Artificial

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From the water’s edge

September 2015 - The problem is...

There is a stretch of canal, not far from Pete’s house, that we have been fishing for about three years now. When we first started going there, it produced a lot of good fish for us. By good I mean 1.5 - 2.25 lbs fish. By fish, I mean perch. It can be a mean, miserable stretch when the wind is against you, but it was always kind to us. Then it died a death.

Repeated visits produce next to nothing from our usual spots, and the long stretches in between, that may well have been holding those missing fish, are difficult sort of areas to muster any enthuisaism for. Longish straights with few if any features, places where the mean wind turns really nasty. But luckily in the second year, we found fish close to the bridge where we walk onto the towpath, so we pressed on.

Our last couple of visits have proved almost fruitless, but we harbour a need to re-establish some kind of understanding of this enigmatic place. Those fish are probably still there somewhere and may well be three pounders by now. Today we went back, and persevered for two hours on what was once the most productive bend. It paid off in numbers if not in the size of the fish it gave up. So I guess it was something of a success.

One of the advantages of jig-fishing with the pole is that areas where the surface is covered in leaves are easily fishable. I’ve always liked the cover that leaf rafts provide and so my first plan was to edge a small, 1.5” Fox micro fry down through the mat and go to work. Five minutes later I felt my first sharp knock on the tip and quickly landed my first ever roach on a lure.

Well that was a turn up, but this method certainly seems to catch more ‘non-predatory’ fish than any other we have used. I pressed on, we both did and by mid-morning we had added perch and zander to the bag, not in huge numbers and certainly not in any great size but it was a pleasing result from an area that has been a bit unforthcoming lately. By lunchtime, we had caught 20 odd fish between us; roach, perch and zander from an ounce to a pound and a half. A fair few were mid range fish in the 8-12 oz brackert which make for good sport . We packed happy.

Since my last visit to the commercial I have been unable to return and have been champing at the bit now that I have solved the puzzle of how to catch fish blind. Dead slow, micro movements hard on the bottom. I went back and proved that I have learned nothing. In two hours, I managed one bite on a 20 mm curly tail fishing blind and two small chub that I had spotted chasing my leader knot.

It was a result of sorts, I have missed takes from these tiny chub many times and yet today hooked both. My ‘new’ technique was rubbish though, tedious, difficult rubbish and I am sure it was the fault of all the other anglers. Today there weren’t any and as a consequence, no bait had gone in and the weather being a bit unhelpful was all it took to prevent them from feeding.

I don’t want to get into groundbaiting, it oversteps my personal lure fishing boundaries, but finding feeding fish on a commercial is surprisingly hard when no bait is going in. I don’t think these fish eat a lot of natural food and so they just mope around waiting for the anglers to return and lashings of pellets and bread to go in, then they may take anything that you can get in front of them. Whatever the truth, I took the traditional two steps back from last weeks step forward and it was a bitter disappointment.

Off to the seaside next weekend , I have a plan, so Laurence and I are doing some reconnaissance. Stand by for another tale of woe and disaster.

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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