Session 37 – Perched At The Water’s Edge

Friday 24th August, was a cooler than usual morning – car registered an external temp of 10’C for the entire journey from home to fishery and it seems it had dropped to 7’C overnight. I even had to put the car heater on! I know its not majorly cold per se but after the long bout of hot weather that we’ve had it was a bit of a shock. However, when the sun came up later the temps did rise.

Anyway, destination was a club carp pool (AA-LA1) although I wasn’t planning on carp fishing primarily – I planned to float fish (perch, tench, etc) for the first few hours by starting fishing with the float rod from around 0730 until around 1030-1100 whilst regularly baiting up the carp swim further out with small balls of groundbait, etc at 30 minute intervals, and then switch to two ledger rods with frame feeders for carp for the rest of the day (around 1530-1600).

So, the day started off OK – the float rod and the ledger rods were both set up ready for ‘the plan’ and I even put out my WaterWolf camera on a 3rd rod just out from the bank on a 3rd rod – which I’ve just reminded myself of as its still in my tackle bag and I need to get it out and transfer/scan/edit the recorded video. However, the plan deviated slightly and in the end I only had the carp rods out for about an hour if that … but more of that later.

As the first there I had choice of swims – another guy came whilst I was tackling up and I think he he’d intended to fish my swim and he settled in the next door peg, no problem as well spaced out – and I chose one of my usual three, next to an overhanging willow tree, which usually gives up a few fish of various types having had roach, tench, perch and even an eel at various times.

2018-08-24 01Tackle on the 13’ float rod was 6lb main line, size 10 hook on a 6” 6lb braid hooklength with a 4AAA wind/driftbeater float fished lift method in the 5’/6’ of water just off the edge of the willow trees foliage.

[I did note that the leaves of the tree were beginning to fall now, just the first few, but later in the year this swim would NOT be a choice for me. Willow trees in the summer provide a plentiful supply of shade and are a fish attractor BUT when the leaves have been shed then I avoid them like the plague…Why? Well, apart from the usual problems of dead leaves in the water (snagging the line, decaying depleting oxygen, etc) I believe that willow leaves further ‘sicken’ the water due to the fact that they contain a natural aspirin – and were used in the bygone days as a painkiller by chewing the leaves – and as this leaches out it adversely affects the fishing as the fish move away.]

Baits used were worm, maggot and prawn (Morrison’s ‘large’ cooked and peeled ones – but I usually use pieces of Aldi’s uncooked King Prawns as I find uncooked far better than cooked but none of those were at hand on the day as I forgot to pack them – I had the Morrison’s ones with me as intended feed).

I started with worm on the hook and later maggots and prawn were utilised too. I catapulted out frequent small quantities of maggots (10-20 maggots) every 10 minutes or so or whenever a fresh cast was made.

First bite came at around 0830 but unfortunately the fish came adrift … and it was 0850 when the first fish was landed – a 12oz perch which took a worm/prawn cocktail…

2018-08-24 Steve - 12oz Perch

12oz Perch

And over the course of the rest of the float fishing part of the  session – which actually lasted until around 1220 – I had around 6-7 perch in all ranging from 2oz up to the best of the day fish of 1lb 5oz… and including another 12oz’er.

2018-08-24 Steve - 1lb 5oz Perch

1lb 5oz Perch

So, having delayed the switchover to the carp rods I did so at 1220 prompted a bit by the weather as the sunny skies of the morning turned to grey clouded and a few spots of rain started to fall and, as the forecast was for rain all afternoon, it seemed an opportune time to change as ledgering makes fishing under a brolly a better proposition than float fishing.

The float rod set aside I baited up the ledger rods (8lb main line and braid hooklengths, frame feeders) – worm on a size 8 hook on one rod and bread on a size 4 hook on the other and cast out ….

And discovered a problem with one of my reels! It was snatching on the wind in and backwind (important to me as I don’t use drag/slipping clutches, my spools are locked down as tight as I can possibly make them and rely on backwinding to play fish) and the anti-reverse mechanism wasn’t working… Not happy with this situation – esp with extended spells of rain forecast – I decided to pack up for the day at around 1400.

So, I need to look at the errant reel before my next outing but I have ordered a couple of cheap reels (NGT EX40, freespool, £12.95 each) in case. The NGT EX40 reels are not bad reels actually and I use a couple of them on my other rods. However, as this weekend is a Bank Holiday one, they’re not going to arrive before probably next Friday (31st) so the next couple of sessions could be float fishing unless I can resolve that faulty reel….

Next session will be Monday 27th but undetermined where/how….

Session 36 – No Personal Best But A Different Sort Of Day!

Monday 20th August, I set off for the Warks Avon as I’d planned, fishing on one of my clubs’ stretches (KF-A/WG) with the intention of hopefully bettering the size of my PB bream….

Setting off from home at 0600 I managed to avoid the worst of the M5 traffic and arrived at the waterside at around 0645 … and the intended swim was only 50 yards or so from my parking location… and so the transport of tackle between car and swim was quick and easy…

The modus operandi for the day was to ledger with a 20g cage feeder on 8lb main line and a size 10 hook on a 6” 8lb braid … fished on a 12’ feeder rod with a light quiver tip. The lengthy rod is a bonus on this river, well this stretch anyway, as the waters along the edge are lined with reeds and lily pads although the water depth does drop off very quickly to 12’-15’ or so within a couple of yards and the length allows more control of the fish to keep them away from these snags when netting them … also a long landing net handle is almost a ‘must have’ as the banks are very steep and usually you are fishing from 4’-6’, possibly more, above the water surface with little chance of getting closer….

Bait for the day was worm, a bait that always performs well for all species although I did add maggot and bread to the hook at times… and the fill for the feeder was made up of my usual base crumb mix (*1*) to which was added particles in the form of hemp/maize and a strawberry flavoured rice/wheat mix along with 150ml of hemp infused oil (*2*) and 150ml molasses (a sweetener that is reputedly a bream attractor).

First cast was made at 0740 – and surprisingly, given the venue and bait, I didn’t get a single nudge until the third cast at 0815 resulted in a missed bite. Normally at this venue, and especially using worm, I’d expect nudges within 5 minutes on every cast.

Next take wasn’t then until 0845 when I hooked into a fish and played it to the side where it gained sanctuary in the reeds/lily stems and when I eventually retrieved hook it was embedded in a piece of plastic refuse sack or similar. I didn’t see the fish at all but from the fight it was very similar to the feel of the next two fish landed and I reckon it was of that species…

So, I re-baited with worm tipped with a couple of maggots and re-cast – and at 0905 the next bite – and a fish was hooked and landed…. a jack pike of 1lb 10oz hooked fairly in the scissors….

2018-08-20 Steve 1lb 10oz Pike

1lb 10oz Pike

Meanwhile over the time I’d been fishing I’d also been putting out small handfuls of maggots just out from the reeds/lilies so as I had no further action by 0930 I thought to try that line with my other 10’ feeder rod to try to possibly pick up a bonus perch – size 16 hook, 8lb line, 7g square pear sinker. Despite continuing to feed that line (and I did over the rest of the day too with occasional dropping of my bait there) by 1000 I’d not had a single nudge and so I went back to my original plan…. and 1040 … another take … and another pike, again on worm and fairly hooked, but a bit bigger – 4lb 10oz.

2018-08-20 Steve 4lb 10oz Pike

4lb 10oz Pike

This was followed at 1200 by the next bite – and a 4lb 6oz bream was landed. Right species but unfortunately 1lb 7oz short of what I was hoping for… a new PB of 5lb 13oz or more … although was well accepted on what was, and continued to be, a very slow day for the venue…

2018-08-20 Steve - 4lb 6oz Bream

4lb 6oz Bream

… and final fish for the day was a chub of around 4oz taken at 1250 … and between then and my packing up at 1530 I had not a single nudge.

Usually too, when feeding maggots, there would be swirls made by the roach, etc as the bait hit the surface but even this was missing on the day, best was that a couple of the maggots could be seen to be intercepted as they sank each time.

The day itself had been quite mild with a couple of light passing showers that didn’t warrant setting up the brolly but around 1400 there was one of those really heavy ones that soaks you in the time before you can get the brolly up but then stops as soon as you get under its shelter … Boat traffic was lighter than expected – in the ca 8 hours I was there probably only 12 boats passed but they aren’t a problem anyway – most are canal boats with a draught of 2’-3’ and with 15’ of water beneath them the fish aren’t adversely affected by their passage and the line from rod tip to feeder slopes down so much that really for them to affect/catch it would require them to pass within about 10’ of the bank so there’s no need to wind in or even for use of back leads.

Plans – Friday, 24th, think I’ll head to one of my clubs carp pools although possibly not actually in search of carp … although the Adam Penning talk of last Friday may have triggered something in that line… 🙂 … and looking ahead, Friday 7th September, we’re going on weekend break so I’ll not be able to fish that day … however, I’m thinking of heading to a local canal on the preceding Thursday for a few hours on the morning, fishing from around 0600-1100 or similar as I’ve been meaning to have a canal trip out but always in the end decided on elsewhere – and as Liz works 1330-1730 on Thursdays it means I can fish and then get the car back to her for going to work and everybody will be happy!

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DEFINITIONS

(*1*) BASE CRUMB MIX

Basically, a mix to a a personally derived recipe, of standard bread crumb to which I add porridge oats, Vitalin (dog muesli), strong white flour, blood/bone/fishmeal, chicken layers mash. This produces a mix that is much of a ‘method’ mix and holds well in open cage feeders (flowing water) or on frame feeders (still water) – and I also hand feed, or introduce with a dog-ball-launcher if extra distance is needed, extra loose balls if needed. Also I add to this base, at the waterside in the wetting stage, other materials that I may require for that particular occasion such as oils, flavours, colours or extra particles such as sweetcorn/hemp/maize/maggots.

(*2*) HEMP INFUSED OIL

I like adding oil to my groundbait – basically I just like the sheen and the smooth surface it gives to rippled water as it rises BUT it also indicates the breaking up and location to some extent of the groundbait balls/feeder contents on the bottom. For some time I used hemp oil for this but its quite expensive (£6 for a 500ml bottle in Sainsbury – with the occasional promotion of £4 a bottle – but this is generally at least 50% cheaper than ‘angling’ versions sold in tackle shops) … Also you’re never too sure how the manufacturers ‘processing’ affects the final product. SO… I devised my own ‘hemp oil’… which I call ‘hemp infused oil’ which is, I’m sure, at least as good as ‘hemp oil’ in attraction by the scent and cheaper too. Easy to create… I take about 6oz (180g) of raw hemp seed (I buy bulk 10-15Kg sacks for creating my own stewed hemp so always have plenty at hand), crush/grind them and put into a saucepan into which I add a 1 litre bottle full of cooking oil which can be rapeseed/sunflower/vegetable/etc (don’t think it would really make that much difference as its just a carrier/solvent really). I then heat up to around 70-75’C and hold at that temp for about an hour with regular stirring and then let cool and bottle the whole contents so that the effusing can continue whilst in storage. When I need the oil I just shake the stock bottle to mix and then pour the needed into a smaller bottle – I generally take a 250ml bottle out with me and use about 1/2 of it in the groundbait mix but if I need to add more or to make an extra g’bait mix up then I have enough to do that – and if any is unused then the bottle is just topped up for the next trip out.

Session 35 – A Good Day’s Fishing, Plenty Of Species Plus Liz Gets A New PB ….

Monday 6th August, Liz and I set off for a mixed species fishery (KF-VV) that is controlled by one of my clubs. A nice water, set above the Severn Valley and down below, in the distance so not actually visible, are the River Severn and, just across from the river itself, the Severn Valley Railway tracks run between Bridgnorth and Kidderminster which although not visible you can hear the trains hoot and sometimes spot the trails of steam. Other than that, it is set in a very rural area, so the only people to be seen are other club members and so it is a very very quiet and tranquil setting. Its also a prolific venue – a sort of ‘commercial’ pool set up – with all sorts  of fish in there – koi carp, ghost carp, barbel, chub, brown goldfish accompany the more usual pool fish such as perch, roach, bream, gudgeon, rudd and carp – only species obviously missing are pike, sturgeon and zander… so you can usually guarantee a fish or two regardless of conditions … and it is said that you can catch on a bare hook in there …. AND ITS TRUE as I had my first fish on – and I’d not even baited up the swim nor baited the hook nor set up nets, etc…!

OK … We arrived at the pool and had a quick look around as there was already a car on the car park on arrival and we suspected the owner may be fishing one of our two choices of swim for the day – and, in fact, he was … set up on a part of the pool known informally as ‘chub alley’ – a part of the pool that looks across a narrow channel on to the overhanging bushes of an island opposite and the bushes are the preferred lodging area for most of the pool’s chub population it seems – however, the guy fishing was not fishing to the bushes but was originally casting a feeder out from the neck of the channel towards a small island in the the main water, and later in the day he switched over to floating baits… Anyway, ‘chub alley’ had been one of our two ‘preferreds’ so we decided on our other option which was on the west bank actually facing the small island that was being fished to by the other guy but over the other side of it.

NOW … we get to the baitless fishing!! In previous missives I’ve stated that I set out my ‘stall’ (ie nets, chairs, bait waiters, etc) after baiting up the swim but before setting up my rod(s) … however, recently I’ve made a slight adjustment to that order in that I set up and tackle my rods and rod rests before the placing of my seat and then laying out everything else. Why?? Well, I’d set up my ‘stall’ first and last thing would be set up rods and (try to) place rod rests/pod BUT usually the rodrests/pod couldn’t sit exactly where comfortable in relation to my seat or something I’d missed (eg overhanging branches, etc) which meant they had to be placed differently – which meant moving the seat to be comfortable in accessing the rods – and moving the seat also had kick-on effects as my table, bags generally also needed moving… etc. SO… these days, after feeding the swim, I make up my rod(s), check for interference from vegetation to casting, and then set the rod rests/pod to the correct spacing between them … and then place my seat to suit … and add the rest of the paraphernalia around as required…  OK … and that is what I did. Set the float rod I was going to use fishing by the lift method, and set shotting and depth as necessary, put in rod rests and cast out unbaited line, and dropped rod in the rests to keep out of the way while I did the rest of the preps… and a few minutes later, whilst engaged in those preps, Liz says to me “Have you seen your rod tip?” .. I look and there’s gentle nudges and twitches every now and then and I reply “Must be plenty fish out there… line bites!” … and carry on with the preps. A minute or two later the reel handle starts flying backwards at the rate of knots … so I strike and feel the power of a good fish tearing away … but unfortunately the end of the tale is misfortunate as the fish was lost after it seemed to gain sanctuary amongst sunken roots of a bush on the island – could feel the fish pulling and the line grating and eventually the line gave and the end of the recovered line was very abraded. I did later get my lost float back though as it had been attached to be sliding … and thus it floated free on a favourable breeze almost directly back to my feet in a short time.

So, had plenty of excitement – and hadn’t technically even started fishing!!

When we did start actually fishing, probably by 0800, I chose to floatfish with a 4AAA (actually takes 3SSG to balance the body + 1 SSG to anchor the bottom and counteract stem + sight bob) wind/drift beater float … Liz chose to ledger with a 8g frame feeder.

I had first bloods with 3 tiny perch and a skimmer bream all on dendro worm on a size 10 hook … but then Liz kicked in with a chub of around 12oz and then landed a barbel which was her new personal best (PB) of 3lb 7oz on maggot…

2018-08-06 Liz - 3lb 7oz Barbel

Liz With Her New PB Barbel – 3lb 7oz

After that it was steady fishing all day until we decided to call it a day at 1700 or so… we were going to make it 1630 but then Liz invoked the ’30 minute amendment’ followed closely by my ‘last cast amendment’ … LOL!

Tally for the day was Liz with 7 fish including, as well as her barbel, carp (mirror and common) of 6lb 5oz, 5lb 14oz, 2lb 13oz, 2lb 8oz, small perch and a chub of around 12oz …. and myself, I had 17 fish inc several small bream and perch, a single small roach, gudgeon (all of a few ounces), 2 chub (best 1lb 13oz) and carp of 6lb 5oz, 6lb 1oz, 5lb 5oz, 5lb 5oz, 4lb 0oz, 3lb 10oz, 3lb 3oz, 2lb 6oz mostly taken on bread (floatfished and slow sinking – didn’t want floating baits but slow sinking and freelined in the margins worked well) and worm. 

 

 

And to finish a fine day what could have been a more fitting ending than a fine beer (“Salem’s Porter” which, I think, was from the Salem Bridge Brewery although Bateman’s also do a Salem Porter) and scratching and nuts from our local hostelry?

Future angling – as I said in the previous posting that is unlikely to happen before Friday 17th August but I have remembered that the club has a ‘social night’ with a talk being given by Adam Penning (a well known carp angler who appears very often in Korda produced TV programmes and videos (‘Thinking Tackle’, ‘Monster Carp’, etc) … (see also http://www.adampenning.co.uk/) which leaves me only a short window to fish in on the day, so I think it may be Monday 20th before I can actually make it back out there. But thinking of the Warks Avon in search of that PB bream again when I do….

Session 34 – Breaming And Dreaming….

As planned, on Friday 3rd August I set off for the intended venue (AA-GH) hoping for a great bream session on what is mainly a carp pool but it does hold bream and silvers … and excellent pike (and did include a fish that had been caught several times over the years in the 30lb range – but sadly it was found dead in the shallows, probably due to the rigours of spawning in March 2016, weighing 38+lb) …. It also holds at least two perch, of 1oz and 3lb, the smaller I found in the bottom of my landing net when packing up one day, the larger gets caught occasionally but are the only two perch I’ve ever seen or heard of in there and having been a member for 7 years and fishing maggot/worm virtually every trip it seems there’s not millions of them.

2018-08-03 01

So, I arrived on site around 0700, and decided to have a scan around with my Deeper Sonar to suss out if there were fish around – looked like it was a can of sardines! – and to suss out the contours around my peg and thus where to cast my bait for the day and settled on a distance out of around 30 yards that put me fishing into 10’-12’ of water. I also wanted to save the scan of this area adding them my Deeper Lake Book which allows the building up of contour maps of whole waters bit by bit/session by session BUT for some reason there seems to be a glitch in the local mobile phone saved file and it won’t upload so I’ll have to re-do this section again on another visit it seems. There was also a green algae scum over most of the pool but didn’t hamper fishing – to be expected to be honest as the site is an equestrian centre and the manure/straw pile is very close to the pool and the nutrients can leach into the pool when it gets wet – EA have examined the situation and they’re quite happy as basically the algae just provides a rich food source for fish and the organisms on which also feed….

Setup was a sliding float – a 4AAA windbeater fished lift-method style with baits of worm/maggot, bread, corn and meat on a size 10 hook to 4” of 6lb braid. Main line was 6lb mono… This looked to be the best way to try to avoid the attentions of the carp as the sonar  showed most fish at mid-water or higher whilst retaining bite sensitivity for the shy biting bream. The downside to this, of course, was that connecting to bites required a long strike to tighten the line enough to set the hook due to the angle of the line at the float (rod tip to float line was virtually horizontal, whilst float to hook was vertical … so a 90 deg angle in the line… so a bit of quick Pythagoras is needed… I’d 34 yards of line between me and the hook normally (30 yards out, 4 yards deep) … but I would need to straighten out the line to get enough force to set the hook (ie what would be the hypotenuse of the right angled triangle) and thus would need to make the line to hook or take up the slack between that figure and the 34 yards I’d got out…

SO.,..  HYPO = sq_rt(Distance^2 + Depth^2) = sq_rt(900+16) = sq_rt(916) = 30.3 … and hence difference = amount of line needed to be taken up on the strike = 3.7 yards = 12’ or so.

First fish came fairly quickly – a small 6oz bream – and over the course of the day about 9 others joined it with the largest at 1lb 12oz.

2018-08-03-steve-bream-1lb-12oz-e1533395905197.jpg

Also one common carp of around 3lb-4lb almost found itself netted but the hook pulled just as it was about to be netted but not a disaster as bream were the intended target.

A couple of things that happened…

  1. The Dreaming …. I must admit, even at the age of 67, in regards to fishing I’m like a 5 year old on Christmas Eve and just can’t sleep the previous night with things whizzing in my head about what I’ll do, where I’ll fish, what baits, etc and its usually 3:30-4:00am when I do eventually doze off … but this time I saw 4:45 on the alarm clock … and as it goes off at 5:10 it meant I got less than 30 minutes sleep overnight. Not surprisingly I dozed off during the early afternoon then really. But on waking up I couldn’t see my float anywhere  … and on winding in it seems that something had taken my bait for a trip of 60-70 yards down the pool and then discarded it. As I always fish with the reel’s anti-reverse off I avoided the loss of a rod it seems!
  2. OK … my setup … float set at around 18” overdepth, bulk shot (3 x SSG shot) that sinks body of the antenna float to its neck set at a depth of around 3’, and the final SSG anchor shot (which sits on the bottom, too heavy for float to support) set to 4” from the hook. When cast out float sinks to top of body (as expected), and then line tightened enough to pull the antenna down to required height. In theory 2 things can happen – fish takes bait and lifts anchor shot which allows float to rise in the water or fish swims off with bait and float submerges…?? BUT … and this was happening a lot … I was getting the float lifting to the top of the body AND then continuing to rise and eventually the whole float falling flat on the water … HOW??? For that to happen the fish would have to be not only lifting the anchor shot but also lifting it off the bottom by 6 FEET (3’ up to bulk shot PLUS another 3’ past in order to start taking up the weight of those). Have been thinking about this since and the only likely answer is that they were NOT real bites at all but were line bites with fish swimming into the line above the bulk shot and thus causing the line to dangle over their bodies and thus support the shots’ weight?

Right, so that was that… did catch my targeted species but not exactly at the sizes I would have preferred them to be…

Off out again Monday 6th August, with Liz this time, to another club’s mixed species pool … and then it won’t be until Friday 17th until I’ll be back on the waters as the following Friday-Monday August 10th-13th we’re away at a rock festival (tribute bands on the back of an articulated lorry type)….