We must be mad but there are others that are certifiable as well. We had the 3rd round of the LEC cup in the basin on the Chichester Canal on Sunday. Upon arrival we found that the water seemed to have been double booked as there was a contingent from Portsmouth pegging the section that we had (and they had) booked! Anyway we decided that we would let them use the towpath side and we would have a go on the roadside. In my memory we have never used this section before for a match so it would be interesting to see how it fished. We would also have a direct comparison with the towpath under identical conditions
Mentioning conditions it was bitterly cold with a biting wind, but Rab (our weatherman) reckoned we would be finished and packed up before the forecast snow arrived. In the event Rab got it a bit wrong we had some brief flurries of snow late morning and it really began to throw it down at around 2.30pm when we still had half an hour to fish.
However as we were on the roadside we had our cars parked directly behind us and that made packing up much easier. I have to admit that I basically threw everything into the back of the car with the thought that I would sort it out when I got home.
Being on the roadside restricted us as far as method was concerned as we had very little shipping room to handle a pole. Most opted for the waggler with perhaps the back up of a whip for the inside line. It was also interesting to see what the Portsmouth guys on the towpath were up to as they started half hour before us. Most seemed to be fishing the pole at about 10 metres with a couple using a waggler. All seemed to be catching reasonably steadily but most fish seemed to be ‘swingers’ rather than ‘netters’.
It was certainly quite a busy day, we started off with a visit from Ron the canal bailiff who reckoned we might have actually got the better side of the basin, given the conditions. He also gave us one or two interesting bits of information with regard to the canal in general. The project to put some platforms in below Hunston is up and running again and work is expected to start soon. What is particularly heartening is the fact that they intend to make these platforms wheelchair friendly. They have also managed to catch some individuals who have been putting nets across the canal, presumably to remove fish. Legal proceeding are pending with these and the canal authority are keen to push them through. They are also hoping to improve some of the signage along the canal.
They are also aware that there have been some issues with cyclists on the towpath and are considering what can be done to make sure that they respect other canal users a little more. All this is very positive and will only help to enhance this fishery. We then have a visit from the EA bailiffs who checked that everyone had their rod licenses. Finally there was an 18th birthday party on the Richmond, this provided some distraction especially for John W who having seen the number of bottles that were taken on board was hoping he might get an invite!
Anyway that’s probably more than enough waffle and I’m sure you really want to find out how we got on with the fishing.
Vince started off on the waggler about 1/3 of the way across fishing over loose feed only and almost immediately started catching roach, the fish varied in size but certainly seemed a better size of fish than the ones being caught from the opposite side. As the wind got up and it became difficult to see the float at distance Vince came onto the inside on the whip, catch rate was variable with small runs of fish and then a quiet period. Alternating between these two methods for the rest of the match and put together a very respectable 8 – 3 – 0 for 1st place.
To Vince’s left Steve started on his favoured whip approach and started with a run of reasonable roach. These seemed to dry up so he then went over to the waggler and picked up a few skimmers, however due to the chop on the water it became very difficult to see the float and he came back to the whip line. Towards the end of the match conditions improved for the waggler and a few more skimmers were taken together with a few more roach. Steve was always playing catch up with Vince but ended up with 5 – 15 – 0 to secure 2nd place.
Rab did actually set up a pole and was first off the mark with his first fish within seconds of the start and continued to catch steadily throughout the match. Most of Rab’s fish were on the small side and although he did well on numbers his 5 – 2 – 0 was only good for 3rd place.
Generally given the conditions some pretty reasonable weights were brought to the scales, which shows just how reliable the canal is as a fishery, particularly at this time of year. With one round to go Steve still has his nose in front on 28 points with Vince very close on 26, and Rab has dropped back a bit on 24. The last round is in a couple of weeks time and hopefully the weather will be a bit kinder to us then.