Monday, 21 December 2015

Regent's Canal first fish!

This time of year I do prefer a spot of urban fishing. I know the die-hards will be out their on the muddy banks, fighting the elements, man (or woman!) against fish. Me, I am a city-boy, I don't get the attraction of mud!

A week or so ago, there I was sitting on the bank, competing in the last match of the year for me. Very few fish, a bit damp and very muddy. As you may have guessed I am not a great lover of the cold, wet and MUDDY countryside, at least not sitting in it for hours on end. Yes, I did enjoy myself on that occasion but I don't want to make a habit of it when I can get my fishing fix in far more familiar surroundings - Town.

No mud and minimal gear makes urban fishing the way to go for me at this time of year 
Another big draw for me is that it is free, not that I mind paying for my fishing but if I only want to spend a couple of hours at it I don't feel like I have paid for a whole day. With the gear all sorted out we made our way over to King's Cross with the intention of fishing to the East of the station.

At the moment the railways in London are constantly being disrupted for works. some of this is small and occasional maintenance operations but others are not. The Crossrail project causes all sorts of closures from time to time but for us it is London Bridge closures that have the most impact. On Sunday it was completely closed with no trains even running through it. A quick search of the Transport for London (TfL) website gave us alternative routes and we were pleased to see that we could travel from one of our local stations and trains were being diverted into Victoria Station instead. A handful of stops on the Victoria Line tube and we were standing on the concourse of King's Cross Station.

Rusty buildings seem to be the in thing
The redevelopment of the area around King's Cross is staggering. The area has changed beyond all recognition. New buildings progress skyward with a relentless momentum that seems unstoppable. I must say I do like a lot of the modern architecture but I am puzzled over the idea of featuring bare steel that is allowed to rust. It seems to be the current flavour of the month, not only with buildings, but signs and bizarrely, art installations in urban areas that bleed  their rust stains onto the fine stone plinths and paving that surrounds them. Maybe I am just getting old!

The building in the picture above is not rusty because it is being built, it is meant to be that way! Even the hoardings around the site are printed with a 'rust' effect. Maybe it will grow on me but I think I would prefer to see it finished rather than just left, seems like a cop-out to me...

... I digress, back to the fishing.

Fuzzy fish!
Yes, I know it is not up to our usual standard. You just can't get the staff these days. My gillette (female version of a ghillie...) was having trouble with the camera. Quality aside, had to include this rather fuzzy picture of the very first fish I have caught dropshotting. Not only that, it is the first fish I have caught in the Regent's Canal!

Crazy Fish Tipsy from AGM
It was loafing about at the rear of one of the houseboats moored along the canal. I used one of the Fox ready-made dropshot rigs and a small orange Crazy Fish 5cm Tipsy that the fish went for on the first drop. These little plastic lures are impregnated with the most disgusting smells - in this case it is squid. There are thousands to choose from and it is a case of just pick a few and see what works. This one came from AGM but whatever you do don't go and brows their catalogue, you could spend a fortune on little plastic fish! Seriously, they have a vast collection of these lures and all sorts of hooks, weights and jig-heads. You do need to have a few spares if you are fishing in urban canals. They are full of old rubbish and although the Regent's was cleaned in places last year, it is still full of stuff to entangle your gear. I lost a couple of lures, hooks and weights that just would not wriggle free. I think as time goes on I will get to know where not to fish. I lost one rig while fishing around the temporary floating pontoons that are being used to keep the toe-path open while it is being refurbished in several places, especially around Kings Cross. I suspect I hooked a submerged tethering rope. I will not be going too near those in future.

As the night started to close in the whole place takes on a new feeling (I think they call it a vibe these days). The lights come on and still the world carries on. One feature of the canal is the floating shop that moves about from one place to the other supplying peculiar collections of pages, decorated with type and pictures. They are heavy and completely devoid of hyper-links of any kind - I think they call them books - remember those?

The picture is taken from the top of the modem flight of steps that marks the entrance to the now filled in basin that now forms Granary Square. The area has changed so much that is hard to recognise where you are if you venture away from the canal.

Do bookworms make good bait?
As we were packing up to leave we spotted this heron on the opposite bank feasting on all he (she?) could find. Again, sorry about the grim picture but the light was going, it was too far away and I was standing on a pontoon, that was far from stable, using a compact camera. But you get the idea. It was his fault I only caught one fist in a couple of hours - Well, that is my excuse anyway. We only had a couple of hours on the Canal but it was very enjoyable and I learnt a few things. One thing I must do is to buy some bright coloured braid. It was almost impossible to see the line in the low light conditions. I am also going to buy a good selection of cheap weights as they are bound to get snagged from time to time and I don't want to fill the canal with expensive tungsten weights. Another thought maybe to try some weed-less hooking techniques with the hook point almost buried in the small plastic lure. I think I need to have a hunt around for some more supplies and I must not go on the AGM site, no, not even for a little glance, no.... not at all... Well, maybe just a quick peek...