|The point of it all|
This day though was more than just that, it was also the start of something new, something exciting. The start of a new approach to the canal scene, one taking in all ambient influences punctuated by the pursuit of big fish, fish that 20 years of canal match fishing in the '80's and '90's had told me were present but scarce, how would that have changed? Well the few visits I refer to above had given me a clue that the myriad small fish had gone, locally at least, but what had replaced them?
A month of recent small stream angling with lumps of bread flake taught me a few important lessons on a more positive bread-based approach and an opportune post
a few days ago put some welcome momentum behind the task ahead
Bread punch fishing had been my favourite tactic in the latter years of my previous canal fishing period and noteworthy aspects of this approach were set-out in my previous post (http://floatflightflannel.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/bread-roach-on-canals-and-small-rivers.html)
The method served me well in netting a few 'stamp' roach on many an occasion with the outstanding feature being that the biggest fish came first and after which they decreased in size as the session progressed (on a good day!). Occasional roach hovering around the pound mark and plenty in the 3-10oz bracket would succumb to punched bread, particularly on those cool or frosty autumn and winter mornings
So, background set, it was my overwhelming desire to visit the most apparently undesirable of swims just three pegs from a bridge where a short narrow length of the North Oxford Canal was of greater depth than any other area I remembered and which I knew from past experience held (at least two!) pound roach but frankly little else. A good match weight from this area was 1 pound-plus and two pounds exceptional.
Given that the intention was to target bigger fish, and bigger fish only, no blank-avoiding tactics would be entertained but to fish big pieces of flake I knew from my river lessons that a fair weight was required to sink such a buoyant object and that previous attempts to fish larger pieces of the bait were fundamentally flawed. I had tried to use my standard light rigs which would not have sunk the hookbait any closer to the bottom than a foot...how could I not have sussed that?!, I could catch the occasional good roach on a 5-6mm punch pellet but literally NOTHING on flake
So, at this point, the aforementioned Hattian post came into play. Into the mental mincer went the method and technique with a sprinkling of past experience blended to suit the type of venue. What came out was a hybrid, rig - not fish...do concentrate!...a cane tipped body-down pole float was ripped from it's winder and rearranged with about 6no.6 bulk and then 3no.8's strung between 2 & 3 inches from the hook. Not quite the Ivan Marks 'snap an inch off a float' trick but along the same lines. The aim being four-fold:
- get the bait to the bottom
- hold the bait still
- use no.8's in the hope of avoiding the bait being spat out by wily old fish
- set the depth to give lift bites when the no.8's were picked-up
|Pole and float poised for action, but would there be any?|
One 'chuck' and one pound in the net
A minute or two later after some kiting, spluttering and one almighty crash of the tail a three pound bronze bream lie in the sagging net as I lifted it clear of the drink
|It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life, for me, |
And I'm feeling good
|What a half hours' sport|
Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Skylark, Dunnock, Song thrush, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Mallard, Woodpigeon, Collared dove, Indeterminate gull species.
Dave Burr, 1965 All England Champion
The Old Duffers' back catalogue of captured fyshes - okay so I'm making it up now, I admit it