Saturday, 4 August 2012

It was a foot long at least.

I've been a bit lazy since coming back from my Benidorm trip, finding myself not waking up until 8am and even 9am. By the time I've got various things done around the house there's not much time to go fishing, especially being glued to the Olympics that I am. I made a point of making sure I was up bright an early today and set my alarm for 5:30am with the intentions of getting some lures wet. A quick brew was cut short when I realised my pond filter was leaking. One of the pipes had split and was spraying water all over. It was a good job I was up or the pond may have been empty had I had another lay in. I did a quick fix, leaving the main job for later that day and off I went.

As I got to the river there was a tent set up on the far bank. It looked like probably kids fishing in their summer holidays. I set up my camera and cast in and it wasn't long before I caught my first jack of the day. A good scrap and a fiddly unhook and the fish was back none the worse for wear. I then had a follow not too long later before hooking in to another jack soon after and my second fish was landed in less than half an hour of being on the bank and no sign of the kids waking up yet. The jack had totally engulfed the 19cm rainbow and only the tail of the lure was left showing. I showed this to the camera and proceeded to show how to unhook a tricky job such as this one and explained that had I been using a much smaller lure, who knows where it may have ended up. Putting the fish back I then went to switch the camera off, only to find I'd not even pressed the record button. Do'h!

There were signs of life as the kids in the tent started to move. A few voices and then out popped the first one, followed by at least three more and a dog. That tent must have been like a tardis and I can't imagine what the smell must have been like. I shuffled up my swim a little and tried my usual banker swims but to no avail. I switched lures a few times before eventually settling back tot he rainbow and moving back to my first swim where not too soon after I hooked my third jack of the day. I held it aloft to show the kids on the far bank after a request of "show us it mister". Another follow and turn away from a  pike and then not much more. I also then managed to to hook, play and land a massive slab of rock. Thinking back I should have weighed it because it will have easily been a double figure rock. How my hook point managed to hold on to it as I bounced it along the river bed I'll never know. It definitely was a pb rock.

Just to my right is a very steep bank of thirty feet and lots of nettles and brambles. I decided that this was a good spot to try, not so much for the steep decline and the battle with the nettles, but more because of the deep water in the pool below it. Somehow managing to scale the drop without falling head first in to the river I started to cast around. As I worked the lure along the edge a pike crashed out from no where, we struggled briefly before the hooks came out/it let go. I'd guess it was pushing 8lb, so no major loss but still I'd rather bank a fish than lose it.

I've been Googling a few swims and so now I decided to head off and go have a look. The first place i got to was a bit overgrown, the river was a bit featureless and it didn't look worth the hassle of chopping down a peg or two so I headed off for another swim I'd spotted. The peg was a bit wild but I could manage to get down to the river ok without the nettles, brambles and thirty foot scale this time. There was a bit of an island and another bit of river feeding in to the channel I was to fish. A bit of fast water with a bit of a pool behind it. It looked promising but I had no idea what was in. I had a few casts but nothing showed. I then launched another cast and as I was working my lure back, I'd spotted a tuft of grass waving in the middle of the river and so angled my retrieve so as to bring it past this grass. A lightening flash of silver and I was in. Not a big fish but a pleasing one to catch, from a new swim and right from where I'd targeted a fish.

I moved further down river a mile or two to a more familiar couple of swims. At the first I had a take but the hooks didn't seem to set. It didn't feel anything of size so I can only hope it was just another jack. Moving further down river again I finally managed to hook into something. It certainly had a bit of size to it, plenty of weight, but it didn't really put up a scrap. That though doesn't matter because it turned out to be another pb for me, my biggest lure caught boot estimated at least a size 12 adult. Around five minutes later I was in to another heavy battle, this time with a plastic sack full of mud and water.

The river level was back down to one of it's lowest points and so this swim I was hoping for a fish or two from instead I was bouncing my lure across the bottom constantly. I made a few more casts further out, hoping to hit slightly deeper water and it wasn't long before a pike smashed in to my lure. Landing the fish I decided to take a blog photo, even though it wasn't a monster it was a nice looking fish. I managed to hook and lose two more fish. Both fish I virtually got to the bank before the hooks came out as they wriggled and twisted. Had I been a big sea game angler I could even have claimed one of them as I had the line in my hand ready to unhook, but by my own rules it didn't count and I haven't stuck it on my tally.

I made my way back to the car and as I drove home I decided to pop back to my original peg that I'd started the day on. It was knocking on lunch time now and I was ready for some food having not had any breakfast, but I figured I could have a quick ten minutes and hopefully one more fish. The tent lads had now doubled in number and the opposite bank was alive with school holiday kids fishing. They hadn't caught anything while I was around early morning and judging by the lack of rods in the water I guessed they hadn't had too much luck since. I worked my way to my swim, laid out my unhooking matt and placed my tools on it with my net to one side just in case. I cast in, sat on the floor and wound in. As the lure got to about eight feet from the bank a jack pike came up and took it. The hooks set and there was an almighty explosion on the surface of the river. The kids on the far bank were amazed and I heard one exclaim "effing 'ell he's got one already!"

I went home after that, just as a small shower started. Having landed six jacks I was a happy chappy. A good bit of fun and much better than laying in bed all morning. I had to work for the fish, covering plenty of water and navigating all kinds of plants that wanted to cut and sting me but it was an enjoyable fishing experience. As I drove home the heavens well and truly opened and even with wipers on full I could not see a thing. I thought of those kids in that tent trying to stay dry, I doubt all nine and the dog would have got in it.

2012 pike tally
 Doubles 25
Total 145
Largest 22.5lb
Bonus Perch 3

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