Saturday 19 January 2019

River Monsters: Twenty No:3.

 For a few sessions on the boat and bank I have had some good luck and hit some fantastic specimens, however there has been something missing, as to what, I'm not entirely sure. Maybe the battle with a monster Pike being that missing piece of my seasons jigsaw?.

 Having spent most of the Christmas period either working or spending it with the family my fishing time has been greatly reduced, however I had managed to get some fresh air on a couple of occasions, one of those occasions was this trip, in search of Pike. A river I am starting to understand just a little more and a river I am very keen to extract the secrets it holds. I have been lucky enough over the last three seasons to catch two twenty pound plus specimens and I feel thats not all and don't feel the job is quite done hence my continued attentions.

 Stealth is part of the game, usually. Not on this session. I arrived to find the river slightly up, only by a couple of inches but running fairly murky and I struggled to make out the bottom even in the margins which is unusual but a new hurdle to tackle. Confidence levels took a hit as I hadn't had to fish in these conditions, nevertheless I was there and looked to make a go of it. I got my self set up, 20lb mono, 25lb Drennan pike wire and a 20g slider float is my usual, I only change the float for something bigger if I'm trotting bigger baits or laying on at distance. As I'm only fishing 20-50 yards its not an issue and the low resistance free running float gives me all the indication I need.

 After five minutes of preparation I got my first trot in and surprise surprise the float remained static in an eddy further downstream without incident. As I slowly retrieved the bait I felt a little pull on the bait, I thought about striking, instead I let it go and allowed the bait to go back on the trot, within seconds the float bobbed and shot under! Confidence was boosted no end in an instant, funny how fishing works! The fight wasn't strong and with my stepped up gear I got the better of a nice clean looking Pike in quick time.

 Happy with that one! Not quite a double but a lovely fish all the same. I couldn't wait to get the bait back out. After releasing that fish downstream some way I decided to give the run another trot to see if anything else was home and on the prowl. I think I was hoping the commotion that one above caused would have bought something else into feeding. Another trot down the same crease yielded no rewards this time, so I decided to go right tight to the far bank, which was quite a cast but the response was almost instant, possibly five seconds between the bait hitting the water and the float vanishing, I swear the float didn't even get to right properly. Just how I like it. 

 Within a few seconds the Pike breached the surface and cleared it by a good half a foot at least before crashing back down with a large splash, acrobatic Pike is something I don't often see and with that show of athleticism I could tell it was bigger than the first, the fight a little more purposeful and stronger too, as the last Pike found out my gear was too much to challenge and soon after she was in the net. Thinking it was an easy double she went on the scales and to my surprise she only just made the mark.

Long, lean and pretty empty.

 In the murky water I was having a bit of success! Effectively three trots and two Pike is the sort of return we can only dream of. I was happy with that and it could of ended there in regards to what I'd caught numbers wise, however I always harbour dreams of finding a big fish as I know its possible, it only takes one bite. 

 Having had joy in that particular area I fancied a move, not far up, maybe 40/50m upstream from the beginning action, it didn't look like much but a bush half way down looked a place for an ambush. I got a bait on and trotted it the length of the run without a touch. Not surprised by that result I deepened up on the float so fish worked slightly deeper, the desired effect was almost instant. Just as the float came level with said bush it slipped under and a powerful but slow charge began which set the tone for the fight, being out of eye shot and murky water I couldn't the fish. I wasn't sure about the size, it didn't feel big, probably no heavier than the last two. 

 With that in mind I was in no rush to get her in and I spent the next 3-4 minutes tackling the tricky lunges into near bank overhanging vegetation. As I gained on her and its frame came into view just under the surface nearly at my feet a large frame was soon apparent, I went from rather cocky to a nervous wreck. The thought of a twenty pounder on the other end was just awesome, by the time she got under my feet the fight was all but done, a half hearted charge was easily thwarted and my net bulged with my best of the season.

 Boom!!!!! Just what I dreamt of and I got one! A real good looking Esox weighing 20lb 8oz and my third river twenty. My confidence may have been lacking upon arrival, an hour later and I couldn't have been more upbeat! What a creature and very well fed too, long, muscular and mouth full of big teeth. After getting a couple of self takes I awaited her to start kicking which didn't take long before dropping the front of the net down and watch her waddle out slowly back into the murk. Special.

 Understandably, I found it tough to regain focus. Knowing that it would be possible to catch another just as big or larger pushed me to crack after I had a little punch of the air in celebration. 

 The next two hours drifted past with no such luck, the float didn't even quiver as I sent it trotting down stream on numerous occasions. It wasn't until the sun began to lose its strength and dusk begin to settle in did I get another chance, with the sun full on my face for the remaining minutes I noticed a Pike close in where I had a little visibility. I could see she was a mid-double and a fish I wanted to catch, as she wafted up in the current effortlessly I trotted a bait down to her and in a split second a set of flaring gills created a flash as pandemonium set in. Pike number four was on. This one decided that she wasn't going to make life easy and on numerous powerful runs to far bank sunken trees she really put my clutch to the test, a couple of times I had to slacken off as I thought she might break me off under the strain, thankfully though that didn't happen and a bit of careful battling another mint river double graced my net. What a day it had been! 

A mint 14lb 6oz specimen to round off proceedings! 


  1. Replies
    1. Cheers! It’s a trip I’ll certainly remember for a long time to come!

  2. A day to remember there. Topped off with that beautiful twenty, nice one!

    1. Mega chuffed as you know! Can't wait get back out!


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