Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Friday 17 March 2023

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.44

For the real back-to-nature angler, there's nothing to beat Worzel Gummidge's scruffier brother, of whom it is often said that he keeps coming back like a pong. This is for the knowledgeable angler who once read somewhere that fish are allergic to the taste or smell of soap. So at weekends you take very good care not to use it. 

Superstitious and a great believer in tradition, you refuse to have anything done to render your fishing outfit habitable by a normal human being. 

Your lucky socks were those in which you won the club individual trophy in 1996, and you have never had them tubbed since. The lucky long johns took you to a victory in the needle match of 1997, and since then never have they felt the action of an enzyme. 

Your jumper, alas now severely holed by the depredation of moth and continual scratching through years on the bank, saw you only just miss the top weight in '98. Or was it '99? And your Irish tweed thornproof trousers are held together at the flies by a series of safety pins. 

So what? Where can you buy a pair of trousers like that these days? And who makes zips strong enough to so attired, you make the odd bob or two on the way to the water from old ladies and well-meaning clergymen who press some small coin of the realm into your grubby mitt and implore you not to spend it on the Demon Drink. If nothing else it will cover your fare on the bus (dread the thought !!), on which you seldom have trouble getting a seat or several seats to yourself.

At the water, you indulge in a few odd habits, such as the old matchfisher's trick of keeping maggots warm under your tongue on cold days. Keeps 'em lively, you see. The fact that they turn comatose as soon as they hit the ice-cold water is neither here nor there. Instead of packing a conventional lunch, you nibble happily at whatever bits of old cheese are lurking about among the fluff and unknown rubbish in your pockets. 

Animals on the bank show no fear of you, in fact are strangely attracted, perhaps because you do not smell like the dreaded enemy, Man, but more like a heap of maturing compost, the bilges of a dredger or a sewage farm clearance sale. It is annoying to conventional anglers that, in spite of an aura that could bring a rhino to its knees at ten yards, you still manage to catch fish. It would be a very suspicious fish indeed which associated the flavour of a skunk on heat with any threat to its wellbeing.

Anyway, "wellbeing you say", back on the canals it is then !!! Not for everybody I must admit because you are now back sharing the banks with the great unwashed, wayward dogs and and novice tiller twirlers and that is never good, but look at the positives Mick, plenty of exercise you just have to avoid the ever growing amount of landmines.

Talking of which an item that has been in my armoury for a couple of years now is some marker paint to point out the to toxic toxocariasis turds that blight our towpaths. Over the years I'd stood in it, put my rod in it, hand in it, bag in it you name it, it's all been tainted by this wanton disregard for our shared spaces. If I can warn a potential citizen of impending doom , why not ?

Anyway to the fishing !!!

I am lucky that I have Zander on my doorstep so for this short after work session, I dusted off the rods, sorted out my canal bag and headed to a stretch literally 5 minutes away. To be honest since the canal and rivers trust have been overly active with their shears and chainsaws the Zander fishing has become harder and harder. That cover where they used to hide up in removed in huge quantities and they did the fishing no good whatsoever.

There are dribs and drabs though and those are the areas I would be targeting with my light over depth float set-ups. Manky past their best roach deadbaits that have been out the freezer more times than I'd like to admit, but I'm targeting Zander they are more than happy with a turkey twizzler and a can of tramp juice, they really are not that fussy.

I spotted a fellow Zed anglers car when I got to the parking spot and after a WhatsApp message he had already managed a couple of fish in the area I was going to target, so I started off there and leapfrogged a few spots but there was nothing doing for me, so I retraced my steps and set about the next section of cover to leapfrog.

Again nothing doing for an hour and a half in a few swims so I retraced my steps AGAIN and decided to stick it out in one swim before curfew time as the Wife was heading to yoga.

Not long after I had the baits out Buffalo Si from River Masters appeared from down the towpath and stopped for a good natter. Now he fishes probably more in a week than I do in a month or two, but always good to catch-up as he fishes the same waters.

An hour in eventually a bite on the left rod which after a confident run I tightened up to the circle hook and felt the nodding of a good fish, sadly though after the first proper bend of the carbon the fish came off leaving a decent boil in the surface. 

And that was that, no more bites and back to the canals with a rather damp squib, oh well on the positive note, at least I know the fish are still here, got to look on the bright side. 

All zander anglers suffer with poor hook-ups and circles are good, but you still lose fish like I did this afternoon. Si gave me a hook to try from his fully kitted out tackle box, as about the best he'd come across recently. Anyway on to the next one !!!

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