Wild and Windy on the Canal

A brief encounter with Dominic Garnett who was manning his DG Fishing stand at the West of England Game Fair on Saturday inspired me to the need to get out and go fishing; and soon. Talking to Dominic brought to mind the distinct lack of fishing I’ve actually done since Christmas – one solitary trip in a little over two and a half months!!

To rectify this terrible state of affairs, Sunday morning saw me up and in the car before first light, bleary eyed and already regretting the decision. I reached my selected fishing destination, the Grand Western Canal at Halberton for first light; and stepping out of the car to peer over the Greenway bridge, I wasn’t filled with optimism. Every angler will appreciate the joy of looking over the side of a bridge on a sunny day to gaze into the water below, with the hope and expectation that goes with this simple activity. In this case, there wasn’t much to be seen in the half light of dawn, mainly due to the waves and chocolate coloured water, making any hope of seeing anything below the surface an impossibility.

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I retreated to the car to seek shelter from the cold and wind with the intention of heading for home. A short internal mental battle with myself ensued, which to set a long story short resulted in me deciding rather stubbornly that as I’d gone to the effort of getting here I might as well wet a line at least.

The wind, and there was plenty of it, was straight down the canal, but was at least from my left hand side, which suited my right hand casting style. As the light grew it also became apparent that the water clarity was better than I’d first thought – murky, but not completely coloured up. If I put the fly right past a fish, it might actually have a chance of noticing it.

Brightly coloured flies were the order of the day and I duly worked my way along the bank, undisturbed by any other canal users due to the early hours and pretty uninviting weather I guess. I can’t begin to pretend that my heart was really in it, and after an hour and a half of misery I’d pretty much decided to have one last cast. As is often the case in these situations the “one last cast” turned into another half dozen or so which resulted in an oh so welcome fish, in the form of a small jack pike taken right under the rod tip. I didn’t see the fish take, partly due to the water clarity or lack of, but more likely due to my lack of attention…

Either way, a fish is a fish and I went home happy. Happy to be out of the wind…. Looking forward to the warm, still summers days on the canal when I can stalk the Rudd amongst the lilypads in gin clear water, with my only concern being whether it’s time to apply more suncream or not. Roll on summer!

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