Thank heaven for small mercies. I was able to get out fishing this week. Just about. Work on Saturday, and then stupidly strong wind and rain forecast for the Sunday, left the window of opportunity one fit only for a madman. Fortune favours the bold. Rewards only come to those who put in the effort. But a warm bed really is a terrible thing to leave when the wind howls and the chance of catching is quite slim.
With the rivers rising, the canal was my go to venue, though I had no chance to get any bait on Saturday. A session fishing with lures for perch or any other fish that fancied turning predatory momentarily. I decided that I would start positive and fish a fair sized shad on a jig head, give any fish willing to move something worth moving for, or something like that. The first section of the canal was sheltered from any wind, though it was only a short length, so after just twenty minutes it was time to head off further down the canal. Onward to fish, hopefully. Onward and into the gale, most certainly.
The canal was uncharacteristically quiet. No walkers, no barges, and very little birdlife. A robin or two making an appearance when the wind eased slightly. I felt truly isolated, especially after walking for twenty minutes down the towpath, through wooded sections and open ones. In the middle of nowhere, and as yet, nothing to show for the effort. Having said that the day passed quickly. I sheltered from a few rain showers under bridges, agitating tiny lure inches from the bank, hoping for a juvenile perch or even a ruffe. I vertically jigged in lock cuttings and ran a shallow diving plugs past the dying reed stems that fringed equally shallow turning bays. The likelihood of catching grew slimmer. The wind became ferocious. A day to experience nature at its most violent.
As I made my way back to the car, giving any likely spots one or two casts, a bite materialised. An aggressive take, that saw the rod arc into healthy bend, and the clutch slip a little. A heavy fish plodded though it did not threaten to run. It kicked and jagged, then rolled, a deep flank fading briefly into view. Pale yellow broken up by darker lines. The mother of all perch was taunting me. I panicked. I started to play the fish wth a lighter touch. I eased back the on clutch. I looked to my side for the net. Everything I shouldn’t have done. The hook and the fish parted company. The braid hung limp. I wished I’d not hooked it at all.
There I stood, alone, bitterly disappointed. Buffeted by the gusts. Dejected. I really could have done with landing that fish. Over the past few weeks I have put a lot of effort into tracking one of these fish down. To lose one, so so near to being banked, was a very cruel blow. Especially as I had seen the fish. It was a not an unseen loss. Those ones that could be one of a number of species. This was taking the last biscuit from the box only to drop it on the floor. Then stand on it as you tried to pick it up. And a dog dash in and eat the broken fragments. Actually it was worse than that but far less surreal.
I had no one else to blame but myself. Bad angling, bad playing of a fish, and a lack concentration just when it was an absolutely necessity. Time to head home to lick my wounds and to try and muster the strength to get back on the canal at the very next opportunity.
Until next time,