Prior to my most recent trip I had a look through my fishing diaries and discovered that I'd gone ten consecutive trips to my favourite place without a blank, dating back to 4th January this year. Although I haven't caught anything to go mad about I was pretty pleased wth this consistency and there were a few good fish along the way. Obviously with all this back patting going on I was due for a fall from grace. Not only was my last visit a blank, (Fishing the same methods in the places that had produced for me recently) it later turned into an unprecedented disaster of which I will say no more...for now at least. Richard has managed to catch a few in the mean time but the bigger fish have eluded him too. In general, at the moment we're finding fish but not the ones we're after.
A couple of weeks with no fish and no fishing has got me climbing the walls a bit so I feel the need to rant here for a bit. In truth there have been times when I could have gone after a Pike or two close to home but I just can't get motivated to fish waters that don't inspire me. There is a very good chance of catching a big Pike from the waters local to me but almost all of them are places I have fished in the past. Most can be crowded and as I get older I definitely get more anti social, I go fishing to get away from people and just can't be bothered having the same conversation with a dozen different dog walkers. One of the advantages to boat fishing that gets mentioned least. Maybe I should try fishing for something else, there are some decent Chub locally that don't really get fished for? Right now they just don't float my boat (!) either. At some point life will be less hectic and then I'll probably find a will and a way.
The angling forums can be a diversion but at the moment these are full of rubbish too, however there have been a couple of posts lately asking “Why join the PAC?” The question should really be “Why not?” Apart from the social side; regional meetings with guest speakers, fish-ins, annual convention etc. the club campaigns for the protection of Pike and the rights of the Pike angler. Over the years the club has tackled everything; bait bans, Pike culls, access to fisheries, environmental campaigns And rehoming Pike. When I first fished for Pike you weren't a proper Piker unless you were a member of PAC, however it strikes me that through necessity the club was more radical, maybe more confrontational back then. I wonder if it would gain more support if it was like that today? Perhaps this might marginalise the club politically but there may come a day when there is no choice.
Another one of the many reasons for joining is Pikelines magazine and the autumn edition which dropped on the doormat recently was a great read. There is an interview with Neilson Baxter who is making some phenomonal catches of Scottish Pike. Neilson apparently enjoys “privilidged” access on one or two waters but it's obvious that the guy is totally dedicated, works hard for his fish and absolutely loves Pike. I think that the majority of Pikers, given the same circumstances would do exactly the same. The main theme for this issue is river Piking with interesting reads from David Wolsencraft Dodds on fly fishing, not something that really appeals to me but I enjoyed the article. Also Phil Kirk wrote a piece about tackling the River Trent. The closest I've come to this river is walking over it on the way to the Trent Bridge cricket ground. Another good read with some cracking photos.
I've shared a pint or three with Rob Shallcroft over the years and here is a guy who knows his rivers backwards and is a very succesful river Piker. He's written regularly for the magazine and it's always first class stuff, his latest article “Queens, aquariums and the urban bingo” is a gem and the pick of the bunch. It is obvious that Rob is speaking from the heart with real experience and he has the nack of getting his message across. The main photo accompanying it is really different and in its way spectacular. The rivers that Rob fishes are a world away from the ones I call home, they could hardly be more different. One of these days...
Bill Winship is another regular contributor but not one I've always read with conviction. He begins with the words “There are lots of things to be grateful for about living in Yorkshire...” And ends with “...a magical experience unique to winter time and unique to Yorkshire”. I don't think Bills experiences are as “unique” as he believes and sorry Bill but God isn't a Yorkshireman. I definately don't share Bill's view that “lures are 90% less effective in winter” not in my experience anyway but then again I haven't used a Devon Minnow in about thirty years. There were some interesting thoughts on bait though.
Time is short this weekend and the weather forecast is grim. Here's hoping I can fit in a day in the boat.
River Pike caught in winter on a Jerkbait fish shallow.