Alvechurch Fisheries, Canal Pool

May the 13th, 14 fished.

A bumper bonanza blog today – and it’s give-away time – as deep-shallow reaches its first birthday. Also, a further cause for celebration is the fact that we are rapidly approaching ten thousand views – no small achievement for a thrown-together pile of fish-related nonsense.

So, to commemorate this joyous occasion, I’d like to offer the 10,000th reader of the blog a signed rig, the choice of message will be the lucky winner’s own – but check out the image below to see the level of detail you can expect…

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Quite simply, a beautiful gift…

Just a short entry this week (“hooray”, I hear you shout) as an imminent house-move means that I can’t commit to my usual carefully-crafted three thousand words. I categorise my blogs by the industry standard of how many trips to the toilet you can expect to take whilst reading them, and this week’s entry is thus classified as a “two shitter” – or a “three shitter” for a slow reader like Ollie Corbett.

… And talking of Mr.Corbett, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ollie and Amber on their recent wedding – may you have a long and happy marriage. Knowing that Ollie can’t lie straight in bed, and that his post-match weight predictions are always ludicrously far out, there has been a suggestion that he convinced Amber to wed him by telling her he is six feet two and has £300,000 in the bank. I won’t divulge who started this malicious rumour, but I drew next to him today – and it wasn’t Brian.

Leading up to this contest I had a number of text messages from Nelly Palmer, the nature of which shifted more and more off-centre as the week went on. Now, Nelly generally acts like he can’t stand to be around me; I say ‘acts’ because I know that this isn’t true, he merely feigns an avid dislike for me by saying things like ‘I hate you, Daniel’ as he stares menacingly into my eyes.

Anyway, lately, and for reasons known only to him, Nelly has been bombarding me with text messages – and some curious requests. This correspondence started early in the week, quite innocently, with this…

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As the week went on, things began to get a little strange…

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Towards the end of the week, as I was working a night-shift, my phone pinged. And with this new message, Nelly leapt firmly into “The Weird Zone…”

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Unperturbed by such perturbing messages, I arrived at the fishery, getting there early as I was on pegging-out duties. Before I even had a chance to get a cup of tea from the cafe or say good morning to the lads, Nelly was running towards me, gift in hand, shouting “selfie time”. Now the pedant in me wanted to point out that, by definition, it can’t be a “selfie” if there is more than one person in shot, but I thought better of it and obliged…

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“He’s eating the pallets, oh I can’t look, the villa twat is eatin the bagga fuckin pallets…”

So, once I had taken some one-hundred-and-sixty-three selfies with Nelly, we gathered outside the Fishery cafe to draw. There was only one peg in the bag that I didn’t want, number 14 – anywhere else would do. As it was, I found myself one along in the shape of peg 16.

When I arrived at my home for the next five hours I felt quietly confident; the pool’s central island was reachable at around 14 meters, with an inviting mud bank to fish up to. I also had two nice edges to go at, the right hand margin being long and particularly fishy-looking. If I couldn’t catch well in any of these spots, the plan was to fish shallow down the track for the hordes of hungry ide.

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Peg 16…

Now, I’m aware that after this long intro, I’m in serious danger of entering ‘three-shitter’ territory, so I’ll spare you a defecation by skipping a few of the preliminary blog details. Sorry Eddie, but there’s no room for any rig porn this week, but suffice to say there was some fishing line, floats, a number of shots and get this… hooks!

For bait I brought a bit of everything: maggots, casters, worms, corn, pellets, paste and pubes (just checking you’re still reading – of course I didn’t take any paste.)

For company today I had a couple of grand old fellows: firstly, in the shape of Brian Cartridge, over on unfancied peg 14…

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Brian…

And over on peg 18, I had Gentleman* Jim Smith to talk to…

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*He told me I had to call him “Gentleman”…

At 10.15 the ‘all in’ was called. I planned on starting my match fishing across to the mud bank, where there was a perfect depth of around fifteen inches. I would fish a lassoed 6mm pellet, feeding the same through a cad-pot or with a catapult. I thought that I had decided upon the correct gambit when I hooked a carp after just a couple of minutes, but the following bite-less twenty minutes left me wondering what to do. So, I filled a medium-sized cad pot with groundbait, put a segment of worm onto the hook, and shipped back over. Again, nothing – after recent good weights on this pool, the contest hadn’t started as well as I had expected it to. In fact, very little was being caught around the lake – and over on peg 11 Eddie Swan was already settling into his weekly, sponsored complain-a-thon.

With around forty minutes of the contest gone, I decided to venture down the track to see if the ide had arrived in numbers. I had been loose-feeding maggots and casters here since the ‘all in’ and was interested to see if a shoal had settled. This proved to be a decent decision, as although the swim wasn’t “solid”, I was catching enough to keep me interested. I had to keep altering depths and changing my feeding to keep in touch with the ide, but when I did catch one it was of a decent stamp, so I made the decision to stick with this until either somebody started to catch carp regularly or the shoal spooked (a common characteristic of the ide.)

Wanting to get an understanding of whether or not the ide were worth targeting, I embarked on a little time trial. I set about catching as many as I could in twenty minutes, with my final tally being ten. I then did the maths: if each ide averaged 10oz, three fish would go 2lb (almost). Therefore, if I could maintain my catch-rate, I would be putting 20lb in the net each hour – or 100lb of ide over a five hour contest.

Alas, it didn’t work out quite like this, and after ninety minutes of plundering these beautiful little fish, they completely disappeared. Perhaps I could have added a section of pole and chased them out, or fed more aggressively to draw them back in. Instead, I took this period of inactivity as my cue to look down the right hand margin, where I had fed maggots by hand since the contest began.

First look down the edge, with treble maggot on a size 16 – in an attempt to avoid the “nuisance fish” – and the float buried. After a phenomenal scrap considering the size of the fish, Bertie Barbel was safely in my landing net.

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Ya beauty!

Bertie was soon joined in the onion bag by several of his siblings, but while I was having a lovely time catching such stunning fish, experience tells me that they don’t often “weigh”. On Peg 12 Pete Holtham was now catching carp down the edge, and on neighbouring Peg 11 Eddie was catching carp regularly, fishing corn down the edge and paste out in front. I don’t even have to look up to know how Eddie is faring in a contest, he is our club’s grumble tannoy and if three minutes go by without a gripe of some sort, he’s either catching fish or has died.

With just a couple of hours remaining in the contest, I was into a lovely little rhythm, alternating my edge lines. I fished corn over pellet to my left, specifically targeting the pool’s ‘stocky’ carp. To my right I fished natural baits: maggots, casters and worms, in a “catch anything that swims” approach. Although I was clearly falling behind Eddie, who was now up to 22 carp, I felt that I was fishing my own match and faring reasonably well… that is until I heard some off-putting commotion coming from the other end of the pool, and more specifically peg 5.

It was Nelly Palmer, whistling and waving, trying to get my attention: “Dan… Dan… DAAAAN…” It was quite reminiscent of the famous Alan Partridge scene – only Nelly was far more persistent. I did my best to ignore this bellowing, but just as I thought he had admitted defeat and would leave me in peace to see out my match, Nelly had other ideas, and my phone pinged…

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The ‘Villa’ bit hurt most!

With ninety minutes of the contest remaining, I had my first proper sticky spell: I couldn’t buy a bite on my corn line and if I went down the right margin I struggled with foul-hookers. So, I took the decision to feed the right hand edge with a big pot, in the hope that the fish would get their heads down. The left hand side would continue to be fed by hand, but I would step this up in the hope of drawing a few fish in. While these lines settled, I had a recce back out long to the island.

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Back long…

Surprisingly, I only added one more fish to the tally out long to the island, I wasn’t getting the liners that are common when fishing in shallow water up to a feature, so I believe the fish just weren’t there.

So, I came back in and spent the final hour of my contest back down the edges, picking off the odd fish but still foul-hooking far too many. I had made a hash of my margin feeding, piling in too much bait in the hope of drawing in some fish. A proper catch 22 situation really, as to an extent heavy feeding had worked; I felt like there were more fish in my edges than in Brian’s two pegs away, but it was difficult to pin them down as they competed for all of the loose particles.

At 3.15 the all out was signalled, to call time on what had been a fantastic fishing match. I had plenty of bites over the five hours, catching a variety of species – I’d thoroughly enjoyed myself. Eddie had the contest sewn up, and was admitting to a total of 40 plus carp – a bag of fish likely to go over 80lb. Aside from this though, it looked like it would be very close between me, Pete Holtham, Jim Smith and Danny Hamilton – only the scales would tell.

We didn’t have to wait long to find out, as fishery manager Phil arrived to weigh us in. It quickly became clear that it had been a good, close contest, as the low number pegs threw up weights of 45lb, 55lb and 59lb.

It was now time to find out what Eddie Swan’s bag of fish would total, and after two weighs they took the scales round to a fantastic 91lb – well done! On peg 12, Pete “Big Pot” Holtham placed 61lb into the weigh-sling. When the scales got to me I believed it would be close between me and Pete; my first net went 46lb (a little more than I thought), added to this 31lb of ide, giving me 77lb and second place, for now.

My estimation of how quickly I’d snared the ide was very close to the mark; I was catching at 20lb per hour pace. If I’m being self-critical, my set-up wasn’t quite right for catching these silver fish, for a start my Dura 10 elastic was far too harsh. Replace this with a 7 Hollo or a solid 6 and the shoal would be far less likely to spook. I believe that with a little fine-tuning of my approach, 100lb of silvers from Alvechurch would be achievable.

Back to the weigh in now, and on peg 16 Gentleman Jim chipped-in with 56lb, beaten next door by Danny Hamilton, who found a number of carp late on to place 64lb on the scales.

As we made our way down to weigh in Dave Richards on end peg 26, he looked at my feet, noticing I was wearing the discerning summer angler’s footwear of choice: flip-flops. “I couldn’t fish in those!”, he remarked.

I hope it’s not too unkind of me to point this out to you David, but find pictured below some other footwear you can’t fish in…

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… your own shoes.

That’s it for this week – and what an excellent contest it was. If you book venues for a fishing club with 20 anglers or less, I urge you to give the Colmic Canal a try. It’s not a big-weight pool, but the fishing is interesting, is varied and the fish are well spread out, meaning weights tend to be close…

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The numbers…

Before I sign off I’d like to clear a few things up. Firstly: I’ve seen the word count and I can only apologise – it wasn’t a short blog after all. Regular readers will know that I don’t use ten words when two thousand will do, and for this reason I believe this blog is in need of reclassification, receiving “four shitter” status.

Secondly, a little accolade to give out: this week’s Moan of the Match award (not a spelling mistake) goes to none other than Eddie Swan – well angled that man…

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Ed…

Lastly, for those of you who might be concerned about this, Nelly and I eventually patched up our differences. He sent me a text message apology as I drove home from the Hopwood Inn and everything is now back to normal – if ‘normal’ is the right word…

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… and I did!

Until next time…

6 thoughts on “Alvechurch Fisheries, Canal Pool

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