Session 39 – Warks Avon – A Day Of ‘Stuff’ And Featuring A New PB After 39 Years….

Friday, July 28th, saw me heading from the house at a little before 0600 heading out to a club stretch of the Warks Avon (KF-WA/WG), and with the traffic fairly light, I arrived at the selected swim for the day around 0715, having had a short peruse at other possibles, which was actually Liz’s swim from our previous visit.

Before starting to sort out tackle, etc I catapulted out some loose feed in the form of dead maggot, maize, hemp and wheat into the central line of the river and also fed the same just offshore slightly downstream to act as a ‘change’ swim…

I then settled the ‘station’ – nets, mats, scales, camera, seating etc all arranged – before setting up the tackle for the day – a 12’ Ron Thompson Feeder rod with a light quiver tip, 8lb main line with a size 6 hook on 6” of 8lb braid connected via a quick change link and a 15g cage feeder stopped about 24” above the hook. The feeder was loaded over the day with a breadcrumb/Vitalin/chicken mash/flour mix with added wheat and hemp.

And so I made the first cast of the day with the hook baited with bread into midstream – and the ‘stuff’ started almost immediately!

The line had been out for 5 minutes without a touch and so I retrieved it in order to re-fill the feeder and re-cast – but as the feeder neared the bankside a big swirl broke the water’s surface as a pike swirled at it…. anyway, feeder refilled was re-cast out and another 5 minutes later was retrieved to re-fill and again another swirl came at it but this time the pike grabbed hold of it and for about 10-15 seconds I was battling with the pike before he let go… however, after this it seemed that it had gone into a sulk as it was some time later before it deemed to make a re-appearance…

Following the pike attacks I started to get a few nudges and then hooked into what felt a reasonable fish but unfortunately I had a hook pull ….

After this I had a quiet spell with only minor nudges, etc although I kept re-casting the feeder every 5-10 minutes to keep the feed going on which also being supplemented by catapulted particles… and at around 1000 I swapped the bread on size 6 hook over to worm/maggot on a size 10. First cast with the new hook/bait brought a good bite that pulled the tip over but a strike did not contact..

Around 1020 I tried the ‘inside line’ with my worm/maggot and first cast brought a perch of 3-4oz to hand.. I re-cast to the same area and then decided to pour a cup of coffee and did so and as I turned back to the rod the tip pulled over but I struck to nothing… so before refilling the feeder I decided to have a few sips of the freshly poured coffee before it cooled too much and to that end I just placed the rod in the rest with the feeder and mangled worm dangling down into the water just below the rod tip … had a couple of sips from my cup … and the rod top bent straight over and down and started bouncing… I struck and felt a very good fish on the end which I managed to raise enough in the water to get a slight glimpse of … and it was long and slim, definitely not a bream, and my immediate thought was a barbel … saw a slight glimpse again a second time and still looked like a barbel … and then the line went slack … the hook gone and the braid cut through … yep, I reckon it was that pike again (or a relative of it)…

THEN … about an hour later I almost have a heart attack! The place where I was fishing is very quiet – very rare to see anyone – other than on the passing boats – in the area at all, and I’d not been wearing my hearing aids either as it was a gusty day and all I would have heard was the rushing wind in my ears (ie imagine the sound if lying under an express train as it passes overhead – then triple the volume) and I rarely wear them anyway – birds are generally too noisy for me with their incessant cheeping and birdsong… so there I’m sat waiting for my rod tip to do something when someone about 2’ away says ‘Alright!?’ in my ear! I bet I shot 3’ in the air! It turns out to be two guys getting material inclusion in a future ‘Angler’s Mail’ article on the stretch… anyway, they took my photo ‘fishing’ and said article would appear some time but could be 12 months or more… OK .. and then they disappeared … not sure if they’d the right place actually – as the stretch is a member’s only one and the club has a waiting list of at least 3 years plus we no longer do day tickets for there as the club secretary has told me … and he hadn’t been informed of an impending press visit either. I have a slight suspicion that there may have been a mix-up with a stretch of similar name that is run by a large association that has an open membership.

Anyway, soon after the visitation, I land a fish of the desired species for the day – a bream – not a large one, around a pound and a half although not actually weighed…

Fish photo’ed and returned, the hook was re-baited and re-cast and, before the feeder had chance to reach bottom, the rod slammed round, and another bream was hooked, landed, weighed in at 4lb 2oz, photo’ed and returned.

And then followed another small 3oz perch … and then at around 1300 … another bream … and a new PB bream at that weighing in at 5lb 12oz – exactly 8oz better than my previous best of 5lb 4oz caught 39 YEARS ago!

2017-07-28 Steve - 5lb 12oz Bream 01

The new PB – 5lb 12oz Bream

…  a few knocks and taps follow until at around 1455 I land a chub of 2lb 1oz. 

2017-07-28 Steve - 2lb 1oz Chub 01

2lb 1oz Chub

So, with time approaching 1500 and the need to get home early’ish as I need to sort out tackle and bait, shower, perform pet sitting duties for friends and to collect Liz from work, I tackle down and head home … and what should have been normally a 45 minute river-to-front-door trip took an HOUR AND THREE QUARTERS JUST FOR THE M5 PORTION averaging around 10mph! Definitely NOT the best part of the day!


Session 38 – The Hard Pool ….

Monday, July 24th, I set out on my own, Liz having decided to do some dressmaking/sewing in prep for our holidays, to one of my clubs’ pools – the notoriously hard one (AA-LA1) although the occasional red letter day does happen from time to time there which, to me, adds anticipation albeit mostly misguided but when it happens it becomes an event to cherish!

So, I arrived on-site around 0645, and was pleased to see that it appeared that I was the first to arrive – and often I’m the only one to arrive all day – but after parking on the car park I walked around a corner in the path to see that there was already someone there, complete with car and bivvy set up in the swim I’d wanted to fish.. so I walked back to the car and past heading to my second choice swim which was in the far corner of the near end of the pool next to the water inlet pipe, only to discover the swim no longer existed – all overgrown and it seemed the platform/bay had been removed…

Historical Pictures

… and so it was on to the 3rd choice of swim – a bit further along the far bank to the next peg .. not actually a bad peg really as Liz had a good tench from it (actually at that time her PB of 3lb 14oz – and which was only recently increased to 4lb 4oz at another venue a few weeks ago) … and one day I had three double figure carp within about an hour on floaters from it a couple of seasons ago.

However, the ‘inlet’ swim would have been perfect for the day as the wind was blowing directly down into that corner and a large amount of scum (which would include fishy foodstuffs) had built up – and to paraphrase the saying “where’s there’s muck, there’s brass’” then often it’s a case of “where there’s scum, there’s fish”. And, in fact, around that area of the pool was where I spotted the most fish action with frequent patches of carp bubbles rising… However, that area was castable too … and I did place one bait (worm/maggot) in that area for most of the day…

  Views from the swim….

So, I baited up 3 areas – the first out to my left just out of the overhanging bush that can be seen in the picture was fed with maggot at intervals throughout the day, the second was into the open water to the left where the bubbling evident and groundbait/particles/maggot was fed, and the third was directly in front just off the bank of the island that lies there. Initially I had one baited hook (size 12, maggot/worm) over on the left open water as I said, the other was bread initially, changed to prawn later, over to the island. And for the last hour and a half of the day the left hand rod was switched to fish into the near bank fed area.

A couple of single ‘beeps’ from the right hand rod on bread was the full extent of the action on that rod but late in the day a good sized carp – as golden as a pristine rudd – did head’n’tail a few feet from where my bait lay … and the left hand rod fared only slightly better when a small perch was hooked from the open water area…

So, at 1600 I decided it a day and head home…..

I did notice that due to the current dry spell that the pool level was down a bit – around 1.5’-2’ in my reckoning looking at the water marks and other signs around the pool – and most noticeably by the gap below these island willows’ mantles which would normally be brushing the water’s surface…

2017-07-24 02

So, hoping to get out again on Friday 28th – especially after spending a lot of hours in the garden today to catch up on jobs that I’ve been unable to get done previously – hedge and conifer trimming and grass cutting – as whenever I’d had the time to do them enough rain fell to have to cancel them. However, got out early this morning before the sun got too high and managed to do them – albeit it was getting too hot to clear the hedge trimmings which is a job for tomorrow. Possible destinations for the Friday trip – Warks Avon after bream, tenching at a club pool, or just a fun day at a club pool with high stocks of many species! The WA trip is holding the ‘advantage’ in my head currently though.

Session 37 – River Severn…

Thursday 20th July, in a change from my usual Friday trip which had to be changed due to a dental appointment, I headed down to a member’s section of one of my club’s River Severn stretches (KF-S/HL/M) for the day…


Although I was up at 0500, due to the falling rain being slightly too heavy and the forecast being that it would start clearing up around 0800, it was 0700 before I left the house allowing an hour travel. On arrival it was still raining slightly but within the hour it had ceased and around 1000 it was blue skies and fluffy white clouds.

As can be seen from the picture, just downstream of my position on the bank was an overhanging tree and the river flow twixt myself and tree was quite slack whilst a heavier flow existed on the line outside the line of the tree’s overhang. So I decided to fish baits on the line of and under the bush to start with as it seemed it could be a good chub holding spot. Particles and crumb were fed to drift down that line… and bread was fished on a size 4 hook to 10lb mono on a 3/4oz lead and I fished like this until around 1200 and had a few minor tugs and nudges but nothing substantial. At 1200 I swapped to fishing a quivertip rod with 8lb line, 1/4oz lead and a worm/maggot baited size 8 hook along the same line. This resulted in one chub of around 6oz … and many more nudges/tweaks/pulls but no further fish were landed up to 1615 when I packed up for the day.

Spotted/observed over the day – one cormorant swimming downstream mid-morning … a group of four merganser/goosander (whichever is the tufted one) swam upstream mid-afternoon diving and coming up with small fry along the far bank … whilst swapping over my rods at midday and facing downstream there was a huge splash just off the edge of an overhanging bush directly behind me, no birds, etc in the vicinity so assuming it was a large barbel jumped or a pike had swirled at or taken something … and just before leaving there was a weaving ‘ripple’ of about 2’-3’ in length travelling downstream about 10’ from the far bank, possibly a fish but suspect a snake due to the weaving pattern although couldn’t make out an obvious body or head protruding from the water – a case of not see one in around 50 years and then possibly see two within a few weeks?

Session 36 – Liz Has A First (A New PB) On The Avon….

Monday 17th July, Liz and myself set off at 1100 for a day’s fishing on a club stretch of the Warks Avon (KF-WG) – a lovely quiet stretch of river with a few boats going past from time to time – although with the school holidays approaching it may start getting busier soon – but saying that the depth of water from bank to bank tends to be a constant 12’-14’ so even if casting to the far bank the line lies well below the draft of the boats and so constant winding in and re-casting isn’t necessary even then although I only tend to cast a little over the halfway line at most and usually only about 1/3 the way….

A late start for us for a change after Liz had suggested we tried starting later, staying later – an option influenced I think from Liz’s reluctance to early rising! LOL. So, traffic on the motorway and other roads being light (albeit traffic lights were NOT kind) we arrived at the water around 1145, and at our chosen swims for the day and casting out around 1215/1230’ish.

I started off using a 12’ feeder rod with quiver tip, a 15g cage feeder loaded with crumb and wheat/maize/hemp (very little flow on this stretch of the Avon so no need for huge weights – a 1/4oz Arseley bomb would hold well), size 12 hook to 8lb braid on 8lb mono (Daiwa Hyper Sensor) and using worm/maggot as bait. Liz used the same rod/line but with a 1oz Dinsmore maggot feeder with various baits on her hook (maggot, corn, meat, etc) over the day.

I was first in action having an eel of around 8oz or so, possibly could have been up to 12oz. And later, having changed to bread bait on a size 8 hook I hooked into a bream of around 4lb – got it in and netted, but these days my left arm can’t raise even an empty dry 36” net on the end of an expanded (3m) Gardner Specialist Extending landing net handle never mind a wet net with 4lb bream inside … so I ‘enveloped’ the bream into the folds of the net and left the fish in the water at the water’s edge whilst I put down the rod and opened the reel’s bale arm to allow line to freely pass off if needed, picked up the net with both hands and lifted whereupon the bream flipped over the net arms into the water … still attached to the line BUT straight into a patch of water lilies where it snagged up the line … I could feel the fish at the end of the line but was unable to get it free and eventually the line gave way… and basically that was the end of my catching … plenty of nudges/tugs but I was unable to connect with any of them.

Liz did better than me … managing 2 small perch, lost 2 reasonable sized bream (one to a hook pull, one to the bankside lilies), had one bream of about 1lb 8oz (not weighed)..

2017-07-17 Liz - 1lb 8oz Bream 02

Liz’s 1lb 8oz Bream

…. and also caught her first ever eel … about 8oz-12oz so I’m recording it as a PB for her at 10oz… 🙂

And our session finished at 1930 …. tackling down and heading back up the motorway to our local hostelry for beers … mine being a couple of pints of Titanic’s Chocolate And Vanilla Stout (without sprinkles – but went back the next day and had the chocolate sprinkles on it :))…

Next session for me (on my own as Liz is at work) is planned for tomorrow (20th) on the Severn…..

Session 35 – Ruddy Perch….

Friday 14th July I headed off to a club’s mixed fishery (AA-B) in the hope of a good day with possibly a mixed catch of perch, tench, bream, barbel and chub – and possibly gudgeon, crucian carp – the only missing common species are king carp (common, mirror and leather carp) but they are in a separate pool that sits alongside this one…

I arrived at the pool at around 0630 and headed up to my selected area for the day – basically at the other end to my previous visit to this pool when I had 60+ perch in the day albeit not sizeable ones. As I was the only one there – a couple of others arrived sometime after midday but from where I was I couldn’t see new arrivals and only know as I’d had a walk back along the pool at that time and no-one else was there then but I passed them in the car as I was leaving at 1630 – I had a wander to look at the swims that I was initially interested in…

… but I finally settled on this swim…..

2017-07-14 - Peg 13

… as it allowed three distinct fishable areas…

  1. Just off the near bank lily patch to the left…
  2. Across to the bushes straight ahead on the island…
  3. Into the right-hand corner towards another lily patch

So, having decided my swim – which was also convenient for access to the car and I could have actually fished from inside the boot! – I fed each lightly with a couple of golf ball sized groundbait balls each plus a couple of small catapult pouches of wheat/hemp/maize mix and a couple of pouches full of maggots whilst I tackled up and prepped my mat, camera, etc before actually fishing.

Over the day the feed in each area was supplemented with small balls of groundbait, and catapulted maggots and particles from time to time. I also introduced small cubes of meat as I find meat is a good tench bait that they’ll accept when others are ignored…

So, I’d originally thought of feeder fishing, but on arrival, it being calm, I decided to floatfish at first and then possibly switch to feeder/ledger later in the day – but in the end the feeder rod remained in the bag all day.

The float rod was set up with 6lb main line, a 5AAA bodied antenna waggler float and size 16 hook attached to a 6” hooklength of 6lb braid connected to the main line via a quick change link… I use a short hooklength and link as, particularly when using worm baits, I often prefer to put on baits with a baiting needle and having a removable hook length facilitates that – and a short hook length also means that when fishing in the lift-method style that the bottom shot can be fixed above the link and thus allows the bait to be put on with a needle without having to remove the shot from the hooklength each time.

Normally, I’d have set up to fish ‘lift method’ but the lily patch to my left – although below the bottom of the picture shown – extended across in front of me with only a narrow clear path that pointed to the centre of the gap between the right hand lily patch and the near bank – so, other than when fishing that right hand gap, the line passed over the left hand patch and so the rod tip and line couldn’t be sunk properly, so I elected, as the weather at that time was calm, to shot up in a ‘fish on the drop’ style.

And so the day progressed …. and the wind picked up a little and was causing my setup to drift too much for my liking and so I switched the shotting slightly and changed over to ‘lift method’ – and it was actually OK. A bit more fiddly getting the float to set correctly and the line to sink due to the lily pads but not too bad … and it actually seemed to result in more bites….

Anyway, for the majority of the day (99%) I fished maggot with occasional tries with sweetcorn and meat but nothing was interested in the meat or corn at all – and the fish that did take an interest in maggot were small (< 6oz) perch and small (< 4oz) rudd … and gave me a final tally for the day of 60 perch and 4 rudd….

So, the expected other species never showed up again … not even a lost decent fish…

 Oh well, just means I’ll have to go back and try harder!! Probably put out two ledger rods with larger and more selective baits for the day next time… 🙂

As for plans – Monday 17th I’m off with Liz to the Warks Avon in search of bream and hoping that we both up our bream PBs – and Thursday will become the new Friday as today I was given a Friday appointment for my dentist’s check-up … if I can arrange with Liz to get access to the car that day I’m thinking of a day’s outing on the Severn…


I went online to a local auction the other day – been there in person before now but first time I’ve bid ‘over the wire’. Actually it was a ‘commission bid’ I made not a real time action one (although I did look in and watch the goings on during the day). Items I bid on were a box of reels, 6 of them, bidding £30 but getting them actually for £20 (£24.20 inc buyer’s fee and VAT on that – sale price itself VAT free). And I got a good lot…. all clean and in good working order!



A Crane Pro – 160 yds/6lb capacity

An Okuma Access A150 – quite a big reel, wording faded on spool but looks like 160yds/15lb?

A Shakespeare Aerial 2000 – 250yds/6lb

A Zebco SE4 – 240yds/8lb

A Taurus SL35 Match – 110yds/4lb

A Shimano DX3500M – 110yds/0.18mm = 5lb Hyper Sensor

Sessions 33 And 34 – The Golden Maggot Days

As mentioned in the previous posting the next outings I went on were part of the club’s Golden Maggot competition. Based on Matt Hayes’ ‘Rod Race’ TV series whereby time restricted challenges were set, our version consisted of 34 hours of fishing starting at 0800 on Saturday 8th and finishing at 1800 on Sunday 9th with the target of capturing as many different species of fish from the club’s waters – one pool being excepted as it was deemed too easy with many species resident and also all being very easy biting… How you fished was up to you (other than it was to be ‘fair angling’ eg no prodding under stones with a kiddies net for bullheads, etc) and when and where you fished (could fish a few hours on one day or stay out all 34 hours, just fish one water or move about fishing all the available waters or any combination of everything in between). In the event 11 of us took part in the competition and we were rewarded with a good warm and dry weekend.

So… as to my fishing…

Saturday 8th July

I met up with the others on the car park of the pub that was to be the starting and ending point of the weekend’s efforts where we received our ‘plaques’ that had to appear in all photos of the fish we wished to claim towards our species count to ensure they were caught during the period of the competition and also there was also a draw to determine order of setting off to our various chosen starting waters…

I set off for my intended pool – a destination I thought a fair few would make for as it contains a good range of species but in the end there were only 4 or 5 of of us to start although others arrived later and some of the originals left after an hour or so to head to other waters, etc. Anyway, as 3rd to arrive I was pleased to see the other two eyeing up swims other than the one I wanted and so I quickly moved my gear into place. I originally tackled up 2 ledger rods – one with maggotfeeder baited with maggots/worm on a size 12 hook, the other rod with a piece of pig’s liver on a size 6 in the hope of connecting with one of the eels that the water contains. And so I fished until around midday catching perch, perch and perch on the maggot/worm rod, some of a good size but still perch all the same – and the liver rod remained perfectly untouched. At this point, I took the maggot/worm rod out of play and replaced it with a float rod with size 16 hook. The ‘liver’ rod also had a bait change and over the rest of the session I tried meat and bread … occasional nudges/knocks but nothing was hooked. The float rod did account for a rudd however when fished shallow to take my species count up to two….but it seemed that up-in-the-water there were rudd, on-the-bottom there were perch and in between rudd and perch… but no other species, at least taking maggot/worm. For the last 90 minutes of my session I did change from maggot/worm to sweetcorn on the hook and did get takes I was unable to connect and so when I packed up for the day at 1530 (felt time would be better spent getting home, sorting tackle ready for the next day’s planned river trip than flogging a dead donkey as it felt…) I had only clocked two species of the six or so species that I’d been reasonably expectant of…


Sunday 9th July

Leaving the house at a little before 0700 I headed off to a member’s only stretch on the River Severn – I’d not been there before (well, not to fish but had been there in Dec of last year when helping a recovering-from-illness member to their swim in a Fur’n’Feather competition and at that time it was still twilight hours and so couldn’t discern much) so had to rely on the Sat Nav to get there – and it did a grand job. So walked I the tackle up the river from the car park and the first swim I came to I ended fishing for the day.

2017-07-09 Golden Maggot - Hampton Loade

Although out of sight on the photo to the right (upstream) was a large bush sticking out about 10’ into the river and just downstream a large tree was collapsed into the water – and so these features created a slow, almost stationary, eddy on the nearside where I thought I may possibly contact some of the smaller species (minnow, bullhead, etc) and possibly roach, bleak and dace along the outer edge where it met the main flow. So initial starting set up was a 12’ feeder rod (used with an open ended feeder loaded with coarsely ground bread, particles and dead maggots) baited with maggot on a size 16 hook in the inner slow area and a 2lb TC 12’ barbel rod with 3/4oz lead which was used to ledger meat and bread on a size 6 hook out in the main flow. I had knocks on both rods for the first 30-45 minutes but nothing that I could connect and then for about 2 hours both rods just went completely without any form of action at all. But then I started getting knocks again on both rods and managed to pull out a small chub on the feeder rod. However, around midday I had a mishap – the feeder rod, when cast out, the line caught on the reel and the feeder sailed out with the line broken… so, at this point, I decided not to re-tackle it but to devote my attention completely to the barbel rod. Bait was changed to 3 large dendro worms and bites ensued but, despite touch ledgering even, nothing that resulted in a fish – and that was how it remained until 1515 when I decided I needed to get to the check-in (a pub remember! At this point I was hot and thirsty… LOL) more than catch another fish.. and boy, did that pint of Enville Old Porter (a fine ale at any time!) taste like liquid nectar!

2017-07-09 Golden Maggot - Chub

And so the outcome …. well, I was best supporting angler with my 3 species … holding the rest of the competitors up from the bottom of the list! First place was taken with 13 species, two tied for second place with 12, and 4th was 11. Others clocked in with 10, 6 and 5 … and a couple failed to finish having had to withdraw due to illness … so I wasn’t technically last but very morally so.. 🙂

Anyway, it was an enjoyable weekend spent out in the countryside in good weather so can’t complain – and already decided where I went wrong big time and already determining what I’ll look at to be doing in next year’s outing.

Might have a new experience due soon too – a floatfishing only match on the River Severn – and I don’t recall ever float fishing a river at all in my 60 years as an angler so I may need to get some practice in!

In the mean time I’m going to be out again on Friday per usual although undecided pool or river, never mind where … and on Monday its a trip out to the Warks Avon with Liz in order to try to push our bream PBs – Liz’s is currently 2lb 0oz and mine is 5lb 4oz and that has stood since the 1978/79 season! Time to move on up!!

Session 32 – PBs, Glass Ceiling Breached, Snakes .. And Lost Fish

Monday, 3rd July, saw Liz and myself heading off for a tench session at a club’s pool (KFAC-DBP) … a 19 acre estate lake which contains tench, perch, roach, rudd, eels and pike … no bream or any kind of carp though. It had been a while my last outing – two weeks or so – due to getting old (neck paining and creaking) and also due to a family bereavement, the loss of an aunt to cancer….

Anyway, back to the tale of the day…

It was to be our first proper tench session of the season and the chosen pool was a prime tench water and so we set off full of optimism for the day leaving the house at 0700, and arriving at the site’s car park at around 0730 to find three other cars already there… however, it seemed that the occupants of two of those cars had decided to fish one of the other pools that are on the estate (carp pools) as it appeared that there was actually only one angler on our pool – but as Sod’s Law dictates he was in the swim we had been intending to fish .. but clouds and linings as that swim was a far way round the pool but to me the second best swim is the nearest and so we plonked down there for the day.

We both tackled up with our two 11’ 1.75lb TC ledger rods with 8lb main line – Liz used maggot feeders on both her rods with maggot, sweetcorn, etc as baits, myself I catapulted out a groundbait (crumb, particles, dead maggots, etc) carpet before tackling up and then during the day fired out 5-6 golf sized balls of the same every 30 minutes or so and then fished standard 1/2oz bombs on sliding link swivels. Baits used over the day were bread, maggot, paste, meat and maize.

Over the day we only caught one tench each and a number of small (3”-4”) rudd – in fact the rudd were becoming a nuisance that I stopped using maggot and changed to 2 pieces of maize on that particular rod which stopped the rudd ‘problem’…. HOWEVER, both our tench were new PBs! And both were 4lb 4oz and captured within 15 minutes of each other – mine on bread on a size 6 hook, Liz’s on sweetcorn on a size 12. And – I broke a ‘glass ceiling’ that I’d been under for the past 4 years or so of my PB being 4lb 1oz despite catching numerous 4lb 0oz tench and at least one of 4lb 1oz each year! So now Liz and I are level on PB tench – our next tench target – to outdo the others! LOL!

And despite only landing one tench each we did have several more takes missed on the strike and, in fact, we hooked into other good fish but lost them. Liz lost one when it buried into the bottom weed and did the ‘hook release’ (though chub generally get the kudos for being masters of this operation I find tench are even more adept at it!) and we both lost fish due to the lines being ‘cut’ in my opinion… Not intentionally cut by a fellow angler or other human source I stress but seemingly by swan mussel shells lying on the bottom of the pool as these have razor sharp edges that can slice a line easily. Symptoms – no pressure on line, barely taut most times, when line gives and the end of the recovered line shows no wrinkling or other deformation, etc that would be expected when breaking at its elastic limit but generally a clean edge as per cutting with a sharp knife or with scissors…. I’ve had this happen over several years at this pool even to the point of using a 12lb braid hook link on a 8lb mono line and still the braid was clean cut! Possibly, could be due to pike attacking the feeder/lead as the pool contains a large head of ‘jacks’ and I’d always thought that pike teeth were like needles made for purely gripping rather than cutting but have now learned that the teeth are pyramidal in section and the angles are actually razor sharp…. However, the number of ‘happenings’ tends to lead me to the shell cause really…. and I have a plan to try to alleviate the loss of fish if so… 🙂

We packed in fishing at 1630 and by 1730 we were well on our way to our local hostelry for a welcome pint (or two) before heading home. Interesting topic of conversation came up whilst there – was I going to have my ‘wake’ there!!? The decision was ‘yes, OK but I won’t be able to make it personally as I’ll be having a meeting with some flames at the time’…. So my post-crem do will be at the Jolly Crispin, Upper Gornal … and half my ashes will fertilise a new willow tree at a pool of one of my clubs and the other half a new willow at another :). Things we talk about, eh??

Oh yeah, and at the pool we had a snake swim along in front of us and then come ashore and sliver into a bankside hole under some tree roots… only second snake in the wild I’d seen… although I’ve handled snakes at the local zoo on an ‘event’ there. Think it was a grass snake, quite numerous there it seems, but not too sure as there are also adders and smooth snakes known to be in the area.

Right, next outing – a two day (34 hour) club competition – called the Golden Maggot after a TV show of the 50s/60’s I believe – and similar in style to the Matt Hayes’ ‘Rod Race’ TV series whereby a task is set to be accomplished with a given time limit. In our version, the task is to catch as many different species of fish, solely from the club’s own waters (one pool is excepted as classed as ‘too easy’ but all the other club’s river, pool and canal waters are allowed), in the 34 hours that lie between 0800 on Saturday 8th July until 1800 hours on Sunday 9th. We meet at 0730 on the Saturday at the starting point (pub car park!) where we receive a card/plaque that has to appear in all the photos that are used to record the claimed species – 0800 off on the road … fish, as you like (eg fish all 34 hours, fish a few hours, go home, return next day, or even just fish one day for an hour)… 1600-1800 Sunday, return to starting point with photos to claim your species… OK, so you’ve got until 1800 on Sunday to lay your claim (or even later but every 15 mins or part of that you’re late you get one of your species deducted from your count) but in case of a draw in numbers of species claimed then the first back to claim gets priority hence the check-in starting at 1600. And, as they say, size doesn’t matter in this comp….  🙂