Session 11 – Canal Chub….

Monday 18th March, I set off at 0730 as planned for a local stretch of the Staffordshire-Worcestershire Canal near to Wombourne, Staffs. This particular stretch is under the control of the Wolverhampton Angling Association (WAA) for which annual permits can be obtained from local tackle shops at £15 for adults, £10 for OAP and disabled and under 16’s can fish for free OR day tickets are available at £2.50 on the bank – and they control other sections of the S/W Canal and Shropshire Union Canal too.

 

So, I’d arrived in my chosen swim and tackled up and was making my first cast at around 0815 (well, I did say ‘local’ :)) after baiting up with a few small ‘pults of hemp/sweetcorn and dead maggots previous to the tackling up. Tackle at start up consisted of my new 11’ Fladen ‘Collateral’ Avon rod out for its first trip, 4lb mainline, 3AAA peacock waggler and size 16 hook on a 6” hooklength of 4lb line attached via a quick change bead. The hooklength/q_c_bead system allows the hook size to be changed quickly but also allows baits such as worm to be quickly attached via a baiting needle through the entire body if required although I didn’t make use of this today due to a cold breeze affecting my finger tips albeit air temps which, although starting at 4’C early on, rose into double figures over the morning. And starting bait for the day was double/treble maggot fished into the centre boat channel as I reckoned the nearside and farside reaches were too shallow given the water temps still plus the fact that the water was almost crystal clear and I could clearly see the lead to my thermometer’s probe snaking out along the bottom…. The rig was fished so that the bottom shot (No.1) just sat on the bottom to hold the bait static against the flow as I’ve found a moving bait tends to get shunned in canals unless ‘on the drop’ and the drift was too much to do that.

Until 0945 all was quiet on the western front as they say apart from a few minor nudges and knocks which were not strikeable at but then the float quietly dipped and a welcome resistance felt – and soon a small chublet of around 4oz was swung to hand…

2019-03-18 Steve - 4oz Chub

Dead maggot feeding continued for a while and the occasional sign of interest was evident but all very timidly… and so around 1030 I switched to a size 10 hook baited with dendro worm and followed that by baiting with prawn and again with both the same nudges continued…

Then around 1155 a canal boat passed by – the only one of the day – and this churned up the bottom and stained the water a little and seemed to wake the fish up a bit as I started getting more attention – as much per cast as in the previous 3-4 hours in all – albeit still quick tugs. However, I did manage to hook into one more chub on worm, again not a mega lunker but slightly bigger at around 6-8oz…

2019-03-18-steve-6oz-chub.jpg

And so the nudges and knocks continued but despite switching back to a size 16 hook and maggots nothing else was landed when I packed in at 1400 as black clouds started to pass over and mini-showers happening and it was starting to look darker on the horizon.

SO… at least I caught again!

Also, I was pleased with the new rod – felt perfect for my needs. It was a replacement for my usual 10’ float rod which, as I’ve said before, was not to my liking due to the tip ring sizes on float rods these days being virtually the size that you’d expect on a quiver tip and thus totally unsuitable for fishing floats sliding style .. which is the way I always fish my floats regardless of whether they actually need to be sliding (ie in deep water). Last time I fished a float attached top’n’bottom I literally can’t remember … probably the 70’s or even 60’s! I attach my floats via a small sliding link swivel … between shot and float I use a single float stop so that I can set the float away from the shot if need be for casting … above the float I use a further two float stops to set the depth I want to fish at. Why two stops above the float? Well, when I initially plumb my depths I slide both up/down together until the optimum setting is reached with the bait resting on the bottom … however, if I later want to use a slightly depth setting for some reason (eg casting into a different area or want the bait suspended off bottom) then I just move the lower stop down to the desired setting and the upper stop acts as a reference point to indicate how much I’ve changed the depth and also makes returning to the original depth as easy as just sliding the lower stop back up to meet the upper one. As I say I fit ‘sliding style’ but in shallow water the float can be effectively locked/fixed by just trapping it between the float/shot stop and the above float stops and fished ‘peg-leg’…

PLANS:

The weather for the week ahead is improving with warmer air temps and less wind/breeze according to the forecast, so Thursday 21st March I’m planning on returning to the pool of last week and checking out ‘that area’ :)….

WATER TEMPS:

9.0’C rising to 10.0’C over the day…

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It’s All About Location, Location, Location….

As described in my previous posting (Session 10 – Cool At The Pool) I spent 6 hours fishing from what I rate as one of the best pegs on the pool for one fish, albeit one that put a bend in the rod…. and noted at the end of the day that I decided to cast out my Deeper Sonar to add some more contour data to my records for the pool … and ended by ‘losing’ the sonar transceiver due to a snap link failure although I did manage to retrieve it later.

Anyway, I’ve just scanned through the scanner data and found some interesting – and very notable – data….

ScreenHunter 27A
The Swim
X = my peg
F = the area into which my baits were cast
A = Scanned before loss
B = Scanned from loss until regained
Lighter the area = the deeper it is

I think the pic explains the situation quite well – but as I was scanning around the area from right to left I didn’t actually get to scan over the area I’d actually been fishing before ‘losing’ the sonar … whether that would have shown appreciably different results to those of area A is debateable and I think not although the located fish were in the deeper water and as can be seen the water depth is increasing the further left towards my fished area. I was casting one bait to the edge of the overhanging tree in area F and the other bait mainly to the right outer half of that area.

Having set the scene for you … now head to YouTube and look up this video of the scanning session at:

https://youtu.be/FC3wd7DOCNM

and note the differences in fish populations between the two areas…… about 2.5 minutes of video in all as I recorded it at 10x real speed.

Next time I visit this pool I know where I’ll be heading – and I’ve NEVER seen ANYONE (other than myself when its one of my stops when roving with lures for pike) fish this area as its the furthest point from the car park requiring the navigation of 2 gates and and three electric fences to access…

And planning now to fish the local canal on Monday 18th – dry and bright on Sunday and Monday with minimal breeze which suits me!! 🙂 And possibly, depending on weather, returning to this pool on Thursday….. although with the end of March, and thus my end of pike season, looming it may be with the pike rods … but with the pike fodder located I could be heading to the same area…. 😉

Session 10 – 2019 – Cool At The Pool….

Monday 11th march, exactly one week later than my last planned trip was meant to be due to commitments and weather, I ventured out to a club pool (AA-GH) hoping to engage with a few bream and chub – and the inevitable carp.

I was the first arrival although I was closely followed by another angler a few minutes later but we were the only people on the pool for the day…

Air temps were a bit cool (ca 4’C) but felt even cooler in the northerly breeze – however it was a bright sunny day and I’d taken my 60” oval brolly which provides 270’ protection from the elements and when I orientated it I arranged the sun to be shining directly in the front opening and created a suntrap – and it worked so well that I had to shed two tiers of clothing as I was so warm initially!

My chosen swim faced the end of an island with an overhanging bush (usually good for chub) and open water which is usually good for bream (casting towards the conifer in front of the house in the photos)….

Usual mishaps started quickly … I found I’d left my rod pods at home … and also I’d not got my spare pocket pods which turn 5 banksticks into a pod (4 for legs and a long one to connect the back and front) … and my alarms seemed to be sticking a bit as a bit of mud from a previous outing had got on to the rollers… Alarms in the end worked well enough not that they had to do much on the day … and the rod rest situation was coped with by individual rests at front and rear on both rods, the ground being soft enough to insert them despite there being a hardcore base just a couple of inches under the surface but still glad that I use screw-tip rests that could work their way through the hardcore as simple push/hammer points wouldn’t have coped at all.

I eventually cast in at around 0820 using two rods with frame feeders loaded with crumb/dead maggot/hemp – one rod with bread on a size 4 hook cast to the open water, the other with 2 worms on a size 10 hook cast to the overhanging bush.

Whilst waiting for action I then decided to set up my Deeper Sonar for use later as I’d not used it over this part of the pool before so I set up the rod and ‘ball’ and went to test all was OK – which is when I found I’d not got the Deeper application installed on my phone – must have been uninstalled for some reason… so the set up was put to one side…

Then at 0850 the bread baited rod’s alarm burst into life and I was into what I was hoping was, and felt like, a good sized bream but on landing it was a common carp of 5lb 10oz… still a nice fish nevertheless.

2019-03-11 Steve 5lb 10oz Common Carp 02

5lb 10oz Common Carp

At this point I realised I’d not set my camera/tripod up – hence the non-selfie photo – and when I went to take the photo it seemed the camera’s battery pack was depleted – a minor inconvenience as I carry a couple of charged spares and only takes a few seconds to switch over. Fish returned, camera/tripod was setup ready for the next capture – YEP! Kiss of death! LOL!

From then on until 1400 when I packed in not a lot happened – just about 6 lots of 3-5 beeps on the buzzers (probably line bites)….

I noticed the other chap had disappeared at around 1300, not sure if he’d caught as although only a few pegs away he was obscured by bushes between us.

SO… final mishap of the day was still to come … I installed the Deeper Sonar app on the phone via mobile data and after I’d packed away the main rods I decided to cast the sonar out for a few scans… all went fine for the first few casts but then … the longest cast towards the centre of the pool … the ball sailed out but the line remained slack! I’d connected the ball to the line via an American style ‘safety pin’ snap link which was prefitted to the wire trace at the end of the main line and I hate those things … extremely unreliable (as in this case) as apart from a tendency to spring open they are also liable to fall apart as the spring wires are only crimped into the ‘body’ and I prefer 1-piece wire constructs … anyway, this time the clip had sprung open. However, it being a breezy day the ball was being blown relatively quickly to shore and I could track it via the GPS it transmits as part of the scanning operation … so 15 minutes later I’d gone 1/3 of the way around the pool with my landing net and recovered it from the shallows. So glad as they’re not cheap … may be cheaper now but cost me £160 when I got mine and that was 2nd hand off eBay….


WATER TEMPS:

6.5’C rising to 7.1’C over the day…

ScreenHunter 25

Session 9 – 2019 – On The River Severn….

I haven’t recently done much fishing on the Severn, probably just half a dozen sessions in all over the past 3-4 years but intending to do more this year. In fact, I haven’t done much river work at all – my main venue for the river for that past time has been the Warwickshire Avon after bream with a few sessions on the River Sow around Stafford, the River Tern at Waters Upton, Telford and the Worcester Stour near Kidderminster.

So with the river close season looming I decided on Thursday February 28th to set off at 0700 for a club controlled stretch of the middle reaches River Severn near Bridgnorth (KF-S/HL/M). There are two sections to this stretch – the upstream meadows where day tickets issued by the club are obtainable on the bank and the lower meadows which are reserved for club members only – and I headed to the members’ stretch, arriving a little after 0800…

I chose a swim close to the start of the section – in fact, the second swim upstream from the lower boundary and car park…

XXXX

A nice looking swim and it looked very promising…

I set up two rods – one a 12’ Ron Thompson Feeder rod with quiver tip and a 20g cage feeder with 8lb line straight through to a size 8 Kamasan Animal Eyed Barbless hook, the other a 12’ TFG ‘Classic Barbel’ rod of 2lb TC with 10lb line straight through to a size 4 Kamasan B981 Barbless Eyed hook – as an aside I prefer the ‘Animal’ hook pattern to all others from size 20 down to size 8 BUT size 8 is the largest hook in range and so by necessity I have to use another pattern and the B981 is a good second choice hook IMHO – and a 3/4oz ‘pennyweight’ lead.

I started with the feeder rod firstly (although I can fish two rods easily in stillwater I find that on a flowing water I am totally incapable of doing so and so stick to one-at-a-time) casting in at 0830 and used worm, maggot, prawn and bread on the hook at various times. The feeder was loaded with crumb, bread mash, maggot and hemp. I fished to mainly place the bait under branches of that bush in the photo and sometimes just short of to try to draw the fish slightly upstream. Initially I was getting attention with small nudges and tweaks of the tip on all baits on all casts but nothing that developed or was worthy of a strike … and around 1000 all action completely, 100%, disappeared on all baits … and despite casting around nothing was forthcoming. I don’t know why that happend – fish just lost their appetite? Pike possibly moved into the area although there was no real evidence of that in the form of scatters, swirls or bow waves, etc.

So, 1130, I put out my heavier rod baited with a meaty/garlic homemade boilie wrapped in the paste they were made from fishing out into the current more … but by 1300 I still had not had a single tweak – and since 1200 it had drizzled non-stop, quite heavily at times too… and I’d not taken by brolly as when I’d looked at the weather forecast 3 days or so previously it seemed it was to be a dry and sunny day [Note to self: check forecasts at least 24 hours before going out] … Anyway, I was now soaked to the skin and decided to call it a day at that point. I was only going to be able to fish until 1430 at the latest anyway so didn’t lose much time… and a hot bath and hot choc was very enticing at that time.

SO … another fruitless day ….

It seems I chose a good swim though as these are a few comments from the club’s Facebook page when I reported in…

  • “That’s the swim I took 5 out of last October and all during the day.
    Just let my bait roll into the overhanging branch.”
  • “I had 3 from there Sunday morning”
  • “Best swim on the members section and certainly the most popular :)The only swim that’s given me a 5lb chub this winter……”
  • “Big chub swim that is”
  • “Had some decent barbel and chub there in summer”

So probably the wrong day for that swim … and I do know the bailiff of the stretch was with a friend and that they were fishing just upstream of me and that a good fish had been lost by them but several others had landed…

Plans ahead … fishing on Monday 4th March … several possible venues in mind but I’m in need a morale booster so that may influence the decision … but then again with the river close season looming, and revenge in mind, it may be a return to the Severn … or somewhere else … 🙂

Session 8 – 2019 – And It’s One Step Backwards Again….

Monday February 25th , Liz and I set off for our day on a club pool – in fact one of the pools we’d actually intended to fish the previous Monday but due to on-site ground conditions not being conducive to being driven over we switched venues.

We set off at 0730 in the morning with the windscreen needing de-icing before we could drive away – but the car’s thermometer reckoned a temp of 4.5’C as we drove off the drive but by a couple of miles down the road into the more rural areas it was indicating -2.5’C … and along the trip continuously varied between -2’C and -0.5’C … and there were periods of driving in and out of heavy mists.

On arrival at the site we found that the generally dry warm weather of the past few days and the early frost had made it possible for us to access the member’s pool (KF-WL2) as intended, the soft ground having dried out and been firmed up by the frost, with just one 6’ muddy/soft length that had to be navigated. The other pool on-site is a smaller one on which the club allows day tickets (KF-WL1) but it does have carp to double figures, decent perch, the usual silvers and ide and so a good pool in itself and where we’d have fished if access to the members pool wasn’t possible. The members pool is ‘the’ club’s carp pool but also good fishing for good sized  tench, bream, perch and silvers and also has eels.

The Members Pool

Being a bright sunny and still day with barely a ripple on the water, I elected to fish on the float using a 2SSG rated onion float in the ‘lift method’ feeding small (golf ball sized) balls of groundbait every ½ hour or so with a small ‘pult of maggots added every 10 minutes or so. Bait used over the day was maggot, worm and prawn.

AND not one single nudge of the float all session long (0900-1500) despite feeding and fishing various positions around the margins up to 2-3 rod lengths out in about 6’ of water.

Liz fared slightly better to me – using two feeder rods with maggot feeders she did manage 1 rudd of around 8oz on maggot and also had a few tweaks on the same but not a touch on small meat cubes or sweetcorn. I did note that the rudd was absolutely freezing cold to the touch, like an ice pack it felt.

We packed in at 1500 to head to our usual end of session visit to our local for a beer and bag of scratchings 🙂 and as we passed by the day ticket pool there were two people there – one had arrived in a van at midday that we saw going down the track leading to the pool but there was also a car that I’d not seen arrive so don’t know how long he’d been fishing. I did notice that there was a keepnet out in the water though so I assume that something had been caught.

So … I’ve now just completed sorting my tackle out for a trip to the River Severn (Middle), a club stretch near Bridgnorth I’ll be bait checking tomorrow (27th) and off on the trip on Thursday 28th…..

WATER TEMPS:

6.2’C rising to 7.3’C over the day…

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Session 7 – 2019 – Getting In The Groove … At Last!

So, on Monday February 18th , Liz and I set off for our day on a pool … and, as usual, not on either of the pools mentioned in the last posting, the decision being based on the ground conditions as being too muddy to travel the path between those two pools as expected – and then deciding to opt for an entirely different pool (KF-VV).

The pool is a well stocked mixed fishery … basically a commercial without the tea rooms, gravel/tarmac/concrete track to park at your peg, etc. But is secluded and quiet and pleasant with a view down and across the River Severn valley… and only a small’ish pool anyway so easy to walk the entire perimeter and the car par park is 20 yards from the near end dam wall…

Overall, it was quite a pleasant day with the wind coming from predominantly the south … so as the poem goes..

When the wind’s in the South
It blows the bait in the mouth
When the wind’s in the West
The fish bite the best
When the wind’s in the East
The fish bite the least
When the wind’s in the North
Then fishing’s not worth..
it

… and air temps were reasonable, around 8’C-10’C although as an elevated area there was a bit of wind chill factor that came into play when the breeze kicked in at times … and at 1100 we did have a few short and relatively light spottings of rain over an hour long period.

As first arrivals at the pool we had choice of swims and chose a pair of swims we’d not fished from before. Usually our first choice of swims is the side of an east bank promontory facing south to an island with bushes overhanging the water and only a narrow channel (10-15 yards, if that) of water lies between … and this is known as ‘Chub Alley’ within the club due to the large numbers of chub that lie under the cover of the bushes – also carp and perch can be caught there. Our second choice swims are on the west bank by the line of conifers that can be seen in the two photos above which allows fishing to open water or to 3 islands (one being the end of the one that forms part of ‘Chub Alley’, and two smaller ones). However, as I say we elected to try these new-to-us pegs situated on another promontory just before the ‘Chub Alley’ one…

ScreenHunter 22X

So, in the picture above … CA = Chub Alley, CO = Conifers, S = Steve casting to X, L = Liz casting to Y.

Whether this was a good choice is matter of debate as the only two other anglers of the day, who came just 15-30 minutes after our arrival, chose to fish ‘Chub Alley’ and had a good day with a good number of sizeable chub and carp on the float…

BUT…. I did wish to feeder fish for a change and CA, due to its width, has only the one peg where that is feasible, at least that is so when using two rods, and that’s at the end of the promontory casting out from the actual channel towards island ‘Y’ and that’s Liz’s peg when we fish there…

Anyway, not complaining as we did catch… 🙂

Liz and I both ledger fished – Liz with maggot feeders with maggot and corn and meat baits, myself I fished 2 1/8oz frame feeders baited with worm on a size 12 hook on one rod and bread flake on a size 6 hook on the other.

First casts were made about 0900 and Liz had first blood with a nice roach of around 8oz with maggot at about 1130 …. and then at 1210 I had a common carp of 4lb 2oz on worm which I’d just removed the hook from but not yet weighed when Liz’s buzzer fired into action again and a 2lb 7oz chub taken on maggot was landed … and the new Korum Fast Mat was a blessing – like a lightweight carp cradle my carp could be kept safely confined and wet in a depth of water within its confines whilst Liz’s fish was landed and unhooked alongside. Both fish were then weighed, photo’d and returned with the minimum of fuss…

… we actually have a Fast Mat each but as on this occasion we were literally sitting within a few feet of each other we had decided to only set up the one but, as I said, had no problem dealing with these two fish at all…

1210 and I was again back in the action landing a 2lb 5oz chub taken on bread …  and then at 1310, again on bread, I had another common carp this time of 6lb 5oz…

After this it we were both getting quick knocks and pulls but nothing was hooked and at 1500 we packed in – because (a) it was getting a bit chilly in the breeze despite the bright sunshine and (b) our local opens at 1600 and is about 40 minutes away LOL! However, on this occasion we also needed to go to the garage to clean the car up and check tyre pressures for the following day’s MOT testing….

AND … had a mishap on the way home….

Driving down a country lane – narrow but wide enough to accomodate  two cars easily – a car comes in the opposite direction and I move over to my left as far as possible, in fact my nearside tyres are off the tarmac and on the soil edging and basically unable to move over further due to a ditch and a tree, whereas the other car remains well out from her edge (I reckon she’d  at least 18” of tarmac on her nearside looking at my dashcam footage) – and ***BANNGGG*** …. a wing mirror clash which resulted in not only my mirror glass getting shattered but also the casing/surround broken. I see the other car stop in my mirror but I had travelled on a bit far by the time I’d realised what had happened and if I’d have stopped immediately I’d have been a far distance away and be unable to ‘U’ turn easily in the narrow road so I continued to a farm gate where I could pull in, reverse and drive back up – which I did and arrived at the scene within 45 seconds (as shown on dashcam) but other car had now disappeared. Even drove up to the ‘T’ junction 50 yards past the point to see if I could spot the car around that area but no joy and would have been a 50/50 guess as to which direction the car would have taken off in…

So, now, car’s in for MOT and having mirror being looked at … garage man said he’s an old Seat Alhambra in the compound he can take the mirrors off – I’ve a Ford Galaxy, which is basically the same motor as the Seat Alhambra and the VW Sharan – with only slight cosmetic bodywork differences – one being that wing mirror fittings are identical on each but the actual mirror casings are aesthetically different so just replacing the broken Ford mirror with a Seat one and leaving the other Ford one would look strange so changing both – says cheaper than obtaining a new Ford replacement anyway as he’d have to search broker’s yards to locate one which would take time too as getting scarce due to age of vehicle.

SO… the car latest … couldn’t finish the work today and Liz needs car for work tomorrow so its arranged to finish it off on Friday … some minor MOT work needed to be completed but as current MOT lasts until 9th March and car safe to drive in the meantime that’s OK but means that I won’t be able to fish again until next week, hopefully Monday..

No water temps … forgot to take them!!

Session 6 – 2019 – General Fishing….

Firstly – a correction to what I’ve been saying previously, that I’ve not had a had a bite less alone caught anything in 2019… as I did actually catch on my first session of the year … The session I set off on had to be aborted as I discovered I was missing a lot of necessary tackle and had to return home without even wetting my line … but I did return home, collect the missing items and then went to a closer venue for a few hours where I caught a few TINY odds and ends before getting a phone call from the other half to say that one of our pet ferrets was looking very unwell (and did pass away that night) and I returned home earlier than planned. SO, it being such a bad day perhaps I was subconsciously blocking out of my memory….

OK, so to the latest session…

Thursday 14th February, 0715, I headed off to a mixed species club pool (AA-B) hoping for some action from perch, bream and chub but also encounters with carp, crucian carp, barbel, chub, gudgeon are also possible on this fishery.

Before setting off I had a bit of windscreen de-frosting to do although air temps as seen in car were 2.5’C at the time of driving away … but by my return home air temp was up to 11.5’C (and 18.5’C on thermometer in direct sunshine).

So the rising air and associated water temps (1’C rise in water over the day)  were a cause for hope BUT… resulted in NOTHING …. AGAIN!

I float fished with maggot and worm, casting to various areas for lengths of time and feeding a few maggots regularly. Even a ‘Mr Crabtree – there’s perch there, Peter’ stereotypical swim by the dipping branches of an overhanging tree didn’t generate any interest from the fish despite the pool being loaded with perch – and it had received its annual re-stock of fish (carp, tench, crucians, bream and others) only 3-4 weeks or so ago … and I eventually packed in at 1400.

A couple fishing the adjoining carp pool seemed to have slightly better luck however. I know they had at least one fish that I saw being landed as I walked my gear back to the car.

SO…. next trip out now planned with Liz to another club’s pool (KF-WL2 or maybe KF-WL1 depending on ground conditions for car access – both at the bottom of a large sloping field so gets quite muddy/soft on the path between the two pools) on Monday 18th….

WATER TEMPS:

5.2’C rising to 6.3’C over the day…

2019-02-14 Barlows Pool Water Temp