Monday, 5 March 2012

22.5lb river monster


Soggy Sunday
Monday, what happened to Sundays write up? Well I did get out but I was on the bank before the rain started. As the rain kicked in I thought may be it would blow over. It didn't. I packed up just before the rain got through my clothes and in to my skin. Not that it mattered as I was already full of cold. Feeling sorry for myself I lounged about all day falling to sleep on the sofa every now and again. I decided against an hour on the river before work today, I was too much under the weather and felt that a tough day ahead on little sleep would be a bad idea.

So I had to wait until after work to get out on the bank. The sun was out most of the day and I kept my eye on the river levels knowing we'd had some rain the day before. The river was up but only by about 10 inch or so and since it was really low before that then a bit of water was appreciated. It wasn't long until I got some action. Actually half an hour is quite long for this swim but because there was a bit of water and a bit of colour in the river then I felt that a pike would be confident about a hunt today so kept at it. A bit of cover, rather than bright sunshine through clear water, is always a good bet in my opinion. So don't be put off by a bit of murky water, because the pike can hunt in it perfectly, they're tuned up super hunters.

I felt this super hunter bang my lure and I thought I'd missed because the line was a bit slack but as I pulled harder on the rod I felt the fish. Those first few seconds you can't always tell how big the fish is and it's the time where I make sure everything is in order. I've already checked my drag before starting to fish, and I've already checked my anti-reverse is switch on but I give them a quick check as soon as It feels safe in these early stages. The pike came down stream towards me and so the battle wasn't too intense and I got a flash of a tail swipe but couldn't tell at all what it was. Then came the head shakes. Thump.........thump.........thump. Well I know now that it isn't a small jack! Those jacks shake their head like mad but a big fish is the exact opposite, it's a big fish after all and that head shake is moving a hell of a lot of water. Add to the head shakes that I haven't seen the fish yet and I know it's a good fish and I even say to myself out loud that it is. I remember the recent trips and the fact I'd lost a few fish with the hooks coming out and that is all I can think about right now. But panicking won't help or change anything so just stick to what you always do and play the fish reacting to what it does. If it fights hard give it a bit of line, if it isn't doing much get it in close so you can net it. Don't waste your time if there's no fight just get the fish in. But this fish wants to go again, so flicking my anti-reverse off I back wind to ease the pressure as the fish makes another run. I claw some line back and she goes again. By now I'm a bag of nerves because despite still not even getting a good look at her I just know she's a good fish. I dare not even contemplate her being a twenty plus and the thought of her coming off now is gut wrenching.

I get my first glimpse of her head as she violently comes to the surface and shakes her head. I'm ignoring even looking at her and trying to work out the size and instead concentrating on bringing her in. The net is in the water and I'm checking that there are no obstacles in the way. Just a simple thing as getting the netting caught on a submerged branch or jagged stone and you can end up losing a fish. The water in front of me is clear and it's plenty deep enough to bring the fish over the net too. I'm down on one knee now and the fish is getting close. Still ignoring the fact she's easily visible I'm taking great care in what I'm doing. She comes close to the net and I'm almost there, but she shakes violently again and my heart sinks for a brief second. I'm prepared for a sudden surge of power from her as she probably saw the net but I'm relieved when I can turn her head once again towards me. Slow motion time, I just hope to god the hooks hold firm this time. Get in!!! She slides in to the net perfectly. I hold her in the deep water while we both sort ourselves out. I know this fish is a beauty and ring up a few of the lads at work to come and take some photos, I do not want to mess this up!

First job for me is to always secure those treble hooks, both for my safety and hers. A photo does look great with the lure hanging out of the mouth but I'll save those shots for when I'm not alone. As usual with the big girls, the lure has been engulfed but that isn't a problem at all because those big cavernous mouths are much easier to work in too. The hooks are secured and thrown away to safety. My work mate turns up and he's gob smacked. That's the point where I first get a good look at her and as I see her full size I immediately know she's over twenty. We take plenty of photos, which are much quicker with a buddy to help, and then get her in the sling for weighing. The scales hit 22.5lb and it's a new pb river pike for me. An absolute beast of a fish and I'm well chuffed. I gave her some time in the water to keep her in good health and me try to think and make sure I'd done everything. Fisky had now turned up having been tipped off as he drove home from work and he helps me get a few more photos giving me tips on how to hold and angle a fish. It's so much easier when others are with you because when your head is in the clouds, they can do all the thinking for you. That'll do. We're sorted and slip her back in to the depths hopefully none the worse for wear. As usual, I think it was just me that took a battering with my knuckles and fingers all chewed up to hell where I clung on making sure that whenever she tensed and threw herself about she never took any damage. Anyway, photo time. Here she is!


2012 pike tally
 Doubles 8
Total 18
Largest 22.5lb


  1. Well done on your new River PB. Looks a cracking fish. Always enjoy reading your blog.

  2. A stunning fish from the river, really in nice condition. Can you imagine in just a short time she may reproduce, and give more back to you and the river?

    Best Wishes.

    1. She truly was a stunner Richard, I'm so privileged to have seen her up close.

  3. That is an absolute stunning river Esox mate, well done and congratulations. I would love to catch one similar later this year.

  4. Thanks Mark, she was a stunner. Good luck in your hunt mate, looking forward to reading about it!