It seems like my decision to join Maver Midlands has so far been a good one. I’m fishing with a new spring in my step, feel like I’m learning and thinking about fishing with more clarity and my results have been pretty good. Oh, and I’m drawing bloody well too, ha ha!
In the three Larford Teams Of Four Winter League rounds that I’ve fished I’ve had an individual first and second, followed by third overall this weekend just gone; catches from 80lb to 132lb caught using a variety of methods. A week ago I paid a rare trip to Moorlands Farm and was second on my lake and third overall with 55lb. Last week I also paid my first-ever visit to Curborough Fishery near Lichfield and came second there with 44lb… of mostly goldfish!
As you can see, it’s all been commercial fishing and I’m sure people will read lots of things into that. I haven’t turned my back on ‘natural’ venues it’s just that commercial fisheries are where I want to be at this point in my life. This is the area that I need to improve and learn more about and there is simply so much more to learn on these waters than on canals and rivers.
I don’t think its arrogant to say that I could probably turn up on a canal in a years time having not fished one for ages and still feel like I know enough to win. The reason is because I cut my teeth on canals and have fished them all my life. Sadly, I also don’t feel like much has significantly changed on them over the past five or so years. The same methods that are working now are the same as five years ago and I cannot see that pattern altering much in the future.
The only areas that have perhaps made a difference is things like Kinder-potting, catching with pellets and fishmeal groundbaits and the use of hollow elastics – all of which have been derived from the more progressive commercial fishery side of the sport.
Combine this with my old West Midlands canal circuit that seems to be shrinking and the situation with getting hold of lively Polish joker being so bad all winter and I don’t feel that I’ve missed anything this year.
I will still enjoy going to a few natural venues, such as Porth Reservoir for the White Acres Festivals and the Warwickshire Avon for the Evesham Festivals. I will still enjoy doing articles on canals and rivers for Pole Fishing, too, as there are always little twists you can put on features to make them different. I still love fishing these venues for a days pleasure. It’s competitive fishing on them that currently doesn’t interest me so much.
I was disappointed to miss the Sensas Challenge Final on the Gloucester Canal this season, for instance, but the combination of other commitments and a long-distance trip to a venue that’s fishing poorly meant I didn’t attend. It sounds like a lot of teams dropped out for similar reasons, which is a shame as the organisation, atmosphere and excitement in this event is usually excellent.
Interestingly, on some of the venues I’ve been visiting recently I am spotting lots of ‘old boys’ I used to fish with on the canals and rivers. Nowadays these people are almost exclusively fishing commercials. Even some of the die-hard canal anglers I know are venturing to the ‘dark side’ and having to admit that they are really enjoying it!
I think the reason is because, A, there is so much more still to learn, B, you never quite know what bait or method you should be using on the day and, C, you never quite know what fish you’ll hook next. These three things combined together are what’s making my current fishing so interesting and exciting!
Jon Arthur is the editor of Pole Fishing and has been living and breathing the sport since he was just five years old.