Artificial

 Lite

From the water’s edge

March 2014 - Pressure points

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.

It’s been so easy for so long. We just don’t fail any more, we may have a slow start, but it always picks up. The weather has been consistent. Foul, but consistently foul, thanks to a relentless stream of low pressure systems wiping and weeping their way across our landscape. That high pressure which so often, but not always, coincides with red letter days has been non-existent, seemingly forever.

We arrived at the canal, to find messy water conditions, torrential rain from overcast skies and Terry already fishing with one small perch in his account. It wasn’t clear, but then it wasn’t thickly coloured either. It was in fact very similar to last week and so we pressed on. It involved walking the best part of a mile to a spot that Terry had caught a lot of big perch from a while ago, but which we had not yet had the opportunity to return to. Hopes were high and an initial unproductive half hour was no big deal. Heads down, backs turned to the wind, we fished on until Terry detected a faint tremor on his line and stopped winding. For some reason, I just happened to be watching his rod tip and saw it pull round an inch or so. Absolutely not the way to catch fish really, watching the next guy’s rod tip is it, but at least I got to see him strike into a nice zander.

That was it. All sorted now, crayfish hard on the bottom. Now we will rack up a few takes and a slow start will get going at last, won’t it?

Well, what do you think I am writing this rubbish about? Of course it didn’t and after another two monotonous and wholly unproductive hours, it was crystal clear even to idiots like us that fish don’t and won’t ever take artificial lures any more. Why would they?

Pub’s still shut, and we still have two highly embarrassing blanks to hide from prying eyes. Last week, the second lock on a nearby canal came good at the death and saved our bacon. We knew it was an imposition, but it was going to have to bail us out again. We needed fish of easy virtue, badly.

Bathed, nay soaked, by now, in glorious, sweat provoking, high pressure sunshine, we strode to the water‘s edge brimming with misplaced confidence. Pete and I knew that whatever else was to happen, we would be casting to fish. At the last place, only Terry had ever earned that privilege. Here, selfishly, we were the ones confident that fish would be in front of us and we could happily waste another two hours cementing our blanks solidly into the new season’s folklore early on. We went to work.

It took me most of that time to find a fish, or rather for one to find me. Even then it had to badger me relentlessly for half a retrieve until I realised that the pulling sensation I could feel was a take and that I ought to strike the hooks home. I didn’t really need to strike to be honest. Despite millions of fish not feeding at all, this one swallowed the lot right down. The nightmare got nastier and to be honest, I would rather have blanked than have to kill this beautiful little perch. But... As I mentioned earlier the sun was now shining on the righteous and miracle of miracles, no blood was drawn and after a moments poking about in the back of a mouth the size of a thimble, the hook just fell out. That’s twice in two weeks now, thank god.

Last week, further up the stretch, we had crossed a tiny brook, and a lure dibbled over the fence had tempted a fish to take. I lost it but it dawned on me all of a sudden that a hundred yards away was a sneaky opportunity to double my score. I wandered off to give it a try and moments later old chubby chops was smiling for the camera. Now I was equal top scorer and rushed back up the bank to casually mention this important fact. Just in passing you understand. I arrived in time to see Terry returning a tiny pike, so with my self importance slightly deflated, I said nothing and then... then my eye fell on a potential victim. Still fishing hard, but fruitlessly, up by the lock was a total blanker. Nothing cheers up an angler who just can’t catch a fish like a long detailed description of your latest catch. I rushed to give him the good news. The swelling should go down pretty quickly once I get some ice on it.

To be fair all three of us were a whisker away from a dead loss all morning. Nothing any of us tried made any worthwhile difference and any fish we caught were just lottery numbers that came up. Alan Smith always used to tell me that he couldn’t care less if air pressure was high or low, just as long as it had been the same for two or three days. Was the long-awaited high pressure front that arrived today the reason that we struggled so badly? Answers on a postcard, please, not that I’m really interested. I always feel that if you wait for the right conditions, you’d hardly ever go at all, and by then you’d certainly have missed all those days on which they fed when they shouldn’t have. Irrespective of the weather, if your baits not in the water....

 

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