From the water’s edge

January 2014 - Ronnies and Reggies

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.

Killer baits, killer fish. There’s no getting away from them, the crays really are doing the business at the moment. That ability to drag the bait through the rubbish seems to be paying dividends and today, while takes were well spaced out, we still caught plenty. More interestingly, Pete applied the principle to some different lures and as you can see from the image at the top of the page, it worked well with perch as well as zander. He used a slim, 4”, Daiwa bait and just wound it slowly and steadily back across the mud. He could feel the bottom tugging at his lure most of the way back right up until it started bouncing around to the tune of another decent fish. He caught more, bigger fish than me and the technique clearly has a lot going for it. This perch showed us another reason why zander are so useful in a canal. It had recently eaten one and threw it back up in the net! Another nail in the coffin of the ‘perch move out when the zander move in’ school of thought. Maybe if they do move out, they are just full up.

In an effort to widen the appeal of the crayfish, I had some new colours, bought from AGM during the week. The design of these is pretty realistic and not unlike the yum craws that I have been using. Half my fish today actually took the ‘dying swan’, a glorified fluke fished in fits and starts on a weedless rig, but my biggest took the new 4” green and yellow crayfish right down.

I did feel that they fished better, to my mind anyway, with the fins trimmed from the tail, but it probably didn’t make any real difference to the fish. All the same, if it makes a difference to me I will always do it. Three or four times today when fish were being caught, I switched back to my favourite 3” hammer shads, but never had a take. A month ago, I’d have been really confident of their effectiveness and unlikely to even try the crayfish. It clearly demonstrates to me something I have always believed; that confidence is everything and the lure comes way down the list of importance. In fact, I am promoting the retrieve to second in the pecking order as of today. We twitched and moved crayfish, shads and flukes, slowly back through the debris on the bottom of the canal and all three baits worked; we both gave shads a run out, higher in the water, and they didn’t. Yes, I reckon that you just have to get in their faces in the winter.


It was a really cold, wet, driven-sleet-laden, miserable day, but as usual, lines moved and rod tips went round regularly. If truth be told, most weren’t really taking with any purpose. We both missed quite a lot and lost a few, but then we both had fish take the lure right down as well. Most of my takes were simply a case of going to move the lure and finding it a bit heavier than it should be. A couple of times I had seen takes, struck and missed, only to find the fish a lot closer in and there to be caught after frantic winding to recover the slack. They were picking them off the bottom today. I even struck hard and large at one of these massive slack-liners feeling nothing at all, threw my rod tip down towards the water while I related my bad luck to Pete only for the line to tighten up and the rod tip pull round. I lost that one, but the fish had been keen enough.

I’m getting a bit worried about this spot, people are telling us about blokes catching big pike here, but the stories they are telling us are second-hand ones about us (we often lie about what we have caught and small Zs become perch and larger ones morph into small pike when strangers ask). They are sure to be exaggerating to anybody else who will listen and worse still, Pete’s best fish of getting on for four pounds had to be returned under the stern, silent, somewhat disapproving gaze of a CRT employee. Who knows what that will turn into over the coming weeks. A period of abstinence may be on the cards, which would be no bad thing.

Pete mentioned it to me today, but the first thing that goes through both our minds when we come up with something we haven’t used before and which proves to be effective is, “ I wonder how that would work there or there.” All those other places that have produced good fishing for us in the past need re-visiting with the ‘new’ killer method.

It’s a truly great feeling when despite having been fishing for so many years, you can still walk off the water desperate to get back out and try again. My wallet hates it when something different grabs my interest, because with 7 days to go before the next attempt, it is going to have to be wrung out again to order more hooks and softies.

It’s a good job that we did well today because tomorrow I shall be back out on an inland sea, blanking like a good’un. Now I wonder how crayfish would do in 60ft of water. They couldn’t be any worse than the shads I used last time. I’ll just chuck a packet of my largest grey ones in to be on the safe side, but maybe something brighter. I’ll put in the yellow ones then as well, and isn’t red the last colour to turn black below 40 ft or something, maybe a packet of those too, then. I must dig out a bigger bag.

artificial lite

journal 2014.





journal 2014.

journal 2013.