Monday, 18 June 2012

Back with a bang.

Driving in to the yard at 5:30am for work, I could see the river level had dropped quite a bit, but was still very very chocolatey and still had lots of flow to it. If I was lucky the level and flow may both drop a bit and give me a chance to fish a little bit after work, the colour didn't worry me too much. As long as the water wasn't raging through I knew I had a chance. Luckily I was pretty busy at work so didn't have time to clock watch and 2pm came very quickly, and off I scampered to the car for my gear and then to see how my peg had held up after the floods. Those who read the last blog will know what I'm talking about, but that wasn't quite the full story. I nipped back Saturday afternoon, river still raging through but had subsided a little, enough for me to repair my newly built peg and unhooking spot. I'd made a decent effort and was a little more confident it would hold up this time, and you would never believe it, the river came up again Saturday night. Oh my god, not again. But on inspecting my peg today everything was virtually how I had left it and had held up well this time. Finally I could make a start on this new river season.

I sorted my gear out and got ready for a river fish, all that was left was to chose my weapon, the ever reliable rainbow lip lure. It's got a decent bit of reflection to it despite not having much paint left on, and quite a bit of water movement and vibration when you jerk it, so in my opinion was a good choice for today's murky, chocolate water. Some people, I have read, don't bother with lures when the water is like this and prefer to stick out a smelly bait and wait for the fish. It doesn't bother me though one bit, I know that if the fish are hungry and feeding, they can still find a lure. Despite the fact there is the noise from the weir a hundred metres up stream, despite the current rushing past ten to fifteen metres away and despite the fact visibility is probably only around a foot or two at most. The pike is a predator, and this is her environment. She is tuned to work in this environment and she'll spot the flash of a lure, she'll pick up on the splashes and vibrations of the lure and she can find it easy, as easy as during a bright sunny day in crystal clear water. I do believe though, in my opinion, this cloudy chocolatey water actually works in my favour. I believe the pike are more inclined to follow a lure in the murky water than crystal clear water, and I also believe that they are less prone to following and turning away last minute and more likely to smash the lure. We all have our own theories.

Fifteen minutes gone and nothing smashed yet. Theory out of the window? Change lures? Move swims? Go home before you've wasted your day? Nope, stick at it. This peg looks like it'll produce to me. The water is rushing past further out, but this near bank is pretty relaxed, has a slight upstream pull to it and I would expect all sorts of fish to be chilling out here. I retrieve my lure again, and as it reaches virtually rod tip, still out of sight in the murk I feel a tug. A quick strike and I feel the fish but don't hook into it, and as I do so I see the midriff or a fish break surface. It's one of those heart in mouth moments, as this fish rolls and then disappears into the depths, me stood there saying "oh shit, oh shit, oh shit". That was a high double easy and possibly, very possibly a twenty. I probably saw two foot of fish and never even saw it's head or tail and it had some girth to it. Not fisherman's tales girth, but that of a definite good fish. What a start to the river season that would have been, but alas it wasn't to be.

Forget it, keep fishing. I cast plenty of times in the area in the hope it'll hit again but no joy. I have it in the back of my head that it might show up again at some point, but try not to dwell on it. When the next tug on the rod comes though, I can't help but think that it could be that fish again. Wow, this fish has some fight, though one minute I'm thinking maybe it is, the next maybe not. It does fight well and it does stay low, so I'm confident that it is a decent fish, not just a little jack but as the fight goes on I start to think it's possibly a low double, and on weighing it is eleven pound. Not a bad start and I'm happy. All my closed season fishing has produced 42 pike and not one double among them, yet my first on the river and I'm already in to one. No wonder I was looking forward to getting back to this place.

I managed to miss a hit, lose two jacks of around 6lb, and land another two at 8lb before finally hooking in to another stockier fish of 13lb. She had a decent sized head, and on the mat clearly empty of eggs having a bit of a saggy belly. She was a gorgeous colour, much brighter and more orange and her fin colours were awesome. A perfectly healthy fish who hopefully will put on afew pounds over the next few years. Would you believe me if I told you I decided to come home not long after that, having only had a couple hours on the river? Believe it or not I wanted to come home before I'd had the session of sessions, had I hooked that twenty it might just have been. Even so this first session back was a belter but I didn't want to make it much more special and then have every other session feeling dull in comparison. I wanted to come home from fishing still craving more and still wondering what could have been, still thinking of that twenty and how it slipped my grasp. I've got another full season to go on the rivers, i've got no targets, no monster hunting just looking forward to some enjoyable fishing sessions made up of near misses, pike smashing at the lure and every now and a again landing a nice one, that'll do me.

2012 pike tally
 Doubles 14
Total 68
Largest 22.5lb
Bonus Perch 2


  1. Good pike, congratulations

  2. Nice fish, and I like your philosophy,

    " i've got no targets, no monster hunting just looking forward to some enjoyable fishing sessions made up of near misses, pike smashing at the lure and every now and a again landing a nice one, that'll do me."

    I feel exactly the same, the key word is ENJOYMENT

  3. Sure is Marc. I started chasing a twenty last year and then before grabbing one realised it wasn't about that at all. The twenties are great of course, but it's about enjoyment as you say. Just getting out and having some fun.