From the water’s edge

September 2014 - Back home

There was a space waiting for us in the car park. Just one, just the right size for an old truck with two ageing teenagers on board. I know we fished the canal a couple of weeks ago with Terry, but this was our home turf and it really was good to be back. The rivers have been hard this year and we were both missing the sense of anticipation that comes with coloured water. I can't imagine how I have come to feel that way. Coloured water was once the bane of my lure angling life, now it is the element that allows me to believe that fish are likely to be in front of me. Clear water, as I mentioned last week allows me to see that there aren't any.

We strolled across towards the lock, but I was so keen, that before I even got to the edge, my bait plopped gently against the lock wall. I lifted the rod and wound a couple of turns back on. The lure, a flesh coloured, 1" Veal’s shad, swung slowly back to the bottom , the line flickered and my first fish of the winter campaign was lifted to hand. All 2 ounces of it! Still, it was a zander.

And that was how it carried on. Pete had one, I had another, Pete had another. Fish on, fish off. Fishing in canals is most anglers' idea of purgatory. For us they are nirvana.

Remembering that the better fish tend to sit off the lock a bit we moved down and Pete was soon playing a decent fish, sorry, a reasonable jack, but his luck was in. It fell off. Mine, in that respect was out. A nice firm take and I had his even smaller brother on. Just as I went to net it, Pete's escapee flashed out of the gloom and tried to grab it. Pike just have to grab everything don't they? I caught a lot of fish today, but I could have managed without the four pike.

There is another hot area fifty yards up the bank and after the takes dried up by the lock, I set off towards it. There were a couple of occupied barges on the far side and rather than annoy their occupants by watching them eat breakfast decided to go straight past. A long cast toward the far bank put out enough line to keep the lure deep as I bank-trolled my way to the next swim. Having arrived, I stopped walking and wound the lure up to the surface. As the copper and black hammer shad flickered into view a big heavy striper drifted up behind and engulfed it all in one smooth movement. The rod pulled down as the fish kited across the canal, the anti reverse was off, the net unhitched and the hook let go. Bugger that was a good fish. Definitely a pound and a half, maybe getting on two, I’ll never know now, but it was way bigger than any we have seen in the rivers these last few weeks.

Big fish? Crayfish then. I always feel that a specimen fish is more likely on a cray. I have rigged a few 2" ones on 2 gram weighted worm hooks that I got from agm. I like the corkscrew mounting at the eye of the hook and the wire is not too thick either. The lighter weight gives a longer drop, but despite using them a fair bit had not actually caught on them yet. Maybe today then?


A long chuck, three sharp turns and watch the line sag. Take your time wait until the line has fallen completely limp and repea... Christ almighty!! The limp, slack, loose, line absolutely flew out and my reaction was equally as excessive; but still, I had to wind like a madman to get any weight on the rod tip. I could see the line streaking across the surface but it took a lot of fast cranking to catch up with it, my first 2 pound zander of the day. Very promising and very, very exciting. Back out it went and this time a simple, firm knock on the line heralded another customer for the dull grey crayfish. Its deep dogged behaviour signalled either a good perch or another wretched jack; guess which.

By half ten, takes were drying up and we had a few last casts in the lock on our way uphill. Ten minutes of inaction and then we both struck simultaneously. After a long period of inactivity, we both had zander on at the same instant. A quick snap, put them back, no more takes. A pretty good demonstration of shoal behaviour. They drift in, we get takes , they drift out again, it goes quiet. That's how it seems anyway.

Getting old is a problem in many ways. Half a mile up the cut there is a lock that we have never caught from. Pete suggests we fish there because it always produces a few. One of us is going mad. He knows it is a productive spot, I have always been surprised that we have never caught from it. One of us is going mad, but I am the most imperial Tsar Nicholas of Russia so it can't be me. We had eight perch from it. Maybe I'm not the tsar after all. Maybe I am Lenin then. Nobody knows, nobody cares, a fish is a fish and I'm better off than Pete because I have a new spot to fish. That’s the great thing about memory loss, you wake up next to a new woman every morning. Better still, no repeat captures!

For weeks we have been straining to catch a dozen tiddlers in a morning between us. Today we had forty. It was easy, the perch were bigger, the zander were fun and as always the pike were a bloody nuisance. We caught on 1, 2 & 3" shads, curly tails, crayfish and bits of plastic worm; black/copper, pearl, yellow, pink, grey, fluo orange/black and red. Up in the water, down in the water , fast retrieves, slow retrieves and dibbling. Takes were violent, takes were a vague grating sensation on the line and every variation in between. Can't wait for next week now. There’s nothing like coming home.


I hope that you find my journal interesting and entertaining. If, having read this, you think that I am talking rubbish then at least you have stopped and thought about it long enough to come to that conclusion which is something of a result in my book. If you would like to comment on this article or anything else relating to my website, please feel free to contact me using the adjacent form. Feedback is always greatly appreciated and very helpful when it comes to improving both my site and my angling. Thank you for looking.

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journal 2014.





journal 2014.

journal 2013.