Artificial

 Lite

From the water’s edge

December 2014 - Today was my day.

It wasn’t meant to be, honestly, but today was my day. We had a visitor, Wadey was up for some ditch jiggling and we pride ourselves that in the past, we have always put him and Steve Polley onto fish. Mr P couldn’t make it, some lame excuse about being a postman with quite a lot to do at the moment. Really, all he has to do of any importance is deliver the odd packet of lures occasionally and then come up here and show us how it’s done. Anyway, he couldn’t and so we just had to do our, rather inadequate best. Pete’s trio of big fish back in November was the last time we had visited this spot. We saved it you see, so today should have been a walk in the park.

It certainly looked that way to start with. It was dark when we arrived, Wadey had gone the wrong way up the canal as he always does and took a few moments to find us. The canal has been clear for ages, so on went the black/copper hammer. Halfway back - bang - 3lbs - lovely. Off to a flyer. That’s the way to do it. But it wasn’t. We struggled and struggled hard. An hour later I had a half decent perch, maybe a pound, that tapped a 3” pearl/yellow-tail hammer on the drop. Would that be the signal for sport to pick up? Nope, not on your life.

We started moving up the canal. All that achieved was us struggling in different spots. It was my day, I caught regularly if sporadically (very sporadically) all morning, but at least I was catching, the others weren’t. I claim no great cleverness here but something was different for me. ‘What sort of takes are you getting?’ Pete wanted to know and I couldn’t tell him. After those first two fish, the takes had been nigh on invisible. I couldn’t describe them because I could rarely, and then barely, even see them. Something just wouldn’t be right and a fish would be on when I flicked the rod tip. I couldn’t say they weren’t having it, they clearly were but I don’t think they were really bothered.

As my tally crept up and the others struggled for bites, I was beginning to feel bad - sorry - I mean smug. To be honest, I don’t understand what was causing the problem. The weather was mild and even pleasant at times. The wind was a bit of a nuisance and making minute bite detection hard to discern. My headache was developing nicely, a sure sign that a lot of concentration was necessary, but takes were still noticeable by their absence and we were all talking pub too early in the morning really.

The consensus was back to the start for the last hour and then off for lunch. A couple of hours can make a big difference, and while takes were not exactly numerous, there were more proper ones to be had and Pete started the ball rolling with a pikey thing. A scraper double we reckon and pretty p****d off at falling for a 2” curly tail on the drop it lashed out at Wadey as he lifted it from the water, liquidising his fingers in the process.

Oh my goodness, that wasn’t funny. Not much. Jack the ripper 1 - The big guy 0.

Say what you like about Mr wade, he’s always top class entertainment and good value to boot.

It seemed to me that the crayfish might work here. Fish in this area tend to be bigger than average, with takes few and far between, a bait fished slow and hard on the bottom should work and it did. I had a couple more Zs, not big but welcome all the same and then I made the big decision. A boat had come through lifting silt and muck up in the hitherto pretty clean water and it seemed a good idea to use a lighter jig carrying a smaller brighter cray. The lighter bait would swirl about and sink more slowly, the yellow colour might just make it more visible and yellow has always been a favourite colour in grubby water for me.

A couple of unproductive casts is always enough to persuade me I am wrong but I gave it one more anyway. Halfway back, I watched the line fall slack and then shoot out. I struck and winding hard walked back across the towpath eventually bending hard into a fish that shot to the surface and then thrashed around like a mad thing before boring deep into the net. That was it really, nothing clever about it, just as I have done a million times before, and at 6-3, my biggest canal Z ever. After ten years of canal fishing and neither of us ever having got one over six pounds, we have both now done it inside a month. Immensely satisfying and with Wadey slaying his blank a few minutes later we decided to head for the pub. A fitting end to a difficult but interesting morning really.

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.

artificial lite

Laying at the feet of the master.

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