Went perch fishing, caught a carp
Left to right: Caught on 4lb line, not bad… Butterburs are coming through now….Face-to-face with the carp…. Lesser celandines ready to bloom
We all have dreams and they take on a variety of shades and themes. Bad dreams, good dreams, nightmares, dreams where we wake up in a cold sweat, times when we even think that somehow we have encountered something that will be literally fulfilled in the future. Well, what about the dream I had the other day? I caught a 6-13-8 perch on the Staffs/Worcs Canal! In fact the story was so clear and life-like, even when I woke up I was able to re-live it in my mind as if it had really happened. And that’s how I can remember the exact bulk of the fish, even now I can see the read-out on my digital scales as the dial settled on the record-breaking weight.
Anyway, enough of the dreaming and back to reality! My first session on the local canal was a late afternoon one, taking me up to dark. Fishing two rods, I opted for a leger set-up, very light hanger and bite alarms. The advantage of a leger rod as opposed to a float is that it’s easier to flick the bait under far bank vegetation. Of course this is where pole fishing scores over conventional styles of angling, but apart from it not really being for me, that type of angling isn’t generally suitable for the stuff that I do.
It was hard going and the small perch (the only fish of the day) that I caught, I only realised was on as I lifted the rod to re-cast. There are some decent fish in the Staffs/Worcs Canal, but like most venues they don’t surrender themselves easily. A fish of a pound is a good perch and two-pounder is a specimen. I know that there are those who catch the fish in my dreams every time they go out, but I prefer to keep my feet on the ground when it comes to expectations. If there is one message I could give to anglers who are hearing tales of the impossible dream and getting frustrated with their own fishing as a result, it is be realistic.
Just the one fish, but I was entertained by a holiday boat that crashed into the far bank. The family were obviously out for the first time and the woman decided to have a go at steering. We’ve all heard the gags of women drivers behind the wheel, well this one is not a joke but deadly serious, as she took the craft right into the side. Seeing the boat out of control though and the woman frantically turning the wheel from one side to the other brought back memories of the last time I played Captain Pugwash, at the helm of YamYam on the River Avon. As they went past me their teenage son had his head in his hands and was a picture of embarrassment. If only he could have seen me a few months go he wouldn’t have squirmed so much.
The area where I fished, by now usually has a carpet of lesser celandines over the meadow that backs on to the canal. And although they are coming through now, the rug is looking a bit threadbare at the moment. The flowers are there though and I managed to get some decent shots of ones that were flowering on the canal-side itself. Another flower I noticed was the butterbur. A colony of plants were growing just a few metres away. As the weeks wear on their enormous leaves will dominate the area where they are. In years gone by they were used to wrap butter in, hence the name. No tubs of margarine from the supermarket in those days. People and the natural world were much more entwined.
My second and final visit to the canal this week was an early start, which after a busy day beforehand is a struggle. Well, relatively speaking; after all going fishing can hardly be considered a hardship can it! I’m not really a morning person though and it wasn’t until I actually put my gear down by the side of the water that I actually felt as if I had woken up properly. Not that I was in a zombie-like state beforehand, after all I wouldn’t like to give the impression I am irresponsible by driving when I’m half-asleep. But if you’re not an early bird, then I’m sure you’ll appreciate what I’m saying.
The water temperature, at 11.5C, was the highest of the year so far. I’ll soon be eel fishing at this rate, I thought to myself. With my rods already made up, in no time at all I was settling back and pouring a cup of tea from the flask. Although the days are quite nice at the moment, the nights are still chilly and so I wasn’t over-dressed in my all-in-one suit that I wear during the colder months of the year. But with the water temperatures rising nice and steadily, that’s what really counts.
The first fish came after a few very gentle plucks on the rod tip, but the bite alarm remained silent. In fact as I lifted the rod I was quite surprised to find that I was into a fish, which immediately I knew wasn’t a perch. After a determined fight, aided and abetted by the landing net mesh slipping down the frame, eventually the fish succumbed to capture and was landed. I didn’t weigh it, but if it had been smaller I would have done, just to see if it was 6-13-8. Now that would have been something!
Although I was after perch, I certainly appreciated the fish, after all with just two small perch to follow it was the only opportunity of the week to pose with something. I have recently added twitpic to my twitter, which in practical terms means I can now add photographs to my tweets. So as a sneak preview of what was to come I posted an image of the carp on there. If you’re on twitter then follow me. And finally, I have got access to some site statistics so I can see how many people bother to read what I churn out week after week. Well, I’ve certainly been encouraged with March showing that almost 25,000 visits were made just from another link. With other visitor statistics such as direct from those who have bookmarked the site for example, it certainly makes it worthwhile.
Video number 16 on list
(Originally published April 2010)