Two Weeks Without Fishing…

Today is Thursday 30th November and is almost two weeks since my last waterside outing – the club’s Fur’n’Feather match which actually seems to have been months ago on the 18th.

It’s not been an intentional break – and seems to happen around this time every year anyway with my fishing being somewhat curtailed in November and December due to need to prepare for the approaching Christmas plus, being diabetic, I get called into the doctor’s for blood sampling, etc pre-annual diabetic MOT meeting. Also weather and conditions usually aren’t very enticing – cold, wet and windy with leaves floating or lying on the bottom of still waters or being washed down by the current in rivers or on the canals just one boat passing churns up the decaying vegetation and prevents fishing for hours on end due to the detriment attaching to the line…

And this year I’ve also had several doctor/dentist visits in the past month about a lump thats appeared on my inner upper lip – and I’ve another visit to the hospital on Tuesday 5th December for treatment … and this week I’ve had wisdom tooth trouble that the hospital consultant is going to also deal with by extraction on my visit….

Anyway, still hoping to get out at least a couple of times before Christmas – but first I’ve got to sort my tackle out which is still lying in the garage where I dropped it on return from the match. And as its loaded with river gear I need to swap everything over to the pool/pike/canal stuff once I’ve made a decision where …

The two poles I put on eBay sold OK – but only recovered half the money they originally cost but at least got something. The new 8 metre pole arrived OK – had a bit of a problem with getting the bung out as it was fitted about 6” up the section with no easy way to to able to attach to it for elastic replacement but eventually it was managed and I’ve since added a length of 50lb nylon to it that dangles freely out of the end of the pole section by a couple of inches and so allows easy bung withdrawal. And I’ve added one of those universal end kit sets (and various elastics, inner and tip bungs, connectors, etc) to my Santa list 🙂 The pole is currently fitted with a number 8 solid elastic and I plan to replace that with an 8-12 hollow elastic (for canal perch and chub) and fit a 12-16 hollow elastic to the extra end kit (for pool fishing where carp exist). I’ll probably also prepare a lighter elastic (4-8) on a bung so that I can take out and replace the 8-12 elastic for lighter fishing (eg livebait catching) as need be – or possibly get another top kit and pre-fit in that. I’ll have to see how it all works – and if I get on with it! And I still need to sort out various end rigs for what I’ve already got and what I need to do with it… 🙂

Well, hopefully I’ll get back with a posting or two on here before Christmas but if not ….

MERRY CHRISTMAS – AND TIGHT LINES, BLUE SKIES, STILL WATERS, AND MANY BENT STICKS AND SINGING STRINGS FOR YOU ALL IN THE NEW YEAR!!!!

Session 60 – Not At All Well Matched!

On Saturday 18th November I fished a club Fur & Feather competition on one of my clubs’ waters, the River Severn at Hampton Loade. I fished peg 13 which was pegged at the start of the ‘members only’ section of the stretch and which lies downstream of the 2 meadows that day tickets are available for…. but the entire water was closed to non-competitors for the day. Fishing was to be from 0900-1430.

The weather was mild but it also drizzled with unforecast rain for most of the day – and, in fact, I packed up early due to the dampening due to the rain having a cooling factor and the onset of an headache too – plus the fact that after three and a half hours of the five and a half hour match I’d had just one fish – a dace of about 2oz – although I was constantly getting small plucks and sucked maggots on my maggot feedered rod. I also fed bread mash throughout the session and tried bread flake and worm as bait.

Seemingly, I had a good (theoretically) swim – one that had been newly created fairly recently by cutting back vegetation. However, the actual swim wasn’t ideal from a ‘fishing from’ point ….. a small wooden platform that just about accommodated my seat but access to bags, etc meant I had to leave seat and climb ‘steps’ cut into the bank and similarly due to the height above the water I’d have had to climb down ‘steps’ to net sizeable fish and to place in the keepnet – and due to the drizzle these steps were very slippery with mud. And my low chair (actual seat part is <=6” from the ground), tends to tilt forwards on to the front legs when rising from it … and as my legs overhung the platform that tilt threatened to throw me into the water… so leaving seat was subject to a set of contortions that the human body was not designed for..  So I never really settled down in my spot and with the oncoming headache that was enough to send me home early.

Anyway, the winning weight was 9-14 off the end peg (18), boosted by a 5lb+ chub landed with 15 minutes to go, 2nd was 7-15 taken from peg 14 (yep, next peg down from me), with third being 5-01 off peg 9 … section 1-10 was won with 1-15, with 11-18 being won 2-10 from peg 12 (yep, the next peg up from me!).

Oh well, that was yet another foray into match fishing … my ‘once-a-year’ thing …. don’t know why I keep doing it to be honest … just never get settled and keep looking around and thinking ‘that’s a nice looking swim over there, wish I was there…’ or ‘bet the pike are having it at XXX’…. Match fishing for me isn’t in keeping really, well, actually at all, with what I view as the important aspects of ‘fishing’

And no fishing tomorrow (Monday 20th November) either – need to sort/dry tackle and weather is not looking that good – plus some Christmas shopping to be done with Liz so an opportune time to do so rather than have to do it when its better fishing weather. So I’m looking at fishing on Friday 24th next – and which is actually my birthday too!! So maybe the gods will look kindly on me for that day!

UPDATED:
I forgot – Thursday 23rd, Liz and I are off to the Dudley Winter Ales Festival on the night – and usually several ales they have on are over 10% ABV. Which means that with my birthday the following day (Friday 24th), even if I’m sober on the day, that my blood alcohol will be way over the driving limit…. so looks like the Friday session will not be undertaken…. and so Monday 27th will be the next outing.

Harking back to my ‘pole’, well poles its become as I’ve bought an 8 metre whip too. However, I’ve since decided that they are not suitable for the tasks ahead – originally  I was thinking of using just to catch livebait for my piking but now I’ve had added extra  thoughts as to the use – probably use on the canal from time to time. So I’ve just put both current poles up for sale on eBay at less than half what I paid … and ordered a new 8m pole that should meet my requirements fully, possibly with an additional purchase of a spare universal top kit set so that I can have 2 top kits with eg size 8 elastic and 12 or 14 elastic for heavier use..

 

Session 59 – Perch, Carp And Bits

On Monday 13th November, at 0730 Liz and I headed to a club pool (KF-VV) for a session of ‘general’ coarse fishing arriving at around 0815 on a quite frosty white morning. On leaving the house the car’s thermometer was registering -1.0’C and enroute it dropped to -2.5’C through the countryside but by arrival at the pool it had risen to +1.0’C. However, there was barely a breeze and the water was mirror flat all day long so it actually felt quite mild without any wind chill … and on leaving the water at 1530 the car’s thermometer had risen to 6.5’C…

The water temps themselves were quite low – the lowest yet of this autumn/winter by a good 3’C – lying between 6.0’C-6.3’C. Possibly the pool is more susceptible than most to temperature changes in that it lies on a plateau that overlooks the Severn valley and thus with the height and being open to the elements responses to changing air temps, etc happen far quicker…..

And Liz and I had the pool to ourselves all day long – ‘millionaire fishing’ as we call it…

We decided to fish an area of the pool that is known as ‘chub alley’ – it has two swims along one side of a small peninsula that face another peninsula with overhanging bushes separated by about 10 yards of water between. And the overhanging bushes create a chub ‘magnet’ area… anyway, I chose the swim at the start of the peninsula and Liz took up the end peg….

Myself, I chose to floatfish maggot and worm on a single rod (6lb line, size 16 hook) concentrating in the corner where the far end of the bridge met the far bank, whilst Liz elected to fish two rods (8lb line, size 12/16 hooks) with cage feeders loaded with crumb, meat and maggots with meat on one line, maggots on the other.

I had a good day catching a fair few ‘bits’ (small roach, perch and gudgeon) along with common carp of 2lb 10 oz along with a beautiful looking one of 4lb 14oz – and also my best fish of the day, a 2lb 4oz perch in pristine condition. This was my second best ever perch, my PB being 2lb 8oz. I also had 2 or 3 hook pulls on good fish too when trying to prevent them gaining the sanctuary of the far bank vegetation.

However, Liz didn’t fare so well… she was having takes especially on the meat (small punched cylinders of Bacon Grill) but either the bait was being dropped or the takes missed on the strike … and only had a few silvers and small perch to around 4oz-6oz.

So come 1500 we decided to call it a day and head to our local hostelry for a closing beverage before heading back home…

WATER TEMPS

Min:                  6.0’C
Max:                 6.3’C
Average:          6.2’C

WATER TEMP TRENDS

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Session 58 – Cold And Blank Pike Day

On Friday 10th November, I headed off to Pike Water 17 at the usual time – but actually arrived there later than usual due to (a) a traffic accident at a set of traffic lights – a Porsche, I think, with a crumpled front end was blocking the entire junction and the police were in attendance along with a low loader which was in the process of hooking up the car and winching up on to the trailer and thus had a 10 minute wait until the road was clear and then (b) I had to call in to feed the cats of a friend who had gone away for the weekend – and which also meant I wasn’t travelling my usual route either. Anyway, by the time I was at the pool and tackled up ready for first cast was around 0845.

A quite a cool morning – and day, in fact, as it got cooler as time went on as I was sitting on a tree lined bank and once the sun moved past from directly in front of me I lost what little warmth there was from that. And it was also quite a breezy day, a cold breeze which also had quite a chilling effect … AND I’d left my fleece beanie hat, my snood and my fleece gloves at home … so it was quite an uncomfortable day in all … and hence one factor in why I packed in early at around 1415, the other being the lack of pike!

OK… so I started, as usual on my recent pike trips, fishing with maggot on the float for some live bait. The poles I’ve ordered, yes…poles in the plural, as I originally ordered a 6m elasticated pole but now I’ve also an 8m whip on the way too…. haven’t yet arrived – should be today as I write (Sat 11th) or Monday so I had to revert to the trusty rod’n’reel. However, I used a different set up to the usual one and swapped my 6lb line rigged rod for my lighter canal setup – 3lb line, size 18 hook, with a loaded crystal waggler that took 2 No 4 + 1 No 6 shot to cock. I think it worked slightly better and I’d 10 baits in the bucket by 1030 when I snagged a tree and had to pull to break and thus rather than re-tackle up I put out the 2 pre-tackled pike rods both with live baits at differing depths and swung out to different areas – I say swung out as I’ve yet to have a pike – even lure fishing – more than 2 rod lengths out from the bank – and they usually with 6-10 feet of the shore line – however, saying that I do fish waters that are 3+’ deep even at the water’s edge – obviously things would be different on waters were the water is only 6” deep 10 yards out!

So, by 1330, I’d not had a touch on the pike rods and decided in the interests of getting a bit warmer to re-tackle the maggot rod and fish that, which I did catching a few more silver ‘sprats’ before deciding at 1430 to call it a day and heading home to a hot bath…

Planning on Monday, 13th, to give the pike a day off and head to a mixed pool, with Liz, for whatever comes along … and back to the pike on Friday 17th….

WATER TEMPS

Min:               9.0’C
Max:              9.3’C
Average:       9.2’C

WATER TEMP TRENDS

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Session 57 – A Short Lure Session …

On Monday 6th November, at a little after 0700, I was headed off to Pike Water 3 for a short session with the lures. Lure/roving sessions for me generally do tend to be short – usually around 2 hours, and very rarely reach 4 hours, long. Not that that is by choice – for me I feel a ‘normal’ session is around 6 hours and normally I wouldn’t even consider going out for a lesser time – when the time spent prepping/loading tackle and baits and the travel time to/from the venue exceed the time on the bank then its a no-go for me. However, if I want to lure fish I ‘bite the bullet’ – and prep time for lure fishing is far less (reserved rucksack with lures/traces/etc permanently at hand) as I just need to make a flask, put in a few odds’n’ends (eg camera, forceps, etc)… but more damningly the back can’t stand up to lengthy lure sessions and after about 2 hours the ‘ache’ sets in. I’m perfectly fine with the walking and carrying the tackles no problem… its the holding of the rod which is unbalancing and the twisting and turning associated with casting and retrieving that puts a strain on my lower back. I think I may be having to have a look into acquiring corsets…. age strikes all!

Anyway, as I left the house the car thermometer was registering an external air temp of 1.5’C which was confirmed by the heavy frost on the grass – later it dipped to 0.0’C but for about a ½ mile stretch it registered 2.0’C but then returned to 0.0’C. I don’t know why that sudden rise/drop occurred, it was in the middle of the countryside travelling past frost-ridden fields…

And so, by 0800 I had arrived on the car park and had walked to my starting point of the day….

 …., and as the 2 rods I took to use were carried wrapped in a couple of quick-release straps and pre-tackled with reels, lines and spinning traces, it took only a couple more minutes to get my lures out of the lure box and be ready to make my first casts. One rod (30g-80g rated, 3 metre) was fitted with 30lb braid and used in conjunction with a Zebco twin-bladed, luminous, bar spinner….

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… and the other (40g-100g rated, 8’6”) was used with 20lb mono in conjunction with a black/bright green shad body on a 7g jig head – reason for the mono on this rod is that it is used as a multi-purpose rod when generally coarse fishing – eg it acts as my spomb/spod rod and as the rod for launching my sonar devices and underwater cameras – and I have found that expensive items like those can be easily lost if braid (even 60lb) is used if for some reason the line snags on the cast as braid has no stretch to act as a cushion to sudden shocks like that and sudden shocks can easily snap the braid, whereas 20lb mono has stretch and this cushions any shock and its rare, if at all, that any breakage occurs even eg with a full spomb at full belt out and having forgotten to take the bale arm off… as I have often done LOL!

So, the first cast was probably made around 0815 … and the first fish caught … on the Zebco spinner was a small jack of 3lb 3oz…. and about half an hour later, in the next swim, I had another small jack of 2lb 10oz on the shad…

But thereafter, despite changes of lures and visiting other swims nothing else showed any interest and so at around 1130, and with aching back, I called it a day and headed back to the car….

CHANGE TO PLANS:

I did say that I was intending to river fish for pike on Friday but I’ve now decided to go back to last Friday’s water. Partially due to the Severn not being in good condition – seems a lot of rain has fallen in North Wales as the level was rising rapidly yesterday with murky and cold water anyway – so that left only the Avon as a choice. BUT the main reason is that I’ve, despite years of belittling pole anglers, etc, now bought a pole (expected to arrive later in the week). It won’t be an item that will be used greatly though (although one never knows! Thinking of perch jigging with it on the canals already!) as I’ve specifically bought it for the catching of small silvers for live bait purposes. I’ve been missing too many ‘fine’ bites on my rod’n’reel kit and its been taking me far longer to get sufficient bait than I’d like. Hence the pole…. and why the change of venue … to give me chance to try it out – and to learn a few of the nuances of pole fishing – and to that end I’ve been watching YouTube videos too 🙂

The pole is not a ‘specialist’ item – 6 metres, pre-elasticated, and comes with 2 end rigs ready to go…. and all for the princely sum of £19.99! Here it is: 6 metre pole

So next blog, undoubtedly, there will be some tales of my pole trials and tribulations!

WATER TEMPS

None taken – when roving it’s too much hassle to keep putting in the probe and removing it again to move on… and usually gets forgotten after a few moves and lost anyway!

Session 56 – More Piking …

On Friday 3rd November, in a change of plan to my previous thoughts of visiting the canal, I headed off instead to Pike Water 24. The change was brought about by, having had a busy week, I hadn’t had chance to sort out the tackle required for the canal which is lighter and more manageable, due to it being a roving day, than when I fish the pools, etc and am therefore more static and take more gear, bigger vacuum flasks, etc. Anyway, the tackle needed for PW24 was virtually that which I had used on the previous session and thus already 99% packed, just baits and food/drink to be added – and as a longer walk I also loaded up the barrow….

So, I left the house at a little after 0700 with the car thermometer registering 10’C and I was making my first cast of the day at around 0830 from my selected peg (12)…

As per my last previous trips out the plan was to fish with maggot for small silvers for use as livebait for the first couple of hours and then to switch to the pike…

So, by 1100 I’d had about 10 small silvers of up to around 2oz in my bucket – quite uneventful otherwise with no larger fish being attracted.

At this point I wound in the maggot rod for the day and set up my 2 pike rods, both identically tackled – 40lb braid mainline, 30lb wire trace with a single size 2 hook with squeezed barb located 3” from the trace’s end (used to lip hook bait) and terminated in a homemade double hook of a size 12 barbed whipped to the back of a size 2 with squeezed barb, the size 12 being hooked into the root of the dorsal fin to hold the hook and the size 2 as the ‘catcher’. Indication and setting of depth to be fished at was by a small pencil float, and the weighting and bait’s allowed degree of movement was set by a sliding Grey’s 10g quick change weight.

One rod was fished close to the bank alongside the overhanging bushes on either side of me. The other rod was initially cast further out over the maggot fed area where I’d been fishing for the bait – maggots attract silvers, silvers attract pike being the idea… and at 1215 the float on this rod did a ‘dance’ and then slid under and away … a tightening of the line and strike … and fish on!

Not a major fish – but a nicely conditioned 3lb 10oz jack…

2017-11-03 Steve - 3lb 10oz Pike 01

3lb 10oz Pike

And…. I got toothed again! Just a very minor scratch, barely visible, but did it bleed? Yep! Due to the anti-coagulant that coats the teeth of pike it takes even the merest scratch a while to heal over – and although I had to search for the actual puncture the amount of blood I was spreading around was quite noticeable. However, I was a bit better prepared this time as Liz had bought me a box of plaster to put in my bag – and I’ve since also ordered a couple of styptic pencils…

Anyway, back to the fishing – but nothing more to report really as I had not another touch all session despite ringing changes in depths and areas fished and so it was 1515 when I decided to up sticks and head back home…

BUT then ‘tragedy’ struck! Tidying up, I’d some cold coffee left in the cup of my flask so I swung the cup to dispose of the contents, cup slipped from my hand, followed splash-gurgle as it hit the pool and sank… OK it was only about 12” out but on the water, 12” from the bank its 4’+ deep, murky and rock strewn so sweeping the landing net wasn’t much use. I did have the notion of trying to do some ‘magnetic fishing’ on my next visit to the water but tests on Liz’s identical flask cup indicated no magnetic attraction at all – despite my magnet having originated in a piece of laboratory equipment (NMR – nuclear mass resonance) and things that it attracts you have trouble unattaching again – yes, its strong! So, a bit disappointed – the flask only comes with one cup (Thermos 1.2 litre ‘King’ stainless steel – see http://www.argos.co.uk/product/9270659) and are not cheap – around £25 – but are excellent flasks and well worth it. Cheapo flask off eBay, put in boiling water on a hot summer’s day – 6 hours later its just tepid – but these Thermos flasks, if you put in boiling water then 24 hours later, even on a sub-zero winter’s day, its barely any cooler – you’d definitely still need to sip your drink! Recommended item! HOWEVER… a solution has surfaced to the lost cup problem … Thermos can supply replacement/spares for their products and the cup I need is available … so its now been ordered (£5.95) … and should arrive early next week….

Plans for next week: Monday 6th, off to a club water with the lures for the day and Friday 10th possibly some river piking on the Severn or Warks Avon…

WATER TEMPS

Min:                 10.8’C
Max:                11.2’C
Average:         11.0’C

WATER TEMP TRENDS

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