Friday, 16 November 2012

Pass the Defibrillator!

The pike fishing I'm experiencing at the moment is, in my view, of the very highest quality. I'm catching lots of pike, including some big ones, and they are coming from rivers on lures, it doesn't get better than that. There's another component to the story though that really sets my fishing apart just now, one that makes it so exciting at times that I may be in real danger of suffering a heart attack!

I had an extended trip this week. Once again it was a case of a day on Chew that I combined with some fishing elsewhere and in total it was to be two full days and two half days fishing. I arrived early afternoon on the first day, surveyed the river and thought it looked just right with a tinge of colour and a good level. I set up the lure rod, clipped on a big soft plastic and commenced casting "shouldn't take long." I thought to myself.

It did take long though, in fact it didn't happen at all. I spent the whole afternoon casting away and all I had to show for it was a follow from a low double-figure fish which seemed decidedly disinterested. I chatted to the other anglers who were there. They were busy reeling in roach and small chub and in normal circumstances they would have had loads of pike trouble, losing fish to the big predators, but not today. Hardly anyone reported seeing pike and it was clear that they just weren't feeding at all on the day. I was baffled by this, the river looked great, but all became clear later on when I checked the Environment Agency's flood alert service - the river had risen steadily throughout the day. A rising river kills the sport most times and that was what had happened, they just didn't want to know.

Next morning I checked the flood alert first thing and it seemed that the river had stopped rising and was holding steady so I was hopeful that the fish might be back on the feed as I approached the river. Sure enough I had my Euro Replicant hit within a few minutes of starting to fish and brought in a lively twelve pounder. The fish was in good condition but I was disappointed to find it had another trace down its throat. The trace was down very deep but by using a Deep Throat pike disgorger coupled with long forceps and cutters I eventually got the trace out and returned the fish. It was a well-made trace armed with quite large trebles but it had been tied to what looked like six pound line!

Where do people get these stupid ideas from? A trace made from thirty pound wire attached to line so flimsy that making contact with any snag would result in leaving a death-rig on the riverbed - for that is most certainly what had happened. This poor creature would have died for certain if I hadn't subsequently caught it - indeed it may die anyway, since the surgery involved in removing ironwork like that can never be good for a fish.

As I returned the pike I heard a splash just a little way upstream. It was clear that another pike was striking - and it looked like it was a big fish so I moved over towards it and cast out the lure once more. I drew it slowly across the swim, working it deep in the clear water, all the while expecting to feel a wrench on the rod. Eventually the lure came into view, wagging its tail like a faithful dog, it came closer and closer until I only had a couple of feet of line between me and it. It was at that moment that the pike appeared, lancing through the water to engulf the lure in it's maw.

I admit I let out a little shreik as the fish hit, right at my feet as it was, and immediately the thrashing and rolling began - the fish that is, not me. Playing a big fish on a short line with a tight clutch is not for the faint hearted but for excitement, there's nothing to beat it. I scooped her up in the net and hauled her up the bank. She went 23lb 11oz on the scales and I asked a passer-by to take a couple of quick pictures before letting her go.

The rest of the day was patchy but the fish were up for it with a little teasing and I finished with two more as the light was fading at 19lbs 1oz and 17lbs 1oz, a good day all in all. Next day was my day on Chew which I shared with my old friend Paul Brown but yet again Chew was a damp squib with very few fish of any size being caught and none at all to our boat. I loaded the gear into the car at the end of the day, glad to see the back of the place and set off once more towards the river for an early start the next day.

I fished a new stretch (well sort of) and walked a long way trying to find fish. This stretch is fast and shallow but here and there there are small slacks behind bushes or croys and it was here where I concentrated my attack, dropping a lure in and retrieving it just a few feet before I ran out of line. I worked  my way to the bottom of the stretch on the right bank, a distance of a mile or so, with just a follow from a jack to show for my efforts, and then walked all the way up to the bridge, crossed the river and did the same on the left bank.

No joy there either and so I walked off upstream flicking the lure into any little corner where I thought a pike might be lying. I had almost run out of river to fish when I had a take and once again the fish slammed into the lure when I had hardly any line out and in full view just six inches from the bank. This was a brute of a pike, big shouldered, muscular and hard fighting and it really went against the heavy tackle. I got her in the landing net but she continued to thrash and twist as I extracted the hooks. I can never remember catching a better looking pike. There was not a scale or a fin out of place and her body was quite solid - the result of a life lived in the current of a powerful river.

I managed, with difficulty to wrestle this pike into the weigh sling and recorded a weight of 20lbs 5oz but to my surprise, as I rested the sling back down on the ground, the pike thrashed once more, got her head out of the sling and with a great flip, launched herself down the slippery bank and back into the river.

I watched her sink into the depths lamenting the lack of a photograph but hugely satisfied at catching such a fabulous creature.

1 comment:

Bristol Angling Centre said...

interesting read and some good fish