From the water’s edge

February 2015 - Fishing on thin ice

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The ancient god, Sod, has been on our case again. A couple of nice mild days had lulled us into a sense of false security. Would we even need coats, I wondered? Silly boy. Sharkey had driven a long way to fish with us today and looked none too impressed with the thin layer of ice that covered the canal.

We had a new plan to put into practice and I must say that Pete and I were very keen on this idea. We intended to start in the swim that had produced two nice perch the first and last time we were able to fish it and work away from there into new territory. All we needed was bog-standard, wet, wobbly, canal water. There was some, but not enough, most of it was agonisingly just too crusty.

Once more we were forced to walk up to the areas that have produced for us on the last two visits. Here where the canal is wider, the wind seems to keep the ice at bay longer than anywhere else, but we really did not want to fish these places yet again. Frankly we are in danger of ruining the fishing here before we have even got started. Every visit we have made has presented us with difficult, positively obstructive, fishing and results whilst being promising have never had the chance to really impress.

So we knuckled down and struggled hard all morning. A few tiny taps and one or two fish here and there. Fish that were just there when we went to move the baits. A couple of decent taps but mostly vague echoes of the kinds of interest we would expect.

At least when there is ice about you have to fish every area hard because if we hadn’t today, our miserable results would have been virtually non-existent.

The sun rose clear, bright and warm, but high hedges kept it off the water for longer than we might have hoped. Even so as the morning wore on, the ice receded. Takes came, fish came its true, but it was headache-inducing stuff and to be honest tedious.

I hate saying that about my fishing. The company was fine, the banter was great, and we didn’t blank, but I tend to get obsessive when it is hard and it really becomes a slog.

The more frustrated I get, the harder I try, the harder I try, the more intensely I find myself concentrating, and at the end of the day, I guess that is why I catch. It’s just that it feels like a duty more than a pleasure. Too much a matter of pride to be fun really.

Apart from one or two takes on flies and grubs, most of the fish came yet again to the leopard yellow crayfish (I found a small stash tucked away). If only there had been a decent fish or two among them, We caught eight I think it was between us, lost a couple and missed a small number each, but only two warranted getting the net wet.

When a boat came past and headed off towards the perch swim, we were not far behind it. Sure enough, the ice had been chopped up and blown away by the time we got there, but we still never caught any perch. A couple more small zander, that was all.

It’s funny, a couple of weeks ago, we had convinced ourselves that cold water meant fewer zander and more perch. As soon as we had proved that to our tentative satisfaction, the exact opposite began to happen. Now we can’t find any perch in cold water. There is an inherent  danger in all this theorising.

I suspect, although I don’t know, that there just aren’t any worthwhile numbers of perch at this venue. Certainly not in the swims that have produced so far. They could be sitting tight, they may not be there, they may have temporarily moved out or conditions may just not have suited them on the days that we have been there. They may well be in swims we haven’t fished yet.


Whatever the truth is, I bet we would get a surprise if we could see the fish that are there. We’re not likely to find out much more though if this damn weather doesn’t start being a bit more helpful sometime soon.

Time to move on for a week or two I think.

artificial lite



journal 2015.


journal 2015.