Wednesday, 25 January 2012

25/1/12 Land rover Diary #2

On Sunday evening after work, and despite it being dark, I managed to bleed through the clutch hydraulics, and get a decent pedal. Unfortunately , it was too late to start her up to see if she'd drive, but Tuesday morning in pouring rain, i did give it a try and here's the result.

with a bit of humour thrown in.

Flushed with success ( 4WD and free wheel hubs seem to work fine) I decided to go for a bit of a shopping trip collecting the remainder of the glass from Dunsfold Land Rovers, and a pair of seats from drop Zone.
It would seem that 'Dunsfold' cater for the more upmarket L/R nut as their prices were very expensive. Luckily the glass panes that i needed ( the safari side windows) were on special offer at £8 each as they had a massive stock to clear, but I don't think I'll be using them again.
Today I started on the brakes and came to a grinding halt when the bleed nipple on the first wheel cylinder just sheared off through corrosion. Looks like I'm going to have to do a bit more shopping when I find out the condition of the other three but, as they're only a fiver a go, it shouldn't be too painful and brakes are rather important.
It started to rain, which is not conducive to working on the ground, so i decided instead to remove the remainder of the rear seat framework and fit up one side of the safari glazing. Bit fiddly but I got there in the end and i even managed to get a couple of the locks working. Finished up by fitting the front door slider on the same side so she's now weather proof(ish) on the side that faces the prevailing wind which means i can store stuff inside.

Monday, 23 January 2012

23/1/12 Turn Of The Tide Pike

I returned today to the scene of Dave's success but at a completely different state of the tide. Starting virtually a LW I soon had a take and a pike of around the double mark was on for a minute before the hooks let go. Fumbling for the landing net didn't help but having the rods spaced either side of a bush I had little choice. Things are much easier when Dave's about.
I had to sit on my hands to stop myself moving swims as the tide came in-not my favourite time, it has to be said. It did prove to be quiet until once again the tide had topped out, and another bite was forthcoming in the shape of this single.
Unfortunately I had to call it a day as it was time for work which was a shame as I feel that more might have been about.

Friday, 20 January 2012

20/1/12 Red Letter Piking-A Twenty For Dave

Two days ago I commented 'We've been consistent in the past with every recent season producing something 'spectacular' to reward our efforts. I'm sure that by March 15th, something will have turned up.'
Well, we didn't have to wait long because today something 'spectacular' did turn up, along with some pretty hectic 'side show' action and, although my own baits didn't see so much of a sniff from old Esox, I still think it was probably the most exciting pike session I've personally experienced in a long while.
Both Dave and me had 'stuff' to attend to during the morning, but both agreed that, as the weather and river conditions(I've never seen the river looking this good at this time of year before) were SO favourable, we'd be fools not to get out piking in the afternoon.
Having settled in to our swims after lunch it was literally only minutes before Dave's drop off signalled the first take...........and seconds later, the bait itself was dropped off. Naturally he re-cast to exactly the same spot and, if it was the same pike, he didn't take long to have another bash at the bait and was this time successfully hooked and landed-a fish of about 7lb-good start.
Within half an hour the same rod, and bait-a dead trout, in exactly the same spot produced another take , but this time it was no jack. The pike gave Dave quite a bit of trouble especially as the swim was a bit 'tight' and the fish very lively undoubtedly because of the unseasonably high water temperature. I thoroughly enjoy watching my mate tussle with big pike, especially if they decide to perform some tail walking aerobatics, as this one did, and it was a rare and priceless moment  when we both agreed that she was an obvious 'twenty' as she finally gave in, and slid over the rim of the net.
At 23-13 she was a truly outstanding looking pike, in pristine condition and obviously gravid. I still think that big pike are stunning creatures and it was yet again a real pleasure to be there to share this one with my mate. River 'twenties' don't come along that often-Dave and me have both now landed two for each other and in a way, I'm sure Dave will agree, it's entirely appropriate that we're both present when they do turn up. I'd have been very disappointed to have missed this one.
But that wasn't the end of it!
Dave landed two more double figure pike from the same swim at 12-00 and 14-08 all in the space of a couple of hours to conclude a very exiting session indeed. It's unusual for us to contact such a number of pike from the same swim on this river. I've said before that we've never actually come across an obvious hot spot or holding area but something about this relatively tiny area of river was special.
Why were they there?
It's entirely possible, that the pike were gathering to spawn especially as the water is so warm. The big female was obviously ready, and the close proximity of a suitable spawning area in the form of a reed bed and sluice channel may hold the key, though premature and untimely spawning activity is not unknown and can be short lived .Alternatively, the swim , from past experience, is also slightly deeper than surrounding areas and is a known banker  for good bags of bream and roach. It has produced the odd good pike for both of us in the past and is a regular stopping point, but never in the numbers seen today.
What was the trigger ?
Once again the tide was topping and turning when the action began and, along with the contributory factor of conditions that are conducive to 'livening' up the pike, and from experience almost Induce them to take a bait presented close by be it dead, or alive.
Of course all this is just pure speculation and, likely as not, the pike just happened to be in one spot having a bit of a social before all deciding at once that it was time for a snack.
Neither of us feel that the old adage of pike going on the feed when there's a frost holds water. In fact, we've definitely experienced quite the opposite-the pike becoming lethargic, and difficult to move in such conditions, with a live fish as bait becoming a necessity. The usual 'classic' early morning/evening feeding spells couldn't be further from our experiences either. I've now lost count of the big pike that have shown up in the early afternoon often after the baits had remained untouched since dawn.
Whatever the reasoning, today's angling  was a bit special on Dave's part. Nice one mate.

Landie update; Despite my bad luck on the river bank i did get bit of a result with bits for the Landie. Dave and me spent an hour this morning at Drop Zone where along with all sorts of useful snippets of info, i managed to pick up the cab glass I need for the princely sum of a fiver a pane.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

19/1/12 Land Rover Diary #1

Not fishing related at all, although it's entirely possible that this vehicle may indeed one day be used as  fishing transport, but i thought it would be interesting to keep a record of progress with my latest 'tinkering' project.
My good friend and ex-colleague Paul James has recently emigrated to Canada, seeking his fortune, and a complete change of lifestyle. Parked in his garden for several years, rotting away under a tree, was an old Land Rover which had to be removed before Paul's house is rented, in March. I'd had my eye on it for a while, and as P.J only wanted scrap value for her, I decided to take the plunge and part with the readies. She cost about the same as a reasonable quality reel.
For L-R aficionados ,HMV 260 K is a short wheel base, petrol engined, series 3 station wagon with overdrive, registered in 1971 and therefore qualifying as a historic vehicle and free road tax. She's actually the second vehicle that I've rescued from the back of Paul's house. In 2003 I acquired a 'one off' prototype 2cv based 'jeep' as a non -runner from his neighbour's ditch. The GRP body tub had been laid up by a fibre glass tech at the 'Orkney' factory in Yapton-birth place of my own boat. Despite the cylinders being full of water, as the air cleaner had been left open to the elements, i managed to get it running, secure an MOT and, after having some fun running around in it (on it) for a while, sold it to a local entrepreneur (dodgy character)from Middleton. It is now in production as a kit car in Holland.
I've always admired 'proper' Land Rovers mostly for their rugged simplicity, but also for their heritage which is distinctly British. Although I'm decidedly unpatriotic, I do get some satisfaction from owning a vehicle that was built in the midlands, as opposed to my usual choice of manufacturer from mainland Europe. In fact , this is the first British vehicle I've owned for well over a decade.
There was a time, roughly in fact when HMV was built, when Land Rovers ruled the world, but then the Japanese brought out a vehicle called the Toyota Hi-Lux............and the world changed. If you've ever driven a Hi-Lux and a cart sprung Land Rover, you'll understand why this happened. However, it's an astonishing fact that 70% of all Land Rovers ever built, remain on the road today.
Steve assisted me to drag her from her resting place with his Pajero(another Land Rover crusher) a couple of days ago, tow her home on an 'A' frame, which  proved to be trouble free, and park her up in my back yard, with Jan's approval of course. She doesn't even bat an eyelid-remarkable!
Unfortunately most of the glazing had been vandalised by beings of a lesser intelligence, and the truck had been used by Paul as a rubbish tip, so the first job was to spend a day clearing her out, disposing of the trash using Gavlar's ever dependable trailer and, as she was now parked on a hard surface, get underneath her for a proper assessment.
Being completely objective, the chassis is in reasonable condition needing some minor welding but the bulkhead, will take a bit more effort. I'll be able to get a better idea when the front panels are off but first impressions are that it's savable.......just. Gav's offered to lend me his  welder which will save me buying a new one as my well used , and now totally knackered 25 year old 'Clarke' finally went to the tip with the rest of the junk from the 'landie'.
The rest of the panels are alloy(Birmabright), and apart from the usual dents, that seem to be found on every Land Rover of this vintage, are pretty much O.K.
I decided, when removing the remains of the glass from the hard top, to try and retain the side window feature and shall attempt to track down some identical 'Safari' sliders. There were four folding rear seats fitted, but, as I'm unlikely to need them and they take up valuable room in what is a relatively small payload area, I removed them but may possibly recycle the cushions by using them in the cab.
The real attraction for me of a vehicle like this is that when I open the bonnet, EVERYTHING is recognisable, and I know what it does and how it does it.I cannot say the same for more modern automotive technology. I passed my driving test in 1978 and cut my teeth on repairing leaking Mini brake wheel cylinders, welding cover sills, and tuning lucas points and S.U carbs, so the stuff under the Landie's bonnet an d behind her wheels is somewhat familiar.
The aim of the project will simply be to try to get her running and driving through the gears and four wheel drive before deciding whether an M-O-T is feesable. She last faced the Ministry tester in October 2005.
Today, having cleaned off a considerable accumulation of 'greenery' from her bodywork with the pressure washer, I made an attempt to try and wake her  from her slumber. Everything mechanical is still connected and complete, and although P.J hadn't run her on the road for at least five years, she had been started at some time in the intervening period, though I 'm sure she's been under that tree for a couple of years.

Using one of the auxiliary batteries from the camper for the spark side of things, and because the Landie's fuel tank and lines look a bit cruddy, I nipped up to the boat to borrow its tank of nice clean petrol, which i would simply connect to the carb inlet via some fuel hose to give her the necessary 'go juice'.
I rigged up the battery but before connecting the fuel, turned her over a few times on the starter to loosen things up, prime the cylinder walls to gain a bit of compression, check I had oil and charging lights and the starter motor actually functioned. All was well. Oil in the sump and remarkably, nice blue coloured liquid in the rad, quick touch up of the plugs and points with some emery, and then a check that I had a spark....which I did.
Fuel line connected, pump the bulb, float needle worked as there was resistance and no leaking fuel. Turn the key and held my breath..............She turned over for a while and then suddenly burst into life amazingly firing evenly on all four pots immediately, and subsequently settling down to nice even idle akin to a quiet 'purr' . I ran her up for about twenty minutes and she had good oil pressure, charged effectively and kept her cool with a nice warm top hose indicating excellent circulation. Lights. wipers and even the heater fan are working-what a result!
Time will tell whether or not I keep and run the Land Rover as a second 'knockabout' motor. Being a tax exempt vehicle with ridiculously low' classic car' insurance costs, she has inherent value, even in a non-roadworthy state, and turning a profit on her would make a substantial contribution to the coming year's boat mooring fees. In the meantime, it'll be absorbing to do some spannering again-it's been a while.
For a bit of fun, I managed to you-tube the engine running. It's here

18/1/12 S-L-O-W Piking.

Dave and me tried yet again to extract a pike from the 'new' area today with dead baits but the only taker was a jack to Dave on a stiff trout! Minutes later a second run failed to materialise-it was probably the same pike back for another spot of 'munger'
As usual the river, despite being in peak condition, is proving reluctant to give up it's pike, but we're used to this level of inactivity, and it only takes one good fish , which is always a possibility, to turn the tables.
I'm still not entirely sure whether the use of coarse baits would improve matters. With the current mild weather conditions our usual 'sea  deads' tend to do the trick but with the lack of recent action, my confidence is beginning to wane and it is perhaps time to make the effort and catch a few roach and rudd.
We know there are some big girls in there...............somewhere. We've been consistent in the past with every recent season producing something 'spectacular' to reward our efforts. I'm sure that by March 15th, something will have turned up.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

10/1/12 Pikelets.

The river is back in shape now following a period of unsettled weather and heavy flooding evident by the huge amounts of debris scattered high up on the flood defence.Interestingly, Dave and me met up today with 'Paul' an RSPB worker from the reserve who suddenly appeared over the flood bank startling us both. Our surprise visitor reported some fishy presence in the ditches that litter the flood plain which are unfortunately out of bounds fishing wise. Roach, tench and big carp apparently live in these tiny waterways undoubtedly , and unsuspectingly arriving there in times of flood, and subsequently returned to the main river when 'ditching' is carried out.
Today's fishing was singularly unspectacular with a tiny pike each,  falling to trout and rudd baits. My own miniscule fish was barely bigger than the bait that it decided to try and eat, but it was nevertheless, a fine day to be out, despite the lack of action.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

9/1/12 A Trip In The Barbarian

Russ took me out today for my first trip in his 'new' boat The Barbarian-a very impressive craft indeed.
The weather was kind and although the fishing was again, unexceptional, we were kept occupied by a steady stream of dogs , whiting etc until Russ managed to sneak in a cod of 4 1/2lb just to confirm that they could indeed be caught in our locale.
We did try some jigging on #31, but the water is still too coloured following rough weather for the method to be effective.
Very few other boats about although some excellent conger fishing was experienced by Dick Leggett who appeared to be on the Ore Wreck-bit on the limit for my boat but still worth noting.