From the water’s edge

March 2014 - Classicblanca - a miss is just a miss


Never been here before, but Terry has. “No perch”, he says, “but zander, I’ve had a few”. We set off, spritely like, but optimistic. We arrived at the far end - barely alive - at least that was how I felt. It’s alright for them, they’re both retired, have had a full week’s rest and are looking forward to another full week to recover afterwards, but I’ve been up all morning and it’s killing me. I should have got sponsorship for sports relief I reckon. But here we are and I must say it looks pretty damn good to me. Loads of overhanging stuff, plenty of permanent moorings, that’ll do nicely.

In it goes, plop - nothing. You know I shouldn’t be using a crayfish for this. It’s just that it was still on there from last week. Do it right - change to a searching bait. Water’s a bit of an iffy colour. Yellow then, in fact the pearl/yellow tail worked well last time out, I’ll use that. Plop, immediate double tickle there, I’ll have that. The clutch chirps a bit but nothing there. It felt like a soft take to me, not the pronounced knock that means a definite fish, but an unscheduled d-dab that should be or could be. It was. For the second trip running my yellow tailed pearl shad goes into the water in full working order and an inanimate pearl slug come out. The tail has gone. Not much doubt there then.

First find your fish - done that, work my way through the box and catch. Or as it happened work my way through the box and then move on not having another take of any description. Pete shouts and I turn in time to see his rod straighten and a swirl dying away at his feet. The green tailed battle shad nearly works again.  Further up the bank and Terry has a fish. A nice one around two and a half to three pounds. I can’t see myself failing today, we’ve only been here an hour and we’ve all had our chances, in fact it’s all going rather nicely. Too nicely of course.

On we go, chopping and changing and failing. We all have taps and tickles but no proper takes. All mine come to the yellow-tailed hammer and are insignificant. On and on we fish, Pete has one on, it falls off again in the side. On the green tail again, but quite clearly he saw it hanging on the tail, stretching the rubber and nowhere near the ironmongery.

Lures with a contrasting tail colour work really well sometimes. The pattern seems to emphasise the movement of the tail and they find that hard to resist. Trouble is, the tail can become the aiming point and if they really aren’t having it, chopped lures and lost fish is often the order of the day. I know I could rig up a stinger but you know what? I can’t be bothered and the whole concept brings to mind a day back in my youth (WARNING: for those of you watching in colour, this bit is in black and white so please do not adjust your set).


In the close season, we were in the habit of ‘fishing for trout’ in the lower Thames and its backwaters. One day whilst trotting a minnow over the gravels at the tail of a small weir, the float kept going under and I kept getting the tails chopped off. Using every teenage wile in the book, I tried hooking the poor old minnows in the other end, only for the show to continue with the heads missing this time. One more arrow in the sling here, I rigged up a swivel at the end of the line and used two equally long droppers to put a hook in each end of the minnow. I caught two chub at once. Like I say I can’t be bothered with stingers and a load of messing about never really seems to work any better to me in the end. Terry caught his fish no problem, it was just me they were teasing and using two hooks would just have made it more fun for them and less for me. And I’m bone idle. Sometimes changing down to a 2” bait in a similar colour to the tail works, but not today. In fact I am struggling to remember the last fish I caught on a 2” yellow kopyto and I never thought I’d find myself writing that.

8.30 start, 9 o clock goes, 10, 11 and 12 o clock join it. My neck and back are killing me. Pete has stopped fishing because he hurts too  much. We’ve fished a good mile and a half really thoroughly and pretty ineffectively. Donk, terry catches another. A good firm take as soon as the lure is in the water and on the green tail again. But I can see my salvation looming up. The bridge where we started. Not a modern, ugly, scared-to-get-its-feet-wet, concrete effort; a proper rotting bricks and falling masonry, nailed-on perch swim. I can dibble disaster in the eye here and carefully select a 1” fleshy, wormy-coloured Veal’s shad to do just that.



Down it goes peeling line from the spool , a fair depth for the job. I walk it hither and thither, my mind wanders. Did that feel heavier? Did the line wander a bit - yes there it goes!! Whoosh - nothing - zip - the square root of bugger all. The lure looks different though. No tail!! I don’t believe this. If they are going to nibble bits off 1” baits, then the writing is on the wall, I’m off. When the going gets tough, the numpty goes up the pub.

Play it Sam. A knock is just a knock, a miss is just a miss. The fundamental things apply, as time goes by.

Or as we say these days, “if they aren’t in the mood, you can go mad trying to catch them and this is supposed to be fun” (allegedly).

A whole boatload of perch swims heading for the weighbridge, and all from the LAS canal club stretch apparently. I bet if you look closely some of you might spot one or two of those lures you lost.

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.

artificial lite

journal 2014.





journal 2014.

journal 2013.