Thursday 16th June, is the first day of the ‘moving and SSI waters’ season – better known to all these days as the ‘river season’. However, despite this I went back to the pool (AA-GH) of the previous outing… and seems it was a good decision as from one Facebook posting I saw that said “Is there ONE vacant swim ANYWHERE on the Middle Severn?” so it appears that the weather induced more than the usual opening dayers out to the banks.
I might get my own first river day out in a couple of weeks time as Liz is off to celebrate a friend’s 60th on a 3-day (Sun-Tues) trip to Dublin with said friend and Liz’s brother and his partner … which means that Monday is a liberty day for me as no special times to be adhered to for departure or for return home. Several options in the mixing pot at the mo … various locations on the Warks Avon, several locations on the Severn (Upper and Middle), Teme, Alne, Anker, and others. I need to spend some time on Google Earth looking at those waters I’ve never visited before and keep an eye of weather forecasts to reach a final decision but will be sorting the river tackle out in the meantime…
Back to the day … same pool as last outing but to a different swim arriving at 0630. The swim was not the one that I was originally thinking of fishing but on the previous evening I realised that that swim, at the far corner of the pool, had been occupied by many geese (Canada and domestic white), and there were probably in excess of 100 of them too, on the last visit so thought it possibly not the best spot and so decided on this swim on the near corner of the pool where I do usually get bream. Come the day though that far corner swim was devoid of a single water bird of any sort on arrival. A few did start arriving there around 1000 though not as many, mainly Canada’s, and even they moved out of that corner and moved down the far end of the pool in general so looked like I would have been OK in my corner. I think most will start to move off the pool the pool shortly too as it looks like the recently hatched are now almost ready to leave their family groups.. At the end of the day though I was closer to the car to return to in the afternoon heat, so that worked well for me… :)
Usual tasks performed with pre-feeding – used my spomb – and station setup – and also did a scan with my Deeper Chirp (btw – I’m still awaiting the Deeper Pro Plus 2 I won in an online ‘Total Carp’ competition towards the end of May – last enquiries told me that it was in the office but the other one, there were two prizes on offer, was still to be received, booked in and officially signed off before they could be sent out) which showed not a few fish in the area.. :)
Tackle for the day was my two Grandeslam Avon Plus rods (1.75lb TC) – 8lb BS Daiwa Hyper Sensor mainline terminated with size 6 hooks on 6” of 8lb braid, and 3/8oz arlesey bombs on running links completed the ledger setup. I fished the rods on my ND Tackle S9v alarms with CarpTech bobbins (7g) – with added 3SSG (4.8g) shot on the cords mainly to add weight to slide down the ‘V’ of the line drops. *** See later ***
First cast were made at 0715 with a small calamari (squid) ring as bait on one rods and 4-5 grains of sweetcorn on the other.
NOW, what’s that!?? Calamari? Where did that spring up from? And, just why did I have calamari in my bait bag? Well, the answer is that on a previous visit to this pool one chap stopped to speak to me and one thing that occurred in the conversation was that he’d had a few carp but would have had more had he brought his usual mussels with him. Well, I’ve tried mussels in the past, various places and times, and not had great joy with them to be honest … perhaps, I should have taken them out of the shell? LOL! … but on my next trip to Sainsbury I thought I’d grab a bag to try … and whilst looking in the freezer cupboards I spotted bags of mixed seafoods (prawns, calamari rings, mussels – not sure if anything else, that’s all I’ve come across anyway) and thought it a good idea as I’ll use prawns anyway, and also get a few mussels and calamari to try … and so it came to pass…
BTW, once home, rather than freeze I decided to salt these baits – thaw, dry them off, cover in salt, after a while sieve off salt and add fresh. If you take frozen baits out to the water and they thaw out then they are not worth re-freezing and keeping really as they go off quite quickly … salted they’ll keep for ages and don’t need freezing just fridge between sessions. And the salt doesn’t seem to put off fish – the reverse if anything I find – and the drying out of the bait by the salt firms them up and make hooking easier but after being in the water a while they re-absorb the lost water and plumpen/soften up. At times I’ve found the salted versions accepted better than the fresh/unsalted.
0735 – first bite – and it comes to the calamari! After a tussle – which includes a crossing of my two lines AND the gathering of about 5lbs of silkweed-like algae which caused problems – I net a common carp of 5lb 9oz.
And then comes a period of reparation of the twisted and algae strewn lines which involved removing the algae which was not only tangled around the lines in its own right but also involved greatly in the line-line tangle. I ended up resolving the algae issue after some time spent on it but the line-line resolution involved cutting out the tangle completely and performing a complete re-tackle of both rods although I was able to utilise the terminal bits of both and so only lost the actual lengths of line involved.
Fishing continued … and at 0945 a mirror carp of 4lb 13oz is landed … at 1150 its the turn of a 3lb 9oz common carp … and at 1320 a fish is hooked but lost as the hook pulls free… and all bites came to calamari!
So, it seems calamari was the bait of the day? Especially as I also tried from the same ‘seafood’ box both prawn (2 types) and mussels, none of which evoked any response at all – and which I suppose precludes any suggestion of the salt as being the main attractant as all were mixed in the same box and that would also suggest that the crossover of some flavour between the food types wasn’t responsible either?
I only used sweetcorn on those original ill-fated first casts so I can’t really make any sort of comment on that but I did also try bread which only produced small twitching, probably small silvers plucking and sucking – and that being white would also suggest that the colour of the calamari wasn’t its main attractive quality either? Strawberry jelly bread which has been well received in the recent past (in the tench/bream pool) did attract a few ‘enquiries’ with decent bobbin lifts but then was quickly dropped and ignored thereafter – and despite it being a ‘soft’ bait there was no actual damage visible on retrieve… ummm … line bites? Pause for thought – but certainly thinking of getting some calamari now when I do my Saturday shop…
From around 1300 the carp showed up on the surface in numbers – probably 20-30 in front of me cruising around but bread thrown out generated only slight interest and as I was intending a 1500 pack up time it didn’t seem worthwhile breaking out my ‘floater rod’ (1.75lb TC, Winfield (yep, Woolworth’s, 1970’s vintage) loaded with 12lb BS line and just a size 4 hook – I also carry a tin of cheese wax (BabyBel, Xmas mini-truckle type) which can be moulded around the line to provide any extra casting weight required and which floats well and can also act as an indicator of a take.
Monday 20th, possibly back to the tench/bream pool with Liz although she currently has a dose of dreaded lurgy but responding ok to LemSip and bed rest at the mo. Thursday, to be decided. And, as said above, probably some river fishing on the Monday following.
I’ve been thinking of looking into alternative bobbins that will slide down the line more freely and thus lessen the weight/tension needed. The CarpTech’s, like many bobbins, use a twin ball type attachment slider – two ball ends sprung to contact each other, the line being pushed between, through and below the balls and then allowed to settle in bottom ‘inverted V’ created where the balls meet. But I think that is where there is a problem, for me anyway, in that the ‘V’ angle is too tight for my lines and the line digs in too deeply and prevented from sliding. For ‘carp’ anglers with heavier/thicker lines (and often used in conjunction with fixed lead setups whereby the fish is hooked anyway before there is any indication) this is not an issue.
Due to my bobbin use the ‘clip to line’ type (ie pegged firmly, no sliding) is not anything I’d ever want to use…
When I fish with alarms my procedure is to cast out, wind up most of any slack, place rod in the rest/alarm so that line passes outside the alarm mechanism, add bobbin and tighten up – done as I hate alarms bleeping when setting up, its not necessary and it does annoy me when done by myself and others and possibly annoys others around too – once the line is fully tightened I then replace the rod on the alarm head so the line passes over the alarm’s roller … and then by either backwinding or use of the freespool I release line so that the bobbin drops the required amount … and this is where the ‘sticktion’ (a name IT people will also recognise as an old hard drive problem with the magnetic head drive mechanism) of the dual-ball type attachment comes into play as often the dropping is a lot slower than the line is released and so you can end up with loose coils of line around the reel/handle to cause problems later.
One resolution is one that my fishing buddy of many years came up with – and which we called the ‘bristle bobbin’, basically a 1/2” or so circular body with a central vertical groove for the line to pass through at the top of which was placed a series of bristles that covered the groove – to get the general idea of the bristles, hold your hands horizontal, then interlock fingers of one hand with the other). So there are 3-5 bristles which are fitted/anchored on the left of the slot, the other ends just reaching to brush the right hand side and then another 3-5 bristles attached to the right hand side across to the left. I’d go as far to say that the bristle bobbin is THE VERY BEST bobbin type indicator I’ve ever used! To attach on line you’d just push the line through the bristles, and as there is no ‘V’, just a wide flat, the bobbin slides very easily down a slack line freely – and even a small cork provided enough to do that – so any weight needed to be added to the attachment cord when in use is really just to combat wind/drift/rod ring friction. All very good BUT I’ve tried to make new ones for years but my construction skills aren’t as good as said buddies and mine never turn out just right! SOOO … I think I’m going to try some swinger type indicators that I use for back-biters when pike fishing that utilise a head in which a small hinged metal bar closes over the gap and line and is held closed by a magnet… so the line is free to slide under the bar as there is no constriction in place and it is released under slight pressure (eg line tightens on the strike)..
In fact, thinking about it now, I might remove the actual heads from the arms to which they are fitted replacing those arms with a suitable length of coated braid for my purposes as to me the just metalwork of the arms, never mind the sliding weights, would be too heavy for what I’d desire…. Or even, just separate the black plastic and bar from the blue body and fix it to a fluoro painted cork or similar – which seems to be the perfect solution??? Ummm, I’ll have to have a play about methinks :)