Wednesday 4th March 2015, and it’s a trip across to a Wolverhampton AA administered stretch of the Staff-Worcs Canal at Calf Heath, Staffordshire. The session having been delayed by bad weather on the originally intended day and then the following week it was the turn of the car to visit its doctor for the annual MOT and service…
I had to drop Liz off for work in the city centre at 0830 and so it was 0930 that I was situated in my chosen session swim. A nice looking swim with an overhanging willow on the far bank, and one that I had fished in the summer and had taken bream and perch from.
And so, before tackling up, a few maggots were catapulted over towards outside of the willow – the far bank out to the line of the outer edge of the willow is very shallow perhaps less than 12” due to the boats being pushed over towards the near bank and the actual boat channel lies 1/3 across from the near bank, and thus the far bank receives the silt and in the summer is actually a grassy/reedy area…
Tackle was a light quiver tip rod, 4lb line with 1/4oz leger weight and a size 12 Kamasan Animal Barbless hook baited with worm and worm/maggot cocktail.
And so, over the next 3.5 hours I fished, exploring the area and trying fruitlessly to entice some sort of interest in my bait… feeding the main swim on regular intervals with small quantities (10-12 maggots) and fishing over that… also slightly upstream and downstream on both near and far banks and in the boat channel itself… working the bait from far bank back to near in 12” twitches every few minutes… and not a sausage. Not even the passing of three boats over the 3.5 hours stirred up any activity from the fish which when they are lethargic quite often happens. Personally I don’t mind the odd boat – passings at around 45 min intervals seem to be a positive rather than negative thing and I find catches increase in occurrence following a boat’s passage at that frequency – but you can have too much of a good thing ie the continual summer boat traffic that starts in May and continues into November usually. At those times I canal fish from around 0400 until 0900/1000 depending on when the boaters awake.
The temps of the day were in the main good – water rising from 6.3C to 6.8C by the end of the session but air temps were VERY up and down with rises and drops of between 3C-5C happening within 15 minutes at times.
AND … those lovely people from the Canal and Rivers Trust arrived again to cut the grass again although it looked like it had already been cut the day before. A team of 3 – one on a sit-on mower, one with a hand rotary mower and one with a strimmer. It seems that the C&RT have oodles of money to waste by giving their overstaffed personnel unnecessary (and IMHO eco-damaging) jobs to do as EVERY time I’ve visited ANY canal since October there have been teams cutting grass and other vegetation – and in fact one day I visited 3 stretches of the same canal all within 1 mile of each other and in each place there was a different team of between 3 and 5 members grass cutting! Shame they don’t show the same sort of vigourosity by monitoring boat movements and ensuring that the boats don’t exceed the 4mph speed limits to which they are supposedly limited too!
A couple of pics of the work done by the C&RT team of the day… before they came, after they passed (in fact you can spot them down the far end in the pic)… now spot the difference! Bet can’t as there is hardly any!!!
NOTE: the untouched molehills of soil despite the sit-on mower having been over them!!
Time Air Water
1000 7.8 6.3
1100 11.2 6.7
Intermediate max: 12.3
1200 8.2 6.7
Intermediate max: 14.7
1300 9.1 6.8