Thursday, 16 February 2012

Super lure strikes again.

I had a lay in this morning. The forecast was for dark clouds and I figured that sunrise wouldn't happen while late leaving me not long to get out before work. When I got to work I bumped into Fisky and he asked why I hadn't gone on the river. He told me the water temperature was up and the fish would be feeding like mad. Too late though as I was getting my work gear on, but later on that day I was to find out that Fisky was spot on with his advice!

Half four comes and I'm off on the bank. Today though I'm armed with what I class a super weapon. Last year the lure that caught me most fish was the Savage gear 19cm lip lure in Rainbow trout pattern. I have other patterns, and they catch but that was the lure that did the damage for me. Part of it is a confidence thing of course, I know that, and you stick with what works for you. Only problem being, that I lost my remaining rainbow to a snag a while back. No way am I blaming my recent blanks with that one fact, but it could quite possibly have contributed. Well yesterday I had one turn up in the post. I'd actually ordered three but got a note saying that it was the last one left in stock. I then went on line to find that not only was that one the last one in stock on that site, but Savage Gear have decided to discontinue that pattern. What the hell are they thinking? They have a Rainbow Smolt this season, and I hope to god that one works or I'm going to be in trouble! I've just ordered two more rainbows tonight on the back of my session today, and if anyone out there has one that they can't catch on then feel free to offer up a deal!

So there's no guessing which lure I'm using today. It feels good to have one back on the end of my line and together with a bit of  mild weather, cloud cover and a bit of a breeze adding ripples to the water I'm happy about my chances of a fish. Anything will do me I'm not fussy one bit. Working the lure in various ways, but mainly a steady retrieve with a little jerk to get the lure twisting sideways and offering that silver and pink reflection. A bird landing on the water across the river took my attention, it wasn't one of many ducks that frequent these parts and first glance looked like a fish eater such as a grebe. I have a couple of glances and when I look back I spot a large pike following my lure. It speeds up and I brace for the take....the pike hits, I strike and miss. Aaaaarghh flipping aaaaaaarggggh! How the hell did I miss that? That was a clonking fish, easy mid double and it's gone. I cast a few times in the area but nothing. Continuing to curse my bad luck for a while until finally getting the miss to the back of my head and on with fishing. As gutted as I am I can't do anything about it now. I've had some tough sessions recently with many blanks so to miss a chance like this made it all the more worse. Missing a big fish is bad when you're catching but missing one when fish are scarce is tough on the mind.

Fat pike - 10lb
So what's next? Stick with the same lure or switch? Stick with the same swim or switch? I've had so much success from this swim in the past I'm not going anywhere and likewise with the lure, that too is staying put. Ten or fifteen minutes passes with me fanning the same water. I even decided to do a few short casts with lightening quick retrieve to make the lure clatter across the surface hoping the noises and vibrations will bring in a fish. Not too soon later I'm in and after a decent battle I pull in a fish of 10lb. One of the best looking fishes for a while with a beer belly on it my old man would be proud of.


Belly full of eggs or food?
I'm happy now. A fish like that is not a bad way to finish a day at work. Ok I missed a decent fish but It's all part of fishing. The one that got away and all that. But there's still daylight and I've got permission to stay out until dark because yesterday I bought the Mrs some new cushions for the living room. So I plod on with the same set up and same tactics that have brought me success from here before, and guess what, I'm in again. But this feels a bit of a chunk and I'm a little more tuned in to what I'm doing and what the fish is doing. I get a flash of the fishes side in the distance and it gives me my first view that this is a decent fish. I see it again and then the fish comes up. I can now see I've got a beauty and I won't be chinning this one out it'll be needing the safety of a net. The bank side is soft and gives way underfoot which doesn't help but I start to bring the fish in before finally she's safely over the net. Get in! I can tell she's not a pb river fish but she's a good double. She's not got that broad body the big girls have but she is much bigger than the last fish. My rainbow lure is no where to be seen. Anyone who has caught a big pike will know where it is. The vast mouth these fish have easily swallows the big lures many people wouldn't dream of using. Tucked between my thighs and on her back, I guide her mouth open and easily unhook the two trebles, but just as I do she flinches. I could feel then tension and knew she was about to spring but the hooks were free so I whipped the lure out sharpish. Not quite sharp enough though and I get a small cut on the top of the hand and then some lovely pin point cuts in my fingers. It's nothing major but it's amazing how much claret comes out from these type of cuts. The blood on the photo if you can spot it is all mine. I don't care one bit though as I'm beaming right now. I need to weight the fish and get a few snaps but decide I'll give her a breather first and get her back in the net and in the water.

I decided to ring a work mate who was working the afternoon shift. He'd already said If I caught anything decent he'd come for a look and take a few photos. He's not a fisherman but when I rang him to say I'd caught something of size he was down in a flash. I think none fisherman are sometimes shocked at what is in our lakes and rivers and they don't always realise the size of some of our fish. He's worked next to this river for over twenty years and probably thought it was as dead to life as it would have been twenty or thirty years ago. The light was starting to fade so self take photos might not have been the option and so I was glad of his assistance and the photos, cheers Chaddy! Time to weigh the fish and as I got myself ready he asked me how big. I guessed at maybe 16lb and then a second or two later the scales told me 17lb (minus the net of course). That'll dink dank doo! I put the big girl back all the time chatting about how you go about catching pike, fish care etc and then decided to grab a few more casts since light was still with me. While still chatting to Chaddy, explaining how and why you work the lures and what you're trying to achieve, bang, fish on again only two casts later too. No way anywhere as big as the last and probably only weighing in at around five or six pounds but it topped off a fantastic hour of fishing.
There's a good chance that the 17 pounder was the one I missed earlier. No way of course of knowing for sure but it would have been definitely something of similar size. That makes the earlier miss easier to take and I can say for sure that it definitely wasn't my target river twenty. Like this big girl I caught, the one I missed didn't have a back or head wide enough for a twenty plus. If you've had a big pike you know what I mean by that. I was reading a thread and put a post or two in on where someone asked if by not catching the 30-40lb monsters, is that considered failing at pike fishing? Point blank I'd say no it's not failing. For me personally it is not just about catching the biggest and it's simply about getting out there and enjoying the whole thing, not just the catching. One of the comments that was made and I did agree with it, is that not only is it about being good at what you do and everything else it's often simply down to "right place right time". Today was a perfect example of that statement. I've done no different any other day this year and blanked plenty except today was the right place and the right time. If you can pinpoint those times and venues then you can bring more success and maybe many of those big pike hunters are doing just that and credit to them. I have thought about keeping a diary and taking note of every little detail but for now I decided against it. The bit I love about fishing is everything about fishing. I love the blanks as daft as it sounds because when you get a bit of fishing like I did today those blanks make it even more special. Driving home in the car I was buzzing and I decided there and then, stuff chasing a river twenty any more, stuff Chew and the forty pounders this is what it's all about. This is why I go fishing!

2012 pike tally
Total 8
Largest 17lb

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