Friday 15 March 2013

Ending better than expected ...

Once in a while the angling gods throw you a bone to remind you why you keep slogging away at this fishing lark.

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.

Saturday 9 March 2013

A Deadbait and a lure on the canal

I had just a couple of hours window this morning before the wife went to work at 9:00am, just enough time to get some lure fishing in if I got there early enough. Arriving just before 7:00am the canal was disappointingly murky and coloured, but then I don't know why I was surprised as it always is on this part of the canal.  Luckily I decided to bring a deadbait rod too which I let fish to my side on the float ledger backed up with front alarm and drop off indicator should I miss the float going while I fanned the lure rod around the swim.

There was a slight breeze putting a chop on the water and visibility was probably down as low as a foot or so. In water this coloured I could only really hope to drag a lure past the nose of any preds lurking on the bottom in order to stir them into an instinctive strike. After a while I put on a small dead roach on the lip skull hoping that the added scent factor might give it an added edge? It didn't achieve anything though and with the last 15 mins of my session arriving I thought about a move down to the next dead reeds 20 m away. The deadbait though, had been cast to a little gap in the flaccid dormant reed line.  I had one of those feelings you sometimes get when your instinct tells you to wait a few minutes more. The lip skull roach became a impromptu freelined deadbait and was cast to the reeds and the rod put on the alarm rests, whilst I set the other rod on the deck and watched the float. With the minutes now ticking down fast to my deadline the float suddenly came to life and started to move across the surface and into the reeds, I hit the take and the fish shot out towards me and I thought I'd pulled the bait away empty handed for a second.  The rod hooped over as I caught up with the fish and it was quickly played into the safety of my waiting net. 

A nice looking but very pale silvery fish that reminded of the barracuda I've seen on scuba diving trips abroad in the past.  Pale or not a fish is a fish and at just about 9lb it was very welcome on a cold March morning in the last throes of winter.

Not long left now if your still hoping to get out on the rivers - I might just be sneaking a day out in the week so lets hope the rain hold off till after Thursday eh! Then it's still waters till June and those spring tench to look forward to come mid April if the cold weather backs off a bit.

Tight lines etc etc...

Monday 4 March 2013

Jack pike - a reprisal

Just a string of small jacks to report since my last post, all peas in a pod between 3 - 4 lb each. The bigger fish are eluding  me again despite trying a variety of lures, both big and small  and even wobbled baits. Mind you my session today was supposed to be on the Dove where there are some nice fish in the stretch I was heading to. However I managed to leave my landing net handle behind the previous evening at my local river, so once I'd arrived, got the boot open and realised what I'd done I had to go back to look for it. I just couldn't risk trying to land a large pike with no net - I'm not really confident enough to chin a big fish like that out yet. Luckily when I got back, there it was propped up against the dead bramble bush where I'd left it! I took this as a good omen, another hour or so and  a dog walker or other angler would have had it for sure.  Hopefully I will get my chance on the Dove or Trent next weekend instead. 

Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention the egret I saw in very close proximity twice whilst I was swim hopping - nice to see these more unusual species in my local area. Rather one or two egrets for a change than a flock of bloody cormorants!

One on wobbled sprat
This one on a bit of 4play (sorry)