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January 2016 - Up against it

This has been some kind of strange old winter and no mistake. I have customers ringing me up in January to complain because I haven’t been round to cut the grass and the next day it snows.

Whether the weather is affecting the fish or us more is a moot point, I suspect it’s messing with us all. I didn’t bother with an update last Wednesday because it was frankly just a struggle. With virtually no boat traffic about, we were surprised to find the canal an absolutely disgusting colour. It seems to us that rain induced run-off is even worse than that churned up by the boats. It certainly takes longer to fall out again, possibly because it is caused by a lot more fine particles that have been washed in.

Any way we aren’t scared of water coloured by hops, so we ought to be ok with water coloured by whatever. We have methods and of course they let us down spectacularly. We had two tiny fish from a mile or more of canal and it was hard, headache inducing stuff. If we hadn’t dibbled we’d have caught nowt. We did catch more fish, we resorted to a short side-arm that seems to remain cleaner (not clear by any means) whatever the conditions and it is stiff with small stripeys. Even that was in recalcitrant mood, giving up just enough to get up towards twenty micro perch. Usually it can offer that many each, but not today. I took the easy way out and didn’t write it up.

Today, one short week later, we arrived in the dark to find an inch of ice on water that was still nowhere near as clear as it would normally be after a couple of days with no boats. We were expecting ice and to be honest we are always sure of a catch in icy conditions, so again we weren’t worried. We picked a venue with leaky locks, plenty of bridges and plenty of ducks, knowing that we would find enough liquid water to pass a pleasant morning and so we did. It was crisp and clear and sunny later on. The fishing was pretty grim results-wise but an absolute pleasure for all that.

Takes were positively minute in the main and I suspect that if hadn’t been a flat calm, I wouldn’t have spotted any of them. We were lucky to get nine between us, but the weather, proper winter weather at last, more than made up for that. We even bumped into a fellow lure angler and spent a happy half hour slagging off the CRT’s fisheries department for their .. Err, um, shall we just call it eccentric grasp on reality.

We even had an hour or so fishing a pound that it turned out had been drained a few weeks ago. That is just one or the joys of fishing canals. You spend every waking minute trying to find a way to catch fish in difficult conditions, and when it fails you still have no idea whether the problem lies with you, your techniques, the weather or somebody has just flushed all the fish away. That’s not a complaint by the way, that’s the reality and it’s just one of the many variables that keeps us going back for more.

Pete has engineered a flick tip into the tip of his pole and that looks the part, we just can’t seem to get a decent day with plenty of feeding fish to test its true worth as yet, but its time will come. Everything about today was a pleasure, but then Pete caught on one of his ‘flies’ and so I ended up having my ear bent about their true worth. I suppose that in the end I shall have to admit that they have their uses, but I shall fight it to the last.

I hope that you find my journal interesting and entertaining. If, having read this, you think that I am talking rubbish then at least you have stopped and thought about it long enough to come to that conclusion which is something of a result in my book. If you would like to comment on this article or anything else relating to my website, please feel free to contact me using the adjacent form. Feedback is always greatly appreciated and very helpful when it comes to improving both my site and my angling. Thank you for looking. If this form will not work for you, please e-mail me at editor@ericweight.co.uk

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