Whiling away time until the start of the new coarse fishing season was always one of the greatest frustrations in years gone past. When I was growing up in Somerset, pretty much all local waters observed the traditional closed season. Nowadays, especially since moving to Devon there seem to be opportunities aplenty for fishing all year round, be it ponds, or the local canals or the ubiquitous commercial carp lakes – and what better way to see out the last week before the start of the new season than by testing a new rod on one of the local canals?
I’d recently purchased a new #4 set up and desperately needed to christen it. Not being able to justify vast expense on another rod and reel, I settled on a Leeda Voltaire IV rod & Vision Keeper #2/4 Reel, coupled with an airlo floating line. Cheap, yet no doubt perfectly capable of catching fish – if only my ability can do it justice.
New rod in hand, I popped to the Grand Western Canal near Tiverton to try my luck for some of the big rudd that inhabit the canal. I took a stroll down the Greenway section of the the canal near Halberton but was disappointed to see it looking slightly more coloured than I’d expected. There weren’t the numerous and highly visible shoals of rudd apparent that I’ve seen in previous times, but there were several swims where tench were rolling on the surface. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a few casts for the tench but in the end it was the trusty rudd that christened the new rod. There were none of the big rudd that I know inhabit the canal to be seen, and only their little 3″ – 6″ brethern present, but still they all count. I couldn’t tempt anything to rise to a dry fly no matter which fly I tried or how carefully it was presented and in the end it was the a slowly sinking spider that proved effective fished on a long leader and fine tippet.
The new rod and reel proved a delight to fish with, well balanced and feather-weight. I think this may well become my rod of choice when fly fishing for coarse fish on my local canals and small rivers.