One of those days comes round every so often when with all experience and knowledge the fishing is just terrible. I had hit the tow path around midday in an area I knew held pike, perch and zander in range of sizes going from uh right through ahhhh. I had started in a spot that has produced some startling captures in the past and which is generally quite reliable, only to receive about as much attention as a white crayon.
I worked that canal over like I have never worked anywhere before in my life. I was methodical and broke down every area I fished into zones and covered each with varying tactics. Lures were changed, line was scaled down and the variations of retrieve were just about incomprehensible, but still nothing could raise a take.
By two hours in I was dreaming about pole fishing and by four hours I had come to the conclusion that the only possible explanation was that a mass alien fish abduction had taken place. But we all know that isn't true and the fact was that the fish were just switched off or were at least switched off to what I was doing! It was a bit of a pisser really as this was really the only session I would get over the weekend and here I was with it dribbling away in what I thought was perfect conditions.
After working tight along the margins for what seemed like miles I resigned to give in and turned tail for the car. By the time I was in sight of the auto mobile the canal had began to look good again, but I just didn't have it in me to make any more casts. Instead I concluded to just tow a small orange paddle tail along the margin until I had to turn off to get to the car.
Lazily I tugged and dropped the lure backward and forward until I could see the path that lead me off the canal. I was somewhere between dreaming of mixed grills or beer when the line went solid. I swear I would have just yanked violently for the break if the line hadn't of surged off in the canal. Holy sweet Jesus, Mary and Joseph it was a fish.. a wonderful slimy wriggling writhing fish. I was as gooey eyed as Gollum with a trout in his hands by the time it was middle cut, and then I got the most spectacular fight I have had in years.
The little jack went in acrobat mode and lunched itself from the water little a tarpon shaking its mouth violently from side to side. It had only just disappeared back into the water when it came cartwheeling out again. After shooting into the margin and me reeling down, it tail walked into a third jump projecting itself a good three feet out of the water. Bearing in mind this jack was little more than a couple of pounds it would not give up. Every time I got it near the net it shot off across the surface until the pressure of the line and clutch sent it into a little jump. After it nearly jumped onto the bank I made a daring scoop for my prize. It did go in the net but no net was going to hold this determined fellow. It only began trying to jump out of the net which resulted in me having to lift it from the water and keep it wrapped up until I could find my forceps.
I have to give this little fighter credit for being the most determined and hard fighting Jack I have ever seen. Though I think there might be a clue to why this fish was so eager to escape on its flank. Given that this fish is probably only a few years old, the scar two thirds of the way down it's body looks to me like it's guile and determination may have already got it out of a much bigger cannibal pikes mouth some time not so long ago.
Maybe it thought it had been got again and thats was the reason for it's very impressive display or maybe it was just a particularly spirited young jack. Either way I don't mind because it absolutely made my day with its antics and was the perfect way to end a generally poor session.