So, with the snow of last weekend having disappeared and with air temps bordering double figures I set off on Friday 23rd March 2018 back to a club stretch of the Shropshire Union canal with my lure rod and a few rubber bodies to attach to my newly created offset hook traces.
Although I’d made traces with 10lb and 30lb wire, both with hooks of sizes 1, 1/0 and 2/0, I only used the 1/0 hooks on 10lb wire as I was mainly hoping for perch and/or chub with a hope that a pike might show up too…. and these were used on an 2.4m lure rod (10g-40g rated) with 15lb braid main line.
So, I arrived at the water at around 0745 and set up a crayfish ‘creature’ lure to start the day with…
…. and I fished this with various rates and methods of sink’n’draw (draw/sink, twitch several times and rest, etc, etc) but nothing attracted the attention of a fish… and so after about an hour I switched the lure (using same trace) to a small (9.5cm) Savage Gear Soft 4Play body in ‘goldfish’ pattern and started to work my way back down the canal towards the car – I’d been fishing about an hour and a half by the time of the lure switch and my back was ‘feeling it’. These days a three hour lure session is about my ultimate limit before my back tells me its time to pack in and often its two hours….
So, I fished my way back to the car, this time only fishing the more promising looking holes with overhanging brambles, tree roots out in the water, etc – what I call the ‘Mr Crabtree’ swims with reference to Bernard Venable’s fishing cartoon strips and books showing Mr Crabtree teaching Peter the art of angling and watercraft – ‘Peter, that is the perfect swim for a chub… cast your bait just upstream and let it drift under those branches’ … and invariably Peter always caught that chub! How to be so in real life … as Mr Crabtree’s swims for me were devoid of fish … or at least those that were interested in my lures…
This stretch of the canal is quite good fish wise – good sized chub, perch and pike and also has bream and carp along with the usual canal suspects of gudgeon, roach, etc. Probably tench too. BUT I’ve only ever bait fished once, that was in a match, apart from sardine/sprat for pike. I keep meaning to go there with the float rod/quiver tip rod and fish maggot/worm/bread/etc but have never got round to it so far so I’ll have to make an effort before the arrival of the early summer boat traffic.
So, what next? Well, Liz says she’ll fish on Monday (26th), so we’ll be off to a club pool with the float ledger rods for the day. Weather is promising. And then Friday (30th) I’ll be having my last pike session of my season – as I’ve said before, I only pike fish October 1st through to the following 31st March and then the pike rods are placed in storage until the following October. And so, from April 1st my fishing will be focussed on tench, bream, and perch primarily but with one of my clubs opening a new crucian carp pool to fishing I may be found there quite often too. Possible barbel and chub will figure in the catches too although more likely to be stillwater based than river as I don’t do much river fishing despite my clubs having excellent waters on the Severn, etc.
AND I know where my first session of the new season (ie the traditional June 16th – March 14th) will be … at a private pool that is allowed to be fished only a 4 weekends a year when the owner grants my club access for 6 people per day for a £10 per head donation to the local church. Liz and I have fished there for 5 years now with varying results – we go for the tench but on the last few years the carp have been more dominant so we’re hoping we can find those tench this time round.