Sunday, 15 January 2012

Chilling, not blanking

Photobucket This week I feel the need to use that classic angler's excuse, dipping temperatures, for some fairly slim pickings. Then again, on some winter days any catch can feel like a bonus. That's fishing- and perhaps also the difference between a blog and a magazine feature, where the bones are removed and many hours toil are all too often boiled down to a grinning angler with a big fish. We all seek that holy grail of "consistent fishing" and yet it's the very opposite that makes the sport compelling. We have good days and indifferent days; days when we can do nothing wrong and days we can do nothing right. This is also why sitting it out on the same densely stocked water every weekend would leave me as cold as a well-digger's backside. Even the oft-derided commercial fisheries can be slower in winter though. At Viaduct I enjoyed a long overdue session in the company of fellow blogger and fishing nut Chris Lambert. With the going slow and fish baits off the menu, we put our faith in other offerings- including maggots, prawns and one of my favourite winter methods, chopped worm. We got the first part of the plan right, trickling in feed to get silver fish active. The odd better roach or skimmer showed up to entertain us, but where were the perch? Photobucket A stiff breeze didn't help- although some meatier bites finally arrived later and Chris successfully switched from his normal livebait tactics to grab a lovely perch of a pound on double red maggot. "Beau-ooo-tiful"-as Lambert himself rated it. No bigger ones showed, but what a heartwarming species perch are. Photobucket Regular followers will know my love for tying flies for all kinds of fish out of just about anything I can get my hands on. A current recurring theme is streamers. It's always fun using "accidental" materials. I am like a human magpie basically, and the latest in a long line of bizarre finds was a stash of rather fetching cocktail umbrellas: Photobucket A lure hook, some marabou, a dash of tinsel and a dab of epoxy and hey presto- a chunky little Epoxy Minnow pattern. I thought the blue and silver looked fishy anyway: Photobucket Here's another late creation, a minnow streamer intended for chub: Photobucket Talking of chub, my Sunday trip was in search of these very big mouths. The conditions rather killed it sadly- a combination of bitter cold temperatures and surprisingly muddy water on the Tone defeated our attempts. A shame because such flies take chub well on their day. Photobucket Even so we still had some fair sport by hopping onto the canal for a final couple of hours of lighthearted fun. Again, this is the joy of fishing- there's usually a plan B and when you're scratching even a handful of little jack pike are a pleasant surprise. Here's a cold but beautiful shot of the Bridgwater to Taunton Canal (just out of shot: a random bloke rather alarmingly armed with a gun, shortly followed by an irate cyclist arguing with a dog walker): Photobucket

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