From the water’s edge

May 2015 - Commercial gain

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I can’t remember the last time I went fishing on my own. Pete had more pressing things to deal with today, so I took the opportunity to re-acquaint myself with the commercial that gave up a miserable blank to us both a couple of weeks back.

The weatherman promised me nice weather and as usual was lying through his immaculately straightened and whitened teeth. I guess that if you look smart you can get away with anything. “It’s not an exact science, it’s very unpredictable.” So why bother? What use is a forecast that is wrong? At least he could have shown some common decency and offered me the classic ‘50% chance of rain’. It was cold, miserable and it pissed down for half the morning.

Still I have no other complaints. Fluo yellow 1” kopytos I was told work well on commercials. Five minutes in, as I was dibbling around the inflow pipe (running nicely thanks to the rain we weren’t supposed to have) the tip flicked. I flicked back and a half pound perch scooted round in circles before being catapulted to hand.

A nice start, my first ever fish on a lure from a sh***y commercial. When I say sh***y I am really talking about the water colour. This pool is a good sized snake, twisting and turning through the countryside , and full of nooks and crannies. A pleasant enough place if I am honest and seemingly well run. Not all that different to a canal really. Best match-caught perch on bait has been 3-10, but my second was a good 3-9 ounces smaller and took a 1” fluo red kopyto. Bright seems good.

After an hour or so, I was walking back past that inflow and couldn’t help having another go. I had a white 1” veals on this time and that too was taken in short order. A little carp this time. Some sort of Heinz 57 I guess. It looked a bit cruciany, but wasn’t really. Five minutes later and with no more takes, I set off again. I’d only gone about twenty yards, when I spotted a nice mirror lying just beneath the surface under an area of wind-blown scum. I flicked the lure in front of it, let it hit bottom and saw the fish roll over and head down. I twitched the lure and the line flickered. I struck and there was a nice little mirror of around 4-5 lbs plugging away on the end. Result. Four fish in an hour and a half.

Sadly, that was my lot for the morning, but I did get a few more takes from very small perch. Several times the rod tip rattled, the line shot out to one side and a tiny perch flipped off the hook at the surface. All very promising. Why bother, you may well ask. Surely these waters are not worthy of a genuine angler’s interest? Well there are several reasons why I am interested in sorting these venues out. Firstly and never to be under-estimated is the challenge. That is what lure fishing is about and given that size is not everything to me, I would suggest that it is what it is mostly about.

I don’t hold to the theory that the fishing is too easy, not on lures anyway. Sure the fish are over-stocked and hungry. But the point for the lure fisherman here is that we are not trying to catch them with food. The water is filthy and continuously clouded by the innumerable carp. Solving the riddle of getting takes in this muck may well pay dividends back on the canal. Talking of which, issues are arising on the canals now. More and more of the open water is now being rented again. That means we need tickets and to buy tickets for all the stretches that we have lost to clubs over the last year or two is fast becoming unaffordable. Paying £40 for a ticket to use twice a year is out of my league. This may well lead to us being restricted to one stretch which will make the fishing much harder.

Lure fishing is primarily about catching predators. It probably always will be but all fish are predatory to some degree. We should be able to catch more secondary species, I am surprised that we don’t. I suspect that these other fish are grazers, bottom feeders working their way through the debris looking for a meal rather than chasers, roaring about in pursuit of a meal. New tactics would seem to be required particularly in the way that we retrieve. Aside from the technical tackle issues there are tactical and confidence ones to overcome. Moving a lure slowly is all well and good but quickly becomes tedious. Personally I have always found that even tactics I am not fond of quickly become more interesting when they start to produce plenty of takes. For example, I hate fishing jerkbaits, but on the odd occasion that the method has been productive for me it has quickly turned from a chore to a fascinating and subtle method. Its downside is that it is a bit too much like work for my liking.

Today I threw baits at quite a few visible carp and all but one turned their noses up at it, yet I have had them wolf down cork balls, artificial sweetcorn, bare hooks and plummets in the past. The biggest surprise of the morning for me was my absolute inability to muster any kind of interest in small, very realistic pin worms and the like. Surely they should have been more effective than fluo yellow and red shads? I suspect that as the days eventually start to warm up and the fish’s metabolism requires more energy things might get easier, so there is another reason to give commercials another go, no boats!

Of all the fish in these waters, big perch are arguably the most naturally grown, not eating such enormous quantities of high protein pellets and boilies. They should have grown to size by eating small fish that have, and as I gain confidence and begin to increase my lure sizes I hope to put a few on the bank. Now that I have caught, I know that I can and I know where. The first arrows are safely stowed in the quiver.

artificial lite



journal 2015.


journal 2015.