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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. If this form will not work for you, please e-mail me at editor@ericweight.co.uk
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A host’s dilemma.

"Come on over and catch a few of these hybrids, bite a chuck, easy as you could ever wish for!"

Talk about tempting fate. It turned out to be the hardest morning's fishing I have yet had fishing with bread on the canal. Everybody who has ever invited another angler to share their luck has suffered the same way at the hands of fate, yet the morning wasn't even remotely wasted.

We chewed the cud over rigs and fish populations, we even managed to smooth out some ideas for 'the project', and in amongst the chatter we caught the (very) occasional fish.

I like old school serious match anglers like George. They have always developed a better understanding of the way that their tackle works than anglers from other disciplines, and they did it whilst fishing the methods and venues that I have always preferred. Don't get me wrong here, modern match anglers are equally skilled but their acquired knowledge is understandably focussed on overstocked commercials rather than more 'natural' waters (is there still such a thing really?) where we are competing with boats and crayfish and lower stocking densities of fish more interesting than cloned pasties.

I learned stuff today about subjects I thought I already had a good understanding of and that it the key factor in my enjoyment of fishing. That and just being out there, of course.

I only had two fish, a nice roach of 14oz, a decent hybrid of a pound ten, and lost what, judging by the amount of dubious snot left on my line, was a reasonable bream. George caught as well and interestingly, from my point of view as a lure angler, he helped himself to a few perch using worms, one or two of which tested the one pound barrier.

 

 

He also caught the biggest crayfish either of us had ever seen. A Cornish potter would have passed the gauge over it, it really was huge. In fact we had several that were a lot bigger than we routinely see, so these must be rich feeding grounds.

It has been a trying time lately fish-wise. My previous visit, a fortnight since, was the least productive that I had so far experienced and today was poorer still. Pete and I fished the canal on Wednesday with lures and that too was hugely disappointing. We fished a stretch that once yielded plenty of decent perch and zander to the plastic, but which these days can barely bring itself to offer us a fish of eight ounces.

I suspect that poor results in these two distinct styles of angling are caused by different issues. Water temperatures and weather conditions along with a lot of bankside engineering works cannot be helping with the bread fishing and those problems should rectify themselves with time, the seasons and more settled weather.

The lure fishing is a different kettle of fish altogether. Bad days are not exceptional any more, they are the norm. There haven't been any good days for eighteen months. Overfishing with artificials, electro-fishing, and losing water to clubs have all had a big impact on us, but I can't help wondering if other more personal factors are the cause of our unhappy results. I wonder if we have lost the will to catch using techniques that are so self limiting. Maybe it is just that our mojos have gone awol.

In retrospect, every trip was once a competition for me and I would concentrate on the job in hand until it felt like my brain would burst. Got to catch more than Pete, or anybody else for that matter, got to get a story for the blog. Got to prove this method or that retrieve is the best and most productive. I, personally dislike the idea of fishing for money, I feel it is a disrespectful way to treat any living creature, but competition for whatever goal certainly focusses both mind and effort, inevitably leading to success at some level.

More than any other kind of fishing, lure fishing success is in your head. If you stop trying, you stop catching. If you aren't certain that you will catch and that your techniques are successful, they rarely will be. We have had fantastic fishing over the years, but I can't help wondering if we have become too blasé to be successful any more. More than ever, ten minutes without a take sees me, not just lose interest, but worse still, not really trying any more and every trip that inevitably fails to produce merely reinforces that negative attitude. The human brain is a dangerous place to look, but I suspect it is the real cause of our, or at least my, despondency with lure fishing.

Now then, better hooks for bread, better hook length material, lighter floats. Anybody else remember when fifteen quid would fill a carrier bag at the tackle shop rather than this little brown paper one?
 

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