Friday, 15 November 2013

The Perfect Time

This week there has been that nip in the air that catches the throat and makes you think am I ill or is it going to be winter soon?

Well it's likely to be neither just yet but it IS the prime time of year to fill one's net on a canal
Over the years the first two weeks in November have often been shown to be the optimum period to hit the towpath and catch unbelievable bags of fish. This year of course it has happened to coincide with many of the previously low rivers being boosted by an influx of rainwater making them an attractive proposition too

In fact this November has not been ideal thus far with it being a touch colder than recent history would have suggested and therefore the canals have been a trifle clearer than make for prolonged catching of net-making fish

This being the case it has partly set me off on a quest to tackle some small streams, in this case the River Leam, and partly to make sure I have a perchy back-up plan on canal sessions

Thus far (we've been at it around a fortnight) the river fishing has got the better of us with the best fish a pristine a 10oz roach accompanied by a little few perch and all of whom fell for the tail of a lob, next we will be tackling them with bread flake but, more than this lack of notable fish on lobs, the untamed banks have been something of a shocker. Yesterday for instance I would have had to create a swim wherever I had wanted to fish and in fact the swim I ended-up on was barely fishable due to lack of proximity to the waters edge, the water level itself and snags. Still once its dropped another 8" we should be well in for the odd chub and at this current rate, with no more rain on the horizon, that could be this weekend

Canal-wise, the decision to revisit the peg of the holy rutiloid grail was made some six weeks after the event which was rationalised internally with the following reasons:
  • It had been long enough not be over-zealous
  • I had recovered from the shock
  • The fish might have done the same
  • Were there any similarly sized school-mates to be snaffled
  • The weather seemed right (wind direction and speed are crucial here)
  • I wanted to see what other monsters the bend held which might be susceptible to the odd giant lobworm/snakey thing
The, as usual, brief session after dawn and before work produced a relatively instant response from the resident roach, as has become customary with the now heavier initial feed, with a very nice fish of 1-4-6 soon in the net after an unusually bream-like fight having fallen to bread on a 10m pole presented just beyond middle, and was followed by another bite but sadly this second solid feeling fish of the morning shook the hook after just a few seconds

That pretty much concluded that action on bread within half an hour in an area with a low fish population on this occasion and so a change to the wand and lobworms cast near-side of middle to the right was keenly made

Bites were instant. I had put quite a handful of chopped dendras and lobs and fish had found them in some numbers. I have found dendrabenas (are the littl'uns dendrabeanie babies?) previously to attract too many small perch so this time I increased the ratio of lobs and put more of both in

First fighter on the supple short tip rod was a perch almost exactly matching the roach for size at 1-4-11 and with a chunk apparently bitten out of it's sail-fin


Immediately after a real digger took a giant lob and took a bit more landing than I have been used to of late. Eventually a larger than standard stripey hit the bottom of the net and seemed a bit more useful with his dorsal shield than many of his cousins have proven over the years. A quick weigh before going gently into the keepnet showed this fish to be (fractionally) a canal PB at 1-13-11. It's beginning to feel as if the 2lb canal perch is something of a barrier however.


At this point what appeared at long distance to be a small young moorhen could be seen floating on the water. It was at an awkward angle back over my shoulder from where I was watching the tip but I was sure I had seen it dive under! If I had it was certainly no moorhen. Some while later the bird came close enough to i.d. as a dabchick, quite an unusual find for this canal which carries very little suitable life for such tiny diving grebes to seek-out due to its lack of vegetation and associated aquatic invertebrates. As it approached and I looked away it disappeared as only grebes can, they can submerge as much or as little of themselves as they need to and, although no weed was present on this canal, can often leave themselves with just the top of their head above water within a weedbed while any perceived threat passes by, or over, which couple with their irresistible chuckling laugh makes them quite adorable little chaps and chap-esses

The trip concluded with a small perch and then another good one of 1-4-2, and two decent unseen lost fish - as is usual when fishing whole lobworms of course

This weekend Danny Everitt of The Lure of Angling blogspot has invited me to try 'his' stretch of water where very big canal roach have been a by-product of his perching activities so it will be very interesting to see how those bruisers respond to the heavy-duty mashed bread method, if at all...can't wait, can't sleep and fingers crossed for bites!

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