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Euro Fishing: Clint Walker - A Week of Variety

A varied week, but after the Christmas period, I was ready to get out, anywhere, in the pursuit of a fish or two! Like many anglers, I had fishing related presents for Christmas, including one I’ve been after for a while, but never got around to buying. I’ve watched the odd Youtube video, which showed a chap using a magnet to scour the lake bed, picking up a number of objects, and thought it looked fun, so was delighted when my wife remembered and bought one for me. On Christmas morning, I unwrapped a few gifts, before picking up a nondescript box, and as I moved it across the bed, the nail clippers instantly shot off my lap and affixed themselves firmly to the underside of the box I held. Obviously, it wasn’t a PlayStation 4 then, but it promised to be as much fun as I unveiled a strong magnet!

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I couldn’t wait to have a play, so on Boxing Day, we were off to a local reservoir, where I know there is fifteen feet of water under the floating jetties. What had been dropped off by other people though? Anything valuable? It was time to find out! I attached my magnet to a stout length of paracord, and tested it before it was submerged, just to be sure it broke free of the magnetic field, before it snapped the line, and lowered it into the depths… On my first drop, I retrieved a rusty piece of chicken wire, hardly the doubloons or treasure I was seeking, but at least it worked. Over the course of the next hour, my wife and I salvaged a claw hammer, screwdriver, a couple of wire traces (trebles still attached) a rowlock, numerous bolts, and plenty of other metallic bits. Sadly, none of our finds were of value, but we had spent an enjoyable hour in the fresh air, and I knew that if I dropped my keys in (again) I could now get them back with ease! Great fun!

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I’ve been fishing too, and travelled to Gawsworth Fisheries in Cheshire in search of roach and chub in bitterly cold conditions. On arrival, the lake was eighty percent frozen, which limited peg choice (I’m not an ice breaker) so I settled into the far corner, my least favourite peg! I got the quivertip rod out, selected the lightest tip, and set up quickly; it was too cold to hang about! A small amount of Spotted Fin groundbait was mixed with a handful of tiny pellets and casters, and on the hook, I had the option to swap between bread flake, bread punch, maggot, and caster to try and keep bites coming. The air temperature was hovering around -3, so the groundbait was packed into a small feeder, cast out into the middle of the lake, and I sat back to wait with a warming mug of tea…brrr!

Within ten minutes, an almost imperceptible twitch of the tip denoted interest, and after a flick of the wrist to strike, the familiar kick of a small skimmer resulted. It wasn’t a big fish, but it was a fish, and I hoped more would follow. For the next two hours, I managed a fish every few minutes, a mixture of skimmers, roach, and ide, but none of the chub I’d hoped for. In Wall Pool, a fair shoal of chub reside, and if you can find them, and get them feeding, then a big net is on the cards! The sun finally hit the water, and the bites tailed off. Changing hook baits made little difference, then as the sun warmed the water, I noticed huge slabs of ice breaking away from the far bank, and moving around the pool in the breeze. Ten minutes later, and a forty yards long crust of ice settled directly in front of me, rendering my quivertip tactics impossible as I couldn’t get the line out of the water over the shelf of ice, so decided to pack up, and return another day. I’d enjoyed my morning, catching a steady stream of pristine silver fish, nothing big, but welcome in such freezing conditions.

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As I packed my kit in the van, I spied my magnet, and couldn’t resist a quick snoop around the nearest pegs, which are also the most popular due to their proximity to the car park. The magnet sank to the bottom, and I immediately felt it attach to something metallic, so quickly lifted it to find a nice (almost new) pair of tackle scissors in my possession! The second drop revealed a tin can, as did the third, so they were quickly disposed of in the bin behind me. Another drop picked up a shiny knife, then another pair of scissors, and then, unbelievably, a third pair of snips! I found a swimfeeder, bait drill (rusty) and a pair of forceps, and a couple more tin lids before it was time to go home, but a few minutes detecting had resulted in some new tackle for me! I can see this getting addictive…

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My final session this week was a social outing with a few lads from a local lure group on the canals around Stoke-on-Trent. We met at the usual place, and the few of us who braved the appalling weather set off along the towpath. Paul was hoping for his first lure caught pike, the rest of us happy with anything piscine, but all looking forward to a morning of banter and fun. However, after finding that any overhanging undergrowth had recently been cut back (butchered) by the Canal and River Trust, it promised to be hard work to find any fish, on a canal bereft of cover, and so it proved, as we struggled to get any bites at all for the first hour!

We plodded onwards, exploring any likely crevice, shelf, or smidgen of remaining cover, until eventually, Lee hooked into a pristine jack pike which was safely netted. The great thing about this particular group of lads is that they are keen to help each other, so Lee and Chris expertly demonstrated to Paul how to safely handle, unhook, and care for the fish before it was gently returned. If you don’t know, going with more experienced anglers is a great way to gain knowledge… Within minutes, I’d found a couple of tiny perch, barely bigger than my lure, and Chris had missed a bite, so we knew there were odd fish in the area, but tempting them was a different matter! Despite the lads constantly changing lures, lines and tactics, we caught very little else… although Dave did manage a personal best plank of about six feet long!

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We continued to explore the waters, moving from one canal to another, and finally located a ‘nest’ of small perch from which we managed to extract a few. I’d stuck to dropshot tactics, picking off eight perch in total, but aside from three more for Chris, and Lee’s pike, it was extremely hard work, but still in high spirits, we moved to a ‘banker’ swim. Unbelievably, first cast, Lee missed a nip at his lure, so let it flutter to the bottom hoping that whatever had expressed an interest was still there. It was, and after a short scrap, he netted a smashing perch of 2lb 4oz, lost another, and then Chris quickly followed Lee’s fish with a smaller one of around a pound. After that excitement, it went quiet again, until I was forced to retire early due to a family appointment, so I said my goodbyes, and wandered back to the van. After I left, the best fish of the day, a 7lb pike, tripped up over one of Dave’s lures, and a few small perch were landed to finish the day. Sadly, Paul never did get his first pike, but his enthusiasm was contagious, and we all enjoyed the day immensely.

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If you are a Staffordshire lure angler, then please take a minute to check out the social media page of the Staffordshire & Stoke Lure Anglers – The SSLA, to find a very helpful, friendly bunch of guys who will do their very best to help you catch more fish!

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