Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Lure Magic!

Kevin and I fished at Blithfield at the weekend. It was a dire do with strong northerly winds and occasional heavy showers, some of them with lumps in. We caught nothing, in common with most people, but all the while I had my eye on the weather. The temperature nationwide was on the rise and with a little rain in places I reasoned that the pike just might be on the feed.

I needed a bit of a lie-in after Blith so it was early afternoon on Monday when Denis and I arrived at our chosen venue. The plan was simple, we were to fish lures until dark, that's it. When we arrived at the water's edge we could see that the fishery was rather busy. Most anglers were fishing for small stuff with float and feeder tactics so we had to thread ourselves in between these to find enough space to cast our lures without disturbing them too much.

I managed to get my first choice swim but poor Denis found someone was fishing his and he had to settle for another one. I clipped on a replicant, cast it out and started the retrieve, a retrieve which lasted only a few seconds before the rod was wrenched round and something big and angry began cavorting wildly at the end of the line. The heavy weight told me at once that this was a big fish but it was no match for my heavy lure gear and I had it in the net very quickly. Denis came over to assist with the weighing and took a few photographs for me. 25lbs 5oz on the very first cast, a terrific start to our trip!

We fished on until dark as planned but no more fish came to either of us and after a celebratory drink in the pub we retired early, having set out our plans for tuesday.
Those plans involved a dawn start at another venue, this time with deadbaits as the first line of attack and since we were staying some distance from the water we would have to get a very early start.

Six-thirty the following morning found us at the water's edge once again. We'd yomped over a mile to get to the spot we wanted and we were relieved to find it unoccupied. I gave Denis the first choice of swim (secretly knowing which one he would choose) and set up in another one. Legered smelt was my chosen method and since the fish here come in very close I lowered it in as quietly as I could, clipped on the bobbin and sat on the grass well back from the water's edge. Half an hour later all I had was a cold bum so I reeled in the deadbait and covered the swim with a lure for ten minutes before moving to another spot, passing a snoozing Denis along the way.

Another half hour went by and I repeated the performance, reeling in the bait rod and fishing a lure over the area where the bait had been. Denis was back in the land of the living by this time and he moved swims too. This was the chance I was waiting for. I walked down to the swim he'd just vacated and started covering the water with my lure. Third cast I was into a pike. It was only a small one, just short of nine pounds but at least I was off the mark and I ribbed Denis about catching a fish from the spot he'd just left.

I moved to another spot and before long Denis did too. 'Time for a repeat performance.' I thought and so I reeled in, picked up my lure rod once more and set about covering the area Denis had been fishing just moments earlier. First cast I had an upper double-figure pike miss the lure just as I was about to lift it out of the water. I cast several times more in the hope that I could get it to take but instead all that happened was that another pike, a little smaller this time, followed right to the bank. I had two pike in the swim and both were up for a feed, surely I could catch at least one of them!

I cast again but the lure stopped dead just ten yards out from the bank. I was puzzled. It had felt like a gentle take but there was no kicking or head shaking, just what seemed like a massive dead weight slowly coming towards me. Was it a fish? Was it a submerged branch that I had hooked? I pulled hard and the weight responded with two great ponderous thumps on the rod - this was no branch!

The fight was unspectacular, just dogged and it was over soon enough. I had a hairy moment when the landing net became entangled with some brambles at the water's edge but Denis saw my plight and came to my rescue, freeing the net and scooping up the fish for me - and what a fish it was, long and thickset with two-tone colouration on its head. We hoisted her up on the scales and read off a weight of 27lbs 4oz. This was turning out to be a memorable trip.

We fished on until eleven but had no more takes either to baits or lures so we did a bit of reccying, looking at some new water we intend to fish at some point before having a bite to eat and driving to our next venue. This was in fact the same place we'd fished the day before and when we arrived we could see that there were only two people fishing. One guy told us he's had a good catch of perch but the angler next to him said there was a pike in his swim. We walked off to a spot where a match had been won with a decent weight of small fish at the weekend. The water here was shallow but if there was food, there might well be a pike or two. We settled into adjacent swims and put down our gear.

I took out a pristine replicant given to me by a friend, Karl Devlin, and clipped it on. Seconds later it was in the jaws of a 19lb 3oz pike which had taken it on the first cast. Poor Denis hadn't even set his rod up by this time and could only stare open-mouthed as I heaved the thrashing creature to the bank.

No more fish came from that spot so we went back to the spot where the fishermen were having pike trouble and got into the swims either side of them. I put on a bulldawg this time and lobbed it out into the deep water. Once again it was taken first cast and I landed a stunning looking fish of 23lbs 5oz, what a day this was turning out to be!

Denis dropped down to a spot further down the bank from me while I continued to cast different lures in the swim I was in but before long the anglers fishing above me started to pack up and I called Denis to let him know as he wanted to fish their swim to see if he could catch their troublesome pike. He came up past me and chatted to them as they put away their gear. This was my chance once again and I moved down to the swim Denis had just vacated. Half an hour of casting with my lure and with the light starting to fade I was suddenly into a big fish. I could see that this fish was lightly hooked and I quickly hustled it into the net whereupon the lure fell out of it's mouth.

I called Denis and he came down to help with weighing and photographing this one, it went 26lbs 9oz and it completed one of my best ever day's fishing. Sadly I can't show you a picture of this one as all the photographs were spoiled due to a camera setting error.

Poor Denis hadn't had a fish all day. He'd repeatedly watched me drop into his swims and catch great big pike and he'd had to help me with landing, weighing, photographing and unhooking them while having no sport at all himself. He went back to his swim while I had a few last casts before packing my gear away in leisurely fashion. I loaded it all onto my back and stumbled along the bank in the near darkness but when I arrived at Denis's swim I got quite a shock. There he was stooping over a pike from which he was removing his hooks - and it had a head as big as a horse!

At the eleventh hour Denis had pulled one out of the bag and with his very last cast of the day he'd caught a fantastic pike weighing 27lbs 1oz.

Pure Lure Magic!


Anonymous said...

What a truly amazing couple of days fishing. It was a Pike anglers dream come true, i'm really pleased for you both ( and a little jealous ). Please come to Manchester and show me how its done - Dave

David Romanillos said...

I like too this pike ...

Danny Hale said...

Great days indeed, well done Eric.