From the water’s edge

May 2015 - Light at the end of the tunnel

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

By mid morning we were discussing how on earth I might be able to keep a blog running about nothing. Pete’s suggested calling this entry ‘hard times’ (he likes his Dicken’s) but for me that just didn’t even come close to describing how difficult and disappointing our fishing has become of late. Last week we ventured onto a commercial in weather so bad, that we had the whole place to ourselves, and of course the inevitable happened. If you’re reading this George, I’m sorry to disappoint you, we didn’t empty it. It was a surprisingly pleasant spot and we will return. I have gleaned further information from people who are already fishing these kind of venues, very successfully, with lures and there will be more to follow in due course.

The weather today was equally foul and our plan, to visit a swim first that we usually fish last, was quickly in tatters. The venture was not without early promise. We both provoked a few takes but they were tentative, inconclusive affairs. My first cast resulted in a slight bump as my lure reached the margins and the resulting swirl as the fish departed, flattened a couple of metres of water surface and had my heart in my mouth, but nothing came of it. Small tugs on larger baits and hesitant vibrations on the dropshot caught me nothing and in truth never felt like they might. Pete broke his duck with a tiny Z with a liking for pink, but that was it. We walked off and fished back without a single offer even from previously productive spots and we decided enough was enough. I lost a couple of lures, and that just piled on the misery. Pete had a cold and it seemed like the entire venture was being directly and adversely affected by intervention from above.


Back in the car, spirits could not have been lower. In a few short trips our lure angling karma had gone from positive to negative. From believing that we had the job cracked and expecting a take every ten minutes or so all morning to a strong belief that neither of us would ever catch a fish again. We now knew that our lures were no good, our techniques lacking and our venues empty. The memories accrued over the last few years utterly forgotten in the mists of time. It is not unusual for people to contact me asking for suggestions on how they might catch more fish from their canals. What could I tell them now, only that suddenly, I no longer had any idea?

Before we moved we needed a plan and it occurred to me that we had forgotten important elements the approach that we once found so successful. Canals can be very hard and I have always felt that if I started by assuming such and set about scratching a blank saver right from the start, I would be ok. Dibbling in coloured water will always offer me the best chance of a fish. If I am catching easily using this method, then fish will be feeding all over the place. Then I would quickly widen my horizons and start throwing bigger lures further and fishing them higher in the water. Assuming the worst, while planning for the best had always stood me in good stead, but today, I went in with 3” lures and they just weren’t playing.

Instead of concentrating my efforts on putting a reliable bait in front of the fish and locating them, I had become so blasé that I have been assuming more and more that I could just go through the box until I found what they were taking. In short I was not practising what I preach any more. I had forgotten that in order of importance, what the fish are doing is top of the list and what I want them to do is bottom.

We exited the car, ten minutes later, a couple of miles up the road with my head at least thinking straighter and more determined to sort it out. It still didn’t make things easy, but after half an hour of thorough dibbling, the rod tapped smartly to the tune of a nice-sized perch. The drought has been so long at the end of my line, that I bullied it into the net and onto the scales. 1-10, far better than I expected and probably deserved, although I do feel that I earned it. If nothing else, the blank monkey was off my back and still restricted to one canal visit and one commercial failure.

We plugged away and eventually I whipped out another couple of small perch. Dibbling had produced another couple of insignificant indications, but I had to try a slow retrieve across the canal to provoke these last two. Dibbling would work anywhere across the canal, if the rod (or pole?) was long enough and it would be nice to work a bait just along the edges of the boat channel in this manner. I can picture a lot of dropshot aficionados jumping up and down shouting that they have the answer, but I can’t make it work for me. Not as effectively as a light jighead anyway. Maybe it’s me, but to be honest, I speak to a few people in the know and they don’t find it as good a method as jigging either. We can all make it work and I am certain that I am missing something fundamental, so it stays in my lure box, ready to go and to practice with at every opportunity. I used the method for maybe 25-30% of the time at our second venue and had no takes on it, so for me it remains an enigma.

In an effort to keep the successful lure (a 2” yellow tripple tail grub) in the zone for longer, I cast across and retrieved it in a series of the shortest hops that I could by lifting the rod smartly about 6” to a foot at a time, watching the falling line, and then when it had settled again, just taking up the resulting slack with the reel before repeating. It worked today and it is the oldest jigging technique known to man. Another example of sticking with, and not overlooking, what has always worked.

artificial lite



journal 2015.


journal 2015.