Session 35 – ‘You Can’t Catch Me I’m Part Of The Union’ They Said – But Some Staffs-Worcs Perch Are Blacklegs!

Tuesday 15th July 2014, I visited a stretch of the Staffs-Worcs Canal I’d not visited – a stretch at Four Ashes near Wolverhampton that is controlled by the Wolverhampton Angling Association.

I left my house at 0530 heading to this new section of canal – and although I do fish the Staffs-Worcs and Shroppie canals, I do so generally in the winter time for two, somewhat combined – 1 begats 2 and 2 begats 1 type of thing, reasons.

Summer time on our local canals means that soon after 0730 the boat traffic starts up and increases exponentially until mid-afternoon and then dies down again. This means that fishing, at its best, is experienced either early morning or in the evening. Now, with an early morning start I don’t really want to waste the limited time available on travelling – and the Staffie is my local canal (10 minutes away)  and hence for these shorter periods that is my usual destination.

Winter time means boat traffic is at its lowest – sometimes zero boats pass at all during the day – which means that longer daytime sessions become acceptable and so travel eats up less of the available time… plus winter to me is predominantly devoted to pike fishing… and of the two canals the Shroppie wins hands down for this. Hence, my winter canal destination.

However, this new stretch of Staffie is far closer to home than the other stretches that I have access to… and close enough to be a viable early summer morning or evening venue so I hope to make further summer/spring/autumn visits in the future. Fantastic!!

So arriving at the canal I am taken back in amazement! An absolutely gorgeous piece of canal meets you as you step from the car with a bridge denoting the start of the stretch and a canal turning basin cut into the far bank with overhanging vegetation. Screamed perch and pike as soon as I looked at it…and I automatically looked to see if Mr Crabtree and Peter were around! So idyllic…..

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Bridge

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Basin

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And so my session started. As this was a dual purpose visit – to have a look at the whole length available and also to do a bit of spin fishing for perch, pike and chub – I was loaded very light – which will amaze my best mate! I just carried a small shoulder bag containing my small ‘canal’ camera, my small set of ‘canal’ digital scales, a strong plastic carrier bag to act as a weighing container, a small plastic tub with blade spinners and a couple of spare 20lb BS wire traces and the biggest item of them all, my 1 litre flask of coffee – and so 66% of the bag’s contents was pure air! Only other things I had with me were a collapsible landing net and my 2.40 metre spinning rod and reel fitted with 12lb BS braid.

And so I walked the length and back, taking photos and casting now and then in likely looking areas and was impressed by 90% of the length – especially the to the middle bridge of the length which was in keeping with the ambience of the start area.

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However,  directly after this bridge there were about 15 or so moored boats in a line and the far bank was cropped back….

… but a bit further along it went back to the overhanging bushes on the far bank and finally the canal edged along a marina on the far side and until the club’s angling controlled section terminated at another  bridge. Also at this last area there was a joining of a canal arm to the main canal which produced a large triangular pool like area which again shouted predator … and bream … and carp … well, anything fishy really! 🙂

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So to sum up… a lovely section of canal… and seemingly not much frequented as a passerby cycling up the towpath (and the only person I saw other than boaters for the whole session) said that I was the first person he’d seen fishing there – and I can believe that as the towpath was lined with quite robust vegetation and overhanging branches with just the odd trampled areas where boats had been moored. And so I also don’t think many ramblers or bikers frequent the length either. Hopefully it will stay that way!! There were signs around the final bridge that the Canal & River Trust might be vandalising though – strimmed and mowed grass all around that bridge – hopefully, as its not a road bridge, its just localised and done by residents and not going to be done all down the towpath. No need for that, the undergrowth provides food and shelter for our wildlife, and anglers and boaters can easily trample down small areas to ease access as and when necessary, and walkers/cyclists create a suitable path created by level of usage – and someone’s, ie ALL of us, is paying for the all of that ‘pasteurisation’ of our environment. Seems the purse is bottomless for this unnecessary stuff, but empty when it comes to something really useful or needed.

Oh! How did I do? Why didn’t you say!!? 😀  Well, it wasn’t a blank! I actually had 5 perch to about 4oz take my spinner. Not a major haul nor a specimen in sight today – but, as for the previous fishing visit we made last week, it was such a great place that being there in that ambience made it a really pleasant 2-3 hours enjoying the scenery and having a bit of light exercise. PLUS.. there were signs that good fish were available from the area – spotted, unfortunately long dead and bloated, were a bream of around 4-5lb and a chub of 2.5-3lb.

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And as Arnie S said… ‘I SHALL be back….’ 🙂

 

 

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