Sunday 27 November 2022

Predator Season Looms.


 Given the tough conditions for Barbel over the back end of last week, Brian and I hatched a plan to come away from the Barbel and start our predator season. So Friday we headed back to the rivers and set about targeting Pike, given the mild conditions I had some reservations but it's late enough in the year and with water temps hovering around 7.5-8.5c it should be good enough to begin.

 We opted to float fish Sprats and rove around, trying to find the odd fish in amongst the tree-lines and deeper holes that litter the river, the sense of excitement was building as we rigged up our roving rods. The flavour had well and truly settled in before this trip, recently I purchased Mick Brown' new book and it is awe inspiring, the level of dedication he has shown and the results he has reaped has got me wanting to spend more time searching out the species and try to get a few more fish on the bank, one day I truly hope I become half as proficient as Mick, if I did it will be one hell of a ride!

A superb book!

 With the low sun we couldn't really see into the water and the clarity was pretty poor given the recent rains too so we relied upon our understanding of the fish, plus I had Pike-catcher-in-chief with me and I didn't have to wait long before I got bob on the float, a good solid run was met with a firm strike and with the hook set I was locked into battle with a good Pike that rolled on the surface thus showing itself, certainly around the mid-double range and as she approached the waiting net inexplicably the fish came off. I thought she gobbed me but it turned out my snap-link failed and the treble came loose.

 I know we all experience things like this over the years but it was a first for me and knew I wouldn't get many chances to catch a Pike as I don't think there are many around. I will certainly do a thorough check of tackle going forward and replace any of those components should I not be happy with them.

 About an hour later Brian was away with a decent fish, which I shall leave for him to publish on his blog.

 I was chuffed to see Brian get his winter season under way but there is always the shadow of doubt cast over your head when it hasn't happened yet, so I worked a few spots and fished all the likely looking areas where I thought something may happen and fortunately for me I got another shot at glory.

 A swift take followed by a strong but short battle where the fish hung under the rod-tip, before "just" squeezing into the net. At first she looked a decent fish of 15-16lbs, however when I lifted her up on to the mat it felt a bit more weighty, the scales confirmed that as they settled on 17lb 8ozs and my winter predator season was up and running! 

Chuffed with that!

 I stood back as she briefly lye on the mat and just marvelled at the markings and colours, don't think they come much prettier!
 Once the photos were done she slipped off back to the shadows, no doubt to continue her pursuit of optimum weight with spawning due in 2 months.
 We continued on downstream as we both felt 20mins in each area was probably the best plan of action and although we both felt that we were fishing well it turned out those two Pike would be the last of the action as the final 6 hours of fishing slipped by without another touch, maybe we just caught the back end of a morning feed? It'll be interesting to find out whether that rings true. 

 A seventeen to open my account for the season is a great start, hopefully I can find a big girl somewhere in the lead up to Christmas.


  1. Well done James. Great fish to start..

    1. I certainly won't complain, Brian and I had it tough. If it wasn't for the great start that we would have really wondered was it going to happen at all. Oddly the Pike didn't adhere to Brian' usual thinking, these are up early and feeding, get there late and you could miss it.

  2. Would have been lovely to see a few more - but still a cracking opener each!

    1. The fact they look like that is a huge bonus! beautiful creatures. I just wonder if there is a twenty+ somewhere there?


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