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A Tale of Two Records Canal Carping
times, be fairly aggressive. My poor
old dog, Patches, a fishing companion
in the later years, was absolutely petrified of them. When he heard them
snorting about in the night he would
hide under the bedchair, shaking like
a leaf. I don’t know whether it’s a
descendant of the same family or not,
but the badger set, as the swim
became known, was still there when I
last visited some 35 years on and may
well still be there today.
I could go on about the canal’s
wildlife, but guess I had better return
to the fishing. Or is it one and the
same thing? One big catastrophe of
the 1974 summer was the loss of a
lovely 10¾lb common whilst being
retained in a sack. It was a gloriously
hot and still August day. The previous
night had been uneventful so I reeled
the dugout, I literally came nose to
n o s e w i t h t h e c u l p r i t . We b o t h
momentarily stopped and stared into
each other’s eyes. Then, all hell let
loose. I jumped up, knocking everything flying. The fox gave a high
pitched yelp and did a wheelspin as it
bolted off, actually kicking dirt in my
face. There I was, heart thumping,
shaking, but at the same time laughing.
In 1974/5 a family of badgers took
up residence in the big dugout and
really made a mess of it. They became
part of every fishing session on the
canal and belong as much in my
memory as the carp themselves. Over
the years, they often startled me or
spooked the fish, but always fascinated me and eventually became less
shy. They even started taking bits of
sandwiches and bait. They can, at
in to go stalking. There were a few
carp basking in the lilies but not interested in my floating crust bait. Then I
spotted movement in a bed of lilies
close in. No fish were to be seen but
the plopping and humping of the
pads were definite signs of a carp
feeding on snails beneath them. Lying
in the grass I very gently lowered a
small piece of crust where I thought
its nose may be. In an instant the
crust was gone, and I was into one of
(Top) First carp from under The
Chandlery whilst building ‘Cypry’.
(Above) The roof under The
Chandlery was now making fishing
awkward.
(Left) First 20 from The Chandlery, a
fish I caught several times.
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