HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL READERS AND FOLLOWERS – 2019

Well, I’ve just posted the results of my final two sessions for 2018 – it did not end in highlights but there’s still 2019 ahead of us…..

In fact, Friday, 4th January 2019 I’m intending all being well to head to a canal for a day’s maggot/worm fishing. Which canal has yet to be decided never mind which section thereof! So I’m hoping the new year starts far better than the last one ended….

And I wish you all the very best in all your 2019 endeavours be they angling related or otherwise and that it be a year of dreams come true for you and your families….

SO … best foot forward …. and on we go!!

Sessions 57 & 58 – Pike – Last Outings Of 2018

Well, I did manage, in the last throes of 2018, to make two further outings – both for pike – before the 2019 New Year arrived ….

Session 57, Saturday 29th December, was a trip to Pike Water 3 for an informal pike competition. Basically, you turn up on one of the allowed waters at whatever time you wish, go to a swim, fish by deadbaiting or lure (live baits are banned at the venue), record the weight of and photo any pike caught and post your best fish on the club’s Facebook page, pack up and leave when you wish… Best fish wins, but no prize, you just get the fame LOL!

So, I turned up at 0830 after dropping Liz off at work at 0730. Two other anglers were on the water both having arrived at 0730 but not a fish had been caught. I walked to to the area I’d decided to fish and tackled up with two deadbait rigs – one with a fish that I don’t know the species of but was obtained from Birmingham Fish Market on the strength of looking good – orange-ish hue and about the same size of a large smelt but of firmer flesh and very fishy smelling rather than having the cucumber aroma of an actual smelt – this was ‘popped-up’ by use of a balsa stick inserted down the throat and fished at depths from 18” to 60” off bottom by initially pulling tight to the ledger stop (18”) and letting out 12” of further line every 20 minutes until the highest level was reached… this was then reversed so the bait was pulled 12” lower every 20 minutes … and so on. The other rod was baited with a head half of a mackerel which was fished static on the bottom. Both rods were put out over a small bed of ‘chum/rubby dubby’ made from breadcrumb and minced fish bits.

I also tried at times working a lure between the two rods as an additional attractor…

At the end of the session at 1430.,.. I’d had exactly 0 takes … and it seems that others (by that time about 6-8 others where fishing) were having a hard time. A chap fishing opposite me, in what I’d consider the prime swim, had had zilch… one of the two who had arrived before me had had 3 pike but the best one, he said, was about 2.5lb and he didn’t bother weighing them. And the only other fish I heard of was a 5lb 10oz one which was the leading fish at that time, and probably the best of the day.

I did learn one thing though – I certainly took too much tackle/bait! On the walk to the swim from the car park I had to drop half my tackle about 200 yards from my swim and then return to pick it up … and that was the ‘easy’ walk – downhill mainly… the return walk, although lighter loaded – 1.5 litre flask now empty, less bait – was now uphill though on a long and tiring slope which required several re-adjustments of luggage on the shoulders and two 1/2 drop offs and returns and 3 breathing stops before I reached the car. Too many 3oz leads and definitely too much bait for the day contributed greatly! Also, I was a bit uncomfortable in my swim – a drop of 2’ or so down from the path on a bit of a plateau and as there was no room to place a chair next to the rods it was either a case of sit by the path and get down the slippy bank if I had a take or, the option I took, to sit most of the time on the slope on a plastic carrier bag. And this was further disenhanced (is that a word? My spell checker thinks not but you’ll get the idea) by the fact that since late July I have been suffering balance problems on and off – usually 1-2 spells of 1-2 secs each per day usually when changing posture or rotating head – and I suffered more than the usual number of those during the session – I’ve been referred to the local hospital’s Vertigo Department to have it checked out and am awaiting a date/time – I think its just a sinus problem though as seems to be more prevalent when I get a ‘squeezed nose’ feel and slight headache between the eyes and breathing through the nose seems constricted than any other time. Anyway, slippy bank and tendency to lose balance don’t work well together!

Session 58, Monday 31st December, was a trip to Pike Water 20 with Liz. Both fished two ledger deadbait rods – Liz with ‘orange’ fish on one rod and twin sprats on the other, myself with ‘orange’ fish (fished both as static on the bottom and also tried as pop-up) and a sardine on the other.

We fished from around 1000 to 1430 – and one single bleep on one of Liz’s bite alarms (typically as she’d departed for the loo) was the total positive result of the day… although it did give me a slight rise of adrenaline!

AND SO …. the 2018 sessions concluded on a bit of a damp squib really…. but there’s always 2019!!! 🙂

WATER TEMPS:

I didn’t use my thermometer on the day but I did do some sonar readings – and this also reports water temperature, at the surface anyway, so I’m using this reading (9.0’C) for the below graphs:

Min:  9.0’C
Max: 9.0’C

THE ORANGE FISH:

Ohhh… and a picture of the ‘orange’ fish here – although having been frozen and a week or so old now its lost a lot (all?) of the orange colour in case anyone recognises or can identify the species – but will be a foreign (asian?) fish I’m sure…. and it has two dorsal fins – a short one at the front and a longer one that starts just after the front one and extends to the tail itself… this one is about 6″ long.

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Session 56 – Pike & Possibly Last Outing Of 2018

Thursday 13th December, at 0645 I set off for Pike Water 17 for what may possibly be my last outing of 2018 – although there is also the possibility of a twix-mas informal pike competition being held at one of my clubs on 29th December which I’ll attend if possible.

The coldest morning here yet – forecast had been for 0’C overnight but I don’t think it did actually drop that low although there was a very thin layer of frost on the windscreen of the car. I know at midnight the air temp was 3.5’C and as I left the house at 0645 the car registered 2.0’C but half hour later on arrival at the venue it was 2.5’C (heat wave!!)… and as I was driving back home the air temp was 4.0’C. However, the actual air temperature was also subject to a wind chill factor from the existing breeze which meant it felt colder than it was.

On arrival at the water I walked up to the corner swim of the pool that I’d elected to try on the day and I fed in about 1Kg (wet) of rubby dubby (breadcrumb, minced fish and red food colour) just in front about 2 rod lengths out – and I did a few casts out with the Deeper Sonar finder – a few larger fish spotted and isolated pockets of small silvers.

[I did say that I’d put an example of the contour maps that can be created in this posting but time is against me as I have other things I need to do today – perhaps shortly.]

I did try to catch a few small silvers for livebait on my whip but the breeze was too heavy for the rigs I had available (so will be making up some heavier ones for future use) and it was hard to get them out on to the water so only tried for 30 mins max. However, I was equipped with a selection of deadbaits for such eventually – herring, sardine, mackerel, capelin, sprats and smelt – and thus I started with a mackerel head half on one rod and two capelin on the other…

[Capelin – a small fish of the smelt family but silver as opposed to the orangey hue of a true smelt. To be honest, I won’t be getting more as they are too soft and hard to get a hook grip and fly off the hook on the cast too often even when frozen. They came from a Chinese supermarket frozen and on a cellophane covered polystyrene tray and do  look great at that time. Good for adding to rubby dubby though.

But whilst in Birmingham Fish Market I did spot some fresh fish that looked similar to smelt – £10.99 a kilo which I thought was expensive so didn’t buy BUT now thinking that frozen smelt costs about £2  for 5 off 4”-6” online – and an additional £7+ for shipping per order – so next time I’m in Brum… ]

First casts with the pike baits, under floats, went out about 0845 and two and a half to three hours later not a single touch had been had, so then I switched to a whole sardine on each rod until I packed in at 1330 with the breeze having picked up to be a wind and the ripples on the water having turned into shore breaking waves and my fingers having gone numb and without still not a single indication of fishy interest…

So… my possible last session of the year was an almighty blank…. but with the slight possibility of changing that ahead…

Whatever, this WILL be my last posting pre-Xmas and so in that case I’d like to wish all who are reading and your families and friends the very best for the season … and, in case this is my last 2018 posting, a very happy and successful New Year to all for 2019.

WATER TEMPS:

Min:  5.3’C
Max: 5.5’C

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Session 55 – Search For Perch…

Monday, December 10th, 0630, I headed off to a club pool (KF-VV) with a view to fishing for perch by float fishing with maggots and worms…

My swim was in a stretch known as ‘chub alley’ – a peninsula that juts out into the main pool and which along its southern side faces an island with overhanging bushes under which a lot of chub normally reside but near the root’ of the peninsula there is a bridge that crosses over to the island (rarely used as there are no pegs on the island itself as it is only 20’-30’ from the mainland at its furthest point and thus is only used for access for ‘gardening’ purposes such as trimming of branches on the bushes when they start to go wild, etc) and I’ve found that perch like the corner formed between the island end of the bridge and the island itself and also lie under the bridge itself too…

Weather at the start of the session was quite pleasant with a warming bit of sunshine and zero breeze but about 1030 the sky clouded a little blocking out the sun and a slight cooling breeze appeared and it went a bit chilly despite the thermals, my hands in particular getting a bit numb … that lasted for about 90 minutes and then the skies cleared again and the breeze dropped so pleasant again for another hour before the clouds and breeze returned. I packed in for the day at 1400.

So, before setting up I fired a few small ‘pults of maggots into the bridge corner to start attracting my prey…

I then tackled up my 13’ ‘Hardy Matchmaker’ clone float rod with 6lb mainline and a short 6lb braid hooklength with size 16 hook … and I fitted a small wind/driftbeater type float to fish ‘lift method’…

I had a few bites in the next hour or so … and landed a few fingerling perch (based on my small hands that is, on more manly sized hands they’d probably be referred to as ‘first knuckle’ings’) and a small gudgeon … and then for the next hour not a single nibble was detected but maggots were visibly sucked on retrieval on most occasions. So at that point I switched the float to a straight waggler, shotted in shirt button style, and changed the hook to a size 12 and fished with dendro worms … upon which bites started to happen again but still mainly from fingerling perch …. and the best only two fish outside that form were two perch of around 6oz and 1lb 5oz …. and was quite pleased with the latter as I still regard any fish or whatever species over 1lb as a worthwhile fish in my book.

 So that was my day…..

Next outing will be tomorrow as I write this, Thursday December 13th, when I’m heading back out piking on a pool… I’m taking my 5m pole/whip in the hope of grabbing a few livebaits before I cast out the pike rods … and pre-fishing I’m also hoping to do some contour mapping of the pool with my Deeper sonar and, as an aside, hopefully locate where the silvers are currently holing up. In the event of failing to grab livebaits I’m taking a selection of deadbaits too … and a few lures including a Colarado Spoon which I purchased last Saturday after not seeing one for years!

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Colorado Spoon – they’re absolute pike magnets!

Temperatures are forecast to be dropping tonight down to 0’C – so I think my thermals that have been in use recently will be supplemented by my fleece onesie! Not quite time for the padded dungies yet though? Find out tomorrow!

WATER TEMPS:

Min:  6.1’C
Max: 6.5’C

2018-12-10 Water Temps

Session 54 – Back To The Water – Pike Fishing

Tuesday, December 4th, exactly three weeks after my previous outing I managed to make it back to the banks of a water once again. The gap between visits was due to several factors – had a bad cough/cold, events (birthdays, rock music weekend in Pwllheli, etc), Christmas chores (present shopping, etc) and having our driveway re-shaped and laid – and the damned lousy weather wasn’t exactly compelling me to get out there either!

Anyway, mid-week I decided I was going to get out there whatever on the Friday – I did – and glad I did! Apart from quite a hefty early morning frost (air temps 2.5’C on the way to the pool), the day was almost late summer’ish with clear blue skies and a golden sun and barely a ripple on the water and it was quite pleasant for most of the day until around 1300 when the sky became more overcast a slight breeze picked up and a slight chill was being felt.

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Destination for the day was Pike Water 1 and, obviously, pike were the prey.

I left the house around 0700 and arrived at the water a little after 0730 … and as the first there (another arrived around 1130) I had a complete choice of swims and so I got the one I’d intended to fish without problem.

Before tackling up I threw out some ‘rubby dubby’ in the form of breadcrumb, a bottle of ‘Fish Sauce’ (which is basically the juices of crushed anchovies – very fishy smelling) and chopped up pieces of old stocks of sprats, etc – and then I cast out my Deeper Sonar to ascertain if there were fish around and …

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Deeper Sonar Display

… it seems that there were! The scale shown is in metres – so in proper money the depth of water was around 13 feet with the fish lying between 2 feet and 10 feet … other casts/scans around the area gave similar results.

So, with that information, I decided, that was the range  of depth to place my baits in. However, as I had no maggots to catch live baits, I was to use dead baits and I’d taken a fair selection – herrings, mackerel and sardines for the larger baits with sprats, smelt and capelin (a member of the smelt family but silvery rather than the smelt’s orange hue) for smaller bait use.

I used two float rods (12’ 2.75lb TC Ron Thompson ‘Desperado’ carp rods) in conjunction with 40lb BS braid, 30lb wire traces (one trace had 2 x size 2 double hooks, and the other was fitted with 2 x size 4 treble hooks), vaned teardrop floats (12g size) and Grey’s Prowla Quick Change leads to suit…

First baits, cast out around 0830, were 2 half herring ones – head half on one rod, the tail on the other – set to work within a depth of 4’-6’ and drifted along in front of me.

After an hour or so, having had no response, and thinking possibly that 2 halves of a big fish drifting in mid-water may not appear natural, I set both rods to fish their baits on the bottom over the rubby dubby – and at 1000 I had the satisfaction of hooking into a pike which had taken the tail end bait… It was successfully landed albeit that it decided to emulate the tactics of an eel and spin in the net – result was that it made the unhooking easy as the hooks had come free (but now embedded in the net mesh – but as I use barbless or squeezed down barbs that wasn’t a major problem) BUT the pike’s head was enclosed in a multi-wrapping of mesh and the mesh had also passed over the lip bone’s ends which I was not able to free by manipulating ‘over and off’ and thus had to cut some of the meshes. Still, it was done quickly and with minimum fuss and actually with minimal damage to the net itself… so all good in the end….

2018-12-04 Steve - Pike 6lb 5oz

Pike 6lb 5oz

However, after a further hour with no further interest shown I switched back to fishing mid-water with sprat and capelin baits set up as what I refer to as a ‘Xmas Tree’ – multiple baits (3-5 sprats, etc) on each trace as to emulate a mini-shoal of fish – and is a tactic that has provided results in the past. Anyway, to me, a shoal of small baits looks more natural than a half big dead fish at mid-water… I thought I had ‘discovered’ this technique actually until I read a book from the 50’s which described the same sort of thing although actually using minnows for chub… Nothing is new in this world is it?

At 1315 with no further action and a chill starting to drop – along with the forecast of heavy rain later – I decided to tackle down the bait rods and have half an hour or so with a lure – which I did but again with no response.

1420, I was back at the car and homeward bound.

I’ll probably not be out again this week – more jobs and commitments to be honoured – but hoping to do some fishing on Monday or Tuesday of next week as an improvement in the weather is promised too, so possibly I’ll be doing some pool fishing for chub and perch

WATER TEMPS:

Min:  6.8’C
Max: 6.9’C

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Session 53 – Whipping It Into Shape…

Tuesday, November 13th, I decided I’d get up (relatively) early an pop down to the local canal with my new 5 metre whip/pole and give it a try out … just generally check I was happy with how I’d set it up, the ease and comfort of use and suchlike.

I got to the water around 0900 and fished until 1100 – as I needed to get back to go out shopping with Liz later.

Anyway, the whip is intended mainly for use to acquire livebaits when I’m piking and so was set up for ‘swing to hand’ with 6lb line and size 16 hook with a pole float that takes 2BB shot (actually shotted BB, No1, No 4 down the line). Depth plumbed and hook baited with maggot I swung out expectantly for the first time at 0900 – and the last time at 1050 – and had the same result on both swings, and all the intervening ones – not a single tremble or twitch of the float….

Another guy came about 10 minutes after I arrived and fished rod and line about 10-15 yards away and I noticed he was catching – but only tiny stuff, little finger sized silvers basically.

So, I didn’t get to test the landing of fish, small or large, but I did determine a slight tweak I want to make to the rig attachment method a little better – 2 minutes work involved I should think which I may get to do today.

Next trip – possibly next Tuesday (20th) as other places to be until then …. but hopefully will be pool piking or on the canal piking/float fishing/luring depending on available time to sort out various tackles and baits…

WATER TEMPS:

Max + Min: 9.0’C

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Session 52 – Short Pike Lure Session

Monday, November 12th, Liz and I set off at 1030 for a short lure session on Pike Water 20.

Not a bad day weatherwise but although the general was still over the large expanse of water there was quite a brisk breeze and blowing into our faces to boot… However, until around 1245 it was a warm’ish wind but later the skies greyed a little and the breeze picked up a definite chill….

As usual, we walked to the furthest point from the car before tackling up and working our way back over a three hour spell fishing 4 spots in all. As said before, we find the ‘walk out, fish back’ approach suits us well as we get to cover more water – if you fish at the first spot and work away then generally its found, particularly when lure fishing, that the backs are aching before you reach half the way you want to get to and end up backtracking and never reach the furthest points.

Anyway, Liz fished the session with her ‘magic’ lure per usual, whilst I used several lures over the session starting with a luminous yellow 9cm Savage Gear Soft 4Play on a jig head, then a 13cm SG Hard 4Play in Golden Ambulance colours and finally a 13cm SG Soft 4Play Dirty Roach pattern on an offset hook….

So, as I said we fished several spots over around 3 hours – and despite Liz’s ‘magic’ lure (first defeat I recall!) and my lure changes we had not a single touch between us …. and as usual headed to pub for consoling beers and scratching before heading homewards…

WATER TEMPS:

An increase again … 9.5’C constant.

Graphs shown on next session following….