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Probably the biggest killer of sport on the canals has always seemed to us at least, to be boat traffic, but today, that assumption was put in great doubt. True, on arrival the water was as clean as we could ever have wished for. Not clear, note, clean. That lovely dark green colour that has always served us well providing just enough opacity to hide the bottom and the fish, and plenty of clarity to make even the subtlest lure visible from a reasonable distance. All I ever ask is that my lure is readily pinpointed for consumption. I don't need fish to spot it from a hundred yards, I just them to be able to get their chops around it easily and quickly before it has disappeared into the gloom again.

It started well, Pete had the first fish on a crankbait which made a nice change, but I was getting more takes on the ned rig. After losing a couple though, I thought that the crayfish might work better and so it did with the old yellow leopard colour ( thanks again Andy) working its magic. We were surprised that given decent clarity we couldn't find any perch but were happy enough with the better stamp of zander than we had been catching of late.

By nine o clock however, the boat traffic was getting under way and the water as it always does on this stretch was getting fouler by the minute. From now on we would be fishing, half-heartedly in utter filth. By ten o clock the traffic was relentless and casting was becoming restricted to the margins and two or three casts across between the convoys. Even so, while bites were definitely fewer, we still tweaked out the odd small fish, one or two of which turned out to be perch. The first decent one took a 2" banana yellow kopyto right in the side and went 2-3 on the scales. That was a genuine surprise given the circumstances, but a bigger one was in store.

We continued to scratch out enough small fish to keep our interest alive but inevitably the pub was beckoning and looked like it might be a welcome relief never mind the decent fish another half an hour in this shitty, boat soup was telling us that the best was past. A decision was made, fifteen minutes dibbling by the bridge and the doors would be open and the kitchen stoves warming nicely.
 

 

 

 

Utter filth

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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To be honest my heart wasn't in it. We had seen the last boat had barrel into the bridge as we walked up and it had barely thrashed its way free again when we got there. My mind was elsewhere, I was watching everything except what I was doing, so when a slow dragging sensation tempted me to look down again, I just assumed I had caught on a bramble trailing beneath the surface. After all my 3" curly tail was working the bottom, in twenty inches of water, close to the bankside vegetation just a few inches from the mouth of a land drain, and right at my feet. I lifted, the rod tip nodded and a huge swirl with a distinct glimpse of a big perch right in the centre had me paying immediate attention. The net was unshipped in a moment, but the fish rolled straight off the hook as well it might given that I had made no effort to set the hook at all.

 

I was furious but set to with renewed vigour and a few minutes later found myself playing a half decent zander which once more came adrift. I turned to tell Pete, but he was playing a good perch, so as my net was ready, I netted it for him. He had another on the next put in. 1-14 and two pounds exactly on consecutive casts, not to be sneezed at given our recent lack of decent fish and considerable food for thought given the appalling state of the water. More evidence that dibbling hard in the margins in what I would call dead water may be the solution when boat traffic becomes unreasonably heavy. Next week, we won't lose hope quite so quickly methinks.