January saw me back out on the Coventry canal with my fellow team mates from the Colmic Soar fishing team. Fishing the Browning Central Teams of Four over 6 rounds in and around Coventry, Atherstone and Nuneaton.
Although the fishing is not easy when you are up against the likes of Matrix Trent Man, Shakespeare Super Team and Browning Central to name just three of the 12 teams. The crack and being made so welcome is a tribute to how well the league is run.
Missing the first run, Bill from the team took my place with the opening round in Coventry itself. Although, both myself and little man ventured down to the draw for brekkie plus give Billy a hand to find his way around.
The second round was around Atherstone where I drew peg A3 at Westwood playing fields A3 was the peg I drew the year before and won the round. Things would be a little different this time though. The peg had been moved to the left,closer to the the bridge thus just out the the boat yard. I didn’t fish it to my best, being battered by Darren Massey to my right. Plus I had problems with a pike in my swim that kept crashing though the water scattering fish everywhere. I ended up rotating two pegs as best I could fishing Bloodworm well off the bottom to snatch a few silvers.
Round Three a cold one. Daily temps had been dropping and with talk of the canals being frozen the ice breaker was going to be needed. Fishing through the ice wasn’t much of a worry as it can be very productive, but having had physio on an old shoulder injury in the week I wasn’t sure if swinging a 4lb ice breaker about for an hour was going to be possible.
Drawing another A3 peg! This time in Coventry at Canal View, a really nice bit of water I might add. The canal was frozen solid! As the canal was quite wide at this point, plus on a slight bend I could see where I needed to get to fish the track but it was at least 12 mtrs out. With my shoulder, I just could not get to it and after a good half hour I had to give in to it.
Plumbing up I found I was just on the slope of boat track, not so good as any loose feed would roll down and away from me. The plan was to to come back a bit to try and draw a few fish up the slope to my waiting trap. I’d only really got one line to fish, so I mixed a small amount of joker in with my punch crumb the idea being I could try bread punch and bloodworm over the same area. I didn’t catch too bad, but was miles out of the running so I was bit disappointed as the fish were clearly there just in the track where I thought they would be and couldn’t reach.
Round 4 and the temperatures were completely different to the last round with 8 degrees showing at 5.40 the morning! I was really looking forward this round with the slightly warmer temperatures, the hope was for a good draw and a few fish in the net could be possible. Yet again it just wasn’t to be, the weather was OK, but my draw was far from it. A short walk from the draw venue saw me on C3 a short section between two lock gates, a quick chat with Jason from Shaky Super Team who had drawn the end peg said “it could be a tough one this”. Great!? I suppose all we can hope is that there’s a shed load of fish trapped in our section and that there’s no boat traffic – wrong! Well at least it wasn’t far back to the pub for a pint. Think I was around 8th in section.
Round 5 dawned wet, horrible with blinding sunshine thrown in for good measure. Back to Coventry again on C section peg 4. Looked good for a few fish and with Lee Wright from Matrix saying he had 4lb of Roach from around that area on the winter I thought my fortunes may be a bit better this week.
On arriving at my peg it was almost like an end peg to my right, get in there! Straight in front the canal was quite narrow about 10 mtrs but it widened slightly to the right. Had a look around behind me at how narrow the tow path was with a thick hedge. Shipping the pole out at any length over 9 mtrs was not going the be easy. I could side ship but to fish to the right where I really wanted to be, bring 13mtrs of pole from right to left sideways then trying the swing 13mtrs across 10mtrs of canal was just not going to work. I tried desperately to ship up the hedge behind me but the angle was so much that fishing a bait like bread was a nightmare. I did manage to plumb up to my right and it seemed bob on, at the whistle I carefully cupped in some punch however the wind was getting up and blowing loads of rubbish down the peg right where I needed to be. After a few very frustrating ships out I had to give up on this line for a bit as every time the rig would get snagged up in the rubbish or the bread punch would come off.
Straight across it was then. As well as baiting up to my right I had cupped in a few small balls of groundbait, a mix of nearly all Mole Hill Soil,a touch of Match Pro Canal for smell and a pinch of Joker. First put in and the float buried, after a few fish the swim started to die so a pinch of groundbait was cupped in. Looking to my right I noticed that the rubbish had moved out of that area so gave the line in front a rest and carefully shipped out the best I could to my right. Problem I had now was was then sun, the water was like a mirror with the reflection of the far bank railings I couldn’t see to float properly even painting the float tip black I was still struggling, but a caught a few Roach from there. So the fish were there like Lee had said, but I just could not fish properly for them!.
The weather was meant to turn with a predicted storm due, we didn’t get the full storm but the wind got up and it hammered it down. With no room on the bank for an umbrella it was hunker down and carry on plugging away.
Round 6 was another section that I’d never been to before. The Clock Bridge just outside Atherstone, what a lovely section of canal. An old boat yard from yesteryear that looks like it is still being used by the Canals and River Trust. Peg B10 was my home for the day and have to say it looked good for a bite or two, however the two pegs down from me looked even better as they weren’t so open.
Again, the weather was meant to take a turn for the worse even though it was lovely and sunny. I set up three lines – one down the track for punch and pinkie, one across just at the bottom of the shelf for worm and joker, and one down the peg to my left on top of the far shelf in the hope of a billy or two.
After a few puts in I was into fish straight away and so was the chap to my right, but looking else where I couldn’t see anyone catching. The wind was really getting up and I could hear Daz Lewis shouting and cursing a few pegs away. Midday and everything stopped, the wind was proper up by now. It was a big struggle holding the pole and I could see everyone else struggling to.
Now having come unstuck on more than one occasion where I had loads of room but couldn’t get to where I needed. I got myself a short feeder / bomb rod, well we used to use rod and line on the canal 20 odd years ago so why not now! A Middy White Knuckle Feeder fitted the bill just nice, 8ft long really, soft progress action, and something that I could leave set up in my holdall. Anyway, with the wind as it was I thought now’s the time, I could chuck a nano cage feeder down the peg stuffed with choppy and just sit and hold the rod across my knee. Pucker! I missed the first bite as it took me by surprise, a check around and everyone was still fighting the wind with their poles. So another flick down the peg and a small skimmer soon followed, but that was it nothing.
The call for time came and that was it. I weighed in, got 3rd in section being beat to 2nd by 1g!! That was it, the end of the Brown Teams of Four League.
Back to the pub so see what the scores on the doors were.
On the final day we came joint 7th out of 12 teams with 26 points, so that wasn’t bad. Over the whole league we didn’t fair too well coming joint 11th on 200 points with Browning Northants.
As mentioned above, although a hard league with the weather against you most of the time but hats off to the lads that set it up and run it, thank you Browning Central.