This was the week. I was sure of it. Maybe it is still a little too early, given the mild conditions, but the night time temperatures are starting to drop. I felt there was enough of a nip in the air to get those big perch on the prowl. It was to be a dawn start, a few hours fishing before the barges begin their procession. The canal I was heading to is a very busy one when it comes to boats. It would be another month or so until their numbers begin to dwindle. By then the autumn will be in full swing. The weather a lot cooler. It would be great to get a few perch under my belt early though.
It was lovely setting up in the ‘still to dark to see a float tip‘ gloom. The cloudy sky preventing the sun from illuminating the cut for a little while longer. Having fished here before, I knew the general area I was going to fish and began feeding red maggots with the catapult. But wait a second. Something just wasn’t right. I used to fish just off the overhanging far bank trees. Where were the trees? As the light levels increased it had become apparent that someone had thought it best to remove them. Apart from the one or two still standing proud. I couldn’t believe it. Of course, the underwater features would still remain but so much of the cover perfect for ambushing prey, was now gone. Once I had plumbed up I threaded a lobworm onto the hook and had an exploratory first cast. The canal looked naked without its flank of gnarled and twisted trees. Still, when the float shot under towards the end of the run, I felt somewhat better about the situation.
A small skimmer bream was the culprit. It seems at the moment I’m a bream magnet. But a fish is a fish and I am never disappointed with catching a species I’m not targeting. Before baiting the hook I fed another pouch full of maggots and a few pieces of chopped worm. Quite big pieces that would hopefully find their way to the bottom in a what was a fairly strong tow. Another cast and another fish. A bream of course and the next cast produced another. In protest I started to feed a line right under my feet. Unless a few of the big perch moved into the far bank swim I felt it would be a bream only session. I’ve caught a few good perch fishing tight to my own bank over the years. I hoped it might be my saving grace today.
After a few more skimmers I landed a bonus silver bream. I love to see these fish. Their beautiful, pearlescent scales shimmering in the early morning light. Such a small mouth, seemingly ill designed for eating two and half dendrobaenas! After one more skimmer and a tiny chublet of around an ounce, I thought it time to try the inside swim. Straight away the float settled then bobbed. It lifted slightly before plunging under. A solid strike set the hook into my target species. I could tell by the jagging fight. Not a big fish but by all accounts, a slice of welcomed success. I can catch perch after all.
Over the next twenty minutes I went on to take another ten perch of similar size. In the distance a gentle chugging began to fade in over the birdsong. It would be the first barge of the day. No, make that the first two of the day. I took this as an opportunity to have a cup of coffee and a quick bite to eat. When the boats passed through I wished the drivers a good morning. The first reply, from a curly haired lady, was excitable and full of energy. The second reply less so. It came from a bleary eyed man in his mid forties. One too many the night before sprang to mind. He gave an almost apologetic nod as he passed by and with that I continued to fish close in. The bites were a lot harder to come by now. It’s amazing how a little disturbance can sometimes knock the fish of kilter. Somedays though it can work in your favour. After ten biteless minutes I assumed this was not to be one of those days. Checking the far bank swim again I managed a tiny perch of not even an ounce. Just in time, as another procession of barges made their way through the swim. I was happy with the few hours fishing and although I had not managed any of the big perch I know are in the canal, I was happy to have broke my duck for the autumn.
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Until Next time tight lines