Session 49 – Small Perch…

Monday, October 29th, Liz and I had intended to visit the Warwickshire Avon for a spot of bream fishing but plans fell through as we were doing pet feeding visits for friends who were away and, due to need to travel on the M5 early to beat the working traffic and commuters the delay to starting out would have made this impossible especially as the pets lived in the opposite direction to that needed to get to the river . But anyway this change was probably fortuitous for us given the huge drop in both air and water temperatures over the previous few days – see the ‘Water Trends’ at the end of this posting…..

So, we had already decided to fish a small club pool (KF-WL1) a bit closer to us and which also placed the pet feeding only slightly off the route … win-win!

So, we set off from home at just after 0730 having de-iced the car previously, fed pets, and arrived at the water around 0815 and were tackled up ready to fish at 0900…

Liz decided on a maggot feeder approach (but she did try luncheon meat as well) and I decided to float fish maggot and worm, feeding with catapulted dead maggots.

I had consistent bites throughout the day (packed in at 1500) and landed 27 perch plus I lost a ‘good’ fish when the hook hold failed – and Liz had a fair few takes but only managed to land three perch… Sounds reasonable until I say that the total weight of the 30 landed fish wouldn’t have broken the 12oz barrier!! LOL… and that lost fish would almost certainly have doubled, if not tripled or more, the total weight!

Still, it was all much fun … and who would have wanted to sit in a warm room, snuggled on the sofa, watching Matt Hayes videos instead? Ummmmm …….

Glad we wore our Damart Thermolactyl Thermal Underwear though, well worth the price…


 DAMART TOP (£13.50)                             DAMART BOTTOM (£20)

…. and certainly THE BEST available – they are used in Everest expeditions too!

And we took our Thermos ‘KING’ model flasks of coffee… stainless steel so virtually unbreakable and advertised as 24/24 hour hot and cold … and unlike many claims they REALLY are! I usually make our flasks at 2000 on the night previous to our outings and even on sub-zero days the contents are still drinkingly hot until at least 1500-1600 on the following day – and the only reason the contents are not scaldingly hot even then is due to of the pouring of cups throughout the day letting in cold air… still can’t gulp in one go though! Again, not the cheapest flask at around £28 but well worth the money IMHO…

Thermos 1.2L King Flask

Thermos 1.2L ‘KING’ Flask (£28)

So, as I said we packed in at 1500 and wended our way to our local purveyor of fine ales (and cobs, scratchings and nuts) where Liz had her usual IPA type ale, I went for the ‘Hung, Drawn ‘N’ Portered’ from the North Cotswold Brewery, VERY nice it was too! …


and then we headed homewards for a night in front of the TV….


Huge drop since last session of 5’C …. someone on Barbel Fishing World has also reported a large change on the River Severn with temps dropped from 10.2’C on Friday 26th to 6.1’C on Monday 29th at Shrewsbury (Welsh Bridge)…..

Min:    6.4’C
Max:   6.8’C

Session 48 – Attempted Pike Fishing

As planned, on Friday 26th October, I visited a club pool (Pike Water 17) intending to do a spot of live baiting for pike.

With the current dark mornings I set off at 0715 to arrive at the pool at 0800 and, as I needed to catch bait first, I took my coarse float rod plus my two pike rods and also a rod for my WaterWolf underwater camera – and in case of being unable to catch any live bait I also packed some sardines, sprats and capelin to use as dead baits.

After setting up all the rods and prepping unhooking mats, rod pods, etc I eventually started on my live bait gathering campaign casting in at 0900 using twin maggots on a size 16 hook …. and what a task it was! Three hours later I’d gathered six baits – two being around my preferred size of around 3oz and the other four being smaller. I lost a few to hook sheds on the retrieve but I also had a 2lb 6oz common carp and a perch of around 6oz…

2018-10-26 Steve - 6oz Perch

… which was a bit of a turn up for the books as its only the second perch I’ve seen in this pool in the seven years I’ve fished it … and Liz and I use maggots and worms every trip there at some of the time at least. The only other perch I’ve seen was about a year ago IIRC when on pulling my landing out to dry at the end of a session I found a tiny, minnow sized, perch in it. I’ve heard of several 3lb perch being caught there though but as its always caught in the same swim I think its safe to assume its the same fish being caught and re-caught….

Weather during that spell had been mixed from bright and sunny to cold and wet as an occasional large black cloud passed through – and the ‘cold’ was decidedly cold, finger numbing and cold enough to make the reel fittings uncomfortably cold to hold but it was quite warm and mild in the sunny periods.

Anyway, at 1200 I baited up the two pike rods with the best two livebaits and put them out to fish. However 15 minutes later the sky went exceedingly grey, the wind picked up and the air temperature plummeted and rain, soon turning to hail, started to fall – and the incoming weather was even greyer … and at 1300, not having had a touch and with fingers numb despite wearing thermal fleece mittens I decided to call it a day… and had an enjoyable 30 minutes tackling down in this wonderful weather… NOT!  The two bait fish were returned to the water and both swam away strongly as did the unused four.


The trend downwards continues….

Min:    11.1’C
Max:   11.4’C


Session 47 – Pike Lure Fishing On A Large Water And A Great Night In The Company Of Dr Paul Garner….

Well, I’ll start with that night out – a social evening organised by one of my clubs on the evening of Friday 19th October which included a presentation by Dr Paul Garner which was done in two parts. The first part of around an hour, a little longer if you include a Q&A period at the end, was concerned with underwater videos and the how-to’s involved. This was followed by a short beer top-up/loo/smoke break before the second part of the evening in which Paul delved into the area of predator fishing, again an hour plus session. All very enjoyable and well worth the £5 entry fee! Good beer on too – a Xmas special Wychwood ‘Hobgoblin Ruby Ale’, very nice! On entry all received a free 18g pike float too… The evening also included entry to an optional raffle – £1 a ticket (I had 10!) – for which the prizes had been generously provided by Preston Innovations/Korum – and I won 2 prizes – a carrier bag of goodies inc lead clips, pre-made hair rigs, feeders, a groundbait catapult plus others and also a bag of Sonubaits pellets. As I say, a great night … but could have been better attended to be honest with only about 25-30 people attending, and I felt sympathy for the organisers and for the guest speaker after all the efforts they had gone to to make the night happen. I even posted the event around to my other club, etc to try to get numbers up leading to the night but not even that had much effect. An upside was though the people who attended had a greater chance of winning in the raffle and one guy must have had 6 or more winning tickets! Also not the worst attended event I’ve been to – many years ago I used to frequent, with a friend, a folk club advertised as ‘the smallest folk club in the world’ held in a small back room of a pub… and one night we went to see one of our favourite acts at the time … and the total number of attenders in the room consisted of friend and his dog, me, the artist, the two people who ran the club and a woman who left after half an hour … needless to say that was the last night that that folk club ran.

So, we’ll move on to the fishing now….

Monday, 22nd October, Liz and I partook in a short lure session on a new water to us, a 100 acre reservoir (Pike Water 20), to which our club has shared fishing rights along with the angling club formed by of the owning water authority’s staff…. A first visit for us as I said so as much a ‘reccie’ as a session and we liked what we saw!

We arrived late’ish in the day – probably around 1115 or so – due to (a) having had a doctor’s appointment earlier it was a case of then returning home to change into the fishing clothes, load the car (just a rucksack with lures, traces, etc, the bundle of 3 rods + landing net, and a bag with the flasks of coffee) and then a pre-departure mug of coffee and (b) having to drive to, and find, the location which actually was pretty straightforward with the SatNav….

On arrival at the water we parked on the defined angler’s car park, used the loo (as the reservoir is for domestic water supply, ablutions on and around the bank are BANNED and a sophisticated CCTV system is in use all around the water to monitor and so the club refurbished a disused toilet building for club members use), before walking to the start of the fishing area – which covers around 1000 metres on the near bank and 1350 metres on the far bank with and access to, or fishing from,  the two dam walls at either end being prohibited. At the start of the near bank fishing there are 40 permanent pegs that are used for matches run by the water authority’s angling club and are unavailable to my club on the day of a match or the previous overnight in the case of night fishing – however, fishing the water is allowed on match days from beyond peg 40 or anywhere on the far bank.

There were two anglers already on the water when we arrived within the first few pegs – one guy was deadbaiting for pike but hadn’t had a single touch since he’d arrived at 0800 he said, and the other guy was bream fishing with the same results. So, Liz and I set up for our first casts somewhere around peg 8 or 9 …. Liz with her ‘magic’ spinner as described in a previous posting on a 9’ 30g-80g rated lure rod with 30lb braid and myself with a ‘new’ setup which consisted of a single piece 7’ 80g-140g rated baitcasting rod fitted with a new baitcasting multiplier reel with Savage Gear 3D Pike (30cm) and Curly Tail Eel (30cm) lures.

I had a few problems with the line laying mechanism on the reel to start with (damn, £12 reels from China!! LOL) but a quick tweak soon rectified the problem and all was perfect – and no major bird’s nests all session …..

So, we had about 30-45 minutes casting around our swim, followed by a coffee from the flasks and a short chat with the deadbaiter who popped down to see how we were doing…. and then we moved on further to another likely looking peg around halfway along the pegged section and had another 30-45 minutes of casting there – and Liz’s spinner worked its ‘magic’ again and a 6lb 14oz pike was landed – a pike that equalled her Personal Best…..

2018-10-22 Liz - Pike 6lb 14oz 01

Liz – Pike 6lb 14oz

We packed up and walked back to the car at 1400 – the deadbaiter had left and the bream fisher was still having no joy….

We left the reservoir and decided to drive to look at a club section of the River Severn, that we’d also not visited before, as it was enroute home – and as it was on the banks of a pub we also had to test out their ale and nuts – both passed the test! We walked a section of the river and it looked a nice stretch so, like the reservoir, its marked down for a return in the future….

As we were ‘roving’ no water temps were taken this trip….


Friday, 26th October, I’m intending to go pike fishing on a club pool on my own as Liz is at work as is usual on Fridays and Monday 29th October both Liz and I hopefully will be heading to the Warks Avon, for probably our last trip of 2018 over there, looking for a few bream before the winter weather arrives.

Session 46 – 4 Ruffe And 2 Gudgeon

Friday, 19th October, I partook in a short session on our local canal, the Staffs-Worcs, on a stretch controlled by the Wolverhampton Angling Association at Awbridge Farm, near Wombourne in a swim previously unfished by myself. As canals go, it’s pretty standard really…

I had intended to go pike fishing – and had intended to fish during the fortnight between the last trip and this one but weather and other things interfered with my plans – and on this occasion Liz wanted the car for work and I was due at a fishing talk on the evening ….

Paul Garner

… and so needed to put tackle/bait away, bath/shower, and eat before heading off there. In the end compromise was the answer … off to the canal from 0700-1200, home by 1300, take Liz to work at 1330 (and she’d get bus home at 2000), do my errands as above, and then head off to the event at 1900 picking up a friend along the way… back home by midnight hopefully as I’d a busy day ahead.

Anyway, got to the canal at around 0645 – still too dark to fish but allowed time to walk to the swim and prepare the rods and sundries and so I was ready for when it was light enough to cast out the float. And discovered a boo-boo… I’d left a 2+ pint bag of dead/comatose maggots I’d intended to use for feeding at home… I did have about 1/3rd pint of fresh maggots that I’d set aside for on the hook and a tub of dendro worms though and so I did manage to last out the session by feeding sparingly throughout.

I started on the float using 4lb line, size 12 hook attached directly under a 2AA reed waggler float set so the bait and tell-tale shot just tripped bottom to hold against the slight drift that existed…. and fished the centre channel.

By 0930 I’d had 4 (very) small daddy ruffe and so switched to my quiver tip rod for about an hour (4lb line/12 hook/dendro) fishing just off the far bank on to the downward slope … a few nudges but after an hour of nothing forthcoming I switched back to the float rod, casting where I’d ledgered for half an hour. One missed bite later I switched back to the original centre channel swim with maggot for the final hour and managed a couple of (very) small gudgeon.

The canal had been quiet boatwise until around 1000/1015 and then about 6 or 7 boats passed – 3 of them in convoy and were small boats that together looked like a normal houseboat that had been chopped in to 3 sections LOL.

Anyway, water temps continued to show a small decline as seen in the data below…

Plans: Liz and I are hoping to have a lure session on Monday 22nd on a 100 acre reservoir that the club has shared rights to the fishing on. We’ve not been there or seen it yet but we’ll have a wander with the rods and look it over for future possibilities…. but won’t be an early start as I have a doctor’s appointment to attend beforehand at 0850 that day.


Min:    11.5’C
Max:   12.1’C


Session 45 – Second Pike Session And Flamingos Spotted

Friday, October 5th, I left the house at 0645 heading to a club pool (Pike Water 1) for my second pike session of the new season, arriving at the waterside at around 0730…

Deadbaiting on this pool is hard work – I fished it for several years with deads using all sort of presentations – static ledger, pop-up, float drifted, … you name it, I did it! And I probably had 2 fish per season on average – and I fished it regularly, not just the odd visit…. Lure fishing was more successful and, in fact, my current PB of 20lb 12oz came to a lure on my first ever pike session on this water.

So, as I intended live baiting I first needed to catch my bait as club rules prohibit removal of fish from the waterside (which means that baits cannot be obtained on a previous visit to the water) and national laws prohibit the transfer of live freshwater between different waters without a licence to do so (although adding live sea fish does not require this – so live sea bass, mullet, etc could be used technically ie if you can obtain them!). Also the club rules for this club’s waters state that deadbaits must be although legally any dead fish can be used (eg may be caught in Pool A, killed, and used as bait in Pool B). Anyway, last year I bought a 6m pole for the livebait catching and so I set this up and used it for an hour with size 16 hook and maggot baits – by which time I’d caught ONE bait from probably 50 bites! I did have 3 fish on overall but 2 dropped off with all the faffing with unshipping segments… so pole got put away and my standard float rod was set up and fish were falling to my hands at last. Bait gathering was continued until around 1045 and I must have had 30 baits by that time although most were a bit too small for my liking (<= 3”) and I was anticipating having to use several per bait in a Xmas Tree fashion … a standard 2 treble hook snap rig with a bait on two/three of the points of each treble, so looks like a Xmas tree and so it creates a small shoal of 4-6 small fish…..

1100, I’d got my two pike rods cast out – 12’ Ron Thompson Desperado carp rods (2.75lb TC), 15g dart floats on 40lb braided line with snap tackles consisting of 2 x size 8 trebles on 30lb trace wire – and as I had enough sizeable fish eventually I used just one bait per rod the leftovers being tipped back into the water after the end of session.

I played around with the depths at which baits were presented and the areas – one rod was fished out right of me and the other to my left at varying distances out but mostly within 12’ of the bank as experience on this water indicates that very few pike are caught, even by others, out in the open water but mainly come from within 25’ of the bank. As the water is deep at the bankside (4’-6’ under your feet and slopes down to 14’ or so 3 rod lengths out) and tree/bush overhung with tree roots protruding under the water in some areas and reeded in the margins in others then it makes sense really.

At around 1250, my first fish, a nice one of 8lb 15oz, took my bait literally 18” from my toes, taking it as soon as it hit the water! I’ve had fish from this spot before on this swim – I think there’s actually an undercut or hole in the bank here as I’ve had other fish exactly the same way … and you can just about see the bottom here. Its literally so close to your feet that you cannot cast to it, or even hold the rod horizontal and drop the bait down… its a case of hold the rod up about 10 degrees off vertical so the tip is JUST over the water and freefall the bait from the tip with a big splash … and before the float has cocked its steaming away at the rate of knots! Anyway, as I said, today’s resident of ‘the hollow’ was 8lb 15oz…

2018-10-05 Steve - 8lb 15oz Pike 04

8lb 15oz Pike

The last week of September 2014 (I recall this as I was due to go on holiday at the following weekend and couldn’t return to the swim until the second week of my season. Frustrating!!) I was fishing this same swim, catching a few carp, etc when I spotted a fish tail at the bank’s edge… so I strained a bit to see if I could make the fish out and when I did its body kept on getting longer … and culminated in a huge pike head… but eventually it moved away but I noted the length on features of the bank and measured on my next visit – 45 inches – which on Mona’s Scale (a length to weight approximation) equates to 28lb 8oz!! I suspect this was the pike caught by a mate of mine on the following New Years Day 2015 at 34lb 8oz…

34lb 8oz Pike

34lb 8oz Pike

Over time it was caught again several times at increasing weights but sadly in Spring 2016 it was found washed up dead in the shallows, suspected succumbed to spawning rigours, at 38lb.

Anyway, to get back to current times …. fish landed, weighed and photo’d all I had to do now was to disentangle the two lines as they had become entangled as the fish passed over… looked a right old bird’s nest and I reckoned the best was to cut both the lines as close to the tangle as possible, rescuing the terminal gear and retackle. Actually, not too much line was lost and as the set up was fairly simple it didn’t take more than a minute or two to get the first of the rods re-tackled, baited and cast out whilst I started on the second rod … but before I’d managed to do that, off went the float again …. and a very spirited 3lb 12oz pike came to the bank.

2018-10-05 Steve - 3lb 12oz Pike 01

3lb 12oz Pike

Following that it went all quiet again with just one other take at around 1400 but, although I struck and felt the fish at the end of the line, the hooks failed to take hold …..

I fished on until 1530 before packing in for the day and heading home to get the gear put away, bath and get ready to pick Liz up from work and make her evening meal.

I spotted a strange bird on the water too … a rather large flamingo … or is it a pink swan? Not that conversant with bird species … but Liz said it had probably flown over from Aldi!!

Swan Or Flamingo

Flamingo! Or Pink Swan?


Yep…  took my thermometer with me this time!!

Min:    13.9’C
Max:   14.5’C

The trend is definite a drop!

Session 44 – First Day Piking

Monday, October 1st, Liz and I set off for a short lure fishing session at Pike Water 3 to kick off our pike fishing season as we are ‘traditional almost’ pike anglers … the ‘almost’ being that our pike fishing is performed between 1st October and 31st March of the following year whereas a genuine traditionalist’s season would terminate on March 14th, the start of the closure of the old generally applied coarse fishing season on all waters.

As we were lure fishing it was a late start out from the house – 1030 – as we find that after about 3 hours actual fishing (plus a hour’s sitting and coffee drinking) that are backs and shoulders are ‘feeling it’ and that usually signals the end of activities – and it was true on the day too as we made our first casts out at about 1110 and finally called time at 1500.

We, as per usual, walked to the far end of the water we were to fish before tackling up. Reasons for this … 1. The best water lies at that end anyway on this water and 2. Generally, if you start at beginning of a water and start fishing there, by the time the ‘ache’ sets in you’re nowhere near where you wished to reach and thus not often, if at all, get to fish that water and 3. You walk out to the furthest point you wish to fish whilst still fresh and, as you’re working your way back towards the car, then you have a shorter walk back when finished and tired/fatigued… Works for me anyway!

Our rods and lines were identical – Ron Thompson EPV2, 9 foot, 10-40g rods teamed with 30lb Spectra (7-strand) braid – and 30lb wire lure traces. (Spectra braid usually comes in 4-strand or 7 strand versions – I try to get the 7-strand version, usually from China via eBay – slightly dearer but…). Liz chose her favourite bar spinner which she used for the whole session, a Shakespeare ‘Devils Own’ 16.5g in a scaled pattern … a spinner that rarely fails to catch – and when she lost her first, and only one at that time, I had to re-order her 6 more!…

ScreenHunter 06

Myself, I started with a 18g Zebco Twin Runner with luminous blades which has worked for me….

ScreenHunter 07

… but not as well as Liz’s do for her … perhaps I should raid her lure box???

Anyway, Liz’s worked it’s magic very quickly and within the first few casts she had a small perch…

Liz Perch

… and not long after a pike of just over 3lb… however, it appeared the batteries of my camera had worn out at that point and that I’d failed to check that I’d spare batteries (however, later I found the spare batteries had actually fallen out of the pocket on the camera’s case) … However, I had been wearing my head camera and had video of the landing, netting and weighing BUT I transferred the footage from camera to PC, checked it had copied OK and then deleted the camera’s memory but whilst trying to capture a still of ‘Liz with pike’ from that footage the PC crashed and the source file corrupted… AND whilst unhooking the pike, which had taken the lure into the back of its mouth, I tried using my general (short’ forceps which left my had right TOO close to its front teeth with the result the fish flapped and rolled and I ended with an 1/2” slash across the inside of my thumb. And, as pike teeth are coated with an anti-coagulant, it bled not only for the British Isles but for Africa, Australia and most of the USA too! AND I hadn’t taken a styptic pencil (a MUST for pike fishing), Germolene or any sort of plaster and so I spent the rest of the session with my hankie wrapped around my thumb … yep, a bit of a day of total disorganisation!

Later, Liz has another pike – smaller, around 2lb or so….

… and said she thought she’d had an earlier follow too … seeing a flash behind her lure.

Liz 2lb Pike 1

So, meanwhile I’d changed my lure to a jelly bodied silver shad and had a few casts and retrieves and then Liz hooked the pike just I’d made a new cast out … so I put my rod down and went to assist in the netting … and then returned to my rod and began to sink-n-draw the lure back in and about 5-6 yards out it was grabbed … BUT before I could finish saying to Liz ‘I think you need to get the net’ the hook pulled free… wasn’t too sizeable though, probably in the 2lb-3lb range.

Anyway, after another 20-30 minutes of trying and without any further action we decided to move to a dam wall on the water which also features a fallen tree in one corner … looks very ‘pikey’ although I think we ‘may’ have had one fish from there in quite a few sessions. I do think that I did have a bit of a grab on one retrieve but nothing resulted. And we also witnessed quite large numbers of small fry scattering which seemed promising but despite our best efforts – I tried various lures from 13cm to 3-4cm in size and casting both into the centre and around the borders of the activity –  nothing responded.

So… come 1500, with aching backs and shoulders, we decided to head back home via our usual ‘fishing day’ local hostelry … and on the journey back we picked up Germolene and plasters for making repairs to my thumb whilst supping our ale. Still in the plaster too … if I remove it, the wound re-opens still …


Friday 5th – planning on having a lure/livebait session at another water……


Again none – no thermometer…