Thursday, 31 March 2022

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt. 6

The reality of living on a canal towpath means that effectively your mooring next to a public footpath and the niceties that come with that. 

You know, those that don't share your way of thinking which no doubt can often lead to conflict. Dogs running riot outside of your safe space and sharing a well timed chocolate hostage just as you're about to eat. 

It works both ways of cause and I saw some of that yesterday when the length of canal I was fishing, picture this a lone moored boat, a group of women retirees playing cards and then another boat decides to moor right next to it and proceeds to crank up their ageing Honda generator badly needing a service. 

Anyway a short session this at the stretch of canal I could walk to if I wanted, an area that had been kind to me over the years and two nice Zander of 9lb and 8lb 10lb had graced my net.

When the weather is still on the chilly side in the early closed season there is no point just chucking out the deadbait and hoping for the best.

You may well be lucky of cause but the reality is you need to drop on the fish and bites like I experience today can come very quick indeed.

Now I'd passed a narrowboat dweller walking his three dogs (yes really) and when he returned after going to the shops for provisions he asked if I'd caught ought.

"Well as it happens, yes I've just caught a couple of Zander, here take a look !!!"

It turned out he'd been moored up for a few days a stones throw away and had been fishing off his boat for almost three days without a run and was questioning his tactics and whether there was actually any fish in this very turbid canal. 

After the biteless thumb twirling he'd negotiated the nearby lock and after mooring up decided to fish for Zander and yeap, again probably still waiting for a bite as I type this. 

But I'm an experienced canal Zander angler and especially when the water is the colour of hot chocolate roving is the key and you need to drop on the fish.

I was lucky because the first swim I lost a fish within 5 minutes of putting the baits out in a shallow swim. The fish felt decent actually, certainly not a 30cm schoolie that often can be tricky to hook if you use larger baits like I was today. 

But Zander can be tricky to hook, even for me where my rigs have been adapted over time to increase hook ups after many many lost fish and missed bites. It goes with the Zander fishing territory, that's why I love them as a species as you are always learning.

Anyway after the first fish I lost no more bites were forthcoming in that swim but two more swims later a lock mouth produced three fish in quick succession. They are so aggressive and all teeth and fins when you land them at this time of year when they are gearing up for spawning. 

All was going well till the saga boat came through and then the bites dried up completely. Sometimes it can work the other way and the Zander go on the hunt when the bottom has been stirred up but when the canal is as shallow as this one is, would you stay if constantly having to watch your noggin.

My hands were pretty cold by now so less than two hours I was heading back to the car feeling much better in myself and the nightmare IT problems at work forgotten for a short while at least, ok nothing big, the biggest probably a scraper 3lber, but a few fish at least. With a frost overnight the fishing may well get tougher yet, but it just goes to show, find the fish as they often won't find you. Water Temperature ? well it would help if I could find my thermometer !!! 


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