Gagging! That is a good way to describe it. I was gagging to get back to the rediscovered feature I had found previously. My mind had been working overtime in the few days that had passed since I had fished it, all the information collected both past and present had bubbled away and distilled in the cauldron that is my mind; the result as far I was concerned, was nothing less than endless possibilities.
The dark and its ability to coerce the shy to feed attracted me so I was always going to do a short night session, and what better accessory to lurk in the bank of the Coventry cut with on a weekday night than a Jeff Hatt. I mean what self respecting canal angler is seen on the Coventry without a Jeff Hatt nowadays.
It was mid-week before I was back and I'd been through the mill thinking how I wanted to fish it again. There was no doubt worms would be involved as well as dead baits, but how to fish those worms was the quandary. The reason for my confusion was the confirmation of the presence of that relative canal rarity the chub, and big ones from what I'd heard on the tribal drums. I didn't fancy fishing a light float rig at night and the thought of using an alarm to try and catch a canal chub left me feeling a little dirty. In the end it just seemed perversely logical to fish a river method on a canal. So I cracked out the Avon quiver and set up a small link ledger rig and strapped on the old tip light.
We hadn't even got to the spot in the dark before I dropped a clanger. As we left the parked car a man passed us eating a bag of chips. Walking at a brisk pace keen to get fishing we caught him up as he turned onto the canal. I kind of forgot he was walking in front of us as we tracked the wet tow path and I spotted a row of moored narrow boats. Spontaneously I broke in a serious bout of verbal diarrhoea proclaiming that I bet one of these darn boats was parked right in front of the spot. I carried on spewing profanities all the way down the tow path working myself into a slight fervour as I did. Then when I spotted a boat in the distance I really went for it. It was about then that the now forgotten man who wasn't far in front of me turned and in a slightly annoyed tone proclaimed it was his boat! eep...
Luckily for all parties he wasn't moored exactly on the spot and after settling right at the bow of his boat he went about choking us with diesel fumes and we went about fishing. Both me and Jeff had our little moments in the dark trying to ready rigs. Soon enough though we had lit up floats bobbing around on the canal and illuminated tips floating in the air.
Put in simple terms it went mental from the off! Jeff barely had his ledger rod out before my tip got yanked round. I was flapping round playing what felt like decent fish in the dark. It wasn't battering me like I thought a chub would but I did get a glimpse of subtle gold in the dark. Jeff got it in the net in the light of his head light and we both peered into the net to see a relatively large roach bream hybrid.
I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing as I laid what looked like a possibly a pound of roach down on the long damp grass. It wasn't a youngster either as far as I could tell from the general wear and tear on its body, so naivety was no explanation for it grabbing my moving worm. This dog of an old roach had in no uncertain term attacked my drop shot fished lob worm.
Ever since catching that fish I've tried to reason and explain what happened there, and about the best I can come up with was that it was a one off where me fishing what is favourite roach bait on a snail pace retrieve, combined with the dark related over confidence and hunger, caused that fish to think 'I ain't letting that big old juicy worm get away!'. I have to think this or I will feel that all those hours I've spent reading about the delicate feeding roach were a total waste of my time.