Session 33 – First Pike Session 2021-2022 – Not The Best Of Days…

On the 18th October I set off on my first pike session of the new season to Pike Water 5…

Not the best weather to be out in – dull, overcast, drizzly albeit the car’s thermometer registered a warm 12’C as I drove enroute to the venue at 0745, arriving around 0815 and pleased to see no other cars on the car park so I knew I’d get my preferred swim.

The intention of the day was to floatfish with maggot initially until around 1030-1100 in order to catch some livebait … but with foresight I did pack some deadbaits in case the silvers weren’t co-operating … and they weren’t as I only managed one in two hours of fishing in difficult conditions – facing into the breeze (which was a southerly so theoretically did that right) with light tackle … and on return from last week’s holiday I had filled new line on my reel as I had discovered that I’d probably only 20 yards on the spool but it seems I’d overfilled as, with the breeze, a few tangles around the reel’s flyer and handle ensued.

Also my reel seemed to have got groundbait stuck in the handle’s handle and that wasn’t rolling well … improving during use but still wasn’t right at the end of day so thgat’s due a soak in a bowl of soapy water and an oiling … plus bale arm was sticking due to same problem…

Anyway, at 1100, the pike rods were put into action. 2 x 2.75lb carp rods, 40lb braid, standard snap tackles with size 6 trebles with folded down barbs – but not folded enough at least on one point as I’ll come to shortly. Plus not the wire traces I’d intended to use which were fitted with a size 8/10 single for bait holding and terminated with a size 2 single for the actual ‘active’ hook but seems I’d not got those in my bag – need to search the garage and find them! Anyway, one rod was fished with the livebait and the other a sardine both floatfished,

Then …

Setting the scenario … my seat with tackle bags, then to my right my rod pod and rods, further right and other side of rod pod was my unhooking ‘cradle’ with scales, camera and, more to the point (pun?) my pliers and wire cutters…

I wind in one of my baits and see one of the hooks has pulled free so go to re-hook and whilst doing so the other hook catches hold of my towel and snatches and pulls the loose treble into my right hand thumb which passes into the flesh and then out again about 1/8 inch away from the entry … attempts to free are scuppered by the ‘note quite flattened’ barb and the fluffy towel hanging off the other hook doesn’t help … tried to flatten the barb further with my forceps but they are not up to the job … so now have to get to the wire cutters which involves carrying rod and towel, climbing over the rod pod and other rod, disentangling rod tip which gets entangled in a bush .. all managed with just a modicum (read as ‘muted screams’) of pain and I finally get to snip the embedded hook at the bend and remove the remaining hook and with the help of forceps pull the barbed point through and out…

Also I started to feel ‘the need’ coming on to use facilities … and as I wasn’t really enjoying the day I decided to call it quits and return to the comforts of home …

ANYWAY … things have become a bit better today … had an e-mail from ‘Improve Your Coarse Fishing’ magazine saying I’ve won a runners-up prize in last month’s magazine competition, 5 bags of ‘Advantage’ groundbait worth £19.95 🙂

Session 32 – Chichester Lakeside, Sussex…

Liz and I had a week’s break … made up actually of two breaks on adjacent sets of dates made up with a Monday 4th October to Friday 8th October break immediately followed by a Friday 8th October to Monday 11th October one. All done via Sun newspaper £9.50 holidays with the booking made to Park Holidays Chichester Lakeside Holiday Park which lies adjacent to the Chichester Lakeside Fishery for which day tickets are available on some of the 10 lakes with the remaining lakes having been leased out to syndicates.

Booking an adjoining week/weekend pairing is easy – and we’ve done it for the past 4-5 years now for various venues. Just book two adjoining sessions you want normally via the Sun Holiday page … and when the booking confirmation from the actual site booked is received just reply to the site itself informing that you have 2 bookings made with adjoining dates and request that you be allowed to retain the same accommodation for the whole period. Sometimes they say ‘we’ll note the request but cannot guarantee we will be able to’ but that’s never been an issue as when we’ve booked in on arrival we’ve informed the reception staff of the request that was made and its always been arranged without problem. ONE thing though … when making the bookings make sure that there are vacancies available for both week and weekend slots! Once booked the week slot but when making the booking for the weekend there were no vacancies – so we booked a weekend tent pitch at a place ½ mile up the road … but covid lockdown happened and both bookings were cancelled by the sites and monies refunded anyway.

Anyway … the fishing…

The main lakes available to fishing are as below….

Chichester Lakes Map

Descriptions as to each individual lake can be found at: https://www.parkholidays.com/caravan-holidays/activities-recreation/fishing-holidays/chichester-lakeside.

We arrived at the holiday village on Monday afternoon and rest of day was spent unpacking, etc, visiting the bar/clubhouse, etc. Tuesday, we walked around some of the lakes to check them out and decided to fish ‘Deep Lake’ which looked really nice with regions of lily pads and had the added benefit of not having carp listed in its species-to-be-caught list. Factors against the others – East/West/Copse banks – lined with ‘carpers’ and very featureless and open, Triangle looked OK but exceedingly weeded, Peckham just didn’t grab us at all, Nunnery not appealing and also weeded.

We decided to fish on Thursday as the weather was looking to be kinder then with the heavy breezes of the beginning of the week having subsided and so on Wednesday we had a day out at Bognor Regis. On the evening I booked our tickets for our chosen swims on Deep Lake for Thursday via the http://www.fishingticket.com website which is currently the only way to get fishing tickets for the Lakes. Pre-Covid it seems that tickets were available from the holiday village’s reception or from the bailiffs on the bank but that has now changed. Tickets for Peckham and Deep Lakes are £10 a day … the other lakes use a session system that seems to be £20’ish for 24 hours, with 48 hour and 72 hour options also being available.

So… come Thursday morning we set off for Deep Lake at 0800 in the car. There is actually a gateway into the lakes available to holiday villagers via the use of a security ‘button’ key but for us access was too distant by foot and it was far easier to drive to and through the main gate of the fishery and so park closer to our destination.

We toddled down to our swims – it seems we were the only bookings for the 11-peg lake – and set up in our respective and adjacent swims (Pegs 3 and 4).

2021-10-08 01

My swim – Peg 4 – a nice looking swim twixt 2 patches of lillies…

Liz’s swim was more open but with an island patch of lilies some 30 yards in front of her and also had the left side of my right hand lilies… and she elected to ledger/feeder fish to the outlying lily patch with maggot bait and tried sweetcorn later in the day.

Myself I baited up the gap between my lily patches with groundbait with added particles (wheat, barley, corn, rice,…) and maggots and fished with the float rod in my usual way – lift method, 5AAA driftbeater float, size 16 hook, maggot, etc.

ONE UNUSUAL RULE AT THESE LAKES – BARBLESS HOOKS ARE NOT ALLOWED AT ALL! BARBED OR MICROBARBED HOOKS ONLY ARE ALLOWED. MOST OF MY USUAL FISHERIES HERE AT HOME BAN HOOKS WITH ANY SORT OF BARB INC WHEN PIKE FISHING (LURES OR BAIT) – THE ONLY EXCEPTION BEING THE BIRMINGHAM AA AS I CAN THINK OF AND THEY ALLOW BARBED HOOKS BUT DON’T INSIST ON THEM. ANYWAY THAT HAD MEANT THAT I’D HAD TO BUY, AND TIE HOOKLENGTHS TO, BARBED HOOKS ESPECIALLY FOR THIS ONE VISIT. THING IS … I STILL BOUGHT 4 PACKS OF 10 OF EVERY SIZE FROM 8-16 IE 20 PACKS IN ALL … AND WE ONLY USED 3 SIZE 16 HOOKS BETWEEN US… AND I DON’T FORESEE THE USE OF THEM ANY TIME IN THE FUTURE, NEAR OR FAR!

I was first off the block in terms of captures with a tiny roach but Liz was only a few minutes behind with a small (2oz perch).

Between 1000 and 1230 Liz had 3 rudd up to 3oz and then her swim seemed to just die.

Myself, between 1000 and 1245 I had a further 26 small roach and then the best landed fish of the day, an 8oz perch..

… and then up to 1315 more small roach to bring their total to 40+ … and at 1340 the best fish of the day was lost to the lily pads to my left with a breakage at the hook knot. Unknown species but due to the fight, etc I suspect it was a tench although probably not huge but would say 2-3lb possibly.

Following that the swim died completely probably due to pike on the hunt, there having been signs all day at various locations on the lake of predators on the feed with sudden fry leapings,etc….

So, at 1500 we called it a day and tackled down and headed back to ‘home-of-the-day’…

PLANS:

Initially I had hoped to get out pike fishing on Thursday 14th BUT the logistics of unpacking from the holiday, sorting out (inc making new wire traces, etc) tackle, checking and sourcing deadbaits, etc have made that a pipedream … so, more realistically, I’m now looking at getting out for an initial pike outing on Monday 18th – that allows me to sort the tackle with less pressures (so hopefully less ‘forgotten’ stuff!) and also gives me the chance to visit Birmingham Fish Market, and the Chinese Quarter, in search of the new ‘super’ bait LOL!

Session 31 – Skipsea, Yorkshire…

From 20th to 27th September Liz and I took a camping holiday in North Yorkshire staying at Parkdean’s Skipsea Sands holiday site, somewhere that we were familiar with having camped there twice previously around the Easters of 2018 and 2019 – and probably would have done so again in 2020 but for first wave of the covid pandemic.

Talking about the ‘CV19’ thing I’ve realised I probably was in close contact with it in Xmas 2019 when I was hospitalised for a few days with kidney problems – I recall several people being removed from my ward and the hospital staff wearing face masks and being told that those patients had got ‘the flu’. Visiting was unaffected at that time though and we were free to wander round the hospital wards and visit the inhouse ‘Greggs’ and ‘WHSmith’, etc.

Back to Skipsea …

Before I get on to fishing again – camping on Parkdean sites is EXCELLENT. For £10 a night for our 7-man tent it can’t be beaten even if just for a patch of land on which to pitch the tent – just try and find anywhere else for that – even pitching in a farmer’s cow field would cost more than that. BUT, at Parkdean, not only do you get a pitch but also good, clean toilets and showers, electricity supplied (no meter charges), and entertainment passes for the nightly shows are included in the cost.

To fishing matters … the site has its own small fishing pool…

… but on our 2018 visit we took no rods nor tackle so there was no fishing that trip… but on the 2019 trip we managed to sort out, and just about load into the car alongside the camping gear, one set of shared tackle and our rods to partake of a day’s fishing session. And the blog of that day recorded…

“We both float fished, Liz mainly on maggot, myself worm. There were plenty of movements – dipples, swirls, and even at one point a huge mass of bubbles just in front of Liz – and we were getting line bites, float nudges and attacked baits but hardly one proper take – and between us only one fish was caught and that fell to Liz – a roach of around 1oz which, as the title says, took all the prizes of the day! First fish, smallest fish, biggest fish, most species, and last fish LOL.

There were a couple of other guys also fishing and Liz was speaking to one of them on one of the evenings when she was at the bar – he’d fished 3-4 days and hadn’t caught anything of note and not a lot of those not of any note either! He also said the other chap had had one decent tench on one day and a carp of a pound or two on another day. So seems like the fish are very wary and shy in the pool but I suppose they do get to see baits more often than most…”

So, the trip of 2021 was planned and I posted on the ‘Maggotdrowners’ forum regarding our intended trip – and had a few comments on there regarding other fishing opportunities in the surrounding area – one of the comments coming from one of my blog followers, ‘jacksonb1’ who recommended ‘Westland Lakes’ … thanks!! … other places were ‘Mill Ponds’ and ‘West End Farm’, both of these very close to each other and within 2 miles of the campsite.

As it was, I really had a very short time to ‘research’ any of the options on any of these suggestions although I did remember passing Mill Ponds’ entrance signage  in previous years on our touristy days out…

Westland Lakes … (https://uk-fisheries.co.uk/fisheries/westlands-lakes-2/) unfortunately had to discounted this trip due to logistics … would have to initially locate it, sort out fishing details (eg look at pools to decide where to set up, etc) all which would take up a lot of our valuable fishing time. So, not this trip, although held in mind for the future. Does have a strange rule there though (http://www.westlandsangling.com/rules.shtml) – with groundbait having to be fed by ‘cup or feeder’ (although I suppose a bait dropper would be acceptable)….

West End Farm … didn’t find much info on this – but did see ‘Buggs Lane’, where the pool is located, in passing one day … about 20 yards from the entrance to Mill Ponds.

Mill Ponds … (https://www.facebook.com/palmersmillpond/) is  the place where we actually fished, a bit of a misnamed place now really though as there were initially 2 ponds BUT they have now been connected by removal of the intervening bank to become a singular Mill Pond. As I said earlier, it was quite close to our campsite, probably less than 3 miles from tent door to waterside.

So arriving in Skipsea on the afternoon of Monday 20th we set up camp for the night … visited the clubhouse bar where beer was at London City prices! A bottle of Doom Bar = £5.40! Tuesday morning we set off for a reconnaissance of Mill Ponds arriving to find one angler there to whom Liz chatted and gained some info .. we walked the around pool and one other pair arrived to ‘check it out’ whilst we were there. Wednesday, we set off at 0730 with the tackle for the day.

On arrival, there was one angler already in situ where we had thought to fish from and so we elected to fish from a bit of a ‘spit’’ formed when the bank between the original pools had been removed thus making a bit of a bottleneck that fish had to pass through to move from one end of the pool to the other.

Floatfishing with laid-on maggot (6lb line, 5AAA driftbeater float, size 16 hook) was generally the order of the day, other baits not being so effective when tried.

Catches of the day…

Myself: 1 x tiny (thumb sized) carp, 1 x 2lb 1oz ghost carp and 2  rudd (ca 3oz and 8oz)

Liz: 2 x roach (ca 2oz and 6oz) and (last cast of the day too) 1 x 4lb 2oz ghost carp

Observations of the day: the pool became quite busy from around 1030 – and when we left there were probably only 2 fishable swims left free. Also there were 3 ‘pairs’ fishing, usually there’s just Liz and myself and occasionally on one of our club waters there’s another pair although I don’t think the lady fishes much as she tends to do hourly walks around the pool more than anything.

Ummm … the two ‘fish’ photos above … not sure what was going on but the picture quality is poor and usually is good. Canon Ixus SX120 camera (10mp). The ‘scenic’ pics taken on my mobile camera are far better. Wonder if there was dew/condensation on the camera lens? Need to check that out…. also need to put a new thermometer in the bag as being September I start recording water temps and I set it out for that reason but on leaving I forgot about it and it may still be there in the water’s edge 😦

PLANS:

We’re off again on Monday for a week – this time to Chichester Lakeside in Sussex (Surrey???) and hoping to get a day’s fishing in at the day ticket lakes next door to the camp. No tent this time, luxury of an onsite caravan.

Session 31 – Aborted…

Oh well, today’s session, along with last night’s Wednesday night meet up with friends, had to be aborted…

One lesson learnt … my current health issues cannot cope with a large bag of popcorn being consumed at the cinema on the previous night it seems 😦 … and I’m unsure about even the partaking of a small box of said material in the future! And especially I will not be tipping the last remnants (ie the un-popped corn) down the gullet!

BTW … I have issues with my Virgin a-mail at the mo, so won’t be getting the notifications of your postings and comments for a while. Contacted the Virgin WebChat line – 5 times before actually getting someone to understand that the issue is NOT my Wifi broadband connection (get all web OK, alternate e-mail systems, etc … and even Liz has her e-mails OK and her account is a ‘secondary’ one) but that its purely that my e-mail account itself is ‘locked’ and won’t let me in with ID/password – neither via Outlook nor via webmail through a browser. Anyway, three times I contacted the WebChat I got sent to ‘Andi’, a connection bot, to check my connections to router/web/etc which obviously was offering selections to select options not at all relevant and no options as to what was relevant. 5th time, I emphasised that ‘Andi’ wasn’t going to be in the least helpful before I started the chat – and eventually got the response that my e-mail account wasn’t accessible (WOW!!! What a surprise!!) but the WC operative had no access to e-mail accounts, etc and it would be passed to the relevant team and should be resolved in 5 days…

Now when I have heard that ‘5 day’ thing before? OH, I know it was when my mobile account suffered the same sort of problem, was told several times ‘5 days’ every time I enquired after the previous ‘5 days plus’ had expired – and in fact it was 6 weeks before I could access my account despite my DDs having been taken in the interim…. I’m sure it was coincidental BUT just before I lost access to my account I had been looking up the forthcoming ‘Black Friday deals’ as my phone was due to go out of contract … when the time arrived to take advantage of the deals my account was inaccessible … and three days BEFORE the account was remade operative the Black Friday deals ended … so when I renewed my phone I had to get a less advantageous package ie pay far more for less data – in fact, Liz managed to get the BF deal supplied with the same phone as me but has unlimited data and pays half of what I do for my 3GB data one. Ho Hum….

Session 30 – Totally Unexpected…

We returned from an excellent (again) Shrewsbury Folk Festival … excellent sets from Show Of Hands (joined at one point by Johnny Khalsi of The Dohl Foundation and the Afro Celt Sound System), Oysterband and many others – plus a couple I’d not revisit but no names, no pack drill and purely my personal ‘thing’. Top of the shop for me was Afro Celt Sound System who played the closing set on the Cuckoo stage. Also after 50 years of existence I saw Lindisfarne live for the first time LOL!

Just one last note on the music front and then into fishing …. last night I visited the local Cineworld to see ‘Mick Fleetwood and Friends’ celebrate the early Fleetwood Mac years and Peter Green’s contribution…

… the ‘friends’ including Andy Fairweather Low, Steven Tyler, Dave Gilmour, Noel Gallagher, John Mayall and more. And it was an EXCELLENT 2 hours plus… There are actually only 2 showings .. nationwide .. last night’s (7th Sept) and again on Sunday 15th, at 1930. I sincerely urge folks to get out there if fans of the blues and/or early Mac … you will not be disappointed! I’m waiting for a DVD of the concert to come out and I’ll be first in the queue! Shame that at my showing there were only 6 of us in the auditorium 😦

OK, OK, OK … fishing!! LOL

Monday, 6th September, Liz and myself set off for the club’s tench and bream pool (AA-B). The weather was perfect having been warm with some sun over the previous few days and on the day the air temps were 25’+C ….

A couple of errors on the day – now Sept, when I start taking water temps but forgot thermometer – and due to my hearing Liz and I have walkie talkies to talk to each other but the batteries were dead in mine, and I’d taken out the bag of spare batteries from my tackle bag and put them in my camping gear for the SFF and forgot to replace them.

So we arrived at the water and ventured up to the swims we’d wanted to fish the past couple of visits but hadn’t due to lily pads, reeds and tree foliage extending into and over the swims but this time we went prepared with loppers to deal with the trees and my double bladed weed cutter on a rope (although the rope wasn’t needed as I used the cutter on my landing net pole) dealt with the pad/reed issue easily..

As you can see from my swim I set up facing the end a small island and Liz set up in the next swim to my left ie the other side of the lily patch to the left of the photo.

We both floatfished using the lift method … 6lb line, 13’ rods (inc my new pride and joy, my newly acquired 70’s Hardy Matchmaker), 6” of 6lb braid for hooklengths and 5AAA driftbeater floats … hook sizes were 16 for maggot baits, size 12 for sweetcorn and prawn.

On arrival I mixed up a small amount of groundbait with added micro pellets and a few maggots and deposited 3 balls just on the edge of the facing bush on the island … and throughout the day supplemented this with catapulted maggot and the very occasional small ball of groundbait.

Liz was first off the mark with a small perch and over the day she ended up with a tally of 11 perch, 2 rudd and 1 roach – best fish being a perch of around 6oz – all taken on maggot and when she tried sweetcorn that just produced knockings of the float and no decent bites.

Myself, I had a couple of small perch at first … and then a barbel … and another barbel … another barbel … It seemed to me as if every barbel in the pool was sat in my swim!! By the end of the day I’d accumulated 20 barbel and 10 perch. None of size though – the biggest of the perch was probably around 6oz, the biggest barbel possibly 1lb 12oz’ish with some level of certainity although none were weighed. Best bait was maggot – as Liz found just float tremors to sweetcorn and prawn produced one perch although it was one of the bigger ones.

So none of the hoped for bream or tench appeared but the unexpected appearance of barbel, at least in that sort of number, made for a interesting and enjoyable day.

PLANS:

Out again tomorrow (Thursday 9th Sept), travelling light with my small river ‘roving’ gear supplemented by my float box and float rod to do some more float fishing at one of two pool venues that I have in mind but am yet undecided about which to visit.

Session 30 – Totally Unexpected…

We returned from an excellent (again) Shrewsbury Folk Festival … excellent sets from Show Of Hands (joined at one point by Johnny Khalsi of The Dohl Foundation and the Afro Celt Sound System), Oysterband and many others – plus a couple I’d not revisit but no names, no pack drill and purely my personal ‘thing’. Top of the shop for me was Afro Celt Sound System who played the closing set on the Cuckoo stage. Also after 50 years of existence I saw Lindisfarne live for the first time LOL!

Just one last note on the music front and then into fishing …. last night I visited the local Cineworld to see ‘Mick Fleetwood and Friends’ celebrate the early Fleetwood Mac years and Peter Green’s contribution…

Fleetwood

… the ‘friends’ including Andy Fairweather Low, Steven Tyler, Dave Gilmour, Noel Gallagher, John Mayall and more. And it was an EXCELLENT 2 hours plus… There are actually only 2 showings .. nationwide .. last night’s (7th Sept) and again on Sunday 15th, at 1930. I sincerely urge folks to get out there if fans of the blues and/or early Mac … you will not be disappointed! I’m waiting for a DVD of the concert to come out and I’ll be first in the queue! Shame that at my showing there were only 6 of us in the auditorium 😦

OK, OK, OK … fishing!! LOL

Monday, 6th September, Liz and myself set off for the club’s tench and bream pool (AA-B). The weather was perfect having been warm with some sun over the previous few days and on the day the air temps were 25’+C ….

A couple of errors on the day – now Sept, when I start taking water temps but forgot thermometer – and due to my hearing Liz and I have walkie talkies to talk to each other but the batteries were dead in mine, and I’d taken out the bag of spare batteries from my tackle bag and put them in my camping gear for the SFF and forgot to replace them.

So we arrived at the water and ventured up to the swims we’d wanted to fish the past couple of visits but hadn’t due to lily pads, reeds and tree foliage extending into and over the swims but this time we went prepared with loppers to deal with the trees and my double bladed weed cutter on a rope (although the rope wasn’t needed as I used the cutter on my landing net pole) dealt with the pad/reed issue easily..

2021-09-06 01

As you can see from my swim I set up facing the end a small island and Liz set up in the next swim to my left ie the other side of the lily patch to the left of the photo.

We both floatfished using the lift method … 6lb line, 13’ rods (inc my new pride and joy, my newly acquired 70’s Hardy Matchmaker), 6” of 6lb braid for hooklengths and 5AAA driftbeater floats … hook sizes were 16 for maggot baits, size 12 for sweetcorn and prawn.

On arrival I mixed up a small amount of groundbait with added micro pellets and a few maggots and deposited 3 balls just on the edge of the facing bush on the island … and throughout the day supplemented this with catapulted maggot and the very occasional small ball of groundbait.

Liz was first off the mark with a small perch and over the day she ended up with a tally of 11 perch, 2 rudd and 1 roach – best fish being a perch of around 6oz – all taken on maggot and when she tried sweetcorn that just produced knockings of the float and no decent bites.

Myself, I had a couple of small perch at first … and then a barbel … and another barbel … another barbel … It seemed to me as if every barbel in the pool was sat in my swim!! By the end of the day I’d accumulated 20 barbel and 10 perch. None of size though – the biggest of the perch was probably around 6oz, the biggest barbel possibly 1lb 12oz’ish with some level of certainity although none were weighed. Best bait was maggot – as Liz found just float tremors to sweetcorn and prawn produced one perch although it was one of the bigger ones.

So none of the hoped for bream or tench appeared but the unexpected appearance of barbel, at least in that sort of number, made for a interesting and enjoyable day.

PLANS:

Out again tomorrow (Thursday 9th Sept), travelling light with my small river ‘roving’ gear supplemented by my float box and float rod to do some more float fishing at one of two pool venues that I have in mind but am yet undecided about which to visit.

Session 29 – Pensham Bream And A New PB!!

As suggested in my last post I did indeed set off for a BAA stretch on the Warks Avon at Pensham near Pershore at 0600 on Tuesday 17th August.

The trip, largely on the M5 (J2-J7), was not bad … a large number of trucks and lorries on the motorway but traffic was flowing freely past … and I did fine until the last half a mile or so when the SatNav did its usual trick of saying ‘keep straight on the road’ when in fact what it meant was ‘turn right halfway round a left hand bend in the road’ ie a right turn but you don’t actually have to turn the steering wheel’ … Anyway, this ended up with me going round in a circuitous route, probably passing the same place twice before I worked out what was happening via the street signs!! That probably added 15-20 minutes to the journey so my arrival at 0715 on the BAA car park was reasonable.

As I’d not visited the venue before – and as usual I was the first to arrive – and the only arrival all session as it happened – I decided to take a short stroll to view the water which was only 60 yards or so away.

Firstly I walked to have a look up stream … looked at the first 3 pegs but a scattering of lily pads between the bank and open water were deemed to be a possible hindrance to the landing of fish and so I ventured a short distance downstream and the pegs there were more open and so I decided on the second of the pegs there.

All the pegs had steps cut into the bank down to planked platforms but, despite mine being one of the larger ones, they are quite cramped … at least for my style of fishing but probably better if you have one of those seat boxes to which your rod rests, bait waiters, etc clamp. I had to use my XL telescopic rod rest (1.2m-2.1m) almost fully extended and pushed into the water via a gap in the planks at the front – that was fitted with a ledger head/bar … and the rod butt was rested on my bait bag … and with my folding camping seat alongside there was not much space left and all else had to be left behind my chair and on the lower steps…

My Swim

Tackle for the day…

  • Ron Thompson 360cm/12ft EVO2 feeder rod with red quiver tip
  • 8lb Daiwa Hyper Sensor main line with 8lb uncoated braid hooklength, size 6 barbless hook
  • 15g cage feeder

Baits used…

  • Bread
  • Worm
  • Prawn
  • Sweetcorn

The mix used in the feeder… well, a picture is worth a 1000 words they say so …

2021-08-17 Feeder Mix

The feeder mix – cereals, rice, hemp, corn, dead maggots, pearl barley, etc, etc.

So, first cast was made aiming about 30 degrees downstream and 3/4 the way across at 0745 with pieces of  sweetcorn on the hook…. with a few gentle trembles of the tip ensuing…

0840 … first boats pass by – two one behind other. Boats are no problem with the fishing as the water is 10’-12’ deep and so the line is well away from the hulls and propellers unless they come within 20’ of the bank really and on this occasion a protruding tree downstream of me pushes the boats over towards the centre line.

0900 … first fish of the day … a 5lb 1oz bream is landed. Unfortunately, due to the previously described compactness of the fishing stage I was unable to set up my usual camera-on-tripod to take timer operated selfies with the fish and thus had to settle to try to photo in the net on the unhooking mat by my feet … however, the fish was a feisty devil and wouldn’t stay still and managed to flap himself off the map and into the water before a photo was managed.

1015 … a change of bait to bread and another bream reaches the landing net … and a PB one at that! Weighing in at 5lb 14oz it exceeded my previous PB by all of 2oz! Luckily, this one was not as excited as the previous fish (or was very vain and wanted a photo taken!) and so do have the photo of this one …

2021-08-17 Steve - 5lb 14oz Bream (New PB)

5lb 14oz Bream (New PB)

1155 … another bream, again on bread … 5lb 6oz

2021-08-17 Steve - Bream 5lb 6oz

Bream 5lb 6oz

And then all went very quiet until…

1325 … I swapped my bait to two cocktail prawns and a perch of around 4oz found these to be of his (or her) liking…

2021-08-17 Steve - Perch

Prawn loving perch

… then all was quiet until I packed in at 1500.

I decided to travel back on the A449 rather than M5 which I thought would be getting busy by the time I would be getting on and travelling along… and all went swimmingly only getting delayed in a long queue near Kidderminster but even that dissipated far quicker than I’d thought it would do so all was good in the end.

PLANS:

Well, I had thought to go back to the Worcs Stour on Thursday 19th but with Shrewsbury Folk Festival due to start on Friday 27th there’s a few jobs I want to get done before then so I’ve postponed that plan now. So the next outing will be some time after our return from festival now…

BTW … Shrewsbury Folk Festival main stage is, and has been for many years, streamed live on the internet for free viewing by all. Slightly different this year as the usual seated marquees will not be in use and the two main music stages (The Cuckoo and The Skylark) are open air – and from the line-up the Cuckoo seems to be the ‘main’ with the bigger names – but the usual screened live streamed broadcasts will still be made. See Who’s On and When for timings of appearances BUT note these can often fall behind by an hour or so by the end of the day. As to viewing the streamed content, there should be at the time a link on the main web pages (Shrewsbury FF Main Page)… And if you should miss them then most are available via YouTube at a later date. Sometimes it can happen that due to contracts (recording companies, etc) various acts cannot be broadcast but these are few and far between. Search YouTube for ‘Shrewsbury Folk’ to see content from previous years….

As Steve Knightley (Show Of Hands) and John Jones (Oysterband) are co-patrons of the festival then their bands perform virtually every year and sometimes they appear in other forms/groups….. J

Tight lines to all in my absence!!

Session 28 – Mower Stower…

Well, a Black Country dialect version of ‘More Stour’ rather than someone who puts their lawn cutting equipment away…

Thursday, August 12th, I made a return journey back to the Worcs Stour as I said I intended to at the end of my last posting… the section being the BAA controlled length at Stourton in Staffordshire. Just looking up, on Wiki, the county that the stretch is in (as its very close to entering Worcs and Hereford at that point and I wasn’t sure) it seems there’s as much controversy over the pronunciation of the name as there is with Shrewsbury (Shrews-bury, Shrows-bury or Shows-bury) with three differeing pronunciations: Stower-ton (the right one to me as it matches the pronunciations for Stourport and Stourbridge and also the name of the river itself) but seems others call it ‘Stir-ton’ or ‘Store-ton’. Oh well, ‘a rose by any other name is still a rose’ as they say :).

Anyway, the day started as it had for the previous outing … again due to the alarm clock … actually a case of ‘bad workman always blames his tools’ as the alarm clock didn’t do what it what it wasn’t told to do and didn’t do it perfectly! I set the time perfectly, I even set the alarm time perfectly … but then I didn’t actually activate the alarm this time round! 😦

So, I again was 30 minutes later rising than intended … luckily due to the body clock kicking in…

Anyway, it wasn’t too bad as I was only taking my ‘roving’ kit and thus with limited luggage to take most was pre-packed and had just a small selection of baits to be taken from the fridge and a flask of coffee to be made, my snacky stuff having already ready prepped the previous evening.

I arrived at the waterside in my selected swim – the one I’d fished on my last two visits – around 0700. Easier walking from car to water this time as the field had been mown and the 2’-3’ high grass intended for winter feed was now in plastic covered cylinders awaiting collection.

On arrival at the water’s edge I mixed up, and fed into the the margins to mid-stream area, some bread mash mixed with dead maggot … and at 0715 I made my first cast with maggot on my size 12 barbless hook to 6” 8lb braided hooklength and 8lb Daiwa Hyper Sensor main line weighted by a small (3g?) penny lead on a sliding short link. The rod is an 11’, Grandeslam ‘Des Taylor Avon System 3’ with the quiver top in use.

0730 – first good knock but no follow up ….

0732 – 1210 – all seems as dead as a dodo with not a single tremble even of the tip. Change of baits between maggot, bread, worm, cheese’n’garlic paste along with searching the water bank to bank, near to far, etc, etc plus light feeding of bread mash and catapulted dead maggots brings no change…

1210 – a definite small tug on maggot but again no follow up…

1530 – I call it a day, pack up and head home to shower and change ready to collect Liz from work and to collect our Thursday night McD/KFCs for tea.

SO … first visit was good (4lb bream, lost carp of about same size, plenty of plucks plus a few small fish), second and third visits however have been blanks and only produced a few knocks on each occasion. Why the difference? The place is hard to read, as this swim is located within 30 yards of the sill of a weir the water level changes literally less than 2”-3” if that even … there is a monitoring station at this location BUT it is situated 300 yards or so BELOW the weir so doesn’t help with levels above … and the only other station on the river is upstream 8 miles away but should be the best indicator of water flows (current) at my area of fishing I’m thinking. Maybe need to try to get a correlation between results and water levels (and hence current) by referring to the data available via GaugeMap (https://www.gaugemap.co.uk/)?

Anyway, being as quiet as it was, I did walk upstream a little way and found some swims possibly worthy of investigation – easier now with the grass cut to get to without the battling. I think I will actually revert to the ‘roving’ that I’ve geared up for – fish a swim for 30-60 minutes then move on to the next one. As the stretch is relatively short it would be possible to rove in an upstream direction, fish and then bait up each swim as I move on the the next and then fish each again on the return back downstream on my way to the car. Ummmm…. 🙂

PLANS

Tuesday – Liz has decided not to fish so I’m planning to fish a BAA stretch of the Warks Avon at Pensham or Pershore) … https://www.baa.uk.com/where-fish/avon/pershore-left-right-bank-pensham/ … both areas are close to each other but of differing character allowing a choice to be made between fishing for chub/barbel at Pershore or for bream at Pensham … and its not inconceivable that I may do a half day on each as due to having to travel mainly on the M5 or the A449, both being very busy roads in the daytime, it requires an early start and a late’ish return to avoid the work time traffic.

Session 27 – Back To The Tench And Bream Pool [Including The Tale Of The Blitherin’ Idiot 2]

Monday, August 9th, Liz and myself set off for a day at the tench and bream pool (AA-B) … eventually as, and I expect this could come under the ‘blitherin idiot’ heading too, I’d set the alarm clock wrongly! Having been away camping a short while ago I did what I usually do before leaving the hoiuse for an extended period and turned off the power to anything not necessary to be left on – such as the PC and the various chargers I have connected in the bedroom to a multi-power block that also powers the radio alarm. I’d not needed the radio alarm since our return and thus I needed to set it on Sunday night for the Monday morning awakening… it was around 11 when we went to bed and I wanted to get up at 5:30 in order to finish off fishing preps (flasks, baits) … so the alarm WAS set to those times … at least numerically … BUT I set the 11 as AM not the PM it should have been but I did get the 5:30 correctly set as 5:30 AM … consequentially there was NO alarm at 5:30 AM as the clock now reckoned it was 5:30 PM … luckily I awoke naturally at 6:30 AM so we were only an hour behind time for the day…

So, it was around 0830 when we arrived at the pool, driving up to the far end as we intended to fish two swims up there but decided that the vegetation would be a problem and so drove back down to around the midway point which looked good.

During tackling up we had a short shower of rain which lasted about 1 minutes and later when tackling down there was another similar burst of precipitation – other than that it was a very pleasant and warm day.

We both fished ‘lift method’ with driftbeater floats – 6lb main line and 6lb braid hooklengths – size 14 and 16 hooks.
Bait was mainly 2-4 maggots although I did try sweetcorn and worm which both had interest shown albeit in the form of nudges and knocks rather than proper strikeable bites.

By the end of the day, Liz had had a few small perch and roach/rudd and myself a few small perch and two tench landed (2lb 11oz and 2lb 6oz) with another lost to the lily pads.

The 2-11 avoided getting its picture taken as it seemed the camera batteries had gone flat despite having taken a few scenic pics (per above) a bit earlier and so tench was returned without a picture. The 2-06 did get a pic taken though after the camera batteries had been replaced in the interim between captures.

2021-08-09 Steve - 2lb 6oz Tench 02

2lb 6oz Tench

1530 we decided to call it a day … and headed off for the usual beer and scratchings…

And the homeward journey wasn’t without its ‘events’….

On the way back we usually make a left turn at a ‘T’ junction onto the Wolverhampton- Bridgnorth Road but on this trip the road was closed and we had to right turn turn and do a detour. We assumed initially for road works as there are quite a few in progress in the area but as I looked back up the road there was a police van parked up … and so we then thought it was an accident… However on return home we discovered it was due to a murder with a body dumped in a large laybye often used by lorry drivers for overnight stays, etc.

Newspaper Report

So, back at home, I searched for my walkie talkie that seemed to be missing on the day. Liz and I use WTs to converse, etc when fishing as even in adjacent pegs my hearing is severely lacking and the WTs save Liz having to scream at me when I’m needed to land a fish, etc… I know I’d had it on the holiday but could we locate it anywhere? Searched the bags, the box of tent appliances, even the camping chairs in case it’d been left in the cup holder or pockets on the arms thereof… with no result… and then ‘blitherin idiot’ on his way to bed spotted his fishing coat and waistcoat hanging up, something that had not been checked as I’d have surely noticed them in the pockets on Monday … but then I remembered I’d not worn either on Monday at all … being warm I’d just dropped both into the back of the car with the tackle when leaving the house … and not worn whilst out. So, first dip into a coat pocket and like a magician’s rabbit out pops the missing walkie talkie!!! DOH!!!!!!

PLANS

Thursday 12th … a return to the Worcester Stour for me…

Next week … Liz has a hair appointment on the Monday so any fishing will be on Tuesday and destination will be decided once Liz decides if she’s fishing or not that day…   

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 🙂