Friday, 4 January 2013

Tank Traps & Pillbox Sergeants

It was nice to see the weather forecast had changed to a much more settled outlook, a chance for the rivers to calm somewhat and water table to return to something akin to normality. My thoughts however were elsewhere, thinking about why I have never done a great deal of canal fishing, over the recent weeks I have been looking forward to making amends to this.

When I finally managed to get out on the canal, the place was simply beautiful, as I made my way along the towpath, remnants of times past appeared, tank traps dotted here and there, along with the occasional pillbox.

My plan of action consisted primarily of a quivertip rod, lobworms, maggots and a good helping of  hope that I might come across a Perch or two. The day before I had taken time to reorganize all the tackle I felt would be unnecessary, leaving me with everything fitting into a small canvas rucksack, I was hoping to move around a bit and see if I could actively drop on to the fish, although I must admit that thoughts of perhaps moving off the fish when using this approach did plague my mind.

The first spot I settled on was a bit of a bottleneck, the canal narrowing before widening slightly either end, I quite liked the look of this area and had planned on fishing it for only an hour before moving on.

Not long after having set up I could hear the swish and splash of paddles, a canoeist was slowly but steadily making his way to me, formal greetings were made and fishing finally recommenced, however the spot remained rather quiet, save for some sporadic half hearted plucks. In all fairness I still feel this is a good area, but I ended up staying here much longer than I had expected, three hours too long in fairness, the reason for this was because I was still stuck in two minds, part of me feeling I should perhaps stay put until daylight began to fade, the other wishing to stick to the original plan and move further downstream, thankfully the latter won.

Further downstream the canal widened into a sweeping bend, the far bank bare and without any real marginal coverage, every so often the calm of the watery surface was broken, small fish giving themselves away as they flitted about, the perfect place for a predator or two to lurk about shadowing the shoal.

Deciding to start out on maggots, the first cast resulted in a small Roach, one of its flanks showing signs of an old predatory bite, it certainly would have made for a perfect livebait. I decided to spray the area with a more generous helping of maggots and revert back to lobworm, in hope that more silverfish would home in on these and the Perch would then follow in on the silvers.

As daylight began to fade, a Barn owl flew right down the middle of the canal, it was a breathtaking sight to behold, but I don't know what it is, I seem to never have the camera at hand for these birds, or as in this case the daylight simply was not good enough to get a good picture, they remain a bit of an achilles heel for me.

A few minutes later the quivertip thumped round, I struck and was met by a firm, reassuring tug and then nothing, angler and prize were parted, the hook slipping. I felt absolutely positive that I had just lost a Perch and began going through the motions of mentally kicking myself. Another couple of lobs were placed on the hook, but deep down I felt I had really made a hash of it and blown my one and only chance, surprisingly though and not long after, the quiver plucked twice, before arching round, I struck, thud thud came the reassuring reply.

I played this fish tentatively, applying only a light amount of pressure, eventually the tell tale tiger stripes and dorsal broke the water, peering into the net I smiled broadly, it looked like a very nicely conditioned fish and a possible pb.

Opening my rucksack, I began to rummage about for my scales, the rummaging continued, no they weren't there, in all the chopping and changing to save weight I had accidentally left them at home.
"You bloody idiot!" I muttered to myself.

A phone call later and with many thanks to one fantastic woman, I soon had a set of scales, as well as a new pb Perch of 1lb 9oz.

I went home a very happy chap, thoughts of other sergeants that might patrol this tank trapped waterway filled my head and I cannot wait to return.


  1. Wow! One of my lifetime goals now is to catch a perch like's stunning! Happy new year, and fantastic post as always!

    1. Hello Erin,

      you're right, they are stunning creatures, with their vivid stripes and blood red fins, I have fallen in love with them. The canal is beautiful and seems a world away from what I was expecting.

      Glad you enjoyed the post, it means a lot to me, especially coming from an expert wordsmith such as yourself.

      Happy new year Erin.

  2. Great result Mark, well done mucker. That 2 pounder is just around the corner.

    1. Thanks Dave,

      given the amount of small fry,I think that area can definitely throw up a 2 and the odd 3, I have my fingers and toes crossed.

  3. Congratulations on the PB perch Mark. There's something quite special about perch, they're really interesting fish.

    1. Hello Ben,

      thank you it made my evening, they certainly have a mysterious air about them and I really have been missing out by not actively fishing for them.

  4. what a lovely perch , I wish me one for this coming year
    well done :)

    1. Cheers Zoran,

      it certainly was in perfect condition and it was very nice to have a pb on the first trip on a new venue, I'm hopeful for a few more.

  5. Hi Mark
    Great read and congratulations on another PB.


    1. Hello Darren,

      sorry to hear about the landing net episode on your latest trip,never good.

      Thank you I was chuffed with the pb, I am hoping for a bit more luck and maybe that elusive 2 pounder.