From the water’s edge



February 2013 - Hope, boys - is a cheap thing, cheap thing

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.

Well it had to happen I suppose. Since kick-starting my blog back in early December I had managed to avoid any blanks. True, once or twice that was by the skin of my teeth but nevertheless a matter of some pride given that they were once the rule that proved the exception. I have been getting a lot of positive and generous feedback lately which is very greatly appreciated, but I do have a tendency toward literary diarrhoea and in my long and tedious replies I often mention that ‘catching nothing proves nothing’. On that basis, to the modern mindset, a day like this is a day wasted and that is why I start this waffle with a picture of a train.

Not just any train this. It is one of many that whine past at 45 degrees doing about 125 mph filled with what Pete likes to refer to as the poor people. Those who feel that work is so much more important than life, that 125 mph is not fast enough for them to get there and so they work on their way to work as well. If any of them spare a moment to look up from their laptops and out of the window at the glorious, sunlit, frost-covered countryside, I wonder what they think of the two scruffy merchants trying to fish through holes in the ice. Bet they think we are mad, but we’re not, they are.

I would imagine that those of you who work nine to five are pretty fed up with my smug attitude already, so I will try and think of some excuses to explain our dismal performance on the most beautiful day of the year so far.

For a start many of our favourite spots were frozen over which was a hindrance, even so we should have caught. The water was clean, the boat traffic nil, the weather was cold, but warming up nicely and we have caught in far colder weather.     

I have no answers and all I can assume is that the sun was melting ice into the water and that killed it, because I tried every trick and size of lure I could think of but never even had a possible knock.

You may think we were mad to even bother but glorious weather, stunning views and the overwhelming urge to cast a line aside, we have a precedent that always inclines us towards optimism.

Five years ago we turned up at the canal to find the ducks standing up in rows down the middle and the ice covered in snow. Having travelled a fair way, we felt that we should at least walk down to the edge and glare at our misfortune. There under the road bridge was a patch of frost-protected clear, wobbly water.

As far as we are concerned you are either an angler or a bloke who does a bit of fishing and being the former we had to try. If that bit was free, then it would be free where the lock gates leaked, where other bridges crossed, where boats were moored and the newly-weds had kept themselves warm by rocking the boat. As it turned out even the wooded stretches had warm-spots where a line could be cast and in fact these few chances meant that we would fish harder, more-concertedly and for longer in fewer spots and guess what - it worked.

Jigs made of tinsel and tied on fly hooks by Pete caught us fish after fish. They would follow the lure in and the clear water allowed us to see what they were doing. If they wouldn’t take on the retrieve, they were easily teased into making a mistake by just flicking the rod tip with the lure hanging in the water. They could clearly be seen sucking more and more of it in until they could just be smoothly lifted out on to the bank. Quite bizarre really.

There were no monsters but we did get over two dozen up to a pound or so, from the few accessible spots we could find. It was an important lesson and leads to a cliche alert - so here we go then: You’ve got to be in it to win it; confidence is the best colour in the box and ...catching nothing proves nothing. Why? Because they may not have been there, they may not have been eating anything at all, the pound may have been drained or electro-fished or polluted, you might have been using the wrong bait, the wrong colour, the wrong retrieve, casting in the wrong place at the wrong time. Catch one fish, get one take and you immediately know that there are fish there, they are feeding, your bait is not a lemon, you can do it etc, etc. You have something to work on.

And that I guess is why we still go when the overnight frost hits -8 and common sense says we shouldn’t - we might just learn something else that helps and gives us hope. In the immortal words of one of my heroes, “’cause hope boys, is a cheap thing, cheap thing”.

artificial lite




journal 2013.



journal 2013.