• Venue: Mudeford Woods
  • Swim: Peg No. 8
  • Time: 19:30 to 21:00
  • Weather: Chilly but still

Yesterday’s gig as a Polling Clerk was a long day as the Polling Station opened at seven in the morning and you have to be there to set up at six thirty and then you are there until close at ten in the evening and then it takes about another twenty minutes to dismantle the booths etc. The interesting thing is that the day’s net pay almost exactly equals an annual Christchurch Angling Club subscription and I have to say I’m tempted, but it would mean I’m shelling out a bit too much on fishing club memberships. It is something to mull over, but perhaps not for too long as the pandemic affect means Ringwood have hit capacity and started a waiting list. So, Christchurch could close whilst I procrastinate. The highlight of the day in the Polling Station was the lady who put our minds at rest by telling us “I know what to do for because my friend has told me who to vote for.” You have to love it when you see democracy in action up close!

However, just as I marked the end of my short spell as a Civil Servant with a post tea trip to Mudeford Woods, I decided to mark my yesterday’s ine-day gig as a Local Government worker in the same way. I took on board two learnings from last week. Firstly, although I have been deposed from my role as Chef de Patron whilst Mrs. Sidestream is between jobs I decided to crack on with knocking up Toad in the Hole so I could get out on time and once at the bank side I took my time in setting up:

  • Tackle: The short carp margin rod, 4lb line to a size 14 hook to nylon
  • Method: Over depth float fishing with a SB Norfolk Reed Insert Waggler
  • Bait: Sweetcorn
  • Ground bait: brown crumb, crushed ‘weetabix’, soaked mini pellets with sweetcorn and pearl barley all flavoured with liquid molasses

Correlational isn’t necessary cause and effect, but having taken more care over plumbing and shotting, within ten minutes I was landing one of the lake’s small tench. It might just be correlation, but I do think I gave myself more of a chance than I did last week.

Admittedly though it did go quiet after that, so I’ll digress into writing about hook baits and ground bait. For the float rod I only used sweetcorn flavoured with liquid molasses and for the summer I would know like to wean myself away relying on maggots. I’ve no doubt there will be occasions when I resort to maggots but by and large the aim is to avoid the expense of buying live bait through the warmer months. That said it is still unseasonably cool for the start of May! Ground bait wise I had intended moving on from my soaked pellet, brown crumb and ‘weetabix’ mix as whilst I thought it was fine for the winter, it seems a bit basic for summer. However, I am in two minds as the current ad hoc mix seems to be making a viable ground bait. One alternative I have my eye on is Clive Branson’s Lake but I am finding the payment option on the website less than intuitive.

Whilst it was quiet I rigged up very basic link ledger set up:

  • Tackle: The 10’ ledger rod, 4b line straight though to a size 8 hook
  • Method: Ledgering with two swan shot spaced out

As the light started to go I had a second small tench and that was my cue to pack up the float rod and try my luck with the ledger rod right under the bank in a couple of swims with luncheon meat. My theory was that I think I have seen carp move in close as darkness comes and realistically you can see a tip further into darkness than a float. However, on this occasion the tactic didn’t pay off, but I think it has merit and nothing ventured nothing gained. It did mean though that I missed the start of ‘Gogglebox ‘one of the few TV shows I actually put a book down to watch.

Lessons learnt; following on from the theme of the previous two posts this session reinforced the value of getting the basics right. ‘Good habits’ indeed!

Next steps; three thoughts. Firstly I do understand that many people would think it is odd to pop out fishing for less than two hours, but whilst the lighter evenings are here it does strike me as something I could do more often without disrupting domestic bliss at Sidestream Towers. Secondly there is the question of whether or not to stump up for Christchurch membership whilst already a Ringwood member. It comes down to what would I gain? As far as the Stour is concerned Christchurch offers good stretches but little if anything stands out above above the Ringwood stretches. On the Avon, the Sopley Mill Stream is nearer to home and probably more scenic than Ringwood’s Bickerley Mill Stream. It is a fair drive away but the Christchurch book also has a stretch of the Frome at Tincleton which is narrow enough to appeal to me. As to the still waters, Wainsford is the same distance away as Everton Grange (and I need a break from blanking at Everton) and Nea Meadows is less than five minutes by car from home, although it is basically a park setting which I have mixed feelings about. I need to think carefully about this and one option may be to not renew my Ringwood membership when it is due. However, working on polling day does mean I have the funds available for both clubs this year. Thirdly, as we slip into summer I need to start ticking off some of the things on my ‘When this is over I will …’ list that I compiled in Lockdown#3.

4 thoughts on “BACK TO GOOD HABITS, AN ELEMENT OF REDEMPTION AND A HALF HEARTED GAMBLE Mudeford Woods Lake, 7 May 2021 (Session 18_2021)

  1. Glad to see youi got among the tench again!! 🙂
    Hopefully Liz and I will do the same tomorrow 🙂
    Been a while since my last outing due problems with the digestive tract misbehaving coupled with poor weather on the few days I’d might have managed. However, I’ve discovered prune juice within the past week and a half which seems to work for me better than the ‘designer’ meds and so I seem to be able to timetable things better! LOL.

    Memberships … as you know I had to deal with optimising my memberships recently but in my case it was easy – I dropped the club that my health clashed with too much to make it really cost effective, and to be honest, I prefer the waters of the club I’ve retained anyway.

    Groundbait … I was sorting out the greenhouse – more used for storage these days – where I keep my large stock buckets of groundbait of ‘ingredients’ … and discovered I’ve a bucket of fishmeal I’d forgotten about! Think I’d bought it but didn’t have need of it at that precise moment as I’d already bagged up a lot of the current mix … so put into the storage bucket and conveniently forgotten! And now I’m reaching the end of my current ready-to-use stock its time to remix… And I’ve re-formulated to inc the fishmeal.

    • 500g/2500g/5000g Cereal crumb
    • 300g/1800g/3600g Blitzed Vitalin
    • 250g/1250g/2500g Chicken Layers Mash
    • 250g/1250g/2500g Cracked Seeds
    • 200g/1200g/2400g Blood/Bone/Fish Mix {Westland}
    • 200g/1200g/2400g Whole Porridge Oats
    • 150g/ 750g/1500g Powdered Milk or Coffeemate
    • 150g/ 750g/1500g Strong White Plain Flour

    • 325g/1750g/3500g Cereal crumb
    • 250g/1250g/2500g Fishmeal
    • 225g/1125g/2250g Blitzed Vitalin
    • 250g/1250g/2500g Chicken Layers Mash
    • 250g/1250g/2500g Cracked Seeds
    • 200g/1200g/2400g Blood/Bone/Fish Mix {Westland}
    • 200g/1200g/2400g Whole Porridge Oats
    • 150g/ 750g/1500g Powdered Milk or Coffeemate
    • 150g/ 750g/1500g Strong White Plain Flour

    Storage buckets … luckily, as Liz works at Sainsbury’s, she can get me the 20 litre or so buckets that originally contained the oil used for the making of the doughnuts, etc in the bakery which just get thrown away when used up. Due to the nature of the oil it gets a bit messy, and takes several washes and rinses to clean out the buckets well but as they are for free you can’t argue! 🙂

    Anyway, tight lines … and hope the club decision works itself out!!


    1. Steve

      Amazing how quickly I can change my mind – I was thinking about fishing whilst invigilating this morning and i think I may go back to creating a simple base ground bait mix. It’ll will be somewhat basic compared with your all singing all dancing mix though.



      1. Probably mine is more appealing to fish in my head than reality!! 😃
        Although to me all the ingredients have a basic purpose .. eg dried milk adds cloudiness, cracked seeds act as a ‘activator’ ie as water enters they swell and the shells rise and fall giving visual attraction, blood I’ve used for years for tench/bream… in the old days I’d take a bottle to the local slaughterhouse for fresh but that became unavailable when ‘mad cow’ disease raised it head…


        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fingers crossed with the health side of things.

    Hopefully you and Liz will find bigger tench than mine!

    I guess I’ve done enough part time work this spring that I could justify going for both memberships side by side and do a pros and cons list and choose just one next year.

    I used to make up my own ground bait, but lost the ‘recipes’ some years ago. I think it was a base of liquidised bread, brown, white and black crumb and then either crushed hemp or fishmeal with oats only added if bream were in prospect (it struck me as a bit too filling for roach and tench). I ditched powdered milk even further back as I think they used to say it encouraged blue algae growth, but I think one variant had an oxo cube or two. Not sure if I’ve the patience, space or inclination to go back down that road.



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