As the month of January comes to an end, I’m well on track for my target of 400 sessions in the year. The winter months will be the most limiting in many ways; once we get longer days, the potential for after-work sessions will increase. Therefore to get out and about the number of times I did was pleasing.

This is where thought-out goals, as opposed to emotionally-driven New Year’s resolutions, are important. The latter are made in their millions every December 31, yet a few weeks later the vast majority have long since evaporated. It’s all about being objective and, of course, having a plan.

For me, that has revolved so far around my telescopic mini-rod and reel set-up. It has opened up opportunities to fish that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. Most of them as well, like this week, have been short outings. It’s not how long you fish for but when. An hour at dusk is better than six in the day, especially when the summer months arrive.

I had a couple of blanks this week, both on the way to The New Saints, where I dropped on the Montgomery Canal for very short sessions of less than twenty minutes. On both occasions though I did have bites, sucked maggots in fact, as I had roach in the swim. It wasn’t all bad however, as I also caught on the third visit.

Roach were the order of the day on the brook I fished, with just one visit and one fish. The Staffs/Worcs Canal was the kindest to me this week, as that turned up gudgeon, roach, perch and chub. In fact I’ve been catching more gudgeon in the last few weeks than I’ve had in recent seasons, where maybe just the odd one or two showed up.

It has been taking me back to when I was a kid and gudgeon ruled the roost. Are we about to see a return of the species to the canal? I hope so, it would be great to see. I also used my standard quiver tip rod as well this week, essentially though the end tackle is the same as the telescopic set-up.

Some fish from this week's sessions
Some fish from this week’s sessions

The hooklength of 2.5lb fluorocarbon was tied to a size 18 Drennan Super Specialist hook. A 1/3 ounce lead was held in place by a small shot and a 5mm bead. Simplicity in itself but it’s working and that’s the main thing. Above all though, I’m enjoying my fishing and that’s what really counts more than anything.

This blog is published on February 4 2017 and is the 708th consecutive Saturday that I’ve done one. You can subscribe to the weekly updates via the link at the base of the page.

Some banter on the TNS training ground with Simon Spender

My own transfer window deadline activity