Saturday, 27 March 2010

Hell and High Water

Well the weather's finally broken and the pike have come back on the feed. Lot's of work to do at the moment so I only managed one day out in the last two weeks. The forecast said it was going to be wet and windy but since it was the only day I had available I just had to take my chances and got the boat out.

I got to the lake very early and saw that there were one or two others there who had slept overnight in their vehicles. The wind was howling and the rain hammered down as I rigged the boat out and I wasn't a bit surprised that these other anglers stayed tucked up in their sleeping bags. I was soaking wet even before I ventured out and I knew this was going to be an rough day.

First stop was in one of my favourite swims and I took great care to dig the anchors in deeply before starting to fish to make sure that they didn't pull. The anchors stayed put alright but the wind was strong and I found it most uncomfortable sitting there being pitched and tossed about. Indeed I had a few hairy moments when I needed to stand up and came close to testing the auto-inflate lifejacket several times.

I stuck it out in that spot for an hour or so before deciding to move. Discretion, as they say, is the better part of valour and I moved over to the far side of the lake where there was some shelter. Once again I sat it out for about an hour and once again, no runs were forthcoming. The rain hammered down all this time and despite the "waterproofs" and fleeces both the cold and the wet were seeping through.

Undeterred, but secretly suspecting that a blank might be on the cards, I went in search of the fish. Now this doesn't always work but sometimes it does pay off. Years of using a fish finder (with fish ID turned off) have taught me to recognise what might be a pike down in the depths and by patrolling slowly in likely areas I can sometimes find them. It took a while but eventually I spotted one close to the bottom in 37ft of water. I dropped anchor there, digging the anchors in deep once again and cast in.

I didn't have to wait long. A float legered smelt was soon picked up and the fish gave me a fast run. I struck at once and the rod bucked hard as I pulled into the fish which was obviously still running away from me at speed. After a hard scrap, I slid the net under a very fat fish that weighed 15lb 9oz. I was pretty pleased with this but couldn't sit on my laurels for long as a second rod was away - again with a fast run.

This was somewhat smaller, only six pounds in fact, but it confirmed that there were several fish about in this area. When pike run fast with the bait like that it's likely that they are competing for the food and running away with it to prevent one of their brethren (or sisters) from stealing it. If you get a fast run, be prepared for more action.

A little while later I got my third sizzling run in this spot and it turned out to be a rather nice fish of 19lbs 12oz. No time for fancy photography this as the weather was still awful so I just took a quick snap of the fish on the mat. Indeed, as I was taking the pic. the boat lurched once again in the wind and the pike slid sideways, coming to rest against my toes as you can see from the photo. I should be able to recognise it if I ever see it again, the top part of its tail was missing - an old injury, well healed.

I checked the time, it was just on 11am. Now after the beginning of March I never catch anything on this lake between 11am and 3pm. I can only imagine that the light levels down in the depths are too high for the pike's liking and so they slink away somewhere very deep and dark. Any way, I spent another two hours in that spot but nothing more came my way so I moved on around the lake exploring.

I settled into a nice sheltered spot early afternoon. The rain had stopped now and the wind had eased a little so I was feeling a little drier and warmer and the sun popped out for a look from time to time. After a while I had a bait picked up in leisurely fashion and pulled into a nice fat fish around the fourteen pound mark. I unhooked it and slipped it back before looking at the time - it was 3pm!

One last move before dark and I had another jack of around five pounds and that was it. No more fishing for a few weeks now, time for a break.


Paddy Pike said...

My word you must be rezilliant to the weather, I think i would have been going home to a warm fire after the first two pike, But very well done on your catch, Strangest thing the time the pike stop taking on that water for 4 hours, Almost to the minute, Incredible,

Andoni Ortiz Ayestarán said...

Beautifull pike mama!!!!

Many times to get fish you have to resist the most horrible weather conditions.