Session 9 – Himley Piking And Consecutive Blank 11

Friday, 21st February 2014, found me on the banks of Himley Hall, Great Pool.

This is a council run pool on the ex-estate of the Earl Of Dudley and provides good local and inexpensive fishing. An adult ticket from April to November inclusive costs currently £5.20 (although I suspect that in the new financial year this will rise to £6 – but still great value) – concessionary tickets (senior citizen, juniors, unwaged) are half that price. AND for the months of December to March inclusive EVERYBODY is half price… and due to good results from the experimental no-close-season of last year the pool will no longer close mid-March to mid-June as it did prior to 2013/2014 season and will be open all year round (except possibly when all of the Hall’s facilities are closed eg Christmas Day? Not sure on that but imagine so). Many species of fish exist in the waters – tench, bream, carp, crucian carp, perch and pike probably being the most abundant.

I also learnt today that another pool on the park, Rock Pool, has opened to coarse fishing on the same day ticket. This pool used to be a trout fishery until it was closed to fishing altogether in 1984, only just re-opening although there was an episode of one of the Matt Hayes/Mick Brown ’24 Hour Rod Race’ series filmed on there in the 2000’s with Matt and Mick fishing for grass carp… however, this was a one off, I believe, as the grass carp had been introduced as an experiment to control the excess weed that this pool is liable too and were now being removed from the water – and the fish caught on the episode were not returned but retained to be transported to another water… so I think it was a case of Matt and Mick got a TV episode and the Himley Rangers got fish removed for free… scratching each other’s backs as it were. Anyway, this pool is known to contain a good head of roach and perch but other species may be unquantifiable currently – will be discovered as people use the pool – but there is at least one pike in there as a 10lb’er was caught from there today on mackerel.

Himley Hall

Himley Hall

Anyway, to my day….

I was at the water’s edge, peg 16, tackled up and ready to fish by 0845. I’d cast out my echo sounder around the area to determine the depths around and it seemed that I’d a constant 11’ of depth beyond 2 rod lengths out and then rising up to the bank. Given this I decided to fish initially with my baits just off and just on the rising bottom.

Two rods, one baited and legered with a head end half trout, the other with a full sardine popped-up by use of a foam stick, 18” from the bottom were used over the day. The legered trout rod was switched to floatfishing a ‘Sprat Christmas Tree’ with the baits suspended about 2’-3’ from the bottom and allowed to drift for the last hour or so of the session (1315-1430).

Anyway, to cut a long story short – and from the title of this posting you already know the result – I blanked again! My 11th consecutive blank L However, I did have another ‘moment’ as per session 8 when the bite alarm gave a single bleep, followed five seconds later by another plus a one inch lift and drop of the bobbin…. But again nothing became of it.

Water temp was a constant 6.2C, air from 3.7C up to 9.0C





Crested Grebe

Crested Grebe

Pair of Crested Grebes

Pair of Crested Grebes











Session 8 – A Return To The Staffs/Worcs Canal At Wombourne

I set off at around 0815 – a little later than the originally planned 0800 due to earlier  heavy rain that had to be waited upon to ease and stop – BBC forecast reckoned it would stop and there was no point in getting soaked for the sake of 15 minutes in my view – especially as that time would have been taken up by putting up the brolly in my view plus the hassle of a wet brolly to be dried afterwards…

I arrived, tackled up my 11’ Des Taylor System 3 Avon rod with the quivertip section and used 6lb main line to a 4” hooklength of 6lb braid terminated with a size 12 Kamasan Animal eyed hook. And a 7g Arlesey bomb attached as a running lead completed the setup. A small quantity of red groundbait with a few added dead maggots and tiny pieces of luncheon meat was mixed up and fed over to the far bank, followed by the baiting of the hook with a brandling worm and the first cast of the day at 0850.

Choice of the rod was quite fitting really – given that the area I was fishing appears in Des’ “Fishing In The Midlands” book… 😀

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I fished this swim, and tried just off the far bank and various positions around that area but with no joy and at 1115 I moved about 20 yards along the bank to try in the area of an overhanging tree there. A few dead maggots and meat pieces were fed again over towards the far bank followed by the baited with worm hook. After 30 minutes of inaction I decided to try the deeper middle area – the boat channel – and within 5 minutes had a pluck at the worm. Alas, the bite was missed so I continued lightly feeding the channel with a dozen or so maggots and pieces of meat and up to the time I packed in at 1300 I had another 4 tentative plucks but again no fish were hooked.

So, the blank spell continues… but this session I’ve had more ‘bites’ than the last three months in total!!  And, looking back, today made 10 blank sessions in a row!! As Fred J Taylor once famously said of fishing…‘I’ll be glad when I get fed up of this!’…

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However, there were signs of fish action as well as my twitches – one seemingly  decent sized fish topped about 30 yards up from me… and a couple of times there were fry-sprays (scattering fry) around that area too. But two things prevented me moving up there – (1) there are power  lines over the water and consequently ‘No Fishing’ signs – and the action was the wrong side of the markers and (2) I’d no lures or lure rod with me… and perch (possibly pike) would, whilst hitting fry shoals, take very little interest in a legered worm/meat/maggot bait anyway I think.

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Air 7.5C rising to 10+C at times. Water 6.3C at start rising to 6.7C over the session.


Possibly a pike session on Friday, possibly at Himley, or maybe sometime over the weekend at one of the club pools.

Session 7 – Return To Piking At The Pool

Sunday 16th February 2014 and I’m back at my usual Staffordshire piking pond… fishing the swim where I had the follow to a lure two or three weeks back – peg 13 actually, so all superstitions were cast to the wind. However, rather than lure fishing, this time I was fishing with deadbaits.

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I arrived at the pool and tackled up and made my first cast around 0915, fishing two rods. On arrival, before tackling up, I ascertained the depths of the water around me with the depth/fish finder (which incidentally picked up a good number of fish – probably carp – at around half depth). The depth being around 14.5 feet 30 yards out and remaining at that until around 3 rod lengths out when the depth started to rise steadily up to the bank. I elected to fish at around 2 rod lengths out initially where the depth was at around 12 feet. I  baited up the swim around this area with a breadcrumb/fish oil/mashed sprat-mackerel-sardine ‘rubby-dubby’ type mash, via a large Spomb, that contained very little of edible sized material but was intended to create a scent trail to draw predators into the fished area.

One rod was baited with a full sardine, popped-up, head down, lifted from the bottom by about three inches to simulate a feeding fish standing on its head. The other rod was baited with a standard ledgered tail half of a herring.

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Over the course of the next couple of hours the baits were twitched in about a yard or so at a time every 20-30 minutes… and then after having worked to within a few yards of the bank they were re-cast out further and the same twitching/drawing repeated. Unfortunately, by the time I had to leave there had been no positive take of either bait – but I did have one slight 6″ lift of the indicator on the ledgered herring rod close top end of play but this came to nothing – probably just a line bite from a passing carp but it did get the old adrenaline going – something that has sadly been all too missing on the past few sessions.

So, to sum it all up – ANOTHER BLANK!!! Perhaps, I should have tried my technique of the ‘Christmas Tree’ sprat rig – which I had intended to start with actually but didn’t and then became lazy and didn’t change over to it. To my cost?? Possibly… but we’ll never know now.

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A cold night overnight left a good coating of ice over the car that had to be dispersed from the windows before I could venture out. Air temps started at 2.8C at 0900 and rose to a maximum 13C before dropping to around 11C when I departed at around 1430. Water temp was 4.6C/4.7C all session.


Tomorrow, Tuesday 18th February, I’m hoping to have a canal session on the quivertip rod after anything that may fancy a juicy worm, a dead maggot or a piece of luncheon meat.

Session 6 – Piking With Liz – Inc Tackle Breakings.

Friday 7th February 2014 and today it’s a session back on the pool in search of those elusive pike.

Today I am accompanied by Liz, my better half, in this mission. Our intention for the day being to have a few hours baitfishing with an hour’s lure fishing to end the day.

Weather the previous day had been quite cold and very wet and breezy and on arising from bed on the morning at 0600 there had not been much difference – still a steady drizzle falling. However, this was in line with the BBC forecast which had also said that from about 0900 the rain would have ceased and it would be dry with sunshine. Again, they got it right again.

On arrival at the pool we elected to fish 2 swims (9 and 10) on a stretch of bank neither of us had fished before – checking depth it seemed it quickly fell away at the bank down to a constant 11’ of water in front of us.

We tackled up our rods (2 each) with 18lb mono, 18” 25lb wire traces with the standard double treble hooks arrangement and floats set slightly overdepth. Liz baited her rods with mackerel halves – fishing the tail section at 30 yards out, and the head close to cover of overhanging bushes close to the bank. I did similar but used herring halves.

First casts were made around 0945 and the bait session ended at 1200, neither of us having had a touch.

During the course of session, the ‘long’ range baits were drifting nicely and at 15 minute interval further action was added by twitching the bait about a yard or so  in order to entice any interested pike in the area to take further action… but to no avail.


As I said, we fished like this until 1200 when we decided to tackle down the ‘big’ rods and set up our lure rods for a session.

As the water was fairly coloured due to the actions of the rain of the previous few days we selected lures on the brighter side – Liz used a 13cm ‘Gold and Orange’ Savage Gear Soft 4Play, and I used a 19cm ‘Fire Tiger’ version of the same. Anyway, we wandered the banks for about an hour but had no joy in enticing any interest at all and decided to head to the local ‘Belly Buster’ café for some coffee and butties.


Water temp was at 5.2C all session, air temps were around 7-8C in the shade but in the sunshine they reached 13-14C at times.


Well, firstly we had a problem with Liz’s spinning reel – horrible crunching noises as the gears slipped and ground against each other. And then, as tackling down and packing the gear on to the wheelbarrow for transport to the car, I’d stood the rod holdalls and still made up landing nets against a gate – and one of the holdalls slipped and slid along the gate, caught my landing net and both fell to the ground, causing my newly acquired, 3.8 metre, ‘Middy Carp Bagging Machine’ landing net pole to break just below the screw thread for the net.

Back home I’ve since managed to effect a repair to the landing net pole by cutting out the damaged top end of the pole (only about 2” lost), and as that section is parallel I’ve managed to push and glue the metal screw fitting ferrule for the net back on so, apart from the loss of the 2” cut out, all is back to normal.

Liz’s reel though is a different story. After replacing the gears with parts from an identical reel that had suffered damage to its reel seating previously I discovered that the actual root problem was due the reel casing having cracked around the screws that hold the two sides together and thus allow the gears to pull apart slightly when the reel is under pressure and this in turn wears the teeth down… I think I need to set up a replacement reel really.


Probably a canal chub/perch trip on Tuesday of next week.




2014 – Session 5 – Piking On The Pool…. And A Return To The Camera…

Today, Monday 3rd February 2014, I was off to the club pool again on a lure session in search of those so far elusive pike.

The day was cool (6C) and very breezy with a fair bit of wave motion evident on the water. This breeze made casting downwind a hoot (50+ yards easily) at times but in the other direction it was hard to make 20 yards! This breeze also meant that several times ‘wind loop’ tangles in the line needed to be resolved, and a couple of times this was only managed by cutting out the tangle. The water itself was very clear though.

2014-02-03 Windy Day On The Pool

 I arrived at the water’s edge at around 0815 and set up my three lure rods for the day – all fitted with 30lb braid mainline and 25lb wire spinning traces. The rods themselves being a Mitchell 2.42 metre (ca 8 foot) ‘Adventure Fire’, a Mitchell 2.42 metre ‘Catch’, and a spinning rod that started life as a non-descript 11 or 12 foot float rod but which had about 12 inches removed from the top (back in the 80’s) and is now used as a 10 foot 1.75lb TC soft (all through action) spinning/lure/wobbling rod. The two Mitchell rods – as far as I can see/feel are identical in all ways bar colour – the ‘Fire’ has a red butt section, the ‘Catch’ a black one. Both have black top sections – and both top sections fit either butt section.

Three rods were used as it was easier to ‘ring the lure changes’ that way than to have to keep removing lures from their wire traces and swapping around every few casts.

So the lures of the day were chosen as to cover a range of differences and thus, hopefully, try to cover all options….

  •  On the ‘Fire’ rod – a Shakespeare ‘Big S’ lure in Fire Tiger colouration. A bright, shallow diver with a strong waggle action and has a built-in rattle to add sound attraction.

    Shakespeare 'Big S' Lure

    Shakespeare ‘Big S’

  • On the ‘Catch’ rod – a 13cm Savage Gear Soft 4Play Fungus Roach used in a red scull lip. A small, natural colour and action, ‘jelly’ fish. It could be used with a standard jig hook but I find that the scull lip add and extra dimension to the freedom of movement of the bait – and the red colouration also acts as an attractant, simulating blood/raw flesh and providing a ‘target’ point for the pike. Also the scull lip provides a quick attachment for the lure bodies so its easy to quickly change from one body pattern to another. And they can also be used for suitably sized natural baits too (eg sprats, sardines). And they come in 3 sizes – small for 9.5cm lures, medium for 13cm and large for 19cm – and in three colours – clear, UV red and UV green.

13cm ‘Fungus Roach’ Savage Gear Soft 4Play Lure In Red Scull Lip.

  • On the 10’ rod – a 19cm Savage Gear Hard 4Play ‘Koi’ Carp. Very natural action, slow sinking.

    19cm Koi Carp Savage Gear 4Play Hard Lure 

So over the course of the next three and a half hours I wandered around the pool fishing several likely (and unlikely) spots – and all produced exactly the same – not a  single snifter or peek of a fish – AGAIN.

So the dearth of fish being landed has continued yet again.

However, given the conditions with the wind it was not an ideal day for lure fishing in my opinion.… I find that on such days lures have to work hard for results due to, I believe, the surface disruption casting fleeting shadows and flashes of light in the underwater environment and the lure is having to battle these effects to get itself noticed.

SO…. plans ahead….

On Friday, 7th February, it’s planned that Liz and myself are to visit the pool for a pike session – but this time it will be with the deadbait rods although we’ll probably take a lure rod each in case we decide to do a bit of lure fishing.

I just thought – a long time back I mentioned I used a Kodak C142 camera specifically for its 2-shot self timer, and then a little later I mentioned the ‘new’ 40x zoom one I’d obtained without going into any of the details on the new acquisition – and why its perfect for fishing when you’re unaccompanied and want that ‘trophy’ picture – so I’ll remedy that now! 🙂

OK – so this new camera is a Canon SX100IS – bought off eBay for not too many pounds actually and I’m exceedingly pleased with it! Its a compact camera – a little larger than the Kodak –  and its got a 10x optical zoom and a 4x digital zoom capability (to give 40x zoom when used together) – and the picture quality is very good even at the 40x setting…  and its got the usual macro/video/etc capability BUT another excellent facility is that the self-timer function is programmable unlike many other cameras. Usually you get a single 10 sec delay self timer, the Kodak had a 2-shot 10 second self timer (ie on triggering at the 10 second mark it took a picture but then after another  10 seconds it took a second shot). Now the importance of a self timer cannot be emphasised enough when fishing on one’s own – purchase a bank stick/camera adaptor, mount the camera on a bankstick, and selfies of you and your fish are at hand, far better than fish just laying on a mat, etc. But a single 10 sec delay is NOT the best – after all, having set up the camera and pressed the shutter release, you need then, in that 10 seconds, to get to your position, remove the fish from its cover, and pose  and 10 seconds goes so quickly – and fish do not play ball, they flap, etc and so you find quite often you need to repeat the ‘fire, run, get fish, pose’ sequence a few times before you get a satisfactory result. With the Kodak, things eased a little, as with the second shot, you got effectively extra time and a second chance to get a decent picture without the need to restart… But the Canon takes this to an extra level in that it provides not only  a 2 sec timer and a 10 sec timer but also a custom setting that allows the setting for the length of initial delay (10secs, 20 secs, or 30 seconds)  and also to set the total number of shots taken (further shots are taken at 2 sec intervals) up to a max of 10… So I set mine to fire initially after a 20 second delay and to take 5 pictures in all  – so effectively if I’m perfectly posed within 28 seconds then I’ve got my shot – and very often I do get a choice of which is the best of the 5 shots to keep too.