Sessions 35, 36 And 37 … Welsh Camping With Added Fishing

Saturday, 24th August, saw Liz and myself set off camping in Wales for a long weekend’s (Sat 24th – Tues 27th) camping near Llandeilo, just on the west edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park and about 25 miles north of Swansea at the Trapp Fishery, Camping And Caravanning site in Trap – yep, I know the fishery name has 2 ‘P’s in ‘Trapp’ and the place name has only one ‘Trap‘ but those are what are on the fishery leaflet and on the road signs…. 🙂

We set off from Wolverhampton at around 1400 on the Saturday as Liz had to work a shift on the morning and I dropped her off at work, returned home and loaded the car, and then picked her up when she finished for the day and we headed straight off for our break from there.

The trip took us just under three-and-a-half hours, including the compulsory coffee stop around half way, which was exactly what we expected and so all was good despite some roadwork hold-ups but we made good on those – without breaking any speed limits even!

So, first thing on arrival, we spoke to the site owner who was very pleasant, informative and helpful and we soon had our pitch choice sorted – although it must have been 100 yards away from the pool! Oh, the hardship!! LOL!

This was the first outing for our ‘new’ weekend tent – last year we used a 3-4 man ‘pop-up’ tent, the sort that consists of a single circular pole/hoop and having removed it from the bag you just throw it up in the air and it lands ready set up…

pop-up

Not the actual tent … illustrative only

However, the deficiencies of the tent became too apparent on the few times we made use of it and so we had ventured afar – OK, so we actually went to Decathlon a few miles away – after seeing a possible candidate in the Arpenaz Base M tent – and we weren’t disappointed when we saw it in store! Sized 98” square with a mid-ceiling height of 86”  easily accommodates our two single air beds connected by a double fitted sheet over them plus allowed space either side of the bed to move to dress/undress AND had enough height even at the walls to stand upright to dress/undress unlike the pop-up where one had to wiggle on one’s back to get trousers, etc on unless, of course, one rose early enough so that the campsite was deserted and could leave the tent to do the necessary and not have to worry about the sudden arrival of the police to deal with reported ‘flashers’! And at £79.99 it was a bargain compared to our pop-up tents (not cheap ones – over £100!)…

However, as usual, its described as an 8-man tent as the designers of tents invariably think that (a) people don’t have luggage, (b) no-one snores and (c) people all sleep in group hugs. 8-person, definitely not, 8-sardine more like – but great for 2 like us!

BTW – two single airbeds under a double fitted sheet.. You may ask – why not a double airbed? Well, a few good reasons we’ve learnt over our years of camping.

  1. Often, at times too often, an airbed gives up the ghost and deflates overnight. With a double airbed both occupants get inconvenienced and can get to spend a ‘hard’ night sleeping effectively on the ground before the bed can be changed/replaced. With single airbeds just the unlucky one gets the problem.
  2. Replacing a single airbed is cheaper than replacing a double – generally not a lot more granted but it all mounts up over time.
  3. Probably the ‘best’ reason … if one person is restless or needs to get up in the night for some reason then the acts of rising/getting back down and/or just turning over changes the air pressure within the air bed… I’m sure you’ve seen videos of those large air pillows whereby one person sits on the end of one and then someone jumps on the other end catapulting the first person into the air? Well, similar, if not as violent reactions occur to the events I mentioned which impact on the other person’s ability to slumber by being bounced up/down if a double airbed is used. With single airbeds in use, each being its own enclosed system, none of this occurs and ‘A’ can almost trampoline on their own airbed without any effect being felt by ‘B’.
  4. However, ‘coverlet’ stealing can still remain a problem! Solution to that is simply a good sleeping grip on your side of it!

Also, the Arpenaz is simple to set up … just two fibreglass poles that form the crossed arches – and which are easy to pass through the sleeves fitted to take them unlike other tents we’ve had – the ends of the poles then being connected to pins at the corners of the tent itself – and 5 tent pegs knocked in to anchor down the base – and another 4 pegs for the guy ropes. Literally, 5 minutes or less from getting out of its carry bag, and you have a great – and very stable – tent set up. Another plus is the sewn-in groundsheet – no rain can run into the tent from external sources. Only slight negative is that it is single-skin and that does become liable to condensation on the inner walls – but not enough to run and puddle – and leaving just a slight gap at the top of the window’s curtains seemed to have an appreciable effect in the lessening of that as it allowed air to circulate a bit and so equilibrate the inner and outer temps slightly as well as allowing dampness from the breath to pass through and out. All-in-all this tent has pleased us immensely!

The site itself was pretty much a standard small farmer’s field. One shed housed the single toilet and single wash basin. No showers at all. There were facilities for caravan waste disposal and a drinking water tap was available to replenish drinking water carboys… The Lake Cottage did have it’s own facilities inc a shower. We had a non-serviced pitch but also pitches with electric supply were available. So all very basic really and almost back to the earth camping BUT it was what we were after for our short break and it suited us to the ground. There are plans in hand on the site to remove the current toilet/washroom shed and replace it with a proper toilet/shower/washroom block as well as other general improvements on the site…

Anyway, to get quickly over the rest of the stay and on to the fishing – we took just a single gas burner cooker, kettle and a water container – plus tea, coffee, sugar and powdered milk – for our on-site catering as meals we have out (ie JustEat) – generally we have a ‘brunch’ as our main meal and just grab some ‘picky’ bits and nibbles for the campsite evenings.

So to the fishing… the site had its own fishing pool … not massive, it had 10 accessible and marked pegs for campers/caravanners with a day ticket charge of £7.50. There was also the Lake Cottage on the dam wall at the end of the pool which has its own reserved fishing area (ie the dam wall itself).

From speaking to the site owner it appears that the water suffered a fish kill a few years ago, the reason being a difference of opinion between the site owner and the EA … the owner reckons it was due to crop spraying by a nearby farm, the EA reckons the source was from upstream .. and never has been resolved one way or the other. The owner also said the pool was fed by a stream that also fed the ‘famous Brecon water’ which I take from a look at the map as being Usk Reservoir. Anyway, it seems that due to the fish loss and the re-stocking (this year the owner has added 2,000+ rudd) it seems many of the fish are still of ‘stockie’ size although carp of estimated double figures were seen. However, the larger fish didn’t succumb to my baits …. but what the fish lacked in size they more than made up in in their condition – the rudd were as golden as gold could ever possibly be and every single fish I caught was fin and scale perfect…

The fishing itself on all three sessions was identical and so the descriptions given apply to all really… all sessions were about 4-5 hours in length, the first session being at 0600-1000 on Sunday 25th, the second was 1530-2000 again on Sunday, and the third was 0600-1100 on Monday 26th … a planned 4th session on the Monday evening was shelved due to fatigue from the previous day’s activities (driving to Wales, fishing, touristy afternoons out), etc and it being super-hot and fatiguing in itself!

Session 1. I fished from peg 1 – the last peg before the dam wall – plenty of fish activity – carp cruising but crust thrown out was nosed and battered but not being taken. I floatfished in my usual lift method style with worm and maggot baits and caught lots of rudd and roach, a skimmer bream and several tench. Biggest was probably the bream at around 12oz-1lb. The pool is very weedy and I had to cast into the clearer areas as much as possible but even so many fish were lost to fish escaping the hook after getting into the weed.

Session 2. I fished from peg 10 – opposite the peg I’d fished in the morning at the other end of the dam wall. The wall of rushes to my right looked very fishy and a possible perch haunt. Again lift method, again worm/maggot and some sweetcorn, again a lot of roach/rudd, several very small bream, a lot of tench (up to about 1lb)… no perch, in fact no perch on any session but reading the blurb seems to indicate that maybe there are none in there as they’re not listed in the species in the fisheries flyer … seems that trout are the water’s in-house predator although I had none of those either. Anyway, a lot of weed assisted fish lost again….

Session 3. I changed to an ‘on the drop’ method with a 5BB onion float set to fish about 6” or so off bottom thinking this may help with the prevention of fish using weed to escape the hook – and seemingly that situation improved – and also that it would make the bait more visible being held higher and possibly above the weed, and again it did seem that bites were more frequent not that they’d been slow previously. Again, the catch was made up of rudd, roach, bream, tench … and a small mirror carp.

Some of the weekend’s catch….

Anyway, we had a great weekend… weather was superb marred slightly about 30 minutes of very fine rain just before we got the tent down, typical, tent down back to sunshine!!! Certainly a place we’d revisit some time in the future, especially with the improvements on site we’d maybe have a longer stay … and maybe the fish stocks would mature and grow too….

SOME ADD-ONS….

A sea fishing brochure with trips out from Newquay, Wales… Possibly do it if we are in the area again…

View of Carreg Cennen Castle from the camp site…

05

Session 34 … A Nice Day Out With Liz!

Monday, 19th August, saw Liz and I head off to a club pool in Shropshire (KF-VV) for a spot of angling.

Setting off at 0700 we arrived at the pool around 0740 and were initially disappointed to find another car on the car park expecting to find our chosen swims already taken but a quick walk up the dam wall art the rear of the car park soon allayed our fears – it seemed someone had been night fishing but had bivvied up on the opposite bank to the area that we had hoped to fish (big sighs of relief! LOL!) which is an area known as ‘Chub Alley’ within the club – a spit of mainland sticks out into the pool and one side of it faces an island. The island extends parallel to the spit and thus there is a channel of about 8-9 yards between, the mainland bank mainly clear bar for tall grasses, the island bank heavily bushed with overhanging branches – a perfect haven for the chub that it is named after…

Chub Valley 2

As an aside, on the day, a mink crossed the bridge from island towards mainland but I didn’t see it leave the bridge and a later examination showed that it possibly lived under the bridge as there was a small burrowed hole on the corner where land and bridge met and also a slotted gap between the bridge and the land. Also, I had a sparrowhawk land and perch on the bridge for a minute or two.

Liz fished twin rods with feeders across to the end of the island for the day whilst I elected to start fishing (laying on) on the float across to the bushes in front of me using my 13’ ‘Hardy Matchmaker’ clone with size 10 hook with worm/maggot baits on 6lb line with a 3AAA driftbeater.

I took first blood with a small (<1oz) perch …. followed by another 4 of similar ilk … and then I became the victim of misfortune or, more honestly, failure to check tackle properly, as the float shot under and I struck into a decent fish which shot off and … Well, I ALWAYS play fish from the reel and backwind (or just loose the handle completely if necessary) if the fish needs to take line and consequently the drag on the spool is always screwed down tight and won’t give one millimetre of line even if 100lb line is used … HOWEVER, when I last used the rod I must have slackened the drag to assist tightening the stored line up tidily by rotating the spool to take up any slack line AND not have tightened it up enough after doing that … so, fish shoots off I hold back on handle and fail to notice until too late that the spool is giving up line by which time fish has managed to travel under the bridge and probably is somewhere around the far side of the island … and line snaps on some obstruction…. lost float, etc… I kept a watch out for the float all the rest of the day but no sign of it ever appeared…

So, I re-tackled again and continued…. but eventually I miscast into the edge of the bushes on the island and snapped, the float falling free but being drifted under the island bushes where it was unreachable…

At this point there were several fishing cruising along and under the bushes – and one carp actually slurping from the surface not 3 feet away from me in the margin. So, rather than re-tackle the float rod I unpacked my floater rod – 11’ 1.75lb TC rod, 12lb greased mono and size 2 hook and I baited this with crust and flake… and very soon I was netting a 3lb 11oz common carp…

2019-08-19-steve-3lb-11oz-common-carp.jpg

3lb 11oz Common Carp

Meanwhile, Liz had bagged 2 skimmer bream, a small roach, a small rudd, and a 1lb 8oz fantail goldfish all on maggot…

2019-08-19 Liz - 1lb 8oz Fantail Goldfish

1lb 8oz Fantail Goldfish

I continued with the floating baits and had another 2 carp – 1 common, 1 mirror – of 5lb 0oz and 5lb 4oz respectively…

 

At this point, I had another fish on which took me into the bushes and despite the 12lb line, and allowing a period of slack line, it was not extractable and I had to pull for a break …

So, rather than re-set that rod up I decided then to get my quivertip rod out and light ledger maggot on a size 14 hook to see if I could catch one of my original hoped for target species – perch and chub. I had no such luck – but I did catch a rather nicely coloured common carp of 2lb 12oz with very golden edged scales but the photo does not really do it justice…

2019-08-19 Steve - 2lb 12oz Common Carp (Golden)

2lb 12oz Common Carp (Golden)

… followed by another two 3lb 7oz common carp.

Liz meantime accounted for a 1lb 4oz bream and a skimmer bream, a 2lb 2oz common carp (on boilie), another small roach and a 2lb 12oz tench.

2019-08-19-liz-2lb-2oz-tench.jpg

And at 1530, per usual, it was packing up time and a visit to the local on the way home…

So it was a good day all in all – although the expected chub nor the hoped for better quality perch didn’t show up.

Currently I’m not sure about my next outing as we are planning a last minute long weekend camping trip – if we can get a pitch anywhere due to our late decision and it being a bank holiday weekend too!

STOP PRESS: An update as to next outing has now been added as a comment – due to a last minute camping weekend decision to a site with a fishing pool… 🙂

Session 33 … Blank Saved By 30 Minutes And 5lb 15oz.

2019-08-15 03Thursday, 15th August, and it was a trip to a local club pool (SAC-DP) for me. This is a venue that is fast becoming my standard Thursday one as not only is it close to home (15 minutes away) which is perfect for me allowing me to collect Liz from work at 1730 after my session usually allowing time for me to get home and shower and change beforehand too … and if the fish are in a feeding frenzy I can stay on a little longer and collect her straight from the pool albeit that I might be a bit smelly when we go in to KFC for our usual Thursday evening meal … and its a lovely quiet pool to be at too with a good selection of species to go at… I love it! 🙂

Only thing though is that apart from one session I’ve always fished the same peg opposite the wind turbine island… and on a pool with, I estimate from the far end peg being peg 33, over 60 pegs, I think on further visits I really ought to venture more … and those pegs out by the bushes to the left of the picture seem interesting as seen from my peg… Really I ought to just walk the pool, something I haven’t yet done as I’ve always had my tackle with me and just want to get down to the business. I’d like to pop down unencumbered one of the days and just walk a circuit around but usually Liz has the car for work and there is no public transport that stops anywhere within probably a mile and a half….  BUT I’ve just had a thought! I had to attend a hospital appointment today and it was suggested that I should do more exercise … so perhaps I could take the car for an hour or so before one of Liz’s late shift starts and do a wander, two birds-one stone!! 🙂

OK … so I arrived on this latest session at the pool – and headed to the usual peg – baited my swim, tackled up and arranged net/baits/etc around me – and first casts were made at 0745.

I mixed up the usual feed and catapulted out 8 golf balls to just short of the island as first thing on reaching the swim to start attracting whilst I set up all else…

Tackle for the day was the usual two 11’ 1.75lb TC ledger rods, both equipped with 8lb BS line (Daiwa Hyper Sensor) with 15g running frame feeders. A size 6 circle hook baited with bread was used on one rod all session, the other rod equipped with a size 10 Kamasan Animal hook baited with mussel for the first couple of hours but this was then changed to 5-6 grains of sweetcorn for the rest of the session.

For the first couple of hours or so I catapulted out feed at 15 and 45 minute intervals and re-baited and re-cast refilled feeders at 30 minute and 60 minute intervals….

So it worked out like the listing below…

  • 0 minute – cast out full feeder and bait
  • 15 minutes – catapult 6 golf balls of feed
  • 30 minutes –  retrieve lines, re-bait hook, cast out full feeder and bait
  • 45 minutes – catapult 6 golf balls of feed
  • …. above 4 steps repeated

Then I changed to larger timings of 20 minute intervals (so catapult after 20 minutes, re-casts at 40 minute intervals) for the next couple of hours … and then to 30 minute/60 minute slots ….

And by 1430 (ie after 6.75 hours) all the interest I’d had was two 6” lifts of the bobbins which didn’t and were probably line bites….

However, at 1430 …. the sweetcorn rod’s alarm suddenly burst into life and good weight was felt at the end of the line. Initially I thought it was a good sized bream as the fish seemed more dead weight than a fighter like a carp but as soon as it came close in it did suddenly come to life but it was soon netted… a common carp of 5lb 15oz.

2019-08-15 Steve - 5lb 15oz Common Carp 01

5lb 15oz Common Carp

So … I fished on until 1500 … and then decided it being such a slow day … and unlike the previous week, when bites were more numerous and fish were bow-waving, etc, there were very few signs of fish activity albeit the chap on the next peg fishing the pole had 24 crucian carp (albeit best I saw was probably 8-12oz) …. that I’d pack up, get home , sort out the wet gear and baits, shower and then go to collect Liz.

PLANS:

I’ll be out and about somewhere on Monday 19th, with Liz most likely, but venue has not yet been decided…. Liz’s choice!

Session 32 … A Long Time In The Coming But Things Get Better…

Monday 12th August I eventually made it back to the waterside! Yipppeeee!

The delay was due to several things – as said the weather was forecast to be bad on the Thursday after my last trip out and I did, indeed, use it as a groundbait mixing day making up 7 x 1Kg bags of my base mix. An easier job than it used to be as I’ve bought a paint/plaster stirrer paddle for my electric drill. In the old days I used to have to mix up each Kg individually to ensure a proper mixing – and as my mix consists of 6+ ingredients then it would have meant at least 42 individual weighings and mixings the ‘old’ way. With the paddle I just weighed out the ingredients (7 IIRC in this batch) as needed to make the end weight into a large bucket and whisked with the drill/stirrer combination – job done in no time! Actually, I would have made more but had to work to the lowest quantity ingredient I had in stock.

Other delays were due to a few hospital appointments and finally, a big teaser one, to visit friends from London who were on holiday near Stratford-on-Avon – on a private holiday park and their lodge was right next to the river – and, in fact, it would have been an easy cast from their patio area into the river albeit having to cross a footpath so people passing along might have been a nuisance! LOL. Suffice to say the friends aren’t fisherfolk either… what a wasted opportunity. Several people were fishing along the stretch though – although all appeared to be float fishing and the closest couple, a young couple, were catching but only minnow sized silvers from what was observed from our location.

Anyway… I have now got back into the swing … hopefully!

The venue for this outing was a club pool (KF-VV) that I had not visited in a while … and was actually longer than I thought as the club’s membership year runs from 1st April to 31st March and the gate padlock code changes at the start of each new year and I had to look up the code printed on the membership card and didn’t recognise it meaning I’d not fished there since at least the end of March!

2019-08-12

A nice morning – mild, calm, dry – the first for a few days the previous week being windy and wet and apart from a short but sharp shower at around 1400 it was like that for the full day.

On arrival at around 0745 I was the only one there, around 1100 a father and son couple arrived and fished on the far side of the pool on the other side of the pictured island but had left by around 1400, and on leaving there was someone fishing on the dam wall, out of sight to the right from my position.

This pool I generally floatfish but as Liz wasn’t with me I ‘stole’ her swim (as seen above) to do some frame feeder fishing putting one bait (bread mainly) out towards the left edge of the island (ie a little way left of the light green bush straight ahead) and another (worm/maggot mainly) further to the left, and closer to me, under the dark tree reflected in the water.

Feeder mix was per usual … base mix mixed firm with added hemp, wheat and turrmericed rice, and dead maggot.

First casts were made around 0830 … and first fish was hooked at around 0850 on bread by the island. Unfortunately, the hook lost its grip as it came to the net but I saw it was a common carp probably around 4lb or so.

Over the day, bites came frequently ranging from full scale runs to tentative small pulls on both rods. Some fish hooked, some lost to hook pulls, and some landed… and most were taken on the worm/maggot rod.

Catch:   

  • 1010                 Mirror Carp                    3lb 13oz            Worm
  • 1030                 Perch                                few oz               Worm
  • 1050                 Bream                              ca 4oz                Worm
  • 1115                 Brown Goldfish             1lb 2oz               Worm
  • 1135                 Common Carp               4lb 2oz               Worm
  • 1225                 Bream                             1lb 2oz                Bread + Sweetcorn
  • 1300                 Chub                                2lb 4oz               Worm
  • 1445                 Chub                                2lb 8oz                Worm
  • 1515                 Mirror Carp                    9lb 8oz              Floating bread

The latter fish being a bit of a disappointment as well as a source of elation…. I’d not had a decent fish for a long time it seemed, let alone a double figure one (and that includes pike) … and when I put this fish on the scales they went down to 10lb 8oz initially … BUT … I’d laid the weighing sling over my Fastmat (a bit like a carp cradle) to put the fish in … consequently it sank inside and when it and fish were lifted out it contained an amount of water … and as the excess water drained the weight dropped accordingly … 10-06, 10-04,…., 10-00 (stop now I cried!), 9-14,…., and finally came to rest at the recorded 9-08.

Photos:

 

 

 

2019-08-12 Steve - 9lb 8oz Mirror Carp

9lb 8oz Mirror Carp

So, although nothing huge graced the net, it was a very enjoyable day especially as I prefer to catch a ‘mezze’ (a greek meal course made up of many small dishes rather than just one main dish – can be sort of a ‘tester’ as it usually contains small portions of all the items on the full menu)or ‘pot pourri’ than just one or two species over a session regardless of size …. and I did have a gudgeon drop off the hook whilst swinging in too!

PLANS:

Well, tomorrow (today being Wednesday 14th) I’m intending to return to the local pool as its a ‘pick Liz up after work’ day. Interesting fact – someone has had a pike on a Robin Red pellet … unusual in itself BUT even more so as a mate of mine when asked a short time said there were no pike or not enough to bother about in there – and someone posting in response to the report of this capture said he’d been a member for 13 years and this was the first pike he’d ever heard of being caught there… I’ve also heard that there are catfish in there… So I know to big bream, perch, carp, eels, crucians, silvers, etc in there now plus the odd pike and some catfish… seems a good pool! 🙂 Heard now that the pool might be closed for fishing from 26th August for a while too … the Canals and Rivers Trust are dropping the water levels to effect some maintenance work….