Wednesday, 18 February 2015

So many clocks ticking

In the mad world of Norfolk Angling the Broads Authority (not a national park) has come up with another bizarre plan.  Last week, without any consultation they sprung the news that they intend to dredge the boating channel on Hickling Broad commencing on 16th March.  It was precisely this area that was affected by Prymnesium in early spring three years ago and as far as Pike fishing goes it is a long way from recovering from this fatal bloom.  It may be the BA feels the improved suction dredging methods will make this operation safer this time around (assuming they use this method of course, reverting to a clam shell bucket is unthinkable but…) but all anglers will agree it’s just two risky.  The “what if…” is just too much.  The BA will argue they have been considerate to anglers because they will wait for the closed season but surely next winter is a much better time to do this work, if at all?  In reality there is little or nothing we anglers can do except make our voices heard.  John Currie & co at the NDPC will make sure the BA is held to account but it doesn’t hurt for all anglers have their say to the BA

Sunday arrived and after I had a 59 hour working week I won’t be waking up to an alarm clock so a nice lay in was followed by a big bacon sarnie for breakfast.  I lazily sorted the gear and loaded the car, stuck Eels ‘Souljacker’ in the CD player then hit the road "Ah Yeah!".  I couldn’t resist going back to the old place and by the time I arrived I knew where I wanted to fish, a different swim this time, one that had produced some good fish in the past. I arrived to find I had the place to myself which was a novelty and meant my chosen swim was free.  As I approached the water an Egret took flight, these things are far from rare in East Anglia these days.  By 1130 I was fishing with a Bluey and a smelt on the near shelf and a drifting Mackerel covering the open water in front of me. 

 Time for a sit down and a brew.  A pair of Swans crashed down onto the water then despite having the whole place to choose from they decided to swim straight over and muck around in front of me.  To the left I noticed some gulls seemed to be standing on the water, after a while I realised that part of the lake still had a thin layer of ice.  The day was bright with a wind from the north but still milder than the days that preceded it.  The water was obviously still cold but I felt I was in with a good chance.  I’d brought the shelter but was comfortable enough so didn’t use it.

I also had a lure rod with me and started pinging a few lures around; a Replicant, Wagtail, Reaper and a spoon.  All looked good in the clear water and I gave them a good go but saw and felt nothing.  The Swans buggered off across the lake and the Egret swooped down again landing in the reeds close to the Swans, they were the same colour after all.  The drifting rod worked well, with a floating braid and a big dumpy float made of balsa I could easily drift the bait out eighty yards or so then slowly retrieve it sink & draw style.  In this clear water surely something would see it?

After a couple of hours without a sniff it was high time for a move so I tidied up and hoofed it round to the area that had come alive a month previously.  Once again I placed two baits at the bottom of the near slope, one on either side to leave the middle free for the drifting rod.  As the sun began to dip the wind dropped away making the drifter much slower but still effective.  Everything seemed dead and I didn’t feel anything would happen.  I was waiting for dusk and hoping the silver fish would show again and the Pike would turn up too.

Around 1700 at last one or two Roach began to top right in the edge of the reedbeds.  As time passed and the sky grew darker they became more numerous and gradually spread out into open water in front of me.  There were obviously loads of fish here, surely the Pike would show?  I brought the drifting rod in, set the float at about three feet deep and swung it out again, just in case the Pike would be up in the water.  Everything looked good but until a Pike makes its presence known you just never know…  I fished well into darkness, the silver fish fizzled away and the Pike didn’t show up.  I never could make any sense of this place and in truth unless I’m getting my string pulled then it doesn’t interest me anymore.

I'd been tipped off that there might well be a nice sized Pike in another lake but it’s not the kind of place I could sit on with deadbaits so I’ve just had a couple of half-hearted sessions with lures.  That Pike was caught recently by a really nice bloke who had put a bit of effort in, fair play and congratulations.  Unfortunately word quickly got out and all the Pikers in the area now know about the Pike, the clock is ticking…

I had a Monday off work, a half term day spent with the kids and after a big roast dinner left everyone settled giving me the chance to slip out for an hour with a lure rod.  No guesses as to where I was headed.  On arrival it soon became apparent that I wasn’t alone; there were a couple of Pikers with rods well spread where before it had been uncommon to see one. Yes I’m jumping on the bandwagon too but like I said, bait fishing here doesn’t interest me.  If I’m going to catch this Pike it will be on a lure or not at all.  In reality my interest will probably be short lived and I expect before long it will be too late.

I started off fishing with a Reaper jig which I counted down then bounced back along the bottom which meant I could get a good idea of the contours of the lake.  This would especially be useful as I’m planning to fish the place for Tench this spring.  I wasn’t able to cover as much water as I’d hoped because parts were stitched up and I don’t think casting lures too close to anglers fishing baits is really the right thing to do.  What I did have to go at was covered nicely by the jig and I got a good feel for the depths, weed and stuff.  I then went back over the same ground using a little Salmo slider followed by a curly tailed thing made by Dave Greenwood.  All the lures I threw around during this short session looked just the part to me but unfortunately no Pike agreed.

It’s already that time of year when I look at the calendar and realise the river season is running out fast.  The weather is getting a little bit milder and the days are definitely getting noticeably longer.  I’ll only be able to fish on just two weekends before the close and there’s only one place I want to fish, whatever the weather throws at me.  You never know how long what we have left will last.

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