In the afternoon however the kids were feeling a bit better, so I charmed the wife into granting me a fishing pass to pop down the canal for an hour or two, for a spot of lure fishing instead.
I decided to try out the drop shotting method for the first time as I thought the technique would suit the small and intimate confines of a canal well. However results are still inconclusive as I blanked, but in the right conditions I think the method will definitely work well. The lure can easily be moved across the bottom as slow or fast as you like but with an added 'twitch factor' action, and even with the lead at a standstill. The rig rarely if ever gets caught up on the bottom (and I'm an expert at snagging lures).
The ice differed in thickness from slush puppy soft to a hard cap millimetres thick
Nothing was caught and with the canal being frozen right across in places, conditions were not ideal for chucking lures about really.
However there were some bonuses, such as spotting a buzzard landing in a tree across the other side of the canal. Then later I spotted another muntjac behind some trees, again opposite me. I managed to snap the buzzard with the camera (sort of) but the muntjac vanished into the thicket of trees and shrubs on the edge of the meadow as quickly as it arrived.
It's a buzzard - honest !
Water temparatures were recorded from 6 c (not sure how acurate this reading was ?) falling to 4.5 c when darkness fell. So just goes to prove that despite the ice on the surface it's a different story in the lower water layers below the thermocline.
I've been looking at tying pike flies while reseaching this drop shotting lark, as I think they will work well on this method too, having a brilliant action. Anyhow, I stumbled upon this site which has some brilliant pictures of pike and zander. A really interesting photoshop'ed effect created by these guy's to some already excellent photo's. (I think I want them to photograph some of my trophy shots !)
Makes me wonder what barbel or tench etc etc would look like done in this way ...?