What I thought I would see when I turned my head I could not possibly think. Only moments ago the quiet tranquility had been shattered by the single loudest splash I have heard on a canal. Part of me wanted to turn and witness a possible second jump from a wild giant golden carp. Another part of me didn't want to turn my head at all as the splash sounded big enough to be human and as I didn't fancy wading into the canal to try fish anyone out. Knowing my luck as well it was more likely the latter and given there were no walkers or boats around god only knows what had happened.
In the end I forced myself to look just in case I had to do my good Samaritan bit, but all I could see was waves emanating from the opposite bank a few hundred feet away, where it looked like someone had just chucked in a paving slab. Scanning the water I finally spotted a wake of something moving across the canal, what caused it though wasn't clear. Then after pinpointing the beginning of the wake I saw a brown head and instantly I concluded some stupid dog had dived in for some reason only known to stupid dogs. Now I could see me having to go down and try and help some soaking wet writhing dog up over the metal pilings that line this section of canal, as I have seen Jeff have to do every time Moll goes diving in after a coconut or something.
Walking closer my wet dog theory got blown out of the water as the wake turned towards me and I sighted what looked like female Muntjac deer powering along the canal. Any ideas of helping this thing out of the canal were shelved as I didn't fancy getting my teeth kicked in trying to be a Good Samaritan.
Instead I kept my eye on it as it swam down the canal till it came to a spot where the piling ended and the soaking doe could scramble up the muddy bank. Where the little deer came from was a bit of a mystery as this new bit of the Coventry canal I was fishing is right on the edge of an urban area. Given that the deer had jumped in on the side it had only meant it had actually come out of the housing estate. Mind you saying that I know the housing estate in question and given a choice between being stuck in there or jumping in the canal I know which I'd choose.
As I mentioned before it was a new or should I say newish bit of canal I was fishing. The last couple of weeks I've been checking out some new areas which as far as I can see are a bit under the radar. The section that for me will forever be known as the deer jump section is an odd one. It is quite a long walk away from any access point and for my part I have walked in from both directions and never quite got on either occasion to this bit. The fishing when I arrived was OK. Not knowing anything I was just trying to locate fish and after finding only two micro zander after fishing a large chunk of it I was thinking I wouldn't be coming back. That was until I fished under a couple of acorn trees hanging over my own bank. The first one I got absolutely turned over by a pike which grabbed an orange koypto in the edge and proceeded to shoot across the canal and bite through the leader. The shadows of the second tree were in feasted with small perch which were a sucker for a two inch curly tail grub being dobbed along the marginal shelf.
A few nights earlier I had done a short evening session on the Oxford on a new spot with some interesting results. With the temps high the surface was buzzing with insects and looking down the stretch I soon spotted lots of small fish lipping and topping. It wasn't hard to surmise the predators wouldn't be far away, which they weren't. A few small zander and perch is enough to give me confidence in the stretch and get me to return again.
Towards the end of the session I found the ever present mega snag with claimed lure leader and hook. I nearly went home at this point but I couldn't waste even ten minutes of light so I rigged up again just in case. Most of the water I had fished had been unusually deep but just as I came into a shallower bit something really smashed into the big wave curly tail I was retrieving. It turned out to be a really nice perch of well over a pound that was hunting in the half light.
Now I feel I have to eat my words, as only the other week I saying how bad I thought the fishing was on the Oxford and now here I am saying that actually there does seem to be a few nice fish about. My only defence is that I think the temperature has played a key role round these parts. Up until now it has seemed quite lifeless, but now I am seeing more and more activity as the temperature rises. Hopefully this might mean that the Oxford round here is more a summer and autumn target rather than a winter or spring one.
The highlight of my session was surprisingly not a fish or anything to do with a fish! On the day when I caught a huge zander a few months ago I got a momentary view of a rare little creature. I'd forgotten all about it in the fuss of the big zed, but what I saw on the Oxford reminded me of it.
Not long into the session I thought I saw something swimming across the canal. The first one I couldn't get a clear view of and the second wasn't much better. The third though seemed quite comfortable with me watching it. Turns out the more time you spend on the canals the more you see and on this occasion I spotted four different water voles busily working along several large reed beds along this new section.
Before anyone says it they were definitely water voles and not rats, as rats swim quicker through the water and have a pointy snout, whereas as the buoyant water vole has no need to swim quickly to prevent itself from sinking as it floats like a cork high in the water and has a blunt snout.
I will certainly be returning to both deer jump and vole city as both of them seem to have oodles of potential for pretty much all species and given enough time over different conditions I reckon one or both might well throw up nice fishy surprises.