Session 5 – 2017 – More Piking, But No Pike

January 27th 2017 saw a return to Pike Pool 1 with a new tactic in mind… to cast out ledgered deadbaits and to leave them undisturbed until either (a) I had a take or (b) I was packing up to go home. And, unfortunately, it was (b) that prevailed in the end…. over previous outings I had twitched, tweaked, fished high, fished low, static bait, drifted bait, etc, etc all to no avail so I thought I’d try the ‘let it be’ method…

I arrived on the morn following a very sharp drop in temperatures – in fact, I had planned to go for a second visit to a pool recently acquired by one of my clubs in search of general coarse fish but as the pool in question is quite shallow (4’ or so) I ditched that plan in favour of pike fishing the deeper pike pool – at around 0815. Air temp when I left the house at 0730 was -3.0’C according to the car’s thermo but had risen to -2.0’C on arrival – and about 50% of the pool was frozen over at that time. However, within an hour of arrival the air temps were up in the positive range and the pool was completely ice free all over. On leaving at 1515 the car thermo was registering 6.0’C. Water temps measured at about 3’ deep at the pool’s edge were 2.5’C on arrival, 2.8’C on leaving.

[A couple of postings ago I said ‘water temp was a surprising 9’C’ or something similar to that. A confession … I’d read the thermometer wrongly! I was using a new thermometer which has 2 lines on the digital display, air (in) & water (out) and humidity and to read the in/out temps you manually  have to switch between them by use of a button – whilst the previously used thermometer showed both in & out temps simultaneously on 2 separate lines on the display… SO what I’d done was read the air temp correctly as shown on the upper line BUT had read the HUMIDITY display as the water temp in effect… so the 9.0’C reading was actually 90% HUMIDITY].

Anyway, the usual preliminaries – setting up the ‘station’, nets, etc  and rubby dubby fed into the area – were carried out on arrival and then my 2 pike float rods were assembled and set up to fish laid-on the bottom. One rod baited with a pair of sprats was fished 4’ out from the bank (still 10’+ depth of water) under the branches of an overhanging tree/bush 10’ to my left, the other with a single 6” pollan fished, again to my left, further out just outside the overhanging branches on a slope were the depth drops slightly to 12’… and then I settled down to wait … for 6 hours as it happened before packing in and heading home… Well, not quite true, as I did in fact, for the last hour fish the sprat rod at around half depth to see if anything would rise … but nothing ensued. And on winding in the pollan rod after it being out there for the full 6 hours untouched – there was no bait on the hooks … had I sat there 6 hours with an unbaited rod? Did it fall off on the retrieve and thus have been fishing OK? Dunno, but there was not much resistance when I started to wind in as I recall so I fear the former scenario was the case.

Anyway, the day gave me chance to try out my new headcam – worked well, good quality video especially for a £25 device… 95 minutes before the battery gave out which was good…. and can be controlled from a mobile phone via a WiFi connection.

Also, had my FishSpy cam out in action – not sure what I captured as the murky water requires that I need to do some editing in relation to brightness, contrast, gamma compensation, colour range, etc to try to enhance it and see if I caught anything on it of interest – and also there’s 3 hours of footage to scan through…

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Session 4 – 2017 – The Lure Of The Canal

2017-01-22-liz-on-staffs-worcs-canal-at-stewponey-01Monday, 22nd January, Liz and I set off at 1000 for a few hours lure fishing on a stretch of the Staffs-Worcs Canal that neither of us had fished before. Weather was quite mild (8’C) and very little air movement.

Water on the canal was VERY clear – often I could see the 2” mini-jig I was using, in mid-channel, lying on the bottom. Like bath water BEFORE the bathing almost!

Anyway, cut long story short – hey, don’t faint!! LOL! We failed to elicit any response from fishes whatsoever.

Fished down the canal 1079 yards (thanks to Google Earth for distance) with mini-jigs and then back up again with bigger lures – mine a 19cm Savage Gear Soft 4Play in Rainbow Smolt that, when it wasn’t being cast and retrieved, was being ‘diddled’ so covered every centimetre of the full fishing length.

I was intending fishing today too – same tactics, different canal – but too tired and aching from yesterday. So next outing to a pool – worms and maggots type of stuff on Friday 27th.

Session 3 – Pool Piking

Friday 20th January at 0730 saw me heading to Pike Pool 1 for a session with a couple of new pike rods to try out and they were also fitted with a new ‘submerged free running paternoster’ set up I wanted to try out. As the rods are primarily intended for river fishing the reels were loaded with 20lb BS mono rather than my more usual 40lb BS braid as the former is more resilient to the abrasion arising in a river scenario. Anyway, the rods themselves are 12’, 3lb TC, Diem carp rods with abbreviated handles and the reels are XLT 5000 Freespool reels – a good reel for £15 – have several now (most of mine and Liz’s pike rods – about 12 of them in all – are fitted with them) and find them excellent in use – and also they come with spare spools as standard unlike many other brands.

The rods in use felt great although (*SPOILER ALERT*) they did not get tested with a fish on the end of the line unfortunately and I was very pleased with them – and at £8.75 each (Dragon Carp specials) well worth the money!

The new ‘paternoster rig’ seemed to work ‘OK’ – again no fish hooked to test out that bit but didn’t appear to get any wrap ups on casting or retrieve but not sure if I’ll use it as a standard set up again, at least in the form it was, maybe in a modified arrangement though. The ‘rig’ was basically made up with a John Robert’s paternoster boom to which a black painted polystyrene ‘egg’ was slipped on to the down arm that the weight attaches to, and a small black painted polystyrene ball slipped on to the arm through which the line passes to the trace in order to stop the weight of the bait tipping the arm downwards. Things that weren’t quite right with the rig as it was were (1) when casting the lead and bait usually hit the water 10+’ apart as boom slid up the line on the cast which seemed to attenuate casting distance – perhaps the use of a bait clip to anchor the bait to the lead until they hit the water would resolve? … (2) possibly the polystyrene egg/ball combo was too buoyant as even with a 3oz tethering weight it was hard to tighten properly as it seemed that most of the weight was being taken up by the poly-spheroids … so next trial would be with smaller versions … (3) the ensemble just seemed cumber/troublesome to pack and transport on the rods quiver and fiddly to finalise (add traces, weight and link,…) and not sure if it’s not easier to just use a standard pop-up or standard float set-up… Oh well, I’ll carry a couple of modified versions in my kit in case I find a situation where it may be useful and can put on as and when needed…

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The fishing…

There was a heavy frost on the ground as I left the house with the car thermo showing 2’C … air temperature rose to about 4’-5’C over the day … and water temperature was surprisingly high at 8.5-9.0C …. however, a very light but also very cool south-easterly breeze made it feel the coolest session of the past 12 months easily even with jacket and waistcoat kept on – and I think I’ve only kept them on one other occasion in that period. Also, as I fished a swim on the far bank of the pool it meant that the breeze was playing directly on the back of my neck – plus a large bush meant that I was shaded from whatever heat there was from the sun on what was otherwise a bright day.

I started by fishing 2 paternoster setups – a dead roach on one rod and a headless/tailless/gutted mackerel on the other and fished these for about 4.5 hours without any sign of interest at all … and due to the coolness of the breeze on the back of my neck I packed in those two rods, setup my heavy lure rod with a 19cm Savage Gear 4Play Salmon Smolt Liplure and loaded any unnecessary gear back into the bags at 1330 and started the walk back to the car with a few stops on the way to cast the lure… and I did have a couple of minor ‘adrenaline moments’ with one take of the lure but the hooks failed to take hold and fish went … and one follow of the lure ending in a missed lunge .. and the disappearance of both fish despite several casts over the areas in both cases. And then ended the day poorly with the lure lost up a tree despite the 40lb braid that was in use – the trace swivel splitting in half….

So, that was that…

Planning a canal lure session with Liz on Monday 23rd and another (different) canal lure session on my own on Tuesday 24th. Monday is a canal that we’ve fished before but not in the area we’ll be visiting this trip and the Tuesday canal is an entirely new venue…

Session 2 – 2017 – Canal Deadbaiting With A Bit Of Luring

Before I deal with the fishing …. I went to look at the rucksacks as I said and, although they didn’t have one of those 110 litre Daiwa rucksacks on display, they did have a Trakker one of 90 litres – and it was *MASSIVE*! I reckon it would have been great for a camping trip – not as the equipment carrier but as the tent itself!! So… I have now decided against that Daiwa one obviously…. and looking at other various, and smaller, options although a bit bigger than my current Wychwood (which I calculated at 40 litres) … current favourites are the Korum Roving Rucksack (54 litres) or the NGT XPR Multi-Compartment Rucksack (60 litres) … the Korum is available from TackleUK and I’ve a £50 voucher for them I could use towards the £54 cost but its currently ‘out of stock’, whereas the NGT is available from Go Outdoors on ‘special offer’ at £29 currently. I think I need to have a look at the NGT really before deciding one way or the other…. BUT I don’t really need anything else anywhere near the value of the voucher so would prefer, at the moment, to get the Korum if it comes back into stock….

Right – the fishing…

It was the 10th January 2017 and I set off for the Shropshire Union Canal for a day’s deadbait piking at around 0745… and never again! I’ll either set out pre-0715 or post-0900! With works and school traffic it took me 45 mins to travel what would normally take me 10 minutes maximum….

Anyway, I arrived at the canal at 0915 on a calm and mild day and had made my first cast at 0930…

The stretch of canal fished has substantial far bank overhanging vegetation which forms holding place for chub and perch and obviously other species including pike … and over the day I fished several spots, spending generally 30-45 mins in each spot before moving on to the next … and some spots were fished twice – on the way up the canal and again on the return journey.

Tactics used were floatfished deadbaits – sprat and smelt were the baits – fished at varying depths from 12” deep to effectively float-ledgered. I also put a lure rod in action for spells using a Midi-S lure and a Fladen ‘banana’ floating plug…

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Anyway, all to no avail as I was unable to elicit any form of attention to either baits or lures for my entire session.

I fished until 1430 – packing in that time as the forecast had reckoned on rain starting at midday – as it happened the sun appeared at that time but around 1400 a few grey clouds appeared and a fine misty sort of drizzle was apparent and so I decided due to lack of action it wasn’t worth chancing getting a wetting for another hour’s fishing…. and hence packed in a little earlier than planned…

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Plans … well, Liz and I were hoping to have a few hours lure fishing on the canal and then a pub visit but I keep getting ‘bad weather’ warnings for snow on that day so we’ll have to see….

I’ve also received the new ‘pike’ rods I ordered – actually they’re Diem carp rods (12’, 3lb TC) bought from Dragon Carp for £8.75 each! Look good and now I need to get them set up for their intended use as river pike rods – 20lb mono on each with one set up as a fast-change float<->ledger rod, the other as a running paternoster with John Roberts pike paternoster booms fitted with polystyrene balls/eggs on the arms which will alleviate the need for a on-the-line float. So next week I might try them out depending on river conditions – if not good then I might try them on a pool.

Session 1 – 2017 – Pool Piking

Well, the New Year had started started and on Tuesday 3rd January 2017 I set off back to Pike Pool 5 for my first outing of a New Year on a frosty and  cold morning although it appeared air temps were on a quick rise which added a bit of optimism for the day. On getting up at 0600 and looking out of the window the car was sat on the drive white all over but when I went out to start a de-icing of the windows at around 0700 the glass work was completely clear of ice although the metal bodywork was still covered over. And the car thermometer registered 3.5’C as I travelled across at around 0730

On the way to this particular pool I cross streams, canals and pass other pools and as I passed by a quick glance at each determined that there all were ice free and thus it was with surprise on arrival that I discovered half of my pool covered with ice – not that it affected me really as the frozen half was the opposite side of the pool to that which I had intended to fish anyway. Another surprise was that there was already another angler on the pool – and he must have arrived only a few minutes before me as he was tackling up and further round the pool than my intended swim….

During the day another 4 anglers arrived – 2 fishing the same bank as the first guy (south-west) and the father/son couple of the previous week’s visit were back on the north-east bank in the northerly corner whilst I was on the north-west bank… and all were pike fishing.

Anyway, as usual, I put out rubby-dubby and catapulted out maggots in order to draw in silvers to (a) attract pike and (b) to be caught for livebait – however, to no avail in respect to both – and I also had my Fishspy camera in action but from a quick perusal of the 3 hours of footage I’ve not spotted one fish of any size being ‘captured’….

The pike rod I fished with deadbaits on a  float setup – fished both as float-ledger and suspended bait at various depths and distances out but again no inkling of any interest whatsoever… I used ‘jacks’ and smelt as the baits. Again, all was TOO quiet – usually with deadbaits of any kind, and in particular smelt, there is usually a almost continuous  line twitching when ledgering, float bobbing when float fishing as the baits get attacked by, presumably chub although possibly others, who attack and suck the stomachs out – certainly anyway when you do hook a ‘twitcher’ it is invariably a chub that comes to hand. In the past several visits the twitches have been non-existent… ummm, why???

Anyway, at 1400 it was getting a bit cool and the thought of a hot bath and hot chocolate became more and more appealing and so I packed up a bit earlier than usual which also had the advantage of that I’d be missing the ‘school run’ traffic on the return home.

It transpires that the guys on the NW bank managed 2 small (2-3lb) pike between them but didn’t see myself as they were out of view behind bushes from my angle but the father/son duo told me. But seems that they may have been using ‘illegal’ livebaits anyway – all livebaits have to be caught in THE water being fished (English law – not allowed to transfer live fish between waters), on THE day of fishing and any unused ones returned to the water (club rules). And father/son, like myself, had nothing – not even on their maggot rods put out to catch bait…

Oh, on the walk from car to swim, one of the shoulder straps on my rucksack gave way – happened to the other strap a while ago and I managed to effect a repair but this time I think I could do with replacing it especially as I had a £50 tackle voucher for Xmas from the brother-in-law-alike. I’ll still try to repair this one though – a Wychwood Solace (old version, far better than the current one) – and keep as a spare… I’m looking at getting a Daiwa Mission 110 litre one but want to look at one first as it may be too big although the dimensions don’t seem too much, if any, bigger than the Wychwood or several 75/80 litre ones (main compartment dimensions: 37cm (W) x 22cm (D) x 48cm (H)).

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Daiwa Mission 110 Litre Rucksack

Anyway, will be nipping to Angling Direct in Willenhall on Thursday to have a look at one…