Friday, 20 March 2009

Bye Bye to the Rivers

The last week of the river season saw me return to an old haunt, and while the results weren't spectacular, I had plenty to file away in the old memory bank for use in later sessions. There aren't many rivers where you can launch a boat and fish unmolested but I do have access to one and there's plenty of water to go at. I managed two days and spent most of that time exploring the stretch, finding out places where the pike might hide and looking in particular for the bait fish. The bait fish were easy to find right enough, huge shoals of them on every bend or in any area where the depth dropped off to more than 12 feet or so. Many of the bends on this river are surprisingly deep with holes of 20ft or more relatively common but the flow is quite strong and the pike are often to be found tucked in close to the bank. That said, they have to feed of course and with the bait fish out in open water the pike are bound to venture out there quite often too.

Midweek sessions meant that I had the river to myself by and large and the peace and solitude that was to be found upriver away from the slipway was very welcome indeed. Just one pike on the first day, a beautifully conditioned thirteen pounder that fought incredibly hard after it picked up my free-roving floatfished live dace. I had a few follows to various lures too but they were all from the same fish I suspect, a smallish pike of five or six pounds. It's a mystery to me why pike follow lures like this without striking when they aren't subject to any amount of pressure and have probably never been caught before. It followed a slider several times then after switching to a spinnerbait it followed that as well. I couldn't stay until late on that first day as I had to attend a meeting at work but as well as that the boat retaining strap had broken on the way to the river and I had to get another one made by Bennetts in St. Helens so I was off the water by two o'clock.

Day two, just a day later, was quite a different affair. Heavy rain had found its way into the river and the level was much higher with a greatly increased flow. I struggled to find the pike in these rather more hostile conditions and only had a single take, again on a free-roving dace, hooking a smallish pike that fought like crazy before shedding the hooks quite close to the boat.

My biggest ever pike from this river went just sixteen pounds. I'll be back later in the year to bag a bigger one that's for sure.

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