14/11/2012 - Trent and Mersey Canal

Headed off to the Trent and Mersey canal near Burton in the afternoon with the knowledge that I could extend what little daylight I had left into dark for a couple of hours and still have a chance of a nocturnal predator or two. Was mild and overcast and, whilst the canal was firmly in the grip of autumn with leaves strewn across its surface, things were looking promising.

Autumn on the cut

Started off with the usual hair-rigged roach head on one rod, but fished a lobworm and an open-ended feeder stuffed with maggots and chopped worm on the other to hopefully target a big perch. However, apart from a few twitches on the worm, I found myself fishless when the sun went down an hour and a half later. At this point I put deads out on both rods and had my first proper interest a few minutes later, the bobbin doing a jerky little dance that unfortunately never developed into a full-blown run before the bait was dropped. Had to wait another 30 minutes before the bobbin finally jerked its way up to the rod, the subsequent stirke meeting resistance in the form of a small zander.

Where's your mates?

Thought that might have been the start of things but, apart from another dropped bait, it wasn't to be. Was starting to pack up just before 7 o'clock when one of the alarms indicated some last minute interest. Thought it was another small zander, but it turned out to be a very nocturnal perch of a pound and three quarters. 

Dirty stop out!

Was a bit disappointing given the conditions, but I suppose it's just that funny time of year. 

As a postscript to this session, Tim fished the same swim with a friend on the following Friday. In his words the fishing was "cr*p", but they saw an otter in the marina entrance opposite. Amazing given the nature of the location, but might explain the dip in the fishing!

09/11/2012 - River Dove

Mad dash to the Dove today for last couple of hours - two reasons, firstly to wipe out the memory of a terrible session on the Trent at Swarkestone (couldn't settle for some reason, fished really badly and suffered a complete blank as a result) and secondly because Tim had managed to drop on a few reasonable perch on his last couple of trips there. Headed for a spot that's proved reliable in the past and was soon running a large lobworm down the side under a two swan chubber, trickling red maggots after it. Had been doing this for half an hour or so when I got a text from Tim. He was also on the section and had spotted me from upstream. Had just texted back "nothing doing yet" when the float shot under. Grabbed the rod and felt a decent fish nodding on the end. Was just composing my next, self-congratulating message to Tim in my head when the hook pulled out! That'll teach me (won't repeat what I actually texted him in the end). Carried on with the float until it was too dark to see, at which point I got the medium feeder rod out and dropped a lobworm over the bed of red maggots I had built up downstream. A few minutes later I saw the isotope twitch a couple of times, then keep going as the 1oz glass tip bent right 'round. Gave this one a good thump and immediately thought I'd snagged bottom, but then felt a heavy weight move slightly. "Pike", I said to myself. A war of attrition then followed, with me easing the fish towards me only for it to head off downstream again. Another angler appeared behind me and stayed to watch proceedings. After about 5 minutes an outline of a decent fish showed briefly on the surface. "Could be a big barbel", my one man audience said. At this point the 4.4 lb hooklength suddenly seemed very fragile and vulnerable! Tim turned up a few minutes later and got into position next to me. At this stage the fish was just plodding around under my feet, so gave it some sustained pressure and up it popped. Flicked on the head torch to see a very big barbel disappear into the landing net, expertly wielded by Tim. Got it quickly into the weigh sling and onto the scales - 12lb 6oz. A new PB and absolutely mint.

Not bad for a nuisance fish!
Can't deny it was anything but a fluke, but I for one don't care!

01/11/2012 - River Soar

Had half-term at the in-laws' holiday cottage in rural France. Main object of the week was to get some miles in on my road bike but on this occasion I also threw in my light lure rod, as I had discovered that you can now buy your holiday permits online (www.cartedepeche.fr) in advance. I'd like to say that I subsequently emptied the local River Charente with my fancy gear but, despite being assured by locals that there were sandre (zander), brochet (pike) and perche (obvious!) present, I didn't get a sniff. I did see some sad little 2oz perch in a bucket destined for some Frenchman's supper, so guessed anything bigger was probably well gone. For my first session back in the UK, work had me heading over in the direction of Loughborough, so I threw the lure rod in the car and stopped off to steal a couple of hours on the Soar at Sutton Bonington. However, was dealt a double blow when I got there. There was a match setting up downstream of the carpark and I was told that the towpath upstream was going to be closed in less than an hour as contractors were tree cutting. Legged it up to the top of the section to make use of what time I had. Thankfully, third cast I had a small jack on the Savage Gear "Real Eel", hooked on the stinger.

First one on the Real Eel

A few casts later I had another slightly larger one that had completely gobbed the lure (he also looked as if he'd had a recent encounter with one of his bigger brethren judging by the jaw-shaped crescent across his back).

Waited for a boat to come past then ran the eel down the marginal reeds. Bang! Another one, which again had "inhaled" the lure. They seem to like them! Saw flashing amber lights down the towpath at this stage, so that was that. Thirty minutes fishing and off to work!