Friday 24 March 2023

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.48 - (PB Content !!)

The ammonia stench emanating from the garage pointed to only one culprit, yeap the pint and a half of maggots I bought a couple of weeks ago chilling, or so I thought. You see a quick inspection the bait fridge decided to give up the ghost and the maggots had been sweating like a glassblowers backside. 

A quick temperature check 15.5 degrees, positively tropical !!!

So I removed all the contents, pellets, boilies, glugs, liquids  etc, oh and some unfathomable contents within a plastic container where the mould came out in one big clump with ones pincers. As a stilton lover I did contemplate spreading it on one toast but thought twice when I got a whiff, Jesus, it would  certainly comatose the wife if she got in nose shot. 

Answers on a postcard !!!!

After unplugging it with some meddling and vacuuming up the dust and cobwebs from the rear of the fridge I powered it up again and could hear the compressor kick in to life then stop. Hmmm, the thermostat I wonder ? So I removed the assembly and bypassed it by removing two of the terminals and connecting them together as a process of elimination, but nope after leaving it overnight with ones fingers crossed, it made sod all difference. 

Back to the drawing board then !!!!

To be fair it served me well up till now as it's >10 old at least. A quick butchers as ebay etc I could pick up a replacement for a Friday nights trip to the pub, but the problem is could well be a false economy. New ones can be picked up for around £130 quid so might be better to just buy a new'un. Will be an expensive month this, with a new 15ft rod, a replacement rod section, mothers day and now this. Better start looking behind the sofa, me thinks !!!!

Now few anglers associate chub with canals, but they are not as uncommon in these waters as many believe. Chub of over seven pounds in weight have been caught in recent years and the Midlands  such as the Staffs/Worcs Canal does seem to throw up chub over five and six pounds quite readily. Chub of this size could truly be described as exceptional. In canals where chub are common, fish of up to four pounds in weight are sometimes caught. 

Locating them can be the major problem. There are no obvious chub swims in canals like there are in rivers, no flood-hollowed banks or undercuts, very few fast runs, and even the overhangs of willows that are almost synonymous with chub are sparse. The other problem is the comparative scarcity of chub in relation to the more numerous roach and perch, or in waters I fish, bream and hybrids. 

This means that, unless some degree of swim selection and bait preference can be established, the capture of chub will remain more a matter of luck than judgement. The problem is even more complicated in canals in which reed growth is scarce or has been cut back. Where, in all this expanse of featureless water, can one begin to look for chub?

The easiest answer is to continue fishing in traditional canal-style and accept any chub caught as a sort of bonus. Chub are caught like this every season, and they are sometimes landed on the finest of tackle. Occasionally, chub are caught in matches; but the majority of canal anglers fish the whole season through without catching a single one. 

This is not surprising since canal chub are rarely seen, except in the clearest of water. An angler who wishes to catch them must be prepared to dedicate some time and effort to this purpose. I think the first step must be to discard normal canal-fishing methods of angling with maggots for anything that might come along and, instead begin fishing specifically for chub with the kind of tackle that will ensure that any fish hooked is not likely to get away. 

Tactics can be as varied as those used to catch chub in rivers. I have always found it difficult to understand why canal fishing should become a dreary routine of sitting patiently in one spot with a bag of groundbait and a tin of maggots. There is scope for a more enterprising kind of fishing which involves wandering with rod and bait in search of an immediate chance. The fast water below the lock gates and even up in the 'race' itself are ideal places for this style of fishing. 

A hook baited with a lobworm and then cast up into the fast water, without the hindrance of a float or weight, will sometimes result in the capture of a specimen of many species. The method might seem unusual for canal fishing, but these swims are similar to many that can be found in rivers, and there is no logical reason why a method that is so often successful in rivers should not also be successful in canals. The same opportunity for a quick capture is there to be exploited.

Now location them as I mentioned is one of the biggest problems and Martyn from my local tackle shop put me on to an area that has always held them in one area over the years. It didn't take long to catch one either and it went 3lb and 10 ounces on the scales. 

I caught that by trotting a large piece of breadflake in an overflow. The bread fished slightly overdepth so it was almost dragging along the bottom. 

The bite came quick too so rather than bait and wait roving can certainly increase chances of catching one. The same tactics also bagged me a PB roach on the same stretch of canal, and I'm sure because the clarity of water is often coloured up in these neck of the woods, that visual large piece of white bread is certainly a head turner. 

I could keep on fishing that area for a bigger fish, but tramp alley not only sees far too much footfall but that challenge was ticked off I suppose, I fancy trying for one somewhere else. 

Now the last but one session on the canal I bumped in to a lure angler from the Czech republic who was happy to share the fish he'd be catching on the stretch and he'd caught some nice chub, 3-4 lb when he was lure fishing for pike and zander.

We both blanked on that day but still after giving me an idea where he'd caught them from I might as well try and catch one of them. This one of many I suppose to try and track one down, but whist the Zander are having an off day, week, month at least this would be a nice distraction. So a float set-up that I'd fish bread and then I'd also have a salmo hornet crankbait, a veritable chub catcher if there ever was one. 

I've caught some cracking chub over the years using them and especially in this bright green colour which would be ideal for these coloured canals. A link ledger piece of bread in and around the locks and also the cover might we worth a go as well, but for this session I'd keep it to the methods I'd prefer to catch them on. 

Anyway on to the fishing, well what a surprise session this was !!!

You see after fishing the first section without a bite on bread or the crankbait I moved up to the next section where I've fished before and there is some reeds near bank and far bank. It's pretty shallow here but I was fishing a couple of metres out where I couldn't see the bottom.

After feeding some sloppy bread I put a 10 pence piece sized piece of flake on the hook and under armed cast out the small float. What I didn't expect was a bite within a few minutes when the float dragged to the right and went confidently under.

I was in to a fish that didn't feel that big but was giving a good fight and when I landed it I realised it was a lovely roach around the 1lb mark. The float went back out and a few minutes later the same happened and I was in to another fish.

This one felt bigger, much bigger and was giving a very spirited fight indeed !!!

This was even bigger, and with both retained in the landing net this was well worth a weigh. The scales went round to 1lb and 12 ounces which is actually a PB on river and canal. A cracking fish and when roach get this big such a stunning looking creature.

3 boats within half an hour the swim went dead and there was nothing whatsoever on the crankbait  despite fishing a few swims I decided to call the session early.

There was a considerable chop on the water and the float was difficult to see. I did managed a 3rd roach which was 5 or 6 ounces but after 5 blanks I was well happy with the outcome. Canals are not too bad after all. On to the next one !!!


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