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.

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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.

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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…

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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… 🙂

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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


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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 🙂