Session 9 – 2018 – There And Back Again …. In Superfast Time.

Thursday 22nd 2018 was my latest outing as the planned Monday trip was aborted before we even left the house due to persistent heavy drizzle – and would have been touch and go anyway as there had been had light drizzle overnight and the pool lies at the bottom of the slope and the area get quite boggy easily – and even the previous trip without rain, etc was a bit of a muddy experience.

Anyway, set off on my own this morning at 0700, arriving at my chosen pool for the day (AA-GH) around 0730 .,.. put the thermometer in the water to stabilise, fed the swim, and started to tackle up …. then stomach problems arose that necessitated a rapid retreat with the tackle thrown willy-nilly in the car … and the race home started … and arrived back at 0830….

So, that was my session for the day – and it’s looking like the next chance to get out will be two weeks hence as the weather forecast is saying that for at least the next 10 days from tonight the night time air temps are going to drop to minus 2’C or even lower and daytime temps will only be reaching a maximum of plus 3’C – so looks likely that all the pools will be frozen over within a day or two and like remain like that for the rest of the fortnight…

I did get the water temp today though – the one positive of the day… and it was 4.5’C … around a degree warmer than the past few readings. But as I say looks like it’ll be dipping back down soon…

WATER TEMPS:ScreenHunter 15

Session 8 – 2018 – Seamless Continuation..

Thursday 15th February saw me head to Pike Water 1 in search of …. errrr …. pike, of course!

The day was a little mixed weatherwise – sunny spells with a chilly breeze meant that when the skies were clear and the breeze dropped it was quite mild… and when the breeze picked up and the skies clouded over blocking out the sun it got real bone chilling despite the thermals and padded dungarees … and the various combinations of sunniness vs breeze levels gave all kinds of intermediate warm/cool combinations over the day.

Anyway, setting off from home a little after 0700 I was at the waterside, tackled up and, after spombing out a few loads of fishmeal based groundbait loaded with chopped sprat bodies and head, ready to fish by about 0830…. but before casting out the deadbaits I’d already set up my lure rod with a paddle tail shad on a jig head and so I spent 15 minutes or so just casting around the bay that are shown in the seconds and third pictures above… and (SPOILER ALERT!) I  disturbed the only fish of my day during that exercise. I’d cast parallel to the bank up towards that scaffold platform but on the retrieval the lure snagged in submerged rocks midway between the platform and the tree and I was unable to free it from my casting position and so had to work my way up to the platform in order to change the angle of pull … and to do so I had to pass my rod from hand-to-hand around the tree … and whilst doing that a huge swirl ensued as a fish fled from the scene. A good spot for pike, and in fact, my PB pike of 20lb 12oz was caught in that exact same spot in 2012 …  so I might have missed out on that. Anyway, a few more casts were made along that line, as were others just after packing the deadbait rods up for the day at 1500 but to no avail. Damage done.

From about 0915 I started fishing with the deadbaits, ledgered, using a needlefish popped up about 36” off the bottom and a sardine popped up about 50” with the use of balsa ‘logs’ … BTW I don’t use the commercial pop-up sticks, I just buy 1 metre lengths of 5mm round/square balsa from a hobby/craft shop and cut up into suitable lengths of 3”-6” to suit the various baits I use, far cheaper and more adaptable to your baits … Also I have narrower ones for use with smaller baits such as sprat and smelt and small coarse fish such as roach. All that needs doing to make them is to cut the balsa to length with a small hacksaw (or even a craft knife), round one end with some sandpaper to help insertion into the bait and to the blunt end of the stick tie a short length of braid with a loop tied in the end which is used to slide up the trace and over the hook when baiting up … the braid ensure that if the bait flies off the hook or a fish ‘steals’ the bait that the balsa is retained on the trace and won’t get ingested with the lost bait and cause problems. One other thing I do is to soak/wipe the balsa with fish oil – it adds a source of smell attraction but I do it mainly to waterproof the wood and protect it.

So, I fished these baits for an hour or so, winding in the line a turn of the reel handle every now and then to draw some attraction to baits but nothing …. so baits were changed, amount of pop-up lowered and re-cast … for another hour or so. After this baits were changed to scad (aka Spanish mackerel?) and fished static, tight on the bottom and again twitched back bit by bit at intervals … and again no joy… until I packed the bait rods in at 1500. And, as said previously, I did spend another final few minutes, fruitlessly, with the lure rod again before finally packing up and heading home.  So I had a seemingly seamless continuation of the previous outing..

 ScreenHunter 13


Hopefully, Liz and I (or just me, depending on Liz’s decision) will return to the pool of our previous session which was enjoyable for me and productive for Liz. Weather promising to be better – no frost/ice and several degrees warmer – so hopefully I’ll catch and Liz will catch even more!



In the original script I said that the pop-up sticks I made were generally of 1cm diameter – this was incorrect and would be far to big for baits of sardine size – although probably they would most likely be usable, and possible necessary, for large deadbaits such as whole mackerel. The standard size I actually use are half that – 0.5cm (5mm) and the text has now been corrected to indicate that.

Session 7 – 2018 – Back To The Waterside

…. and so, as I’d said we would in my previous posting, on Monday 12th February Liz and I set off at 0800 for that small pool (KF-WL1) in the almost wilds of Shropshire … with remnants of previous light snow covered in frost on the ground and a frozen over windscreen on the car to defrost before the journey could start. Sounds like it was cold but it actually felt much warmer than the previous few days … and on arrival at the pool I had to take my hat and jacket off whilst prepping the gear, etc – and never put them back on at all afterwards for the whole day (well, 1500, when we packed up but even then the jacket, etc were consigned to the back seats)…

We arrived poolside after a journey of around half an hour and, after passing frozen puddles and ponds in equal number to those unfrozen over it was good to see the average kept up as half the pool had a thin layer of ice and the other half (which is where we’d wanted to fish anyway) being ice free.

We were quite lucky really as I went with the site’s owner to investigate a car that had been stood over at the larger member’s only pool for a couple of days … and no-one spotted nearby to it … and as a couple of years ago there had been an incident when someone overnight fishing during the winter used a gas heater within his bivvy and presumably closed its doors as he was luckily discovered comatose having subdued to carbon monoxide poisoning just in time to be rescued and ‘healed’ the owner was worried about finding someone over there who’d had an heart attack or other issue. As it was it was an abandoned bogged down in the mud van. Enquiries led to finding out that the van man was coming back later that day to recover it… Anyway, to get back to the original point of this paragraph, were I was saying about Liz and I being ‘lucky’ … to the extent that the entire member’s pool was 100% covered in ice (ummm, grammar … tautism? ‘100%’ and ‘entire’?) … so if we’d intended to fish there we’d have been way down on our luck!

So, back to the fishing… Liz and I set up our tackles for the day in a sort of mirror image to our usual ways. I’m usually the one that floatfishes whilst Liz sets up and fishes her feeder rods … but on this session, due to the cold, I thought it would be possibly the best to put a static bait on the bottom and use a small feeder with fishmeal and dead maggot as an attractor … meanwhile Liz had set up her float rod 🙂

It was 1000 as we made our first casts and by 1100 neither of us had had a single nibble or nudge … and I wandered over to have a word with Liz … and complimented her on her set up … light waggler float perfectly shotted and the rod in rests perfectly angled down with the tip 1/4” from the water’s surface to sink the line and the butt perfectly aligned to the hand… perfection! Or so it seemed… as Liz said that the float/rig was still drifting slightly on the light breeze … so I asked her if she’d set her shotting/depth so that the bottom shot dragged the bottom to act as an anchor … and asked how deep she was fishing … and she responded by indicating the measure between her two index fingers … 18 inches! Now the water here is around 4’-5’, so I reset her float, etc to put the bottom shot just touching bottom and left her to it again… I’d hardly got back to my seat when I get the call ‘Fish on!’ … but before I could reach her the hook had pulled free. However, that was the start of a 15 minute ‘hot spell’ and the was the first of 4 casts that resulted in fish on the hook … firstly that lost fish, second cast resulted in a decent carp which threw the hook at the net, third cast saw the landing of a 6lb 15oz common carp, and the fourth cast a small perch of a few ounces. All on maggot.

Meanwhile, back on the feeder, my bait was being totally ignored despite ringing the changes from maggot to worm to bread (compressed to sit on bottom and also fluffy to ‘pop-up’). So, come 1200, I decided “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” and put away the feeder rod and tackled up my float rod … however, despite my best efforts I still could not buy a bite for love or money all the way through to the end of the session. However, Liz managed another small perch just after the mad 15 minutes and then around 1430 had another common carp of 4lb 11oz … followed just pre-1500 by another good fish (and Liz reckons it would have been the best fish of the day) but suffered a snap-off due a suspected knot/fault in the line.

And, as we’d decided to pack in a 1500 anyway, it wasn’t worth re-tackling her up (in fact, I’ve redone the rod for her this morning ready for her next outing) and so we packed away the gear and headed to our local alehouse.

So, completely destroyed by Liz on this session (first fish, last fish, biggest, smallest, most species, biggest of species, etc) – although I think I can grab a minute bit of glory in that my tackle adjustment put her on that winning road LOL. 


 ScreenHunter 11


Well, I’ve decided to go for a Thursday deadbaiting trip to one of my pike waters… tackle has already been sorted ready this morning for that so I just need to resolve baits, flasks and butties now really.

Been A While … But Plans Made … And Tackle Adjusted

So its been nearly 2 weeks since I was last out at the waterside due to a mix of Liz and I both having bad colds, me having several appointments/visits at the doctors and the weather unsuitable on the days that were available to us…. and I still need to book the car in for its MOT and arrange fitting of our smart gas/electric meter…

However, I will ensure that the MOT and meter bookings do NOT clash with fishing days – something that is not possible with the doctor – and we’re aiming to be out on the water on Monday 12th as Friday 9th I’ve to see the diabetic nurse again to give another blood sample.

Our plans are to fish a club pool (KF-WL1) that we’ve not fished in a while – and possibly not since we’ve actually been club members as the pool (a pond really as its quite small) is available to fish on a day ticket. The other, larger, pool on site is ‘members only’ and is the one we generally fish these days. I’m planning to float fish, not sure about Liz but she generally prefers feeder fishing, as the pool is down in a dip and tree surrounded so should be quite calm down there.

In the meantime I’ve re-tackled up my two pike ledger rods …. same 40lb braid mainline, link ledger (terminates in a snap clip so that weights can be changed easily although I generally use a 3oz weight as this tends to avoid drop-back bites – if the fish swims towards and past the weight then rather than causing the lead to be dragged and creating the slack line that shows as a drop-back which would happen with the use of a lighter weight, the 3oz is heavy enough to remain seated and the line is pulled through and the bobbin/alarm operate as per normal BUT I do set up with a backbiter type dropoff bobbin anyway just in case :)) and a galaxy type clip to which the wire trace is connected… all pretty straightforward and standard BUT I’ve now added a ‘deadbait clip’…


I’ve set this to sit on top of the adjustable ledger stop that I use in order to be able to set up pop-up baits to sit at any depth .. in use a loop of line is tied to the bait’s tail and the is bait hung from the clip by use of the loop. As all the force of the casting is made through the loop it allows soft baits to be cast out further and also means that the hooks need only be lightly nicked into the bait itself allowing them to easily pull free on a strike and prevents the force of the strike being absorbed by the bait…. I hook on the loop and then also hook on the ledger weight by passing the loop through the eye of the weight – thus the weight and bait form one condensed mass and fly together efficiently – and when they hit the water the drag of the bait sinking pushes off both the weight and bait…. Also doing it this way means that a long pop-up length can be used as the length of the pop-up is halved (ie for a desired pop-up of 10’ then length of folded over line = 5’) plus it is loose line ie no drag, go rolling in the air, basically just a length of loose line … but generally I only use pop-ups heights of 6’ or less anyway.

The clips I use are actually meant for sea fishing but work fine for me … but Fox do one specially for pike fishing but obviously they cost more…


The Fox Deadbait Clip is attached to the trace swivel; A short piece of braid with a loop on the end is tied to the bait; the braided loop is placed on the clip to take the strain of the cast. Using this method, the hooks can be lightly nicked into the bait. Then when you get a run, the hooks are not buried in the bait, and the chances of hooking the pike are increased.