Tuesday, 23 July 2013

First comes the rain, then come the fish

I too thought that was an old wire trace, but happily it wasn't.
I'd not made any plans to go piking any time soon. The weather has been hot and not ideal for pike for a start. The few times I've been out I've taken the light gear just for an excuse to get out. Today I had plans...wait a minute, our lass had plans for me, which meant I wasn't going to be fishing. I should have had all the time in the world finishing work at 2pm but her indoors made a right mess of that. I probably had an hour or two spare from 3pm but it would be scorching hot and not my cup of tea to be out when it's like that.

Well that was the thoughts late last night. However I woke to see it had been raining, (apparently thundering all night but I never heard a sound as I slept like a new born royal baby). My first thoughts after realising shorts and a t-shirt were the wrong thing to be wearing in this weather at 5am on the way to work, were that there might be a bit of water in the river soon, and that might just get something feeding.

Too busy to think about fishing while at work I noticed it thundering again at 07:15 but then never really saw what happened the rest of the day. Walking to the car it was apparent I should have stuck to the t-shirt and shorts as by now the sun had won the battle and was making me sweat like a trooper. On arriving home I fed my fish and then plonked myself next to the PC and fired it up. I ignored the usual crap on Facebook, scanned the sport and the fishing forums and then suddenly I remembered the river. I quickly clicked on the river levels website to see my river hadn't budged, up to three hours ago anyway. I checked further up river and to my joy there was a few feet of water coming down. That would flush out a bit of weed, get the silvers and the rest feeding and maybe spark a bit of life in to the sunbathing pike. Right now might be the right time to get out and have a bash, if only I wasn't too late and if only I could find a bit of time. The missus got home from work and was met by me, a smile and wave and a "I'll be back before five and it won't spoil your plans". I just needed to get out on this tiny window of opportunity.

The river has been very low, lacking water, oxygen and anything else to make it worth a visit. I love to fish the river as it is running off after a flood. I've dropped on some good fishing when this is the case. I have had mixed success when the river is rising however. Though I wasn't fishing right now because the river was rising, it was because there was a massive change in conditions. I've also had good success when conditions have drastically changed. If I could get a bit of luck, the river on its way up, not too much colour, a little cooler water running in and also a little cooler weather (the thunder clouds were coming back now) I might drop on a feeding window.

I came for pike though still I tried a few small lures on the light outfit with no success. It was half hearted I'll admit as I was thinking "pike!" Since I wasn't out long I turned to pike lures and chucked a few around. There was no instant success, no apparent feeding spell and even though I hadn't fished the spot for a long time, the overgrown weeds on the bank confirmed that, no pike where here. The water was a foot up but still clear and it was still rising too. In fact it came up another foot in that hour I was there.

When the water comes up the river changes. Flows change, slack pools become not so slack, the current has a different course, there's lots of different things. An area of the river that has been low and shallow and pretty calm now was a foot or more higher and it had been cut in half, kind of like when your mum used to cut your sandwich in to triangles for you as a kid. Half of the space now had a decent tow on it with the other triangle a much calmer corner. If there are pike about, they're in this calm corner. I'll bet you a Squirrelly Burt I'm right too.

Five pike later and I'm over the moon. Not only did my quick thinking at home come good, once I got on the river a bit of water craft got me on to the fish. It was a mental hour of fishing, some great takes and all the fish were in good condition too. Two were about 8lb with the other three just over ten with one at twelve and a half pound. The last fish too was a bit striking in colour as the picture below shows. I didn't quite get the skin tones to show but the tail was a crazy orange colour. All the pike fell to the good old Burt, fished shallow and slow along the edge of the current and in to the slack water. If I can give you some advice, you should have been fishing today.

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