'You buy one, you get one free! I say you buy one, you get one free'
Those were the words that kept ringing through my head again and again as I stood on the tow path the other day. And why shouldn't they have been stuck on some torturous loop in my mind, because after all this was a bank holiday weekend, it wasn't raining and the boat wankers were out in force. At some points 'buy one, get one free' was an understatement to say the least. Seven boats in convoy was the record for the day. Honestly that lot coming down the cut was like an armada passing by, all churning up the bottom and blankly wishing good morning whilst inanely asking if I'd caught my supper. If it wasn't for the fact that I was actually having fun catching a few perch and some rather obliging strip zander I feel sure I would have been jumping up and down on the bank shaking my fist and ranting in ancient long forgotten language that they should keep their witty japes regarding my tea to themselves, before I am tempted to shove their barge pole in their rear hatch.
I had always known it was going to get a bit manic with boat traffic and to try and get some done before they started I had arrived just after first light. Weirdly the action prior to the boats beginning to rumble by had been in my opinion, a bit sporadic. All I had managed was a single chunky perch which I had winkled out by dancing a tikki monkey along the nearside shelf on a drop shot rig.
The drop shot rig was partly why I was fishing in this area. You see I had a few new lures I wanted to try out and they all seemed more suited to the drop shot rather than a jigging rig. Given the past few weeks had been a little zander filled and that I have much more success with perch on the drop shot, I had come to a area stuffed full of the critters.
Convinced the margins were paved with the stripy Herbert's I stuck it out on the drop shot, working around any structure I could find. Although I wasn't finding them in numbers, when I did spark any into interest they were absolutely smashing into my lures.
The oddest part of the session came after a couple of boats really stirred up the canal. I have always thought that it actually takes a boat going through to stir the resident fish into moving, and off the back of that I have developed a theory that sometimes when the boats churn up the bottom, zander for one, actually go into the clouds of silt looking for anything that has been disturbed out of the mud, like worms, leeches and small fish. It proved exactly the case when the boats have moved on and I shot my rig right to the far side of the canal before pulling it back into the murk. Four or five small strip zander and a single nice perch fell for a black grub on a slow retrieve through the clouds of silt.
The boats I knew would all too soon begin to wear on my patience, and it was then that I sought a bit of respite and headed for the relative quiet of a small row of moored boats. Working the rig rhythmically as close to their hull as I could, I tempted one final nice perch that I can only say has real potential in the future. Although not much over a pound in weight I don't think I have ever seen a little fish that looked so much like a big fish before and that for me was the perfect point in which to leave the canal to the boaters.