Monday, November 5th, I set off at 0630 heading to the Shropshire Union Canal, a 1.2 mile section that my club controls the fishing of (AA-SU/WA). The start of the section, which is nearest the local village, has private moorings on the far bank with the resident houseboats for about 150 yards but is probably the most fished stretch as (a) most of our club matches, and other clubs who book the stretch for their own matches, peg this length and (b) the car parking is 10 yards away. Beyond this stretch, the far bank is more natural with overhanging bushes and vegetation and is called ‘The Brambles’ within the club. Good perch ALLEGEDLY get caught by the boats but I’m a bit wary of the claims having been told by people pole fishing there that they’ve just returned a dozen 2lb perch …. and as I’ve heard tell of double figure carp on waters where I know there are none …. and seen tench landed, and returned unweighed, and told it was ‘another 4lb’er today’ that, if it had been weighed on my scales, would have struggled to make 1.5lb. Anyway, I prefer the more scenic parts of the stretch – rather than overlooking someone’s bedroom window – and I have preferred area – and that was where I walked to on arrival at 0700 arriving at the spot 15 minutes later….
The day did NOT start well though …. I took my canal float rod (10’ NGT Float Max) and my 8’6” Qualtack ‘Ken Smith’ quivertip rod that I’ve owned since the 70/80’s and a great little rod … and just looking to find a picture (too lazy to go downstairs, get the rod, get camera, etc… LOL) I found one currently on Gumtree that £50 is being asked for! Probably paid less than half that back in the day!! Will have to tell Liz for when I pass onto the heavenly fishing grounds – definitely not one for the charity shop!!
Qualtack 8’6″ ‘Ken Smith’ Quivertip Rod
Anyway, let’s get back to the day… well, I get out my float rod, I attach the float and then attach plummet and give the line a small tweak , and when I say small I mean ‘tension of playing a gudgeon’ small…. at which point the tip snaps off about 12”-15” down … ARRRGGGGHHHHHHH!
This snapping has happened twice now on two of the same model rod – this being the second rod and this was its first outing…. HOWEVER, it might have been me that led to both demises and the circumstantial evidence does seem to indicate it was me…. WHY? You ask….
Well, a preliminary explanation of the situation will help… I like to attach my floats peg leg via a swivel/snaplink and also sliding style – which means that I use float stops on the line, either via commercial rubber stops and/or hand tied stop knots – usually 1 between float and shot so that I can adjust distance the float lies from the shot when casting/swinging out – then the second stop sits above the float and is adjusted to the depth at which I wish to fish – also I can ‘fix’ the float at a given depth simply by pushing the bottom and second stop tight up on either side of the swivel if I wish to. The third stop sits above the second one and is used to mark the plumbed depth of the water plus 6” and acts as an aid to resetting the second stop if I move it. For instance, if I pull the second stop up tight to the third stop I know that 6” of hooklength is lying on the bottom … if I slide the second stop down 12” from the third stop I know the bait is now being fished 6” off the bottom… and, if I make numerous adjustments over the day to fish the bait at varying depths, I can always set to a new wanted position or return to a previous position simply by referring back to the third stop….
OK … now the nitty gritty. The problem with float rods today is that they do not seem to be at all designed with sliding float use in mind in regard to their ring sizes. I suppose in these days of ‘Loctite’ and ‘Polaris’ self locking floats and most people using poles and feeders the use of the sliding float has fallen to the wayside – a shame as its the best way to prevent a slow sinking bait from surface to bottom, for example, in 25’ of water – Polaris and Loctite floats don’t allow that as they require quite a hefty weighting on the line to work correctly … and a slow sinking ledger/feeder would be nigh impossible to present properly…. The problem is those ring sizings – the current tip and the few following rings down the tip are far too narrow (more suited to quiver tips – probably 1.5mm ID) to allow the smooth passage of any sort of float stopping attachment whether it be rubber or tied stop knot (and even if created by 3lb line onto 3lb mainline) … at best it needs a jerky ‘wang’ to get the stop to pass the rings on the cast and even then you feel the jarring as it goes through. SO … I replaced the tip ring with a BPOT6 (ca 3mm ID) and the next rings down to BNOG6 (also 3mm ID) … tested and stops passed through with minimal effort. HOWEVER, to replace the rings one has to first remove the ones already fitted … and again the latest methods used are not necessarily the best as no thought has been given to the need to replace rings for any reason inc due to breakage. In the old days rings were fitted by whipping with nylon thread which was then coated with usually a clear varnish which meant that to remove a ring all one needed to do was to scrape part of the varnish away gently until a piece of thread became accessible and then just cut and pull and the whipping unwound… but nowadays the simple clear varnish has been replaced by the use of epoxy resins which, although it gives a nice shiny and smooth finished look, is a real pain in the neck to remove. It requires a lot of force with a Stanley knife (other brand are available) to cut and break into this amour-plated coating and get access to the underlying whipping – and then one also needs to remove the bits of epoxy that lies beyond the actual nylon whipping. NOW all this scraping and cutting is not good for the rod’s blank which these days are thinner than thin – a single ‘nick’ and ….. well, it seems that I now have two rods that seem to illustrate this case…. the second one (ie the one I intended to use on this session) having been treated with the utmost delicacy … and it didn’t even snap at the site of one of the replaced rings but 3”-4” below….
I’ve now bought a replacement for my next outing – from DragonCarp (don’t laugh, I have a pair of pike rods of the same model and they’re excellent – as is a lot of DCs stuff, apart from reels!) – a Diem 10’ float rod which arrived today and looks good BUT although the rings are as small as per usual I will NOT be replacing them! What I intend to do though is to try to attempt a repair of the broken rod – I’ve ordered some fibre glass rod of the right diameter to make a splint to place inside of the two broken bits … cut to size, coat in glue push up the thicker section to protrude and glue and then push on the upper section…. and and whip across the join with about an inch or so overlap each side… might affect the action slightly but have to live with it…. and does mean that I’ll have a ‘sliding float friendly’ rod for the canal available when needed.
BACK TO THE DAY …. OK float rod no good … so have to switch to the quivertip rod, not a major disaster although I feel I would have had more success, in numbers if not quality anyway, with the float.
So, 4lb main line straight through to a size 12 Kamasan Animal barbless hook … ledger weight is a 5g round ‘pennyweight’ type (holds a sloping bottom better plus doesn’t sink into silt) … attached on a 4” link to a sliding swivel. Baits were maggot and worm….
Before and whilst setting up I’d been feeding the edge of the far bank tree line, and the centre boat channel, with small but frequent amounts of micro-pellets and maggots and continued to do this throughout the session.
So, 0730, first cast made with maggot to the tree line area….
0740, first fish, a small (1oz?) roach, followed 10 minutes later by a bigger roach …. and several gudgeon and perch and more roach….
Most casts to the teeline produced knocks all throughout the day until I packed up at 1415 having landed 4 roach, 4 gudgeon and 9 perch – the biggest being a perch of 8oz or so. I had not a touch at all in the boat channel though. As I say, I feel I’d have made more contacts with the float but ‘que sera’ as they say.,… and it was still an enjoyable day, quite mild and pleasant to be sitting out on…. even the absence of chub wasn’t a major upset…
Only one boat passed throughout the whole day too – at 1100 – and quite welcome it was too actually as a couple of minutes after the lull of bites due its passing the bite rate picked up again and was possibly slightly greater than previously.
I also noted that leaves on/in the canal were less of a problem than the same time in previous years – and despite the sudden drop of temps which I thought would have triggered the tree’s leaf shedding there still appears to be many left on the trees… even the boat’s churning of the bottom didn’t create the usual ‘stirred up sunken leaf’ problems. Might it be an opportune time to take the pike lures before the main leaf drop???
Also today I’ve had a 5m whip arrive …. blame ‘Danny’s Angling Blog’ on YouTube …. this entry in particular… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0wnThbmLfc. I bought a 6 metre elasticated pole about this time last year for the intended catching of small livebaits for my pike fishing …. but me being me then had ‘thoughts’ of using generally for canal fishing and possibly in the pools … and the initial intent became overshadowed by the purchase of ‘universal top kits’ now fitted with various elastics from size 6 (roach, etc) up to size 22+ (pregnant blue whale, I think). And the outcome was that on my last pike session I took my lightest pole kit to catch aforesaid livebaits and …. DISASTER!!! Every one I actually managed to hook fell off again whilst trying to unship sections, etc … so 1 hour later, with several hookings but no landings made, the pole was packed in and the float rod came into play! Probably the pole problems arose from two factors (a) I sit in a low chair not on a high box and (b) I don’t have the rollers, etc for rolling back the pole so I have to unship section by section and trying to hold 5m of pole in one hand while placing the removed butt section down safely is NOT easy and the pole is totally uncontrollable…. SO … I’m thinking I’ll be better with this whip thing as its basically just a long rod …. just swing fish to hand or guide into net (if that big) as per conventional rod… Anyway, that will be seen on Friday when I head off to a pike pool … but already feeling it will be good!! Especially following a look at some underwater video I took last time I was there which leads me to believe I was fishing too far out with the rod/line … the camera was only 12’ out from the bank (water depth 10’ even there) and loads of silvers and bream … and I think a couple of pike slid past on the edges of frame … not surprised by the pike though .. usually catch within 1’ of my feet in one swim – there must be an undercut in the bank where they hide out – and with rod/line I was fishing at least twice that distance out despite thinking it was ‘close-in’! So, I’ll be setting the whip and some rigs up tomorrow ready for Friday and I’ve been watching YouTube videos for how to do it LOL!!! Google and YouTube … how did we EVER manage to do anything before they came along?? LOL!
OK – that’s it for this rather wordy posting … hoping you understood it all and didn’t nod off halfway through!!
Tight lines, big fish, bendy sticks, singing strings, and clear skies and waters!!
An increase this time… possibly due to the different water type … a canal?