To commemorate the Pope's recent state visit I decided to pay homage to the fishy equivalent. My pilgrimage took me to the village of Handsacre in Staffordshire and the murky waters of the Trent and Mersey Canal. This member of the perch family is indeed a rarity nowadays and I had failed to locate one on two previous trips to the Grand Union Canal.
I decided to fish just downstream of a bridge using the bridge itself as shelter from the driving rain. After three hours on a mini maggot feeder catching perch, roach and gudgeon I decided to change over to the float.
First cast the insert waggler slowly dragged under and I lifted into my second ever pope. My prayers had been answered. In light of the driving rain I decided on an early finish.
Isaak Walton knew this little fish as the pope but it is more usually known nowadays as the ruffe. It is also known affectionately by anglers as the daddy ruffe, tommy ruffe or tommy pope. How can such a small, rather drab and insignificant fish have so many names?