Friday, 11 February 2011

That was the Week, that Wasn't

This last fishing week has been a ragbag of apparently disconnected short sessions without any great result from any one of them but all, in some way, instructive. Last Sunday I managed to wangle a whole day at Stratford only to arrive and find the place all but un-fishable due to the high winds blowing straight up river - five degrees change of direction either way and it would have been sheltered enough for comfortable quiver tipping, but as it was the rods were trembling so much that bite registration was nigh impossible.

I could have set up for barbel and just waited for the rods to pull round but I was after the roach again and that's a different game entirely. I set the rod top inches from the water to avoid the wind and this seemed to help somewhat but it was still impossible to see anything other than a proper hard twang. They had obviously moved away from last weeks position as I saw no bite type movements at all from that particular place but eventually, after casting about here and there, I relocated them again, thirty yards away.

The evidence? Two or three certain bites from a billiard table sized patch of water, just as before. The trouble is with good roach bites on the quiver (ones that you can actually connect with) is that they tend to be heralded by a twitch which might be seen in the wind but then followed by a deliberate pull of one to two inches, rarely more. This crucial movement was masked by the rod bouncing about in the rest so when Judy arrived back from her brisk walk to Stannels Bridge with a wet and wild looking spaniel, who'd as usual, spent more time in the drink than out, I elected to do what any true grit Brit angler would do under the circumstances ~ cut and and run to the pub for a pie and pint.

On the way to the hostel we walked through the park and along the opposite bank I spied three figures in a row, all hard at work and hanging on grimly to their poles. They looked like a set of concrete gnomes. It later transpired that this was Danny, Andy and their mate Rob. I wish I'd taken a picture...

I had a short session up the cut after whatever with maggot feeders rigged helicopter style, a technique I have never tried before on the canal. This is really a miniature one hook flapper, a borrowed sea rig. A three hook flapper would have helped as the results were inconclusive. Plenty of twitchy bites but only one resulting in a fish - and that was just a half pound skimmer bream. Still, it's fun messing about with the buzzers.

I also got in two hours up Grassy Bend on Wednesday fishing lobs after those perch and roach I had last time out, but sat there without a sniff.

However, not all was a dead loss. Tuesday evening Keith and I went in to town and fished a stretch of canal new to us both. This was a session that while unremarkable in term of fish landed was one that turned out all interesting and fruitful in terms of new things to consider. I fished lobworms after a roach and Keith fished deadbaits for a zander. What transpired was a brief but intense spell of activity to my left hand rod, four bites in fact, three inexplicably missed but one pristine roach to confirm which of the possible species it was doing the biting.

Keith meanwhile had had nothing. My bites ceased altogether as the light faded and then Keith dropped his bait straight on top of a jack pike's head, who grabbed the bait, splashed about for a bit and then performed a disastrous crocodile style body roll in my net, wrapping itself and the hook inextricably in the mesh. After major net surgery, snipping hook shanks and cutting mesh, the fish was released and then his other rod was off - a pike again, six pounds perhaps, but a fish that got away, unfortunately.

So lots of roach there, I hope, and pike but no zander, we think.


  1. Gnomes... Gnomes! I think you meant heavenly marble sculptures reminiscent of Zeus himself didn't you.

  2. Sounds more like see no evil,hear no evil ,speak no evil hahaha