Session 21 – Back To The Tench And Bream Pool

Thursday 10th June I returned again to the tench/bream pool (AA-B) arriving at around 0730 – and found not only two cars already on the car park but also both anglers were already tackled up and fishing. Anyway they were on the far bank and were no problem as I was intending to fish the near bank again opposite the small island.

I had a quick wander to the area I intended to fish to check on the state of the swims – the previous couple of visits there had been catkin/lambstails floating on the surface in the area but on the day I was very relieved to see all was clear. The catkins are a real pain as unlike the normal type of flotsam (weed/leaves) that can simply be removed from the line in situ by simply lifting the line and possibly giving a slight shake, the catkins behave literally as if they were wool that had been spun around the line and even when the line is wound in it can take several minutes to remove even the smallest clumpings as you have to remove them by pulling them apart bit by bit. Due to the clumping nature, the line often can get jammed in the rod rings, a nuisance at best, a disaster if there’s a fished attached!

So, intended swim given the all clear, the tackle was unloaded from the car and barrowed up up to the swim – not really necessary as only about 30 yards from the car but carrying would mean 2-3 journeys each way – take and then return at the end of the day – so easier to to a single trip each way.

Pre-prepping tackle the swim was pre-fed a few balls of cereal groundbait with hemp and pearl barley particles and a few catapulted pouch fulls of dead maggots … and at 0800 my first cast was made fishing in my usual ‘lift method’ style using a bunch of maggots on a size 12 hook albeit I did decide to change my usual drift/windbeater float over to a 4AAA bodied waggler … why? Well, thinking about it the answer would probably be ‘because I could!’ LOL.

Over the course of the session I fed in a few prawns and sweetcorn too …

0815 – first fish of the day, a small fingerling perch…

0835 – lost fish in the lily pads when it shed the hook – possibly a carp but had the feeling it was was on the 8oz barbel…

I had a period then of switching baits trying worm, sweetcorn, bread and rather pongy prawn. All produced nudges, dips and knocks on the float but which resulted in no fish being hooked.

1100 – a tench! 3lb 11oz taken on worm…

1145 – a fingerling perch taken on a piece of worm flipped itself off the hook as it was being landed…

1200 – 3lb 12oz tench

2021-06-10 Steve - 3lb 12oz Tench

3lb 12oz Tench

1350 – a good tench slipped the hook…

1415 – one of those periods whereby I overcast into the bushes on the island – several times in a row despite having never previously done that… and it finally resulted in the loss of my float as the silicon rubber of the float attachment pulled off the swivel that formed its eye. I replaced a piece of silicon rubber on the swivel, affixed a new float and continued fished – for a short while until a caught a bit of an overhead tree foliage which caused the float to drop off again – and I accidentally trod on it and snapped it at which point….

1445 – I packed up… J

So, a day of nudges and knocks – even those of the tench were strikes made at prolonged nudge and knockings rather than bold sailaway takes…

PLANS

Not sure about Monday 14th yet but as the river season opens on Wednesday then on Thursday I might take a trip to the Worcs Stour. Nothing like the Dorset Stour though, its a small river, which, into the 80’s at least, was classified as ‘fishless and lifeless’ due to pollution from the carpet factories of Kidderminster. However, it has taken on a new lease of life and barbel having been spotted spawning in the lower reaches within the past week. In the stretch I’ll fish (BAA water) there’s a weir the area below which usually throws up a few good chub although that’s a popular area with those that fish there so I most likely will have to try to fish just above the weir for perch…. and whatever comes along really. I’ll need to sort my tackle though – no heavy chairs and suchlike – minimal tackle … might be I’ll take my Shakespeare box that I use for canals and just a quivertip rod/landing net/banksticks in my Korum 3-rod quiver.

Session 20 – Carpin’ On…

Monday 7th June I took a trip to a club pool (AA-GH). Predominantly a carp pool it does hold a good head of silvers with roach to over 2lb, bream, and more recently perch have been turning up … and it also holds excellent pike and chub although a few years back the club did a ‘tidy up’ and chopped back a lot of overhanging vegetation and having done so and removed the chub’s shelter the chub seemed to have moved on … but where to I don’t know … possibly across to the island but even so even the ‘trimmed’ area does seem to still have more shelter than elsewhere on the pool including that afforded by the island.

As usual, at my 0700 arrival time, I was first there having to unlock the gates to gain access to the pool area and thus my intended swim of the day was free.

The intention was to floatfish (lift method) in the 11 feet of water along the tree lined bank in the hope of getting in contact with the bream or even a chub … and with the warmer brighter weather the carp are now cruising on the top and so fishing floaters for them was, I thought, a good fall back plan and so a bag of Baker’s Meaty Treats were added to the bait bag. I’m not a major fan of carp, probably at the bottom of my desired species usually, but I do enjoy fishing floating baits and to me its virtually the ONLY way to enjoyably catch carp….

A bit of pre-baiting whilst tackling up, tackling up, and I made my first cast at 0815 with the float rod baited with maggot….

An hour later, having had not a touch and with the carp taking my catapulted out dog treats I decided to switch to my floater rod.

FLOATER ROD – 10’/11’ 1.75lb TC ‘Winfield’ Specialist Angler rod (Woolworth’s ca mid 70’s IIRC) set up with 12lb mainline and a size 4 barbless hook. I also carry a ball of wax taken from the coating of cheeses such as BabyBel and the small truckles we have at Xmas – this can be used, if necessary, to wrap like a small sausage around the line – it adds extra weight for casting and is also buoyant  … and I also carry a small jar of Vaseline to grease the line to cause it to float. I would preferably, and did, use 30lb braid for the line at one time but one of my clubs disallows use of braid line (well, the rule actually says ‘no braid mainline’ so I assume that braid is OK as a hooklength otherwise there’d be no need of the qualifier term ‘mainline’?) and so my rod is set up with 12lb mono these days.

So baited up with a Bakers Treat … cast out, and a short while later a common carp is landed after an arm tiring scrap… 13lb 6oz…

2021-06-07 Steve - 13lb 6oz Common Carp 1

13lb 6oz Common Carp

From then on until 1315 I had a quiet period and swapped between the float and the floater rods a few times… never had a touch on the float but a few ‘misses’ on the floaters using Bakers and bread as the bait.

1315 – a 4lb 6oz common carp succumbs to floating bread…

2021-05-07 Steve - 4lb 6oz Common Carp

4lb 6oz Common Carp

1350 – a good fish is lost after a lengthy battle … getting close to landing when it goes underneath bushes to my right and snags up in old dead branches and twigs underneath and sheds hook – a good weight of of old wood is landed though!

1500 – a 5lb 9oz common carp on bread…

2021-05-07 Steve - 5lb 9oz Common Carp

5lb 9oz Common Carp

1515 – a 6lb 5oz common carp taken on bread comes to the net…

2021-06-07 Steve - 6lb 5oz Common Carp

6lb 5oz Common Carp

1540 – a 6lb 12oz mirror carp takes the bread,…

2021-06-07 Steve - 6lb 12oz Mirror Carp

6lb 12oz Mirror Carp

  … and at that I called it an end of the day… 🙂

PLANS

With Liz away currently I had planned to fish Monday, Wednesday and Friday BUT I was so worn out last night – I even went to bed at 2100 – I have decided to just do my usual two days – Monday and Thursday.

So Thursday – not sure about the venue, I had thought about the BAA’s Nordley Pools as one of my original three so that will still be a contender – but there’s also the pull of the bream/tench pool and another too which I visited a short time ago but had to leave early……

Session 19 – The One Where Someone Arrived Before Me – But Only Just…

Thursday 3rd June saw me back at the tench/bream pool (AA-B) arriving at 0645 – and shock-horror someone was already there unlocking the gate!! Unknown territory for me as usually I’m the first on any water by a good hour or so and often by several…

No problem, the other guy decided to fish the far bank – in fact I think he was in one of the swims that Liz and fish when on that side – and I intended to fish the swim that Liz had fished on our earlier visit on Monday.

However, it was not to be as the problematic drifting catkins and lambstails of the Monday visit had congregated enough in that swim to take it out of consideration and I ended up in the swim I had fished previously. Although next door to the planned swim, a patch of lily pads worked to greatly block the ‘kin’s progress especially to about 2 rod lengths out and was reasonably well fishable… btw the pics below were taken later in the day and by and large the ‘kins had moved down the pool to the left.

I had decided to fish ‘on the drop’ to start and set up a 4AAA bodied antenna on my 6lb mainline terminated with a 6” 6lb braid hooklength and a size 14 hook..

I had decided to just free feed this session – no cereal groundbait – and I pre-fed the swim with maggots, stewed hemp and pearl barley whilst tackling up and throughout the session added extra frequent but small supplements of maggots.

I made my first cast around 0800 with maggot initially… and landed my first fish at 0815 – a small (1oz?) perch. And then I switched variously between maggot and worm baits and cocktails thereof until 0910 landing a further 2 small perch and a small common carp of about 6oz…

2021-06-03 Steve - Small Common Carp

Small Common Carp

…and then what was to be my best fish of the day – a 3lb 11oz tench…

2021-06-03 Steve - 3lb 11oz Tench

Steve – 3lb 11oz Tench

I then decided to do some bait testing – and fished for 30 minutes with each of bread, sweetcorn, luncheon meat and prawn, none of which enticed a single nibble but as soon as I cast out maggot again I had a take right on the drop – a barbel of about 12” (8oz?)

And all was, I thought going OK caught those until the chap who had arrived just before me and hence had been fishing the same length of time came around on a wander – and he’d had 18 fish by that time including 5 tench, 7 bream, a barbel … and a surprise crucian carp. There used to be a lot of crucians but its been a long time since I’d heard of a capture.

Just after this I got my tackle caught in the edge of a marginal overhanging bush and in the rescue of my end tackle the antenna of my float got snapped … so I thought it an ideal time to revert back to my usual lift-method style with a windbeater float… and I started to catch more…

Two tench of 3lb 0oz and 3lb 5oz came to the net…

Well, final capture but not, I’m sad to say, the final take ….

I had decided to pack up around 1445-1500 as I needed to do a bit of shopping – it was Liz’s birthday the following day and I needed a card having not managed to locate one I liked in the days previous. So, around 1420, I started doing a bit of housekeeping around me, putting baits away, and that sort of thing while keeping an eye on my float and for about 15 minutes all was fine, the float hadn’t so much as flickered … but I picked something up, put it in my bag, and looked back to where the float had been – 5-10 seconds of inattention – and the float was no longer there … I struck, met a resistance and the pulling of a fish, but as the line lifted from the water it led directly to a pad of lilies on the far bank and I could still feel the jagging of the fish … and then all went slack and I thought the hook had been shed but on retrieval of the line I’d been snapped.. lost my favourite float too. From the length of line recovered it seemed the snap had occurred just above the shot, fish had probably wrapped the line around a lily pad or two, so fish wouldn’t have been tailing a long length to entangle and tether it … and no activity among the lilies either to indicate a fish caught up and trying to get away and hopefully the barbless hook will be easily shed. Just a few seconds of inattention! Won’t be doing that again!

PLANS

Liz has left today to spend a week in Great Yarmouth at her brother’s – so I have unrestricted access to the car for the week … yipppeeee!

So I’m hoping to get 3 trips on but maybe will be two depending on how I am…

Trip 1, Monday: To a club predominantly carp pool – floatfishing and hoping for some bream among the carp … and if the carp are cruising the surface then I’ll be switching to the floater rod with Baker’s Meaty Dog Trteats for at least a couple of hours…

Trip 2, Wednesday: Nordley Pools near Bridgnorth – Birmingham AA waters, there being 6 pools there –  5 of which I would fish, the 6th being more a puddle covered in chickweed usually. On the lead or feeder…..

Trip 3, Friday:  Undecided – the most local of the all the club pools I have available or back to the tench/bream pool.

AND … river fishing season soon starting again (16th June) I’m planning with Liz to have a drive out to a BAA stretch of the Warks Avon in search of bream … although noted for its  barbel I think the population thereof is quite  sparse in this area. I’ve not fished this stretch at all before but I think it abuts the downstream boundary of a club Liz and I left this year.

And so, at this point I bid you all farewell and tight lines as I head off to grab a coffee and perhaps do a bit of bait sorting and tackle tinkering… BYEEEE!!!

Session 18 – The One In Which Liz Outfishes Steve Again – But Just Fails A New PB…

Monday, 31st May, Liz and I set off again – a bit earlier than usual at 0700 as it was a Bank Holiday Monday and a few days into a dramatic weather change from the cold wet start, middle and almost end of an autumnal month that was May … April was warm and heading in the right direction but come May and the weather seemed to recede to the weather more expected in November … albeit not the November weather of the 50’s/60’s with the ‘smogs’ (fog combined with the smoke and pollutants from the factories and industry especially within the ‘Black Country’) whereby walking to school even your hand at the end of your outstretched arm (well, wouldn’t usually be elsewhere would it? LOL) was unable to be seen – no facemasks those days, best was a knitted scarf for all the good that would do! None of that these days – the Ready Mix concrete that was directly over the road from our house has now gone (and Mom never needed to use starch on the washing, just hung out the clothes on a windy day! Caution was needed though, leave them out TOO long and a hammer was needed to soften them up LOL … and just down the road, literally a catapulted pebble away were two iron large foundries and blast furnaces (Stewart and Lloyds and F H Lloyds) … and then there was the company of John Thompson where probably 70% of Bilston folk worked including an uncle in the pattern shop creating prototype moulds for pieces to be cast and used on construction in other parts of the group – and my father who started work in the motor pressings initially but studied at the local tech on evening courses and became a draughtsman in the Water Tube Boilers designing the equipment – and at one stage he spent a month in what was then Rhodesia (late 60’s IIRC – I know as Mom let me smoke in the house for the first time!! LOL) overseeing the construction and startup of one of his designs. And also. and I don’t want to worry anyone here BUT he also designed the Drax B nuclear reactor …. after having been given a course on reactors, etc that was ONE MONTH long!! But fear ye not!! From knowing my Dad’s work its probably the safest of equipment in the entire UK – he did NOTHING by halves! Even our greenhouse has anchors that were driven 4 feet into the ground … the garden shed has stood undamaged by the elements now for 60 years – and despite the fact that the wood frame is 100% rotten it refuses to budge – the only downside to it is that its made with walls of asbestos concrete/sheet and although we are looking to replace it (and a lean-to connected to the rear porch which also has an asbestos sheet roof) probably the removal of the asbestos will double/triple the price of the work after looking up the info via Google J Oh well, keep saving and buy less rods, reels and lures, I suppose! LOL.

An aside … a thought going back to the 60’s when Dad was working abroad.

One night of the week Mom would do her ironing whilst we both watched a programme on TV … and I’ve been trying to identify the programme without success… checked IMDB, asked on social media, friends, etc …

Anyone of my readers have any clue please?

What I know/recall….

 I seem to think it had a long name starting with ‘M’ eg Masquerade?

It was an hour long and made up of short skits/sketches each of about 5-10 minutes long and the genres of the skits were of all sorts – some drama, some comedy, thriller, unexpected, horror, ghost, romance, etc…

The thing clearest to me was that the cast included Fenella Fielding (possibly Dilys Watling as they have the same sort of voice)  BUT, as I say, I’ve scanned the IMDB listing of castings/works for both without joy.

The opening/title sequence was very much in the form used by ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’ today…

 Well, that’s the best I can provide … hope someone can shed some light on it.

Thanks!

So, seem to have deviated somewhat from the theme of fishing – so thoughts back together and on we go…

I started saying that we had an early start … and that was due to the excellent weather that had suddenly arrived on a Bank Holiday … and the expectation that people would have put their spouses and kids on the train to Bognor whilst they themselves raced to the waterside (AA-B)….

In the event, Liz and I were the first arrivals on the pool by a good couple of hours per usual – and so had our choice of swims available, the ones that we’d fished on our previous session at this water. There were a lot of floating catkins/lambstails on the water and we both had initial troubles with them catching on the line – normal weed just usually falls off but the cat/lambs wrap and ‘spin’ themselves like wool on the line and stop the free passage of line through the rod rings often jamming the line completely and are adhering strongly are difficult to remove at the best of times, having to pull it off in small pieces. Liz’s peg was ‘guarded’ slightly by a bed of lily pads to her left and not so bad and later a breeze drifted some more away but my peg, one swim to Liz’s right was more open and some of the cats/lambs were formed into bath sponge sized pieces with a lot of smaller pieces between and it made the fishing

Virtually impossible, so much so that with 30 minutes I’d up tackle and moved into the swim on the other side of Liz, fishing the opposite side of the lilys and this proved far better with very few cat/lamb snagging.

0845 First casts… 6lb line, size 12 hook to 6” 6lb braid hooklength – fished lift method style – worm
0915 Moved swim…
0930 I had my first (missed) bite as Liz landed a 8oz barbel on maggot (lift method)…
0940 I land a tench of 4lb 5oz…

2021-05-31 Steve - 4lb 5oz Tench 02

Steve – 4lb 5oz Tench

0945 – 1145 I went through a series of 30 minute spells with varying baits… all to no avail
            Prawn/worm cocktail
            Sweetcorn
            Bread
            Meat
1145 Switched back to a bunch of maggots
1145 Liz – another 8oz barbel…
1215 I had another tench – 4lb 2oz tench…

2021-05-31 Steve - 4lb 2oz Tench 02

Steve – 4lb 2oz Tench

1220 Liz has a small mirror carp…
1300 Liz has a 4lb 2oz tench

2021-05-31 Liz - 4lb 2oz Tench 03

Liz – 4lb 2oz Tench

It seems that Liz is having a ‘glass roof’ as I did when my PB tench stood at 4lb 1oz and remained at that for 3-4 years despite catching numerous ones of 4lb 0oz and 4lb 1oz – frustrating! So many times has she been just an ounce or two off the new PB – but it’ll come soon – and even on this session a fish that was a likely candidate escaped the hook…

1420 Liz has another 8oz barbel…
1440 I lose a 3” silver which fell off the tail of my 4” worm on landing…
1450 I get into an untanglingless tangle requiring me to break the line to resolve – Liz comes round as I’m about to re-tackle and suggests we pack in … and as its hot and I’m ready for beer plus it being easier to retackle up at home I’m in agreement…
About 1545 – on the way home via the local…
1600 – arrive at the hostelry, sit in beer garden, peruse the beer menu …. Fownes’ Brewery “King Korvak’s Saga’ is on tap!! Part of the ‘Dwarven Ale’ series, all of which are excellent, this is, as the name suggests ‘THE KING OF BEERS’! However, as its been a long long time since my last mission with it I’m dreading my memory having been tainted by the ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ and it will not match my memories… BUT, in fact, it proved even BETTER than my memories … and I had to pinch myself to make sure I’d not passed away and gone to heaven! A splendid end to an excellent day!!

STUFF

I visit a number of different pools and thus, when going from pool to pool I have to adjust my pre-tackled float fishing kit to suit the depth ie re-plumb… and I thought when having plumbed the depth why not record it for future visits rather than do the work again? And so I’ve recorded my first depth for this pool – 112cm measured from bottom shot to the tip of the float… doing it that way the size/length of float doesn’t matter – a 4” float will just end up being located/stopped 6” further up the line than a 10” one. And this pool is seemingly very flat bottomed in that I’ve fished a lot of the swims from near end to far end and not visited any other venue in between those visits and have never needed to make any sort of depth adjustment. Swims on other pools do vary from each other and so I’ll need to record particular depths for each but I reckon it will save a fair few seconds on each visit plus not disturb the swims unnecessarily … maybe a bit OTT though? LOL!

PLANS

I’m planning on returning to this pool again on Thursday (3rd June) solo as Liz is working ….
And on Saturday 5th June Liz is going away for a week visiting family in Great Yarmouth so I’ll have a week free to myself and unrestricted car access in the meantime … I’m hoping to have sessions on the Monday, Wednesday and Friday of that week but that, of course, depends on the body behaving itself. Touch wood its been acceptably good most of this past week…. so touching wood!

Session 17 – Mission: Withdrawal

Tuesday, 25th May, I set off at 0640 for a local club pool (SAC-DP) which is only 10-15 minutes from my house – well, at that time of the morning anyway, later and you start to hit the works traffic heading into Wolverhampton and as I live only 2 miles south of the city and, being so close to the city centre, it means a lot of traffic converges from all directions from 0730 until gone 0900. Luckily most of my fishing venues involve driving across the roads leading into the city and most of the crossroads are traffic lighted so I do get decent opportunities to pass across.

Traffic though is generally back to 98% ‘normal’ now the covid restrictions have been eased it seems to me …

Anyway, before setting off I was a bit in two minds about going out … the weather forecast was good’ish, the best it had been for a good week or more, but the skies looked grey in the main but with blue skies in the distance … and my ‘problem’ and the possible need for facilities … but in the end I decided ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ and, as the water was close to home and I’d my ‘emergency’ facilities so I decided to set out…

I arrived at the pool and parked in the bottom car park close to the water and selected a ‘close to car’ peg that looked decent – lily pad edged, etc – but not a peg I’d fished before. Bit of a cool breeze though…

I was just setting up to fish laying-on/lift-method with the float rod having prebaited a bit when I realised that I’d no memory of loading/unloading my ‘tent’ although all my other bits’n’pieces were present and correct – and that I think started me on the ‘road to doom’ by it nagging on my mind … and being unable to relax … etc … etc … and thus forcing the doubt to become an actual need … and so I had to pack up to return home within a couple of hours of first cast.

So I did manage a couple of hours, albeit fruitless ones, with not a single touch on worm or prawn baits … and I did get home safely 🙂

So, with the weather seemingly due for an upturn to become what it should really be at this time of year, Liz and I will be out on the waters next Monday (31st) hopefully – so the tench and bream best look out! LOL!

Session 16 – Things Go Well – Liz Gets A New PB Bream And Equals Her PB Tench Too…

Tuesday, 11th May, Liz and myself set off at the usual 0730 for our club’s mixed fishery (AA-B) arriving at around 0800.

This time at the pool we headed to the far end which Liz hasn’t fished since rejoining the club … but has been one of my favourite pegs albeit we’ve fished other pegs previously this year.

  2021-05-11

The pegs chosen face a small island about 4-5 rod lengths away from the main bank. Liz was given my usual swim at the near end of the island to fish and it also has a lily patch off to the left and with the overhanging vegetation it gives two nice areas to swap fishing between if required. I set myself up at the adjoining peg, facing the far end of the island with its bushes. It was a peg I’ve been meaning to fish for ages having only ever once fished it before albeit I did well there then if I recall.

We both float fished – lift method, 4AAA wind/driftbeater floats, 6lb line – Liz used a size 16 hook, myself a 12 with maggots as bait. We both tried alternative baits – myself, corn and bread – but it seemed that the fish only wanted maggots on the day.

I fed up the swim per usual with a few groundbait balls laced with maggot and particles before tackling up in order to draw fish into the swim…

However, it was Liz who was in action first … and on her first cast too … landing a nice 3lb 11oz tench…

But I quickly took second blood with a small 6oz barbel….

… and then I had my best tench of the day – 4lb 9oz …

2021-05-11 Steve - 4lb 9oz Tench 01

Steve – 4lb 9oz Tench

… and the day proceeded with a succession of fish despite a heavy shower of rain lasting around 45 minutes or so just after midday … and not long after it ceased Liz landed a bream of 4lb 1oz – a new personal best bettering her previous best caught a few weeks earlier at the same venue… … and later she equalled her PB tench too at 4lb 4oz…

We fished on until 1545 when another sharp shower started … but in the what seemed not too far distance, there were virtually continuous mega claps of thunder to be heard – the sort of thing you’d expect to hear from something like a 32 storey block of corrugated tin constructed flats collapsing a hundred yards away! Strange thing was that it wasn’t really dark, no flashes of lightning seen or sensed, and actually still very blue skies were evident outside the grey area. But, being cautious and having intended to pack up at 1600 anyway, we decided to call it a day and pack down ‘just in case’ … and, as usual, by the time we’d half cleared our kit, the thunder had become a memory and it was sun and blue skies all around… but the pub was open anyway… LOL

So, to sum up the day and the total tally…

Liz:

Tench 3-11, 3-14, 3-03, 2-10, 4-04

Bream: 4-01

And 2 small barbel (6oz), 3 perch (best 12oz) and a small mirror carp (4oz)

Steve:

Tench: 4-09, 4-00, 3-12, 3-12, 3-07

And a small barbel, 2 small mirror carp (best about 4oz), 2 small (2oz?) perch

A Few More Pics:

PLANS:

None really set … although hopefully out again with Liz on Monday 17th May…

WORMS – AND THEIR KEEPING

I’ve just been watching a video posted by ‘Avon Angler UK’ on YouTube entitled “The Cheap & Easy Way To Keep Nightcrawlers / Worms – How To Keep Them Indefinitely” … and here’s the link to that …  LOBWORM VIDEO … and as I’ve been meaning to do a blog/YouTube on the subject of worm keeping myself it’s sort of kicked me into action to tell my way of doing things!

For info, ‘Nightcrawlers’ is the American term for the worm that we know as the lobworm and, as I believe most of our commercially sourced (tackle shop) lobworms are actually imported from Canada and the USA, is probably the correct term for the purchased variety, with manually collected by the angler ones being ‘Lobworms’ although I’m not really sure if they are identical or related versions. Also although there are worm breeders in the UK I’m not sure if they actually breed lobworms or buy them in from America as lobworms are extremely difficult to breed due to their lifestyle and their type of sexual union. Brandlings/dendrobaenas/redworms/tiger worms are easier to breed and, if purchased, will have been UK bred.

Right, as I generally only use dendrobaenas (aka dendros) – although I have at times added tiger worms to the stock so probably not pedigree dendros these days – but I did use lobworms back in the day and so  I’ll just cover these two species in depth. The limit to my red worm knowledge is that if you have a compost bin into which you put your grass cuttings then at some time you’ll discover an ample supply crawling around the damp top of the bin trying to escape … but as I find them to small for my own purposes I’ve never collected them up.

LIFESTYLES and CATCHING

Dendros … are a ‘composting’ worm and feed mainly on the fungus that grows on rotting vegetation rather than the vegetation itself as commonly believed. So they live naturally in the earth/soil, usually with 12” of the surface and generally would get harvested by digging in a compost heap or similar ground type.

Lobworms  … actually live in the roots of grass and are usually only 1”-2” beneath the surface of the ground. At night they rise from their burrows to collect dying vegetation such as fallen leaves to drag underground for a food store – and this is the cause of the leaves you see sticking up vertically on grass patches – the leaves haven’t fallen and stuck in the ground like a spear under gravity, the lobs have grabbed them and pulled them into their burrows. Another indication of the presence of lobworms are ‘worm casts’ on the grass surface – small piles of soil created by thin strings of soil caused by the worms passing soil though their bodies as they burrow. Lobs also need to come to the surface to mate which they do by lying side by side with their ‘saddles’ together (NOTE: it is etiquette to avoid disturbing the copulating worms at this time!). Lobs usually surface on warm, damp, dark nights and at that time can be spotted simply by roaming the grassy area with a dim torch … and then comes the tricky bit – catching them! Lobs are sensitive to light (how much so depends greatly on their usual environment – worms in a usually dark quiet area are much more cautious than the worms that live in an area such as a lit roadside grass verge where passing traffic and light are the norm. So, you need to be stealthy by using as dim a light source for your torch as is possible and search by treading slowly and very lightly… as the worms lie with their tails anchored in their burrows the merest disturbance can see the worm disappear back into its burrow in the matter of milliseconds.

Steps to catching lobworms … venture out on a warm damp night – after rain is a good time – and using all caution as advised above start your search … on spotting a target get as close as necessary in order to be able to grab the visible part of the worm as close to its burrow as possible and then quickly grip/trap the worm at that point – a pocket with some sharp sand that allows you dip your finger in can help with the grip – BUT do NOT pull the worm as doing that will many times mean you end up with a broken worm….

NEVER KEEP BROKEN WORMS! DOING SO MEANS THAT IT CAN DIE AND ITS DECOMPOSITION CAN LEAD TO THE DEATH OF THE HEALTHY WORMS!

… just hold for a few seconds to prevent it pulling back into the burrow and the worm will relax and can be slid out and placed in your bait box … and then go search for the next – which can be within 12”!. On an average night its possible to collect well over 100 in 30 minutes … as I used to back in the day BUT health and age has meant too much backache for me these days PLUS in the days of cutback my catching ground suffered… I used to collect from the grass verge of the main road through our estate … as lit by street lights and worms were used to vibration due to passing traffic the worms were not ultra cautious and at times I’d get 200 in 30 minutes … BUT in those days the grass verges were cut to golf green status weekly with the cuttings removed and the surrounds of lampposts tidied by the use of strimmers .. then came the cutbacks with the grass cut once every couple of months so post-cutting the grass is now twice as high as they were pre-cutting, cut by rotary mower not cylinder with the cuttings left on the surface, and the lamppost surrounds are now poisoned with weedkillers instead of strimmed … last time I went worming there I managed just 20 straggly worms in 2 hours!!

I did buy 100 lobs to try seeding our back lawns some years ago … but I’ve never seen one worm there since … but then again I am competing with several nocturnal visitors for them – several foxes and badgers! Plus several dozen magpies!

Hence lobworms are off my bait list as buying in is far too expensive.

KEEPING/STORING WORMS

Lobworms I used to simply store in a small (25/50 litre?) flip top bin with small holes drilled in the base and kept in the corner of the garden shaded from direct sunlight between the rear hedge and a rhododendron bush. No need for a tight fitting lid as lobworms are not escape artists like dendros, etc and their keeping media was simply peat free compost with a few grass cuttings, decaying foliage and used tea leaves added for their nourishment. The media was checked regularly and kept damp. BTW – use ONLY USED tea leaves … unused tea leaves are NOT good for them!

The lobs remained happy in this although the environment wasn’t conducive to breeding and as they were used up they needed to be replenished as and when – but a good night’s worming soon sorted that and often only needed to be topped up once a year, usually just before June 16th ….

Dendros/Tigers/Brandlings I started off by purchasing 1Kg from a worm seller a couple of years ago … and are stored in a large woven plastic sack (weave allows good drainage) with a base media of peat free compost to which kitchen organic slops (old spuds, carrots, cabbage, etc – NOTE: NO MEAT/DAIRY BASED NOR ACIDIC MATERIALS SUCH AS CITRUS FRUITS, ONIONS, ETC. EGG SHELLS ARE ADDED TO PROVIDE CALCIUM AS WELL AS TO NEUTRALISE ANY ACIDIC BYE PRODUCTS!!!. The sack has its neck secured tightly with a re-useable cable tie in order to prevent the worms escaping … and is then placed inside a small surplus wheelie bin (council went from weekly collections to fortnightly and provided larger bins and we were allowed to keep the original for our own uses) that has small holes drilled through for aeration and drainage … which has a small upturned bucket in the base to keep the bag off the bottom to increase drainage/aeration. The bin now holds probably more than the number of worms I originally purchased – and bigger and fatter too, many like mini-lobs. Stored by the greenhouse in the shelter of some small conifers, its great for access to worms at any time of the year – blazing drought to freezing icebound make no difference. In use, and to prevent over disturbing, I simply fill a bait box of worms which I’ll then  use for several sessions. I store the bait box and unused worms after each session in the fridge or on the concrete floor of the garage switching between them as needed to keep worms in good condition … and every 2-3 months I replace the worms in the bait box with fresh worms from the stock bag whilst adding the old worms back to the bag to get back some fitness for future use….

SO … all very easy and ensures a constant ready supply J

WORM SUPPLIERS

For my stocks and past purchases I’ve used WILLY WORMS, YORKSHIRE WORMS and WORMS DIRECT.

All have been very good….

Session 15 – Quiet, Too Quiet – Are The Fish Getting Ready To Spawn?

Thursday 26th April, I set off for a club pool (AA-GH) where carp are the predominant species although there are roach and rudd with the roach going over 2lb – but the only interest I have in those are as pike bait – bream and lately perch have been showing up in numbers despite over the previous 9 years of fishing the pool the only perch I’d seen was a minnow sized one that got trapped in my landing net when I pulled it from the water after a session there about a year ago. Also holds good pike – in fact a 30lb+ pike that had been caught a number of times over the years (not by me) was found dead in the margins a few years back and was weighed at that time at 38lb! The pool also has lots of other pike in the mid-teens plus several in the twenties … that’s not bad for a pool of around 2 acres is it? 🙂

I arrived at the pool around 0700, baited up with the usual cereal/particle mix/dead maggot, and after tackling up the float rod – 6lb line, size 12 hook baited with a bunch of 5-6 maggots, 4AAA windbeater float overshotted and set overdepth to fish lift method – I made the first cast of the day at 0740.

All was quiet the first couple of hours and then I had a couple of takes in the space of 10 minutes at around 0930. The first take was missed but the second was hooked and eventually a 6lb 20z common carp was landed.

2021-04-26 Steve - 6lb 2oz Common Carp 01

6lb 2oz Common Carp

And then …. up to 1530 when I packed up for the day … I had not another touch despite changing baits to worm, bread, paste and back to maggot.

A few carp were cruising around but didn’t seem interested in any floaties I flicked out…

Is the warming water causing the fish to congregate for spawning? I know it’s still too warm for carp to spawn but the other species spawn earlier? And possibly the upward water temperatures are causing to their shoaling together? From observations none of the other anglers in view were catching much … one chap directly opposite to me had a couple of small silvers that I saw but nothing else.

PLANS:

It will probably Monday 3rd May before I head out again. Stomach a bit off today so a trip out to the banks tomorrow is not likely – and not even started sorting tackle and baits that I would need anyway. Depending how I feel I might take some rubbish to the local tip … and need to visit optician for new ear pieces for my hearing aids, get maggots for Monday, etc … and at 1715 I’ve an appointment at the docs for my second Covid vaccination  

TEMPS:

AIR:                   MIN:   3.8’C      MAX: 20.4’C
WATER:            MIN:  12.2’C     MAX: 14.7’C

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Session 14 – Two For Two…

Thursday 22nd April, I set off for a club pool (AA-H/IP) that I’ve only visited once before.

When I went out to the car at 0530 to load the items needed for the day there was a windscreen frost but by 0715 when I actually left the house to head off that had totally disappeared and the car’s external thermometer registered 3’C – but the direct radiated heat of the full sun made it feel much much warmer than that – in fact I suffered a bit later in the day as I’d put on my full thermals as the previous day had been quite a bit cooler.

So, on arrival I elected to fish a different swim to my previous visit moving 5 swims further along the pool.

I did the usual pre-baiting with balls of cereal groundbait plus particles before setting up my area and tackling up my rods … 2 rods, 8lb line, frame feeders loaded with the groundbait/particle mix and size 4 and 6 hooks.

First casts were made at 0845 with a large breadflake bait on one rod, pop-up butterscotch boilie on the other to try to lift baits over the potentially weedy bottom – but this swim seemed less weedy than the previous one although baits were lost on retrieval possibly by being ‘brushed’ off? The few bits of weed that were brought in on the hooks tended more towards sedge grasses…

Whilst awaiting first takes I decided to get the Deeper CHiRP out to do a sonar scan … which didn’t start well as first cast the CHiRP caught on some long vegetation behind me on the back cast and it sailed out onto the water unattached from the line! Luckily, the wind was in the right direction and 10 minutes later it had drifted back almost to my feet – 3’ to my left on the edge of the marginal sedges but was close enough to easily net :). Reconnected, and with the rear vegetation in mind, I then made several other cast around … and discovered a some useful info.

A video of my scans can be seen on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/YvrLwaJeIzU

As you’ll see there is no lack of fish in there! And although I knew the pool was deep there are areas far deeper than I expected – over 70’ deep in areas it seems!!

Anyway, I fished until around 1430 – and Liz says you can tell I caught the sun! – but despite changing baits from bread/pop-up to prawn/chilli sausage at 1130 and fishing out at distance and alongside the marginal sedges I had not one beep from the alarms all session. Hence the title – two trips, two blanks.

There were quite a few ‘sprat’ dimples around and at around 1330 a good sized carp (getting on for a double) cruised past my feet but wasn’t interested in the few bits of bread and boilies I fed in the area.

There was a match planned for the pool early July but I note that the fixture has now been switched to another pool. A shame really as I’d have liked to have seen how the match boys got on there and what they’d have caught. I suspect they’d have done well on the poles especially as back in the days being a day ticket venue good bags of rudd were being caught. I think the ‘rumours’ of being a deep pool have maybe put people off? I was told by one angler he’d not go there as it was too deep and he couldn’t swim BUT in fact the depth at 10m or so from the bank is less than than one of our well visited pools – the one to where that match fixture has been switched to actually. Rumours, eh!! Bet it won’t be long before old Nessie will have been spotted on holiday!! LOL!  

Anyway, I quite like the pool – quite scenic, definitely peaceful and serene – and a pool which needs to be investigated more and ’cracked’. Looking forward to a return in the near future!

PLANS:

Monday, 26th April … plan as it was announced in last posting has been revised and now intending to visit another club pool (AA-GH). Primary species in the pool are carp but also contains bream – and reputedly tench albeit I’ve never seen or heard of any being caught there in my 10 years of membership BUT until a couple of years ago I’d have said the same of perch, having never seen not heard of any being caught there, until on pulling my landing net from the water at the end of a session I found a minnow sized one in there! And then in October/November last year, whilst trying to catch some livebait, I was catching a fair few of them. So I’ll be hoping for bream and perch, with the hope of a tench, and undoubtedly a few carp.

TEMPS:

AIR:                  MIN:   9.6’C      MAX: 28.0’C (in direct sunlight)
WATER:            MIN:  12.1’C     MAX: 13.9’C

WATER TEMPS:

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Session 13 – Tench, Barbel And Titanic Plum Porter…

Monday 19th Liz and I set off at the usual time for one of my club’s tench and bream waters (AA-B). A beautiful morning was evidenced by another angler in the inn the process of unlocking the padlocked gate in front of us on arrival around 0800! Usually there’s a good hour between our arrival and that of the next – if there is indeed a next… However, aforesaid gentleman did actually set himself up on the carp pool that is situated only 10 yards from our tench/bream pool and so we had a full choice of the 26 pegs that our pool holds – but we headed to the usual two pegs we’ve been fishing the past few visits. It seemed that the carp weren’t co-operating though as later he came on to the T&B pool – and had one tench that we saw.

Mid- afternoon another chap arrived and set up on the carp pool and just before we packed in  another 2 anglers set up on our pool … and the club president arrived just after them and set up on the carp pool.

On Sunday I know one chap had 11 carp up to 11lb 5oz from the carp pool … but that pool has not really grabbed me. Notr a fan of carp, I’ve only fished it properly once and that was 10 years when I first joined the club and thought, mistakenly, that the T&B pool was closed for a work party day the following day. The only other times I’ve fished it are for an hour or so following a day on the T&B before heading home for the day – and then I was trying to entice the pool’s other official species, the chub. However, its been a long time since I’ve heard of a chub being caught in there but then again I don’t suppose the ‘carpers’ would deem them worthy – and too many carp to make chub fishing worthwhile. There are small roach/rudd, tiny bream and perch in there too but they are illegal immigrants which, I think, have passed through the grid over the connecting pipeline between the pools as fry.

The T&B pool is fed water via a pipe from a small passing brook at one end … at the other end a pipe, with grid to try to prevent exchange of fish twixt the pools, overflows into the carp pool and thus keeps that topped up … and, at the opposite side of the carp pool to the incoming pipe, the water overflows back into the brook. All very eco!! LOL

So, on to the day itself…

I decided initially to fish on-the-drop as I’d indicated I would in the ‘PLANS’ section of my previous posting – but as I anticipated that didn’t last long… 0915 I made my first cast on-the-drop and 0945 I changed to over my usual lift-method style. I didn’t seem to be having any attention whatsoever during the ‘drop’ period and all indications of interest were after the bait had been settled for several minutes… Liz started off using the  lift-method.

Anyway, our swims were fed with a few small balls of cereal groundbait laced with hemp, turmeric rice, red/yellow maize, dead maggots and micropellets previous to tackling up – and additions of the same and catapulted dead maggots were made throughout the session.. and initially we both fished with maggot on size 16 hooks to 6lb main line.

As I took my rod out of my quiver the butt ring accidentally (well, wouldn’t do it on purpose!) looped itself over the stub of a trimmed off twig on the tree I’d leant my quiver against – and the ring’s lining came adrift. A bit of a sinking stomach time when I saw the damage … but I did manage to press the lining back into the ring firmly enough for it to hold out the day and this morning I’ve managed to glue it firmly back into place 🙂

At 0950 I had my first proper bite of the day and landed a tench of 4lb exactly… followed by Liz landing another tench, this time of 3lb 8oz…

A quiet spell then ensued and I decided to ring some slight changes and changed my hook to a size 12 baited with worm which didn’t even seem to attract any attention whatsoever … and the worm was switched to bread flake with the idea that it would ‘sit up and waft’ to attract attention … which it seemed to although waryingly (another late addition to the OED and now added to my local ‘Word’ dictionary LOL).

Around 1345 I did have a good take and struck into thin air … literally! In fact, as my float was lying flat on the water my first thought was that I’d left my reel’s bale arm open … but I hadn’t … and, in fact, on retrieval of the line it had snapped between the stop knots for some strange reason … as I say I never felt a milligram of resistance on the strike. Can only put it down to a line fault really, I did think that it could possibly have happened due to the broken butt ring but due to the location that would have been impossible.

[I always put two stop knots on my line with a sliding float – the usual one above the float that sets the depth to fish at plus another between the top shot and the float which allows a space between the float and the shot when casting, just seems to me to prevent line wrapping back on the cast. Actually, I often put 3 stop knots on … and place two above the float, the lower one of which is used to set the float’s fishing depth and the other is used as a marker to set the max depth I’d need/want, the actual ‘working’ knot can then be slid down to shallower depth for a while if searching a shallower area in your swim but is able to be quickly returned to the full depth by just sliding back up to the ‘reference’.]

So, I re-tackled – using an identical float as the original was last seen drifting down the pool, and although a few times it seemed to start to deviate towards one of the side banks, when checked again it had returned to its central line … so presume it ended somewhere in the overhanging branches of the bushes on the facing side of the pool’s island. However, I had nothing beyond that point bar small floats nudges that seemed more line wafts from tail fins…

However, Liz was able to win the ‘most fish’ and ‘most species awards’ of the day when, at 1515, she caught a barbel of around 8oz – but I retained the awards for ‘first fish’ and ‘biggest fish’ 😀

1530 was time to pack in and head for celebration beers at the local – and one of my favourite beers (Titanic Plum Porter) was on tap but alas there were no scratchings to be had … albeit the cheese and onion cobs that were available did hit the right spot!

PLANS:

Thursday, 22nd April I’ve planned a second trip to the ‘deep’ pool (AA-H/IP). I’ve some special baits ready to try along with the usual and I’m intending to fish further along the pool into deeper water than I did on the first visit.

Monday, 26th April I’m intending to return to the tench and bream pool (AA-B) but to another favourite swim. Liz has indicated she won’t be fishing as she wants to catch up on jobs.

TEMPS:

AIR:                   MIN: 13.1’C     MAX: 27.2’C (in direct sunlight)
WATER:             MIN:  8.0’C      MAX: 10.4’C

WATER TEMPS:

ScreenHunter 74

AIR TEMPS:
ScreenHunter 75