Artificial

 Lite

From the water’s edge

April 2014 - Focus failure

I’ve no idea what has happened here. In the space of about four weeks, I have gone from believing that I knew what I was doing to utter incompetence and expected failure. These days, my first cast is an expectant one, my second a hopeful one and my third a pointless, disinterested one. At no point this week did I expect a take and of course at no point did I have one. I thought for a moment that I had one dibbling in the side, but half an hour’s unsuccessful dithering later, I no longer believe it was.

I look blankly into my lure box at the usual array of yellow kopytos and multi-coloured hammers shads and I cannot see one lure that I have any confidence in. I crawl my bottom baits slowly across the silt. I jig my little dibblers up and down the margins and  cast every lure I possess into every likely looking corner of every swim and nothing happens. Why on earth not? These same baits have been catching fish week in, week out for years and now they are just so much useless dross.

It’s worse because the moment I believe a bait is useless, it becomes so. A few trips ago, Pete and I were in fits because we had to wait half an hour for the first take and we couldn’t believe it because we were so used to catching immediately. We could take anybody, anywhere and impress them straight away by catching fish. That sounds like showing away, bullshit, self-importance, but it was a fact and an example of how confident we were in our techniques, knowledge and abilities. Now I wouldn’t dare to suggest to anybody that my first cast would even go in the water, let alone catch a fish. The two Steves came up and we had over a hundred fish between us, no problem. We went out with Terry to a local stretch of water and he caught a stack of fish, we all did, everywhere we cast. We would cast a miniscule 1” yellow kopyto into a morass of muddy canal and catch fish just retrieving it at random. Last season we hardly went a week without catching at least one pound and a half perch. Usually we would get a two pounder. Now - nothing - and it is a vicious downward spiral of ineptitude. No takes = no confidence = definitely no takes and no idea how to get one. I have tried but I am sure I am failing miserably to explain how impossible this situation has become and yet in my heart of hearts, I know it just proves that if they aren’t feeding, you can’t catch them, no matter how clever you might think you are - except that Colin did. He had two takes, caught one and lost one. Pete had one take and caught one fish. My record was a 100% success rate. I had no takes and I hit every one of them. Or in the immortal words of Seasick Steve, I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left.

On the way back to the pub, we passed a seat with these intriguing little doors in the back rest. Upon opening them, I found this small plaque. Not catching any fish doesn’t matter a toss does it? We are still walking the cut, creaking and groaning, whinging and moaning and we have no right to not enjoy a single minute of it and in truth we still love it. Steve Polley e-mailed me today to say that my old friend Bob is too ill to fish any more and is selling all his gear. We had great times roaming the banks of many small Leicestershire rivers and casting from my boat on Rudyard lake. Halcyon days that have gone forever but still live on in our memories long, long after this weeks blank will be forgotten. The great truth of lure fishing is that it is your friends that make it so enjoyable, the fish are secondary. And so those of you that can make it to the lurefair on Saturday will, like Pete and I be telling each other lies about how great our fishing has been without once ever mentioning the blanks. If any readers are there and spot us come and say hello, it would be nice to put faces to e-mail addresses.

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.

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