Wednesday 31 August 2022

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.40

The float is in the water and the angler is sitting like a crouching cougar, with every nerve, every fibre ready for instant response to the slightest tremor. Or he
should be. More likely he is scratching, slumping, dozing, or trying to take off a bottle top with his teeth.

The float trembles. But the experienced does not strike immediately. He deduces from the action of the float, what kind of a fish it is likely to be. A roach, if it does not pull the float sharply under, will nudge it, move it sideways, perhaps lift.

A perch or a gudgeon will give a bob-o-bob before pulling it under. A tench or a bream will fiddle about and lay the float flat before taking it away. 

A barbel or a chub will take the float straight under with a bang. An eel will fiddle, run, and stop for another fiddle. As all this goes through the angler’s mind, as he attempts to deduce from the actions of the float what kind of monster is at his bait, the fish loses interest and goes away. 

The time to strike is when the float dips just under the surface, and the striking movement should be a turn of the wrist—enough to lift the float out of the water and no more.

If more anglers were to remember this there would be fewer reports of unidentified flying objects over canals and fewer stories in local papers about people being struck by gudgeon during freak storms. 

Now once the fish is on, by design or accident, there is the job of getting him safely to the bank. The first rule is: Don’t Panic. Nothing is more damaging to the
image of the calm, philosophical angler than screams of, ‘Omygawd! I’ve got ‘im! T’ve got ‘im!’ Especially when the end product is a four-ounce roach with one eye and half a tail. 

Rod up, lad. Keep the tip in the air, the line taut and the upper lip stiff. Let the fish do the Pulling, give line when you have to, and turn him bath with sides strain. And don't play him for half an hour if all you've got is a three-ounce bleak on a 2 1/2lb line. 

There are two methods of using the landing net: classic and popular. The classic method is to have the net in the water by the time the fish arrives at the bank. The fish is drawn over the rim and the net lifted up in one smooth, clean movement. 

The popular method is to get the fish splashing around at the water's edge and then to give it a karate chop with the rim of the net The fish leaps, the line breaks. The angler goes running up and down the bank telling everyone what a monster he's just lost, and some poor little fish is left with a mouthful of hook and a thumping headache. 

There are classic and popular methods of unhooking fish, too. The classic method is to take the fish in a wet hand or a damp cloth, ascertain the position of the hook and lift it out cleanly with either fingers or disgorger. 

The popular method is to clutch the fish in a hot dry hand and to wrench out the hook with a fair proportion of fish still attached to it (I wonder if the anti angling finger pointers think that anyway ?) . This leaves the angler wondering why the fish in his keepnet are floating belly-up, and leaves the fish muttering 'Bloody' ell....'

I jest but any distraction from fishing at the minute is most welcome. You see if I look back at ones blog I've not caught a decent fish in AGES and to be honest it's hit my motivation at the minute and I've not been eager to get out really, especially with the local rivers the way they are. 

With the Zander rods set-up though the Hallowed can wait and for this post work session I'd take a trip to a local bit of canal that has been kind to me in the past. The problem is, it is hit and miss if the fish are there or not, but if they are there some of the fish to be caught are very nice indeed. 

The double has been ticked off the bucket list but I still love catching canal Zander especially when this area is 10 minutes door to door, where the mobile signal is not existent and all you can hear is the rustling of trees.

To be honest the bites were hard to come by, but out of the blue when retrieving a chunk of roach a fish grabbed it and did a fat legger. Only a schoolie though but maybe they wanted a moving bait.

Bigger Zander can often be lazy scavengers though so for the last hour I decided to stay put in one swim and wait for something a little bigger.

Not a fat lot happened until the sun disappeared behind the trees and out of the blue the float after an initial bob or two started to cart all round the swim and that can only mean one thing generally.

Yeap a better stamp of Zander !!!

I tightened up to the circle hook and sure enough this was a little more solid and felt at least something to bend the rod.

Not a big fish but most welcome and after a spirited fight the 4lb 8oz fish was in the net. Now I fully expected another couple of bites, but no, that was that. I like these short sessions though, the fishing fix ticked off and a nice fish in the net, I felt far better for it, long may it continue.  


  1. Seems the whole country likes a good strike, I liked your description though! Great blog, failed zander mission for me recently but not a short trip as Northumberland doesn't have a "quick zander fix".

  2. I'm lucky Adam, surrounded by Zander especially on the canals !! Northumberland a lovely part of the world though,think of the positives !!!


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