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….


5.2’C rising to 6.3’C over the day…

2019-02-14 Barlows Pool Water Temp

Session 5 – 2019 – Shropshire Union Canal….

Monday, 11th February I headed off at 0730 for my day on the Shropshire Union Canal (AA-SU/WA) as planned. Weather was mild, air temps in the registering 9’C on the journey across, and bright with little breeze.

By 0900 I had arrived at my chosen swim opposite overhanging brambles, a swim that usually provides good chub and perch fishing along with a few silvers, baited up with a few golf ball sized groundbait balls just off the vegetation and had tackled up with my 10’ float rod and made my first cast.

I did take photos of the swim but for some strange reason the SD card in the phone I used was reporting that it was almost full and wouldn’t allow saving of photos due to lack of space. OK, no problem, so I saved the photos to main memory. However, the SD card should have been nowhere near full – about 1GB of things on it but it was reporting 3.7+GB used – so when I got home I took out the card, put it in my PC where it again reported 3.7+GB used but total files usage around 1GB and so I reformatted it … however, I also decided to do a factory reset of the phone itself and as I hadn’t transferred photos to PC they disappeared into the ether… 😦

Anyway, I float fished double maggot initially on 4lb line with size 16 hook … but even without a breeze there seemed a fair surface drift and the float was getting dragged – and on a canal where often even the slightest movement of the bait is detrimental this wasn’t good although I did see if the bait would be taken for about an hour or so without luck. Then followed a few float/shotting changes until I had, what I felt was the optimum set up, a 3BB driftbeater float fished slightly overdepth with a AAA shot holding bottom. First cast with this was placed perfectly BUT within 2 minutes a chap from the houseboats a couple of hundred yards up the canal from me decided to go out in his small dinghy and sail past me to collect logs for his woodburner (based on his load when he returned later) and I had to wind in to clear his path …. and when I recast, it fell short, recast again, short again, recast … in the brambles! With 4lb line its was unlikely that I’d be able to get free without snapping but hoped I’d be able to get the float back … but hopes to do so were dashed at this point. So, with no replacement float of the type needed, and the thought of having to totally thread line and re-tackle I put the float rod away and got out my light quiver tip rod – at least it would resolve any problems with drifting bait I thought. Quiver rod was fitted with 6lb line, 7g free-running penny-weight lead, and size 12 hook.

And for the next few hours, I ledgered worm, maggot, bread and prawn at various points along the edge of the brambles plus also in mid boat channel in case the fish were lying in the deeper water. A couple of boats passed by over that time and I thought the churned waters might ‘wake’ the fish up a bit but to no avail and by the end of the day not only had I not caught anything but I’d not even had the slightest indication of any interest – and this in a swim I’d lay my life on producing at least half a dozen small perch at worst….

AND there were fish in the vicinity including a larger one … fair few minor swirls by fry sized fish randomly (nothing like a perch attack scatter though) … and at one point a large bow wave came up the edge of the brambles and I fired a small ‘pult of maggots ahead of its line and as the bow wave reached that point there was a big swirl then nothing and I hoped the fish had followed the maggots down to my baited hook but nothing ensued….

So the dearth continues …. 5 sessions, 1.5 months, and still not a fish!

SO… Thursday 14th I’m off to a club pool (AA-B) which usually I’d bet against even producing a bite at this time of the year – tends to start to come into its own late-May/early-June time BUT its recently had a bigger than usual annual stocking with carp, bream, crucian carp, barbel, tench, etc and …. if the waters that are expected to produce aren’t doing so then perhaps the waters that aren’t will in some perverse sort of way … whatever, as they say nothing ventured, nothing gained … and its at least likely there will be plenty of available swims! 🙂


5.0’C rising to 6.0’C over the day…

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Session 4 – 2019 – Plans changed….

Tuesday 5th February I set off as planned for Patshull Pool and a session of pike fishing having been told the previous day that there were just a few islands of ice drifting and that they were rapidly thawing…

So I was a bit disappointed on arrival at 0800 to find the entire lake looked completely iced over – well it’s 75 acres so maybe not all but at least all the area that could be viewed from the lodge area and from the roadway that runs alongside the pool for as far as the eye could see…

So a change of plan and I reverted to a pool (Pike Water 5) that by travelling the ‘back way’ up country roads wasn’t actually too distant and I arrived there by 0830…

It was better here – the far side of the pool was frozen over but the near side (which is where I tend to fish anyway) was completely clear…


The day was relatively warm (10’C) given the cold patch we’d recently been through and I had to shed my padded wax cotton jacket very quickly although from midday the fingers started to feel the cold and I had to put the fleecey gloves on.

Half a dozen cormorants took off on my arrival – which raised hopes as, like seagulls, where there’s corms there’s fish!

A few casts around with the Deeper Sonar showed that most of the half-a-dozen or so detected fish were in the deeper (ca 14’-15’) water and located with a foot or so of the bottom.

See the scans HERE…..

So, I set up my two ledger rods – I’d prefer fishing with a float at this water but as I’d intended to fish Patshull I’d loaded my ledger rods instead – both with 30lb braid and double size 2 double hooks on 30lb wire traces and with 3oz leads. I use heavy leads as it alleviates the need to detect drop-back bites – I use the free spool facility on the reels set to the absolute minimum pressure with the line between rod and lead as taut as possible thus any pull on the line in any direction will pull line from the reel rather than move the lead and thus activates the standard front alarms. On one rod I used a popped up ‘orange fish’, on the other a standard static ledgered sardine.

First casts were made around 0920 … and by packing up time at 1430 I’d not had so much as a single nudge on either rod despite ‘searching’ around the area including the shallower margins.

So, I’m four sessions into 2019 and still not had one fish this year… Ho hum….

But full of hope … and with another change of plan … for the next session … which is now a canal maggot/worm/bread session in search of perch, bream and chub and the possible gudgeon, roach, rudd or ruffe .. or carp tomorrow (Thursday 7th). weather is supposedly going to be brighter and warmer too…


2.9’C rising to 3.2’C over the day…

ScreenHunter 07


A couple of things…

I said in the last post that the tripod comes with a bluetooth remote control to fire the phone/camera shutter … and it does … but it seems that mine came adrift of its holding port yesterday. Not a problem as my primary use of the tripod is to hold my phone when using the Deeper Sonar to scan the water depths, etc … and if used for my camera I’d probably use my standard camera in self timer mode which allows up to 6 shots at 2 second intervals which start at a predetermined interval after shutter release (eg start 30 seconds after button press to allow return to fish, pick up and pose – and then take 6 shots, one every 2 seconds). BUT it would be good to have a remote for those one-off/unique occasions (wedding selfies, etc?) so I’ve put a message on the club’s forum and FB page in case it gets found … but also I’ve discovered that similar items can be bought from eBay for around £3 (in UK, cheaper from China of course :)) and I’ve ordered a couple, one pink one and one white one so easy to spot! Probably not fit the holder on the tripod but seeing as the original seems to have escaped from that then probably better in my jacket pocket?

Navel/tongue bars … not as good as I hoped. The 25mm curved version arrived today and they barely fit across the smaller of the 3 sizes of scull lip AFTER straightening out … and possibly too fiddly in cold weather to use if the fingers are numbing? I’ll have to check out B&Q for fine but lengthy nut and bolts?

Session 4 – 2019 – Imminent….

Today, being Monday 4th February, I have been preparing for my 4th outing of the year and my tackle bags are packed, rods set up with optimised end tackles and sundries all sorted – only thing left to do now is take baits from the fridge and prep my food and flask which will be done later – as I’m having a break with a coffee whilst writing this 🙂

So… my planned destination is Patshull Pool again which has been fishing well recently – a pike match held on the 26th January had good catches – winner had 42lb and 2nd had 25lb and 3rd 12lb…

Pike Match

… and day before yesterday a pleasure piker fishing from a boat had 4 doubles and a few jacks … but write up says ‘braved cold and 2 inches of ice’ so I’ve just posted on their FB page asking what the current situation is like for bank fishing tomorrow and I’m awaiting the response. However, I have heard that my second choice venue is now ice free and so I have that avenue to go if necessary … and I will now be visiting there on Thursday all being well anyway 🙂


I managed to get a few sprats on Saturday from Wolverhampton market, pretty small ones though but should be OK for a ‘Xmas Tree’ under a float. It seems that the future of the acquisition of sprats from supermarkets seems to be poor … I’ve heard Tesco are re-organising and part of that will be the close down of their in store bakeries and fishmongers … and when I tried Morrison’s the fish guy said that they’d stopped having them but it was a bit ambiguous as to whether just for this season or forever, hopefully the former. Anyway, as I end pike fishing at the end of March until October, I should have enough sprats and other baits now to see me through….

I have acquired two useful devices recently:

  • A 500,000mAh power pack for mobile phones. It has 4 USB output sockets and a torch function too. It’s used to power the mobile phone I use for wireless connection to my Deeper Sonar (which is also my ‘fishing phone’ – I’ve lost/dropped too many good ones so its an old smartphone (Sony Xperia XA, I think) that I upgraded from at end-of-contract time – whilst my normal phone is now kept safely in the car) and also powers my action camera (GoPro clone). The charger works well and powers the ‘GoPro’, which only lasts about an hour on its own battery normally, for an entire 5 hour session easily. Well satisfied as it was only £13 off eBay. CHARGER
  • The second addition to my kit is a ‘selfie stick’ … but a selfie stick with a difference … its also a tripod that extends (via 3 telescopic sections) between heights of 16” and 48” … and the phone holder head can be unscrewed and, as the screw is a standard camera threaded one, a standard digital camera or small video camera can be mounted in its place. To now when using my Deeper Sonar I’ve tried round the neck holders (get in the way on cast and retrieve and break easily too) and holders that clip on to the back of my fishing chair (awkward to get camera/chair sited at times to suit need and if walking from area to area its very cumbersome – and prone to breakage)… However, this stick/tripod has an aluminium body with plastic cam type clips for locking at required heights – so both sturdy and light – and easily transportable when moving from place to place… also the facility to attach a standard digital still/video camera is a great bonus too as up to now I’ve been using a bankstick-to-camera screw adapter which is not without problem especially on hard or frozen ground and the tripod alleviates those problems entirely. AND … if you use a smartphone as your camera the tripod comes with a clip-in bluetooth wireless shutter release – just ‘pair’ the phone and remote release (1 minute to do) … take up your pose … press the button on the shutter release … and picture taken … and assume that if the phone is set to video mode it will start/stop video recording too but not tried that… and £13 once again! TRIPOD.

And I have another bunch of items for testing on the way …. TONGUE/NAVEL/BELLY BARS!

  • If you use Savage Gear’s Soft 4Play, or similar, lures  in conjunction with Lip Sculls… which are like plastic helmets that you fit the head of the lure into and then hold in place with a plastic pin (the red dot in the picture) that passes from side to side through the helmet and lure head… then I have found on a couple of occasions that the pin can ‘work’ free from one side and when the lure is taken and the hooks fail to find hold then the lure can be ‘stolen’ by the fish and lost… not ideal. So, for some time I have been using twistable wire to replace the pin and thus ensure that body remains firmly held at all times – but this is a bit of a pain if needing to change over the body as you need to untwist, remove wire, remove body, fit new body, re-insert wire and re-twist…. So, trying to think of a better way I’ve thought of using tongue or belly bars that have a fitted bead at one end and a screw-on bead at the other (and the beads would emulate eyes? Especially if glittery?). So, I’ve found a couple of cheap packs of differing types of these on eBay at £3 each – one pack has 50 off 2.5cm curved bars and the other 8 off 1.6cm straight bars – longer ones will work for the bigger lips, the shorter for the smaller ones I’m hoping. So watch this space as they say for results of the testing! 🙂

Savage Gear Scull Lip – come in 3 sizes

So… signing off now … those final tasks for tomorrows expedition needing to be done 🙂

Session 3 – 2019 – Patshull Pool Piking….

Tuesday, 15th January, Liz and I set off to Patshull Pool, a local pool on an estate that belonged to Lord and Lady Dartmouth in the 50’s/60’s (and probably earlier) but then had to be sold in order to pay death duties on their demise. And in those days if you donated 2s 6d to the Dartmouth’s charity then you were allowed an annual family pass to fish the Great Pool… and my grandmother, who ran a pub, donated to the charity and every Sunday after she closed the pub at 1400 she, my step-grandfather, my parents, uncle and myself set off to fish for a few hours before the pub was due to be re-opened at 1900.

In those days, it was bank fishing only for a small stretch of about 200-300 yards of the 75 acre pool – all very wild and natural too.

These days, more of the banks are open, fishing platforms in places, punts with or without electric motors are hireable… but it still is a beautiful place. And £8.50 for a day ticket is not unreasonable really.

2019-01-15 patshull pool

Also see: Patshull Park Fishing (PDF File)

So, we left home at 0830, arriving about 0900. After parking up and getting our day tickets and having a brief reconnaissance of the banks we elected to fish pegs 48 and 49 … and an initial scan with my Deeper Sonar indicated that we weren’t short of fish in the vicinity, the streaks being ‘fry’ sized fish,… the deepest section being around 18’ deep.

screenhunter 01

So, first casts were made around 1000-1030’ish with Liz fishing one rod, static ledger, baited with 2 sprats on a standard twin treble wire trace and myself I fished two rods, one with a ‘popped-up’ orange fish and the other rod fished with a static ledgered sardine (later switched to a half herring)….

Unfortunately, neither of us, nor another angler on the opposite bank who seemed to be floatfishing livebaits, had any joy at all … with Liz and I not even getting so much as a single tweak until we packed in at 1500 and headed, as usual, to our local hostelry. Heyho … that’s fishing.

Anyway, Liz had been reticent to suggestions of fishing from a boat but now she’s seen them maybe I can persuade her to have a session afloat… they are proper flat bottomed punts and as such are exceptionally stable craft.

I had intended to be out again yesterday (Thurs 17th) but circumstances have been such that I don’t think I’ll be able to get out again now until the week beginning January 28th.


Steady at 6’C all day…

screenhunter 02

Session 2 – 2019 – Canal Piking….

Thursday, 10th January, I set off at 0900 to the Shropshire Union canal (having checked I’d got ALL my gear this time) for a day’s pike fishing, intending to float fish ‘orange’ fish (still don’t know what they are!) down the canal with 20-60 minute spells along the way – some swims give access to 2 or 3, sometimes 4 castable areas to fish, so basically giving each area 20 mins each to produce the goods. On the return journey I intended to wobble/sink-n-draw sprats.

The weather was surprising mild – possibly due to the total absence of any air movement at all – especially after a forecast of a cold night had been given and, whilst on on Wednesday evening, there seemed to be more gritters than any other sort of vehicle on the roads. No frost on the car on the drive either when I got up at 0700… BUT a club member did remark on the club’s Facebook page that a water he had visited was iced over hard enough to bounce a small feeder on… Anyway, I felt overdressed as I’d decided to wear a body warmer (or to posh people, gillet) under my newly acquired padded wax cotton jacket (as well as the usual thermals) … especially, as even without wearing my gloves, my hands glowed with warmth.

SO … fishing….

Part One – deadbaiting – I worked my way down about 3/4 of mile of towpath fishing probably 7-8 areas in all – with some providing multiple areas of interest as said before – before reaching the point of return. But, apart from a couple of minor nudges and bobs of the float that barely rippled the water’s surface (probably an inquisitive chub) in the second area, there were absolutely no signs of interest….

Part Two – sprat deviations – never happened…. 1400 I packed down the deadbait rod and put a sprat on the wobble rod, cast out, wound the reel handle half a dozen times – and the reel locked up. I was able to backwind it about the same number of times before it locked in that direction. I even took the line spool off to see if it was due to trapped line, etc but there was no change. So, the unusable reel caused me to have to break down the rod and make the walk directly back to the car uninterrupted … not that it was a bad thing in the end as having gotten home and sorted bags and bait out, bathed, etc I found myself rushing to get out to collect Liz from work on time … had I fished the way back to the car I’d probably had to go for Liz still in my fishing gear and thus had to go in to KFC thus dressed … and stinky! LOL.

So, the first two 2019 outings haven’t been a major success – and I’m hoping its a case of third time lucky on Monday when Liz and I are due to go to Patshull Pool – a fishery I used to visit regularly for a time in the 80’s – and often saw John Sidley, Des Taylor and Nige Williams there. And I won (or came second) in a ‘Pike Day’ there too – not sure which, I had a cutting of the results printed in the local newspaper at the time but looking for it it seems to have gone AWOL from the photo album I thought it was in – or its somewhere else! LOL. Anyway, last time I was there was in the 80’s and so I’m looking forward to a return…. In fact, I was thinking of getting a season ticket there next winter (they run from 8th October – 24th February) at £140 inc the free use of a boat and purchasing myself an electric motor (ca £300 inc batteries). But thinking again – £140 + £300 = £440 (minimum), whilst buying a £8.50 day ticket plus an extra £20 for boat + motor = £30 …. so I could make day ticket 15 trips for the same money and not have to store/carry/maintain/charge motor or batteries … and 15 trips would probably be equivalent to 2-3 years, maybe more, of trips there as I have access to good pike waters via my club memberships anyway … and can fish the Patshull from the banks to for £8.50 …. Anyway, it is a good place … good head of decent bream too … I remember being out in a punt during the old close season doing some reconnaissance and seeing a huge black shadow under the water approaching – 100 yards long and about 50 yards plus wide – and as it passed under the punt it was solid bream about 3 layers deep (probably more as that as as far down as we could see!) all of around 5lb or more! Funny thing was when we dropped bread in among them they opened up, swam around it and then closed file again!

See: Patshull Park Fishing (PDF File)

Session 1 – 2019 – Mixed Day But Leaning Towards The Bad End Overall….

My first trip 2019 out to the water was eventually made on Monday 7th January after aborting plans I’d made to venture out on Friday 4th January due to forecast -4.0’C temps overnight from the Thursday and temps on Friday itself not getting above -2.0’C coupled with a ‘moderate’ breeze – and as I’d planned to have a canal session ie shelterless banks with any breeze, regardless of its geographical direction, getting channelled down the canal’s length I really wasn’t up for that especially with it being ‘damp’ cold still too. Lower temperatures (even -5’C or lower), with minimal breeze or decent shelter, and with LOW air humidity can feel much more comfortable and often pleasant with the correct clothing BUT with damp in the air NO clothing regardless of cost, quality, etc can defeat the damp – even GoreTex and similar will let dampness/vapour through although excellent protection against rain and water in its more liquid forms. And dampness doesn’t need to get through the defences of the material either  – it works its way through gaps in protection eg sleeve cuffs, neck lines, etc as when you move you push air out at times but then suck in fresh (damp) air on the next movement bellows like…. Anyway, that’s my REASON or, OK, possibly EXCUSE LOL!

Anyway, I did venture forth on Monday – yesterday as I write this – and had a few hours on the canal, or more truthfully I should say canals in the plural – and I didn’t blank which was the good part of the day….

But let me start at the beginning….

The alarm clock sounded at on 0615 on Monday morning, I rose, dressed, loaded last minute tackle and baits into the car, had breakfast and set off at 0730 for my destination on the Shropshire Union Canal – a journey of 12 miles as the crow flies, so around 15 miles by road – and arrived after negotiating the works traffic en route at around 0815. Parked up and walked the 500 yards to my decided upon swim with overhanging bushes and which harbours good perch and chub. Set up the landing net, laid out the unhooking mat, weigh sling and scales … took rod out of the quiver and put together the sections… and then opened the seat box to get out the compartmented box I carry most of my needed items in – floats, shot, weights, hooks, etc, etc – and it was highlighted by its total absence!! The day before I’d had a sort out of the seat box and re-arranged stuff … and in taking some unwanted equipment away I’d also mistakenly taken the tackle box with it all! So, although I’d 2 float rods and a ledger rod with me, all was completely useless without floats and weights…

So, I packed up without wetting a line and set off back home arriving at 0920’ish…

So I nip into the house, have a LemSip, gather the missing box, and head out again but this time to a local stretch of the Staffs-Worcs Canal about 10-15 minutes from home…. arriving just after 1000.

Tackle up again – all successfully this time – and start float fishing with worm and maggot to the far bank – and catch around 15 gudgeon, 1 chub, 1 perch and a daddy ruffe … perch the biggest at around 2-3oz … most of the gudgeon were smaller than my, already small, little finger….

Liz rings me at just after noon to see what I’m doing … I tell her and say I’ll probably pack up around 1400…

1300 and my phone chimes … Liz again… one of our two ferrets (Minnie, the other is Missy) is not at all well and looks to be on last legs … I tackle down and drive back … Minnie is very listless and being cuddled in a towel by Liz … we give water (and water/honey) by syringe throughout the afternoon and evening but apart from occasional shudders she doesn’t move much … and she finally passed away later that night and was laid to rest in my shrubbery patch this morning with a memorial Xmas tree (was a small potted one we’d bought for Xmas decoration) to mark her resting place.

So, I’ve had better days really….

Now, looking for ferret rescue places to obtain a new friend for Missy … looking at a getting a male ferret this time as we’ve not had a male in a long time … and possibly getting two (ferret owner maths kicks in – you can never have one ferret and usually the optimum number is as many as you already have plus one)….

Fishing – hoping to go piking on Friday 11th – possibly pool or possibly the Shropshire Union as it now owes me a day’s fishing. And the latter is more likely as I’ve been wanting a piking there for a while and its less tackle to sort….