From the water’s edge

November 2014 - Back to reality

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.

It is always something of an anti-climax to return to the scene of recent successes, and that being so, we decided not to thrash last week's hot spot. This restraint has paid off over the years with our favourite and most productive reaches still throwing up decent fish years later.

Even the most careful management of lure fishing pressure will eventually take its toll for reasons I have expounded upon many times; every capture or hooking is a lesson in life for the fish concerned. We offer them no pleasure or reward for their humiliation, just restraint, breathing difficulties and possibly even pain to a greater or lesser degree. There is no use denying it, we should acknowledge and seek to minimise it both for their benefit and ours.

Much as we might wish it to be, our quarry are not just taught lessons by us. Other anglers certainly speed up that process, and more misguided, narrow-minded, selfish interests will persecute them and that too takes its toll on our fishing.

With this in mind, we don't just keep going back to the same places, we feel it important to keep looking for new shoals of fish. Not only does that give us more options, it can be very exciting and productive, and over the long term, it means that every week we know that if we want to, we can go straight to a fish-holding area. This as much as our increased proficiency has seen our catches increase steadily over the last couple of years.



This week, we went back to an area that once, even during the lifespan of this blog, produced many two pound perch and some nice zander. Of late it has been increasingly miserly. Our hitherto better swims were a good walk to the left of the bridge, but more recently the area around the bridge itself has thrown up some interesting results, so we decided have half an hour there, before walking half a mile to the right and fishing back.

We often do this, it forces us to fish more thoroughly by restricting the amount of water available and today that approach paid off again, albeit with only small fish. Today though was still a degree or two harder than last week. Takes were vague, insubstantial and easily missed. A lot of care and concentration was required to both provoke and spot them. A feint pluck on the line, a slight deviation on the retrieve or a bit more weight on the end were all the notice we were given and I flatter myself that I found them easier to spot than Pete did.

I doubt he would swap my greater number of tiddlers for his trio of leviathans, but I enjoyed it anyway. I always fish as slowly as I can commensurate with the lure not coming back covered on crap, and the tail working. If you are going to fish slow the rod tip has to be high; the slower the retrieve, the higher it must be. By holding the tip up, the lure will be retrieved upwards away from the bottom. At the same time gravity is always straining to swing it back to the bottom. The two cancel each other out if you get the balance right and hopefully the fish are tempted. It is a matter of dexterity and practice to make it work. The third effective factor is the lure weight. The lighter it is, the lower you will need to keep the rod tip, as gravity will not pull it down as quickly.

Today 1.5" and 2" curly tails caught most of my fish. It was delicate and interesting fishing, bound to produce more tiddlers than monsters. When my first decent hit of the morning produced a goer zander, it was the work of a moment for us to clip on 3" hammer shads and catch another couple. As suddenly as they appeared, they went. I suspect they were on the prowl and travelling in the opposite direction to us.

Such intimate and careful fishing is a bit of strain, so we couldn't resist having the last hour in our distant ex-hotspots, but they were still very ex. The trampled, muddy towpath, discarded plastic bags, cans and peg numbers, but mostly the dead zander chucked up the bank just might have been clues as to how those misguided, narrow-minded and selfish interests have been affecting the fishing.

artificial lite

journal 2014.





journal 2014.

journal 2013.