Session 24 – I Know I Keep Carpin’ On But…..

Friday 15th June and it was off to a club pool … AA-GH … for a bit of carpin’ and a bit of hopin’ for some bream and chub as this pool contains good fish of all those species and others….


I arrived at the waterside at around 0700 and cast out my Deeper Sonar fish/depth finder – main depth in this pool is around 15’-17’ – to see if any fish were around – and it seemed that the pool was packed with them like sardines! And it appeared they were all lying at around 7’ deep and shallower even in deep water… so elected to ledger! LOL! Actually I was more ‘forced’ to by the fact that I’d left my ‘floater’ rod at home accidentally – I’d swapped it out of the quiver on a previous outing to make room for my quiver rod and had forgotten I’d done so basically… But, at the end of the day it seems that I’d not missed out as the floater freebies I threw in were ‘played with’ but I didn’t see one piece actually grabbed by the cruising carp, some well in to double figures.

So, my initial set up was two ledger rods, 8lb line, size 4 or 6 hooks, and with frame feeders loaded with groundbait and particles – but I soon ‘downgraded’ to just one rod as bites started thick and fast with the first rod having takes before I could even cast out the second and so the second rod was laid aside for a while but it was eventually toyed with again to try to double it as a makeshift ‘floater’ rod but with no joy.

Baits tried over the day – bread, prawn and sausage with bites on all but I only actually caught on the bread.

By the end of my day at 1530 I’d had 9 carp, all commons, between 2lb 12oz and 4lb 6oz and a solitary bream of 1lb 12oz plus had a few drop-offs and hook pulls.


These hot summer days have always been a problem with having to keep the bait shaded to prevent sweating (eg maggots), melting (eg pastes) or plainly preventing dying in the direct heat of the sun (eg worms) and up to now its been a case of moving the different containers around into shade as the sun moved around. Not always convenient and often forgotten until on the late side…. however, a solution that worked for me yesterday – and in conjunction with the new table too although possibly on a windy it may require fixing in another way otherwise the table could get flipped in such a situation….

The solution – cost £5 off eBay (inc p&p) – one of those clip on parasols often used on baby buggies and prams, etc…

It’s very light and rolls up small and so easily fits into the quiver/holdall, it is fitted with a screw clamp for fixing to my table – or to a separate bankstick if conditions require that – and has a stiff/firm but flexible joint so it can be angled and rotated easily to the right position to block the sun’s ray with ease. Comes in a a variety of colours but as you see I chose green – and it did work well in the hot sun with my (unused of the day) maggots remaining completely unsweaty… Again, searching ‘off track’ proved a money saver – Go Outdoors sell similar items at £13 each as a ‘camping shade’….


Well, tomorrow, Sunday 17th June, its a trip with Liz to a ‘special’, unfished 48 weeks of the year pool.

Each year my club gets invited to fish the pools (there are actually two on site – one is carp, the other mixed) four weekends of the year as part of the owner’s charity event – only 6 anglers per day are allowed and each gives £10 per session donation in return for the access which goes to the owner’s local church funds. They are nice quiet secluded pools and the mixed pool (we’ve never fished the carp pool and two guys who did last year moved on to the mixed pool with us with an hour or so) contains reasonable carp, tench, perch and bream. Liz and I have taken advantage of the invite for the past 6 years now and look forwards to it.

Bait and tackle are already sorted – just a case of butties and flasks to be done tonight…

Session 23 – “Move Over Boys Let A Girl Show You How To Catch A Fish” And She Gets A New PB…

Dedicated To The One I Love (Mamas & Papas):

Monday 11th June saw Liz and I head off at 0700 to one of our fishing club’s venues (KF-WLx) for the day. There are two pools on the site and we had hoped to fish the smaller of the pools (a pond really) which is also available to non-members on day ticket. It may be a small pool but it does contain a good variety of species with some specimen sized fish and can usually be relied on for a good day’s sport providing all sorts from small perch and roach/rudd up to double figure carp … and also holds ide, a silver fish not unlike a roach but with larger eyes….



However, this pool has a tendency to weed over very quickly given the right conditions – and on arrival we had a quick walk round and found that fishing it would be virtually impossible as the potamogeton crispus (aka curly-leaf pondweed) had appeared to have taken over the vast majority of the pool and only a few, possibly fishable but well apart, holes were visible …

So, we continued off down the track to the larger members-only pool for the day…

This was better but still provided far from perfect conditions as it appeared that there was plenty of weed and algae on the bottom in the form of blanketweed and potamogeton and others – and also floating patches of the same which on the breeze and with surface drag caught on the line at times …. but by no means made the fishing impossible, just needed thinking about in order to minimise the effects of….

So …. me…. I started off, and fished all day with, a lift method setup consisting of a 5BB rated driftbeater float on 6lb line and size 12 maggot baited hook. Usual pre-feeding before tackling up and setting up the ‘station’ and frequent catapulted maggots into the 2 areas I intended to fish – one area around 4-5 rod lengths out in in front and an area just off to my left about 2 rod lengths off-shore. I started off in the standard way as one would using lift-method with the line, and rod tip, just submerged under the surface which would have defeated the breeze in its own right but couldn’t withstand the weed/algae debris that was carried along by it. Solution… I fished with the rod tip some 18”-24” above the water’s surface which kept the vast majority of the line above the water and although not the optimum it solved the drifting weed problem and I fished on with no problem whatsoever … although when the breeze strengthened at times I did have to resort to the near bank swim … but I was catching consistently from both areas. Catch over the day: 21 perch with a best at 1lb 1oz and several around 10-12oz, a tench of 2lb 13oz and three small (sub-2oz) rudd…

Liz…. started off with 2 feedered rods on the alarms fishing just groundbait in the feeder and sweetcorn, maggot and meat baits … had a few small nudges but nothing of note …. and so we set up her float rod with a 3BB antenna float set to fish with the bait just on the bottom, not lift-method… this switch proved productive and several fish were taken… rudd and perch …which included a new PB perch of 1lb 5oz… and a later perch of around 12oz was taken on maggot when Liz switched back to her feeders…

We fished on until 1600 before heading off home – via a local hostelry, of course, for well appreciated beverages and cobs after a long hot days efforts… :

My next session will be Friday 15th June … the last day of the river’s close season … so I’ll probably go carp fishing (although hoping for bream!) at a club pool. Although Saturday is the first day of the river season I’ll not be out that day as on Sunday Liz and I will be fishing a private pool that only gets fished 4 weekends of the year as the owner invites our club, in return for charity donations of £10 per session, to fish 7am-7pm on each of the allotted  Saturdays and Sundays with 6 anglers per day permitted. However, the following Tuesday, as Liz won’t be fishing, I’ll probably go to a river on that day – the Warwickshire Avon after bream or the Severn in search of barbel.

SO…. for my readers that leaves just one thing for me to say….

If you are a river angler then I wish you tight lines, big fish, blue skies, bent sticks and singing strings for the oncoming new season!

New Replacement Accessories – And The Best Yet!

I’ve been on the lookout for a while, looking for a couple of improvements in not such much actual tackle but in my accessories.

One item has been a groundbait bowl … over the years I’ve used various devices from small round household buckets to larger square ones and to collapsible made-for-the job commercial collapsible buckets … but all have have their failings. Household rigid buckets of any shape are just too bulky to carry and if they are suitable to double as bait/tackle carriers too in an attempt to make their size less inconvenient then they are far too deep or wide to be good for groundbait mixing and trying to actually ball the groundbait whilst sat in your seat to feed throughout the session is far more of an ordeal than it should be. The collapsible commercial groundbait bowls/buckets from several failings in my opinion as being often made of a plastic lined material (canvas or similar) … (a) as they are not rigid enough mixing up groundbait is a nightmare and you often discover patches of dry powdered g’bait in the middle however well you try to mix, (b) by nature they are essentially a circle of fabric with a base in sewn in, which means seams and hems which are impossible to clean out at the end of the day and live maggots added to your g’bait will find their way into those folds and hems and hide away and return home in the bowl with you to later hatch out as unwanted visitor in your home and (c) the plastic lining soon becomes brittle or worn and cracks up and water will leak through the material causing to groundbait to dry out … and then the material itself get torn and the groundbait dries out even quicker…. My solution, which to me is the 101% perfect one and has no flaws whatsoever – being easy to mix in with no sharp corners or seams or hems, has the perfect dimensions for transporting to the water, for mixing and for access to ball up during your session and no leakage or water loss…..and lightweight too … and far cheaper than commercial mixing bowls….. and it is ….

… one of those silicon collapsible washing up bowls intended for camping. With a size of: 14.5” x 10.5” x 2” (closed) and 14.5” x 10.5” x 4.5”cm (opened) its easily carried in, or attached to, your bag – I use a Korum Mat bag as my unhooking mat and this bowl shares space with many other items in it for carriage to and from the waters – and plenty big enough to mix up my usual 1-2Kg of dry groundbait along with added hemp, maggots, etc… and would easily cope with more. And being quite easily available in many places – Wilko have them as a standard stock item at £5, and Aldi and Lidl do them often in their camping special offers.

The other item that I’ve sourced and has been deemed a ‘super-replacement’ by me is a small camping table, specifically a Hi-Gear one from Go Outdoors which has now replaced my old bait waiter…

Old Bait Waiter

Problems with the bait waiter – (a) sits on top of a single bank stick (a tripod could be used but I’ve never found those to be particularly stable anyway) and unless set perfectly vertical maggot can slope themselves over the bait containers lip … and on soft ground can slowly tilt depending on weight of baits, etc and (b) relatively small in size, can hold up to 4 standard sized bait boxes and nothing else or can use 2-3 bait boxes and use the empty bottomed section(s) for phone, baiting needles, disgorgers, etc. Anyway, due to the tipping/unstable aspects, and Go Outdoors having a 15% off everything offer on I thought I might go along get a bivvy table that had been reduced to £9.99 … I found then but they were small, in fact would probably only hold 2 bait boxes and quite heavy too…


… however, as Liz and I wandered up to the camping area we came across a small fold up picnic table ….


… at £13.99 (so with 15% off = £11.90)…. and it looked perfect for my needs – and, in fact, has proven even better in reality. Its lightweight (weighs only 4lbs) and when folded in its bag measures just 13” x 16” x 2” and when opened out for use it’s 24” x 16” x 10”. It also sits at a perfect height next to my fishing chair for easy access to whatever its holding … and its sturdy (rated to support up to 66lb) …. and also travels in my Korum Mat Bag so really is no extra burden…

PLUS…. and it is very roomy as can be seen in the pic below easily holding my ‘new’ groundbait bowl and 3 standard 2 pint bait boxes and with plenty space left over for ancillary items and phones, etc.

So, I’ve now 3 items of kit that I’d deem to be my crème-de-la-creme whereby I reckon that no better could be achieved … the two items above …. and my Wychwood Pocket Pod (ca £25) which really is a god send, purchased after going fishing thinking I wouldn’t be needing my main pod only to find I couldn’t get my bank sticks in (and I use screw pointed bank sticks which will deal with far harder ground than simple pointed ones – but even these will not cope with wooden platforms or rock solid frozen ground). As the name ‘pocket’ suggests, they are easily carryable (and again carried in my Mat Bag) with absolutely no problem. All that are needed are 5 bank sticks and a pair of lightweight bars – the bank sticks are normal items that are carried anyway for use ‘in the ground’ – for four of them as long as they have a standard 3/8” BSF thread to form the legs of the tripod then that’s fine but the fifth does require that the bank stick will fit through the hole in the front section – which means that screw point or broadened arrow point bank sticks are not any good for the purpose. However, I do carry as standard a 4’ extending to 7’ bank stick that is used mainly for use on the river – and I remove the sliding inner section to form the connection between front and back sections and this works perfectly. It works so well for me that, even now when I know that I’ll need a rod pod, I’ll leave my main one at home and use this set up unless the water is very close to the car….


Wychwood Pocket Pod

Session 22 – Catch-22 Starts…

Friday, June 8th, I was again back to the mixed fishery of my last session (AA-B) but I decided to try another peg – another favourite, peg 11 – which is situated opposite an island with a bed of water lilies to the left…. arriving at around 0630…

2018-06-08 Barlows 01

… and I was planning to start my Catch-22 campaign….

‘Catch-22’ is an informal challenge published and promoted by the Angling Times – the idea being to catch the 22 listed species… Catches can be photographed and sent to AT for publication too… Details and joining up at

So, as usual, before starting to sort out the tackle and accessories, the swim was baited up with 3 orange sized balls of my groundbait mix (coloured yellow) and few small catapults of maggots and stewed hemp, corn, and wheat seeds. Two swims were baited, one over by the island’s overhanging vegetation (where the float is in the photo) and the other just in the opening in those lily pads. Over the day extra groundbait was added and every cast a few (6-10) maggots were catapulted into the swims

Tackle for the day – 13’ float rod, 6lb main line, 4” of 6lb braid hook length to a size 12 hook and a 5BB driftbeater float (set as described in my previous posting) and fished lift method. Baits over the day were maggot (bunches of 3-4), worm and prawn. Today I used cooked small prawns BUT I do find that uncooked jumbo prawn, or bits of, are noticeably far better than cooked prawns but as I was getting bites on the cooked ones I was a bit lazy on the day…

Discovery of the day was made as I tackled up – I’d left all my split shot and its dispenser at home… DAMN! Luckily, I set up, and hence pre-shot, my tackle at home so I’d a working set up but if I’d had a breakage then that could have been a problem … but even then I had some tungsten putty in my bag that I could have fashioned shotting out of, or switched to ledger tactics as I’d my ledger rod and weights with me.

So my first cast was made around 0715 – and I was immediately into my first fish of the day – and the first of my first Catch-22 list – which was a small perch. And bites were frequent over the day – virtually every cast….

And by the time I packed in at 1530 I’d four species ticked off from my Catch-22 list – mirror carp (caught 10, best 2lb 1oz), perch (16, up to around 6oz), rudd (3, 2-3oz), and a tench of 2lb 3oz. And all baits were catching.

Excitement – and annoyance – of the day came at the end of my session as I was driving back to the gate to leave the pool. The pools are within a paddock which is within a cow/bullock field and there is a gate at the entrance to keep the cows away from the pools… HOWEVER, on leaving someone had left the gate latched open and about a dozen bullocks had wandered through and were feasting on the grass on the edge of the pool just inside the gate – luckily they’d not spread about – and I was able to herd all-but-one straight back into their field within a minute – however, the other one side stepped past the gate opening and headed off round the pool … and it was only after 45 MINUTES, and after enlisting the help of another angler, that I was able to coerce the errant creature back into its proper area….

SO… if there are gates on your waters … ensure you know your rules and CLOSE THEM IMMEDIATELY YOU’VE PASSED THROUGH – and re-lock them to if they are padlocked – EACH AND EVERY TIME YOU PASS THROUGH REGARDLESS OF OTHERS BEING ON THE SITE.

OPEN – ENTER – CLOSE ….. OPEN – EXIT – CLOSE – not rocket science!!