Fishing Sim World

Clint Walker - The Joy of Fishing

Sometimes, I think that I lose sight of what angling is all about… a few hours of relaxation, outdoors in pleasant surroundings, with a few fish for company. Instead, I end up taking everything (including the kitchen sink) loading the barrow until my back can’t take any more, and trudging off across the fields to set up photography shots for social media clients, sponsors or whatever, so this week, I went back to my childhood in an attempt to find some joy again, to try and remind myself exactly why I go fishing…
I picked up a small two wheel trolley recently, after spotting it going cheap (free in fact) and was determined to thin out my tackle to fit. A bucket doubled up as a seat, I took a zip up unhooking mat with scales, tripod and landing net within, and a small rucksack, which were all bungy-corded to the frame, and I carried my rod bag over my shoulder to travel as light as I could and still get the required images for later in the week. With everything secure, I locked the van, crossed the busy road, and walked off across the meadow to the local canal. I usually take a lure rod and bag of lure kit when I hit the cut, but for the first time in many a year, I wanted to fish it properly, with maggots and everything!
The trolley made navigating the meadow easy, and within a few minutes, I’d arrived at my destination, a boat turning area, to find I was the only angler in sight; perfect. Quickly spying a grassed area off the towpath, and therefore out of the way of speedy lycra-clad fitness freaks on wheels and nosey dogs, I parked the trolley, and removed my 11’ float rod, which was quickly twinned with a 3000 series reel, both from the Sonik stable. Whilst preparing, I threw in a handful of maggots and a small nugget of groundbait, before selecting a canal dart float, and tackling up, attaching a size 16 hook to nylon. A plummet was slipped over the hook and lowered into the track to see just how deep it was.
I found about 3’ of water, shallowing off quickly little more than a couple of rod lengths from the bank, and a pronounced hole where boatowners obviously gunned their engine to swing the boats around before retracing their steps. The extra power had stirred a clearly defined depression, so I was keen to target a definite feature as canals can often be devoid of anything to attract fish in certain areas! I plumbed up an inch or so over depth and added a number 8 shot to drag the bottom and keep the float still; otherwise, it was dotted down to show less than an inch of bright red tip. A pair of maggots were nicked onto the hook, and the rig was swung out, line sunk, and I sat on my bucket like a chubby garden gnome to see what was within the swim.
I had less than a minute to wait, the float lurching as a fish picked up the bait before sliding away. Surprised by the speed of response, I missed it, so dropped the float back in and watched as it failed to settle. I deduced that the maggots had been taken on the drop and was pleased to feel a small fish hooked when I lifted the rod. A plump silvery roach of a few ounces was the result, and I was pleased with that! After an hour, during which I’d continually flicked in odd maggots and yet more groundbait, a trio of boats had added colour to the swim and I’d picked off a steady number of fish as the float repeatedly slipped under. Most were roach, some as tiny as an ounce, others almost half a pound, before I hooked into the first of series of chunky hybrids all over the pound mark. After two hours, my total bag stood at around fifteen pounds, maybe more, and I then started to pick up perch, obviously attracted by prey fish in the swim. I had noted perch striking at fish elsewhere in the swim but had only caught tiny sergeants before the first of a better stamp of fish appeared.
I spent three hours at the bank side, sharing it with a swimming grass snake, a constantly darting kingfisher, and a gaggle of elderly walkers who wanted to watch for a while, and do you know what? I thoroughly enjoyed it! A short session haul of perhaps 25lb from any canal is not to be sniffed at, and I was very surprised to find out that plenty of the fish were of some quality too, and it helped me see that fishing IS about fun, not Facebook ‘likes’ or constantly bombarding other anglers with social media posts, but instead is about nature, solitude, and a bit of time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Sometimes, I think it fair to say that many anglers forget that, and sometimes lose their focus… I know I do, but now when I feel a bit jaded, I think a trip to the canal, with a pint of maggots and some floats will refresh my mind… just like when I was a kid!
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Fishing Sim World
17 Feb
Clint Walker - The Joy of Fishing
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