Sunday, 7 July 2013

Smoke me a kipper...

I was up and on the bank for 5am and what a beautiful morning it was. This weekend has been a scorcher but it's not midday or the scorching afternoon that I love, it's the early morning sun rise. For me this is the best part of the day.

On the piking front it can also be the best time. The bit of sun sparks the shoals of silvers in to life and the pike now have one extra sense kicking in, they can now clearly see their prey. If you can get there early that first lure out can get you a few fish, sometimes the big one. But more importantly, on days like today, early mornings are the best because it's far cooler. Pike don't tend to do too well in this kind of heat, when oxygen levels are low and they've just put up one hell of a scrap.

So if you do plan on getting out over the next week or so while it's hot think of the pike first. Try to get out when it's cool. Try to fish places such as weir pools on rivers, where there's a good supply of oxygen to the water which will help your pike recover quickly. Use good strong line so you can get the fish in quickly and don't spend too long unhooking and taking photos. When you put the pike back in the water make sure it is recovered fully before letting it go as if not it will swim out ten feet, turn on it's back and die.

My first cast didn't get me a big one but I was actually hoping the perch might be in the area so started off with my light lure outfit and a kopyto shad on the end. There was a bang on the rod tip and I hooked in to what first felt like a perch before I eventually realised it was a small jack of 3lb. I tried a few lures and gave it some time but the perch just weren't there. I moved off to the weir pool and put on a larger lure but somehow managed to miss the first pike that hit. I switched to a 13cm Savage Gear soft 4play, rigged on a 12g ball jig head and my plan was to jig it up near the faster water and bounce it along the bottom all the way in. First cast and it had only bounced about four feet when it all went solid. The fish broke the surface and I knew I was in for a battle as it was a decent fish for my light rod to handle. Despite the rod being a bit soft I could still give it a bit of stick since I was using 20lb braid. The river is pretty shallow right now as we've not had much water through it for a long while and as I was pulling in the fish it got beached on a submerged rock. It just laid there all limp and I had no option but to just drag it off. I scooped it in the net and then held it's tail to let it get a bit of oxygen while I screwed the camera on to the tripod. I started the ten second countdown, lifted the fish out of the water, took my trophy shot and then got a quick weight before putting back the superb looking 12lb pike. Pushing the fish head first in to the current to help it get some good breaths, it wasn't long before it was kicking and I was happy to let it swim off. I managed to miss another pike a bit later using a cannibal shad but if I'm honest I reckon it was my fault. A combination of a soft rod and a jig hook which was too small for the lure. Lucky it wasn't a beast, though lesson learned for next time.

By now it was about 8am and the sun was starting to toast my arms. I decided to call it a day and get back before it was too hot for both me and the pike. Just like Ace Rimmer, I was back in time for breakfast.

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