Session 18 – And The First Tench Of 2019….

Thursday 18th April saw me heading to one of my club pools (AA-B) at 0645, arriving at 0715 and in my swim making my first cast at 0800. Intended quarry was ‘anything’ really but I was hoping to make contact with some tench – I had noticed from club and general Facebook postings that they were starting to appear more in catches over the past week – and bream.

It was a slightly cool breezy day as I left the house and misty too – a good sign of the cool air being mixed with warmer and thus warmer later in the day, and, in fact, this was so with a fairly bright day with sunshine and the breeze dropped in the main part so that the water was stippled rather than rippled. I also noticed that the lily pads that line most of the swims were almost to the surface, and in a few cases actually had. All very good!

I decided to return to an old favourite swim that I’d not fished for probably 3 years having in time been fishing another peg opposite a small island which usually fishes well but had not been doing so well the past few visits. So as I say I decided a change was needed. These two swims are actually diagonally opposite each other on the pool, the one being on the far bank near end (peg 25), the on the other near bank far end (peg 10)….

In the pictures you see two of our anti-cormorant measures – the pool is usually clear and only four feet or so deep and cormorant have been a problem in the past. In the left hand picture, the black item in the water is a fish shelter which is a cover with wire mesh walls (6” mesh) down to the pool bottom to provide a fish haven and we have another of these further down the pool plus a scaffold island with similar walling which also carries the solar panels and pump for the pool’s automated aeration system. In the right hand picture a line can be seen that crosses the pool from one bank to the other – this is a rope and we have these between most swims as far up the pool to the island – the idea being that cormorant need a good run to take off and so these deter them landing. And for the past 18 months we’ve ‘installed’ a third method advised to us by the Environment Agency – the introduction of cormorant-resistant carp. EH??? You say? Yep, carp of over 3lb have been added to the previously carp free pool. As I’ve said in previous posts I was a bit confused as to why carp specifically – surely it was the size that mattered? But I think I now see why… carp being carp, and known as ‘puddle pigs’ from their nosing into the banks and bottom, they soon convert a clear water to a more muddied cloudy one due to their disturbances and thus the cormorant’s clear window into the pool now becomes a frosted glass version?

So, tackled up with my 13’ float rod , 6lb line, size 16 hook and 3AAA driftbeater float set up to fish lift method style I made my first cast into the pre-fed with crumb, hemp, wheat, corn and maggot swim with a double maggot bait … but the line had wrapped around the float’s stem so that the float was sitting bottom end up so I retrieved to re-cast within seconds – and landed a 1oz perch! I thought that would be sign of a good and busy day but after that it was to be some time, and hook and bait changes, before my second fish, another, slightly larger perch on worm, came to the bank although I was getting a number of nudges on the float over that time.

And then, around 1145, I changed my bait to 3 grains of sweetcorn on my size 12 hook and hooked into a better fish – one that did require use of the landing net – and so my first tench of 2019 landed after a few tussles to extract it from those sub-water lily pads. Not a massive fish at 2lb 4oz but a satisfying one nevertheless.


2lb 4oz Tench

Unfortunately, between this capture and packing up time at 1430, and although I was getting interest in my baits, nothing else graced the bank.

It was good to see that general fish movement was on the increase with the rising temperatures with fish rolling and jumping, and smaller fish dippling the surface – and someone fishing the adjacent carp pool who walked around my pool said that down by the back end of the island a group of half-a-dozen carp were cruising. And as the pool is more a ‘summer’ pool ie responds better to warmer weather than cooler then it seems to be well on track…..

In the week Liz and I received our club cards for the new club we applied to join. We can’t actually fish until May 1st and we’ll be on holiday at that time, back on the 6th IIRC, but soon after I’m sure we’ll be on one of the new waters. Quite handy really as one of their pools is just 10 minutes from home and has crucian carp stocked as part of a joint project between the club and the EA who are attempting to restore the diminishing numbers of the pure species – a lot of ‘crucian carp’ are not currently pure breds as they live alongside other species (common carp, etc) that they can mate with (F1s). One of my other clubs also recently opened up to fishing a special crucian pool after stocking 3 years ago which only contains crucians and tench as part of the EA project too – we supplied the pool, the EA supplied the fish. The new club also has another pool about 20 miles away which seems good – last week someone reported 20+ carp up to 9lb taken on floaters – and a stretch of Staffs-Worcs canal alongside the local pool which includes a small pound. I’m hoping to be able to relinquish a couple of the cards now that I have purely to fish this canal – my Birmingham AA and Wolverhampton AA cards – when they expire now as this new stretch is closer and easier to access and is a good fish area and it would save me £50 a year. One of my other clubs also has some S-W canal stretches too, and another of my clubs has water on the Shropshire Union canal – so won’t go short of canal choices whatever!

So, as I said, off on holidays to Yorkshire soon so we won’t be out on the banks again, at least until we go anyway … I was hoping to take the tackle with us as there is a pool on the camping site we’re staying at but I’m now having doubts as to if I can fit the tackle in the car as camping to us is not of the backpacking kind – more a roll-up deluxe caravan with all the added extras, so twin hotplate cookers, kitchen stands, pots and pans that would grace a commercial kitchen, home preprepped and frozen meals (ie 2 electric cool boxes needed) … and I could go on …and  on … and on…. LOL! But whatever, be sure that the crab lines will be with us! 🙂


11.4’C rising to 12.7’C over the day…

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Session 17 – Fishing With Liz On Another Breezy Day – Preceded By A Day At An Angling Show….

Liz and I had a good day at Angling Times’ ‘The Big One’ angling show at Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth on Sunday 14th April – lots of gear at good prices (eg 36″,42″ or 50″ landing nets with pole – £15! And good quality too).

We brought a fair bit of stuff home although not a landing net as I struggle to lift even a 36″ these days… but amongst other stuff I bought 2 Shakespeare 40FS reels for £10 each (usually £20 each) .:)

Liz bought an Angling Times ‘goodie bag’ and programme at the entrance for £2 – included in the bag this week’s Angling Times and this month’s (released a few days ago) ‘Improve Your Coarse Fishing’ PLUS the previous editions of both – so as IYCF costs £3.80 on its own – and the bag also contained several tackle items too – that was good value.

I also bought a signed copy of Jeremy Wade’s new book – to be actually released next week (and his new TV series on Animal Planet entitled ‘Dark Waters’ starts on the 28th April) – entitled ‘How To Think Like A Fish’… and its a BRILL book … I read 2 chapters in bed last night and had to force myself to put it down as I had to get up early for fishing this morning… so probably be awake reading the rest of it all tonight! Last book, well series of books actually, that had that effect on me was David Eddings’ Belgariad series ..

We went to the talks by Dr Paul Garner (lure fishing), Jeremy Wade (his series – the planning of and happenings in filming), and Des Taylor (bit Judith Chalmers holiday travelogue’ish TBH)….

It was a great day out and we’re and hoping to return next year now….

Anyway …. now to the latest angling session….

Monday, April 15th, Liz and set off for a session on a club water over in Shropshire, leaving the house at 0730 and arriving a little after 0800 we parked up by the pool we intended to fish (KF-WL1) – actually more a large pond than pool in size the club allows day ticket fishing on it. Small but good fishing with good sized roach, rudd, perch and carp to double figures as well as ide and smaller species. As a fair, and very cool, breeze was blowing we decided to walk around the pool to check it out before unloading the tackle – as I say only a small pool and 10 minutes later we’d circumnavigated the banks and were back at the car and we decided that we might be better off on the larger, and possibly more sheltered, member’s only pool (KF-WL2) lying only a hundred yards up the track. So back into the car and after a drive up to far end of that pool we found a nice and sheltered area/bay section and decided to try there.

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Liz fished one rod, using ledgered frame feeder with maggot, halibut pellet and sweetcorn baits cast out to the island on the left hand side of the photo. She was first into action with a small perch on maggot within 30 minutes of the start but that was not only the only fish she had but also the only bite of her day. To me, anyway, that should have been the perfect spot but ….

Myself, I fished on the float, laying-on, with maggot, worm, sweetcorn and small pieces of macaroni cheese on a size 14 hook. I started the day fishing just off the overhanging growth on the right of the photo but also fed out to my left side along other overhanging bushes. The right hand swim was very quiet – producing one tiny rudd plus one other bite, which I missed, on mac cheese – and when I say tiny, I mean tiny to the point that ten of that size wouldn’t counter the weight of a single swan shot (1.6g) on an old dual pan balance! At the end of the day I’d accumulated around 7-8 of these tiny rudd, a couple of rudd of around an ounce or so, a couple of sub-ounce perch – and one decent fish, a perch of 15oz…

2019-04-15 Steve 15oz Perch 01

15oz Perch

Over the day the breeze shifted around a bit so Liz got it more in the face whereas it was more diagonally across myself – and I thought it was a warm breeze whereas Liz found it quite chilly and had to wear her bobble hat and fleecy snood …

1500 we called it a day and headed back to our local hostelry…

Next trip planned for Thursday 18th – another club pool, or rather another two pool club venue. One pool is carp and chub only, the other a mixed species pool. I intend to fish the latter but may fish the former, which in 7 years of membership I’ve probably only fished 5 or 6 times, depending on conditions which are forecast to be warmer but still quite breezy.


9.3’C rising to 10.8’C over the day…

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Session 16 – The Geese, OH!! THAT Goose!!

Thursday, April 11th, on a frosty morning that required the car’s windscreen to be cleared of a thin layer of ice, I set off at 0645 to a local club pool (AA-GH).

As the weather forecast had said that it was to be quite a calm day (3-4mph breeze) I had decided to floatfish for bream and to also set up my ‘floating bait’ rod for any top feeding carp that may turn up. So, I set up both rods and made my first cast with the float rod in to the 12’ depth of water in front of me, laying on with double maggot on a size 16 hook at around 0745.

At the start of the day it was calm as forecast but by midday the breeze, from the south, had picked up considerably and probably added another 10mph to that expected … but all was OK as I just changed my original loaded bodied antenna float to a larger driftbeater and all problems were resolved.

A few nudges on the maggot but nothing major led to changes of bait (bread, worm, macaroni cheese) and hook (to a size 12) didn’t get any more success although there were at least takes that were strikeable at with the bread despite not connecting to a fish.

BTW – macaroni cheese wasn’t a noteable success – if it even managed to get placed on the hook ok, it invariably fell off on the cast. I remembered my Dad in the 80’s using mac cheese in a club competition on the local canal in the 50’s (but don’t know if he caught on it) and thought I’d give it a try after spotting a tin in the supermarket the other day. Unfortunately, the tinned variety is far too soft and, as I said, either split on trying to put on the hook or flew off on even the gentlest cast. However, not to be beaten, I intend to get some ‘raw’ mac to parboil to leathery soft and then sprinkle a cheese sauce powder into it – add the flavour and also should soak up some of the excess moisture – possibly add a sprinkling of fine cornmeal to keep the mac firm but hookable if need be…

So, the float fishing wasn’t a great success but around 1300 I spotted a few BBSs (Big Black Shadows) cruising under the surface and the float rod was put to one side and the ‘floater’ rod baited up – basically, just 12lb main line straight through to a size 4 hook in its simplest form but I do generally add a ‘sausage’ of wax gathered from BabyBel cheeses or the Xmas cheese truckles about 2’-3’ above the hook which adds weight for casting, thus alleviating the need to soak the usual bread bait to create enough casting weight but softens the bread too much so it flies off on the cast easily – and the wax does float and act as an indicator – and, if you should use links to able to add hooklengths, if wrapped around the link it easily supports it on the water’s surface and prevents it sinking and dragging the line down….

A few bits of crust catapulted out showed that there was interest in surface food and shortly after casting in a 5lb 5oz mirror carp was netted….

2019-04-11 Steve - 5lb 5oz Mirror Carp

5lb 5oz Mirror Carp

However, the good times soon vanished as a few, and one in particular, geese also located the area of the bread freebies. And this one goose, on its own, virtually destroyed any chance of another catch for, as soon as I cast out, it locked its targetting to my bait absolutely! Even to the point that at one time I even sat there for 15 minutes plus without my bait in the water until said goose had moved 200 yards or so away … and as soon as my bait hit the water, goosey turned back, and ignoring 10 or more pieces of free floating crust that it passed enroute made directly for my hooked bait … and even twitching the bait away from under its nose, which usually spooks any duck/goose, it just gave chase all the way back to the bank or until the bread fell off. And I also had forgotten to pack my dog biscuits which, usually anyway, seem less prone to be of interest to any water fowl although in this case I wonder…..

So, the rest of my fishing time until I packed up at 1545 was more taken up with the avoiding of that goose than it was attracting any fish….

Next outing will be with Liz on Monday – destination not yet decided but more than likely to be one of three club pools in Shropshire…

We filled in the forms for the joining of the new club last Thursday as said in the previous posting and will get our cards soon ready to start membership from May 1st – but we will be away on holiday until May 6th so won’t be able to make use of them until our return.

On Sunday (14th) Liz and I are off to the Stoneleigh County Showground in Kenilworth for ‘The Big One’ ( – an angling show/exhibition with ‘the stars’ in attendance (eg Des Taylor, Steve Ringer, Andy May, Jeremy Wade, etc) and stalls from most of the major angling suppliers… and Sunday May 26th we’ve tickets for the Barbel Society’s ‘The Barbel Show’ being held just down the road (well, 15-20 miles or so) in Telford (


9.4’C rising to 11.4’C over the day…

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Session 15 – The One With The Dead Bream…

Monday, April 1st, I returned to the pool (AA-B) which I visited on the 25th March – which, as I said previously, is a slow starter not really coming to life until usually mid-May but with the unseasonably warmer weather at the moment and water temperatures in general rising I thought I’d return to see if there was anything happening… and although the fish catching results weren’t far better there were slight, although not numerous, over the day, there were signs of fish movements in the form of bow waves and leaping/rolling and one fish spotted cruising (carp around 3lb) so boding good for the near future…

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I arrived on the pool around 0715, again the first there although unlike last week others arrived later in the day with two or three others on my pool and one on the adjoining carp pool.

Although these days there are carp in ‘my’ pool, added within the last 12-18 months or so as an attempt to control predation by cormorants after advice by the EA. The club was told to add ‘cormorant resistant’ carp to the water ie carp of 3lb+ … at the time I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t have stocked 3lb+ bream, tench, etc instead of ‘polluting’ the water with carp … as we have a separate carp and chub only water literally 10 yards away … but yesterday I realised something …. this water used to be very clear for most part, only really getting murky only after heavy rains BUT with the carp doing ‘their thing’ ie snouts down churning the bottom and banks, it is now constantly murky … so to the cormorants it must be like driving in fog is to us, a limited visibility … and so the size requirement is probably more to due with the capability for the churn? Anyway, so long as the carp are not allowed to become predominant in this water and if it helps with the cormorant problem then I can live with that…

As for fishing, the methods and tackle used were much the same as last visit – float fished worm/maggot using the ‘lift method’ style and a ledger rod with prawn and bread baits. And the swims pre-fed whilst tackling up. First casts made at 0805 with maggot on the float rod and a piece of raw king prawn on the ledger rod.

First interest came to the float rod at 0850 with a slight float tremble and small lift’n’drop but not strikeable at… and then all was quiet on that front although I had a water disturbance a couple of swims or so off to my left – I couldn’t decide what it was as the area was partially obscured so I assumed it was the ducks. When it happened again around 1000 I just managed to catch a glimpse of a fish leaping towards the far bank and so, not having had any further activity in my swim for an hour, I wandered down to have a look about … and although the fish didn’t show again I did discover a dead bream of around 4lb floating on the surface just off my bank so grabbing my landing net I pulled it to shore. It seemed to have been a recent casualty, its eyes were still very bright, the body pristine without any obvious damage so not killed by cormorants or others (we did/do have mink in the area after some were ‘liberated’ from a local mink farm some years ago and we did have mink traps around the pool at one time) … anyway, I put it in the undergrowth behind the swim and sent a message to the club secretary about it for information purposes.

2019-04-01 Dead Bream ca 4lb

Demised Bream

Back to the swim, I fished on and caught a few (6 or 7) small perch over the rest of the day up to around 6oz on the float rod and mainly on worm baits … the ledger road was switched over to bread around mid-day after having solicited no interest on prawn to that time and within 15 minutes I banked a mirror carp of 3lb 9oz…

2019-04-01 Steve - 3lb 9oz Mirror Carp

3lb 9oz Mirror Carp

However, fishing with bread – and a trial with macaroni cheese – on the ledger rod was without further interest.

1540 – it was time to tackle down and head home….

Next outing … I’m thinking of a return to the local canal on Thursday 4th to get another trip in before the boat traffic starts building up for the year. With the warmer weather there’s been more boats about this year than usual – previous years you’d have been (un)lucky to see a passing boat between November and May but virtually every canal trip in that period this year has seen at least one boat passing through – not too bad though and sometimes a good thing as a quiet (in terms of fishing) clear canal can be brought to life a bit by the churning and colouring of the water plus, like digging the garden can attract birds for the newly presented food items, the newly disclosed fishy morsels can bring fish to feed better.

And on the evening of Thursday 4th, Liz and I are off to fill in membership forms for another local club that has a pool about 2 miles from our house plus a stretch of canal with a pound that lays alongside and another pool around 20 miles out….


9.3’C rising to 10.4’C over the day…

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