From the water’s edge

March 2015 - Seeing through the psychological fog

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

Maybe it’s just the time of year. The weather couldn’t make up its mind, and neither could we. The snowdrops are over, the violets peeping through the leaf litter, buds are breaking out all over and the pigeons are at it like rabbits. The rabbits were at it like rabbits weeks ago and the verges are dotted with those tiny little rabbits that will always be cuter than cute and dafter than daft. They haven’t learned anything yet and I have to wonder if we have either. The thick cold fog of dawn mirrored the lack of clarity in our thinking.

Up in the water or down on the bottom. Slow, slowish or steady. Clear water - restrained colours or low light, bright ones. A dozen good reasons for every decision and no idea which way to jump. The answer as always when its like this start slow and low and get faster and higher if it doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work, start all over somewhere else.

We walked off. Half a mile at least and found fish straight away in a stretch that we have rarely fished. Looking to search new water for signs of life, I had settled on a dull tan pearl 2” kopyto fished as low and slow as I could manage. Two hard tugs on consecutive casts showed promise but no results. Ok, so that’s the right idea then, must be wrong colour or size if they are hitting that hard and not hooking up. Scale down to check for perch and right there in the same spot, the blank is wiped out by a pretty little thing that should never yet have left its mother.

Pete lost one, I had a little Z. We both had knocks and tickles and it was clear that while they were in playful mood, they were perhaps like us and the weather, undecided about just how they felt. Cold or hot, hungry or playful.

We fished on and it was  more of the same, but I was scratching a fish out here or there as we fished on and on, away from the car and into new territory.

It was nice to get takes and find signs of fish in new water, it always is, but Pete could not put the hook in one. He had another fall off and in no time, we had walked as far as we wanted to. It was time to get back to a banker area and make hay, especially as the sun was now shining, both on the righteous and Pete.

I wasn’t setting the world on fire, although I was still getting the odd fish, but to my left there had been an awfully long spell of miserable silence. Finally it was punctuated with a howl of rage and I turned just in time to see the toys exit the pram at speed. They landed on the bank fortunately but the heavy swirl at his feet told the story.

Pete had finally got the hook in and elected to say nothing having already discovered the magic words to be, “yes - got one!” Magic indeed as already today that short phrase had instantly unhooked two fish for him. This time, in silence, he had got the net ready just fast enough to get it wet and just slowly enough to see his lure tossed off again by a very nice fish.

Oh goodness was he happy.

“It’s just not my day today.”

“There’s nothing I can do to change things when its like this.”

“Why me?”

“It’s too cold”

“It’s too hot.”

We pressed on and eventually found ourselves at some moorings that once offered us excellent sport before the dredger came. Two weeks of scraping and churning before the boats came back, but two years at least and still no sign that the fish had.

“It’s been ruined here.”

“Its too clear.”

“There’s too many boats.”  (I catch another one)

“You’re a jammy sod!”

“Bloody hell this is a nice perch!!”

“Isn’t it great here.”

“Isn’t lure fishing great.”

It was a good perch, not as good as we hoped, just shy of two pounds but well-earned, or so I am told. He followed it up with a nice Z and we were both up and running. I had a couple of nice Zs too and we both missed a hit or two.

In fact it was a different day altogether this side of the bridge. Better fish, better takes, warmer sun, a nicer day altogether. So nice in fact that we were half an hour late getting to the pub having been clock-watching just an hour before.


Pete’s earlier misery is symptomatic of the lure fishers mindset. Or at least it accurately matches my own. The psychology of the sport is ignored but overcoming it is probably a key factor in the success of the best lure anglers I have met. They exude confidence and it is repaid in spades. When I have fished with them I always feel sure that I will at least see some fish even if it isn’t me that catches them.

Lesser mortals have to overcome our demons. The nasty niggling maggot in the back of my mind whispering , “wrong bait, no fish, waste of time, blank, blank, blank” only needs ten minutes or even a couple of casts without a take, to take over my world and put me in the same place that Pete was in. I sympathise, I really do but I was reminded this week by another lure angler that it helps to be impatient. If nothing is going right, you have to change something or you are just going to be relying on luck. Luck is essential, grasp it with both hands, but you have to make your own, not moon around waiting for it to stumble on your incompetence.

I am amazed to think that I once only ever carried one lure, a home-made spinnerbait, and did ok. I tried it today and it was the only lure I used that produced zero interest. In four hours this morning, I reckon I changed my lure forty or fifty times. Every time, I had a reason to do so, be it a change of colour, depth, retrieve or action. Just trying to make it happen. Lure fishing is in your head, it’s all in your head.

The harder it is, these days, instead of just assuming that they aren’t feeding I find myself working harder and harder to sort it out. I know when it’s hard, I have a headache to die for, but the feeling when it all comes right again is worth it, just ask Pete

artificial lite



journal 2015.


journal 2015.