I decided to spend the day before Haloween trying to catch some of our more sinister species of fish. A trinity of predators would have been perfect, but having relatively little chance of a zander, I settled for pike and perch. The river I chose, to give me best chance of achieving this, was in dire condition. Sluggish, sulking, and very low. It’s visibility was good though but the bait fish seemed to be aware of this. No movement from anything whatsoever. Devoid of life somehow. It took me the best part of two hours to catch three little roach to use as bait. I never invisiged that happening. This water is absolutely full of them. Alarms bells began to sound.
Whilst fishing for the bait, I had flung a worm bait down the edge, where the water was deep and dark. I thought I would be able to tick off the perch quite quickly doing this. Why do I never learn? Two hours later, but now with roach in hand, I moved on to another swim, more oxygenated and with more pronounced depth change. A further hour passed without a bite, both on the roach and the worm, so another move was observed. To a back water this time, tree lined and reed fringed, with margins deep and menacing. Here, at last, not too long later, a little success came my way. A small pike around five pounds, taking not the roach bait but the worm, seconds after it hit the surface. You couldn’t make it up.
So what about the perch? Well, we all know what the perch do when I try to catch them. I’ve finally figured it out. They start a mass migration to the furthest point away from me they can possibly get to. Some have even been known to reach the sea. I have no proof of this yet but it seems to be the most viable reason as to why I cannot catch them. Without resorting to the unthinkable; that being I am perca-inept. But quiet, I will never admit that. Not just yet.
The day ended with just the one pike to my name. One last throw of the dice was in order. The next day, now Haloween itself, I took a lure rod and walked the canal. It didn’t go to plan, of course. The leaves were an absolute pain, clumped in swathes on the surface, and picked up on the line and hookpoint with frustrating regularity. My right boot began to let in water. Squelch, crunch, squelch, crunch, as I plugged and plugged away (or jigged and jigged). And just as it was yesterday, it was as if the whole canal was devoid of life. Nothing hit the surface, even at dusk, and I didn’t have so much as a nip from anything predatory all day. One bemused angler began the journey home, a little after five o’clcock, as a thick mist swallowed the hills beyond.
Time for some more familair beats for the next month or so. I can’t take the failure anymore. I can’t remember the last time I fished for chub, you know. That sounds like a good plan. Chevin hunting, the odd grayling thrown in for good measure and steps from yesteryear re-traced.
Until next time,