Sunday, 7 May 2017

False Start

A three week lay off gave me a chance to catch up on some long overdue garden improvements, interspersed with some fishing chores. Reels loaded up, rods tidied, tackle jacket washed, replenished and smelling a whole lot better! Ready for action and the start of the 2017/18 Blogger's Challenge.

The challenge (which encompasses river/drain, canal and stillwater targets) is a welcome diversion at this point of the year. In recent times, Spring has seen me fall into state of self-imposed exile. Rivers are pretty much it for me, so for 3 months of the year my motivation to fish is largely dead in the water.

The challenge promises to alter the mindset a little though and I recently found myself back down the cut to check out the potential points it might offer.

Having had two double figure bags from it in previous sessions, I was optimistic of repeating the feat again. I should come clean and say that double figures wasn't pounds - it was fish caught! Exactly ten each time!

A session spent alternating between pole and wand. The latter, a Shakespeare Mach XT, had been rediscovered in my tackle tidying exercise. It was great to have it in action again. All too much of my legering is done with heavy gear down the river, so a far lighter touch felt like a different and pleasing change to me.

Sadly no repeat, with a measly seven fish caught on this trip. However, a 12oz roach and a couple scraping half a pound made me think that better redfins might not be far away. I'd return a day later.

With wand in hand I went in search of better quality fish. A sympathetic balling in of groundbait kick-started proceedings while I added a second lead rod to the attack. 

First cast saw the tip fly around while I was tying up a rig for the second rod. A nice roach/bream hybrid of 1lb 10oz got me off to a brisk start. 

The next action is where the love of the wand wore off briefly. A strike met by a solid thump and I thought I'd hooked the bottom. Then it kicked and I realised my 2.5lb hook length and slender, delicate rod were about to be a tad under-gunned.

With mindless optimism I settled in for a long battle, fearing the the inevitable snagging. It didn't come to that though, as the hook pulled and left me with a souvenir of the culprit.

Knowing it was foul hooked gave some vindication and valuable evidence for future trips. Having never caught a canal carp, it's something I fancy doing before the river season kicks off. Bizarrely I had a second carp foul hooking episode later in this session with an identical hook pull outcome.

The rest of this 3.5 hour session saw me connecting with mainly bream. Five of them up to 3lb 12oz saw me genuinely pass the double figure weight mark. Most fell to double red maggot, but the largest was taken on corn.

Just one roach though, but another small step in the right direction at 14oz.

All of the above don't count for the blogger's challenge though, as it was a day before the off. Good knowledge gained though, but at a price. My recently purchased landing net handle somehow didn't make it back to my car. I only found out the next day, by which time the damage was done. That's one smashed and another lost in the space of a month at the same location. This canal lark is proving costly!

With some riverbank maintainence work to attend to soon, it might be a while longer before I get back to the canal. Although I am cooking up some ideas to combine fitness and fishing, which might provide a few extra opportune moments. I've threatened that in the past though and it didn't materialise, so don't hold me to it!

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