Thursday, 31 May 2012

Sixteen more sleeps

I've not really ventured too far yet in my piking travels. Since I got the bug big time last year I've stuck to just a couple of spots. Reading the magazines, websites and forums it's clear there's a big world out there and plenty of places to go chuck a lure or two. Right now though I'm happy sticking with what I've got and I'm in no rush to go to Chew or even some of the other rivers local to me which are rumoured to have some good pike in. It's a bit like Christmas morning, but I'm in no rush to go and open all the presents because then Christmas is over with, except for the belly full of food and the falling asleep in front of a James Bond film. I'm opening each present really slowly and enjoying it and when I feel I've had my fill of that then I'll go open the next one and see what's inside.

Inexperience causes fish deaths
The river season is nearly upon us and I'm looking forward to getting back on my swim where no one else will be fishing. As a kid all my pike and chub fishing were alone, I'd just go off on my own and come back when I wanted or when I was hungry. Looking back, I took that peace and tranquillity for granted back then. Today on my closed season venue, which also used to be free from other anglers when I fished it as a kid, I can't get on it without at least two or three other anglers being there, and that's on a good day. Recently I've seen as many as thirteen people fishing this small pond with most of them fishing for pike. That's not good at all for the pike that are in there because many of them are going to be caught time and time again and unfortunately with some of the type of fisherman frequenting this place, some of those pike are going to be killed. On my last outing I came across a dead pike in the margins. I've also been told there's another dead pike on the opposite side of the pond just this evening.Two dead pike in less than a week, a hot sunny week when every idiot and his mate were out with 8lb line and not a pair of pliers between them. It seems that for every decent angler out there there's a couple of idiots also and for every novice angler learning their trade with good intentions there's another couple of plonkers starting up who care nothing for the fish. The only hope for waters like this one are that someone can take it on and make it private fishing to keep these prats off.

Family of swans
I've noticed that the fishing is getting tougher and the bigger fish haven't shown to my usual lure tactics. I know there's a couple of low doubles that have been caught by the local tench fisherman, all falling to worm. Maybe this is a sign of the fish being pressured who knows. To be honest though, personally I'm not that fussed about the big fish right now. I'm happy just catching, fishing with a lighter set up, smaller lures and just enjoying the fishing. I've been up as early as 3:45am on the bank and i've stayed as late as an hour and a bit after dark. I've been enjoying watching the wildlife, the swan sitting tight on her nest while her mate stands guard and then a few days later turning up to find half a dozen little uns tagging along behind them. That number today though is already at five, who knows where that sixth signet went, maybe a monster pike! I also love the sunrise and sunsets. They're a spectacular time of the day most people never even see. When I'm stood out there all alone at dawn or dusk, the sun either peaking up from the ground or disappearing behind the trees I always enjoy those moments. Sometimes us fishermen and especially us bloggers often rattle on about these things that make fishing enjoyable and we seem to want to drill it in to everyone else when mostly they don't seem to care and just think we're doing it to justify being out and not even catching anything. No worries, you sit at home and watch Corrie and X-Factor and miss the real entertainment just outside your front door.
Carp feeding in the flooded shallows

Sunset - A special time

Savage Gear Ghost silver lip lure
Don't worry, I haven't been blanking. All that soppy stuff wasn't to hide the fact I'd not been catching, I do genuinely enjoy the rest of the stuff that goes with my fishing. Of course another pleasure is the fish themselves together with the takes, the misses, the tail walking and the battle. I've managed to pluck another half a dozen or so pike from this water in just a few hours of lure fishing. Again nothing large, not even a low double to speak of but I've enjoyed every single fish. I've also missed plenty, which at first was frustrating, but as I watched and learned I realised that many of them were small pike. Hard to tell at first but sometimes I could make out the fish and sometimes I could make out the lure been shaken about in an erratic motion, but there was no flaring of gills or flash of a shank of a fish, it was just the tiny head of a small pike trying to kill my 13cm lure. The crystal clear water helps you spot and determine what exactly is happening on the other end of the line, polaroids help with this also of course. Some of the catches have been quite comical, often with me not even realising I'd hooked the fish and thinking I'd missed. Tonight I felt a hit, struck and then cursed my luck as I felt no fight on the other end. I then spotted my lure zip past where I was stood out in the water, a good twelve feet away from where the hit had taken place. I had to quickly wind in all the slack and catch up with the runaway pike, amazingly it was still on and still had a good fight left in it, jumping clear out of the water three times before finally landing it. I've also caught and lost fish right on the end of my rod, just six feet away from me stood out thigh deep in the pond margin. Seeing the pike in gin clear water stalk and then hit at pace is worth the entrance fee alone and even missing a take has me beaming from ear to ear. That sight alone is truly awesome.

One of the bigger fish

 Despite the presence of more anglers than ever on this pond I've still managed to wangle out enough time to get a few fish out and have some fun. But I am now looking more and more to that date which is fast approaching. I can't wait to get back on to the river again and not have to worry about other peoples trash, noise or if there's going to be another dead pike in the next swim. I'll also be looking forward to catching a better stamp of fish. Those river fish when I last saw them were in tip top condition but the jacks I've had from this pond have been a little worse for wear and much much smaller on average. A quick calculation tells me that from January to March, despite the shocking weather, I managed to catch around 18 pike from the river, with 11 of those being doubles, one of those 17lb and that monster 22.5lb fish. Now I do know that there are big pike my local pond, I've had a few in the past but since fishing here in late March to now on the last day in May I've managed to catch around 25 pike but not one of those has been a double with my biggest being around 7lb at a guess. That fact alone before I'd just worked it out again right now, was what made me stick with the river last year having never fished it before in my life. After around a dozen or so fish I noted the average size was knocking on seven or eight pound and nothing smaller than around four pound was caught, compare that to my pond and it's glaringly obvious which is better. That's why I stuck it out and that is why now I'm counting down the days. I do enjoy all the fish I catch, I've enjoyed my closed season fishing and I've also realised I'm not out to catch a monster every time, but I can't deny the fact that a nice chunky seven or eight pound fish is more thrilling than a tiny jack or skinny four pounder. I lost count of the fish last year that I didn't even photograph, shockingly I even had low doubles put back without a fuss or snap of the camera. My river spot spoilt me for sure. I can only hope that it stays in such a healthy condition and the idiots keep well clear. Fifteen days and I'll feel like a kid on Christmas eve again.

2012 pike tally
 Doubles 11
Total 43
Largest 22.5lb

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