Thursday, 10th January, I set off at 0900 to the Shropshire Union canal (having checked I’d got ALL my gear this time) for a day’s pike fishing, intending to float fish ‘orange’ fish (still don’t know what they are!) down the canal with 20-60 minute spells along the way – some swims give access to 2 or 3, sometimes 4 castable areas to fish, so basically giving each area 20 mins each to produce the goods. On the return journey I intended to wobble/sink-n-draw sprats.
The weather was surprising mild – possibly due to the total absence of any air movement at all – especially after a forecast of a cold night had been given and, whilst on on Wednesday evening, there seemed to be more gritters than any other sort of vehicle on the roads. No frost on the car on the drive either when I got up at 0700… BUT a club member did remark on the club’s Facebook page that a water he had visited was iced over hard enough to bounce a small feeder on… Anyway, I felt overdressed as I’d decided to wear a body warmer (or to posh people, gillet) under my newly acquired padded wax cotton jacket (as well as the usual thermals) … especially, as even without wearing my gloves, my hands glowed with warmth.
SO … fishing….
Part One – deadbaiting – I worked my way down about 3/4 of mile of towpath fishing probably 7-8 areas in all – with some providing multiple areas of interest as said before – before reaching the point of return. But, apart from a couple of minor nudges and bobs of the float that barely rippled the water’s surface (probably an inquisitive chub) in the second area, there were absolutely no signs of interest….
Part Two – sprat deviations – never happened…. 1400 I packed down the deadbait rod and put a sprat on the wobble rod, cast out, wound the reel handle half a dozen times – and the reel locked up. I was able to backwind it about the same number of times before it locked in that direction. I even took the line spool off to see if it was due to trapped line, etc but there was no change. So, the unusable reel caused me to have to break down the rod and make the walk directly back to the car uninterrupted … not that it was a bad thing in the end as having gotten home and sorted bags and bait out, bathed, etc I found myself rushing to get out to collect Liz from work on time … had I fished the way back to the car I’d probably had to go for Liz still in my fishing gear and thus had to go in to KFC thus dressed … and stinky! LOL.
So, the first two 2019 outings haven’t been a major success – and I’m hoping its a case of third time lucky on Monday when Liz and I are due to go to Patshull Pool – a fishery I used to visit regularly for a time in the 80’s – and often saw John Sidley, Des Taylor and Nige Williams there. And I won (or came second) in a ‘Pike Day’ there too – not sure which, I had a cutting of the results printed in the local newspaper at the time but looking for it it seems to have gone AWOL from the photo album I thought it was in – or its somewhere else! LOL. Anyway, last time I was there was in the 80’s and so I’m looking forward to a return…. In fact, I was thinking of getting a season ticket there next winter (they run from 8th October – 24th February) at £140 inc the free use of a boat and purchasing myself an electric motor (ca £300 inc batteries). But thinking again – £140 + £300 = £440 (minimum), whilst buying a £8.50 day ticket plus an extra £20 for boat + motor = £30 …. so I could make day ticket 15 trips for the same money and not have to store/carry/maintain/charge motor or batteries … and 15 trips would probably be equivalent to 2-3 years, maybe more, of trips there as I have access to good pike waters via my club memberships anyway … and can fish the Patshull from the banks to for £8.50 …. Anyway, it is a good place … good head of decent bream too … I remember being out in a punt during the old close season doing some reconnaissance and seeing a huge black shadow under the water approaching – 100 yards long and about 50 yards plus wide – and as it passed under the punt it was solid bream about 3 layers deep (probably more as that as as far down as we could see!) all of around 5lb or more! Funny thing was when we dropped bread in among them they opened up, swam around it and then closed file again!
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