Session 24 – An Encore For DCF…..

Tuesday 26th May I again headed back to the silvers/tench pool…arriving at 0620 and intending to fish, not the usual peg (11), but the next one to it (12)… both swims face the same small island but located at different ends. However, I was stumped in this aim by finding I’d been beaten to the water by another angler who had set himself up in peg 13 – and rather than crowd him on the otherwise deserted water I set myself up two swims away in the usual peg 11.

Usual starting procedure of baiting the swim, setting up the nets and unhooking mats, scales and camera, setting chair, bait waiter and sorting out the baits, and rod rests before getting the rod out of the bag and setting the float to depth to fish the lift method, baiting the hook with maggot before making the first cast at 0645.

Tackle was my usual float fishing set up – 13’ Hardy Matchmaker clone, 6lb DuraCast line, 5BB Driftbeater float set 6” over depth for the 4’ 6” water and I started with a size 16 hook (later changed to a size 12) baited with maggot – and over the day I switched between maggot, worm and worm & maggot cocktail.

I didn’t have to wait long for the first fish of the day as two minutes after casting in an obliging 1oz perch was being swung in to hand. And throughout the day I continued to catch small perch (one was about 4oz, the rest 1oz or less) and also had a couple of small rudd (2oz biggest).

Anyway, at 1500 I decided to succumb to the very cool breeze that had been blowing virtually all day, have one more cast and then pack up and head home… and had a 2lb 14oz tench…

2015-05-26 Steve 2lb 14oz Tench

2lb 14oz Tench

… and, of course, ‘another few minutes’ then ensued until I reached the time I had to leave (1615) to get home in any case… and on the ‘one last cast’ I connected with another tench of similar size but as I was to leave and didn’t want to re-wet nets, etc at that time I just unhooked it in the water without weighing or photos.

The guy in peg 13 had a good day – he fished float, feeder and pole tactics over the course of the day – and had a nice bream of 5lb 0oz plus several tench up to around 4lb and small silvers and perch.

Anyway, next outing is going to be a carp session with Liz on one of the club’s carp pools on Thursday 28th….

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Session 23 – A Dave Clark Five Day

And so it came to pass that on Friday 22nd May I headed back to the silvers/tench pool… a little later than usual as I had to attend a doctor’s appointment at 0840 and so I didn’t arrive there until 0930 but I was quickly set up to use my usual lift method and was making my first cast of the day at 1000 having baited the swim with the usual base + particle mix.

2015-05-22 Barlows Pool

Bites were in plenty throughout the day – 4 out of 5 casts resulted in bites, and of those that didn’t it was found that the hook was baitless – the worm or maggot bait either having been ‘stolen’ from the hook or come adrift on the cast. However, the fish causing the action were small – mainly perch in the 0.5oz to 2oz range and I managed to catch 7 of the blighters plus a roach of around 3oz and a small gudgeon…

 IMG_0958 IMG_0959

… and, on the last cast of the day having lost a good fish on the previous cast when the hook came adrift, a bream of 2lb 11oz came to the net.

And so, it was a real ‘Bits & Pieces’ day… (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoRLIJJSG4o)

Nice to see the perch though – they seemed to have disappeared and apart from the 2lb 8oz one I caught a few weeks back I hadn’t one from there at all since summer 2013. Quite strange really, as from summer 2013 through the whole of 2014 the only species I was catching there was tench, tench and more tench even throughout that winter …

And… I fished the same swim 3 times in 14 days … first session threw up mainly tench with a couple of bream and barbel, the second one gave several bream and barbel but not one tench, and this third session small perch, roach and gudgeon and a single bream… just shows that because a swim produces well today that there’s no guarantee of what will happen tomorrow.

I noticed the pool water was extremely clear too – I could see the bottom (3’-4’ deep) a rod length out from the bank – don’t remember ever being able to do that before as usually the water is quite murky with a clay looking colour…

MORE ON LAYING-ON…. CHANGE OF OPINION…

One of the problems with long hours with no bites – as happened at the start of yesterday’s session – is that my head starts mooching and re-thinking things over and over… and yesterday’s mooching involved my use of the laying-on (aka lift method) technique and the weightings and floats and suchlike that I use and discussed way back in these postings.. esp. statement that the overall weight at the end of the line does not matter as the float will supply support… etc… etc… I’ve been trying to locate the actual text I wrote but I’m unable to currently as it must have been a part of a posting with a title that does not hint at the required content.

Anyway, FORGET IT! Based on imaginary non-inertial environments, etc… and so flawed in the real world, mainly due to inertial effects, pendulum effects of the weight swinging below the float, and even water resistance on larger shot…

NOW… peruse this article … Laying-on/Lift Method … which not only explains the basics of laying-on but gives good advice on setting the rig up… however, as usual, I have my own refinements to offer, nothing major, just tiny tweaks that add up and add to my pleasure of knowing that all is as well as I can make it…

The driftbeater type float is the definitive float for this method (in fact this afternoon I ordered some more a bit smaller (5BB) than the ones I currently own) … the antenna itself usually has very little buoyancy if any at all as they are usually a fibre glass bristle, meaning that once the body has been subjected by weightings on the line to lie virtually completely submerged then usually only a small shot, possibly one BB or even smaller, is sufficient to sink the antenna down to the sight bob.. {NOTE the sight bob itself is usually buoyant – made of polystyrene or similar and so, in use, it should NOT be pulled down to water level and usually only to about 1” above the water surface to allow for surface ripples and waves} as, if the float is correctly set and minimal weight for the situation applied, then that buoyancy of the bob entering into the surface of the water would cause the over/anchoring shot(s) to lift and the rig to move out of position and require re-setting of the rod-float-shot tension.

So… going through the ‘linked to’ article above here are some slight tweaks that I would make to the text as given…

Not mentioned in the text BUT a locked float is far better than a sliding arrangement in shallower waters although both attachment methods will work…

A… Yep, no problem with that… but you’ll be unlikely to be able to get the complete body submerged without the antenna sinking too – aim for the greatest amount of body submerged whilst retaining the entire antenna above water that you can manage. You won’t need to getting shotting resolution any closer than a BB in practice either (ie float sinks if a BB is added, take off that BB and the body shotting is as perfect as need be).

B… Lines can be helped sink by two methods – and they can be used together….

  • Wipe line with, and/or pour a little over the line on spool, washing up liquid either diluted or as is. This helps break the water’s surface tension that can hold lines up on the surface… but this will not last too long and will need re-doing from time to time.
  • If water depth allows a fixed/locked float attachment then placing one of the shot used to set the body weighting at about 12” above the float (ie rod side of float) allows the line to be pulled under the surface as the line is SLOWLY tightened – and also allows one further advantage in that it acts as a buffer when finally setting the float as per item D later… In the final stages of tightening the line it can be very sensitive and just winding 1” too much line can cause a problem eg the sight bob to catch the water and cause the anchor shot to be lifted and the whole rig to move thus requiring re-tensioning, etc… but, with the above float shot, the 12” section of line twixt the shot and float hangs vertically down when the line is slack, and as the line tensions so the shot starts to be raised and the line starts to take on a ‘V’ shape that opens further with more tension and thus this buffers the changes made in tension between the rod tip and the float itself and makes it far easier to get the correct overall line tension needed. Usually, 1BB is sufficient. So a body that needs 5BB of shot to set correctly is best done by placing 4BB of shot conventionally below the float and placing a BB shot 12” above the float.

C… Myself, I use hooklengths of between 4” and 6” in length (which I find to be the optimum) which I connect to the mainline via a snaplink. I use this method as I often add baits with use of a baiting needle and threading the hooklink through and doing so I have to do things slightly differently when setting up depths. For me, I place my anchor shot up against that link on the mainline meaning that my hook-to-shot distance is the same as the hooklink length. For basic depth setting, I set the depth to around 6” – 12” overdepth adjusting to a fine-tuned working position for the conditions encountered – winds, water currents and bottom contours will determine the exact requirements: windy/water drag may require float at a deeper setting to prevent effects, on an extremely still day with no water drag then a lesser depth setting can be used… and if the bottom has minor undulations (eg troughs/rises of a few inches) then a setting that allows for the shot resting on either may have to be found. But in general a 6”-12” overdepth setting works fine. Shotting – personally I have the equivalent of a BB or a AAA shot as the anchor but it really depends on what is needed to give optimum performance on the day in the conditions… and depends on the size of float used too which is also dictated by conditions…

  • Windy, lots of water currents – large float to hold up against the effects – which in turn means heavier shotting for the body and heavier anchor shotting… which in turns affects the float choice… As you see a bit of A affects B affects A which affects B… so you need to experiment with what works to find the optimum as its not a simple case of ‘X=Y therefore G’.
  • Still, no currents means lighter floats and shotting may be used.

But at the end of the day we’re looking for the lightest anchor shotting as possible for the conditions (although an 2SSG can be that optimum at times due to conditions) as that is the main thing that the fish will detect as being abnormal … but with it also being suitable for purpose ie holding float and hook/bait steady in the prevailing conditions… and with a float that is also suitable for purpose ie a float whose sight bob does not keep get blown down into the water thus causing the anchor shot to lift and so allow the rig to move (tip – allow more stem than usual to allow it to stand proud of the water can help here too).

E… obvious really but you do see people…. 🙂

Session 22 – A Mixed Grill But With Tench Off The Menu.

Friday, 15th May… its decided that after the results of my Tuesday endeavours at the tench pool that Liz and I will go there for the day. Liz was originally earlier in the week drawn towards going to another pool after carp but as I say the results tempted her away.

So we set off from home at 0700 and just a little after 0800 our first casts are made with I fishing my usual swim and Liz in the next one along, both swims facing an end of a small island. I elect to fish my usual laying-on method with mainly maggot bunches and occasional worm baits on size 12 and 14 hooks whilst Liz fishes 2 rods – one laying-on using maggot bait and the other a leger rod with a small feeder with meat/maggots.

The start of the day was slow for me, two nudges until I had one small fish of a few ounces which came adrift from the hook at around 1015 and had my first landed fish at 1130 but it was even worse for Liz who blanked and only had a couple of decent bites on either rod all session through to our packing up at 1700.

Yes, slow start for me but after that things did pick up a bit and few fish were landed…

1130 – 4lb 2oz Chub

2015-05-15 Steve 4lb 2oz Chub

4lb 2oz Chub

1145 – 1lb 6oz Barbel – and as I picked her up from the landing net she started squirting roe and so was quickly returned to the water.

1300 – 3lb 0oz Bream

1340 – Snapped on strike – struck at bite but felt nothing and saw bait was gone whilst retrieving the line but actually hook was missing too. Up to this point I had been fishing bunches of 6 maggots or worms on  the size 12 hook but took the opportunity to use a size 14 hook as a replacement and used 3 maggot bunches.

1420 – 3lb 3oz Bream

2015-05-15 Steve 3lb 3oz Bream

3lb 3oz Bream

1500 – 3lb 0oz Bream

1520 – 2lb 6oz Barbel

2lb 6oz Barbel

2lb 6oz Barbel

1545 – Bream of around 3lb lost as it rolled on surface and threw hook.

1620 – 3lb 2oz Bream

1700 – Packed up for the day.

Surprising, after Tuesday’s foray when 10 tench came to the net, that there was not one caught on this session at all.

It was a nice day out with sunshine and little breeze and probably be nicest day that I’ve fished on this year with no need to put the coat’s hoodie up to protect from cool breezes on the back of the neck etc.

Next session – well, hopefully Tuesday but Liz tells me that the weather forecast is not good – nor for next Friday either – and, in fact, I’ve just looked at the BBC Weather website and rain all week bar on Thursday.. oh well, just have to see what the days bring I suppose… 🙂

Hooking Worms….

A bit of an instructional/guidance – or at least a ‘How I Do it’ – piece regarding hooking worms..

There are many methods used by anglers in attaching worms on their hooks … and just a few are…

  • Hooking just once through the ‘saddle’ (the ‘collar’ that lies about 25% of the way from the head towards the tail). This leaves the worm free from most restraint to its natural movement but leaves a lot of worm for the fish to grab without being anywhere near the hook resulting at times in missed bites…
  • An alternative method is to hook through the saddle as above but then pinch off the head end and re-attach the head, at the broken end, onto the hook – so that there are two sections of broken worm with their open ends together on the bend of the hook… the idea being that although there is still a lot of worm on offer to the fish, by preference, due to the attraction of the juices leaking from the open ends, the fish will be more likely to grab the bait in that area ie where the hook is…
  • Hooking at the head or tail end…
  • Hooking multiple times in/out or threading the worm around the bend of the hook…but this leads to the worm balling on the bend of the hook and shielding the point…
  • Depending on worm type/size, target species and hook size (eg large lobworm or small dendrobaena/red/brandling/tiger worms) then whole worms, just parts of a single worm or several worms may be used…
  • If using barbless hooks then any hooking method will need some manner of retaining the worm on the hook – and usually this is done by placing a small piece of rubber/elastic band on the hook after hooking the worm thus preventing the worm’s escape. Or alternatively an artificial maggot or caster can be employed for the same result.

However, my preferred method, used mainly for use with dendrobaena worm when tench/bream/perch type fishing, varies and I am completely happy with it… upping it to use with larger worms should not require much alteration though…

OK … in general, for all my fishing, I use hooklengths of 4”-6” that have a loop that is used to connect via a link attached to the mainline so that they can be detached/attached quickly and easily for adding baits via the use of a baiting needle. They are made that length so that when I fish laying-on style the shotting can all sit on the main line abutting the link leaving the hooklink clear of any encumberence to prevent the threading of baits and giving the perfect 4”-6” hook-to-shot length that I desire.

However, when worm fishing I do add a further item to the hook length – a small rubber float stop. If I do desire to change bait type later it’s just a matter of a second or so to remove it – and a second or so to re-attach when needed  again…

So… hooking the worm…

  • Pull the float stop down the link to the eye/spade of the hook…
  • Push a barbed baiting needle down a small section of the worm near the tail…
  • Attach the hook length’s loop to the needle and pull loop up through and out at tail end…
  • Hook worm normally by passing point of the hook through the worm by entry at the tail side of the saddle and exiting at the head side of it…
  • Now gently tease the float stop up the link so that the worm is slightly stretched out with the head on the bend of the hook. Care! It’s very easy to break the worm it you pull too tight”
  • Attach hooklength to main line with loop and link…

I find this way the most effective for me… the worm is completely free to wriggle naturally due to the flexibility of the line and the work is prevented from balling on the hook and shielding the point… OK the worm may work itself into a ball but as soon as any tension is applied to the line the worm is automatically straightened out due to the anchoring of the tail by the float stop – without the stop water pressure would tend to push the worm down onto the hook creating a ball… and no foreign body is needed to prevent the worm escaping from barbless hooks. My club’s rules allow only barbless hooks and that was why I originally wanted to resolve the keeping of the worm on the hook without foreign bodies plus to also try to improve the presentation and hooking effectiveness and so, to me, this is ‘Mission Complete’… 🙂

As an aside, I do prefer to hook my worms head downwards (ie head on the hook bend and tail up the line) as I think fish would naturally pick them up that way as it would be easier to swallow the worm that way – worms having ‘setae’ which are bristly hairs at the tail which angle backwards along the body and are used by the worm for propulsion forwards when underground – thus when a worm is taken head first it travels into the mouth with these setae ‘in grain’ ie they fold down and passage down the throat is unimpeded, whereas when taken tail first the setae would be set against that grain and open outwards and thus providing an impediment to smooth passage. Maybe that’s all in my head but I do what I do and found no problem with it, so works for me! 🙂

Session 21 – A Potpourri Of Fish

Tuesday, 12th May, and I’m back on my usual swim opposite the island at the club’s silvers tench and silvers pool making my first cast of the day at 0700 after having done the usual feeding and tackling and preparation initially.

2015-05-12 01

The day was quite blustery – to say the least – at times with a cold wind coming from my right to left and in these circumstances it was imperative to get the right tackle set up to cope with those conditions especially using laying on tactics that use a lightly overshotted float fished overdepth. Too little overshotting and the wind/drag will cause the line/float to pull the bottom anchoring shot along moving the bait, too heavy overshotting decreases efficiency of the setup by letting the fish feel too much resistance…. And the float must be buoyant enough to remain above water even in very high winds with water drag playing a part too. In my case a 3AAA straight waggler, with a 2SSG shot set 6” from the hook and 1 BB shot above the float served admirably. As explained before in these diatribes the shot above the float serves 3 purposes…

  1. A part of the standard shotting. In my case, this shot is usually the equivalent of the overshot load.
  2. Helps to get the line between the float and the rod tip sunken in order to prevent wind dragging the line.
  3. Laying on depends on overshotting the float used, and setting that float overdepth, and then tightening the line until the line tension causes the float to cock correctly. However, there is usually little weight used in the overshotting and when tightening the line to the float without an upper shot it is possible that a small sudden jerk may cause the bottom shot to be dragged and the rig to move and the line tension re-adjusted again to get the float sitting correctly – and this can happen several times. But by adding that upper shot (usually 12” or so above the float) when the line is slack that section if line between float and the upper shot hangs directly downwards and, as the line starts being tensioned, the shot will cause a ‘V’ to be created which flattens bit by bit as further tension is applied. Basically, it applies a dampening effect and prevents sudden and sharp movements reaching the float and preventing the movement of the bottom shot.

Baits used over the day were worm or bunches of maggot on a size 12 hook, 6lb main line straight through. 5-10 maggots catapulted around the float on each cast or around 10 minute intervals.

And so first cast was made and within a few minutes the float disappeared but the fish was missed, and 0715, second cast, a tench of around 3lb was hooked but unfortunately threw the hook at the net. Next fish, a 3lb 1oz  tench was successfully landed at around 0800 and for the next hour and a half I had a few bites but caught nothing… however, around 0930 things started to pick up and in the next half hour I hooked 3 chub (1 threw the hook, 2 landed) albeit small ones of 6oz – 8oz each… and for the rest of the session bites were quite regular throughout until I packed in at 1500.

And the final tally for the day was:

  • 10 tench – 8oz, 12oz, 1-00, 2-15 and the others in the 3-00 to 4-00 inclusive range
  • 2 chub – both around 6oz – 8oz
  • 1 bream – 4-11
  • 2 barbel – 8oz and 1-08

Of those a few were of special merit to me – the 4-00 tench was a 2nd best (had 2 other 4-00s previously but my personal best is 4-01), the 4-11 bream was again a 2nd best (my PB of 5-04 was caught in 76/77 season!) and the two barbel were a pleasant surprise, and in fact I had spoken to another angler at the pool earlier saying that there were barbel present but I hadn’t caught one in 18 months or more from there – and then an hour later I catch 2! 🙂

2015-05-12 Steve 4lb 0oz Tench

4lb 0oz Tench

2015-05-12 Steve 4lb 11oz Bream

4lb 11oz Bream

2015-05-12 Steve 1lb 8oz Barbel

1lb 8oz Barbel

Actually, I think I’ve discovered a new angling technique – tell someone you’ve not caught something for a long period of time and, it seems, that you’ll catch one or more within the hour as same thing happened a few weeks back – same pool too – when I said to someone I’d not had a perch from there for 18 months, and within an hour I’d landed a new PB one of 2lb 8oz! LOL! So can I just say… “I’ve never had a 10lb tench….” Now read next posting to see if it worked! LOL!

So…. next trip out is Friday 15th with Liz who is deciding the venue… she said yesterday she’d been thinking of one of our carp pools but after my results on the tench pool she’d need to re-think.

Session 20 – 66% Successful

Friday, 8th May, saw me heading off at 0615 to one of the club’s carp pools in search of tench and perch… and arriving at around 0700 I headed to my selected swim of the day… no problems getting it as once again I was the only person there for the entire session.

2015-05-08 04 2015-05-08 02

The selected swim was opposite the near end of the pool’s island – a swim where I’ve had tench and perch from on previous visits and so holds a good track record.

As usual, before tackling up, etc I mixed up my groundbait made from my standard base mix of breadcrumb, blitzed Vitalin, blitzed birdseed, blood/fish/bone, and porage oats to which I added maggots, pellets, hemp and corn and pre-fed the swim. So often I see people arrive at the waterside and immediately tackle up, set up nets, prep their ‘area’, etc and only then do they start swim preparation  and feeding… WRONG!! Get the feed in there first, even adding more during your tackle prep if necessary, and so be sure that from your first cast that the fish have been induced to start feeding…otherwise you are really wasting that 30 minutes or more that it takes you to get tackled up…

So, I baited up, throwing out balls of feed along the bank of the island, and also introduced feed into the channel mid-way to the island as a another option to be able to switch to.

And so, having fed, I started the tackle up – and ensured that my landing net did NOT enter the water! An astute reader of my blogs spotted my landing net handle poking out of the water on a photo in my last blog – and I’d blanked on that session – OBVIOUSLY – as any angler will tell you, wetting a net, be it landing net or keepnet, before catching a fish is the ultimate kiss of death! In fact, just after I took that photo I realised my error and removed the net from the water but the damage had already been done… 😦

Two 1.75lb TC rods on the alarmed pod, 8lb line. Starting baits were one rod with a size 12 hook baited with dendrobaena worm and the other rod with size 4 hook and a paste bait that is under testing…

First casts were made at around 0800, with both rods out to the island fed area… but three hours later, and with extra feed being added, I still had not had a single indication of any interest and so the baits were switched to the mid-channel area and almost immediately interest in the worm bait was apparent although the paste remained untouched. After a while, the paste was switched over to raw king prawn but although the worm still attracted interest with line twitches and small bobbin lifts, the prawn drew no attention still.

At 1145 the first – and only fish of the day – was hooked and landed – a 3lb 15oz tench taken on the worm.

2015-05-08 Steve 3lb 15oz Tench

3lb 15oz Tench

After landing of this fish all went quiet with no action to either worm or prawn… and it started to drizzle at 1230… and as the BBC Weather had forecast ‘heavy rain’ from 1230 (and their forecasts are very reliable – often to the minute as it was this day)… I decided to pack down and get away before the major rain appeared.

So… what’s with the 66%? Well, 100% success with avoiding the carp, 100% with catching tench and 0% with perch giving the average 66% 🙂

The experimental paste – well, so far I’ve proved it was not as good as worm on the day but was as equally effective as prawn – but so far data gathered is very sparse and not enough to make a judgement on yet… so testing will continue over the rest of the year…

Next outing – hoping to get out on Tuesday – and probably looking at targeting roach… with the possibility of chub.