I had a rare, full pass for this weekend so despite the freezing conditions it was full steam ahead to try and make the most of it.

Saturday morning saw a drive down to Portsmouth to meet up with Dan and new LRF recruit, Chris. To be fair, we kind of knew there wouldn’t be anything going on as we’d been watching the water temperature, with little change over the past few weeks. 5 degrees C just isn’t enough to get things going at the shore. It was much an excuse to catch up with mates, check out new fishing tackle and hope for a nice surprise. The nice surprise turned out to be breakfast in the local cafe.

Not even a bite. We’re well behind this time last year.

So after a little angling related retail therapy and some tackle tinkering, I was forming a plan for Sunday. Back to the canal for some Perch.

I was at the canal for 7.30am. It was cold. Very cold. I realised how cold when a snag in my line turned out to be ice in my rod rings. That problem stayed with me all day. I’d go as far to say that micro guides, as good as they are for creating a fine, responsive rod tip, are completely useless in sub zero conditions – something to consider in future sessions. By the way, you can temporarily cure it by dipping the tip section in the water. This gave me just long enough to cast and work the lure back to my feet.

In the conditions, I was happy with the four fish I had. One came on a Neko’d Big Bite Baits Squirrel Tail Worm, which I think was a first for me and a viable alternative to dropshot in these cold conditions as it’s┬ápossible┬áto achieve an ultra slow retrieve. If you haven’t heard of the Neko rig before, check it out online. It’s one of the simplest rigs ever and provides a great, burrowing action for worm baits.

The other fish came to a lure I knew was going to be good for Perch – the smaller Keitech Swing Impact in a tasty lemon curd kind of colour. I really like yellow lures on the canal, but sometimes the traditional fluorescent chartreuse can seem a little too bright. This duller colour I found in Nantes, is spot on.

All in all, the conditions were painfully bitter and although the fishing wasn’t electric I really enjoyed myself. I’d urge you to reconsider staying in, next time the weather forecast looks grim and just get out there. That’s a huge benefit of this type of fishing – small bag, light rod and a handful of lures and you’re away. You can retreat as quickly as you arrived. Love it, love it, love it!