Session 31 – Special Invitation Day

Sunday, 18th June Liz and I went on our annual visit to a pool (LH) that is unfished for 46 weeks of the year – and the remaining 6 weeks only at weekends – and these are granted to one of my clubs as part of the owner’s annual charity fund raising event … 6 anglers from the club are allowed to book spaces for each of the Saturday or Sunday’s, making a £10 donation each to the local church’s funds.

And yesterday Liz and I found out new info – there are two pools on the site – one mixed, one carp only – and I was under the impression only the mixed one was fishable by us but it appears that both are available to us these days. Not that it matters much to Liz and I as we go primarily for the tench so the carp only pool offers no interest to us really – and the mixed pool holds a lot of carp anyway.

Anyway fishing is allowed 0700-1900, so Liz and I arrived early at 0645 to ensure we got our intended swim – which we didn’t – but only purely because when we got there we decided on a different swim anyway! LOL.

As I say, only 6 people a day can book but actually there were only 4 of us on the day – and the other two decided to fish the carp pool – for about an hour or two anyway as it seems we were catching better on our pool; and they both moved across to join us – albeit at a reasonable distance away … LOL!

Liz and both ledgered with two rods – Liz with maggot feeder on both rods and various hookbaits – and I straight ledgered over a baited area with free feed and groundbait and extra groundbait balls and particles catapulted out at intervals with worm/maggot/corn/bread and meat used as hook baits… packing in exhausted and extremely thirsty at 1700 after a long and extremely hot day under the blazing sun.

So what did we catch?:

 

… and Liz also had a small (ca 6oz) Roach and I also had a 4lb 10oz Common Carp but no photos thereof…

So a good day in all despite the fact that we didn’t have a single tench between us – and, I think, the other two anglers only had one tench between themselves too although they were more carp orientated anyway… and no bream for any of us.

As I say – a long, hot and thirsty day, so it had to end with liquid nourishment and what better than a pint of Titanic ‘Raspberry Wheat’ followed by a pint of Fownes’ ‘King Korvaks Saga’ along with mini-cheddars and scratchings… a perfect ending to any day…. 🙂

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Session 30 – River Season Start

So, it came to pass that on Friday June 16th 2017 that I, on my own as Liz decided gardening was the thing of the day, headed off to spend the opening day of the new river season on a club stretch (KF-WG) of the Warwickshire Avon leaving the house at 0615 and arriving a little 0700, the M5 and other traffic being quite light.

On arrival, I made a beeline to a couple of bivvies – a couple of guys at the start of doing a 3-night session – to see how the first night had gone … and to drop off a mug for one that had forgotten to pack his 😀

The report was that there’d been no action at all – but these guys were totally focussed in pursuit of carp of which they are few and far between and any attention would have been a major event…

So, I set off for my intended swim and soon arrived there – or so I thought… well, last  season I fished down to what I thought was this willow tree albeit that I was a bit further upstream on the bank casting down to it..

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Anyway, fished this swim for about 4 hours with swimfeeder on a quiver tip using bread, maggot, meat and paste baits and catching 2 small perch before moving upstream a little, into what I think WAS my originally intended swim… albeit that things had changed … certainly the bankside contours were as I recall but the willow tree was now too far downstream to cast to really and I think as a lot of willows were pollarded earlier in the year that the ‘my’ willow was now a stump with a newly sprouting haircut…

So I continued fishing this spot for the next 3-4 hours with worm/maggot fished along with a Dinsmore Mini 1oz Dual maggot feeder – and had 1 chub, 1 eel, 1 bream and another perch – but none exceeded 6oz in weight…

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Bream – ca 6oz

So, on way back to the car I checked in on the carp men – still no action at that point in time….

Tomorrow (18th), Liz and I are on our annual pilgrimage to a little fished pool – fished only 6 weekends per year, max 6 anglers per session, £10 per session per angler via special invitation by the owner to one of my clubs as part of one of his charity fund raising events. We’ve fished the pool now for the last 4-5 years and usually do well with the tench and carp although Liz couldn’t make it last year and on my own I had a poor day IIRC, may even have blanked!

Session 29 – A Day Of Red Letters … and 3 PBs

Tuesday 13th June saw Liz and setting forth to a club water with hopes for a day’s action filled sport – as usual – but it was one of those days actually met the hopes! 🙂

Set off from home at 0700 … arrived poolside (KF-WL2) around 0740 … baited up, nets and mats laid out, camera and scales readied and rods tackled up … and fishing by 0815…

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… well, I was… Liz had already cast in, hooked into a fish, and called for assistance before my first rod was out in the water. Unfortunately, the fish shed the hook before it could be seen…

Liz fished two rods with maggot feeder and cage feeder … myself two rods straight ledgered over a bed of groundbait consisting of crumb, particles and comatose maggots using worm/maggot on a size 12 on one rod, and bread, meat, etc tried on the other…

Yep, I thought to myself the other day instead of dead maggots why not use suffocated/comatose maggots ones…. when maggots are killed by any method (eg immersed in hot water, frozen, etc) they tend to change in ‘nature’ ie elongate, cook, change colour, etc and damp … but suffocated ones (ie stored in a plastic bag with the air expelled and kept in the fridge for day or so – or even weeks and months come to that) remain natural as they are still alive. Just take them in the bag to the waterside then put into a bait box on which the lid is kept on when not accessing them to prevent air getting to them and reviving them. Being comatose at the time of use like dead maggots they will not ‘escape’ into the silt, etc in the water. They also have the advantage that they will not go ‘off’ like deads that have been thawed and refrozen – just put in airtight bag again when home and re-fridge….

So over the day we both had almost constant action with small roach, rudd and perch coming regularly to the bank… and Liz at 0900 had a new PB perch of 1lb 1oz… shortly followed at 1020 by another PB equalling 1lb 1oz’er.. then at 1150 a 1lb 0oz’er graced the net, and then at 1245 the PB was increased to 1lb 2oz…. her next best fish being a couple of 11oz perch…

 

As for myself, the usual small roach, perch, rudd were supplemented by a nicely conditioned roach of around 8oz – and a tench of 3lb 10oz – and a new PB crucian carp of 1lb 15oz upping me from a 1lb 6oz fish caught in the 1978/79 season at Pool Hall (or maybe it was Patshull Pool)…

 So, a good day all round – with the session terminated at around 1700 and a stop off at the pub enroute home for a couple of pints of Fownes’ King Korvak’s Saga for me and a couple of pints of Thornbridge’s Hubble for Liz along with bags of scratchings, Mini Cheddars and nuts …. 🙂

MEANDERINGS:

One thing was particularly noticeable over the day – the number of drop-back indications I was getting despite the fact I was using 1/2oz ledger weights and light bobbin indication insinuating the weight was being lifted and moved before the line tension was enough to move the bobbin. OK, so this can happen for several reasons anyway – eg rod not pointing straight down the line towards lead (ie increased friction where line is bent at tip ring), friction of the line on the intermediate rod rings between tip and the bobbin (not much can alleviate this other than to use rings with low friction ceramic liners, etc), or line running in/over weed/rocks/etc in the water, etc. I had tried to eliminate those sources as much as possible but still 90% of my indications were drop-backs which I felt excessively high – and a far higher percentage than I ever recall having before – and then I noticed at one point, with the line out of the water for re-baiting with the rod tip elevated, that the weight had not slid down the line as far as it should but seemed suspended – and an investigation seems to have highlighted a flaw in the tackle and, in particular, the fitting of the ledger weight to the line… which was via a plastic ‘run ring’ of the type pictured below which I obtained via eBay and then fitted with a quick change snap link on the ‘V’ section to facilitate changing of weights.

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The problem was due to the line wearing, over a period of time, a groove into the plastic due to the repeated ‘cheesewire’ like effect as the plastic slid up and down the line. Liz and I carry our rods ready made up in a quiver and between Liz and I we have 50 rods all pre-tackled up ready for action and just pick up which ones we need for the day ahead – so we don’t tackle down at the end of each session and the only time we remove/change/add terminal stuff on the line is if we suffer a break or the line becomes too tangled to unravel or if it looks frayed, etc – so hooks, shot, and run rings may sit on the line for months or even seasons – plenty of time for these grooves to be made…

So…. been back on eBay and ordered some ‘Big Ring Swivels’ to replace these plastic run rings as the metal won’t groove…

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OK… as Friday is the ‘Glorious 16th’ when the river season re-opens I’m planning on a trip to the Warwickshire Avon in search of bream mainly but if barbel, chub, carp, etc want to play then who am I to argue…? 😀

Session 28 – Carping On Again…

Sunday 11th June, after having had to cancel a trip out on the previous Tuesday due to inclement weather I headed out a mixed-but-mainly-carp club water (AA-GH).

Weather was reasonable bright, slightly overcast and the breeze came from the south-west as forecast but less severe than the forecast had said – a good day actually.

As first on the water – arrived at around 0635 – as usual I had my choice of swims and I had three in mind – one fishing into open water sheltered from the breeze, one fishing into the breeze, and one fishing on the bank that was parallel to the breeze’s direction and thus sheltered by the line of trees that run down the edge of that bank. In the end the breeze wasn’t that bad as I said so any of the options would have been OK but I opted for the third one….

This swim has an interesting set of contours – directly under your feet the water depth is around 6’, sloping to around 11’ a couple of rod lengths out and then a gentle sloping to 14’ … and then it gets interesting… from about halfway to the island to the island itself (see second pic) there a number of sudden depth changes where the depths step to 14’, 28’ and 40’ – it’s almost as if there used to be a series of cellars as the ‘edges’ of the changes are seemingly vertical according to my fish/depth finder – so drawing a line back from the island to the bank the depths along it go something like…

11’ – 14’ – 28’ – 40’ – 14’ – 28’ – 40’ – 28’ – 14’ then slopes slowly up to 11’ and then up to 6’ at the bank.

…and seems to happen only in this actual peg … no indication of this behaviour at the pegs at either side of this one albeit that there’s less than 10 yards between the pegs…

I started by fishing two ledger rods (8lb line, 1/2oz sliding bomb weights on both), one with a size 12 hook baited with worm/maggot fished out off the edge of the overhanging bush seen in the left of the second photo and the other out in front about halfway across to the island with a size hook baited with bread. I also catapulted out a few loose dog biscuits to check on ‘cruisers’ as this is a water on which the carp are quite floater friendly.

Due to the sharp drops I get a bit anxious about straight ledgering further across than halfway at this peg as I visualise the line catching the edges of the drops. I have thought of trying a Polaris or LocSlide float system to fish those drops but have not done so yet – perhaps in the future –By 0900 I’d had a few twitches on both rods but nothing substantial enough to strike at – and as a number of carp were now rising the free floaters I packed in the two ledger rods and set up my floater rod and spent the next 2-3 hours trying to entice these fish. However, they are not very innocent these carp, because as I say they do like a floating meal and because of this they do get offered baits in this way very frequently – and have learnt to trust nothing without a good testing which includes tail smashing the baits, sucking’n’pulling, etc. So it was hard work and I had to use all my ‘tricks of the trade’ but even then only one carp succumbed to my offerings before they moved off… a nice mirror carp of 6lb 8oz though…

 

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6lb 8oz Mirror Carp

So, around 1230, I switched back to the ledger rods and managed to pick up a small 4oz’ish bream and an 8oz roach on the worm/maggot rod..

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8oz Roach

.. and just before packing up, although I had already packed up the floater rod, the top feeding carp returned in the area and a few pieces of floating bread were thrown out to hold their attention whilst I removed the ledger weight from the line of my size 6 hook rod… and a piece of crust was fastened on and flicked out … and was taken… however a few minutes later the hook pulled and the fish was gone. So at that point it was time to tackle down and head home…

Well, its now less than a week to the start of the new river season … and I’m planning to be on the Warks Avon on the day (Friday 16th) 🙂 but before then I’m off on another outing …

Tuesday (13th) – to a mixed fishery which I aim to use as a practice session for an upcoming club event … ‘The Golden Maggot’. Its based loosely on Matt Hayes’ TV ‘Rod Race’ series (which I believe was influenced by a TV series back in the 50’s/60’s actually called ‘Golden Maggot’) whereby a timed target is set (eg catch 100lb of roach in 24 hours, etc)… and our club’s version is to catch as many different species (by fair angling, no kiddy nets, etc! :)) from any of the club’s waters (river, pool or canal) between 0745 on Saturday 8th July and 1800 on Sunday 9th July. So… 0745 Saturday head to the meeting point (pub car park) to collect a placard that has to appear in all the photos of the claimed fish .. then immediately set out to fish as/when/how you wish .. returning to the meeting place between 1600- 1800 on Sunday to have photos examined and claims counted – and every 15 minutes late back after 1800 you get one species deducted and in event of a tie then the first back at the meeting point wins… The club’s been doing it for a few years now but this will be the first time for me. Could be good fun – and I’ve already got a provisional plan for my modus operandi! 🙂

And on Sunday (18th), as part of its charity event (open house/garden, etc) a local Hall invites one of my clubs access to fish their waters which otherwise are unfished the rest of the year. For six weekends they allow 6 members per day on the waters for a £10 charity donation each. And Liz and I have booked for the first Sunday that the fishing becomes available. A lovely pool with good tench and carp along with other species too … including good perch I hear although to date (and Liz and I have fished the pool for the past 4-5 year on the invites) we’ve not yet encountered any.

Right! A busy week ahead for us!!

Session 27 – Unexpected Results – And A PB Too…

Before starting the tales of my latest session on Friday, 2nd June, I’m doing an update of previous matters…

Well, on session 23 I had the misfortune to leave behind my recently acquired Wychwood Pocket Pod – converts a set of banksticks into a rod pod basically and the two parts together fit easily into my jacket pocket – see Session 22’s posting for all the details. Fantastic device that is so easy and light to carry that they were intended to be kept in my tackle permanently in order to deal with those unexpected times when standard bank sticks won’t cut it (wooden stagings, slabbed pegs, hard frozen ground, etc)  – and will do so now as they were found at the pool and returned to me! Fantastic club with honest members! I’ve tried out various devices to deal with the awkward situations from using light tripods (too unstable) to full but light pods (bulky and still extra unneeded weight) and nothing has come near to the functionality, etc of the pocket pods.

AND … I’ve obtained some fluorescent yellow 2cm wide duct tape and 2cm wide luminous tape which I have wrapped on to the pod bits to highlight them – now highly visible in light or dark!! 🙂 Other mislayable items will be dealt with similarly …

So, on to the latest session (or to be trendy, ‘sesh’)…. which was to a club pool and, in fact, designated to be that club’s premiere carp pool albeit containing many other species of good size including a solitary 8lb bream! My intention being to fish one rod for tench/perch/etc and put out a sleeping carp rod in case…

I arrived at the pool at around 0630-0645 to find that no-one else was there – surprising as usually there are one or two of the club’s night syndicate bivvied up, but, I think, one other angler arrived later but he may actually have been bivvied up over the other side of the island and out of sight from my location and anyway had left before I did…

So, having the freedom of, at least, most of the pool I chose to fish next to an overhanging willow under the cover of which I have previously managed to winkle out a few perch, eels, etc on occasion…

 

The water was crystal clear – I’ve seen murkier tap water!

And at this point that pocket pod came in very useful as usually I have no trouble with my standard screw-point bank sticks to get the rod rests in securely but since my last visit it appears that the pegs have had a makeover of well compacted hardcore covered over in shredded tree bark – looks great but can you screw (never mind push) a bank stick in? Nah – so out came the pocket pod components and rod rests sorted in a minute or two! 🙂

So, I baited up under the willow with dead maggots, a few particles and some crumb – and spombed out a larger quantity of the same further out into the open water of the pool directly in front and proceeded to tackle up with two rods… one with a running 1/4oz flat pear lead and a size 12 hook to be ledgered under the willow and the other with a size 6 and a running 1/2oz arseley bomb.

The ‘willow’ rod was fished with worm/maggot for the whole session and the ‘carp’ rod fished with bread, meat and sweetcorn until just after midday when the bomb was removed and fished ‘floater’ style using bread and dog biscuits as the carp were seen to be top feeding at that time… and then for the last hour (1430-1530) reverted back to the ledgering as the top feeding fish had moved well out of range and my floaters weren’t attracting any attention.

Right…. now this pool is a difficult pool for most people (including me!) … but its absolutely heaving with fish … some years ago a test netting produced such a haul on a single pass that the net couldn’t be raised from the water with the weight of silvers, etc… and yet matches on there are won literally with ounces rather than pounds – albeit with a few pole line smashes caused by the large carp! Why? Well, its a tale of cause-effect-cause… the pool is highly rich in natural fish foods and thus the fish are well fed and used to that diet and so it needs for the fish to be ‘weaned over’ to recognise and accept anglers’ baits … BUT as its so hard to catch there very few people (other than the carp anglers’) visit and so very little bait suitable for the general run of fish (20mm boilies aren’t going to catch many roach for example) is being introduced … so fish aren’t getting enough bait to ‘switch on’ to it… Catch 22 in essence!

From the above you will then see that I visited the pool with low expectations of even getting a twitch and even less a proper bite, never mind landing a fish… but over the session I had several twitches, four good takes and landed four fish of which one was a Personal Best … hence the title of the entry!

A couple of twitches proceeded a slow rise of the ‘willow’ rod’s bobbin at 1100 and the strike met the solid resistance of a tench – duly landed, weighed and photo’d – 3lb 5oz… also later there came a few more mini-twitches followed by a healthy steady rise of the bobbin but a strike met just fresh air…

And on the ‘carp’ rod a couple of twitches on ledgered bread did not lead to anything further but on the switch over to fishing floating crust a carp was eventually in the net at 1400 … and it was a new PB mirror carp of 14lb 4oz. Later, another take on floating crust met resistance and the ‘bump, bump’ of a head shake but within literally 2 seconds the line went sickeningly slack and the line had snapped close to the hook… after no further action to floating baits and as the surface feeding fish had moved out of range from my peg I switched back to ledgered baits for my final hour on the water but without any interest from the fish.

So, at 1530 I started to pack up – and at 1535 the skies opened and I got back to the car absolutely soaked to the skin … there had actually been quite a few ‘heavy’ showers during the day as evidenced by the spotting on the pool’s surface BUT those were not actually wetting, never felt on the skin, clothing not damp, etc . However, this final shower REALLY was the real thing!