Artificial

 Lite

October 2013 - Getting the bends

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.

 

From the water’s edge

 

It almost goes without saying that having had the good fortune to be present when our hippy friends finally (after a full year) vacated one of our hottest spots, our return visit should find a another boat in residence. Cause for an outbreak of the grumbles certainly, but also a thought-provoking occurrence as well.

I am fully aware that I incessantly refer to locating predators on the canals as being the number one factor that improves our catches and that finding these spots is real challenge. Incidentally somebody recently e-mailed me asking where I was fishing. I hope my readers will understand that I won’t pass on such details. It would be unfair to my friends to do so. Ask me anything else about fishing - no problem, but not for the locations that we have spent hundreds of hours of frustration, hard work and diesel locating.

Some features are immediate clues to location, in particular anything made of bricks or even on occasion concrete; locks, bridges, wharfs etc. The real problem comes when you get out in the sticks. Here every swim is an angler’s dream. Overhanging bushes, fallen trees, reeds; they all add up to thousands of idyllic spots, that to be honest flatter to deceive. Ninety five per cent of them are empty either permanently or until the odd shoal swims through. Dead-baiters and match anglers almost certainly think that more swims hold zander than lure anglers do.     

They both will be fishing in ways that will draw fish in from elsewhere, either by groundbaiting or using real food on the hook that draws them by scent. Any passing fish may well stop to take advantage of this food source thereby ‘proving’ that they are in a good spot. Their baits may be there all day as well, so the chances of fish passing in that time are quite high. Lure anglers are hunters. They don’t set traps, they stalk their fish. We go to them rather than waiting for, or persuading them, to come to us.

It is apparent that an awful lot of our favourite, most productive areas particularly out in the countryside, away from structure, are situated on bends and this spot is a good example. Not every bend has fish, it’s just that hotspots often occur on them. This particular spot for example is one of two on this stretch that nearly always holds fish and good ones at that. The whole stretch is bleak, cold and windswept, but these two spots have shelter and the bends shelter the water and put boaters in the lee of the few trees that are there. I am not certain that this is the reason, I can think of many places where it doesn’t hold true, but such similar circumstances do exist on many of our best spots.

Then throw in the likelihood that food will be thrown overboard and that dish washings are vented into the water and you have another reason for fish to like these places. We certainly do and today by sneaking in close and fishing hard and quietly before the residents awoke, we caught fish after fish, on shads, grubs, spinnerbaits, crayfish - you name it. Every new lure bought more takes and we had 20 in the first two hours.

The best Z was a good three pounds, the best perch getting close to two I would say and we matched each other fish for fish. When sport died at the first spot, we moved up to the next and fished hard until the nearby car wash fired up. Populated by people who always take an unhealthy interest on what we are catching, we always leave straight away. In the early days we dragged a few hand-lines out and it seems silly to risk future success for immediate results.

By about eleven am, boat traffic was increasing and results diminishing in a pretty close statistical co-incidence, so we set off again. Close to the car, as of course there always will be, is a bridge and we can always tweak a few out by dibbling amongst the fallen masonry and around the odd tussock that hangs in the water.  Even so apart from a couple of little ones, takes were not exactly abundant.

Eventually as I lifted my little 1” yellow kopyto and held it a few inches off bottom I felt that electric pluck on the line. I struck, but the tip stayed put, un-movingly in the same place as I bent the butt up against a solid weight. ‘The bottom’, I thought, but as I held firm the tip started bumping about. The fish wouldn’t come up to start with and I assumed it must be a decent pike. Then I made two telling mistakes. I went for the net first instead of taking off the anti-reverse, and having done so, for the first time ever, I found the net handle caught in my waistcoat and was unable to free it. As I inevitably buggered about trying  to sort myself out a very big perch - way over two pounds hit the surface. It rolled over and dived hard. With remorseless inevitability I saw the tip pull down into the water and felt the pressure build until it was too great for my fine wire hook. I was left cursing and ranting at the vortex from a stupidly-lost specimen perch. All my own fault. Clutch too tight, landing net caught up, anti-reverse not disengaged in time, not paying as much attention as I should, assuming that small baits mean small fish - the list of my incompetences just goes on and on as I guess it always will.

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