Session 26 – Welsh Holiday [Including The Tale Of The Blitherin’ Idiot]

Friday July 23rd, Liz and myself set off for a long weekend’s camping break in Wales … at the Trapp Fishery, Camping And Caravaning site in Camarthenshire (https://www.pitchup.com/campsites/Wales/West-Wales/Carmarthenshire/llandeilo/trapp-fishery-caravan-and-camping/). This is a site we visited in August 2019 immediately prior to my operation and we had enjoyed it and had it marked for a re-visit. However, due to the covid pandemic the return had been delayed somewhat…

The campsite itself is ‘minimal’, out in the wilds and consists of a couple of grass fields, a hardcore area and a fishing pool. Also the ‘facilities’ currently solely consist of a wooden shed with one plumbed in toilet and a small sink (uni-sex). Currently there are no showers, etc although plans were to have had a proper shower and toilet building with both a gents loo and shower and a ladies loo/shower but this was delayed I believe due to the pandemic and the owner of the site said whilst chatting it will now be put up in October at the end of the season to avoid disrupting this year’s visitors with noise and building going on. There is a pub a few hundred yards just down the road (Cennan Arms) but it was closed due to the pandemic – there is no local trade due to being in ‘the wilds’ and Wales is still under social distancing, facemask, etc restrictions until August 7th so that also limits potential visitors – but it will re-open in Spring 2022 we were told. As, when we do weekend camping, we only take kettle and a single burner stove in order to make coffee/tea and ‘Just Eat’ for our meals we had to venture out 3-4 or miles out for those.

Also on site is one cottage right on the side of the pool that is bookable – and the residents of that have their own private fishing area directly in front of them – plus they get the luxury of showers, kitchen, etc.

Anyway, we set off on the Friday at 1100, having delivered our moggies (Ollie and Mollie) into the care of the local cattery and arranged a friend to pop in over the weekend to check on our ferrets (Heather, Hedwig, Howie and Missie) aiming to arrive at the site at 1500 – its a 3 hour journey but we added an hour to allow for delays and also a mid-trip coffee break – and was almost bang on target arriving at 1505!

After chatting to the site owner and choosing our pitch, up went the tent which took all of 10 minutes from taking from the car boot to starting to place the air beds! A perfect tent for 2 people on a short stay it’s a QUECHUA ARPENAZ BASE M from Decathlon. A good buy at £100 IMHO. It is rated as a 6-person tent and I suppose you could get 6 people without luggage snugly packed in like sardines if you tried! HOWEVER it is fantastic for 2 people allowing plenty of room for 2 (single) airbeds with enough space at the sides for un/dressing … and being over 2 metres high its easy to get dressed standing up… and the sewn-in waterproof floor keeps all water at bay. Easy to put up too, just 2 crossing poles, 5 pegs around the base, and 4 guy ropes at the corners… End of advert!! LOL!

So, the hols…

Saturday had been forecast to be wet but wasn’t a bad day when it came to it … but we had decided that we would do the traditional holiday Wetherspoon’s breakfast that day and so at 0930 headed off to Carmarthen – only to find the Wetherspoon’s there closed until NOVEMBER for refurbishment. It also seemed that Carmarthen itself was shut –gone 1030 and all the shops seemed still to be closed there! So, a quick look on the mobile and we ascertained the nearest Wetherspoon’s was Llanelli and we headed out that way arriving just about in time for breakfast service J. A wander around the town followed and then we headed back to the campsite to prep the fishing tackle for the weekend – I was to fish early on Sunday whilst Liz stayed at the tent and read and later go out for some food, Monday we were to both fish…. And this is when the discovery that I was a blitherin’ idiot was made…

Up to this point all the tackle had been left in the back of the motor… so I start to unload to sort out bags, etc ready for my Sunday morning expedition … among which are my and Liz’s rod quivers … and as I lay mine on the grass Liz says ‘Where’s your rod?’ … and in the pocket where my rod should have been was …NOTHING! Old dumbo here, when originally packing, had intended to take my larger quiver with both our rods, banksticks, etc in but then decided to take our smaller individual quivers instead … and when transferring the rods from one to the other, I’d done Liz’s but not mine!!! I’d done my banksticks, etc but not my rod! DOH!!!!!!!!

Anyway, Sunday, I fished with Liz’s rod – caught a fair few small rudd/roach, a couple of tench of around 2oz and an eel of about 6-8oz. And then when packing down I caught the rod tip in the edge of a tree and the top tip flicked – and created an almighty untangleable tangle which was left to be resolved later….

Monday, Liz wasn’t too concerned about fishing and I wasn’t motivated enough to try to sort out the rod tip tangle and we decided to go for another Wetherspoon’s breakfast in Swansea… and to have general lazy day…. and then pre-sort the gear out ready for packing up in the morning to return home… a journey which wasn’t uneventful either!

The night before we are to pack up the tent – the heaviest rain of the week falls. We’d had a couple of very small showers mainly overnight (Liz tells me, I heard nothing LOL) over the weekend but nothing of consequence. By getting up time it had virtually ceased but obviously the tent was wet…. tent was down and car packed by 0930 and we started homewards … and all was going well … until I got caught in by a police radar gun doing 37 in a 30 … hands up to that but the nice young policeman decided to just issue me a warning for which I should get a letter in the post. I dunno, I do check my speed on entering speed restrictions but, especially in 30 zones, even rolling on tickover, modern cars won’t do 30 without the intermittent dabbing of the brake. Plus at that speed there is no feel of any acceleration happening between 30 and 35… so the only way is to keep monitoring the speedometer which means you’re taking your eyes off the road … and to me doing 35 with eyes on the road is far safer than doing 25 while watching the speedo… oh well J … so on we go until about 25 miles from home … then we come to a road sign ‘Road Closed Ahead’ … no diversion signs nor indeed any turnings other than dirt tracks off the road … so we carry on and do so for another 7-8 miles passing more ‘Road Closed Ahead’ signs and no turn offs … and eventually come across the road blocked with roadworks … and other cars doing U turns … so all the way back … and then we get back to a turning signposted to somewhere near where we want to get … a narrow country lane … so we proceed onwards …. and then reach a point where the, what I would rate as a  single-plus lane, road is blocked by an artic lorry and trailer travelling in the opposite direction up a slope … and he cannot get traction on the wet road … tyres slipping and smoking … so he’s rolling back and retrying several times whilst our line of traffic is pulled over as far left as we can in the hedgerow to allow him past if he can get up … eventually, he gives up and rolls back down the slope and pulls over on a wider bit of lane so that we can – barely – squeeze past …

And that was the end of the ‘terrors’ – we managed to get a drink and a bite to eat in Bridgnorth before setting off for the last 15 miles or so back home … arriving at about 1530 … 6 hours after we set off home on what should have been a 4 hour (inc 1 hour for lunch) journey…

Still washing/packing/sorting clothing and gear, etc so no more fishing this week – hopefully get out on Monday again 🙂

Session 25 – Life On The Dour Stour

On the 15th July 2021 I made a return to the Worcs Stour at Stourton arriving at around 0700 and, as usual, I wasthe first on the scene although another angler did appear to fish just above me at around 1300 – and he’d been fishing below me and the weir for a while previously it seemed he’d had one chub from down there.

All looked much the same as it had been on my previous visit the week before…

The Stour

I tackled up my Grandeslam ‘Des Taylor System 3’ 11’ Avon style rod with, what I think is, the most sensitive of its three provided quivertips … 8lb mainline, size 10 hook and a 3/8oz ‘penny’weight on a sliding 6” link. Last session I used 6lb line (Daiwa Hyer Sensor) but though that maybe 8lb might be better, and did locate a spare spool for my Shakespeare reel with 8lb line already loaded. However, the line was certainly NOT Daiwa HS as this line was clear white and suspect it is Berkley Trilene… and possibly at least a partial cause of the results of the day.

I also took some blitzed bread crumb – a bag made up from 2 full loaves of which I used approx 1/3 of a loaf worth – to feed as mash down the margins and out to mid-stream as an attractant. I also catapulted a few small pouches of maggots out from time to time.

Initially, I fished bread down along the marginal overhanging vegetation and over the course of the day switched baits and hook sizes trying cheese&garlic paste, maggots, and prawns.

And until I left at 1430 the total action received consisted of two tiny/minute twitches of the tip on bread flake baits.

Fish action seemed muted compared to that of the week before too with just a very few dimples of small fish being observed on the day compared with a lot of that plus swirls and rollings of bigger (1lb+) fish the previous visit.

Still the weather was good and the long grass that one has to pass through had been battered down a bit by the rains of the previous Sunday and Tuesday… and my sort out of tackle helped too! Down to one rucksack that held all the terminal type tackle plus food/drink plus the blitzed bread, one underarm strapped bundle consisting of camping chair and landing net … and just the light Korum 3-rod quiver with 2 rods (one as a spare, just in case), a few rod rests/banksticks and the Korum Snapper Cult landing net handle which opens to 2.8 metres but closes down to just 60cm for carriage and thus fits in a bankstick pocket  in the quiver. So, if roving and without need for the large bag of blitzed bread, there’d be space galore within the rucksack and 2Kg less weight to carry into the bargain. So think I’m as ready for my small river stuff as I can be now! J

PLANS:

As we’re off ‘camping with the opportunity of a bit of fishing’ in Wales from next Friday there won’t be a further outing until then as we need to check tent, pack gear, etc for then. Hopefully get one full day’s fishing on the site with the possibility of a few snatched hours on the odd occasion (eg pre-breakfast)… Weather forecast is promising last time I looked but that is never a certainty but plenty of local places to visit anyway. 🙂

Session 24 – The Weatherman Can Be Wrong…

In the days leading up to Monday 12th July the weather forecast was indicating it was to be a day of ‘light showers, gentle breeze’ even up to bedtime on the 11th and the overnight ‘light rain’ had started as predicted. However, Liz and I still prepared our tackle and sandwiches on the Sunday and Liz said she’d leave it up to me in the morning as to whether (pun?) we’d take our chances…

So the alarm went  off  at at 0530, I rose from my bed and peered out through the bedroom curtains … and lo and behold, although the streets were still damp, there was no rain and it looked actually quite bright with a few small patches of blue sky even. Good enough for me!! So fishing gear put on I headed downstairs to get the kettle on and to get baits from fridge and freezer, my bowl of cereal made ready and my pills in their pot. 0600 and Liz is given her call to rise… and it was a good call it seems. The day

0700 … nourishments taken we leave the house to head to the club’s tench and bream pool. And had a good day both in terms of weather and action as not a drop of rain fell although it was very warm and muggy… plus, probably due to the forecast, we had the pool to ourselves all day long.

On arrival at around 0740, we parked up and had a little wander up the nearside of the pool to check how the water was looking as water weed (elodea) had started to show up on my last visit and I had had to rake my swim at one point. As it was, the very near end of the pool (Peg 1) was showing large patches of the weed up to the surface and after walking up to the other end (Peg 13) it seemed that pegs 7 and 8 seemed the best pegs for us. Handy too, as I could drive up to there as it’s an area where the club has  picnic benches and parking. Liz chose peg 7 as the swim was sheltered with lily pads to both left and right and I had peg 8 located to the other side of Liz’s right hand lily pads.

My swim, per-fed whilst tackling up, etc was bubbling like a dose of Alka Seltzer!

We set up per usual – both fishing lift method with drift/windbeater style floats…

2021-07-12 01

0830 – we made our fist casts and Liz was first off the mark with an 11oz barbel on maggot – seems I’ve been misjudging the weights of our past barbel as I’d said 6oz-8oz before we actually weighed this one … and the others we’ve been having were of the same sort of size.

0850 – Liz had a couple of small perch in the interim…

1000 – my first fish of the day – a tench of 3lb 12oz

2021-07-12 Steve - 3lb 12oz Tench

3lb 12oz Tench

… then over the rest of the day Liz had several more small perch early on and later in the day small roach. She did switch to sweetcorn and meat to try to avoid the smaller fish midday – and still managed to catch a perch on sweetcorn.

Myself, I had a barbel of 1lb 3oz, plus more tench of 3lb 10oz, 3lb 13oz and a 3lb 14oz bream…

We packed in at around 1600 … and, as customary, headed to the local watering hole :).

PLANS

Today, I’ve sort-of finalised my ‘small river fishing’ gear – fine adjustments tomorrow when I put in my flask/food and bait … so any change will only be if I need an extra small bag because of size/space issues. Weight issues are sorted, can’t do less 🙂

So back to the Worcs Stour tomorrow – and hoping to get back into the same swim – and will be taking some bread to try feeding mash down the nearside margins and try bumping bread on the hook down the current. I’ve put feeders in of the size I require too.

Had two ‘new’ rods arrive – one yesterday, one today.

The first was a 1970’s Hardy Matchmaker, 13’ float rod. The best float rod I’ve ever used … as I’ve said before, not a pukka gen one but a ‘clone’ made by a moonlighting Hardy’s rod maker. I’ve loved this rod since I’ve owned it but some years ago I managed to snap several inches off tip (now about 12’8” IIRC) and so I re-ringed it and used it as it was. However, perusing the ‘net the other day I came upon an angling forum and whilst reading the Matchmaker was mentioned … which led me to look them up … ending up on eBay … where I saw one that had been relisted at £160 I think it was but would accept offers. So I offered £70 thinking ‘no chance’! BUT the offer was accepted and it arrived yesterday! 🙂

The second was an 11’ barbel/Avon rod, 1.5lb TC, for Liz if I can get her interested in the small river roving … might do as it might appeal having shorter sessions, less tackle and exercise between plus the adrenaline surge on those occasions that you can cast to seen fish and watch it take the bait… 🙂

AND … no next week, well, until at least the weekend anyway. Liz and I are off for a long weekend from the 23rd, camping in South Wales for a few days – and the site has a fishing pool (surprise, surprise!!). We actually visited there back in August 2019 just before I was due for my first operation and we enjoyed it there. A bit of fishing, a bit of exploration of local towns, etc. We found a great pub for food that we MUST revisit nearby too – all food sourced locally on the day – no fridges/freezers/microwaves involved, all preparation done in-house in the kitchen – potatoes peeled with metal knives and all that! Absolutely top-notch! BUT they don’t make their own puddings/sweets, etc –they get them from literally next door – a craft confectioners/bakers! Beers are good too and kept well! Wonderful place – and we’ve checked the ‘net in case they had become a victim of the pandemic … but they’re up and running exactly as before.

Looking out tomorrow for the Welsh announcement of their next steps in the relaxing of pandemic restrictions in order to check what we’ll be able or not able to do whilst there….

TIGHT LINES EVERBODY!!!

Tonight, it seems that SideStreamBob issued his latest offering yesterday and so that’ll be my bedtime reading!! 🙂

Session 23 – On The River (Worcester Stour)!

A few times I’ve mentioned the Worcester Stour, a fairly local small river, and my intentions to fish it which at the end of the day seem to have not come to fruition recently. Indeed, looking back in my notes, the actual last visit I made to this venue was 9th August 2016! But yesterday I did eventually return … and will certainly return again despite having to battle 400 yards through literally chin high grass, an arduous enough task even burden free but with a rod quiver and seat box catching in the grasses too plus their actual bulk and weight it was a task for the determined! There was a path from the field’s gateway to the river lightly trampled down by previous passages of others but obviously not many had ventured that way – something that delighted me as it showed a lack of pressure on the water at least. Also a few swims had been trampled down and I made use of one of these for my session.

So, I arrived at the roadside laybye where one parks for this water – and which is also used for access to the adjoining Staffs-Worcs Canal, both waters being under control of the Birmingham Anglers’ Association (BAA) – at around 0700 on a fine sunny morning.

A ramble/slog down the roadside edge of the field to the road bridge over the river took a few wearing minutes…

Pictures from 2016

… and then the path wended itself upstream to the river’s weir…

Weir as on the day…

A nice looking and also a very enticing weir pool it unfortunately is quite snaggy as I knew from previous visits albeit they were 5 years ago but snags in the form of branches rising to the surface still indicated that remained the same and so I passed on to a favoured swim of mine just above the weir…

Facing downstream to the weir sill                                                                                              Facing upstream

You may notice the upstream view’s farside bank looks quite denuded and work has been done to put in bank shoring in place … not sure if this work has been done EA or by the landowner who lives directly across the river (you can see part of the brickwork of Stourton Hall in the downstream view) but its a shame really compared to previously when there was a lot of overhanging vegetation to provide fish cover.

The far bank as it was in 2016

However, there are signs that the vegetation is naturally making a comeback (Himalayan Balsam mainly) and there seems to be a few willow saplings sprouting there too, possibly planted, so looks like nature will heal itself in time…

I suspect the landowner is the culprit as the once inaccessible far bank now has a pathway created down from the Hall’s lawns along the river…

Also on the nearside bank, but further upstream, is a  bic clump of Giant Hogweed – noted by the BAA – who in their notes advise it be avoided… https://www.baa.uk.com/where-fish/stour/stourton-castle/

2021-07-08 Giant Hogweed 01

Giant Hogweed

OK … descriptions over … and ready to fish…

Tackle in use: Grandeslam ‘Des Taylor’ System 3 Avon rod with quiver tip top attached… 6lb mainline … 6lb braid hooklength … maggot feeder on a sliding 6” link stopped about 30” above the size 12, maggot baited, hook.

I didn’t start off well … just out of shot to the upstream side on the downstream picture is what looks like a fallen willow branch … in actual fact it’s probably more ‘tree’ and mostly under water as on my first cast of the day to just below the visible part I got caught/snagged and ended up snapping off and losing the best, and only one of its type I’d got with me, feeder, the rest of my feeders being far too small for my liking on the day.

So, the feeder was replaced by a 3/8oz ‘flat penny’ weight… and I decided to fish down my nearside bank, hand/catapult feeding to create a flow of food down the line…

0815 – after a couple of missed nudges a firm connection is made and a bream of 4lb is landed…

2021-07-08 Steve - 4lb 0oz Bream 01

4lb 0oz Bream

… bream returned to the water, next cast the line had barely settled before the tip bent again… and a common carp of about 4lb or so was brought towards the waiting net but as just about to net it the line went slack, the line having broken directly at the knot of the hook…

For the next hour and a half I tried, fed and changed between various baits – worm, cheesepaste, prawn as well as maggot – getting fast and short tugs on all except prawn. However, the bites were too fast to connect in the main despite leaving the bait in the water and awaiting better longer takes and also ‘touch ledgering’ in order to increase reaction time.

1000 – a chub of about 6oz-8oz…

2021-07-08 Steve - 6oz Chub 01

6oz Chub

The bites continued throughout the session until 1500 – and I’d intended to fish to 1430 but with bites coming virtually every cast I went into ‘ok, just one more cast’ mode… and ended with one further fish, a small perch of 2-3oz to add to the tally.

So the long slog back to the car was made with a determination of ‘I’ll be back!’… yes, I really enjoyed the ‘flowing water’ day and want more!

On the way home there is a pub I pass on the banks of the Staffs-Worcs canal called ‘The Navigation’ and although I extremely rarely (as in I can’t remember the last time) stop off for a drink when not fishing with Liz, after the long slog on a hot sunny day I was certainly in need … and a pint of Wye Valley HPA filled my needs!

THOUGHTS:

OK … I need to sort my ‘small river’ tackle out … I tried to carry as little as possible but still carried far too much especially with the terrain. Some of the reason for the excess being that some things I needed to transfer from my main tackle bag – and rather than just take, say, the disgorger from the bag I took the box that it was in, and so included items that I didn’t need – small and fairly light still but all adds up.

Probably the main things to look into are my coffee flask – probably take the 800ml flask in future instead of the usual 1.2 litre one as at the end of the day I generally pour away about a 1/3 of the flask anyway – my leads, I took a small compartmented box of leads (3g-20g) which is actually quite weighty and I don’t really need as I can cover all my lead needs with SSG, 2SSG and 3SSG shot – added to a link line. Also ditch my seat box in favour of a rucksack or bag and take a light camping seat – the box actually isn’t that heavy in itself but is bulky and cumbersome…

So, today, I’ll look into that…. and hopefully will lead to improvements in my ‘big river’ loads too… 🙂

PLANS:

Not sure re: Monday/Tuesday next week – forecast a bit wet and Liz has not decided if she’ll fish or not so that leaves a number of factors to be considered inc venue – pool? Warks Avon?.

Thursday I’m thinking of visiting the River Alne in Alcester, another BAA controlled small river… https://www.baa.uk.com/where-fish/alne/ … or possibly the River Anker … https://www.baa.uk.com/where-fish/anker/bolehall/ … but who knows, not me certainly!! LOL!

Session 22 – Busy Waters!

After a mainly health and weather dictated time away from the waterside I finally made it back on Thursday July 1st for a session at the club’s tench and bream pool (AA-B) on what was, at least in theory, a Mr Crabtree ‘perfect weather’ day … lightly overcast but warm and with still air.

The day started poorly as my radio alarm fail to switch on but I luckily awoke naturally only 30 minutes after my intended time. I did think to throw aforesaid radio alarm in the bin but then thought that it probably wasn’t really its fault in that that it hadn’t realised that the time I’d set (5:00PM) wasn’t the time I’d intended (5:00AM)… SENIOR DOH MOMENT 1!!! In the end I left the house only 30 minutes later than intended though at 0630…

Arrival at the pool was made at 0700 … and, as has been usual on my past few outings, there was already one car on the car park … but a quick perusal from the pool side area of the car park bushes showed that, although the said person was on the far bank where I’d been intending to fish, he was actually located 3 or 4 swims further up so my swim was free… On returning back to the car someone else was just entering through the gate… and over the day there must have been 10 or more arrived to fish over the day although not all at once – about 7 of us were present throughout the time I fished with 2-3 leavers replaced by newcomers.

2021-07-01

The covid thing has certainly brought angling to the fore – before covid it was rare to see anyone else fishing on my sessions as I fish only weekdays, probably more fish at weekends obviously. In my case though, if two others were on a water it was the equivalent of a goldrush … now I often see 5-6 and sometimes into double figures on the water with me. The club has a carp pool (its ‘premiere’ carp water) that the intra-club syndicate can night fish and all members can in the day time .,.. I fished there a few times each season for tench and perch without problem and there’d be possibly 2 syndicate members arrive at the pool … nowadays, it is advised if wishing to fish in the daytime to contact the syndicate leader to see if there will be any free swims to save a wasted journey as a lot of the syndicate members are now bivvying down for several days or even weeks … The syndicate is full with its own waiting list and the main club had to start one at the start of this season! Other local clubs have also suspended taking on new members and are starting to restrict day tickets. I saw a posting by the Bridgnorth Angling Society only this morning – they have a stretch of prime Middle Severn waters – that new memberships are now closed as their numbers are at a new 11-year high AND that they are also stopping issuing day tickets in order to allow the increased membership better access to the waters AND as a solution to the litter and other damage caused by day ticketers along the stretch.

Anyway, I barrowed over my gear to my swim – well, what I thought was going to be my swim but as I was unpacking the barrow I realised it wasn’t and I’d walked up one swim too far … SENIOR DOH MOMENT 2!! … so I wheeled what was left on the barrow back … and manually carried the already unloaded… Anyway, it added one extra space between me and the already fishing man …

So, now in the right place … the usual baiting up preceded the tackling up … and then first cast was made at 0745 fishing (dendro) worm on a size 12 hook, 6lb line, my usual lift method with my 13’ Hardy Matchmaker clone rod and 5AAA driftbeater float.

Wasn’t long before my first take – 0800, the float lifts and dives, strike meets VERY solid resistance and for the next minute or two it’s basically a tug-of-war as I attempt to keep ‘the monster’ away from the lily pads to my right but it’s a battle I lose and eventually the line parts just above the anchor shot. A few kind words are mouthed… LOL! That felt a REALLY decent fish and wouldn’t have been surprised if it had easily surpassed my current tench PB of 5-02 – but will never know.

0950 – after further loose feeding in the mean time – the float again wobbles and moves slightly away – a strike is made – a fish is on and this time is prevented from entry into the lilies… and a 4lb 3oz tench is landed. And the feel of the fight, to me, was nowhere near that of the previously lost one re-inforcing my feelings that I’d lost a monster!

Steve - 4lb 3oz Tench

4lb 3oz Tench

 

At this point, a comment… I recently bought a Korum Quick Release Net Adaptor…

Korum New Quick Release Net Adaptor

… and this was its first use… and I found it great! I use an extending (1.8m-2.8m) landing net pole usually close to its full extension … and my unhooking mat/cradle is usually set up to my right or behind me depending on the swim. Trouble is that usually, turning with the net attached to a 2.5m pole is not easy eg banging chair or catching/entangling in bushes, etc. With the adaptor, the fish is netted and pole fed backwards until net at hand, net unclipped and carried with fish to the mat and unhooked still in the net … AND NOW … net with fish can be placed on the scales to weigh .. and fish in net carried back to water for release. And that last bit is far easier than trying to take the fish from the net and place in a weighing sling (often a bit of a battle if single handed at time and trying to open the sling) … less number of operations = less time fish is out of water. Only thing is that ‘tareing’ the scales to the net is not possible without removing fish first and then replacing it – but easy enough to subtract the net’s weight in your head (or use the calculator app on your mobile LOL). My net, it appears, is 1lb 11oz wet…  Yep, I’m well pleased with it and well worth the £5.99 price tag IMHO.

However, the adaptor only had one testing/use on the day as, although I did hook into another fish that again found sanctuary in the lilies…

I also found from mid-morning that pondweed (one of the Elodea variants – ‘densa’, I think) was becoming a bit of a problem – I think it was rising from the bottom to reach for the daylight as the light increased and so was stopping the anchor shot falling to the bottom reliably. I do carry a small (6”, 4oz) castable weed rake which I use in conjunction with my spod/spomb/sonar/heavy spinning rod which is tackled up with a 60lb BS mono leader to 60lb braid mainline and terminated with a secure clip so the various bits of kit can be clipped on as required. With the rake I was able to pull out quite a fair bit of weed and so make life so much better. Also a useful tool for recovering bits and pieces caught up in bankside bushes that are too far away to be reached normally … if the bush, etc is flexible enough then the rake can be slung over the offending area allowing it to be bent back enough to come within reach quite often – I’ve managed to recover, and gain LOL, a few plugs and spinners that way!

PLANS

As I think I said in my last posting, I won’t be able to get out to the waterside again until next Thursday (8th) now but am thinking of a day on the Worcs Stour as my first 2021 outing to a flowing water.

River Season Still Not Got Kicked Off!

As of today, 29th June, not have I not only managed to get on to a flowing water but, in fact, not any type of water at all.

I had a week of medication not doing its duty and thus completely bloated and feeling fatigued and lifeless ..,. followed by weather not aligning itself to my requirements ie days I had access to the car it rained, fine days Liz had car for work.

However, despite plans for yesterday being shelved for bad weather again, the forecast for Thursday (1st July) is far more promising and I’d got plans for one of two options – (1) pool fishing at a local club pool or (2) river fishing on a BAA stretch of the Worcestershire Stour (11 yards wide at its widest but over 1 mile long according to the BAA map) … but we’ve since learnt that due to a family meet-up for Sunday lunch it won’t be possible to fish a planned outing on either Monday (5th) due to medication requirements nor the later mooted Tuesday (6th) when Liz later realised she has a hair appointment and needs the car for that… 😦

So, due to the loss of those Monday/Tuesday dates, I’ve decided to take a third option for Thursday ie go to the tench/bream pool 🙂 … and then following Thursday (8th) I’ll make that outing to the Stour (weather permitting, etc) … and also hopefully the following Monday (12th) Liz and I will visit the Warks Avon for bream – and I might even pack my hefty ‘barbel’ rod and some unused deadbaits remaining in the freezer from earlier in the year and have a try for a zander, something I’ve never caught.

Anyway, I hope all are in good health … especially WheatNotCasters/Jacksonb1 who seemed to be recovering from serious illness well … and in May IIRC actually managed to fish a match although I’ve not heard of anything since… hope all is well!

Oh, and SideStreamBob ….. I’ve bought boxes of Morrison’s ‘Weetabix’ and ‘Bran Flakes’ which I’ve ground down coarsely as a supplement to my usual ground bait – virtually as a replacement for some or all of my cracked seed/porage/Vitalin ingredients – bought 4 boxs of ‘Weetabix’ and 2 of ‘Bran Flakes’ which has given me a good 12 litres of supplement for my basic breadcrumb – and again when used I supplement the feed with the usual  maize/corn/maggot/barley/hemp/etc particles … and also boiled up some pearl barley properly in 2 flavours – strawberry syrup and butterscotch syrup … both looking and smelling good but still awaiting testing which will be done on Thursday!! J Thanks to WNC and SSB for those tips!!

Session 21 – Back To The Tench And Bream Pool

Thursday 10th June I returned again to the tench/bream pool (AA-B) arriving at around 0730 – and found not only two cars already on the car park but also both anglers were already tackled up and fishing. Anyway they were on the far bank and were no problem as I was intending to fish the near bank again opposite the small island.

I had a quick wander to the area I intended to fish to check on the state of the swims – the previous couple of visits there had been catkin/lambstails floating on the surface in the area but on the day I was very relieved to see all was clear. The catkins are a real pain as unlike the normal type of flotsam (weed/leaves) that can simply be removed from the line in situ by simply lifting the line and possibly giving a slight shake, the catkins behave literally as if they were wool that had been spun around the line and even when the line is wound in it can take several minutes to remove even the smallest clumpings as you have to remove them by pulling them apart bit by bit. Due to the clumping nature, the line often can get jammed in the rod rings, a nuisance at best, a disaster if there’s a fished attached!

So, intended swim given the all clear, the tackle was unloaded from the car and barrowed up up to the swim – not really necessary as only about 30 yards from the car but carrying would mean 2-3 journeys each way – take and then return at the end of the day – so easier to to a single trip each way.

Pre-prepping tackle the swim was pre-fed a few balls of cereal groundbait with hemp and pearl barley particles and a few catapulted pouch fulls of dead maggots … and at 0800 my first cast was made fishing in my usual ‘lift method’ style using a bunch of maggots on a size 12 hook albeit I did decide to change my usual drift/windbeater float over to a 4AAA bodied waggler … why? Well, thinking about it the answer would probably be ‘because I could!’ LOL.

Over the course of the session I fed in a few prawns and sweetcorn too …

0815 – first fish of the day, a small fingerling perch…

0835 – lost fish in the lily pads when it shed the hook – possibly a carp but had the feeling it was was on the 8oz barbel…

I had a period then of switching baits trying worm, sweetcorn, bread and rather pongy prawn. All produced nudges, dips and knocks on the float but which resulted in no fish being hooked.

1100 – a tench! 3lb 11oz taken on worm…

1145 – a fingerling perch taken on a piece of worm flipped itself off the hook as it was being landed…

1200 – 3lb 12oz tench

2021-06-10 Steve - 3lb 12oz Tench

3lb 12oz Tench

1350 – a good tench slipped the hook…

1415 – one of those periods whereby I overcast into the bushes on the island – several times in a row despite having never previously done that… and it finally resulted in the loss of my float as the silicon rubber of the float attachment pulled off the swivel that formed its eye. I replaced a piece of silicon rubber on the swivel, affixed a new float and continued fished – for a short while until a caught a bit of an overhead tree foliage which caused the float to drop off again – and I accidentally trod on it and snapped it at which point….

1445 – I packed up… J

So, a day of nudges and knocks – even those of the tench were strikes made at prolonged nudge and knockings rather than bold sailaway takes…

PLANS

Not sure about Monday 14th yet but as the river season opens on Wednesday then on Thursday I might take a trip to the Worcs Stour. Nothing like the Dorset Stour though, its a small river, which, into the 80’s at least, was classified as ‘fishless and lifeless’ due to pollution from the carpet factories of Kidderminster. However, it has taken on a new lease of life and barbel having been spotted spawning in the lower reaches within the past week. In the stretch I’ll fish (BAA water) there’s a weir the area below which usually throws up a few good chub although that’s a popular area with those that fish there so I most likely will have to try to fish just above the weir for perch…. and whatever comes along really. I’ll need to sort my tackle though – no heavy chairs and suchlike – minimal tackle … might be I’ll take my Shakespeare box that I use for canals and just a quivertip rod/landing net/banksticks in my Korum 3-rod quiver.

Session 20 – Carpin’ On…

Monday 7th June I took a trip to a club pool (AA-GH). Predominantly a carp pool it does hold a good head of silvers with roach to over 2lb, bream, and more recently perch have been turning up … and it also holds excellent pike and chub although a few years back the club did a ‘tidy up’ and chopped back a lot of overhanging vegetation and having done so and removed the chub’s shelter the chub seemed to have moved on … but where to I don’t know … possibly across to the island but even so even the ‘trimmed’ area does seem to still have more shelter than elsewhere on the pool including that afforded by the island.

As usual, at my 0700 arrival time, I was first there having to unlock the gates to gain access to the pool area and thus my intended swim of the day was free.

The intention was to floatfish (lift method) in the 11 feet of water along the tree lined bank in the hope of getting in contact with the bream or even a chub … and with the warmer brighter weather the carp are now cruising on the top and so fishing floaters for them was, I thought, a good fall back plan and so a bag of Baker’s Meaty Treats were added to the bait bag. I’m not a major fan of carp, probably at the bottom of my desired species usually, but I do enjoy fishing floating baits and to me its virtually the ONLY way to enjoyably catch carp….

A bit of pre-baiting whilst tackling up, tackling up, and I made my first cast at 0815 with the float rod baited with maggot….

An hour later, having had not a touch and with the carp taking my catapulted out dog treats I decided to switch to my floater rod.

FLOATER ROD – 10’/11’ 1.75lb TC ‘Winfield’ Specialist Angler rod (Woolworth’s ca mid 70’s IIRC) set up with 12lb mainline and a size 4 barbless hook. I also carry a ball of wax taken from the coating of cheeses such as BabyBel and the small truckles we have at Xmas – this can be used, if necessary, to wrap like a small sausage around the line – it adds extra weight for casting and is also buoyant  … and I also carry a small jar of Vaseline to grease the line to cause it to float. I would preferably, and did, use 30lb braid for the line at one time but one of my clubs disallows use of braid line (well, the rule actually says ‘no braid mainline’ so I assume that braid is OK as a hooklength otherwise there’d be no need of the qualifier term ‘mainline’?) and so my rod is set up with 12lb mono these days.

So baited up with a Bakers Treat … cast out, and a short while later a common carp is landed after an arm tiring scrap… 13lb 6oz…

2021-06-07 Steve - 13lb 6oz Common Carp 1

13lb 6oz Common Carp

From then on until 1315 I had a quiet period and swapped between the float and the floater rods a few times… never had a touch on the float but a few ‘misses’ on the floaters using Bakers and bread as the bait.

1315 – a 4lb 6oz common carp succumbs to floating bread…

2021-05-07 Steve - 4lb 6oz Common Carp

4lb 6oz Common Carp

1350 – a good fish is lost after a lengthy battle … getting close to landing when it goes underneath bushes to my right and snags up in old dead branches and twigs underneath and sheds hook – a good weight of of old wood is landed though!

1500 – a 5lb 9oz common carp on bread…

2021-05-07 Steve - 5lb 9oz Common Carp

5lb 9oz Common Carp

1515 – a 6lb 5oz common carp taken on bread comes to the net…

2021-06-07 Steve - 6lb 5oz Common Carp

6lb 5oz Common Carp

1540 – a 6lb 12oz mirror carp takes the bread,…

2021-06-07 Steve - 6lb 12oz Mirror Carp

6lb 12oz Mirror Carp

  … and at that I called it an end of the day… 🙂

PLANS

With Liz away currently I had planned to fish Monday, Wednesday and Friday BUT I was so worn out last night – I even went to bed at 2100 – I have decided to just do my usual two days – Monday and Thursday.

So Thursday – not sure about the venue, I had thought about the BAA’s Nordley Pools as one of my original three so that will still be a contender – but there’s also the pull of the bream/tench pool and another too which I visited a short time ago but had to leave early……

Session 19 – The One Where Someone Arrived Before Me – But Only Just…

Thursday 3rd June saw me back at the tench/bream pool (AA-B) arriving at 0645 – and shock-horror someone was already there unlocking the gate!! Unknown territory for me as usually I’m the first on any water by a good hour or so and often by several…

No problem, the other guy decided to fish the far bank – in fact I think he was in one of the swims that Liz and fish when on that side – and I intended to fish the swim that Liz had fished on our earlier visit on Monday.

However, it was not to be as the problematic drifting catkins and lambstails of the Monday visit had congregated enough in that swim to take it out of consideration and I ended up in the swim I had fished previously. Although next door to the planned swim, a patch of lily pads worked to greatly block the ‘kin’s progress especially to about 2 rod lengths out and was reasonably well fishable… btw the pics below were taken later in the day and by and large the ‘kins had moved down the pool to the left.

I had decided to fish ‘on the drop’ to start and set up a 4AAA bodied antenna on my 6lb mainline terminated with a 6” 6lb braid hooklength and a size 14 hook..

I had decided to just free feed this session – no cereal groundbait – and I pre-fed the swim with maggots, stewed hemp and pearl barley whilst tackling up and throughout the session added extra frequent but small supplements of maggots.

I made my first cast around 0800 with maggot initially… and landed my first fish at 0815 – a small (1oz?) perch. And then I switched variously between maggot and worm baits and cocktails thereof until 0910 landing a further 2 small perch and a small common carp of about 6oz…

2021-06-03 Steve - Small Common Carp

Small Common Carp

…and then what was to be my best fish of the day – a 3lb 11oz tench…

2021-06-03 Steve - 3lb 11oz Tench

Steve – 3lb 11oz Tench

I then decided to do some bait testing – and fished for 30 minutes with each of bread, sweetcorn, luncheon meat and prawn, none of which enticed a single nibble but as soon as I cast out maggot again I had a take right on the drop – a barbel of about 12” (8oz?)

And all was, I thought going OK caught those until the chap who had arrived just before me and hence had been fishing the same length of time came around on a wander – and he’d had 18 fish by that time including 5 tench, 7 bream, a barbel … and a surprise crucian carp. There used to be a lot of crucians but its been a long time since I’d heard of a capture.

Just after this I got my tackle caught in the edge of a marginal overhanging bush and in the rescue of my end tackle the antenna of my float got snapped … so I thought it an ideal time to revert back to my usual lift-method style with a windbeater float… and I started to catch more…

Two tench of 3lb 0oz and 3lb 5oz came to the net…

Well, final capture but not, I’m sad to say, the final take ….

I had decided to pack up around 1445-1500 as I needed to do a bit of shopping – it was Liz’s birthday the following day and I needed a card having not managed to locate one I liked in the days previous. So, around 1420, I started doing a bit of housekeeping around me, putting baits away, and that sort of thing while keeping an eye on my float and for about 15 minutes all was fine, the float hadn’t so much as flickered … but I picked something up, put it in my bag, and looked back to where the float had been – 5-10 seconds of inattention – and the float was no longer there … I struck, met a resistance and the pulling of a fish, but as the line lifted from the water it led directly to a pad of lilies on the far bank and I could still feel the jagging of the fish … and then all went slack and I thought the hook had been shed but on retrieval of the line I’d been snapped.. lost my favourite float too. From the length of line recovered it seemed the snap had occurred just above the shot, fish had probably wrapped the line around a lily pad or two, so fish wouldn’t have been tailing a long length to entangle and tether it … and no activity among the lilies either to indicate a fish caught up and trying to get away and hopefully the barbless hook will be easily shed. Just a few seconds of inattention! Won’t be doing that again!

PLANS

Liz has left today to spend a week in Great Yarmouth at her brother’s – so I have unrestricted access to the car for the week … yipppeeee!

So I’m hoping to get 3 trips on but maybe will be two depending on how I am…

Trip 1, Monday: To a club predominantly carp pool – floatfishing and hoping for some bream among the carp … and if the carp are cruising the surface then I’ll be switching to the floater rod with Baker’s Meaty Dog Trteats for at least a couple of hours…

Trip 2, Wednesday: Nordley Pools near Bridgnorth – Birmingham AA waters, there being 6 pools there –  5 of which I would fish, the 6th being more a puddle covered in chickweed usually. On the lead or feeder…..

Trip 3, Friday:  Undecided – the most local of the all the club pools I have available or back to the tench/bream pool.

AND … river fishing season soon starting again (16th June) I’m planning with Liz to have a drive out to a BAA stretch of the Warks Avon in search of bream … although noted for its  barbel I think the population thereof is quite  sparse in this area. I’ve not fished this stretch at all before but I think it abuts the downstream boundary of a club Liz and I left this year.

And so, at this point I bid you all farewell and tight lines as I head off to grab a coffee and perhaps do a bit of bait sorting and tackle tinkering… BYEEEE!!!

Session 18 – The One In Which Liz Outfishes Steve Again – But Just Fails A New PB…

Monday, 31st May, Liz and I set off again – a bit earlier than usual at 0700 as it was a Bank Holiday Monday and a few days into a dramatic weather change from the cold wet start, middle and almost end of an autumnal month that was May … April was warm and heading in the right direction but come May and the weather seemed to recede to the weather more expected in November … albeit not the November weather of the 50’s/60’s with the ‘smogs’ (fog combined with the smoke and pollutants from the factories and industry especially within the ‘Black Country’) whereby walking to school even your hand at the end of your outstretched arm (well, wouldn’t usually be elsewhere would it? LOL) was unable to be seen – no facemasks those days, best was a knitted scarf for all the good that would do! None of that these days – the Ready Mix concrete that was directly over the road from our house has now gone (and Mom never needed to use starch on the washing, just hung out the clothes on a windy day! Caution was needed though, leave them out TOO long and a hammer was needed to soften them up LOL … and just down the road, literally a catapulted pebble away were two iron large foundries and blast furnaces (Stewart and Lloyds and F H Lloyds) … and then there was the company of John Thompson where probably 70% of Bilston folk worked including an uncle in the pattern shop creating prototype moulds for pieces to be cast and used on construction in other parts of the group – and my father who started work in the motor pressings initially but studied at the local tech on evening courses and became a draughtsman in the Water Tube Boilers designing the equipment – and at one stage he spent a month in what was then Rhodesia (late 60’s IIRC – I know as Mom let me smoke in the house for the first time!! LOL) overseeing the construction and startup of one of his designs. And also. and I don’t want to worry anyone here BUT he also designed the Drax B nuclear reactor …. after having been given a course on reactors, etc that was ONE MONTH long!! But fear ye not!! From knowing my Dad’s work its probably the safest of equipment in the entire UK – he did NOTHING by halves! Even our greenhouse has anchors that were driven 4 feet into the ground … the garden shed has stood undamaged by the elements now for 60 years – and despite the fact that the wood frame is 100% rotten it refuses to budge – the only downside to it is that its made with walls of asbestos concrete/sheet and although we are looking to replace it (and a lean-to connected to the rear porch which also has an asbestos sheet roof) probably the removal of the asbestos will double/triple the price of the work after looking up the info via Google J Oh well, keep saving and buy less rods, reels and lures, I suppose! LOL.

An aside … a thought going back to the 60’s when Dad was working abroad.

One night of the week Mom would do her ironing whilst we both watched a programme on TV … and I’ve been trying to identify the programme without success… checked IMDB, asked on social media, friends, etc …

Anyone of my readers have any clue please?

What I know/recall….

 I seem to think it had a long name starting with ‘M’ eg Masquerade?

It was an hour long and made up of short skits/sketches each of about 5-10 minutes long and the genres of the skits were of all sorts – some drama, some comedy, thriller, unexpected, horror, ghost, romance, etc…

The thing clearest to me was that the cast included Fenella Fielding (possibly Dilys Watling as they have the same sort of voice)  BUT, as I say, I’ve scanned the IMDB listing of castings/works for both without joy.

The opening/title sequence was very much in the form used by ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’ today…

 Well, that’s the best I can provide … hope someone can shed some light on it.

Thanks!

So, seem to have deviated somewhat from the theme of fishing – so thoughts back together and on we go…

I started saying that we had an early start … and that was due to the excellent weather that had suddenly arrived on a Bank Holiday … and the expectation that people would have put their spouses and kids on the train to Bognor whilst they themselves raced to the waterside (AA-B)….

In the event, Liz and I were the first arrivals on the pool by a good couple of hours per usual – and so had our choice of swims available, the ones that we’d fished on our previous session at this water. There were a lot of floating catkins/lambstails on the water and we both had initial troubles with them catching on the line – normal weed just usually falls off but the cat/lambs wrap and ‘spin’ themselves like wool on the line and stop the free passage of line through the rod rings often jamming the line completely and are adhering strongly are difficult to remove at the best of times, having to pull it off in small pieces. Liz’s peg was ‘guarded’ slightly by a bed of lily pads to her left and not so bad and later a breeze drifted some more away but my peg, one swim to Liz’s right was more open and some of the cats/lambs were formed into bath sponge sized pieces with a lot of smaller pieces between and it made the fishing

Virtually impossible, so much so that with 30 minutes I’d up tackle and moved into the swim on the other side of Liz, fishing the opposite side of the lilys and this proved far better with very few cat/lamb snagging.

0845 First casts… 6lb line, size 12 hook to 6” 6lb braid hooklength – fished lift method style – worm
0915 Moved swim…
0930 I had my first (missed) bite as Liz landed a 8oz barbel on maggot (lift method)…
0940 I land a tench of 4lb 5oz…

2021-05-31 Steve - 4lb 5oz Tench 02

Steve – 4lb 5oz Tench

0945 – 1145 I went through a series of 30 minute spells with varying baits… all to no avail
            Prawn/worm cocktail
            Sweetcorn
            Bread
            Meat
1145 Switched back to a bunch of maggots
1145 Liz – another 8oz barbel…
1215 I had another tench – 4lb 2oz tench…

2021-05-31 Steve - 4lb 2oz Tench 02

Steve – 4lb 2oz Tench

1220 Liz has a small mirror carp…
1300 Liz has a 4lb 2oz tench

2021-05-31 Liz - 4lb 2oz Tench 03

Liz – 4lb 2oz Tench

It seems that Liz is having a ‘glass roof’ as I did when my PB tench stood at 4lb 1oz and remained at that for 3-4 years despite catching numerous ones of 4lb 0oz and 4lb 1oz – frustrating! So many times has she been just an ounce or two off the new PB – but it’ll come soon – and even on this session a fish that was a likely candidate escaped the hook…

1420 Liz has another 8oz barbel…
1440 I lose a 3” silver which fell off the tail of my 4” worm on landing…
1450 I get into an untanglingless tangle requiring me to break the line to resolve – Liz comes round as I’m about to re-tackle and suggests we pack in … and as its hot and I’m ready for beer plus it being easier to retackle up at home I’m in agreement…
About 1545 – on the way home via the local…
1600 – arrive at the hostelry, sit in beer garden, peruse the beer menu …. Fownes’ Brewery “King Korvak’s Saga’ is on tap!! Part of the ‘Dwarven Ale’ series, all of which are excellent, this is, as the name suggests ‘THE KING OF BEERS’! However, as its been a long long time since my last mission with it I’m dreading my memory having been tainted by the ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ and it will not match my memories… BUT, in fact, it proved even BETTER than my memories … and I had to pinch myself to make sure I’d not passed away and gone to heaven! A splendid end to an excellent day!!

STUFF

I visit a number of different pools and thus, when going from pool to pool I have to adjust my pre-tackled float fishing kit to suit the depth ie re-plumb… and I thought when having plumbed the depth why not record it for future visits rather than do the work again? And so I’ve recorded my first depth for this pool – 112cm measured from bottom shot to the tip of the float… doing it that way the size/length of float doesn’t matter – a 4” float will just end up being located/stopped 6” further up the line than a 10” one. And this pool is seemingly very flat bottomed in that I’ve fished a lot of the swims from near end to far end and not visited any other venue in between those visits and have never needed to make any sort of depth adjustment. Swims on other pools do vary from each other and so I’ll need to record particular depths for each but I reckon it will save a fair few seconds on each visit plus not disturb the swims unnecessarily … maybe a bit OTT though? LOL!

PLANS

I’m planning on returning to this pool again on Thursday (3rd June) solo as Liz is working ….
And on Saturday 5th June Liz is going away for a week visiting family in Great Yarmouth so I’ll have a week free to myself and unrestricted car access in the meantime … I’m hoping to have sessions on the Monday, Wednesday and Friday of that week but that, of course, depends on the body behaving itself. Touch wood its been acceptably good most of this past week…. so touching wood!