Session 11 – Fishing In Lockdown….

Tuesday, 24th March I headed off to a club pool for my first-of-the-week session and arrived onsite at around 0700. No-one else there on arrival but not surprising as even on a gloriously sunny and warm day like the day itself I find no-one else usually arrives waterside anywhere before 1000…


Anyway, took pic and posted on Facebook and then was when I found out we were supposed to be in ‘lockdown’ – stupid thing to do anyway in my opinion – from other postings on there . One of the things that happen I suppose when you haven’t read a newspaper or watched a TV news broadcast in at least 10 years or more – 15 years probably closer to the truth. The closest I get to ‘keeping up with the news’ is via Facebook postings – but, in all honesty, I do buy the Sun newspaper for 2 weeks in January every year – but that’s only to get the vouchers for Sun Holidays – take paper home, cut out coupons or store codes and paper itself goes into recycling unread. All the interesting news I need/want to know about is in the pages of my angling magazines/papers!

Oh well, I was there then so decided to carry on for a few hours, seemed pointless to just turn back after all the effort I’d made to be there… so did fish for a couple of hours – laid-on worm – did get one slight nudge early on but then nothing. So headed home….for a boring few weeks … a good job I’ve about 1000 hours of angling videos to watch and several hundred fishing books that have not yet been read! Might even do some jobs around the house if I can motivate myself!

My Dad’s words of the 60’s, maybe 70’s, are starting to ring true …. that we are starting to live such a sterile existence that in times to come when you visit the supermarket , with your shopping, you’ll be given a sachet of soil that will supply the minerals and provide germs and the bacteria to boost your personal immunity systems that have been washed from your vegs and removed via processing. So very true! … and I can foresee unless we change the human race will have disappeared from the Earth faster than the dinosaurs – here one minute, gone the next – and suspect that will be pre-Year 3000 the way things are going…

Session 10 (2020) – Deja Vu With Liz….

Monday, 16th March, Liz and I set off at 0730 for a club pool (KF-VV) in Shropshire. The forecast for the day being good – sunny, little breeze and warm – and this actually held true for the day, especially in the morning as we sat facing into the sun …

2020-03-16 Valley View

… but just after noon as the sun had passed overhead and went behind us it felt a lot cooler as we had a row of conifers right behind us screening us from the direct sun’s rays… and hence we decided at 1500 to pack in and visit the usual ‘beer & cob stop’ on the way home.

We actually started fishing at 0930 – a little later than we had expected as we had ‘difficulties’ on parking. When we visited the same venue on our last joint trip we found the car ‘stuck in the mud’ when we came to leave due to the solid frozen ground on which we had parked on arrival having thawed and Ford Galaxy’s not being lightweight cars by any means had sunk down and we only escaped eventually by deflating the tyres – which afterwards took the best part of an hour for our electronic pump to replenish the air before we could drive home. Lesson learnt, or so I thought, and I’d loaded my set of bread crate bottoms on which to park the driven wheels on. HOWEVER, we got there I drove up to the parking area and Liz jumped out, got the crate bottoms out and laid just in front of my front wheels for me to drive upon… so I get into gear to drive the 12”-18” required to place the wheels on the crates … and wheels spin!!! So, after deflating the tyres (not so much this time so as to save time on re-filling) and sort of pulsing the drive both in forwards and reverse gears I eventually managed to get out of the rut and on to harder ground, and then onto the re-laid crates… At this point, we decided to leave the car/tyres ‘as is’ and get to the pool, get tackled and start fishing and to resolve the air pressures in the tyres on getting back to the car later.

So we headed off to the pool, and elected to fish our ‘old swim’ on the opposite side to where we’d fished for the past 12 months or more. As I said our positions faced into the sun on arrival (ie we were on the west bank) so we got the full warmth of the sun on us which was also increased by the reflected heat from the tall conifers directly behind us at that time…

So, 0930 or thereabouts, we made our first casts ….

Liz elected to fish with 2 frame feedered rods – one cast to the very edge of an overhanging tree on a small island around 10 metres in front of us and the other cast into open water to the left between this island and another further away. Baits were various – maggot, meat, boilies,…

Myself, I elected to fish ‘lift method/laying on’ with a driftbeater float, feeding the right hand side of the small island ahead with small cereal+particle groundbait balls and catapulted maggot. Baits were maggot+worm cocktail initially but later swapped to punched bread coated with Primula ham’n’cheese spread….

Over the course of the day we both had small knocks and nudges but nothing landed UNTIL at 1458 (literally 2 minutes before the time we had decided to call it a day!) Liz calls out to me and I have to attend with the net …. and she lands a 1lb 13oz chub…

2020-03-16 Liz - 1lb 13oz Chub 01

Liz – 1lb 13oz Chub

NOW … this is the second time in the last two outings she’s pulled that trick! Catching literally within 2 minutes of our planned packing up time!

So, I’m now looking at a record of 10 trips for 10 blanks whilst Liz’s record is 2 trips for 2 fish and no blanks!

Anyway, we pack up as had been decided, return to the car and get the air pump in action before we start loading the car – and on completion of the loading the first tyre had just reached its right pressure … and we didn’t have too long to wait before the second tyre was up and ready to go….

We set off for our the local hostelry, only to find on arrival there that it was shut just for that one day to complete some recent refurbishment it had undergone… not to be defeated we headed off elsewhere to get  our usual post-session beers, cobs, pork pie and scratchings….. J

NEXT OUTING: As I write this it will be tomorrow (Wednesday 19th) – which in fact would have been Mom’s 96th birthday and so I’m hoping she’ll be looking down on me and give me some luck. Off for an end-of-season pike session at Pike Water 5… and possibly Saturday 21st I may pop on the bus to the local canal with a few lures for a few hours.


AIR:                  MIN: 10.0’C       MAX: 26.2’C
WATER:            MIN:  7.4’C        MAX:  8.4’C


ScreenHunter 17


ScreenHunter 18

Session 9 (2020) – To A Pool….

Thursday 5th March at 0900 I headed off to a local club pool again (SAC-DP), the weather having changed a little, still on the cold side but the rain had stopped (bar for a short light shower at around 1030)….

My intended targets, as much as they were as anything would be acceptable in the circumstances, were to be hopefully perch and bream.

So I set up a float rod that I’d newly acquired via a local auction where I’d obtained an auction lot of 11 rods for £38.

I actually got a good deal with the auctioned items as Googling later I found one of the models in the group (a Hardy’s Gordon Carp Quest) sold at another auction last year for £120 – and are also being offered for online sale for between £180-£225 – so that’s likely to appear on eBay in due course! J

Of the rods purchased I’ve decided to keep the rod in use on this session plus at least one other but possibly up to three. Liz and I are intending to do some car boot selling probably in May and a fair bit of old/surplus fishing gear will be amongst the items on sale – and the rods that we retain from the auction purchase will replace current rods that we use as I find the setup of older rods in terms of ring sizes and spacings are far better in my opinion and the older rods have cork handles as opposed to the recently used synthetic foam types – but saying that I do see a trend amongst the latest rods to revert back to the use of cork. So those rods that will be swapped out of use will head to the car boot along with the auction gained ones that are surplus to requirements – and also there’ll be assorted landing nets, bank sticks, reels, etc, etc – and general household items that are no longer of use.

{There was a CTM 13’6” float rod in the auction bundle that Liz likes and that will now become her standard float rod, her current one to be sold at the car boot}

Anyway, the rod I have put into use is a Sealey Aquarius 13’ float rod – a nice feel to it but the main reason for its use is that my usual float rod is, as are all my rods, permanently tackled up and carried in quiver thus making life easier on the waterside as there is no need to attach reels, thread line, add terminal tackles, etc as thats already done – I just need to clip desired weight to a rod’s snap link if ledgering or push float into the quick change adapter on a float rod (possibly may need at adjust shotting to suit the float if the float intended for use is not suitable on the day). Anyway, due to that modus operandi, my – at the time only – float rod was fitted with a Shimano 3500DX reel with 6lb line and to change to a lighter BS line would involve the need to tackle down, replace the spool of 6lb with another spool containing lighter line and re-tackle. BUT, in the first place, I didn’t have any spare spools on to which put lighter line … so I perused eBay and found a suitable spool available for bidding on … and put it on ‘Watch’ as the auction was not due to end for several days … HOWEVER, the next day I went into town and just happened by chance to wander into Cash Converters and spotted a complete Shimano 3500DX reel along with 2 spare spools (ie 3 spools in all) for sale for just £12! So it got purchased – then along came the local auction and I got that bundle of rods. So, now the ‘new’ Shimano, with a spool of 4lb BS lines sits on the Sealey rod – and the two other spools are loaded with 3lb and 6lb lines.

Anyway, the session …. arrived at the pool around 0930 … went to a peg I’d not fished before, and in fact on the far bank where I’d not fished before, at the windward end but I was sheltered from it to an extent by a tree.

I floatfished with a 3AAA crystal waggler with the bait just on the bottom of the approx 5’-6’ deep water originally starting with 2 maggots on a size 18 hook for the first hour and thereafter changed to worm on a size 10 for the rest of the day …. and tackled down at 1430 in order to be able to pick Liz up from work at 1600 and also grab a cuppa and a doughnut whilst I waited for her to finish. Of the interim period of 1000 when I made my first cast and my finish at 1430 there’s not much to tell … the float floated and bobbed on the waves, some members walked their dogs past while they surveyed the pool and 3 chaps were bush/tree pruning on the nearside bank… Not a sign of any fishy interest in my baits at all.

Next session, looking at the forecast ahead it seems the rain is returning over the whole of next week although maybe not as much as recently but Monday 16th March its saying dry and sunny and warm(ish) and so plans are to fish with Liz then….


On Sunday 1st March Liz and I had a good day out at ‘The Big One’ angling show held at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire. A good day out – plenty of new tackle on show. And Liz and I did our share of buying probably spending around £150 in all J. Jeremy Wade of TV’s ‘River Monsters’, ‘Dark Water’s, etc was there and I bought a signed copy of his book ‘River Monsters’ and, in fact, last year at that show I bought his ‘How To Think Like A Fish’ book which is an excellent read. Also had my photo taken with ‘the man’ 🙂

Me and new BFF, Jeremy Wade, LOL!


When keeping count/tabs/detail of what I catch when I catch it I find it time consuming to write down every individual capture as it happens or lose count or fail to be able remember weights when I try to memorise in half hour batches or so… And using the sound.voice recording function of a phone has the same problems. So I’ve created an Excel file that I print out that just requires me to ‘tick a box per species’ for smaller fish or to scribble a weight (eg 2-04) for worthier captures…. Although it wasn’t needed this last session! 🙂

ScreenHunter 15

My Capture Sheet


AIR:                   MIN: 4.8’C         MAX: 14.6’C
WATER:            MIN: 4.8’C         MAX: 5.4’C


ScreenHunter 14


ScreenHunter 13



Session 8 (2020) – Canal On The Float And Lead….

Tuesday 4th February at 0900 I was off to fish a stretch of the local Staffs-Worcs Canal for a session of general coarse fishing. This is a stretch that is administered by one of my clubs (SAC-SWC) and actually runs alongside one of the club’s pool waters – and beyond along the length of a neighbouring commercial fishery – and so the total length of this canal stretch is around 1500 yards or so.

I set myself up opposite the entry to the marina – the type of place that is generically good for catching – a favourite haunt for species like perch, bream and pike in particular and I had been told, and was actually told whilst fishing too, that this area was no exception to that rule.

So, on arrival I set up the light 11’ feeder rod I use as my usual canal float fishing rod as I find commercially made ‘float rods’ these days have rings, tip rings in particular, that are too small for me as, when float fishing, I virtually always use a sliding float arrangement regardless the depth of water I’m fishing in as I just find it easier to make whatever changes/adjustments I need to do over the course of a session … and the float stop or stop knot can be felt to jar in the small rings on the cast thus effecting the casts (ie jarring causes the cast to fall short of desired OR if cast harder to compensate then the stop can sail through smoothly and overcast occur – usually into far bank overhanging vegetation!). Hence the use of the 1lb TC feeder rod with its larger rings. Line was 4lb BS, size 16 hook, and a 3AAA reed waggler completed the setup. Bait was 2-3 maggots.

3 areas were baited up with crumb, partices and maggot – along the boarding on the far bank of the main canal (as seen in 1st photo), about 3’ off the end of that boarding into the marina entrance, and about halfway across to the tall tree (so was mid marina entrance).

For the first hour or so I float fished into the 3 bait areas in turn but had not a single nudge – and when I finally got a knot in my end tackle I couldn’t easily resolve I decide to switch to the lead … well, actually I was going to use a small feeder but found I’d not packed any feeders (aside: nor had I put in my thermometer either, hence no temp readings) and so I used a small flat (‘penny’) lead of about 5g around which I packed hard balls of groundbait… Rod was a 10’Syntra feeder rod with a light quiver tip, line was 8lb BS and a size 6 hook baited with worm completed the setup.

This gave slightly better results in that at least I was getting occasional plucks albeit that no fish were hooked.

It started to get a bit cool around midday and with the lack of action … and blank 8 made … I decided to call it a day at 1230 and head home and prepare my tackle for the next outing which will most likely be Saturday 8th February and thus, due to transport needs ie a bus, be back to the same canal albeit in a different area.

Anyway, feeders and thermometer now added to the canal box!! 🙂

Session 7 (2020) – A Local Pool Session….

At 0900 on Friday, 30th January 2020, I headed out to my closest club pool, SAC-DP, for a few hours of general float fishing. A bit later start than usual but (a) the venue is only 10-15 minutes from home on clear roads and so travelling time is not a major issue, (b) we are allowed to park on the car park a local garden centre for a fee of £2 – safer than the lay-bye that’s also just over the road but where many cars get broken into – but which doesn’t open until 0900 and (c) between 0800 and 0900 the roads here are just crawling with works traffic so not its worth setting out earlier anyway.

So, car parked, I carted my tackle over the road and headed to a peg that I’d previously fished on my visits to this pool  although it wasn’t in the area I had been advised to fish at this time of the year – but I was on limited time to fish as I needed to be away fairly early to collect Liz from work as her shift had been temporarily altered so that she finished at 1500 rather than 1730 and the advised area would have been a fair distance extra further to walk – there and back.

So, Peg 8 it was….

2020-01-30 01

My station was set out, brolly up as there were intermittent light misty spotlets in the air at times, and the was swim pre-baited with a small amount of particle (hemp/rice) added crumb with a few catapulted maggots, Tackle for the day – 13’ float rod, 6lb Hyper Sensor line to size 10 Kamasan Animal barbless hook and a 3SSG rated windbeater float set to around 12” overdepth to fish lift method style. Bait was dendra worm….

First cast was made around 0945 …. but by 1330, despite extra small maggot feeds and re-casts, not a single nudge had been forthcoming and it was time to start to pack down…

Anyway, I don’t know when my next outing will be – I was thinking of going out tomorrow on the canal with float and bait but the weather forecast for the weekend and Monday is not looking good so possibly may be Tuesday 4th Feb…


AIR:                  MIN: 7.9’C         MAX: 9.2’C
WATER:           MIN: 4.5’C         MAX: 4.7’C





Session 6 (2020) – Canal Deadbait Piking….

Saturday, 25th January 2020, I went for a session of a few hours pike deadbaiting on a couple of the local stretches of the Staffs-Worcs Canal that lie between Brickbridge, Wombourne and Swindon Village – one half of the combined one mile (from the Waggon and Horses pub at Brickbridge to Botterham Lock) being administered by the Wolverhampton AA and the other half (Botterham Lock to Swindon Village) being administered by the Birmingham AA.

As Liz had the car for work it was a bus ride to the venue for me albeit Liz dropped me off at a bus stop for my required service on her way to work – and that worked well as the bus came within five minutes of my arrival there – and just thirty minutes later I was on the canal bank adding the final touches to my tackle set up.

I used a fairly standard floatfished deadbait rig – a twin semi-barbed treble snap tackle wire trace attached to 40lb braid mainline, with a slim pencil float and 10g quick change weight. My rod was an 11’ Ron Thompson (ca 3lb TC) Bass rod (£13 from Go Outdoors) coupled with a 5000 series fixed spool reel (a TFG one I received as a ‘gift’ for subscribing to a magazine).

Baits were varied between sprats, sardines, smelts and those smelt/pikelet looking ones of unknown species (BTW these are TOUGH baits – takes some pushing to even get a brand new hook to pierce!) over the day and swims…

So over the period of around 3 hours or so of actual fishing I wandered down the banks fishing half a dozen or so likely looking spots en-route, giving each spot about 20-40 minutes attention….

But all to no avail, although at one point I did get a float wobble but not sure if that was due to a fish or a passing dog that was showing interest in my bait bag at the time catching the line with his wagging tail but must say that when I tried flicking, and quite forcibly too, the line where he had been located I could make no impression on the float, so perhaps…??? Anyway, there was no further action in the following 10 minutes and I moved on…

An enjoyable day again albeit blank number 6 of 6 outings made in 2020 so far… and as I’ve commitments in the coming week coupled with the weather looking not too good either it may well be next Saturday, although we have weekend guests due – actually a late Xmas get-together for us. Liz’s brother, his partner and a friend are all coming to do our Xmas present exchanges… We were supposed to get together just before Xmas Day to have a meal out and swap presents but my illness/hospitalisation interfered with that – and then a further hospitalisation caused the next arranged get-together to be cancelled again  … and the coming weekend was the next available time that all of us were free to do it. So, Saturday, will be the Xmas present exchanging and unwrapping night coupled with a takeaway Chinese 🙂

Session 5 (2020) – NOT Pike Fishing….

Monday, 20th January 2020, at 0800, Liz and myself set off for a few hours of general coarse fishing.

We’d considered three options for the venue to visit and finally opted to fish a club pool in Shropshire (KF-VV) which is commercial in type and stockings (although it is a ‘Members Only’ pool) and thus can be generally relied upon to provide some action in most conditions.

Setting off from home, with footpaths, etc coated in a good layer of frost, the car thermometer recorded external air temperature at +1.5’C in the immediate urban areas but it dropped to -1.5’C  as we entered the countryside. And the car was well iced over (as it had been for a few days previously too) and despite having been out with the de-icer spray a little earlier we had to sit on the drive for 10-15 minutes with the windscreen and rear window heaters on as well as the car’s cabin heater – but as that relies on sourcing heat from the engine’s radiator cooling system that has to get up to temp first. So it was probably closer to 0815 when we drove off the driveway…

So the outlook for the day looked poor in the terms of catching ‘bags’ of fish but at least the pool does have a good head of chub which tend to feed OK no matter how cold the water temps drop – and although absolute temperatures do play a part, the bigger effects come from delta-Temp over delta-Time ie the rate of change in temperature with respect to the change in time (the faster the temp change, the greater the effect produced). As I said the air temps had been quite cold over several days so difference in those temps was small and water temperatures change far slower than air temps – so hoping the overall effects of the fish would be minor too.

We arrived at the pool I would say around 0900-0915 and we had a quick walk up the dam wall from where the car was parked to look to see what the situation. No-one else was on the water – unsurprisingly as Monday is generally a quiet day for fishing everywhere from my experience – workers back at work after the weekend and hard at it, and others who are ‘free’ generally prefer other weekdays – Wednesday actually seems the busiest day for doing things like meeting in the pub at lunchtime with old colleagues, theatre groups going to matinees, and doing other things – like fishing! Me, Mondays and Thursdays are my usual fishing days as you’ll know.

So, the swim we had decided to fish was thus vacant (in the 2nd photo we would have fished from by the far bank conifers) – however, it was far from fishable due to a layer of ice that covered the near end of the pool up to that swim. However, the far end of the pool was ice free and fishable – and that included a channel between the main bank and an island known within the club as ‘Chub Alley’ – so as I alluded earlier to the chub’s habits to include eating even in cold times this was of course where we chose to fish.

Liz fished at the far end of the spit of mainland with maggot feeder out to the end of the island where a large overhanging bush grows and another maggot feeder out into open water… myself, I fished parallel to a wooden bridge that crosses from the mainland across to the island (Pic 1) as there is an overhanging bush slightly to the right of the far end of the bridge (just out of pic) and fishing close to the bridge itself is a good area for perch. I floatfished with maggot and worm.

Anyway, we fished until 1500 – Liz having had just a few small nudges until 1450 when she had a good bite and landed a chub of 2lb 13oz – a clean sheet with zero blanks for 2020 fishing trips too…

Liz 2lb 13oz Chub 02

Liz’s 2lb 13oz Chub

Myself, I floatfished for the whole session. Firstly, with maggot without a single touch and then latterly with worm with similar results at the start. I started my fishing a 5AAA antenna waggler with a bulk of shot about 24” from the hook, and the tell-tale shot 6” from the hook and a couple of trimming shot midway between the two groupings and the hook/bait was presented on the bottom. However, the float did drift slightly and so, after fishing with worm for an hour or so to no effect, I added an SSG shot tight to the telltale shot, removed one of the small trimming shot and increased the depth I was fishing at by about 12” – thus I was now fishing overdepth and slightly overshotted and needed to tighten the line to cock the float – so almost, but not quite, lift-method style. So now the bait was anchored to the spot and no longer drifted. And this proved to be an improvement in that I now started to get bites … float rising slightly in the water and then travelling along, often against the drift/breeze. However, although at least some of the bites were ‘unmissable’, they were all missed even after allowing longer times between indication and strike! Possibly small perch just grabbing the worm’s head or tail? Anyway, 1500 came and it was packing up time and the tackle was put away… and blank number 5 of 5 trips made so far in 2020 was concluded…

But it wasn’t the end of the day’s fun and games… oh no, far from it!!

Got to the car, loaded up the gear, Liz went and unpadlocked the gate while I did the final loading and shoe changing … got in car and started to drive away … and the hard frozen ground of the morning had thawed … and I experienced the dreaded wheel spin!! Got the bread crate panels I always carry in the car at this time of the year to park upon to prevent the problem – thought the ground was OK so didn’t use them BUT seems I’d reversed just 24” too far and on a slight upslope – and tried pushing those under the wheels but still couldn’t get a grip. Ended up deflating the tyres from their usual 44psi to 8psi … and managed, by pulsing/rocking backwards and forwards to finally get a grip and manage to make it too the hardcore tyre tracks… but now I had to re-inflate those tyres back to 44psi – and that took 45 minutes..  but at least we were back on track (excuse pun) and headed home … where worse awaited us…

Got home, decided to reverse car up the driveway to make unpacking easier by dropping it all in the garage until the morning … but managed to reverse TOO far and went straight into the front porch’s sliding aluminium doors…

So, this morning, I was straight on to our house insurance, our £100 excess paid up, surveyor coming on Thursday (23rd) morning between 0800 and 1300 to assess damage and hopefully arrange fitting of new doorway…. Doors opened to the current full extent in the pics due to buckled framework and its a bit of a squeeze to get in/out…


OOH…. I forgot to mention one other thing…. Whilst folding down my rod at the end of the session I discovered reasons it didn’t seem to be casting too well…. (A) the line had a knotted wind loop in it which would have snagged in the rod rings on each cast… (B) the line had been misthreaded through one rod ring – through the frame of the ring rather than the ring itself… (C) one rod ring had been missed out completely when the line had been threaded. AND (B) and (C) at least must have been like that for the previous 2-3 sessions when the rod was used as I don’t tackle down, just unplug the rod’s sections, fold over and velcro them together…. Anyway, will be rectified as I need to put on new line due to that knot….


AIR:                  MIN: 3.5’C         MAX: 7.2’C
WATER:           MIN: 3.6’C         MAX: 4.2’C


ScreenHunter 06


ScreenHunter 07