As always mothers day was busy one for me. Any chance of getting out in the morning for a few hours is a serious no no, as I have far to many stops to make. Any Star Wars fans who read this will appreciate my referring to this mad mothers day dash through Warwickshire as the kessel run!
My only option to get out was to make the kessel run in less than ten parsecs, get home, down my dinner quicker than a blogger downs a pint at the Xmas piss up, before jumping back into the car dukes of hazard style and screeching off down the cut.
The week before the suggestion had arisen between me and Andy to have another poky on the canal. I am absolutely convinced there are some very special fish in this stretch and I am also convinced that there has to be double figure Zander here too.
I arrived to find Andy entrenched in a sea of Sunday afternoon walkers who to be honest aint that bad BUT! by the time you receive your thirteenth ' is there any fish in there' or 'trying to catch some fish for your supper ' it is wearing very thin. I set up next to him. It wasn't the area I wanted to target but until the boat traffic slowed and the towing stopped and it seemed a fair enough area to fish.
I didn't take long for me to start getting a few bites and after landing a couple of measly 10-14oz perch on my lob worm line I hooked my first bulging two pounder of the session.
Yes I did say first two pounder! The Midlands perch rush has in my opinion been some of the most insane fishing I have seen in this area for a long time, with fish between 2-3lb+ coming out over a myriad of venues constantly over the last two months. As for my part in this insanity, the particular bit of canal holds far too much allure for me to leave it alone. I was only intending to fish the lob rig for a bit of fun before changing over to another dead bait rig but something about this evening felt very right and the lob rig held it's first team place all night.
Once it quietened down both myself and Andy moved in opposite directions to our intended target areas. In place I had to wait all of ten seconds for my float to zip off attached to a 1.14lb perch, at this point I knew it was going to be a good evening. My dead bait rod was soon away as well, this time a small Zander had snaffled one of my new mini dead baits from the boat channel.
The action was non stop and perch after perch cast themselves upon my lob worms fished just down the edge. It did not take long for my next plump 2lb perch to turn up taking my tally for this stretch to five twos.
After a while the bites stopped and I knew exactly what would bite next... My attentions had been drawn to the dead bait float which was zipping across the surface. My strike was met by a good fish which ploughed straight for my bank. I was desperately trying to keep contact with it until out of the corner of my eye I spotted the bow of a barge chugging towards me. Annoyingly whilst trying to save my other rod a Zander of maybe five pounds appeared on the surface and did that bloody head shaking trick sending my hook flying. Whilst cursing the inconsiderate boater I hadn't noticed that my other float had slipped away until the tip of the rod was bending round attached to a determined fish. It turned out to be a very small Zander which had more than swallowed my bait and hook, leaving only the line protruding from its stomach. Even before I tried to unhook it there was blood emanating from its gill covers, so rather than distress it any further I made the decision the knock the poor little fella on the head. It was far too small to make anything more than a hors d'oevre so I decided to try something I have never done before. Using Zander dead bait to catch a Zander.
I have heard like most predators they are cannibalistic. So I cut off the tail section of the fish hooked it up and swung it out onto the hot spot.
This had the desired result when after a while the float bobbed once then moved sideways before stopping as the fish dropped the bait. I gave it a while to see if it would go again before trying a trick I have used a hundred times for finicky Zander. I tightened up on the line and pulled the bait back gently about six inches. Bingo! The float immediately bobbed again then slid away totally. I felt rather smug as I struck into another small Zander and was powering it in with my Avon rod chuckling away to myself when I got a glimpse of the
fish. What I saw stopped my inane laughing dead! 'Stripes' It was no little Zander it was a big Sargent with a Zander tail firmly in its gob. The realization that I had been dragging the biggest perch I'd had from this venue in like a common Zander prompted a little more care on my part to say the least.
Finally I think I may have found key to sorting out some bigger fish and the result. A perfect 2.6lb wild as you like canal perch.
Even after this I carried on catching more good perch on the lob line. It got to the stage were if they didn't look 2lb or more I was just slipping straight back.
As far as I can guess I had at least ten that looked over a pound plus a few just under and the ones I weighed went 1.8, 1.14, 2, 2.1, 2.6.
The Zeds were having it too. With three under 2lb landed, a couple more shed the hook and the bigger fish that I lost as well.
My faith in how special this stretch is just gets stronger every time I visit and this was only reaffirmed after I packed up and walked up to Andy who also had a net full of big perch which included a huge looking fish.
As far as canal fishing goes there is no way I am gonna leave this alone as there is bigger perch, Zander and god only knows what else in here.