From the water’s edge

April 2015 - Why always me?

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


I am flattered that there has been some concern that this blog has gone quiet for a couple of weeks. It’s not my fault. I blame God, the Post Office and Doreen. What on earth possessed Doreen to have a birthday on a Wednesday, is and shall always remain a mystery to me. So week one of my absence, Pete is away tending to her every whim. It’s only once a year (it has to be otherwise it would kill him) I suppose and she is a lovely lady, but a Wednesday? Really, I ask you.

Never mind, Saturday the 4th April I was booked on board the Spirit of Arun for some determined and achingly, longed-for bass fishing. I had rigs and lures to try, I had new species to target on lures and plans for high water, low water, fast water and deep water. I had no plans for a gale though. We didn’t go out and I spent a frustrating weekend on the south coast enjoying the flat calm on the Friday, the cold gale on Saturday and the calm again on Sunday. Was it ever thus. Still Wednesday would be fine, back on the cut.

Wednesday dawns and my heart sinks as I remember that despite reminders from the EA and Pete, I haven’t renewed my rod licence. I do this every year. Once I even bought it on line at four o clock in the morning and in my stupor ended up moaning about how much it had gone up before I realised (after pressing the buy button) that I had been scammed by a third party website. No way they would catch me this time, and it only takes a minute to get one on-line after all, even from a bastard entrepreneur. I filled in the forms. Inside leg measurement, ethnicity, Mother’s date of birth, you get the drift, anything they might use later to fill my inbox with junk and finally I was through to the daylight robbery page, where I actually have to hand over the wonga so that I might be entrusted by the government to use a deadly fishing rod.


artificial lite

In go all the details...card declined. Repeat... Card declined. No problem, its a new card, maybe it has to have another verification password. Fill it all in again and try the other card.... Card declined. They didn’t want Julie’s card either. No licence. So what’s the problem, fish without one. Well, bailiffs and buses have a lot in common and I haven’t seen one for about three years. Not worth it really, it cost one of my mates a lot of money forgetting his one year. I chickened out and was on the point of calling it off when I noticed that from 8am, the EA could set me up a standing order so that it would come automatically every year. I rang Pete, “shan’t be there til nine.”

8am, I spend fifteen minutes giving the nice lady all the info. It will be effective immediately won’t it? Gales of laughter .. “No, we write to you, you write to us, we write to the bank, they write to us, the canal dries up, the fish all die and you should get your licence in time for next season. BUT, if you ring this number they will sort it immediately... After 8.30.”

Well it’s a good job I’m already bald. I rang at 8.30 and gave the helpful gentleman on the other end all the information that the State have on me. Right there you go...... OH! Card declined. We tried the other one with the same result. I explained what had happened. “Can’t believe they haven’t fixed that yet, it was the same all day yesterday”. Apparently for two days, one of them the only day in a year when I would need them to, the post office couldn’t take a payment over the phone. I fished without one. Go on prosecute me, but be sure to hold me behind a bullet proof screen at the court because every time I relive this nightmare I start to understand what made Hannibal Lector the way he was, probably tried to buy a rod licence on line from the post office. I did try to buy one using my mobile phone on the bank of the canal. The very nice lady on the other end demanded that we go through all the details again. “Not until you tell me whether the card machine is up and working yet.”  “Oh no, it’s still down.” “THEN WHY THE HELL DO YOU WANT ME TO FILL THE FORMS IN AGAIN.... AAAAA GGGG HHHHH.” “I’m very sorry, but it’s not my fault!”

I blanked. Pete caught a mini Z and duffed me up for the second week on the trot.

The skipper of the Spirit e-mailed Sharkey. Get down on Monday, I have a cancellation. Do I need to tell you that I couldn’t make it and they had 14 bass to 7 lb and a load of odds and sods? Thought not.

Some blog this is. Half a page and nothings happened yet, but at least you know how I felt last week.

Today we went to the canal, breathe deeply. The weather was lovely, sigh, the birds were singing, it was quiet and peaceful and every thing it should have been. The fish were playing hard to get but we caught. A dozen or so, perch, zander and pike. No rhyme, no reason, A few dibbling, most on the retrieve before the boats started. On 1”, 2” and 3” baits, nice work.

It did draw attention to my chronic lack of organisation and preparation though. You may by now be getting a glimpse of the truth about who is responsible for my chaotic existence, me maybe? I started catching on a 2” tan pearl kopyto, lost it, no spares. Struggle on a bit, eventually get a take or two on a 2” yellow, lose it, no spare. I don’t know how long I have been promising to sort out my lure boxes, now I shall have to, the only lures left in it are the ones that don’t work very often.

Some people tell me that their zander fight well. My don’t, now and then, one will whizz about a bit before it falls asleep in the net, but in the main, they are a bit half-hearted. Today I met one that clearly felt that it wasn’t really a zander. It tapped the lure nicely and the hook went in. It didn’t feel all that big, just plodding and bouncing around on the end of the line as usual. All of a sudden though it took off like a scalded cat, leapt about four feet clear of the water, hissing  line off the clutch like a hyper-active salmon. Just as suddenly it woke up, realised that it was just a zander after all, and flopped into the net. A bad dream or a big pike nearby perhaps, but a bit of excitement all the same.

So there it is, normal service is resumed with just another day ambling about by the water and a few fish on the bank - All is well with the world again.




journal 2015.


journal 2015.