Monday, 22 October 2012

Make hay while the sun shines

Well it's not exactly shining, in fact it was a bit of a wet and miserable day today but the river still looked in excellent condition. The rain wasn't substantial just very fine rain, so hopefully there won't be any wash outs for a while and the pike can get on the feed, with me picking up one or two in the process. Yesterday was a good result with that bonus pike on the way home from an ultra lite session, but today I wanted to get out with just the heavy lures to see if I could get another fish or two.

I started off using a real eel. I like to start off with a slow working soft lure, trying not to create too much commotion and try to get a reaction from a pike laying up in the edge who sees an easy meal slowly passing by. I managed to hook a pike of the typical seven or eight pound size I get around here which didn't half hammer the lure on the take and then put in a fight a bigger pike would have been proud of. I thought I had the fish beaten after a battle and as I was bringing it in the fish turned and the hooks slipped out before I could net it. Pity as it looked a good conditioned fish.

A good half hour passed and nothing. I'd rung the changes with the lures and was on to the SG low rider. A large lipped lure with good vibration and bright flashes as it is worked through the water aggressively. When I'm at this stage, it's either murky water, or like today I'm trying to wake up a fish or force a reaction from a pike usually after a while of not much action. Nothing, it didn't work.

I moved swims and went back to the softly softly approach of the real eel. I worked all the close areas and nothing. In this peg there is a snag out in front of you and it won't budge, it's a lure taker. With a bit of skill and luck though you can work either side of it but if you do end up hooking a fish out in front of the snag then you risk getting snagged up if the pike gets down in to it. I cast long and to the side of the snag. I've had pike from here before but it's always a risk. As the lure got to about ten feet away from the snag, still on the far side of it I had a take.

I bullied the fish, it's the only thing you can do. Rod held high and plenty of pressure. The pike didn't know what had happened and before it knew it was already well passed the snag and closer to safety. Then the pike decided to have a go back and it put a right bend in the rod. It launched clear of the water before I could ease off (if you bully pike that are about to jump they jump, if you can ease off they'll back out of it) and I was worried a little as this is often where they shake the hooks free. However I could now also see that the lure was no where to be seen. The fight continued and eventually I slipped her over the net.

The hook up was a tough one. The hooks were well down. Big pike can still swallow a big lure easily and this one was hooked behind the gill rakers. I reached for my longer tools only to find they weren't there! Shit, I'd left them in my other bag. This could be tricky but I soon used my unhooking experience to make a difficult job easy. The small nosed pliers could easily reach the hook coming in through the gills. I got the hook out but it would prove difficult to then get the hook out through the mouth, so since this was the stinger treble I instead threaded it out through the gills and just cut the wire with my pliers. It was a home made stinger anyway and I can knock one up again in no time, much better to make sure the fish is back in the water quickly. Job done, another mid double banked and this one went 16lb.

I wish I could do self takes to do a fish justice. They just don't look as good in a photos I take with a ten second delay.

After yesterdays release shot video I wanted to do better and get a clearer look at a big pike in the water. I've got a large lump of concrete pointing out in to the river where I am and it makes a perfect launching platform for releasing big fish. I'm safely on solid ground rather than muddy banking and the fish is in a nice bit of deep water. I put the fish in the water and held her by the tail as normal and then proceeded to get some under water footage of her, all the time praying she didn't fancy a bit of revenge and have a go at my hand waving around in front of her. Admittedly not the brightest thing to do but worth the gamble.

2012 pike tally
Doubles 33
Total 207
Largest 22.5lb
Twenties - 2
Bonus Perch 54
Largest 3lb 12oz
Bonus chub - 1

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