Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Fat Ladies Sing

Well last week's catch was quite a good one I think you'll agree and I hoped for a repeat performance this week. It wasn't to be of course, conditions changed markedly and the pike were hard to catch. That wasn't surprising since the surface temperature had risen from 6.7 degrees early last week to 11.2 degrees by wednesday of this week. A rise of four and a half degrees in nine days would unsettle the pike at the best of times but in late March that's certain to set their minds on procreation rather than sustenance.

I arrived mid afternoon and struggled at first to launch the boat. The bright warm weather had brought the sailors out in their droves and there was quite a queue for the slipway. Since I had so little time before dark I decided to fish a banker swim and sit there for the rest of the day. I had a couple of fish, thirteen pounds the biggest but no sign of anything larger and I reeled in after a couple of hours and went to get my head down.

A warm day was followed by a cold night, frosty even and I had to get well wrapped up the next morning for my dawn start. Sure enough though the layers were soon getting peeled off as the sun rose and by ten o'clock i was both fishless and hot. My daughter had advised me to take some sun cream and I was very glad I did, slapping it liberally on exposed skin.

I moved several times as I usually do but struggled to find any fish willing to feed in such bright weather and all bar one of the four fish i caught came in the evening as the sun dipped below the mountains. Fourteen pounds was the biggest with another around twelve, nice fish but not big by any means.

Next day, if anything, was worse with the sun hotter than ever. I've never known such weather in March and I was in no doubt that this would have a big impact on the fish, and so it was. Swim after swim produced nothing until I settled into a spot I rarely fish as light began to fade. I caught a nine pounder there, then an eleven and then one around seven pounds, all in a short space of time. I hoped for a big fish to round off my season but when the next rod was away it turned out to be the nine pounder again, easily recognisable because it had a busted gill raker. A short time later another float plopped under and I reeled in the seven pounder again. This fish was also easy to spot as it had a patch of scales missing near its tail.

I decided that was enough, not only were the big fish not playing, the little ones were coming back for more and I called an end to my pike season. The big fat females are doubtless up on the shallows with their male escorts and it's time to leave them alone. It's been a good season with 61 double figure pike caught, 20 of them in March and with a total of 12 twenty pound plus fish including four over 25lbs.

Time to take a break now, then perhaps a bit of tench fishing in a few weeks. I'll be back pike fishing later in the year, I'm intending to start a little early this year for one reason and another and after the season just gone, I can't wait!

I'm going to leave you with a photograph. It's not a very nice photograph, it's a picture of a cormorant roost and you can see the damage those birds have done to the trees. Many are already dead and the coating of bird droppings on the others will eventually kill them off too. When the trees are all gone these birds will simply move on to a new place. They don't just damage fisheries!

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