Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Thursday 27 May 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.210 - Winding Holes and Windlestraws

I remember in my youth walking leaving the Colosseum nightclub in Coventry, walking through Hillfield's and being propositioned by a couple of ladies of the night who were watching fireman putting out a fire in one of the flats. Onwards I went to my friends at the pub riddled Craven Street, only to stumble upon another fire engine putting out a fire in a small caravan that was opposite his house.

There is no smoke without fire and the Winding Hole I've been fishing recently (No not Wenching Holes), I'm sure has some surprises to be had exactly like the aforementioned. Now Winding holes were originally important to enable efficient commercial carrying along the canal network. They were built at or near wharves or the middle of long stretches of canal between lock to lock where working boats would need to turn.

They were sized appropriate to the largest boat that could reach the site. Since those days the requirements for turning have changed as leisure boating has taken over from carrying. 

Many winding holes have become unusable or usable only by shorter boats owing to silting, vegetation growth, permanently moored boats or access restrictions by landowners.

A winding hole consists of a "notch" in the canal bank. A turning boat inserts its bow into the notch and swings the stern round. In the days of horse-drawn boats, this was accomplished using bargepoles.

To turn, drive the boat slowly into the notch so that the boat comes to rest gently with the front touching the bank.

Keeping the tiller in the same position ie. pointing towards the bank, gently engage forward gear. The boat will then pivot against the bank, all the while touching.

Now once the boat’s length is close to the bank, you can engage reverse. Take the boat back a long way out of the Winding Hole and when you are clear, you can then drive on forwards and away. 

Or do what one boat did to me the other day when I was fishing one and make a complete pigs ear of it, a three point turn turned in to one of record breaking tally proportions.
The bottom stirred up like it had never been stirred up before, but ironically I think it helped the fishing because after being biteless for ages the fish started to move. 

Not long after you see I'd missed a bite on the deadbait rod when I pulled the bait from a Zeds mouth, and then when it was proper dark something sizeable indeed launched itself of the water and landed like Peter Kay's diving attempt for the John Smiths 'beer' (I use the term loosely) advert. 

Only a big fish culpable for sure, a carp or a zander ?

The Hallowed Swim Part 2 where a another canal double resides? a novel in the making ?

Well with the Zander fishing not going particularly well I was back in the swim for this dusk in to dark session to try and catch whatever it was. Fish we know have habits was turning bay a hangout post sundown ? 

So yes it would be rude not to fish for a carp, so on the sleeper rod a bolt rig with a boilie and a wafter as bait and I'd fish it over a veritable Smörgåsbord of tasty offerings after raiding the bait fridge. 

I found it was deeper than the main close in here, the boat track deeper than it usually is, so the deadbait and also the carp rig would be placed closer in as the main bay itself is very shallow indeed. 

I had to adjust my float stop here last time I fished it so that was encouraging as it meant a sizeable fish could well feel comfortable here especially as as there was enough room to stretch its fins if need be.

Wow a lot of rambling going on here isn't there !!!!

So I better get back on track hadn't I....

...before I settled in to the winding hole I'd fish a section of cover that usually produces a bite or two. Its only a couple of hundred of yards away and considering I'd already walked nearly 10 times that not an issue at all. 

I'd scale down a little for this session and would use small sections of roach rather than whole small fish.  Now when I got to the towpath the colour of the water was proper chocolate brown, not your Granny's Tea but I'm talking 80% cocoa solids. 

The boat movement back to annoying levels I'd imagine during the day, still I was here late though and actually whilst I fished in to the evening and beyond there wasn't any boats whatsoever.

Now 4 or 5 swims down without even a nibble I was wondering what the heck was going on. You see I had bite after bite here the other day where in a couple or three hours I had caught 10 Zander and missed a few bites too.

Any yet even the banker swim didn't produce a bite, the fish movement too seemed down on what it normally is. A few fished topped and a small fish launched itself out of the water assume escaping from a predator but after retracing my steps and fishing another section of cover again, I was biteless and scratching ones head.

So only one thing for it settle in to the winding hole swim enjoy the mild weather and enjoy a packet of chilli scratching and counteract it with a rather hoppy ale from a local brewery Purity.

A pva bag of mixed pellets went out close in where I'd heard the large fish surface before and the section of roach went out illuminated by a focussing torch. The bat activity is quite incredible here when the sun goes down because its full of insects especially when the weather is mild and for some I bet it would be quite unnerving. 

Better get used to the animals watching then, because well there were plenty of those throughout this session. But wow I have never fished a session like this before, 4 or 5 hours and it was absolutely dead as a doornail so to speak.

A stretch that has been good to me in the past, even recently failing to deliver, not even an enquiry on the deadbait or a slimy bream, biteless, BITELESS !!!! The session didn't end well either because 5 mins in to the 10/12 minute walk back to the car my headtorch gave up the ghost, great !!! still the moon was full and my eyes adjusted to the gloom not exactly a massive issue. 

I know other do well fishing when the moon is full, but for me it couldn't be more different, a blank, a BLANK !!!! 👎


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