Session 22 – Himley Perch And Old Days Revisited

Friday 30th May 2014, and a complete change of the previous plans mentioned at the end of the last post which were either a visit to a new pool or maybe a carping session. Well, in fact, I did get my card for  the new pool in the week and on early Thursday evening that was my intended destination BUT later I became quite tired and plus the fact that my best buddy and also my weekly, and sometimes even  daily, regular angling companion of the early 60’s to mid-to-late-80’s, Terry, was intending to fish at a local pool (Himley Hall Great Pool) I changed plans to join up with him there which also allowed me an extra hour in bed… so all good!! J

So I met up with Terry at a little after 0730 on the car park – where I was surprised to discover about 6 other cars parked on arrival. Usually that time of the morning there are possibly 2 or 3 others there but more usually none. So in the few minutes while waiting for Terry I had a quick short wander to look-see what the situation was. I knew Terry had two areas in mind – the ‘spit’ and what I term the ‘far bank’, actually  the opp bank to the dam wall – but as Sod’s Law dictates both were already occupied as so we, or maybe I should say ‘I’ suggested , a couple of swims up towards the end of the dam wall (pegs 11 and 12) in the deeper end of the pool as being free and usually the ‘popular’ area… in contrast to most waters where the ‘popular’ swims happen to coincide with the proximity to the car park or other access points, at Himley the ‘popular’ section is the furthest from those places.

The day was dry but overcast all day with a cool SE breeze blowing into our faces for much of it.

I cast out my depth/fish finder and ascertained that the water sloped relatively steeply down from the bank to around 12’ deep at 2-3 rod lengths  and then more gently sloped over another 2-3 rod lengths to around 13.5’ and levelled out. So, knowing this I decided to feed and fish at the bottom of the main slope… and so before setting up I catapulted out around 0.5Kg (wet) of cooked particles consisting of maize, wheat, peanuts, hemp which was supplemented with a full catapults full of maggot and small halibut pellets into my main swim and into my secondary swim just outside my primary one  I catapulted prawns (both cooked and uncooked). I would also have put out mussel too… but (a) I’d got none because (b) having a Homer moment I’d gone to buy them from Aldi… but its Morrison’s that have them!! DOH!!!

The tackle setup consisted of two 1.75lb TC Avon rods fitted with 8lb mainline and 4” braid hooklinks affixed to the mainline in my normal manner via small swivel and links. Both rods were legered with 1/2oz (12.5g) bombs attached to directly to small swivel/links and stopped about 12” from the hooks. One rod was fished with a size 12 hook with either a bunch of 5-6 maggots or worm slid down the braid link with the use of a baiting needle with 5-6 maggots on the hook, the second rod was fished with prawn of both types and also, for about an hour during a lull, with bread flake.

OK… so fishing started with a perch on the maggot rod of around 8oz, followed not too long after with an excellent perch of 1lb 3oz, my PB being 1lb 4oz (twice)…

[Aside: Good Fish….. Excellent Fish… my definitions…
Good fish = 50%+ of PB weight….    Excellent fish = 80%+of PB weight] 

2014-05-30 Steve 1lb 3oz Perch

1lb 3oz Perch

Another perch of around 8-12oz followed in due course … and another estimated 1lb’er managed to get into the lilies and shake the hook free… but then around 1100 the swim seemed to go dead for me although Terry started to get a series of ‘unmissable’ bites with bleepers going off but unable to connect despite waiting various lengths of time, detaching the bobbins and touch/feeling the line, etc.

Anyway, around 1230, Terry’s originally favoured peg at the shallower end of the pool had become vacant and so, having had just one perch and those unmissable bites he decided to venture down there to try his luck. Unfortunately, though by the time he left for home at around 1500/1530 he had not added to his tally. And for the first hour or so after his moving on, I still suffered a dearth of action but suddenly I had a take on my worm and maggot rod and a perch of around 8oz was soon landed – and for the next half a dozen casts or so it was a bite-a-chuck, several times the time going before I’d even had chance to fit a bobbin… and over that period I had 5 or 6 perch in total all of similar size, it appearing that a perch shoal had moved into the swim. And, strangely, all the bites in that period were of the fallback type – the bobbin falling on a slackening line rather than the more usual  bobbin rising on a tightening line.

Anyway, after Terry had departed the pool I fished on until 1630 but had no more bites ….

Pics Of The Day

2014-05-30 Himley Great Pool 04

2014-05-30 Himley Great Pool 03

2014-05-30 Himley Great Pool 02

Next plans are to visit the Newport pool, hopefully on Tuesday and, maybe, some carping on Friday.

And fingers crossed VERY HOPEFULLY for some good news tomorrow or in the following week regarding a new club… but I am resigned to accepting possible not happening this year but hoping that one’s best buddy might arrange a guest ticket on one of the waters… 🙂

Session 21 – Happens…

Sunday 25th May 2014, and waking early I headed off to the tench pool at around 0545 arriving at a little after 0630 and headed as intended to the ‘summer’ swim on peg 24. Weather on arrival was damp’ish and throughout the morning a number of showers passed by with a rather bad one at around 1030 but after that the weather improved and eventually the occasional blue sky and a bit of sunshine showed through the clouds and only one further short shower appeared.

Tackled up per usual with the float rod to be fished lift-method style using worm and/or maggot baits on a size 12 hook and a 11’ Avon style rod to be fished with legered prawn/mussel baits on a size 6 hook. Both 6lb main line with 4” braid hooklengths attached via snaplink to the main line to allow quick bait renewal  by use of a bait needle.

The new float, as described in the previous posting, was set up with a 3SSG shot immediately above the hook length’s snaplink with a AAA shot mid-way between that and the float that was set at about 6” over-depth and another AAA about 12” above the float that assisted in line sinking and also acted as a buffer to ensure that the bottom shot was not disturbed by the act of line tightening required to set the float to cock correctly. However, it was discovered that, due to it (a) being breezy and (b) having been wet that the flow of water into and out of the pool was appreciable and consequently that there was a bit of drag in the water, that I needed to change the mid-length AAA shot to a SSG in order to grip bottom firmly enough not to be moved by the currents.

Before setting up I baited up the 2 areas I would be fishing with relevant feed… to the left hand side of my peg was a patch of lily pads and so just off the edge of these I introduced a few balls of breadcrumb mixed with maggots, corn, hemp and wheat to fish on the float and the right hand swim, the leger one, I introduced a few loose mussels and prawns.

Then, after, setting up the rest of my ‘station’ and the rods I cast out the leger rod at around 0700 baited with a mussel and started to bait up the float when within one minute of casting out the leger rod the bobbin flew up and a few minutes later I netted my first fish of the day – a nice tench of 3lb 15oz. This was followed by another tench of 2lb 13oz and then a bit later at 0745 by a 6oz example both on maggot on the float rod. So it started off well BUT then for the next hour I was only getting small nudges on the float rod and short and sharp tweaks on the leger rod which were impossible to strike at… and then the bites stopped altogether until the float lifted and started to sail away and this produced a small perch of around 2oz-3oz which had taken a worm bait. The next bite came around 1315, again to worm on the float rod, and what felt to be a good fish was hooked but managed to get into the lily pads and did what tench do in lilies (and chub do in streamer weed) and transferred the hook to the stem of a lily pad. And the final bite of the day came at around 1445 as I was starting to pack up my gear, again on the float rod with a worm/maggot cocktail bait and resulted in the landing of a tench of around 2lb.

So a promising start seemed to fizzle out after the first hour or so…

2014-05-25 Steve 3lb 15oz Tench

3lb 15oz Tench

Next trip I’m planning to make is to a new water over Newport, Shropshire way – if I can get a club card in the meantime that is… if not, then I may go on a carp session at one of my main club’s waters… not been carping for a while.

Session 21 – Almost!

Friday 23rd May 2014, and I had intended an early morning start at the tench pool… but with the alarm going off at 0500 and the light seemingly low I glanced out of the bedroom window to see the sky as grey as it could be without actually threatening to enter into the realms of blackness and rain pis persistentently falling …. And so I went back to bed. Checking the forecast for the day later showed that rain was expected back at around 1300 – which it has – and is to continue until tomorrow (Saturday) evening  – and which it seems to be doing to plan.

So… the trip has now been re-planned for Sunday 25th now when the forecast is for blue skies and bright sunshine all day long. Now you may possibly think that that type of weather would be a killer for tench on a water where 99.9% of it is flat with a depth of 4’6” – and the deepest I’ve ever found with the depth sounder towed on a radio controlled boat is an area of about 1 metre square with a depth of nearly 5’0” – but far from it, the tench there feed all day long almost whatever the conditions.. and last ‘season’ they were still feeding in mid-November when I packed up going there and started my piking period seriously…  and on my return back to the pool at the end of March they were still going at it… and, in fact, since my return they have been almost the only species I’ve caught – the exception being a single bream I caught on my last visit there on May 2nd. AND this despite TRYING to get a perch or two by using only worm, maggot, prawn and mussel as bait – no cereals, etc – and feeding the swim with the same plus dried blood, pulverised cod/basa fish fillets, fish oils and using Chopped Worm, Worm Juice, Bloodworm and Predator Plus dips on my bait.

Well, on Sunday I’ll be going on my first trip of the year to my summer swim in the open water at the opposite end of the pool to that which I fish during Spring/Summer and Autumn and where I fish opposite the end of a small island that lies about 20’-25’ across the water from the bank.

I’ll be trying some minor tackle setups changes out too…

I’ve remade my link leger setup on the leger rod in the hope of preventing the (albeit very few) wrap-arounds I sometimes get… The new system involves a leger bead with snap link (instead of the swivel + link I previously used) and a sheath of plastic straw (the sort you get with the small fruit drink cartons) pushed up over the link to keep it rigidly in place and the lead attached as close to the end of the straw as possible to keep any flex in the length as minimal as possible. …

The float rod change is basically just a change of float I’ve been using. Up to now I’ve used a 5AAA windbeater type float with a cane antenna used lift method style… but in actual fact that float cocks with <1mm of tip showing with a loading of 3SSG + 1AAA (ie is really a 7AAA float). And on top of that I add another 1AAA shot to act as the overload required by the method. However, the problem with this float is that the cane antenna has buoyancy of its own – probably needs 3BB of weight to sink from the whole antenna showing to antenna at water surface level which means that as the float rises then increasingly less of the weight on the line is supported by the float and more by the fish. Ideally, NONE of the weight should be born by the antenna as then as the float rises the amount of weight borne by the float remains constant and the maximum weight the fish should feel while the float lifts until such time that the entire antenna stands proud of the water is the weight by which the float has been overshotted (eg 1BB or 1AAA normally – so chosen to be the minimum to anchor the bait to the bottom and so prevent underwater currents moving float and bait around). And it was to this end I located these floats on eBay at £12 for a pack of 10…..

New Antenna Float

New Antenna Float

Rated at 4AAA, and having a very fine fibreglass type antenna with a sight bob to assist visually in the water, it actually lies flat on the surface with a 3SSG shot but with the addition of another SSG then only the very tip of the sight bob shows. But the sight bob does not play part in the actual fishing as when the line is tensioned to cock the float it is only done so until the bottom of the bob touches the surface, or maybe even be slightly proud of the surface. In actual practice, as I use an upline AAA shot above the float to aid line sinking and ease fine tuning when cocking the float – all explained in a previous posting – I think I may need only the usual 1AAA or possibly 1BB below the float as the perfect overshot.

Anyway, the results of these changes should be evident on Sunday’s planned session!!

Session 20 – Mumbling And All At Sea – And Useful Items

Wednesday, 14th May 2014, in the middle of our almost annual (missed last year but have been there for the previous 7-8 years) week’s trip to the Gower, camping at Bank Farm at Horton we (Liz and I) decided to have a day’s fishing from Mumbles Pier.

Gower Map

We had originally intended fishing the beach and rocks in the bay (Horton-Port Eynon) directly below our campsite. As an aside, we were only about a 20 yard walk from the beach, but unfortunately at the end it would also have involved a fall about 200 feet down the cliff!. Anyway, due to tide times being the most inconvenient for us for beach fishing we decided to fish the pier instead.

The pier has/is undergoing a major (£25m) refurbishment by its owners and, in fact, had been closed for nearly two years preceding our visit only, by luck, partially re-opening the week before our holiday and a lot of work is still to be done. Currently only 200 people in total are allowed on at any one time and also there is a maximum of 20 anglers. Part of the refurbishment is the planned fitting of fishing platforms for the entire length of the pier on both sides but currently there are 2 stages, one either side, each of which accommodates 10 anglers, towards the end of the pier. The end of the pier is now the new lifeboat station and ramp – the old one, now unused, is still standing, being on the left of the pier, halfway along and down a short bridge from the pier itself. On arrival, and on paying for our £5 day tickets at the entrance, the guy there told us that currently the left hand platform was good for conger eel and that the right hand platform was fishing well for dogfish and codling. Not wanting to have to tangle with unhooking conger we chose to fish the the right hand side for dogfish and codling – and whatever else happened along.

So, we’d arrived on the pier at around 1230 with the tide at virtually its lowest point and due to reach high tide at 1830. Rods were NGT Surfmasters (12’, rated for casting weights of 120g (4oz) to 225g (8oz)) fitted with Fladen Charter Surf 7000 fixed spool reels loaded with 20lb mono. End tackle comprised of a paternoster style setup with a 5oz lead at the end of the line and 2 x 18” hooklengths – the first 18” above the weight and the second another 20” above that – using Mustad stainless steel beaked point hooks with barbed shafts (bait holder type) in size 1/0.

Baits used were sardine/herring fillets that I had prepared before leaving home (Midlands) by filleting spare leftover pike baits from the freezer, salting and bagging. This way there was no need to keep whole fish frozen – just chilled but even that was unnecessary – and less bulk and weight to carry. This was also supplemented by some raw bacon scraps we had left over from our breakfast needs. Generally, we baited the lower hook with bacon and the upper hook with pieces of fish fillet.

In the end, I managed two small dogfish and a few crabs. Liz was less fortunate but had crabs on that fell off on the way up but no real bites and no fish.

We finished the fishing day at 1630 – the pier closes at 1800 anyway – and headed off for ice cream sundaes and coffee at the café.

BTW – by the pier is a well-stocked fishing tackle shop called Basstastics which also sells various preserved, frozen and fresh baits.

Pics of the day:

Fishing Off Mumbles Pier With Lighthouse

Mumbles Pier And Island 02

Mumbles Pier And Island 01


Steve With Dogfish - Mumbles Pier 01

Steve With Crab - Mumbles Pier 02

Useful devices….


These blue wraps are meant to attach goods to the roof bars of a car and are cheap (£1 for 4 from Poundland IIRC) and useful in pier fishing too, to keep your ready made up rods together for transport … and as a secure rod cushion and holder onto the pier railings….

Pier Rod Rest Rods Wrapped


A drop net is very good for landing those bigger fish when on a high pier, etc…

drop net

… but sometimes wind and waves and current make getting fish and net together a real test of patience…. but don’t panic as a simple device makes life so much easier that it becomes child’s play…..


Karabina… a karabina clip! Just attach so that that the drop net’s cord and the fishing line are both enclosed within it and let it freely slide down … and wherever the fish goes so does the net! Simples 🙂

Session 19 – All Is Not Tench And Branching Out…

Friday 2nd of May and having completed the kitchen re-decoration to the target point – not finished yet but walls and ceiling re-painted with two coats and ready to continue after the holiday –I had the feeling of having done the punishment and that it was time for a reward – a day on the tench pool – and so off I went for what was for me a fantastic day out.

OK – as I keep saying this pool has tench as the predominant species but actually contains everything but common carp – inc gudgeon, perch, rudd, roach, bream barbel, chub and crucian carp. But this year my catches have been tench, tench and more tench – and only tench – and this despite using worm, maggot, prawn and mussel baits to the exclusion of all else when one would expect to at least have one perch in over one dozen trips?  So my thinking this trip was to try to improve the chances of capturing some of the ‘other species’ and hopefully perch. So with this in mind – and also the sub-purpose of making space in my bait freezer – I created a fish rich groundbait. In the freezer were several frozen packs of basa and cod fillets the I had purchased to try as pike bait over last winter but which had never got used, so I took these and blitzed them into a goo in a food processor, added dried blood and a halibut pellets and breadcrumb to create the groundbait.

On to the fishing…. So I arrived at the pool at around 0730 and headed to my usual peg 11 swim were my first job of the day was to bait up my main area with a few squash ball sized balls of this groundbait plus a few catapults full of maggots. Also a secondary swim was baited with a few prawns and mussels. And over the course of the day each swim was topped up from time to time with extra rations.

Tackle for the day was my standard setup for this pool – 2 rods – a float rod fished lift method with worm and/or maggot baits fished in the primary swim and a leger rod with prawn and/or mussel baits in the secondary.

So, at 0800 I was all set up and the baits were cast in for the start of the day – and it wasn’t long until I had my first bite – and fish on the bank – a BREAM! 3lb 1oz. A nice bream, not at all slimy, in fact it’s body was like sandpaper with breeding tubercles indicating that spawning was in the air. And after that I had bite after bite on both rods with occasional quiet spells – some fish caught, some bites missed, some hook drops and a couple of tench made it into the lilies and transferred the hook – next to chub tench must be the most adept fish at that tactic and I still don’t know how they do it! I’ve hooked chub, and seen them swim into streamer weed and out the other side without any pause or interruption in their progress and yet when they re-appear they are no longer hooked and the hook has actually been transferred to the toughest bit of streamer weed… GRRRRR!!!!

I also had a bit of an interesting 15 minutes when my float disappeared under the water and I struck feeling nothing at all…. and so thought I’d missed the bite, only for the float to pop up and start travelling across the pool and on winding to connect I discovered I’d suffered a snapped line above the float – must have been some flaw in the line, for as I say, I felt nothing, no pressure or anything. But my main concern now was the fish still hooked and attached to the float… which reached the island and seemed to stop there as there was no further movement of the float… Anyway, I re-tackled my rod and there was no further movement during the time of doing that so I thought maybe the fish had shed the (barbless) hook OK – and a threw a few small balls of groundbait around it to try to make any fish attached make some movement but nothing… however, 5 minutes later the float starts travelling out from the island again so in a last ditch-clutch at straws endeavour I grabbed my leger rod and cast at it in the hope of snagging it but with no hope of successfully landing any fish attached to it BUT second cast I did manage to get the snag I was after – and it seems the fish had freed itself ok in the meantime as I was able to rescue my complete set of lost end tackle – float, shot, hook and link swivels :)….  Happy boy!!! 🙂

So my catch for the day in order of capture:

Bream 3-1, float – maggot
Tench 3-11, leger – prawn/mussel cocktail
Tench 3-8, float – maggot
Tench 3-4, float – maggot
Tench 2-9, leger, mussel
Tench 4-0 (new PB), float – worm/maggot cocktail
Tench 2-13, float – worm
Tench 4-1 (new PB), leger – mussel
Tench 6oz, float – maggot
Tench 2-8, float – maggot
Tench 2-12, float – worm/maggot cocktail

So a good day in all – 10 tench inc 2 personal bests and a ‘other’ species albeit a bream rather than the ‘targetted’ perch!  🙂


3lb 1oz Bream

2014-05-02 Steve's Biggest Of The Day

Branching Out!!

2014-05-02 Steve 4lb 1oz Tench 01

4lb 10z Tench – Newer PB!

2014-05-02 Steve 4lb 0oz Tench 02

4lb 0oz Tench – New PB