Keeping it local
Left to right: the biggest perch of the week, my first ladybird of the year, the canal where I fished, first white dead-nettle of 2010
For several years I have been very much aware of the cost of fuel. The days when I used to disappear down the M5 for a few hours lower Severn barbel fishing on a summer’s evening are long gone. With a tank of petrol costing £50, it’s not miserly to think about your fishing in terms of financial efficiency, but rather a necessity. And with the garage forecourts almost competing with each other to see who can get the highest price, it’s time now more than ever for anglers to think local.
I’ve already been well prepared though, as I’ve been down that route for a few years now. I have to really, the number of times I go fishing. It would cost me a fortune that I don’t have if I travelled any sort of distance on a regular basis. This week’s couple of visits to the local canal would hardly have used any fuel. Plus it’s a challenge to fish your local waters and get to know them. And I’ve certainly done that in recent times.
My first session was to a spot where I have previously caught good perch, so that’s always a confidence builder before you even cast out. And with the water at 6.9C rising to 7.5C I couldn’t fail could I. As it happened I didn’t, netting three fish, with one of them being what I would describe as decent for the venue. That’s the key really isn’t it, ‘for the venue’. If I compare the Staffs/Worcs Canal to last week’s outing at Gyrn Castle, where there are 4lb perch to be caught, I’ll be disappointed. But if I take the venue on its own then I will be far from discouraged by the size of the ones I catch.
I ended the week with a visit to a new spot. How do we know where the fish are unless we try somewhere different? And there is always that added bonus of the excitement of the unknown when you venture to pastures new. It took me a while to get amongst the fish, after all a great big dog swimming up and down your swim is hardly conducive to positive angling is it! I did what most anglers probably wouldn’t do though – I held my tongue.
My first fish didn’t count as it was a foul-hooked pike, and in the tail as well. If a fish is hooked just around the mouth area and I’m certain that it was a genuine take then I will include it. In fact this was the case with my personal best barbel at 16lb 1oz. During the play I felt the hook slip and so when I landed it and it was just outside the mouth I wasn’t surprised. But anywhere else and it’s a definite ‘no’. After all angling is about the catching of a fish that has taken your bait. If you just want fish then buy a drift net.
My day was saved quite late on with two small perch. I did have a couple of runs on the leger rod but nothing on the strike, but I will try the stretch again. The water temperature was up to a heady 8.2C at the start of the session. ‘Winter, what winter’ I tweeted as I sat by the canal. The natural world is also making time up as well. I saw my first ladybird of the year, a Seven-spot ladybird. That’s the name of the species by the way not just me saying I saw a ladybird with seven spots.
I also saw my first flowering white dead-nettle of 2010. A member of the mint family, it looks very much like the familiar common nettle except that it does not sting. The stalks are square and if you rub one between your fingers you can feel the very definite edges. They are very common and can be found in hedgerows everywhere. What you notice first of all is the unique shaped white flowers that don’t appear at the head of the plant but further down. I’m really into the wider nature package of the world around us and it brings so much more to my angling.
Accompanying each weekly article is a video and they get regular views. In fact the first one of 2010 has now passed the 1,000 hit mark with the others slowly and steadily heading that way too. It’s definitely an encouragement to know that my Angling Journal is well received and the amount of feedback that I receive, both publically such as YouTube comments and also privately, is truly humbling. I’m just glad that my enthusiasm and passion for fishing appears to be contagious. And finally, I started a facebook page recently and have just passed 100 fans (that’s what facebook calls them, not me!) so I thought I would mention the 100th who is Madfred Angling. If you’re on facebook check out the link here.
And finally, finally, I must mention Wolverhampton Wanderers. What a great week we have had, seven points on the road (against Villa, Burnley and West Ham, we certainly like playing claret and blue). and we are presently comfortably clear of the relegation zone. Just like our angling we are only one bite away from a great result. In fact as I type this in a few hours I will be at Molineux, as we play Everton this afternoon. I can leave home at 2.15pm and still be in my seat in the South Bank for kick off with my daughter Miriam. Just like my fishing, I like to keep it local.
Video number 13 on list
(Originally published March 2010)