From the water’s edge

September 2015 - The problem is...

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I have to say I was worried. Pete was on the running line today and this spot is pretty wide. In the past, we have caught a fair few good fish from across the other side and although we have caught them in the margins as well, the likelihood of some personal embarrassment seemed pretty much a foregone conclusion.

I chose a line from my winder, walked to the water’s edge and put the lure in. Almost immediately, the shout went up, bloody hell he has the net in the water already. I watched despondently , if that came from the other side, I am finished. Bump, I wasn’t watching, but I felt the take and lifted the pole smartly flipping my first fish of the day clean out of the water, all 2 oz of it. Spectacular stuff. Pete’s fish owned as many pounds as mine did ounces and his was landed.

Remarkably, that was it as far as the better fish went all morning. That one had actually taken under the rod tip although it may have followed the lure all the way in. Even so, we were both struggling and it must have taken me an hour or more to find a way to catch. Slow, positively minute movements of the lure seemed to do the trick. Leave it on the bottom for a second or two, raise it slowly around six inches and hold again, then repeat. I started to catch , but they were all tiny, mostly zs and in nearly every swim. I’ve never seen so many really small zander, which was great news for us and happily the stuff of nightmares for the bailiff.

Yes, you read that right, bailiff. I thought they were extinct, but sadly not and we had to dig around in Pete’s wallet for money to buy day tickets. Pete was clever, “any reduction for OAPs?”

“Er no.”

“Well what does it mean on the ticket where it says OAP rate then?”

“OH yeah alright, 3 quid each then”

I was hopping mad but not hopping high enough to tell him that I am even younger than I look, it’s only Pete that looks like an escapee from the local Co-op. I should have owned up, because I shall for ever now be tarred with the OAP brush, some 6 years early as well. I am sure it will get mentioned now and then.

Just as the bailiff was prising Pete’s hand open to release the cash, my tip went round and we both knew straight away that this was going to be a zander. Pete stepped forward to block the view and I nonchalantly turned my back and dropped the fish back in the side. Too late.

“If I had spotted that in time I would have told you to knock it on the head and chuck it up the bank.”

“If you had done that it would have been the last ticket money you’d have ever got from us, they are why we came here to fish in the first place.”

“ The problem is there’s too many of them, they’re killing all the roach.”

“So what will they eat then?”

“The crayfish, the problem is there’s too many of them as well.”

Four boats chugged past in quick succession.

“We had a match the other day on the stretch that’s just been re-stocked, but the boats ruined it, the problem is there’s too many of them; and nobody caught anything because the zander have eaten all the new fish. Them and the East Europeans, the problem is there’s too many of them as well, that’s why I’m here collecting ticket money.”

So if any club officials are watching, might I suggest that if you don’t like foreigners and you don’t like zander or crayfish or boats that you don’t waste your club funds renting a piece of canal and stocking it with roach that it doesn’t need? Just an idea of course.

artificial lite



journal 2015.


journal 2015.