Superb Canal Skimmer Session

Silverfisher

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Well today I had one of those sessions when you just get lucky and sit yourself in exactly the right place. A combination of not having seen how much the Thames had dropped since it was a mess midweek and a big session in London for the rugby yesterday had me not really feeling getting up early and gambling on the river so chose to go down the canal instead. Was hoping that despite the couple frosts we’ve had this weekend and the bright sun the still heavily coloured water from the rain and bit of warmth from the sun would get a few skimmers moving but I didn’t expect what happened that’s for sure. My usual stretch was a no go with the wind hacking up it so luckily there was one gap in the boats in the sheltered marina so I went for that. I’d not fished the swim before but it was probably about 50 yards on both sides from spots I’d fished before so figured it worth a shot and wasn’t it half!

Yesterdays beers and the frosty start meant I had a lay in so didn’t start fishing until nearly 10 then fished through until just after 3 when the sun dropping behind the trees pretty much halved the temperature. In that time I had 28 skimmers and 6 perch which of any size would have been ok for late winters day. But the size was very good indeed with every single fish needing a landing net with at least 25 of the fish being over a pound with the biggest few maybe 3lb and the average probably working out over half that. They may well have amassed to maybe 50lb so probably double what I’ve ever done on the Thames let alone the canal that I usually really struggle with. The fish were just packed up under a boat and I had to cast within about foot of it to get a bite and further off and it was zilch so was just so lucky with where I sat myself. Really was an unbelievable session with almost every fish putting a good bend into the rod. Even though I was putting that fish back well away from the shoal I was amazed they never spooked as it was pretty steady sport all day.

Tackle wise it was the 13ft drennan acolyte ultra float rod paired with a 2500 shimano sahara RD reel loaded with 3lb maxima. I usually go with a lighter float and smaller hook on the canal than other venues but today I went with my preferred river and lake combo of a 1.5g drennan loaded crystal insert waggler to a size 18 to 2lb drennan silverfish hook to nylon. This was set up to just slightly overdepth in about 5ft of water which is quite deep for this canal which might have been another factor in why the fish were holed up there. It’s next to a turning bay so I guess the boats using that scour it out a bit deeper than the rest of it. Hookbait wise everything fell to single red maggot over loose feed of red maggots. Groundbait wise I picked up the wrong one really out of habit going for a roach one being Blake baits roach multi match (formerly called roach a choco) but it didn’t seem to make any difference and tbh I think loosefeed alone would have worked as was simply landing on top of fish. Only real trick was to not feed too many maggots at once as that tended to causing funny bites and liners.

My grandad was with me again and how his day unfolded just summed up how lucky I got with where I sat. Ge was fishing open water and after a skimmer first cast it then took a good couple hours to get them going and even then he only ended up with I think 10 skimmers. Still they were quality fish though probably averaging best part of a couple pounds and tbh he has the sort of day I’d have thought realistically the best achievable at the start of the session. He also had to fish it quite different to me having to feed more heavily and fish double and triple baits to get bites so I’d imagine whilst I was on top of fishing he was probably more picking up the odd one mooching around.

So all in all a very much unexpected but very welcome day. I wouldn’t rate it as highly as when I’ve done say 20lb plus river roach bags as that takes a bit more skill whereas today it was super simple fishing with the only skill really being casting accuracy really but it was still a very special session indeed and one that I doubt I’ll ever better on the canal. Turns out the river was fishable in places as I saw a match won with 30lb of mostly bream/skimmers today but tbh I didn’t mind missing out on the river today after how the canal produced! I was hoping to get on the river next weekend as it had looked dry this week but it now looks rather wet so might well be back on the canal again but we shall see.

Picture heavy today with one of the swim plus a selection of the skimmers of various sizes and the two biggest perch.

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Silverfisher

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Also worth noting that miraculously for a sunny day only 2 boats came by all day with both using the turning circle. They pretty much bookended the session as well so were no bother at all.
 

Paul_T

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That's a great day fishing on the canal by anyone's standard - nice work!
 

Silverfisher

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That's a great day fishing on the canal by anyone's standard - nice work!
Thanks mate 👍🏻

More by luck than judgement really just one of those days when you’re in the right place at the right time. Must have been a mega shoal under those boats!
 

TiggerXFM

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Nice one Silverfisher, well angled bud, I nearly ventured out myself but failed to muster the enthusiasum.
 

Silverfisher

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Good catch for the canal.
Which stretch was it ,?
Thanks it’s heyford marina. Not often fishable due to no gaps in boats but sometimes gaps open up like today.

Well done and a good write up
Thanks mate 👍🏻

Nice one Silverfisher, well angled bud, I nearly ventured out myself but failed to muster the enthusiasum.
Thanks mate 👍🏻

I could have easily skipped it today tbh when I work up after a rubbish sleep with gut load of Guinness to a stiff breeze and frost but so glad that I went in the end. If I’d known it was going to be that good fishing and quite nice in the sun and out of the wind I’d have got up an hour earlier! Don’t think I’d have managed much earlier than that today though 😅
 

SeanB

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Brilliant session, I'm quite jealous! Nice report too.
 

Silverfisher

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Brilliant session, I'm quite jealous! Nice report too.
Thanks mate 👍🏻

It was really was brilliant. Just crazy to have a session on a natural venue where almost every bite saw the rod properly hoop over when I struck, the stamp of fish really was unbelievable. Literally just placed myself on the hot spot it seemed.
 

adriang

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Brilliant. Canals are my second love, and thats deffo a red letter day. I ventured on the Thames (Radcot), it was a mistake! Only fished for about 30 mins, but ended up spending 3 hours talking!
 

squimp

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Brilliant. Canals are my second love, and thats deffo a red letter day. I ventured on the Thames (Radcot), it was a mistake! Only fished for about 30 mins, but ended up spending 3 hours talking!
Great session, well done.

I fished the main river yesterday too and it was rubbish.

Trotted bread thru 5 swims over half a mile of river for 2 bites. Biggest chub was 1.5 lb.

River coming back into condition after last weeks rain, but still very cold. Now it’s due to rain again……..
 

Silverfisher

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Brilliant. Canals are my second love, and thats deffo a red letter day. I ventured on the Thames (Radcot), it was a mistake! Only fished for about 30 mins, but ended up spending 3 hours talking!
Thanks mate 👍🏻

Really was a red letter day was just sat there in disbelief as the big skimmers just came out one after the other then got almost more ridiculous when the odd perch started coming out and they all needed the net as well! Quite glad I didn’t go on the Thames in the end 😅

Great session, well done.

I fished the main river yesterday too and it was rubbish.

Trotted bread thru 5 swims over half a mile of river for 2 bites. Biggest chub was 1.5 lb.

River coming back into condition after last weeks rain, but still very cold. Now it’s due to rain again……..
Thanks mate really was a great session one to remember for sure 👍🏻

Not surprised that that river was tough probably still needed a couple more dry days and don’t suppose the frosts helped either. Like you say the more rain due might curtail it for the season now 🙁
 

Zerkalo

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Sometimes those late hungover starts where you have to drag yourself out of bed end up being the best days. I was going to go yesterday but had one too many beers on Saturday night, that said, I doubt I would have matched that for a days fishing. Sounds like a great session!
 

Paul_T

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@squimp where did you try on the main river? I was due to try Medley but didn't make it. Cheese paste & floater cake was lovingly prepared the night before, but couldn't get out in the end. Am hoping to get up there this weekend.

Cheers
 

squimp

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@squimp where did you try on the main river? I was due to try Medley but didn't make it. Cheese paste & floater cake was lovingly prepared the night before, but couldn't get out in the end. Am hoping to get up there this weekend.

Cheers
I fished below Oxford.

River was shot to pieces last Tuesday, just about fishable on Thursday (barbel conditions) but full of rubbish. Really nice heavy water conditions on Friday (no rubbish) and it looked good yesterday - 6-9” visibility and a nice level. Strong wind didn’t help the trotting but I was surprised not to catch more. The last 2 nights of frost didn’t help.

But it was a recce mission on a newish stretch. The plan was to locate some chub holding areas and then go back and fish them more intensively…….I didn’t learn much !

It’s just started to rain here (near the source of the river) and is forecast to be very wet later today. Tues and Wed also forecast wet - so what sort of shape the river will be in later this week is currently guesswork. At least the water will be warmer.
 

Silverfisher

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Sometimes those late hungover starts where you have to drag yourself out of bed end up being the best days. I was going to go yesterday but had one too many beers on Saturday night, that said, I doubt I would have matched that for a days fishing. Sounds like a great session!
Certainly was worth forcing myself out for really was a great session! Would have entitled it dream bream session but was just skimmers really with only about 3 that might have just about constituted proper bream. Unbelievable stamp of skimmers though the average couldn’t have been far shy of a couple pounds with plenty over that mark.

The canal is convenient for sessions when effort is unappealing given it’s a short drive, short walk and requires little gear or physical effort. Usually takes a lot of mental effort though but not yesterday!

Think I’ll give it another go to see if they’re still there next weekend given the rain this week will likely write off the river again. Doubt I’ll ever have another session like yesterday there again as that was just crazy but should think they’ll still be quite a few sat there as don’t suppose they’ll move much in a week just a matter of how well they feed. They really were ravenous yesterday.
 
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Paul_T

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@squimp thanks for the info. I'm also looking to locate some chub areas. I've not done that style of fishing before but have been watching numerous videos on Youtube to get the gist of it.

RMDNIL has contributed on previous post of silverfisher's when we've mentioned locating chub and Medley has always been mentioned, although I believe Radley is is favourite area. I fished Radley many many years ago and those days you were able to access the river via the boat club (and park there), but that access has now gone I believe, so I wouldn't know where to park these days.

Do you ever fish the river Thame? I'm a member of The Tring Anglers and they have sections at Shabbington, Ickford, and Chearsley. Reports were it was in the fields on Tuesday last week!

I had prepared cheese paste and floater cake (plus peparami for back up) as I was expecting a very coloured river wherever I went. Wish I'd just gone for a walk now to have a look.
 

Peter

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What a superb session. Yes as you say you probably did drop right on them but think of the number of times that you've sat in a swim thinking it looks bob on and it's not produced the expected results. Made all the better I suspect by having you Grandad there to share it with you as well.
It's one of those sessions to be savoured and looked back fondly on during those days when it doesn't go to plan. ;)
 
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