I had a few spare hours this weekend so spent it revisiting a pit I used to fish about twenty years ago. Back then it had produced some very big Pike but I didn’t have a clue about its recent history. It would be naïve to think that I’d be the only Pike angler on the pit but I hoped it wouldn’t be too pressured. One thing for certain, the place was sure to have a fair few carp anglers about, sadly that is true of just about every pit I can think of these days. Anyway, on this short recce session, getting a Pike in the net would be considered a result.
I’d had a look around previously and found a nice looking swim on the northern bank which ticked all the boxes. It was close to an area from which I’d caught some big Pike in the past and bait fish were topping close in. It was also nicely hidden from the rest of the pit and judging by the brambles growing across the path, was rarely fished. I hoped to keep it this way so left my car some distance away and discreetly made my way down the bank in the dark. Not wishing to draw attention to myself I slowly set up without using the head torch. The same could not be said for two guys tackling up on the western bank, away to my right. Their swim was illuminated like a football pitch and they weren’t exactly quiet either. One of them was telling the whole pit about his “accident” and it sounded gruesome, I’m amazed he had the strength to make it out of bed let alone fishing on a damp November morning.
It’s unusual for me to fish less than three rods these days but due to the nature of the swim I’d chosen there was no point in using any more than two. On one rod I fished a Bluey and dropped this in the margins, under an overhanging tree in twelve feet of water. The other rod was baited with a Smelt and cast about 35 yards towards an island. It dropped a little short of where I’d intended but I judged it was close enough. As the day slowly grew light I was surprised to count seven (yes seven!) bivvies set up along the eastern bank to my left, it looked like a refugee camp. I suppose it could be worse, they could be Pikers! I seriously doubt that any of these anglers had the slightest idea that I was even there.
The day was grey, damp and cool with a bit of breeze from the north which rippled the water in places but not where I was fishing. After two weeks without wetting a line it was nice to be out there fishing even if it was far from my first choice venue. Who knows what the pit holds? There seems to be a good head of prey fish and a history of big Pike. Gauging the potential would be interesting and on this first visit my expectations were low, I considered a Pike, any Pike would be a result. At around 8am I glanced at the margin rod and noticed the unmistakable ‘tap tap’ on the rod tip. I wound down and bent into a spirited little Pike of about five pounds which I soon had in the net. It was short and plump and in good condition, nice one, so far so good. I rebaited, this time with half a Lamprey as I was travelling light and hadn’t brought a great deal of bait with me. Half an hour later the same rod was away again, I bent into another small Pike which thrashed its head and spat the hooks, oh well.
By this time the Carp anglers were starting to emerge from the warmth and comfort of their bivvies after another good night sleep no doubt. I’ve grown used to observing some strange and amusing behaviour from this tribe of anglers and today was no exception. It was uncanny the way they all seemed to rise at the same time but this could easily be explained by the use of mobile phones. On cue they all migrated to one swim roughly in the middle of the bank and here they huddled and chatted for a while. Then after a while they all migrated back to their swims, packed up and went home. Strange creatures carp anglers, at least the pit was a lot less crowded now.
An hour past between takes so I decided to twitch the smelt back towards me a yard or so. All the fishing books tell us this is a good way of inducing a Pike to pick the bait up. For once the books were right as within a minute the BBBB alarm was dropping back to indicate a fish swimming towards me. I wound into another Pike which felt a bit bigger than the first and so it proved. It was another short plump fish of around seven pounds. Once again it was in good condition but there were marks inside the mouth which indicated a fairly recent capture. I recast with a Mackerel this time which was the only type of deadbait I had left. For once the cast went exactly where I wanted, just off the back of the Island, in fact I couldn’t have positioned it any better if I’d used one of the carpers bait boats.
Time past, one or two other anglers turned up to fill the void left by the carpers. I’m pretty sure that no one even knew I was fishing, tucked away in my little spot. This view was reinforced by the arrival of the bailiff, if he doesn’t know I’m there, then no one does! I sat quietly, enjoying the solitude and enjoying the bird life which felt safe enough to come close, always when the camera is out of the way. All the usual suspects like a Robin and a Wren as well as every ones favourite, the Kingfisher. Then I was visited by a chirpy flock of Long Tailed Tits, flitting amongst the branches around and above me. I like Tits!
I was nearly out of time so started to slowly pack away the non essential items. The mackerel cast to the island hadn’t caught the attention of any Pike so I twitched that back once more. I tidied the margin rod away and everything else I didn’t think I’d need including the landing net, (yes Pike police I know…..) You guessed it, the Mackerel on island rod was picked up and another Pike ran back towards me. The strike connected once more and the biggest Pike of the morning was soon chinned out and unhooked. It might have gone ten pounds if I could have been bothered to unpack the scales but in all likelihood was a nine pounder.
So my first visit to this pit in a long time had produced three nice fat Pike in decent condition. As stated I’d have settled for one at the beginning so in the circumstances I consider that to be a result. If there are larger fish present, with the same plump build as the ones I caught today then there could be a surprise on the cards.