Tackle Away For A Few Weeks Probably….

That time of year again (Nov-Dec) when the weather, water conditions, general Xmas preparations and medical issues combine to curtail my fishing plans somewhat…

This year’s issues …

Last couple of weeks have had diabetic tests, meetings and medication changes involved, the outcome being I am now on insulin – and I believe I mentioned that in my last posting…

Coming up, on Dec 3rd, following my last bowel screening in which blood was found, is a colonoscopy. Not too concerned as the reason may be due to the multiple and very frequent loo visits that my laxatives require me to make when taken and hence soreness… saying no more but think papercuts! LOL… Anyway, I have been told in the week prior to the procedure to take my usually every-other-day lax meds every day instead …. which means effectively that I’ll not be able to leave the house during the day. Then the day before and on the day itself I also have to take the hospital supplied super-lax – that means usually leaving the bathroom itself is a big risk! LOL.

However, after the 3rd a lot will be down to weather and Xmas preps really – so hoping to squeeze a few trips in – possibly short ramble/lure fishing type trips along the canal with a longer day pike outing… However, the canal outings have been marred by news that the C&RT are planning/doing extensive electro-fishing on the local canals to remove predominantly zander but it also seems that a large number of pike will be taken too… not good news at all. I don’t think zander are an issue in my immediate area – seem to be more over towards Birmingham/Coventry – as I’ve never heard of any here on the Staffs/Worcs or Shrops Union Canals but we have plenty of quality pike. Just imagine the uproar if they removed the carp from the canals – and actually the C&RT fisheries permit issued to them by the EA does NOT allow carp to be held in their waters!!!   

Anyway, I’ll be back ASAP … and in the meantime look forward to reading of everybody eleses exploits!

Tight lines!

Session 36 – Pikeless In Staffordshire (Piking With Liz)

Monday, 15th November, Liz and I set off to Pike Water 1 – the scene of my last visit, albeit a solo one, which had produced two pike to break the blanks of my previous two visits and so was likely to be a good choice for giving Liz a chance of a bend in the rod.

But before we set out there were a couple of things to do/sort…

  1. Obtain fresh deadbaits…

I do have quite a large stock of frozen deadbaits in my freezer but I do like to take at least a few fresh bloody ones (sardines, herring, etc) as I feel they are more effective and with that in mind I set off to the local Morrison’s and also the town markets of Bilston and Wolverhampton. BUT … could I locate any? Not a single one! However, as a second best I did manage from Morrison’s to obtain 9 ‘prepared’ herrings – de-headed, de-tailed and gutted – and these, when I got them home were wrapped with baiting elastic to make bodies firm enough for casting retaining the strong fishy smell for attraction.

  1. Liz’s fishing chair repair…

Whilst gathering our kit together I found that Liz’s Korum X25 accessory chair seemed to have lost one of the knobs/screws that allow the leg height to be adjusted. A search of the car boot and garage revealed no sign of it so we have to assume it is lying somewhere near a pool in Sussex! However, I managed to did a quick fix by fitting 2 screw clips (as you would use to attach a hose pipe to a tap?) on to the leg … and shortly afterwards I located a seller on eBay who has the actual item needed for sale and so one is on order now and is due to arrive on Thursday.

Anyway, those were all sorted and after the usual gathering packing of our kits into the car we were ready for the off…. arriving at the pool around 0810 again being the first to arrive 🙂

We chose to fish a couple of swims we’ve not fished in quite a while although back in the day they were our usual summer ones for carp fishing. Equipment was set up – and the screw clip ‘fix’ on Liz’s chair worked well – and first casts were made around 0900 by both of us.

Liz decided to ledger one of the ‘rollmop’ type herrings with a Polaris Dumpy Carp float as her indicator out in open water… and I followed suit too but I also put out a second rod with a floatfished ‘christmas tree of sprats’ along the water margins. A ‘christmas tree’ is just a twin hook wire trace baited with a number of small bait fish mounted to create the appearance of a mini-shoal. So, with a standard twin treble hooked snap tackle there would be a bait mounted on each point (eg 6 sprats) but as I was using a trace with twin single hooks I mounted two sprats on each point.

And that was effectively the end of the day’s action, with nary a wobble even of any of the floats, apart from winding in and tackling down at the end of session at 1430 – and then off to the local for the usual beer and nibbles that follows our ‘couple’ sessions.

PLANS:

Plans are difficult to decide at the moment as my biennial bowel cancer screen has again shown blood… and I am now due for another colonoscopy on 3rd December. Not too worried currently as the testing/scanning has changed from a manual with microscope method to an automated one which is far more sensitive I’m told. Pre- colonoscopy I’ve been told told to take my usually every-other-day laxative every day for the week prior to the procedure meaning I’m going to be housebound every day that week (27th-3rd) BUT luckily the local Winter Ales Festival for which we have tickets on the 26th sneaks in just under the wire!

I’ve also been put on insulin for my diabetes now after seeing the diabetic nurse yesterday and having my results of tests scrutinised, dosages calculated and equipment/meds supplied. That was all OK, the main source of frustration being with the informing of the DVLA that I now take insulin (a legal requirement) which can be done two ways – the filling in of a 6 page questionnaire type document which then has to be posted via snail mail OR can be done online … obviously these days online is the way to go (isn’t it?) … actually the supplying of the data itself was easy BUT before that can be done you have to do something called ‘VERIFY’ to prove you are you … and that was a nightmare! Basically you have to register with the Post Office online (and to do that you need to provide personal infos to verify you are who you say you are) and then also give driving licence info, and also prove you have a mobile phone account which I couldn’t get to work OR give passport data plus scan the passport plus photo the passport … and often at each stage info would be rejected, although correct and re-entered… but eventually I succeeded! 🙂

And I have a problem with a non-functioning hearing aid that I have an appointment for with SpecSavers later today to get looked into.

TEMPS:

WATER (‘C):                  9.8 – 10.1
AIR (‘C):                        11.2 – 12.5.                     

TEMP TRENDS:

2021-11-15 Temps

Session 35 – Third Time Lucky!

Monday, 8th November, I again left the house at around 0730 heading to Pike Water 1 in search of the so far elusive pike having had blanks on my two previous pike outings of the season, arriving at the water around 0800.

On arrival I was as usual the first there but only just – with the second angler arriving about 10 minutes later whilst I was still in the process of ‘setting out my stall’ for the day – and it seems I was in the swim he’d hoped to have been in as he said ‘Aaah, just beat me’ as he passed behind and continued up the pool to return back down a couple of minutes later to settle in the next door swim … not an issue as an overhanging bush between us separated our areas. Over the course of the day, another 4, possibly 5, fellow anglers joined us on the water but I was the only pike angler, I think….

As per my previous two outings the plan was to fish with maggot for the first 2-3 hours for livebait and then start my pike fishing around 1100 … and as per the previous two sessions the result of livebait gathering was poor with just one small roach taking my bait.

So, 0845 first casts with the maggot baited float rod were made – after 2 hours and the one roach caught I put away that tackle and set up my two pike rods for the day. Of necessity (and  fortune as it turned out), one rod was set up for ledgering a deadbait and the other to offer my roach as a livebait.

Deadbait rod setup: an 11’ 2.75lb TC rod, homebuilt with a North Western blank in the 80’s was coupled with a  5000 size reel  loaded with 40lb Spectra braid with a 2oz lead and a 30lb wire trace standard twin treble hooked snaptackle – as personally preferred, but also required by club’s ‘barbless hooks’ rules, the barbs of the hooks were crushed flat (which is allowed by the club in the case of treble hooks). Bite indication via a Polaris Carp Dumpy Float (No.16) – a self locking float – as I intended to fish the baits on that rod cast out into water of a depth of 15’+ and thus no previous plumbing and setting to depth was required and any variation in depths between areas was not an issue…

Livebait rod setup: a generic 12’ 2.75lb TC carp rod, 5000 sized reel, 40lb braid, 15g quick change lead to cock the 25g’ish polystyrene float. 30lb homemade wire trace fitted with a size 10 barbless single hook about 4” from the terminating size 2 barbless single hook in essence … in detail, and I’ll post a picture soon to clarify, I set a piece of wire of about 15”-18” in length with swivels at both ends, then to one of the swivels I add another 6” of wire via a slack loop so the wire can slide around the eye of the swivel … slide the size 10 hook along the wire but at this time it is allowed to be freely running … that wire is then terminated with the size 2 hook … and then the size 10 hook is fixed by whipping it and the wire together with thread and a touch of glue added. Basically the trace can easily hold a ‘L’ due to the connection. Thought is that a single straight-through piece of wire requires energy to take up and maintain the ‘L’ shape as it must if a bait is to swim in its normal horizontal manner due the need to overcome the wires’ inherent want to be straight – making the shape easier to create by using two separated wires on a hinge is easier on the bait and thus bait remains more active,,, etc. OK! Might be overkill, etc BUT I did make up 6 traces so will get a good try out 🙂

First casts were made with the roach and a sardine … and at 1200 the deadbait float went a’bobbin’ and the resultant strike connected … and a few minutes later my first pike of the 2021 season was netted … and a few minutes later I was wounded – pike teeth and flesh are not a good combination! Only a tiny nick but as pike teeth are razor edged AND coated in anti-coagulant a little goes a long long way – and my white hanky was soon more red than white – I do need to pack some kitchen roll in future. I do carry a styptic pencil for such cases and that worked in a fashion but the type of cut, a shallow slice, get getting caught on things and re-opening… Anyway, the pike! Not huge, a jack really, weighing in at 3lb 11oz…

2021-11-08 Steve - 3lb 11oz Pike 01

3lb 11oz Pike

… unhooked, weighed, photoed Mr Jack was released, a new bait added to the trace and the rod cast out again … and within a few minutes … actually, in the time it took me tighten up to cock the float and go to pick up a previously poured cup of coffee, the float was off again … another strike and the fish was on soon to be landed and weighed in at 5lb 10oz…

2021-11-08 Steve - 5lb 10oz Pike 01

5lb 10oz Pike

And that was the end of the action for the day, the livebait rod produced not one take inc the time the ‘live’ was switched to a small ‘dead’…. still it was great to have actually not only tangled with my first pike of the season but also my second despite neither being ‘giants’ of the pike world.

PLANS:

Unlikely to make another outing this week due to other things happening currently that need my time… so most likely to be next Monday … and again in search of Grandmammy Esox. 🙂

TEMPS:

WATER (‘C):                9.3 – 9.8
AIR (‘C):.                     7.8 – 11.4

TEMP TRENDS:

2021-11-09 TEMP GRAPH