From the water’s edge

February 2015 - Variations on a theme

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

There are many inherent problems with maintaining a journal that is open for all to read. Predominantly as it turns out they revolve around words and pictures and not, as I had mistakenly feared, negative or antagonistic feedback. So what do you do when you have photographed a thousand 1 lb zander and that is all you can catch. What do you write when all that happens is more of the same? You are about to find out and I can only hope it is not too tedious.

We don’t know much, but having been fishing just two days ago, we knew, that at least after two frost free nights, ice would not be a problem. Wadey was coming all the way up from Surrey and Terry would be there too, so the warmer weather we had been promised would be something of a boon. Don’t ask me how, but the canal where we parked had ice on it that was an inch and a half thick in places.

I felt sure that if we walked up the hill there would at least be some clear water by the locks and so we set off with fingers crossed. There was clear water there, we were lucky, and takes were quickly forthcoming.

The lightest of breezes was cool, cold at times but equally there were more sheltered spots with open water and a really good day seemed likely, particularly as Wadey was straight into a small zander.

Unfortunately it proved to be a very frustrating morning indeed. We all had a lot of takes, most of them tentative, some of them quite bold and we all caught fish. Even so, I can’t remember ever having so many fish fall off. It wasn’t just me, it was all of us.

Something was holding these fish back. We were all fishing differently and we all tried everything we could think of, but they just wouldn’t stick. We bumped them on the strike, they fell off straight away or at the net and we missed loads. Terry had the tails nicked off two shads, so the stinger should have been a solution. The trouble was they were only two inch shads to start with and when he had the claws bitten off of two crayfish as well, it just didn’t seem like an answer any of us could be bothered with.

People tell me that zander are finicky and mess about a lot making stingers essential, but that has never been our experience. We nearly always get firm takes and they nearly always hang around long enough for me to wake up and strike, often seconds later than I should have done. They usually do all of these things for 99 trips out of every hundred, but this has happened on the last two visits to this particular area now and we didn’t need it today with guests to impress.

In between visits here, we have fished elsewhere and on Monday, six takes caught us six fish. Today we must have had ten or dozen unrequited takes each and never mind the ones that fell off or were caught. A cautious, conservative estimate would be 40 takes between us I reckon, and we caught just ten fish.

Maybe another method would have been the solution, but we caught on static lures hard on bottom, “2 shads right up in the water on a straight retrieve, dragging crays across the bottom, fishing 4” shads deep, and jigging 2” curly tails. The only remaining lure in my box that I didn’t get a take on was the spinnerbait.

The fascination of lure fishing is that you never know what is going to happen when you set off. To be honest, I could have done without this particular kind of fascination today, but there it is.

No matter how hard the fishing there is always some compensation and today that was more than adequate, the company was splendid and we had enormous fun, taking the p**s, generally fooling about and casting over each others lines. Maybe that didn’t help the tally, but we had fished pretty hard all the same. The food in the pub was some of the best we have eaten for a long time and was the icing on the cake. Wadey presented Pete with a valentines card before he left containing a a pike’s tooth that he had extracted from his thumb a couple of days before. No wonder his thumb had been sore, it had been stuck in there since he had (nearly) hand landed Pete’s pike back before Christmas!

There is much more to this game than just the fishing. Great if unspectacular times.


artificial lite



journal 2015.


journal 2015.