Thursday, 26 June 2014
Postcard from a wandering drunk
One of the equally wonderful and irritating things about fishing is that, rather like football, everyone is allowed their own "expert" say in the matter. Certainly the case on urban bits of canal, where I met Seb Nowosiad for some fly fishing. If the above picture is a bit wobbly, it's probably because the bloke who took it was already on his third tin of super strength lager for the day. We humoured the chap anyway, before Seb left him a roll up cigarette and we went in the total opposite direction to where he was pointing and giving his expert fishing analysis. Nice.
The canal itself was about as clear as an alcoholic's brain too. Not as clear as we'd hoped, which suggested it could be a challenge to catch on the fly. The numbers of rudd and roach at the surface were a pleasant surprise though and given a good walk I was confident we might find some good ones. It might sound blinking obvious, but given murky water and flies it's sensible to use slightly bigger or more visible patterns than usual. A little beaded Tan Shrimp was commandeered by Seb and took several roach plus a skimmer, while I dug out a size 12 Black and Peacock spider, intrigued by local rumours of monster fish.
That's the trouble with rumours though; you almost willingly daydream and ignore the fact that
a) The general public often don't have a clue what they're looking at with fish.
b) Anglers, and especially the casual ones, will spectacularly overestimate what they've witnessed (notice how tactful I was there. I could have simply said "lie" or "deal in more fiction than Penguin Classics").
Anyhow, perhaps one or two rumours had a grain of truth, because you always have a chance of nice rudd on the Taunton to Bridgwater. If you can get to the buggers. It was especially educational for Seb, who is a relative fly novice. For a lure angler, it is all too tempting to retrieve the flies all the time- when for many coarse fish you want to just let them be to settle naturally, with virtually no interference. Too much drag or a clumsy cast and you can blow it. I still make a mess of it sometimes myself, but as well as the odd bush I had several decent fish from the pokiest swims imaginable, including this fish of 1lb 9oz:
After sweating it for months on the new "Canal Fishing" book, you might have thought I'd have had enough of them, but I've been doing more on the local cuts than the rivers so far. With it being light well into the evening I also had a blast on the Grand Western, where a whole troop of schoolboys were roaming. High on enthusiasm but low on knowhow, I felt duty bound to help one or two. After all, you don't catch many roach on 15lb line and three very dead maggots on a size 4 hook. They also kept wanting to borrow my polarising glasses to look at passing tench like this beauty:
A little later I then caught up with Russ Hilton for a spot of tench fishing, which proved ultimately frustrating. Well, for me at least. Russ did ok, while I managed to miss them, including one where my worm had skilfully obscured the hook point to render my strike totally duff. In typical style though, Hilton came good with a couple of nice fish. It's a good job I never make bets with him:
Other than that, I'm just getting over the inevitable demise of England at the world cup. At least as a half Swiss, I can follow a team that are the opposite to In-ger-land: underrated, under hyped and organised with that special efficiency that comes with having a German manager. In truth, I've still enjoyed the footy and even managed to combine it with some fishing, most notably at Stafford Moor, where Chris Lambert and me tried frantically via phone and radio to keep up with England's score. We may as well have stuck to the fishing in hindsight.
We had a plan to tempt a catfish on offal, to give you the backstory, but to no avail. Several carp fancied a chunk of liver, but perhaps a much larger or more disgusting morsel is required for catfish? Back to the drawing board I think. For the record, both Beatties and Joseph's Lake are both outstanding "runs" waters should you fancy a crack at summer carp in Devon- and there's no better or friendlier fishery boss than Andy Seery for putting you onto a big catch.