From the water’s edge

May 2014 - Stop - think - catch.

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.

I guess I have an enquiring  mind and sometimes I become so obsessed with an angling problem that I can’t leave it alone. Worse still, I will then refuse to see the truth born out of my own experience. Whether I have subconsciously seen the potential, as yet unrealised of a method or lure, or whether it is just the fear of failing where others claim to have succeeded, I have no idea. It hardly matters, lure angling is about fun, not necessarily results and if I am enjoying myself then all should be well. But there comes a point when I realise that my sheer bloody-mindedness is interfering with both results and pleasure. Today, I woke up just in time and realised for a moment that if banging my head against a brick wall hurts, then the solution is not to hit it harder or more often.

There is no getting away from it, results lately have been very average. The boat traffic is already very heavy around here and I can sympathise with anyone who has just turned to the canals expecting consistent, productive lure angling. It undoubtedly exists, but while writing about it is easy and hopefully interesting, no amount of fine words can make it easier in practice.

We left Pete’s house hoping that the appalling weather might, just this once, work in our favour keeping the boats tied up and the fires lit allowing some of the colour to drop out. What I singularly failed to do when this proved to be the case was switch my brain on and act accordingly. Instead I carried on as I have for weeks now, scratching a tiddler or two out on tiny baits. Twitched and twiddled across the width of the cut on my latest unsuccessful drop-shotting set-up. As usual everything started well. The DS attracted the first takes, the most takes and the smallest fish. It sounds better than it was I missed most of them and most in this instance means ‘not many’ in any case. Still the blank was history and the new lures sent over by my friend James seemed to work very nicely.

I really can’t get my thick head around this method though. The takes just seem to die away after about half an hour and it always turns into a soul-sapping slog. I didn’t want to, I wanted this to work, but in the end, after two biteless hours, I just stuck a 2” tripple ripple grub onto a 2 gram jighead and chucked in where I had been fishing so fruitlessly and wallop. After one turn of the handle, a small zander hit the lure.

What, exactly, was so wrong with the identical, drop-shotted 2” tripple ripple I had just taken off?? I cast out again and immediately bumped another before it went dead on me again.  When the takes dry up, change the colour or the lure is my number one solution but today in the drizzly, cold, windy, gloom, my world lit up. The light bulb in my head that had not come on for weeks, blazed into life. A dodgy connection, obviously. Still no boats. It’s 11 o clock and still no boats. I’ve just had two good hits on the retrieve. They are up in the water, the colour is still fair and I really ought to be fishing properly instead of faffing about with a brilliantly marketed but seriously average technique, catching nothing. Bigger fish should be catchable today, so where better to start than in the 3” hammer shad section of my lure box. Pearl, yellow tail, perfect, but not here in the mouth of the lock. This is where the tiddlers live, I need to be twenty yards away where the proper fish are hanging around waiting for the littl’uns to lower their guard.

The clumsy, tangly rig went back in the box and it was hammer-time. A long diagonal cast. One turn. Two turns, three turns. This isn’t going to work, I was getting carried away. It isn’t that easy at all. Smack - the tip absolutely whacks round and a heavy fish is trolling about deep-down, mid-canal. Hmm, feels pikey that. It was a big hit and it has weight. I get it in the side, show it the net and it rolls over ripping twenty yards of line off the reel and it is up against the tins right back over the other side. It’s now further away than it was when it hit. That is definitely a pike, I have never had a zander do that in ten years, but the truth is I saw it as it rolled over the net, it was a good zander for sure. Definitely not as big as Terry’s but of a size my net hasn’t clapped eyes on for a long time.

At 5-7 it would never make a pike and predators centre-fold, but it has been a long-time coming and was the biggest I have had from here yet. To celebrate, the rain dried up, the sun made a half-hearted effort and chug - chug - chug, the first boat came barging through. Crunch, the gearbox goes into reverse and the bottom becomes the top. Clank - clank - clank, more boats at the top coming down. I haven’t even wiped the slime off my hands yet and word is out. If we don’t get some colour and muck back in this water quick, he might catch another. Fat chance.

Another fruitless half hour, and we were off up the hill to try somewhere different, walking the kinks from our backs en route. By now it really was dirty and we were struggling. With half an hour to kill before opening time, we headed back to fish under the bridge that the car was parked on top of. Bridges are good. Dry underneath and the margins lined with perch. We stopped to chat and while doing so I absent-mindedly dropped my 1” yellow kopyto in the edge. Picked it up and a nice perch hit it immediately. Getting on for a pound it was a pretty, golden and very welcome fish, matching almost exactly Pete’s biggest of the day.

It sparked some renewed interest and a bit more dibbling around conjured up another couple of small perch and two small Zs. They rounded off a strange but ultimately successful morning very neatly.

It is so easy to stop thinking about what you are doing at this game. If results are hard to come by, the easy way is to just put your head down and carry on regardless. Today was an object lesson in taking time to clear your head and start again. I am sure that most of us have the answers in there somewhere, it is just a case of asking the right questions.

artificial lite

journal 2014.





journal 2014.

journal 2013.