A fortnight had passed since my Marsh Farm crucian capers, and with a new PB crucian tucked under my belt it was time to return to the familiar, and a spot of relaxation on the canal. Whereas the run-up to Marsh Farm had me reeling with expectations and dreams of quality specimens, this time the ambitions were less lofty, yet no less laudable: to chill out, land a few modestly sized fish and catch up with Pete.
A recent promotion at work means that Pete now has a better chance of keeping his family in the manner they'd like to become accustomed, but the busyness and demands of his new position had meant that he'd had to miss the Marsh Farm fish-in, and hadn't even wet a line for several weeks. And so, on a sunny morning that should have been autumnal but had decided to imitate summer, we found ourselves on the towpath of the Grand Union canal, armed with worms and red maggots with the intention of pursuing perch, and the option of using said perch as livebaits if we felt the urge to segue from targeting perca fluviatilis to esox lucius during the session.
The canal was looking at its best, as was Pete, who'd turned up wearing a T shirt that managed to combine humour, faith and fishing, with it's "Jesus said: 'go fishing'" logo, and we were soon catching perch. The plan had been to catch a few perch and then start using them as livebait for pike, the only problem being that while the perch couldn't by any stretch of the imagination be described as large, they were too large to be comfortably used as bait, although eventually one of small enough stature was landed and duly lip-hooked on a pike slider rig along with the obligatory wire trace. Said fish remained untroubled by pike, and was in due course released to swim off, sadder and wiser having failed to be troubled by any marauding "crocs".
The odd boat passed, and Pete and I enjoyed the occasional conversation with friendly members of the fraternity of local narrow boat dwellers, who, having done their morning ablutions and boat related tasks walk the bank and seem to live life at a slower pace, a stress free and "alternative" lifestyle, where it appears that time "collects" rather than passes.
I had errands and jobs to complete (Friday is my day off) related to the real world of dry land, domesticity and family, and so bade farewell to Pete, who packed his float fishing gear into his car, and set off to bank walk with a dropshot rod, which secured him half a dozen more perch, smaller in size than their predecessors, and including the one pictured below. Even when the fish are unspectacular (at least, in size- perch are always spectacular in appearance, with their stripy livery and spiky dorsals) and the fishing only "steady", there's no better way to while away a morning. I drove out of the car park, humming a tune and with a spring in my metaphorical step ...... it doesn't take much!