Session 74 – Canal And Pool Luring

Monday, 29th December 2014,I arrived on the banks of the Shropshire Union Canal at around 0930.

A beautiful morning albeit cool – the car’s thermometer registering temperatures of 0C to -2.5C on the trip across – with the sun rising on the frosty canal banks.

IMAG0063 IMAG0062

The nearside half of the canal was virtually ‘clear’ water, free of ice – ‘clear’ indicating that although ice free there was a lot of floating debris – mainly dead leaves – and it was also evident after spinning for a while with a 19g silver bladed spinner that the sub-surface also had a lot of the debris down there too… which, of course, meant picking it up on the lure. And, as is common knowledge, although lures may be made of metal, plastic, rubber, wool and catch fish, you only need to get the tiniest scrap of vegetation caught on that lure to ensure that until it is removed you could fish until the apocalypse and you’d not get a single take – and can almost hear the fish laughing their heads off as the lures passes by. And so, after an hour, even with the ice breaking up as the sun rose, I gave it up as a bad job as even more debris was released from that thawing ice and decided to head to the pool.

Again, glorious and picturesque,…. and ice free…


And so I had another couple of hours here with the spinner and with 19cm/52g Savage Gear Soft 4Play bodied lures in scull lips… result not a touch… but lost 3 Savage Gears and the spinner on trees and snags… Savage Gears now replenished via eBay for £20.

Anyway, got home eventually albeit with a frozen soggy bottom  – a result of having to sit on the frosted grass to drink my cuppas of coffee and re-tackle when the the lures were lost as no suitable seating was available.… I must get Liz to sort my extension straps for my ‘ruckbag with seat’…. Perfect size bag for my lure roving sessions with a fold-out stool attached but only problem is that the shoulder straps would be tight on a bare chested 3 year old never mind a 46+” chested male wearing several thermal layers under a combat jacket and fishing waistcoat! But easily resolved as Liz is going to make me some straps that with fit between the fasteners of originals and effectively lengthen.

I’ve ordered – and they are in transit so hopefully arrive tomorrow – the Water Wolf HD underwater camera and its full accessory pack that I was saving for – and, at £150, it was £10 cheaper than expected.  See: Also ordered a 32GB SDHD card for it – will give 8 hours continous recording in HD – although battery only lasts 4 hours so I’ll need to take a battery pack/charger to top it up. Will have to learn to cast too – too many snag ups yesterday and don’t want to lose it at that price!! 😀

Anyway, hoping to get out Friday – changing from my usual piking for a bit although I’ll take the spinning rod in case I get a pike in the swim – and will be float fishing for roach, etc with worm, dead maggot and intending to bake some soda bread on Thursday to take too… and I need to locate a recipe for that now 🙂

Session 73 – Pike…Less

Saturday 20th December 2014 and as the heading says … another blank pike session on the pool.

One legered rod with a joey mackerel and one floatfished smelt… fished 0930-1430 .. and not one hint of interest … even from the chub.

Anyway, it was a nice day to be out with mainly blue skies and sunshine… but no-one else seemed to think so as I was the sole angler all day long.

And to add to it I’ve just deleted irreversibly my hourly voice notes from my phone… not that there was a lot of action to report but the hourly temp readings were on there… but can remember the water temps were consistent at 8.9C all session and air temps started at around 7C, rose to just over 10C and dropped back to 8.6C. So enough to do my temperature bits… 🙂


Time               Air                  Water

0930                7.0                    8.9
1030                                          8.9
1130                                          8.9
1230                10.0                  8.9
1330                                         8.9
1430                8.6                    8.9


ScreenHunter_31 Dec. 22 18.02

Session 72 – Canal Anguish

On the Staffs-Worcs Canal this morning in the Wombourne area with the blade spinners and 6.5cm Savage Gear Soft 4Play lures.

3 locations visited – Botterham Lock, Bumblehole Lock to Bratch Lock and Awbridge Lock although I did not even wet a line at the latter because I was so incensed that I may have thrown someone in but it really wouldn’t have been his fault so I turned away and came home.

Anyway, not one touch or follow anywhere at all…

Reason for getting uptight?

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Sitting there on my arrival – vandal alert!

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The vandalism!!

Yet again, on the banks, the seemingly extremely over-financed corporation of vandals known as ‘The Canal And River’ Trust’ who seem to have nothing better to do than to spend, in my reckoning, £1million pounds per week on grass cutting. I’m not going to repeat a rant – but here’s the one I have made earlier…

Back at the canal today – and it was nice to see that the Canal & River Trust Angling has money to throw away – today they must have spent spent near on £1000 on a 1 mile stretch of canal needlessly cutting and generally vandalising. So magnify that by the miles of canal in the country and we’re easily talking £1,000,000 a week!!!

Cause for this feeling – fished 3 sections of the Staffs-Worcs Canal all within 1 mile of each other and at each section there were teams of grass cutters armed with mowers and strimmers and intent on making the canal banks look like a golf club green… this is mid-December, when the vegetation is dying back anyway and longest piece of veg. was probably 6″ long before mowing…. And who mows in December anyway??? My own lawns are NEVER cut after Sept 30th nor until the end of May. And estimated costs 8 hour day at £10 (min) per hour = £80 per person x 10 C&RT staff = £800 PLUS cost of petrol for mowers/strimmers/wear& tear/etc.

In my view the only ‘trimming’ required AT ANY TIME OF THE YEAR on a canal is within 12″ of the sides of hardcore/gravel path – not several yards into the hedgerow… and not within 2 metres of the canal bank itself, the boating fraternity are well capable of trampling down a passage from boat to path which will regenerate quickly once the boat moves on. 

To me, it would be far far better to leave as undisturbed as possible for the use of the wildlife (flora and fauna) – and no costs involved!! And to me, the £1,000,000 a week spent on this corporate vandalism would be far better being given to our cash starved NHS and education systems!!! Thus the environment wins, the wildlife wins and the NHS/education get improved!!

I’m going now – try to get my thoughts focused elsewhere as I’m just getting angrier second by second thinking of this.

Session 71 – No Pike Fishing (Or Fishing But No Pike)

I was out there 0900-1430 but to no avail.

Two rods – legered smelt and legered sardine in a ruby-dubby fed area elicited not a single flicker of the line even due to an interested chub, never mind a beep of the alarm. Even injecting the sardine with lamprey oil and perforating its stomach with a baiting needle and adding a pop-up ball to the smelt to raise it 12” from the bottom halfway through the session had any effects whatsoever.

But it was a pleasant day to be out – a few strange 1-2 minute light showers from small passing grey clouds were the only interruption to an otherwise calm, bright and relatively warm day with blue skies and light white whispy clouds.

I did think of getting the lure rod for a short session at the end but decided against as I’m intending to do a lure session over the weekend on a canal anyway and thought I’d save myself for that.

2014-12-16 Thermometer At 0945 2014-12-16 01


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Time               Air                  Water

0930                 4.9                      7.0
1030                 7.3                      7.1
1130                 7.6                      7.1
1230                 6.8                      7.0
1330                 7.1                      7.1
1430                 6.4                      6.9


ScreenHunter_29 Dec. 16 19.02


So I’m back to getting out there with a pike trip planned for tomorrow…

The tackle is all sorted and ready to load into the car on Liz’s return from work….

My rubby-dubby mash is thawing out ready for taking a chunk off the block…

Flask and butties will be prepared later…and baits taken, still frozen, from the freezer in the morning before leaving the house.

My destination will be to my usual pike pool…

So fingers crossed that the current uptrend in temperatures will have old Esox actively feeding 🙂

Anyway, tomorrow may, or may not, be my only session of the week … as, although I’ll not be able to get out again during the week itself, I may get a few hours at the weekend which, if it happens, will probably be a canal trip. A few ideas in my head as to which canal to visit and which methods to use are being juggled and assessed…also whether to go Saturday or Sunday…

 Current leading contenders are:

  •  A couple of stretches of the Staffs-Worcs that I’ve not visited before – in which case the lures will be out in action as that way I can cover a length of bank and investigate for the future.
  • A selection from previously visited stretches of the Staffs-Worcs, bait fishing with the quiver-tip/bobbin rod or a couple of those stretches with the lures.
  • Or my club’s stretch of the Shropshire Union which may be with the lures or with the bait rod. A good lure stretch BUT I’ve not tried bait fishing there apart from a couple of sessions when I match fished with the club for 12 months – and that is NOT the section that I would bait fish anyway.


no fishing 1 no fishing 2 no fishing 3

Says it all really … not been out over the past week due to Christmas preparations and the Annual Works Departmental Christmas Beer Tour which took place last night in Gornal and Sedgley, and which I have organised for the past 10+ years – and that despite having retired nearly 5 years ago – but no more as I’ve tendered my resignation now so its up to someone else to take up the reins for Christmas 2015 and onwards J

Anyway, I’m hoping to get out on Tuesday with rod and line – not sure where yet – canal lure or canal bait or pool pike…. but top at the moment is the latter of the three options. Tomorrow is booked for kitchen wallpapering which should be the end of the big jobs for pre-Christmas and I can get back to the things that  really matter… like pike!! 😀

In the interim I’ve gained a few extra fishing bits and pieces:

A rucksack with seat attached for my canal luring. I’ve been using an Adidas type sports shoulder bag but it slips and slides around the shoulders and so is hard to keep centrally balanced on the back – which I think is the reason for more back ache than necessary when roving with the lures. Also the seat will be useful for ‘coffee breaks’ and lure switches – no more sitting/kneeling on wet cold grass and getting the ‘soggy bottom’ effect.

A few small ‘trout  spinners’ from Go Outdoors today – a pack of 4 for £3.50’ish.

Some bicycle rear red LED lights – for the planned night fishing sessions next spring. White light is far too bright and tends to kill ‘night vision’ so I’ve bought 5 red LED lights at £1.60 each.

Some Korum Quick Change Swivels in mini- and micro-size. It appears that Korum have stopped doing them now, why I don’t know as they are superlative and are also used in the Guru Quick Change bead system…


Korum do quick change beads but the ‘hook’ of these are plastic mouldings and consequently much thicker…


… and so I find these types of beads (Korum/Drennan/etc) far fiddlier than the swivel type due to the thicker ‘hook’ over which you pass the loop of the line to be attached as I use a Preston Loop Tyer to create small, tidy,  loops.

However, it does seem that Gardner do similar items to the swivel type, albeit with a longer hook shank, so I may need to look into those at some time but my current re-stock of the Korum version should see me OK for a while.


Oh well, until next week then…..

Session 70 – Short Canal Lure Session

Friday 5th December and at 0930 I headed out to the local section of the Staffs-Worcs canal – which is NOT a short canal although the title may have led you to believe so – maybe it should have been entitled ‘Long Canal, Short Session, With Lures’ as the lures weren’t short either! 😀

Anyway, I arrived at the canal at around 0945 – but not the bit I’d intended to be at due to my picturing of the route in the head being a bit awry…but at least it was the intended canal… and only about a mile away from where I was intending to be.

Weather a bit mixed – from a couple of short showers to mild steady air to a cool breeze – at various points.

So, anyway, to make a short story a bit longer I just wrote this sentence… and I actually blanked totally…

I walked about half-a-mile down the extremely clear waters of the canal with a small Mepps type blade spinner then turned back and fished with a salmon smolt patterned Savage Gear 6.5cm soft lure in a green scull lip… getting back to the car around 1130… and had not had one sign of any interest or of any fish spotted.

Not sure if I’ll make it out next week – temperatures are due to plummet they tell me – and I need to get some Christmas jobs out of the way – card writing, present packing – and kitchen wallpapering. Hopefully I’ll get out one of the days for another short lure session on a canal though…

Session 69 – In Which A New PB Is Banked

Wednesday 3rd December and after dropping Liz off at work at 0645 I headed directly off to my club’s section of the Shropshire Union Canal for a lure fishing session arriving at around 0715. Still a bit dark to start and so I elected to sit in the car until 0745 when the light started to pick up a bit.

Air temp at that time had been, and still was, an almost consistent -1.5C but no problem for me in my 3-layers of thermal tops and 2-layers of thermal leggings all under my usual fishing garb.

So, off I started with my 9’, 10-40g rated spinning rod with 12lb braid main line, 25lb wire trace and, at that time, a small (6.5g) Shakespeare ‘Devils Own’ blade spinner, silver with a holographic kind of red/green patterning from the bridge that marks the start of our stretch…

Still cold – as  shown when I decided to stand my landing net in the water at the canal’s edge to make it easier to gather when moving on than lying it on the bank… and as I wandered from one spot to the next, the wet net froze solid – and the rod rings were icing up too but not enough to grab the line.

The water was quite clear – could see the bottom at around 30” depth and for about 1 metre out from the bank.

Anyway, I worked my way up a few hundred yards, past the boats that are moored on the far bank with no result and then reached the start of my favourite part of the stretch where the far bank is generally lined with trailing brambles, long grass, bushes and overhanging trees. And this start of this length is also my favourite part of my favourite part as it usually produces one fish at least and today was no exception. It is a 50/60 yard length of spindly bush on the far bank that overgrows the canal by about 1-2 yards, all very ‘Mr Crabtree’ really… and at about 40 yards along the lure was taken and a beautiful perch was netted… and it was also a new PB of 1.36lb (1lb 6oz) beating my previous PBs (2 of them, 1lb 4oz – one I caught in 79/80 season at Patshull Pool the other in 2011/2012 from the Fazeley Canal, Tamworth by Drayton Manor Park) by a couple of ounces. Already well chuffed with the day!! And it was only 0815!

2014-12-03 Steve 1lb 6oz Perch 01

1lb 6oz Perch – the new PB.

However, next cast wasn’t so good – I caught the edge of the brambles with the result that the spinner and trace were lost. Quickly replaced with a slightly bigger blade spinner of similar colouring and I was back on my way.

0855 and I stopped for a 15 minute coffee break – and the day had turned into one of blue skies and golden sunshine – and was warming up a bit too as the frozen net was now floppy… 🙂

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The view up and down the canal at 0855

And so I wandered further up and by 1010 I’d had one further really good take tug but didn’t connect with the fish due to the treble hook having folded back on the cast and snagged over the trace wire and thus was pointing in the wrong direction to make a connection.. and I had now reached the length I call the ‘pampas grass section’ where the far bank bushes, etc become a length of, not actually pampas but tall weeds and grass that lean out slightly over the canal’s edge. I’ve never really done much good on this 100-150 yard stretch so I just had a few casts in the more likely looking spots – but as usual, nothing ensued. At this point I changed my blade spinner again, back to a smaller silver with red markings one, and added a 2SSG shot just above the trace swivel to get the lure down a bit deeper. I thought the larger lure was possibly having to be retrieved too fast to work for the cold conditions whereas a smaller lure allowed a slower retrieve but would have worked higher in the water –  but with the loading shot it worked at a similar depth to the larger one.

However, the bushes and brambles return to the far bank at the end of this bit with some nice exposed tree roots in the water too… so a wander along there elicited a couple of possible takes but again no connections were made and at 1100 I decided it was time to turn around and work my way back down the canal towards the car – I needed to pick Liz up from work at 1500 and so I wanted to be back at the car by around 1300, to get back to town by 1400 and have a coffee while I waited for Liz to finish. It still gave me a couple of hours to play with on the return walk.

So a coffee was poured and whilst I was drinking it the first boat of the day passed by. I had intended to swap over to a small (6.5cm) Savage Gear 4Play for the return journey and due to the now murkier waters I selected a day-glo yellow one. And after a few minutes to finish coffee the walk back started.

And at 1140 I found myself returning a 3.46lb (3lb 7oz) chub…. I’d one one pull whilst casting at some exposed tree roots which didn’t connect but two or three casts later … 🙂

2014-12-03 Steve 3lb 7oz Chub 01

3lb 7oz Chub

And a little later I also hooked into, for a short time, a pike of around 5lb before, unfortunately, being a victim of a hook pull.

A couple more possible pulls/nudges were encountered on the way back until I reached the brambles where the perch was caught and I decided to fish along there for the final ten minutes of the day but with no joy this time… and then it was back to the car and home….

Had to make a few repairs since to the landing net… I use a 30” collapsible net with a 3-tele-section built in pole. Firstly, one one of the net arms kept falling out of it’s socket on the spreader and, secondly, one of the pole sections came loose of its tightening collar. Both problems were manageable as tight enough most of the time when the joints were re-closed to hang in for a while. Anyway, both now freshly glued… 🙂

Not sure of water temps as I hadn’t my thermometer with me but, as I say, air temps started at -1.5C according to car thermo and as I drove back the temp started at 4C at around 1315 and had risen to 8C by the time I reached town.

Off to a canal again tomorrow (Friday 5th December) but this time the Staffs-Worcs closer to home – again on a lure session.

Session 68 – Fishing With A ‘Chubby’ Lass

Monday 1st December and I’m off to the pike pool again – and this time I’m joined by Liz again.

Arriving at a little after 0800, Liz graciously offers me her swim!!! We usually fish two adjoining swims, Liz on peg 9 and I on peg 10 but Liz says we’ll swap pegs as I’ve not had anything from mine on the last couple of trips while she’s had some action including landing a carp and losing a possible pike…and so that’s what we do.

I bait up both swims with ‘fish piece and breadcrumb mash’ to act as a ruby dubby/attractor and then we set to setting up the stall for the day…

Both of us set up similar setups – one float rod with 18lb mono and one leger rod with 40lb braid – and first casts are made around at 0900….with Liz legering a single sprat and floatfishing sprat too, whilst I leger a sardine popped up 12” from the bottom and floatfish a tree of 4-5 sprats. Both sets of tackle being fished within 2-3 rod lengths of the bank under/near overhanging vegetation….

And so it came to pass… 1030 and I hear a call from peg 10 and nip across just in time to net a chub for Liz that had taken her legered sprat… a nice fish of 3lb 3oz.

2014-12-01 Liz 3lb 3oz Chub 02

3lb 3oz Chub taken on legered sprat.

And I’m barely back to my own swim when Liz calls again at 1050… but unfortunately whatever it was – not seen – managed to throw the hooks at the bankside before I arrived at the swim and it got away.

After that all was quiet with Liz not having another touch on either rod until we packed up at 1400.

However, I did manage to get a bit – but not a lot – of action by replacing my ‘tree’ with a single sprat and had a couple of bobs and even a couple of short one foot tugs of the float across the surface – heart stopping stuff! 😀

So, 1400 as I said, tackle was taken down and home headed for…

Liz used her new pike float rods (2 off Leeda 12’, 2.5lb TC carp rods really) – along with her new XLT 5000 freespool reels on all four of her rods (the other 2 rods are her pike leger rods – Ron Thompson Evo Concept 2 11’, 2.75lb) – and I also used the same reels on my float rod – and she was very happy with both rods and reels.


Troubles again with the thermometer… I used the one I’d used OK down the canal on the previous session and it started showing a temp of 10.1C at 0900 which was OK and expected…by 1100 it had gone to 10.3C… OK… but then at 1200 it was 11.2C, and at 1300 it was 11.5C – unexpected as air temps never rose above 9.2 at best – and when I went to remove at 1400 it was up to 25C… and as lifted from the water it went to 50C… obviously NOT right!! Anyway, this one is back home now over a radiator to attempt to dry out the probe…

So for sake of measurement recording/trend I’m taking it as an average of 10.2C for the day…

 Time                          Air                                          Water

0900                                  8.3                                                         10.1
1000                                  8.5                                                         10.1
1100                                   9.0                                                         10.3
1200                                  9.2                                                          11.2
1300                                  8.5                                                          11.5
1400                                  8.3                                                           25+


ScreenHunter_25 Dec. 02 16.55

ScreenHunter_26 Dec. 02 16.56


Wednesday 3rd December off to the club’s stretch of the Shropshire Union Canal for a spot of lure fishing and Friday 5th probably another spot of canal lure fishing but this time on the Staffs-Worcs Canal closer home.