Friday, 16 August 2013

Best Laid Plans On The Sankey Canal

A warm welcome to this week’s blog update, I hope I find you well and your nets brimming with fish. This week there have been some slight but noticeable changes in the weather as we move slightly on from the relentless scorching sunshine into a period of more changeable unsettled weather in the form of heavy showers and periods of really humid weather. This extra water has been a blessing for our rivers and I have been keeping an eye on their levels and although none have flooded all have had a good flush through which will do them no harm at all and should see sport on our rivers improve drastically.

I use a calendar on a daily basis I work but that didn’t prepare myself for the shock that hit me this week that we are already in the month of August, just where have the months gone this year. My weekly fishing trips and subsequent weekly blog do give my life structure but still it doesn’t seem like yesterday that I wrote about my joy for the river season reopening and that most magical of days was two months ago now. I guess it also hits you more when you realise the fact that my little girl is 1 year old next month and time really does fly bye.

With regards my fishing I have been for some time now at a cross roads of uncertainty around what direction I want to take my fishing into as I really do enjoy building up net of silvers but slowly that urge to sit and wait it out for bigger species is creeping into my mind and thoughts of a net of silver darts are slowly being eroded with thoughts of loading the car with just a feeder rod and a few pellets and heading off in search of some chub and barbel, is this just an itch that needs a scratch or is it a sign of things to come? I guess only time will tell but there is certainly a sense of change in the air and I feeling of certainty that trips for species like barbel and pike could be on the card in the coming weeks.

For the time being at least I have been resisting the urge to grab my trust barbel rod of an evening and spending that time walking the local canal to my house, the Sankey canal. I must say with the hustle and bustle of work of late that comes with a new project of work the walks along the canal of an evening have proved to be a great mind clearer and isn’t it amazing how problems that twist our thoughts can be so easily unravelled by some fresh air and a good dose of British wildlife.

Along these trips, being the wildlife enthusiast I am, I of course made a few friends and in true Danny’s Angling Blog fashion they just had to be in white with long necks, the ever featuring swans.

I must say the sight of these swans took my mind back to a breeding pair of swans I used to cross paths with on Almere Ferry every year. Year on year this same two of swans would pair up and breed on a nest constructed in the branches of a half sub-merged tree, great memories and sad to think I will never cross paths with these most proud of parents again, hope they are doing well.

Along my walk I also had the opportunity to witness countless wild flowers in bloom and the swarms of busy bees working tirelessly to relieve the flowers of their sweet nectar. The walk along the Sankey Canal also revealed the vast amount of fish this venue holds it was absolutely alive with fish of all sizes from this year’s fry to some nice sized carp, maybe I should have brought the rod along I cursed as I continued my walk.
As you plod along the path of the Sankey Canal it opens up in a few places to give big wide views of the Mersey estuary and the vast array of birdlife that call this place home. Later on in the week I went for a stroll around a local nature reserve and took this picture of a seat overlooking the Mersey estuary, I wonder how many people have sat in this seat trying to clear their thoughts.

On Thursday night the back-up account on the Warrington Anglers Facebook page was threatening to bear fruit and I was hoping to bring you some news on the new stretch of the River Alyn that WAA has reportedly purchased but it seems that the club has purchased a stretch of river and no one knows where it is!!! The party who led negotiations are saying it is around the Molde area and reports from the higher up members close to the committee suggesting it is around the Weir in Rossett. It really baffles me how you can announce you have purchased rights to a beat and yet not know what water you have bid on. More news on this as and when the club decide which postcode they have purchased rights too. J
Onto this week’s fishing trip

“Best laid Plans”

I like to keep my fishing quite varied and as such I never like to do the same thing more than two weeks on the spin there are of course times when the fishing is just too good not too keep going as for instance the dace fishing on the River Dee in winter time but even then after a few weeks I like to at least change species and target the pike. We have fished the river Dee the past two weeks, same peg and same tactics, so this week I was more than ready for a change of both scenery and direction and not to forget the financial benefits of fishing a local venue on the old petrol tank once in a while.

I really fancied a session on the local Sankey Canal and this feeling was there very early on in the week, I think the introduction to this week’s blog gave that fact away. I grew up a stone’s throw away from the Bridgewater Canal in Runcorn and during my childhood I spent many a weekend fishing with my dad while my mum was out doing the weekend shopping, I never really knew the finer details of why we caught the fish only that if I fished with a small “snatcher” whip and light pound bottom hook lengths I caught my fair share of fish and I guess these childhood memories are why I still have a massive passion for this facet of my angling.

I spent the week looking at tactics for canal fishing and soon came across a cracking video on Youtube featuring the greatest silver angler of all time, Bob Nudd. When you ask most people who their favourite anglers are and why the reason they give for liking them is normally down to the size of fish they have caught or how many big fish they have caught. I really like Bob Nudd because no matter what fish, big or small, he always gives the impression he is over the moon with it and really seems like he appreciates every fish he catches from a small gudgeon to a pound roach.

The video I watched:

In this video above bob uses two distinct tactics in he fishes a bread line close in and then a maggot and groundbait line across to the far side and I really wanted to try and replicate this approach for my session this week. I ordered half a pint of pinkies, a pint of white maggot and some dynamite silver X ground bait form the bait shop and spent the rest of my Friday evening liquidising some bread for my nearside bread line and making up some delicate rigs.

I only really have one top kit on my main pole for silver fishing in my blue hydro elastic match kit as I see my other match kit that is loaded with white hydro as being too heavy for canal fishing so I was left with a bit of a dilemma as I really didn’t want to be swapping and changing rigs all session when moving between lines. I came up with the idea to utilise my very first pole I purchased in my White knuckle margin pole to fish the bread line and I just hoped it was long enough to reach a decent depth of water as the sankey canal has got really shallow nearside margins.

As is the norm with our fishing we arrived on the banks as the moon was just about departing and I have to say the sky looked terrible and to make things worse my uncle had miss placed his umbrella so all the chat to the pegs was around when not if the rain would arrive.

As mentioned above we normally arrive on the banks under the cover of darkness and depending on how far we have to walk we time our arrival at the pegs to co-inside with first light so we are ready to fish that magical first hour of daylight where you have the feeling that you may hit that special fish at any moment and not only that we fish a fair few new stretches of river during the year and anyone that’s done any exploratory fishing will tell you if you want to find out if there is any fish in a stretch then first light and the hour into dusk is the time you will see any fish if there is any about.
As always there was a beautiful sunrise on the sankey canal and we were treated to a glorious sunrise, some of the pictures we have captured on this venue I am seriously thinking about developing for a big picture in my house as I find them so thought provoking and just make me want to go out fishing.

The rigs where all pre tied so when I arrived at the swim it was all about getting myself comfortable and ready to fish. As soon as my box and bait tray was in place I quickly set up my margin pole and plumbed up and to my joy a found a nice depth at around 7m and I potted in two balls of bread crumb so it was settling and starting to attract some fish while I set about rigging up my long pole and mixing up the ground bait. I took my time and made sure I was happy with all my bait before I began to fish. My bait tray seemed to have a tonne of bait on it compared to my normal canal sessions but I was confident in my plan of attack and fully expected to make full use of the bait at hand.

I potted out three balls of ground bait laced with pinkie over my long line at around 12-13m and the plan was to fish the bread line for the first hour or until the bites dried up whilst topping up the far line with loose fed pinkie and another ball of ground bait every 20 minutes. I would say apart from how I prepare for my dace fishing this is the most rigid I have been with a session and I was determined to stick to the plan.

The far line topped up and settling I set about the bread line and for the first few minutes not a lot happened but I remained confident and like I had seen on the video I began to impart some movement myself on the float and you know what it worked as the float slowly sank away and I lifted into the first fish of the session in a small Rudd, it was a start and I was happy the fish had showed on the bread line and at this stage was thinking that the swim would develop over time and the better fish would move in as the peg matured.

The other reason I chose to fish bread punch was the fact that if the rivers flood come winter we will be looking to fish this as a back-up venue and bread punch will be a vital weapon to have in my armoury. The bread line produced a steady stream of bites but they were all small rudd. I did also notice that I got a lot of small knocks on the float and fast bites that where hard to hit but I put this down to small rudd. I persevered with the bread line and caught steady for the first hour and a quarter of the session before the bites completely dried up, all the fish where rudd and I never really got any signs that anything better had moved into the swim.

While I was fishing the bread line I had been feeding the 13metre line and there were signs that fish where feeding in the form of bubbles in and around the baited area. There are a fair amount of quality bream in this canal as well as a good number of skimmers that could have been responsible for the bubbling but I have noticed on previous sessions that you also get these bubbles when there is an eel about.

Shipping out to the 13 metre line I hadn’t even flicked the line out over the swim before a rudd had taken the bait, not a good sign I thought. Back out and this time I got to the swim and before the float even registered any shot it had zoomed off and I was into another rudd. The only way I can sum how many rudd I caught and how hard it was getting through them was it took an hour and a half before my float settled and I realised I had over shotted my float.

The amount of rudd in the swim didn’t bear thinking about as time and time again a rudd would take the bait on the drop, 3,4,5 maggots on the hook made no difference to these ravenous fish. I began to get into a rhythm and put together countless numbers of these rudd but fishing at 13m it soon became a labour of love so I set up a waggler float and this just speeded up the rate at which I put these fish in the net, below is a video of the bite a chuck action on the waggler.

The session soon became a numbers game and the challenge changed from if I would catch a better fish to a game of how many I could put together. My uncle a few yards up the bank was still getting troubled with rudd but was actually getting through the rudd and getting a bait on the deck and actually picked up some solid roach with the best shown below.

The final nets bore testament to the hard work we had put in, I ended with just under 10lb of rudd and my uncle just over 11lb of rudd and roach, I don’t think I have ever worked so hard for a net of fish, it was a bite a chuck and boy did I know it.

My net:

Uncles net

The session taught me that although you can lay down the best plans possible you can never plan for what is in your swim on the day. The positive I took from the session was that I put some time in on the bread punch fishing and I think I made the best of a bad situation.

Till next time
I wish you all
Tight lines


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