Thursday, 18 October 2012


It's been a topsy-turvy start to the pike season with some disappointments and some success. There's a certain water I've had my eye on for a while now but struggled to find anyone to accompany me on a first reccy. I mentioned it to my old mate Paul Garner though and it seemed he was in a similar position so we arranged a couple of days and met up at the lake. It was quite a place with a dramatic surrounding landscape and equally dramatic underwater topography. This is the kind of fishing I enjoy the most, real pioneering with little information about the venue or its fish and absolutely no-one else to share the water with.

The two days produced little with just nine jacks between us up to around eight pounds in weight, all caught on lures. We drifted, we trolled, we cast jerks, soft plastics, spoons and spinnerbaits but the big fish failed to show. I wasn't at all disheartened by this, we know that there are fish worth catching in the water and we'll definitely be back to have another crack at them but it's a wild and lonely place and I suspect that once the weather closes in, it will have to go on the back burner until the spring.

After that Denis and I were keen to get out on a certain stretch of river. The weather is everything to this, if the river's high it's no good, if the river's low it's no good, if it's coloured ir if it's rising then forget it too. If it's just right though, there's a chance of a big fish and so as soon as we thought we had it just right, we dropped everything and went for it.

Deadbaits were the way to go so we set off for a three day trip with my Yeti cool box crammed with smelt, mackerel and scad and we were pleased with what we saw when we got there. The water level was almost perfect, perhaps still just a shade too high but falling nicely and with just a tinge of colour. We settled into swims around a hundred yards apart and each fished two rods, one with a legered deadbait and one suspended under a planerfloat. Denis was quickly into the action with a 15lb 10oz fish on the planerfloat which actually took the bait on the drop on his first cast!

Denis followed this with an eleven pounder, again on the planerfloat and this time fished very shallow, just a foot or so under the surface but I soon countered with a fish of 14lb 5oz. As the day wore on and it got close to dark I reeled my static deadbait in and fished it right under the rod tip just a foot from the bank. It's very common for big fish to mooch about close to the bank as the light fades and the bankside becomes quieter and so it proved when the smelt was picked up by a super 24lb 8oz specimen.

Next day we fished a different stretch but the results were poor. I took a 10lb 12oz pike early on, again on a static dead and finished the day with a 14lb 11oz pike which was rather tatty and had another trace in it which I removed. It was a very windy day and the wind had ripped countless leaves and small twigs from the trees - all of which seemed intent on catching my line as they drifted past in the current so I continually had to reel in and clean it all off before recasting. There was rain too, contrary to the forecast, and the river started to rise late in the day.

Further heavy rain overnight meant that the river was coloured and rising the next day - not good conditions. We packed up early, cursing the Met office for their inaccurate forecast and went home. I guess we'll have to sit it out now and wait until conditions become right again.

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