Not A Session – But Just Some Chatting

OK, as I write this it’s the evening of Tuesday, May 28th, 12 days since I last took the rods out to the water due to the replacement of our entire bathroom as described in my last missive – and it seems like 12 years! BUT there has been some enjoyable ‘fishy’ stuff going on in the meantime which have led to new decisions and new future plans and may actually lead to getting out of a bit of a rut I’d not actually realised I was in! So new avenues – or rather a return to some of my ‘historic’ paths – could be ahead!

OK – bathroom. Has now turned from a basic demolition site with a loo sitting forlornly in a pile of old plaster in a room with bare brick walls and the bath, shower, cabinets, etc all removed lying in a skip on the front lawn into something taking a proper shape with the walls now plaster-boarded awaiting the tiler to arrive tomorrow, and the bath, shower tray and loo at least in situ although not fully plumbed in yet so there’s hopes that it may be ready by the weekend or the early part of next week as Liz’s parents fly in from Cyprus at around 0100 on Thursday 6th June. Fingers crossed!

Sunday 26th May – Liz and I visited the Barbel Society’s ‘Barbel Day’ in Telford – a few stalls of tackle there and so a few odds and ends purchased – along with 4 new books for my angling library inc Billy Lane’s ‘Float Fishing’, a celebration book produced to commemorate what would have been Dick Walker’s 100th birthday on May 28th 2018 and a meet on Redmire, also ‘Willow Fishing IV’, a book with various contributing authors with perch as the species, and, finally, the 2nd report of the ‘Predation Action Group’ who campaign to get our fisheries protected from cormorants, otters, goosanders, etc. The highlights of the day, however, were the talks given by Dr Paul Garner, John Bailey, Bob James, Phil Smith and John Costello – and these were the initiators for my new found enthusiasm for a return to some of my ‘old’ paths – basically river fishing in its entirety and barbel fishing in particular… both of which, when I have partaken, have been very much of ‘Oh its September, I better get on the river before I start my piking’ and consequently only fish for barbel 2-3 times a year. But come June, when the bathroom is complete, the parents returned home and the river season re-opened I hope to do at least 3-4 river sessions per month and probably more…. And even Liz, who has not been a great river fan (‘I lose too much tackle’) has gained a little excitement … and I’ve even ordered a batch of Korum’s River Feeders after watching Ade Kiddell’s barbel fishing on the Severn video – its my ‘home’ barbel water but I’ve really only fished the ‘Middle Severn’ apart from a couple of ‘Lower Severn’ sessions in my life but hoping to change that especially as my club has a couple of L Severn stretches which I’m hoping to visit… plus I do fish the Warks Avon for bream but our stretch of that river is not a prolific barbel water, in fact, the Barbel Society did have the stretch directly above my club’s but let it go … anyway, I love bream fishing there anyway! So, my pool fishing this coming season will be matched 1:1 with river trips I hope.

And today, I had to go into Wolves to do some shopping, and popped into a couple of charity shops on my tour around … and emerged with another two books – at £1.50 each! Both John Wilson books – ‘Coarse Fishing Method Manual’ and ‘Go Fishing Year’ – the former especially being an excellent book detailing all sorts of setups from all the stillwater float fishing methods, river float fishing, ledgering, pole, predator, etc, etc with excellent diagrams etc and this will be my bedtime read for the next few nights! 🙂

AND, THE BEST NEWS … Liz says I need to get from under her feet on Monday (4th June) as she starts hoovering and polishing away the dust of the bathroom refurb … so being the very good boy I am I’ll be sorting some tackle out in the meantime in order to make my disappearance useful!

Not sure of the destination for the day but at the moment its weighted very much towards the larger of my new club’s pools which is only 10 minutes from the house anyway – and is a glorious place to be even if nothing gets caught on the day. I do need to check the forecast for the day though….

Next outing after this day is unlikely to be before Thursday 20th June and thinking of the Warks Avon for that, and then the following Monday on the Severn with Liz who will be looking for her second ever barbel … the first having been a pool fish anyway. And she watched Ade’s video too!! 🙂

So… tight lines to all those reading and getting out there, and I will update with Monday’s session asap afterwards!

Session 21 – New Club, New Venue – Venue 2

Thursday 16th May saw me, as planned in my previous posting, at 0600, heading off to the other pool (SAC-NP) of the club that Liz and I recently joined. A solo journey this time as Liz works on Thursdays, this pool lies about 20 miles from home in Shropshire and so I arrived there around 40 minutes later without mishap as I’d located the pool ‘virtually’ by following directions given by a friend using Google Earth, obtained the Lat:Long co-ordinates from the GE data and entered these into my car’s SatNav … well, I did overshoot the entry gate by a few feet and had to reverse a short way but near enough… 🙂

So, I followed the downhill track and at the bottom of the hill there was a 4-section folding barrier and a cone across half of the track but the barrier was placed so that half (a car width) of the path was clear and so I was unsure whether I was allowed to drive down to the pool side (about 100 yards). So I parked up short of the barrier and strolled down to the pool and it appeared vehicles had been along there – and also in the hedgerow side of the path it appeared there were layby/parking areas… so walking back to the car and looking around the area of the barrier it seemed that there wouldn’t be much room for farm vehicles to manoeuvre if needed … and so I did drive the car down to the pool. However, after fishing for an hour or so, two of the bailiffs for pool appeared and after a card check informed me that I should have parked outside the barrier and that if the farmer needed access he always walked down to the pool to sort it. Anyway, all amicably resolved in the end by moving the motor to the correct area and some info on the pool gleaned into the bargain.

And … so to the pool …

As you can see a nice small pool in a very quiet area … and a nice sunny day to boot … and carp were already topping all over area. In fact, I’d been previously told take plenty of bait especially bread for surface fishing for those carp. I was also told by the bailiffs – who were also fishing – that besides the carp there were good roach and perch and skimmer bream to around 6oz and as I’d already planned to split my day by firstly floatfishing and then switching to floating bread I initially catapulted out a few floating dog biscuits to literally ‘test the waters’ – and it was like a piranha attack in the Amazon horror story almost!

Anyway, sticking to plan, I set up the float rod to fish on-the-drop, plumbed the depth (around 8-9 feet where I was but I was told its even deeper further along by the dam wall) and set depth to fish the bait just on the bottom…. the usual feeding of small balls of particle laced cereal groundbait and catapulted maggots throughout the spell. Baits were maggots and worm. Results of this period – a few small perch, roach/rudd and gudgeon – I even found one gudgeon ‘gill-netted’ in my landing net later in the day. AND … whilst tackling up, even before adding a float, I’d placed the rod with shot and bare (I think it was although there may have been a remnant of worm/maggot skin from previous outing) hook dangling in the water whilst I looked up the float I was to use … and the rod bent over! And a carp of about 1-1.5lb was landed – and was fairly hooked on the inside of the lip… a bit parrot mouthed and ‘tatty’ but think it must have been the worse conditioned fish in the pool as all the others caught were pristine!

Carp 01

Part two of the day saw me switch to my ‘floater’ rod with bread baits… and for the next few hours it was a good bit of fun – and nice to be able to do it again after the long period of extended colder weather we’ve experienced. All in all I must have had 10 carp varying from around 1-1.5lb to a best fish of 4lb 15oz ….

A few from the day…

A FLOATER TIP – when using bread, a light bait, you sometimes need to add weight to cast out further than the dry bread itself allows and often a quick dunk of the bait into the water immediately before casting will suffice but that does suffer the occasional drawback that the bread can fly off the hook on the cast if it becomes too wetted and soft. An alternative is to use a commercial ‘floater’ float – a sort of elongated bubble float – or even attaching a piece of stick with elastic bands. However, my personal preference – and free if you like cheese – is to use the wax that BabyBel, Edam(?) and the small Xmas truckles of cheese come wrapped in. A bit of working in the hand soon makes it mouldable to whatever size and shape (ball, sausage, etc) you require but in use the cooler water soon stiffens it nicely. A 1cm x 5cm sausage adds sufficient weight for quite a lengthy cast, floats well, can even be used to support the weight of things like linkswivels that may be used to attach ‘hooklengths’ to prevent those dragging the line down.

Anyway, an enjoyable water, that although it seems the fish won’t be smashing any records provides an excellent day’s fishing in pleasant and quiet surroundings 🙂

BAD NEWS – well, for me – in a way…

It seems now that I’ll be lucky to get 3-4 sessions in over the next month or so … Monday 20th we have people coming in to completely redo/refurbish our bathroom which is going to take around 2 weeks – but hopefully less as on Wed 5th June we have Liz’s parents arriving from Cyprus for 2 weeks and Liz’s Mum needs the use of a shower (otherwise it’ll be a watering can in the garden) due to having suffered a stroke a while back and unable to use a bath. And whilst the parents are here, for the 7 days in the centre, we are heading to Great Yarmouth for an extended family break at the caravan of Liz’s brother and his partner … The parents fly back on Wed 19th so normal service will be resumed shortly after that. I do have plans to fish a short session on Saturday 25th May and possibly Saturday 1st June when the contractors should not be working and I can drop Liz off at work early and then pick her up again on the way home around 2pm… so all very que sera sera at the mo 🙂

Session 20 – New Club, New Venue But Not A Blank For Me…

Liz and I joined a new local club, membership actually started on 1st May but due to being on holiday that week (see previous posting) the first visit had to wait to our return … and a visit I’d planned to make on Thursday 9th (a solo visit as Liz works that day) was shelved due to bad weather, and so, our first visit to one of the new club’s waters (SAC-DP) was actually made yesterday (as I write this) on Monday, May 13th.

The club has three venues – the one we visited on this occasion which is a canal topping reservoir, a stretch of Staffs-Worcs canal that passes alongside this pool and which continues alongside a local commercial fishery plus a small canal pound by a lock, both of these venues are literally 10 minutes from my front door … and finally, another pool about 20 miles away which I hope to visit on Thursday 16th.

So, we headed off to our destination at 0700, arriving as I say around 0715 at the club’s car parking area, unloaded the car and wheeled the barrow of gear down a large slope to the water’s edge – I remarked to Liz it was going to be fun getting the barrow back up to the car park at the end of the day, BUT whilst fishing someone drove down through the cow paddock that adjoins the car park area, to a gate a few swims along from us, unloaded and then returned their car to the actual parking area… so we learnt something for the future and made of use of the knowledge too to get our tackle loaded back to the car… 🙂

The pool…. a glorious sight! And far bigger than I recall from when I and a mate walked it back in the 80’s with a view to joining the club then … at least 5+ times bigger than my memory … although I don’t recall actually joining at that time …

A word about the club … the club was originally an employee’s works angling club, I assume at the time of creation sponsored by the company … as were the angling/cricket/football/tennis/social/etc clubs that were part of the employee available facilities offered by my father’s employer in those days… And my Dad’s employer even held Christmas parties with Santa for the under 9’s and the 9-15 year olds were given a trip to the annual panto at the local theatre – whatever happened to the Barron Knights and the Grumbleweeds? :). Anyway its so sad these days that companies just regard their employees more as just a necessary expense to be paid as little as possible. OK… back on track now! Anyway, it started as a relatively large, in local terms, engineering firm … later taken over by a far larger concern … which, then in the recession that was the late 70’s until the late 80’s, closed down along with the local steel mills and other local heavy industry. However, the club still stayed alive and thrives…

And, now flash forward again to the fishing of yesterday…

 

I had intended on arrival to cast out the Deeper Sonar but the water looked so good I didn’t didn’t want to waste fishing time – and the lily pads gave me some idea of depths around the margins as they won’t grow in water much over 4’ deep … and with an idea of the starting depth and the good old plummet (well, I use SSG shot to plummet as actual plummets tend to be (a) too splashy and (b) too heavy when used on silty bottoms and can sink down to give false depths) and discovered our swims (pegs 27 and 28) to have a constant depth of 6’ beyond the lilies. Later in the day when packing up I did intend to have a quick cast around with the sonar before leaving but as we were tackling down someone arrived and started to set up in peg 30 so to avoid disturbing him I’ve postponed the depth sounding for another day.

So, we chose our swims (as above) and proceeded to tackle up – I started up – and finished with the float rod although I did switch from ‘laying-on’ to ‘on the drop’ style fishing around mid-day with a short period fishing a floater rod for the  carp (and there was one particularly good specimen in the lily pads to my left at times) that were swirling and cruising around the area – however, the time for that was considerably fore-shortened due to my floater bait not working as it used to. I’ve always used Pets Pantry (beef and chicken flavours) biscuits in the past without problem and, in fact, were perfect in that (a) they (99%) floated and (b) were soft enough to hook easily and (c) were cheap from Home Bargains but with this newly purchased batch it seems they have changed the recipe (although point ‘c’ still applies) and (a) it seemed around 10% floated and even those usually sank within 2 mins of casting out and (b) were far harder and crumbier meaning that although one could be hooked with care adding a second one meant the first one dropped off as it was slid over the hook bend and up the shank. So, a new solution/bait is needed – and I’m thinking of using hard biscuits that do float attached to the hook with a small elastic band a-la bait banded OR superglued to the hook possibly with a wrap of wool around the hooks shank to ensure a strong bonding. I have tried marshmallows in the past but although the carp seem interested in them they seem to regard them as play things to knock about and getting actual bites is a case of much patience … and I’ve also used parts of (and whole) yorkshire puddings (Bessie Smith type frozen ones) with a lot of success in the past … float well and have a superb inbuilt indicator that they’ve been taken ie the oil contained is squeezed out as the fish takes it and forms a glassy surround on the water but also have the downside that they are soft and when wetted they will disintegrate either on retrieve or when cast – so usually you only get one cast per bait. Of course, there’s always the old favourite – bread – to fall back on 🙂

Liz decided to feeder fish two rods – one with a maggot feeder, the other a frame feeder with varying baits.

I had first fish of the day – a small perch of an ounce or so – and followed up with 2 x 3-4oz skimmer bream and a couple of rudd (although one of those was foul hooked up the bum on a baitless hook when doing a bit of plumbing) …

Liz blanked and had hardly a bite all day, the one time being when she called across to me that she’d started to get a few knocks – and a few seconds later her alarm went into a run tone … a very decent fish, felt like a good bream she said but unfortunately the hook pulled free even before I could get to her to hopefully do the netting duties. After that she had not a touch despite both trying casting out and just swinging the feeder just off the lilies in the margins.. That take was on the maggot feeder, I believe.

However, there were a few others fishing and although a few ‘bits’ were being caught we didn’t see anything of substance succumb so I don’t think our result was below par for the day although the fish were definately around – as well as the cruising carp there were plenty of leaping fry including the not infrequent crucian carp and several patches of bubbling which was mainly early in the day

So, 1530, as usual, we packed up and headed home via the usual local hostelry for our traditional quaff of ale (one of my favourites, Titanic Plum Porter, was on so I was well pleased with that!) and scratchings and nuts…

Next out, as stated, Thursday 16th May…. which will be 31 days before the new river season opens … and I’m sure ”sidestreambob” is counting those days down now!! He writes a good blog BTW, well worth a read!! 🙂

Session 19 – Liz Wins All The Prizes ….

Liz and I left for our annual Easter camping week on Saturday 27th April returning on Saturday 4th May. Our destination was to a Parkdean Resorts site which, besides the usual static caravans, also has a small allotted area for camping – and quite cheaply too compared to other more mainstream tent/camp sites. For 8 nights, with electric included, we paid £74 (ie just a tad over £9 a night) … and we had access to all the facilities that the bookers of the caravans had, the bars, swimming pools, evening shows/cabarets, 10-pin bowling, bingo, etc. And the toilet blocks are extremely well kept with free showers and even an indoor wash room with 3-sinks for washing of the cooking/eating utensils.

These days, for even a basic tent pitch, with reasonable toilets/showers and a washing up area (and usually these are outdoors although sometimes under a roofed veranda), and a clubhouse (usually without any form of entertainment other than TV which is usually tuned to football in which we don’t have the slightest bit of interest and so often take our tablets in and watch videos) we can pay £18 per night and upwards – and add in access to a electric supply and it gets £20+ per night…. so £9 a night is a mighty fine deal!!

Anyway, advert for Parkdean over (and we don’t get any reward for the plug! LOL).

As usual with Liz and I, on arrival onsite at 1600 we were faced with putting up the tent in drizzle with a strong breeze – not an easy feat with tent 7 metres long and 4.5 metres wide! And due to the adverse conditions we also managed to fit the sections of 3 poles together wrongly meaning a 50% demolish/rebuild to correct was required doubling our usual erection time but once up to our satisfaction – and only 10 minutes later – the skies turned blue and the winds dropped… And the departure was just the same virtually – emptying tent, loading contents into the car and finally collapsing the tent (which was just balled up and jammed into the back of the motor) was done in high winds and driving rain … and 10 minutes down the road on our journey back the skies blue’d and the sun shone….

Anyway, we’d visited this site last Easter for the first time and found it had a reasonable looking fishing pool – not large with room for probably only about 15-16 anglers – but hadn’t taken our tackle that time but this time we managed to squeeze 2 pre-tackled rods each (1 float rod and 1 ledger rod although in the end the ledger rods weren’t used) in my 5-rod quiver, my Shakespeare seat box with the sundry tackle ends’n’ends and a bait bag with maggots, worms, sweetcorn, meat and prawns. I used the box as my seat, Liz used one of the camping chairs and the day flasks supplied our hot drinks.

So, we decided on having our fishing day on the Tuesday (30th April) – the rest of the week being planned for outings (Hornsea Mere where we went out on a boat trip, and to Beverley, Kingston Upon Hull (aka Hull), Bridlington where we engaged in our 2nd hobby, charity shop visiting, wherefrom I managed to gather a few more books (9 in fact) for my angling collection (I have around 330-340 now IIRC) and Liz bought a few ‘bath books’ – she normally reads on her Kobo e-Reader but doesn’t like using it in the bath so has her real paper ‘bath books’) and a ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ book that came with a boxed set of some of the patterns that they used in the show.

So, Tuesday morning I was up early to make the flasks and have breakfast ready for our start (fishing on the pool is allowed 0800-2000 and costs £5 per day) and then, with Liz, we took the tackle over to our chosen swims. Liz went back to the tent for her breakfast and came over a little later to start fishing until 0900 and then she went to reception to pay for our day tickets before coming back to resume… and we fished until around 1530. The day was mild with a minor breeze – the reason we chose the day really as it seemed it was to be the best weather of the week from the forecasts

We both float fished, Liz mainly on maggot, myself worm. There were plenty of movements – dipples, swirls, and even at one point a huge mass of bubbles just in front of Liz – and we were getting line bites, float nudges and attacked baits but hardly one proper take – and between us only one fish was caught and that fell to Liz – a roach of around 1oz which, as the title says, took all the prizes of the day! First fish, smallest fish, biggest fish, most species, and last fish LOL.

There were a couple of other guys also fishing and Liz was speaking to one of them on one of the evenings when she was at the bar – he’d fished 3-4 days and hadn’t caught anything of note and not a lot of those not of any note either! He also said the other chap had had one decent tench on one day and a carp of a pound or two on another day. So seems like the fish are very wary and shy in the pool but I suppose they do get to see baits more often than most…

So, not much (although I seem to have managed quite well! LOL) can be said further – regarding the fishing any way.

So my next outing looks like being on Thursday May 9th – and will be a first time visit to a local pool belonging to a club we’ve just joined. Not 100% sure of what’s in there except that there’s a lot of crucian carp been stocked as part of a joint undertaking between the EA and the club and as part of an overall EA scheme to increase the national falling numbers of pure crucian carp – many ‘crucians’ are actually hybrids these days either bred as such and stocked (ie F1 carp) or due to natural crossbreeding between common carp and the crucians. Years ago I seem to recall it was a good bream water, and think pike exist in there along with the usual other suspects.

Going back to the crucian theme… one of my other clubs has also taken part in a joint effort with the EA to increase ‘pure’ crucian numbers – the club provided a totally fish free water which, around three years ago, the EA stocked with just crucians and tench ie no chance the crucians can cross breed and this year, after 2 years allowed for the fish to settle in, we now fish the pool and, hopefully, it will soon be a venue for specimen sized crucians.

WATER TEMPS:

So the last water temperature readings have now been taken until September 2019…

And they were… 13.3’C rising to 13.7’C over the day…

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