Thursday, 20 June 2013

Canal Tench — On The Wrong Wavelength

The weather appeared spot on for a night session on the canal. There's a six-pounder I just know is about and want to catch more than anything this summer and the combination of threatening rain and warm humid air seemed just so for a bit of hectic sport.

Strangely the weather man disagreed with my prognosis, his charts showing no rain whatsoever till late afternoon on the morrow. They should get out the office more and smell the skies instead of tracking it remotely. It was going to rain within hours, not tens of, and sooner on the morrow than he thought

Well, I settled in around 1:30 AM ignoring my own weather sense, trusting to his, and intending to fish through dawn and well into morning. On arrival I was dismayed to find the hot spot a scum trap, the water smothered in plant debris and amongst it all, that vile willow silk that accumulates on the line and jams in rod rings. I should have turned tail there and then...

First problem was the blue starlight attached to my float. They look bright enough close up but far off they become near invisible, the short wavelength of light emitting making them appear dimmer the further off they're cast. It was useless and the willow silk a bloody nightmare, jamming in the tip ring exactly at netting distance giving me little chance against a fish requiring a bit of stick, close-up.

I persevered with the two problems an hour or more then rifled through my slum of a fishing bag for a replacement light. Dead, dead, dead. Every one was past its sell by date, but then one of just the right length of lightwave was found tucked into a nook and looked promising.



The red glow is just the wavelength needed. Amazing how far off a red light no matter how dim can be seen, which is why they decorate tall structures with them I suppose — so that planes don't crash in low and occluded light...

One problem solved I sat back to fish in comfort, and it was very comfortable sitting there in daywear with no one about and not a breath of wind to disturb the tranquil peace. Then a huge ripple spread across the black water. A big tench for sure because carp just don't do that around here...

I would have enjoyed the tension of the wait if it weren't for the willow silk. In the water for ten minutes was about as long as it could stay without accumulating more than was safe. I tried everything but in the end settled on frequent recasting when I found that made it slightly less of a problem.

Then it passed down through the rings and made its way and then trapped itself behind the third from last. Teasing the stuff away from the line with fingernails, and when they proved useless, teeth, I pulled the line and...


"Holy Fricking Shit!"

A wreck. The rod tip dangling like a limp dick, it's flexing carbon stiffness flaccid and impotent. A hundred quids worth of expensive carbon with its lovely tactile full cork butt and sexy whippings down the pan in an instant. A moment of horror.

They can flex all day long, can't they? But they don't like straight line compression against even the smallest strain, and will break against five pounds of line force, won't they?

I should have known better — it wasn't the first time it'd happened.

"Oh no, here it comes!"

I pack the gear and head off just about the very cusp of dawn. It falls in big spattering gobs and feels slippy underfoot on newly dampened earth. They just cannot get it right what with their mainframe computers and state of the art gadgets when all anyone needs is a pine cone, a well versed weather eye and good strong nose for what's coming along. Rain. Of course this had to happen just as wasn't and was predicted, suffering a disaster out in the dark in clothing failing to anticipate the inevitable on bad advice.

Boats huddle there set against the bank like painted driftwood, hard to make out one from the other with their lights extinguished. We reach the junction where the gloom lightens with approaching streetlamps. The woods are not pitch black as they were — nor so brooding and oppressive to walk through now the light is coming up.

The rain has released the smell of industry into the air. I take deep sniff. As we enter the deserted main street the dogs tear around the corner and disappear into the little close of houses and I notice the odour of woods replaced by that of tarmac. We reach the end of the towpath.

Dumping the tackle in the stairway corner I make my way to the kitchen. The dogs itching from the damp rub their flanks against the sofa rolling crazily about on the rug. We bring the outside to the inside, the oak floor glistening in sodden trainer and padprints. They escape the open door...

I order the errant dogs — "in!"

"Ah crap, out of tea!"

But, it tastes as good as it could considering it took two to make it up to strength. I hestitate to drink the stuff it looks so dishwashy. Fishing a brace of cold damp teabags out of the 'used pot' on the kitchen work top next to the sink I chuck them in the mug and pour scalding water over in the hope of a half decent cuppa...

"Not so bad... not so good" 

Clearly on the wrong wavelength I hit the sack.


  1. When the fishing god's conspire against you...

    It's the bad trips that make the good one's so memorable, or dare I say better planned?

    Weed - not long before my trips will be blighted by the bloody stuff

  2. This willow silk stuff, whatever it is, it's the worst thing imaginable. Looks like nothing in the water but it's tough and very hard to remove from line. The fishing Gods were not on my side last night...