Sunday, 26 August 2012

Trolling with Woodchucker - Part 2

So off we set, armed with the heavier set ups in the water, dipping them in the water for a troll then lifting them out and moving up river a bit faster when it didn't seem fishy. The river changed and went from a wide river to a much narrower one. The banks were lined with willows and occasionally we'd spot an angler or two on the banks, hidden away tucked behind a bush. The rain was holding off and we were even promised a bit of sunshine if it could just break through those clouds. At least we were drying out a little by.

We found a bit of water that looked good to troll the lures again. Still coloured and still probably much more murky than we'd have wanted. Woody kept me up to date with depths and would advise even before we hit a bit of water which lure to chuck on. "Something that hits 12 feet mate" or "get a big one on that gets down, it reaches 20 feet plus here." sometimes you could stick with the lure that seemed to hit the average depths while others a total change was needed. We hit a shallower stretch of water where the depth was mostly about twelve feet and so I stuck on a SG lowrider. I've caught on them before and will use them in murky water, retrieving them fast to make use of the vibrations they give off. It looked good to me in the water and providing I could get it down it should do a job.

I felt a thumb, the rod bent and I felt a few thumps in the distance behind the boat. This was a fish and Ade quickly stopped the boat. It's a bit misleading I found, the fish being towed for a short while way back down river feels like a right lump (and I was on heavy gear) but until you can get the boat stopped and get it closer it's tough to figure out just how big it is. Unless as Woody explained, it's under about five pound and then the force of the boat usually brings it straight to the top. This one was still giving it a bit and all though not a double is was the best fish we'd had so far and more importantly for me it was my first trolled fish. I was a happy chappy. It was a decent jack with a huge head on it for it's size. It gave a bit more of a scrap at the boat showering me with water. Woody got me a souvenir photo and we put it back.
First trolled pike

We moved further up river but nothing else was caught from the bits of water we trolled. We came to a bit of the river which opened up slightly, with the main flow down one side and on the inside had the odd slack bit of shallow water. Woody stopped the boat, it looked like a place a pike may lie up. We quickly switched to the rainbow and the Burt again, cast to the shallows and started jerking (woah, that sounds wrong) retrieving. A pike nailed Woody's Burt in no time, a bit of a tussle and then a few head shakes and then we got a glimpse. A good sized fish and the net was going to be needed for this. The fish went round the other side of the boat and I sorted the net, and then Woody led her in and she was safe. A nice double in the boat and we put her at about 14lb without bothering with the scales. I clicked away and got a few photos, Ade unhooked her and we got the mugshots done before slipping her back. The first double of the day and possible sign of things looking up, whatever happens it was a gorgeous fish.We put that fourteen down as a bonus fish, and a well earned one at that. Having initially set our plans on either trolling or motoring up to the weir, we'd spotted what looked like an opportunity for a fish. Yet again it showed that if your original plan isn't working you have to adapt, change and spot a chance for a fish and the rewards can be very pleasing indeed.

Decent sized lump
Trophy shot of the 14lber

We thrashed a little more in the area and I felt a small hit but no hooks set in. We moved off and Woody decided he wanted to troll with his Squirrely Burt and within less than a minute he had success as a small jack lunged. I think I need a Squirrelly Burt in my collection, it's not a bad lure is it.

We moved off up to the weir pool we'd been heading for. There was a bit of water in and you could see the brown stained water coming over the weir. The fish were here if we could find them. There were slack pools, deep pools, fast water, shallow bays and sheltered walls to target. We both cast toward the bank where it was a bit shallow and Ade picked up a jack and I lost one off. Drifting around there were more signs of pike with the odd missed take or brief sighting of one. I managed to land a small jack and Woody bagged a couple more while in between all that we stuffed a pasty down our necks and even managed to take in a bit of hot sun. The weir pool seemed to be surrounded by occasional anglers and they seemed to look at us boat men with a bit of envy as we moved in and fished all the places they had no chance of reaching.

Deciding we needed to make tracks we set off back down the river with the idea of doing a spot more trolling. We were in the area of where Woody caught the fourteen and the slacks looked inviting, I couldn't resist casting to the bank to start my trolling off as Woody started to speed up the boat. I jerked it a couple of times and then a pike crashed in to it breaking the surface. Another jack of no notable size but one that was appreciated none the less. Thinking back about it, maybe the conditions had pushed most of the pike in to the shallower slacks away from the main flow.

Jumping between making tracks and having a dabble at trolling we covered a bit of river on our journey home. I managed to hit a snag at one point while we were motoring a little and as Woody fought to slow the boat, I watched as line was stripped at lightening speed from the reel. I was glad I'd got plenty on or it could have been fun.

Nothing much more of note happened but there was time for one last bit of fun. In the distance behind the boat my lure was just tapping the bottom every now and again. I then felt a "thump" but I called "snag" only to change my mind as I felt something "thump" back. I held my rod up, and it went again, "thump, thump". It's a fish, I can see and feel my rod randomly tugging back. As I pull the fish closer I'm cautious to claim it a decent fish, but it was a bit heavy. "Thump....thump, thump". Woody noted it was staying low while all the time I was trying to reel it in and up toward the surface. Finally, it broke the surface and we burst in to laughter, tears rolling down my cheeks.

Well that's a first. Shit hole seat pb

The heavens opened as we made our way back to the car in the boat. We got a right good soaking as it absolutely smashed it down. It didn't put a damper on it one bit for me though. I know Ade has much better days and he was hoping for one of those days but with the conditions, the weather and the colour of the water we didn't get as many as he had hoped. Personally I'd set my goals on meeting a top angler, learning something new, getting out on the water for the first time and if I could get a few fish I was happy. I achieved all that and more and thoroughly enjoyed it. I bagged four pike and a toilet seat and Ade says he got eight pike but I was sure he's got a couple more at least but then there was so much happening I haven't a clue to be honest. My first boat fish, my first trolled fish, I got to piss in a bottle and Woody bagged a nice pike to cap off a great day. It was great to fish with someone who you could tell knew how to fish. He knew how to fish his bit of water and also proved he could change it when the going got tough to wangle us both a fish or two. He proved his skills at trolling and casting picking fish up both ways and more importantly for me, he put me on the fish too. It was the kind of experience I would expect to pay a decent whack if I went with a guide. From that one session alone I learnt plenty, should I rush out and buy a new boat, I would be confident to tackle a river and know what I was doing rather than figuring it all out from scratch. Maybe it's time to open a secret savings account and get saving up?

Cheers Ade!

2012 pike tally 
Doubles 28
Total 170
Largest 22.5lb
Twenties - 2
Bonus Perch 8

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