Sunday was supposed to be a continuation of mine and Andy's part in the great Midlands monster perch rush, until I got a phone call from him as I sat digesting my tea on Saturday evening... He informed me that news had reached him that our super secret squirrel hole canal stretch was out of action the following day.
With all our kit set up and ready to go for a canal foray the only sensible option was to simply try another stretch of canal. The only one that stuck out as a candidate was an area I fished last autumn which as far as I am concerned fits the bill for big perch, largely thanks to its population of signal crayfish. It turned out to be a total blow out! Keeping mobile whilst fishing four rods over an entire bridge to bridge section we managed nothing apart from a single crayfish which tried to make off with my roach dead bait. Even that had the common sense to let go before reaching my hand where I would more than likely have taken out my frustration on it with a bank stick.
With three dire sessions under my belt I felt the need for a mid week jaunt out and promptly went to work Monday morning and wangled a day off. In my current fish-less state I did not want to narrow down my chance of catching by being species specific, and in all honesty I just need to see that float slide away to reaffirm to myself that fish have not undergone some kind of mass extinction in Warwickshire. With those two things as key criteria I chose to spend a sunny day fishing pole in hand at a venue I adore.
This small man made reservoir nestled on the sloping orchard lined hills of the Avon valley is a favourite venue of mine though I never spend as much time up there as I feel I should. This deep lake takes ages to warm up as the year progresses and its exposed location can make it a brutal place on the wrong day; but on the other hand it is rammed with fish and on the right day could put a smile on anyones face.
I haven't visited it since summer last year and what happened to it during our Arctic winter was anyones guess, but a week or two of sun had to be having its effect by now. The depth of it even a couple of rod lengths out is shocking, so like most pole fishing the edge was order of the day.
After setting up stall near one of the few overhanging trees on the lake I potted some sensas noire ground bait plus a few pinkies onto one line four metres out, and a deposited a cup of chopped worm under the overhanging branches to have little look for some better perch which I suspect this lake may hold.
I did not have to wait long for the float to dip and my first roach of the day made its way bank ward. It was by no means furious fishing but by constantly feeding small amounts of pinkies the bites began to come regularly if a little slowly. The best roach of the day came not long in at around ten ounces and was mint, as all the roach in this lake seem to be.
Through the day I intermittently tried the worm line to no avail but after going back to my main swim again the float dipped quickly under and my hopes of a bigger roach seemed to have momentarily been answered until a skimmer bream appeared thrashing on the surface.
How I wished that were a roach!
I managed to keep the roach coming all day and the average size was pretty good at between 4 -8oz so I was in no way disappointed. Though I do rather regret not taking my keepnet, as net full of silver makes a cracking photo every time.
The lake seems to be coming to life, the constant dappling of the surface by small fish intersected by the occasional swirl of a larger carp. Even though the sport was not as hectic as it has the potential to be I think the slow warming of this lake means the water temp is well behind most shallower venues, hence the fish are still feeding in this winter manner. So if I get the chance to return at the weekend I may use a winter approach on a warm spring day to try and locate some bigger roach.