Session 9 – 2017 – Rain Before Seven, Clear By Eleven…

 

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(c) Liz Shorney

Well, that old adage was true to a sort on our trip to the water’s edge on Monday 27th February… it was raining when Liz and I got up at 0700, still raining as we left the house at 0830, still raining on arrival at the pool at 0930 and whilst tackling up… but at 1100 it had stopped and blue skies and white fluffy clouds were appearing from over the Clees/Clents/Malverns/Black Mountains/Brecon Beacons or whatever the ‘lumps’ were out to the west… However, it didn’t remain entirely dry thereafter with a few minor spotting felt … and at 1445 we packed in hurriedly as those western hills disappeared into deep shadow under dark clouds and with no sign of brightness following behind we felt discretion was the better part of valour … but WRONGLY as it happens, as in the half hour it took to tackle down, the dark clouds had passed over us, with a bit of rain granted, but before carting the tackle off to the car we were again in blue skies with no sign of more blackness… oh well, typical of us, the number of times that happens to us goes beyond the coincidental I’m convinced!

So, for the fishing, we went to a club pool (VV) in search of various, whatever turns up, species – and I, personally, was hoping for chub and perch mainly.

I fished one quiver tip rod – well, the exact same set up as my previous outing – and again fished worm. Liz fished two rods with swimfeeders. One baited with sweetcorn and the other with maggot mainly. Both of us were fishing out towards overhanging far bank bushes.

And both of us had ‘action’ but mainly in the form of small tugs/nudges with only a few proper strikeable tugs… but I did manage to land a 3lb 15oz common carp – and a gudgeon when I changed my hook from a 12 to a 14 and fished a bunch of 6 maggots. Liz had a small (few ounces) perch but also had a good fish on which, unfortunately, managed to get into the refuge of the bushes and was lost.

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3lb 15oz Common Carp

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EA Rod Licences – April 2017 onwards

It is possible to renew/purchase your Environmental Agency Rod Licence for the new year starting from April 1st 2017 NOW….

Go to: https://www.gov.uk/fishing-licences/buy-a-fishing-licence

The site allows you to not only purchase online the usual 2-rod licence (£30) but also the new starting-from-April 1st 2017 3-rod licence (£40).

Prices given are for a standard adult angler – usual concessions for seniors and young people – and now the age that you require to actually have a licence has also increased too – see the above site for the full info.

ALSO – the licence no longer needs to run on a 1st April-31st March basis as previously. You now purchase a rolling 12 month licence that starts on your selected date …eg if you want it start on 12th June 2017 then the licence will remain valid until 11th June 2018. On the old fixed date system no matter when you purchased the licence, even mid-June as the above example, then it always expired on March 31st and cost the same. So now you’ll get a full 12 month term for your money.

Session 8 – 2017 – General Coarse

Well, after Liz losing her favoured spinner on the last session, an eBay search was necessary and we located the spinner required. The original (16.5 g Shakespeare ‘Devils Own’ in ‘Scale’ pattern – see pic in last posting) was part of a 4-unit set, with the other items being of the same type but differing patterns … but we managed to find the ones with the desired pattern available individually at £1.50 each, so 6 were ordered and the order came to £12 inc shipping…

And on to the fishing…

I went out yesterday (Friday 24th February) to a local club pool (GH) – but not the one I was referring to in the previous post and instead of float fishing I decided to do some quiver tipping – something I don’t do often, and when I do its been on a canal, and had not done for some time….

The day was bright and calm. Really a complete change to the previous day when Storm Doris hit the country and a 29 year old lady was killed 2 miles away from our house in Wolverhampton by a flying piece of debris ‘the size of a table’ (in pictures of the scene it looks a wooden framed, plywood/hardboard covered item possibly an advertising device – whatever the police are looking into ownership of nearby shops in order to pursue a case criminal negligence the owners)… It seems also that the lady also worked at Wolverhampton University where I had worked but I retired 7 years ago and she’d only been employed there for less than 18 months so wasn’t someone I know … but still not nice… years and plans ahead of her and all that .. but seemed she died instantly and knew nothing of the end happening and so no pain…

I prebaited the swim with 3 cricket ball sized balls of my usual base mix – breadcrumb mainly with crushed seed and other crushed/small additives to which I added dead maggots, hemp and wheat and a tin of creamed rice to add a ‘cloud’ effect and extra attractants- and over the day I added extra ‘golf ball’s and catapulted loose dead maggots into the swim.

I made my first cast with my 10ft ‘Des Taylor System 3 Avon’ rod fitted with its lightest (yellow) tip at 0815, fishing 6lb line, 5g flattened pear ledger and a size 12 hook (on 6in 6lb hooklength connected via a quick change connector to the main line). The reason I used the quick change hooklength in this case was due to the use of worm as hook bait – I like to put the worm on the length with a baiting needle threaded down from the tail until about half an inch or so from the head and then pulling the hook length up and through and clipping to the clip.. and then the hook is passed through the worm’s head. Doing it this way prevents the worm working its way off the barbless hook or the need to add bits of rubber, etc on to the hook bend to prevent the worm escaping. The rubber thing has never worked well for me… I find that it (even if the ‘rubber’ is an artificial ‘squatt’) tends to cut down on number of bites by around 90%.

And so I fished for the first couple of hours without landing a fish although I did have a few tentative twitches that came to nothing… and then I decided to get my dips/glugs out. I always carry 2 or 3 pots of various dips … invariably ‘Predator Plus’ is carried, the others vary from time to time but usually include a ‘worm’ one – bloodworm or chopped worm or liquid worm. On the day I had with me ‘Predator Plus’, ‘Chopped Worm’, ‘Coconut, and ‘Tiger Fish Liquid’…. So, as I say, I always have them with me (except when pike fishing when various fish oils take their place) BUT it must be 18 months or more since I last one! Why? I don’t know as I’ve always found them to improve the catch but maybe it was because I have a habit of kicking the pot over when playing a fish or going for a pee, etc! Anyway, as I say the idea of using the ‘Chopped Worm’ dip came to mind and so it came out of the bag, the worm was dunked, the cast was made and a few minutes later I was landing the first fish of the day – a 1lb 9oz bream. Not huge but satisfying to know I’d avoided a blank for the day!

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1lb 9oz Bream

Then a short while later a bream of 1lb 13oz came to the net …

A few more missed bites and I decide to change to an ‘experimental’ bait to see if any chub might be interested– basically ‘macaroni cheese’ in essence but is macaroni boiled in coloured water (I did ‘red’ and ‘yellow’ batches) until leathery, cooled quickly under cold water to prevent further cooking, and whilst damp bagged and a packet of dry cheese sauce mix added and the bag shaken to distribute over/into the tubes. I put these on the hook in ‘T’ formation, one tube dropped down the hooklength to stand vertical and the other hooked through the side and sitting on the hook’s bend. So tried this for an hour or so, both undipped to allow the cheesy taste/aroma to be predominant and also dipped in the worm dip… But after a couple of missed small pulls/twitches over the next hour I switched back to worm…

And, back on the dipped worm, the next 2 casts brought a bream of 1lb 3oz and, to me the best fish of the day, a 1lb 3oz perch…

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1lb 3oz Perch

… and this was followed later by another bream of 1lb 8oz… and a few more pulls that were missed.

As I had to get back for a club AGM – and which required more time than usual to prepare for and included dropping the car off to Liz to use to get home after working a late shift and then myself going on to the meeting on the bus – I packed in at 1430.

Plans ahead – Monday (27th), with Liz, for more general coarse fishing but at the pool which I had intended this visit. And next Friday (3rd March), due to the impending river close season starting March 15th and the fact I’ve never pike fished a big river ever before, only small streams with lures and wobbled sprats, I’m intending to visit either the Severn or the Warks Avon with my deadbaits (plus a few lures) to rectify that – hopefully whichever of those two I visit then I will visit the other on the following Friday (10th March)….

Session 7 – 2017 – Luring The Pool Again

Well, before the actual day’s fishing a couple of things…

I did get that new Savage Gear landing net I ordered and it’s fantastic and actually seems mega-huge – despite actually being 85cm x 70cm (= 35in x 28in) due to the shape, and , in fact, it seems much bigger than even my 42” triangular net…

… however, the handle length is not the 122-297cm as quoted but actually 100-180cm … I reported this to the seller and he’s passing it on to Savage Gear as it appears that it was down to an error in their trade catalogue description. Anyway, I was quite happy to accept  it as it was – and in practice I found it not lacking for my needs.

Second thing was not so good…. got up in the morning to get flask and things ready to go … also did the washing up of the mugs and things from the previous evening and whilst doing so a turned a bit from the waist to grab the next item to be washed from the work surface and felt a small twinge in my back – which developed into sciatica – and although the day was spent lure fishing it meant that I had to sit on the bank or on my stool whilst doing so for most of the time… and on the evening I made the mistake of lying on the floor to ease the aching – BIG MISTAKE! It took Liz and I probably 15 minutes of pulling and contorting to gat back on my feet – and then I had to conquer the stairs, undress and get into bed … BUT this morning woke up generally fine, no aches, no pain just a little stiffness in the lower back.

So as to the fishing…

Well, Monday 20th Feb, we set off to Pike Pool 3 at 0900 on a bright warm morning and arrived around 30 mins later – a little quicker than usual due to school traffic being non-existent as its half term – and after loading the tackle on our backs we headed off to the far end of the fishery where we tackled up and had a coffee before walking down and making our first casts….

Both of used 30lb Dyneema/Spectra braided lines and  I used two rods, the first my ‘light’ rod with a Zebco twin bladed luminescent spinner (7.5g) … and the other the ‘heavy’ rod initially used with a Savage Gear 19cm (52g) Hard 4Play lure in a ‘Golden Ambulance’ colouration…

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Savage Gear 4Play – Golden Ambulance

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Zebco Twin Bladed Spinner – Glow/Luminescent

Liz used just the one rod – initially with a 16.5g Shakespeare Devil’s Own blade spinner in a ‘Scale’ pattern and with various other spinner types and patterns over the course of the session…

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Shakespeare Devils Own Spinner – ‘Scale’ pattern

And so, at 1020, I made my first cast and within seconds was netting my first fish of the day – a nice pike of 5lb 5oz…

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5lb 5oz Pike

Shortly afterwards Liz started her own fishing and soon also had a fish on but unluckily lost it when the hook hold failed … and the same happened minutes later …. and then she hooked into a fish but it took the line along the edge of some brickwork and, before I could tell her to slacken to the line to avoid damage, the damage was done, the brickwork abrading the line and it parted and the fish was lost. We quickly set up new a new end tackle of wire trace and a new lure was chosen and we fished on for a good 30 minutes in the same area in the hope the pike would again take but with no joy … but at least we’d squeezed down the barbs on the spinner’s trebles and so hopefully the pike would have shedded it OK. And, as the lure was Liz’s favourite model/pattern I’ve just ordered another 6 replacements… J

So, with neither of us having any more action in that spot we moved on and tried a couple of ‘Mr Crabtree’ swims for 40 mins or so. Liz had no more action there or later in the day but I did have one grab in each of these two swims – one on a Soft 4Play lure (Fungus Roach) in a scull lip that I changed over too in order to get the lure well down in the first of these swims…

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‘Fungus Roach’ body…

… but the hook hold failed … and the second take came to a 4” blue coloured Fladen shad body affixed to a 21g blue Savage Gear jig head….

After that, we tried one more location but with no joy – and as my back at this time was really starting to play up and Liz’s shoulder becoming sore we decided at 1415 to call it a day and head off to the pub… J

One thing I did catch – and was the second identical set up that I’d seen pulled out since December – and that was from the exact same swim too – was the weight/submerged float part of a running paternoster complete with float, weight (actually rolled sheet lead), swivel and running ring on a braid link. Lost by the same person? Same session possibly?

Plans – well, I’m thinking of fishing Friday on the float for general coarse fish at another club’s mixed fishery (well, holds all species other than common carp and pike). A bit of a busy day it’ll be … I’ll have car to go fishing as Liz is on lates … BUT she works until 2000 and I need to be at the club’s AGM by that time at the latest .. and plan is – I fish, go home, bath, etc (no need to eat as the club provides an excellent – and free – post-AGM buffet), take the car to Liz’s place of work and leave the car on their car park for her to get home in whilst I carry on to the AGM and return home via the bus at the end of the meeting…. Not too bad as the its just one bus from/to venue from home and about 800 yards of total walking involved. And Monday, we may go to another mixed fishery…. But then with the river season coming to a close shortly I think I may concentrate for my future solo sessions on the rivers – esp piking as my pike season finishes on 31st March. I’ve pike fished small (<30’ wide) rivers before but not bigger ones like the Severn or Avon so that needs to be addressed … and also some chub fishing would be good too..

Session 6 – 2017 – Luring The Pool And Into The Doghouse

On the morning of Monday 6th February 2017 Liz and I set off, with lures and spinners, heading for Pike Pool 3 in search of Liz’s first ever pike – and my second pike of the season despite having pike fished at least once a week on average since the start of October 2016!

There had been a heavy overnight frost – had to eat breakfast porridge in car while I warmed it up pre-trip (a lot of cars go ‘missing’ around here when people leave them warming and unattended!)  – despite having used a full can of de-icer on the windows too…. and, when I had tried to start the motor, it wouldn’t! So my, almost £100, purchase of a ‘battery booster pack’ last week was justified when I clipped it on and car started immediately…. So even with engine running, heaters full on and with de-icer on windows it took 20 mins to get a clear view through the glass – and car thermo was still registering -2.5’C external temps!

Anyway we set off on our pre-planned 0930 start out from the house – by then the thermo had risen to 1.0’C, and a couple of miles later was up to 4.0’C, but when leaving the urban area and in the rural the temps were back down to 1.0’C. Obviously, we were a bit concerned regarding the state of the water given the temps – as on a previous visit to the same water and it was slightly warmer then too, the shallower half the pool was completely frozen over – however, we passed a few other bodies of water en-route and all those seemed to be ice free so our hopes were raised – and justified on our arrival.

We had planned to fish light – I carried 4 lure rods (2 each) to cope with tiny to huge lures along with the foldable/collapsible landing net all wrapped in webbing straps and also had a rucksack with the lure boxes and the usual lightweight utensils (camera, spare traces, scales, weighing sling, etc) whilst Liz carried an insulated shoulder bag with our coffee flasks – and to walk around to the far side of the pool before tackling up and actually starting fishing. With even the very best of intentions, tackling up and fishing the ‘outwards’ journey never seems to work – as before arriving at the more distant and usually the best water you are already tired and fatigued and decide turn back early – or at least I am and do…

So … all went to plan… that far anyway… We arrived at our starting point, had a coffee whilst we decided upon and clipped on our starting lures of the day …. myself I chose a Savage Gear Hard 4Play (13cm) in Koi Carp colouration (white with orange and black splodges) whilst Liz, under previous advice from her Dad (from Cyprus via Skype!) chose a 1” silver blade spinner…

So we started the day off – but the first swim didn’t offer any rewards and so after 20 mins or so of water foaming we moved to our second location about 20 yards further along… and it wasn’t long before Liz was connected briefly to a fish but the hooks came adrift … a few casts later she again connected to a fish but again the hooks pulled but not before she’d glimpsed the pike … and another few cast later she again was into a fish and, third time lucky, the hooks managed a good grip and I was able to net her first ever pike… quickly unhooked and weighed it came to 4lb 4oz….

AND THEN CAME THE DOGHOUSE MOMENT!!…. {OMINOUS MUSIC MAESTRO, PLEASE!}….

Obviously being a ‘first’ Liz was very keen on recording the moment on ‘film’ (or SD card as it these days)… however, the camera was still in the rucksack and I always take out the batteries after each session and had forgotten to fit them earlier. So having had the pike out of the water for a short while but with more delay to come to deal with the camera I decided that I’d pop the pike in the landing net and dunk it in the water to ease its stress, etc. However, the net we were using was a collapsible/folding type for ease of carrying around and as I placed the net into the water the locking mechanism slipped allowing the net to collapse around the fish and thus freeing it… and it took advantage of the situation and disappeared into the rushes and so no photo record was able to be made… And Steve was now definitely NOT ‘man of the moment’… Especially as I was wearing my new headcam which MIGHT have regained me some favour with some footage of the capture IF ONLY I’D HAVE SWITCHED IT ON EARLIER. It was a lovely looking pike though, well conditioned and marked.

Oh well, damage done and after fishing the spot another 20 mins or so we moved on to the next location the pool’s dam wall along which reeds grow and at one end there is an overhanging tree by a large bed of reeds, at the other a couple of trees that have fully collapsed and lie in the water with branches asunder – basically, it looks more a stereotypical ‘Mr Crabtree’ pike area than even the book given ones! But despite spending an hour or so fishing the length of it – and I trying several changes of lures inc shads – neither of us had so much as a nudge…

So, we moved on to the next area where an old submerged dam exists – so the water depths change dramatically as you pass over it – another stereotypical pike spot where you can visualise the pike lying below the dam wall ready to ambush prey as they cross from the shallower side… So I got Liz casting over the wall whilst myself I fished alongside but casting into the shallower waters… and lo and behold I had a take on the small green shad type lure I was using – and landed a 3lb 2oz pike! My second pike of the ‘season’! Not the biggest and not in the best condition either as it seemed that others of its brethren had been trying to turn it into a tasty luncheon… with one fresh looking wound and an older scarred one too… but after the long wait it was worth its weight in gold to me!

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And so… after a walk back to the start of the pool and a few casts around a spot where pike are said to lurk but not on this day … and a coffee whilst we packed down the rods … a few spots of rain started to fall and we headed up to the car and off to the pub for a pint and a cheese cob….

AND NOW … ‘that’ net has been stripped down, the metal parts awaiting a trip to the council tip along with some other general stuff that is ready to go and the mesh was removed and is in storage in case of future need… AND a new Savage Gear Pro XL Folding telescopic (70cm x 85cm net, 122-297cm telescopic handle) rubberised mesh has been ordered and is en-route …. so hopefully no more doghouses in future for me!