WINTER CAME WITH A VENGEANCE (Black Country canal chub) – Blog entry 596

Click to play video. Includes: A look at bait approach, the rig and thoughts on water temperature, which is key at this time of the year and in these conditions.

Weather-wise it’s been a great year as far as the sun-lover is concerned. From the start of the New Year the temperatures were quite good, and that continued right through until just this week. Then all of a sudden, winter came with a vengeance. The all-important water temperature went into freefall, going from pushing double-figures to the 4’s in just days. Now that obviously has an effect on fishing and even the more traditional winter species will not be as obliging.

A tough week but I managed to catch
A tough week but I managed to catch

The opening session in particular, I knew was going to be a toughie. That coincided with the dramatic drop in temperature, as the wind direction changed and we saw the first sharp frosts of the year kick in.However, I am a great believer that as long as your bait’s in the water then you have a chance. Although I blanked I managed to get a few plucks, which although they didn’t develop, somehow felt like quite an achievement in the circumstances.

A bream in the net waiting to go back
A bream in the net waiting to go back

Session two was bitterly cold, although it looked as if the water temperature was beginning to stabilise. It had fallen just 0.1C in 24 hours and although it was now just 4.7C, it gave me hope. This is the 596th consecutive blog entry and I’ve never failed to produce a fish for one yet, so as I cast out and settled back I was willing the tip to pull round. And that it did, into dusk, and moments later I had a chub on the bank. Result!

Wrap up well but don't let the cold stop you fishing
Wrap up well but don’t let the cold stop you fishing

Followed by a bream, it turned out to be a pretty decent afternoon considering the conditions. I noticed from Facebook that a lot of anglers were giving it a miss, and I understand where they are coming from, of course. As far as I’m concerned though it was great to be out there. I do actually love winter fishing and the challenge that it brings. It’s often just the one or two fish that get banked, but they mean so much because of the conditions.

A decent size hook and a big bait didn't deter the bream
A decent size hook and a big bait didn’t deter the bream

Out for a third and final outing, the water temperature was actually up 0,9C. I cover a fair amount of stuff regarding water temperature in the video, so make sure you check that out. With the canal being crystal clear, I deliberately chose the late afternoon into dark period, as that is when the fish will become more active. My theory worked and once again I netted a chub and a bream. A slow week, but considering the conditions, I was more than happy. Finally, fancy a day out as my guest after pike? Check this. (Published December 13 2014)