Session 35 – The Session That Was Not To Be…

Monday, 30th November, was intended to be a short session, possibly 0900-1200, at a local club pool but my occasional need to ‘recharge the batteries’ overcame me … in fact, I didn’t rise from my bed until 1030 the previous day and ended up watching Christmas and horror movies on the day and so no tackle or bait prep was done so really the decision was made then but then again today, 30th, I was woken by Liz at 1100 with a mug of coffee which meant I actually got out of bed at 1130!

I had a couple of dreams too … one of which involved the session that was not to be … although it to be a solo trip in the dream I had a companion, don’t know who but did say as we were packing the car that ‘I’m not taking the barrow and all my kit, just my trolley and my (Shakespeare) box…’ and that was the plan I was in actuality intending … basically one float rod, etc as for a trip being undertaken on the bus for a canal session….

However, looking out of the windows here at home it’s a ‘right miserable day out there’….

… and so I’m not as disappointed as I might have been …

So, as I said previously, as I wasn’t intending fishing much in December and definitely unlikely to be doing so before Christmas Day it looks like being a while to my next outing … but you never know do you and a lure session might slip in there… 🙂

Tight lines to all of you who manage to get out in the meantime … keep your post coming and look forward to reading them…

Today for me now … writing Xmas cards, watching Xmas movies,….

Ciao, my friends!

Session 34 – Pike Fishing At 70…

Thursday, 26th November, was a (half) day spent at Pike Water 1…

I left home at 0700 and arrived onsite at the pool at around 0730 not surprised to discover I was the first there due to the heavy-at-times mist, sub-zero temperatures and heavy ground frost…

2020-11-26 Frost And Mist

Car parked, barrow loaded and I headed off to my chosen peg for the day and tackled up to follow my plan for the day which was to initially fish for small livebaits until around 1030 and then put those baits out for the desired pike.

Part One: Livebait gathering:

My tackle for this was a 13’ Sealey float rod along with a small 3000 size reel with 4lb line straight though to the size 16 hook which was maggot baited. The float was a crystal style waggler of about a 4BB rating.

[The Sealey rod I had acquired via a local auction some time ago along with 9 or so other rods for the princely sum of £30 and it is a nice rod – fibreglass but very light. Actually, I bought a good lot in that auction – Liz ended up with a decent float rod, there were a couple of other nice rods and a couple will head to car booting – but the star of the lot was a Hardy’s Gordon’s 10’ Carpquest which currently sells at between £150-£200 retail and I have seen them go in auctions at £85+, however, mine is missing the first ring of the top section which I need to replace which will devalue it a bit I suppose]

So, first cast was optimistically made at 0830 as on arrival, despite the frost/mist/low temps, there were plenty of dimples and swirls of active small fish in evidence. However, the next hour and a half did not go well and I suffered tangle after tangle and three times I had to cut out knots and re-tackle from scratch – and not a bite in the interim period either despite altering depths from the 30” I started fishing at (and at which depth I was catching on an almost identical water with when I fished with Liz last time) down to fishing the bottom – and at various levels in-between. Due to the problems I changed my plans and decided to give it until 1130 to gather livebaits and I did in fact, during the period 1000-1130 I manage to avoid further tangles BUT still did not manage to make a single capture…

Part Two: Pike Fishing:

So, in the absence of livebait, my pike fishing had to revert to Plan B and be done using deadbaits (smelt and sardine) that I’d taken with me ‘just in case’.

The usual floatfishing pike rod (I decided to fish just a single rod), a 12’ 2.75lb TC carp rod, was tackled with a 40lb braid main line, 30lb wire trace with twin treble snap tackle, red/white polystyrene float and a 25g quick-change lead … and a sardine bait mounted….

And at 1400 when I decided to call it a day I’d not had a single touch despite varying location and depths and tried drifting and laying-on…

So… not an eventful day but was pleasant enough … thanks to the Damart Thermolactyl Double Force thermals!! I really rate them and have been my standard fishing thermals really since the 80’s (NO.. not the same set!! And they do get washed! LOL). I’ve found nothing to compare – and are used on Everest and Arctic/Antarctic expeditions I believe. If you sit still you will start to get chilly but after a 100 yard walk up the bank and back you’re as snug as a bug in a rug again for another hour or more! One of my two pike fishing essentials not included in the usual lists…

  1. Damart Thermals – or at least some sort of thermals or quilted suit..
  2. Styptic Pencil!! Pike teeth are sharp (triangular shaped with a razor sharp edge) – and are also covered in an anti-coagulant. The merest scratch will bleed and bleed and bleed – not profusely but for a long long time often resulting in a well bloodied hankie and bloodied clothing and kit and the wound is barely visible! So a styptic pencil is always in my jacket pocket – an excellent solution, albeit a ‘stingey’ one for a few seconds!


I’m hoping to make one last trip out on Monday 30th before Christmas – whether piking or maggot fishing not decided but most likely the latter as I’ve plenty of maggots at hand at the mo to be used up.

I’ve pencilled in December for doing the Christmas preparations/jobs essentially and in past years I’ve not managed to do much fishing during the month anyway. But that’s not to say I won’t manage to slot in a spot somewhere along the line, so not set in concrete. Possibly sneak in a couple of lure fishing hours on the canal perhaps. All to be seen.


AIR:                  MIN:   -1.2’C      MAX: 21.2’C
WATER:            MIN:    7.5’C      MAX:   7.9’C






Session 33 – The Blog Of SteveTheAngler’s Latest Session Aged 69 Years And 365 Days… The End Of An Era…

On Monday, 23th November, at 0700 I set off on my last angling session as a young person in their 60’s as today (as I write on the 24th) I became a Septuagenarian J

The session was to a mixed species club fishery (AA-BP) holding a varied range of species from gudgeon to king carp including the usual silver species, tench, perch, barbel and chub and, in fact, the only indigenous species missing are pike and sturgeon that I can think of although the crucian carp that were in there may have ended up as food for the cormorants that frequent(ed) the water as I’ve not seen, nor heard, of any being caught in quite a while but that’s not to say they’re not there as a few of years back the ever-existent perch seemed to disappear and I didn’t catch a single one in that whole time albeit mainly baiting with maggots and worms – sure perch catchers – but then they re-appeared as quickly as they’d gone with my first capture of the re-appearance being a 2lb 8oz fish which is still my PB perch.

2020-11-23 01

On arrival at around 0730 the first thing I noted was that the otter-proof fencing that the club had a grant to install, but which got delayed in getting up due to the pandemic situation, is now in-situ…

2020-11-23 Otter Fencing

… and encloses both pools on the site. There have been no problems with otters on the pools to date but as the EA representative said when initially surveying the site – “No sign of otters at all yet, but they will surely turn up in time…”

Anyway, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting a great day as there had been a heavy frost overnight and the ground was white over as I drove out into the countryside … and the water temperature when measured was 7.0’C … and this particular water is a ‘warm water’ in that usually during October to April you struggle to even get bites never mind actually catch – and as it is a shallow water (about 4’6” at deepest) the water temps drop quickly – and as I’d been measuring temps in the 9-10’C ranges over previous weeks on the other waters I’d fished it would seem that the pool waters had dropped by 2’C very quickly … and a negative dTemp (ie temperature drop) is not good for results usually especially if it occurs rapidly (dTemp/dTime).

So with more hope than optimism I tackled up my float rod with 6lb mainline,  a 6BB crystal waggler, overshotted with one 2SSG shot and fished overdepth (ie laying-on/lift method) initially with a size 16 double maggot baited hook making my first cast at 0830. Small quantities of micro-pellet and dead maggot feed were catapulted out at intervals around the fished area which was around 2-3 rod lengths out.

1030 arrived with not a single sign of any fish interest in my bait and I spent most of that time wishing I’d gone to a pike pool for which I reckoned the current conditions would have been perfect … the occasional flip-flop and dimpling from small fry around the pool did give me a modicum of hope and to persevere… and I switched my hook over to a size 12 with dendrobaena worm baits… and soon after I started getting tweaks and small lifts on the float … and at 1100 hooked into a fish which was successfully landed … a 5lb 3oz mirror carp..

2020-11-23 Steve - 5lb 3oz Mirror Carp

5lb 3oz Mirror Carp

The tweaks and lifts continued albeit they were tailing off as time passed and after 1200 they were few and far between. However, I fished on until around 1330 but no further captures were made.

Being my last ‘60s session’ plus the fact of the not helpful conditions I was chuffed to have the marked the occasion by it not being a blank!

Two others arrived on the water after my arrival – one walked around the pool and then seemed to settle on the neighbouring carp and chub only pool (AA-OP) out of my sight so I’m unsure if caught … and the other was drop-shotting or possibly micro-jigging for perch on the bank opposite me but I didn’t see him have any action either.


I’m intending to make my first Septuagenarian trip out on Thursday (26th) on a pike session.


AIR:                  MIN:  3.7’C        MAX: 11.8’C
WATER:           MIN:  6.8’C        MAX:   7.1’C


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Session 32 – Steve And Liz Go Piking.

Monday, 16th November, at 0700 I set off with Liz on a pike fishing session to Pike Water 5 arriving at around 0730.

With the gates to the venue still locked on arrival it was obvious that we were the first there and thus have our choice of swims. So, Liz’s first job was to open up the gates for business and we drove down to the pool car parking area, parked up and had a quick recce at the pool.

Liz had fancied one particular area, myself fancied another as I felt that, although I do fish in the area of Liz’s choice quite often when on my own that it was really a one swim area – although it transpired that someone fishing what would have been the ‘2nd’ swim did actually land a pike from there that we saw landed. Anyway, in the event, we fished my choice of area, 2 swims next door to each other on a straight tree lined bank with a number of available and promising swims that we’d successfully fished often in previous visits over the years. But a few years back the controlling club had a ‘clean-up’ work party and in my view cut back too much and too many of fish attracting overhanging branches, etc. One swim that used to produce some decent chub from by the overhangs hasn’t produced one chub to me since – probably over 3-4 years.

Anyway, the swims must be good as several later arrivals to the pool said we’d ‘stolen the swims’ they had intended to fish … should have gotten out of bed then, no sympathy, LOL! Of 7 late arrivals, 4 of them decided to set up in the swims directly each side of Liz and I … not good etiquette in my view, especially as there 26 swims available around the pool … leaving one swim free either side would have least shown some courtesy or even if we were asked if we minded if they fished the next door swims that would have been acceptable … but whatever.  Personally when taking up a swim on a pool I use ‘urinal’ etiquette ie keep a comfortable distance away from the nearest neighbour – and on rivers I don’t fish from a peg directly opposite another angler.

Anyway, swims decided upon, we began the transfer the kit from the car – and for some reason the combined kits of Liz and myself seem to have grown for some reason so a good job that after the October holiday I’d only left one seat (of 5) in the rear area. OK – so it was pike fishing which does involve an extra bag and other items of pike gear beyond the normal load including the livebait bucket but that has now been replaced by the new foldable one as mentioned in the last posting and hence takes up less space than its previous incarnation AND 4 landing nets as the club stipulates a minimum landing net size of 36” when pike fishing … and Liz’s and my own usual nets are 32” circular ones … and so we had to pack our larger pike nets too which are quite large and bulky as both are hefty framed with heavily rubberised nets. Anyway its a good job that we have a Ford Galaxy, 7-seater, MPV capable of holding it all – but even then the motor was full despite having 4 of the rear seats removed!

On arrival we did manage to get all the gear bar the rod holdalls onto my barrow and a Liz guided trolley down to the swims making a return trip to collect and transport the rod holdalls but as the distance from car to swims was around 100-120 yards that wasn’t a great ordeal.

Liz tackled up her one pike rod (Ron Thompson Evo2, 2.75lb TC – 30lb braid – 2oz lead – size 6 treble snap tackle) for ledger fishing deadbaits starting with a smelt bait) and I started off with a 13’ float rod, 4lb line, 6BB crystal waggler, size 16 hook fishing for livebaits.

My livebait catching started off slow  with not a touch for the first 30 minutes or so whilst fishing with the bait set at the 10’ depth of the water in front of me .. but noticing dimples of fish I set my float to fish the bait at about 30” with the set spread down the line and immediately started getting takes and although a lot of bites were missed I did manage to accumulate 7-8 suitably bait sized silvers by 1030 and at that point I put away the bait rod and set up one pike rod (12’, 2.75lb TC, 30lb braid, etc) for floatfishing a livebait.

I hook my livebaits through the scissors of the top lip with the mid-trace hook as this is the ‘load bearing’ hook and the end hook is hooked on an loose/unstretched wire through the bait’s actual dorsal fin as I feel this to be less damaging to the bait fish which can often be returned virtually unharmed at the end of its use – the lip having been the only fleshy body part that has been pierced. The livebaits I use are usually in the swing-in range of sizes in normal fishing eg 2-4oz silvers and when pike fishing my ‘extreme long range’ fishing is about 10 yards out and more usually lies in the range of the float lying against the bank to about 10 feet out. To be honest I’ve never ever had a pike take a bait further out than that on deads, lives or lures although I’ve put baits out up to 60 yards or more over the years – and still do occasionally ‘just in case’. So normally putting the bait out is nothing more than a gentle pendulum swing action, nothing violent. At the end of the session, or earlier (hourly) if I have enough baits, if the bait’s not been taken by a pike then its released virtually unharmed.

At 1350 I had my first (and last) take of the day which resulted in a 6lb 10oz pike being landed….

2020-11-16 Steve - 6lb 10oz Pike 02

Steve – 6lb 10oz Pike

Meanwhile Liz had no action from her swim despite swapping her bait to a sardine….

Just after landing my pike unforecast rain started and so we fished on until about 1445 and decided with the rain and the failing light – and all the other anglers having packed in or in the process of doing so – it was time to tackle down and head home …. and due to ‘lockdown’ doing that without the usual stop off at our local hostelry.


So we arrived home and unloaded the car per usual with the barrow and trolley left on the drive whilst the rest of the gear was taken into the garage and whilst doing those transfers I noticed the silver knurled knob of the sprung pin mechanism that locks the barrow’s rear legs down in use was lying on the driveway… a small but important part that without the barrow becomes virtually useless. A search around in the now dim ambient light, and with the use of the penlight I carry on my fishing waistcoat, failed to locate the missing pin and spring though and it seemed as if the mechanism had come apart whilst loading the car up at the site and probably lost in the mud… So, bedtime on the night I was on my Android tablet looking for a replacement barrow … and found one actually on eBay that was in Wolverhampton at a Buy-It-Now £100 and with the bidding standing at £50 with 3 days to go. However, I had doubts in my mind about size, shape and compactness to transport and so, unlike the ‘normal’ me, I didn’t immediately place a bid thinking I’d wait and see if anything else popped up. Good job too! I got up in the morning and thought that I’d just make another quick check on the driveway … and lo and behold … the missing pin and spring part was located having rolled into a crevice twixt the drive surface and its containing wall! So, I’ve now cleaned up the pinb/spring part – removed some rust – and today I’m going to grease/lubricate it and then re-install on the barrow frame and screw its knob back on after putting some epoxy glue on the threads to prevent it unscrewing again.


Its now looking like Monday 23rd for my next trip as I’ll not have the gear re-sorted in time for the usual Thursday session. What the session will be is undecided too … depends if Liz is coming out again and what she fancies doing if so… and myself, if I should be going solo, am still fluctuating between going for bream/perch or doing another pike session…


I forgot to get the thermometer out at the start of the session so the measurements here are actually of a single reading taken around 1300….

AIR:                  MIN: 10.9’C       MAX: 10.9’C
WATER:            MIN:  9.3’C        MAX:   9.3’C





Session 31 – When The Going Gets Tough … I Go Home!

Thursday, 12th November, saw me head off to Pike Water 24 in search of Esox Lucius aka pike leaving the house at 0700 and arriving at the venue at around 0730.

I was quite surprised to find that someone else had arrived before me with one car already parked on the carp park and it seems the owner thereof was already in his swim.

But my desired swim was free … and I was happy … at that point…


But I was soon to be slightly deflated as, when setting up my livebait catching rod I discovered the pre-tackled line must have snagged up since the rod’s last use and the hook had been snapped off …and I hadn’t packed my small hooks!

However, I had taken deadbaits in the form of smelt and sardines with me so I could at least fish albeit with less confidence as deadbaits are nowhere as near as good as lives on this water I find.

So the pike rods were set up with 25g polystyrene floats, suitable leads and standard wire traced twin treble snap tackles.

And so it was that I made my first casts at 0900 with both rods baited with smelt but fished at differing depths and distances out, casting out to my left and drifting with the wind across to my right. I say differing distances out but always within 10 yards of the bank as I’ve yet to have a take at any greater distance and, in fact, the vast majority of my pike have always come from within 6’ of the bank. I had also taken some cut up old baits which I distributed in the swim as an attractor.

And for the rest of the day, despite depth and bait changes (to sardine on one rod), I had to be content with watching the floats drift undisturbed as I had not single touch nor any follows to the bank of the slowly retrieved pre-recast baits.

The weather was actually quite mild all session and I fished it through wearing only a T-shirt and my Damart thermal vest on my upper half having discarded my jacket, waistcoat, and fleece top…


I took one new piece of tackle that I’d obtained from Joom – a Chinese online shopping site in a similar vein to Banggood and AliExpress. I’m quite into Joom at the mo, and have bought a fair bit of stuff from them recently and very pleased with what I’ve received and all at a good price. In fact, JML are currently advertising on TV a cat toy which is a USB charged flappy fish at £20 … I bought one in my latest Joom order for £6 which includes shipping, etc… and its rather good despite the cats being currently wary of it! LOL! I’m sure our ferrets will have a bit of fun with it though! 🙂

Anyway, my latest tackle purchase (part of the same order as the cat toy) was also taken out on this session – but was unable to be used…. as its a livebait carrier/bag. Made of EVA it folds almost flat for transport but has a 28 litre water capacity, a fully zipped top with a smaller mesh covered opening to add and remove fish and a pocket to hold an air pump (not supplied) with another small hole through which the airline pipe passes. Seems very good and certainly less bulky and weighty to transport than my usual livebait bucket and at £18.50 I’m well pleased!



Monday, 16th November, it’s a pike fishing trip out with Liz… J


AIR:                  MIN: 9.2’C         MAX: 18.4’C
WATER:            MIN: 9.0’C         MAX:   9.9’C


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Session 30 – Not The Best Of Days!

So, after further delays to my fishing – which not only involved cancelled outings due to the weather but also further health issues as about 3-4 weeks ago I discovered a possible hernia at the point of my ex-ileostomy operation. I contacted my doctor and after a telephone triage I was invited to the surgery a few days later … and when I showed the area to the doc his first words were ‘’It’s a big one!” which wasn’t exactly promising at that moment. However, after ascertaining I had no pain or discomfort he said to carry as normal and he’d contact my surgeon to have it looked but suspected it would need an operation. It seems that hernias after such ops aren’t too unusual due to the weakening of the abdominal muscles. Anyway, he said he’d also chase up the hospital re: the 12 month review of the original op I had in Sept last year AND the 6 week/2 month review of the reversal op that was due in mid-August neither of which I have been contacted about…

Early in the year a new venue with 2 pools (AA-HP-I and AA-HP-C) onsite that was obtained by the club but delays in contract signings meant that the pools weren’t available to fish until July 4th – which fell within my 2 week self-isolation pre my reversal op on 7th July and so obviously I couldn’t fish there (or anywhere) on opening day. Following that there was time needed for recuperation and when I did re-start fishing I visited another couple of venues … but on Monday 5th November I set out at 0700 to have my first day out on these new pools.

They are not far from home – 20 minutes or so – and only ½ mile from another of the club’s pools – and so I found the venue quite quickly and drove up the dirty track from the road up to the padlocked gate that gave access to the pools. And that’s where it started going wrong… I was unable to open the padlock… re-checked the code I was using, etc but without joy. I e-mailed the club secretary but had no response even to now so not sure if it was (a) OFT (Operator Finger Trouble ie me), (b) a faulty lock or (c) the landowners had gone OTT on lockdown and changed the lock/code… Anyway access was denied for car and tackle but I did manage to club over the gate with my camera and took a few pictures…  

One of the pools is a carp pool – not sure if other species exist in there, and the other is an irrigation pool/reservoir used by the farmer in summer for watering his crops and is reportedly 35’-40’ deep and was the pool I intended to fish as I’ve heard, when the pools were day ticket (fishing was stopped in 2016 until we took the pools over) that this pool produced ‘slabs’ of bream and perch to 4lb+ … however, that wasn’t going to happen to me on this day!

So… I decided to head to another water instead … and ended up at the pool (AA-KP) that was ½ mile away, a pool I’d not fished IIRC for 18 months maybe longer… a nice pool in calm conditions but very open and gets cold and bleak in the cooler breezier days. However, on the day it was as flat as a millpond and I stopped off there.. and had a padlock problem again! Several attempts made, no joy – so I drove away thinking that maybe the club had decided to close all the waters… but a mile up the road I realised this may be (and subsequently found to be) a case of ‘OFT’! I’ve been with the club for getting on 10 years and never had a lock problem before BUT on this occasion for some reason I’d been PRESSING the knob that releases to padlock’s bolt instead of PULLING it! Anyway, drove back to the gate and eventually made my first casts at 0900…

2020-11-05 Kingswood

I fished two 1.75lb TC ledger rods, 8lb mainline, 18g frame feeders loaded with cereal and dead maggots with one rod with a size 6 bread baited hook and the other with a size 8 maggot/mealworm baited one. I would have used worm too if only I hadn’t left them at home in the garage by mistake!!

So first cast at 0900, last cast around 1330 – and recasting every 20-40 minutes in between – and not a single nibble all day despite fish showing by rolling and jumping!

So, at around 1400, having tackled down I had a few casts around with my newly obtained Deeper Chirp+ sonar which proved the presence of fish – but not so many in the area into which I was casting!! But then again I was more interested in mapping the pool’s bottom contours… J

BTW – Deeper do a holder for a mobile phone that attaches to the butt of the rod but charge £13 (plus usually there’s some p&p involved too) for it … but I located on eBay a similar sort of holder, meant for bike handlebars, etc, that worked perfectly well for me ….


So that was my day ….


I was going fishing on Monday 9th Nov with Liz but Liz has pulled out as she says weather is forecast to be not too good but will def come out on Monday 16th J …. and its our ‘first met’ anniversary on that day too so I may resist going out 😀 Maybe go out pike fishing on the following Thursday instead….


AIR:                  MIN: 8.4’C         MAX: 13.5’C
WATER:            MIN: 8.9’C         MAX:   9.8’C


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