Being a match angler taking part in lots of matches every week, including the canal pairs competition, it's not very often I get the chance to do any pleasure fishing.
I was thinking the other week about when I was a young boy fishing near my mum's house on the Llangollen Canal in Whixall, and how much of a shame it was that I hadn't managed to go there for years. My first thoughts were, how did we carry all our gear to the canal from the bridge? Those were the days before we used trolleys. It gradually dawned on me that in those days we hadn't got anywhere near the amount of gear we carry these days. So, with me having a sense of an adventure and loving a story, I decided to have a day fishing in my old haunt on the canal at Whixall.
Back to basics
Firstly, in keeping with the spirit of adventure, I decided that just like in the past I'd take the minimal amount of gear and not take a trolley. Needless to say I had to lighten the tackle, otherwise I'd never have managed. I went back to basics and took just a rod and reel, a small box of terminal tackle, a keep net, a landing net and a seat. For bait, I took only some liquidised bread and just four slices for the hook, none of the fancy ground baits and multiple bait choices that we have these days.
Down memory lane
The night before I could hardly sleep with the prospect of going down memory lane, so I was up at the crack of dawn and drove to the old bridge down Moss Lane. It hadn't changed at all.
It's strange to go back to places that you used to go as a kid. They look much smaller now and this was no different. It made me smile as I could easily cast across to the other side, whereas I remember as a kid it seemed massive. Or perhaps I was just a poor caster in those days!
I settled in and set up my one rod with a light waggler float and threw out two balls of bread feed into the canal, following it with a small piece of bread on the hook. Nothing happened for a good ten minutes but it was nice just to take in the scenery and not have the stress of a fishing match.
Bite out of the blue
Suddenly I had a bite from a roach. I cast out again and got another bite of roach. I started to throw in the odd ball of bread feed and this made the fishing even better. It was good with mainly roach and the odd gudgeon showing, but it wasn't hectic.
I ended the day with about three pounds of fish and had to wonder if these fish had ever been caught before, as there were no signs of any other anglers about. This was confirmed when a dog walker came past and commented that he hadn't seen anybody here fishing for years. What a shame.
So if you've got a nearby canal that doesn't get fished, it would be well worth visiting, as there are probably a stack of fish just waiting to be caught and you will definitely have a great day, just like I did.