Once…twice…three times a blanker (pike article, entry 183)

With the Severn being in serious flood, my desire to go river pike and zander fishing was not fulfilled this week. Therefore, whilst still with predators, it was to the local canal pike that I turned, as I have been doing for a few weeks now. The first session was to the same spot that I had fished on New Years Day, and so I at least knew that there was one pike in there.

This is the problem when tackling new venues that you don’t really know much about – you don’t have any history to go on. However, the flip side of the coin is that this can be quite exciting, as you never know what is around the corner. However, the only thing around the corner was my car when I finished the session. I didn’t even get a tremble on the floats as they sat patiently on the surface of the water waiting for some action.

Although I was by the canal for first light, as I could only fish till lunchtime, I had less than four hours of fishing. The lengthy days of summer seem like a long way behind us, and I suppose they are. Yet the good news, for those who long for warmer times, is that it won’t be too long before the clocks go forward and from then on it’s all downhill.

For the second session of the week I decided to try another canal system. It was again a short morning visit, but as far as I’m concerned, a few hours fishing is definitely better than no fishing at all. But as with the first outing, I drew a blank. The spot looked really good and I did expect to at least get a run. With the continuing mild weather, even if they weren’t on a feeding frenzy, I still expected the pike to be pretty active. Just shows how wrong you can be.

I am meeting some interesting characters though whilst visiting the local canals. The one stretch in particular has a small group of resident drunks. When they’re all out in force it’s like a beer festival. Apart from throwing the empty cans all over the place they don’t do any harm though. In fact one has a regular chat with me and I realised I had won his confidence when he offered me a can of lager. However I don’t drink, so I politely refused but still thanked him for the offer. But even if I did drink, I think 9.00 am would probably be too early for me anyway.

As I always have my binoculars with me when angling, I thought I had met a fellow birder when one man told me he loves goldfinches, but then went on to tell me how traps them and sells them. Still, that was better than the one who goes round with an airgun shooting anything with wings. Like I said – interesting characters.

I almost find myself wanting it to rain, just so I can fish in peace. But for the third trip of the week, although it was dry it was very windy. At times it was like fishing the sea, as the gales bore down upon the canal. But for the third time this week it was fish-less for me. As a Motown fan I couldn’t resist the play on the Commodores hit for the title. Not that I wanted to blank just so I could have a ‘clever’ title, but as I did anyway, I thought I’d go with it.

Discouraged? No, I see it as a challenge. And I have a couple of months to crack it; although once the rivers are back to normal level, then I am hoping to fish them more often. But the local canal system, by virtue of being literally down the road offers the opportunity to do short sessions, so I’ll certainly be back a few times before we hit March and I start a gravel pit bream campaign. But whenever we are struggling with our angling, then we need to step back and see the big picture of life. This time last year my dad was in his final weeks of life as he battled against cancer, and compared to a few angling blanks I think that just about brings things into perspective.

(Originally published January 2007)

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