Session 48 – Carp And Bream

Tuesday 23rd August and I headed off to fish a swim on a club pool that I’ve only ever pike fished from previously arriving waterside at about 0730 and after the preliminaries of pre-baiting (after discovering I’d left my bag of particles at home, this consisted of my base mix + maggots + pellets) and tackle/station preparation I made the first cast of the day at 0800…

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Starting method was floatfishing with a sliding 5AAA bodied waggler on 6lb line with a size 10 hook baited with dendrobaena worm … with the float set to trip the rising slope of the bottom at a depth of around 11′ (max depth ca 12′).

First fish came at 0830 – a common carp of 2lb 13oz – followed by a bream of 1lb 10oz at 0850.

A lot of interest followed but seemingly just small stuff toying with the worm’s tail and so I switched to 2 small pieces of meat as bait which resulted in another bream of 1lb 1oz.

But with sport being slow and sign of surface activity I switched to floating bread at 1230 and at 1300 landed what was to be the biggest fish of the day – a mirror carp of 5lb 2oz …

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5lb 2oz Mirror Carp

… and by the time I left at 1630 I’d had another 2 common carp of 2lb 10oz and 3 lb 2oz … and had suffered 4 hook pulls – including one from a carp I reckon was a good middle double that had literally taken the crust from within 10′ of my feet and hence I had a good look at it…

Had dog trouble too! As I said I was feeding bread into the marginal reeds along the bank just to the right of me… And there are various resident dogs on site, one of which is a crafty big red labrador which always comes around, usually with his mate, a one-eyed terrier, looking for food and doing every trick in the book to try to get some although they are not allowed to be fed. However, if that doesn’t work they become Fagin and the Artful Dodger and its not unusual to find a bait tin missing only when searching to find it behind some bushes, opened, and the contents missing… Anyway, along comes the labrador, sits next to me, tongue hanging out and big doleful eyes and sits there for half an hour or so… and then wanders off … and a few minutes later there’s a big crashing and rustling down the bank a few yards from me, a flattening of the reeds that are the holders of the bread feed and splashing galore as Labby tries to hook out those bread freebies… and death of  the swim for an hour!!

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Session 47 – 100% Grass…

Well… I suppose this should really be ‘Session 48’ as I did go off fishing last Friday but due to a biological explosion in my pants, the devastation of which had not been seen since ‘The Blitz’, and which happened literally within minutes of arriving waterside, I had the need to return home…. but TMI….

Anyway, back to more pleasant things….

Tuesday 16th August 2016 and I was away to a club pool (actually there are two on site – and they are more ‘ponds’ than ‘pools’ with about space for 10 anglers on each – and even that only if they are very friendly) that I’d not visited for probably 2 years, mainly due to it being 35 miles from home and the generally expected size of fish is not that good compared to more local options. However, it is a nice fishery – very quiet, rarely see another person all day never mind another angler, and out in the sticks… and it does hold grass carp…. which I intended to be my target for the day due to 2 factors…

  1. I had watched an episode of Matt Hayes/Mick Brown’s ‘The Great Rod Race’ whereby they were after two species that day – crucian and grass carp. In fact, the venue they were at, Himley Hall, is actually located only 2-3 miles from my house! Why didn’t I save fuel and go there? Well, as a public asset these days, its a bit too busy with dog walkers, ramblers and other anglers for me at the moment- but that said once the summer has passed it gets very much quieter and has it contains a good head of many species of decent size too – and at about £6 a day (£3 for codgers like me! And everyone gets that price from November to March IIRC :)) – it is a fantastic facility. Anyway, seeing the grass carp brought on my urge to try to higher my PB which currently stood at 7lb 1oz.
  2. With hot sunny weather the conditions for grass carping looked to be perfect for my ‘crusade’ out into the wilds of Shropshire…

So, the plan was to start off generally floatfishing for whatever came along whilst catapulting out floating freebies – bread, dog biscuits – from time to time to entice the grassies to start surface feeding… and this I did, catching a few small common and mirror carp ranging from a few ounces to just under 2lb on worm and meat baits – sweetcorn prodiced not a nibble. However, the conditions for surface fishing for grassies wasn’t perfect with a slight ‘orange peel’ ripple on the water from the slight breeze of the day – I find anything less than glass smooth and its hard, if not impossible – and it wasn’t until around 1330 that any interest was seen in the floating freebies. So, the float rod was put to one side and the ‘floater’ rod (12lb mono, size 4 hook, lump of bread) was cast into the area of interest – and resulted in 2 common carp  of 2-00 and 2-08 being landed over the next hour. And then all surface activity stopped again… so back out came the float rod… and the size 10 hook was baited with 2 x 1/4″ cubes of meat and cast out. Soon the float sailed away and a strike met solid resistance …. and a few minutes later the net was slipped under a nice grass carp….. NOW… does this prove that Plumrose tinned meats are more cereal binder than meat?? LOL!

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So fish was quickly unhooked, weighed and photographed… and the photography was a game and a half as the fish was extremely boisterous and I ended up taking 15 shots (3 lots on a 5-shot timer) to get a few semi-decent ones, the one above being the best of the bunch – far from perfect but I wanted to get the fish back in the water at that point to save it undue stress…

Oh yes!!! That fish was 8lb 0oz – a new Personal Best!!

I always say, if I had to rate a fishing day, just being there makes the day 70% successful, having a bite or bites makes it up to 80%, landing a fish 90%, and having a PB makes it a 100% day – hence the title 🙂

Session 46 – Worcester Stour…

Tuesday, August 9th 2016, I headed off to a local stretch of the River Stour at Stourton Castle, Staffs – a small river and the stretch in question is controlled by the Birmingham Angling Association (BAA)…

A nice looking stretch of water it was the first time I’d fished there in 3 years not having held a BAA card for those years but I decided I’d get one for the current season as they also have a lot of other small rivers and a stretch of canal, further afield, that I intend to fish over the autumn/winter.

So I arrived at the water at around 0715 – and was the first arrival (as usual) until another fellow arrived a couple of hours later – and had a look at the water as I walked the banks towards my one-of-two possible swims for the day in case anything appealed. I arrived at the first of the two possibles – a swim directly below a weir – but that was immediately discounted due the vegetation of the far bank being a bit denuded and the water level being quite low and clear… and so I proceeded to the other selection, a swim immediately above the weir  that I’ve found to hold perch and roach in previous visits.

Tackle was set up – 9′ quiver tip rod, 4lb mainline straight through to a size 10 worm baited hook and a 5g flat pear lead. I used a light line as although this river stretch is reputed as having given up roach to 1.5lb and nets of 50lb of roach (former possible, but I take the latter with a large pinch of salt – 50 roach of any size in a session would be ‘good’ but the equivalent of 50 x 1lb roach?? Ummmm…) generally an 8oz fish is a good one – and, I think, the best I’ve ever had has been a chub just over the pound from below the weir…

So I started off, as I say, with worm  and catapulting out small but frequent quantities of maggots both down the far bank and along the near bank….but after an hour or so without a single touch I decided to scout further upstream and decided to try a swim 2 up from my current location as it had some far bank vegetation inc a bit of a partially immersed tree…

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Here there was little to no far bank flow with the flow all on the near bank side… so again I fed maggot on the far bank and near bank too…. and it was while I was in this swim that the other angler arrived and he’d been intending to fish it as he said he’d been there the day previously and had had a few roach but had returned with his pole to try tight under the fallen tree … and he then settled in the next swim upstream… so again I fished on for a couple of hours near and far banks and centre stream too, all without any sign of interest whatsoever… However I had also been casting further and further downstream and I started to pick up a few taps from by a bed of fallen reed almost opposite the swim that lay between my original location and my current one … so I moved down to that intermediate position so as to be able to fish the area more efficiently… and as I did so the guy moved into my newly vacated swim with his pole… 🙂

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Anyway, first three casts or so into the new swim produced a quick tap on the tip but with no follow ups… and subsequent casts produced nothing at all… and so it remained until 1330 when I decided I could better be employed doing some tackle fixing and other jobs that were needed at home…. and I had a word with the guy in my vacated swim … he’d managed 10 small (1oz) roach on his pole from directly below the ‘hoop’ of the tree but also said he’d not be back again and that he’d gone really ‘for a change of scenery’ and to get his pole out that he’d not used in years – and in fact he’d had to change his elastic on it before he used it as it had rotted!

I also noted, as you can see from the two pics above, that the water colour had changed from a clearish greeny/brown tinge to a mucky grey which is never a good colour for a water and from my experience its time to be at home (or on another water) in those cases……

Session 45 – A Good Day – But Broke The Rules :(

Friday, 5th August 2016, Liz and I again visited one of our clubs’ mixed fisheries (VV) for a good day’s fishing being the first arrivals at around 0730  – and were also the last to leave at around 1715 – and we weren’t the only ones there during the day with another 5 or 6 arrivees later in the day. So, being first there, we got our first choice of swim, much to the disappointment of the following ones I think as they came to look if the swim was free and had to turn back.

Anyway, Liz and I both elected to start off on the float … Liz with her newly ringed rod which now allowed that passage of a small Gardner float stop – the original rings having been so tiny that even a stop knot made of 8lb line with 1″ tag ends left on still caught/snagged/jarred in passing through the 1.6mm ID tip ring. However, as I say the new 6mm tip ring and the graded intermediates worked admirably…

My own set up was 6lb mainline, size 10 hook, and a 4AAA bodied waggler set so the bait just tripped bottom at around 4′ deep – and Liz used a similar setup but with a size 14 hook.

Baits for the float fishing were maggots, worm and sweetcorn … and I also tried a ‘new’ paste from a recipe in John Wilson’s book ‘Baits and Artificial Lures’, Sadza Paste, made from 3 cups of yellow maize flour, 1 cup of plain flour, and 2 eggs which are mixed and then added to 1.5 pints of boiling water – flavour/colouring can also be added either to the water or the dry mix, in my case I’d added 2 teaspoons of liquid Butterscotch flavouring to the water … However, this was not really a great success as, although the paste was fine when originally made and rubbery but soft as described, it didn’t seem to keep those properties after storing in cling-film in the fridge for a few days and on the bank it was very sticky and difficult to mould to the hook. Maybe I need to take out the other balls and add extra flour to stiffen the mix… but saying that, although I didn’t catch anything on it, I did have plenty of interest and suspect it was pecked away by small fry before the more sizeable fish could get a look in, something that the stiffening may help prevent in future and so it is something I’ll re-try in the future.

A bit later in the day Liz switched to a swimfeeder – so she could eat her lunch! And, as there were a lot of cruising carp in the vicinity and I’d been feeding them dog biscuit, I decided to give floating baits a go and set up my floating bait rod with bread crust. However, after a comment made by Liz as she looked at my set up – ‘Are you using braid?’ something made me log on to the club web site and check the rules for the water – and ‘No braid main lines’!!! ARRGGGGHHH! So that was that, the rod was put away… although technically I could have argued that I was using a 150 yard braid hooklength as the spool of line had some 30lb mono on as backing… LOL! So before I set out again I need to strip that braid off and replace with mono … and possibly a short (1 metre?) braid hooklength …

So ‘scores on the doors’:

Liz: had 2 chub of 1-15 and 2-02, plus a dozen or more roach and perch, some of  them of very reasonable size … and she also lost a few good fish, mainly to hook pulls, and a breakage.

Myself: common carp of 5-11 and 3-11 on worm, a common carp of 2-08 and a mirror carp of 4-03 on floating bread, also quite few perch and roach, a gudgeon and a skimmer bream of around 1-00 all on worm.

Future – Tuesday, I’m hoping to get to the small river that I’d intended to fish last Tuesday and Thursday I’m thinking of returning to the pool I actually fished last Tuesday but fishing an area I’ve only pike fished in winter before but I think its where the bigger bream may hang out – but I may change my mind on that one and maybe go on a 70 mile round trip in search of grass carp …. 🙂