Artificial

 Lite

From the water’s edge

January 2014 - Firing blanks

 

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.

I don’t often go out to play with the big boys. I don’t like the big fish at all costs scene, preferring to do my own thing on my own patch, but every so often I am tempted to make an attempt beyond my comfort zone. It rarely works and is a great way to dash any ideas I have about my own ability.

Today I was out with Rob again and this time we were trying for a better zander on one of the big midland’s trout reservoirs. I don’t know what happened to the weather - it was superb; cold and frosty to start with, but very bright and sunny all day long. Wind? - there was no wind. Fish? - there were no fish either, but we (if I say so myself) were very hard done by. We fished in my view, really well.

I was very impressed by Rob’s boat handling skills. He kept us on the features effortlessly, all day long. If only somehow, they could have had some fish on them we might have done great things.

The first set back came in the car park at 8.30 am. Boats out at 9, back in at 3pm. 3pm?!!! Even in January, that is barely the middle of the afternoon on a clear day, and would have made the last two hours, a prime feeding time for big zander, unavailable to us. And all for just £52. The best part of ten pounds an hour is a bit strong for stillwater fishing in January I reckon.

I wasn’t the only one who felt the same. There was only one other boat going out at 9am and the two lads in that one managed to get a 30 minute extension, but even so... words fail me.

I have to say my disappointment was left in the car park as we set off into a pale ,glorious, blue haze and headed for the most obvious spot to start, one of the towers

Straight away, we found small fish on the finder, and lowering our baits down soon resulted in tiny tips and taps. I struck at a couple, but to be honest, I am pretty sure we were just brushing bait fish with the line. From there we hunted every feature we knew of all day long. We never stopped, fishing each one carefully and accurately. Both of us had a knock or two, but never a proper take.  

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Rob strike and he was in. He didn’t know he was in until he swung his lure to hand because the zander he had caught was hiding behind it. At first I thought it was an egg, but on close inspection, fins were clearly visible. It was the real McCoy. And as a past master at catching matchbox miniatures from the canals, I was left speechless by the sheer skill involved in accurately locating such a small fish in such a large body of water. We did briefly consider knocking it on the head and taking it home to eat but on reflection we decided there would be more meat on a pea and chucked it back to save somebody else’s blank. I spent the rest of the day pursuing it remorselessly hoping for a repeat capture to avoid my own blank, but in the meantime, it must have gorged on a daphnia as it was no longer hungry enough to strike at my lure.

I told you I was out of my depth. It is absolutely hopeless trying to learn anything from a blank. What you need is a lucky break on a water like this. Then you have some thing to work on. Some experience to base your decisions on. As it was we had very little. Rob has been before and had a fish or two. He knows people who know and he did his best to put us on the spots, but fish were noticeable by their absence. He showed me photographs of the fishfinder screen, previously taken on all the spots we fished. Every one had clusters of decent, banana-shaped fish echoes on them. Today we saw none. A couple of baitfish shoals was all we could find. We fished around and through those, missing a tap or two, but I’m sure they just had to be liners or small perch.

To rub salt into the wounds, when we got back at 3.30, there was nobody champing at the bit to clean the boats out and go home. They rolled up as we left the site at 4 o clock. We could have had another 30 minutes easily, probably another hour without inconveniencing anybody at all.

It doesn’t alter the fact that I enjoyed that a lot and can’t wait for another crack at those zander. Vertical jigging in 30 to 60 feet of water is good practice for my sea fishing if nothing else!

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