Left to right: Four of the fish from this week…. a common carder bee on a spear thistle
Back on the canal, back after perch
There’s only one thing that can get me up at 3.00am and that’s a fishing trip. But even then when the alarm goes off I do have to put a bit of effort in. But, as in this week’s first session, I am usually up and about in no time. It’s not that I love my bed, far from it, just that I’ve never really been a morning person. However having said that, I’m not as bad as I used to be and I was soon downstairs making my flask, getting dead maggots out the freezer and loading the car. The destination was a stretch on the local canal where I have caught perch before. Sometimes I try new places, other times I head for favourite sections and swims.
As a single carefree angler I am able to please myself. And that reference is to my status as a solitary fisherman rather than my marital one, where I am happily wedded to my Debby. She’s great: she knows how much my angling means to me and she has never stood in the way. And isn’t it better that your husband wants to spend his free time on a muddy river bank rather than out clubbing with the lads? I fail to see the logic that some women adopt. And thankfully for me, neither does my wife. As long as I don’t drag her along fishing she’s more than happy for me to go gallivanting along the water’s edge whenever I like..
And that’s exactly what I did on the towpath until I reached my destination. It was a dry morning but that didn’t last as first a few drops, and then the odd shower, until by the time I departed it was fairly persistent: enough to get wet. In between I had a load of perch as they were free-feeding, a small carp and a small bream. Then there were the two lost bigger carp. I managed to get the playing of the first one on film until we parted company at the hook. But that’s the way it goes sometimes and although I have managed to land decent fish on light line, on this occasion it wasn’t to be. Most of the perch were small but one was what I would call a good one for the venue.
I had all the fish on worm, which was fished over dead maggots and brown crumb. One rod was a float rod, a small waggler fished half-way across the canal and the other a light leger fished to far bank vegetation. The latter rod was by far the busier. It just goes to show that just a few feet can make all the difference. If I was only fishing with the float road it would have been a totally different session to the one I actually had. On my second visit of the week to the canal I decided to dispense with the waggler and go for a double leger approach.
I had even less sleep the night before than the previous session as it was my youngest daughter’s prom. We never had them in my day (makes me sound old) but now they make a real meal of it, literally and otherwise. But what was really special for me was that Miriam was elected the Prom Queen which gave me a real buzz. I love my fishing but I also love my family as well and so it was a very proud father that arrived at the canal the next morning after just a few hours sleep.
Fishing 4lb line straight through to a size 8 hook with a ¼ ounce free running bomb, it was action all the way. I caught numerous smaller perch with a couple of decent ones thrown in for good measure. And then right at the end, after I had packed away the camcorder I thought I was into a very good one. It happened to be a chub, but I’m not complaining though as I really enjoyed myself. The gear I fish with is very balanced and even the small perch put up a great fight right to the net. I was sitting there thinking to myself, this is what I was created for!
My proposed third trip didn’t happen. I don’t know what went wrong but either the alarm clock sounded and it was pressed off by a deep sleeper or it just failed. Either way when I did open my eyes naturally – at 5.10am – the time had passed me by and so I just went back into hibernation. I wasn’t going to miss out on the next opportunity though and I was determined to be up at the right time, aided and abetted by my wife who set her mobile phone just in case. But no worries this time round, everything was clockwork (hey, a pun) and I was out of bed at the appointed time, changed, flask made, car loaded and on my way for a break of dawn session on the canal.
In the same swim as before it was all systems go from the start. The pattern continued of small perch to begin with and then the bigger ones coming in later. Everything is relative of course, but for me a 1lb fish is good for the venue and a 2lb’er is a specimen. And on that basis, although I didn’t weigh it, I ended up netting my best perch from the stretch. It really put up a great initial scrap, so much so that for a short time I thought it may even have been a small carp. And that’s what I thought I may have had on at the end but I lost it. Who knows though, maybe an even bigger perch?
Of course I don’t like losing fish, but rather than be discouraged these things merely spur me on. While some people think ‘I have lost a great fish there and I’ve missed out’ my attitude always is ‘Don’t worry, I’ll get you next time’. Stay positive, make the best of a bad situation and just keep plodding on. That’s all you can do sometimes. And finally on the nature front, I managed to get a nice photograph of a common carder bee on a spear thistle. I used it as my facebook profile picture for a few days and had some positive comments about it. There’s a beautiful world out there, if only we look.
Video number 34 on list
(Originally published July 2010)