From the water’s edge

February 2015 - A blank look

We’ve been pushing our luck of late. The ice hasn’t stopped us either going fish or catching fish. In fact if anything it has seen more decent fish come to the bank than is often the case, but there are limits to how hard you can push. We try desperately not to thrash our spots as our choice of unpressured water is diminishing these days for a host of reasons not unconnected with the growth of lure angling. It would be silly to waste what we have worked so hard to discover, but with so much ice around, options are reduced.

Well the river season is rapidly drawing to a close and as we have a ticket, and with the ice thicker than ever, we thought a winter visit was in order. It would certainly give us more accessible bank space now that the nettles have withered. A little extra water and a little less weed ought to give us a better chance. It ought to have, but it didn’t. We arrived in the dark and crunched our way to the top of the stretch as dawn broke. A beautiful if cold day was in store for us, but as a fishing experience, it was to be sadly lacking.

I could hardly move for pockets stuffed full of gear. Drop-shotting solutions, weedless rig solutions and any number of other solutions to the problem of what exactly would be most productive, but after an hour in the first of only two swims on the beat that have never failed, I had failed. I am not a patient man. Stubborn I can be, patience I am not endowed with and an hour without a take of any sort required more than I could muster.

What to do? 1”, 2” shads, curly tails and worms - all useless. Bright colours, restrained colours - all useless. All I had left was the crayfish and to be honest in this snag ridden venue, anything weedless would probably be my best bet. So, back in the box. One of my last few remaining, highly-prized leopard yellow Lindy craws was attached and dropped in the side while I put the box away. A quick scan round the swim looking for the most likely place for a fish to be waiting and pick the rod up to cast. Bless the little monkey that was already hanging on the end, because that was the last take I had all morning. I hadn’t even cast, I hadn’t even lowered the bait into the water with the rod, I had just dropped the lure in the side with my spare hand and this little pike took it while it was lying static on the bottom. Even now I can hear the frankly jealous comments of my senior assistant echoing in my ears. Some people just can’t appreciate talent when they witness it can they ?  How guilty do I feel about that, not very. Anyway now I had the solution, so I re cast further down the swim and immediately lost the solution on a snag. I hate blanks ( I may have mentioned that before), but I would swap that little pike for my leopard yellow crayfish in an instant. I hate running out of productive lures even more than I hate blanks.

By now, Terry had tracked us down and while the river never looked like being generous, or even mean come to that, the three of us spent a perfectly pleasant morning wasting our time and chewing the fat, comparing lures and suppliers and theories that might account for our failure. It is my great pleasure to announce that the stop press winner of the ‘reasons for failure’ category was ...........(twenty second pause with dramatic music for effect) ............ There are next to no fish in the river to catch.

So now I have three pet hates (the list is growing fast today). Blanks, losing favourite lures that I can’t replace, and people who blame everything but themselves for their inability to catch fish. Unfortunately today that means I hate myself, because I haven’t got a clue as to how we might catch any more fish from this beautiful river.

I started my lure fishing on the Anker, the Wreake, the Eye, the Trent, the Erewash and the Mease, and all of them were if not an open book to me then at least one that I could peep inside. I had plenty of fish from all of them, all the year round. Compared to what I know now, back then I knew the square root of bugger all, but I never had any great trouble catching fish from rivers big or small.

Only once before have I ever fished a river like this one, and that was the Soar. I could catch fish along the entire length of the Wreake, right up to and into its confluence with the Soar and then - zip. There is just something about some of these rivers that stops fish thriving in them and I have no idea what it is or what to do about it, so I shall just have to hate myself some more and assume that there are next to no fish there to catch. It is the only place I fish at the moment that gives me blank looks and always looks like a blank. If only it wasn’t so nice there. It’s a bit like a pretty girl with an IQ of one. It’s nice when you first get there, but after a while you realise that you have no-one to talk to.

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. If this form will not work for you, please e-mail me at

artificial lite



journal 2015.


journal 2015.