Fishing the Bloodworm and Joker with Woodhouse
After having a brief chat with Woodhouse ( Lee ) back in the warmer days of early Autumn Lee was happy to arrange a day fishing his preferred winters bait of B & J and to make a feature of it for inclusion on the sites Features Pages and for members to come a see how it was done first hand and even have a go, Marko MBC also offered his services, with the venue sorted it was off to the Walsall Canal at would you believe Walsall on a cold but relatively bright day at the end of January.
Meeting up at Sainsburys car park saw Lee, Mark along with Silverfish, Smudger and myself Brian G up for a day on the cut, the tackle was soon unloaded and thermals donned for a short walk along the towpath to where the biting Easterly wind was blowing a bit less, affording better conditions.
A view along the Walsall Canal
Mark was the first to drop his tackle down in the widest area of the short stretch to be fished with Lee taking the furthest peg, Smudger dropping in between them, this left Silverfish and myself to have a go with our two teachers gear after Lee and Mark went through the finer points of blood worm & joker fishing.
Lees set up was three rigs one to cover the track and two for up the far shelf.
The track rig employed a .2gr Hillbilly Diddly Squat float using a strung out shotting pattern of No. 12 shot, his two up the shelf rigs were a Sensas prototype, unfortunately they are not available in the UK the only difference being the doctoring of the wire stem to create what was described as a light and heavy rig. Lees preferred elastic was certainly new to us and was described as nappy elastic even the smallest of fish pulled a little out. Hook sizes were 24 for the bloodworm and 26 for joker, all Lees rigs were shotted with strung out No.12 shots on 0.08 line.
The Heavy Float
Heavy and Light Floats
Hillbilly Diddly Squatt
With the rigs sorted Lee explained that he would look to feed a line down the track and three lines across, plumbing up the far shelf lines he was looking for all lines to be of the same depth to save duplication of rigs, more importantly was that he could see his float in the dark water, instead of the reflections caused by the decaying reeds.
Having sorted his rigs the bait was prepared, using damp leam which was pushed through a riddle to this a small handful of joker was mixed in, a dusting of grey leam was added, to the leam and joker mix neat joker would also play its part one on of the lines.
The addition of leam had the effect of concentrating the joker in a small area this picture shows the effect of using neat and leamed up joker.
The Stages of Bait Preparation
Damp and Grey Leam
Riddled damp leam
Joker for adding to the damp leam
A Dusting of Grey Leam after adding the joker to help bind the mixture
Two of the far shelf lines were potted up with just a small ball of the leamed up joker, whilst the third one had a big pot of neat joker.
Lee pointed out that he would not be looking to fish those lines for some time, and allow the fish to settle on it. The down the track line had a ball of the leamed joker, dropped from above the water, this was done to stun the joker, to make it less active, Lee’s thinking was this line would produce a few small perch and maybe an odd bonus fish giving him the opportunity to put a few in the net before looking at the far lines.
With the feeding done it there was time to look at Marks approach, rather than a total B& J approach Mark was going to look at a line on the bread punch, for this session Mark elected to have a joker line approaching the far shelf and two lines down the track one with joker and one a metre further down with liquidized bread, Mark used tipex on his butt sections to clearly define both lines, Mark pointed out that his liquidized bread had the crust cut off and the slices were dried out before putting through a blender to produce a very fine crumb, water was added to this to produce a slop that could be both flicked in on a shorter line or cupped in on a longer line, after cupping in a 150 mil pot of slop, Using a small slice of bread Mark flattened it by pressing on it and using a small punch a small disc of bread was hooked onto a long shank 22 IM1 hook tied to a 0.06 hook length. Marks choice of float for the punch was a homemade slim bodied float with a fibre bristle and carbon stem, on 0.08 line with No. 13 shots forming a bulk along with No.14 droppers.
As is often the case the response was immediate with a small roach soon being put in the net, followed by a few more before the fish seemed to have gone, this resulted in the rig being laid in further down the track, in an attempt to locate the fish with again an immediate response, Mark pointed out that this should be a matter of course instead of re-feeding, by rotating the areas of the punch swim a steady succession of fish were hooked, Mark felt that all to often anglers re-feed to quickly and ended up killing the line.
All the bait you need for a days fishing
By this time Lee had also connected with a few fish from down the track and he had also had a look on the far lines, but with only one line producing fish, Lee reasoned that his far right line was just a little wider than either the left or center line, but did expect them to produce at some stage later.
With Silverfish perched on Marks box and catching a few on the bread, it was time for me to have a little dabble with Lees gear, gee them small hooks were at first hard to handle and the bloodworm even more difficult to hook, but I did manage to hook a few fish so was happy with that, and happy to let Lee have his gear back and continue to observe how it was done, Lee was by now catching predominantly off the slightly wider line, but took time out to look at the other lines, which on the day yielded little, with Lee reasoning that there may be a pike around or the fish had just backed off to the wide part, as he noticed that the fish seemed to be spooked a little if too many were standing behind his peg.
Having taken over 30 fish on the punch Mark and Silverfish were now on the worm over joker far shelf slope line and catching what looked to be a slightly better stamp of roach, Marks reasoning behind fishing the slope was that by fishing either nearer or further out it would allow him to be just on or just off bottom, thus gauging just how the fish wanted the bait.
Marks home made joker float float set up on 0.08 line with a 24 barbless hook to 0.06 hook length. Shotting consisted of a bulk of 13s with a couple of 14 droppers. The float had a wire stem and bristle, through a poly styrene body.
Smudger by this time had decided that he would set his gear up and see if he could winkle a few out, he recognised that maybe his rigs were too big for the job in hand but never the less caught a few.
Chatting to both Lee and Mark it was clear to see that they did not see B&J as a difficult method, yes there were little tips like slapping a hooked blood worm onto the water to keep it hanging straight, and to rest a line if the fish started getting smaller, and the need to re-feed if bites tailed off, something Lee did to immediate effect just before the session ended with one eye on the clock as Lee had to go and peg the next days match out, time was called with the resulting catches of fish, not bad for a few hours fishing on what might have been a harder day without the joker.
Lee with around 4lb of winter roach and perch
A 5lb net for Mark
Smudgers net for about an hours fishing, and his first time on B & J
Thanks again Lee and Mark for making it a good day.
Article written by Brian Gardner
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