to allow a decent angle to fish and one swim’s reeds had fallen over across the gap. I had the tools to be able to do this (small weed rake and doubled bladed cutter – both of which can be used either on the end of a landing net pole or on a rope/cord and thrown out – and the rake I actually use mostly on my heavy spinning rod with 60lb braid which is my general purpose rod used for throwing out my Deeper Sonar, spombs/spods, and other such tranklements. So they WOULD have been easily cleared BUT then I wandered to the next peg along – my usual ‘off island’ one and it was so enticing so immediately grabbed my gear from the car and set up station there… 🙂

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And I hope you can see why! 🙂

Directly in front is a small island – and, in fact, one the neighbouring shunned swims faces the other end of the island, the other one faces out into open water twixt the island end and the top bank and to the left is a corner covered by an overhanging bush…

So, usual pre-cast preps completed – bait up, set up unhooking cradle, get out scales, camera on tripod, etc – I plugged the three sections of my float rod together and was ready to fish… thanks to already having been pre-tackled with 6lb main line to a 6″ of 6lb braid hook link with size 10 hook and with a pre-weighted 6BB crystal waggler (1 x 2SSG shot in order to fish lift method ie overshotted, overdepth) on the line. A minute or two was then spent plumbing and  adjusting the float’s stop knot to stop the float at the right distance.

0615 the hook was baited with a worm and cast out…

… and first cast having first indication of interest was very pleasing! 🙂

In fact, I don’t think I made a cast ALL day that wasn’t responded to by our fishy friends…

However, initially, it seemed that the interest came from small fish (probably mini perch and rudd) just grabbing the end of the worm as no contact was being made despite allowing bites to develop and for float to be actually gliding along/under the water… and it was at 0745 that I actually made an initial contact, a small fish, possibly rudd about 3oz or so (although it did look crucian’y). I did use to catch a fair few crucians in this pool up to about 5-6  years ago but I’ve not seen one since then, suspected victims of the cormorants, but hopefully it was a crucian and the beginnings of a comeback! Anyway, the hook bounced out and it wasn’t landed so it’s all speculation on that point.

0800 a small perch (ca 2oz) came to hand…

This set off a number of hook size and bait changes over the session which improved matters – and at this time I changed to maggot on a size 14 hook…

0805 Several small rudd

0820 Bream 3lb 4oz

2020-06-15 Steve - 3lb 4oz Bream

Steve – 3lb 4oz Bream

Followed by another few small rudd…

0845 – a good fish but shed the hook 😦

0900 Switched to prawn on size 10 hook…

0920 4lb 5oz Mirror Carp

2020-06-15 Steve - 4lb 5oz Mirror Carp

Steve – 4lb 5oz Mirror Carp

0950 A switch to sweetcorn and – 2lb 5oz Common Carp

2020-06-15 Steve - 2lb 5oz Common Carp

Then a period of bites galore – all missed bar one – and the hook pulled free….

1235  After switching to bread – a 3lb 1oz Bream

2020-06-15 Steve - 3lb 1oz Bream

Steve – 3lb1oz Bream

1425 Another hook pull from a good fish after a switch back to worm…

1500 Effectively packed in although I had intended to fish until at least 1530 in my original plans  and, as things were happening, possibly would have done another half an hour or so more BUT I overcast, one of three over the day, into the edge of the island’s bushes. The first two times I was lucky and escaped penalty free, however, this third time WASN’T lucky at all except that it did pull free under a bit of pressure but as it gained it’s freedom the terminal tackle sprung away with a very unwanted Victory Roll resulting in a nest even the greatest nest building bird would have been proud of! So, with the prospect of a bankside cut off the end tackle, rescue the component bits and re-tackle from scratch and a short time left to stay I decided that the re-fit would be easier in the comfort of my armchair… and was done this morning… 🙂

One thing I discovered as I was fishing – my crystal waggler had a leak between the tube itself and the bottom fitting and the body was 1/3 full of water – meaning that it wasn’t as sensitive as it should have been due to the extra weight of the water having been added. I swapped my float at some stage to my usual driftbeater when I discovered the problem. I’d bought 10 of these crystal wagglers and have subsequently found two had loose fitting bottoms which has now been rectified with a liberal smearing of a Bostik like (other brands are available :D) adhesive. Just my luck to pick a 1 in 5 chance of a bad float! LOL

PLANS

Well the river season is upon us but I’m delaying my first river season for a while – probably 29th June with a visit to the Warks Avon with Liz. BUT I’ve just located a place on a much loved small river I last fished in the 80’s that does day tickets (£5), weekly tickets (£10) and season cards (June 16 – March 14 – £30)…. I think I may just have to get a season ticket and possibly go there next week!!

However, I’m planning on making a trip to the BAA’s Nordley Pools on Thursday (18th) after another local blogger (The Angling Rev aka Stewart Bloor) visited there last week and his post jogged my brain about it having not visited there in probably 18 months or even more.

Hopefully I’ll get to rubberise Liz’s new landing net this week/weekend too – hoping to make a video for on YouTube when I do it.