Sunday, 21 December 2014

Effort equals reward

Heard it loads of times, said so myself plenty. Sometimes you forget and expect it to just happen. Sometimes you forget and go home without giving that one last push. Sometimes you push harder than ever but it just doesn't happen and you're thinking, "effort equals naff all" so stop kidding. Fishing can be full of clichés and a roller coaster of emotions at times.


I usually save a few days holiday to the back end of the year, just in case there's a kids school panto to go to or something along those lines. Seems this happens less now my two are older, which has left me with a couple of days holiday still to take before the end of the year. "If you don't take them, you'll lose them" claims the boss, who probably rolls a few over in to next year. So when to use them? I need to put them in a week or two early so I get the nod, but then that means it will most probably piss it down just before and I'll be sat at home bored stiff all day, watching the river levels on line and trying to work out if 14 feet of extra water in is still worth a go. My other major problem with putting in a days holiday is everyone seems to find out and then ask me to take them to the airport, baby sit, wait for the postman and all sorts and my day or two off is ruined. The Mrs doesn't mean to, but to make sure she didn't let it slip that I had a few days booked off I didn't even tell her until the night before. Need to know basis, and I felt no one except me needed to know.

I was up at two hours before light which meant I was surfing the web, checking the weather and river levels one last time. It had to have rained up in the hills, it always does when I have the day off. But no, all is well and apart from a bit of blustery wind I should be fine. Turned out to be pretty mild and even though I'd dropped one layer I still had another too many on, which meant I was stashing layers of clothing along the river bank. No one hardly comes here so I was sure they would be still there when I got back. Looking back along the bank from a distance it wasn't that easy to spot my camouflage gear, hopefully I'd remember where I'd left it.

Wow, some of these swims look spectacular. If there isn't a fish in here I'll eat my hat. The hat tasted a bit dry and like cardboard. Jesus fecking Christ I'm knackered here, where are all the fish? The bank is covered in soft mud, I'm having to climb down and then back up to get to each swim. I put my bag on the floor and the next time I look around it's rolled down the bank. As I clamber back up the bank the mud is sticking to my boots and I'm now carrying an extra two stone on my feet. Who's bright idea was it to book the day off work? It would be easier at work. I look back at where I started out and it's a bloody long way back to the car. Head down I trundle on, struggling with slippery bank side and scraping more mud off the boots. I was giving each swim a good go, with trusted lures both big and small. Smaller first just to try and find any fish before chucking a lump in to see if the pike were about. Effort equals reward my arse.

I headed back to the car. It seemed to take me ages. I usually walk pretty fast but paced myself or I just knew that by the time I got back I would be shattered. All this gear, all these layers of clothes and it's stupidly mild for a winters day. Finally I was at the car and I was down to my boxers. The thermal under layers were off and I was now down to my fighting weight. I sat in the car and necked a full bottle of coke, all the time trying to hatch a plan. As I drove I was eating and the plan was still hatching. I was at the point where I didn't have a clue what to do. I didn't feel confident in any of the local spots I'd been fishing and pretty much nearly threw the towel in. For a moment I was Sandra Bullock, "stay on or get off, stay on or get off?" and then Keanu finally made the call and I was off to my next spot.


I hadn't fished here in a good while. I picked up the pike rod and went to catch a pike, I was determined now. Food and drink had refreshed me and I was ready to go at it full speed again. There was a bit of a shallow pool, probably about four feet deep just off some fast water. Typical ambush spot in the summer but would a pike be here now? First cast through and something rolled on my lure and by the looks of it, a pretty decent sized fish. I flicked back out my trusty Squirrelly Burt and as it came past the same spot the water erupted again and for a brief second I didn't feel anything. Was the pike on or just doing another half arsed hit. I felt the smallest amount of tension start to build in my line and I lifted the rod in to the fish. It thrashed and rolled before I quickly slid the net under a really well marked fish. Get in, finally a fish!

17lb pike - Musky Mania Squirrelly Burt
So a fish in the bag and I was feeling good again. Amazing that just one fish is all it takes. I'd have taken a jack but a fat seventeen pounder has me bouncing. Not for too long though as I'm back struggling up and down steep muddy bank sides and for the next hour I'm having no more luck. Just ahead where the river comes towards a bend there's a bit of a decent slack. That will do me I'll have a few chucks here and then see how I feel. I can at least have a rest, food and drink and then ponder whether to keep going or make my way back. I've no idea of the time by now but I can tell there's probably a couple hours of day light left at most. With a half hour walk at least back to the car, then a drive to a new spot, I'd need to get it right or I would be wasting these last two hours of daylight. Forget that for now, let's have a chuck in here and see what happens first. It looks a decent spot to me anyway.

14lb pike - Musky Mania Squirrelly Burt
What a super looking fish. Nailed the Burt after two or three casts. Top result, I'm over the moon now. The mornings hard graft for nothing was well behind me now and I was throwing lures with a smile again. A feisty little jack smacked my lure and went mental before a bigger fish smacked my Burt and this time it was a fish of around twelve pound. Three pike in three casts now from this spot and who knows what else is in. I switched lures and put on the Savage Gear line thru trout. After about eight casts and nothing I popped the Burt back on and it was only a few casts more before I got a tap on the rod. I missed it but not long after I had one and then another and before long I'd done about four more fish, one being about twelve pound and then another stunner at fourteen. What a day, what a cracking finish and I couldn't ask for any more.


14lb pike - Musky Mania Squirrelly Burt

This swim produced loads of fish for me, but I'd also had a follow from something that was bigger. It came in and turned away as I lifted the Burt out. Was I too quick? Would it have taken if I'd ave left it there? I'll never know and I didn't let it bother me. I might be re-living the moment in my head that night or thinking about it at work all week but for now I was just focussing on the lure and where it was in the water. Casting out to the flow and letting it slowly sink and then bringing it back at different angles to cover the whole swim. The rod went solid and immediately I knew. "Big fish, BIG FISH!". I still panic. It's all part of the buzz for me. That initial whack, a brief moment in time where everything is a blur before finally you realise what just hit. When it's a big girl, it's a mixture of emotions. I was loving this. I saw her and knew she was big, knew she was a twenty and I couldn't help but be in awe. It thrashed on the surface once, before diving towards my feet, then turned to go back out and slowly rose to the surface once more. Wow, what a moment. The gills flared and she shook her head again, what a fantastic sight. The net only just got her in and I was buzzing, absolutely buzzing. Effort does equal reward.


23lb pike - Musky Mania Squirrelly Burt


23lb pike - Musky Mania Squirrelly Burt

23lb pike - Musky Mania Squirrelly Burt
Here's the video from the full day. It has to be my best video to date by a mile. Takes you on my roller coaster ride and finishes in spectacular fashion. A memory for me to cherish and share with everyone thanks to the GoPro. Watch it, I guarantee you will love it.



22 comments:

  1. GET IN THERE !!!!!!

    What a session! Well done Paul.

    Do you use a chest strap for the GoPro ?

    Daz

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    1. Thanks Darren, indeed what a session. Still buzzing!

      I use the head mount. It's better in my opinion because It looks where I look and I just fish. The chest mount would point where my body points, and I'm often like a contortionist trying to fish swims so it would miss the action.

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  2. Hi Paul, what a crazy fishing day!!! I am a big silent "lurker" of your blog, but only yesterday after I have finished to read your last tale I knew that you are realy river lover, like me!!! no blood in veins but only running water, from upstream to downstream. Yes there are big lakes, lakes & ponds, but nothing is like the motown... river pikes are two times faster and three times more evil than their cousins of the lakes!! Always lost in the stream, head first like a pike... without a river I think I could die!
    big up!!

    best regards

    sandro

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    1. Hi Sandro
      Great message mate, can tell you have the same passion as me. :)

      Most of my other blogging and videos etc are just something to do while I'm not river piking. I know some really easy spots to catch a pike on canals and lakes but it doesn't compare to a hard graft on a river, and then sometimes, not always, getting that reward. I think it's that moment where for a millisecond i'm trying to work out if the 7lb pike ripped the rod out of my hand or do I still have a grasp of it. Mean, hard fighters and I love them. I hear the Scottish loch pike fighter harder than all others. One day I will go and see if this is true.

      Yes it was a fantastic days fishing, i'm still beaming now. I've not been spoilt by loads of huge pike as i don't fish the more famous places in the country. I only fish quiet stretches of river, often where others don't bother going. I'm enjoying just any and every pike so when days like this happen, they really are special.

      Is that your blog too? Lunker Turner?

      tight lines mate

      Paul

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    2. Hi Paul,
      yes, that is my blog http://thelunkerturner.blogspot.it .
      I dont know about scottish pikes, but in italy we have, or better, WE HAD a strain of pike that lives only in italy, autochthonous of my land (from north to south) the fish genetists now call them ESOX FLAVIAE. Nowadays in in the most part of Italy we have more Northen pike (esox lucius) that replaces our original pike (esox flaviae)... the northen pike is more aggresive, more willing to follow, eat big lure... the flavie don't has dots but a marble tiger skin, (we call him "NOSTRANO") is more shy but after you hooked up him, you will pass some bad moments, specilay if you fish a "nostrano" pike in the river...

      you forgive my english, I hope I was able to explain!

      regards
      sandro

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    3. Hi Sandro.
      Yes i've seen some photos of those Italian pike. Didn't know much about them but they are beautiful looking fish. Would be a shame to lose them all though. They need taking care of.

      You have some super fish on your blog mate, keep up the good work! The pike are really well marked fish. Is this because you fish a lot of clear water?

      Your English is fine, much better than my Italian!

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    4. Hi Paul, I'm sorry I'm in late in answer!!!
      I fish for the most time into big lakes, or river in the north west of my country… they have a good clear water expecially in the river we have a lot of zebra mussel that make water like glass!
      now I stopped breaking jaws from first days of january till half april, for the reproduction of pikes, i'm going crazy to wait!!!!!

      best regards

      sandro

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    5. I know how that waiting feels mate. Pike are in love here too and i'm leaving them for a while. Been chasing perch once or twice but jut want to get back to those pike. Tight lines buddy

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  3. Well in Paul, a dream session indeed!

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    1. Thanks Danny. It was a bit special. One to remember and hpe it happens again some time.

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  4. Given your blog a plug on mine, keep going Paul.

    Kind Regards.

    Richard.

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  5. Please let me come piking with you i started 4 months ago and have only had 3 pike, 5zds, and 20 perch i only use soft plastics and have only fished the canal. I have seen one other piker on the canal and he was polish so i could not understand him i live i leicestershire do u live far from their as it would make my year learning howw to catch the mosters that you do i love all your vids many thanks would love to hear from you. Liam

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    1. Hi Liam.
      Fishing isn't always easy and especially not as easy as some of my videos show. I only catch my fish because i've been at it years, I know a good few venues and I get out loads of times. If you've only been at it 4 months then you are very new. Don't measure your success against others, as it will only frustrate you. Firstly you need to just fish, getting used to your lures and finding out how and where to use them. Build up a few venues which will give you options and also a bit of variety. Struggling to catch on one venue makes fishing not so enjoyable. This time of year it can be harder to catch fish, though they still do feed and some of the big fish come out to play. Your best times to catch are spring and for perch then through summer with light tackle is great fun. I wish I had caught as many zander as you have, because I've never once caught one or even seen one in the flesh. May be you need to teach me a thing or two. I live in Yorkshire and we don't have any up here and that also means I don't fish anywhere near where you live. If you have a Facebook account, get in touch with me on my Riverpiker page and we can talk more about your set up, the places you fish and how you do it. I'm confident we can get you a few more fish no problem.
      Stay in touch mate.
      Paul

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  6. Hi paul yes i think i picked the most stupid time to fish cold wet and all the pike seem lazy in my canal any tips on what gets them going as shads seem pointles as the min just brought a real eel or 3 its an addiction this lure buying and i went out yesterday for 3 hours and once again no fish and lost another lure and wire trace dam trees on the bottom or cars. And sorry i have not got a fb page mate. Yorkshire is about 3 hours from me might be able to drive up one day. As of what lures i use i have a £14.99 go outdoors teloscopic rod as i take it work, 30ld braid and trace. And lots of kopito shads and big hammer swim baits all different sizes but only the red tail has caught me stuff the zander love red tail so do the big perch. All i want is a pike thats not a jack its so fustrating i fish the ashby and the cov but theirs alot of dead spots and i have not found one place were fish are holding any way i would love to see a vid on the best way to retive lures as i think this is were i am going wrong. Many thanks for the awsome vids keep it up hope to keep in contact with such a good piker.

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    1. Hi Liam.
      Those lures work and catch fish, including pike so we know that's not it. If fishing soft shads this time of year, keep the retrieve slow and keep the lure near the bottom and if pike are there you should get one eventually. You could try mixing it up with some hard lures, like Savage Gear lip lure or low rider for example. A bit more vibration and flash given off which could help trigger a hit. I also like the zman chatterbaits, they vibrate like made and I've had quite a few pike on these. Location is key though so you just got to find them. Keep an eye out for where the match men are fishing. This time of the year the match anglers are stacked in certain spots with their poles and they attract the bait fish which in turn brings the pike. Take the dog on Saturday and Sunday for a walk and try to find them or check your local tackle shop as they will know. Sped a bit of time fishing around those areas and go back a few times. Don't get frustrated if you don't get a bigger fish. One day it'll all just work and you'll have one so for now just concentrate on doing things right and in the right place.

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  7. Looks very familiar video, did you shared it in some google+ group too? Otherwise I think the video format is somewhere media and some bloggers are slowly starting to ahead. You can pack 1000 word worth of content into video some minutes long. I am happy that you are took time to film all these great catches! Only problem with great content is that people tend to want it more and more after the first one. Looking forward for videos in future too!

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    1. Hi Patrick
      Yes I did but I also noticed quite a few other people shared my video so you may have seen it. Yes I've realised how good a tool videos can be. I couldn't describe half the stuff on a written article and it's so much easier to show some things. But that said, some people still love to sit and read a story so i'll continue with this also. I'll keep the videos coming but not sure they will all be so epic! Thanks for the support mate.
      Paul

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  10. Really great session. Waiting for next fishing trip updates.

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