Thursday, 3 December 2009

Astounding Stats...

Keith came over to the cut last night to have another crack at the roach and Zander but a local diesel spill, the second in a week, had put all fishing for about half a mile (a very little diesel goes a avery long way!) quite out of the question - not that the fish would be affected directly but I reckoned that anything passing through the layer of floating fuel would coat in diesel
and we'd end up fishing tainted baits, so why bother?

We decided to fish the exact same swim as we fished last time we met up, a spot opposite a reedy far bank near Hawkesbury Junction where, as luck would have it, not only is there the very real chance of a really big roach but there also happens to be an award winning pub with a roaring open fire and very good beer not even five minutes distant...!

Keith fished a roach rod on ledgered lobworm and for zander with a float fished eel section, while I elected to ledger two of the largest lobs in the box and go all out for a fat redfin. The weather was icy, puddles along the towpath were frozen solid and I could feel my feet cooling rapidly as we sat waiting for bites. After an hour or so they were uncomfortably numb. It was obvious that my expensive and achingly stylish Gallic wellies were not going to cut it this coming winter if they couldn't cope with this relatively mild level of cool - no, they were going to have be replaced with something far uglier, but far warmer, and much sooner rather than any later.

About half an hour after dark, Keith's widget float ducked suddenly and started off upon a run. He struck the hook home into a fish that put quite a bend into his rod for a short while but then duly folded and was netted efficiently by the gillie. It was a zander, of two pounds or so.

We sat around for another hour waiting for the next bite and when it eventually came it came to my right hand rod which had been fishing a bait placed down bottom of the the far bank ledge and a good twenty yards away. The tip wrenched right around, thankfully I saw it clearly, striking automatically. It was fish on, but it felt just like a tiny perch. Only when it came directly out front did the whole character of the fight change into that of a somewhat larger fish and I thought 'zander'. Then Keith spied the fish in his headlamp beam...


I suddenly got very serious, especially when it began to look quite sizable!

Keith netted it first go and it looked, just for a time, as if it would worry two pounds but that was just an effect of the torch light. By the time the fish was unhooked, had its pics taken and the scales were prepared for weighing, I knew it was much less than the weight we had originally imagined in the excitement of the moment, but roach over a pound do look impressively large at first sight, for some reason, so we can be forgiven. It went exactly a pound and a half. A very nice fish indeed and even nicer to actually catch one of the bigger canal roach on lobworm with another angler present to witness it !

We didn't get any more action after this and the fight between the need for more bites against the increasingly urgent need for warmth and beer, was lost. We retired to the pub...

Next day

This morning I noticed that the diesel spill had drifted away and so I decided to go out local, for a couple of hours around dark. As promised to myself, I'd bought a new pair of snow boots that I came across quite by accident in TK Max. They are seriously odd things to wear, in fact they need to be marked 'left' and 'right' because you can't tell from above which feet they belong to.

I sat down to fish and cast my lobworms to 'likely' looking places in the boat track - likely only because they look nice for some reason, not because they are actually good fish holding areas - canals don't work like that! The boots seemed to be doing their job, an hour and a half in and my feet were still warm, though I could feel the onset of cold at the heel, the very place that was in contact with the ground directly - I might have to adopt the old market traders trick of placing cardboard on the ground in front of the seat.

Darkness came and I attached bells to the rod tops as bite alarms. Just after dark the right hand rod rattled once then sprang back- I waited a few seconds and it rattled again. The strike met with another one of those 'small perch', yep, another roach had fallen to the lobworms. It looked to be a good size as it showed its weight and fought hard under the rod top but as it came over the net I thought it would just scrape a pound, which it did, and right on the button.

So another roach to lobworm over over a pound in weight. Thats nine out of ten now!

Astounding stats...

If only they didn't take so much time to catch!

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