With limited time available, as I continued with my perch campaign, it was to spinning that I turned in terms of method. The first trip to the canal saw me walk the towpath for three hours without getting a single take. Some men say that you can never work a woman out, and although I wouldn’t like to comment on that, I would say that the same principle certainly applies to fishing.
On days when everything looks really good you blank. Yet when you almost didn’t go because the conditions were totally against you, you ended up with some great fish. That’s why hope is an important factor in the make-up of the dedicated angler. Hope is what drives you on when the going is tough.
Hope is when you see not with the natural eye, but rather the eye of faith. It believes that the rod tip is just about to pull over, the float about to dip, or the lure about to be hit by the fish of a lifetime. Hope is about ‘just one more cast’, believing that this could be the one that catches, when the hundreds you’ve made all day have been fruitless.
But no matter how positive we are, no matter how much hope we cling to, eventually we have to pack away. But I find that even when I have not had a single fish, the journey home is where I first of all conduct a post-mortem. What went wrong? Could I have done something differently? Or was it just a case of circumstances beyond my control?
Then after the time of reflection, very soon I find myself planning the next trip. It’s no good moping over lost fish, blanks or lack of quality specimens. We live, we learn, but then we have to dust ourselves down and move on. Above all, fishing has to be about enjoyment, and the only time to get really concerned is if we lose that almost adolescent-like enthusiasm. And I ‘m happy to say that I still feel like I did when I was a kid as far as angling is concerned.
Arriving at the canal again for the second session, heavy rain had meant that the already saturated banks were like a full sponge, and so little rivulets of water were everywhere, emptying into the canal. The result was that the water was a similar colour to that of the River Teme when in flood. Not ideal for spinning, so it was a relief to get a take on the third cast.
It wasn’t a perch though, but instead a chub that had snatched at the Mepps Aglia spinner. There is a good head of the species in the Staff/Worcs Canal, with some areas having a higher concentration than others do. This is the second one that I have caught from this particular venue, so whilst not prolific, they are certainly there.
Anyway I was very grateful for that fish as it proved to be the only one of the trip. I was there for a couple of hours, so that’s quite a number of casts. But every one was full of hope and anticipation, even if my faith didn’t materialise into substance. But I was back anyway for the third and final fishing trip of the week. Would it be a case of third time lucky though?
Well it was in the sense that I did catch my first perch of the week, but no in that they were not big fish. I had a couple of hours and caught two perch, the biggest around the half-a-pound mark. I also had a number of lunges and fish following the spinner to the edge, so at least there was some action to keep me inspired.
It was actually a lovely day to go fishing, the sun was out, and the birds singing but what really made the weekend special was my visit to Wolves as we beat Sandwell Town 1-0 to move into fourth spot in the Championship. Although I didn’t get desired results fishing this week, the Molineux one certainly compensated for that.
(Originally published March 2007)