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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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It is easy to forget how lucky we have been this summer with the weather, at least from a comfort point of view. The fishing may not have been spectacular, but I don’t remember getting cold or wet all that often. But, things are changing as they always do in the Autumn. I recall Fred J taylor telling us all off for laughing at the way that Americans sure as hell murder the goddam English language. Their language is so descriptive he said. E-Z Out or disgorger for example, which is the most descriptive of that particular tool’s function, which is the most anachronistic? Well as I much I enjoy being an anachronism myself, and as much as I like the complexity and over-elaboration of our language, I have to admit that in the term ‘Fall’ they have the perfect, more descriptive word for Autumn.

Those first frosts, coupled with the inevitable Autumn gales herald new problems on the canals. Problems that can be overcome but which like everything else raise more questions than I can answer with any certainty. Last week, it was glorious. It was cold at dawn, but comfortable enough once the mist had burned off. Terry had the biggest and probably the most, as usual, but that bit of weak sunshine was enough to warm us through and enough to keep the oil thin in my increasingly decrepit fingers. It was a beautiful, if less productive than we had hoped for, morning. And importantly most of the leaves were yellow, but still high above us on the trees

Not so this week. As we climbed out of the car into a distinctly dank and gloomy world, a bitter wind scratched and clawed its way through our clothing. I couldn’t get my waterproofs on quick enough, but with my woolly hat pulled down over my ears was surprised to find that once we had descended to the towpath, it wasn’t that bad. In fact out of that raw and evil wind, it was quite comfortable.

While we may have warmed up, the wind whistling through the trees above us was still causing problems. Leaves, twigs leaves and yet more leaves covered the surface , taking hold of our lines and steering lures off course and on occasion not allowing them to sink at all. To be honest they were pretty, but a pain. Who cares? We caught fish. Not many it’s true but enough. Not big its true, but big enough, to make it interesting.

It was one of those mornings when the bites come out of the blue. The fish that were prepared to feed were here and there, not in dense competitive shoals. Takes always seemed to come once the concentration had wandered and were occasional enough for us not to notice how, as we had fished our way up the cut, getting colder and colder, they had tailed off and eventually disappeared altogether. We’ll catch up there, we always do. We didn’t but never mind, that next bend is good but not today. Suddenly two hours had passed and the wind was biting like a rabid dog. My fingers were ... where were they? They were there earlier. I can see them but that is all.

The farmer had cut the top off the hedge in a fit of unexpected tidiness and the wind was racing off the Arctic ice across the Atlantic, up the Bristol Channel, 150 miles up the M5 and straight through me. Fancy coming all that way just to piss me off. You’d think it would have something better to do.

We retreated back to the area where we had caught earlier and where the wind was pushed up into the trees and over our heads by rising land and taller hedges. Surprise, surprise, we caught again. It was warmer here and even though it had never really been a productive area before, it was today. I’ve always believed that it would take a while for cold wind to chill a canal to the bottom, and that when it did, it would affect all of it, but now I am not so sure. In cold weather like this I would expect the takes to come slow and deep, but not today. The crayfish and the ned rig were utterly useless. Not one bite despite plenty of effort. Two and three inch shads up off the bottom to a straight retrieve? Yep, we’ll have those.

Not that the takes were exactly violent. Most of them were little more than a slight drag on the line. Just like a leaf had hooked up. You can imagine how easy that made things in a canal containing more leaves than water. There is always an exception of course. I was playing around in the edge dragging the lure back and forth under the rod tip. I wanted to get a feel for the speed that the tail was working best at and to be honest I was miles away when SMACK, a zander flashed up out of nowhere and absolutely hammered it on the surface, giving me a hairy few moments on eighteen inches of line whilst trying to rearrange the sticky bit in my underwear. Why do they do that? Don’t they know how cold it is ? Don’t they know they should be moribund on the bottom giving occasional tiny bites. As usual it was me that caught the nutter. At least this time it wasn’t a teenage jack pike.

I’ve mentioned before how much I like areas that collect leaves. I feel that they may contribute to the food supply once they have sunk and insect life is feeding on them as they rot down. Couple that with a bit of protection from a raw and vicious wind and I guess I have another clue to finding potentially productive water. Next time I will definitely use the pole, it works so much better among fallen leaves but one thing is for sure, I certainly shan’t feel guilty when I am looking for a sheltered spot in future.

artificial lite

The winds of change