Doorstep to doorstep (Entry 206)

I headed to the local canal this week, a place I have had a few attempts at fishing in the past few weeks, simply because it takes minutes to get there. When time is short, I’d rather spend an extra hour fishing than driving an extra hour simply getting somewhere to fish. With a rise in the water temperature I expected that the fish would be willing to feed, but this being a canal, you shouldn’t get too carried away. Fine lines and small hooks are still a must whilst the water still has clarity and forget about piling in bait. Especially when you are after roach.

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Believe it or not, after feeding a palmful of hemp at the start of the session, I fed just three casters every fifteen minutes or after catching a fish, to keep interest without feeding them full. The canal I am fishing has a typical natural venue cycle; the first hour is positive, then the fish become cagey. Then is the time to re-feed and rest the swim, sometimes for half an hour or longer, and this will see the fish return. Today was no different. Using a long crystal waggler, with a foot of line on the bottom, I was able to slow the bait down adequately against the canals natural tow. The bait still moved, but very slowly, something that roach cannot resist at times. In fact, my second cast produced a bite, a small roach to start with at 6oz. My next cast however produced one of a much better stamp.

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This roach was well over a pound, though not quite two, and fought like a tiger. For their size, and on balanced tackle, I can never get over just how hard roach fight. Fooled on a single caster with a size 20 hook buried inside. I was overjoyed. A true gem of the canal in the middle of a bustling city centre. I guess the busy banks do go some way in keeping the cormorants at bay, especially so when said banks are flanked with apartments, dog walkers, or someone having a sneaky cigarette on their balcony. They all help. After that fish I continued to catch 6-8oz fish, over 15 in fact, before losing a roach even bigger than the first. My heart dropped to my shoes. A lull in activity followed, forcing an earlier than intended re-feed of hemp, and the consumption of my sandwich. Time to rest the swim and lick my wounds.

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The gamble paid off, thankfully. Half an hour later, on my second cast, I hooked the second pound plus roach of the day, smaller than the first but still as magnificent. A brace to be proud of. A few small perch then turned up, which I never think is a good sign to be honest, before out of the blue I hooked into another good fish which took the caster on the drop. The rod locked up, the fish jagged hard and ran, before shaking its head where the hook, again, pulled. A silvery flash was my only glimpse of the fish as it swirled down into freedom. I dearly hoped it was a hybrid or a chub. In fact, I know it was. I can’t even begin to consider the alternative. And that is all I am going to say on the matter.

Until next time,

NorthwestFisherman

 

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Trio (Entry 203)

I suppose it was always going to happen. My first opportunity to go fishing in some time aligning with the weather taking a turn for the worse. Gale force winds chilled the air temperature and made sure it would do well to get above freezing at any point today. Like a madman, I hurtled down the motorway, half my thoughts fixated on that magical first cast to come, whilst the others were strictly keeping the car from being blown onto the hard shoulder.

It wasn’t the canal to which I headed, nor a river, instead I chose the sanctuary of a small, wooded pool. Or at least the sanctuary I hoped it would provide. With me was a meagre helping of ‘weeks old’ worms and a huge flask of tea. The many layers I wore made body movement cumbersome but they were soon appreciated when I took up my position, sat still staring at that beautiful orange tip bobbing amongst the waves and the strong, cold wind. For a few minutes the float did its best to hypnotise me, but just as I started to sink into a trance, the float disappeared without warning and with terrific pace. My strike set the hook and in the deep, clear water, a silver flank flashed.

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A quality roach came to that first cast. Over a pound in weight and scale perfect. A sucker for a small section of worm. The cold seemed to affect me a little less after this instant action. The cup of tea I celebrated with helped to warm even more. So too did the procession of little perch that stole my bait and for a time I was concerned that they were not going to leave me alone. That was until I hooked something bigger. In the deep, clear water, a golden flank flashed.

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I certainly wasn’t expecting that. My first crucian of the year, which like the roach, was superbly conditioned and fighting fit. I really was amazed to catch one in such cold conditions and it just proves that if there is something hungry nearby, you always have a chance, even when the mercury is well below what you would usually associate with a particular species. The little perch made an appearance once more, a dozen or more falling over the next hour, leaving me with little else to do than feed and hope something bigger again moved in. I ate a sandwich and drank more tea in the meantime. Half an hour soon passed and on my second cast in, the float sank away with much more purpose. Once more the hook was set into something that in the deep, clear water, flashed an orange flank.

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Certainly a fish to brighten a dreary day. Colours more at home at a 90’s rave. Talk about Day-Glo. It would be my last fish however, for soon after a bank of sleet blew in and even though my optimism still burned, that was quite enough for me. I was more than happy with my trio of fish cemented between the countless little perch. And content just to be out on the bank again, stealing a precious few hours, getting lost in my thoughts, and the soothing ripples.

Thanks for reading,

NorthwestFisherman