Session 28 – Third Visit To The New Club Pool

Tuesday, July 16th, in a change from the usual Monday outing due to other commitments on that day, saw me head off to the main pool (SAC-DP) of the new club I joined in May of this year for my third visit there….

As per my new plans for my outings I set off out at 0700 having set the alarm clock for 0600 instead of the usual 0415-0430 – and it seemingly worked well in regards to the end of day fatigue I usually suffered – and that was with extending my usual end time by another hour or so – starting to pack up the gear at 1630 rather than 1500-1530 as I’d been doing.

Despite it being only a 10-15 minute trip from home I didn’t actually make my first cast until 0830 though … the extra time being taken up by driving down to the pool on arrival to drop off the gear, driving back up to the car park and then walking back to the tackle and barrowing it to the intended swim (Peg 25) PLUS mixing feed and pre-feeding the swims and then prepping 3 rods, one of which I had to strip down and re-tackle due to a tangle that had accumulated en-route, and then laying out mats, nets, cameras, etc.

On my original arrival at the car park there were already 5-6 cars there – and it looked like a group were intending to have an informal friendly match between themselves but I didn’t see any evidence of that actually during the day … as a canal topping reservoir it is a big pool though, possibly 60 pegs or more so there would be no problem anyway and I was well away from my nearest neighbour.

A nice mild morning on arrival with light to zero breeze throughout the day – the wind turbo on a small island (in photos) that, along with solar panels, powers an aeration pump or possibly a water pump often stopped rotating…

Before tackling up and other preps the usual pre-feeding was performed which consisted of small quantities of maggots catapulted to the outside near corner of the right hand marginal lily patch which I intended to float fish for the first part of the day (until around 1130) and I also catapulted golf ball sized cereal and particle balls out towards the island in front for the second part of the day in which I intended to ledger…

So, 0830, first cast…

I decided that I’d float fish with maggot and worm in the pre-fed area just off the marginal lily pad patch and so the float rod had been set up to fish lay-on/lift method style with a 5AAA driftbeater float. Despite the calm nature of the day I still find a driftbeater type float the ideal for that job – the bulk weight supporting body allows stability and casting weight and also allows a heavy’ish anchor shot to be used whilst the long, virtually negative, buoyancy of the slim fibreglass stem means if the shotting of the float is properly optimised then you can get a large indication/lift of the float for very little resistance/mass being felt by the fish as the float can rise the length of the stem without any weight, other than the over-shotting, being felt by the fish until the body itself reaches and starts to rise above the surface. Yes, for all conditions, for laying-on, the driftbeater is the float for me….

The float line was 6lb BS and the hook in use was a Kamasan ‘Animal’ eyed barbless, size 10….

First cast gave first bite… however, missed it! But, over the course of the next hour or so, bites continued and a few fish were landed – but only bream to around 4oz, a small rudd and several small perch. Hoping a change of bait from my maggots and worms might entice some better quality fish I fed out some sweetcorn with corn on the hook but this seemed to be a kiss of death as not only did the bites become far and few between on the corn but also on maggot and worm when re-tried … and the fish seemed to have risen in the water as the feed was met by a series of swirls as soon as it struck the water…. but all small fish.

So, 1100 came with no further captures and so I switched to the two frame feeder rods casting out to the area towards the island that had continued to be fed regularly all throughout the float fishing session. Lines of 8lb BS, size 8 hook baited with worm on one rod, size 6 hook with bread on the other. At 1230 the first bite, to the bread rod, was struck and a good fish was felt but almost immediately the line snapped and on retrieval the end of the line was quite badly frayed, possibly unnoticed old damage from the previous outing at a pool where swan mussels abound. 1330, another good fish on, this time on worm, but hook lost its grip…. 1400, another good fish on bread, another snapped line seemingly for no reason as not a lot of pressure was being applied and line end didn’t indicate any damage that could have led to the loss… at this point I put that rod away as I felt that with the two rods I was losing concentration by having to reel in the non-active rod to avoid crossed lines when playing fish – and also I couldn’t be bothered to re-tackle 🙂 So, I just fished the one rod with bread on the size 8 hook … and next bite was literally one minute before I was intending to tackle down … and again fish lost … this time seemingly due to the hook knot failing evidenced by the pigtail twisting at the end of the line – can’t remember last time I suffered a knot failure but must have been 2-3 years at least… also a few bites had also been missed.

1630 … tackled down … without a ‘decent’ fish being landed and yet four good ones lost … not good!

But as Arnie said …’I’ll be back!…’….

Whilst there I met a fellow member of one of my other clubs whose pool I fished last week (Session 27) and he was saying that when he fished there recently he had 5-6 bream, something I was hoping for but didn’t catch … so planning to go back there shortly … which means that my River Severn trip might have to be back-burnered even longer! And that’s without the wanting I have to get to another couple of pools that I’ve been absent from for a while!

STOP PRESS: I got home and found I’d a general e-mail sent out by the club with an update regarding planned work that the Canal and River Trust is going to be doing on the pool shortly … plans are for re-pointing the brickwork on the pool’s dam and the main effects will be (a) lowering the water level by around 0.5 metres (20”), (b) some of the swims will be inaccessible due to the work itself and also some will be in use for storage of materials, etc and (c) work is planned to take 8-10 weeks although there is a possibility that it could be shorter.

PLANS: As it had been a Tuesday outing this week it has let little time to sort out tackle and baits and so the usual Thursday outing (ie today) has been passed over and I’m intending to fish on Monday 22nd July at the carp pool of another of my clubs as I’ve not been there for a while. Whilst a ‘carp’ pool – and it is indeed the club’s ‘premiere’ carp fishery that is in general looked after and stocked by the carp/night syndicate that exists as a subset of the club – it does hold tench, perch, silvers, and eels along with a few jack pike and a, seemingly sole, bream if reports are true. I plan to fish much in the main as I’ve fish this past session – float fish for the first half-day, feeder fish the second half – especially if I can get into the swim I hope to otherwise I might have to vary the plan to suit the occasion/location slightly.

Session 27 – Visit To The Tench (Now With Added Carp) Pool

Thursday, July 11th, I set off for what used to be a carp-free pool (AA-B) but about 18 months or so ago had carp added in order to protect the water from cormorants. See earlier postings about the whys-and-wherefores of the reasonings, etc behind this as I’ve already detailed such a few times therein.

OK, started off out on a mild but quite overcast day at around 0530 … and decided that in future I’m not starting out until 0630 at the earliest, more probably 0700, on future outings as it doesn’t me any good later in the day – and I went to bed at 2130 following this trip having fallen asleep in the armchair at 1900’ish and having to drag myself upstairs. So, the later starts, I feel are in order, especially as the ‘early hours’ don’t particularly provide any improvement in the fishing nor aids getting the better swims … usually I’m the first on any waters I fish and no one else usually rolls up until 0930 at the earliest and more often its gone 1100….

I arrived at the pool and headed over to my desired swim about the way up the pool on the far bank – not that far from the car actually as the pool is long and thin (165 yards by 35 yards) – and Google Earth’s ruler reckons it being an 86.79 yard walk from car to swim.  

As you can see the swim has a lily pad patch to the right hand side and you can also see a fair bit of floating weed down the windward end of the pool – what you can’t see is (a) on the left hand side a blue rope, one of several that stretch from bank-to-bank between swims as a cormorant deterrent (but not so close to the swims as to affect fishing too much, and are high enough to allow the playing of fish that travel beyond the ‘borders’… and (b) the underwater weed, Elodea, of which there was MASSES.

Elodea

Elodea

So, following my usual routine, I mixed up my cereal+particle groundbait and threw out 4 cricket ball sized balls just off the outer edge at the far corner of the lily patch followed by few pouches of catapulted maggots. Over the day, this feed was supplemented by 1 or 2 golf ball sized balls of the cereal feed and a small spraying of maggots.

The ‘station’ was laid out, with rod tackled up and equipment and baits to hand and first cast made at around 0645 with the float rod, 6lb line, 3AAA bodied antenna, 16 hook, maggot bait … and first fish, a small perch (one of about easily 25+ over the day) was landed at 0700…

However, the submerged elodea was making life quite difficult and was catching up the bait and shot and preventing the float cocking correctly most casts. However, I do carry a small, castable, weed rake and have done so for several seasons but it had never been used previously for the purpose of its intent although it has been used several times to aid the rescuing of vegetation trapped lures, etc (and several rakes have also been lost in that endeavour when the vegetation has shown Arnie like qualities and won the battle of strength with the 40lb braid to which it is usually attached). Anyway, the rake got a chance to be put to its proper use on this occasion and worked well and I soon removed a far bit of weed (well, over 50lb in my reckoning!) in the area of interest.. And the fishing became far easier, in terms of tackle control anyway….

weed rake

Weed Rake

I also carry a similar device, but with blades rather than pinned bar, which is useful, when attached to a landing net pole, for reaching out to trim reeds or, attached to a rope or the braided line and thrown/cast out can cut off lilies and other obstructions close to their roots.

Anyway, its propensity may actually be a blessing as it makes life even harder for the cormorants and gives the resident fish somewhere to spawn and provide the fry with cover – and if that costs a few minutes with a weed rake to create a small fishable hole then so be it … I’ll not be moaning about that, at all!

Fishing now easier, the perch kept coming although I don’t think the biggest was even 4oz, along with one small rudd. I changed bait to worm on a size 12 hook and … more small perch …. but there were plenty of tench bubbles showing in the area of the swim and frolicking carp over a greater area  albeit they seemed to be in the 3lb-4lb range (since the introduction of the carp they have been caught into double figures) around but seemingly not wanting my bait… then around 1030, a bite and a heavier than usual fish is felt – and a crucian carp of 6oz-8oz is landed – not a milestone in terms of size but as probably the first crucian I’ve had from this pool in over 5 years its was an ‘occasion’! 🙂

2019-07-11 Steve - Crucian Carp (6oz-8oz)

Crucian Carp

And shortly after a 3lb 7oz tench was landed…

2019-07-11 Steve - 3lb 7oz Tench

3lb 7oz Tench

… and then the small perch captures continued until 1330 when I decided to switch to sweetcorn.

Obviously, the bite rate slowed appreciably having offered something not as perch friendly as worm and maggot but there were still ‘nudges’ on the float (possible line bites though) and the occasional lift and float drag type bite but unfortunately none of these fruited into rewards on the bank.

Anyway, it was an enjoyable day – mild for the most part and overcast but there were at time a few drops of rain and the breeze was starting to pick up at the end of the session – and on the way home the rain became heavier so seems I packed in at just the right time.

PLANS:

Next outing will be Monday, 15th July – planned to be the local pool (canal reservoir, so quite sizeable) of a club recently joined but I’ll will be without Liz, who ‘has things to do’, on this trip. I’ve only fished this pool twice so far, both at the same end of it but heard the fishing is better towards the other end so I may venture down that way … but whilst there last visit I saw intriguing signs of movement in a lily patch close by, so I may go and check that out …. Which will it be…. find out in the next thrilling instalment of ‘Zorro doesn’t die…’ … Sorry about that but writing the words ‘thrilling instalment’ just jerked my memory of the Saturday morning children’s matinees at the local ’flea pit’ and the weekly serial, particularly one of Zorro on board a stagecoach/wagon that drives over a cliff face with Zorro clearly sat in the ‘drivers’ seat … and then in the following week’s follow-up he jumps off the coach a 100 yards before it even reaches the cliff!! What a fix!!! … Ha ha ha … the matinees themselves, so full of ciggie smoke from the previous nights showings that you could the see the beam from projector to screen and was never sure if the projector was out of focus or if it was the smokey haze … probably both, truth be known!!

Session 26 – They Could Call Me Jane Although Its Not My Name (With A Nod To The Ting Tings) … Unless They Added Calamity In Front ….

Monday, July 8th, Liz and I set off for the main tench water of one of my clubs (KF/DH/BP). And, as easily surmised from the title of this post, the current run of misfortunes was soon to be discovered to be continuing…. although after a bad start the day settled slightly better…

We set off at 0630 hoping to get a spot on the pool … a recent spell of good catches having been reported including one catch of 69 tench in one spell had put the pool ‘into view’ … plus there was a post made on the club’s Facebook page that on the day the Anglers’ Mail would be there with an ex-club secretary preparing for a ‘float fishing for tench’ feature … however, on arrival, there were 3 vehicles on the club car park but, in fact, we only spotted one pair on the far side further down the pool, the others presumably fishing one of the two carp pools also on-site … and the ‘tench feature’ folks didn’t arrive into their ‘reserved’ swim, well not whilst we were there but possibly the other two spotted could have been they but I would have thought there’d have been three in the group – angler, writer and photographer. Anyway, no else turned up on our pool either for all the time we were there… not fishing anyway but the usual ‘passers by’ (ramblers, dog walkers, etc) started passing behind just around midday.

So, arrived, had our choice of swims and we selected the closest – not just out of ease, although that is an enticement at any time, but the swim comfortably held both of us, is a good productive swim usually but that can be said of anywhere on this pool (19 acre lake actually), and tench bubbles were abundant in front…. all very promising so far … but then I started to tackle up and calamity struck….

OK … the walk from the car park to this water is a fair old walk through woodland and along narrow tracks with some low branches but at least it is downhill … however, the return journey is thus necessarily uphill and usually gets to be undertaken in the full heat of the day at this time of year … and a barrow is more a hindrance than help as the tracks are rutted and longs grass covers even going downhill and uphill in the heat its a killer … when I first joined the club I took a barrow and 1 hour 40 minutes from starting back from the water I was on my 5th sit down and breather and sure a heart attack was imminent and was still a way away from the car! So, given this, its definitely a travel as light as you can venue, and so Liz and I ‘share’ our tackles as much as we can – generally I take my rucksack containing my tackle (pared down slightly) to share to which Liz adds her own minor quantity of personal bits’n’bobs (catapults, alarms, etc), and we take a bag of food and drink, a bag of baits, and lightweight camping seats and one rod holdall with our four rods plus banksticks and landing net poles – still sounds a lot but remember this is for 2 people and really not that much more than a single person’s. All easy to carry between two although we did take a small trolley to carry the bait and food/drink bags on. I carried the rods, the Korum Mat Bag and the rucksack whilst Liz pulled the trolley loaded with bags and chairs and carried a small bucket. Now all of this was fine … what was NOT fine was, when unpacking, that, as part of the prepping the loads, I’d removed items unlikely to be needed BUT hadn’t remembered that I’d taken things out when I went river fishing on the previous session that needed to be re-added … and among those things were my bite alarms and bobbins which were a CRUCIAL requirement as we’d only taken ledgering gear… Liz was fine having transferred hers from her own bag … but didn’t have any spares either. So, a lot of time was spent trying to improvise some sort of indicating system including the old pre-bobbin ‘stick across the line’ thing but that wasn’t perfect and in the end I resorted to a very slack freespool set up on one rod whilst I touch ledgered with the other keeping a sort of watch (can’t be done 100%) on the lines as well for signs of twitching…. all-in-all a far from perfect or relaxing method…. and to top it all I opened my worm box – and they’d become a slushy mess of skins which I should have checked before taking! Those got mixed into the feeder mix…

We both fished cage feeders – Liz with maggot, sweetcorn and, I think, meat – myself with sweetcorn and meat with first casts around 0815.

Plenty of tench ‘fizz’ around our feeders all session (packed in at 1500) but very little in way of actual bites, just minor nudges/trembles/plucks but around 0900 Liz had a small black spotted roach on maggot – not diseased (‘black spot’), just a natural colouration of this water’s roach I believe. Liz also had one good take, definitely from a tench, but lost it to a line break, possibly my fault as I’d tied her a stop knot as her feeder stop but when trying to adjust the length of tail the knot seemed locked solid but Liz was happy with where it was sitting so we left it as it was … and the line break was exactly at that knot so seemed it added a weak spot to the line… 😦

Myself, despite the troubles of indication I did manage one decent tench on a bite that set the spool on the freespooled rod ‘whizzing’ … a very reasonable 3lb 11oz female taken on sweetcorn…

2019-07-08 Steve 3lb 11oz Tench 02

3lb 11oz Tench

 … but apart from that nothing. And the meat didn’t get a bite from either of us – in fact, the meat bait I retrieved at the end of the day was the one I’d cast in at the very start…

Day ended as usual, stopping at the local for a beer and scratchings before heading home….

PLANS:

Well, as can be seen from the photo, today I’m going to have a shave!! And tomorrow I had planned to fish the River Severn but, again, plans have been thwarted, this time by ducks! Across the river the owner runs a duck shoot and its reported that he’s released his ‘stock’ on to the river – a figure of 2000+ birds has been mentioned – and reports are that these ducks are making fishing in all forms impossible due to constantly snagging lines, grabbing baits as they hit the water, etc. So, my plans are now to visit the ‘tench’ water of another of my clubs that the last few times I visited hadn’t fished too well BUT it seems that it has picked up with the warm weather – and it is regarded by me as warm weather pool and rarely fishes well until around this time of year although, as always, there have been exceptions to the rule the most notable being a few years back when I was catching tench throughout the Oct-March period and, in fact, tench were the only thing I could catch at that time!

So…. now feeling confident for tomorrow 🙂

Session 25 – Back To The Warks Avon…

Thursday 4th July, I set off at 0530 for my club’s water on the Warwickshire Avon (KF/A/WG) arriving at the water’s edge, after unloading the car and getting to my chosen swim – which was 50 only yards away – just before 0600  🙂

Primary target for the day was to be bream with the hope of a 6lb+ to break my current 5lb 12oz personal best record… and to that end I fished with a 12’ quiver tip rod (Ron Thompson Evo 360) with 8lb main line, 8lb hook length with size 10 Kamasan ‘Animal’ barbless eyed hook and a 20g cage feeder on a running 6” link of 6lb line stopped about 18” from the hook.

At this point I’ll digress a bit to talk about what I mean by ‘cage’ and ‘frame’ feeders as I’ve needed to place some of each on order as home stocks are getting low and the searching of eBay and Google has thrown up several different versions of each. So here is what I mean by the terms…

FRAME FEEDER:

Frame FeederOK … this is the type of frame feeder I use … body/framework is plastic and bottom ‘bullet’ type weighting is 15g on the model I use.

Used in stillwater, when loaded with groundbait it provides plenty of weight for lengthy casts but on retrieval it is light enough to lift from the bottom to clear snags – one a couple of waters I fish swan mussel shells can be a problem, and can cut the line with their razor sharp edges if the weight/feeder drags along the bottom. Also there is so very little weight incorporated into the feeder itself that the fish are freer to fight and the playing is far more tactile. Also, almost 100% of the attached feed is available directly to the fish.

Its an ‘old’ version of a method feeder really – and can be used in similar manner if wished (and I don’t) – but, unlike current ‘inline’ method feeders, it can be used on a ‘resistance free’ running link.   

CAGE FEEDER:

Cage Feederr

My 2nd choice feeder, used for stillwater and slow running waters. I generally use in the size range of 15g-25g. Releases the feed more slowly and not as good as the frame feeder if larger particles (eg corn, whole pellets, etc) are part of the groundbait mix as, as the name suggests, the contents are ‘caged’ so larger particles will not escape naturally (ie either only come out on the retrieve or get slowly washed out if any water current is present. And contents are not immediately accessible to the fish until they either soften and ‘flow’ out or the fish nudge the feeder.

I do on occasion use other feeders (eg heavy river feeders for use on the Severn (like the cage feeder but far heavier and flatter in profile), maggot feeders (like a drilled and weighted plastic tube with end caps – the weighting can be either, like the cage feeder, a lead strip or fitted as part of one of the end caps).

You may note I used 8lb main line and 8lb hooklengths instead of a straight through arrangement. This is purely due to the fact that I like to use quick change hook length connectors for several reasons…

  • Easy to change to a new hook size, breaking strain as required. I carry a selection of pre-tied hook to nylon (self tied or commercial) lengths that should cover my requirements within the 3lb-8lb and size 2-size 18 ranges.
  • I don’t use hair rigs but at times I do need/want to bait the hook using a baiting needle (eg worm, sometimes meat, etc) and so I can just unclip the hooklength, thread through the bait and re-clip.

OK … so at my swim – which has a high (8’), almost vertical bank and so you need to fish from the top meaning that a long, 2.5 metre minimum landing net pole is a necessity – and my new 1.8m-2.8m Korum Adjusta-Net pole proved absolutely perfect for this. Also a long, 12’ minimum length, rod is good as it allows the feeder/bait on retrieval to be swung in over the marginal lily pads – or for fish being landed to be drifted in on top of the pads to the landing net. On my first visit here several years ago I turned up with 10’ and 11’ feeder rods, the 10’ was totally unusable as the end gear just snagged the lilies or the vegetation growing out from the bank and end result was usually snap offs to get free … the 11’ was far better although still far from perfect and several snap offs still resulted. With the current 12’ then snagging up has been minimal and usually those that have occurred have been freed without breakage.

And …. first cast … and ‘worm was the bait I’m think of’ (Roxy Music parody) …. was made at 0700….

First couple of casts I let sit for 10 minutes in order to lay a feed trail before retrieve and refill of the feed… and third cast saw the first sign of piscatorial interest with tremors and small plucks of the tip … then after continuing the 10-15 minute cast regime, with small plucks noted on every cast, I hooked into a fish and landed a nice chub, duly weighed at 2lb 2oz … at which point I realised I’d not photo’d it before release … ‘oh well, I’m sure I’ll have more and better fish today’ … and now you’ve already guessed the way this tale continues??

Anyway, over the next hour or so, whilst still getting plucks, I engage on a series of bait changes trying bread, macaroni cheese (NOT the tinned stuff, far too soft and flies off hook on the cast oir just falls off under gravity if taking too long casting. I’ll explain what mine is at the end).

0915, first boat of the day travels upstream … no problem, cheery wave and all is well … and I expect a change in the bite rate due to (a) churned up micro-organisms (albeit the river is 15’-20’ deep in centre, even at edge of bank its 5’, and a yard out 12’+ so unlikely to have much effect in that way – even the bankside lily pads barely move from the wake) and (b) oxygenating the water. And there was a bite rate change … for the worse … usually 15-20 minutes to the first plucks instead of the previous 1-2 mins at most.

Fished on for the next three hours with more bait changes (sweetcorn, back to bread, back to worm)… still slow and boat traffic increasing … and at one time I had two boats, opposite directions, passing in front of me and at another time a small cabin cruiser overtaking a canal boat…

Canal boats are fine … but sure every cabin cruiser was doing over the 6mph speed limit and one would I’m sure would have clocked a speed cam had be been on a road! However, one did attempt to be mannered and slowed as he saw me, drifted past over towards far bank, and then sped up again when well past albeit he wasn’t massively overspeed anyway.

1200 a careless driver, in a cruiser, went over and cut my line – don’t think he even saw me, although had I my catapult and maggots at hand he would have received a ‘belated message’ within a few days… 😉

So, I re-tackled and then fished on until 1500 changing baits (inc raw prawn, luncheon meat as well as re-trying the previous baits) and even tried dropping a line with a prawn piece just off the edge of the lily pads in front of me in the hope of enticing a perch but to no avail…

1500 … tackled down … headed back to car in order to drive back home and collect Liz from work. I had the option to either take the A449 or the M5 to get back so, due to the time I decided to head to the M5 thinking I might just miss the heavy traffic but if not then I’d come off when convenient and head across to the A449. However, the motorway was running freely until J4 and I hit some roadworks, not severe though and I hoped that they would quickly come to an end but they kept on and on to J3 at which point (a) I was in outside lane and unable to get across to the exit and (b) it probably would have not been much better timewise… so I stuck to the M5 up to J2 which was my leaving point anyway. Once off M’way local traffic was reasonable and I reached Liz’s place at 1700, with time to pop in for a cuppa in the cafe (she works in a Sainsbury’s cafe) before she finished for the day at 1730… then on to KFC for our evening meal … then back to Sainsbury’s as she’d left her mobile behind! Anyway, did get home directly after that.

PLAN FOR MONDAY 8TH JULY: Off to the tench pool with Liz – a bit of a walk to the pool from the car park so we’re planning to merge tackle (eg she’ll put her wanted odds’n’ends in my bag, take 1 rod holdall between us with the 4 rods in, 1 bait bag and the unhooking mat (which is also a bag)… and take lightweight camping chairs instead of the usual fishing chairs. Have to check weather forecast but unless rain imminent then think brolly will be ditched as a bit weight saving too.

MACARONI CHEESE – STEVE’S WAY!

OK … as I said above … the store bought tinned cheese macaroni is useless on the hook although mashed up in the groundbait might be good

So, my home cooked version … easy to do … all that is needed is macaroni (or really any pasta as suits your whim a it should be effectively the same thing, penne being like super-macaroni sized, etc), a pan and water, a packet of cheese sauce … a sieve … and a plastic bag to store the finished product..

To do … Bring water to the boil, drop in required quantity of macaroni, boil for as long as it takes macaroni to start softening (don’t forget that it will keep softening after removal from the heat and water), sieve from water and put into the plastic bag while still damp and hot, tip the cheese sauce powder into the bag, seal top of bag and shake well to coat all the mac… Leave to stand to cool … Hopefully, it should now be OK … but if its gone too soft then tip the mac onto a piece of paper towel on a tray in a warm ventilated place (the greenhouse usually in my case) and leave until right…. Stores well in the fridge….

Session 24 – The Good, The Bad … And The Unrepeatable! The Frustrations Continue And Appear To Be Contagious!

Sunday 30th June, Liz and I set off on our annual pilgrimage to the ‘secret water’…. Actually, its a pair of pools that are unfished except for 4 weekends (I think it used to be 6 weekends a few years back) of the year when the owner invites one of my clubs to send up to 6 anglers each Saturday and Sunday in return for a £10 donation per person per session which goes to the local church. Liz and I have been virtually every year – and last year we booked 2 sessions each but one of the years we had a problem accessing the water due to a change in the gate locking and eventually went elsewhere. I did arrange a new date but Liz couldn’t make any of the alternatives so I had to fish on my own. As I say there are two pools available, the one we fish is the ‘mixed’ pool with the usual carp, tench, bream, silvers, and perch. The other pool is carp only, anyway I think so, but over the years we’ve fished there (7 years now) I’ve only ever seen anyone on there once …  and after a couple of hours without a single bite they moved on to the mixed pool.

 

The day, as it had been for the previous few days, was a scorcher although the cloud kept most of the direct heat off us. Also the water level, considering that it wasn’t long ago we were deluged and floods all over the country and that other pools I’ve visited since have been virtually brim full, was lower than expected albeit slightly higher than previous years.

On arrival I spombed out about 10 large spombs of particles (hemp, wheat, turmeric rice, grated meat, grated cheese, dead maggot, etc)  between our ‘pegs’ as an attractor whilst we prepped our areas and tackled up…

Both of us on two ledger rods each (8lb main line), Liz starting with frame feeders on both rods and using bread, maggot and corn baits, myself with straight 1/2oz (14g) Arlesey bombs hoping for the spombed feed to make the need for a feeder unnecessary, and over the day I fished chili sausage, worm and bread/crust.

It was just 0730 as we made our first casts and we were soon getting ‘knocks’ on sweetcorn baits and on worm … and then at 0800 Liz had a good take on her sweetcorn, struck and was soon playing a very good tench BUT as it came to the net there was a hook pull and the fish was lost … and that unrepeatable word echo’ed from the lips of Liz! The loss being greater than the fish itself – and it was thought to have been a potential new PB for Liz – as that is the species that we are hoping for mainly on this venue and the past couple of years they’ve been scarce if not non-existent.

So, still stinging from the loss, Liz rebaited and fished on and soon landed a common carp of 1lb 12oz on maggot….

2019-06-30 Liz - 1lb 12oz Common Carp

1lb 12oz Common Carp

… then over the next hour followed a small roach … and another good fish threw the hook … frustration increases…

And, as by 1000 my own bite rate was minimal and certainly getting nothing worthy or possible to strike at, I decided on a ‘if you cant beat them, then join them’ approach and mixed up a bowl of groundbait and changed my leads over to frame feeders… and 1005 I landed an 8lb 11oz common carp taken on worm…

2019-06-30-steve-8lb-11oz-common-carp.jpg

8lb 11oz Common Carp

… then 1050 … another fish falls to one of my rods, this time to crust set to hover about 6” or so off bottom above the feeder… another common carp 6lb 13oz …

2019-06-30 Steve - 6lb 13oz Common Carp

6lb 13oz Common Carp

1110 …. Liz hooks into a good carp … I’m not quick enough to move her second rod away and a tangle ensues … line snaps, fish gone … Liz … ‘Dont say anything!’, sits down with cig and a cup of coffee and calms for 10 minutes … then a cutting of the tangled lines and complete re-tackle is undertaken…

A few small silvers then fall to both our rods plus I have a small perch….

1320 … a mirror of 5lb 12oz falls to my worm baited rod …

2019-06-30 Steve - 5lb 12oz Fully Scaled Mirror Carp

5lb 12oz Fully Scaled Mirror Carp

 … and at 1345 I have a common carp around 2lb…

And then Liz gets some action AFTER having a bite, striking and then discovering that somehow the line has been wrapped around reel and jammed …. whereupon she flings rod to the ground in anger whilst using another naughty word … and whereupon I now run after rod that is being dragged into the water by a fish that is definitely still attached … I hand rod back to Liz … and she lands a 5lb 3oz common carp …

2019-06-30-liz-5lb-3oz-common-carp-e1561986476277.jpg

5lb 3oz Common Carp

… however, just to make her day complete … literally minutes before packing up … I have a tench! Not huge, 1lb 3oz, but a tench nevertheless….

2019-06-30 Steve - 1lb 3oz Tench

1lb 3oz Tench

BUT I was also not without my frustrations…. twice during the afternoon I’d had good takes, struck, felt the fish and the line snagged in the ‘U’ of the bite alarm and snapped – meaning I’d left fish with possibly 20-30 yards of line attached. I’m sure the fish would have shed the hooks (barbless) and line ok but it will still be in the water somewhere 😦

And it appears that I contributed to the fault that caused this to happen…

Bite Alarm

Head Of The Bite Alarm

As you can see in the picture the bite alarm (Leeda Rogue) has a rim around the top of the ‘U’ shaped reel seating … Other similar looking alarms (ie NGT VS) to my knowledge do not have this rim and the ‘wall’ is perfectly smooth…

I’ve taken the picture at a slight angle to show the ‘lip’ protruding on the left hand side but it is indeed actually flat and in line with the lower part of ‘the wall’ as per the right hand side and previous to a ‘mod’ I did there was never a problem.

So what did I do? Well, in the picture you can see, around the roller in the centre of the picture I added a soft rubber ‘O’ ring into what was originally a ‘V’ groove. Why? Well I thought the ‘V’s between the soft rubber ring and the hard plastic roller would grip the line better than just the ‘V’ in the hard shiny plastic…. but what it also did was locate the line against the edges of the roller rather than in its centre and thus closer to that protruding rim on which it started to catch… but whilst it was central in the unmodified roller there was no problem … And I’ve added a rubber ring to the roller of most alarms I’ve had with no problem and positive results previously.

So, a couple of refinements have now been carried out…

  • Removed the ‘O’ ring … and I’ve now painted inside the roller’s groove with a very light covering of Copydex which is basically liquid latex which should add some friction ….
  • Filed down the sharp corners of the rim to prevent any chances of the line being caught up again…

Plans for next outings… well, I had intended to go barbel fishing on the Severn … again … but again other plans have taken over. In this case I’ve decided I’d rather try to increase my PB bream and so now the plan is a visit to the Warks Avon on Thursday… Next Monday, still under consideration and depends on Liz, if she’ll be fishing and if so, where? A couple of venues in the melting pot on that one.

Possible visit soon to a club ‘tench’ water which has been fishing well – a National Trust water and adheres to the traditional March 15 – June 15 close season so fishing restarted there 2 weeks ago – and in the last week a member fishing there went home after 4 hours as he’d had 64 tench!! And they average 4lb+ (3lb-6lb with the odd 7lb and 8lb’er showing up too)…. will have to be in the next couple of weeks though as when school holidays start then the dog walkers, ramblers, sightseers, etc are supplemented by screaming hordes and far too noisy for me …… Attempts are being made to the NT to allow all year fishing though…

Session 23 – At Last + Frustration + Carp Fun On The Whip + Feeding The Resident Pike.

Thursday, June 20th, saw me back on the waterside for the only the second time in five weeks due to (a) a complete bathroom do-over (still not complete, all tiling and installations complete but awaiting painter now to finish the job and (b) visitors from Cyprus (Liz’s parents) were with us for two weeks which included a seven day caravan break in Liz’s brother and partner’s caravan in Great Yarmouth in the middle of that time.

As I said in my previous posting I had planned to go barbel fishing on the River Severn but the heavy rains a few days previously had made that a no-go for me and I intended to fish for perch and chub at a club pool (AA-GH) instead and this I did indeed do arriving pool side around 0715…

2019-06-20

… and the day started off dry and calm but around 1000 onwards we had 3 or 4 short (5 minute or less) but very heavy showers … however, I only know about those due to the disturbed water surface as I was sat under tall trees and the canopies thereof prevented even ONE spot landing on me or my gear/bait/etc… others weren’t so fortunate and the brollies were up around the other parts of the pool.

Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed my session and who wouldn’t after such a prolonged absence, but it was a day mainly of utter hair tearing frustration from the word ‘go’ with me seemingly spending more time fixing/adjusting things than actually actively sitting with a bait in the water – probably in actuality it wasn’t but it certainly felt like it.

As I said in the previous post I wanted to try to catch chub and possibly perch using live and deadbaits. I’d taken a few smelt along with me for deadbaiting as I knew they were acceptable to chub from the pike fishing sessions we’d done there – think we had only one pike on them but had had a fair few chub even with the wire traces and treble hooks. Live baits I needed to catch at the water and to this end I took along my 5 metre whip which I’d only used once before – a sort of trial session on the canal, and I blanked then! On the whip I added my pre-made up, swing to hand rig, of 6lb line, size 16 hook … and discovered the overhead canopy meant I couldn’t lift the whip high enough to swing the fish to hand and so I had to shorten the rig so that I could collapse the butt section (telescopic pole) and be able then to swing to hand… only thing then, many fish bounced off the barbless hook (club rule) before I could shorten the whip’s length … also I had problems with the line wrapping around tip and tangling which I seemed to solve after several changes of connecting method, still wasn’t perfect at end but at least usable… Any road up, as we say around here, after about an hour or so, I’d seven small enough silvers in my bucket – a few others were too large and so were released immediately – and I had done battle with a 4lb 4oz common carp! WOW! Heartstopping or what? At least on a pole you have elastic to shock absorb and give a fish a bit of headroom but with a whip there’s none of that – and I was bound in on both side by the trees so following the fish was impossible and I had to stand my ground and use psychology almost to persuade the fish he didn’t really want to go THAT way by changing angles of pulls, etc… and most of the time the whip was shaped like a hairpin! Great fun BUT despite that I think I’ll keep the whip solely for bait catching purposes although I might try it on the canal again in the future.

2019-06-20 Steve - 4lb 4oz Common Carp

4lb 4oz Common Carp

SO… bait obtained … I switched to my 2 ledger rods for my primary session goal. Both rods had 8lb main line, with 1/2oz ledger weights, and terminated with 6lb braid lengths with a main size 6 hook and a size 10 hook which was used to hair rig the baits… smelt on the one, a live silver lip hooked on the other… However, after about an hour and a half of total inactivity I, unusually, got totally bored and decided to floatfish. The lip-hooked fish was released … but more on him later…

The ledger rods and the whip were packed away, the unused silver baits returned to the water and my float rod was set up – 6lb line, size 12 hook (maggot/worm baited) and then a few hours floatfishing ensued – well, mainly shot fiddling, float changing (must have changed float at least 6 times before I was (almost) happy)… and I fished on until 1430 when, after miscasting, I ended snagged in a bush and snapped off. I had intended to fish until 1500-1530 but after the snap-off I decide I’d just tackle down and head home – which actually was a blessing in disguise as, by the time I’d reached home, put baits away, showered and changed it was time to head out to pick up Liz from work! Normally, I’d have been fine for picking Liz up even packing in at 1530 so just shows just how unsettled I was. I blame the long spell from the waterside – seemed to have lost my ‘routine’ somewhere over that time! Anyway, floatfishing just gathered a few more small silvers…

AND now we come to the resident pike… well, pike in the plural I think, there’s often a pike in this spot but not sure its the same one and I know that a now deceased 38lb’er was seen lying there in 2016/2017 as it was me that saw it! And I’ve also caught several pike from here of varying weights up to about 9lb. I’ll recognise this one again though as it was about 6-7lb and had a white scar on its side about 3/4 way along its body. In the photo of the carp you can see a ‘log’ set at the edge of the water … and literally these pike lie there about 12” out. I tried to photo yesterday’s but although it was lying there quite happily most of the day as soon as the camera came out it, in the words of Monty Python, it ‘went and buggered orf!’. However, it certainly wasn’t going to starve as each silver that bounced off my hook on the whip resulted in a major swirl as pikey breakfasted – most definitely a silver version of ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’ … and when I tipped the remaining baits back into the water it again took advantage of the situation although I looked to see if it was in the vicinity before doing the release and couldn’t see it so probably it was lying tight under the bank or shot out from the side of the swim…

OK – plans ahead…

I was going to try for that postponed river trip on Monday as the water is dropping nicely – however, the weather office is forecasting heavy thunderstorms on both Monday and Tuesday 😦  so its not going to be good to be out on those days plus its likely the river will rise again…. and on my other fishing day, Thursday, more rain is forecast. However, Sunday (30th) is looking good and Liz and myself are already booked to fish a private water that is unfished except for 4 weekends of the year when the owner invites my club to fish in return for £10 donations per person per session (max 6 anglers per day) to the local church and we’re looking forward to that. So hoping our painter can visit and do his work over the next week whilst we won’t be fishing and then we can be clear for the future…

Planning My First Trip Of The New Season… Was To Be To The River Severn But Due To Recent Rains That’s Now Changed…

Happy New Season to all – especially to those of the flowing waters persuasion! Hope you all have at least one memorable fish!!

I have been unable to get out so far although I have done some tackle prep this morning ready for my planned outing on Thursday 20th which included a bit of tackle stocking up at Go Outdoors… 🙂

So, I had planned to go to a club stretch on the Middle Severn but recent rains lifted the water level by over 12 feet overnight immediately following the downpours …. and according to GaugeMap has just stopped rising ….

ScreenHunter 41

… hence the planned river visit has literally been given a ‘rain check’ for a later date … although a river visit is still on the cards next week but it will be the Warwickshire Avon rather than the Severn … and over the last 20 years the WA water levels (at least on our stretch) haven’t moved by more than 6” up or down… and, in fact, before the rains it was on the low side but is now at ‘normal’…. 🙂

So, Thursday, no river outing but I am heading to a pool in search of big perch and chub using live baits (taking my 5m whip to catch) and deadbaits (smelts which have accounted for a few chub when we’ve pike fished using them). One of my Go Outdoor purchases of earlier was of suitable ‘bobber’ floats for the session.

I’ve been reading a book called ‘Willow Pitch IV’ – and I really must get ‘Willow Pitch’s I,II,III and V as its been a really great read – that I purchased at a Barbel Society Day in Telford at the end of May. Basically it consists of 31 chapters, all submitted by differing authors, coupled with some amazing photography and artwork, all perch based… and the chapters range from my first perch, mammoth perch, red letter days and instructional … in fact a fantastic bedtime read! Anyway, its inspired me to go in search of ‘The Sergeant’ now….

If I’ll actually catch perch is another thing though as the pool I’m going to has given up one perch to me in around 7 years – and that was actually found in my landing net when pulled from the water as I was packing up and was minnow sized and not a particularly large minnow at that! However, I do know of occasional captures of (possibly ‘a’) 3lb+ perch so who knows? I do have some optimism towards catching a chub though as, as I said, we’ve had them on deadbaits when piking … and possibly a jack pike might show up too….

I not particularly daunted by the lack of known perch captures either as the pool is a ‘carp’ water and most, 99%+ IMHO, anglers are fishing boilies, pellets or corn – not noted perch catching baits – or pike fishing with sea deadbaits, again not noted perch ‘killing’ baits….

Anyway, we’ll see 🙂

Tight lines to anyone venturing out in the next few days!!