Session 31 … Not A Blank But Not Much Better!

Monday 29th July, Liz and I ventured out to one of two club pools in deepest Shropshire. Both pools are at one venue, one being a small, almost a pond really, pool (KF-WL1) that the club allows day tickets on….


…. and the other is a larger, members’ only, pool (KF-WL2)…


…  and as you see, by the rods set up in the second picture, the larger pools was where we fished.

We were intending to fish the smaller pool, it looked good BUT as you can see from the photo the (my) swim was overgrown with stinging nettles and we decided it wasn’t worth even attempting a trample’n’swing-the-bankstick attempt to make a workable area despite Liz’s swim next door being clear and, in fact, as we drove off home passed the pool later in the day there was someone fishing ‘Liz’s Swim’…

A hot bright day – and lesson learned from my previous session the brolly was set up to provide shade at the rods and over the bait whilst I sat a little way back under the shade of some bushes – and felt much better for it!

Not much really to say about the day – preps/feed as standard procedure. We both fished frame feeders, me with sweetcorn and bread, Liz with maggot and sweetcorn.

Total catch of the day between us was just 5 fish … I had one perch, Liz had 2 perch, 2 roach. But Liz wiped the awards board without doubt – 1st fish caught, last fish caught, most fish caught, most species caught, biggest fish, smallest fish, heaviest total weight….

We fished from around 0830 to 1500 …

And, as usual, on way home we stopped at our local hostelry where my spirits were revived by the fact that they had Titanic Cappuchino Stout on tap (and I was told that later in the week Titanic Plum Porter was coming on!) so I soon became a Happy Larry!

Due to the forecast for the next few days being wet and miserable here I’m not sure when I’ll go out again. The break could be an opportune moment though to mix up a big batch of my groundbait base mix as I’m now down to my last 2 x 1 litre bags and so that may be my job for the day on Thursday instead of the fishing…

Session 30 … A Touch Of Martha And The Vandellas…. “It’s A Heatwave”!

Thursday 25th and I was back to a local club pool (SAC-DP) for another session there. It’s quite a handy pool for my Thursday sessions as its only 15 minutes from the house so little travelling time needed for travelling to and from … and on Thursday’s Liz is at work but I collect her when she finishes at 1745, we then call in KFC for our usual Thursday night meal before heading home. And so, the 30 minutes is far better than the usual 90 minutes needed for my other venues… and its a lovely and peaceful pool to be sat at anyway… catch or not.


So, I set off from home around 0630 and by 0730 I was making my first casts….

The forecast for the day was for the temperatures to rise to be in the mid-30’s – and the car’s thermometer did, in fact, register an external 34’C on the journey home – so I was expecting a scorcher of a day but even so I wasn’t expecting quite the struggle I had to head home at the end of the day – but more on that later….

I had decided to fish the same swim as I had when I visited the pool the week before … facing an offshore island which houses solar panels and a wind turbine that power an aeration system to the pool. In my mind probably one of the better areas to be with the heat and an oxygen drop likely due to that heat in the waters – and all around the country the EA have been performing fish rescues ….


… however, I’m glad to report at this pool all seemed very well – no algal blooms, plenty of cruising/bow-waving, etc but none of the panicked surface sucking and the other actions of distressed fish, just the expected relaxed fish behaviours expected on a warm and bright day….

So, to the actual fishing … following the last session at the pool when I hooked, but lost, four good fish  on frame feeder, I had decided that I’d fish two feeder rods out towards the island for the day and to that end I, as usual, pre-fed with the area with 6 or so golf ball sized balls of my feed – and I didn’t even need to mix it up as I’d plenty of wetted feed left over from my previous trip out that I’d bagged and frozen on arrival home and then de-frosted overnight before this session. I did, however, during the day need to mix up more from the usual dry ingredients…

All pre-fishing preps completed, the rods (both 8lb line, size 6 circle hook on one rod baited with bread and sweetcorn on a size 8 circle hook on the other were cast out) at 0730.

A few nudges and knocks on both rods – the bread rod being the more active of the two – and every 30 minutes, until 1130 when I switched to an hourly system, the rods were wound back in, the feeders refilled and hooks re-baited and recast out followed by 4-6 more balls of feed. At 0830 I switched the sweetcorn rod over to luncheon meat on the hook. The first proper take, missed unfortunately, came to the bread rod at 1015. And then came the ‘midday lull’ – I find that, in general and more often than not, there is usually a lull of two hours whereby bites slow dramatically or even stop completely, that happens between 1030 and 1430. Don’t really know why but I do find it applies to all venues… and it appears on this day it was 1015-1215 as at 1215 I had a bite and connected with a nice looking mirror carp of 4lb-5lb – yes, I saw it in full detail BUT didn’t get to land it hence the guestimate of the weight. As the fish  came in it kited over to my right basically into the shore in my next door peg – and between me and it was a patch of lily pads. I managed to get the fish through the patch until only the very last pad separated us … and the fish managed to snag the line on it and snapped the hook length… Fish gone… and then I made a bad, nay, TERRIBLE decision….

After that, until 1415, all was quite quiet again, just a few nudges on bread, nothing at all on the meat – and then another bite on the bread rod was connected to, fish played for a time, felt similar weight to the previously lost one, and then went slack… and all my fault 100%.

When the hooklength snapped on the first fish, the break happened in the final inch or so of the line, so I decided, rather than have to dig in the bag for my hooklength wallet, to tie on a new hook to the remaining part of the broken length. However, when tying I used a 5-turn half-blood knot and I usually add a ‘tuck’ to it but, due to the shorter than usual length of line I had to play with, I left out the ‘tuck’ – with braid the tuck is 100% necessary as otherwise the knot will fail quickly but with mono, as I was using, then usually its not necessary – probably due to that when tightening the elasticity of mono allows the line to tighten around itself when the tension applied to the line whilst tying the knot is relaxed, but braid with zero stretch/elasticity won’t do that – and I, although using mono, use a sort of pre-stretched line (Daiwa Hyper Sensor) that probably lies between mono and braid in degree of stretch….. so the fish was lost due a failed knot (again) as evidenced by the twisty pig-tail end of the retrieved line.

And that was the last action of the day – fishing-wise anyway….

1530 – I decided to pack up – and then the bad stuff started – due to the heat of the day – and 25’C is sweltering to me!

I don’t respond well to heat at all … just seems to suck out all my energy.

Usually I can tackle down and have bags done in 30 minutes – but due to the heat it took 75 minutes, and this on a day when I was actually tidy! So, the next part was to get the gear to and into the car to head home…

Now, the car park for this water is on top of a rise by the pool, there is a path directly down to the pool about 100 yards to the left but then you’re faced with ‘Heartattack Hill’ to push the barrow up … but about 100 yards to the right there is a gate into a cow field with a path down to the gate which you are allowed to drive down to drop off or pickup tackle… and, of course, that was the option to be taken…. however, given the heat, even the 100 yard walk along the mown  poolside path with the barrow was as much as I could do, literally I could not have gone one step further and even had to rest 2-3 minutes before I could even lift the latch securing the gate to push the barrow through… and having got the barrow through the gate and shut the gate (5-10 yards) I then needed a 10-15 minute break sat under the only bit of shelter I could find … rested I then walked up the path to the car park (200 yards probably) during which I had to have 3 stops under trees … got the car and drove down to join my tackle … and then spent probably 10 minutes loading, in dribs’n’drabs, my tackle on board. At this point, I had seriously thought about stripping off to just my knickers to drive home but I couldn’t get my trousers over my boots and the thought of the effort of removing said boots and then putting them back on was far too horrendous to contemplate even attempting so I settled for just bare-chested with car blowers on full blast and windows fully open. I got home just after 1700 – good job I packed in at 1530 rather than the initially intended 1630 as I had to collect Liz from work at 1745 and I’d have had no chance of doing that. Anyway, got into house stripped off and straight into a cold shower which helped a bit but really I didn’t fully recover until late the following day….

As Fred J. Taylor once said ‘I’ll be glad when I’m fed up of doing this!’…. 🙂

PLANS: Monday, 29th, Liz and I are off to a club pool in Shropshire – well, one of two pools on site depending on conditions….

Session 29 – Back To Religion….

Monday 22nd July and I visited a club pool not often visited by me – AA-LA1 – despite being the club’s ‘premiere’ carp water. Reasons for the lack of visiting by me include (a) I’m not a great devotee of carp but occasionally I do go carp fishing in its wider sense of fishing for carp rather than the usual fishing for ‘mahoosive carp’, (b) its a fair distance from home and so time constraints play a part as to when I can get to fish there and (c) although it holds species other than carp (perch, tench, eels) of good size and, seemingly, one solitary bream of around 8-10lb, it is usually a ‘hard’ water and gives up its stock, inc that of the smaller residents reluctantly.

As for title of this posting – well, the farm on which the pool is situated takes it’s name from it’s religious neighbour next door…. although the pool’s is known within the club by the name of the religious establishment itself and which, incidentally, has a pool within its own grounds albeit, by looking via Google Earth, fully weeded…. There is also a second, smaller, pool (AA-LA2) just below this one of ours that is included in our lease but it is never fished as it is basically unfishable – banks overgrown (way beyond a quick slash with a scythe level, more like JCB), the one bank whereby the water could be accessed has one, and only one, possibility, a scaffolded platform placed there by a previous club many years ago with wood so rotten that even a damsel fly landing on it causes pieces to crack off. That plus actual access problems (think the gate is padlocked with a non-club padlock) and the fact that the farmer’s son has leased it to a duck shooter who ‘will not be happy with people disturbing the birds’ and it seems very shallow and just hold small bits and lots of small (2lb) jack pike… means that the club has never bothered to do anything with it, preferring to spend the time and money on the main pool. Liz and I fished this smaller pool once with lures (8 years ago?) but didn’t have a touch.

So, I arrived around 0730 to find a car already on the car park area – heart in mouth thinking my desired swim will have already have been taken – but it seems not as the angler had turned in the other direction and was fishing at the near end of the pool – and, I think, it was the chap I’d seen on the pool I’d fished in Session 28 as I know that has been an area he’s fished before and given the distance the features that could be discerned re build, hair, etc seemed to match his.

Happy to find the swim free I drove round to it, it being one of the few swims accessible by car, the only other on my bank being the next door swim to me which got occupied around 1100 by a ‘carper’ (carp cradle on 7’ tripod, bait bag on tripod, bivvy, line wrapping sticks, etc, etc). On the other side of the pool is another swim with a parking area at the back – although it could be to set up a bivvy!

So, my swim – a two-peg swim so plenty of room to manoeuvre around – or as anyone who knows my usual swim housekeeping, scatter my tackle and bags around all over the place! Immediately to my left a large overhanging willow tree (first pic) and to my right another willow tree further over (second pic) and out from that second willow tree is the end of an island.

My intention, as stated in my last session’s posting, was to spend my first half of the day (0815-1130) float fishing just off the outside of the left hand willow and the seconds half fishing two frame feedered rods out in front of me in line with the direction of the island (ca halfway out).

First thing on arrival – I fed dead maggots to the tree swim and mixed and catapulted the feed mix into the feeder intended area area. Whilst float fishing, dead maggots were fed to that swim every cast whilst 4-6 golf balls of feed were catapulted to the feeder swim every 30 minutes or so.

All prepped and plumbed up, the first cast was made with the float rod starting with a size 16 hook to 6lb line, laid-on with a 5AAA driftbeater and using maggot for bait was made at 0815 and the first bite of a ‘bite a cast’ session soon started. In fact, if a bite wasn’t seen for 15 seconds I knew the bait had been stolen and I was what we call ‘baitless fishing’ which can be hard work, although not necessarily without reward as at times I’ve had perch take a bare hook on retrieval. Later I switched over to a size 10 hook with worm for a short period and then switched back to size 16 and maggot. Plenty of bites but many missed, many tiny silvers hooked but which flipped off the hook on swing in as there was not enough weight in their bodies to counter their flipping but some of same did get landed …. and several perch in the 4oz-7oz range… So no major sized fish were caught but it was worth the trial and perseverance as I have had decent fish from the spot in the past – and a crowd attracts a crowd.

1100 – as I said, another chap came and set up his carp stall – and 3 hours later he was still setting up his stuff!!! I hope he intended to stay overnight to make that effort worthwhile… and I thought it takes me a while to get sorted before first casts as unlike many I get everything I think I’ll need set up and laid out around me so that there’s no ‘oh, not set the landing net up!’ or ‘where’s my scales?’ moments and resulting panics! Although one thing I usually miss is my disgorger … I have an available set of forceps but sometimes, especially with small perch, the hook is a little too way back out of reach with those (although – touch wood – visible and not deeply hooked) and thus a disgorger is needed.

Disgorger – there are several types but I do have my own favourite type…

  • ‘V’ ended…
    V disgorger
    Luckily it seems that this type has all now but disappeared from freshwater fishing (picture is of a sea-water model) and although the picture shows a ‘V’ end and a slot above the original model just a narrow metallic cylinder that had the ‘V’ end … the ‘V’ was slid down the line, keeping the latter taut, to the bend of the hook which was then pushed down and then pulled back up – with sometimes the hook freed. Several failings with this, some quite serious … obviously the sharp points of the ‘V’ could cause damage in its passage down in the mouth, hard to keep the line in the ‘V’ as slid to the hook bend and often got inserted deeper than meant as it missed the hook itself and continued onwards into the fish’s interior, and very often not very efficient as the hook point could get caught on the way back out requiring a further attempt to clear from the flesh so could be a lengthy procedure besides being a danger to fish health. Goodbye, go play with the gaffs and pike gags – and don’t come back!

  • Cylinder type
    Cylinder DisgorgerProbably the most common type of disgorger in use these days.
    The line is passed into the slot in the cylindrical end and then, on a taut line,the disgorger’s head is fed down to the bend of the hook, and a slight extra push releases the hook which can then be retrieved by keeping hook tight to the head as the disgorger is removed. This seems to work well for most people (but I’m one of the exceptions :)) and it does alleviate the problems associated with the ‘V’ type of keeping line and disgorger aligned plus being made of  plastic without any sharp points poses less of a threat to causing injury to the fish. However, it does have limitations for the size and type of hook that it can be used on – due to the bore of the hole through the cylinder then its not really suitable for the larger sizes (10 or larger, possibly 12) eyed hooks as the eyes will not pass into them.
  • Hoop/Loop type…
    Guru disgorgerMy preferred type….
    This has the advantages of the cylindrical version but as the eye/shank does not have to travel into a bore hole it can deal with virtually all hooks sizes – I’ve used it on 1/0 hooks without problem. The line is simply put into the loop via the slit at the side, the disgorger then slid down the taut line until the hook bend is reached, pushed a little further to release the hook point and the retrieved. Do NOT rotate the disgorger whilst in use as if the line is held away from the disgorger’s body as the hook is retrieved then the hook point nestles against the body and shielded from catching flesh on retrieve. Easy peasy!!! Even with small hooks I find this a ‘first time’ operator whilst with the cylindrical it can be a ‘2-3 attempts then pass to Liz’ operation.

1130 …. out went the frame feeders … 1330 …. retrieved untouched and recast … 1530 … retrieved, again untouched, tackled down to go home…. so not a great success and perhaps I should have stuck with the float rod as I was at least having action and larger fish could have moved in…. also Mr Carper, next door, to my best knowledge, was having no better luck or at least I never heard his alarms beep out….

What was a bit weird, given that it was quite a hot bright day, although with strong’ish winds at times evidenced by the various tall trees around the pool swaying and playing quite violently – but those trees also sheltered the pool itself and the surface, at worst, was orange peeled rather than rippled … and so I would have normally expected to see at least a few carp cruising, leaping, rolling or bubbling – but all day long I did not see even one of these signs although there were plenty of dipples of small silvers sucking flies of the surface, etc and scatters of the same as perch attacked them all over the pool and all over the day. Ummmm, go figure….

Anyway … as I said, it can be, and often is, a hard water so catching the few smallies was a little bit of success and saved a blank session.

PLANS: Thursday 25th I’m returning for a 4th visit to the ‘new’ pool (SAC-DP) to try to actually convert a bite into a landed fish. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get the same peg as I fished from last time as it seemed to be productive for bites but this time I’ll use the feeder rods right from the start. And I’ll also be taking my floater rod and biscuits and a loaf of bread so that I’ll be able to try for some of the cruising fish that were around on the last visit especially as over the past few days the temps have risen further and, as I write this at 0630, the current temp is around 20’C and forecast to rise to 26’C … and on Thursday rise even higher to 31’C …. and for the following 10 days or so be a bit cooler at around 21’C-23’C but still too hot for me … especially at night when my legs twitch and jerk due to the heat and prevent me sleeping (and the bedroom’s pedestal fan is usually on full blast and all upstairs windows and doors are wide open trying to get some air movement). Last night I was up at around 0200 drinking peppermint tea which I find helps a bit … or maybe its due to the exercising of the legs by going downstairs to make it … and then watching and videoing the sheet summer lightning over the hill at the back of the house for the following hour….


The Constituent Parts Of The Driftbeater Float:


<—– The sight bob


<—–  The stem



<—– The body




<— The Eye



The Build And Purposes Of The Constituent Parts:

  • The sight bob … is primarily there, as implied in its description, as a visual aid to allow the angler to see the float at distance due to the slim stem that has to be used as part of the build. Due to its location on the float (at the very tip) it, of necessity, needs to be light in weight to avoid the unbalancing of the float as it cocks but also large enough to be seen, thus as one will recall from at least school days, the larger the object for a given weight (or alternatively the lighter an object for a given size) then the less dense the material it is made of will be … and, in this case, as the sight bob these days is usually formed from polystyrene or similar light density material, the bob will be of a density of less than 1g/cm^3 – ie of lesser density than water and thus will be buoyant.
  • The stem … a long thin spill of material, usually plastic or better still fibreglass which separates the body of  the float from the sight bob and allows the body to be fully submerged and thus minimising the effects of any wind/breeze and surface drift but allows the float to be seen by letting the sight bob remain above the surface when in use. The stem is minimally buoyant, or in the case of fibre-glass actually slightly negatively buoyant and as it is extremely thin it is resistant to any effects of wind or drift.
  • The body ... usually bulbous/cigar-shaped, formed of buoyant material (eg cork/balsa/polystyrene), the main purpose of the body is to support the weight for needed casting to a certain distance and especially so on a windy day when you may be casting into or across the wind but also to allow the float to be cocked correctly. The weight also affects the float’s behaviour/stability so both casting/stability factors need to be balanced.
  • The eye .… a small ring set in the base of the float, its entire use being to act as a point of attachment to the line either by directly passing the main line through or by connecting on to the link of a link swivel. The float can be fished either ‘fixed’ or ‘sliding’ by the actual method of attachment. The best way to attach is to use stop knots (may need small eye beads too if the link swivel method of attachment is used) either side of the float/swivel. To use as a ‘fixed float’ just set knots tight to both sides of the eye or swivel, to use as a ‘sliding float’ just set top stop knot to the required depth – thus to switch between the 2 types its just a matter of sliding knots around rather than a re-tackling. However, if you do use the ‘direct line through eye’ method and you need to change the float (smaller/bigger) then you will need to strip down the terminal end (shot/hook) to do that hence I  recommend the use of a link swivel which means it becomes just a case of unclip float from the link, clip on new one and adjust shotting to suit the new float.

The driftbeater float is, for me, the best float devised for STILLWATER fishing using the laying-on (ie bait anchored to the bottom) method in ANY condition … if it cannot be fished due to conditions being THAT bad then there is no other option than to turn to ledgering in my view.

Tackling Up – My Way Of Doing Things – And Why:

OK, for the purposes of this part we’ll assume we’re tackling up a perfect, or almost perfect, day – later I’ll discuss the fine tuning required for more difficult conditions. And yes, we are talking about using a driftbeater in good conditions with little or no breeze or water movements… surely, that’s strange? Well, no, not really… for me, due to its construction and build, the driftbeater float is, as I said earlier, THE best float for laying-on or more specifically fishing ‘the lift method’ in ANY stillwater scenario.

So…. firstly on my line I tie a sliding knot around my line about 24” from the bottom, add a small bore bead – as I use a link swivel for float attachment the swivel’s eye is too large for a knot to be effective on its own –  and then another bead followed by a stop knot below that. And finally at the end of the line a quick hook length attachment – I use a bead like device….

hook beads

… which allows me to add my pre-tied, 4”-6”,  hooklengths easily and thus change hook sizes quickly and easily whenever I need to throughout the day. And 4”-6” I find the perfect length for the laying-on method – any less and you get a lot of false bites or float wavers due to the fish hitting the line (and thus can move the shot and bait out of position) or due to currents set up by the wash of the fishs’ tails… any longer and the fish can have too much leeway to play with before a bite is detected.

I now select my float for the session (although I may change it if conditions change later) and it’s a 5AAA driftbeater and I attach it to the link on my link swivel….

I then add a SSG shot touching the hook length connector (and thus between this shot and the hook/bait there will requisite 4”-6” spacing when actually fishing). This shot will almost always be an SSG although in very adverse conditions it could be upped to 2SSG or even 3SSG or, if the fish are extremely finicky, I *might* drop to an AAA as the very least size I’d employ.

So, 5AAA float attached with 1 SSG of shot and with the float set (locked/fixed) at 24” depth (ie well shallow for the waters I fish) I add another SSG just below the lower stop knot (bulk shotting)) … cast in and see how the float reacts. And now its a case of adding extra shot (try SSG until too heavy, then try AAA) to the bulk until the last shot added sinks the float so around 1/2 to 3/4 of  the sight bob remains showing, but if the bob sinks completely you’ve , at least, slightly over-shotted). Usually the sight bob is quite buoyant and can support at least 1 AAA of shot on its own – but will vary with bob size, etc obviously.

Basically, due to the construction of the float, the body will support the weight as its added firstly starting to cock upright and then sinking and bit more with every shot added until the body is *JUST* immersed at which point the whole body and stem will suddenly submerge (remember the stem has extremely little, if any, buoyancy so the addition of the smallest of shot can take the float from 0.1mm of body showing to the whole body and stem submerged and just the bob showing).

So what I’m looking for, ideally, at this point is to reach a shotting whereby I have one SSG (anchor) shot 4”-6” from the hook, and  the set of bulk shot 24” up the line which when cast out into the water cocks and shows just the top part the sight bob. Both anchor and bulk shots will remain in their positions as set throughout the day unless absolutely required to do so by conditions. I will usually only change the fishing depth via the stop knots.

Setting of the float shotting performed, it now only necessary to set the float to fish correctly – and I do this by firstly by setting the tackle for the depth of water in my swim much of which is done by use of ‘plummeting’ per usual. To do this I add a 2SSG or 3SSG tight to the anchoring SSG shot and then setting the float at a ’guesstimate’ I cast into the swim and see how the float behaves … if it lies flat I know for certain I’ve over-estimated by at least 24”, if it fully submerges I know I’m under-estimated by at least 12” (ie 2x the length of the stem) … and then based on that result I make an adjustment in the required direction and repeat … and what I’m looking for is the point whereby the whole stem is standing clear of the water, and if a merest bit of body also protrudes then that’s OK too. Once this depth is sorted I’m ready to fish…

So, I removing the ‘plummet’ shot and clip on my desired hook length, bait the hook and cast out into the swim … and then place the rod in two rod rests … one at the rod’s butt end, the other supporting the rod beyond the butt ring. The front rod rest head is one of those that has a channel that allows free passage of line as this is important for setting the line tension to the float correctly and the placement of the rod rests is made so that the rod slopes down towards the water and the tip lies, ideally, just touching the surface to prevent the wind catching the line as far as possible and to ease the sinking of the line itself below the water’s surface which is important.

Once the rod is settled in the rests, I *slowly* wind in line to tension it … note, slowly, as I do not wish to drag the anchor shot out of position, … and as I do so the float will sink lower and lower in the water and I continue to tension until the point is reached that all or nearly all of the whole stem is submerged – note that it is best if the entire sight bob remains above water surface and thus gives some leeway to allow for ripples on the water not to have an effect of lifting the float and thus moving anchor shot and bait as this will affect the tension and allow then float to rise and thus will require re-tensioning – or the movement may be taken for a ‘ghost’ of a bite. TIP: if fishing at a reasonable depth to allow it to be done without catching on rings, etc then a small shot placed above the float (back-shotting) can be useful to assist sinking the line without pulling on the anchor shot.

I’m now fishing and looking for mainly two indications that I’ve got a bite…

  1. The float will rise in the water …. a fish has taken the bait and lifted/moved the anchor shot thus taking tension off the line and the float will now start to rise in response. NOW … a heavy’ish float is in use (5AAA, if you recall, in this example) … but until the body itself actually starts rising above the surface the only mass/weight/resistance the fish feels is the small amount of overshotting applied to sink the float twixt top of body and sight bob as weight of the bulk shot is still being supported by the float’s body. So, even if the full stem and part of the body rises from the water then, unless the fish has risen 24”+ and is taking up the weight of the bulk shot (unlikely) the MAXIMUM weight the fish will feel is that of the anchor shot ie 1SSG in this example. The ‘stereotypical’ bite in this situation is that the float lifts as bait is taken, followed by the float tilting and moving away and then submerging as the fish swims off…
  2. The float just suddenly dives under … in this case the fish has picked up the bait and swum away from my location thus increasing line tension … STRIKE!

Adverse Conditions

There a number of things that can be adjusted to suit changing and adverse conditions…

Bigger/heavier float…

Lower bulk shotting … the lower the bulk shot the more its effect is in the vertical plane and this can help stability.

Heavier anchor shot….

More float stem showing above the surface … lifts sight bob above waves, allows float to tilt with the breeze but still keep sight bob above the surface. Remember the bob can be quite buoyant in its own right and actually support quite a weight so can easily cause the anchor shot to be lifted.

Fish with more line twixt float and anchor shot – this create more tolerance in the tensioning and also allow a bow to form which will change the pull from the float to the anchor shot from vertical to more of a horizontal one and thus allow the anchor shot to grip by friction or catching up lightly on the bottom (think boat anchoring)…..

Maybe some of these in combination ….

Experiment to find what works for you! 🙂

Session 28 – Third Visit To The New Club Pool

Tuesday, July 16th, in a change from the usual Monday outing due to other commitments on that day, saw me head off to the main pool (SAC-DP) of the new club I joined in May of this year for my third visit there….

As per my new plans for my outings I set off out at 0700 having set the alarm clock for 0600 instead of the usual 0415-0430 – and it seemingly worked well in regards to the end of day fatigue I usually suffered – and that was with extending my usual end time by another hour or so – starting to pack up the gear at 1630 rather than 1500-1530 as I’d been doing.

Despite it being only a 10-15 minute trip from home I didn’t actually make my first cast until 0830 though … the extra time being taken up by driving down to the pool on arrival to drop off the gear, driving back up to the car park and then walking back to the tackle and barrowing it to the intended swim (Peg 25) PLUS mixing feed and pre-feeding the swims and then prepping 3 rods, one of which I had to strip down and re-tackle due to a tangle that had accumulated en-route, and then laying out mats, nets, cameras, etc.

On my original arrival at the car park there were already 5-6 cars there – and it looked like a group were intending to have an informal friendly match between themselves but I didn’t see any evidence of that actually during the day … as a canal topping reservoir it is a big pool though, possibly 60 pegs or more so there would be no problem anyway and I was well away from my nearest neighbour.

A nice mild morning on arrival with light to zero breeze throughout the day – the wind turbo on a small island (in photos) that, along with solar panels, powers an aeration pump or possibly a water pump often stopped rotating…

Before tackling up and other preps the usual pre-feeding was performed which consisted of small quantities of maggots catapulted to the outside near corner of the right hand marginal lily patch which I intended to float fish for the first part of the day (until around 1130) and I also catapulted golf ball sized cereal and particle balls out towards the island in front for the second part of the day in which I intended to ledger…

So, 0830, first cast…

I decided that I’d float fish with maggot and worm in the pre-fed area just off the marginal lily pad patch and so the float rod had been set up to fish lay-on/lift method style with a 5AAA driftbeater float. Despite the calm nature of the day I still find a driftbeater type float the ideal for that job – the bulk weight supporting body allows stability and casting weight and also allows a heavy’ish anchor shot to be used whilst the long, virtually negative, buoyancy of the slim fibreglass stem means if the shotting of the float is properly optimised then you can get a large indication/lift of the float for very little resistance/mass being felt by the fish as the float can rise the length of the stem without any weight, other than the over-shotting, being felt by the fish until the body itself reaches and starts to rise above the surface. Yes, for all conditions, for laying-on, the driftbeater is the float for me….

The float line was 6lb BS and the hook in use was a Kamasan ‘Animal’ eyed barbless, size 10….

First cast gave first bite… however, missed it! But, over the course of the next hour or so, bites continued and a few fish were landed – but only bream to around 4oz, a small rudd and several small perch. Hoping a change of bait from my maggots and worms might entice some better quality fish I fed out some sweetcorn with corn on the hook but this seemed to be a kiss of death as not only did the bites become far and few between on the corn but also on maggot and worm when re-tried … and the fish seemed to have risen in the water as the feed was met by a series of swirls as soon as it struck the water…. but all small fish.

So, 1100 came with no further captures and so I switched to the two frame feeder rods casting out to the area towards the island that had continued to be fed regularly all throughout the float fishing session. Lines of 8lb BS, size 8 hook baited with worm on one rod, size 6 hook with bread on the other. At 1230 the first bite, to the bread rod, was struck and a good fish was felt but almost immediately the line snapped and on retrieval the end of the line was quite badly frayed, possibly unnoticed old damage from the previous outing at a pool where swan mussels abound. 1330, another good fish on, this time on worm, but hook lost its grip…. 1400, another good fish on bread, another snapped line seemingly for no reason as not a lot of pressure was being applied and line end didn’t indicate any damage that could have led to the loss… at this point I put that rod away as I felt that with the two rods I was losing concentration by having to reel in the non-active rod to avoid crossed lines when playing fish – and also I couldn’t be bothered to re-tackle 🙂 So, I just fished the one rod with bread on the size 8 hook … and next bite was literally one minute before I was intending to tackle down … and again fish lost … this time seemingly due to the hook knot failing evidenced by the pigtail twisting at the end of the line – can’t remember last time I suffered a knot failure but must have been 2-3 years at least… also a few bites had also been missed.

1630 … tackled down … without a ‘decent’ fish being landed and yet four good ones lost … not good!

But as Arnie said …’I’ll be back!…’….

Whilst there I met a fellow member of one of my other clubs whose pool I fished last week (Session 27) and he was saying that when he fished there recently he had 5-6 bream, something I was hoping for but didn’t catch … so planning to go back there shortly … which means that my River Severn trip might have to be back-burnered even longer! And that’s without the wanting I have to get to another couple of pools that I’ve been absent from for a while!

STOP PRESS: I got home and found I’d a general e-mail sent out by the club with an update regarding planned work that the Canal and River Trust is going to be doing on the pool shortly … plans are for re-pointing the brickwork on the pool’s dam and the main effects will be (a) lowering the water level by around 0.5 metres (20”), (b) some of the swims will be inaccessible due to the work itself and also some will be in use for storage of materials, etc and (c) work is planned to take 8-10 weeks although there is a possibility that it could be shorter.

PLANS: As it had been a Tuesday outing this week it has let little time to sort out tackle and baits and so the usual Thursday outing (ie today) has been passed over and I’m intending to fish on Monday 22nd July at the carp pool of another of my clubs as I’ve not been there for a while. Whilst a ‘carp’ pool – and it is indeed the club’s ‘premiere’ carp fishery that is in general looked after and stocked by the carp/night syndicate that exists as a subset of the club – it does hold tench, perch, silvers, and eels along with a few jack pike and a, seemingly sole, bream if reports are true. I plan to fish much in the main as I’ve fish this past session – float fish for the first half-day, feeder fish the second half – especially if I can get into the swim I hope to otherwise I might have to vary the plan to suit the occasion/location slightly.

Session 27 – Visit To The Tench (Now With Added Carp) Pool

Thursday, July 11th, I set off for what used to be a carp-free pool (AA-B) but about 18 months or so ago had carp added in order to protect the water from cormorants. See earlier postings about the whys-and-wherefores of the reasonings, etc behind this as I’ve already detailed such a few times therein.

OK, started off out on a mild but quite overcast day at around 0530 … and decided that in future I’m not starting out until 0630 at the earliest, more probably 0700, on future outings as it doesn’t me any good later in the day – and I went to bed at 2130 following this trip having fallen asleep in the armchair at 1900’ish and having to drag myself upstairs. So, the later starts, I feel are in order, especially as the ‘early hours’ don’t particularly provide any improvement in the fishing nor aids getting the better swims … usually I’m the first on any waters I fish and no one else usually rolls up until 0930 at the earliest and more often its gone 1100….

I arrived at the pool and headed over to my desired swim about the way up the pool on the far bank – not that far from the car actually as the pool is long and thin (165 yards by 35 yards) – and Google Earth’s ruler reckons it being an 86.79 yard walk from car to swim.  

As you can see the swim has a lily pad patch to the right hand side and you can also see a fair bit of floating weed down the windward end of the pool – what you can’t see is (a) on the left hand side a blue rope, one of several that stretch from bank-to-bank between swims as a cormorant deterrent (but not so close to the swims as to affect fishing too much, and are high enough to allow the playing of fish that travel beyond the ‘borders’… and (b) the underwater weed, Elodea, of which there was MASSES.



So, following my usual routine, I mixed up my cereal+particle groundbait and threw out 4 cricket ball sized balls just off the outer edge at the far corner of the lily patch followed by few pouches of catapulted maggots. Over the day, this feed was supplemented by 1 or 2 golf ball sized balls of the cereal feed and a small spraying of maggots.

The ‘station’ was laid out, with rod tackled up and equipment and baits to hand and first cast made at around 0645 with the float rod, 6lb line, 3AAA bodied antenna, 16 hook, maggot bait … and first fish, a small perch (one of about easily 25+ over the day) was landed at 0700…

However, the submerged elodea was making life quite difficult and was catching up the bait and shot and preventing the float cocking correctly most casts. However, I do carry a small, castable, weed rake and have done so for several seasons but it had never been used previously for the purpose of its intent although it has been used several times to aid the rescuing of vegetation trapped lures, etc (and several rakes have also been lost in that endeavour when the vegetation has shown Arnie like qualities and won the battle of strength with the 40lb braid to which it is usually attached). Anyway, the rake got a chance to be put to its proper use on this occasion and worked well and I soon removed a far bit of weed (well, over 50lb in my reckoning!) in the area of interest.. And the fishing became far easier, in terms of tackle control anyway….

weed rake

Weed Rake

I also carry a similar device, but with blades rather than pinned bar, which is useful, when attached to a landing net pole, for reaching out to trim reeds or, attached to a rope or the braided line and thrown/cast out can cut off lilies and other obstructions close to their roots.

Anyway, its propensity may actually be a blessing as it makes life even harder for the cormorants and gives the resident fish somewhere to spawn and provide the fry with cover – and if that costs a few minutes with a weed rake to create a small fishable hole then so be it … I’ll not be moaning about that, at all!

Fishing now easier, the perch kept coming although I don’t think the biggest was even 4oz, along with one small rudd. I changed bait to worm on a size 12 hook and … more small perch …. but there were plenty of tench bubbles showing in the area of the swim and frolicking carp over a greater area  albeit they seemed to be in the 3lb-4lb range (since the introduction of the carp they have been caught into double figures) around but seemingly not wanting my bait… then around 1030, a bite and a heavier than usual fish is felt – and a crucian carp of 6oz-8oz is landed – not a milestone in terms of size but as probably the first crucian I’ve had from this pool in over 5 years its was an ‘occasion’! 🙂

2019-07-11 Steve - Crucian Carp (6oz-8oz)

Crucian Carp

And shortly after a 3lb 7oz tench was landed…

2019-07-11 Steve - 3lb 7oz Tench

3lb 7oz Tench

… and then the small perch captures continued until 1330 when I decided to switch to sweetcorn.

Obviously, the bite rate slowed appreciably having offered something not as perch friendly as worm and maggot but there were still ‘nudges’ on the float (possible line bites though) and the occasional lift and float drag type bite but unfortunately none of these fruited into rewards on the bank.

Anyway, it was an enjoyable day – mild for the most part and overcast but there were at time a few drops of rain and the breeze was starting to pick up at the end of the session – and on the way home the rain became heavier so seems I packed in at just the right time.


Next outing will be Monday, 15th July – planned to be the local pool (canal reservoir, so quite sizeable) of a club recently joined but I’ll will be without Liz, who ‘has things to do’, on this trip. I’ve only fished this pool twice so far, both at the same end of it but heard the fishing is better towards the other end so I may venture down that way … but whilst there last visit I saw intriguing signs of movement in a lily patch close by, so I may go and check that out …. Which will it be…. find out in the next thrilling instalment of ‘Zorro doesn’t die…’ … Sorry about that but writing the words ‘thrilling instalment’ just jerked my memory of the Saturday morning children’s matinees at the local ’flea pit’ and the weekly serial, particularly one of Zorro on board a stagecoach/wagon that drives over a cliff face with Zorro clearly sat in the ‘drivers’ seat … and then in the following week’s follow-up he jumps off the coach a 100 yards before it even reaches the cliff!! What a fix!!! … Ha ha ha … the matinees themselves, so full of ciggie smoke from the previous nights showings that you could the see the beam from projector to screen and was never sure if the projector was out of focus or if it was the smokey haze … probably both, truth be known!!

Session 26 – They Could Call Me Jane Although Its Not My Name (With A Nod To The Ting Tings) … Unless They Added Calamity In Front ….

Monday, July 8th, Liz and I set off for the main tench water of one of my clubs (KF/DH/BP). And, as easily surmised from the title of this post, the current run of misfortunes was soon to be discovered to be continuing…. although after a bad start the day settled slightly better…

We set off at 0630 hoping to get a spot on the pool … a recent spell of good catches having been reported including one catch of 69 tench in one spell had put the pool ‘into view’ … plus there was a post made on the club’s Facebook page that on the day the Anglers’ Mail would be there with an ex-club secretary preparing for a ‘float fishing for tench’ feature … however, on arrival, there were 3 vehicles on the club car park but, in fact, we only spotted one pair on the far side further down the pool, the others presumably fishing one of the two carp pools also on-site … and the ‘tench feature’ folks didn’t arrive into their ‘reserved’ swim, well not whilst we were there but possibly the other two spotted could have been they but I would have thought there’d have been three in the group – angler, writer and photographer. Anyway, no else turned up on our pool either for all the time we were there… not fishing anyway but the usual ‘passers by’ (ramblers, dog walkers, etc) started passing behind just around midday.

So, arrived, had our choice of swims and we selected the closest – not just out of ease, although that is an enticement at any time, but the swim comfortably held both of us, is a good productive swim usually but that can be said of anywhere on this pool (19 acre lake actually), and tench bubbles were abundant in front…. all very promising so far … but then I started to tackle up and calamity struck….

OK … the walk from the car park to this water is a fair old walk through woodland and along narrow tracks with some low branches but at least it is downhill … however, the return journey is thus necessarily uphill and usually gets to be undertaken in the full heat of the day at this time of year … and a barrow is more a hindrance than help as the tracks are rutted and longs grass covers even going downhill and uphill in the heat its a killer … when I first joined the club I took a barrow and 1 hour 40 minutes from starting back from the water I was on my 5th sit down and breather and sure a heart attack was imminent and was still a way away from the car! So, given this, its definitely a travel as light as you can venue, and so Liz and I ‘share’ our tackles as much as we can – generally I take my rucksack containing my tackle (pared down slightly) to share to which Liz adds her own minor quantity of personal bits’n’bobs (catapults, alarms, etc), and we take a bag of food and drink, a bag of baits, and lightweight camping seats and one rod holdall with our four rods plus banksticks and landing net poles – still sounds a lot but remember this is for 2 people and really not that much more than a single person’s. All easy to carry between two although we did take a small trolley to carry the bait and food/drink bags on. I carried the rods, the Korum Mat Bag and the rucksack whilst Liz pulled the trolley loaded with bags and chairs and carried a small bucket. Now all of this was fine … what was NOT fine was, when unpacking, that, as part of the prepping the loads, I’d removed items unlikely to be needed BUT hadn’t remembered that I’d taken things out when I went river fishing on the previous session that needed to be re-added … and among those things were my bite alarms and bobbins which were a CRUCIAL requirement as we’d only taken ledgering gear… Liz was fine having transferred hers from her own bag … but didn’t have any spares either. So, a lot of time was spent trying to improvise some sort of indicating system including the old pre-bobbin ‘stick across the line’ thing but that wasn’t perfect and in the end I resorted to a very slack freespool set up on one rod whilst I touch ledgered with the other keeping a sort of watch (can’t be done 100%) on the lines as well for signs of twitching…. all-in-all a far from perfect or relaxing method…. and to top it all I opened my worm box – and they’d become a slushy mess of skins which I should have checked before taking! Those got mixed into the feeder mix…

We both fished cage feeders – Liz with maggot, sweetcorn and, I think, meat – myself with sweetcorn and meat with first casts around 0815.

Plenty of tench ‘fizz’ around our feeders all session (packed in at 1500) but very little in way of actual bites, just minor nudges/trembles/plucks but around 0900 Liz had a small black spotted roach on maggot – not diseased (‘black spot’), just a natural colouration of this water’s roach I believe. Liz also had one good take, definitely from a tench, but lost it to a line break, possibly my fault as I’d tied her a stop knot as her feeder stop but when trying to adjust the length of tail the knot seemed locked solid but Liz was happy with where it was sitting so we left it as it was … and the line break was exactly at that knot so seemed it added a weak spot to the line… 😦

Myself, despite the troubles of indication I did manage one decent tench on a bite that set the spool on the freespooled rod ‘whizzing’ … a very reasonable 3lb 11oz female taken on sweetcorn…

2019-07-08 Steve 3lb 11oz Tench 02

3lb 11oz Tench

 … but apart from that nothing. And the meat didn’t get a bite from either of us – in fact, the meat bait I retrieved at the end of the day was the one I’d cast in at the very start…

Day ended as usual, stopping at the local for a beer and scratchings before heading home….


Well, as can be seen from the photo, today I’m going to have a shave!! And tomorrow I had planned to fish the River Severn but, again, plans have been thwarted, this time by ducks! Across the river the owner runs a duck shoot and its reported that he’s released his ‘stock’ on to the river – a figure of 2000+ birds has been mentioned – and reports are that these ducks are making fishing in all forms impossible due to constantly snagging lines, grabbing baits as they hit the water, etc. So, my plans are now to visit the ‘tench’ water of another of my clubs that the last few times I visited hadn’t fished too well BUT it seems that it has picked up with the warm weather – and it is regarded by me as warm weather pool and rarely fishes well until around this time of year although, as always, there have been exceptions to the rule the most notable being a few years back when I was catching tench throughout the Oct-March period and, in fact, tench were the only thing I could catch at that time!

So…. now feeling confident for tomorrow 🙂

Session 25 – Back To The Warks Avon…

Thursday 4th July, I set off at 0530 for my club’s water on the Warwickshire Avon (KF/A/WG) arriving at the water’s edge, after unloading the car and getting to my chosen swim – which was 50 only yards away – just before 0600  🙂

Primary target for the day was to be bream with the hope of a 6lb+ to break my current 5lb 12oz personal best record… and to that end I fished with a 12’ quiver tip rod (Ron Thompson Evo 360) with 8lb main line, 8lb hook length with size 10 Kamasan ‘Animal’ barbless eyed hook and a 20g cage feeder on a running 6” link of 6lb line stopped about 18” from the hook.

At this point I’ll digress a bit to talk about what I mean by ‘cage’ and ‘frame’ feeders as I’ve needed to place some of each on order as home stocks are getting low and the searching of eBay and Google has thrown up several different versions of each. So here is what I mean by the terms…


Frame FeederOK … this is the type of frame feeder I use … body/framework is plastic and bottom ‘bullet’ type weighting is 15g on the model I use.

Used in stillwater, when loaded with groundbait it provides plenty of weight for lengthy casts but on retrieval it is light enough to lift from the bottom to clear snags – one a couple of waters I fish swan mussel shells can be a problem, and can cut the line with their razor sharp edges if the weight/feeder drags along the bottom. Also there is so very little weight incorporated into the feeder itself that the fish are freer to fight and the playing is far more tactile. Also, almost 100% of the attached feed is available directly to the fish.

Its an ‘old’ version of a method feeder really – and can be used in similar manner if wished (and I don’t) – but, unlike current ‘inline’ method feeders, it can be used on a ‘resistance free’ running link.   


Cage Feederr

My 2nd choice feeder, used for stillwater and slow running waters. I generally use in the size range of 15g-25g. Releases the feed more slowly and not as good as the frame feeder if larger particles (eg corn, whole pellets, etc) are part of the groundbait mix as, as the name suggests, the contents are ‘caged’ so larger particles will not escape naturally (ie either only come out on the retrieve or get slowly washed out if any water current is present. And contents are not immediately accessible to the fish until they either soften and ‘flow’ out or the fish nudge the feeder.

I do on occasion use other feeders (eg heavy river feeders for use on the Severn (like the cage feeder but far heavier and flatter in profile), maggot feeders (like a drilled and weighted plastic tube with end caps – the weighting can be either, like the cage feeder, a lead strip or fitted as part of one of the end caps).

You may note I used 8lb main line and 8lb hooklengths instead of a straight through arrangement. This is purely due to the fact that I like to use quick change hook length connectors for several reasons…

  • Easy to change to a new hook size, breaking strain as required. I carry a selection of pre-tied hook to nylon (self tied or commercial) lengths that should cover my requirements within the 3lb-8lb and size 2-size 18 ranges.
  • I don’t use hair rigs but at times I do need/want to bait the hook using a baiting needle (eg worm, sometimes meat, etc) and so I can just unclip the hooklength, thread through the bait and re-clip.

OK … so at my swim – which has a high (8’), almost vertical bank and so you need to fish from the top meaning that a long, 2.5 metre minimum landing net pole is a necessity – and my new 1.8m-2.8m Korum Adjusta-Net pole proved absolutely perfect for this. Also a long, 12’ minimum length, rod is good as it allows the feeder/bait on retrieval to be swung in over the marginal lily pads – or for fish being landed to be drifted in on top of the pads to the landing net. On my first visit here several years ago I turned up with 10’ and 11’ feeder rods, the 10’ was totally unusable as the end gear just snagged the lilies or the vegetation growing out from the bank and end result was usually snap offs to get free … the 11’ was far better although still far from perfect and several snap offs still resulted. With the current 12’ then snagging up has been minimal and usually those that have occurred have been freed without breakage.

And …. first cast … and ‘worm was the bait I’m think of’ (Roxy Music parody) …. was made at 0700….

First couple of casts I let sit for 10 minutes in order to lay a feed trail before retrieve and refill of the feed… and third cast saw the first sign of piscatorial interest with tremors and small plucks of the tip … then after continuing the 10-15 minute cast regime, with small plucks noted on every cast, I hooked into a fish and landed a nice chub, duly weighed at 2lb 2oz … at which point I realised I’d not photo’d it before release … ‘oh well, I’m sure I’ll have more and better fish today’ … and now you’ve already guessed the way this tale continues??

Anyway, over the next hour or so, whilst still getting plucks, I engage on a series of bait changes trying bread, macaroni cheese (NOT the tinned stuff, far too soft and flies off hook on the cast oir just falls off under gravity if taking too long casting. I’ll explain what mine is at the end).

0915, first boat of the day travels upstream … no problem, cheery wave and all is well … and I expect a change in the bite rate due to (a) churned up micro-organisms (albeit the river is 15’-20’ deep in centre, even at edge of bank its 5’, and a yard out 12’+ so unlikely to have much effect in that way – even the bankside lily pads barely move from the wake) and (b) oxygenating the water. And there was a bite rate change … for the worse … usually 15-20 minutes to the first plucks instead of the previous 1-2 mins at most.

Fished on for the next three hours with more bait changes (sweetcorn, back to bread, back to worm)… still slow and boat traffic increasing … and at one time I had two boats, opposite directions, passing in front of me and at another time a small cabin cruiser overtaking a canal boat…

Canal boats are fine … but sure every cabin cruiser was doing over the 6mph speed limit and one would I’m sure would have clocked a speed cam had be been on a road! However, one did attempt to be mannered and slowed as he saw me, drifted past over towards far bank, and then sped up again when well past albeit he wasn’t massively overspeed anyway.

1200 a careless driver, in a cruiser, went over and cut my line – don’t think he even saw me, although had I my catapult and maggots at hand he would have received a ‘belated message’ within a few days… 😉

So, I re-tackled and then fished on until 1500 changing baits (inc raw prawn, luncheon meat as well as re-trying the previous baits) and even tried dropping a line with a prawn piece just off the edge of the lily pads in front of me in the hope of enticing a perch but to no avail…

1500 … tackled down … headed back to car in order to drive back home and collect Liz from work. I had the option to either take the A449 or the M5 to get back so, due to the time I decided to head to the M5 thinking I might just miss the heavy traffic but if not then I’d come off when convenient and head across to the A449. However, the motorway was running freely until J4 and I hit some roadworks, not severe though and I hoped that they would quickly come to an end but they kept on and on to J3 at which point (a) I was in outside lane and unable to get across to the exit and (b) it probably would have not been much better timewise… so I stuck to the M5 up to J2 which was my leaving point anyway. Once off M’way local traffic was reasonable and I reached Liz’s place at 1700, with time to pop in for a cuppa in the cafe (she works in a Sainsbury’s cafe) before she finished for the day at 1730… then on to KFC for our evening meal … then back to Sainsbury’s as she’d left her mobile behind! Anyway, did get home directly after that.

PLAN FOR MONDAY 8TH JULY: Off to the tench pool with Liz – a bit of a walk to the pool from the car park so we’re planning to merge tackle (eg she’ll put her wanted odds’n’ends in my bag, take 1 rod holdall between us with the 4 rods in, 1 bait bag and the unhooking mat (which is also a bag)… and take lightweight camping chairs instead of the usual fishing chairs. Have to check weather forecast but unless rain imminent then think brolly will be ditched as a bit weight saving too.


OK … as I said above … the store bought tinned cheese macaroni is useless on the hook although mashed up in the groundbait might be good

So, my home cooked version … easy to do … all that is needed is macaroni (or really any pasta as suits your whim a it should be effectively the same thing, penne being like super-macaroni sized, etc), a pan and water, a packet of cheese sauce … a sieve … and a plastic bag to store the finished product..

To do … Bring water to the boil, drop in required quantity of macaroni, boil for as long as it takes macaroni to start softening (don’t forget that it will keep softening after removal from the heat and water), sieve from water and put into the plastic bag while still damp and hot, tip the cheese sauce powder into the bag, seal top of bag and shake well to coat all the mac… Leave to stand to cool … Hopefully, it should now be OK … but if its gone too soft then tip the mac onto a piece of paper towel on a tray in a warm ventilated place (the greenhouse usually in my case) and leave until right…. Stores well in the fridge….

Session 24 – The Good, The Bad … And The Unrepeatable! The Frustrations Continue And Appear To Be Contagious!

Sunday 30th June, Liz and I set off on our annual pilgrimage to the ‘secret water’…. Actually, its a pair of pools that are unfished except for 4 weekends (I think it used to be 6 weekends a few years back) of the year when the owner invites one of my clubs to send up to 6 anglers each Saturday and Sunday in return for a £10 donation per person per session which goes to the local church. Liz and I have been virtually every year – and last year we booked 2 sessions each but one of the years we had a problem accessing the water due to a change in the gate locking and eventually went elsewhere. I did arrange a new date but Liz couldn’t make any of the alternatives so I had to fish on my own. As I say there are two pools available, the one we fish is the ‘mixed’ pool with the usual carp, tench, bream, silvers, and perch. The other pool is carp only, anyway I think so, but over the years we’ve fished there (7 years now) I’ve only ever seen anyone on there once …  and after a couple of hours without a single bite they moved on to the mixed pool.


The day, as it had been for the previous few days, was a scorcher although the cloud kept most of the direct heat off us. Also the water level, considering that it wasn’t long ago we were deluged and floods all over the country and that other pools I’ve visited since have been virtually brim full, was lower than expected albeit slightly higher than previous years.

On arrival I spombed out about 10 large spombs of particles (hemp, wheat, turmeric rice, grated meat, grated cheese, dead maggot, etc)  between our ‘pegs’ as an attractor whilst we prepped our areas and tackled up…

Both of us on two ledger rods each (8lb main line), Liz starting with frame feeders on both rods and using bread, maggot and corn baits, myself with straight 1/2oz (14g) Arlesey bombs hoping for the spombed feed to make the need for a feeder unnecessary, and over the day I fished chili sausage, worm and bread/crust.

It was just 0730 as we made our first casts and we were soon getting ‘knocks’ on sweetcorn baits and on worm … and then at 0800 Liz had a good take on her sweetcorn, struck and was soon playing a very good tench BUT as it came to the net there was a hook pull and the fish was lost … and that unrepeatable word echo’ed from the lips of Liz! The loss being greater than the fish itself – and it was thought to have been a potential new PB for Liz – as that is the species that we are hoping for mainly on this venue and the past couple of years they’ve been scarce if not non-existent.

So, still stinging from the loss, Liz rebaited and fished on and soon landed a common carp of 1lb 12oz on maggot….

2019-06-30 Liz - 1lb 12oz Common Carp

1lb 12oz Common Carp

… then over the next hour followed a small roach … and another good fish threw the hook … frustration increases…

And, as by 1000 my own bite rate was minimal and certainly getting nothing worthy or possible to strike at, I decided on a ‘if you cant beat them, then join them’ approach and mixed up a bowl of groundbait and changed my leads over to frame feeders… and 1005 I landed an 8lb 11oz common carp taken on worm…


8lb 11oz Common Carp

… then 1050 … another fish falls to one of my rods, this time to crust set to hover about 6” or so off bottom above the feeder… another common carp 6lb 13oz …

2019-06-30 Steve - 6lb 13oz Common Carp

6lb 13oz Common Carp

1110 …. Liz hooks into a good carp … I’m not quick enough to move her second rod away and a tangle ensues … line snaps, fish gone … Liz … ‘Dont say anything!’, sits down with cig and a cup of coffee and calms for 10 minutes … then a cutting of the tangled lines and complete re-tackle is undertaken…

A few small silvers then fall to both our rods plus I have a small perch….

1320 … a mirror of 5lb 12oz falls to my worm baited rod …

2019-06-30 Steve - 5lb 12oz Fully Scaled Mirror Carp

5lb 12oz Fully Scaled Mirror Carp

 … and at 1345 I have a common carp around 2lb…

And then Liz gets some action AFTER having a bite, striking and then discovering that somehow the line has been wrapped around reel and jammed …. whereupon she flings rod to the ground in anger whilst using another naughty word … and whereupon I now run after rod that is being dragged into the water by a fish that is definitely still attached … I hand rod back to Liz … and she lands a 5lb 3oz common carp …


5lb 3oz Common Carp

… however, just to make her day complete … literally minutes before packing up … I have a tench! Not huge, 1lb 3oz, but a tench nevertheless….

2019-06-30 Steve - 1lb 3oz Tench

1lb 3oz Tench

BUT I was also not without my frustrations…. twice during the afternoon I’d had good takes, struck, felt the fish and the line snagged in the ‘U’ of the bite alarm and snapped – meaning I’d left fish with possibly 20-30 yards of line attached. I’m sure the fish would have shed the hooks (barbless) and line ok but it will still be in the water somewhere 😦

And it appears that I contributed to the fault that caused this to happen…

Bite Alarm

Head Of The Bite Alarm

As you can see in the picture the bite alarm (Leeda Rogue) has a rim around the top of the ‘U’ shaped reel seating … Other similar looking alarms (ie NGT VS) to my knowledge do not have this rim and the ‘wall’ is perfectly smooth…

I’ve taken the picture at a slight angle to show the ‘lip’ protruding on the left hand side but it is indeed actually flat and in line with the lower part of ‘the wall’ as per the right hand side and previous to a ‘mod’ I did there was never a problem.

So what did I do? Well, in the picture you can see, around the roller in the centre of the picture I added a soft rubber ‘O’ ring into what was originally a ‘V’ groove. Why? Well I thought the ‘V’s between the soft rubber ring and the hard plastic roller would grip the line better than just the ‘V’ in the hard shiny plastic…. but what it also did was locate the line against the edges of the roller rather than in its centre and thus closer to that protruding rim on which it started to catch… but whilst it was central in the unmodified roller there was no problem … And I’ve added a rubber ring to the roller of most alarms I’ve had with no problem and positive results previously.

So, a couple of refinements have now been carried out…

  • Removed the ‘O’ ring … and I’ve now painted inside the roller’s groove with a very light covering of Copydex which is basically liquid latex which should add some friction ….
  • Filed down the sharp corners of the rim to prevent any chances of the line being caught up again…

Plans for next outings… well, I had intended to go barbel fishing on the Severn … again … but again other plans have taken over. In this case I’ve decided I’d rather try to increase my PB bream and so now the plan is a visit to the Warks Avon on Thursday… Next Monday, still under consideration and depends on Liz, if she’ll be fishing and if so, where? A couple of venues in the melting pot on that one.

Possible visit soon to a club ‘tench’ water which has been fishing well – a National Trust water and adheres to the traditional March 15 – June 15 close season so fishing restarted there 2 weeks ago – and in the last week a member fishing there went home after 4 hours as he’d had 64 tench!! And they average 4lb+ (3lb-6lb with the odd 7lb and 8lb’er showing up too)…. will have to be in the next couple of weeks though as when school holidays start then the dog walkers, ramblers, sightseers, etc are supplemented by screaming hordes and far too noisy for me …… Attempts are being made to the NT to allow all year fishing though…