From the water’s edge



June 2013 - Current affairs

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.


It’s good to be back; hello, hello? I was pretty sure that the river was in there somewhere, but running water is not so popular for fishing these days. Things ain’t what they used to be. “The cormorants have had em all, so have the poles and the otters and the zander,” I am continually being told. We all have our ideas. Me I don’t think it’s any of the above. If the water was as good as the authorities tell us it is these days then the river should be able to cope with natural predation, but they can’t it seems. I draw my own conclusions, but the fact remains they are harder than they used to be and lack of angling traffic means poor access above all. Nevertheless, Pete and I have broken the habit of a lifetime and bought - yes bought - as in purchased with Pete’s money - books for a local stretch of the Warwickshire Avon.

I have always loved fishing rivers , particularly medium to tiny ones, there are so many variables and vastly different challenges to those we encounter on the canal network.

Problem one - what lures to carry. I chucked out all my 3 gram and lighter jigheads and 1”kopytos in favour of 6 gram heads, 2 and 3” shads and some small crankbaits. Straight off it seemed like I had done right but as usual I was way off the mark. In just the second swim my tiny yogi jointed fry was nailed by a jack, immediately justifying my wire trace. It was only a couple of pounds but the blank was off the books in short order. While I was messing about, two or three one-pound-plus perch were showing an interest, but in light of their refusal to take what I had - cock-up number one became very evident. I had to borrow a tiny 2 gram dibbling shad off Pete, but the whining was worth putting up with because a nice perch took it right under the rod tip.

We pootled up and down the river clicking up a few fish, mostly small perch and jacks on a variety of baits but the most obvious target of our attentions was noticeably absent , until...

I crept into a new swim and cast across the stream, letting the current swing the lure back into my own bank, further downstream in the darker water beneath some overhanging trees and WHALLOP. Nothing else hits like a chub. It was a savage wrench wrapping the rod tip right over and ripping line off the clutch, all in a startling instant. Totally out of nowhere and no longer expected. How can this sport not be exciting? Of course it took a 2” kopyto on a 3.5gm jighead, also borrowed off the wise one who had the wit to bring some lighter stuff - just in case. I make too many snap judgements based on what I would like to happen and not what might happen.

My biggest lesson of the first day back on the river? You need a greater variety of options, not just heavier ones. All the fish we caught today were hard-earned but we had 3 jacks, a couple of chub to about 3-8 and 6 perch to around the pound mark which all in all wasn’t a bad effort for an exploratory morning.  

I can’t help feeling that to maximise catches on here it might pay to carry two rods set up. One for baits of two inches and up and another for ones of two inches or less. My new Dragon millenium rod was perfect for the better fish and chucking baits of 5 grams and upwards but not sensitive enough to deal with those tiny little 1” shads and grubs that I am convinced will catch us a lot more fish here.

I shall have to ponder this some more, because I don’t want to carry two rods. The wire is a tedious nuisance costing us takes. We both saw fish avoiding it like the plague. There is another reason for that second rod, because I would be ok using nylon to 1” baits and size 6 hooks, whereas it would be unfair to use it on anything larger. It was noticeable how much difference it made changing from a foot of 20 lbs titanium to 3 ft of 15 lbs soft strand. The latter was lot less obvious and moved the lure further from my bright red braid.

I am not sure where I am going with all this at the moment and it will take a few interesting visits to work it out. The longer rod was a big bonus in respect of lure and line control, but with the best will in the world I couldn’t claim that it had the feel of my more usual 6 ft wands. That extra length just deadens thing down some and I am also thinking I should have looked at something throwing 18-20 grams rather than 25. Only time will tell if that is prejudice or a reasonable assessment. I would certainly have been in trouble trying to get that chub out on the spro.

Lure-wise I shall add a couple of home-made small spinnerbaits and some salmo butchers to the box. Maybe a soft worm or two as well. “We saw a few barbel today and they didn’t seem interested in my crayfish, but I know that in the early season they can occasionally be caught on lures.

My best pike took the ‘dying swan’ fished slowly through some marginal cabbages and I have had it suggested to me that smaller grubs fished this way can be effective so I will be looking for some smaller weighted worm hooks, along with a small amount of drop-shotting bits and bobs to try and hold the baits in those slacks at the back of the onions where the big perch hang out. Towards the end of the morning as the weather became very hot and sunny, I put on a 3” big hammer shad in black and copper which provoked more takes than I had all morning on anything else. Some darker colours for the clear water as well then, methinks.

I always did love river fishing. Better order some more parcel tape Alan ;))


artificial lite




journal 2013.



journal 2013.