Session 42 – Four Canal Hours…

Thursday August 14th 2014 saw me heading to the Four Ashes stretch of the Staffs-Worcs canal at around 1530 arriving at my desired swim at around 1600.

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Initially I got out my depth sounder, not having fished this area before with a bait rod although I have lure fished and this swim is the one where I had my near 5lb pike from a few sessions ago.

Depth sounding showed that, over by the concrete bank to the right, the depth was around 3.5’ slowly dropping to 4.5’ and then a sharper drop into the boat channel’s 5.5’ at around 8-10 yards out which after 4 yards or so started shallowing out again.. Depths from the line of the gap between the two houseboats to the left showed depths of 4’ dropping into the boat channel and shallowing out as the near bank was approached. So I decided to fish on the line of the gap between the boats and distance at about the 10 yard mark… the idea being that I’d be on the drop into the channel and could twitch the bait back in 10-15 minute intervals until bites were located.

So location decided, I started baiting up with breadcrumb, particles and maggot before starting to tackle up.

Walking down from the access point to the canal to the swim took about 10 minutes during in which time not a boat passed in either direction… and, you’ll have guessed, as soon as I started fishing, boats started passing by in both directions every 2-3 minutes for the first hour… so it was, basically, cast, retrieve, cast, retrieve, etc for that hour and although I had no fish I was getting plucks from time to time inter-boat which was encouraging.

I ledger fished maggot, worm and maggot & worm baits on 6lb main line, 4” hooklength of 6lb braid and size 12 hook with a 1/2oz weight on a sliding link.

Anyway, at around 1700 to 1900 boat traffic took a break with only two boats passing in that time – and a trio of sad idiots racing in canoes who came past so close, literally 3’-4’ from the bank, that they almost smashed my rod tip and I was lucky to just be able to grab the rod and dunk it under the water so they went over the top… luckily for them they were going so fast that they were out of range before they could be showered with catapulted maggots… or for me to get my Barnett hunting catapult and ball bearings out of the bag :(

1900 and the traffic started to pick up again… seems that people had decided to stop for evening meal… and then trying to get an extra hour or so in before darkness started to fall.

Anyway, in the lull, I did manage to catch… not a great haul but it at least it wasn’t a blank :)

First to the bank was a roach/bream hybrid of around 1lb…

Roach/Bream Hybrid - ca 1lb
Roach/Bream Hybrid – ca 1lb

….which was followed by 3 perch of a few ounces each.

I had intended to fish until dark but the call of nature meant at around 1930 (probably an hour early) I had to give in after a 2 hour battle with the bladder and  call it a day and look for a secluded area of plant life that required a warm nitrate/ammoniacal feed… as where I was fishing from was far from that with a marina, moored boats and houses overlooking my area – and the best cover available was probably a dock leaf thanks to the Canals & River Trust’s hooliganism actions and objectives to mow canal banksides into something approaching golf course greens. No need for that at all – just a 2’-3’ strip down the centre of the towpath for walking/bikers and the houseboat people are well capable of trampling down a yard or so on the edge of the bank to allow access to their boats. Just pure vandalism – and costs money in labour and machinery which are told we haven’t got for essentials like hospitals, etc. Makes you want to spit!

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Well I had several ideas in mind for tomorrow (Sat 16th) but one has been scotched by remembering the ‘V Festival’ is on nearby and so the roads to that destination will be mayhem with a capital ‘’M’…..

[Ever been to the ‘V’? If not, then I’d keep it that way as it’s the *WORST* festival you can ever go to… OK, bands were very good, excellent in fact, the year I went but the infrastructure stinks – as do the loos on the Sunday, I swear the cleaners go in there but only to use them – runs like a brewhouse tour operated by a temperance society – ie they’ve absolutely no idea whatsoever!!]

So… I’m now planning to visit a club pool I’ve not been to for probably 12 months or more. The last time I visited it I was plagued by 3-4oz carp taking the ledgered bait as it fell through the 11’ of water – and this was not just in one spot but EVERYWHERE I cast was the same from 1 rod length out to 50 yards or more, to the left or the right… and if a 14mm boilie made it to the bottom it was whittled away to nothing within 10-15 minutes max. Hence, I’ve never been back since but now I’ve thought to give it a try.

My Tuesday morning session on the canal will now, from next week, be replaced with full day river sessions on the Severn until the end of September – come 1st October I generally switch my fishing at least 99% over to pike until the end of March although last winter was mild, pike didn’t seem to want to feed and the tench were still feeding at the end of November so I stuck with the tench until January when I started piking – and still hadn’t had one pike by the end of March :) Anyway, as I’ve not been on the river at all yet in 2014 I’m going to have a few sessions there for the next few weeks.

And next week’s Tuesday session will probably be the only one of the week as we’re having some work done in the house over the weekend – laminated flooring – and need to strip the living room and hallway of furniture and carpet to leave a bare canvas…

And, finally, there may be several blog postings appear simultaneously in the next couple of days… the reason being that last night a drunk driver went through a wall at the end of our street, across two gardens damaging a car parked on a drive… and then demolished the communications cabinet on the corner that provides our services. So at the moment we’ve no Virgin – landline phone, TV or internet – connection at all .. and probably be without for a couple of days as the cabling is repaired (between 2-4 vans down there at any one time working on it at the mo), then a new cabinet will have to be installed and Western Power will then need to attend to deal with reconnecting the power to the cabinet. SO… I’ve created this posting as a Word document and when services return I’ll transfer across to WordPress to be published… and so will probably appear along with others, and at least, tomorrow’s posting.

{POSTSCRIPT: Virgin services were fully restored earlier this evening thanks to the brilliant Virgin engineers who have been on the job non-stop all day replacing the underground cabling that was ripped out, installing a new street cabinet and re-patching in all the individual connections. Kudos to Virgin and their staff! :)}

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