Session 34 – Pike Fishing At 70…

Thursday, 26th November, was a (half) day spent at Pike Water 1…

I left home at 0700 and arrived onsite at the pool at around 0730 not surprised to discover I was the first there due to the heavy-at-times mist, sub-zero temperatures and heavy ground frost…

2020-11-26 Frost And Mist

Car parked, barrow loaded and I headed off to my chosen peg for the day and tackled up to follow my plan for the day which was to initially fish for small livebaits until around 1030 and then put those baits out for the desired pike.

Part One: Livebait gathering:

My tackle for this was a 13’ Sealey float rod along with a small 3000 size reel with 4lb line straight though to the size 16 hook which was maggot baited. The float was a crystal style waggler of about a 4BB rating.

[The Sealey rod I had acquired via a local auction some time ago along with 9 or so other rods for the princely sum of £30 and it is a nice rod – fibreglass but very light. Actually, I bought a good lot in that auction – Liz ended up with a decent float rod, there were a couple of other nice rods and a couple will head to car booting – but the star of the lot was a Hardy’s Gordon’s 10’ Carpquest which currently sells at between £150-£200 retail and I have seen them go in auctions at £85+, however, mine is missing the first ring of the top section which I need to replace which will devalue it a bit I suppose]

So, first cast was optimistically made at 0830 as on arrival, despite the frost/mist/low temps, there were plenty of dimples and swirls of active small fish in evidence. However, the next hour and a half did not go well and I suffered tangle after tangle and three times I had to cut out knots and re-tackle from scratch – and not a bite in the interim period either despite altering depths from the 30” I started fishing at (and at which depth I was catching on an almost identical water with when I fished with Liz last time) down to fishing the bottom – and at various levels in-between. Due to the problems I changed my plans and decided to give it until 1130 to gather livebaits and I did in fact, during the period 1000-1130 I manage to avoid further tangles BUT still did not manage to make a single capture…

Part Two: Pike Fishing:

So, in the absence of livebait, my pike fishing had to revert to Plan B and be done using deadbaits (smelt and sardine) that I’d taken with me ‘just in case’.

The usual floatfishing pike rod (I decided to fish just a single rod), a 12’ 2.75lb TC carp rod, was tackled with a 40lb braid main line, 30lb wire trace with twin treble snap tackle, red/white polystyrene float and a 25g quick-change lead … and a sardine bait mounted….

And at 1400 when I decided to call it a day I’d not had a single touch despite varying location and depths and tried drifting and laying-on…

So… not an eventful day but was pleasant enough … thanks to the Damart Thermolactyl Double Force thermals!! I really rate them and have been my standard fishing thermals really since the 80’s (NO.. not the same set!! And they do get washed! LOL). I’ve found nothing to compare – and are used on Everest and Arctic/Antarctic expeditions I believe. If you sit still you will start to get chilly but after a 100 yard walk up the bank and back you’re as snug as a bug in a rug again for another hour or more! One of my two pike fishing essentials not included in the usual lists…

  1. Damart Thermals – or at least some sort of thermals or quilted suit..
  2. Styptic Pencil!! Pike teeth are sharp (triangular shaped with a razor sharp edge) – and are also covered in an anti-coagulant. The merest scratch will bleed and bleed and bleed – not profusely but for a long long time often resulting in a well bloodied hankie and bloodied clothing and kit and the wound is barely visible! So a styptic pencil is always in my jacket pocket – an excellent solution, albeit a ‘stingey’ one for a few seconds!

PLANS:

I’m hoping to make one last trip out on Monday 30th before Christmas – whether piking or maggot fishing not decided but most likely the latter as I’ve plenty of maggots at hand at the mo to be used up.

I’ve pencilled in December for doing the Christmas preparations/jobs essentially and in past years I’ve not managed to do much fishing during the month anyway. But that’s not to say I won’t manage to slot in a spot somewhere along the line, so not set in concrete. Possibly sneak in a couple of lure fishing hours on the canal perhaps. All to be seen.

TEMPS:

AIR:                  MIN:   -1.2’C      MAX: 21.2’C
WATER:            MIN:    7.5’C      MAX:   7.9’C

WATER TEMPS:

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AIR TEMPS:

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Session 33 – The Blog Of SteveTheAngler’s Latest Session Aged 69 Years And 365 Days… The End Of An Era…

On Monday, 23th November, at 0700 I set off on my last angling session as a young person in their 60’s as today (as I write on the 24th) I became a Septuagenarian J

The session was to a mixed species club fishery (AA-BP) holding a varied range of species from gudgeon to king carp including the usual silver species, tench, perch, barbel and chub and, in fact, the only indigenous species missing are pike and sturgeon that I can think of although the crucian carp that were in there may have ended up as food for the cormorants that frequent(ed) the water as I’ve not seen, nor heard, of any being caught in quite a while but that’s not to say they’re not there as a few of years back the ever-existent perch seemed to disappear and I didn’t catch a single one in that whole time albeit mainly baiting with maggots and worms – sure perch catchers – but then they re-appeared as quickly as they’d gone with my first capture of the re-appearance being a 2lb 8oz fish which is still my PB perch.

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On arrival at around 0730 the first thing I noted was that the otter-proof fencing that the club had a grant to install, but which got delayed in getting up due to the pandemic situation, is now in-situ…

2020-11-23 Otter Fencing

… and encloses both pools on the site. There have been no problems with otters on the pools to date but as the EA representative said when initially surveying the site – “No sign of otters at all yet, but they will surely turn up in time…”

Anyway, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting a great day as there had been a heavy frost overnight and the ground was white over as I drove out into the countryside … and the water temperature when measured was 7.0’C … and this particular water is a ‘warm water’ in that usually during October to April you struggle to even get bites never mind actually catch – and as it is a shallow water (about 4’6” at deepest) the water temps drop quickly – and as I’d been measuring temps in the 9-10’C ranges over previous weeks on the other waters I’d fished it would seem that the pool waters had dropped by 2’C very quickly … and a negative dTemp (ie temperature drop) is not good for results usually especially if it occurs rapidly (dTemp/dTime).

So with more hope than optimism I tackled up my float rod with 6lb mainline,  a 6BB crystal waggler, overshotted with one 2SSG shot and fished overdepth (ie laying-on/lift method) initially with a size 16 double maggot baited hook making my first cast at 0830. Small quantities of micro-pellet and dead maggot feed were catapulted out at intervals around the fished area which was around 2-3 rod lengths out.

1030 arrived with not a single sign of any fish interest in my bait and I spent most of that time wishing I’d gone to a pike pool for which I reckoned the current conditions would have been perfect … the occasional flip-flop and dimpling from small fry around the pool did give me a modicum of hope and to persevere… and I switched my hook over to a size 12 with dendrobaena worm baits… and soon after I started getting tweaks and small lifts on the float … and at 1100 hooked into a fish which was successfully landed … a 5lb 3oz mirror carp..

2020-11-23 Steve - 5lb 3oz Mirror Carp

5lb 3oz Mirror Carp

The tweaks and lifts continued albeit they were tailing off as time passed and after 1200 they were few and far between. However, I fished on until around 1330 but no further captures were made.

Being my last ‘60s session’ plus the fact of the not helpful conditions I was chuffed to have the marked the occasion by it not being a blank!

Two others arrived on the water after my arrival – one walked around the pool and then seemed to settle on the neighbouring carp and chub only pool (AA-OP) out of my sight so I’m unsure if caught … and the other was drop-shotting or possibly micro-jigging for perch on the bank opposite me but I didn’t see him have any action either.

PLANS:

I’m intending to make my first Septuagenarian trip out on Thursday (26th) on a pike session.

TEMPS:

AIR:                  MIN:  3.7’C        MAX: 11.8’C
WATER:           MIN:  6.8’C        MAX:   7.1’C

WATER TEMPS:

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AIR TEMPS:

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Session 32 – Steve And Liz Go Piking.

Monday, 16th November, at 0700 I set off with Liz on a pike fishing session to Pike Water 5 arriving at around 0730.

With the gates to the venue still locked on arrival it was obvious that we were the first there and thus have our choice of swims. So, Liz’s first job was to open up the gates for business and we drove down to the pool car parking area, parked up and had a quick recce at the pool.

Liz had fancied one particular area, myself fancied another as I felt that, although I do fish in the area of Liz’s choice quite often when on my own that it was really a one swim area – although it transpired that someone fishing what would have been the ‘2nd’ swim did actually land a pike from there that we saw landed. Anyway, in the event, we fished my choice of area, 2 swims next door to each other on a straight tree lined bank with a number of available and promising swims that we’d successfully fished often in previous visits over the years. But a few years back the controlling club had a ‘clean-up’ work party and in my view cut back too much and too many of fish attracting overhanging branches, etc. One swim that used to produce some decent chub from by the overhangs hasn’t produced one chub to me since – probably over 3-4 years.

Anyway, the swims must be good as several later arrivals to the pool said we’d ‘stolen the swims’ they had intended to fish … should have gotten out of bed then, no sympathy, LOL! Of 7 late arrivals, 4 of them decided to set up in the swims directly each side of Liz and I … not good etiquette in my view, especially as there 26 swims available around the pool … leaving one swim free either side would have least shown some courtesy or even if we were asked if we minded if they fished the next door swims that would have been acceptable … but whatever.  Personally when taking up a swim on a pool I use ‘urinal’ etiquette ie keep a comfortable distance away from the nearest neighbour – and on rivers I don’t fish from a peg directly opposite another angler.

Anyway, swims decided upon, we began the transfer the kit from the car – and for some reason the combined kits of Liz and myself seem to have grown for some reason so a good job that after the October holiday I’d only left one seat (of 5) in the rear area. OK – so it was pike fishing which does involve an extra bag and other items of pike gear beyond the normal load including the livebait bucket but that has now been replaced by the new foldable one as mentioned in the last posting and hence takes up less space than its previous incarnation AND 4 landing nets as the club stipulates a minimum landing net size of 36” when pike fishing … and Liz’s and my own usual nets are 32” circular ones … and so we had to pack our larger pike nets too which are quite large and bulky as both are hefty framed with heavily rubberised nets. Anyway its a good job that we have a Ford Galaxy, 7-seater, MPV capable of holding it all – but even then the motor was full despite having 4 of the rear seats removed!

On arrival we did manage to get all the gear bar the rod holdalls onto my barrow and a Liz guided trolley down to the swims making a return trip to collect and transport the rod holdalls but as the distance from car to swims was around 100-120 yards that wasn’t a great ordeal.

Liz tackled up her one pike rod (Ron Thompson Evo2, 2.75lb TC – 30lb braid – 2oz lead – size 6 treble snap tackle) for ledger fishing deadbaits starting with a smelt bait) and I started off with a 13’ float rod, 4lb line, 6BB crystal waggler, size 16 hook fishing for livebaits.

My livebait catching started off slow  with not a touch for the first 30 minutes or so whilst fishing with the bait set at the 10’ depth of the water in front of me .. but noticing dimples of fish I set my float to fish the bait at about 30” with the set spread down the line and immediately started getting takes and although a lot of bites were missed I did manage to accumulate 7-8 suitably bait sized silvers by 1030 and at that point I put away the bait rod and set up one pike rod (12’, 2.75lb TC, 30lb braid, etc) for floatfishing a livebait.

I hook my livebaits through the scissors of the top lip with the mid-trace hook as this is the ‘load bearing’ hook and the end hook is hooked on an loose/unstretched wire through the bait’s actual dorsal fin as I feel this to be less damaging to the bait fish which can often be returned virtually unharmed at the end of its use – the lip having been the only fleshy body part that has been pierced. The livebaits I use are usually in the swing-in range of sizes in normal fishing eg 2-4oz silvers and when pike fishing my ‘extreme long range’ fishing is about 10 yards out and more usually lies in the range of the float lying against the bank to about 10 feet out. To be honest I’ve never ever had a pike take a bait further out than that on deads, lives or lures although I’ve put baits out up to 60 yards or more over the years – and still do occasionally ‘just in case’. So normally putting the bait out is nothing more than a gentle pendulum swing action, nothing violent. At the end of the session, or earlier (hourly) if I have enough baits, if the bait’s not been taken by a pike then its released virtually unharmed.

At 1350 I had my first (and last) take of the day which resulted in a 6lb 10oz pike being landed….

2020-11-16 Steve - 6lb 10oz Pike 02

Steve – 6lb 10oz Pike

Meanwhile Liz had no action from her swim despite swapping her bait to a sardine….

Just after landing my pike unforecast rain started and so we fished on until about 1445 and decided with the rain and the failing light – and all the other anglers having packed in or in the process of doing so – it was time to tackle down and head home …. and due to ‘lockdown’ doing that without the usual stop off at our local hostelry.

OOOOPPSSSSS … A ‘SEMI-DISASTER’ AVERTED…

So we arrived home and unloaded the car per usual with the barrow and trolley left on the drive whilst the rest of the gear was taken into the garage and whilst doing those transfers I noticed the silver knurled knob of the sprung pin mechanism that locks the barrow’s rear legs down in use was lying on the driveway… a small but important part that without the barrow becomes virtually useless. A search around in the now dim ambient light, and with the use of the penlight I carry on my fishing waistcoat, failed to locate the missing pin and spring though and it seemed as if the mechanism had come apart whilst loading the car up at the site and probably lost in the mud… So, bedtime on the night I was on my Android tablet looking for a replacement barrow … and found one actually on eBay that was in Wolverhampton at a Buy-It-Now £100 and with the bidding standing at £50 with 3 days to go. However, I had doubts in my mind about size, shape and compactness to transport and so, unlike the ‘normal’ me, I didn’t immediately place a bid thinking I’d wait and see if anything else popped up. Good job too! I got up in the morning and thought that I’d just make another quick check on the driveway … and lo and behold … the missing pin and spring part was located having rolled into a crevice twixt the drive surface and its containing wall! So, I’ve now cleaned up the pinb/spring part – removed some rust – and today I’m going to grease/lubricate it and then re-install on the barrow frame and screw its knob back on after putting some epoxy glue on the threads to prevent it unscrewing again.

PLANS:

Its now looking like Monday 23rd for my next trip as I’ll not have the gear re-sorted in time for the usual Thursday session. What the session will be is undecided too … depends if Liz is coming out again and what she fancies doing if so… and myself, if I should be going solo, am still fluctuating between going for bream/perch or doing another pike session…

TEMPS:

I forgot to get the thermometer out at the start of the session so the measurements here are actually of a single reading taken around 1300….

AIR:                  MIN: 10.9’C       MAX: 10.9’C
WATER:            MIN:  9.3’C        MAX:   9.3’C

WATER TEMPS:

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AIR TEMPS:

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Session 31 – When The Going Gets Tough … I Go Home!

Thursday, 12th November, saw me head off to Pike Water 24 in search of Esox Lucius aka pike leaving the house at 0700 and arriving at the venue at around 0730.

I was quite surprised to find that someone else had arrived before me with one car already parked on the carp park and it seems the owner thereof was already in his swim.

But my desired swim was free … and I was happy … at that point…

2020-11-12-01

But I was soon to be slightly deflated as, when setting up my livebait catching rod I discovered the pre-tackled line must have snagged up since the rod’s last use and the hook had been snapped off …and I hadn’t packed my small hooks!

However, I had taken deadbaits in the form of smelt and sardines with me so I could at least fish albeit with less confidence as deadbaits are nowhere as near as good as lives on this water I find.

So the pike rods were set up with 25g polystyrene floats, suitable leads and standard wire traced twin treble snap tackles.

And so it was that I made my first casts at 0900 with both rods baited with smelt but fished at differing depths and distances out, casting out to my left and drifting with the wind across to my right. I say differing distances out but always within 10 yards of the bank as I’ve yet to have a take at any greater distance and, in fact, the vast majority of my pike have always come from within 6’ of the bank. I had also taken some cut up old baits which I distributed in the swim as an attractor.

And for the rest of the day, despite depth and bait changes (to sardine on one rod), I had to be content with watching the floats drift undisturbed as I had not single touch nor any follows to the bank of the slowly retrieved pre-recast baits.

The weather was actually quite mild all session and I fished it through wearing only a T-shirt and my Damart thermal vest on my upper half having discarded my jacket, waistcoat, and fleece top…

NEW STUFF:

I took one new piece of tackle that I’d obtained from Joom – a Chinese online shopping site in a similar vein to Banggood and AliExpress. I’m quite into Joom at the mo, and have bought a fair bit of stuff from them recently and very pleased with what I’ve received and all at a good price. In fact, JML are currently advertising on TV a cat toy which is a USB charged flappy fish at £20 … I bought one in my latest Joom order for £6 which includes shipping, etc… and its rather good despite the cats being currently wary of it! LOL! I’m sure our ferrets will have a bit of fun with it though! 🙂

Anyway, my latest tackle purchase (part of the same order as the cat toy) was also taken out on this session – but was unable to be used…. as its a livebait carrier/bag. Made of EVA it folds almost flat for transport but has a 28 litre water capacity, a fully zipped top with a smaller mesh covered opening to add and remove fish and a pocket to hold an air pump (not supplied) with another small hole through which the airline pipe passes. Seems very good and certainly less bulky and weighty to transport than my usual livebait bucket and at £18.50 I’m well pleased!

See: https://www.joom.com/en/products/5c70ce568b2c370101a3c932

PLANS:

Monday, 16th November, it’s a pike fishing trip out with Liz… J

TEMPS:

AIR:                  MIN: 9.2’C         MAX: 18.4’C
WATER:            MIN: 9.0’C         MAX:   9.9’C

WATER TEMPS:

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AIR TEMPS:

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Session 30 – Not The Best Of Days!

So, after further delays to my fishing – which not only involved cancelled outings due to the weather but also further health issues as about 3-4 weeks ago I discovered a possible hernia at the point of my ex-ileostomy operation. I contacted my doctor and after a telephone triage I was invited to the surgery a few days later … and when I showed the area to the doc his first words were ‘’It’s a big one!” which wasn’t exactly promising at that moment. However, after ascertaining I had no pain or discomfort he said to carry as normal and he’d contact my surgeon to have it looked but suspected it would need an operation. It seems that hernias after such ops aren’t too unusual due to the weakening of the abdominal muscles. Anyway, he said he’d also chase up the hospital re: the 12 month review of the original op I had in Sept last year AND the 6 week/2 month review of the reversal op that was due in mid-August neither of which I have been contacted about…

Early in the year a new venue with 2 pools (AA-HP-I and AA-HP-C) onsite that was obtained by the club but delays in contract signings meant that the pools weren’t available to fish until July 4th – which fell within my 2 week self-isolation pre my reversal op on 7th July and so obviously I couldn’t fish there (or anywhere) on opening day. Following that there was time needed for recuperation and when I did re-start fishing I visited another couple of venues … but on Monday 5th November I set out at 0700 to have my first day out on these new pools.

They are not far from home – 20 minutes or so – and only ½ mile from another of the club’s pools – and so I found the venue quite quickly and drove up the dirty track from the road up to the padlocked gate that gave access to the pools. And that’s where it started going wrong… I was unable to open the padlock… re-checked the code I was using, etc but without joy. I e-mailed the club secretary but had no response even to now so not sure if it was (a) OFT (Operator Finger Trouble ie me), (b) a faulty lock or (c) the landowners had gone OTT on lockdown and changed the lock/code… Anyway access was denied for car and tackle but I did manage to club over the gate with my camera and took a few pictures…  

One of the pools is a carp pool – not sure if other species exist in there, and the other is an irrigation pool/reservoir used by the farmer in summer for watering his crops and is reportedly 35’-40’ deep and was the pool I intended to fish as I’ve heard, when the pools were day ticket (fishing was stopped in 2016 until we took the pools over) that this pool produced ‘slabs’ of bream and perch to 4lb+ … however, that wasn’t going to happen to me on this day!

So… I decided to head to another water instead … and ended up at the pool (AA-KP) that was ½ mile away, a pool I’d not fished IIRC for 18 months maybe longer… a nice pool in calm conditions but very open and gets cold and bleak in the cooler breezier days. However, on the day it was as flat as a millpond and I stopped off there.. and had a padlock problem again! Several attempts made, no joy – so I drove away thinking that maybe the club had decided to close all the waters… but a mile up the road I realised this may be (and subsequently found to be) a case of ‘OFT’! I’ve been with the club for getting on 10 years and never had a lock problem before BUT on this occasion for some reason I’d been PRESSING the knob that releases to padlock’s bolt instead of PULLING it! Anyway, drove back to the gate and eventually made my first casts at 0900…

2020-11-05 Kingswood

I fished two 1.75lb TC ledger rods, 8lb mainline, 18g frame feeders loaded with cereal and dead maggots with one rod with a size 6 bread baited hook and the other with a size 8 maggot/mealworm baited one. I would have used worm too if only I hadn’t left them at home in the garage by mistake!!

So first cast at 0900, last cast around 1330 – and recasting every 20-40 minutes in between – and not a single nibble all day despite fish showing by rolling and jumping!

So, at around 1400, having tackled down I had a few casts around with my newly obtained Deeper Chirp+ sonar which proved the presence of fish – but not so many in the area into which I was casting!! But then again I was more interested in mapping the pool’s bottom contours… J

BTW – Deeper do a holder for a mobile phone that attaches to the butt of the rod but charge £13 (plus usually there’s some p&p involved too) for it … but I located on eBay a similar sort of holder, meant for bike handlebars, etc, that worked perfectly well for me ….

s-l500

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HOMPO-Bike-Bicycle-Phone-Holder-Mountain-Road-Bike-Handlebar-Mount-Bracket-UK/353017228362?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&var=622227992364&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

So that was my day ….

PLANS:

I was going fishing on Monday 9th Nov with Liz but Liz has pulled out as she says weather is forecast to be not too good but will def come out on Monday 16th J …. and its our ‘first met’ anniversary on that day too so I may resist going out 😀 Maybe go out pike fishing on the following Thursday instead….

TEMPS:

AIR:                  MIN: 8.4’C         MAX: 13.5’C
WATER:            MIN: 8.9’C         MAX:   9.8’C

WATER TEMPS:

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AIR TEMPS:

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Sessions 27 + 28 + 29 – Holiday Park Fishing

This entry in my blog covers three sessions that I fitted in during a week’s holiday at the Lakeside Holiday Park, Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset. We’ve been here probably 7-8 times, always in October, over the years as a Sun Newspaper £9.50 venue. A small compact site with the added attraction for me of a residents-only fishing pool of probably 2 acres in size with the usual species resident – perch, pike, roach, carp, bream, tench,… and usually also tip-top entertainment on the evening including the obligatory, for us, the evening bingo session. However, due to the current pandemic all entertainments (other than the fishing) were off the cards – no bar, no restaurant, etc – and was thus an accommodation-only break. Usually you just took your own towels and bedding covers although even these were hireable but this year you had to take not only your covers but also your own quilts, pillows and towels. However, despite the lack of provided facilities, etc it was still a great holiday and great value – I mean, where would you find even a basic hotel double room for £150 for 3 nights – probably be pushing that for 2 nights even? And yet, for that price, we had a really nice 6-berth static caravan with all needed facilities for cooking, etc for 7 nights – and free fishing!

So, to the fishing….

OK, as I said, Liz and I have been to this park around 8 times or so and we usually arrive early so I can spend a few hours lure fishing pre the van being ready to access – vans are always ready by the official 1600 booking in time, but often become available at 1500 …. but we arrive at 1200 so I can do my lure flinging stuff. Then the following day I’m out about 0630 (still dark at this time of year) setting up my gear ready for the first light to cast in and fish until around 1100 before returning to the van for a bacon/sausage butty or similar and then Liz and head off to the town for the afternoon. The following day is usually a full day session on the pool for Liz and myself… and I usually manage one more early morning session later on.

And our results for our 8 years of trying? Well, Liz has never even had a bite and myself, a couple of years ago, did have a pike take my sweetcorn bait as it was being retrieved but then bit me off at the net. And that’s the total action in the 8 years! But a guy did show me where the bream are a couple of years ago – and he pulled out 5 or so bream of 4-5lb in as many casts as I recall!

Anyway, we come to the latest trip…

The early arrival was not possible this year as we were warned that no facilities, including toilets, would be available until access was allowed to the vans at 1600 and that a contactless sign-in system would be in place. It actually suited us as the later arrival meant that we could take the cats to the cattery on the day pre-setting off from home thus saving one day’s fees rather than taking them on the previous day. However, the on-arrival lure session had to be given a miss. But three short sessions were made over the week…

For all three sessions I fished the same way – same tackle, same bait, same presentation – float fishing sardine deadbaits for pike. One 12’ 2.75lb TC rod, 20lb mono line, 25g cigar float, 15g quick change lead and a 30lb wire trace terminating in the standard size 6 twin treble snap tackle. Liz fished one session (Session 28 – 16th October) with a groundbait/maggot feeder.

Session 27 – 13th October 2020

I set out at 0630, still dark, to my swim of the day at the left hand corner of the pool, the location where I’d had that previous pike take. The water depth around there was a more-or-less level 4’6” and the banks were populated with overhanging bushes. By 0700 all rods, nets and mats, etc were setup ready and the light was just perfect to start. I discovered that I’d forgotten to pack my injectable oil and liquid attractors but I had brought my bag of old baits that had been sliced up and I catapulted some of these pieces all around my intended area of attention. The weather at that point was ok, and I had been warmed up by my prepping movements … but then several short showers passed along with a breeze picking up and it went quite chilly. So, 0945, without any action being apparent, the thoughts of a bacon butty in the warmth of the caravan became quite enticing and I decided to start to pack up… but at about 1000 the float slid away and a pike of 5lb 1oz was successfully landed. However, by this time I’d put away the camera/tripod and scales so I had to rest the fish in the water within the landing net whilst I unpacked them (although I didn’t bother with the tripod) …

At this point, still cold and damp but nevertheless elated with the result, I decided a warming and celebratory bacon butty was definitely needed!

Session 28 – 15th October 2020

0800 Liz and I ventured from the van intending a full day’s fishing together. This time we decided we’d try the right hand corner of the pool, an area that we’d never fished before but looked good. A few small fish moving also seemed a good sign. Water depth was between 7’-8’. I fished as the previous session presenting baits on the bottom and up to mid-water but by 1200 I’d not had a touch – and neither had Liz on her feeder rod – and as a cold breeze picked up we decided to put discretion before valour and called it a day.

Session 29 – 17th October 2020

Another 0630 departure from the van saw me back in my first swim of the week. However, during the week, I’d managed to obtain, courtesy of Tesco’s, some Cod Liver Oil and Fish Sauce (basically blitzed anchovies) for injecting into the bait which I did… and also put out small fish pieces for further attraction. 1100 – after no interest being shown in my bait I decided to cast very close to the bushes running away from me up the left end of the pool … the cast saw my bait land where I wanted it, however, the breeze took my line up over some branches of a tree next to me. I tried to clear the line but in the end the terminal tackle became lodged solidly and the line snapped …. leaving my float and terminal tackle (inc the snap tackle) blowing about in the breeze … luckily the bait itself had fallen from the hooks so the resident seagulls were safe in the short term … but, as is the norm, the ensemble was about 6” further out than I could reach with my landing net to try to recover. I was in a bit of a quandary as to what to do then but soon remembered the small 6” Gardner rake I carry attached to a good length of the orange twisted nylon cord often used for camping or for crab lines. So, after a few throws, I managed to get the rake in the right position and managed to remove the tackle from its location albeit that the float landed next to me and the rest of the kit fell directly down into the water but safer than dangling up in a tree I think… BUT somewhere during the procedure the line had been pulling on the rod tip and 6”+ of the tip had snapped off! So at this point I decided – time for a butty!

So, I’ve been searching the ‘net for a replacement rod – I needed a Ron Thompson Desperado 12’ 2.75lb TC to match with its remaining twin as when I use two rods I always use matched pairs (rod/reel/line) so it was either locate an identical replacement or buy a new matching pair. As it turned out, the Desperado is no longer a current model and the only ones I could find are being sold by Angling Direct … at £39.99 … and as I only paid about £20 each for them originally from Go Outdoors I wasn’t chuffed about that! So I’ve now got two new rods on order from Amazon for £11 each! 🙂 The remaining Desperado might be set up for a new purpose or even car booted in the spring along with other unneeded rods and other fishing gear …. and general extraneous household stuff.

WATER TEMPS:

ScreenHunter 09

AIR TEMPS:

ScreenHunter 11

Session 26 – First Day Of Pike Season – And AWAAAAAAAY I Went! Incorporates A Couple Of Surprises Too …

Thursday 1st October was a very special day for me – also enhanced by the fact I’d not been able to fish the previous week due to family commitments – due to it being the first day of MY new pike season – and also further enhanced by the fact that, due to my health issues, I’d missed the whole of the 2019-2020 pike season completely. So to me, to whom pike are the superior quarry, the day was like all my Christmases rolled into one – regardless of whether I caught or not … but did I?? Umm, AWAAAAAY!… and wait and see! A lot of rambling to be done before I get to that point LOL!

I mention ‘MY’ season. Legally these days there is no official pike season but in days past pike fishing was only allowed from 1st October through to the end of what was then the start of the general coarse fishing season on 15th March. However, myself, I do almost observe that old season albeit ‘my’ season is extended a couple of weeks until March 31st. There are several reasons for my choice. At other times there are other, spring, summer, autumn species to fish for – I personally feel I’m contributing to maintaining the health of the pike population in that despite their macho image they are actually fragile fish that can suffer from excessive exercise in the warm air/oxygen depleted water of warmer periods – and looking forward to 1st October replaces the old magic of the arrival of the old coarse season on 16th June. Anyway, my main pike water club agrees with me and NO pike fishing is allowed in any of its water by any method at all between 1st April and 30th Sept.

So, the days previous to the outing was mainly prepping and checking my gear was all intact and in working condition. I do try to maintain separate sets of ‘general’ gear and ‘pike’ gear but I still find that I need to transfer items between bags especially if I intend to livebait as I need my float rod and light tackle (floats, hooks, shot, etc) for the catching thereof – and then there are items like cameras, scales and thermometers that one needs. I do buy and add items bit by bit over the years to try to make each set of kit self contained but not reached that point yet. And after the session (or at least before the next session of the ‘other’ type) it has to be ensured that the borrowed items are returned to its proper bag… something that sometimes goes wrong! This year’s intended addition, and being actively researched for, to the pike bag are scales – looking for digital ones that will display in ‘LB:OZ’ format of some kind really as I’m ‘old skool’ and ‘KG’ and ‘JIN’ are as useful and as meaningful to me as a knitting pattern printed in Japanese! And I *HATE* scales that display in that bastardised unit, the ‘decimal LB’… the decimal point has NO place in imperial measurements! So, although I can easily recognise 3.75lb as being actually 3lb 12oz, and convert other less value-to-value recognisable values reasonably accurately and quickly in my head, the sight of a decimal point makes my teeth grate! And if I’m going to be paying good money for the item I want to be comfortable with it. End of this edition’s rant! LOL!

So, come the day, I’m up at 0530 – get deadbaits from freezer, maggots from fridge and finish the loading of the car. And then have a bite of breakfast and an eye-opening cup of coffee… and leave the house to head for the pool (Pike Water 5) bound at 0645 arriving at 0700. On arrival the gate is closed and still locked on the combination – good sign, I’m first there and able to get the swim I wanted!

The usual tackling up, prepping the ‘station’, etc and I make my first cast with my maggot baited float rod in search of live baits at 0800 … and 0825 the first fish is landed. Not what I really wanted this time – a 6oz bream – as too large for my needs of the day and so it is slipped back …. and AWAAAAY!

Next fish is landed at 0850 … and this is the first of the surprises alluded to in the title … its a perch!! Now that may not seem strange in the usual run of things but…. two or three years ago I said to Liz that in 6-7 years of fishing at this venue I’d never seen nor heard of a perch being there – and I usually fish with worm/maggot at least for some part of a non-pike session. Actually, having said this to Liz, on the next session on this pool when I lifted my landing net from the water there was a minnow sized perch nestling in the bottom! However, since then I’d still not seen another perch there although I did hear a couple of times of a 3lb’er that appeared to live in the vicinity of one certain swim. So the capture of this perch was a big surprise and although bait sized I returned it with reverence …. as I did the other 6 perch I caught (biggest about 6oz) on the day … so from one seen perch in the best part of 10 years, I suddenly encountered seven in the one session! AND the second of the surprises – all of them came to RED maggots and red maggots only! Nothing on white ones other than bream and small silvers. Now in 60+ years of fishing I’ve always found that maggot colours didn’t statistically make any sort of noticeable difference to catches – back in the day when you could get bronze and yellow maggots (can you still get them? I always order mixed red and whites) I never found if you switched through all the colours that anything changed at all – if you were catching you still caught at the same rate with whatever colour you put on the hook, if not catching then changing colour made no difference. So I had put down ‘preferred colours’ to the whim of the angler rather than fishes choice… but on this trip its made me think again… SPOOKY!

Anyway, back to the day’s fishing …

0855 – I managed to capture my first bait suitable fish – a roach of a couple of ounces – and by 1100 I’d managed to catch 3 more.

1100 – the float rod was wound in and the 2 pike rods set up to fish the livebaits under floats with changing depths throughout the rest of the session (between 4’ and 8’ generally) along the marginal slope/shelf where I find the pike tend to patrol – and I’ve yet to have even one take in open water over the 10 years I’ve fished this water..

I hook my livebaits carefully in order that I can release them after  use by lip hooking to the middle hook of a dual hooked trace and have enough trace twixt the two hooks to place the second hook, without tension, into the dorsal fin itself instead of into the fish’s body. I also try to limit the use of a bait before release so as to try to preserve its life.

I say hooks as a generic term as I make traces up to suit my needs for both live- and deadbaiting – some traces consist solely of one large single hook, others one treble hook, others have various dual single/double/treble hook combinations. On this session my traces had a mid wire single hook for lip hooking (bait held on by use of a bait flag) and a size 6 double hook on the end to connect into the dorsal fin. By choice but it is also a club rule, all my hooks are (a) barbless or (b), specific to the case of non-barbless trebles, have crushed barbs on two points with the barb kept intact on the third point which is solely used for bait attachment.

So…. there I am fishing my baits … and the float wavers … and skims along a bit … I pull into it and feel the resistance … and then the hooks come adrift… so I cast to same spot and a few seconds later… float bobs again … pull into it … resistance … hooks pull free again… cast out again and nothing for 15 minutes or more so I retrieve line in stops and starts … and right as I’m about  to lift bait from water a big swirl as a pike grabs the tail end but not hooks … bit of tug-o-war before pike releases again! Another 30 minutes passes without incident and I recast very tightly to the reeds bordering the bank to my right…. few seconds later float bobs and twitches … a bit harder strike is made this time …. and its firmly attached this time… and eventually I slip the net under a 5lb 7oz pike! Ecstatic am I or what!! J Not a world breaker and not long out of pikey nappies but the feels the best of starts to my new pike season for me!

So I fished on until 1415 with deadbaits I’d taken along with me but without further ado despite trying other swims and heading AWAAAAAAY! home a very happy bunny….

PLANS:

No more fishing for me now until at least 12th October as we are away on hols for that week and so I need to prep for that. However, the holiday site does have its own fishing pool for residents only so hopefully we’ll make use of that 2 or 3 times over the hols especially as all the other onsite facilities are closed due to covid and I expect cancellations made due to covid have lowered the site’s income appreciably ie no clubhouse/bar, bingo, shows, etc… I’ll probably have at least one pike session and one general one. For me water temps are still a bit high for pike fishing. I like temps of below 7/8’C for my serious pike fishing and the past few years have meant its been late December/January before that’s come about.

TEMPS:

AIR:                  MIN: 10.3’C       MAX: 16.2’C
WATER:           MIN: 10.6’C       MAX: 14.8’C

WATER TEMPS:

2020-10-01 WATER TEMP

AIR TEMPS:

2020-10-01 AIR TEMP

Session 25 – Proper Fish … And Some Carp LOL!

Monday 14th September I ventured out to the club pool (AA-B) that I’d been wanting to visit recently but due to circumstances I’d had to settle for alternate venues. However, on this fine and sunny day, although maybe NOT as good as the temperature readings shown below would suggest as an air temp high of 40+’C does seem slightly high although possibly, with the thermometer exposed in direct sunlight, it doesn’t seem unfeasible as I’ve recorded temps in excess of 50’ in previous times under such circumstances and the water temps do appear to be as would be expected. Anyway, it was a bright warm sunny day with only a slight breeze….

Setting off at 0700 I arrived pool side, parked 15’ from my selected peg for the day, at around 0730.

My Swim

The blue line that you see to the left of the picture is one of the lines that cross the pool between most swims in order to act as a cormorant deterrent – and I also noticed a large ‘eagle’ kite attached to the top of a large tree to act as a ‘scarecrow’ type deterrent – plus this pool used to be carp free until about two years ago when ‘cormorant resistant’ carp were added on EA advice – and have had an effect mainly due to the usual muddying of the water due to their digging and thus the clear water as was is now far more translucent/opaque so fish are not so easily located by the cormorants…

Car unloaded, some feed (cereal/particles/maggots) was fed into the swim, my ‘station/area’ and accessories (eg landing net, unhooking ‘cradle’ (Korum Fast Mat – https://www.korum.co.uk/products/fish-care/fast-mat), scales, camera on tripod) were all sorted and ready to hand and first cast was made at 0800.

Tackle for the start, and most, of the day … my trusty 12’9” (TBH it was 13’ back in the day but an unfortunate incident saw 3” of the tip snap off in yesteryear) Hardy Matchmaker clone (made by a moonlighting Hardy’s rod maker using the exact components and blank as the original) … this was coupled with 6lb line … size 10 barbless hook baited with worm (dipped in ‘Predator Plus’ which I find good attractant for tench and bream too) and tipped with cross hooked maggot to prevent the worm’s escape … and a 6BB crystal waggler float slightly over-shotted to be fished laying-on completed the setup.

Bites were had from first cast but had difficulty connecting and I assume they were small perch mouthing the free ends of the worm. First fish hooked came at 0845 and turned out to be a common carp of 7lb 14oz…

7lb 14oz Common Carp

… and this was followed later by a nice bream of 4lb 12oz…

4lb 12oz Bream

… and these were quickly followed by a couple of perch of around 3oz and 6oz..

And then at 0920, the float disappeared and a strike met with solid resistance immediately followed by the fish flying almost unstoppingly across the pool straight for the patch of lily pads that can be seen over by the far bank… I say ‘almost unstoppingly’ but, in fact, I did stop it just short of the pads and was just managing to gain back about 12” of line when all went sickenly slack. I suspected a hook pull but when I retrieved the end of the line it seemed I’d suffered a snap-off about 2”-3” above the hooklink.

After that all went quiet for a while with just an occasional tweak or slight lift/wobble of the float but between 1050-1130 I did manage 4 or so small perch. In the interim I did also try sweetcorn but still just with the small wobbles continuing.. so possibly roach/rudd nibbles…

1130, I switched from the 6BB crystal waggler to a 5AA wind/driftbeater type float fished in the same method as previously.

At 1145 I landed a 3lb 0oz bream followed by another of 2lb 12oz twenty minutes later…

3lb 0oz Bream
2lb 12oz Bream

1220 I switched to bread baits which seemed to entice slightly heavier bites but still nothing was hooked until 1310 when a 7lb 6oz mirror carp was landed…

Following that I switched between worm and bread baits until 1545 when I packed in for the day and added a few more perch to my tally including my ‘Best Of The Day’…

‘Best Of The Day’ Perch

AHEAD:

Well, this will have been my last session until Thursday 1st October, which in itself will be my first pike session of my new pike season. I’m away all next week in Great Yarmouth at the bros-in-law’s-alike caravan, taking said gent and partner – and Liz – and a freezer and can fridge with us to install in the ‘van as well, so its a fishing free week but wouldn’t have room for tackle anyway!

And this possibly – but extremely unlikely to be given the warm winters we’ve been having recently – may have been my last ‘general’ fishing outing until April 2021. For piking, I like water temps to be below 8’C and at the moment they are generally around 15+’C and it will take some time to drop even with a few frosts appearing, etc. So I expect I will flit between some pike bait fishing, pike on lures and ‘general’ fishing until such times as conditions become more pike favourable for me.

TEMPS:

AIR:                  MIN: 11.1’C       MAX: 42.0’C
WATER:           MIN: 15.1’C       MAX: 16.9’C

WATER TEMPS:

AIR TEMPS:

Session 24 – Out And About Again

Monday 7th September and I ventured out again, this time to the closest of my club pools (SAC-DP). I had intended to travel further afield to another water of another club but due to having to take the car in for service on the following day (8th) with having washed it and valeted the interior and said pool being down a pot-hole riddled (and water filled) half mile dirt track I decided against plus the fact that for almost a week the car has been beeping warnings about a ‘brake fault’ – in fact, it beeped, displayed ‘Brake Fault’ and then ‘STOP!’ which makes you wonder, if the brakes were faulty how are you expected to stop?? However, these warnings often bear no relation to the truth and this one was actually indicating a ‘rear foglight bulb blown’ as it had done before some time back…. Also Liz was hearing (but not me) a ‘grinding’ noise from the front nearside – turned out to be a bit of corrosion on something on which ‘my man’ stripped down the component and cleaned and lubricated it… so all good now – apart from the fact ‘my man’ informed me that both front tyres were worn and needed changing soon – within the month actually – and as Liz and I are due to be making two trips to Great Yarmouth and one to Burnham-on-Sea within the next month that’s something I need to act upon. Bit of good news though – seems in the last year the car’s mileage has only gone up by 3,000 miles! Probably due to lost holidays due to lockdown, etc, my lack of fishing trips due to my health and the loss of Wednesday Pub Nights. So, basically the car has only been doing shopping trips and getting Liz to work, both of which are probably less than 5 mile round trips. Anyway, the service needed basically boiled down to a minor oil change. Still £254 though… 😦 Anyway, hopefully, won’t be too much expenditure on it in the future as we’re saving up to replace it, hopefully early in the New Year as our insurance expires on 12 March 2021 so want to get it done before then. Looking for a Ford Galaxy (or Seat Alhambra or VW Sharan – same vehicle basically – same VW engines and chassis but different bodywork and trims. We’ve been well pleased with our 2005 Galaxy – 187,000 miles on clock and runs like a dream but bodywork dinged by supermarket parking, some of the interior electronics could be better (some old broken wires patched by ‘my man’ – £50 fix better than £400+ for new loom! But some functions still not right. No safety issues just inconveniences). Anyway, best motor I’ve ever had – sometimes over 50mpg on a run, 30mpg around town – never had another motor that did better than 25mpg, on long motorway run even, before. Also holds all our tackle PLUS our camping gear (a not inconsiderable quantity – 7-man tent, cookers, larders, tables, chairs, 4/5 large boxes of equipment and food and generally 2x powered cool boxes!! LOL…) with (a bit of) space to spare. As I say, its a 2005 model and so we’ll be looking to replace it with a 2013/14 model – manual+diesel – hopefully.

Fishing, fishing, fishing!!

OK so I set off from home at 0700, arriving at the pool at 0715 – the first there albeit by 2 minutes because as I got out of the car to padlock the gates behind me the second angler arrived…. so we had a sequence of me unlocking/opening gates down to the pool and the guy behind closing and locking behind him.

Having finally parked up I discovered the possible importance of less tackle… as he had less he set off for his swim before myself, and he chose the swim I’d hoped to get. Not a disaster as I settled in a swim 2-3 away from him that gave me access to the feature I wished to fish to… the island.

The Swim

So, first casts were made with my pair of ledger rods both with 8lb mono – one with a size 6 bread baited hook, the other size 8 worm baited – and both fitted with frame feeders – at 0815 after having pre-fed, via catapult, 6 balls of particle enhanced crumb.

Re-casts were made a 30 minute intervals with re-loaded feeders but by 1300, my packing up time, I’d not had one decent take. In fact, the only indications of fish life out there were 3 single beeps due possibly to line bites.

I did cast out my Deeper Sonar Pro Plus too towards the end of the session and that didn’t spot one decent fish in the area in front of me at all although there were possible signs (green streaks) of fry located in the mid-waters.

Anyway, September has arrived – the time of year when I start recording the temperatures 🙂 And the day fell into that plan…

TEMPS:

AIR:                  MIN: 13.4’C       MAX: 23.2’C
WATER:            MIN: 12.1’C       MAX: 15.8’C

WATER TEMPS:

AIR TEMPS:

Session 23 – Return Of The War Torn Warrior!

Well, that is how it seems after the trials and tribulations of the past 11 months.

My two operations (first one in Sept 2019 which removed a rectal cancer which meant I had an ileostomy and had a bag attached to my stomach for several months and then a second one on June 7th 2020 – actually due in April but was postponed due to CV19 – which reversed the ileostomy and reverted me back to normal plumbing) in themselves were no problem at all – felt fit enough even the day after to resume my normal life BUT messing with the digestive tract doesn’t do it any favours and it ‘sulks’ and has ‘tantrums’ (ie refuses to function or becomes ‘hyperactive’ and doesn’t find middle ground easily) and which is the dominant one can change hourly. At these times laxatives and anti-diarrhoea are a man’s best friend if one is capable of balancing them! Oh well, I’ll say no more on that other to say the difficulties experienced were due to those two and being incapable of forecasting which and when will start to ‘play’ as one need(s/ed) to stay in close proximity to a ‘safe harbour’.

However, as time has passed things have settled a bit – especially in the last 3 days after swapping my laxative of choice from ‘Fybogel’ to ‘Dulcoease’ which works in a completely different way according to the online blurb… anyway, those past 3 days have seemingly put me back to ‘normal’ … no discomfort from feeling of bloating and associated lethargy nor any need to race upstairs since!

SO…. I finally made it back to the water’s edge yesterday (31-08-2020 at KF-WL1) with Liz and, I  did take a portable bucket loo and pop-up loo tent just in case – as I will for at least the near future – but never needed which was great! 🙂

This is actually the pool we fished and my chosen swim. There are two pools at this club venue – this one which we allow day tickets on (mixed fishery) and the other is a member’s only water which has more carp. Personally this smaller day ticket water is my preferred one of the pair although Liz prefers the other. On arrival on-site we did drive down to the other pool and found two cars already parked up although we couldn’t spot anyone around (later told one of the guys was around 5 yards from his car around the corner). Anyway, the two swims we usually fish on a short (20-30 yard long) spit that sticks out into the pool were both free so we had a walk to look-see but there seemed to be a lot of weed in the water that tends to drift about when a current builds up so we decided to fish ‘my’ pool as as we passed by we saw that it was clear of weed, etc. and looked very inviting.

The Pool

So, again, Liz and I have our ‘usual swims’ on this water and, as no-one else was there, that’s where we set up, Liz’s swim being the next swim to the left of me more directly opposite the island.

Liz elected to feeder fish two rods with frame feeders – one fished across to the island, and the other fished out to her left just off the edge of an overhanging bankside tree/bush.

I decided to fish, as I often do on this water, on the float using lift method to begin with although later in the session after lunchtime and only having a had a few ‘bits’ (less tha Liz!) I noticed swirls from what I thought to be rudd when feeding the swim and I reshotted my line to fish on-the-drop (and I can’t remember the last time I used shot as small as No. 6) … which resulted in more takes albeit not rudd.

So, results at the end of day … Liz had 2 roach, 1 rudd and 2 perch … myself, 1 roach and 10 perch. And not one fish exceeded 3oz as a guessitamate. Did mean no nets, weigh slings, etc to dry out at the end of the day though!

So, not the greatest of days in terms of results but more than made up by just being back on the waters again – and even just able to be back at the waterside again. A pleasant day … finalised in the traditional manner of beer and scratchings and nuts (no cobs available) in the beer garden of our local hostelry….

Next outing – probably next Monday (7th?) as although I usually fish Thursdays this weeks is ‘booked’ to do some work around the house – probably trying to get our new side gate up. Up to now I’ve probably only managed 1-2 days where I had the energy to do ‘stuff’ – and one of those days was taken up by lawn cutting usually, the other doing prep stuff for things to be done… like prepping the gate posts and painting wood protection on them… so a few irons in the fire to be completed now I’m starting to get back to my old self – and so for a time it may be once-a-week fishing.

We do have a couple of breaks to look forward to as well – one of which should include some fishing J and we’ve just had a long weekend in Liverpool which was very enjoyable.

Late Sept: off to Great Yarmouth to the caravan of Liz’s brother and partner for a week… and then probably doing the same trip a few weeks later as brother/partner have decided to live over there as their main residency, initially in the caravan but may also shop around for an abode… so I’m taking them and their two cats.

2nd week of October: a Sun newspaper £9.50 break to Burnham-on-Sea – the only one of our holiday bookings for 2020 that has survived CV19 regulations as the others earlier in the year got cancelled – as did Liz’s plans for a holiday with her family in Malta, later Cyprus (I don’t do abroad! Rather have the time to myself and go fishing! LOL). We generally go to this site most years around Oct, small family run site, quiet and easy walking to beach and town (inc for the traditional Wetherspoon’s holiday breakfast!) – and has an on-site fishing pool for resident’s only 🙂

OK then! Best wishes to all … and tight lines!