Monday, 3 October 2011

October's Here!

October, and the pike season 'proper' kicks off. It's been a faltering start for many as this year we've seen exceptionally high temperatures at the beginning of the month, higher than we've ever seen before in fact and such sultry conditions are bad for pike and bad for pike fishing.

One good thing about this was that it probably contributed to a good turn out at the PAC convention which was held, once again, at Kettering Conference Centre. The decision to hold it on the first day of the pike season was a risky one but with most waters out of sorts because of the heat everyone knew the piking would be rubbish and they came in their droves. I was running the junior event at the convention this year and I thought it went quite well. We got 19 boys there ranging in age from 6 to 16 and I had managed to persuade some of the biggest names in pike fishing to donate their time to give the lads a show to remember.

Indeed it wasn't just their time that they gave. The generosity of the speakers and the tackle trade was tremendous and all of the boys left the event with armfuls of goodies along with, hopefully, lots of inspiration to set them on the road to being tomorrow's pike anglers. Of course I couldn't possibly have staged all that on my own and I was ably assisted by the newly formed PAC coaching team who worked like trojans on the day to keep everyone safe and happy. We're already looking forward to next year at Harrogate when the junior event will be bigger and better still.

My first day's piking was also courtesy of the PAC as Kevin and I attended the club organised event at Esthwaite in the Lake District. Esthwaite is a trout fishery which has had a reputation as a tremendous pike water in the past. The huge pike of yesteryear are no more on there but there are still good fish to be had and the club holds a day's fishing for members on Esthwaite each year. This was the first time we had attended this event and we were both hopeful of a fish or two to get out season off to a flying start. We debated beforehand whether or not to take deadbait fishing gear with us or just fish lures and in the end we went with the latter.

We arrived early, selected our boat and loaded it up with gear. Esthwaite only allow electric outboards but we have quite good ones and we soon found that the 55lb thrust Minn Kota pushed their little boats along just fine but as the day dawned, damp and murky we soon became aware of a problem. The water was very coloured for a glacial lake with visibility down to less than two feet and we soon started to question the wisdom of a lure-only approach.

I had got some information from Dave Kelbrick who is a regular on here about spots to fish but by noon we had tried them all with nothing to show and we were starting to get desperate for a fish. We weren't alone. The fishing was proving to be very difficult and it seemed just a couple of jacks had been taken by the anglers in the fifteen boats that had set out that morning.

By mid afternoon we had done a complete circuit of the lake and found ourselves back at the spot where we had started the day. By this time each of us had had a bump on the lures but nothing hooked but we suddenly had some encouragement when a big fish rolled nearby. Neither of us actually saw what the fish was but the disturbance it made was big and we were in no doubt that it had been a pike. We continued to cast our jerkbaits and before long Kevin was into a fish. The pike gave a spirited fight but was soon at the boatside and swallowed up by the waiting net. It was a low double figure fish of eleven or twelve pounds in good condition and with the hooks removed went off strongly after a quick photo.

Fifteen minutes later it was my turn and I had an almost identical fish, again of eleven or twelve pounds. We were hopeful of another fish or two in the remaining hours before dark but that was it, no more takes to our lures. We weren't despondent however as word was filtering through that the fishing had been hard for everyone and ideed only one other double figure pike had been caught along with a handful of jacks. The lure only approach had been the right one it seems and the bait anglers had done very poorly but we had both been out of practise and boy how we ached!

Let's see what the rest of the season brings then.

No comments: