Sunday, 26 July 2015

Canal Tench — This Useless Hour

Wake at 4am. Try to get back to sleep but orexins have already kicked in and are firmly lodged on my receptors. That's buggered my circadian rhythm then, which I guess I'd better realign with an evening's alcohol abstinence at some point soonish...

What on earth can be done with such a hushed hour of the day? Pad silently about the house in dressing gown and slippers at a loss for things to do — make a cup of tea — look out the window at nothing happening. At least my inbox isn't yet cluttered with pokes from friends I didn't know I had or alerts that 26th July is some company's birthday I'll never buy a thing from.

Met Office says there'll be rain by noon but it's a mild dry morning and I think to myself, 'what the heck'. I'll get dressed, bike down the cut, and go earn myself a handful of challenge points if I can't find good reason not to. Will catch something. Might catch well. I hunt around the house for good reasons not to, nevertheless, but there's none to be found. Fishing, I decide, is about the very best thing that can be done with this useless hour. 

For reasons of health and safety not a lot of leisure activities are allowed here. You might die from a 40KV arc, or be beaten to death by irate basin inhabitants.  No soul has had their days  concluded by either fate in living memory, and the fishing, even though carbon rods actually throb in the electrified atmos, is always worth the risk! 

What I really enjoy about the early stages of such competitions as this, is this. They allow me to go fish uncluttered by the baggage of wanting lots of fish or fish that weigh lots. I can just go out and catch whatever there is to catch without vision funnelled down the wrong end of the telescope. If one species won't play ball then play ball with another that will. Not catching? Then try another approach, move to another peg or indeed, another fishery. Caught what's sufficient? Then go catch something else sufficient. Everything counts, and time is not wasted wanting what you can't have.

Hell, I'm even thinking of taking along two types of bait next time! 

But on this morning bait will be bread and ledgered too because bread is in the bag from Friday night and a bread ledgering rod is made up in the quiver. I might be wide awake but I'm still lazy. Target at my preferred spot will be firstly, tench, but I know that bream will show for sure. And roach, rudd, silver bream and hybrids are possible too.

And it doesn't take long for the first, which as expected is a bream. Not worth the weighing, though I guess a pound and a quarter. There will be better to come for certain. And 20 minutes later, sure enough, 13 snotty points flop into the net in the form of another just under three pounds. My chosen spot is nothing if not predictable.

There's a couple of friendly lads fishing nearby. They've enjoyed an overnight session, have lost a big carp too, but they have a little nugget of information for me that I think might just make a big difference here. A zander was also caught in the night but on a large bait that I'm very familiar with but have never employed on the canal. But it wasn't that a zander was caught that was the interesting thing. What was, was that nothing else was. Though all night long their buzzers were beeping and their bobbins jumping...

Sport today isn't as frantic as it can be. There's days here when just a piece of bread flicked to the right spot and without ground bait about it will see fish hitting the net every five or ten minutes and a thirty pound bag amassed in just a few hours. But this morning is steady. A bite every twenty minutes or so and mashed bread needs feeding regularly to keep the pot on slow simmer.  

A brace of slightly smaller bream show but then a huge wrench of a bite flies the tip around bending the rod to the rest and I'm connected to what's briefly a very convincing impression of that tench I came for.  But, the initial burst of speed and power soon falters and I see what I reckon is a hybrid coming in. Never mind. She'll do. They count too.

Shame she wasn't a proper roach at 2lb 2oz. Nonetheless, my improper madam earns a very respectable 29 hybrid points, rounds off this two hour session for a total score of 42, and progresses my name upward a notch on the leader board. 

All went according to plan bar the lack of tench. But there's always the evening to come when I think they may well show themselves and show themselves to a new bait. Might just stay out late and correct the tempo of my days.


  1. I'm out tonight....the cat's away this week. Good Luck! :)

    1. Best of luck for you too, Keith. My cat's away also. Hounds to walk and feed but no one else to please. Feels good to be a mouse at play!

  2. I did think trying a whole season just fishing with bread, I bet many of my PB's would be beaten too. Shame canal Zander will get in the way as it's very very tempting.

    1. I'm probably going to float fish bread and have a sleeper out for zander, Mick. Bread really does pick up fish in canals. Big pieces work best though. If its big fish you want, of course.

  3. It should be illegal to be on the bank without a slice or two of Warburton's.

  4. I agree there. Always works for me!

  5. Bread, bread, bread, bread. All I can say.