Chub, Perch and The Art of War

I’ve never read the Art of War, and to be honest I’m never likely to. However I can imagine that it’s full of useful information about tactics, strategies, battlefield psychology and all that kind of stuff. I’m confident that at some point it would suggest that to succeed in one’s quest for victory one must be prepared to adapt to the prevailing conditions. In other words, have a plan B.

If Sun Tzu had been writing about fishing he may well have said that a wise angler will take extra tackle, and on the day should change his target species if conditions dictate.

So today I was going to fish a leger setup for Chub on the Eden at Vexour. I planned for it, thought about it. I even sought advice on AnglersNet . But I still packed a spinning rod and a few lures.

On arrival at about 07:30 this morning, after having a quiet cup of coffee and enjoying the low morning sun creeping its way slowly across the frosty fields, I went for a brief recce along the bank to find a likely looking spot for my days fishing. Unfortunately the best locations were also favoured by the huge, deadly looking cows that wander about the adjacent field.

This is where I started thinking like a legendary Chinese General of ancient times…..

sat-nov-20-river-eden-1A quick yomp back to the van, another cup of coffee and out comes the lure fishing gear.
Although not expecting to hook a Pike I still tied on a wire trace, and then clipped on a spikey Red Head Shad

I decided to start at the bridge and work my way downstream, travelling light and not hanging around too long if I wasn’t getting any bites.

After four chucks with slow, stop – start retrieves I hooked this little fella –


Now, I do actually have some lures that are bigger than this fish, but I was delighted nonetheless. I’d set out to catch a Perch on a lure, I’d followed the advice I’d been given (thanks to Andy Lush at The Friendly Fisherman) and there it was, on my unhooking mat in all it’s shimmering green, red and black stripey glory. A perfectly formed 8oz Perch.

After another 10 minutes of spraying my casts (semi) systematically around the swim it was time for a change of location. Not wanting to carry loads of gear it was therefore an easy call to get the sausages on before I ventured down the river.

Tesco Finest plain old Pork bangers dunked in ketchup and washed down with hot coffee. Splendid stuff. Whilst getting ready to move on the West Kent Hunt arrived – hordes of baying hounds, extremely well turned out ladies and gents on horseback and an assortment of quad bikes, land rovers and pick up trucks. I’d never fully appreciated the sheer spine chilling volume of a full pack of hounds in full cry – it was quite something.

Next stop was a few bends downstream, just before a small wooded stretch of river. 15 minutes of covering all the likely looking holes and runs failed to produce any action so I upped sticks and made my way through the woods along the bank.

Then I found this lovely little spot –sat-nov-20-river-eden-3

A few minutes later and Perch number two was on the bank having taken the lure almost immediately it hit the water tight to the tree roots on the opposite bank.

Now although I’m no master strategist, and half the fun of angling for me is just being out there as it were, I was insanely pleased with myself. (I’m easily pleased, I know).

Sun Tzu would be proud.


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