A barn owl makes my day (perch article, entry 256)

If you’re a regular visitor to my Angling Journal, you will obviously be aware over the last week or so that the site has been remodeled – and hopefully it is much easier to navigate and more pleasing to the eye. Certainly the weekly article, which is what it’s all about really, has had a major facelift. I am passionate about my angling and as I so often say, the next best thing to being out there is to write about it.

The site gets a lot of visitors and it’s always a blessing when other anglers get encouraged by my ramblings. I know that I get motivated by reading stuff that others write and so I am fully aware of the power of the pen – or perhaps the keyboard in my case – and its effect upon those who read what we write. So if you are stimulated into getting out and about more by what you read in these pages, I make no apologies about that whatsoever! That’s what it’s all about.

 My little girl Twinkle

Last week I wrote that I wasn’t sure what I would be doing in the seven days ahead, perhaps I would do some canal carping or maybe I would continue spinning for perch. As it was I did both! I started the week wandering the towpath armed with a controller float set-up and dog biscuits looking for feeding carp on the surface.

But the only creature to feed was Twinkle my Bedlington terrier. As my sessions were short, casual and mobile, it was was an ideal opportunity for her to come along for a walk. She is very clever and I only had to say the word ‘biscuit’ once for her to come running and start poking the pocket on my trousers where I kept them.

I like dogs, but I love Bedlingtons and Twinkle is so much part of the family that I treat her like my little girl! Some people may not fully understand that, whereas others definitely will, because that’s your experience too.



My little girl Twinkle

Location, location, location

I actually did three late evening sessions on the canal searching for carp. The great thing about this time of the year is that I arrived about 8.00pm, well after the last boats had moored somewhere for the night, and yet still had a couple of hours of quality dusk fishing. Well, that was the theory anyway, but someone forgot to tell the carp. The conditions were perfect but wherever the fish were feeding it definitely wasn’t on the surface, that was for sure.

I spent more time watching and walking than actually fishing. It’s better to fish ten minutes in the right spot than two hours in a place where nothing is happening. As it turned out I wasn’t able to benefit from that but if you think about it, it certainly makes sense. So many anglers turn up, cast and sit it out instead of considering where the fish may be. If you are doing something very visual, such as surface fishing for carp, then location is what it’s all about.

Tip of the week

It’s better to spend ten minutes in the right spot than two hours in a swim where there are no fish.


Don’t get caught up in a wild goose chase

I know there are plenty of carp in the canal and certainly a chance of a mid-double. There are rumours of much bigger fish, and I’m not doubting that, but I would describe myself as a healthy skeptic when it comes to listening to what people have to say. I’ve met too many people who catch a double figure barbel every cast at Bridgnorth or who have had more 2lb roach in one session than I’ve seen goals at Molineux, to get carried away. Not that I’m calling anyone a liar but as I say, a little dose of healthy skepticism doesn’t do anyone any harm!

The last thing any of us want to be doing is chasing impossible dreams. So unless you know the person really well and trust their judgement – not to mention their scales – don’t get caught up in a wild goose chase. Otherwise you might be disappointed that all you keep catching is 12lb carp when in fact you ought to be really excited because they are the biggest ones in the venue.


A switch to spinning rescues the week

With one final session to go to complete the week, I faced a dilemma. Did I carry on in the hope that I would finally locate some fish feeding off the top or did I put the carp rod away and do some spinning instead? There were other options of course, but those were the two that I looked at. I decide to switch and so away went the controller and out came the Mepps Aglia.

The ironic thing though was that as I walked the same sections of canal as before I came across several carp on the surface! It’s amazing isn’t it! But I did catch fish on the spinning rod – now if I’d blanked that would have been hard to take! I had no perch but a number of chub obliged, including the biggest of the session that came right at the very end as darkness fell. Some anglers may be surprised that chub will take a spinner but they are as predatory as perch or pike!


Thrilled by a barn owl


The biggest chub of the session

As well as being an all-round angler, I’m also a keen birder as well and last week I was thrilled to see a little owl on the way back home. Well this week not only did I log a couple of little owls but I also had several sightings of a barn owl in flight. I had a couple of glimpses whilst out carping. In fact the first one was so brief that although I saw it, I didn’t catch on immediately. Barn owls are not common in this area at all and my brain just didn’t register, but once it did I was absolutely thrilled. The best sighting though was when I was spinning as I had a full twenty second view, as the bird flew low over the meadow beyond the far bank. This is the closest I have seen a barn owl to home. Brilliant!

 (Originally published June 2008)

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