Sunday, 7th February, with the forecast having been reasonable – and weather actually being reasonable on the morning – I headed off to a stretch of the Staffs-Worcs Canal for a couple of hours at a location recommended by a friend and master angler. I‘d not fished this stretch ever before myself so it was a new experience for me.
The canal, as I arrived at 1000, looked very inviting along its length and I headed to the particular area where I’d been told I would stand a good chance of connecting with a good pike – the informant telling me that when perching he quite regularly has to snatch his lure away from the resident pike there.
I didn’t make my usual mistake of fishing along to my destination as that way, quite often time passes quickly and you never arrive where you wanted to reach or do so with limited time available and on this session I wanted to spend as much time as I deemed necessary in a relaxed way and thus work with a clear head unhurriedly and ring all the changes in presentation and areas cast to in order to maximise the chances of a catch. And I could spend a few minutes at each of the other likely spots I’d passed by on the walk back. So the rods remained folded down until I arrived at the destination… and actually a little beyond.
On the walk up I met a young lure angler heading back down towards me… a few words exchanged about the fishing… at that point he was on a blank session…
I had two rods set up:
- A 9’ 20g-90g rated lure rod on which I had a baitcaster reel loaded with 30lb braid and 30lb wire trace and a Savage Gear 13cm (21g) perch patterned soft 4-Play lure…
- A 6’ 2g-20g rated lure rod with a small fixed spool reel loaded with 6lb braid and terminated with 18” of 6lb mono to which a small red jelly lure was mounted on a size 8 hook with a single SSG shot placed at its nose for weighting. No wire trace on this setup as to have used a wire trace would have killed the lure action and this rod was meant for purely for mini-jigging for perch.
So, first casts were made at around 1030 with the larger lure rod, actually in an area a little further along from the directed area in order to get the baitcaster reel set up correctly for the lure in use and to get myself ‘warmed up’ with it – it being only the second outing I’ve had with this reel and the initial outing, although it went well for quite a time, eventually culminated with a bird’s nest. However, a few casts with the baitcaster rod later and I was happy with its use and so I followed up with a few with the light lure rod … however, neither combination resulted in any action at all at that point.
So I moved on down to ‘the swim’ I had intended to fish and spent 40-45 minutes there casting and ringing the changes as planned but it appeared that Mrs Esox had packed her bags and gone on vacation to the Trent & Mersey Canal…as seems to be usual whenever I come calling… :)
One cup of coffee later and I was on the move back to the car stopping off and having a few casts with mainly the ‘perch’ rod but a few with the larger lure rod too… nothing came to the larger lure rod but several plucks in several areas were felt on the ‘perch’ rod and one small but pristine conditioned perch did get landed…
Due to the missed plucks I did try moving the hook on the lure further back in order to try to connect with the ‘tail harassers’ but I was unsuccessful.
Anyway, by 1300 the wind had picked up a fair bit making casting of the light lure a bit difficult – and it was also a cool breeze and numbing my fingers with cold – plus I was, by that point, only a hundred of yards from the car anyway and so decided to call it a day – and I had only intended to be out a couple of hours anyway….