CANAL FISHING, ROACH BROOK FISHING, BRITISH NATURE (Blog entry 691)

As a fan of British nature, I’ve added a new section to the menu at the head of the website titled ‘Nature Watch’. It contains a daily update of what I’ve seen on my travels. Kicking off this week, I’ve added dipper, red kite, jay, grey wagtail, goosander and great black-backed gull to name just a few. You can also access the page via the Facebook post below.

My fishing this week kicks off on one of the local canals. I headed away from the urban area and into a nice upmarket village, with lovely detached houses running along the far bank of the waterway. From someone who grew up on a council estate, the word that came to mind was ‘posh’. However expensive your house is though, it doesn’t necessarily follow that your moral line is up there with it. Hence, as I fished, I watched one of the homeowners constantly making his way to the bottom of his garden and throwing rubbish into the canal.

I had picked up on arrival how the water by the lock – where I set up – was covered in grass cuttings (Photo below). It was obvious that someone had dumped the contents of their lawn mower in the canal. You could almost imagine the same people driving through a council estate with graffiti everywhere and saying get me out of here quickly, these people have no respect for their environment.

Grass cuttings on the canal but I still caught my target species
Grass cuttings on the canal but I still caught my target species

As far as the fishing was concerned, I caught perch (above), which were my target species. No monsters put in an appearance, but as I often say, they don’t have to be big to be beautiful. My approach was very simple this week, with a 1/3 ounce free-running lead and  a hook-length created by a shot nipped on the line. A size 10 Drennan Super Specialist hook and a worm formed the business end.

The attraction was created by feeding red maggots. The opening outing was a very early one, on the bank at first light. Of course, now that we have left the summer holiday season behind, the day-time boat traffic has also decreased quite considerably.

Forever wanting to make the most of every opportunity, my next two outings were on the Montgomery Canal as I fitted in fishing around visits to TNS. The first one was at the end of the day and due to getting tied up with stuff at the club, I only managed half an hour. However, as long as I’m fishing, I’m happy. Sadly though, although I did have a few roach plucks, the perch were elusive. In all fairness however, it is hit-and-run angling. You don’t get time to build up a swim but watercraft and experience does give you the edge in terms of where to fish.

The very next day I was back, this time mid-morning as I made my way to Park Hall. I had a longer session planned, however an accident on the A5 caused pretty long tailbacks and that meant I again counted my visit in just minutes. Putting the previous day’s blank behind me I caught perch. Nothing big but on my Poachers Pocket rod set-up it was good fun. Although I don’t go around picking up on people’s grammar and acting like I’m some sort of language professor, every time I see the company’s product advertised without punctuation, I always think to myself it should be either Poacher’s or Poachers’, depending on whether it’s one poacher or plural.

Montgomery Canal and some of its residents
Montgomery Canal and some of its residents

My fourth outing was back on a Black Country canal and another very early start. I had been out until late the day before and was planning on a lie-in. However, I’ve been having a few issues with my shoulder and arm in the last couple of weeks and when I woke up at 4.45 am with some discomfort, I just decided to get up and go fishing. It was very slow but I avoided a blank right at the end when an eel took the worm. I had noticed the slightest of initial plucks and then nothing, so I was surprised to find a fish on when I lifted the rod to reel in.

Unfortunately, like small eels often do, it had taken the hook deep into its stomach. The best thing to do then is cut the line as close as you can to the hook. It won’t cause any issues, but prodding around with a disgorger can. Talking of bait being swallowed, I had that very thing happen with a water snail engulfing the worm. I noticed the tiniest of taps, then nothing. It was only when I reeled in a few minutes later that I realised the snail had been slowly eating the bait.

A slippery customer, a brook roach and a hungry snail
A slippery customer, a brook roach and a hungry snail

My final session of the week was my fifth of the blog entry. It’s been a week of making the most of every opportunity to go fishing and although none of the sessions have been very long, I’ve been happy enough just to get bank-side. This time I decided to fish the small brook that has featured in my blog a number of times this year. With no significant rainfall for a while, even on the bends the bed of the waterway was visible. I still caught though and you can see part of the outing in the video below. Check out my YouTube channel and if you like the content, why not subscribe?

On the football front this week I’ve added a couple of games to my list as I attempt to take in 100 matches this season. Both of them have been in the Welsh system, a league game at Newtown and a cup fixture at Park Hall. I’m now up to 38, so well on track to hit my target. As with any personal goal-setting though, it has to be enjoyable. The moment I go to a football game just to tick a list, I’ll give up. However, I can’t see that happening. Depending on when you read this of course, but if it’s on publication day, I’ll be heading north of the border for game number 39.

The Scottish Challenge Cup not only has new sponsors this season, Irn Bru, but it has also expanded beyond Hadrian’s Wall to include two teams from Wales and two from Northern Ireland. Along with Bala Town, TNS are the Welsh Premier League’s representatives. I’m looking forward to going on air with TNS Radio from 3.00 pm. Why not join us? The link is on the club website and we will also be streaming it on the TNS Facebook page. I’m looking forward to it very much. There’ll be more in next week’s blog entry. (Published October 8 2016)