Session 3 – 2019 – Patshull Pool Piking….

Tuesday, 15th January, Liz and I set off to Patshull Pool, a local pool on an estate that belonged to Lord and Lady Dartmouth in the 50’s/60’s (and probably earlier) but then had to be sold in order to pay death duties on their demise. And in those days if you donated 2s 6d to the Dartmouth’s charity then you were allowed an annual family pass to fish the Great Pool… and my grandmother, who ran a pub, donated to the charity and every Sunday after she closed the pub at 1400 she, my step-grandfather, my parents, uncle and myself set off to fish for a few hours before the pub was due to be re-opened at 1900.

In those days, it was bank fishing only for a small stretch of about 200-300 yards of the 75 acre pool – all very wild and natural too.

These days, more of the banks are open, fishing platforms in places, punts with or without electric motors are hireable… but it still is a beautiful place. And £8.50 for a day ticket is not unreasonable really.

2019-01-15 patshull pool

Also see: Patshull Park Fishing (PDF File)

So, we left home at 0830, arriving about 0900. After parking up and getting our day tickets and having a brief reconnaissance of the banks we elected to fish pegs 48 and 49 … and an initial scan with my Deeper Sonar indicated that we weren’t short of fish in the vicinity, the streaks being ‘fry’ sized fish,… the deepest section being around 18’ deep.

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So, first casts were made around 1000-1030’ish with Liz fishing one rod, static ledger, baited with 2 sprats on a standard twin treble wire trace and myself I fished two rods, one with a ‘popped-up’ orange fish and the other rod fished with a static ledgered sardine (later switched to a half herring)….

Unfortunately, neither of us, nor another angler on the opposite bank who seemed to be floatfishing livebaits, had any joy at all … with Liz and I not even getting so much as a single tweak until we packed in at 1500 and headed, as usual, to our local hostelry. Heyho … that’s fishing.

Anyway, Liz had been reticent to suggestions of fishing from a boat but now she’s seen them maybe I can persuade her to have a session afloat… they are proper flat bottomed punts and as such are exceptionally stable craft.

I had intended to be out again yesterday (Thurs 17th) but circumstances have been such that I don’t think I’ll be able to get out again now until the week beginning January 28th.


Steady at 6’C all day…

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Session 2 – 2019 – Canal Piking….

Thursday, 10th January, I set off at 0900 to the Shropshire Union canal (having checked I’d got ALL my gear this time) for a day’s pike fishing, intending to float fish ‘orange’ fish (still don’t know what they are!) down the canal with 20-60 minute spells along the way – some swims give access to 2 or 3, sometimes 4 castable areas to fish, so basically giving each area 20 mins each to produce the goods. On the return journey I intended to wobble/sink-n-draw sprats.

The weather was surprising mild – possibly due to the total absence of any air movement at all – especially after a forecast of a cold night had been given and, whilst on on Wednesday evening, there seemed to be more gritters than any other sort of vehicle on the roads. No frost on the car on the drive either when I got up at 0700… BUT a club member did remark on the club’s Facebook page that a water he had visited was iced over hard enough to bounce a small feeder on… Anyway, I felt overdressed as I’d decided to wear a body warmer (or to posh people, gillet) under my newly acquired padded wax cotton jacket (as well as the usual thermals) … especially, as even without wearing my gloves, my hands glowed with warmth.

SO … fishing….

Part One – deadbaiting – I worked my way down about 3/4 of mile of towpath fishing probably 7-8 areas in all – with some providing multiple areas of interest as said before – before reaching the point of return. But, apart from a couple of minor nudges and bobs of the float that barely rippled the water’s surface (probably an inquisitive chub) in the second area, there were absolutely no signs of interest….

Part Two – sprat deviations – never happened…. 1400 I packed down the deadbait rod and put a sprat on the wobble rod, cast out, wound the reel handle half a dozen times – and the reel locked up. I was able to backwind it about the same number of times before it locked in that direction. I even took the line spool off to see if it was due to trapped line, etc but there was no change. So, the unusable reel caused me to have to break down the rod and make the walk directly back to the car uninterrupted … not that it was a bad thing in the end as having gotten home and sorted bags and bait out, bathed, etc I found myself rushing to get out to collect Liz from work on time … had I fished the way back to the car I’d probably had to go for Liz still in my fishing gear and thus had to go in to KFC thus dressed … and stinky! LOL.

So, the first two 2019 outings haven’t been a major success – and I’m hoping its a case of third time lucky on Monday when Liz and I are due to go to Patshull Pool – a fishery I used to visit regularly for a time in the 80’s – and often saw John Sidley, Des Taylor and Nige Williams there. And I won (or came second) in a ‘Pike Day’ there too – not sure which, I had a cutting of the results printed in the local newspaper at the time but looking for it it seems to have gone AWOL from the photo album I thought it was in – or its somewhere else! LOL. Anyway, last time I was there was in the 80’s and so I’m looking forward to a return…. In fact, I was thinking of getting a season ticket there next winter (they run from 8th October – 24th February) at £140 inc the free use of a boat and purchasing myself an electric motor (ca £300 inc batteries). But thinking again – £140 + £300 = £440 (minimum), whilst buying a £8.50 day ticket plus an extra £20 for boat + motor = £30 …. so I could make day ticket 15 trips for the same money and not have to store/carry/maintain/charge motor or batteries … and 15 trips would probably be equivalent to 2-3 years, maybe more, of trips there as I have access to good pike waters via my club memberships anyway … and can fish the Patshull from the banks to for £8.50 …. Anyway, it is a good place … good head of decent bream too … I remember being out in a punt during the old close season doing some reconnaissance and seeing a huge black shadow under the water approaching – 100 yards long and about 50 yards plus wide – and as it passed under the punt it was solid bream about 3 layers deep (probably more as that as as far down as we could see!) all of around 5lb or more! Funny thing was when we dropped bread in among them they opened up, swam around it and then closed file again!

See: Patshull Park Fishing (PDF File)

Session 1 – 2019 – Mixed Day But Leaning Towards The Bad End Overall….

My first trip 2019 out to the water was eventually made on Monday 7th January after aborting plans I’d made to venture out on Friday 4th January due to forecast -4.0’C temps overnight from the Thursday and temps on Friday itself not getting above -2.0’C coupled with a ‘moderate’ breeze – and as I’d planned to have a canal session ie shelterless banks with any breeze, regardless of its geographical direction, getting channelled down the canal’s length I really wasn’t up for that especially with it being ‘damp’ cold still too. Lower temperatures (even -5’C or lower), with minimal breeze or decent shelter, and with LOW air humidity can feel much more comfortable and often pleasant with the correct clothing BUT with damp in the air NO clothing regardless of cost, quality, etc can defeat the damp – even GoreTex and similar will let dampness/vapour through although excellent protection against rain and water in its more liquid forms. And dampness doesn’t need to get through the defences of the material either  – it works its way through gaps in protection eg sleeve cuffs, neck lines, etc as when you move you push air out at times but then suck in fresh (damp) air on the next movement bellows like…. Anyway, that’s my REASON or, OK, possibly EXCUSE LOL!

Anyway, I did venture forth on Monday – yesterday as I write this – and had a few hours on the canal, or more truthfully I should say canals in the plural – and I didn’t blank which was the good part of the day….

But let me start at the beginning….

The alarm clock sounded at on 0615 on Monday morning, I rose, dressed, loaded last minute tackle and baits into the car, had breakfast and set off at 0730 for my destination on the Shropshire Union Canal – a journey of 12 miles as the crow flies, so around 15 miles by road – and arrived after negotiating the works traffic en route at around 0815. Parked up and walked the 500 yards to my decided upon swim with overhanging bushes and which harbours good perch and chub. Set up the landing net, laid out the unhooking mat, weigh sling and scales … took rod out of the quiver and put together the sections… and then opened the seat box to get out the compartmented box I carry most of my needed items in – floats, shot, weights, hooks, etc, etc – and it was highlighted by its total absence!! The day before I’d had a sort out of the seat box and re-arranged stuff … and in taking some unwanted equipment away I’d also mistakenly taken the tackle box with it all! So, although I’d 2 float rods and a ledger rod with me, all was completely useless without floats and weights…

So, I packed up without wetting a line and set off back home arriving at 0920’ish…

So I nip into the house, have a LemSip, gather the missing box, and head out again but this time to a local stretch of the Staffs-Worcs Canal about 10-15 minutes from home…. arriving just after 1000.

Tackle up again – all successfully this time – and start float fishing with worm and maggot to the far bank – and catch around 15 gudgeon, 1 chub, 1 perch and a daddy ruffe … perch the biggest at around 2-3oz … most of the gudgeon were smaller than my, already small, little finger….

Liz rings me at just after noon to see what I’m doing … I tell her and say I’ll probably pack up around 1400…

1300 and my phone chimes … Liz again… one of our two ferrets (Minnie, the other is Missy) is not at all well and looks to be on last legs … I tackle down and drive back … Minnie is very listless and being cuddled in a towel by Liz … we give water (and water/honey) by syringe throughout the afternoon and evening but apart from occasional shudders she doesn’t move much … and she finally passed away later that night and was laid to rest in my shrubbery patch this morning with a memorial Xmas tree (was a small potted one we’d bought for Xmas decoration) to mark her resting place.

So, I’ve had better days really….

Now, looking for ferret rescue places to obtain a new friend for Missy … looking at a getting a male ferret this time as we’ve not had a male in a long time … and possibly getting two (ferret owner maths kicks in – you can never have one ferret and usually the optimum number is as many as you already have plus one)….

Fishing – hoping to go piking on Friday 11th – possibly pool or possibly the Shropshire Union as it now owes me a day’s fishing. And the latter is more likely as I’ve been wanting a piking there for a while and its less tackle to sort….


Well, I’ve just posted the results of my final two sessions for 2018 – it did not end in highlights but there’s still 2019 ahead of us…..

In fact, Friday, 4th January 2019 I’m intending all being well to head to a canal for a day’s maggot/worm fishing. Which canal has yet to be decided never mind which section thereof! So I’m hoping the new year starts far better than the last one ended….

And I wish you all the very best in all your 2019 endeavours be they angling related or otherwise and that it be a year of dreams come true for you and your families….

SO … best foot forward …. and on we go!!

Sessions 57 & 58 – Pike – Last Outings Of 2018

Well, I did manage, in the last throes of 2018, to make two further outings – both for pike – before the 2019 New Year arrived ….

Session 57, Saturday 29th December, was a trip to Pike Water 3 for an informal pike competition. Basically, you turn up on one of the allowed waters at whatever time you wish, go to a swim, fish by deadbaiting or lure (live baits are banned at the venue), record the weight of and photo any pike caught and post your best fish on the club’s Facebook page, pack up and leave when you wish… Best fish wins, but no prize, you just get the fame LOL!

So, I turned up at 0830 after dropping Liz off at work at 0730. Two other anglers were on the water both having arrived at 0730 but not a fish had been caught. I walked to to the area I’d decided to fish and tackled up with two deadbait rigs – one with a fish that I don’t know the species of but was obtained from Birmingham Fish Market on the strength of looking good – orange-ish hue and about the same size of a large smelt but of firmer flesh and very fishy smelling rather than having the cucumber aroma of an actual smelt – this was ‘popped-up’ by use of a balsa stick inserted down the throat and fished at depths from 18” to 60” off bottom by initially pulling tight to the ledger stop (18”) and letting out 12” of further line every 20 minutes until the highest level was reached… this was then reversed so the bait was pulled 12” lower every 20 minutes … and so on. The other rod was baited with a head half of a mackerel which was fished static on the bottom. Both rods were put out over a small bed of ‘chum/rubby dubby’ made from breadcrumb and minced fish bits.

I also tried at times working a lure between the two rods as an additional attractor…

At the end of the session at 1430.,.. I’d had exactly 0 takes … and it seems that others (by that time about 6-8 others where fishing) were having a hard time. A chap fishing opposite me, in what I’d consider the prime swim, had had zilch… one of the two who had arrived before me had had 3 pike but the best one, he said, was about 2.5lb and he didn’t bother weighing them. And the only other fish I heard of was a 5lb 10oz one which was the leading fish at that time, and probably the best of the day.

I did learn one thing though – I certainly took too much tackle/bait! On the walk to the swim from the car park I had to drop half my tackle about 200 yards from my swim and then return to pick it up … and that was the ‘easy’ walk – downhill mainly… the return walk, although lighter loaded – 1.5 litre flask now empty, less bait – was now uphill though on a long and tiring slope which required several re-adjustments of luggage on the shoulders and two 1/2 drop offs and returns and 3 breathing stops before I reached the car. Too many 3oz leads and definitely too much bait for the day contributed greatly! Also, I was a bit uncomfortable in my swim – a drop of 2’ or so down from the path on a bit of a plateau and as there was no room to place a chair next to the rods it was either a case of sit by the path and get down the slippy bank if I had a take or, the option I took, to sit most of the time on the slope on a plastic carrier bag. And this was further disenhanced (is that a word? My spell checker thinks not but you’ll get the idea) by the fact that since late July I have been suffering balance problems on and off – usually 1-2 spells of 1-2 secs each per day usually when changing posture or rotating head – and I suffered more than the usual number of those during the session – I’ve been referred to the local hospital’s Vertigo Department to have it checked out and am awaiting a date/time – I think its just a sinus problem though as seems to be more prevalent when I get a ‘squeezed nose’ feel and slight headache between the eyes and breathing through the nose seems constricted than any other time. Anyway, slippy bank and tendency to lose balance don’t work well together!

Session 58, Monday 31st December, was a trip to Pike Water 20 with Liz. Both fished two ledger deadbait rods – Liz with ‘orange’ fish on one rod and twin sprats on the other, myself with ‘orange’ fish (fished both as static on the bottom and also tried as pop-up) and a sardine on the other.

We fished from around 1000 to 1430 – and one single bleep on one of Liz’s bite alarms (typically as she’d departed for the loo) was the total positive result of the day… although it did give me a slight rise of adrenaline!

AND SO …. the 2018 sessions concluded on a bit of a damp squib really…. but there’s always 2019!!! 🙂


I didn’t use my thermometer on the day but I did do some sonar readings – and this also reports water temperature, at the surface anyway, so I’m using this reading (9.0’C) for the below graphs:

Min:  9.0’C
Max: 9.0’C


Ohhh… and a picture of the ‘orange’ fish here – although having been frozen and a week or so old now its lost a lot (all?) of the orange colour in case anyone recognises or can identify the species – but will be a foreign (asian?) fish I’m sure…. and it has two dorsal fins – a short one at the front and a longer one that starts just after the front one and extends to the tail itself… this one is about 6″ long.


Session 56 – Pike & Possibly Last Outing Of 2018

Thursday 13th December, at 0645 I set off for Pike Water 17 for what may possibly be my last outing of 2018 – although there is also the possibility of a twix-mas informal pike competition being held at one of my clubs on 29th December which I’ll attend if possible.

The coldest morning here yet – forecast had been for 0’C overnight but I don’t think it did actually drop that low although there was a very thin layer of frost on the windscreen of the car. I know at midnight the air temp was 3.5’C and as I left the house at 0645 the car registered 2.0’C but half hour later on arrival at the venue it was 2.5’C (heat wave!!)… and as I was driving back home the air temp was 4.0’C. However, the actual air temperature was also subject to a wind chill factor from the existing breeze which meant it felt colder than it was.

On arrival at the water I walked up to the corner swim of the pool that I’d elected to try on the day and I fed in about 1Kg (wet) of rubby dubby (breadcrumb, minced fish and red food colour) just in front about 2 rod lengths out – and I did a few casts out with the Deeper Sonar finder – a few larger fish spotted and isolated pockets of small silvers.

[I did say that I’d put an example of the contour maps that can be created in this posting but time is against me as I have other things I need to do today – perhaps shortly.]

I did try to catch a few small silvers for livebait on my whip but the breeze was too heavy for the rigs I had available (so will be making up some heavier ones for future use) and it was hard to get them out on to the water so only tried for 30 mins max. However, I was equipped with a selection of deadbaits for such eventually – herring, sardine, mackerel, capelin, sprats and smelt – and thus I started with a mackerel head half on one rod and two capelin on the other…

[Capelin – a small fish of the smelt family but silver as opposed to the orangey hue of a true smelt. To be honest, I won’t be getting more as they are too soft and hard to get a hook grip and fly off the hook on the cast too often even when frozen. They came from a Chinese supermarket frozen and on a cellophane covered polystyrene tray and do  look great at that time. Good for adding to rubby dubby though.

But whilst in Birmingham Fish Market I did spot some fresh fish that looked similar to smelt – £10.99 a kilo which I thought was expensive so didn’t buy BUT now thinking that frozen smelt costs about £2  for 5 off 4”-6” online – and an additional £7+ for shipping per order – so next time I’m in Brum… ]

First casts with the pike baits, under floats, went out about 0845 and two and a half to three hours later not a single touch had been had, so then I switched to a whole sardine on each rod until I packed in at 1330 with the breeze having picked up to be a wind and the ripples on the water having turned into shore breaking waves and my fingers having gone numb and without still not a single indication of fishy interest…

So… my possible last session of the year was an almighty blank…. but with the slight possibility of changing that ahead…

Whatever, this WILL be my last posting pre-Xmas and so in that case I’d like to wish all who are reading and your families and friends the very best for the season … and, in case this is my last 2018 posting, a very happy and successful New Year to all for 2019.


Min:  5.3’C
Max: 5.5’C

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Session 55 – Search For Perch…

Monday, December 10th, 0630, I headed off to a club pool (KF-VV) with a view to fishing for perch by float fishing with maggots and worms…

My swim was in a stretch known as ‘chub alley’ – a peninsula that juts out into the main pool and which along its southern side faces an island with overhanging bushes under which a lot of chub normally reside but near the root’ of the peninsula there is a bridge that crosses over to the island (rarely used as there are no pegs on the island itself as it is only 20’-30’ from the mainland at its furthest point and thus is only used for access for ‘gardening’ purposes such as trimming of branches on the bushes when they start to go wild, etc) and I’ve found that perch like the corner formed between the island end of the bridge and the island itself and also lie under the bridge itself too…

Weather at the start of the session was quite pleasant with a warming bit of sunshine and zero breeze but about 1030 the sky clouded a little blocking out the sun and a slight cooling breeze appeared and it went a bit chilly despite the thermals, my hands in particular getting a bit numb … that lasted for about 90 minutes and then the skies cleared again and the breeze dropped so pleasant again for another hour before the clouds and breeze returned. I packed in for the day at 1400.

So, before setting up I fired a few small ‘pults of maggots into the bridge corner to start attracting my prey…

I then tackled up my 13’ ‘Hardy Matchmaker’ clone float rod with 6lb mainline and a short 6lb braid hooklength with size 16 hook … and I fitted a small wind/driftbeater type float to fish ‘lift method’…

I had a few bites in the next hour or so … and landed a few fingerling perch (based on my small hands that is, on more manly sized hands they’d probably be referred to as ‘first knuckle’ings’) and a small gudgeon … and then for the next hour not a single nibble was detected but maggots were visibly sucked on retrieval on most occasions. So at that point I switched the float to a straight waggler, shotted in shirt button style, and changed the hook to a size 12 and fished with dendro worms … upon which bites started to happen again but still mainly from fingerling perch …. and the best only two fish outside that form were two perch of around 6oz and 1lb 5oz …. and was quite pleased with the latter as I still regard any fish or whatever species over 1lb as a worthwhile fish in my book.

 So that was my day…..

Next outing will be tomorrow as I write this, Thursday December 13th, when I’m heading back out piking on a pool… I’m taking my 5m pole/whip in the hope of grabbing a few livebaits before I cast out the pike rods … and pre-fishing I’m also hoping to do some contour mapping of the pool with my Deeper sonar and, as an aside, hopefully locate where the silvers are currently holing up. In the event of failing to grab livebaits I’m taking a selection of deadbaits too … and a few lures including a Colarado Spoon which I purchased last Saturday after not seeing one for years!


Colorado Spoon – they’re absolute pike magnets!

Temperatures are forecast to be dropping tonight down to 0’C – so I think my thermals that have been in use recently will be supplemented by my fleece onesie! Not quite time for the padded dungies yet though? Find out tomorrow!


Min:  6.1’C
Max: 6.5’C

2018-12-10 Water Temps