Friday, 18 January 2013

The Year Ahead. What will it Bring?

Having openly attracted public humiliation by sharing canal fishing species PB's in the previous post; although readers (if there were any) have been too polite to comment along the lines of, "Well actually I can beat all of those. Where have you been fishing or did you only pursue it as a small child and without any help?" (Maybe there weren't any readers!); it is time to make some use of the list

There pervades a certain wish to have a general go at it ALL, having been somewhat blinkered for the past year, and of course the benefit of the canals being a trifle crusty at present (and no sign of let-up according to the forecast) certainly offers an opportune time to set some goals and have a proper target for the year

One thing not mentioned previously was the staggering number of species caught from the Grand Union which included species like Dace & Bleak, out and out river inhabitants, but which were excluded on the basis of size and suspected accusations of lunacy ,whereas genuine canal species were included, even if quite uncommon, such as the humble (yet gorgeous) crucian, a fish I have taken from canals on at least three occasions in the 'dim & distant'

Roach have had a limited pasting in 2012, not that I used paste you understand...and anyway the wallpaper would float...and so I may perhaps back-off that a little; and the brief dalliance, not to say 'dangliance', with lobworm at the very end of last year has set some kind of other urge and thought pattern running which needs to be satisfied

The question really is whether to target specific fish or just target bigger fish; whether to set-out in pursuit of, say, a big perch or simply to fish positively for big fish generally using baits that perch, zander, bream, tench, etc., might ALL potentially go for and then enjoy the excitement of the possibilities and, that key angling ingredient, uncertainty when the bite is indicated; as opposed, I guess, to the disappointment of it not being the target species

Yes I think that would suit quite well, potential double excitement

On to places to target. The original intention of the blog was the compare the present with the past within a limited local geographical area, that being the landscape character area of Dunsmore & Feldon. Fortunately this covers a good chunk of the list of venues frequented in the past and, as such still fits the bill in an angling sense, even though a few of the bigger fish on the list were taken from the Grand Union around the Northampton/Milton Keynes area. It also however opens up some other locations not previously concentrated on at all which adds spice to the options and includes part of the Grand Union, the conjoined Oxford and Grand Union, North Oxford and South Oxford canals

...and there's still scope to pull in some rivers and the occasional lake by way of a change outside the main focus

Stretch of Grand Union with relatively high head of big fish. Tree-lined, wide and weedy

Specifically, within the recent canal quest, certain pegs have been searched for using aerial mapping. I've generally been looking for wide tight bends where boats will leave some part of the water unaffected even if it gets to be quite busy during the day and this has already shown benefits with the perch and zander fest and tench catches previously posted being two examples. Some such bends I could easily recall but there are areas of canal I no longer clearly remember, it's been so long, which may well benefit from such fish-holding, disturbance-shirking features and Google Earth is a real bonus in that respect

So I think it's very likely that a general big fish approach will be adopted keeping within the location originally intended as far as possible (it was never intended to be an absolute boundary after all) and, hopefully, the excitement at potentially approaching, and even perhaps beating, records of, until they are seen, unknown species will reach fever pitch on occasion! Well, at the very least, one can only hope

Google Earth Pro


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Ian, man of few words. I had considered bettering it by just saying 'Good' but that might've seemed a bit abrupt!

  2. Bends are always good for some reason aren't they? I suppose it's the variety of shelf depth or summat like it. My biggest roach was caught on a bend, bream too ‚ you was there George and took pictures.

    I used to try sleeper rods but couldn't get on with them so opted for two identical outfits to search and explore with. For some reason mismatched tackle on canals equals poor catches... I think canal anglers have to be anal about it. They kind of demand an analytical approach, don't they?

  3. Apart from often having a wider channel I'm sure canal bends offer two important factors generally absent on straights, a build-up of silt and protection from the turbulence of boats, both present on the inside of the bend (and both of which explain the presence of bream of course).

    Yes I agree about the analytical approach, the 'fishing in a microcosm' warrants it because it's possible to be so precise, more so than in any other form of the sport don't you think?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I think that's why canals are still probably seen as the ideal match training venues by those in the know. It's not just the difficulty of catching lots of fish that's such good training, it's the tiny space you have to live in for five hours!

    I became a beancounter because of it. There's something about canals and numbers that really matters. I have lists of every roach I've ever caught, every silver bream and every tench too. I don't keep them for rivers though!