Saturday, 9 January 2010

Slushy Mush

A few difficulties in the snow...
It's a pity that the temperatures have risen just enough to sustain a very slow thaw, because the canal was becoming so hard frozen that a few days ago I ventured out upon it to see if it would hold my weight, and it did...!
Don't get the impression that I am so gung ho that I just stepped out - no I sat on the edge, stamped my feet up and down to test it, then stood up and walked along few a few yards and got off again. Next day an overnight fall of snow covering the cut revealed the footprints of other intrepid yet cautious souls who had also ventured out a few feet from the twopath. I stepped down onto the ice and walked along the edge for a hundred yards but I won't go out to the middle until I see someone clearly heavier than me venture there and fall on their arse.

The slow thaw is a ground thing, but not yet an air thing, that is to say that the ground is no longer frozen solid but soft and muddy under the snow. What this means is that water is slowly running off into the streams and rivers - I also think quite a lot of road salt is going through and this has put the fish down, so for the time being there is very little fishing to be got anywhere.

Curious locals...

A return trip to the brook just before temperatures rose was a disappointment except for the sighting of a woodcock. Two ledges of cat ice above the water in the margins attested to the fact that the water level had dropped gradually over the past days, and also clarified somewhat. Bites were far fewer than before and they proved once again to be nigh impossible to connect with. I hooked and lost just the one fish - a roach of perhaps half a pound. I have no clear idea why bites which are in the main quite positive pulls on the tip should not give an odds on chance of the hook finding hold, but at the moment they do not - infuriatingly, I am missing mostly.

The rig is very simple; four pound main line, three pound hook link with an AAA shot pinched on above the link to sink the flake and hold bottom. I suspect that small roach are the culprit because they are notoriously hard to hook on bread flake whilst the larger fish in the shoal, if they get a look in, are surprisingly easy. I suspect there is a big difference in the way that small roach and large roach consume food items.

The right way to fish a winklepicker, apparently ...

On Sunday morning Danny and I went on an early morning excursion to the Avon at Ryton after big chub. Unfortunately it was to prove a dead loss with not a single bite between us in four hours. I tried worms, meat, bread flake, pellets and cocktails. I was wasting my time. Strangely enough, just after chatting with Danny about my recent woodcock sighting I walked off alone to find yet another lifeless swim and saw what I thought was another, but after a little research am now sure was actually a snipe.

A pellet wrapped in raw black pud...

When we arrived snow was falling and it was clearly below freezing out in the field, but overnight the temperature had risen to about one degree in the city centre. The water, which on arrival was clear and low seemed to be colouring up throughout the morning and when we packed up drove home we were faced with the root of our problem - a thaw was well under way in the built up areas of the city and all the long standing salt grey slush at the sides of the roads had vanished ~

Straight down the drains and into the Avon.

No wonder we couldn't buy a bite...!

Danny ...

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