Quite simply my latest outing on the tow path was an unmitigated disaster. Really I probably should have ventured to the river, but I was guilty of waiting for what I thought would be optimum conditions (which might not come at this rate). So I headed to the Coventry canal to see if I could try and pin down any groups of zander or perch in the area.
The moment I laid eyes on the canal I should have got back in the car and gone to another stretch. Probably being a bit pig-headed I thought I could root something out, but the conditions were against me with a big drop in temperature. The section I was on is very susceptible to a north wind battering which seemed to have stirred up the sediment as well, leaving the section where I was very coloured whilst reports that it was clear on sheltered areas northward.
As I mooched the tow path persevering, I came across something interesting though. The canals with their infestation of crayfish have really begun to suffer with collapsing banks. I never thought it was that much of an issue until I spoke to a chap on a work party a few years ago. He explained to me that the crayfishes burrowing was speeding up the erosion rates on sections that aren't lined with metal pilings. Anyway, the interesting thing I came across was that a large section of collapsed tow path had recently had new metal pilings installed and that behind them it had all been back filled. Given the lack of accessibility where I was, it doesn't seem likely they could have transported the material in to use to fill behind the piling. So more than likely I must have been sediment dug from the canal onto the bank.
This stuff was a treasure trove! As well as a of a couple hundred years of accumulated silt there was remnants of broken bottles, from the classic Budweiser bottle right back to vintage square pharmaceutical bottles, none of which were intact sadly. Along with bits of plastics and crisp packets dating back to my child hood was a lost or dumped American express card which went out of date fifteen years ago. But what interested me were the signs of aquatic life. Literally everywhere was peppered with shells. The amount of swan mussels alone was shocking, but they were outnumbered fifty to one by some kind of clam which it would seem at some point were very prevalent in this area.
I must've grubbed around kicking about in the newly exposed soil for a good three quarters of an hour hoping to find something good and in doing so began to see evidence that the soil was certainly from the canal bed. Weirdly though I had a little plumb around to see if the excavations had changed the depth, only to find little difference at all to what I would expect to find anywhere on the canal.
In the end I left and continued down the tow path and to maybe even find a fish or two. At the next spot I was trying to be a bit of a smart ass and began targeting a large half sunken branch which I thought might be a good holding area. First cast and my jig found a hold of the snag! Turns out my outfit and knots were capable of a bit more than I thought. The 8lb braid and 6lb fluro leader all held firm under pressure and just as I thought the line would give, the snag slowly moved towards me. With gentle pressure and my braid bedding down badly into the spool, I managed to drag that dammed snag all the way across the canal and right to the edge under me feet. The moment I grabbed hold of the stinking silt covered branch I wondered if there might be a lure or two hooked on it, and there was. Along with a few manky rubber lures was a shiny gem!
Whoever threw this into the Coventry cut needs their head looking at! From the shape of it I had an inkling of what it was, but if that wasn't enough it had the manufacturer printed on its back. It was Yo-zuri floating minnow which retails for around ten quid in the shops and it didn't look like it had been in the water long either.
Finding that made a bad session a little easier to take, I can tell you. The rubbish/snag infested nature of the Coventry especially is the reason why I find myself reluctant to cast expensive lures into it. I myself have had days when I will lose three to five jig heads plus the accompanying rubber lures and losing them can total up to £10. Lose five top of the range hard lures and you could be looking at more like £50 or more.
In the end though the session came to naught really and even though it was interesting grubbing along the tow path and retrieving that lure was a plus point, I really should have followed my instincts and gone somewhere else on this occasion.