September 2013 - Mix n match

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From the water’s edge



It seems to have been forever since I last went fishing. A couple of days lost to the evils of work and a couple of sneaky sessions proving to be so unproductive as to leave nothing of worth to write about or decent photographs to lie about.

The dismal weather and a shortage of time meant that today we would not be travelling far or fishing the river even if we had been able; so it was back to last season’s perchy areas to see if the big girls were re-grouping for the winter yet. They weren’t, but it was a productive and interesting day for all that.

Just for half an hour or so, it looked like we had found some decent perch. Pete quickly hooked a good fish which was clearly over a pound and a half but it spat out the yellow grub close in. The next stayed on ‘til it was netted but this one turned out to be a Z anyway.

This particular stretch has a couple of pretty reliable spots along it at least in the winter, but for a year or more, one of them has, to our intense frustration, been occupied by a hippy barge. Unbelievably today while we were fishing further along it came chugging round the corner and we made haste to put our long missed pitch through its paces. By the time we arrived a couple more small fish had seen the world of men, but initially the newly vacated hotspot seemed pretty cold. After half an hour or more’s concentrated effort, fish started to take. All zander and of a good average size as well. The first took the ubiquitous 2” yellow kopyto, but 3” black and copper hammer shads produced as did a string of bigger than usual (for us) baits in a variety of colours.

Our results clearly backed up a couple of our favourite theories which was nice. For a start the fishing got better the more we plied the water with lures. The two of us ending up sharing a swim and creating an underwater frenzy of artificial baitfish activity. The longer we fished the more takes we got and the faster they came. As they died away, we chopped and changed lures and techniques also reinforcing our belief that a change is even better then a rest.

At every opportunity, I switched from a straight forward shad to the dropshot. I’d get a take on a jig and straight away, out would come the lead, but it was a long time before a take came on it and then I had a couple of nice fish in quick succession on a hideous pink 4” fluke. It was nice to catch on the method again, and I have still never used it and not had takes. They really wanted the lure and one of them got it right down, but takes and fish still came easier on a straightforward old-fashioned shad.

I will take some convincing that drop-shotting is anything more than another interesting way to catch fish on lures as long as they are feeding well. One more minor tactic that promised much only to ultimately disappoint. Apart from the fact that I like fishing it, experience suggests that it is a waste of time, if as I had hoped, one is looking for something to turn to when the fishing is hard. Dibbling is ten times more effective in those circumstances. Once more we have a ‘new’ method that works just as well or just as badly as every other method or lure we have in our armoury. Correspondence to my website confirms this view.

Of course I may just still be crap at fishing it, which wouldn’t surprise me at all and I will be persevering with the method for a while yet.

Interestingly this is not a spot where we have had more than the odd Z before and this also added weight to something else we have noticed before. The first season’s zander that you catch from a new area have a better than usual average weight and that from then on average size declines. We have found good fish in new places so often and then after a season or two all we catch are one pound schoolies. I can’t help thinking that the better fish wise up quickly and move on.

By about 11 o clock, the boats were getting rather too frequent for our liking. We resorted to dibbling around some bridge structure and concrete, getting a few more perch and one tiny Z.

Some more questions to ponder. Why do we only catch the occasional tiny zander dibbling in the edge, while it is not unusual to get some decent perch on the same baits? Why do nearly all our zander take in the far third of the canal? Why don’t I get fish following the lure into the side any more, I used to get loads. Why is dropshotting so hard to get takes on when those that do take the lure take it so well? Why do all the anglers I meet catch eight pound zander when I have caught thousands but never even seen one that big? Are deadbaiters too scared to admit to catching anything under four pound? Do big perch shoal in winter? We only get odd ones in the summer but once the boats die away and autumn arrives, multiple catches of good fish are not unusual.

So there we are. Back in action at last. 18 between us today between eight and twelve o clock. On lures from 1” to 4”. On pink, yellow, black/copper, pearl, pearl/green tail and flesh coloured baits. Shads and curly tails, drop shotted and jigged. Half a dozen Zs between 2 and a half and 3 and a half pounds. Fun fishing by anybody’s standards I would hope.

I know one or two people follow this blog quite closely and I’d like to thank all those that get in touch. Chucking ideas and knowledge around is always fun and works in everybody’s favour. I have long pondered a quick and effective way of swapping from straightforward jigs to dropshot and back again. As you can see from today’s efforts I do like to change methods and lures a lot and re-rigging every time I wanted to put on a DS rig or change hook sizes was a serious pain. Enter Sean. He sent me an e-mail pointing me at these hooks  and my problem was solved. If you would rather use a different pattern, then it is easy enough to bend up your own link around your favourite hook using fine round nosed jewellery pliers and fine brass or stainless wire. Tie a foot of nylon (no need to use your expensive fluoro) to the eye below the hook and attach your weight as usual. To change from your kopyto just unclip it as usual and clip on the top eye of the DS hook instead. I have a 2” lure/hook/lead set up and a 4” one as well; each is just kept in with the lures. It doesn’t even matter if you catch the nylon in the lid of the box, as it is just an old fashioned rotten bottom. The hook is joined to your fluoro trace as usual. Quick, easy, obvious and known the world over by everyone except me apparently. It also means I can discard the swivel/link assembly I was using to join my braid to my traces. If you listen carefully you can hear my tip ring breathing a sigh of relief at only having to cope with a knot instead of an overwound swivel clattering through the lining.

Thanks again Sean, that gives me loads more options on the bank and as you can see it worked for me today just fine.

artificial lite




journal 2013.



journal 2013.