A full day of boats moving round a busy junction of the Grand union canal and the water is going to be pretty murky, right! Well that's what I thought and I was totally wrong. I ventured a out a few days ago for a short session on a primo bit of the GU and basically ended up having a weird arse about face session where everything I thought would be the case was not.
Big perch were what I was after and as it was to be an afternoon into dark affair I figured, as I mentioned before, that the boats which are prevalent in this area would have ploughed the canal turbid by the time I arrived. Hence I had armed myself with a float rod and generous amount of worms to attract the fish in the poor visibility. I always do this 'peering over the edge' thing when I walk onto a canal to get an impression of the water conditions. On this occasion my initial peering was followed by a head shake, an eye rubbing and a second peering. Good god it was well past dinner time and I could see two bricks sitting on the shallow margin. The water did have a tinge of green to it, but shockingly the visibility was easily fifteen inches or more.
Even with the less than ideal conditions I pushed on with my plan and went in search of cover to target. Without too much elaboration, the plying of worms onto the canal was a total waste of time. The perch had no intention of moving out of wherever they were hiding to eat in the open. My only hope for this session was the drop shot rod I'd bought along just in case. Maybe, just maybe, by working lures close cover I could persuade any would-be attackers to burst out and hit the lure in the clearer than normal conditions. This is where it really goes against mores supposed rules.
Considering the perch were reluctant to feed I really thought the low light loving zander would never be switched on in such clear water. So how surprised was I when I manoeuvred a small Savage gear 3D bleak close to a moored boat and straight away something snatched it, I was even more surprised when the culprit turned out to be a zander.
I thought maybe that one zander was just some rogue fish that hadn't read the zander rule book, but when a few jiggles of the lure later a second smaller one hit, it began to look like the zander were actually on the feed in the clear water. By the time I'd notched up three more little zander which all went for the drop shot fished 3D bleak fished six inches off bottom, I was convinced they were really up for it.
Although my original perch plan was well and truly out the window, it turned out that I was out and fishing on one of the wondrous occasions when the fish are hungry, the conditions were apparently perfect and I was using the right lure/technique. The random flitting and dropping of the very life like bleak lure seemed to draw the zander in like moths to a flame and every one which went for the lure got hooked perfectly in top of the mouth before zipping off like a torpedo.
It wasn't just the tiny ones that were up for it either; there were better fish moving around as well. Most were in that half a pound to two pound range and I quickly figured they weren't just tight to the cover. Fishing the nearside shelf brought me a few fish and even a random cast into the centre of the trench brought a hint of interest.
The perch though were just not around or if they were they were well off the feed, which possibly had something to do with the change in temperature. By the end of the short session the sun had long disappeared, the sky was glowing wintry pink as the last rays disappeared, smoke rose from every chimney of every narrow boat that lined the canal and the surface of the canal was like a mirror.