Session 44 – The Hunt For Elusive Barbel Continues….

Friday 30th August 2013 at 1215 saw me heading to the Severn at Hampton Loade, Kinver Freeliner’s day ticket stretch, in search of the barbel that have been eluding me this season.

I  arrived at around 1300 and wandered down in search of a swim – and found my usual swim just up of the fallen tree, already taken by two other anglers, so I elected to fish a swim 2 or 3 upstream of them. I fished the swim for an hour or so – but it was a bit muddy as it seemed that the run-off from some crop spraying was running down that way and with no bites I decided to move to the 3-platform swim just a bit further upstream where I spent the rest of my day until packing up at 2030.

Anyway, suffice to say I blanked again, not only barbel-wise but all-species-wise this time. Highlight of the day came at 1745 when the rod slammed over but immediately whipped back, the bait having been stolen from the hook. Other than that I had a few tiny nibbly type bites, possibly eels.

Baits were meat mainly used with the occasional cheese ball boilie used in hope of luring a chub.

So that was the day for me… and my first 2013-2014 season barbel still remains to be caught. Maybe next Wednesday when Liz and I are planning to visit the Severn… this time on the BAA waters at Blackstone.

Photo of the day:


Session 43 – Back to the Tench Pool (also including Clouds and Silver Linings aka Bad News and Good News)

Tuesday 27th August 2013 at 0700 and I was heading off from home to visit our club’s tench pool (as I’ve said before though its not purely tench but various species bar common carp really – crucians, barbel, perch, roach, rudd, bream, chub and even gudgeon are all resident in there) hoping for a bit of action.

Arriving at a little before 0800 I headed to a swim I’d intended to fish earlier in the year just at the open water end of an island at the pool’s far end but someone else had taken it then and I had to revert to my usual swim on the near end of the pool far bank – basically the swim’s are diagonally opposite each other on the pool. This time – as the only person there at the time (someone else did visit the water later the day but I didn’t see them, I just know by the car parked on the car park that someone was down there). Anyway, I managed to get the swim I wanted – as I said it faces just on the end of an island (probably 10-15 yards between bank and island) and a large patch of lily pads is to the left of the swim jutting out with a clear water space between pads and island of about 15′-20′. The island itself is overgrown and has bushes overreaching the water – in fact, a very stereotypical Mr Crabtree location if there ever was one.

I intended to fish two areas – straight in front and to the left with my float rod and I also intended to put out a leger rod on an alarm out to the right. So before tackling up I threw in a couple of handfuls of particle mix along with some dead maggots into both areas – and as I intended to leger prawn in the right hand swim I also introduced half a dozen or so prawns tight to the island there. During fishing I fed dead/live maggot frequently into the left/straight swim.

Floatfishing – I used my 13′ float rod, 6lb mainline with an 15″ 8lb braid hooklength and a size 16 barbless hook. The float I used was a drift/wind beater antenna (marked as 6BB – but to actually set it right in the water it takes 2SSG+2AAA+1 No4 shot, which on my reckoning, (1SSG=2AAA=4BB and 1 No4=0.5BB) is 12.5BB!! Anyway, whatever its rated vs actual loading that’s what I used.
Legering – 11′ Avon rod (fitted with quivertip top section – although I actually used an alarm/bobbin as the detection system, the rod was pre-tackled and being lazy I couldn’t be bothered to tackle down and put the Avon top on), again 6lb mainline with 15″ 8lb braid hooklength were used but the hook was a size 6 barbless to accomodate the prawns I was to use for bait. A standard sliding leger was used – a free running 2″ leger boom with a 1/4oz lead stopped about 6″ above the hooklength (giving about 20″-21″ from hook to stop).

So I started by putting my legered prawn tight to the island bank, slightly right of me and set up on the alarm. The float rod I set up to fish ‘laying-on’ with a 3SSG shot 3″ from the hook, 2AAA shot just below the float which was set to fish around 6″ overdepth thus allowing the rod to be set in the rests and the line tightened to set the float to cock correctly and double/bunched maggot was the main bait of the day on this rod with a change to worm and luncheon meat at times. A few fish on worm but luncheon meat was totally ignored.

Over the day, bites on the float rod were frequent – but hard to hit often, usually small roach/rudd type timid nudges and dropped baits and a few drop offs too on retrieval – a problem I find with small barbless hooks and small fish as there is no bulk to pull against to retain a hold and the bumping of the fish causes the hook to come free but there’s a club rule saying barbless only and in general I’m in favour of that – losing a few 3-4oz fish is not a big deal really… On the leger rod, I had quite a few good runs too but Murphy’s/Sod’s Law deemed that most came when I was dealing with the float rod and I was unable to take immediate action and consequently missed quite a few bites.

The float rod set up was changed too over the course of the day to a more ‘standard’ slow sinking bait, bait just resting on the bottom type setup with a bulk shot of 2SSG just below float, 2AAA about half depth and a No4 telltale to trim the float.

I fished until 1730 – but put away the float rod at about 1630 when I got into a big tangle that required the line to be cut and a full re-tackle required but rather than do that I packed it up and concentrated on the leger rod swapping the prawn over to worm. Over the hour I had two good takes but unfortunately both strikes met thin air.

Anyway, catch of the day….

The leger rod and prawn accounted for a 3lb 7oz tench (best fish of the day) and a 10oz perch..  but as I said I did have far more takes than that.

The float rod accounted for 7-8 barbel (mainly around 6oz, best 1lb 1oz), a good many perch of around 4oz, one small rudd and one small roach. And I did lose a tench of around 2-2.5lb in the lilies when reaching for my landing net and taking my eye off the ball 😦

So nothing huge – but it was a wonderful day to be out on – aren’t they all though? 🙂

Right – Clouds/Linings Bad News/Good News…
Whilst attempting to sort out that tangle with the float tackle mentioned above I had a bit of an accident. I wear glasses for distance but don’t need them for short distance – and, in fact, to read or do close up work I have to look over/under – or remove them completely, which is what I did whilst trying to sort the tangle. However, having removed them I placed them on my chair…. and, yes, then went and sat on them. Bent? Well, let’s put it like this… the arms instead of sticking out at right angles to the rest of the frame and thus coming to rest on the ears when worn, then passed under the ears and the ends touched the angles of my jaw bone ie something like 45 degrees out of alignment. And the bend was at the arm/hinge joint AND also at the hinge/frame solder/weld… Looked like attempts at re-straightening would result either in breaking the solder/weld joints or the arm hinges ….. GRRRR!!! And was looking like having to buy a new pair…  BUT….  that’s the cloud/bad bit…. now the silver/good… I *WAS* able to very gently tease the hinges and arms back to their proper positions AND not only that but they fit much much better than they ever did before!! 🙂 YAAA-HOOOOO!!!!! 🙂

Some pictures:

The Swim

The Swim

The Swim

The Swim


Barbel (ca 6oz)

Barbel (ca 6oz)

3lb 7oz Tench

3lb 7oz Tench


Just had some lures arrive from Hong Kong via eBay for some drop shotting on the canal shortly – a few more packs due to arrive shortly too!! 🙂



Session 42 – Nordley Pools, Bridgnorth

Thursday, August 22nd 2013, saw Liz and I at Nordley Pools – having made it this time after the problems of the previous intended visit which resulted in the car breaking down en-route and having to be accompanied home by the Green Flag van once he had got the car going again to ensure all was well.

We set off at 0700, arriving at Nordley Pools at around 0745. We usually fish Pools 3 or 4 (there being 6 pools in all) but this time we had decided to fish Pool 2 and the car park for Pools 1 and 2 is different than for Pools 3-5. Another smaller area is available for Pool 6 (not really a pool IMHO… more a small duck pond that is usually covered in Canadian Pond Weed/Duck Weed). Anyway, on arrival we were surprised to see 3 cars already parked up so we decided to see where the others were fishing before unloading the car. There was no-one on Pool 1 – all were on Pool 2 with 2 people set up on the far (left) bank and at least person on the near (right) bank. So… on the way back we looked again at Pool 1 and there seemed a large amount of fish activity (carp bubbling and bow waving, and a lot of swirling from smaller species) so we decided to fish Pool 1.

We set up our leger rods (2 each, 11′ 1.75lb TC Barbel Avon rods) with 8lb mainline, and I also set up my floating bait rod (11′ 1.75lb TC Specialist Angler rod with 30lb greased braid to size 4 Kamasan B981 barbless hook). The swims were pre-baited with dead maggot and particle mix (hemp, wheat, maize. chick pea mainly) whilst we set up the rods, rod pods and other equipment.

Fishing commenced around 0830 and we packed in at around 1700.

Liz blanked on the day although she did have a number of aborted takes on pellet and luncheon meat throughout the day but nothing on her maggot rod. Myself, I had a 9lb 12oz Common Carp at around 0930 on floating bread, and a 4lb 1oz Common Carp on legered bread at around 1630… and also snapped on the strike of another fish using prawn just afterwards, due probably to a fault in the line as I felt the fish but the line parted well below the pressure needed to have done so normally. And until 1600 I hadn’t had one touch on any legered bait – and although there was ‘action’ around my floating bread baits mainly it was small fish just breaking it up although 2 or 3 takes were from larger carp but missed.


9lb 12oz Common Carp

9lb 12oz Common Carp

9lb 12oz Common Carp

9lb 12oz Common Carp


Fishing planned for next week…..
A session on the River Severn, a session on one of my club’s pools and, hopefully, a short midday session with the lures on the canal.

I had a new fishing jacket arrive yesterday. My current Ron Thompson Ontario jacket, after 2 years of valiant service, is finally giving up the ghost. Seams are now giving way faster than I can repair them and on one pocket the material itself has worn through into a hole. I did purchase a Dutch Combat Jacket from eBay originally but unfortunately it got lost in the mail system and as the seller had no replacements of suitable size I’ve been refunded for that. However, on Friday I found a German Flextarn Unlined Parka for sale for £16.50 in the right size – the reviews were good too – so I ordered that using my trial ‘Amazon Prime’ shipping account (next day delivery, £49 per year usually but I took advantage of a free 1 month trial offer). And it arrived yesterday morning…. And I am very pleased with it. Sturdy material, deep pockets (although not as many in total as the RT Ontario which had 17 in all – and nearly all used – but that resolved by my intention to use a multi-pocketed fishing waistcoat underneath) – and it now has had a wash with soap flakes to prepare it for waterproofing, been dried, dunked into a bucket of waterproofer, re-dried and is now ready for use whenever I go out – except for transferring my Ontario’s pocket contents over to it and the waistcoat which I’ll do shortly.


Session 41 – Visiting the Severn….

Monday 19th August 2013 I visited Kinver Freeliner’s stretch of the Severn at Hampton Loade…

Arrived at my first swim of the three I fished at 0715, making the first cast at around 0730.
Basic tackle consisted of a 2lb TC TFG ‘Big Barbel’ rod, with 10lb line loaded on a Shimano 3500 Aero reel terminated with a size 6 hook to 12lb braid, 36″ hooklength, and a sliding 35g grip type lead which was enough to hold bottom in the flow but would move on with a lift of the rod top to a new position. Bait used over the whole day was predominantly of luncheon meat using 5 or 6 cubes of various sizes to create a ‘kebab’ type effect but occasionally a cheese-paste boilie was also added to the ‘kebab’.

Water was slightly higher than the previous visit to the same stretch a couple of weeks ago and held a nice amount of colour and looked very promising.

A few small knocks ensued from first cast in at and at around 0830 a chub of 3lb 8oz was landed. Not the greatest scrapper – in fact I wasn’t sure it was a fish and not a bunch of weed until almost at the bank and my line was slowly moving upstream. After that there was no activity at all despite casting to different lengths and different water flow types when at 1130 I decided to move swims – and when winding in my line I discovered an eel of about 8oz attached. A touch of ‘swim deja vu’ from the previous visit to that swim – which also produced 2 fish on that session – one chub (albeit slightly smaller at 3lb 3oz) and an eel of 8oz.

Anyway, I moved into a new swim slightly upstream for the next couple of hours – but not a touch there – before moving again up to the start of the stretch to a swim recommended by the bailiff, but after an hour of fishing there without result I eventually lost my lead in the very snaggy bottom. As it was now getting on to 1530, and Liz doing a ‘meat and veg’ meal for tea which meant my time was limited plus I was starting to doze off (not in itself a major problem as I generally start to touch-leger at those times and have often awoken to find myself connected to a fish that I don’t remember having a bite from, never mind having struck at :)) I decide to cut my losses at that point and head back to the car…

Next outing, is planned for Thursday of this week 22nd August) when Liz and I are planning to re-do last week’s doomed visit to Nordley Pools (hopefully just the ‘visit’ part, not the ‘doomed’! :D).

Today, I’ve been starting to prepare and make some tackle for the start of my pike fishing season. My pike season starts on October 1st each year and finishes on March 31st of the following year – no legal reason as pike fishing comes under the general fishing regulations but for me (a) pike are too frisky during the summer months and can get easily over-exhausted and die if due care is not taken to nurse them fully back to health before release and (b) in the spring/summer there are many other species that are in their prime fishing time but tail off in the winter months, so I prefer to target those at that time and then go for pike as they still remain active and are a viable target. This year it seems that my first pike fishing session of 2013/2014 will take place at Lakeside Holiday Park at Burnham-on-Sea where Liz and I will be holidaying from Monday 30th September until Friday 4th October – although we are hoping we can negotiate a budget deal to stay on for the Saturday-Monday when we are on-site. Anyway, what I’ve been doing is making the skeletons (ie bare bones that need painting and attachments adding) of 2 types of float – the dumbell and the winddrifter – and some drop off bite indicators. All based on polystyrene balls and eggs and bamboo skewers. So far, I’ve done 4 drop off indicators, 6 winddrifter floats and 5 dumbell floats – ready now for the next stages of adding attachment parts (eg rings to fix floats to line, clips to grip line for the indicators) and painting…. NOTE: if you make things with polystyrene that need painting then you need to apply at least 3 coats of emulsion paint if intending to finalise with gloss paint – otherwise the solvents in the gloss attack the polystyrene and start to melt it…..


Windrifter float. The black object is the body (polystyrene egg in my case) that sits on the body to supply buoyancy. The vane at the top catches the wind and is thus pushed along the water surface thus trolling the bait beneath. In my case, the vanes will be produced from  segments cut from plastic spread cartons and painted a highly visible colour.

Windrifter float.
The black object is the body (polystyrene egg in my case) that sits on the body to supply buoyancy. The vane at the top catches the wind and is thus pushed along the water surface thus trolling the bait beneath. In my case, the vanes will be produced from segments cut from plastic spread cartons and painted a highly visible colour.

Drop Off Bite Indicator. Fastened by a clip at the far end of the stem to a rear rest or rear bar of a pod. The line clip at the weighted end (with the ball to help visuals) is placed on the line just below the reel's spool so that the line drops vertically and the tension on the line holds the indicator out horizontally. The reel is set either that the bale arm is open or, with a baitrunner type reel, that the baitrunner is set under very loose tension. In the event of a fish taking line then the line is pulled out of the clip and the indicator drops down under gravity OR if the fish takes the bait and swims toward the angler then the loss of  line tension allows the indicator to drop below vertical, pulled by the weight by the sight bulb.

Drop Off Bite Indicator.
Fastened by a clip at the far end of the stem to a rear rest or rear bar of a pod. The line clip at the weighted end (with the ball to help visuals) is placed on the line just below the reel’s spool so that the line drops vertically and the tension on the line holds the indicator out horizontally. The reel is set either that the bale arm is open or, with a baitrunner type reel, that the baitrunner is set under very loose tension. In the event of a fish taking line then the line is pulled out of the clip and the indicator drops down under gravity OR if the fish takes the bait and swims toward the angler then the loss of line tension allows the indicator to drop below vertical, pulled by the weight by the sight bulb.

3lb 8oz Chub

Dumbell Float... For deadbaits it is fished slightly overdepth so that the float lies flat on the surface. When a fish takes the float stands upright ....  On my version both of the balls will be painted top half red and bottom half white. I also intend to make some with black (or dark green/brown) balls  as in the photo for submerged paternoster use.

Dumbell Float…
For deadbaits it is fished slightly overdepth so that the float lies flat on the surface. When a fish takes the float stands upright ….
On my version both of the balls will be painted top half red and bottom half white.
I also intend to make some with black (or dark green/brown) balls as in the photo for submerged paternoster use.

A Tale of Car Woe and A Failed Session :( – but also of tomorrow’s planned session :)

Last Friday (9th August), Liz and myself set off at 0700 on what should have been a day’s fishing at Nordley Pools near Bridgnorth but unfortunately we ended back home about 3-4 hours later followed by a Green Flag van.

We got to Bridgnorth OK but at a turn we should have made to head towards Broseley there was a ‘Road Works, no access to Broseley, follow diversion’ sign – which we duly did – a route that took us out along the A458 Bridgnorth-Shrewsbury road for many miles before signalling a turn towards Broseley. Anyway, we got just short of Broseley and there was another ‘Road closed – no access to Bridgnorth – access to frontages only’ sign which seemed to indicate that the road works where actually in Broseley or at the Broseley end of the Bridgnorth-Broseley road meaning that if we’d taken our usual turn in Bridgnorth then we’d have reached the pools with no problem. So, at that point a little disgruntled vbut not a major problem, we start to head back to Bridgnorth on the A458 again… however 3-4 miles back, just reached the far side of Muckley Cross the car engine died basically, max throttle resulting in a gruff, bumpy tickover at best. So we pull over and contact Green Flag for whom I have a ‘Recovery’ subscription. Within the hour the GF man has arrived and looks at the engine and puts his diagnostic probe in the diagnostic port. He tells us, smell of petrol indicates that engine is flooding with petrol, and it appears that the cause is a problem with the O2 (aka lamba, exhaust) sensor giving spurious data to the car’s ECU (blackbox, computer) that basically controls all engine functions and settings these days which in turn has been re-adjusting to deal with the spurious data and has, finally, reached its limits of adjustment such that its pumping too much petrol. He says that he can try one thing – disconnect the battery for 5 minutes in the hope that the ECU will reset itself and that it’ll last for a while until we can get it looked at at a garage otherwise he’ll tow us back home. He does that and on reconnection of the battery the car starts up first turn of the key and seems to be running smoothly and the guy suggests we start for home and he’ll follow us for 10 miles or so to ensure all seems well and if we have problems to just pull over and he’ll tow us back. In the event the car did the home trip without a single burp m- and the GF guy followed us all the way back to the doorstep (20+ miles).

I’d already got the car booked in for its annual service this Thursday just gone (15th) so on the Monday I rang the garage to ask if they’d look at the sensor problem whilst in then which they agreed to and did. The results was that they could find no problems with the sensor or any error codes showing from the diagnostics – disconnecting the battery had cleared the database and it seemed that no new errors had been flagged on the homeward journey or on the few short runs I’d made in the period between breaking down and getting to the garage – which is satisfying. The garage did say that sometimes weather changes can cause O2 sensors to act funny or that the ECU itself glitched and that was rectified by the reboot (usual PC repair – ‘turn it off and back on again’ – bit of a cliche but works in 95+% of computer problems). Anyway, seems now that the car is back into action … but did cost me… on the service (£150 in its own right) they found a broken rear offside coil suspension spring which had to be replaced – well, they replace in pairs really so both offside and nearside were replaced – at a further cost of £245 – and the wheel alignment was out – and I’d noticed the car had been pulling to the left recently – which was a further £25+.

But now I’m ready to hit the water side once again 🙂

So, tomorrow, Monday 19th, I’m intending making a visit back to the River Severn – Hampton Loade being at the top of the list of actual venues.
I have to pay a day ticket currently but I am on the waiting list of the controlling club (Kinver Freeliners) whom also have some great stillwater venues plus further Severn stretches and some on the Teme and Avon. Hopefully, we’ll (Liz is on the list, too) get that call-up to join next June… 🙂

No pics of the day this time – a Volvo V40 estate on a grass verge with the bonnet being not the most inspiring of views after all!! 🙂

So, session 41 is getting prepped for – tackle already done, just bait and flask and butties to be readied now really… 🙂

So, that’s it then until I do my session 41 blog later in the week.


Session 40 – Paying Homage To Sabrina… (Or … A Loade On My Mind … Or Courting Hampton)

Tuesday, 5th August 2013, found me travelling down to the banks of the River Severn at Hampton Loade, downstream of Bridgnorth, specifically the day ticket waters of Kinver Freeliners (of whom I’m on the waiting list for membership of).

It was the second visit I’ve made to this stretch in the last two years, the first slightly earlier in the year along with a committee member who had kindly invited me for a updating my skills session for barbel there – it had been many years since I’dfd been barbelling and techniques and philosophy, etc had changed somewhat in the intervening period. Ie in the ‘old days’ if the river was 4′ up you didn’t bother going, nowadays it seems that that’s ‘getting there’ and more water the better.

Anyway, we have had a prolonged very dry spell recently but in the last week have had a good drenching with a few storms passing over. Although this has not greatly improved the river in terms of depth (just about over the lower bounds of ‘normal’) it has added colour and a few barbel have started being caught. So I had this in mind when I set off on my travels for the day.

I left home at around 0645, arriving at 0720’ish, Paid my £1 parking fee into the letterbox on the car park and proceeded off down the river – travelling relatively light for me – only exception to ‘light’ being that I took my fishing seat and umbrella along with the necessities.

Over the course of the day I fished 3 swims – on mainly luncheon meat as bait but did try cheese paste boilies too. Tackle consisted of a 11′ TFG Classic Barbel rod (2lb TC), fished with 10lb line to a 3′ hooklength of 12lb braid. Each swim was given a two hour or so period to prove its worth but the first two swims proved negative with not a single touch at all. The third swim, which a passerby told me was the best swim on the stretch (and also by the bailliff when he came to collect the day ticket monies) was proving much the same – until the bailliff advised of the best game plan for the swim – cast well over and downstream and then let the end tackle swing on the current into position in a channel between the far bank and a near bank feature. Having done this I was almost immediately getting fishy attentions with chub type nudges and twitches – but unfortunately nothing of a stereotypical barbel ‘smash’… Anyway, by the end of the day I had landed a 3lb 3oz chub and, on the final cast of the day as it was to be, an eel of around 8oz. The eel had swallowed the hook despite the bait being 2 pieces of luncheon meat of 3/4″ square each and I had to cut the line in the end as I was unable to access the hook to free with forceps or disgorger without damaging the fish. The hook was barbless so he/she should be able to shed it easily though.

Also at the second swim , there was a mallard duck that seemed to have a small hook and a short piece of line in the angle of its bill (not sure if it was the duck that is the photo below… as it was trailing from the opposite side of the bill). I did try to catch the bird by feeding it cheese balls and catching it as it stuck its head under the water to grab them. However, Mrs Mallard had other ideas, and although I did get one chance to perform the plan, I missed! After that, she’d readily take the balls but as soon as my hand went near the landing net handle, never mind hold it, she was off. Don’t know how I’d have coped if I had have caught her… angry Mrs Mallard might have been a bit of a handful, I’m thinking. Anyway, she seemed quite happy, was feeding apparently without concern and the line length was quite short so unlikely to snag firmly and trap the bird so hopefully nature will take its own course to rectify the situation.

And that’s it for the day…. due out again on Friday with Liz but she’s still not decided where she wants to go.

Pics of the day:

2013-08-06 01 2013-08-06 02 2013-08-06 03 2013-08-06 04 2013-08-06 05 2013-08-06 06 2013-08-06 07 2013-08-06 08 2013-08-06 09 2013-08-06 10

Session 39 – Abbey Friday… 2nd August 20

I headed out to our club’s water at Lilleshall Abbey, leaving home at 0545 and arriving around 0645. On arrival a van was already on the car park, and 2 guys fishing the far bank from me in bivvies so I assumed they’d overnighted. They departed around 1530, I departed at 1630 and as I got back to the car park at 1700 another angler had just turned up for a night session – hope he was OK as back home we had a really harsh thunder and lightning session for a good hour or so along with a good lashing of rain and wind.

Anyway, I selected a swim on the near bank just beyond the far end of the island which was just off to my right and to my left was a large overhanging weeping willow and before settling down I pre-baited both an area directly in front of me and also just off the edge of the weeping willow as this seemed to look a good holding spot for perch, which the pool holds some good specimens of. Pre-baiting was done with mixed particles (maize, hemp, wheat) plus maggots and small cubes of luncheon meat.

Tackle for the day consisted of 2 11′ 1.75lb TC Barbel/Avon rods both with 8lb line direct to the hooks – and the leger weights attached via a 10cm feeder boom with a 12″ hook length. One rod had a size 6 hook (the centre of pool rod) and the other had a size 12 (willow tree rod).

Baits used over the day:

  • Centre pool rod:  bread, meat, cheese paste boilies, prawn
  • Willow rod: Maggot, worm, meat, prawn

Each bait was generally given a 1.5 to 2 hour period of use before swapping to another.

Over the day, I had not one touch at all to the centre pool rod regardless of bait. I fared a bit better on the willow rod, successfully landing a 1lb eel, a small (3-4oz) perch and a 9oz roach plus losing one fish when the hook pulled loose… and numerous bites on maggot and worm too although meat and prawn did not attract at all.

The 2 guys on the far bank had 3 fish, carp I assume, that looked around 5-8lb possibly…
Well, to be honest, their tackle had 3 fish really… as it seemed that each bite resulted in the alarm sounding and a 50-60 yard dash from a bivvy to the rods to pick up the rod… I suppose they were using a fixed lead setup of a sort. Not really my style – as I say their tackle caught the fish NOT the angler. To me, to use a fixed lead/bolt/self-hooking rig is NOT fishing – may as well tie a nightline, go home, and see if you caught anything the next morning… To me fishing means that I catch the fish by being attentive to the rods (ie sat with them all the time – ok I admit that at times nature does require me to take a trip to the bushes but rarely am I more that 10 yards from the rods even then), using setups that provide the least possible resistance to a feeding fish (eg light as possible running leads) so they feed confidently, and deciding when to strike (sometimes to a mere flicking of the line at the rod top that has not affected the buzzer/indicator, sometimes a twitching bobbin, sometimes a slowly rising bobbin, and sometimes a run that smashes the bobbin up to the butt, and sometimes taking the rod off the rests when twitching can be seen at the bobbin and feeling the line to time the strike, etc) – ie *I* catch the fish, which is as it should be in my view. Fishing is NOT just catching… and fishing is NOT just fishing either come to that, enjoyment of the surroundings also forms part of *the experience* too.

Anyway, although the catch wasn’t great in general terms, from that pool I was quite pleased – results are improving with each visit.

Next trip out will be next week now – Liz has the week off so we’ll decide on when and where at sometime. Most likely Tuesday or Friday, the weather forecast OK those couple of days but the rest are quite dodgy.

OH, yes… I said I’d report on those Asda prawns when I opened the second bag – the first one being bits and slush with only 2 recognisable prawns? Well, I have now opened that second bag – and it was an improvement on the first with recognisable prawns in the main – BUT still not a patch on the Morrison’s bags.