From the water’s edge

November 2014 - Never mind the clarity, feel the width

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.

A couple of seasons back, I had a nice perch, out of the blue on a stretch that we hardly ever visit. A spot suggested to us by a friend who rarely goes there himself, but who probably will once he reads this. That’s fine, he put us onto it, that’s his prerogative. Pete had been back there once as a guest and seen one or two nice fish caught but two seasons later, this was our first visit. Not exactly quick off the mark are we?

It was a fair walk from the car, but we chose to get there asap to have a few peaceful casts before the boats started and boy did that pay off. Five minutes and I lost my first. Bump, on and off, small, but promising. I shouted Pete the good news, just as he struck into one. And that is how it continued for two whole hours.

A take a cast, fish on, fish off, fish on the bank, two at a time occasionally and all really good quality fish too. At least the perch were. They were up in the water chasing despite, or perhaps because of, who knows, the first very cold night of the winter. He was sailing away into the distance very quickly.

There is nothing unusual in that these days, and before long, it became clear that the one who caught the most fish, biggest perch, biggest zander and biggest chub would be buying the beer.

We caught them on shads and curly tails, 1” 2” 4” and even on predator jewellery as well. Its been a long time since the spinner bait has caught me much, but today they were having it.

We had a lot of perch this morning and only four of those were small enough to swing to hand, the net was very busy. Early doors, one of Pete’s perch was begging to be weighed so that it could laugh in our faces at 1-15 and a half. At least his were laughing on the bank, mine kept getting off. I changed to a three inch yellow tailed hammer and watched it shimmying into the margin on a slow line. As I accelerated it up to the surface a big stripey overtook and engulfed it. It turned away, the line went tight and I struck the lure clean out of the water, past my ear without feeling a thing.

Back out in the middle a shoal of quality perch were laughing their stripes off. Obviously a fish is a pretty basic life form, lacking in intelligence and nowhere near clever enough to outwit an average human being. Cunningly I changed to a 1” veals on a size 6, a lure small enough to breathe right in, with no long tail to pull. Plop. Let it sink, rod tip low and start it working. Two turns the line goes tight. Thump, thump, thump, relax. My excitement levels went up, the tip went up too as the fish let go and went back to its piss-taking cohorts for another good laugh at my expense. At least I know now that as human beings go I’m not average.

Pete was getting all of a lather by now, he had been carefully playing a heavy fish for some time, scared to exert heavy pressure and being led a merry dance all over the canal. He had caught so many good perch this morning already, that he could only imagine that this was the one he has been after for years. Well it wasn’t, it was old leatherchops and it flatly refused to weigh three pounds, fighting hard enough and long enough to lose three ounces on its way to the net.

Obviously this kind of fishing can’t least all day and in the end takes dried up. Chopping and changing options all exhausted we moved on, intending to fish our way back to the car.

We confidently expected to catch everywhere, but it quickly became apparent just how clear the water was. With no further takes, we turned to water clarity as the excuse.

I like clean water, but clear water as well can be a real problem. We both felt that we were too visible, and our duplicity too obvious now that we could see the bottom four feet down. The spot where we had been catching was very wide with a good ripple on the surface. The sun such as it was was still low then and we were standing in the shadow of a tall hedge. All factors that had worked in our favour we felt and weight was added to those thoughts by the fact that we never caught a single fish in calm water or on a standard width of canal all morning.

We found two more productive spots, both wide bends with a good chop on the water, but all they really contributed was a few of the smaller fish of the day. By the time the pub was open, backs were hurting and takes were getting scarce, so we left to eat, drink and take stock.

Twenty nine fish on the bank, 24 of them in the first two hours. Four or five zander to around three pounds, a 2-13 chub and the rest all perch. Four of those less than a pound, the majority an ounce or two either side of one and a half pounds and the best half ounce off the two. None of them looked like they had ever seen a hook.

I try not to get excited about the weight of fish and none of those are big really, but that was as fine a morning’s fishing as I can remember. A load of quality fish, and we never saw a soul. No boats, no pike (yippee!), just rod bending perch after rod bending perch and that is the stuff that light lure angler’s wettest dreams are made of.

What really puzzled us today was why they should be so active. It was the first b****y cold night of the year after a long spell of warm unsettled weather. I’d have staked my life on a hard struggle, but it couldn’t have been easier.

I re-read these diaries regularly and I can’t help noticing that our catches have just been getting better and better. It’s just can’t escape the feeling that I really know less and less about what I am doing.

artificial lite

journal 2014.





journal 2014.

journal 2013.