Wednesday 3rd December and after dropping Liz off at work at 0645 I headed directly off to my club’s section of the Shropshire Union Canal for a lure fishing session arriving at around 0715. Still a bit dark to start and so I elected to sit in the car until 0745 when the light started to pick up a bit.
Air temp at that time had been, and still was, an almost consistent -1.5C but no problem for me in my 3-layers of thermal tops and 2-layers of thermal leggings all under my usual fishing garb.
So, off I started with my 9’, 10-40g rated spinning rod with 12lb braid main line, 25lb wire trace and, at that time, a small (6.5g) Shakespeare ‘Devils Own’ blade spinner, silver with a holographic kind of red/green patterning from the bridge that marks the start of our stretch…
Still cold – as shown when I decided to stand my landing net in the water at the canal’s edge to make it easier to gather when moving on than lying it on the bank… and as I wandered from one spot to the next, the wet net froze solid – and the rod rings were icing up too but not enough to grab the line.
The water was quite clear – could see the bottom at around 30” depth and for about 1 metre out from the bank.
Anyway, I worked my way up a few hundred yards, past the boats that are moored on the far bank with no result and then reached the start of my favourite part of the stretch where the far bank is generally lined with trailing brambles, long grass, bushes and overhanging trees. And this start of this length is also my favourite part of my favourite part as it usually produces one fish at least and today was no exception. It is a 50/60 yard length of spindly bush on the far bank that overgrows the canal by about 1-2 yards, all very ‘Mr Crabtree’ really… and at about 40 yards along the lure was taken and a beautiful perch was netted… and it was also a new PB of 1.36lb (1lb 6oz) beating my previous PBs (2 of them, 1lb 4oz – one I caught in 79/80 season at Patshull Pool the other in 2011/2012 from the Fazeley Canal, Tamworth by Drayton Manor Park) by a couple of ounces. Already well chuffed with the day!! And it was only 0815!
However, next cast wasn’t so good – I caught the edge of the brambles with the result that the spinner and trace were lost. Quickly replaced with a slightly bigger blade spinner of similar colouring and I was back on my way.
0855 and I stopped for a 15 minute coffee break – and the day had turned into one of blue skies and golden sunshine – and was warming up a bit too as the frozen net was now floppy… :)
The view up and down the canal at 0855
And so I wandered further up and by 1010 I’d had one further really good take tug but didn’t connect with the fish due to the treble hook having folded back on the cast and snagged over the trace wire and thus was pointing in the wrong direction to make a connection.. and I had now reached the length I call the ‘pampas grass section’ where the far bank bushes, etc become a length of, not actually pampas but tall weeds and grass that lean out slightly over the canal’s edge. I’ve never really done much good on this 100-150 yard stretch so I just had a few casts in the more likely looking spots – but as usual, nothing ensued. At this point I changed my blade spinner again, back to a smaller silver with red markings one, and added a 2SSG shot just above the trace swivel to get the lure down a bit deeper. I thought the larger lure was possibly having to be retrieved too fast to work for the cold conditions whereas a smaller lure allowed a slower retrieve but would have worked higher in the water – but with the loading shot it worked at a similar depth to the larger one.
However, the bushes and brambles return to the far bank at the end of this bit with some nice exposed tree roots in the water too… so a wander along there elicited a couple of possible takes but again no connections were made and at 1100 I decided it was time to turn around and work my way back down the canal towards the car – I needed to pick Liz up from work at 1500 and so I wanted to be back at the car by around 1300, to get back to town by 1400 and have a coffee while I waited for Liz to finish. It still gave me a couple of hours to play with on the return walk.
So a coffee was poured and whilst I was drinking it the first boat of the day passed by. I had intended to swap over to a small (6.5cm) Savage Gear 4Play for the return journey and due to the now murkier waters I selected a day-glo yellow one. And after a few minutes to finish coffee the walk back started.
And at 1140 I found myself returning a 3.46lb (3lb 7oz) chub…. I’d one one pull whilst casting at some exposed tree roots which didn’t connect but two or three casts later … :)
And a little later I also hooked into, for a short time, a pike of around 5lb before, unfortunately, being a victim of a hook pull.
A couple more possible pulls/nudges were encountered on the way back until I reached the brambles where the perch was caught and I decided to fish along there for the final ten minutes of the day but with no joy this time… and then it was back to the car and home….
Had to make a few repairs since to the landing net… I use a 30” collapsible net with a 3-tele-section built in pole. Firstly, one one of the net arms kept falling out of it’s socket on the spreader and, secondly, one of the pole sections came loose of its tightening collar. Both problems were manageable as tight enough most of the time when the joints were re-closed to hang in for a while. Anyway, both now freshly glued… :)
Not sure of water temps as I hadn’t my thermometer with me but, as I say, air temps started at -1.5C according to car thermo and as I drove back the temp started at 4C at around 1315 and had risen to 8C by the time I reached town.
Off to a canal again tomorrow (Friday 5th December) but this time the Staffs-Worcs closer to home – again on a lure session.