Here's one they threw me earlier !
|20lb 2oz Canal Beauty|
With the close of the rivers yesterday I headed to the canal for the last hour or so up to last light. The new rods I've agreed to buy from Andy needed testing out, so a quick session on the canal was to be their first outing. Unfortunately it seemed the recent cold weather had put the fish down and I struggled for a bite in the first area despite leapfrogging up and down the reed beds. It was one of those sessions when you think it will be a hopeless mission ending in the inevitable blank. I tried an area further along the canal that I thought might produce but it was almost not worth the long walk. Spotting two groups of muntjac crossing through the horse paddocks made up for the extra leg work though. I even managed to get the camera ready in time to take a shot of the male in one of the groups just missing the mother and baby walking ahead just out of shot.
|The "Daddy" Muntjac|
Anyway enough of the alien wildlife, back to the fishing ....
I headed to another stretch further down the canal for the last part of the session and leapfrogged along another set of dead reeds having to pull my baits out of the water a few times because of boats passing through. Just one of the necessary evils of canal fishing, and no point moaning about the boaters as they are usually friendly and courteous enough, besides if it wasn't for their efforts in the recent couple of decades alot of our canals would most probably be filled in by now.
The boat traffic finally died down and I moved up to the final swim before packing up. The rods were in for about half an hour before I decided to start bringing the rods in to put away. With the last one still in the water I twitched the bait back with a flick every so often, then waited to see if this would induce a take. At about the middle of the boat track the float started to move sideways then down and I instinctively lifted the rod and felt it hoop over. I initially thought it was snagged on some canal debris until the snag started taking line. The fish tore off up the canal but was turned and came straight back in front of me, I clocked the size of it and managed to keep surprisingly calm. I got the net ready and tried to draw her over the chord, she was having none of that and tore of again. Soon I had her back up on the top and drew her smoothly over the net chord again. I seemed to run out of leverage making for a scary moment when the tail end was still hanging over the wrong side of the net, I shoved the net forwards to scoop her up and she was in.
A passing dog walker helped me to unhook her by passing the tools I needed from my bag and was then roped in to take the photo's. Gutted about the quality but with darkness closing in fast it was the best I could get in the low light levels. Cheap point n' click digital cameras work best in full daylight but are next to useless in the half light of dusk as it always seems to mess with the sensors giving a blurred or un-focused shot like this below, still I got the one reasonable shot at least.
To say I was chuffed is an understatement as I've been hoping for a decent fish from this stretch for a couple of years now. To beat my pb was better than I ever expected.