Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Canal Silver Bream - Ne'er Cast a Clout...

The Old English. What did they know about modern weather, eh? What did they know about global warming, Huh? Nuffink, I'll warrant. They did know a bit about old-fashioned weather though. It's an English obsession is weather, not that we get extremes that would scare anyone half to death, like the approach of a vast rotating thunderstorm dripping with tornadoes ripping homes and cows from their steads, shredding and chucking them in the air like so much confetti, and poleaxing people with shards of flying 4x2 and deadly green-stick fractured bovine shin bones.

NO, we don't have that, we have mild weather with occasional extremes of mildness, but extremes of mildness that send the English into paroxysms of dread delight. We love these extremes of mildness. Adore them. When the temperature drops below freezing and stays that way for a few days, then we have a 'Big Freeze' on our hands. The public go Radio Rental, raiding the supermarkets, stockpiling in preparation for the coming disaster, and the press, well they get into a such frenzy, quite wetting themselves in their reportage of such jeopardous banana skins ahead as full six-inch drifts of snow, that it's clear we are headed for Armageddon each and every time the weatherman gets on his box, and claims 'the wind has turned Siberian.'

It does turn Siberian from time to time, well it comes originally from the general direction of the gulags, but not so that it would ever cause the inconvenience of permafrost. And when it thaws, when it usually does after a week or so, all kinds of hitherto hidden artefacts are revealed beneath the slush, but Mesolithic wooly mammoths are hardly ever found amongst them. It turns Saharan too, from time to time, but all we get is a blast of hot wind, cars covered in yellow dust, and a hosepipe ban. But we love it. Jump up and down with joy every single time these extremes of mildness occur, for they are the perfect excuse to take our minds off, and time out of, that curse on the Anglo Saxons of the Protestant 'work ethic.'

Not that I have one of those, being an idler... 

But do we ever fear them, these extremes of mildness? Yes, we fear that they might not come at all and leave us the normal drudge of an English year's full of drifting cloudy skies, but without any extremes of mildness to break the monotony.  But what joy! We are having one right now. The weather has turned for the worse and it's snowing in Coventry. Back in January this kind of snow; snow falling in air temperatures of 5 degrees and never making it to the ground without turning instantly to water, wouldn't have raised an eyebrow, but now in early April, this unseasonable fall has the press foaming at the mouth predicting 'disruption to services', and 'inconvenience to travel' and warning of other such awful tragedies waiting in store for us. The public, they grumble, but we love to grumble, do we not?

Fish know all this in advance. I'm always amazed that fish do know these things about cyclones and anticyclones ahead, and make their plans accordingly in plenty of time even though they are insulated by a layer of water, and wouldn't know a cloud from a carp. How the hell did they know about these 'terrible' April snow showers and the general bad weather 'disasters' that afflict us now? 

They did though. They knew it well in advance. They shut up shop and refused to be caught. The perch spawned in good time, during the 'unseasonable warmth' we had just a week hence, to incubate their eggs, and those that delayed, well they'll just have to wait, and perhaps not spawn any progeny at all in their hesitation. 

Down the canal I 'suffered' two sessions totaling eight almost biteless hours, but with only a single deformed skimmer bream and a lovely one pound roach to show for it. It was dead slow, which was unusual for the tactics I was employing, and those two fish were converted from only three bites received, losing what I really hoped was the first silver bream of the year, but what I'm sure was another silver-coloured rudd, at the net.

It looked like a silver bream, but we're not there yet, I reckon. Wait for it, wait for it. When this 'disaster' has passed, the fish will feed. The tench will be caught, the bream will start to gather up, and the silvers will be back once again. 

Till then, enjoy the unseasonable weather and be happy that you ain't a fish who has actually to consider these things as a matter of prime importance.

It may as well have been a fish, not the Old English, who once wrote ~

Ne're cast a clout, till...


  1. hi jeff by the way love reading your stuff.ive been fishing the bottom lock at knowle and have had a few silver bream.also some bream up to four pounds.p.bull

  2. Glad you like it. Might have to pay Knowle a visit in the coming months. Looks a nice place to fish, silver bream or not.