The fish did its best to find some sanctuary. Out over the nearside ledge and down into the depths of the boat channel. A hand sized perch soon found its way back toward the towpath via some gentle persuasion and swift netting. A lovely fish, and a good start to the day, although I anticipated I would have to wait a little longer for its bigger brothers and sisters to show up. At least until the boat traffic decreased and the evening gloom drew in.
I was on a different stretch to last week and had found the fish to be holding very close in, not the just the perch, but the gudgeon and roach that had already entertained me for an hour or two. Of course a few of these fish were kept back for fishing into dusk with; the perfect snack for a big canal stripey. I didn’t want to waste these fish, and it was clear that no brutes were present as yet, so instead of casting straight back out I poured a cup of tea and waited. A heron landed in a tree a short way down from me. They do look ungainly in trees. There’s something about a bird that big and gangly, wreaking havoc in the branches, that always amuses me.
A short time later another cast was made, actually it was just inches from my own bank, so more a drop in than a cast. I had to wait mere seconds for the float to be snatched under. On the other end a heavy fish. It plodded out and down, into the deeper water, just as its smaller cousin had done a short while earlier. This fish however, made best its escape, the line giving was a short way above the hook. Pike, I told myself, but I didn’t truly believe so. I re-rigged, noticing I had just one hook left in the packet, and cursing my lack of preparation, cast once more. Within minutes I had hooked another heavy fish. It too headed out into the deep, lunging and boring, before before coming off also. I was gutted! Even more so because this time I saw the fish. It was indeed a perch, a very, very big perch. It’s head was colossal and, upon coming to the surface, shook its head violently. The rod catapulted back and the line hung limply between the eyes. Time for the examination. A short way above the hook the line had given way. A line I had so much faith in. A faulty spool perhaps*? Either way, with just one bait left and no hooks in the size I wanted, I had to make do and mend. On went a tiny hook tied to a different hooklength material; a last gasp attempt at saving the session.
It was a good job I was fishing close in as by now the light had all but gone. One last bite developed and I cautiously connected with another angry, plodding fish. It fought in the same way as the others but dare I say didn’t feel quite as big. As it surfaced I could see it was a good sized perch, and I was very relieved when it slid over the frame of the net, though I couldn’t help feeling that the fish I’d lost previously could have eaten it for dinner.
Still, it was another two pound canal fish, very long, but quite lean and empty. In really lovely condition otherwise. It’s great to have found a few areas with a good fish present. I hope they stick around over the coming months, and gorge on the prey fish that live here in abundance. Pile on the ounces, don’t do your daily exercise, it’s really not necessary. I insist.
Until next time,
* On closer inspection it seems that the spool of line (with less than ten metres left), was indeed compromised, at roughly five inch intervals. Typical.