A point, proven (Entry 105)

The wood fronted steps seemed to go on forever. Especially given the fact the distance between them meant every time I went ‘up’ I was using the same leg. Right thigh burning, left thigh fresh as a daisy. Eventually the horizon which started well above head height, got lower and lower and I could make out the clay coloured water of the canal. A familiar chugging sound in the distance. A barge had no doubt just been through. It was late afternoon and I expected this to be the case until evening well and truly set in.

A pleasant stretch of canal

For now, I set the gear down and had a wander. I had fished the stretch before but always in autumn and winter. It looked very different in its summer guise. The harsh looking brambles covered to some degree by reeds extending from the margins. The trees looked alive, their leaves hiding angular skeletons underneath. I found a spot where the canal widened a little. Here I hoped to fish past the boat channel. This would give me some confidence of my bait not being disturbed too much when the barges pushed through. With rumours of good sized roach, plenty of skimmer bream and the odd carp I had brought with me just one bait today. A gamble but one I felt was worthwhile. That bait was sweetcorn.

A bold bait choice

I love fishing canals. So many  rumours and stories from the locals. Just what is swimming in their busy waters? Just like rivers, you never truly know. You are fishing for, and could well encounter, the unknown on the cut. I remember briefly how I once caught a small barbel from a stretch of canal. I wondered what I would catch today. If I would catch at all. Maybe these fish wouldn’t like the jolly green giants produce. There was only one to find out. I plumbed a spot a good few metres past the boat channel and began by feeding two good pinches of corn. Another gamble. Not time for a softly softly approach. I wanted to get some bait down there where I hoped the bigger fish picked up on its sweet scent. For the first hour I hardly had the float in the water. Barge after barge came past me and every time I fed. Once the water had stopped pulling strongly that is. When their frequency lessened I felt it was time to make a cast. The float settled pleasingly and pulled through very slowly with the draw of the canal. It looked perfect for a bite. Nothing materialised that time so I cast again.This time the float was hung dead still. For thirty seconds it never moved before the canal began to draw once more. The float began to move then slowly sank from sight. Had it simply dragged under? I was unsure so I struck. No, this was definitely a fish. A jag-jag-jag sensation on the other end. The fish surged towards the far bank taking me by surprise. The clutch sang and came to my rescue. I had it set lightly for this very reason. On light line I didn’t want any mishaps. In the shallow water the fish turned and came to the surface. A roach! A huge roach. Dark blue-grey back and a deep crimson dorsal. I tried to remain calm and edged the fish closer. It came to the surface once more. I was almost positive this was a roach. By now my legs had turned to jelly as the adrenalin took over. But the roach had other plans. As it turned to once more make a run away from me, the fish and the hook, parted company. The rig pinged disappointingly back toward me and for five minutes I sat and stared.

The stamp of bream I caught

For the next two hours only one barge came through and I began to build up a good net of skimmer bream, all a round the size in the picture above. I couldn’t get the image of the fish I lost out of my head. Just before dusk the bites dried up and as the light began to fade I thought this was my best chance to hook another of the canals unknown residents. But lightning did not strike twice and as night took over from the day I packed away. Not too disappointed though. If the loss proved one thing it was that canals really can hide monsters.

Thanks for reading this update. You might like to head over to my Facebook page. Once there if you ‘like’ the page, you will get all the blog, twitter and Facebook updates in one place! You can click the link at the end or hit like to the top right of the home page. Don’t forget to share this with anyone you know might appreciate it using the social media buttons below.

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Until Next time tight lines

NorthwestFisherman

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A few hours after roach (Entry 104)

As I sent the float sailing outwards into the pond for what must have been the hundredth time, a gust of wind blew it off course. I tried to right the trajectory on the floats decent but knew deep down that it was time to reel in and try again. Of course, this was no hardship. I was spending a few hours fishing the waggler shallow and frequent casting was part and parcel of it.

Todays view

It was roach I was hoping to catch. If truth be told I had already caught a good amount of them. Only small ones for the time being, but I felt that with a constant rain of maggots hitting the surface, it wouldn’t be long before a few of the bigger ones put in an appearance. It wasn’t just roach that I was expecting either. As we all know, carp are partial to maggots, and will readily compete in the upper layers for a bait fed regularly. On this occasion I hoped they would not be tempted by this banquet, my 2lb breaking strain hooklength and fine wired hook just wasn’t up for the job of realistically taming the brutes in this water. The float sank from sight and I was into another little roach.

Good enough for starters

More importantly I really was having a great time. When you really scale down, using a light rod and line, even small fish really give a good account of themselves. Twisting and turning, darting down from the surface in an attempt to free themselves. This had to be around fish number twenty now. They simply couldn’t resist a single white maggot. Red maggot saw me plagued with tiny little perch, like green wasps, they really were small. Funny how little changes can bring very different results.

A golden intruderThe next cast I tried a double red maggot and hoped that the small perch would somehow not notice them. As luck would have it, they didn’t. But instead of the float settling as usual, it stood proud. Sure a fish had intercepted the bait I struck into a solid weight. Not huge but certainly not a little roach. The pretty little crucian/goldfish/carp hybrid pictured above was responsible. The small patches of orange on its underside perhaps giving a clue to its parentage.

Patches of orangeAfter an hour or two the roach did get a little bigger. The odd fish now was around the 6-8oz mark. I was getting a bite pretty much every chuck though only converting maybe one in two. It was an active and enjoyable short session. I had great fun and caught a cracking net of fish. A great method for escaping any worries you might have. No time to think about anything else. Just concentrate and work out how to feed, where the fish are, and how you can keep them coming. A thoroughly enjoyable few hours passed all too quickly. But doesn’t time always do that when you are enjoying yourself.

Chunky roach and insert waggler

Thanks for reading this update. You might like to head over to my Facebook page. Once there if you ‘like’ the page, you will get all the blog, twitter and Facebook updates in one place! You can click the link at the end or hit like to the top right of the home page. Don’t forget to share this with anyone you know might appreciate it using the social media buttons below.

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Until Next time tight lines

NorthwestFisherman

No time for patience (Entry 103)

I had to stop looking at the clock. Time wasn’t going to suddenly speed up. I was waiting for a delivery. A present for someone. This was eating into valuable fishing but I guess I had only myself to blame for leaving things to the last minute. For now, all I could do was think of the fishing waiting for me, out in the countryside.

The weather was dour. Damp, windy and miserable. For a split second I was almost glad to be sat indoors. Only a split second mind. Time for a brew. I put the kettle on and checked the clock once more. A full four minutes had passed. I thought about the pristine carp and brown goldfish that would be nosing around in the deep, gin clear margins. Looking for food. My patience was running thin. Before the kettle had chance to boil the doorbell rang, and in a flash I was answering it, signing my name (I could have singed anything at that point let me tell you), and ushering the delivery man back to his van. No time to check the package. It was time to fish.

A typical swim fished today

All this waiting around though had made me slightly impatient. There was no way I would be fishing just one peg now. Static. I’d lost too much time for that. Time to be active and make the most of what little time I had left. On arriving at the venue the rain began to hammer down once more. Undeterred, I started to creep into a few swims, looking for signs of fish. Be that actual fish or ever so slightly clouded water. A few small pellets and grains of corn were fed into four swims. I headed back to the car to get the rest of my gear. Namely rod, landing net, unhooking mat and flask. Oh and waterproof jacket.

As technical as it needs to be

A visit to the swim I fed first I could see all the bait still there. I stood for a few minutes and let my eyes adjust. No, there was nothing present here, so I headed to swim number two. On such a high bank I had to creep into position. In fact it almost required a crawl. I really needed to keep off the skyline. It was worth doing though. As I peered through the surface glare, five dark shapes were feeding with abandon. Not huge fish but that was of no concern. This was going to be exciting! I baited my hook with a grain of corn and slid my other rig component, a bit of rig putty, down the line about a foot. Four grains of corn were thrown into the swim which made the carp leave the area. Only briefly though. Just enough time to introduce my rig. I knew they would be back. Virtually at the same time as the hookbait settling the carp were back, dorsal fins bristling as they mopped up the pellets, and picked off the ‘sweetcorn cherries’ in amongst them.

A perfect little common carp

With no idea what was in front of him, this beautiful little common carp vacuumed up my hookbait in around twenty seconds. The fight the fish gave was something else. Only three or four pounds but on light tackle it was a joy to catch. The fight had invariably disturbed the rest of the shoal and it was a case of introducing a few more morsels of bait before looking forward to seeing what was in swim three. The time I had been robbed of in the morning was now a dot in the back of my mind. Funny what a fish can do.

In swim three another lovely little carp came my way, a little smaller than the first. This was a feisty fish, not so much when in the water, but once on the mat it simply wouldn’t stay still. Better to think of the fishes wellbeing in a situation like this so it was returned without being photographed. The next swim produced another fish. A different species than the previous two. When the fish approached the bait it looked like another small carp. However, it was far more cautious. Once within an inch of the bait, it hung in the water motionless, observing the interesting yellow morsel. But would it take the bait? Nope. Several times it backed away from the bait only to return, and stare, before repeating all over again. On around the fourth or fifth time, I decided to move the bait slightly. Hoping to induce the fish into making a split decision. It worked a treat. Instinctively the fish grabbed the bait and I struck. A short, determined fight later, this deeply coloured brown goldfish was posing for the camera. A fish around two pound in weight. Lovely chestnut browns and deep bronzes, with hints of yellow and gold. An often maligned species, especially where crucians are concerned, and I can understand why. But in their own right they are a stunning looking fish.

A feast of bronze, browns and goldWith the rain getting heavier it was time to pack away. Three fish caught in 90 minutes on a method I absolutely adore. I was more than happy with the result. I don’t think I would have fished as actively with more time on my hands, especially given the conditions. Maybe the late delivery man did me a favour. No, not maybe. I know for a fact he did.

Such wonderful colours

Thanks for reading this update. You might like to head over to my Facebook page. Once there if you ‘like’ the page, you will get all the blog, twitter and Facebook updates in one place! You can click the link at the end or hit like to the top right of the home page. Don’t forget to share this with anyone you know might appreciate it using the social media buttons below.

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Until Next time tight lines

NorthwestFisherman

A summer tench (Video 1)

Here is my first fishing video. A look at float fishing for tench. A simple and satisfying way to fish for the species. The video is hosted on Youtube. Click on the icon to be taken to it. I cannot embed the video on WordPress at the moment. If you like the video and want to, consider giving it a share. It will be most appreciated if you do.

A Summer Tench

youtube

Until next time,

NorthwestFisherman

 

Day of the bait robbers (Entry 102)

The realisation that summer would soon be fading away into autumn spurred me on. I couldn’t believe it had been over two months since I had last fished for one of my favourite species. Although favourite is the right word for the fish speaking broadly about the way they look, the way they fights and the places they can be found, perhaps favourite is not correct to describe the act of catching them. Now, there’s a thought. Fickle feeders, shy biting and infuriating to hook. Spotters of large hooks and heavy line. Reflexes that would put an Olympic table tennis player to shame. And then how do you actually fish solely or them? Not the tiny rudd that dimple the surface. The enigma of the crucian. Even so it was time to pack the tackle in readiness for an early start. A sunrise and a margin full of bubbles hopefully.

Idyllic crucian dawn?Oh how the reality of things are so far removed from the sentiment sometimes. My alarm didn’t go off. If truth be told I had forgot to set it so the alarm had behaved perfectly. As I munched through some cornflakes, dark clouds began to form on the horizon. Half way down the motorway these clouds began to release their cargo. Heavy droplets of water rattling against the windscreen. Thankfully the rain abated when I arrived at the water, giving me enough time to get to my peg and set up the umbrella, before commencing one final assault on anything dry. I was still eager to see if any crucians were going to play ball and went about readying a suitable rig and plumbing the depth ready for action as soon as this heavy shower passed. I didn’t wait too much longer though. Not that the rain had passed. I simply needed to fish. For all I knew there was a shoal of crucians down there, hungry and wanting feeding. I’d be happy to oblige. The float settled. No, it did it’s best to settle, jostled by the still heavy raindrops. The float tip seemed to get smaller. Then it disappeared. Sanctuary from the rains battering. This fish didn’t feel like a crucian though. No, this was a thief. A stealer of pellets. Wrecker of line, depositing slime on anything it touched. Skimmer bream. Bah! Patience, patience I told myself.

That's more like it

After an hour of relentless skimmer activity I eventually hooked my intended quarry. A very slight dip of the float and a steady movement to the right. Thunderous thumps surged down the rod blank. Oh I how I had missed these solid little fish. Round and round the fish circled in an attempt to free itself. Once they turn their deep flank skyward they are certainly hard to coax any higher. Not too dissimilar to bream in flowing water. I was glad once it lay in the net. The first fish of the session and quite hard earned. Bream 12 and the humble Crucian 1.

A trio of cracking crucian

The statistics for the session didn’t change much either. I had to catch roughly ten bream for every one crucian. Hardly a bad thing to catch fish after fish I suppose. In the end I managed three crucians and had amassed a good net of skimmers. I suspect a match angler might have appreciated it and of course to some degree I did. But I was more than a little frustrated as I just couldn’t seem to work out how to single out the crucians. It’s a good job they are such beautiful, tough little fish. Synonymous with a season. Yes, I do like fishing for them. And skimmer bream, you are forgiven.

Thanks for reading this update. You might like to head over to my Facebook page. Once there if you ‘like’ the page, you will get all the blog, twitter and Facebook updates in one place! You can click the link at the end or hit like to the top right of the home page. Don’t forget to share this with anyone you know might appreciate it using the social media buttons below.

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Until Next time tight lines

NorthwestFisherman

A short video update (Entry 101)

I hope you are all enjoying the summer. We’ve certainly had our fair share of warm, sunny conditions. Maybe a little too warm and it has made the fishing difficult at times. Or should that be it has given us all a very good excuse for when things haven’t quite gone to plan?

Speaking of things not going to plan I wrote earlier in the year about starting to make some videos to accompany my regular written updates. Well, during the dark nights I sat and day dreamed. Of warmer days after tench and crucians. On intimate estate lakes and on vast, daunting meres. I began to plan out scenarios and write out shot lists. Themes began to develop. I thought about which waters to use very carefully. I didn’t want them to be busy so as not to disturb anyone as I clambered around with equipment. Interesting venues were essential though. I decided on two. Both of which turned out logistically to be a nightmare. Both to fish and to film. Not the best of starts. It was time for a rethink. A quick one too as the summer was fast running out of sight.

Editing time!

Out came the reserve venue just as the mini heatwave began. The fishing was hard but I did manage to catch a few fish and film the proceedings. I’m over halfway through now and I’m confident that with another two sessions under my belt I’ll have all the shots I need to finish editing my first video. It’s all pretty exciting and certainly adds a pleasurable kind of pressure to things. This week I have caught some lovely, deep water tench on the float. With a backdrop of lush lily pads I fished close in. This gave me a great chance to get some close up shots of all things ‘tenchy’ particularly bubbling in the swim and tentative movements of the float.

What I think about in the middle of winter

I have since started editing the footage. I’m certainly learning how hard it is to fish and film. Things that I consider second nature with regard to using the camera now feel like much more effort. But effort equals reward my old man used to tell me. Anyway, enough rambling, I’ve got some editing to do. Back to the regular updates next week. Hopefully.

One of the tench caught this week

A sneak peak at one of the tench being returned.

Enjoy your weekend and tight lines,

NorthwestFisherman