Session 19 – Changed Plans And First Decent Tench Of The Year…..

Monday, May 14th, and I set off at 0545 …. but not for the pool I’d originally intended as I decided to go closer to home to a mixed pool (AA-B) – in fact to the pool I’d intended for Tuesday’s outing. And then on my return home, it having been a hot and very sunny day which had ‘done me in’ I decided that an early rise the next day, fishing, and then having to drive to the airport to collect Liz at 0200 wasn’t the safest thing to do given how tired I was likely to be… so I cancelled thoughts completely for that second planned trip out. And hence I’m now writing the blog for Monday instead!

Anyway, as said previously it was a beautiful day – bright sunshine and calm and the pool looked far better than my previous trip there when, after a long bout of rainy days, it looked like chocolate soup – now a lot clearer with just the right amount of colour.

I had intended to fish the far bank but decided, based on the previous few outings, that although sunny and bright it may still be a little chilly in the shade especially if a breeze picked up. WRONG!! Blazingly hot all day… but I may return on Friday and fish that swim… As it was, I mainly fished just off a nearside swim with a patch of lily pads out to my left, pre-feeding the swim per usual with crumb, hemp, wheat, 2mm pellets and dead maggots and fed with a few maggots every cast but I also had a ‘switch’ swim out to my right that I occasionally switched across to.

I float fished, initially ‘on the drop’ with the float set to fish the bait at full depth once it had settled but later I switched to the ‘lift method’ ……

Bait throughout the day, all but for an hour in fact, was mainly 2-3 maggots on a size 16 barbless hook – and the hour was spent using a yellow flavoured (BS) paste for 30 mins (with no interest shown in it at all) and bacon grill for 30 mins (small nudges but when wound in after 30 mins there were no ‘nibbles’ evident on the bait at all.

From the first cast, I had bites virtually every cast on maggot – and I was landing perch in the 3oz-6oz bracket – and had 40+ over the day with only 5-6 under the 3oz mark. Not huge but certainly bigger than the average ‘smallies’ used to be – a good sign. I switched over to the paste/meat to see if I could entice anything bigger – the pool holds good sized tench (normal and golden), bream, barbel, chub, crucian carp, etc but I it seemed only perch were around – or at least interested in feeding. The pool is very moody at times and can be a ‘warm weather pool’ with little caught in colder periods…

2018-05-14 Steve - Perch

Anyway, around midday, the club secretary arrived on the site with a number of fish for stocking into the pools – there are two pools on this site, the pool I was fishing which ‘was’ a non-carp mixed fishery and alongside is a ‘carp and chub only’ pool. I say ‘was non-carp’ about the pool I was fishing but we have had a lot of trouble with cormorants decimating the pool (despite ropes across to make landing/takeoff harder for them) and the EA advised that we add ‘cormorant resistant carp’ meaning carp of around 3lb so now the pool will no longer be carp free… however, there have always been a few carp in the mixed pool and a few non-carp in the carp pool probably due to the fry from each pool passing through the pipe and filter grids that connect the two pools … In essence the non-carp pool water is fed by a pipe from a brook that passes by, at the other end of the pool another pipe connects across into the carp pool and at the far side of the carp pool the water flows back out into the original brook. Also there are overflow pipes set just above the desired water levels so water goes straight back to the brook in case the pipe between the pools gets impeded. Anyway, the fish being stocked were ghost carp, all mirrors, of 2lb-3lb – and absolutely gorgeous looking! About 20 or so were released into the carp pool and the secretary said that the greater bulk had already been put in the non-carp pool before he spotted me to show them to me…

And …. after returning back from the release into the carp to my spot to continue my fishing … first cast, maggot, I had a nice tench of 3lb 12oz…

2018-05-14 Steve - 3lb 12oz Tench

3lb 12oz Tench

… and shortly later a rudd of about 4oz came to hand just to add another species…

And there the tale ends – but with a bit of a sad ending – got into a tangle, spent 10-15 minutes trying to unravel it before succumbing and cutting the tangle out and re-tackling up – only to immediately get in a knot again… at which point, and time was getting too close to re-start tackling, I decided to pack up and sort out the mess at home – which I did – and already for the next outing now – which will probably be a return to this pool on Friday 18th…

Session 18 – A Small Water…..

Thursday, May 11th, and I set off at 0615 for another club water (KF-WL1) – this being the smaller of two pools on the same site intending to do a spot float fishing.

The pool contains many species of fish – carp, roach, rudd, ide, tench, perch, etc – and is an ideal venue for float fishing with the water depth at around 6’ where I was sat. However, it is prone to water weed growth (pomatogens) as the water warms up and does reach a point that it becomes unfishable due to total weed cover … and it appeared that this was due to happen as the weed could be seen in large patches – and seemed to be growing in front of my eyes as the day wore on – but that could, and probably was, due to the changing depth and angle of light.

Due to this weed I had a bit of difficulty setting the float originally (had intended to fish ‘lift method’) – it seemed to be doing strange things but why became clear when the light allowed me to see the weed – some clear areas, some well weeded up to 18” or more off the bottom and so the bottom weight wasn’t reaching bottom in those places … anyway, I soon discerned that an area about 15’ from bank outwards and about 6’ wide directly in front of me was relatively clear and so I fished and baited this area without problem once the situation was known.

Tackle was my 13’ Hardy ‘Matchmaker’ clone rod, fished with 6lb main line, 6” 6lb braid hook length to size 16 hook and a bodied antenna loaded waggler (load + 1 AAA + 3 x No 1 shot) set to full depth but fished on-the-drop style with the shotting staggered shirt button style down the line.

Bait was 2 or 3 maggots. I tried a small piece of meat several times too but with no takes.

Catch: 50+ of mixed perch (to 7oz) and rudd (to 6oz) plus 5 tench all being around the 6oz mark and tip-top condition.

Also at the start of the day a common carp of 5lb+, possibly 7lb, was hooked and played for a short period but, unfortunately, when extra pressure was needed to be applied to try to prevent the fish gaining sanctuary under overhanging bushes the hook pulled free….

There was a very cool and lively breeze over most of the day and I left for home at around 1445.

Next trip out on Monday 14th – to a club pool I’ve only fished once before – in 2016 or possibly even 2015… nice pool though. And then Tuesday to my other club’s mixed but non-carp (although reported that they’re planning on adding them) pool.

Session 17 – A Hard Water…..

Thursday, May 10th, and I was on the road at 0615 heading to another club pool (AA-LA1), arriving at around 0700.

After sorting out my swim, baiting up and setting up my ‘station’ to my satisfaction I was fishing at 0800 with 2 rods out, both ledgered, 8lb line with 1/2oz leads but with one bread baited on a size 4 hook over a spomb baited area in open water (I’d replaced the broken reel on the spomb rod the previous evening) and the other with a size 14 hook baited with worm fished under a willow tree to my left which had been maggot fed (and extra added over the day).

I also catapulted out over the day a number of floating freebies to see if I could get interest in those over the day – and again the dog biscuits were taken – mostly by the Canada Geese, though – whilst not even the geese or ducks showed even the slightest interest in marshmallows – so I think the ‘marshies’ will no longer find a place in my bait bag! The few dog biscuits taken by fish were such few in number and over such a large area so as to make fishing floaters not really worthwhile and so I just stuck to the two ledger rods all day long….

Only had one piece of action on the bread rod when I had a good long slow take – but when struck it was discovered a diving coot had been enticed by my bait or had caught the line underwater as it had a foot entangled in my line. And it was quite a calm little fellow – just sat there without a flinch while I wound it in backwards but didn’t like the net – netted it three times but each time it managed to jump back out, and the third time the line freed itself and the coot just leisurely swam off up the pool as if nothing had happened and then 15 minutes swam back down. SO different to a moorhen I also ‘caught’ several years ago when that took a bait off the bottom … fought like billy-ho, 95% of it in the air while screaming obscenities (I assume it wasn’t just saying ‘Way-hay’ and singing), battled hard whilst I and another struggled to free it from the line … and then, when released, flew at the rates of knots to the far of the pool screaming continuously and continued to complain, loudly, for the next hour or more!

The worm rod saw a little more action – with 4 perch, best 11oz, with others of 10oz, 7oz and a couple of ounces captured. And a snapped handle on the reel when I stepped on it – second reel broken in two days! Luckily, it was a reel with a double paddled handle (Okuma CBF-340) so it was still perfectly usable as only one half of the handle was snapped off – and, as I had a couple of spare twin-paddled handles at home, it was replaced overnight and back in full action again.

2018-05-10 Steve - 11oz Perch.

11oz Perch

So, although it may seem a poor day – 4 small perch – to me it was a red letter day…. The pool in question is a ‘hard’ water… as although there are millions of fish – and large carp (its the club’s ‘premiere’ carp lake) it is naturally a ‘food rich’ water with myriads of daphnia and other small food items in great abundance. Basically a fish just needs to open its mouth and it intakes enough food for a week type of thing …  and what is needed is for anglers’ baits to become a part of their diet by weaning them over to it BUT … Catch 22 … as its so hard to catch there then hardly any anglers, other than carpers and large boilies are not going to wean roach, perch, etc – visit and hence suitable baits like maggots, small pellets, bread, etc are not being fed in sufficient quantity – people don’t catch because people don’t go, people don’t go as they don’t catch basically. Usually, I think of the water as 1 bite per 5 trips on average – and as most bites are from carp then more like 1 non-carp bite per 10 trips. So 4 non-carp in one session is basically like winning the lottery to me especially as anything non-carp is all the better to me!

Session 16 – A Water Back From Exile…..

OK …. a few preliminary comments before the actual fishing ‘report’…

Liz has gone to Cyprus for a week from Tuesday 8th … which means I’ve got unhindered access to the car. Normally Liz needs the car for work so I only have easy access on either Mondays or Tuesdays when its her day off and often fish together and on Fridays when she goes into work late and I take the car as she catches the bus into work and then I go and pick her up when she finishes at 2000/2030. But as I say, over the course of her holiday I get the car full time… and so far I’ve had three sessions out on the banks of the waters with another two planned for Monday and Tuesday next week. Tuesday night Liz flies back, landing at around 0200 on Wednesday morning and I’ll be back to my normal days from then on…ie the following session will be on Friday 18th May…

SO… this is my session of Wednesday 9th May 2018.

I visited a club pool (AA-KP) I’d not been to for a couple of years… 22nd April 2016 in fact, and reading my blog entry for that session that was also 2 years after the previous visit there!

To save re-stating the reasons why I’m cutting and pasting my relevant comments from that blog here:

“The reason I’d not fished it for that length of time is due to the fact of a massive successful carp spawning season in 2012 – plus the pool is used by the farmer for abstraction to water his crops in dry spells – and in 2012 he drew out between 5,000,000 – 8,000,000 gallons which meant that the water level dropped by around 8 feet (and was almost the same in summer of 2015) – no problem for the fish as the water is saucer shaped with around 11’-14’ in the centre and at the dam end of the pool it is 28’+ although the other, shallow, end of the pool is only 3’ deep when the pool is full… Anyway, 2012 seemed to provide excellent spawning for the carp as in 2013 it was impossible NOT to catch 6oz carp of all varieties. In fact, so impossible that it became annoying because ALL you could catch were 6oz carp… even soft baits (luncheon meat, paste, etc), ledgered, never reached with the bait being attacked as it hit the water and being taken, or stolen, as it sank WHEREVER and WHENEVER you cast – edge of pool, channel, to left, to right,… and even 16mm boilies were whittled down to a bare hook well inside 5 minutes… and come 2014 it was basically the same but, of course, the size of fish had increased to 10-12oz… Anyway, as it was impossible to get to the better level of fish I stopped visiting the pool – and yesterday was the first return since then…”

UPDATE: Reading the rest of that blog entry it seemed that the 2016 session was not too bad actually with better quality of fish being caught  – and if I’d remembered that perhaps I’d have returned sooner – but as it was it was that earlier ‘tiddler’ session that I recalled… DOH!!


Leaving the house just before 0550 I arrived at the pool at around 0615 and made my first casts at around 0700 fishing 2 rods.

I had intended to ‘spomb’ out a carpet of groundbait and particles but discovered on arrival that the handle to the ‘spomb’ rod had snapped off in transit so g’bait had to sent out with my ‘flinger’ (actually one of those tennis ball launchers for dogs) and particles by catapult. Both rods were set up for ledgering, one with 8lb main line, 1/2oz lead and size 4 hook baited with bread fished over the groundbaited area in open water, the other rod was also with 8lb main line but with a 1/8 lead and size 10 hook baited with worm over a maggot fed area in the margins…. and first fish of the day came from this marginal area at around 0730 – a tench of a couple of ounces… A little later, after a period of small plucks on the margin rod I changed the weight to 1/2oz and the hook to a size 4 and fished both rods out in the open water with butterscotch flavoured paste on this rod…

Over the course of the day four common carp were captured of 5-15, 6-02, 6-08 and 7-00. All bar the 6-08, which was caught on the paste, were caught on bread.

I also catapulted out, over the day, a number of floating freebies as there are a number of grass carp in this pool with weight in the upper teens but any sign of rising fish were few pre-8am and after non-existant. I did note that any freebies taken were dog biscuits and not a thing touched the marshmallows also sent out.

I packed in fishing at 1430 in order to get home to unpack and to prepare baits, etc ready for another early morning session the next day, Thursday 10th


Session 15 – Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder – But So Does Absinthe..

The previous session I’d actually been out with the rods in hand was April 5th and so it was May 4th that – a month but a day later – that I finally managed to get back out again. Holidays and weather taking their toll of the available time…

So … I decided to have a float fishing day at one of my club’s mixed fisheries – KF-VV – and set off at 0615, arriving at 0645. I’d pre-decided my swim – if it was free, and as I was the first to arrive I got it – although maybe not the best choice it seems as witnessed by other’s catches – but after a month it was just great being back on the banks – in good weather too J. Anyway, the swim faced on to a small island and usually a good spot for perch and bream – and the inevitable carp or two.

First 45 mins or so were spent setting up my ‘station’, scales, mats, nets, etc and feeding my swim with particle laced (stewed hemp, stewed wheat, stewed maize, ground hemp, ground wheat and ground bird seed), yellow coloured, groundbait (3 cricket ball sized lumps), 2mm pellets and floating fish food (idea is as the groundbait balls break up the the floating pellets rise from the bottom adding attraction) and dead maggots (well, I thought they were dead – had been in the freezer for several weeks in an airtight bag with air squeezed out and then been moved to the fridge for the month I’d not fished, still in the unopened bag, but by mid-afternoon they were starting to revive … Lazarus Maggots!).


So, first cast was made at around 0815. I fished ‘lift method’ style with a loaded, bodied, 1 SSG waggler using approx 1AAA worth of over-shot to hold securely against the water drift and with 1BB worth of the ‘cocking’ shot used about 15” above float in order to aid sinking of the line. Line was my usual Daiwa Hyper Sensor, 6lb BS with a 6” hooklength of 6lb Dyneema braid to size 16 or 12 hook (maggot = 16, worm = 12).

First casts and I was getting knocks and bobs every cast with maggot which boded well it seemed for the day – and that continued virtually throughout the day but I was unable to covert to those bobs into connections – and it was after midday – and a change from maggot to worm – that I had my first fish of the day – a 4lb 4oz mirror carp, small but feisty! In fact, I’ve landed fish two/three times the size in less than half the time… at first it felt like a good sized perch, then it seemed to suddenly become a big pondering weight – first thought was that a pike had taken it BUT there are NO pike in the pool – then it went for boring runs – then into the reed beds at the pool edge – and it was ages until I could get its head up to see what it actually was….


4lb 4oz Mirror Carp

Over the rest of the day I had 1 small gudgeon, 2 perch (together would struggle to make 1oz), a rudd (3oz) and a roach (4oz)….

Still, it was a nice day to be out…

As I was just about ready to make my first cast another angler arrived and set himself up at the end of the pool to my right – and seemed to be catching a few. Around 11am another arrived – think he was a new club member as he came to speak about the pool, best swims, etc – and I pointed him to an area called ‘chub alley’ where he did go and fish, and seemed to be catching OK (I saw 5-6 chub being landed)… 2 others arrived later, pals of the ‘chub alley’ man I think as they set up close by him but were out of my view due to the island in front of me, and assume they were catching as ‘CA’ guy moved to fish alongside them a little later.

So… that was my day… but I’ve a fair bit of fishing due over the next 10 days or so… Liz is going to Cyprus on the 8th May for a week which means I get the car 24/7 and free to go wherever and whenever…. and I’m planning to have 5, maybe 6, outings in that time.

First outing on Wednesday 9th will be to a local pool that contains grass carp to high double figures and which I’ve not fished in a long time (probably 12-18 months) – means that I can get a decent session in and still get home early as I have to attend the AGM of one of my clubs the same evening. Thursday 10th off to a club carp pool but in search of perch and tench mainly. Friday 11th, another small club pool… Sat/Sun probably rest and restock days… Monday 14th, visit a large reservoir that a club has but which I’ve not yet visited. Tuesday 15th either carping or not-carping ie either a particular carp pool or a particular non-carp pool depending on weather and whim. Wednesday 16th Liz lands back home at 0200 so I’ll be off to collect her… And then decide where to go on Friday 18th…..

Skipsea Sands, North Yorkshire, Camping Holiday Incorporating A Visit To A Legendary Place…

Liz and I went on a week’s camping holiday in North Yorkshire, setting off on Sunday 15th April and returning on Monday 23rd. The actual location was to Parkdean’s Skipsea Sands Holiday Park. The journey took us about 4 hours in all each way – including coffee stops.

There was a fishing pool on site but as we were camping I thought there wouldn’t be room for the freshwater tackle along with all our camping gear as our camping likes are far from minimal and include electric hotplates, multi-storey camp kitchen and other ‘mod cons’… and the tent itself (an Outwell Deluxe Drummond 7 (7-person)) measures 720cm x W 450cm x H 210cm (24ft x 13ft x 7’) and takes up a fair bit of space, even in its bag. But we can get it all set up and fully fitted with kitchen, air beds, etc within an hour – far quicker than most people with touring caravans or campers and often sit with coffees in our hands, finished, watching such people, who arrived at the same time as us still setting up, etc.

However, we did take sea fishing equipment – and our crab lines. Liz and I usually have a crabbing contest when on the coast holidaying and this time was no different and we had a session at Bridlington Harbour…. but score was 0-0 as we decided after 30 minutes it was a waste of time. Wrong time of day as tide was on its way out strongly … and the tide times were against sea fishing all week too so the gear was never used.

BUT … in hindsight we could have fitted the freshwater gear in instead of the sea stuff and had a day or so on the park’s pool which looked quite nice. Not many spotted fishing on there all week so not sure what, if anything, was being caught but if we return to this park we’ll definitely load the coarse tackle.


And on April.Sunday 22nd April – the penultimate day of our holiday – as we needed to start tidying up the tent and prepping for its collapse to return home the following day we decided on just a quick morning’s drive out before setting to on our tasks for the day and noted that Hornsea Mere was only about 5-6 miles away and headed to have a look at it. Now, this mere, is LEGENDARY in angling history – many famous angling names have fished there and many good pike in particular have been captured with several entries figuring in Fred Buller’s famous book – ‘The Domesday Book Of Mammoth Pike’. Also, in 1917 it was the venue where the world record roach at the time was caught. Unfortunately, the mere has past its heyday now but does still throw up good pike, bream, roach, perch and holds carp to over 50lb albeit the carp are few in number and in a water approx 3/4 mile wide at its widest by 2 miles long they are said to take some locating so you need dedication to target those! And these things go in cycles so the mere could return to its old revered status at any time.

I took a ‘few’ pictures…. LOL!


  Hornsea Mere

Anyway, I’m hoping to return back here for 3 or 4 days around late October or early/mid November – camping at Skipsea Sands again, and taking a boat out each day on the mere. Most likely do the trip on my own as Liz will be working – and possibly dependent on acquiring a suitable tent, the ‘mansion’ being far too big and cumbersome for me on my own. We’re actually looking for a 4-6 person pop-up tent anyway for a few long weekend trips this summer – the kind you take out the bag throw in the air and it’s up in literally 2 seconds bar a few pegs to anchor it down, and that would suit me fine for the mere trip too….

We also went into York – and had coffees (crap ones actually! Cost something like £2.75, small cup, and not exactly steaming hot either – and ended up half an hour later going into something like a Burger King for another cuppa twice the size, properly strong, really hot … and almost half the price!) looking on to the River (Yorkshire) Ouse….


Anyway, we’re now back home – unpacking completed – washing done and drying – camping gear sorted and put away … and I’m planning my first session back on home turf… which has changed in thinking from day to day whilst we were away but now almost certainly decided to be a day on a club stretch of the Shropshire Union canal – a stretch of water I lure fish frequently in the winter for pike but have only ever fished ‘generally’ once and that was for a club match. So, I’m taking my quiver tip rod, a few baits and seeing if I can get in touch with the excellent perch and chub that live there – and also to be in with a good chance of the quality roach, bream, carp and barbel that show up from time to time.

Session 14 – Off To The Tench Pool

Thursday 5th April 2018 – with pleasant weather forecast for the day I decided to take my first trip of year to a club mixed fishery (AA-B) – tench being most people’s targeted species there but also has good perch, bream, barbel, chub, roach, rudd,…, crucian carp and golden tench. Basically, everything but ‘king’ carp … although that is (or maybe already has) changed as it was announced at the club’s AGM back in February that as the water is being decimated by cormorants (which I take with a pinch of salt personally – just few people fish there and it can be a moody water – either blank or fill your net I find) it is intended to add cormorant-resistant carp (ie carp over 3lb). Why, I don’t know. I’m certain its the size that matters not the species? So why not stock 3lb+ tench, bream, barbel, etc instead??? Especially as the club has a carp-only water (well, actually carp with chub as a predator to keep fry numbers down) sits not 10 yards away alongside…. so basically the club’s only non-carp holding water is set to have carp introduced … completely destroying the attraction of the water to me if they become prolific.

Anyway, back to the day. OK, so forecast was good and from around 1000 all was very nice, a gentle ripple on the water and a warm sun breaking cover over the trees on the far bank … however, on popping out pre-breakfast (0615) to load the tackle in the car I discovered the windscreen to be completely frozen over … soon disappeared with a squirt of de-icer BUT on going out again at 0700 to leave for the pool the windscreen had again frozen over .. another spray and I headed off with screen heater on .. but for a mile or so I needed the wipers too as the screen just iced over whilst travelling… which was bad news really as the pool is only 3′-4′ deep – possibly 4’6″ at its deepest – and a cold spell soon affects the fishing… although water temps on arrival at 0745 were 6.8’C and had actually risen to 7.8’C on leaving at 1500.

Add to the effects of cold snap that fact that the pool is brook fed – water enters this pool via a pipeline from a brook that runs alongside, exiting via another pipe which connects to the adjacent carp pool and finally exits that pool via an overflow pipe back into the brook at the far end of the site… and the brook is shallow (ie air temperature changes are mirrored quickly due to depth and the turbulence mixing in the flow) and passes through fields of livestock (mainly cows) – and with the recent wet and snowy spells the brook is receiving slurry runoff from the fields which are entering the pool as well as the run off directly from the surrounding fields. Also, I threw out my rake to try to retrieve some lost tackle I’d spotted in a bush on an island opposite my swim and pulled in a huge mass of dead and decaying leaves… water warmish, slurry, decaying leaves? Sounds like a lot of oxygen may have been taken out of the water by the decay processes and thus making fish lethargic? Also a lot of suspended clay in the water, very low visibility…

2018-04-05 Dirty Water

Add to all that that the pool is notoriously a ‘summer’ water and needs water temps to be at least well up in the high teens before any major action happens – usually its late May before it gives up its best fishing – although saying that 2015-2016 season I was catching tench in water at 5’C all through that winter (Nov 2015 – Jan 2016) – not one offs, 3-6 per session each week – not a single perch though which was what I was actually after!

So, I think you’ve realised by now – after all the excuses reasons given that I utterly and totally blanked on the day!

I ledgered 2 prawns on one rod which lay undisturbed for the whole session – cast in at start of day, wound in when packing up. The other rod was floatfished – ‘on the drop’ and ‘lift method’ – with maggot, bread and worm baits casting up to the overhanging vegetation on the island in front, into the centre of the channel, etc … but not a single indication of any interest whatsoever all day long. Oh well, it was a nice mild relaxing day out – who wants to be bothered having to play and unhook fish anyway? LOL!



Water Temps