Session 67 – Ruffe On The Canal

Tuesday 25th November and I’m back on the banks of the Staffs-Worcs canal…

I arrived on the canal bank and was setting up by 0800 with a heavy frost underfoot – and one which had not budged one iota as I left at 1245… although air temps over that time had risen from the -1.2C on arrival to +10C on leaving…

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My swim – the same one as the previous session on this     stretch – was towards overhanging vegetation on the far bank…

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The swim was baited with worm and small luncheon meat cubes (ca 3-4mm) that had been marinated in ‘Liquid Worm’ – and also an area in mid-canal (the boat channel) was also similarly baited as a fallback option.

Fishing set up consisted of a running 1/4oz lead on a 4” link stopped about 12” from the size 12 barbless Kamasan Animal hook – 6lb line straight through – Grandeslam Des Taylor System 3 Avon rod. Bait for the day was worm, worm/maggot cocktail and luncheon meat as fed. First cast made at 0840.

For the first three hours there was little action on all baits that were swapped around from time to time and bush and channel areas were tried – just one quick tug on maggot/worm around 0930 a few minutes after the first of two passing boats during the morning went by from the far bank swim. Following this boat’s passage a slight drop of water temp was noted (from 7.7 to 7.3) probably due to the water disturbance.

Over the next hour (0930-1030) the air temps rose quickly to 2.3C – not steadily but it rose by over 1C over the course of 10 minutes at one point and then remained steady only to have another period of 5 minutes when another 1C rise was noted.

The second boat passed by around 1200 … and I was starting to have small nudges on my worm and maggot cocktail baits … and 1230 I had a fish!! A tiny Daddy Ruffe (aka Pope)…

2014-11-25 Steve - Daddy Ruffe 01

Not the biggest of fishes but I do have a soft spot for these not exactly pretty little critters – and more especially so when they save a blank! 😀

Anyway, I fished on for another 15 minutes without further action and was packing up when the third boat of the day passed by…


Time                                       Air                                          Water

0840                                                  0.5                                                         7.7
0900                                                -1.2                                                          7.7
0930                                                -0.1                                                          7.3
1030                                                  2.3                                                          7.6
1130                                                   6.3                                                          7.6
1230                                                 10.3                                                         7.9
1245                                                 10.8                                                         7.9


ScreenHunter_24 Nov. 25 16.23


Session 66 – Pike Pool 1 Again

Sunday 23rd November saw me back at the pike pool again with the usual result – a blank!

2014-11-23 01

I fished from just turned 0900 until 1400 starting with the usual popped up herring/sardine and floatfished ‘sprat tree’ but unlike the previous couple of sessions I did have a bit of adrenaline coursing through my veins at around 1300 after a bait change earlier on the float rod from the sprats to a single smelt and then a depth change from the 4ft setting I’d been using (water sloped down from 4ft at the bank side to around 11ft further out) to around 6ft. First cast after changing depth and the float after a minute or two started bobbing about, however this happened for about 30 seconds and then stopped… and then when re-casted it happened again… and again… and again … and I decided to strike on the next cast, did so, … and nothing – but whatever was out there had decided the smelt was too dodgy now and no more bobbing occurred. Talking to Liz at home later we decided it was most likely a chub sucking the guts of the smelt’s slightly burst stomach… she had had a similar experience a few weeks earlier and then eventually connected with a chub. Also a few other chub have been taken on deadbaits intended for pike from bankside conversations.

Also – I’d one of my other thermometers out with me – and it worked perfectly – and so there are temps to report 🙂


Time                      Air                        Water

0900                                7.4                               9.3
1010                                 9.8                               9.4
1120                               10.0                               9.5
1210                               10.2                               9.5
1315                               11.5                                9.5
1405                              11.2                                9.6


ScreenHunter_21 Nov. 25 15.18

My Angling Library As It Stands……

1000 Greatest Fishing Tips Various Angling Times S
A Complete Guide To Fishing Various Select Editions H
A Passion For Angling (A Companion To The TV Series) Chris Yates, Bob James , Hugh Miles Merlin Unwin / BBC H 1993 Reprint
A Sporting Angler Michael Pritchard Collins Willow H
Angler’s Mail Coarse Fishing Year Dave Coster, Tony Whieldon, Roy Westwood Colour Library Books H 2 copies, 1990
Angler’s Mail Guide To Big Carp Fishing Andy Little Hamlyn H
Angling – Fundamantal Principles Barry Rickards Boydell Press H
Angling Ways Marshall Hardy Herbert Jenkins H
Better Angling Leeda S Booklet
Big Trout Fishing Peter Cockwill Hamlyn 1st Edition. Ex-library.
Bream – How To Catch Them Peter Tombleson Herbert Jenkins H 4th Printing., 1965
Carp Tales 2 Editor: Paul Selman Laneman Publishing H Limited Edition, Nov 2001
Casting With Lefty Kreh Lefty Kreh Quiller H
Catch Bream John Wilson Boxtree S
Catch Carp And Tench John Wilson Boxtree S
Catch Pike John Wilson Boxtree H
Coarse And Game Fishing Ed: Michael Prichard Avon S
Coarse Angling (Teach Yourself) Cliff Parker Hodder & Stoughton S
Coarse Fishing Ed: Kenneth Mansfield Pan Anglers Library S
Coarse Fishing – A Guide To Successful Angling Various Colour Library Books H
Coarse Fishing – A Step By Step Guide (1) Tony Miles Southwater H
Coarse Fishing As A Pastime Kenneth Mansfield Souvenir Press H
Collins New Encyclopedia Of Fishing In Great Britain And Ireland Ed: Michael Prichard Collins Willow H
Eels (Beekay Successful Angling Series) John Sidley Coch-Y-Bonddu H
Extreme Fishing Robson Green Simon & Schuster H
Fifty Years A Fisherman John ilson Ted Sm,art H
Fish The Midlands Des Taylor Laneman Publishing S
Fisherman’s Year John Holden Promotional Reprint Company S
Fishes – A Handbook For Anglers Andreas Janitzki VEMEG Verlags H
Fishing Gareth Purnell, Alan Yates and Chris Dawn Pelham? H Box set of 3 books – A Guide To Sea Fishing, A Guide To Coarse Fishing, A Guide To Fly Fishing.
Fishing Henry Gilbey DK S
Fishing – Techniques, Tackle, Tips Brian Furzer Blitz H
Fishing – Coarse, Game And Sea Bruce Vaughn Abbeydale Press H
Fishing At A Glance Frederick Cowburn Pelham Books H 1967, 1st Edition.
Fishing For All Ed: Ted Douglas Warwick Press H
Fishing Flies – A Practical Guide To The Craft Of Fly Tying Martin Ford LB H
Fishing In The Footsteps Of Mr Crabtree John Bailey Mr Crabtree Publishing H
Fishing The Gower Coast Unknown Unknown S Booklet
Fishing With Mr. Crabtree In All Waters Various DM S 2nd Impression
Flies Of Wales Mog Morgan Merlin Unwin H
Fly Fishing For Trout Bob Church & Peter Gathercole Crowood S
Flyfishing In Ireland Peter O’Reilly Merlin Unwin H
Freshwater Fishing Fred Buller & Hugh Falkus Stanley Paul S
Freshwater Fishing Properly Explained Ian Ball Right Way S
Go Fishing For Pike Graeme Pullen Oxford Illustrated Press H
Hamlyn Encyclopedia Of Angling Various Marshall Cavendish H
Hook, Line & Stinker Various Chameleon S
How To Make Boilies S Internet Download
How To Succeed At Coarse Fishing Dave Coster Angler’s Mail S
Ian Botham On Fishing Ian Botham W&N H
Jim Davidson Gets Hooked Jim Davidson Beekay H
John Bailey’s Complete Guide To Fishing John Bailey New Holland S
John Bailey’s Complete Guide To Freshwater Fishing John Bailey Bookmart Ltd S
Joyn Wilson’s Coarse Fishing John Wilson Boxtree H 1992
John Wilson’s Go Fishing Techniques John Wilson Boxtree S
John Wilson’s World Of Fishing John Wilson Barnwells H
Midland Angler (Feb ’57-Dec ’60) H Bound copies of the monthly magazine.
More About Angling John Piper Pelham Books H 1974
Mr Crabtree’s Fishing Gift Book Ed: Michael Prichard DM H
Mr. Crabtree Goes Fishing Bernard Venables The Daily Mirror S 6th Impression, 1959
Mr. Crabtree’s Fishing With The Experts Hugh Stoker, Fred J. Taylor, John Neville Mirror S Revised Edition, 1978
Mr. Crabtree’s Guide To Good Fishing Tackle Hal Mount DM S 1969
Pike Fishing In The 80’s Neviulle Fickling Bekay H
Pike Fishing In The UK And Ireland Ed: Steve Rogowski Crowood H
Secrets Of Fly Fishing For Trout Ian Ball Right Way S
Spinning And Plug Fishing – An Illustrated Textbook Barrie Rickards & Ken Whitehead Boydell Press H 1989 reprint
Stillwater Angling Richard (Dick) Walker Pan Angler’s Library S
Tackle & Tactics Ken Townley Paisley-Wilde Publishing S 1st Edition, 1991
The A To Z Of Fishing Rob Yorke Green Umbrella H
The Art Of Coarse Fishing – Water Craft Collins Willow S
The Art Of Coarse Fishing – Water Craft John Bailey Collins Angling H
The Book Of Angling Richard Arnold Arthur Barker H 1969
The Complete Fisherman Ian Ball Clarion S
The Complete Book Of Fishing Trevor Housby, Arthur Ogklesby And John Wilson WHSmith Exclusive H
The Complete Book Of Fishing Trevor Housby, Arthur Ogklesby And John Wilson Chancellor Press H 1991
The Complete Coarse Fisherman John Wilson Boxtree H
The Complete Coarse Fisherman David Hall Ward Lock H
The Complete Guide To Fishing Various Select Editions H
The Complete Guide To Fishing Skills Tony Whielden Cassell Illustrated S
The Concise Encyclopedia Of Fishing Garerth Purnell, Alan Yates, Chris Dawn Parragon H 1st Edition. 2 copies
The Concise Encyclopedia Of Fishing Garerth Purnell, Alan Yates, Chris Dawn Colour Library Direct H
The Concise Encyclopedia Of Fishing Garerth Purnell, Alan Yates, Chris Dawn Colour Library Direct S
The Concise Encyclopedia Of Fishing John Bailey, Nick Hart, Jim O’Donnell Igloo H
The Flyfisher’s Companion John Buckland Country Life H
The Guide To Coarse Fishing (1) Tony Miles Lorenz Books S
The Handbook For Fishermen Harvey Torbett Paul Hamlyn H 1st Pub. 1964
The New ABC Of Fishing Ed: Colin Willock Andre Deutsch S
The New Compleat Angler Stephen Downes, Martin Knowelden Black Cat H
The New Complete Guide To Fishing Skills Tony Whieldon Cassell Illustrated S
The New Observers Book Of Fly Fishing Peter Wheat Warne S
The Observer’s Book Of Freshwater Fishes A. Laurence Wells Warne H
The Observer’s Book Of Sea Fishes T. B. Bagenal Warne H
The Penguin Guide To Fishing Ed: Colin Willock Penguin S
The Practical Fishing Encyclopedia Tony Miles, Martin Ford, Peter Gathercole Hermes House H
The Practical Guide to Successful Fishing Tony Miles, Martin Ford, Peter Gathercole Hermes House S
The Shell Book Of Angling Ed: Richard Walker / Sea Angling Ed: Leslie Moncrieff David & Charles H
The Technique Of Freshwater Fishing W. E. Davies Elliot, Right Way H 1962
The World Of Fishing Pascal Durantel Konemann H
The World Of Stillwater – The Living Countryside Reader’s Digest H General waterside, not angling
Trout & Salmon – Flies Of Wales Mog Morgan Merlin Unwin H
Tying And Fishing The Sedge Taff Price Blandford H
Understanding Coarse Fishes Tom Ravensdale (+ Moe Birehall And Jim Morgan) John Gifford Publishers H 1st Edition, 1973
() Indicates identical books with different titles/publishers

Session 65 – Canal – Bait Fishing – And Incorporating Institutional Vandalism

Tuesday 18th November and I’m on a stretch of the Staffs-Worcs Canal that is administered by Wolverhampton AA….

A beautiful morning with air temps around 10-11C. And can’t be more detailed on that as I had the thermometer problem of the impossibly high water temperatures being shown YET again … and overall the day was not without its other annoyances as I will describe….

First annoyance… driven 1 mile down the road, just about in front of the main traffic heading into the city to work and so the way ahead reasonably clear, when I realise I’ve left my bait bag with ALL my baits in at home! Thus I had to ‘U’ turn and head back to collect them and restarting the journey I was then caught right in the middle of the brunt of traffic meaning it took me almost 45 minutes to get to the other side of town and on the clearer roads – normally 10-15 minutes would have done that.

Anyway, got there eventually, and walked down to where I wanted to be and at that time it was very quiet with the sun just coming up…

 IMAG0029 IMAG0030


And I elected to fish over to the far bank near overhanging bushes as can be seen in the last of the above pictures.

Second annoyance: The thermometer probe was dropped into the canal and registering around 9-10C… but a minute or so later this had risen to the high 30s and increasing… so pulled out and put away.

A few catapults of dead maggot were catapulted over the far side pre-setting up the station and tackle and this was supplemented from time to time with extra ‘pults full.

The tackle was set up – Des Taylor System 3 Avon rod with the quiver top section in place – 6lb line to a quick change link on which sat a size 12 Kamasan Eyed Barbless Animal hook on 4” 6lb braid hooklength and the setup completed with a free running link leger with a 3/8oz Arseley bomb stopped about 12” up the line from the hook. The first cast being made at 0900 baited with worm (Dendrobaena aka dendro).

Third annoyance: throughout the whole session I was jinxed with wrap-overs of the hooklength around the line above – even when I removed the quick link and just tied the hook directly to the mainline and despite feathering the line on the cast, etc.

Anyway, the line was out and fishing… and I had a bite, hooked into something – small – but it came off the hook halfway in… a few more ‘knocks’ and then a good pull… struck into something solid… and then that sickening feeling as the line just fell slack and I thought the line had parted… started to wind in and there was a slight resistance… and a small 4oz skimmer bream came to hand. Dunno what happened there… possibly the line had caught over sunken rubbish, and snagged and then sprung free as I struck? Something that will never be known…

And as I returned this fish to the water…

The fourth, and most annoying, annoyance: I hear the sound of petrol engines approaching and look round and coming up the bankside are a couple of Canals and River Trust guys with petrol mower and strimmer absolutely decimating the the bankside and destroying the natural flora and habitat of the fauna… Now, where I was, water to the hedgerow behind was a good 20-25 feet and the WHOLE area was subjected to the strimmer/mower attack leaving the area looking like a golf course green almost. In my view, there is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED to perform such desecration at all – and at most a 1 metre strip for walkers is the absolute most that would be needed but then again if there were enough walkers to warrant that then purely by their passage and re-passage the path would be naturally defined. And boats mooring can easily trample down a path from their boat for ingress/egress easily enough – and this would repair itself within a day or two of them leaving the spot. Got no money for police or for the NHS we are told and yet there seems plenty to waste for the C&RT to cut grass in a rural (lightly frequented) area and to do so in mid-November when everything is dying back anyway. Institutional vandalism I call it!! Anyway, I sat my ground and the guys had to work round me and my tackle – as per photos! Compare earlier photos to the ones below.

 IMAG0032 IMAG0033


And the surface of the canal was covered in cut grass after their passing…

Anyway, they eventually left the area and peace and quiet returned – a few boats passed but far from annoying, at this time of year anyway, I find them quite an asset with their stirring of the waters and washing up the bottom mud along with the aquatic fauna (aka food) which can entice the otherwise lethargic fish into activity.

Anyway, I finished the day at 1300 with one other fish having been taken on a worm/maggot cocktail – a perch of around 5-6oz.



Well, I tested the other two of the thermometers that I have in a water butt – and they seemed fine. And I placed the probe of the errant one in a sinkful of cold water this morning and for a while it seemed good – an hour later the temp displayed had crept up to 30+C. So there IS a problem with it – and it seems that water pressure may play a part too as when placed in the canal it was less than a minute before the temp starting rising whereas, as I said, in the kitchen sink it was an hour or so and the creep up was slower too…


I think I may return to the area again next week but to another swim in the opposite direction from the access point – and hopefully have fewer annoyances to contend with – and less grass floating on the canal too which was also an annoyance as it drifted into and onto the line.

I’m unable to fish Friday or Saturday this week but hoping to get out piking on Sunday.

Session 64 – Back To The Pike Pool

Sunday 16th November and its back to Pike Pool 1….

A bit of an overcast day with air temps around 10-11C. And can’t be more detailed on that as I had a thermometer problem again …

Strange goings on thermo-wise as related here…

On arrival, at this time of year, my first ‘task’ is to drop the thermometer’s probe into the water in order for the readings to settle down before my first actual recording is made – and as that is done after the casting in of the last rod in use, and that I also set up unhooking mats, scales, unhooking tools, landing net, etc, prep and throw out groundbait and generally housekeep my station so that everything is ready and in its place before even tackling up the rods, that can be an hour or more after the probe is wetted … And on this session all followed the usual pace… and on throwing the probe in I saw that the temp was around 10-11C in both water and air… BUT when I went to take my first reading to record it – air temp was showing at around 10C but water was showing as 52C! Obviously not right… so I pulled in the probe and waved it around and temp changed a decimal point or so, holding in a clenched fist caused a quick rise of temp but still 50+C… OK… so I checked the probe and noted a gap between the wire and plastic covering of the probe so thought that water had ingressed and shorted across electronic connections giving wrong signals back to the main display unit. So, anyway, with the thermo out of action I hung the probe over a bush in a manner that water would drain away. And so, five hours later, I’m packing up and the thermo is still showing 50+C as the ‘OUT’ temp (probe).. wave it around… no change. Reset it, no difference. So I drop the whole thermo, body and probe, into the small zip lock bag I use to carry it and protect it from rain in use and place that in a pocket of my rucksack and head back to the car and home.. Arriving home 40-45 mins later, I get out said thermo to place on the radiator to dry – but looking at the display as I take it out the bag I notice both ‘IN’ and ‘OUT’ are registering the same and CORRECT temps of around 12C!! WHAT GOES ON!?

Its had five hours hanging in an orientation to aid draining of any water and in a breeze and that made no difference BUT 40 mins later having been in a sealed plastic bag inside a closed rucksack pocket all is well??? DOHHH!!!

Later I was thinking that if the temp was displaying in deg F rather than deg C then the temp would actually be about right BUT the air temp was displaying in C and the display also indicated that the water temp was in deg C… The display can be set to show as deg F but the setting of units used affects both IN and OUT ie both as deg C or both as deg F.

Anyway, I’ve now sealed the casing/wire gap with Araldite – see if that makes a difference when I visit the canal tomorrow.

As for the fishing itself – 5 hours of legering a popped-up tail half of a trout and floatfishing a Xmas Tree of sprats – and not one touch.

A pleasant enough day though…


Tuesday 18th – on the Staffs-Worcs Canal with maggot and worm.

2014-11-16 03 2014-11-16 01 2014-11-16 02

Session 63 – The Lure Of The Canal

Today, Tuesday 11th November, saw a later than usual start of the day for a short lure session on the Staffs-Worcs Canal with me leaving the house at 0900 and arriving at the stretch I was fishing for the day around thirty minutes later.


The weather was not the best – a bit gusty at times with droplets of rain in the air but it felt quite mild – however, I did wear some of my thermals and luring is an active method of fishing and so you are generally on the move all day. Temperatures were not recorded due to the rain of Friday’s trip having killed my thermometer – one of the display digits is missing 4 segments and with the thermometer and its external sensor together there is a discrepancy of 4C between the displayed internal/external temps when they should be showing the same. The thermometer problem has since been resolved with the acquisition of a new one this afternoon. See the end of this posting for info on that.

Tackle was my trusty 9’, 10-40g rated, spinning rod with 12lb braid main line and 6” 25lb BS wire trace. Note, when lure fishing its ALWAYS advisable to use a wire trace even on waters where pike are unknown or are a rarity – you never know what may take the bait!

For lures I started off with a Shakespeare ‘Devil’s Own’ 16.5g blade spinner in silver with a green/red patterning and with a red flag attached to the treble of which the barbs had been squeezed down slightly. Unfortunately, this became the victim of a far bank overhanging shrub and was changed to a similar blade spinner but with a holographic type scale patterning…

I covered about 400 yards or so before losing this lure, this time to an underwater snag, which seemingly was sharp edged as with only a very slight pressure the line gave way…

At this point, with the skies greying over further, I decided to go directly up to the limit of the fishing rights and then work my way back as this furthest point is a large intersection between canals which creates a small ‘pool’ area – and I have had pike from this area previously – and thus the area I most wanted to have a go at.

And so, on reaching this area I attached a 13cm fluoro-yellow Savage Gear Soft 4Play lure in a red scull lip and started casting around … and eventually, after about 15 minutes, after one retrieve and just as I was lifting the lure from the water a pike of about 5lb appeared behind it but turned and disappeared. Further casting for 5-10 minutes did not elicit further response, so I decided to ‘rest’ the water and have a cuppa from the flask for a short while and whilst doing this I also switched the lure body to one of similar size but of a mackerel pattern.

Another 10 minutes of casting followed and then, as the skies greyed even more and the wind-borne rain droplets became actual light rain I decided it was time to call it a day.

So I finally spent around 2 hours on the water in total and only had the one follow to report.

THERMOMETER… as I said my thermometer of recent use had suffered irreparable damage on last Friday’s outing and I needed to source a replacement. So I had a look on the MAPLIN website (as we have a local Maplin store) and came across a model that I’d previously used and liked –  the Atech Indoor/Outdoor thermometer…


.. which I had liked very much for its features… (a) internal/external temp display (b) clock display is handy (c) records max/min temps over a period and is resettable manually or automatically and (d) has a long 3 metre lead to the external sensor, a must have for fishing purposes, I find. And best of all… when I bought my first one it was £9.99… but now, as I think they are deemed clearance items they are being sold at only £1 each. So I decided I’d get 3 at that price as a couple of spares would not go amiss with my history of dropping them in the water, standing on them and generally destroying them  … However, they were not in stock in my local store… BUT you could order online as a’Click’n’Collect’ item ie buy online and have delivered to your nearest store at no extra charge for you to pick up… which I did.. and I picked them up this afternoon. Can also have Home Delivery but for orders under £10 total there is a £2.99 shipping fee (free over £10). But, £3.99 is still a good price?


Friday – pike again… but aiming to try a new area on the usual pool 🙂  And I’ll be on my own as Liz has her driving test mid-day…

Next week – a trip to the canal with maggots, worms, bread, meat for a bait fishing session is being mooted

Session 62 – Piking – A Return To

Awoke to the alarm clock at 0530, looked out at a drizzly morning – and went and got dressed for my usual day’s fishing. Made flask, packed baits and butties, had a bite of breakfast and a mug of coffee and put the last of the equipment and sundries in the car – most of it (rods, barrow, tackle bags, seat, etc) already having been placed in there the previous evening.

And so it was at 0700 I left the house and ventured off to the pool arriving to the sun arising and the rain dispersed – exactly as the BBC Weather had forecast it to be. But they also forecast that heavy rain would return at 0900 and last until 1600 travelling up from the south and south-west (as it did… to the minute as usual).  So I elected for a north/north-west facing swim so that I could get maximum shelter from the brolly which I erected as soon as I arrived – preceding even my baiting-up routine. Yep, as long as the brolly’s up then the environment can throw me up whatever fiendish weather it likes! 🙂

So the swim was actually situated in a nice looking corner with water at my feet of around 4.5’ deep sloping down to 12’ and then levelling out and up to another 28’ deep drop.

Next operation was to bait up the swim with a ruby-dubby concoction comprising of bread crumb, lamprey oil, cod liver oil, blitzed sardine/herring/mackerel/sprat with larger strips of raw hake, and then fishmeal/bone/blood fertiliser added too. This mix was spread around the area I was to fish as an attractant.

And then the preparation of the support equipment – unhooking mat set out with 12” wire cutters and 12” pliers handy, the scales and weigh net put to hand and the landing net set up and positioned. And this was followed by the setting up of the rod pod and alarms…. And finally the rods were tackled…

Again two rods in use… 1 leger/pop-up rod which was baited with a whole herring (ca 8oz) and set to pop-up the bait at about 2’ from the bottom, and 1 rod to floatfish a ‘Xmas Tree’ of sprats at varying depths throughout the day… and so it was that my first casts hit the water at 0840… and the start of the non-stop rain arrived at 0902…

2014-11-06 01 Nice Start To The Day


2014-11-06 02 And The Rain Started...


2014-11-06 03 ... And Continued


2014-11-06 04 ... And Got Heavier


Still, I was by now safely ensconced under the brolly fully protected from the weather and complete with big flask of coffee and a big box of cobs, chocolate bars, crisps and bags of snacks… how much better can a day be? 🙂

And that was how things remained until the clouds cleared and the sky took on a golden glow and I started to pack down for the day at 1600. Not one ‘proper’ bite although there was *something* playing with my legered/pooped-up herring…. See: … an eel? Small fish tugging at the entrails in the burst throat/belly of the bait? As Mavis would say, ‘I don’t rear-ly know’ :D.

Temperature readings for the day were a bit strange – probably due to water ingressing into the workings of my digital thermometer as I’m not sure that an original, pre-rain water temperature reading of 10.2C would have risen to 12+C with air temps at a max of 11C dropping to around 7C over the day??? So just the one reading here – the first and thus pre-rain one – 11.8C air, 10.2C water…

So now, a day later, I’m back home – unloaded the car earlier and most of the gear is now in the front room drying out with the thermometer on the radiator. When I got home the first thing I needed was a soak in a hot bath so tackle unloading was postponed to this morning.


ScreenHunter_20 Nov. 08 14.57


Tuesday, back to the canal most probably.
Friday – pike again 🙂

Session 61 – Lures On The Canal

As I stated in my previous posting regarding my intentions for this week, earlier today I headed off to my local stretch of the Staffs-Worcs canal armed with a shoulder bag of lures and traces, a collapsible landing net and my 9’ 10g-40g spinning rod.

2014-11-03 01

A beautiful morning with air temps at 8C on arrival at 0900, and 10C as I departed at about 1200, according to the car’s thermometer. No water temps taken as I hadn’t my fishing thermometer with me.

Water was very clear and no boats passed – due entirely to the locks further up being closed for maintenance as I was told by a passer-by – so really good luring conditions.

I started off using the dropshot technique, and roved about ¾ mile along the canal to the locks at which my ‘rights to fish’ terminated – ie the limit of the controlling club’s stretch in that direction. But despite trying many good, and not so good, looking spots and changing the type and colours of the lure,  I only managed two possible grabs/tugs.

However, a passing couple stopped for a few minutes and told me that an angler fishing up at the lock ahead yesterday had had a pike chasing and leaping at his fish as he was landing them… so when I arrived there I cast the dropshot lure around the area a few times, then sat on the wall with a cup of coffee whilst I changed from the dropshot set up to a standard lure setup with a 9.5cm Savage Gear soft bodied lure (fluoro-yellow in red scull lip) and cast around the area for 15-20 minutes and then changed the lure again to a silver bladed, 16.5g, spinner and repeated the casting around for another 15 minutes or so until it was time to return back down the stretch to the car and home. And so, I wandered back, casting the bladed spinner here and there … but unfortunately fruitlessly.

So now the next trip is looking like being Friday’s full day session to waters yet undecided still but veering towards Pike Pool 2 – but I’m also hoping that it may be possible in the interim to get another couple of hours canal luring in on another stretch of canal…

This afternoon, whilst in Wolverhampton centre, I bought a couple of second-hand angling books for my collection… and one of them was a bound compilation of 21 monthly editions of ‘Midland Angler’ from February 1957-December 1960. Very interesting reading! 1957 – the BAA had taken on the fishing lease at Chasewater and their Eastham stretch of the River Teme, the fisheries consultancy on the Teme declared that the Teme upstream of Tenbury would be classified a game river and no longer would receive annual stockings of coarse fish, a lot of Dick Walker articles, Fred J. Taylor declaring he knew where there were 12lb tench and this is supposedly a 1990+ phenonomen due to gravel pits… and I’ve only read the first few months of 1957 so far… but the disheartening bit is the pictures of the lines of dead pike, and one advert for a Birmingham bait supplier shows 3 or 4 large but very dead pike hanging up outside his shop :(. Anyway, quite riveting reading and looking forward to this new bedtime book tonight :).

Oh! And Liz’s replacement flask arrived in this morning’s post 🙂

Session 60 – Piking At Pike Pool 1

Well, a change from the previous posting due to a misunderstanding – to Liz the week starts on Sunday and finishes Saturday (the way her company defines a working week), to me it starts on Monday and ends on Sunday (always worked Monday to Friday, so the week always starts Monday for me)… and so, in our discussions last Sunday about future fishing, said that she’d be unable to fish on Friday ‘next week’ – meaning yesterday (7/11) as her week had already started but I was enquiring about yesterday (31/10) as my new week had not yet started… and so the statement in the last posting that I’d be on my own for this session was erroneous!! Liz was able to, and did come fishing yesterday!! J But not next week – and probably not the next two or three actually as she has a number of driving lessons arranged leading up to her test on the 14th November.


So off we both headed at 0700 to the pool arriving at a little after 0730 – and a car already there and we were a bit concerned that one of our intended swims may have been taken but no need to have worried as the angler in question was in a totally different area.

2014-10-31 01

Anyway, ‘Disaster 1’ struck as soon as I opened the tailgate of the car when the cooler bag containing the day’s butties and drinks fell out and onto the gravel…. and although my coffee flask is an ‘unbreakable’ stainless steel one, Liz’s was (note past tense… you know what’s coming!) a more traditional glass vacuum type and coffee was leaking … and a shake gave the tinkling sound of broken glass. And although we both drink coffee and take the same quantity of sweeteners, I have mine black whilst Liz prefers milky.

However, with no option Liz shared my flask for the day… and luckily the butties were wrapped in plastic sandwich bags which prevented ‘soggy bottoms’ :).

So, having recovered ourselves and sorted the food/drink bag out we headed to the swims. On arrival, I mixed up and distributed into the two swims a quantity of crumb/blitzed fish/oils/bone/blood/fishmeal based rubby-dubby as an attractant…

Liz and I both decided to follow the same format of approach to the fishing – one rod floatfished and one rod legered. The only difference in the basics of each of our setups being that I popped-up my legered bait with a homemade red poly-ball whilst Liz just let the bait lie on the bottom…

ScreenHunter_16 Nov. 01 15.24
Anyway, ‘Disaster 2’ was then to strike – due to my bad hearing and a reel malfunction! Liz had been calling me (and the chap over the other side of the pool apparently heard although I in the next swim didn’t! And when she called my mobile I couldn’t understand her until she yelled ‘GET HERE!!! NOW!!!!’ which, of course I did. On arrival her line/trace/float were entangled in the roots of a bush that had grown out into the water… and she had hooked a pike but that was now long gone… The snag was not easily accessible and so I had to get my long landing net pole (3m+) and fit it with my weed cutting blade and try to do a combination of snagging the line (but in a way as not to cut it) and to grab and cut the offending roots. However, in the end the line parted just above the trace and the end tackle seemed (see later) lost – a bit worrying due to the possibility of bait still being on the hooks. The float drifted free and we able to manoeuvre it to clear bank and rescue it… So, one lost pike :(… BUT there was more… the reason for the situation that had ensued was that the anti-reverse on Liz’s reel was unable to be switched off and thus Liz was unable to backwind to give line whilst playing the fish and hence…. 😦  Anyway, fish had taken 3 floatfished sprats…

{I also discovered that one of my reels of the same make/model suffers the same fault too – we have 4 of these reels between us. And at home today I stripped down the reels and found the problem (not easily repairable, even if even possible to) to be a welded pin – not much larger than half a match head – which should have been  attached to the operating lever to switch on/off the sprung latching had fallen off and thus the latching is now permanently on. 6 new replacement reels now on order!!}

Anyway, I slackened Liz’s drag/clutch suitably so that she could continue the session as the only thing possible to do in the circumstances… and what does she then do… 🙂

2014-10-31 Liz 4lb 1oz Chub

Liz with 4lb 1oz Chub taken on legered smelt.

And as we approached the end of the day, myself having not had one single sign of interest from the pike at all, Liz came round to the swim to get me again with another problem… she’s had a ‘carp’ and can’t get the hooks out and the hooks are entangled in the net too… So off I go again, to discover that ‘carp’ is actually a 4lb 1oz chub and it is a new PB for Liz as it happens!! :). Anyway, hooks are quickly released from the fish which was weighed and photo’d before release .. and I set to the disentanglement of the trace from the landing net… a job that was increased in complexitity when it was noticed that there are actually 4 treble hooks entangled within. It seems that somehow the net managed to also pick up the trace that was ‘lost’ in the previous encounter with the tree roots… Good news really as it set the mind at rest re: baited hooks that may have lying in the water….

All hooks freed from the net we decided that we’d pack the bait rods up at that time and spend a little time with our spinning rods… which we did… Liz had not a dint of any interest in her 16.5g blade spinner but I had a smashing vicious take but then not lost not only the fish but also my favourite Savage Gear Soft 4Play body as well! A Pearl Olive, 19cm/52g one. I use the SG lures in their relevant scull lips – small, medium and large. A ‘scull lip’ being a ‘helmet with treble hook’’ that the head of the body is inserted into and held in position by a pin (a bit of cocktail stick can be used if the right pin is not available – however, mine was securely pinned with the proper item) that passes from side to side of the scull lip and through the body of the lure. Anyway, the lure is being worked along a section of rocky bank and reeds 10 yards or so to my left, a huge swirl, a heavy pull, the pike (about 6-7lb I reckon) rolled on the surface and then dove down… and then the stomach churn as all went slack… 😦 I wound in and I was attached to a lureless scull lip – the pin being only through one side of the ‘helmet’. It would appear that the pike had grabbed the lure’s body but not as far up as the treble hook and the had got pulled out of the one side of the SC and thus was able to be pulled entirely free… 😦

SG Lure & Scull Lip

Pearl Olive Lure + Scull Lip + Pin as described.


Time                                       Air                                          Water

0835                                                       15.1                                                        12.2
1015                                                        15.8                                                       12.3
1125                                                        16.5                                                        12.3
1230                                                       16.8                                                         12.3
1500                                                       18.1                                                         12.4


 ScreenHunter_18 Nov. 01 15.26

ScreenHunter_17 Nov. 01 15.25


Early in the week a trip – maybe two – to the Staffs/Worcs canal with the lures.

Late week, pike fishing, maybe same pool, maybe elsewhere 🙂