Sunday, 4 November 2012

Cold slow day on the canal

Matt on the canal
Sometimes it's just good to be out. No, it wasn't a blank before you ask but it was a tough shift. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't bothered about catching but I was just glad to have the chance to get out and throw a lure and anything else would be a bonus. With the clocks going back and me on the half eight half four shit, I just didn't get out to fish last week. So i was determined to get out for at least one day over the weekend and by coincidence I received a text from Matt on Saturday asking me what I was doing on Sunday. The only answer I could give was that I was going fishing, no idea where but whatever happened I was going fishing since I'd not been out for what seemed like ages. Matt suggested we hit a small canal because a bit of rain recently had filled the river with chocolate and it doesn't seem to produce when it is like that. So that was the plan and I was up bright and early the next day with plenty of food inside me.

pike on a spinner bait
We met up on a cold frosty morning which was just about thawing by the time we parked up at around half nine, once Matt had dropped the kids for the day with their grand parents. My kids were still lazying in bed when I left but I knew they already had a lazy Sunday planned and I was free to fish all day. We'd chosen the light set ups because we knew this place is mainly full of jacks and we'd only intention of catching fish, not monsters. Matt was having a dabble with some 9cm and 13cm soft 4plays with either the lip skull fitted or not while I had a bash with the 13cm lip lures. The water looked slightly cloudy from all the muddy water which had either washed in off the fields or through the lock gates a bit away. We wanted to cover some water and so were just spending a few minutes each in a swim, leap frogging each other along the canal. It wasn't too long before I got my first fish, typically a small jack. However it didn't fall to the lip lure, but first cast after switching to a small black spinner bait. I'd stuck it on to give it a go since I'd never used it before and first cast the jack hit it. How about that for luck! It looked as though the little pike had used a bit of it's own luck in the past since half its tail fin had been bitten off, presumably by another pike or some big fish eating bird.

I gave the spinner bait a bit more stick thinking it could be the lure to do the damage today with the flash and vibration given off. But Matt and I were soon realising we were up against lots of broken up weed and reeds which seemed to blight virtually every cast. We were both trying to figure out which lure would work best and not pick up the crap and again I switched lures but this time to a 20cm real eel. Same again, first cast with the eel and I'm in again but this one, and in the words of my mate Woodchucker, was "like a pike but smaller". Amazingly the little pike had engulfed the lure from behind but by the time I'd finished faffing around with my gloves and cold fingers the pike had flipped the eel out of its mouth and the photo didn't look anywhere near as good as it would have had I had a bit of circulation in my fingers. Not too long later Matt had his first glimpse of a fish when a pike came up and hit the lure but frustratingly for him it didn't stick. We kept on the same tactic of leap frogging along the canal and again Matt had another take but with the same result, no fish.

At least we were happy of a bit of action, a couple of fish to me while Matt was still a little frustrated he wasn't off the mark yet. Still I was confident we'd get more action and get a few more fish. It was tough going but we were going to be covering plenty of water and already we'd had some interest. We walked a mile or so and didn't get a sniff. The further along we went the cloudier the water became and it reached a point where we didn't feel confident. We were also still struggling with weed on the hooks so decided to head back towards our start point. As we got closer to where we'd had a bit of action I had a quick hit while trying an eel again. I quickly cast back out and again the fish hit but I couldn't make it stick. But at least it was a fish again and maybe we could hook in to something again. Not too long after and Matt was finally in to a fish but again it was only a small pike. Still, it counts and it saves a blank and makes you feel a little bit better.

We got back to where we'd started and decided to work the canal back the other way. We figured the water might be a better colour here maybe even clear but when we got there we couldn't believe how clear it was. To the right of where we started was cloudy water which got worse as you went along, but to the left, where we were going next it was crystal clear. We had plenty of theories as to whether this would work in our favour or against us but the only way to find out would be to fish. We had another good hour or two covering a mile or so but despite the water being so clear we never even saw a fish except a few small perch hiding in the edge under a bridge. It was a tough day but at least we got some reward. I know Matt had been out a couple of times in the last week or so, which you can read about here and here, so maybe he wasn't so much craving a fish but for me I was ready for a session and a pike, any pike would do.

The colder days are definitely here now, the extra socks worked a treat, and the fishing is going to be tougher on the whole. But if I can manage to stay warm and keep catching the odd fish every now and again I also know there's still a good chance that a bumper day could be had or even still a decent sized lump might be tempted and while ever those thoughts are in my head I'll keep getting out whenever and wherever I can.

2012 pike tally
Doubles 34
Total 211
Largest 22.5lb
Twenties - 2
Bonus Perch 54
Largest 3lb 12oz
Bonus chub - 1

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