Session 28 – Erratum! :(

I’ve just come to update my ‘Big Fish’ file ie the spreadsheet I keep of mine and Liz’s Personal Best In Species … and discovered my ‘new’ bream PB actually wasn’t – but it was the next best thing…. a PB= with a bream of 5lb 12oz that I had at the same place on July 28th 2017…..

2017-07-28 Steve - 5lb 12oz Bream 04

2017-07-28 – 5lb 12oz Bream

Seems that next trip to that venue I’ll need to be looking for my 6+… :).

Session 28 – Warwickshire Avon, Dead Worms, Blazing Sunshine, Hobgoblin – And A New Personal Best.

Monday, July 2nd saw me on a club stretch of the Warwickshire Avon (KF/A/WG) for a first visit of the year in the hope of capturing a new personal best bream – as it was/is probably the best venue I have available to make that a possibility.

As per the recent norm, the weather was hot and sunny with temps getting to around 30’C at its peak – and even on arrival at around 0630 it was more than warm. Luckily, the club has recently gained permission to park in the first of the fields that we lease the water on so I was able to park literally on the waterside. The walk to the river from the original  car parking area wouldn’t have been too bad – downhill and coolest part of the day – but the return journey at 1600, in the full sun and up a quite steep climb, would have been a killer!


I set up my single rod – 12’ feeder rod with quiver tip, 8lb line, size 8 hook and a 15 gram cage feeder which was loaded with a cereal mix along with maize, hemp, dead maggots and about 150ml of hemp infused vegetable oil added before wetting to a stiff mix – and made my first cast at 0710 with worm tipped with a couple of maggots.

And discovered that my worms – and I’d checked them the day before when they had been fine – had seen better days and were limp and comatose. And the heat of the day didn’t help as despite dampening with water and keeping in the shade by the end of the day they were definitely in the afterlife and breaking up when hooking them … HOWEVER … they remained bait of the day as despite giving sweetcorn, meat and bread extended trialling I could not get even a twitch on any of them but dead worm usually elicited at least a twitch or nudge within 10-15 minutes…

0720 first nudge of the tip … 0730 first fish of the day … a chub of around 6oz.

Second fish, at 0740,  was a bream of around 12oz… flowed by a 2lb 4oz bream at 0750 … followed by a chub of around 8oz at 0805…


So, I fished on but the bite rate dropped a little and it was 0925 before the next fish was landed – a bream of around 1lb … followed at 1005 by a bream of 4lb 7oz …. 1225 a bream of 5lb 3oz (only 1oz below my PB!) … and then at 1245 I attained my new PB, a bream of 5lb 12oz (an increase of 8oz from my 1980’s PB) … and then final fish of the day was a perch of around 4oz at 1315 … and then it all went very quiet and I only had small tiny tip twitches, and no fish caught, until I packed up at 1530…


And so, the day ended, but on the the trip home such was the need for a cool and refreshing beverage that a quick stop off was made and a very welcome pint of Hobgoblin quaffed….

Session 27 – In Search Of Olives….

Friday 29th June, and unusually for me, I actually headed to the lake (KF-DBP) I’d said I was going to visit in search of tench.

I had arrived after a 20 mile journey, parked, walked the 450 metres or so from the car park to the swim I fished, baited up, set up the ancillaries, tackled up my 2 rods and made first casts by 0710… not bad going for me!

A bit about the pool first…

The pool (or rather pools in the plural as there are three of them available) are on an old estate (National Trust property) with the main pool (the one I fished) one side of a main highway and the other two are on the other side of that road. ‘My’ pool (19 acres) contains mainly tench but also holds perch, roach/rudd and pike …. the ‘2nd’ pool holds carp, tench, perch, roach/rudd and pike … and the ‘3rd’ pool just carp and rudd (possibly roach too). An obvious omission in species from my point of view is obviously bream … but being a National Trust property we are limited as regards what species can be added to the waters and what maintenance we are allowed to do in terms of structures (platforms) and ‘gardening’ (bush trimming, removal, etc) – and we cannot use power tools (inc battery strimmers, etc I believe). However, it does look gorgeous…

The water is relatively shallow I believe at the end I was fishing (7’-9’ max?) but away to my right (out of pic in 1st photo) is a sunken dam wall (by a boathouse on the bank) and the water drops there to 15’ or more and further down goes to 20’ or more approaching the (new) dam wall … so the near 2/3rds of the pool is 7’-9’ and the final 1/3rds is 15’-20+’. Most people when summer/spring fishing (for tench mainly) fish the shallow end but the deeper end comes in to its own in winter for piking albeit plenty pike are caught in the shallower end too – depends on weather and temps really.

Old documentation actually records this one pool was made from connecting 3 original pools together in the 1600’s (IIRC) … obviously the deep water beyond the sunken dam would have been one of them, the main part of the pool being another but there are no maps that I can find that shows 3 separate pools … but looking at the weed that was growing yesterday it looked like the area in the 3rd photo could have been the ‘missing’ 3rd pool – you can see the line of weed across the pool there and none further down but the main area of the pool – from there to the sunken dam is quite weedy all over with what appears to be ‘curly waterweed’ growing up from the bottom. As I say, just a guess though….

So, all-in-all a fantastic pool, and appears from time-to-time in angling magazine features especially ones regarding tench fishing how-to’s…

My one reservation with it (all 3 pools really), and I don’t fish there too often in the summer months when the schools break up, is that it can be quite busy with (dog) walkers, ramblers, etc perambulating around in fine weather pre-school holidays – and that increases in number and with added screaming kids July to September. However, the Hall itself is closed to visitors on Fridays and Saturdays, so is a tad quieter as there are no coach parties, etc to add to the public footpath users (although the footpath around the pool is not one – it’s a ‘permissory’ path and the NT close access to non-authorised users usually throughout February and March to maintain that status). Obviously the angling club are authorised. But you still get walkers, etc ignore the notices and pass along during the close but being winter very few do … and dogs are supposed to be kept on leads as there are livestock in the fields but again few are…

To be honest … apart from the odd dog jumping into the water to retrieve sticks thrown by owners who should know better … they are no problem, rarely distract you or come to chat, etc … just me being hyper-sensitive and finding the passings by distracting and alien to the ambience wanted…

[BTW why do dog owners always attempt to drown their dogs? Never seen a dog jump in water yet that wasn’t encouraged to do so by its owner? Surely cheaper not to buy the dog in the first place? And would more successful anyway if they were put in a hessian sack with an house brick before throwing in as used to happen to unwanted kittens/puppies in the old days??? …]

So, anyway, it means I visit a few times in search of a PB tench up to the end of the first week in July – and then maybe back tenching for a few weeks after mid-September and then start my piking there (and elsewhere) in October.

OK! Enough background information … on with the fishing report…

You can see my swim in the 1st photo – shows only one rod but I had been using two earlier and I’d snagged in the weed and the line broke on one of them so I decided to concentrate on just the remaining rod for the rest of the day…

So to start, I set up two rods, both 8lb main line, 6” 8lb uncoated braid hook lengths to size 8 hooks and with frame feeders. One rod baited with luncheon meat, the other worm. Feeder loaded with a method type cereal mix (ca 1Kg dry) to which dead maggot, hemp and maize had been added and wetted with about 150ml hemp infused veg oil and lake water to a thick consistency to hold together for casting…

You can’t see in the photo but in front about 20-30 yards away there was a line of weed showing with a gap of probably 15’-20’ in the middle. So one rod was fished one side of the gap, the other rod the other side… as you do!

Bites started quickly but the tailed off at around 1015 … then a slight resurgence from around 1145 until 0130 .. and then went very quiet with probably around just 4-5 takes until I packed up at 1500. I would have stayed longer but the lack of bites coupled with the need to prepare tea for Liz and collect her from work later made me decide to take a decision to make the later jobs less of a rush … and enjoy a prolonged soak in the bath into the bargain.

Anyway, results of the day …

4 tench landed – 1 @ 3lb 15oz, 2 @ 3lb 10oz and a junior @ 1lb 14oz.

Another 5-6 were lost to hook pulls or to the tench/chub trick of transferring hooks to weed … and one other of about 3.5-4lb I actually netted but I thought I’d trapped it in the folds of the net and lay the net down on the edge of the water while I went to drop the rod out of the way when the tip suddenly pulled round and I found myself playing the fish again as it had escaped – got it back to the net, head just over the rim – and hook hold gave way and fish went….

I also had one strange snap-off. I attach my feeders to a 6” link of line, covered with a piece of silicon rubber tube, to a running swivel on the main line… had a fish on, holding with moderate pressure applied … and suddenly line goes slack … and I expected it to be a hook pull BUT when winding in the main line had snapped just above the clip on to which I connect my hook lengths AND also the link to the feeder had broken too ie breaks in 2 separate pieces of line. I suspect a pike came into the action – as I said the pool contains pike and the jacks in there seem to have a fascination with swim feeders of any type being retrieved and often can be seen following them in … so I suspect a pike seeing the dangling feeder had a slash at it and caught it along with the main line and thus cut both lines…. I just wish they were as crazy about my spinners and things in the winter! 

Session 26 – Not The Usual Swims…

Monday 25th June, I took a trip out to my club’s ex-carp-free pool (AA-B) planning to fish a swim that I’d fished probably only twice before (peg 14) – and both those times I hadn’t had a single sniff or nibble – but it does look perfect…


… with the end of an island with overhanging bushes and brambles directly in front, an extensive patch of lilies to the left and the inlet pipe from a small brook that maintains the pools level enters at your feet – although with the dry weather of recent there was no or very little water entering.

Usually I float fish this pool – 9 times out of 10 using the lift method which works well on this water. However, I elected to ledger with frame feeders on this trip using 2 rods. And I tried out a new groundbait additive…. aniseed is supposedly a good flavour/aroma to attract bream and I’d made my own additive – from boiled fennel – the water from boiling was saved and then the solids were blitzed. BTW to find fresh fennel heads was an event in itself – 3 towns and their major supermarkets, Asian supermarkets and greengrocers I visited over 2 days until I eventually located some in a local Waitrose – fennel seeds were plentiful but no good for my needs. Anyway, I added a small handful of the pulped fennel to my usual groundbait mix and fired out a few catapults of that to just short of the island and a few ‘pults of maggots were placed just off the edge of the lily patch (for possible float fishing later) before tackling up.

First casts with the groundbait loaded feeders were made at around 0720 to the island with hookbaits of bread and worm…. small balls of groundbait and maggots were catapulted out about half hourly but to no avail. There were fish about – a couple of small carp swirled and rudd were dotting the surface but I think all their interest was in grabbing the multitudes of hatching midges…

So, come 0930, with nothing doing, I decided to have a walk around the pool to see what was happening elsewhere. First thing I noticed was that the pool in the current conditions (dry for a long spell) would have been quite clear normally but due to the newly stocked carp and their diggings it was now quite coloured. Second thing I noticed was I had the pool all to myself – and didn’t see anyone else all day long after either. Third thing was that the main area of fish activity seemed to be at the opposite end of the pool to where I was set up – as usual!!! So I decided to move my tackle down that end to peg 1 …. also a peg I’d also only fished twice with the same results as 14!

s-l1600Luckily, well by considered choice really, I have a Ford Galaxy 7-seater and only have 4 seats in situ (driver and front passenger and middle left and centre), with the 2 rear seats and middle right removed which means I have a long clear channel from the back of the driver’s seat to the rear hatch door for long items (rods, etc) plus plenty of room for bags and seats… and this made the move easy as I didn’t even need to pack down seats or rod pods – just pushed in set up…. and the rods, fully tackled, and the landing net were fitted to the roof bars with twist ties….. which are very useful things to have anyway. When sea fishing the rods and rests are bound together with them for transporting and when pier fishing they can be fashioned around any railings to act as secure rod rest/holders. And inexpensive too … think ours came from Aldi several years ago….


So, down to peg 1 I drove and I quickly unpacked and laid out my gear … and cast out with the same set up and baits as previously….. and another two hours passed by with only small nudges on the buzzers and bobbins….


SO… at 1145 I elected to pack up the ledger kit completely and to get out my float rod and to float fish off the edge of the lily pads where I’d been feeding maggots throughout my time there….

By the time I’d packed away the rods and pods and buzzers, etc and set up the float rod with a size 12 hook and a 4AAA antenna shotted to fish on the drop it was now 1230 before I made the first cast with a bunch of 6 maggots…

And first cast, first fish of the day …. a perch around 4oz …. and for the rest of the day until packing up at 1530, using maggot and worm baits, I landed 6 perch of 2oz-6oz and a rudd of around 4oz.

So nothing major came to the net … in fact the landing net didn’t even get damp ….. but it was an enjoyable if not exceedingly hot day (temps around 28/29’C). Aniseed didn’t seem to be a wonder attractor either – perhaps it was TOO strong?? Will have to try it again in lesser quantity … more of ‘an hint of’…?

Plans for next outing …. Friday 29th … a club’s estate pool with mainly tench plus some silvers, perch, pike and eels … and hopes of a possible new PB tench.

Session 25 – The Special Invitation Day…

Sunday 17th June, Liz and I set off for our annual trek to a pool that is totally unfished for 48 weeks of the year but for 4 weekends the owner gives an invitation to members of my club to visit in return for charity donations for the local church. In essence, each Saturday and Sunday, in the allotted period, 6 anglers are allowed on to the two pools on the estate on each of the days with each angler making a £10 donation to the charity. Spots have to be pre-booked with, and donations sent to, the club secretary.

Liz and I have made a visit to these waters every year since 2012 – although one year we had a problem with physical access to the waters (the method of access changed and we didn’t know) and we had to go elsewhere but problem was resolved and we were given an alternative date for our spot but Liz couldn’t make the new date and I had to go on my own.

Its a very quiet place, off the beaten track, and on land usually shared with cows and bulls – but this year they had been replaced by sheep…. Not a bad thing really as those bovines had a thing about tasting the cars and gave them a good licking all over! By the end of the day you usually emptied the car’s windscreen wash bottle clearing the screen of cow drool as to be able to see out of it! And the rest of the car was dripping too – and a car wash visit was well necessary.

2018-06-17 01

The usual species are in the pools – one a mixed species pool with bream, carp, perch, silvers – and what we usually hope for, tench. The other is a carp pool, but we’ve never bothered with that one as we’re more interested in the tench really.

We had decided before arriving that we’d fish a new spot this year and we were going to fish the far bank opposite the island – in the photo there are 3 ‘white spots’ (actually geese) on the the other bank mid way along? – and that was our intended destination but on arrival we parked and wandered over to have a look but in the end decided against (too tight for two people) and headed back to our usual near bank corner along the dam wall from where the photo was taken.

As we left the house at 0630 a light drizzle had just started but soon after arrival at the water it had cleared and became sunny and calm but wasn’t to remain so… mainly overcast with a very cool breeze – Liz remarked that it was the first time in ages that she’d needed to wear a top during the day time – and a couple of short showers.

We both set up for ledgering – 2 rods each on buzzers. Liz fished cage and maggot feeders whilst I used 2 frame feeders. Baits used between us over the day were maggot, meat, sweetcorn, butterscotch paste, bread and worm. Worm proved the better bait accounting for the 3 largest fish, maggot caught a few small roach and sweetcorn accounted for one small roach….

Liz had first blood of the day with the first of a procession of small roach…

And over the course of the day, until we packed in at 1545, Liz, as I say had a number of small roach on the maggot and sweetcorn and also, towards the end of proceedings, a very nice mirror carp of 6lb 7oz taken on worm..

2018-06-17 Liz - 6lb 7oz Mirror Carp 01

6lb 7oz Mirror Carp

… and myself over the day, had a common carp of 5lb 6oz, a perch of 1lb 6oz and a mini tench – Liz said the smallest she’d ever seen but I’ve seen (and caught) smaller previously LOL – but still a tench – and our only one of the day.

And that’s it for the day – and all that was left to do was to head for a place of celebration and scratchings! And they had Titanic Chocolate And Vanilla Stout on tap! So, what better ending could there be to a fine day?

Session 24 – I Know I Keep Carpin’ On But…..

Friday 15th June and it was off to a club pool … AA-GH … for a bit of carpin’ and a bit of hopin’ for some bream and chub as this pool contains good fish of all those species and others….


I arrived at the waterside at around 0700 and cast out my Deeper Sonar fish/depth finder – main depth in this pool is around 15’-17’ – to see if any fish were around – and it seemed that the pool was packed with them like sardines! And it appeared they were all lying at around 7’ deep and shallower even in deep water… so elected to ledger! LOL! Actually I was more ‘forced’ to by the fact that I’d left my ‘floater’ rod at home accidentally – I’d swapped it out of the quiver on a previous outing to make room for my quiver rod and had forgotten I’d done so basically… But, at the end of the day it seems that I’d not missed out as the floater freebies I threw in were ‘played with’ but I didn’t see one piece actually grabbed by the cruising carp, some well in to double figures.

So, my initial set up was two ledger rods, 8lb line, size 4 or 6 hooks, and with frame feeders loaded with groundbait and particles – but I soon ‘downgraded’ to just one rod as bites started thick and fast with the first rod having takes before I could even cast out the second and so the second rod was laid aside for a while but it was eventually toyed with again to try to double it as a makeshift ‘floater’ rod but with no joy.

Baits tried over the day – bread, prawn and sausage with bites on all but I only actually caught on the bread.

By the end of my day at 1530 I’d had 9 carp, all commons, between 2lb 12oz and 4lb 6oz and a solitary bream of 1lb 12oz plus had a few drop-offs and hook pulls.



These hot summer days have always been a problem with having to keep the bait shaded to prevent sweating (eg maggots), melting (eg pastes) or plainly preventing dying in the direct heat of the sun (eg worms) and up to now its been a case of moving the different containers around into shade as the sun moved around. Not always convenient and often forgotten until on the late side…. however, a solution that worked for me yesterday – and in conjunction with the new table too although possibly on a windy it may require fixing in another way otherwise the table could get flipped in such a situation….

The solution – cost £5 off eBay (inc p&p) – one of those clip on parasols often used on baby buggies and prams, etc…


It’s very light and rolls up small and so easily fits into the quiver/holdall, it is fitted with a screw clamp for fixing to my table – or to a separate bankstick if conditions require that – and has a stiff/firm but flexible joint so it can be angled and rotated easily to the right position to block the sun’s ray with ease. Comes in a a variety of colours but as you see I chose green – and it did work well in the hot sun with my (unused of the day) maggots remaining completely unsweaty… Again, searching ‘off track’ proved a money saver – Go Outdoors sell similar items at £13 each as a ‘camping shade’….


Well, tomorrow, Sunday 17th June, its a trip with Liz to a ‘special’, unfished 48 weeks of the year pool.

Each year my club gets invited to fish the pools (there are actually two on site – one is carp, the other mixed) four weekends of the year as part of the owner’s charity event – only 6 anglers per day are allowed and each gives £10 per session donation in return for the access which goes to the owner’s local church funds. They are nice quiet secluded pools and the mixed pool (we’ve never fished the carp pool and two guys who did last year moved on to the mixed pool with us with an hour or so) contains reasonable carp, tench, perch and bream. Liz and I have taken advantage of the invite for the past 6 years now and look forwards to it.

Bait and tackle are already sorted – just a case of butties and flasks to be done tonight…

Session 23 – “Move Over Boys Let A Girl Show You How To Catch A Fish” And She Gets A New PB…

Dedicated To The One I Love (Mamas & Papas):

Monday 11th June saw Liz and I head off at 0700 to one of our fishing club’s venues (KF-WLx) for the day. There are two pools on the site and we had hoped to fish the smaller of the pools (a pond really) which is also available to non-members on day ticket. It may be a small pool but it does contain a good variety of species with some specimen sized fish and can usually be relied on for a good day’s sport providing all sorts from small perch and roach/rudd up to double figure carp … and also holds ide, a silver fish not unlike a roach but with larger eyes….



However, this pool has a tendency to weed over very quickly given the right conditions – and on arrival we had a quick walk round and found that fishing it would be virtually impossible as the potamogeton crispus (aka curly-leaf pondweed) had appeared to have taken over the vast majority of the pool and only a few, possibly fishable but well apart, holes were visible …

So, we continued off down the track to the larger members-only pool for the day…

This was better but still provided far from perfect conditions as it appeared that there was plenty of weed and algae on the bottom in the form of blanketweed and potamogeton and others – and also floating patches of the same which on the breeze and with surface drag caught on the line at times …. but by no means made the fishing impossible, just needed thinking about in order to minimise the effects of….

So …. me…. I started off, and fished all day with, a lift method setup consisting of a 5BB rated driftbeater float on 6lb line and size 12 maggot baited hook. Usual pre-feeding before tackling up and setting up the ‘station’ and frequent catapulted maggots into the 2 areas I intended to fish – one area around 4-5 rod lengths out in in front and an area just off to my left about 2 rod lengths off-shore. I started off in the standard way as one would using lift-method with the line, and rod tip, just submerged under the surface which would have defeated the breeze in its own right but couldn’t withstand the weed/algae debris that was carried along by it. Solution… I fished with the rod tip some 18”-24” above the water’s surface which kept the vast majority of the line above the water and although not the optimum it solved the drifting weed problem and I fished on with no problem whatsoever … although when the breeze strengthened at times I did have to resort to the near bank swim … but I was catching consistently from both areas. Catch over the day: 21 perch with a best at 1lb 1oz and several around 10-12oz, a tench of 2lb 13oz and three small (sub-2oz) rudd…

Liz…. started off with 2 feedered rods on the alarms fishing just groundbait in the feeder and sweetcorn, maggot and meat baits … had a few small nudges but nothing of note …. and so we set up her float rod with a 3BB antenna float set to fish with the bait just on the bottom, not lift-method… this switch proved productive and several fish were taken… rudd and perch …which included a new PB perch of 1lb 5oz… and a later perch of around 12oz was taken on maggot when Liz switched back to her feeders…

We fished on until 1600 before heading off home – via a local hostelry, of course, for well appreciated beverages and cobs after a long hot days efforts… :

My next session will be Friday 15th June … the last day of the river’s close season … so I’ll probably go carp fishing (although hoping for bream!) at a club pool. Although Saturday is the first day of the river season I’ll not be out that day as on Sunday Liz and I will be fishing a private pool that only gets fished 4 weekends of the year as the owner invites our club, in return for charity donations of £10 per session, to fish 7am-7pm on each of the allotted  Saturdays and Sundays with 6 anglers per day permitted. However, the following Tuesday, as Liz won’t be fishing, I’ll probably go to a river on that day – the Warwickshire Avon after bream or the Severn in search of barbel.

SO…. for my readers that leaves just one thing for me to say….

If you are a river angler then I wish you tight lines, big fish, blue skies, bent sticks and singing strings for the oncoming new season!