Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Ruffe Stuffe...

I went up to the Lake District over the Easter weekend, for a wedding. Came back with a most vicious dose of flu that put me on my back for a few days and has left a legacy in its wake - a cough from hell that simply won't clear up
. This cough has had me doubled over, retching on my hands and knees and the only time it fades is when I am fishing - such is its tremendous therapeutic power.

Only trouble is ~

It's been Easter and that means the kids were at home and because Judy teaches, so was she. Not that I'm complaining, but I find getting out for even a short session very difficult when everybody wants you to do anything and everything but. However, I did manage to get to the canal on four occasions.

The first saw me catch a couple more half pound roach and a skimmer bream from the same spot that provided such promising results the previous day but the wind had changed direction and fishing was much harder than before. The second session was even slower, but I caught another skimmer and a half pound roach, in the end. Both these sessions were breezy, a north easterly wind channeled up the cut, rippling the surface.

The third session saw a few bites, but not from roach. The water was actually flowing like a sluggish river from East to West and someone had chucked a mass of mown grass into the canal somewhere 'upstream' that came through in floating mats swamping the float and catching the line. I caught a small perch and later a fish that I'd never caught before, or even seen in the flesh - a daddy ruffe or pope. A strange little thing that looks like a bleached perch with an outsize head. Another miniscule perch followed the ruffe, and that was that.

The fourth session provided four perch, two around the half pound mark and two that can only be described as large fry. I tried upping the size of baits but even small perch have enormous mouths and so that failed to attract the bigger fish that I'm sure were lurking on the edges of the shoal.

What was interesting was this. I'd decided to fish the same spot over many sessions in order to see what effects the changing weather conditions would have on the canal fish population- a controlled experiment if you will - and over the course of a week or so the fishing had changed considerably. Fish were present on every occasion, but the makeup of the population seemed to have gradually changed from roach and bream, to predominantly perch. The wind had been a fresh Westerly on the first session but the area fished, flat calm. Roach and bream were active on the surface and feeding well. Then the wind changed direction, blew from the North east and the fishing worsened, surface activity died back but roach and bream were still caught. Then the skies cleared, the weather turned very warm, the wind lightened, surface activity consisted of very small fry popping the surface as they were pursued by probably perch, perch were caught on bottom baits, but the roach and bream had either departed or gone completely off the feed.

Tactics were the same throughout, and so were baits. I think I learned something, but till the roach come back I can't really be sure...

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