I’ve yet to fish it but here’s an interactive map showing the location of Cymau Pool, Llay A.A.’s second and smaller fishing venue. Bouncing Perch marks the spot!
Red line represents about 1000ft. from the parking to the pool.
So I drove up to Lionels Tackle Shop to squander some money on bait for an afternoon’s fishing. I didn’t really have any idea where I was going to fish so I asked the very nice Maggot Salesperson at Lionels for suggestions. He said, “Why not try Llay’s water?”Of course I said “I beg your pardon” because it sounded like he said “Why not try Lglayswhalterllanglogooglecwymclandundo?” Of course I was in Wales. Lionels Tackle Shop is also in Wales and being thoroughly English I was utterly stumped. Eventually all was revealed. There’s a little fishing club called Llays A.A. and they own two little lakes and one of them is “Llays Water.” It’s actually Llays Reservoir except it’s not really a reservoir at all. It’s a fishing pond. Great! So, how much to join Llays Angling Association so that I could fish? (Those of you who thought that the “A.A.” stood for “Alcoholics Anonymous” are obviously well versed with the drinking habits of some anglers). Seven Quid. Yes, £7 to join for a year. Except that the year begins in January so if I was to join today I’d get about 6 weeks membership. No problem! £7 is about average to fish a day ticket water or commercial fishery. So if I fish the club waters twice before the end of the year I’ve technically made a profit.
I quickly paid my £7 and got a little red book in return. I was assured it was easy to find and that I would encounter no difficulties locating it. It didn’t work out that way. After turning left through the hamlet of Clymfrugglywddrfugdd and going through the village of Ggochhlywrydsgglydngsffry it became clear to me that I was lost in a sea of Welsh consonants and would have to buy two vowels in order to reach my destination. In my case the vowels were the same, two “U” turns, and eventually I was pulling into the car park next to Llays Reservoir.
[wpgmza id=”3″] The Bouncing Tench marks the spot. The Compleat Angler will be using this sort of map thingy for all fishing reports. That way you can avoid getting lost, unlike me.
I’d arrived at about 1:30pm which means that by the time I set my gear up I’d have about 1 hour fishing before it got dark. No! I must learn to set up faster and so I did…I was in the water and fishing by 1:45pm, a bit of a record for me. Even though the water is bordered on two sides by industrial buildings it’s actually quite picturesque. The rules for fishing here are normal…the usual No Keep Nets, barbless hooks only, size 10 hook maximum, no problem. You’re also not allowed to use cereal based ground bait. Loose feed only is the order of the day if fishing the float and the float is how I wanted to fish, as usual. I set up a stillwater antenna float on a 13ft match rod with 3lb main line, size 18 hook and 2.5lb hooklength.
A couple of Llay A.A. regulars were leaving the venue as I arrived and the weather up to that point had been pretty filthy. They hadn’t caught much but they were targeting carp and with water temperatures slowly dropping the slow fishing was understandable. But! Amazingly the weather settled right down…the wind dropped, conditions were absolutely perfect and stayed that way for the 150 minutes of fishing I had allowed myself. After a slow start some quality roach started feeding, but much more importantly they were feeding on my bait. Of course nothing would have pleased me more than having the ability to plunk fish like this into my keep net for a couple of hours so that I could go through the weird Coarse Fishing Ritual of emptying it out at the end of the day but a quick photo or two showing that there are fish stupid enough to be deceived by Your Humble Correspondent would have to suffice. The bites were not frantic or regular but there was enough action to make for a great couple of hours fishing. A colourful rudd showed up.
Note how beautifully he is hooked in the top lip. This would be the work of a Master Angler except in my case it was pure luck.
You’ll recall from a previous blog that The Compleat Angler was conducting The Great Bait Additive Test. I didn’t bring any of the additives to this venue but I think I’ll give them a try on my next visit. There is just enough action that different flavours might very well have different outcomes. On this day, however, I’d decided to bring my new Action Camera, the SJCAM SJ4000. It’s a Gopro Lookalike. For £65 I wasn’t expecting all that much but I have to say the video quality was phenomenal. I had it attached to my hat, the angle is a bit high, and YouTube compression means that the HD is a bit degraded but I think you’ll agree it’s a promising piece of equipment from the video below:
If you select the little gear symbol at the bottom right of the YouTube screen you can choose HD quality playback. As mentioned in an earlier post (which you have no doubt already forgotten about) I’ll be reviewing this camera in detail at a later date. First impressions show lots of promise, though.
I really like this venue. The water colour is good, depth is 5ft or so, the pegs are nicely laid out. Just be careful when going up and down the sloping steps from the car park to the lake itself. I saw a senior citizen angler take a tumble today onto the hard concrete. Luckily he and his son were well bundled up with thick padded clothing so no damage done.
Remember, you can’t fish here unless you join the Llay A.A. club. Get your membership at Lionels. At £7 (at the time of writing) for a year it’s a ridiculously great fishing deal.
After seeing one or two photos of the Dee at Farndon and Holt in flood on the River Dee Facebook Page I had to pay a visit myself. Hard to believe I was just there a few days ago actually fishing. If I selected the same peg now I’d have three feet of water above my head. I’d probably end up blanking.
Some photos and a video of the flooding. When the waters recede the fishing will be awesome, I hope.
Future videos will be in HD on The Compleat Angler blog because you, long suffering readers, deserve nothing less.
I never used barbed hooks. Barbed hooks can be difficult to remove from the fish once landed and Fish Welfare (along with Fish Pensions, Fish Tax Credits and Fish Rent Grants) is important. Those are obvious reasons. For me, though, that’s only partially why I always use barbless hooks. The main reason I use barbless hooks is that I do not wish to go through the ridiculous ordeal shown in the video below:
Last Sunday at Cheshire Fishing near Tattenhall you might recall that The Compleat Angler documented a rather windy day. A combination of fiendish wind conditions plus the fact that I am a stupid git means that I managed to stick my hook into my fingers no less than FOUR times. Now, granted, it was a small hook, size 18. But, the fact that it was barbless meant that removing the hook was a smooth and easy process, almost completely devoid of pain or drama, unlike that which we see in this gruesome video. The video is interesting, though. It has taken me 2 hours to watch it. Begin video, watch for 3 minutes, faint, bang head on desk, recover, continue watching, faint, bang head….etc.
Fishing hooks should not be barbed. Yes, you might lose a few more fish but I personally find there’s no difference in dropped fish between barbed and barbless hooks. I’m equally incompetent with either. In my case I think I actually land MORE fish on barbless hooks because when I use barbless hooks I spend more time fishing and less time in the emergency ward having barbed hooks removed from my bodyparts.
Come to think of it, I don’t even OWN a barbed hook. Even on the few lures I own I always pinch the barbs down. The way I see it, any predator kind enough to grab my lure deserves not to have a bloody great barb added to the insult of being caught by me.
With regards to the video, it’s not the only one this fishing guide has made about the art of sticking hooks into his own body parts. He really loves doing this:
It springs to mind that this particular individual has a real Fish Hook Fetish. Or perhaps he has access to some extremely powerful drugs. Or it could be that he is from North America where they don’t have Coarse Fishing or Maggots or Boilies or Size 18 barbless hooks or Commercial Fisheries or Fishing Seat Boxes or 16 Metre Poles which means he’s totally clueless about our kind of fishing and barbless hooks in particular. But, mainly, I think it’s drugs.
If, in the course of writing this blog, I ever feel the need to demonstrate various methods of Fish Hook Insertion and Removal from the Human Body I will be sure to use the anatomy of a different species other than myself. See Below.
For those of you interested in tech stuff, I just purchased one of those GoPro lookalike action cameras, the SJCAM SJ4000 complete with 5 million accessories.
I’ll be using it on and off for my next few trips and I’ll review it at a later date. The main reason I purchased the SJ4000 instead of an actual GoPro is the actual price. The cameras seem to be fairly similar spec-wise but financially I can just about afford to lose the SJ4000 Wifi Yellow Edition at around £65.00 in a fast flowing river due to some moronic clumsiness on my part but I cannot afford to lose a £327 GoPro Hero4 Black Edition mainly because, at that price, I’d be dumb enough to dive in after it and that would be the end of this blog and you wouldn’t like that, would you? (PLEASE tell me you wouldn’t like that….).
With MegaStorm Barney due to flatten the entire United Kingdom tomorrow, (I can see the headlines: SEVERE WEATHER WARNING, THOUSANDS OF ANGLERS CALL IN SICK AT WORK IN ORDER TO FISH IN MISERABLE CONDITIONS) I took advantage of the last 2 hours of daylight today by driving to the Shropshire Union Basin in Chester and dibbling for big perch with big lobworm.
All I can say is that I’m in awe of the specimen anglers who regularly catch big predators on worm and lures. I didn’t even get a nibble. An hour stalking the canal and all I achieved was to hasten the demise of four innocent lobworms. I have much to learn. And so it was thusly that I went on the Internet and looked up “Perch Fishing with Lobworm” and discovered that I should have injected my lobworms with air. It was not enough for me to merely impale them on my hook, I had to give them The Bends as well. It appears that Perch, which I thought were greedy sods, are actually light eaters. (Air Joke). I personally think injecting air into a Garden Friendly worm is disgusting and inhumane and evil but of course I will purchase a Lobworm Syringe because we anglers will commit all sorts of atrocities in order to catch fish. Here is a cross-section of a worm:
It’s almost human! It has a bladder, an intestine and nerves too. Just like us. But, my mind is made up, I will have to inject an almost-fellow-human-being with air in order to catch fish because those of us who are drawn to fishing cannot let almost-humanity stand in our way. That being said, I will only be able to do this once Super Mega Storm Barney has smashed its way through the United Kingdom and the long process of rebuilding the country has been completed. This Wednesday, perhaps? Thursday at the latest if the rebuilding is delayed.
A quick word about the reel I used today, my Mitchell 300. It’s well built, the workmanship is excellent, it’s clearly build to last forever (in my case perhaps even longer given that it doesn’t have to worry about taking the strain from Specimen Perch) and I would highly recommend it to any serious angler.
That being said this great little reel does have a couple of shortcomings. Take a look at the photo above. You’ll see there’s a hefty black bit of metal blocking the line clip. You actually have to wind the reel a few handle turns in order to expose the line clip:
Now the line clip is exposed and is accessible. That pain in the neck black bar (blue arrow) is no longer in the way of the line clip. Clearly the black bar is some kind of strengthening feature for the reel and if you never actually use the line clip when you’re fishing it won’t bother you. But, setting the line clip up for a super accurate cast to within a foot of a far bank will definitely try your patience especially if the clip is blocked by the black metal bar at the distance you want to cast.
One more point…I notice this reel does load the line in a slightly conical shape with more line being loaded to the rear of the spool than the front. Just be aware of this when you load the reel, don’t over fill it otherwise you’ll get line tumbling off the spool when you least want it. Trust me, I know.
Amazon users give this great reel FIVE STARS but I’m going to give it a highly respectable FOUR STARS. The loss of 3/4 star is fair given the line clip issue and I’m going to remove another 1/4 star because I’m not a fan of the conical line loading.
A couple of weeks ago the Good People of Fishing in the North West invited Your Humble Correspondent to a Fishing Get Together and of course I had to accept. That event was scheduled for today. Now, two weeks ago I seem to recall the weather was pretty benign. Calm, sunny, dry, in short, great fishing weather. As you may know, today, Sunday the 15th of November, was not like that. There were severe gale warnings, flood warnings, travel warnings and had the Met Office thought about it they would have issued a special Severe Fishing Warning. All of these warnings were issued early on Saturday 14th November. Accordingly, North West Fishing immediately sent emails and phone calls out to everyone and regretfully cancelled the Sunday get together.
If you believe that, you don’t know anything about the nutcases we call British Coarse Anglers. The Game Was On! There was no cancellation! The weather was but a minor challenge to we who were obviously mental enough to want to fish in such fiendish conditions, and so with gale force winds and showers greeting the early morning I rose out of bed, brushed my teeth, made my flask of tea and Off I Went, into all of those Severe Weather Warnings.
The rest of the North West Fishing Crazies were already at the venue, the marvelous Cheshire Fisheries, when I arrived. I knew I was barking mad for going fishing on a day like today. The rest of the group was Barking Madder for being there before me. They were all completely certifiable, but I was among Brother Anglers (sorry, there were no sisters there), so naturally I joined them by the lakeside.
Let Battle Begin! I chose an elevated spot (stupidly in such windy weather) putting the wind to my back so that I would have calm water in front of me (not so stupidly, after all). The fishing was actually amazing. It was a fish a chuck at times. The problem was, some of the fish were quite small. Trying to swing in a 1/2 ounce roach with a 40mph wind blasting into my back was quite amusing, although less so for the fish which would flap around while I also flapped around trying to grab it. Eventually I got the hang of it and I only lost about 50% of the fish I caught due to heavy wind gusts blowing them off the hook and back into the water.
The good news is that everyone else had a great days fishing too, despite the fact that they were all better anglers and had better gear than me. It was also a great day for obtaining new fishing stuff because fishing poles and nets and bait boxes and floats and packs of hooks and seat boxes and sandwiches (sadly, not mine) and fishing umbrellas and bivvies and anglers were flying all over the place in the high winds and most people got some really fancy new gear from the angler upwind of them although every time my gear blew into another angler’s peg he’d give it back to me because my gear wasn’t fancy enough for them.
Now to the title of this post. So, why is it that Coarse Fishermen of the United Kingdom cannot feed their families? That’s actually a little deceitful of me. Of course we can feed our families. But! What if there was a World War III and we entered into a Nuclear Winter and the Coarse Fisherman of the family was sent out to catch dinner for his hungry dependents? Watch the following short video, with a few scenes from this wonderful and windy day at Cheshire Fisheries. Wait until near the end to see why we’d be bloody useless in such a situation.
Yesterday’s fishing wasn’t just a trying experience with parking problems and a singular lack of good fishing action. It was also a lesson in having too much gear to lug around. A rod holdall, a large bag with bait, landing nets and other sundries, a fishing seat box with reels, end tackle and hook baits, a bag with the keep net. It took two trips from the car to get everything to my peg.
And so…today I decided to set up a very lightweight set of stalking tackle. Here are the ingredients:
Bag/seat combo, small tackle box with weights, hooks, a few floats, disgorger/loop tyer, 4 piece Fenwick GT Travel Spinning Rod, 4ft landing net handle with small scooper landing net head, bait box with lobworms. And that’s it…the whole lot could fit into an Aldi shopping bag with only the landing net handle sticking out a bit. You could also fit everything into a Waitrose shopping bag but Waitrose customers do not go Coarse Fishing. They’re more Salmon and Trout sorts.
The reason for the box of worms is inspired by this brilliant video by Ian Futcher, an expert specimen angler and keen blogger with great knowledge of the waters of the North West U.K. who I have yet to meet.
Apart from the amazing perch catching action which Ian says lasted about an hour, I think it’s great that the only sounds you hear are those from the action in question. I dunno about you but Country and Western music blaring over a coarse fishing video showing beautiful countryside and Nature in all Her Glory is bloody irritating. Disclaimer: I am prepared to admit that the underside of a Shropshire Union Canal road bridge does not fall into the category of “Beautiful Countryside” or “Nature in all Her Glory.” But the action in that video! Fantastic!
Ian has already invited me to join him for some fishing on the Dee at Farndon when the waters recede a bit and I can’t wait to listen and watch attentively as he attempts to educate me with his fishing expertise. This will be followed by me screwing it all up as I attempt to put new found knowledge to work.
OK, but why did the video inspire me to put together a lightweight stalking gear set? It’s because Ian is using nothing more than a rod, a reel, a landing net and essentially that’s about it apart from the bait and hook. And he had LOADS of fun, considerably more fun than I had at Telford’s Warehouse yesterday! OK, he did use two rods but if I tried something as crazy as that I’d be certain to step on one while falling over with excitement at catching a fish on the other. Proof that you can have awesome fishing action without carrying hernia-inducing amounts of fishing gear.
Here’s the rod I will be using:
I’m pretty sure the rod will handle British Perch although it remains to be seen whether I’ll actually hook many. If I do catch some Monster Perch I’ll crow about it in this blog. Watch this space!
Similar to the one I’m using in my lightweight fishing set.
Well, the less said about my day at the Telford’s Warehouse Shropshire Union Canal the better. So, I’ll say plenty about it anyway because how else will I write this article?
I’d actually intended this day to be Part Two of the Great Bait Additive Test, as you can see from the photo of the “Clove Spice” spray bottle. But I was in bit of a mood plus the fishing was so slow any meaningful test of the additives would not have borne much fruit. Or fish. In a while you’ll find out why my demeanor was most foul. Suffice to say that Cinnamon caught a couple of tiddlers, Strawberry and Hemp Oil had a missed bite each, everything else was no good, except for groundbait flavoured maggots and natural maggots which had quite a few bites and a few bits and pieces roach, dace, perch and a couple of skimmers. Clove Spice, that deadly additive, enveloped the City of Chester in a yellow cloud of smell rays which I have yet to wash from my hands. When I say “Deadly Additive” I in no way mean its ability to catch fish. I am referring to its raw killing potential. How I was able to buy this stuff without a hazardous chemical licence I’ll never know. So, as I mentioned, I can’t really count this as Part Two of the Bait Additive Test and neither should you.
So, I caught some fish, so what was the big problem, why was I going Hulk (Copyright Marvel Comics) Green with Rage? The Big Problem, my friends, is that I had agreed to meet Paul Mark, a fellow angler, at the venue. I got there about 1 hour before Paul. He looked like a really nice bloke, we shook hands, exchanged pleasantries and the next words out of his mouth were:
“Is that your Merc on the hill there? If it is there’s a ticket on it.” And sure enough, there was. Well, that was a downer. No “No Parking” signs, no yellow lines, nothing to suggest I couldn’t park there but a fine person with a really sense of duty had observed that all of the No Parking signs were missing and had given me a ticket anyway. Suffice to say I’m appealing it. It’s £100 if I pay. Or £60 if I pay fast. I don’t want to pay at all. I’m sure the Ticket Person in question meant well and is a really nice individual with at least three functioning brain cells.
Apparently later that afternoon after I’d left the venue some very guilty people were observed putting up about FIVE “No Parking” signs. Case Closed, I’d say, but getting that ticket still affected my fishing so badly that Paul Mark caught (a) more fish than me and (b) Paul caught bigger fish than me. Mind you, had I won last night’s Euromillions (£80 million), I can guarantee that Paul Mark would have still caught more and bigger fish than me but I would have been in a much better mood about it.
Speaking of people in a good mood, here is Paul with the biggest fish of the day, a gorgeous Golden Orfe or some kind of ornamental species, neither of which we’re 100% sure we can identify. Now, when I saw Paul landing this beauty I raced for my camera. There, next to the camera, was the Deadly Clove Spice. Should I take it and spray Paul with it? After all, my skin was secretly crawling with jealousy at his clearly superior fishing skills. Take some photos and be cool about it or make some mischief with the spray? Believe me, I think if you got sprayed with Clove Spice you wouldn’t be grinning and holding a beautiful specimen fish. I’m pretty sure you’d be dead, or at least dead stinky. That stuff is ridiculous. In the end I decided that one parking ticket was worry enough for the day, attempting to turn a Fellow Angler into some kind of Smell Freak really wasn’t on. So, I grabbed the camera (and left the Clove Spice) and through gritted lens I took some nice photos of Paul and The Fish of The Day and crawled back, humiliated, to my peg to carry on my task of catching very small fish and missing big bites.
All in all, despite everything, it was a miserable day of fishing. But, in a weird way I still had some fun. Paul is really a great bloke as long as he’s not offering Unwanted Parking Information or Landing Superior Fish. Speaking of which, The parking ticket incident has yet to play out and of course your Humble Correspondent will let you know how the appeal goes. If they deny it, I’m prepared to take it to the highest court in the land. Yes, that’s right, I’ll write to the Daily Mail and let them kick up some Holy Hell about it!
In closing, some photos of the Shropshire Union Canal, Telford Warehouse, Chester. And some swans.
Over the last couple of years I was lucky enough to do quite a bit of freshwater fishing in Thailand. I did fish some “River Monster” type venues, “Fishing Parks” as they’re called, stuffed to the gills (ho ho) with large and threatening looking behemoths. Yes, I enjoyed fishing for the Big Un’s but you can only catch so many 80 pounders in a session before your arms become detached from your shoulders.
The above “smile” was completely forced. This was at the new Pattaya Fishing Park, about 1.5 hours drive from Bangkok, in 2014. It was my 5th Mekong Catfish in 90 minutes and I was done in, the temperatures were through the roof, each fish took about 20 minutes of tug-of-war exertions to land, the species were all identical. In short, after about 2 hours I was exhausted and, dare I say it, a bit bored.
Now, the purpose of this article is really just to give a huge and well deserved “Plug” to a Fishing Park about 500 miles away from Pattaya, in Northern Thailand just outside the little town of Pai. “Pai Piranha Fishing Park” is run by an English bloke, Dave Fox. He and his girlfriend, Nat (not her full name, her full name is something like
ที่ เธอ จะต้อง เชื่อฟัง โดย คนขาว ไขมัน ทุกครั้ง มิฉะนั้นเขา จะอยู่ใน ปัญหาร้ายแรง
which I’m sure is a really lovely name but I’m not going to try and say it here.
At Pai Piranha Fishing Park the accommodations are rustic and comfortable, the food is ridiculously fantastic and the fishing is, well, it’s the closest to English fishing I’ve seen in Thailand. Here’s why: Although the two fishing ponds are well stocked with fish of many different species, they probably won’t grow into huge monsters. This means you can go after them with light tackle. When I say “Light Tackle”, the sort of gear you’d use on a carp fishery in the U.K. with decent carp lurking therein would be sufficient. I actually took a Rod Thompston 11 Meter pole to Thailand the last time I was there. Now, I’d never used an 11 Meter pole in my life, I’d never elasticated one, I had to go to youtube for instructions. I also took a couple of very light spinning rods along and they worked a treat.
This is me with Dave Fox, owner of Pai Piranha Fishing Park. At the time this was the Park record for a goldfish. This record was soon broken after I left Thailand, seeing as Dave’s fish are still growing. But, what fun on a light spinning rod!
Yes, that’s a Common Carp, one of the only fish species you can catch in Thailand AND the U.K. They actually don’t get all that big in Thailand, perhaps they don’t live as long because they don’t go into any winter hibernation. That’s a pretty good theory so I’ll stick with it.
The American Channel Catfish, clearly a fish of great greed and stupidity and romantic intentions. I caught the same fish 3 times in one morning but despite his most seductive efforts I told him our relationship wouldn’t last, I was married, and so he was tearfully returned to the water one last time.
My wife with a Pleco, yes, one of those sucker fish you see in aquariums. They are commonly caught in Thailand, at least I commonly caught them. None were very big. Note the float rig! Most fishing in Thailand is done on the feeder but I love float fishing because my simple brain becomes relaxed and tranquil under the influence of the Bobbing Float. The green thing on the float was one of those radioactive Night Sticks which explains why I am almost completely devoid of any hair on my head. That or it’s because I’m married.
One of Pai Piranha Fishing Park‘s pride and joy’s…the Pacu. This is what gives Pai Piranha its name although the Pacu is not actually a true piranha. However, a look at his gnashers will certainly convince you that your finger vs. his jaw is not all that good a combination:
He probably needs a bridge and a couple of crowns but only after the root canal has been completed. Note the multiple layers of teeth on the upper jaw. This is the famous Bollock Eating Fish of South America, imported to Thailand because lots of British folk live there and under the influence of Thai beer they talk a lot of bollocks in bars and so the Pacu has a ready food supply.
Now, the Pacu is a real fighting fish. On the pole I got snapped off a few times by these express train fish…the initial run is incredibly fast and powerful. They can grow to over 100lbs although at Pai Piranha the record fish is still well under 20lbs. However, when I switched to a spinning rod with 10lb main line and 7lb hook length it was a different matter. I still got regularly snapped off except that I was using a spinning rod and not a pole.
Pai Piranha Fishing Park has over 30 species of fish…I think I went on a run whereby I caught 7 fish in succession and each one was a different species. Quite amazing really.
This was one of the best “catches” at Pai Piranha. The food there, whether English or Thai, was fabulous. Nat (that’s Dave’s girlfriend, remember?) is the incredible chef at the resort. Did I say “Resort?” In reality it’s an All Inclusive of sorts. You can fish, eat 3 squares a day, enjoy a few beers and the odd stronger drink, and sleep in the comfy cabins and you’d still get change out of £50 a day. The “Value For Money” is strong in This One and one day I shall return.
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