About two months ago I was riding through Exhall Green when I spied a skip in the distance which happened to be outside one of my customer's houses. I never pass these yellow troves of treasure by without having a look at the contents. I simply cannot resist them. Usually I'm totting for non-ferrous scrap but this skip contained only carbon, which has no value unless it comes in saleable or useable form. Luckily it came in the form of a rod, two whips and a long pole. A knock on the door, a chat with Mrs Brown, and it's all mine for the taking.
The pole was quite a find because I doubt I'd ever have bought one. 11 metres in total length it would probably reach the brambles on many stretches round here but it seemed ten or nine would put me in the roach zone just up the far shelf. Yesterday I went out round the corner to put the thing to test.
Tactics would be bread fished without ground bait. So many boats are passing through at the moment I think it a waste of Warburtons. The thing is I never use ground bait when roach fishing on rivers and haven't done for some time but have never suffered a lack of bites should a shoal be located. I just think they love the stuff and don't need to be convinced. The other thing is. Roach in this canal cannot be brought into a swim they choose not to occupy. It's all or nothing, or rather all or skimmers should the swim choice be wrong.
For once my swim choice was not a matter of prior knowledge or gut instinct but one of having room enough to ship the pole back. I chose a peg with a nice area of grass behind it. I hadn't any clue if the water out front had roach in it too.
The first thing I discovered is that long poles attract audiences. I think people are intrigued by them. Think them amazing. Believe those who wield them worth watching. Two kids up from Lady Lane, an old lady from the Bungalow Estate, two lads from Grindle Road enjoying an afternoon toke, Martin from the village supermarket, and a procession of passing blokes with an eye for fishy goings on, came by, loitered about, and sat down to view the spectacle.
They were not to be disappointed...
There were plenty of roach and good ones too. But I was using the precise same end tackle I'd use with a rod. In fact I'd simply bitten off my usual canal roach float rig, tied a loop in it, and hung it from the elastic. There was method in this. If this extremely sensitive but tricky to fish rig of mine could be controlled better by pole than it could be by rod then I might just be convinced that pole was the way to go.
The facts were established in the first minutes. It was far easier to control, and better, control was very precise indeed. I could have it fish however I wanted and always have it fish where I wanted. To the square inch rather than the square yard as always before.
My greatest reservation, though, is the sheer length of the thing. Very few pegs round here have the space to swing a drowned cat let alone room enough behind to ship a pole backwards. All pegs are busy with towpath traffic and with an old pole I might encounter section breakage I cannot easily replace. And so if the advantages it lends are so great then I guess I'll have to develop alternative shipping arrangements.
Novel ones, perhaps...