Session 35 – All Night Long….

Monday 27th June at around 1530 saw me arriving at a club pool (WL2) intending to fish my first overnight session since the 80’s! I had bought a JRC Contact bivvy about 3 years ago in preparation for this ‘event’ though :D…

On arrival I met up with my ‘partner’ for the night – had a quick reccy of the water – and selected our swims adjacent to each other, set up the bivvies, prepped the tackle and generally prepared for the session.

However, like my previous session I then discovered I’d left something important at home again – this time my bite indicating bobbins. However, unlike last time I was able to construct a work-around – I had some thin, very flexible garden wire in my bag and a piece of that with a hooked over at the end, with a couple of swan shot clipped on, and then connected to the rod rest sufficed and seemed to work well – the hook in the wire being flexible enough to straighten out when the line tensioned at the strike, etc. and fall away.

So bobbin sorted, the rods were set up – two rods, 8lb line, frame feeders with one rod with size 6 hook and the other a size 10.

Baits started out with were bread on the ‘6’ rod, and worm/maggot on the ’10’… however, constant twitching of the line on the worm rod as small perch and others nibbled away the bait meant that it was not long before I switched that rod over to sweetcorn… and over the course of the session the ‘bread’ rod was also baited with caramel and cheese pastes at various points.

Now,  I wish I could write of a night of fantastic runs, huge carp, big bream and tench but in fact the whole night produced about 6 ‘single beep’ nudges on both rods – and similarly for my partner too…

So, with rain forecast, I took down the bivvy and tidied up as much gear as I could at about 0600 although I did fish on until 0730-0800 without a further single nudge… and the only ‘action’ seen, other than the hordes of small (<4″) stuff that eagerly attacked pieces of floating bread,  had been a couple of small carp cruising around on the afternoon at the far end of the pool, and a couple of rolling/leaping carp of around 3-4lb at the far bank in the evening and early morning…

Next trip planned for tomorrow (29th) – a ‘first’ visit to the Warks Avon.

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Session 34 – The One That Wasn’t…

So Friday 24th June and I headed off to the River Severn at Hampton Loade, primarily hoping for a chub or two with a possible barbel.

Two rods were taken – a 2lb TC barbel rod tackled with 10lb line and a 1.75lb TC ledger rod with 8lb line and a bucket of four loaves intended to be converted into a pile of bread mash to which was intended to be added a pile of mixed and wetted groundbait (crumb, hemp, corn, dead maggot, etc) leftover and frozen from the previous tench trip of the week. For bait I had what I intended to be my main bait, cheesepaste of a 5 year old vintage, along with luncheon meat and worm as alternatives.

The day started off fine …left the house around 0615, nice blue sky and sunshine, the drive to the water was without event arriving at 0645, parked up and paid the car park fee, unloaded the car, set the tackle bag, rod quiver and Korum Mat Bag on my back, picked up my bucket of bread and baits and set off on a nice leisurely stroll to my intended swim. I passed two other anglers set up and fishing en-route but other than those there was no-one else to be seen. Arrived at the swim, all looked 10/10 conditions wise, got tackle, etc down the bank and started to unpack and set-up…

And it was then that disaster struck … I discovered that an item of tackle that would fit in a container of 3″ square and 1″ deep was missing! And it was an item that made it impossible to fish without … the spreader ‘Y’ for my landing net … and no way could I land a fish without the net. So a few minutes were spent thinking through the situation whilst supping from the coffee flask and munching a few biscuits – and came to the conclusion, no choice…homeward bound… 😦

Session 33 – Problem Resolved – And Strange Happenings On The Line…

Problems of access to the pool on our last trip seem to have now been resolved – and I’m hoping to try to get a last minute return there in a couple of weeks time.

Anyway, Tuesday 21st June I headed off for my first tench session of the season at a club pool (DBP). Its a pool to which a ‘close season’ of March 15th to June 15th inclusive is applied by the owners and thus this outing was of first of the current season’s for me.

I arrived at my selected swim a little after 0615 and set up two ledger rods – both with 8lb main line, a 15g frame feeder but one with a size 6 hook baited with bread, the other a size 12 hook baited with maggot/worm cocktail.

And strange things happened … the worm/maggot baited rod I landed every fish I connected with – 2 small rudd, 2 small perch and a 3lb 8oz tench with no problem whatsoever … however, on the bread rod I connected with four fish and lost all four due to line snapping – or cutting. On each loss it seemed that the line had parted at about 4″-6″ above the hook – and there was no crinkling nor tapering of the line end to indicate stretching leading to snapping due to over pressure – and, in fact, I’d say that the pressure applied on each and every occasion at the time of parting was well below what I’d expect any break to occur at… and not only that but the losses occurred when 12″ hooklengths of 8lb mono, 8lb uncoated braid and even when the 8lb mainline was connected straight though to the hook – AND when I used a hooklength of 10lb BS wiry mono (still 8lb main line) it still gave way about 4″ or so above the hook (ie snapped a hooklength of 2lb BS greater than the mainline…)… So different materials at each break… only constant was that each cast was on a consistent line and at constant distance … so could it be due to some bottom feature?? Mussel shells with their razor like edge cutting the line? Must have been something like that to my mind…

2016-06-21 Steve 3lb 8oz Tench 04

3lb 8oz Tench

Next outing – the middle River Severn tomorrow, Friday 24th June…..

Session 32 – Venue Switching Necessary…

Sunday 19th June 2016, Liz and I set out at the, what is to Liz anyway, the ungodly hour, especially on a Sunday, of 0615… which meant rising at 0500… Myself, its the ‘normal’ start time of a fishing day albeit that I don’t very often fish on Sundays – as retired I don’t have to and mid-week is quieter on the waters. However, the day was meant to be a ‘special occasion’, as we had booked places to fish a water on a private estate that is normally unfished except for five weekends of the year when the owner, leading up to his ‘Open Day’ charity fundraiser, invites members of my club to fish there far a donation of £10 towards the local church’s funds. Further only 6 anglers are allowed each of the  Saturdays and Sundays, fishing 0700-1900. So, as I say it was the day that Liz and I had booked places on the water and off we headed arriving at the gate to the field in which the pool is situated at 0630… fishing is 0700 onwards but it takes time to tackle up, etc and we’ve always arrived at that time in order to prep, bait up, etc before casting in at 0700… And previous years there has been no problem as although the gate was secured by chain’n’padlock it was just a matter of slipping the chain up, over and off the gatepost as it wasn’t secured in any way…. but this year the chain had been shortened AND fastened to both sides of the post with several hefty staples so that sliding up’n’over was no longer possible – and the padlock holding it was a keyed padlock and so needed someone with a physical key to open it… So we bided our time until 0720 hoping someone would appear with the key but not a single sole appeared – but even in this area’s ‘rush hour’ there’s usually only the occasional person passing by… so I wandered to the gates of the lodge where an intercom was situated but there was no response to that when I tried it… so we sat in the car until almost 0800, still no-one appeared and so we decided to go on elsewhere…. Since then it appears that I may be able to get a place on one of the remaining weekends although Liz will miss out – two remaining weekends of the invitation period remain and she’s off to Spain on next Sunday (26th), returning home on Sunday (3rd July) which is the last of the available dates…

Anyway, that being the case, we decided to head to the water’s of another club that we are members of – to a mixed fishery (VV) that was about an half hour’s drive away which we did and had a reasonable day there… Arrived about 0830 to find only two other anglers on the water – but as normal set up in the swims we would have gone for! 🙂 So, as we were well loaded with tackle – at the pool we were going to fish you park at your swim so literally the car is within 20′ of your fishing spot so taking extra bait quantities/types, the reclining chairs, etc wouldn’t have been a problem with transport from car to water – we decided to fish the dam wall (ie the nearest area to the car), both of us in one wide’ish swim.

Tackled up and baited up the swim per usual – Liz elected to fish a single ledger rod with open-end feeder using sweetcorn and luncheon meat baits, myself used two ledger rods with frame feeders – one rod with bread flake on a size 6 barbless hook and the other with a size 12 barbless baited originally with worm/maggot cocktail but later switched to bread as the worm/maggot seemed to be getting the attractions of small (<2oz perch) with the bait being taken deeper than I’d have liked – and one was was throat hooked and despite seemingly getting the hook out OK and swimming away it seemed it appeared back on the surface a couple of minutes later and then became breakfast for a passing seagull…. so not attracted to catching small perch in the first place and the fact of the deeper than preferred hookings I went over to the bread…

And so we fished until we packed in around 1530 – when the forecasted rain for the day seemed to start bang on time… and then we headed to a local pub for a pint before heading home. BTW – you dark beer drinkers – a recommendation to be tried before you die – King Korvak’s Saga, a 5.4% ABV Porter, brewed by the Fownes’ Brewery at the back of the Jolly Crispin pub in Sedgley (and about 1.5 miles from my house :)). A superb beer that lies at the top of my beers list alongside beers like  ‘Slater’s Mud City Stout’, ‘Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby Mild’, and ‘Enville Gothic’….

Anyway, back to the fishing… what did we have? Well, nothing ground breaking but had a few…

Liz: 14oz bream and a 2lb 2oz common carp
Me: 5lb 0oz common carp, 3 small perch, 3lb 4oz mirror carp, 1lb 10oz tench, and a 2lb 14oz mirror carp.

Session 31 – A Slow Day – Carp Where Not Wanted – Aerating & Feeding – and Scale Amiss.

Tuesday, 7th June, at 0645 finds me just arrived at the water’s edge of one of my clubs’s mixed but non-carp water (B) hoping to ‘play’ with a few tench. The last two visits to this particular water were not at all successful with not a single nibble on either visit. But that’s the norm for this water – when the temps start to drop around November the activity from all species drops  to virtually nothing and it seems that the pool is devoid of any fish life at all – and then just as suddenly, around mid June, it bursts back into life and  your next fish could be a crucian, barbel, bream, tench (inc golden tench), gudgeon, eels, and whatever else you can imagine at times…

Anyway, I fished my usual island swim (Peg 11)….

So first cast with the double maggot on size 16 hook baited and fished ‘lift method’ float rod was made at 0725 after feeding the swim with mixed particles and maggot before tackling and setting up the ‘station’… and at 0755 the first fish of the day came to hand, a 2oz perch. A change to worm on a size 12 at 0810 saw a small chub of about 4oz landed… and then changes of bait between worm and maggot and hooks between 12s and 16s saw a few dropped ‘sprats’ and another perch of around 2-3oz landed at 1050. At this point I switched to a ‘on the drop’ waggler style approach and at 1110 I had my first, and only, proper fish of the day, a tench estimated to have been between 3lb 8oz and 3lb 12oz. Estimated only as I discovered that my scales were not working – well, the scales are only supposed to read to 50lb but at times showed 67lb and 77lb when they actually decided to show a figure, so I reckon they were not in the right! Don’t know what’s up with them – they’re currently opened up on the bedroom windows sill to dry out any moisture that may be the cause but there’s only a stress gauge to which the hook is attached and wires to the display – all the circuitry seems well sealed too. Will have to wait to see if the drying out has any effect…

2016-06-07 Steve 3lb 8oz (Approx) Tench
Anyway, post-tench I had one more small perch pop the hook and then one more tiny (<1oz) perch come to hand at 1230 – and after that not a single twitch or nudge of the float… and so at 1400 I packed up the tackle to come home and look to see if I could fix the scales, etc.

EXTRAS

Whilst there I spotted several carp in the what should be  be carp-free water – 8 carp passed me by during the day, of which 3 were certainly different fish as one was around 2lb – the others were in the 3-4lb bracket and as one pair passed me together that was definitely two unique fish – possibly the others could be just re-spots of the same fish… Anyway, for them to be there then someone must have placed them in there from the adjoining carp-only pool 😦 Stupid as it will now cost the club quite a bit of money to get the pool netted and the fish returned to the carp water – and selfish as all the other club’s waters contain carp so carpers have plenty of choice whereas this pool is the only carp free water were people, like myself, who are not great carp lovers and enjoy fishing for more worthy species can go to enjoy our fishing without being pestered by the ‘pigs’… and as I say the carp water these originated from is less than 10 yards away anyway!

Also, last year, the club installed 2 artificial scaffold&plank islands in this pool. The two main reasons being to give the fish a haven from the cormorants (netting drapes over the islands and and down into the water and that allows the fish to enter and shelter but not the cormorants) and the other reason was to house a solar panel panelled aeration system to try to keep oxygen levels up in the  hot summers. On my previous visits the aeration system had not been set up up but I noted today that it is now up and running – and also there seems to be a pellet feeder, similar to the one already installed on the adjoining carp pool, that will automatically put feed into the water over the winter when the number of anglers drops and so the amount of feed being put in by them drops.

The pool, a long narrow shape, already has a cormorant deterrent system in situ too… a series of ropes that stretch across the narrow part of the pool between the swims on each bank about 3′ above the water surface – the purpose being that cormorants require a long ‘run’ to take off from water and the ropes prevents them having this available… you can just about make out one of the blue ropes just beyond the island.

Session 30 – Haunted By A Ghost…

Friday, 3rd June, I set off for one of the mixed fisheries (VV) of one of my clubs, making an early start from the house at 0600 and arriving onsite at 0645 – and  being the first there I made my way to my desired swim for the day…

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Although the picture shows an island, I didn’t actually fish a bait out there – I fished one bait at the edge of the bush to the left and the other to the same bushes but further left off screen.

The usual preliminaries completed (pre-baiting, setting up nets and mats, etc), I made my first casts with ledgered worm/maggot on a size 12 hook to 8lb mainline out to the left and a battered chip on a size 6 to the edge of the seen bush… and both rods soon had a few small twitches… and the first connection was made at around 0830 but for some reason I suffered a line breakage just above the hook … fish didn’t feel that big, possibly 2-3lb, it happened in open water so it wasn’t a case of being wrapped on a snag or anything like that and I wasn’t applying too much pressure… possibly a down to wind knot weakening the line?

Anyway, on I continued until around 1115 – still having small plucks, etc on the battered chips which I changed over later to bread and caramel paste with the same results and  on the worm/maggot rod I had a couple of tiny perch (so tiny that even both of them together would be unlikely to make an impression on drug dealer’s scales! LOL)…

So 1115 came and there were signs of fish on the surface – and one in particular caught my eye – a gold/black koi that had passed by two or three times on the bush line on the opposite bank. So with the lack of bottom activity I pulled in the two ledger rods and baited up my ‘floater’ rod – basically an 11′ 1.75lb TC rod (Winfield ‘Specialist Angler’, so you can tell how old that is! LOL) coupled with 30lb greased braid to a size 6 hook – and the only other things on the line are a small cork ball and a small link swivel that allows me to add a bubble float or other weight for long casting when needing to…

[BUBBLE FLOATS – has anyone EVER had a bubble float in which the plugs remain in situ? I’ve never known or had one… and so nowadays I use bubble floats that are 2-piece jobbies and the halves push and clip together rather than the one piece with plugged holes type.]

So, as it happens, for the rest of the day – which included a long succession of ‘last casts’ which started at 1530 until I finally did pack in at 1700 – I fished with bread/crust on the floater rod exclusively.

It wasn’t long to wait for the first fish to come to the net – a nice chub of 3lb 8oz – and over the next two hours a succession of chub and common carp came to shore.

But the fish were very selective in where they’d take the bait though – basically, it needed to be drifted under the canopy of the overhanging vegetation which, at times, required deliberately casting into the bushes and then gently easing back until the bait pulled away and plopped down into the water. Open water they just didn’t want to know, basically just playing with the bait and tail smashing at it….

And so we come to 1455 … I make the perfect cast across to a small hole in the bushes … and a perfect drift of the water takes the bait under the bushes so far that I lose sight of the bait itself and it reaches the clear water between the overhang and the far bank itself and I just watch the line for signs of tightening… which it does… a strike meets solid resistance requiring a huge ‘hold and pull for England’ to get the fish away from the snag ridden area and out into open water…. and shortly later a flash of orange indicates to me I’m latched into the koi that had been cruising around previously. And after a fairly long tussle the fish finally tires and makes it into the landing net 🙂 A beautiful 11lb 4oz of koi carp.

So, as I said I’d originally decided to pack in at 1530 – but after this I decided to stay until 1600 – which then got extended by several last casts until 1700 – and during which time I landed a further 2 chub and a common carp.

So, final tally for the day…

2 tiny Perch
7 Chub (1lb 11oz to 3lb 8oz)
4 Common Carp (2lb 8oz to 3lb 5oz)
1 Koi Carp (11lb 4oz)

Session 29 – Locked Gates And Changed Plans

Well, Tuesday May 31st I set off extra early to fish one of my club’s pools and arrived at around 0700 to find the gate on our entrance to the site locked with a non-club padlock… Another member had found the same on Sunday – and it seemed then that the gate was only opened at 0930. Sooo… I wasn’t going to hang around for two hours or more and so I had to switch plans and head elsewhere…. As it happens I’ve since found out that we are allowed to use the main entrance to the site rather than our usual ‘tradesmens’ entrance in the case of our entrance being closed but hey-ho!! 🙂

Anyway, my first thought was to head to another of the club’s pools – probably 5 miles or more away – but as driving there I remembered I’d bought a BAA (Birmingham AA) card for the first time in a few years as I want to fish a section of the local River Stour later in the year and they hold a stretch of that – and the BAA had some pools close to where I was that I had put on my agenda to visit again anyway. And so it was off to Nordley Pools for the day.

Nordley consists of 6 available pools  although No 6 is a tiny duck pond like thing – and usually covered in duckweed…

Anyway, I headed to pool No. 1 – a pool I’ve had some reasonable bream from in years past…. and all the pools in general contain a good mixed range of species too.

I set up two ledger rods, both with 8lb main line and using frame feeders. One was equipped with a size 6 hook baited with bread (and battered chip experimentally for a time), the other a size 14 baited with worm and maggot.

So I fished then from around 0745 until 1530 casting the bread/chip rod to my front around midway into the pool, and the maggot rod to my left around 4-5 rod lengths out.

I had plenty of takes on the worm/maggot rod – virtually a tug every cast but seemingly from small’ish fish as most resulted in nothing being hooked – but the bread/chip rod didn’t see much action at all with only one take in the entire day BUT that did produce the biggest fish of the day being landed – a 4lb 10oz common carp.

So the day ended with that carp, 2 perch (largest ca 8oz), a small rudd, a roach (ca 6oz) and a gudgeon…

BATTERED CHIPS?? – Well, these days, you go to the chippie to buy a small portion of chips and unlike the old days when the old ‘six-pennorth’ was a perfect portion size for a single person the smallest offering these days costs £1.60 (at our chippie anyway) and you get enough to feed 4 adults… OK, you can buy various specials (eg pie’n’chip, mini fish’n’chip, etc) which come in a polystyrene tray and do have a single person portion BUT, if you want just chips on their own, then the smallest is the £1.60 lot… Anyway, I had need to visit the chippie the other day for those chips and, of course, had I plenty of leftovers and they looked and smelt as if they’d be excellent as bait with a orange crispy outer and spicy aroma … so into the fridge they went (and back in there again now ready for next trial session on Friday :)) and were taken out for this session. Catapulted a fair few free offerings and mid-session I baited up the hook with one for a couple of hours or so but to no great joy…. but, as I said, either bread wasn’t going great guns either – and my view is if fish shun worms and bread then its best pack up and go home as nothing else will work any better. So… conclusions from the experiment are ‘INCONCLUSIVE’ and further work to be done but I do think that they WILL prove effective in the right conditions… 🙂