Saturday, 10 January 2015

Happy New Year

Ok, I'm still not back to my blogging best but believe me, I would if I could. I always thought I would be putting my feet up when I got to this age but I'm busier than ever! Anyway, with 2015 under way I managed to get out a few times and catch some fish. It's been a slow season so far, I've had a fair few fish but the big ones have eluded me. The period up to Christmas brought fish to eighteen pounds or so with a fair few doubles, mostly to lures but as i say, the fishing's been slower than usual.

First trip out this year was to a local stillwater and for a change, I decided to fish with deadbaits. It was January 2nd, a cold, windy day and I had the lake entirely to myself. I fished a swim I used to fish many years ago with two static deads, a mackerel and a bluey. The mackerel was fished at range but the bluey was just two rod lengths out and knowing this swim as I did, I fully expected the close-in rod to be the one to produce. Sure enough, at 09.30 the bobbin fell and line spilled off the spool. I struck at once and was rewarded with a nice fish of around eleven pounds. I unhooked the fish and slipped her back and since I had been lucky enough to get the bait back I just rehooked it and dropped it back into the same spot a few feet from the bank. I clipped on the bobbin, switched on the alarm and turned round to sit down again but as I did so, the bobbin fell off once more. Another swift strike resulted in a pretty nine pounder. No more runs for the day but we were off the mark for 2015 so I was well pleased.

Next trip out was to the river. I have access to many miles of river and so this was to be a four-day trip fishing a different stretch each day. I only fished a few hours on the first day as I only got to the water at around 2pm and despite fishing good spots with good lures, I never had a pull. I was a bit surprised at this really since conditions looked quite good, the water may have been a little higher than I would have liked but it was by no means in flood.

Day two was spent on a different part of the river and again it was a struggle. The level had dropped and there was just the right amount of colour in the water but for some reason the pike did not want to play. I bumped into another well-known pike angler who told me that he too had had a slow day but he had at least had a fish a little over ten pounds on a deadbait. The best I could manage was a low double which turned away from the lure at the bank - it wouldn't come again. I chatted to the bailiff at the end of the day and he was as mystified as I was as for why the fishing was so poor. The condition of the river was absolutely perfect by now, we both agreed on that, but he told me the stretch had fished very poorly for some weeks with hardly any pike being caught.

I moved on again on day three to a club stretch that I have access to and here my fortunes changed quite dramatically. The river was rising and colouring up, not good conditions as a rule but there was another factor, it was warm! The air temperature was high, the rain that had fallen was warm rain and the water temperture was certainly on the rise. It was to be lures only today and with my rucksack on my back and rod in hand I set off upstream from the car park looking for likely spots to fish. I had only walked three or four hundred yards and I came across an area of slack water where a rubbish raft had collected, it looked an ideal spot, I was certain there would be a pike there. The bank was high so I needed my Gardner extending landing net handle fully deployed for this one. I flicked a heavy swimbait out onto the crease at the edge of the current and was pleased to discover that the swim had a lot of depth, ten or twelve feet judging by the amount of time it took for the lure to sink.

The first retrieve produced nothing but on the second one the lure was hammered by a beautiful pike of around twelve pounds or so. I netted the fish with the long handled net and hauled it up the bank where I soon removed the hooks. I returned the fish a short distance away at a spot where I could get down to the water easily and then went back to the swim where I had caught it. Several more casts brought no more fish but I was sure there would be others, the swim was too good for there only to be one. I decided that I had caused too much disturbance in catching the pike and that any others would be too shy to bite for a while so I opted to move on and return to the swim later. I collapsed the net handle and loaded the rucksack onto my back but just as I was about to move on I saw that a herd of cows was crossing the path in front of me. I didn't want to get tangled up with them so I stood and waited for them to pass by. As I waited, I casually flicked the lure back out and, wouldn't you know it, it was grabbed by a big pike!

Now I was in a pickle. I managed to wrestle the rucksack back off while the rod was bucking and heaving in my hand and it fell to earth with a thud. Extending the landing net is a two-handed job though and at least one of my hands was going to be fully occupied so I launched myself down the steep bank and fortunately, slithered to a halt just before I entered the water. The fish was thrashing like mad on a short line in amongst the floating vegetation on the surface, vegetation that was so thick that it was difficult to submerge the net through it but I pushed it down and heaved the pike over it, scooping up fish, twigs, leaves and grass all in a big bundle. I managed to claw my way up the bank with great difficulty and deposited my prize on the high grassy bank. It was a fine big pike, just a little otter damage to the tail but otherwise in great condition and I weighed it at 22lbs 14oz, great stuff!

The cows had gone now so I set off downstream in search of more swims to fish and while I found several, flicking the lure out into various slacks and glides, no more fish came for a while. I happened upon a big bend in the river with an area of slack water on my own bank. It looked shallow but fishy and so I changed the lure for  much lighter swimbait which wouldn't sink too quickly and cast it out. I slowly worked my way down the swim, casting and retieving and before long the lure got hit. This turned out to be a splendid pike of 19lbs 1oz, a lovely spotty fish perfect in every detail.

No more fish came from the bend and I then worked my way downstream for a long way, casting into every likely looking spot for no reward. The morning was over and it was time for a bite to eat and a drink so I set off back towards the car for a bit of refreshment but before I got there I couldn't resist a few more casts in THE swim that had produced the twenty. Sure enough there ws another good fish there and I caught it in short order, 22lbs 10oz, a brace of 22s, lovely.

I did some exploring for the rest of the day but caught no more fish and on day four I returned to the same stretch I had fished on day 1 and just for a change I decided to fish deadbaits. This work out just fine as I collected a nice fish of 17lb 8oz within ten minutes of starting to fish. The river then started to rise once more and started to colour up quickly so that was it, I'd had a good trip with some big pike and set off home with a smile on my face.

Roll on the next trip.

1 comment:

Andrew M said...

Inspiring post Eric.