Session 19 – The Nearest Thing To A Non-Session…

Thursday 11th June, I headed off at around 0620 to a club pool I’d not visited since the CV19 pandemic lockdown put an end to fishing for a couple of months or so … and once before in 2020 and that was a pike fishing session.

Anyway, let’s make this short and sweet and say that although the session actually was ‘short’, the ‘sweet’ may be a case of looking back on it through rose coloured glasses as they say .. not my idea of a great session anyway.

I set off to the pool at 0620 as supposedly the pool is available from 0700.

[I’m not sure how that actually works these days as it can be night fished by any member now.

In previous years the main club had within it an intra-club syndicate of max 30 members who paid an extra syndicate fee – that extra money actually being held/spent by them to purchase carp to stock one particular pool which is intended as the club’s ‘premiere’ carp fishery. This syndicate were the only ones allowed to night fish any of the club’s pools.

However, this year the system changed and now any member can night fish, without extra charge, all pools bar the carp pool subject to two conditions … (1) a maximum of 3 night anglers per water per night and (2) before doing so you must register your intention and venue with the ‘night fishing/syndicate secretary’.

The intra-club syndicate still exists and members of it still pay the extra fee but they are the only anglers allowed to night fish the carp water (all club members can freely fish the pool during the day by the way – holds good tench and perch too – and one bream of around 8-10lb).]

Anyway, arriving a little before 0700, I had to unlock the gate to gain entrance, and I knew I’d have choice of swim as I’d be the first there…. so all was looking good at that point…

So, drove down to the car park, unloaded and carried my gear to my swim – about 60 yards away if that. A corner swim that I find good for bream – at least at the start of the day – and as the wind usually blows into that corner later in the day it can be good for surface/floating baits for carp.

Setback 1 Unusually the wind was blowing in the completely wrong way to usual ie FROM the corner out into the main pool… so the surface baits for carp looked a bit of a dodgy scenario … although that was not a certainty but we’ll never know.

Setback 2 The wind was quite strong and blustery and as the peg was elevated some way above the water it would have been difficult to float fish as I’d planned to as it would have been difficult to sink the line to avoid drag…

Setbacks 3 to infinity I just could not get settled in happily with peace of mind … full stop. My side table wasn’t sitting correctly, the brolly was always in the wrong place (and I moved it 3 times!) and wobbled too much despite the 3 guy ropes attached to it pegged in at 120 degree spacings, I had to ledger when I wanted to float fish, Liz had bought me Sainsbury’s own brand bread for bait (in an orange wrapper I’d not looked when she gave it to me assuming it was a small Warburton’s Toastie) which is the WORST bread for bait I’ve ever come across – so dry it falls/washes off the hook at the first opportunity – and, in fact, if I’d have known what it was I’d have stopped at a shop enroute to get some better stuff!

So come 0930 – without a single nudge on my worm and, possibly but unlikely still on the hook, bread baits I was so unsettled that I decided to pack up the gear and head home…

One good thing came of it though – just as I’d finished moving my necessary baits into the fridge/freezer on my return it started to rain so at least my gear remained dry!

PLANS

Rest of today – tying hook lengths to replenish stocks.

Hopefully get out on Monday 15th back to the pool of tench and bream previously visited.

No ‘Glorious 16th’ for me this year though – have to have 2 sets of blood samples taken at a local clinic, hand over a urine sample at the doctor’s and then take one of our ferrets to the vet to have stitches removed from behind her ear from an operation she had to remove a lump/growth a couple of weeks ago plus to hear the results of the histology done on the removed tissue.

Session 18 – Only 24 Hours From Tulsa – And Only 8ozs From A Blank.

Monday 8th June, I headed off at around 0600 to the club pool I’d mentioned in my previous post (KF-WL1) arriving at around 0645 … a little later than intended due to a reason I discovered only yesterday … my alarm clock had been running 45 minutes slow – and probably had been doing so for some time!

I thought the alarm was quiet too but as I’m hard of hearing I had also put the quietness of the alarm down to that but…

My current alarm clock is a retro ‘twin bell with hammer’ battery operated type which replaced my previous similar manual wind clockwork one when that gave up the ghost … I had noticed that the ringing of the new clock was lower in decibels than the manual one when I first had it but it seems that it had been getting less and less as time passed but at such a rate that the change was unnoticeable in daily terms…

So, for some time I’d been getting up, going downstairs and doing the usual morning chores – loading bait and food bags into car, feeding cats, having a cuppa and toast, etc – but then I’d look at the clock in the kitchen/dining room and time seemed to have flown by faster than I’d expected… but, of course, I’d ‘lost’ 45 minutes effectively due to the slow alarm as I’d eg rise at 0430 by the alarm clock but it was really 0515 realtime!

And yesterday the discovery of the alarm clock’s error was made when I looked at the alarm clock and also caught sight of the clock of the (rarely used these days) Teasmade which sits behind it … and spotted the discrepancy between the two! Checked with my wrist watch, the Teasmade was confirmed to be the correct teller of time…

Quick change of battery since – the alarm is now keeping time AND the bells ring out far louder as it seemed that  the power of the old battery was barely enough for the hammer even make the slightest of contacts with one of the bells and didn’t even reach the other.

AND … only the day before the discovery of the cause, to resolve the ‘quiet bells’, I ordered a new clockwork alarm of similar type… so looks like I’ll have dual alarms going off soon!! 🙂

BACK to the fishing…

I was the only one to fish this pool all day – the club does sell day tickets for it too. There is another pool on the site too which is a ‘members only’ pool just a couple of hundred yards further on down the access track.

0715 saw me make my first cast floatfishing a worm on a size 10 hook, 6lb line, laid on. Slight difference to my usual set up was the change from a drift/windbeater float to a ‘stick’ type with a 2SSG shot 6″ from the hook that sank the float down to the barest tip and an AAA shot about 18″ above that to provide the ‘overshotting’ that would cause the float to sink if it had not been fished overdepth.

From the start I was having a ‘bite a cast’ – some of them stereotypical ‘lift and glide’ types but were unhittable on the strike. To try to resolve this, I changed from a full worm to a worm head section of about 1″ long and at 0735 a connection was made to an 8oz tench. No photo taken as (A) as I was landing said fish the owner of the site arrived and to check membership cards or taking day ticket money so the fish was lay in the water’s edge in the net waiting to be unhooked whilst the necessary display of card was made – so I thought I’d inconvenienced the fish long enough and released asap after unhooking and (B) as I’d been having consistent bites I was sure I’d have something worthier of a photo soon…

So, tench released, I fished on and had further missed takes on the following 3-4 casts – and then everything went totally dead with not a single knock, nudge, dip, etc despite trying maggot and prawn as baits too until getting well on for noon when a few tentative nudges started again….

So, I fished on for another hour or so with no result and then packed in for the day due to it being quite chilly.

The skies to the main part were overcast, and the large trees enclosing the pool tend to shield it from whatever of the  sun’s rays there are (unless the sun is completely overhead and then it becomes a hyper-tropical sun trapped zone) and there was also quite a chilly breeze … hence the decision to call it a day earlier than usual.

OBSERVATIONS

One reason for the visit to this pool was to ‘suss’ the layout as the club has closed some swims to maintain ‘social distancing’ and from the maps posted it seemed that the swims were too far apart for the comfort of Liz and myself and thus we’ve gone elsewhere. However, having visited and seen first hand the situation it seems ok for us – especially as we are not subject to ‘social distancing’ being from the same household. So its possible we will make our way there together in the future.

PLANS

I’m hoping to visit a local club water that’s close to home but that I’ve not re-visited since the fishing restarted with the post-lockdown relaxations. Mainly a carp and bream water, I’ve a certain swim in mind – as usual 🙂 Alternatively, I may revisit the other club pool I’ve already visited a couple of times and had success with the bream and tench.

Session 17 – From The Valley With A View.

Friday 5th June I, along with Liz, set off for a day’s fishing at the same venue as we visited for Session 14. A decision based mainly on the option of available swims on all the waters available to us in the main. Due to the CV-19 situation most of the waters have limited pegs available to conform to the 15 metre guidelines – and the two pools that were at the forefront of our considerations were ruled out as the available swims were too far apart on both waters – we like to be fairly close, especially as I have hearing trouble and often can’t hear Liz call, in order to net each other’s fish, weigh and photo….

Anyway, there we were… a nice pool anyway (KF-VV) with a view over the Severn Valley and in the distance you can see the smoke of the Severn Valley trains – and hear their whistles/hooters too if the wind is in the right direction.

Having set off at 0630 we arrived at the pool around 0710 to find three cars already on the car park – but one load of anglers (father and kids) had been night fishing on the dam wall and were in the process of packing up – one was fishing Chub Alley (and was having a good day of it from what Liz saw – he was out of view to me) – another was fishing on the ‘spit’ before Chub Alley’s and one was fishing opp that guy, just short of the line of conifers, the middle and far end of which we had intended to fish and so there no problem to us getting our swims.

The day itself was a mixture of weathers – calm/windy/gusty, warm/chilly, wet/dry – everything from very warm when clear blue skies and the wind dropped to wet, cold and windy when the skies greyed over…

First casts were made around 0750 with myself using two ledger rods with frame feeders and Liz with one frame feedered rod. My rods were baited with bread (size 6 hook) and worm (size 10 hook) initially … interest was shown to the worm with small bobs of the bobbin and the occasional lightening fast longer tug but equally as fast drop but nothing at all on the bread… and at 0820 I switched the bread bait over to three cocktail prawns. Recasts were then made every 30 minutes or so with re-loaded feeders and later the cocktail prawns were replaced by, or by parts of, a raw king prawn for the rest of the session…

0900 – Liz lands a 3lb 10oz common carp taken on sweetcorn…

2020-06-05 Liz - 3lb 10oz Common Carp

Liz – 3lb 10oz Common Carp

1035 – I land a 3lb 11oz mirror carp on raw king prawn…

2020-06-05 Steve - 3lb 11oz Mirror Carp

Steve – 3lb 11oz Mirror Carp

1050 – a good take on prawn – missed!

1120 – small perch ca 2-3oz taken on worm.

1145 – another missed take on prawn.

1210 – I have a 6lb 10oz common carp on worm.

2020-06-05 Steve - 6lb 10oz Common Carp

Steve – 6lb 10oz Common Carp

…. and that was it until we packed in at 1500.

Liz never had a touch after landing her carp despite trying several baits inc meat.

ADDED:

The finale of the day….

The After Session Beverages

At The Pen-Ton Arms…. 🙂

PLANS:

Monday, 8th June, I intend visiting one of the two pools that had been an option on this visit but then discounted due to the peg spacing issue. So I will be able to check out the situation first hand rather than from the maps we have as well for future reference – may not be as bad as it looks … and obviously fish it too!

Session 16 – Snack Menu Of The Day – Cheesey Nibbles And Prawn Bites… (Or Eel Met NOT By Moonlight)

Monday 1st June I set off to the most local of my clubs’ pools (SAC-DP) at around 0545 arriving on site around 0535 or so and at my chosen swim for the day around 10-15 minutes later….

As you can see from the photos I’d decided that I’d have a change from the old float tackle and go ‘hi-tech’ with the pod and alarms putting my baits from a line just right of the centre of the island and a line just off the islands right end… distance out probably 3/4 of the way to the island itself.

Tackle consisted of my two Grandeslam Avon Plus rods of 1.75lb TC, each equipped with 8lb Daiwa Hyper Sensor line and frame feeders stopped by Enterprise Tackle ledger stops. One rod was equipped with a size 6 Pallatrax hook, the other a size 8 Kamasan Animal – both on 8lb hook lengths of 6″ connected to the main line via swivelled quick change clips with a rubber ‘jacket’ to protect.

Note I said 6″ hook lengths – a lot of people use hook length to state their lead stop to hook distance but to me that is the ‘tail length’… Hook length to me is the length of a  separate piece of line that connects between the hook’s eye/spade to the main length of line – if the hook is tied directly to the main line then there is no hooklength. Tail length is the distance from the lead stop (or the lead if it’s ‘fixed’. Thus not only is it possible, and is the ‘norm’, to have a shorter hook length than tail (eg 6″ hooklength with a lead stop placed 12″ up the main line from the connection with the hook length gives an 18″ tail)…. but also if using a long hooklength and placing the lead stop on the hooklength to have a tail shorter than the hooklength (eg 24″ hooklength with the ledger stop place 6″ from the hook gives a 6″ tail).

And, after that explanation, I’ll tell you I generally use a tail of around 18″-24″ on both rods on stillwaters but this can vary with the bait in use and the type of bites. On rivers/flowing waters the tail can be up to 48″ for times especially for barbel on the Severn. Anyway, its not a ‘one size fits all’ thing, more a case of trial and error to discover the optimum on the days when the fish are being really finicky. On this trip I did lower the tail distance quite dramatically for one bait in particular –  large pieces of bread flake – when I dropped it down to 6″ or so in order that the bread would hover and waver just off the bottom (until it got over sodden and sank down anyway).

Frame feeder feed – I use my general groundbait/particle mix which consists of my dry mix of bread crumb, crushed Vitalin, strong white flour, crushed bird seed, salt, chicken layer’s mash – and to which I add at the water’s side pre-prepped particles (things like boiled hemp seed, rice boiled in turmeric, stewed wheat, blitzed tinned mixed beans, boiled maize, sweetcorn, dead maggot, etc) and wetted in this case to a nice sticky consistency in order to hold on the frame of the feeder – too wet or too dry it just flies off on the cast! Ideally, it needs to withstand the force of the cast (which should be a lob – a slow build up of power throughout the cast – rather than a macho heave-ho!) and hopefully the main body of bait still on the feeder reaching the bottom of the pool with small bits of the edibles falling off as it sinks to create a ‘column of attraction’…

0640 – first casts were made, the initial baits being worm and bread…

1000 – NOT A TOUCH … despite retrieving and re-loading baits and feeders as necessary and re-casting out every 20-30 minutes … so a change of baits ensued and the worm was replaced by meat (bacon grill) and the bread by 3 cooked cocktail prawns (with the tail lengthened back to the usual 24″)….

1050 – Beep ……… beep – a couple of spaced out tugs on the prawn baited rod… turns into a beep..beep..beep.. as the bobbin gently and surely rises …. a strike is made … resistance is felt … and what seemed to be the characteristic knock-knock-knock fight of a perch is felt … but later the fish comes to the surface … long and thin … it’s an eel! 🙂 Netted, weighed in a 1lb 1oz, photo’d (not easy!! LOL) and set off to grow bigger….

2020-06-01 Steve - 1lb 1oz Eel

Steve – 1lb 1oz Eel

1100 – the meat is replaced by cheese (BabyBel to be precise – bought in truth to acquire the wax coating from them to use a weighting when fishing floating baits, but the cheese itself is a good texture for bait in its own right)… and the bait that consisted originally of  3 cocktail prawns is now replaced by one large uncooked king prawn…

1245 – a good take on the BabyBel as the bobbin rises slowly and surely but on the strike nothing is felt – possible ‘liner’?

1310 – a take on the king prawn – again missed 😦

And then until I packed in at 1530 all was again quiet – and again I had been re-casting out the feeders every 30-45 minutes or so plus catapulting out small (golf ball) sized groundbait balls.

SO … saved the blank again … thanks to the eel which actually is the second biggest I’ve ever caught … the biggest having been caught during the 1978-79 season in the River Severn at Bridgnorth and weighed 1lb 8oz … and which, I’m now sorry to say, tasted delightful after being cleaned and grilled with butter….

OBSERVATIONS

Prawns were again a saviour!

Mr Henry Heron was, as usual at this pool, in residence all day trying hard to earn himself a crumb although I must say he wasn’t having much luck from what I saw … unlike the seagulls on the pool on my previous visit who I saw take at least a dozen sprat sized fish…

2020-06-01 Henry The Heron 04

Henry The Heron

PLANS

Liz and I are planning a trip out on Thursday or Friday – dependant on weather, it seems that it may be a bit wet on Thursday but… anyway, already sourced our maggots this morning for the trip 🙂

Session 15 – Bream, Carp, Roach, Perch And The Prawn

Friday May 29th, 0515, I set off for a day at a club pool, this time in sunny Staffs (AA-BP) arriving at 0600. However, on my last visit I discovered that my usual route had been hindered by road works and one major length of roadway I use had been completely closed (“except for access to frontages”) and I had to do a lengthy diversion. So, this time I headed directly to the pool using the same route but going directly to the ‘diversion’ without the need to do turn arounds etc. … it was only on my way home at the end of the session that I discovered the road had been re-opened! Oh well, LOL!

Having arrived I’d already decided on the peg I intended to fish this session – one of my two favourites that have usually served me well, the other being the peg I fished on my last visit (Session 12). The two swims are diagonally opposite to each other this one being at the near end and far side of the pool and the other one being at the far end and near side. Also this peg faces into open water whilst the other faces across to an island.

The chosen peg I’ve not actually fished in a while – possibly fished it once last spring – as the island peg has a bit of a magnetic pull on me…

Peg 25

The Pool At 0610

So, the usual routine performed – bait up, set station and all kit – I made my first cast at 0630 with the usual 4AAA driftbeater float setup, size 10 hook with worm, fished laid on.

By 0815 the sum reward of my efforts was – NOWT! Despite the float bobbing, rising, getting dragged, etc I could not connect with one fish at all … and I’d also tried sweetcorn in the meantime which resulted in far less interest … but then it happened …

I tried a small cooked ‘cocktail’ prawn – to be honest I do prefer pieces of raw king prawn (TIP: Aldi do the best and cheapest ones!) which I find to be far better than any type pre-cooked versions – but they were the only ones I’d taken (more to add to the groundbait than anything else). Anyway, epiphany! Five minutes after casting out I was playing and landing a nice 3lb 6oz bream…

2020-05-29 Steve - 3lb 6oz Bream #1

Steve – 3lb 6oz Bream #1

… and 15 minutes later the float sailed away again and a 6oz perch was soon posing for his portrait…

2020-05-29 6oz Perch

6oz Perch

… and another 10 minutes later a 4lb 7oz mirror carp arrived in the landing net…

2020-05-29 Steve - 4lb 7oz Mirror Carp

Steve – 4lb 7oz Mirror Carp

It then went quiet – or rather I did have a few takes which were missed and this led to a trial of a few other baits – worm, bread, sweetcorn, and anchovy paste. Of the new baits, bread did entice one fish at around 1030 but unfortunately it took sanctuary in the marginal lily pads to my right and snapped my line just above the quick-link to which I attach my hook lengths. Quick-link and hook length were replaced and further casts with bread failed to produce any further action so I switched back to prawn baits at around 1055 and almost immediately hooked a fish but unfortunately the hookhold gave way a few seconds later and the fish was gone.

1105 … the float rises and moves slowly across the surface – strike – and I play a 4lb 4oz bream to the landing net…

2020-05-29 Steve - 4lb 4oz Bream

Steve – 4lb 4oz Bream

So, now at 1105, the two hour lull begins with very little activity apparent – apart from the surface feeding carp who are starting to wake up it seems…

1315 marks the end of the lull – and a small roach of around 3oz takes a small maggot bunch on a size 14 hook that I’ve changed down to….

1325 another bream is taken on a maggot bunch..,. at 3lb 6oz is the same fish as my first one or an identical twin possibly? 🙂

2020-05-29 Steve - 3lb 6oz Bream #2

Steve – 3lb 6oz Bream #2

And that was the end of the day for me despite not actually packing up until 1500.

Basically, those surface feeding carp I mentioned earlier became a real pain in the posterior… and I’m sure they were acting out of malice swimming deliberately into my line and attacking the float and my rod tip which was touching the water’s surface … also had had 5-6 of them 12″ from my toes with their noses stuck out of the water slurping in carp-ese words which in English would have equated to something like ‘Feed me… NOW!!’ To tell you the truth I think from the gatherings of the afternoon that they are gathering to spawn – I can tell they’ve not done so yet as the lily pad patches are still intact! I was at one pool a couple of years ago – a beautiful pool it was when I arrived and I caught a nice crucian carp early on IIRC – but then the carp started their spawning and within one hour there was not one lily pad left attached to its stalk and with their 100mph zooming around the pool it was impossible to fish due to lines just getting caught on their fins and the lines and baits dragged away where they’d get caught up on another fish – absolute mayhem! Perhaps the best analogy is to compare it with driving off a car park at the end of a day’s outing to a Destruction Derby – and take it from me, the events of the actual Derby just do not come close! LOL! I know, I was that man!

PLANS

Note really decided other than I’ll be out on Monday 1st June on a solo mission and on Thursday with Liz who has all of the week off.

NEW ‘Angling eBay’ TYPE SITE

Dangler Angling Auction Site

See:  https://www.dangler.co.uk/#sign-up – for signing up. I’ve signed up but not actually checked out the site at all yet to be honest.

Session 14 – Out With Liz – And No Blankers…

Monday May 25th, 0700, Liz and I set off for a day at a club pool over in sunny Salopia (KF-VV). However, the LATE start was due to Liz’s refusal to get up pre-0600 or to leave the house pre-0700 and personally I’d have aimed to have been on my way at 0430-0500 especially as (a) it was a Bank Holiday Monday and (b) with the restart of angling after the lifting of the ban due to the Covid thing people are keen to get out there again…

I read in this week’s Anglers’ Mail that there has been a huge surge in sales of rod licences in the past week due to angling becoming an ‘allowed exercise’ – perhaps some good has come of all this! I also saw elsewhere that the same has happened on the Continent too… I just hope that is good for the sport, introducing new blood and increasing renewal sales of rod licences come next year…

Also it seems that the Angling Trust Guidelines are just that – guidelines and not enforceable in their entirety.
From ‘Anglers’ Mail’ again, it has transpired that several commercial fisheries have started to allow matches on their waters again contrary to the AT Guidelines and informers {spit} have contacted the police to report them… the police have turned up and having found that procedures are in situ to maintain the 2 metre – NOT the 15 metre AT suggested distance between pegs – general social distancing have announced that no offences are being committed, and that the law was being adhered to and left without further issue.

Anyway, as it was, we arrived at the pool at around 0730 and there were already 4 cars on the car park and, obviously, the swims we’d had as our primary objectives were already taken and so we settled for the nearest pegs to the car LOL! They were pegs we’d not fished before but, as the pool is very commercial in nature – stocked with everything probably other than sturgeon, pike and alligator gar from what I can tell – it’s not usually an issue, the worst swim will generally produce something. Anyway, Liz sat on a dam wall peg facing the front a small island and I on the next peg albeit around the corner from the dam facing the side of the same island. So effectively the whole corner was ‘ours’… 🙂

So, my first cast, on the float laying on (13′ rod, 6lb line , 12 hook), with worm/maggot as bait was made at 0800 … and Liz cast out a few minutes later fishing 2 feeder rods as is her norm…

First fish of the day came to Liz, a common carp of 4lb 2oz…

2020-05-25 Liz - 4lb 2oz Common Carp 01

Liz – 4lb 2oz Common Carp

Unfortunately, it was also her final fish of the day despite having a lot of bobs, nudges and beeps on her bite alarms early on to sweetcorn but a little later even these faded away…

Myself, I was getting the occasional float lift and dip and managed to connect with one tiny (as in 5 to the ounce tiny) perch. Then at around 1100 a carp started nosing around in the rushes toward my right and so I pulled my pre-setup ‘floater’ rod kit that consists of a 1970’s Winfield (Woolworth’s) ‘Specialist Angler’, 11′, 1.75lb TC  rod, coupled with a Diawa 5000 size freespool reel loaded with 12lb mono and a size 4 hook – nothing else, freelining at its most basic really 🙂 If ever extra casting weight is required I carry a ball of wax collected from the truckles of Xmas cheeses and Babybels which (a) floats and (b) when its warm (and surface fishing in the cold is not really productive anyway?) easily moulded around the line in the necessary quantity and at the required distance from the hook – and also has a secondary quality of being a good indicator. The aforesaid tackle was baited up with a piece of bread (about 1/8th of a slice) which was momentarily dipped into the water to add a bit of casting weight and cast over to the area of the slurping carp. A few minutes later, the line started to tighten…

When floater fishing DO NOT strike when the bait disappears, wait for line to be actually taken … in fact, its better to watch the line on the water than the bait as by watching the bait you can at time instinctively strike as soon as you see a  mouth engulf it BUT usually by the time the effect reaches the hook the carp has already spat out the bait … but if the line is moving then the fish has got a hold of the bait most definitely!

… and the strike met firm resistance … and a little later a nice 7lb 7oz common carp was landed.

2020-05-25 Steve - 7lb 7oz Common Carp 04

Steve – 7lb 7oz Common Carp

After that, with no more surface activity visible, nor could any be induced I switched back to my float setup… and managed a few more small perch and a few equally small rudd….

Later, I decided that perhaps fishing a more sensitively could help and so I switched from my laid-on method with a 4AAA driftbeater float to a more sensitive 3BB stick float shotted to fish more on-the-drop style and dropped from my 12 hook to a 14 baited with maggot or small pieces of worm… this resulted in more ‘catching’ – of small rudd and perch mainly – and by the end of the session I’d probably had 20 or mixed rudd/perch for a total weight approaching 8oz I imagine! BUT I did swap my bait to bread for a while – and this resulted in another common carp, this time of 4lb 10oz at 1330…

2020-05-25 Steve - 4lb 10oz Common Carp 02

Steve – 4lb 10oz Common Carp

Following on from this, switching between bread, maggot and worm piece baits added a few more perch and rudd to amass the aforesaid 20 or so of the little darlings before packing up and heading home – and greatly missed our homeward bound visit to the local!

PLANS

Well, I’m looking at making a Friday visit to one of my clubs’ ‘premiere’ carp fishery – albeit carp will be the last fish I’ll be looking to catch – far more interested in the tench and perch – albeit that I may put out a floating bait or two at the end of the day. I’ve put feelers out for info about the bankside situation with regards to the ‘bivvy crew’ and the swims available… a far distance to travel there if its going to be packed out, and my preferred swim there is also one the carpers head for … so a drop-back option is to make a return trip to where I was 3 sessions ago (Session 12) and head for my second of my preferred swims there – its one that virtually no-one fishes as its on the far bank and it must be a 100 yard walk to it (and you rarely see anyone on that bank at all to be honesty), the most fished pegs being with 10 yards of the car parking – but, to me, the least attractive – and the least productive ones too from my experiences when fishing them.

ALSO … planning to rubberise Liz’s landing net … well pleased with my own DIY’d one … and I know I’ve promised to describe how to do it and my experiences … and the info will be published soon as I’m planning to video the procedure when I do Liz’s net. However, and lucky in its timing really, Liz’s net broke on this outing and we’ve had to scrap it – so glad I’d not rubberised it yet as the effort – and cost – would have been wasted. A new net is now currently on order and in transit I believe and should be here soon at which point the operation will be performed! 🙂

Session 13 – Out Again – And Saved The Blank Again…

Thursday May 21st saw me on the road to a local club pool (SAC-DP) at around 0440 but although the pool is normally only 10-15 minutes away I needed to deliver a friend’s belated birthday present en-route and thus had to make a slight detour and thus didn’t arrive until around 0520. I wasn’t the first there this time as there were 2 cars on the main mid-pool car park (and as two bivvies were up at that end of the pool I suspect the occupants were on a mission of more than one night/one day as they were still there when I left mid-afternoon – there was one car on the smaller car park down at one end of the pool – plus I suspect a car in the roadside lay be at the other end was also another member (certainly on leaving there were three cars parked up there with two members walking tackle bound towards the pool. Bit dodgy that lay-by – and the other one just around a junction on the other side of the road – with regular car break-ins – when I park in that area I actually park on the garden centre car park about 50 yards away which we are allowed to do for a payment of £2, worth it for ease of mind! But, (A) not sure if the garden centre is actually open at mo and (B) its only open 0900-1800 so if you’re fishing before or after those times its not a feasible prospect – so the padlocked mid-pool car park is, to me anyway, a far better prospect despite having a ‘heart attack hill’ to climb at the end of the day – and on this trip I had to leave the barrow at the bottom while I hand carried 2 loads up and then wheeled up the remainder and have a 10 minute recovery sat by car before loading it up!

Over the day quite a few others arrived too and still arriving for late afternoon and evening sessions as I left.

So, arrived, loaded the barrow and headed off down to the waterside to find an available swim – the pool has 60+ pegs but around half have been closed to conform to conform to the Angling Trust 15 metre (WHY ‘metres’??? We are no longer in Europe – about time we reverted back to proper Imperial measurements! So its actually 16 yards 1 foot 7 and a half inches, to me 16 yards is a close enough approximation and it would have been 15 yards if we were talking Imperial in the first place I suspect)…. The pegs are supposed to have been marked with paint sprayed green ticks for ‘available’ and red crosses for ‘do not use’ on both the platforms and the grass area by the peg. First problems there were ALWAYS going to be in my opinion were green spray paint on green grass – and with red/green colour blindness being be most common form of the ailment – double whammy on that??? I could just about spot the red crosses on the grass (I’m not colour blind but seemingly the paint had faded/washed off) and I could see no sign of the platform markings at all – as the platforms along the stretch I fished were made of plastic boards I assume they marks had been washed away.. anyway, I chose my peg, in the area I had wanted to be (no-one along that bank at all) by the fact that after close scrutiny that the pegs either side had red crosses but could make out nothing at mine – and generally the peg closures were alternated except for a few exceptions where pegs were slightly closer together… The club did send out a message detailing the numbers of the pegs available but cannot relocate that message at all – checked the club’s Facebook page, Messenger, my text messages and the clubs’ private WhatsApp mails… and not had a response to a post I put on the FB page about re-locating that info… new request made now…

So, a peg found, I set up per usual with my float rod – again 6lb line, size 12 hook, 4AAA driftbeater float – and generally fished worm or worm pieces all day bar a few minutes with bunches of maggots, bread and sweetcorn but only had any responses on worm and maggots.

First cast was made at 0550 with laid on worm – rained a bit from 0630-0650, sharp drizzle I’d call it, not enough to put my main brolly up but enough to put up my ‘bait brolly’ to keep my baits dry. Actually one of those brollies that is meant for prams/pushchairs to shield the little ‘uns from sun/rain but is great for shielding my baits and can be attached to the bait table (not advisable when windy!) or to the back or legs of my chair and it has an adjustable gooseneck as part of its arm so it can be adjusted to suitable angles eg moved as the sun moves to keep maggots/worms cool out of direct sunlight – also quite light and fits easily into the rod rest pocket, along with the rod rests, of my quiver.

Nothing much then until 0930 when the float dipped and on the strike a momentary connection was made with a fish – not large though – should think more ounces than pounds…

After that, until 1330, just a few little tweaks of the float – slight bobs, tiny lifts – that never developed into anything ensued….

1330 – first and only fish of the day – a small bream of about, possibly wishful thinking, 3oz…

2020-05-21 Steve - Small Bream 02

Small Bream

… and that was it then bar a few more minor float wobbles until I packed in at 1530 in order to visit the chemist to pick up a prescription and to get home to unload, sort out fridge/freezer baits and get myself tidied up before collecting Liz from work and picking up the Thursday night KFC 🙂

BTW – I mentioned rubberising my landing net a couple of posts ago. I did my initial attempts just before my previous trip out – worked quite well and pleased with it but wasn’t quite there as I felt it needed extra rubber’ing (is that a word, Word doesn’t think so and can’t even supply an alternative but I’m sure my meaning is clear) which I did previous to this trip … feels better, like the commercial products in fact, but on this trip it neither was used nor needed and so still awaiting the ‘used in action seal of approval’…. hopefully next week J

PLANS

Planning to be out with Liz on Monday although destination still to be decided…. 🙂

Thursday’s outing is now likely to be a Friday one as we have an appointment with the vet for a blood sample to be taken from one of our ferrets before she undergoes an operation to remove a small growth from behind her ear on the following Tuesday (2nd June)….

Session 12 – I Caught – And Not The Virus!!

Monday, May 18th, saw yours truly set off at 0445 on his first post-lockdown fishing session at a local club pool (AA-BP). However, as usual for me, it started off a bit on the wrong foot – not drastic more of an annoyance – with the road that forms a large part of my trip closed except for ‘access to frontages’ – probably about 2 miles long – which meant I had to follow a diversion which was a much longer route, probably 6-7 miles extra. Anyway, all was quiet on the roads and I probably arrived pool side at around 0530 without further incident.

I was the first person there – not unexpected as I rarely see anyone on any water before 1000 but later (ca 1100) another couple did arrive – and so I could get the swim I wanted without any social distancing problems. One of my two preferred swims on this water it is opposite the open end of a small island about 20-25 feet away, my other swim being diagonally opposite on the other end/other side of the pool into open water (and on my next visit to this water I will give that swim a go I’m thinking, not fished it for quite a time).

So, as per usual, I initially mix up my feed for the day and put out several small balls just off the island’s overhanging vegetation and then set up my ‘station’ (chair, mats, landing net, etc) before setting up my rod.

I took two float rods with me (plus a light ledger rod, a general purpose heavy spinning rod – which is used for casting out  spombs and echo sounders, etc – and my ‘floater rod’ for fishing floaters for carp but none of these were to be used on this day). I selected the float rod with the 6lb line (the other has 4lb) as to the sides of my swim the lily pads were making an appearance and are the first point of call usually for any hooked tench and so you need to hold them away… and my hook was a size 12 Kamasan Animal, barbless. All fished ‘lift method’ under a 5AAA driftbeater float.

Baits – I always carry a good selection with worms, maggots, sweetcorn, meat and bread being my main staples and supplemented at various times with pastes, boilies, pellets (which I feed but never seem to place on the hook). Also I carry various dips/glugs – of which chopped worm and predator plus are my most used – and various  colours of food dyes for the groundbait- and yellow was the colour of the day. However, my maggots weren’t the best – I had a bag of dead maggots for the feed but my hook maggots weren’t much better except that they looked fresher! They had been in statis in a plastic bag with the air squeezed out in the fridge since March 25 and despite being opened to the air in a large bowl they never really recovered – of about 2 pints only about 20 or so individuals showed the merest hints of life.

So, first cast was made at around 0615 with worm as bait (and worm was used all day, usually tipped with a couple of maggots to prevent the worm wriggling free… and it wasn’t too long (0645) before the float went zooming away and my first fish of 2020 hit the landing net … a beautiful tench of, as weighed at that time, 1.55Kg which I reckoned was about 3lb 8oz in proper money. Somehow my Rapala scales had changed from its usual ‘lb-oz’ setting to ‘Kg’ and although I tried to switch mode I couldn’t find the method out quickly enough. However, I do have a scan of its instruction sheet (as I do for a lot of the stuff I carry – bite alarms, walkie talkie, etc) stored on my phone and once the fish had been returned and things were less hectic I looked them up and corrected the errant settings. And once home a Kg->lb/oz converter on the ‘net assured me that 1.55Kg = 3lb 7oz 🙂

2020-05-18 Steve - 3lb 7oz Tench 04

3lb 7oz Tench

So I was elated by this capture as you can imagine!

Anyway, the day wore on – and a fair few carp were cruising the surface – and at 0730 another take… this time a mirror carp of 3lb 13oz (scales rectified! LOL) was landed…

2020-05-18 Steve - 3lb 13oz Mirror Carp 04

3lb 13oz Mirror Carp

… and between 0830 and 1030 another three fish were brought ‘to justice’…. another mirror carp (3lb 5oz), a tench of 1lb 7oz, and a bream of 3lb 5oz…

And all was quiet then until 1100 when Liz rang me on the mobile …. answered just as the float sailed away again, struck probably a bit too hard and snapped off…. and after that I suffered the usual ‘1100-1300 lull’ when it seems for neither love nor money can a take be attracted. OK, I call it generically a ‘1100-1300’ lull but it is a 2 hour lull around midday that seems to occur between the hours of 1000 and 1400 – and seems to happen everywhere and when fishing any method it seems to me.  

Anyway, around 1330 was the next take, something that although feeling lightweight shot away like a torpedo, leapt into the air (although some reeds obscured a clear view and so I couldn’t identify it), and shed the hook.

1415… and a 4lb 5oz bream succumbs to my charms…

2020-05-18 Steve - 4lb 5oz Bream 02

4lb 5oz Bream

1445 – another lost fish due to a hook slippage…

1515 – a lovely fully scaled mirror carp of 3lb 15oz

And that was the end of day for me as I packed up at 1530 as I needed to visit Sainsbury’s in Wolves City Centre for diesel for the motor on the way home….

PLANS

I’m planning a trip to another club’s pool (SAC-DP) on Thursday – so as that’s tomorrow as I writing this most of the rest of my day today will be prepping tackle, bait and sustenance. Yesterday I managed to get fresh maggots fairly locally – my usual source is always closed on Tuesdays anyway and not sure if they are dealing yet in any way or form and another source that was suggested to me I rang to check but was having had no maggots in until Thursday. Anyway, I got 4 pints which should cover my trip tomorrow and a trip on Monday with Liz although venue yet undecided.

So, its a good morning from me, catch up with you again soon!!

BACK TO THE WATERS!!! SOON – AND NOT TOO SOON!!

So March 25th we went into ‘lockdown’ – for most people it started around 0001 on that day but for myself it didn’t happen until midday … as, as I said in the ‘report’ of the day, I don’t read newspapers and watch TV news broadcasts even to the point of switching channel if there is a sniff of one about to start – and nothing has changed there since I must say!! If I don’t see/hear the things directly via my own organs of sense then being e-mailed or via Facebook are usually my only other sources…. but even then I only read/listen if it looks like it might be something that applies to me personally….

BTW… it was announced today that night fishing is now also allowed after talks between the Angling Trust and the government. Under the general rules currently in force you are allowed to travel out to exercise BUT have to be back home by nightfall … however, as I say angling has been given a special exclusion from this requirement so night fishing is now allowed again.

Anyway, time has passed, the great lockdown is giving way, and various activities, including angling, now sanctioned to be allowable…. and I’m still alive … LOL!

So … angling actually got allowed from Wednesday 13th May legally … some waters opened immediately … others remained closed whilst ‘measures’ were put in place mainly due to the wishes of the land owners rather than the entities that control the actual fishing (eg clubs who lease the fishing rights). Three waters for which I either have a season card for or am a member of the club opened their waters immediately and two others delayed to perform determine which pegs they would open or close on each of their waters. However, all my clubs’ waters are now re-opened to fishing … which can’t be bad!

I’ve not actually got out myself yet – had things to do plus sorting out baits, etc meantime – but I will be out Monday 18th all being well – and I’m hoping to be at the pool side by 0600, if not before! 🙂

Tackle sorted – a few days ago I dug a bait tub full of worms from the worm pit – yesterday made some ‘special’ boilies and paste – later today I’ll be going through my bait fridge to check out my frozen particles, try to revive the maggots that have been suffocated and stored cold (been like that for a while so it may take 2-3 days before they re-awaken). Plenty of dead maggots, frozen old groundbait (although a bit stinky when last used, so may need to discard that), old cheese (covered totally in a blue furry jacket and like Loudon Wainwrights III’s “Dead Skunk” is ‘stinkin’ to hiiiggh heaven’ so probably going to the foxes and badgers! 🙂 Also loads of other stuff in there long forgotten I suspect! Sunday will be a trip to Sainsbury’s for my crusty cobs and other munchies for Monday’s midday snack. Anyway, all on track for that day 🙂

AND … over the ‘layoff’ I’ve been tackle-tinkering …done a couple of ‘semi-major’ things and many minor ones (changing types of swivels and clips, switching from round soft shot to Dinsmore Grippa Styx style where possible – basically, I now use Styx AAA to No.6 shotting – AAA being the biggest available – for SSG and bigger I’ll have to use standard round shot and I’ve never find a use for weights smaller than No.6 although I do have a dispenser with standard No. 8’s in it so if I did ever need such then I’d use them.

‘Semi-major’ items include (A) a system of extension arms to sit on my rod pod and (B) DIY landing net rubberisation.

  • Rod pods as standard are built so that rods lie on a line parallel to each other. Great if you’re fishing 2 rods 20 yards or more directly out in front of you BUT if you wish to fish with baits perhaps 50 yards apart then the line from the tip of at least one rod will be angled – so increased resistance and desensitizing any movement on a bobbin. Not a problem with self-hooking/bolt rigs but I like to hook my own fish not let my tackle do it for me (to me, the actual point of capture of a fish is the moment the hook is set, the landing an extension from that) and rarely fish any ledger weights of over 1oz (25g) which in itself is a rare occurrence and 90% of the time I use 3g-14g weights. Anyway, my ‘mod’ is a pair of arms, each 2 feet long and have 3 positions along them, that screw in to the usual head/alarm fixtures. I don’t envisage using both arms at any one time actually but if I needed to I could. Anyway, just attaching one arm would allow the rods to open out to an angle of 30’-40’ thus the rod could be aligned almost perfectly along the line direction ie the line not angled at the tip ring. And, yes, banksticks could be used BUT not many places these days are bankstick friendly – hardcore pitches and wooden platforms tending towards the norm now AND also banksticks tend to wobble, don’t end up giving exactly the 100% alignment that would be liked, etc … I 100% prefer to use a pod if using 2 rods – and even if only using 1 rod I find it easier, quicker to set up perfectly to your desires and sturdier to use a pod PLUS if you need to move the rod around a few degrees, just pick up the pod and point where you want it to without hassle.
  • I have a fold-down 30” pear/oval shaped net that I use for all but my pike fishing – a great net size BUT the mesh is not rubberised and after using rubberised nets for pike fishing I find them far far better than just fabric mesh which when wetted is heavy to lift from the water (also takes a long time to dry out at the end of the day) – I suppose when the mesh gets rubberised that air get trapped in the fabric which adds buoyancy? Anyway, I find them far easier to use and manipulate… SO… I bought a 30” rubberised spoon net, manufactured by the same company as my original, but bought it mail order … BUT on receipt I found it does not fold down and thus is always in its full 30” glory and a pain to carry and transport to swims etc from the car – and imagine difficult to get on a bus with. Still, I had a good thought – just take the rubberised mesh off its frame and put it on the fold-down frame… HOWEVER, despite both nets being 30” the rubberised one was more circular in shape and thus of smaller circumference to the pear/oval one! UMMPPPHHHH!!! However a solution (literally) was discovered on YouTube when I searched for ‘rubberising nets’ which threw up 3 videos (all from USA) on how to DIY it! Basically covering with a rubber paint (the solution, get it?) either by dipping from a can version or using a spray-on version. I’ve used the latter and it appears to work well although I’ve used a whole 400ml spray can (3 coats applied though) and so not enough to do Liz’s nets. However, I’ve ordered a 750ml dip/brush-on can now which will allow me to add another 2-3 coats on my own net and do 5 coats or so on Liz’s.

Anyway, I’m pleased with the results of both (A) and (B) although I’ve not had chance to try ‘in the wild/in anger’ as they say but garden testing has proved to be good. I’ll post more in detail about how-to’s and what you need after trying both items successfully in a real situation.

Right signing off now – got that fridge and freezer to dig in to! Nose clips on and …. submerge!! LOL

Tight lines to all in the restart of our lives!!

Session 11 – Fishing In Lockdown….

Tuesday, 24th March I headed off to a club pool for my first-of-the-week session and arrived onsite at around 0700. No-one else there on arrival but not surprising as even on a gloriously sunny and warm day like the day itself I find no-one else usually arrives waterside anywhere before 1000…

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Anyway, took pic and posted on Facebook and then was when I found out we were supposed to be in ‘lockdown’ – stupid thing to do anyway in my opinion – from other postings on there . One of the things that happen I suppose when you haven’t read a newspaper or watched a TV news broadcast in at least 10 years or more – 15 years probably closer to the truth. The closest I get to ‘keeping up with the news’ is via Facebook postings – but, in all honesty, I do buy the Sun newspaper for 2 weeks in January every year – but that’s only to get the vouchers for Sun Holidays – take paper home, cut out coupons or store codes and paper itself goes into recycling unread. All the interesting news I need/want to know about is in the pages of my angling magazines/papers!

Oh well, I was there then so decided to carry on for a few hours, seemed pointless to just turn back after all the effort I’d made to be there… so did fish for a couple of hours – laid-on worm – did get one slight nudge early on but then nothing. So headed home….for a boring few weeks … a good job I’ve about 1000 hours of angling videos to watch and several hundred fishing books that have not yet been read! Might even do some jobs around the house if I can motivate myself!

My Dad’s words of the 60’s, maybe 70’s, are starting to ring true …. that we are starting to live such a sterile existence that in times to come when you visit the supermarket , with your shopping, you’ll be given a sachet of soil that will supply the minerals and provide germs and the bacteria to boost your personal immunity systems that have been washed from your vegs and removed via processing. So very true! … and I can foresee unless we change the human race will have disappeared from the Earth faster than the dinosaurs – here one minute, gone the next – and suspect that will be pre-Year 3000 the way things are going…