In the summer I re-discovered a little water that I hoped might provide a bit of interesting winter Pike fishing from time to time. I walked around it a few times and was encouraged by what I found, a pretty, tree lined place with deep water and a huge head of silver fish as well as decent shoals of Bream. I hardly ever saw anyone else fishing there either, just the occasional mute Carp angler so this too was a bonus. I thought it might make a good place to take my son for an hours fishing every now and then, and so it proved. After an hour fishing with a whip he was usually bored of catching Roach, Rudd, Perch and skimmers. On one such excursion, our fishing was interrupted by an ambitious jack Pike that kept attacking the silver fish we were catching, in fact we made a game of it by swinging our catches in as quickly as possible to avoid the hungry jack. I wasn't interested in catching that Pike at that time but a seed had been planted and I immediately starting thinking ahead to cooler weather. Maybe I'd found somewhere local-ish that would prove interesting for the occasional days Pike fishing?
The other day a window of opportunity opened enough for me to do just that so after a bit of a lay in I made my way down to “The Pool” around nine o'clock. There was one swim in particular that I fancied as it was slightly deeper than the others and also the place where Isaac and I had the “jack attacks” in the summer. My intended swim was free as I'd expected but as I began setting up it dawned on me that the rest of the water was actually quite crowded. Considering I'd only ever seen two or at most three other anglers fishing through the summer months it was a shock to see another six anglers dotted around the lake, what's more ALL of them were fishing for Pike! It looks like my hopes for a quiet bit of winter fishing have been shattered, I suppose I should have known better.
With nothing else to do I dropped a Smelt deadbait into the deep margins to my left and set up a Paternoster rig on another rod. I hoped I'd be able to catch some of the millions of silver fish for livebait and so it proved, within minutes I had a Livebait kicking away in the open water in front of me. And after a few minutes more the livebait was away, I wound down quickly but the culprit had gone, along with my bait! A fresh one was soon in position but only for a minute or two before I had another steady take. This time there was no messing, I pulled the hooks home and soon bullied a jack to the bank where I chinned it out, unhooked it quickly and returned it. I looked up to see I had an audience in the next peg, the fella grinned and gave me the thumbs up, I returned his smile. He looked like he was kitted out properly and knew what he was doing.
I began to look around at the other anglers sharing the Pool with me. On the far side was a real keen angler, fishing a deadbait on one rod then continuously lure fishing with another. Opposite him were a collection of Dads and lads, or to be precise, two dads and two lads. This gave me a little cause for concern, there were floats all over the place and although the adults seemed fairly vigilant the kids were running around here, there and everywhere. The youngsters also seemed to love casting and their baits were being retrieved almost as regularly as the other guys lure. They were also noisy, very noisy and although I'm sure my own children aren't exactly quiet when they accompany me I do know that other anglers won't hear them swearing from the other side of the lake. On the plus side at least the kids were out there fishing, with their fathers instead of staring at a TV. You can't knock that.
My musing was suddenly interrupted by another take on the livebait and I quickly set the hooks into my second Pike of the day. This one was slightly larger than the first but still didn't warrant using the landing net. I tried to unhook and return it quickly and discretely but one of the lads spotted what was going on and hollered “that man has got a Pike!!!” so everyone on the water now knew. Oh well.
Time passed, the sun came out and it was a thoroughly pleasant autumn day. I was getting a bite a chuck fishing maggots for the silvers but to be honest, with enough bait in the bucket it was getting boring. As it got warmer I could have easily dozed off but I was roused by a commotion from the other side of the lake. One of the lads had hooked a Pike. To begin with I did have my concerns as to the fate of the poor creature but to be fair it was soon brought to the bank, unhooked easily, admired, photographed and returned. No harm done and one young lad was having the time of his life and that's what it's all about. Shortly after this I noticed the mad lure angler too was into a fish so that was another happy angler.
Things seemed to have gone quiet in my own swim so I swapped the Smelt for a sardine and cast it a bit further along the margin to my left. I began twitching the livebait back towards me and it was seconds after giving it another pull that it was taken once again. This time the fish ran towards me and I had to wind up a load of slack line before making contact virtually under my feet. Pike number three was the smallest of the day and was quickly and quietly unhooked and returned.
By now it was early afternoon and the Pool grew quiet. The other anglers gradually drifted away leaving me alone which was how I expected to spend the day. It was disappointing to find so many other anglers but tolerable. I don't have much idea as to the stock of Pike in the lake and the unknown factor is appealing but it's popularity might suggest it's quite a good fishery? Maybe as time passes and the weather gets colder it will become quieter, time will tell. It was a pleasant few hours and I'm sure I'll have another go before too long.