It’s always tricky filling the gap between the river close season and the warmer weather when tench and the like being to feed properly. Sometimes I fish stillwaters for big roach, but I fancied a big canal perch this year. On my first trip out it was freezing cold and I just hoped for a bite. It was a surprise when my delkim signalled that my link legered lobworm had been taken. In the crystal clear water it looked like I was playing a good stripey to the net, but on landing it I realised it was very lean, tatty, and probably a very old fish.
It was good to be off the mark and later on I thought I was into a better perch. I was float fishing a lobworm on the near side shelf when, just as the light was fading, the float bobbed twice and then slipped away. I could tell what I’d hooked was the right weight, but unfortunately it turned out to be a hard fighting bream!
I thought the bream might be a bad omen because as the year progresses the canal comes alive with all kinds of fish. When it’s cool you tend to only catch big perch, which is obviously what i wanted to catch. I like catching most fish, but lobworms are expensive to feed to loads of roach, bream etc! My fears were confirmed on my next trip when I started getting lots of bites from all sorts. Roach x bream hybrids, roach, bream and small perch, all frustrated me and I realised it would be time to move on once I’d used my lobworm supply up.
I used a keepnet just in case a returned fish spooked any possible big perch that might be in the swim. Eventually I did hook what felt like a better perch and after a brief battle I was holding a decent fish that was now starting to get chunky around the midriff. I weighed this one and it was just on 3lbs.
It was not a monster by any means for this canal. I’d heard of a few other big ‘3’s getting caught that week so I was hopeful of more action. Sadly that was it for the day, but I’d give the place at least one more week. When I lifted the net out I realised I’d had a decent days fishing for a canal.
On my next trip I fished a different area, but only landed a couple of perch to just over a pound. I gave the place one last try as the weather was starting to pick up. In fact, I’d say nature was a couple of weeks in front of where we were this time last year, though that can soon change in spring.
On my next trip I landed everything from roach to flounder! I only managed some small perch, but had some cracking bream that were going on for 6lbs I’d say. The time to move on to other things was sealed when I started catching small eels. It had been a short and frustrating time on the canal, but I suppose it’s nice to be catching wild fish in the middle of nowhere. All kinds of wildlife was around, from buzzards and owls, to foxes and deer. Some deer even went for a swim in the next peg to me!
I’ll find a few more targets over the next couple of weeks, then it’s time for tench. I’m due a lump or more this year!