Ice nearly stops play (perch article, entry 231)

The bad news was that the head gasket went on my car, which is an expensive repair. But the good news was that the vehicle was still under warranty so it didn’t cost me a penny to put right. It meant though that I was without transport for a few days, and itching to get out, I decided to walk to a local pool to do some spinning for perch. The pool is typical of many of those in urban areas: rubbish everywhere, signs of neglect staring you in the face and overall not aesthetically pleasing at all. But it was somewhere to go fishing and that’s what counts when you are an angling junkie like me.

 I didn’t even know if there were any perch in there, although I would be surprised if not. I didn’t get much chance of finding out really though as a good 4/5 of the surface was covered in a sheet of ice. This meant that in effect I had three pegs to fish from, and there are only so many times you can cast out and retrieve a spinner from such a limited area. Hence, within the hour I was walking back up the hill to return home.

 The bitterly cold weather was forecast all week and with my car back the next day, I was able to consider the wider options. But with the Severn still bank high, my zander campaign was once more put on hold, as I looked again to do some spinning for perch, this time on the canal. Although the pools were frozen over, there is more movement on the canals and they were just on the right side of icing over, although the temperature was rock bottom.


I knew it was going to be a struggle and that the best chance I had of a fish wasn’t to tempt a hungry perch but rather to irritate one as it lay motionless on the canal bed, hoping that it would snap at the spinner as it made its way past its nose. But either I didn’t put the lure that close, or else it was so cold that the fish couldn’t be bothered anyway, as I didn’t even get a tug. This is unusual on the canal as there is always something to report, even if it’s just a half-hearted enquiry.

 No fish but I enjoyed the walk, and that’s preferable on freezing cold days to sitting in one spot. As I was in a rural area and it was midweek and so really quiet, I also took my dog with me so she got to enjoy it as well. I’ve got a Bedlington terrier called Twinkle and she’s very well behaved so I don’t have to worry about what she’s up to. I could do with her on some of the rat infested waters I fish, if only to keep the rodents at bay.

 The session was less than a couple of hours but that’s still a lot of casts. Not wanting to give up that easily, I finished the week off with a return to the canal. It was still bitterly cold and the lake I passed on the way was frozen solid, although I did detect that it wasn’t as cold as earlier in the week. I didn’t take a thermometer with me so that was just a guess. It didn’t make any difference though to the perch as they were still playing hard to get. So for the second week on the trot I registered as a blanker. Things can only get better!

(Originally published December 2007)

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