Grub grabbing and perch pursuing
As you will see from the accompanying video, the week didn’t begin with fishing, but with grub grabbing on the local park. Not that I am tight-fisted, far from it as the only Celtic blood flowing around my veins is very diluted, and Welsh at that. However, when it comes to saving on unnecessary expenditure I am all for that. And so whilst I am not going to criticise anglers that buy worms from the tackle shop, personally I collect mine for free. And it’s not as if it takes much time or effort either. While someone has watched back-to-back episodes of East Enders and Coronation Street, in the hour they have spent feeding the soap monster within them, I’ve been out and harvested easily enough worms to keep me going for a good few sessions.
I am an avid tweeter and as I have linked my twitter and facebook accounts, everything I post on the former appears on the latter. And saying that I had been collecting lob worms prompted a very good thread, that started with someone asking me what was the difference between an earthworm and a lob worm. In very broad terms, earthworm is a family group comprising of individual species such as lob worms or common earthworms. The lob worm is Britain’s biggest worm, and can reach over twelve inches long when stretched. Not that I recommend stretching one of course, but they do naturally extend and when out collecting in the dark you see quite a few that look like baby snakes. They’re also tough and work well on the hook which are real positives for the angler.
Caught within seconds!
I have an eighty litre wormery in the back yard at home and every time I collect worms they end up in there. So when I want to go fishing it’s a simple enough task of walking to the bottom of the garden, scooping up a few handfuls of soil and filling my bait box with more than enough bait for a few hours on the canal after perch. And that’s what this week’s sessions consisted of – short visits to the local cut, as we call it in this area. I have gone through the tackle set-up on the video, so I’m not going to repeat it all here. Every week I get numerous people contact me concerning the article or video uploaded and within that list there is always one who is interested in the rig that I fished with.
Now obviously I don’t want to keep going over old ground and writing or talking about the same things each week, but from time to time I do mention rigs and the like. And as you will see from this week’s, my philosophy is ‘keep it simple’. Start from there and work on, rather than complicate things from the beginning when often the simple things work. So now on to the fishing for the week! On the very first cast I found myself snagged, which resulted in a break. I know the peg well as it is one that I have fished before so when I cast out a second time I wanted to make sure that a branch hadn’t occupied the swim, courtesy of the recent strong winds. So I cast out and immediately I tightened to the hook. Oh no, I thought to myself, another snag hold. But then the snag started to move! The result was the fish that you can see in the first photograph above. What a result!
A red campion in full bloom
In fact I added several more perch including another big one. When we talk about specimen fish, I think it’s very important to take the venue into account rather than just pounds, ounces and drams. Therefore a six pound barbel might be a massive achievement from one river yet nothing to get excited about from another. A one pound roach might be common in one pool yet a fish of a lifetime from another. Don’t get influenced by what you see staring back at you every week from the angling media. Not that I am criticising anything by the way, just saying that we shouldn’t be disappointed if we catch a 30lb carp because the latest angling gallery is full of 40lb’ers. I’m sure you get my drift. The mild spell continued and my thermometer showed a reading of 9C. We’re still waiting for the first frost of the winter and that’s why when I caught a flash of colour in the canal side vegetation I was pleasantly surprised to find that a red campion was showing well in full bloom.
My second session, whilst still on the Staffs/Worcs Canal, saw me heading a good ten miles away to fish. There was a peg I fancied a crack at, and whilst I have perch fished it before, it was when I was mobile and armed with a Mepps Aglia; I relished the opportunity of a sit-down session. It is a very perchy looking area and I had caught from there previously, mostly small fish but one biggie that still stands out. The surrounding area lacks features and then in a short section there is a cluster of hawthorn bushes, a couple of reed beds, lots of overhanging brambles and a pedunculate oak that dominates the far bank. I couldn’t wait to cast a bait out. However, apart from a few enquiries I ended up with nothing at all, in spite of the temperature rising to 9.8C. But like my previous one, it was just a short session of a few hours in the morning. So I certainly wouldn’t want to make any judgments based on that.
A perch from session three
To round the week off I was back on familiar territory and in a peg that I have caught good perch from before. With the water temperature plummeting to 7.1C in just a few days, I knew it was going to be tough and so it wasn’t the time to go adventuring. It was a very short session about two and a half hours in total. Although I was fishing at 1.30pm, the short days mean that it’s into dusk once we pass 3.00pm – and even more so on a miserable day weather-wise. I had a lot of enquiries but I suspected that roach were in the swim, picking up the end of the worm and then dropping it once they felt resistance. I did have a small perch though into the session so I knew that at least I wasn’t going to have two blanks on the trot. Not that I’m bothered about fish-less sessions that much, but given the choice I’d sooner catch!
But I needn’t have worried because towards the end, the perch came on the feed and I added a few more to the tally. Some were so small that I simply lifted them from the water, but I needed the net on others. No big ones though. And I was only bothered by one boat as well, and as it came through within minutes of starting to fish, it meant I had a pleasant session as far as that was concerned. And as it was dry and there wasn’t much of a wind, even the weather wasn’t that bad as far as being cold was concerned. For a while now I’ve been fishing in my Sundridge all-in-one suit. If my memory serves me well this is my third and as I make them last as long as possible, that’s a good few years of warm winter angling. We’ll never be able to eliminate the effects of the winter totally but at least by wearing the right gear we can minimise its harshness.
(click icon above for this week’s video)
(Originally published December 2009)