From the water’s edge

March 2015 - A brace of idiots

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Anybody hoping to learn anything deep and meaningful about catching zander from this piece is going to be sadly disillusioned. On the other hand if the reader is looking for confirmation that there are more useless anglers in the world than he ever thought, well here is proof.

It started well, we got there in good time to find the water still, it was mild and inviting. The first time for as long as I can remember that conditions have looked promising at this venue. It is a long walk and the wind always annoys here.

As usual, we worked quickly through the box. We know that there are fish here so it was just a case of working out how they were feeding. For the first time in forever, they were taking up off the bottom. I had forgotten how enjoyable it is to just cast out and wind in. Low and slow its true, but that clonk on the line has been a long time missing. 2” yellow kopytos as well, no problem, but I can’t remember the last time I caught on one it’s been so long.

In fact it was all going along quite nicely. The fish weren’t large but they were mostly in the pound and a half bracket which is a good place to start. We worked our way along the straights heading for the wides where we know we will always find fish.

We did too, more small ones, but perseverence we hoped, would see a bigger fish or two come to the bank.

When takes died away on my usual stuff, I even gave the dropshot a whirl. First cast beneath a bridge, fished as slow and subtley as I could manage, the take came. I struck, the tip stayed where it was and the rod bowed under the pressure. A quick check that there were signs of life, that this was a fish and not a snag, and I heaped on some pressure. The fish stayed deep and heavy, no thrashing of heads, no fast runs; big perch?? I never saw it, the rod just stopped bending and flipped up straight again and the fish was gone. That’s it. Camp out ‘til it comes back or its shoal mates do. I Dropsnotted  my way through the box, nothing, just the umiushi worms left. I tried again, worms for perch yes? No. Worms for bl***y pike? Yes, definitely. I horsed it into the net before it could eat my trace, none of this limp-wristed, soft handed gentle but firm stuff like the perch get. I don’t get this ‘don’t pike fight hard’ stuff. My little u/l spro had it in the net in a flash, Spitting teeth and leeches all over the shop.

I retreated to the wides just in time to see Pete playing a good zander. I watched for a bit, got the camera out and it fell off. Hey ho. He casts back out and right under the tip where it had shed the hook, he hooked another identical (same fish). Net in, Camera out - fish off - language deteriorating.

“You’re a useless lump Mr Allen”. Or words to that effect.

Out goes his bait again. Same place right under the rod tip, and bang, he’s in again. Same size, same exact spot. In with the net, out with the camera and it’s off. Same fish? Three times? I can’t believe that.

“I’m coming up there, you can’t be trusted. I need pictures and you keep letting them go.”

So I join him and in no time his new steel toe caps are being tested to destruction. A nice olive and orange battle shad with a big exposed jighook. Bang, different angler, same place, same size. In with the net, fish off.  

Laughing, I heard laughing. It’s not funny. I changed my bait. A nice little AGM cray. Wind stop, wind stop, bang, same place, same size, in with the net, Aaaaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhhhhh!, fish off.

Crying, I heard crying, oh it’s me. The laughing is Pete.

I wish I hadn’t been quite so confident about telling him what he was doing wrong. So I shut up and sulked. I know, I’ll just dropshot a panic minnow in the edge for a bit. Two minutes later, the tip pulls down and same place, same size, but this time, the net is already in the water and before the fish can even decide that something is up I have cranked it remorselessly over the rim and thrown the whole lot up the bank. There are times when subtlety is required and then sometimes you just have to be big and manly about it, and insist. It weighed three and a half and was as black as yer hat. A spawny fish. A spawny angler too come to that.

The three fish that I hooked were all black, I saw them, and I reckon that despite my long held opinons, that it was the same fish and consequently by believing that I have to accept that Pete’s three fish were likely the same one as well.

Spawning fish, maybe, probably. Were we fishing over a nest and these fish were just protecting it? Very likely I’d say.

Whatever the reason, we lost ‘5’ 3-4 lbs zander in five casts before catching one and that by anybody’s reckoning is incompetence on a grand scale. Still it was fun and Pete had the last laugh as always. I’ve never met anybody who enjoyed bursting the bubble of my pomposity quite so much. I’m not bitter obviously but I feel it is my duty to tell everybody who exactly caught what. But I can’t do it; I will just say that we had ten Zs to 3.5 lbs and two pike to about 5.5 lbs between us which was fun. Now just where are the perch hereabouts, that is the real issue that needs sorting out.

artificial lite



journal 2015.


journal 2015.