From the water’s edge

January 2015 - Shortcomings

Today was without a doubt the worst example of fish 'coming short' that we have ever encountered. My first two takes of the day were tiny flicks of the line which resulted in the tails nipped clean off of my baits. Most peoples responses in these circumstances are to add a stinger hook nearer the tail. Personally I can never be bothered, safe in the knowledge that more takes will follow anyway and that I will still catch my share. Indeed, that is how it worked out today, but after seeing a small zander bungee jumping on the tail of my 3” - now 6” - shad as I lifted it from the water, I have to admit that I was dithering about it for a while.

I'm not a fan of stingers because they are a fiddly complication that more often than not ruins the action of a slowly fished bait. You can overcome that restriction by winding faster, but I find that reduces catches anyway, so I take the bone idle route of moaning and swearing at them until things sort themselves out and normal service is resumed.

I don't know what it is about this place, but every time we go there, the wind gets up and blows my beard about something rotten. Today, it was having a right go, it turned very cold mid-morning and I could feel the vicious, cutting wind trying to peel my scalp until eventually it drove us away just before lunchtime. It didn't stop us catching though.

There is one absolutely perfect looking area at the top of the stretch, that a strong wind makes almost unfishable with light tackle and on every visit, including this one, it has been just that. For the first time today however it gave up a few small Z s and a lot of unconverted takes. As usual though it was just so unpleasant that we moved along the bank a bit into the lee of some hawthorns where it is more sheltered and straight away started to rack up a few fish.

They were up in the water and shads drew plenty of interest, even so I persevered with crayfish as well and still caught on them. For a while at least I shall being doing this a lot, only resorting to other lures to save face. Once more, I am well and truly into crayfish mode. Hopefully I will get some better fish over the long haul, although the tiny baits will be back out pretty quickly if it becomes too embarrassing. I’m not proud.


I bet we had only been there for an hour, when somebody up there noticed how comfortable and enjoyable it was all becoming, so he shifted the wind around so that we were now fishing in a wind tunnel, and then threw some icy sleet in front of the fan as well. Modern clothing is good, so we turned our backs on the arctic blast and carried on but Sod and his law are not easily ignored. Chugging round the corner came the only boat of the day, and in all those miles of deserted canal turned his boat around right where we were fishing. With a cheery "that's stirred them up for you!" He went back the way he had come. He was wrong, it killed it stone dead.

We set off back toward the car hoping, and fortunately finding, that a short area closer to home and protected by bushes and some permanent moorings would give us some respite. Pete was up ahead of me while we were still seeking our first takes here, and when a decent perch refused my crayfish in the margins, I called him back. Of course he promptly caught a nice one of a pound and a half and followed it up with another slightly smaller. I had to make do with a couple of small zander and when the takes dried up again, we finally succumbed to the lure of the log burner in the local pub.

This is a big, apparently productive stretch of canal, a long walk from difficult parking and hopefully fairly unpressured. We hope to change that over the next couple of weeks and I have a feeling that eventually the weather gods will be kinder and that some good catches will come our way. The best laid plans.... as they say.


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

artificial lite



journal 2015.


journal 2015.