I managed a couple of trips to the bankside this week the first being a session on my local soar chasing Pike. The area I fished is one which has rapidly become a favourite pike spot of mine being fairly prolific with the chance of a big fish thrown in for good measure. It was Saturday morning and I was surprised to find I had the whole stretch to myself so I headed straight for my favourite spot.
The river was still pretty coloured from the rain of the previous week but having caught from the stretch in the past in even more turbid conditions I was fairly confident of some action. It didn't take long to get a couple of sardines into position and it took even less time to put a fish on the bank because, almost Imediately, I had a bite and duly landed a feisty jack of about 5-6lb.
Half an hour later I managed a second fish and was hopeful of a good day, that is until the rowing boats from the boat club upstream started coming through. I've fished the area a good few times now and even though many boats have come past me during that time I've never had an issue with them until this time around. One pair came past so close they actually clipped my rod tips with their oars! Another half a dozen came by and decided that the water in front of me would be a good place to turn their flotilla around and have a good shouty chat. Needless to say I soon moved!
The new swim was right in the teeth of the prevailing wind but was much wider and offered some distance between me and any passing rowers. Unfortunately my time there was short lived as several bleeps and pulls on the line alerted me to some heavy crayfish activity. This was proved when the first rod I reeled in had nothing but a fish skeleton on the end and the the second rod had one of the pesky crustaceans still hanging onto it!
Another move was called for and again this was to be short lived aswell. A lovely cast between two boats next to a willow tree was ruined when a chap in a rowing dinghy decided to pull into the gap to carry out some noisy boat maintenance right on top of my bait. A couple of minutes later a narrowboat came up along the nearside bank so close it wiped both my rods out. This was getting ridiculous!
Seeing the rowing boats from the club had all but disappeared by now I headed back up to my original area just in time to see another narrowboat minus it's crew come drifting aimlessly around the corner upstream. The crew of the boat were running along the bank desperately trying to snare it as they had obviously all jumped off and forgotten to tie it up! A chap from a nearby boatyard managed to secure it in the end using his own boat as an impromptu boom across the river which enabled the crew to get back on board their runaway vessel.
All this took place about 50 yards upstream of my spot so as you can imagine I wasn't confident of any action! Seeing as I'd been dropped off I had no choice but to fish on until my lift arrived and after another hour or so it seemed things had calmed down a bit. This was to be proved right when my upstream rod signalled a last gasp take just before i packed up and I duly landed another pike, this one a little bit bigger than the others from earlier.
My plans for the Sunday changed suddenly and I found myself with an extra chance to go fishing. I wasn't sure what to go for or where to fish so I rang my old mukka Phil to see what he was up to. It turned out he was headed over to the canal to try for a net of silvers and to be honest, after the boat experiences of the previous day, I really didn't fancy going through it again on a cut which is even busier than the river! With a lack of better ideas though on my part he managed to twist my arm by mentioning the immortal words "big Perch". Dammit, resistance was futile!
Now I'd never fished there with lobworms before to target the Perch and this was going to be a bit a leap into the unknown as the place has no track record of big perch because pretty much nobody fishes it (certainly not in the area we headed for) so nobody knows!
I'd managed to collect a few lobs over the previous damp evenings and certainly had a sessions-worth at my disposal. A pint of red maggots completed the bait arsenal and soon enough I was setting up in a likely spot. Pretty much the whole far bank looked the same so I picked a swim which didn't look too snaggy and gave me an easy cast to an overhanging elderberry bush which might offer some shelter to a big stripey or two.
The floating leaves looked a nightmare for float fishing so I opted for a light quivertip and began to get pulls and knocks right from the first cast. Within minutes I landed the first of a succession of small perch between 6-12oz, at least there was a few fish about which was good news anyway.
The boats on the canal were a stark contrast to those on the river on my last trip. Every one,without exception, was courteous and mindful of the fact we were fishing, staying to the middle track and slowing down for us. Most said hello and we even shared a bit of light-hearted banter, if only all boaters could be like those on the Trent and Mersey!
Anyway back to the fishing and after a couple of hours things had slowed to a standstill so I decided to try twitching the worm every couple of minutes. This had an instant effect and soon I hooked a perch of slightly more substantial proportions. At 2lb2oz it was no monster but for me it was quite a significant fish as it told me that there might be considerably more to the canal than meets the eye, certainly from a Perching perspective anyway.
After that bites on the tip became even harder to come by so decided to try a Floatfished lob along my nearside margin. Again it was slow but a couple of knocks and dips on the float told me there was a few about. After missing a couple of proper bites I managed to connect with what I'm almost certain was a nice silver bream getting on for a pound. I've since counted the scales along the lateral line and checked several other tell-tale features and am satisfied it's a true 'silver'.
I managed another identical sample shortly afterwards so it wasn't a fluke and got me thinking about what the canal could offer in terms of these little fish aswell as the Perch? Another half decent perch put in an appearance after that last bream then the spot went stone dead. I couldn't raise so much as a twitch for a good twenty minutes before eventually the float slid away. This time I found myself walking along the bank to keep up with what was obviously a sizeable fish that was hellbent on getting around the corner into Phils swim! I gave it some real pressure to turn it and managed to get a good look it in the process, it looked to be a nice mid-double mirror carp. Unfortunately my 4lb hooklink wasn't really up to the task and soon I was left cursing as the fish made good it's escape.
I packed up shortly afterwards as I could no longer see my float but this session had really brought home the possibilities of what the venue could offer in the future and to be honest I can't wait to get back down there!