From the water’s edge

January 2015 - Question time

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This can be a bad time of the year for me. My work is seasonal and the weather keeps me off the gardens more often than not. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it is staying indoors. It makes me fat, lazy and miserable, so when Pete suggested we fit in an extra trip this week, he didn’t need to be all that persuasive. He was right, I knew it would blow those cobwebs away , what I hadn’t bargained for was just how hard it would blow them.

We had chosen a stretch that we hadn’t fished for about four or five years. Back then we had struggled to catch very few fish and that had put us off. It was also the height of the boating season and this area is like Clapham junction for barges. The water then was the colour of tea, but more importantly , we hadn’t refined any dibbling or crayfish techniques. Today in the middle of winter with no boat traffic, some clearer water and a clearer idea of how to fish it, we thought it an inspired choice.

The whole area is a mixture of long straight uninspiring water, interspersed with plenty of our favourite features and lots of moored boats, locks and wide areas. The banks are mostly concrete and iron but where they aren’t they are beds of reeds. Everything we could wish for. Except I wished for a nice, mild, calm day and got a nice, cool, howling gale.

All our high potential spots were wide open and catching the full blast. The surface in places actually had white horses on it and despite trying these areas thoroughly, we ended up merely seeking shelter but even there, the wind blew our lines around making takes hard to spot. Worse still, blustery wind mythers me to bits. I can’t concentrate, I can’t cast straight, my temper, fragile as it is, becomes wafer thin and likely to snap. I tend to lose more lures in these conditions and in fact did lose more today than I have for a while due to a lack of concentration and accuracy. In short while it was nice to be out, it was a bloody struggle.

For two hours it was looking like a resounding blank was on the cards as we had both been right through our boxes twice and tried every method at our disposal without a single take.

Eventually however, we came to a wider area that was actually pretty well sheltered and here it was a different day altogether. Pete hit the first fish when a two pound zander struck into his 3” yellow hammer right in the margins, and two minutes later, I had one as well on a 2” yellow kopyto. Yellow was the colour alright which surprised me a bit as the water was pretty clear.

We flogged the area to death for the next hour without a single take before giving up and making a beeline for the next likely-looking area. Here we had more takes. We both  worked our way steadily through the options in our lure boxes, but try as we might only one hit came to a colour other than yellow and that was this tiddler on a black and copper 3” shad.

Just lately , it seems that the fish will not settle for one bait. We had a fair few hits in the next hour but only the crayfish got more than one. It was very much a case of get a take, change the lure if you wanted to catch another. Change the lure but not the colour. It seemed that it had to be yellow.

Takes were still hard to discern with the line being blown around so much; just little bumps and taps. On the crayfish both the fish I caught were just there when I went to move it. It was very strange that takes should be so hard to get and yet despite the fish being very small, they were keen enough to get 3” baits well down. I can never work these things out. Smaller lures were less successful, and in fact when they did attract takes, the fish seemed to fall off, far less of a problem with the bigger lures.

By about 11 am the weather took a turn for the worse, employing a miserable rain to get us heading back toward the car. We stopped to dibble two of the tiniest perch you could ever wish to see from under the bridge and fled for the fire. Goodness knows what we will do on Wednesday, the weather is forecast to be worse. These are the hard days that sort those who have got an understanding of lure fishing from those who have yet to crack it. I suppose we have cracked it to some degree if we can feel hard done by with a good handful of fish on a day like this.   

artificial lite



journal 2015.


journal 2015.