A return to the canal was in order for me this week in the hope of finding a few new spots where I could hopefully continue my recent success after big canal perch. I didn’t expect the fishing to be easy though, not that fishing for any large fish is, but this was more to do with the recent plunge in night time temperatures. It was definitely going to have an effect on the fishing.
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph I wanted to find some new swims so instead of approaching the canal from the usual access point I drove the the other end of the stretch and found a way onto the towpath. It really is good fun to try to find likely looking swims or areas that would offer a good habitat for fish. For such a small stretch of canal, probably less than a mile and half in total, there is an abundance of different swims and features. From reed lined, uniform sections at the foot of large, open fields to small turning circles or wides that might offer the angler a chance of a few bream or quality roach. For me though it was a case of looking for meshes of tree roots, a built up bank of overhanging brambles or any old posts or similar structures. I eventually stumbled upon the swim pictured above which ticked two of the three boxes I’ve just outlined. It looked perfect for a perch or two. On plumbing up the far shelf offered a depth of around two foot. Due to heavy boat traffic I decided to make this my only line, although as you can see from the diagram, I fished various points along the far bank.
Bait today was either Half a Dendrobaena tipped with a fake red maggot or two and a half Dendrobaena, again tipped with a fake red maggot. I planned on fishing the smaller bait directly over the area I was to feed with chopped worm and groundbait. Due to the heavy tow from left to right, or right to left depending on which lock was being used, later in the session I would fish the bigger bait on the extremities of the feeding circle, towards any perch holding feature where I hoped a big stripey would be lay in wait for an easy meal.
The first two put ins resulted in two 8-10oz roach before the ruffe located the chopped worm and moved in giving me endless un-hittable bites as they nipped at the worm tail. On the odd occasion I did connect with a ruffe I couldn’t help but admire them. I think they’re actually lovely looking little fish. In the right light their eyes are almost purple. But this wouldnt catch me a big perch. I needed to concentrate and get my head into perch mode. So an earlier than expected move to the bigger bait was needed.
This certainly subdued the bites from the smaller fish. I had found the extremities of the main shoal and was therefore presenting my bait in an area more likely to contain a big perch. I tired all the likely looking spots. The tree to my right. If no bite came after five minutes then I fished a metre to the right. No bite? Then I tried another point in the swim, always on the edge of the main feeding circle and always to a feature attractive to a perch. Shallowing up a little I would try behind the swim hoping there was some big fish hiding under the brambles, keeping an eye on the free worms and small fish feeding on them. But no bites came. I tried the deeper water in the boat channel thinking the cold night temperatures had pushed the fish into the slightly deeper water. But today there was either no fish in the vicinity or they were not interested in feeding.
Finishing the session just after dusk in some particularly unpleasant cold rain I had to settle for just the two roach caught at the start of the session and the odd ruffe. I did find some mouth watering swims though. And I avoided the dreaded blank!
Until Next Time