Thursday, 3 December 2015


Drama on the Cov Canal?
The conclusion has been reached that, for now, with the usual temptations of canal and small stream ahead until mid-march, the Blogger's Challenge can be intermixed with those delights and any incidental points scored along the way will be exactly that

The prospect of targeting specific species through that period will be difficult but hopefully some chub points, combined perhaps with roach and dace, might just come along and, in the right conditions, pike can hopefully be added too with nothing more than a micro-specimen to show for the season thus far

So, the past couple of weeks have involved a brief obsession with a certain stretch of canal which I visited with Jeff & Russell on Zedvember 54th when the change in weather overnight had been little short of horrific in angling terms - from an extended period of exceptionally mild autumn weather to a burst of cold rain then a strong frost and no prospect of reaching 4degC all day. Not the best of circumstances for Jeff and I to take up the 2lb canal roach challenge nor for Russell to have his first taste of big roach fishing on the Oxford. Needless to say that little sortie had nothing to commend it

The Zedvember fest itself however was most enjoyable with the Boy Wonder and I having a brief dabble and then a chinwag with those bloggers we'd not met before from far and wide in various shapes, sizes, accents and interests. All with a tale to tell, largely involving plenty of schoolboy humour of course!
While we were gathered Jeff's partner Judy arrived with words to the effect of, "Ooh. A bunch of fishermen. What do you call a collection of fishermen?" The only word I could muster in the circumstances was 'a blank' and, with no advances made, we stuck with it for the time being; albeit I'm not sure anyone actually did blank but it felt as though most of us had

B.W. and I had intended to stop to eat but the pub was so deceptively busy [the only person out front all afternoon had been Jeff (all afternoon) and yet the car park and the overflow at the back was packed] that we decided to leave it and tackle a bag or two of chips on the way back

The highlight of the day, apart from the obvious of course, was in running back to the car to get Russell's birthday card before he departed, misjudging the steepness of a grassy bank and falling headlong forward like some kind of poleaxed grandfather clock

Until, that is, on the way to the chip shop, many conversations later, this...

"I've got it", said The Boy, in mildy subdued exclamation, all matter of fact.


"It's was a cast"

"What was a...? Oh yes! It's a cast. A cast of anglers. Now that is clever". The penny dropped and, yes, sure enough it was a cast of anglers, and some cast at that

Back to the plot from the cast:

The ensuing visits to the canaloid have been interesting, engaging and predictable in equal measure. That is about 1/3 of each

(Canaloid: A three-dimensional form with level top, rounded bottom, and indeterminate, often snaking, length).

A quick sojourn to the area that produced the biggest roach of recent weeks at 1.13.0 brought a few fish with a single specimen over a pound, coming in at 1.5.4 to be precise

Otter signs nearby suggested young ones to be present from the scat evidence but the entertainment of the day was a 'flick'(?) of 3 friendly moorhens (okay not as good as a cast, I'll grant you) which ran toward me at the prospect of bread and then retreated with equal gusto once they'd claimed a morsel each never to be seen again

Following this the first subsequent visit to the stretch alluded to earlier involved a couple of pegs being fished in the usual manner, bread down the middle and lobworm nearside, 10 yards to one side on the tip, producing two roach to 12 ounces on bread and not so much as even a sniff-let on worm

Peg two was a contrast.
No bites on bread but plenty on whole lobworms. A surprise chub, thought initially to be a rare carp, took a lob on the drop and tore-off along the far shelf, eventually being beaten and weighed-in at over three pounds. Soon after a smaller one was lost, which I didn't initially realise I had hooked, and then a real beast took possession of the hook and bait proceeding to surge from the swim eventually losing grip as I ventured to follow it along the towpath, an opportunity lost. Two perch on worm followed, up to 1.2.0

With no significant roach to show for that trip yet driven by some kind of disbelieving urge I was back at dawn the next day and mistakenly, as is usually the case with revisits, back to the chub peg which this time produced a couple of skimmers to 1.4.0 on bread and perch to 1.5.0 on worm. Moving to two other pegs again produced roach to just under the pound and numerous perch and small hybrids

The longer walk however brought into view even further pegs overhung a little by hawthorns and the like, plus some rushes and sweeping bends which were just too tempting to miss-out on and, it seemed, the odd topping fish too

So, Wednesday, there I was back again with a plan to work my way along those previously unseen
swims 25 yards or so at a time with bread only. If the fish are there we know they will fall to the magic bait within minutes and a twenty minute maximum was set unless a peg was consistently giving-up good fish of course

First swim opposite some hawthorns gave-up 2 roach to ten ounces

Second, on a bend with an ash tree overhead - 2 roach to 1.0.14 and a 3ounce hybrid

Third, again on the bend, but this time in the middle - 2 roach to 0.14.13

The 4th peg - I settled into but got boated-out before long and breakfast called with just two little perch in the net

This three-trip adventure told me enough about that stretch and it will be left well alone for some time now. Perhaps until I feel it is time to try to tackle some chub again

Over the subsequent few days the mild weather has returned with high winds and rain too. This has put far too much colour into the other more likely stretches of the Oxford nearby and so it may just be time to tackle the Leam again, perhaps with a few lobs into the more slack areas, which the postman kindly delivered out his capacious red bag this very day

Has Santa come early I ask myself?

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