Monday, 11th February I headed off at 0730 for my day on the Shropshire Union Canal (AA-SU/WA) as planned. Weather was mild, air temps in the registering 9’C on the journey across, and bright with little breeze.
By 0900 I had arrived at my chosen swim opposite overhanging brambles, a swim that usually provides good chub and perch fishing along with a few silvers, baited up with a few golf ball sized groundbait balls just off the vegetation and had tackled up with my 10’ float rod and made my first cast.
I did take photos of the swim but for some strange reason the SD card in the phone I used was reporting that it was almost full and wouldn’t allow saving of photos due to lack of space. OK, no problem, so I saved the photos to main memory. However, the SD card should have been nowhere near full – about 1GB of things on it but it was reporting 3.7+GB used – so when I got home I took out the card, put it in my PC where it again reported 3.7+GB used but total files usage around 1GB and so I reformatted it … however, I also decided to do a factory reset of the phone itself and as I hadn’t transferred photos to PC they disappeared into the ether… :(
Anyway, I float fished double maggot initially on 4lb line with size 16 hook … but even without a breeze there seemed a fair surface drift and the float was getting dragged – and on a canal where often even the slightest movement of the bait is detrimental this wasn’t good although I did see if the bait would be taken for about an hour or so without luck. Then followed a few float/shotting changes until I had, what I felt was the optimum set up, a 3BB driftbeater float fished slightly overdepth with a AAA shot holding bottom. First cast with this was placed perfectly BUT within 2 minutes a chap from the houseboats a couple of hundred yards up the canal from me decided to go out in his small dinghy and sail past me to collect logs for his woodburner (based on his load when he returned later) and I had to wind in to clear his path …. and when I recast, it fell short, recast again, short again, recast … in the brambles! With 4lb line its was unlikely that I’d be able to get free without snapping but hoped I’d be able to get the float back … but hopes to do so were dashed at this point. So, with no replacement float of the type needed, and the thought of having to totally thread line and re-tackle I put the float rod away and got out my light quiver tip rod – at least it would resolve any problems with drifting bait I thought. Quiver rod was fitted with 6lb line, 7g free-running penny-weight lead, and size 12 hook.
And for the next few hours, I ledgered worm, maggot, bread and prawn at various points along the edge of the brambles plus also in mid boat channel in case the fish were lying in the deeper water. A couple of boats passed by over that time and I thought the churned waters might ‘wake’ the fish up a bit but to no avail and by the end of the day not only had I not caught anything but I’d not even had the slightest indication of any interest – and this in a swim I’d lay my life on producing at least half a dozen small perch at worst….
AND there were fish in the vicinity including a larger one … fair few minor swirls by fry sized fish randomly (nothing like a perch attack scatter though) … and at one point a large bow wave came up the edge of the brambles and I fired a small ‘pult of maggots ahead of its line and as the bow wave reached that point there was a big swirl then nothing and I hoped the fish had followed the maggots down to my baited hook but nothing ensued….
So the dearth continues …. 5 sessions, 1.5 months, and still not a fish!
SO… Thursday 14th I’m off to a club pool (AA-B) which usually I’d bet against even producing a bite at this time of the year – tends to start to come into its own late-May/early-June time BUT its recently had a bigger than usual annual stocking with carp, bream, crucian carp, barbel, tench, etc and …. if the waters that are expected to produce aren’t doing so then perhaps the waters that aren’t will in some perverse sort of way … whatever, as they say nothing ventured, nothing gained … and its at least likely there will be plenty of available swims! :)
5.0’C rising to 6.0’C over the day…