Monday, 23 December 2019

Wash Out Canterbury City 'Catch A Fish From All 69 UK Cities, River Great Stour aka The Kentish Stour

Catch A Fish From The City Of Canterbury
AWS Blog Entry Saturday 21st/Sunday 22nd December
many more angling trips, exclusive uploads can be found on my Facebook Page
Finally after many months of delay got back to my personal quest to 'Catch A Fish From All 69 UK Cities' what with one thing or another had a terrible year up to now, made worse by the recent loss of my dog Sammy Boy, sadly after 14 years had to get put down. What can I say those who are on Facebook and have followed more regular posts will understand how emotional a time had losing my best buddy, very much a part of journeys always by side, fishing and taken to work, until recent months when his health started going down hill. Unfortunately the vet said he might not make it through an operation, if so may only live a couple of weeks or years. At the time blamed myself, guilty that maybe should have given him that one chance. Now learning to cope knowing that he is no longer in pain, or suffered anymore. Coming to terms with loss became very ill, unable to eat, sitting around at home, not able to go out with a chest infection. Promised myself as soon as well enough to get out, remain active, above all stay positive, get back on track with angling adventures. Breaks heart, knowing at one time my dog used to come fishing all the time until recent months, whereby would rather be at home with him, not left on his own. Therefore the fishing trips became few and far between. Now to get back out, remain focused, positive, been a hard 12 days coping with loss, crying constantly like a big baby, those who have knocked me saying only a dog will never understand, hoping in time getting out will help to heal the wounds. Will miss my baby boy, no trips will ever sacrifice the loss. RIP Sammy Boy, Love you forever.
Well overdue this trip was originally planned as far back as June the start of the coarse fishing season. Let's just say as mentioned above what with one thing or another was not at all possible. Only wish could have made it earlier in the warmer weather. The plan was to fish on Saturday on The River Wandle at Hackbridge, so rather than leave on a Friday night booked a ticket for 11pm on the Saturday night, departing from The O2, The Millennium Dome, North Greenwich, arriving in Canterbury City for 1am in the morning. The first coach on a Sunday was not until late in the morning meaning would only have been able to fish a few hours given winter daylight hours.
Not the best of pictures finally on the coach on way to Canterbury City
First time using Megabus operated by Stagecoach have to say the journey to Canterbury was most pleasant, and an excellent Friendly Driver, as an ex bus/coach driver myself very well driven. A clean and tidy coach. If only all drivers where as pleasant. The journey stopped at various points on route, must say very reasonably priced costing just £16 return. Stopping at Chatham, Rainham, Hempstead Valley, the shopping Centre had arguably one of the prettiest Christmas trees witnessed for a long time, onto Faversham, before finally arriving in Canterbury City.
Arriving at Canterbury Bus Coach station, was a little peckish, not a fan of McDonalds in all honesty, however was hungry had little choice, a welcome surprise to be open all night, no where to sit, the place was packed out at 1am, 
in fact the whole of the city centre was mobbed with Christmas partying going on, security and police everywhere. A big difference from what had come from in London with not a great Christmas atmosphere, with little Christmas lights, and few people out celebrating, must say it was a breath of fresh air to see so many people out celebrating Christmas.
Having done some research before leaving was well aware which areas to fish however most areas where flooded, the fishing looked impossible. Searched for any spots whereby could find any eddies, whereby fish would find sanctuary out of the main current which was pushing through at a great deal of knots. Walked for a good 45 minutes before finding a spot to set up, close to Sainsbury's, noted for some barbel catches. However on setting up, noticed by the morning the river was rising rapidly. So much so the water was getting closer to my Fox Supa Brolly.
Certainly had no intentions of going to sleep. Trust me a word of warning would not recommend setting up or being so close to the waters edge. One slip and the consequences are not worth thinking about. Be careful out there especially in times of heavy rainfall, and severe yellow weather warnings. Incidentally hours beforehand a tornado had struck the county of Surrey, warnings where in place from Land's End to Dover. Had definitely picked the wrong time to turn up and fish, but wasn't going to cancel after buying bait, and coach return coach ticket.
So what about the fishing ? Damn it was awful, wrote off any chances of catching anything on arrival, however worked damn hard to scratch a bite, catch a fish, complete the City Of Canterbury. Not only where many areas under water, the flow was incredibly fast and difficult to fish, didn't get one bite in 13 hours.
Actually couldn't believe the amount of anglers who turned up to brave the harsh conditions, test their luck. Was happy to be reassured not the only crazy angler on the back. At just past 8am three angers turned up. It was a pleasure meeting them. 
Sorry guys forgot to write down your names. Excuse the poor picture quality, rain and damp conditions didn't help matters. Looking somewhat like the bogey man here in this picture, face completely gone lol :) 
Turns out they where old Friends from different areas, arranged to meet go fishing despite the poor conditions. Just goes to show fishing is a great sport, a perfect pastime for meeting your buddies.
It was great to meet you guys, if only braving the conditions and poor fishing for an hour. An hour is better than nothing. Besides they where more keen on getting to the cafe and having breakfast. Can't say blame them, if only had been driving, still had a car would have joined them. Ended up settling for a nice Costa Coffee next to Sainsbury's before buying some munchies once finally opened after 10am being a Sunday.
Back to the fishing. Still not had a bite, even though was confident had found the only slack bit of water where was convinced fish would be hanging out. To my surprise met another angler, sorry mate forgot to take a picture was great to meet you. Then a huge splash a massive pike. Sure sign fish where in the swim which the pike was feeding on. Damn ! can't believe didn't even have a spinner in box. Must pack next time. That would sure have helped to crack this city off the list. Damn ! Could have kicked myself. For the next four hours continued to try and catch a fish, build the swim up only to be bugged by this damn pike. Found some tin foil in the bin, made a spinner, which hoped would fool this pike. People have caught pike before on tin foil, had them myself biting a swim feeder winding in, even bread, but this pike wasn't having it. And any chance of catching a fish with a pike in swim was greatly reduced.
Yessssss ! Then as luck would have it met another fisherman who was braving the conditions out to catch a pike. What chances of that happening ? Explained about this damn pike in the swim, luck would have it he gave me not only a stinky smelly sardine fish, also a pike trace. What a fantastic guy. Thanks so much Jamie what a top guy. Unfortunately despite the effort no such joy that pike wasn't having any of it. Winding the dead bait, splashing the surface, tweaking this way and that, nothing. Damn it ! it's looking highly likely now mission failed, blanked, having to return another day to catch a fish from Canterbury City :(
Thankfully met this young man Roylee Granger a local expert on the river who will put me on a spot next time visit in March. Looking forward to meeting him again, fishing, which will be blogged.
Thanks to The City Council for warning that flood gates where to be opened in Maidstone and Ashford, as such would have be under water if didn't pack up quickly. Took no chances and immediately packed up moving gear to safety.
after packing up early headed to city centre hoping to visit Canterbury Cathedral sadly to my shock not like when visited years ago no longer free to enter :(
 So what about a free area for those who can't afford to enter ? become more a money making tourist industry making a profit.
Pay to Pray ! 
Shocking really £12.50 to enter especially when National Lottery Funded.
Disgusting ! In a city that is the head of The Church Of England never seen so much homelessness. Kindly asked this man to take a picture and share, but not to reveal his face. How sad 3 years on the street.
No fish to report, however still having a pint in all 69 UK Cities :)
Be back in March next stop City Of Bristol

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