Colin Mitchell, in his popular weekly general coarse fishing blog looks at how getting it wrong is all par for the course in getting it right.

I’VE  had a great few weeks landing all sorts of species wherever I have fished and that led to one of my mates asking if I ever get it wrong.

Errr…yes! Plenty of times things don’t go quite to plan. One of the best incidents I can remember is from many years ago when I fished a big invitation match at Coventry’s Coombe Abbey Lake.

The method was to chuck a leger as far as you could and get your groundbait as close to your hookbait as possible in search of bream.

That’s not an easy task but I thought I had it cracked when I turned to the then still relatively unpopular feeder which would, of course, get everything nicely in place. Or that was the plan…

Swingtip disaster

Sadly I should have also ditched that great bream-catching bit of kit the swingtip which is not the easiest thing to use when trying to whack out a feeder.

I certainly cracked it… my feeder hurtled well into the lake well past any of the casts made by those anglers around me… but sadly it wasn’t still on my reel line!

No big deal you might think but when you are pegged between bream fishing greats like Billy Makin and Ivan Marks its more than a little embarrassing.

I thought I recovered well – I had to as there was the usual big crowd of fans behind Ivan. I carefully put my rod on the rest and made it look like I was tightening up slowly but surely.

After a short spell I struck into fresh air and said: ‘Oh dear, just had a bite and have snapped off on it, must have been a big fish.’ Or words to that effect…


To be honest it didn’t really matter. The crowd were too interested in Ivan to worry about what I was doing.

I could have done a song and dance routine (not the best idea at all!) and they wouldn’t have noticed as they were too intent on watching how the maestro cast out a bomb then used a catapult to drop a ball of groundbait down the same hole.

Oh… and he did all that whilst he wasn’t even looking at the water as he was too busy chatting to his followers! I seem to remember that was a day I blanked.

No surprise as I spent most of the event watching Ivan too and wondering how the hell I could ever follow his amazing angling acts.

Good and bad day to remember

It’s funny how you can’t always remember your worst days like the above but have no trouble recounting your best ones. But here’s one event that is sort of a mix of both.

It was a winter league match on the Basingstoke Canal and with all but 15 minutes of the five hours gone I still hadn’t had a bite. My team’s runner said there was only me and one other in the team of 12 struggling.

As league leaders we couldn’t really afford bad results. And as individuals you couldn’t afford a blank either or the words captain, foot, kick and bum came to mind.

I’d found my peg was full of snags except for one tiny area about three metres out and to my left where I was determined to catch on chopped worm.

My float finally dipped a few times before slowly sliding away. I’d waited long enough. The perch had to have hold of that bit of worm by now…


Seconds later a four-inch long stripey was in the net. I’d avoided my first blank in five years and had at least a point as I was weighing in. The clock appeared to be ticking faster as I shipped back out with the feeling in my heart that the float would go under once again.

With less than three minutes to go there were a couple more dips and perch No.2 was in the keepnet. Time for one final drop in before the whistle… and a missed bite!

The scales gave me ounces but the two points they gained ensured I hadn’t blanked and that my team won on the day, every point we had earned being vital to success.

My backside never got the kicking but it had been squeaky bum time for almost five hours!


Finally, I hope that none of the above happens to you once the new coarse fishing river season gets underway on Thursday morning.

Tight lines and wet nets.


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