A 5am alarm awoke me this morning after around four hours’ sleep. I was hoping that the bream I had spotted on the canal on Wednesday, and then again last night, would have their heads down for my arrival this morning. They seemed to be searching for food when I dropped in on the way from work last night, so I tossed them some mashed bread and sweetcorn to build their confidence overnight.
It was around six-fifteen by the time I parked up. The sun, whilst still yet to rise, was beginning to illuminate the canal, which was steaming with rising mist. The surface was serene stillness, but absent of any visual indicators of feeding fish. I wrote off my chances of bream right then, as I generally expect bream to be blowing on arrival after receiving prebait. Tench, on the other hand, can take a little longer the before switching on the next morning.
The waggler rod was out again – same rig as Wednesday– but as I would be using worms, the size 14 was replaced with a ten. I found an old bag of graoundbait, which had been resealed in a freezer bag, unlabelled, and mixed it up in double-quick time, thanks to a cordless drill and groundbait whisk. I grabbed a palmful and took a sniff. A bitter, familiar smell hit me, and I recognised the scent of the groundbait as Van Den Eynde Supercup; an old favourite of mine on this canal, incidentally.
I chopped a good helping of worms in a bait tub before adding some soil and a sprinkling of groundbait to the broken pieces. This helped bind the feed enough to get it out around fourteen metres where I was fishing the longer of two waggler lines. The same feeding approach was employed for a shorter line, just a couple of rod lengths out, where I thought I might nab a bonus fish; however, I expected the majority of fish to succumb to the longer cast.
A large fish rolled either side of me as I broke a worm in half, hooking the broken ends before sending it on its way across the canal. I was relieved to find the bottom largely clear of weed, and hoped that a large bream shoal was responsible for that. A small group of bubbles appeared on each line. I took a tench from the further of the two first, before a brace a couple of rod lengths out. The fish were disappointingly tatty, with ragged caudal fins and one in particular which was covered in old sores, albeit they seemed to have healed and scarred over in time. I’d urge my fellow anglers to always carry an unhooking mat; there are some good options out there which can zip up and double-up as a net bag, so that you don't feel like you are carrying any additional kit.
As it got later and brighter, activity on the canal towpath livened up whilst the fishing did the opposite. By 10am, it was scorching hot. I tried baiting a few other promising looking areas, but all I could muster from these was a few small perch. It was still a pleasant enough morning though, with the locals in typically good spirits; many of them telling me I'd "chosen a lovely day for it". They were wrong of course; a heavily overcast day would have been much better, and I was unable to prolong that early feeding period beyond an hour or so.