Session 3 – 2018 – A General Session

On Friday 12th January 2018 Liz and I set off for a day of general coarse fishing at one of club pools (KF-VV), leaving the house at 0815 with the car thermometer indicating an air temp of 5.0’C although as we passed through the countryside it did drop to 4.0’C, and we arrived at the pool’s car parking around 0900.

I was a bit concerned on arrival that the water might have been frozen, looking from the car it looked very ‘glassy … but a quick walk showed it to be merely millpond still with not a ripple (apart from those caused by some ducks on the far side) showing.

The weather forecast had shown that any expected winds/breezes to come from the south-westerly or westerly directions – both good on the fishermen’s expectations ie ‘when the wind is in the south it blows the bait into the fishes’ mouth’ and ‘when the wind is in the west the fish bite the best’… both far better then ‘when the wind’s in the north, the angler goes not forth’ or ‘when  the wind is in the east, the fish bite the least’ …. Anyway, the expected wind direction and the fact that the west bank of the pool has a backdrop of shielding conifers to keep the breezes down and thus lessen any wind-chill effects determined our position to fish from … the west bank. And this bank also gives access to a few features as there are two islands and the end of a spit to fish across to given where you actually locate … and on this occasion Liz chose a swim so that she could fish a channel between the two islands and I fished the next swim along directly facing an island.

Anyway, the forecast was slightly out – the breezes, when they existed as quite often the pool was back to its glass-like state, tended to be southerly to slightly south-easterly if anything.

Water temps were measured at 3.3’C at around 1000 rising to 3.5/3.6’C at midday and remained steady at that until we packed up at 1515.

So, Liz elected to fish two ledger rods, as I say positioned in the channel between the two islands. One with a maggot feeder and maggot on the hook, the other an open end feeder with luncheon meat on the hook. This gained her a few bites, but they mainly resulted in dropped baits – or were line bites possibly – but she did capture a nice 6lb 8oz mirror carp taken on the meat…

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Liz – 6lb 8oz Mirror Carp

Myself, I floatfished up to the island using a 4AAA bodied waggler, 6lb main line with a 6lb braid hooklength terminated in a size 16 hook baited with 2 or 3 red maggots fished over catapulted mixed dead maggots and although I only had one bite all day long (despite later changing the hook to a size 12 baited with worm), it did result in a nice 1lb 10oz perch…

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Steve – 1lb 10oz Perch

And so, at 1515, with a slight chill creeping into the bones, we packed up and headed home – via the local hostelry as per usual for beer and scratchings – for a warming bath followed by a lamb stew that had been cooking in the slow cooker ….

PLANS:

Not really sure as I’d been planning a ‘pole on the canal’ day for Monday or Tuesday but with high winds on both days and rain on Monday forecast I’ve abandoned those ideas… probably be out on Friday 19th Jan though…

WATER TEMPS:

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Session 2 – 2018 – Debut Of The Pole – And Piking.

Tuesday 9th January 2018 I set off from home at 0830 heading for Pike Water 5 – a mistake as I know I should either leave home by 0800 or after 0900 otherwise, as I did, I get caught in the get-to-work traffic which adds 30 minutes to the trip.

The day was a bit warmer than the previous day which started with a very thick and heavy frost but Tuesday was more of a fine misty drizzle day – you could feel fine droplets brushing your cheek all day but there was no dampness created – and the air temperature hung around 5’C all day long with the actual water temperature measured at a steady 2.8’C at the water’s edge in a depth of 3’.

The intention of the day was to fish in 2 halves – the pre-midday session was to utilise my new 8 metre pole and to learn the vagaries of pole fishing – having never even held a pole before in my life – whilst attempting to furnish myself with some livebaits for the second half of the day which was to be pike fishing….

OK … my pole. As I said it’s an 8 metre ‘Grandeslam’ glass pole for which I’ve obtained 2 new universal top kits for. The original ‘top 2’ are set up currently with the solid ‘8’ elastic that it came set up with at purchase but I’ve obtained, and intend to replace it shortly, with hollow an ‘8-12’ rated elastic – and this is my ‘small’ fish set up. The other two top kits are both ‘top 3s’ and of carbon fibre – one, an ‘Oakwood’ brand has been set up with a ’12-16’ rated hollow elastic for larger tench and perch and the other is a ‘Grandeslam’ one and has been set up with a ‘20+’ rated hollow elastic intended to deal with exceptional tench and carp into double figures.

So today I used my ‘small’ fish set up – as I was after small livebait sized fish – but also because I’ve not yet set up end rigs for the two heavier pole tips. The water I was fishing is about 10’ deep 4 metres out so I’d pre-made up some suitable rigs with a main line of 3.5 metre 4lb BS (using the standard formula that ‘line BS = 1/2 of elastic rating’ ie line BS = 8/2 = 4) with a 1/2 metre 3lb hook length connected to a size 16 hook. Thus total line length was 4 metres which allowed the bait to touch bottom if required plus about 1 metre to play with between pole tip and float. So, with such a long main line I used the pole in a ‘whip’ mode using a 5 metre pole length to fish and discarding one section to allow any fish to swing to hand (or be drawn to the net depending on size). For bait I used double red maggot. Any road up, as they say, the first hour was really spent getting acquainted with the pole, flicking the rig out decently, etc and at that time I wasn’t impressed with pole fishing at all … but then cometh the moment, cometh the man and I started to get into the swing of things (pardon pun!) and it became more comfortable, etc. Anyway, by noon I’d had one small (1-2oz) roach in the livebait bucket and missed about another 4-5 bites including one drop-off.

So, noon – the pole was dismantled and a pike rod set up….

Yep, just the one rod – as only one live bait! Usual 40lb braid with 30lb wire trace with a size 2 single hook mid-trace and terminated with a 12/2 double hook suspended below a small pencil float. This was fished initially over the area that had been fished for the bait on the grounds that the free fed maggots would attract bait fish which in turn attract the pike but after 30 mins or so I decide to fish out in the deeper water as the lower water levels in theory should be warmer… however, after another 30 minutes, with the bait drifting around, no action had been encountered and then on a re-cast the bait went adrift …. and so for the next hour a ‘bluey’ (Pacific Maury) deadbait was used but again with no interest shown and at 1430 I decided to call it a day.

So, technically not a blank – and feel quite confident on the pole now ….

PLANS:

Next trip is planned to be a session out with Liz doing some general coarse fishing with the destination not yet decided. And possibly on Monday or Tuesday of next week I might take the pole down to the canal.

WATER TEMPS:

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Session 1 – 2018 – A Lure Of The Canal

Friday 5th January 2018 saw me leave the house at around 0745 to fish a club stretch of the Shropshire Union Canal arriving at around 0815 in light drizzle but it looked as if brighter weather was looming out to my left…

… and on this session I elected to fish at the bottom end of the club’s 1.2 mile which I’ve only managed to reach before on one occasion – and that was probably 5 years or more ago. As I say, it’s 1.2 miles from the usual parking for our stretch and when out roving with lures and wobbled deadbaits it takes about 4 hours to reach this end and then 3 hours to get back (as you tend to be more selective of casting areas on the way back) … and thus it would take 6-8 hours fishing if I’d started at the usual end and fished up … and I’d only 3-4 hours maximum to spare as Liz needed the car later for work. So, in this situation I’d used Google Earth to locate some parking at the far end before setting out (well, a few days ago in actual fact), and then put the co-ords into the Sat Nav and … bingo, arrived without problem. The parking was at an entrance to the canal in a place where another club holds the fishing rights but it was only a 250 yard walk down  the canal to reach our area… far better than the walk from the other end as it left me time for 3 hours of fishing although I probably only fished for 2 of them.

Anyway, as can be gathered from the title, I intended a lure and wobbling session for pike, and set up 2 rods for this. Both rods had 30lb braid terminated with wire spinning traces – and one rod was initially fitted with a black’n’luminous rubber shad and jig head and the other with a Shakespeare Midi S plug…

… and I fished these for about an hour without any joy … and then swapped the shad for a black’n’red caterpillar type body on the same jig head …. and fished down the canal another half hour before deciding to stop for a cuppa … and before having a sup I set up a sprat on a wobble rig but at that time added a couple of swan shot up the trace and cast the sprat to the far bank as a static ledgered bait whilst I had that cup of coffee….

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Caterpillar Body

Anyway, whilst having that coffee the skies had re-darkened and the wind picked up slightly – and in the distance, down the canal, I could see a canal boat working it’s way up towards me – and with a lot of decaying leaves still on the bottom of the canal the passage of that boat would create problems with those leaves being churned up and then entangling on the line and on the lures….  so I decided to work my way back to the car and possibly stop off at a pool that was almost en-route home for an hour or so… but whilst driving back the rain increased and I decided to call it a day.

SO… it was a first session blank for 2018.

PLANS:

Well, the club has put a call out for members to attend one of our waters on Sunday 7th to have a clear up of stray loose and lost lines after a complaint has been made by the landowner. The water is on an equestrian centre and so loose line not only creates danger for the wildlife but also for the horses and dogs….. so I’ll be doing my duty there…,

Monday/Tuesday (8th or 9th) – which one depends on whether I can my tackle sorted for the Monday or not over the weekend – is intended to be a pike bait fishing day with the added excitement of also being a possible first day with the new pole in action as I use it to catch live baits…

Friday 12th – possibly a day with Liz. I’m not sure if she’ll come out but even if she does it will be her choice of venue as she doesn’t get out too often. I’m easier on being retired but one of the cons of having a 25 year age difference is that she’s still working. And her free time has to be shared with other activities too… so when she gets to actually get out fishing the choice of when/where/how is basically hers.

The New Year Is Here…. So Looking Ahead….

Happy New Year to all!

Well, the 2018 New Year has arrived and I’m looking forward to the year ahead…

Although not the best start as a ‘hiccup’ has arisen with my start of year plans – a planned piking cum first pole fishing trip for tomorrow (Tuesday 2nd) has been put aside due to bad weather forecast so first outing likely to be the canal luring/wobbling session I’d planned as a follow-up.

So what do I plan for the New Year fishing…

  1. I took out club cards to fish a local reservoir for bream mainly in May 2017 – I took 2 cards as each card only allows the use of one rod at a time – and they run May 1st to the following April 31st. As I’ve only been to the reservoir twice, and I blanked both times, I’ve decided that I’ll not be renewing when they expire. It’s not so much the blanks but that I’m a member of two other clubs, both of whom have exceptional waters, and I find I tend to get pulled towards fishing their waters and so the new cards are not cost effective for me. However, as I say, the cards don’t expire until the end of April so I may get out on some of the other waters available before then, one of them is a pike pool that I’ve been meaning to try.
  2. I had intended to not renew my Birmingham AA (BAA) card for 2018 and instead to get a Wolverhampton AA (WAA) one. The main point of the BAA card was to access the local canals in the summer for early morning sessions (0300-0900) before the boat traffic kicked off for the day. And a BAA card (senior) is £30, whereas the WAA (senior) one is £10 and the WAA water adjoins the BAA one. However, I’d forgotten I paid my BAA by Direct Debit – and their renewal, 2018, card arrived in the post just after Christmas. So, sticking with the BAA card, for at least 2018, now. But then again the WAA only have ‘local’ canal water holdings whilst the BAA offer more, and varied types of, waters over a wider area eg, pools, rivers (large eg Severn – and small  eg Sow – and intermediate eg Teme) as well as the canal waters…
  3. Leading on from (2) above … I’m looking forward to trying some of the different waters available from both my two main club’s memberships that I’ve not yet explored plus some available waters via the BAA card – mainly a large reservoir, some upper and lower reaches of the Severn….
  4. In the near future I’m intending a canal session lure fishing for zander – a species I’ve not yet caught – plus some river zander trips.
  5. Trips to the Warks Avon – my favourite flowing water currently – in search of pike and zander over the rest of the winter and into spring and then for bream in the spring/summer/autumn….
  6. Setting a few new Personal Bests… especially a 5lb+ tench, a 7lb+ bream, a 3lb+ perch, a 5lb+ chub, a 25lb+ pike and a 7lb+ barbel. I’m not really a ‘carp’ person but if a 20lb+ wanted to take my bait, well then, who am I to argue? J But, of those listed, the barbel, although it looks the easiest on paper (esp as I live close to the Severn), is probably the one least likely to happen as I don’t tend to visit the Severn that often – probably 4-5 times a year – as I prefer stillwaters and if I do fish a river its generally the Warks Avon which is really more like a canal than the fast running Severn in nature…
  7. Enjoying my days at the waterside – whether they be mega-catch or mega-blank ones… there’s nothing quite  compares to a single tap on the rod tip, a dip of the float, a single beep of the bite alarm … all boost the adrenaline levels for the next few days. Whoever says that climbing 1000’ cliffs unaided, driving F1 cars at full speed, bungie jumping, riding a roller coaster without being strapped/locked in, etc are the most exciting things in life – well, it’s obvious they’ve never been fishing – and you just have to feel sorry for them don’t you!!!??

Session 62 – REALLY The Last Trip Of 2017 – Pike Competition

OK … so the previous post said that that would be my final trip of 2017 – but I didn’t take into account an annual pike competition that was to run on Sunday 31st December….

An informal competition – basically turn up any time on the day, fish as long as you want, by any legal means as you want, on any of the club’s three waters that are on the site, report your best fish of the day via the club’s Facebook page – all on trust, no witnesses needed – and best pike grants you a trophy (with a PERCH on the pedestal!) to hold for the following year…

OK … so I turned up at 0730 – in the dark, but when I got to the water there was already another angler there! Don’t know if he had as much trouble as me getting from the car park to the water but … firstly there is a path that leads off the main track to the right and is a bit of a short cut to the area I intended to fish … but could I find it? NO!! Initially I put that down to the dark but there was another reason I’ll come to presently. Anyway, in  the end I had to walk the length of the main track down to the water and then turn right and walk 150-250 yards to where the smaller track comes down to the gate – so basically another 300 yards or so of extra walking. Then it was good until 10 yards from my intended place of fishing when I tripped over a protruding stump of a sawn down bush and went face down in the mud … and with a heavy rucksack on my back along with the rod quiver, etc I couldn’t get up without unfastening and untangling those…. then the swim wasn’t the best with a steep slope and was extremely muddy and slippery… which meant a lack of comfort due to the care needed to avoid tripping/slipping/falling into the water… then whilst fishing I discovered the rod I was using wasn’t the one I thought I’d taken although no big deal – I’d taken Liz’s Ron Thompson EVO2 Pike (11’, 2.75lb TC) rod instead of my intended Ron Thompson Bass (12’, 3lb TC) one but as I say all was fine regarding that to all intents and purposes….

OK – so I fished from about 0800 until 1230 – starting with a sprat ‘Xmas Tree’ (basically, a standard 2 treble hook snap tackle baited with 5-6 sprats, generally one per hook point) on a float rig in around 12’ of water …. and later switched to single sardine bait (fish oil injected) on the same rig – both bait types fished at various depths from bottom to around 4’ deep and at various distances and drifted. I also tried a 10g blade spinner for a few casts on my spinning rod – but when, on a cast, the line drifted over a bush and became tangled and I lost the lure on a break off I didn’t retackle that rod…. Total result … not one sniff of a pike all session….

So, 1230, becoming cold and disillusioned I decided to tackle down and head for home … the tackling down was surprisingly uneventful … but the walk to the car was fun … NOT! … I walked to the pool end of the small path that I’d failed to locate on my arrival …. walked up 95% of it almost to the junction with the main path … and was met by a mound/maze/tangle of trees on the path that appeared to consist of wind snapped trees/boughs/trunks accompanied by sawn down ones – presumably the trees were unsafe evidenced by the rotten broken parts from wind damage and thus the National Trust had sawn down the remaining suspect parts … and presumably will be removing them at some stage… SO … that was why I couldn’t find the path earlier! However, that didn’t help at that moment as I now had two choices of action (1) turn around, go back down to the pool, walk to the start of the main track and head along there or, as I did as I was only 20 yards from the main track at that point, attempt to battle through the tree carnage like an Amazon explorer … BTW, going simply ‘going around’ the debris was not an option as all is very wild and woolly with brambles, other fallen branches, etc off the pathways… SO … there I was ducking and diving, freeing my tackle and bags as they became entangled and doing reasonably well UNTIL I tripped …. and again I couldn’t rise with the rucksack and other stuff holding me down … so rolling around to try to free myself of the tackle I rolled onto a branch that had a short stump of a twig sticking out – and it felt like a 6” nail going into my back (although no injury was actually caused) … and eventually, after around 10-15 minutes of hacking, twisting, rolling, pulling I arrived onto the safety of the main track … and 100 yards later I was back in the car and heading home for a much looked forward to soak in a bath of Radox with a large mug of hot chocolate to hand ….

SO…. that’s it for 2017 …. and until Tuesday 2nd January 2018 when, weather permitting, I’ll be off piking again at a water of one of my other clubs – and I’ll also be taking my first tentative steps in pole fishing as I’ll be trying to catch some livebait as I give my pole its first outing. And Friday 5th – possibly some lure fishing on a club stretch of the Shropshire Union canal….

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL READERS AND FOLLOWERS!!!!

UPDATED:
Tuesday’s (2nd Jan 2018) has been postponed – weather forecast to be terrible with rain and high winds – so I’ve been sorting my gear for Friday’s lure trip on the canal…..

Session 61 – Last Trip Of 2017 – Played Misty For Me – And Blanked Me Out…

Friday 22nd December saw me taking advantage of the fact that I was well up with Christmas chores – and that Liz was on a later than usual shift at work meaning that she wouldn’t need the car until around 1430.

So, at 0800, I headed off to a part of the local Staffs-Worcs Canal at Stourton/Stewponey – a stretch which has sections that are Birmingham AA controlled section and Kinver Freeliners controlled … and it also runs parallel to a BAA controlled stretch of the Worcester Stour…. and I made use of all 3!

It was a very misty morning from start to finish…. but was very mild and calm … and that made for an enjoyable day.

My first port of call was on the BAA section – at the junction of the Staffie with the Stourbridge Canal …. and I float fished here with a single sprat on a tandem pair of size 2 single hooks for around 30 minutes… and after having had no interest taken in the bait I switched to the River Stour (Worcs) which was 20 yards behind me, again fishing for around 20 minutes ‘trotting’ the bait for about 50 yards around a sharp bend … again, no interest was taken in the bait. So I switched back to the canal and walked back up to the end of the BAA section/start of the Kinver Freeliners and fished several spots along the KF section for 15-30 minutes at a time … and I tried adding 1-2 extra sprats to the offered bait to form a mini-‘Xmas Tree’ or shoal which I have found effective at times when single baits have been ignored … but all to no avail … and I packed in at just after 1130 to allow time to return home and empty the tackle from the car before Liz needed to set off for work.

So, a blank for the last session of 2017 … but I was glad to get back out on the water after several weeks away – having last fished on 16th November.

The Staffie has not been a major producer of pike for me anyway – I think I’ve only ever had one from there (plus one escapee) – both same swim, different days – and that was a stretch several miles the other side of Wolverhampton – and I’ve had a fair few pike seeking sessions on there. For me, the Shropshire Union is a far better ‘pike’ canal but I didn’t really have the available time to travel that far for this session. And, I find lures/wobbled baits to far outfish floatfished or ledgered deadbaits in any case even on the Shroppie – and a mate of mine perch fishes with lures on the Staffie and he reports getting annoyed by marauding pike almost every time he goes! But, at the end of the day, I fancied bait fishing for this session and, for me, doing what I want to do regardless of results is the most important and satisfying – to me, the end in no way justifies the means!

I Have A Gap In My Diary Appear – So I SHALL Go Fishing Before The New Year!!!

Yes … due to the combination of *almost* being ready for Christmas and Liz starting her work shift later than usual and thus the car being free for a while, it appears that I have a free slot tomorrow (Friday 22nd Dec) when I’ll be able to wet a line for a few hours…

I’m aiming to head to the local Staffs-Worcs canal (the exact part of which is yet to be decided) with my canal pike rod (actually a Ron Thompson 12′ 3lb TC, bass rod) and primarily float fish sprats (single hook through dorsal muscle) on the drift but also the rod will be set up so that I can remove the float and the slotted weight, clip on a heavier lead and change the wire trace to suit a whole or half sardine ledgered hard on the bottom or popped-up with the addition of balsa sticks into the bait while I rest with a cuppa. I’m hoping that there’ll be a reasonable drag on the canal so the float and bait will travel along naturally and I’ll just walk alongside it – if not, then it’ll be 10-20 minutes per spot and then move on down to next one.

I’ve already loaded the bits’n’bobs of tackle I’ll need into my bag – just need to tackle up the rod now to as I how I want it – and sort some baits out of the freezer – and make a flask in the morning….

So watch this space!!! 🙂