Session 34 … A Nice Day Out With Liz!

Monday, 19th August, saw Liz and I head off to a club pool in Shropshire (KF-VV) for a spot of angling.

Setting off at 0700 we arrived at the pool around 0740 and were initially disappointed to find another car on the car park expecting to find our chosen swims already taken but a quick walk up the dam wall art the rear of the car park soon allayed our fears – it seemed someone had been night fishing but had bivvied up on the opposite bank to the area that we had hoped to fish (big sighs of relief! LOL!) which is an area known as ‘Chub Alley’ within the club – a spit of mainland sticks out into the pool and one side of it faces an island. The island extends parallel to the spit and thus there is a channel of about 8-9 yards between, the mainland bank mainly clear bar for tall grasses, the island bank heavily bushed with overhanging branches – a perfect haven for the chub that it is named after…

Chub Valley 2

As an aside, on the day, a mink crossed the bridge from island towards mainland but I didn’t see it leave the bridge and a later examination showed that it possibly lived under the bridge as there was a small burrowed hole on the corner where land and bridge met and also a slotted gap between the bridge and the land. Also, I had a sparrowhawk land and perch on the bridge for a minute or two.

Liz fished twin rods with feeders across to the end of the island for the day whilst I elected to start fishing (laying on) on the float across to the bushes in front of me using my 13’ ‘Hardy Matchmaker’ clone with size 10 hook with worm/maggot baits on 6lb line with a 3AAA driftbeater.

I took first blood with a small (<1oz) perch …. followed by another 4 of similar ilk … and then I became the victim of misfortune or, more honestly, failure to check tackle properly, as the float shot under and I struck into a decent fish which shot off and … Well, I ALWAYS play fish from the reel and backwind (or just loose the handle completely if necessary) if the fish needs to take line and consequently the drag on the spool is always screwed down tight and won’t give one millimetre of line even if 100lb line is used … HOWEVER, when I last used the rod I must have slackened the drag to assist tightening the stored line up tidily by rotating the spool to take up any slack line AND not have tightened it up enough after doing that … so, fish shoots off I hold back on handle and fail to notice until too late that the spool is giving up line by which time fish has managed to travel under the bridge and probably is somewhere around the far side of the island … and line snaps on some obstruction…. lost float, etc… I kept a watch out for the float all the rest of the day but no sign of it ever appeared…

So, I re-tackled again and continued…. but eventually I miscast into the edge of the bushes on the island and snapped, the float falling free but being drifted under the island bushes where it was unreachable…

At this point there were several fishing cruising along and under the bushes – and one carp actually slurping from the surface not 3 feet away from me in the margin. So, rather than re-tackle the float rod I unpacked my floater rod – 11’ 1.75lb TC rod, 12lb greased mono and size 2 hook and I baited this with crust and flake… and very soon I was netting a 3lb 11oz common carp…

2019-08-19-steve-3lb-11oz-common-carp.jpg

3lb 11oz Common Carp

Meanwhile, Liz had bagged 2 skimmer bream, a small roach, a small rudd, and a 1lb 8oz fantail goldfish all on maggot…

2019-08-19 Liz - 1lb 8oz Fantail Goldfish

1lb 8oz Fantail Goldfish

I continued with the floating baits and had another 2 carp – 1 common, 1 mirror – of 5lb 0oz and 5lb 4oz respectively…

 

At this point, I had another fish on which took me into the bushes and despite the 12lb line, and allowing a period of slack line, it was not extractable and I had to pull for a break …

So, rather than re-set that rod up I decided then to get my quivertip rod out and light ledger maggot on a size 14 hook to see if I could catch one of my original hoped for target species – perch and chub. I had no such luck – but I did catch a rather nicely coloured common carp of 2lb 12oz with very golden edged scales but the photo does not really do it justice…

2019-08-19 Steve - 2lb 12oz Common Carp (Golden)

2lb 12oz Common Carp (Golden)

… followed by another two 3lb 7oz common carp.

Liz meantime accounted for a 1lb 4oz bream and a skimmer bream, a 2lb 2oz common carp (on boilie), another small roach and a 2lb 12oz tench.

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And at 1530, per usual, it was packing up time and a visit to the local on the way home…

So it was a good day all in all – although the expected chub nor the hoped for better quality perch didn’t show up.

Currently I’m not sure about my next outing as we are planning a last minute long weekend camping trip – if we can get a pitch anywhere due to our late decision and it being a bank holiday weekend too!

STOP PRESS: An update as to next outing has now been added as a comment – due to a last minute camping weekend decision to a site with a fishing pool… 🙂

Session 33 … Blank Saved By 30 Minutes And 5lb 15oz.

2019-08-15 03Thursday, 15th August, and it was a trip to a local club pool (SAC-DP) for me. This is a venue that is fast becoming my standard Thursday one as not only is it close to home (15 minutes away) which is perfect for me allowing me to collect Liz from work at 1730 after my session usually allowing time for me to get home and shower and change beforehand too … and if the fish are in a feeding frenzy I can stay on a little longer and collect her straight from the pool albeit that I might be a bit smelly when we go in to KFC for our usual Thursday evening meal … and its a lovely quiet pool to be at too with a good selection of species to go at… I love it! 🙂

Only thing though is that apart from one session I’ve always fished the same peg opposite the wind turbine island… and on a pool with, I estimate from the far end peg being peg 33, over 60 pegs, I think on further visits I really ought to venture more … and those pegs out by the bushes to the left of the picture seem interesting as seen from my peg… Really I ought to just walk the pool, something I haven’t yet done as I’ve always had my tackle with me and just want to get down to the business. I’d like to pop down unencumbered one of the days and just walk a circuit around but usually Liz has the car for work and there is no public transport that stops anywhere within probably a mile and a half….  BUT I’ve just had a thought! I had to attend a hospital appointment today and it was suggested that I should do more exercise … so perhaps I could take the car for an hour or so before one of Liz’s late shift starts and do a wander, two birds-one stone!! 🙂

OK … so I arrived on this latest session at the pool – and headed to the usual peg – baited my swim, tackled up and arranged net/baits/etc around me – and first casts were made at 0745.

I mixed up the usual feed and catapulted out 8 golf balls to just short of the island as first thing on reaching the swim to start attracting whilst I set up all else…

Tackle for the day was the usual two 11’ 1.75lb TC ledger rods, both equipped with 8lb BS line (Daiwa Hyper Sensor) with 15g running frame feeders. A size 6 circle hook baited with bread was used on one rod all session, the other rod equipped with a size 10 Kamasan Animal hook baited with mussel for the first couple of hours but this was then changed to 5-6 grains of sweetcorn for the rest of the session.

For the first couple of hours or so I catapulted out feed at 15 and 45 minute intervals and re-baited and re-cast refilled feeders at 30 minute and 60 minute intervals….

So it worked out like the listing below…

  • 0 minute – cast out full feeder and bait
  • 15 minutes – catapult 6 golf balls of feed
  • 30 minutes –  retrieve lines, re-bait hook, cast out full feeder and bait
  • 45 minutes – catapult 6 golf balls of feed
  • …. above 4 steps repeated

Then I changed to larger timings of 20 minute intervals (so catapult after 20 minutes, re-casts at 40 minute intervals) for the next couple of hours … and then to 30 minute/60 minute slots ….

And by 1430 (ie after 6.75 hours) all the interest I’d had was two 6” lifts of the bobbins which didn’t and were probably line bites….

However, at 1430 …. the sweetcorn rod’s alarm suddenly burst into life and good weight was felt at the end of the line. Initially I thought it was a good sized bream as the fish seemed more dead weight than a fighter like a carp but as soon as it came close in it did suddenly come to life but it was soon netted… a common carp of 5lb 15oz.

2019-08-15 Steve - 5lb 15oz Common Carp 01

5lb 15oz Common Carp

So … I fished on until 1500 … and then decided it being such a slow day … and unlike the previous week, when bites were more numerous and fish were bow-waving, etc, there were very few signs of fish activity albeit the chap on the next peg fishing the pole had 24 crucian carp (albeit best I saw was probably 8-12oz) …. that I’d pack up, get home , sort out the wet gear and baits, shower and then go to collect Liz.

PLANS:

I’ll be out and about somewhere on Monday 19th, with Liz most likely, but venue has not yet been decided…. Liz’s choice!

Session 32 … A Long Time In The Coming But Things Get Better…

Monday 12th August I eventually made it back to the waterside! Yipppeeee!

The delay was due to several things – as said the weather was forecast to be bad on the Thursday after my last trip out and I did, indeed, use it as a groundbait mixing day making up 7 x 1Kg bags of my base mix. An easier job than it used to be as I’ve bought a paint/plaster stirrer paddle for my electric drill. In the old days I used to have to mix up each Kg individually to ensure a proper mixing – and as my mix consists of 6+ ingredients then it would have meant at least 42 individual weighings and mixings the ‘old’ way. With the paddle I just weighed out the ingredients (7 IIRC in this batch) as needed to make the end weight into a large bucket and whisked with the drill/stirrer combination – job done in no time! Actually, I would have made more but had to work to the lowest quantity ingredient I had in stock.

Other delays were due to a few hospital appointments and finally, a big teaser one, to visit friends from London who were on holiday near Stratford-on-Avon – on a private holiday park and their lodge was right next to the river – and, in fact, it would have been an easy cast from their patio area into the river albeit having to cross a footpath so people passing along might have been a nuisance! LOL. Suffice to say the friends aren’t fisherfolk either… what a wasted opportunity. Several people were fishing along the stretch though – although all appeared to be float fishing and the closest couple, a young couple, were catching but only minnow sized silvers from what was observed from our location.

Anyway… I have now got back into the swing … hopefully!

The venue for this outing was a club pool (KF-VV) that I had not visited in a while … and was actually longer than I thought as the club’s membership year runs from 1st April to 31st March and the gate padlock code changes at the start of each new year and I had to look up the code printed on the membership card and didn’t recognise it meaning I’d not fished there since at least the end of March!

2019-08-12

A nice morning – mild, calm, dry – the first for a few days the previous week being windy and wet and apart from a short but sharp shower at around 1400 it was like that for the full day.

On arrival at around 0745 I was the only one there, around 1100 a father and son couple arrived and fished on the far side of the pool on the other side of the pictured island but had left by around 1400, and on leaving there was someone fishing on the dam wall, out of sight to the right from my position.

This pool I generally floatfish but as Liz wasn’t with me I ‘stole’ her swim (as seen above) to do some frame feeder fishing putting one bait (bread mainly) out towards the left edge of the island (ie a little way left of the light green bush straight ahead) and another (worm/maggot mainly) further to the left, and closer to me, under the dark tree reflected in the water.

Feeder mix was per usual … base mix mixed firm with added hemp, wheat and turrmericed rice, and dead maggot.

First casts were made around 0830 … and first fish was hooked at around 0850 on bread by the island. Unfortunately, the hook lost its grip as it came to the net but I saw it was a common carp probably around 4lb or so.

Over the day, bites came frequently ranging from full scale runs to tentative small pulls on both rods. Some fish hooked, some lost to hook pulls, and some landed… and most were taken on the worm/maggot rod.

Catch:   

  • 1010                 Mirror Carp                    3lb 13oz            Worm
  • 1030                 Perch                                few oz               Worm
  • 1050                 Bream                              ca 4oz                Worm
  • 1115                 Brown Goldfish             1lb 2oz               Worm
  • 1135                 Common Carp               4lb 2oz               Worm
  • 1225                 Bream                             1lb 2oz                Bread + Sweetcorn
  • 1300                 Chub                                2lb 4oz               Worm
  • 1445                 Chub                                2lb 8oz                Worm
  • 1515                 Mirror Carp                    9lb 8oz              Floating bread

The latter fish being a bit of a disappointment as well as a source of elation…. I’d not had a decent fish for a long time it seemed, let alone a double figure one (and that includes pike) … and when I put this fish on the scales they went down to 10lb 8oz initially … BUT … I’d laid the weighing sling over my Fastmat (a bit like a carp cradle) to put the fish in … consequently it sank inside and when it and fish were lifted out it contained an amount of water … and as the excess water drained the weight dropped accordingly … 10-06, 10-04,…., 10-00 (stop now I cried!), 9-14,…., and finally came to rest at the recorded 9-08.

Photos:

 

 

 

2019-08-12 Steve - 9lb 8oz Mirror Carp

9lb 8oz Mirror Carp

So, although nothing huge graced the net, it was a very enjoyable day especially as I prefer to catch a ‘mezze’ (a greek meal course made up of many small dishes rather than just one main dish – can be sort of a ‘tester’ as it usually contains small portions of all the items on the full menu)or ‘pot pourri’ than just one or two species over a session regardless of size …. and I did have a gudgeon drop off the hook whilst swinging in too!

PLANS:

Well, tomorrow (today being Wednesday 14th) I’m intending to return to the local pool as its a ‘pick Liz up after work’ day. Interesting fact – someone has had a pike on a Robin Red pellet … unusual in itself BUT even more so as a mate of mine when asked a short time said there were no pike or not enough to bother about in there – and someone posting in response to the report of this capture said he’d been a member for 13 years and this was the first pike he’d ever heard of being caught there… I’ve also heard that there are catfish in there… So I know to big bream, perch, carp, eels, crucians, silvers, etc in there now plus the odd pike and some catfish… seems a good pool! 🙂 Heard now that the pool might be closed for fishing from 26th August for a while too … the Canals and Rivers Trust are dropping the water levels to effect some maintenance work….

Session 31 … Not A Blank But Not Much Better!

Monday 29th July, Liz and I ventured out to one of two club pools in deepest Shropshire. Both pools are at one venue, one being a small, almost a pond really, pool (KF-WL1) that the club allows day tickets on….

wl1-1

…. and the other is a larger, members’ only, pool (KF-WL2)…

WL2

…  and as you see, by the rods set up in the second picture, the larger pools was where we fished.

We were intending to fish the smaller pool, it looked good BUT as you can see from the photo the (my) swim was overgrown with stinging nettles and we decided it wasn’t worth even attempting a trample’n’swing-the-bankstick attempt to make a workable area despite Liz’s swim next door being clear and, in fact, as we drove off home passed the pool later in the day there was someone fishing ‘Liz’s Swim’…

A hot bright day – and lesson learned from my previous session the brolly was set up to provide shade at the rods and over the bait whilst I sat a little way back under the shade of some bushes – and felt much better for it!

Not much really to say about the day – preps/feed as standard procedure. We both fished frame feeders, me with sweetcorn and bread, Liz with maggot and sweetcorn.

Total catch of the day between us was just 5 fish … I had one perch, Liz had 2 perch, 2 roach. But Liz wiped the awards board without doubt – 1st fish caught, last fish caught, most fish caught, most species caught, biggest fish, smallest fish, heaviest total weight….

We fished from around 0830 to 1500 …

And, as usual, on way home we stopped at our local hostelry where my spirits were revived by the fact that they had Titanic Cappuchino Stout on tap (and I was told that later in the week Titanic Plum Porter was coming on!) so I soon became a Happy Larry!

PLANS:
Due to the forecast for the next few days being wet and miserable here I’m not sure when I’ll go out again. The break could be an opportune moment though to mix up a big batch of my groundbait base mix as I’m now down to my last 2 x 1 litre bags and so that may be my job for the day on Thursday instead of the fishing…

Session 30 … A Touch Of Martha And The Vandellas…. “It’s A Heatwave”!

Thursday 25th and I was back to a local club pool (SAC-DP) for another session there. It’s quite a handy pool for my Thursday sessions as its only 15 minutes from the house so little travelling time needed for travelling to and from … and on Thursday’s Liz is at work but I collect her when she finishes at 1745, we then call in KFC for our usual Thursday night meal before heading home. And so, the 30 minutes is far better than the usual 90 minutes needed for my other venues… and its a lovely and peaceful pool to be sat at anyway… catch or not.

2019-07-25

So, I set off from home around 0630 and by 0730 I was making my first casts….

The forecast for the day was for the temperatures to rise to be in the mid-30’s – and the car’s thermometer did, in fact, register an external 34’C on the journey home – so I was expecting a scorcher of a day but even so I wasn’t expecting quite the struggle I had to head home at the end of the day – but more on that later….

I had decided to fish the same swim as I had when I visited the pool the week before … facing an offshore island which houses solar panels and a wind turbine that power an aeration system to the pool. In my mind probably one of the better areas to be with the heat and an oxygen drop likely due to that heat in the waters – and all around the country the EA have been performing fish rescues ….

67302316_400922823861757_3221248450075033600_n

… however, I’m glad to report at this pool all seemed very well – no algal blooms, plenty of cruising/bow-waving, etc but none of the panicked surface sucking and the other actions of distressed fish, just the expected relaxed fish behaviours expected on a warm and bright day….

So, to the actual fishing … following the last session at the pool when I hooked, but lost, four good fish  on frame feeder, I had decided that I’d fish two feeder rods out towards the island for the day and to that end I, as usual, pre-fed with the area with 6 or so golf ball sized balls of my feed – and I didn’t even need to mix it up as I’d plenty of wetted feed left over from my previous trip out that I’d bagged and frozen on arrival home and then de-frosted overnight before this session. I did, however, during the day need to mix up more from the usual dry ingredients…

All pre-fishing preps completed, the rods (both 8lb line, size 6 circle hook on one rod baited with bread and sweetcorn on a size 8 circle hook on the other were cast out) at 0730.

A few nudges and knocks on both rods – the bread rod being the more active of the two – and every 30 minutes, until 1130 when I switched to an hourly system, the rods were wound back in, the feeders refilled and hooks re-baited and recast out followed by 4-6 more balls of feed. At 0830 I switched the sweetcorn rod over to luncheon meat on the hook. The first proper take, missed unfortunately, came to the bread rod at 1015. And then came the ‘midday lull’ – I find that, in general and more often than not, there is usually a lull of two hours whereby bites slow dramatically or even stop completely, that happens between 1030 and 1430. Don’t really know why but I do find it applies to all venues… and it appears on this day it was 1015-1215 as at 1215 I had a bite and connected with a nice looking mirror carp of 4lb-5lb – yes, I saw it in full detail BUT didn’t get to land it hence the guestimate of the weight. As the fish  came in it kited over to my right basically into the shore in my next door peg – and between me and it was a patch of lily pads. I managed to get the fish through the patch until only the very last pad separated us … and the fish managed to snag the line on it and snapped the hook length… Fish gone… and then I made a bad, nay, TERRIBLE decision….

After that, until 1415, all was quite quiet again, just a few nudges on bread, nothing at all on the meat – and then another bite on the bread rod was connected to, fish played for a time, felt similar weight to the previously lost one, and then went slack… and all my fault 100%.

When the hooklength snapped on the first fish, the break happened in the final inch or so of the line, so I decided, rather than have to dig in the bag for my hooklength wallet, to tie on a new hook to the remaining part of the broken length. However, when tying I used a 5-turn half-blood knot and I usually add a ‘tuck’ to it but, due to the shorter than usual length of line I had to play with, I left out the ‘tuck’ – with braid the tuck is 100% necessary as otherwise the knot will fail quickly but with mono, as I was using, then usually its not necessary – probably due to that when tightening the elasticity of mono allows the line to tighten around itself when the tension applied to the line whilst tying the knot is relaxed, but braid with zero stretch/elasticity won’t do that – and I, although using mono, use a sort of pre-stretched line (Daiwa Hyper Sensor) that probably lies between mono and braid in degree of stretch….. so the fish was lost due a failed knot (again) as evidenced by the twisty pig-tail end of the retrieved line.

And that was the last action of the day – fishing-wise anyway….

1530 – I decided to pack up – and then the bad stuff started – due to the heat of the day – and 25’C is sweltering to me!

I don’t respond well to heat at all … just seems to suck out all my energy.

Usually I can tackle down and have bags done in 30 minutes – but due to the heat it took 75 minutes, and this on a day when I was actually tidy! So, the next part was to get the gear to and into the car to head home…

Now, the car park for this water is on top of a rise by the pool, there is a path directly down to the pool about 100 yards to the left but then you’re faced with ‘Heartattack Hill’ to push the barrow up … but about 100 yards to the right there is a gate into a cow field with a path down to the gate which you are allowed to drive down to drop off or pickup tackle… and, of course, that was the option to be taken…. however, given the heat, even the 100 yard walk along the mown  poolside path with the barrow was as much as I could do, literally I could not have gone one step further and even had to rest 2-3 minutes before I could even lift the latch securing the gate to push the barrow through… and having got the barrow through the gate and shut the gate (5-10 yards) I then needed a 10-15 minute break sat under the only bit of shelter I could find … rested I then walked up the path to the car park (200 yards probably) during which I had to have 3 stops under trees … got the car and drove down to join my tackle … and then spent probably 10 minutes loading, in dribs’n’drabs, my tackle on board. At this point, I had seriously thought about stripping off to just my knickers to drive home but I couldn’t get my trousers over my boots and the thought of the effort of removing said boots and then putting them back on was far too horrendous to contemplate even attempting so I settled for just bare-chested with car blowers on full blast and windows fully open. I got home just after 1700 – good job I packed in at 1530 rather than the initially intended 1630 as I had to collect Liz from work at 1745 and I’d have had no chance of doing that. Anyway, got into house stripped off and straight into a cold shower which helped a bit but really I didn’t fully recover until late the following day….

As Fred J. Taylor once said ‘I’ll be glad when I’m fed up of doing this!’…. 🙂

PLANS: Monday, 29th, Liz and I are off to a club pool in Shropshire – well, one of two pools on site depending on conditions….

Session 29 – Back To Religion….

Monday 22nd July and I visited a club pool not often visited by me – AA-LA1 – despite being the club’s ‘premiere’ carp water. Reasons for the lack of visiting by me include (a) I’m not a great devotee of carp but occasionally I do go carp fishing in its wider sense of fishing for carp rather than the usual fishing for ‘mahoosive carp’, (b) its a fair distance from home and so time constraints play a part as to when I can get to fish there and (c) although it holds species other than carp (perch, tench, eels) of good size and, seemingly, one solitary bream of around 8-10lb, it is usually a ‘hard’ water and gives up its stock, inc that of the smaller residents reluctantly.

As for title of this posting – well, the farm on which the pool is situated takes it’s name from it’s religious neighbour next door…. although the pool’s is known within the club by the name of the religious establishment itself and which, incidentally, has a pool within its own grounds albeit, by looking via Google Earth, fully weeded…. There is also a second, smaller, pool (AA-LA2) just below this one of ours that is included in our lease but it is never fished as it is basically unfishable – banks overgrown (way beyond a quick slash with a scythe level, more like JCB), the one bank whereby the water could be accessed has one, and only one, possibility, a scaffolded platform placed there by a previous club many years ago with wood so rotten that even a damsel fly landing on it causes pieces to crack off. That plus actual access problems (think the gate is padlocked with a non-club padlock) and the fact that the farmer’s son has leased it to a duck shooter who ‘will not be happy with people disturbing the birds’ and it seems very shallow and just hold small bits and lots of small (2lb) jack pike… means that the club has never bothered to do anything with it, preferring to spend the time and money on the main pool. Liz and I fished this smaller pool once with lures (8 years ago?) but didn’t have a touch.

So, I arrived around 0730 to find a car already on the car park area – heart in mouth thinking my desired swim will have already have been taken – but it seems not as the angler had turned in the other direction and was fishing at the near end of the pool – and, I think, it was the chap I’d seen on the pool I’d fished in Session 28 as I know that has been an area he’s fished before and given the distance the features that could be discerned re build, hair, etc seemed to match his.

Happy to find the swim free I drove round to it, it being one of the few swims accessible by car, the only other on my bank being the next door swim to me which got occupied around 1100 by a ‘carper’ (carp cradle on 7’ tripod, bait bag on tripod, bivvy, line wrapping sticks, etc, etc). On the other side of the pool is another swim with a parking area at the back – although it could be to set up a bivvy!

So, my swim – a two-peg swim so plenty of room to manoeuvre around – or as anyone who knows my usual swim housekeeping, scatter my tackle and bags around all over the place! Immediately to my left a large overhanging willow tree (first pic) and to my right another willow tree further over (second pic) and out from that second willow tree is the end of an island.

My intention, as stated in my last session’s posting, was to spend my first half of the day (0815-1130) float fishing just off the outside of the left hand willow and the seconds half fishing two frame feedered rods out in front of me in line with the direction of the island (ca halfway out).

First thing on arrival – I fed dead maggots to the tree swim and mixed and catapulted the feed mix into the feeder intended area area. Whilst float fishing, dead maggots were fed to that swim every cast whilst 4-6 golf balls of feed were catapulted to the feeder swim every 30 minutes or so.

All prepped and plumbed up, the first cast was made with the float rod starting with a size 16 hook to 6lb line, laid-on with a 5AAA driftbeater and using maggot for bait was made at 0815 and the first bite of a ‘bite a cast’ session soon started. In fact, if a bite wasn’t seen for 15 seconds I knew the bait had been stolen and I was what we call ‘baitless fishing’ which can be hard work, although not necessarily without reward as at times I’ve had perch take a bare hook on retrieval. Later I switched over to a size 10 hook with worm for a short period and then switched back to size 16 and maggot. Plenty of bites but many missed, many tiny silvers hooked but which flipped off the hook on swing in as there was not enough weight in their bodies to counter their flipping but some of same did get landed …. and several perch in the 4oz-7oz range… So no major sized fish were caught but it was worth the trial and perseverance as I have had decent fish from the spot in the past – and a crowd attracts a crowd.

1100 – as I said, another chap came and set up his carp stall – and 3 hours later he was still setting up his stuff!!! I hope he intended to stay overnight to make that effort worthwhile… and I thought it takes me a while to get sorted before first casts as unlike many I get everything I think I’ll need set up and laid out around me so that there’s no ‘oh, not set the landing net up!’ or ‘where’s my scales?’ moments and resulting panics! Although one thing I usually miss is my disgorger … I have an available set of forceps but sometimes, especially with small perch, the hook is a little too way back out of reach with those (although – touch wood – visible and not deeply hooked) and thus a disgorger is needed.

Disgorger – there are several types but I do have my own favourite type…

  • ‘V’ ended…
    V disgorger
    Luckily it seems that this type has all now but disappeared from freshwater fishing (picture is of a sea-water model) and although the picture shows a ‘V’ end and a slot above the original model just a narrow metallic cylinder that had the ‘V’ end … the ‘V’ was slid down the line, keeping the latter taut, to the bend of the hook which was then pushed down and then pulled back up – with sometimes the hook freed. Several failings with this, some quite serious … obviously the sharp points of the ‘V’ could cause damage in its passage down in the mouth, hard to keep the line in the ‘V’ as slid to the hook bend and often got inserted deeper than meant as it missed the hook itself and continued onwards into the fish’s interior, and very often not very efficient as the hook point could get caught on the way back out requiring a further attempt to clear from the flesh so could be a lengthy procedure besides being a danger to fish health. Goodbye, go play with the gaffs and pike gags – and don’t come back!

  • Cylinder type
    Cylinder DisgorgerProbably the most common type of disgorger in use these days.
    The line is passed into the slot in the cylindrical end and then, on a taut line,the disgorger’s head is fed down to the bend of the hook, and a slight extra push releases the hook which can then be retrieved by keeping hook tight to the head as the disgorger is removed. This seems to work well for most people (but I’m one of the exceptions :)) and it does alleviate the problems associated with the ‘V’ type of keeping line and disgorger aligned plus being made of  plastic without any sharp points poses less of a threat to causing injury to the fish. However, it does have limitations for the size and type of hook that it can be used on – due to the bore of the hole through the cylinder then its not really suitable for the larger sizes (10 or larger, possibly 12) eyed hooks as the eyes will not pass into them.
  • Hoop/Loop type…
    Guru disgorgerMy preferred type….
    This has the advantages of the cylindrical version but as the eye/shank does not have to travel into a bore hole it can deal with virtually all hooks sizes – I’ve used it on 1/0 hooks without problem. The line is simply put into the loop via the slit at the side, the disgorger then slid down the taut line until the hook bend is reached, pushed a little further to release the hook point and the retrieved. Do NOT rotate the disgorger whilst in use as if the line is held away from the disgorger’s body as the hook is retrieved then the hook point nestles against the body and shielded from catching flesh on retrieve. Easy peasy!!! Even with small hooks I find this a ‘first time’ operator whilst with the cylindrical it can be a ‘2-3 attempts then pass to Liz’ operation.

1130 …. out went the frame feeders … 1330 …. retrieved untouched and recast … 1530 … retrieved, again untouched, tackled down to go home…. so not a great success and perhaps I should have stuck with the float rod as I was at least having action and larger fish could have moved in…. also Mr Carper, next door, to my best knowledge, was having no better luck or at least I never heard his alarms beep out….

What was a bit weird, given that it was quite a hot bright day, although with strong’ish winds at times evidenced by the various tall trees around the pool swaying and playing quite violently – but those trees also sheltered the pool itself and the surface, at worst, was orange peeled rather than rippled … and so I would have normally expected to see at least a few carp cruising, leaping, rolling or bubbling – but all day long I did not see even one of these signs although there were plenty of dipples of small silvers sucking flies of the surface, etc and scatters of the same as perch attacked them all over the pool and all over the day. Ummmm, go figure….

Anyway … as I said, it can be, and often is, a hard water so catching the few smallies was a little bit of success and saved a blank session.

PLANS: Thursday 25th I’m returning for a 4th visit to the ‘new’ pool (SAC-DP) to try to actually convert a bite into a landed fish. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get the same peg as I fished from last time as it seemed to be productive for bites but this time I’ll use the feeder rods right from the start. And I’ll also be taking my floater rod and biscuits and a loaf of bread so that I’ll be able to try for some of the cruising fish that were around on the last visit especially as over the past few days the temps have risen further and, as I write this at 0630, the current temp is around 20’C and forecast to rise to 26’C … and on Thursday rise even higher to 31’C …. and for the following 10 days or so be a bit cooler at around 21’C-23’C but still too hot for me … especially at night when my legs twitch and jerk due to the heat and prevent me sleeping (and the bedroom’s pedestal fan is usually on full blast and all upstairs windows and doors are wide open trying to get some air movement). Last night I was up at around 0200 drinking peppermint tea which I find helps a bit … or maybe its due to the exercising of the legs by going downstairs to make it … and then watching and videoing the sheet summer lightning over the hill at the back of the house for the following hour….

FISHING THE DRIFTBEATER FLOAT – MY WAY….

The Constituent Parts Of The Driftbeater Float:

driftbeater

<—– The sight bob

 

<—–  The stem

 

 

<—– The body

 

 

 

<— The Eye

 

 

The Build And Purposes Of The Constituent Parts:

  • The sight bob … is primarily there, as implied in its description, as a visual aid to allow the angler to see the float at distance due to the slim stem that has to be used as part of the build. Due to its location on the float (at the very tip) it, of necessity, needs to be light in weight to avoid the unbalancing of the float as it cocks but also large enough to be seen, thus as one will recall from at least school days, the larger the object for a given weight (or alternatively the lighter an object for a given size) then the less dense the material it is made of will be … and, in this case, as the sight bob these days is usually formed from polystyrene or similar light density material, the bob will be of a density of less than 1g/cm^3 – ie of lesser density than water and thus will be buoyant.
  • The stem … a long thin spill of material, usually plastic or better still fibreglass which separates the body of  the float from the sight bob and allows the body to be fully submerged and thus minimising the effects of any wind/breeze and surface drift but allows the float to be seen by letting the sight bob remain above the surface when in use. The stem is minimally buoyant, or in the case of fibre-glass actually slightly negatively buoyant and as it is extremely thin it is resistant to any effects of wind or drift.
  • The body ... usually bulbous/cigar-shaped, formed of buoyant material (eg cork/balsa/polystyrene), the main purpose of the body is to support the weight for needed casting to a certain distance and especially so on a windy day when you may be casting into or across the wind but also to allow the float to be cocked correctly. The weight also affects the float’s behaviour/stability so both casting/stability factors need to be balanced.
  • The eye .… a small ring set in the base of the float, its entire use being to act as a point of attachment to the line either by directly passing the main line through or by connecting on to the link of a link swivel. The float can be fished either ‘fixed’ or ‘sliding’ by the actual method of attachment. The best way to attach is to use stop knots (may need small eye beads too if the link swivel method of attachment is used) either side of the float/swivel. To use as a ‘fixed float’ just set knots tight to both sides of the eye or swivel, to use as a ‘sliding float’ just set top stop knot to the required depth – thus to switch between the 2 types its just a matter of sliding knots around rather than a re-tackling. However, if you do use the ‘direct line through eye’ method and you need to change the float (smaller/bigger) then you will need to strip down the terminal end (shot/hook) to do that hence I  recommend the use of a link swivel which means it becomes just a case of unclip float from the link, clip on new one and adjust shotting to suit the new float.

The driftbeater float is, for me, the best float devised for STILLWATER fishing using the laying-on (ie bait anchored to the bottom) method in ANY condition … if it cannot be fished due to conditions being THAT bad then there is no other option than to turn to ledgering in my view.

Tackling Up – My Way Of Doing Things – And Why:

OK, for the purposes of this part we’ll assume we’re tackling up a perfect, or almost perfect, day – later I’ll discuss the fine tuning required for more difficult conditions. And yes, we are talking about using a driftbeater in good conditions with little or no breeze or water movements… surely, that’s strange? Well, no, not really… for me, due to its construction and build, the driftbeater float is, as I said earlier, THE best float for laying-on or more specifically fishing ‘the lift method’ in ANY stillwater scenario.

So…. firstly on my line I tie a sliding knot around my line about 24” from the bottom, add a small bore bead – as I use a link swivel for float attachment the swivel’s eye is too large for a knot to be effective on its own –  and then another bead followed by a stop knot below that. And finally at the end of the line a quick hook length attachment – I use a bead like device….

hook beads

… which allows me to add my pre-tied, 4”-6”,  hooklengths easily and thus change hook sizes quickly and easily whenever I need to throughout the day. And 4”-6” I find the perfect length for the laying-on method – any less and you get a lot of false bites or float wavers due to the fish hitting the line (and thus can move the shot and bait out of position) or due to currents set up by the wash of the fishs’ tails… any longer and the fish can have too much leeway to play with before a bite is detected.

I now select my float for the session (although I may change it if conditions change later) and it’s a 5AAA driftbeater and I attach it to the link on my link swivel….

I then add a SSG shot touching the hook length connector (and thus between this shot and the hook/bait there will requisite 4”-6” spacing when actually fishing). This shot will almost always be an SSG although in very adverse conditions it could be upped to 2SSG or even 3SSG or, if the fish are extremely finicky, I *might* drop to an AAA as the very least size I’d employ.

So, 5AAA float attached with 1 SSG of shot and with the float set (locked/fixed) at 24” depth (ie well shallow for the waters I fish) I add another SSG just below the lower stop knot (bulk shotting)) … cast in and see how the float reacts. And now its a case of adding extra shot (try SSG until too heavy, then try AAA) to the bulk until the last shot added sinks the float so around 1/2 to 3/4 of  the sight bob remains showing, but if the bob sinks completely you’ve , at least, slightly over-shotted). Usually the sight bob is quite buoyant and can support at least 1 AAA of shot on its own – but will vary with bob size, etc obviously.

Basically, due to the construction of the float, the body will support the weight as its added firstly starting to cock upright and then sinking and bit more with every shot added until the body is *JUST* immersed at which point the whole body and stem will suddenly submerge (remember the stem has extremely little, if any, buoyancy so the addition of the smallest of shot can take the float from 0.1mm of body showing to the whole body and stem submerged and just the bob showing).

So what I’m looking for, ideally, at this point is to reach a shotting whereby I have one SSG (anchor) shot 4”-6” from the hook, and  the set of bulk shot 24” up the line which when cast out into the water cocks and shows just the top part the sight bob. Both anchor and bulk shots will remain in their positions as set throughout the day unless absolutely required to do so by conditions. I will usually only change the fishing depth via the stop knots.

Setting of the float shotting performed, it now only necessary to set the float to fish correctly – and I do this by firstly by setting the tackle for the depth of water in my swim much of which is done by use of ‘plummeting’ per usual. To do this I add a 2SSG or 3SSG tight to the anchoring SSG shot and then setting the float at a ’guesstimate’ I cast into the swim and see how the float behaves … if it lies flat I know for certain I’ve over-estimated by at least 24”, if it fully submerges I know I’m under-estimated by at least 12” (ie 2x the length of the stem) … and then based on that result I make an adjustment in the required direction and repeat … and what I’m looking for is the point whereby the whole stem is standing clear of the water, and if a merest bit of body also protrudes then that’s OK too. Once this depth is sorted I’m ready to fish…

So, I removing the ‘plummet’ shot and clip on my desired hook length, bait the hook and cast out into the swim … and then place the rod in two rod rests … one at the rod’s butt end, the other supporting the rod beyond the butt ring. The front rod rest head is one of those that has a channel that allows free passage of line as this is important for setting the line tension to the float correctly and the placement of the rod rests is made so that the rod slopes down towards the water and the tip lies, ideally, just touching the surface to prevent the wind catching the line as far as possible and to ease the sinking of the line itself below the water’s surface which is important.

Once the rod is settled in the rests, I *slowly* wind in line to tension it … note, slowly, as I do not wish to drag the anchor shot out of position, … and as I do so the float will sink lower and lower in the water and I continue to tension until the point is reached that all or nearly all of the whole stem is submerged – note that it is best if the entire sight bob remains above water surface and thus gives some leeway to allow for ripples on the water not to have an effect of lifting the float and thus moving anchor shot and bait as this will affect the tension and allow then float to rise and thus will require re-tensioning – or the movement may be taken for a ‘ghost’ of a bite. TIP: if fishing at a reasonable depth to allow it to be done without catching on rings, etc then a small shot placed above the float (back-shotting) can be useful to assist sinking the line without pulling on the anchor shot.

I’m now fishing and looking for mainly two indications that I’ve got a bite…

  1. The float will rise in the water …. a fish has taken the bait and lifted/moved the anchor shot thus taking tension off the line and the float will now start to rise in response. NOW … a heavy’ish float is in use (5AAA, if you recall, in this example) … but until the body itself actually starts rising above the surface the only mass/weight/resistance the fish feels is the small amount of overshotting applied to sink the float twixt top of body and sight bob as weight of the bulk shot is still being supported by the float’s body. So, even if the full stem and part of the body rises from the water then, unless the fish has risen 24”+ and is taking up the weight of the bulk shot (unlikely) the MAXIMUM weight the fish will feel is that of the anchor shot ie 1SSG in this example. The ‘stereotypical’ bite in this situation is that the float lifts as bait is taken, followed by the float tilting and moving away and then submerging as the fish swims off…
  2. The float just suddenly dives under … in this case the fish has picked up the bait and swum away from my location thus increasing line tension … STRIKE!

Adverse Conditions

There a number of things that can be adjusted to suit changing and adverse conditions…

Bigger/heavier float…

Lower bulk shotting … the lower the bulk shot the more its effect is in the vertical plane and this can help stability.

Heavier anchor shot….

More float stem showing above the surface … lifts sight bob above waves, allows float to tilt with the breeze but still keep sight bob above the surface. Remember the bob can be quite buoyant in its own right and actually support quite a weight so can easily cause the anchor shot to be lifted.

Fish with more line twixt float and anchor shot – this create more tolerance in the tensioning and also allow a bow to form which will change the pull from the float to the anchor shot from vertical to more of a horizontal one and thus allow the anchor shot to grip by friction or catching up lightly on the bottom (think boat anchoring)…..

Maybe some of these in combination ….

Experiment to find what works for you! 🙂