Another year rolls by (perch article, entry 129)

On the run-in to the end of the year I managed to get three sessions in, and on each one fished the local canal and continued with my quest for perch. Well, who can blame me? After several weeks of struggling to get amongst the decent fish, I suddenly seem to have hit on a few good ones. And until I start to get lots of recaptures, then the stretch is definitely going to be explored, and hopefully, exploited to the full.

On the first trip everything looked great. The conditions were perfect (for winter that is) and I expected to connect with some perch. And I certainly did that, taking a couple of fish on the Mepps spinner that I used to work every section of the water in front of me, before taking a few steps and then continuing the process once more of casting ‘around the clock’. If something is there then it is definitely going to get tempted!

The third fish was obviously something larger and I wondered if I had struck into one of the bigger perch, however as the fish broke the surface of the water, I could see a small, but feisty, chub. There aren’t that many chub in the section but I’m not complaining at all, all fish are welcome. It’s always nice though to get your chosen species.

Just as I was looking forward to an afternoon of action, a British Waterways boat appeared around the bend. I’m not sure what they were doing, but the work involved lots of poking and stirring up the canal bottom, and it was obvious that the amount of contact that the workers were having with the canal, it was the kiss of death. Although I did fish a little longer, my fears were confirmed and I had no more action.

On my next session, providing there were no more disturbances, I was confident that I could get amongst something decent. As I started my angling log as I was about to commence fishing, I wrote ‘window of opportunity’ in reference to the fact that the mild weather was about to suddenly come to an abrupt end, with freezing conditions predicted.

Well, my words were certainly prophetic as I had a number of perch, amongst them another good one. That makes it three weeks on the trot that I have had something to smile about, and each big fish has been a different one, so no repeats up to date. Mind you I did make one big gaffe, I had forgotten to pack my camera! But not being that far from home, a very apologetic telephone call meant that I had my camera delivered to me at the water’s edge. What a woman!

To round off the week, I again headed for the same stretch. However, like the first session I again encountered disturbances that affected the fishing. This time it was a steady progression of barges – one of them being massive. I wondered how it managed to navigate the canal without getting stuck; after all contrary to popular belief canals aren’t actually very deep. Realising I was on a loser with the boats, I cut the session short and headed home. With the temperature falling and a cold spell on the way, the TV and the fire beckoned.

Looking back over the year in some ways it has been disappointing. There have been some good fish along the way but I’ve often felt that I have failed to get going. In fact my angling has very much mirrored Wolves’ performance on the football field. If you read my angling journal regularly you will know that I tend to focus on a couple of species at one time.

But as we enter the New Year I am considering narrowing that down to just one and actually prolonging the length of time I spend pursuing that particular fish. So my intended end-of-season chub campaign may not happen. But if I continue to get amongst the decent perch, then that won’t be a problem. Anyway, the future will be unveiled a week at a time. Have a great New Year!

(Originally published December 2005)

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