Session 33 – First Pike Session 2021-2022 – Not The Best Of Days…

On the 18th October I set off on my first pike session of the new season to Pike Water 5…

Not the best weather to be out in – dull, overcast, drizzly albeit the car’s thermometer registered a warm 12’C as I drove enroute to the venue at 0745, arriving around 0815 and pleased to see no other cars on the car park so I knew I’d get my preferred swim.

The intention of the day was to floatfish with maggot initially until around 1030-1100 in order to catch some livebait … but with foresight I did pack some deadbaits in case the silvers weren’t co-operating … and they weren’t as I only managed one in two hours of fishing in difficult conditions – facing into the breeze (which was a southerly so theoretically did that right) with light tackle … and on return from last week’s holiday I had filled new line on my reel as I had discovered that I’d probably only 20 yards on the spool but it seems I’d overfilled as, with the breeze, a few tangles around the reel’s flyer and handle ensued.

Also my reel seemed to have got groundbait stuck in the handle’s handle and that wasn’t rolling well … improving during use but still wasn’t right at the end of day so thgat’s due a soak in a bowl of soapy water and an oiling … plus bale arm was sticking due to same problem…

Anyway, at 1100, the pike rods were put into action. 2 x 2.75lb carp rods, 40lb braid, standard snap tackles with size 6 trebles with folded down barbs – but not folded enough at least on one point as I’ll come to shortly. Plus not the wire traces I’d intended to use which were fitted with a size 8/10 single for bait holding and terminated with a size 2 single for the actual ‘active’ hook but seems I’d not got those in my bag – need to search the garage and find them! Anyway, one rod was fished with the livebait and the other a sardine both floatfished,

Then …

Setting the scenario … my seat with tackle bags, then to my right my rod pod and rods, further right and other side of rod pod was my unhooking ‘cradle’ with scales, camera and, more to the point (pun?) my pliers and wire cutters…

I wind in one of my baits and see one of the hooks has pulled free so go to re-hook and whilst doing so the other hook catches hold of my towel and snatches and pulls the loose treble into my right hand thumb which passes into the flesh and then out again about 1/8 inch away from the entry … attempts to free are scuppered by the ‘note quite flattened’ barb and the fluffy towel hanging off the other hook doesn’t help … tried to flatten the barb further with my forceps but they are not up to the job … so now have to get to the wire cutters which involves carrying rod and towel, climbing over the rod pod and other rod, disentangling rod tip which gets entangled in a bush .. all managed with just a modicum (read as ‘muted screams’) of pain and I finally get to snip the embedded hook at the bend and remove the remaining hook and with the help of forceps pull the barbed point through and out…

Also I started to feel ‘the need’ coming on to use facilities … and as I wasn’t really enjoying the day I decided to call it quits and return to the comforts of home …

ANYWAY … things have become a bit better today … had an e-mail from ‘Improve Your Coarse Fishing’ magazine saying I’ve won a runners-up prize in last month’s magazine competition, 5 bags of ‘Advantage’ groundbait worth £19.95 🙂

Session 32 – Chichester Lakeside, Sussex…

Liz and I had a week’s break … made up actually of two breaks on adjacent sets of dates made up with a Monday 4th October to Friday 8th October break immediately followed by a Friday 8th October to Monday 11th October one. All done via Sun newspaper £9.50 holidays with the booking made to Park Holidays Chichester Lakeside Holiday Park which lies adjacent to the Chichester Lakeside Fishery for which day tickets are available on some of the 10 lakes with the remaining lakes having been leased out to syndicates.

Booking an adjoining week/weekend pairing is easy – and we’ve done it for the past 4-5 years now for various venues. Just book two adjoining sessions you want normally via the Sun Holiday page … and when the booking confirmation from the actual site booked is received just reply to the site itself informing that you have 2 bookings made with adjoining dates and request that you be allowed to retain the same accommodation for the whole period. Sometimes they say ‘we’ll note the request but cannot guarantee we will be able to’ but that’s never been an issue as when we’ve booked in on arrival we’ve informed the reception staff of the request that was made and its always been arranged without problem. ONE thing though … when making the bookings make sure that there are vacancies available for both week and weekend slots! Once booked the week slot but when making the booking for the weekend there were no vacancies – so we booked a weekend tent pitch at a place ½ mile up the road … but covid lockdown happened and both bookings were cancelled by the sites and monies refunded anyway.

Anyway … the fishing…

The main lakes available to fishing are as below….

Chichester Lakes Map

Descriptions as to each individual lake can be found at: https://www.parkholidays.com/caravan-holidays/activities-recreation/fishing-holidays/chichester-lakeside.

We arrived at the holiday village on Monday afternoon and rest of day was spent unpacking, etc, visiting the bar/clubhouse, etc. Tuesday, we walked around some of the lakes to check them out and decided to fish ‘Deep Lake’ which looked really nice with regions of lily pads and had the added benefit of not having carp listed in its species-to-be-caught list. Factors against the others – East/West/Copse banks – lined with ‘carpers’ and very featureless and open, Triangle looked OK but exceedingly weeded, Peckham just didn’t grab us at all, Nunnery not appealing and also weeded.

We decided to fish on Thursday as the weather was looking to be kinder then with the heavy breezes of the beginning of the week having subsided and so on Wednesday we had a day out at Bognor Regis. On the evening I booked our tickets for our chosen swims on Deep Lake for Thursday via the http://www.fishingticket.com website which is currently the only way to get fishing tickets for the Lakes. Pre-Covid it seems that tickets were available from the holiday village’s reception or from the bailiffs on the bank but that has now changed. Tickets for Peckham and Deep Lakes are £10 a day … the other lakes use a session system that seems to be £20’ish for 24 hours, with 48 hour and 72 hour options also being available.

So… come Thursday morning we set off for Deep Lake at 0800 in the car. There is actually a gateway into the lakes available to holiday villagers via the use of a security ‘button’ key but for us access was too distant by foot and it was far easier to drive to and through the main gate of the fishery and so park closer to our destination.

We toddled down to our swims – it seems we were the only bookings for the 11-peg lake – and set up in our respective and adjacent swims (Pegs 3 and 4).

2021-10-08 01

My swim – Peg 4 – a nice looking swim twixt 2 patches of lillies…

Liz’s swim was more open but with an island patch of lilies some 30 yards in front of her and also had the left side of my right hand lilies… and she elected to ledger/feeder fish to the outlying lily patch with maggot bait and tried sweetcorn later in the day.

Myself I baited up the gap between my lily patches with groundbait with added particles (wheat, barley, corn, rice,…) and maggots and fished with the float rod in my usual way – lift method, 5AAA driftbeater float, size 16 hook, maggot, etc.

ONE UNUSUAL RULE AT THESE LAKES – BARBLESS HOOKS ARE NOT ALLOWED AT ALL! BARBED OR MICROBARBED HOOKS ONLY ARE ALLOWED. MOST OF MY USUAL FISHERIES HERE AT HOME BAN HOOKS WITH ANY SORT OF BARB INC WHEN PIKE FISHING (LURES OR BAIT) – THE ONLY EXCEPTION BEING THE BIRMINGHAM AA AS I CAN THINK OF AND THEY ALLOW BARBED HOOKS BUT DON’T INSIST ON THEM. ANYWAY THAT HAD MEANT THAT I’D HAD TO BUY, AND TIE HOOKLENGTHS TO, BARBED HOOKS ESPECIALLY FOR THIS ONE VISIT. THING IS … I STILL BOUGHT 4 PACKS OF 10 OF EVERY SIZE FROM 8-16 IE 20 PACKS IN ALL … AND WE ONLY USED 3 SIZE 16 HOOKS BETWEEN US… AND I DON’T FORESEE THE USE OF THEM ANY TIME IN THE FUTURE, NEAR OR FAR!

I was first off the block in terms of captures with a tiny roach but Liz was only a few minutes behind with a small (2oz perch).

Between 1000 and 1230 Liz had 3 rudd up to 3oz and then her swim seemed to just die.

Myself, between 1000 and 1245 I had a further 26 small roach and then the best landed fish of the day, an 8oz perch..

… and then up to 1315 more small roach to bring their total to 40+ … and at 1340 the best fish of the day was lost to the lily pads to my left with a breakage at the hook knot. Unknown species but due to the fight, etc I suspect it was a tench although probably not huge but would say 2-3lb possibly.

Following that the swim died completely probably due to pike on the hunt, there having been signs all day at various locations on the lake of predators on the feed with sudden fry leapings,etc….

So, at 1500 we called it a day and tackled down and headed back to ‘home-of-the-day’…

PLANS:

Initially I had hoped to get out pike fishing on Thursday 14th BUT the logistics of unpacking from the holiday, sorting out (inc making new wire traces, etc) tackle, checking and sourcing deadbaits, etc have made that a pipedream … so, more realistically, I’m now looking at getting out for an initial pike outing on Monday 18th – that allows me to sort the tackle with less pressures (so hopefully less ‘forgotten’ stuff!) and also gives me the chance to visit Birmingham Fish Market, and the Chinese Quarter, in search of the new ‘super’ bait LOL!