Monday 18 February 2019

Pike Hunt: Last Roll of the Dice.

 As March approaches and the likelihood of the Pike spawning gets higher I get more weary of targeting them knowing the rigours they are about to go through. That said down here in the south for some reason they seem to spawn later, why? I think it is simply down to the temperatures but I am probably wrong. Brian is most likely the best person to answer that question, knowing I still have a week or two before the females start to gang up in preparation to spawn I decided to give them one more go.

 Having already had a good winter I would really love to catch another twenty from a river, one so far this season is brilliant, the specimen head tells me to keep going and something far more special could end up in the folds of my net. To really know whether I'll get that chance I have to keep at it.

 Bait this last few weeks has been tough to find and my reserves have been depleted. In the knowledge that I have to get bait before I can get out Piking does reduce my time out in search of them. Fast forward four hours I gave up and headed off for Pike, with three unwilling participants I made it to the Esox areas and hoped that something would be feeding. Having walked over a mile to my first port of call I could see plenty of features in the water and having spent a bit of time here this winter I have become quite fond of a few certain spots, this first one is one of my most productive.

 However, it wasn't to be that day (Saturday) as I trotted a bait around for nearly thirty minutes without a sniff and my chublet remained unphased which is always a good hint that theres not much going on. With that I headed on up another 150 yards upstream to a narrower section where I have had a couple of smaller fish from up to around 10lb, this time I could again see plenty of features which screamed Pike, the biggest lure of this particular swim is a sunken tree where the Pike sit alongside and intercept whatever passes them. I only had to drop it in the margins and let the bait do the work....twenty seconds or so later my float went berserk as a decent sized Esox chased and nailed the chub. I allowed a couple of seconds to pass before leaning into the fish and seemed a good hook hold was in place and the fight began.

 A specimen of possibly 14-17lb was charging around in front of me, scaring shoals of fry in the process, it looked a good fish, so I readied the net, albeit a little prematurely as she certainly wasn't finished. The longer the fight went on the more nervous I got, then in the blink of an eye she rolled on the surface and shook her head, which threw my chub clean in the air and off she went. I couldn't believe it.

 As cautiously as I played her I played it back in my mind and don't think I could have done any better, just rotten luck I guess. All I could do was get another bait on and try again. So thats what I did, unfortunately I had to wait a couple of hours before I got another enquiry, I walked and fished many spots that looked likely and just as dusk was approaching my float dipped and thundered off, no mistake in its intention, finally I got my chance.

 And with a slice of luck and good angling I made sure this opportunity didn't pass me by! A peach to boot aswell. My day was complete and on my only remaining livebait too. Days like this are sent to test us but rewards like these are there if we stick to the task. This more than likely will be the last roll of the dice. What a lovely fish to finish on if it is my last Pike trip of the winter.

Made me smile! 16lb 0oz of a riverine powerhouse.

Saturday 9 February 2019

Time For Fat Dace.

 As February the 1st comes along my mind starts to wander from what I have been targeting and slowly the want to target Dace kicks in. They are great summer sport with bags often weighing 10-20lbs can be had on good days with smatterings of Chub and Roach thrown in. Now is the time though for anglers serious in attempting to achieve the dizzy heights of specimens of the pound mark and possibly beyond.

 In my lifetime lady luck has shone brightly as I approach double figures for pound plus specimens (currently eight) and many back up specimens from 13oz and up. It was time for lady to shine once again. It is time once again. This time I want to see if some of my past leviathans can be beaten or will they simply be a memory, to never be beaten. A loaf of Hovis certainly is the sort of bait to winkle them out.

A 6gr avon wire stem, just to keep on the creases.

 I got down fairly late as all the people on the damn roads didn't realise I had fishing to do! inconsiderate people I tell you! After finally battling my way through the hoards the river trundled through in front of me as I parked up. Gin clear but carrying a nice bit of water which wasn't surprising as since 1st of Feb came along we have been catching up on all the rain we should have got from January. It was from recollection the 7th driest since records began and it did seem that way.

 The conditions filled me with hope and not before long my 6gr avon wire stem was hurled out towards the far bank where I hoped Dace would be holding station, just out the flow, hugging the creases. My plan sounded great but the Chub didn't get the memo as I netted one after another, good sport, not the target. Try as I did they would not leave me alone..after the third or fourth run I started to think the Chub were simply in a ravenous mood and that Dace simply wouldn't get there first and I was very nearly right, that was until this cracker turned up. Best of the year so far and hopefully the first of many (If I get the time).

My one and only of the day at 13oz flat.

 Not to cut it short but for the Dace, that one fish was my lot, so much so that I changed target and headed downstream. It wasn't just a big Dace that I'd get my hands on. It took nearly half an hour to start getting bites, hitting them was another problem, the sheer speed that the bait was being hit in the fast pace of the water provided another problem that I had to negotiate, I'm all on for problem solving but I did very nearly give up nearly an hour in until one finally slipped up and it was a lovely Roach of 1lb 7oz, then I had obviously done something different, as I hit another five in the next dozen or so trots, a couple more around the pound mark. The best was to come and just as dusk was settling in too. Oh and this little fella popped along too.

Love a gonk.

 Doing nothing different by this point it was obvious that the bigger fish were switching on as I connected with a ripping pull of the float, in the flow all the fish felt good but this one didn't feel like a Roach at all, such was strength. As she rolled on the surface I could see it was a very good one and looked to be over the magical two-pound mark, the remainder of the fight was played with caution. In she went !

 Excited to see if I had caught my first two pound plus Roach of the season I put her straight on the scales...

 ...One Pound Fourteen ounces...oooooohhhh that was close and if I had lost her I'd have sworn it be a "two". Full of excitement I slipped her in the keepnet and got the bait back out there. Three trots later the float began to reach the end of the run where it shallows up to a weedy/gravel bar, as I began to retrieve the float some 25 yards it dipped and vanished, for a split second I thought it was a little fish as it swam upstream, straight up to me. I didn't think for a second that I'd be connected to yet another Roach of fantastic proportions! This one looked bigger than the fish, not in length but the girth was nothing that I have seen the likes of before! With jelly legs still only just recovering from the first I had its sister in the net! This one felt heavier and again I wasted no time in weighing her.

 One pound fifteen ounces.....oooooooohhhhhh thats even closer :), I didn't know what to do with myself, to know and catch Roach like that is good for the soul, especially where they came from and it's past pedigree is slowly being rediscovered and enjoyed. The light was failing fast and I really wanted to get a couple of pics before the sun set, disaster set however when I had a flat battery which I possibly ran out photographing my Dace earlier on...I must charge them as a matter of habit because its not the first time...

 What a day it was, challenging is certainly a way of describing it, trotting 15-40 yards with 25-30mph cross winds and 6-10 inches of additional water to contend with, not to mention a very achy arm after a day of constant trotting, been a while since I fished that hard and I had to. It was a case of effort equals reward.

 A brace of Roach for 3lb 13oz and a few drams, 13oz Dace, Trout to 3lb+, Gudgeon to 1oz made for an enjoyable trip.

Happy as a pig in....

Friday 8 February 2019

Not What I Expected.

 Just over a couple of weeks ago I visited one of my ticket lakes in search of Pike. Something that I have swerved most of the season, not that I don't like lake Pike, it's just unlikely to throw up a lump that the rivers are capable of. On this day however the thought of a specimen was not in mind and simply a venture out with a 6ft light lure rod was all I wanted, whether I caught or not again wasn't the be-all and end-all.

 Always nice though isn't it when you do, so...

 ...How about this then!

 A personal best Bream on a lure and arguably the prettiest one to grace my net at approximately 9lb, and those canal Bream that I have recently tapped into take some beating in regards to looks, I feel it has the edge though. Fair and square in the chops and the take wasn't strong either but was enough to keep the single treble of my savage gear 3-D Roach.

  The intended target did also play ball with one at 8lb 2oz and another around 5/6lbs, plus a bonus Chub which took a liking to a Mepps spinner. Pretty varied and the sort of trip I love, that bream...wowza what a peach!

Blackwater Returns.

   Throughout my teenage years I spent many thousands of hours targeting Barbel in low gin clear rivers and really hammered home my love for...