Sun and stripes (Entry 161)

Autumn had been well and truly put on hold this week as Summer dug its nails in. The sun beamed and the air was warm. T-shirt warm for a time. Perfect for ambling down the towpath. Just being. Less perfect for fishing, but truly, it mattered little. Large parts of the day elapsed without me even making a cast. There was simply no point. I didn’t feel the need to and the canal was suitably busy with other people enjoying themselves. Boat owners, dog walkers and cyclists. I had multiple conversations with ramblers, were keen to know just why I was spoiling a good walk, by carrying a fishing rod. I shared my sandwich with the resident ducks whilst a buzzard flew overhead, its shriek echoed, trapped from escape by the canopy of leaves overhead, the same canopy which prevented me from glimpsing it.

What had been plainly in sight all day was the myriad of different coloured barges making their way up and down the canal. Or left and right from my point of view. The canal itself was now very coloured as a result, it’s clay banks requiring little disturbance, before the water turned a murky brown. Like an artists water pot, after a few dunks of the brush, where different colours blend together to make a that colour. The one all paint seems to make when mixed with undue caution. Not at all vibrant and quite unappealing. Still, it was this water I was here to explore, and I thought it about time I made a cast. On went a quite gaudy and large shad. As much flash and vibration as possible as I retrieved. A shallow hope that a perch or pike would be attracted to this colourful critter.

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The second cast produced a fish, amazingly, amongst all this commotion, disturbance and murk, a little pike had been tempted. Looking now, as I unhooked him, ever so disappointed with his choice. The fish turned out to be a flash in the pan, caught in open water, an omen I perhaps need to play the lotto this week. So on I wandered.

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Approaching a narrow section of canal, where a bridge once crossed, I made a stop. There had to be some perch lurking here. In between any fallen bricks, or laying in wait under the marginal overhang, blanketed in darkness. I changed the lure to a more auspicious pattern and began to explore. Cast and cast again. Twenty times, more, before I felt that sensation. The one that sends an anglers heart racing.

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A perch. A lovely fish. Lurking down there amongst the structure of a once picturesque feature of the canal. You can bet where one perch lies, there will be others, waiting for a similar opportunity to fill their belly. I managed to tempt another fish, albeit smaller than the last, but with more vivid markings. A contrast to the environment it was pulled from. Dazzling in comparison.

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Although I had no further fish for the remainder of the trip, the hours still passed by too quickly, on my way home again when it was too dark to see just where the lure was landing. I drove down dark country lanes, listening to music, the street lighting gradually became more prevalent. Acidic hues of small villages dissipated to the neon streaks of a busy city. Not a million miles away from the moment I had earlier when the first perch of the day surfaced.

Thanks for reading and until next time,

NorthwestFisherman

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