Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell.
For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career.
He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.
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WHY DO YOU GO FISHING?
To catch fish? Enjoy the countryside? Escape from the other half? Maybe all of the above, although you may not confess to the final question! But most anglers will probably agree that catching fish isn’t the be-all and end-all of their trips to the bankside.
Obviously it’s great to catch a few and use the landing net but more than anything you should be going home with a sense of having had a good day out.
Just recently the weather gods haven’t really favoured our sport and the floods certainly kyboshed the start of my usual end-of-season river campaign! But with careful planning it’s still been possible to grab some decent sport and enjoyable days out.
I’ve kept a very close eye on the weather forecast – which appears to change by the hour on the Met Office app – and the work put in on that front has certainly paid off. We’ve had some great windows of opportunity on the bank with some more than satisfying catches – and in weather a lot warm than we would normally expect at this time of the year.
Last Sunday was meant to be soaking wet (there’s a change…) but we saw the rain would abate by 9am and not return until around 2pm, according to the forecast. The weather people were right and we packed in at 1.30pm and stashed the gear in the car without getting wet.
Having sussed there would be an overnight frost but that a tinge of colour from all the rain would be in the canal that was our destination, a deeper stretch that would not be hit by the sudden cold snap, especially as it is partially protected by trees.
Bang on! A perch first drop in then Music Mike and I had around 30 fish each, a mix of roach and perch, my best two stripeys going around 1lb 8oz and a shade over 2lb. Now that’s a nice fishing session – bolstered by good company, a dry day, not too chilly but a bracing bit of fresh air.
There was also enough wildlife – no, not the one lot of canoeists who were quite pleasant, or the dog walkers, who for once were quite considerate – but the squirrels, birds and other assorted mini beasts prowling the banks. The fat robin that managed to cadge a few maggots from me just made the day even more enjoyable.
So don’t just give up if it’s raining, windy or frosty. Plan ahead and think out which venues might still fish whatever the conditions.
When those floods die away and flowing waters start to slow down a little, the fishing should be sock-on. The extra water will have washed away debris, fallen leaves and the last of that summer weed.
Colour in the water will make the fish more willing to feed and if your find were the various species are holed up you should find them in a feeding mood, ready for the close season and also because they will have expended energy battling against heavy flows.
First place to fish will be those slacks, backwaters, sidestreams and lock cuts. Don’t ignore the rivers, give them a whirl.
COLIN MITCHELL WILL BE BACK WITH HIS POPULAR PLEASURE FISHING BLOG NEXT SUNDAY.
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