Tuesday, 22 November 2016
Always an event. An incident. Maybe a string of incidents.
It was clearly going to be very frosty with clear skies and bright sunshine once the day shift got underway.
A more than early start.
In the swim at day break after a particularly long walk into a deep cutting but then a gentle movement of the water gave advance warning.
Five minutes more and the heart-sinking thump, thump, thump of a working boat. This the kiss of death. The massive, surging dark hull growing as it approached through dawn.
Spinning plumes of silt, like black holes into a lifeless world, had strewn the surface at regular intervals coincidental with the beating of the engine.
A moment or two of contemplation. There was no rush to decide.
A big risk. Into the open under clear skies it was.
The finest countryside however. Indeed if it were ever possible to build a pokey, smokey cottage wherever one liked this would be the spot.
In went the tempters followed by the neon sign, "BITE HERE!"
...and bite it did. Out came a treat of a roach preceded by its unmistakable fight after the most unusual bites.
One pound, seven ounces, three drams. Another cracker.
The autumn has seen scarce pickings but, the more so, the larger.
A lion of a dog flops along from the right. The bait was not for him. He sniffed and rejected the possibility. Obviously the finest roach food known to mankind didn't suit his regal palate.
His master moved on having shared the standard 'glorious day, bit chilly though' necessities. Some day I'm gonna break the mould and ask what they dreamt about that night as an opening shot. That should shake 'em off.
Leo meanwhile is nuzzling my coat. And quickly skulks off, master bound.
"He's nicked me pork pie!", I yell. Hearty laughter all round.
Two boats...a change of scenery.
Just as the water settles another, surprising, fish. A hybrid this time around 1.2.
The CRT contractors had done the now 'accepted'...scattered the tall ruderal growth into the drink and left whatever ash poles they had trimmed littering the towpath.
The last peg was very comfortable as I had gradually stepped back toward the bridge from whence this tale commenced.
All or nothing now. 3 handfuls of mash.
Ten minutes later, a slight indication. Crayfish, I concluded.
A further five minutes, and on retrieval I lifted into the CRT's dumpings...which started to fight.
Two neat swerves and one surge later - gone.
AUTUMN/WINTER 2016/17 BIG CANAL ROACH CAMPAIGN
(GUC unless *NOXC).