Session 62 – REALLY The Last Trip Of 2017 – Pike Competition

OK … so the previous post said that that would be my final trip of 2017 – but I didn’t take into account an annual pike competition that was to run on Sunday 31st December….

An informal competition – basically turn up any time on the day, fish as long as you want, by any legal means as you want, on any of the club’s three waters that are on the site, report your best fish of the day via the club’s Facebook page – all on trust, no witnesses needed – and best pike grants you a trophy (with a PERCH on the pedestal!) to hold for the following year…

OK … so I turned up at 0730 – in the dark, but when I got to the water there was already another angler there! Don’t know if he had as much trouble as me getting from the car park to the water but … firstly there is a path that leads off the main track to the right and is a bit of a short cut to the area I intended to fish … but could I find it? NO!! Initially I put that down to the dark but there was another reason I’ll come to presently. Anyway, in  the end I had to walk the length of the main track down to the water and then turn right and walk 150-250 yards to where the smaller track comes down to the gate – so basically another 300 yards or so of extra walking. Then it was good until 10 yards from my intended place of fishing when I tripped over a protruding stump of a sawn down bush and went face down in the mud … and with a heavy rucksack on my back along with the rod quiver, etc I couldn’t get up without unfastening and untangling those…. then the swim wasn’t the best with a steep slope and was extremely muddy and slippery… which meant a lack of comfort due to the care needed to avoid tripping/slipping/falling into the water… then whilst fishing I discovered the rod I was using wasn’t the one I thought I’d taken although no big deal – I’d taken Liz’s Ron Thompson EVO2 Pike (11’, 2.75lb TC) rod instead of my intended Ron Thompson Bass (12’, 3lb TC) one but as I say all was fine regarding that to all intents and purposes….

OK – so I fished from about 0800 until 1230 – starting with a sprat ‘Xmas Tree’ (basically, a standard 2 treble hook snap tackle baited with 5-6 sprats, generally one per hook point) on a float rig in around 12’ of water …. and later switched to single sardine bait (fish oil injected) on the same rig – both bait types fished at various depths from bottom to around 4’ deep and at various distances and drifted. I also tried a 10g blade spinner for a few casts on my spinning rod – but when, on a cast, the line drifted over a bush and became tangled and I lost the lure on a break off I didn’t retackle that rod…. Total result … not one sniff of a pike all session….

So, 1230, becoming cold and disillusioned I decided to tackle down and head for home … the tackling down was surprisingly uneventful … but the walk to the car was fun … NOT! … I walked to the pool end of the small path that I’d failed to locate on my arrival …. walked up 95% of it almost to the junction with the main path … and was met by a mound/maze/tangle of trees on the path that appeared to consist of wind snapped trees/boughs/trunks accompanied by sawn down ones – presumably the trees were unsafe evidenced by the rotten broken parts from wind damage and thus the National Trust had sawn down the remaining suspect parts … and presumably will be removing them at some stage… SO … that was why I couldn’t find the path earlier! However, that didn’t help at that moment as I now had two choices of action (1) turn around, go back down to the pool, walk to the start of the main track and head along there or, as I did as I was only 20 yards from the main track at that point, attempt to battle through the tree carnage like an Amazon explorer … BTW, going simply ‘going around’ the debris was not an option as all is very wild and woolly with brambles, other fallen branches, etc off the pathways… SO … there I was ducking and diving, freeing my tackle and bags as they became entangled and doing reasonably well UNTIL I tripped …. and again I couldn’t rise with the rucksack and other stuff holding me down … so rolling around to try to free myself of the tackle I rolled onto a branch that had a short stump of a twig sticking out – and it felt like a 6” nail going into my back (although no injury was actually caused) … and eventually, after around 10-15 minutes of hacking, twisting, rolling, pulling I arrived onto the safety of the main track … and 100 yards later I was back in the car and heading home for a much looked forward to soak in a bath of Radox with a large mug of hot chocolate to hand ….

SO…. that’s it for 2017 …. and until Tuesday 2nd January 2018 when, weather permitting, I’ll be off piking again at a water of one of my other clubs – and I’ll also be taking my first tentative steps in pole fishing as I’ll be trying to catch some livebait as I give my pole its first outing. And Friday 5th – possibly some lure fishing on a club stretch of the Shropshire Union canal….


Tuesday’s (2nd Jan 2018) has been postponed – weather forecast to be terrible with rain and high winds – so I’ve been sorting my gear for Friday’s lure trip on the canal…..

Session 61 – Last Trip Of 2017 – Played Misty For Me – And Blanked Me Out…

Friday 22nd December saw me taking advantage of the fact that I was well up with Christmas chores – and that Liz was on a later than usual shift at work meaning that she wouldn’t need the car until around 1430.

So, at 0800, I headed off to a part of the local Staffs-Worcs Canal at Stourton/Stewponey – a stretch which has sections that are Birmingham AA controlled section and Kinver Freeliners controlled … and it also runs parallel to a BAA controlled stretch of the Worcester Stour…. and I made use of all 3!

It was a very misty morning from start to finish…. but was very mild and calm … and that made for an enjoyable day.

My first port of call was on the BAA section – at the junction of the Staffie with the Stourbridge Canal …. and I float fished here with a single sprat on a tandem pair of size 2 single hooks for around 30 minutes… and after having had no interest taken in the bait I switched to the River Stour (Worcs) which was 20 yards behind me, again fishing for around 20 minutes ‘trotting’ the bait for about 50 yards around a sharp bend … again, no interest was taken in the bait. So I switched back to the canal and walked back up to the end of the BAA section/start of the Kinver Freeliners and fished several spots along the KF section for 15-30 minutes at a time … and I tried adding 1-2 extra sprats to the offered bait to form a mini-‘Xmas Tree’ or shoal which I have found effective at times when single baits have been ignored … but all to no avail … and I packed in at just after 1130 to allow time to return home and empty the tackle from the car before Liz needed to set off for work.

So, a blank for the last session of 2017 … but I was glad to get back out on the water after several weeks away – having last fished on 16th November.

The Staffie has not been a major producer of pike for me anyway – I think I’ve only ever had one from there (plus one escapee) – both same swim, different days – and that was a stretch several miles the other side of Wolverhampton – and I’ve had a fair few pike seeking sessions on there. For me, the Shropshire Union is a far better ‘pike’ canal but I didn’t really have the available time to travel that far for this session. And, I find lures/wobbled baits to far outfish floatfished or ledgered deadbaits in any case even on the Shroppie – and a mate of mine perch fishes with lures on the Staffie and he reports getting annoyed by marauding pike almost every time he goes! But, at the end of the day, I fancied bait fishing for this session and, for me, doing what I want to do regardless of results is the most important and satisfying – to me, the end in no way justifies the means!

I Have A Gap In My Diary Appear – So I SHALL Go Fishing Before The New Year!!!

Yes … due to the combination of *almost* being ready for Christmas and Liz starting her work shift later than usual and thus the car being free for a while, it appears that I have a free slot tomorrow (Friday 22nd Dec) when I’ll be able to wet a line for a few hours…

I’m aiming to head to the local Staffs-Worcs canal (the exact part of which is yet to be decided) with my canal pike rod (actually a Ron Thompson 12′ 3lb TC, bass rod) and primarily float fish sprats (single hook through dorsal muscle) on the drift but also the rod will be set up so that I can remove the float and the slotted weight, clip on a heavier lead and change the wire trace to suit a whole or half sardine ledgered hard on the bottom or popped-up with the addition of balsa sticks into the bait while I rest with a cuppa. I’m hoping that there’ll be a reasonable drag on the canal so the float and bait will travel along naturally and I’ll just walk alongside it – if not, then it’ll be 10-20 minutes per spot and then move on down to next one.

I’ve already loaded the bits’n’bobs of tackle I’ll need into my bag – just need to tackle up the rod now to as I how I want it – and sort some baits out of the freezer – and make a flask in the morning….

So watch this space!!! 🙂