2019 has gone by incredibly quick, I know it's only November but if the last eleven months are anything to go by it'll be done in the blink of an eye, knowing where my next trip will come from is often a question I ask myself.
On Tuesday I fancied a trip out in search of predators. For the last three years I have heard of many good Perch slipping up through Hertfordshire and Essex, two counties I am fairly familiar with, but not for Pike, Perch and Zander. So with only a handful of half-hearted attempts at the Perch and returning on every occasion empty handed I looked to try my hand once again at tempting the "biggest fish of all".
An early start battling motorway traffic resulted in arriving at my chosen first port of call over an hour later than I hoped and with dusk now at 1645 it chalked a large portion of my day off so I didn't hesitate in getting myself together. With large Pike present I opted to fish a trace which is something I don't tend to do for Perch owing to resistance, thankfully for me I took that chance and within an hour I was watching a large Esox that was thought to be in excess of twenty pounds, I quickly got pretty nervous.
As I trotted my live bait towards the pike it moved very slightly towards it and then stopped as my bait continued on, all of a sudden just when I thought the chance was drifting away, quite literally, the pike then put on the afterburners and the gap between predator and prey was reduced in no time and I watched my little Roach disappear and the float slip under, the time had come to finally wet my net for my first predator of the season.
Fishing with 20lb line and a 2¾ TC rod in conjunction with a 25lb trace you be inclined to think it would be easy, however that is seldom the case as these river Pike tend to fight extremely hard and often find myself at the end of every fight thinking how much more could they give. The answer is quite scary, battles sometimes continue beyond the length that you'd think, for those anglers who target pike will know exactly what I mean.
|The rivers are so clear down here, spotting Pike was challenging but not impossible.|
Once the battle had ended a lovely marked Pike sat in the net, possibly a twenty pounder for my first pike of the season would be an awesome feat, it didn't take long to dispel that dream as she sat tipped the scales to a pleasing 18lbs 7ozs, I honestly couldn't be happier mind you, it looked awesome both in the water and on the bank.
|Beautiful marking on this one.|
|Not too shabby either, two doubles in ten minutes.|
From that point the fishing got quite hard as those two Pike were the only fish I saw for well over two miles, by which point I moved section and gave it a go upstream, hoping to come across a Perch, which to tell the truth was my initial target, armed with half a dozen Gudgeon I continued my fishing like downstream and hoped to avoid Pike on the untraced rod, which was also fished downstream but totally ignored.
A couple of hours drifted by without much action then I stumbled across what was clearly a holding area for predators as my float stayed still for very little of the time I spent in this particular swim. Problem was most of it was little jack' terrorising my Gudgeon on the untraced rod and I was quickly running out of my bait until as dusk was beginning to settle in my float slipped away once again, this time I allowed the run to develop before striking and when I saw that a big Perch was on the business end the fight became more of a protection exercise rather than a battle with a big fish. With Pike in the swim capable of snatching this fish I had worked so hard for it wasn't very enjoyable.
As the Perch approached the lip of the net the Gudgeon was visible on the very finest flap of skin, disaster was just a moment away as my fears were realised just five foot out, a strong head shake was followed by a flying Gudgeon and the loss of tension on the rod, which was followed by a sizeable vortex as the Perch (well over three pounds) slipped back into the darkness. Gutted was just the beginning of my feelings that festered for the following day. Having been the only chance of the day, that was my opportunity at landing a Perch capable of beating my personal best of 3lb 6oz.
The only positive apart from the Pike was that I had found a big Perch, more must exist within spitting distance, I will certainly be back!