Monday, 13 February 2012

Blank run ends

Yes, I finally ended my run of blanks. No idea how many there were, many of them were only short sessions before or after work for half an hour, but a blank is a blank and we don't like too many of them do we. I can put up with the odd blank or even a few on the bounce but it's been tough recently with the cold snap. Sometimes I was going fishing for the sake of it and wasn't confident at all in catching. But it was all part of me learning this particular bit of river, finding out when the fish feed and when they don't. They certainly haven't fed in the cold. Admittedly I'm lure fishing and often don't stay too long, but in my experience so far on this stretch, if the fish are feeding you'll get one in the first half hour or so at least. Then it's up to you to decide how far to roam or what lures to use in particular to catch more. I'm much more confident about catching a fish now if the weather stays the same and the river levels don't go up again. Confidence is a big thing and sometimes you just know you'll catch and others you wonder what the hell you are doing out on the bank at all.

My plan started last night. I checked the river levels again, as I had done all week, and they have been at a constant level.Go here for a look. (river levels web link) Next came a quick weather check to make sure it wasn't going to soak me through and also to check that there hadn't been a massive downfall in the hills. Before finally checking my sunset/sunrise times (sunrise/sunset web link) to see how much daylight I would have before work. To my excitement, starting at 8:30am would give me a good hour and a bit on the bank, the days are getting longer. Sunrise is given as 7:31 but since the weather report suggested a half clear sky then dawn would be around 7am. That will do me! I was up for knocking on half six, had a quick pot of tea and some wheatabix and headed for the river.

I started off with the yellow soft 4play. It's action just looks awesome in the water and you can work it in so many ways. I figured in the low light the vibration it would create and the bright colour should show up well in the not too murky water. Half a dozen casts and nothing. Then I snagged a sunken reed bed. I know it's there and in the summer it juts out into the river but right now you can fish over it. I gave my lure a crank and it came free but the lure felt weird, either some reed stuck to it or tangled maybe. So I wound in pretty fast and it seemed like whatever was wrong with it was sorted. I could see the lure and then saw a flash, that was a fish, a pike. I was willing the fish to have another hit and then I saw the what was blatantly the mouth and gills flared of a pike. But where's the hit? It's missed again. Oh my god, I'm teasing the lure and trying to get the pike to hit before I run out of river. Nothing. I cast back and draw past where the pike was, again and again but nothing. So close to catching a fish but nothing. I'm gutted and frustrated but now I know at least the fish are hungry again. I tried a few more lures but no joy. Time to pack up and a days work to do but all the time I'm at work I'm itching to get back on the river. I got my head down and kept myself busy, even cutting a break short because watching the clock was only going to make my day go slower. Half past four came and I was out of the door and in to the boot of my car for my gear.

I tried the bright yellow soft 4play again thinking it nearly had me a fish before so why not try again. I tried some slow retrieves and some fast retrieves but nothing. I recently bought some lures from another keen piker, blogger and forum regular Alex of I've bought from him before and he's a top lad getting the lures out asap. I'd asked for him to post the lures to my work since that was easiest and they must have arrived at the weekend. I took my new lures onto the bank with me and decided to use a Savage Gear 4play liplure clone (not sure who make these ones I'll have to ask Alex) which have an added rattle inside them. Since the water was slightly murky I decided upon an aggressive retrieve to make use of that rattle. Strong jerk and a few turns of the reel and then strong jerk again. The lure was quite dark on top but also very bright underneath. I've used these kind of lures lots and had loads of success and use them in all sorts of ways, and I figured that the rattle and the flash of colour should get the attention of a hungry pike. Sometimes you can be lucky with your retrieve and just get a fish no matter how you bring it in but sometimes you have to work for a fish. Choosing the right lure for the bit of water can be crucial. There's no point getting a deep diver in shallow water or a shallow diver in deep water when you know the fish are on the bottom. If you've got something with a rattle in and the water is murky then that's something extra to help the fish find your lure but then if you only use a slow retrieve you're not really making best use of it. When the fishing is good I stick on the lure that got me the fish the day before but when it's tough you have to have a go with others and find something to suit. We've all got stupid amounts of lures in our box but often stick to just a few favourites. That takes us back to the confidence thing again. Something you know that works so keep doing it. The thing is, when that fails what else can you do but try another lure?

Four casts later and I'm in. Finally the rod is bent and I'm back in to a fish. I'm grinning from ear to ear even though I know it's not a big fish. A brief fight and the fish is on land with me thanking Alex for the new lure. I didn't get anything else, but I saw something else chasing fish later in the day. I never saw the fish but suspect it was perch, or a few perch! (Fisky, if you're reading this it wasn't perch, don't you come poaching! lol). I had a few casts at it but nothing, and I didn't have time to get some lighter gear on as I had to be home. Our lass says i've got to be in before it gets dark for my tea! I've already got plans to be up at 6am so I can be on the bank for the first sign of light and get another sneaky hour in before work. I'll have to dash out at lunch time and get her indoors something smelly, chocolatey or flowery and maybe a smart price card from ASDA if she's lucky!


2012 pike tally
Total 5
Largest 12lb


  1. Brilliant Paul, well done,
    I'm glad some of my surplus lures are being put to good use..............

    for those that are interested they are 'conrad'(fladen) lures, and they're available via lureshed.. and ebay (can't remember the seller so my apologies)........


  2. cheers Alex. I think those clones are a good addition to the Savage gear collection anyone has. They work virtually the same, maybe feel heavier and cast a little further (or is it just me) and they have a rattle to add to the attraction.

  3. Well done for sticking at it and catching a few in the end.
    Great read too