Thursday, 25 February 2016

Signs of Impending Reward

So steady weather floating above freezing is upon us and some consistency in approach can be relied upon for the time being

Let's face it, this is always the most difficult time of year to put fish in the net but, at last, there is some hope

Last week The Boy Wonder and I found an only partly frozen stretch of the Grand Union Canal, complete with its own little car park, which, despite being a more coloured than would be perfect, did offer some encouragement. For his part, chopped worm was to be the option while bread would, as always, be deployed on the next peg. As a secondary option, and with a hint at what was set to come, sleeper rods offering roach heads or tails on single hooks were also cast to features to check-out the predator potential

Pretty much straight-off the worm produced a nice perch and soon after a decent hybrid to bread but angling wise that appeared to be that. We dabbled with some lures but nothing lead us to conclude this was an ideal day for them

It was prime cheddar feeding time, a known fact with an iced surface of course. I had this tidy bag on a roach head and was close to competing with TBW's pair of boxers from the cut a few weeks back. 'Not taken one on a dead bait before

Charlie though had a problem. A rabbit carcass was floating in the water a couple of metres from the bank and the little fella decided it must be lunch. No spring chicken but, as would be seen, a springing mutt he was and so he leapt, headlong into the freezing water. His elderly handler had some literal action to undertake, instantly kneeling and hoiking the canine miscreant from the surface with a shrill and tremulous, "Charlie!, Charlie!". In a flash, what now appeared to be a mobile pink chammy leather, was back on formerly dry land and coughing like a woodbine-smoking micro-pig

"I think he fancied a swim", someone quipped. There were only three of us.

"He's never done that before", she said...and he wouldn't be doing it again judging by that cough. He'd've been covered in ice by the time he got back, and so would she, having instinctively picked him up to carry him home.

Poor old Charlie. I wonder if he lived.

Next day it was predator time at The Stillwater. TBW was feeling under the weather and fell asleep as we left home, waking some two hours or so later having missed the excitement of the first run.

Four runs later and we were no closer to actually hooking anything than Stuart Brad and so we slipped-off home to contemplate the next piscatorial half-volley

What followed was something of a fishing-fest...type, thing

The Leam produced nothing other than an interesting discussion with Stalwart Club Member of thirty years' experience on the water and a take from a less than two pound pike that showed an unrealistic yet fleeting attraction to a four ounce roach deadbait but saw sense as well as daylight when his gape released the unsuspecting corpse into the cold air

The Avon - a single chub of three pounds three ounces

The Canal - nothing

The Avon, again - a single chub of a pound and a half, but wait, there was more to that trip...

Hon Gen Sec did not believe there were rats present but each time I stayed after dark there they, it, was, scuttling under the phragmites debris, the punctured footballs (the rusting bicycles), ballcocks and plastic lighters

"But what would they eat?", he questioned. Bread mash, that's what

This rat was the Louis Smith of the rodent world. No speck or blob of mash was beyond his reach and, with the inability to see his beholder in red-filtered light, he wasn't leaving any for the mammals formerly known as long-tailed field mice in his super-rat efforts to clamber up and down the reeds, from land or water, seeking out every freezing splash. He did get a touch over-familiar toward the end, but then, he was a rat after all

The Stillwater again. Early morning. Completely still water. Two hours to take the challenge score higher, if only a pike would have a nibble. -4degC on arrival. Zero on departure. Between times - a single run. This time connected and again the multi-purpose Avon admirably dealt with this pilferer of the mirrored surfaced as the water burst to foam

The pike squirmed as it sought freedom on the bank but in excellent chunky pre-spawning condition it turned the scales to 177 ounces, less the bag at fifteen, ten pounds two ounces of living excitement. At last twenty-odd points to show for the effort

This leaves just two more weeks to try the same trick on the river and add anything else possible before that particular meandering avenue of alders is chopped down in March to regenerate in June

Oh yes!...and finally - the lamp shade needs wiping, somebody

Apologies to the Modfather himself


  1. Well done on the pike George. Should be a doddle on the river this weekend for the pike shouldn't it? That's what I keep telling myself anyway! Even starting to believe it! A reality check looms I fear...

    1. Well I'm sat by the river with 2 deadbaits out now and thinking "reality check" is quite accurate

    2. I was heading the same way but moved pegs and got lucky. A pb of 23-13. Shaking still!

    3. Brilliant. Well done Sean!
      I'm on my fourth peg now...not a sniff

  2. That is a mighty fine bag of cheese George. Mature too; they don't trip up easily.

    1. And I thought the Stuart Broad quip would trigger your response

      Still the cheese was good too. Fought like stink.

    2. Happy hooker Broady. Not been the same since he got hit on the head. Used to form some great lower order partnerships with Swann.