Session 30 – Totally Unexpected…

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

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

Fleetwood

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

OK, OK, OK … fishing!! LOL

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

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

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

2021-09-06 01

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLANS:

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

Session 29 – Pensham Bream And A New PB!!

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

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

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

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

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

My Swim

Tackle for the day…

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

Baits used…

  • Bread
  • Worm
  • Prawn
  • Sweetcorn

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

2021-08-17 Feeder Mix

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

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

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

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

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

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

5lb 14oz Bream (New PB)

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

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

Bream 5lb 6oz

And then all went very quiet until…

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

2021-08-17 Steve - Perch

Prawn loving perch

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

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

PLANS:

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

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

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

Tight lines to all in my absence!!

Session 28 – Mower Stower…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

0730 – first good knock but no follow up ….

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

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

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

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

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

PLANS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2lb 6oz Tench

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

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

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

Newspaper Report

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

PLANS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, the hols…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Session 25 – Life On The Dour Stour

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

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

The Stour

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLANS:

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

Session 24 – The Weatherman Can Be Wrong…

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

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

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

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

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

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

2021-07-12 01

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

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

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

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

3lb 12oz Tench

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

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

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

PLANS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIGHT LINES EVERBODY!!!

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

Session 23 – On The River (Worcester Stour)!

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

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

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

Pictures from 2016

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

Weir as on the day…

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

Facing downstream to the weir sill                                                                                              Facing upstream

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

The far bank as it was in 2016

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

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

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

2021-07-08 Giant Hogweed 01

Giant Hogweed

OK … descriptions over … and ready to fish…

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

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

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

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

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

4lb 0oz Bream

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

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

1000 – a chub of about 6oz-8oz…

2021-07-08 Steve - 6oz Chub 01

6oz Chub

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

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

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

THOUGHTS:

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

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

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

PLANS:

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

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

Session 22 – Busy Waters!

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

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

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

2021-07-01

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

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

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

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

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

Steve - 4lb 3oz Tench

4lb 3oz Tench

 

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

Korum New Quick Release Net Adaptor

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

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

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

PLANS

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

River Season Still Not Got Kicked Off!

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

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

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

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

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

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