Sunday, 21 July 2013

Ruddy Marvelous!

Well this is the quietest time of the year for a piker. It's July and the sun's been beating down for weeks now - not pike fishing weather at all. I usually take a complete break at this time of year but I decided I wanted to do something a little different this summer. One species of fish I've never caught very much is the rudd. We have very few places where rudd thrive in the northwest and so I've never really had the opportunity to catch a decent one, my biggest rudd has for many years stood at 1lb 2oz, hardly a specimen.

There are places in the UK though where large rudd are relatively easy to catch and so I got in touch with an old friend, Denis Moules who was "in the know" down in East Anglia. He invited me down for a midweek session on his syndicate stretch and so Denis B and I set out for the 200 mile drive to get there. We had to use my car as it was very hot and Denis is too mean to get his air con. fixed and once our two loads of gear were packed into it there wasn't a great deal of room left. We got it all in though and we soon found ourselves in a Peterborough tackle shop where we picked up a big bucket full of maggots - good quality ones too!

Denis M met us at the fishery, showed us where to park and showed us the stretch - all we had to do then was lug all our gear a quarter of a mile to our swims in the blazing heat and get set up. We tossed up for swims and I won the better looking one, had sausages for tea and settled down for the evening's fishing. I had been steadily feeding my swim for half an hour or so without a bite when denis M came along to see how we were getting on. He must have brought a little luck along with him because  within a few minutes my wire stemmed stick float buried and I was into a sizeable rudd. I soon had it in the landing net and hauled it ashore. It was a beautiful fish, red finned and golden flanked but would it meet our target weight of two pounds. The scales told the tale 2lbs 1oz, just made it.

We got a few pictures and put the fish back whereupon it sank to the bottom and lay on its side on the riverbed. Denis M lifted it gently with the landing net and after a little while it regained its strength and swam off ok. I caught several more rudd on that first evening, though none as big as that first one, and all of them struggled to regain their strength, indeed every fish we caught during the trip had to be nursed before it would swim unaided - doubtless due to the strong fight that these fish give.

We retired early to our bivvies. I really wanted to fish into dark but the swarms of mosquitoes became too much to bear and we had to get under cover away from them. It didn't work, some got in and I had to listen to the awful high pitched whine which told me I would be bitten in my sleep.

We awoke at four am, itching and sore and recommenced fishing. The light levels were still very poor and although I was feeding with maggots I decided to put a big piece of sweetcorn on the hook in the hope that a fish might spot it more easily. The ruse worked and on the third trot down I hooked into a rudd which went 2lb 3oz, a new pb. It was a little tatty this one but still had that lovely golden colour with the bright red fins. The feeding spell was short, just an hour or so but I took several more nice rudd before the sun got up and the spell ended.

Denis wasn't doing so well. He'd had a couple of very small rudd and some bits but little else so I offered to swap swims with him for the remainder of our stay. He accepted and he also helped me run a weed rake through the swim he was vacating so that I could get a better trot through. the day was long and hot but I went off into town to buy whatever I could to ward off the mosquitoes for our second night.

As evening came around I discovered that dragging the swim might not have been such a good idea. The line was nice and clear now but the swim was crammed with skimmer bream. Every run through I picked one up and apart from a couple of rudd of around a pound and some perch that was all I caught. Denis did a little better in the swim I had swapped with him taking a pb rudd of 1lb 13oz but the evening was a little disappointing and I was in my bivvy by ten surrounded by citronella candles and with the whole area well sprayed with insecticide.

Next morning was another 4am start and I returned to the newly dragged swim to find it still full of skimmers. Steady feeding eventually brought in some better fish including several perch to over a pound and several rudd, the biggest going 2lb 1oz. Denis struggled rather losing a fish on his first run through after which he never had a bite.

We fished for an hour or two then packed up and set off for home. I was quite pleased with the trip, that's a pb under my belt for 2013, I can relax again now and look forward to the pike season.

No comments: