I spent a fair few hours fishing the canal over the weekend. The conditions were not ideal and the fishing hard for the most part. I had initially been duped into thinking that the increasing daytime temperatures might stir several species into feeding, but the cold nights and bright sunshine during the day had the opposite effect. A prebaited swim was dreadful on Sunday morning and there was zero evidence of either tench or bream visiting the baited area, before, or during, my stay. Likewise, silver bream could not yet be tempted on corn, tares or luncheon meat, and I was forced to continue with my winter approach of bread feed and hook bait.
I had the usual suspects on the bread; rudd, roach, silver bream, but also a not-so-common common bream of about a pound. I did have to make several swim moves in order to keep fish coming. After all, the water is still cold and I think we are all, the fish included, experiencing a lack of seasonal identity. I can't figure out myself whether it is early spring or late winter? And has a new fishing season started just because an old one has ended? Or has the old one not truly ended as the new one has not yet begun? Perhaps this is why I got into a panic halfway through my session, thinking I was fishing illegally, having forgotten to renew my rod licence, only to discover that the current one does not expire until the 31st March. It is no wonder we are as confused by the changing seasons as the fish are.
Nevertheless, a superb bite some twenty minutes before leaving for home on Sunday afternoon resulted in a marvellous stripy of 2lb 12½ oz. It was a belligerent, battle-scarred old creature, as well as being my fifth largest ever. It was almost enough to make me forget how tough the fishing had been up to that point.
(Please excuse the nauseating photo edit, but it is a necessary evil in some cases, in order to protect some of my more cherished fishing spots.)