Sunday, 8 December 2013

Canal red letter day -Zeds, Perch and the mysterious monster

I had another trip down to the midlands at the weekend to meet up with friends, deliver Christmas presents and of course wet a line in the local canal. Having arrived on Friday evening it was an early start for me Saturday morning. The plan was to be on the water at dawn to catch the Zeds and Perch having their breakfast. After a quick coffee and a wrestle with my mates Doberman pup Otto I was on the water for about 7.45am.
Kerry supllied this picture, think he's going to be a handful
I didn’t have the best of starts as I got snagged first cast and as it happened this set the tone for the day on that front. Being a little superstitious I was thinking to myself, yeah here we go. I needn’t have worried as not long after that I was netting the first Perch of the trip which took a SG Fourplay fished on a drop shot rig. I didn’t realise it at this point but it was was going to be one of those days when the camera would be out attached to the gorrilapod all day.
The next 45 minutes were hectic. I pretty much must have found every snag in that stretch of the canal, between tying new rigs I managed three Perch and two Zeds and lost a couple of fish.

Typical red fin
A better Zed
You can see why they can be hard to hook sometimes
A nice Perch from the shadows under the bridge
This one's well fed
I took a break for ten minutes then got back on it with a slightly better Zander and a few more Perch. I guess it must have been about 10.30am and breakfast time seemed to be over for the fish. I had a quick check on Google found a tackle shop and set off in search of drop shot weights and another coffee.
The forecast was accurate and with the bright conditions I had checked Google maps ahead of my trip and wanted to check out a section that provided some shade. I arrived at the next spot and lost a rig on my second cast so it was back in to my bag yet again. As I was gearing up a boat passed and I pretty much pitched my lure at its wake and straight away hooked a decent Perch which came off, next cast a nice Zed, again it came off.
I'm not the only one cracking a smile today
There was definitely some structure they were hanging on. As I worked my way around the area there seemed to be three definite snags causing me a few problems, the good news however was that  there was no shortage of action along with losing some gear. I lost a few fish  including a Zed which I guess would have gone five or six pounds but I was optimistic the way things were going something else would come along. I was actually right for once.
The best of the Zander I caught, check the paddle
The occasional dog walker came in handy
I moved slightly left of where I was catching most of the fish and pitched the lure about 15 yards along the canal when I felt the lure stop slightly and lifted in to it. What happened next was pretty strange as before I knew it ten yards of line slipped from the drag and I found myself chasing whatever it was down the canal with my net stuck between my legs. The Zander and Perch I had been catching typically shake and run around a little but whatever this fish was it was in a different league. For the first couple of minutes I’m thinking I’ve hooked the biggest Zed in the UK. I’m then thinking it’s possibly a really big Pike. It was tearing around the swim stirring up the silt on the bottom and with the water clarity I had no chance of getting an eye on it as it stayed deep. As the fight wore on I came to the conclusion it was still very big but was possibly foul hooked as I could not do much with it. I took my time as I really wanted to find out what it was. I was desperate not to bust it off. After a long time it was eventually below the rod tip, still no visual I was sweating when I gripped the spool and applied as much pressure as I could to lift its head up. I couldn’t believe my eyes when this popped up!
The mystery fish makes an appearance! I was about as surprised as I've ever been while fishing

I could barely get it in the net. I was pretty shocked to see a massive common Carp. A small crowd had been watching from the nearby bridge and a local who was also an angler came down to take the picture, he was pissing himself laughing. He was surprised to see a fish of this size in this canal and laughed at how lucky I’d been keeping hold of the fish which was hooked about two inches from tail. He took a couple of pictures and helped me release the fish before heading off with his family, still laughing. My luck was in. 
Stef brought the kids down when he found out I wasn’t far from where he was heading. He told me I had ten minutes to catch them a fish but I only took five.

The kids went on their way after a look at the Zeds teeth and dipping my tackle box for Kopyto Shads and SG Dying minnows, minus the hooks of course.
The fish were still in the mood, so was I, so we cracked on together till dusk.
My intention had been to fish for a few hours on Sunday before heading home. The canal had been very good to me, thirty odd fish, my first Carp and some great memories. I decided to quit while I was ahead. I settled for a few beers on Saturday night, some sleep and a visit to the Christmas market on Sunday, nice way to end the trip as Christmas seemed to have arrived early for me.