I keep telling myself I’m going to do something different but the Pike gear is always ready and it’s just so easy to load up and go; besides I enjoy it and that’s the only important thing. Recently I’ve been very lucky with conditions when I’ve fished, in fact I couldn’t have picked better weather. Not surprisingly two trips afloat in a regular haunt have been productive, I haven’t really mixed the methods up much because I haven’t needed to, static deadbaits dropped into likely spots have been picked up regularly. Over a dozen Pike in two trips with fish to over seventeen pounds, this is good fishing by anyone’s standards but the stretch is showing the signs of the over attention of other anglers. Some of the Pike are showing the scars caused by people who don’t know how to unhook them; it looks like hooks have been ripped out, along with lumps of Pike. Even in this out of the way stretch of water people will make the effort when the fishing is good, it’s just a shame they can’t make an effort to learn how to do it properly.
On a recent trip I shared the boat with Mr W, a friend of many years who has only discovered angling in the last few months. Having spent the summer catching silvers and Carp he wanted to try his hand at Pike fishing so we arranged a day. In the meantime he went off and caught his first ever Pike which weighed over seventeen pounds so he was a very happy bunny. We set off and I talked him through the methods as well as a few do’s and don’ts, I warned him that it would probably be a long time before he caught a Pike bigger than his first. It didn’t take him long before he had his first Pike of the day and was delighted with a fish of around six pounds. During the rest of the day I caught a few and he missed a couple but was learning all the time. We had the radio in the boat, listening to England pile on the runs against South Africa which added to our enjoyment despite Talksport’s coverage being crap compared to TMS. As the light began to fade all we needed was another fish to Mr W’s rod to cap a very enjoyable day. Sure enough his smelt dropped close by a reedbed was taken and having learned from earlier mistakes he hooked a good fish that stripped line off the clutch and banged the rod over. He brought it back to the boat where I managed to net it first time. Parting the mesh revealed a much bigger fish than I expected. As we were tied up to the bank we clambered onto dry land where I unhooked and weighed a belter of nineteen pounds. Mr W likes this Pike fishing lark.
Having made a new year’s resolution to catch a Pike from my local river I set about trying to achieve this. If I had any sense I would have fished one of the stretches I know well that have been productive for me in the past. Instead I tried an area I’ve rarely fished that has only produced a handful of small Pike. I set off with one rod, a net and a rucksack holding everything I might need. I set up with a float rig and used this to trot a smelt down with the current, when I could trot no further I slowly worked the bait back upstream. This method is good for covering water and has been very productive on this river in the past. But not today. I covered well over a mile of river but didn’t see a sign of a fish of any kind. In hindsight maybe I should have used a lure rod as I could have covered water quicker but I doubt it would have made much difference. I did see Kingfishers, Pheasants, Tits (!) and a Wren and very few humans but after a couple of hours I’d had enough. Next time I’ll do things differently.