Session 26 – Like A Budgie I Sat On The Perch All Day…

Tuesday, 30th May, I paid a return visit to one of my clubs’ mixed species pool (AA – B) – albeit no carp or pike in there – but it does hold, tench, perch, barbel, chub, roach, rudd, crucian carp among other species – and a carp (& chub) only pool resides 10 just yards away for purveyor’s of that species.

 The Pool – The Item In The Middle Of The Pool In 2nd Picture Is A Solar Powered Automatic Pellet Feeder And Aerator Unit – Keeps The Water Oxygenated In Hot Weather And Fish Fed In The Cooler Months When Less Bait Is Being Fed In.

A nice day, relatively calm with alternating periods of sunshine and bright overcast spells, I made first cast at around 0715 with my float tackle – using lift-method with a 3AAA wind-beater float, 6lb line, size 12 hook (changed for a short period to a size 16), baited mainly with worm, maggot and worm/maggot cocktail but also tried tomato flavoured chick pea and meat for short periods.

First cast, first (missed bite) – second cast, second missed bite – third cast, HOOKED! Small 3-4oz perch… and so it continued throughout the day until I packed in at 1530 – and I ended up with 65 (+/2) perch all between around 3oz – 6oz…

2017-05-30 Steve - Small Perch (1 Of A Catch Of 65)

First Perch Of The Day – ca 3oz

No other species at all – not a touch on meat although I had a few nudges on chickpea before that went quiet – so none of the expected tench, bream or barbel – but a pleasant day overall really.

And the carp pool had been suffering a leak and the level had dropped quite a bit on my last visit to the site but it seems that the curative works planned have taken place – well, the water level has improved and the area of banking from which the leak was occurring has been coated in fresh clay and a few new reeds planted… hopefully the problem is now resolved!

Right … next trip …. another club water I’ve not fished for a while although I did visit a while ago but was forced by events to return home before I even managed to get the rods set up. Probably the hardest water I fish – although there may be another contender for that title that another of my clubs has the rights on, a 100 acre reservoir, but which I’ve not yet visited at all… So that’s planned for Friday 2nd June…

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Session 25 – Long Time Away…

Sunday, 28th May, and I was headed to the banks of a club pool (AA – KP) that I’d not fished for 2 years … possibly more … although I did go at the late end of last year but it was gusty and cool and the water is quite open to the elements which can be good or bad … that time it was bad and I turned back and went to a more sheltered venue but this time it was relatively calm and warm with sunshine…

As I said it had been a couple of years since I last actually fished it, the reason being that there had been a successful spawning season a year or so previously … and the following couple of years were *SO FRUSTRATING* as, as soon as a bait hit the water, it was devoured by 6oz carp – before it even touched bottom with softer baits – and even 16mm boilies were whittled away within 5 minutes of being in the water…. so I just gave up on it despite it being my favourite AA water until that time…

Anyway, decided it was time to try it again – plus reports of good upper double grass carp being taken and reports that perch were being caught again were an inducement… the perch having seemingly disappeared after water abstraction by the farmer caused the water level to drop 8’ one summer and the areas of lily pads where the perch used to be were left high and dry, the lilies died away and never returned until recently…..

So, I arrived at the pool at around 0645, tackled up the ledger rods and fished worm/maggot and bread to start swapping the bread to luncheon meat later … but around midday apart from a few small tugs/nudges I’d caught nothing – but fish were starting to show on the surface… So the ledger rods were wound in and the floater rod with floating bread was put in to action and by packing up time I’d landed fish of 2lb 10oz and 5lb 9oz … with another fish lost to a line snap … Damn, Trilene line! Must remember to remove that line and replace with my usual Diawa Hyper Sensor! Far more reliable!

OK, so it was a most enjoyable day in the sunshine … 🙂

Next outing – tomorrow to the club’s mixed (no carp) pool (AA – B) in search of perch, tench, barbel, crucians, etc, etc 🙂

Session 24 – Those Spawning Carp!

So it was on Friday, 26th May, that I set off to return to the banks of the large 19 acre reservoir (BPAS – CHR)  that had I recently acquired fishing membership cards for … (see Session 22) … on my second venture to that pool having suffered a blank on that first outing…

I decided to set up in another swim further round the pool this time – previous session was in peg 34, this one in peg 57 … and there are 80 pegs on the pool…

DSC_0008

… as I suspected the water may be deeper towards the dam end of the pool, and it was seemingly but only around 6” deeper (7’6” as opposed to 7’) at this peg.

Walking around the pool there was a fair bit of carp activity going on as they were grouping in the shallows to start spawning … and, when I reached my peg, in the reeds on the right hand side they were thrashing well and at the start of my session those reeds were standing vertical in the main but by the end of my session they were 70-80% flattened…

Anyway, after preliminaries of setting up nets and pre-baiting I tackled up 2 x 1.75lb TC ledger rods with 8lb line straight through to a size 10 worm/maggot baited hook on one, a size 6 bread baited on the other and fished with 1/2oz flat penny leads just further out than the outer line of reeds, making first casts around 0745… and at one point I switched over the bread to meat.

As I say, the carp were spawning, and so I was not expecting great results as, although I was hoping more for bream, tench and perch than carp, from experience carp spawning and their vigorous procedures in doing so unsettle the other species … more so in smaller pools with high carp concentrations to which is added the nuisance of ‘carp liners’ as they speed and bash their way around the water catching the line as they go and giving false bite indications. And I really think that the few nudges and short pulls I had were ‘liners’ and so, again, I blanked – as did three other anglers in my area it must be said.

And I’ve had had a few equipment losses over the last two sessions – seemingly I left my new ‘Wychwood Pocket Pod’ with buzz bars fitted at the water on the previous session and currently have fingers crossed they’ll be found and returned … and on this session I lost 2 Spombs (one large, one midi) when the 30lb braid line snagged on the reel whilst casting… so changing the spomb rod line to mono for the future!!

Session 23 – The One In Which Liz Outfishes Steve .. Again! And Gets Two New PB’s Into The Bargain Too…

So it was Monday, 22nd May, when Liz and I set off for the water’s edge at a member’s only pool in Shropshire (WL2) at 0700, arriving at around 0740…

A beautiful morning on arrival…

… and, as first arrivals we elected to fish our usual swims on the small peninsula that falls on the boundary between what was the original pool to the right and the relatively new enlargement of it to the left.. with me fishing off the end of the peninsula off to the ‘new’ side and Liz at it’s shoulder fishing down the new section of the pool.

Usual preliminaries and pre-baiting carried out I tackled up my 13’ float rod with a 5AAA antenna waggler set up to fish lift-method style – 6lb main line straight through to a size 12 Kamasan Animal Barbless hook, baited with worm/maggot cocktails apart from an half hour period when I tried a small cube of meat with no joy. Liz set up two ledger rods with feeders fished with a variety of baits … luncheon meat, Old Ghost bloodworm flavoured sausage, sweetcorn, etc but had no bites from any of those … and maggot…. and then later switched the cage feeders to maggot feeders…

Anyway, I was first off the mark hooking into a small silver of around 4-6oz which unfortunately threw the hook before landing and then shortly after I landed an eel also of around 4-6oz …

2017-05-22 Steve - Eel (4oz-6oz) 02

5 oz Eel

… but other than that I only managed couple of ‘fingerling’ perch … but did miss a larger fish … maybe a 2lb’er, or possibly even a 20lb’er … I shall never know. Someone else had just arrived at the pool and I heard him speaking to Liz behind me and so I turned around to see but they were out of my line of sight and so I turned back to the rod … and the rod was bent over and the reel was back-winding … grabbed the rod and struck … but felt absolutely nothing… oh well!…

Liz started off quietly with not a touch for several hours and then had switched over to maggot feeders… and then had a good fish on and called for me to be ready to net. However, just before I got there the hook pulled free…. but not too later I was called into netting action again and this time nice 12lb 13oz mirror carp was safely landed…

… and at this point Liz decided that we needed to have separate categories in our PB/Big Fish lists for Common, Mirror and Leather Carp rather than the single generic Carp (King) one. Think it was triggered by her current PB carp being 18lb 1oz – a common – and she wanted this one on a list! And so now she has a new PB Mirror Carp.

Anyway, after dealing with the mirror, she wound in her other rod to re-cast out as I’d suck that rod’s tip to prevent the lines tangling whilst playing the fish and within a clump of weed she’d picked up on the retrieve a small fingerling perch was also found fairly hooked.

And a bit later she also had a nice perch of 15oz… also a new PB increasing from her previous 14oz!

And at 1630 we decided to call it a day and head to a local hostelry for beers, scratchings, and mini-cheddars!

Next outing plans – well, hoping for a Friday outing back to the reservoir of my previous trip out and aiming to go closer to the dam wall where I believe the water is deeper and where the bream may be hanging out – well, there was a YouTube video I saw of the venue and bream were being caught around that area… 🙂

Session 22 – New Water…

Well, as stated in my previous blog entry, I did head to that new water, a 19 acre reservoir that provides water to the Staffs-Worcs Canal, on Friday 12th May..

I found the water easily enough – a 30 minute drive from home and a water I’d passed in the car many times in my 66 years on this planet although I’d never actually walked it’s banks let alone fished it before.

ScreenHunter_19 May. 12 14.57

The morning was quite grey and overcast with light drizzle…

Anyway, I arrived at around 0730 and cast out my fish/depth finder – and found a slope down from about 3.5’ to around 7’ about 4 or 5 rod lengths out, and groundbait was mixed and some fed into this area prior to prepping equipment and setting up my two rods for the day – both 11’ ledger rods, 8lb main line with 1/2oz bombs but one with a size 10 hook baited with worm/maggot cocktail and the other with bread on a size 6 hook.

Weather varied – brightening one minute, darkening again the next, the drizzle almost stopping at times but never completely and then getting heavier again…. and by 1100 I was damp despite sitting under the brolly as breeze direction seemed to vary around almost 360’ so whatever orientation it was set in at some point in came in from the front half… and also due to the dampness of the outer clothing (dry inners though) I was starting to get a little shivery and so decided to call it a day… and, despite extra feed and changing fishing distances, the only ‘fishy’ action came to the bread bait at around 1030 whilst considering whether to pack up or not and that consisted of 3 or 4 quick 3”-6” twitches of the bobbin – and then nothing again…

Not put me off returning though – a nice looking water, and did see signs of sporadic fish movements in the form of swirls and ‘V’ waves, so hopefully on a better day….

The session did give me chance to try out some bits of kit I’d not used before – three items and pleased with them all..

Well, the first two items actually combined to form one – the brolly…

  • The brolly itself … a Koala 50” brolly …
    There are two tilt types in fishing brollies – one where the pole is hinged near the mantle/cover and folds over. With this type, when the brolly is in the tilted state, the pole remains planted in the centre and can decreases the effective usable space under the brolly to its interference to access items. With the other method (‘Nubrolli’) to put into tilt mode the centre pole actually unscrews and then it is re-screwed into a point between the spoke ring and the top of the brolly … thus the pole is behind the angler and the full space under the brolly is freed up… The Koala is of this ‘Nubrolli’ type….

       Standard Brolly                                                                             ‘Nubrolli’/Koala

… and as this was the first time of usage I was very pleased with it … and it did seem far more spacious than my previous 50” standard brolly…

  • The second item was the bottom pole of the brolly..
    Usually these are just a ‘pointed stick’ affair which requires you to press or hammer them into the ground… OK in soft ground but in hard dried ground or rocky ground or frozen ground they can be impossible almost to place in firmly enough. So some time ago I obtained a Dinsmore Screw-in Brolly pole which has a screw threaded point and you screw into the ground and which deals with many situations that the standard pointed version won’t..

Dinsmore                                          Dinsmore PowerPoint Umbrella Pole

However, this particular item has one slight failing – it is made of tubular aluminium – which means that in a medium or stronger breeze with the upper brolly pole not covering all this bottom pole then the section between where this bottom pole enters the ground and where the upper pole ends can get slightly (or worse) bent by the force of the wind catching the brolly’s mantle … and can make sliding the lower pole into the upper pole when packing up anything from a tight fit to impossible and requiring a straightening exercise on arriving home…

So, my new item was a screw-pointed pole but instead of being based on an aluminium tube with a screw-point attached, this one is machined from a solid bar of aluminium and thus very resistant to bending. Heavier though obviously than the tube version but a very good trade off…

Brolly_Pole One-piece solid bar pole (Gardner Tackle)

  • The third item was a Wychwood Pocket Rod Pod…
    pocket-rod-pod-alu

I prefer to use standard banksticks (screw-point type) set in the ground for my rod rests but in these days of wooden platforms and hardcore/concrete ‘stations’ this is quite often impossible to do as sometimes its not even possible to set up banksticks alongside these prepared areas – and then there are naturally rocky areas (dam walls made up of large boulders, etc) too. So this means that if you don’t know a water, and even if you do, then you may find that you need a rod pod for hold your rods to fish… and they can be quite heavy and cumbersome items … not ideal especially if it requires a long walk. And now, this Pocket Pod  has proven to be a good solution… like it says on the can … ‘Pocket’ … they really do fit in a jacket pocket (well, my combat jacket ones anyway)….  simply your 4 standard banksticks screw on to create the legs and a longer bankstick screws into the face of one piece (bottom pic) and then passes through the hole of the other and attached by tightening the thumb screw… Obviously you need to check that you bank stick for that connection is of a suitable thickness to pass through the hole … I used the inner part of a 4’->7’ telescopic bankstick that I always carry anyway – used mainly for holding the rod tip up high when barbelling on the Severn. Worked well enough for me, stable enough overall although a bit more wobbly than a purpose built rod – and when you consider the weight of a pod (1Kg+?) against the weight of these bits (< 250g?) plus the fact that you can make them easily a standard item to carry everywhere with you and thus always available to deal with unexpected situations… a definite 10/10 from me!!

Sessions 20 & 21 – All At Sea

OK, been on holiday to Newquay, Cornwall for the week of Monday 1st to Monday 8th May and had a couple of dabbles in the sea…

First of the two sessions was crablining in Newquay Harbour (South Wall, Inner Harbour) with Liz for our traditional Crabline Champion Competition whenever we are on the coast on Wednesday 3rd (or maybe Thurs 4th?). Usual crablines with bacon in the mesh bait bags on an incoming tide but after an hour in quite a cool breeze (but actually sheltered by the harbour walls, REALLY breezy outside those confines) neither of us so much as even sighted a crab which is not only unusual but actually an unknown situation for us over all the years we’ve done it – and we’ve been to far more unlikely-to-catch places! However, I did have a few small fish interested in my bait bag – a couple of 2”-4” black fish that looked like blenny, and one slightly larger mottled brown one that looked very wrasse-like from high above them…

… however, the picture above does show the blenny as mottled brown but they do turn black when in breeding so maybe both fish types were blennies…? I did add a hook to my bait bag with a small strip of bacon in an attempt to catch one but as my only hook was a 1/0, and even though the fish were attacking it, the hook was far too big for them to take… Anyway, after our hour, fishing boats started to return to harbour and took up all the available spaces to fish from … so off we went to the pub with an honourable draw recorded…

The second session was in the sea itself on Sunday May 7th fishing on Towan Head – however, selection of fishing area was not good given (a) it was calm, hot, sunny (b) next to the car park, (c) next to a launch pad for paddleboards, canoes, etc and (d) on high rocks with deep water below which meant that undisciplined kids (whose parents were sat over the way but said/did nothing to correct the kid’s behaviour) were jumping in about 10 yards from the floats and then climbing out between Liz and I who were sat only 10 feet apart. Needless to say we had not a bite or nibble in the 3 hours of our fishing up to high tide. General area (cliffs, rocks with large sandy areas) was good and if there then would fish there again albeit not in the exact location we chose this trip. Anyway, we didn’t take the beachcasters this trip, just basically the pike rods and floats and floatfished with sprat fillets sourced from the leftover pike baits of the past season and with raw king prawns… so we had to fish a calmer area due to the tackle limitations… next time we’d take the proper sea gear – beachcasters, 4oz-6oz breakaway leads, etc.

So, now looking forward to my next session with anticipation – Friday 12th May, a session on a local 19 acre reservoir which I’ve never fished in my life before, but which has a good head of fish including bream into double figures. I bought the season tickets (plural as you can only fish one rod per ticket, and so I’ve got two so I can use two rods – I’ve actually a 3-rod EA licence but the controlling club have a 2-rod limit on their waters) just before leaving on holiday in readiness and the past couple of days I’ve sorted my tackle and now only my bait to sort… the new club also has another 3 waters too that look good – a 16 acre lake and two smaller pools of 1.5-2.0 acres which I look forward to savouring too in the near future…